Placer County










            From the early period of the pioneer development in California until the time of his death, Martin Andrew Schellhous was a highly esteemed resident of California, his last days being spent near Roseville.  He was born in Ohio in July, 1819, of German lineage.  His paternal grandfather came from Germany to America about 1756, and served as a soldier during the Revolutionary War; he was with Washington at Valley Forge and was wounded in two battles.  The maternal grandparents, named Anderson, were Scotch people who emigrated from Vermont to Huron County, Ohio, in 1812.  The father of our subject, Martin Green, Schellhous, was born in Vermont in 1790, became a resident of Ohio in 1808; and in 1812, he commanded a brigade under General Harrison in the War of 1812.  After the war he settled in Huron County, Ohio, where he engaged in farming.  In 1832 he removed with his family to Michigan, which was then a territory, and in1835 he was elected a delegate to the convention which framed the first constitution of the State; afterward he was a member of the legislature for a number of years.  He passed away on his farm in Michigan on the fifty-ninth anniversary of his birth, January 1, 1849.

            Martin Andrew Schellhous, our subject and the eldest son of the family, pursued his education in the district schools, at intervals, until he was eighteen years of age, and was then sent to the State University at Ann Arbor, where he remained for several years, pursuing the higher branches of learning.  He remained in Michigan until March, 1849, when he started across the plains to California.  Several had seen the evidences of gold, and the news of the rich finds had reached the east.  Many young men came to the Pacific Coast with the hope of rapidly acquiring a fortune and among the number of Martin Andrew Schellhous.  He traveled with a company of friends and neighbors, the journey being made across the plains with ox teams.  They did not reach Salt Lake City until August, and there exchanged their outfit for pack horses, as it was too late in the season to cross the mountains with ox-teams.  When they had proceeded about 200 miles their company was fired upon by a band of 400 Indians; this was about one o’clock in the afternoon.  The emigrants returned the fire and the battle lasted until night.  The Indians killed two of their company, stampeded all of their horses and carried away their provisions and blankets; with the aid of some Mormons who were on their way from California to Salt Lake City, Mr. Schellhous and other members of the company returned to that place, where they obtained some mules and provisions, and in November, 1849, they again started for the Golden State via the southern route through the desert, reaching Los Angeles in February, 1850, after a long and tedious journey.  In the southern city they chartered a small sailing vessel and proceeded to San Francisco, where they arrived in April; then taking another vessel up the Sacramento River, they finally reached the mines.  Mr. Schellhous and his brother engaged in placer mining and soon took out between five and six thousand dollars in gold.  In the fall of 1851, Mr. Schellhous returned to Michigan with the intention of returning to California the next season.

            In March, 1852, Mr. Schellhous was united in marriage with Miss Caroline Ferris, and with his young wife and some members of his own family he again started across the plains.  This time the party suffered from the cholera and experienced many other hardships and trials. The disease caused the death of one of his sisters and a child; the former had partly recovered, but in her enfeebled condition was stricken with the mountain fever which terminated her life and she was laid to rest at Diamond Springs, California.  Mr. Schellhous brought with him a number of cows and turned his attention to farming, stockraising and fruit culture.  He purchased a ranch of 240 acres, two and one half miles from the present site of Roseville, improved and developed his property, making it a rich and highly cultivated tract.  So successful was he in his operations that before his death he had accumulated 400 acres of land.  He was also successful in stockraising.  For a number of years he held the office of justice of the peace in Placer County.  He was a man of good education, of marked ability and force of character, and his influence for good in the community was a potent element in its advancement.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Schellhous were born eleven children, ten of whom lived to reach manhood and womanhood:  Helen married Fred Bisco, a conductor for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, who died leaving his widow in Rocklin, later she removed to Roseville, where she passed away on May 8, 1923, leaving two children:  Mrs. Mabel Scott, of Stockton, and Mrs. Amy Van Vleit, of Sacramento; George C. (married Luna Kingsley, who died in June, 1889) and Martin A., ranchers near Roseville, are represented elsewhere in this history; Carrie, single, who with her brother Loren F., also single, resides upon the old home place, of which they own and operate 200 acres; John M., a rancher and fruit grower on Dry Creek, is also represented in this work; Stella, residing in Roseville, married William Sawtelle, a leading merchant of Roseville, who died leaving two children, Carl and Gladys, the latter now the wife of Berkeley Anderson; Edwin J. is a rancher and fruit grower on Dry Creek, where he owns 160 acres of land, 100 acres of which was a part of the old homestead.  He is a director in the Roseville Banking Company.  Annie, who owns 100 acres of the old home place, is the wife of James Haines, fruit grower at Modesto, California.  Earl, who married Miss Pearl Lewis, born in Iowa, and the mother of his four children, Bessie, Lyle, Dorothy, and Marvin, was formerly a rural mail carrier, but is now a farmer residing on his fifty-four-acre ranch on Dry Creek.  Mrs. Schellhous survived her husband, who passed away in September, 1873, at the age of fifty-four years, until 1906, when she too passed to the Great Beyond honored and respected by all who knew her.  In the death of Martin Andrew Schellhous the community mourned the loss of one of its most valued citizens; he left to his family, not only a comfortable competence, but an honored name, for his was ever an upright career in which fidelity to duty and trustworthiness were among his characteristics.  He enjoyed the confidence of his fellow-men in an unusual degree and his life is well worthy of emulation.  





Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “History of Placer & Nevada Counties, California”, by W. B. Lardner & M. J. Brock. Pages 464-467. Historic Record Co., Los Angeles 1924.

© 2013  V. Gerald Iaquinta.




Placer County Biographies

California Statewide

Golden Nugget Library