Placer County








            From the early period in the pioneer development of 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, and was of German lineage.  His paternal grandfather came from Germany to America in 1756, and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  He was with Washington at Valley Forge and was wounded in two battles.  The maternal grandparents, named Anderson, were Scotch people and emigrated from Vermont to Ohio about 1812, locating in Huron County.  The father of our subject was born in Vermont in 1790, and became a resident of Ohio in 1808.  In 1812 he commanded a brigade under General Harrison, and after the war settled in Huron County, where he opened up a farm.  In 1831 he removed with his family to Michigan, which was then a territory, and in 1835 he was elected a delegate to the convention which framed the first constitution of the state.  Afterward he was also a member of the legislature for a number of years.  He died on his farm in Michigan on the fifty-ninth anniversary of his birth, passing away January 1, 1849.

            Martin A. Schellhous, his eldest son, pursued his education in the district schools at intervals until eighteen years of age and was then sent to the State University, 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.  Marshall had discovered gold, others had seen evidences of the precious metal and news of the rich finds had reached the east.  Many young men had crossed the Pacific coast with the hope of rapidly acquiring a fortune and among the number was Martin 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 until August and there exchanged their outfit for pack horses, as it was too late in the season to cross the county with ox teams.  When they had proceeded about two hundred miles, their company was fired upon by about four hundred 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 the company and stampeded all of their horses, also carrying away all of the provisions and blankets.  With the aid of some Mormons, who were going from California to Salt Lake, Mr. Schellhous and the 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 by the Santa Fe route, reaching Los Angeles in February, 1850, after a long and painful journey.  They then chartered a small sailing vessel and in that way proceeded to San Francisco, where they arrived in April.  There taking passage on 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 the fall of 1851 he returned to Michigan with the intention of returning to California the next season, and in 1852 he again returned to the Golden state.

            In March of that year Mr. Schellhous was united in marriage to Miss Caroline Ferris, and with his young wife and a number of the members of his family he again started across the plains.  This time the party suffered from cholera and experienced many other hardships and trials.  This disease caused the death of one of his sisters and a child.  The former had partly recovered from her attack of cholera, but in her weak condition was stricken with mountain fever which terminated her life and her remains were laid to rest at Diamond Springs, California.

            Mr. Schellhous brought with him from Michigan a number of American cows and turned his attention to stock-raising, farming and fruit culture.  He purchased a ranch of two hundred and forty acres, three and a half miles from the present site of Roseville and there improved and developed his property, making it a very rich and highly cultivated tract.  So successful was he in his operations that before his death he had accumulated four hundred acres of land, which yielded to him an excellent return for the care and labor bestowed upon it.  He was also a successful stock-raiser and lived an honorable and upright life.  For a number of years he held the position of justice of the peace in Placer County.  He was a man of good education, of marked ability and of strong force of character, and his influence was a potent element for good in the community in which he made his home.

            Unto Mr. and Mrs. Schellhous were born twelve children, ten of whom are living, and his wife still survives, residing on the old home farm near Roseville, highly respected by all who know her.  The daughter, Helen, now Mrs. Bisco, is a widow and resides in Rocklin.  George is a farmer near Roseville.  Martin A. and John and engaged in blacksmithing in Roseville and both are esteemed businessmen of the town, also owning farms and successfully following fruit-raising.  The other members of the family are:  Carrie; Stella, wife of William Sawtell, the leading merchant of Roseville; Loren and Ed, at home; Annie, a successful school teacher; and Earl, at home.  The family is one of the highest respectability, widely and favorably known, its members occupying leading positions in social circles.  The father departed this life in September, 1873, at the age of fifty-four years, and in his death the community mourned the loss of one of its 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 all his fellow men in an unusual degree and his life was in many respects well worthy of emulation.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 818-819. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




Placer County Biographies

California Statewide

Golden Nugget Library