Placer County








            Among the early arrivals in California after the discovery of gold was made was James Madison Walden, who came to the state in 1859 and is now a valued resident of Rocklin.  A native of Georgia, he was born in the city of Macon, November 3, 1842, and that state was the birthplace of several generations of the family.  His paternal grandparents reared their children in that state, among the number being James Walden, the father of our subject, who was born and reared there.  After arriving at the years of maturity he wedded Miss Matilda Tuchri, also a native of Georgia, and by their union there were three daughters and three sons. The wife died when her son James M. was only three years of age, and the father departed this life in the fifty-second year of his age.  He had removed to Alabama where he was the owner of a plantation and he became one of the widely and favorably known citizens of that state.

            James Madison Walden was educated and reared to manhood in Alabama, and when only seventeen years of age he came to California by steamer from New Orleans, landing at San Francisco.  A desire to see the country was the principal reason that led him to the Pacific coast.  From San Francisco he made his way to Sacramento where he was induced to accept a clerkship with an auctioneer, and in 1860 he came to a farm within three miles of Rocklin.  He worked at different places and engaged in teaming from Sacramento to the different mining towns, including Virginia City and Carson.  That was then a paying business for there were no railroad facilities and the freight rate was quite heavy.  In 1864 Mr. Walden accepted a clerkship in the store of Smith & Hobbel, at Smithville, where he continued until 1867, when he went to Newcastle, Placer County, where he was engaged in the livery-stable business.  In 1868 he engaged in hauling stone at a quarry, and the following year he became a salesman in a store owned by L. G. Smith, at Rocklin.

            After his marriage, which occurred in 1870, he conducted a hotel in Rocklin for a short time, and in June of that year entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, with which he was connected as locomotive fireman until 1872.  He then removed to Loomis and was in the employ of William Quinn until the fall of 1873, when he was elected constable of Township No. 9.  In March of 1874 he entered upon the duties of his office and in 1875 he was elected to the same position, being again chosen for that place in 1879, 1882, 1884, 1886 and 1888.  That he discharged his duties in the most prompt and satisfactory manner is indicated by his long continuance in a position that is held through popular suffrage.  He was fearless, earnest and reliable and received the commendation of all law abiding citizens.  In 1890 he was elected to the office of justice of the peace and in 1894 was re-elected to the same position in which he served continuously until 1899.  His decisions were strictly fair and impartial, and such was his ability and knowledge of the law that his judgment was never once reversed by the higher court.  He was entirely without prejudice in administering justice, basing his points upon the law and the evidence introduced.  In 1893 he was appointed clerk of the city of Rocklin and in that position, by re-election, has been continued since.  For the past ten years he has served as a notary public, appointed by the different governors of California, and he is also the health officer of Rocklin.

            On the 15th of February, 1870, Mr. Walden was united in marriage to Miss Hannah Ryon, of Auburn.  Their married life was a happy one for six years, being then terminated by the death of the wife, whereby Mr. Walden was left with the care of his five children, namely:  Herbert James, Albert Madison, Lester, Violet Joseph and Melvin John.  On the 19th of April, 1890, Mr. Walden wedded Mrs. Carrie Gillis, a widow who had one child, Ernest, by her former marriage.  Our subject and his estimable wife are valued members of the Congregational Church, in which he is serving as treasurer and as president of the board of trustees.  He does all in his power to promote the work of the church in its various branches and contributes liberally to its support.  As a public official he has made for himself a most enviable record.  He has ever retired from office as he entered it, with the confidence and good will of his fellow men, and his services have ever been a public benefit.  His career shows the power of honesty and fidelity in winning prominence and success in life.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 797-798. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




Placer County Biographies

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