The following biographies have been submitted by descendants and
researchers of Eastern California Pioneers.
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Mono or Inyo Counties or to send a query.


Fred P. ALPERS was born in Ahlerstedt, Germany in 1872. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1887 and homesteaded land in the Bishop area in 1894. He raised cattle in the Laws area, married Christina MEYER in 1902 and lived in the Laws area until 1929 when they sold their land to the City of Los Angeles. Christina was a member of the North Inyo School Board for many years. Two of their children, Henry and Erica, were buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. Fred died in 1945 in Sierra County, and Christina died in 1964 in Orange.

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Mary Hunter AUSTIN was born in Carlinville, Illinois on September 9, 1868. She was an American essayist and fiction writer who produced several classic works about the desert country and Indians of the American Southwest. She moved to Independence with her husband, became friends with local people of Paiute ancestry and came to love and write about the people and the country.

Her books include The Land of Little Rain (1903), about the country around Independence; The Basket Woman (1904), a retelling of Paiute Indian legends; The Flock (1906), an account of desert sheepherding;and Lost Borders (1909), a collection of character sketches. One of the early feminists, Austin was deeply involved in social causes, and was instrumental in preserving records of Indian cultures. Her autobiography, Earth Horizon, appeared in 1932. She died August 13, 1934.

On-line texts of Austin's works in Inyo County: The Basket-Maker, The Hoodoo of The Minietta, The Land of Little Rain, and A Shepherd of The Sierras.


H.N.H BROWN (from New Hampshire) had a wife Cordelia and a son, Frank Richard BROWN (born 1858 Sacramento). H.N.H. was half owner of BROWN and PECK Outfitters in Sacramento, successors to D.C. STANFORD in the business that made STANFORD a wealthy man. I know almost nothing about how and when he and other relatives got toBodie, or how they were occupied there, although I suspect H.N.H BROWN's son Frank ( my great grandfather) was somehow engaged in mining.

Frank BROWN married Marietta KENNEDY (born 1858 Portland ME) in Bodie on 2 July 1878. They had three children while living in Bodie:

  1. ) Emma BROWN (born 16 May 1879 - died in AK at age 16)
  2. ) Frank KENNEDY BROWN (born 1883, died at birth)
  3. ) Helen Francis BROWN (born 20 Aug 1884, died one year later).

Frank eventually moved his family to Unga Island Alaska, a remote spot west of Kodiak Island, where he remained for most of his life.

Marietta's sister, Sarah Adeline KENNEDY and their father Thomas KENNEDY must have lived in Bodie as well. Sarah Adeline married a Wilbur Wright HAWTHORNE also at Bodie and they had several children.

I would love to communicate with anyone who is researching any of these names. I am especially interested in finding out about Thomas KENNEDY, who was my great great grandfather, and who I suspect came to Bodie with his two daughters Sarah Adeline and Marietta (my great grandmother). The girls would have simply been too young to come on their own!

I have not been able to find anything about his life or death, either at Bodie, any other town in CA, or his hometown of Portland Maine. He seems to have simply vanished.

All of Betty's family info is posted at

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was born February 1800 in Pennsylvania, and died 04 November 1878 in Bishop, California. He married Barbara KEES in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, daughter of Phillip KEES & Catherine SNEITER. Barbara KEES was born March 23, 1801 in Pennsylvania, and died 20 August 1877 in Bishop, California; burial in Pioneer Cemetery.

Their Children:

  • James S. CLARK (born circa 1828, Pennsylvania; died 15 April 1854, Keokuk Township, Iowa; married Mary GILLHA.
  • Catherine CLARK (born 18 July 1830, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; died 30 April 1914,Glendale, California; married William Handy TULL). Child: Viola Handy TULL.
  • Andrew J. CLARK (born 14 July 1832, Mckeesport, Pennsylvania; died February 1918, Bishop, California; married Rachel. Rachel died 1888, Bishop, California.)
  • Kees CLARK (born 1834, McKeesport, Pennsylvania; died Lick Creek Township, Davis County, Iowa (Dunnville Cemetery); married Mary MCGEE, 16 March 1853).
  • Thomas CLARK (born 1836, Mckeesport, Pennsylvania; died 01 December, 1917, Ventura, California).
  • William B. CLARK (born 1838, McKeesport, Pennsylvania; died 23 September 1873, Camp Independence, California (buried in Bishop); married Darcus, June 1872, Bishop, California).
  • Milton Sulton CLARK (born 1840).
  • John CLARK (born 06 August 1842, Pennsylvania; died 12 October 1846, Wapello County, Iowa (Mars Hill Cemetery). 

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Michael and Sara DRISCOLL made their way to Bodie in the 1860s or 70s, following their immigration from Ireland. I believe their children Catherine (dob 6/1880), Jerry (dob 10/1881), and Daniel (dob 12/1882) were born in Bodie. My grandmother, Eleanor DRISCOLL (dob 3/27/1890)was born in Jackson, Amador Co.

I believe Michael DRISCOLL's brother, name unknown, also was in Bodie. The last time I visited the State Park in Bodie I did see Michael's name in the mine payroll ledger in the museum.

I would be greatful for any information anyone might have regarding the DRISCOLL family.

(To contact person who provided this information, please send the webmaster a message through this FORM.)


1) Daily Bodie Standard, 7 July 1880, Con DRISCOL won third prize of $25 in a Fourth of July Cornish style wrestling match. (Reference found in Bodie Bonanza by Warren Loose.)

2) C.E. DRISCOLL, Michael J. DRISCOLL and William DRISCOLL were all involved in mining in the Tioga and Prescott Mining Districts from approximately 1878 through 1887. That area is now part of Yosemite National Park's eastern boundary, north and south of Tioga Pass.

(From records of Mono County)

3) "McInnis, who had been a stone cutter, was a very powerful and agile man. He first gained attention in a match with Con. Driscoll, a professional wrestler from San Francisco. The match took place at Miners Union Hall, July 19, 1880. It was $200 a side, and the hall was packed with spectators who anxiously weighed the abilities of each man. McInnis soon proved to be far too powerful for DRISCOLL to handle, and the latter lost in three straight falls."

(Bodie 1859-1900 by Frank S. Wedertz)

4) "Bill O'Farrell shot up the Mammoth saloon in San Francisco and wounded the bartender in the head after an argument with the 'mixologist.' William DRISCOLL, another former Bodieite and friend of O'Farrell, wrested the gun away from O'Farrell, and four police officers march the badman from Bodie off to the city jail."

(Gunfighters, Highwaymen & Vigilantes by Roger D. McGrath)

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The Filosenas came from Italy and homesteaded 320 acres above Mono Lake. They lived there from about 1880 to the 1920's and then sold the property to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. Mary FILOSENA was born on the FILOSENA Ranch at Mono Lake in 1888. She married Frank DONNELLY, who worked in the mines at Bodie.

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I am researching my Great and GR-Great Grandfathers, Robert FOUKE and his son Richard Reynolds FOUKE. The lived in Bodie, California. Robert FOUKE lived there about 185/-1886 and Richard Fouke 1885-1910?. I have a map of Bodie and it shows the FOUKE house, originally owned by Robert.

I also have a photograph of the Tombstone of Annie FOUKE, the second wife of Richard R. Annie died in 1896.

I believe both FOUKEs were miners...that is about all I know, except Richard R. FOUKE filed a mining or land claim with the Bureau of Land Management acout 1911.

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I have information about Henderson D (Dee) GILL born in Ca. 2/9/1857, died in Inyo County 10/4/1940. Married Julia AKEN (?). He bought land there, deed dated 3/21/1898. He had atleast three sons Arthur (LeGrande?) born approx. 1896, Harold Henderson born 3/28/1900, and Wendel W. born 1/4/1905.

He might possibly be the owner of the GILL Ranch for which the road is named.

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I am looking for any info, on the Thompson family in the early years. My grandfather was William THOMPSON, born around 1800s.

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Robert PALMER I (b. 7 May 1823, Hopkinsville, Christian Co, KY - d. 30 May 1905, Kernville CA)

Robert PALMER's family first settled in Virginia, but he was born in Hopkinsville, Christian Co., Kentucky on May 7,1823 to Edward and Rebecca (PATTON) PALMER and was the next to the youngest of five sons and two daughters.

Both the PALMERs and PATTONs had come to America before the Revolutionary War and fought in it. His Grandfather Colonel Matthew PATTON was with George Washington at Valley Forge. His grandmother's name was Hester DYER and the name Hester and Rebecca have come down through the generations of PALMERs. An Uncle, John McCauley PALMER, was governor of Illinois during Lincoln's time.

Edward and Rebecca moved to Morgan County Illinois when Robert was three and from there he came to California by horseback, packing his belongings on a pack horse. He was one of the nine survivors who arrived in California from a very large immigrant group that left St. Joseph Missouri and came by the South Pass. Many of them died of cholera along the way. It was such a wet year that they could dig only shallow graves as they would quickly fill with water from seepage. Robert felt he survived because he boiled all water before using it.

He arrived at Hangtown (Placerville) California on August 23, 1850. He mined and explored in Humboldt River Valley for some time. In the late 1850s, he was one of the first to discover gold in Mono Gulch, Mono County, California in the Walker River country and was one of the discoverers of gold in the Aurora Mining District a few miles to the east. He worked this area also for some time.

After coming to Kern County, California in 1860, he mined on Piute Mountain (Claraville) with Wade Hampton Williams before going into the cattle raising business in 1862. His brands were LH, RP and ISI. Mr. PALMER's interest in cattle was no doubt influenced by early cattle raising of his ancestors.

Also, Mr. PALMER was on the first Grand Jury of Kern County. His oldest son, Robert PALMER Jr., was one of the first white children to be born in the Piute Mountains (Claraville).

In San Francisco, the 14th of June 1866 he was united in matrimony to Rose GLENNON of Ireland. She was the daughter of James GLENNON and Mary BRADY, both of Kells, County Meath, Ireland. She bore Robert PALMER 12 children, all born in CA - Robert PALMER Jr., Margaret, Richard, Mary Elizabeth, Lee, Rose Lee, Walter, Rebecca, Patton, Nellie, Edward, and Hettie. His Brands were LH, RP, ISI.

I Am interested in verifying the length of time he was in the Walker River and Mono County areas. Any leads would be appreciated.

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George Edgar VILLET or VILLETT was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada on August 31, 1881. In 1909 both he and 'Katie' Catherine M. (SHAW) VILLETT, also from Prince Edward Island, traveled to Bishop, California where they were married in July 1909. Katie was a cousin of W. H. COLLETT of Bishop.

They had two daughters - Alice and Jenny. Katie died giving birth to Jenny on January 4, 1911. George Edgar VILLETT returned to Prince Edward Island with Alice. Jenny remained in Bishop with two other Prince Edward Islanders - Charles Mack DIXON and his wife Florence (MacKINNON) DIXON. Ten years later Mrs. DIXON died and Jenny went to Sacramento to live with her father, George Edgar VILLETT and his second wife, Florinda Dias (COREY) VILLETT.

In his lifetime George Edgar VILLETT an engineer for a copper mine near Flagstaff, Arizona, in Mammoth and elsewhere as needed.

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Joseph King WEITFLE (born New Jersey, May 1874 - died Carson City, Nevada, December 1917) mined in Bodie in 1905. His daughter was the first child born in Masonic.

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Frank and Cora LOBDELL and a cousin, J.B. LOBDELL, moved from Grays Lake, Illinois to eastern California in the mid-1800s. Frank and Cora had businesses in Bodie and Bridgeport and J.B. was the first agriculturist of Smith Valley and Mason Valley in the Nevada Territory.

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Clark Gates SINCLAIR was born circa 1843 in Rainham, Canada West. His parents moved the family to Victor Township, Clinton, Michigan by 1850. In 1860 he was in the home of Isaac L. Hollister, the local physician, where he began his medical career. By 1871 he moved to California with his wife Caroline and daughter Flora. Caroline's father, Wentworth CALKINS was a pioneer rancher who had about 600 acres in Big Meadows.

Sinclair's medical office and drug store was where the Bridgeport General Store now is on the corner of Sinclair and Main Street. They lived on the other side of Main Street, three houses east of Sinclair Street.

His daughter Flora married Charles Edward WEDERTZ, from another pioneer family, on 10 May 1887.

Local residents were very happy with Bridgeport's first physician and surgeion. He ministered night and day to the sick. His wife, known as "Auntie Sinclair," frequently assisted him as a nurse.

Doc Sinclair had also been one of the first in the sheep business in Mono County, having purchased a band in 1887

Biographies are also on USGenWeb Inyo County


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