Dr. Horace Bentley, of Woodbridge, is the oldest living pioneer physician and surgeon of San Joaquin county, but he is perhaps best known to the present generation as a successful and enterprising business man. Being one of the argonautic host who came to the state in 1850, he is revered not alone as a survivor of the passage of the many subsequent years but also for what he has accomplished as a man and citizen, and now that he is verging toward life's decline, being within the shadow of his eightieth year, it is a pleasant part of this history to record what he has done during these many years.

Born near the city of Auburn, in Onondaga county, New York, March 10, 1828, he was a son of native New Yorkers, Edward B. and Claramond (Brockway) Bentley, by whom he was taken, in his seventh year, to Medina county, Ohio, where he was reared to manhood. His principal literary education was received in the academy at Sharon, Ohio. He began the study of medicine with his brother, Dr. B. B. Bentley, at Naperville, Illinois, and he completed his medical training at one of the foremost medical schools of the country--the Eclectic College at Cincinnati. After leaving college he began active practice at naperville with his brother, and later practiced for a time at Algonquin and at Batavia, Illinois.

In 1850 he left Illinois and by way of Salt Lake crossed the plains to California. For a time he mined for gold at Placerville, and in 1853 arrived among the early settlers of San Joaquin county. he farmed for several years near Woodbridge, and in 1856 moved into that town and took up active practice as a physician and surgeon, which he carried on until 1861. In 1860 he established a general mercantile business at Woodbridge, and for over forty years he was best known to his fellow citizens as the proprietor of this concern, in which he gained a large degree of success. He has lived practically retired from active business since 1901. Besides his prominence in professional and business affairs as thus indicated, he has been a public-spirited participant in much of the civic activity of his community, and his active support or influence has always been counted upon to advance worthy undertakings. For some time he served as a member and as president of the board of trustees of the San Joaquin Valley College, which was for some years a well known and high-standard educational institution at Woodbridge, many of the present citizens of this section of the state having drawn their intellectual training from its excellent halls of learning. For several years Dr. Bentley served as postmaster of Woodbridge, and for over a quarter of a century was the local agent for the Wells Fargo and Company's Express. Fraternially he is a member of Jefferson Lodge No. 98, I. O. O. F., at Woodbridge.

Dr. Bentley married Miss Susan Roach, who was born in Maine. Four children were born to them, and the three living are: Dr. Benjamin C., who is a well know physician at Bakersfield, this state; Mary, the wife of J. P. Morey, a successful lawyer in Washington, D. C.; and Fannie, wife of Charles L. Hall, of Sacramento.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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