Esau Gardner, who has lived in Sacramento county from pioneer times down to the present, and since 1875 has lived on his present ranch near Florin, came to California in 1850, arriving at what was then called Hangtown, now Placerville, July 4, 1850. He is a native of Somersetshire, England, born September 28, 1827, and the place of his nativity gave rise to the name by which he is familiarly known among his old friends--John Bull. He is a son of William and Mary (Jeanes) Gardner, who were also natives of England, and he was reared in that country, acquiring a fair education in its public schools, while in later years his knowledge has been broadened through experience, reading, and observation. Thinking that he might benefit his financial condition in the new world he came to America, in 1849, making the voyage on the same ship with Honorable Frederick Cox, of Sacramento, California, who is now president of the California State Bank, and with whom Mr. Gardner had been a schoolmate in his boyhood days. They left Bristol on a sailing vessel, the Devonia, being several weeks in crossing the Atlantic, but ultimately anchor was dropped in the harbor of New York. Mr. Gardner proceeded westward by steamer to Albany, thency by canal to Buffalo, and by boat via the Great Lakes to Chicago, Illinois, whence he went to Peoria and from there to Galesburg, Illinois. He remained in Knox county for several months and was employed at farm labor until he started for California, in 1850, crossing the plains in the primitive manner of the times. The party progressed by slow stages over the hot sandy stretches of the west and through the mountain passes until they reached the gold-fields, and for a short time Mr. Gardner was engaged in mining, but not meeting with the success he had anticipated in that work he left the mines and came to Sacramento county, in 1851. Here he engaged in teaming and freighting for more than twenty years, and in 1875 he settled upon his present ranch near Florin. He has since engaged in agricultural pursuits, and for several years he has also made a study of the raising of grapes in connection with general farming. In former years he devoted considerable attention to the raising of fine horses, and in the various branches of his business has met with desirable success.

On the 17th of July, 1856, Mr. Gardner was married to Miss Caroline Kohlbaker, who was born in Summit county, Ohio, January 1, 1840, and with her father went to California. In 1853 they came to Sacramento county and were among the pioneer residents here. Her father, Florin Kohlbaker, was born in Germany and was well known among the early residents of central California, taking an active and helpful part in its pioneer development. He had come to America when a young man, about 1835, and had lived in Ohio for a number of years. The year 1853 witnessed his arrival in California, and he was accompanied by his family, their home being established in Sacramento county, which was then a frontier district. Mrs. Gardner has two surviving brothers: Albert C. and Theodore Kohlbaker, both of whom are living in Sacramento. To Mr. and Mrs. Gardner were born four children: mary E., the wife of John L. Scholefield, of Sacramento county; Hannah M., the wife of John W. Gaskell, of the city of Sacramento; William, at home; and Gussie, the wife of Arthur Chase, of Truckee, California.

Mr. Gardner is a member of the Florin Fruit Growers' Association. He votes with the Republican party, and while he has never sought office he has always been interested in public progress and improvements, using his influence for the adoption of all progressive measures. He and his wife are numbered among the well known pioneer people of Sacramento county and as such justly deserve representation in this volume. He has gone through all of the experiences of life on the Pacific coast, from th early mining days down to the present, and has done his full share in the work of agricultural development in Sacramento county.

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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