Little progress had been made in San Joaquin county when John G. Dean located within its borders, the date of his arrival here being 1868. He has remained here almost continuously with the exception of a brief period passed in Humboldt and in Monterey counties of this state. He has, therefore, witnessed the many changes which have occurred and the transformation that has been wrought, and along agricultural lines he has contributed to the county's development.

Mr. Dean is a native of Halifax county, Nova Scotia, where his birth occurred on the 27th of January, 1844. His parents, David F. and Amelia (Gettes) Dean, were both natives of Nova Scotia and are of Scotch extraction. In the paternal line he is descended from John Dean, who with his family left Scotland and crossed the Atlantic to Nova Scotia in 1796, establishing his home in Halifax county at a place now known as Dean postoffice, while the neighborhood is called the Dean settlement. Both were named in honor of the family.

It was near the ancestral home in Nova Scotia that John G. Dean was reared. At the usual age he began his education in the subscription schools of his neighborhood and later he attended the early public schools there. Although his advantages were somewhat limited he has thorough practical experience, and reading and observation supplemented by a retentive memory added largely to his knowledge, so that he became a well informed man. He always keeps in touch with public affairs and the political history of the country and is also active in promoting local advancement, whereby he displays his loyalty in citizenship. He remained a resident of Nova Scotia until the fall of 1868, when he came direct to California by way of the isthmus route, landing at San Francisco. He thence proceeded into the interior of the country and established his home in San Joaquin county, where he pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land about eleven miles south of the present site of Banta. There he remained for a short time and in 1880 he took up his abode upon his ranch near Tracy, having since made his home here.

It was in the same year that Mr. Dean was married, the wedding being celebrated on the 6th of September. Mrs. Dean bore the maiden name of Sarah A. Truett, who was born in Arkansas on the 9th of November, 1842. She was a daughter of William and Louisa (McCaleb) Truett, both natives of Tennessee, whence they removed to California in 1859. They made the journey across the plains with ox teams, traveling in the style of most emigrants at that day. The family home was established near Santa Clara, California, and it was there that Mrs. Dean was first married on the 1st of January, 1860, becoming the wife of William S. Woodall, a native of Virginia and a pioneer of San Joaquin county. In the same year she accompanied her husband on his removal to San Joaquin county and in the fall of 1867 they settled upon the ranch which is now her home. By her first marriage she had two children: Esther A., now the wife of H. B. Needham, of Stanislaus county, California; and John D., who is living in Oroville, California. Mr. Woodall died in the Sandwich islands, his death being occasioned by consumption.

Mr. and Mrs. Dean hold membership in the Presbyterian church in Tracy, take an active part in its work and contribute generously to its support. Mr. Dean is now serving as an elder in the chirch and does all in his power to promote its growth and extend its influence. His political support is given the Republican party and he is the champion of all progressive measures which have for their object the general welfare. Mr. Dean is classed among the progressive and enterprising agriculturists of San Joaquin county and as a citizen he commands the confidence of the business community. He and his estimable wife are among the well known and representative pioneer people of this section of California and they enjoy the warm regard of a large circle of friends.

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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