James W. Kilgore, who as a boy came across the plains to California during the pioneer years of its history and whose active career has been intimately identified with Sacramento county, has lived on his present beautiful homestead, situated near the town of Mills, for half a century, ever since the family located there in 1855. His eighty acres of land is devoted to general farming, and as a progressive and enterprising agriculturist he ranks among the best in the county.

Born in Lee county, Iowa, May 30, 1840, being now the only surviving child of Matthew and Massie (McGuire) Kilgore, the father of Scotch extraction and an Ohioan by birth, when James was twelve years old he accompanied his parents and the other children, in an emigrant company which drove ox and horse teams, on the long six months' journey across the great plains to the garden spot of the world in Sacramento county, California. For a time the family home was in Yolo county, on the Sacramento river fifteen miles from Sacramento, and in 1855 they all moved to the place where mr. Kilgore still has his home.

In the death of Matthew Kilgore in 1881, Sacramento county lost one of its most valued pioneer citizens. Born in Ohio, he had accompanied, in 1836, his family to Lee county, Iowa, from the state of Indiana, his former home. In 1850, with his son William, the oldest child, he crossed the plains to California, and after about a year's residence in Yolo county returned to the middle west and brought his entire family to the Golden state. His wife passed away several years previous to his own death, and of the seven children born to them only James W. survives. The father was a Republican in politics, and in both civic and material affairs posed as a man of influence and worth in the community.

Twelve years old when he crossed the country to this state, a journey which he yet holds in distinct remembrance, Mr. Kilgore was reared to man's estate in Sacramento county, receiving his early education in district schools, and has since been actively concerned with the life and activity of this part of the state. Fraternally he affiliates with Industrial Lodge No. 157, I. O. O. F., at Sacramento, is a charter member of American River Grange, P. of H., is Republican in politics, a friend of public schools, and eminently public-spirited in all matters that affect the general welfare. He has been successful in business, and is held in highest esteem by his fellow citizens.

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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