Mrs. Caroline McCauley, who is associated with her son in the ownership of eleven hundred acres of land in California, has resided in the state since pioneer days and has, therefore, been a witness of its development and progress. She is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, and was reared in Independence, Missouri. Her father, Thomas H. Wilson, was of English lineage, and the family, founded in America in colonial days, was represented by faithful service in the Revolutionary war. Mr. Wilson was a native of Virginia and was a farmer and planter. He removed to Missouri and was there general in chief of the army which was organized to drive the Mormans out of the state. He married Sarah Davis, a cousin of Jefferson Davis. She was born in Tennessee and after the death of her first husband she became the wife of William Hicks, and with him came to California in connection with General Sutter in 1846. Mr. Hicks conducted a large ranch in this state and here Mrs. Hicks spent her remaining days, her death occurring in 1890.

Mrs. McCauley spent her girlhood days in Missouri and was married in Independence, that state, in 1845, to John F. McCauley, a native of Virginia. His ancestors were of Scotch lineage and were among the first settlers of the Old Dominion. Mr. McCauley became a farmer of Missouri and in the year 1852 he emigrated to Californnia, crossing the plains to the Pacific coast. The journey was a long and arduous one, but at length he reached his destination, and he purchased the Chobello grant of land in San Joaquin and Sacramento counties, comprising over twenty thousand acres. From that time forward he gave his attention to his property interests and the supervision of his farms. For five or six years he had a lease of the state prison at San Quentin in connection with General Estelle. This lease was for ten years, but Governor Bigler endeavored to break the lease and did so. On the order of Colonel McCauley Governor Bigler was locked up on the prison grounds and held for one week for attempting to take forcible possession. However, Mr. McCauley was finally forced to leave his position, but he afterward was awarded a judgment of five hundred thousand dollars against the state. On leaving the place he went abroad with his wife, spending several years in travel, in which they visited many points of historic and modern interest in the old world. On again coming to Californnia they located on the ranch where Mrs. McCauley now lives, her home being near the corporation limits of Galt. Throughout his remaining days Mr. McCauley devoted his attention to the supervision of his property, his valuable farms returning to him a splendid income, so that he became one of the capitalists of his adopted state. His death occurred in the year 1892.

Mrs. McCauley and her son, G. B. McCauley, now own fifty-six hundred acres of land in the home place and in addition have eleven hundred acres in Sacramento county. The different ranches comprise fifteen thousand acres. Mrs. McCauley still owns her father's large landed estate in Missouri. The son, who was born in Sacramento county in 1862, gives his attention to the supervision of the two tracts of land owned by himself and mother. He carries on all kinds of farming, dairying and fruit-raising, and his very extensive and important interests return to him a splendid annual income. The daughter, Alice, is now the wife of Julio Valensin, an Italian county, and resides at Arno, Sacramento county, where County Valensin superintends extensive agricultural interests.

Mrs. McCauley, through her ownership of large landed possessions, has done much to promote the agricultural development of this part of the state, and she has built ten miles of levee on the Mokelumne river. The town of Galt is indebted to her for a beautiful Catholic church. More than a half century has passed since she came to Californnia with her husband, and she has, therefore, witnessed the greater part of the development and progress of the state, having watched it as it has emerged from pioneer conditions as the work of transition has been carried forward until a high state of civilization, progress and improvement has been made.

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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