Thomas W. Dean, a well-known and representative citizen of Randall Island, in Sacramento county, and president of the Swamp Land Reclamation District No. 775, has in the course of an active business career not only promoted his individual success but has also added largely to the general prosperity of the community in which he makes his home. Energy, strong purpose, and indefatigable perseverance have been the salient elements in his career, and these qualities always secure advancement. He came to Sacramento county in 1870, and with the exception of five years spent in Sonoma county has remained here continuously since.

Mr. Dean is a native of Westchester county, New York, born on the 11th of August, 1847, and is a son of William H. and Elizabeth (Elwell) Dean, the former a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and the latter of Portland, Maine. The father died in the year 1857. His uncle Edward was a soldier of the Revolutionary war and became an officer in the navy. Thomas W. Dean was only ten years of age at the time of his father's death, and the following year he started out in life on his own account. For a time he was in New York city and then went to Illinois, where he secured employment on a cattle ranch in Fayette county. Realizing the value of education and desiring further advantage in that direction, he left Illinois and became a student in Oberlin College, at Oberlin, Ohio, where he remained for four years. Later he resided for a time in the vicinity of Cleveland, Ohio, and subsequently went to Union county, Illinois. At a later day he became a resident of Chicago, and from that city he made his way to California, in 1870, taking up his abode in Sacramento county. He resided upon his present ranch on Randall Island, bordering the Sacramento river, in 1874, and with the exception of the five years passed in Sonoma county it has been continuously his home to the present time, covering a period of thirty-one years. He erected his present fine residence in 1894, it being one of the beautiful country homes of this part of the state. His ranch contains about seventy acres, of which thirty acres is devoted to fruit culture and the remainder to the raising of vegetables, and both his fruit and garden products find a ready sale on the market, owing to their size and quality. He has made a close study of the best methods of cultivqating both, and his efforts have been crowned with success, so that he is to-day one of the prosperous citizens of his locality.

Mr. Dean was married in 1872, to Miss Sarah Bump, a native of Illinois, and they have become the parents of six children, of whom four are living: William H., who makes his home in Sacramento county, California; Amy L., the wige of N. A. Bishop, of Belvidere, California; Miles R., at home; and Nelson E., who is a student in the Hitchcock Military Academy, at San Rafael, California.

During his residence in the state Mr. Dean has made a close study of its possibilities and the best lines of development and is a strong advocate of reclamation work, knowing that through this method much of the waste land of California may be reclaimed and transformed into highly productive tracts. He is now serving and for several years has been the president of the Swamp Land Reclamation District No. 755. In politics he is an earnest Republican and has served as a trustee of the Courtland school district. His efforts in behalf of the county have been practical and far-reaching, and he may be counted upon to further every movement that tends to promote the public welfare. He belongs to Franklin Lodge No. 143, A. F. & A. M., of which he is a past master. His life has been well spent, characterized by unfaltering diligence and honorable purpose, and the qualities which he has displayed throughout his business career and in his social relations commend him to the confidence and esteem of all who know him.

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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