Urban J. Munson was one of the successful, honored and respected citizens of San Joaquin county, where he located at an early day, when pioneer conditions existed in this part of the state, the work of improvement and progress having been scarcely begun. As the day with its morning of hope and promise, its noontide of activity and its evening of accomplished and succesful effort, ending in the grateful rest and quiet of the night, so was the life of this worthy man, who in his business career directed his labors so carefully and intelligently that he gained prosperity, and so honorably that he won the unqualified confidence of all with whom he came in contact. His home was in Dent township, San Joaquin county, on the old French Camp road, where he died in January, 1898.

Mr. Munson was a native of Maine, born in 1831, and his father, Moses Munson, was also born in the Pine Tree state, whence he removed to Minnesota. He afterward came to California, settling on a ranch near Atlanta, in San Joaquin county, where he remained for several years, but subsequently removed to Eureka, Humboldt county, California, where his remaining days were passed. His son, Urban J. Munson, was reared in the Pine Tree state, and attended the district schools of his native county, but though his educational privileges in youth were somewhat limited he became a well informed man by reason of broad and varied experience and by wide reading. He had good knowledge of all the leading questions of the day and his judgment was usually sound concerning all matters affecting the general interests of society.

He remained in Maine until 1850, when he went to Minnesota, where he resided until 1853, when he came to Californnia, by way of the isthmus route. He landed at San Francisco and came at once to San Joaquin county, but later was engaged in mining in Calaveras county and subsequently at Tuolumne county. In 1857 he returned to San Joaquin county, settling at Atlanta. He came with his father, his mother having died while en route to California. In this county Urban Munson turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, which he made his life work, throughout his remaining days. He was for many years an extensive agriculturist and stock-raiser, and at one time had very extensive realty holdings, but later he sold different portions of his ranch, and at the time of his death had five hundred acres, upon which his family yet resides. His business affairs were well managed and he acquired a handsome competence, which enabled him to leave his family in good circumstances.

Mr. Munson was married in May, 1877, to Mrs. Cynthia M. Cookson, widow of Samuel T. Cookson, of San Joaquin county. She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was a daughter of Elbridge G. and Catherine (Pratt) Davenport, also natives of the old Bay state. During her early girlhood her parents removed to New York city, where she was educated, attending the grammar and high schools. After reaching womanhood she was married in Maine, in 1869, to Samuel T. Cookson, who was a native of that state but had resided in San Joaquin county for several years prior to his death, which occurred in 1875. To Mr. and Mrs. Cookson were born two sons, Walter M. and Samuel T., who are living with their mother. After the death of her first husband Mrs. Cookson married Mr. Munson, and they had one son, Arthur J., also at home.

Mr. Munson was a public-spirited citizen who heartily co-operated in every progressive movement for the public good. He was a Democrat in politics and was well known socially. He had many excellent traits of character which endeared him to a large circle of friends, and in his death the community deplored the loss of an enterprising business man and honored pioneer who for many years had witnessed the county's growth and had contributed in no immaterial way to its development and substantial upbuilding.

Mrs. Munson still resides on the home farm with her three sons. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Atlanta, is interested in the various church activities, and is now serving as secretary of the Ladies' Aid Society. She also belongs to the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and is deeply interested in all that tends to promote the social, intellectual and moral welfare of the community.

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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