Pioneering Families
... with Roots in Madison County

Index to
San Diego County

CHARLES THOMAS is one of the most noted pioneers of San Jacinto. He was born in Sherburne, Chenango County, New York, October 1, 1836. His father, John M. Clark, was a native of New York. His mother, Silvera (Beeby) Thomas, was a daughter of Major Beeby, first Sheriff of Madison County, New York. The subject's parents had six children, he being the next to the youngest. His parents both died while he was quite young. and he was raised on a farm by Mr. Daniel Newton. When fourteen years of age he came around the Horn to California, and landed in San Francisco in 1849. He went from there to San Jose in 1850, and into the Mariposa mines, where he remained six months, when he returned and lived at San Jose until 1852. He then went to Half Moon Bay, and was there at the time the ship Carrier Pigeon, from Boston, was wrecked and came ashore. Mr. Thomas took the news of that disaster to San Francisco, and Captain B. Waterman was sent out with him to take charge of the wreck. In 1853 Mr. Thomas accompanied William Walker on his filibustering expedition. They landed at La Paz and took the Governor prisoner. They then came up to Cape St. Lucas, where they went ashore. There the mate of the vessel was bribed, and ran away from them with the prisoner, and they were left without food or ammunition. They started to make their way through to Sonora, but came back and surrendered themselves to Captain Burton at San Diego, and he sent them home to San Francisco. Mr. Thomas then went to Shasta, where he engaged in mining until 1858, when he came to Los Angeles, and was one of the discoverers of the tin mines. In 1860 he sold out and took a quantity of cattle in part payment, and took up his ranch in Hemet valley. He then secured 40,000 acres of choice pasture land, and with his family is now engaged in raising stock--full-blooded Durham cattle and blooded trotting and running horses.

He was married in 1861 to Miss Genevieve Bordie, who was born in Santa Barbara in 1840, and they had a family of twelve children, eleven of whom survive, five boys and six girls. Their eldest daughter, Mrs. A. J. Stice, is twenty-seven years of age, while the youngest is but nine years of age. His second daughter, Fanny, is now in Brussels, Belgium. Mr. Thomas was with Lieutenant Wheeler when he made the geographical survey of Mount San Jacinto. He was Supervisor in 1857'58. Mrs. Thomas and the children are members of the Catholic Church. The Estudillo ranch house was the only house here when Mr. Thomas came into the country. He made a trip of 600 miles alone, on horseback, in California, and was in San Francisco in 1850 when it was burned, and saw the first American horse race in California. He has seen a great deal of frontier life, but is still a young-looking man.

Source: An Illustrated history of southern California: embracing the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the peninsula of lower California, from the earliest period of occupancy to the present time, together with glimpses of their prospects, also, full-page portraits of some of their eminent men, and biographical mention of many of their pioneers and of prominent citizens of to-day. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1890, pp. 357-358.



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