Keith's Ancestors who were

Early Settlers to the Sacramento Valley region of northern California


Keith's first ancestor to settle in California was Maine native, Sullivan Holloway OSBORN, Keith's great grandfather.  Born in 1830, Sullivan got "gold fever" in 1851 and came to California via the "Nicaragua Route" and then sailed up the coast to San Francisco.  After some adventures and years in the gold fields of the Sierras, he settled at Newville, Colusa County (later Glenn Co.) in 1857.  There he ranched and raised his family.

Sullivan's wife, Joan BEACH, was a born in Michigan and came west to California around 1860 with her parents, Joseph Harriman BEACH and Ann Crawford BALLARD/BEACH, who were both born in New York.  Joseph died in 1878, and Ann died in 1892; both are buried at the old Newville Cemetery in what is now northwestern Glenn County..

Sullivan and Joan raised a very large family of 15 children, most of whom survived to have families of their own that settled and raised families in Tehama County.  Both Sullivan and Joan are buried at Newville. 

In 1854, a Norwegian immigrant family came west to California on a wagon train.  This was Keith's great great grandfather, Jacob Anderson SLOGVIG (ANDERSON), his wife Serena Tormodsdatter MADLAND/ANDERSON, and their children.  This pioneer family settled first just south of the town of Napa where they had a farm and where Jacob died in 1864.  The mother, Serena, and 3 of the children would leave a mark on the Sacramento Valley of California.  Their daughter Martha Jane ANDERSON married a young man who was also on the 1854 wagon train to California, Augustus WHEELER, who was born in Ohio and raised in Indiana.  To this union were born Keith's grandfather, Andrew Jackson "A.J." WHEELER, who would eventually settle in Newville in the late 1800's, marry one of the Osborn girls, May Belle OSBORN, and have a tinsmithing and plumbing business that he would later move in to the town of Corning in Tehama County.  Another child of Martha Anderson and Augustus Wheeler, Emma Jane WHEELER, would be raised and marry in Iowa but later return with her husband and family to the Chico, Butte County, area where some of her descendants live today.

Another daughter of immigrants, Jacob and Serena, was Isabelle ANDERSON, Keith's great grandaunt, who would marry David C. OAKS and by 1866 settle and raise a family in the Newville and Paskenta area in northwestern Glenn and southwestern Tehama counties.  It was probably this family that brought young A.J. Wheeler to the Newville area after he was orphaned as a teenager.  His younger half bothers, Albert Chester "Dick" and George Alma HILLIARD, also came to the Paskenta area to stay with their Aunt Isabelle after they were orphaned.

Jacob and Serena's son, Andrew Jackson ANDERSON, Keith's great granduncle, moved back to the family farm in Iowa after his father died.  There he prospered and became wealthy.  With his wife and mother, Serena, he retired back to California.  After a brief sojourn in southern California, he bought a ranch in the Fruto area west of Willows in Glenn County probably about 1890.  He increased his ranchland holdings until he had about 3,500 acres.  It was on this ranch that his mother, Serena, died in 1898 and his wife, Melissa B. Broadhurst, died in 1915.  In the fall of 1916, he sold the Fruto ranch and moved to San Jose where he died the following year.

All three of these children of Jacob and Serena (Martha, Isabelle & Andrew) were born in the famous Norwegian-American Fox River Settlement in Illinois.

All of the above are ancestors of Keith's father, Harry St. Clare WHEELER.  Keith's mother, Doris Marjorie BIRCH, also came from early settlers to the north part of the Sacramento Valley.  In 1863 (some family material indicates 1861), Mayflower descendant William Henry CUSHMAN, Keith's great grandfather who was from Massachusetts, married Connecticut resident, Harriet Stratton ROBINSON.  Immediately after their marriage, this couple sailed for California, crossing the Isthmus at Panama and docking at San Francisco.  They then journeyed up the Sacramento Valley to the Chrome area, west of Orland, where they settled and ranched near where William's older brother, Lysander Valentine CUSHMAN, had settled previously.  Lysander reportedly came to California in 1853 and worked his trade as a blacksmith in San Francisco and the Sierra gold country before settling in Newville 1858 where he started a blacksmith's shop.  He later had a large ranch southeast of Newville.

William and Harriet Cushman's eldest child, May Evelyn CUSHMAN, Keith's maternal grandmother who was born at Chrome, would come to marry John Wesley BIRCH, Keith's maternal grandfather who was born in Illinois.  As a young child, John Wesley came to California in 1871 with his parents, John Allen BIRCH and Eliza Ann ROSS/BIRCH.  John Allen had been born in Ohio, and Eliza was born in West Virginia.  They came west with John Allen's brother, Theodore Benton BIRCH.  These two families came to California via Central Pacific & Union Railroad which was called "a real emigrant's train."  John Wesley and Eliza settled first in Germantown (now Artois in Glenn County).  They later moved to Orland where they helped establish the Orland Methodist Church.  They later moved to Chico in Butte County.  Their son, John Wesley Birch, and his wife, May Evelyn, would settle in Orland and become well known in that community as local druggists.  John Wesley was also an optician and May had been a nurse before becoming, like her husband, one of the first certified pharmacy graduates ("PhG") in California.

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