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Mrs. Mary Riley Coghlan

Birth Place:Princetown, Collusa County, California
Pioneer Father: James Riley, Died Pallermo, Butte County, January 27, 1901
Birth Place: Wicklow, Ireland
Date of Arrival in California: June 1849
Pioneer Mother: Ellen D. Riley
Birth Place: Clonmel Tipperary, Ireland
Date of Arrival in California: July 1858

Remarks: Recollections of my father and mother as told by them to three daughters Mary Riley Coghlan. My father James Riley started from New Orleans soon after the news of the discovery of gold early in the new year 1849. He had a brother in California who had been there many years. Father left New Orleans on the first steamer leaving for Aspinwall. After arriving at the Isthmus he rode pack mules to Panama where he boarded the steamer John C. LeGrand, Arriving at the famous and beautiful harbor of San Francisco in June 1849. He started at once for the gold mines of Trinity County where his brother was living. He took passage on one of the river boats to Sacramento and then rode to Trinity Co. on horseback. He afterwards bought a pack train composed of mules and horses carrying flour, coffee and bacon to the miners, taking sacks of gold dust on his return trips to Sacramento. To have a sack of flour lost was considered a greater loss in those days than two sacks of gold dust. Father said he saw a man hung for stealing a mule and helped bury him. Father had now become quite wealthy. He invested nearly all his money in the purchase of a Spanish grant. He bought of Thomas O’ Laucleiu of Monterey. After remaining in California about eight years he returned East to seek a wife in Philadelphia. He married my mother in that city and returned with her to California the same year 1858. They came to S.F on the steamer Golden Age. Father had told mother of the beautiful Golden Gate  as the entrance to the harbor. Mother was up at six o’clock to see the gate open and was very much disappointed at its real appearance. After mother’s arrival at the ranch (now Glenn ranch Colusa County) she could hardly be reconciled to the surroundings. The nearest neighbor was twenty miles away and there was no church. Father purchased a side saddle (the first one seen in the country) and mother used to ride to Colusa often. Mother has in her possession a feather bed made of the feathers of wild geese that had been trapped by the Indians. They caught them in nets on the beautiful plains of Colusa.

Margaret L. Potter

Birth Place: Oakland, Cal.
Pioneer Father:William A. Biddleman
Birth Place: Bloomsburg, N.Y.
Date of Arrival in California: 1853
Pioneer Mother: Adele E. Webb
Birth Place: New York
Date of Arrival in California: July 1852
Aug. 1887; 1919.

Remarks: My grandfather John W. Webb came to California in 1849. He came across the Isthmus of Panama. He went to the mines but not being strong enough for that work returned to San Francisco and went into business for himself. His wife Mrs. Margaret Webb came to California in 1852. My father’s brother James B. Biddleman came to California in 1849. He started the first newspaper in the English language on the Isthmus. After arriving in Cal. Her started the brokerage business. He was the first one to sell drafts in New York Banks. He assisted in constructing one of the first brick buildings in San Francisco on Montgomery St. Washington St. and Jackson.

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