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Columbus Warner Thresher
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Birth: Nov. 6, 1853
Butte County
California, USA
Death: Jun. 24, 1937
Butte County
California, USA

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - COLUMBUS WARNER THRESHER - Widely known as one of the men of really large affairs in Butte County, whose extraordinary natural and developed ability has made him exceptionally prosperous, and whose prosperity has made him important, not merely to his neighborhood, but to the State as well, Columbus W. Thresher was born on his father's ranch near Gridley, on November 6, 1853, the second son in order of birth in a family of five. His father was Stephen B., and his mother was Columbia (Caldwell) Thresher, the former a native of New Hampshire and the latter of Vermont, so that he inherited the best of New England blood. In 1852, Mr. and Mrs. Thresher and their son Prescott crossed the plains by horse teams, from Wisconsin to California; and as the father was a carpenter and machinist by trade, and had been foreman of the J.I. Case Machine Works Company of Racine, Wis., he set to work to build flumes for the miners of Nelson Point, Plumas County. At the end of six weeks, the father settled on land three miles southeast of Gridley, after buying out a squatter claim, a part of the Larkin Grant. He worked hard and steadily progressed, and kept adding to his holdings until he had seven hundred acres of desirable land. There he let his cattle run--for the most part as wild as was the land; and he also raised grain, although the ranch was in that uncultivated state that there were no fences and no roads. Then came the flood of 1862, followed by the dry year of 1864, and by famine and chill he lost so heavily that it ended his wild-cattle experiment. He then went into the raising of American cattle, and continued in the same until his death, in 1872--nine years before his faithful wife also passed away, the mother of the son already referred to and the following four who were born at the old home ranch in Butte County; Columbus W., George, Tyler C. and Albert L. Columbus and Albert are the only children still alive. Stephen B. Thresher was a progressive citizen who always stood for all that went to advance the state of society, and as such served conscientiously as school trustee and as justice of the peace, and was called Judge Thresher. On the old Stephen B. Thresher place was an Indian rancheria, which, at the time of their location on the place, had a population of about three hundred, who lived in campoodies (dugouts). In 1856 the government took them to Round Valley. The Indians not liking it there, two years later ran away from the reservation in Round Valley and returned to the vicinity of the Thresher place, but for a year were mostly in hiding in the brush. Being well treated they again rebuilt their campoodies and were employed by the ranchers. There were about one hundred left in 1865, when a siege of smallpox took away forty per cent. of them. Years later their number became so few, they removed to a rancheria at Oroville. An olive orchard is now growing on the site of the old rancheria. Columbus Thresher attended the Live Oak and the Manzanita schools. An incident occurred when he was a boy of thirteen which showed his determination and mettle, even at that early age. When haying time came that year, his father was ill. The mowing was all done with a scythe in those days and someone had to set the pace for the Indians. This the lad did, and he led the crew of Indians during the six weeks it required to cut the hay. This established him as a leader in their opinion and he had no difficulty after that in getting them to work. After completing the grammar school, he attended the Baptist College at Vacaville, and, at his father's death, which occurred when he had reached his nineteenth year, he took charge of the home ranch. In June, 1885, however, he sold out a part of his interest in the ranch to his brothers, George and Prescott, and bought his present place of four hundred acres east of Gridley, for which he paid forty-five dollars an acre, although land within a few miles could have been had for ten dollars an acre. Future developments and the richness of the soil in his vicinity showed the wisdom of his choice. It is interesting to note that, in 1865, when the Larkin Grant was confirmed by the United States Supreme Court, the settlers paid one dollar and a half per acre for the upland and from twenty-five dollars to fifty dollars an acre for the bottom lands, and now, by irrigation and intensive farming, the land sells for from three hundred dollars to one thousand dollars an acre. At one time he owned two grain ranches, comprising one thousand acres in Tehama County, but later disposed of them. In the early days, too, Mr. Thresher rode the range, when the Spanish cattle ran wild on the plains, and in that arduous undertaking he had many thrilling experiences. At still another time he conducted a large dairy. The latter years of his life, however, he has devoted to horticulture, and today is one of the acknowledged leaders in this field, in which so much scientific forethought as well as unremitting application are needed in order to succeed. Among his notable possessions, he has one hundred twenty-five acres on his home place devoted to fruit--peaches, prunes and pears; he also owns eighty acres on the old home ranch, forty of which are planted for the same purpose, including olives. He also grows and maintains a fine nursery on this home ranch. A greater part of his four hundred acres is rich bottom land on the banks of the Feather River. The Sutter-Butte canal's main ditch runs through his place, from which he irrigates. He gave the company the right-of-way, and was one of the early boosters for the project, believing it would be the means of enhancing the value of the crops and lands, and the results show it has accomplished all and more than was claimed, as irrigation has revolutionized farming in this section. Mr. Thresher has, since the canal was built, engaged in intensive farming. The old saying, "That man is a benefactor to his country who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew formerly, by his care and thoroughness. He has brought his home place to a high state of cultivation, and it is today one of the finest farms in the county. He has a full-bearing olive orchard, set out in 1888, among the oldest olive groves in the Valley. One olive tree, set out in 1866 from a slip is now a mammoth tree of its kind. His large, beautiful and modern residence was built in 1910 from cement blocks made on the place, and it is one of the most pretentious in the county. In addition to the original value of these ranches, the property has been much improved through the wise management of a master mind which has known what might be expected from the soil, and how best and cheapest to attain the desired results. On August 9, 1885, at Live Oak, Mr. Thresher married Miss Amelia K. Pfoh, a native of Rock Island, Ill. Her father, Charles Pfoh, was a native of Germany, where he married Catherine Ritter. They migrated to New York City and thence came on to Rock Island, Ill., where he was a pioneer merchant, and where both parents passed away. Of their ten children, Mrs. Thresher is the second youngest, and herself and sister, Mrs. Joseph Krull, of Live Oak, are the only members of her family in California. Mrs. Thresher received her education in Rock Island. It was in 1883 that she came to California to visit her sister, Mrs. Krull, and here she met C.W. Thresher, which acquaintance resulted in their marriage. Mrs. Thresher has proved her worth as a companion and helpmate and both are popular in local circles, and Mr. Thresher none the less so in the halls of the Independent Order of Foresters; while Mrs. Thresher is a member of the Companion Court of Foresters. They have passed the chairs in their respective lodges.

Source: "History of Butte County, Cal.," by George C. Mansfield, Pages 465-467, Historic Record Co, Los Angeles, CA, 1918.
Middle-name: Warner ?
"A. L. and C. W. THRESHER. - Among the thriving and well-to-do farmers of Butte and Yuba County, are found the names of Prescott B., Columbus W., George and Albert L. Thresher, all natives of the Golden State, and born in Butte County, except Prescott, who is a native of Ohio. Their parents, Stephen B. and Columbia (Caldwell) Thresher, the former a native of New Hampshire and the latter of Vermont, - came from their Eastern home in the pioneer days of this country, and were among the prominent settlers of Butte County. The father was a machinist and a carpenter by trade, but engaged in farming after coming to California. They both died on the old home place in Butte County, each having reached the age of fifty-two years. The old home place'is now owned and conducted by Prescott and George Thresher.

C. W. Thresher owns 400 acres of well improved land, within two miles of Gridley, Butte County, 160 acres of which is in orchard, and 300 acres in Tehama County. His farming operations are chiefly confined to grain and fruit-raising. In 1885, he was married, in Live Oak, Sutter County, to Miss Emelia [sic] {Amelia} K. Pfoh, daughter of Charles and Kathrine Pfoh, of Rock Island, Illinois.

SOURCE: "A Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California - Illustrated", by John Bidwell, pages 623-624. Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago 1891.
m. 1885 to Miss Amelia K. Pfoh, daughter of Charles Pfoh & Katherine [Surname?]-Pfoh.
Hamilton was the first county seat of Butte County on the west side of the Feather River about 15 miles south of Oroville. The town is long gone and the area is now called East Gridley.
"US CENSUS 1870"
Name: Columbus Thresher
Birth Year (Estimated): 1854
Gender: Male
Age (Original): 16y
Race: White
Birthplace: California
Event Place: California, United States
Household Gender Age Birthplace
Stephen D [sic] {P.} Thresher M 49y New Hampshire
Columbia Thresher F 42y Vermont
Prescott B Thresher M 18y Ohio
Columbus Thresher M 16y California
George Thresher M 14y California
Patty C Thresher F 11y California
Albert L Thresher M 9y California

SOURCE: US Federal Census, 1870.
Source [link]:
"US CENSUS 1920"
Name: Columbus W Thresher
Event Type:
Event Year: 1920
Event Place: Gridley Township 5th Precinct, Butte, California
Gender: Male
Age: 66
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Birthplace: California
Birth Year (Estimated): 1854
Relationship to Head of Household: Self
Father's Birthplace:
Mother's Birthplace:
Household ID: 56
Sheet Number: 3
GS Film number: 1820094
Digital Folder Number: 4293694
Image Number: 00387
Household Gender Age Birthplace
SELF Columbus W Thresher M 66y California
WIFE Amelia K Thresher F 61y Illinois

SOURCE: US Federal Census, 1920.
Source [link]:
"US CENSUS 1930"
Name: Columbus W Thresher
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1930
Event Place: Gridley, Butte, California
Gender: Male
Age: 77
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Birthplace: California
Birth Year (Estimated): 1853
Immigration Year:
Relationship to Head of Household: Head
Father's Birthplace: New Hampshire
Mother's Birthplace: Vermont
District: 0024
Household ID: 91
Sheet Number and Letter: 4A
Line Number: 18
Affiliate Publication Number: T626, roll 113
GS Film number: 2339848
Digital Folder Number: 4532333
Image Number: 00083
Household Gender Age Birthplace
Head Columbus W Thresher M 77 California
Wife Amelia C Thresher F 72 Illinois

SOURCE: US Federal Census, 1930.
Source [link]:
Family links: 
  Stephen Prescott Thresher (1820 - 1872)
  Columbia Caldwell Thresher (1828 - 1881)
  Amelia Katherine Pfoh Thresher (1858 - 1936)*
  Prescott Bean Thresher (1851 - 1910)*
  Columbus Warner Thresher (1853 - 1937)
  George Thresher (1856 - 1917)*
  Tyler Caldwell Thresher (1859 - 1882)*
  Albert Lincoln Thresher (1861 - 1948)*
*Calculated relationship
Gridley-Biggs Cemetery
Butte County
California, USA
Created by: Robert Kuhmann
Record added: Apr 15, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 108558515
Columbus Warner Thresher
Added by: Robert Kuhmann
Columbus Warner Thresher
Added by: BCook
Columbus Warner Thresher
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Kimberley Terrill (inactive)
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

R.I.P. - your Grandma Mary Warner-Caldwell, Grandpa Tyler Caldwell, and your mother (and her siblings) traveled overland from VT., via the Erie Canal, by steam-ship from Buffalo to Detroit, then schooner to WI. - to meet-up with Joseph Caldwell and family...(Read more)
- Robert Kuhmann
 Added: Apr. 26, 2013

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