JOHN CURTIN GONE TO REST
He was a California pioneer and a prominent citizen of Tuolumne County
for over sixty years.
Another big, loyal heart of a Tuolumne county pioneer was stilled by death
at 10:30 o'clock Sunday night. At that hour, in his home at Cloudman, surrounded
by his loved ones and an administering priest, the sprit of John Curtin took its flight.
The hardy old pioneer, despite his four score years and more, maintained the vigor and
strength of his youth up to a year ago, when his health commenced to fall. Even then he persisted
in leading an active life, and when he finally ceased to labor a few weeks ago, he knew that his sands
of life were nearly run. The life of John Curtin was closely interwoven with the history of Tuolumne
county. where he landed in 1853, one year after his arrival in the state. He was born
in Mallow, County Cork, Ireland in 1829. At the age 13 he crossed the Atlantic to "the land of the free",
in an American clipper ship, which sailed from a Liverpool dock on March 17, 1848. After a tempestuous
voyage New York harbor was reached and Mr. Curtin proceeded to Boston. The only capital he had
was a clear head, a stout heart and willing hands, and he taxed them all to the utmost the next few
years, in earning the money which enabled him to establish a home and pay the passage of his widowed
mother, six sisters and two brothers to this country. In 1852 he left for California, landing at Corte Madera,
Marin county, thence to Fiddletown and later to Drytown, Calaveras county. Early in 1853 he crossed the Stanislaus
river into Tuolumne county and struck a rich claim at Gold Springs. This he worked with Thomas Reed, a partner, who
at last accounts was still living in Montana. The claim yielded much treasure, and Curtin and his partner sought investment
in San Francisco. They secured an option on what is now know as Hope Valley, paying several hundred dollars down to clinch the
bargain. The hastened back to Columbia to settle up their affairs, and found the people excited over the Stanislaus
river water project, which promised to release the miners from the grip of a monopoly and enrich all investors. The
partners forfeited the money placed upon the city property, and the $36000 extracted from their claim went into the
new water company, and every penny of it was lost. After this reverse Mr. Curtin started what is known as the Mammoth tunnel
near the Natural Bridges, the purpose being to drain Vallecito flat of water and thus make it possible for successful
mining operations. In this gigantic work he formed a partnership and the drift was run 800 feet through the hardest kind
of rock, but had to be abandoned because it was a project requiring more capital than any or all the persons interested
could command. Later he joined James Nicol and Daniel Johnson in supplying fruit to the people on the western slope
of the Sierras, traveling via the Silver Mountain road. Subsequently he engaged in freighting from Stockton to all
points in this county, and continured when the railroad was built to Oakdale, retiring from the business a number of years ago.
Until 1880, when he purchased the extensive ranch at Cloudman, his home was maintained at Gold Springs, where all of his children
were born, four sons and three daughters of whom two have died. The remianing children are: Mrs. Mary C. Lloyd, Margaret Ellen,
widow of P.F. Warren, who was once superintendent of the Cilio mine at Jacksonville, of San Francisco; Michael J. Curtin,
superintendent of the Sonora-Mono State highway, Senator J.B. Curtin, of Sonora, and Robert A. Curtin, a member of the
San Francisco police force. Such in brief is a biographical sketch of a man who was active in Tuolumne county affairs for
upwards of 60 years. It would take a book. and it would be an interesting one. too, to tell the county's history
as he saw it made and helped to make it. He was a power in the politics of the county for years, never for self-aggrandizement.
He was possessed of a large heart and his sympathies were with the people. The full measure of his noble generosity will be
the monument to his memory in the heart of many a man whom he had ostentatiously befriended. The esteem in which John Curtin
was he;d was manifested at his funeral, which occurred Wednesday morning, from the family home at Cloudman. The cortege reached
Sonora at 10:30. The bearers of the pall were: J.H. Shine, J.B. Doyle, Wm. Sweeney, J.B. Ryan, W.J. Hales and J.B. Oneto. A delegation
of the Native Daughters from the Sonora and Jamestown Parlor preceded the hearse to St. Patrick's church. Friends from
every town in the county and a number from distant points filled the sacred edifice and listened to the high mass
and the honest and eloquent tribute paid to his memory by Father Gilmartin. His neighbors turned out en-mass at the last rites.
All who knew him to be a good citizen, husband and father. After mass the cortege reformed and the old pioneer was
committed to the grave in the family plot in Mountain View cemetery.
SONORA DEMOCRAT FEB. 15, 1913
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