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Thomas Hellar Personal Sketch

A sketch by Thomas Hellar, Bill Haines found in the Ellis Asbury HAINES family Bible, inherited by Nora HELLAR wife of the eldest son of Ellis Asbury, Thornton Washington HAINES.

I was born the second of March 1824 on Ringolds Manor in Washington County, Maryland. Emigrated to Williams County, Ohio in 1839. Returned home in October 1840. In May 1843 went to Petersburg,Virginia. Returned for a month to recruit my health as I could not get acclimated. returned to Virginia in December 1843. Was with my brother-in-law's store all the time I was there. Went home again in November 46 for my health. There took a position as salesman of wheat and flour and Mr. Shafer, an old school mate of mine in Georgetown, sent there on two boats on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. While at that my brother-in-law Alexander Brander, that he had rented a store which he wanted me to run on halves and he to furnish the goods so I went there after running the canal boats for three months. Closed up business on the First of December 1849 with a shilling in my pocket of my own and had got married on the 5th day of October, 1848 and had one child when I closed. I borrowed $515 to go to Illinois, Ogle County, where I emigrated on the 2nd of March 1850. Bought a land warrant for $115 which I located in Ogle County, Ill, and sold it in the Spring of 1852 for $1300 and bought 47 acres for $325 with a frame house on it and paid my debts and bought a span of horses and a wagon then bought 2 more horses and a breaking plow and a yoke of oxen and breaker and started two terms of breakers and cleared $9 to $12 a day for three months. Run the breakers two seasons. Was elected for two years for constable and tax collector in 1853. Bought and sold and traded horses and cattle till 56 the sold out all except a buggy, spring wagon and horses and bought a store for $6000 which made $5000 in the first year but lost nearly all in the panic of 57. Then I left $2600 of notes in a man's hands to collect and started for California on the 10th of May 1859 with my wife and five children and about $300 in money. Arrived San Francisco by way of New York and Panama Canal on the steamer Northern Light and Orizabe on the 22nd of June. Then located in Alameda county and went to hard work digging post holes was the first and helping to bind 130 acres of grain with two others while my wife did all the cooking for the reapers and thrashers and us. Then another and I cradled 40 acres of wheat for George Gibben at 1.25 per acre. I made $3.95 per day at it, Next I bought a hand lever hay press and pressed hay till rain set in, pressed 500 tons at $3 per ton and furnished rope with two to help. Cleared about $9 a day. Then rented the Ray place and raised cucumbers for a pickle firm in S.F. and they bursted up and I lost all that I had made. I only had left about $400 of which I paid Castro $200 rent for about 50 acres of farm land in the Fall of 60. From that time till 64 I went behind $1800 but after I threshed that year I cleared up $2800 so after I paid my debts I had a thousand left which I invested in the 400 acres on the hill called Home Ranch.

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last updated 21 Jun 2001