Forty-Niner Profile: Thaddeus B. Sturges

Thaddeus B. Sturges was one of the many men from Ohio who headed to California during the Gold Rush. He was the son of Lewis Burr Sturges, who was first married to Kezia Taylor Stiles, daughter of Ezra Stiles. Lewis later married Charlotte Belden/Belding, who I believe was the mother of Thaddeus.

Evidently, when Thaddeus Sturges left for the gold country, his wife, Eudosia Beach,  must have gone to live with  their daughter, Mrs. James Sidney Wilcox, in Utica, New York, where in 1859, she died. It appears they had 5 children: sons, Mahlon, Lewis and Thaddeus, and daughters, Eudosia and Marcia.

Thaddeus Burr Sturges was NOT one of the lucky ones. He did not make his fortune in gold. He died  penniless in California, like so many others.

View of Norwalk, Ohio - 1840's

From Historical Collections of Ohio, By Henry Howe – Vol. II – ©1888:

Norwalk in 1846. – Norwalk, the county-seat, named for Norwalk, Conn., is 110 miles north of Columbus and 16 from Sandusky City.  It lies principally on a single street, extending nearly two miles and beautifully shaded by maple trees.  Much taste is evinced in the private dwellings and churches, and in adorning the grounds around them with shrubbery.  As a whole, the town is one of the most neat and pleasant in Ohio.  The view given represents a small portion of the principal street; on the right is shown the courthouse and jail, with a part of the public square, and in the distance is seen the tower of the Norwalk institute.  Norwalk contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist and 1 Catholic church, 9 dry goods, 1 book and 4 grocery stores, 1 bank, 2 newspaper printing offices, 1 flouring mill, 2 foundries, and about 1,800 inhabitants.  The Norwalk institute is an incorporated academy, under the patronage of the Baptists: a large and substantial brick building, three stories in height, is devoted to its purposes; the institution is flourishing, and numbers over 100 pupils, including both sexes.  A female seminary has recently been commenced under auspicious circumstances, and a handsome building erected in the form of a Grecian temple.  About a mile west of the village are some ancient fortifications.

Thaddeus Burr Sturges, Prior to the California Gold Rush

Thaddeus Sturges appears to have taken an active role in helping to build the town of Norwalk:

Huron Reflector, May 4, 1830

Commemorating George Washington’s Birthday: An Oration given by Thaddeus B. Sturges. (LINK)

Thaddeus Sturges reads the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July:

4th of July.

The fifty sixth anniversary of our National Independence was celebrated at Monroeville on Wednesday last. A large concourse of people assembled at an early hour at the Hotel of H. GRIFFIN — at eleven o’clock, a procession of ladies and gentlemen was formed by Capt. W.B. MATHEWSON, Marshal of the day — among whom were several of  the old Patriots of the Revolution — preceded by a band of music, and moved to a grove, where the necessary platform was erected in good style by the committee of arrangements. The Throne of Grace was addressed by the Rev. F.H. JOHNSON — the Declaration of Independence was audibly read by T.B. STURGES, Esq. — after which C.L. BOALT, Esq. pronounced an Oration in his usual manner of eloquence. The procession then formed, and repaired to H. GRIFFIN’s Hotel, where an excellent dinner was prepared in a booth erected, and where a large company “fared sumptuously.” After the cloth was removed, thirteen select toasts were drank with cheers, music, and the discharge of cannon — then a host of spirited and pointed volunteers — all of which we omit for want of room. The company then parted under good feelings, and there was nothing to mar the harmony of the day.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 10, 1832

Huron Reflector – Jun 7, 1836

To the Citizens of Norwalk

YOU are respectfully invited to give your attendance at a meeting to be holden at the Academy, on the evening of Saturday the 12th instant, for the purpose of adopting measures for opening a High School at the Academy for the ensuing year.

It is thought that the amount now paid to the different teachers of our School is amply sufficient to support a Literary Institution, not excelled by any other in the State.
Every citizen, who feels an interest in the education of our youth, is earnestly solicited to attend.

?. Buckingham, P.P. Fusselman,
?. Buckingham, P. Latimer,
Asabel Morse, John Bedford,
Moses Kimball, T.B. Sturges,
?. Sheffield, S. Preston,
?. Jenney, Cyrus Butler,
?. Forsyth, H. Gallup,
?. Morton, W.B. Mathewson,
?.G. Raitt, I. Marshall,
Enos Gilbert, D. Higgins,
?. Benedict, L. Bradley.

Norwalk, Jan. 5, 1833.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jan 8,  1833

NORWALK SEMINARY

The ornamental branches usual for the young Ladies, will be taught in the Female Department if desired, at proportionate prices.

Two quarters will compose a term as usual of 23 weeks. The annual vacation will be in the month of August. Good board can be procured in respectable families, for $1.25 to $1.50 per week. It will be expected that the tuition fees be paid quarterly or half yearly in advance, and that Young Students from abroad have a guardian appointed in the village for the time being.

The Committee would further observe, that the Institution is opened under the patronage of the Ohio Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, upon liberal principles. The objects are to provide an Institution where all classes of persons can receive such an education as will prepare them to enter College, or upon the duties of active life; and so combine manual labor, (for those students who may desire it,) as will both promote health of body and vigor of mind, and at the same time diminish or defray entirely the expense of education, and also cultivate a taste for agricultural and mechanical pursuits. For the above purposes, the use of the building known as the “Norwalk Academy,” has been granted, where a large number of students can be accommodated. It is contemplated, as soon as practical, to procure philosophical apparatus, enlarge the buildings, erect Boarding Houses, rooms, &c. for the accommodation of the students, cultivate a garden, provide in which the students can recreate and employ themselves in inclement weather.

Norwalk is beautifully situated, and is a thriving and remarkably healthy village. It has a moral and an intelligent population. The Protestant Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist Episcopal Churches, have stated preaching, besides occasionally other denominations. — These advantages, combined with the talent and experience of the Principal, the low price of tuition, the assurance that first rate assistants will be employed, and no pains spared to render the institution worthy, it is hoped, will secure that support, which an intelligent and liberal public are able to bestow.

TIMOTHY BAKER,
T.B. STURGES,} Committee.
H.O. SHELDON,

Norwalk, Oct. 19, 1833.  38tf

The Trustees at present, are Henry O. Sheldon, James Crabbs, Samuel Pennywell, Gershom Pierce, Ellzey Hedges, Sylvenus B. Day, Samuel Treat, Benjamin Cogswell, Benjamin Summers, Durin H. Tuttle, Julius House, Stanton Sholes, Edward S. Hamlin, Lemuel Powers, Platt Benedict, Thaddeus B. Sturges, Timothy Baker, Obadiah Jenney, Henry Buckingham, and William Gallup.

Editors in the north part of the State and in Michigan, friendly to the above Institution, will confer a favor by giving the above an insertion or two.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Nov 5,  1833

History of north central Ohio : embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne, Medina, Lorain, Huron and Knox Counties Volume 1
By William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company, Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

**Thaddeus B. Sturges was listed as a trustee of the Academy. pg 125

Norwalk Academy was another early established institution which contributed materially to the educational progress of our state. Among its students were Rutherford B. Hayes, who became president of the United States; General James B. McPherson, Civil War commander, who was killed in the fighting before Atlanta; and Charles Foster, who became governor of Ohio and secretary of the treasury in President Benjamin Harrison’s cabinet. A catalogue of the academy March 17, 1829, gives the names of eighty-three young men and sixty young women, total of 143 who had been under instruction there.

Huron Reflector – Sep 2, 1834

NORWALK SEMINARY.

The following Resolutions were passed, at the meeting of the Trustees of Norwalk Seminary:

RESOLVED, That while we lament the loss of the Norwalk Seminary, with the Library, Apparatus, and Cabinet, we deem it our duty, instead of brooding over the calamity, to make vigorous and speedy efforts to repair it, by erecting an edifice upon an enlarged plan, in view of applying for a College Charter….

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 15,  1836

LAND

1837: Thaddeus Sturges purchases several pieces of land. This is only one of the land purchase records. I think there were four or five of them, all purchased at the same time.

POLITICS

While Thaddeus Sturges‘ father, Lewis B. Sturges began his political career as a Federalist, Thaddeus appears to have started out as a Republican, later switching  to Democrat, specifically, a Loco Foco.

For the Huron Reflector.
NOMINATION OF SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE.
United we stand — divided we fall,

A sentiment containing a most important truth, and peculiarly applicable to us all, who are opposed to the misrule of General Jackson and his administration.
…..
A Convention was held at Norwalk last Saturday, composed of 52 Delegates from different townships in the county — after due notice having been given to all — a number greater than probably can be convened on any future occasion. — There was little or no division as to Senator. Doctor Tilden had nearly all the votes. There was more difference of opinion as to Representative; but our deliberations, after a harmonious and friendly consultation resulted in a decided majority in favor of Moors Farwell of Portland. Several of the Delegates, among whom, was the writer of this communication, would have been more gratified in their personal feelings, had some other favorite of theirs been put in nomination. Yet for one, I fully acquiesce in the decision of the majority, and my best judgment is to support Mr. Farwell; for I cannot possibly find a substantial objection to this Gentleman, either as a capable man, or as a man of the most perfect integrity — As to talents, he is highly respectable.
…..
Let us my friends, on this occasion, give up minor objections — prove, that as brethren, we are cordial in a righteous cause — divest ourselves of every personal, selfish motive; let our enemies know that Clay men can be united, and let us have for our motto — our Pole Star and directory, “united we stand — divided we fall” — and then we may be assured that victory is ours. If we shall not be so united, it is in vain to disguise the fact that defeat will be our deserved reward.

A Member of the Convention.

Norwalk, Sept. 17, 1832.

Huron Reflector – Sep 18, 1832

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Republican Convention – Clip 2

For the Huron Reflector.
Messrs. Preston & Co.

You will please withdraw my name as a candidate for Representative for the ensuing election. Permit me to take this opportunity of returning my thanks to those who have generously proffered me their aid; of saying to those who have felt it their duty to oppose my nominations, that I fully appreciate the laudable motives by which they were governed; and of expressing to all my cheerful acquiescence in the decision that has been made, and trust that the coming canvass will only be distinguished by mutual concession, good will, and unanimity. Having a common interest to promote, it is to be hoped that we shall go to the polls with harmony and concord, determined to sacrifice all personal considerations and sectional feelings, and unite in one common effort to promote the general good of the county,

Yours Respectfully,

THADDEUS B. STURGES.

Norwalk, September 17th 1832.

The Editor of the Clarion will please note the above withdrawal. — EDITORS.

Huron Reflector (Noralk, Ohio) Sep 18, 1832

Huron Reflector Oct 1832

We omitted to notice last week, the result of the criminal trials which were decided at the term of the Court of Common Pleas of this county, which terminated on the 20th ult. after a laborious session of two weeks — present, Hon. David Higgins President, and his associates.

State of Ohio, vs. William H. Harrison. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. prosecuting Attorney for State, L.S. Beecher and John Bedford, Esqrs. for defence. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for 10 years.

Same, vs. Nehemiah Higby. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y for State, C.L. Boalt and John Bedfore, Esqrs for defence. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for four years.

Same, vs. Abraham Inman. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y. Prisoner plead guilty, and was sentenced to penitentiary for three years.

Same, vs. John Smith. Assault with intent to commit a rape — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y for State, M’Laughlin and Bedford, for defense. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for seven years.

Same, vs. Wm. R. Roberts. Burglary and larceny — T.B. Sturges Esq. for State, O. Parish and C.L. Boalt, Esq. for defence. Verdict, guilty of larceny, and not guilty of burglary — Prisoner sentenced to be confined to Jail for 6 days.

Same, vs. John Crusen jr. Assault and battery — T.B. Sturges Esq. for State, Francis D. Parish for defense. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to pay a fine of five dollars and costs of prosecution.

Same, vs. Rachael Morris. Murder — T.B. Sturges and A. Coffinbury, Esqrs. for State, O. Parish, P.R. Hopkins and J. Bedford Esqrs. for defence. This case occupied the Court for three days in the investigation, but the Jury returned not guilty — quite a nuber of other Indictments are yet pending, and were not tried for want of time.

THADDEUS B. STURGES, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, intending a journey to the State of New York, and will probably be absent about four weeks, informs his old employers and others, that his father, LEWIS B. STURGES, Attorney at Law, will attend to their business, and will advise and direct them in his absence.

Norwalk, Jan 16, 1833.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jan 22,  1833

Huron Reflector – Oct 1833

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Huron Reflector – July 1833

Milan, Sept. 14th, 1833.

Messrs EDITORS,

An unusual excitement exists in this section of the county, respecting the election of Prosecuting Attorney; and it is believed that those who have been most active in producing this excitement are actuated by the most envious feelings towards Mr. Sturges, the present incumbent; and a base desire to destroy his well earned and fast increasing popularity. There are those, undoubtedly, who have been busily engaged, of late, in different parts of the county, in circulating reports calculated to cast a shade over the character of Mr. Sturges; but happily for him and his friends, they have nothing to fear from an examination of his conduct, if fairly made, and he is certainly too well known to sustain any injury from the many shafts of envy, which are and have been hurled at his character and reputation. He stands as high as any member of the bar for talents, and his character, for integrity and correct moral deportment, has never been questioned. He is no upstart nor adventurer; but bears a name which has always entitled him to a rank among the first, as a public man in this county; and which will remain unsullied, until degraded by some other person than himself.
M.

For the Huron Reflector.

We trust that Mr. Sturges or his friends will not think it necessary, at present, to notice particularly a dishonorable attack, lately, implicating his fair character in a neighboring paper. Although we presume who is its author, yet we care not who he is. The intention of that publication is apparent to any man of sense — it is to create a personal altercation, and to divert the public mind from the merits of the contest between him and Mr. Root. The unbiased public opinion must be well known, as respects the claims of these two gentlemen. The decision is submitted to the candid electors of the County of Huron. This is communicated without the knowledge of Mr. Sturges.

JUSTICE.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Sep 17,  1833

Thaddeus and Lewis Sturges 1835 Candidates

In 1835, both Thaddeus and his father Lewis, campaigned for elective offices. This campaign was particularly contentious, in part, I think,  because these two men were from the same family. The campaign commentary in the The Huron Reflector was quite brutal. Of course, that brutality held true for the later campaigns as well, being Thaddeus was a Democrat / Locofoco, and the Huron Reflector was a Whig/Republican paper. However, that is not to say that the mudslinging was one-sided; it was just as bad coming from the other side. In fact, during one election cycle, there was almost literally a “cat and mouse”  fight between the papers (Huron Reflector and The Experiment) regarding their respective candidates, one of which was Thaddeus Sturges.  The political flames were signed “cat” on one side, and “mouse” on the other.

Huron Reflector Aug 4, 1840

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Huron Reflector – Sep 8, 1840

***

There was a Locofoco meeting at the Court House on Tuesday evening last. E.M. Stone and T.B. Sturges were the principal speakers. The former too ground against a national Bank, the distribution of the Land money and also against the present Tariff law. He said he was opposed to the distribution of the Land money, and to a Tariff, because these measures were calculated to REDUCE THE TAXES OF THE PEOPLE. He would not give his support to any measure of this kind, because he had no taxes to pay, — and if any measure was adopted, which would have the effect of reducing the present high rates of taxes it would be of no benefit to him. The tax payers of Huron county can make their own comments.

Mr. Sturges‘s remarks were principally confined to the subject of the Tariff. He made a statement, which we have every reason to believe he knew to be false at the time, to wit — that the manufacturers of Lowell, Mass., had realized a clear profit of 33 1/3 per cent, on the amount of capital invested in manufacturing the last year.

It is perhaps unnecessary for us to say that their profits have not averaged seven per cent.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 5,  1844

Locofoco Mass Meeting.

The Locofoco mass meeting for Huron county, that has been advertised in the Experiment for several weeks past, came off at this place on Saturday last. It was a very meagre affair. —

From the exertions made to get up a large meeting, we certainly expected to see a large crowd, but were disappointed. We are informed by those who counted the Locos as they marched to the Court-House, that the number was 165. Probably there were in the Court-House, including Whigs, 250 persons — not more.

After the Convention was organized, the following individuals were nominated as candidates for county officers, viz: — for Auditor, Lorenzo D. Conger; for Commissioner, Daniel Sowers; for Surveyor, Ert Mesnard; and for Coroner, a Dr. Gibson.

The Convention was then addressed by T.B. Sturges and E.M. Stone.

The remarks of Mr. Sturges were uncommonly rich, rare and edifying to the hosts of the “unterrified” there assembled. The burden of his song was in unfolding to the admiring eyes of the democracy, the peculiar beauties and unparalleled advantages of that El Dorado of a Locofoco’s hopes — the magnificent Republic of Texas — the fertility of which, he told them was so great, that one acre there was worth ten of the best land in Ohio! The little “neophyte” worked himself into such raptures upon this subject, that one would have thought he had received a regular sergeant’s commission, and was beating for volunteers among his Locofoco friends to follow those of them who have gone before to the ‘Republic of the Lone Star.’

And then as to the debt of $15,000,000 that was nothing. He had made a computation, and found that it would only amount to about 7 cents per acre. Who would not consider it a cheap bargain to buy five new States, — independent States — for seven cents an acre! Ah! then you go into it as a mere matter of speculation. Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are already in the Union, and it would be a horrible violation of the Constitution to assume their debts, and let the National Government reimburse itself out of the proceeds of the public lands which the Government now holds in trust for these very States, — but to assume the debt of a foreign State — a State at war with a Government with which we are at peace, — that is perfectly right and constitutional, we would get the country for seven cents an acre!

About this point the orator was seized with a peculiar regard for the Tariff, and reasoned in this wise: If Texas is not annexed, the whole army of the nation cannot prevent smuggling along the whole line of our southwestern border! We are somewhat surprised at this tack of the gentleman’s argument; but in his new born admiration of the Tariff, he forgot to tell how much the case would be improved, either in this or in a military point of view, by changing the present boundary for the undefined and undefinable limits of the “vast Republic of Texas.” —

This matter requires a little explanation. Will he furnish it on some future occasion? He expatiated at some length upon the depredations, (present or prospective?) upon our revenue from this source, and then appealing to those special friends of the Tariff, the Locofocos, exclaimed — “reject Texas, and you reject me (unreadable).

“Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing [unreadable 3 words] all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them; and when you have them they are not worth the search.”

The next attempt was to excite some sympathy in behalf of “the statesman, the hero, the patriot Dorr.” The effort appeared ill-timed, and but little interest for the hero of Chepachet was excited. The orator depicted the sufferings of this apostle of liberty, — said Rhode Island had always been a colony of Great Britain, and her star ought not to be placed with the old thirteen. This nice pink of Federalism closed with the following traitorous sentiment. “LAW OR NO LAW, ORDER OR NO ORDER, THE PRISON DOORS OF DORR MUST AND SHALL BE BATTERED DOWN.”

We supposed the Quixotic gentleman had caught a fresh ‘inspiration’ from the progressive school in the east, in advance of his brethren. —

We did not expect to see this base and unholy sentiment of mobocracy responded to by even a Locofoco assembly — but so it was. It needs no comment.

Through the disgusting details of the rest of his speech, we have no desire to follow him. If he can derive comfort from such honor, let him enjoy it.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Aug 27,  1844

The Tariff — High Prices of Goods.

We understand that Thaddeus B. Sturges and Ezra M. Stone, are in the habit of stating in their speeches in different parts of the country, that all kinds of goods are higher now in consequence of the Tariff, than they were before the present Tariff Law was enacted. When T.B. Sturges, or any other Locofoco stump speaker makes a statement of this kind, he knows he is uttering a barefaced falsehood. In order to nail this lie to the counter we publish the following certificate, signed by several of the leading merchants of our village. We will only add — that if any merchant alleges that his goods are higher, now than formerly, in consequence of the enactment of the present Tariff, we would caution every person against purchasing of him, unless he is anxious to be cheated.

CERTIFICATE.

We the undersigned, Merchants of Norwalk, Huron county, Ohio, do hereby certify that since the Tariff of 1842 went into effect, goods have been cheaper than in any two years since we have been in business.

We also further certify, that foreign goods are as cheap this fall as we have ever known them.

SHEPHERD PATRICK,
GOODNOW & WILLIAMS,
D. & J. STOUTENBURGH.

Norwalk, September 26, 1844.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Oct 1, 1844

Huron Reflector – Sep 12, 1848

BUSINESS

In the 1840’s, Thaddeus B. Sturges seems to have tried his hand at being a businessman:

The Experiment – Apr 6, 1842

***

The Experiment – Mar 2, 1842

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The Experiment – Jul 31, 1844

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Thaddeus B. Sturges was also involved in the Temperance Movement:


Temperance Crusaders (Image from http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org)

Sons of Temperance Celebration.

Agreeably to the notices which have been published in the Huron and Erie papers, the Order of the Sons of Temperance, in the two counties, celebrated the day by a Mass Convention at this place. Unfortunately, the weather proved extremely rainy and disagreeable. Notwithstanding, the Sons (who love cold water) assembled in large numbers, and with them, also, an equal concourse of the cold water ladies.

About 11 o’clock, A.M., the Procession, which had formed on the public square, proceeded to the Grove selected at the west end of the place, conducted by the Bellevue Band, and attended also by the Milan Brass Band. The Procession presented a splendid appearance and afforded to all a vivid illustration of the moral force which the Temperance cause has acquired among us.

The arrangements reflected honor upon the Marshal, S. PENNEWILL, Esq., and his Assistants. Over five hundred ladies, from a single point, formed into the Procession, and it is supposed that an equal number of ladies proceeded from other directions. The total number of persons present, at the Grove, is estimated at about three thousand, of whom, two thirds were Sons, Rechabites, Cadets and Ladies.

The exercises at the Grove were announced by the President of the day, S.F. TAYLOR, Esq., of Milan. Prayer was offered by Rev. WM. L. HARRIS*, of this place. The Declaration of Independence was read by T.B. STURGES, Esq., also of this place, who prefaced it with some appropriate and eloquent remarks. The meeting was then addressed by the Orator of hte day, I.J. ALLEN, Esq., of Mansfield, in a speech of much interest.

NOTE: Rev. Harris was educated at the Norwalk Seminary, mentioned  previously in this post.

The violence of the rain caused an interruption of his address, and at the close of the exercises, the meeting was adjourned to the Court House. Owing to the inclemency of the weather, most of those from abroad were obliged to return; but the Court House was thronged with those who remained. M. ALLEN resumed his remarks, and in a brilliant and powerful address, reviewed the history of National Intemperance. He traced its destroying agency in the fall of successive Empires, from Nineveh to Rome, and showed the appalling influence which it has exerted on the destiny of former nations. He exhibited the intimate connection which exists between national liberty and national intelligence and virtue; and he proved that moral and educational associations were the best conservators of the Republic.

His address embraced a variety of important and deeply interesting views, and has left a profound impression on all who heard it. At the close, some Resolutions were presented by T.B. Sturges, Esq., which were adopted, and the meeting adjourned.

Notwithstanding the adverse weather, this demonstration cannot fail to produce a favorable effect on the prosperity of the Order in this section. There are now about twenty Divisions in the two counties, most of which have not yet seen their first anniversary, and we believe one only has witnessed its second. In this State, about 16,000 have joined the Order during the past year, and nearly 100,000, throughout the Union. It now includes over 250,000 members.

Huron Reflector (Huron, Ohio) Jul 11, 1848

Based on his son, Mahlon Sturges’ biographical sketch, Thaddeus B. Sturges’ financial problems coincided with rush for California Gold. In 1849, Thaddeus would have been about 48 years old,  which was older than the average gold seeker; but probably with nothing left to lose, he headed for the gold country.

Buckeyes Catch the Gold Fever: A Letter From the Plains

T.B. Sturges arrives in Gold Country: A Letter Received

Mahlon B. Sturges was one of Thaddeus’ sons. He also was a miner, seemingly out of financial necessity, and his story is almost as sad as his fathers. The following biography can be found at this link:  Alameda County California Biographies – 1883

MAHLON BEACH STURGES.—Was born in Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio, February 26, 1830, and is the son of Thaddeus B. Sturges—at one time District Attorney of that county for a number of years, a graduate of Yale College, and a pioneer of 1849 to California—who died in Placerville, in 1851. The subject of our sketch having received his early education in the common school of his native place, and finishing at a private school at Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York, at the age of eighteen prepared to go to college, but owing to the financial embarrassment of his father this course was abandoned, and he took to commercial pursuits. Obtaining the position of book-keeper in the Franklin House, Cleveland, Ohio, he there remained two years, when he changed to the Durham House, and held a like position there until the intelligence of his father’s death caused him to resign and proceed to California, to do which he was obliged to raise money by an insurance on his life, which has long ego been refunded. Coming by way of Panama, our subject arrived in San Francisco in March, 1852, and immediately on arrival secured a ticket for Sacramento, which left him penniless. On gaining that town he found it submerged. Mr. Sturges proceeded to the mines, in company with the late William B. Mastick of Oakland and Judge Carey of San Francisco. On arriving at Michigan Bar, where he found his brother, he engaged in mining as an occupation (Mr. Mastick and Mr. Carey continued on to the mountains) until the fall of that year, when he embarked in the mercantile business. Having proceeded to Sacramento to purchase goods, as ill-fate would have it, his newly-bought stock was entirely consumed in the great fire of that season. Broke in purse, he was by no means so in spirit, therefore he once more faced the mocking world, and proceeded to the mountains, by way of Marysville. Arriving at Rabbit Creek—a place now called La Porte, in Plumas County—he cooked for a company of miners that winter. He next worked for *ages for about one year, when he took up claims in company with J. M. Perry and George Stowe, both of Illinois. After three years’ toil he then sold his interest to his partners, who afterwards took out $64,000 worth of dust in three weeks, and in four years they took out over $300,000. Mr. Sturges now took up a claim for himself adjoining, and “struck it rich,” but owing to a change of the adjoining claim it swung him off, and he lost all. Once more his pocket was at ” bed-rock.” Undeterred, he proceeded to Jamison City, Plumas County, and conducted a hotel for James Kitts, where he remained until the fall of 1856; then moving to Mariposa County, he re-embarked in mining operations for one winter, but, the season being dry, and not meeting with much success, he footed it to Stockton, whence he found his way to San Francisco. He now accepted a position as steerage steward on board the steamer Sonora, then commanded by Captain Bobbie, in which he made several trips to Panama: He now returned to the Bay City, married, and went to the mines at La Porte, but soon moved to Richmond Hill, working for wages at anything that offered; Mrs. Sturges, in the first year, making on her own account $1,800. Our subject now changed his habitation to Sawpit Flat, where, purchasing a claim, he commenced working it, while his wife carried on the laundry business, at four dollars a dozen, clearing thereby from thirty to forty dollars per week. At the end of four years he gave up mining, and sold out his claims. At this period he served two terms as a Justice of the Peace and Notary Public under Governor • Low’s administration. Mr. Sturges next purchased the water rights of Onion Valley Creek, consisting of eight miles of ditches, which supplied the mines of Sawpit Flat and Richmond Hill with water. Two weeks after purchasing, the miners of Sawpit Flat struck rich pay, which made his purchase very valuable. In one year he made enough to pay for his purchase and leave a handsome balance. He continued in this undertaking until 1867, when he sold out on account of ill-health. He removed to San Francisco; and there he was engaged for a year in keeping a lodging-house, when, disposing of it in 1869,.he paid a visit to his former home in the Eastern States for the purpose. of securing a patent on an improved gas-burner he had invented. His intention was to settle in the Eastern States, but, owing to the great climatic changes between heat and cold, he returned to California in July, 1870, and purchased his present farm of fifty acres, situated one and a half miles from Washington Corners, on the main road to Centreville, on which he has made many improvements, being engaged in general farming and stock-raising, devoting much of his time to the rearing of thoroughbred short-horn cattle, a number of his raising having taken premiums at the different fairs throughout the State. Married in San Francisco, April 22, 186o, Miss Elizabeth Kane, a native of Philadelphia, of Irish parents; no issue.

A few snippets for Thaddeus Sturges’ father, Lewis Burr Sturges:

Lewis B. Sturges – 1832

***

Lewis Sturges Dies 1844

Although it states there will be an obituary notice next week, I checked the paper and couldn’t find one.

BURR Surname Trivia: Lewis BURR Sturges, and therefore, Thaddues BURR Sturges, are distantly related to Aaron BURR, by way of a common ancestor named Jehue BURR.

A General History of the Burr Family by Charles Burr Todd – 1902 – Google Book LINK In this book, Lewis B. Sturges is listed as an executor of a will for Thaddeus Burr. His father, I believe, also Thaddeus Burr, was married to Abigail Sturges.  There are other Sturges’ mentioned as well. These families seemed to  marry quite a bit. There was also a Sturges Lewis mentioned, although I don’t know exactly how he is connected.

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One Response to “Forty-Niner Profile: Thaddeus B. Sturges”

  1. Know your Campaign History: Political Attacks and Other Facts « YesterYear Once More Says:

    […] Burr Sturges – Gold Rush Forty-Niner and Politician (scroll down for the section on his […]

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