Charles Henry Cummings

written by Pat Odiorne

C. H. Cummings was born in Palmer, Hampden County, Massachusetts on May 15, 1823, son of Benjamin and Lucy (Paige) Cummings.[1] According to International Genealogical Index records, Charles Henry Cummings married Mary Ann Cole on the 18th of April 1847.[2] She was born January 16, 1824 in Winthrop, Kennebec County, Maine.[3] Although we have not been able to find Charles and Mary Ann in the 1850 U.S. Census, they had two sons born before 1850.  The first was Charles Augustus Cummings, born January 2, 1848.[4] The second son was Quincy Cole Cummings, born March 25, 1849 in Cambridgeport, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.[5]

C. H. Cummings of Massachusetts sailed for California on the ship Domingo on November 12, 1849.[6] The bark Domingo sailed from Newburyport, Massachusetts and “put into port twice on the voyage, once at St. Catherines, [off the coast of Georgia] where she was in harbor eight days, and again at Juan Fernandez, [off the coast of Chile] where she stopped for three days.  The vessel landed at San Francisco on the 7th of April, 1850.”[7] By 1852, when the State of California took a census of population, Charles H. Cummings, his wife Mary Ann, and their two sons Charles and Quincy were living in Sacramento County, California.[8] Young Charles died soon after the census was taken.[9]

In contrast to some other ’49ers, there is no evidence that C.H. Cummings ever went back east.  He and his family (Charles and Mary Ann, Quincy, and Henry [born 1854]) were living in Sacramento in 1860 and 1870.[10] By 1880, the two boys were married and their two families were living together in San Francisco, but the parents continued to reside in Sacramento.[11] All three men worked in the offices of the Central Pacific Railroad, Quincy as a “clerk [and] general passenger and ticket agent” and Henry as “chief clerk [in the] treasurer’s office.”[12] When Henry died on August 28, 1893, his obituary stated that he was Assistant Treasurer of the Southern Pacific Company.[13] His father Charles, however, in addition to being “local treasurer of S.P. Co.” was also “secretary [of] F.& M. Savings Bank and secretary and treasurer [of] Capital Gas Co.” in that same year.[14]

Like his parents, Quincy Cole Cummings and his wife Nettie Rosetta had three children, and just as Charles and Mary Ann had lost their first child before age five, Quincy and Nettie also lost their first child young, before age seven.[15] Their second child, named Charles H. Cummings after his grandfather, died at age 15 from injuries he received in a mill accident when the roof of a glass furnace collapsed.[16] On the other hand, their third child Alice married, had a least one child, and had lived a full life when she died at age 92.[17]

Charles and Mary Ann’s third child Henry A. Cummings and his wife Isabelle had two daughters, Mary and Edith, who were living with their widowed mother in 1900.[18]

Charles Henry Cummings (1823-1902), his wife Mary Ann (1824-1906), their son Charles Augustus (1848-1852), and their son Quincy Cole (1849-1915), his wife Nettie Rosetta (1856-1940), Quincy and Nettie’s daughter Mary Etta (1876-1882) and their son Charles H. (1884-1900) were all buried in Sacramento, California in the Old City Cemetery in Lot 93.[19]

[1] An Illustrated History of Sacramento County…by Hon. Winfield J. Davis (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1890),  p. 255.  Gold Rush Stories—Spreadsheet of California Pioneers from the Pioneer Valley by Clifford McCarthy, p. 4—online at <>. (date and town only).

[2] International Genealogical Index compiled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—Charles Henry Cummings family, Film #184798–online at <>.

[3] Sacramento Historic City Cemetery Burial Index for the years 1849-2000, Compiled by Virginia Marsh, p. 63 (Ref. Vol. A, p. 51–Lot 93) online at <> (Birth date calculated from age at death.)

[4] Ibid.

[5] Massachusetts Vital Records—Births—[recorded in Boston]—Vol. 36, p. 215, #2392.

[6] Gold Rush Stories—Spreadsheet of California Pioneers from the Pioneer Valley by Clifford McCarthy, p. 4—online at <>.

[7] An Illustrated History of Sacramento County…by Hon. Winfield J. Davis (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1890),  p. 255.

[8] California Census of 1852  Counties of San Diego, Sacramento Vol. V, Copied under the direction of The Genealogical Records Committee, Daughters of the American Revolution of California, 1935, p. 84.

[9] Sacramento City Cemetery—see Note 1.

[10] 1860 U.S. Census—Sacramento, Sacramento Co., California—Ward 2, Page 130, Dwelling 1982, Family 1900; 1870 U.S. Census—Sacramento, Sacramento Co., California—Ward 4, Page 345, Dwelling 449, Family 450.

[11] 1880 U.S. Census—Sacramento, Sacramento Co., California—E.D. 86, Page 171B, Dwelling 387, Family 401. 1880 U.S. Census–San Francisco, San Francisco Co., California–E.D. 220, p. 349, Dwelling 153, Family 170.

[12] The San Francisco Directory For the Year Commencing April 1, 1883 (San Francisco: D. Hicks & Co.) p. 353. Online at <>.

[13] Directory for Sacramento City and County for 1893 (San Francisco: F.M. Husted, Publisher) p. 185. Online at <>.

[14] San Jose Mercury News, August 28, 1893 issue. Online at <>.

[15] Sacramento City Cemetery—see Note 3.

[16] Omaha World Herald, December 2, 1900 issue, p. 14.  Online at <>.

[17] California Death Index 1940-1997 online at <>.

[18] 1900 U.S. Census—San Francisco, San Francisco Co., California—E.D. 208, Sheet 10A, Page 258, Dwelling 195, Family 206.

[19] Sacramento City Cemetery—see Note 3.




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