Harthan, Winkley & Van Horn

by Joseph Carvalho III, M.A., M.I.L.S., C.G.R.S., C.A., Springfield, MA

On Feb. 18, 1854, the  Chicopee Weekly Journal announced that William P. Winkley and Thomas Van Horn “of this village” were headed off to California to look for gold. They were enlisted by Lucius Edwin Harthan, born in New Hampshire  ca. 1830,  son of a respected Chicopee (Cabotville) attorney, Lucius Harthan, and his wife Salome C. Harthan.  Edwin was “one of a large number of our citizens who early tried their luck in California.” The Weekly Journal reported that, “ having gone on the ship Edward Everett which sailed from Boston in January 1850, [Harthan] remained there until last summer, meeting with good success.”  In 1853, Harthan returned home to visit his family and friends in Chicopee.  The newspaper reported that  Harthan “is now about to return to a country which he prefers to his own New England home,”  and had convinced  Winkley and Van Horn to come along with him to the gold fields of California. [1]

Winkley, who was born in New Hampshire circa 1820, had married Helen  M. Simms of  Springfield on Sept. 25, 1842 in Springfield.  Helen died sometime before 1850, at which time William was boarding at the Armory Doolittle residence in Chicopee and working as a machinist. Thomas Van Horn was born circa 1826 in Massachusetts and was  also working in Chicopee as a machinist at the time of the 1850 U.S. Census.[2]  They never  realized the fortune in gold that they had envisioned while travelling west to the gold fields with Lucius Edwin Harthan in 1854.   Thomas died in California soon after arriving there and his compatriot, William Winkley, didn’t stay long in California. By the fall, he apparently had his fill of gold mining and returned to the east coast in October of 1854.  He moved to Epsom, New Hampshire for a time and while there remarried to Mary Dolbear.  He returned with his new bride to Chicopee resuming work as a machinist in a Chicopee factory.[3]

However, Lucius Edwin Harthan continued to be drawn to the gold fields.  He worked in mining camps in the Trinity County area of California.  In July of 1860, he was living and working at a mining camp in Canyon Creek.  Of the over 130 miners at the camp, over half were Chinese immigrant miners.  He was listed as married in the 1860 U.S. Census for Canyon Creek, his wife Adaline lived and worked in the “unincorporated area” of Shasta County.[4]  It was not clear whether Lucius was solely  mining for gold, he may also have been working as a merchant selling supplies to the miners.

In 1850, a large number of gold seekers came to Trinity County, Lucius Harthan among them.  By the Spring of 1852, “there were occupants of every [sand] bar along the Trinity River from Salyer to Carrville, and every tributary stream leading into the Trinity River within the County had been traversed and prospected.”  Canyon (aka Canon) City, located above Junction City on Canyon Creek “was one of the first mining camps, originally known as Jackass Bar.”  It became “one of the largest gold producing settlements in the County.” [5] This area was so rich in gold that today, people are still panning for gold in the Junction City area at the confluence of Canyon Creek and the Trinity River.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Harthan put aside his work in the gold fields and enlisted in the Union Army on August 16, 1861 at Folsom, California.  He mustered in as a Private in Company C of the 1st California Cavalry Regiment on Sept. 7, 1861.  The regiment was tasked to guard the overland mail route from Carson Valley to Salt Lake and Fort Laramie. The Regiment remained stationed in the southern part of the state until the Spring of 1862 when it became part of the “California Column” and formed the Advance Unit of Carleton’s Expedition to New Mexico and Texas. [6]  On May 24, 1862, the regiment re-occupied “old Fort Breckenridge,” near the confluence of the Gila and San Pedro Rivers (and changed the name of the fort  to Fort Stanford in honor of California’s governor.)  Company C was “repeatedly engaged with hostile Apaches, sustaining numerous losses and marching thousands of miles through the mountains and deserts.” In 1863, Harthan and his fellow troopers of Company C captured Mangus Colorado, an important Apache Chief, and brought him prisoner to Fort McLean.  In March of that year, Company C was ordered to pursue a band of Gila Apaches. In the ensuing skirmish, twenty-eight Apache warriors were killed. [7]  Surviving the vicissitudes of that rugged campaign, Lucius Harthan completed his term of service and was mustered out  on Sept. 7, 1864 at Las Cruces, New Mexico.  He then returned to California to resume his life as a “merchant”  in the gold fields.  During the war, his wife Adaline either died or left him.  There are no extant records that could be found to explain anything further about her fate.

Soon after the end of the war, Lucius became aware that his father had been stricken ill, and so he determined to travel back to Massachusetts.  In March 1866,  he took ship to Panama, travelled across the isthmus to Aspinwall (now called Colon), Panama,  and booked passage aboard the ship New York, arriving at the Port of New York on April 9, 1866. [8]  He stayed with his father in Chicopee until Lucius, Sr. died of “heart disease” on Sept. 25, 1866. [9]  After his father’s death, Lucius returned to California and began mining once again, living in Junction City, Trinity County, with the 1870 U.S. Census listing his wealth as $200 in real estate and $2,500 in personal estate.  Two weeks later, he had moved to Granite in Sacramento County and became a saloon keeper.[10]  He was still listed there in the 1880 U.S. Census for Granite by the perhaps more respectable title of “Hotel Keeper.”[11]  In 1878, Lucius went into partnership with W.W. Light and William F. Johnson in co-ownership to a mining claim in Sacramento County. [12]

A new database at Ancestry.com, called “Mortuary Records (Northern California), 1849-1900”, records the death of Lucius Edwin Harthan with the following entry:

“Harthane, L.
Born New Hampshire. Died Sacramento, January 27, 1881, aged 52 years. General debility. Dr. Durant. Buried Sacramento City Cemetery. Pioneer Plot.”


1.Chicopee Weekly Journal, Feb. 18, 1854, p. 2, col. 5, in collection of the Chicopee History Room, Chicopee [MA] Public Library); Lucius Edwin Harthan’s father,  Lucius Harthan, Esq., was also  a  Director of the Springfield Horticultural Society, see The Horticulturalist and Journal of Rural at and Rural Taste, Vol. II (July 1847-June 1848), and Horticulture,  Vol. XIII No. IX (1847), p. 38; he was voted Junior Warden of the Chicopee Lodge of Free Masons on Dec. 4, 1848;  and when Springfield’s fire department was established, he served as an officer, “First Assistant” (equivalent to today’s Deputy Chief), see Springfield Present and Prospective (Springfield: Pond and Campbell).

2. They were married by Universalist minister, Rev. Albert A. Folsom, see Springfield Vital Records, Bk. 3, p. 354; and  1850 U.S. Census  for Chicopee, MA.

3. 1860 U.S. Census for Chicopee; Mary Dolbear was born  Feb. 8, 1825 in Epsom, New Hampshire, dau. of Nicholas and Esther Dolbear; she died Nov. 15, 1886 in Chicopee,  see Mass. Vital Rec. [1886] Vol. 373, p. 363).

4. 1860 U.S. Census for Canyon Creek, Trinity County, CA; and “Unincorporated area” of Shasta County, CA.  Lucius E. Harthan’s wife, Adaline,  was born 1834 in Maine.

5. Mildred Brooke Hoover, Douglas Kyle, et. Al., Historic Spots in California, p. 503.

6. Register of California Men in the War of Rebellion, 1861-1867; National Park Service, U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865, database, mf. M533, roll 3.

7. The Union Army, Vol. 4, p. 414.

8. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, mf. M237, line 40, List Number 309.

9. Lucius, sr. was. born January 1803 in Greenfield, New Hampshire, and died Sept. 25, 1866 in Chicopee of “heart disease,” see Mass. Vital Rec. [1866] Vol. 193, p. 8).

10. 1870 U.S. Census for Junction City, Trinity County, CA (July 15, 1870); 1870 U.S. Census for Granite, Sacramento County, CA (July 28, 1870).

11. 1880 U.S. Census (June 21, 1880) for Granite, Sacramento County, CA.

12. Environmental Working Group, “Who Owns the West,” Bureau of Land Management Land and Mineral Records LR 2000 database.

13. Ancestry.com. California, Mortuary and Cemetery Records, 1801-1932 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.



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