Biography of George W. Suttonfield

George W. Suttonfield was born at Fort Wayne, Indiana, February 14, 1825. His father, Colonel William Suttonfield, a native of Virginia, was in the regular army, under General Harrison, in the Black Hawk war. He built the first house in Fort Wayne and lived there until his death, which occurred in 1841. His wife, Laura (Taylor) Suttonfield, was a native of Connecticut. They had six children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the fourth. He attended Wabash College at Crawfordsville, Indiana, for four years, and in 1849 came to California. He started from Fort Smith, Arkansas, in April, and in October of the same year arrived in San Francisco. Mr. Suttonfield can tell some interesting stories of how they had to eat dried pumpkins and beans for many days at a time. Their train was a wealthy one from the South. They had some very fine stock, but lost heavily and arrived on the coast with almost nothing. Many of them were afoot and out of provisions. At one time all that Mr. Suttonfield had was but a pint of green coffee. He crossed the Colorado Desert afoot and followed a trail to San Diego. From there he went to San Francisco on a coal bark, and didn’t have a cent of money when he got there. He knocked around all day and got very hungry. At last he bargained to work for a restaurant keeper at $1 a day, digging and wheeling a bank of earth into the bay. He played a few games of cards and won $16. At night he unloaded vessels at $2 per hour. The boarding-house man, seeing that he was industrious and honest, started him in business. He sold pies, cakes and coffee on the corner of Clay and Ports-mouth Square, and took in from $40 to $50 per day. He then sold out his coffee stand on credit and went to the mines. Here, the first day, he took out $86. He continued in the mines for about three years, when he went to Mariposa County, and went into the stock business. This was from 1856 to 1861. In 1862 he went to Stockton, where he engaged in the livery business for a time, and subsequently went to Arizona and engaged in the stock business for seven years. In 1882 he came to San Bernardino and engaged in the livery business, from which he has recently retired and at present he is operating gold quartz-mines, 100 miles east of San Bernardino.

Mr. Suttonfield was married June 1, 1851, to Mrs. Sarah Smith. This was the first recorded marriage in Mariposa County. The union resulted in five children, and in 1870 the mother died. Ten years later Mr. Suttonfield married Sarah Chadwick. They now live on Mount Vernon Avenue, southwest of the city two miles. While in Mariposa County, our subject was judge of the first election held in the county. September 28, 1866, he organized the Pioneer Society at San Bernardino, with twenty-two members. He is in the truest sense a pioneer and a highly respected citizen.



The Lewis Publishing Company. An Illustrated History of Southern California embracing the counties of San Diego San Bernardino Los Angeles and Orange and the peninsula of lower California. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1890.

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