Biography of David H. Wixom

David H. Wixom, the tenth of a family of twelve children of Nathan J. and Betsy (Hadlock) Wixom, was born in 1848 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 1850 his parents started with their family, consisting then of ten children, to cross the plains to California. They loaded three ox teams and one horse team with their effects, and brought fifty cows, ten head of horses and a small flock of sheep over as far as Salt Lake, where they spent the winter, and there their eleventh child, Charles W. Wixom, was born.

In the spring of 1852 they resumed their journey to the Golden State, and settled in Monterey County, near San Juan Mission, and lived there two years, Mrs. Wixom and her daughters carrying on the dairy business with their cows, making butter and cheese, which they sold at very high prices, to go to the mines. They also kept a public house for the entertainment of travelers. Mr. Wixom devoted his attention to mining. In the spring of 1854 they removed to Los Angeles and two years later came to San Bernardino, and settled on a half block of land they purchased on the corner of Ninth and F streets.

In 1857 Mr. Wixom sold out and took his family to Salt Lake, but returned to San Bernardino in August 1858, having been gone ten months. He bought two acres between Sixth and Seventh on D street, and they lived there several years, then sold and bought two acres on the northwest corner of Third and D streets, where the First National Bank is now situated. There the family resided at the time of Mr. Wixom’s death, which occurred July 29, 1867. He was a farmer by occupation, and after coming to Southern California devoted his attention mainly to that pursuit. He and Mrs. Wixom were both born in New York State, he in 1806, and she in 1811. They both came to Ohio in childhood, his parents settling at Columbus, and hers near Portsmouth, at which place they were married in November 1827. The widow resides in San Bernardino, and is quite active for a lady of her advanced age.

Their lineal descendants now number 168 souls, more than 100 of whom are living. Their children, in the order of their ages were named as follows: Reuben, Clarissa J., now Mrs. Ferguson; Mary A., now Mrs. Crandall, widow of L. D. Crandall; Willard A., Elizabeth, Mrs. R. Mathews, deceased; Julia, deceased; Jasper, Eliza, widow of Charles Purcell; Cynthia, now Mrs. Payne, of San Diego; David H., Charles W. and Chauncy, deceased.

David H., the subject of this sketch, in former years engaged in teaming and farming. In December 1866, he married Mary A. Stuchbury, a native of Australia; he came to California in 1858. In 1882 he was elected City Marshal of San Bernardino, was re-elected in 1883, and declined to be a candidate for the office the next year.

During his second official term Marshal Wixom arrested William R. McDowell, the murderer of Maggie O’Brien, on information of McDoweIl’s wife, who was cognizant of the crime when committed, and revealed it to Mr. Wixom on the plea that her own life was threatened by her husband. He was a gambler by occupation. McDowell was convicted and hanged, and his wife committed suicide some time after his execution.

In 1884 Mr. Wixom was a candidate for Sheriff on the Democratic ticket, and though the county ticket was carried by the Republicans by several hundred majority he was only beaten forty-nine votes.

In 1886 Mr. Wixom erected their fine house on the southeast corner of D and Fifth streets. The lot, which is 105 x 128 feet, cost him $3,000, and the house cost $3,500. He also owns the brick block known as the Wixom block, on Third and D streets, save the portion sold to the First National Bank. There are three stores on the first floor, and the second story is devoted to offices. Mr. and Mrs. Wixom are the parents of five children, four living. Their two daughters are married. For two years past Mr. Wixom has served as Deputy Assessor of San Bernardino County.



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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