YUBA COUNTY  Biographies





            Among the prominent stock-raisers of Yuba is numbered John F. Dempsey, whose ranch is situated two miles east of Smartsville.  He is one of California’s native sons and a true Westerner, possessing the rugged constitution that results from an outdoor life, and also the spirit of enterprise and initiative.  He was born at French Corral, in Nevada County, March 13, 1868, and his parents, John and Ann (Breslin) Dempsey, were both natives of Ireland.  The former was born in County Westmeath and the latter in Tipperary.  The father came to California in 1856 by way of the Isthmus of Panama, first locating at Donnerville and later making his way to French Corral.  In the fall of 1873 he came to Yuba County and purchased a tract of 320 acres lying three miles south of Smartsville. He was very successful in his agricultural operations and added to his holdings from time to time until he at length became the owner of 1080 acres.  He was one of the hardy pioneers of California and had engaged in hydraulic mining previous to settling in the Smartsville district.  Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey had a family of five children:  Mrs. Rose Ann Henderson, of Butte, Mont.; Michael, who is also living in that city; Daniel, proprietor of the Yuba City Wood Yard at Marysville; John F.; and W. J., a well-known business man of Marysville.

            The Rose Bar district school afforded John F. Dempsey his educational advantages and when twenty-one years of age he became identified with mining activities at Bangor, in Butte County, later following that occupation in Sierra and Trinity Counties.  Subsequently he abandoned mining and returned to the old homestead, which he has since operated successfully.  He specializes in the raising of stock, of which he has made a close study, and usually has twenty head of cattle, thirty-five to 100 head of hogs and 200 head of sheep.  His land is productive and the ranch is equipped with all modern improvements.

            Mr. Dempsey was married at Smartsville, April 18, 1900, to Miss Margaret Driscoll, who was born at Mooney Flat, a daughter of John K. and Kate Driscoll, natives of County Cork, Ireland.  Her father followed mining until injured in an accident and then turned to the agricultural pursuits, purchasing a small ranch at the junction of the roads leading to Mooney Flat.  Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey have become the parents of five children: Annie, Francis, Raymond, Walter and Margaret.

            Mr. Dempsey exercises his right of franchise in support of the platform and candidates of the Republican party.  He served at one time on the board of trustees of the Mooney Flat school district.  He has met with gratifying prosperity in his operations as a stock-raiser, having applied himself earnestly and intelligently to the achievement of his purpose, and he has many friends, whose esteem he has won and retained by reason of his high principles and fine qualities.


History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924

p. 963-964





            A member of one of the pioneer families of California, Daniel Dempsey was born at French Corral, in Nevada County, January 21, 1866, of the marriage of John Dempsey and Mary Ann Breslen, both natives of Ireland.  The father came to California via Panama in 1852, attracted hither by the discovery of gold, and for several years followed mining in Nevada County.  About 1872 he removed to Yuba County and bought a tract of 1080 acres near Smartsville.  He afterward increased his holdings, at length becoming one of the largest landowners of that district.  His demise occurred about 1915.

            Daniel Dempsey is the third in order of birth in a family of five children.  He attended the public schools of Nevada County, and afterward followed the exciting life of a cowboy, riding the range in California and Nevada and later becoming the owner of a cattle ranch on the Nevada and Yuba county line near Smartsville.  In 1911 he came to Yuba City and embarked in the fuel and ice business, also becoming a dealer in hay and grain.  His business is conducted under the name of the Yuba City Wood Yard.  He has secured the confidence and support of the public, never having sought to take advantage of another in a commercial transaction, but holding firmly to the belief that “Honesty is the best policy.”

            Mr. Dempsey married Miss Anne Murphy, also a native of Nevada County; and they now have three children: Clarence J., deputy county clerk of Yuba County; Roland A., a law student at the University of California; and Elma Marie, attending school in Marysville.  Mr. Dempsey is a communicant of the Catholic Church, and also has membership in the Marysville Council, No. 1689, of the Knights of Columbus.  He is recognized as an able business man, a public-spirited citizen and a loyal friend, and is held in high esteem by all with whom he has been brought in contact.


History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924

p. 968



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