YUBA COUNTY  Biographies





In these days of intensive ranching, especially in California, where the large grants and early ranches have been subdivided into smaller holdings, to be the owner of a twenty-acre ranch, developed to fruit and put under modern methods of cultivation, is to become an integral part of the community life and upbuilding.  The day is not far distant when there will be no more acreage to divide and the transition from the large stock and grain ranches, a thing of the past.  In the meantime, it is the men who are carrying on the development work now who are bringing wealth and prosperity to the agricultural districts, and through them, to the business centers of the State.

George Lawrence Major, one of Sutter County’s up-to-the-minute ranchers, was born in Springfield, Ill., January 12, 1897, the son of Hillary and Howie (Webb) Major, his father a native of Ohio, and his mother of Illinois.  In 1910 the family migrated to California from Arkansas, where the home was made for a few years, and settled in Sutter County, in the Gledhill Colony, where the father purchased twenty acres of open land and developed it to Thompson Seedless grapes.  A farmer in the Eastern States, he later went into brick manufacturing for a number of years, and the family made their home in eight different States during this interval, finally settling down in California; and here the father’s death occurred, in 1919, at sixty-five years of age.  The mother still lives, making her home in Gledhill Colony.

The only one of six children born to his parents to make his home in California, George Lawrence Major received his education in the public schools of eight different States.  On reaching his majority he started on his own way, and leased twenty-one acres near Oswald, Sutter County, for three years, and engaged in orchard cultivation.  In 1921 he purchased his twenty-acre ranch in Gledhill Colony, ten acres devoted to Thompson Seedless grapes, five acres to prunes, and five acres to peaches, all under a high state of cultivation and bringing good returns.

The marriage of Mr. Major, occurring July 10, 1918, at Marysville, united him with Miss Wynema Sharp, born in Petros, Tenn., and daughter of J. L. and Emma (Duncan) Sharp, both natives of Tennessee, where the father was a railroad man; the family came to California in 1912 and Mr. Sharp is now a rancher of Live Oak.  Mrs. Major was educated in the Live Oak schools and is a member of Wilson Women’s Club.  Two children blessed their union, Georgia and Raymond.  Mr. Major is a member of the Sun Maid Raisin Growers’ Association.  He is a Republican in national politics, and in local matters he supports the men and measures which mean the further advancement of his community.


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

p 1244





An interesting duo of successful agriculturists are George A. and William L. Galligan, brothers, operating together on well-kept farmland about eleven miles southeast of Marysville, just off the Spenceville road.  George A. Galligan was born on the old Hooper Ranch, near Wheatland, on December 11, 1863, while William L. Galligan was ushered into the world on what was known as the old Galligan Ranch, at what is now Erle, in the Elizabeth School district, on March 13, 1871.  Their parents were Mathew and Susan (Ewing) Galligan.  Mathew Galligan was born in County Longford, Ireland, and came to the United States when he was seventeen years old, landing at New York City.  He remained there for two years, and then he went into Pennsylvania, and for three years worked on a farm at eleven dollars per month.  He then went to Muscatine, Iowa, and married there, and also farmed for two or three years; and by that time he was ready to start across the plains with his wife and two children.  He traveled in an ox- and mule-team train, by way of the River Platte and the Salt Lake route, and landed in California in 1860.

Mrs. Galligan, as Miss Susan Ewing, was a native of Ohio, and became an orphan at a very tender age.  Her father started off to visit his mother who lived at a distance, and was never heard from again; and shortly after that, Susan’s mother died, leaving the little girl alone in the world.  Susan was reared by a Mr. Roddan, in Iowa, and having gone to Muscatine to live, it came about that Mr. Galligan and Miss Ewing were married there.  Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Galligan, two of them in Iowa; the elder being Hugh Peter, and the younger, Mary Catherine, who died in California on January 2, 1890, at the age of twenty-nine, at the present home of the Galligans.  The six born in Yuba County are George A.; Eliza Ann, now the wife of Dennis Coughlin of Marysville; Margaret Jane, who died in 1899 at the age of thirty; William L.; Ellen Matilda, who became Mrs. Downing, and died at Santa Cruz, on March 31, 1921; and Elizabeth Ann, who lives with the family of our subject.

Mathew Galligan went to work for Mr. Hacker in Yuba County, and farmed there for a year; and he then settled on the Hooper place of about 100 acres, and he was there for two years.  He then leased a ranch at Brighton, in Sacramento County, for a short time, and after that took a lease on the Roddan Ranch, on Bear River, and farmed that for a year; and next he settled eleven miles east of  Marysville, on the Marysville-Spenceville road.  He first bought a quit-claim from Mart Sparks, on a section of railroad land, for $400; and he settled upon that, and built himself a home, and lived there for six years.  Then he threw up his claim on this section of land, and moved down to the present location of the Messrs. Galligan, eleven miles east of Marysville, and he homesteaded eighty acres, and preempted eighty acres, all of government land, and later purchased 160 acres of the section he had given up.  His homesteaded land, and the quarter section which he purchased, fortunately adjoined, and that has proven a great advantage.  The father, who was always one of the best of providers, built a dwelling, and the family lived in it with him until his death, in 1904, at the age of seventy-four.  Mrs. Galligan breathed her last three years later, at the age of sixty-nine.  Mr. and Mrs. Galligan were esteemed and mourned by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.

G. A. and W. L. Galligan continued until 1914 to farm to grain, but since that year they have devoted themselves to sheep and poultry, and they have also since purchased an additional quarter-section adjoining their half-section.  They have never had over 125 head of sheep at any time, but with these they have been successful, and in the season of 1922, they raised and sold 580 turkeys, all of the Mammoth Bronze stock.  In national political affairs they are Democrats; but they wisely dispense with partisanship in local affairs, and no one outdoes them in their loyal and enthusiastic support of everything favorable to Yuba County.


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

p 1245



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