Identified with the public life of Sutter County for the past twenty-six years as public administrator and coroner, Mr. Rowe has witnessed many changes wrought in this section of the State during the years and has had a part in the growth and progress made here in so comparatively short a time.  A native of Fremont County, Iowa, he was born on January 14, 1848, near Sidney, about six miles from the Missouri line.  His father was David P. Rowe, born near Muncie, Ind., June 25, 1825; and there he married Almedia Holloway, who was born on the Western Reserve in Ohio, August 18, 1822.  They moved to Fremont County, Iowa, about 1846, where the father followed his trade as millwright and carpenter until his death on March 23, 1869.  His widow came to California, where she spent her last days, passing away on September 26, 1907.  Grandfathers William Rowe and Pleasant Holloway were both farmers.

            Our subject was the oldest of nine children born to Mr. and Mrs. D. P. Rowe.  He was named Pleasant William after his grandfathers; and he is well named, being a man of pleasing personality.  In his youth he learned the rudiments of agriculture, for he early worked on farms for wages, his schooling being limited to short periods off and on during winters.  He left home for California on August 8, 1871, boarding an emigrant train, and arrived in Sacramento on August 13 of that year, locating in Yuba City on September 15, 1871, since which date he has made his home here, fifty-two years of continuous residence.  His first work was for wages on ranches in Sutter County.  For many years he has owned his ranch of three and one-half acres, now set to an orchard of Tuscan cling peaches, which last year (1922) produced twenty tons of fruit, an example of the intensive fruit culture for which the State, and particularly this portion of it, is noted.

            Mr. Rowe is now serving his seventh consecutive term as public administrator and coroner, in which office he has given faithful and valuable service to the county.  The security and growth of any community depend in a large measure upon the quality of its business and public institutions, the character of the men who control them, and the nature of the policies under which they are managed; and in this respect Sutter County has been most fortunate in retaining in office men fully qualified to give fair and wise administration of their duties to the community at large.  Mr. Rowe is also an underwriter of fire insurance, representing the American Alliance.

            Mr. Rowe was married in Sacramento, on August 21, 1886, to Miss Anna E. Galvin, who was born near York Springs, Pa., and of whom he was bereaved in July, 1915.  Fraternally, Mr. Rowe is a Mason of long standing, having joined the order on May 3, 1884.  He is a member of Enterprise Lodge, No. 70, F. & A.M., Yuba City, and also a member of Marysville Pyramid, No. 23, A.E.O. Sciots.

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

p.  593


            An experienced, efficient and popular railway man, always genial and accommodating, is W. F. Bigelow, the wide-awake tower-man of both the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Sacramento Northern Railroad, at Live Oak, where he has been stationed for the past thirteen years, or since the opening of the tower, at the junction of the two roads, half a mile north of Live Oak, on May 7, 1910.  He was born in Carson City, Nev., on October 13, 1877, the son of Augustus S. Bigelow, a native of Maine, who came West in the late sixties and worked, as an engineer, on the Central Pacific Railroad. In 1869, he settled at Carson City and married Miss Dora E. Pine, a native of Illinois, who reached California by way of Panama, and located at Reno.  Her father was a veteran of the Mexican War; and after the war, he brought his family to the Toll or Lake House, and conducted a hotel business at the bridge, in Reno, which later became the Riverside Hotel.  Mr. Bigelow served as deputy sheriff of Carson City for many years, and Mr. Pine later conducted the old Riverside Hotel.  Our subject is the eldest of four children, three of whom are still living; and during the World War, two of his brothers were foremen in the ship-building yards at Seattle.  Augustus S. Bigelow has reached his eightieth year, and now resides at Loyalton, in Sierra County, Cal.

            W. F. Bigelow followed clerical work for a while in Carson City, and later was in the telegraph office of the Western Union at Carson City and also at Lake Tahoe; and for two years he was with the Wells Fargo Express at Carson City, in which town his father, after giving up railroad work, had become a guard at the State Prison.  In 1902, W. F. Bigelow came into California and went to Loyalton Mill; and for five years he worked in a box factory.  Then he took up railroading at the lumber camp on the Boca and Loyalton Railroad.  After two years, he started in as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad, running out of Truckee, in 1907, on the Sacramento Division.  And there he remained, doing faithful work for sixteen years.  Having had the great misfortune to be mixed up in a terrible railroad accident in the mountains, on account of which he was for thirteen months in the Southern Pacific Hospital, he abandoned braking, and on his recovery was placed in charge of the tower he now so ably manages that no fatality has occurred at his crossing since he was put there, fourteen years ago.  Where once there was a lone flagman, the automatic block signal system has so revolutionized the service that little chance is left for trains to collide.

            In 1900, Mr. Bigelow was married in Nevada to Miss Frances May Harris, who was born in San Francisco of English parents, now deceased.  Mrs. Bigelow, who was a particularly agreeable lady, passed away in the Bay City; and one daughter, Dora, survived.  She was born in Gardenville, Nev., and became the wife of Henry Scrogins, a market man of Gridley, in Butte County; and she is the mother of one child, Eleanor E.  In 1912, Mr. Bigelow remarried, at Sacramento, taking for his second wife Miss Anna Haken, who was born at Live Oak, and was the daughter of Joseph Haken, a pioneer.  After attending the Marysville High School for three years, she became a stenographer at Hale’s Store, in Sacramento, and there enjoyed an enviable esteem and popularity for her work and personality.  At an early date, Mr. Bigelow bought a home in Live Oak, in the Channon Addition; and there he and his family reside.  Since 1918 Mr. Bigelow has belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America.  Mrs. Bigelow is the secretary of the Live Oak Women’s Improvement Club.

            Notwithstanding his misfortune in the railroad accident, Mr. Bigelow is still a “regular fellow,” devoting some time, in the proper season, to hunting; and his knowledge of baseball covers many years.

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

p.  595


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