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Heaton, Samuel O.
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Heaton, Samuel O.
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Source: Historical and Biographical Record, Sonoma County California, 1904, Page 605 and 606

SAMUEL O. HEATON. The south has contributed its quota of energetic forceful men, whose wise management of the fertile lands of Sonoma county has brought them comfortable financial returns, as well as enrollment among a noble pioneer band. Worthy of mention in this connection is Samuel O. Heaton, besides whom there is one man living at present who was making his home on Dry creek when Mr. Heaton came here in 1856. It therefore follows that no more familiar face is seen hereabouts, nor has any watched with more interest the settling of a neighborhood chosen because of its many advantages.

Born in Nicholas county, Ky., November 22, 1831, Mr. Heaton is a son of Shaftner and Elizabeth (Tucker) Heaton, the former born in Mason county, Ky., and the son of Maryland parents. Mrs. Heaton was a daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Tucker, both born in what is now the District of Columbia. After their marriage in the Bourbon state the Tuckers removed to Illinois, where Mrs. Tucker died in 1839, her husband contracting a second marriage the following year. From Illinois Mr. Tucker crossed the plains to Oregon in 1848, settled on government land, and improved the same with the assistance of his wife, both attaining to an advanced age. Samuel O. Heaton was reared in Pike County, Ill., whither his parent removed when he was a year old, and where he attended the early subscription schools irregularly. His father died the year after the family emigrated to Illinois, his wife surviving him for eleven years. The quiet of Pike county was severely shaken by the good news constantly coming from the far west, and whether it was concerning the advantages of Oregon or California, every farmer and his ambitious sons set about making an inventory of their chances, surveying the pros and cons from every conceivable standpoint. Those not in a position to equip themselves for the long journey made arrangements to work their way across. The plan adopted by Samuel Heaton was to become a member of a party consisting of William McCloud and John Shafer and their wives, nearby neighbors in Pike county. A man by the name of Haggard and his son also accompanied the expedition, making themselves useful driving stock and ox teams. Setting out April, 6, 1852, they crossed the Missouri river eighteen miles below St. Joe, on May 6, their route taking them to Fort Kearney, where they forded the South Platte above the mouth of North Platte, east of Fort Laramie. Crossing a desert of fifty miles in reaching the Carson river, the party followed the Carson route, arriving at Placerville August 8.

His object being the making of a quick fortune in the mines, Mr. Heaton at once set about his task, mining at Kelsey’s bar on the middle fork of the American river for a couple of months, going thence to Frankford bar on Weber creek where he worked for three years, and then spending six months on Sweetwater creek. Six months he spent below the present site of Folsom on the American river, and again returned to Frankford bar for a month or so. The result of these various efforts resulted in a net profit of $2,250, with which he invested in his present farm in partnership with D. D. Phillips, a resume of whose life may be found elsewhere in this work. Mr. Heaton first purchased one hundred and forty acres, and three years later divided equally with his partner, his share forming the nucleus for his present property of two hundred and sixty-six acres. He has one of the best improved ranches in this vicinity, and one of the most productive and valuable. Forty-five acres are under vineyard, and Zinfandels, Golden Chasselas, Burger, Grenache, Mataro. Crabb’s Burgundy and Gray Riesling ripen in the glow of the autumn sunshine. In an apple orchard of two acres there are some rugged and sturdy old pioneers, upon whose gnarled and weather-beaten limbs apples still grow, although the trees are forty-one years old. Some of the grapevines also claim venerable ages, the old Missions, favored of fortune, being more than forty years old. Many younger trees have been added within the past few years, and of these there are peaches and a variety of prunes, forty-five acres being devoted to the latter.

Returning to his native state and county, Mr. Heaton married in 1872, Rebecca Agnes Bullock, born in Lewis county, Ky., and a daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Cooper) Bullock. Robert was born in Mason county, Ky., a son of Major Lewis Bullock, the latter of whom was one of the earliest settlers of Mason county, and accomplished most of the pioneer surveying. Mrs. Heaton, who died in California, November 23, 1902, was the mother of four children. Maria lives at home; Bessie is deceased, and Charles and Bruce lease their father’s farm. Mr. Heaton has practically retired from the management of his farm, his sons having succeeded in carrying on an enlightened and modern policy. The farm has all of the latest improvements, is well fenced, watered and stocked, and has the reputation of bearing the finest grapes in the heart of a vineyard locality. The distinction of raising the premium peaches in Sonoma county belongs to Mr. Heaton. He has always voted the Democratic ticket for national office, but locally he is liberal minded and votes for the best man. He retains his faculties and enjoys life, entering with zest into the plans of the surrounding younger generation.


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Submitted: 01/16/08 (Edited 04/19/08)

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