Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

FRESHOUR, JOSEPH T (1843-1915)

Wagons to Soquel, Sidney Glenn Freshour

Headstone of Joseph T Freshour
Joseph T. Freshour
Soquel Cemetery

Joseph Terre Freshour (b 1838 Ft. Wayne, IN) never married but had a very interesting and productive life. He left Iowa with John and "Safrony" as a 19-year-old and must have found the trip quite an adventure. He would have been his full height for several years - he was 6 foot 2 inches tall. In later life the family distinguished him from his nephew Joseph Alfred Freshour by calling him "Long Joe." He appeared in the 1860 CA census in O'Neal Township San Joaquin County in the household of Martin Freshour. He was listed as a farmer (ranch hand perhaps). John and Sophronia lived in the same township. He moved to the Santa Cruz area on the coast when they did. He was one of 61 men that organized the Santa Cruz Cavalry in June of 1863. He became 3rd Sergeant in November 1863 when the unit was accepted as Co. F, 1st Cav. Reg't of the California Militia. He was serving with this unit at its last muster of Jan. 1868. He was absent from the Santa Cruz Cavalry while he served with the U.S. Army. In November 1864 he enlisted at Watsonville, Santa Cruz County for the 8th Reg't, California Volunteers, US Army. He Mustered into Co. A, 8th Reg't, California Infantry at Ft. Point, San Francisco. He appeared in the Regimental Description book as Age- 23 years; height- 6 feet 2 inches, Complexion- Dark; Eyes-Dark; Hair-Dark. Where born-Ft. Wayne Ind., Occupation-Farmer. Note that the age which he gave was inconsistent with data on his early years, which he didn't have access to as we do. This was to cause him difficulty later. He was appointed Sergeant in December 1864. He served at Ft. Vancouver Washington Territory on the Columbia River with some D.S. at Cape Disappointment. He mustered out of U.S. Army service in November 1865 at Ft. Point and rejoined the Santa Cruz Cavalry serving with this brother, John, and many other Soquel men.

In the 1870 Soquel township, Santa Cruz County census J.T. Freshour is living alone two houses away from Sophronia's large household perhaps looking after them since his brother John had died a few years before. His occupation is given as shingle maker. In the 1880 census, he is boarding and working in the W.A. Young sawmill near Soquel. He became Road master of Soquel township supervising the construction of new roads in the area. He was involved in lawsuits regarding public use of roads originally built as private logging roads. He received a Civil War pension in his later years. He spent his last years in a place outside of Soquel above the cemetery on the Soquel-San Jose road. He had a wagon and hauled wood. He slipped on his steps and broke his thigh. The doctor put him in Seabright Sanitarium where he died on June 16, 1915. He died in testate but left his affairs in order. His remaining real estate was deeded to Lydia Jane Bradley. "Emma" (Melamine Freshour) Mason and L.T. Mason acted as next of kin and fulfilled his final wishes. Joseph T. Freshour was a member of the Soquel IOOF and the Wallace-Reynolds Post of the GAR in Santa Cruz. He is buried in the Soquel IOOF Pioneer cemetery next to John and Sophronia. (p. 508)

Santa Cruz Weekly Surf (November 1, 1890)

The Wharf Road
A Suit to Secure its Opening to the Public

Complaint was filed yesterday by J.T. Freshour as Road Overseer of Soquel district against Claus Spreckels in an action to secure the opening of the road known as the "Wharf Road" leading from the Santa Cruz and Watsonville road along the Aptos Creek branch. The complaint avers that this road was used as a public thoroughfare for twenty years prior to 1886 when the defendant placed a gate across it. Said gate and fence are an obstruction to travel, and plaintiff asks that they may be adjudged a nuisance and be a gated, or removed by order of the court.

Santa Cruz Weekly Surf (December 8, 1890)

Rural Life...Quiet Country Homes Among the Foothills
Where Peace and Prosperity Reigns
From Laurel Glen to Vine Hill--Crescent and Union Vineyards

Leaving the Laurel Glen Fruit Farm early in the morning and riding up the road on the West Side of Moore's creek in a few minutes the visitor reaches a 'fork' in the road. On the right is the 160-acre ranch owned by Mr. Geo. W. Himes, the oldest surviving settler in this valley. Mr. Himes took up this claim twenty-five years ago and now enjoys the leisure of his old age with his wife, their children being scattered through the country. The soil on this ranch is good, the hay crop being large, the fruits and grapes doing well, and the vegetables-- especially the potatoes--' beating anything close to Watsonville.

Close to the entrance to the Himes' place is the Palo Alto Rancho, owned by J.T. Freshour, who is also road master in this district. Mr. Freshour is a N.S.G.W. and owns a ranch of 80 acres set in fruit and vines. The dwelling house is a neat, plain building. The stables and barn are large and well kept. At the entrance to the barnyard is a large gate, over which are displayed the antlers of a dozen deer, all killed in this vicinity.

Santa Cruz Surf (June 16, 1915 )

Joseph Freshour, one of the oldest residents of this county died at Seabright sanitarium this morning, following an accident in which his hip was broken about a month ago.

Mr. Freshour had lived in the neighborhood of Soquel for about forty years, where he formerly engaged in teaming, and was also road overseer for a number of years.

He leaves a sister, Mrs. L.B. Mason, living in Soquel, and also a sister living in the East.

Santa Cruz Surf (June 17, 1915)

John Terre Freshour, who died yesterday at a local sanitarium, was a prominent Mason and a member of Wallace-Reynolds post, G.A.R. He was 72 years old and a native of Indiana and for many years was road master in Soquel district. He leaves a family of children.

Notes from Phil Reader

Seabright Sanitarium -- Joseph Terre Freshour, age 72, single, born in Indiana June 16, 1915, occupation Farmer. Fractured thigh by slipping on steps at home. Father: Henry Freshour, Tenn. Soquel Cemetery. Mother: Mrs. Emma Mason, Los Banos. Joseph T Freshour enlisted in Co. A California 8th Inf Regiment in Watsonville.


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