Santa Cruz County History - People



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

HODGDON, GEORGE R (1834-1912)

History of Santa Cruz County, California; Edward Sanford Harrison

Headstone of George R Hodgdon
George R. Hodgdon
Oakwood Memorial Park

The history of the Hodgdon family in the US dates from Revolutionary days, and was well and favorably known throughout the New England states for many generations. The first to depart from ancestral surroundings and establish the name on the western coast was George R Hodgdon, who was born in Pittston, Kennebec county, Me., October 4, 1834, the son of Asa H. and Elizabeth (Parcher) Hodgdon who were also natives of that same state.

The prospects of finding wealth in the mines of California was the thought uppermost in the minds of seventy five passengers who on October 13, 1852, set sail from Boston Mass., on the ship George Raynes, under the guidance of Captain Penhallow. The voyage was made by way of Cape Horn, and contrary to the general rule the weather proved unusually favorable, fair winds and favorable weather prevailing throughout the entire voyage of 127 days. During the passage they ran short of water but were able to take on a fresh supply at the Robinson Crusoe Island. Only a few of the 75 original passengers are now living.

Mr. Hodgdon came to Santa Cruz on a small schooner in 1853, hiring out on a farm owned by Hiram Scott in Scott's valley. For his services he received $75 per month and board, which was a large advance over the remuneration which he received in Maine, $8 per month and board. After he had worked for Mr. Scott for twenty-one months and saved $1000 he decided to undertake a ranch of his own, on land which he rented from Mr. Scott. The venture did not prove satisfactory, and after giving it up he undertook mining at Shaw's Flat, Tuolumne County. One winter's experience sufficed to prove that he was not fitted for the live of the miner, and thereafter he returned to Santa Cruz and clerked in a store for a time. He returned to Maine for a short visit before returning to California by way of the Isthmus.

Going to Redwood City in 1861, he took charge of a ranch owned by a Mr. Hawes, for 6 months. On October 4, 1862 he enlisted in the Third US Artillery in San Francisco. During the war he was stationed in various Forts in the San Francisco bay, in addition to Ft. Riley KA. It was while there that he had a few skirmishes with the Indians. After the close of hostilities and his discharge, Mr. Hodgdon made a second visit to Maine. After a short visit he once again left and went to the Middle West. After spending the next 15 years farming in Michigan and Iowa, in 1890 he went to Olympia Wash. After 1 1/2 years there he returned to Santa Cruz. From 1895 until 1901 he served as superintendent of the county hospital in Santa Cruz, but since retiring from that position he has spent most of his time looking after property he owns in the city.

In Morely, Mecosta County, MI he married Mary Vredenburg a native of Barton, Steuben County N.Y. and one daughter was born to them. (p. 305)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (March 1, 1902)

George Hodgdon of this city was in San Francisco this week and attended a reception at the Presidio to Gen J.C. Breckinridge, Inspector General of the U.S. Army, who recently returned from a tour of inspection of the Philippine Island. In the early sixties Hodgdon was a private in one of the batteries of the Second Artillery and Gen Breckinridge was then First Lieutenant of a battery. Mr. Hodgdon introduced himself to Gen Breckinridge, and after relating a few incidents that occurred during Mr. Hodgdon's three year service, the General cordially grasped Hodgdon's hand and turning to Gen Young, said: "General, here is one of my men who served with me during the 60's; he has come one hundred miles to see me"! Gen Young remarked that Mr. Hodgdon must have thought considerable of his officer to have come so far, whereas Breckenridge smiled.

Santa Cruz Surf (January 12, 1912)

Death of George R. Hodgdon

George R. Hodgdon, a pioneer settler who came to Santa Cruz in the early fifties, died last night at his home on Avalon avenue, where he had been ill for some time.

He has for many years lived in the community where by his straightforward life and high sense of honor he won the esteem of the residents.

He was 77 years of age, a native of Maine and leaves a wife and a daughter Dora. Of late years he will be better remembered as steward of the County Hospital.

His birthplace was at Pittston, Me. and he was of English ancestry who originally lived in New Hampshire, having received large grants of land around Portsmouth from the King of England. When a boy of 15 he was a fireman on a ferry running between Pittston and Gardiner.

On October 13, 1852, he sailed from Boston with the Scotts on a sailing vessel, the George Rayne, and was 127 days on the passage around Cape Horn. He came immediately to Santa Cruz and was employed on the Scotts' ranch at Scotts Valley.

In 1859 he went to Mexico and later served in the Civil War, a member of the Third Artillery Regiment, U.S.A.

He went east again and returned to California in 1894, where he has since resided, and since his retirement from the hospital he has lived a quiet and retired life, with his devoted wife and daughter, at his home on Avalon avenue.

In early days, as a young man, he was a clerk for the old established general merchandise firm of Coopers, also pioneer settlers.

Mr. Hodgdon was a strong Republican, firm in his adherence to his party principles. His only surviving relatives in California are his cousins, Mrs. F.G. Menefee and F.D. Scott.


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