Santa Cruz County History - People

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


History of Santa Cruz County California, Edward Sanford Harrison

Headstone of W W Reynolds
W. W. Reynolds
IOOF Cemetery in Santa Cruz

Now retired from the active business cares which have engrossed his attention for so many years, William W. Reynolds is rounding out the years of a well spent manhood in his comfortable and substantial residence at No. 196 Water street, Santa Cruz, having been a resident of this city for over a half a century. Mr. Reynolds is a native of the south, his birth having occurred in Eastern Tennessee April 1, 1833. He is a son of Nehemiah and Phoebe (Woolsey) Reynolds, both of whom were descendants of old southern families. The history of the Woolsey family can be traced as far back as 1793, and included among its members are the Rev. W.B. Woolsey, who founded Woolsey College, in Greene County, Conn. Nehemiah Reynolds was born n 1811 and passed away in 1874. Between these dates was enacted a career that partook largely of the sterner side of life, not the least of his trying experience being his expedition across the plains in 1850. With him came his son William W., who was then about seventeen years old, and who made the entire distance on foot, with the exception of three days, when he was obliged to ride on account of sickness. The wife and mother died in Missouri in 1850, one month after the father and son started for California. The lives of the travelers were in constant jeopardy on account of attacks from Indians, and Mr. Reynolds still has a scar on his leg where he was shot by one of them. After reaching their destination father and son went to the mines, first in Amador county, later n Placer county, and still later in Calaveras county, following mining altogether for about five year. Being a carpenter by trade William Reynolds was frequently called upon to build flumes and sluice ways for the miners, work which was not only congenial, but furnished him with a dependable income.

Giving up work in the mines in 1856, William W. Reynolds came to Santa Cruz county the same year and locating in the town of the same name, began to work at this trade of carpenter and builder in earnest. The fact that he was one of the first builders to locate here necessarily enlarged his opportunities, and so conscientiously did he carry out the contracts entrusted to him that those who employed him once were sure to seek his services on their next contract. Many of the buildings erected by Mr. Reynolds during the early days are still standing, in an excellent state of preservation, and bear silent testimony to his splendid workmanship. He assisted in building the Odd Fellows block, which has three times been partially destroyed by fire, and he also assisted in building the old clock which adorns the tower. Ever since locating in Santa Cruz in 1856 Mr. Reynolds has made his home her continuously, with the exception of two years spent in Mexico following his trade, during which time he erected the old custom house at Ensenada. He enlisted for service in the state militia and was mustered in the Union army as a member of Company G, Fifth California Volunteer Infantry, just before the beginning of the Civil war in 1861, becoming first lieutenant of his company. He was kept in California, however, so was prevented from taking part in active service.

The marriage of Mr. Reynolds, which was solemnized January 4, 1865, united him with Mary Simpson, a native of Scotland. She passed away October 4, 1909, mourned by a large circle of friends who had been endeared to her by her many kindly traits of character.

George W. Reynolds, a brother of the subject of this sketch, was captain under Gen. Joseph Lane in the Indian wars on the Pacific coast for the United States government. by profession he was a physician and surgeon and subsequently served in that capacity for the government.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 23, 1916)

Old Soldier Incompetent

William J Reynolds, an old Civil war veteran and member of the Salvation Army, 84 years of age has become incompetent and sent to the state hospital for treatment.

In the Superior court yesterday there were two applications made for appointment as guardian, one by Lizzie Reynolds, a niece and the other by W.V. Pringle. Mr. Reynolds owns property in the city. The hearing of the petitions has been set for June 5th.

Santa Cruz Surf (December 19, 1917)

DIED: REYNOLDS - In Santa Cruz December 18th , 1917 William Woolsey Reynolds aged 84, a native of Connecticut.

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