Santa Cruz County History - People

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

TIDROW, JOSEPH (1844-1917)

History of San Luis Obispo County and Environs, California, Annie L. Morrison and John H. Haydon

JOSEPH TIDROW- One of the pioneer ranchers of San Luis Obispo County in the vicinity of Paso Robles, and one who has seen the growth of this state during the past sixty five years, is Joseph Tidrow, proprietor of Walnut Cove Ranch. He was born February 24, 1844, near Weaverville Ind., a son of Joseph Tidrow, a native of Tennessee, who went to Ohio and there married Caroline Troutt, coming soon afterwards to Indiana and later to Keokuk, IA where they settled. In 1851 he outfitted for the trip across the plains to California, and with his wife and four children started on the long and dangerous journey. Their ox teams traveled slowly and when they reached Salt Lake it was too late to proceed to California that winter. So they remained there until spring and then made the balance of the trip arriving at El Monte, Los Angeles county, in the fall of 1852. There Mr. Tidrow bought a ranch and for a time engaged in farming; later he traded the wagon with which he had crossed the plains, for eighty acres of land which he later sold for two hundred fifty dollars. H then bough land near Anaheim and farmed until his death. His wife died in Monterey county.

Joseph Tidrow was but six years old when the trip was made across the plains, but there are many incidents now fresh in his mind of happenings along the route that were impressed indelibly on his mind at the time. He attended a private school, and put in three months in the public school; and when sixteen he started out for himself working for wages on the various ranches in the vicinity of his home and also driving a team. In 1863 he drove a freighting team of seven yoke of oxen to Owens river, Inyo county and then went to Santa Cruz and worked i the redwoods, getting out posts and ties by contract, in which he was very successful, making a as high as eight dollars a day. In October, 1864, he enlisted in Co. A, 8th California Volunteers, was mustered in at San Francisco, taken by boat to Washington territory and stationed with his regiment at Cape Disappointment, where he remained until the summer of 1865, when he was honorably discharged at the close of the war.

Coming back to California, Mr. Tidrow stopped for a time in Los Angeles, then took his mother to Visalia, and bought a farm six miles east of town, where he engaged in ranching. There he was married, on May 9, 1869 to Miss Martha J. Gray, who was born in Shelby county, Texas, and who had come overland to California in 1863. She is daughter of James and Mathilda (English) Gray, both natives of Texas, where her father was a cattle man. Her mother died in Texas in 1856. In 1863 her father came to California and located in Tulare county, where he farmed. He died in San Diego. Mrs. Tidrow was educated in the public schools of Tulare county. In 1873 suffering from chills and fever, although his wife was in good health, Mr. Tidrow moved to Salinas and there recovered; but his wife was taken ill and was under the care of physicians for a year. When the doctor had got all but one hundred fifty dollars of his money, Mr. Tidrow determined to change climate, and the following year came to Adelaide, in San Luis Obispo County. He located a place, but did not file on it; however, he built a house of hakes, having split them himself.

In the spring of 1875 he located on a place of one hundred sixty acres in Oak Flat, and built a frame house, hauling the lumber from San Luis Obispo. After operating the ranch for a time, he gave it up, as he found it was held in reserve for the railroad and could not be homesteaded. In 1877 he located on his present place of one hundred sixty acres, five miles from the city limits of Paso Robles. The land was covered with brush and one could not see fifty yards in any direction. He cleared the land, began making improvements, erected a small house, broke the land, built brush fences to keep out the sheep and cattle that roamed at will over the country, and has added improvements from time to time until he now has one of the best ranches in this section of the county.

Mrs. Tidrow regained her health; so he felt well repaid for his labors. He added fifty five acres adjoining, and has devoted himself to building up a fine homestead. Mr. Tidrow bought one hundred thirty eight acres near Templeton, on the Salinas river, which is operated by his son, Pleasant. One walnut tree on his ranch, thirty years old, yielded two hundred fifty pounds of nuts in 1916. In the early days eggs sold for eight and ten cents per dozen, and butter from fifteen to twenty cents per pound; and at that time he took his produce to Cayucos. He kept a dairy of twenty cows; and with the work he did outside, he obtained a start and came out successfully. In 1877 he worked near Bakersfield with a four horse team for six dollars a day and spent seven months there helping to build the Buena Vista Canal.

To Mr. and Mrs. Tidrow nine children were born, eight of whom are now living- Ida having died at twenty four years of age. Lillie is Mr. Wright of San Jose; Pleasant lives on his father’s ranch near Templeton; John is in Almond school district, Laura, Mrs. Palmer, is of Taft; Oliver is in McKittrick; Leonard lives in the Almond school district; Ora, Mrs. Baker is in McKittrick; and Lena is Mrs. Russell Morgan of McKittrick. Mr. Tidrow has served as trustee of the Oak Flat school district many years, has been road master of District 10 for the past eight years and had built many good roads, under contract, before he was made road master. In politics Mr. Tidrow supports Democratic candidates on national issues. He is a Mason, a member of Paso Robles Lodge, No 286, and is a member and Past Grad in the Odd Fellows, and a member of the Encampment and a past officer and also a member of the Rebecca’s. He is truly a self made man. (p. 667-9)

Paso Robles Record (July 21 1917)

Sad Death of Pioneer

This community was shocked Thursday evening upon hearing of the death of Joseph Tidrow at his home near this city. Mr. Tidrow had been a sufferer of asthma for a number of years and was the cause of his death.

He was 73 years 4 months and 25 days old and has been a resident of this county for many years, where he owns a large ranch in the Adelaide district.

He is survived by a loving wife, and four daughters, Mrs. Lillian Wright of Mountain View; Mrs. Laura Palmer of Aft, Mrs. Orv Baker of McKittrick, Mrs. Lena Morgan of Fellows; four sons Pleasant, John and Leonard of Paso Robles and Oliver of McKittrick.

The funeral will be held at two o’clock Sunday afternoon under the direction of Chas Skeen, at the Masonic hall and interment will be made in the Odd Fellows cemetery.

Notes from Edson Strobridge (April 2000)

Joseph Tidrow was born in Weaverville, Indiana on Feb 24, 1844. On Nov 12, 1864 he enlisted as a private in Co A 8th Calif Infantry. He served until Oct 24, 1865 when he was mustered out.

While at Paso Robles he worked as a Rancher until his death July 19,1917 when he died at his home (ranch). He was buried at the District Cemetery in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo Cnty in Blk 72 Lot 10. He has a military headstone.

SOURCES: US Military Service Record Index; California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-67, Orton, 1890; San Luis Obispo Co. & Environs, Morrison & Haydon, 1917; 1892 Great Register, age 48 yrs, 5’11, Farmer, b Indiana, Roes Paso Robles, Reg., Aug 16 1892; Calif Death Index, age 73 yrs, State File #25870; SLO County Death Record, Vol 5 pg 241 Health, “Rancher”, Res at place of death 41 yrs; in Calif. 64 yrs.

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