* Genealogy of the Toombs Family *
(version November 13, 2022)
Please email corrections to Mike Clark


  1. Thomas Toombs (1795-1852) was born on Feb. 7, 1795 in England, probably in or near Buckinghamshire, according to a family history written by his great-granddaughter Ida Bushnell. The fact that Ida's history gives exact birthdates for many of her family and forebearers is a strong indication that she relied on a family bible, or some similar document, in her possession. The same birth year of 1795 is recorded on Thomas Toombs' tombstone in the United States, and a 1795 birth date is back calculated for him from his stated age on the 1850 U.S. Census. Although there is some controversy on the subject, his most likely parents are Joseph Toombs and Jane Cogdell, who were married on Oct. 26, 1775 in the market town of Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire. Today there is a plot of land at Stony Stratford that is known as Toombs Meadow, which tells us that the Toombs family has a long history here. This plot, which is a wet meadow that has been set aside as open space, sits on the southeast side of a bridge that crosses the Ouse river and connects Stony Stratford to the nearby village of Potterspury, a mere three miles away in the adjacent county of Northamptonshire.

    Although the evidence seems to show that Thomas Toombs was born in 1795 in England, several family trees show him to have been baptized three years earlier on Feb. 3, 1792 in Stony Stratford, with Samuel and Sarah Toombs listed as parents. However, this Thomas Toombs appears to be the eldest son of two children, which makes it likely that he inherited most, if not all of whatever assets his parents had. This makes him much less likely to have chosen to one day immigrate with his wife and several children to the United States. A more likely possibility is that the Thomas Toombs we seek is another who was baptized on June 14, 1795 in nearby Potterspury, with Joseph and Jane Toombs listed as his parents. This second Thomas Toombs was the youngest of a family of at least ten children. Because he probably inherited little to nothing of his parents assets, he is a much more likely candidate to one day immigrate with his family to America to seek his fortune. If these relationships are correct, then his likely parents Joseph Toombs and Ann Cogdell at some point after their marriage in Stony Stratford relocated across the River Ouse to Pottersbury where Thomas Toombs was born as the youngest member of their large family.

    Irregardless of when, where and to whom he was born, Thomas Toombs married Ann Willis on June 5, 1815 in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire. Ann apparently was older, having been born in 1789, probably in Buckinghamshire, as per the aforementioned family history. A birth date of 1789 is also inscribed on her tombstone in the United States. Thomas and Ann after their marriage resided in Buckinghamshire, where Ida Bushnell's history tells us that to them were born five children.

    The entire family sailed about 1830 to the United States, where they probably settled in or near the town of Sangerfield in Oneida County in central New York. Indeed, the 1830 U.S. census for Sangerfield, which commenced on June 1, 1830, lists a Thomas Toombs, who was the head of a household of six, made up a male, aged 30-39 years, a female aged 40-49 years and four children (2 boys and 2 girls) less than 14-years old. A 1907 obituary for their daughter Sarah states that Thomas became a U.S. citizen in 1835 in Oneida County, afterwhich he moved his family west again in 1839 to the settlement of Foxville in Racine County, Wisconsin - Foxville later being renamed to Burlington. Thomas and Ann followed in the footsteps of their daughter Elizabeth, who had settled with her husband Heman Loomis in Foxville three years earlier.

    Although it is conjecture, the Toombs family very likely traveled from New York to Wisconsin by sailing through the Great Lakes with Captain Francis McCumber (1806-1888) on his ship the Caroline - a 60-ft, 75-ton, two-masted schooner built in 1837 in Oswego, New York. If correct, then they would have sailed with McCumber from Sackets Harbor in upstate New York to a landing in the Wisconsin Territory - probably at the Lake Michigan harbor of Racine, which is located between Milwaukee and Chicago. They then would have traveled inland about 25 miles to Foxville. The aforementioned Capt. McCumber was one of three partners who owned the Caroline, and he brought many of the early settlers to Foxville. The fact that he later settled on land located near the Toombs farm, and the fact that he was probably also related to them by marriage, makes it all the more likely that it was his ship that brought them to Wisconsin.

    Map of Burlington, Wisconsin in 1887 showing farm properties along the Fox River.

    Thomas and Ann settled in June of 1839 in the Foxville township, probably living at first on a farm that their daughter Elizabeth and her husband Heman Loomis had homesteaded three years earlier. This farm was located south of the main Foxville settlement, and was on the east bank of the Fox River. Then Thomas and Ann, possibly on or about Sept. 22, 1840, homesteaded to the south of the Loomis Farm a plot of their own in Section 10-T2N-R19E. Homesteading required that they first file an application claiming the land and pay a fee, then occupy the land for a time and improve it by farming and erecting structures, and finally pay the federal government a set price (usually a dollar an acre), before petitioning for a Federal Patent to obtain full ownership.

    The Toombs homestead appears to have been divided up early on between Thomas and his two sons. The oldest son Samuel received a patent on March 3, 1843 to 153 acres in NW/4 of Section 10, just south of the Loomis Farm. The younger son William, in partnership with Samuel, received on the same day a patent to 75 acres in the N/2 SW/4 of section 10, just south of Samuel's plot. Their partnership may have been necessary, as William was underage when they first occupied the land. Then their father Thomas received a patent on March 1, 1848 for 40 acres in SW/4, NE/4 of Section 10, just east of Samuel's plot. The Toombs farms were located south of town on Brever Road, where it makes its closest pass to a bend in the Fox River. This site is also about 1 mile southeast of Bushnell Park, which is named for Thomas Toomb's great grandaughter Ida Bushnell, who donated what was left of her parents farm in 1966 to the city of Burlington.

    Thomas Toombs died prior to April 22, 1852, when Burlington office of Barnes & Lyon, presumably a law firm, began accepting claims and demands against the estate of Thomas Toombs deceased, as announced in several subsequent issues of the Weekly Racine Advocate newspaper. The website of the Burlington Historical Society gives his death date as Oct. 22, 1852, but this is probably a typo, as he clearly had to have passed before then. He probably died on the Toombs farm, and he is buried nearby in the Old Burlington Cemetery, which is where the pioneer graves of Burlington are located. The site of the pioneer graves sits on a separate hill that is northeast of the main, better-known Burlington Cemetery. Ann died on May 7, 1857 at the Toombs farm, and she shares a headstone in the same cemetery with Thomas. Their tombstone there is clearly a recent replacement, but the original stone is believed to be in the possession of the Burlington Historical Society.

    children - TOOMBS

    Elizabeth Toombs (1818-1847) was born on Aug. 6, 1818 in Buckinghamshire, England, and came with her parents about 1830 to the United States. When she was 17-years old, she married 28-year old Heman Loomis (1807-1847) on Aug. 31, 1835 in New York, probably in Sangerfield in Oneida County, where her husband was from. Heman was the son of Alvin Loomis, who shared the same last name, and was distantly related to the notorious Loomis family gang of Nine Mile Swamp near Sangerfield*. With such violent and infamous relations, Heman possibly chose to move his family out of state to avoid being associated with the Loomis Gang and their crimes. Thus he and and Elizabeth in 1836 moved to Wisconsin, where they were among the first settlers of Foxville, a settlement that later came to be known as Burlington. They occupied 34 acres of land near the Fox River (Lot 4 in SE/4, SE/4 of Sec 4-T2N-R19E), just northwest of where Elizabeth's parents settled three years later. Heman and Elizabeth obtained patent (full ownership) to their plot on Dec. 10, 1840 after fulfilling the necessary requirements, then acquired a patent on Oct. 1, 1844 on another 80 acres (W/2 SW/4 Sec 3-T2N-R19E), adjacent to their original plot.

    Elizabeth and Heman had four children, all born on their Fox River farm; and though there is some dispute about it, their son Charles is said by some to be the first child born in Burlington. Elizabeth died in late 1847, possibly in September, in Burlington; and Heman died shortly thereafter on November 2 in the same town. Both are buried in the Old Burlington Cemetery, near where Elizabeth's parents, who survived them both, would later be buried. The U.S. Census of 1850 shows that after Elizabeth and Heman's passing three of their children - Charles, Charlotte and Mary - were living with Elizabeth's parents; and Caroline, their fourth child, was living with the family of Nathaniel Dickinson. Elizabeth and Heman's children are listed below.

    *Alvin Loomis (1778-1851) and George Washington Loomis (1779-1851), who is the patriarch and leader of the Loomis gang, are both descendants of the immigrant ancestor Joseph Loomis (d. 1658), who settled in 1639 in Windsor, Connecticut (Ref: Loomis, Elisha S., 1909, Descendants of Joseph Loomis in America, revised edition, p. 298 & 395). Interestingly, Alvin and George were both born in Hartford County, Connecticut, they were simmilar in age, and both arrived about 1802 in Sangerfield, New York. This makes it quite likely that people would have assumed a connection between Alvin's son Heman Loomis, and the sons of George Washington Loomis, who are better known as the Loomis Gang of the Nine Mile Swamp in Sangerfield,

    • Charles William Loomis (1838-1915) was born on May 1, 1838 in Burlington, Wisconsin; and he is said by some to be the first child born there. He married Hannah Brittain (1843-1915) on Dec. 27, 1865 in Honey Creek, Wisconsin; and they had a daughter Lottie Loomis (1866-1935), who married her cousin Seymour Hollister (1845-1916), the son of Asa Hollister and Sarah Toombs. Seymour with his brother-in-law Frannk Amos was co-owner of the Amos and Hollister Lumber Mill in Oshkosh Wisconsin, which at times employed over one-hundred men in a season, and processed eight to twelve million board feet of lumber. Charles died on Feb. 24, 1913 in Burlington; and Hannah died on July 21, 1926 in the same town. Both are buried in the Burlington Cemetery.

    • Caroline Louisa Loomis (1841-1909) was born March 22, 1841 in Burlington. She married Frank Amos (1840-1901) on Nov. 28, 1862 in Burlington. Frank had worked on her father's farm as a laborer, and he later operated the Amos and Hollister Lumber Mill in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which he co-owned with his brother-in-law Seymour Hollister (see above). Caroline and Frank had two daughters - Edith Florence Amos (1870-1949), who married John George Morris (1865-1935); and Ida Amos (b. c.1871). Edith has present-day descendants living in Wisconsin.

    • Charlotte L. Loomis (1844-1925) was born on April 6, 1844 in Burlington. Sometime after her parents died, she was adopted by the Remingtons - probably Benjamin (1817-1890) and Millie Remington (1823-1880) of Wheatland, Wisconsin. She married Alonzo S. Wortman (1841-1932) on Oct. 21, 1875 in Wheatland, under the name of Charlotte Loomis Remington. She died on Nov. 16, 1925 in Spring Prairie, Wisconsin, and is buried in Gilmanton in the Gilmanton Cemetery. Her husband Alonzo is buried in Burlington Cemetery. Charlotte and Alonzo had several children, including Benjamin Remington Wortman (1876-1952) and Charles Loomis Wortman (1882-1965).

    • Mary Loomis (b. 1846) was born on Sept. 3, 1846 in Burlington, Wisc. She married Amos Lee Earle (1850-1920) on Mar. 28, 1871 in Oshkosh, Wisc.; and they had four children - Wilbur, Lilly, Roy and Inez (Ina). She died on Nov. 24, 1931 at her daughter's house in Fort Collins, Colo.; and she is buried with her husband in the Riverside Cemetery in Oshkosh.

    Charles Loomis and wife Hannah Brittain. Charles is the father of Lottie Loomis to the right, and brother of Caroline Loomis to the far right. Seymour Hollister and wife Lottie Loomis. Seymour and his brother-in-law Frank Amos co-owned the Amos & Hollister Lumber Mill in Oshkosh. Frank Amos and wife Caroline Loomis. Frank and his brother-in-law Seymour Hollister co-owned the Amos & Hollister Lumber Mill in Oshkosh.

    Samuel Toombs (1820-1902) was born on Feb. 24, 1820 in Buckinghamshire, England, and emigrated with his parents about 1830 to New York State. He then came with them in 1839 to Burlington, Wisconsin, where they settled a farm near the Fox River. He married Artemesia Rose (1830-1919) in either April of 1849 or April of 1850 in Yorkville, Racine County, Wisconsin, where she had made her home with her brother Vincent Rose (1819-1879). Artemesia, who had been born on May 6, 1830 in Fort Montgomery, New York (near West Point), was the daughter of Reuben Carter Rose (1795-1875) and Charlotte Weyant (1799-1853), and her parents owned a farm in Orange County, New York that later became part of the West Point Military Academy, after Reuben had sold his land to the government.

    Samuel and his parents had originally homesteaded land in 1839 on the east bank of the Fox River, and about two miles southeast of Foxville (Burlington). Occupancy was the first step of acquiring land by homesteading, but to obtain actual title (patent) it was necessary to also improve the property and pay certain fees to the government. Samuel received sole title on Mar. 3, 1843 to a part of the Toombs farm comprising 153 acres in NW/4 of Section 10-T2N-R19E. He and his brother William on the same day also received a shared title to the adjacent lot to the south of 75 acres, in N/2, SW/4 of Section 10-T2N-R19E. It may have been necessary for the brothers to share title on the lot, as William would have been a minor when the family first occupied the homestead. A notice for the sale of this lot appeared on Dec. 4, 1854, when William and Samuel were together in California. Lastly their father in 1848 received patent to his contiguous plot in the SW/4, NE/4 of the same section. Samuel also took sole title on Sept. 10, 1844 to 40 acres in SE/4 NE/4 of Section 12-T2N-R19E, but this property was sold at some point, and the lot in 1887 was owned by J.S. Rogers. Samuel also sold off additional lots over the years, so that the 258-acre farm by 1887 was reduced to about 100-acres. The Toombs farm stayed in the family until sometime between 1905 and 1914 when Samuel's son Albert sold it to James Mangold. A 1914 picture survives of the two-story farmshouse that Albert Toombs lived in. The house is described as being on Highway 36, about 1/4 mile west of White River.

    The California Gold Rush of 1849 lured many Burlington settlers west, and Samuel followed his brother William to California in 1851-52 by taking the Isthmus of Panama route, bringing with him William's wife and baby daughter. They sailed first in the fall and winter of 1851 to the Atlantic Coast of the Isthmus of Panama, and crossed by land to the Pacific side. They then caught the Gold Hunter steamship at the port of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua on Dec. 9, 1851 for a 23-day voyage to San Francisco, stopping en route on Dec. 30 at San Diego, and landing on Jan. 2, 1852 at San Francisco. A long stage ride then brought them to William at Hangtown (Placerville). Samuel remained in the gold fields for seven years before returning to Wisconsin, said to be none the richer, where he lived out the rest of his life. Samuel died on Nov. 4, 1902 at the old Toombs farm, his death apparently brought on by a long period of feebleness, but hastened by a broken arm. Artemisia died on Feb. 24, 1919, after being bed-ridden for more than a year. Both are buried in the Burlington Cemetery, the modern one, and not the Old Burlington Cemetery where Samuel's parents lie. Samuel and Artemisia had the three children listed below.


    Samuel Toombs and wife Artemesia Rose
      The Toombs farmhouse about 1914 in Burlington, Wisconsin. All three of Samuel Toombs children were probably born here.
    • Sarah Adelaide Toombs (1851-1936) was born on Nov. 15, 1851, probably at the Toombs farm, in Burlington, Wisconsin; and married William K. Bushnell (1848-1940) on Nov. 20, 1870 in Burlington. William's father David Bushnell was one of the first settlers of Foxville (Burlington). Sarah died on Nov. 30, 1936 in Burlington, and was survived by Ida May Bushnell (1875-1966), her only surviving child. However, there may have been two other children - Charlie and Lois - who died young. Ida was born on Sept. 5, 1875 on the Bushnell farm; and died single on June 15, 1966 in the Burlington Nursing Home, having lived her entire life on the Bushnell farm. Ida from 1943-1948 wrote an Early History of the Toombs Family, possibly with the aid of a family bible containing birth and death dates. She was the last of the Toombs and Bushnell families to live in Burlington. When she died she donated the 78-acre family farm to the city of Burlington for a popular park that is now known as Bushnell Park. Sarah. William and Ida are all buried in the Burlington Cemetery.

    • Jerome Toombs (1852-1943) was born on Mar. 6, 1852, probably at the Toombs farm, in Burlington, Wisconsin, but he spent the first seven years of his life at his grandfather Reuben Rose's farm in West Point, New York, while his father Samuel was looking for gold in California. The family reunited when Samuel returned home after many years away, and they returned to Burlington to work the farm near the Fox River that Samuel inherited from his parents. Jerome left Wisconsin in 1878 and moved to Harrison County, Iowa, where he became a boarder at the farm of Orson Edmonds (1840-1903), after whom the town of Orson, Iowa is named. Orson and Jerome became partners in a grain and livestock business, and when Orson died in 1903, Jerome stayed on with Orson's widow Mary "Maggie" Burns (1847-1915) to run the business. He and Maggie then married on June 29, 1905, two years after Orson's passing. Maggie died on June 19, 1915, and Jerome continued on at the farm as before.

      Jerome became the main grain supplier for the Orson area, and when he made a trip back to Wisconsin just after Maggie's passing, his wife's niece, a widow named Mary "Mollie" Ethel Stockwell (1879-1977), came with her two children to look after the farm in Jerome's absence. However, Mollie and the kids decided to stay on when Jerome returned, and he and Mollie were married on Feb. 1, 1817, when they decided to make their arrangement permanent. Mollie's first husband was Winfield Scott Jones (1874-1909), whose mother Margaret was the sister of Jerome's first wife Maggie. Although Jerome never had children of his own, he raised Mollie's - Satt and Fields - as if they his. When he and Mollie in later years could no longer take care of the Edmond's place, they sold it, and moved on Sept. 10, 1943 to the Missouri Valley home of Jerome's stepdaughter Satt Mead. The move was hard on Jerome, as he had spent nearly 65 years on the farm. He died a few weeks later on Oct. 25, 1943, when he fell down a rise in front of Satt's house, hit his head on a curb, and fractured his skull. Although he died in Iowa, he is buried with his parents in Wisconsin in Burlington Cemetery, where his tombstone has a death date inscribed on it of Oct. 18, 1943, which is inconsistant with his obituary in a local Iowa newspaper. Both of his wives are buried in Little Sioux Cemetery in Little Sioux, Iowa.

    • Albert "Allie" Samuel Toombs (1863-1943) was born on Dec. 4, 1863, probably at the Toombs farm, in Burlington, Wisconsin; and married Isadora Florence Richards (1867-1930) on Dec. 31, 1887 in Burlington. He remained on the family farm after his siblings moved away, and inherited the farm in 1902 when his father died. He sold the farm sometime after 1905 to James Mangold and moved briefly to Lynn in adjacent Walworth County, where we find him and Isadora in the 1910 U.S. Census. He then moved in 1914 to Pompey's Pillar in Montana, where he died on Jan. 22, 1943 of a heart attack. His frozen body was found in the ranch house where he lived alone. He is buried with Isadora in Wisconsin in Burlington Cemetery. They had no children.

    William Toombs (1824-1892), who follows:

    Sarah Toombs (1827-1907) was born on Aug. 22, 1827 in Buckinghamshire, England, and came first to New York with her parents and then to Wisconsin. She was married at the age of 15 to Asa Hollister (1817-1890) on Nov. 20, 1842 in Burlington, Wisconsin, and they settled in 1845 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where Asa erected the second hotel in Winnebago County, and was in the lumber business. Later three of their sons - William (18431896), Seymour (18451916) and Guy (18671909) - took over the family lumber business and formed a partnership with Seymour's brother-in-law Frank Amos. Two other children were Anna (b. 1856), who died an infant, and Philip (b. 1859). Asa died in 1890 in Shawano, Wisconsin, while visiting his son William, and Sarah died on March 30, 1907 in Oshkosh. Both are buried in Oshkosh with their sons Phillip and Guy in the Riverside Catholic Cemetery.


    Asa Hollister and wife Sarah Toombs
    Aurelia (Aurillia) Toombs (1830-1880) was born on Aug. 13, 1830, probably in Buckinghamshire, England, came to the United states as an infant, and was married at the age of 16 to John W. Edmonds (c.1818-1883) on Jan. 1, 1847 in Burlington. John was the first wagonmaker of Burlington, and possibly the brother or a relative of Henry Edmonds, who was the first blacksmith. Aurelia and John had two sons - Clark (b. c.1848) and James (1850-1921). She died on Feb 8, 1880 in Burlington, and she is buried with John in the main Burlington Cemetery.


  2. William Toombs (1824-1892), the son of Ann Willis and Thomas Toombs, was born on Jan. 31, 1824 in Buckinghamshire, England, probably either in Stony Stratford, where his parents had been married, or in the neighboring towns of Potterspury or Deanshanger, where Toombs is a common family name. However, no baptism record for him is known. He then sailed in about 1830 as a boy with his family to New York, settling there for several years in Oneida County, where they may have had encounters with a notorious band of criminals known as the "Loomis Gang".

    William and his family after a few years moved again, this time to Racine County in the Wisconsin Territory, where they settled in June of 1839 in the pioneer town of Foxville, which was later renamed to Burlington. They followed in the footsteps of William's older sister Elizabeth, who had married a man named Heman Loomis, a distant relative of the Loomis Gang, and come to Foxville some three years before. William's father Thomas subsequently homesteaded near Heman and Elizabeth's farm on portions of Section 10-T2N-R19E, which was south of Foxville, and on the east bank of the Fox River. Next William and his brother Samuel on March 3, 1843 acquired a patent as co-owners of a 75-acre plot in N/2 SW/4 Sec 10-2N-19E, possibly because William was underage when the family first occupied the land. Samuel at the same time acquired his own a patent for a 153-acre lot to the north, and their father in 1848 acquired a patent on a 40-acre lot to the NE of William's. All of these lots were in Section 10, and contiguous to each other.

    William married Frances Maria Smith on Aug. 17, 1846 in the village of Dover, which is located in Racine County on the north shore of Eagle Lake, about seven miles east of the Toombs farms, and about 18 miles west of the county capital at the town of Racine. They were married by Thomas J. Emerson (1815-1909), who was probably one of several Justices of the Peace for Racine County, as his main occupation at the time was that of a lawyer at the county courthouse. However, Emerson had also attended a seminary for two years in Maine before beginning his legal training. Although the Toomb's wedding took place in 1846, the marriage was not formally recorded until Aug. 26, 1847, when it was entered on Line 680, page 72-3, volume 1 of the Racine County register. Hence the latter date appears in some documents as their marriage date. We have also seen the dates of of Aug. 24, 1847, and Aug. 27, 1947 given in a couple of sources, but these are most likely transcription errors.

    William's wife Frances had been born in New York on Sept. 25 (or 24), 1825, and she came with her brother and widowed mother Nancy Smith (neé Drake), in the late 1830s or early 1840s, to settle in Burlington. Here Frances had a maternal aunt, Frances McCumber (neé Drake), who was married to Capt. Francis McCumber - a ships captain who very likely had sailed the Toombs family across the Great Lakes from New York to Burlington. The McCumber farm was just a mile of so west of the Toombs farms, so Frances Smith may have been a neighbor. William and Frances a couple years after their marriage welcomed a baby daughter named Ellen, who was born in April of 1849, probably on one of the Toombs farms.

    Although he owned land and had just become a father, William left his farm and family in 1849 to join the California Gold Rush. He is said to have traveled west with a company of men from Racine County, who brought only a light wagon for their provisions. His companions included Antony Meinhardt (1839-1891), Samuel Cooper, and a man known to us only as Mr. Courier. They arrived in El Dorado County, California in January of 1850 after a journey of several months, which was said to be a much faster crossing of the plains than most. They settled in for the winter at the notorious mining settlement of "Hangtown", which later acquired the more respectable name of Placerville. William and Mr. Courier never returned back home, and we do not know what became of Samuel Cooper. As for Antony Meinhardt, he stayed six years in the gold country, meeting with a moderate share of success by one account, before returning home in 1856 to Burlington, where he went on to become a prominent banker.

    William in the midsummer of 1850 was caught up in the El Dorado Indian War, which began when Indians were accused of murdering a miner, and an 800-man militia was recruited by Sheriff Uncle Billy Rogers to subdue the "savages". The Hangtown militia camped out at Jack "Cockeyed" Johnson's trading post at Johnson's Ranch at Six-Mile House, which was near modern Camino about six miles out of Hangtown, and on the Johnson's Cut-off trail to Carson Valley, Nevada. Plenty of gold dust flowed into Johnson's coffers at the trading post, but little else was accomplished except for a few patrols that made forays into the hills, but found no Indians. Wisely, the Indians hid in the high country, and waited until the following Spring when the militia disbanded, before descending on Diamond Springs, downstream from Six-Mile House, to raid a few cabins.

    The war started anew in May of 1851 when William was with a group of prospectors on the Consumnes River, not far from Diamond Springs, panning and sluicing for gold along a stretch of the river between the Wisconsin Bar and the Middle Fork. One night after William and his partners - who included Davidson, Morris, Esterbrook, Kerkuf and Wade - had just bedded down, when they were attacked by Indians. Wade was killed in the ambush, but the rest escaped by running across the river on fallen logs, and making their way in the darkness to Johnson's trading post. A new militia was hastily assembled at the gold camp, and engaged the Indians in a few brief skirmishes. William's daughter Mary Swansborough writes that, "his partner, Mr. Courier, who crossed the plains with him [and Antony Meinhardt] was killed," but she might also be confusing Mr. Courier with the aforementioned Mr. Wade. Several Indians were killed as well, but things quited down after a few days, and the militia disbanded for good. (There is an article on the Placerville Indian War in the Oakland Tribune, Aug. 17, 1947)

    William continued prospecting and became known to his peers as "Honest Billie", due to his trustworthy nature. In fact, it is said that miners often trusted him with their gold dust. His grandaughter Mary Toombs Carty also remembers stories from her father about how Honest Billie played the fiddle and would entertain at dances and gatherings. A picture of Honest Billy smoking his pipe and looking very much the pleasant fellow, probably taken sometime in the late 1880s or early 1890s, is shown on the left.

    Deciding to make Hangtown his home, Honest Billy brought his wife Frances and 2-year old daughter Ellen out to join him in 1852 - their arrival apparently causing quite a stir among the miners when their stagecoach rolled into town. They came with William's older brother Samuel, who made the journey in 1852 by ship, with a land crossing of the Isthmus of Panama to change from a ship on the Atlantic side to one on the Pacific side. Their ship, which was a 172-ft long wooden side-wheel steamer named the Gold Hunter, arrived in San Francisco on Jan. 2, 1852, after a 23-day voyage from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Samuel stayed for several years, before going back home to his wife and children in Wisconsin.

    The family settled first in the "Coon Hollow" mining camp, on the southeast side of Placerville, then moved about six miles north in 1861 to White Rock Canyon, on the South Fork of the American River (Ref: Mary Swansborough Family History). Next William in 1866 bought from Alfred Briggs the old Wooster Ranch (Ref: Placerville Mountain Democrat, Oct. 5, 1977), which was probably an 80-acre tract at White Rock first settled by William Wooster (d. 1857). William added 160 acres more to this, when he was awarded a Federal Patent (full ownership) on Sept. 13, 1876, with Peter Nimon as the grantee, and William as Nimon's assignee (Land Office Doc ID #1127). Later, he received patent on Feb. 10, 1881 to another 80 acres (Doc ID #97076). These plots are in the w/2 of Sec. 34, T11N-R11E, and much of this land today is part of the vineyards of the Lava Cap Winery, which is located near the intersection of Fruitridge and Hassler Roads.

    William probably panned and sluiced for gold in his early days like most 49ers, but the pickings were slim, and he eventually turned to mining. He no doubt worked several claims over his career, but he eventually owned the Thistle Placer Mine, in the SE/4 of Sec 33-T11N-R11E, just west of his White Rock Canyon home. He and four partners, one of whom was his son-in-law Michael Sexton, were awarded a patent (full ownership) on Sept. 23, 1876 to the 110-acre claim (Land Office Doc ID #1960). This mine was probably a shaft that pierced through a "lava cap" of tuff and pyroclastic breccia covering the area. Hidden beneath this cap is the western edge of an ancient gold-bearing river channnel known as the Deep Blue Lead. William would have had to dig down with his shaft to where the gold-bearing gravels of the Deep Blue, which are known as "placers", sat right on top of the bedrock - one of the best places to find gold. Several 1885 California mining publications state that "the Toombs placer mine, located north of the Ward and Lowes [Mine], is being worked successfully." The family in 1905 still owned the mine when we read that "the Toombs boys property at White Rock has been bonded for $15,000 to C.E. Seymour."

    William's mother-in-law Nancy Smith journeyed out from Wisconsin to join the rest of the family in Placerville sometime prior to the 1870 census, and probably just after the 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad. Grandma Smith lived with the family for several years, and died on Dec. 29, 1879 in White Rock Canyon. She is buried with the rest of the family in the old Union Cemetery in Placerville.

    William "Honest Billy" Toombs died on April 8, 1892 in White Rock, and Francis died on April 10, just two days later. Both probably died from the flu. Rector Charles Caleb Peirce (1825-1903) and Rev. James Young performed the funeral service. Although William's obituary notes that he was a member of Peirce's Episcopal Church of Our Savior, it also notes that he seldom attended Sunday services. Nonetheless, Rev. Peirce between 1869 and 1890 married at least four of the Toombs children - Ellen, Sarah, Mary and Charles. Only William Louis Toombs appears to have married elsewhere. Frances Toombs, who apparently had been a Presbyterian in Wisconsin, attended Rev. Young's M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) church. Both William and Frances are buried in the old Union Cemetery in Placerville, in the part of the cemetery set aside for members of Morning Star Lodge No. 20 of the I.O.O.F. (Oddfellows) Fraternal Order.


    Placerville about 1851, shortly after
    William Toombs arrival there.

    William Toombs and wife Frances Maria Smith

    San Francisco about 1851, just before
    Frances Toombs arrival there by ship.
    • children - TOOMBS

    • Ellen Julia Toombs (1848-1883) was born on March 31, 1848 in Burlington, Wisconsin, and arrived with her mother in Placerville in January of 1852 by stage coach, with her uncle Samuel Toombs as their escort. She married James Lotan Forbes (1848-1918) on July 2, 1876 in White Rock, with Rector Charles Caleb Peirce, the Episcopal minister of the Church of Our Savior officiating. She became a schoolteacher and taught for ten years in El Dorado County. She died on Nov. 19, 1883 in Sacramento, and is buried in the Placerville Union Cemetery. Her husband survived her and died on June 10, 1918 in Sacramento, where he is buried in the Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery. Ellen and James had at least two children:

      • Gertrude Mae Forbes (1878-1918) was born in Deccember 1878, most likely in Sacramento. She married her first husband Nathaniel A. Lash on June 14, 1903 in Sacramento County, and they had a daughter named Marian Eleanor Lash (1906-1970), who was on born on Jan. 23, 1906 in Sacramento County. All that is known about Mr. Lash is that he worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad for a few months in 1903 and 1904, and that he is listed with a birthdate of December 4, 1874 on the company records. Lash either died, or he and Gertrude divorced sometime before the 1910 U.S. Census, when she appears with Emmett Hollingworth (1873-1942) as her second husband. She and Emmett had two sons, Forbes Emmett Hollingsworth (1911-1971) and Howard H. Hollingsworth (1914-1971). Gertude died on Oct. 31, 1918, and she is buried with her husband in the Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery in Sacramento. Gertrude's daughter Marian Lash eventually changed her name to Marian Hollingsworth, married Dr. James Thom of Ormsby, Nevada (she was his second wife), and had at least three children of her own with him. She is buried with her mother in the Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery.

      • Curtis Gilbert Forbes (1881-1948) was born Sept. 16, 1881, probably in Sacramento. He served in World War I, and was wounded. He married his first wife Bertha Emily Morabe on June 24, 1905 in El Dorado County, and divorced her about 1920, afterwhich he married his second wife Lillian Higgins (1878-1947). Curtis died on June 29, 1948 in Sacramento, and is buried with Lillian in the Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery. An interesting side note is that Curtis was employed for a time at the Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery and Mausoleum where he and many members of his immediate family are buried.

    • Sarah Frances Toombs (1852-1944) was born on Nov. 9, 1852 in Placerville. When she was just seventeen years old she married an Irishman named Michael Sexton (c.1841-1904) on Oct. 19, 1869 near Placerville (probably at White Rock), with Rector Charles Caleb Peirce, the Episcopal minister of the Church of Our Savior officiating. Michael before their marriage had enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army on Oct. 11, 1864 in Placerville, and was assigned to the newly created 7th Regiment, which fought during the Civil War against Apache Indians in Arizona Territory. He was posted to Fort Mason on the Santa Cruz River, and mustered out on June 28, 1866, when the regiment disbanded at the San Francisco Presidio. He worked after the war at various odd jobs, including ditch agent and brick layer, and retired in 1893 with a pension as a Civil War Veteran. He was buried with a military headstone on Feb. 24, 1904 in the Placerville Union Cemetery. Sarah lived off his pension after his death, in a house on Cedar Ravine Road in Placerville that she shared from about 1909 to 1923 with her sister Mary Swansborough and Mary's husband Thomas. Sarah died almost forty years years after her husband on Nov. 5, 1944 in Placerville, where she is buried with him in the same cemetery. Sarah and Michael had the four children, who are listed below.

      • Mary Ellen (Nellie) Sexton (1870-1950) was born July 23, 1870 at Reservoir Hill in Placerville. She married Harrison Laurence Mcbeth (1869-1945) on June 1, 1893 in El Dorado County, Harrison's father Robert MacBeath (1822-1911) having been born in Scotland, and simplifying his surname to Mcbeth when he became a U.S. Citizen on May 10, 1858 in Placerville. Nellie and Harrison had the three sons who are listed below. Nellie's husband Harrison, who was born on Feb. 15, 1869 in Webber Creek, El Dorado County, died on Sept. 19, 1945 in Placerville; and Nellie died on April 18, 1950 in a rest home in Sacramento. Both are buried in the Placerville Union Cemetery.

        • Harrison Laurence Mcbeth, Jr. (1895-1975), who went by the name Lawrence Macbeth, was born Jan. 1, 1895 in Placerville. Originally the family name was spelled in Scotland as MacBeath, but various members spelled it MacBeath, Macbeth or Mcbeth - Harrison, Jr. and his brother Roy choosing the spelling of Macbeth. He served in Europe during WWI and married Irene Virginia Maciel (1902-1987), in a double wedding with his brother William, the wedding taking place on May 7, 1921 at Sarah Sexton's house in Placerville. Lawrence and Irene moved to Roseville, California, where he worked for the Post Office. They had only one child, Evelyn Bernice MacBeth (1922-2005), but they also took care of their niece Helen May Mcbeth (1922-2003) for awhile, after Helen's parents separated. Mary Toombs Swansborough (see below) was very close to her little nieces Evelyn and Helen, and she wrote a family history for them. Irene, whose parents had emigrated to the United States from the Azores Islands, was very interested in the Toombs family history, and she wrote a short history of her own - Notes by Irene MacBeth - that compliments Mary's history. Irene's husband Harrison died on Aug. 11, 1975 in Placerville, and she died on June 17, 1987 in nearby Auburn. Both are buried in the Roseville Public Cemetery.

          • Evelyn Bernice MacBeth (1922-2005) was born on Feb. 16, 1922, probably in Placerville. She had three husbands - Rex Warren Deal (1921-1994), whom she married on Aug. 23, 1942 in Lake County, California and with whom she had a daughter Bernice Marlene Deal (b. 1943); Eugene Grover Risgby (1919-1995), the father of her second daughter Nancy Rigsby (b. 1947); and William Frink (1918-1963), the father of her third daughter Nanette Frink (b. 1958). She died on Sep. 25, 2005, probably in Roseville, and she is buried with William Frink in the Roseville Public Cemetery

        • William Robert McBeth (1897-1971) was born on May 5, 1896 in Placerville, California. He served as a U.S. Marine in Asia during WWI, but saw no fighting. He later married Etta Mae Danielson (1897-1971) in a double wedding with his brother on May 7, 1921, at the Placerville home of his sister-in-law Sarah Sexton. William and Etta Mae next resided in Curry County, Oregon during the 1930 U.S. Census. However, they separated at some point, and their daughter Helen went to stay with Laurence and Irene MacBeth, whereas the evidence seems to indicate that Robert stayed with William. Etta Mae and William eventually divorced, afterwhich William married Elizabeth Olive Raymond (1893-1990) about 1935, and moved to Gold Beach, Oregon. He died on May 19, 1971 in Placer County, California, and he and is buried with Elizabeth in the Roseville Public cemetery.

          • Helen May McBeth (1922-2003) was born on March 26, 1922 in Placerville, and married her first husband Alfred T. Slawson (1899-1973) on Dec. 13, 1945 in Spokane, Washington. They divorced on July 31, 1956 in Shoshone County, Idaho. She then married her second husband Milo Leo McCurdy (1922-2008) on May 17, 1958 in Reno, Nevada. She died on April 30, 2003 in Roseville, California, and is buried with Milo in Restlawn Memorial Gardens in Pocatello, Idaho.

          • Robert Leroy McBeth (1927-2017) was born on April 3, 1927 in Eureka, California, and moved with his parents to Curry County, Oregon. When his parents divorced, he appears to have remained with his father in Oregon, as he shows a Curry County, Oregon address when enlisted, near the end of WWII, on June 27, 1945, in the military at Fort Lewis in Washington. He later married Beverly Rose Moon (b. 1929) on April 6, 1947 in Gold Beach, Oregon, and they had three children - Helen (b. 1949), Robert (1950-2019) and Stephen (1962-1976) - before they divorced. He died on Dec. 1, 2017, probably in Sacramento, and is buried in the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, California.

        • Roy Earl MacBeth (1901-1970) was born on Jan. 9, 1901 in Placerville, and married Mildred Arlynne Goldsberry (1907-1999). He died on Feb. 17, 1970 in Placer County, California, probably in Roseville, and is buried with Mildred in the Roseville Public Cemetery.

      • Frances M. Sexton (1872-1874), was born June 15, 1872 in Placerville, and died July 4, 1874, when she was two years old. She is buried in the Placerville Union Cemetery in the same grave as her grandparents William and Frances Toombs.

      • William T. Sexton (1874-1937) was born on June 15, 1874 in Placerville, California. He served during WWI in the 505th Aero Squadron, where he was a mustard gas victim, but survived the attack. He died without issue on Jan. 1, 1937 in San Mateo County, California, and is buried in the Placerville Union Cemetery.

      • Herbert L. Sexton (1875-1915) was born June 12, 1875 at White Rock Canyon in Placerville, California, and married Frances "Fannie" B. Peyton (1878-1961) of Decatur, Ohio on Nov. 29th, 1910 in Amador County, California. They moved to Roseville, California, where they owned the Puritan Candy Store. He died on Aug. 28, 1915 at his mother's home in Placerville, and is buried with other members of his family in the Placerville Union Cemetery. Fannie continued to operate the candy store for a few years after Herbert's death, but she eventually sold the business and moved to Sacramento. She died on June 7, 1962 in Sacramento County, and she is buried in East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento.

    • Mary Loomis Toombs (1855-1941) was born on Feb. 11, 1855 at Texas Hill, a mining camp near Placerville. Then in 1861 her family moved to White Rock Canyon, near to where her father had a gold mine. She grew up here, and married a gold miner named Thomas Swansborough, Jr (1852-1936) on July 4, 1880 in White Rock, with Rector Charles Caleb Peirce, the Episcopal minister of the Church of Our Savior of Placerville officiating.

      Mary's husband Tom was the son of Thomas Swansborough, Sr, an English coal miner who came with his wife and oldest child in 1846 from Wales to Pennsylvania, then later to Ohio. The elder Thomas was in Placerville in 1851, during the California Gold Rush, but returned to Ohio, where Tom Junior was born. Then he permanently moved his family in December of 1855 to Placerville, where Tom Junior grew up to become a gravel (placer) miner, known for his expertise in hydraulic mining. Tom Junior spent most of his mining career in Placerville, but he did work around 1900 in Playa Rica in the Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador supervising a placer mine for the Playa De Oro Mining Company. Later he also worked at a mine in Whatcom County, Washington, near the Canadian border.

      Tragically Tom lost his left leg below the knee in February 1908 in an ore cart accident, forcing him to retire from mining. He was fitted in 1909 with an artifical limb, and tried running the Round Tent Livery Stable in Placerville until 1910, but sold this business when he found the work to be too much for him. Then he and Mary bought the Candy Kitchen, a Placerville shop that had been owned in 1896 by Mary's cousin Joe Hassler. They made and sold candy here in the Fairchild Pharmacy Building at 433 Main Street from 1910 until 1914, when they sold the store to the man who started the business before Joe Hassler bought it. Then on Nov. 1, 1916 they bought from the widow of the previous proprietor the nearby Arcade Bakery, in the I.O.O.F. building at 467 Main Street, where they sold baked goods and made candy until about 1920, when they sold this business also.

      When Mary and Tom ran the Candy Kitchen and Arcade Bakery, they lived with Mary's sister Sarah Sexton on Cedar Ravine Road, a block or two off Main Street in Placerville. Then they moved about about 1923 to Lower Echo Lake, several miles east of town, where Tom was a caretaker for the Western States Gas & Electric Company, and ran a water taxi to ferry folks across the lake (Echo Summit, 2014 by DeWitt & De Mare, p. 67, 72 & 75). When Western States was sold in 1927 to PG&E, Tom retired, and moved with Mary to Mosquito on the old Placerville-Pino Grande Road (modern Mosquito Road), where they lived in the old "Swansborough House" that one of Tom's brothers bought in 1905 from the Dickenson Family. This place, which used to be across the road from the Mosquito Post Office, was rebuilt by the Swansboroughs in 1926, a couple of years after the original home burned down. Today it is in the "Swansboro subdivision" of Mosquito, just south of Dyer Lake at the intersection of Mosquito and Rock Creek Roads (see "Mosquito Memories" by Lois Pearson).

      The Placerville Mountain Democrat ran an article in 1930 on the Swansboroughs when they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a party in Roseville hosted by their nephews Harrison, William and Roy McBeth. The photo above and right shows the couple that same year. Although the records show that Tom died on May 11, 1936 in Placerville, and Mary died there on June 9, 1941, it is more likely that they passed away at the old Swansborough House in Mosquito. Both are buried in the Swansborough Family Plot in the Uppertown Cemetery, on a hill overlooking Placerville. Mary and Tom never had children, but they were very close to their nieces Evelyn and Helen McBeth (both born in 1922), and much of the information contained in this family history was collected by Mary shortly before her death and written down in a narrative titled "The History of Evelyn's and Helen's Maternal Grandmothers.

    • William Louis Toombs (1856-1938), who follows:

    • Charles Gilbert Toombs (1863-1934) was born on March 27, 1863 in Placerville. He married Caroline (Carrie) Josephine Rodemark (1868-1934) on Nov. 11, 1890 in Placerville, with Rector Charles Caleb Peirce, the Episcopal minister of the Church of Our Savior officiating. Caroline, who was born in California on April 9, 1868, was the daughter of a german gold miner named Albert, and his wife Emma. Charles and Caroline had one son, who is listed below. Charles died in Placerville on Dec. 8, 1934, where he is buried in the old Union Cemetery next to his brother William. Caroline died on July 4, 1944 and is buried in a different part of the same cemetery.

      • Albert William Toombs, Sr. (1892-1978) was born on April 10, 1892 in Placerville, and he grew up as an only child. His cousin Mary Toombs (b. 1896) recounted that because Albert used to tease her when they were little, she didn't like him, and she later scratched him out of one of the childhood photographs that we have of her. Albert joined the army in 1918 and served during WWI in the home guard. He then married Suzanne (Susie) Mary Revaz on Oct. 2, 1922 in Placerville, Susie having been born on May 15, 1902 in Leadville, Colorado to Swiss-French parents from the village of Salvan in the Swiss canton of Valais.

        Albert inherited from his father Charles half of the White Rock Ranch that his grandparents had homesteaded. However, he lost it during the Depression in a poker game in one of the Placerville bars. His cousin Frank Toombs inherited the other half of the Toombs Ranch from his father William Louis Toombs. Albert worked at some point in the 1930s for the State as a cook at the Preston School of Industry in Ione, and later he worked at Agnews State Hospital in San Jose. He died on March 11, 1978 in Placerville, and Susie died on Aug. 4, 1985 in Sacramento. Both are buried in the Placerville Union Cemetery.

        • Doris Mary Toombs (1923-2003) was born Oct. 15, 1923 in Placerville; and married Leonard J. Zimmerman (1916-1993) on Oct. 28, 1945 in Placerville. She died on April 15, 2003 in Placerville.

        • Albert Charles Toombs, Jr. (1925-2014) was born on Feb. 9, 1925 in Placerville. He served as a corporal in the U.S. Army during World War II, and saw duty overseas in Europe, where he was shot twice before being captured and held as a POW for almost 10 months, until being freed at the end of the war. He then married Joyce Colleen Irwin less than three years later on June 20, 1948 in El Dorado County, and they soon moved to New Mexico, where they generally resided in Carlsbad and Las Cruces. He died on June 6, 2014 in Las Cruces, and is buried in Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.

          • Michael Albert Toombs (1949-2017) was born on April 5, 1949 in Placerville, and married Brenda Ann Brandon (1949-2021), with whom he had daughters Shannon Nicole Toombs (b. 1973) and Tammy Lynn Toombs (1975-1895), before he and Brenda separated. There is also a son named Tony Toombs (b. c.1968), from either this or a previous relationship. He married Glenda Yvonne Davis (b. 1947) on July 2, 1983 - Glenda having previously been married to a man named Culver. Michael died on Feb. 3, 2017 in Alabama, probably in Fort Payne where he lived; and he is buried in the Wesley's Chapel Cemetery, which is near Fort Payne.

          • Chere Colleen Toombs (1950-1985) was born Feb. 10, 1950 in Placerville. She married Matias Constancio on Jan. 16, 1968 in Las Vega, Nevada, and divorced him in Sept. 1969 in Yolo County. She died on Jan. 1, 1985 in Sacramento County and is buried in Mount Vernon Memorial Park in Fair Oaks.

        • Alice Lois Toombs (1927-2022) was born on Jan. 5, 1927 in Placerville. She married Lynn Nelson Talbott (1925-1988) on Nov. 17, 1946 in El Dorado County, and moved to Sacramento, California. She lived for many years in Placerville, where she has an adopted daughter named Candace (Candy) Fay Talbott (b. Sept. 24, 1956), who married married Ronald Joseph Revaz (b. May 15, 1956) on March 24, 1979 in Sacramento, Ronald being a grandson of Alexis Joseph Revaz (1905-1991), the younger brother of the Susie Revaz (1902-1985) above. Alice died on May 16, 2022 in Placerville.

        • Lois Adaine Toombs (1928-2020) was born on Oct. 16, 1928 in Placerville. She married James Thomas Lawson (1926-1972) in 1946, probably in Placerville, California, and they lived nearby in Diamond Springs. Her companion of 32 years, after James died, was Robert Walters (1931-2004), who also predeceased her. Lois died on Nov. 18, 2020 in Platte Woods, Missouri; but she is buried with Robert in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Diamond Springs.

          • Sharon Lee Lawson was born on June 9, 1947 in Placerville. She married a man named Munoz and moved to Kansas City, Missouri.

          • Susan Carol Lawson (1953-1953) was born Dec. 24, 1953 in Placerville and died a few days later on Dec. 31. She is buried in the Placerville Union Cemetery in the same grave as her grandparents Albert and Susie.

          • Vicki Sue Lawson (1954-1954) was born Dec. 12, 1954 in Placerville with twin sister Linda, but Vicki died the next day, and Linda survived. Vicki is buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Diamond Springs.

          • Linda Kay Lawson was born Dec. 12, 1954 in Placerville with her twin sister Vicki. She married a man named Pickard and is living in Diamond Springs.

          • Diana Lin Lawson was born Oct. 31, 1956 in Placerville. She married Kenneth Eugene Caudle on Dec. 24, 1977 in Virginia City, Nevada and lives in Rescue (El Dorado County).

          • Kimberly Sue Lawson was born Aug. 13, 1973 in Placerville. She married a man named Vernon and is living in Diamond Springs.

        • Gladys Elaine Toombs (1935-1975) was born on July 5, 1935 in Placerville, and married Daryl Allen McClusky (b. 1936) on June 19, 1955 in El Dorado County, California. She generally lived in Carmichael (Sacramento County), California, and died on Feb. 8, 1975 in Sacramento County. She is buried in Mount Vernon Memorial Park in Fair Oaks (Sacramento County). Daryl has since remarried and lives in Redondo Beach, California. Gladys and Daryl had two sons - Craig Allen McClusky (b. 1956) and James Allen McClusky (b. 1959).


  3. William Louis Toombs (1857-1938), the son of William Toombs and Francis Maria Smith, was born on Jan. 27, 1857 in Placerville, California. He married a girl named Mary Agatha Hassler (1857-1933), from the neighboring ranch, on April 24, 1879 in Placerville, probably at St. Patrick's Catholic Church on Sacramento Street, where at least four of their children were later baptized. Mary had been born in Baden, Germany in the town of Donaueschingen, and after the premature death of Mary's father her mother decided to seek her fortune elsewhere, and sailed with her children around the Cape of Good Hope to settle in 1868 in Placerville.

    Mary and William raised a family of six children at the Toombs ranch in White Rock Canyon, seven miles north of town. William ultimately inherited from his father the eastern half of the family homestead, the western half going to William's brother Charles. However, Mary desired a better setting in which to raise their family, so she and William left Placerville in April of 1902 and moved with the five younger children to Alameda, with the oldest boy Frank staying behind in Placerville to run their half of the Toombs Ranch. Mary and William then entered into a partnership in Alameda with Mary's unmarried younger brother Joe Hassler, probably in a grocery store near the corner of Railroad Avenue (now Lincoln Avenue) and Webster Street. It seems likely that William and Joe bought the store from Joe's former employer Dora Shead. Evidently, William must have preferred the life of a miner to that of a storekeeper, as he returned in September of 1907 to Placerville, and appears to have stayed there for the rest of his days. Mary and the children remained in Alameda to run the store, and later during the Depression she and Joe ran a boarding house as well, with Joe living at times in the house next door, and at other times in a separate building with a studio in the back yard of Mary's house.

    William continued to eke out a living at the White Rock Canyon ranch panning the same gold streams that his father, Honest Billy, had worked since the Gold Rush. Although William eventually sold most of his share of the ranch to his oldest son Frank, he did retain a few acres on Hassler Road that was known as White Oak Flats, where he continued panning for gold, working a mine tunnel next to his cabin, and raising strawberries on the flats below for a cash crop. He deeded to Mary in 1911 one-quarter of the mining interest in his land, but she died on July 31, 1933 in Oakland, probably none the richer from her share of the property. William also appears to have inherited in 1936 another 27 acres in White Rock Canyon from his brother-on-law Thomas Swansborough, but a lien was placed against the property the next year for back taxes owed to the county, and William probably lost the Swansborough lot as a consequence. He spent several months in the early part of 1938 in the Placerville hospital as a county-supported invalid, and passed away there on May 2, 1938 from an "acute coronary occlusion". He is buried in the old Placerville Union Cemetery next to his brother Charles.

    William Louis Toombs and Mary Agatha Hassler


    children - TOOMBS (all born in Placerville)

    Charles Francis (Frank) Toombs (1881-1969) was born on April 26, 1881 on the Toombs homestead in Placerville, and baptized in St. Patrick's Catholic Church on Sacramento Street in Placerville (p. 214 of the church register). When his mother moved the rest of the family to Alameda around the turn of the century, Frank remained in Placerville with his father, and later married Mabel Marian (Maybelle) Larsen on May 27, 1907 in the Camino district of Placerville with Edward E. Clark officiating, Frank's new wife being an aspiring painter.

    Frank's father had inherited half of the Toombs Ranch in White Rock Canyon, and Frank's uncle Charles Gilbert Toombs inherited the other half, which passed in 1934 to Frank's cousin Albert Toombs. Frank eventually purchased from his father most of his father's inheritance, with the elder Toombs retaining three or so acres at White Oak Flat on the north end of the property. Because Frank's cousin Albert was set to inherit the original Toomb's home on the family homestead, Frank and Maybelle in 1929 built their own home, a Spanish-style house on a hill in the northeast part of the ranch that looked out over the old homestead. They planted a pear orchard close to the old house, and Frank became one of the most successful fruit growers in El Dorado County. One of his signs for the ranch is shown on the right - it hangs today in an office of the Lava Cap Winery that now owns a large portion of the old Toombs homestead. When Frank retired in 1952, he and Maybelle moved to Carmel, California, where they lived for twelve years, returning in 1964 to Placerville, where Frank died on April 14, 1969.

    Frank's wife Maybelle had been born on August 25, 1887 in Camino, on the east side of Placerville, and she was a descendant of the pioneer Larsen family of Placerville. She was also a self-taught painter, well-known in Placerville and Carmel, who painted floral settings in oil, and signed as Maybelle Toombs. She was also an active member while in Carmel of the Carmel Art Association. She is remembered today through a scholarship fund set up in her name that the Art Department at the University of California in Berkeley administers. She died on November 15, 1972 in Placerville, and she and Frank are buried in the East Lawn Cemetery in Sacramento. They left no children.

    Coral I. (Cora) Toombs (1882-1883) was born on April 21, 1882 and died at the age of one on June 6, 1883 in Placerville, where she is buried in the Placerville Union Cemetery.

    Agnes Eleanor Toombs (1883-1968) was born on Sept. 24, 1883 in Placerville, and baptized in St. Patrick's Catholic Church on Sacramento Street in Placerville (p. 214 of the church register). She moved with her mother and younger siblings to Alameda around 1900, while her older brother remained in Placerville. Although She married John Harvey Spence (1880-1958) of Canada, a building contractor and carpenter, on Feb. 22, 1909 in Alameda, the San Francisco Call on Feb. 24, 1909 (p. 11) ran an announcement that implies that their marriage license was issued on Feb. 23 in San Francisco. They lived initially in Alameda, but later moved to Danville, California where they remained for many years, before retiring to San Jose. John, who been born on April 30, 1880 in Spence Settlement, New Brunswick, Canada, died on April 3, 1958 in Oakland, California. Agnes remained in San Jose in a home next to her daughter Caroline Hansen, until she was moved just before her death to a Christian Science Sanitarium in San Francisco. She died on July 1, 1968 at the sanitarium, and her ashes are interred at the Chapel of the Chimes Mausoleum in Oakland, the same mausoleum where her mother's ashes are stored. Agnes and John had three daughters.

    • Bernice Eleanor Spence (1910-1977) was born on July 6, 1910, probably in Alameda; and married Charles Roscoe Hansen (1906-1989) on Dec. 15, 1935 in Berkeley (Alameda County). She died on Sept. 4, 1977 in San Francisco County. Bernice and Charles had two children.

      • Robert William Hansen (1937-2008) was born on May 15, 1937 in Santa Clara County; and married Nancy Voltmer on Aug. 1, 1959 in Santa Clara County. He died June 6, 2008 in San Jose. Robert and Nancy had two children - James and Jeffrey Hansen.

      • Caroline Agnes Hansen (b. 1943) was born on July 20, 1943 in Santa Clara County. She married Charles "Chuck" Clifton on July 13, 1963 in Santa Clara County, and had two children, Kenneth and Charlene Clifton. Their daughter Charlene married John Nieto, with whom she has two children, Allan Nieto and Jessica Nieto.

    • Grace Spence (1912-1928) was born on Nov. 18, 1912 in Alameda; and died on July 26, 1928 in Contra Costa County of appendicitis.

    • Phyllis Spence (1915-1988) was born August 3, 1915 in Alameda; and married James Howard Parish on July 1, 1938 in Berkeley (Alameda County). She died on Nov. 11, 1988 in Tulare County. They had two children.

      • Douglas Spence (1941-2007) was born on July 17, 1941 in Los Angeles County. He married Paula Watkins on June 21, 1978 in Tulare County, and had a son named Scott Spence. He died on Dec. 27, 2007 in Tulare County, probably in Visalia.

      • Sharon Spence was born on May 24, 1944 in Los Angeles County. She married Dave Smith on Sept. 5, 1965 in Tulare County, and had a daughter named Christine Smith.

    Edgar Harold (Ned) Toombs (1886-1970) was born April 21, 1886, probably in Placerville, and baptized in St. Patrick's Catholic Church on Sacramento Street in Placerville (p. 223 of the church register). He married Mae Edna Cunha (1889-1971) on Dec. 24, 1916 in Gilroy, California, Mae having been born on Sept. 9, 1889 in California. They owned a prune ranch and cabinet shop in Gilroy, California, having inherited the ranch from Mae's parents John and Grace Cunha. Ned died on Feb. 23, 1970 in Gilroy, and Mae died there on March 2, 1971. Both are buried in Gilroy in the Gavilan Hills Catholic Cemetery. They had the one known daughter who is listed below, but there is some evidence of another child as well.

    • Gwendolyn Barbara Toombs (1919-2013) was born on April 19, 1919 in Gilroy, and she was the third generation of her family to grow up on the Cunha Ranch that her grandparents had first settled. She married her first husband William Ray Porter (1917-2018) on Nov. 1, 1936, probably in Santa Clara County. They had two sons before they separated and divorced sometime in the mid 1940s. Her second husband was John William Altenburg (1915-1977), who she married sometime prior to the 1950 U.S. Census, and he probably adopted her sons with Porter, as they subsequently changed their surnames to Altenburg. He died on Feb. 21, 1977 in Gilroy, and a few months later Gwendolyn married William Fletcher Sanchez (1915-1998) on Oct. 15, 1977 in Clark County, Nevada. They subsequently divorced on March 3, 1983 in Santa Clara County. She then married her fourth husband Vernon Chester Gillott (1919-1996) on Oct. 7, 1990, after the death of his first wife Nina Powers (1921-1988). Gwendolyn died at the age of 93 on Feb. 23, 2013 in Gilroy, and she is buried with James Altenburg in the Gavilan Hills Catholic Cemetery She has three children - William Ray Altenburg (b. 1937) and James Edgar Altenburg (1939-1960), from her marriage with William Porter, and a daughter Jeanne Altenburg (b. 1960), from her marriage with John Altenburg.

    Ruby Anna Toombs (1889-1964) was born Oct. 2, 1889, and baptized in St. Patrick's Catholic Church on Sacramento Street in Placerville (p. 239 of the church register). She married Leo Thomas Critchlow (1891-1964) on Sept. 7, 1918 in Oakland (Alameda County), and they moved to Pacific Grove, and later Monterey, where Leo owned a marine shop and worked as a mechanic while Ruby kept the books. Ruby and Leo moved about 1946, just after the end of WWII, to Oregon City, right on the Willamette River near Portland, Oregon, where he had a commercial fishing license and fished for lamprey eels. Leo, who had been born on Dec. 4, 1891 in Strongsberg, Nebraska, died on Sept, 23, 1963 in the Portland/Oregon City area, and Ruby died on July 23, 1964 in San Francisco. Both Ruby and Leo are buried in Carmel in El Carmelo Cemetery in a shared grave with Ruby's brother Thomas and his wife Babe. Ruby and Leo have descendants who still live in the Monterey area.

    • James Thomas Critchlow (1919-2000) was born Sept. 18, 1919 in Monterey; and died Feb. 19, 2000 in Quincy, California.

    • Leo Allen Critchlow (1923-2018) was born Jan 11, 1923 in Monterey. He died on Sept, 16, 2018 in Dobbins, California. He has a grandson named Jacques Corriveau who lives in Monterey.

    • Robert William Critchlow (1924-2003) was born July 1, 1924 in Monterey; and died July 13, 2003 in Sunnyvale, California.

    Mary Louise "Minnie" Toombs (1896-1890), who follows:

    Thomas William Toombs (1898-1969), the youngest boy, was born on Sept. 13, 1898, and grew up in Alameda. He married Eugenia (Aunt Babe) Leon Dungan (1900-1990) on Oct. 19, 1920 in Alameda. Tom worked for a short time for his brother-in-law Ned Toombs in Gilroy, probably in Ned's prune orchard, then later moved to Pacific Grove, near Monterey, where he worked as a commercial fisherman with his other brother-in-law Leo Critchlow, probably fishing for lamprey eels in Monterey Bay. He died in Pacific Grove on Feb. 16, 1969, and he is buried there in El Carmelo Cemetery. Babe, who was named after her father Eugene Leon Dungan, was still living in 1979 at their house on Junipero Avenue in Pacific Grove, but she eventually moved back to Alameda, where she ended her years. Babe was born on Aug. 25, 1900, probably in Alameda, and she died on Oct. 12, 1990 in Alameda. She is buried with her husband in Carmel, where they share a grave with Ruby and Leo Critchlow. Babe's sister-in-law Mary Toombs Carty used to tell a story about how Mary and Babe decided in the early 1920s to cut their long hair in the "bob" style that was all the rage at the time, but only if they did it together. So Babe cut Mary's hair, but then decided that she wanted keep her long tresses, much to Mary's chagrin. Tom and Babe had the two children who are listed below.

    • Nadine Kathryn Toombs (1923-1998) was born on Nov. 3, 1923 in Alameda, California, and graduated in 1941 from Pacific Grove High School in Monterey. She married her first husband Kenneth Irwin McGill (1918-2006) on Dec. 13, 1942 in Monterey, and they had two daughters (see below). Nadine then married her second husband John M. McCoy (1926-1973) on Sept. 20, 1950 in Santa Clara County, and divorced him in July, 1972 in the same county. She and John had at least three, and possibly four, daughters (see below). Finally, Nadine married her third husband Robert Lindi Viles (1927-1999) on June 6, 1981 in Reno, Nevada. She moved with him at some point to Port Orford, Oregon, and died in a rest home on Dec. 6, 1998 in nearby Bandon, Oregon. Robert survived her by a few months and died on May 22, 1999 in Port Orford. We are unsure about the details concerning Nadine's second husband John M. McCoy, but he is probably the John Milton McCoy, Jr. who was born on May 31, 1926 in Port Arthur, Texas, resided in 1963 in Lemoore Station, Kings County, California (where Lynne McCoy was born), and died on May 17, 1973 in Santa Clara Cunty, California.

      • Pamela Jean McGill (b. 1944), Nadine's daughter with Ken McGill, was born on Nov. 19, 1944 in Monterey County., California; and married Jon Hokanson (b. 1954) on Sept. 27, 1975 in Contra Costa County.

      • Cynthia Lee McGill (b. 1946), Nadine's daughter with Ken McGill, was born on Aug. 20, 1946 in Monterey County, California. She married Allen Koff (b. 1941) on Nov. 7, 1965 in Monterey County; and Alexander Ondi (b. 1942) on Oct. 10, 1981 in Santa Clara County. Her third husband was James Gregory Aligo (1938-2008), who she was with for 19 years.

        • Catherine Marie Koff (b. 1966), Cynthia's daughter with Allen Koff, was born on Dec. 19, 1966 in Naperville, Illinois. She married Ronald Dean Leslie on Dec. 19, 1996 in Joliet, Illinois, and they have two children - Dillon Joseph Leslie (b. May 31, 1998) and Katelynn Victoria Leslie (b. Aug. 16, 2000), both born in Joliet.

        • Thomas Allen Koff (b. 1970), Cynthia's son with Allen Koff, was born on May 31, 1970 in Naperville, Illinois. He is married to Sonia Denise Salinas.

      • Marian Ruth Spotswood (b. 1949), Nadine's daughter, was born on July 13, 1949 in Monterey County, California, and adopted at birth by Russell Spotswood (1908-1982) and his wife Maybelle Joplin (1911-1973). She suspects that Ken McGill is not her birth father. Marian married Thomas Reid Whiting (b. 1944) on Dec. 14, 1968 in San Mateo County and they divorced in July 1974 in the same county.

      • Bunny Ann McCoy (b. 1953), Nadine's daughter with John McCoy, was born on Feb. 17, 1953 at Portsmouth Naval Base in Virginia. She married Robert Webster Ellis, with whom she has two daughters - Sandy Leann Ellis (1971) and Bobby Joe Webster Ellis (b. 1973), both born in Bell County, Texas. Her second husband is Danny George Upton (b. 1943).

      • Cynthia J. Morton (b. 1957), Nadine's daughter, was born on Aug. 12, 1957 in Portland, Oregon. Her adoption papers were filed in Yamhill County, Oregon and she was raised by another family. She did not learn about her other sisters until she was as adult.

      • Dianne K. McCoy (b. 1959), Nadine's daughter, was born on June 19, 1959 in Santa Clara County, California. She was also raised by another family, and did not learn about her other sisters until she was an adult. She suspects that John McCoy is not her father.

      • Lynne E. McCoy (b. 1962), Nadine's daughter with John McCoy, was born on Nov. 6, 1962 in Lemoore Station, Kings County, California.

      • Therease L. McCoy (b. 1970) was born on Aug. 21, 1970 in Los Angeles County, California to a woman whose maiden name is Toombs. She may or may not be another daughter of Nadine's.

    • Kenneth Roland Toombs (1927-1929) was born Jan. 13, 1927 in Alameda, California, and died at the age of two on Nov. 6, 1929 in Pacific Grove when a vegetable truck backed over him near his house. He is interred at the Chapel of the Chimes Mausoleum in Oakland in the same annex as his grandmother Agatha Toombs and his Uncle Joe Hassler.


  4. Mary Louise (Minnie) Toombs (1896-1990), the daughter of William Louis Toombs and Mary Agatha Hassler, was born in the mining town of Placerville, California on March 22, 1896 in the old Toombs farmhouse that still stands on Hassler road. While growing up there, she remembered how, when tagging along with her brothers and sisters to school, the Indians would steal her lunch if she failed to keep up. She was too young to actually take classes, which were held in the old one-room schoolhouse on Union Ridge Road, but she came along for fun and sat out of the way in the back of the classroom. Her brothers and sisters of course always walked there as fast as they could and teased her that the Indians would get her if she dropped behind.

    When Mary was still little, her mother moved most of the family to Alameda for better schools and nicer weather, while her father and brother Frank remained in Placerville. Mary eventually became a teacher and married another teacher Henry James Carty (1894-1955) on Feb. 14, 1920 at St. Mary's Church in Oakland, California. They later moved to southern California, and raised a family. After Henry died on October 21, 1955 in Hollywood, California, Mary married her second husband Angelo Joseph Musante (1893-1986) on Nov. 27, 1959 in Los Angeles, California. Angelo died on Oct. 4, 1986 in Corona del Mar, where they lived a short distance from Balboa Island. Mary died there on Nov. 16, 1990, and she and her first husband Henry are buried in the Calvary Cemetery in east Los Angeles. For the children of Mary and Henry please see the CARTY GENEALOGY.



NOTE: There is a Reginald Rex Raymond Toombs (b. June 29, 1910 in Montana), who died on March 24, 1956 in Placerville. He is the son of son of Robert Toombs (1878-1941) of Wisconsin, and a descendant of a Robert Toombs (1793-1871) who in 1835 came to the United States from County Donegal, Ireland. Also, there is the family of Robert Carlyle Toombs (b. 1932) and Nola Jean Palmateer (b. 1933) and their children - who lived in Placerville from about 1960 until 1979 when they moved to Lavina, Montana. There appears to be no relationship whatsoever of these families to the descendants of William Toombs the 49er.



Frances Maria Smith (neé Toombs)

THE ANCESTRY OF FRANCES MARIA SMITH - Frances Maria Smith (1825-1892), the wife of William Toombs (1824-1892) the 49er, was born on Sept. 24, 1825 in New York, probably in the Sackets Harbor area. James Smith and Nancy Drake (1801-1879) are said to be her parents, and we are told that the names of Frances' maternal grandparents are John Francis Drake and Tamar Geraud, but her paternal grandparents remain unknown. Most of this information is from a family letter that was written about 1930 by Aunt Mary Swansborough, one of Frances' daughters. Irene McBeth, who married Aunt Mary's nephew, wrote two additional letters in 1960 and 1969, that restate Aunt Mary's history, and provide an additional detail on Nancy Drake. Beyond what appears in these three letters, little else was known for many years about Frances' ancestry. What follows below are some speculations based on recent research that may provide a few clues clues to the origins of Frances Maria Smith's family.

One of the ancestors of Frances is said in Aunt Mary's history to be a French Huguenot settler of New York named Monsieur Geraud, who immigrated sometime after 1762 to the United States to escape religious persecution. He probably sailed initially into French Quebec, and eventually made his way across the border to upstate New York. His daughter Tamar Geraud was probably born in the 1780s or so somewhere in upstate New York, and sometime about 1800 married a man named John Francis Drake, who is said to have been a descendant of the famous Sir Francis Drake (Swansborough, 1930). However, it is with Tamar that we continue, and we cover her husband's possible ancestry in the section on "The Genealogy of the Drake Family".

Tamar and her husband evidently lived for a time at Sackets Harbor on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario, as Mary Swansboroughs's family history states their daughter Nancy Drake was born on Jan. 14, 1801 Sackets Harbor. Mary then places them many miles to the west on the opposite side of the lake on the American side of Niagara Falls, where she writes that they ran a hostelry and raised a large family, most of whom were girls. Mary also tells us that "Grandpa Drake was an ardent Mason and the Lodge of Masons met in the banquet room of [his] hotel." (Swansborough, 1930).

Our first documentation that Tamar Drake is a real person is when we find her listed, probably as a widow, in the 1825 New York State Census. This census shows her residing as the household head in the town of Hounsfield in Jefferson County. She appears without a husband again in the 1830 and 1840 U.S. Census. Her name in all these returns is shown with various spellings. Her residence in the earlier returns is at Hounsfield, which is next to Sackets Harbor, then she is listed in the 1840 census at Sackets Harbor proper. Thus, she and her family probably lived initially at Sackets Harbor, then relocated to Niagara Falls, and later moved back to Sackets Harbor. Furthermore, her husband John Drake likely died before the 1825 census, and because Tamar was still living during the 1840 census, but is missing from the 1850 census, she probably died during the interim.



The Smith and McCumber Families of Burlington, Wisconsin - When Tamar and John Drake's daughter Nancy was 16 years old, about 1817, she married an army sergeant named James Smith, and they had at least two children, a boy and a girl. However, Nancy became a widow shortly after the children were born; and she moved to Burlington, Wisconsin, where she had relatives. The identities of these relatives are uncertain, but Capt. Francis McCumber (1806-1888) and his family had a farm in 1846 that was almost next door to the Toombs farm. Furthermore, Nancy in the 1860 U.S. Census was a member of the McCumber household. Apparently, McCumber was one of the best-known ship captains on the Great Lakes, before he retired to Burlington, and he was responsible for bringing many of Burlington's settlers from his home port of Sackets Harbor to the shores of Wisconsin.

An interesting coincidence is that the maiden name of Francis McCumber's wife is Frances Drake (1810-1878). She was born on July 14, 1810 at Queenston (Queenstown), Upper Canada (Ontario), which is only about 3 miles north of Niagara Falls. Also, she and McCumber were married in 1832 in Sackets Harbor. Both are buried in Burlington Cemetery in Racine County, Wisconsin. Perhaps Frances Drake and Nancy Drake are sisters? The evidence in the least would indicate some sort of close family relationship.

Nancy Smith's daughter, Frances Maria Smith, grew up in Burlington, and married William Toombs, an Englishman from the neighboring farm, on Aug. 17, 1846 in Burlington. William followed the 1849 Gold Rush west to California, and ended up in Placerville, with Frances joining him there in 1852 with their two-year old daughter. Frances' mother Nancy came to California as well, probably traveling across the country in 1869 or 1870 by train, after the trans-continental railroad had been built. Nancy died on Dec. 29, 1879 in Placerville, where she is buried in the Old Union Cemetery, the same cemetery where daughter Frances is buried.









by Janet & Michael Clark

This history is an evolving document.
Despite our best intentions it probably contains mistakes.
Please let us know if you spot any by sending an email to Mike Clark



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