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  Who was Shadrach Ashworth?

During the early days of the Gold Rush, two Ashworth brothers arrived in Mariposa. Born in Kentucky, they lived in Missouri for a time before moving to California, David Crogan (D C) came in 1849 via the Southern Route through New Mexico and Southern California. James came in 1852 via the Oregon Trail. He stayed in Mariposa for a short while, then moved to San Jose.

There was another Ashworth in Mariposa at that time that does not show up in any family history. His name is variously spelled Shadrach, Shedrick, and Shadrack.  On one document he appears to have signed it is spelled Shadrack, but it is possible the clerk who transcribed it erred. He almost certainly was a relative of the two brothers, for D C named one of his sons Phenas Shedrick, but where does he fit in?

These are the known facts about Shadrach: census records show he was born about 1827 in Kentucky. He purchased a town lot in Mariposa on April 30, 1853. It is described as being on the west side of main street and next to the “Fandango House”. This appears to be the same building owned by D C Ashworth. He sold the lot in 1854 or 1855. He married Martha Jones on December 20, 1855 in Santa Clara County, and was residing there in the 1860 census. The couple has three daughters, Sarah, Margaret, and Laura. Shadrach died December 27, 1869, and was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in San Jose the same day. This may indicate he died of a contagious disease. There is no record of his wife, but the 1870 census shows the daughters in the household of Jasper Jones, so it appears his wife had passed on also.

It would seem that Shadrach was more closely associated with James than with D C. because he moved to the San Jose area when James did. Another interesting point is that James’ daughter Margaret married  Alexander Carroll Jones. Although Jones is a common name, it could be the same family as that of Shadrach’s wife. He remains a complete mystery, as he doesn’t show up in any family history. This is purely speculation on my part, but I wonder if he wasn’t a son of James by an earlier marriage. Records show James married in 1833 at the age of 24, which was old for that time. His brother D C first married at the age of 18. Again, just a guess on my part. Any further information would be welcomed. 
CONTACT:  Forrest Wass

More Mariposa County Family Chronicles.


 June 2015