Bio-Pen Pictures

            Abel Alderson Withrow, familiarly known as “Abe”, is a veteran soldier and also the veteran saddle and harness maker and carriage trimmer of Santa Clara, and deals largely in whips, robes, etc.  His shop is not only the rendezvous of the G. A. R. men, but also of his other friends, who frequently drop in to “swap news” and talk over old times.

            He was born at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, in 1833.  When twelve years of age he was taken to Greensburg, Indiana, by his parents, Abel and Susan (Jordan) Withrow, both deceased.  At the age of fourteen years he was apprenticed to learn the saddle and harness making trade.  After serving three years he went to Salem, Iowa, in 1851, and continued working at his trade until the spring of 1853, when, catching the gold fever of that day, like thousands of others, he undertook the perilous and fatiguing journey over the plains to the gold regions of California, and reached the diggings at Pine Grove after weeks of weary travel.  He mined at Pine Grove and St. Louis until the fall of 1857, when his golden dreams were dispelled by the realization of rough fare, hard work, and small gains.  From Pine Grove he came to Santa Clara, where he was employed at his trade as a journeyman till 1860, when he became proprietor of a resort seven miles west of Santa Clara, known as the Blackberry Farm, which he kept until 1862, when the war excitement was at its height in California.  The sentiment of the State seemed evenly divided on the question of union or disunion; but while loyal to the Union by a loyal press and a host of earnest patriots, and although no call was made upon the citizens here for soldiers, there were thousands of patriotic men anxious for an opportunity to go to the front and prove their devotion to the flag.  In that year Mr. Withrow became a member of the California Hundred, so well and favorably known in history that it is unnecessary to dwell upon it in this sketch.  The company in which he enlisted was under Capt. George A. Manning, which with other companies went East by steamer, paying their own expenses and going direct to Readville, Massachusetts, where they were drilled, mounted, and assigned to active duty as a part of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, under Colonel Charles Russell Lowell.  They participated in fifty battles and skirmishes, Mr. Withrow being in thirty-two of them.  Though not permitted to carry the “Bear Flag” they took with them, they were always identified and known among the commands they served as the “The Californians,”  Mr. Withrow enlisted as a trumpeter, and was afterward promoted as chief trumpeter.  He was discharged at Readville, Massachusetts, with his regiment, July 20, 1865, the war being closed, and after visiting relatives and friends in Indiana and Iowa, returned to Santa Clara in the following November, where he was welcomed alike by Unionist and non-Unionist.  In the spring of 1866 he opened his harness shop at Santa Clara.

            September 14, 1869, he was married at Santa Clara, to Miss Mattie, daughter of Dr. James E. Treadwell, deceased, and nee Annie Stamp.  She was born at Havre de Grace, Maryland.  They have two children:  Elsie B., who is completing her musical education at San Francisco under her cousin, Miss Marie Withrow, who recently finished her studies in Europe, and Ralph V., a student in the Santa Clara public school.

            Politically, Mr. Withrow is Republican.  He has been a member of the School Board of Santa Clara four years, and Town Treasurer two years.  In 1876 he was made an Odd Fellow in True Fellowship Lodge, No. 238, I. O. O. F., Santa Clara, of which he is still a member, and has held the office of Treasurer for eight consecutive years.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 392-393
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy



SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight