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Peter VanClief, Spencer, Gear, 1867, Downieville, CA

Peter VanClief, Spencer, Gear, 1867, Downieville, CA

Posted: 1012495300000
Classification: Query
Surnames: VanClief (Van Clief), Spencer, Gear
Peter Vanclief (gggrandfather) is listed in Pacific Coast Directory, 1867, living in Downieville, CA, occupation Attorney at Law.
Peter's dtr, Cornelia m. Hiram Lewis Gear, also attorney, who lived there for a time also. Hiram and Cornelia's dtr., Emily Jerusha Gear, m. Bunyan Spencer also lived in that area until abt. 1897.

Peter originally went to CA in 1849.Peter died in CA in 1896.
Hiram died in CA in 1919 and Cornelia died in CA in 1913.

Hiram was admitted to CA state bar in 1863 when he moved to CA. He returned to Ohio abt. 1870 but went back to CA abt. 1883 and became a Baptist minister in 1880s. He practiced both in CA.

Bunyan Spencer was ordained Baptist minister in 1885 and served in CA until abt. 1897 when he returned to OHIO.

Would be interested in any info anyone could share on any of these people.

Thank you in advance.

Mary Lou Wood

Re: Peter VanClief, Spencer, Gear, 1867, Downieville, CA

Posted: 1016684545000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1096783792000
Surnames: VanClief, Spencer, Gear, Geer
On March 18, 2002 I visited the courthouse in Downieville and checked the Sierra County CA birth, marriage and death record indexes. The Sierra County Clerk-Recorder has birth records from 1857, marriage records from 1852, and death records from 1864. The early vital records are incomplete (not everyone registered the event). I did not check the actual record but only the index, which is available for birth, marriages, deaths, and various other county records. I found the following:


Marriages: Van Clief, P to Birdsall, Hester 5/25/1858 Book A, Page 21.

Van Clief, Helena to Cowden, David H. 10/5/1865, Book A, Page 131


Birth: 5/4/1899 Spencer, Margaret Frances to Spencer, Frances M and Boland, Annie

5/7/1904 Spencer, Norma Rose to Spencer, Norman Lee and Schrode, Cordelia

12/11/1910 Spencer, Thomas Edison to Spencer, Norman Lee and Schrode, Cordelia

Marriages: Spencer, Charles R to Watson, Marian B 5/30/1861

Spencer, Francis M to Boland, Annie 6/29/1898

Spencer, John Edward to Burnes, Julia Ann 7/4/1887

Spencer, Robert Lloyd to Noe, Claudette Alyse 6/16/1979

Spence, John P to Marshall, Anna W 9/8/1856

Deeds: Several deeds are listed . . . I only noted the first six:

Dec 29, 1857 Van Clief, P to F H Damon (Book/Page) B 734

Nov 27, 1856 Van Clief, P to O C Hall, et al B 242

May 7, 1856 Van Clief, P to R H Taylor A 529

Mar 18, 1862 Van Clief, Peter to L E Pratt E 415

Apr 3, 1862 Van Clief, P from Jas Galloway, et al A 505

Nov 9, 1857 Vanclief & Stewart from G. Webber B 693

Note: David H. Cowden was a judge in Sierra County. DH Cowden was the judge of record for my g-g-grandfather's naturalization in 1874.

Chuck Knuthson

Re: Peter VanClief, Spencer, Gear, 1867, Downieville, CA

Posted: 1016710451000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1034307495000
Surnames: Van Clief, Cowden, Spencer, Gear
Thanks ever so much. What a gift. Then Peter remarried as I suspected he would. Helena must also be his dtr.. And that is where the name Cowden has come from in my family.

I don't think the Spencers belong to me, unless someone else went to CA in my family. They were in San Francisco until abt. 1897. And all the children were quite young when they moved back to Ohio.

Am not sure how long Peter was in Downieville, but the dates you have given me for the marriages sure do fit. Were there any Gears?

Wonder if David and Helena had any children.

Mary Lou Wood

Re: Peter VanClief, Spencer, Gear, 1867, Downieville, CA

nancy vanclief (View posts)
Posted: 1019703026000
Classification: Query
Helena VanClief and Judge David Hunter Cowden were married on 10/05/1865 in Downieville, Ca. David died on dec 23, 1881 at Downieville and is buried there. Helena died oct 7, 1930 at St. Jose and is buried there. Children:
Joseph VanClief Cowden 12/29/1866
David Oscar Cowden 12/29/1866
Lizzie Cornelia Cowden 07/12/1869
Edith Emily Cowden 09/20/1872
Peter VanClief Cowden 02/26/1875
Bessie VanClief Cowden 02/02/1876
David VanClief Cowden 02/18/1880
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