William Newton Meeks (1821-1899) sailed from New York around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile, in 1839 to help his brother,
Robert Smelt Meeks, in his commercial business in Bolivia. After many political disruptions, Robert moved to Valparaiso, followed
by William, who soon left by ship for the California Gold Rush. He entered the real estate business in San Francisco and married
Abigail Livia Martha Davis, who had come to California as a schoolteacher. In 1871, Abigail moved their four children to be
educated first in Philadelphia and then in Lausanne, Nice, and finally Paris. After her death in 1876, of breast cancer, William
and the children returned to California.
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