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Finding Aid of the Joseph B. Chiles Papers C057756
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A group of documents belonging to and/or pertaining to Joseph B. Chiles, the earliest of which is a receipt of purchase from 1855, and the latest a note describing his death, life, and details of funerary plans from June 1885. Other documents include several receipts of purchase, tax receipts, a check, a map survey of part of his Catacoula (sic.) Rancho in Napa County, a United States Internal Revenue License, and a note describing the events surrounding his marriage to Miss Mollie Owens in April 1883.
Colonel Joseph B. Chiles was born in Clark County, Kentucky on July 16, 1810, and he died at his home near St. Helena, California in June 1885, a few weeks before his 75th birthday (age 74 at death). J.B. Chiles was one of the men who formed the vangard of the Army that pioneered to California. His death marked the last of these early living American settlers in Napa County. Having been raised on a Kentucky farm, he settled in Missouri as a farmer and stock raiser at age 20. Seven years later, he enlisted in a Volunteer Infantry Regiment and fought in the Florida Indian Wars. In 1840, at age 30, upon his return to Missouri, he began to think about exploring out West in California. His first tour to California was with the Bartleson Party (33 pioneers), which arrived in 1841. At that time, he obtained a promise of a mill site from General Vallejo--this mill site became Chiles Mill in Chiles Valley, where J.B. Chiles would eventually settle. On this tour, he explored Central California with his friend, Chas Hopper, and then returned to Missouri. Shortly afterward, he organized a second pioneer party of about 60, named the Chiles Party, which arrived in California in 1843. On his third trip to California, in 1848, he brought his son (probably Kit) and three daughters (Fanny, Elizabeth, and Mary). He had married in Missouri, but his wife probably passed away. In 1853, he married again to M.G. Garnett during his last visit to Missouri, and they officially settled in Chiles Valley, Napa County. In 1844, he had been approved to receive a grant from the Mexican Government for a piece of land which would come to be known as Catacula Rancho. He paid $10 for the deed. J. B. Chiles was known as a generous, honest, and faithful man who had many friends. When he died, he was mourned by his third wife, Mollie Owens of Santa Barbara, whom he had married in 1883, and 10 children. His funeral took place on June 26, 1885 in St. Helena. (Most information taken from this group of papers and some information taken from Bancroft's History of California)
1.0 folder (1 map, 5 receipts, 1 license, 1 check, 2 notes, 2 documents, 1 strip of film negatives)
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Collection open for research.