! From Canfield book: Peter Van Clief, Jr. (probably born in Bedford Co,Pennsylvania) move d to Washington Co, Ohio at the age of 4 with his parents in 1796. He grew up on the famil y farm in Washington Co, near Waterford. On June 29, 1815 he married Sally Newton, daughte r of Sylvanus Newton and Elizabeth Stacy. Sally and a child died later in the year as the da te of death on her tombstone is 1815. She was buried in Brokow Cemetery near Stockport, Ohi o and east of Big Bottom in Morgan Co, Ohio. Peter later remarried. Peter Van Clief, Jr. and Temperance Sutliff (born 23 May 1797 in Pennsylvania?) daughter of B arnabus Sutliff and Sarah (Sally) Evans, were married in about 1817 in Washington Co., Ohio . Soon after their marriage, Peter and Temperance lived on a farm near Waterford Landing o n the Muskingum River in Washington Co., Ohio. According to census records Peter and his fam ily moved several times. However, it might not have been a great distance because boundarie s and the names of settlements changed occasionalyl. In 1818 Morgan Co. was formed so a par t of Washington Co, automatically became Morgan County. In 1820 Peter, his wife and two children were living in Homer Twp, Athens Co., Ohio. On Octo ber 3, 1823 the heirs of Peter Van Clief, Sr. sold to their brother, Daniel, the land in Wate rford Twp, Washington Co., that had formerly belonged to their father. Since the heirs live d in different counties it took some time to complete the document. Peter, Abigail Cheadle , Mary Ann Frisbey and their families were living in Athens Co., at the time the deed was wri tten On Sep 7, 1828, Peter and Temperance were still living in Homer Twp. On that date they sol d a tract of land in Morgan Co., to Cyrus and Abigail Cheadle, also of Homer Twp, who immedia tely sold it to Aaron Thomas of Roxbury Twp, Washington County In 1830 the family, with seven children, was living in Windsor Twp, Morgan Co. They were sti ll living there in December 1839 when Peter made a deposition for his mother to receive a gov ernment pension since his father had been in the Revolutionary War. The family was also list ed there in the 1840 census. However, in the census three sons and five daughters were liste d. The eldest son, Peter, was probably living away from home at that time. According to fam ily tradition, Peter contracted malaria from breaking up the virgin soil on his farm which we akened him and thereby hastened his death. It is not certain when Peter died but it was betw een 1840 and November 1843 when his estate was probated. No one seems to know where he is bu ried but it is likely he was buried in the old Brokaw Cheadle Cemetery on the former Charli e Case farm at Big Bottom. It is across the Muskingum River from Stockport, In Windsor Twp . There is no stone standing on his grave but there is one for his wife, Temperance. She di ed on November 16, 1843, aged 46 years, 5 months and 24 days. Her epitaph reads:"Thou dear d eparted spirit, O who will wish thee here Since now dost inherit A purer happier Sphere" Since most of the children were minors, they were given guardiansa and some of them lived wit h older members of the family as the 1850 census shows.
. !Peter lived with his parents in Washington, Athens and Morgan Counties, Ohio. He attended local schools, such as they were in those days, and later entered Marietta Academy in Marietta, Ohio. While he was there he acquired discipline of mind and mastery of English which was to hold him in good stead the rest of his life. After graduating from the Academy he taught school in various areas of Washington County and also for a short time after his marriage. The reason he was not numbered inthe 1840 census with his parents was, probably, that he was in school or teaching school and living away from home. After his marriage he began the study of law with Judge Thomas Ewart in Marietta. In 1844 Peter was admitted to practice in the courts of Ohio at a session of the District Court of Appeal in McConnelsville in Morgan County, Ohio. He continued to practice law from his admission to the bar until 1849. In 1848 the Mexican War ended. California became part of the United States, gold was discove red there, and the Gold Rush was about to begin. The discovery of gold in California arouse d the interest of men around the world and especailly those wll over the United States. Dani e, Peter's brother, had been at leasst as far west as Santa Fe, New Mexico in the Mexican War , so he had some idea what the Southwest was like. The "gold fever" touched the Van Clief br others, Peter and Daniel, as well as Peter's law partner, Joel Eveland. Thesse three men, al ong with friends and others from their area, heard that a large nmber of people from Souther n Ohio wer planning to emigrate to California. On April 10, 1849 in Morgan County, Daniel so ld land situated in Range 11, Twp 9, Section 24 and several other acres, to his brother, Pete r. At the same time, Peter and his wife, Emily, sold the same land to Arthur Taggert. Thi s was land that Daniel had received from his father's estate. it was also land whick his gra ndfather, Peter Van Clief, had received from David Pearce who was the original owner. This d eed a\was signed by Peter and Emily in the presence of William Boswich, Justice of the Peace , and Daniel D. Van Clief. Ths was probably done at that time in preparation for their tri p west. Peter's family at this time consisted of his wife Emily, two daughters, Cornelia and Helena , aged seven and three, and an infant son, Marquis, less than a year old. No one seems to kn ow why his family didn't go with him to California. of course most of the trails across th e plains and mountains were fairly new and since his children were so younng, perhaps they th ought it best for his family to remain in Ohio. However, his wife never joined him in Califo rnia and his daughters didn't go until Cornelia was married and Helena, at least seventeen ye ars old. Peter's family is listed in the 1850 census, taken on Augusst 23, 1850 at Windsor T wp. Peter's name is also given with the occupation of lawyer even though he was in Californi a. Besides the three children mentioned above, listred in the census record, Emily's two you nger sisters, Sarah and Alleiance, were living with her. Marquis had died by 1860. Family t radition says he died in infancy. Cornelia and Helena probably lived with relatives from th e time their mother died until sometime before 1860. In the 1860 census the two girls are li lsted as living with Mr. and Mrs. L. Genney. His occupation wa given as being a teacher an d Mary Smith, aged 39, a teacher was also listed as living at the Genneys. There were seve n children between the ages of 6 and 17 listed so, perhaps, Cornelia and Helene were llivin g in a boaaarding school at that time. it wasn't until about 1864 that they finally went t o California. Sometime after April 1849 Peter, Daniel and Joel Eveland began their final preparation for th eir trek west. They loaded a vessel on the Muskingum Riber and proceeded down the river to M arietta. There, they joined the company and headed west for California. When the party arri ved at the Platte River it was swollen by rains and thawing snow. It was decided that it wa s impossible or too dangerous to cross so they would camp there until the water receded. How ever, Peter, impatient at the delay, decided to go on alone. He took some equipment in a kna psack, his rifle, and swam his horse across the river and continued on alone. When Peter rea ched the high Sierra Nevada Mountains he became snow blind and lost his way. However, friend ly Indians helped him and with them he saw Lake Tahoe. He always believed that he was the fi rst white man to see the lake. Peter arrived in California in the fall of 1849. For the first few years he mined for gold i n El Dorado County. Later, he was in Placer and Nevada counties and finally he settled in Do wnieville, Sierra County where he again engaged in the practice of law in about 1855 and wher e he lived for many years. In 1858 he was appointed district Judge of the tenth Judicial Dis trict which included Sierra, Yuba, Suter, and Colusa counties, by Governor Weller to fill a n unexpired term of two years. He retained his home in Downieville and resturned there to re sume the practice of law after his two year term as judge had expired. He had an important p art in all the important litigation in Sierra and Plumas counties at that time. From 1863 t o 1865 he practiced law in Downieville with his son-in-law Hiram Gear and from 1865 to 1870 a t Quincy, in Plumas county. In 1870 he moved to Marysville California where he was associate d with Judge Ferdinand McCann and with his son-in-law David Cowden. In 1877 Peter moved to S an Francisco, California where he practiced law with William M. Stewart and where they were l ater joined by William F. Herin. Shortly after William married Peter's daughter, Annie, Pete r returned to his mountain home in Downieville. There he formed a partnership with Mr. Wehe . In 1889 when the state legislature passed an act providing for the appointment of five com missioners of the State Supreme Court, Peter received an appointment in May as Commissioner a nd returned to San Francisco where he filled his position as a jurist until his death in 1896 . Judge Peter Van Clief was associated with the history of the state of California for 47 years . When he arrived in 1849, California was under the control of Mexico. He participated in th e judicial development of the state from the early years up to the time of his death. He wa s a good writer and frequently contributed articles to newspapers. In politics he was indepe ndent and fearless. He would not hesitate to make his convictions known and he had keen sens e of justice.The following story illustrates Judge Van Clief's kindness and thoughtfulness o f others who had helped him in the past. When he was a young man teaching school in Ohio, h e became ill and was well cared for by the woman in whose house he was boarding. Years late r in California that woman's son was in trouble and went to Judge Van Clief for legal keep . After the case had been won, the Judge refused to take anything in payment stating the h e had already been paid years before by the young man's mother during his illness. After Judge Van Clief's death, several friends gave testimonials of his high character, integ rity and contributions to the legal profession. The city of Downieville flew the flag at hal f mast. Thomas B.McFarland, Associate Justice of the State Supreme Court said, "Peter Van Cl ief was a man of much ability and learning. He was thoroughgoing, and had a large practice b efore he went on the bench. I have known him since 1855 or '56". Judge Searls, a former Chi ef Justice of the State Supreme Court said, "I have known Peter Van Clief intimately for ove r forty years. He was a good lawyer, had a thorough and logical mind, a fine constitution, a nd had a wonderful industry. he was not a great jury lawyer, but in the argument of law ques tions, and the preparation of briefs for the court of last resort, he had very few superiors . He understood words and their meaning, and the English language thoroughly." From the newspaper, "The San Francisco Call" for March 30, 1896, comes the following remarks : "Judge Van Clief was a man of the highe st integrity and a fast friend whose character was unfolded the fullest only to his intimat e friends. He has been spoken of as a man of 'impracticable honesty.' He had a judicial min d, was a man of wide learning and thoroughly fitted for the responsible position he held." Judge Peter Van Clief and Hester Ann Gillispie Birdsall, a widow, (born 15 Nov 1826 in Pennsy lvania or Southern Ohio) daughter of John Gillispie and Mary Campbell, were married on May 24 , 1858 at Downieville, California. According to family tradiltion, Hester went by ship fro m the East Coast to the Isthmus of Panama, crossed it, and went on to San Francisco, Californ ia by ship. They lived in Downieville, Marysville, California and also in San Francisco. Ju dge Van Clief died on November 29, 1896 in San Francisco at the home of his son-in-law, Willi am F. Herin, which was located at 2530 Broadway, at 1:30 in the afternoon. About two month s previously he had returned from a visit to Downieville and was taken ill. He was buried i n San Francisco. Sometime after her husband's death, Hester moved to San Jose, California . She died on 16 Jan. 1914 at San Jose and is buried there.