“In these early days there was a contest between Northern and Southern pioneers whether California should come in the Union a free or a slave State. Broderick, a Democrat from the city of New York, represented the Northern sentiment, and was supported by the Whigs of the State. Common labor at that time was $16 per day, payable in gold. It was more from pride than from any thing to do with the moral question of slavery. They did not want to come in competition with slave labor. The Northern element predominated, and California came in a free State. Its first constitution was written by George Washington Sherwood, who was a Democratic member of the New York Legislature from Washington county, and copied after the constitution of this State.
“California may be said to be the child of the State of New York; her citizens may be said to have been pre-eminent in its development and present greatness.
“Abraham Schell was born in Gallupville, and proposes to be buried in the neighboring village of Middleburgh, his wife’s native place, where he has erected a monument.
“They say that all Forty-niners who remained in California either became millionaires or paupers. It seems that Mr. Schell was one of the former. He was an unconditional Union man in the rebellion, visiting the hospitals of the wounded soldiers, and assisting them by his means, and the erection of this monument to his nephew for his services in that war is but in accord with his acts of patriotism at that time.”
The above article inspired this undertaking at this time. I expected to find my friend on at the dedication of the monument, and thought I would have the manuscript ready on his arrival and submit it to him, and propose to have him go in partnership with me in its publication, and have him revise it with me. He was a man of high literary attainments, and an experienced Forty-niner, who could have added many important events to it that did not come under my observation. He was wealthy, and had the means to bring it properly before the public.
Intelligence reaches us of the death of Abraham Schell, at his home at Knight’s Ferry, California, in the early part of February. Mr. Schell was seventy-six years old, and was a native of this county, having been born in the town of Wright. At the time of the gold excitement in 1849 he was in the mercantile business in Albany, but sold out and joining a company of friends journeyed to California, where he invested his means to good advantage and became highly successful, amassing a large fortune. His vineyards and their product have long been celebrated. A man of independent thought and fine literary attainments, he was one of the sons of Schoharie county, whose enterprise and intellectual culture we may take just pride in.
His remains are deposited in a vault there, to be brought here in the spring by his nephew, and interred in their final resting place in the cemetery at Middleburgh, where he has a $2,000 monument erected.