IOOF SONORA Lodge #10 and Cemetery

California Cemeteries, California Historic Places, IOOF

Stories From The Grave

Eddy Plot (Part I)

Final Resting Place for James Eddy, his wife, Helena and his wife's brother John H. Rother and 

his wife, Mathieu C. Rother Row 3, Plot 9

Wandering the paths of the Odd Fellows Cemetery and deciding what graves to adopt seemed like an easy task.  I came upon the surname "Eddy" and remembering I had an ancestor with the same name it popped out at me.  I knew there wasn't a connection as we did not come from this area but I thought it would be fun nonetheless to look into the history of the Eddy clan.  I spent many hours in the shade of the beautiful trees at the cemetery weeding and reflecting on the lives of these brave pioneers that ventured "out West" to begin a new life.  I pondered how the names of "Eddy" and "Rother" came to be together in this plot.  Who and why was Rother there?  Where had they come from and did their lineage continue on?  I couldn't let these questions rest.  And so the quest began...

Using I discovered that James J. Eddy was born in Sept. of 1846 in Wisconsin. There is a discrepancy regarding his year of birth.  His headstone says 1849 while the 1900 Census lists the year as l846.  This is common when researching dates as often memories faded or others were remembering their loved ones dates incorrectly.

James was apparently the only child of James J. Eddy, Sr. and Amelia Eddy. Both the older James and his wife were born in England.  At this point in my research I have not discovered much about these two...When and why did they come to America and at what city did they land and what ship did they travel?   So many questions.  I do know that in the 1880 Census James Sr. was 60 and Amelia 57.  They were living in Los Gatos, CA and James was a proprietor of an unnamed hotel. What brought them clear out West and how did they travel?  A wagon train?  James Jr., the one I was researching was 34 years old, single, and working as the hotel's clerk for his father.   The hotel employed 3 people.  The waiter was from Ireland, the porter came from New York, and the cook had traveled all the way from China.  It would have been easy for me to get distracted in my research and follow each one of them!  What a huge melting pot Tuolumne County had become! 

So my quest to uncover the life of James Jr. began.  I do not have any idea how or why James moved to the Sonora area.  However, 20 years after discovering him living in Los Gatos he, along with his parents, appeared in the 1900 Census in Tuolumne County, township 1, Browns Flat & Sonora Central Precinct.  This verified that his parents had been born in England and Amelia gave birth to him in Wisconsin. I have not been able to unravel those 30+ years nor place him anywhere other than Los Gatos until 1900. 

However he married ...ah ha this is where the connection begins. Helena "Ellen" Rother!  I had seen another plot nearby with the Rother surname.  Of course, Sonora was very small in those days and it would only be natural to marry into a family within the Odd fellows Cemetery. They married in 1893 James at age 47 and Helena at 36.  A nephew, James J. Conrad, age 18 was living with them as a student.  He was born in California but his parents were both from Germany.  I have not uncovered where he fits in or why.

A mere 3 years later, in 1903 James Jr. passed away at age 57.  Helena lived to age 83 and passed away on Dec. 29, l940. 

They did not have any children so the line of the Eddy clan that began far away in England has ended.  But their story lives on and indeed I was compelled to continue my search for the lives of the Rother family....until next month!

All facts taken from 

Written By Judi Jones


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