Stories From The Grave
Row 4 Plot 18
Richard Inch was a native of Cornwell, England. He was born
on February 23, 1853. Richard was a child when the family moved to California
and lived in Soulsbyville and Sonora. Richard’s father operated many famous
mines along the mother lode of California. In 1865 he was the superintendent of
the Soulsby quartz mine. He was considered a very able mining engineer and a Pioneer
Sadly, Richard’s father passed away in 1872 by accidental drowning in the Merced river. This left the young Richard with the responsibility of his family, which he manfully assumed and nobly acquitted himself. He went to San Francisco where he learned the machinist trade, but he was ambitious young man and would complete business school and become an early community leader.
Richard Inch married Martha “Mattie” Grace Burden. Mattie was the daughter of Charles H. Burden. A staunch Republican who held the office of County Coroner and Public Administration for many years.
Mattie gave birth to a child on June 5, 1881. The baby died the following day and was buried in the Old City Cemetery in Sonora. On March 28, 1883 Richard & Mattie welcomed a daughter, Carrie Elizabeth Inch, pictured on the left.
On October 26, 1887 Richard’s wife Mattie Inch died at the age of 28, leaving Richard Inch a widower with a four-year-old daughter Carrie Inch. I immediately wondered what could have taken a mother so young. I found my answer in the Union Democrat and it deeply saddened me. “Martha Grace, the wife of Richard Inch and daughter of Charles Burden ended her earthly pilgrimage on Wednesday night. She was a fair flower of a womanly loveliness ruthlessly cut down in early years, when her noble impulses and virtue’s shone out brightly. Never physically strong, she possessed all the graces that adorn a true woman’s life. Gentle as a child and loving in her nature she shared the warmest love of all who knew her.” May she rest in peace.
On October 15, 1890 Richard Inch, married Lizzie Mundorf at the bride’s parents’ house, John and Elizabeth Mundorf. The groom was a popular man in this county and his bride was an exceptionally beautiful lady, and as accomplished as she was beautiful.
In 1896 Lizzie divorced Richard. They had one child, Richard Norman Inch, age 7, he was in the custody of Lizzie. Richard offered $20 a month for the first year and $25 a month thereafter for Norman’s support.
Death came suddenly to Richard Inch on July 3, 1918. He had not been in good health for many years, but shortly before his death he seemed stronger and his condition gave no warning of approaching dissolution. He worked the day before as usual and took his customary walk downtown after dinner and retired to his room at 10:00pm. He woke up about 1:30am and was feeling ill. He made his way to his son-in-law’s room, Charles Segerstrom, with whom he lived. Richard was perfectly conscious, but he was weak and his articulation was imperfect and he could not be clearly understood. Charles promptly assisted him into a recliner and quickly summoned Dr. Gould. The physician responded promptly, but Richard Inch lapsed into an unconscious condition and was dead in less than a half hour after entering his son-law’s room. The cause of death was heart failure.
Richards funeral service was held at his daughter’s home under the auspices of the Sonora Lodge No. 10. Bishop Graves of St. James Episcopal Church conducted the services at the home and the I.O.O.F. Cemetery. A special choir provided music at the house and the grave.
Dick” Inch, as he was familiarly known had been very involved in community affairs and served in many capacities throughout his life, this includes serving as the county recorder of Tuolumne county for more than 30 years. He was also an agent for Wells Fargo, and county coroner. He ran for sheriff in 1894, but lost to Tyron Yancey. He was a valued member of St. James Church and served as an elder for many years.
Richard Inch is pictured to the left.
Richard’s daughter Carrie E. Inch became the wife of Charles Segerstrom Sr. on August 16, 1905, and they moved into the 1878 historic Burden-Inch home, which still stands today at 84 North Washington Street. On August 16, 1905 the Segerstrom family would move into the Big house on 253 Knowles Hill Drive with their five children. Charles Segerstrom was an extremely successful investor in the mines, land, banks, industries of the Gold Country and beyond. And after he had built a financial empire, he built the Knowles Hill house for his family. The finest materials and construction techniques available at the time were used.
Richard and Lizzie’s son Norman Inch was a member of the U.S. army with Section 1 of the Mobile Operating Unit of the University of California. He later became a physician and lived most of his adult life in Ohio. The Segerstrom family stayed very close to Norman and were always excited when he came to visit.
Written by Denine Urquhart
84 North Washington Street (Today) 253 Knowles Hill Drive
Norman Inch is the sixth child from the left
• Rootweb: Tuolumne County Biographies
• Images of Sonora
• Family Search
• Union Democrat
• Photos - Tuolumne County Historic Society
• Pat Perry - City Historian, Sonora CA