Colusa County











JAMES M. STOVALL.  The third son in a family of eight children, James M. Stovall was born on the old home place of the Stovalls in Colusa county, February 17, 1869.  His father, Jesse Curl Stovall, was among the earliest pioneers of this section and established a home and a business which have been important factors in the development and upbuilding of Williams and vicinity.  Further mention is made of the elder man in another part of this volume.  James M. Stovall received his preliminary education in the common schools in the vicinity of his home, after which he entered Pierce Christian College of College City, Colusa county, Cal., graduating from the commercial department when about seventeen years of age.  Following this he engaged with his father in general farming until 1892, in which year the Bank of Williams was incorporated and he was installed as bookkeeper.  He held that position with constantly increasing commendation for the business ability and judgment he displayed until 1898, when he was elected to the position of cashier, which office he has since held.  This is a state bank, doing a general banking business on a capital of $100,000, and is an institution of financial importance in the valley and an especially important factor in the business life of Williams.  In 1903 Mr. Stovall became vice-president of the Stovall-Wilcoxson Company, a land company with a capital stock of $1,000,000, and which owns between thirty-six and forty thousand acres of land in Colusa county, as well as several business houses in Williams.  Mr. Stovall is a successful business man and has risen to a position of trust and responsibility absolutely on his own merits, depending on his own ability rather than on the strength of his father’s name and influence.


In Williams Mr. Stovall was married to Hattie Wilcoxson, a native of Fayette, Mo., and a daughter of George H. Wilcoxson, also a native of that locality.  The latter is an extensive farmer of Howard county, Mo., and is now acting as president of the Stovall-Wilcoxson Company.  To Mr. and Mrs. Stovall were born two children, Ruth and Russell.  In his fraternal relations Mr. Stovall is a Mason, being a member of Tuscan Lodge No. 261, F. & A. M., where he was made a member of the organization.  He belongs to the Christian Church, of which he is a trustee, and politically casts his ballot with the Democratic party.  He is associated with the California State Bankers’ Association, and also the American Bankers’ Association.



{Inserted by D. Toole.]



James M. Stovall


1898 Apr 13, Woodland Daily Democrat, P3, Woodland, California

Wilcoxson Will

One and a Half Millions[sic] Divided Among Relatives

Miss Kate Stephens and Mrs. G. J. O’Connor, of Woodland, Among the Heirs-at-law

George H. Wilcoxson, of Williams, Colusa county, a nephew of the late Jefferson Wilcoxson, the pioneer and millionaire who died a few days ago, Tuesday filed in the county clerk’s office of  Sacramento a petition for the probate of the will of his uncle.  The petitioner is named in the will as executor, without bonds.  The estate left by Jefferson Wilcoxson is valued at $170,000, but this is of course only a very small portion of the wealth that he had accumulated.  Some time ago he divided among his relatives the princely sum of about $1,200,000, and on his last birthday, in February, he divided $100,000 more among them.  The wealth thus disposed of cuts no figure in his will, nor in the settlement of his estate.  The will divides the estate into fifteen equal parts, giving one share to each of his nephews and nieces.  In two instances (where dead) these shares are to go to their children.  The will was made on the 24th of February, 1898, the eighty-ninth anniversary of deceased’s birthday, the day on which he divided among his heirs the $100,000 referred to.  The petition for probate alleges that the deceased left an estate in real and personal property valued at $205,000.  A will was executed on the 24th of February.  The names of the divisees[sic] and legatees in said will and their places of residence are:  George H. Wilcoxson, aged about 62 years, residing at Williams, Cal.; Thomas Jefferson Wilcoxson, aged about 48 years, residing at Nevada City, Mo.; Mary E. Austin, aged about 64 years, residing at Carrollton, Mo.; Josephine Smith, aged about 56 years, residing at Fayette, Mo.; Theodora C. Tindall, aged about 46 years, residing at Fayette, Mo.; John Isaac Wilcoxson, aged about 59 years, residing at Carrollton, Mo.; James M. Wilcoxson, aged about 57 years, residing at Carrollton, Mo.; Nora Holland, aged about 40 years, residing at St. Louis, Mo.; Amanda Blackwell, aged about 38 years, residing at St. Louis, Mo.; Lulu Wilcoxson, aged about 35 years, residing at Carrollton, Mo.; Bettie Wilcoxson, aged about 33 years, residing at Carrollton, Mo.; Sallie Wilcoxson Mitchell, aged about 30 years, residing at Columbia, Mo.; Harrison H. Wilcoxson, aged about 28 years, residing at Carrollton, Mo.; Joseph W. Hughes, aged about 38 years, residing at Sacramento, Cal.; Minnie Hughes Clinkscales, aged about 32 years, residing at Carrollton, Mo.; William Hughes, aged about 36 years, residing at Fayette, Mo.; Morrison Hughes, aged about 28 years, residing at Fayette, Mo.; J. R. Hughes, Jr., aged about 23 years, residing at Fayette, Mo.; Gussie Hughes, aged about 26 years, residing at Fayette, Mo.; Kate Lee Stephens, aged about 24 years, residing at Woodland, Cal., and Josephine Stephens O’Connor, aged about 22 years, residing at Woodland, Cal.  That the next kin and heirs-at-law of said deceased are all named as follows:  The said George H. Wilcoxson, a nephew; the said Thomas Jefferson Wilcoxson, Nephew, the said Mary E. Austin, a nice,; the said Josephine Smith, a niece; the said Theodora C. Tindall, a niece; the said John Isaac Wilcoxson, a nephew; the said James M. Wilcoxson, a nephew; the said Joseph W. Hughes, a grand-nephew; the said Minnie Hughes Clinkscales, a grandniece; the said William Hughes, a grandnephew; the said Morrison Hughes, a grandnephew, the said J. R. Hughes, Jr., a grandnephew; the said Gussie Hughes, a grandniece; the said Katie Lee Stephens, a grandniece; the said Josephine Stephens O’Connor, a grandniece; and Harrison Wilcoxson, a brother of said deceased, of the age of about 84 years, a resident of Carrollton, Mo.


1898 Apr 13, The San Francisco Call, P4, San Francisco, California

Enriched Nieces and Nephews

Sacramento, April 12 – Thomas H. Wilcoxson of Colusa to-day filed for probate the will of his uncle, the late Jefferson Wilcoxson.  The estate is valued at $170,000 and is divided into fifteen equal shares among the nephews and nieces of the deceased.  Only last February Wilcoxson gave $100,000 to the same heirs and not long before that he divided $1,200,000 between them.  He was a pioneer of ’49 and made his fortune in this and Yolo counties.


1898 Aug 16, The Record-Union, P2, Sacramento, California

Wants Her Compensation

Amanda P. Austin Sues the Executor

She Demands $150,000 From the Estate of the Late Jefferson Wilcoxson

Amanda P. Austin has commenced suit in the Superior Court against George H. Wilcoxson, executor of the will and estate of Jefferson Wilcoxson, deceased, through her attorneys, Grove L. Johnson and J. M. Fulwiler.  The complaint is an interesting one, and recites that Jefferson Wilcoxson was the uncle by blood of plaintiff’s mother, making him her grand-uncle; that she resided in July, 1879, in Missouri with her parents, being about 20 years old, and was completing her education and studying art, with the intention of becoming an artist by profession.  She further states that Mr. Wilcoxson corresponded by letter with her and her parents, desiring her to come and keep house for him and care for him in his old age, nurse and watch over him in his sickness, and when he needed care and attention, and in his letters he promised that if she would do so he would treat her as his own child and provide for her well while he lived and that at his death she should be amply compensated for all her sacrifices and care.  She accepted his offers, and acting upon his promises, came to Sacramento in 1879 and entered upon her duties.  She alleges that she continued in such employment, caring for Mr. Wilcoxson, nursing him when he was sick and ministering faith fully to his wants as if he were her father, and at his wish and request she remained single and unmarried up to the time of his death in 1898, faithfully performing all her duties according to the contract.  She further alleges that from time to time he renewed his promises, himself fixing her compensation, to be paid in event of his death, at not less than $150,000, and at times as high as $250,000.  She claims that at his death he left a will; that he left $170,000 in money in his safe, besides other property worth $100,000, and that previously he had distributed among his other relatives, by deed of gift, over $1,200,000, but had given her nothing, and that, as she is informed and believes, that the $170,000 in the safe was set apart and intended for the payment of her claim for services under conditions of the contract.  She states that she presented a claim to the executor of $45,000, which he neither allowed nor rejected, and that subsequently she presented a claim for $150,000 as a just and reasonable amount for her services and sacrifices; that he has neither accepted nor rejected the latter claim, and she now asks that judgement be granted her against defendant, as executor of the estate, for $150,000, with interest form August 3, 1898, and costs.


1898 Dec 20, The Record-Union, P5, Sacramento, California

Miss Austin’s Case

Argued on Amended Complaint and Demurrer Yesterday

The case of Amanda P. Austin against George H. Wilcoxson, executor of Jefferson Wilcoxson, deceased, was again before Judge Ellison of Tehama in Department Two of the Superior Court yesterday.  A motion to strike out parts of the amended complaint and the amended demurrer were argued and submitted.


1899 Jun 17, The San Francisco Call, P3, San Francisco, California

Mourning in Williams

Williams, June 16 – William Preston Stovall died at his home west of Williams at 1:30 o’clock this morning.  He was born in Colusa County and was 35 years old.  Heart failure was the cause of death.  He was the eldest son of J. C. Stoval[sic] of the Stovall-Wilcoxson Company and had charge of 10,000 acres of farming land for the corporation.  In May, 1898, Mr. Stovall was married to Miss Cook, daughter of A. J. Cook, at Oakland.


1899 Nov 25, The Record-Union, P3, Sacramento, California

About Eighteen Thousand

Amanda Austin’s Share of “Uncle Jeff’s” Estate

Judge Ellison’s Decision in the Celebrated Wilcoxson Estate Case

Superior Judge J. F. Ellison of Tehama yesterday filed his decision in the case of Amanda Austin against the estate of the late Jefferson Wilcoxson, the trial of which recently occupied several weeks in this city.  Miss Austin sued for $150,000, claiming that her grand-uncle had promised her that sum and that he intended her to have it because of her long and faithful services as companion and nurse.  There were many points on which the plaintiff relied to prove her claim, but Judge Ellison recognized but one.  He thinks it was shown that Jefferson Wilcoxson induced her to come here from Missouri and make her home with him, and that he promised to reward her for her services.  So he allows her $1,200 per year for the rest of her life, the actual value of which he calculates would be about $18,000, accepting the standard life insurance statistics as approximately reliable.  <snipped>


1902 Nov 25, Woodland Daily Democrat, P1, Woodland, California

Jesse C. Stovall Dead

Williams, November 25 – Jesse C. Stovall, pioneer banker, member and honored citizen, died at his home, 9 miles west of here Monday of heart failure at the age of 80 years.  He was a native of Tennessee and came to Colusa county in 1850.  Stovall attended a meeting of the directors of the Stovall-Wilcoxson company last Saturday and was re-elected president.  He also was president of the Bank of Williams.  The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon under the auspices of the Odd Fellows.


1904 Nov 22, Woodland Daily Democrat, P1, Woodland, California

The Stovall Accident

Particulars Furnished by a Correspondent at Williams

Brief mention was made in Monday’s “Democrat” of the accident that cost C. E. Stovall his life.  After the paper went to press the following information, kindly furnished by a Williams correspondent, was received:

Charles Edwin Stovall, a native of Colusa county, Cal., died at Venado, Sunday morning, November 20, 1904, aged 29 years, 6 months and 16 days.  He was with “Indian Joe,” a bronco breaker, and was riding a young horse, when it stumbled and fell.  Mr. Stovall was thrown forward, striking the left side of his head and face on the hard road, causing concussion of the brain.  The accident occurred one mile west of the Mountain House, and his companion rode to that place and notified Frank Schuckman, who went to the scene with a spring wagon and took the injured man to the Mountain House.  The accident occurred at 8 o’clock Saturday evening, and the young man died at 8 o’clock Sunday morning, without regaining consciousness.  Dr. A. W. Kimball of Williams and Doctors I. G. Cason and W. T. Rathbun of Colusa were summoned, but could do nothing. Deceased was the youngest son of the late Jesse Stovall, who died two years ago next Wednesday, and was the brother of H. C. Stovall, president, and J. M. Stovall, cashier, of the Bank of Williams.  He leaves a widow and a little daughter about 8 years of age.  The funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock from the Christian church, under the auspices of Central Lodge No. 229, I.O.O.F., of which deceased was a member.  The wife, mother, sisters and brothers of the deceased were in attendance at a church social in the opera house when the accident occurred, but were driven to the Mountain House and remained until after the death.  The town is shocked by the sad affair, as he was on the streets Friday afternoon in the prime of health.


1911 May 25, San Francisco Chronicle, P6, San Francisco, California

Personal and Hotel Gossip


J. M. Stovall and George H. Simmons, business men of Williams, Cal., are at the Stewart.


1911 Oct 29, The San Francisco Call, P55, San Francisco, California

First Olds Delivered by Factory Branch

D. L. Whitford, manager of the newly established Oldsmobile branch, reports his first delivery to J. M. Stovall, cashier of the Bank of Williams.  Stovall, who formerly owned a 1908 Oldsmobile, has taken a 1912 Autocrat model.  Whitford is proud of the sale, as it was made while he was still busy arranging his new quarters on Van Ness avenue and had few facilities for handling patrons.


1920 Jun 20, Petaluma Daily Morning Courier, P1, Petaluma, California

Natural Gas in Colusa Co.

Williams, June 19 – A report that the Mountainhouse Standard Oil Company has struck a flow of natural gas at a depth of 100 feet in a well being bored near here, in an effort to develop petroleum in commercial quantity, has been received here and is characterized as probable by J. M. Stovall, cashier of the Bank of Williams.  He says the well is near the place where natural gas was struck twenty years ago.


1930 Feb 25, Woodland Daily Democrat, P5, Woodland, California

Russel Stovall of San Francisco visited at the home of his mother Mrs. Harriet Stovall.


1930 Aug 2, Woodland Daily Democrat, P5, Woodland, California

Attack Made on Stovall Will

Petition asking for revocation of the last will and testament of the late Mrs. Mary E. Stovall, pioneer resident of the Williams district, well known over Yolo county, and who died January 14, and left property, real and personal, of the estimated value of $75,000, has been filed with County Clerk T. D. Cain at Colusa by H. Foster Clark, Eloise M. Clark, Olene Clark Connell and Cordelia Baker, grandchildren of the deceased.  The contest seeking to have the will set aside, alleges that the instrument made and executed in Colusa county on March 17, 1919, was made at a time when the venerable woman was infirm, weak and not of sound and disposing mind because of her great age, she being 89 years of age at death.  It is alleged that H. C. and J. M. Stovall, surviving sons and in the banking business in Williams, were her sole advisers and looked after the collection and disbursement of her moneys.

Son Charged

It is further alleged that H. C. Stovall prepared and dictated the last will and testament, which it is intimated deprives the petitioners of an interest in the estate.  The legatees and devisees named in the last will under probe are alleged to be:  H. C. Stovall, J. M. Stovall, Mabel A. Brim, Cordelia Stovall, Elmer R. Clark, Stovall Baker and H. Foster Clark.  It is expected that a bitter contest will be waged.


1938 Aug 13, The Petaluma Argus-Courier, P3, Petaluma, California

Hunter Killed at Clear Lake

Lakeport, Aug. 13 – Russell Stovall of Williams was killed Thursday in a deer hunting accident near Clear Lake Park.  The coroner’s office ordered the body brought here.  Details of the accident were not learned.  Information telephoned by Dr. Holden Brink, who gave Stovall emergency treatment indicated the accident occurred while Stovall was changing clothes preparatory to a swim.


1938 Aug 12, Berkeley Daily Gazette, P6, Berkeley, California

Accident Fatal to Deer Hunter

By United Press

Lakeport, Aug. 12 – Russell H. Stovall, 35, Williams, Cal., who had been on a deer hunting expedition with a friend on Bartlett Mountain, died yesterday shortly after he was found shot through the head in what police said apparently was a hunting accident.  Stovall was found slumped forward in the front seat of his car.  A .22 rifle bullet had entered the left side of his head.  The gun was in the back seat.  Officers said the shooting occurred after Stovall and his hunting companion, Carl Netzka, also of Williams, had parted after a lunch together on the shores of Clear Lake near Clear Lake Park.










Transcribed by Donna Toole.

­­­­Source: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 509-510. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

© 2017  Donna Toole.








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