Proctor Pioneer – The American West Generations is a family history project that documents the George William Proctor family settling from New England to the western United States. His descendants became blacksmiths, cattle ranchers, farmers and influential voices across California and Arizona. Their story of surviving the wild west can match any Hollywood western.
George William Proctor was born May 5, 1823 in Providence, RI to William Proctor and Betsy Thompson. He was raised and educated in Andover, NH. He became a blacksmith like his father and his father before him.
He married Elvira E. Cooper and had two children; daughter Elvira E and son George E. Elvira (mother) died in 1848, a month after giving birth to George E. GWP later married Lucinda T. Norris and made the big move West in 1858 for West Point, CA. They set sail for the Isthmus of Darien (Panama), crossed over by land and set off to California on another boat. He had six children with Lucinda.
The first few years in California, GWP moved around a bit. From West Point to Pine Grove where he fenced a 100 acres, had an orchard and built a black smith shop. In 1861 he moved to Elliott (south of Sacramento) and again had land to farm and built a shop. He sold the place in Elliott and moved to Cambria in 1861, where he stayed for about 20 years. He was an integral part in building Cambria and the Cambria Historical Society has a wealth of information. Some of GWP and Lucinda’s property (Allen/Porte House and Taylor House) is part of the walking tour. He built the Proctor House hotel, the first three story building in all of San Luis Obispo County. The hotel and all of the business district burned in 1889. GWP and Lucinda were financially ruined.
After Cambria they moved to Paso Robles but age and health were catching up. Lucinda died in July 1900. GWP was partially blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. He became involved with a women who later had a court battle with his children. GWP moved once again, this time to San Francisco. He was killed by a cable car in 1904 and is buried in Paso Robles, CA.
George Edgar Proctor ran his father’s blacksmith shop in the San Miguel, CA area. He married and had two children. In April of 1890 he received a U.S. land patent.
Frank Louis Proctor moved to Arizona in 1876. He purchased land in Pima County beginning in 1884 and later purchased land in Graham County in 1890. He married and had one daughter. He was appointed Pima County Deputy Sheriff and later as under sheriff by Sheriff M.F. Shaw. He went to Cananea, Mexico about 1900 and prospered there from providing the meat for the mining camp. After suffering a paralytic stroke he moved to Los Angeles, bought a home in Hollywood and later bought an extensive walnut grove at El Monte. [Expanded profile]
John William Proctor also stayed in California and later worked at the Diamond Match Company. He married and had five children. In February 1890 he received a U.S. land patent.
Charles Anthony Proctor moved to Arizona with Frank in 1876. He worked around the Madera Canyon area and built the old little rock house. He married and had six children. He also had a store in Quijotoa, AZ and sold meat to the miners. The mines there were active about 1883-1885. CAP bought the Sopori Ranch in 1898. He lived at La Tesota and Box Canyon Ranch, then later at Sopori Ranch. He was a guard at Yuma Prison from July 1901 to March 1903. He died mysteriously on the Sopori Ranch in 1913. [Expanded profile]
Henry A Proctor moved to Arizona in 1884. He received a U.S. land patent in May of 1891. He purchased property in Pima County in 1905, 1908 and 1910. After 1910 he lived North of the Rillito river in the Tortalita mountains and west of Santa Catalinas. In 1916, there was a fire at the barn on the ranch at Rillito. It was deemed arson. In 1923 he was a plaintiff in a water rights lawsuit against Pima Farms Company. He moved to California after the trial. [Expanded profile]
All of GWP daughters stayed in California. Elvira E Proctor remained near Cambria and married Stephen Davis. They had five children. Alice Isabelle Proctor resided mostly by the Bay area. She had four children with her first husband Frank B Ward. Alma Vienna Proctor married Walter Overton and had seven children. In 1890 she received a U.S. land patent.