Biography of Frederick Gustavus Blume

From a History of Sonoma County, by J. P. Munro-Fraser
(San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1880), pp. 484-486:


The subject of this sketch, whose portrait appears in this history, was born in Bautzen, in the Kingdom of Saxony, on the 13th of June, 1815. his father's name was Frederick William Blume, and his mother's maiden name was Johanna Fibiger, both natives of the above name place. His parents were very poor, and the young lad was glad to even have the advantages of the common schools. In that city there was an academy in which there was a fund set apart for the free education of twelve young men whose ability in vocal music should entitled them to receive this benefit. They were furnished with books, and received also one dollar per week. Young Blume was blessed with such an excellent soprano voice that he was selected to fill this position in the academy. The weekly stipend went far to relieve the pressing wants of his father's family. He entered this academy at the age of twelve and remained in it till he was sixteen years of age. After leaving this school he went to Hamburg, Germany, and became a student of pharmacy and surgery under Philip Hauptfleisch, Chief Surgeon of Hamburg. Here he remained and pursued his studies for the period of three years. He then returned to his native country and entered the Royal College in the city of Dresden, remaining there three years, when in 1837 he graduated as a surgeon with high honors. He escaped service in the army owing to the fact that there was an unusual number of young surgeons ready to enter the service just at that time. He then set out to visit his uncle in the city of Hamburg. Upon his arrival at Hamburg he received a letter from an old college chum, stating that he had shipped as surgeon on a South sea whaling vessel, but had fallen ill, and desired young Blume to go in his stead. After due deliberation he decided to accept the situation, and instead of returning to his parents, he has never since placed foot upon his native soil. On the 19th day of December, 1840, he sailed from the port of Bremerhaven on the whaling ship "Alexander Barclay," as surgeon, with the provision that he could take his discharge whenever he chose after the ship had secured a full cargo. After making the usual voyage to the north-west whaling grounds, the vessel returned to San Francisco bay to spend the winter, and on the 23d day of December, 1842, Mr. Blume first set foot on California soil, at Saucelito. The vessel remained here until the following March. As soon as it was known that a vessel was in port with a physician and surgeon on board, he was sent for to attend the sick on the ranchos in all the surrounding country, there being no resident physician in the country at that time, except Dr. Sanders, who sometimes visited California. During the season of 1843 the vessel made another cruise, and spent the following Winter at the Sandwich Islands. During the season of 1844 the vessel made another cruise, during which an incident occurred in which Mr. Blume came very near having his career of life sealed forever. He secured permission to go with the sailors to harpoon a whale, and upon approaching it and harpooning it, their boat was struck with one of the whale's fin and crushed, leaving its occupants at the mercy of the waves. Mr. Blume went down with the rest of the men but on coming to the surface he found himself close beside the whale, to which he tried to cling to keeping from sinking again. While trying to grasp hold of the whale another boat approached and a lance was hurled at the whale, which passed close to his head, and passed through the lower part of his right hand. He still bears the scar of that cut. The whale was killed and Mr. Blume was rescued from his perilous position. The vessel returned to the Sandwich Islands at the end of that season with a full cargo, and Mr. Blume took his discharge from there. This was in August or September of 1844. He expected to engage in his profession on the Islands, but there being no field for it, he engaged in his profession on the Islands, but there being no field for it, he engaged in the mercantile business till the Spring of 1846. In May of that year he sailed on the English schooner "Currency Lass" for San Francisco. He shipped his stock of goods on the schooner also. He arrived in San Francisco in May or June, 1846, and at once rented a room of Dr. Jones, opposite the Portsmouth House on the plaza, and in five days had disposed of his entire stock of goods. On the return of the schooner to the Islands, he sailed on her. He procured another stock of goods, and returned to San Francisco in the American schooner "General Kearney," in October, 1846. He took this stock of goods to Sonoma city, and opened a store there in a building owned by Salvador Vallejo. He remained in business at this place till April 1, 1848, when he moved to the ranch Canada de Pogolome. He has since resided in the same house, situated on a slight eminence over looking the beautiful little town of Freestone. The town of Bloomfield was named in his honor, being located on the Pogolome grant owned by his wife. Mr. Blume was duly elected to the first Territorial Legislature of California, which met at San Jose in 1849, although he was not a citizen at that time. He was appointed postmaster at Freestone December 14, 1870, and has held the office continually since. He was elected Justice of the Peace in 1873, and has held the office ever since. He has held the office of School Trustee since 1871. He is a member of the San Francisco Pioneers, and is one of the very few who are entitled to wear the golden bear upon his badge. When he first went upon his ranch he kept a small stock of goods for the local trade. One night in the winter of 1849, a band of Indians camped near his house returning with Mr. W. Bruitz from the mines. During the night he disposed of his entire stock of goods, receiving therefor eighteen pounds of gold dust equal to three thousand four hundred and fifty-six dollars. He disposed of one pair of red blankets for the chief for a nugget worth two hundred and eighty-seven dollars. Mr. Blume was married in Sonoma city in November, 1848, to Mrs. Maria Antonio Dawson, (nee Caseres) widow of James Dawson. She is still living. They have had no children.



From a History of Sonoma County, California, by Ernest L. Finley (Press Democrat Publishing Company, Santa Rosa: 1937), p. 203:

... Confirmation of the grant known as the Pogolome rancho to Senora Maria Antonia Cazares Dawson, his widow, took place after his death. She was married to F. G. Blume in 1847, the charge of the property thereupon passing into his hands. A year later his father-in-law, Francisco Cazares, with his family, came north from Monterey and settled on Ebabias creek. Blume was forced by a Settlers' league to sell much of his valuable estate at nominal prices; at his death he owned little of the original grant. The methods of the Settlers' leagues, which often were in fact secret organizations of oath-bound members, were frequently anything but gentle, and sometimes unlawful.




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