George CLEVELAND 1847 - 1912

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Born in either Arkansas OR McDonald County, Missouri in September 1847, the first son of parents William Jasper and Tennessee Owen Cleveland. Early U.S. Federal Censuses, of 1850 and 1860, state George Cleveland’s birthplace as Arkansas, but later records list McDonald County, Missouri.

When George was just two years old, his father travelled to Butte County, California, leaving the family in Missouri. His father returned to Missouri after mining for one year.

The 1850 Federal Census shows a Jasper CLEAVLAND, age 26, in McDonald Co., MO with wife Tennessee and son George, age 2, born in Arkansas.

In 1852, when George was 5 years old, his sister Missouri Ann was born in McDonald County, Missouri. That same year his father packed up the family and they all crossed the plains, arriving in Butte County, California in September 1852.

Then in December 1853, George's mother died, and the rest of the family returned to Missouri, via Nicaragua.

In March 1854, when George was seven years old, his father married again, to Sarah Ann OWEN, and the next year half-brother Napolean Bonaparte was born.

Sara Owen Headstone

In 1856, George's family, along with his father's parents' family, crossed the plains again to Butte County, California, near the Feather River. The next year another half-brother, Robert Lee, was born in California.

George's father moved the family again a year later, to a farm in Mendocino County, CA - leaving George's grandparents in Butte County.

Sarah Ann Owen Cleveland (George's step-mother) died in January 1858 in Ukiah, Mendocino County, CA.

Sometime before the 1860 Federal Census was conducted, George's father married a third time, to Elizabeth Parton. The census lists George, age 12, as having been born in Arkansas, and lists an older daughter living in the house - Miranda, age 13 (possibly a daughter of Elizabeth from a previous marriage?), along with Missouri, age 8, Bonaparte, age 5, and Robert, age 3.

1861–1865 – Civil War – George CLEVELAND was age 13 – 17 and there is no evidence that he was involved in the Civil War.

In 1872, George Cleveland was 24 years old when he apparently shot a man and was sent to the California State prison for five years. {Read the news stories here}

George was released from prison on January 30, 1877.{Prison Record} An article in the Mendocino Democrat on February 3, 1877 states:

"PARDONED - George Cleveland put in an appearance here by the Cloverdale stage last Thursday, having been pardoned by the Governor. He stopped here a short time, obtained a saddlehorse at Sullivan's stable, and hurried up home, Cleveland's Mill, to surprise the family."

George, age 29, resident of Round Valley, CA married Rebecca (Becky) Potter (Gordon)(Hildreth), about age 39, resident of South Eel River, CA, on September 9, 1877, in Mendocino County, CA. Courthouse records state "Rebecca Hildreth has been twice married and both husbands dead."

In 1877 Rebecca may have still had several HILDRETH children living with her: John R. age 13, Nettie E. age 11, Annie L. age 7, and William W. age 5.

**NEW - Less than two years later, probably April to June 1879, George Cleveland traveled to Texas to meet up with his friend, and wife's youngest brother, James K. P. Potter. The Cleveland family had been neighbors of two of James Potter's grown sisters in Mendocino County in 1870, about 3 years before most of the Potters left for Texas. George may not have known yet that his wife, Rebecca, was pregnant - OR Rebecca may have stayed behind in California for that reason.

**NEW -On July 11, 1879, Texas Rangers found James K.P. Potter and George Clevland in possession of stolen cattle. They were delivered to the sheriff of Kimble County, TX the next day and apparntly released on bail. Two weeks later, on July 25th, George was arrested again, charged for theft of cattle and three days later delivered to the Menard County sheriff where he was jailed.

The only son of George and Rebecca, William Jasper Cleveland, was born on December 12, 1879, in Ukiah, Mendocino County, CA.

**NEW - Most likely George was still in jail in Texas when his son was born, as the next note of him in the Texas Ranger records was March 22 to 26, 1880 when he was tried and given a two year sentence for cattle theft during the spring term of the district court in Menardville, TX. From the book "The Reckoning" by Peter Rose, page 118 - “He was placed in irons awaiting transportation to the state penitentiary, but before he could be delivered to prison, he escaped when the Texas Ranger guarding him fell asleep.” The Rangers made several unsuccessful scouts for George Cleveland in Kimble County in April 1880. Then in July 1880 Rangers searching for George and his brother-in-law James K. P. Potter near the South Llano exchanged gunfire, but lost the two in the brush.

**NEW - Later that year, in September 1880, the Texas Rangers had a report of theft of a herd of horses - thought to be by some of the Potters, including James K. P., and George Cleveland. The Rangers soon found the trail, following it for several days until reaching Pecos Station about October 3rd. There they learned the group and split in two, with two Potter brothers continuing northwest into New Mexico, and James K. P. Potter and George Cleveland traveling west toward Fort Stockton. The Rangers couldn't find the trail on the road to Fort Stockton, so headed northwest to find the Potter brothers. George and his brother-in-law escaped west, then north into New Mexico. In late Nevember 1880 Rangers sent to find James K. P. Potter and George Cleveland - now suspected of cattle rustling - found them on Black River in southeastern New Mexico, exchanged gunfire but lost them in a pursuit. Sometime later, James K. P. Potter became acquainted with John H. Slaughter, and accompanied him on his third and final cattle herd to Cochise County, Arizona. It is not known if George Cleveland joined them.

Around this same time, Rebecca Potter Cleveland is said to have traveled with young William Jasper Cleveland, and several of her Hildreth children, from California to Arizona. George may have gone back to California to get them, or Rebecca and children moved east to join George in Arizona. In 1882 a George W. Cleveland, age 34, is registered to vote in Pima County, Arizona; in 1884 a George Cleveland, age 36, working as a Millman registered to vote in Contention, Cochise County, AZ; and in 1886 a George Cleveland, age 38, working as a Millman at Grand Central Mill registered to vote in Cochise County, AZ.

Several Arizona newspapers reported in April of 1887 that a George Cleveland was arrested for stealing a horse from the Grand Central mine, Contention, Arizona. Here is an excerpt from the Arizona Daily Star, Sun., April 17, 1887:

"The examination of George Cleveland charged with the theft of a horse from the Grand Central mine, last week... Constable Bill Showers of Benson, who made the arrest, stated he had received telegrams from Sheriff Slaughter and Constable Dodge, to arrest Cleveland, and learning that he had gone down the San Pedro river followed and overtook him at the Mammoth mine."
Newspapers The Clifton Clarion and Arizona Siver Belt reported in early April 1888 that George Cleveland had been pardoned by Governor Zulick.

George Cleveland was living in Siskiyou County California by 1890, as he is listed in both the 1890 and 1892 Great Register of Siskiyou County. In 1892: No. 3521 – CLEVELAND, George – Age: 43 – Height: 5 ft 11 in – Complexion: light – Color of Eyes: blue – Color of Hair: grey – Country of Nativity: Missouri – Precinct: Spring – P.O. Address: Beswick – Occupation: farmer.

The 1900 Federal Census of Calpella, Mendocino County, CA shows G Cleveland, born Sep 1847, age 52, married for 2 (or 12?) years, occupation Saloonkeeper, with wife Laura living in the same house as Wm J Cleveland – probably his father.

On December 6, 1904, George’s father, William Jasper Cleveland, died in Ukiah, Mendocino County, CA.

George Cleveland's first wife, Rebecca Potter Cleveland, died February 21, 1905 in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona.

George Cleveland died in 1912 in Siskiyou County, CA.

1 – 1860 United States Federal Census
2 – 1870 United States Federal Census
3 – Ancestry Family Trees
4 – Arizona, County Coroner and Death Records, 1881-1971
5 – California, Prison and Correctional Records, 1851-1950
6 – California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898
7 – North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000
8 – U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007