This month we highlight member:
My great great grandfather, Benjamin Fechtig, was born in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1832. “During the Gold Rush 49 and later he sailed down to the Panama Coast with some cronies, crossed over to the Pacific Coast by pack mule and took a schooner for San Francisco.” There may have been some success in the gold fields and then a ship wreck. The details are a bit murky. However, we do know “just after Crescent City sprang into existence, on June 10, 1854, was issued the first number of the Herald, which for seven years was a weekly visitor to its friends, and a vigilant and earnest factor of the growth and welfare of this section of California.
The press and material were shipped from San Francisco by the editors and proprietors, Messrs B.Y. Fechtig and U.B. Freanor. It was a twenty-column paper, published weekly, at a subscription price of ten dollars per annum.......In September, 1854, Mr. Fechtig withdrew, and S.H. Grubler assumed his place.”
Benjamin returned to Hagerstown where he married Sophronia Angel Morriss of Richmond Co., Virginia in 1858. The first of their six children, John, my great grandfather, was born the following year. John married and started his own family in Washington D.C. and then moved to Glendale, California in 1902. As he was a chief clerk for the railroad he made a number of visits to Crescent City to explore the city where his father had helped to begin the first newspaper on the northwest coast.
John may be contacted via his e-mail: John Knox