Albert Gallatin was born in Sparta, N.Y., in 1835, according to www.park.ca.gov. His dream was to strike it rich in the gold rush, so after attending commercial college in Baltimore, he headed west at age 18.
He worked in a hardware store in Hudson, Mich., and then moved to Missouri and Kentucky before sailing to California from New York in 1860. After having little luck in the gold fields north of Sacramento, Calif., he moved to Sacramento and got a job as a clerk at the Huntington & Hopkins Hardware Store.
When the store's owners became involved with building the western half of the Transcontinental Railroad, Gallatin, who exhibited a strong work ethic, was left in charge of the store. During that time, he expanded the business, supplying hardware for the new state capitol. He founded the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and pioneered development of hydroelectric power.
After achieving financial and social success, Gallatin and his wife, Clemenza, moved into a mansion on the corner of 16th and H streets in Sacramento in 1877. They had three children but eventually divorced.
Gallatin married Malvina Robin and moved to San Francisco in 1887. His children built successful lives that contributed to California's growth. His daughter Jane and her husband established the artist colony Carmel-by-the-Sea, and his daughter Grace founded the Camp Fire Girls.
The Gallatin ranch in Lassen County now is the Ronald McDonald House.
This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Close-up.