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William Lloyd Garrison Soule, Auditor of San Bernardino County, and founder of the mining town of Calico, is a lineal descendant from Puritan stock, and was born in the State of Maine, in July, 1836. He was reared from early childhood in Massachusetts, and started to learn the printer’s trade in Boston at the age of fourteen. He came with his parents to Kansas in 1854, and set the first stickful of type ever set within the boundary of that State, on the Herald of Freedom, established at that time in Lawrence. Being like his illustrious namesake, an uncompromising enemy of slavery, and an active participant with John Brown and other champions in the five years’ struggle which made Kansas a free State, besides being born and bred an Abolitionist, the son of a man who had worked shoulder to shoulder with Garrison, Greeley and Gerrit Smith in the anti-slavery cause, he had, as a journeyman printer, traveled quite extensively in the South and had personally witnessed the blighting effects of human slavery.
In 1859 Mr. Soule took a quartz mill to Colorado, which he set up and run for two years. Returning to Kansas in 1861 he served as city marshal at Lawrence until that city was destroyed by Quantrell and the rebel guerrillas, in 1863. Soon after that event he entered the army and served throughout the time, a portion of the time as superintendent of the quartermaster’s department under quartermaster Ran-kin, in the Department of the Cumberland, in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, with Sherman’s command. On retiring from the army he returned to Colorado, and was for a time connected with the editorial staff of the Colorado Farmer, and while there he collected the matter and wrote part of the work entitled “The Black Hills and Big Horn Country,” a twelve-mo. volume of about 500 pages, published by Robert Strahorn. During the years intervening between 1873 and 1879 Mr. Smile filled the offices of Justice of the Peace and Postmaster in Ouray and Gunnison counties respectively. Was the first Justice of the Peace in Ouray County: served as Postmaster at Irwin, Gunnison County, two years.
In December, 1879, taking the advice of his physicians, he came to California, for the benefit of his health. After spending the winter in San Diego, and finding his health improved, he was seized with the prospecting fever, and, starting out, finally located on the site of Calico, where he erected the first building, opened the first store and founded and named the town in 1881. He was the first Postmaster and the first Justice of the Peace in the place, is still a joint partner in a general store in Calico, and also has some mining interests there. His partner, Mr. Stacy, is his successor as Postmaster. He has considered San Bernardino his home for the past three years. He was elected Auditor of San Bernardino County on the Re-publican ticket in the fall of 1888, and assumed the duties of office January 1, 1889.
Mr. Smile married Miss Wagner, daughter of Judge Wagner, deceased. She is a native of the Pacific slope. Her parents came from Illinois. Mr. Soule’s only brother, Captain Silas Soule, of the First Colorado Regiment, was assassinated in Denver while Provost Marshal; was also a radical Abolitionist and possessed the courage of his convictions. When Dr. Charles Day was in jail in St. Joseph, Missouri, for assisting slaves to run away, he went to the jail, and as a raw Irishman got permission to visit the jail, and notified Day of an attempt to rescue him that night. About ten o’clock at night he again went to the jail in company with the subject of this sketch and several other friends who claimed to have just arrested him (Silas) for some crime committed, and wished him locked up for the night. The jailor opened the door and was at once disarmed, the keys taken from him, Day released and the other prisoners locked up securely. Day was taken across the Missouri river in a skiff, and by wagon to Lawrence. They were pursued several miles into Kansas, but, having the fleetest horses, escaped.
After John Brown’s capture at Harper’s Ferry and incarceration in prison, Silas Soule went to the prison and, feigning the drunken Irishman, succeeded in getting locked up for the night, and, while confined in the prison that night investigated the situation of Brown and his other friends with a view of planning their escape; but, finding no hope of being able to release them, he sobered up and was set free next morning without his identity or his intentions being even suspected by the authorities.