About David Workman
The immigrant to the United States. David Workman (November 7, 1797–July 1855) was born in Temple Sowerby, Westmorland,now Cumbria County, England to Thomas Workman (1763–1843) and Lucy Cook (1771-1830.) When he was fourteen years old, his father inherited a home and property in nearby Clifton from a childless uncle and aunt and the family relocated there. A few years later, his parents made cash bequests for their sons, with which David took one half of his allotment and left England for the United States in about 1817, settled eventually in Franklin, Missouri, where he opened a saddlery business. In 1822, he returned to the England, took the remainder of his bequest and convinced his younger brother William Workman (1799–1876) to join him in Missouri.
David ran a successful saddlery for many years, relocating to New Franklin when the original town was destroyed by flooding from the Missouri River and then to Boonville. One of David's apprentices at the saddlery in Old Franklin was Christopher "Kit" Carson, who 'ran away' to Nuevo Mexico in 1826 and became a famed scout, trapper, and explorer. David also made many trips buying and selling general merchandise to and from Mexico and other areas. In 1850, he made a trip to the California gold fields and two years later opened a store in Sacramento, California. After a fire destroyed it and seven-eighths of the town, David visited his brother, William, a successful cattle rancher at the Rancho La Puente, east of Los Angeles, and was convinced to relocate there.
In 1825, David Workman married Mary Hook of Virginia, but she died in childbirth along with their child. David then married Mary's sister, Nancy (May 13, 1807–January 30, 1888). The two had three sons: Thomas H. (1832–1863), Elijah H. (1835–1906) and William H. (1839–1918). While David was gone on long extended trips for business, Nancy raised her sons in Missouri. Upon David's return to Missouri in early 1854, however, the family prepared for the migration to California, leaving Boonville in April and arriving in northern California in the late summer, followed by travel by steamer from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where they were met by William Workman in October.
David drove cattle and sheep to the gold mines for his brother and, on one of these trips in late June or early August 1855, he was killed in Stanislaus County, California, while seeking to retrieve a stray animal and falling down a steep cliff. His body was recovered by fellow Masons, who arranged for the shipment of his body to Stockton and then on to Los Angeles. In November 1855, David Workman was buried at his brother's private El Campo Santo Cemetery, now part of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in City of Industry, California, twenty miles east of Los Angeles.