Charles Eamer Sexey (1818-1888) was a merchant, ecological activist, real estate flipper, Marysville Levee Commissioner, and Chairman of the Anti-Debris Association. He also built some of the most important buildings in Marysville, including the one that houses the Appeal-Democrat.

Born in England, Charles Sexey moved to New Zealand as a young man. In New Zealand, he married a Maori chief's daughter named Rihi (Rea) Tahuta and they had four children: Catherine, Henry, Sarah, and Elizabeth. Charles Sexey worked first as a flour miller and later as a storekeeper. But in 1849, he abandoned his wife and four young children to come to California as part of the Gold Rush. (He never saw any of them again. Rihi remarried in 1852 and had seven more children.)

In California, Charles Sexey continued to work as a merchant, selling goods to the gold miners. By 1860, he was trading in the mining camps at Long Bar on the Yuba River (just above the confluence with the Dry Creek that is north of the Yuba River). He also had a store in Browns Valley. By 1863, he was also on his way to becoming a property developer; a newspaper article referred to "a building Charles Sexey will erect on D Street," which would house the Marysville Appeal and later the Appeal-Democrat. In 1864, at age 46, he married Jane Frances O'Donnell Sexey at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marysville. She was a 26-year-old from Ireland and a devout Catholic.

In 1867, Charles Sexey became one of the seven founding trustees of the local woollen mill. By the time of the 1870 census, he is described as having a young Chinese cook and as having "enjoyed a comfortable standard of living from the wise investments he chose," with assets of $80,000 plus real estate an estimated $20,000. He might be called Marysville's first real estate flipper, regularly buying and reselling various buldings around town. In 1870, he bought The Castle. He and Jane never lived in it, but he never sold it either. (Years later, after his death, Jane sold it for less than Charles had paid for it.)

In 1876, Charles Sexey became an American citizen. At around this time, he was serving as president of the Anti-Debris Association. By 1878, according to the Marysville Appeal Directory of 1878-79, he was serving on the Marysville Levee Commission and owned 280 acres of land. In 1887, he resigned as president of the Anti-Debris Association, due to declining health. The Board at first refused to accept his resignation, but he insisted and soon left on a year-long trip to Europe. While in Scotland in 1888, he caught pneumonia and pleurisy and died. Jane Sexey died in 1896 in San Francisco.


Charles E. Sexey