William John Albaugh was born in Pennsylvania. His early life was spent on a small farm where he learned the principles of hard work and initiative which form the character of those who live close to the land.
At the age of 17 he was lured west by tales of buffalo hunting and Indian wars. On his way westward in 1886 he mingled with the cowboys and the cattle barons in Dodge City, which was then considered to be the cattle center of the West.
In 1893 he settled in the Fall River Valley working as a logger and a miner. A few years later he became involved in the beef cattle business. During his busy life he acquired several ranches and built up a herd of 700 head of high-producing Hereford cattle. His farming operations have been said to be among the most diversified in Northern California.
Mr. Albaugh was active in community work, having been a member of the local school boards and taking an active lead in the improvement of the Redding-Alturas highway. He was interested in furthering higher education. He was one of the first directors of the California Farm Bureau in Shasta County, organized the Fall River Valley Livestock Association and served as its first president, and was a director of the California Cattlemen's Association for over a quarter of a century.
The 91 years of his life spanned more than half the history of the American Republic in its most turbulent and rapidly expanding period. It encompassed the period which witnessed the near-extinction of the buffalo; long, spectacular cattle drives; daring Pony Express riders and the completion of the Transcontinental railroad; the invention of barbed wire; the settling of the West and the closing of the American frontier; and the longest period of peace in American history. His life began when Andrew Johnson was in office as the 17th President and ended in the Atomic and Space Age during the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 33rd President of the United States.