Chapter Seventeen

Business Interests and Organization of California Bankers’ Association

        In the four years after opening the bank, I took an active part in other enterprises. At that time the county adjacent to Hollister was a great wheat and barley producing section. With others I bought the warehouses on the railroad right-of-way and built others, so that we owned at one time eight large warehouses, capable of storing twenty thousand tons of grain. This for a number of years was one of the best paying properties in the county. In fact, even yet they are good properties, but not to the extent that they were when wheat and barley were the principal crop.

        In connection with Mr. N. C. Briggs, I also purchased the water works, formed a company and from year to year extended the mains and secured other supplies of water, until the town can boast of water in quantity and quality not excelled by any that I know.

        Later on I was the largest stockholder in the company formed to furnish gas to the town. In fact, at one time I was president of the Bank of Hollister, Hollister Water Company, Hollister Warehouse Company and Hollister Gas Company, in addition to my private business.

        Among other things I cherish is a fine gold headed cane presented me as late as 1892 by the superintendents of all the companies above named. I continued in all of these offices for many years, but during the last ten years I have been trying to concentrate my business and have from time to time disposed of my various holdings, until I am no longer connected with these properties.

        In 1893 I purchased what is now known as the Los Viboras Ranch, two thousand acres of land, and engaged in stock raising. From time to time I have purchased additional lands adjoining until at the date of this writing (1912) I own something over six thousand acres, all well stocked, and the financial results have been very satisfactory.

        In 1876, in company with my friend Mr. N. C. Briggs, I made an extended visit to the East, stopping over in all the principal cities and sight-seeing for a month at the Centennial World’s Fair in Philadelphia. I enjoyed it very much, spending whole days in the art galleries and in the mechanical department, which particularly interested me. Again in 1886 I toured the East, this time being accompanied by my wife. Our travels took us through Cynthiana, Kentucky, where we stopped over for a week, visiting my grandfather’s old farm and meeting quite a number of the friends of my schooldays. All the boys that were in school with me, and remained in Cynthiana, at the commencement of the Civil War enrolled in a company and joined Morgan’s command and served throughout the war, and many of them fell on Southern battlefields. Others rose to distinction in the military and (after the war was over) in civil life. One of my schoolmates became a General in the Confederate Army, two rose to the rank of Colonel, while Captains and Lieutenants were everywhere. In civil life, one became a member of Congress, one was Governor of the Territory of Utah, one was a Judge in the Courts of Cincinnati, quite a number became bankers, while others attained eminence in the medical profession and at the bar. I do not think I have ever known or heard of so many men out of a class of one hundred who rose to some prominence in life. I do not know any particular reason for this, but they were the finest, manliest lot of boys I ever knew, with noble ambitions and high ideals of life. The environment in which we lived and were taught was the best, and perhaps it takes the "times that try men’s souls" to bring out and develop all that is best in us. Perhaps among the young that I know today are many that need only some great occasion to develop noble men and women.

        After leaving Cynthiana, we proceeded through the States of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, visiting the Shenandoah Valley, the battlefields of Bull Run and Manassas Junction and on to Washington City. A wonderful change had been made in the few years since my last visit. It was still the "City of Magnificent Distances," but new streets had been laid out, old depressions had been filled in and the streets were clean. I think it is the most delightful, as well as the most beautiful, city in the world. One can put in days visiting the museums and public buildings. In the Corcoran Art Gallery I found some of the finest works of art, both in painting and sculpture. In the way of streets, Pennsylvania Avenue, with its broad sidewalks, its magnificent trees along either side and in the center of the street, has not its counterpart anywhere. After leaving Washington, we visited Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and from there returned home, having had a most enjoyable vacation.

        In March, 1891, I visited Los Angeles, where I met in convention quite a number of bankers from different parts of the State for the purpose of organizing the California Bankers’ Association. At the close of this convention I was elected a member of the executive committee, which consisted of W. M. Eddy, of Santa Barbara; T. S. Hawkins, Hollister; A. D. Childress, Los Angeles; N. D. Rideout, Marysville; Lovell White, San Francisco; C. E. Palmer, Oakland; W. W. Phillips, Fresno, and A. L. Seligman, San Francisco. At the first convention held in San Francisco, in October, 1891, all the members of the executive committee were re-elected and their term of office extended to one year. Thomas Brown, cashier of the Bank of California, was elected president. After my term on the executive committee expired, I was made a member of the committee on resolutions, which position I held for a number of years. At the meeting of the association in San Francisco in 1898, with M. J. Daniels of Riverside, E. P. Foster of Ventura, Frank Miller of Sacramento and J. E. Baker of Alameda, I was again elected a member of the executive committee for three years.

        During the twenty-one years of my connection with the California Bankers’ Association I have missed attendance of only two sessions. During these years I have formed an acquaintance with a large number of bankers all over the State, among whom and their families I reckon many very dear friends. Hence these annual meetings have become to me a source of great pleasure.

        In October, 1899, I was taken severely ill, a special train was engaged and I was taken to the McNutt Hospital in San Francisco, where an operation was performed for appendicitis by Dr. McNutt. I was in the hospital for nearly two months, arriving home on the day before Thanksgiving, very weak, but on the road to recovery.