WILLIAM H. NIEMEYER
With the various phases of pioneer existence in California, William H. Niemeyer is intimately acquainted; for his entire life, covering a period of seventy-one years, has been passed within the borders of this State, and he has the distinction of being one of its oldest native sons. Thrown upon his own resources at an early age, he has furnished a correct solution to the difficult problem of self-support; and his record proves the fact that it is under the pressure of necessity that the best and strongest in the individual are brought out and developed. He has had broad experience in business, having followed many lines of activity; and for the past ten years he has served the public in the capacity of city clerk of Wheatland.
Mr. Niemeyer was born at Gold Hill, Placer County, Cal., on June 28, 1852, a son of Herman and Minnie (Riech) Niemeyer, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father became a resident of St. Louis, Mo., and in 1852 started for California by the Panama route, crossing the Isthmus on the backs of the natives. He was a man of liberal education and superior mentality. While living in St. Louis he engaged in merchandising. He was also a refiner of gold, and was one of the first men in America to make white lead by the manure process. He passed away sixty days after reaching Gold Hill, and the mother subsequently remarried. She died in Sutter County in 1888. William H. Niemeyer is the second child of a family of three children born of the first union, and the only one now living, his brother having died in 1891. He was born in a tent, amid primitive surroundings, in Doty’s Ravine, near Gold Hill, and as a boy assisted his mother in making dipped tallow candles for lighting the home. When ten years of age he was obliged to seek a livelihood, and had a hard struggle to exist. At that tender age he shoveled tailings from the end of a sluice-box to aid in the support of the family. A few months each summer he attended school at Wisconsin Hill, Placer County, and thereafter, by self-study, research and reading, he gained a good education. This was supplemented by valuable experience, which in time made him a well-informed man. He worked in the hydraulic mines at Wisconsin Hill, Placer County, until 1870, receiving a small wage, and in 1871, when nineteen years of age, came to Sutter County. In association with F. F. Morehead, he purchased 480 acres of land on Coon Creek, but later sold out and bought 160 acres, which he ran for five years. In 1881, he joined his brother, H. C. Niemeyer, and his half-brother, A. P. Lipp, in Wheatland, and they engaged in general merchandising here. He and his brother bought Lipp out; in 1890 he purchased his brother’s interest, and continued to operate the store until he sold out in 1891. The next two years were spent in Santa Barbara, managing the Santa Barbara Transfer Company. After terminating this connection, Mr. Niemeyer returned to Wheatland and became manager of the Rochdale Store, of which he had charge for nine years. Resigning from this position, he opened a real-estate and insurance business, which he has continued since. In 1913 he was elected city clerk of Wheatland, and has since been retained in that office–a fact indicative of his efficiency, trustworthiness and popularity. The present water-works system was established by Mr. Niemeyer and G. W. Wanwell [Manwell?], and John Stineman was president of the company. In 1981 the plant was purchased by the city. The water supply is as pure as that furnished by any municipal system in the State.
On November 4, 1873, Mr. Niemeyer married Miss Phoebe C. Woodworth. She was born in Maquoketa, Iowa, a daughter of Walter Woodworth, a California pioneer of 1865. Mr. and Mrs. Niemeyer are the parents of two children, Herman Niemeyer and Mrs. E. E. Monson, both of whom are living in Marysville. Mr. Niemeyer is now the oldest business man in Wheatland. In 1923, the Odd Fellows Lodge, assisted by the Rebekahs, gave Mr. and Mrs. Niemeyer a Golden Wedding (fiftieth anniversary) celebration in the hall with 147 people present. A good program and banquet were enjoyed, and the esteemed couple were also the recipients of a substantial present. Mr. Niemeyer has been a school trustee of Wheatland off and on for fifteen years; and with his associates, Messrs. Jasper and Stagner, he built the new grammar school in the district. Mr. Niemeyer is a member of Sutter Lodge, No. 100, I.O.O.F., and has been identified with the order for forty-seven years. He is a Past Grand, and has been secretary for the past ten years. For two terms also, he served as president of Wheatland Parlor, N. 40, N.S.G.W. He has always taken an active part in the parlor’s affairs, and was instrumental in having the monument to the pioneer placed at Camp Far West.
History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924
WILLIAM O. GRANT
One of the native sons of California is William O. Grant, general superintendent of the Oak Valley Lumber Company. He was born at Iowa Shaft, three miles northeast of Scales, Sierra County, Cal., March 24, 1884, the only son and youngest child of three children born to Samuel O. and Annie (Jones) Grant. Samuel O. Grant was born in Indiana and moved with his parents to Missouri. During the Civil War he served in Battery F., 3rd Indiana Volunteer Artillery, under General Sherman; his first engagement was in the second battle at Nashville, and he also went with Sherman in his March-to-the-Sea. He married Miss Annie Jones, born in Pennsylvania of Welsh parentage, who accompanied her parents around Cape Horn to California in 1857. Samuel O. Grant came with his twin brother, William O., to California; and they both worked as master mechanics in the mines. Samuel O. Grant died at Iowa Shaft in September, 1884; his widow survived him until 1913, when she passed away at Redding, Cal.
William O. Grant began his education in the Downieville grammar school; later, he took a course in surveying and map-making with the International Correspondence Schools, of Scranton, Pa. He began as wage-earner in the Alturas Mine at La Porte, where he worked for four years, and in that time rose to the position of blacksmith in charge of thirty men. In 1906, Mr. Grant went to Goldfield, Nev., but the same year returned to California. In 1908 he became an employee of the Brandy City Mine Company, and after four months’ work became a sawyer, which he followed for two years under Superintendent Jack Hayes, who was accidentally killed in 1915. In 1912, he spent eight months at Nome, Alaska, in charge of the mill for the Pioneer Mine Company. In 1915, he took charge of the Bullards Bar dam for the Marysville & Nevada Power & Water Company.
In May, 1919, the Oak Valley Lumber Company erected a small sawmill three miles above Camptonville; and on July 11, of that year, Mr. Grant entered their employ as a mechanic. The following September he was made foreman of the mill; and in April, 1921, he became the general superintendent. He is also interested in the company. Each year since the spring of 1920 the mill has been constantly undergoing enlargement and remodeling, so that when operating to full capacity it requires sixty-five employees. In 1923 they built a dry kiln with a capacity of 72,000 feet. The mill being well located on the Nevada City-Downieville State Highway, the lumber is easily transported on large trucks to Nevada City, twenty-three miles away, where the rough and finished lumber is loaded on cars and consigned direct to various California and Eastern points.
The marriage of Mr. Grant in San Francisco united him with Miss Carrie L. Sevey, daughter of Daniel A. and Lucy Sevey, pioneers of Yuba County. Mr. Sevey died in 1920. Mrs. Sevey served for years as postmaster of Strawberry Valley, and is now living retired in Marysville. One daughter has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Grant, Clara Elma. Fraternally, Mr. Grant is affiliated with Jefferson Lodge, No. 96, F. & A.M., La Porte; is a Scottish Rite Mason, holding membership in Sacramento; and is also a member of Alturas Lodge, No. 80, I.O.O.F. He has served as trustee of the Camptonville school district.
History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924
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