The founders of a state are not merely the men who handle the reins of government and control the public policy, but are also those who carry civilization into hitherto wild regions and develop the natural resources of the state. Such a one was Andrew Meyer, who came to California in pioneer days and was among the first to establish the fact that California offers great opportunities to the agriculturist. For many years he was an honored an respected citizen of San Joaquin county and is yet remembered by many friends here.
Mr. Meyer was a native of Switzerland, born on the 27th of October, 1821. His father also bore the name of Andrew Meyer, and was of Swiss parentage and ancestry. He brought his family to America when his son Andrew was but four years old, the family locating in Seneca county, Ohio, where the subject of this review was reared to manhood nd made his home until his emigration to California. He acquired a good common school education and possessed throughout life the taste of a student. He read much during his leisure hours and became a well informed man on topics of general interest and upon the questions bearing upon the political situation and public policy of the nation.
Attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific coast, Mr. Meyer left his Ohio home and came to California, making the long and arduous journey across the plains. He engaged in mining for a short time and afterward turned his attention to freighting, which he followed until 1851, when he returned to the east by way of the isthmus route. In the fall of 1852 he again came to California, making the journey once more across the plains and bringing with him both horses and cattle. He made his way direct to San Joaquin county and settled on the farm which is now occupied by his widow. It borders what is now the county road near the present site of Lathrop. He was among the first settlers in this locality, and with characteristic energy began the development of his farm, transforming the land into richly cultivated fields, while in his pastures he raised good grades of stock. He was one of the pioneers in the agricultural development of this part of the state, and his efforts resulted in producing a fine and highly improved farm. When he crossed the plains in 1852 he had a partner, Jacob K. Meyer, and they were interested in both the stock and the farm until 1861, doing business under the firm name of Meyer & Meyer. In that year they dissolved partnership, and Andrew Meyer continued alone until his death, which occurred August 9, 1898.
On the 26th of February, 1861, Mr. Meyer was married to Miss Cynthia Cooley, a native of Seneca county, Ohio, born October 15, 1838, and a daughter of Orange and Mary (Pettis) Cooley, the former a native of New York and the latter of Massachusetts. It is believed that in the paternal line the family is of Scotch origin. Orange Cooley became a pioneer of Seneca county, Ohio, settling there prior to his marriage and taking an active part in the early development of that part of the state. To Mr. and Mrs. Meyer were born three sons: Leland, Arthur and Andrew C., also living in San Joaquin county.
Mr. Meyer, as one of the pioneer residents of San Joaquin county, took an active part in its early upbuilding and improvement, and always manifested the deepest interest in its welfare and growth. He had an intimate knowledge of the events which shaped the early history of the state, went through some of the experiences which were met by the seeker for gold, and performed the arduous task of developing a new farm. He was a self-made man in the truest sense of the term, and won not only a competence, but also carved out a character that gained for him the respect and confidence of all with whom he was associated, and few men of the community had a wider acquaintance. By the capable management of his business affairs he was enabled to leave his family in very comfortable circumstances, and his widow still occupies the old homestead farm comprising six hundred acres of rich land under a high state of cultivation. She shared with him in many of the pioneer experiences and well deserves mention among the representative citizens of the county, in which so many years of her life have been passed.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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