Edward Wacksmuth has been one of the founders and promoters of the town of Tracy. A native of Prussia, he was born on the 31st of January, 1834, and there spent the days of his boyhood and youth, acquiring his education by attending the public schools of Germany. He was a young man of about twenty-three years when he bade adieu to home and friends and sailed for the new world, taking passage in 1857 on a westward-bound sailing vessel, which weighed anchor in the harbor of Bremen and after a voyage of forty-six days landed its passengers in New York city. Mr. Wacksmuth, however, did not tarry long in the eastern metropolis, but removed to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and after three years he moved to Franklin, Venango county, Pennsylvania, where he resided up to the time of the outbreak of the Civil war. When a young man in his native country he had learned the trade of a tanner and currier, and he followed that business from the time of his arrival in America until he offered his services to the government in defense of the Union at the time of the Civil war. It was on the 6th of August, 1861, that he enlisted, becoming a member of Company G, Sixty-third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac, and Mr. Wacksmuth participated in the siege of Yorktown and the battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, at the seven days' battle in front of Richmond, and Spottsylvania, Fredericksburg, Antietam and Gettysburg. He was also in the battle of Mine Run, where he was wounded so seriously that he was taken to the hospital at Alexandria, Virginia, where he remained for a time. He was then honorably discharged on the 25th of April, 1864, and with a most creditable military record as a loyal adopted son he returned to his home in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Wacksmuth continued a resident of Venango county, that state, until 1868, when he came to California, making the journey by way of the isthmus route. He remained for a brief period in Sacramento and then came to San Joaquin county in 1869. In that year he returned to the east for his family, whom he brought to the Pacific coast with him. They settled in San Joaquin county, and for several years Mr. Wacksmuth conducted a hotel in what was formerly the village of Ellis, located near the present site of Tracy, California. There he carried on his business with a fair measure of success until 1875, and when the town of Tracy was started in 1878 he again engaged in the hotel business, in which he continued until 1890. In that year he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and stock-raising and followed the business successfully until 1900. He is numbered among the pioneer hotel men of this part of the state. He was also connected with the sheep industry during 1875-1877.
Mr. Wacksmuth was married in 1865 to Miss Nancy Boyer, who was born in Pennsylvania, and they became the parents of four children, of whom three are now living: Millie, the wife of James Banta, of Tracy, California; Alta, who is the wife of Charles A. Slack, of Tracy; and Mamie, the wife of Abraham Grunauer, of Tracy, California. They lost a son, Edward. The mother of these children passed away on the 18th of April, 1903, and her loss was deeply mourned by many friends, for she had endeared herself to all who knew her.
Mr. Wacksmuth is a member of Sumner Lodge No. 77, I. O. O. F., of Tracy, with which he united on its organization. He is also connected with the encampment there, and is a member of West Side Lodge No. 118, K. of P., at Tracy. he served for several years as a trustee of the school district at Tracy, and his co-operation has been of value in many public movements that have had for their object the benefit and upbuilding of his community. He has witnessed many changes which have occurred in California as it has emerged from its pioneer conditions to take its place among the leading commonwealths of this great nation. When he located in San Joaquin county the work of development was scarcely begun, and in the communities where he has resided he has borne an active and helpful part in the work of progress. He has been a trustee of the school district of Tracy, and in his political views is an earnest Republican. He may well be called one of the founders and promoters of Tracy, having done all in his power to promote its growth along substantial and beneficial lines.
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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