Robert Deniston Hume, president of the Klamath Packing and Trading Company, the Hume Canning and Trading Company and the Del Norte Commercial Company, and with his winter reisdence at 2421 Pierce street, San Francisco, and his summer home in Wedderburn, Curry county, Oregon, has been identified with the great salmon industry of the Pacific coast from almost its very inception. In fact, as he expresses it in his valuable and readable booklet on "The Salmon of the Pacific Coast," he was "sub" under small pay with the firm of Hapgood, Hume and Company, consisting of Andrew S. Hapgood, George W. and William Hume, which began the business of canning salmon on the Pacific coast in the spring of 1864, at the town of Washington, Yolo county, California, on the banks of the Sacramento river, opposite the foot of K street in the city of Sacramento. Mr. Hume was then a young man in his nineteenth year, and had large expectations of a partnership interest in the firm when the business should prove the success anticipated, and he has subsequently not only realized this ambition, but has become one of the chief factors in the systematic, scientific and commercially profitable industry of canning and preserving the greatest food fish of the world. Mr. Hume well remembers the difficulties encountered and overcome, both mechanical and commercial, in the first place there being a lack of proper tools and contrivances to prevent waste and afford expedition in the matter of canning a perfect product; and on the other hand, it was only owing to the enthusiasm and perseverance of the principals in the business that the dark hours of lack of demand for this new article of trade were finally turned into bright day, and a steady and lucrative trade built up. From the first annual product of two thousand cases the business has for some years dealt with millions fo cases, with all the consequential development and ramifications of the trade which such an increase signifies. The history of the salmon industry is now a part of the history of the Pacific coast, and can only be briefly alluded to here in order that proper historical perspective may be given to the career of one who has been one of the important as well as earliest factors in the development of that enterprise.

Robert Deniston Hume was born in Augusta, Maine, October 31, 1845. His ancestral history is extensive and important in its connections and sources, and he is owner of the book, "Noble British Families," in which is contained the Hume pedigree, which, while too long to be quoted here entire, deserves some mention. In this genealogy the generation to which Mr. Hume belongs is numbered the one hundred and fiftieth from the Biblical father of mankind, Adam. Beginning with this Edenic ancestor, whose time is given as about 4000 B. C., the descent is brought down through the Old Testament rulers and chiefs, through the kings of Israel to Zedekiah, whose daughter married a king of Ireland about B. C. 580; thence through fifty or more generations on the Emerald Isle, to the kings of Argyleshire, beginning in A. D. 287 and numbering one hundred and fourth in the entire line; the one hundred and seventeenth descendant is King Kenneth II. of Scotland, and from him the history is traced through many well known names of Scottish history, and with connections among the old Anglo-Saxon kings and nobles and barons of earliest England--men whose very names recall the greatest and most epochal events and civic movements in the annals of the British Isles; and in the one hundred and forty-ninth generation is found the name of John Hume, the grandfather of Mr. Hume. John Hume married Nancy Webb and had eleven children.

Of these eleven children was William Hume, the father of Mr. Hume. He was born in Waterville, Maine, and was in early life a school teacher, after which he was in the shoe business the rest of his life. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was afterward a captain of the militia. He was born in 1794 and died in 1868. The family were all stanch patriots, and the American progenitor of this branch of the Humes came to America in 1723. William Hume married, first, Harriet Hunter, who had four children, William, John, Sophia and Harriet Hume; and, second, Elizabeth F. (Webber) Hixon, who was born in Vassalboro, Maine, in 1809, and died in 1889. The second wife was the mother of eight children, and among them are George W. Hume, president of two large packing companies in San Francisco; Joseph Hume, who died in 1901, was also president of two large salmon canneries in Alaska; and Robert Deniston Hume.

Mr. Hume was reared on a farm at Augusta and was educated at the North Parish public schools until he was eighteen years old. In 1864 he came to California and located in Yolo county, there becoming connected with the salmon industry in the manner mentioned above, and has been engaged in promoting and opening up new fields for the enterprise in various sections of the Pacific coast. He went to Oregon in 1866, and that state has remained one of the centers of his operations ever since, although he has also pushed his forces into the Alaskan regions. While being especially interested in the canning and exportation of the salmon, with wisdom and foresight he has done much to call the attention of both producer and consumer to the danger of total extinction of this most valuable of food fishes, and provide methods and procure agitation for their preservation and lasting propagation, and the little work above quoted had this main object in view. Mr. Hume had been engaged in the study of law for twenty-five years, and in 1903 was admitted to the Oregon bar. He maintains two salmon hatcheries on the Rogue river in Oregon.

Mr. Hume was married, first, to Cecelia A. Bryant, a native of Oregon and a relative of William Cullen Bryant, and she had two children, Robert Deniston and Amelia Hume, both of whom are deceased. Mr. Hume's second wife was Mary A. Duncan, a native of Dunedin, New Zealand, and a daughter of George Duncan, who was provincial treasurer under Sir Julius Vogel, governor of New Zealand. Mr. Hume affiliates with Oriental Lodge, F. & A. M., at San Francisco, is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and the California Genealogical Society. In politics he is a Republican, and was a representative to the Oregon legislature for two terms, 1900-1903.

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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