William H. Leeman, of the well-known firm of W. H. Leeman and Company, buyers and sellers of hops, at 425 J street, Sacramento, is a representative business man of this city, and is a man who not only has achieved his individual success but has also public-spiritedly devoted himself to the general welfare of his fellow-citizens, and has been foremost in advancing enterprises and improvements which will prove of lasting benefit to the city, county and state. He is, burthermore, a self-made man, having been pushed out of the family nest at an early age and compelled to seek his living and advancement as best he could. From the first he was possessed of ambition and determination, and his energy and courage and business judgment have brought him to a position of esteem and influence among the citizens of this state and a man of mark in all the relations of life.

Mr. Leeman was born in Dubuque, Iowa, June 24, 1857, a son of W. H. and Kate (Smith) Leeman, both of whom were of old American families and of Revolutionary stock. His father was also a native of Dubuque and of German descent, and followed the business of mason contracting until his death, which occurred in 1860. His mother was born in Wisconsin, and was a daughter of Colonel John Smith, who served in the Union army from 1861 to 1865. Mrs. Kate Leeman was again married after the death of W. H. Leeman, and she died in 1869. Mr. Leeman has one sister, Mrs. C. M. Green, of San Francisco.

After the death of his father Mr. Leeman was brought to Sacramento, at the age of three years, and a few years later was left an orphan. He was then compelled to earn his own living, after having received his early education in the schools of Sacramento. When seventeen years old he went on to the hop ranch of his step-father, R. J. Merkley, and by the time he was twenty-two years old was acquaintd with all branches of the hop-raising business. He then began raising hops on his own account, and from small beginnings has built up his present flourishing business. He commenced with a twenty-acre field on the Riverside road below Sacramento, and gradually added to his holdings until he now has two hundred acres planted to hops, while four hundred acres are in alfalfa and vegetables. All this property is in Yolo county, but he has had his residence in Sacramento for some years. For the past seven years he and Flood J. Flint have been engaged in the business of buying and selling hops under the firm name of W. H. Leeman and Company, and they have built up a profitable business. Mr. Leeman, who is one of the pioneers in this industry, can recall three occasions when hops sold as high as one dollar a pound.

Mr. Leeman has been trustee of reclamation district No. 537 for the past thirteen years, and in this capacity has given service of untold value to this part of the state. He and Mr. Castleman and O. A. Lovdal were the organizers of this district, and Mr. Leeman and Attorney Neill of the Fair estate are the present trustees of the district. With the dredging that has been done it is hoped that three thousand acres of the best farming land in Yolo county will be reclaimed. This lies within the so-called hop district, and the additional land will give a great impetus to the industry of hop-raising, which has made wonderful progress since it was first started.

Mr. Leeman is a stanch Republican, and was a central committeeman in Washington, Yolo county, for three years, and has been to state and county conventions as a delegate. His fraternal affiliations are with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He was married in Sacramento, December 23, 1884, to Miss Kate Farley, a native of Sacramento. They have three children, W. W., Gertrude and Muretta.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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