Jewlery Business, San Jose

 Bio-Pen Pictures

jeweler and optician, No. 8 South First Street, was born in Holliston, Massachusetts, in 1836. Up to the age of sixteen years he attended the public schools of his native town.  He then entered the Mount Hollis Seminary, at which institution he graduated in 1853. In 1854 he commenced learning the jewelry business in Holliston, remaining three years in one establishment. Going to Natick, Massachusetts, in April, 1857, he there opened for himself a jewelry store, in addition to which he owned and conducted for five years a newspaper, the Natick Observer, the latter enterprise having been rather forced upon him from having loaned the previous owner a sum of money, the paper later being left on his hands for the indebtedness. This venture he managed with his usual energy and success. One of the frequent contributors to the columns of his paper during these years was the wife of the Hon. Henry Wilson, who was later Vice-President of the United States, during General Grant's second term in the White House. Finding his health much impaired by the rigorous climate, Mr. Ryder sold out all his interests in Natick. He had endeavored to enter the Union army, but not passing the requisite physical examination he decided to follow the boys if he could not go with them. In October, 1863, he left for New Orleans, stopping on the way at Havana, Cuba. He found immediate benefit to his health, and was already wonderfully recuperated on arriving in New Orleans in November, 1863. Receiving from General Banks a permit to open a trading store at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he operated it for about one year, cultivating, during the summer of 1864, within the Union picket lines, about fifty-five acres in cotton. By promptness in putting to work a sufficient force of hoe hands during a few dry days which followed a long-continued rain, he managed to free his crop from the grass which had almost taken possession, and which could be destroyed only when the ground was dry. That work made him a profit of $10,000, which otherwise would have been an almost equal loss. The cotton worm took complete possession of the crops that year in Louisiana, resulting in almost absolute loss. On Mr. Ryder's place a few balls on each stock had early become too mature for the worms to eat, and made cotton which was worth in New Orleans at that time $1.80 per pound. The writer of this rode through a plantation near New Orleans in that year on which there was a crop worth $400,000; two weeks later it looked as though a fire had swept through it—not a green ball or leaf in sight; all devoured by the cotton worm.

        In the following year, in conjunction with Major Brigham, then Paymaster in the army, he raised a large crop of sugar, cotton, and corn on a plantation situated on the Bayou La Fourche, two miles below Donaldsonville, which sold for $50,000. That year Mr. Ryder intended to return North, but was induced to plant a crop of cotton in the cotton belt of Mississippi, in partnership with the owner of the place. They raised that year 400 bales, weighing each 400 pounds of cotton, which sold at sixty cents a pound, besides a large crop of corn.

        He then sold out all his interests to his partner and went to Boston, where he bought out a jewelry business on the corner of Causeway and Leverett Streets. This he retained until bronchial trouble again necessitated a change of climate. Selling out his business, he came to California, settling in San Jose in 1874, where he engaged in the jewelry business in the location where he has continued until this time. In 1881 he set out an orchard of prunes and apricots on a place of ten acres he had purchased in June, 1880. In 1885 he realized from this $562.50, selling the fruit on the trees. In 1886 the fruit sold for $850, and in 1887 his fruit crop sold for $1,500.

        Mr. Ryder was married, in September, 1860, to Miss Eliza J. Hildreth, of Dorchester, Massachusetts. They have had six children, one of whom died in infancy. Death again laid his cold hand upon their happiness, taking from them, in 1885, at the age of fourteen years, their daughter Lona, a child beloved as widely as she was known, and who possessed a voice and musical talent of wonderful power and sweetness. They have four living children: Georgia, a graduate of the San Jose Institute; Jennie, now the wife of George B. Polhemus, of San Jose; William, engaged with his father in the jewelry business; and Irving, attending school in San Jose.

        Mr. Ryder was elected School Trustee in 1883, and re-elected in 1885, from the Third Ward. He has always been a Republican, and believes in the fullest protection to American industries. His family are of old New England stock, originally from England. His great-grandfather, Hopstell Eames, was a quarter-master in the Revolutionary army. While Mr. Ryder was not himself accepted for service, two of Mrs. Ryder's brothers, George and John Hildreth, made a good record in the Union army during the late war. The husband of Mr. Ryder's sister, Charles E. Loring, also went through the war with honor.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 667-668



Bainbridge L. Ryder, attorney at law, is one of the rising and successful young lawyers of the Pacific Coast.  He was born in the town of Natick, Massachusetts, twenty seven years ago.  Mr. Ryder came to California for his health, arriving in the early part of January, 1882.  On recuperating he employed his spare hours in reading law, and, later, entered the law office of Hon. T. H. Lane as a student, and was admitted to the Bar in February, 1885.  In May, 1888, he was appointed court commissioner of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County.  He is one of three attorneys of the city who are recommended in the last “Bankers’ Directory,” by the bankers of San Jose, as competent and trustworthy attorneys to attend to legal business from abroad.  Mr. Ryder was the instigator and prime mover in organizing the San Jose Board of Trade, which is now a large and thrifty body, composed of about all of the leading men of the city, with a membership numbering more than two hundred.  By his experience in the practice of commercial law he was brought in contact with such bodies in other cities, and deemed such an organization of vital importance to this city and county.  Mr. Ryder is interested in the Reed Gulch and Golconda Extension mines, and owns one hundred and sixty acres of land, twenty-one miles south of San Jose, which he intends planting to orchard.  He is also a member of the Ryder Shingle Company, owning a shingle mill in the Santa Cruz Mountains, situated about twenty-five miles from San Jose.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 98

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight