SAMUEL FREEMAN AYER
BIO- Alley Bowen
Whose portrait appears in these pages, as born January 23, 1840.
His parents, James and Elizabeth Ayer, at that time were residents of
the town of Sackville in the British province of New Brunswick.
HIs father was an extensive manufacturer, carrying on the business of a
tannery, a harness factory, a shoe factory, and at the same time
devoting considerable attention to agriculture.
Samuel lived with is parents until he was fourteen years of age,
attending school and assisting his father in the different branches of
his diversified business. At that time, at his own request, he was
indentured as an apprentice to a gentleman ho was carrying on a large
carriage factory in the town of Sackville. He soon became a most
valuable assist to the proprietor. His indentures ran for seven
years, at the end of which time he would have been twenty-one years of
age, but at the expiration of six years he made up his mind that he
wanted to come to California, and the gentleman to whom he was
apprenticed, in consideration of his valuable assistance, canceled his
indentures and in 1860, being then twenty years of age, he started for
the Pacific coast. He came by way of the Isthmus, arriving in San
Francisco in May of that year. He did not remain long in the city
but at once made his way into the interior.
He first located at the town of Santa Clara where he worked a few
months in the shop of John Dickson, but receiving an advantageous
offer from Abraham Weller, of Milpitas, he removed to that place.
He was employed in Mr. Weller's shop until the Spring of 1861 when he
leased the shops and set up business on his own account. A
thorough knowledge of his business coupled with industry and square
dealing, insured his success. He married in 1862, his wife being
Miss America E.Evans, the accomplished daughter of Josiah Evans, one of
the pioneers of the State, and a gentleman widely known and highly
respected. In 1863 he abandoned his lease of the old shops and
built new ones of his own which he conducted successfully until
1869. At this time he purchased a tract of land continuing one
hundred and fifty acres, situated a mile east of Milpitas toward the
foot-hills. He then gave up his shops and engaged in agriculture,
a business in which he has been eminently successful and which he still
follows. He lives on this place with his family which now
consists his wife and eight children. Of his children, six are
girls and two are boys, the oldest being a boy aged eighteen years, and
the youngest a girl aged four years.
Soon after his location in Milpitas, Mr. Ayer's sound sense and
practical ideas on all questions affecting the welfare of the community
caused his opinions to be greatly sought and respected. He
was frequently solicited to become a candidate for some one of
the imprint offices of the county, but would consent to accept
nothing but the position of School Trustee of his district.
Taking a lively interest in everything connected with the matter of
common schools, he accepted a place on the School Board of his district
in 1866, and has held it ever since. The efficiency of the
Milpitas schools, is, in a great measure, owing to his liberal and
enlightened ideas on the subject of common school
education. In 1875 the Supervisorial districts were
reorganized, a district being formed from the townships of Fremont, Alviso and Milpitas.
An election for Supervisors was to be held in February, 1876, Mr. Ayer
was urged to become a candidate, and, after earnest solicitation,
consented. The district was Democratic by a large majority and
Mr. Ayer was a Republican. The Democrats nominated Thomas
Stealey, a resident of Mountain View, a
very popular man. At this election Mr. Ayer received to hundred
and forty-five votes and Mr. Stealey two hundred and thiry-nine,
Milpitas casting her entire vote except eleven for Mr. Ayers. In
1879 another election of Supervisors was held and Mr. Ayer again became
a candidate, his opponent being John Carrick, of Milpitas
township., The result was that Mr. Ayer received four
hundred and three votes, and Mr. Carrick one hundred and
seventy-two. The effect of this last election indicates that Mr.
Ayer has very satisfactorily discharged the difficult duties of this
usually thankless office. Mr. Ayer is still in the prime of life,
being only forty-one years of age, is in robust health and full of
energy. As a public officer he has originated and carried to a
successful termination some of the most beneficial measure of our
county government. As a farmer he has always been in the front
rank of progress, and as a citizen he is esteemed and respected by all.
History of Santa Clara County, California
San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1881, 838 pgs.
Transcribed by cdf