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.
page 641-642
Transcribed by cdf