BIO- Pen Pictures

 President of the Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County, was born in Sackville, Westmoreland County, New Brunswick, January 23, 1840. His grandfather originally settled in New England and was a soldier in the American army during the Revolution, serving under General Washington in most of his campaigns and at Valley Forge. For this service he was granted a tract of land situated in what has since become the great State of Ohio. He afterward removed to New Brunswick, on account of his business, but always retained his citizenship in the United States, The father of the subject of this sketch was James Ayer, and his mother, Elizabeth (Chase) Ayer. Samuel lived with his parents, attending school and assisting his father until he was fifteen years of age, when he went as an apprentice in a large carriage
factory, where he remained five years, thoroughly mastering the business in all its details. At the expiration of that time, being then twenty years of age, he resolved to come to California. He made the journey by steamer, landing in San Francisco in May, 1860. After a short stay in that city he came to Santa Clara County, and located in Santa Clara. Here he worked at his trade in the shop of John Dickson until the fall of 1860, when he moved to Milpitas and worked in the shop of Abraham Weller until the following spring, when he eased shops and started into the wagon-making business upon his own account. Square dealings, coupled with thorough knowledge of his business, soon insured his success, and in 1863 he built extensive shops of his own, in which he successfully conducted the business until 1868, when he purchased the property where he now resides, and engaged in farming. The business habits and energetic characteristics that brought success to his other enterprises have produced the same results when applied to his present calling and he is ranked as one of the leading agriculturists of the county.

Mr. Ayer is a man of prominence; his sound sense and practical business ideas are recognized by the community, and his opinion upon all matters affecting the welfare of the county is often sought and always respected. From his earliest manhood he has been deeply interested in the public-school system of this country, and has devoted much time to advancing its interests. For twenty-five years he has been a Trustee of his district, and the enviable condition of educational interests in that community is due to his efforts. In 1876 he consented to become a candidate on the Republican ticket for the office of Supervisor. His opponent, Mr. Thomas Stealey, was a very popular man, and the district strongly Democratic, but, notwithstanding these disadvantages, Mr. Ayer was elected by a fair majority. In Milpitas Township he received every vote but eleven, and Alviso Township voted for him unanimously. With the exception of two years he has ever since been a member of the Board of Supervisors, and has held the position of President of the Board for three terms. During these twelve years Mr. Ayer has shown not only an honesty of purpose and a willing spirit, but has also displayed an ability to take care of the interests of the county. His progressive ideas have been adopted and his methods copied by Boards of other counties, who have come to look upon the Board of Santa Clara County as a model for imitation. He came into office at the time of a dead lock in the Board on the question of constructing the Mt. Hamilton road, and his vote untied the knot and gave to the county this magnificent avenue. His knowledge of the subject of public highways caused him to be often called before committees of the State Legislature when this subject was before that body. When the indebtedness of the county was re-funded, the best bid for the new bonds was par at six per cent interest. Mr. Ayer visited Sacramento and induced the State to take them at four per cent. During the last twelve years there is scarcely an item of desirable legislation had by the Board that he has not helped to accomplish, and many of them he has originated. He has the courage of his convictions on all matters pertaining to the county, and is not afraid to do battle for what he thinks is right.

Mr. Ayer was united in marriage December, 1862, to Miss America E. Evans, daughter of Josiah and Cavy Ann (Smith) Evans, residents of Santa Clara County. ty Her father (a sketch of whom appears in this history) was a native of Morgan County, of the same State. By this marriage there have been ten children, nine of whom are living. Frank and Henry, two of the sons, are residing in
Nevada, where, in connection with their father, they are extensively engaged in stock-raising.

SOURCE:  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. Page 522-523

transcribed by Roena Wilson