THE VALLEY OF HEART's DELIGHT
STEPHEN M SAUNDERS
SURNAMES: LUDLOW, TUCKER,
Among the progressive men of San Jose who are the promoters of its
business interests, is Stephen M. Saunders, who is the manager as well
as one of the proprietors of the Consolidated Laundry Company, now one
of the largest laundries in the county. It is located on San Fernando
and Autumn streets, where it is doing an ever-growing business. Mr.
Saunders is a native of Indiana, having been born in Shelbyville, and
is the son of Isaac and Lydia (Ludlow) Saunders. The father, who is of
English extraction. is now engaged there as a florist, Mrs. Saunders
having passed away some time ago.
Stephen Saunders attended the grammar school of Shelbyville, Ind., and
at the age of fourteen years took a position with • Schnell &
Company, wholesale grocers, at Indianapolis, where he was employed for
six years. Coming to California in 1906, and settling at San Francisco,
he was employed at various places and in a number of businesses, until
he learned the barber trade and then he followed in that line of work
for a period of eight years, being in business at Twenty-fourth and
In 1911, Mr. Saunders came to San Jose and here, with a partner, Mr. W.
A. Katen, he introduced the Towel Supply in San Jose under the firm
name of the Valley Towel Supply Company and this was the first business
of the kind in the valley. They continued for five years, when they
absorbed the St. James Laundry, and a year later they leased the U. S.
Laundry, operating under the new firm name of the Consolidated Laundry
Company, and still later they acquired the latter by purchase.
In 1917 Eli Bariteau (SEE BIO BELOW)purchased Mr. Katen's interest and since then Mr.
Saunders and Mr. Bariteau have been sole owners of this business, and
have been very successful. They have in their employ over sixty people,
all expert along this line. Delivery is made on twelve routes, covering
the whole of Santa Clara County. The laundry is operated by the most
modern machinery that is obtainable, having the very latest
improvements. They have their own 280-foot well of splendid water and
use in connection a water; softening process, where the water passes
through a bed of zeolite mineral that removes all hardness, leaving it
like rainwater. By actual tests it has been demonstrated that by using
this process the life of linens are doubled. They have their own
pumping plant, with a sixty horsepower engine and a one hundred
On March 25, 1913, occurred the marriage of Mr. Saunders which united
him with Miss Ruth Tucker, the ceremony being solemnized in San
Francisco. Mrs. Saunders is a native of Ohio, having been born at
Conneaut and was the daughter of Amos and Leah Tucker, who came to the
state of California during the year 1911. Her father is interested in
the amusement business and is now operating a skating rink in San Jose,
thus providing for the young folks of this city a good, wholesome
recreation. Both Mr Saunders and his partner, Eli Bariteau, are very
active in the work of the Chamber of Commerce, always ready to help in
movements for the good of their community. Mr. Bariteau also has
contributed his share to the defense of his country by serving in the
World War. Mr. Saunders is a member of the Independent Order of Red Men
in which organization he is very popular and is a charter member of the
Commercial Club. In religious faith, Mr. Saunders and his family are
consistent members of the First Methodist Church, and in national
politics he is an adherent of the Republican party.
From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1254
A brief story of the progress of Eli Bariteau, a
prosperous laundryman living in San Jose, is interesting, showing what
may be accomplished by steady application and industry. Born in St.
Paul, Minn., September 17, 1890, Eli Bariteau received his education in
the grammar and high schools there. He is the son of Joseph and Bertha
Bariteau, natives of Canada, but who migrated to the United States in
early days, settling at St. Paul.
Joseph Bariteau followed the
occupation of contractor and builder for thirty years, aided materially
in the building of St. Paul. When Eli Bariteau was but sixteen years of
age, he came with the family to San Jose. Being the eldest of the
family, he felt that it was his duty to start life for himself, and he
entered the employ of the Tucker Studio in 1906, remaining with them
about eight months; then he became driver for the old St. James
Laundry; he served them in this capacity for five months, when the
union called the laundry workers out on strike; at this time the union
established a small hand laundry and Mr. Bariteau became a driver for
them; then for seven years he was employed by the Temple Laundry.
However, he was not satisfied to remain a mere employee, so at this
time he entered into partnership with Reuben Walgren in the laundry
business known as the St. James Laundry. Within a short time he sold
his interest to his partner and spent one year traveling. Upon his
return to San Jose he purchased an interest in the Consolidated Laundry
and became a partner with S. M. Saunders in the year 1915.
business is the consolidation of the old St. James Laundry and the
United States Laundry. The business has grown to such proportions that
at the present time they employ nine drivers and cover the territory as
far south as San Juan, Gilroy and Los Gatos, and on the west to Santa
Clara, Campbell and Morgan Hill.
Fraternally, Mr. Bariteau was made a Mason in San Jose Lodge No. 10, F.
& A. M., and is a member of the Sciots; he is also a member of the
Woodmen of the World, the Redmen, and the Lions Club of San Jose and
the Post of the American Legion at San Jose; the Laundry Owners Club of
San Jose, of which he is vice-president, State Laundry Owners
Association and the National Laundry Owners Association. Politically,
he adheres to the principles advocated in the platform of the
Mr. Bariteau entered the service of his country December, 1917,
receiving his first training at Camp McArthur as a mechanic in Company
7, First Regiment, Aviation Corps, training at Rich Field, near Camp McArthur;
remaining there but a short time, he was transferred to Company 823,
just organized, and sent to Camp Mills, N. Y. On April 10, 1918, he
started overseas, and landing at Liverpool, Eng.. was sent to
Winchester with his outfit. While there he visited many places of note,
among them the great Hall and Cathedral; and was there at the time that
General Liggett and his staff made his visit. From Winchester, Mr.
Bariteau was sent to Camp Yates, in the vicinity of Bristol, England,
training there for six months; from there to Chipping-Sodbury, and then
to Salisbury Plain for training, and it was here that he was
transferred to Company 210. Aero Squadron, for active service at the
front; the" company set sail for France and landed just before the
armistice was signed, and his company returned to Camp Knotty, near
Liverpool, where they went aboard the Minacada, the first troop ship
returning to the United States, but their ship was destined to be the
second ship to arrive at New York, the Leviathan being the first to
land on the home shore. Mr. Bariteau was sent directly to Camp Kearney,
where he was discharged December 23, 1919, and arrived in San Jose on
Christmas day, immediately taking up his business life with renewed
From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1549
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