SAMUEL W. BORING.
Mayor of San Jose, 1888
SURNAMES: RUHLE, REED, SUBLETTE
American biography has always been considered to be of the greatest interest, much outranking in this regard the same study in any other land. The cause of this is the large proportion of self-made men included in our population—men who have plucked the flower of success from the thorn of difficulty and adverse circumstances.
Mayor Boring, the subject of this sketch, illustrates this fact. He was born in Jonesboro, Tennessee, in 1824, his parents being Absalom and Elizabeth (Ruhle) Boring. His father was a native of Maryland, who emigrated to Tennessee with his parents in 1810. His mother was a native of Pennsylvania, her parents having come from Germany to that State in early days, removing thence to Tennessee. Mr. Boring attended the public schools in Jonesboro up to the age of twelve years, when his parents removed to Rushville, Illinois. He there attended school, and later worked at the saddlery business until 1846. In that year he enlisted in Dunlap's company of the First Illinois Cavalry, for the Mexican War. He went to Mexico, and served during the war on the line of the Rio Grande, under General Taylor, engaged principally in the scouting service. The scouting service was more active and dangerous than any other branch, and although such a young man, Mr. Boring's ability was at once recognized, and he was elected Orderly Sergeant of his company, serving with distinction. In the hazardous scouting work he saw much service of both responsibility and peril, as it is a service calling for great risks and hardships, making it at once laborious and all-important.
At the close of the war he returned to Rushville, remaining during the winter of 1848-49 engaged principally in making up a train for the trip across the plains, which was made in 1849, the train starting from Rushville on the twenty-eighth of March and arriving in Placerville—then called Hangtown—on the tenth of September. The whole trip from Rushville, Illinois, to Placerville was made by ox teams, the teams being brought through safely, with the exception of one ox, which was killed on the trip. Mr. Boring was in command of the trains, his experience in the Mexican War enabling him to make the journey with less loss than was suffered by most of the emigrants. In this train were 15 wagons and 114 oxen, only 5 oxen of which were lost on the trip, one of them being stolen by Indians.
Mr. Boring remained in Placerville, and mined during the winter, after which he removed to Nevada City, mining there for two years. In 1852 he was appointed Under-Sheriff, serving for two years. In the fall of 1855 he was elected to the Legislature for the session of 1856. In the fall of 1856 he was elected Sheriff of Nevada County, holding that position until 1859. He then engaged in the mercantile business in Nevada City until 1864, when he removed to San Francisco and from thence, in 1866, to San Jose, where he has since remained. He was sent to San Jose as agent for an express company. On the fourth of March, 1870, he was appointed Under-Sheriff of Santa Clara County, holding that position for four years, with Nick Harris, Sheriff. In 1874 he took the position of Secretary of the San Jose Water Company, remaining with the company until 1878. He then engaged in the real-estate and insurance business, in which he has been interested since that time. In 1878 he was elected to the State Senate, filling a vacancy, which expired in 1879. Mr. Boring is a stockholder in, and was one of the organizers of, the Paul O. Burns Wine Company, and was its first secretary. In 1881 he became a resident of El Paso, Texas, remaining there for four and a half years, and engaging in real-estate speculations, which were quite successful, from the fact that he had preceded the railroad development which took place there later. Mr. Boring has made but one visit to his paternal home, in Rushville, Illinois, since 1849. This was in 1880, when he accompanied the California Commandery of Knights Templar to the Triennial Conclave at Chicago. At that time he visited his parents' graves near Rushville.
In 1857 Mr. Boring was married, in Nevada City, to Miss Susan M. Reed, a native of Wisconsin, who crossed the plains in 1852, with her stepfather, William Sublette, and her mother, Maria L. Sublette.
Mr. Boring is now the Mayor of the city of San Jose, being elected in 1888 on the Democratic ticket. He owes his election, however, not to party tactics but to his great personal popularity, and to the confidence felt by every citizen in his unflinching honesty and his great capacity as a business man. In all matters of a public and general interest, Mr. Boring has always shown himself a large-hearted, public-spirited and able upholder of the good of the people. His life has been an unusually active and laborious one, characterized throughout by the singular energy so typical a product of the West, but always tempered by a scrupulous care for the rights of others and a zealous desire to promote their good. In his personal bearing he exemplifies one's idea of the gentleman, a little lacking perhaps in the culture and polish of the schools, but possessing instead what is infinitely better, a good heart enshrined in a manly breast speaking through a large humanity and a wide experience.
Mr. Boring is a
member of San Jose Lodge, No. 10, F. & A. M.; of Howard Chapter, No. 14, and San
Jose Commandery, No. 10, Knights Templar, being a charter member of this latter
lodge; and is also a Free Mason of the thirty-second degree of the Scottish
Rite. He is a member of the prominent real-estate firm of Potts, Boring &
Walthall, of San Jose, and in business as well as social circles holds a leading
position. He is also the personal owner of considerable real estate in San Jose
and the valley, besides holding stock in various public enterprises.
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.