Carriage Maker

 Bio-Pen Pictures

a representative fruit-grower of Santa Clara County, owns fourteen acres in San Jose on Willow Street, between Cherry Avenue and Los Gatos Creek. On this tract is an orchard consisting of 1,500 cherry trees, 450 prune trees, and fifty trees of other varieties for family use. In the year 1887 there were produced about ninety tons of cherries, and thirteen tons of French prunes. It is estimated that, under favorable conditions, the increase each year in amount of fruit, for fifteen or twenty years, should be about twenty-five per cent; also that, with a cherry orchard, the results in fruit depend almost entirely upon the adaptation of the soil for this especial fruit. Mr. Geiger has sold his cherry crop for three years for $6,000, the purchaser taking all the chances of loss, and paying all expenses. He bought this home place in 1868, having lived in San Jose from 1858 to this time, working at his trade of carriage-making.

        Mr. Geiger was born in Madison County, Illinois, about twenty-five miles east of St. Louis, on what was then called the Terre Haute and St. Louis National road. His father, Jacob Geiger, was a native of Hamburg, Germany, coming to the United States with his parents when about thirteen years of age, and living with them in Tennessee previous to finally settling in Madison County, Illinois. Jacob Geiger died at his farm in Madison County in 1848, his wife, Mary (Cleveland) Geiger, dying when the subject of this sketch was about ten years of age. William Geiger remained a year on the home farm after his father's death, and then commenced learning the carriage-making trade in Bond County, Illinois. In 1852 he came to California, driving five yoke of oxen, and bringing 4,500 pounds of merchandise for the Mormons. He arrived at Knight's Landing, on the Upper Sacramento, and left the train on the twenty-second day of November, 1852, taking employment in a flour-mill at $5.00 per day and board. A month later he went to the gold mines in Shasta County, and worked intermittently with the usual success of miners, finally coming to San Jose and working at his trade of carriage-making. He established a carriage factory in partnership with another man, in which business he remained until 1864, when he leased the shop and took charge of a copper mine during 1864, 1865, and a part of 1866.

        On the home place, for which he paid $100 per acre, he has planted every tree, and made all improvements, as at the time of purchase the land was covered with brush and timber.

        In June, 1861, Mr. Geiger was married, in San Jose, to Miss Phillis Aird, a native of Berwick-on­Tweed, in the north of England, at which place her parents, Thomas and Margaret (Hall) Aird, lived and died, she being the only daughter in a family of six children. Mr. and Mrs. Geiger have one son, William R., born July, 1862, who is now living at home, assisting his father on the ranch, having previously learned practical engineering and having had charge of the engine at Albert Lake's box factory in San Jose four years.

        Mr. Geiger is a Republican in politics, and believes in full protection of American industries, especially the fruit industry of California.

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.

Pg. 622-623


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight