The prosperity and welfare of every community depends upon its commercial and industrial activity. A worthy representative of the business interests of Drytown, Allen McWayne, is successfully engaged in merchandising and also fills the positions of postmaster and express agent. He is numbered among the worthy sons of California whom Ohio has furnished to the golden west, his birth having occurred in the city of Toledo, on the 4th of August, 1855. As his name indicates, the family is of Scotch origin. His grandfather came from Scotland to America at an early day, serving as a soldier in the War of 1812 and lived to the very advanced age of ninety-seven years. His son, U. McWayne, was born in New York and when a young man removed to Toledo, Ohio, where he made his home for some years. He became the owner and captain of a schooner on the lakes and throughout his entire life was connected with maritime interests. He married Eliza Cheeney, a native of New York, whose people were prominent early settlers of the state of Michigan. Four children were born of their union. The father is was a valued member of the blue lodge, chapter and commandery of the Masonic fraternity and exemplified in his life the ennobling principles of that craft. He died in 1888, at the age of sixty-six years, but his widow is still living and yet makes her home in Toledo, Ohio.
Allen McWayne, whose name introduces this review, was educated in his native city and there learned telegraphy, entering upon his business career in the capacity of a telegraph operator. He was first employed by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway; but, thinking that the west offered better opportunities, he came to Drytown in 1876, and organized the mercantile firm of McWayne & Company, being associated with two partners. This relationship was maintained until 1890, at which time Mr. McWayne became the sole proprietor. He has since carried on a general store, being the leading merchant in the town. In 1892 a fire destroyed his property and he lost a large stock of goods, on which he had no insurance. With characteristic energy, however, he again opened a store, purchasing the stock of William Jennings, a grocery merchant, and now has a large and well appointed establishment. His brick block, forty by one hundred feet, is filled with a complete stock of general merchandise, and he enjoys a very extensive trade and the goodwill of his fellow citizens. He is careful in purchasing, keeping in mind the demands of the public; and his earnest desire to please, combined with his reasonable prices, has led to his success. He is also a stockholder in several valuable mining properties, including the Pocahontas mine, of which he is the superintendent and secretary. This is a very valuable enterprise, including a rich mine and a ten-stamp mill located on the main fissure of the great northern Mather lode, which crosses Amador County, and along it are located in this county about thirty mines and mills. The Pocahontas Company is capitalized for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the shares selling at a dollar each. Mr. McWayne also owns four hundred acres of land near Drytown, on which he is extensively engaged raising stock. He owns his freight teams and hauls his goods from the railroad stations to his store. Recently two valuable mining claims in which he was interested have been sold at a good profit, thus bringing him a ready sum of money. His business career has been a prosperous one, yet it has not been without reverses. Sometime after the fire, robbers entered the store, blew open the safe and took all the money he had; but he was not discouraged, his loss seeming to serve as an impetus for renewed effort. He carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes, and his labors have been crowned with excellent financial returns. He has also been the postmaster of this town thorough the administration of both Presidents Cleveland and McKinley, and is a representative of the express company.
In 1876 Mr. McWayne was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth J. Williams, of Archibald, Ohio, a daughter of Henry F. Williams, a respected pioneer in the Buckeye state. Their union has been blessed with two children: Earl C., who is now in college in San Francisco, studying electrical engineering and assaying; and Edna, who is a student in Stockton. On January 21, 1900, Mr. McWayne was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died very suddenly in San Francisco. Mrs. McWayne was a member of the Methodist church and a lady of culture and refinement, occupying an enviable position in social circles.
In his political view, Mr. McWayne is a pronounced Republican, unswerving in his advocacy of the principles of the party. He is a charter member of Amador Lodge, A. O. U. W., and was made a Master Mason in 1882, in Drytown Lodge, No. 174; soon afterward he was elected to the office of secretary, and has since filled that position in a very creditable manner, having the confidence and respect of his brethren of the fraternity. He has made a good record in Amador County, both as a businessman and a citizen. He has a wide acquaintance among the most prominent residents in this part of the state. His ability well fitted him for leadership in political, business and social life. The terms “progress” and “patriotism” might be considered the keynote of his character, for throughout his career he has labored for the improvement of every kind of business to public interest with which he has been associated, and at all times he has been actuated by fidelity to his country and her welfare.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.