BENJAMIN F. RICHTMYER
In the days when California was first becoming known to the settlers of the east and its wonderful privileges and advantages were being utilized by the white race, Benjamin Fanning Richtmyer came to the Pacific slope. He was for many years a highly esteemed citizen of Amador County, his upright life winning him the respect of all whom he came in contact. He was born in Schoharie County, New York, January 17, 1824, and was of German lineage, his ancestors having been among the early settlers of the Empire State. His father, Peter H. Richtmyer, was born in New York, in 1797, and having arrived at years of maturity married Miss Harriet Fanning, a native of the same state. They were farming people, industrious and enterprising, and were consistent members of the Dutch Reformed Church. The father passed away on the 23rd of April, 1892, at the advanced age of ninety-five years.
Benjamin F. Richtmyer, whose name introduces this review, was educated in his native state, and in 1850, attracted by the opportunities afforded in California; he crossed the plains and opened a general mercantile establishment in Drytown, Amador County. He also became the owner of a marble quarry, which he developed, shipping its products to San Francisco and to other points in the state. A man of resourceful ability, he did not confine his efforts to one line, but extended his labors into many fields and was prominent in the development of the rich resources of the state. He became one of the owners of the Seaton quartz mine, and had various other mining interests. His worth and ability also led to his selection for public service, and he was appointed postmaster of Drytown, filling the office during the administration of President Buchanan, and holding this position until 1872, and he was also placed in charge of the first telegraph office in Drytown, which position he held till he came to Jackson. For more than forty-two years he acted as the agent of the Wells-Fargo Express Company, and in 1871 he was again chosen for public office, being elected the county clerk of Amador County, and in 1872 he removed to Jackson. He proved a very efficient and capable officer, and upon his retirement from that office he received his party’s nomination for state senator, being always found equal to any trust the people of the county or state chose to repose in him, but he declined the honor offered him, preferring to give his undivided attention to his personal affairs. At the time of his retirement from public life (in 1874) he was again appointed agent for the Wells-Fargo Express Company, and he became the owner of the Jackson water works, both of which he successfully conducted until his death. He was a man of resolute purpose, of keen discrimination and of sound business judgment, and carried forward to successful completion whatever he undertook. Soon after his term expired as county clerk he was again made agent for the Western Union Telegraph Company, this time in Jackson, and in connection with other duties he was a notary public and was for seven years agent for the Home Mutual Insurance Company of California.
On the 10th of September, 1855, Mr. Richtmyer was united in marriage to Miss Celina Vannater, a native of New York and a daughter of Jacob Vannater, an honored patriarch who now resides with his daughter, Mrs. Richtmyer. He has reached the very advanced age of ninety-seven years, but his mental faculties are unimpaired and he yet enjoys good health. Mrs. Richtmyer is devoted to her aged and honored father, doing all in her power to make his last years pleasant. Her only child, a little daughter named Emily Helen, died at the age of four months. The home life of Mr. and Mrs. Richtmyer was ever pleasant. He possessed excellent musical ability, performing nicely upon the violin and other instruments. Thus many a pleasant hour in his early life was passed. He was very domestic in nature and when business hours were over he could always be found at his home where his happy disposition was shared by his amiable wife. It seemed that he could not do too much to promote the welfare and happiness of his wife, and at his death he left to her a good income. She has a host of warm friends in Jackson where she has so long resided, and the hospitality of the best homes is extended to her. Mr. Richtmyer was called to his final rest in 1899. His life had been one of ceaseless activity in business affairs, of loyalty in citizenship and of fidelity in friendship. All who knew him commended him for his sterling qualities of character, being unexceptionable in his habits and if possessed with any faults at all, they were the amiable ones of being too generous and unsuspecting; and in his death Jackson and Amador County lost one of their most valued representatives. Since his death, Mrs. Richtmyer has assumed the responsible charge of the water works, a business which her husband labored with such untiring efforts to perfect, and under her careful attention and wise discrimination it continues to prosper and grow in volume. She has absolute control of and personally superintends it in all its departments, which affords her a great deal of pleasure in furthering the good work which her husband begun.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.