Fred Werner, recently deceased, was numbered among the honored California pioneers of 1849, who after long connection with the affairs of life enjoyed in the evening of life a well earned rest. He resided at Sutter Creek, in Amador County. His life history began on the banks of the Rhine, in Bavaria, Germany, where his birth occurred on the 24th of March, 1824, his parents being Henry and Elizabeth (Neu) Werner. His father was a shoemaker by trade, following that pursuit in order to provide for the maintenance of his family. He had five children. His death occurred in his forty-eighth year and his wife passed away in her sixtieth year.
Mr. Werner, of this review, was their second born, and in his native land he obtained his education and learned the butcher’s trade. The favorable reports he received concerning the opportunities and advantages of the new world led him to seek a home across the Atlantic, and in 1846 he sailed for New York, landing at the American metropolis amid strangers whose language was unknown to him, without money or influential friends to aid him. He worked at his trade in New York City until 1848, and then made his way westward to Chicago, where he followed the butchering business until the spring of 1849. Desirous of trying his fortune in the newly discovered gold fields of California, he then started upon the hazardous journey across the plains to the Pacific slope, leaving his Chicago home on the first of April and arriving at San Francisco on the 19th of November, 1849. He was with a party of five young men, who made the journey with two wagons drawn by oxen. They were five months upon the way but in safety reached Sacramento, where Mr. Werner engaged in the butchering business on his own account. Beef was then selling for ten dollars per hundred-weight at wholesale and sirloin steak brought twenty-five cents a pound. He continued business in the capital city for five years and then obtained a large ranch in Solano County, where he engaged in stock raising, making a specialty of cattle and horses. He purchased thoroughbred cattle and fine-blooded horses, and for many years was prominently identified with the stock raising interests of California and did much to improve the grade of animals raised on the Pacific slope. At one time he was the owner of Rattler, the best horse in the commonwealth.
After conducting business here for seven years he returned to the land of his nativity to visit relatives and friends, but the great affection which he had formed for his new home led him again to California, when he took up his abode at Sutter Creek. Here he purchased a butchering business, which he carried on for many years, meeting with marked success in his undertaking. In 1873 he erected a brick building, twenty feet wide and extending to the rear boundary of the block. It was located in the very center of the business district, and through many years he furnished to the inhabitants of the town choice meats at reasonable prices, and thus he gained a very liberal patronage. His business methods were ever honorable and commendable, and he gained the respect and confidence of his fellow men. At the time of his death he owned a ranch of two thousand acres and still was raising stock, but practically living retired, having relegated to others the more arduous duties of his business to which, however, he gave to some extent his personal supervision. He was a charter member of the Pioneer Society of Sacramento and reached the traditional age of three-score years and ten. He died August 12, 1900, very suddenly from a stroke of apoplexy, and his passing away occasioned a gloom throughout the community, for he was held in high esteem by the citizens generally.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.