WILLIAM H. STEFFLER
The vicissitudes of the miner are illustrated in the career of nearly every Californian. Some who came for gold and failed to find it remained to grow up with the country, and many who did so acquired in one way or another mining properties more valuable than they sought at first. William H. Steffler has a career in California which dates back forty-five years. He was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, July 24, 1837, a son of Henry and Frances (Brandecker) Steffler, who are members of two old German families. His father died in 1849, leaving a widow and only child in comfortable circumstances for the time being, but with the prospect of having sooner or later to look out for themselves. The boy had begun to acquire an education at the age of six years and soon gained besides a knowledge of mathematics and German, some knowledge of French, Greek and Latin. By the time he was fifteen years old he was very well equipped educationally to undertake the battle of life, and, his mother having already come to the United States, he joined her at New Orleans, in 1852, and was there employed for a year as a clerk in a grocery. He then became an office boy in the St. Charles Hotel and was employed in that celebrated house for several years, saving enough money to pay his way to California. He started early in 1855, going by the Nicaragua route, and landed at San Francisco May 27. He went directly to Sacramento city, where he was employed in a restaurant at forty dollars per month, but he was soon caught by the mining fever and after two months’ stay there went to Mokelumne Hill, but did not immediately engage in mining. He found employment in a restaurant and in January, 1856, went to San Andreas and began mining on his own placer claims. His gains were small, however, and did not equal good wages, though he took out one day ore worth thirty-five dollars and at another time he and a partner took out fifty-five dollars worth in one day. He continued mining with varying success until 1864, when he was quite ready to go to work on salary again and accepted a clerkship in the store of J. Banq, at San Andreas, which he retained for five years, at the expiration of which time he found other employment. His mother came to him in 1872, and he bought a ranch near San Andreas and engaged in farming. Later he mined again, then became a salesman in the store of Dasso & Tiscornia, at San Andreas. From that position he again went to the mines and he has been interested in mining one way or another to the present time. As far back as 1861 a friend of his put his name on a copper-mining claim near Altaville. Mr. Steffler has owned that mine to the present time and he also owns fourteen-fifteenths of stock in the German Ridge mine which adjoins it, and these holdings in their entirety constitute a valuable mining property.
Mr. Steffler is a Republican, and in 1888 was elected the treasurer of Calaveras County by his party and was re-elected in 1890, 1892, 1894 and 1898, and in the two elections last mentioned he had no opposition. His care for details, his accuracy and the courtesy with which he treats all who have business at his office combine to make him a model county treasurer, and there are many who predict that he will be again elected to the position. Mr. Steffler has passed the chairs in both branches of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was first noble grand and a charter member of the lodge of Rebekah at San Andreas, was district deputy in 1883 and has represented the order in the grand lodge of the state. He ranks high as a citizen and is personally one of the most popular men in the county.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.