Los Angeles County
WILLIAM HAYES PERRY
PERRY, WILLIAM HAYES, Los Angeles, Cal. (deceased), was born at Newark, O., Oct. 78, 1832. He was the son of John and Ann Perry. He married Elizabeth Dalton in 1858 at Los Angeles. The children, of which there are three are: Mrs. Charles M. Wood, Mrs. E. P. Johnson, Jr., and Charles Frederick Perry.
After receiving his education in the public schools of Newark, Ohio, Mr. Perry, as yet a boy, was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker and turner, whose trade he learned and started to follow in Newark.
He gave it up, however, in 1853, and joined a party of men and women, headed by Captain Hollister, (who finally settled at Santa Barbara, Cal.), who were on their way to California. The little band of pioneers crossed the Missouri River at Bennett’s Ferry, near Council Bluffs, Iowa, and after a perilous journey beset with the usual hardships, including several attacks by Indians, they arrived in Los Angeles in February of 1854.
Mr. Perry arrived there with little or no capital, but it was only a short time until, through working at his trade, he was able to open the first furniture store in Los Angeles. His stock consisted first of goods of his own manufacture, but there were added to it gradually goods which he had sent down from San Francisco. His business prospered, and in 1856 he took in a partner, one Brady, whom Wallace Woodworth bought out in 1858. This partnership continued for the next twenty-five years, or until Mr. Woodworth’s death in 1883, under the firm name of Perry & Woodworth.
In 1865 Mr. Perry obtained a franchise from the city of Los Angeles to light the city with gas, and organized the first gas company, the Los Angeles Gas Company, in which he filled the office of General Manager for five years, when he sold the company to the present corporation.
In 1873 he went into the lumber and building supply business in a very large way, the first organization being incorporated as the W. H. Perry Lumber and Mills Company. This was followed by the organization of the Los Angeles & Humboldt Lumber Company at San Pedro, the Pioneer Lumber and Mill Company at Colton, and the Los Angeles Storage Commission and Lumber Company. He set up the first steam engine in Los Angeles.
In 1879 Mr. Perry was elected President and Manager of the Los Angeles City Water Company, which at the time was heavily involved, but under his management it was soon put on a sound basis. He held this office for a period of twenty-five years.
The principal offices held by him in his latter days were: President, W. H. Perry Lumber and Mill Company; President, Pioneer Lumber and Mill Company; President, Los Angeles City Water Company; President, Crystal Springs Water Company.
He was a stockholder in and closely identified with many other substantial interests throughout the Coast section, including the Southern California Pipe & Clay Company, of which he was president and director; Cosmopolis Mill & Trading Company, of Gray’s Harbor, Wash., president; Vallejo & Napa Electric Railroad; Charles Nelson Shipping Company, San Francisco; Bard Oil & Asphalt Company, Olinda Crude Oil Company, Gas Consumers’ Association and National Electric Company, both of San Francisco; Western Union Oil Company, of Santa Barbara, Cal.; Reed Oil Company, of Kern county, Cal., and the Home Telephone Co., of Los Angeles.
He was also interested in banking and was a firm believer in the promise which the real estate business of Los Angeles held forth, with the result that he was one of the most active operators in that field in the city. He served as a director of the Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank of Los Angeles, having been one of the impelling factors in the success of that institution from its earliest days. He was also a stockholder of the American National Bank of Los Angeles, and likewise identified with the Nevada Bank and the Union Trust Company, of San Francisco.
Mr. Perry, despite his manifold business interests and social obligations, had found time to ally himself with the Masonic organization, being a member of the blue lodge, chapter and commandery, and was a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason. Mr. Perry was public-spirited, charitable and generous. He died October 29, 1906.
Transcribed 2-20-09 Marilyn R. Pankey.
Source: Press Reference Library, Western Edition Notables of the West, Vol. I, Page 206, International News Service, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta. 1913.
© 2009 Marilyn R. Pankey.