There are in every community modest, unassuming men of high intellectuality, sound judgment and rectitude, who avoid publicity and official honors. Their influence is recognized and felt in their circle of acquaintance, and their example and spotless life is one of the great factors in the body politic in elevating mankind and making happy homes. The subject of our sketch belongs to this class, and his life has been one of adventure, trials and usefulness. His career has been such that it has won for him the highest respect, esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens. Mr. Corey can claim a noted and royal ancestry. His ancestors on the side of his father came to Massachusetts in 1630 from England and the records show that many of the name filled high positions of honor and trust. His father Capt. Reuben Corey, whose parents were loyalists during the Revolution, removed to Canada when he was two years of age, and became a leading citizen of that country, and held a commission from her Majesty Queen Victoria, for valor and military service in quelling the rebellion in Canada, in 1836. His mother, Malinda Reynolds, was a native of New York and one of the direct descendants of the nine partners who were granted a township in Dutchess county, New York, by George III.
They reared a family of ten children, Hiram being the third member, who are among the leading families of this State. In 1856 they emigrated to California, and their hospitable home, especially to ministers and itinerants of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which they were prominent members for over 50 years, was most cordial and real fraternal generosity.
Mr. Corey is a native of the Province of Quebec, born March 7, 1831. Like thousands of the robust sons of Canada, he drifted into Vermont in 1850 and California in 1852. He commenced cutting logs in the redwood belt of Marin county and with his brother Noah the next season farmed at Corte Madera. On one of their voyages for provisions to San Francisco, during the winter of 1854, in a small vessel of four tons, they drifted out through the Golden Gate and were on the Pacific ocean for three days and nights without water or food, except fourteen kernels of corn.
The next season he commenced dairying at Nicassio, and continued for several years. In 1865 he took a quartz-mill from Los Angeles to Owen’s river for the New York company. From 1866 to 1870 he carried on dairying two years at Tomales; and in 1872 he leased the Buena Vista rancho, near Salinas. (sic) Monterey county, containing 8,000 acres of land, which he afterwards purchased. From 1872 until this year, when he sold this rancho, he has continuously followed dairying and mixed farming, and it is conceded that his ripe experience and sagacity enabled him to establish a reputation as a farmer and dairyman second to no one on the Pacific coast. In 1856 he took a trip to Vermont, and the same year was united in marriage to Miss Rose Frost of Essex, a leading family of that State, and to whom in a large degree was due the success that has been attained by him in amassing a fortune. It is but a just tribute to his estimable wife to say: that in all his varied and checkered business ventures Mrs. Corey has been a most faithful, efficient and sagacious coadjutor, lovable companion, and model of a New England wife. This happy union was not blessed with children, but a deceased sister of Mr. Corey left a family of four small children, the youngest a babe, who were taken to their home, reared as their own children and given unusual advantages for travel and education; the youngest of whom, Miss Rose Littlefield, is a late graduate from Mills Seminary.
Mr. Corey has held the position of Director of Monterey District Agricultural Association, School Trustee, as also Trustee of the Presbyterian Church of which himself and wife are devoted members and liberal supporters. He is a man of few words, genial, a high sense of honor and a good type of a family noted for their physical development and moral courage. He has passed through an ordeal of privation, misfortune and disappointment, and during all these years has maintained a reputation for integrity, honesty and reliability.
Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.
Source: “Illustrated Fraternal Directory Including Educational Institutions on the Pacific Coast”, Page 110, Publ. Bancroft Co., San Francisco. Cal. 1889.
© 2012 Cecelia M. Setty.