ALEXANDER B. McRAE
A vacillating purpose will never bring success. It is in persistency that the elements of prosperity lie, and continued effort, when guided by sound judgment, never fails to gain a gratifying and desirable reward. Prominent in the business circles of Roseville is Alexander Bell McRae, and his life record demonstrates what may be accomplished through determination, energy and capable management.
A native of Ontario, Canada, he was born on the 16th of June, 1853, and is of Highland Scotch ancestry. His grandfather, John McRae, was born in the Highlands of Scotland, and immigrating to Canada brought with him his wife and two children. He spent his remaining days in the English province and attained the ripe old age of eighty-five years. Alexander McRae, the father of our subject, was also born in Scotland and during his childhood accompanied his parents to the new world. He was reared in Canada and there married Miss Josephine Monro. By trade he was a millwright and followed that occupation until he lost his life by drowning, when his son Alexander was five years of age. The mother of our subject had died when he was a babe of nine days, and he was reared by his grandparents, acquiring his education in Canada in the public schools. He came to California in 1872 to accept a position as a bookkeeper in a San Francisco house, but instead he purchased timberland and engaged in dealing in wood, furnishing that commodity under contract to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. He carried on the business successfully for a number of years, it proving a profitable venture.
He then purchased a ranch near the present town of Roseville, where he engaged in farming and in the breeding of fine horses. He has since conducted the business and is now one of the most extensive breeders of Norman Percheron, Clyde and English coach horses in this section of the country. In this way he has done much to improve the grade of horses found in northern California, and his efforts have not only been of individual benefit but have contributed to the general prosperity, for the improved grades of stock raised bring higher prices. Mr. McRae also deals in hay and grain, which he raises and sells in large quantities, doing a wholesale business. He built a large brick warehouse in Roseville, and by his capable business methods has acquired a very enviable reputation as a reliable and trustworthy man throughout California and adjoining states. He was the owner of Colier, one of the most celebrated French coach horses ever brought to California. His farm adjoins the corporation limits of Roseville and one portion of it was within the border lines of the town. This he platted and sold as town lots. He is most reliable in all dealings and his word can be depended upon entirely. He has never permitted himself to bet on any horse, believing it a kind of gambling. If he recommends a horse the purchaser may be sure that it is all that he claims for it. In all transactions his word is as good as his bond and such a life record as his, crowned with enviable success, and proves that honesty is the best policy.
In 1875 Mr. McRae was united in marriage to Miss Maggie Kerr, a native of St. John, New Brunswick, and unto them have been born six children, of whom five are now living: Lizzie, a successful school teacher now in the State University; Clarence, a student in Atkinson College, of Sacramento; and Lester, Russell C. and Cecil, at home. Mr. McRae and his family attend the Presbyterian Church, of which he is a trustee. He assisted largely in the erection of the house of worship and is very liberal in his contributions to church and charitable work and to all movements that are calculated to benefit the town. He is recognized as one of the most liberal and progressive citizens of Roseville and withholds his support from no enterprise that is calculated to advance the social, material, intellectual and moral welfare of his community. He is a strong advocate of temperance and of all that will benefit humanity. Of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows he is an exemplary member and is now serving as its treasurer. In politics he is an unswerving Republican. His marked capability in business, his watchfulness, his indefatigable industry and above all his honorable methods have made him one of the most prosperous citizens of the community, and at the same time he has won that good name which is rather to be chosen than great riches.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.