ALBERT G. READ
††††††††††† Albert G. Read, a highly respected California pioneer of 1850 and a prominent merchant of Forest Hill, has resided in the town and vicinity for a period of fifty years.† He is a native of New England, born in Boston, Massachusetts, March 11, 1830, and is descended from the early Puritan settlers of that section of the country, the Readís having come from England to America and located in Massachusetts in 1645.† Several generations of the family were born in Boston.† The grandfather and father of Albert G. both bore the name of Davis Read and were natives of Boston.† The former was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, participating in the Battle of Bennington, and attained the ripe age of eighty-eight years.† Davis Read, Jr., married Lucinda Davis, a native of Salem, Massachusetts, and a descendant of Welsh ancestry, her forefathers also having been among the early settlers of New England.† His age at death was eighty-four years, and his wife passed away at the age of seventy-six.† For many years they had resided in Walesburg, Vermont, where he was a prominent and influential citizen and where he filled the office of selectman of the town.† They were the parents of twelve children, only four of whom survive at this writing, Albert G. being the youngest.
††††††††††† Albert G. Read received an academic education, and in his youth learned the trade of tanner and currier, three generations of the family having followed that business.† The gold discovery in California caused him to leave home and friends and face the dangers of a voyage around the Horn.† He sailed from Boston, October 31, 1849, and arrived in San Francisco, April 7, 1850.† There were plenty of ships in that harbor without crews, the sailors all having gone to the mountains in quest of gold.† He set up his tent where the Cosmopolitan Hotel now stands, and remained there four months in charge of a lumber yard.† Lumber was brought there by lighters from the east and was sold for one hundred and thirty dollars per thousand feet.† In the month of August he, with a company, set out for the mountains to find a claim, taking their goods on a pack mule and stopping first at a point near Georgetown.† His first yearís mining on the river was attended with poor success, owing to the fact that he did not understand the business.† Later he, with others, flumed the river and met with better success.† After the flume was completed for a distance of a mile and a half and the miners of the locality were numerous, Mr. Read boarded a hundred of them; but at the end of the season the failure in this mining enterprise was so complete that the men could not pay him their board-bills and he lost heavily.† Some of them asked for work, wishing to pay their indebtedness in that way, and as the flume was abandoned he set them to the task of gathering up the lumber and piling in on the bank of the river.† After this was accompanied the freshet carried off a part of the lumber.† Most of it was saved, however, being securely fastened with ropes, and four months later he sold it for fourteen thousand dollars.
††††††††††† That winter Mr. Read had a pack train composed of twenty mules that brought supplies from Hoboken, the freight on the same being twenty-five cents per pound.† He was located on the middle fork at Big Bar, and from that point his train made four trips during the winter, the snow at times being six feet deep.† At Mount Gregory he paid fifty cents per pound for beans, with which he fed his boarders.† Their chief articles of food were beans, bacon, potatoes, beef and coffee.† Board was fourteen dollars per week for each person.† In the fall of 1853 he sold out and went to Toddís Valley and engaged in merchandising, dealing in minerís supplies, making money rapidly and remaining there until 1865.† While there he built a large brick building, which still stands.† He established himself as a merchant in Forest Hill in 1887, and has done a prosperous business here ever since.† During his long career as a merchant Mr. Read has spent much money in different mining enterprises.† Many tunnels in which he was interested proved failures and most of his money invested in them was lost.† His object, however, was to do what he could to develop the mines of the county, and as he has assisted in accomplishing this his money has not been spent in vain.
††††††††††† In 1867 Mr. Read was happily married to Miss Emma Moody, a native of Pennsylvania, who traveled lifeís pathway with him for nearly three decades, but died in 1894.† Of the children born to them only one survives, Walter C. Read, now a resident of Newark, New Jersey, where he is engaged in the manufacture of brushes.† He is an inventor also, much of the machinery in his factory being of his own invention.
††††††††††† Politically the subject of our sketch has been a Republican ever since the organization of the party and to him belongs the distinction of having helped to organize the Republican Party in his locality.† He was a member of the first Republican convention held in Placer County.† He has long been identified with the Masonic order, having been made a Master Mason in Toddís Valley, in 1867, since which time he has been an active and efficient member of that time-honored organization.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010† Gerald Iaquinta.