The German-American citizens of California have a worthy representative in the subject of this sketch, Leonard Remler, a prominent merchant and mining man of Forest Hill. He was born in Germany April 5, 1839, son of Adam and Julia (Hiesor) Remler, both natives of Germany. His mother died there when he was seven years old and shortly afterward, in 1846, with his father, three brothers and two sisters, he came to the United States, settling in St. Louis, Missouri, where two of his brothers had located two years previous to that time and were engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes. The father died in 1872, at the age of seventy-two years. In Germany he had filled the office of justice of the peace for a number of years, and his religious faith was that of the Lutheran Church.
Much of Leonard Remler’s boyhood was passed in Illinois, where he received a good education in the public schools. With his brothers he spent some time and in their establishment learned the trade of shoemaker, which business he followed in Illinois until 1859, when he crossed the plains to California. The Sheppard train, which started across the plains shortly in advance of the party with which he traveled, were attacked by the Indians and massacred. Learning of this Mr. Remler and his party armed themselves well and kept on their guard. They, however, were not molested by the red men and after four months of tiresome travel landed in safety in the “Golden state.” Arrived in Placerville, El Dorado County, Mr. Remler had in his pocket just five dollars, and with this for capital, combined with pluck and energy, he began a career which has proved a most successful one. He first went to Fiddletown, where he began work at his trade, having entire charge of a shop and doing all the work, at a salary of five dollars per day. Afterward he worked at his trade at Volcano and Todd’s Valley, and he was also for a time employed in the butchering business by J. W. Dickinson. At North Star Ranch he started a shoe shop on his own account, which he conducted for three years, or until 1864 when he came to Forest Hill and established himself in his present business, beginning on a small scale and from the first meeting with deserved success. In 1867 he began to handle ready-made boots and shoes; in 1870 he added a stock of dry goods and gent’s furnishing goods, and in 1878 he included in his store other lines, thus making it a general merchandise establishment where everything needed in the town and surrounding country can be found. In the meantime he had purchased the building in which his business was located, and in 1887 he met with heavy loss by fire. He had some insurance, however, and immediately after the fire set to work, with his characteristic enterprise, to rebuild. His present store is thirty by ninety feet, with basement, and he also has a large warehouse in which he keeps a full supply of stock. Throughout his long career as a merchant Mr. Remler has also been interested in mining enterprises. At present his principal mine is the Homestake, which has produced a great deal of gold. He has furnished no small amount of money for the development of various other mines, thus showing his enterprise and his public spirit and proving himself one of Forest Hill’s leading business factors. Farming has also received a portion of his investment and attention.
Mr. Remler owns one of the best residences in Forest Hill, which he and his family occupy. He was married at Michigan Bluff, California, in 1868 to Miss Lizzie Fredtag, a native of Germany, and they have five children, namely: Minnie, Leonard C., Nellie, Maude and Walter. Leonard C. is his father’s assistant in the store. Fraternally Mr. Remler is identified with both the Chosen Friends and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He has been a member of the latter organization for a period of thirty-six years, having been initiated into its mysteries in 1864, and he has passed all the chairs in both branches and has represented his lodge in the grand lodge of the state. Politically he has always supported the Republican Party.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.