SOLON M. STEVENS
††††††††††† Solon M. Stevens is the pioneer druggist of Auburn and has been an active factor in promoting the business activity of the town.† He is a native of the Green Mountain state, his birth having occurred in Bethel, Windsor County, Vermont, on the 26th of January, 1829.† His grandparents, Oliver and Lucy (Hayward) Stevens, were pioneer settlers of Bethel and were participants in the events that formed the early history of that locality, the grandfather serving in the Revolutionary War.† In the Christian Church they held membership and were people of the highest respectability.† The son, Oliver Stevens, was born in Hartland, Vermont, and when he had attained manís estate married Miss Lucy Mills.† Both he and his father served as captains in the militia and were men of ability and influence in the county in which they resided.† Both died in Vermont at a ripe old age.† The mother of our subject died when he was only six years old leaving a family of six children, of whom only two are living, Frederick A. Stevens being still a resident of the Green Mountain state.
††††††††††† Solon Mills Stevens, who has traveled far from his native place to establish a home and seek a fortune on the Pacific coast, was educated in the public schools of Vermont, finishing his education in Royalton and West Randolph Academies, and there learned the carpenterís and carriage makerís trades.† Subsequently he engaged in business in the east and was there happily married September 29, 1852, to Miss Olivia Cushing, a native of his own town and a daughter of Willard Cushing, a prominent farmer of that place.† In 1855 he decided to seek a home in the new and rapidly developing state of California, and by way of the Isthmus of Panama he came to the Pacific coast, landing at San Francisco, whence he made his way directly to Auburn.† In this locality he purchased a ranch and engaged in farming, but his fellow townsmen, recognizing his ability, soon afterward elected him to public office.† He was chosen on the Republican ticket as the assessor of township No. 4, Placer County, and removed to Auburn in order to better discharge the duties of the office, in which he capably served for two years.† Later he was appointed postmaster, and satisfactorily served during the administration of President Lincoln and of President Johnson.† In connection with the discharge of the duties connected with his position he conducted a book and stationary store, but in 1870 sold his business and returned to San Francisco where he resided for a year.
††††††††††† In January, 1871, Mr. Stevens again came to Auburn and established his drug business.† For eleven years he was in a little store, but by reason of the growth of his trade he removed to his present fine building in 1882 and was for a number of years the only druggist in town.† His brick store occupies one of the best business corners of Auburn and the building is thirty-two by sixty feet, two stories and a basement in height.† The upper story is used for office purposes and his rental annually augments his income to a considerable degree.† Mr. Stevens continued in active business with very gratifying success until 1896, when he sold his stock to his son Fred, who has since conducted the enterprise.† He is, however, the owner of the building and has also one of the most delightful residences of the town, in which he is now spending the evening of his life with his good wife, who for many years has been the partner of his joys and sorrows and has shared with him in the adversity and prosperity of his business career.† For thirty years he was also the manager of the Western Union Telegraph Company and has witnessed wonderful improvement in the system.† In the early days it cost nine dollars to send ten words to New York, but during the latter part of his connection with the company rate had been reduced until a message could be sent for a dollar.† In pioneer days the transmission of messages to all other points was proportionately high and later proportionately reduced.† He was one of the oldest managers of the Pacific division at the time of his retirement.† He enjoyed the unqualified confidence of the corporation.† For twenty-six years he had conducted his drug store and his labor resulted in largely promoting the commercial activity of Auburn.
††††††††††† Mr. Stevens came alone to California in order to prepare a home for his family, and in 1857 was joined by his wife, who brought with her their little son Clarence.† Three sons were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Stevens in Auburn, namely:† Frederick, Frank and Willard.† Frank and Willard are operating a mine at Gold Hill, and Frederick is his fatherís successor in the drug store.† Mr. Stevens has served as supervisor of the county four years.† He has been a prominent and valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for the past thirty-three years, and has filled all the chairs in both branches of the society and has often been its representative to the grand lodge.† In every position in life he has performed his part well and honorably.† He is a representative of the class of substantial builders who have served faithfully and long in the enterprising west, nobly doing their duty in establishing and maintaining the material interests, legal status and moral welfare of the community.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010† Gerald Iaquinta.