San Francisco County
ERIK OLOF LINDBLOM
LINDBLOM, ERIK OLOF, President of the Swedish-American Bank of San Francisco, was born at Dalarna, Sweden, June 27, 1857, the son of Olof Lindblom and Brita (Olofson) Lindblom. His father was a school teacher of that place, which, one of the most rugged and barren on the face of the habitable globe, fostered a hardy race, of which Erik Lindblom has proved himself to be a worthy sample. He was married in San Francisco, June 1, 1903, to Miss Hanna Sadie Ulrika Sparman, and by a former marriage is the father of Brita and Olof Lindblom.
He attended the Hede public school in Sweden, and was graduated therefrom in 1871. During the next four years he was intermittently a pupil at the London Polytechnic School of the Y. M. C. A., while working in that city at the trade of tailor, which he had learned.
After spending five and a half years in London, he sailed for America, arriving in New York in 1886. Here he again worked at his trade until 1888, when he moved to Butte City, Montana, where he continued the same occupation and at the same time became interested in gravel mining. On September 15, 1893, he reached San Francisco, resumed his trade, subsequently moving to Oakland and opening an establishment of his own. During these years his interest in mining was growing, stimulated by studying, reading, attending Professor George Davidson’s lectures on Alaska and by the tales of gold discoveries. On April 27, 1898, his imagination still further fired by the substantially backed reports of the new “gold fields” of Alaska, he abandoned the weary grind of his trade and shipped before the mast in the bark Alaska, commanded by Captain Cogan. His experiences in the Northwest, which taxed his grit and hardy constitution to the utmost, and where he made one of the most wonderful discoveries of gold in the history of the precious metals, form, perhaps, the most romantic chapter in the story of a very remarkable life.
Landing on the shore of Grantley Harbor, July 5, 1898, whither Captain Cogan had sent him and some other sailors for fresh water, he determined to leave the vessel and try to reach Golovin Bay, where he knew there was a mission and trading post. He was without food and had no conception of the difficulties to be encountered in that season of floods. Acting on the advice of a prospector whom he chanced to meet, he started back for Port Clarence, in the hope of finding that the bark had sailed. When he came within sight of the harbor he saw the vessel riding at anchor and concluded that his presence thereon was still desired. From this critical situation, however, he was aided to escape by an Eskimo chief, Promarshuk, who took him in his boat made of walrus hide, covered him with foul-smelling skins, and paddled him within touching distance of the Alaska. Boarding the bark, the chief, with five dollars Mr. Lindblom had given him for the purpose, bought a dozen sea biscuits, returned to his boat and slipped out of the harbor, then away to freedom from Captain Cogan’s kind of hospitality. Stopping at the mouth of the Egoshoruk River, now known as Snake River, the spot where Nome is situated, Mr. Lindblom prospected, and on the bar at the mouth of Dry Creek found colors. Arriving July 27, with his Eskimo pilot, at Dexter’s trading station on Golovin Bay, Mr. Lindblom told the trader of his discovery. Dexter wished to send him back on a prospecting trip, but he preferred the work offered him by N. O. Hultberg, the missionary of the station. He first prospected in this region on Ophir Creek. Meeting subsequently with John Brynteson and Jafet Lindeberg, the former of whom, after Lindblom’s discovery, had also found prospects in what is now known as the Nome country, he joined forces with them, and in an old scow rigged for the occasion the three set out on a 100-mile sea voyage through stormy weather for the Snake River. On September 15, 1898, they landed at the mouth and began prospecting. One week later they made discoveries and locations on Anvil Creek. Later they panned about fifty dollars in gold dust, and, putting it in shotgun shells, returned to Golovin Bay. By the beginning of winter, acting on expert advice, they had gone back to the Nome district and measured and staked their claims in compliance with the law of the land. Within three days’ panning in Snow Gulch and Anvil Creek the three partners extracted more than $1800 worth of gold dust. Mr. Lindblom thus not only laid the foundation for the fortune which good judgment and management has since swelled to generous proportions, but was thereby the original discoverer of the Nome gold fields.
He returned to California in 1899 and invested in real estate. Going to Mexico in 1901 he became interested in electric light, water and telephone development, bought out Thomas Lane and secured absolute control of the Parral Electric, Water and Telephone Company of Parral, Mexico. Gradually he enlarged his real estate, mining and other operations, and together with Captain Matson and others, in 1908, established the Swedish-American Bank, which in 1910 amalgamated with the International Banking Corporation.
Mr. Lindblom is today president and sole owner of the French Gulch Mining Co., Greeneville Mining Co., Parral Electric, Water and Telephone Co., president of the Swedish-American Bank of San Francisco, vice president of the Pioneer Mining Co. of Nome, Alaska; a member of the advisory board of the International Banking Corporation, and a director of the Davidson-Ward Lumber Co. and the Claremont Hotel Co. His clubs and associations are: The Swedish Club, of Seattle; Arctic, of Seattle (life member); Olympic, Swedish Society of S.F. (life member), B. P. O. E. No. 171 (life member), Islam Temple, Shriners (life member), Odin Lodge, I. O. O. F. No. 393; Balder Lodge, F. and A. M., No. 393 (life member); King Solomon’s Chapter No. 95; R. A. M. (life member); California Commandery No. 1, K. T. (life member); Cal. Consistory No. 5 (life member), and California Chapter No. 183, O. E. S. (life member) He is a shrewd, but quiet and modest personality, in no way spoiled by his success in life.
Transcribed by Suzanne Wood.
Source: Press Reference Library, Western Edition Notables of the West, Vol. I, Page 511, International News Service, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta. 1913.
© 2007 Suzanne Wood.