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Stanislaus County








            There are two things which are an unmistakable indication of the condition of a community.  These are its newspapers and its hotels.  No other enterprises so correctly mirror forth the enterprise and progressive spirit of a town or give indication of its lack of growth and advancement.  As the proprietor of the Tynon Hotel, at Modesto, Mr. Pike is a typical representative of California’s spirit of improvement which has led to the marked advancement of the state.  He arrived on the Pacific coast on the 10th of February, 1850, finding here a collection of mining camps scattered over a territory giving little indication of the marks of civilization.  From that time to the present he has ever borne his part in reclaiming the wild lands for purposes of civilization and in promoting those interests whereby is secured material and intellectual advancement.

            A native of Maine, Mr. Pike was born in Eastport, Washington County, on the 23rd of August, 1831.  His grandfather, James Pike, emigrated from Scotland to Nova Scotia and thence made his way to the Pine Tree state.  William Pike, the father of our subject, was born in Nova Scotia and accompanied his parents on their removal to Maine, where he was reared, educated and married, Miss Lydia Cutter, a native of Massachusetts, becoming his wife.  He was a sea captain and died by drowning in 1837, in the thirty-fifth year of his age, leaving a widow and five children:  Samuel T., George K., William, Jacob M., and Celia Ann, now the widow of George Paine, living in Eastport, Maine.  Mrs. Pike nobly took up the burden of caring for her children and early instilled into their minds lessons of thrift, industry and honesty.  She died in Eastport, Maine, in 1897 in the eighty-ninth year of her age.

            Mr. Pike of this review acquired his education in the public schools of his native town and when eighteen years of age sailed from Eastport on the ship Nathaniel Hooper, a New York vessel, of which he was made second mate.  He had previously acquired a thorough knowledge of navigation, having sailed for four years on vessels engaged in the West Indies trade and on ships that sailed the Mediterranean Sea.  He arrived safely in San Francisco on the 10th of February, 1850, and proceeded at once to the mines on the Tuolumne River, but in 1851 returned to San Francisco and took passage for Mexico.  When the vessel arrived at port it was sold and the crew discharged.

            Mr. Pike then returned to San Francisco on the United States sloop of war Vincennes and in that city was employed for a short time, being there joined by his brothers, Samuel T. and William.  Together they went to the southern mines on the Tuolumne River and spent the winter at Big Oak Flat.  In 1854 then engaged in mining on the Stanislaus River and made on an average from ten to fifteen dollars each daily for some time.  In 1856 the subject of this review purchased a store at Peoria, on the Stanislaus River, where he continued in business until 1858, when he sold the enterprise, but continued merchandising by opening a store in Salt Spring Valley, Calaveras County.  He again sold out in 1860 and then opened a similar establishment in Copperopolis, supplying the needs of the public in his line until 1866.  The mining boom in that locality then collapsed and business proved unprofitable.  Mr. Pike had made considerable money which he invested in property and when the boom was over he lost heavily.

            Going again to San Francisco, he accepted a position as salesman in the tobacco and cigar store of Weil & Company, with whom he continued for five years, when, with the capital he acquired through his diligence and economy, he purchased a restaurant in San Francisco, at the corner of Clay and Kearney streets.  Three years later he purchased the United States restaurant, on Clay and Montgomery streets, conducting both establishments in a manner that secured him a liberal patronage and won him a very gratifying fortune.  In 1875 he opened a wholesale grocery house at the corner of Clay and California streets and also became a stock dealer, but through speculation he lost one hundred thousand dollars.  He then closed out his wholesale grocery business and was engaged in the manufacture of cigars until 1885, when he disposed of that enterprise and became the proprietor of Swain’s bakery, which he conducted for five years.  Disposing by sale of that business he next purchased the Manning Restaurant, on Powell Street, opposite the Baldwin Hotel, but that proved an unprofitable venture.

            In 1895 he managed the Stoneman House, in the Yosemite Valley, and in November of that year came to Modesto, where he purchased the furniture and leased the Tynon Hotel, a fine modern structure built in improved style, tastefully furnished and containing sixty rooms.  Mr. Pike is doing a large and remunerative business.  His hotel is splendidly equipped and he employs good help and conducts his hotel in a manner entirely satisfactory to this guests.  His long experience in the business has taught him how to manage a hotel so as to promote the welfare and happiness of his guests, and he spares no effort that will provide for their comfort.  He is most genial, obliging and courteous, and these qualities have rendered him very popular among the traveling public, and any who have once been entertained by him are always glad when they can find opportunity to become his guest.

            Mr. Pike was married in 1866, to Miss Mary L. Howell, and nine children, eight sons and a daughter, were born unto them.  Three of the sons, however, have passed away, while the surviving children are Charles W., a resident of San Francisco; Willis, who is living in Fresno, California; Thomas and Roy, who are in the employ of their eldest brother; Percy, who is employed by his brother Willis; and Laura, the wife of W. P. Fuller, who is prominently engaged in the paint and oil business in San Francisco.  The mother departed this life in 1892.  She had been a most faithful and devoted helpmate to her husband and her loving care for her children won her their filial devotion and gratitude.  Mr. Pike has given to his children good educational advantages, thus fitting them for life’s practical duties and they do honor to their careful training.

            His is a valued member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the blue lodge and chapter, with which he has been identified since 1864.  He is also a member of the Druids and in politics he is a stalwart Republican, giving his earnest support to the principles of the party which stands for protection of American industries and for the honor of the American flag wherever it waves, whether it be in the western hemisphere or in the islands of the Orient.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 412-414. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




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