After a long and successful career as a building contractor and planing mill operator, Alpheus Kendall of Oakland,
is now retired from active business and is spending the golden sunset years of life in well earned leisure, secure
in the esteem and admiration of many friends. A native of Maine, Mr. Kendall was born at Abbot, Piscataquis county,
January 7, 1849, and is a son of Stedmon and Mary Jane (Chandler) Kendall, also natives of the Pine Tree state.
The father was born in Bath and remained a resident of Maine until seventy five years of age, when he came to California
and made his home with his sons and daughter until his death. His wife, who was born in Monmouth, Maine, passed
away in that state. Alpheus Kendall had two younger brothers and a sister, Noah Chandler Kendall, George Harry
and Lucy Weeks Kendall, who now reside in Oakland. while Corra Kendall Jackson and Ada Kendall have passed away.
Alpheus Kendall acquired a good public school education in Maine and afterward learned the carpenter's trade. His
father owned and operated a carding mill where the white fleece was carded, rolled and prepared for the weavers
by the crude methods and equipment of our forefathers. When Alpheus was thirteen years of age, the uninsured mill,
which constituted the family's only source of revenue, was destroyed by fire, and the young son found it necessary
to lay aside his school books and assist in supporting the other members of the household. The family, undaunted
by the catastrophe, immediately selected and located upon tract of raw undeveloped land, which in a few years yielded
to the energy, skill and perseverance of the Kendalls, and became a very productive and profitable farm.
In 1870, when twenty one years of age, Alpheus joined the Greeley colom and journeyed westward to Colorado, where
three hundred and fifty members of them company settled and organized a town which they named for Horace Greeley.
Upon leaving that community, Mr. Kendall visited Denver and witnessed the driving of the last spike in the construction
of the transcontinental railroad. But the call to the west was uppermost in Mr. Kendal's mind, and in the fall
of 1873 he stood upon the western shores of California and looked out upon the broad Pacific ocean. After a brief
sojourn at Pescadero, he sought the center of population and located in San Francisco, finding employment at his
trade in that city and in Oakland. He assisted in the construction of the magnificent mansions erected by Crocker,
Stanford and Hopkins, who, with Mr. Huntington, were the active builders of the Central Pacific Railroad into California,
and whose activity in business, politics and civic affairs constitute an important part of the history of California.
From San Francisco, Mr. Kendall removed to Oakland, but some time later, on account of ill health, went to Humboldt
county, California and secured employment in a mill. Upon recovering his health, he returned to Oakland and was
employed in the shops of the Southern Pacific Railroad until the fall of 1877, when he formed a partnership with
Charles A. Littlefield and engaged in the contracting business under the firm name of Littlefield & Kendall.
The month of June, 1880, is an important mile post in Mr. Kendall's life, for it was then he leased a small planing
mill at the corner of Second and Grove Streets, and with a cash capital of five hundred dollars and a small delivering
outfit, laid the foundation which developed into an enterprise showing a clear investment of nearly three quarters
of a million dollars, and to which he gave his constant and active attention until his retirement in 1912. In 1892
the mill was incorporated under the name of Pacific Coast Lumber & Mill Company. Mr. Kendall was a tireless
worker and his remarkable success has been attributed in a large degree to the outstanding example he set for his
employees and associates. His subordinates were always welcomed to his presence and were made to feel at liberty
to discuss their own trials and tribulations, as well as the best interests of the institution of which they were
made to feel a part.
In 1883 Mr. Kendall became interested in a saw mill at Blue Lake, Humboldt county, known as the Blue Lake Mill
and which was later incorporated under the name of Riverside Lumber Company. He conceived the very economic idea
of shipping all short material to his planing mill in Oakland, and in this way saved millions of feet of lumber
from which he realized an excellent profit. The sawmill was operated by his nephew, H. W. Jackson. Later Charles
Nelson became associated with Mr. Kendall's Riverside Lumber Company, and organized the Charles Nelson Lumber Company,
purchasing the business of the Corbell Lumber Company and also acquiring the Mad River railroad. The Charles Nelson
Company is still in existence, Mr. Kendall still remaining one of its stockholders, with James Tyson as president
and H. W. Jackson, vice president and director. In his business affairs, Mr. Kendall has met with a substantial
measure of success, and in addition to his other interests, is the owner of two well improved citrus fruit ranches
near Orosi, Tulare County. One of these ranches consists of one hundred and sixty acres and the other of over one
hundred acres, all planted to oranges, lemons, grapefruit, grapes, alligator pears and other fruits and nuts.
When thirty four years of age, Mr. Kendall was united in marriage to Miss Edna Bell Gould, who was born in Nova
Scotia and is a daughter of James and Martha Jane (Swindell) Gould. One daughter was born of this union, Corrie
Elsie Kendall, who died in 1892. In 1899 he built the comfortable and attractive home in which he lives and in
which are found some particularly fine specimens of California redwood and Oregon ash, the accumulation of careful
selections over a period of many years. With his wife, he has traveled extensively throughout the United States,
Alaska, the Far East and Islands of the Pacific.
Mr. Kendall has been a life long supporter of the republican party and has always manifested a keen interest in
the welfare and progress of his city and community. Mr. Kendall is a close student of economics, well read and
posted on all the subjects dealing with politics, business affairs and economics. He is a member of the Masonic
fraternity, still retaining his membership in the Blue Lodge No. 39, of Penobscot Dexter, Maine, in which he was
raised. The Scottish Rite degrees from the fourth to the thirtieth were communicated to him by Albert Pike in San
Francisco in 1883, in order that Albert Pike might have the three additional and necessary members to establish
a Lodge of Perfection in Oakland. Mr. Pike was one of the most prominent Masons of the country and many lodges
throughout the United States are named in his honor. Mr. Kendall is now the only surviving charter member of the
Oakland Lodge of Perfection and is a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, which is the next step higher than
the thirty second degree in Scottish Rite Masonry. He also has membership in the Mystic Shrine, the Benevolent
Protective Order of Elks, the Union League Club of San Francisco; the Commercial Club, the Athens Club, and the
Claremont Country Club. Honesty of purpose and fidelity to every trust and honor in every relation of life, have
characterized his entire career, and he enjoys the unqualified confidence and respect of his fellowmen.
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928
Alameda County, CA
For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium