Biography of Monroe L. Summers
Alameda County, CA Biographies





MONROE L. SUMMERS
To Monroe L. Summers is largely due the development of the Melrose district of Oakland, for he aided in subdividing and selling much of the most eligibly located land in that community, and to the present time has been a persistent booster for that section of the city. Mr. Summers was born on a farm in Jefferson county, Indiana, October 28, 1854, and is a son of Jonathan and Amanda (McKinley) Summers, who were pioneer settlers in that part of the Hoosier state. Jonathan Summers is a veteran of the Civil war, having served as a captain in the One Hundred and Thirty seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He is still living on his farm here, at the age of ninety eight years, and his wife died when past ninety years of age, after seventy three years of wedded life. She was related to President McKinley. Her father served in the war of 1812 and Mr. Summers has in his possession a pair of silk stockings which his grandfather secured in an attack on Detroit, where General Procter, commanding the British and Indian forces, made his headquarters. The stockings and other wearing apparel were in a traveling bag which was left in a cart by General Procter when he cut the tugs from the cart in making his escape.

Monroe L. Summers secured his education in the district schools of Indiana, and when twenty two years of age left home, going to Omaha, Nebraska, where he worked for a wholesale grocery until 1871, when he went to Colorado. There he prospected for precious metals and took up claims, which he sold in 1881 and returned to Indiana. He became connected with a music house in Indianapolis and for a number of years traveled over that state, buying and selling pianos. On first returning to Indiana he had married, but his wife died in less than a year. About ten years later he again married and, through the will of William H. English, at one time a candidate for vice president, they inherited four hundred acres of land at Lexington, Scott county, Indiana. They located on this land, which they managed for five years, when they sold it to William English, who greatly improved it and at his death gave the property to the people, to be used as a home for homeless children. In 1904 Mr. Summers arrived in Oakland and became associated with Talcott, in subdividing his ranch of one hundred and fifty acres, and putting some on the market. He was superintendent of the enterprise, giving his attention to subdividing and selling this property, the Melrose Heights and Melrose Terrace tracts being among the choicest residential sections of this part of the city, all now being well built up. Since then Mr. Summers has continued his real estate operations and has successfully handled a large amount of property.

For his second wife, Mr. Summers married Miss Birdie Van Staden, who was born in San Francisco, California, but was reared in Indiana, and to them have been born two children, Bessie, who is the wife of George Pierce, and Fay, who is the wife of Willard King. There is also a granddaughter, Marjorie. In 1905 Mr. Summers built his fine home in Oakland. He is a republican in his political views and holds a commission as a notary public. He has lived an industrious and upright life, marked by earnest purpose and definite achievement, and throughout the community where he lives commands the unqualified respect of all who know him.

From:
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928


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