Biography of George A. Tum Suden
Alameda County, CA Biographies





George A. Tum Suden, who for many years has been actively identified with the well known corporation, the H. Tum Suden Mercantile Company, of which he has been president for sixteen. years, is one of Oakland's most highly regarded business men, esteemed by reason of his high character and substantial worth. He was born at 1551 Thirteenth avenue, in this city June 13, 1869, and is a son of Henry and Catherine (Ahrens) Tum Suden. His father was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1835, and was there reared to the age of sixteen years, securing a good education in the public schools. In 1851 he came to the United States, where he obtained employment in a grocery store, at a wage of six dollars a month and board. In 1853 he came to California, locating in San Francisco, where he at once found employment, and during the ensuing three years worked on Kearney, Pine, Dupont, Jackson, Sacramento and Davis streets. In 1856 he bought an interest in a restaurant on California and Davis streets, his patronage coming largely from the lumbermen of the city, all of the lumber firms being at that time located on California street. For about nine years he carried on that business at various locations and in 1863 sold out to his partner and moved to Oakland. Here he formed a partnership with Mr. Erzgraber and opened a store at the corner of East Twelfth street and Fourteenth avenue, in San Antonio, as the place was then known. After the death of his first partner, he became associated with another man, and continued the business to the time of his death. It enjoyed a steady and healthy growth through the years and, in May, 1907, was incorporated as the H. Tum Suden Mercantile Company, of which Mr. Tum Suden was president; A. C. Tum Suden, vice president, and George A. Tum Suden, secretary and treasurer. As he prospered, Mr. Tum Suden bought land in various parts in the city, on which he erected buildings, one of which was a large brick warehouse, which he used for his own purposes until 1890, when the business was moved to Fourteenth street and Thirteenth avenue. Prior to that time he had also conducted an express business between Oakland and San Francisco, running teams in both cities, while from two to five carloads of goods were brought daily from San Francisco to Oakland over the old narrow gauge road. This proved a profitable business, and he later sold it at a very satisfactory figure. He was a keen and sagacious business man and remained at the head of his company to the time of his death, which occurred December 22, 1912.

In 1860, in California, Mr. Tum Suden was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Ahrens, a native of Hanover, Germany, and who came to California in 1852. They became the parents of eleven children. The mother passed away in May, 1920. Mr. Tum Suden was a stanch republican in his political views, though he maintained an independent attitude in local elections. Upon the incorporation of Brooklyn he was named a trustee of the city, was one of the organizers of the Merchants Exchange, was a strong supporter of education, and took a keen interest in everything pertaining to the progress and development of his community. He was a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges and was a member of the German Lutheran church. Intensely loyal in his religious belief, he did more, perhaps, than any other one man to build up his church in the west. A missionary came to his place of business one day in San Francisco and together they made plans and carried them out for the establishment of the German Lutheran church on Telegraph hill, from which sprang more than one hundred churches of that denomination in the northwest. By a straight forward and commendable course he made his way from a humble beginning to an honored and respected position in the business world, winning the hearty admiration of the people of his adopted city and earning a reputation as an enterprising, progressive man of affairs and a broad minded, charitable and upright citizen, which the public was not slow to recognize and appreciate.

George A. Tum Suden received his education in the Franklin school in Oakland and then engaged in the insurance business in San Francisco, being for five years connected with the firm of Brown, Craig & Company, after which he became associated with his father's business in Oakland, and on the incorporation of the H. Tum Suden Mercantile Company, in 1907, he became its secretary and treasurer, which dual position he held until his father's death in 1912, when he became president. He is still at the head of the business, but expects to sell it, after which he will reenter business on his own account. He has had a good business record and stands high in the commercial circles of his city.

Mr. Tum Suden was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Beaver, who was born and reared in Sonoma county, this state. He gives his political support to the republican party and, like his father, has shown a commendable interest in everything relating to the material, civic or moral welfare of his community. He is a member of the Woodmen of the World, is the oldest living charter member of the Brooklyn parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West and has been president of the Brooklyn Improvement Club since its organization, fourteen years ago. He is a lover of outdoor life, horses and yachting being his favorite forms of recreation. Cordial and friendly in manner, he is favorably known throughout the city, where he has spent his life, and has a host of warm and loyal friends, who esteem him for his genuine worth as a man and citizen.

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


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