Biography of George M. Brice
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





GEORGE M. BRICE. - Although a native of England, where he was born May 18, 1854, in the county of Surrey, George M. Brice has been a resident of Humboldt county, Cal., since 1871, and has from that time to the present been engaged in business enterprises that have aided materially in the development of the county, adding to its resources, opening up new fields of endeavor, and in a multitude of ways associating himself inseparably with the history and life of his adopted state.

The early life of Mr. Brice was passed among the green fields and flowering hedges of his native Surrey, where his family had dwelt for many generations, his father being a farmer, and well and favorably known. The home conditions were, nevertheless, meager and did not offer flattering opportunities to the ambitious boy. From across the water came tales of great wealth that could be accumulated by thrift and industry, where vast acres of fertile land could be had for the taking. These tales were fireside conversation in the Surrey home, and in the countryside where the lads of the neighborhood attended school. The result was practically inevitable, and when young Brice was sixteen he determined to leave school and seek his fortune in the new world. He accordingly joined with another young man of the village, one James Robarts, and came to California in 1871, locating in Humboldt county. His first occupation was as a farm hand on a dairy farm on Bear Ridge. In the fall of the same year he entered the employ of John Kemp in his butcher shop at Ferndale, where he remained five years. In Ferndale, June 18, 1876, occurred the marriage of Mr. Brice, uniting him with Miss Clara Francis, a native of Ferndale, the daughter of Francis and Grace Francis, pioneers of this town and the original owners of the present site of Ferndale. Of this union were born six children: Herbert F., manager Ivanhoe hotel; Leslie P., and George M., both deceased; Gwendolin, Mrs. R. A. Griusell, of Oakland; Letha C., and Harry C., at home.

The same year (1876), Mr. Brice opened a butcher shop in Ferndale, prospering in this business, until 1880, when he sold the shop and engaged in the livery business. In this new undertaking he started on a small scale, but the business grew, and later he operated the stage line to Singley's station, and for five years he prospered in this line of endeavor.

Other fields were calling him, however, and in 1885 he sold his livery business to Barnes & Adams, and renting a good farm, commenced a profitable career as a farmer and dairyman, the property being known as the Francis ranch. Here he continued until 1892, when he gave up his occupation as a farmer and, returning to Ferndale, repurchased his former livery business, which was then owned by Barnes, Scott & Hicks, in partnership with Ed Carr, and a year later Mr: Brice bought Mr. Carr's interest and continued the business alone. Extending the scope of his operations, Mr. Brice now has, in addition to the Ferndale interests, several stage lines into the surrounding country, chief among these being the line between Petrolia and Ferndale, and from Ferndale to Fern Bridge. The first of these lines, operating between Ferndale and Petrolia, is the continuation of one of the pioneer stage lines which he had originally purchased, with the stables, having been continued intermittently since. Another department of the livery business which Mr. Brice has operated with great success is teaming and freighting, his teams maintaining the commercial connection with the thriving little city of Ferndale and the surrounding territory, which is as yet not adequately supplied with railroad transportation.

The hotel business also has proven a profitable field of endeavor for Mr. Brice, and he owns the Ivanhoe Hotel in Ferndale, which he has operated successfully since 1909.

Mr. Brice is recognized as one of the leading citizens in his home city, and has always taken an active interest in the public school system, as well as in all movements for the upbuilding of his city and county. He is a loyal Republican in both local and national issues. He has for a number of years served as city trustee, with great satisfaction to the people in general, and has been given various positions of trust and influence. He is a citizen of high principles and sterling worth.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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