Biography of Hon. Frederick W. Georgeson
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





HON. FREDERICK W. GEORGESON. - The name of Georgeson needs no introduction to the citizens of Humboldt county on account of the diversity of accomplishments that have been brought about or at least made possible through the efforts of Mr. Georgeson in the line of agriculture, milling and banking, as well as in his public capacity of mayor. However, it is undoubtedly true that the accomplishment that meant the most to the largest number of people was the part which he played in bringing to fruition the building of the railroad into Eureka. He worked unceasingly in the gathering of data regarding income and advantages to be derived from the extension of the road of the Northwestern Pacific from San Francisco to Eureka, and had it not been for the determination and persistency of Mr. Georgeson and his colleagues of the Humboldt County Railway Promotion committee it is probable that the road would not have materialized for at least twenty years.

In the veins of Mr. Georgeson flows the blood of Scotch ancestors and he himself is a native of that country, his birth occurring in Walls, Shetland Islands, Scotland, September 16, 1858, son of George and Catherine (Mouat) Georgeson, both of whom were descendants of old and honorable families in that country. The father was a prosperous merchant and ship owner, owning several vessels which were engaged in cod and herring fishing. It had been the father's most cherished wish that the son would settle down in his native country and to that end he had laid elaborate plans, but these were destined to go unfulfilled, for in the meantime the son had had visions of even brighter prospects in the new world, and at the age of eighteen he bade farewell to home and friends and set out for the United States. When he arrived at his destination in California he had just $20 left from the allowance which his father had given him, but he was not disturbed regarding the condition of his finances. Going to Sonoma county he turned his hand to whatever offered an honest livelihood, his chief occupation being as a clerk, following this also in Mendocino county, whither he went from Sonoma county. After another short stay in the last mentioned county he came to Humboldt county, in 1879, going directly to Blocksburg, where at the instigation of Mr. Helmke, for whom he worked in Sonoma county, he opened a merchandise business in which they were both interested. The business proved a splendid success and was continued for six years. With the means which Mr. Georgeson had in the meantime accumulated he was able to devote his attention to a line of business which had always been especially interesting to him, namely the wool business, with which he also had more or less to do while engaged in the merchandise business, wool being one of the commodities handled. He was thus enabled to make a special study of the various grades and became further familiar with the business by learning the mountain trails and becoming acquainted with the inhabitants. It has been said that no wool buyer in the west traveled more miles or more thoroughly investigated the management of the sheep business than did he. As a representative of the firm of Shubert, Beale & Co., he traveled throughout the counties of Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, as well as in the states of Nevada and Oregon, his purchases at times amounting to one million pounds of wool a day. This business declined when the tariff upon wool was reduced, and finally, after a service of ten years with the firm mentioned, he resigned his position and in Eureka resumed wool operations, making purchases for a large eastern firm. Finally, however, he abandoned the business altogether, in 1896, and at the same time identified himself with the Humboldt County Bank. After the death of Cashier Libby he was elected to fill the office thus vacated, a position which he filled acceptably for twelve years. Subsequently he served as president of this institution for five years, from 1905 to 1911.

In 1910 Mr. Georgeson bought his present ranch of three hundred acres near Pepperwood, on Eel river, which is one of the show places of Humboldt county. Here he has erected a fine two story country residence, with the suitable outbuildings, besides which he has built a laurel sawmill and a redwood shingle mill. As a protection to his ranch from the washing of the waters of the Eel river he has built a system of jetties at a cost of about $10,000, which will protect his land against the further ravages of the turbulent Eel river. His land is as fertile as the valley of the Nile, and on it he raises alfalfa to perfection without irrigation, and he is enabled to cut four or five crops a year. It is his intention to keep and milk two hundred cows, an undertaking which will bring his income up to $20,000 per annum It is not too great praise to say that he has one of the finest ranches in the county, and he is constantly on the lookout to improve its fertility and productive capacity.

As an indication of the regard in which he is held by his fellow citizens came his election to the office of mayor of Eureka in 1911. He filled the office to the entire satisfaction of those who had been responsible for his election, and he was solicited to continue in the office, but repeated solicitation was unavailing, as his personal interests demanded his constant attention and necessitated his removal to Pepperwood, hence the impossibility of again becoming a candidate for the office.

On November 26, 1886, Mr. Georgeson married Miss Ellen T. Thompson, a native of Iowa, where their marriage took place. She was the daughter of J. F. Thompson, an account of whose many accomplishments will be found in his sketch, elsewhere in this volume. Three children have been born of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Georgeson: Franklin T., an architect of high repute in Eureka, a graduate of the department of architecture at Berkeley, and an account of whose life will be found in this volume; Donald, who is employed in the office of the Standard, having full charge of that paper; and Frederick W., Jr., at home with his parents. In addition to the many interests already enumerated Mr. Georgeson owns the Larabee tract, containing two hundred twenty acres, which he is now subdividing and selling off in five, ten and twenty acre tracts. This property is located on Larabee creek tributary to Eel river, is rich in soil and well adapted to horticulture and agriculture, especially the raising of alfalfa and potatoes. Mr. Georgeson was made a Mason in Humboldt Lodge No. 79, F. & A. M., Eureka, exalted to R. A. degree in Humboldt Chapter No. 53, R. A. M., is a member of Eureka Commandery No. 35, K. T.; Oakland Consistory, Scottish Rite, and Islam Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., San Francisco; also Eureka Lodge No. 652, B. P. O. E.

Through his own earnest perseverance and adherence to high principles in all of his transactions he has carved out for himself a career which he may well look back upon with pride, and is today in possession of the well deserved respect and confidence of the entire community.

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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