Biography of Christopher Luther
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





CHRISTOPHER LUTHER. - There are few men now living in Humboldt county whose arrival here antedated that of Mr. Luther, an honored pioneer, well known for the sterling qualities of mind and heart that win and retain the confidence of associates, and especially prominent in Humboldt Lodge No. 77, I. O. O. F., through the fact that he is one of the oldest surviving members affiliated with the organization. In the years of his personal contribution to the upbuilding of the county he has witnessed many changes. A new generation has come into the place of his activities and is reaping the fruits of his self sacrificing pioneer labors. Into the place where for years he stood giving courteous attention to the customers that regularly traded at the market, a son has now come, taking up the duties that the elder man had discharged for forty three consecutive years prior to his retirement in 1902. His life, as it has been ordered, has contained its share of hardship, privation and discouragement, but he has borne whatever came to him with simple courage and quiet dignity, as a brave man does, seldom giving voice to any word except of good cheer and optimism, and invariably hopeful concerning the future prosperity of his chosen home town and county.

When six years of age Christopher Luther was brought from hips native Switzerland to the United States by his parents, who settled near Galena, Ill., so that his childhood days were largely spent on a farm in the central west. With a party of thirty persons he crossed the plains in 1851. Four yoke of oxen were used for each wagon. The expedition moved forward slowly, but peacefully and without Indian attacks or epidemics of sickness. August 5, 1851, Nevada City was reached and from that point the members of the party dispersed to various sections. Mr. Luther remained in Nevada county for a year as a miner. Later he mined in Sierra county near the north fork of the Yuba river, from which point he went to Cantonville to engage in hydraulic mining. Of the thousands of Argonauts who came to California in the early period of gold excitement, he was one of the very few who secured enough gold in the mines to aid him in making a start in business life.

As a passenger on the steamer Santa Cruz, in the spring of 1858 Mr. Luther came up the Pacific from San Francisco to Eureka. Some of the passengers landed at Trinidad in the surf, but he crossed the bar on the steamer and debarked at the Eureka wharf. His first step was to travel through the country on a tour of inspection. Soon he bought a tract of grazing land near Alton on the Eel river, but this he later sold to Joe Russ, and meanwhile he had found employment in the cattle business at Bear river. In 1859, upon the inducement of Mr. Russ, he was persuaded to go to Eureka and form a partnership in the butcher business, but after one year as a member of the firm Mr. Luther sold his interest to Mr. Russ and thereupon became manager of the shop, a position that he filled with the greatest efficiency for forty three years, and then, in 1902, retired to private life. During the early Indian troubles on Bear river, although not himself an active participant in the battles, he aided in conveying to places of safety men who had been seriously wounded by the savages, and his recollections of that exciting period are singularly clear and interesting. In Rohnerville, December 6, 1864, he married Miss Celia Jane Ferrier, a native of Arkansas, who crossed the plains with her parents in 1852, and the same year located on a farm near Ferndale, Humboldt county. Four children, all natives of Eureka, were born of their union, namely: Frank W., proprietor of a store at Alton; Charles C., the successor of his father as manager of the Russ market; Ralph, who is connected with the Humboldt Commercial Company at Eureka; and Ruby B., who is with her parents at the old homestead.

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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