Biography of William E. Michel
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





WILLIAM EDWARD MICHEL. - A thoroughly competent man and one who enjoys the entire confidence of his employer, employes and patrons is W. E. Michel, who is in charge of the livestock and packing house interests of the Pacific Lumber Company at Scotia, Cal. There is not one of his customers who would not gladly deal with him again. He is the buyer of all the cattle, hogs and sheep to supply the four stores and to feed the army of about three thousand workers connected with the great Pacific Lumber Company.

Mr. Michel comes from some of the leading American families. His father, Dr. William M. Michel, whose native state was Virginia, was a nephew of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston of the Confederate army. The Johnston family was one of the "F. F. V.'s"; the well known writer, Mary Johnston, author of "To Have and To Hold" and other novels, is a member of this family. Mr. Michel's branch of the Michel family is traced back to King Robert Bruce of Scotland. His father served several years as a surgeon in the Southern army, and after the close of the Civil war as surgeon in the government navy. Later he came to Humboldt county, Cal., and was connected with the Round Valley (Mendocino county) and the Hoopa (Humboldt county) Indian Reservations. At the close of his term of service as doctor at the Hoopla Reservation, he moved to Ferndale, Cal., where he engaged in the general practice of medicine and also ran a drug store for several years. He was accidentally killed by the breaking of a banister railing at a ball game in Ferndale, dying several weeks later from the effect of the accident. The mother of Mr. Michel was formerly Miss Lucy Dennis, a native of Virginia. She is now living with her daughter, Mrs. R. D. Porter, at No. 1628 E street, Eureka.

The parents of Mr. Michel had six children, four daughters and two sons. The eldest, Maynard H., is state sheep inspector and resides at Rohnerville, Cal.; Genevieve is the wife of William Smiley, a rancher and dairyman of Carlotta; Elizabeth is now the wife of R. D. Porter, manager of the Robert Porter estate and director of the Bank of Eureka; Marian is the widow of Ellis Roberts and resides at No. 1628 E street, Eureka; Lucy is the wife of Hon. John W. McClellan, of Bridgeville, proprietor of the Casa Loma Ranch (see his sketch); William Edward, the youngest of the children, was born in Mendocino county, August 6, 1880.

As a boy Mr. Michel had to work hard. At the age of fifteen he started in the meat market business at Ferndale with Payne & Beck, and has been in the meat market and stock business ever since, ten years in Ferndale and two in San Francisco. His association with the Pacific Lumber Company dates from the year 1907, when he was engaged to take charge of their packing plant. He and Alexander Lamb, Jr., worked together in devising plans for the packing house and refrigerating plant which the company adopted and which are still in use and regarded as one of the most satisfactory systems known to date. In 1910 Mr. Michel was put in charge and ever since has been at the head of the livestock and packing house department. He has made a special study of the animal and meat industry in all its phases, breeding, feeding, buying and selling, slaughtering, refrigerating, cutting, making lard, sausages, salt pork and other meats, curing, smoking, retaining, etc. It is an unfailing rule with him never to kill for use any animal unless it is free from disease and in good order, and he inspects all animals intended for the block while on hoof.

The Pacific Lumber Company kills enough hogs to provide all the lard consumed and handled by the Eel River Mercantile Company at its four stores located at Scotia, Dyerville, Shively and Field's Landing. Besides this, the company keeps on its cut over lands about eight hundred head of stockers and feeders. They have six thoroughbred Hereford bulls which they use for breeding purposes, raising approximately two hundred head every year, and they kill twelve hundred annually.

It is almost beyond belief that there are but twenty twe horses employed by this gigantic lumber concern; yet this is true. Steam machinery is installed for logging, loading and transporting the logs, and gigantic cranes and monorails handle the sawed lumber in units of about two thousand feet each. The horses are used mainly to haul building material to places where the company is building residences for its employes, and erecting other necessary structures.

While a youth at Hoopla Indian Reservation Mr. Michel became convinced that Humboldt county held great deposits of gold bearing quartz, sulphuret of gold and iron, and at the present time he is largely interested as a stockholder in the Red Cap Mining and Development Company of, Humboldt county. He has studied the mineral wealth of this county and has the utmost faith in its resources along this line, especially in the gold at Orleans Bar.

Mr. Michel was married in 1902 to Miss Adah Davis, daughter of Frank Davis of Rohnerville, a pioneer of Humboldt county. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Ferndale, and Myrtle Encampment at Ferndale; is a member of the Weeott Tribe No. 147, I. O. R. M., at Scotia, being past sachem of the tribe; also Eureka Lodge No. 652, B. P. O. E.

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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