Biography of John A. T. Wyatt
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





JOHN ALBERT THEODORE WYATT. - Jacob Riis often said that he was a better American than any native born citizen of the Republic, because, while the native had no choice in the question of selecting his country, he, Riis, came to the United States because he knew perfectly well that it was the most wonderful country on the face of the earth, and made his selection deliberately and intelligently. And, following his deductions, one would be obliged to say that John Albert Theodore Wyatt is a citizen of the same class, for after spending a quarter of a century wandering over the face of the earth, first in the English navy, and later as mate on a merchantman, visiting strange ports and journeying afar into many lands, he came in 1865 to Humboldt county, still as a sea faring man, fell under the spell of the locality, and forsaking his former calling, settled within its generous confines, and never since that time has been beyond its boundaries. For most of this time he has followed farming and stock raising and has met with appreciable success. He is now living retired from active life, and is spending his declining years in his pleasant home in Arcata, where he resides with his family.

Born in Ludwell, Wiltshire, England, October 1, 1838, Mr. Wyatt attended the public schools until he was sixteen, when he joined the navy, and was assigned to the drill ship Victory as a recruit, where he remained until he was twenty one years of age. After his time of service had expired he sailed on the merchant vessel Queen of the Lakes, making several trips to India and the islands of the East, to South America, and was for some time in Mediterranean ports. After this he shipped on various merchantmen for a period of eleven. years, again visiting many parts of the world. The last of these trips brought him to San Francisco as second mate, under Capt. Adam Sedwick, arriving in September, 1865. Here he remained for a year and a half, working in and around the ship yards and in the coasting trade to Puget Sound, and then accepted a berth as first mate, this time on the Old William Arctic, bound for Humboldt Bay. Arrived here, he determined to give up the life of the seaman permanently and locate in Humboldt county. Without effort he secured employment at the Vance sawmill, where he remained for some time, being later transferred by the company to Eureka. After a number of years Mr. Wyatt gave up lumbering and renting a ranch at Bayside, from Stillman Daby, for a term of five years, he engaged in farming. This was the first venture of the erstwhile sailor as a tiller of the soil, but he was clever and industrious, and his efforts brought just returns. The high tide waters from the bay, however, caused him much trouble, and he was at last forced to give up this place, afterward renting from William Carson, on a three year lease, and continuing his former occupation. Prospering again in his farming enterprise, he purchased fourteen acres from Carson, at Bayside, cleared the land, which was heavily timbered and covered with heavy brush, and later opened a store on the highway which he fronted. This latter undertaking did not prove successful, and eventually he traded both the store and the acreage for a tract of one hundred seventy seven acres on Kneeland Prairie, all of which was unimproved. It was the work of many months, even of years, to clear this tract and bring it all under cultivation, but this Mr. Wyatt did, and engaged in farming and stock raising with splendid success, this being his home for twenty years. In 1903 the Kneeland Prairie property was sold, and another ranch of one hundred seventy five acres on Fickle Hill was purchased. This was held until 1913, when it was also disposed of, and Mr. Wyatt moved into Arcata, where he owns a handsome home.

Mr. Wyatt was married in Eureka April 21, 1877, to Miss Nancy Warfield, a native of Morgan county, Ill., the descendant of an old Southern family resident in Illinois since 1827. Mrs. Wyatt was reared near Jacksonville, Ill., coming to Humboldt county, Cal., in 1876. Since locating in the county Mr. Wyatt has made many friends and is recognized as a man of ability and worth. He has never been interested in political matters, although he is identified closely with matters of local interest, otherwise his attention is centered almost wholly on his business interests.

Since locating here in 1865 he has not been outside of the county, finding here those things which satisfied him, and after his many years of roving, being well content to call Humboldt county home, and proud to be classed among the California pioneers, and to have done his share in the development and upbuilding of his 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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