Biography of John H. Chalmers
Napa County, CA Biographies





JOHN H. CHALMERS.
The name of John H. Chalmers needs no introduction to the people of central and southern Napa county, where he has long enjoyed a high reputation as a nurseryman and landscape gardener, being recognized as an authority in his line. His artistic sense has been utilized in the laying out of some of the most beautiful residential grounds in this locality, and his work in connection with the grounds of the State Hospital at Napa has long been a source of admiration and favorable comment. Mr. Chalmers is a native of Scotland and was born in March, 1844, a son of John and Marian (Hamilton) Chalmers, both of whom are now deceased, the father, who had devoted his life to farming pursuits, dying at the advanced age of eighty seven years.

John H. Chalmers received a practical education in the public schools of his native land, which he has liberally supplemented by much reading and studying. At the age of fifteen years he was apprenticed to the gardeners trade, at which he worked steadily, and for six years he was also in training at the Kew gardens in London. He obtained about one and a half years of training in scientific botany and was then sent by the government to the island of Ascension to do some landscape gardening for the admiralty. Upon completing this work he returned to the London gardens but was soon afterward sent to the island of St. Helena to introduce the cinchona plant. He remained there for five years and during that time was married. On the conclusion of his work at that place he came to San Francisco, arriving in 1873, and from there he went to Vallejo, where he started the Magnolia nursery. Later he went to the Suscol ranch, where he remained about seven months and then came to Napa. Here his talents as a landscape gardener attracted the attention of F. E. Johnson, who placed him in charge of the landscape work at the State Hospital grounds. This entailed a vast amount of work and required the exercise of good judgment and artistic talent of a high order, but the results of his work were so eminently satisfactory that he was retained in that position for twenty one years. He then resigned in order to engage in the nursery business on his own account, and he has attained marked success as a nurseryman. He built a fine greenhouse, which he has stocked with an excellent assortment of flowering plants and he finds a ready sale for all the plants he offers to the public. In addition to his other accomplishments, Mr. Chalmers also spent five years in laying out the Napa city park, which is one of the beauty spots of the locality. He is a good business man, is courteous and accommodating in his relations with his customers and creates a very favorable impression.

Mr. Chalmers was married, on the island of St. Helena, to Miss Deborah Elliott, and they are the parents of the following children: Mrs. Gertrude Tanner; Mrs. Minnie Aitken; Mable, the wife, of. William Davis; Jessie, the wife of F. McReynolds; Stanley and Alfred; and Mary, the wife of F. Bandwitz. They also have fourteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Politically Mr. Chalmers has always supported the republican party, while fraternally he is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is the oldest member in Napa, also belonging to the Order of the Eastern Star. Mr. Chalmers holds the undivided esteem of his fellow citizens, for his life has been one of untiring industry and honorable dealings. Now, at four score years, he is hale and hearty and still active in the affairs of life, due no doubt to his careful habits and right thinking, and he is accounted one of the grand old men of Napa county.

From:
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
and Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1926


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