Biography of Henry Wigger
Napa County, CA Biographies





HENRY WIGGER.
Probably no man in the vicinity of Napa is better known to the community at large than is Henry Wigger, the general superintendent of the Tulocay Cemetery Association His work in connection with this position has stamped him as a real genius as a landscape designer and gardener, the grounds as laid out and beautified by him having excited much favorable comment from many who are ably qualified to judge of that class of work. Mr. Wigger is a native of West Hoboken, New Jersey, where he was born on the 18th of April, 1874, and he is a son of Henri and Rosa (Muller) Wigger. His parents brought their family, consisting of our subject and two sisters, to California when Henry Wigger was but two years old. The father, who was an attorney by profession, located in San Francisco, where for thirty years he was one of the most prominent, successful and influential members of the bar. He died in 1903, his wife having passed away September 15, 1885.

Henry Wigger attended the public and high schools of San Francisco, completing his studies in Santa Clara College. Because of ill health and the necessity of remaining in the open air, he then took up the nursery business, working in a nursery at Niles, California, for five years without salary. This was one of the largest nurseries in the state, and the experience was very valuable to Mr. Wigger. The first pay he received was at the rate of six dollars and a quarter a month, but later he was made a foreman at a salary of one hundred and fifty dollars a month. He next went to work for Timothy Hopkins, landscape gardener, and during the five years he was with him he did much important work, laying out the grounds about several expensive mansions in Burlingame. Mr. Wigger's next employment was in the propagating department of Golden Gate park, San Francisco, and he later went to the Napa State Hospital to lay out the grounds. This was a big undertaking, for the grounds were absolutely without improvement, lying in the rough, but he was enthusiastic over the possibilities there, and by a tremendous amount of hard work and a clever utilization of nature as far as possible he at length produced one of the best pieces of landscape work to be found anywhere. He was solely responsible for the building of the beautiful ornamental arch and the planning of the grounds as they were finally laid out, and he gained marked prestige as a result of his work His next big job was the laying out of the Tulocay cemetery grounds, which was, if anything, much more difficult than any work he had done heretofore, but here too he succeeded admirably, and he is deservedly proud of his accomplishment. He began without funds, but as a result of his work and the intelligent and businesslike administration of the affairs of the cemetery it is now doing a business of forty thousand dollars annually. Mr. Wigger is a lover of nature in all its myriad and complex forms, but he is also a lover of the artistic creations of man, and he has shown that he has a thorough understanding and appreciation of the possibilities of truly artistic landscape gardening.

Mr. Wigger was twice married first, to Miss Maude Weston, of San Francisco, and to them was born a daughter, now Mrs. Ruth Clark, of San Francisco. His second marriage was with Miss Hannah E. Rohde, who was born at the corner of Clay and Taylor streets, San Francisco, of which city her parents were pioneer settlers. To this union have been born the following children: Henry, Jr., Rohde V., Wilder Noyes and James Geraldson. Politically Mr. Wigger has always given his support to the republican party and has taken an active interest in local public affairs, having served as a member of the board of school trustees of the Coombs district. He is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, in which he has taken the Royal Arch degree, and he is also a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is a lover of plant life, being deeply interested in its propagation and growth, and he owns a large ranch at Atlas, where he has a fine growth of walnuts. Genial and friendly in his social relations, he enjoys the esteem and good will of all who know him.

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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