PERCY GEORGE BETTS
As president of the Betts Spring Company of San Francisco, the oldest manufactory of springs on the Pacific coast,
and in the conduct of which the third generation of the Betts family is now associated, the late Percy George Betts
was a prominent figure in western industrial circles. He was born in Oakland, California, August 13, 1876, and
was a son of William M. and Sarah A. Betts.
William M. Betts came to California from the east in 1868, and established the business which now bears his name.
Its first location was at Fifth and Market streets, on the site of the present Hale's department store. Later,
it was moved to 218 Fremont street, where the business was conducted for a period of forty years, or until 1911,
when a removal was made to 888-90 Folsom street. Carriage springs were the first product of this company, and then,
with the development of the motor car industry, the product changed to automobile springs principally, also various
types of springs for trucks, and coil springs for steam and electric railway equipment.
Percy George Betts attended school in Oakland, California, and when a young man learned from his father the business
of manufacturing springs. After the fire of 1906, he took charge of the plant and rebuilt it at 218 Fremont street,
and thereafter managed it until the time of his death in 1919. He was a competent, skillful manufacturer, and knew
how to secure increasing trade. He made the name of Betts the unfailing insignia of quality in springs. For a time
after Mr. Betts' death, a manager was employed to take charge of the business, but eventually the affairs of the
company were taken over by the third generation of the Betts family, Percy F., who is sales manager of the company,
and J. Shannon Betts, who is a salesman for the corporation. The product of the company is now shipped over the
entire Pacific coast and western states.
Mr. Betts was married in Berkeley, October 10, 1900, to Miss Emeline E. Freeman, who was born in San Francisco,
and is a daughter of Albert A. and Mary A. Freeman. Her father was a civil engineer by profession, and was in the
employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad when the headquarters of that road were at Fourth and Townsend streets.
Mr. and Mrs. Betts became the parents of three sons, namely: William M., who died on his twentieth birthday as
the unfortunate result of an accident while he was hunting; Percy F., who, as noted, has been sales manager of
the Betts Spring Company since his graduation from high school; and J. Shannon, who is in a sales capacity with
the company. William M. Betts was the father of a son, William M. (IV), now four years of age.
Mr. Betts gave his political support to the democratic party during his life, and was extraordinarily active in
civic affairs. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also the Sons of St. George. His fine character and
attractive personality brought to his side many stanch friends; he was popular wherever he was known, and his integrity
and sense of fairness were widely recognized.
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931
San Francisco, CA
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