Glendale, California Biographies

Edward Ayers

Edward Ayers, who passed from this life April 30, 1921, was born August 19, 1837, at Danville, Indiana. His parents were natives of Maryland, and of old Southern stock. At the age of thirteen he was apprenticed to learn the shoemaking trade, at which he worked in his home city until he was twenty years old. He went to New York City, and from that port took a steamer for the Isthmus of Panama. Crossing the isthmus by rail, he boarded the steamer “John F. Stevens” for San Francisco, and arrived there after a perilous journey. After a short stay in the Bay City he went to Sacramento, where he worked at his trade, remaining for two and one half years, then went to Yreka, California and mined until 1861. He followed the gold rush into Idaho, and spent about a year in the Clearwater Mountains, of the GemState before going to The Dalles, Oregon. Here he resumed his trade, saved his money, and again went to Idaho, opening up a shoe store in SilverCity, which business he conducted for nearly eight years. Making his way overland to San Francisco, he set out for Portland, Oregon, on the same steamer that brought him up from the isthmus in 1857. At Portland he worked at his trade in connection with conducting a retail shoe store, remaining there until 1878. He returned to San Francisco, and because of somewhat delicate health he spent some time recuperating.

At San Francisco, September 17, 1881, Mr. Ayers married Mary Mactinney. She, a native of New York City, was a milliner before coming to California with friends in 1878. In the spring of 1883 they came to Southern California, an on August twenty-fifth of the same year they bought a twelve and one-half acre tract in Tropico, at $80 an acre. It was the second tract sold, and the first to be improved with streets, sidewalks, etc. Mr. Ayers opened a shoe shop in Los Angeles, and Mrs. Ayers assumed charge of the ranch, setting out several hundred apricot, pear, plum, quince and apple trees. After growing fruit for several years the trees were nearly all taken up, because of low prices, and the acreage planted to grapevines. In 1884 the property was subdivided and put on the market as the Ayers tract. It is all sold except thirteen lots on East Palmer Street. They have given in all, three acres for the building of streets, fifteen-foot alleys, and to the Pacific Electric and Salt Lake railroads. They built a home the first year, and since then have build six other residences, some of which have been sold. The sub-dividing, selling of lots, and the building of residences where all done under the supervision of Mrs. Ayers, while Mr. Ayers was attending to his business in Los Angeles. He journeyed to Los Angeles and returned each day for over thirty years. In the days before the Pacific Electric was built, his mode of travel was a horse and buggy. He was very much interested in the growth and development of the valley all his life, and willingly supported all movements for the general good of the community.

Mr. Ayers was a Master Mason and an Odd Fellow, having joined the orders as a young man. His first vote was cast at Yreka, California, for Abraham Lincoln, and throughout his long life he gave his support to the Republican party. In his many years of travel about the country he collected hundreds of varieties of minerals and petrified woods, which together with other specimens from all parts of the world, makes it one of the most valuable collections of its kind in the country. This collection and five hundred and fifty arrow points, his family has donated to the Southwest Museum of Los Angeles. Mr. and Mrs. Ayers became the parents of three children: Wesley John, who died at the age of eighteen months, was the first white boy born in Tropico; Evalena, who is the wife of C. C. Melrose, of Bakersfield, California, was the first white girl born in Tropico, now an accomplished pianist and vocalist, having studied under the best teachers in Los Angeles; Edward, who is a well known actor, has played on the legitimate stage and also for the moving pictures. He was formerly agent for the National Cash Register Company, at Sidney, Australia, and prior to that was a sailor for seven years, during which time he sailed around the world three times. Mrs. Ayers is a splendid example of a businesswoman, and is held in high regard and esteem by her large circle of friends. She is an active member of the Thursday Afternoon Club and of the Rebekahs. She resides in a new duplex on Palmer Street at Glendale Avenue.

From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. p. 337-338.