William J. Guthrie, one of San Bernardino’s brightest and most successful business men, was born in Detroit, Michigan, and was there brought up and educated, and started out in life as an employee in a mercantile agency, where he obtained a thorough knowledge of business customs and methods. His connection with that branch of business continued for years, during which time he rose from a reporter to joint partner in the McKillop Mercantile Agency.
In 1878 he came to California and spent a year in the Ohio valley, Ventura County, when he was made superintendent of the Dunn Mercantile Agency at Denver, Colorado. At the end of two years he resigned that position to return to Ventura County and engage in private business. A year later, in 1882, he came to San Bernardino, and, in partnership with a Mr. Gilbert, opened a grocery and crockery store combined. In 1884 they closed out the grocery feature and Mr. Gilbert retired from the firm, leaving Mr. Guthrie sole proprietor of the crockery business, which he conducted prosperously until November 1889, and then sold out, retiring temporarily from active business.
His was the only exclusively crockery-house in the city, and he carried a large stock of high grade and common wares, in which he had a fine trade. Mr. Guthrie owns 160 acres of valuable land, on the Colton terrace, on which is an eight-acre orange grove just coming into bearing. He has scarcely reached the high noon of life, and, with his active mental temperament and his superior business training, a future of bright promise awaits him.