Biography of Samuel Alder

Samuel Alder is one of the pioneer mechanics of Riverside, having established the first carriage making, and general blacksmithing ever founded in the city. No history of the manufacturing and business enterprises of Riverside could be considered complete without a mention of Mr. Alder, and his association with the building up of the city and colony.

The subject of this sketch was born in Wiltshire, England, in 1845, son of Samuel and Ann (Chivers) Alder, both being natives of that county. His father was a weaver by occupation and the family was dependent upon his wages alone for support. The children were put at labor early in life, and at the age of twelve years, when a mere child, Mr. Alder was apprenticed at the trade of wagon-maker. He served a six years’ apprenticeship, and then worked as a journeyman for a year.

Realizing the disadvantages the workmen of the old country were laboring under, he decided to try his fortune in the new world, and in 1864 embarked for New York. Soon after his arrival in that city he struck out for the great West. His first stop was in Wisconsin; not satisfied, he continued his westward march; securing a position as teamster, he joined an emigrant train and drove a team across the plains to Salt Lake City.

There he obtained employment at his trade and remained in that city until 1867. In that year he came to California and located in Sacramento. The next two years were spent by Mr. Alder at his trade in that city, in Petaluma and Vacaville. In the fall of 1869 he came to Southern California and located in San Bernardino, and the next year, in partnership with Joseph Bright, established a carriage and blacksmith shop on Third Street. He conducted that enterprise until 1874. At that time the Riverside colony was attracting attention, and Mr. Alder, believing in the future prosperity of the colony, decided to cast his fortunes with the Riversiders. He sold out his interests to his partner and came to Riverside, and in partnership with Frank Petchner, the pioneer blacksmith of the colony, established carriage-making and general blacksmithing works on Main Street, at the corner of Seventh Street. His partnership with Mr. Petchner continued for ten years, until 1884; since that time he has conducted the business alone.

Mr. Alder, during his business here, has been one of the most enterprising and public-spirited men of Riverside. Both himself and partner were liberal contributors to the pioneer enterprises that proved important factors in placing Riverside in the position she occupies, in the ranks of the progressive cities of Southern California. Himself and partner donated to the Citrus Fair Association a hundred-foot lot on the corner of Main and Seventh streets, one of the most valuable lots in the city. Mr. Alder was also a large contributor in the erection of the Young Men’s Christian Association building. It is well understood that an appeal to him is never in vain, where aid is required in advancing the interests and welfare of his chosen city. He has been a successful man in his business, and by his industry and straightforward dealing has gained a modest competency. Among his real-estate interests is his business lot on Main Street, between Sixth and Eighth, and residence block of two and a half acres, between Main and Orange, Second and Third streets. This block he has under a fine state of cultivation, and displays his love of horticulture by producing some of the choicest fruits in the city, Mr. Alder takes an interest in the political affairs of his city and county, and is allied with the Republican party.

Mr. Alder married in 1870, wedding Mrs. Margaret Scott (nee Schyff). She is the daughter of John H. and Gertrude Schyff, natives of Holland. They are residents of San Bernardino, where they have lived for more than a quarter of a century. From this marriage there are six children: John H., Samuel R.; Rebecca P., o Flora M., Grace and Lucile. There are also two children living from Mrs. Alder’s first marriage, viz.: William Edward and Nora.



The Lewis Publishing Company. An Illustrated History of Southern California embracing the counties of San Diego San Bernardino Los Angeles and Orange and the peninsula of lower California. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1890.

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