Biography of William Dresser

William Dresser the proprietor of extensive farms and a resident of Santa Ana, was born in East Smithfield, London, England, August 20, 1813. His parents, Christopher and Mary Dresser, came to America in 1824, landing at Montreal. Subsequently they settled in northern New York, in 1833 in Ohio, and in 1836 in Boone County, Illinois, They had four children. His father was born January 1, 1769, and died June 13, 1841; and his mother, born June 25, 1772, died November 9, 1845. By trade his father was a “linen draper,” which in England corresponds with a dry-goods merchant in the United States.

Mr. Dresser was educated at Alleghany College, Meadville, Pennsylvania. Afterward he followed forming in Boone County, Illinois, until 1850, when he came to California. He had intended to come the previous year, but the company which he was to join did not organize. In April, 1850, he started with a Beloit, Wisconsin, company. They arrived at Council Bluffs May 10, passed the Humboldt desert on the night of the 4th and 5th of July, and between Council Bluffs and Carson Valley they probably passed 30,000 immigrants. July 19 Mr. Dresser first saw the gold miners at work. He arrived at Ringgold on the 20th, and was at Kelsey’s Diggings when they received the news that California had been admitted to the Union.

Mr. Dresser is a farmer and rents land in Tulare and Yolo counties, while he lives in the genial climate of Southern California for his health. He is probably the oldest Sunday-school worker in the State now living. He organized and conducted the first Sunday-school outside the large towns; in Suisun valley in March, 1851. He is a close Bible student, and has in his possession a Bible printed in England in 1608. He is practically and theoretically a temperance man. As long ago as 1827, when a boy in the State of New York, he signed the first temperance pledge that was ever seen in New York State, and he has faith-fully kept it to this day. He signed a private paper brought in the city of Plattsburgh from Boston long before public pledges had been published.

Mr. Dresser was first married in De Kalb County, Illinois, July 29, 1838, to Miss Sarah Jenks, daughter of Jacob and Mary Jenks. She died May 23, 1854, and April 3, 1885, Mr. Dresser married Mrs. M. E. M. Anthony. Mr. Dresser’s children are Albert, Charles, William, Emma and Julia.



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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