Sacramento County







Those who are acquainted with the career and character of William Emil Gerber of Sacramento, merchant, financier, and honored public functionary, know how active he has been in the building up of the city of his adoption, but of late years he has been forced to relinquish the duties which have proved too severe a strain upon him and he has disposed of his large holdings in different companies, the management of which has proved too great a tax upon him. His efforts toward the development of conditions generally in Sacramento have won him many appreciative friends here and he is known as one of the leading public-spirited citizens of the city. Mr. Gerber was born in Buffalo, N. Y., September 8, 1852, a descendant of old German families. His parents, Pantalion and Sybilla (Gerber) Gerber, came from Germany to the United States in1844. In 1860 they came via Panama and arriving in California, established a home in Sacramento. Mr. Gerber was a butcher and conducted a wholesale trade in his line until in 1878, when he died. He was succeeded in business by his three sons, John, Henry, and Louis Gerber.

When he was brought to California by his two parents William E. Gerber was eight years old. He attended the public schools in Sacramento and in 1866 went back to Buffalo to become a student in the St. Louis Academy. He studied German eighteen months, was later graduated from a business college in Buffalo and in 1869 returned to California. For a year and a half afterward he was a clerk in a grocery store. In 1870 he bought a half interest in a business establishment of that character in Sacramento and continued in the grocery trade seven years, building up a large and lucrative enterprise which he sold in 1877.

In the year last mentioned Mr. Gerber was elected County Auditor and Recorder of Sacramento county and filled the position so creditably that he was re-elected in 1879, 1881, and 1883, filling the office four consecutive terms, until June, 1885. In the latter year he was elected assistant cashier of the California State Bank and in 1894 he was elevated to the cashiership, which he resigned in 1901 in order to devote himself exclusively to private business enterprises. He was elected director and vice-president of the bank, which was converted into a national bank under the title of the California National Bank, and later he was elected president. He has from time to time concerned himself in various commercial and industrial interests in the state, having been president of the Earl Fruit Company of California for a period of ten years. He has been the secretary and director of the Buffalo Brewing Company since its organization in 1889; was president of the Folsom Development Company, one of the largest enterprises of its class in the state for seven years, until it was sold; and stockholder and director in numerous other well-known concerns.

December 21, 1881, Mr. Gerber married Hattie A. Lyon, daughter of Edward Lyon, who came from Vermont to the Pacific coast in 1860 and was for many years a leading merchant in Sacramento. Fraternally Mr. Geber is a Mason of the Knights Templar degree and a life member of Islam Lodge, N. M. S., of San Francisco; he is also a member of Capitol Lodge, I. O. O. F. He is an active Republican and had often served his party as delegate to county and state conventions. In 1901 he was appointed state fish commissioner by Governor Gage and in 1903 was reappointed by Governor Pardee. He has for many years been identified with the upbuilding and progress of Sacramento, assisting every good work for the benefit of the community and development of the city. Mrs. Gerber is interested in charitable work in Sacramento. Their marriage was blessed by five children: Edward H., is a director of the California National Bank, and is interested in various enterprises in the state. Annie is the wife of W. Leslie Comyn of San Francisco. Irma is Mrs. George A. Starkweather of Sacramento. Harriett resides with her parents. William E., Jr., is a member of the Sutter Club of Sacramento, the Pacific Union Club and the Union League Club of San Francisco.




Transcribed by Sally Kaleta.


Source: Willis, William L., History of Sacramento County, California, Pages 947-948. Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, CA. 1913.

2006 Sally Kaleta.




Sacramento County Biographies