Contra Costa County












LORIN M. LASELL.  As an example of one whose interest has been concentrated in mercantile enterprises for a number of years, mention is due Lorin M. Lasell, who opened a general merchandise store in Martinez, Contra Costa county, in 1886, beginning on a small scale, and gradually increasing his stock of goods to suit the fast growing trade.  It was not until January 25, 1893, that the L. M. Lasell Company, of which Mr. Lasell is president, was incorporated under the laws of California.  The practical experience and thorough knowledge of the business possessed by the head of this establishment are prime factors in his capable management and in the success of the firm.


Mr. Lasell is a descendant of sturdy Vermonters on both paternal and maternal sides.  His grandfather, Laban Lasell, a native of Swanton, Vt., was born in 1793, and died May 10, 1857.  He was survived a number of years by his widow, with whom he was united in marriage August 28, 1815, and whose maiden name was Hepsibeth Lovell.  She was born in 1792 and died September 3, 1878.  Of their sons, Smith Lasell, the father of L. M. Lasell, was born May 5, 1822, and in manhood married Sarah Skinner, a daughter of Alvah Skinner, a prominent citizen of Vermont.  Mrs. Lasell was probably born in 1823 and died about 1900.  Nine children were born of this union, eight sons and one daughter, all of whom are living.  The father, a farmer by occupation, enlisted in the Union army in 1862, and while on duty in the south contracted diseases which caused his death in 1886.


Born April 12, 1851, in St. Albans, Franklin county, Vt., which was also the birthplace of his parents, L. M. Lasell was the third child of the family.  At a very early age he was taken to his maternal grandfather’s home and there reared to manhood.  Leaving St. Albans in 1868 at the age of seventeen he at once entered into the mercantile world, the following four years being spent as clerk in the general merchandise establishment of L. S. Carter, at Ellenburg Depot, Clinton county, N.Y.  About 1872 he accepted a more lucrative situation with the J. & J. Rogers Iron Company, at Jay, Essex county, N.Y., remaining in their employ for several years.  In 1876 he was induced to go west and try his fortunes in California and he has never had cause to regret this move.  Locating in Biggs, Butte county, where he was employed as bookkeeper for some time, he subsequently sent to Nortonville, Contra Costa county, and for more than eight years was in charge of a general merchandise store at that place.  He afterward sought a permanent location at Martinez, where he found a good business opening and laid the foundation of his present successful business, which has occupied the greater part of his attention ever since.


In addition to his extensive mercantile interests Mr. Lasell is prominently identified with other enterprises of worth whose object is the development of the natural resources with which California is so lavishly supplied.  Among the recently organized companies of this kind with which he is connected is the Alhambra Natural Mineral Water Company, of which he is president and general manager.  This company, which has about sixty stockholders, many of whom are prominent business men of this part of the state, was recently incorporated under the laws of Arizona.  It has already established a local reputation, and as the water is undoubtedly destined to take a prominent place among the mineral waters of the United States, a brief perusal of the company, plant and products will not be inappropriate in this place.


About six miles from Martinez, in a picturesque wooded cañon, are a number of fine springs affording an abundant supply of clear, sparkling mineral water.  Although the residents of that locality had long since discovered the merits and qualities of this water, both as a table beverage and for medicinal purposes, it was not until recently that a company was formed for the purpose of placing it upon the market.  As it found a ready sale in San Francisco, arrangements were made to put in a large, modern and complete bottling plant at that point, and a commodious location for headquarters was secured at No. 1302 Turk street, where the company now has a complete establishment and machinery for filling and delivering syphons.  The main bottling plant is located at Martinez, and at this point a substantial building has been constructed and furnished with machinery for bottling the water on a large scale.  This plant is located near the station, at the junction of the ferry wharf with the Southern Pacific right of way, and is connected with the springs six miles away by a two-inch galvanized iron pipe.  A smaller pipe conveys the water to the wharf building, where barrels are filled for shipment to the San Francisco plant.  The water has been analyzed by well-known chemists and as the supply is practically inexhaustible the success of this company is assured.  Three products have been placed upon the market:  One is an ideal table water; another, known as the Alhambra tonic, is stimulating to the liver and kidneys, and has proven a most efficient remedy for rheumatism; while the third product, the Alhambra laxative, is used purely for medicinal purposes, being a harmless and pleasant cathartic. 


By his marriage in Contra Costa county January 23, 1878, Mr. Lasell was united with Sarah E. Wright, who was born in Contra Costa county in 1860.  Of their children, three in number, Cora A., the eldest, graduated from the University of California, being a member of the class of 1904; Lorin Wright, the second, is attending the University of California, a member of the class of 1908, and Ernest R. is a student at the Berkeley high school.  Mr. Lasell is a Republican in his political views.  He has served as town trustee but is in no sense an active politician.





Transcribed by Donna Toole.

­­­­Source: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 650-653. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

© 2015  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library