Contra Costa County











     The Bank of Richmond was established April 25, 1902, with William Mintzer president, William F. Belding vice-president, and Waverly Stairley cashier.  It was capitalized for $30,000 and its brief life as a financial institution has been prolific of much good to the community in which it is located.  Waverly Stairley, cashier, is a pioneer of 1857, and his connection with large and substantial enterprises in the west qualifies him to creditably represent a promising and important monetary institution.  Mr. Stairley was born August 3, 1845, in Greenville, S.C., and is the son of Benjamin F. and Elizabeth K.(Stone) Stairley, the latter a daughter of Col. Banister Stone, a native of Virginia.  His grandfather, George Stairley, was born in Virginia, and married Elizabeth Lester, daughter of Archibald and Elizabeth (Grymes) Lester, the latter the sister of Lucy Grymes, the mother of Light Horse Harry Lee, father of Gen. Robert E. Lee, of Confederate fame.  The Grymes family was one of the most famous of the old families of the south, and General Washington's first love was a daughter of the house of Grymes, known as the Lowland Beauty.  Benjamin F. Stairley was a close friend of Horace Greeley, and was a wealthy planter and slave owner, although humane tendencies existed in his heart and he was in favor of gradual emancipation.

     The oldest of seven children, Waverly Stairley went to New York City in 1858 and attended the New York City College on Forty-seventh street.  While thus employed the war broke out, and in 1860 at the age of fifteen, he enlisted in the Cavalry of Wade Hampton's Legion, and rendered gallant service in the Army of the Virginia.   He witnessed the grew-some (sic) and terrible side of warfare, but was immune from personal injury, although his horse was shot from under him, and his regiment at one time in action was reduced to seventy-two men.  After the establishment of peace, he returned to New York City, finished his education and engaged in various pursuits, traveling also and enlarging his mind horizon.

      At the age of twelve Mr. Stairley had come to the coast with his father by way of Panama, remaining here seven months, when he returned to school in New York City.  However, receiving an offer of a position in San Francisco, in August, 1866, he again came to California by way of Panama and has been a resident of the state ever since.  In 1868 he became ticket auditor of the northern division of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and in 1875 was associated with the banking house of Belloe & Company.  Afterward he engaged on an extensive scale in the stock brokerage business under the firm name of Stairley & Haverstock, and during 1880 and 1881, was with the Mader Flume & Trading Company.  In 1882-3 he was with the firm of Moore & Smith, lumber merchants in San Francisco and for thirteen years off and on was with the Sierra Lumber Company.  January 1, 1884, he took charge of the company's plant at Red Bluff, having been manager of the yards at Chico during 1877-8-9.  January 6, 1894, he was appointed collector of the Fourth Internal Revenue District, and was stationed at Sacramento four years, and April 25, 1902, became cashier of the Bank of Richmond.

     Mr. Stairley is a Democrat in politics and has been a delegate to all state and national conventions since 1886, and also several senatorial and assembly conventions.  During 1890 and 1891 he was a member of the state central committee from the Seventh senatorial district and for a number of years has been a member of the Tehama county central committee, having served as its secretary and treasurer.  In 1890 he was tendered the nomination of joint senator for Tehama and Colusa counties, but was compelled to decline the honor.  He is a member of the American Legion of Honor, Sixth Degree.  In 1883 Mr. Stairley married Mary Ridgely Tilden, who was born in Maryland, and whose father, Thomas, was a relative of the late Samuel J. Tilden.  The Tilden family is not without historical interest, for Sir Roger Tilden fought with Richard Coeur de Lion in the Holy Land, and is a direct descendant of Rolles, one of the oldest noble houses of England, title now being held by the family of the grandmother of Mrs. Stairley.  Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Stairley, Marmaduke Hamilton and Louise Elizabeth.  Mr. Stairley is a member of the Episcopal Church.  He is a man of commanding mind and presence, of great influence in affairs directly concerning the financial upbuilding of Contra Costa county, and of great public spirit and generosity.  He has a calm, judicial way of arriving at conclusions, and his judgment has come to be sought and prized on account of its fairness and absence of personal interest.





Transcribed 9-21-16  Marilyn R. Pankey.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 1328-1329. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016  Marilyn R. Pankey.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library