Placer County










            A veteran of the Civil War, prominent banker, and public official, as well as one of the most progressive and influential up-builders whose memory is held in the highest veneration by the citizens of Placer County, was the late Andrew Ryder, who was born in Jamaica, Queens County, Long Island, N. Y., on April 18, 1842.  His father, William Ryder, was a merchant in New York State, where he passed his last days.  The mother was in maidenhood Nancy Charlick; she survived her husband, coming to California in 1869, and made her home with Mr. and Mrs. Ryder until she passed on, her death occurring July 8, 1903.

            Andrew Ryder’s parents being in moderate circumstances, he began life as a clerk in a hardware store.  Later he obtained a position with the Long Island Railroad under his uncle, Oliver Charlick, who was ticket agent.  He held a position with the company for fifteen years, with the exception of the time he was serving in the Civil War as a member of Company F, 71st Regiment, N. Y. S. M.  On receiving his honorable discharge at the close of his enlistment, he resumed his position with the railroad company and continued with them until 1865.  Being ambitious and aspiring, however, he struck out for the great West in 1865, coming via the Isthmus of Panama with two friends, Ed Francis and Ed Dow, to San Francisco.  Mr. Ryder entered the employ of the Central Pacific Railroad at Sacramento, and as baggage master ran out of Sacramento to Colfax until, as the road was extended, his trips became longer.  He was soon made conductor and ran trains as early as 1866.  After the road was completed he ran to Truckee and also from Truckee to Wadsworth, Nev.  As conductor he ran the special that carried the railroad officials to Promontory Point at the time of the driving of the golden spike in 1869.

            At Reno, Nev., on May 27, 1869, Mr. Ryder was united with Miss Frances E. Atkinson, a daughter of the late Charles H. and Clarissa (Severens) Atkinson.  She was born in Hollis, Maine, July 16, 1843, and there she was reared and educated, remaining with her parents until 1865, when she made the trip via the Isthmus of Panama to San Francisco.  After Mr. Ryder was married he brought his bride to a home had built in Truckee.  Later he sold this home and moved to Oakland, where he resided at 1015 Peralta Street for nineteen years.  During this time he was engaged in the grocery business for a year; and then he tried mining in Arizona.  He was elected county clerk of Alameda County, and was reelected to the same position, serving acceptably and well for two terms.  From Oakland, in 1889, he moved to Loomis, where as early as 1883 he had purchased 160 acres of raw land on the edge of the town.  Here he used to spend his spare time in fruit culture.  He cleared the land and improved it, setting out 108 acres to orchard.  Before it came into bearing he predicted great things in fruit-production in this region; and his most sanguine expectations have since been more than realized.

            Mr. Ryder named his ranch “Graystone Orchard”, a very fitting name; and with his care he made of it a beautiful place, building a fine mansion.  He and his wife planned and laid out the grounds, setting a variety of ornamental trees and shrubs, making of the property a very attractive showplace.  They did not obtain these results without a great deal of effort on their part, for they worked faithfully and hard to accomplish their ambition while growing this lovely and profitable orchard and establishing their beautiful home.

            Mr. Ryder was one of the prime movers in the organization of the Bank of Loomis.  As vice-president of the bank he was always ready to advise people in financial matters, and his judgment was considered able and reliable.  In the early days of Loomis, Mr. Ryder had built a frame store; and when this was destroyed at the time of the big fire in Loomis, he immediately rebuilt it, this time of hollow tile.  Thus, he erected the first fireproof structure in Loomis.  A part of this building was occupied by the bank until they built their own home.

            Mr. Ryder was a great fancier of livestock, and owned some valuable specimens of horse-flesh as well as choice Jersey cows.  In fact, in every department of agriculture he believed in producing the best.

            On the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Ryder celebrated their golden wedding, on May 27, 1919, by entertaining a few close friends at their home, where a delightful time was enjoyed by all present.

            Mr. Ryder was made a Mason in Putnam Lodge, No. 338, A. F. & A. M., in New York City, June 3, 1864, becoming a life member, and was exalted to the Royal Arch degree in Zetland Chapter, No. 141, R. A. M., in the same city.  He was knighted in the Oakland Commandery of Knights Templar’s, and was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.  He belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic.

            A pioneer of Loomis, Mr. Ryder located here when the little place was called Pino; and many think the place should have been named Ryder after him, instead of Loomis after another party when the name was changed from Pino.  A remarkable man in every way, he had keen foresight, and was not afraid to back his judgment.  In appearance he was a handsome man, always well groomed, and very affable in his manner, while his countenance and eyes seemed brim-full of good humor.  His straightforwardness and honesty of purpose made him many friends, and his integrity was never questioned, his word being as good as his bond.  Thus he was greatly mourned at his passing which came on October 7, 1920, when Placer County lost one of its best and foremost citizens.

            Mrs. Ryder has been prominent and active in fraternal and social circles.  She joined Oakleaf Chapter, No. 8, O. E. S., Oakland, in 1876, of which she is now a life member, and of which in 1879 she served as Worthy Matron, being the seventh Matron of the chapter.  In 1881 she was elected Grand Matron of the Grand Chapter of California, serving during the year 1881 – 1882.  She faithfully performed her duties as head of the order in the State, visiting the various chapters and lending her encouragement and influence in their work.  She was the tenth Grand Matron of the order in California.  She is also an honorary member of the Society of Pioneer Women of Oakland.

            Mrs. Ryder was an active worker in the local chapter of the Red Cross during the World War, and has the honor of receiving a blue ribbon Red Cross badge for 800 hours spent in knitting socks, mittens, mufflers and sweaters for the soldiers, an honor of which she is justly proud.  She was one of the founders of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union at Loomis, and served as president of the Loomis local, taking a very active part in forwarding the temperance cause which led to the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment.  She is a member of the Episcopal Church, and in politics she is an ardent Republican, as was her esteemed and lamented husband.  Since his death Mrs. Ryder continues to reside at her beautiful home, “Graystone Orchard”, where she loves to dispense the good old-time California hospitality.  Cultured and refined, Mrs. Ryder possesses a pleasing personality and is much endeared to all who know her, being appreciated for her many charities and kindnesses, as well as for her many noble attributes of mind and heart.





Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “History of Placer & Nevada Counties, California”, by W. B. Lardner & M. J. Brock. Pages 457-460. Historic Record Co., Los Angeles 1924.

© 2013  V. Gerald Iaquinta.




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