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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



Few men have been associated more actively and none more honorably with the financial and political history of Northern California than Hon. Alden Anderson, president of the Capital National bank of Sacramento, president of the Redding National bank at Redding, this state, vice-president of the Red Bluff (Cal.) National bank, and presi- dent of the Central California Traction Company, owners and operators of the traction line between Sacramento, Lodi and Stockton. Wide has been the influence exerted by him in the banking circles of his portion of the state and varied as have been his commercial connections, they have been equaled by his intimate identification with the public life of the commonwealth and by his patriotic participation in movements for the permanent upbuilding of his community. From the year 1902, which marked his advent into Sacramento's commercial life, up to the present time, his vigorous mind has been felt continually as an important factor in civic progress, his public-spirited labors have promoted the community welfare and his life has become a part of Sacramento that will find an enduring place in the annals of local history.

A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. Anderson was born in Meadville, Crawford county, in October of 1867, while bis parents were at their old home on a visit. The family have been identified with the west ever since the thrilling period of mining adventures, had an honorable identification with the east through several successive generations, and genealogical records indicate their patriotism and progressive devotion to the country. His father, J. Z. Anderson, was born in Meadville, Crawford county. Pa., September 30, 1829. At the time news came concerning the discovery of gold in California he was at the threshold of manhood, eager for adventure and ambitious to see something of the world. Immediately there sprang into his mind a determination to seek the gold mines, but it was not practicable for him to make the journey until 1852, at which time he left the scenes of happy youth for the untried conditions of the undeveloped west.

An uneventful journey via Nicaragua found its safe termination in the gold fields of Northern California, where the young Pennsylvanian endeavored in vain to find the hoped-for fortune. Despairing of quickly gained wealth, in 1854 he turned his attention to ranching and settled in Solano county, where he placed a large tract of land under cultivation. Shortly before the birth of their son, Alden, he and his wife removed to San Jose, and from that time until his demise in 1897 he was interested in the raising of fruit and in the packing business. During the forty-five years of his residence in California he had witnessed remarkable changes and, as a patient, purposeful pioneer, he had contributed to the work of advancement by his personal efforts. Cities had sprung up, as by magic; vast tracts of un- inviting lands had been transformed into productive ranches or remunerative fruit farms; railroads had superseded the old-fashioned stage-coaches and the freighting vehicles drawn by mules or oxen. Out of the crude environment of the frontier had arisen a common- wealth great in resources, ambitious in purpose and rich in a citizenship of unsurpassed loyalty.

With such educational advantages as were afforded by the public schools and the University of the Pacific, Alden Anderson began to earn his own livelihood at a very early age, his first occupation being that of an assistant in the fruit business conducted by his father. During 1886 he went to Suisun City, Solano county, and embarked in the fruit industry for himself, later drifting from the growing of fruit into the shipping of the same. From that place he came to Sacramento in 1902, and afterward disposed of his interests in Solano county at intervals as opportunity offered. From his arrival in the capital city until the year 1908 he acted as vice-president of the Capital National Banking and Trust Company. When he disposed of his stock in that concern he removed to San Francisco, where, until July 1, 1909, he held office as vice-president of the Anglo-London Paris National bank, and later until February of 1911 served by appointment as superintendent of the banks of California.

A pleasant and protracted continental tour, which afforded him an appreciated opportunity to enjoy the scenery and historical attractions of Europe, Asia and Africa, was followed by the return of Mr. Anderson to Sacramento December 1, 1911, at which time he purchased the Capital Banking and Trust Company, and of this institution, under its present title of Capital National bank, he officiates as president. The concern has a reputation for reliability and high principles of honor. The conservative spirit of its president appears in the caution exercised for the protection of its depositors, yet he supplements caution with progressive principles, so that he lends timely aid to worthy commercial projects. His place in the banking circles of Northern California is one of assured influence and in- creasing responsibility. In addition to the organization of this popular institution of Sacramento, he helped to organize banks at Red Bluff and Redding and acts as vice-president of one and president of the other, besides being a director in both, as well as a member of the directorate of his city concern. As president of the company building the electric line from Sacramento to Stockton he has aided an enterprise of the greatest importance to the permanent upbuilding of the rich agricultural region through which it passes. In addition, he holds the office of president of the Sacramento Hotel Company, and is connected officially or as a stockholder with other organizations important to the municipal growth. His home is graciously presided over by the lady whom he married at Rockville, Cal., March 2, 1893, and who was Miss Carrie L. Baldwin. There is one daughter in the family, Miss Kathryn, now a student in the state university at Berkeley.

Any account of the life activities of Mr. Anderson would be incomplete were no mention to be made of his association with the political history of the commonwealth. When only thirty years of age he began to serve his fellow-citizens in positions of honor and trust, and in every position accepted by him he gave the weight of his ripened counsel, keen intelligence and discriminating judgment. Elected to the assembly in 1897-99 and 1901, he soon became a force in the legislature. Measures for the benefit of his district received his stanch support, nor was he less earnest in the promotion of all movements for the welfare of the entire state. The possession of superior talents and the devotion displayed toward the state led to his selection as speaker of the house in 1899, and he tilled that difficult post with the same tact and ability displayed in every relation of public life. A still higher honor awaited him in 1902, when he was elected lieutenant-governor of California, and he filled that eminent position for four years, retiring with the good will of the party he had served with such fidelity and distinction. It would seem impossible for a citizen having so many duties in public office, in business connections and in banking circles, to enter with any activity into fraternal and social circles, but Mr. Anderson has not allowed his existence to be dwarfed into a tedious round of irksome cares. On the other hand, he has enjoyed society with the same enthusiasm characteristic of his identification with the other opportunities of life, and at different times he has been a leading member of the Bohemian, Pacific Union and Family clubs and Union League, all of San Francisco, and the Sutter club of Sacramento, also the Woodmen and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Practical philanthropy, whether exercised privately or through the medium of fraternal organizations, receives his stead- fast support, and movements inaugurated and inspired by a desire to help the needy, to encourage the depressed or to uplift the fallen, have benefited by his sagacious counsel and sympathetic participation. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011