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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William H. M. Ayers

Among those born and reared in the state of California and who have wisely appreciated the advantages offered the man willing to put his shoulder to the wheel and carve out a place for himself where he may make a comfortable livelihood for himself and family and also be of some note in his own community, the name of W. H. M. Ayers is worthy of mention. Born in San Joaquin county, Cal., in 1859, he is a son of Samuel and Rebecca M. (Bigham) Ayers, natives of Missouri and Tennessee, respectively. Both are now deceased, the father passing away in 1862 and the mother in 1880. When the son was a child of six months old the parents removed to Mariposa county, and it was there the father passed away when he was comparatively a young man and when his son was only three years old, too young to remember his parent. After the death of the father the mother brought her family to Santa Cruz county, settling first in Watsonville, later in Soquel, going from there to Vacaville, Solano county, and finally coming to Sonoma county in 1865. Later, however, the family passed some time in Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties until 1868, since which time they have lived in Sonoma county, and here the death of the mother occurred.

It is now forty-two years since Mr. Ayers came to Guerneville, in 1868, and cast in his lot with the other settlers of the little town, and with them, too, he has watched its growth as well as the surrounding country into a thriving agricultural center. As a boy he attended the common schools of the localities where his mother lived, and later in Guerneville, but his school training was of short duration, as he early in life realized the necessity of becoming self-supporting. His first work of an independent character was in the timber business, this being followed by teaming, which occupation he followed continuously for about thirty years, or until purchasing and locating upon the ranch he now occupies near Guerneville, in 1906. Here, two miles from town, he has two hundred and twenty-one acres of land, of which he has eighteen acres in prunes and apples, and the remainder is in timber and pasture. As rapidly as is consistent with good judgment he is clearing the land of timber and placing it under cultivation to fruits, and in time he will undoubtedly have one of the finest ranches in this section of the county, judging by what he has accomplished in the short time he has made his home upon the property.

In the same year in which his mother died, in 1880, Mr. Ayers formed family ties by his marriage with Miss Margaret Brown, a native of Tulare, Cal., and of the four children born to them, only three are living, one having died in infancy. The eldest of the children living is Henry Clyde, who is married and has a family of five children; George is married and has one child; while the only daughter, Laura, is still at home with her parents. All of the children were born in Sonoma county and have continued residents of their native county. On the paternal side Mrs. Ayers comes of southern ancestors, her father, Richard Baker Brown, being a native of Georgia, while her mother, Susan Whitemore, was born in Texas; the latter is still living, although the father has been deceased since October, 1908. Politically Mr. Ayers is a Republican, voting for the candidates of this party on nation issues, but in local elections he is guided in the casting of ballot more by the fitness of the man for the position than by the name of the party he represents. Aside from school offices he has never filled public office, and has never had any desire to. Fraternally he is associated by membership with a number of orders, belonging to Redwood Lodge, I. O. O. F., of Guerneville, also the Rebekahs, and was made a Mason in Mt. Jackson Lodge No. 295, F. & A. M., also of Guerneville. Mrs. Ayers is also a member of the Rebekahs. Personally Mr. Ayers is a man who is popular with all who know him, and as one of the old-time citizens of Guerneville and Sonoma county he is respected and esteemed by the many who with him have labored in the upbuilding of the community.

History of Sonoma 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: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011