California Genealogy and History Archives
varying experiences that enter into every well-rounded career have
fallen to the lot of Mr. Dalton since the time when, an energetic lad of
thirteen, he departed from the shelter of the home- roof and took up for
himself the struggle necessary to the earning of a livelihood. The loss
of educational advantages and the lack of parental encouragement were
partially recompensed by the increased self-reliance resultant from the
personal encounter with the world of affairs. His privilege it has been
to travel extensively through the west, to see much of this portion of
the world and thus to gain the information that makes of him a
broad-minded citizen ever striving to promote the welfare of his native
village of Benicia in Solano county is Mr. Dalton's native place, and
October 21, 1858, the date of his birth. His father, Alfred Dalton, Sr.,
is a pioneer of 1850 in California and a very early settler of Benicia,
where for over forty years he has officiated as a member of the school
board and was largely instrumental in the building of the high school.
When only thirteen years of age Alfred, Jr., began to learn the
printer's trade in the composing room of the Benicia Tribune
under the then proprietors, Messrs. Linthicum and Hopkins. When the
paper was moved to Dixon, Solano county, he went there also, but a year
later left and removed to San Francisco, where he found work in the job
office of B. F. Sterritt & Co., the oldest job office in the city.
Later he finished the printer's trade in the employ of the Chronicle
at San Francisco.
the excitement at the Caribou mines in British Columbia about 1878 Mr.
Dalton went to that country and spent some time prospecting and mining,
but did not meet with any good fortune. Upon his return to Benicia he
secured employment with the New Era. Two years later he bought out the
paper and for twelve years he continued to publish a weekly sheet at
that place. Afterward he removed to Martinez, Contra Costa county, where
he purchased and for five years published the News.
About that time the country began to be excited by reports from the
Klondike gold fields and he became anxious to try his luck in Alaska, so
he sold out his interests and left California. While on the steamer en
route to the north some of the passengers fell ill with the smallpox and
all on the ship were quarantined for two weeks. Eventually they were put
ashore at Egg island, a barren rise of land off the coast of Alaska.
After hardships innumerable Mr. Dalton reached Nome, but owing to the
lawless conditions which prevailed he made little headway financially
during the year of his sojourn at Nome. On his return to California he
remained for a short time at Benicia, after which he entered the state
printing office at Sacramento. The study of law, which he had taken up
while still in the newspaper business, took his attention for some
years, and August 28, 1905, he was admitted to practice at the bar of
the state. Since his admission to practice he has been unusually
successful. As a speaker he is fluent, logical and forceful.
marriage of Mr. Dalton united him with Miss Hannah Newmark, of Benicia,
who is an earnest member of the Episcopal church and past matron of
Silver Gate Chapter, O. E. S. She is a daughter of Dr. Valentine
Newmark, deceased. Mr. Dalton is a member of Benicia Lodge No. 5, F.
& A. M., also Benicia Chapter, R. A. M. He is one of the older
members of the Native Sons, being past president of Benicia and Martinez
parlors, and at present a member of Sutter Fort parlor. He is also past
chancellor of Benicia Lodge No. 99, K. P. No. 1 Veterans' Knights of
Pythias, of Sacramento, the only lodge of its kind in the entire world,
numbers him among its members. Through his efforts as promoter and first
president a company was organized, known as the Sacramento Labor Temple
Association, which bought property on the corner of Eighth and I streets
and erected a substantial structure of five stories for the exclusive
use of all labor unions and kindred organizations. As attorney for the
company he managed every legal phase of the work, and in addition he
attended to the financing of the enterprise, which in itself was no
small undertaking. For some years he has served as secretary of the
organization, and this, together with his work as attorney, makes him
still a leading factor in the management of the company's holdings.
Mr. Dalton is the father of three children: Valentine, a structural steel architect in the employ of the J. G. White Construction Company; Hazel Florence, stenographer for C. K. McClatchy, and Alfred Percival, an automobile machinist.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011