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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



More than one-quarter of a century has brought its transforming revolutions into the annals of California since Joseph F. Hummel laid aside the burdens of existence and entered into eternal rest, but long as has been the period since his departure, his memory lingers green and fresh in the minds of the pioneers who knew him and in the hearts of his family, among whom his vacant chair nevermore can be filled. He belonged to that sturdy class of pioneers to whom we owe the early development of the state and whose tireless labors and patriotic devotion laid a broad and solid foundation for later substantial development. When gold was discovered in California he was at the threshold of maturity and well qualified by rugged constitution and tireless energy for the arduous tasks incident upon westward emigration. Born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1819, he inherited the forceful qualities associated with Teutonic blood and, while he lacked educational advantages, for this deprivation there was a recompense in faculties of keen observation and careful reading of current literature. Mr. Hummel came to Philadelphia when a young man and there remained until 1852, when he came to California via Panama.

Upon his arrival in the west, a stranger unfamiliar with the language or customs of the people, Mr. Hummel found San Francisco a city of tents, filled with a cosmopolitan throng allured hither by the discovery of gold. With characteristic energy he found a place for himself and embarked in business. Finding the conditions encourag- ing and the future assured in 1856 he returned to Philadelphia and there in June, 1856, occurred his marriage to Miss Louisa D. Wetzel, a native of Metziugen, Wurtemberg, Germany, who before her marriage was an instructor in the art department at "Luthe" in Philadelphia. In 1857 the couple came to California, where Mr. Hummel had a comfortable residence in Sutter near Kearney, but he soon located in Sacramento and here they found a place suitable for housekeeping, thus beginning their long identification with the citizenship of the capital city. During 1858 Mr. Hummel opened a shoe store in Sacramento, on J street between Third and Fourth streets, afterwards locating on Fifth and J streets, where he continued to operate until his death, which occurred in 1876. His widow makes her home at No. 1619 L street and has many warm friends among the people of the city where for more than fifty years she has lived and labored. When yet a young girl in the home of her childhood she acquired a thorough knowledge of embroidery and afterward she kept up an interest in the skilled handiwork of the day, so that slie became recognized as one of the most expert needlewomen in Sacramento, where for years she gave instructions in embroidery with gratifying success. Of her five children three are still living. Agnes is with John Breuner Co. and Emma is at the head of the art department of Weinstock & Lubin Co., while the son, Herman H., resides in San Francisco and is connected with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in that city. 

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