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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



Both as one of the oldest and as one of the most prosperous organizations of its kind in Northern California the firm of A. A. Van Voorhies & Co. holds an established position among the foremost business concerns of Sacramento. The records show that the business was established as early as 1850 under the title of R. Stone & Co. and continued to enjoy a steady growth from decade to decade. The demands of the business were of such magnitude that in 1891 letters of incorporation were secured and since then the present firm has engaged in business as a corporation, the president being George A. Phinney, who first became identified with the establishment November 11, 1886, and since then has become familiar with every phase of the work. A business of large volume has been built up and in the firm's specialties of horse collars, harness and saddles they are considered to have no superiors in the west, where they are manufacturers and wholesalers.

The present place of residence of Mr. Phinney is far removed from the bleak regions familiar to his early years, for he is a native of Maine, born in Franklin county, December 7, 1855, and his childhood memories cluster around the pine woods and rock-bound shores of that locality. The years of youth were uneventfully passed in country schools and in the home of his parents, Jonas and Mary A. (Crafts) Phinney. When he had completed the studies of the district schools he left for Massachusetts and secured employment in a whip factory at Westfield. Two years later, with the savings of this period of work, he was able to enter Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., where he finished the commercial course. Going next to New York City in 1874 he secured a position as bookkeeper with a firm dealing in grain and there he remained until July of 1876, when he returned to Massachusetts. Associating himself with a wholesale firm in Westfield he became a traveling salesman and in that capacity visited the principal points of commercial importance throughout the whole country. For a time his territory embraced all of the region west of the Missouri river.

Upon discontinuing his connection as traveling salesman in 1882 Mr. Phinney aided in organizing the Standard Whip Company, a firm that still exists, although he sold his stock in the concern many years ago. August 31, 1885, he was united in marriage with Miss Kate Louise Van Voorhies, daughter of A. A. and Hattie Van Voorhies. Thus other interests came into his life besides those of New England and he was therefore induced to come to California in 1886, since which time he has made Sacramento his home and has devoted his time to the upbuilding of the wholesale manufacturing plant of A. A. Van Voorhies & Co. His eldest son, A. Van Voorhies Phinney, now vice-president of the company, is a young man of exceptional ability and is a graduate of the University of California with the class of 1908. Mrs. Kate Louise Phinney died when her youngest son, George A., was only four months old, and he was only spared to the age of seven years. The only daughter of the imion is Clare, now Mrs. C. B. McKee, of Sacramento. The second marriage of Mr. Phinney was solemnized November 30, 1894, and united him with Miss Jessie L. Dayton, daughter of Jerry and Mary Dayton. The three children of the second marriage are Jerry Dayton, Ruth Rosalie and Jessie Lee. 

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