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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



To those who but casually observe the mere fact of success the life of Philip Scheld reads like a romance, but the student of human nature readily detects that there is less romance in his career than tireless industry and persistent application. It is the testimony of his friends that his large degree of success comes from personal application to the duty in hand. Step by step with the most laborious energy he rose from a position of commercial insignificance to a high standing among the business men and the bankers of Sacramento. It has been his interesting experience to witness the development of the capital city. Here he first landed during the latter part of March, 1850; here he spent infrequent intervals of labor during the pioneer era ; and here, still in the pioneer period of the '50s, he identified himself with the brewery business that by his own industry and sagacity brought him a fortune. Here later he rose to an influential position among the bankers and in 1901 was elected president of the Sacramento Bank, whose early growth he had promoted through liis wise services as a director.

 The town of Giessen in the grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, is the native place of Philip Scheld, and October 13, 1827, the date of his birth into the home of John and Kate Scheld. For several successive generations the heads of the Scheld family had followed the wheelwright's trade and this likewise remained the life occupation of John Scheld, but in addition he conducted a small farm. From the age of six until he was fourteen Philip Scheld at- tended the government school of his home town and after leaving school he helped his father on the farm. June 4, 1845, he and his brother, Henry, took passage on the sailing vessel, Neptune, at Bremen and on the 11th of the next month they landed at Philadelphia, where Henry worked as a cabinet-maker and Philip found employment in a bakery for several years, later going to Baltimore.

 News of the discovery of gold in California caused Henry Scheld to join a party of twenty-four young emigrants, who came west via New Orleans, Monterey, Durango and Mazatlan, thence by sailing vessel to San Francisco. For years he engaged in mining, but afterward settled in Eureka and became one of the most successful business men of that town. Shortly after he landed in the west he sent a letter to his brother, Philip, in Baltimore, advising him to come immediately and the advice was taken without delay. To this step Mr. Scheld attributes much of his good fortune, for the west presented opportunities that were not possible to residents of the east. February 4, 1850, he left Baltimore on the steamer Philadelphia, and proceeded to Panama. His personal effects were conveyed across the isthmus on the back of a mule, but he was obliged to walk the greater part of the distance. On the west coast of the isthmus lie took passage on the ship California, which cast anchor in the harbor of San Francisco on the 24th of March. From that city he paid $16 for the river trip of one and one-half days on the steamer Hart- ford to Sacramento, whence he traveled with a team of four oxen to Coloma, Eldorado county. Meanwhile his brother had left that place and no one knew his whereabouts, but by chance they met several weeks later at Volcano, where a company was attempting to flume out Volcano Bar.

 With another young emigrant, Daniel Troy, as a partner, Mr. Scheld contracted to do the baking for a hotel at Coloma, but they soon found the proprietor was in an unfortunate financial condition. In the end they were obliged to take the hotel as their only wages. There they continued business until the need of .larger quarters obliged them to build a larger house. Later they erected the Sierra Nevada hotel, which is still running. All of the supplies for the hotel were purchased in Sacramento and hauled to Coloma by wagon. On the day of the great fire he was buying in Sacramento as usual, but had started on his return trip before the fire broke out, so that he did not learn of the disaster until the next day. Shortly afterward he sold his interest in the hotel and removed to Sacramento, where he underwent the hardships incident to the great flood of 1852. For a time he engaged in teaming between Sacramento and the mines, but finally, in 185.3, he bought a brewery on East M street, rebuilt the plant and developed the Sacramento Brewery, which is one of the most profitable properties of the kind in the state.

 The marriage of Philip Scheld took place April 7, 1858, and united him with Miss Margaret Fritz, who had settled in Sacramento during the previous year. She was a native of Germany and was born near Mayence on the Rhine. The only child of their union, Adolph, is a prominent citizen of Sacramento and a director in the Sacramento Bank. Since 1857 Philip Scheld has been identified with the Turn Verein. In 1863 he joined Confidence Company No. 2, Volunteer Fire Department of Sacramento, and when the need of volunteer work no longer existed he became a member of the Exempt Firemen. Besides his large interests in and around Sacramento, he invested heavily in Southern California property and still has valuable holdings in Los Angeles county. For thirty-three years or more he has been a stockholder and director in the Sacramento Bank and when W. P. Coleman passed away in 1901 he was chosen to succeed to the responsible office of president. Notwithstanding his advanced years he still maintains an active interest in the management of the bank, which benefits constantly by his wise counsel and shrewd insight into affairs. 

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