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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The era during which accurate genealogical records were lost in the midst of traditional lore found the Telfer family tilling the soil of Scotland, where their broad tracts in the highlands and their large flocks of sheep gave indication of their prominence. When religious persecutions arose their devotion to their creed as well as their high standing in the country endangered their lives. For that reason they crossed over to Ireland, took up land and started anew amid the less encouraging conditions presented by the Emerald Isle. Hoping to better their condition in the new world, representatives of a later generation crossed the ocean to America and settled on the bleak hills of Nova Scotia, where a scanty livelihood was secured by the tilling of the soil.

Of Nova Scotian birth, C. Allison Telfer became familiar with agricultural conditions in that country through the difficult experiences of boyhood labor. The rugged coast, the stern climate and the barren hills, although not without a wild beauty of their own, rendered the task of earning a livelihood so devoid of pleasure that he determined to seek another location. With that object in view he moved to Massachusetts and settled in the vicinity of Boston, where, finding agricultural efforts little less toilsome than in his native peninsula, he turned his attention to the lumber business. In the search for more satisfactory climatic conditions he came to California in 1889 and during October of that year arrived at Fresno, where he secured a position with the Fresno National bank. Two years later, in recognition of his ability, he was promoted to the office of cashier, and for eleven years he continued in the same position, filling it with such tact, sagacity and intelligence that universal regret was expressed among depositors when ill-health forced him to resign in 1902. The physical need for outdoor exercise led him into the irrigation business and for some time he took charge of the systems near Fresno, after which for four years he engaged in the raisin business in that valley.

The responsibilities connected with the management and secretaryship of the California State Agricultural Society, to which position he had been elected, led Mr. Telfer to remove to Sacramento in April of 1911, and since then he has managed the society headquarters in the capital city, from which point he works through the entire state in the interests of agricultural progress. He is a firm believer in California as an agricultural center, finding the soil and climate much better adapted to such work than the soil and climate with which he became familiar in early life. While living in the east he was limited in marriage in 1884 with Miss Evoline Bennett, a native of Beverly, Mass., and a descendant of one of the prominent old families of Revolutionary fame. They are the parents of two children, namely: Abbie, who was born July 2, 1888, and Gerard, whose birth occurred at Fresno October 5, 1894. The family have a high social standing in Sacramento and likewise number many friends among the people of Fresno, their former place of residence. The Republican party has received the support of Mr. Telfer ever since he became a voting citizen and Ms support has been given to movements for the progress of the party. In fraternal relations he is connected with the Woodmen of America and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.

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