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Biographies
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Sacramento County

 

STEPHEN UREN

For more than one-half century Mr. Uren has been identified with the development of the Sacramento valley and during the whole of this long period he has been a resident of the city of Sacramento, where he is still living, now retired from the heavy responsibilities of his younger years. Of English birth, he was born in Cornwall September 10, 1837, and was the son of William and Bathsheba (Sincock) Uren, the former a blacksmith and machinist by trade and for many years employed as foreman in a large shop in Cornwall. It was there that the son learned all the details connected with blacksmithing. When he crossed the ocean in 1857 he was well qualified to earn a livelihood at his occupation. For almost one year he was employed in the copper mining district of Ontonagon county, Mich., from which place he returned to New York City for the purpose of starting to California. The steamer Constitution conveyed him to Aspinwall. After he had crossed the isthmus he resumed the voyage on the steamer Golden Gate, which cast anchor in San Francisco October 15, 1858. Coming from the coast city to Sacramento county, he worked for two years at his trade near Folsom, then spent a year iu the mines of Eldorado county. After working for several months in Virginia City, Nev., he returned to Sacramento, and here he since has made his home.

After a period of employment on the capitol building Mr. Uren secured employment as a blacksmith, December 20, 1866, in the shops of the Southern Pacific Railroad. September 7, 1871, he was promoted to be assistant foreman under A. F. La Sholles. May 1876 he was promoted to the position of foreman in the blacksmith shop, succeeding George Genshlea. The rolling mills also were under the direction of Mr. Uren and the first bar was rolled out in July of 1881 under his supervision. For the year 1888 eleven thousand tons of material were turned out by the mill and during November five hundred men were employed in the rolling mill and the blacksmith department. The heaviest steamboat forgings ever made on the Pacific coast (including those for the ship Piedmont) were manufactured under the direction of Mr. Uren, whose success with such tasks was a matter of common knowledge to the workers in the shops.

The efficiency of the department under his charge was greatly increased through the introduction of Mr. Uren's own inventions. Several of these may be enumerated. April 27, 1880, he patented a device for forming car-links, which previously had been made by hand. The new process reduced the cost about one-third. October 6, 1885, he patented a process for the manufacture of nuts at the rate of one per minute, superseding the old method which required one-half hour for each nut. December 1, 1885, he patented a wrought-iron brake-shoe, which possesses an advantage over the cast-iron shoe in the ratio of five to one and which is now in great demand by railroads in every part of the United States. May 28, 1889, a slot attachment to a bolt-heading machine, which has the distinction of being the only device in existence that will simultaneously head a bolt and slot the key; this is conceded to be one of his most important inventions. Another patent is on a method utilizing scrap east-steel, which is composed into ingots and rolled down into bar steel. May 27, 1890, he patented a spike-making mechanism. His latest patent, that for reverberating heating furnaces, bears date of October 6, 1903. By reason of advancing years he retired from the shops September 30, 1907. Since 1881 he has made his home in a residence that he built on the corner of Thirteenth and G streets and in 1911 he erected an attractive four-flat building adjacent to his own house. Honored in many movements, he was especially prominent in the Master Black- smiths' Association and during 1893 he served as chairman of the committee that effected the organization at Chicago. Three years later he was chosen president and ever since then he has been active in the order, often serving as committee member or as official, and doing all within his power to promote its usefulness.

The marriage of Mr. Uren took place in Sacramento September 9, 1865, and united him with Miss Mary Walch, who was born in Ire- land August 12, 1844, and came to California in May, 1863. Four sons and three daughters came to bless the union, namely: William Stephen, born June 18, 1866; Edward, March 31, 1868; Mary G., March 22, 1871 ; Stephen J., August 2, 1873 ; Walter, December 6, 1876 ; Grace Ella, November 24, 1879 ; and Nellie Maude, March 6, 1882. The eldest son, now employed as assistant chief clerk in the motive power department of the Southern Pacific Company, married Miss Anna McDonald, a native of Toronto, Canada, and they are the parents of two daughters, namely: Gertrude M. E., March 30, 1902; and Marjorie, October 26, 1909. The older daughter was born in Sacramento and the younger in San Francisco. William S. is a native of Sacramento and his brothers and sisters likewise claim the capital city as their native place. The second son, Edward, learned the machinist's trade in the railroad shops at Sacramento and while living here patented a rotary engine. During 1892 he was married at Oak- land to Miss Lulu Crompton, by whom he became the father of two daughters, viz.: Nell, born in Portland, Ore., August 9, 1893; and Ruth, born in San Francisco March 20, 1895. The elder of these two girls, Nell, was reared in the home of her grandfather, Stephen Uren, and has received excellent advantages in the Sacramento schools.

The eldest daughter of Stephen and Mary Uren was given her mother's name and October 25, 1891, became the wife of L. P. Kerner, who was born in San Francisco April 20, 1865, and is now connected with a real-estate firm in that city. Mr. and Mrs. Kerner are the parents of four children, namely: Harry, born in San Francisco September 24, 1892; Louis, March 3, 1896; Gertrude, March 29, 1899; and Frances, April 6, 1907. The third son of Stephen and Mary Uren was given his father's name and is now first assistant foreman of the blacksmith shop and rolling mills of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company at Sacramento. For a wife he chose Miss Annie Theresa Burke, who was born in Sacramento July 29, 1878. They have three children, viz. : Raymond Stephen, born November 9, 1900 ; Cleta Mary, February 2, 1902, and William Donald, March 26, 1912, all natives of Sacramento.

The youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Uren was taken from them by death. Walter Uren received a fair education in the grammar- schools and later learned the machinists' trade in the Southern Pacific shops at Sacramento, thence going to San Francisco, where he died November 4, 1905. Interment was made in the Eastlawn cemetery of Sacramento. The second daughter, Grace Ella, be- came the wife of Alfred Schaden, who was born in Sacramento April 21, 1878, received a fair education in the city schools and now engages in the grocery business in Sacramento. There are two children in the Schaden family, namely: Harold Alfred, born September 22, 1907; and Claire, October 30, 1910. The youngest member of the Uren family, Nellie Maude, was married June 14, 1905, to Hazard Snowden Williamson, who was born in Walla Walla, Wash., July 25, 1878, and is now conducting at San Francisco one of the largest candy factories on the western coast. They have two children, Dorothea Marie, born September 20, 1906, and Ursula Jane, November 26, 1911. 


Source:
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