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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



From Maine to California is the width of a continent, but these states are two points in the life of O. F. Washburn, of Sacramento. He was born in Kennebec county. Me., November 25, 1849, on the farm on which his father, Abisha Washburn, was born and reared. He is related to the well-known Washburn family which furnished governors for Maine, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Illinois.

When a young man Mr. Washburn went to Portland, Me., and engaged in the wholesale grocery business. In May, 1876, he was married to an old schoolmate. Miss Ray Williams. Their wedding trip to the Centennial Fair at Philadelphia was really the first lap of their immigration westward, for after doing the wonders of the great . one-hundred-year exposition they left for California, coming by the way of the Isthmus of Panama, and located in Los Angeles, where they remained for several years. Then, after two years spent in connection with the wholesale grocery business in San Francisco, he opened the American Cash Store in Stockton, which was success- fully conducted under the firm name of Parmalee & Washburn. After selling out his interest in the business to Mr. Parmalee Mr. Washburn came to Sacramento in 1885 and established the American Cash Store at No. 915 K street. After two years the business was moved to a larger store in the Clunie building, on the corner of Eighth and K streets, where it soon developed into the first store in its line in the city. In 1901 Ex-Governor Fancher became associated and the corporation was formed of which Mr. Washburn is president and Mr. Fancher secretary and treasurer. The quarters again becoming too small, in 1909 Mr. Washburn and Mr. Fancher built a three-story brick building with an eighty-foot frontage for the company. The various departments include grocery, market, delicatessen, bakery and hardware, and the sixty-seven people and seventeen delivery wagons are not one too many for the daily work of this big establishment.

Mr. and Mrs. Washburn became the parents of two children, one of whom, Virginia, died at the age of seventeen; the other daughter, Alice, was married August 17, 1904, to George B. Lorenz, who is identified with the People's Savings Bank, and they have two children, Robert Washburn, born June 22, 1905, and Edith Virginia, born October 25, 1911. Mrs. Washburn has also done her share of the firm's work and contributed considerably to the success it is today. She was the confidential bookkeeper for ten years and her practical oversight of the affairs of the establishment has been invaluable. She is prominent in the club life of her home place. Mr. Washburn can trace his family line back to the Pilgrim Fathers and the Mayflower. 

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