Richard E. Hyde

The wise application of sound business principles and safe financial conservatism accounted for the noteworthy success of the late popular citizen of Visalia whose familiar name is the title of this article. Mr. Hyde was born at what is now Port Ewen, Ulster county, N. 'Y., and died at Visalia in 1911. He was a son of David and Sarah (Houghtaling) Hyde, natives also of the Empire State. He was fortunate, in his youth, in being poor and in living among people who respected labor, frugality and honesty and cultivated a feeling of good-will toward their fellow men. It was with such ideals that he fared forth in the chances of life. He was but a big boy when he began to earn his living as a clerk in a general merchandise store, and it was in the same capacity that he began his career in California, years afterward, in one of the then busy mining districts. Later, at Santa Cruz, he opened a store of his own, and still later he established the Bank of Visalia, the pioneer monetary institution of Tulare county and one of the oldest in the San Joaquin valley. It is a matter of record that this last important business beginning was made in August, 1874, and that he was at the head of the institution, latterly with the honored title of president, during the remainder of his life.

The large interests of Mr. Hyde reached out along many avenues of activity. Many buildings were erected at Visalia by him, and he naturally acquired landed interests. From time to time he was, in one way or another, associated with important commercial enterprises. Though his connection with some of them was only indirect and not avowed, his eminent ability for affairs was very potent in advancing them, and his faculty of success made him master of strong propositions.

The family of David and Sarah (Houghtaling) Hyde consisted of Richard E. and his six brothers, the others being Abram, Jeremiah D., Alfred, Christopher, John and William. Richard E. was quite young when his father passed on, leaving the training of his sons to a watchful and prayerful mother, whose affectionate devotion was rewarded by the compensating knowledge that her sons had all developed into honest and trustworthy men, each a credit to his community, helpful in its advancement and in sympathy with its people and their aspirations. Two of them, Christopher and John, were pioneers in Wisconsin and were leaders in the agricultural and eco­nomic affairs of their respective localities. Christopher reared two daughters and a son, the latter being a well-known business man of Oakland. John became father of a large family.

Like many others who have been instrumental in shaping the destinies of the far west, Mr. Hyde brought to the task eastern energy, industry and confidence. He became known as one of the wealthiest, as well as one of the coolest and most reserved and digni­fied men in Tulare county, recognized along the San Joaquin valley as the personification of social and business integrity.

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