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Madera Biographies: AMER
WILLIAM M. AMER. On the organization of Madera County and at the first election held therein, May 1893, Mr. Amer was elected on the independent ticket to the office of county treasurer, receiving a plurality of seventy-eight votes over three opponents. On the 28th of the same month he took the oath of office and entered upon its duties. At the regular election in 1894 he was elected by a majority of two hundred and fifty-three. Four years later, on the expiration of his first regular term, he was reelected by a majority of three hundred and seventy-four. A further evidence of his popularity as an official is shown by the fact that in 1902, at the close of his second regular term and his election for a third term, he received a still larger vote, having a majority of about five hundred. As the last two convention of the Democratic Party in Madera County he was nominated without opposition. When his present term expires, in January 1907, he will have served for a period of almost fourteen years. When he first became County treasurer the office was located in a business block, but later was removed to the old Russ house, and in January 1902, was transferred to the new courthouse.
The Amer family is of English extraction, Richard Amer, son of William Amer, was born in Herefordshire, England, and grew to manhood upon his father’s farm. Seeking a home amid the newer scenes and greater opportunities of the United States, he crossed the ocean and settled on the then frontier regions of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. In those days Omaha had not been founded and Council Bluffs, now the County seat of Pottawattamie County, was an insignificant hamlet. With his wife, who was Fannie Sellwood, a native of England, in 1852 he started across the plains, in the then territory of Colorado, their son William M., was born, August 25 of that year. The family remained in Colorado for a time, and in 1858 removed to Utah, where the mother died. In 1860 the other members of the family came to California and settled in Stockton, where the father engaged in freighting until his death in 1873. Of his five children three are living: John, a farmer near Oakdale; William M., of this review; and Sarah, wife of S. B. Robinson, near Ferndale, Humboldt County, this state.
From the age of almost eight years William M. Amer was reared in Stockton. As a boy he was obliged to earn his own livelihood. He had neither prestige nor influence to aid him in getting a start. Eagerly accepting any work that offered living wages, he endured many hardships and faced many discouragements in his early days. Little by little he worked his way toward independence. For a time he engaged in farming near Roberts Ferry in Stanislaus County. In 1860 he came to what was Fresno (now Madera) County and after working on the Adobe ranch for two years he was chosen manager for the company that owned the property. The Adobe estate comprised more than twenty-two thousand acres and it management entailed many responsibilities. After two years as superintendent, Mr. Amer removed to Fresno Flats and engaged in raising stock for a year. From there he removed to Madera and resumed farming. During 1890, while engaged in field work, he lost his left hand in a harvester, but continued farming for three years more, notwithstanding his loss.
In Modesto, Stanislaus County, in 1876, Mr. Amer married Catherine Garner, who was born in Illinois and in 1859 accompanied her parents to California. To their union six children have been born namely: George, who is a farmer in Madera County; Burt, who acts as deputy county treasurer; Myrtle, Elmer, Millie and Katie. The fraternal organizations to which Mr. Amer belongs are as follows: Fraternal Brotherhood; Woodmen of the World, in which he has held official positions; Lodge and Encampment of Odd Fellows, also the Grand Lodge of the same body, and his is past grand of the Madera Lodge.
Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 1351.
Transcribed by Harriet Sturk.
Last update: September 3, 2006
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