Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Starting out in life empty-handed, Arthur T. Dresser has made continuous progress toward the goal of success, placing his dependence on the substantial qualities of industry and perseverance, and is now filling the responsible position of cashier of the Fruit Growers National Bank of Watsonville, with which he has been connected from the time of its organization. He was born in San Jose, California, October 20, 1865, a foster son of Thomas W. and Adeline F. (Fitzgerald) Dresser, both natives of Maine. The father came to the Golden state in the early '50s by the Panama route and a few years later the mother made the journey across the isthmus on mule back. Thomas W. Dresser settled in San Jose and there spent the remainder of his life, following the trade of a brick mason.

The public schools of his native city afforded Arthur T. Dresser his educational opportunities and his first money was earned while acting as a newsboy on a train. Being anxious to advance, he utilized every opportunity to broaden his knowledge of railroad operations and eventually was promoted to the position of locomotive fireman, working with the construction crew of the Pacific Improvement Company, which built the Southern Pacific Railroad over the high Siskiyous into Oregon. Mr. Dresser was a fireman on locomotives of the Southern Pacific until 1887, running through various sections of the state, and has in his possession valuable relics of his early days in railroading. His collection includes a time card of the Salt Lake division of Southern Pacific system, dated 1883. It contains the schedule of trains-on one side and the rules and regulations are printed on the back of the card. He also has the return coupon of a round trip pass from San Jose, California, to Carlin, Nevada, dated 1886. After leaving the service of the railroad Mr. Dresser came to Watsonville and entered the employ of the Wells Fargo Express Company, driving a delivery wagon, hauling the mail and also doing some bill posting. He was thus engaged from February 1, 1888, until February, 1890, when he was appointed agent for the company at Watsonville, and also later acted as route agent. He remained with that corporation until 1918, when he entered the service of the government during the war, working for about a year in the Mare Island navy yard. In 1919 he returned to Watsonville and on the 5th of May, 1920, when the Fruit Growers National Bank was opened for business, he was appointed teller. Since April 1, 1922, he has served the institution in the capacity of cashier, ably and conscientiously discharging the duties devolving upon him, and his work has been an essential factor in the upbuilding of the bank, which is enjoying a prosperous growth.

On the 18th of March, 1891, Mr. Dresser married Miss Ethel Allison, a native of the Pajaro valley. Her father crossed the plains with the pioneers of 1852 and first settled in Solano county, later removing to the Pajaro valley, where he followed the occupation of farming. Mr. and Mrs. Dresser have become the parents of four children: Evan C, who enlisted for service in the World war, winning the commission of first lieutenant, and is now connected with the Central Union Trust Company of New York city; Clark C, who also served in the world war as lieutenant in the balloon service and is now identified with the Los Angeles branch of the Standard Oil Company; Mrs. Lester D. McGowan, who resides on one of the large ranches in the Pajaro valley; and Arthur A., who is engaged in the nursery business in Santa Cruz county.

Mr. Dresser is a Knight Templar Mason and also belongs to the Order of the Eastern Star. He takes a good citizen's interest in public affairs, especially in matters pertaining to educational advancement, and is a trustee of the Pajaro school district. He resides on a fruit ranch near Watsonville and his place reflects the careful supervision and progressive spirit of its owner. He has never deviated from the path of honor and rectitude and has many friends, whom he has gained by a life of industry and rightly directed endeavor-the only life worth the living, and one that leads to ultimate success.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.