Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Among the progressive young business men to whom Watsonville is indebted for its growth and prosperity along commercial lines is numbered Fred S. Wilson, whose well directed labors have resulted in the development of one of the finest dry cleaning establishments in California, and he also figures prominently in other walks of life. He was born at Newman Grove, Nebraska, May 1, 1887, and came to Watsonville in 1900, when thirteen years of age. He was graduated from high school in 1906 and enjoyed the distinction of being chosen president of his class.

Mr. Wilson first turned his attention to financial affairs and for seven years was teller of the Pajaro Valley National Bank. He then aided in organizing the Watsonville & Pajaro Valley Steam Laundry, which was incorporated in August, 1913, and is now its president and manager. The other officers are P. M. Andrews, vice president; Judge C. R. Taylor, secretary and treasurer; and E. E. Kelly and James Sheehy, directors. A location was secured on a side street and from a small beginning has been developed a business of extensive proportions, which stands as a monument to the initiative spirit, the keen sagacity and the administrative powers of its executive head. The laundry was started with a capital of thirty-five hundred dollars, and the company now has a one hundred thousand dollar plant, supplied with the most modern equipment, and furnishing employment to thirty-five persons. The dry cleaning process is used for about twenty per cent of the work done by the laundry. The cleaning room is twenty by forty feet in dimensions, with brick walls twenty-two inches thick. The floors are of concrete and a special sun room, five by ten feet, has been built on the roof. Garments are hoisted on a rack into this room by means of ropes and pulleys. The machinery consists of a regular six-tank Bowser underground system, complete with pumps, tanks, water separators, traps, etc; a still; gasoline extractor; hydro-extractor; four washing machines; sanitary tubs for steam cleaning, scouring boards, etc., all the machines being well painted. The room is finished in white enamel and the floor is of red cement. The establishment is kept spotlessly clean and the greatest care is exercised in the cleansing of garments. The plant is a model of its kind and in respect to protection from fire and industrial accidents, first class equipment, desirability of location and efficiency in operation is regarded as the best on the Pacific coast.

Mr. Wilson organized the Peoples Finance & Thrift Company of Watsonville and is its president. He is constantly expanding the scope of his activities and is serving as president of the Watsonville Improvement Association, which owes its inception and growth to his powers of organization and administration. The corporation was formed for the purpose of buying and improving property at the lower end of Main street and through its operations has greaty enhanced the value of real estate in that section of the city.

On June 3, 1915, Mr. Wilson married Miss Charlotte Bockius, who was born in Watsonville and was a classmate of her husband in high school, graduating in 1906. The children of this union are Jean and Ann. Mr. Wilson is a Mason and in 1919 was master of Watsonville Lodge, No. 110, F. & A. M. He is connected with the Scottish Rite bodies at San Jose and has been chosen to represent Watsonville in Aahmes Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Oakland. He is a member of Watsonville Lodge, No. 1300, B. P. 0. E., and is serving as president of the Exchange Club. Mr. Wilson occupies a central place on the stage of activity in Watsonville, and his fidelity to principle, his industry and ability are amply illustrated in his career.

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.