Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The Berkely, California Squires
Thomas Elliott Knox and Amy Jane Squires arrived in the Oakland, Alameda, California vicinity around the same time. Thomas arrived from Seaforth, Ontario, Canada and Amy (pictured on the right) from Sheffield, England around 1875. Thomas, a young plasterer, arrived on his own, perhaps the death of his father and namesake motivating him to leave home in Ontario. Amy arrived with her parents, John and Mary (nee James) Squires and her three sisters and four brothers. While Thomas settled in Oakland, the Squires settled in nearby Berkely.
They were there to see the first telephone service be installed in the area around 1882 and likely worked on the development and construction of housing tracts and business districts that encroached on the surrounding farmland.
According to an October 1932 article in the Oakland Tribune newspaper highlighting the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, Thomas, or 'Tom' as he was often called, met Amy through a business deal with her father. I susepect that Thomas, the plasterer, and John, a brickmason, met each other while working on the same construction site. No matter how they met, Thomas and Amy, my wife Ellen's great grandparents, were married in 1882 and moved to Livermore where Thomas rose to civic prominence, first as a pioneer vineyard owner and later as town postmaster, and Mayor. In all, Thomas spent 16 years as a member of the board of trustees, 13 years as postmaster, and three years as a member of the county board of supervisors.
Amy's father, John Squires also involved himself in civic duties becoming one of the first Berkely town treasurers and tax collectors prior to his death in 1914. John's son, Harry followed in his father's footsteps holding the post of city assessor for many years. Amy Squires' sisters also married men of some public prominence. Her sister Emma married John M. Foy who was the Secretary for the State Board of Harbor Commissioners and her sister Olive married Frank L. Naylor, the son of Addison Naylor, President of the First National Bank of Berkely. Frank would work his way up through the banking business to succeed his father as bank president by 1920.
All in all, they formed an impressive group of men and women who contributed to the early growth and prosperity of the Oakland, California area.
As for Amy, when interviewed about the secret to a long and happy marriage, she answered, "Men like comfort. And I've never been too busy to see that things were just right for Tom."