Obituary for B.H. Meder [12/14/1812-8/23/1881]
Death of Captain B. H. Meder
Three score and ten years are the allotted extent of man's life and but few reach that age. To record the death of the young and beautiful is a painful task, and indeed, it becomes so in any case, especially so when the deceased one has been for years a friend, yet when a man has lived out his allotted time, and goes down into the grave with a record please to both men and angels, sorrow for death loses its sting, although the parting may still remain. We have to record the death of Captain B. H. Meder, who departed this life at 7 o'clock this morning, surrounded by his entire family. Deceased had suffered severely for three years from kidney disease, and, but for his wonderfully vigorous constitution, must have succumbed to the fell disorder months since. He tried all the cures known to the medical profession, but without avail, and some months ago came to his home to die. Mr. Meder was an honest man, a good citizen, kind husband and father, and a staunch friend. Like all of us he had his peculiarities, but there are few men who go out this world with a purer record than deceased. Having lived so long among us it may be pleasing to our readers to learn of the antecedents of the deceased gentleman, and in order to give as complete a description as possible, we copy from his autobiography as published in 1879 by Mr. Hugh Moltan of San Francisco:
Hon. B. H. Meder, Senator from Ormsby, was born in New Salem, Rockingham county, New Hampshire, December 1812. He commenced apprenticeship at printing, in Exeter, when 14 years of age, at which time the old wooden Ramage press was in vogue, requiring two impressions to one side a medium or demi-sheet. Ink was imparted to the type by the use of balls covered with wash leather and stuffed with wool. He finished apprenticeship in Boston, working in the Boston Type and Stereotype Foundry, thus thoroughly learning all branches of the business, from that of make the type and stereotype plates to the best class of book and job printing. He left the business in 1833, in consequence of overwork and impaired health, and went to Brunswick, Maine, in the Spring of 1834, and engaged in mercantile business. In 1836 he visited the South and West and had charge of the Buleetin job office during the Winters of 1837-8. He visited the West by way the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, crossed the Alleghany Mountains and returned to Maine in the Summer of 1837, remaining there till March, 1849. Here he was variously engaged in machine building, woolen manufacturing and railroad construction. He was elected Captain of Infantry in 1855, held various town offices and three times elected to the State Legislature as an Old Line Whig. He was a strong advocate for improvement in public schools, and was one of the Board of Agents who, after much effort, succeeded in establishing the High School system, being the first attempt at the graded system in that State. Mr. Meder started for California in March, 1848, and not able to obtain passage by the Isthmus, joined a company called Fremont Association in New York, which after procuring the necessary equipments, including eleven large wagons and a great variety of useless mining machinery, chartered the ship John Brown and were taken to Galveston, Texas. From thence they were taken by steamer to Port Levaca, and there prepared for the overland trip to California, by way of El Passo [sic] and the Gila River. He was accidentally shot on the border of Mexico, left behind, and in consequence returned to Maine, arriving home in June, 1849. He took editorial charge of the Daily Northern Tribune, published at Bath, Maine, and continued in that position, per contract, for one year, at the expiration of which time Mr. Meder took passage and came to California, via Isthmus, reaching San Francisco in September, 1850. He engaged to work at printing, but was so annoyed by flies as to be obliged to "flee to the mountains." He mined in the vicinity of Sonora, on the Tuolumne and Merced Rivers, and at Bear Valley, Mariposa county. He left there during the Indians troubles in the southern mines and proceeded to Nevada City in the Spring of 1851. He mined at Gold Flat during the Spring and Summer of that year and thence went to Park's Bar, on the Yuba, in the Fall, purchased bank and river claims in connection with others and continued there till the Winter of 1854. He was elected Justice of the Peace in Yuba county in 1852, running against the gambling interest. In 1854 he returned East, via Nicaragua, and located in Boston. Here he was engaged in the carriage building and storage and trucking business for eight years. Mr. Meder came to Carson by way of the Isthmus in January 1863, and has been a resident of Nevada since that time. He built the first planing mill operated in the State, known as the Carson steam mill. He kept the Ormsby House successfully for five years. He was elected to the Senate in 1856. In 1872 he was appointed one of the Board of School Trustees, for the purpose of assisting in the erection of the large school house now on Minnesota street, which enterprise was started when there was not a dollar in the treasury, and was completed and paid for at completion, he, as such Trustee, assuming the personal responsibility of advancing over six thousand dollars for its completion. In 1872 he was elected as County Commissioner for four years, and served as Chairman of that Board. He was appointed to the Centennial Board of Finance in 1875, and was elected by the citizens of Ormsby county at the last election to the seat in the State Senate. Mr. Meder was a member of the first Republican Club organized in Boston and has continued a staunch Republican, but has always been opposed to coercive party discipline and would not support unworthy candidates of any party. He is the father of seven children, five boys and two girls -- all living. He prides himself on his family, living only to leave them happy and content when he dies. He is a good father, kind husband and a highly respected member of society.
By the above it will be seen that Mr. Meder was 68 years and eight months old at the time of his death. He lived to a good old age and is now, we trust and believe, reaping the reward of his labors. Farewell old friend, may the sods rest lightly over your grave. You will soon be followed by those whose life's labor is nearly ended. The furrows of age are creeping over the brows of many of your old associates, and well will it be for all left if they can leave behind them the record of B. H. Meder.
[Entered 4/3/2006 by David C. Bugli from photocopy of uncertain origin.]