Oldest Established Store in San Jose
W. D. ALLISON, one of the prominent business men of this county, is the proprietor of the oldest established store in San Jose, he having succeeded Jackson Lewis, who established the business in 1849. Mr. Allison is a native of the State of New York, having been born in Broome County in 1834, but removing with his parents to a farm near Birmingham, Michigan, in 1836. Here he received his education, and learned the jewelry business, working at it both in Pontiac and in Detroit.
In 1858 he came to California by way of Panama, and immediately followed the tide of people to the gold mines, going to Mokelumne Hill. After mining about three months he went to work at his trade in the same town, remaining there four years. During the Esmeralda County gold excitement he went to Aurora, where he remained two years in the jewelry business. In 1864 he came to San Francisco, where he formed a company for the manufacture of aerated bread, adding, after two years, the manufacture of yeast bread. During this time six wagons were required to deliver the bread to the customers. On the breaking out of the small-pox in the fall of 1868, the company closed the bakery, whereupon Mr. Allison came to San Jose, and entered the store of Jackson Lewis. In 1879 he succeeded Mr. Lewis in the business, and has continued it to this time.
In 1875 Mr. Allison was married to Miss Mollie E. Secoy, of Chicago, whose parents, Dr. Secoy and wife, of Chicago, died during her early infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Allison have five children: Camille, Winfred, Mildred, Leone, and W. D., Jr. Mr. Allison's parents were David and Susan Allison, his father a native of New York State and his mother of New Jersey. Both parents are dead, his father dying in 1883, at Pontiac, Michigan, at the age of ninety-two years, his mother in 1886. Both are buried at Troy, Michigan, near the old farm where they had lived so long.
Mr. Allison is a member of San Jose Lodge, No. 10, F. & A. M., and of San Jose Commandery, No. 10, of Knights Templar, also a member of Scottish Rite, and of the I. O. O. F.
SOURCE: Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H.S.
Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. page 384 Transcribed by Roena Wilson
SANTA CLARA COUNTY PIONEER BIOGRAPHIES
SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY-The Valley of Heart's Delight
July 22, 2005