William F. Belding Obit. (1-2)

 Picture caption:  William f. Belding, of Richmond and San Pablo pioneer and capitalist who died at his home in San Pablo yesterday morning.


 Peacefully as the last hours of the sabbath faded into yesterday morning the spirit of William Forsyth Belding, beloved pioneer and public spirited resident of this section passed onto greet the dawn in another world.  His passing was in peace with the world which he left and the world unto which he was going eternally.  Death came at the Belding home in San Pablo at a very early hour yesterday morning after an illness that had extended over a year.  His condition for several days has been critical and the final dissolution came from a general breakdown of his system at the age of seventy two years.

 He leaves a wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Belding and one son William F. Belding, Jr. to mourn his death.

 Mr. Belding and his life in this community and county are so well known that there is nothing that is new to tell the world that surrounded him and approved of his kindness, his progressive spirit, his desire that every man should have a square deal and an equal opportunity.  He was a native of New York, but had lived in California since he was a young man and in San Pablo for the past twenty years.  His mercantile business was one of the most successful ever established in the county.  His patrons all were his personal friends and who regarded him as a man that they could go to in their hour of happiness or stress and he would not be found wanting.

 In addition to his interest in the civic advancement of this city and the county, he took a deep interest in the Richmond union high school, being one of the prime organizers of the school and since the institution of the district he has served as president of the high school board.  He often visited the school and was ever ready and willing to give his time and money to the advancement of the school.

 He was the president and one of the founders of the Bank of Richmond, one of the most successful and conservative conducted banking houses in the state.  For the past year, Mr. Belding’s health has been such that he could not attend to his duties at the bank and John H. Nicholl, vice president of the bank, has been acting.

 Mr. Belding was also one of the founders and since the beginning a director in the Independent Publishing Company, publishers of the Daily Independent.  In this connection he was honored and beloved by his associates and the employes and attaches of this newspaper for his high sense of honor and fair play and his efforts to do what he could to boost Richmond and the county.  His presence as a member of the board of directors will be sincerely missed by those associated in this corporation.

 Mr. Belding was prominent in the Masonic order, having joined Perfection Lodge in Salt Lake City many years ago and later transferring to McKinley Lodge of this city.  He was also a member of [page break] Acantha Chapter, No. 249, Order of Eastern Star, and a Shriner.


 The funeral which will be held at 2 o’clock this afternoon from his home at San Pablo and will be strictly private.  The interment will be in Sunset View Cemetery under the direction of Undertaker E. B. Smallwood.

 William Forsythe Belding was born in Caughdenoy, Oswego county, New York, January 3, 1842, and came to California with his parents in 1850.  His father was engaged in the erection of quartz mills throughout the mining districts of the state and it was not until he was 17 years of age that Belding went to San Francisco in 1860.

 After serving his apprenticeship at a trade he went to Nevada where he was associated with his father in the construction of a number of quartz mills. Later he went into the business for himself being associated with David E. Buell a well known mining man.  Later he had charge of a number of mines and his rise as an able manager was rapid.  He held positions in California, Nevada, Colorado and Utah as the superindendent of large reduction works and later returned to San Francisco where for a number of years he was connected with the San Francisco Porduce exchange.

 Twenty-seven years ago he came to San Pablo where he entered the mercantile business in partnership with G. W. Terrill under the firm name of Belding and Terrill.  Six years afterward he became the sole owner of the business and has conducted it with the greatest success ever since.

 When Richmond was established Belding turned his activities to this city and has been as influential in aiding the growth and development of the city as any other man.  He was one of the organizers of the Bank of Richmond and at the time of his death was president of that institution.  He served in the early days of the city as the president of the Point Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the Contra Costa Board of Trade.

 When Richmond Union High school district was formed Belding was one of the leaders in the move [unreadable]  time of his death.

 He was a man who was always ready to aid in any charitable or civic work and in his death Richmond will lose one of its most able and energetic men.

 Belding was first married in 1882 to Miss Herma Pratt in Salt Lake city, who on her death left one son William F., Jr., now a prominent merchant of San Pablo who has had active management of his father’s business during his late illness.

 For more than a third of a century Belding has been a mason being a member of McKinley Lodge of this city, Alcatraz Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons of Oakland and the Oakland Commandery Knights Templar.  He was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters and the Knights and Ladies of Honor.

 He served in the state legislature of Nevada while in that state and was on several occasions the leader of the Democratic party in this county for legislative honors.

  [Transcribed by Janean Hendrickson and Delma Saunders; Feb. 2010]