The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Thomas Freer of El Monte California

Thomas Freer, one of the sterling citizens of El Monte, gave to the state of his birth his most loyal allegiance, upholding her interests in every possible way. He was born in Barryessa, Santa Clara County, California, December 25, 1859, a son of William H. Freer, one of the early pioneers of California. For a full account of his father’s career, refer to his personal sketch, which appears elsewhere in this volume.

Reared in Santa Clara County until he was fifteen years old, Thomas Freer received his education in the public schools of that section, later, attending for a brief time, the schools of El Monte. Coming to El Monte with his parents in 1875, he remained on the paternal farm until July 25, 1893, when, in El Monte, he married Miss Victoria Schmidt. She was born in San Gabriel, the second in a family of five children, the parents being Henry and Eliza Schmidt, the father, a native of France and the mother of California, the latter being a daughter of William Slack, a pioneer of this district.

After marriage, Mr. Freer engaged in farming in the Mountain View District, and later conducted a dairy on the old Freer homestead, situated about a mile and a half north of Savannah. In 1903, he located in El Monte and engaged successfully for a number of years in walnut raising, having purchased twenty acres of land southeast of El Monte in the Mountain View District. He later disposed of this land, and in 1934, retired from active work. Until his death on June 11, 1936, he resided with his family at 316 E. Valley Boulevard, in El Monte.

To Mr. and Mrs. Freer were born three children: Walter, residing at the home of his parents, Merle, (Mrs. Fred Love) of El Monte; and Thomas Jr., a prominent and successful dentist practicing his profession in El Monte.

Mr. Freer took pride in giving to his children the excellent educational advantages, which he himself was denied in his youth. He upheld the best interest of his community, educationally and socially, and enthusiastically advocated Democratic principles. He was greatly interested in all matters of public welfare and progress, and was proud of the fact that he was a son of one of California’s honored pioneer families.

Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.

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