Biography of James William Ives of Los Banos

We may respect the reticence of a modest man with regard to his good deeds, but it is right for the public to know something of them as it is a great stimulus to others to emulate his example. When any one begins at the bottom and builds up a successful business, triumphing over adverse conditions and becomes a public benefactor, it is of general interest and benefit to know how it was accomplished. James William Ives was born on June 3, 1874, in Alameda County, California, a son of James H. and Emma J. (Adamson) Ives. Up to twelve years of age he lived in Oakland and after that went to school in Napa County, and finished in the Adventist school at Healdsburg, where he learned the trade of carpenter. From there he went to San Francisco, before the great fire and carried on a sales stable. In 1906 he was burned out and lost what he had accumulated, then he took up the carpenter’s trade again and helped to rebuild the stricken city. His subsequent activities in that line include a long and notable list, on which are the Humboldt Bank and the Miller buildings. Coming to Los Banos in 1910 he worked as a carpenter for Miller and Lux, and he helped to erect the old pavilion in the park. Taking up contracting on his own account he erected, among others, the J. V. Toscano and the John Barneich blocks, and sixty and more residences, including the fine home of J. V. Toscano; a number of dairy barns on ranches are credited to his activity. In 1922 Mr. Ives bought the B. R. Bilby hardware store and now has the only exclusive hardware store in Los Banos. When he took the stock over it invoiced $3700, and in two years time he increased the stock to $14,000, and has a fine showing of goods.

Mr. Ives was united in marriage with Miss Lydia Baldwin, born in San Francisco, and they have a daughter, Lola. He is prominent in fraternal orders, being a member and a Past Grand of Los Banos Lodge No. 82, I. O. O. F.; belongs to Newman Encampment; Modesto Canton, and to the Rebekahs. He is a Past President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie No. 3050, and belongs to Merced Parlor No. 24, N. S. G. W. In civic and educational affairs Mr. Ives has shown his public spirit in many ways. He served three years as a member of the board of city trustees of Los Banos; was clerk of the grammar school board, and was the prime mover in having the line of busses put on that now transport the children to and from school; the first bus was a made-over truck that carried the children from the oil tank section. Now there is a fine line of modern busses that carry from 150 to 200 pupils daily.

Source: Outcalt, John. A history of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1925.

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