Merced Express, July 8, 1905


As we go to Press we learn with regret of the death of Mr. C. H. Huffman which occurred at his home in San Francisco yesterday, after an illness of two weeks.  He was 76 years of age. Next week we will speak of him more fully.
Merced Express, July 15, 1905

One of the Pioneers and Promoters of
Merced County Passes Away.

Just as this paper was going to press last week a message from San Francisco announced the death of Charles H. Huffman, a man who has done more towards the development of Merced county than any other man who ever resided here unless it be Henry Miller.

Mr. Huffman was a native of Louisiana and would have been 76 years of age July 11th, of this year. He was born July 11, 1829. He came to California in 1849 and for a number of years engaged in mining in several counties of the State with fair success. In the fifties he settled in Stockton and being a man of good business judgment, he saw that there was good money in freighting to the mining districts of Tuolumne county, and he at once engaged in that business and soon had one of the most up-to-date teams and prairie schooners on the road between Stockton and Tuolumne county. For years he engaged in this transportation business and made money. In the sixties he became identified with Stanford and Crocker in the construction of the Central and Southern Pacific railroad as their right-of way man, and in 1868 he took up and purchased a large tract of land where Merced now stands and at once engaged in grain and wheat raising on a large scale. He however, continued in the service of the Central and Southern Pacific Railroad Company and secured the rights of way for the road through the valley from Lathrop to Bakersfield. When the road reached Bakersfield in 1873 he withdrew form the service or the company and devoted all his time to farming and sheep raising on his landed estate near Merced.  In which he ws very successful and son accumulated many broad acres of land and was for years the largest and most successful farmer in the county. In the early eighties he realized that irrigation was the great question of the day in the San Joaquin Valley and the salvation of Merced county, so he interested Charles Crocker, the railroad magnate and capitalist, in the construction of a canal from Merced falls on the Merced river to cover many thousand acres of land in the vicinity of Merced. The canal was eighteen or more miles in length and covered a large territory of irrigable land. They also built a large reservoir near Merced, which to day supplies Merced city with a fine water system and furnishes the surrounding country with a number of auxiliary canals with water for irrigation purposes.  These main and auxiliary canals are now the life of the tillable lands in the neighborhood of Merced.  The Crocker-Huffman Land and Water Company accumulated a vast land estate and now controls nearly all the land surrounding the City of Merced for a distance of many miles. Some ten years ago Mr. Huffman disposed of his interest in the corporation to the Crocker Estate Company for $250,000 and moved, with his family, to San Francisco, where he resided up to the time of his death.

While a citizen of Merced he organized an established the First National Bank of Merced, and held the office of president of that bank.

After a life of several years it was merged into the Commercial Bank which is still in existence and doing a good and safe business. After Mr. Huffman left Merced his investments in San Francisco proved very remunerative and it is said that he left his family in a good financial condition.

The death notice in the San Francisco papers gave the following list of relatives:

Husband of Laura E. A. Huffman, father of Mrs. Alice H. Marks of Berkeley, Mrs. Espie A. White of Marysville, Laura, Caroline, Mercedes E., Genevieve, Milton S of Merced, Fred Harmon, Captain E. T. and Jay Walton and the late Charles Henry Jr., and M. R. Huffman and grandfather of Charles H. Marks and John Huffman White.

The funeral took place from the late residence of the deceased, 2100 Broadway, San Francisco, on Monday, and was private.

J. K. Law, G. Garibaldi, J. W. Knox, and Dr. H. N. Rucker of Merced, were four of the pall bearers.

Contributed by Thomas Hilk