Edward Erlanger

June 15, 1852 – February 9, 1920

Edward Erlanger was born in Marburg, Germany on June 15, 1852. His parents were Moritz and Roesgen Erlanger. Moritrz was a banker and merchant at Marburg. His father and ancestors were bankers. He was educated at Marburg University. In 1868 Edward was employed by the Vereins Bank at Frankfurt on Main. He remained in their employ until he was drafted into the army for the Franco-Prussian war where he served in the ambulance corps.

After the war was over in 1870 Edward sailed to the United States arriving in New York in October. Then traveling by easy stages through the South, visiting Old and New Mexico, Erlanger arrived in San Francisco in 1871. Through letters of credit, he then visited the leading banking houses, with a view of studying the American banking system, to apply in his own country on his return.

In February, 1872, Erlanger sailed to the Sandwich Islands, now known as the Hawaiian Islands, the beginning of a round the world tour, but was taken sick at Honolulu, and sailed back to San Francisco, where he lay in the German Hospital for many months. Erlanger sought the warm climate of the San Joaquin Valley for his convalescing.

In Visalia, Erlanger met Louis Einstein, of Einstein & Jacobs, and was employed by them as bookkeeper at their store at Kingston, then a prominent trading point in the San Joaquin Valley. Erlanger remained in Kingston until 1877, when the town of Lemoore was organized after the railroad was completed. While in Kingston after Christmas in 1873, just after dark, the bandit gang of the notorious Tiburcio Vasquez left their horses, under guard, north of the river and crossed the bridge on foot. They tied up Erlanger and thirty seven other men and robbed them. The bandits made off with twenty five hundred dollars and they disappeared into the night. On November 6, 1877 he was appointed as postmaster of Kinston. He remained postmaster until March 19, 1878.

At a certain age all the young men of Germany were obliged to enter the army, and upon his recovery Edward Erlanger discovered that it was too late for him to return, as he would be considered a deserter. At this time he began working toward becoming an American citizen, which would allow him to be enabled to return home at will.

Erlanger attended the Lemoore auction sale in the spring, purchased property, and in the fall came to work as a bookkeeper for J. J. Mack & Co., General Merchandise.

In 1878 he opened a general merchandise store and built the Park House Hotel. In the same year he built the first Masonic and Odd Fellows Hall – both of which were destroyed in the fire of 1882, except his stock of merchandise which had been moved to another locality. Although he did lose a valuable scientific library with a collection of curiosities which he had gathered in his travels in the fire.

He resumed his business in Erlanger Hall, where the mercantile business was run in the front and a dance hall in the rear.

Erlanger retired from mercantile life in 1884 with the intention of returning to Germany, but began studying law in the office of Judge Jacobs, where he stayed until Jacobs was elected Superior Court Judge. Erlanger then opened an office and conducted general law. Erlanger also handled real estate, insurance and was a notary. He also was associated in real estate with Otto Brandt.

In 1891 Erlanger began his standard-bred1 horse endeavour by buying twenty-six standard-bred broodmares. He called his farm the Royal Rose Breeding Farm.

Erlanger’s health began failing and from 1893 to 1895 he lost a great deal of his real estate holdings. He was able to able to have a fairly good law practice and keep his horses. For two years he was a deputy assessor under Granville Weston Follett.

In 1895 Erlanger again branched out as a farmer and stock-raiser and bought considerable property in and around Lemoore. An outcome of his love for horses he raised Toggles, a trotting gelding, which for three years was the fastest horse in its class, taking all records in the state.

In 1906 Erlanger was elected justice of the peace and was the city recorder.

Erlanger surrounded himself with many pets. Besides the horses he had many dogs and birds. One of the birds “Old Abe was a full grown California bald eagle. Reportedly an agent from the Smithsonian Institution had a picture taken and sent to Washington where an artist created the design for the five and ten dollar gold pieces.

On February 9, 1920 Edward Erlanger died. He is interred in the Lemoore Cemetery.

His cousin, Fredrich Emil, Baron d’Erlanger, on October 3, 1864 married Marguerite Mathilde Slidell the daughter of John Slidell, the Ambassador of the Confederate States of America at the court of Emperor Napoleon III. Unlike other German and European banks Fredrich bet on the southern states during the American Civil War. In the late 1870s Fredrich invested in the British enterprise Alabama Great Southern Railway Company Limited which funded the takeover of Alabama Great Southern Railway and Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway (CNO&TP). This railroad net, also known as “Erlanger System“, consisted of over 1,100 miles.

  1. The Standardbred is an American horse breed best known for its ability in harness racing, where members of the breed compete at either a trot or pace. []