Solano County

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Robert G. Winchell, a well established plumber and sheet metal worker at Vallejo and one of the best known men in that city, is a native son of Vallejo, a member of one of the old families here, and has been a resident of this place all his life. Mr. Winchell was born on May 29, 1877, and is a son of Frank T. and Theresa (Ehman) Winchell, both now deceased and who are survived by four sons, the subject of this sketch having three brothers, F. B., M. F. and W. W. Winchell.

The late Frank T. Winchell, who in his generation was one of the leading merchants of Vallejo, a member of the old established Winchell Hardware Company, and who died at his home in Vallejo in 1911, was a native son of California, born in Eldorado county, and was a son of Merritt G. and Mary (Wilsey) Winchell, who were married in Illinois in July, 1851, and in the spring of the following year (1852) came to California, the trip across the plains requiring six months of toilsome travel. For a time after his arrival here Merritt G. Winchell had a store in the Cacheville mining camp in Yolo county and was then for a while engaged in sheep raising in Colusa county. He then became engaged in mining operations in Eldorado county, operating a quartz mill in the vicinity of Clarksville, and remained there until in 1867, in which year he located with his family at Vallejo, where he set up a tin shop. This he presently developed into a general hardware store and the Winchell store is still being carried on, one of the oldest continuing mercantile houses in this section of California. This pioneer also was for some time connected with operations at the navy yard, a "boss" plumber there. He continued active in business until his death in 1901, he then being seventy-two years of age. He was one of the charter members of the Samoset tribe of the Improved Order of Red Men and was for many years one of the active leaders in the general affairs of the growing city. Frank T. Winchell was but a boy when the family settled at Vallejo and he grew up there and after his marriage established his home in the city and here spent the remainder of his life, associated with his father in the hardware business and after the latter's death continuing the business on his own account, a member of the Winchell Hardware Company, and active in general community affairs, one of the substantial, dependable men of the community. He was a member of Naval Lodge No. 87, Free and Accepted Masons, and also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, affiliated with San Pablo Lodge No. 43 of this latter order.

Reared at Vallejo, Robert G. Winchell had his schooling in the local public schools and early became associated with his father in the operations of the Winchell Hardware Company, continuing this connection until in 1920, when he became engaged in business on his own account, opening a plumbing shop, and has since been thus engaged, with a well equipped place of business at 511 Virginia street, prepared there for any demand that may be made upon his services either in the general plumbing line or in sheet metal work. Mr. Winchell has done much of the important plumbing work that has been done in and about the city in recent years, including the work in the Labor temple, in the annex to the Odd Fellow building, in the Roosevelt school and the Curry school, the school at Cordelia, reconstruction work in the navy Y. M. C. A. building and the general plumbing in many of the fine dwelling houses that have been erected during the time he has been in business.

In 1902, at San Francisco, Mr. Winchell was united in marriage to Miss Anna Meyer, who was born in Chicago, Illinois, and they have a pleasant home at Vallejo. Mr. Winchell is a past president of the Vallejo parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West and is a member of the local lodge (No. 559) of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, of Samoset Tribe No. 22, Improved Order of Red Men, and of Vallejo Aerie No. 71, Fraternal Order of Eagles.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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This page was last updated 13 Oct 2007

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