William Helm

 

William Helm was born in Ontario, Canada on March 9, 1837. He was the largest individual sheep grower in Fresno, California, and was instrumental in the growth and prosperity of the San Joaquin Valley.
Important Facts
March 9, 1837 William Helm was born in Durham, Ontario, Canada, about forty miles above Montreal, on the St. Lawrence River. He was a son of George and Mary (Oliver Helm, both of whom were born in Scotland. Source: History of Fresno County California.

Fresno, California

1856 Went to Wisconsin and stayed 3 years as a lumberman on the Chippewa River.
1859 Sailed from New York City to San Francisco, California by way of Panama.
He traveled to Sacramento and searched for gold in Placer country but soon found it unprofitable. He spent the next three years as a butcher in Placer County. He saved his money and decided to raise sheep for a living. Source: The Valley's Legends & Legacies by Catherine Morison Rehart.
1861 Civil War breaks out between the northern and southern states.

Francis S. Newman-Helm

1861 Mr. Helm married Francis Sawyer Newman in Placer County.
1864 Drove his sheep to Oregon, where he sold out for about $15,000. Hen then went back to Sacramento, where he bought more sheep. Source: Memorial and Biographical History of the counties of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern, California.
1865 The Civil War ends.
July 1865 William Helm brought sheep to Fresno county. His initial purchase of land was six miles from the center of downtown Fresno. He was the largest wool grower in Central California. Source: The Valley's Legends & Legacies by Catherine Morison Rehart.
August 12, 1867 Jessie Marie Helm was born in Clovis, California
  George Helm was born and later became in charge of his father's sheep ranch.
1870 Mary M. Helm was born.
  Francis Jayne Helm was born.
1870 US Federal Census lists Wm. Helm (35), Fanny S. (29), Jess M. (3), Geo J. (1), Mary M. (3/12) living in Township 1, Fresno, California.
Aug 11, 1876 Agnes Helm was born.
  Frank M. Helm was born and became engaged in the banking business.

Maud Armenia Helm
1894

1877 Mr. Helm made Fresno his home with a five-acre tract of land at the corner of Fresno and R streets. He was an organizer and vice-president of the Bank of Central California, and the president of the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Company. Source: Memorial and Biographical History of the counties of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern, California.
May 11, 1878 6 of the 7 children were baptized on Thursday May 11, 1878 by the Rev. W. C. Powell who was on a Missionary trip to the Valley. Source: Saint James Episcopal Cathedral Web site.
1879 Maude Armenia Helm was born. Source: 1990 US Census.
November 16, 1879 Mrs. Helm was on the first communicant list of the Saint James Episcopal Church. Source: Saint James Episcopal Cathedral Web site.
  At Dry Creek, on section four, he bought a ranch six miles east of Fresno and acquired up to 16,000 acres, paying 1 dollar an acre from Mr. Chapman. He owned 22,000 head of sheep. Source: History of Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley.

Fresno Street and
"R" Street

 

Mr. Helm was the largest individual sheep grower in Fresno County. In carrying his wool to market at Stockton, he used three wagons, each drawn by ten mules, and spent twelve days in making the round trip. Source: History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California.

1881 Because of a growing family, Mr. William Helm bought the block bounded by Fresno, R, Merced and S Streets from Mr. Einstein. He built his home there in 1881 where it stood for 71 years. As their daughters married, Mr. Helm gave them parts of the block on which to build their homes. This block is now the site of the Fresno Community Hospital. Source: Saint James Episcopal Cathedral Web site.
1890 Erected the Helm building at the southeast corner of J (Fulton) and Fresno streets.
1890 Mrs. Helm was the first to sign the By-Laws of the St. James Guild after heading the Women's organization that preceded it, and served on the Board for many years. Source: Saint James Episcopal Cathedral Web site.
June 1, 1900 The US Census for Fresno lists William Helm (63), Francis S. (59), and Maude A (22). Source 1990 US Census for Fresno.

Agnes Jean Cox and William Helm
San Francisco - 1914

February 16, 1892 The Helm home was the scene of many St. James' Guild social affairs, the minutes of the Guild for February 16, 1892, state that the Violet Tea would be held at Mrs. Helm's "who offered her home as she is always willing to do." Source: Saint James Episcopal Cathedral Web site.
April 22, 1906 When Mrs. Helm died, the Saint James vestry minutes wrote: "Resolved: That this vestry, on behalf of themselves and the members of the congregation desire to place on record their sense of the great loss that this parish has sustained by the death of Mrs. William Helm. From the time this church was organized over 25 years ago, she was always the foremost and most loyal supporter of the many charitable and good works connected with the parish, and later in the building of the new church and rectory. The vestry take this opportunity to record their indebtedness for the great and many services rendered to the church by Mrs. William Helm." Source: Vestry minutes, Saint James Episcopal Cathedral Web site.
April 6, 1912 In San Francisco, William Helm endoreced the deed to the Fresno property on ‘R’ street to Jessie M. Cox.
January 4, 1917 At the request of Milton M. Dearing, son-in-law of William Helm, the deed of 1912 was filed for record and recorded. Source: Vol 629 of Deeds, pg. 53 Fresno County Records.
April 10, 1919 William Helm died at the home of his daughter.
April 12, 1919 Burial was at the Mt. View Cemetery, Fresno, CA


Last update: Sunday, September 27, 2008