A retired rancher and banker of Merced County, who had a prominent part in the development of ranch land and farming in the county, Lewis Hamer Applegate is a native of Ohio, born December 21, 1844, the son of Perrine and Susan (Frybarger) Applegate, natives of New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, respectively, who became the parents of sixteen children. Lewis H. was reared on his father's ranch and attended the common schools of the district, and the Goshen Seminary, after which he taught school until he came to California, in 1870. His first year after arriving in this State he spent in and about Stockton. In 1872, he came to Merced County, but stayed only a short time and later farmed near Turlock, Stanislaus County, until 1875. That year he returned to Merced County to stay and rented land six miles east of Merced. In partnership with David Toal, he next leased the George Fancher ranch of 1160 acres on Bear Creek, and raised grain. This was nine miles east of Merced, and was his home and the center of his operations for thirty years. Mr. Applegate became a large landowner, having 1340 acres at one time. He owned a section of land one-mile from Atwater, a forty-acre alfalfa ranch in Fresno County, and a twenty-acre ranch in Yosemite Colony. His present holdings are the Muller and the Kerry places, 600 acres, and a forty-acre ranch on Bear Creek. He made many improvements on the above ranches, erecting ranch buildings and adding to the conveniences of the houses. His ranch property is now rented and he lives retired from active business cares, though still acting as a director of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Merced.

Always active in the up building of his section, Mr. Applegate was prominent in the Grange, serving as Master for three years, and is a Past Master and Overseer. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a man to be relied upon at all times to help in the general advancement of his community. Two brothers and a sister of Mr. Applegate were residents of Merced County. William Applegate, now deceased, farmed a part of his brother's land, and was prominent in politics, being at one time a candidate for sheriff of Merced County. John P. Applegate, another brother, now deceased, also farmed a part of Mr. Applegate's land. One sister, Miss Addie Applegate, now residing in the East, was prominent in church work, being a deaconess of the Methodist Episcopal Church for over twenty years.

It is men like Lewis H. Applegate who are the bulwarks of our nation, and in their lives and labors are found the real reason why we have advanced to such a leading part in world affairs in the past half century; for the work of each individual of his caliber goes to make up the whole of a prosperous country, and nothing is impossible of accomplishment with such shoulders to the wheel.

 Applegate, Lewis H 521

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.
By John Outcalt
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1925)

Contributed by: Carol Lackey