GEORGE S. BLOSS, Sr.
One of the first settlers in Atwater, Merced County, who is still living to recount the events of earlier days of the struggle of the little city to attain to its present prominence in the county, is George S. Bloss, Sr., pioneer banker and well-known financier of the San Joaquin Valley. He was born in Bethlehem, Ct., November 26, 1847, and is the only survivor of the immediate family of George T. and Emily (Brown) Bloss, both born in Bethlehem, the former of French and the latter of Scotch parentage. The paternal ancestors settled in Killingly, Ct., when they arrived from France, and it was in that state George T. Bloss followed farming until he died at the age of forty-one, in 1848; the good wife lived to enjoy life until 1866.
George S. Bloss, Sr., spent his boyhood on the home farm and attended the local schools. In manhood he engaged in farming and lived in his native state until 1884, when he decided he would come West. He brought his family with him and upon arrival he bought some land near Atwater and at once embarked in raising grain and stock. In time he became so successful that he kept adding to his holdings until he owned two sections of land. He made his home in a house that stood on the corner where now is located the Bloss Block in Atwater. He has continually kept up with the advancement of this district and has erected several residences and business blocks, among which is the Atwater Hotel building; and with his son, he is interested in other properties. In 1897 Mr. Bloss and H. F. Geer as executors of the Mitchell estate subdivided 480 acres into twenty-acre tracts, giving the name of the Atwater Colony to the location. This was sold at $40.00 per acre to settlers, and although times were hard and the promoters had a difficult task before them, they put the place on the map and today those settlers who were carried by the promoters of the project have repaid their indebtedness and have become well-to-do and many are now independent landowners. The first subdivision was followed later by others, all of them successful and satisfactory to all parties concerned, due largely to the careful supervision of every detail looking for the comfort and interests of the purchasers by Mr. Bloss and his associates. The company was known as the Fin-de-Siecle Investment Company, of which Mr. Bloss was president, and it remained intact until 1904, when it was divided into thirds and sold; one portion to the Bloss Land and Cattle Company; one to Crane Brothers Company; and the other to the Geer-Dallas Investment Company.
In 1898 Mr. Bloss leveled a small tract of land south of his home and put in alfalfa, the tract bordering on the railroad. This spot of greenery was a great attraction in the vast stretch of sandy, desert-looking land through which the railroad ran, being about the only green spot from Tracy to Fresno. This attempt in a small way showed what the future of this section might attain to, and well has the judgment of Mr. Bloss been justified, for today this is one of the richest sections in the whole of the San Joaquin Valley. As early as 1892 Mr. Bloss became a director in the Merced Security Savings Bank, serving as its president for nine consecutive years; much of the success of this institution is due to the cooperative efforts of Mr. Bloss and Mr. Carlson, the cashier, who was formerly an employee of the Southern Pacific and was well-known in Merced. In 1911 Mr. Bloss was instrumental in having a branch of the Merced Security Savings Bank established at Atwater, and with the growth of the community the bank has also prospered. Mr. Bloss is a fine judge of land values and this has stood the bank in good stead when it has made loans, as well as those making investments outside of the banks. One of the first official duties taken on by Mr. Bloss was as administrator of the Mitchell Estate, which he served for eleven years.
Mr. Bloss has been twice married, his first union having taken place in 1873, when he was united with Ella Stone, formerly of Woodbury, Ct., and niece of the late John W. Mitchell. She died in 1893, leaving two children, Edna, who became the wife of Julian Thorne and lives in San Francisco; and George Stone Bloss, Jr., prominent stockman of Atwater, also having served as a director of the Merced Security Savings Bank and one of the leading men of the younger generation in the county. On February 2, 1904, Mr. Bloss was again married, this time being united with Mrs. Edna (Thompson) Hull, whom he had known in boyhood, she being born in Bethlehem, Ct. A Californian hospitality is dispensed from the Bloss home, which is the center of social happenings in Atwater. Mr. Bloss has never let his interest in the upbuilding of Merced County diminish, but is always found in the van helping all meritorious enterprises.
History of Merced County California With a Biographical Review OF The Leading Men and Woman of the County Who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development from Early Days to the Present
Author: John Outcalt (1925)
George S. Bloss, Sr. page: 551