August 10, 1903, Frank Pfitzer succeeded through purchase to the general merchandise business of G. M. Martin, and has since taken an active part in the commercial life of Volta, attending also to the duties of postmaster. Mr. Pfitzer's reputation as a businessman rests upon years of worthy effort as a sheep raiser, and upon successful dealings in lands, and the ability to accumulate several large and paying country properties. His entire active life has been spent in California, as was also the greater part of his youth, for he came here a child in the summer of 1863. He was born in Jackson, county, Iowa, February 21, 1859, and is the oldest of ten children of Anthony and Theresa ( Myers ) Pfitzer, natives of Wurtemberg, Germany, the latter a resident of Santa Cruz.
Anthony Pfitzer was a blacksmith by trade, giving to his work the thoroughness and application required of apprentices in the old world. With his trade as a guarantee of at least a fair livelihood, he came to the United States, traveled throughout the east, and finally became a pioneer farmer of Jackson county, Iowa. His land lay along the Maquoketa river, was fertile and productive, and soon placed him above indebtedness and on the road to success. In the spring of 1863 he yielded to a desire to see the far west, and with his family crossed the plains, locating in Eldorado county, where he followed freighting. In 1867 he located on land near old Los Banos, engaged in the stock-raising business, and became one of the largest stock and grain men in the county. From a small beginning he branched out repeatedly, purchasing additional land from the settlers, until he owned over six thousand acres. During the last years of his life he leased the greater part of his property, his death occurred in Merced county in 1892, at the age of sixty-two years. He was a man of marked characteristics, liberal and public-spirited, and impressed his influence upon many departments of the county's growth. As a Democrat he was active in the interests of his party, served on the county central committee, the school board, and was instrumental in securing the building of the first school house in Volta. He was one of the founders and builders of the church at Volta. Honest and straightforward in all of his dealings, genial and considerate in his association with friends and neighbors, he commanded the respect and good-will of the community, and left a void in the hearts of many when he died.
Nine of his ten children are living, and of these Joseph, the second son, is a farmer of the Cottonwood district; Mary is the wife of A. Domegine, of Fresno county; Julia is the wife of E. McCabe of Merced county; Anthony lives on the old home farm; Rose married William Bunker of Cottonwood district; Clara is a resident of Santa Cruz; and Louise runs a dairy near Los Banos.
From 1867 until his twenty-first year Frank Pfitzer lived on his fatherís farm, after which he started out on his own responsibility in the sheep business, herding his sheep on the plains and in the valley. Eventually he purchased a farm of sixteen hundred acres in the foothills, which he still owns, and where he pastured sheep until July, 1903. Since then he has rented this property. He also owns a thousand acres of land south of Volta, which he rents fro grain purposes, and two hundred and forty acres in his home ranch, all under irrigation, of which eighty acres are under alfalfa and rented out for a dairy. Mr. Pfitzer practically retired from immediate supervision of his landed interests when he embarked in the merchandise business in 1903, but his responsibilities are still great, and include active political service, and an interest in all questions of local public moment, He is at present a member of the Republican county central committee, and has been for many years a delegate to state and county conventions. The friend of education and all manner of improvement, he was formerly a member of the school board, and his contributions to church and charitable undertakings are generous. Mr. Pfitzer was united in marriage in 1881 in Merced county, to Esther A. Knight, a native of Jones county, Iowa, and they have four children, Clarence, May, Ruby and Frances. Fraternally he is associated with the Hills Ferry Lodge No. 236, F. & A. M., of Newman, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen of Los Banos. His character, lifework and aims command the respect of an intelligent and discriminating commonwealth, and his rise to success is of such a nature as to furnish encouragement and hope to the industrious and ambitiously inclined.
History of the San Joaquin Valley - 1905 - Guinn
History of the State of California and biographical record of the San Joaquin Valley, California:
By: James Miller Guinn
The Chapman Publishing Co. (1905)
Frank Pfitzer page 874 Merced
Transcribed by: Alma Stone