William Fredrich Dresbach

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William Fredrich Dresbach (1834-1901) is notable for being one of the first residents of Davisville, and he is credited with naming the town after rancher Jerome C. Davis. Dresbach was an immigrant from Prussia who initially acted as postmaster of a Solano County post office located on the south bank of Putah Creek. In a business proposition from San Francisco grain baron Isaac Friendlander, Dresbach was given the option to work as a grain dealer involved with buying grains and then shipping them from a planned, but not yet built, railroad junction in Yolo County. Dresbach accepted the deal and, in anticipation, illegally moved his post office from Solano County after starting a lease on a building on the north bank of Putah Creek in Yolo County in 1867. He called this place the Yolo House, and it was in fact the former homestead of Jerome C. Davis.

In addition to using the building as a Solano County post office for a time, Yolo House also served as a hotel and bar. (Authorities eventually demanded that Dresbach relinquish his control over the Solano postal service.) Later on, he became one of Davisville's wealthiest citizens due in large part to his grain dealings. The newborn town of Davisville began to develop rapidly in response to its major railroad connection.

In all, Dresbach opened several other businesses including a livery stable, general store, and grain warehouse. He was the first Wells Fargo agent for Davis as well as the first merchant. Prominent Davisites George Weber and Elijah Brown began their careers in the area by working for Dresbach.

Dresbach, who married a local dentist's daughter, Isabell Pearce in May 1870, moved to San Francisco around 1878, where he continued his business as a grain merchant, trading on the San Francisco Exchange and becoming a major player in a number of speculative attempts to "corner" the grain markets, resulting in a number of bankruptcies. In the first of these in 1879, a Sacramento bank foreclosed on the Mansion property. (He lost the rest of his Davisville properties as well.) His speculative ups and downs continued until his death at home in San Francisco in 1901. His original Davisville mansion still stands and is now known as the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer House.

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