James de Fremery and Virginie Herckenrath de Fremery 8James de Fremery (February 17, 1826–1899) was a well-to-do merchant born in the Netherlands. He came to San Francisco in 1849 and was a "commission merchant." His merchant firm was, fittingly, called "de Fremery and Company." 2

James de Fremery married Virginie Therese Herckenrath, the daughter of wealthy Dutch merchant Leon Herckenrath and his wife Juliette Louisa McCormick de Magnan. Leon Herckenrath was also the Consul of Netherlands in charge of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, Juliette Louisa McCormick de Magnan was a former slave whom Leon purchased when she was 11 years old, then later married. The Herckenraths went on to have 15 children, of which Virginie was the oldest.

James de Fremery was the founder of the Savings Union Bank of San Francisco (which became Wells Fargo) and, like many early residents of Oakland, owned large amounts of real estate in Oakland. 1This land included an area known then as "The Point": six city blocks between Adeline and Poplar and between Sixteenth and Eighteenth Streets. 7

James de Fremery was also president of the Chamber of Commerce (not clear if Oakland or San Francisco), involved in the Savings and Loan Society, the Giant Powder Company, the American Sugar Refining Company and the railroads. de Fremery died on a train, of heart disease. 4 de Fremery died a wealthy man: his estate was estimated between $100,000 and $500,000. 6

He is the author (1860) of "Mortgages in California: a Practical Essay" (available as a free Google eBook). He also contributed to newspapers. 5

de Fremery built the family estate "The Grove" in Oakland, where he and the family lived for many years until the death of his son, James Leon de Fremery, who left the estate to the City of Oakland to be used as a park. The estate is now de Fremery Park, and the home, an Oakland Landmark, is the de Fremery Recreation Center.


Dutch Consul in San Francisco3

Death and burial

James de Fremery died in 1899 on a train on his way back to the Bay Area. He is buried in the de Fremery family grave in plot 8 in Mountain View Cemetery.

CC SA-BY Our OaklandCC SA-BY Our Oakland

Links and References

  1. Fardon, GR et al. San Francisco Album: Photographs 1854-1856. Chronicle Books: 1999.
  2. Veenendaal, AJ. Slow Train to Paradise. Stanford University Press: 1996.
  3. Veenendall, AJ.
  4. "PASSING OF JAMES DE FREMERY, A WELL-KNOWN PIONEER CITIZEN." San Francisco Chronicle: May 30, 1899.
  6. "LEFT A VERY LARGE ESTATE: Will of the Late James de Fremery Is Filed." San Francisco Chronicle: June 16, 1899.
  7. de Fremery, Donald. de Fremery-Campbell. 1969.
  8. Jacobus (James) Petrus "Ko" De Fremery Find A Grave