Sidewalk maker: Robert Appleby

Robert O. Appleby was born in Newbottle, County Durham, England, in 1883, where the 1901 census listed him as a “horse shoer above and below ground,” presumably in the coal mines. He escaped that miserable life to America in 1905, where he married Winifred E., another English immigrant who came to America in 1907. The 1910 census listed the couple and their first child as living in Linda township in Yuba County, where he and all his neighbors were gold dredgers.

Appleby showed up in the Oakland business directory in 1917. The 1920 census listed him as a blacksmith at the shipyards, living at 2500 63rd Avenue with Winifred and their two daughters. Looks like the house is still there.

In 1925 he changed his directory listing from blacksmith to cement contractor, a status he kept at least until the 1940 census.

I’ve recorded a sprinkling of his marks all around Oakland, dating from 1931 to 1937.

He was still at the 63rd Avenue address in 1944. He died in 1968 at a ripe old age, while Winifred died in 1962. She’s buried at Mountain View Cemetery, but I have no information about him.

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