Link #1   Photographs of   Charles Main   &   Ezra H. Winchester

Link #2   Main & Winchester Maker Marks   (1850 - 1912)

Link #3   Illustrations of the Main & Winchester Buildings

Link #4   Photographs of Mechanics Institute Show Displays

Link #5   Photographs of Main & Winchester Invoices

Link #6   San Francisco City Directory Business Ads & Listings (Between 1856 & 1881)

 

Main and Winchester Saddlery History ( 1850 - 1905 )

 

1845 - 1850   Main & Mayo   (Charles Main Partnership with M. S. Mayo)   Boston,   Massachusetts

1850 - 1905   Main & Winchester Saddlery   San Francisco,   California

1905 - 1912   Main Winchester & Stone   (Purchased by L. D. Stone Company)   San Francisco,   California

1912    Bought Out by Keyston Brothers   San Francisco, California

(No further use of the Main & Winchester or L. D. Stone & Company Names)

 

The story or history of the Main & Winchester Saddlery of San Francisco, California actually begins on the other coast where Charley Main
was born in 1817 in Rochester, New Hampshire and in 1826 Ezra Hitchings Winchester was born in Fall River, Bristol Massachusetts. 
It is actually the background of these two adventurous men which made them capable of maintaining a business and home on both coasts throughout their lives at a time when travel was far more difficult in its own ways at that time.  The Main & Winchester Saddlery was the
Largest Saddlery & Harness Business on the West Coast in the United States in 1881 Employing over 200 Men in various duties
throughout the company.

 

Charles Main  (During Period 3/2/1817 - 11/??/1850)

Charles Main (3/2/1817 - 1/15/1906) was born in Rochester, New Hampshire on March 2, 1817 to David Main (2/19/1793 - 3/27/1827)
a Rochester, New Hampshire Businessman and Esther Norwood (  /  /1792 - 4/29/1834) of a long time Rochester Family.  By the time
Charles was 10 years old he had lost his father and at the age of 17 years old he had lost his mother and found himself alone but ready
to go into the world, he had at least completed his formal schooling.

By the end of 1834 Charles Main now responsible for his own care moved to Dover, New Hampshire we he set upon finding work as an apprentice to learn the trade of Carriage and Harness making.  After a 3 plus year apprenticeship in Dover, New Hampshire in 1838 Charles Main went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and then back to Nashua, New Hampshire continually honing his trade and always obtaining lead positions at every job he undertook.

In 1845 Charles Main once again moved this time to Boston, Massachusetts where upon his arrival he associated himself with M. S.
Mayo of that City and they began the manufacture of Carriages and Harness under the name of Main & Mayo of Boston, Massachusetts
(1845 - 1850).  The two men were extremely successful for what was a highly competitive market with the Boston Marketplace
although due to timely delivery and superior product quality the business won many commercial contracts.

On February 8, 1847 Charles Main married Miss Mary Ann Norton (Born in 1821 and I cannot find any additional Information).  They were married in Providence, Rhode Island  where they maintained a Large Farm / Apple Orchard which actually supplied apples not only in
New England but the Apples were also shipped to England until Charles Main Passed away and possibly beyond that although I cannot
find additional information on Mary Ann Norton.   Charles Main & Mary Ann Norton had 2 Children Flora Main born 1848 in Portsmouth,
New Hampshire and Charles Winchester Main born 1857 in San Francisco, California. 

In 1849 with whispers of Gold in California the Gold bug bit Charles Main and with a group of 100 Men they Purchased the Ship Leonora
loaded her with assorted types of cargo to sell in San Francisco, California.  They set sail from Boston Harbor for Cape Horn on
February 4, 1849 and they arrived at San Francisco, California July 5, 1849 and immediately set out to sell their cargo.

The cargo sold for a very large profit over the amount paid for the goods in Boston although the men had to accept a very low price for the
Ship Leonora they had purchased, ultimately everyone did walk away with a good profit from the deal.  In tow with the Leonora was an unfinished Side Wheel Steamboat which again Charles Main and some of the men that were ship builders in Boston bought and finished
the Steamboat and named her "New England" and launched her in 1849 as the first Side Wheel Steamer on the Sacramento River and
for a short time they made money by delivering goods to Camps up and down the River.

Early in 1850 the men sold the venture again taking a nice profit from the venture an Charles Main decided to finally go to the mining
camps and try his hand at mining.  The choice of place to go was South Yuba so Charles Main took off Packing his provisions over
Twenty Five Miles of Trackless Terrain and upon arrival he tried his hand at Placer Mining for a period of some months.  Even though he
had some success at mining Charles Main knew he preferred the comforts of the City and would rather be a Businessman than a miner.
It was shortly after his return to San Francisco that he met a man whom recently arrived in San Francisco and himself was a Carriage & Harness Maker that man was Ezra Hutchings Winchester.

 

Ezra Hutchings Winchester (During Period 8/5/1827 - 11/??/1850)

Ezra Hitchings Winchester was born August 5, 1827 in Lynn, Massachusetts to John Parker Winchester (5/9/1799 - 6/24/1883) a
Fall River, Mass. Carriage & Harness Maker and Mary Hitchings (3/25/1799 - 11/2/1882) also of Lynn, Massachusetts.  Ezra Hutchings Winchester comes from a family which came to the United States prior to our Country becoming the United States John Winchester I
came on board the Ship "Elizabeth" which landed at Massachusetts Bay in May of 1635.

The John P. Winchester family moved to Fall River, Bristol Massachusetts while Ezra was a child, it was there that he completed his
normal schooling and upon becoming a young man he went into the employ of his Father as an Apprentice to learn all facets of the
Saddlery and Harness Trade.  Ezra Hutchings maintained his position steadfast in his learning for approximately 5 years having become
quite independent and proficient at the Saddlery and Harness Trade as a whole.

In October of 1849 Ezra Hitchings Winchester after having purchased an interest in a vessel heading for the land of promise left for San Francisco, California.  The voyage was long a treacherous arriving in San Francisco Bay in July of 1850 and after settling his affairs having
to do with the Ship he set upon finding lodging and accommodations.  By October of the same year 1850 Ezra H. Winchester had
established a relationship with Charles "Charley" Main also a Carriage & Harness Maker from the East Coast.  In November of 1850 Charles "Charley" Main and Ezra H. Winchester actually formed a Partnership which was to be named the Main & Winchester Company.

 

Charles Main  (During Period 11/??/1850 - 1/15/1906)

 Ezra Hutchings Winchester (During Period 11/??/1850 - 11/16/1904)

1850 - 1905   Main & Winchester Saddlery & Harness Company   San Francisco,   California

In November of 1850 The Main & Winchester Saddlery & Harness Company started business on the South East corner of California &
Sansome Streets in San Francisco, California with two employees that being Charles Main & Ezra H. Winchester.  After just a few
years The Main & Winchester Saddlery & Harness Company needed to move into larger facilities to handle the work load and inventory to maintain sales. 

The original Main & Winchester Saddlery & Harness Companies first company shop was located at the corner of California Street &
Sansome Street with the actual street address being 89 Sansome Street.  Again within a few short years in 1852 The Main & Winchester Saddlery was relocated to 82 Battery Street.   The Main & Winchester Saddlery & Harness Company needed to expand operations
again within a  short time so Charles Main & Ezra H. Winchester purchased the Building at the corner of Battery Street & Richmond
Streets 68 Battery Street between Commercial Street and Sacramento Street. 

Also in 1860 a Full Size Horse I am not sure what it was made of was placed on the front portion of the roof of the building above the
Main & Winchester Saddlery Warehouse sign painted on the building front.  In 1861 the street address changed from 68 Battery
Street to 214 - 216 Battery Street this was when the streets were re-numerated all operations on Battery Street having been
Wholesale /Retail with some manufacturing on the upper floors.

The advantage these 2 locations gave to Main & Winchester was they were directly across the Street and within a block from The
Original Wells Fargo Office which Henry Wells and William Fargo opened in San Francisco on July 13, 1852  at 114 Montgomery
Street in San Francisco.  The proximity being so close Main & Winchester immediately obtained the first contract with Wells Fargo
Express to handle all of their Saddlery & Harness Requirements which within 10 Years Wells Fargo was Coast to Coast with small
locations in virtually every county across the country.

 According to the 1865 San Francisco City Directory the Main & Winchester Saddlery took on either an additional Partner or a Business Manager named Thomas Rice Hayes (  /  /1835 -   /  /19   ).  Thomas Rice Hayes himself was a very interesting individual and
apparently over the years between 1865 through the turn of the 20th Century he maintained a very close relationship with Charles Main. 

Apparently the relationship ended badly with Charles Main suing Thomas Rice Hayes & his son Charles Edward Hayes on March 29,
1904 Involving Stocks & Bonds issued through Standard Portland Cement Company.  Charles Main having passed away in 1906 the
action was taken over by his( Charles Main's) Daughter Flora Main MacDermot and her Husband Louis M. MacDermot.  It was resolved
in 1917 after many appeal processes & after all 3 Men passed away it was settled with Mary E. Hayes who was Thomas R. Hayes widow.

 

Thomas Rice Hayes (  /  /1835 -   /  /19   )

 In 1864 Thomas Rice Hayes came to California on the Earp Wagon Train to San Bernardino, California having been living in Knoxville,
Iowa since the 1850s.  
While brothers Newton and Virgil were still fighting in the raging conflict, Wyatt's father, Nick, quit his job as
assistant provost marshal and pulled up stakes for a move out to a beautiful valley in southern California that he briefly passed through
on his way home from prospecting back in 1851...San Bernardino.

During the arduous journey across the barren plains, the desolate Mojave Desert, and through the rugged Cajon Pass, Nick and Jim did
most of the driving. Sixteen year old Wyatt spent much of the time riding around with the
Rousseau kids, doing necessary chores such
as fetching water and food, baby-sitting 3 year old Adelia, and occasionally helping out by driving a wagon.

In 1864 Nick organized a wagon train made up of three other Pella families, the Rousseau's, the Hamilton's, and the Curtis's  on May 12,
1864, they started  the trip out west.  The train started out with 30 people which included Wyatt, his parents, older brother, Jim, and
younger siblings, Morgan, Warren, and Adelia. Three children were born to the other families later on during the journey.

Mrs. Rousseau, who kept a diary of the trip, mentioned that after they made their first night's camp, seven more wagons straggled in late.
By the time the wagon train reached its destination there were about a dozen wagons in all.                       

The caravan reached San Bernardino on December 17,1864 and set up camp just east of what is today Sierra Way and Court Street.
After a few days the Earps rented a farm on the banks of the Santa Ana River in what is now the northern section of
Redlands.  Shortly
after arrival, young Wyatt made it known that he wasn't cut out to be a farmer. One day he decided to run away for a few days vacation
only to return home for a whipping from the old man who then kicked him off the farm.

As the Main & Winchester Saddlery & Harness was growing the manufacturing facilities had to be in separate facilities located in various
places throughout the City of San Francisco.  The Main & Winchester Saddlery & Harness Company produced all types of leather goods relative to Saddlery, Carriage and Harness wares.  Eventually two additional manufactories were also added at Richmond & Battery in the
Upper Floors of the Main & Winchester Saddlery & Harness Retail & Wholesale Store front and also on Berry Street in the Southern
section of San Francisco.

On November 19, 1860 Ezra Hitchings Winchester married Mary Abbie Josephine Odiorne (1840 -     ) in San Francisco, California
although like his partner Charles Main the Winchester family maintained lives on both coasts between Portsmouth, New Hampshire
and San Francisco, California.  They had 3 Children Abbie Main Winchester (10/13/1861 -  /  /1953) & Ezra Franklin Winchester
(7/26/1868 - 3/5/1869
passed away in San Francisco, California) and Frank Charles Winchester (5/28/1873 - 11/16/1914).  Also by
1860 the Main & Winchester Company was supplying Saddlery, Harness and all types of Leather Goods to many other Saddlery and
Harness Makers up and Down the west coast and even overseas by this time.

It appears as in the mid 1860s Ezra H. Winchester spent most of his time on the East Coast acting as an East Coast Representative for
Main & Winchester also acting as a representative for Charles Main in many of his East Coast Business Dealings.  That was what
brought the need for Charles Main to bring in Thomas R. Hayes in 1865 and then his Cousin or Brother William Washington Main of born
1828 in Massachusetts.  William Main started as a clerk with Main & Winchester in 1868 and just a few years later 1872he was
Superintendant of Manufacturing at the Main & Winchester Saddle Tree Factory in the upper floors of 214 -216 Battery Street.   

In 1868 the San Francisco Directory Listed Charles Main as a resident of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Ezra H. Winchester as living
in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as well.  As published in a book reflecting the 1868 Business of Main & Winchester they maintained a
staff of Sixty Men for Manufacturing of Saddlery and Harness goods as well as all types of Leather Goods Whips, Holsters, Gun Belts,
Rifle Scabbards, Saddle Bags, Pommel Bags and list goes on and on.  Also listed in 1868 Main & Winchester Saddlery was generating
close to $100,000.00 in annual sales and they were supplying products worldwide with a big demand for their products in Australia
although products were shipped to China, Japan, Mexico, South America and even the Sandwich Islands.

By 1870 Charles Main was not only involved with the Main & Winchester Saddlery he was a Land Speculator and owned much of Alameda Point and land in San Francisco.   Charles Main was President of The Central Railroad Company of San Francisco, he was President of
Geary Street Wire Rope Railroad Company (Cable Cars) started 1880, Charles Main was one of the Founders and the first Director of The California Insurance Company.  While Charles Main was actively running various operations in California Ezra H. Winchester was
steadfastly  attending to the business of Charles Main and Himself on the East Coast.

The business continued strong growth going into the 1870s and actually in 1872 (David) D. E. Walker was a 25 year old Saddle Maker
with Main & Winchester he started The "Visalia Stock Saddle" Company about 1873 in Visalia, California.  In 1874 Charles Main having
established a sizable fortune through all of his endeavors decided to travel abroad with his entire family.  He traveled with his Wife Mary, Daughter Flora and Son Charles W. over the two years from May of 1874 through 1876 they went to Europe to visit Great Britain,
Switzerland, France, Austria, Germany and Italy as well as a host of handful other places across Europe during their travels.  During
the 1874 - 1876 time period much of the Daily Business Operations were overseen by Thomas Rice Hayes while Ezra H. Winchester was significantly more involved in the business operations of Main & Winchester during the 1874 - 1876 time period.

The Main & Winchester Saddlery had also become the Largest Saddlery & Harness Supplier on the West Coast by 1880, so in 1880
Main & Winchester expanded their operations again adding two more store front locations next door to them so the Street Address
became 214 /216 / 218 / 220 Battery Street,  while also adding another level to the already three story building making it a 4 story building. 
The upper levels of the building were used for various facets of Saddlery and Harness along with all types of Leather Goods Manufacture.

Prosperity continued for both Charles H. Main and Ezra Hitchings Winchester and many relatives of both men worked for the Main & Winchester Saddlery throughout the next 25 years between 1880 and 1905.  Just to list a few William Washington Main, Charles
Winchester Main, George Winchester, John P. Winchester, Frank Charles Winchester as I am sure many more as well both Charles
Main and Ezra Winchester were known to be very active in their Communities and both very Generous to all manner of people.  The Main
& Winchester Company donated as much money to the development of the sanitation systems of San Francisco as did any bank or the
City itself.

I can go on and on into many more details but we have covered the bulk of necessary information with regard to the Main & Winchester Saddlery.  Ezra Hitchings Winchester lived until November 16, 1904 he passed away in San Francisco and he was placed into the
Mausoleum that Charles Main had built for himself and his family until Ezra could be relocated back to Portsmouth, New Hampshire as
his permanent resting place.  Charles Main survived his friend and Partner until January 15, 1906 when he passed away in San Francisco,
California from Combined Heart Valve Disease & Chor nephrotitis.

In 1905 the only remaining Main or Winchester in business end of the business was Frank Winchester who was the Company Treasurer
when the Main & Winchester Company was sold to (Lucias) L. D. Stone & Company which was another San Francisco Saddlery &
Harness Maker since 1883.  Lucias D. Stone Advertised they were in business since 1852 although that was his father R. Stone he was
a Saddlery and Harness Maker who worked under R. Stone also Stone & Hayden and Rockwell Stone.   Lucias D. Stone did work with
his father for many years and even managed his Father's business for some time although L. D. Stone & Company (his widowed mother
was the company) started as that name in 1883 according to the San Francisco business directories.

The Last buyout in the Main & Winchester business existence was in 1912 when Keyston Bothers of San Francisco bought out Main Winchester & Stone which was the Companies name since the L. D. Stone & Company buyout in 1905.  The Main & Winchester name
was no longer used beyond this point and notably Keyston Brothers became the Largest Saddlery & Harness Supplier of the early 20th
Century on the West Coast. 

Over the next sixty years through 1965 Keyston Brothers bought out notable Saddleries like Main & Winchester, L. D. Stone & Company,
J. C. Johnson & Company, W. Davis & Sons, F. S. Johnson & Company, Harpham Jensen & Company, Lichtenberger Ferguson Company
and the Hermann H. Heiser Sporting Good & Saddlery Leathers Line of Products from The Denver Dry Goods Company.