James Athearn Folger (June 17, 1835 – June 26, 1889) moved to Oakland in 1866 and served on the City Council in 1869, but is better known as one of the founders of Folger's Coffee.

Folger's house at 1308 Jackson St. Bancroft Library?


Along with William Bovee, Folger founded Folger's Coffee. The history of the company dates back to 1850 and the full story can be read in Master Hands in the Affairs of the Pacific Coast, available for free online. 2 When Folger Sr. died, Folger Jr. took over. Folger Jr. disappeared suddenly to Japan in 1893, which created quite a scandal in Oakland, where he was a society mucky muck. 4 Folger died rich, leaving almost $500,000, though after "claims" were paid, the total was closer to $250,000.5

Folger was a member of the First Congregational Church of Oakland. 3 James A. Folger is also listed as a trustee of the Second Congregational Church.

One of the Folgers comes up frequently in references to golf tournaments, but it is probably Jr.

Folger also had business ties with August Schilling.

J.A. Folger was a Republican. 1 In 1876, he served on the Board of Education. 6

Death and Burial

James A. Folger in buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Plot 31, Lot 12, along with other family members.

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Links and References

  1. "Republican Primary Election in Oakland." The Daily Morning Chronicle: Feb 14, 1869.
  2. Master Hands in the Affairs of the Pacific Coast. Western Historical and Publishing Company: 1892.
  3. Wood, MW. History of Alameda County, California. MW Wood: 1883.
  4. "WITHOUT AN ADIEU: STRANGE DEPARTURE OF A MERCHANT J. A. Folger Jr." San Francisco Chronicle: Dec 30, 1893.
  5. "OAKLAND NEWS: Attempt to Grab a Public Highway." San Francisco Chronicle: Aug 24, 1890.
  6. Bishop's Oakland Directory, 1876
  7. Bishop's Oakland Directory, 1880