James Athearn was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts back in 1835 to Samuel and Nancy. When he was eleven James helped his family recover and reconstruct their family’s business due to a fire.
When he was fourteen he set out to California for the gold rush. Using a raft and hiking he crossed the Panama ending up at Isthmus. From there he waited for a mail steamer arriving in San Francisco in 1850.
Once he arrived in San Francisco instead of heading to the gold fields he stayed, because of the high wages being offered. While he was there he helped build a spice-and-coffee mill for a man named William H. Bovee.
In 1860, he founded the San Francisco coffee firm. Now you may not know James Athearn but you undoubtedly know James Athearn Folger. The San Francisco coffee firm he founded was known as the J.A. Folger Coffee Company, today it is simply known as Folgers Coffee. I know you’re smiling so just keep those pearly whites showing and pass it on (smile that is).