Wilbur W. Ayers

Wilbur W Ayers

Poet, merchant, and postmaster, Wilbur Ayers was born in 1874. He was the grandson of Samuel Ayers, an associate of John Brown and his sons in the anti-slavery “border wars” in Kansas. His father was William H. Ayers, a private in Company M of the 15th Kansas Cavalry during the Civil War.

He moved to San Francisco in 1898, where he went to work for the American Tea Company, taking charge of the company’s Riverside branch. This connection caused him to move south, and he settled in Highgrove where he was appointed postmaster.

Wilbur Ayers’s vocation was poetry. He was involved in civic affairs in Riverside and his best known poem, “Riverside, My Riverside”, was used widely at civic functions and, set to music, was sung at meetings of Riverside’s Present Day Club.

I know a city wondrous fair
Where orange bloom perfumes the air
And birds are singing everywhere
Riverside, My Riverside

He was the author of Dreams of a California Poet, which achieved statewide circulation, and was known for theme that included praise for California, opposition to tyranny, and religious subjects.