The Valley of Heart's Delight


Bio- History of Santa Clara


ALVA CURTIS KEESLING- among the early settlers of  Santa Clara County, no one is more familiar than that of Keesling, and the subject of this sketch, Alva Curtis Keesling, is a worthy representative of that honored name.  He was born near Lake Minnetonka, Hennepin County, Minn., on November 8, 1857, the son of Thomas Bulla and Elizabeth (Hasty) Keesling, who came to California in 1873 and settled in The Willows and became one of the most successful fruit growers in the county.  The father was born in Preble County, Ohio, in 1824, his father John Keesling, a native of Wythe County, Va., and his wife, Melinda (Bulla) Keesling, a native of North Carolina, having moved into Ohio in an early day.  The family removed to a point near Newcastle, In., where the father went to school and worked on his father’s farm.  The father was commissioned postmaster of Mechanicsburg, Ind., where the father went to school and worked on his father’s farm.  The father was commissioned postmaster of Mechanicsburg., Ind., by President Tyler and he held that position for eight years, meanwhile conducting a general store and a sawmill, the post office being in his store.  He heard as a boy many and wonderful tales of the great West beyond and resolved to some day cast his fortunes in this land of greater opportunities, so in 1856 he removed with his family to Minnesota and settled where Minneapolis now stands.  At that time there were but few shanties on the west side of the river, although on the east side was the town of St. Anthony’s Falls.  He bought twelve acres of land now in the center of Minneapolis, and remained there for sixteen years, during which time he was employed in a sawmill and at gardening.  Having always had a fondness for horticulture, which was unsatisfactory in Minnesota owing to the intense cold, he made a trip to California, settling in the Santa Clara Valley in 1872.  In 1848 he married Miss Elizabeth Hasty, a native of Preble County, Ohio, her parents also removing into Indiana during its early settlement.  Her parents were Thomas Hasty, a native of Kentucky, and Anna Raper, a native of Virginia.  They were the parents of eleven children, of whom Alva Curtis is the fifth.


He was educated in the grammar and high schools of San Jose; then went to work for his father on his ranch.  In 1883 he purchased a ranch on Fruitvale Avenue; then in 1906 he purchased his home on the Los Gatos and San Jose roads, consisting of ninety-six acres, mostly in fruit; he has erected a fine residence, commodious and modern in every respect.  He has been secretary and manager of the Campbell Telephone Company since its organization in 1906. He is a member of the California Prune and Apricot Association.


The marriage of Mr. Keesling united him with Miss Edna Hobson, the daughter of Stephen Hobson, and they are the parents of five children; Mildred C. is the wife of George C.  Husted of Campbell; Rollo H. and Mervin are at home, Mervin being associated with his father and has an interest in the home place; Audrey A. is the wife of St. E. A. Abbott of San Jose, and Wana is attending Stanford University.  There are seven grandchildren.  In local affairs, Mr. Keelsing has served his community as a school trustee; also has been master of the Orchard city and Pomona Grange.  In national politics he is a Republican, and is a stanch supporter of prohibition.  He is one of the most substantial citizens in the county and never fails to support all measures for the advancement of the county.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1057


SANTA CLARA COUNTY -The Valley of Heart's Delight