1850 Settler of Santa Clara County

Bio-Pen Pictures


            Christian Wentz was born in the Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany, August 13, 1822.  In 1833 he emigrated to America with his parents and settled in the vicinity of Port Deposit, Maryland, where he lived until he attained his majority.  He was one of the first in his locality to start for the California gold mines.  He took passage on the ship Greyhound at Baltimore, January 10, 1849.  On June 3 he arrived in San Francisco and at once went to the mines at Jamestown, in Tuolumne County.  He there worked until fall, when he returned to San Francisco.  In the spring of 1850 he again went to the mines,--this time on the Yuba River near Foster’s Bar.  He soon became dissatisfied with mining and returned to San Francisco, and in November, 1850, he came to Santa Clara County, where he began farming near San Jose.  In 1856 he removed to his present residence, at Gilroy (now Old Gilroy, the new town being started in 1861).

            Mr. Wentz has always taken an active part in public affairs, and is recognized as a man of clear perceptions and sound views, and has often been called upon by his fellow-citizens to fill positions of honor and trust.  In 1861 he was elected Justice of the Peace for Gilroy Township, and from 1872 to 1876 was Deputy County Assessor, and again in 1880 and 1881.  In 1880 he was elected to the General Assembly from Santa Clara County and served his constituents with honor and credit.  He served on the Committees on Horticulture and Vines, Commerce, and Navigation, and Labor, at both the regular and called sessions.  In 1882 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the office of County Treasurer of Santa Clara County. 

            Mr. Wentz has fifty-one acres of land, in two tracts, and all his land is used either for dairying or fruit-raising purposes.  He has an orchard of fourteen acres, which contains most of the varieties of fruit suitable to this climate.  Some of the trees are very old and have attained a large growth.  Four acres of this orchard were set out by Mr. Wentz in 1887-88.  He regards the French prunes as the most successful fruit, as far as abundance of yield is concerned, although he has had great success with Bartlett pears.  On his home place he ahs ten acres which he has cropped for twenty-seven years, and it yet produces and average of three tons of hay to the acre, and there has never been a failure.  He milks about thirty cows, and ships the product to customers at Soledad and San Francisco.  He manufactures both “Flats” and “Young Americas.”

            In April, 1855, Mr. Wentz was united in marriage to Eliza E., daughter of Elder J. K. Rule.  In 1868 he was one of fifty who purchased the Justo Rancho from Col. W. W. Hollister, and laid it out into homesteads, and also laid out the town of Hollister, now the county seat of San Benito County.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 308-309
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy