The Valley of Heart's Delight


Santa Clara County



  DON WALTER LUTHER--A native son of California and of an early settler of Santa Clara County, Don Walter Luther is successfully carrying on the horticultural and agricultural operation inaugurated by his father.  He was born in Hollister, September 5, 1882, the son of Jacob and Francis (Green) Luther[see bio below], natives of Germany and Michigan, respectively.  His father came to California from Wisconsin in 1858, was a successful stockman in Monterey County, and in 1889 began developing the Luther orchard of 110 acres near San Jose, now one of the finest producers in the valley.  He died March 11, 1916, leaving a widow and four children.

  Don Walter attended the Santa Clara and San Jose grammar schools and the high school of San Jose.  He was reared on the farm and when his father passed away, he went on with the management of the ranch, and has been justly rewarded for his industry and perseverance.  His mother, himself and his sisters reside on the home place, living together in harmony, each cooperating and doing their part and having explicit confidence in each other.

  On December 29, 1915, in Santa Clara, Mr. Luther was united in marriage to Miss Glen Monroe, a native of Oregon, a daughter of Julius and Anna Monroe, originally from Missouri.  Mr. and Mrs. Luther are the parents of one daughter, Alice Donaldina.  In national politics, Mr. Luther is a Republican, and fraternally is a member of the Odd Fellows lodge of Santa Clara.  The advancement and prosperity of Santa Clara County has a strong supporter in Mr. Luther, and his interest and influence is readily given to the upbuilding of his locality.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 387



Numbered among the sturdy early settlers of California who passed through the vicissitudes and hardships of pioneer life with credit and honor to themselves, is the late Jacob Luther, who contributed much to the upbuilding of the Santa Clara Valley during the long years of his residence here. He was born in Germany in 1840, the son of Jacob and Louise Luther, who brought their family to America when Jacob was a baby, settling at Delafield, Wis., where he later received a good education in the schools of that locality. Early in life he learned the harness maker's trade at Waterloo, Wis , and he was engaged in this line of work until 1858, when he started on the journey to California, coming by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Shortly after his arrival at San Francisco he went to Monterey County and invested in land in Peach Tree Valley; these were the days when Central California was being plundered by organized bands of marauders, when neither life nor property was safe, and one of the teamsters employed by Mr. Luther on his ranch was killed in the holdup by the desperado Vasquez and his gang of bandits at Paicines, Cal. Mr. Luther acquired about 50,000 acres of land which was used as range for his large flocks of sheep, retaining this until 1882, when the whole tract was sold to Miller & Lux, the cattle barons of their day, and he removed to Hollister, purchasing 180 acres in that vicinity.

On December 29, 1870, Mr. Luther was married to Miss Frances Green at Redwood City. A native of Chelsea, Washtenaw County, Mich., where she was born July 26, 1855, she came to San Francisco via Panama with her parents in 1868. Her father, John W. Green, was born in New Jersey and came to Washtenaw County, Mich., in the early days, where he married Harriet A. Letts, a native of New York, and for many years he was successfully engaged in farming there. In 1850 he made his first trip to California, crossing the plains in an ox-team train, and for three or four years he followed mining, returning home by way of Panama. In 1868 he brought his wife and four children to California, locating in Monterey County, where he engaged in stock raising until he retired to Hollister, passing away there in 1905 at the age of eighty-one, Mrs. Green having died some years previous, when sixty-seven years of age. Frances Green had completed her education at Ypsilanti Seminary in Michigan, before coming to California, and it was while living in Monterey County that she became acquainted with Mr. Luther.

In 1889 Mr. Luther, with his family, removed to Santa Clara County and purchased a tract of 123 acres on the Stevens Creek Road, halfway between Cupertino and San Jose, and set it out to orchard, there being sixty-five acres in prunes, thirty acres in walnuts, eighteen acres in hay and the balance in well-planned grounds. One of the finest wells in the district has been developed on this ranch, and is equipped with a Byron-Jackson deep-well pump. Mr. Luther passed away March 11, 1916, at the age of seventy-six, his death closing a career of marked accomplishment and usefulness. A very handsome man, of attractive personality, his integrity and sincerity of purpose gave him a high place in the esteem of all who knew him. In his religious faith he was a Lutheran and was all his life a stanch Republican. Mr. and Mrs. Luther were the parents of four children: Alice, Ida, Julia and Don Walter[see bio above]. Since her husband's death, Mrs. Luther has continued to make her home on the ranch, which she and the children own and operate, and here she continues in the same liberal way as her husband to dispense the good old-time hospitality.

Transcribed by C Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 638