H. D. Van Schaick

Gilroy Mills -Central Milling Company
Gilroy Township

Bio- Pen Pictures

H. D. Van Schaick, manager of the Gilroy mills of the Central Milling Company, is a native of Onondaga County, New York, born ten miles east of Syracuse, on the twenty-sixth day of July, 1828, his parents being Josiah and Mary (Bellenger) Van Schaick.  The Van Schaick family is an old New York family, having been in that State since thirty years previous to the War of the Revolution.  Colonel Van Schaick, a member of the family, was in the Revolutionary War, and served at Yorktown.  The father of the subject was in the war of 1812, towards its close; was a carpenter, joiner, and wagon-maker by trade, but spent most of his life as a farmer and a contractor.  The subject was reared at his birthplace to farming, assisting his father in his contracts, and of making salt barrels for the salt works at Syracuse, etc.  He remained in New York until 1852, when he started to California, making the trip across the plains during the cholera season; and he himself took the cholera, but recovered after he had been given up.  He started from home April 14, 1852, and arrived near Yankee Jim’s, in El Dorado County, California, August 23, 1852, and engaged in mining.  After a few months, finding mining unsatisfactory, he walked to Sacramento, took a steamer to San Francisco, and thence walked to San Jose, where he arrived, with finances very low, on the fourteenth of September, 1852, and the next day his capital consisted of his clothing and personal effects, his money being gone; and he started out to look around for a place to start in.  He obtained work on a farm near San Jose, for a couple of months, and for another farmer the remainder of the season.

            In the fall of 1853 he came to Gilroy, and started with a team of four yoke of oxen, which he brought down for a man.  He went into the Redwoods and engaged in chopping and splitting lumber, and as a saw-mill was soon built, he took a contract to furnish six hundred thousand feet of lumber, at $2.00 a thousand at the stump, scale measure.  Finishing the contract, with a partner he engaged in building the saw-mill, working at felling the trees.  After the mill got to running he engaged with Bodfish & Thomas, the proprietors.  Was engaged in the Redwoods till the spring of 1856, when he engaged in farming on a farm he bought in the valley; also engaged in teaching six months in the year.  He taught school, altogether, in Gilroy Township nearly fourteen terms.

            He afterwards bought a farm at San Ysidro, and subsequently sold it and bought a farm of one hundred acres.  Next he engaged again in teaching, living at San Ysidro till 1868, and then he came to Gilroy, and afterward bought a half interest in a grocery store, where he was engaged in merchandising with his father-in-law about a year, and with Mr. Steuben for a couple of years; then Mr. Van Schaick ran the business alone for about six months.  He then sold a half-interest to a man named Dryden.  They were together three years, and he was alone then till 1879.  He engaged in the mill by the month, and became superintendent March 30, 1887.

            His first wife was Susan Angel, a native of Missouri.  Her parents came here in 1846.  She died in 1868.  By that marriage they have five children, four of whom are living.  They names of their children are:  Jackson E., Nellie Jane, Frank Charles, Angie Annette, deceased, and Lena Arnett.  His present wife was Mary Wright, a native of California.[transcribers note:  Married June 5, 1872 San Benito CountyHer parents reside near Hollister.  They have one child, named Guy.  Mrs. Van Schaick is principal of Gilroy High School.  She is politically a Republican.  Mr. Van Schaick was elected to the Legislature in 1863, and served the regular term of 1863-64, being in the war Legislature.  He was a member of I. O. O. F., and has passed through all the chairs.  He is now R. S. to N. G.

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. 204-205
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy