San Jose City Engineer and Surveyor
Pioneer of Santa Clara County

 1888 Bio

Bio-Pen Pictures

is a native of the Province of Hanover, Germany, where he was born in 1824. His parents were natives of the same place and passed all their lives there, and are both buried in that province. His father, while living, had charge of the public highway of the district of Osterode, Hanover. The subject of this sketch was educated in the Academy of Mining and Forestry in Clausthal, in the Hartz Mountains. In 1843 he entered on his military duties in the engineer corps, serving in this corps for seven years. He then became a Lieutenant of engineers and Adjutant of the corps in the service of Schleswig-Holstein. After his honorable discharge from military duty, he came to the United States, landing in New Orleans, and went immediately to San Antonio, Texas, but, the climate disagreeing with him, he left there and went to New York, and for three years he was employed as principal assistant of the Topographical Survey of the State of New Jersey, then in charge of Lieutenant (now General) Egbert L. Viele. He was afterward employed as principal assistant engineer in laying out Central Park, New York. For a period of seven years he held this position, and then resigned it to accept that of mining engineer and assistant manager of the Mariposa Grant, Mariposa County, California, which position he held for two years. Mr. Pieper then came to San Jose and engaged in the practice of his profession of civil engineer and surveyor, and since 1867 he has been City Engineer of San Jose, during which time extensive improvements of the city, such as the construction of the streets, bridges, and sewers have been made under his plans and specifications. He has also planned the improvements of the channels of the streams passing through the city. The sewage system of the city of San Jose, and the improvement of the channels of the several water-courses running through the city, were according to Mr. Pieper's plans, and were made under his supervision. The detailed description of these improvements, which appears elsewhere in this book, is taken from his able report on these subjects.

        Mr. Pieper owns a fine fruit farm of thirteen acres south of San Jose, which he has planted to 600 prune trees, 365 Moorpark apricots, 265 peaches, 250 cherry trees, and three-quarters of an acre in vineyards. When five years old the peach and apricot trees yielded fruit that, when evaporated, amounted to six tons.

Mr. Pieper is married to Miss Adele Hoffman, a native of Cassel, Germany, and has six children. The eldest, Carl, is now a civil engineer and surveyor in Pasadena, California, in partnership with Colonel Place, formerly of the United States Engineer Corps; Oscar H. Thekla, Alphonse, Ernest, and Olga are the names of the other five, all of whom are attending school. Mr. Pieper's residence is on the corner of Alameda and Stockton Avenues. He is a member of Garden City Lodge, No. 142, I. O. O. F., also of the Legion of Honor and the Order of Chosen Friends.

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. 562-563

1922 Bio


It is interesting to chronicle the life history of the educated and accomplished man who willingly gaives his whole time, coupled with his ability, knowledge and experience, to the permanent upbuilding of the city of his adoption, and whose every effort is to enhance the comfort and happiness of the people. Such a man was the late John H. Pieper, city engineer and surveyor of San Jose up to the time of his death in 1888.

He was born in Hanover, Germany, May 3, 1824, where he attended the grammar and high schools, subsequently graduating from the Polytechnic College in Hanover, where he finished the course in civil and mining engineering. After completing his military service in the royal forces, he emigrated to the United States, first taking up his residence in New York City. He was a farsighted and sagacious business man, and it was largely through his efforts that Central Park was secured for that city. As a civil engineer he suggested and pointed out to the authourities the advantage to the Metropolis of such a project and assisted in laying out the park, now one of the most noted recreation centers in the United States. Soon after completing his work in connection with Central Park he accepted a position as mining engineer in Mariposa County, Cal., and came hither, arriving in the state in 1865. He remained in Mariposa County until 1867, when he came to San Jose, where his ability was soon recognized and he was made city engineer and surveyor, continuing to act in that capacity until his demise, redering valuable service to the city. He erected the old electric tower, also constructed the sewer system and did everything in his power to improve and develop the city of San Jose, and he stood out prominently for progress and enterprise.

In San Jose Mr. Pieper formed the acquaintance of Miss Adele Elizabeth Hoffman, a native of Hess-Cassel, Germany, a lady of much culture and refinement, who had also come to san Jose in 1867. The friendship was mutual and resulted in their marriage in 1868, a union that proved very happy. At Mr. Pieper's passing in 1868 he was survived by his widow and six children, who are all mentioned in the biography of Mrs. Adele Elizabeth Pieper immediately following in this work.

Aside from his profession Mr. Pieper found time to enter into horiculture, in which he was intensely interested, owning a thirteen-acre ranch in Santa Clara valley devoted to prunes, apricots and peaches, and he did his part to build up the horicultural interests of the county. He was a stanch Republican in his political views, and fraternally he was a member of the Odd Fellows and Legion of Honor in San Jose. Throughout the entire period of his residence in San Jose he took a most active and helpful part in the work of progress and improvement and left the impress of his individuality for good upon many lines of the city's development. He was a man of pleasing personality and much business acumen, who would have been an acquisition to any community, his irreproachable character and integrity no less than his achievements giving him a commanding position and compelling his recognition as one destined to lead in anything he undertook. He was charitable and kind and everyone who knew this refined and cultured gentleman loved and esteemed him.
Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 412

Bio 1922
Bio- Sawyers
Prominent among the experienced, far-seeing and thoroughly up-to-date men of pronounced enterprise to whom Santa Clara County has come to look for a progressive leadership such as a fast-developing state demands in order to keep pace with the swift-moving twentieth century, may well be mentioned Ernest 0. Pieper, the president and popular manager of the Braslan Seed Growers' Company, Inc. He is not only a native son, but he first saw the light at San Jose, on May 13, 1875, when he entered the family of John Henry and Adele (Hoffman) Pieper, natives of Germany, but who came to California in the early '60s and here married.

Ernest finished the courses of the grammar school, and then spent two years at the high school, after which he entered the office of the dentist, Dr. J. L. Asay, where he remained for a year, resigning to go to Astoria, Ore., and there associated himself with Dr. W. C. Logan, another dental expert. In 1897 he passed the required examinations and became a licensed dentist, and then he returned to San Francisco and became the traveling representative of the J. W. Edwards Dental Supply Company, one of the leading houses in the United States. He next entered the dental department of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco, for extended study and was graduated therefrom in 1900. Two dentists in turn offered him lucrative engagements, and with one he worked successfully for three years.

In 1902 Doctor Pieper returned to San Jose and opened an office of his own; and until 1911 he continued to be one of the leading exponents of modern dentistry in Santa Clara County. Then he joined the Braslan Seed Growers Company, Inc., and became the efficient president and manager, and much of the success of the concern in rendering a service highly appreciated by its patrons is undoubtedly due to the conscientious attention of Doctor Pieper to every detail in the daily routine.

At San Jose, on July 5, 1909, Dr. Pieper was married to Miss Rae G. Gagliardo, a native daughter, born in Amador County, and the daughter of John Henry Gagliardo; one child, a son named Ernest 0. Pieper, Jr., has blessed this union. Dr. Pieper belongs to the Elks, the Country Club, the Rotary Club, the Sainte Claire Club, the Commercial Club and the Chamber of Commerce, serving as president 1921-22; while in national political affairs he pulls a long steady stroke for the principles enunciated by the Republican party.
from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. 1217

Bio 1922
Among the well-known and highly respected residents of San Jose was numbered Mrs. Adele Elizabeth Pieper, who for over half a century had made her home in this city, with whose development and upbuilding the family name is inseparably associated. She was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, a daughter of Ludwig Hoffman, a prominent merchant of that city, and received every possible educational advantage, becoming an accomplished linguist and pianist. Taking up the profession of teaching, she became prominent as an educator in the capitals of Europe, leaving Paris for London, where she became a tutor among the families of the nobility. She was most successful in her educational work, standing at the top of her profession.

About 1867 she came to the United States, making the journey to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and located in San Jose. In 1868 she was married here to John H. Pieper, who was born in Hanover, Germany, May 3, 1824, coming to California in 1865 and to San Jose in 1867, and as a surveyor he gave faithful service as city engineer until his death, which occurred in 1888. Mr. and Mrs. John H. Pieper were the parents of six children: The eldest son, Charles, was graduated from the School of Engineering in San Francisco, and a few years after his father's death he was made city engineer and surveyor, retaining this position until his death, October 1, 1910, proving a worthy successor to his father; he was a member of the San Jose lodge of Masons and was a Republican. He had married Miss Minnie Blakemore and they became the parents of one child, Marciele E

Oscar H. is engaged in the manufacturing of dental supplies at Rochester, N. Y. Tecla attended the San Jose State Normal, but was never engaged in teaching, her time being spent presiding over her home, caring for her mother until the latter's demise; Alphonse is associated with his brother, Oscar, in the manufacturing business in Rochester, N. Y. He is married and has a son, Arthur 0. Ernest is a graduate from a dental college in San Francisco and was a prominent dentist in San Jose until he accepted the management of the Braslan Seed Growers Company, Inc., of San Jose. He married Miss Ray Gagliardo, and they have a son, Ernest 0. Olga became Mrs. Chas. P. Braslan and the mother of a daughter, Olga. Mr. Braslan passed away in 1910.

Mrs. Adele Pieper passed away in November 13, 1919, and her memory is enshrined in the hearts of all who knew her. The spirit of helpfulness seemed to find embodiment in her and no task seemed too difficult when it would alleviate suffering or add to the happiness of those about her. The name of Pieper is one of long and close association ;with the development and upbuilding of San Jose and it will remain an honored one in the annals of the city.
from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 412