JOHN W. COMBS
Western Granite and Marble Company
John W. Combs was born in New York State, October 17, 1836. His father, who was noted for his skill as a mechanic, died in Mr. Comb’s boyhood, and having a blind mother to support, he never attended school but fourteen months. He started in life as a butcher boy, which led him to study the forms and structures of animals; and having natural taste for art, he one day asked a marble cutter for a block of marble, and taking it to his room, he procured an old chisel and mallet, and while sitting up with his sick mother, cut the figure of a lamb out of it. In this first effort the young tyro was so successful and caused so much favorable comment, that it determined the current of young Combs’ life. He started in to learn the trade of marble cutter at seventeen years of age, and soon became very expert in figure carving. Although he never took a lesson in art, he has made many pieces, busts, and faces in basso-rilievo from photographs, which have been pronounced fine likenesses. One of his pieces was a basso-rilievo of Pope Leo which sold at a Catholic fair for $150. Other pieces have been valued much higher; among them a bust of ex-Senator Henry C. McEwen, of Dixon, Salina County, which was presented to the Senator by a company of friends with appropriate ceremonies. His figure work has taken numerous first prizes at fairs and exhibitions wherever shown. He came to San Jose in 1870, and has been in the marble business ever since, in the relation of proprietor or joint partner.
Mr. Combs was married in Ogdensburg, New York. He lost his wife in 1865, who died leaving two sons and a daughter. Mr. Combs married his present wife in the same city on January 19, 1867. His two sons are both superior workmen in marble. He is vice-president of the Western Granite and Marble Company.
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.
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy