A family of Builders

A native son of San Jose and a member of one of the old and prominent families of the city, Louis J. Van Dalsem is recognized as a progressive, wide-awake business man whose close application to the building business made
him well known in San Jose. He was born September 12, 1889, a son of H. C. and Louisa G. (Wasson) Van Dalsem, and is descended from French Huguenot and Knickerbocker stock. His grandparents, H. C. and Henrietta (Galyen) Van Dalsem,
made the journey from Indiana to California by way of the Isthmus, and the vessel on which they were passengers was twice shipwrecked, at one time off the coast of Florida and later off the Mexican coast.

In 1857 they arrived in San Francisco, Cal., where they resided for a year, and on the 4th of July, 1857, they came to San Jose. Being much pleased with the locality, they decided to establish their permanent residence in the city, and here the grandfather followed the trade of a carpenter. In 1869 he met with an accidental death, being killed by a falling beam
while erecting a building. Five days after the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Van Dalsem in San Jose, their son, H.C. Jr., was born, on the 9th of July, 1857, and on attaining adult years he also turned his attention to the carpenter's trade, receiving his instruction therein from his Uncle, E. A. Van Dalsem, a prominent building contractor of San Jose,
who erected the Hall of Records, the Sainte Claire Clubhouse and many other fine edifices in the city.

H. C., Jr., had little opportunity for acquiring an education, for upon his shoulders fell the burden of providing for the support of his mother, brother and sister. He was employed as foreman for his uncle until 1895, when he entered the contracting business on his own account, continuing active along that line until 1914, whenhis right had was accidentally crushed. In 1919 he was obliged to have his arm amputated and has since lived retired. He is still residing in the home on North Eighteenth Street which he built in 1885, his being the first house erected in this part of San Jose. On the 28th of September, 1887, he was married in this city to Miss Louisa G. Wasson, of English descent and a native of Indiana, who came to California with her parents, James and Nancy (Ford) Wasson. Mr. and Mrs. Van Dalsem became the parents of ten chldren;Henry who died at the age of sixteen years; Louis J. of this review; Volney F., who is engaged in the clothing business at Watsonville, Cal.; Theodoric, a salesman, living at San Jose; Samuel, a prominent contractor of Santa Clara; Jesse, also a salesman and solicitor at San Jose; Mrs. Ursula Mallpass, who is at present residing at home. her husband being a millman with the Pacific Manufacturing Company; Nancy, at home; Alice, a high school student; and Eugenia, who died July 15, 1910.

In the grammar schools of San Jose, Louis J. Van Dalsem pursued his education. and when sixteen years of age started out in life for himself, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. For a number of years he worked as a journeyman carpenter, first going to Oregon, then to Washington, and subsequently spending one year in Southern California, returning in 1910 to San Jose, where he followed his trade. In December 1910, he entered Company B. Fifth California Infantry, as a private, winning promotion to the rank of corporal and later was made sergeant. In 1916 he went to the Mexican border as first sergeant of his company. After five months' service at Nogales, Ariz., returned to San Jose, and on March 28, 1917, he was again called to the Presidio at San Francisco. On April 6 he was commissioned a second lieutenant, becoming first lieutenant in the One Hundred Fifty-Ninth Infantry. Fortieth Division, on October 13, 1917. From September 27, 1917, until July 26, 1918, he was stationed at Camp Kearney, and was then sent over-seas, landing at Liverpool, England, whence he was ordered to Winchester, Southampton, and later to Harve, France. At Neronda, France, he had charge of the training of casuals and took many replacement troops up to the front. Later he was with the Second Army Corps, operating with the British forces, and was in the Somme salient of November 1st until the armistice was signed. He traveled over France while engaged in the work of taking casuals back to their original units and subsequently was stationed for awhile at Cadillac, later at Bordeaux, sailing from that port for the United States and landing at Hoboken in March, 1919. He remained at Camp Mills, N. J., for thirty days before returning to the Presidio, where he was discharged as commanding officer of Company B., his original assignment, May 27, 1919.

Returning to San Jose, Mr. Van Dalsem entered the building and contracting business, specializing in the construction of first-class bungalows. He was active along that line until May, 1921, when he became associated with Harley B. Miller in the plumbing business at Tenth and Santa Clara streets, in San Jose. Both are capable and energetic business men and their trade is rapidly developing.

In San Jose, on September 4, 1917, Mr. Van Dalsem was united in marriage to Miss Helen M. Harney, a native of Oakland, Cal., and a daughter of J. T. Harney, a prominent fruit commission merchant, whose fruit and vegetable wagons traversed the country around San Jose, going as far south as Santa Cruz. He came to this section of the state when Mrs. Van Dalsem was quite young and she acquired her education at the Notre Dame Convent of this city. Mr. Van Dalsem is a member of the American Legion at San Jose, of which he has served as sergeant-at-arms and is also connected with San Jose Parlor No. 22, N. S. G. W. In business affairs he has displayed keen discernment and his is a most creditable record, characterized by devotion to duty, by integrity and enterprise in business and by loyalty in citizenship.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 449