MELVIN L. GRUWELL,
Early Settlers of California
SURNAMES:WILLIAMS, GARRIGUS, HARDING, HOUGHTON, WEAR, VANDINE,
residing on Saratoga Avenue, three miles from Santa Clara, in the Moreland District, has been identified with Santa Clara County since 1853. He was born in Marion County, Indiana, in 1826, and is the son of John and Ruth Gruwell. When a babe, his parents removed with their family to Quincy, Illinois, and thence, in 1837, to Farmington, Van Buren County, Iowa. There the home was established and retained for several years.
Melvin L. was the youngest of a family of nine children, five boys and four girls. Of this large family, three sons and two daughters are now living. Jacob, who is a minister in the Southern Methodist Church, lives at East San Jose; Laban H. is a resident of Contra Costa County; Mrs. Melinda Williams, a widow, lives in Los Angeles; Mrs. Avis Garrigus makes her home in Santa Clara; and the fifth is the subject of our sketch. The deceased are: Asa, who died in Meridian District, in this county; Robert, who died in the Hamilton District; Mrs. Lydia Harding, who died in Alameda County; and Mrs. Jemima Houghton, who died in San Jose. In 1849 the eldest brothers, Asa, Robert, and Jacob, came with their families overland to this State, and all spent the first winter in Los Angeles. Asa settled in Stanislaus County, leaving it to come to this county in 1861. Robert went to the mines at Rough and Ready, and, after remaining there less than two years, became a pioneer of Santa Clara Valley. Jacob first made Stockton his home, but settled in this county in 1851. Mr. and Mrs. Garrigus came by way of the Isthmus in 1851.
Melvin L., whose name heads this sketch, with his brother, Laban H., and their father (his mother died in Iowa in 1847), in 1852 followed the older brothers, coming to the State overland. He was also accompanied by his sister, Melinda and Lydia, with their husbands. The last one of the family to settle in the Golden State was Mrs. Houghton, who, with her husband and children, came overland in 1859. The year following his arrival, Melvin L. Gruwell spent in the mines at Sonora, and in 1853 he came to this county and took possession of his present home. Soon after his father died, November 25, 1853, at the ripe age of eighty-one years.
Mr. Gruwell has now lived in the Moreland District thirty-five years, and owns 112 acres. His original purchase contained 178 acres, of which he sold a portion in 1887. The difficulties of obtaining a title were great. His first purchase was of a squatter right, but he was afterward obliged to buy out several claimants, who claimed the land under other grants. The ranch was formerly devoted entirely to general farming, but now about thirty acres are in orchard and vineyard.
On the twenty-ninth of March, 1855, Mr. Gruwell wedded Miss Sarah Jane Wear, who was born in Jackson County, Missouri. With her parents, William W. and Thurza Wear, she crossed the plains and mountains to this State in 1852, settling near Mountain View, of this county. Here both of her parents died, the mother about 1869 and the father in September, 1885. Mr. and Mrs. Gruwell have ten children: Ruth E., the wife of Eben Vandine, of this county; Martha Ann and Lydia J., at home; William W., of Lake County, this State; Arthur J., of San Jose; Charles Lee, Thurza W., Lawrence C (Bio Below), Kate, and Lulu, all at their parents' home.
politics Mr. Gruwell is affiliated with the Democratic party. He is a
member of the ancient and honorable order of Masons. A long and useful
career in Santa Clara County has won for Mr. Gruwell the well-deserved
respect of his fellow-citizens, as good management and industry have
won prosperity in business.
From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California,
Illustrated. - Edited by H.
S. Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1481cdf
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight