Gatos Businessman- Historic Biography of Santa Clara County
Surnames: Cottle, Prusch, Mason, Thomas, Dietrich
A native son who displayed much business ability and became very successful in the business life of Los Gatos was the
late Orville Benjamin Hart, a native son of this great commonwealth, born near Gilroy, Santa Clara County, December 26, 1871. His father, I.B. Hart, was a native of New York and was an early settler of Santa Clara County, becoming a successful and prominent rancher in the Evergreen district, where he spent his last days, passing away May 2,
1922, aged eighty-three years. His widow, who was Miss Helen Cottle, is a native of Missouri.
Of their five children, Orville B. was the second oldest, being reared on the farm to habits of industry and usefulness
while he attended the public schools. After completing the local school he entered a business college in San Jose, where he was duly graduated.
He then engaged in ranching in Hollister until 1909, when he came to Los Gatos and purchased the Ford agency, to which he gave his undivided time, building up a large business with a complete repair and service
station, but his health became impaired and he was not permitted to enjoy the fruits of his labors, for he was cut down while still comparatively in the prime of life, passing away on March 11, 1922. He was a truly good man, liberal and enterprising, who always willingly aided all movements that had for their aim the building up of the
community. His taking away left a void not easily filled, he was mourned by his family and many friends. He was a popular member of the Odd Fellows and the Elks, as well as the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce
and the Santa Clara Valley Auto Trade Association. Politically he was an ardent Republican.
Mr. Hart was first married in San Francisco to Miss Matilda Prusch, born in San Jose; she was a graduate of the San Jose High School and the San Jose State Normal, and was a teacher until her marriage. She was a woman of much literary ability and many of her poems appeared in the Short Story Magazine, but owing to the time and care she spent
with her two children, Haven and Jean, she was unable to give much time to literary work, as she would otherwise have done. The short poems from her pen, published from time to time told of Nature's charms and human emotions in language that had the inspiration of the true poet. She passed away April 16, 1912, mourned by all who knew her.
Mr. Hart's second marriage united him with Mrs. Susie (Mason) Dietrich, the ceremony being performed in San Jose, April 16, 1919. She was born near Fort Bidwell, Modoc County, the daughter of Eli and Susan (Thomas)
Mason, natives of Kentucky, who crossed the plains in an ox-team train to California in pioneer days. Mr. Mason was an early settler of Modoc County and later moved to Lakeview, Ore., where he served as county judge for many years, resigning his office to return to his ranch in Modoc County, and there he resided until his death, twenty-five years
ago. He was a popular Mason. His widow now makes her home in Chico, the mother of nine children, five of whom are living. Mrs. Hart, the youngest of the family, was graduated from the Lakeview high school. Her first marriage was to Dr. Adolph Dietrich, a practicing physician of Pittsburg, Kans., where he passed away December 12, 1912, leaving a son, Leo Oliver Dietrich, who was graduated from Los Gatos high school, but was called to the world beyond in September, 1920. Since her husband's death Mrs. Hart continues to reside at the old home, looking after the interests left by Mr. Hart and caring for and seeing to the education of his two children, Haven and Jean. Fraternally she is a member of the Rebekahs and Royal Neighbors, and the Delphian Club of San Jose.
Transcribed by Linda Gretty, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 669
RETURN TO SANTA CLARA COUNTY FAMILY CHRONICLES
The Valley of Heart's Delight- History of Santa Clara County