Another practical rancher of pronounced executive ability is Otto L. Ketchum. the experienced and very efficient superintendent of J. E. Smith's Solis Ranch, on the Watsonville Road, about eight miles northwest of Gilroy. He was born at San Jose on December 17, 1867, the son of Elvin M. Ketchum, a native of Michigan who migrated to California in 1850, by way of the Isthmus of Panama —a worthy, sturdy pioneer who survived the turbulence of the mining period, and reached San Jose in the early '60s. He married Miss Henrietta Edson, daughter of Henry B. and Achsah H. (Soper) Edson, both of whom were natives of Vermont; and they migrated to California by way of the Isthmus, in 1856, located in the Santa Clara Valley, and finally settled at San Jose. Mr. Ketchum was an expert carpenter, a man capable of accomplishing a great deal for the young commonwealth into which he had come; but he died a premature death in the early '70s.

Otto Ketchum was reared and schooled in the Llagas district; and he also attended the Reed Street school at San Jose. From the time of leaving school until coming to his present place, he followed ranching and orcharding. In 1914 he became a foreman for the Solis Ranch of J. E. Smith, near Gilroy, his long experience in fruit culture, since he was a boy, commending him to the proprietor of the famous farm tract. He has eighty acres of very choice land under excellent cultivation, and now very fruitful. Mr. Ketchum resides upon the Smith place with his mother, and he is thus able to give the ranch his closest attention.

A Republican in matters of national political import, but a good, nonpartisan "booster" when it comes to putting his shoulder to the wheel, Mr. Ketchum is a member of the Gilroy lodge of Odd Fellows, and also the Masonic lodge at Gilroy. He takes pride in discharging responsibility in the most conscientious manner, and devotes as much personal care to Mr. Smith's choice ranch as if it were his own. Fellow-ranchers feel the value of an inspiration to do, and to do well, derived from his stimulating example. 

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1164


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight