Bio- Sawyers

For many years Benjamin Scorsur has been prominently and successfully identified with the fruit industry in Santa Clara County and long experience has made him an authority on this line of work. He also ranks with the pioneer residents of this part of the state, having taken up his residence here in 1871. A native of Austria, he was born in Dalmatia, in the village of Aregosse, April 11, 1855, the fourth in the family of John and Cathrinia Scorsur, the father a well-to-do farmer of Dalmatia.

Although it was his parents' desire that he devote his time to his studies, Benjamin Scorsur preferred hard manual labor to the routine of the schoolroom, and hearing many favorable reports concerning California, he decided to locate there. When fourteen years old he went to sea, receiving five dollars a month as pay; however, he followed the sea for five years, when he quit the sea to come to California, arriving in September, 1871. His elder brother, James Scorsur, had preceded him to the United States, arriving in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1866. In 1871 the two brothers started for California, but first made their way to the mines of Virginia City, Nev. Not meeting with success there, they packed all of their belongings, consisting of a few blankets and tools, and struck out for the Guadalupe mines in the Santa Clara Valley. They divided their time between mining and farming, preempting 163 acres of land adjoining the mines, which were at that time owned by an English company, and at this period Benjamin Scorsur became a citizen of the United States. For eight years the two brothers devoted their attention to mining, farming and stock raising, working laboriously to gain a start in life, but their efforts were fruitless, for through a dispute in the title the land once more became the property of the English company by decision of the Santa Clara County courts.

Possessing the dauntless spirit of youth, Mr. Scorsur courageously faced the future, and removing to San Jose, he entered business circles as a fruit buyer, dryer and shipper. From a modest beginning the enterprise grew to one of large proportions and for thirty-five years he continued active along those lines. He also became a prosperous horticulturist, purchasing a good ranch of twenty-three acres on the Doyle Road and a valuable cherry orchard on the San Francisco highway. During the World War, however, he sold both places as he was unable to operate them without the assistance of his sons, who were in the service of their country. In 1918, following the close of the war, Mr. Scorsur bought a sixty-acre pear and prune orchard on King Road, where he now resides, having erected a beautiful home here. He also owns an apricot ranch on the Mount Pleasant Road and with the aid of his two sons, John and Nick Scorsur, conducts two large drying plants, which are also proving a profitable source of income. He carries on his labors scientifically and keeps well informed on all modern developments pertaining to his line of work, in which he is an acknowledged expert.

In San Jose, Mr. Scorsur married Miss Kathrina Buak, a native of Dalmatia, and they have become the parents of six children: John, the eldest, who resides in a fine bungalow on the sixty-acre home ranch, is married, and has one child. He is a veteran of the World War, serving for eleven months overseas as a member of the Ninety-first Division. He is a member of the American Legion and is also prominently identified with the Jugo-Slavian-American Society of San Jose. Nick is also engaged in ranching, acting as assistant manager. Ben is married and resides in San Jose, being proprietor of one of the leading butcher shops in the city. He is also a member of the American Legion, was sent overseas and for three months was confined in a hospital. Dominic is successfully engaged in business as a stock dealer. Kathrina married Mr. Scamperria, a wealthy merchant of Watsonville, Cal. Pauline, who completes the family, is the wife of Paul Lostellisto, of San Jose.

Mr. Scorsur attributes much of his success to the cooperation and able assistance of his wife, who is the possessor of many admirable traits of character and has ever been a faithful and sympathetic helpmate and a devoted mother, rearing her children to become useful members of society. He is a member of the Austrian-American Society of San Jose and in politics is a Democrat, being broad and liberal in his views. He has worked diligently and persistently, and success in substantial measure has crowned his labors, while at the same time his efforts have been an important factor in the development and improvement of Santa Clara County along horticultural lines.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page  1644


A man who was highly esteemed for his splendid traits of character and the warm friendships he made was the late John Scorsur, who was born in Dalmatia, Austria, in 1873, a son of James and Thomasine Scorsur. The father was a pioneer fruit man and a prominent and successful horticulturist, having an orchard on the Homestead Road. He died July 1, 1915, his wife surviving him until August 16, 1916. Of the union of this worthy couple, two children were born, namely, Kate, Mrs Felicich of San Jose, and John, the subject of this sketch, who came to the United States with his mother, joining his father, who was then residing at Guadalupe. SOme years later the family moved to San Jose and here John attended the public schools, as well as the business college. He excelled in penmanship and received a diploma for penmanship from the American Pen Art Hall. After his school days were over he assisted his father in the care of the orchard as well as the fruit business.

In the fall of 1900 Mr. Scorsur made a trip back to his old home in Dalmatia, and there on February 9, 1901, he was married to Miss Annie Genovich, also a native of Dalmatia, the daughter of Peter and Mary Genovich, farmer-folk in that far-off country. He immediately returned to his home in San Jose with his bride, arriving in March, 1901, and they began housekeeping in the residence at 1398 East san Fernando Street, where Mrs. Scorsur still lives. John Scorsur was engaged in the fruit business with his father, looking after the orchards on the old homestead and became a well-posted and progressive orchardist. He was in ill heath several years before his death, which occurred April 6, 1915. He was a man of pleasing personality and had a host of friends, being a member of the Austrian Benevolent Society and St. Joseph's Benevolent Society. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Scorsur was blessed with five children, Thomasine, Marie, Anna, James and Jennie, who all reside at home. They are members of St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1665

SCORSUR - In San Jose, Cal., August 16, 1916, Thomasina Scorsur, wife of the late Jacob Scorsur, beloved mother of Mrs. Catherine Fillcich and the late John Scorsur, a native of Austria, aged 80 years.

Friends are invited to attend the funeral tomorrow (Saturday), August 19,at 9:30 a.m. from her late residence, No 822 Jefferson street, thence to St. Patrick's Church, where a solemn requiem high mass will be celebrated
for the repose of her soul, commencing at 10 a.m. Interment Calvary Cemetery.
San Jose Mercury Herald, August 18, 1916 Friday, page 14


A good example of thrift and untiring energy is illustrated in the life of Nick Scorsur, now retired from active business life, and his years of toil have resulted in a competency that is justly deserved. Born in Dalmatia, Austria, January 1, 1858, he is a son of John and Catherine (Cavaletta) Scorsur; his father was, for many years in the stock and sheep business. Five sons and two daughters composed the family, of whom only two survive, the subject of this sketch and an older brother, Ben, who both live in California, As early as 1875, two brothers, James and Benjamin, came to America, settling in Virginia; and late in 1880 they came to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama and located in the beautiful Santa Clara Valley. In 1883 Nick Scorsur followed them and has continuously resided in this section since that time. The brothers invested in a 160 acre tract of land near the New Almaden mines, which they cleared and developed. When they were ready for planting, the owners of the mining property informed them that they had no right or title to the property, and were successful in beating them out of their holdings, as well as others in the neighborhood. This occurred in 1885, but, undaunted, the three brothers located on a tract of land in East San Jose, where they started in the fruit business. Beginning at the bottom, by hard work and close application, they gradually enlarged their operations and increased their holdings; in 1892, however, they dissolved partnership. James passed away in 1915., Meanwhile Nick Scorsur engaged in fruit buying, handling cherries, peaches, and prunes with good success. He owned a forthy-five-acre prune orchard on White Road, which he kept for about five years, when he sold it a good profit. He owns a thirty-five-acre cherry and prune orchard at Campbell and also a twenty-acre orchard on Senter Road which brings him a handsome income each year. In 1900 he invested in a tract of land in East San Jose, building a commodious residence at the corner of Twenty-sixth and San Antonio streets, still the family home.

The marriage of Mr. Scorsur occurred in San Jose, April,l 4, 1898, and united him with Miss Ellen Talia, also a native of Dalmatia, who was born August 14, 1865, and who came to California in May, 1888. She is daughter of Captain Matthew and Raphael Talia. Her father was a man of sterling integrity who followed a seafaring life as captain of a private merchant vessel on the Mediterranean Sea. Mr. and Mrs. Scorsur are the parents of five children; John is manager of the ranches owned by the family' Matthew, deceased; Nicholas graduated in 1917 from the College of Commerce, University of California, with a degree of B. A. He served as chief petty officer in the hospital corps in the U. S. N. R. F. in the World War and is now engaged in general merchandising in Orange Cove, Fresno County; Andrew is a student of law in Santa Clara University, class of 1924, and also served in the U. S. N. R. F. at the time of the World War; Catherine is a student at Notre Dame College in San Jose, class of 1922. Mr. Scorsur gives no small amount of credit for his success to his devoted wife, who has been his loyal helpmate and coadviser, working in harmony to achieve their ambition of becoming independent and rearing and educating their children to be useful and honored citizens. During 1901 Mr. and Mrs. Scorsur and their children made an extensive tour of Europe, especially enjoying the visit of four months at the old home place of their parents. Mr. Scorsur is now one of San Jose's pioneer fruit buyers, and his success has only been gained by the utmost care and intelligence, backed by industry and integrity, which has aided him in laying a foundation for a successful life. He and his family are active and consistent members of St. Patrick's Catholic Church of San Jose.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1472

A resident of California since 1887, Steve Scorsur was born in Dalmatia, Austria, August 14, 1861. His father, John Scorsur, followed the sea for many years until he retired to his farm. He had married Miss Mary Lopizich and they were blessed with six children—four boys and two girls—and two sons and two daughters are still living. One brother, John Scorsur, is a fruit buyer and lives on Pine Avenue, The Willows. The parents both passed away on the home farm in Dalmatia.

The fourth child of the family, Steve Scorsur, grew up on the farm and as there were no public school advantages in those days did the best he could to pick up an education, though most of it was obtained in the great school of experience. When sixteen years old he went to sea, first in the Mediterranean trade, and then in the transatlantic, touching at Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Providence, and Galveston, Texas, his first trip to the United States being when he was nineteen years old, when he landed in Philadelphia. He continued his seafaring life until 1887, when he came to Galveston on a three-masted schooner, Martin L. Smith, and there he left the ship and came to San Jose, Cal., where he had uncles and cousins living. He found employment in the fruit business, working for James Scorsur, but soon went to Los Angeles, where he was employed for two years. Thence he removed to Madera, where he became proprietor of a restaurant, being in business there when Madera County was organized, and was a warm friend of Judge Connelly.

 After eight years in Madera, Mr. Scorsur sold out his interests there and returned to San Jose, purchasing his present place of one acre on San Antonio Street, where he erected a residence, built a dryer and engaged in buying and selling fruit, in which he has been very successful. He also owns a ranch on Foxworthy Road, where he is engaged in raising prunes and apricots.

Mr. Scorsur's marriage took place in San Jose, March 12, 1901, uniting him with Miss Mary Genovich, who was born in Dalmatia, and came to America that same year. Their union has been blessed with five children: John, a graduate of Heald's Business College, is now a bookkeeper in the Bank of Italy at San Jose; Mary was educated in the San Jose high school and Heald's Business College and assists her mother in presiding over the home; Peter, Stephen and Anthony are attending the grammar school. Mr. Scorsur is a member and former vice-' president of the Austrian Benevolent Society of San Jose. A man of affable manner and kindness of heart, he has established an enviable reputation as an enterprising and progressive citizen, and is well and favorably known and held in high esteem througout the community. The family are members of St. Patrick's Catholic Church and take a generous part in its benevolence.
From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page  1472


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight