Across the Plains in '49-settling in Santa Clara County


One of the early pioneers of Santa Clara County, who furnished a splendid example of the self-made man, and whose career is worthy of note, is Spencer Morrow Maze, who passed away May 11, 1916, at his home in Gilroy, highly respectd by all who knew him. A Kentuckian by birth, he was born July 16, 1830, in Henry County. The parents of Spencer Maze were John and Sarah (Morrow) Maze, both also natives of Kentucky, the former born January 16, 1788, and the latter, July 17, 1792.

They were married November 29, 1808, and were the parents of nine children; Enoch, Elizabeth, Polly, Patsy, Sarah, Chesley, Eliza. Spencer M. and Pleasant, all of whom are now deceased. In 1834 the family moved to Illinois, locating in Macoupin County, where the father bought up govrenment land in large sections and continued his occupation of farming. After having located in Illinois, John Maze returned to Kentucky to settle up his affairs and while there died, September 6, 1835. His widow remained on the farm in Illinois for eight years, and died May 24, 1843, when Spencer M. was but thirteen years of age.

Left an orphan thus early in life, Spencer first took up his residence with his brother Enoch, who soon removed to Carlton, where two years later Enoch died. Spencer then became an apprentice to learn the wagonmaker's trade and applied himself for three years, receiving ten cents a day and board for his services. At the end of three years he had thoroughly mastered the details of that business and in March, 1849, he set across the plains behind mule teams, without a relative in the party, but being in company with Colonel Fry and James Ralston and Mr. Sharon, who afterwards built the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

 Upon arriving in Sacramento, August 3, 1849, he, in company with Colonel Fry, went to the gold mines in the American River Valley, spending his first winter at Georgetown. His work in the mines proved successful and within two years he gave it up altogether. Going to Santa Clara County in 1851, Mr. Maze first located in the vicinity of Alviso and engaged in farming for a year and a half; going next to Saratoga, he took up his trade of wagon maker and blacksmith for five years and was successful in his undertaking. In August, 1858, he first came to the Gilroy district, and two years later purchased what was known as the Maze home ranch of 200 acres, which he operated for almost thirty years as a dairy farm. In 1886, Mr. Maze retired from the active duties of life and moved to Gilroy, where he spent the remainder of his days, a worthy citizen of the locality.

While residing in Saratoga, in May, 1853, he married Miss Amanda Gruwell, a native of Iowa, where she was born in January, 1837, a daughter of Labon Gruwell, who crossed the plains in 1852, bringing his family. Mr. and Mrs. Maze were the parents of five children; Edward Record[see bio below}; Ella Pearl, became the wife of Dr. J. R. Reily and she died aged about forty years; there were two boys who died in infancy; and Miss France Spencer Maze, of Gilroy. Mr. Maze was a Republican in politics and was a patriotic citizen, as shown by the fact that from 1861 to 1865 he served as a membre of the Home Guards, first as a private, then promoted to be captain. After locating on his ranch in the south end of Santa Clara County, Mr. Maze found the place covered with wild mustard no cultivation at all, and he had to do some very hard pioneering work to first get his crops put in. During the years 1863-66-67-68, when he couldn't make the ranch pay, he would walk from his ranch six miles to Gilroy, to work at his trade and back each night, receiving $3.50 per day.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 438

Bio- Sawyers
One of the most successful and painstaking farmers in the Gilroy precinct is Edward record maze, a naative Californian who was born at Saratoga on fevruary 4, 1856. The father, Spencer M Maze, was a Kentuckian and is mentioned on another page of this book (see above). Edward atteneded the public schools of Gilroy and the McClure military Academy of Oakland, and ll his life he has lived on the home ranc.  On July 8, 1886, he was married to Miss virginia Strange, a daughter of Eddward MacGruder Strange, a native of Virginia who came to California and mined for a short time at Murphys Camp.  He was a graduate in a law of  the University of Virginia and practiced a short time in California, passing away in 1887.  He was married in California to Emmeline H. Whitney, born in Wisconsin, who came with her partents across the plains in 1851 and located in Calaveras County, where she was married and where her four children were born, namely Maria S. Reeve of Gilroy, Edward W., of San Francisco; Virginia S. , Mrs Maze; and Helen Strange Block, of Arizona.  Mrs. Strange is still living, aged eighty-five, making her home in Gilroy.

Mr. and Mrs. Maze are the parents of four children; Irwin Strange, married Miss Adele Henry, a graduate of the University of Caliornia, and they reside at Oak Park, Ill; he graduated from the Davey School of Tree Surgery at Kent, Ohio, and is folllowing that profession, and was at Camp Sherman during the war; Winnifred Bernice, is the wife of J. W. Burchell, and they reside at Walnut Grove, Cal., and have to children, Elton Spencer and Winnifred B; Virginia, is sthe wife of J. W. Parmelee, residing at Gilroy; Spencer M., who served three months in the S.A.T.C. at Berkeley, is a rancher, residing at home.  In national politics Mr. Maze is a Republican, and fraternally a member of the Odd Fellows since 1885 and a past grand officer and delage to the Grand Lodge.  His many qualities have plced him among those upon whom a community for its substantial support.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 989