The Valley of Heart's Delight



Active in promiting the commercial development of San Jose. Walter L. Chrisman was one of the most enthusiastic workers in the different war drives and as an appreciation received an acknowledgement from the chairman of the Liberty Loan executive board commending his good works in this city. He also served acceptably as president of the Alum Rock Park Board and is the present chairman of the Santa Clara County Republican Committee, a man of natural business ability, resourcefulness and much influence. Mr. Chrisman is a native of California having been born in Pescadero, San Mateo County, on May 7, 1872, a son of Josiah and Mary (Britton) Chrisman, who were born in Phoenixville, Pa., of an old family in that region, dating back to pre-revolutionary days and of old Knickerbocker stock. He came to California via the Isthmus of Panama in 1864 and engaged in farming and stockraising in San Mateo County.

On one of his trips to San Jose he met Miss Britton, the acquaintance resulting in their marriage. She was also born in Phoenixville, Pa., of Scotch and English descent and came to San Jose, Cal., in 1865 via the Nicaragua route. They continued farming and sockraising at Pescadero, San Mateo County, until 1893, when they sold out and removed to San Jose, where their sons had preceded them and here the family have since made their home. The mother passed away in 1916, but the father is still living.

Walter L. Chrisman attended the public schools of Pescadero and later the Garden City business college in San Jose, from which institution he graduated in 1891. He left school at the early age of thirteen and worked with Levy Bros. for about five years, and it was after this that he took a business course and became an employe of the Fifth Street Canning Company where he worked for a year, then in 1892, he engaged in the wood, hay and coal business with his brother, William H. Chrisman, this now being one of the oldest concerns of this kind in San Jose.

Mr. Chrisman's marriage, which occured on December 4, 1893, united him with Luda V. Hobson, a daughter of another prominent old pioneer family who had been identified with Santa Clara County and San Jose for about half a century. They are the parents of a son, George L., who is now a student at the San Jose high school, class of 1923. Mr. Chrisman has been very active and prominent in making Alum Rock Park the beautiful and attractive place it is today, enjoyed by thousands of tourists aside from the citizens of the county. He served as trustee of the park board for eight years, being president of the board for two years, and it was during this time they succeeded in voting bonds to make substantial improvements and add 500 acres to the area of the park. They developed new springs and more mineral water from the old springs and build walls of cement and concrete to protect the springs against floods, making a permanent improvement so valuable to the preserving of the mineral springs for the public; they also built the new upper road to the park. In this work he was heartily associated with the other members of the board, W. L. Prussia, Victor Hancock, B.A. Harrington and Carll Stull.

Mr. Chrisman is a member of San Jose Parlor No. 22. Native Sons of the Golden West and is past president and has served four years as grand trustee of the Grand Parlor, visiting parlors from siskiyou to San Diego; he is also a member of the Knights of Pythias and belongs to the National Union, and San Jose Lodge No. 522 Elks. In religious faith, Mr. and Mrs. Chrisman are Methodists. Mr. Chrisman has been very active and prominent in politics in the city, county and state conventions and is now serving his second term as chairman of the County Republican Central Committee. He is a member of the San Jose Rotary Club, and served on the board of directors at one time; also served as director of the San Jose Chamber of Commerce of which he is still an active member, and also of the Merchants' Association. He is intensely interrested in the growth and development of San Jose and Santa Clara County, and has given freely of his time and means towards worthy objects that have for their aim the upbuilding of the county and contributing to the happiness of the people.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922, page 463