Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Peter Struve, a representative of one of the pioneer families of California, was long identified with agricultural operations in Santa Cruz county and is now living retired in Watsonville, enjoying in his later years the ease and comfort purchased by a life of industry and thrift. He was born December 22, 1866, on his father's ranch in the Roache district of the county, and his parents, Hans C. and Cecelia (Storm) Struve, were both natives of Denmark. As a young man the father followed a seafaring life and came from China to San Francisco, California, in a sailing vessel which rounded Cape Horn. He left the ship at San Francisco and spent three years in the gold mines of the state. He then located in Redwood City, San Mateo county, and for some time worked in lumber camps and on ranches. He next bought a threshing machine outfit, which he took to the grain fields in the valley south of San Jose. He finally drifted into the Pajaro valley and rented a farm in Monterey county, growing wheat on the land. Later he bought the Roache ranch of three hundred and twenty acres in Santa Cruz county and there engaged in the growing of wheat and the raising of stock, also operating a dairy. He prospered in his undertakings and in 1872 decided to enter the mercantile field, choosing Watsonville as the scene of his activities, but he still retained the farm. For six years he engaged in merchandising in this city and on the expiration of that period returned to the home ranch. He continued to cultivate the property until 1900, when he retired, and his death occurred in 1908. His methods of farming were both practical and progressive, and by arduous labor he brought his land to a high state of development. He joined the Grange and was much interested in its work. His marriage took place in Denmark in 1865, and he returned with his bride to California. Of the six children born to them, four reached years of maturity but the daughter, Christina, is deceased. Those now living are Peter and Henry, both of whom reside in Watsonville; and Edward, whose home is in Chicago. All were born on the home ranch, and the old home of the Struve family still stands on East Third street in Watsonville, ranking with the oldest residences in this section of the city.

Peter Struve attended the rural school in the Roache district and when fifteen years of age started to work with his father on the threshing machine, also aiding in the cultivation of the homestead. Later he rented a tract of land in the Salinas valley and specialized in raising sugar beets. After a time he returned home and on the retirement of his father in 1900 took charge of the ranch, which he operated successfully until 1920, breeding high grade stock. He likewise conducted a dairy and brought to his tasks that expert knowledge of his occupation which is acquired only through years of practical experience. His standards of farming were high, and everything about his place reflected his progressive spirit. He is now leasing the ranch and makes his home in Watsonville. He is a member of the Elks Lodge, No. 1300, and also belongs to Watsonville Parlor, No. 65, of the Native Sons of the Golden West. In the sunset period of life he is enjoying the contentment and tranquility that comes from results achieved and tasks well done. Mr. Struve is familiar with most of the important events which have shaped the history of this region for more than a half century, and his friends are legion.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.