Solano County

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Among the old settlers of Solano county, and particularly of the Benicia settlement, the name of Patrick P. Gerrish ever will be held in respectful memory, for he was one of the real community builders of Benicia. Mr. Gerrish, a native of the old Pine Tree state, came to California in settlement days, captain of a schooner coasting around the Horn. He became engaged as a building contractor in the then developing village of Benicia on the bay, and there became quite successful in his line.

Patrick P. Gerrish was born in the village of Warren, in Knox county, which county borders the rock bound coast of Maine lying between Penobscot bay and Muscongus bay. There he was reared and, in common with so many of the Maine coast folk, early took to the sea, eventually becoming a captain of a schooner in the coastwise service, and it was in this capacity, as noted above, that he came to California, arriving here in the early '50s. He later established his home in Benicia, where the remainder of his life was spent, a substantial building contractor. Among the buildings still standing that were erected by this pioneer builder are the old Southern Pacific railway station, which he erected on the wharf and which later was moved to its present location; the grammar school, the high school building, which now is to give way to a fine new modern high school building, and several of the old time dwelling houses that still are doing duty. Among these latter is the old Gerrish home, which he built and in which he so long dwelt, one of the first substantial dwellings put up in the town, and which is still standing there in East I street, in a fair state of preservation.

Shortly after coming to California, Patrick P. Gerrish was united in marriage at San Francisco to Miss Zoe Julia LaDeit, who was born in France and who when nine years of age had come to California with her parents, the family coming around by way of the Horn. Of the children born to this pioneer couple, three are still living, two sons, Oliver Gerrish of Benicia and Charles Gerrish of Los Angeles, and a daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Durner.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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This page was last updated 15 Oct 2007

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