Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


For more than forty years Edward C. Bronson has been a resident of the valley in which he is now living, in the vicinity of Watsonville, Santa Cruz county, and he thus has come to be one of the best known citizens of that section. He came to the valley as a young man and began his labors there on the old Gagnon tract, which he helped to develop and a part of which he long has owned, making his home there, and has on that place one of the best orchards thereabout. Edward C. Bronson was born in Lorain, Ohio, January 19, 1854, and was but a lad when his parents moved from the Buckeye state into Michigan and settled in Jackson county in this latter state, where the family home was established. His parents, Seba and Eliza (Smith) Bronson, both were natives of the east, the former born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and the latter in New York state.

Reared on a farm in Jackson county, Michigan, Edward C. Bronson received his education in the local schools of that county and remained there until he was seventeen years of age when, in 1871, he started out to make his fortune in the alluring west. He worked as a farm hand in Illinois and Kansas and then went on into Colorado, where he was for some time engaged in working in the mines in Leadville. He also worked for a time in Denver and then came to California and took employment on the Gagnon ranch in the vicinity of Watsonville. After his marriage some years later he established his home on that place and has ever since resided there, having long ago bought a part of his holdings there and after the death of Mr. Gagnon having inherited a part. The late Michael Gagnon came into California as a sailor in 1849, the year of the great gold excitement. In common with many sailors of that period, stimulated by the hope of sudden wealth in the gold fields, he deserted his ship in the port of San Francisco and started out to make his fortune. Leaving the mines after awhile he took up a tract of land in the Watsonville section in Santa Cruz county, buying it for a few dollars an acre, and started in there to develop a ranch. It was on this ranch that Mr. Bronson got his start. When he established his home there in 1893 following his marriage in 1886, Mr. Gagnon made his home with him and there spent his last days.

It was on December 8, 1886, that Mr. Bronson was united in marriage to Miss Katherine Ross, who was born in this state, daughter of Johnathan Ross, one of the pioneers of California. Mr. Bronson and his wife have a very pleasant home on their well kept orchard place. They have seven children, namely: Alia, wife of James McCarthy of Castroville, in Monterey county; Ruth, who is at home with her parents; Lena, wife of Frederick Lundberg of San Francisco; Carl, who is at home, an able assistant in the operations of the orchard plant; Glen, who now is making his home in Salinas; Seba, in high school, and Katherine, who is also in high school. The Bronson orchard consists of fifty acres of full bearing trees and the operations there are carried on in strictly up-to-date fashion, the products of this orchard finding a good market. Mr. Bronson has interests other than horticultural, and is a stockholder of the Pajaro Valley Bank.

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.