Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Whatever prestige and popularity are enjoyed by the Chase Lumber Yard, well known headquarters for builders at the corner of Seventeenth and Ocean avenues in Pacific Grove, is undoubtedly due to the splendid organizing and administering powers of Oscar E. Chase, who has sought to carry the most complete stock of everything likely to be asked for, to offer what he has at the lowest reasonable prices, and to know just where to find any part of his stock at the shortest notice-a consideration of prime importance to busy people. A native of California he was born at Alma, Santa Cruz county, September 27, 1870, the son of James Edgar and Mary (Cavenee) Chase, the former of Maine and the latter of Iowa. The father came to California by way of the Isthmus while Mrs. Chase crossed the great plains by means of an ox-team. He is one of the pioneer lumbermen and sawmill owners of Santa Clara county, and is still living at the age of seventy-seven.

Oscar E. Chase was educated in the Los Gatos public schools, and was first employed in a cannery at that place. After a while, he went into the lumber business "at Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz county, managing the mill end of the business, which he started in 1886 and he has since followed that line in this state. In 1894 leaving the mill, he took a commercial course in the Santa Cruz Business College, and then became bookkeeper for the S. H. Chase Lumber Company of Boulder Creek. He later worked in the shingle mill and in 1896 he entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad as telegraph operator, acting as relief man at various railroad stations. With H. A. Peterson as a partner, he next operated a shingle mill at Soquel, Santa Cruz county, conducted under the firm name of Chase & Peterson, but afterward sold his interest and was with the Loma Prieta Lumber Company for fourteen years. While he was with the Loma Prieta Company at the mill in Soquel, in the Santa Cruz mountains in 1906, a flood wrecked the plant and when it had been partly rebuilt, the earthquake caved in the mountain, destroyed the mill, and killed nine men, Mr. Chase luckily escaping. The Loma Prieta was one of the pioneer companies of the county, and its yards and buildings were opened in Pacific Grove in 1883. A. C. Bassett was the original general manager of the company, and he was also a superintendent of the Southern Pacific Railroad, with offices in San Francisco. The company went out of business in 1914, at the starting of the World war and was succeeded by the Loma Lumber Yard which in 1920 closed the yard and went out of business. In 1921 Mr. Chase took over the enterprise, and since then it has been known as the Chase Lumber Yard of Pacific Grove. Mr. Chase has had other lumber interests in the state, having organized both the Stoodly Lumber Company of Santa Cruz and the Molina Lumber Company at Aptos.

Mr. Chase was married in October, 1900, to Miss May Nash, a native of Iowa, and their home circle now includes two children: Melba Lucille, a teacher in the Salinas schools, and Wesley E., a senior at the Pacific Grove high school. Mr. Chase is a member of the First Christian church of Pacific Grove. For years he has been a trustee in charge of the grammar and high schools of Pacific Grove. The cause of education and religion find in him a stalwart supporter and his aid can always be counted upon to further any measure for the public good.

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.