Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Left an orphan at an early age, John H. Corr has progressed through the medium of his own efforts, and his life is replete with many thrilling experiences and adventures which have brought him an intimate knowledge of the pioneer epoch in .California's history. He has served the public in various capacities, always discharging his duties to the best of his ability, and he is now acting as assistant chief of police of Watsonville.

Mr. Corr was born July 28, 1858, in New York city, and his parents died when he was an infant. He was brought to California in 1861, at the age of three years, and spent his boyhood on the ranch of Charles Silveria, situated near Watsonville. He received a limited education and has in his possession a picture of the first school which he attended-a small whitewashed shack. When but eight years of age he became self-supporting, herding hogs for five dollars per month, including his board. When older and stronger Mr. Corr worked on the ranch of W. V. Gaffey, who assigned him the task of milking the cows, and later he learned to make butter. He made the first oleomargarine in the valley and next became a cowboy. He followed that life for twelve years, riding the range in California and also in the state of Nevada. Returning to Santa Cruz county, he worked on the construction of the Watsonville sugar factory and was later employed in the plant. He was elected constable on the democratic ticket, and made a fine record in that office, which he filled for eighteen years. He has been deputy sheriff of Santa Cruz county for a period of twenty years and for many years has been connected with the police department of Watsonville, at one time acting as chief. He is therefore well qualified for the position of assistant chief and his work has received high commendation. A student of human nature and the motives of men, he thoroughly understands the ways of criminals and has been very successful in their apprehension. He has never known the meaning of fear and leaves nothing undone to enforce the law. His name has become a menace to evil-doers and he has had many narrow escapes from death, having a torn coat whose sleeves were shot away by a thug whom he was pursuing in connection with his duties as deputy sheriff. He still has the gun which he shot as a boy of seven, being knocked to the ground by the recoil, and also has a blanket which he used in his youth. His collection of police curios, taken from prisoners, is one of the finest in the state, and from the storehouse of memory he relates many interesting anecdotes of his early experiences as an officer of the law. This valuable collection contains many ancient weapons, such as knives, pistols, brass knuckles, Indian war clubs, black-jacks, and three and four barreled guns. It also includes horse pistols used in the Civil war and a large assortment of handcuffs made in the early days. Mr. Corr has a wide acquaintance and many friends in this section of the state, and his record as a public official and a private citizen is an unblemished one.

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.