Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


William Edward A. King, of Santa Cruz, is an enterprising, experienced florist who has done much both to encourage the cultivation of flowers and to form public taste and appreciation of floral beauty. He is a native of England, born in Cornwall, March 12, 1843. His father was William E. A. King, a sailing master in the royal navy, and he had married Miss Eliza Dorward, a native of Jersey, England, and a charming girl of her time, who made an excellent wife and mother. She lived to the grand old age of eighty-five years, but the father died at the age of forty-eight.

When fourteen years of age our subject was apprenticed to a landscape gardener, from whom he also learned what it was to be a florist; and at the age of sixteen he rented a small piece of land and embarked in business for himself. At the end of two years, he sold his interests in England and migrated to New Zealand, where he served for a couple of years in the cavalry, and then tried his luck at gold mining in New Zealand. On June 12, 1866, he landed for the first time in San Francisco.

From California Mr. King moved southward to Mexico where during 1870-71 he was busy colonizing. Having disposed of his interests there, he returned to California and in 1879 reached Santa Cruz county. He secured a choice tract of some seven hundred acres near Watsonville and he was the first to plant apples in that section, and his success was the beginning of the great apple industry of the Watsonville district. He grew yellow Newtown pippins, winter pearmains and yellow bell-flower apples, but later he subdivided his property, known as Hazel Dell, and sold all of it. He then became interested in Los Angeles property, but met with failure in that enterprise.

On September 20, 1889, Mr. King returned to Santa Cruz and engaged in business as a florist, becoming the pioneer in that line hereabouts for he has been busy in that field for the past thirty-five years. Too much credit, and also honor, cannot be given to this ambitious, progressive and industrious man, who first opened up paths along which so many other folks have since, with more or less success and fortune, traveled.

In the year 1875, at San Francisco, Mr. King was married to Miss Orisa Ann Perigo, a native of Massachusetts, who was reared in Colusa county, California, and died in 1910. To them was born a daughter, Jeanetta O., now Mrs. Woodward, who has two children, and with whom Mr. King now makes his home. He is a charter member of the Sons of St. George and also of the Odd Fellows of San Francisco.

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.