Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


California is known throughout the civilized world for its fruits. Among those who have helped the state to gain its reputation in this respect is S. J. Kitzmiller, who is regarded as the largest and most successful fruit grower in the vicinity of Soledad. He is a native of Tennessee and a son of Rev. David and Elizabeth (Carriger) Kitzmiller. His father was a well known Baptist minister in East Tennessee.

S. J. Kitzmiller received a grammar school education, which he supplemented by a course in a business college in Knoxville, Tennessee. After teaching school for two years he became a bookkeeper for J. L. Hudiburg of Knoxville. On the first day of April, 1886, he left Tennessee for the Pacific coast and on the twenty-eighth of that month he landed in Gonzales, California.

His first position in Gonzales was that of weigher and truckman in the warehouse of Faw & Edwards. This was a rather humble position, but by close attention to his duties and observing all that was going on around him, he learned the warehouse business in all its details. He continued in that line of activity in Gonzales and Soledad (the greater part of the time in the latter place) until shortly after the beginning of the present century, when he decided to become a fruit grower. Purchasing a tract of ninety acres of good land, he set out seven acres of pear trees in 1902. To this he has added from time to time, until he now has fifty acres in bearing trees and about twenty acres of young trees. At the time he set out his seven acres of pear trees, he also planted seventeen acres to other fruits, and this orchard, which has been well cared for, now yields him a handsome return. He also has a thirty-acre orchard in Greenfield, California, started in 1912.

In 1896 Mr. Kitzmiller was married to Miss Margaret Mitchell, daughter of Thomas Mitchell, pioneer farmer and fruit grower and one of the substantial citizens of Watsonville. To Mr. and Mrs. Kitzmiller have been born three children: Elsie, an undergraduate of the University of California-Science and Letters course-was employed for two years in the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and is now at home; Donald M. graduated in the law department of the University of California in 1924; and Margaret is a student in the College of the Holy Name at Oakland. Mr. Kitzmiller belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and his political affiliations are with the democratic party.

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.