Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


The memory of the late William H. H. Metz, one of the pioneers of Monterey county, is perpetuated in the name of the town which bears his name and which grew up from the settlement he established there on a tract which he had taken over from a discouraged "squatter" back in the days when the lands in western California were being opened to settlement. He became a large landowner in that county, was long active in development work thereabout, for many years was postmaster of Metz, for twenty years was clerk and trustee of the schools, and in many ways was influential in the labors of the community carried on there in his generation.

William H. H. Metz was an Ohloan by birth but was a resident of California from the days of his boyhood having been but a lad of fourteen years when he crossed the plains behind oxen with his parents and became a resident of California. He was born on March 4, 1841, and was but a babe in arms when his parents left their Ohio home and migrated to the then opening territory of Iowa. Not satisfied with conditions there the Metz family presently left the prairie country and migrated to southern Missouri, where they remained until 1855, in which year, attracted by the glowing reports of California, they joined the constantly growing caravans which then were moving over the plains and mountains to the golden west. Upon their arrival in California they settled in the Santa Clara valley, in the vicinity of San Jose. William H. H. Metz then was fourteen years of age and his youthful spirit responded in full to the possibilities then opening here for adventurous and ambitious youth.

It may be said that the career of the late William H. H. Metz really began in 1867, when, being then something past twenty-five years of age, he became a rancher in San Louis Obispo county. There he remained for four years, acquiring a practical knowledge of the needs of newly opened land, and then, disposing of his holdings at that place, came to Monterey county and bought from a discouraged "squatter" the latter's right to preemption of a claim of a quarter of a section of land at the point later marked by the establishment of Metz station. Mr. Metz prospered there and after his initial improvements were well under way began to buy adjacent lands until in time he was the proprietor of a fine ranch of four hundred acres and came to be recognized as one of the substantial and influential landowners of that community. For years on this ranch Mr. Metz gave close attention to the breeding of high grade draft horses and in that connection will ever be remembered by the farmers and horsemen of this region for the very essential service he thus rendered in raising the standards of horses in this section.

In 1864 he then being twenty-three years of age, William H. H. Metz was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Whitfield, who was born in the state of Arkansas but who had been a resident of California since she was six years of age. To this union were born six children, two daughters, Flora and Anna, and four sons, William H. H., Jr., James J., Walter N. and Ralph L. Metz.

Mr. Metz was an active and helpful figure in local civic affairs. As road master in his section he had charge of the roads from Gonzales to King City and in that capacity did much to advance the good-roads cause in the district over which his jurisdiction extended. In 1902 he was elected supervisor for his district and as such also rendered useful public service. Having in his youth recognized the great need of better schools Mr. Metz was all his life interested in the development of the local schools and for twenty years gave his services to the public as school trustee and clerk of the schools in his district, rendering thus a service which will long be remembered. In other ways he did well his part in the development of the community of which he was a pioneer.

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.