Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


John A. Morrill, president of the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce, was born in Healdsburg Sonoma county, California, October 20, 1881, a son of Charles A. and Fannie A. (Porter) Morrill. His father was a native of Vermont and a member of a family prominent in New England. In 1862 he enlisted as a private in the Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry and served until the close of the Civil war, being mustered out as a lieutenant. He was then offered a commission in the Regular army, but. declined it and came to California via the Isthmus of Panama. Through connections with the United States treasury department, he was appointed a special agent in the customs service in the Coast Division, the field of his activity extending from Oregon southward to Monterey. He served in this department during President Grant's two administrations, after which he embarked in the wholesale boot and shoe business in San Francisco. Some years later he went to Sonoma county and engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death in 1888. Three children were born to Charles A. and Fannie A. Morrill: John A.; Herbert S., a ranchman in Geyser-ville, Sonoma county; and Laura, who lives in Port Angeles, Washington.

John A. Morrill received a grammar school education and in his youth learned telegraphy. His first station was at Lytton, Sonoma county. In 1900, when only about nineteen years of age, he entered the employ of the California Northwestern Railroad Company and remained with that corporation for several years. Since then he has been in the service of the Santa Fe, Rock Island and Southern Pacific Railroad companies and located in various places. In 1922 he came to Gonzales as station agent and quickly became identified with local affairs. While in Kopland, Mendocino county, he was president of the Chamber of Commerce from 1910 to 1914, and a member of the Luther Burbank Society. His experience there enabled him to play a conspicuous part in the organization of the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce, of which he was elected the first president-an office which he still holds. Since its organization the Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in securing three miles of street improvement, remodeling the lighting system and has erected two illuminated signs at the entrance to the town, issued folders advertising the advantages of the district, and is now engaged in a campaign which contemplates further local improvement work in which the entire community is cooperating.

In 1905 Mr. Morrill and Miss Anita Smith were united in marriage, in Redwood, California. They have three children: Winston, Genevieve and Lorena. The son is a student in the Gonzales high school.

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.