Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Henry Struve, president of the Watsonville Vegetable Growers Association and the general manager of the affairs of that useful cooperative organization, is the owner of one of the best kept vegetable ranches in this section and has long been recognized as one of the leading lettuce shippers in this wonderful garden country. He was born on the ranch he now owns in the Roache district in the vicinity of Watsonville, Santa Cruz county, May 11, 1869, and is a son of Hans and Cecelia (Storm) Struve, both natives of the Kingdom of Denmark, and their last days were spent on their ranch in the Watsonville neighborhood.

The late Hans Struve, who in his generation was acknowledged one of the leaders in vegetable culture hereabout and for years one of the most conspicuous promoters of that now mammoth industry, came to California from Denmark in 1852 and finding conditions here to his liking returned to his native land, was there married and he and his bride then came to California and established their home on the place above referred to, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Hans Struve early became convinced of the exceeding fruitfulness of the soil here for the growing of vegetables and personally secured the immigration here of numerous of his fellow countrymen who could give to vegetable gardening that degree of intensive attention so requisite for proper results, in many instances furnishing the money to secure the passage of his compatriots and helping to get them established here. He was an ardent democrat, took an active part in local political affairs and was in other ways long regarded as one of the leaders of the community. It was he who brought into the Watsonville neighborhood the first steam thresher and along other lines he also was ever a leader, a man of influence and held in high esteem. He prospered in his operations and became the owner of a fine place of three hundred and twenty acres. His death occurred in 1909 and at his passing he left a good memory, for he had done well his part in community development.

Reared on the home ranch in the Watsonville neighborhood, Henry Struve acquired his education in the local schools and was from the days of his boyhood devoted to the operation of the farm, well trained in the details of vegetable culture by his experienced father. He remained on the home place until his marriage when past twenty-five years of age and then began farming on his own account, giving his particular attention to the growing of lettuce, in which he long has been recognized as an expert. Mr. Struve owns a fine place of five hundred and twenty acres in the San Andreas and Roache districts and there remained until 1917, when he retired from the ranch and moved to Watsonville, where he and his wife have since resided, their son, Elmer H. Struve, managing the ranch. In 1924 Henry Struve organized the leading vegetable growers of this region into a cooperative marketing association, under the name of the Watsonville Vegetable Growers Association, and has since served as president and manager of the affairs of that organization, which has proved its value in standardizing both products and marketing conditions. There now are better than forty members of this association and it is doing good work. Mr. Struve also is a stockholder in the Pajaro Valley National Bank of Watsonville and has other substantial interests. He is a charter member of the Vera Cruz Lodge of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and when a lodge of this order was organized in Watsonville he became a charter member of that.

In 1895 Henry Struve was united in marriage to Miss Mary Martin, daughter of Thomas Martin, who also was one of the pioneers of the Watsonville neighborhood. Mr. and Mrs. Struve have two children: The son, Elmer Henry Struve, above mentioned, was graduated from the Agricultural College at Davis and is now giving his attention to the home ranch, and the daughter, Miss Louise Struve, is the teacher of home economics in the Watsonville 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.