Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


In all communities there are men in whom the initiative spirit is a strong and dominant factor and of this type is Arthur R. Wilson, vice president, general manager and founder of the Granite Rock Company of Watsonville. He is a civil engineer of broad experience and superior ability and has to his credit many notable achievements along construction lines. He was born April 30, 1866, in San Francisco, a son of E. H. and Joanna H. (Mclntire) Wilson, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Indiana. The father came to California in 1852, and the mother arrived in this state four years later. In 1869 E. H. Wilson went to Helena, Montana, where he embarked in general merchandising, and his death occurred in that city in 1873.

Arthur R. Wilson received his elementary instruction in the public schools of Oakland, California, and his higher education was obtained in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he was graduated in 1890, on the completion of a course in civil engineering, winning the degree of Bachelor of Science. He began the practice of his profession at Oakland, and his ability soon brought him prominently before the public. He served as city engineer of Oakland from 1895 until 1897 and in 1900 came to Watsonville. On January 23, he organized the Granite Rock Company, which was incorporated on the 14th of February, 1900, and has grown steadily since its inception. Its officers are Chares F. Langley, president; Arthur R. Wilson, vice president and general manager; Charles E. Bloom, secretary and treasurer; John E. Porter, sales manager; A. J. Wilson, engineer; and D. W. Swearingen, superintendent.

The quarry is situated at Logan, in San Benito county, ninety-three miles south of San Francisco, and the plant supplies a large amount of ballast for the Southern Pacific Coast Lines and large quantities of stone for highway and commercial purposes. The firm furnished the crushed rock and gravel for the state highway and much of its product is used for bridge building and for paving in all of its branches. For a considerable period they also engaged in concrete construction work but abandoned the field about two years ago. They were awarded many important contracts and examples of their skill are furnished by the Watsonville Library; the Sam Leask building, erected in Santa Cruz in 1906; the bandstand in Plaza Park at Watsonville, while they also remodelled the Santa Cruz county court house after the earthquake of 1906. The Granite Rock Company stands supreme in the line in which it is specializing, and at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, held at San Francisco in 1915, was awarded the gold medal.

In the operation of the quarry Mr. Wilson has established a record for economical production and in the conduct of the business of the Granite Construction Company he has been equally successful. It was organized at Watsonville in 1922 and takes contracts for stone and concrete work. In 1924 this concern was incorporated as the Central Supply Company, with the present officiary, namely: president, A. R. Wilson; vice president and manager, W. J. Wilkinson; and secretary, R. B. Scott. This company makes a specialty of general building materials in its line, crushed rock, sand, cement and mixed concrete, and operates not only in Watsonville but in Salinas, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo. It is not too much to say that Mr. Wilson is recognized as an authority in his line of work and is one of the directors of the National Crushed Stone Association.

He has been honored with the presidency of the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and is now (1925) filling that office. He is a member of the Corinthian Yacht Club of Tiburon in Marin county and is the owner of the yacht Maryland G, keenly interested in aquatic sports. He is a member of Watsonville Lodge, No. 1300, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks; a member of Camp No. 82, Woodmen of the World; and a member of Parlor No. 65, Native Sons of the Golden West, at Watsonvile. It has been made a matter of comment that Mr. Wilson is one of the men who are making history in the west and it is recognized that through his achievements in the engineering field he has contributed his quota to the world's work. He also is a member of the directorate of the Pajaro Savings Bank of Watsonville, which has profited by his business acumen and judgment.

Mr. Wilson has been twice married. In 1895, at Oakland, he was united in marriage to Miss Alice Jeffery Cullen, daughter of William Cullen, Pacific representative of the great Rothschild interests. She died in 1920, and in 1922 Mr. Wilson married Mrs. Anna R. Elston of St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Wilson, by his first marriage, has three children, two daughters, Ruth and Mabel M., and a son, Arthur Jeffery Wilson, who is associated with him in his business enterprises, now engineer and assistant manager of the Granite Rock Company. Arthur J. Wilson was graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1923, twenty-three years after his father was graduated from that noted institution, and has become recognized as a very capable engineer. Miss Mabel M. Wilson married Wilson Meyer, a member of one of the pioneer families of San Francisco, and is now living in that city. Wilson Meyer is associated in business in San Francisco with his father, of the old firm of Meyer, Wilson & Company, which has been in business there since the year 1850. The original Meyer of this company was one of the pioneer business men of San Francisco and in the days of early stress there, was a member of the old vigilance committee which brought about a state of law and order in a troublous time.

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.