It’s “Bio Week”at–

Story from John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected]

Let’s begin with businessman John Garretson 

Hi June,
  I thought this biographical sketch from the 1883 “History of San Mateo County,” on might be useful to accompany Sigma’s latest correspondence that I just sent. I’ve attached a drawing of Mr. Garretson from both the 1883 and 1893 books on, about San Mateo and the Coastal counties of Central California. Enjoy. John
Hon. John Garretson. The subject of this sketch was among the argo- 
nauts of this section of the State.. His portrait will be found in this volume. 
He was born in Boundbrook, Somerset county, New Jersey, November 
10, 1838, and reared on a farm until he became of age. Most of this time, 
however, was spent at school. He left home and went to New Brunswick, 
New Jersey, and was engaged as a clei’k in a dry goods store during a period 
of four years, laying the foundation of a mercantile education, which has since 
stood him in good stead. After the completion of his engagement in New 
Brunswick he went to New York City, and followed the same occupation until 
he came to this State, in 1859. He left New York City in the early spring, 
crossed the isthmus, and arrived in San Francisco in May of that year. He 
remained in that city but a few days, coming to Pescadero and assuming the 
position of clerk in a general merchandising store, owned at that time by 
Bidwell & Besse. At the end of nine months he purchased Bidwell’s interest, 
the firm name being changed to Besse & Garretson. In 1864 he sold his 
interest to Besse, and took a trip to the Sandwich Islands to recuperate his 
health. On his return he re-purchased an interest in Besse’s stock, and this 
partnership continued four or five years, when Mr. Stryker bought Besse’s 
interest, and the firm was changed to Garretson & Stryker. In January, 1873, 
Mr. Garretson disposed of his interest to James McCormack, and took a trip 
to the eastern states for his health. When he returned in 1877, he bought out 
the entire business, and has since been the sole proprietor. Mr. Garretson’s 
business interests are not wholly confined to his store at Pescadero. He is 
identified with the stage line from San Mateo to Santa Cruz, and owns an equal 
interest with Andrew Taft, of the former place. To draw a comparison is at all 
times an odious task, but to say that Mr. Garretson is one of the most highly 
respected and distinguished citizens of Pescadero or of San Mateo county is 
but to assert what is acknowledged on every hand. If further proof of this 
assertion were necessary, it would be sufficient to point out the fact that in 
1867, before this township became a part of San Mateo county, he was elec- 
ted county recorder of Santa Cruz county, and that in 1871, he was 
elected one of the supervisors of this county, being re-elected in 1873. The 
people, not content with the honors they had already conferred upon him, 
selected him to represent them in the state assembly of 1875-6. In 1881, he 
was appointed a member of the board of supervisors, and November 7, 1882, 
he was again elected to that office. Mr. Garretson married Ella Durand, June 
29, 1866, and they have five children, Alice E., Aletta Marie, John Durand, 
Ella C, and William Albert. 
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.