The career of Emil Grolimund presents a splendid example of the possibilities of success in the Sierra Valley as the outcome of persistent industry and the exercise of good judgment in management. Locating here in 1893, with but limited capital, but with an abundant supply of ambition and energy, he has gradually made headway until today he is the owner of nine hundred and sixty acres of excellent land, comprising an up-to-date stock and dairy farm, and is in independent circumstances. He was born on the 3rd of September, 1863, in Canton Solothurn, Switzerland, an only child of Karl and Rose (Munsinger) Grolimund. His mother died when he was but nine days old and he was then taken into the family of an uncle, Athenois Grolimund, by whom he was reared to the age of nineteen years, when he joined his father in the United States. Both of his parents were of German stock and spoke the German language. The father never remarried, and soon after his wife’s death he immigrated to America, settling in the Santa Clara Valley of California, near Gilroy and San Jose, where he worked on various dairy farms and at butchering. He came across the continent on one of the first trains to cross the plains and mountains to the Pacific coast.
Emil Grolimund attended school in his native country, learning to read, write and speak German, with an elemental knowledge of arithmetic, but he is self-taught as far as the English language is concerned. He came to this country with a second cousin, Frank Grolimund, who now lives in San Francisco. He joined his father in Santa Clara County, after a comparatively quick journey, having left Switzerland on May 10, 1883; sailed from Havre, France, on the steamship “La France,” and landed at New York City on May 22, 1883; thence he proceeded by rail to San Jose, California, where he met his father at the Pacific Hotel on June 4th. He lost no time after his arrival here, for on the 6th of June he went to work for Mr. Snell, who owned a large dairy and stock farm near Mount Hamilton, on which he was employed by the month. Some time later he met a man by the name of Frank Lake, who was promoting a land settlement project in Long Valley, Lassen County, this state. Being anxious to secure some land of his own, he went with Mr. Lake, but the project proved a failure and Mr. Grolimund had to abandon the land upon which he had settled because of the alkali condition of the soil and water. In June, 1893, with his train of horses and wagons, he came to the Sierra Valley, following the advice of a friend, M. West, who was engaged in cutting hay in that valley. Finding the water good here, Mr. Grolimund took up one hundred and sixty acres of government land on August 17, 1893, filing at the land office at Susanville. He built a house, dug a well and made other improvements, and later added to his holdings buying one hundred and sixty acres of land, took up an enlarged homestead of four hundred and eighty acres, and a timber claim of one hundred and sixty acres, three miles distant, and has subsequently bought and sold until he is now the owner of nine hundred and sixty acres of land. Upon his land he has drilled sixteen wells, so that he has an abundance of water for stock and domestic purposes, as well as for the irrigation of small areas. Mr. Grolimund raises hay, rye and barley, and has a fine herd of grade Durham cattle, among which are ten milch cows. He sells his cream in Sacramento, shipping it by rail from Chilcoot.
On November 27, 1900, in Howard County, Nebraska, Mr. Grolimund was united in marriage to Miss Johanna Wissing, who was born in Kansas and reared in Nebraska. She is a daughter of John and Mary (Barnhurst) Wissing, both of whom were born in Switzerland and are farming people. Mrs. Grolimund has four brothers and two sisters. Mr. and Mrs. Grolimund have had three children, one of whom, Anton, died in infancy. Leo, who is still at home and is assisting his father in the management of the ranch, is a machinist of local note, for, entirely self-taught in mechanics, he operates a threshing machine in this neighborhood and is able to make all kinds of repairs on machinery, no matter how complicated. The third child, Mary, is the wife of Ray Scott, mayor of Selby, Contra Costa County, California. They have a son, Fred, aged three years.
Mr. Grolimund is a Republican in politics and is a citizen of the United States, having taken out his papers at San Jose. His career here has been marked by steady and well directed industry, rewarded with a very gratifying measure of success, and has long been recognized as one of Sierra county’s sturdy and dependable citizens.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 3 Pages 335-336. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.