The Easton Family of Santa Cruz
Posted by Rose Ann Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015
Toward the end of the 19th century, many ambitious young men were drawn to careers in mining and construction. They dreamed of opportunity in the untapped riches of the West. Wallace Stegner’s novel, Angle of Repose, tells one such story and provides insight into the life and aspirations of western geologists and engineers of that era. The Easton family of Santa Cruz had three sons who followed a similar path, became civil engineers and played a large role in the early story of Graniterock and the development of California.
About 1860, Giles and Mary Easton arrived in California with their parents, Horace and Esther Gushee and Robert Easton. Giles was a clergyman who had come from New York to lead a small Episcopal congregation in Santa Cruz. There they reared five children, and four were closely connected to the formation of Graniterock. Three sons pursued careers in civil engineering, earned degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, and became early Company investors and advisors. A daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was married to Warren Porter, who was Arthur Wilson’s original partner in forming the Company.
The eldest Easton son, Kimball, partnered with Arthur Roberts Wilson in a construction and road paving firm called Easton and Wilson. He was an original investor in Granite Rock Company and spent his career in construction projects based in the vicinity of Oakland and Alameda. Another son, Stanley Easton, worked with Arthur Wilson at Oakland’s Leona Heights Quarry and was a director during the first years of Company operations. He continued a lifelong career in mining engineering and management.
Robert Eastman Easton was the youngest and perhaps most influential family member. An early Company advisor, he was a surveyor and manager of the giant Sisquoc Ranch of Santa Maria, owned by Thomas Bishop and Warren Porter’s father, John T. Porter. Easton eventually became known as “Mr. Santa Barbara County” for his work in development of the Santa Barbara area.
The history of Graniterock is filled with the chronicles of fascinating individuals and families of our region. They are the citizens who have built our communities and lived out their lives making this magnificent area of Northern California what it is today.
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