Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

PERRY, ELLIOT D (1844-1931)

History of Santa Cruz County California, Edward Sanford Harrison

Elliot D Perry
Elliot D. Perry

This gentleman is the county surveyor of Santa Cruz County, to which position he was elected by the Republican party in 1890. He was born in Richmond, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, May 29,1844. In 1846 his parents moved to the State of New York, and ten years later to Illinois, where the subject of this sketch lived until 1865. February 15 of that year he enlisted in Company C, 153d Illinois Volunteers and was discharged, by reason of the close of the war, September 21 of the same year, at Springfield, Illinois.

Subsequent to this date he attended school, and was graduated as a civil engineer from Michigan University, June 18, 1871. In July, 1873, he came to California, and to Santa Cruz in the spring of 1875. In the following December he left Santa Cruz, but returned in August, 1878, and has resided here continuously since, following the profession of surveying since 1880.

Mr. Perry is a modest and unassuming gentleman, domestic in his habits, and thoroughly competent in his profession. He is married to a Santa Cruz lady, formerly Miss Nellie Stevens.

History of the State of California and Biographical Record of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, J. M. Guinn


Significant of Mr. Perry's adaptability for the public service is the fact that he has for years been numbered among the popular officials of Santa Cruz county. His election to the office of county surveyor in 1890 followed an experience of eight years as deputy county surveyor under T. W. Wright, during which time he gained the accurate knowledge of the work and the familiarity with all its details that has since enabled him to discharge his duties with promptness and accuracy. For some five years he had as deputy C. L. Pioda, since which time L. T. Williams has been his assistant. In Richmond township, Cheshire county, N. H., May 29, 1844, Elliott Davis Perry was born to the union of Lysander and Almina (Sprague) Perry. As a boy he accompanied his parents to Illinois and settled on a farm, where he assisted his father until starting out for himself. A firm believer in Union principles, he was desirous of enlisting in the army during all of the Civil war, but the opportunity did not come until shortly before the close of the rebellion. February 15, 1865, he enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Fifty-third Illinois Infantry, and served until honorably discharged at Springfield, Ill., September 21, of same year.

Immediately afterward he entered the University of Michigan, where he took the regular course of study and was graduated June 28, 1871. Surveying was his chosen occupation and he found employment on the St. Louis & Iron Mountain Railroad, later entering the service of the Chicago & Pacific Railroad. During 1874 he came to California and for a year devoted himself to visiting different parts of the state, investigating climate, soil, resources and opportunities. He then assisted on the Santa Cruz Railroad as a surveyor, after which he spent eighteen months in San Bernardino county. From there he returned to Santa Cruz, where he has since made his home. Since coming here he has established domestic ties, his wife being Ellen, daughter of James Stevens, who came from New York state to California in an early day and settled in Santa Cruz. (p. 617-618)

Santa Cruz Evening News (December 7, 1931)

E.D. Perry, Long County Surveyor, Dies

Elliott D. Perry, who came to California 54 years ago with a surveying crew mapping a line for a potential railroad from the east into California on a southern route, died at his home at 54 Washington street Saturday night after an illness of four months.

The body was removed to the Chase mortuary where funeral services will be held at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon. The body will be cremated and interred at the Santa Cruz crematory.

Honorary pall bearers will be the following engineers from the county surveyors office: Lloyd Bowman, W. H. Oliver, E.R. Muttersback, D.M. McPheters, T.O. Evans, E.J. Jefferson, George A. Wase, Ben Vrooman, W.C. Hughes and H. Hagerstad.

Mr. Perry was born in New Hampshire 87 years ago, but moved to Illinois at an early age. Following his graduation from high school, he taught school in Illinois for two years and on September 15, 1863 joined Company C of the 153rd Illinois infantry and served throughout the remainder of the Civil War.

From Army to College

He was mustered out of the army September 20, 1865, and entered Ann Arbor University at Ann Arbor, Michigan graduating there in 1871. Soon after graduation from school he jointed the outfit surveying a railroad route through the south and entered California by Owens Lake a few months later.

After wandering about the state for two years he came to Santa Cruz to make his permanent home in 1877 and was given the position of deputy county surveyor in which capacity he served until 1892 when he was elected county surveyor to succeed the late Thomas Wright. He held the office until 1910 when he was succeed by Arnold Baldwin. In 1917-18 he served as city engineer.

He was married in this city to Ellen M. Stevens, member of a pioneer Santa Cruz family who died here six years ago. Surviving him are two nieces, Justin V. Mitchell, who was reared as a daughter and who attended him during his illness, and Mrs. Bertha Thomas of San Diego; a grand niece Mrs. Alvin Baxter, and a grand nephew, Harry Walker who live on Beach Hill.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 9, 1931)

Services For Elliott D. Perry

Funeral services for Elliott D. Perry, for many years county surveyor of Santa Cruz county, were held yesterday at the chapel of Chase’s mortuary and the minister who officiated was Rev. Joseph C. Carpenter of the First Methodist Episcopal church.

The hymns "Sometime We'll Understand" and "Sunrise" were sung by Harry Murray with pipe organ accompaniment by Leslie Chase.

The internment was at the Santa Cruz crematory.

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