Santa Cruz County History - People

A Walk Through Time: Edward L. Williams
by Janet Krassow and
by Randy Krassow

Called "E.L." Williams, this Philadelphia born pioneer not only made history in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, but he also lived long enough to write it. When, in 1892, E.S. Harrison published his monumental History of Santa Cruz County, California, two chapters were penned by E.L. Williams.

After leaving the east coast, he arrived in Monterey via the Isthmus of Panama on Christmas Day in 1849 and went into the general merchandise business. He married Narcisa Watson, the daughter of a prominent citizen of early California. In 1852 he opened a branch store in Santa Cruz, on Pacific Avenue, and spent the next six years serving as Monterey county clerk.

Photograph of Edward L. William's Memorial
Edward L. William's Memorial

He later moved to Watsonville where he studied law. In 1862, Williams relocated to Santa Cruz where he remained the rest of his life, functioning as under-sheriff and deputy clerk, as well as collector of internal revenues. In later years, it was he that researchers, journalists, and historians turned to for answers about central coast history. He died on August 17, 1906.

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