Santa Cruz County History - People

A Walk Through Time: Levi Starbuck
by Janet Krassow and
by Randy Krassow

Levi Starbuck, whose grave overlooks the pauper's corner of Santa Cruz Memorial Park, is representative of a sturdy group of men who fought in the great civil war and drifted west in the migration that sealed the grouwth of the country.

Photograph of the Memorial for Levi Starbuck
The Memorial for Levi Starbuck

He was born in 1828 at the Nantucket, Rhode Island estate of his grandfather, Captain Starbuck, a famous ship owner and sea captain in the War of 1812 against the British. As the Civil War loomed, Levi joined Company D of the First Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry and fought in a number of famous battles.

After he mustered out of the service in 1865, he came to California and farmed in the vast San Joaquin Valley. In the late 1880s, he moved to Santa Cruz and took up a small farm and orchard on what is now 7th Avenue and Soquel Avenue in Live Oak. There he remained until his death on April 28, 1905. A living legacy to his life on the farm is the cork oak that he planted -- one of the few in the area -- that still stands on the corner of 7th Avenue and Soquel Avenue.

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