Santa Cruz County History - People

A Walk Through Time: Moses A. Meder
by Janet Krassow and
by Randy Krassow

Meder Street stretches out long across the western edge of Santa Cruz, tying Mission Hill to the north coast. This avenue is named for Moses "Mo" A. Meder, who was born on December 18, 1802 at Grafton County, New Hampshire. He came to California in 1846, in the days before statehood, as part of a mass migration of Mormons led by Sam Brannan. Arriving at San Francisco on August 1 of that year he, like so many others, had a falling out with Brannan and drifted south finding his way to the redwood groves at Zayante, where he went to work.

Photograph of Moses A. Meder's Memorial
Moses A. Meder's Memorial

Meder leased a sawmill, began cutting lumber, and was extremely successful. With his proceeds he began to buy land, first on Branciforte Creek, and then up the coast, where he bought a portion of Joseph Major's place., Rancho Refugio. From this section of land, he carved out one of the finest dairies and cattle ranches in the area.

There is a story that the pioneers told of Meder's integrity and honesty. When, in 1850, the county was first formed, Joseph Majors was selected as the first treasurer. Before long tax monies began to pour into his office and he found that there was no safe in which to store the vast amount of gold coin. A hurried search was undertaken for a secure haven in which to place the money. It was decided by all that the most secure location was in a trunk under Moses Meder's bed. And there it remained, undisturbed, for well over a year until Santa Cruz could afford its own safe.

Mo Meder died on October 13, 1890, a well-respected member of the community.

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