Santa Cruz County History - People

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

CRUZAN, JOHN A (1836-1913)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (November 20, 1892)

Rev. J.A. Cruzan
A Brief Sketch of the Reverend Gentleman In the Pulpit and On the Field

Rev. J.A. Cruzan will this morning preach his first sermon as pastor of the Congregational Church. He is a pleasant, genial gentleman and will become popular.

Mr. Cruzan's family consists of Mrs. Cruzan, a daughter and two sons, who will arrive to-morrow. They will occupy the residence on Handy hill recently vacated by Rev. M. Willett. The reverend gentleman is a native of Indiana.

Before graduating from the Chicago Theological Seminary he attended Beloit College, Wisconsin. His first pastorate was in St. Charles, Illinois. For five years he was pastor of the First Congregational Church, Portland, Oregon. Then he succeeded Rev. Mr. Frear, formerly of the Santa Cruz Congregational Church, as pastor of the Fort St. Congregational Church, Honolulu, where he remained for six years. Subsequently he was pastor of the Third Congregational Church, San Francisco, three years, and the Sioux Falls Congregational Church for two years. He received three calls to go to the Congregational Church in St. Louis, finally accepting, but he did not intend to remain long, as he preferred to be in California. He received a call to the Congregational Church in Spokane, of which Mr. Willett is now pastor, but refused, as he preferred this state.

Mr. Cruzan has also a journalistic experience, being when only sixteen years old the associate editor of the Free Press, Iowa. In Honolulu he was one of the proprietors and editors of the friend, the oldest Christian journal west of the Rockies, having been established forty-seven years. Mr. Cruzan has been a pastor for twenty years. While Mr. Willett was in the junior class at the Chicago Theological Seminary Mr. Cruzan was in the senior class.

He enlisted during the war when sixteen years of age as a private in Co. F. Third Iowa Infantry, and saw service for 3 1/2 years. He was with the army of the Tennessee from Fort Henry to Atlanta. The reverend gentleman was at Shiloh, Corinth, Missionary Ridge, Vicksburg and Chattanooga. At Shiloh he had his right foot crushed by a gun carriage, and at Vicksburg his skull was fractured by a bullet. Mr. Willet's father was a Captain of a company in the same regiment.

Mr. Cruzan visited Santa Cruz first in 1888 and in September 1889 preached a sermon in the Congregational Church of this city.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (November 13, 1913)

Rev Cruzan Dead

Santa Rosa, Nov 12- Rev. J.A. Cruzan, a pioneer minister of this coast, once pastor of the Congregational Church of Santa Cruz, died here Tuesday night. He was a native of Cross Plains, Ripley County, Indiana, and was 77 years of age. His early youth was spent in a newspaper office, and during the Civil War he followed General Grant, and for the last year of his service was attached to the general's staff.

The deceased is survived by two sons, Harold Ide Cruzan an attorney of San Francisco, and Donald Evans Cruzan, a newspaperman of this city.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (November 16, 1913)

The Late Rev. J.A. Cruzan

Santa Rosa papers of November 12th speak as follows of the late Rev. J.A. Cruzan, a former pastor of the local Congregational Church, and well known here:

Mr. Cruzan had been an invalid for a long time and several weeks ago he slipped and fractured his hip on the library steps. He was taken to his home and everything possible was done for this comfort by his devoted wife and other members of the family who were with him constantly.

A man of splendid mental powers, a profound student, eloquent writer and convincing orator, he devoted the greater part of his life to the ministry and has been honored of men for his service to the world. He possesses a kindly and genial disposition and was ever ready with a sympathetic word that brought light into dark places in the lives of his fellow men.

He offered his life for his country in the hour of her greatest need, but was spared to devote a long span of life to the uplift of mankind.

Rev. J.A. Cruzan has resided on a ranch in the Jennings tract, just outside this city for the past three years. He is a pioneer minister of this coast coming to Portland Ore., in 1873.

Deceased was made a Master Mason in Williamsport, Pa., He maintained his connection with the order for many years, taking a demote from San Jose lodge only a few years ago. In Honolulu he was given membership in Oahu lodge as a mark of appreciation for his oration on the death of President James A. Garfield.

Deceased is survived by a widow and three children. The latter are Mrs. Edith Cruzan Sickenscher of Berlin; Attorney Harold Ide Cruzan of San Francisco, and Don E. Cruzan, who reside a home and is connected with the Republican staff.

Mrs. J.A. Cruzan is ill at the family home in the Jennings tract. For days she has not left her husband's bedside and when death took him she broke down from nervous strain. A trained nurse is in attendance, and every care and attention is being given her.

The deepest sympathy of hundreds of friends is extended the family in their bereavement.

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