Santa Cruz County History - People

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

HUBER, JOHN (1837-1918)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (January 2, 1919)

Headstone of John Huber
John Huber
Oakwood Memorial Park

DIED: HUBER- in Santa Cruz, Dec. 27th, John Huber aged 81 years, a native Pennsylvania. Funeral from the undertaking parlors of C.C. Chase on Walnut Av., Thursday, Jan 2, at 2 P.M.

Wanted a Brass Band at Funeral

John Huber, better known as John Hubbard, who died at the country hospital, in a will left by him made provisions for the orphans. The witnesses to the will were Geo. W. Smith and A.A. Morey and the executor named in the will, Ben Crews, is represented by Attorney Geo. W. Smith.

In the will he requests decent burial at the Catholic cemetery and asks that money be taken from his estate to provide for a brass band at the funeral. He bequeaths $200 to St. Francis School for boys in the Pajaro valley, and $300 to the Sisters of Holy Cross at Santa Cruz, for the orphans. He directs that the residue of his estate should go to Frank Cook at Laurel.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (January 3, 1919)

Band at the Funeral of Late John Huber

A band made up of the Chas. Lamar, L.F. Williams, C.W. Taintor, Fred Jennings, Jack Warner, Thos, Simmons, Ed Sinkinson, and C. Gorsboth furnished music yesterday at the funeral of John Huber. This was in compliance to a wish he made in his will. Selections were rendered at Chase's undertaking parlors and also at SCruz/OMP cemetery.

Col W.V. Lucas conducted services for the dead veteran and paid a beautiful tribute to the character and his valor as a soldier of the Union in the War of the Rebellion. Mr. and Mrs. A.N. Mellor sang at the services.

Soquel Augmentation Ranch Story 1922, 1985; Compiled by Ronald Powell

The Hubbard (or Huber) Bridge Burns Down

According Tech Cathey, in 1929 (exact date is undetermined) the bridge across Aptos Creek in Loma Prieta burned to the ground. As an example of how easily events can be distorted through the years, several old timers state that in 1929 John Huber, better known as John Hubbard fell asleep in the cabin he had built located below the subject bridge with a cigarette still burning in his hand. Soon both cabin and bridge were on fire. But with John's death occurring in 1918 the old timers stories confirm how easily past events can become distorted.

Because John, who lived in the Town of Loma Prieta from its earliest days right up to his death in December of 1918, was one of the towns, if not the area's most colorful characters, his story follows. The stories concerning John are many, some with truth while others are either untrue or are greatly exaggerated. We first quote Edward P. Pfingst, a grandson of Warren R. Porter. "John Huber was a Civil War veteran that was shot through his jaw at Gettysburg, leaving his face badly scarred."

Note: In a letter dated January 24, 1908 from the Department of the Interior to Mr. John Huber of Aptos, California, it is stated:

In your above cited claim for pension, you allege that you were born at or near Lancaster, Ps., while the records of the War Department show that the John Huber who served in Company 'L', 6th U.S. Cavalry, from October 28 1862, to April 28, 1864, and who rendered a prior service in Company 'G' Wisconsin Infantry, was born in a foreign country.... The Gettysburg campaign occurred during the June and July period of 1863.

You should explain this discrepancy under oath, and state the name and the place you gave as the place of your birth at each enlistment. You should state also, whether you ever signed your name other than John Huber while serving in Company 'G', 3rd Wisconsin Infantry.

To continue the Edwards tale... "John hid is disfigurement with a beautiful auburn red brush whisker. He lived in Loma Prieta from the early 1880s until his death in late 1918. He was an excellent lumberman. It is said that he could stretch a line on the ground, and he could fell a tree right on the line, a feat he performed many times."

John received a pension from the government, therefore he found it unnecessary to hold down a regular job. He lived in several locations in Loma Prieta, the last being under the bridge that crossed Aptos Creek in the center of the town. The location of this last home gave the name "Huber" or Hubbard's Bridge" to the structure, a name that "stuck" for years after it burned down.

Over the years, rather than ride the train in and out of Loma Prieta, John preferred to walk. In the morning he would head for Aptos to pick up the San Francisco Bulletin, an evening paper. He always got to Aptos early enough so that he could pass the time of day in various saloons. Sometimes he would head back to Loma Prieta with his paper so 'exhausted' that he would stop at certain favorite areas along the railroad track to sleep his 'problem' away. There were two spots between Aptos and Loma Prieta that he favored to rest at and 'relieve' himself, these areas became known as 'Huber's rest areas.'

NOTE: There is another interesting story concerning John that involves Warren R. Porter. One day Warren brought John down to Watsonville to cut up a fallen eucalyptus tree, not an easy tree to cut into sections with an ax. All day, with shirt off, John worked on the tree swearing the entire time. Only darkness halted his onslaught.

In the Santa Cruz Surf dated December 31, 1918 a short article appeared titled "ORPHANS REMEMBERED":

In the Will of the Late John Huber, Who Died at Hospital. In his will John, better known as John Hubbard, requested that he be buried at the Catholic cemetery and that enough money be taken from his estate to provide for a brass band at the funeral. This last requested was honored, with the band playing rousing tunes all the way to the cemetery. John bequeathed monies to the St. Francis school for boys in the Pajaro Valley and to the Sisters of Holy Cross at Santa Cruz for the orphans.

John Huber, or Hubbard was truly one of Loma Prieta's, and possibly the entire Aptos area's more colorful and interesting characters.

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