|Grave of Walter and Katherine Harrub (photo by Michael Colbruno)|
Walter Balfour Harrub was born in Plymouth County, Massachusetts on July 16 1830. He lost his mother as a young boy and was basically on his own from that point. He learned the trade of a shoemaker while living with an uncle, but eventually became a cooper, a person who makes or repairs casks and barrels.
At age 19, he came to California during the Gold Rush aboard the barque* Pleiades. He arrived in San Francisco on September 18, 1849 after a 218 day journey and set out for Marysville, which was known as the "Gateway to The Gold Fields." During a trip back to San Francisco, Harrub fell and ill and required six months to fully recover. He eventually settled in Foster Bar, California and hired some Native Americans to take him to a nearby location where he staked ten claims and was successful in finding gold.
|Ruby Hill, California during the Gold Rush days|
In 1874, Harrub moved his family to Oakland, where he bought four homes and other property in the Fruitvale area. His second wife Katherine was a well-known hostess of society events in Oakland.
He died after suffering from an abscess of the throat for six months.
* Barque: a sailing ship, typically with three masts, in which the foremast and mainmast are square-rigged and the mizzenmast is rigged fore-and-aft.
SOURCES: History of the State of California by James Miller Guinn, Wikipedia, The San Francisco call, Ancestry.com, Oakland Tribune