Ella Jane Anderson was born in Illinois, and at the age of eight, she traveled with her parents on the Overland Trail arriving at Hollister in 1867. “About sundown we got our first sight of the Hollister home, a large white house at the foot of a hill. We saw several little houses built on wheels for the use of carrying herder’s bedding and groceries. They were about six feet long and just wide enough to sleep in.”

Ella married in San Juan Bautista at the Plaza Hotel on February 12, 1877. Her father wrote, “It seemed hard for us to realize that Ella was a grown-up lady, but one day in early spring, Alex drove her away in his carriage drawn by two beautiful white horses.”

Many years later, Ella sent a sample of well water to Berkeley for analysis, and the San Benito Mineral Spring Company was founded in 1893, E. J. Anderson, owner. “This company markets annually a small production of mineral water obtained from a well about 4 miles southeast of Hollister. The well, which is 286 feet deep, was drilled in about 1890. Water rose to a point 100 feet below the surface, from which depth it has to be pumped. The analysis made by M. E. Jaffa shows a large amount of the sulfate radicle, which gives the water definite medicinal effects. It is sold artificially carbonated.”

Ella spent her later years writing about her life and submitted a manuscript to a leading New York publisher. Her historical biography was never published, but her stories are now part of the San Benito County Historical Society collection. Their historical significance is priceless.

Courtesy: San Benito County Historical Society