The Steinbeck family of Hollister begins with Johann Adolph Grosssteinbeck, born in Homburg, Germany circa 1830. He married an American, Almira Ann Dickson, in the Holy City of Jerusalem, giving birth to their first son in 1857.

The young family returned to Almira’s home in Massachusetts as their son was learning to walk and then they moved to Florida. As the Civil War erupted, the family traveled back to the north; however the cold weather did not agree with Johann and he decided to venture west in 1873, arriving in Hollister, a booming community with plenty of work for someone who was good with a hammer.

On November 25th, 1874, Almira and her five sons arrived in Hollister by train. Johann purchased 10 acres of land at the corner of Line and South Streets, and the couple raised their boys and started a dairy business. Johann purchased cows until he had acquired a herd of 25, delivering milk twice a day to the community. His customers liked the personal service he provided.

The San Benito Advance carried an ad on June 8, 1883, that reads, “Fresh Milk Delivered morning or evening at the lowest rates. Parties wishing milk from one cow, can be accommodated on reasonable terms.” Johann and Almira celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1906 surrounded by twenty-nine relatives, all with the last name of Steinbeck. The author, John Steinbeck, was just six years old.

Courtesy: San Benito County Historical Society