Charles Wiley Crouch was the younger of two boys born to New York natives Francis Asahel Crouch and Rachel Wiley Dutcher in Canandaigua, Michigan, on July 21, 1867. The Crouch family headed west when Charles was ten, and settled in Calistoga. Francis rented the Greer ranch and farmed grain crops and grapes, but after a few years he bought his own land.

Charles and Leila Crouch

Charles and Leila Crouch

“C. W. Crouch received his educational training in the public schools of Calistoga and then became a telegraph operator for the Central Pacific Railroad. Later he was employed in the civil engineering department of the Pacific Improvement Company, in the erection of round houses and hotels along the line of the Central Pacific. He also was for a short time engaged in farming in Napa County, but presently gave that up and went to San Francisco, where he became a conductor on the Sutter Street railway. After remaining there for four years he returned to Calistoga and was engaged in ranching for a time, but in 1909 he engaged in the real estate and insurance business in the town, and in this he has been eminently successful. Mr. Crouch was formerly agent for the American Railway Express Company and was manager of the Calistoga Water Company, the California Telephone & Light Company and the Calistoga Electric Company. He is now secretary of the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce, a member of the advisory board of the California Development Association and secretary of the Geyser Highway Association. He is also a trustee of the Calistoga public library.”[1]

On April 23, 1889, Charles wed Sarah Grace Cyrus, the grand-daughter of Lovina Graves, one of the members of the disastrous Donner Party expedition; his brother Francis Sherman married Alice Barton Spires, the daughter of another Donner Party survivor, Sarah Graves Spires. Charles and Grace had two daughters, Jessie Rachel and Lelia Grace.


[1] S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. History of Solano and Napa Counties California (Vol. II). Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1926.

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