Author finishes book on great-grandfather, former Gilroy mayor

Author finishes book on great-grandfather, former Gilroy mayor

Local author Elizabeth Barratt’s

magnum opus,

a 208-page biography documenting the life and times of her
great-grandfather, Gilroy pioneer and former mayor Dr. Heverland R.
Chesbro, will hit the stands in early fall.
Local author Elizabeth Barratt’s “magnum opus,” a 208-page biography documenting the life and times of her great-grandfather, Gilroy pioneer and former mayor Dr. Heverland R. Chesbro, will hit the stands in early fall.

It’s taken Barratt 15 years to record the stories and accomplishments surrounding Chesbro, who had a medical office on the west side of Monterey Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets in the early 1900s.

Born on a sod house on the Iowa prairie in 1859, Chesbro later arrived in Gilroy after graduating from medical school in 1881. He was elected to City Council and served three terms as Gilroy’s mayor. According to Barratt, one of her great-grandfather’s major contributions to public affairs includes the promotion of state road improvements, which resulted in the completion of Hecker Pass Highway. His efforts on behalf of Santa Clara County water conservation were later assumed by his son, Dr. Elmer J. Chesbro, after whom Chesbro Dam is named. Heverland passed away in 1947.

“I’m just in seventh heaven. I’ve heard about my great-grandfather all my life. He died when I was four,” said Barratt.

The author, who lives on Church Street, said she spent hours at the Gilroy Museum taking down notes on a legal pad, then going home and transcribing everything to her computer.

Barratt’s book draws from family letters, journals entries, personal accounts and newspaper articles. It contains historic family photos, recipes and personal memoirs/reflections on the life of Barratt’s grandfather, Elmer.

The biography will make its public debut during an open house and signing in the early fall at the Gilroy Historical Museum on 195 5th St. It will also be available for sale at the museum in early August, with a portion of the proceeds dedicated to the Museum Endowment Fund.

For more information, call the Gilroy Historical Museum at (408) 846-0446.

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