One of the oldest and most highly respected citizens in the neighborhood of Soledad is John Ober, who was born in Sweden, April 6, 1850. The name was originally Oberg and the records in his native land show that he is the son of Peter and Christine (Pearson) Oberg. His father was a farmer and John grew up on the farm. At the age of twenty years he left Sweden for America. The first four years of his life in this country were spent in the east and the middle western states, where he was engaged manly in railroad work. In the meantime he dropped the last letter of his family narme and became knywn as “Ober”.
In the fall of 1874 John Ober came to California and bought a sixty-acre tract of land near Salinas. This place he describes as “a wilderness of willows and cottonwoods”, but he cleared it, made improvements and several years later sold it at a price which gave him a profit of one hundred per cent. He then rented a ranch of one thousand five hundred acres near Soledad, where he engaged in farming on a more extensive scale. About this time he joined a syndicate for the purchase of an old Spanish land grant, in the division of which among the syndicate members he received sixty acres. This tract he lived on and cultivated for several years, when he again sold out at a handsome profit. His present ranch of nearly five hundred acres was purchased in 1904. With a view to having a comfortable home in which to pass his declining years, he made important improvements and the ranch is now one of the best in Monterey county, on account of its first-class building, and well kept grounds. Mr. Ober retired from the active management of the. place in 1912 and leases the land.
Mr. Ober has not confined his activities to farming. He is a stockholder in the Salinas City Bank, the Coast Valley Gas & Electric Company, and the Soledad Mercantile Company. When the last named corporation was formed he was elected vice president and held that position until 1923. He belongs to the Foresters of America, which is the only society to claim him as a member.
in 1878 Mr. Ober and Miss Christina Africa Wingren were united in marriage. They were childhood sweethearts in Sweden and came to America about the same time, though they were not married until several years later. They have five children : Nellie, now Mrs. Gus Wigholm of San Francisco ; Victore, a ranchman near Salinas ; Rudolph, an attorney in San Francisco ; Hattie, the wife of Charles Kelley of Ripon, California, and Harry, living in Stockton. Rudolph and Harry served in the World war, the former as second lieutenant in the army and the latter in the transport service of the navy.
Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California’s history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925.