History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California Volume 2 Title Page

Biography of Luke P. Biskup of Watsonville California

Luke P. Biskup, prominently identified with the fruit-packing industry of Watsonville, is a self-made man and a representative of that type of foreign-born American citizen whose inherited tendencies of industry, enterprise and integrity have added so much to the development and prosperity of our nation. He was born June 5, 1887, in the province of Dalmatia, Austria, and was reared on a farm. His education was acquired in his native land and in 1908, when eighteen years of age, he yielded to the lure of the new world. After reaching the United States he started for Watsonville, where he joined an older brother, who had preceded him to the Pacific coast. When Luke P. Biskup reached this city he had but twenty dollars and was further handicapped by his complete ignorance of the English language. However, he possessed the valuable assets of youth, energy and ambition, and with these he has surmounted every difficulty and obstacle in his path, pressing steadily forward to the goal of success.

Mr. Biskup was hired by N. Dickelson, who assigned to him the task of pruning fruit trees on his ranch on the San Juan road, and for three years he was employed on fruit farms in the Pajaro valley, driving teams and also doing plowing, pruning and other labor. He worked for a year in the orchards near San Jose, saving as much as possible from his wages, and on his return to Watsonville rented the Litchfield ranch, a sixty-acre tract, for which he paid the sum of four hundred dollars per annum. The place was situated in Green valley and twenty acres were devoted to apricots, peaches, cherries and pears. The first year was a disastrous one and Mr. Biskup lost a thousand dollars but made up his loss in the second year, making a profit of one thousand dollars. He next leased the Chris Johnson ranch of eighty acres, twenty of which were utilized for the growing of apples, and operated the property for three years. He paid an annual rental of eight hundred dollars, and his profits for each year amounted to one thousand dollars. Mr. Biskup then bought a twenty-acre apple orchard in the Railroad district for eight thousand dollars and operated the ranch successfully for two years, when he sold it for sixteen thousand dollars, doubling his money. Later he offered twenty thousand dollars for the same farm but the owner refused to sell. For the past five years Mr. Biskup has engaged in packing and shipping green and dried fruits, designated as the Rosebud brand, working on an independent basis, and in this venture he has been equally successful. He pays his packers fifty cents per hour but when he started to work here his wages amounted to a dollar and a quarter per day. He shipped forty carloads of fruit in 1923 and under his expert management the business is enjoying a rapid growth.

In 1922 Mr. Biskup married Miss Anna Glage, who was born in South Dakota, and they own a nice home in Watsonville. Mr. Biskup gives his undivided attention to his business, and the Austrian Benevolent Society is the only organization with which he is connected. He possesses that quality which has been termed “the commercial sense” and has improved his opportunities to the fullest extent. He has thoroughly identified his interests with those of his adopted country and in winning success he has at the same time gained the respect and confidence of his fellowmen, for his life has been guided by the Golden Rule.

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.

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