Biography of Dr. Reuben Gross
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





REUBEN GROSS, M. Dr. - Humboldt county has been especially favored in the kind of professional men who have cast their lots within her boundaries, and in none more than Dr. Reuben Gross, whose superior training has made him looked up to by his brother practitioners, while his kindly nature has attracted a wide patronage from all classes. He has lived at Eureka for almost forty years, and though always a medical man first has taken a live interest in the development of the town and county along commercial and industrial lines. Naturally he has done much to promote modern ideas of sanitation and wholesome living in the course of his work as a physician. But he has done as much in assisting local enterprises which have placed employment and consequent comfort within reach of the county's population, and his judgment on business matters is considered very reliable by all who have had occasion to try it. Dr. Gross is now in his eighties, having been born May 4, 1832, but he still retains control of his various interests in the city and county.

The Gross family is of English origin, but the Doctor's immediate ancestors have lived in America. It is thought that his grandfather, Richard Gross, was a native of Oxford county, Me., whence he removed to Canada, and he died in New Brunswick. By trade he was a shipbuilder. His wife, Mary, was born in Ireland. Isaac Gross, the Doctor's father, was born in Canada and passed all of his long life there, dying in New Brunswick at the age of eighty one years. He was a lifelong farmer and not only successful financially but an influential man in his neighborhood, for many years taking a prominent part in the administration of its public affairs. He served his fellow citizens in the office of magistrate and supervisor. His wife was Ruth Edgett, a native of New Brunswick, in which province she spent all her life, living to the age of seventy six years, She was a descendant of an old English family. Ten children survived her, the son Reuben being the sixth of this family in order of birth.

Reuben Gross was born in the village of Hillsborough, New Brunswick, where he grew to manhood on the home farm. His early education was obtained in the locality, where he attended school winters until twenty years old, after which he taught in the district and grammar schools in order to accumulate funds for a higher education. Thus he paid his expenses at college, after which, in 1859, he went to Glasgow, Scotland, where he took the medical course at the University of Glasgow, completing the four years' work in a period of three years. He was graduated with high honors in 1862, receiving the degree of M. D., signed by Sir Joseph Lister, M. D., and also obtained a degree in surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. Returning to his native land, he opened an office for practice at Sussexvale in 1862, remaining there until 1869, when he gave up his work temporarily to put in a year at post graduate study in London and Paris. When he came back he located at St. Stephen, New Brunswick, where he continued to practice until his removal to the United States. In the fall of 1875 he came thence to Eureka, Humboldt county, Cal., and the fact that he has remained here since would indicate he has not repented of his choice. Ever zealous to keep in touch with the advancement of the times, he has spent a few months in post graduate study at New York City since his settlement in California, but his own attainments and vigorous intellect fit him better for leadership than emulation. His approachable nature has made him beloved as well as trusted wherever his duties have called him, for he has never made any distinctions among his patients where his professional attention is concerned, and the night was never too stormy nor too dark for him to respond cheerfully to every inquiry whether the sufferers were able to pay or not. The affectionate esteem universally shown him has been well merited in a life of exceptional usefulness.

Not long after settling here Dr. Gross became interested in the redwood timber belt of Humboldt county and made heavy investments therein, at one time owning about three thousand acres, which he eventually sold at a material advance on the purchase price. He has valuable holdings of business property at Eureka and has done much to arouse interest in enterprises for the upbuilding of the town, besides giving indisputable evidence of his faith in her possibilities by putting his own capital into improvements here. In 1902-03 he erected what was then the most substantial business block in the city, a fine brick structure one hundred and ten by one hundred and twenty feet in dimensions, with foundation sufficiently strong to support two more stories. This is the Gross block, at the corner of Fifth and F streets. Dr. Gross's city real estate includes his handsome residence. In company with J. A. Sinclair he has been interested in the development of twelve hundred acres of reclaimed marsh land about three miles east of Eureka, where they have been carrying on a profitable dairy business. The variety of his undertakings is sufficient to show how versatile the Doctor's talents are, and the breadth of his intellect, which goes thoroughly into everything which enlists his attention or sympathy, slighting no detail, however trivial, yet keeping the main issues always in sight. For many years he took a leading part in the activities of the Humboldt County Medical Society, of which he has been an influential member. Fraternally he is a Mason, holding membership in Humboldt Lodge No. 79, F. & A. M.

On June 6, 1864, Dr. Gross was united in marriage with Miss Mary Mein, who was born at Hamilton, Scotland, where they became acquainted. Two children have been born to this union, Harold G. and Eleanor, the latter now the wife of Willard Wells, of Eureka. The son is following his father's calling. After a course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1888, he entered the medical department of Harvard University, from which he was graduated in 1891. Then he spent two years as interne in the City hospital at Boston, returning to Eureka to enter upon practice with his father, whose professional responsibilities he assumed gradually until the large patronage was entirely in his hands. The elder man has thus been enabled to relinquish practice gradually, and though his circle of patients makes heavy demands on the time of one person the son has measured up to his work and is regarded as the heir to his father's high reputation as well as to the clientele it enabled him to establish.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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