Hidden Histories

Family Ties
to the Griffin Estate

By Tom Izu

Month 00, 0000

Family ties to the Griffin Estate, late 1800s through 1920s

My Grandfather, Hideshi Izu, arrived in Los Altos in 1897 from Japan and found work at the Griffin family ranch in Los Altos Hills. The ranch was located on the site that is presently Foothill College. Hideshi became the foreman there, overseeing Japanese immigrant laborers for the estate’s orchards and assisting with the construction and maintenance of the Japanese style tea house, pond, and garden in 1908. My Grandfather later brought over my Grandmother, Haruno (Ishimatsu) Izu from Japan by way of an arranged marriage. Both of them lived at the ranch, with Haruno taking care of the field workers’ bunkhouse, and handling the cooking and cleaning.
They raised a family of four boys with my father, Yamato Douglas Izu, the youngest, born at the ranch in 1924.
Hideshi died suddenly in 1927, leaving Haruno to raise the four boys. Haruno eventually moved the family to the town of Los Altos, and became a domestic worker to support her family.