The Families of Adam Keith

“Once upon a time ...”, family facts and tales


Ghiradelli chocolate

Joseph Nicholas Ghirardelli, Jr. [1886-1967]


Ancestry: Adam Keith1>Balthasar Keith2>Peter Keith3>Balser Keith4>Balser W. Keith5>Estella J. [Keith] [m. Harry F.] Jones6>Nina P. [Jones] [m. Joseph Nicholas] Ghiradelli, Jr.7


Nina P. Jones, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Jones, married Joseph Nicholas Ghiradelli Jr. [son of Joseph Nicholas Sr.], July 10, 1910

"The San Francisco Bay Region" by Bailey Millard. Vol. 3 page 367. Published by The American Historical Society, Inc. 1924.


Joseph Nicholas Ghirardelli, whose death occurred May 11, 1906, was one of the leading business men and honored citizens of Oakland. He was born in San Francisco, February 7, 1852, and his father, Domingo Ghirardelli, was one of the pioneer business men of that city. The subject of this memoir gained his earlier education in his native city and in Italy, the land of his ancestors. After his return to California he attended Santa Clara College, and thereafter he became associated with his father and brothers in carrying forward the chocolate manufacturing business that had early been established by his father. Joseph N. Ghirardelli was eventually made president of this company, which had manufacturing and sales establishments in both San Francisco and Oakland, and he continued the incumbent of this position until his death, his efforts having been potent in the upbuilding of one of the largest enterprises of this kind in the San Francisco Bay region. Mr. Ghirardelli was a member of the Elks and the Athenian Club of Oakland, and was independent in politics. He was a progressive and successful business man and liberal and public-spirited citizen, with a personality that gained to him hosts of friends. In 1885 Mr. Ghirardelli wedded Miss Ellen Frances Barstow, and she survived him, with their two children, Joseph N., Jr., and Carmen.

Ghirardelli “Square”,

San Francisco CA ca 1905

From the Ghirardelli Square website




Domingo's business was growing and in 1889 he officially signed over ownership of his business to his sons. To accommodate it, Domingo's sons purchased an entire block of property for their headquarters in 1893 that overlooked San Francisco Bay. The property consisted of the Woolen Mill, the Apartment Building and many other buildings on the property. Domingo and his sons began a spectacular building program that included the Chocolate Building in 1899, Cocoa Building in 1900, the Clock Tower in 1911 and the Power House in 1915. Ghirardelli Square was the result and is now, of course, a San Francisco landmark.