A farmer by ancestry, he arrives in California about 1850. He and Liza live in San Jose for 20 years. The Hamiltons moved to the Salinas Valley in 1871, and settle in the harsh and dry foothills east of King City in about 1873. At first regarded with wariness by his neighbors as a foreigner, he earns their trust and becomes a beloved and respected figure of his community. Samuel is a handsome, robust, outgoing man, a master storyteller ("a comical genius") and lover of poetry and philosophy. An educated and wise blacksmith, carpenter and woodcarver, he is renowned for his honesty, diligence and inventiveness. But in his business dealings, he has no talent for making money. Steinbeck was two when his grandfather died, so he creates Samuel out of family stories.