Santa Clara County History

History of Santa Clara County


Other Growing Towns in Santa Clara County--Change From Grain Field to Thriving Community--The Progress of the Towns in the Fruit Districts--Ambrose Bierce's Life--Tragic Adventure With a California Lion.

Sunnyvale, fifteen years old, was built on what was once a grain field. It is eight miles west of San Jose and is on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railway. Today, there is a bustling, wide-awake town which is growing by leaps and bounds. There are factories, canneries, splendid business houses, a first class grammar school, a bank, several churches, two lumber yards, two garages, and a live Chamber of Commerce. The manufacturing industries represent an outlay of over $1,000,000. It was incorporated December 24, 1912. Among the industries are the following:

The Joshua Hendy Iron Works is the pioneer foundry of California, the launching of which dates back to 1856. It was not, however, until 1906 that operations were begun in Sunnyvale. So extensive have these operations been that scores of men are given year-round employment. Mining machinery is one of the chief outputs, although they are making marine steam engines, steering engines, warping engines, and ship fittings for the Government. All kinds of cast iron castings and all types of machine work are also ably cared for. The daily casting capacity of the foundry is thirty tons. Orders from India, China, South America, and many other foreign ports have been filled. It was indeed a lucky day for Sunnyvale when the Hendy Iron Works located here. It was equally fortunate for the iron works to find, near San Francisco, so desirable a location. Sunnyvale pulls for and gets the big things that are to be passed out.

The firm of Libby, McNeil & Libby, well known throughout the United States, operates the year round, and has perhaps the most extensive plant on the coast. They employ a large number of helpers, many of whom own their homes and are getting real enjoyment out of life.

The Jubilee Incubator Company is the pioneer manufacturing plant of Sunnyvale, it having been established some sixteen years ago, although for forty years incubator construction has been Mr. Besse's favorite pastime. The Jubilee Incubator and the Jubilee Brooder have been made famous because of their hot-water system, and they are not only shipped into every state in the Union, but Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Africa, China and other foreign countries have ordered liberally.

With a season beginning early in May and running until nearly the close of the year, the Sunnyvale Canneries give employment to from 200 to 250 persons. The season of 1922 is looked forward to as the banner season, and to that end extensive planning has been done.

The Three Leaf Cot Manufacturing Company is one of the interesting manufacturing companies of the Pacific Coast, giving delightful employment to a large number of people, and turning out a finished product that is eagerly sought far and wide--that of a bed, a chair, a table, and a settee, all in one, combined with a collapsible folding tent, thus making camp life a pleasure, picnicing a dream, and an overland trip an ideal outing. A girl can set up the entire outfit unaided.

Ninety-five per cent of the output of the Hydro-Carbon Companies is exported, paint oil and mineral turpentine being the chief products. Added to this is the famous rubber oil waterproofing for auto tops--a commodity that is winning favor wherever introduced.

The Rumely Products Company operates twenty-six branches in the United States and many in foreign countries. The one in Sunnyvale furnishes a distributing point for California, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, and is caring for the business in a highly creditable manner. Mr. W. Reineke, the superintendent, has been well schooled in Rumely Products, which fact can be duly attested by the increased business. The claim of the company is that "20,000 farmers save all their grain by using Rumely Ideal Separators."

There is one of a chain of many of the California Packing Corporation's plants located in Sunnyvale, and so strongly is it officered and financed that it is always regarded as a real contender in the race for supremacy. The products o€ this plant wherever introduced, have, by popular vote, been placed among the foremost in their line.

A man once said: "I know there's money, and plenty of it, in poultry, for I have put lots of it in, and as I never got it out, I know it's still there." Mr. E. A. Lodge, manager and owner of the Pebble Side Poultry Farm, knows, too, that there is plenty of money in Poultry, for he is getting it out every day, and seeing is believing. Perhaps there is no greater section in California for successful poultry raising than in and around Sunnyvale.

J. Fred Holthouse, a life-time resident of Sunnyvale, and whose study has ever been along the line of improved pumping methods, is the builder of the most complete pumping plant systems that are in use today.

To meet the demands of a rapidly growing community, men with keen vision have launched into the dry goods business, clothing business, grocery business, meat business, hotel and rooming house business, restaurant business, hardware business, drug business, as well as furniture, electrical supplies, feed and fuel, bicycle, plumbing, blacksmithing--in short. Sunnyvale is a veritable bee hive of industry.

In the matter of churches Sunnyvale is represented by the Baptists, Corgregationalists, Catholics, Episcopalians and Methodists. A free municipal library was established by the good women of the W. C. T. U. soon after Sunnyvale sprang into existence, and was taken over by the own after an organization was perfected. A very large selection of choice books are at the disposal of the residents, including the country circulating library. Nearly every known order is represented here, and the individual who bears the proud distinction of being a "jiner," can have some place to go every night in the week, where he finds divertisement from his daily grind at the old tread mill. The movies, too, contribute their full quota in the way of entertainment, the best and up-to-the-minute reels alone being shown. The show house is a good one, well ventilated, ably managed, and a real oasis in the desert to many. Sunnyvale has one newspaper, the Standard, published by A. T. Fetter. The town's latest improvement is a new packing house built by the California Prune and Apricot Growers, Inc. It is one the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

In 1920 the South Shore Port Company, with eighty directors in Santa Clara County, made ready to finance and engineer the project of obtaining a direct waterway for the transportation of the products raised in the valley. Several sites were examined and selection was finally made of Jagel's Landing, a few miles north of Sunnyvale. Work was begun in July, 1920, and will be completed this year (1922). An immense dredger was procured and a canal two miles long with a basin 300x600 feet at the landing was started and is now nearly completed. Boats of 500 tons will operate in the port and will act as feeders of large boats which sail from San Francisco. This waterway will connect three of the richest valley in the State--the Sacramento, San Joaquin and Santa Clara. The officers of the company are: Paul H. Fretz, president; R. B. Roll, George Jagel, Jr.; secretary, C. L. Stowell; treasurer, W. McLaughlin.


Campbell is located in the heart of the orchard district four miles southwest of San Jose and reached by the Southern Pacific and the Peninsular railways. It has the distinction of fostering the largest drying plant in the world, where twenty-five thousand trays of fruit can be placed on the ground at one time. It is proud of its three canneries and its dried fruit packing houses, which send to the markets of the world the finished products in fruits of the Santa Clara Valley.

The town was established in 1887 by Benjamin Campbell, who cut up his 167 acres in lots and small farms and sold them. This area was afterward extended and the ranches heretofore given over to grain were planted in fruit, prunes and apricots, mainly. The town grew rapidly and now has a population of about 1200. It has two banks, a lumber mill and yard, an improvement society, three churches (Methodist, Congregational and Catholic), County Woman's Club, Home and School Club, a town library and a branch of the county library, fire department, and a main street of up-to-date business houses. Two miles from town, at Vasona, is a pit crushing plant. Last but not least Campbell has four grammar schools and a union high school. The latter accommodates the children of Hamilton, Cambria, San Tomas and Campbell school districts. There is one newspaper, The Press, published by Harry Smith.

The section is most highly developed. The drying plant is a cooperative institution, the farmers bringing in their crops to be dried. The elevation of the town is 200 feet. The land rises about 100 feet in each three miles from the trough of the valley to the base of the hills. This, together with several creeks which flow- northward in deep cuts, affords ample drainage to the whole section. The slope also permits of a slight air drainage and makes the section less frosty than the land further east. That this is an understood fact is evidenced by the planting of several small lemon orchards near the town.


Directly west of San Jose and Meridian is Cupertino, on the Saratoga and Mountain View road. Good roads extend in all directions. It is on the line of the electric road from Los Altos to Los Gatos and also has direct electric railway connection with San Jose, ten miles distant. In the town are located a general merchandise store, a real estate office, a union church, Catholic church and an Odd Fellows hall. To the east, south and west the fruit ranches are crowded together. The soil is fertile and the principal crops are prunes and apricots. The town has a rural free delivery, a drier and fruit warehouse, and nearby, at West Side, a packing company and drier. There is a library, an improvement club, Odd Fellows, Rebekahs, Woodmen of the World and King's Daughters lodges, and an up-to-date union grammar school, the districts represented being Lincoln, San Antonio, Collins and Doyle. To build the school house a bond issue of $7,500 was necessary. The population is about 500 and there are no fixed boundaries.


Alviso is one of the oldest towns in Santa Clara County. In 1849 it was predicted that it was destined to become a great city. Setting, as it does, at the head of San Francisco Bay, it was thought that it would become the shipping point for all the lower county. For a time it was a very active place. Warehouses were built and buildings erected for hotels, dwellings and stores. The railroad, however, diverted travel in 1865, and the town became nearly deserted. The arrival of the South Pacific Coast Railroad (now part of the Southern Pacific system) in 1876, revived business somewhat, but the residents no longer look forward to putting on metropolitan airs.

The town was incorporated in 1852 with John Snyder as its first treasurer and A. T. Gallagher as its first marshal. Thomas West and Robert Hutchinson were members of the first board of trustees. The principal industries of Alviso at the present time are the Bayside Cannery and two evaporator companies. The Bayside employs from 400 to 500 persons every season. The Ortley Bros. also do a paying shell business. There is but one church, the First Methodist, and one grammar school. There is both water and mail transportation, boats drawing ten feet of water being enabled to land at the wharves.

Alviso is headquarters for the South Bay Yacht Club. In 1922 there were twenty-four yachts and other boats in the harbor. The club was organized in April, 1896, with J. O. McKee as commodore, Dr. H. A. Spencer, vice commodore; J. E. Auzerais, secretary, and S. E. Smith, treasurer. C. Keaton is the present commodore.


This town, seven miles north of San Jose, stretches from San Francisco Bay to the eastern foothills and is bounded on the north by Alameda County and on the south by the Berryessa and Alviso sections. It came into existence in 1856 when Frederick Creighton erected the first building and opened a store. A postoffice was also established at the time with Creighton as postmaster and J. R. Weller as assistant. In 1857 the first hotel was opened by James Kinney, who was succeeded by A. French. The building was destroyed by fire in 1860, but it was rebuilt by French and conducted by him until his death, over twenty years ago. Of late years the town has made a rapid growth. It now has a population of about 800. It boasts of the California Packing Company, two warehouses, one for hay and grain and the other for grain, solely, a sugar beet company, a spinach ranch, a Standard Oil plant, some of the largest dairies in the state, a squab farm and large potato and grain ranches. There is but one church (Catholic), the Protestants going to San Jose for religious services; and a grammar school, a bank and a free library. There is one paper, the Post, published in San Jose.


This town is situated about three miles north of Santa Clara, on the Oakland branch of the Southern Pacific Railway. There are several stores, no church and the California Hospital for the Insane, a state institution. The hospital was established in 1885 and the first superintendent was Dr. W. W. MacFarlane. The present superintendent, who assumed office in 1902, is Dr. Leonard Stocking. There are 1650 acres in the tract. On April 18, 1906, all the buildings were destroyed by the earthquake and over 100 patients were killed. Legislative appropriations from year to year permitted the erection of thirty-two buildings. A few are of brick, the others concrete. The cost of all the buildings approximates $1,300,000. These are of modern architecture, convenience and sanitary requirements and the grounds are beautifully laid out in wide drives, lawns, trees, shrubbery and flowers. The names of the present board of trustees are: T. S. Montgomery, Dr. W. S. Van Dalsen, W. L. Biebrach, San Jose; Duncan McPherson, Santa Cruz, and Horace Wilson, San Francisco.

A short distance from town, on the east, is the plant of the Western Industries Company. It operates a distillery. It is under Government supervision and at present is engaged in the manufacture of alcohol from the residuum of beet sugar.


Saratoga, in the western foothills, is about eleven miles from San Jose on the Peninsular Electric system. It is 450 feet elevation, so that one may look over the valley where over eight million fruit trees are planted and revel in nature's most beautiful landscape. Lumber Street, the main thoroughfare, keeps alive a faint memory of the old days when ranchers from all the county round came to town to buy lumber for roofing and fencing their newly established homes. Aside from the perennial beauty of the hills, Saratoga's next claim to distinction lies in her country homes and the friendly folk who have made them. A gracious and sincere hospitality seems to pervade the neighborhood, from the little inn with its rose-embowered gateway to the stately Villa Montalvo, the home of Senator Phelan, or the scores of cozy country homes, whose latch-strings hang waiting the pull of the ever-welcome guest.

Senator James D. Phelan, formerly mayor of San Francisco, a world-traveled man of vast means, has selected the foothills a mile from Saratoga for his splendid out-of-town home, being in business in San Francisco. He spent a large sum for the erection of a palatial residence. It is an Italian villa, with tiled roof, concrete foundations, cellars and columns. It is approached by three flights of steps rising on terraces. The house is set in a natural amphitheater, with a canyon on each side, and these run into sylvan glades and sheltered creeks always flowing with crystal water. Redwood groves abound. On the slopes are birch, wild cherry, madrone, oak, and other wild and beautiful shrubs and trees.

The view of the Santa Clara Valley from this home is unsurpassed, the elevation above sea-level being eight hundred feet. The Bay of San Francisco, Mount Diablo, Mount Hamilton and Mount Madonna are in full view, and the orchards, now in bloom and again in fruit, giving greenness in summer to the carpeted valley, lie at one's feet, stretching far away in the distance, twelve miles to San Jose. Villa Montalvo, the Phelan home, was named in honor of Montalvo, the fourteenth century Spaniard who wrote "Sergas de Esplandian," in which the name California was first mentioned.

The house is entered by a loggia from which a large hall opens, and through the hall one can see the patio around which is an arcade. From here steps rise ten feet to another elevation, where a pergola incloses an oval swimming pool sixty feet long, set in a margin of lawn and flowers. The pergola terminates in a casino commanding the whole scheme, whose steps descend to the lawn, close to the pond, and on the rear garden-side doors open to a stage fifteen by thirty feet, whose auditorium, after manner of Greek theaters, is the forested hillside. Mr. Phelan selected the site after inspecting hundreds of others. He feels that the climatic, scenic, and general advantages of the location are the very best in the United States. Proximity to San Francisco, transportation facilities, and the character of the community were also factors.

The reason for Saratoga's untiring hospitality may he found in the fact that, like the spider in the old nursery rhyme, "We've so many pretty things to show you while you are here." First and foremost, there is the wonderful Twenty-Seven Mile Drive, from which, at the summit, the new road to the Big Basin branches off. Either of these mountain drives provide a day of pure delight. So clear is the air at the mountain top that the snow-crowned peak of Half-Dome in Yosemite Park could be clearly seen. But the time of all times for a visit to Saratoga is in late March or early April, at the blossoming of her vast prune orchards. Then away and away, as far as the eye can see, lies spread before the enraptured gaze, a vision of spring loveliness--acres upon acres of snowy orchards, with here and there a little patch of pink to add fresh beauty to the scene and suggest the promise of luscious peaches to come. Every year, generally in March, a Blossom Festival is held, to which come visitors from all parts of Central California. The idea of holding these annual treats originated with the late Rev. Edwin Sidney Williams, and thousands of people are always present when the happy day comes.

Saratoga is a center as well as a gateway, so that the wayfarer cannot exhaust his pleasures in a day or a week. There are the early morning walks to Congress Springs, with its fine hotel and medicinal springs; the "hike" to the historic "John Brown Place"; the horse-back trails among the hills, the fishing in the mountain streams and the floral treasures that await the eager botanist.

Nor is the community spirit without its fit abiding place. At the Saratoga Foothill Club the women of the town hold their bi-weekly meeting and here the intellectual hunger of the town is fed by lectures, concerts and other forms of entertainment befitting a normal well-balanced life. The churches are represented by Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational and Christian denominations. There is a commercial club, an improvement club, and lodges of Foresters of America, Fraternal Aid Union, Modern Woodmen and Odd Fellows with Rebekah auxiliary. A live weekly, the Star, is published by L. C. Dick.

In 1921 the County of Santa Clara bought nineteen acres of land known as "The Quarry." The consideration was $85,000.

Los Altos

Los Altos is a suburban town in the wooded foothills of the Santa Cruz Range, a few miles from Palo Alto and Mountain View. It was settled ten years ago when the Peninsular Railway was extended toward Palo Alto. It is the nucleus of a large home center for San Francisco business men, many of whom already are daily commuters. By hourly electric service Los Altos is less than fifteen minutes from Stanford University. It has several good stores, a modern school house, a bank, telephone exchange, electric lighted streets, water company, garage, restaurant, transfer company, and other conveniences. Scenically the situation is delightful, as it is on rolling hills, combining woodland and orchards, with a living mountain stream running through the town. There are extensive views of the Santa Clara Valley and San Francisco Bay. The climate is typical of a favored mountain region and most of the homes are built to take advantage of an outdoor life. The improvement club is doing much to put Los Altos in big letters on the map. A prominent educational feature is the Los Altos School and Junior College, an open air school for boys and young men. It is highly commended for its efficiency. The town is on the line of the Southern Pacific Railway, with direct service to San Francisco, and may be reached from San Jose by both electric and steam roads. It is an ideal residence place. Construction on the great $1,000,000 new Catholic Seminary near Los Gatos was started in July, 1920. It will soon be completed. The grounds will cover 700 acres.


Evergreen, Yerba Buena Rancho, was first owned by Antonio Chaboya, who held a Mexican grant title. When the Americans acquired California, Chaboya had to secure a United States title. This was granted to him in 1858. The grant, seven miles east of San Jose, was called Evergreen on account of the beautiful oaks that covered the entire acreage. J. B. Hart, who was one of the lawyers engaged to obtain the grant and was paid in land, cut up his portion into farms, and C. C. Smith was one of the first purchasers and established the first business, a blacksmith shop. In 1866 the Evergreen school district was established. The first trustees were John Holloway, Tom Farnsworth and Henry McClay. I. P. Henning was the first teacher. In 1892 a new and modern building was erected. The original building was moved and became the First Methodist Church. On May 15, 1868, C. C. and F. J. Smith opened the first store the village had. In 1870 the Legislature resolved that Evergreen should have a postoffice and the same year the resolution was carried into effect, F. J. Smith becoming the first postmaster. For fourteen years the salary was $12 per year. The office was discontinued January 1, 1914, and since then the residents have been served by rural carriers. In 1886 the Evergreen Hall was built and an entertainment for the W. R. C. Home Fund yielded $300. The home was built a few years later. It is a state institution, though under the management of the Woman's Relief Corps. It houses and cares for the widows and orphans of Civil War soldiers and army nurses. There are five acres of ground; inmates, 1920, twenty-three; matron, Mrs. Alice Arthur. On October 10, 1920, the home was destroyed by fire. In 1921 the Corps purchased from Dr. A. E. Osborne the buildings and land of the Feeble-Minded Home, near Winchester, on the Saratoga Road. The Home is now located there and has twenty-five inmates. Evergreen is connected with San Jose by five paved roads. Prunes, apricots and peaches are the principal fruit crops. It is a very rich section for early vegetables.

Mountain View

Mountain View is situated nearly in the center of the Santa Clara Valley, eleven miles northwest of San Jose and six miles south of Palo Alto. It is noted for its mild and even climate and is in the very heart of the fruit district, being particularly known for its production of apricots and prunes, which here reached a degree of perfection unexcelled anywhere in the country. Such is the excellence of these varietes of fruits that they are dried and sent to Europe as well as the East. There are also in the vicinity of Mountain View splendid vegetable gardens where nearly all kinds of products known to temperate and semi-tropical climates are raised in great abundance and of the best quality. Just outside the corporation limits are magnificent greenhouses in which are grown millions of the choicest flowers known to the florists' art and every day in the year immense quantities of blooms, of great variety, are shipped to the metropolis, and the supply never equals the demand. The population of the town is about 2,000. There are seven church organzations, including Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist Church South, Roman Catholic, First Methodist church, Seventh Day Adventist and Christian Scientist. The public schools are of the highest order and graduates of the high school are admitted to all the colleges and unversities of the state without examination. The grammar and high school campus comprises five acres. There are several private and church schools and the fraternal orders are well represented. The town also boasts of two banks, a movie house and a weekly newspaper, published by P. Milton Smith. It is a progressive, up-to-date paper and ably edited and managed. There are two canneries and a pickle factory, and the plant of the Pacific Press Publishing Association, which is owned and operated by the Seventh Day Adventist denomination. It is the largest of its kind this side of Chicago. In it are published several religious papers and magazines and a large number of denominational books which are printed in about seventy-five different languages and dialects, and are distributed and sold all over the world. All the work connected with these publications is done at the plant in Mountain View, from setting up the type, either by hand or linotype to the final binding, and including all photo-engraving and electrotyping. The annual amount of business exceeds $1,000,000. The buildings are located in a beautful park of five acres just outside the town limits. The town trustees are J. S. Mackbee, James Cochran, Claude Redwine, L. K. Watson, E. D.

The old town of Mountain View consisted of a stage station on the San Francisco road, built by James Campbell in 1852. The town was surveyed into lots and blocks by Frank Sleeper and Mariano Castro, but the town never evinced any dispositon to stray away from the one principal street. In 1869 S. P. Taylor erected a hotel. The new town of Mountain View, in which the business now centers, was the outgrowth of the railroad. It was laid out by S. O. Houghton, of San Jose, in 1865. The first building constructed was used for a saloon. Soon the town spread, business blocks, fine paved streets, school houses and churches came until the town became one of the busiest and most prosperous settlements in the county.

A new ice and precooling plant will be built in 1922. It will be large enough to manufacture ten tons of ice a day. There will also be storageroom for 500 tons of ice, 150 tons of fruit, and 1,000 barrels of frozen berries.


Mayfield is sixteen miles northwest of San Jose. It has a perfectly workirg $35,000 sewer system and a supply of artesian water, pure and inexhaustible. After a chemical analysis of the water, the Southern Pacific Railroad Company selected Mayfield as a site for the erection of a 60,000-gallon water tank for through trains. The town has fine railway connections. There are the Blossom route to San Jose, the Waverly Avenue extension from Palo Alto, and Stanford University and other lines in prospect. A municipal water plant is run on a paying basis, there is a modern grammar school, churches, electric lighting and every up-to-date public service, including a newspaper, the Mayfield News, published by W. J. Nichols. There are two fruit canneries, the Bayside and the Lock Foon, the latter conducted by a Chinaman who owns and operates another cannery at Alviso. The town also has a Chamber of Commerce, a town hall, a bank, churches, schools and fraternal organizations. Fruit growing, dairying and chicken raising are the principal industries. The California Chicken Company's ranch is one of the largest on the coast. The proximity of Stanford University gives the town exceptional educational advantages. The trustees are R. L. Pitcher, chairman; Stephen Anderson, Frank Minaker, T. B. Scott, E. J. Kingham. S. M. Cuthbertson is the clerk.

Mayfield was settled in 1853, and in 1855 a postotfice was established. The railroad arrived in 1864, but the station was located three-quarters of a mile from town. Two years afterward it was removed to its present position. William Paul regularly laid out the town in 1867.

Morgan Hill

It is not generally known that Portola's expedition, as it crossed the Coast Range, coming in from the ocean, first looked upon the Santa Clara Valley from the heights above what is now known as the incorporated town of Morgan Hill, twenty miles south of San Jose on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Strangers, as they pass by train through the Santa Clara Valley are always impressed wth the sharp outlines of the cone-like peak just west of Morgan Hill. This is El Toro (the Bull), and it has a well-defined spur running south, and another branching east, ending in two, rounded, wooded hills that lie in the corporate limits of the town and on which cluster several beautiful homes. Morgan Hill is the name of a pioneer resident, the old home, with its vine-covered porticos, being near the high school and situated on the tract of land that was subdivided several years ago. To ascend El Toro is the desire, usually accomplished, of every person who spends even a few days in this neighborhood. It has a good climb, none too strenuous and well worth the trip, if only for the pleasure of the exercise and the splendid view at the summit. On the way half a mile from town, the experimental grounds of the Leonard Coates Nursery Company are passed. Horticulturists from various parts of the United States, as well as from abroad, often visit these grounds. Mr. Coates is an enthusiast on the subject of the cultivation of native plants and trees of California.

Morgan Hill lies on the crown of the valley, with a fall of nearly 300 feet, either north to San Jose or south to Gilroy. On the east the Coyote River pours through a most picturesque gorge into the valley, running toward San Jose. The hill scenery is magnificent and the country through the various ranges up to Pine Hill is wild and untouched by man. It is on the eastern side of the valley, near Morgan Hill, where Charles Kellogg lives. He is a noted bird lover and lectt!rer and his lectures are always illustrated by the singing of bird songs so that the hall itself will seem to vibrate with the melody. The Kellogg home is in a ravine, far up the mountainside, in the midst of a great grove of oaks.

Small farming is the main industry about Morgan Hill. Of the fruits the prune is the main crop, apricots, peaches, pears and all other deciduous fruits also being extensively grown. Apples do well, a good interest on the investment being realized. Grape growing is an extensive industry, the vineards mainly nestling on the hillside. Prior to the enforcement of the prohibition law, a large winery a few miles south, the property of the California Wine Growers' Association, was profitably operated. Nut growing is a moneymaking industry. Almonds and walnuts do well. The Live Oak Union high school, just north of Morgan Hill, on the state highway, is well situated amongst a grove of live oaks, with spacious grounds well planted with a variety of trees and shrubs. Five school districts are included--Packwood, Madrone, Machado, San Martin and Morgan Hill.

A few years ago an additional concrete building or annex was added to accommodate the increasing attendance at the school. The town is on the great state highway and there are many beautiful drives in the valley and mountains. One favorite drive is through Paradise Valley and over "The Divide" into Llagas Avenue. A few miles further on, at Redwood Retreat is the Robert Louis Stevenson bungalow, now the summer residence of Lloyd Osbourne, Stevenson's stepson. Still higher up, not far from a mountain stream, is a crescent-shaped stone bench, surmounted by an iron cross, under which is the inscription: "Frank Norris, 1870-1902. Simpleness and gentleness and honor and clean mirth." Norris, one of the greatest of American writers, lived in a log cabin nearby. It has a charming situation on the mountainside. The purity of the air and the aromatic fragrance of the woods gave him inspiration for some of his popular novels.

The Morgan Hill ranch was subdivided in 1892, and the town was incorporated in 1906. The Bank of Morgan Hill was established in 1905. The town has one newspaper, the Times, which came into existence in 1892. For twelve years G. K. Estes was editor. He sold out to the present owner, H. V. Pillow, in 1918. Now there are several general merchandise stores, one bank, a cannery, a packing house and a lumber yard. The churches are well represented. Population about 1500. The town is not merely noted for its fine horticultural and agricultural apportunities but also for its hundreds of cosy farm houses and for its poultry farms, dairy and stock ranches. In 1919 the enterprising women of the town organized The Friendly Inn. The object was to have a civic center to take the place of the saloon. Here are found rest room, library, coffee and lunch room, and a large room for meetings.

In 1917 the farmers of the section formed a Farmers Union Stock Company and opened a general merchandise and agricultural implements store. In 1919 the receipts were $270,000. The latest progressive movement by the farmers is a cooperative garage.

A shocking event occurred near Morgan Hill on Tuesday, July 6, 1909. On that day Miss Isola Kennedy, a prominent temperance worker and president of the Tri-County W. C. T. U., went for a picnic in the eastern foothills about four miles from town. With her was Henry Merkle, a ten-year-old boy from Fruitvale, and Curtis Lane, another boy of about the same age. These boys, with another lad, Earl Wilson, were bathing in a creek that flowed past the picnic grounds, when a California lion of large size came out of the bushes and attacked young Wilson, inflicting ugly wounds on the scalp and ear. Miss Kennedy, ran to the boy's assistance to have the lion leap upon her and knock her down. She fought heroically, using a hat pin as a weapon of defense and trying desperately to save her neck from the teeth of the vicious beast.

The boys ran to the tents of the Bay Cities Water Company and called Jack Conlan. He seized a shotgun and ran to the relief of Miss Kennedy. She was still on the ground and the lion was tearing at her flesh. Two shots were fired by Conlan, but as they seemed to have no effect, he hurried back to the camp, procured a rifle and returning shot the lion in the head and breast.

Miss Kennedy was removed to town as quickly as possible and the next day a thorough examination of her wounds was made by Dr. J. T. Higgins, assisted by Dr. F. W. Watt. It was found that one ear was completely eaten off, the other ear badly lacerated, while a three-cornered cut by the right eye had laid the bone bare. The left arm was fearfully mangled from bites and scratches, there being fifteen deep gashes from the shoulder to the wrist. The right arm, leg and back were also lacerated. After suffering greatly Miss Kennedy passed away in September. Earl Wilson, the boy first attacked by the lion, died of lockjaw, superinduced by blood poisoning, shortly before this.


This village lies four miles northeast of San Jose, close to the eastern foothills. It is a populous fruit section and the trees are large and thrifty. Apricots, prunes, peaches, walnuts and cherries are grown in the vicinity of Berryessa Corners, where Capital Avenue and the Berryessa road come together. There is a general merchandising store, a Methodist church, a grammar school and an improvement club. The climate is similar to that over the floor of the valley. The elevation is at least 100 feet greater than that of San Jose and because of this fact the village has become an important apricot district. The electric cars from San Jose to Alum Rock pass through the village. There are telephones, rural delivery and electric power for pumping.

The most important industry is the Flickinger Fruit Cannery. Only extras are packed. There are 250 acres in the tract and buildings of all kinds for handling the fruit. About 200 men and women are employed during the busy season. The business was started in 1886 by J. H. Flickinger. When he bought the land in 1880 for his orchard and cannery it was in pasture, grain and mustard, and honeycombed by squirrels and gophers. He immediately inaugurated a revolution. He planted his orchard, fought squirrels and gophers, spent money lavishly until as a result of his efforts, in 1887, he turned out orchard products that sold for over $100,000. Mr. Flickinger died in 1898, and the establishment has since been conducted by the Flickinger family. L. F. Graham is the president and manager; Chas. T. Flickinger is treasurer; Miss F. Flickinger is secretary, and W. R. Leland is superintendent. Of late years the equipment has been so improved that the cannery is able to perform more and better work than formerly. Cherries, apricots, peaches and tomatoes are handled.

For many years J. F. Pyle, a pioneer of 1846, conducted a cannery on his ranch of eighty-four acres at the corner of the King and Maybury roads. In 1907 the cannery business was removed to the corner of Fifth and Martha Streets, San Jose. About 300 people are employed during the busy season. The manager is Harry Pyle; superintendent, E. G. Pyle, both sons of J. F. Pyle.

In the month of December, 1877, the settlers in Berryessa were wrought up to the highest pitch of enthusiasm over the cheering news from Washington that the suit involving the title to the lands they occupied had been finally dceided in their favor by the Supreme Court of the United States. The event was celebrated on December 22 by a grand barbecue in the school house enclosure. When the hour of noon arrived the place was thronged with people. Berryessa turned out every man, woman and child, while San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Mayfield, Milpitas, Alviso and Evergreen were represented by large delegations, the total number of participants exceeding 1500. Uncle Ike Branham, assisted by the ladies of the village, superintended the arrangements for the barbecue proper. Besides all the attractive essentials of the meat feast, there was an array of succulent extras fit for a kingly epicure. The festivities opened with a mass meeting in the school house, which failed to accommodate more than one-third of those who desired to listen. Congratulatory addresses were delivered by Hon. S. O. Houghton, Hon. C. T. Ryland, Judge Lawrence Archer, Hon. Thomas Bodley, J. R. Hall and J. H. M. Townsend, after which the attack on the tables commenced. After the feast Bronson & Daggett's band summoned the people to the school, where dancing was kept up until after midnight.

The history of the suit is as follows: The disputed tract, which covered the village of Berryessa, contained over 15,000 acres. In 1852 Nicolas Berryessa filed a claim on the land before the United States land commissioner, under a permit from the alcalde of San Jose. The evidence to support the claim was lacking and afterward an amended petition was filed. This petition set up a grant from the Mexican government, which, however, had been lost or mislaid. To support his claim Berryessa filed what in Spanish is called a diseno, which is a topographical sketch or chart, showing a tract of land comprising 15,000 acres. It was alleged that this chart was attached to the petition upon which the grant was originally issued. In 1853 the claim was declared a fraud on its face. Many of the topographical features delineated had no existence prior to 1852, while the assertion was made that the grant was issued in 1835. But the most glaring defect was this: It showed the Aguaze Creek as running from the hills straight to the Coyote, while, as a matter of fact, the Aguaze turned to the north about half a mile east of the Coyote, the waters finding their way through the willow thickets to form Penetencia Creek. This was prior to 1852.

In that year a settler dug a ditch and built fences, and in the fall the creek sent down its waters, which entered the ditch and continued on, cutting a channel through which the waters were afterward discharged. Still another defect in the diseno was the representation of a two-story house in the north corner of the rancho, known to have been built in 1850, while the diseno was alleged to have been made in 1835. In consequence of these defects the Berryessa claim was rejected by the land commissioners.

Afterwards Horace W. Carpentier, of Oakland, acquired possession of nearly all of Berryessa's claim and prosecuted it in the courts. He had been unable, however, to present any archive testimony. Similar cases had gone before the Supreme Court and the rule had been laid down that land claims could not be confirmed which did not have archive testimony in support of them. Defeated in all his proceedings, Carpentier, in 1865, suddenly alleged that he had found a book of record in the surveyor general's office in which was a copy of a grant to Nicolas Berryessa. It was on a loose sheet of the book and subsequent investigations showed that it was not a part of the original record but had been placed in the book long after the original entries had been made. The claimants were routed again and no evidence has been found in either Mexican or California archives to show that such a grant ever existed.

The Berryessa settlers bought of the city of San Jose under the belief that Berryessa had no grant and that the territory was pueblo land. The Supreme Court of the United States at last confirmed their title and the long litigation was over. S. O. Houghton and Montgomery Blair argued the case for the settlers. E. R. Carpentier and Judge Phillips, of Washington, appeared for Carpentier.


Alma is beautifully situated in a grove of oaks on a bench beside the Los Gatos Creek, three miles above Los Gatos and twelve miles from San Jose. The village is not large, containing a store, postoffice, blacksmith shop, a railway station and a number of pretty residences. It is an important shipping point, as there are in the mountains above extensive fruit growing districts. The climate is very pleasant. Alma escapes the fogs which visit the coast slopes of the mountains to the west and as the elevation is 560 feet, the weather in the daytime is not so warm as in the valley. It is one of the choicest sections in the state for apiculture, as there are few other localities which furnish so constant a supply of food and the honey is very white, has a delicious flavor and commands a ready sale.

On the Mount Pleasant road, up Cavanagh Creek, on the property of the San Jose Water Works, there is a strong soda spring, which contains iron and magnesia. The water flows from a small pool by the side of a stream which comes up in silvery bubbles through the clear water which is alive with ebullition. The sides of the spring have the familiar snuff-brown of oxydized iron. The water has gained quite a reputation for its medicinal qualities, which, of course, are confined to the minerals, the so-called soda taste being imparted solely by the carbonic gas. The Moody Gulch oil wells, now used for the manufacture of gasoline, are situated but a short distance from Alma.

Wright's Station, though a small village, is an important shipping point, as it is the depot for the extensive fruit growing section in the surrounding mountains. It is located at the head of the Los Gatos Canyon, sixteen miles south of San Jose. Travelers on the cars receive little intimation from what they see along the route to the station, concerning the rich and beautiful section which crowns the mountains above the heavy belt of timber which covers the hillside and reaches down into the stream rushing through the canyon. The roads which leave the little space of open ground by the depot to enter the leafy tunnels through the woods furnish no suggestion of the vine-clad slopes, the orchards, the towering redwoods, the green fields and the cosy homes which adorn the great territory above and beyond. The beauty of this section can not adequately be described. Within the past decade people in search of sites for homes have climbed the mountain sides, searched out the springs and made winding roads around the knolls, up the canyon and to the very summit.

Ambrose Bierce, the noted satirist, critic and short story writer, resided for several years in the hills a few miles from Wright's. He went to Mexico in the fall of 1913 and his fate was a mystery until James H. Wilkins, a San Francisco Bulletin writer and former state's prison director, visited the City of Mexico in March, 1920, and there learned what had befallen the eminent Californian. Wilkins knew Bierce and while in Mexico he talked with one of the members of a firing squad before whom Bierce stood in 1915 and died like a soldier. The story was verified by a picture of Bierce which the Mexican took from the dead American's body.

The story runs thus: Bierce and Melero (the Mexican) joined Carranza's forces, but later separated. In 1915, Melero, as a Villista, heard of the capture of a mule train which Bierce had commanded. The Villistas made the capture, but returned to headquarters with but two prisoners --a muleteer and a tall, white-haired American. After a peremptory court martial the two were sentenced to be shot.

"A one-eyed man would have known that the American was a man of distinction," said Melero. "The muleteer--an Indian--dropped to his knees, prayed and motioned the American to follow his example. The American hesitated a moment, then straightened, folded his arms and waited. There was no delay. An officer signaled, the shots rang out and the two prisoners fell forward. "Their effects were searched," continued Melero, "and I took this photograph in the hope that it might sometime identify the American."

Of Bierce's stories, Elbert Hubbard, who was one of the Lusitania's victims, once said: "Ambrose Bierce is the boss of us all. He can do without us, but we can't do without him and still have the sunshine and the shade. He knows life in its every phase. Owen Wister gave this opinion: "Some of the things that Bierce wrote are wonderful--a work of genius, in fact." Joel Chandler Harris expressed this opinion: "If I were Santa Claus, I'd put into the hands of every intelligent man and woman in the United States an edition of Ambrose's Bierce's remarkable stories of soldiers and civilians." Arthur Brisbane said: "Ambrose Bierce is one of the best writers in America, perhaps the best."

When Bierce lived in the hills above Wright's, he made many bicycle trips to San Jose. On one of these trips his bike broke down and he went into a shop on Santa Clara Street for the necessary repairs. The young man in charge promised to have the job done in an hour and then said: "What name, please?" "My name is Ambrose Bierce," said the great satirist in his most dignified manner. "All right, Mr. Pierce, come back in an hour and your wheel will be ready for you." "Bierce is my name," snapped the author. "I get you, Steve," cheerily responded the repairer. "I won't forget." Bierce, somewhat mollified, went out. It may be said here that while not a vain man, Bierce was proud of his position in the world of letters and it was balm to his soul to think that his name was a household word in California. Praise never offended him, but detraction irritated him. As for crass ignorance he had no words with which to express his contempt and disgust. At the end of an hour he returned to the shop. The bicycle was ready for him and as the repairer took off the tag Bierce saw that the name written in pencil thereon was "Ambers Peerce." The satirist glared at the repairer, opened his mouth to speak, concluded not to, and went out, hardly comforted by the knowledge that there was one man in the state who had never heard of him.

Several years before this episode, Bierce, residing in San Francisco, made frequent visits to San Jose. On one of these visits his companion was Arthur McEwen, a brilliant journalist, whose written language was sometimes as sharp and scintillant as that of Bierce. After seeing the sights of the city, Bierce suggested that they hunt up the late Charley Shortridge, then publisher of the Mercury, and take him for a hack ride. McEwen agreed to this and, learning that Shortridge was at home, the hack was driven to the place and Shortridge was invited to come out. The San Jose newspaper publisher showed himself at a second-story window and declined the invitation, asserting that he was tired and needed sleep. While Bierce was protesting, Shortridge closed the window and returned to his bed. The entente cordiale heretofore existing between the two men was then and there broken never to be reestablished. Each said unkind things about the other and finally Bierce impaled and then embalmed Shortridge in a couplet in "Black Beetles in Amber."

One of Bierce's early friends was that wit, politician and bon vivant, Paul Neumann, who for years was a member of the cabinet of King Kalakaua, of the Hawaiian Islands. He delivered a lecture in San Jose while the people were laughing over a rhyming clash between him and Bierce. Both wrote for the Warp and they frequently joshed each other. Bierce did not always get the best of it as the following will show:

"Neumann on debt emits his sparks
Of wit, with wisdom by the ream;
All feel the weight of his remarks
And he the burden of his theme.
His words run off page after page
On debt. What is it but the shout
Of Sterne's poor starling in a cage?
'I can't get out, I can't get out.' "
-Ambrose Bierce.

"Striking each tradesman and each friend
Though none will trust and none will lend,
Bierce works himself into a pet
And clamors of the sin of debt.
I thus translate his sturdy din,
'I can't get in, I can't get in.' "
-Paul Neumann.


Patchen, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, above Lexington, an old stage station, boasts of a postoffice and a few residences. It is on the old Mountain Charley road, about two miles from the Mountain Charley ranch. In the early days grizzly bears abounded in the Santa Cruz hills and Mountain Charley (Charles McKiernan) was a great bear hunter. For a while he killed deer for the San Francisco market, making over $7,000 by the work. He kept a flock of sheep, but one night a California lion (cougar) got among them and killed seventy. After this misfortune McKiernan sold his sheep and became one of the noted bear and lion hunters of the state.

Not long after he had parted with his sheep he was hunting about three miles from his home, when he discovered a large grizzly bear lying on her haunches with her head turned towards him. McKiernan approached to within ten steps of the bear, dismounted from his mule and shot the bear in the back of the head. Supposing he had killed her, he commenced reloading his gun. After he had put in the powder and was about to ram down the ball, the bear made a rush at him. McKiernan grabbed the pommel of his saddle and was about to mount when the mule jumped, jerked away from him, leaving him sprawling on the ground, and ran home. The bear in the meantime had returned to her nest where she had left her two cubs. But she did not stay there long. McKiernan had just got to his feet and was in the act of picking up his gun when the bear made for him. As there was no chance to shoot, McKiernan took to his heels. Next day he returned to the place to find the bear dead. The cubs were in the nest and he took them home and kept them for four months. At the end of that time their penchant for killing hogs cost them their lives.

But Mountain Charley's great battle with a grizzly came later--on the afternoon of the eighth of May, 1854. He had been out hunting all day with a friend named Taylor. They had killed five deer and were engaged in dragging two of them out of a gulch when they saw a male bear, about 400 yards below them. While in the act of getting around the bear--a very large one--the animal unbeknown to them, executed a similar maneuver, and as they were climbing to the top of a little mound, the bear suddenly met them. The surprise was mutual. The bear gave a snort and plunged at them. Taylor fired the first shot and missed, then made for a tree. Mountain Charley, armed with a rifle, fired quickly. The ball struck the bear over the eye and then Charley, now at close quarters struck the bear on the head with the rifle, breaking off the barrel. The blow felled the bear, but he immediately arose, and with his tremendous jaws wide open made a murderous snap at Charley catching him over the left eye and forehead, crushing the skull and tearing out a large section of it. The old mountaineer then threw up his arms, in a locked position, in front of his face, when the bear grappled at them, crushing down with his grinders upon one arm and terribly lacerating the flesh of the other. Evidently satisfied with what he had done, the bear left his enemy and was seen no more.

Taylor, who had left his tree and taken to his heels when the bear attacked his friend, returned some time after the battle with Shulties, a mountain rancher, who lived a short distance away. Mountain Charley was found in an unconscious state and carried to his home. One eye had been torn out, the nose and one side of his face were disfigured and there was a gaping wound in the skull. Drs. A. W. Bell and T. J. Ingersoll attended the sufferer, removed pieces of bone from the skull and put in a silver plate sufficiently large to cover the brain. About a year afterward Mountain Charley came to San Jose and consulted Drs. Ingersoll and Spencer in regard to his condition. The wound in the head had not properly healed and an operation was performed. After this time the patient wore no plate and he lived in very good health for forty-six years, dying in San Jose in 1902. For many years prior to his death Mountain Charley was engaged in the lumber business in San Jose. He was highly respected and his death was a loss to the community.

In May, 1875, McKiernan, or Mountain Charley, as he was best known, was the leading figure in another adventure. On April 1, the stage between his mountain ranch and Lexington was robbed and a month later the crime was repeated. Shortly after the last robbery Mountain Charley, who had killed a steer, was in the act of packing it when he saw two men near the road. Thinking they were neighbors, he hailed them, but as they came towards him he realized his mistake and also came to the conclusion that the men were the much-wanted stage robbers. Soon after this the sheriff of Santa Cruz County rode up and with Mountain Charley as guide went to find the two men. They were located at an old house about six miles off. As the house was being surrounded the two men showed fight and fired several shots at the sheriff and his posse. During the firing Mountain Charley entered the house and saw the men standing by the chimney in the main room. One of them was raising his gun to shoot when Charley fired twice with the intention of crippling them. One shot passed through the arm of the man with the gun; the other grazed the eyebrow of the other man. Then they surrendered, were taken to San Jose, and each received a ten years' sentence.

Small Towns and Villages

Linda Vista district, on the Alum Rock road, is one of the most progressive, healthful and cultured sections in the county. The Alum Rock Improvement Club, maintained unanimously by its citizens, is a live active body, and irrespective of personal interests the members volunteer their services and their activities and have accomplished splendid results. Linda Vista is a delightful section in the eastern foothills, largely in the frostless thermal belt, overlooking the entire valley, within twenty minutes' ride from San Jose.

Edenvale is a station on the Southern Pacific Railway and state highway, six miles south of San Jose. It is in the heart of a rich fruit section and is also the home of E. A. and J. O. Hayes, publishers of the San Jose Mercury. The grounds cover a large tract of land, and the ornamentation of the place, together with the large, costly and imposing buildings have attracted sight-seers from far and wide. The grounds are free to the public. At Edenvale the Richmond-Chase Company has a warehouse for the section's fruit, and a mile away there is a receiving station for dried fruits. It is one of the Rosenberg Bros.' branches.

Six miles south of Edenvale and twelve miles from San Jose, on the line of the Southern Pacific and on the state highway, is Coyote. In the center of a rich little valley, hemmed in by low ridges of rocky hills and with the creek flowing northward close by, this town is a trading and shipping point for the surrounding community. Here are located two stores and a large seed warehouse. The agricultural land in the valley is a river wash, rich and deep, but of no great area. It is devoted largely to prunes and to the seed industry. The prices for it range from $400 to $800 per acre, depending upon the improvements.

Five miles west of San Jose, on a good macadam road, is a little group of buildings called Meridian Corners. Here are located two stores, a blacksmith shop and a station on the electric road between San Jose and Saratoga. It is right in the heart of the fruit district, mostly prunes. Schools, churches, rural mail delivery, telephones and electric power are available to all farmers. Land is held from $500 to $1000 per acre.

Madrone is a shipping point, eighteen miles south of San Jose. It is located on the railroad and State Highway, and has two stores and a winery.

San Martin is a small town of 250 people on the line of the Southern Pacific, six miles north of Gilroy. It is on the line of the Southern Pacific and the State Highway. Here are a store, a cannery, blacksmith shops, a lumber yard, a school and a Presbyterian Church. The recent sale of the great Lion ranch, near the town and the proposed cutting up of the tract into small ranches, will increase San Martin's population and commercial importance.

Other villages or stations are Lawrence, seven miles from San Jose and four miles from Santa Clara, with its hay and grain warehouse, two churches, a school and a depot; Lexington, formerly a stage station, ten miles above Los Gatos. Since the opening of the railroad to Santa Cruz, all the business has gone to Alma. And lastly, there is Monte Vista, a mile west of Cupertino, which is little more than a station on the Peninsular Railway.

Source: Sawyers, Eugene T. History of Santa Clara County, Los Angeles, Calif; Historic Record Company, 1922.

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