History of Santa Clara County
Newspapers in the Early Days--J. J. Owens' Sad Experience--Chas. M. Shortridge--E. A. and J. O. Hayes--W. Frank Stewart--Mark Twain's Lecture--The Rise of H. C. Hansbrough--Edwin Markham's Venture--Alex P. Murgotten--H. A. De Lacy--The Peril of Major Foote--Elliott the Adventurer--Kelly and the Grizzly
Since the early days San Jose has had many newspapers; each started to fill "a long-felt want," and each in its honest, able way, carrying out, as far as was possible, the laudable resolve. In 1850 was published the State Journal. The proprietor was James B. Devoe and it was discontinued on the adjournment of the legislature in 1851. In January, 1857, came the San Jose Daily Argus. It lasted during the senatorial campaign and was used to promote the candidacy of John C. Fremont.
The first permanent newspaper of the city was
the San Jose Weekly Visitor. It was started June 20, 1851, by Emerson,
Damon and Jones. At first it was Whig, but went over to the Democracy in
October. In August, 1852, its name was changed to the Register and was
published by Givins George and T. C. Emerson with F. B. Murdoch as editor.
In 1853 Murdoch obtained control of the paper and the name was again changed
to the San Jose Telegraph. In 1860 the Telegraph went into the hands of
W. N. Slocum, brother of Gen. H. W. Slocum, who commanded one wing of Sherman's
army during the march "from Atlanta to the Sea." In 1861 another change
of name was made when the paper passed into the hands of J. J. Owen and
The Daily Mercury was started in connection with the weekly paper of that name, but was discontinued in 1862. In 1869 J. J. Conmy, who had come down from Shasta County, was admitted into the firm and in August of that year the publication of the daily was resumed. Mr. Conmy retired from the firm this year. In 1871 Cottle sold out his interest to Owen. In 1872, Owen, having purchased the Daily Guide, again resumed the publication of the Daily Mercury in connection with the weekly. Soon after Cottle bought a half interest in both papers, but again sold to Owen in 1874. In 1877 it was incorporated under the style of the Mercury Printing and Publishing Company, Mr. Owen holding the majority of the stock. In 1884 he sold his interest to Charles M. Shortridge, proprietor of the Daily Times and the name of the paper was changed to the Times-Mercury. In 1885 F. A. Taylor entered into negotiations for the purchase of the paper, but the sale was not consummated. In the meantime the name was changed back to the Daily Mercury. At this time it absorbed the Daily Republic. In 1878 Shortridge sold his interest to a local syndicate, with Clarence M. Wooster as manager. Soon afterward the paper became the property of Alfred Holman, present editor of the San Francisco Argonaut, and after two years of ownership Holman sold to E. A. and J. O. Hayes, who have since controlled the paper.
J. J. Owen was one of the striking figures in San Jose journalism. He was a man among men, generous, broad-minded and scrupulously honest. His editorials were never long nor labored, but each went to the root of the chosen subject in such a graceful, charming way as to make the editorial column one always to be eagerly read. He was a poet as well as a prose writer and in his poems his gentle philosophy found adequate expression. As a writer of pertinent paragraphs and sermonettes he was unsurpassed in his day and a volume of tabloid essays published in the seventies found ready sale. Copies may still be found in the libraries of old-time residents.
In Owen's time the "intelligent compositor" was conspicuously in evidence. That he survived the imprecations showered upon his "devoted head" must be accounted for by the fact that his head was hard though his sense of humor was keen. Once Owen, coming in contact with the "I. C.," had a rush of blood to the head that in the case of a man afflicted with hardening of the arteries would have caused the formation of a blood clot in his brain and consequent paralysis. The instance which will be here recorded had its inception during the legislative career of the veteran editor. It was about fifty years ago that Owen was elected a member of the California Assembly. Nearly all the time of the session was taken up in the consideration of a prison jute mill scandal, the board of managers having been charged with all sorts of crookedness in the management of the mill. Owen presented the bill calling for an investigation and after its adoption a committee was appointed to hear the evidence and make a report. During the debate Owen's speaking talent was ably and courageously displayed. He was among the foremost in denouncing the managers and when the committee, at the end of the session, handed in a report whitewashing the accused officials, Owen's indignation knew no bounds. He was at white heat over what he termed was a travesty of justice when he returned to his editorial duties in San Jose. Almost his first act on reaching his desk was to write an editorial on the jute mill scandal in which he expressed in forcible language his opinion of the legislators who had given the prison managers a clean bill of moral health. The article was headed "There is no balm in Gilead."
After writing the editorial Owen went home, leaving the proof reading in the hands of the foreman of the composing room. Next morning he picked up a copy of his paper and prepared to read what cold type had made of his caustic criticism. The first glance at his masterpiece sent the blood to his head and made him rise up on his hind legs and howl, for the heading was not "There is no balm in Gilead," but "There is no barn in Gilroy."
As far as the historian can remember Owen had but one scrap with an outsider. In the early days personalities were largely indulged in. When an offending head stuck up the rule was to hit it. Perhaps the dearth of local news was the cause of editorial bellicoseness, but it was not often that a person assailed by a newspaper editor would adopt drastic methods in dealing with his assailant. But once in a while the victim of an editor's attack would attempt retaliation by means of personal encounter. Some time in the '70s Owen assailed Montgomery Maze, since deceased. Maze was a searcher of records and his assistant was Mitch Phillips, the capitalist, who died in 1918. Maze, who was stockily built and very pugnacious, met Owen at the northwest corner of Santa Clara and Market streets. They did not pass the time of day but they did pass the lie and then Maze sailed in to make mince meat out of the veteran editor. Owen's cane parried the initial blow and Maze stopped surprised but not daunted. He made another rush and landed on Owen's nose. Encouraged by his success he tried a left hander, missed the mark and allowed the cane to accomplish its head-aching work. From that time on it was cane and fist, the cane doing the greater punishment. Bystanders interfered when the fight was at its hottest. Both combatants were good sports and friendly relations were soon established.
While Charles M. Shortridge was publishing the Daily Times, a report of the proceedings of a Democratic County Convention made slurring reference to the speech of one of the candidates for office. The candidate was a Kentuckian who possessed a fiery dsposition. The report made him see red. He hastened to the Times office and found Shortridge alone. With the words, "I am going to punch your head," he made a mad bull rush. The first blow tumbled Shortridge from the high stool on which he had been sitting. In attempting to pursue his advantage the Kentuckian got tangled up in the rounds of the stool and while he was trying to extricate his long legs Shortridge arose and began to use his fists. A rough and tumble fight ensued. There was one chair in the room and during the struggle it was wrecked as was also the stool. Sometimes the Kentuckian would have the advantage, sometimes the advantage would be with Shortridge. They fought all over the room and at last stopped from exhaustion. As they lay panting on the floor, with bleeding faces and half-closed eyes, a printer looked in. He gazed in surprise at the wreck and the prostrate fighters and then said, "An earthquake? Strange I didn't feel it when I was outside." "It wasn't an earthquake," grunted Shortridge, "It was a Kentucky cyclone." The fight did not settle the differences between the two men. The feud remained though there were no further warlike demonstrations.
After a few years as collector Charles M. Shortridge went into the real estate business. After a time he succeeded in obtaining sufficient financial backing to enable him to purchase the Daily Times, paying $5,500 for business and plant. This was in 1883 when he was twenty-seven years old. He was, in truth, the architect of his own fortunes. Soon after he came to California he hired out to the San Jose Gas Company as a lamplighter so as to obtain money to carry him through the public schools. Having graduated with honor he secured a position on the Mercury as errand boy to be advanced soon to the position of collector. In 1884 he secured control of the stock of the Mercury Printing and Publishing Company and in less than two years from the day he walked out of the office a poor boy, he walked back as a proprietor. He combined the Times and Mercury and proceeded to make the new journal twice as good as either of them was before. In the early '90s he became the lessee and manager of the San Francisco Call, a position he retained for several years. Afterward he studied law, opened an office in San Jose, combining this profession with that of newspaper proprietor, having resurrected the Daily Times. He gave up publishing after an unfortunate experience of a year or so to give his whole attention to the law. He was engaged in the practice of his profession in Oakland when he died a few years ago.
The semi-weekly Tribune was issued by Givins George July 4, 1854. In 1855 it was published by George & Kendall and in 1859 it was sold to George O'Daugherty. In 1862 it was suppressed for eight months by order of General Wright. In 1863 it was purchased by F. B. Murdoch, who changed the name to the Patriot. The paper was a weekly. In 1865 Murdock commenced the publication of the Daily Patriot. In 1875 he sold out to S. J. Hinds and J. G. Murdock. In 1876 it was purchased by the Murphys and the name changed to the San Jose Daily Herald. In 1878 it purchased and absorbed the San Jose Argus. In October, 1884, the Herald was bought by a joint stock company. H. H. Main was president, W. C. Morrow, secretary, and J. F. Thompson, treasurer. Main and Thompson are dead. Morrow is a resident of San Francisco engaged in literary work. As a teacher of the art of short story writing he has acquired a national reputation. While engaged in newspaper work he wrote several high-class novels ahd many charming short stories. He has a keen, analytical mind and his style has the clearness and finish of a master craftsman. He was and is a literary artist, and nothing ever leaves his hands that is not pure English, charmingly expressed. After he left San Jose, the Herald was conducted by Main and Thompson until it was sold to Charles M. Shortridge. In 1900 the paper was purchased by E. A. and J. O. Hayes and publication was continued until it was absorbed by the San Jose Mercury. The name of the Mercury was then changed to the Mercury-Herald. The Hayes brothers are lawyers and mine-owners and have at Edenvale, six miles south of San Jose, on the Monterey Road, one of the costliest and handsomest residences in California. The grounds cover many acres with a wealth of flowers, shrubbery and trees. E. A. Hayes was a member of Congress for several terms, serving his district with marked ability. J. O. Hayes has never held public office, although he has been several times a candidate for governor. Under the progressive management of the Hayes brothers the Mercury-Herald has attained the largest circulation of any paper, outside of San Francisco and Oakland, in Central California. It has ever worked for the best interests of the community and its influence has been far reaching and strong. E. K. Johnston is the managing editor and his ability and business acumen have been marked factors in the paper's success.
The San Jose Daily Reporter came into existence in 1860. W. Frank Stewart was the publisher. It was soon changed to a weekly and was discontinued after a few weeks' existence. Stewart was a Kentuckian and was in Nevada when Mark Twain was doing reportorial work on the Virginia City Enterprise. Late in 1866 Mark returned from the Hawaiian Islands and having no newspaper engagement in sight, he wrote a lecture on the islands and prepared to make a tour of the Pacific Coast for the purpose of putting some much-needed money in his pocket. San Jose was selected as the place for "trying it on the dog." When Mark landed in town he hunted up Stewart, who was then the proprietor of a little saloon in a shaky, one-story building on a lot on First Street near Fountain Alley. Twain found the place and soon enlisted Stewart's enthusiastic cooperation. The saloon was a popular loafing place and Mark spent much time there listening to Stewart's views on his latest fad, "How earthquakes are produced." Stewart had a queer theory about earthquakes and many lectures on the subject were delivered in Music Hall while Stewart was a resident of San Jose. In his saloon he had an earthquake indicator of his own invention, the points of which he explained to the Nevada humorist, much to the latter's interest and amusement.
Through the good work done by Stewart and his friends Mark was enabled to lecture to a paying house and he left San Jose profuse in expressions of gratitude for the kindness displayed by his old Nevada friend. A few months later Mark was in Buffalo, N. Y., doing humorous work for the Express. Clippings from his writings were made weekly by the San Francisco Alta to be eagerly read by Mark Twain's many admirers in San Jose. At this time no one hailed the arrival of the Alta more joyously than Frank Stewart. He was heard frequently to say that Mark was destined to become one of the great writers of the age. But one day there came a change. Stewart's face grew longer and harder. His eyes flashed with rage and when he found voice to express his feelings it was to pour forth the bitterest, most caustic and damnatory language that ever fell from human lips. Mark Twain was an ingrate, a coward and a cur. He was--well, he was everything an honest man should not be.
The cause of Stewart's rage was an article in the Buffalo Express which said in effect that out in San Jose, California, there lived a fellow named Stewart, who had an aged mother on whom he was depending for support, and who passed as the proprietor of a ramshackle groggery, where, between drinks, he expatiated on earthquakes, a subject of which he knew little and talked much. The article further stated that whenever a pig came along and scratched his back against the front of the building there would come a shake that would be promptly registered and as promptly telegraphed all over the Pacific Coast.
When his wrath had cooled sufficiently for him to use a pen Stewart sat down and wrote Mark a letter, which, if it could be found and published, would prove one of the richest things in American literature. He figuratively roasted Mark alive. An answer was not expected, but it came, nevertheless, in the shape of an abject apology. Stewart, with great gusto, read the apology to his friends. Mark, in his letter, disclaimed any intent to slander the philosopher and said his only idea was to have a little harmless fun. To show that he was sincere he asked Stewart to forward a book of the philosopher's poems, recently published, promising to review it in a satisfactory manner. The book was sent, a flattering review was given and the breach between Mark Twain and Stewart was healed.
The Daily and Weekly Courier was started in 1865 by Geo. O. Tiffany. It lasted but a few months.
The Santa Clara Argus, as a weekly, commenced publication in 1866. In 1876 the Daily Argus was issued and ran until 1878, when it was sold to the Herald. W. A. January was the editor and proprietor of the Argus. He was a Kentuckian and a gentleman of the old school. There was not a mean bone in that tall, slim body of his. Everybody was his friend and when he passed away from earth, a nonogenarian, San Jose lost a valuable citizen. Before coming to San Jose he lived in Placerville, where he was associated with Dan Gelwicks in the publication of the Mountain Democrat. It was while he was a newspaper publisher in San Jose that he was elected to public office. He was a very popular official and the Republicans after a time ceased to put up any candidate against him. He was county treasurer and state treasurer and in his last years tax collector of Santa Clara County and always the same genial, courteous and faithful servant of the public.
C. Leavitt (Britt) Yates published The Saturday Advertiser from August 11, 1866 to February 19, 869.
The Daily Independent was started May 7, 1870 by a company of printers. It was the first paper in San Jose to receive news by telegraph. In December, 1870, it was purchased by Norman Porter, who, in turn, sold it to the Guide in 1871.
The Daily Guide ws started by Phil Stockton and H. C. Hansbrough in February, 1871. Hansbrough sold out his interest to Stockton that same year. Major Horace S. Foote, who wrote "Pen Pictures from the Garden of the World," a work that has been largely drawn upon in the writing of this history, was the editor of the Guide and before the Guide started, was the editor of the Independent. As a writer he is clever, humorous and incisive and local journalism was the sufferer when he dropped the pen to become the financial expert of the board of supervisors. In January, 1872, Porter took the Guide and sold it to J. J. Owen, who merged it into the Daily Mercury.
The history of Henry C. Hansbrough of the Guide is an interesting one. Before becoming a newspaper owner he was a printer and did his first work in the Patriot office. After a few years' residence in San Jose he went to San Francisco. He was a Chronicle compositor until promoted to the telegraph editor's desk. It was while he was a resident of the Bay City that the Anti-Chinese agitatin reached a ferment. Dennis Kearney was shouting, "the Chinese must go," and the Mongolians and their business allies among the whites were in a terror-stricken mood. All the while the sentiment in the eastern and middle western states was distinctly pro-Chinese. To take advantage of the situation three enterprising young men--Chester H. Hull, city editor of the Chronicle and self-styled "The Monumental Liar of America"; Sam Davis, the Nevada humorist and brother of Robert H. Davis, present managing editor of the Frank A. Munsey publications; and H. C. Hansbrough, resolved to procure an educated Chinese and take him east on a lecturing tour. Hull was to write the speech, Davis was to finance the undertaking (it was reported at the time that he could get $3,000 from John Mackey, the bonanza king) and Hansbrough was to act as business manager. But the days passed and no Chinese intelligent and foxy enough to fill the bill could be secured. At this juncture Hull, himself, offered to do the lecture part by making up as a Chinese. Whether the other partners ever seriously considered the offer is not known. But there were frequent wranglings which ended by a dissolution of copartnership. Davis returned to the sage brush and Hull went back to his desk to perpetrate another of the hoaxes which had made him notorious throughout the Pacific states. But Hansbrough stuck to his guns. He enlisted the interest and cooperation of Rev. Otis Gibson, superintendent of the Methodist Mission in San Francisco, and a Chinese interpreter in the person of Chan Pak Kwai, was secured. The Chinese was good-looking, as sharp as a steel trap and had an excellent command of the English language. He had lived for a time in San Jose and was well known to all the court officials. When all arrangements had been made and Chan Pak Kwai had been properly, trained, Hansbrough and his mascot left for the east. Lectures were delivered in Iowa and Illinois and Chan Pak Kwai was feted everywhere by the warm-hearted people of the middle west. At last the interest waned and manager and performer separated, the Chinese to return to San Francisco and Hansbrough "to seek fields and pastures new." In Devil's Lake, Dakota, he established a newspaper and after a time became postmaster and interested himself in politics. When Dakota was divided to become two states, Hansbrough was chosen one of the United States Senators for the northern division. He held office for eighteen years.
The Daily Press was published for a few weeks during 1882 by J. J. Conmy.
The Reporter was started by present Under-Sheriff Hugh A. DeLacy, in April, 1872. It lasted until August.
The California Agriculturist, Brand & Holloway, proprietors, came into existence in 1871. S. H. Herring purchased it in 1874 and after running it for a few years 'sold it to the Pacific Rural Press, of San Francisco.
The Daily Evening Tribune was published during the 1872 presidential campaign by Clevenger & Armstrong. E. T. Sawyer was the editor. The paper opposed Grant and supported Greeley.
The Daily Independent Californian, published by S. H. Herring and Ben Casey, held the fort during the local option campaign of 1874.
The Daily Garden City Times was started by Edwin Markham, S. H. Herring, Perryman Page and E. T. Sawyer in 1874. It had the telegraph dispatches and for a while the future looked bright. Markham, who afterward became famous as the author of "The Man With the Hoe," "Lincoln and Other Poems," "The Shoes of Happiness," and who is now an opulent resident of West New Brighton, N. Y., was a young man then, whiskerless and thin, black-eyed, eager and impetuous. Herring was the publisher of a weekly agricultural paper and an entertaining writer on practical subjects. Page was a printer who had studied for the ministry. He lent the moral support to the undertaking, while the other partners furnished the brains--such as they were. On the start there was no business manager, for it had not occurred to these innocents that an attache of that sort was necessary for the success of a newspaper project. The quartet fondly imagined that the mere announcement of the publication would be followed by such a rush of business men to the office as would necessitate the employment of a score of clerks to attend to their requirements. Besides, of what use would be a business manager--a man to drum up advertisements for immediate pecuniary needs--when an "angel" had been secured, one whose purse was large and whose promises were all that could be desired. The "angel" was Ben Casey, an elderly rancher living on the Los Gatos road. He had one hobby and how it ruined the prospects of the paper will presently appear.
The Garden City Times was a success from the start. Markham was the literary editor and assisted in the reporting, and his faculty of throwing a glamor of romance over the most trivial local subject, even though it chanced to be the erection of a chicken coop or the reception of a watermelon from an admiring subscriber, gave such interest to the local department that his salary was advanced after the first week. E. T. Sawyer was the city and managing editor and his principal duties consisted in consigning to the waste basket such editorials as in his opinion were not in keeping with the conservative policy of the paper. These proceedings were looked upon as high-handed by Mr. Herring and after a week of them he threw up his job in disgust and presented his interest in the paper to the other partners.
About this time an advertisement of a saloon was handed in and inserted. It caught the eagle eye of Casey and there came a quick and imperative demand for its withdrawal. A council of war was held. It was realized by the three partners that a crisis had been reached. To take out the advertisement would mean that in future The Garden City Times would not be a paper for all classes, but one lined up on the side of temperance at a time when the auestion was not being extensively agitated. The partners were young and full of confidence. They felt they could do without Casey's money. So the advertisement stayed and Casey went out. This action took place on the second day of the second week of publication. The news spread. Within twenty-four hours every man who had a bill against the paper presented it with the abrupt request for immediate payment. Forced to the wall, the partners paid out all the available cash, hoping that the worst was over. But they were mistaken, for the next move came from the printers. They wanted assurance that they would be paid at the end of the week or they would leave in a body. Now optimism was followed by pessimism and the falling in spirits affected the tone of the paper. Markham, instead of scurrying about town with a smiling face, dawdled listlessly in the editorial room and used the scissors in turning out copy. Former editorials, bracketed "by request" at the top were reprinted, while Page, in the composing room, resisted a strong temptation to swear. The inevitable was approaching. Despite a favorable public opinion, the promises of enthusiastic friends and the important fact that the paper had come into existence to fill "long felt want," there was a conspicuous and lamentable lack of the silvery sinews of war. After eleven days of experience the partners stopped publication. Then they collected all the bills due for advertising, paid off the printers and walked to St. James Park. Seated on a bench in a shady spot they divided $27 into three eaual parts, pocketed each his share and talked of emigrating to the South Sea Islands.
The Daily and Weekly Advertiser was published by B. H. Cottle from Mav to December, 1875. The Weekly Balance Sheet, a commercial paper, was started by H. S. Foote in February, 1876. It was discontinued the next year. The California Journal of Education was run for four weeks in 1876. George Hamilton was the publisher. The Temperance Champion was published by A. P. Murgotten in 1876. It was discontinued the next year.
The Pioneer, devoted to the interests of the men of '49 and the early '50s, was started by A. P. Murgotten in 1876. It was discontinued in 1881. Mr. Murgotten was well fitted for the task of placing on record the experiences of the California pioneers. He came to the coast in the early days and for many years lived in Placerville, coming to San Jose in 1866 with his brother-in-law-, W. A. January, to assist in the publication of the Argus. He has the honor of being the dean of the newspaper guild of California, his experience covering fifty-five years, beginning with "devil" and ending with editor. He is a fluent, graceful writer, with a clean, conscientious sense of duty. He holds the belt as correspondent, having been the first to represent in San Jose the following San Francisco papers: The Alta, Examiner, Chronicle and Call. During the famous Normal School investigation he sent to the Call regular reports of the proceedings of the legislative committee, his copy averaging 5,000 words daily. As the reports were taken in long hand it will be seen that Mr. Murgotten had use for every minute of his time. After serving as reporter for the Argus (weekly and daily) he started in business for himself, in turn publishing the Temperance Champion, The Pioneer and a paper devoted to the interests of the Elks. It was on The Pioneer that his best, most valuable work was done. The paper was the first of its kind to be published in the state and its great historical value was at once recognized and appreciated. In these later days Mr. Murgotten is best known as a public-spirited citizen, one always to the fore when projects for the betterment of social conditions are under consideration or are on their way to fruition.
The Headlight, an evening daily, was started by a company of printers in 1879. Its name was afterward changed to the Record, but after a short time it retired from the field.
The Daily Morning Times first saw the light in 1879. The proprietors were S. W. De Lacy, F. B. Murdoch, J. G. Murdoch and F. W. Murdoch. In January, 1880, Mr. DeLacy became the sole proprietor. It was a successful venture. Mr. DeLacy's aim was to present a paper, which in its treatment of local events, should be equally readable and reliable; in general, the implacable foe of wrong, the inflexible champion of right, independent at all times and always fearless in expression of opinion. But while success was his, he conceived the idea that a daily newspaper founded and conducted on the principles of the Times would flourish in San Francisco. Accordingly on September 6, 1883, he sold his paper to C. M. Shortridge and went to San Francisco. There in 1884 he joined forces with James H. Barry and together they began publication of the Daily Evening Star. After a few months of battling against odds the Star suspended. Mr. De Lacy shortly afterward returned an [to] San Jose and after a short experience in journalism went to Tacoma, Wash., where for over twenty years and until his death he served as deputy collector of customs. When in harness he was in his element when exposing local abuses. He was scrupulously honest, a loyal friend and a generous enemy. Alfred Cridge was editorial writer for De Lacy. He was a short, roly-poly sort of man, gentle and self-effacing. He reveled in hard facts and dry statistics and his collection of clippings overran his large cabinet of pigeon holes. Before his arrival in San Jose he had served the Government as a detective. During the Civil War he was one of the assistants of Col. L. C. Baker, through whose agency John Wilkes Booth, the slayer of Lincoln, was located and killed.
The Daily Evening News was started and did business during the campaign of 1882. W. D. Haley was the editor.
In 1883 H. A. De Lacy, present under sheriff of Santa Clara County, established the City Item. Its name was changed in 1885 to the Evening News, a name it still bears. Mr. De Lacy came to California in 1862 and went at work as an engineer at the New Almaden mines. In 1865 he came to San Jose and was engaged for several years in the business of carpenter and contractor. In 1870 he was appointed deputy sheriff and soon developed great skill as a detective officer. When his term expired he was elected constable of the township. In 1872 he published The Reporter, but discontinued it in order to devote all his time to his official business. In 1874 he was for several months the lessee and manager of the San Jose Opera House. In 1883 he started the City Item and the success of the venture was so pronounced that he took in the late Chas. W. Williams as a partner. It was a strong combination and the effect was immediately apparent. The business rapidly increased and the paper has been enlarged many times during the thirty-five years of its existence. In the early '90s Mr. De Lacy sold out his interest, having been elected San Jose's chief of police. In that office Mr. De Lacy made a record that any man might be proud of. He was both honest and resolute in the performance of his duties, and he soon made his name a terror to evil doers. At the expiration of his term he engaged in business, serving for several years as business manager of the Daily Mercury. In 1910 he was appointed under sheriff, but resigned after three years' service. In the 1918 election a new sheriff, George Lyle, was elected and his first official act was to appoint Mr. De Lacy under sheriff, a position he still holds. He is considered one of the most competent and reliable officials Santa Clara ever possessed.
Chas. W. Williams continued as sole proprietor of the Evening News until 1917, when ill-health compelled his retirement from the arduous work of the office. He sold his plant and business to H. L. Baggerly, for many years sporting editor of the San Francisco Bulletin. Mr. Baggerly is a live wire and the News, under his management, has more than quadrupled in circulation. The editor is R. L. Burgess, whose writings have in a few years given him a national reputation.
The Santa Clara Valley, a monthly journal devoted to the horticultural and viticultural interests of the community and the exploitation of the resources of the county, was started by Maj. Horace S. Foote in 1884. In 1886 he sold out the paper to H. A. Brainerd, who added to its name The Pacific Tree and Vine, thus enlarging its sphere of usefulness. Brainerd continued the publication until his death about twenty years ago.
It was while Major Foote was engaged in newspaper work that he had an adventure that he will never forget. In the '60s Charley Barr, an Englishman, kept a saloon on First Street opposite El Dorado. The place was patronized largely by Cornishmen from the New Almaden and Guadalupe quicksilver mines. The rear of the saloon was arranged like an English tap room with fireplace, mantel, pipes and tobacco and tables for drinking and playing cards. The miners used to flock in every Saturday afternoon and usually they were quiet and inoffensive. But on one Saturday something happened that made them boil with rage. The something was a write-up in the Independent. The writer was Major Foote and he had made a sensation out of a flying rumor of a ghostly visitation. The rumor ran that for some time the old Chapman quicksilver mine beyond the cemetery had been haunted by the ghost of a murdered miner and Foote had asserted that on account of the ghost's nightly walks about the mine residents on the Monterey Road were afraid to pass the mine at night. It was a well-written, creepy story and Foote was proud of it and his pride was at high-water mark when there entered his office a delegation of enraged Cornishmen. One of them held in his hand a copy of the paper containing the story, and when he addressed Foote there was blood in his eye. Foote noticed that the men were in liquor and it seemed to him that they loomed like giants in his little office. Then a harsh voice smote his ear. "Are you the bloomin' beggar who wrote this piece?" Foote gave an affirmative answer. "Then," went on the Cornishman, making no effort to master his rage, "You have insulted the ghost of my father and I'm going to do you up." Foote shivered and then looked out of the open window with the idea of jumping to the sidewalk. But the distance appalled him, so he concluded to leave his fate in the hands of the irate miners. He had heard of the actions of Cornishmen when crazed with drink and out for retaliation on enemy or enemies, and the thought that he might be seized, thrown to the floor to have his ribs crushed by hob-nailed boots, was not a comforting one. But he got a firm grip on his nerves and replied: "You must be mistaken. I have not insulted the ghost of your father. I have never in my life spoken disrespectfully of a ghost. In fact it is my rule to treat ghosts with the utmost courtesy. Let me read the article to you. I am sure you must have mistaken my meaning." "All right," grunted the son of the ghost, "Go ahead."
Foote braced up, took the paper and prepared to make a fight for his life. As he read he interlarded the story with comments commendatory both of the ghost's activities and of the character of the miner before he became a ghost. The reading finished he noted with satisfaction that the hands of the son of the ghost were no longer clinched but were hanging quite naturally by his side. "Perhaps," said the spokesman for the Cornishman, "I was in the wrong, and perhaps you have been stringing me. If I thought--" here Foote broke in quickly. He wished to cement the impression the reading had made. "Listen further," he said. Then he went on in an extemporized speech to extol the virtues of the men of Cornwall. He expatiated on their hard work, their love for their wives and children; their honesty and their generosity. As a lawyer making a plea for his client he made such a plea for himself as aroused generous emotions in the breasts of his visitors. He wound up with an eloquent peroration that quite settled the business, for the Cornishmen patted him on the back, declared he was a gentleman and a scholar and invited him over to Charley Barr's to drink the health of His Honor, the Spook.
The Scooper, a humorous weekly, came out in 1885. The proprietors were E. T. Sawyer and John T. Wallace. Mr. Wallace, who afterwards became justice of the peace and held office until his death a few years ago, sold out his interest to his partner, after a few months' experience. The Scooper lived until 1886.
The Santa Clara Index was started in 1870 by a company of printers. W. W. Elliott was the editor. One day he had an altercation with W. G. Wilson, the foreman of the composing room. Office furniture took the place of fists and Elliott emerged with a bruised head and a broken arm. His life reads like a romance. Erratic, brilliant, nervous, "his own worst enemy," he moved from place to place, never satisfied but always optimistic. He was a pioneer resident of the state and in the late '50s went to Australia. Returning after an absence of several years, during which he was sailor, gold prospector, theatrical agent and merchant, he enlisted in the Union army and rose to the rank of major. When the assassination of Lincoln occurred he was in San Francisco and was one of the leaders of the mob that wrecked several offices of newspapers that had published what were considered disloyal editorials. To escape possible prosecution he fled to Mexico, entered the service of Juarez, the famous Mexican general and president and was present as a member of Juarez' body guard at the execution of Maximilian. A prominent position under the Mexican government was offered him, but he had become tired of Mexican life and longed for the climate and society of California. He returned to San Francisco in time to take a prominent part in the gubernatorial election of 1867. Henry H. Haight, the Democratic candidate, was elected and Elliott, as a reward for his services, was appointed assistant adjutant general of the state. He resigned after serving but half his term and came to Santa Clara and became one of the partners in the publication of the Index. His row with Foreman Wilson terminated his career in Santa Clara. Removing to San Jose he spent several years in doing editorial work for the local newspapers.
In the early '70s while the State Normal School was under construction a scandal arose over the work of the contractor, the Legislature ordered an investigation, a committee for the purpose was appointed and the sessions were held in the court house. Before the taking of testimony it became necessary to appoint a stenographer. There were but few short-hand writers in those days and therefore competition was not lively. One of the applicants for the position was Elliott and through local influence he was chosen for the position. And now was shown an instance of monumental nerve. Elliott knew no more, practically or theoretically of the system of shorthand writing than an infant in arms. But he was a rapid writer, had a system of abbreviated long hand and a memory that was marvelous. He sat in a corner, allowed no one to look at his hieroglyphics and succeeded in "pulling the wool" over the eyes of the members of the committee and the attorneys present, although more than once he found himself in an exceedingly tight place. He was frequently asked during the progress of the investigation to read certain portions of the testimony and it more than once happened that neither his notes nor his memory tallied with the facts, which were mainly in the line of statistics. But his unblushing assurance saved his face and he was permitted to make the necessary corrections without receiving other than an admonition to be more careful in the future. Elliott afterward declared that he worked harder to earn the few hundred dollars that his position netted him than he had at anything before undertaken. He was required to transcribe each day the notes he had taken during the session. This work was done late at night in order that he might have as assistants to notes and memory the proof sheets of the fairly full reports given by the morning paper.
In 1872 Elliott's roving disposition led him first to Stockton, then to Salinas. While doing editorial work in the last named city, the shooting of Mrs. Nicholson by Matt Tarpey, the politician, followed by the lynching of Tarpey occurred. Elliott, acting as correspondent of a San Francisco paper, met the mob half way between Salinas and Monterey. Tarpey had been taken from the Monterey jail and his captors were preparing to hang him to a tree when Elliott arrived. At Tarpey's request Elliott took down the doomed man's last will and testament and then saw the mob carry out its work. Shortly after this occurrence Elliott was elected city marshal of Salinas. At the expiration of his term he engaged in the hotel business in Santa Rita, but a too strenuous life had undermined what had been a strong constitution, and so, after a few years he gave up active business and resumed the life of a rover. In the early '90s he reappeared in San Jose, did a few days' work on one of the daily papers and then disappeared. About a year later he died in the Soldiers Home at Yountville.
Another editor with a record was Allen P. Kelly, who died in Los Angeles five years ago. In the late '70s Kelly was the editor of the San Jose Herald, then under the management of genial Nick Bowden, the attorney. In 1880 he collaborated with E. T. Sawyer in the writing of "Loyal Hearts," a military drama, founded on incidents of the Civil War. After the production of the play at Stockton, the late Governor James H. Budd, playing one of the principal roles, Kelly went to Virginia City and worked under Arthur McEwen until called by William Randolph Hearst to do feature work for the San Francisco Examiner. After distinguishing himself by the rescue of imperiled seamen from a rock in the bay, he was detailed by Hearst to go south and capture a grizzly bear. He was allotted three months in which to do the work. Kelly selected Ventura County as his field of operation. At the expiration of three months there was no bear in sight and therefore Hearst ordered him to return to San Francisco. But Kelly refused to leave the hills. The deal was off and his salary had stopped, but still he persisted in scouring the hills for a grizzly. One day he entered Hearst's office in San Francisco and said: "I have corraled mister bear. He is at the depot in a cage. He is for sale. Will you buy him?" Hearst said he would buy the beast if a price could be agreed upon. Kelly saw to it that the sum proposed and accepted would cover his expenses and leave a comfortable sum for his work. The grizzly was named Monarch and for many years was one of the attractions at Golden Gate Park.
His long outing in the Ventura hills had given Kelly a taste for out-door life. He gave up newspaper work and entered the service of the state. As state forester he made an enviable record and the state was the loser when he resigned his position to re-enter the newspaper field. For awhile he published a paper in Las Vegas, N. M. As it was not a money-making proposition he sold out and went to Philadelphia to fill a position on the North American. A couple of years before his death he returned to California and for awhile was editor of a paper published in Imperial Valley.
The Enterprise, a weekly paper, was published in Mayfield by W. H. Clipperton in 1869-70. It was afterward removed to Gilroy and the name changed to the Gilroy Telegram, but was discontinued after a few months.
The Gilroy Advocate was established at Gilroy September 1868 by G. M. Hanson and C. F. Macy. In 1869 it went into the hands of Kenyon and Knowlton and in 1873 to Murphy and Knowlton. In the same year H. Coffin became publisher and was succeeded in 1875 by H. C. Burckhart. In January 1876, J. C. Martin took charge and was succeeded by Rev. D. A. Dryden in October of the same year. The paper was soon afterwards leased to Frank Dryden and J. Vaughn, who conducted it a few months and then turned it over to F. W. Blake, who continued as proprietor until his death in 1907, when his son, W. F. Blake, took charge.
The Gilroy Crescent was established in January, 1888, by R. G. Einfalt. It had a short existence.
The Gilroy Valley Record was first issued in May, 1881, E. S. Harrison, publisher. In 1884 it went into the hands of B. A. Wardell who changed the name to the Gilroy Gazette. Other publishers of the paper up to 1919, were E. D. Crawford, John C. Milnes, L. C. Kinney and R. G. Einfalt. Kirkpatrick and Johnson are the present proprietors.
The Los Gatos Weekly Mail was established in 1884 by H. H. Main. After eight months' experience Main sold the paper to W. P. Hughes. In 1886 Hughes sold to Walker and Fellows. Other publishers were D. D. Bowman, W. S. Walker, A. B. Smith and A. E. Falch. In 1918 the Mail was consolidated with the News. The News was started in July, 1881, by W. S. Walker, who afterward sold to W. B. Trantham, C. C. Suydam and G. Webster. In March, 1886, Webster sold his interest to his partners. Afterward Suydam withdrew from the firm. Trantham was sole proprietor when the consolidation of the two papers took place.
In 1885 a weekly paper called the Courier was published at Mountain View by George Wagstaff. It lasted but a fey months.
The Mountain View Weekly Register commenced publication in April, 1888, with Frank Bacon (now a noted eastern actor) and Harry Johnston. Afterward came The Leader. In 1904, P. Milton Smith took charge of both papers and consolidated them under the name of the Register-Leader.
The Santa Clara Index was established in 1869 by a syndicate of printers. It lived for a few years and was followed by the Santa Clara News which had as publishers C. A. Gage, F. E. Ellis, Mason & Widney, and H. R. Roth. In 1920 Roth sold a half interest to Lawrence Lockney.
The Santa Clara journal was established by N. H. Downing in 1889. He died in December, 1904, and the paper has since been published by his daughter under the firm name of B. & B. Downing.
The Mayfield News is published by W. F. Nichols. It came into existence several years after the removal of the Enterprise.
The Campbell Press is published by Harry Smith. It was started by E. C. Hurlbert in 1895.
The Morgan Hill Times was established in 1898 by G. K. Estes. He sold to H. V. Pillow in 1918.
The Saratoga Star is a recent publication. L. C. Dick is the proprietor.
The Sunnyvale Standard was established in 1903. W. K. Roberts is the publisher.
The Palo Alto Times is published by G. F. Morell & Co. It has been in existence for twenty-eight years, having been started by W. H. Simpkins.
The Pacific Poultry Breeder was established in San Jose in 1885 by Chas. R. Harker. With one exception it is the only paper of its kind published in the United States.
Ray W. Harden started the Suburban Citizen in
1914. In 1922 it was changed to pocket size. It has won success by appealing
to the between town and rural reader.
Source: Sawyers, Eugene T. History of Santa Clara County, Los Angeles, Calif; Historic Record Company, 1922.