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„^'l'i,^^„S9.V.!^J'^ PUBLIC LIBRARY 

3 1833 01717 2104 




Oakland Board of Trade 
oakland, gal. 

Table of Conteiitj 


Argonaut Club of Washington, Mvirray and Eden Townships. . 128 

Centerville and Vicinitv 59 

Civil War Notes SI 

Decoto, Town and District 109 

First Assessment Roll of Washington Township 124 

First School Census 130 

Introduction 5 

Irvington 84 

Mission San Jose 37 

Names of Members of Pioneer Society 122 

Newark 114 

Niles 97 

Pioneers of Washington Township 123 

Preface 2 

Productions and Acreage 1 29 

Rainfall and Temperature 132 

School Expenditures 132 

Senorita Guadalupe de Jesus Vallejo 133 

The Indian's Lament 45 

The Key to My Old Home 133 

The Mission of San Jose 2S 

Union City and Alvarado 46 

Warm Springs 91 


The Country Chib, iinder whose auspices this history is pub- 
hshed, was the outcome of two pohtical equahty societies, one of 
Centreville and one of Niles. The first meeting of the Woman's 
Club of Washington Township, afterward re-named the Country 
Club, was held in December, 1897, at the home of Mrs. C. H. Allen, 
Centreville. At that time there were present twenty-five women 
from different parts of the township, who became charter members 
of the club then organized. At the present writing six of the 
seven villages in the township are represented, and there are a 
few members from outside districts. 

Believing that the history of this township would be valual)]e 
as a part of Alameda County and of the State, the women of the 
Country Club began this work early in May, 1908. Every active 
member contributed something to it, and the heads of the various 
committees compiled the material into papers, which were read 
at a "Golden Jubilee" meeting, held May 19th, in the Town Hall 
of Centreville, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the organi- 
zation of the township. The past and the present, represented by 
the pioneers, their children and grandchildren, crowded the hall, 
which was tastefully decorated with great branches of golden mus- 
tard blooms, California poppies, and wild oats in luxuriant pro- 

On either side of the platform were tables covered with vaUied 
relics and papers belonging to early days. The papers read at 
this meeting proved so interesting that the Club decided to pre- 
serve them in permanent form. To the old settlers some of the 
records mav appear incorrect, and some so familiar as to seem un- 
important : but the compilers believe that every fact and incident 
related is of interest and worth recounting, for the events of the 
past are rapidlv fading away; and it is hoped that the reading of 
these pages mav revive old memories and incite each pioneer now 
living to put in writing his early California experience, particu- 
larly that part of it which relates to this locality and its first set- 
tlement by Americans ; so that not only historical facts may be 
gathered, but traditions also may be collected and kept for future 

The work is not free from errors, and claims no literary merit; 
the details of such an undertaking are many and difficult; Itut 


much painstaking lal)or has been given by those having the mat- 
ter in charge, to guard as far as could be done against inaccura- 
cies, and to make it not only interesting but reliable. 

If, after all our efforts, mistakes are found we trust our readers 
will not be harsh critics, but will consider how difficult it is to at- 
tain to perfection in anything, and how hard to get exact ac- 
counts of the happenings of even fifty years ago when so few rec- 
ords were kept. 

Thanks are due to many individuals throughout the township^ 
as well as to former residents, for valuable assistance. Our limited 
space does not allow detailed mention of names, but the Club is 
especially grateful to Mr. J. M. Horner, the first American settler, 
and to Mr. Wm. Barry, Secretary of the Pioneer Society, for im- 
portant data. 

We send forth this little volume l)elieving that it will prove 
interesting and of some worth to manv readers. We hope that 
the younger generation and the newer occupants of these lands 
will not only be entertained, but profited, by the reading, and 
that the old settlers, the few remaining pioneers to whom we al 
owe so much, may live over the past in these pages, recalling with 
pleasure the days full of the stirring events which meant so much 
to them and their associates who, now "life's fitful fever over, 
sleep well." 

... OF ... 

Waslii ngtoii Townslii p 

Alameda (J^ovintv. Caliloi-nia 

Compiled and Published by the COUNTRY C/J'R, (he IVoiiKvrs Club 
of Washington To'vusliip 

The Golden Juliilee of AVashin^^ton Townsliip was celeljrated 
bv a historical meetini,^ of the Country Club, held in the Town Hall, 
at Centreville, May 10, 1908- fifty years after the settlement of 
the township. At that meetin^^^ the following histories of the sev- 
eral towns, or villages, in the Township, which had l:)een ])rei)ared 
1)V the Club meml)ers, were read. The especial guests on that 
occasion were the Pioneers. The following is the program i)re- 
sented on that day. 

Address of Welcome by the President of the Club. 
Song Auld Lang Syne, by the Club and Audience 


The Mission of San Jose 

Mission San Jose (the village) 

Union City and Alvarado 


Civil War Notes 

V^ocAL Solo Miss Stella Graham 

The Song of Home (encore Comin' Thro' the Rye) 


Warm Springs 


fxsTRUMEXTAL SoLO Miss Touita Yallejo''" 

La Fihense, bv Raff (encore. Domino, by Miss Tonita Vallejo 


Letters were read from Mrs. W. W. Brier, Miss Guadalupe 
Vallejot and Dr. J. M. Selfridge, pioneer residents, now living else- 
SoxG America, by the Club and Audience 

*Miss Tonita Vallejo is a granddaughter of Don Jose de Jesus V.-^.lkjo 
tMiss Vallejo has died since th? above was written. 

IIS; T i K )] )ITC r [OX 

-^J^HE greater part of Washington Township hes in what Father 
u^ Palou,CaHfcrnia's earliest historian, calls the Valle de San Jose, 
a name applied formerly to the v^holc long valley, because of 
the location therein of San Jose, one of the pueblos of California. 
Subsequently it was called Santa Clara, and the upper portion 
of it is often spDlvC.i of as the Alameda Valley, from the creek 
of that name flowing through it. Father Paloti incidentally 
mentions that when, in 1773, Capt. Bautista's party went through 
here frDm Monterev in search of San Francisco, the soldiers killed 
elk so large that the antlers measured eight feet from tip to tip. 
In 1793 the Spanish government of this country decided to estab- 
lish a third town, or pueblo, and sent out a party to explore, as 
appears in the report, from Santa Cruz Mission "to the place of 
the Alameda," and although this place contained a creek, the 
pueblo, Branciforte, was located near Santa Cruz Mission, but 
was soon abandoned. There were twenty-one missions, four 
presidios (garrisons), and three pueblos (civic settlements) includ- 
ing Branciforte, established before 1833, when the missions were 
S3cularized. The historv of the founding of these old missions 
is one of interest to everybody. Many of them are now in ruins, 
onlv piles of adobe indicating the places where they once stood, 
but the settlement and civilization of early California were wholly 
due to their institution, and although now of little or no civic 
importance, thev mark a valuable as v^ell as poetic epoch in the 
historv of the staif^- and the several localities in which they were 
established. In 1707 one of them was founded in what is now 
Washington Township, and so it follows that the early history 
of the township is largely that of Mission San Jose, which appears 
ehewhere in this work. In 1834 when the Mexican congress 
passed the act releasing the Indians from the control of the mis- 
rdons, and appointing men to manage the affairs of mission prop- 
erty, Don Jose de Jesus Vallejo was appointed administrator at 
Mission Jose, where he lived many years. 

It is Ijelieved that the grantees were in possession of their 
Mexican grants long before they Avere dated. At any rate, no 
historian has been able to definitely determine the time of settle- 
ment on them. From the records in the attorney general's office 
in Sacramento, the following entries were copied by M. W. Wood, 
and appear in his history of Alameda County, viz.: To Fulgencia 
Higuera claimant for Agua Caliente (Warm Springs) two square 
leagues, granted October 13, 1836, by Nicolas Gutierrez, and 
April 4, 1831), bv Juan B. Alvarado to F. Higuera containing 


9,563.87 acres. Patented to him (by U. S.) April 17, 1858. (Three 
oak trees that marked one portion of the boundary of this grant 
mav be seen today — one on the summit of the range about one- 
half mile below the top and south of Mission Peak, and the other 
extending along the ridge in a southerly direction). Los Tular- 
citos, owned by Thomas Higuera, was a portion of this grant. 
The Curtner and Stanford places are included in it. Jose de Jesus 
Vallejo claimant for Arroyo del Alameda, four square leagues, 
granted August 80, 1842, by Juan B. Alvarado, containing 17,- 
705.38 acres. Patented January 1, 1858, (Niles and Decoto lie 
within this grant). Andres Pico et al., claimants for Mission San 
Jose lands, 30,000 acres, granted May 5, 1846, by Pio Pico to Andres 
Pico and Juan B. Alvarado; claim filed March 0, 1852; confirmed 
bv the commission December 18, 1855, and rejected by the court 
June 30, 1859. (This grant was known as the e?c-mission lands. 
Squatters settled on them, and what was called sc^uatters' rights 
caused many quarrels between them and adverse claimants, but 
in December, 1867, the United States issued patents to bonafide 
settlers, after much trouble and expense to them, thus ending 
one of the fiercest agrarian disputes that has ever occurred in 
this section. The villages of Mission San Jose, Irvington, Newark 
and Centreville are located on these lands.) Thomas Pacheco 
and Augustin Alviso, claimants for Fotrero de los Cerritos, three 
square leagues, granted Mach 23, 1844, by Manuel Micheltorena 
to T. Pacheco and A. Alviso, 10,610.26 acres. Patented Feb- 
ruary 21, 1866. (The land lying from Newark in the direction 
of and including Alvarado lies in this tract). It is a pathetic 
fact that no descendant of these Spanish-Americans who held 
such princely domains occupy any part of the property or live 
in the valley now, although the heirs of Thomas Higuera own some 
portion of Los Tularcitos. 

Archbishop Joseph Sardoc Alemany, claimant for Mission 
San Jose, founded under Carlos IV, June 11, 1797; claim filed 
February 19, 1853, containing 28.33 acres. Patented March 3, 
1858. Apparently these few acres are all that are left to the 
church that formerly had dominion over thousands. The boun- 
daries of the grants were the streams, natural landmarks, and 
sometimes ditches dug for that purpose. On the George W. 
Patterson place, the old Pacheco ditch can still be traced, running 
down into "The Willows." The sons have ]:)laced their telephone 
poles along the line of it. The Sanjon de los Alisos was the boun- 
dary between the Pacheco and Alviso grant and the ex-mission 
lands. The years from 1833 to 1850 have been called "the golden 
days of hospitality and good fellowship." The padres and generous 
Spaniards welcomed every guest and set l;efcre him milk, cheese, 


mutton, beef, tortillas, ligs, grapes and wild honcv. Fctatces 
were few, but pinole was plentiful. 

A native liquor said to resemble cognac, called aguardiente, 
and very intoxicating, was the favorite tipple. Mescal, a liquor 
made from the prickly pear, was also liked, and brandy and wine 
were to be had. Hemp, flax, wheat and corn were grown, and 
also melons and squashes. Soap, leather, wool, salt, soda, har- 
ness, saddles, blankets and clumsy vehicles were manufactured. 
A horse was freely given to any in need of one. The votmg women 
were handsome, and all were devotees of the church. The men 
were generous, fearless, hospitalde and expert equestrians. At 
every social gathering at the mission the guests came from all 
parts of the country. The Peraltas, the Castrcs, Higueras, Sotcs, 
Estudillos, Alvisos, Vallejos, Bernals, Amadors, Sunols, Pachecos, 
Noreigas and Livermores (who married a Higuera) gathered there 
on festive occasions. These were the wealthv, landed proprie- 
tors of the country far and near, and lived in a kind of feudal 
style, the Indians their vassals. Except for the luxuriant gardens 
of the Mission, and the vegetables and cereals grown by the ranch- 
eros, the country was covered wdth acres and acres of wild oats, 
tall enough, within the memory of the first American pioneers, 
to tie over the head of a man on horseback. Wild mustard from 
six to fifteen feet high rolled in golden billows over the valley 
and up the hillsides, and birds nested and sang among the bl(jssoms_ 

The mountains bordering the canons were more densely tin:- 
be:ed than now, gam.e was abundant, elk and deer were common, 
and an occasional "grizzlv" gave a spice of danger to the hunter- 
Wild geese and ducks literally swarmed in the marshes and lagoons, 
while the bark of the coyote, now seldom heard, was incessant 
through the night. Then there were the Indians, a few rancheros, 
cattle and horses grazing the hills unherded, and the little settle- 
ment of padres. In other parts of this history the reader is told 
how the changes came. How, with gold discovery in 184.S, the 
sleepy old Mission woke uj) and became an important trading 
point; how, over the old Stockton road through the Mission Pass_ 
where Fremont and his men had journeved, a continuous stream 
of hardy miners and pioneers came and w^ent ; how fortimes were 
made and lost, and how^ from that time the lands of this valley 
were coveted and finally obtained by Americans. Under the 
trees in the old churchyard of the Mission and in the shadow of 
the church, sleep many whose names appear in these pages, and 
who were prominently connected with the early history, not only 
of the valley and county, but of the state. Son:e, too, rest peace- 
fullv in the Odd Fellows' cemetery at Irvington or the cemeteries 
in Centreville and Decoto ; others lie far awav from the scenes 

8 HIS TOR } ' OF 1 1 'A SH/iVG TON T( ) / VNSH/P 

of their busv life here, while a handful of the sturdy old pioneers 
survive, honored bv all wlio know them. John M. Horner, now 
living in Hawaii, was the first American settler, coming to Cali- 
fornia in lSd6 in the celebrated ship, Brooklyn. Mr. Horner 
settled near the present village of Irvington in 1847. His brother 
William Y., father of the present supervisor, joined him some 
time after, and they had extensive business interests. They 
were enterprising, generous men. E. L. Beard came to the Mis- 
sion in 1840. He became interested with Mr. Horner in land and 
agriculture, and afterward with his stepson, Henry G. Ellsworth. 
The nolde old palms planted by Mr. Beard on his hon:e place 
(the Gallegos place) are fitting memorials of this interesting and 
large-hearted pioneer. Henrv C. Smith was also one of the first 
comers. A very bright man, who was early identified with the 
political history of the state and county. There were several more 
of these brave argonauts, but their names, with those of the hardy 
pioneers are appended to this history, and their lives enter into 
the records of the several towns where they lived. 

The United States made a treaty of peace with Mexico in 1848, 
the vear of gold discovery, and then California fell under the juris- 
diction of the federal government. The first legislative assembly 
of the state convened in San Jose in December, 1849, and created 
twenty-seven counties, among them Contra Costa and Santa 
Clara. In March, 185-3, Alameda county was formed from por- 
tions of these two, and Washington Township is the greater part 
of that which came from Santa Clara. The county seat was located 
at New Haven, now Alvarado. H. C. Smith was at that time 
in the legislature, and fathered the fnll making the new county. 
A body called the court of sessions had entire control of tlie civil 
business, and organized June 0, 185o, dividing the county at once 
into six townships, viz.: Contra Costa, Clinton, Oakland, Eden, 
Murray and Washington, named for the "father of his countrv." 
In December there was a redivision, and Contra Costa was elim- 
inated. In 1855 the court of sessions was succeeded by the board 
of supervisors, and again the county was redistricted into Alameda, 
Brooklyn, Eden, Murray, Oakland and Washington townships, 
and in 1902 Pleasanton was formed from a part of Murrav. In 
1850 there was a voting place at H. C. Smith's store. Mission San 
Jose. When the covmty was constructed another polling place 
was addei at the room used as a courthouse in New Haven, and 
very soon Horner's schoolhouse at Centreville made a third. The 
election for the purpose of voting on the question of removing 
the county seat to San Leandro was held December 30, 1854, 
and in every precinct in the county an astonishing number of 
votes were polled. Mission San Jose cast 203, New Haven or 


Alvarado 393, Centreville 170,; total in the township, 766, sixty- 
eight more than Oakland. The following year there was a great 
excitement over the question of licensing saloons, and we find 
the total number of votes cast in Washington was 351. In 1902 
the number of registered voters was 1361. Centreville precinct 
248, Irvington 238, Alvarado 219, Niles 195, Newark 177, Mission 
168 and Decoto 116. 

When the first xVmericans made their homes here there was 
no Oakland, no Alameda, no Berkeley. Therefore in the first 
years of county government Washington ruled in matters political, 
securing the county seat and nearly all of the countv offices, as 
follows: A. M. Crane, county judge; Wm. Cooml)s, district attor- 
ney; A. M. Church, county clerk; J. S. Marston, county treasurer; 
Andrew H. Broder, sheriff; Wm. H. Chamberlain, coroner; and 
Rev. W. W. Brier, superintendent of schools. The names of the 
men, so far as can be learned, .who have since been public officials, 
although not altogether in the order named, are the late Hon. 
John L. Beard, state senator and regent of the state university; 
the Hon. M. W. Dixon, Thomas Scott, James Clark, and John 
G. Mattos, Jr. (now serving) assemblymen. 

P. E. Edmundsen, C. C. Breifogle, and R. A. McClure, county 
treasurers; H. M. Vesey, county clerk; W. F. B. Lynch and P. M. 
Fisher, countv superintendents of schools; Dr. J. M. Selfridge, 
coroner; J. A. Mayhew, sheriff; C. J. Stevens, tax collector; E. H. 
Dyer, county survevor; Chas. Whipple, public administrator; 
and supervisors, H. C. Smith, J. R. Mason, Jonathan Mavhew, 
James Shinn, C. S. Eigenbrodt, H. Overacker, Sr., Wm. Threl- 
fall, J. M. Horner, Wm. Whidden, M. W. Dixon, Henry Duster- 
berrv and C. F. Horner, the present representative of the su])er- 
visorial district. 

Among the first acts passed by the first board of supervisors 
was one creating three school districts and one for the protection 
of trees planted along the roadsides. In 1862 a movement was 
inaugurated to get Washington back into Santa Clara county, 
but failed. June 16, 1856, the supervisors formed another town- 
ship out of parts of Washington and Eden, and named it Jeft'erson, 
but this action was rescinded at the next meeting. In 1863 the 
legislature passed the following act: "Whenever the board of 
supervisors shall have created a new township from Washington 
and Eden, including Alvarado, it shall have power to elect one 

In 1870 the Bav Spring Water Company filed articles of incor- 
poration to supplv Mission San Jose and other towns with water 
from Barry and Story springs. The capital stock was $50,000, 
the numlier of shares 500, and time of existence fifty years. The 


same vear a company was granted the right to operate a horse 
railroad from Irvington to San Leandro, through Centreville, 
Alvarado and San Lorenzo. 

The first roads, and they were Init httle better than trails, 
were those used by the native Californians in going from their 
ranches to and from the Mission and their embarcaderos. From 
the Mission there was one to the pueblo of San Jose, one tlirough 
the pass to Stockton, and one to the principal embarcadero. where 
Union Citv was afterward located. This, according to some of 
the old settlers, took the course of the high ground to where Centre- 
ville is now, then branched off by Pacheco's to the Alameda, some- 
where near the Bell ranche bridge, and followed the high bank 
of the creek to the embarcadero. Others think it ran along the 
present course of the mountain road, only nearer the hills, then 
deflected, striking the creek at the Kelse\' ford, and then followed 
the bank as before. All agree that there was a road following 
along the base of the hills to the creek ford at Niles, running to 
Castro's, now Haywards, or near there, and so on to what was 
San Antonio. There were these two well-known fords, Vallejo's 
Mills and the one Ijetween the Overacker and Shinn places on the 
Kelsey ranche, now the Marshall Noyo farm. In 1S51-2 the 
Horners surveved into 16()-acre tracts, and fenced 1(),(){)() acres 
of ex-mission lands, and laid out some of the main roads which 
are the principal thoroughfares at the present time. One of these 
ran from Irvington to Union City, but E. L. Beard fenced on the 
north side that part of this road extending from Centreville to 
the farther boundary of the late Hon. John L. Beard's home- 
stead. The cost of cutting this road through the swamp near 
Alvarado, and making it passable for teams, was $1,500. It was 
originally one hundred feet wide, but has been narrowed 
since. It is a part of the county road running from 
San Jose to Oakland, which is bordered by trees most of 
the way and much traveled. The same parties also built 
two bridges at Alvarado, where the present ones are now- 
One of these the county afterward paid for. The same 
parties constructed the mountain road from Mission Pass 
to Vallejo's Mills, one from Irvington intersecting this, and the 
one from Centreville to the mountain road. Although these 
roads were not so substantially built as now, it must be remem- 
bered that none of the modern road-making implements were to 
be had then, and the work was done mostly with pick, shovel and 
ax. In 1852 the road from the mission to Union City was de- 
clared a public highway, and also the one "leading from the county 
line east of Mission San Jose to said Mission, thence through the 
Stockton pass." 


Soon after the organization of the county three road districts 
were ordered in the township: No. 1, the highway from Mission 
San Jose to Union City, two miles each side thereof; No. 2, the 
road leading from Mission San Jose towards San Jose to county 
Une; No. 3, the highway leading from Mission San Jose to Stockton, 
to the crossing of Alameda creek. There are now seven. The 
boards of supervisors have been diligent in improving the old 
roads and laying out others as necessity arose. All are oiled or 
sprinkled, and there are few better ones anywhere. 

In 1852 the first stage began to make regular trips between the 
Mission and Union City. This was "Horner's stage," and ran 
along the line of the present road, connecting with a steamer 
owned by the same party, which, under command of Capt. Trefrv, 
plied between Union City and San Francisco, often carrying from 
one to two hundred passengers. The stage continued to run 
regularly until '54, when it was abandoned. A regular stage line 
had been established, however, between San Jose and San Antonio 
as early as 1S53. The route was by Warm Springs, which had 
become such a resort that a postoffice was established there (or 
at least mail had to be left). From there the stage ran to Mission 
San Jose, and thence along the mountain road to San Antonio, 
afterward East Oakland. Probably McLaughlin's was the first 
through line running by way of "The Corners" and Centreville. 
In 1856 the Camerons put on opposition coaches, and exciting 
times followed. The fare came down to $1, or less, the trip. Old 
settlers laugh now when they speak of Cameron's galloping bronchos 
and the famous runs they made. Ashley Cameron of Centreville 
held the reins, and never failed to deliver the mail on time, although 
sometimes obliged to forsake the stage and walk the fences across 
stretches of high water. He also carried and threw with unerring 
hand the Alta Californian to subscribers along the way as the 
bronchos flew onward. It is said that when they were fairly 
under wav no stop could be made for way passengers. In times 
of high water, mud wagons were used instead of coaches, and 
even these were not infrequently "stuck in the mud." At such 
times the men passengers were of necessity compelled to get down 
and help pry out before the journey could be continued. Although 
this seems a prosaic employment, at least one romance began 
in the Alvarado slough, for it was there that two of our old set- 
tlers first met. 

An interesting feature of these trips was the fact that the 
steamer at San Antonio could not wait for the stage, if it chanced 
to be late, for the boat had to go with the tide, which waits for 
no man. Then Mr. Cameron would hurry his passengers into 
light wagons and rush them across to what is now Alameda^ 


arriving before the steamer made the landing at that point. 
The stages continued to run to San Antonio until the railroad 
was completed to Haywards, when that was made the objective 
point. But when the railroad service was extended to Oakland 
thev were discontinued. Hoag was the first expressman with his 
ponv and cart, and after him came the Bamber Brothers. 

The following description of the appearance of the valley in 
earlv American days will interest many. It is written l)y Bayard 
Tavlor, the traveler, poet and scholar, who went through it in 
'49, tramping to Monterey, and going muleback from San Jose to 
Stocktor^. In '53 he came again with his wife, this time staging 
from San Jose to San Antonio, now East Oakland. Of his trip 
in '49 he writes: "The' valley is well watered, and may be made 
to produce the finest wheat crops in the world. It is dotted all 
over its surface with clumps of magnificent oaks, cypresses and 
sycamores. * * * Sheltered from the cold winds of the sea 
the climate is hke that of Italy. * * * The Mission (San Jose), 
a spacious stone Innlding with courtyard and long corridors, is 
l:>uilt upon the lower slope of the mountains dividing San Fran- 
cisco Bav from the San Joaquin valley, and a garden extends 
behmd it along the banks of a little stream. The sight of a luxu- 
riant orchard peeping over the top of its mud walls was too tempt- 
ing to be resisted, so, leaving Lieut. Beale to jog ahead with Tomp- 
kins and the loose animals. Col. Lyons and myself rode up the 
hill, scrambled over, and found ourselves in a wilderness of ripen- 
ing fruit. Hundreds of pear and apple trees stood almost breaking 
with their harvest, and cartloads lay rotting on the ground. Flums 
grapes, figs, and other fruits not yet ripened filled the garden. 
There is no such wheat cotmtry in the world. Even with the 
miperfect plowing of the natives, which does little more than 
scratch the surface, the earth produces a hundred fold. * * * 
I was told bv an old settler in the valley of San Jose of a ranchero 
who planted twenty fanegas (Spanish bushels) of wheat, from 
which he harvested the first year 1,()2{) fanegas; the second year, 
without resowing, he reaped SOO, and the third 600 fanegas. * * 
I saw corn green and fresh, although no rain had fallen for four 
months. Vegetables thrive luxuriantly, and melons, squashes, 
beans and potatoes require no further care than planting. * * * 
A Frenchman named Vigne made 100 barrels of wine from a vine- 
yard of about six acres at Mission San Jose. Many clusters of 
grapes weigh four or five pounds and in bloom, richness and flavor 
rival the choicest growth of Tuscany on the Rhine. * * ■' TJ-ic 
soft, cloudless skv, the balmy atmosphere, the mountain ranges 
stretching far before me until they vanished in purple haze, the 
sealike sweep of the plain, with islands and shores of dark green 


foliage, combined to form a landscape which I may have seen 
equaled but never surpassed. When these great ranches are 
properly divided, and thousands live where units now are living 
there will be no more desirable place of living on the Pacific coast.'' 
In 1853 he says: "The land appeared to be tolerably well divided 
into farms, the fields fenced with redwood regardless of expense, 
and the most superb orchards and vineyards springing up every- 
where. We were obliged to stop at Warm Springs, which lies 
off the road, on account of the mail. The national flag which 
floated over a clump of sycamores and live oaks announced a 
hotel, a pleasant retreat. A shady verandah opened upon a 
garden of flowers in the midst of which a fountain played." This 
was under the regime of the Columbets. The stage drove on 
through the Mission, but he found, he says, "a thriving village; 
the former peaceful seclusion was gone forever. From the Mis- 
sion the road ran along the base of the hills, and we saw huge 
stacks of sheaves in immense wheatfields, flashing like perfect 
gold; the grain cleaner, purer, and more brilliant in color than 
any we had ever seen before." 

Washington township, in general terms, is bounded north 
by Eden and Murray townships, east by Murray, south by Santa 
Clara county, and west by San Francisco Bay. The area is 108,- 
316.11 acres. The greater part lies in the level vallev, with a 
background of foothills and mountains, and next the bav is a 
fringe of marsh land of about 10,000 or 15,000 acres, mostly re- 
claimable. Lying along the bay for a little distance, however, is 
a line of curious, isolated hills, the Los Cerritos, which gives a prettv 
touch to the landscape. The Contra Costa branch of the coast 
range runs the entire length of the valley at an average distance 
of six miles from the bay, and is cut at intervals by canons, most 
of them more or less wooded with maple, bay manzanita, madrono, 
poplar, buckeye, some oak, although this appears mostly on the 
open hills and plains, sycamore, alder, wild cherry, which closelv 
resembles holly, and chapparal. There are also many ferns, 
vines and shrubs, including the dainty white waxberry, and the 
toy on, said to grow only in the Coast Range; a shrub growing from 
six to ten or fifteen feet high, and bearing in winter great clumps 
of the beautiful red California Christmas berries. Alameda canon, 
a gorge of wild and romantic beauty, is a cut extending entirely 
through the mountains. The sides are high, rugged and precipi- 
tous, with broken steeps often wooded to the tops, which here and 
there fall back, leaving open grassy spaces fringed with laurel, 
masses of shrubbery and tangled vines. Alameda creek runs 
from Sunol valley through it on its way to the bay. A well-oiled 
road now takes the place of the former rude trail, affording a 


drive of much interest and scenic beauty from Niles to Sunol ; and 
the S. P. R. R. trains entering the canon at the former place, 
thirty-three miles from San Francisco, steam through to Liver- 
more, Stockton and Sacramento, giving connections with the east, 
and also south with Fresno and Los Angeles. 

Morrison canon, a little to the south of Alameda, is perhaps 
two miles long, and ends on the tops of the hills which are cultivated 
and where the fruit ripens in the orchards a little later than in 
the valley. The sides of this pretty httle ravine are well wooded. 
The southern bank is said to have the largest variety of wild flowers 
of any place in the township, and in it there are never-failing 
springs of water. This and other canons are well worth visiting, 
especially the beautiful one through which Stony Brook dashes 
and gurgles on its way to meet the Alameda, and the glen where 
the Warm Springs are situated. 

Alameda creek, from which the county takes its name, has 
its source far up in the Mt. Hamilton range, and, running down 
towards the valleys, is joined by the Calaveras, Arroyo Honda, 
San Antonio, Arroyo Valle and other mountain streams. Reach- 
ing Sunol valley it lazily broadens out, and then narrows again 
as it reaches the great canon through which long ago it cleft a 
channel on its way to the sea. At the pretty village of Niles, the 
Vallejo's Mills of the old days, the creek enters this valley and 
runs a somewhat crooked course westerlv until it empties into 
the bav beyond Alvarado. It is the most im])ortant stream in 
the county, and formerly its entire course was marked by heavily- 
wooded banks of sycamore, willow and other trees. Hence the 
name Alameda — shaded way. More properlv speaking, perhaps, 
the different channels were so traced, for indisputablv there were 
more than one. Without dou1)t the San Sanjon de los Alisos 
described in the Centreville history was originally the main stream. 
In summer, the beil of the Alameda is dry in many places, the 
water sinking and reapijearing again further along. But this 
droning summer brook in some winters becomes a swollen and tu- 
multuous torrent, and since the American occupation has at times 
overflowed its banks, and cut other channels, as well as filling 
all of the old ones, doing considerable damage but also much good 
by drowning gophers and coverin'g the land with rich alluvial 
deposits. The Spring Valley Water Company of San Francisco 
In the early '70s began purchasing riparian rights along the creek, 
and later built dams and acjueducts, and conveyed the water m 
conduits to and under the bay to San Francisco, making this a 
part of the water supply of that city. The people, fearing that 
the water would be diverted from the township by this com- 
pany to the injury of the farms and orchards, organized in 1S71 


a ditch company called the Washington and Murray Township 
Water Company, incorporated, for the ostensible purpose 
of preserving the waters of the Alameda for the benefit 
of the settlers, ensuring thereby a sufficient flow of 
water in the summer for the protection of trees and all 
other practical purposes. This purpose has been defeated, how- 
ever, by the Spring Valley Company, which claims to own all of 
the water of the creek by virtue of the purchase of all riparian 
rights up and down the stream, and unappropriated water; and 
the company also endeavors to prove by legal reasoning that the 
ditch company never had any rights. In like manner the Contra 
Costa Water Company of Oakland purchased a considerable tract 
of land in Alvarado in the artesian belt, established a pumping 
plant, and piped the water to Oakland. Since then the subter- 
ranean supply has been materially lowered, so that hand pumps 
have had to be resorted to, because water in wells that formerly 
flowed through and over a pipe five or eight feet above the ground 
is now that much below the surface. 

Besides the Alameda there are two other creeks of some im- 
portance. Mission Creek flowing from the mountains down into 
Mission San Jose and always giving a good supply of water; on 
this creek was the primitive adobe flour mill of the padres and the 
better one of Beard and Ellsworth. This stream empties into the 
lagoon, but the outlet to the lagoon is through Irvington and fin- 
ally into the Bay. The stream flowing through the lower end of 
Mission Pass joins Mission Creek near the electric power house. 
Segunda, or Dry Creek, is the other one mentioned which reaches 
the valley at Decoto, and joins the Alameda near Alvarado. There 
are, however, several springs in the township, giving home sup- 
plies of water, from which small brooks flow. From the Bay num- 
erous tide water creeks or sloughs put into the mainland, affording 
landing places for sloops and schooners and are much used for 
commercial purposes. These landings were the embarcaderos of 
the Spanish-Mexican days. 

Probably no place in California has a better all around climate, 
although within the limits of the township, even, there is some 
diversity owing to topography altitude, currents of air, etc. But 
anywhere the winters are mild yet bracing, with rain and sun- 
shine alternating, and the summers, with cool westerly trade winds 
prevailing, have little discomfort. Snow is not infrequently seen 
on the mountain tops, but seldom falls in the valley; and although 
sharp frosts may continue for several consecutive nights, even 
freezing water and the earth, yet strangely enough flowers bloom 
on from one year's end to another. The fruit, as well as other 
deciduous trees, drop their leaves in autumn, but the pepper, with 


its graceful habit and wealth of red berries, the Australian euca- 
lyptus standing tall against the skyline, the live and other oaks 
of similar character, the tropical-looking palms, the orange, lemon, 
loquat and olive, the cypress, pine and redwood trees, together 
with the fresh green of the hills give to the landscape a verdant 
appearance, so that by vegetation the seasons are scarcely marked. 
Nothing can be more beautiful than the fields and hillsides in late 
winter and early spring covered with richest verdure and studded 
with the gorgeous yellow and orange of the great California pop- 
pies, mingled with the varied colors of many other wild flowers. 
All winter the joyous song of the clear-throated meadowlark greets 
one from the trees, telephone wires and fences; early in March the 
almond orchards are white with bloom and other orchard blossoms 
follow in succession, and then other bird songs are heard — for in 
spite of the indiscriminate shooting that has prevailed, in a morn- 
ing hour of last September twenty-seven different kinds were 
counted from Bell Ranche bridge. 

Perhaps it is proper here to say a few words about earthquakes 
which have so fearsome a sound to the strangers in our midst. 
But one has been of serious import within the memory of the "old- 
est inhabitant," that of 1868, mentioned elsewhere. These dreaded 
upheavals may consist of "a sudden jarring of the earth, some- 
times accompanied by a short rumbling noise, followed by a few 
quick vibratory motions, and all is over; although occasionally 
two or three shocks follow consecutively." These are seemingly 
preferable to the blizzards, cyclones, gales, tornadoes and dreadful 
electrical storms of the eastern States. 

Probably the best hay in the world is w^ld oat hay, which here 
grows to perfection. The different clovers, grasses and alfilaria 
are mostly annuals, starting up fresh and green with the rains of 
winter, curing on the ground as summer comes on, and affording 
excellent pasturage, sweet and nutritious until the rains fall again 
to start the fresh new feed. Except for the stubble fields after 
the hay and grain are off, and the marsh meadows, the uplands 
and hills are the pasture and grazing lands; although there also 
a good deal of hay and grain are raised. 

In the winter between rains the farmer tills his land, the horti- 
culturist cultivates his orchards, and the vegetable grower is al- 
wavs busv with one crop after another. In May, haying time, 
there are sometimes late showers, when watchfulness is necessary 
to avert injury. After that, rain is rarely seen before late October, 
or earlv November; then the southerly winds bring in the wished 
for showers, which continue off and on until in May, blowing in 
through the "Golden Gate" the trade winds come again. These bring 
long and comfortable days when the farmer unconcerned by fears 


of storms, harvests and threshes his grain, piHng up his filled sacks 
in the fields until a convenient time to haul them to the warehouse 
or send the grain to market. These days are busy ones for the 
orchardist, as one after another the crops of cherries, apricots, 
peaches, plums, pears and prunes ripen; but between the different 
harvests he may find time when with his family he can go for a 
camping trip or some other outing. The vintage comes in the 
autumn, also the gathering of almonds and other nuts, and then 
the sugar-beet grower is busy digging and drawing to the mill his 
saccharine vegetables. Olives are gathered in winter. The small 
fruit and vegetable growers market their produce the year round. 

The proportion of tillable land to pasture and marsh land is 
greater here than in any other township of the county, and this, 
too. is one of the finest agricultural districts in the State. The 
soil varies from a rich dark loam, six to fifteen feet deep, with a 
substratum of sand and gravel in the valley, to the lighter soil of 
the foothills and high hills beyond. There is some adobe in places, 
which is heavy and sticky, yet if continually worked, as it is rich 
in nutritive qualities and retains moisture, it gives abundant re- 
turns; in fact, the earth is everywhere fertile. 

The hills are cultivated to the tops, and on these sunny slopes 
early vegetables are grown for the city market. Bees do well and 
poultry raising has become quite an industry. 

What wonder that with so many advantages the valley and 
uplands have become a succession of gardens, orchards, vineyards 
and grain fields? 

As this township was the first part of Alameda county to be 
settled bv Americans, so here the first experiments in agriculture, 
not only in the locality, but in the State, were begun, amazing 
those who made them by the amount and size of the productions. 

Wm. Simm, in 1853, shipped from Irvington to the World's 
Fair, New York City, in hermetically sealed cases, samples of 
California grain which attracted much attention. There were oat 
stalks ten feet three inches in height, with heads twenty-two to 
twenty-eight inches in length. Also the product of a single grain 
of wheat, viz.: seventy spears, or stalks, having four thousand 
two hundred grains or kernels, and some wheat heads consisting 
of from fifty to eighty grains in a head. 

Horticulture began, of course, with the Mission fathers, and 
before the discovery of gold we read that grapes, pears and other 
fruit were regularly supplied from the Mission to General Sutter. 

When gold mining began, vegetables and fruit brought fabu- 
lous prices. Onions were $1 per pound; cabbages sold at $1 per 
head ; potatoes, 16 cents per pound ; wheat, eleven cents, and barley 
from five to seven cents. As one acre produced 600 bushels of 


onions, potatoes averaged three hundred bushels, and grain from 
fifty-six to seventy-five, it will readily be seen that the farmer 
had a veritable gold mine in his produce. Capt. Bond, of Centre- 
ville, at an early date sold blackberries for fifty cents per pound, 
and in 1863 cherries, the first raised, for sale in the valley for thirty 
cents per pound. John Proctor got $1 apiece for pears. 

Two Frenchmen kept a wayside house on the road which ran 
on the back part of the Jesse Beard (now the J. L. Beard) place, 
and there raised vegetables for market. One of them procured 
some watercress seed from France and planted it near the house 
in a bend of the creek, and from this the other streams in this 
valley may have been supplied. 

The Americans who settled here soon procured cuttings from 
the Mission orchard and fruit trees from the east. 

In 1853, Earl Marshall had three hundred sent out by way of 
Panama, and about the same time E. L. Beard imported others, 
which were brought across the plains. Beard and Lewelling did 
quite a business in that line, and some of these old trees are still 
growing on the John Beard homestead, some at Crandall Slough 
and other places in the vicinity. Of the Marshall stock, Capt. 
Bond and George Lovd planted several trees in Centreville ; on the 
Capt. Bond place a few of the apple trees remain, and on the Stiv- 
ers' place, Irvington, are others. 

The investment in these trees was extremely profitable for all 
concerned. John Proctor afterward started a nursery at Centre- 
ville. Then James Shinn established one on a large scale about 
half way between Centreville and Vallejo's Mills, importing rare 
trees from the Orient and other parts of the world; many of them 
are still growing on the home place — among others might be men- 
tioned the carob tree, locust bean or St. John's bread, which is 
interesting because identified with the tree producing the husks 
eaten by the prodigal son, and the locusts of St. John the Baptist. 
B. D. T. Clough, of Niles, was also one of the early nurserymen 
and had a flourishing business. These are now all gone, biit under 
the management of the veteran John Rock, the California Nursery 
Companv, of Niles, has six hundred acres in fruit, ornamental 
trees and plants, shipping a vast amount of nursery stock far and 

John M. Horner was the first man to demonstrate that veget- 
ables and grain could be raised in California in paying quantities; 
the fame of his achievements went abroad and many eastern people 
believed that this valley was the only place in California where 
vegetables could be grown in appreciable quantities. His cor- 
respondence in regard to this belief was very amusing. Mr. Horner 
and his brother operated on a large scale. About the time pota- 


toes became a drug in the market they turned their attention to 
grain, and built the big steam flouring mill at Alvarado. E. L. 
Beard was another large farmer, and with his stepson, H. G. Ells- 
worth, built a water mill at the Mission. Vallejo's Mill at the mouth 
of Alameda Canon made three in operation early in the history of 
the township. Many other pioneers engaged in grain raising, and 
all were astonished at the immense crops produced. The products 
now may be classed as grain and hay, fruits in great variety, from 
the loquat, fig, lemon and orange, to the apple. 

The Mavhew orange grove at Niles, also Mrs. Pickering's, the 
Shinn's and Ellsworth's, Mr. Crowell's at Irvington, Mr. Curtner's 
at Warm Springs, and a small one of O. B. Simpson's, at Centre- 
ville, demonstrate what can be done in citrus fruits; but every 
man can have his own oranges and lemons in his garden if he so 
desires. The Imperial prunes raised by Senor Juan Gallegos, at 
Mission San Jose, are as fine as any in the famed Santa Clara County 
district, and everybody knows of the Vanderpeer apples at Alvar- 
ado. At Stonv Brook, up near Mission Peak, on the C. S. Haley 
anche, and other places, excellent ones are also raised. There 
are the products of the gravel beds, the molder's sand quarries the 
stone quarries, and in addition to the industries already spoken 
of several others should be mentioned — stock-raising, dairying, 
poultrv raising, the drying and curing of fruits and nuts, seed cul- 
ture and the cut flower industry which is increasing in value. The 
salt and sugar works, the wineries, the car shops, foundry, planing 
mill, lumber and coal yards give employment to many men. Con- 
siderable wood is cut in the timbered hills, ])erhaps more than 
ought to be to ensure the preservation of the woods. 

In earlv times there was, of course, only the Mission Church, 
but after the Americans came, the Latter Day Saints held services 
in the upper story of the adobe on the Naile place and soon after 
in Horner's school house in Centreville. 

Earlv in the fifties, two Protestant organizations (Presbyterian 
and Methodist) were perfected in Centreville, and soon had church 
buildings. Now every village has one and some have two or three 
church edifices. 

Originallv school districts in the county had the same boun- 
daries as the townships, but almost immediately others were formed, 
three first and then more; there are now fourteen in this township 
with comfortable school buildings in each. The first school taught, 
however, was at the Mission, when this township was a portion of 
Santa Clara County. 

In 1856, there were but nineteen teachers employed in the 
countv, at an average salary of $76.70 per month; thirty-eight 


are now teaching in this township hi the high and grammar schools, 
ten men and twenty-eight women. 

The salary list for the school year of 1908 and 1904 amounted 
to almost S3, 000 per month; the average salary for men was about 
.|99 per month, and for women a little over $72. 

The schools rank well — in 1S99 a girl graduated from the Cen- 
treville grammar school with the highest standing of anv examined 
Ijy the County Board of Education, and the following year one 
from the little country district of Rosedale carried off like honors; 
it is pleasant to chronicle that both attended high school and that 
one is now studying in the State University. 

In 1890, the Legislature passed the Union High School law, 
and under its provisions twelve districts in the township united 
to establish a high school. 

The trustees of these districts met at Centreville, and on the 
eighth ballot to determine a location. Centreville was chosen. The 
site of two acres on the Centreville-Niles road was donated Ijv the 
citizens of the village and vicinity and afterward the Board of 
Trustees ]jurchased an acre additional. 

School was opened in ISO.'-! m the Masonic building, 
with two teachers, Mr. William Wentworth, ]jrincii)al, and 
Miss Ci. R. Crocker assistant, and twenty-two pupils were 
immediately enrolled; the reputation of being one of the 
l)est schools in the State was at once estaljlished, and this 
standard has been jealously maintained. In 1 ,S9o the jjresent 
fine building was finished at a cost, including other improvements, 
of nearly $11,000. Trees, shrubs and flowers were planted which 
now make the place very attractive. The first year there was one 
graduate, and the next two; l)ut the banner class in point of num- 
bers, twelve, was that of '90. In 190o there was a large entering 
class, and the enrollment is now about seventy, with a corps of 
five teachers. The course of study must be prepared or sanctioned 
b\- the Board of Trustees, and approved by the County Board of 
Education ; the text-books must be those recommended by the 
State Board. The school is fully accredited and prepares for all 
courses in the State University ; the faculty has always been com- 
posed of excellent scholars and teachers — two of them have been 
graduates of the school and of the State University. 

The pupils generally have reflected credit upon the school and 
teachers, a good proportion of them have taken college work in 
California or Stanford, and were known as good students; several 
have l)een graduated from the Normal Schools and are teaching 
successfully in the township or elsewhere. Some have been dis- 
tinguished on the foot-ball and base-ball 'varsity teams. 

In 1902, Alvarado joined the union, so that at jjresent all dis- 


tricts except Stony Brook belong to the high school district. The 
rate of taxation for the support of the school has varied, but for 
1903 and 1904 it was .07 on the hundred; the State aid received, 
according to the new law, for the first year is about $1,100. The 
first president of the Board of Trustees was H. A. Mayhew, Niles, 
and the first secretary was L. F. Jarvis, of Newark, who resigned 
upon removing to Oakland ; to his untiring care much of the beauty 
of the grounds is due. 

There are no incorporated towns within the limits of the town- 
ship, but the several villages are thriving business places. Two 
Hnes of the S. P. R. R. run through, about five miles apart, and 
surveys have been made, presumably for a competing road. It is 
likely but a question of time when the different villages will be 
connected with electric roads. Telephone and electric light lines 
run everywhere. 

The Portuguese population was represented early in the '50s. 
The first comers were four sailors, in 1S52, who were immediately 
employed in the harvest fields on the Naile place, now Mrs. Kate 
Overacker's. Two of these made ])ermanent homes very soon ; 
Frank Rose buying land near the hills on the mountain road, and 
Frank Silva Joulin eventually purchasing near Mowry's; another 
Frank Rose remained two or three years working in the vicinity 
then returned to the Azores, married, went to New England and 
finally returned here. The fourth left after the harvest was over. 
Many more have settled in the valley since then and own some of 
the best small farms. They are an industrious and thrifty people, 
taking pride in building neat homes and cultivating their farms. 

Situated near Decoto, on the foothills of the Contra Costa 
range and commanding a superb view, is the Masonic Home, a 
prominent landmark, seen from most points in the valley. The 
buildings, considered architecturally, and with the site, are not 
surpassed bv any like institution in the United States. They 
stand for an expression of what the fraternity feels that it owes to 
a-^ed and unfortunate brethren, their mothers, wives, widows and 
orphans; this is not thought of as a charity, but rather as a duty 
gladly performed for the amelioration of hardships in the lives of 
old and less fortunate members of the masonic order. Certainly 
no more beautiful or practical manifestation of this sentiment 
could have been planned. 

Few of the buildings of early days remain now — one only of 
those built bv the Mission priests — this is the old adobe which 
was used as a store. The tiled roof has been replaced by shin- 
gles and a framed addition attached to the end, which detracts 
from an otherwise picturesque appearance. It is hoped that the 
Church will restore and preserve this link which connects us with 


the venerable past of the padres. In Niles is a part of Vallejo's 
Mills, fast crumbling away, an adobe house standing in the Cali- 
fornia Nursery's grounds, and another at Warm Springs are 
perhaps the only adobes left. 

On the Niles-Irvington road, the house built by J. M. Horner 
still stands, doing duty as a barn and dove-cote; the old "Horner's 
School House" is not far from the warehouse in Irvington. A part 
of the zinc-roofed house brought by Timothy Rix "around the 
Horn," can still be seen near the same village. The Torry house 
in Centreville; the ranche house built by E. L. Beard, on what is 
now the Eugene Stevenson place, an interesting reminder of the 
primitive ranching days, these and a few others are all that remain 
of the old-time buildings. 

The Indian burying ground, belonging to the Mission church, 
where the remnant of a once numerous people is buried, and which 
will soon receive the last one, lies on a sunny hillside, between the 
Mission and Irvington, forlorn and neglected — typical of the race. 

This spot should be fenced and cared for. There are in different 
parts of the township several natural landmarks of interest. The 
low line of softly-rounded, undulating hills already mentioned as 
lying next the Bay, called Los Cerritos by the Spaniards, by the 
Americans less euphoniously dubbed Coyote Hills, and again the 
Lone Hills, are worth noting. They are quite different from the 
high hills on the other side of the valley, and seem to be of the 
same formation as a portion of San Francisco; whether there is a 
dip under the Bay or not, there appears on this side, first, an is- 
land, and then these hills composed of a red rock which rapidly 
disintegrates on exposure to the elements. Apparently they stop 
rather abruptly near Jarvis' Landing, with upstanding rocks along 
the slope, but after quite a sweep of marsh and tide-water ditches, 
two or three little knobs rise up in succession and these are the 

From the center of the township and farther west one can see, 
looking easterly, Mt. Hamilton and the white globe of Lick Obser- 
vatory; in the far northwest, Mt. Tamalpais; on the north side of 
Alameda Canon, Sunol Peak, over two thousand feet high, and 
bevond Mission Peak range, the Calaveras Mountains, frequently 
white with snow in winter. 

Directly above Warm Springs is an extinct volcano. Although 
in plain sight from the valley, one should visit it to see the peculiar 
appearance of the old crater, (which has two mouths) — the geological 
formation of rocks at its western rim and the never-failing cone- 
shaped hill in the center. Near one of the crater's openings is a 
group of wild cherry trees about sixty in number, not growing in 
a thicket as elsewhere, but as individual trees, which is quite un- 


usual. In the mouth of the crater giant red clover grows rank 
and lush. In 1860, fifty tons were mowed there with a scythe by 
Mr. Wm. Barry. South of this crater is Monument Peak, mark- 
ing the boundary of the township and county, and so designated 
in the acts creating them. 

The landmark that dominates the whole region, however, is 
Mission Peak, with its scarred front, the result of ancient and 
more recent landslides. It has been variously estimated to be 
from 2275 to 2900 feet high, and although the former estimate 
appears in several histories, the authority for it seems unknown. 
Whitney gives the height as 2566 feet, and Dr. Lorenzo Yates, a 
noted scientist, formerly resident of the township, measuring with 
a barometer made it 2750. He also found at the base fossil ele- 
phants, mastodons, llamas, tigers, wolves, etc., and at the top rare 
land shells and fossils. The rounded point just south he computed 
to be about 300 feet higher than the peak, although from its posi- 
tion it is not so noticeable. There is a big fiat stone on the top 
of this point, and upon it is carved the initials of a name with a 
date. Ten years later, cut by the same hand, appears the same 
lettering, the date onlv changed. It is told that the man who 
fashioned this inscription had made a vow to return every ten 
years as long as he lived and repeat his work. The years have 
come and gone, but no later record has been added. Who was 
this stranger"" Is he living, or has he passed over the great divide? 

Perhaps the denizens of this valley are so accustomed to the 
sight of Mission Peak that thev fail to appreciate the dignity and 
individuality which it gives to the landscape. Whether the out- 
lines, snow-capped may be, are sharp and distinct on a clear, frosty 
morning in winter, or overspread with the purple afterglow of a 
summer sunset; whether rising grim and rugged against black 
storm clouds, or emerging into sunlight from unwinding fogwreaths, 
the mountain has a majesty of its own. The rain torrents of 
winter have for ages beaten upon it, the scorching heat of summer 
suns have fallen u])on it, but unmindful of the elements, of changes 
wrought 1:)V men, this grand old peak stands overlooking the entire 
vallev, a giant sentinel forever on guard. It is a singular fact that 
manv living in the township, even some born and reared here, 
have never ascended this mountain. They have gone to Tamal- 
pais, tramped to Diablo, and to other mountains farther off, ignor- 
ant of the vast and wonderful landscape to lie seen from their own. 
Standing on the top, when the day is clear, we can see far in the 
east the shining summits of the high Sierras to Pyramid Peak, 
and bevond the Yosemite the snow peaks of the Lyell group. 
Spread out between is the great plain of the San Joaquin, and the 
smaller vallevs of San Ramon, Livermore and Svmol. The cancan 


immediately in front drops down 2,000 feet into Rosedale, and 
on the other side are the serrated crags of the Calaveras. Far 
and faint in the south is the huge bulk of the Gabilans, while nearer 
is flat-topped Loma Prieta, and closer still the silver dome and 
clustered dwellings of Lick Observatory, with the higher top of 
Mount Hamilton behind. Due north rise the splendid double 
peaks of Monte Diablo, the giant of the Coast Range. Turning, 
the great valley, our own, stretching north and south and full of 
busy life, lies at our feet a variegated patchwork of orchards, 
gardens, farms, meadows, marshes and meandering streams. The 
Santa Cruz mountains, topped with their giant redwood forests, 
are in the southwest, and climbing over their foothills just where 
the narrow gauge railroad plunges into the mountains, is the beau- 
tiful village of Los Gatos. So near, that we look into the streets 
and see with a glass the trolley cars, which appear like toys as 
they speed back and forth from San Jose and Santa Clara. On 
the other side of the lower arm of the bay backed by the blue 
Palo Alto hills, and showing amidst magnificent groves of live oaks, 
are Palo Alto, Stanford University, Redwood City, Menlo Park 
and San Mateo. The trains running from Monterey to San Fran- 
cisco and touching at these points are distinctly seen. Faint, 
yet plainly outlined away off in the northwest, is the superb solitary 
mass of Mt. St. Helena, and between it and San Francisco, the 
sleeping beautv. Mount Tamalpais. Between San Francisco on 
the far side, and Oakland and Alameda on this, dotted with specks 
of sails, numerous steamers, and ferry boats crossing and recrossing, 
are the shimmering waters of the great Bay of San Francisco, 
curving out to the Golden Gate. Here and there throughout the 
vallev are the little towns not only of Washington tonwship, but 
also of Eden. The old padres have moldered into dust, gone 
are the teepes of the Indians, the adobes of the Spanish-Americans, 
and their herds of grazing horses and wild cattle. The stage- 
coaches of the pioneer days have given place to electric lines, and 
the numerous railroad trains that steam up and down the valley 
and out through the mountains trailing airy ribbons of smoke — 
while scattered over the plain, nestling among the foothills, or built 
on natural terraces of the mountain sides, are pretty cottage homes 
and more pretentious country houses, where live an industrious 
and contented people. 

It is not within the scope of this article to write fully of the 
varied interests of the township, which is fortunately situated on 
the continental side of the bay, and has great resources. The 
products include almost everything grown in the temperate zones, 
and many semi-tropical productions. Land is not cheap, because, 
when the owner can make from fifty to two hundred dollars per 


acre it enhances in value. In educational, social and religious 
respects the inhabitants fare well. Aside from the excellent 
grammar schools, the high school and Anderson's academy, there 
are in close proximity the State University and Stanford, Mills' 
college for girls, Santa Clara for boys and men, and the technical 
and business schools of Oakland and San Francisco. There are 
good roads, and all of the modern requirements of good living 
can easily be obtained. Oysters, clams and fish are abundant 
in the waters, wild geese and ducks are in the marshes, quail, rabbit 
and sometimes deer are found in the plain and upland, stock and 
poultry thrive well, our dairy products are excellent, our manu- 
factures are equal to any, and the climate is never extreme. But 
the greatest natural advantages are of little avail unless there are 
men to make them serve the beneficial purposes of mankind. 
Such men were the pioneers. Whether we and those who come 
after shall reap the profits of the future depends upon the energy 
and enterprise of our people. 

Tlie ]Vlissioii. of Sail fJos 


•T N February, 1697, three httndred years ago, two Spanish 
^ Jesuit fathers, Juan Maria Salvatierra and Francisco Ensebro 
Kino, asked permission of the King of Spain "to attempt the 
spiritvial conquest of the CaUfornias." Their request was granted, 
upon the distinct understanding that the country should be 
taken possession of in the name of the Spanish crown, and that 
the king should never be called upon for any of the expense at- 
tending the enterprise. 

Lower California had been discovered some two hundred and 
fifty years before, and was supposed to be an island. Up|)er 
California, also supposed to be an island, directly adjoining 
Greenland, was well knowa to manv Spanish navigators, who 
claimed to have sailed around it. These priests found no diffi- 
culty in collecting funds to an " aggregate of sufficient import- 
ance to find much mention from time to time thereafter, in 
both Spanish and Mexican history, as the ' Pious Fund of the 
Californias.' " 

Thirteen missions were established in Lower California within 
seventy years, when in ITOS, all Jesuits being banished from 
all Spanish possessions by the king, the Vicerov of Mexico was 
ordered to pass the work of the Jesuit missionaries over into the 
hands of the Franciscans. He appointed the marvellously en- 
dowed Father Junipero Serra of the convent of Zacatecas, Mexico, 
president of the missions. In 1769, a full century after the Pious 
Fund was started, the establishment of the missions in Up]jer 
California began, and it took forty years to complete this chain 
of twenty-two missions. 

" Missionaries were to give place, as need of missionary work 
ceased, to secular clergy, and the mission churches were then to 
become parish churches. " 

As is well known, the missions were for the civilization of the 
Lidians, but the colonization of California began at the same 
time. The missions were under ecclesiastic rule, but the govern- 
ment furnished soldiers and presidios to protect them and the 
pueblos, or towns, which it was hoped would spring up al;)Otit 
them. To this end goodly grants of land were given to all who 
chose to come to the new land, and immigration, especiallv of 
the educated class of Spanish-Mexican people, was encouraged 
by the Mexican government. Therefore, at every mission were 
to be found a half dozen or more soldiers, and a few Spanish fam- 
ilies with their Mexican retainers. As the Indians worked well 


they were taken as servants by the Spanish famiHes, hence the 
mixture of the Mexican and Indian races that began early in the 

The first mention made of any governing body in Cahfornia 
is of Gov. Senor Don FeUpe Neve, in 1777. Twenty years later 
the Mission of San Jose was founded. On June 11th, 1797, Father 
de Luzuen came up from Santa Clara, placed the cross and chanted 
the litanies. This cross for many years marked the burial place 
of the dead, a small sacred enclosure, still close under the northern 
wing of the old church. Quaint old stones, illegible with age, 
with historic names all blurred, are clustered within, where to 
be on sacred ground, tier upon tier, one over the over, the dead 
lie buried. 

With wonderful foresight these padres, reared in a vine-clad 
land, where fig and olive and fruits abound, saw the riches of 
these acres, and so obtained from the great San Jose pueblo (or 
town) lands, a mission site, some twelve miles to the north of 
San Jose and well up on the beautiful slopes of the peak, hence 
the name of Mission San Jose. 

Fathers Ysidro Barcenilla and Augustine Merino were ap- 
pointed the first missionaries, and with ten soldiers under com- 
mand of a sergeant, laid the foundations of the mission. Acres 
upon acres of ripening grasses were waiting for the cattle portioned 
to them, villages upon villages of Indians were near, wood was 
plentiful, game everywhere, and workers at hand to be taught 
to harvest and to plant. Springs were near, and were soon walled 
in readv for use, and still supply water in abundance. So 
began, immediately, the building of the church, the necessary 
living rooms and courts. This work seems to have taken some 
ten years, not being finished until 1S08. The work of christian- 
izing the Indians also began immediately, for within a vear, in 
September, 1797, one baptism is recorded. The dimensions 
of the old church were "one hundred and twenty-five feet 
long, and forty feet wide, with four foot walls twenty-four 
feet high." The rest of the buildings were one story, fifty feet 
wide, room after room continuous about an enclosed court two 
hundred feet square, into which each room opened. Some were for 
guests, some for the monastery, others for school rooms, and 
living rooms for the unmarried Indians, and for the serape factory- 
where the clothes were woven. Within the courts were the priests' 
houses, which formed three sides of a smaller court. Within 
the outer court the Spanish and Indian population were wont 
to assemble to celebrate great holidays with immense feasts and 
barbecues. Fifteen acres were enclosed about the court bv an 
adobe wall some ten feet high. The church facing the west met 


the walls tipon either side. Within and against the walls was 
a hedge of prickly pear — ^the Mexican nopal or tuna. Long rows 
of these hedges remained as late as 1S53. Various needed build- 
ings were afterward built within this enclosure. A portion of 
one old house, a small section of the wall, and a cactus here and 
there may still Ijc seen. 

In some of these buildings the fathers and mothers of some 
of our club members found shelter when, a half century later, 
thev crossed the trackless plains seeking homes in a new land. 

The enclosed land was laid out with much taste and judgment. 
To quote from Miss Vallejo, "apples, pears particularly, peaches, 
apricots, plums, cherries, figs, olives, oranges and pomegranites" 
were growing in these gardens, being planted l)efore 1800; and 
grapes evervwliere. So while Washington still lived, enjoying 
the peace but just proclaimed on our eastern shores, in 1797, the 
civilization and colonization of this valley began. 

To secure their portion of the Pious Fund, careful reports 
had to be sent l)y the fathers each year to the president of the 
missions and to the governor of the territory. We need to l)Ut 
glance at these to see the success of the work. The first year 
there were five marriages and ihirty-three baptisms; the second 
year twentv-nine marriages and one hundred and sixty-two 1)ap- 
tisms, one hundred and fifty-four Indians were under instruction. 
There were also one hundred and fifty head of cattle, one hun- 
dred and eightv head of sheep and goats, twent)'-one horses and 
six mules. The harv^est that }-ear — ISOO — was thirty-three fane- 
gas of wheat, twelve of beans, one of barley, and two of corn. 
A fanega is about two bushels. 

The Indians were "persuaded to come to the Mission where 
pDSsi!)le, but when necessary" — one smiles at the word neces- 
sarv. the soldiers were sent out and gathered them in, even 
going as far as Suisun and San Joaquin. Hundreds were thus 
brought in in the first few years, bvit many came willingly, as the 
race was a peaceful one, fond of community life. Thev were 
taught the trades, farming and gardening. Tallow and soap, 
and pottery were made, and salt also, as early as 1880, on the 
site of the present salt works. Weaving, housework and sewirg 
were taught the women, — all were given thorough religious train- 
ing, and a crude schooling. They were given plain woven cloth- 
ing, though their clothing had been of rushes and skins before 
the advent of the padres. The unmarried men and maidens 
lived in the rooms oft' the court, but had their own individual 
huts outside when married. They were given their portion of 
beef, which they cooked in the crudest manner. They gathered 
acorns, nuts and grasshoppers, ground them into a paste, mixed 


with suet or "montego," which they baked in small cakes between 
hot stones. 

When the fathers entered upon their work in this valley thev 
found some seven villages or rancherias, with from two to four 
hundred people in each village, making a total of about two thous- 
and Indians in the valley. Each rancheria had its own language or 
idiom, though many of the inhabitants were familiar with that 
of the others, owing to frequent intermarriages. Thev did not 
practice polygamy, although Bancroft asserts that they did in 
some parts of the state. They are described as "stoutly built 
and heavy limbed, with short, broad faces, wide mouths, thick 
lips, broad noses and extremely low forheads." Thev were poor 
htinters of large game, bi:t skillful in making nets for fish and 
small animals. They lived on clams, sturgeon and other fish 
from the salt water sloughs, while from the mountains thev se- 
cured acorns and pine nuts, from which they made flour. Thev 
caught wild ducks and geese in nets, removed the bones and dried 
them. They also made a mush from the buckeye, and sometimes 
used the deadly nightshade. vSo closely did these people live 
to nature that they knew just when and how to use these poison- 
ous plants without any ill effects. 

The women made verv beautiful baskets from grasses, and 
wove into them colored feathers from the wild ducks or gay-plum- 
aged birds. Some few very fine specimens are to be found todav 
in the possession of members of some of the old settlers' families. 
It was the custom when any one died to burn or destrov, or l)ury 
with them all of their valued possessions, so very few relics of 
anv kind are to be found extant today. 

The men were the only dancers, and they wore gay and fan- 
tastic headdresses of feathers and skins. One or two such pieces 
have been purchased by white people, and are greatly valued 
bv t eir owners. 

In winter these people wore a garment of skins, and in summer 
a fringe of tules hanging from the waist. Their dwellings in sum- 
mer were merelv a "lean to" of branches; in winter a hut, or a 
"wickiup," of branches and tules, plastered with mud. Each 
hut sheltered a whole family related by blood or marriage, the 
size of the hut being dependent upon the size of the family. 

The Indians around San Francisco Bay had no canoes, but 
used bundles of tules lashed together, cigar-shaped. Some were 
long enough and strong enough to hold half a dozen persons astride. 
These they propelled with flat sticks. 

It was the custom of these people to bury their dead in a sitting 
position close to their wickiups, and this practice resulted in making 
a mound about which their huts were built, and upon which they 


built their fires for burning the possessions of the dead, and for 
other purposes. 

In reading of the details of the building of the Mission, it is 
interesting to learn of the burning of the tiles, the making of the 
adobe bricks, and of the cutting and carrying by hand of the heavy 
timbers from the redwoods of San Antonio, thirty miles away. 
Each of these materials took months to prepare, so it is not aston- 
ing that ten years elapsed before the Mission was completed. The 
windows were brought from Spain at great expense. The five 
bells also came from Spain, being Spanish gifts. Of these bells, 
three remain in the church today ; one is supposed to be in Father 
King's church in East Oakland; the other cannot be traced. 

In ISOO there were brought from Spain several religious paint- 
ings and two wooden figures, all of considerable merit. The 
figures are about life size. One is of the Christ ; the other a Spanish 
saint. The paintings still hang in the church, but the figures 
have been given to the sisters in the Josephinevim Orphanage, 
where they are highly prized. A few rare, worn vestments, a 
piece or so of old altar silver, and the four vellum books filled 
with rare records, of names famous in our land, and of deeds worth 
telling are about all that remain of the belongings of the old church. 
These books are now most carefully treasured in the archives 
of St. Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco. 

The earthquakes of 1812 and of 1822 did some injury, which 
the earthquake of lsr)8 completed. The church was soon rebuilt, 
more modern in architecture, on the old site. A section of the 
rooms opening upon the court, which was rented for years for 
various purposes, and is now a storage room belonging to the 
priests; the old tiled steps at the entrance to the church; the tiled 
floor (now covered with wood) and the three bells are all that 
are left of an old, distinctly Spanish type of structure, a type so 
suitable to our country, so desirable for our climate, so capable 
of artistic development, that it is coming into use, in its modified 
form, all over our state. 

The several Spanish families about the Missions, composed 
of cultivated and refined people, formed a sort of aristocracy, 
having large land grants, many retainers, and herds of cattle. 
Their houses were of adobe, and each house had its ovenilla, tiers 
of shelves made of tiling to cook upon, the smoke escaping from 
a horizontal slit in the back of the ovenilla, and thence out through 
another horizontal slit in the walls. In the kitchens hung highly- 
polished cooking utensils. In their rooms were well-made, though 
rude pieces of furniture, now becoming so popular because of 
their genuine artistic merit, an occasional good painting, a rare 
rug, or bit of tapestry. Their wives and daughters had laces. 


jewels, fine china, and wore exquisite garments, for as early as 
1822 the Russians began to come down to the Missions from Fort 
Ross to trade such goods for hides and tallow, wheat and pelts 
of deer, bears and foxes brought into the mission by the Indians 
or wandering hunters. This trading continued until Fort Ross 
was abandoned, in 1841, when it was taken up by the great traders 
from Europe and the far east, and as the Russians had done, so 
did they anchor off what was later known at Beard's Slough and 
also off Alowry's Landing. The padres owned boats at both land- 
ings, capable of carrying one thousand hides, and all bartering was 
done on board the ships, the Indians taking the goods back on 
their shoulders, as they had taken their goods there for exchange. 
Sometimes the padres drove to the landings in a "calesa" or "vo- 
lante," a rude two-wdieeled cart, which they used on all their 
excursions. They drove six white mules, mules being much 
prized, and white mules rare. 

In 1813 the Spanish Cortez passed a law to close the missions 
and appoint parish priests within a given time. Mexico, however, 
passed from Spanish rule in 1821, before the law could be enforced, 
and the Pious Fund, passing into Mexico's possession, the Mis- 
sions were continued. In 1824 Mexico became a republic, modeled 
after the United States government. 

In 1830 there were nearly three thousand Indians in this valley. 
The padres built quite a large mill, and grew much wheat and corn. 
Horses were worth $10, cows $5, sheep $2, wheat S3 a fanega. 
In 1834, when the Mission was at the height of its prosperitv, 
there were 2,300 Indians, 24,000 cattle, thousands and thousands 
of uncounted horses and mules, and 1,900 sheep, goats and hogs. 
Bands of elk and deer roamed the valley with the cattle. Various 
grains were planted, covering nearlv a square mile. The grain 
was harvested by the old-world method, — piled withhi great 
corrals into which horses were driven and urged in a mad race, 
round and round, by the Indians upon the stacks, until the grain 
was all trampled out. It was cleaned by being tossed in the air 
upon a windy day, and the careful housewife washed the grain 
Ijefore she ground it. 

A very pretty ceremony closed the harvest season. The 
Indians took four of the best sheaves of wheat, tied in the form 
of a cross, to the priests who, carrying the cross on high, led the 
way to the church, where the bells were rung and a Te Deum was 
chanted. The Indians possessed the true musical ear, and some- 
times had good voices. They took part always in the church 
song services. After the harvest one-third of the Indians were 
granted a vacation to go to the hills to gather nuts, roots and 
herbs, and to hunt and fish. They continued the custom handed 


down from father to son, and held their three or four annual dances 
to insure success in hunting and fishing, and no game but the 
kind danced for could be brought into camp. The dance in Sep- 
tember was a very serious, ceremonial dance, lasting several days. 
Their dresses, worn for the dance, were very elaborate and well 
made, of feathers. Upon one day, the Coyote dance, a rude sort 
of play, was given, one of the favorite characters being Cooksuy — 
a clown. There must have been some meaning of a memorable 
character to this dance, because when asked why they danced, 
they always replied: "Because our fathers are dead." Their 
tradition of the coming of death into the world is as follows: A 
beautiful maiden lay in a trance, and no creature should make 
a sound for four days. The lark, however, forgot and began its 
song, "who-who." The maiden died, and death came to all there- 
after. Todav, if an Indian kills a lark he will strike its bill with 
his forefinger, and say, "If you had not spoken death would not 
have come to us." The dances were continued annually until 
about twelve vears ago, but as the old leaders and full-blooded 
Indians are nearly all gone, these dances have ceased. The very 
last one was given near Pleasanton in 1897. This peaceful, pas- 
toral life, this patriarchal care of a dependent race was soon to 
cease. In 1833 Mexico ordered the withdrawal of the mission- 
aries. This took two or three years to accomplish, and in 1836 
the Pious Fund was withdrawn, parish priests were appointed 
and administrators were put in charge of the Missions until such 
time as the properties could be rented or sold, according to their 
financial conditions. Don Jose Vallejo, who had a large grant 
to the north'of this Mission, was put in charge here until it could 
be rented, as was ordered. He made his home at the Mission of 
San Jose from that time until 1876, and with his family held a 
most interesting position in the social life of this section. The 
very names of the Sunols, Amadors, Alvisos, Higuerras and Vallejos 
who held large grants of land in this valley, conjure up stories 
of fair women and brave men, of bull fights and bear fights, of 
gay dances, of rodeos and races, of daring riders and gay trap- 
pings and of happy homes. How, later, these same generous, 
open-hearted men welcomed the Americans, helped them to secure 
homes; how their lands, through disturbed governments and 
grants lacking early confirmation, passed into the hands of others, 
is a matter of history, written elsewhere. 

With the withdrawal of the Pious Fund, the appointment 
of parish priests and of administrators in 1836, the Missions ceased 
to be. Abuses and disputes arose, and troublous times came for 
the Missions and their wards. The history of these troubles would 
mean the historv of California for the following ten years. In 



all the years of political and religious disturbances Catholic services 
have never ceased to be held regularly at Mission San Jose- — a 
church with a history of continuous worship for 107 years. How- 
ever earnest and anxious the priests were, they had no means 
to keep the Indians together and care for them. So, set adrift 
and uncared for, they went back into the hills, or to unclaimed 
bits of land by the streams. The only remaining Indian villages 
today in this part of the state are in this township. Thev are, 
in the native tongue, El Molino, the mill, near Niles, and AHsal 
near Pleasanton, with perhaps half a hundred persons in each 
village. In the former, the last full-blooded Indian chief died 
some three years ago. In Alisal, the wife of the chief still lives, 
and six others of full blood. There are but seven full-blooded 
Indians in all this part of California. Alisal is on Mrs. Phoebe 
Hearst's property, and that lady has always a kindly hand ready 
to help them when necessary. This same year, 1S36, cholera 
carried off hundreds of Indians, doubtless from exposure and 
lack of care. They retained much of the training of the priests; 
still they fell back to old manners and customs. 

All of the information appearing in these papers concerning 
the old Indian history and customs has been gleaned from these 
seven full-blooded Indians, one being the widow of the last chief, 
whose name was Jose Antonio. There will never be another 
chief. They had a curious custom called "pooish," — throwing 
of prized bits of shell or cloth, or scraps of baskets upon piles of 
stone which were on the tops of the hills, and about which they 
danced at night to charm away the devil, which sometimes they 
drove out in the form of a great white bull, or a white snake. How- 
ever, they believed the padres had driven out this devil, as it had 
never appeared since their advent. 

In 1848 the administrators and major domos were withdrawn, 
and the secular priests were given sole charge, but their reign 
was very insecure. Gov. Alvarado and Gen. Vallejo having quar- 
reled, two other governors followed in rapid succession. Alvarado's 
faction declared for English possession; Vallejo's for independence. 
War between Mexico and the United States began, and upon the 
memorable 7th of July, 1846, Commodore Sloat raised the Amer- 
ican flag at Monterey. Another peaceful conquest of a wonderful 
countrv. These events all occurred in rapid succession within 
two years. The administrators claimed possession of the Mis- 
sions, as did the major domos appointed under them. The Mex- 
ican government also claimed them, and the priests held possession, 
until Kearny, in command on land under Sloat, ordered all Mis- 
sions to remain in charge of the priests, who should be respon- 
sible to the United States government. Bishop Alemany imme- 


diately applied to the United States government for a confirmation 
of the title of the Mission lands. The renting of Mission San Jose 
was given in charge of Fremont, who delegated his right to others. 
In due time the Mission San Jose lands were rented and paid for 
many times over, because of the claims of the various officials. 

E. L. Beard, one of the earliest pioneers, so well known to all 
old timers, held the mission lands and lived there until the final 
patent was granted to Bishop Alemany, reading: "Mission of 
San Jose, 28 33-100 acres of church property, patented March 
3rd, 1858." Mexico, having refused ever to pay to Upper Cali- 
fornia her share of the Pious Fund, since California became United 
States territory, suit has therefore been pending since 1868, which 
being placed l)efore The Hague tribunal two years ago — the first 
case ever tried before that great peace court — resulted in the 
following decision rendered in October, 1902: That "Mexico 
shall pay to the Catholic Church of California the sum of $1,420,682 
at once, and $43,050 in February of every year thereafter forever." 
On June 16th, 1903, Embassador Clayton of Mexico cabled the 
State Department of the United States that the Mexican govern- 
ment had, on the previous day, June loth, 1903, deposited to 
his credit $1,420,682 on account of the Pious Fund. This early 
action of the Mexican government in meeting its obligations has 
broken all records in arbitration. 

Will 'that sum, or any part of it, be used to ameliorate the 
condition of the few remaining Indians in the state, the people 
for whom the sum was originally contributed? 

Such vague, uncertain boundaries were given when portioning 
off grants and selling lands in those wonderful, large-handed days 
that the wonder is that lines were ever straightened or patents 
secured. It was not tmtil 1864-5 that the final patents were all 
secured in our vallev. Some of our old settlers hold valued papers 
with the name of Lincoln, making good their titles and papers, 
that because of the name, are held among their rarest possessions. 

With the raising of our flag, this chapter of California history 
closed entirelv and forever, and there it a breath of gladness that 
the gentle founders of the mission did not see its close. Three 
days after the raising of the flag in San Francisco (Verba Buena) 
the good ship Brooklyn sailed in through the Golden Gate bringing 
236 colonists from our eastern shores, with knowledge of trades 
and stores of tools. Within the year many of those sturdy fami- 
lies, whose names and histories will some of them appear in the 
following papers, crossed the bay into this goodly land, and began 
the work which marks the fifty years of this township history 
as a golden era. Today we behold this fair and goodly land, with 
"orchard and meadow fruited deep," filled with a prosperous and 
christian people. 

Mission San Jose 

P'l'oin the American Oecu]3ation 


fe#j ■ 



_ fiiipiiii 

O/d Mission of' to day — Mission San Jose. 

N 1846, as Col. 
John C. Fremont 
was on his way to 
Oregon, across the 
plains and mountains 
of California, he ar- 
rived at Monterey, 
and was given per- 
mission to continue 
his journey, via the 
San Joaquin Valley. 
This privilege was re- 
voked almost as soon 
as given ; but he kept 
on his route, however, 
through the Mission 
San Jose, Mission Pass 
and Stockton, and 
had gone as far north 
as Klamath when 
trouble broke out in 
his rear, and dispatches which he received caused him to retrace 
his steps. A few weeks later the Bear Flag was raised at Sono- 
ma; war had broken out between the United States and Mexico, 
and Commodore Sloat had hoisted the flag and taken possession 
of Monterey, the Capital of California. 

One member of Fremont's band, Henry C. Smith, occupied a 
prominent position in the settlement of the little town of Mission 
San Jose by the Americans, and was appointed Alcalde by Gov- 
ernor Riley. When gold was discovered at Coloma, on the Amer- 
ican River, in 1S48, Smith went to the mines but remained only 
a short time. Returning to the Mission, he opened a store; the 
place soon became a very important trading post, as all travel to 
or from the "mines" — except by river — necessarilv led through 
the Mission Pass. All travelers, therefore, were likely to "put 
up" at the Mission. It is reported that in a very short time Mr. 
Smith's accumulations in gold dust and coin were so great that 
their removal required a wagon. 

The first money in circulation was of Mexican coinage, later 
gold ounces, or "slugs," were used. Slugs were large octaganol 


minted pieces of gold, valued at ($50) fifty dollars. Smith is often 
called the "Father of the County," because it was partly through 
his efforts that the County was organized, in 1853, from territory 
taken from Santa Clara and Contra Costa Counties. His death 
took place at Livermore, in 1875. 

On the return of the miners, journeying to take the steamer 
at San Francisco for their far distant homes in the East, many 
pitfalls awaited them — and these they did not escape at the Mis- 
sion, as a number of gamblers were always there waiting for them. 
Joaquin Murietta, the famous "Joaquin," — Mexican gentleman, (?) 
gambler, horse and cattle thief — who figures in many a wild bor- 
der story, had his rendezvous about a mile and a half back of the 
Mission, in the Pass, and levied tribute on many a traveler. This 
same neighborhood also boasted of "Five-Fingered Jack," Tom 
Gear and other well-known cut-throats, who were later dispersed 
or captured l)y the Vigilance Committee. 

A small town soon sprang up about the Mission buildings — 
the first American settlement, in what is now Washington Town- 
ship. The courtesy and hospitality of the Mission priests helped 
not a little in this settlement. Travelers were given food and 
shelter overnight, and names which are well-known in many walks 
of life all over our broad land to-day are inscribed in their old 
leather bound books, which are now carefully treasured among 
the archives of St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco. 

The great bands of cattle and horses roamed at large as late 
as 1855, and among the bands deer and elk often fed in peace. 
The coyote, the wolf and fox, the California lion and grizzly were 
in the mountains and preyed upon the herds in the valley. They 
furnished food and sport for the early hunters and added to the 
stock of pelts sold each year from the Mission stores. 

Bull fights and rodeos with the attendant festivities, races, 
dancing, feasting and the entertainment of guests from leagues 
away, furnished the sports and pleasures of the lovely, soft-eyed 
Senoritas and gallant Senors. The one street which the Mission 
could boast was boarded up, seats were erected on one side for 
the spectators, and within this enclosure the gayest sports took 
place. Men and women vied with each other in throwing money 
and jewels to the victors, and the goodly number of Americans, in 
the earlier years of the American occupancy, looked on with as- 
tonishment and wonder, enjoyed the pleasures, and were almost 
as lavish with their gold as the Spaniards themselves. The last 
bull fight took place in 1859. 

With the advent of the American, in 1849, the passing of the 
lands into settlers' hands, the departure of the Indian into the 
hills and the shrinkage of the great herds, the old days departed; 


sterner workers appeared, business according to modern ideas be- 
gan to flourish, the broad acres were cultivated, and social life 
took on a new aspect. 

The Indians, who had numbered thousands in 1846, had been 
so reduced in numbers by disease and lack of care that they were 
rarely seen after 1850, except on feast days, which they always 
celebrated with unlimited zeal. Of these days the most attractive 
to them were Good Friday and the day following, known as Judas' 
Day. For more than thirty years the ceremony of hanging Judas 
was planned and conducted by old "Chileno." The figure 
of Judas, hanging in some conspicuous place, consisted of a bundle 
of straw, in which were enclosed some explosives. It was clothed 
in a suit of clothes, a pair of boots and hat, and had a grotesque 
false face. As the people came out of church, a fuse was lighted 
which set fire to the figure and exploded its contents, amidst a 
great din. This curious old custom continued from the founding 
of the Mission in 1779 until 1902. But poor old Chileno is dead, 
and there is no one to take his place. Indeed, there are few of 
his people left to miss the old ceremony which meant so much to 
them. One by one they are going fast and are laid to rest on the 
little hilltop, set off for their, especial use more than a century 
ago. The funeral ceremonies are conducted to-day much as they 
always were; the men dig the graves, while the women march 
around the grave a certain number of times, then cover their heads 
while they sit about wailing and weeping. 

In 1849, E. L. Beard, of Lafayette, Indiana, secured from Pio 
Pico, then Governor of California, an interest in the Mission lands 
and settled in the old orchard of the Padres. There he found 
flourishing the fig, olive and pear trees; desiring to improve the 
varieties he had his friend, Dr. Whaley, bring from the East in 
1850, scions of the Bartlett, Seckel, Pound and other varieties of 
pears, which were grafted into the trees of the old orchard. He 
also procured voung cherry trees and the first cherry currants. 
From this stock many of the orchards, which were planted later 
in the valley, were supplied. 

In the midst of the old orchard it is said that a lone apricot 
tree grew, which the Padres called the tree of forbidden fruit, and 
this appellation secured its safety at the hands of the Indians. Of 
all the fine trees which were in this orchard, there are but a dozen 
great gnarled old olive trees left to-day. These are beside the 
avenue leading to the Josephineum Orphanage. In 1903, these 
trees vielded one hundred and twenty gallons of olive oil, besides 
several hundred gallons of pickled olives. These Mission lands, 
about fifteen acres in all, were afterward returned to the Catholic 


Church, about 1865, and the priests again took up their residence 
on the property. 

In 1850, Mrs. E. L. Beard, with her sons, Henry G. Ellsworth 
and John L. Beard, joined her husband. The journey from San 
Francisco to the Mission lay around the southern end of the Bay, 
and besides being arduous, was, contrastei with the journey today, 
tedious and expensive; the cost of the trip was $50. Mrs. Beard 
brought many, rose cuttings and other plants, which grew so lux- 
uriantly that everyone spoke of the place as a little paradise. 

In this same year Earl Marshall went to the mines; his wife 
moved to the Mission and, having a few cows, conducted the first 
dairy, selling her butter at marvelous prices and milk at twenty- 
five cents a quart. She cleared, in the year her husband was ab- 
sent, over $2,500. 

This vear, 1850, two hotels were built in Mission San Jose — 
a name by which the little village was henceforth to be called — 
the North Hotel and the Red Hotel. The lumber for the Red 
Hotel came around Cape Horn, and was purchased by James Haw- 
ley who built and conducted the hotel for two vears, or until he 
moved into the valley and into the home where he now resides. 
His successors as proprietors of the Red Hotel were James Threl- 
fall and wife, who kept it for some twenty years, or until it was 
burned when the town was destroyed by fire the first time. The 
dining-room of this hotel afforded the only dancing hall of that 

It is said that on gala occasions Mrs. Threlfall wore a tobacco 
brown brocaded silk dress, ornamented with five dollar gold pieces 
in lieu of buttons, extending from the neck to the hem. Would 
that some more facile pen could tell of the gay social events of 
those davs, of the May-day festivities, of the Fourth of July cele- 
brations, with grand ball following; of the New Year's balls from 
early evening till daylight; of the elegant suppers, with tables 
laden with all early day luxuries; of the close friendships formed 
in those happy days, and of the many happy marriages and homes 

The men and maidens of that day who, gay, careless, lovely of 
mein, elegant in dress, danced the hours away to the twang of the 
"fiddle and the bow," under dim candle lights, now send from their 
dear old homes their children and grandchildren to enjoy the mod- 
ern gala day events, the plays, the concerts and cotillions which 
are danced on waxed floors, under brilliant electric lights, to the 
strains of an orchestra ! And every day new friendships are formed 
and new homes are made, as lasting and as dear as those of half a 
century ago. 

Some few of the American families living at the Mission in 


1849 and 1850 were the Jerry Fallons, the Leo Norrises, the Earl 
Marshalls, the H. C. Smiths and the E. L. Beards. The popuda- 
tion, too, was constantly changing because of the gold attraction; 
the total number is estimated to have been about three hundred. 

The first flag-pole ever set up in the township was raised 
in front of Musser & McClure's store, which was then located in 
the old adobe, adjoining the Mission Church. 

In 1853, Mary Brier Moores, the second daughter of Rev. W. W. 
Brier, the first American child, was born. In the summer of that 
year a school was opened in an adobe building north of the church ; 
the class consisted of seven or eight small boys and girls in their 
ABC's. The term was three month's long, and the teacher's salary 
was $150 per month, collected by subscription. Of the first class, 
Emma Hawley, now Mrs. John Ingalls, and George Van Gordon 
are the only ones living. The first school supported by public 
funds was built at the junction of what is now the Niles road and 
the road leading through Stockton Pass. It was completed in 
1858. The house still stands, its owner and occupant being one 
Pinheiro, a man after President Roosevelt's own heart, the happy 
father of twenty-four adult children. The present fine public 
school building is on land which was donated for the purpose by 
Beard and Ellsworth. Three teachers are employed and the aver- 
age attendance of pupils is one hundred and thirty. 

The first mu.sical instrument in the town was a hand organ, 
which was placed in the old church and played by one of Don Jose 
Jesus Vallejo's daughters. In 1850, Don J. J. Vallejo, who with 
his family lived in a large adobe directly opposite the church, 
purchased a piano for the use of his daughters who were all fine 

In 1852, a dauguerretype of the Mission buildings bv a good 
traveling artist was taken, at the earnest request of John L. Beard, 
then a little lad. This is the first and onlv good picture ever taken 
of this interesting landmark. A copy of this picture is the first 
illustration in this book. 

About 1850, E. L. Beard, following in the footsteps of H. C. 
Smith, rented an adobe building from Father Federy and opened 
a store. He was succeeded in business by Howard & Chamber- 
lain, who in turn were followed by Musser & McClure. In 1865, 
they sold out to Ehrman & Bachman. A part of this old adobe 
building still stands, an interesting relic of those bygone davs. 

There were two stage lines in these early days between the few 
small towns, one conducted by Moore Bros., who used American 
horses, the other by the Cameron Bros., who drove mustangs. It 
is said the latter never failed to reach their destination on time, 
though they sometimes failed to accommodate would-be passen- 


gers, because once started they could not be stopped! The first 
express was run by one Hoag; he sold, soon, to Bamber & Co., 
who extended their lines to San Jose and San Antonio. 

In 1853, Musser & McClure drove across the plains the first 
band of sheep ever brought into the county. They started from 
Pennsylvania and were five and a half months in making the jour- 
ney. They also brought good American cattle and horses. 

In 1857, Geo. W. Cook and Pel. Folger came to the town and 
took up a tract of land south of town, which they cultivated for 
some years. 

Mr. Marshall, who was elected the first Justice of Peace of the 
township, in 1859, had jurisdiction over a large territory, includ- 
ing the only towns in the township — Union City, Alvarado, Cen- 
treville and Mission San Jose, in which latter place he resided. 

In 1862, J. C. Palmer, who had recently moved into the locality, 
believing the soil and climate to be most suitable for grape grow- 
ing and wine making, imported from France and Spain ten thous- 
and grape cuttings. The success of the enterprise was immediate, 
and thousands of acres of fine vineyards now crown the beautiful 
low-lying hills to the west and south of the town, and a number 
of fine wineries are located in this acreage. The excellence of 
these wines has brought a splendid revenue to this section, which 
is yearly increasing. 

In 1868 came the "big" earthquake, which threw down the 
old church. Its destruction was but the work of a few seconds. 
E. S. Ehrman, who was standing on the porch of the old adobe 
store, tells that a crash was heard, an immense cloud of dust arose, 
and the old church was iti ruins! The five bells were not injured; 
three hang in the new church, one is in Father King's church in 
Oakland and the other cannot be traced. The foundation and 
the steps of the old structure were used in the new building, which, 
with a commodious parsonage, was immediately erected. Some 
few of the old Dons lie buried beneath white slabs under the old 
flooring, which was never disturbed, but is now covered with a 
modern wooden floor. 

One of the finest of palm trees stands in the Palmdale 
grounds, the former home of E. L. Beard. It is sur- 

rounded by many more of its kind, and is over forty feet high 
and fourteen feet in girth. A beautiful curled leaf willow is 
also in these grounds, grown from a cutting taken from the grave 
of Napoleon. A broad and beautiful olive avenue, which is a 
noticeable feature in the landscape, leads from the town of Irving- 
ton, nearly two miles, through the Palmdale vineyards, prune and 
olive groves, to the Gallegos homestead in Mission San Jose. 
Frosts have never been known in this favored spot, oranges and 


lemons thrive, and all fruits bear freely, though the locality is the 
home of the orange, grape and olive. 

The Ancient Order of United Workmen was organized at the 
Mission September 24, 1878, with H. E. Mosher as Master Work- 
man. This order owns its own building, in which several other 
lodges hold their meetings. There is also a large hall owned by 
the Order of the Holy Ghost, in which the Portuguese society of 
that name hold their meetings. 

In 1884 a very destructive fire nearly destroyed the town, tak- 
ing all of the old buildings not destroyed by the earthquake, ex- 
cept the old adobe store, which had been a part of the Mission 
buildings. When the fire threatened the new church buildings 
and the church itself the great barrels of claret stored in the cellars 
in the old adobe were taken, at the suggestion of Mr. Joseph Sun- 
derer, and used because of the lack of water to quench the fire, 
and thereby the buildings were saved. 

After this fire a competent volunteer fire department was or- 
ganized and maintained, and was of the greatest service when a 
second disastrous fire devastated the town in 1895. In this fire all 
of the stores and houses on the west side of Main Street were de- 
stroyed. The town has since been well rebuilt and is a brisk, 
thriving, busy little place with about 800 inhabitants. 

In 1890, a Catholic Seminary, for the education of young men 
desiring to enter the priesthood, was built in the Mission grounds. 
The bricks used in its construction were made on the grounds. 
This institution was conducted for two years, when the building 
was sold with a part of the grounds to the Dominican Sisters, 
whose mother convent is situated at Guererro and 24th Street, 
San Francisco. In this handsome and commodious building, sur- 
rounded by beautiful grounds, these Sisters have established the 
Josephineum Orphanage. Sixteen professed Sisters and over one 
hundred girls between the ages of four and fourteen years are 
inmates of this institution. 

In October, 1901, the Standard Electric Light Company brought 
its line into Mission San Jose from the Blue Lakes, Alpine County. 
This is, to date, the longest line in the world, carrying the biggest 
voltage in the world — 40,000 volts. The large distributing station 
is situated just north of the town and here there is a large trans- 
former to reduce the power for house distribution. 

The Suburban Electric Light Co. was incorporated June 14, 
1901, with a capital of $500,000. It distributes light and power 
throughout Alameda County, including as a matter of course all 
the towns and homes in Washington Township. This Company 
secures its power from the Standard Electric Company and from 
the Bay Counties Company. 


In 1S92, a Columbus celebration was held to commemorate the 
400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus. Im- 
pressive and elaborate ceremonies were conducted in the church 
by the Archbishop, assisted by the local and visiting priests. All 
of the Indians in the neighborhood were brought in to participate 
in the celebration. A procession with various appropriate floats, 
preceded by one with R. A. Abbey as Columbus, was a brilliant 
feature of the day. Great tables were spread under the old fig 
and olive trees, all of the Indians were given a feast, and the old- 
time hospitality was extended to the thousands of visitors who 
were present from far and near. It was the onlv celebration of 
the kind held in the State. 

The founding of the Mission was celebrated on its centennial 
anniversary, June 11, 1897, and was also the only one of the kind 
ever held in the State. The church services were most imposing 
and dignified, as commemorating the anniversary of a church with 
a service of 100 consecutive years. The great parade of the vari- 
ous Catholic societies in the valley, the several beautiful floats, 
the splendid music, the numbers of school children, the most lavish 
floral display and a happy revival of old Spanish hospitality made 
a day never to be forgotten by those attending. Again the few 
remaining Indians from their homes near Niles, Sunol and Pleas- 
anton were present and were given a feast in the old Mission gar- 
dens, under the old olive trees. A giant barbecue was held on 
the Gallegos place to help feed the 10,000 guests who came 
from all parts of the State to be present. The township also sent 
its full quota of guests and every vehicle possible to secure in the 
vallev was utilized to carrv the crowds from the station, for Mis- 
sion San Jose is two miles from the railroad, and the roads were 
lined with people walking. To-day the little town is well on the 
wav, marking off the years of another century. 

Tlie Indian's Lament 

Tanaya, the Chief tian, awoke from his slumber, 
Woke from a sleep of a century's years, 
Opened his eyes with a wild look of wonder, 
Gazed on the landscape, and burst into tears. 

"Where are the tall waving grasses and flowers. 
Where are the beautiful sycamore trees? 
How oft 'neath their branches we rested for hours. 
Soothed bv the silence and fanned by the breeze! 

"Once a broad river ran down in its splendor. 
Singing in beauty its song to the sea. 
Now its scarred banks are the only reminder 
Of all the bright hours we spent there in glee. 

"How oft we were wont to go gaily riding 

And chasing the antelope over the plain! 

Has the great 'white snake,'* which I see swiftly gliding. 

Destroyed the vast herds of the cattle and game? 

"Full well I remember the good Father's coming 
To gather my people and make them obey ; 
To teach them the beauty and value of learning. 
To teach them to labor and teach them to pray. 

"I see not the camp fires which always were burning, 
I hear not the sound of their laughter and song; 
Deep in mv heart I feel a fond yearning 
To welcome mv people, to whom I belong. 

"Naught but the mountain, in splendor reposing, 
Remains to remind me of all which I seek; 
And now as I feel my eyes again closing, 
The last rays of sunset illumine its peak. 

"No one to care for whatever betide nie. 
None to remember, wherever I roam ; 
Take me again to thy bosom and hide me. 
To wake in a happier hunting-ground home." 

*The great 'white snake' refers to the old Indian superstitvition 
of the white snake in their Pooish worship, and also to the smoke 
of railroad trains, which now trail their length through the valley. 

XJiiioii City and ^1 vara do 

First Coiiii House in Alameda Coiintv 

In the davs of long ago — davs that are now classed as those 
"before the Gringo came" — Union Citv and Alvarado came into 
existence upon a portion of the Rancho Portrero de los Cerritos^ 
in the northwestern portion of Washington Township in what 
is today Alameda County. 

Union Citv, the first of the two to be settled, is located on the 
banks of Alameda Creek near a point then known as the Devil's 
Elbow. It was in 1851 that Union City first sprang into existence^ 
Mr. J. M. Horner Ijeing its founder and the builder of the first 
warehouse u]:)on the l)ank of the creek. This stream jjours its 
waters into an extensive slough which stretches far ovit toward 
the bay, where a very tortuous channel was formed. 

It is said that in 1846 this creek was navigable for light craft 
as far up as Bell Ranch Bridge. In fact, until 1878 small vessels 
used this channel as far as the sugar refinery, but today the channel 
is filled, and the course of the water entirely changed. 

The founder of Union Citv developed a plan for cutting a canal 


across the marshes to connect with the bay, which should be a 
continuation of Crandall slough. By this means the water 
flow would have been admitted into the canal, and thus the flooded 
marshes would have been reclaimed, the creek relieved of surplus 
water, and Union City, together with Alvarado, would now have 
been in direct communication by water with San Francisco, as 
they were in the early days. In addition, hundreds of acres of 
marsh land could have been reclaimed. Unfortunately, Mr 
Horner's canal scheme never existed l^evond his own ideas, and 
the result was that the Devil's Elbow, where the water has dammed 
and overflowed, eventually filled and is now a bed of sandy sed- 

Union City and Alvarado are nearlv surrounded bv marsh, 
and in the old days everv vear brought an overflow from the 
creek, which caused a few days' flood, wherein the going out of 
doors without rubber boots was anything but agreeable. The 
two little towns had the advantage of good lands, erctensive ware- 
houses, with steamer and schooner communication, which tended 
to ra])idly develop the rich agricultural stirroundings to the east. 

It is known that Union City received its title from the first 
steamer which plied between that place and San Francisco. This 
vessel, "The Union," had a novel historv, having l)een originally 
constructed in New Jersey and l)rought in sections, al)oard ship. 
around Cape Horn, and imported to the coast by Charles Minturn. 
When this steamer first entered upon the service Ijetween Union 
City and San Francisco it was owned bv Mr. J. M. Horner, and 
was placed on the route to carry i)roduce to market. It had 
limited accommodations for chance passengers. 

Mr. Horner had, in 1851, purchased an extensive tract of 
land, which included the original townsite of Union Citv. From 
his own and other agricultural interests, a large amount of freight 
was carried from Union City to the city of San Francisco. History 
states that the sales of produce from Mr. Horner's acreage alone, 
one vear, Ijrought forth a revenue of $270, 000. 

Prior to the entrv of the steamer "Union," freight transporta- 
tion had been confined to sailing vessels, many of w'hich plied 
between Union City and San Francisco at regular intervals. "The 
Union" was a historic craft upon San Francisco bay, her first 
owner, Charles Minturn, having been the originator of the ferry 
between Oakland and San Francisco. Her first master was Capt. 
Olney, who afterward commanded the "Senator." Following 
Capt. Olney came Capt. Marston, who later dwelt at Centreville, 
where some of his descendants grew to manhood and w^omanhood. 
Next, "The Union" was commanded bv Capt. Trefrv, who for 
years guided her destiny. He was afterward a resident of Centre- 


ville, and for many years filled the office of constable. Union City 
was the location of the first flour mill of any size established within 
the limits of the state, this being also an enterprise of the Horners, 
(John and Wm. Y.) who, in 1853, built at the little port a mill 
having a run of eight burrs, costing at that time $85,000. It 
was operated by steam power, and the flour gained a state reputa- 
tion, through the award at the first Agricultural Fair in California 
of the first premium. The Union City flour competed with eight 
samples ground from California grain, and the united judgment 
of three New York merchants awarded the premium for excellency 
to the sample from "Horner's Mill at Union City." This pre- 
mium was a silver cup. 

In the early '60s this mill was the scene of a distressing accident. 
Mr. Jos. Lyndall, a half brother of Mr. McClure, who was a part 
owner in the mill at that time, was caught by a belt, and being 
dragged against the machinery, was terribly injured. From the 
effects of this accident Mr. Lyndall died two days later. 

This mill was operated for many years, but was finally aban- 
doned. The buildings were moved to where the foundry now 
stands, and are yet in use. 

The first dwelling in Union City was originally occupied by 
Capt. Bulmer, and today still does duty as a home. It stood 
where the buildings of the water works now are until it was 
moved to its present location, opposite the foundry. This house 
is said to have been built of drygoods boxes, but later to have 
been improved by additions of lumber. It was first occupied as 
a home by Mr. Joseph Ralph and family, later by Capt. Marston 
and family, A. E. Crane, Mr. and Mrs. Ashley Cameron, and Mr. 
and Mrs. Churchill. It then passed into the possession of one 
John Miller, who sold it to G. Piatt, who in turn transferred it to 
a man named Quigley. Afterwards it became the property of 
Capt. C. C. Scott, and at present is owned and occupied by Mr. 
Dennis Harrington. During these years its uses have been ex- 
tremely varied. It has done dutv as a store, saloon and gambling 
house; also as a men's furnishing store. It afterward was used 
again as a dwelling house, then a boarding house, later as a saloon, 
and later still, again used as a home. 

Another old house is the one occupied bv John Moffit, built 
by Capt. C. C. Scott in 1852. This historic landmark was owned 
and lived in by the Curraghs, one of the earliest families of Union 
City the members of which, with the exception of Dr. John Cur- 
ragh of San Francisco, have years ago passed to their long home. 

In 1851 William M. Liston came to Union City to take charge 
of the two warehouses that had been built there by Henry C. 
Smith. In addition to these warehouses, the two dwelling houses 


mentioned were then in existence, and Mr. Liston constructed the 

The first retail grocery store in Union City was kept by Capt. 
Buhner. This estabhshment first occupied a tent, but was later 
moved into a wooden structure. Capt. Buhner, Union City's 
pioneer merchant, now sleeps in "Lone Tree" cemetery at Hay- 

The first hotel was established by A. M. Veasy, who afterward 
gained political prominence as county clerk of Alameda county. 

Almost contemporary with Mr. Veasy's hotel, a second hotel 
was opened by one Andrew Forbes, the building being added to 
and improved bv Joseph Ralph. Later Mr. Ralph turned his 
attention to farming near Alvarado. 

The first white child born in Union City was the daughter 
of Edward D. and Mary Gadding Clawiter. The Clawiters had 
emigrated to California from Bremen, coming around Cape Horn 
on the ship "Reform," having l^een six months on the way. They 
arrived at Union Citv in 1852, and their daughter was born on 
August 7th of that year. Her birth was a great event in those 
days. People came from all directions to see the wee stranger, 
and many brought gifts. From Mr. J. M. Horner she received 
a town lot, and was bv him christened "Union." The lot, which 
was the baby's christening gift, has long since been washed away 
by the floods, and today not a vestige of land remains to show 
where it was located. 

Union Clawiter grew to l)e a handsome woman, cultured, 
refined, and possessing a lovable disposition. Her education was 
acquired at the public schools and at the "S. S. Harmon Pacific 
Female College" of Oakland. vShe was the first of a long list of 
young ladies who attended that school frcm this vicinity. At 
twenty years of age Miss Clawiter married Converse Howe, a 
member of the well-known Drexler family. She made her home 
in Southern California, and became the mother of four sons. Mrs. 
Howe passed away on January 19, 1890, and her husband followed 
a year later, both finding a last resting place at Pomona. 

From 1S52 arrivals increased, and Union City soon became 
a good-sized community. As has been already told, the Horner 
mill building was moved from its original location. Its size was 
largely increased under the ownership of George Tay & Co., who 
in 1870 esa')lished in it a foundry at Union City, investing therein 
a capital of 175,000. This industry became at once a financial 
success, netting for manv vears 40 per cent on the investment. 
It was later operated bv a stock ccmpany, and was called the 
"George H. Tay Co." Its business manager and superintendent 
was Charles R. Nauert, who was retained by the company through 


thirty-six years of service. His son, A. Bertram Nauert, was em- 
ployed as the company's shipping clerk for a number of years. 
The Tay foundry gave employment to thirty-five men, and dis- 
bursed about S4,000 a month to the employes. 

Another enterprise of Union City was a glue factory, estab- 
lished in 1873 by Frank Fernholtz, its location being near the 
present water works. The humidity of the atmosphere prevented 
the production of a first-class quality of glue, and after two years 
of experiment, this factory was closed, much to the relief of the 

Artesian water was first discovered on the old Henry S. Smith 
place, the original well having an eight-inch flow. Shortly after 
other wells were sunk by Quigley and Capt. Richard Benson, the 
last being extremely active. Its overflow was distributed into a 
natural depression, which Capt. Benson first covered with rock 
and gravel, thus forming a pretty little lake about 300 feet in 
diameter, and about 8 or 10 feet deep. The Benson place having 
passed into the possession of Capt. Richard Barron, its new owner 
built up an island in the center of the little pool, upon which were 
planted all kinds of vines, while the banks of the lake were fringed 
with a hedge of calla lilies. Small boats were kept on the lake, 
and it became one of the attractions of the country side, many 
people coming miles to view the beautiful hedge with its wonderful 
growth of white flowers. 

The Barron place in 1896 became the property of Mr. W. H. 
Dingee of Oakland, together with a large amount of property 
adjoining. Upon this land Mr. Dingee sunk thirty-five wells, 
ranging from 72 to 500 feet in depth, and from 8 to 14 inches in 
diameter. The largest flow of water comes from a well close by 
what is called " Plummer's Creek." Using this artesian tract as 
a basis, Mr. Dingee organized the Oakland Water Company, carry- 
ing the flow into Oakland through a large water main. Later he 
transferred this holding to the Contra Costa Water Company. 

A minor industrv established at Union City, and after a few 
years' existence at that point, transferred to Oakland, was the 
soap factory of Lanz Brothers. 

Union City had a rival, in Alvarado, which was located one-half 
a mile to the east, and was first called New Haven. It is claimed 
that Alvarado was the outgrowth of political spite on the part of 
Mr, Henry C. Smith. 

Having once been honored by being the county seat of Alameda 
County, Alvarado may claim precedence over other small towns 
in Washington township. 

In 1853, Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties were repre- 
sented in the assembly, the first by H. W. Carpentier and the 


latter by W. S. Letcher and Henry C. Smith, who dwelt at "New 

On March 10, 1853, the legislature then being convened at 
Benecia, Solano County, at that time the state capital, Mr. Smith 
presented a petition from the residents of Santa Clara and Contra 
Costa Counties asking that a new county, to be called Alameda, 
be created from territory then comprised within the limits of the 
two original counties. Acting on this petition, a bill entitled 
"An act to create the County of Alameda and establish the seat 
of justice therein, to define its boundaries and provide for its organ- 
ization" was passed by the legislature. Under these conditions, 
Henry C. Smith may well be called the "Father of the County," 
as it was by his persistent efforts that Alameda County became a 

Upon the presentation of the bill, a sharp contest arose between 
Mr. Smith and Mr. Carpentier as to the location of the county seat, 
each desiring it to be in his own locality. 

On March 28, 1853, the bill creating Alameda County received 
the governor's signature, and on the 6th of April, 1853, Alameda 
County became a division of the state, with New Haven as its 
seat of justice, this name having been originally given to Alvarado 
by Mr. J. M. Horner. This town was afterward called "Alvarado," 
in honor of Don Juan B. Alvarado, governor of California in 1836. 

In the month of May, following the establishment of Alameda 
County, the first election of officers took place. This election 
still stands in the memory of old residents as the "Steeple Chase," 
there being five or six candidates for each office. Whigs and 
Democrats were the parties in those days. 

In the election so little regard was paid to the proper names 
of persons that until after the ballots were cast, many candidates 
were known onlv bv their nicknames. One elected official who 
upon the ballots, was represented by the name of Tom Snook, 
proved upon election to be A. H. Broder, Esq., Sheriff of Alameda. 

Alameda's first Court of Sessions convened at Alvarado on 
Monday, June 6, 1853, in a room above the store of A. M. Church 
& Co. 

After organization the court adjourned until the following 
morning at 8 o'clock, and during the consideration of extensive 
business many claims against the county were presented and 
allowed. It is interesting reading to the people of the present 
day to know what the commonwealth had to pay for goods and 
services, also who were the first creditors of Alameda County. 

To D. L. Lord, for blank book and stationery, etc., $425. 

A. M. Church, services for obtaining books, etc., for desk, $49. 

Liberty Perham, for work on county desk, $33. 


W. C. Weaver, for work on countv desk, $48. 

J. L. Long, two days' services as ass. jus. C. S., $12. 

A. Marier, one day's service as ass. jus. C. S., $6. 

A. W. Harris, one day's service as ass. jus. C. S., $6. 

J. M. Horner, for lumber for county desk, $16.50. 

C. J. Stevens, for lumber for county desk, $9. 

The salary fund the first year was $4,500. 

This first holding of court was a great day at Alvarado, and 
there were many visions of a city to spring up along the banks 
of Alameda Creek which would rival in size and business the San 
Francisco of today. 

On September 14, 1854, the court of sessions again met, and 
Henry C. Smith was allowed $200 for rent of the court room located 
over his store, he having purchased the building from A. M. Church. 

First Beet Sugar Mill in the United States 

This being the first charge of this character against the cotmty, it 
produced a great deal of dissatisfaction on account of the inade- 
quacy of accommodations. In the first place, the county possessed 
no lock-up, and the sheriff wiien holding a prisoner either liad to 
personally watch him or lock him in a room at the Brooklyn House _ 
the public hotel of the town. This dissatisfaction developed a 
strong feeling that the county seat had not been well chosen. An 
agitation for its removal arose which bore fruit in the selection 
later of San Leandro for this official dignitv. San Leandro then 


consisted of only a few scattering houses, located on the Estudillo 
homestead. A vote upon the question, ordered from no one knew 
where, and by no designated authority, transferred the county 
seat on the 3()th day of December, 1854, to San Leandro by a 
majority of 234 votes. By force of this election, justice was next 
administered in the little town located on the Estudillo ranch. 

San Leandro's triumph as a county seat was shortlived, for 
after the first meeting of the Board of Supervisors the countv 
business was seriously interrupted by the discovery that the 
transfer of the county seat was illegal. This brought about a 
second removal, which necessitated the vacating of a new $1,200 
court house at San Leandro, and the transferring back across the 
salt marshes to Alvarado of all the paraphernalia of oifice, where 
it remained until moved back again, by an act of legislature. 

Upon this return of the countv seat to the banks of Alameda 
Creek, the Board of Supervisors held its first session in its old 
home on the lOth day of August. 1S55. 

The fight for the transfer of the county seat was by no means 
ended, for on February S, 1S56, the state legislature conhrmed 
the legality of the election for removal to San Leandro. By this 
means, justice was, for the third time, set in motion, and the Board 
again convened at San Leandro. 

A curious incident occurred in the loss of public monies, belong- 
ing to both state and county, which was stolen from an insecure 
place of deposit in that town during the incumbency of J. S. Mars- 
ton as county treasurer. The sum stolen was S7, 150.44, a remark- 
ably large amount for those days. 

In 1S53 the first private school was established, with five pix])ils, 
the tuition being $5 per month. Not long after the public school 
was inaugurated, with Mrs. Warren as teacher. As in many other 
young communities, the teacher of this school "boarded arovmd " 
among the different families of the community. 

The first bridge across Alameda creek was built and wholly 
paid for by the Horner l)rothers. It stood on the er^act location 
of the present bridge near the sugar refinery, and cost those enter- 
prising citizens $1,100. They also constructed the second bridge 
at Alvarado on the Mt. Eden road, but the cost of this one was 
later paid l)y the county. 

The votes cast at an election in Alvarado on the 'M)t\\ day of 
Decemljer, 1X54, numbered 3,2()S. It was said by some of the 
pioneers that 500 votes were imported from San Francisco. 

At that time it was considered much more aristocratic tobe a 
dweller of Alvarado than of Union City. The social conditions 
of the little communities were very pleasant in those }'ears, balls 
and parties being quite common. But up to 1S60 the moral and 


religious welfare of the people had failed to receive much attention 
As exceptions, there were occasional services held in the Brooklyn 
House at Union City by Mr. Horner, who was a Mormon elder, 
and now and then a sermon by Rev. W. W. Brier, a Presbyterian 
clergyman. No regular religious exercises, however, occupied 
the people on Sundays, and it was not until a Sunday morning 
in 1860 that the first Sabbath school was started. This was estab- 
lished by the efforts of two good women, Mrs. Charlotte Cornell, 
now a resident of San Francisco (who on May day of 1903 cele- 
brated her 85th birthday), and Mrs. Juha Thompson. One of 
these ladies was a Presbyterian, the other a Methodist. The Sab- 
bath school was held in the public school building. 

To the untiring energy and care of Mrs. Cornell was largely 
due the building and furnishing of the Presbyterian Church, while 
to the fostering love of Mrs. Thompson was intrusted the interests 
of the Methodists. Both buildings were completed in 1860, the 
Methodist a few months the earlier. These religious edifices were 
for a long time called, "Charlotte's Temple" and "Julia's Chapel." 

Dr. Hamilton, of Oakland, preached the first sermon in the 
new Presbyterian Church, on Sunday, May, 1861. 

The Methodist Church, by removal and death of its memljers, 
lost nearly all its congregation, and twenty years since the church 
building was sold. 

The history of the Presbyterian Church is one of prosperity, 
which includes the construction of a handsome place of worship 
on the old location in 1902. 

A Catholic church building was erected in 1863, and is still 
occupied as a place of worship. The building was dedicated by 
Archbishop Alemany, and Father Fredi was the first priest in 
charge. The first church people were mostly Spaniards. A real 
hero, patriot and friend to church and community was Capt. C. S. 
Eigenbrodt, who lived on a farm near Alvarado. He was of Ger- 
man descent, though a native of New York and a graduate of 
West Point. Capt. Eigenbrodt was killed in action during the 
Civil War, in Shenandoah Valley, September 2, 1864. 

To the town he left a sum of money to be used for the found- 
ing of a library. This was the nucleus of the present Odd Fellows' 
librarv. Capt. Eigenbrodt served one term as supervisor, and 
was a member of Crusade Lodge, I. O. O. F., of Alvarado. 

The Alvarado Home Guard was formed in 1862, and was com- 
manded by Capt. Ephriam Dyer, but was never called into action ; 
the other othcers were: 1st Lieutenant, C. P. Johnson; 2d Lieu- 
tenant, Joseph McKeown; 3d Lieutenant, H. C. Smith; Orderly 
Sergeant, Frank Oilman. 

The citizens decided that July 4, 1863, should be celebrated 


with spirit and as loud a noise as possible. They collected $150 
and bought a cannon, which was fired early and often on that day 
and consumed a large amount of gun powder. 

The Alvarado Guards had a grand dedicatory ball in their new 
Armory on the 23d of September, 1S64, in honor of Col. Jackson 
and Lieut. -Col. Rowley, which was the greatest social event of the 

The earthquake of 'G.S did much damage, knocking down the 
large brick building and all of the chimneys, wrecking Stokes' 
store and crushing the bridge together so that it was impassable. 
A chasm was rent eight feet across near Mr. Dyer's place. For- 
tunately no lives were lost. In a brick stable, where A. J. Lattin 
kept a valuable horse, the timbers so fell that they formed a pro- 
tection for the animal from the falling debris, and it escaped with- 
out injury. 

Alvarado's first railway was the South Pacific Coast Narrow 
Gauge, constructed in 1878, giving quick communication Ijetween 
that point and the metropolis. 

In 1890, Alvarado was visited by a series of mysterious con- 
flagrations. Buildings were destroyed one after another, no one 
knowing from what source the fires started. Later events prac- 
tically proved that all of this disturbance was of incendiary origin, 
there being unmistakeable evidence to this effect. One death 
occurred from these fires, the victim meeting his fate in one of the 
burning buildings. Untiring investigation failed to discover the 
fire fiend, and this bit of history remains today as great a mystery 
as ever. The old buildings so destroyed have been replaced by 
fine brick structures. 

Prior to 1862 the only salt manufactured east of Mt. Eden came 
from the salt works of Christian Borthson, located on the banks 
of Alameda Creek, adjoining the salt works of John Ouigley below 
Union City. J. A. Plummer and sons — J. A. Plummer, Jr., and 
C. A. Plummer — purchased in 1869 from Lyman Beard a large 
tract east of Alvarado, upon which was established their "Turk's 
Island" Salt Works. Prior to the death of Mr. Plummer, Sr., 
in 1883, his interests in the salt properties were transferred to his 
sons, and were merged into the firm of Plummer Bros. 

The Alvarado Sugar Factory is the pioneer plant in the United 
States for the manufacture of beet sugar. It has been in almost 
continuous operation under various companies for the last thirty- 
three years. The originator of the business was E. H. Dyer of 
Alvarado, now retired on account of declining years. At the 
time of the establishment of the industry it was not looked upon 
as a feasible proposition, and it was hard to obtain the necessary 
capital to enter into and develop this new industry. 


The California Beet Sugar Manufacturing Company was organ- 
ized in 1867, with a capital of $250,000. Work first began in 1870. 
In 1872 the capacity of the mill was only 7,000 tons of beets per 
annum. The factory was run for four years, and then failed. 
The machinery was sold and removed to Soquel, in Santa Cruz 
County, where a mill was run for a few years and then abandonea 

In 1879 the Standard Sugar Manufacturing Company -was 
organized with a capital of SI 00,000. It was soon ascertained 
that more capital was needed, so it was reorganized under the 
name of the Standard Sugar Refinery, with a capital of $200,000. 
It was operated until 1886, when the boilers blew up. It was 
reorganized a third time in 1887, under the name of the Pacific 
Coast Sugar Company, and operated until 1888, when it ended 
in financial failure. The property was purchased in 1889 by the 
Alameda Sugar Company, an entirely independent organization, 
and has since been successful. 

In 1897 the factory, under the management of E. C. Burr was 
enlarged to double its former capacity, and is now crushing 750 
tons of beets per day, during each season. 

The Hell wig Meat Co. was organized in 1868 under the name 
of P. Hellwig & Co. Some changes occurred at different times 
until January 1, 1903, when the Hellwig brothers and three others 
incorporated the Hellwig Meat Company, capitalized with $50,000. 
This company employs eleven men, and has the only cold storage 
plant in the township. The firm also has a market in Haywards. 
Besides this the Lowrie Bros, have a market, sending their wagons 
into all parts of the township. 

Alvarado's fraternal orders are as follows: Reliance Lodge 
No. 93, A. O. U. W.; Wisteria Parlor N. S. G. W^ ; Olivina Parlor 
N. D. G. W. ; Woodmen, Alvarado Camp; Women of Woodcraft, 
Alvarado Circle; two Portuguese lodges, and most important of 
all. Crusade Lodge No. 93, I. O. O. F., the first Odd Fellows' lodge 
established in the countv, and organized November 26, 1859. 
The first officers elected were: C. S. Eigenbrodt, N. G. ; A. E. 
Crane, V. G. ; James Hawley, Rec. Sec. ; William Hayes, Treas. ; 
William Liston, Cor. Sec. Of the charter members there is but 
one now living, James Hawley. 

In 1864 the Lodge erected a fine two-story building. The 
lodge room, banquet hall and library occupy the upper story, and 
the ground floor is used as a public hall. There is also a large 
order of the Daughters of Rebecca. 

The Alvarado Bank was established in 1902, with a capital 
of $25,000, under the presidency of I. V. Ralph. The other officers 
are: Vice-pres., F. B. Granger; treas., F. P. Hellwig; cashier, 
August May. 

The estimated population of Alvarado is 600. There are now 
but few representatives left of the old families who dwelt in the 
little village prior to 1860. Some have moved elsewhere, and 
their descendants have scattered into other sections of the state 
and of the Pacific Coast. 

Centre villa and Vicinity 

^^HE highway of the early settlers from San Antonio (East 
Q®) Oakland) to San Jose followed the most direct route prac- 
ticable through the Alameda Valley. From a ford of Ala- 
meda Creek, just back of the Kelsey place, trails led across the 
country to the embarcaderos along the Bay. 

Where these trails crossed the highway a small settlement was 
made, and soon became a thriving village, which on account of the 
location was called Centreville. 

At the time, an attempt was made to give the place a Spanish 
name, and several times since like propositions have been made, 
but without success. 

Geographically the town is about the middle of the township, 
and is on the northern part of the old Mission San Jose grant. It 
is near a river bed, which, geologists tell us, was once the main 
channel of the Alameda Creek, and appears on the old maps as 
the Sanjon de los Alisos, or Big Ditch of the Sycamores. 

Traces of this creek bed can still be plainly followed. Deflect- 
ing from the present channel, on the farm of Howard Overacker, 
it runs through the Capt. Bond place, crossing the county road 
where the Newark road comes in, thence through the Episcopal 
clmrch grounds, across the Allen, Hilton, Simpson, Bunting, Pat- 
terson and Rose places, thence southwesterly through the old 
Munyan farm — now the property of S. F. Brown — and the farms 
of Frank Sayles, Andrew Ross and C. S. Haley, finally reaching 
the Bay at what is now known as Jarvis' Landing. Sycamore 
trees still mark its course on the Bond, Bunting, Patterson and 
Sayles places, though many of them have long since been cut down. 

From the town there is a most beautiful view of Mission Peak, 
sharply outlined against the eastern sky, rising over twent5'-seven 
hundred feet above the sea. Its charms vary with every change 
of season, time, and atmosphere; always beautiful, whether cold 
and clear at morning or bathed in the warm purple hues of even- 

Back of Mission Peak, a little to the south, can be seen Mt. 
Hamilton and the Lick Observatory, and far in the northwest, be- 
yond the Bay of San Francisco, the outlines of fair Mt. Tamalpais 
are plainly discerned. 

The range of hills that intercepts the eastern view is a "joy for- 


ever," clothed in varying hues, from the dull grays, browns and 
russets of autumn to the soft greens and wild flower tints of winter 
and spring. In the west glimpses of San Francisco Bay may be 
seen through the gaps of the low Coyote Hills, and beyond them 
the high wooded mountains of the Coast Range. 

In the outlying districts are prosperous farms and orchards, 
homes of the successors of the once wealthy Spanish owners of 
this fertile valley. 

The first men to locate within the limits of the present town, 
early in 1850, were George Lloyd, an Englishman, and Frank Pepe, 
an Italian. Mr. Lloyd brought his family with him, and for a 
time lived in a blue tent. Here he served refreshments to the 
weary traveler who passed his way. At one time he had a gate 
across the road, presumably to delay the passer-by and call his 
attention to the wayside retreat. He afterward built a good frame 
house, which is still in use as a part of the residence of Mr. Ben- 
jamin Mickle. 

Mr. Llovd sold his place to Mrs. Randall, who lived there sev- 
eral vears with her two sons and daughter, Mrs. Hall. With her, 
also, lived her mother, Mrs. Todd, and the Misses Reeder, who are 
now Mrs. Howard Jarvis, Mrs. Frederick Moses and Mrs. Frank 
Jarvis. Mrs. Randall sold to John Lowrie, and from him it went 
to his children — the daughter, Mrs. Benjamin Mickle, inheriting 
the home place. 

Frank Pepe worked for George Loyd for a time, but afterward 
bought a ranch near Jarvis' Landing, which he subsequently sold 
to C. S. Haley. 

In 1852, or perhaps early in 1853, Capt. George Bond and Mr. 
Stacey Horner built homes in Centreville. The Horner house still 
stands where built, on the corner at the intersection of the Newark 
and Oakland roads; when constructed this house was one of the 
finest in the country ; on the death of the owner the property was 
sold to Mr. Tolin, and for years after his death his widow continued 
to occupv the place, and with her lived her sister, "Aunt Lo 
Smith," known far and wide as a capable nurse and a friend to 
those in need. All have now passed away and the place is owned 
by strangers. 

Captain Bond's house was on the opposite side of the street, 
where it still stands in good repair. Captain Bond lived there 
many years and his son and daughters were prominent in the 
business and social life of the town. 

Another of the early date houses, now almost in ruins, stands 
under a tree at the back of the lot, opposite the Catholic church- 
Mr. Torrv, who built the house, hauled the logs from the hills 
above San Antonio and sawed out the lumber on the premises. 


C. C. Breyfogle, one of the first county assessors, built the house 
that is now the Chadbourne home, and about the same time Wil- 
Ham H. Coombs, the first lawyer in the neighborhood, built the 
house (or a part of it) now occupied by Mrs. James Emerson. 

In 1853, the ranch house of Mr. E. L. Beard was built on the 
farm now owned by Eugene Stevenson. This building still re- 
mains, the rawhide thongs by which hammocks were suspended, 
hang over the hewed rafters, the old bunks are yet in place and 
even the pole on the top stands as in the days when the flag was 
raised upon it to call the men to their meals. 

On the farm opposite the Stevenson place is a little old house 

The Old Beard Ranch House 

Imilt bv the Scrivener brothers in 1858. The property now be- 
longs to Mr. Rollins. 

In 1850, Mr. John M. Horner Ijuilt a school house on the lot 
now occupied bv the United States Hotel. The first teacher was 
Mr. Harvev Green, and after him a Mr. Kempster taught, and a 
Miss Longfellow from New England. Here the children gathered, 
some of them walking two and three miles from the scattered homes 
in the vallev. From one of the pupils we have this account of 
those earlv school days: "We — my sister, two cousins, and I — 
started earlv in the morning, and cheerfully walked the three long 
miles of lonelv road, with the tall mustard growing high above 


our heads on either side. The school house was a small, plain, 
unpainted building, with homemade desks and benches for the 
older pupils. Not yet arrived at the dignity of a desk. I sat on 
one of the benches ranged around the sides of the room, and with 
others of like size and age dangled my feet from nine to four o'clock. 
At recess the older boys carried benches out to what is now the 
Presbyterian church yard, and turning them upside down, coasted 
down the grass-covered banks of the old dry creek channel. Our 
teacher was Mr. Kempster." 

The first public school house was built back of the Crosby place, 
as the old residents say, "near the lagoon." This lagoon was 
merely a depression, connected with the present lagoon near Ir- 
vington by a swale, which in winter allowed the water to run from 
the larger to the smaller lagoon. Later the school house was 
moved to the corner of the Overacker place, where it was used 
until the present school house was built ; the old one was then 
moved into town, where it is in use as a cyclery. 

The following is a partial list of the early instructors: Mrs. 
Jonathan Mayhew, Judge Stephen Nye, Frederick Dann, Fred- 
erick Campbell, Kirke Brier and many others. Mrs. Mayhew be- 
gan her term of school as Miss Everett, but driving one day with 
Mr. Mayhew, to whom she was engaged, they met the Rev. Mr. 
Brier, also driving, and the marriage ceremony was performed 
then and there, none of the parties alighting from their vehicles. 
Both Mr. and Mrs. Mayhew were valued members of the commun- 

Judge Stephen Nye, now so well known, says he got his first 
night's sleep in California in a house which stood where the resi- 
dence of T. C. Huxley now is, and that the first money he earned 
in the State was as pedagogue of the district school in Centreville. 
He was married here, and while a resident, in 1861, was elected 
District Attornev of Alameda Countv. 

Another teacher who taught some years later was Miss Julia 
Rappleye; her life would make an interesting story. A woman of 
the strongest principles, she afterward became a missionary to 
Turkey, where she remained for many years. On her return to 
California she married an earlv sweetheart and died three months 

As the country became more thickly settled, other schools 
were established. In 1856 the Alviso district school was opened, 
with Erastus Johnson as teacher. Others that followed him in 
those early days were: Charles Johnson, Miss Everett (afterward 
Mrs. Johnathan Mayhew), Miss Blackwood, Mr. Pratt, Miss Nay- 
lor (sister of Mrs. W. W. Brier), Miss Laura T. Fowler (who later 
became identified with the San Francisco schools), and many others 


who long since have taken places in the more prominent walks of 
life. Still later, the Lincoln district was taken from the Centre- 
ville and Alviso districts, and a school house built on the Alvarado- 
Newark road, about two miles west of Centreville. Of those who 
taught there we may mention Miss Mollie Reeder, Miss Emma 
Reeder, Miss Louise Cearley, Miss Flora Brown, Miss Cora Simp- 
son and Miss Addie Ross, all young ladies of our own neighborhood; 
Miss Mott (Mrs. Comfort Healy) and Miss Thompson (Mrs. L B. 
Haines) also taught here. 

Mr. Emory Munyan, a pioneer resident, served as a trustee of 
this district from its organization until his death, a period of twen- 
ty-nine years. 

Religious services were early held in the Horner school house. 
Mr. Horner, who was a "Latter Day Saint," preached in the after- 
noon, and kindly gave the use of the building in the morning to 
the Methodists and Presbyterians who used it on alternate wSun- 

The first child baptized there was Mary Brier, in 1S52, a daugh- 
ter of Rev. W. W. Brier. Tae building was afterward moved to 
Irvington, where it still stands. 

In 1S53, Rev. W. W. Brier organized the Presbyterian church 
in the Horner school house, which has the distinction of being the 
first church of that denomination in the countv; a large lot 
was donated by George Lloyd, and a church building of brick was 
erected in 1855, and dedicated January 1, 185f). This was des- 
troyed by the earthquake of 1868 and rebuilt in wood soon after. 
The first trustees were: Jesse Beard, pres. ; Chauncev Cornell 
secretary; Charles Kelsey, Henry Clark, and Jonathan A. May- 
hew. Charles Hilton was the elder. None of them are now living. 

The long series of church festivals that have since been held 
in the township were inaugurated November, 1855, in the then 
unfinished church. Everyone from Mission San Jose to Union 
City assisted, and over $500 was added to the church funds. 

In 1877, a manse was erected in the church grounds, and quite 
recently a Sunday School room has been added, nearly doubling 
the seating capacity of the church. 

A Methodist church was also organized about the same time 
as the Presbyterian, and in 1856 a church building erected. A 
distinctive feature of the services was Robert Beaching and his 
bass viol, which added much to the interest of the meetings. The 
instrument is in the possession of Mr. Beaching's son, now a resi- 
dent of the village. 

The Episcopal church was erected in 1867, and consecrated 
September 28th of the same year by Bishop Kip, the Rev. D. J. 
Lee being the minister in charge. Soon after came the Rev. E. 


Warren, who boarded around among the faithful and was the first 
resident clergyman. 

The first baptism in the church was James Allen, son of Mr. and 
Mrs. Benjamin Marston. A rectory was added to the church prop- 
erty in 1884. The rectory and church lots are large, well situated 
and valuable. 

The Roman Catholic Church was not built until 188(), but is 
the largest in the township, with seating capacity for a thousand 
people. Father Governo, formerly of Mission San Jose, was 
priest in charge and directed the construction of the building. 
He is still the Father of the parish, and has the regard of Protes- 
tant and Catholic alike. His residence adjoins the church and his 
garden is always beautiful with flowers. 

The first cemetery was laid out by J. M. Horner, and might be 
called the lost graveyard. It was located in a field back of the 
Samuel Marston place, now the Bunting home, on the southeast 
bank of the Sanjon de los Alisos. When the ownership of the 
grounds passed out of Mr. Horner's hands, it was no longer used 
as a burial place. A few of the dead were removed to the present 
cemetery, but many were left undisturbed in their first resting- 

The graves were marked by wooden head-boards, the only kind 
procurable at that time; wild mustard grew like the veritable tree 
of the Bible and covered everything with its rank growth, and one 
autumn a fire swept over the place, destroying nearly every grave 
mark. Many have visited the spot in a vain search for their dead. 
The stream has changed, the trees are gone, but the dead sleep 
quietly on. The present cemetery was laid out in September, 
1858, on land given by G. A. Loyd, although burials had been 
made in it before then. The first trustees were: Chas. Kelsey, 
Erastus Johnson, Chas. Hilton, Dr. J. M. Self ridge and James 
Hawlev. Manv old settlers are buried within these quiet borders 
whose names are familiar to those now living — some of them have 
borne prominent parts in the history of this part of the State. The 
names inscribed on the old tombstones bring up many a picture 
and memory of bygone days. 

One of the first post ofiices established in the township was at 
Centreville and Capt. Bond was, perhaps, the first postmaster. 

The first store in Centreville was a very primitive affair, opened 
by Capt. Bond, in 1852. He was succeeded in 1854 by Mr. Clemens, 
who erected a two story building about where Mr. Charles Plum- 
mer's house now stands. He used the upper floor for a dwelling 
and kept a general merchandise store below. He sold the house 
to Mr. C. J. Stevens, who used it as a residence. An apricot tree, 
trained like a vine against the south end of this house, gave it quite 


a novel appearance. The building was afterward moved opposite 
the Gregory House and used as a boarding house. 

Mr. Stevens then opened a store about where Pire's machine 
shop is now, and afterward put up a two story building where 
Hansen's Hall now stands. The lower part was used as a store, 
and on the upper floor grain was stored. The building was des- 
troyed by the earthquake of 1868, Mr. Stevens narrowly escaping 
death, at that time there were twenty tons of grain on the top 
floor. The wooden building that was erected on the site was used 
as a store by Stevens & Bond. Bond & Haley, Halev & Dodge, W. 
W. Haley Co.; afterwards it burned down. 

Another store was opened about 1854 by Capt. Bond and Capt. 
Valpey, nearly opposite the Newark road. Afterwards Miss Maria 
Reeder taught for some time a select school in the building, which 
was finally moved across the street and now forms a part of the 
Episcopal rectory. 

In 1855, William Barry built a store on the site of the one now 
occupied by F. C. Harvey, which was long after moved back, and 
is now a part of the present store. Barry & Wilson kept this store 
two years. Then it was sold to Steiner, Popper & Co., then to 
Jacob Salz, to Salz & Niehaus, and then to Jos. Herrscher, of San 
Leandro. In the early 60's Dr. Robert Hall kept a few drugs for 
sale, and then a Frenchman went into the drug business; after 
him came Titus, who was succeeded by A. Lernhart, an expert 
chemist, pharmacist and druggist ; by care and attention he has 
built up a good business. 

The first blacksmith shop was opened by Capt. Bond and James 
Beazell, nearly opposite the Newark road. Chas. Hilton was the 
woodworker. The building was afterward moved and rebuilt about 
where A. Lernhart's drug store is now, and was then run bv Seal 
& Beazell, with Hilton still the woodworker. Mr. Beazell after- 
ward moved to Irvington and then to Livermore, where he fol- 
lowed his trade until called to be State Senator from this county, 
in 1875. Chas. Hilton remained in Centreville until his death. 
His widow still makes her home here with her daughter, Mrs. H. W. 

The first hotel was conducted by William Ogden in a small 
building on the present site of the Gregory House. Thomas Nu- 
sham was the next landlord, and then Mr. Myer; following him 
came Wm. Milton, Milton & Diidine, and Bamber & McLeod. in 
1866 McLeod moved to Irvington and built the Union Hotel. 
During this time the hotel had burned and Mr. Milton had built 
a larger and better one. This one also burned and, in 1809, the 
present Gregory House was built. Under the management of Mr. 



Henry Gregory this wayside inn became very popular, particularly 
with the Wheelmen's Clubs. 

James Lewis came to Centreville in 1S58 and worked a year in 
the Ogden House; he then rented a place adjoining Capt. Bond's 
and ran a boarding house. The building was afterward used as a 
dwelling for two families. Not many years ago it was sold to a 
Portuguese and moved away. Mr. Lewis built the United States 
Hotel, in 1859, and was landlord until his death. After that Mrs. 
Lewis carried on the business until she, too, passed away. Mr- 
Santos is now the proprietor. 

The first town flag-pole was erected near the center of the road. 
The present one was put up in 1877, is 100 feet high, and floats 
a forty-foot flag. 

The first stage line through Centreville was owned by J. M. 
Horner. It ran from Mission San Jose to Union City, where it 
connected with the steamer for San Francisco. Chas. Allen, 
brother-in-law of J. J. Riser, was the driver. 

A stage line running from San Jose to the Embarcadero of 
San Antonio (now East Oakland) passed through Centreville at 
an earlv day. Cameron Brothers soon started an opposition 
line. The rivalry became intense and excitement ran high. The 
fare was reduced to twenty-five cents. People traveled for the 
fun of it. Cameron Brothers came off victorious, and continued 
to carrv on the business for many years in spite of several attempts 
of rivals to drive them from the field. The fare was permanently 
fixed at one dollar. The passing of these four-horse coaches was 
the feature of the day, for they carried not only passengers, but 
also the mail and express. Mr. Ashley Cameron, one of the broth- 
ers, owned a farm near Centreville, and with his family, resided 
there until his death, a few years ago. 

An express line was started about 1855 by Mr. Hoag. After- 
wards he sold out to Bamber & Co. C. E. Driscoll was the driver. 
Later Cameron Brothers carried it. Wm. Barry was the express 
agent in Centreville. 

John Proctor early established the first nursery in the town- 
ship. Orchards were planted in 1853, and cherries were sent to 
market in 18G1 by Capt. Bond, and sold for thirty cents a pound. 
Manv of the fruit trees planted l)y the early settlers were brought 
across the plains, or by way of the Isthmus of Panama. The 
Alden fruit drier, which dried the fruit l)y artificial heat, was 
one of the early industries, but did not flourish long. The build- 
ing afterwards burned. A cannery met with a like fate. A few 
years ago another small drier was started by Oliveria & Son, and 
has proved successful. 

In 1859, Mr. Daniel Beck, with his family, came to Centreville 


He opened a harness shop, the first in the town, and built up a 
prosperous trade. In his later 3^ears he handed the business over 
to his son, who now conducts it successfully. 

A textile manufactory was established in 1855 by Wm. Barry, 
where grain bags were made for the use of the farmers. 

The first singing school was opened by Mr. and Mrs. Ham. 
It was well attended, and proved one of the social events of the 
winter. At the end of the session a grand concert was given by 
the pupils. 

In 1858, Centreville determined to fittingly celebrate the 4th 
of Julv. Invitations were sent out to the adjoining towns to 
participate in the celebration, which was not unlike those of the 
present day. The Hon. S. B. McKee of Oakland was the orator 
of the day. 

The old May-day picnics were very enjoyable affairs, the whole 
communitv taking part. These picnics were made up of family 
groups and their friends, each group being independent of the 
others, yet in all cases forming a harmonious whole. There was 
no dancing then on the grounds, but the day was invariably cele- 
brated by a May-day ball in the evening at Centreville. Later 
the public picnics came into vogue and eliminated to a great degree 
the sociability that had existed among the early settlers. In 
1862, the Mav-day l)all was held in Milton's hotel, and there were 
present over one hundred and fifty couples, "the bravest and 
fairest in the land." 

A fine display of the schools of San Lorenzo, Haywards, Al- 
varado, Irvington and Centreville in the form of a musical celebra- 
tion or festival was held June 10, 1870, in Centreville, was largely 
attended, and proved very enjoyable. 

It was about the year 1854 that Alameda County became thor- 
oughly aroused by the depredations of a band of cattle thieves, 
whose operations spread throughout the county. Seemingly^ 
no man's cattle were safe while this state of affairs existed. A 
mass meeting of the citizens was called to meet at Centreville 
in the Methodist church. The meeting was largely attended, 
officers were elected, and an executive committee of twelve ap- 
pointed. In November, 1855, through the energy of this com- 
mittee, four of the thieves were captured and taken to Alvarado, 
where thev were placed under guard in the old Brooklyn hotel. 
DurinG^ their first night of confinement, two of them, Mexicans, 
escaped. The irate citizens, determined that the other two should 
not follow in the footsteps of the fleeing ones, so formed a posse, 
took the prisoners from their place of confinement, carried them 
to "The Willows" (on what is now part of the Patterson estate), 
and hanged them. During the afternoon following the lynching. 


an inquest was held, at which Justice Marshall of Mission San Jose 
presided, and from the evidence presented, the following verdict 
was brought in: "Found hung, by some person or persons un- 
known to this jury." The two Mexicans who escaped were pur- 
sued, captured, and on the same night met their fate on the banks 
of the Alameda Creek at the hands of the infuriated and despoiled 

At the time the first two thieves were captured, "a lawyer named 
White was arrested and kept prisoner in Centreville to prevent 
his assisting the thieves. An investigation of White's actions 
by the vigilantes caused the arrest of a bad character called "Grizzly 
Jack." who lived in the hills back of Mission San Jose. A man 
named Gates was also arrested, but nothing being proved against 
these two they were set at liberty, though compelled to leave the 
country. One of them went to Nicaraugua with Walker's fili- 
bustering expedition, was captured and executed there. The 
rendezvous of this band of marauders was in Stockton Pass, just 
beyond Mission San Jose, at a house occupied by one Tom Gear, 
who fled from the state on the arrest of his confederates. 

In 1863 occurred another execution near Alvarado. At this 
time a band of Mexican desperadoes roamed the hills, and No- 
vember 23d several parties in Alvarado were fired upon by members 
of the gang, who immediately fled. The citizens gave pursuit, 
and captured one of them. He was taken to the Brooklyn House, 
and placed under guard. That night he was taken out by the 
vigilantes and hanged. An inquest was held upon his body. 
Justice Bond of Centreville presiding. Another graphic verdict 
was produced, the following being its text: "Found hung by 
the neck to the rail of Alvarado bridge, by person or persons un- 
known to this jury." It is claimed by old residents of Alvarado 
that this lynching was performed by residents of Alvarado, and 
not by the vigilantes, whose organization was established at the 
mass meeting in Centreville. 

In spite of the fact that it was ofttime searched for, the rollcall 
of Alameda County's vigilantes disappeared as thoroughly as if 
it had never existed. Doubtless the names written there would 
have a familiar sound to many old settlers in Washington Township. 

An incident of interest may be mentioned here. Mr. Howard 
Overacker, while walking in the orchard back of his house toward 
the creek, one Sunday in 1864, heard a call of distress. Hastening 
to the spot he found a man with a broken leg, who had lain there 
several days without food or other relief. This was a Mr. Gardener, 
who, with his companion, Mr. Rice, a well-known auctioneer of 
San Francisco, was driving from San Francisco via Haywards to 
the then famous resort of Warm Springs, but in the darkness of 

7 ( ) //IS TO/^V OF WA S///NG T( \V TO I Vi\SH/P 

the night thev turned on the road running past the old adobe in 
the nursery grounds. Reaching the bank of the creek, the horses 
stopped, but the driver fooHshly gave them a sharp cut with the 
whip, and all plunged about twenty-five feet down into the creek. 
Mr. Rice was killed, but with careful nursing Mr. Gardiner 
recovered . 

P()liticall\- Centreville has been well represented in the county 
and state. Upon the organization of the county in 1853, Wm. H. 
Coombs was elected district attorney, J. S. Marston, county treas- 
urer, and W. W. Brier, county superintendent of schools. In 1854 
C. C. Brevfogle was elected assessor, and at the expiration of his 
term of office, was elected county treasurer. 

The cotmty Board of Supervisors was organized May 0, 1855. 
Tn 1862, Howard Overacker was elected supervisor, which office 
he held until 1866. In 1871 he was again elected, and continued 
to hold the position until 1880, when he was succeeded by Henry 
Dusterberrv, also a resident of Centreville. The present incum- 
bent, C. F. Horner, was elected in 1901. 

The office of superintendent of schools was held by W. F. B. 
Lvnch from 1878 to 1877. 

John L. Beard was chosen state senator in 1896, and the present 
assemblyman is John G. Mattos. Jr. Judge Sandholdt is serving 
his third term as justice of the peace. 

Dr. Selfridge held the office of coroner from 1858 to 18()0. 

One of the earliest settlers in Centreville w^as the Rev. W. W. 
Brier, who came from Indiana with his young wife. He was the 
moving spirit in the establishment of churches, not only in this 
part of the countrv, but all over the state. He had charge of the 
Centreville and Alvarado churches for several years, afterward 
devoting his time to home mission work, and the cultivation 
of a fine fruit farm. Dr Bucknel and Dr. Geo. Goucher were 
among the earlv settlers, but did very little in the way of their 
profession. Dr. J. M. Selfridge, now of Oakland, was the first 
phvsician to take up a regular practice in the townshi];. His 
practice was large, and he was one of the familiar features of the 
time as he rode about the country in his sulky, visiting the sick. 
He was prominent in church and school work, and was ever ready 
with a helping hand for those who needed assistance or encourage- 

Dr. Cvrus H. Allen, who served in the 8th Vermont Regiment 
as surgeon throughout the Civil War, came to California to recu- 
perate his broken health and settled at once in Centreville, in 1867. 
He has lived here continuously ever since, engaged in the active 
practice of his profession; in the early days fording swollen streams 
on horseback, or in his high sulky, traveling all over the valley 




and into the high hills and mountains as far as Livermore and 
beyond; for it often happened that he was the only physician be- 
tween San Jose and San Lorenzo. Known far and near he is con- 
sidered as belonging to the township rather than any one locality. 
He has recently associated with him a younger man, Dr. C. A. 
Wills, whose home is also in the village. Other physicians who 
have been residents of the town are Drs. Robert Hall, Buteau, 
Hastings, Hall, Walliser. Cabral and Emerson; the latter two are 
now living here and in active practice. 

The legal profession has always been well represented by men 
of excellent reputation. Mr. T. C. Huxley, who has achieved an 
enviable distinction in a legal way, came to the township in 1875, 
residing at the Mission and on a ranch near Warm Springs for a 
time; since then he has made his home in Centreville, where he 
has an office and one also in Oakland. His example has been 
followed in this respect by Hon. John G. Mattos, Jr., Mr. Benja- 
min Mickle, although a more recent comer makes a third in this 
trio of lawvers, who are well and favorably known, not only through- 
out the county, but in this part of the State. Mr. John J. Riser, 
who came to the State in 1847 as a soldier of the Mexican War. 
settled in the vicinity of Centreville, in 1851, and resided in the 
town continuously until the spring of 1904. 

Captain James R. Trefry came to the township at an early day 
and was captain of the steamer "Union," which ran from Alvarado 
to San Francisco and other points. He built one of the first houses 
in Centreville. was constable for many years and a terror to evil 
doers. He has a fund of interesting reminiscences of pioneer days ; 
in 1902 he moved to Newark where he still resides. 

Another of Centreville's early settlers was George Lowrie, who 
came in 1853, and who still resides in the vicinity. 

George W. Patterson came to the state in 1849, and soon after 
engaged successfully in grain farming near Centreville. He gave 
generously to the civil war funds, for the relief of the Nebraska 
sufferers in 1873, to schools and to other worthy causes. His 
fine grove of oaks and walnuts grown from nuts brought from 
Indiana are a fitting monument to his enterprise and love of for- 
estry. The sons have handsome and substantial dwellings on 
the homestead. 

Abijah Baker, also an early settler, owned a large farm in the 
neighborhood, and also gave generously to good causes. The 
lot upon which the Lincoln school stands was his gift to the district. 

Dr. Lorenzo Yates was the first dentist, but he is better known 
as a careful and scientific investigator. He gave much attention 
to the Indian antiquities of the township, and collected an exten- 
sive cabinet of Indian and other curiosities. Manv of these are 


now in Golden Gate Park Museum of San Francisco. Most of 
the curios in the cabinet of Lincoln School District were donated 
by him. He also recorded a number of geological and barometrical 
facts of value. He has written several scientific books of note, 
and is a member of the very exclusive scientific Linnean Society 
of London, having received his appointment on the demise of 
Asa Grey, the noted botanist. There were but eight other mem- 
bers of this society in the United States at that time. Dr. Yates 
now resides in Santa Barbara. 

Rev. W. F. B. Lynch was one of Centreville's most influential 
citizens. He was called in 1868 as pastor of the Presbyterian 
church, which position he held several years. He identified him- 
self with the educational interests of the township and county, 
and was instrumental in founding Washington College, intending 
to establish and incorporate there the main features of the Poly- 
technic schools. In 1878 he was elected county superintendent 
of schools, continued to hold the office until 1877, and was 
several years a member of the board of education. Verv popular 
with the young people of the township, he was often called upon 
to perform their marriage ceremonies. 

When the Alameda Creek formerly poured down in a flood, 
a portion of the stream flowed through " Crandall Slough," a 
half mile below Centreville. Near its banks on the Alvarado 
road stands a tiny house with doors and windows gone. This 
was the residence of the Crandall family, from whom the slough 
received its name. Mr. and Mrs. Crandall were people of much 
intelligence and of marked character. They were vegetarians in 
diet, and believed in dress reform, Mrs. Crandall appearing in the 
first "bloomers " ever worn in this section. 

This slough was broadened and deepened by the great flood 
of 1862, and a deep pond was washed out l)ack of the Hawley 
home in George Patterson's field. There was a spring here at 
the time, and the waters coming in a rushing torrent enlarged it 
into a pond, so deep that it was never fathomed until a few years 
ago, after it had filled in. when the depth was found to be twenty- 
four feet. 

The ranch of E. L. Beard was over-run at that time by so many 
gophers that the grain crops were seriously threatened. The 
flood destroyed these pests, and also destroyed many large sycamore 
trees. The flood was caused by the extremely heavy rains and 
the melting of the snow that had fallen to an unusual depth in 
the hills that vear, the Livermore high ridge having snow on it as 
late as May. 

About half a mile beyond the Crandall slough was "Pacheco 
Lane" (now part of the Decoto-Jarvis Landing road), leading from 


the old adobe house on the Alameda Creek, the home of the Pacheco 
family, to the main road. Following this lane was a ditch (a part 
of which still remains) that marked the boundary between the 
Pacheco and Alviso grants. The ditch ran from the creek south- 
west to the corner of the Antone George property and the Patterson 
estate, where it turned westward across the field, and a mile beyond 
was lost in the swamp. This willow swamp, covering over one 
hundred acres, was fed by fresh water springs that kept the ground 
wet and supported a dense undergrowth. Since the establishment 
of pumping plants and reservoirs for supplying the bay cities with 
water, these springs have disappeared, the trees are dying, 
and the swamp will before many years become only a memory. 
It was originally a part of the Alviso grant, but is now owned 
bv the heirs of George Patterson and Samuel F. Brown. Scat- 
tered through it are many fine sycamore and oak trees, some of 
them rivaling in size and beauty any that are to be f(jund in the 

In the fifty years of which we write, there has been but one 
serious alarm to the inhabitants. This was the earthquake of 
October, 1868. The Presbyterian church was so badly damaged 
that it had to be rebuilt. Stevens' store fell, and Milton's hotel slid 
from its under-pinnings. All over the valley, chimneys fell or 
were twisted completely around. Those on Howard Overacker's 
house went through the roof. The back part of Dr. Selfridge's 
house, which was built of concrete, was thrown down. The family 
then moved to Oakland, where the doctor had preceded them 
two years before. The earth continued to quake with more or 
less force for several days. 

The Washington-Murray Township Water Company was 
organized here May 17, 1871. The purpose was to preserve the 
water rights of Alameda Creek for the use of the people of the 
two townships, but the purpose was afterwards defeated. 

The first fraternal order in the township, the "Sons of Temper- 
ance," called the "Agricola Division," was organized June, 1855, 
in Mr. Brier's study. The meetings were held in the Ogden Hotel. 

The organization of the "Pioneer Society" was suggested by 
Wm. M. Liston and Wm. Barry by a notice pubhshed in the " Inde- 
pendent" of November, 1876, calling for a meeting to be held in 
Centreville on November 29. Although there was a meeting on 
that day, the organization was not completed until December 28d, 
with the following officers: President, Capt. George Bond; first 
vice-president, William Liston; second vice-president, C. C. Scott; 
treasurer, L. E. Osgood; and secretary, William Barry, who is 
the only survivor of these officers. One hundred and two pion- 
eers signed the constitution, all of whom were residents of the 


township at this time, and who had arrived in CaUfornia prior 
to March 23, 1853. Of these but forty are now hving, and but 
eight have continued in full membership. These members have 
their annual banquets at the Gregory House in Centreville, where 
they live over in anecdote and story the halcyon days of the past. 

There were nineteen honorary members who were the wives 
and daughters of these men. Of these, Mrs. W. W. Brier, Mrs. 
Mary Brier Moores, Mrs. James Hawley, Mrs. Clara Hawley Lay- 
son, Mrs. Emeline Tyson, Mrs. John Hall, Mrs. Mary Emerson and 
Mrs. Laura Walton are the only survivors. 

Alameda Lodge No. 167, F. and A. M., was organized Septem- 
ber 9, 1863. Of the first officers only Perry Morrison is living. 
The order erected Masonic Hall on the Niles road on a lot given 
by Howard Overacker. The lower floor is used for a banquet 
room, and above is the pleasant lodge room and different ante- 
rooms. The fraternity held a great celebration February 22, 1866, 
which was pronounced at the time the most brilliant social event 
ever given in the valley, some two hundred and iiftypeople par- 
ticipating in the gaities incident to the ball and supper. 

A Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star was organized in 
Masonic Hall in 1899, receiving a charter six months later, the 
legal time. The Chapter meets once a month, and has nearly 
one hundred members. 

At one time the Grangers had a large and flourishing society, 
which was very active in an industrial and social way. 

December 15, 1881, Centreville Council L O. O. F. was insti- 
tuted with sixty-five members. 

Washington Parlor 169, N. S. G. W., was organized December 
13, 1890, and now has a membership of sixty-nine. 

Centreville Lodge 170, K. of P., which was organized in Novem- 
ber, 1890, has a present membership of forty-seven. 

Maple Camp No. 146, W. of W., was organized May 19, 1894, 
and has now a membership of one hundred and seventeen. In 
this time it has paid for death losses $6,000, and erected two monu- 
ments to departed members. 

Central Assembly No. 191, U. A., organized January 22, 1900, 
in Hansen's Hall, has a membership of sixty-nine, is a very popular 
order, and growing rapidly. 

Amor da Patria Conselho No. 5, U. P.E. C, is a very strong 
Portuguese society, organized August 12, 1888, having a present 
membership of two hundred and eighty-four. It is the largest 
of the five lodges in the township, and the fraternal society having 
the largest representation in the township. 

Freitas No. 27, I. D. E. S., another Portuguese lodge, was 
organized February 28, 1900, and its membership is now eighty- 


nine. The object of these societies is mutual protection and 
fraternal aid. 

J •:. There are also two Portuguese women's societies, the S.P.R.S.I., 
and the Portuguese Protective. It will be seen from the number 
of these societies that the fraternal spirit is strong in the village. 

The present township Red Cross Society was organized in 
Centreville in 1898, and its ninetv-two enrolled members did 
efficient work during the Spanish war. A fund still remains in 
the bank for future needs. 

There is a woman's society connected with each of the Protes- 
tant churches, and both are in a flourishing condition. 

The town hall of Centreville was erected by its citizens in 1868. 
When about to be sold to satisfv a mortgage, the ladies of the 
town formed an association and purchased the property. It is 
now under their control, and they attend to all the business con- 
nected with it. 

An expedition to Alaska for gold left Centreville in June, 1882. 
It was organized bv John Lowrie and Samuel Marston, and several 
members of the company were from this township. They reached 
their destination and located their mine, which gave promise of 
being very rich. Leaving part of the company there for the winter, 
Mr. Lowrie and Mr. Marston started for home with a load of ore, 
expecting to return to the mine in the spring. Soon after their 
departure from St. Michaels heavy storms arose, and the vessel 
was never after heard from. The following year James Hawley 
and others, who had remained at the mines through the winter, 
returned, but the company was never reorganized. 

The town has a unique branch of the S. P. R. R., the freight 
and passengers being transported in cars drawn by two or three 
horses driven tandem. It breaks the record for speed, (nothing 
slower) for safety, and for politeness of conductor. It is said to 
pav better than any other three miles of railroad in the state. 
1902 was a light year for freight, as most of the fruit in this section 
was dried, but over two thousand tons were hauled out, and nearly 
two thousand tons brought in. Fifteen hundred dollars' worth 
of tickets were sold. 

A suburb populated bv Portuguese is called Sack City. It 
will be well to give the different versions of the way it received this 
name. Some say the first settlers came from Sacramento. Others 
that it is like a sack, with only one road to go in or to come out. 
Still others say that all that the residents lived on at first was 
what thev brought in in sacks. The inhabitants have cozy homes 
surrounded by small orchards. 

A new industry has lately been established by the C. C. Morse 
Company of the Santa Clara and Gilroy seed gardens. They 


have leased five hundred acres of the Patterson estate, just back 
of town, where they raise all kinds of vegetable seeds, and also a 
fine variety of sweet pea seeds. The flowers when in bloom present 
acres of brilliant l)lossoms of many different varieties. 

Manv of the suburban homes al)Out Centreville are interesting 
for their fine old trees and shrubs, planted years ago by men coming 
from eastern homes who realized the value of ornamental as well 
as useful improvements. Unfortunatelv, many beautiful old 
trees have been sacrificed by the thoughtless or over-provident. 

On the road toward Niles is the orchard and home lately owned 
by Howard Overacker, Jr., now the property of the Spring Valley 
Water Company. The entrance to the driveway is marked by 
two sequoia trees. Adjoining is the home of Howard Over- 
acker, Sr., approached by an avenue of stately pines. In the 
vard is a large elm tree, from which the place receives its name. 

Out of town, on the Irvington road, one passes the Fair home, 
with its beautiful rose garden; the Huxley's, with its immense 
pepper trees; and the Norris, Blacow, Eggers, Chadbourne and 
Emerson places, all having once been owned by the first settlers; 
many of the old houses are still standing. The Norris, Eggers 
and Blacow homes are still owned by the families of the pioneers. 
In 1860, Mr. Blacow, Sr., bought some lately-imported French 
merino sheep, which proved a good investment under his manage- 

The prettv cottage, with handsome grounds, of Mr. Fred Horner 
our present supervisor, is also on this road. 

On one of the roads leading to Newark is the fine farm of Henry 
Dusterberry, who came here in 1854. Also those of Joseph and 
Monroe Norris, and the pleasant homes of John Mattos, Sr., and 
the Hon. John Mattos, Jr. 

On the more direct road to Newark is "Sycamore Farm," the 
home of John A. Bunting. The house, grounds and barns are 
lighted bv electricity manufactured on the place, the first plant 
in the township. The engines used for this purpose and for pump- 
ing water for irrigating, burns crude oil brought from the oil wells 
owned bv Mr. Bunting in Kern County. A pomegranite hedge 
extends across the whole front of the place on the county road, 
a large conservatory and an aviary are other attractions of this 
hospitable home. Near the house are some fine old sycamores, 
which give name to the place. 

The home of Mrs. Wales, widow of William Wales, who settled 
here in 1854, is further down the road. 

On the Alvarado road are situated the homes and large orchards 
of Walter Walton, Benj. Mickle, George and Fred Lowrie. Just 
beyond is the big ranch of Eugene Stevenson, with its commo- 


dious farmhouses. On this ranch near the creek are hve of the 
largest sycamore trees in the valley, one of them being eighty feet 
high, eighty feet from tip to tip of limbs, and twenty-two feet in 
circumference at its base. 

At the corner of the Decoto road is the Brier homestead, now 
passed into the hands of Portuguese, and divided into small hold- 
ings, upon which are erected attractive cottages. It was notice- 
able for its fine old maple and walnut trees, but many of them 
have recently been cut down. 

The large farm of the late Senator John L. Beard is about a 
half mile down the road toward Alvarado. It was inherited from 
his grandfather, Mr. Jesse Beard, who came here in 1S54, and 
engaged in farming and fruit culture, which has been 
carried on successfully ever since. Some of the jjear trees, still 
in bearing, are of those brought across the plains in the pioneer 
days. Many fine California walnut and elm trees ornament the 
grounds. One walnut tree, probably the largest in the country, 
measures fifteen feet in circumference four feet from the ground. 

Just opposite the Beard place is the home of James Hawley, 
one of the forty-niners. The family still occupy the house built 
by Mr. Hawley in 1852. 

Some of the other early settlers of this locality were the Walker 
Bakers, the Saunders, the Whiddens, Curtners, Morrisons, Mc- 
Cormicks and Watsons. 

The first Portuguese family to settle in the neighborhood was 
that of Frank Rogers, whose son now owns the place bought by 
his father in 1866. Since then many of that nationality have pur- 
chased land and built pretty and attractive homes. Their well- 
kept grounds and fields speak well for their thrift and industry. 

Some distance from the village, yet connected with it by its 
extensive farming land, is "Ardenwood," the Patterson estate, 
interesting for its fine grove of trees, and its deer park, where, in 
the thickly-clustered trees and tangled vines, about forty deer 
make their home. Besides the natural growth of willows and 
live oaks, there are fine specimens of burr oak. l)lack walnut, wild 
plum, hickory, maple and hackberry trees, raised from seeds and 
slips brought from the woods of Indiana by Mr. George W. Patter- 

The Centreville public school has the largest attendance of 
any in the township. A new primary room with all of the latest 
improvements as to lighting, ventilation, etc., has lately been 
built, and is presided over by a daughter of an old resident, F. M. 
Hilton. H. W. Lynch, a son of the late W. F. B. Lynch, has for 
several years been the efficient principal, and has three assistants. 
The school yard is large, and has a number of fine, big trees. The 



Union High school, which ranks among the best in the state, was 
located here an account of the central position. There are five 
teachers employed. The town has always been one of the business 
centers of the valley, and has a population of abotit 1200. There 
are good stores, hotels, and shops of different kinds; artisans and 
mechanics are well represented, and in fact nearly all of the crafts 
have some followers. 

Along the tree-bordered streets are the pleasant homes of the 
villagers, varying from modest cottages to large dwellings of citified 
appearance. Nearly all have roomy grounds abounding with 
fiae trees, and beautiful shrubs and flowers. 

In selecting this site for a village the early settlers chose wisely 
so far as climatic conditions are concerned. The winds which 
suck down through the canons seldom blow here. The fogs which 
sometimes visit the valley drifting in along the mountains and the 
bay, frequently leave this place in sunshine, or if they do float in. 
break away earlier than elsewhere. Near the hills, on very hot 
days, the heat is reflected, and then there is often two or three 
degrees difference in temperature in favor of Centreville, so that 
altogether it is a favored locality. 

Difef Park, "Ardenwood " 

Civil ^Var ISTotes. 

URING the years of the Civil War, even at this great dis- 
^*Jj tance from the scenes of actual conflict, there were pre|)a- 
rations made for defence if not for actual assault. 
A Union Count v Convention, held at San Leandro, June 14, 
1S62, was attended by many of the leading citizens of Washington 
Township. At this convention delegates to a State convention, 
to convene in Sacramento, were elected, and J. M. Moore, of Cen- 
treville, was one of them. In 1863, another convention of union- 
ists was held at the same place, June 13th, and Howard Over- 
acker was the elected delegate from Washington Township. In 
1S63 the union feeling was so strong that many patriotic celebra- 
tions and bazaars were held in aid of the Sanitary Commission. 
A somewhat ludicrous event relating to one of these celebrations 
was thus chronicled in an Oakland paper: "A grand celebration 
was held on the Fourth of July at Alvarado, a cannon was purchased 
bv means of which no small amount of powder was burned, and 
the people in the vicinity complained that they touched the thing 
off too often. In point of fact, they did touch it off at a charivari 
of a newly married couple, placing it against the house, which 
did seem to be once too many times." 

The next Fourth of July, at the second discharge, the gun 
burst, sending the fragments in every direction, so nearly causing 
a serious accident that one of the skirts of Capt. Benson's coat 
was taken oft" as clean as though cut with a knife. Some amusing 
incidents occurred in Centreville, although attended by a good 
deal of excitement; James Lewis, of the United States Hotel, who 
was a rebel sympathizer, hoisted on his flag-pole a Confederate 
flag; he was waited upon by a committee of Union men and given 
the alternative of hauling down the flag or having the pole cut. 
The flag came down. 

At another time, someone raised the flag on the pole which 
stood where the present one is, with the stars down. The story 
runs that "Old Man Harlan" saw it as he came in town and the 
insult fired his blood; he went into the store nearljy, took an ax, 
came out and ordered the offenders to "right that flag in five min- 
utes time." The order was speedily obeyed. 

At an enthusiastic meeting of Union men at San Leandro 


held October 29. 1863, there was a delegation from Washington 
Corners, with J. T. Walker as marshal, one from Centreville, led 
by J. M. Moore as marshal, and one from Alvarado, including the 
military company of Home Guards in full uniform under the lead- 
ership of Judge Williams. 

During this year the Supervisors imposed a war tax of fifteen 
cents ad valorem on each one hundred dollars worth of property, 
and a poll-tax of two dollars per capita on each male citizen be- 
tween the ages of twenty-one and sixty years. 

In the latter part of the same year, tmder a new State law. 
Major Thompson, of Oakland, was commissioned to raise a batta- 
lion for active service in the war, and a company of dragoons was 
organized at Centreville, known as the "California One Hundred." 
Capt. E. S. Eigenbrodt, of Alvarado, was the commander of this 
companv, and John R. Sim, a son of Mr. Sim who lived on what 
is now the Shinn place, was First Lieutenant. 

John Campbell, who lived near what is now Hall's Station, was 
a private, and also Hiram Clark, of Alvarado, who afterward com- 
manded a company of colored troops. 

The battalion was subsequently attached to the Massachu- 
setts 2d Cavalry to fill out the quota of that regiment. 

On the 2d of September, 1864, while gallantly leading a charge 
at the head of his command in an engagement in the Shenandoah 
Valley, Captain Eigenbrodt was killed. The news of his death 
was received here'with great sorrow and all who knew him mourned 
the untimely death of this generous, warm-hearted man and good 
and loyal citizen. 


^ RVINGTON, situated at the crossing of the roads leading from 
(J) the old Mission and diverging to Centreville and Warm Springs, 

received its first name of "Nigger Corners" from two negroes who 
kept a saloon on one corner and who, perhaps, were the first resi- 
dents of what is now Irvington. Afterwards the residents decided 
to change the name to a more fitting one and did so by merely 
meeting and agreeing to call their settlement Washington Corners. 
Objections were made to "The Corners," as it was commonly 
called, so it was determined to again change the name. 

A mass meeting was called and it was voted to name the town 
Irving. The railroad people had been informed of the contem- 
plated change and through a misunderstanding got out a quan- 
tity of printed matter for "Irvington," so to avoid confusion Ir- 
vington was adopted as the name and post-office. Its proximity 
to the old Mission, the richness of the surrounding country, and 
the fact of two creeks running through the land were considered 
advantages in locating the town. 

In LS46, there came to San Francisco the famous ship "Brook- 
lyn," with her passengers, who formed the earliest permanent 
settlers of the State. Among these passengers were John M. Hor- 
ner, Earl Marshal and his wife, Simeon Stivers (his adopted son), 
and Origin Mowry. In 1S47 John M. Horner and his bride came 
to Washington Corners to live. At this time there was not another 
American resident between Mission San Jose and the Contra Costa 
line; and there were not five men of the Anglo-Saxon race north 
of San Francisco Bay. His son, William, born in 1S4S, was the 
first white child born in the township. 

In 1S47, Earl Marshall and Simeon Stivers came to Mission 
San Jose, and in 1S5() settled on a large tract of land back of the 
Horner place and west of the Tule pond, known now as the Stivers' 
place, where Mr. Stivers' widow and children still reside. 

Origin Mowrv, in bS48, navigated the southern end of San 
Francisco Bay, and sailing up the creek, which afterwards beccime 
known as Mowry's Creek, landed at the place now called Mowry's 

In 1849 Timothv Rix arrived in San Francisco and in 185:5 
settled on what is now known as the Montross ranch. He was 
the first postmaster in Washington Corners. 

IR \ '/N(r TON 85 

Among other pioneer settlers were J. T. Walker, who came in 
1849; A. B. Montross, in 1850; Richard Threlfall, Nathaniel Babl), 
G. M. Walters, and W. Millard, in 1852; L. E. Osgood, John Blacow, 
Jas. Emerson and John Proctor, in 1853. 

The late Mrs. Hiram Davis, a resident of Irvington, was the 
oldest native daughter in the State. Mrs. Abbey, an early settler 
near Mowrv's Landing, was the first white woman to settle in what 
is now Oakland, and her son Robert was the first white child born 
in Oakland. 

Capt. D. S. Tabbutt, a resident of Irvington, came to California 
m the early 60's as mate on a vessel which brought the lumber 
and machinerv for the first saw mill erected on Puget Sound. 

None of the early white settlers built dwellings of adobe, but 
used instead tents for temporary shelter or a redwood frame cov- 
ered with blue denim or white canvas. Then split shake houses 
were constructed, the shakes having been cut in the San Antonio 
redwoods. Nearly all floors were made of Eastern wood. More 
substantial buildings were made of the lumber shipped around 
Cape Horn, and still other houses were constructed in sections, 
numbered and ready to be put together. Of the houses shipped 
around the Horn there are two in Irvington. One on the Centre- 
ville road, on the John Stevenson estate, This house was brought 
in 1852, and in the spring of the next year was bought by Timothy 
Rix and erected on the spot where it now stands. The roof was 
corrugated zinc. The other is now used as a barn by Chris Miller, 
near the depot. 

In 1851, James Hawley bought a cargo of lumber of Capt. 
Taylor in which were three frame buildings, one of which was sold 
to J. M. Horner and was used in building a part of his house on 
Mission Creek; The floors of this house were made of imported 
Australian eucalyptus wood. The old house still stands on the 
road between Irvington and Niles, in front of which extends an 
old iron fence imported from England. The walls of this old 
house now falling to decay with the wear of a half century, echo 
to naught but the frisking of mice within the hay and the cooing 
of doves beneath the roof. In contrast to this tumbling ruin is 
the well-preserved residence of the late O. O. Slayton, on the moun- 
tain road between Niles and the Mission San Jose, which was V)uilt 
in the same year by Gov. Blaisdell, of Nevada. 

The first house in Irvington was built where the Palmdale 
Winery now stands and was afterwards moved to the corner now 
occupied by C. Rasmussen. It was used for a saloon, which was 
kept bv the two negroes after whom the town received its name 
of "Nigger Corners." 

The first school in Irvington was a private one taught by M. 


HIS TOR ) ' ( V' \ F.^s/y/m; ton to uwsn/p 

The Old J. M. Homey House, Irviiifftou. 

M. Spencer, in a small building (now a granary), owned by G. M. 
Walters, situated where Clark's Hall now stands. There were 
eight pupils, but as Mr. Spencer received but twentv dollars a 
month, without the privilege of boarding round, his position cov:ld 
scarcely have been considered a very lucrative one. 

The first public school house was a small building that had been 
moved from Centreville to a lot now owned by Mr. C. Christensen, 
near the depot. School was opened in 1S62, with Harvey Green, 
a Latter Day Saints' Elder, the first teacher, and Wm. G. Horner, 
G. M. Walters and Wm. Hopkins, trustees. School continued 
here until 187o. Among the other teachers l^eing J. C. Gilson and 
W. F. B. Lvnch, l:)Oth of whom succeeded to the superintendency 
of Alameda County schools. 

In ISTo the present building was erected, and the school has 
now an attendance of 110 pupils. The present teachers are F. 
Kenneth Reynolds, Minnie G. Galindo and Julia S. Emerson, all 
residents of Irvington. 

Aside from the library, which is a good one, the school is well 
equipped in all necessary and useful apparatus. 

In 1871, Washington College was built Ijy the people of the 
township, and in July, 1872, the school was opened by Rev. and 
Mrs. S. S. Harmon as a mixed school. Albert Lyser succeeded the 
Harmons for one year. In 1883, Rev. J. Durham and Mr. Pollard 
opened the school as a sectarian college for boys and girls, under 


the auspices of the Christian Church. The Rev. J. H. McCollough 
succeeded Mr. Pollard the following year. In 1896, the school 
was converted into a seminary for girls, conducted by Mr. and 
Mrs. H. C. Ingram, and called Curtner Seminary. On the morning 
of July 4th, 1899, the main building was consumed by fire and 
owi ig to the illness of Mrs. Ingram the school was abandoned. 

In 1900, W. W. Anderson, of Hopkin's Academy, Oakland, 
and later of the University Academy, Alameda, liberally assisted 
by the residents of Irvington and surrounding towns, erected a 
building on the site of the old College for a Military Academy, 
which is now a first class accredited school. 

The first church in Irvington was built by the Latter Day 
Saints, in the early part of 1867. In the early 80's services were 
held regularly by the Episcopalians in this same building, conducted 
by the Rev. J. H. Babcock; but this building was destroved bv 
fire in 1885. 

In 1884, the Christians, liberally assisted by the people of Ir- 
vington, erected a church on San Jose Avenue on a lot donated 
by G. M. Walters. This church is free to all denominations to 
use for religious purposes. 

Mission Peak Lodge, No. 114, I. O. 0. F., which was the second 
lodge instituted in the eastern part of Alameda County, was or- 
ganized in 1863 with ten charter members. The first Noble 
Grand was Chester Harris. In 1890, a fine large brick building 
was erected by the order. The membership now numbers eighty- 
two. Aqua Pura Rebekah Lodge, No. 193, was instituted on 
July 19, 1893, with forty-seven charter members. The first 
Noble Grand was Mrs. V. A. Rix. The membership at the pres- 
ent time is over one hundred. The Odd Fellows' Cemeterv was 
dedicated in 1872. 

On May 4, 1870, the I. O. G. T. instituted a Lodge in Irving- 
ton with six charter members, Wm. .Y Horner was the first Worthv 

The Knights of Pythias was instituted in the early '80s 
and existed for about a year and a half. 

Buckeye Camp, Woodmen of the World, was instituted May 
22, 1897, with fifteen charter members, P. J. Crosby being the 
first Consul Commander. Afterward they affiliated with the 
Woodmen of the World of Centreville. 

Court Irvington. No. 3802, Independent Order of Foresters, 
was instituted October 2, 1899, with sixteen charter members; 
R. B. Thompson was the Chief Ranger. 

Notably among the early local literary societies were the Dram- 
atic Club of the later 70's, the Lyceum of the early 80's, and the 
Irvington Literarv and Social Club of the earlv 90's. 


Among its most profitable pursuits in early days Washington 
Township ranked high in its vegetable productions. In 1S5(), 
potatoes raised in Irvington sold in San Francisco at fourteen cents 
per pound, and the profits from one thousand acres, in 1S51. 
were $160,000! Three-fourths of an acre of tomatoes, the same 
year, sold for S10,000; and cabbages sold at $1.50 each. 

Dairying also ranked high. Mrs. J. A. Brewer made and sold 
$2,500 worth of butter in 1855, making at each churning not less 
than $20 worth. 

The first blacksmith and wheelwright shops in the county 
were built by J. M. Horner at his residence. There was then no 
Oakland, no Brooklyn, no San Leandro and no Alvarado, and 
people often came fifteen miles to get blacksmithing done. The 
first blacksmith shop in the town of Irvington was owned by Mr. 
Wm. Sim, who located there in 1S50. 

Albert E. Lyser and W. W. Theobalds edited the first paper 
in the township, the "Independent," at The Corners, in 1S74 or 
early in 1875. 

Mr. Wm. H. Mack was the first station agent and mail carrier 
and second postmaster; the original post-office building is now in 
the possession of the Mack family. 

In 1853, Earl Marshall obtained some three hundred grafted 
fruit trees from New Jersey of different varieties. They came 
packed in moss and charcoal and were carried on mule back 
across the Isthmus of Panama. The trees were planted by dif- 
erent settlers, flourished and paid for themselves many times 
over after they began to bear. 

A few of the old apple trees that were brought across the Isth- 
mus in 1862 are still growing and bearing fruit in the orchard at 
the Mowry homestead. 

As Irvington grew in population and land was taken up and 
cultivated, new industries were established and improvements 
were made that added much to the appearance and general use- 
fulness of the town. Here is located the Palmdale Wine Co., 
which has the second largest wine cellar in California. There are 
also four smaller cellars owned by different parties. At Chad- 
bourne's orchard about $8,000 worth of fruit is dried each year. 
Great quantities of peas, potatoes, rhubarb, asparagus and logan- 
berries are shipped to the markets in their seasons. 

In 1887, an iron flag-pole, 110 feet high, was erected. 

Mr. H. Crowell, who has just sold out his business to Mr. Tier- 
ney and retired, was the "village blacksmith" for over forty years. 
His large manufactory of cylinder teeth has made his name well- 
known throughout the state; the annual output is from ten to 
fifty thousand. Adjoining the blacksmith shop is A. O. Rix's 

iRV/NcrroN s») 

wliccl\vri,c[lit shop. Mr. Rix is the inventor and manufacturer of 
one of the most successful almond hullers on the market. He 
also carries on a large industry in cut Howers. 

In earlier years the tule pond was a great resort for hunters. 
In the fall of 'S3, F. M. Smith, of Oakland, established a Gun Club 
there; houses were built and tended by keepers, but the pond being 
small and not many flocks of ducks flying, it has been abandoned 
as a hunter's resort. The tules from this pond are gathered each 
vear in bales, numbering several thousand, and are sold to the 
California and other nurseries, where thev are used for the packing 
of trees and plants for shipment. 

The Irvington Brass Band, which was estaljlished in 1901 with 
Mr. A. L. Sunderer as director, is a credit to the town. The ser- 
vices of the band are in demand for parties and dances, picnics, 
political campaigns, etc. 

The burning of the big warehouse on vSepteml)er .'>, ISSO. was 
one of the most disastrous fires in the township. On Thanksgiving 
eve of 1881 the burning of Beard's barn destroyed the first old 
landmark. After the burning of the Walker warehouse, a hose 
and bucket brigade was organized ; but this did not prove elTectual 
in checking the big fire of December, 1887, which caught in the 
printing office and swept out nearlv the whole business portion of 
the town. 

The Landing, afterwards known as Mowry's and later as Lar- 
kins', was first used by the Mission Fathers in the early 4()'s, for 
the shipment of their wines and hides. 

In 1850, regular trips were made to and from San Francisco 
l)y the ship "Neptune," owned l)y Barton and Origin Mowrv. 
Mowry's Landing was used until 1870 as an active shipping point 
for grain from all parts of the townshi]), farmers coming even from 
Pleasanton and Sunol, l)ringing their |)roduce for shi])ment. The 
narrow gauge railroad was com])leted through the vallev about 
this time and the bulk of the shipments since then have been made 
by rail. 

Two Indian mounds have been unearthed in this vicinity; one 
where the station now stands and another near Mowr\''s Landing. 
Many skulls and bones of Indians have been and are still found in 
the marshes and pastures of this section. Mastodon teeth have 
also been unearthed in this neighborhood. 

In early days Mowry's was a fiourishing district. Mr. Mack 
kept a store at the Landing in the early oO's and did a thriving 
business. The Imilding was afterwards moved to Irvington where 
it now stands. The Mowry school house was among the earliest 
ones and numbered many ])upils. The Camerons, Weeks, Mc- 
Davids, Moores, Mowrvs, Risers, Morgans, Threlfalls, Proctors, 



Emmets, Eggers and Marstons all studied the "three R's" at tliis 
little district school house. It was built by John McDavid and 
Origin Mowry, assisted financially by other settlers. 

Among the natural and unusual resources of Mowry's is a de- 
posit of peat of a hundred thousand tons. It is spongy, the ground 
shaking and quivering under foot. This peat is a good fertilizer 
and an excellent fuel, being clean to handle and free from soot. 

The following is a list of the early business men and their suc- 
cessors, which mav prove of some value to any interested in the 
commercial and political affairs of the town: 

R. B. 

Timothv Rix. 




H. Mack. 
S. Clark. 
L. Babb. 

H. Mack. 





N. L. 

O. N. 

E. B. 

St.\tion' Agents 

J. E. Wamslev 

H. Newell. 

J. E. Wamsley 


Clark Bros. (76) 
Meyers Bros. ('SO) 
Blacow & Weston. 
N. L. Babb. 
Ellis Bros. ('01) 
E. A. Babb & Co. ('02) 
Wm. Simms — pioneer. 

T. Tierney. 

Mr. Foster. 
W. Dugan. 
Mr. Bemm. 
Irvington Hotel: 

Mr. Kobault. Mr. Kobault. 

Brownell & Ainsworth. Mr. Haight. 

Mr. Wilson. E. Sullivan. 


Jacob Salz. 

G. M. Walters. 

W. H. Mack. (T)! 

Mr. Levy. 

Mr. Lang. 

J. Hirsch ('67). 

H. Crowell. 


Sam Brown. 
W. Spellman. 



and W. W. Theobalds ('74) 

Mr. Calkins. 

Miss Adeline Knapp, 


B. Thompson. 

E. Covert. 

Mr. Ford. 

Mr. Seaburg. 

L. Fitzell. 

Mr. Rounds. 

F. M. Carter. 

Dr. McKeane. 

Dr. Laidlaw. 

Dr. Guyberson. 

Dr. Walshe. 

Dr. Bishop. 

Dr. Young. 

Dr. Nestelle. 

Dr. Nellis. 

AV^ai'iii S])i^iii2's. 

Old Hignera Adobe, Warm Springs 

^^HE town of Warm Springs is situated on the Agua Caliente 
\^ Ranch, originally owned by Fulgencio and Valentine Higuera, 
who received a grant of it in 1836 from Nicolas Gutierrez. 
These, and neighboring rancheros, lived in idle ease upon their 
broad acres of pasture lands. They were the aristocrats, while 
below them was a class of peons, who squatted upon the land, cul- 
tivated their little patches of watermelons and frijoles, and for 
their meat levied upon the myriad herds of the landholders "as 
they needed it, paying for it in work at the annual rodeo. 

In those days the hills were covered with wild Spanish cattle, 
so that one's life was endangered if he ventured to roam them 
unmounted. It was the custom of the Spanish stock owners to 
get their cattle together once a year and brand them. Everyone 
attended and claimed his own stock, and after this was attended 
to, the remainder of the day and night was given up to feasting 
and dancing. Thus the rodeo was the great social event of the 
year. It took place at the Fulgencio Higuera ranch, near Willow 
Glen, where may still be seen the crumbling traces of the old adobes 
which were once resplendent with gay festivities. In 1S63, the 


last of the cattle were driven awav and the rodeo was a thin;^ of 
the past. 

The Springs, from which the town derives its name, are situ- 
ated about two miles east of the railroad, in the foothills, at an 
elevation of about o5() feet. Five of them are in one group, the 
sixth being a quarter of a mile distant. The flow is about 50,000 
gallons dailv, with a temperature of about 98 degrees. The water 
contains a solution of soda, borax and sulphur. Among its pecu- 
liarities one finds that iron does not rust in it; neither will it spoil 
if left for a year in ai open glass. When boiled it deposits no 
sednnent and requires but little soap when used for cleansing pur- 

Natives came from miles around to camp here to use the water 
for medicinal purposes. Spanish families sent their servants long 
distances with the ox-carts loaded with soiled clothing and house- 
hold linen to be cleansed m the waters by the Indian laborers. 

In 1S50, Clement Columbet bought the Springs of Higuera, 
and from then until the time of the big earthquake the place was 
a gay and fashionable resort. What Del Monte is now for the 
people of California, the Warm Springs were then. Guests came 
and went, either in their private carriages or by stage. The resort 
lost none of its popularity until the earthquake of '68 damaged 
the buildings to such an extent that they could not be used. 

In 1869, A. A. Cohen, of Alameda, purchased the property 
and built the new hotel which is now the men's quarters on the 
Josiah Stanford place. The building was never used as an hotel, 
as Senator Stanford bought the property the following year and 
planted vineyards and orchards. He died before his plans were 
all matured, and the place is now the beautiful country home of 
his nephew, Mr. Josiah Stanford. 

In 1852, came the first great change in the primitive life of the 
people, when jos vScott, Mr. Scribner and Mr. Hathawav bought 
o, ()()() acres of the Ijest of his land from Fulgencio Higuera, at three 
dollars an acre. This tract extended from the county line to 
where the Reynold's ranch now is, near Irvington. They removed 
all squatters and began farming the same year. And now the 
land, hitherto but tickled and scratched in small spots by the 
primitive wooden plows of the Spaniards, and responding in like 
manner, began to yield abundant crops under the energetic man- 
agement of the Americans, and to reveal a value far beyond the 
conception of its original owners. 

Mr. Scribner retained the southern portion through which flows 
Agua Frio Creek, but sold it to James Johnston about 1856. In 
1858, Abram Harris, a lawyer who had been located in Newark, 
bought this property of Johnston as a speculation, and the name, 


Harrisburg, was given to the settlement. When the Southern 
Pacific Railroad came through, the name Warm Springs was given 
to the station, and, to avoid confusion, in the early eighties the 
name was adopted by the post-office and town. 

Later Harris sold his land, the largest purchaser being H. Curt- 
ner, who took possession in April, 1868, having been a resident of 
Washington Township since 1852. 

Among those who settled here in the early fifties were Tom 
and Steve Millard, who farmed part of the Hathaway land, south 
of Agua Caliente Creek, which rises at the Springs and crosses the 
county road near the Warm Springs Hotel. Their grain was 
shipped to San Francisco from what is now the Warm Springs 
Landing. Here a small platform had been built and was often 
piled high with grain awaiting shipment. 

In 1857 this platform gave way and the grain fell into the slough 
beneath. Fortunately it happened at low tide, and the men at 
work heading in the Millard field leaving their work were able to 
save a great part of it by working all night. Much of it was dam- 
aged, however, and some was lost. The same year the Baker 
Bros, established a landing there with John Porter as clerk. This 
landing flourished and is still prosperous. It is now a part of the 
Healey estate. 

George Durkee, another pioneer, commenced farming in 1854 
and settled at his present home in 1867. This ranch was formerly 
occupied by John Wilson, who came to Warm Springs in 1859 
and was at one time Assemblyman. On removing from here 
Wilson lived in a small house which he built on what is now the 
Curtner property. 

D. D. Henion, who is a comparatively late comer to Warm 
Springs, is, however, an old pioneer of Washington Township. He 
arrived in the valley in the fall of 1850, and located on the Chad- 
bourne place between Centreville and Irvington. In 1853 he 
moved to Niles, where he lived first on the Clough place and later 
on the H. G. Ellsworth place until April 4, 1873, when he moved 
to Warm Springs. 

Several of the pioneers have been so long removed from Warm 
Springs as to be most diffic\ilt to trace. Among these are Charles 
Clark and Mr. Nash. 

Capt. Valpey, who left his home in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia 
in '49, in a sailing vessel rounded Cape Horn and arrived in Cali- 
fornia in 1850. In company with James Sinclair he owned a trad- 
ing schooner which plied between San Francisco and the embar- 
cadero at Union City for a few years. After various other ven- 
tures both finally settled in Warm Springs, Mr. Sinclair on the 
present Sinclair property and Capt. Valpey on the Craycroft place 


To this place Capt. Valpey brought his family in 1S()(), and here 
they have always lived upon the main highway, witnessing many 
interesting events. 

One event that is vividly remembered was a thirty-six mile 
horse race between Fulgencio Higuero and Salio, another Spaniard. 
The Spaniards from the vicinity crowded the roadside upon their 
mules and horses. Men, women and children, an excited and 
noisv throng, chattering and betting, awaited the passing of the 
heroes. Women even tore the jewelry from their persons to wager 
upon their favorites. It began to rain, but no one thought of 
turning homeward till the race had passed. At last the horses 
came into view, laboring and straining, with the mud flying from 
their hoofs. The men stationed at the roadside to whip them on, 
prepared to do their best, while the crowd waited in anxious ex- 
pectation. As they drew near Salio's horse was seen to be badly 
blown and just opposite Capt. Valpey's place he fell, a victim to 
the Spanish love of sport. 

Another illustration of the cruelty of Spanish sports occurred 
in 1856, when the daughter of Clemente Higuera was married and 
a three days' bull-fight was held. The bull was confined in a 
corral. During the fight an Indian, who had indulged too freely 
in the festivities of the occasion, wandered into the corral. His 
red blanket caught the attention of the enraged bull which charged 
fiercely and gored him severely before he could be rescued. The 
wounded man was removed from the place and laid upon the 
ground at a little distance while the sport continued. 

In 1S61, George W. Peacock erected a building on the site of 
the present Rural Hotel, which did duty as the only hotel and 
store in town, and in 1862, when Mr. Peacock received the first 
Postmaster's commission in Warm Springs, it served as Post oiifice 
also. Later the property passed into the hands of Mr. Murray 
and became known as the Rural Hotel. 

Early in 1863 a school was opened in a shed-roofed shanty, 
twelve by fourteen feet, on the Wilson place, with Miss Lizzie A. 
Valpey, now Mrs. Henry Shaw, as teacher. There were fifteen 
pupils in attendance. This school was conducted for three months 
in order to organize a district, which was done later in the same 
year, and a schoolhouse was commenced but not completed until 
1864. In 1879 it was remodelled and continued in use for school 
purposes until 1889, when the present commodious school building 
was erected- at a cost of ,|6,000 on the property across the street 
from the old building. There are at present two teachers with 
an enrollment of 108 pupils. The old school building still stands 
as the main part of the Christian Church, that organization having 
bought it in 1889. 

ll'^J^.U SPRINGS 95 

One of the prominent pioneers of Warm Springs is M. W. Dixon, 
who settled here about 1860 and was elected to the Assembly in 
1874 and 1876. In 1868 he built the landing at the southern end 
of the settlement. In the earthquake of that year one of the 
warehouses at the landing collapsed and 5,000 sacks of grain sank 
in the slough. Later Capt. Valpey bought a piece of land adjoin- 
ing Dixon's Landing, built a warehouse and established a second 
landing which is still a part of the Valpey estate. In the fall of 
1894 a great wind storm blew the old original Dixon warehouse 
down, but it was immediately replaced and is now in good con- 

This landing was once the scene of an amusing incident. When 
E. L. Beard left Indiana for California a young lawyer named 
Lockwood decided to try his fortimes in the West also, but pre- 
ferred coming bv New Mexico rather than the route selected by 
Mr. Beard. Before departing, however, Mr. Lockwood presented 
Mr. Beard with a cornet, keeping a companion to it for himself, 
saying, "I understand California is a very wooded country and 
we mav have some trouble finding each other; but take this horn 
with vou and blow it occasionally. In this way we can locate 
each other." 

Mr. Beard had been settled in his Mission home but a few months 
when a most bedraggled, mud-besmeared sailor made his appear- 
ance at his door, bearing the information that a crazy man was 
at the embarcadero tooting a horn to find Mr. Beard. Toot he 
would, but move he would not. Immediately Mr. Beard saddled 
his horse and hastened to the landing. The strains of a cornet 
were borne on the breeze that floated up from the marsh before 
the boat hove in sight. Lockwood and his parting gift had been 
forgotten, but came rushing back on the flood of memory as Mr. 
Beard recognized the attorney in the stern of the boat, alternately 
sounding his horn and awaiting an answering echo from his friend 
from Indiana. 

The only traces of the primitive people of this district are the 
remains of an Indian village near the landing. Indians, once 
numerous here and about the Springs, and commonly employed 
by the farmers to bind their grain, are now a rare sight in Warm 
Springs. And, indeed, could they look again upon their old homes 
there would be little to recall the haunts of their life-time. The 
once unfenced pasture lands are now all cultivated, except some 
few spots among the hills which are too steep. 

On the foothills, fine vegetables are raised in abundance. The 
leading industries on the lower lands are fruit, hay, grain raising 
and wine making. Many of the vineyards have suffered greatly 
from the ravages of the phylloxera, but are being rapidly replanted 
with resistant stock. 


'^^HR town of Niles was first known as Vallejo'p Mills, taking its 
(w) name from the flourishing mills built here in early days and 
spoken of more fully later on. When the Central Pacific 
Railroad first came through here in 1S69 the Company named the 
station Niles, after Judge Niles, one of the railroad officials. 
This name was naturally adopted by the residents and the town 
has since been known as Niles. It is beautifully situated at the 
mouth of the Alameda Canyon and lies at the base of gracefully 
sloping hills. 

In the 40's and early 50's, when the white men first came into 
the vallev to settle, there were still many Indians living here; the 
largest rancheria in this neighborhood was on the banks of the 
lagoon on what is now known as the Tilden place. 

To-day the wretched remnant of all these villages is gathered 
either at the Pleasanton village or in the little cluster of rude houses 
just below Niles bridge. Scattered here and there throughout 
this neighborhood are still found a few traces of this peculiar peo- 
ple. On the Meyer's place, back in the small canyon, are portions 
of a ditch and a walled spring of stone and cement made by the 
Indians. Their adobe huts were in the edge of the hills close to 
the mouth of the canyon. Here some fine metates, or grinding 
stones, have been found; one in the Meyer's garden is no less than 
three feet in circumference; and in the almond orchard south of 
the house was located a temescal, or sweat-house. Piles of stone 
on the hills back of the Meyer's and Mosher's ranches are the re- 
mains of the devil-worship practised by these Indians. Another 
very old Indian village was doubtless on the northeast corner of 
the Ellsworth place, for metates, stone tools and bones have been 
unearthed there. 

It was in the vear lcS50 that Americans commenced coming 
with their families to make permanent homes in what is now the 
town of Niles. In September, Mr. Wm. Tyson and his young and 
timid wife came into the valley (having crossed the plains) and 
purchased from Mr. Fallon 200 acres of land, for which he paid the 
sum of $2,000. Mr. Perry Morrison, a brother of Mrs. Tyson, 
obtained from the same party a similar tract. This included the 
land from the old Tyson homestead on the lagoon (which has been 
Mrs. Tvson's home for fiftv-three years) to the foothills, taking in 


the Thane, Donovan, Jos. Tyson and Chishohii homes, also those 
on the opposite side of the county road, between the railroad and 
the foothills. 

In the early 50's, Capt. Wm. Sim owned the lands which later 
came into the hands of Mr. James Shinn, Mr. Barry, Mr. Cham- 
pion and Judge Tilden. Mr. and Mrs. Loyd, in 1851, owned what 
is now known as the Nichols and Clough estates. This property 
passed into the hands of Mr. Stark, and in '53 was owned by D. D. 
Henion who sold to Wm. Moore, father of A. A. Moore, the Oak- 
land lawyer. Mr. Clough finally bought the property, and it is 
now the home of his widow and daughter. 

The land joining the Clough estate on the northeast was owned 
by Thomas Thompkins, who sold to Capt. C. C. Scott from whom, 
in 1861, Mr. Daniel Sanborn bought his present home. When 
Capt. Scott sold to Mr. Sanborn he moved to his beautiful ranch 
in the canyon, which he had called "Mizzen Top"; he afterward 
sold it to Mr. Edward Clark, whose widow and children still reside 

This same Capt. Scott was the victim of the first railroad ac- 
cident in this vicinity, having his foot crushed so that amputation 
was necessary. 

Mr. Barnes was a squatter on what is now the Ellsworth place ; 
he sold to Mr. D. Sanborn and his brother, who in turn sold to 
D. D. Henion. Mr. Henion sold to Severance & Peet, who trans- 
ferred it to the bank from which H. G. Ellsworth purchased it. At 
this time, the land joining the Tyson property on the southeast 
was owned by Mr. Naile. who built a fine adobe just back of the 
present Overacker home. In 1852, the first wedding was celebrated 
in this house; the parties were Miss Edna Stuart and Mr. Roy 
Stanley; the ceremony was performed by Mr. J. M. Horner, who 
frequently held Mormon services at the different ranches. The 
year before, Mr. Naile gave a large ball which was considered a 
most brilliant affair. 

In 1856, Mr. Michael Overacker, with his brother Howard, 
bought this property, which is the present home of his widow and 
son. The Bonner and Hunt homes were a portion of this estate 
and were purchased in 1860; also the Mosher and Jones places 
belonded originally to the Overacker estate. 

That part of the Vallejo grant which lay between the foothills 
and the north bank of the Alameda Creek came into the hands of 
Jonas Clark in the early 60's. At that time Mr. Clark was engaged 
in the furniture business in San Francisco and the land was rented 
to John Hanna; the valley land was soon sold to actual settlers. 

In 1881 or 1882, E. B. Mastick, then acting as Mr. Clark's agent, 
received an order from him to survey and sell the entire hill prop- 


ertv. At the time the surveyors were running their hnes, Mr. 
H. A. Mayhew, hearing the property was for sale, bought his pres- 
ent home. The remainder of the hill land was soon sold. Mr. 
Clark founded and endowed Clark University in Worcester, Mass. 

The idea of the early settlers was to build comfortable but not 
pretentious houses; a fence usually surrounded the buildings as 
a protection from the numerous bands of wild horses and cattle 
that strayed from the hills, as well as from their own cattle. 

In the garden plots were found Castilian roses, four-o'clocks, 
bachelor buttons, wall flowers, marigolds and madeira vines. There 
were several adobe buildings scattered about on the different 
ranches, some portions of which may still be found. At the Mill 
an adobe was used as a residence by a relative of J. J. Vallejo; 
another of the same family lived in one which stood in the canyon, 
and there is still another on the California Nurserv property. 
These were all built by J. J. Vallejo between 1850 and 1S58 for 
the use of his overseers and workmen. 

In 1863, the last grizzly bear was killed in the grain fields, 
which have since been supplanted by the beautiful orchard owned 
by Mrs. Pickering. 

The first Niles industry dates prior to American occupancy. 
In 1841, Don J. J. Vallejo, brother of General Vallejo, built an 
adobe flouring mill on the bank of the Alameda Creek ; the grinding 
stones for this mill were brought from Spain ; one of them was 
afterwards broken and the other now serves as a doorstep to the 
old adobe building. This mill in the early days of the country 
was quite famous and widely known. New stones were ordered 
from France in 1849, and in '53 or '54 (authorities vary) a new 
mill was built. The foundation stones were quarried from the 
hills in the canyon and were laid with cement, which was also dug 
from the hills near "the slide." The stone aqueduct was about 
two and a half feet wide and three feet deep and is now walled over 
by brick and forms part of the Spring Valley Water Co.'s pipe 

After the new flour mill was built, the old mill was still used 
for grinding other grains. The old oak rafters were put together 
with wooden pegs, which may still be seen. Mr. Athy was the 
first miller to run the newly-built mill. As grain-raising declined 
and was superseded by other industries, the work at the mill grew 
less, and in December, 1884, the last flour was made by Wm. 
Gorges and the old mill was closed forever. A few days after the 
body of the miller was found in his room in the old mill and by his 
side an empty bottle labeled poison. 

The chief industry up to the year 1855 was cattle raising, and 
thousands found pasturage through our beautiful valley and the 

NILES ' 101 

adjacent hills. These were the days of gorgeous Spanish trappings 
and when bull fights furnished the great amusements. The fights 
were held in the great corrals used for rodeos. One of these great 
stockades was situated in the level at the mouth of the little Mav- 
hew canyon, while only a little way from it is the well known sul- 
phur spring. The last rodeo was held in 1865. 

As the settlers increased, the cattle industry was followed 
gradually by the raising of grain. In 1852, the first reaper was 
introduced by Wm. Tyson and Mr. Morrison, and that year the 
farmers sold wheat for from 11 to 15 cents a pound. 

The first record we have of fruit-raising in Niles was in 1856. 
when Wm. Sim, who owned the Shinn place, had a few peach 
trees in bearing. This story is told of the first peaches that ripened : 
There was great demand for the fruit and it sold for $1.00 a peach. 
Mr. Sim, fearing he might be robbed, set his man to watch the 
tree at night, but in the morning the man and peaches were gone. 

The nursery business has been most prominent in the history 
of Niles, dating its inception back to 1868. In that year, Mr. B. 
D. T. Clough and his brother started an almond nursery on the 
present Clough estate, renting the adjoining lands, now the Shinn 
and Tyson places. Three years later Mr. James Shinn and Dr. 
J. W. Clark went into the business more extensively, growing 
ornamental and greenhouse plants as well as fruit and nut trees. 
They introduced many fruits, nuts and plants from Japan, as the 
Japanese plums and oranges, chestnuts, the irises, camphor tree 
and others of great interest. Shinn's Rareripe, an early variety 
of freestone peach, was originated and introduced by them. The 
Nichols orange cling peach, originated by Mr. Joseph Nichols, 
was also introduced by Mr. James Shinn. These have both proved 
of considerable value and are being planted quite extensively on 
this coast. 

In 1884, the California Nursery Co. was organized, with John 
Rock* as president. The Company bought one square mile of 
land in Niles and rented many adjoining acres. At the present 
time it is the largest nursery on the Pacific Coast, sending its stock 
all cjver the world. 

In 1888, Trumbull & Beebe, of San Francisco, bought the en- 
tire nursery stock of Mr. James Shinn and opened a packing yard 
near the depot, making this their distributing station. 

The raising of early vegetables in our foothills for the San 
Francisco market commenced in the early 70's, this business be- 
ing carried on almost entirely by the Portuguese. The first Italian 

*Jolin Rock, who became one of the foremost nurserymen of the state and 
who was connected with th« .California Nursery Company for twenty years, 
died August 8, 1904. . 


vegetable garden was started in 187fi by Mr. Manuel Dominici, 
who with his wife and two small sons is still in the business. There 
are three or four other Italian vegetable gardens, each sending 
its wagons out every morning laden with fresh vegetables to make 
the rounds of the township. 

The first store for general merchandise was kept by Mr. Victor 
Nuttman and Mr. Lowell ; succeeding them were Thomas Scott and 
Wm. Insell. In 1S5S. Mr. Scott brought to Niles its first piano, 
manufactured by Miller & Curtis. 

Miss Incarnacion Vallejo, daughter of J. J. Vallejo, was the 
first teacher of music, Mr. Scott's daughters being among her first 
pupils. In the winter of 1S62 and 1863, Mr. Scott was sent to 
the Legislature as the first representative from this section. In 
1898, Mr. James Clark represented the same section as Assembly- 

The birth of Wm. Henry Tyson, on November 2, 1850, is the 
first record of a white child born in Niles. 

In 1869, Lew McDole came to Niles and established himself 
as a cobbler, in the building he now occupies. He declares that 
more people in this township owe their soles to him than will now 
admit it. Alex. Scott established a warehouse and lumber yard 
in the early 70's and later sold the business to Mortimer & Wams- 

The Farwell stone quarry was opened in 1879 and operated 
quite extensively for several years. The stone is light brown and 
grav, does not take a polish, but stands all kinds of weather. The 
Unitarian Church, of Oakland, and the Rosenthal Building, of 
San Francisco, are made of this stone. The property is now in 
litigation, consequently the quarry is not worked. 

Niles claims the first gravel pit utilized in the State, situ- 
ated in the creek bottom, on the Shinn property. It is a crop 
that never fails, as the rains of each winter replace what has 
been excavated during the season. In building the new amphi- 
theatre on the State University grounds, in Berkeley, one order 
was for seventy-five carloads of this gravel. 

In the spring of 1894 the Niles Co-Operative Fruit Association 
was organized, with Judge Tilden as president; it was run success- 
fully for several years. A few years later Edward A. Ellsworth 
started a dryer in the home orchard, and recently he has bought 
the entire plant of the Co-Operative Association and handles a 
large portion of the fruit dried in this vicinity. 

Niles has three well-conducted general merchandise stores; a 
drug store; a meat market, with necessary wagon route, and two 
blacksmith and wagon shops. 

In Mav, 1897, the first issue of the Niles Herald appeared, with 


Mr. F. G. Vivian as editor. The following year the Waters Bros. 
(A. R. and H. J.) bought the paper and edited it until February, 
1904, when it was sold to F. E. Adams, of Pleasanton, who consoli- 
dated it with the Washington Press, E. B. Thompson, editor. 

The flood of '61 and '62 is well remembered by the old resi- 
dents. The rains commenced the last of December and continued 
for six weeks, with heavy falls of snow in the hills. The creek 
was l)Ooming and continued to rise rapidly. In February the peo- 
ple became so anxious that they considered it necessary for the 
safety of the residents to set a watch at night. An alarm came 
early in the morning and people awoke to find themselves surround- 
ed Ijv water as if in the middle of a lake. What few cellars there 
were had filled with water, which gradually came up over the door 
sills, and people took to the second stories, tearing up carpets and 
moving up what furniture they could. One family, named Phelps, 
left their house and took refuge on an island and soon saw their 
house with all their belongings swept down the stream. A Mr. 
Smith removed his family to a place of safety only the day before, 
but stayed himself in the house. Before morning he was obliged 
bv the rising waters to leave the house; he climbed a tree and 
lighted a lantern, and when his wife saw the light she said he was 
all right, he had "gone to roost." 

The roar of the waters as they came rushing down the canyon 
was deafening and could be heard for miles as the flood swept on 
through the valley on its errand of destruction, washing away 
houses, fences, trees and everything in its path. The water 
stood three and four feet deep on the lower parts of the 
Ellsworth, Sanborn, Clough and Nichols places. As far as the 
eve could see, "water, water everywhere." A remarkable feature 
of this severe flood was that there was no loss of life. 

The first hotel in Niles was located on the site now occupied 
by the Congregational parsonage and was run by a man named 
Sam Bonner. 

L. M. Hinckley had a blacksmith shop on the Mayhew place. 
Mr. Robert Beeching also had a blacksmith shop in the north 
corner of the property now owned by Ed. A. Ellsworth. 

In 1869, the first express office was established in the old Scott 
store and Wm. Snyder was appointed agent, at a salary of $25.00 
per month. After two years the express office was moved to the 
railway depot. 

The first through railway train to Oakland was on November 
8, 1869. The year before this, however, the trains came down 
through the canyon and ran to San Jose. 

In 1872, the Supervisors succeeded in getting an Act passed by 
the legislature to bridge Alameda Creek at Niles. The bridge was 

MILES 105 

built and accepted in October of the same year. The cost was 
$12,000; county bonds being secured through the personal efforts 
of Mr. H. Overacker, who was supervisor at that time from this 

The first Sunday School was held during the summer of 1873 
in the warerooni of the old mill, with Mrs. Sarah E. King as super- 
intendent, assisted by Mesdames Snyder, Woodward, Clough, 
Henion and Plummer. 

In November, 1873, the first post office was opened in Niles, 
with Wm. Snyder as postmaster; there were two mails a day and 
the salary was $12.00 per year. 

In 1890, with a change of administration, W. T. Dickey was 
appointed postmaster and the office was moved to his store near 
the depot. J. E. Briscoe succeeded Mr. Dickey, and in '98 Mr. 
Snyder again received the appointment and has held the office up 
to the present time. From two mails a day the office has increased 
to eleven, and is now a money order office. Rural free delivery 
was established early in 1904. 

In 1852, Mr. Harvey Green taught school for a few months in 
the adobe on the Overacker place, and the same year Miss Sarah 
Scott taught a private school for a short time in her father's house. 
After this the nearest school was at Centreville, which for years 
the children were obliged to attend. The need of a public school 
in Niles was greatly felt, therefore, people clubbed together and 
gave a great ball in the old mill's warehouse, and all worked to 
make it a success. They realized from the ball $320.00; the school 
house was built and the balance needed was raised by subscription. 
In October, 1875, the first public school opened with Miss Wat- 
kins as teacher. Mr. B. D. T. Clough, M. J. Overacker and Wm. 
Snyder acting as trustees; the first two held office until removed 
bv death. Mr. Snyder is still a trustee, having been a member of 
the board since the school district was formed. In 1889, it was 
found that a new school house was necessary, so the present build- 
was erected, and school opened in October of the same year in 
the new building. Mrs. J. E. Thane, Mr. Snyder and H. A. May- 
hew constituted the Board of Trustees. The Hon. Eli Dennison 
presented the school with a flag, which is the largest school flag 
in the county. This flag has the distinction and the honor of 
having been unfurled at two of the Presidential nominating 
conventions held at Chicago. 

The old school building was sold to the Congregational Society, 
and was moved and remodeled into a very pretty little church ; The 
railway company kindly donated the lot where the church now 
stands. Regular church services commenced on June 10, 1889, 
with Mr. Frederic Maar as pastor. The first church wedding was 


solemnized on February 4, 1S91, when the pastor, Mr. Frederic 
Maar, was married to Miss May Tyler; Rev. J. K. McLean, of Oak- 
land, officiating. 

The Roman Catholic Church was established January 25, 1S92; 
and the Episcopal Church the same year. 

The first May Day picnic was held in '54, on Ellsworth's Island, 
then owned by Daniel and Osmond Sanborn and planted to grain ; 
thev cut a few acres and, after the picnic, regretted that the en- 
tire field had not been cut. Invitations were sent out to every- 
bodv in the township. It is estimated that there were present 
fiftv women, one hundred and fifty men and about fifty boys and 
girls. The Rev. Mr. Brier and Noble Hamilton, afterwards made 
judge, were the speakers of the day. These picnics sometimes 
lasted for several days and preparations were commenced months 
before for these great social events. A May Queen was always 
chosen. Thev were continued until the floods of 1861 and 1S62; 
but after that they were usually held at Dry Creek. 

The first ])ublic picnic grounds in Niles canyon were conducted 
bv John Meyer. 

In March, 1S91. L. H. Cutler opened the first drug store. Dr. 
Rav was the first resident physician. 

The first hall was built and owned by Solomon Easterday and 
was opened March, 1888. 

About the vear 1890, a Parmelee Circulating Library, of 145 
volumes, was selected, bought, by the citizens of Niles, and placed 
in Mr. Dickev's store. In 1895, these books were moved to the 
"Open Door," reading room which was then under the management 
of the Christian Endeavor Society. From time to time additions 
were made to the original library until there were 500 volumes, and 
in January, 1900, the Niles Free Library was incorporated. A 
lot was purchased and the railroad company presented the cor- 
poration with a building. 

On March 17, 1893, Niles Lodge of Odd Fellows was organized. 
On November 15 of the same year the Court of Foresters of America 
was organized. 

In 1894 the Niles Band came into existence, numbering twelve 
members. They practiced faithfully for some months and appeared 
in public on several occasions, but on account of the removal of 
several of the members the interest died out and the organization 

In 1896, the Athletic Club was organized. Considerable work 
and some little expense was put into a bicycle track, which was 
never used. 

On January 6, 1897, the Social Assembly of the United Arti- 
sans was organized. The Niles Improvement Club was formed in 



April, 1S98, with Mr; Jos. Shmn as president. On March 20, 1900, 
the Niles Camp of Modern Woodmen of America was organized. 

On March 16, 1901, the Niles Encampment of I. O. O. F. was 

In June, 1901, the Suburljan Electric Company l)rought their 
lines through Niles. 

There are living in our midst two ladies who have the distinc- 
tion of having "crossed the plains," Mrs. Emmeline Tyson and 
Mrs. Kate Overacker. 

There are a few Niles people of whom the citizens should be 
justly proud as having acquired prominence in different circles: 
Dr. Millicent Shinn and Mr. Charles Shinn, in the literary world; 
Miss Ida Curtis, in the ministry; Miss Sybil Easterday, in sculpture; 
Miss Estelle Heartt, in vocal music. 


Decoto, ToAvii and District. 

-^^HIS part of the township was originally a portion of the Val- 
^®) lejo grant and was later owned by J. G. Clark. 

Evidences of residence by the Indians have been found on the 
farms around by J. C. Whipple and on the I. R. Haines estate. 
Mortars and human bones having been exhtmied in several places 
on their lands. 

A squatter known bv the name of "Euchre John," who lived 
on the land now owned by Mr. Reese, planted the first fruit trees 
in the district, which bore fruit in 1862. 

The first storehouse was built in 1850 by Vallejo. It stood on 
the right bank of Segunda Creek, commonly called Dry Creek, on 
the land owned in 1853 by Frank Frietas and was not entirely 
destroyed until a few years since. 

Previous to July 2, 1868, the Decoto School District was a 
part of the Alvarado, Alviso and Centreville districts. At that 
time this district was formed and called Cosmopolitan School Dis- 
trict. The first school house was built on land donated for school 
purposes by J. G. Clark, who then owned the land. The buildings 
and furnishings when ready for use had cost the district SI, 807. 92, 
all of which was raised by subscription. The first term of the 
school was taught by J. T. James, in 1869. The total number of 
pupils enrolled was twenty, with an average daily attendance of 
seventeen. The district has been taken from several times till 
now the area is not more than half what it was originally. Parts 
of the Niles and Valle Vista districts having been formed by the 
divisions. The present enrollment of pupils is 168, with a good 
daily attendance; four teachers are employed. A new schoolhouse 
was erected in 1883 within the town limits. The old building was 
sold and is now a part of the residence of H. May. The land was 
returned to the present owners of the Clark estate. 

The Dry Creek picnic grounds, so well known to all old residents 
of the township, are in this district. The grounds were first used 
as a pleasure resort in 1854 or 1855. The season usually opened 
on the 26th of April, the Odd Fellows having charge of the festiv- 
vities. May-day was considered the great holiday and was looked 
forward to with the livliest pleasure from one season to another, 
and elaborate preparations were made in the way of dress and en- 
tertainment. Refreshments were planned many weeks in advance. 





» 'v^mR^sSBI 


^^^^^^^^^^ft "^^hR^^^^^^^^^^^b 


■> ^'^BP^^^^^^^^w 




/4 Glniipse of Dry Crcfk Picnic Grounds 

As the years advanced and the county became more thickly 
settled, one day Avas not enough to satisfy the ardor of the pleas- 
ure seekers, and for several years the festivities of the May season 
were kept up for three days. A good floor was laid and excellent 
music was in attendance, dancing being the principal amusement. 

During the earlv '70's pleasure seekers came from the city to 
enjoy the day, but this continued only for a few years, the distance 
from the station being too great for the convenience of pedestrians. 

For more than twelve years the grounds have not been used 
as a public pleasure resort. 

During the years 1851-53, about 300 acres of land on the Ala- 
meda Creek was farmed by Don J. J. de Vallejo and Mr. James 
Hawley (who is now living in the Alviso district). This tract was 
called the Bell Ranch, from the fact that a large bell, given by 
J. y. Vallejo, was hung by Mr. Hawley in 1852 in a sycamore tree 
which stood on the bank of the creek. The original tree was washed 
away by the floods; but another has grown in the same place. 
Later the bell was hung on a frame erected for it nearer the house 
and it remained there for many years. It was used as a signal 
for calling the laborers to and from their work. It is reported 


on pretty good authority that the bell was one of the five Mission 
church bells, and that some time in the late 'GO's it was returned 
to its place in the old church. 

The ranch house, which is still standing and used as a residence, 
was built in 1852. The bridge which now spans the Alameda 
Creek is called the "Bell Ranch Bridge," from the name given 
the ranch. 

In 1870, 284 acres of land were purchased from the three De- 
coto brothers by the railroad company and the Decoto Land Com- 
panv was formed ; the town was surveyed and called Decoto. 
Streets were laid out, named, and during the winter of 1870 and 
1871, 27,000 trees of various kinds were set ovit, eucalyptus being 
the most prominent. Several large warehouses have been built 
in which great quantities of grain and hay are stored every year 
and from thence shipped to the markets. During the year 1902, 
9187 tons of freight were shipped from the Decoto Station, for 
which the railroad company received as freight charges, !$8682.99. 

Holders' sand is found on the land owned by E. A. Bush, and 
many carloads are shipped annually to the Union Iron Works in 
San Francisco. 

In 1873, quite a large tract of land was set out in hops on the 
property owned by J. B. Shirk. For several years the crops were 
quite profitable; but about 1885 the yield began to decrease, and 
a few years later this industry was given up entirely. 

Fruits, grain, and sugar-beets are successfully raised in the 
valley, while the hill land produces good crops of grapes and is 
famed for the production of early vegetables for home and eastern 

There are but three houses of the early days remaining in the 
district, all of them still serving as residences. 

Mr. Gresel, who is a successful farmer in this district, worked 
for Mr. James Hawley on the Bell Ranch as early as 1851, and 
has made his home in the vicinity since that time. 

Decoto was separated from Alvarado as a voting precinct in 
189G. The number of registered voters in 1902 was 116; therefore 
the population of the district is about 580. 

In 1873, the Cypress Cemetery Association was formed with 
the following named trustees: J. C. Whipple, F. B. Granger, Sr., 
E. Dyer, John Hall, Wm. Hayes and J. M. Ingalls, all of whom, 
except the last named, were pioneers. The first officers were : Wm. 
Hayes, Pres. ; J. C. Whipple, Vice-Pres. ; J. M. Ingalls, Sec. and 
Treas. Ten acres of land were purchased from Sanford Taylor. 
The 'tract was fenced and soon after Mr. Whipple, at his own 
expense, set cypress trees on three sides of the grounds, many of 
wdiich are still standing. 


In ]<S74 or 1S75, W. M. Moserve organized the first Sal)l)ath 
School; Miss Alvena Meyer (now Mrs. C. C. Crane) was chosen 
superintendent. The school was presented with a small lil)rary, 
some bibles and song books by one of the Presbyterian churches 
of Oakland. This school was abandoned after a time and it w^as 
not till after the new public school house was built that another 
Sunday school, with Alvina Decoto in charge, was regularly or- 
ganized by Rev. Mr. Wirt in the early 80's. From this grew the 
organization of the Congregational Church on December 9, 1893, 
through the efforts of Rev. F. H. Maar; and through his efforts 
also the Christian Endeavor societies of the State raised the funds 
for erecting a neat building on a lot loaned for church purposes. 
This, the only "Christian Endeavor Church" in the state, was 
dedicated September 23, 1898. 

The corner stone of the Masonic Home was laid October 14, 
1896. The main building was dedicated October 12, 1898, and 
opened to inmates March 1, 1899. The property consists of 267.46 
acres of land, all under cultivation. The principal building is an 
imposing brick structure (the bricks being made on the grounds 
as needed), four stories in height, situated on an eminence com- 
manding a magnificent view of the southern end of Alameda County 
of the Bay and of the mountains of the Coast range both on the 
east and west. At the present time there are more than 125 in- 
itiates, and fortv children are attending the grammar and high 

The Home is supported by a per capita tax of $1.00 paid each 
vear bv the subordinate lodges of the State to the Grand Lodge. 

Seminoff Temple, the corner stone of which was laid April 22, 
1903, is the gift of S. Seminoff, of San Francisco, and is a very 
handsome and commodious building, with lodge rooms, library 
and offices, which are to be devoted to the uses of those Free Masons 
who are inmates of the Home. 

A new enterprise on rather a large scale has lately been launched 
just west of the town of Decoto. Here a model dairy is being 
conducted by D. Jackson and F. B. Granger, two well known 
business men of Alvarado. The business is being conducted under 
the name of the Jackson-Granger Dairy Co. 

The ranch of 340 acres has been fenced and cross fenced, al- 
lowing of the pasturing of their 240 milch cows and the raising of 
hay. Fourteen men are employed at the dairy, each having his 
special work to do. 

The buildings, which are very large, contain eight "strings" of 
thirtv-three cows each and are models of neatness, as one of the 
main rules is "Keep the place clean to the utmost degree." The 
buildings are all lighted by electricity, as are the wash-room, grist 
mill, and all out buildings. 

The full output of this model dairy is sent to Oakland, the 
milk bringing the highest price paid in that market. 

Several new improvements are about to be commenced, and 
when completed will make this plant equal to any in the State. 


Or^HE town of Newark is situated near the northern border of 
yw) the Rancho Mission, San Jose, the branch of the Alameda 
Creek (called by the Spaniards the Big Ditch), on the Mun- 
van place, at present the property of Mr. F. Brown, being the 

On the other side of the creek, now owned by Mr. Andrew 
Ross, stood the homestead of Don Augustine Alviso, owner of the 
Rancho Potrero de Los Cerritos (pasture of the low hills). 

In 1852 the valley was crowded with herds of wild cattle in 
charge of Indian vaqueros. Portions of the ranchos were enclosed 
with willow and raw-hide fencing, and some wheat, barley, and 
oats were grown. There were usually a few fruit trees near the 
houses. Each rancho had a great many Indian and half breed 
retainers who did the work and for whom a steer was killed every 
few days. 

From 1850 on, numerous Americans arrived and obtained pos- 
session of land in various ways, by squatting and by purchase. 
Messrs. E. Lyman Beard and John M. Horner bought a large part 
of the Mission tract. Titles were unsettled until 1866, when the 
government at Washington granted a patent on payment of $1.25 
per acre bv each holder. Mr. Beard was instrumental in getting 
the farmers to assess themselves sixty cents per acre and to send 
Judge A. M. Crane on to Washington to have the matter settled. 
To adjust the affair an Act of Congress was necessary and as the 
hour for the adjournment of the House approached, on the night 
of March 3, 1866, two bills of great moment to the settlers of this 
valley remained to be disposed of. One was to confirm the owners 
in their holdings, and the other gave to the Western Pacific Rail- 
way Company every alternate section within twenty miles of its 
road from San Jose to Sacramento. 

Through the efforts of Senator John Conners, of California, 
the bill giving the land to those in possession was passed first, 
thus saving endless litigation with the railroad, and perhaps a 
tragedy like that of Mussel Slough, of which Mr. Norris wrote in 
the "Octopus." 

The first settlers of what is now the town of Newark were two 
farmers, named Clarke and Thomas, who took possession of 160 
acres, fenced it and built a house where the ranch-house of the 
Fair propertv stands. Lumber for fencing was very scarce and 


ex|>ensive, so they dug a ditcli, and throwing \x\) the earth, huilt 
the fence on the top of the eml)ankment thus made. Traces of 
this ditch still remain. The next owner was Capt. Joseph' May- 
hew, who built the present house, one of the finest in the county 
at that time, and who had a stock-ranch of more than a thousand 
acres. He was a most enterprising, popular man, who after a 
time moved to San Leandro and was elected Sherifif of the 
County in 1861 and 1833. A. B. Forbes, of San Francisco, was 
the next owner of the place; he spent many thousands in improv- 
ing it, but, after a few years, sold to Perrin Bros., who established 
the Green Point Dairy and laid out a town which they called New- 
ark ; half way l)etween the present town and the bay. They ad- 
vertised extensively, built a road across the marsh at great ex- 
pense and chartered a steamer to bring excursionists from San 
Francisco to Alviso Slough. The town project was not a success, 
although they sold some lots, and in 1S76 they disposed of their 
holdings to the Pacific Land Improvement Co who carried on the 
dairy business for a time. On coming into possession the Com- 
panv, consisting of Flood & O'Brien, A. E. Davis and others, built 
a railroad to Dumbarton Point, connecting there with the steamer 
"Newark" for San Francisco. San Jose was the terminus of the 
road. The line to Dumbarton Point was abandoned when the 
Company acquired the right of way through Alameda. In March, 
1878, trains ran from Alameda to Los Gatos, and on May 15, 1880, 
the first passenger train for Santa Cruz went over the road. On 
May 23d there was an excursion on the new road, flat-cars being 
crowded with people, and when rounding a curve overlooking the 
powder mill in the Santa Cruz mountains one was overturned and 
seventeen persons killed. On the completion of the road the round- 
house and repair shops were located here, and Carter Bros.' car 
shops gave employment to many. The Company built houses 
for its employees and two stores were opened, one bv Mr. Albert 
Falk and one by Mr. George Thom. A post office was established, 
Mr. Martin Carter being the first postmaster, who soon resigned 
in favor of Mr. Thom. For several years before this the nearest 
postoffice was at Centreville. In 1852, settlers of this valley had 
to go to San Jose for the monthly mail, letter postage being thirty 
cents. After a time there was a semi-monthly mail and an office 
was established at Mission San Jose, then one at Alvarado and 
later at Centreville. We have had rural delivery in this neigh- 
borhood since September, 1903. 

The first salt works in this vicinty were owned by Isaac Long, 
who came here from Philadelphia in 1852. He and his brother 
had the largest chicken ranch in the State on what is now called 
the Thompson place. They made a fortune in the business, eggs 


selling for $2.00 per dozen and voting chickens for $25.00 per doz. 
Mr. Long did not make a success of the salt business and sold to 
Mr. J. A. Plummer, who in 18(53 introduced modern methods in 
its manufacture. Up to this time the mode of making salt had been 
e>ctremelY primitive and the product so impregnated with brom- 
ines as to be unsafe for family use. In 1S64, the first salt from 
wooden floors was shipped by Mr. Plummer to San Francisco and 
the quality of the product won immediate recognition. Mr. C. A. 
Plummer still carries on an extensive business at the Crystal Salt 
Works, near Newark, with a branch at Alvarado. 

Another industry at Newark is the James Graham Manufac- 
turing Co., whose iron foundry was established in 1882 with but 
two men employed. There are now 87 men on the pav-roll, wdio 
turn out every working day forty-five ranges, and their buildings 
cover an acre of ground. There is a smaller foundry at Newark 
under the management of the Dunn Bros, and it will be seen that 
the monev received monthly for wages in the town amounts to a 
large sum. 

The school house and Roman Catholic church were built in 
1879, and the Presbyterian church was dedicated on September 
10, 1895. 

When the railroad was completed a park was laid out with 
a pavilion and dancing-floor for picnics, but after a time this was 

Two hotels were built, one by the railway companv and one 
by Mr. John Dugan, who also conducted a coursing park. 

In 1876, the property of the railway company was bought by 
Senator Fair and others; the Pacific Land Improvement Companv 
was incorporated and the present town of Newark laid out. The 
Fair estate has a large property in the neighborhood. 

On the refusal of the city of Oakland to allow the railway the 
right of way through its streets, Senator Fair sold to the Southern 
Pacific. This was July 1, 1887. But for this sale the Narrow 
Gauge, as it is called, might be part of another transcontinental 

In "Five Years Before the Mast," Richard Henry Dana, who 
visited the coast in 1835, speaks of coming up the Bay of San 
Francisco to the embarcaderos of the Missions for hides and tallow. 
There is no doubt that he came to what was afterwards known as 
Beard's, now Jarvis' Landing, as the flocks and herds of the Mis- 
sion San Jose were among the largest in California. Mr. Dana 
also speaks of Russian vessels which came from Fort Ross and 
from Alaska to trade with the Missions for grain, hides and tallow. 

At the beginning of 1853, Beard's Landing was owned by Capt. 
Oscar Pease, and the rate of shipping from that point to San Fran- 


Cisco was S5.()0 per ton. Capt. Pease was a son of Attorney Pease 
who, with his family, hved in Centreville for a time and afterwards 
returned to his home in Michigan. A few years ago Capt. Pease 
visited Newark and was astonished at the changes he saw. He 
built the first house at Jarvis' Landing, but his name, hke those 
of many of the early settlers, has almost passed into oblivion. 

Capt. Pease sold the Landing to Capt. Joseph Mayhew who 
sold it to his uncle, Capt. Jonathan Mayhew, who established the 
lumber yards about 1855. He disposed of his holdings to his 
nephew, Wm. Butler, who in LS64 sold to Mr. George Tait, of San 
Francisco. In 1S65, the property was bought by Jarvis and Com- 
pany, the firm consisting of Howard and F. C. Jarvis and two 
brothers named Ray, who soon retired. 

The Landing was called Beard's Landing because the late E. L. 
Beard was the largest farmer in the neighborhood shipping from 
this point. Mr. John M. Horner shipped from Union City. A 
part of the land called Beard's Landing was on the Mission tract 
and part on the Alviso property, the two connected by a plank 
walk for many years. About 1853, a man had a contract for 
several thousand tons of cobble stones for the San Francisco streets, 
they were hauled to this Landing and then condemned as unsuit- 
al)le. After some years these stones were throAvn irito the slough 
which divided the two tracts, and thus a permanent road was 
made which is still of private ownership. Mr. Tait. one of the 
owners of the Landing, came into the country for his health from 
San Francisco, where he had been Superintendent of Schools when 
the Lincoln school was built in that city. He was one of the first 
school trustees in this neighborhood and named Lincoln district 
after the President, of whom he was a great admirer although a 
Virginian educated at William and Mary College, and whose fam- 
ily had all been on the Southern side during the Civil War. 

Mr. Tait took his three sons to Europe where they were edu- 
cated. Dr. Dudley Tait, connected with the French Hospital in 
San Francisco, is one of the sons. 

The first trustees of Lincoln School District in this township 
were: George W. Tait, who died in 1888; Emory Munyan, who 
died in 1899; and Abijah Baker, who died in 1903. Mr. Baker 
gave the lot on which the school house stands. 

A small vessel of about thirty tons was built at the Landing 
in 1865 by Barney Mullen and Edwood Ross, who intended to 
make a new landing back of the hills and nearer the bay. After 
spending considerable money in making a road across the marsh 
and a cut through the hills the project was abandoned for want 
of funds and the vessel, named the "Valentine Alviso," was sold 
to the Messrs. Jarvis. 

NEWARK \\\) 

In 1S76, Jarvis & Co. built at the Landing a large schooner 
called "The 76," and in 1SS2 Mr. John Lowrie huilt the steamer 
"Lady Anne," for the Alaska river trade. It was taken north 
on the deck of a schooner named the "Alaska," and used to bring 
ore from the mines to tide-water. Mr. Lowrie and all on board 
were lost in the "Alaska" on the return trip with a load of silver 
and lead ore from his mine. Samuel Marston and Charles Babb 
were lost at the same time, October, 1SS8. 

Dumbarton Point is destined to be on the line of a railroad 
into San Francisco; the bay at that place is only three-fourths of 
a mile in width and it can be bridged without difficulty. It is 
the only place on the bay between Oakland and San Jose where 
the depth of w^ater will permit the approach of large vessels. 

The marshes about the bay afford good duck-hunting and many 
gun clubs have preserves in this neighborhood. Mr. F. M. Smith, 
of borax fame, has rented the shooting privilege of the Brigg's 
ranch for fifteen years and has built a commodious shooting-box. 

Some years ago Eastern oysters were planted in the bay on 
the San Mateo shore where an extensive industry is carried on. 
The oysters in some cases have drifted to the Alameda side and 
occasionally the hunter finds a colony of them. 

The death of Mr. Emory Munyan, which occurred June 9, 
1899, was a great loss to the community. He was a generous, 
kindly man of wonderful memory and intelligence and had a vast 
store of information concerning the early days of the country. 
He was a good linguist, and his services had often been employed 
by the Spaniards in translating important documents, for which 
he would never take compensation. He was trustee of Lincoln 
school from its organization till his death, and he gave to it a val- 
uable collection of mineral and Indian relics. He had a fine or- 
chard and every Friday, during the season, the school children 
received a basket of fruit from his hands. Mr. Munyan came to 
California from Connecticut, in 1S52; he never married, but of 
him it may be written "that he loved his fellow men." 

From the Munyan place to the bay there is an extensive In- 
dian mound, the site of a populous village many hundreds of years 
ago. They buried their dead close to their houses, which were 
built of willow bound together with twigs, plastered with mud, 
and the roof covered with tules. The farmers of this locality 
still turn up with the plow human bones, shells, fishing implements, 
stone mortars and pestles, etc. They seem to have been a peace- 
ful people of a low order of intelligence, living on fish and acorns. 

When the railroad was built through the Wm. Haley place 
seven layers of bodies were unearthed. There are other mounds 
in the vicinity, but this was the largest. An old Indian who lived 


here in 1S52, and who declared that he was then 100 years old, 
said that he was born on this mound and that he had seen all the 
adjoining ranches covered with driftwood brought down by the 
freshets. The truth of this is proved by the logs and roots still 
brought to light in the course of excavations here. He also told of 
years of drought and floods and earthquakes, the greatest of which 
occurred about 1768, or one hundred years before the "great" 
earthquake of California. 

There is no doubt that this valley was once an arm of the bav 
and has been filled up by erosion from the hills. When boring 
for water, sea sand and shells are found at a depth of seventy-five 
feet or more, and, near Irvington, bones of mastodons have Ijeen 
found at a great depth. The process of filling up is still going on, 
for near Alvarado within living memory three fences, one above 
another, have been covered with soil brought from the hills by 
the rains, and in some places the marsh has been transformed into 
fertile soil. 

About '51 or '52, the Portuguese began to settle in this neigh- 
borhood; they were sailors from the Azores who sent for their 
kindred; they are an industrious race and have almost taken pos- 
session of this fair valley. The season of '50-'51 was a dry year, 
when only about four inches of rain fell. In that year Mr. Beard 
raised a crop of vegetables on what is now the Haley place; these 
are some of the prices he received: potatoes, 12 and 15 cents per 
lb., cabbages (some of which weighed 50 lbs.) and onions (weigh- 
ing three or four pounds.) 15 and 20 cents per lb. Mr. Beard told 
the present owner of this place that in that year he made $80,000 
from fifty acres — which sounds like a California story, but it is 
true. The next year everybody raised potatoes (there were forty 
inches of rain), thousands of tons rotted on the ground and there 
were many bankrupts. 

Throughout the valley remains of iron fencing may still be 
seen, made of panels about eight feet long; used in England for 
park fencing. An English ship loaded with it reached San Fran- 
cisco, leaking badly, her cargo was sold at auction and bought by 
Mr. Horner for a song. During the Civil War when it was impos- 
sible to obtain iron most of this fence was used by the blacksmiths 
and sold for a large price. 

The pioneers who survive, and they are not many, have seen 
great changes. Mr. C. S. Haley has, perhaps, the unusual dis- 
tinction in California of having lived on one place for fifty years. 
Early writers on California speak of the extravagance of the Span- 
ish Californians. Whatever the Yankee trader offered for sale 
they bought, and, when pay-day came, settled the account with 
a piece of land. When Don Alviso sold the last of his possessions 
and went to end his days with his son in Livermore, there were 
but seventy acres left of his once magnificent property of nearly 
eleven thousand acres, extending from Newark to Alvarado and 
bounded by the hills and the bay. 

Rosedale Silver Maples 




Eligibility to membership in this society demanded settlement 
in the State of California prior to March 26, 1853, and a residence 
in the township at the time of organization. Sons of pioneers 
twenty-one years of age were also eligible. (Deceased marked *) 

*Caleb Scott 

*David Coleman Bane 

*Rufus Denmark 

*George Massy Walters 

*Chas. Kelsey 

*Wm. Ale.s:ander More 

Thos. W. Millard 
*Daniel Haller 

John J. Riser 

John Miers Horner 
*George Forbes 
*John McBurnie 

* George Simpson 
*Farley Benjamin Granger 
*John Buchanan 

Chas. Albert Plummer 
*Samuel Ingersol Marston 
*Jared Tuttle Walker 

* Augustus M. Church 
*Wm. Yeats Horner 
*Abijab Baker 

Frank Joseph Manham 

F. N. Hilton 
*John Lvman Beard 
*Leonard Stone 
*James Stokes 
*Wm. Powell Abbey 
*Ebenezer Haley 

James Levman Hollis 

John C. Whipple 

E. Powell 

David S. Smalley 

A. B. Montross 

* Barclay D. Tulley Clough 
*Wm. Ryan 

John E. Perry 
*Wm. Morrison 

Michael Rogan 

John Ryan 

Antone J. Garcia 

Max Seigrist 
*Osman Slayton 
*Simeon Stivers 

* Addison M. Crane 
Sebastian Franz 

*Wm. Hayes 
Wm. Wallace 
Valentine Alviso 

*George W. Bond 
James Allen Trefry 

* Emery Munyan 
*Edwood Ross 

Wm. Barry 

* Luther Edward Osgood 
Nathaniel Lockling Babb 

*Henry G. Ellsworth 
Howard Overacker 
Frank Rose Constant 

*Michael Overacker 

*Wm. Morris Liston 
Wm. Henry Cockefair 

* George Emerson 
Lewis Cass Smith 

* Edward Neihaus 
James Hawley 

*E]ias Lyman Beard 
*John Hall 
*August May 

Ozias Buddington Simpsoi; 

C. C. Chase 

Wm. Andrew Yates 

Robt. Gannin Abbey 

* Liberty Perham 
Frank'R. Stokes 

*Mahlon Beach Sturgis 
*Ivan James Tifoche 

* Henry Smith 
Augustus Moore 
Timm Hauschildt 
Joseph M. Harley 

* Peter J. Campbell 

* Hiram Davis 
*Geo. W. Peacock 
*Calvin J. Stevens 

Frank Rowane 

Daniel Moody Sanborn 

Frank C. Jarvis 

Louis Cammerin 

M. W. Dixon 
*Chris Jessen 

Manuel Lewis Vierra 

Manuel Fereira 
*George M. Smith 
♦Andrew Beck 

Wm. Buchanan 




To be a member of this club it was necessary that a man should 
be a resident of one of the townships prior to January 1, 1853. 
The last general meeting was held March 13, 1S93. 

The list of members follows: 

William Barry, secretary 

John Buchanan 

Geo. Forbes 

F. B. Granger, Sr. 

August May 

Augustus Moore 

E. Neihaus 

H. Overacker, wSr. 

C. C. Scott 

Henry L. Smith 

Ivan James Tifoche 

George W. Bond, president 

Henry Dusterberry 

Sebastian Franz 

Wm. Hayes 

A. B. Montross 

E. Munyon 

L. E. Osgood 

W. T. Ralph 

D. S. Smallev 

W. B. Sturgis 

J. T. Walker 


Pioneers of Washington 
their names can be ascertai 

John M. Horner 
*Henrv C Smith 
*Earl Marshall 

James Hawlev 
*Wm. Tyson 
*Wm. Morrison 
♦Addison M. Crane 
'=Wm. M. Liston 
*C. J. Stevens 

J. J. Riser 

Stephen W. Millard 
*Chas. Kelsey 
*Caleb Cook Scott 

D. D. Hennion 
■^J. T. Walker 
*Rufus Denmark 
*James Beazell 
*Origen Mowrv 
*W. W. Brier " 

Chas. Valpey 

E. Dyer 
Socrates Huflf 
John Huff 

*John L. Wilson 
*Garrett Norris 
*Wm. Ogden 
*Edwood Ross 
*Osman Sanborn 
*Ebenezer Halev, Sr. 
John M. English 

Township prior to 1S54, so far as 
ned. (Deceased marked *) 
*Redman Horner 
*E. L. Beard 
*Simeon Stivers 
*Wm. Sim 

Perry Morrison 
*Wm. Y. Horner 
*A. M. Church 

Richard Threlfall 
* Henry Ellsworth 
* Kempster (teacherl 

Thos. W. Millard 

James A. Trefrv 
*Geo. W. Bond ' 
*Joseph Nichols 
*S. M. Marston 

N. L. Babb 

W. H. Cockefair 
*Timothy Rix 
*E. Neihaus 
*Wm. Threlfall 
*Geo. W. Pattersoi' 

Ed. Huff 
*Wm. Hayes 
*Robt. Blacow 
*C. C. Breyfogle 
*Joseph Ralph 

D. M. Sanborn 

Ghas. Sanborn 
*Chas. Hadsell 
*Don J.J. Vallejo 



*John R. Sim 
*Joseph F. Black 
*Dr. B. F. Bucknall 

* Hiram Eggers 
*John Blacon 
*Joshua Wauhab 
*L. E. Osgood 

C. S. Haley 
*Joseph Newsom 
*Johnston Horner 

Jacob Morgan 
*Isaac Horner 
*Chas. Hilton 
*Abiiab Baker 

* James Seal 
*Stephen Larkins 
*W. W. Moore 

Silas Baker 
*Fred Lucas 
*Dr. Bacon 

Dr. McKinstrv 

F. P. Dann 

Dr. Murdock 

* ChamV)erlain 

*J. W. Musser 

* Joseph Mayhew 
*Calvin Valpev, Sr. 

H. C. Valpey 
*John Bergman 

Benjamin Marston 

Geo. Marston 
*F. W. Redding 

Comfort Y. Haley 

*Hiram Davis 

Wm. Barry 
*Wm. Poinsett 
*James Emerson 
*Stacy Horner 

Howard Overacker, Sr, 
* Emery Munyan 
*Wm. Wales 
*Thos. Newsom 

Otho Morgan 
* Johnston (teacher) 

Geo. A. Lloyd 
James Torrey 
*Reuben Clemens 

Joseph H. Cann 
*Hon. J. M. Moore 
*Robt. Hilton 

Francisco Cataldo Pepe 
*James Johnston 
*Dr. Goucher 

Augustin Alviso 

Dr. J. M. Sel fridge 

A. W. Harris 
*R. McClure 
* Jonathan Mayhew 

Allen H. Mayhew 

Calvin Valpey, Jr. 


* Laumeister 

Chas. Marston 
*Henry Marston 
*Edwin Haley 

W. W. Halev 

E. H. Haley. Jr. 





C. M. Abbott 

Francisco Arricocu 

David Ash 

J. M. Amador 

E. S. Allen 

Augustine Alviso 2182 

J. A. Amador 

Wm. Ackerman 

E. L. Beard 600 


Jesse Beard 200 

Jane L. W. Beard 300 

J. Brown 


and Real Estate 

Total Value. 

















Total Value. 

J. Blacow 

Wm. Baker 

J. Bagley 

J. B. BoUo 

Mulbino Bider 

G. W. Bond 

Richard Binson 






Beard 8c Hawthorne 

J. F. Black 

Martha E Bucknell 



W. W. Brier 

Broder & Edmonson 

A. H. Broder 

Broder & Smith 







C. C. Bray 

I. Coombs 

J. G Chipman 

Wm. H. Coombs 

N. W. Coles 

P. J. Campbell 

Z Chenev 




J. Chenev . 

D. I. Cheney 

P Columbet 


275 . 00 

H N Cowell 


J. W. Carrick 

C'ark Crane & Co 


A. M. Church 

T. M. Coombs 

Edw. Chauncey 


R. Clements 

Cleniente Columbct 

R. Denmark 

G. Denmark 

R. B. Donovan 

A. Day 

J W Doughertv 


400 . 00 
600 . 00 

G. Dennis 

R. Dairs 

D. S. Donaldson 

H Davis 



R. S. Dorr 

F. Duff 

F. Higuera 

G. Higuera 

J. Edmonds 

T. Higuera 

J Everetta 








/ 600.00 

|1 2,400.00 

Eckler & Sheperd 


Name. Acres. Total Value. 

A. Higuera 2,925.00 

P. Edsall 200.00 

P. E. Edmonson 500.00 

P. Fav 75.00 

E. Flint 870.00 

U. Felix 610.00 

Forbes & Co 4,850.00 

J. Foxall 200.00 

C. Folwell 240.00 

J. Ferris 300.00 

A. Forbes 450.00 

J. Grammer 250.00 

N. Galindo 650.00 

C. C. Gage 50.00 

H. Gaskins 123 5,790.00 

vS. Griffin 400.00 

T. Gragg 1,600.00 

W. R. Graham 100.00 

F. B. Granger 200.00 

A. Gildersleeve 100.00 

E. W. Goucher 650.00 

J. Hartram & C. Starter 1,175.00 

D. D. Henion 1,590.00 

J. Hawlev & Co 200 7,180.00 

A. W. Harris 2,100.00 

A W & E. Harris 160 3,640.00 

H. Hams 100.00 

C. Hilton 70.00 

Hilton & Beazell 725. 00 

Wm. H. Hawthorn 650.00 

Chas. Hadsell 965.00 

S. Hance 800.00 

H. Hissa 200.00 

I. Harrison 200.00 

Wm. Hopkins 100 3,645.00 

I. B. Horner 100 3,887.00 

G. W. Hopkins 1,000.00 

I. G. Hansen 805.00 

Howard & Chaml)erlain 14,600.00 

H. Hojan 100.00 

Wm. Incell 80.00 

J. Ingram 275.00 

C. Ira 400.00 

J M. Horner & Wm. Y. Horner 3319 125,075.00 

T. M. & Wm. Y. Horner 30,700.00 

I. L. James & Co 957.00 

Wm. Jones 1,500.00 

F. Johnson 300.00 

C. Johnson 100.00 

H. Kelsev 1,420.00 

I. B. King & D. Ecles 175.00 

Kreis & French 609. 00 

E. J. Knowles 1.300.00 


Name. Acres. Total Value. 

L. N. Kerr 325.00 

D. Lewis 1,550.00 

H. A. & J. G. Lynch 400.00 

D. B. Lynch 400.00 

J. Leweiling n5.00 

J. Lamson 790 . 00 

G. Leland 1,500.00 

H. S. & E. S. Long 2,700.00 

A. J. Se well 1,225.00 

G. A. Loyd 4,225.00 

E Marshal: 6,150.00 

S. Maxwell 983 . 00 

J. Mesquita 500.00 

S. W. & T. W. Millard 120.00 

A. & E. McWilhams 400.00 

S. Murphy 807.00 

Wm. Meyers 100 . 00 

J. A. Mayhew 9,495. 00 

L. J.. I. S. & Benj. Marston 2,775.00 

L S. Marston 2,780 . 00 

J. McCrea 250.00 

F. Michael 225.00 

G. Moore 1,100.00 

E. & A. C. Morton 1,175.00 

S. Murdoch 200.00 

J. R. Mason 1,400.00 

J. Marshall 175.00 

B. Mowry 3,780 . 00 

J. M. & S. Moore 3,300.00 

J. Morgan 700.00 

M. E. & A. Marshall 600 . 00 

J. C. Nail 4,030.00 

J. Newsom 1,200.00 

E. Neihaus & Gates 2,390.00 

J. Nichols 984.00 

C. Noler 400.00 

J. B. Nash 550.00 

H. Norton 250.00 

L. Newman 300 . 00 

J. H. Overstrand 450.00 

T. E. Patterson 1,000.00 

T. Presidio 50 . 00 

J Parsons 450 . 00 

A. Phillips 2,680.00 

G. W. Patterson 3,000.00 

Francesco Cataldo Pepe 570.00 

T. Pacheco 100 S,400 00 

Wm. Pointsett 400.00 

J. D. Parker 700.00 

R. A. Potter 420 . 00 

M. Powell 100.00 

Pico, Beard & Horner 335 223,705.00 

J. J. Riser 1,875.00 


Name. Acres. Total Value. 

L. Ride 100.00 

A. W. Richardson 100 2,200.00 

I. Remmick 1,500.00 

S. A. Rise 625.00 

J. Ralph 100 8,565.00 

C. Rowe 600.00 

Remev & Dubois 1,000.00 

F. Rocco 3,400.00 

T. Rix 3,575.00 

J. B. Sweetzer 5,802.00 

T. H. Scribner 1,765.00 

Wm. Sisson 1,700.00 

E. Sisson 1,510.00 

C. C. Scott 3,400.00 

Scott & Larkin 1,000.00 

S. Stivers 750.00 

J. F. Storer 400.00 

M. Sigrist 500.00 

C. J. Stevens 3,100.00 

C. Swensey 880.00 

N. Slusser 275.00 

C. A. Sigmond 40.00 

H. Southworth 429.00 

J. M. Selfridge 1,195.00 

J. Sanders 750.00 

A. Siloner 675.00 

S. Stearn 100.00 

H. C. Sill 100.00 

H. C. Smith 100 500.00 

H. C. Smith 160 4,600.00 

S. C. Smith 200 20,450.00 

Tvson & Morrison 150 11,860.00 

J.'S. Terrvl 625.00 

J. Threlfall & J. Bamber 2,020.00 

M. A. Torrv 375.00 

R. & J. Threlfall 1,815.00 

E. S. Tabbitt, Smith & Griffiths 1,000.00 

J. Travis 1,565.00 

J. A. Trefrv 450.00 

J. Thompson 100.00 

M. Tompkins 137 4,410.00 

Wm. C. Jones 1775 16,425.00 

C. Valpev 1.020.00 

H. A. Vanhquin 500. 00 

H. M. Vesev 600.00 

J. J. Vallejo 17724 242,020.00 

R. Wolcott 75.00 

M. W. Wheeler 1,374.00 

J. R. Wilson 336.00 

J. Wauhab 750.00 

H. Webster 380.00 

H. Watson 100 4.424 . 00 

B. WilHams 150.00 


Name. Acres. Total Value. 

John L. Wilson S,45(). 00 

C. W. Wandell 110.00 

L.D.Warren 500.00 

F. J. Whalev 1,750.00 

M. Watts .: 200.00 

S. L. Wilson 4,275.00 

Unknown owners 100 5,700. 00 

Total acreage 41286 $1,843,015.00 

(The above table shows that the assessments of seven firms 
and individuals covered about three-fourths of the property of 
the township.) 


Mr. a. M. Crane, Co. Judge 
Mr. S. H. Robinson, 
Mr. a. Marshall, 

For the year 1903: Total acreage assessed, 10S.316; total 
valuation, $6,612,424. 

Thanks are due for the above data to Mr. Myron Whidden, 
Deputy County Auditor, Hon. John G Mattos. Jr., and Mr. Ar- 
thur Biddle. 


No. of Fruit Trees 

Apple 8,153 

Apricot 48,908 

Cherry 20,776 

Fig...' 175 

Pear 11,760 

Peach 24,471 

Prune 88,703 

Plum 5,052 

Quince 225 

Lemon 468 

Orange 667 

Olive 1 ,803 

Almond 45,445 

Chestnut 94 

Walnut 3,251 

Total trees 259,971 

No. of acres in fruit trees 2,600 

No. of acres in grapes 2,29rf 

No. of acres in berries and small fruits 87 

Total acres in fruit 4,986 


Hav and Grain. No. of Acres. 

Hav ' 7,262 

Wheat 312 

Barlev 13,860 

Corn ' 423 

Oats 141 

Total 21,998 

Vegetables. Acres. 

Sugar Beets. . ". 3,853 

Potatoes 1,262 

Tomatoes 481 

Other Vegetables 901 

Rhubarb 82 

Total 6,579 

Total number of acres in fruit 4.986 

Total number of acres in hay and grain 21,998 

Total number of acres in vegetables. . . 6,579 

Total number of acres marsh and pasture 74,653 

Total number of acres of land in Township, 108,216 1 1-100 

Value of stock, horses, cattle, etc., $106,606. 

Total valuation of all property, real and personal. $6,612,494 

FIRST SCHOOL cKNsus. (Verbatim copy.) 
Report of the Common School Marshal to the County Super- 
intendent of Santa Clara County, for the school year ending Octo- 
ber 31. A. D.. 1852: 

District of Sax Jose Mission. 
Names of Parents and Names of Children, bet. 

Guardians. 4 and 18 years of age. 

E. L. Beard and Jane Beard Henry G. Ellsworth 

John Beard. 

Chanev Cornell and Charlotte Cornell .. .Robert Cornell. 

Wm. Cornell. 
A. Fisk Cornell. 

James Hawley and Hetty Hawley Charlotte Hawley. 

Emma Hawley. 

Jose Jesus Vallejo and Soebad Vallejo . .Maria Vallejo 

Encarnacion Vallejo. 
General Vallejo. 
Guadalupe Vallejo. 

Thomas Wright and Lucy Wright Amanda E. Ray. 

James T. Ray. 


H. C. Smith and Mary A. wSmith Julia Ann Smith. 

Jerome Van Gorden. 
George Van Gorden. 

Isaac Goodwin Lewis Goodwin. 

Edwin A. Goodwin. 
Nancy E. Goodwin. 
Lucinda A. Goodwin. 

Flugencio Higera and Juha Higera Leandro Higera. 

Saho Higera. 

Wm. Bell and Elizabeth Bell E. James Hoyt. 

Juan Ireas Theadore Carrovna. 

Jose Carrovna. 

Sabata Carrovna. 

Juan J. Bornel and Yulupa Riesgo Maria Riesgo. 

Jesus Riesgo. 

Augustine Ruis Jose Doleres. 

P. I. Camble and Crista Gamble John T. Camble. 

Nancy Jane Camble. 

Jtiana Misquite Jose Palis. 

Frankeline Falls. 
Alvena Higera. 
Lotala Higera. 

Marea Gaisea and Jose Romero Gavalo Tromaro. 

Manwel Romero. 

T. W. Gaskins James Forbs. 

Caleb C. Scott and Mary Scott Amelia Ann Scott. 

Joseph Nicols and Jerusha S. Nicols Enos Nicols. 

Martin Nicols. 

Horace Skinner and *Lora Skinner Horace Skinner. 

Joseph Skinner. 

Clement Beateie and Hanah Beateie .. . .Wm. H. A. Beateie. 

Spenser Beateie. 
Jane Beateie. 

John M. Horner Wm. Horner. 

♦Possibly Leva. 

As will be seen by the date, the above report was made before 
Alameda County or Washington Township was organized. 



The total amount of money expended for school purposes, the 

first year after the organization of the County, in 1854, was $4,765. 

It is impossible to ascertain what part of this amount was expended 

in this township. 

The total amount of moneys apportioned to the several school 

districts in the township, in 1908, was: 

Alvarado $3,16S . 00 

Alviso 2,000.20 

Centreville 4,632 . 60 

Decoto 4,317.25 

Lincoln 702 . 55 

Mission 2,963.95 

Mowry's 814.05 

Newark 3,017.85 

Niles 3,790.30 

Rosedale 759.20 

Stonv Brook 676 . 05 

Sheridan 702.51 

Warm Springs 2,298.00 

Washington (Irvington) 3,223.60 

Union High School, No. 2 (Centreville): 

Countv Fund (approximatelv) . 5,000.00 
State Fund (approximately)'.. . 1,248.68 

Total S^39,714.79 


Thanks are due Mr. Wm. Barry for statistics in the following 
tables : 

Mean temperature for 18 years, 1886-1903 inclusive, 64°. 9. 

Lowest annual mean for 18 years was in 1902, 60°. 3. 

Lowest monthly mean for 18 years was in January, 1888, 47°. 0. 

Lowest daily temperature for 18 years was in January 14, 1888, 
26°. 0. 

Highest monthly mean for 18 years was in June, 1891, 85°. 5. 

1898, highest monthly mean, consecutivelv, June, 81°; Julv, 
82°. 5; August, 80°. 

Highest temperature in 18 years was May 28, 1887, 112°. 0. 

Mean temperature for 16 years prior to 1902, 67°. 2. 

Average rainfall for 15 seasons, 20.306 inches. 

Snow fell in the township for 5 hours, 5 minutes, on February 
5, 1887. 

The thermometer fell 18° in 30 minutes on May 7, 1893; W. 
wind, 3 p. m. 

There were 18 earthquake shocks, 1886 to 1897 inclusive. 

There was a killing frost on May 11. 1887. 

Senorita Griiadalnpe do .Te^siis Vallejo. 

Senorita Guadalupe de Jesus Vallejo, who was born in the 
Mission of San Jose in 1S44, died in San Francisco Augusts, 1904 
after a brief illness. 

She was the fourth child of Don Jose de Jesus Vallejo and 
Dona Soledad Sanchez y de Ortego. It was a matter of much 
pride with her, that she had been a subject of Spain, of Mexico 
and of the United States. 

Don Jose de Vallejo was the son of Ignacio Vallejo, and his wife 
was the granddaughter of Gov. Don Gasper de Portsla; both of 
these families were among the very first Spanish settlers to enter 
California, at the invitation and direction of the Spanish King, and 
both have the proud distinction of having their names inscribed, 
for many generations, in the old Spanish archives. 

Don Jose Vallejo was appointed administrator of the Mission of 
San Jose in 1836; here he brought his young wife that same year, 
and here all of his children were born, and grew to manhood and 
womanhood. Their home was a center of refinement, of culture 
and hospitality, for over forty years in the Mission town. 

Miss Vallejo, never married, and removed to San Francisco in 
the early 90's where she became a teacher of languages, a writer 
of prose and verse, a literary critique, and a translator of no 
mean ability. 

After her death the following pathetic verses were found wrap- 
ped around the key to their old home in the Mission of San Jose. 

What heart aches were silently endured by this gentle woman 
as she saw her loved ones scattered, the home of her childhood 
given over to strangers and herself a sojourner. 

The Key To My Old Home. 

Whence came it here, this quaint old fashioned key? 
But Oh 1 How dear and precious a thing to me. 
I would not change it into purest gold, 
Nor would I shape it in the latest mold. 

And the door you belong to, is it open or shut? 
How did you leave it, or have you forgot? 
So long ago since you abandoned your post; 
Were you displeased with and left vour next host ? 

Perhaps, sorry to see me wander and roam, 
You invite me to rest in my childhood's home. 
Or, have you chosen to dwell where 're I'll be? 
Then you and I shall ne'er part company. 

Your duty now, is to guard with great care, 
The thousand fond memories I hold as so fair. 
'Twill be a duty of pleasure and rest, 
And I trust you with it, as a friend I love best. 

Guadalupe Vallejo. 

I or more explicit information address 
Secretary Oakland Board of Trade, 
Oakland, Cal. 

from the press of the 

"Washington Press" 

niles, california.