History of Milpitas Township, California
From: History of Santa Clara County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co. Publishers
San Francisco, California, 1881


Geography. - This township is bounded on the north by Alameda county; on the west by Alviso township; on the south by San Jose township; and on the east by Stainslaus county.

Topography. - The chorography of Milipitas township is somewhat varied, the western portion being level valley land, and the eastern ranges of high hills between which lie fertile valleys.

Soil. - The valley lands spoken of above, as well as the small vales of Calaveras, San Antonio and Blackbird, are extremely fertile and are compose of rich loam capable of producing all cereals, fruits, tubers and vegetables some of the orchards being a sight to visit and remember.

Products. - The products of this township differ not in any respect from the others in the county. Fruits, grain, corn, tubers and vegetables are ail raised with prodigal profusion, and being on the line of the Central Pacific Railroad, can be easily transported to market.

Timber. - Beyond the oak trees which beautify the scene, and the willow copses that here and there are to be found in the smaller valleys, no timber: is to be found in the township, the peculiarity of the eastern range of mountains being, its lack of wood, save in the ravines and canons.

Climate. - The climate of Milpitas township is excellent - as it is everywhere in the Santa Clara valley - while in the Calaveras valley, its beam of position with its romantic surroundings and excellent sport, make it a spot offering great attractions to the invalid, and the sound in health.

Early Settlement. - Save the Mexican-Spaniards who owned the grants comprised in what is now this township, the oldest foreign resident we can trace is Michael Hughes, who came to Santa Clara county January 11, 1850, and two years thereafter settled in Milpitas, and erected the first frame building in the place. This gentleman was soon followed by Charles and Philander Clark; and on May 1, 1853, by Joseph R. Weller, who had arrived in the county in 1851. To this gentleman is the credit of building the second house in the township, which stood not far from his present residence in the town of Milpitas. He was also among the very first to commence farming operations, and fencing. In this year there also located in the township, Abraham Weller and Josiah Evans.

A short time prior to this period the Calaveras valley had been discovered and located by William Chipman and others, and by them sold to purchasers as needed. Among the earliest to arrive in this sequested glen was Dudley Wells, whither he came November 28, 1853, and where he has since resided. Mr. Wells informs us that at the time of his arrival he first located with his partner Sheriff N. R. Harris, on the land now rented by Fred Choas. Among the residents already settled he found Charles Crosner on the land now occupied by Samuel Sherman; William Chipman resided on the land now owned by Mr. Williams of San Jose; two men named Grote and Rix, dwelt on the place now occupied by John T. Sherman; two brothers, M. R. and Wilson Brown were on the ground where William Carson now is; William Daniels resided on the property now owned by Hiram Pomeroy; while in the old adobe which stands on the farm of Mr. Choas, there lived a Chilenian and some Indians.

In the year 1854, John T. Sherman, John S. Shuart, Jesse Shuart and Alexander Campbell arrived from the mines, and purchasing the claim of Grote and Rix, settled there. Shortly after Milton Lewis and J. W. Boulware, crossed over from Fremont township with their families, and took up their residence on the lands at present occupied by James Stone and a Dane named Nelson Rasmussen. Still further down the valley, in this year Joseph Connor located on the lands now possessed by George Gaudet, but which he left, and it became the property of Doctor Johnson and William Gaines; and about the same time, Jacob Hansen purchased and settled on the property now owned by Mr. Choas. In the year 1855, we cannot trace that the little community had any accession to their strength, but, in 1856, John Carrick, who had come to the county in 1851, purchased his present property from Joseph Stevens, and, leaving his residence in San Jose, took up his abode in the Calaveras valley, in 1857, about the end of the year.

In early times the grant was the property of the Higuera family, who had their residence in the adobe building mentioned above, and it is supposed they had engaged in a kind of partial cultivation, for, when the first settlers came to the valley, evidences were visible of a rude fencing of posts and rawhide, while a crop of volunteer barley was still growing, yet the most of the area was covered with a growth of tules with here and there a willow grove.

But few settlers located in the few following years. In 1857, Hiram Pomeroy cast his lot in the township; in 1858, there came John O'Toole; in 1859, A. French; and in 1860, Simon Matthews.

In the year 1855, the first school was organized, with Robert Hutchinson, J. R. Weller, and Thomas Whitten as Trustees, the district then including Alviso. This institution was opened by Julian Pomeroy, and was but a small building, erected in 1856, at a cost of some six hundred dollars, and occupied an area of twenty four by thirty feet. In 1868, the edifice was enlarged by an addition of thirty two by forty feet, and costing two thousand dollars, while since, it has been in a most prosperous condition. The present Trustees are: Messrs. Ayer, Topham, and J. R. Weller, who has held this office for the last quarter of a century. The school at present is composed of two departments, and has an average attendance of a hundred pupils.

MILPITAS. - The first building constructed in the town of Milpitas is now used as a portion of the store conducted by Mr. Clark, and was erected by F. Creighton, on the position it now occupies, in 1855-6. Here was opened, in 1856, the first postoffice, with Mr. Creighton as the postmaster, and J. R. Weller, Deputy. In the year 1857, W. Riddell constructed the first hotel, in a building belonging to John Gallagher. This hostelry was conducted by James Kinney, who was succeeded by A. French. In the year 1860, the structure was destroyed by fire, but was immediately rebuilt by Mr. French, who now is the proprietor.

Religious services were first held in the school house, up until the year 1865, and a few years after, the present neat Presbyterian Church, thirty by fifty feet, was erected, and subsequently surrounded by a neat and durable fence. This little house of worship is an ornament to the village, and speaks well for the orthodox instincts of the community.

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