Up till the year 1814, the Santa Clara valley had been free from the presence of the Anglo Saxon. The Spanish
denizens had been left in undisputed possession of their pueblo, and the Mission Fathers of their vast tracts of
land. California was then almost an undiscovered country, the delights of its wonderful climate were unknown, save
to those stray voyagers, like Drake, Irancouver, and others, the healthful influences of its mountains and valleys,
its springs and rivulets were unappreciated by the sons of the soil, nor was the fruitfulness of the earth made
known to any but the few agriculturists who cultivated the cereals in a disconnected fashion. The only communication
with the outside world was by those vessels concerned in the whaling trade, and others which came to the coast
for hides, tallow, and different commodities then commencing to be produced at the Missions; in one of these arrived
John Cameron alias Gilroy in 1814, and two years later Robert Livermore. The last mentioned gentleman, who was
an Englishman by birth, deserted from a whaling vessel in Santa Cruz in the year 1816, and thence finding his way
into this valley became the first foreigner who dwelt in the Pueblo de San Jose, where remaining but four years,
he moved to another part of the country, and finally, in connection with Jose Noriega, got possession of the Las
Pashas Rancho, of two square leagues in Alameda county; and, in his own name, of the Canada de los Vaqueros, Contra
Costa county, both now forming a portion of what is generally known as the Livermore;valley. Mr. Livermore married
into the Higuera family, amassed an ample fortune, and died in the year 1857. Next in point of seniority we have
the intelligent and refined Antonio M. Sunol, a native of Barcelona, Spain, who, arriving at Monterey in 1818,
afterwards found his way to the pueblo. This accomplished gentleman died in San Jose March 18, 1865, at the age
of sixty nine, leaving a vast estate to be divided among his heirs. We find in the year 1828 there was a resident
named William Willis in San Jose, for it is on record that the Britisher had had some difficulty with the Mexican
authorities in regard to a certain tract of land called the Laguna de los Bolbones, but what became of this individual
we do not know.
We should here observe that in the year 1821 Mexico passed from under the Spanish crown, and in 1822 was constituted
an Empire under Iturbide. who was forced to abdicate in the year following; in 1824 the Republic of Mexico formed
a federal constitution, wherein the establishment of different courts was authorized, and on August 18th the Mexican
Congress passed a decree for the colonization of the territories, which was newly defined and regulated November
21, 1828, and though these changes were of much political significance, they were not of sufficient moment to affect
the resdents of this locality.
In the year 1831 the population of the pueblo numbered five hundred sou while the crops amounted to six hundred
and fifty seven fanegas of wheat; el thousand five hundred and sixty fanegas of corn; one hundred and ninety one
fanegas of beans, and the stock, the property of the inhabitants, totaled six thousand nine hundred and sixty three
In the year 1833 there came to the Pueblo de San Jose, Harry Bee, native of London, England. He left the shores
of Old Albion January 7, 1830, in company with Doctor Douglas, a botanist, and arrived at Monterey in the following
October. Here he remained until the Fall of 1833 when he drove the family of William Watts, who had married a Spanish
lady, to this town, and first resided in the house of Juan Alvirez, which stood on the site now occupied by the
handsome building of the Farmers Union, at the corner of Santa Clara and San Pedro streets.
Harry Bee is still a resident of this city, and from him we have derived the following information: Of the foreigners
who were residents of the pueblo when he arrived, there were Captain John Burton, an American merchant, who had
a store that stood somewhere near the south west corner of the Plaza. He arrived about 1830, in the following year
he married a lady named Ramona, and on her death espoused Senorita Juana Galindo: Nicholas Dodera, an' Italian,
at this time had a store where the Mariposa store of the Auzerais Brothers on Market street now stands, while he
also fanned and raised cattle on the Rancho Pala, on the hills east of the city. Dodera married the Senorita Chapi
Higuera, who is still a resident of Santa Cruz:. John Price, an American, had a store that stood next door to Dodera's,
where he sold liquors and groceries. This man was killed in the year 1836 when on his way to the Mission San Jose
to join a company then being formed for service in the rebellion. He carried his rifle slung over his back, and
being thrown from his horse broke his neck: William Smith, alias Bill the Sawyer, though working at his trade in
the Pulgas redwoods, had a residence here. He married the Senorita Chapi Saiz, and afterwards removed to the north
of the bay: George Fergusson, now a resident of Mayfield, a cooper by trade, came to this country in the whaling
Fanny," in company with James Weekes, and after drifting about for sometime came to San Jose with his comrade
and erected the first flour mill in the Santa Clara valley; to this he added a bakery and dwelling house, and after
conducting it some time, disposed of it to Don Antonio Sunol. A portion of the original residence still stands
on the east side of the Plaza, north of San Antonio street. Thomas Pepper, alias Pimiento, was then also a resident,
as was also an Irishman named William Welch; who built an adobe house, which not long ago was standing on the ground
now occupied by the Pioneer Foundry. Another resident was "Blind Tom," an English sailor. He was for
some time a soldier at the presidio in San Francisco, where he lost his eyesight from the discharge of a cannon,
when he was brought to the pueblo and taken care of until his death. It is said of him that though blind he was
an excellent workman with the needle. Charles Brown, of San Francisco, dwelt here at this time, as did also an
old Irish dragoon, who had deserted from the British service, but whose name cannot now be recalled. William Gulnac
also came here in this year with the Hijas expedition, a band of colonists from Mexico. He was a native of Hudson
City, New York, and settled in Lower California in 1819. He served as mayordomo at the Mission San Jose for a long
time, ultimately dying in the valley July 12, 1851, leaving several children.
The town at this date was built in the form of a parallelogram, its front resting nearly on the present line of
San Pedro street; its back about the course of First street; to the north it extended as far as the lot on which
the Court House now stands, and to the south as far as the Eagle Brewery. And thus did it remain for a full decade.
Perhaps the first regular emigrant trains to leave the western side of the Rocky Mountains were those which set
out on their arduous journey in the year 1841 - just forty years ago. Among those who were intimately connected
with this city and arrived in this year were Josiah Belden, Charles M. Weber, of Stockton, and Grove C. Cook. Each
of these pioneers have risen to distinction. Mr. Belden was one of the City Fathers before San Jose had received
the dignity of incorporation; he was the first Mayor of the city after it received its charter; while, after a
long experience in every phase of life, he is now a millionaire, surrounded with every luxury and comfort that
money can bring. Of Captain Weber we have already spoken in our history of the military operations consequent on
the misunderstandings between the Governments of Mexico and the United States. He remained in business in San Jose
until 1849, when, having already acquired large interests in the San Joaquin valley, he disposed of his property
in this city in the following remarkable manner: he deeded his store and San Jose property to Frank Lightston on
his wedding day as a mark of his appreciation of long years of faithful service, and his affection for the young
bride whom he had known from childhood. Grove C. Cook, though without education was possessed of more than the
usual amount of mother wit; his good nature, however, was his ruin, for after amassing wealth he died poor in Santa
Clara in the year 1852.
In an old account filed in the City Hall at this date we find the following information, which will give the reader
an idea of the price of common articles of that time, and in what manner these were paid for: One Dutch oven, five
dollars; two butcher knives, two dollars; one ax, three dollars; four pair hinges, three dollars; two and one half
pounds broken sugar, twelve dollars; one piece ticking, twenty dollars; ten varas prints, seven dollars; two hundred
and fifty needles, two dollars; one pound of nails, eight dollars, etc., etc. These articles were all procured
from the trading vessels which visited the ports of Yerba Buena and Monterey. The credit side of the statement
shows such articles as a sea otter skin at fifty dollars; hides at two dollars each; wheat at two dollars per fanega;
and bags of tallow at one dollar per pound.
In the following years few additions were made to the strength of the pueblo. In the Spring of 1844, there arrived
Thomas Fallon, Julius Martin and family; Thomas J. Shadden and family; Mr. Bennett and family, while later in the
year the names of Dr. John Townsend, Moses Shallenberger, the Murphys, Sullivans, and others were made familiar.
In. 1845, Frank Lightston came from Oregon, and such other names were added as William F. Swasey, Judge Blackburn,
W. R. Bassham, John Daubenbiss; James Stokes and Jacob R. Snyder. The following curious account will also show
that there were two other residents: "Mr. John Brunall, To Thomas Jones, Dr. 1845, October 10th, - To repairing
chimney and digging well, for which I was to receive fifteen hides, and one bottle of liquor. - To interest on
the same at twelve per cent. per annum, $____. Cr., - By seven hides, and one bottle of liquor." We have changed
the orthography of this document to suit the times, and cannot help thinking that Mr. Jones may have been right
in standing out for his more easily carried liquor, and letting the more cumbrous hides go. It is impossible to
mention hereafter the names of the residents of the pueblo as they arrived, for the simple reason that we have
been unable to gather who did actually make what we now call the city their dwelling place. We have mentioned some
of the names in our chapter on the early settlement of the county; this is the best that can be done.
The troublous times of the year 1846 have been alluded to, let us for a moment briefly consider the manner in which
the government of the pueblo was carried on. It is believed, though the records do not show it, that prior to the
year 1839 California was divided into districts and partidos, each of the former being partitioned into three of
the latter. San Jose was the Second District: at any rate the territory was so parceled out by Governor Alvarado
February 26, 1845. In this year Antonio Maria Pico was First Alcalde of the pueblo, he being succeeded in 1846
by Dolores Pacheco as First Alcalde and Pedro Chabolla, Second Alcalde. In the month of August 1846, shortly after
the American occupation of the Territory, John Burton, was raised to the dignity of Alcade, and James Stokes, to
the office of Justice of the Peace. His duties were multifarious as well as onerous and being without much education,
it is wonderful how often he was right in his decisions. He continued in office for the greater part of 1847, and
to him were addressed the many petitions for land grants which followed the transfer of the Territory to the United
States. Among these applicants the records of the year 1846 disclose the names of Charles White, who asked for
a tract of land bounded as follows: Commencing at the north west by an Indian named Indigo (Ynigo); on the south
east by Allen Montgomery; on the west by the main road to Yerba Buena, or David Davis, Daniel Murphy, and John
Custard; and on the north east by Martin Jones and others: Alexander V. Brookie, William H. Russell, Thomas Jones,
George W. Fraser, John Martin (who applied for three thousand five hundred acres near the rancho of Widow Manuela
Alviso,) James Rock, (for lands in Santa Clara township,) C. P. O. Briggs, (for six hundred and forty acres adjoining
the land of an Indian named Roberts,) J. Stoddart Byers, Midshipman, U. S. N., E. Montgomery, Captain's Clerk,
U. S. N., Alonzo Williams, Thomas G. Bowen, Samuel P. Griffin, G. C. Cook, Eugene Russell.
In the latter part of 1846 Burton did not wish to trust too implicitly to his own unaided judgment, therefore he
issued the following proclamation:
WHEREAS, it is deemed essential to the interests of this pueblo, that a committee of twelve men be chosen from
the inhabitants of the pueblo in respect to the building of bridges, regulating Acequia, and providing for and
regulating the prisoners, who may from time to time be held for misdemeanors, therefore,
Resolved, That twelve men be elected to govern the pueblo and after they shall have been elected all their actions
when in session shall he legal, when a majority shall have agreed upon it and sanctioned by the Magistrate or otherwise
when two thirds of the number shall be present, and all in favor of any matter that may be brought before them.
It is well known to you all that the country is in a distressed situation for want of horses: many of the farmers
have been unable to mark or brand their cattle (during, the last year which on one account requires the attention
of the committee: also many are owing debts to the shipping and for want of horses and other means shall not be
able to pay all at one time, consequently ought to he laid before the government for its consideration.
Resolved, That the following persons shall be constituted a committee for the better regulation of the pueblo,
to wit: Don Antonio Sunol, Jose Noriega, Feliz Buelna, Jose Fernandez, Dolores Pacheco, Salvador Castro, William
Fisher, Isaac Branham, Captain Hanks, Charles White, J. W. Weckes, G. C. Cook, whose names were put before the
assembly and unanimously adopted and empowered to manage all things that might be beneficial to the interests of
the pueblo at large.
The first duty of these newly created officers was the framing of a set Regulations for the better government of
the Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe. The Articles are handed down to us in the following order:-
I. Be it ordained by this Council that it is requisite that the Pueblo St. Joseph be laid off into lots, blocks,
squares and streets.
II. Be it ordained that the main streets of this Pueblo be eighty feet wi and all the cross streets sixty feet
III. Be it ordained that there shall be two squares in this Pueblo, first Market square, and second, the Public
IV. Be it ordained that the blocks shall contain one hundred yards square:, and that the lots shall contain each
fifty yards in front and fifty yards in depth unless that they are fractional.
V. Be it ordained that the price of those lots shall be, each lot of fifty yards square, twelve dollars and fifty
VI. Be it ordained that one person may obtain four lots, or one block, and no more.
VII. Be it ordained that those lots purchased by each individual shall be fenced, or a house erected thereon, on
or before the expiration of twelve months from the date of purchase, otherwise to fall hack to the Pueblo to the
loss of the purchaser.
VIII. Be it further ordained that no house or edifice shall hereafter be erected with a cover of straw, grass,
or flags, and all houses covered with said materials shall not be repaired after this date with the aforesaid materials.
We further ordain that these shall be the laws of this Pueblo from this date until otherwise ordained. This code
which hears no date save that of 1847 is signed by,' William Fisher, Chairman, James W. Weekes, Charles White,
Antonio Sunol, Julian Hanks, Saber M. Castro, Isaac Branham, Jose Fernandez, Jose Noriega.
Among the other cares of the Alcalde was that of keeping off the Indians from the pueblo, as the accompanying communication,
addressed to Captain J. B. Hull, commanding the Northern District of California, dated February 4, 1847, by John
Burton, shows: "I wish to inform you that now, as the forces are about to be removed from this place (presumably
Lieutenant Pinckney and his men), the Indians are commencing their depredations in the vicinity of this pueblo;
numbers of horses have already been taken away, and we know not how it will end, as they are all fully aware that
the Spanish population are all disarmed. I know of no way to save us from destruction, but by establishing a company
of mounted men to keep the Indians in subjection, as Your Honor is already aware that the Californians have no
means of defending themselves from their incursions. I should have mentioned that Mr. William Fisher is now trying
to raise a company to go in pursuit, in the meantime we look to our Government for protection." Captain Hull,
in due course, forwarded the letter of the Alcaide to General Kearny, who communicated the dispatch now produced
to Burton: "Monterey, April 3, 1847. - I am desirous of raising about thirty five Californians, to unite them
with as many of my troops, to send among the Indians to stop any further depredations by them. I have appointed
Felipe Butron Lieutenant to raise these Californians, and I intend when they come here to let them elect another
Lieutenant." The Alcalde was instructed to give every assistance to Lieutenant Butron in raising the number
of men required, who, should the United States troops, with whom they were banded, be required to engage against
any other enemy than the frontier Indians, were to have their discharge.
The population had now become considerable, it was, therefore, found necessary to lay out a town more in keeping
with modern requirements. To this end the accompanying contract, bearing date April 20, 1847, was entered into
between William Campbell and Alcalde Burton: "This Indenture made and entered into by and between William
Campbell of the one part, and the Pueblo of San Jose de Gaudalupe of the second part: WITNESSETH, that the said
party of the first part doth hereby contract and agree to survey according to the plot of the town given him -
seventy blocks of ground; two hundred yards in length and one hundred yards in breadth; each block to have good
and substantial redwood stakes drove. deep, and each block numbered regularly on said stakes, also stakes to be
drove at the corners of each lot, and to draw a plot of said town, and furnish the same to the Juzgado when finished,
for which he is to receive the sum of one dollar and fifty cents for his pay, for said work, for each block."
In the month of April there was established, by the Assistant Quartermaster General, J. L. Folsom, weekly mail
communication between San Francisco and Monterey, by way of San Jose. On June 29th, certain land, situated on the
Gaudalupe, formerly the property of Joseph B. Childs, was granted to Thomas J. Farnham, on which to construct a
mill; while disputes in regard to property had already commenced, for the Alcalde, under date August 24th, was
instructed not to interfere in these, but where they could not be amicably arranged, by arbitration or otherwise;
otherwise they should remain until the establishment of proper judicial tribunals under the United States Law.
On September 23d, the reign of old John Burton was brought to an end, and James W. Weekes appointed in his stead;
while on November 29th, an election was held for a Town Council, whose President was the Alcalde, with the following
result: Jose Noriega, forty six votes; J. F. Reed. thirty seven votes; John M. Murphy, thirty three votes; Thomas
Campbell, thirty one votes; Salvador Castro, twenty eight votes; Dolores Pacheco, twenty six votes. The manner
in which this election was conducted did not meet with unqualified approbation at head quarters, for Governor Mason,
under date November 5, 1847, writes in these terms to Alcalde Weekes: "The object and intention of an election
was to choose six persons to aid the Alcalde in the government of the town, and the town only; they were to make
such laws and regulations, etc., for the town, as might be deemed necessary to secure a good police, suppress vice
and afford a proper protection to persons and property within the limits of the town. Consequently, no person was
eligible to be elected a Town Councilman, unless he was an actual resident of the town, and no one was entitled
to vote for a Town Councilman, unless he also was an actual resident of the town. The second election was unauthorized,
as there could be but one election under the authority given; the first election must, therefore, stand good, but
should there be one or more persons elected, who are not actual and bona fide, residents of the town, they cannot
serve as Town Councilmen, and their places must be supplied by holding a new election. The Council, when complete,
will have the same power and be governed by the same rules and restrictions as are prescribed for the Town Council,
at San Francisco, which you will find in my letter to the Alcalde, dated July 15th, published in Californian and
Star of September 4th, and my letter to the Town Council, of San Francisco, of October 1st, and published in the
Star of October 9th. Independent of the second election held without the proper warrant, it is observed that several
of the judges of the election are returned as members elect; this is altogether unusual; no one can be both a candidate
and judge of the election at the same time."
At this period there were a few stores in the pueblo; one was kept by Charles M. Weber, with Frank Lightston as
his clerk, in the adobe building at the rear of the residence of the last named gentleman, while Don Antonio Sunol
and Peter Davidson, in like establishments, supplied the wants of the community, which was still small. On the
site of the Music Hall building on First street there stood a livery stable kept by a family named West, while
a man named Zachariah Jones had opened a hotel in the old adobe building on the east side of Market square, near
San Antonio street. This public house he called the "Half Moon." On the site of the present magnificent
building of the Commercial and Savings Bank Captain Weber had a corral for his horses, while the outlying plains,
between First street and the Coyote creek, were white with the bleached bones of the thousands of cattle that had
been slaughtered for their hides and tallow. The number of foreign residents, though still small, had materially
changed the appearance of the town. There were then living in the pueblo, John Burton, William Fisher, Julian Hanks,
William Gulnac, Pedro Sainsevain, Thomas Bowen, James W. Weekes, Harry Bee, James Stokes, Charles M. Weber, Frank
Lightston, John M Murphy, Peter Davidson, Grove C. Cook, Julius Martin, Charles White, and probably a dozen others
whose names are not remembered. The only English speaking women were Mrs. Julius Martin (now living with her husband
at Gilroy), Mrs. Grove Cook, and Mrs. Charles White, now Mrs. Charles Allen, and still a resident of San Jose.
The natives had progressed to some degree in usefulness. They managed to make shoes for themselves from home tanned
hides which they thus prepared: They were wont to take a large ox hide, gather up its corners, suspend it to the
branch of a tree, or beam raised on posts, fill it with water and oak bark, and therein place the skins to be tanned,
from which they turned out a by no means despicable looking article.
As an instance of the peculiarly lax manner in which the Alcaldes carried on their legal duties in the year 1847,
we reproduce the following vague summons to a defendant in a suit:-
"George W. Bellamy
Vicoriano, an Indian.
To the Constable of the Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, Greeting.
"You are commanded to summons the defendant in this to appear immediately, to answer to complaint of George
W. Belamy, and fail not, under penalty of law.
"Juzgado del Pueblo de San Jose. 13 de Sept., 1847.
"JOHN BURTON, Alcalde."
The document bears the indorsement, "Served by reading, this 17 day of Sept., 1847, by James W. Weekes, Constable.
Costs, $1;" while, as a criterion of the manner in which punishments were inflicted, we have gleaned the following
information from the docket of the Alcalde, for the same year: January 15th, Lorenzo Pinero, for not attending
Court, when summoned, was fined five dollars; January 14th, Guadalupe Mesa was called on to pay ten dollars for
selling "a beef which died;" January 16th, Ilasio Ruiz was mulcted in the sum of five dollars, "for
giving false testimony January 19th, Thomas Jones was fined, for "swearing insultingly," five dollars.
On the same date, the following mysterious entry is found: "By order of Court, John Wooden is fined, for taking
that property without leave, twenty dollars;" February 9th, Jose Noriega was imprisoned fur "abuse of
Court, and for swearing and stamping on the floor." These are merely examples; the principal causes tried,
however, would appear to have been for "selling," or "killing," cows and bullocks, the property
of others, a species of crime which was then considered in the light of a civil rather than a criminal offense.
1848. - The year 1848 is, beyond comparison, the most remarkable in the history of California. We have not, at
this place, space to give to the discovery of gold more than a passing notice. It is our intention, year by year,
to follow, in order, first, the occurrences as they may be found in the official records, and, secondly, the general
history as it bath been culled from newspapers and other sources. The first public record of the year was the appointment,
on the 9th February; of Charles White, as First Alealde by Governor Mason, while as a means of showing who were
at that time among the residents, the following jury was impaneled on the first day of the same month, in the case,
The Territory versus B. K. Thompson: William Campbell, Thomas Campbell, John Hopper, Wesley Hoover, Benjamin Williams,
James Rock, Joseph Black, Edward Pyle, Peter Hagerty, Benjamin Washburn, George Eldridge, J. M. Jones, David Williamson,
R. F. Peckham, William Gulnac, D. Dickey, John Cross, William York. At this period there were also resident, Elihu
Anthony, Hiram Miller, Robert B. Neligh. In the month of March, information would appear to have received by the
Alcalde that an attack on the prison at Monterey was contemplated by some lawless characters. This report Mr. White
communicated to Colonel Mason, who, under date the 9th March, replied in these terms: "I thank you for the
information contained in your letter of the 4th; though I do not apprehend the least danger of an attack on the
prison of Monterey. Such an attempt would afford me an excellent opportunity of making an example on the spot of
some of the lawless characters with which this country is infested, and I shall always have ready a halter for
the neck of any one who shall attempt in any way to subvert or overthrow the authority established in California
by the United States."
[Return to San Jose History part 1.]