The Valley of Heart's Delight
DE PHONZO GIBSON PAUL
An Industrious Business Man
HISTORY OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY 524
SURNAMES: GIBSON, CUSHMAN, GREEN, SMITH, TENNEY, LYTLE, FOSTER , BOOT,
Among the old settlers of Santa Clara County whose industry and
business judgment have aided in the community's progress, is De Phonzo
G. Paul, who resides at the old family homestead in San Jose,
established over thirty years ago. Born in Delavan, Wis., October 24,
1856, he is a son of Sylvanus S. and Sophia (Gibson) Paul. Sylvanus S.
Paul came to California in 1881, settling at Berryessa, where he
purchased land and planted to apricots and prunes. He was born near
Rochester, Monroe County, N. Y., March 4, 1828, the ancestor coming to
America in colonial days and members of the family served in the
The Paul family came from Scotland to the U. S. ; John Paul
Jones, the founder of the American Navy, was from the same family as
history tells how John Paul's name was changed to John Paul Jones after
he came from Scotland to Virginia. Sylvanus S. Paul was reared on a
farm, and educated in the public schools. When but nineteen years of
age he started in life for himself, and located in Walworth County,
Wis., upon land which his father had purchased and given to him. For a
number of years he followed the occupation of farming, and by industry
and good management succeeded in his undertaking. In 1853, while on a
visit to Ohio, he met and married Miss Sophia Gibson, the daughter of
Prof. John Gibson and Sarah (Cushman) Gibson, natives of Massachusetts.
Professor Gibson was a prominent musician and composer and Sophia
Gibson was a talented vocalist and a well-known lyric soprano, and with
her sister, George Baker and others, traveled, giving concerts
throughout the eastern cities. Having a pleasing personality and a
beautiful voice, she gave much pleasure to her audiences. Two sons were
born to her union with Mr. Paul, De Phonzo G. alone growing to
maturity. Mrs. Paul passed away April 4, 1860.
The second marriage of Mr. Paul occurred in 1862, uniting him
with Miss Elizabeth Green, a native of New York. In 1881, Mr. Paul
leased his Wisconsin farm and made a visit to California, and was so
well pleased with the country that upon his return to Wisconsin he sold
most of his interests and returned to the Santa Clara Valley and
purchased the home which is now the residence of his son, De Phonzo G.
Paul. He was a consistent member of the Baptist Church and fraternally
a Mason. In his political views, he was a strong Republican. He passed
away at the family home December 12, 1896, and Mrs. Paul died in 1914.
A sister of Sylvanus S. Paul, Charlotte Paul, became the wife of Henry
G. Smith and they had six children, the next to the youngest of these
is Frank Smith, known as "Borax Smith" of Oakland. Frank (Borax) Smith
and de Phonzo G. Paul have been warm friends since their boyhood.
De Phonzo G. Paul received his education in the public schools in
Delavan and Janesville, Wis., supplementing with a commercial course in
Fellows and Kings Commercial College in Janesville. He later, in 1878,
removed to Nevada and was employed in a general merchandise store.
While a resident of Marietta, Esmeralda County, Nev., he served as
postmaster and also as mining recorder and notary public; he was also
telegraph operator and express agent on the California and Nevada line
of railroad. He removed to San Jose in 1880, but only remained for a
year, removing to the Livermore Valley, he engaged in the grape
industry, owning the Banner Vineyard, named so because it was the
banner vineyard of the Livermore Valley. He sold out his holdings in
1891 and spent one year in San Jose. Removing to Fresno January, 1893,
he purchased land near Fowler, which he improved to orchard and
vineyard and was engaged in raising fruit and grapes owning two
ranches. He was one of the charter members of the first raisin growers'
association and continued to give his support to each successive
attempt, until the present successful California Raisin Growers'
Association. He finally sold his ranches and located in Fresno where he
engaged in general contracting for several years. In 1905 he built the
canal for the Consolidated Canal Company, connecting the two big
irrigation systems of the county. When he sold this business, he
purchased a ranch of 240 acres near Turlock, which he improved to
alfalfa and engaged in dairying. In 1914 Mr. Paul removed with his
family to the old home place in San Jose from Fresno and made this his
home. Lately he traded his Turlock ranch for an apartment house located
at Eighth and Grove streets, Oakland, which brings him a fine income;
he also owns a 325-acre ranch at El Nido near the San Joaquin River in
Merced County. Here he sunk wells and installed two pumping plants that
are sufficient to irrigate each one- quarter section on each place. Mr.
Paul in his land deals has held property which has become very
valuable. The 160-acres piece twelve miles south of Tulare Lake, some
years ago he sold for a few head of cattle; ten years later he was
through there and found the 160 acres worth $2500 an acre, oil having
been found on this property. There are eight wells about five mile from
his present holdings and this may mean much to him.
The marriage of Mr. Paul occurred at Durham Hill, Wis., March 4, 1880,
uniting him with Miss Eva E. Tenney, a native of that place. Mrs.
Paul's father, Samuel A. Tenney, was born in Monroe County, N.Y.,
desceded from the old Moss family of Mayflower stock. He was a graduate
of Lima College N. Y., and married in Monroe couotny to Lydia F. Lytle,
a native of that ocunty, who also traces her family back to the
Mayflower and Pilgrim Fathers. The ancestors on both the Tenney and
Lytle sides served in the Revolutionary war and Grandfather Daniel
Lytle was in the War of 1812, enlisting when eighteen years old.
Charles Foster, ex-governor of Ohio and ex-secretary of the treasury of
the United States, is a cousin of Mrs. Paul. Her parents came to
Wisconsin, then known as the Far West, in 1846 located near Waukesha
where they were pioneers, turning the first furrow in the vigin soil on
the farm and there they spent the remainder of their days. They had
five children, three of whom are living. Mrs. Paul is the oldest of
these and was educated at Carroll College, Wasukesha, Wis., and was
engaged in teaching for two years. The young people had become
acquainted before Mr Paul moved to Nevada and the friendship resulted
in their marriage. Five children have been born of this union;
Walter, a realtor of Fresno, is married and the parent of two children;
Frank A., a farmer, residing at El Nido, Merced County, has three
children; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Leonard Boot, of Orland, Cal., is the
mother of four children; Lloyd A. is married and resides on his
father's ranch near El Nido. He entered the service of the U.S. Army,
enlisting with the Three Hundred sixty-fourth Infantry of the
Ninety-first Division, Company M., went overseas and saw service in the
Argonne, suffering great hardships and privations; Ethel Marion is a
graduate of the San Jose high school, now taking a commercial course,
and makes her home with her parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Paul are active members of the First Christian Church in
San Jose, both serving on the official board. Polictically they are
staunch Prohibitionists and Republicans. Mr. Paul gives much of the
credit for his success to his devoted wife, who has been his ready
helpmate, assisting him in every way, always encouraging him in his
ambition and carrying her share of the burden. Mr. and Mrs. Paul have
given much attention to the rearing and education of their children,
believing that higher education is a foundation for the nation's
progress and welfare.
Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 524
SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHIES
SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY The Valley of Heart's Delight