Geography.- Redwood township is bounded on the north by Fremont and Santa Clara townships; on the east by Almaden township; on the south by Gilroy township, and on the west by Santa Cruz county.
Topography.- This township is a portion of the western boundary of
the great Santa Clara valley, and is, therefore, very mountainous,
save a comparative small area which borders immediately on Santa Clara
township. At one time the hills were covered with giant redwoods,
but these have long ago succumbed to the woodman's ax, and it is not
until the county line is passed that the monarchs of Los Gatos and
Saratoga we find the rarest and most beautiful scenery, while on the
level ground is laid out a view of unsurpassed loveliness.
Soil.- In the portions of this township lying on the foot-hills the
soil is that rich, black land known as adobe, while, for a considerable
distance in to the valley, a red, clayey, gravely soil is found, a
diversity which makes Redwood a section of the county which produces a
various supply of cereals and fruits.
Products.-The products of Redwood township are chiefly wheat and
fruit. In the level valley lad the former is gown in great
quantities, while on the eastern side of the foot-hills every manner of
fruit reaches fine perfection. The influence of the Thermal Belt
is here felt, so that in many of the gardens orange trees and grape
vines have reached a high state of excellence, as has been the case
with those of the more delicate plants.
Timber.- At the present day there is not much timber in the township,
what there had been having long ago been felled. The hill-sides
are covered with brushwood, while, besides the willows which grow along
the margins of the creeks and in the bottom-lands, the valley is well
supplied with an abundance of sycamores and oaks.
Climate- More rain falls in this township than in any of the others on
account of its mountainous formation, yet in the uplands there is not
more than the soil requires. Frosts are rare, as the luxuriant
growth of the orange evidences, while, in Summer the days are hot, and
the nights cool.
Early Settlement-.In the years 1850 James Alexander Forbes, a
Scotchman, well known in the district from his being British Consul for
California, was a resident of Santa Clara, and feeling the want of a
mill, conceived the idea of building on the Los Gatos creek, where he
though there was the necessary water-power to turn a wheel to move the
machinery which was to grind grain for the inhabitants of the then
sparsely settled Santa Clara valley. The building was completed
in the year 1854 by Mr. Forbes, in whose hands, however, the enterprise
failed, and was succeed by the French firm of Marzion & Co., who
also were unsuccessful' the premises were next rented by Pfister &
co. and others, but through the lack of power for so large a mill they
were forced to abandon it as an unprofitable venture, until finally, in
1866, it was purchased by W. H. Rogers & Co., the present
The settlement of this township is not such a matter of antiquity as
many of the others. The person longest resident in Redwood is
Edward Hanrahan, who arrived in the Golden State January 16, 1849; came
to Santa Clara county a twelve-month later, and settled in the township
in March, 1851. Almost contemporaneous with him is Reuben McCoy, a
native of Green county, East Tennessee, who arrived in California
August 29, 1850, and after sojourning in Placerville, then known by the
poetically ominous name of Hangtown, for fourteen months, came to the
already famous Santa Clara valley, and located on the land he now
occupies. Prior to this time there had settled on what is now the
site of the village of Saratoga, one Martin McCarthy, who has taken up a
quarter-section in that locality. What the precise date of his
location was, he have been unable to trace, but here he afterwards
(about 1851) laid out a town and dubbed it McCarthysville, a name which
happily was, ten years ago, replaced by the more euphonious one of
Saratoga. Here Mr. McCarthy resided until his death in February,
In the year 1846, as we have stated in our remarks in the early
settlement of Fremont township, there settled near Mountain View a
family of the name of Whisman. In company with them was one
WIlliam Haun, who had married one of the daughters of "Old John "
Whisman. Haun and his wife took up their residence at the
Mission of Santa Clara in 1846, and there remained until 1852. In
the Winter of 1851-2 Mr. Haun, accompanied by his father-in-law, had
taken up some land and commenced the erection of a water-power
flour-mill, on the site of the Saratoga Paper Mill, a the same time
building as a residence the house now occupied by John Maclay. The mill
building was three stories in height; it was constructed with great
care, and the water was conducted in a flume a distance of one-fourth of
a mile to the wheel. In the year 1863 it was sold to Charles
Maclay, and in that following , 1864, was destroyed by fire. It
will thus be seen that very early in the history of the settlement of
the township, Redwood had two flour-mills.
The next settler we have been able to discover is Thomas Scully, who
arrived on the Pacific coast in May, 1849, and after taking a turn at the
mines for two years came to Santa Clara county and purchased the farm
on which he now resides. This pioneer had been a continuous
resident of the township since August 1, 1853. In the Fall of
this year Ira J. Lovell settled where he now resides, three miles north
of Los Gatos and in the following December William Cox took up his
residence in the township, and, after working one season, acquired a
tract of land on which he now has a fine residence, with well-kept
grounds. For the two years following there were no additions to
the adult population, apparently, but in 1856 there arrived a family
named Parr, whose children have, since the death of the father, on
September 11, 1867 ,succeeded to the considerable property left by
him. Mr. Parr, with his wife and children, came to the State in
1846 located in Livermore valley, now in Alameda county, where they
resided until 1849. In that year they took possession
of the Laurel-wood Farm, near Santa Clara; in 1853 they transferred
their habitat to Almaden township, and, three years later, as stated
above, made their home in the township now under notice. In 1857
and 1858 we are not aware of there being any new-comers. In 1859,
however, we have the information that in the month of February Doctor
William S. McMurtry settled in Lexington, wither he went to establish
himself in the lumber trade. That summer he rebuilt a saw-mill
which had been erected in the previous year by Roork & Herick about
four miles above the village. At this time there were residing in
Lexington, S. M. Johnson, Scott Hall, James Kennedy, the tool-keeper
on the Santa Cruz turnpike road, R. S. Swain and a store-keeper named
Joseph's. Dr. McMurtry is now a resident of Los Gatos, to which
place he moved in the year 1868. The next to take up a permanent
residence in the township was John W. Lyndon. This gentleman,
after clerking three years in Joseph's tore in Lexington, started
business on his own account. In 1868 he settled in Los Gatos,
purchased from H. D. McCobb the "Ten Mile House, " and opened it as
a hotel, but, disposing of it a few months later to Morgan Covell, he
opened a store for general merchandise in the village. MR.
Lyndon repurchased the hotel from Jacob Rich, four years later, gave to
it the name of the Los Gatos Hotel, and now leases it to James J.
Eddy. IN the month of December of this year Benjamin W
Hollenbeck purchased a home in Saratoga; and about the same period John
F. Mason came from ALviso, and bought a parcel of land situated on the
north side of the Los Gatos creek from Charles Maynard. Mr. Mason
informs us that when he arrived in the locatlity the only
resident, for the mill was then unoperated, was a man named
Rockeyfellow, who kept the hostelry known asx the "Ten-mile
House"- a ten-foot shake shanty that was destroyed by fire some years
Thus far do we take the reader in considering the general settlement
of the township. It will be seen that the population had no rapid
growth. In 1859 the greater part of the low-lying lands were yet
covered with brushwood; fencing had not been then commenced, and
cultivation of any kind was only to be found at widely separated
intervals. Between the hills and the city of San Jose there roamed at
large, bands of untamed cattle; the thickly-tangled undergrowth on the
mountain slopes were the resort of beasts of prey, while in that day it
was little thought that two decades would see immense fruit and grain
crops, with the wild shrieking iron-horse to bear away the produce,
after tapping the incalculable resources of the redwood forests in the
adjacent mountain fastnesses.
These early settlers contented themselves chiefly in the rearing of
livestock. In the year 1861 cultivation became general, and with it
fencing commenced. In 1862 the old Forbes mill was taken in hand by
Samuels & Farmer, the former of whom built the first dwelling-house
on the east side of the creek in the town of Los Gatos. It is now
occupied by Dr. McMurtry. Shortly after, there came a man named Van
Taveron, who settled about a mile from where the town is built. Two
miles from the town there located William Scott, while adjoining
Mason's property to the north one Vinage Gariagus took up his abode.
The land to the east of the stream was the property of Marzion &
Co., that to the west—a tract of twenty-five hundred acres—belonged to
Los GATOS.—How this pleasantly situated little village came to get its
name of " The Cats," we are not in position to say, but this we dare
assert, that there are few spots in the broad county of Santa Clara,
indeed we do not except the State in its immense length, where we find
so many charms of scenery and vegetation. It was truly an inspiration
which led the selection of such a spot by James A. Forbes for the
erection of his mill. Gurgling and babbling from out of an impenetrable
canon rushes with many an echo this playful stream, joyous when he
first saw it mayhap, but often swollen into a wild and angry torrent.
We can almost now fancy the Scotchman standing on the bank of this
rivulet, while his thoughts carried him back to similar scenes in " the
old country." Like shadows on the hill-sides, idea chased idea, until
there loomed up before him the brook wherein, in days gone by, he had
been wont to hook the speckled trout from out the shaded pool or mimic
rapid. Now there arose a vision of the quaint old mill, built of stone,
roofed with straw, with a gigantic wheel slowly splashing its awkward
round, assisted to that end by a tiny aqueduct. In a twinkling there
flashed through his brain the desire to make the dream a reality, and
there and then did he determine to put his idea into execution. About
the year 1850 he commenced. the erection of his mill, but it was not
completed until 1854. Considering the times, it was a well-constructed
building, with wheels twenty feet in diameter, but with the slight fall
of water of only twenty feet. Failing in the hands of Forbes the works
passed into those of a French firm, V. Marzion & Co., who also
failed ; it was then rented by Pfister & Co., and others, for a
term of years, who found it unprofitable, owing to the lack of power
for so large a mill, through the dry season. In 1862 Samuels &
Farmer, who rented the mill, constructed a new dam, and made a head of
thirty feet of water. In 1866 W. H. Rogers & Co., on the purchase
of the property, raised the head to sixty feet, and in lieu of the
former overshot wheels, placed those known as " turbine." In. 1870 the
head of water was raised to two hundred feet, a power that has been
found ample. When W. H. Rogers & Co. took possession of the
establishment the company was made a joint stock affair, with the
following incorporators: W. H. Rogers, J. Y. McMillin, W. H. Rector, W.
S. McMurtry and C. C. Hayward. In 1869 they erected a four-set woolen
mill, two stories high, covering an area of fifty by sixty feet, and
finding employment for thirty persons, about one hundred feet south of
the flour-mill. It was run successfully until 1872, when it was
unfortunately destroyed, by fire, and has not been rebuilt. It may be
as well to mention that from the tail-race of the Los Gatos mill comes
all the water supplied to the San. Jose Water Company, the immense
volume thus required being conveyed through pipes into reservoirs,
until distributed throughout that city.
We have now shown that the first building, in the little town, was the
mill. In 1859 there were no houses except the mill and two shanties,
built for the laborers engaged on its reconstruction; in 1861-2,
however, the dwelling, in which Dr. McMurtry now resides, was erected
by Mr. Samuels, while there were a few shanties springing up around,
but no actual rate of building can be followed, neither can we trace
the names of permanent settlers, most persons, then coming to the
village, being transitory employes on the mill. About 1863 a store and
lumber yard was started, by W. S. McMurtry and J. Y. McMillin, on the
ground now in possession of the Los Gatos Manufacturing Company; while,
about this time, a school was inaugurated. We have mentioned above the
establishment of the hotel. On December 8, 1864, Henry D. McCobb was
appointed the first postmaster; in 1871 a church was built ; and early
in 1877, the trains of the South Pacific Coast Railroad, first made
their appearance in the little town; since when its prosperity has been
on the increase.
Los Gatos, situated ten miles from San Jose, at the mouth of a canon in
the Santa Cruz mountains, is a romantic spot, and will, in the course
of time, become a favorite resort for invalids and world-weary people,
from the fact of its possessing a fine climate for both health and
semi-tropical fruit culture.
Here flourishes the " green bay tree," its pungent perfume, glossy and
green foliage, and. a symmetrical form, being among its many virtues.
The orange, lemon, fig, almond, prunes, pomegranate, and all the more
hardy varieties of fruit, grow to high perfection, while of the grapes,
sunny France, herself, cannot boast of better than are grown in this
Los Gatos Lodge, -No. 76: A. 0. U. W—This society was organized
in Los Gatos, January 11, 1879, with the following names on the
original, Charter: J. T. Harris, T. S. Cleland, H. C. Black, John B.
Waterman, A. T. McFarland, Homer A. Swaney, W. R. Rogers, Henry U.
Ball, Thomas W. Cox, and William Parks. At the end of the thirty days'
extension allowed by the Grand Lodge, the following names were added to
the list of Charter Members: J. W. Miller, William Lundy, A. Lee, F
Reynolds, S. Bishop, John Erickson, C. G. Erkson. The first officers
elected to serve were: J. T. Harris, P. M. W.; T. S. Cleland, M. W.; H.
C. Black, F.; J. B. Waterman, 0.; A. F. McFarland, Recor.; H. A.
Swaney, Finan.; W. R. Rogers, Recr.; H. U. Ball, G.; Thomas W. Cox, I.
W.; William Parks, 0. W. The lodge has at present twenty-six members on
its roll ; meets at Lundy's Hall every Thursday evening; and is in a
flourishing condition. The officers for, the current term, are ; E. F.
Reynolds, P. M. W.; J. W. Miller, M. W. ; John Erickson, F. ; H. U.
Ball, 0.; T. W. Cox, Recor. ; J. McWhorter, Finan.; E. Chase, Recr.; S.
Dahal, G.; John McCoy, I. W. ; Arthur Murphy, 0. W. Trustees; William
Parks, H. U. Ball, William Lundy.
Victoria Lodge, No. 328, I. 0. G. T.—This lodge was instituted
May 21, 1880, with the following Charter Members: W. W. Parks, W. D.
Hudson, Mrs. W. D. Hudson, D. Parks, Mrs. Clara Parks, M. Swall, J. R.
Hughes, P. Peterson, Mrs. P. Peterson, Frank Reynolds, John Reynolds,
E. Main, John Franklin, Miss Verena Daves, Miss Clarissa Crocker, W.
Johnson, Rev. Jesse Smith, Mrs. Lena Smith, George McMurtry, S. Talbot,
W. H. Spencer, Roderick Forbes, Mrs. George Senor, P. Moiles, F.
Waterman, Z. Le Fevre, J. Smith, H. W. Vandervaart, Mrs. M. J.
Vandervaart, F. Whitaker, 0. Rodgers, Mrs. S. Andricks, Mrs. Mary
Frost, F. Perkins. The original officers who served were: W. D. Hudson,
W. C. T.; Mrs. H. A. Hudson, W. V. T.; Rev. Jesse Smith, W. Chaplain;
F. Perkins, W. Sec. ; Miss Verena Daves, W. Asst. Sec.; John Reynolds,
W. F. Sec.; Mrs. S Andricks, W. Treas.; J. Franklin, W. M.; Miss C.
Crocker, W. D. M. ; F. Whitaker, W. I. G.; 0. Rodgers, W. 0. G.; Mrs.
C. Parks, W. R. H. S.; Mrs. M. Frost, W. L. H. S. ; F. Reynolds, P. W.
C. T. The lodge, though recently established is in a flourishing
condition; has seventy members on its roll, and meets in, Rodgers' Hall
every Wednesday evening. The present officers are: W. W. Parks, W. C.
T.; Mrs. M. J. Vandervaart, W. T. Mrs. E. E. Hoyt, W. Sec.; Albert
Marshall, W. Asst. Sec. ; George McMurtry, W. F. Sec.; Miss Jessie
Smith, W. Treas.; D. Parks, W. M.; Mrs. H: A. Hudson, W. D. M.; Miss
Florence Johnson, W. I. G.; Fred Baker, W. 0. G.; H. W. Vandervaart, P.
W. C. T.; Rev. Jesse Smith, W. Chaplain ; Mrs. Baker, W. R. H. S.; Mrs.
Lena Smith, W. L. H. S.
Los Gatos Flouring Mill.—The early history of this
enterprise will be found above; we will here record what has been done
by the present proprietors, W. H. Rogers & Co. In the year 1880,
while Mr. Rogers, was attending the Miller's Convention, at Cincinnati,
he became convinced that improvements were necessary in the working of
his establishment, if he wished to keep pace with the times. He
therefore purchased an entire new stock of machin ery, and forwarded it
to this coast. In July, 1880, the old mill was shut down, the required
improvements effected, and re-opened about November 1st of the same
year. The mill, as it stands, is the original building erected by James
Alexander Forbes; is four full stories in height, and covers an area of
fifty by eighty feet. In 1880, a store-room building, thirty by eighty
feet, with two full stories was added, having a capacity of five
thousand barr els of flour and twenty thousand bags of wheat. The most
improved machinery for making granulated flour was adopted, consisting
of eight runs of the Milwaukee Middlings Millstone Company's mills;
five other runs of stone; three sets of the Down-ton chill iron rolls;
eighteen flour bolts; two bran dusters; six middlings' purifiers;
twenty-eight sets of elevators, which include large receiving and
shipping elevators; two smut machines ; one large wheat brush; four
wheat graders and separators; and all the other machinery necessary for
a complete new process mill, the whole of which was erected under the
personal supervision of George B. Smith, of the mill firm of Smith
Brothers, of Milwaukee, who came to California for this especial
purpose. The Los Gatos mill has been run, from that time to the
present, with entire satisfaction to customers and stockholders, and
with the very best results. Its capacity is two hundred barrels of
flour per day, besides a large amount of barley and feed. A side track
runs from the main line of the South Pacific Coast Railroad to the
mill, placing it in direct communication with all points on that line.
Lyndon Hall.—This Hall was built in the Fall of 1878, by
John W. Lyndon, and is situated next to the Los Gatos Hotel. It is
eighty feet in length and thirty-two in width, fitted with a stage at
the northern end, and has a seating capacity of from six to seven
Los Gatos Hotel.—This establishment may be said to have had its
incipience in a cottage which stood a short distance above the railroad
depot, owned by H. D. McCobb, who, in 1868, sold it to J. W. Lyndon,
who disposed of it to Morgan Covell; it then passed into the hands of
and, in 1872, was re-purchased by Mr. Lyndon, who, in 1878, leased it
to James J. Eddy. On the arrival of the railroad, in 1878, it was moved
to its present position opposite the depot, and considerable additions
made to it. It now contains nineteen rooms, including parlor,
dining-room, etc., the charges being moderate.
The Davis & Crowell Lime Quarry.—In the month of March, 1879,
G. Guerinot disposed of a quarter-section of land in the hills, about
one mile to the east of Los Gotos, to Edward Skuse, who opened a quarry
thereon, but, owing to financial difficulties, in February, 1880, he
sold the property to Davis & Crowell, the present owners. The kiln
has a capacity of sixty barrels per diem, and the entire works are
under the superintendence of S. S. Holmes.
The Remillard Lime Quarry.—These works are situated on the
hills about one mile south of Los Gatos, on land owned by Frank Veiser,
who leased, in March, 1880, to Peter Humel, for a term of six years. In
the following May, he transferred his lease to the Remillard Brick
Company, who had the term extended to ten years. Up to the present
time, about eight hundred barrels of lime have been taken out of the
quarry, under the supervision of Peter Humel, the Superintendent.
SARATOGA.—In or about the year 1849-50 there took up a
quarter-section of land, which included the site of the village of
Saratoga, one Martin McCarthy. In the year 1851 he laid out a town,
gave it the name of McCarthysville, and built the first house there,
that in which his widow now resides. The next settlers to come to the
village were William Haun and his wife, and his father-in-law, John
Whisman. In the Winter of 1851-2 they commenced the erection of a
water-power flour-Mill 'on the site of the Saratoga Paper Mill, and the
residence in which now lives John Maclay. The mill was destroyed by
fire in 1864. The next house to go up was that of Ashbury Shepard, a
portion of which is now used as the Temperance Hotel, and in the same
year, 1853, the residence now of Mrs. Haun, was erected by a man named
Beckwith. At this period Washburn & Pipkins had a store in the old
house next door to Frank Whipple's saloon, while Henry Jarboe had then
opened the first blacksmith's shop, and on November 2,1855, Levi
Millard was appointed postmaster for McCarthysville and Bank Mills.
In the month of December, 1863, a re-survey of the town site was made
by C. T. Healy and filed in the office of the County Recorder, which
shows an addition to the original limits of three blocks of twelve lots
each, three of six, one of seven, eight and nine lots respectively,
while names were given to the streets, such as Lumber, Oak, and St.
Charles ; Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth.
Near to the village is situated the Congress Springs, one of the most
popular resort in the State, the waters being equally beneficial at all
seasons of the year. Congress Hall was opened June 16, 1866, was
originally fifty feet square, and was established as a Summer resort by
such leading capitalists as D O. Mills, A. Hayward, A. J. Easton, E. W.
Knight, 0. F. Griffin, Louis McLane, John 0. Earl, and George R.
Spinney. The present length of the building is two hundred and
twenty-five feet, and contains sixty-three well ventilated rooms. A
more extended notice of this establishment, now conducted and owned by
Lewis A.. Sage, will be found on page 39 of this work.
In Saratoga are situated the Saratoga Paper Mill, and Caledonia Pasteboard Mills, histories of which will be found below.
Located as Saratoga is on the foot-hills, the views from some points
are magnificent. The mountains rise in irregular cones, one close upon
another; some bold, others covered with timber or brushwood., and all
running down into softly undulating hills dotted with evergreen and
majestic live-oaks, which shelter many a neat homestead. To the east
the mountains rise sharp and clear into the infinite blue of the
cloudless sky; deep shadows darken the many canons and defiles; below,
extending to the. Bay of San Francisco, lies the gorgeous Santa Clara
valley, while off to the right the range of the Contra Costa is
detected in the dim distance, but nearer are the blue peaks of Mount
Hamilton, grander than the rest, but not too grand for its being the
site of the finest astronomical observatory in the world.
Saratoga Paper Mill.—This enterprise was established
in the year 1868, by E. T. and W. T. King, who, shortly after, took A.
Pfister into partnership, and the firm- became known as E. T. King
& Co. In 1874 the establishment was amalgamated with the Lick Mills
property, when Blake, Robbins & Co., of San Francisco, were taken
into the firm, the association converted into a joint stock company,
and both concerns conducted, until 1878, as the Saratoga and Lick Mills
Paper Manufacturing Company. In 1878, A. D. Remington, of the Remington
Paper Company, Watertown, New York, purchased, and segregated the Lick
property, and shortly after, the mill now under notice was leased to E.
T. King, under whose management it now is. The capacity is about two
and one-half tons daily ; the power used is steam; while there is an
annual comsumption of two thousand cords of wood, and twelve hundred
tons of straw.
Caledonia Pasteboard Mills.—This establishment was erected
about the year 1868; by Peter Somerville, who conducted it until the
Summer of 1878, when he assigned it to his brother. In January, 1879,
the property was leased for a year by Brown Brothers, who purchased it
in January, 1880, and who now own the enterprise. When they took
possession the quality of the manufacture had much deteriorated, but by
earnest labor, and careful workmanship, so good a business has been
built up that the premises are- too small, and a removal to more ample
quarters in Santa Cruz county is contemplated.
LEXINGTON.-This is a quiet hamlet situated about two miles
above Los Gatos, in the Santa Cruz range of mountains. It is
unnecessary to say more of it than that at one time it had a
considerable lumber trade. Some three and-twenty years ago Roork &
Herrick constructed a saw-mill nearly four miles above the village,
which in 1859 was reconstructed by Dr. W. S. McMurtey, now of Los
Gatos. When this gentlemen went to reside there, among the residents
were S. N. Johnson, Scott Hall, James Kennedy, the toll-keeper on the
Santa Cruz turnpike, while R. S. Swain conducted a small hotel, and a
man named Josephs had a store. Lexington is now a voting precinct, but
otherwise has no prominence.
ALMA.—This is a hamlet on Los Gatos creek consisting of only a few houses, and bearing no importance of any kind.
WRIGHTS STATION.—This is a depot on the narrow guage line
of the South Pacific Coast Railroad, and is principally composed of the
cottages of their workmen, and the necessary shops.
History of Santa Clara County, California
San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1881, 838 pgs.