Bio-Pen Pictures

one of the brave men who braved the perils of an overland journey to California, when it was yet a Mexican Province, resides on the Alviso road, three miles north of San Jose, on the site of the home which he established in the pioneer days of 1850. Mr. Broughton dates his birth in Bourbon County, Kentucky,February 7, 1824. He is the son of Job and Elizabeth (Cartwright) Broughton, the former of whom, of English extraction, was reared in Virginia, and the latter in Kentucky.

In 1830 the family removed to Callaway County, Missouri, and there, when the subject of our sketch was but ten years of age, his parents died. He was taken into the home of the late Isaac Branham, and was by him taken care of, as by a father. He left that home when eighteen years of age, to engage in lead-mining in Southwestern Wisconsin, and that vocation he followed for about three years. Hearing from Mr. Branham that he intended to go to California, he returned to Missouri to bid him and his family good-by. Upon being invited to join them, he could not resist the inclination to avail himself of so good an opportunity for entirely new experiences.

Early in April, 1846, the party commenced the long journey, ex-Governor Boggs being a member. At first the train was composed of several parties, but gradually it disintegrated, on account of the overcrowding of the camping and grazing grounds. During the early portion of the journey, the doomed Donner party were in the train. No untoward event delayed the emigrants, and Mr. Branham and his family, of which Mr. Broughton was a member, in good health and good spirits, reached Sutter's Fort in October, 1846, thus enrolling their names among those of California's earliest American settlers. After a brief rest, they proceeded directly to Santa Clara Valley, and spent the winter following at the Mission of Santa Clara. (The reader is referred to the biography of Isaac Branham for further particulars in this connection.)

        The country was in the tumult of war, and Mr. Broughton entered heart and soul into the work of wresting the land of flowers from Mexican domination. He enlisted at Monterey, and the command, numbering 400, marched to Los Angeles. Two or three skirmishes, but no general engagement, occurred on the route. In March, 1847, Mr. Broughton was one of a detail of sixteen men, under Wm. H. Russell, to carry dispatches to Washington. They passed over the Southern trail, by way of Santa Fe, to Independence, Missouri, thence to Boone County, of the same State. There the party wintered and cared for their stock, Mr. Broughton spending most of the winter among his relatives and friends in Callaway County. The detail returned under the command of Major Hensley, in the season of 1848, by the Northern route to Fort Sutter, where Mr. Broughton received an honorable discharge from further duty.

        He then engaged in placer mining in mines that had been discovered only that year (1848). The following winter he spent in San Jose, returning early in the spring to the mines. At the present site of Sonora, he struck the first tent that had ever been raised there. This season of mining proved a profitable one, but, upon his return to Santa Clara Valley, he determined to become an agriculturist, and accordingly, in the following year (1850), purchased the homestead where he has ever since lived. In December, 1852, Mr. Broughton returned by the Isthmus route to Missouri, and in the spring following, in company with John Trimble, made his third overland journey to this State.  They drove 300 head of cattle, and were fortunate enough to sustain no unusual loss of stock.

        On the twenty-second of July, 1856, Mr. Broughton married Miss Mary Ann Stewart, who was born and reared in the State of New York, and who came to this State during the year of her marriage. This union was severed only a.short time since, Mrs. Broughton's death occurring February 4, 1888, at the age of sixty-six years. She was the mother of two children: Samuel Stewart and Mary Elizabeth, both of whom are yet under the parental roof.

        The family homestead is surrounded by grounds shaded by trees which were planted by Mr. Broughton's own hands. The homestead contains seventy acres of choice land under a high state of cultivation, and devoted to the culture of orchard, small-fruits, and vegetables. Three artesian wells furnish an abundance of water for irrigation.

        As one of the earliest settlers of the State, Mr. Broughton has had a rich experience, and one from which he may draw much pleasure and profit for others as well as for himself. All the work of his manhood has been done in this State—by far the larger part in this county—and thus his interests are entirely those of the community in which he has so long made his home. As is most fitting, he is a member of the California Pioneer Association. In politics Mr. Broughton is identified with the Democratic party.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 551-552


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight