W. FRANK OLDHAM
FIRST MAYOR OF GILROY
was born in Greenville District, South Carolina, December 16, 1826, his parents being also natives of that State. Major George Oldham, his grandfather, was a Revolutionary officer and fought the battle of the Cowpens alongside of Dekalb. When the subject was six years old, his parents removed to Selma, Alabama, where he was reared and educated and clerked in a store. His parents died when he was seventeen years old. On May 1, 1852, he started for California by way of Nicaragua, where he remained three months, when he came on to California and located in San Francisco. There he was employed for eight years by the firm of Jonas G. Clark & Co., and then he came to Gilroy and engaged in the hotel and livery business, conducting the old " Exchange " in partnership with George Roop, with whom he had been previously connected for a year in the business of driving cattle from Los Angeles County to San Francisco. He was in the hotel business about ten years, and while so engaged he and Mr. Roop bought the Gilroy Hot Springs and improved and made a resort of them. Upon closing out his hotel and livery business he engaged in farming near San Felipe for about ten years, when he removed to the place where he now resides, which he had previously purchased.
He was married,
in Gilroy, January 6, 1862, to Miss Martha R. Martin, daughter of Julius and
Elizabeth Martin, and has one child, Maud. He had a son, Ashley by name, who died in November, 1882, at the age of
eighteen years. He was a member of the class of 1883 at the San Mateo Military
Academy. He was at the time at the head of the Military Department and at the
head of his classes also. In politics Mr. Oldham is a Democrat, and was the
first Mayor of Gilroy, holding the office two years.. His family are
Episcopalians. He has a ranch of twenty-five acres, one-half mile north of
Gilroy, on the San Jose and Monterey road, four acres of which are in orchard
set out in the winter of 1884-85, containing a variety of trees. The land is
well adapted to the stone fruits, and he intends to set out ten acres during the
coming winter. He erected his present residence in 1869, although it has the
appearance of a new house. He has a few head of cattle. He rents land from
others and farms from 100 to 200 acres every year. He regards fruit as the
proper crop to raise in this locality.
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.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHY PROJECT
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight