The Valley of Heart's Delight

Agnew was named for Abram AGNEW and his family, settlers in the Santa Clara Valley in 1873.  The original name Agnew's referred to their seed farm and was retained for Agnews State Hospital.  The railroad station and post office were referred to as Agnew. [Gudde]

Bio-Pen Pictures

Among the many fine farms of Santa Clara County, mention must be made of that owned by the subject of this sketch. It contains 115 acres of productive land, situated at Agnew Station, on the South Pacific Coast Railway, three miles north of Santa Clara. Twenty-five acres of the ranch are devoted to the cultivation of strawberries, Longworth, Sharpless, and Cheney being the principal varieties. Two acres are given to the production of raspberries, while six acres are in fruit-trees, the products of which are apples, pears, peaches, prunes, and quinces. Ten acres are covered with alfalfa, forty-five acres yield grain and hay, and the remainder of the farm is devoted to the pasturage of the fourteen dairy cows and other stock. Four artesian wells furnish an abundance of water for irrigation, for domestic uses, and stock, while the surplus is utilized in supplying a pond, one acre in extent, which is stocked with carp.

Mr. Agnew is a native of Knox County, Ohio, where he was born January 1, 1820. His parents, Jonathan and Mary (Prather) Agnew, were natives of Pennsylvania, whence they emigrated, in 1812, to the county of his birth, being among the earliest settlers of that section of Ohio. He was reared to farm labor, receiving such schooling as was afforded by the schools of that date in pioneer settlements. When eighteen years of age he went to Fredericktown, Ohio, where he apprenticed himself to a blacksmith. After becoming master of the trade he remained in the same employ, as a journeyman, until 1845, when he removed to Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois, where he worked at his trade for about a year. His health then failing him, he was advised by his physician to seek its restoration by travel, and he started, in the spring of 1846, across the plains for Oregon. Upon his arrival there he located in Yam Hill County, engaging in the only work which he could find at the time,---that of rail-splitting. He remained in Oregon but a short time, starting overland for his Ohio home, in June, 1847. At St. Joseph, Missouri, he stopped and worked at his trade until the next year, when he continued his journey to Ohio, where he remained until March, 1850.

At that time he began his third overland trip, this time directing his course to California, where he arrived in August of the same year. He immediately commenced work in the mines of El Dorado County, afterward engaging in the same occupation in Placer County. Thus the time was spent until 1852, in which year he returned to work at his trade, establishing a blacksmith shop in the mining town of Yankee Jim, in Placer County. This undertaking he successfully conducted, in company with a partner, until 1855. During this time (in 1853), leaving the business in charge of his partner, he again returned to Ohio, this time choosing the Isthmus route. In the fall of that year he went to Iowa, and, purchasing there a drove of cattle, started them across the continent. He arrived in Sacramento Valley, after a long and tedious journey, in August, 1854, and placed his cattle on a ranch in Yolo County, which he had previously taken up. Until the sale of his cattle, in the fall of 1856, he devoted his time to their care, as well as to other business interests. On disposing of his stock he closed up his other business affairs, and, in 1857, again returned East, locating in Mahaska County, Iowa, where he engaged in the occupation of farming. There he remained for several years, with the exception of part of each year of 1860-61, spent in Colorado, caring for stock and working at his trade.

He returned, in 1874, to his old home in Ohio, and after a short visit turned his face westward once more, with the expectation of making California a permanent home. With this in view he established his home in the lovely and fertile Santa Clara Valley, on the farm described at the beginning of our sketch. Mr. Agnew is a man of the energetic and restless qualities which characterize the pioneers of our country, and he also possesses the intelligence and the interest in public affairs which are necessary qualities of the good citizen. As such he is an esteemed member of the community. After spending so much of his active life in travel, and in change of occupation and residence, he is the better fitted to enjoy the comparative quiet of a life in his pleasant home in one of the loveliest spots on the earth. Politically, Mr. Agnew is a Democrat, of conservative and liberal views. He is a member of the Patrons of Husbandry, and is identified with San Jose Grange, No. 10.

He was united in marriage, at Fredericktown, Ohio, by Rev. Mr. Farris, in 1853, with Miss Sarah J. Barber, daughter of Jesse Barber, of Knox County, Ohio. From this Marriage three children were born, viz.: Hugh C., who resides on the old homestead; Lizzie, the wife of George Smith, of Santa Clara, at which place they reside; and Jesse B., a resident of Tulare County, California.

SOURCE: 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.- page 445-446 transcribed by Roena Wilson


History of the Agnews State Hospital

Lick Paper Mills-

Santa Clara County- The Valley of Heart's Delight

July 22, 2005