Albert N. Van Fleet was born in Woodville, Mississippi, May 7, 1846. His parents were Martin and Elizabeth (Jones) Van Fleet, the former a native of Schenectady County, New York, and the latter of South Carolina. The Van Fleet family descended from the Holland Dutch. James Van Fleet, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, came from Holland and settled at New Amsterdam, now New York. Martin, when twenty-two years old, went to Louisiana and from there to Mississippi, where he married, his wife having been a widow and the owner of a sugar and cotton plantation of 3,000 acres. They afterward moved back to Louisiana and located in New Orleans, where they lived five years, when they moved to Livingston County, Illinois, remaining there five years. Mrs. Van Fleet died there in 1859, and the next year Mr. Van Fleet moved to Seneca County, Ohio, where he lived three years. He was married again in Ohio, to Mrs. Harriet (Parks) Burrows, and in February, 1863, came to California and settled in West Butte, Sutter County, where he died in 1869. Albert N. was educated in Republic, Ohio, and at Hesperian College at Woodland, California. During his attendance at college he taught school for four years to defray his college expenses. He was married August 5, 1865, to Elizabeth Harling, a native of Monroe County, Kentucky.
After his marriage he settled in Yuba County, where he lived eighteen years on his ranch of 400 acres. In October, 1883, he came to Santa Clara County, and the next year sold his farm in Yuba County and bought his place of forty-five acres on Fruit Vale Avenue, between Los Gatos and Saratoga. Mr. and Mrs. Van Fleet have two children: Allen A. and Nora E., the latter the wife of William Bucknall, a resident of this valley.
Mr. Van Fleet engaged in fruit-drying in 1884, and the enterprise under his management has been very successful. Extensive improvements have been made each year, the results of 1887 showing a marked increase over the previous year, the drying and packing season of that year lasting about four months. For thirty days during the drying season he dried thirty tons of fruit per day! Mr. Van Fleet employed, in drying this large amount of fruit, two large evaporators of the T. C. Walter manufacture, from fifty to one hundred hands being employed in this work, all white labor. He is very particular in the handling of his fruit, and gives this department his personal supervision. The brand of his fruit is styled the “Fairview Farm,” which readily finds sale in this and Eastern markets. On his own ranch Mr. Van Fleet has six acres of silver prunes five years old, twelve acres in French prunes and the rest in other kinds of prunes and peaches.
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.
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight