Charles A. Phelps
Farmer-Santa Clara County

Bio- Pen Pictures
SURNAMES: Hamilton, Wilcox

Charles A. Phelps resides on the corner of the Santa Clara and Kifer roads, in the Jefferson School District, one mile north of the northern limit of Santa Clara, at which point he is the owner of fifty acres of productive land. With the exception of a small orchard, this land is devoted to the production of hay and grain, and to the dairy business. Fifteen acres are producing alfalfa, yielding four or five crops each year, giving an aggregate of from five to seven tons per acre. Among his stock is a dairy of fifteen cows, a portion of which are of full-blood Jersey stock. He has also some full-blood English shire horses, among which is his stallion "Sampson". Mr. Phelps takes a great interest in improving the breed of cattle and horses in the county, and in his twenty years of farming has done his share toward that end. Two flowing artesian wells furnish all the water needed for irrigation, stock, and domestic use.

The subject of this sketch was born in Jefferson County, New York, October 17, 1858. He is the son of Charles A. and Cynthia (Hamilton) Phelps. His father was a native of England and was formerly in the English army, serving in Canada. In 1840 his father went to Michigan, and after a two years' stay removed to Steuben County, Indiana, where he engaged in farming until his death, which occurred in 1851. [ed note- this must be an error-should be 1871] Mr. Phelps was reared as a farmer, receiving such education as the common schools afforded. The death of his father occurring when he was but thirteen years of age, placed the greater part of the care and attention of the farm upon him, and he was early taught by experience many of those practical ideas which have been so useful to him in after life.

In 1859 he came by steamer route to California, arriving in San Francisco in November of that year. For the next two years he was engaged at farm labor in different counties of the State. In 1862 he visited Washington Territory and Oregon seeking a desirable location. He finally settled about three miles from Hillsborough, Oregon, where he was engaged until 1865 in raising grain. In the latter year he came to Santa Clara County, taking up his residence in Santa Clara upon a block of land which he purchased. For the next four years Mr. Phelps was engaged in various enterprises, the chief of which was pressing and baling hay. For one year he rented the farm of Mr. Coffin, on the Coffin road north of Santa Clara, and afterward rented 300 acres of land from Moses Davis, near Santa Clara, which he cultivated until 1883. He then purchased fifty acres of this tract, upon which he resided until 1887. In that year he sold the fifty-acre tract and took up his residence before described.

Mr. Phelps is a member of Santa Clara Lodge, No. 52, I. O. O. F., and is also a member of the Odd Fellows Beneficiary Association. Politically, he is a strong Republican, and takes an interest in the political questions of the country. He is liberal and public-spirited; ready to aid in all that tends to the advancement of his section and county. In 1869 he married Miss Mary Wilcox, whose parents died in her infancy, from cholera, at Sacramento. From this marriage there are five children living, named Leonora I., Hattie W., Frank D., Ollie A., and Ruby.

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.Transcribed by Carol Lackey- pages 239-40


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight