This gentleman, who is one of the successful pioneer horticulturists of Santa  Clara County, owns sixty-five acres of valuable land fronting on Twelfth and Rosa Streets in San Jose.  This tract is now platted and subdivided, and the map is on record.  About fifty acres of the land is in fruit, viz.:  2,000 apricots, 800 cherries, 800 egg plums, and 300 peach-trees, practically all in bearing.  In 1887 there were produced from this orchard 250 tons of apricots, 15 tons of cherries, 15 tons of egg plums, and 5 tons of peaches. 

            Mr. Vestal was born in Yadkin County, North Carolina, in 1836.  His parents, Asa and Elizabeth (De Jarnatt) Vestal, were natives of North Carolina, his father’s ancestors, Quakers, having come over from England with William Penn, settling in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where one branch of the family still owns and occupies the original house.  His mother’s ancestors were  French Huguenots.  Mr. Vestal’s father, who was a wagon and carriage manufacturer, removed, in 1839, to Jackson County, Missouri, following his trade in connection with farming.  In 1849 he sold out and crossed the plains to California by the usual means of transportation—the ox team.  The company was about six months on the way, starting on the first day of May, and reaching the Sacramento Valley the twenty-ninth of October, 1849.  Mr. Vestal and his father left the family and went to the Feather River, where they engaged in mining, in which operations they were quite successful.  They started, in May, 1850, for the Santa Clara Valley, and after encountering some delays on account of high waters in the San Joaquin River, finally settled in the spot where Mr. Vestal now lives, paying $100 an acre for about ten acres.  The father bought, later, seventeen acres more than half of the 500-acre lot, No. 15, which, of course, contained much less than 500 acres, at $20 an acre.  Both parents died within three weeks of each other, the mother in December, 1883, the father in January, 1884, and both near the age of eighty-three years.

            In 1854 Mr. Vestal entered the University of the Pacific, a member of the first class organized in that now famous institution, and was a member of the class when it graduated in 1858—the first class to graduate in California.  He then commenced the study of medicine with Dr. A. J. Spencer, of San Jose; but in 1861, at the firing on Fort Sumter, he gave up his studies and helped to raise two companies of infantry, under Colonel, afterwards Major-General, Carleton.  They enlisted under the promise from Secretary Stanton that they would be transferred to the Potomac, but instead were sent to Arizona.  Mr. Vestal was engaged, with his command, until 1863, in fighting Indians and protecting the route to California from the depredations of Texas Confederates.  He was then compelled to resign on account of disability incurred in service, and did not regain his health until 1870.  Meanwhile, he was appointed appraiser of public lands by the Council of San Jose, attending to this office until 1869, since which time he has devoted himself to fruit-growing.  From 1867 to 1876 he was a member of the Common Council of San Jose.

            In 1873 Mr. Vestal was married to Miss Sallie I. Hall, a native of Texas, her parents having removed from North Carolina to Texas, and in 1853 to California.  There are of this union eight children:  Hall, Clinton, Bruce, Laura I., Valona, Maxwell, Marian, and Marguerite.

            Mr. Vestal is a member of the I. O. O. F., being the first member initiated in Garden City Lodge, No. 142; was also the first initiated in San Jose Encampment.  He is also a member of Phil Sheridan Post, No. 7, G. A. R., San Jose; is a Republican in politics, having cast his first vote for Lincoln in 1860; believes in the protection of American industries, and is a member of the National, State, and County Horticultural Societies.

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. 371
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight