The Valley of Heart's Delight

An Industrious Business Man


Among the old settlers of Santa Clara County whose industry and business judgment have aided in the community's progress, is De Phonzo G. Paul, who resides at the old family homestead in San Jose, established over thirty years ago. Born in Delavan, Wis., October 24, 1856, he is a son of Sylvanus S. and Sophia (Gibson) Paul. Sylvanus S. Paul came to California in 1881, settling at Berryessa, where he purchased land and planted to apricots and prunes. He was born near Rochester, Monroe County, N. Y., March 4, 1828, the ancestor coming to America in colonial days and members of the family served in the Revolutionary struggle.

 The Paul family came from Scotland to the U. S. ; John Paul Jones, the founder of the American Navy, was from the same family as history tells how John Paul's name was changed to John Paul Jones after he came from Scotland to Virginia. Sylvanus S. Paul was reared on a farm, and educated in the public schools. When but nineteen years of age he started in life for himself, and located in Walworth County, Wis., upon land which his father had purchased and given to him. For a number of years he followed the occupation of farming, and by industry and good management succeeded in his undertaking. In 1853, while on a visit to Ohio, he met and married Miss Sophia Gibson, the daughter of Prof. John Gibson and Sarah (Cushman) Gibson, natives of Massachusetts. Professor Gibson was a prominent musician and composer and Sophia Gibson was a talented vocalist and a well-known lyric soprano, and with her sister, George Baker and others, traveled, giving concerts throughout the eastern cities. Having a pleasing personality and a beautiful voice, she gave much pleasure to her audiences. Two sons were born to her union with Mr. Paul, De Phonzo G. alone growing to maturity. Mrs. Paul passed away April 4, 1860.

 The second marriage of Mr. Paul occurred in 1862, uniting him with Miss Elizabeth Green, a native of New York. In 1881, Mr. Paul leased his Wisconsin farm and made a visit to California, and was so well pleased with the country that upon his return to Wisconsin he sold most of his interests and returned to the Santa Clara Valley and purchased the home which is now the residence of his son, De Phonzo G. Paul. He was a consistent member of the Baptist Church and fraternally a Mason. In his political views, he was a strong Republican. He passed away at the family home December 12, 1896, and Mrs. Paul died in 1914. A sister of Sylvanus S. Paul, Charlotte Paul, became the wife of Henry G. Smith and they had six children, the next to the youngest of these is Frank Smith, known as "Borax Smith" of Oakland. Frank (Borax) Smith and de Phonzo G. Paul have been warm friends since their boyhood.

De Phonzo G. Paul received his education in the public schools in Delavan and Janesville, Wis., supplementing with a commercial course in Fellows and Kings Commercial College in Janesville. He later, in 1878, removed to Nevada and was employed in a general merchandise store. While a resident of Marietta, Esmeralda County, Nev., he served as postmaster and also as mining recorder and notary public; he was also telegraph operator and express agent on the California and Nevada line of railroad. He removed to San Jose in 1880, but only remained for a year, removing to the Livermore Valley, he engaged in the grape industry, owning the Banner Vineyard, named so because it was the banner vineyard of the Livermore Valley. He sold out his holdings in 1891 and spent one year in San Jose. Removing to Fresno January, 1893, he purchased land near Fowler, which he improved to orchard and vineyard and was engaged in raising fruit and grapes owning two ranches. He was one of the charter members of the first raisin growers' association and continued to give his support to each successive attempt, until the present successful California Raisin Growers' Association. He finally sold his ranches and located in Fresno where he engaged in general contracting for several years. In 1905 he built the canal for the Consolidated Canal Company, connecting the two big irrigation systems of the county. When he sold this business, he purchased a ranch of 240 acres near Turlock, which he improved to alfalfa and engaged in dairying. In 1914 Mr. Paul removed with his family to the old home place in San Jose from Fresno and made this his home. Lately he traded his Turlock ranch for an apartment house located at Eighth and Grove streets, Oakland, which brings him a fine income; he also owns a 325-acre ranch at El Nido near the San Joaquin River in Merced County. Here he sunk wells and installed two pumping plants that are sufficient to irrigate each one- quarter section on each place. Mr. Paul in his land deals has held property which has become very valuable. The 160-acres piece twelve miles south of Tulare Lake, some years ago he sold for a few head of cattle; ten years later he was through there and found the 160 acres worth $2500 an acre, oil having been found on this property. There are eight wells about five mile from his present holdings and this may mean much to him.

The marriage of Mr. Paul occurred at Durham Hill, Wis., March 4, 1880, uniting him with Miss Eva E. Tenney, a native of that place. Mrs. Paul's father, Samuel A. Tenney, was born in Monroe County, N.Y., desceded from the old Moss family of Mayflower stock. He was a graduate of Lima College N. Y., and married in Monroe couotny to Lydia F. Lytle, a native of that ocunty, who also traces her family back to the Mayflower and Pilgrim Fathers. The ancestors on both the Tenney and Lytle sides served in the Revolutionary war and Grandfather Daniel Lytle was in the War of 1812, enlisting when eighteen years old. Charles Foster, ex-governor of Ohio and ex-secretary of the treasury of the United States, is a cousin of Mrs. Paul. Her parents came to Wisconsin, then known as the Far West, in 1846 located near Waukesha where they were pioneers, turning the first furrow in the vigin soil on the farm and there they spent the remainder of their days. They had five children, three of whom are living. Mrs. Paul is the oldest of these and was educated at Carroll College, Wasukesha, Wis., and was engaged in teaching for two years. The young people had become acquainted before Mr Paul moved to Nevada and the friendship resulted in their marriage.  Five children have been born of this union; Walter, a realtor of Fresno, is married and the parent of two children; Frank A., a farmer, residing at El Nido, Merced County, has three children; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Leonard Boot, of Orland, Cal., is the mother of four children; Lloyd A. is married and resides on his father's ranch near El Nido. He entered the service of the U.S. Army, enlisting with the Three Hundred sixty-fourth Infantry of the Ninety-first Division, Company M., went overseas and saw service in the Argonne, suffering great hardships and privations; Ethel Marion is a graduate of the San Jose high school, now taking a commercial course, and makes her home with her parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul are active members of the First Christian Church in San Jose, both serving on the official board. Polictically they are staunch Prohibitionists and Republicans. Mr. Paul gives much of the credit for his success to his devoted wife, who has been his ready helpmate, assisting him in every way, always encouraging him in his ambition and carrying her share of the burden. Mr. and Mrs. Paul have given much attention to the rearing and education of their children, believing that higher education is a foundation for the nation's progress and welfare.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 524


SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY The Valley of Heart's Delight