The Valley of Heart's Delight


Bio- Sawyers

Much credit must be given to the wives of the early pioneers of California, who by their patience and loving sacrifice helped their husbands lay the foundation of a great civilization, and in Elisa Ann Sutherland, the wife of the late James Sutherland, we have a woman of rare charm, who has reared a large and useful family, and who in the evening of life is surrounded by many admiring friends and her loving children, and she dispenses hospitality freely at her home at 483 South Sixth Street in San Jose. She was born in Ray County, Mo., on September 4, 1850, and when thirteen years old left her Missouri home to begin the long journey across the plains.

 The ox teams were under Captain Duncan and the train consisted of many wagons and thrity families, and with their horses, mules, oxen and cows preceeded on their journey. Her father, John Esrey, had married Miss Sarah Jane Stratton, a native of Kentucky, in Missouri and they had five children; Elisa Ann, our subject; Madelnah, Mrs. Wm. Ingram, deceased; John Wesley of Lemoore; Mary L. of Los Angeles, and Thomas S. of San Francisco. On account of Mrs. Esrey's delicate health the father was making the journey to a milder climate in the hopes that she would regain her health. Many hardships were endured, and the constant fear of the Indians, which they encountered, added greatly to their discomfort. The mother was stricken with that dreaded disease, the mountain fever, and despite the care and attention given her, she died and was buried at the little village of Galena about three miles from Washoe, Nevada. The shock of losing her mother at this time, seemed more than the little girl, Elisa Ann, could endure, and to add to their troubles, the two younger children, Madelnah and Mary, were taken sick with the same disease, and for many weeks their lives were despaired of and they became so weakened that they could not walk. After they began to mend and were able to be up and around they had to learn to walk over again.

Arriving in California in a 1864 the family settled thirty miles south of Fresno at a town now known as Lemoore, where relatives had settled at an earlier date. After four years' residence there, Miss Esrey was married to James Sutherland, a native of England, born in 1847, who came to America with the family when four years old, coming to California via the Isthmus of Panama. They landed in Sacramento County, later going to the San Joaquin Valley, where the whole family raised cattle. Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland, whose marriage license was issued at old Millerton, were married at Visalia in1868, and with a two-horse wagon spent their honeymoon traveling up to Santa Clara County and settled about two miles northwest of what is now known as Lawrence Station. Their land adjoined the Murphy tract, where Sunnyvale was built. Arriving here Mr. And Mrs. Sutherland stopped with his parents two years, then bought the ranch adjoining, continuing there until coming to San Jose. He was the prime mover with his father, erecting the Bay View Methodist Episcopal Church, South, near the Brawley school, which was later moved to Mountain View. He was one of the most liberal supporters of St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in San Jose, up to the time of his death. He was liberal towards all good movements for the upbuilding of the county and when he died was mourned by a large circle of friends.

Mr. And Mrs. Sutherland reared five children: Jonathan Clark, whose sketch appears in this a volume; Caroline became Mrs. Scott Dean, and they had a son, Robert W., who was reared by his grandmother from the age of nine and who died aged twenty-one, both of whom have passed away; Annie J., now Mrs. L. A. Bates, a contractor and builder and they reside in San Jose; Lena is the wife of A. T. Griffin, employed by the Prune &Apricot Association, and they reside at 466 Fifth Street, San Jose. There are six grandchildren, Frances Bates, James Bates, Lucile Bates, Dorothy T. Griffin, Carrie (Sutherland) Munger and Cleanie Sutherland, and one great-grandchild, Charles Munger. Mrs. Sutherland still owns two dairy farms near Lemoore, Cal., which have become very valuable. Just before the great earthquake of 1906, the Sutherland's bought the home at 483 South Sixth Street, and this has been their home ever since. On account of failing health Mr. Sutherland for three years traveled from place to place seeking relief, but to no avail, and on July 2, 1916, he passed away. Politically he was a Democrat and fraternally was an Odd Fellow. In their religious convictions they were members of the Methodist Church, South, and Mrs. Sutherland is an active member of the Home Missionary Society. It is a delight to meet Mrs. Sutherland and to hear her relate the experiences through which she has passed and to realize that the hardships and sacrifices were the mellowing influences that have brought the charm and beauty of later years.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 360