The Valley of Heart's Delight

Frederick C. Burrell

       Rancher of Alviso
      Santa Clara County

SURNAMES:  Hannibal,  Parmer, Willis

A far-seeing, exceptionally enterprising and progressive rancher is Frederick C.Burrell, whose enviable success is undoubtedly due to much self-denial practiced in the beginning, in order to well establish himself, and to untiring diligence and sensible administration of his affairs in order to keep things running smoothly and expanding ever since. He is a native son, born in historic Gilroy on September 26, 1857, the son of Edward Burrell, a native of Clyde,Wayne County, N. Y., who came to California, by way of the Isthmus, in 1849, mined for a time, and then, having concluded that the Golden State offered excell-ent opporturnities for young men, went back to Illinois, where he had originally prepared for his California expedition, and there at Plainfield, married Miss Louisa Hannibal. She was a native of England, and was brought out to the States and Illinois by her parents when she was two years old. As a wedding jouney, Edward Burrell and his bride set out for California in an ox-team train; and during their trip of six months, they met many exciting, as well as interesting, experiences. The same train included the parents of Mrs. Burrell, so that they had as merry a party as could then be formed.

The Burrells settled, first at Gilroy and then at Pacheco Pass, where they were extensively engaged in raising sheepl; and finally the family moved to a ranch of 103 acres south of Alviso, and there Edward Burrell set out thirty acres of orchard, and in course of time endured the usual hard and trying experiences confronting the pioneer rancher and fruit raisers. And, having merited the esteem of everyone who knew them on account of their intelligent methods of procedure, their hard and honest work, their fair and square and kindly dealings with others, Mr. Burrell died on the ranch north of San Jose, and Mrs. Burrell died in Santa Clara. Of their family of nine children, three are living. Frederick C., Mrs. Eltha Parmer and Mrs. Edith Parmer, both residents of Santa Clara.

Frederick C. Burrell, who was destined so worhily to represnt these intrepid, worthy pioneer-parents, was sent to the public schools at Alviso, and later, having matriculated at the College of the Pacific, was duly graduated with honors as a member of the class of '79. He then took up teaching as a profession, and for five years taught in various places, in the latter part of the  period succeeding Judge P. F. Gosbey as principal of the Alviso School. At the end of these first five years, Mr. Burrell was given a state educational certificate entitling him to teach for six years more in California without further examinations or credentials; but by this time he had concluded that he could render society a greater service in other fields. While teaching, he had bought eleven acres of raw land south of alviso, and he now began its development. He did almost all the work himself, and practiced many self-denials in order to get his land paid for; and in the arduous work of setting out fruit trees and berry plants and bushes, he experience many discourage-ments such as would have induced others with less vision and fortitude to throw up the sponge. But, little by little, he succeeded and gradually as he progressed he added to his holdings, until he had forty-four acres, thirty of which he had set out to fruit trees. He made this palce his home, too, and as he further prepared, he bought the William Erkson ranch of ninety-seven acres, and undertook out another thirty acres of orchard here. These tracts he still owns, as well as the old home ranch of 103 acres, which he purchased from his father's estate, so that with this additional thirty acres of orchard, he has, all in all, some ninety acres of fine orchard, while the balance of his land he devotes to geteal ranching.

Mr. Burrell has certainly made a decided financial, as well as a scientific, success of his agricultural efforts, but to do this, he has had to work very hard and deny himself many pleasures. Often, for example, when the markets ewre unstable, he has had to sell the choicest of pears for tweny-five cents per box, and in addition was compelled to haul them to market. Pears, apples and berries have been his principal fruits; and if, at times, he realized far less in market-price for his products than the labor and worry would justly entitle him to get, he has had the satisfaction of knowing that he not only produced some of the finest fruit in Santa Clara County, for the enjoyment of humanity somewhere, but by such conscientious and highly intelligent methods as he had always employed, after the most careful study of conditions and the latest results of science, he has contributed much to the advancement of California horticulture.

At Santa Clara, on July 14, 1896, Mr. Burrell was united in marriage with Miss Myrtle B. Willis, a native of visalia and the daughter of J. T. and Mabel (Bennett)Willis, both Kentuckians, who came to California--Mr.Willis arriving here as early as 1852. He became a prominent rancher and stockraiser, and did his share to develop California. The families of Bennett and Willis settled in Tulare County, and there Mrs. S Willis died, whereupon Mr. Willis remvoed to a small ranch near Agnew, in 1893, living there, practically retired, until his death. Two of his children survive him--Mrs. Burrell and her brother, H. C. Willis, also of San Jose. Four children have been granted Mr. and Mrs. Burrell; Chester Alton was graduated from Stanford University in 1919, and during the World War he took the training in the R. O. T. C. there. Clyde Everett grauated from the Davis Agricultural school in 1920, and also trained with the R. O. T. C. at Stanford. The other two sons are Kenneth Ray and Howard Russell.

In 1910 Mr. Burrell remvoed to San Jose and built a fine modern house at 196 South Eighth Street, giving every attention to the details of the structure and attaining exceptional results, and there, amidst the comforts he has so justly earned, he is living happily with his family, although he still continues to give his personal supervision to his agricultural enterprises. In matters of national political concern, he marches with the Republican legions, but he is too broad-minded, when it comes to purely local issues, to be partisan, and is among the first to endorse and support what seem to be the best men and the best measures for the communities in which he lives and thrives. He is a member of the San Jose Chamber of Commerce, and with Mrs. Burrell is an active, devoted member of the Baptist Church of Santa Clara. Mrs. Burrell, in addition, is a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and has for years found pleasure in advacing its work and making known its helpful ideals.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 472

SANTA CLARA The Valley of Heart's Delight