SURNAMES: SNYDER, TRAVIS
one of the pioneer men of Almaden Township, is the proprietor of Valley View Farm, at the head of Union Avenue, in the Union District. He dates his birth in Summit County, Ohio, four miles from Akron, September 20, 1836. He is the son of James and Susannah (Snyder) Hamilton. The family removed from Ohio to Michigan in 1844, making the township of Florence, in St. Joseph County, their permanent home. The father died in the March following their settlement there, but the mother reached the ripe old age of eighty‑four years, dying in 1878, in the place which had been her home for so many years. There, two unmarried sons and one daughter now live. Eleven children were reared to manhood and womanhood in that county. Frank Hamilton left the old home with its large circle of family friends, when eighteen years of age, to come to far-off California. Leaving New York, February 16, 1854, on the Atlantic steamer, George Law, by the Isthmus of Panama, he reached San Francisco April 22, traversing the Pacific waters on the steamer John L. Stevens. He engaged in placer mining in Nevada County until June, and in July visited Santa Clara County. Later in the year he again worked at mining at New Orleans Flat, remaining there for fourteen months, when he returned to Santa Clara Valley, and, investing in real estate, has since made it his home. His first purchase consisted of 160 acres, which adjoined his present property. Selling that tract, he bought 320 acres, of which he has retained 200 acres, and now occupies.
At one time he owned what is now part of the Lone Hill Vineyard. During 1864 and 1865 Mr. Hamilton was engaged in freighting, being the proprietor of a line between Sacramento, Virginia City, and Reese River. Often horses were attached to one wagon, which at times would contain a load of 25,000 pounds. Mr. Hamilton owned the finest team that was ever driven from Santa Clara County. He has been largely interested in wheat-raising, having as a renter worked many of the large grain ranches of the valley. He states that he has disbursed for hired labor alone, in the production of grain, over $75,000. The large ranch which he now owns is devoted to general farming, there being this year (1888) 500 acres in grain. In 1870 Mr. Hamilton had the misfortune to lose his fine residence by fire, and as it was entirely without insurance the loss was a severe one, but with characteristic energy he at once had a house erected 20x30 feet, of which he took possession just eleven days after the fire!
In 1875 the subject of our sketch, for the first time in twenty-one years, visited his mother and her family in Michigan. On his return he brought back with him a car load of peppermint roots, which he planted in thirty-five acres about eight miles north of San Jose. A rise in the Coyote River nearly swept the entire field into the bay; still enough was left from which to manufacture 250 pounds of peppermint oil, which was sold at $3.00 per pound. He is supposed to be the only man in the State who has ever grown the plant or manufactured the oil.
He married, in 1861, Miss Alice Travis, a native of New York. Five children were born to them, of whom four are living, one son, Frank, having died in infancy. William was born June 26, 1862; Walter, August 26, 1864; Sadie, 1867; and Stella, April 22, 1880. The children are, as yet, members of their father's household. Mr. Hamilton is a member of Mt. Hamilton Lodge, San Jose, A. O. U. W. Politically, he is identified with the Republican party.
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.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight