Santa Clara Valley


The first enumeration of the inhabitants of the pueblo of San Jose was taken in 1831 and showed 166 men, 145 women, 103 boys and 110 girls, making a total of 524. Overland travel to California did not commence until the forties.  The first foreigner to locate in this valley was John Gilroy, who was a sailor on board a vessel belonging to the Hudson Bay Company that touched at Monterey in 1814.  He was a Scotchman and the causes for his abandoning ship are differently stated.  One report was that he had a quarrel with one fo the officers and deserted, while it is just as positively stated that he had a severe attack of scurvy and was left on shore to be cured.  However that might have been it is well authenticated that in the same year, he found his way into the Santa Clara Valley, locating at San Ysidro, afterward named Gilroy.  He was hospitably entertained and finally married in to the wealth family of the Ortegas.  He was a man of great force of character and accumulated a large property in lands and cattle but died poor in 1869.

In 1818 there came to San Jose a man whose names is historic in this community, Don Antonio Sunol.  He was a native of Barcelona, Spain, but had served in the French navy under the First Empire.  He was an officer of distinction and was present when Napoleon surrendered after Waterloo.  He then sough the New World and settled in Santa Clara Valley where he achieved distinction, wealth and respect.  He died in San Jose in 1865.

The first citizen of the United States to settle in Santa Clara Valley was Philip Doak.  He was a block and tackle maker employed on a whaling vessel.  Leaving salt water at Monterey in 1822 he journeyed northward to settle near Gilroy.  His home was on the ranch of Mariano Castro, one of those daughters he afterward married.  Matthew Fellom came to the valley the same years and located near San Ysidro, or old Gilroy as it was afterward called.  Fellom was a Dane and like Doak was a whaler.  He left his vessel at one of the northern ports and made his way overland to the Santa Clara Valley.  He died in 1873.

Theses are the only foreigners, of which there is record, who were living in the valley up to 1830, if William Willis, an Englishman, is excepted. He was known to be in the pueblo in 1828, but his subsequent history is not known.  It has been estimated that in 1830 there were not more than 100 foreigners in the whole of California.  John Burton came to San Jose in 1830.  He was afterward alcalde of the pueblo.  Harry Bee, who died in San Jose in 1897 as the oldest pioneer in the county, came to the Valley in 1833.  He had been in the state seven years, having landed at Monterey as an English sailor in 1827.  He was born in 1809 and during the Mexican War acted as scout and courier for Commodore Sloat.  In the same yar came William Gulnac, James Alexander Forbes, James Weekes, Nicolas Dodero, John Price, WIlliam Smith, George Fergus, Thomas Pepper, a man called "Blind Tom", William Welsh, Charles Brown and "Moche Dan."  Thomas Brown and William Daily came in 1834.  OF these several were prominent either in the early days of in the later history of California.  Gulnac was for many years major domo at the Mission of  San Jose in Alameda county.  He married a daughter of the  Cesenas.  Forbes was vice- counsul for Great Britian.  Weekes  served as Alcalde in 1847.  In 1838 Henry Woods and Lawrence Carmichael arrived.

These people all came by vessel and chance decided their location.  They affiliated with the Spanish population, in many cases marrying into the their families, and adopting, to a great extent, the Spanish customs and modes of living.  Overland travel commenced about 1841.  Even before this time settlements have been made in Oregon, and that country was much better known than California.  For this reason, and because California was a foreign country, all the overland trains were pointed to Oregon.  Some of these trains having reached the Sierras and hearing something of California, came here instead.  In 1841 Josiah Belden, Charles M. Weber and Grove C. Cook came overland, as did Henry Pitts, Peter Springer, William Wiggins and James Rock.  IN 843 Major S. J. Hensley, Julius Martin, Thomas J. Shadden and Winston Bennett  made the trip across the plains.  The advent of this party was an important incident, as with it came three women, wives of Martin, Shadden and Bennett, the first foreign women to settle in this district.  In 1844 came the Murphy party and captain Stephens.  The Murphy part consisted of Martin Murphy, Sr.; his wife, five sons and two daughters; James Miller, afterwards an honored resident ot Marin County' Dr. John Townsend, and wife Moses Shallenberger, father of Margaret Schallenberger McNaught, now State Commissioner of Education; Joseph Foster, Mr. Hitchcock and family; Thomas Hudson, Clemente Columbet and Martin Corcoran.  Mr. Townsend and his wife died of cholera in 1850; and Martin Murphy, Sr., passed away in 1865.   In 1845 Frank Lightston, J. Washburn, William O'Connor, W. C. Wilson, John Daubenbiss and James Stokes came to the county.  IN 1846 the arrivals were Isaac Branham, Jacob D. Hoppe., Charles White, Joseph Aram, Zachariah Jones, James F. Reed, George Donner and his two sisters; Arthur Caldwell, William Daniles, Samuel Young,. A A. Hecox, William Hunt, William Fisher, Edward Pyle and their families; Wesley Hoover and John Whisman and wives; William and Thomas Campbell and their families; Peter Quincy and family; Thomas Kell, Thomas West and four sons; John Snyder, S. R. Moultrie, Williiam J. Parr, Joseph A. Lard, Mrs. W. H. Lowe, Mrs. E. Markham, L. C. Young, R. J. Young, M.D Young, S. Cc Young, Samuel Q. Broughton, R. F. Peckham, Z. Rochon, Joseph Stillwell, George Cross, Ramon S. Cesena, M. Holloway, Edward Johnson, Mrs. Martha J. Lewis and James Enright.  Of course there are  many more arrivals but their names cannot be obtained from the records and personal recollections of the pioneer who are living at the present time.



  Sawyer, Eugene T,History of Santa Clara County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present
Los Angeles, Calif.: Historic Record Co., 1922, 1776 pgs.
Page 42, 43
Transcribed by CDF