Bio-Pen Pictures

Surnames: PHIPPS,
Frank R. Shafter, who resides on Stevens Creek road, in the Meridian District, three miles from San Jose owns a very finely improved property of forty acres, which he purchased March 2, 1883.  It was originally part of 160 acres entered as government land by Asa Gruwell.  The place was in a sad condition when bought by Mr. Shafter, and had nothing to commend it but the superior quality of its soil.  Three hundred trees had been planted, but neglect had greatly decreased the number, and the house, though quite large, has been almost entirely rebuilt since Mr. Shafter purchased the property.  The other fine general building improvements are entirely his work.  With the exception of a few acres, which are reserved for drying purposes, the property is now all in fruit trees, the orchard covering thirty-six acres.  At the present time (1888) there are 2,000 French prune trees, four years old, 850 apricot trees of the same age, 450 peach trees, and 76 Bartlett pear trees, besides a general variety of fruits for domestic use.  Some idea of the thrifty condition of this large orchard may be obtained by the following estimate: In 1887, the apricot trees (then three years old) produced $781 worth of fruit, and in the same year, and at the same age, the 450 peach trees yielded a crop which sold for $611, while the peach crop of the preceding year realized the sum of $254.

Mr. Shafter is also extensively engage in fruit drying, handling his own fruit and buying of others.  The dimensions of the building in which he conducted the business in 1887 are 24x48 feet, and for the present season he has added a building 30x48 feet, with a six-foot porch nearly encircling the building.  With these increased facilities for the business, he will add largely to the profits thereof.

The subject of our sketch dates his birth in Athens, Windham County, Vermont, September 19, 1854.  He is the son of J.D. and S.G. Shafter (whose history appears elsewhere in this book), now residents of San Jose.  He was brought by his parents to this state in 1859, they living from that time until 1869 in Marin County, whence they removed to Hall’s Valley, in Santa Clara County.  There they made their home for thirteen years before becoming residents of San Jose.  Mr. Shafter married, April 26, 1882, Miss Frances Phipps.  Two daughters have been born to them, Lottie Ruth and Bertha Ray.

Politically Mr. Shafter is identified with the Republican party.  A thorough master of his business, he is bound to make a success of it, financially and in every way.  The same energy which has enabled him to convert the neglected, uninviting place into a thriving fruit ranch, profitable to its owner, and pleasing to the eye of every passer-by, he carries into every branch of his growing business.  The rapidity and thoroughness with which he has wrought the great change augurs well for the future prospects of the ranch and its owner.

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.  p. 456, 457

Transcribed by Debbie Combs


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight