Among the worthy pioneers of Santa Clara Valley who did much to increase the resources of the county was the late James Fred Payne who was born in Columbia County, N. Y., March 20, 1833, a son of William Payne, who was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1799. John Payne, the paternal grandfather, was also a native of Yorkshire and in 1802 brought his family to New York, locating in Columbia County. William Payne farmed in that county until 1837, when he removed to Schoharie County, where he lived until his demise in 1866, aged sixty-five. His wife was in maidenhood Gertrude Crapser, daughter of John Crapser, a native of New York and a soldier in the War of 1812

  Gertrude (Crapser) Payne. the mother of our subject, lived to be eighty-four years old. She was the mother of seven sons and four daughters, who were given the best education possible of attainment in the country schools of New York state and were reared to habits of industry and usefulness. Until 1855 James Fred, the fifth in his father's family, worked on the home farm and then came to California by way of Panama, locating in Tuolumne County, where he resided until 1858. That year he purchased a farm in the foothills in Santa Clara County. Two years later, in 1867, he located on a farm a mile east of Los Gatos, and in 1873 came to the place that became his permanent home and where his widow still resides. He owned 126 acres of land that he devoted to farming and fruit raising and in time had large orchards devoted to prunes and apricots. He was thrifty and he had good substantial buildings as well as good equipment for caring for the fruit, including a large drier. The grounds around his comfortable residence were well laid out and abounded in flowers, shrubs and trees which are still a monument to his energy.

Mr. Payne was married in Mountain View in 1874, being united with Miss Phoebe McClellan, a native of Missouri, born near Independence in 1848, in which state her father settled after removing from his native home in Tennessee. The McClellan family were pioneers of Santa Clara County. Her parents, William and Eveline (Dickey) McClellan, natives of Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively, crossed the plains to California bringing their children in an ox-team train of seventy wagons. After a trip of six months through the Indian country, they arrived safely in the fall of 1849. After teaming for a while, Mr. McClellan purchased a farm near Mountain View and later on bought and owned several places. among them being the old Captain Stevens ranch for whom Stevens Creek was named. On this place Mr. and Mrs. McClellan resided at the time of their death. They had nine children, seven of whom are living. Mrs. Payne was only six months old when her parents started across the plains in 1849, so she is now among the oldest settlers of Santa Clara County. Mr. Payne died January 25, 1915, mourned by his family and many friends. Since his death his widow continues to reside at the old home, the estate comprising about 100 acres, nearly all in fruit trees. Her son, George C., an able horticulturist, has charge of the orchard, thus relieving her of all care. Mr. and Mrs. Payne were the parents of five children: George C., the manager of the Payne ranch (BIO BELOW) ; Hurley, is also a horticulturist and resides in Campbell; Gertrude E. Howard and Louise are at home. In religion Mrs. Payne is a Presbyterian, and politically a Republican. She is now one of the few pioneers of 1849 that are still living and able to narrate accounts of early days in California.
From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 913



One of Santa Clara's prominent horticulturists is George C. Payne who, with his brothers and sisters, owns and operates a 100-acre ranch on Payne Avenue, about two miles northwest of Campbell, Cal.. where he was born November 28, 1874, on the old home place. He is the son of James F. Payne now deceased, who was born at Hudson, N. Y. on March 26, 1833, and who married Phoebe McClellan, a native of Missouri, and the daughter of William McClellan, who was born in Tennessee.

Grandfather William Payne, a native of England, came to the United States when only a boy. James F. Payne left New York at the age of eighteen and came to California by way of the Isthmus in 1852, and landed in San Francisco. He first went to Sonoma, Tuolumne County, and there mined for some time, then coming to Santa Clara County in 1854, he engaged in farming. His wife, who was born in 1848, crossed the plains when she was only one and a half years old; she is still living at the age of seventy-two years.

James F. Payne first took up government land at Cupertino, then sold it and bought 222 acres one mile from Los Gatos and also bought the place at Campbell where George Payne and his family now live, in 1875. He had 126 acres here, and fifty-nine acres were planted to fruit during his lifetime. He was a very successful man, and was always a stanch adherent of the Republican party. He passed away in January, 1915. Mr. and Mrs. James F. Payne's children were George C., of 'this sketch; Perley B., married Myra Hoag; Gertrude lives on the home place; Frederick, deceased; and Louise and J. Howard, who are twins.

George C. Payne's marriage united him with Helene Schultz who was born in San Jose, a daughter of Professor Charles Schultz of San Jose. They live on the ranch that the children inherited when their father passed away. It now consists of 100 acres and is operated by Mr. Payne and his brother, J. Howard Payne. They are all worthy representatives of their pioneer parents and are striving to put into their work the same good qualities of kindness and goodwill that made their father and grandfather so successful. Mr. Payne is a Republican in politics. He has been a close student of horticulture and has done much experimenting in that line.

He spent one year with Luther Burbank on his famous ranch at Santa Rosa and did most of his hybridizing. For nearly a year he was in Valparaiso, Chile, for W. R. Grace, importers and exporters, looking up the walnut industry of that country and arranging for machinery for grading, bleaching, and packing walnuts. He thoroughly understands grafting, and not only does it on his own place, but for others in the vicinity, and his advice is often sought, for it is well recognized that he is an authority in horticultural matters. He was the first to graft walnuts successfully in a commercial way and his system of walnut grafting has been adopted and is being taught at the Oregon Agricultural College at Corvallis.
from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1664 cdf


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight