HUGH A. LEIGH
SURNAMES: GODFREY, Mc BAIN, RODGERS
one of the leading horticulturists of the Cambrian District, residing at the head of Leigh Avenue, near the old bed of the Los Gatos Creek, was born on the island of Jersey, in the English Channel, December 21, 1855. His father, Dr. Alexander Leigh, was Surgeon of the Sixtieth Rifles of the Queen's Army for many years, and his father had been an army surgeon during his active life. Dr. Alexander Leigh resigned his Commission for a more quiet practice on the beautiful Jersey Island. There his useful life ended in 1870. His widow (formerly Miss D. H. Godfrey) was left with ample means to care for herself and her two children, Hugh A. and Teresa.
Before his father's death, Hugh A. Leigh, whose name heads this sketch, became
enamored of the sea, and entered upon a seafaring life, which he followed until
his determination to make this State his home became fixed. This determination
was reached in 1872, when, upon the arrival of his vessel at San Francisco, from
Hongkong, he employed his leisure time in looking over the country, with which
he was delighted. Upon the arrival of his vessel at England, he left the
service, and, after spending two months with his mother at his childhood home,
he re-embarked for New York city. Thence he went to San Francisco, reaching that
city during Christmas week, in 1873. For a short time after his arrival, Mr.
Leigh made his temporary home at Mountain View, in this county. In July, 1874,
his mother, Mrs. D. H. Leigh, with her daughter, came from England and joined
him. They then bought 180 acres of choice fruit land, in the Cambrian District,
where they now make their home.
For this property, upon which Mr. Leigh and his mother yet reside, they paid $16,300 in cash. The land was under cultivation, and had been devoted to grain-raising and general farming for several years before they purchased it. Mr. Leigh followed the same system, but, not being satisfied with the results, he began tree-planting in 1881, when an orchard of fifteen acres was set. To this thirty acres was added in 1883, twenty acres during the following year, and during the succeeding period the size of the orchard has been increased more or less each year. At the present time (1888) the orchard comprises sixty acres, as the fifteen acres planted in 1881 were sold in the autumn of the following year, at $300 per acre. During the same season, seven ten-acre tracts and one tract of five acres were sold, at $200 per acre. A twenty-acre tract has also been disposed of. All of the property which has been sold is now covered with flourishing orchards. The homestead, which is rightly considered one of the finest horticultural possessions in the district, now comprises seventy acres, of which (as before stated) sixty acres are devoted to fruit culture. Prunes and apricots are the leading fruits, while peaches, pears, and a variety of plums are found on the place. Twenty English walnut trees, thirtythree years old, add the grace of their handsome foliage to the orchard. In 1887 forty-nine tons of apricots were gathered from 1000 trees, of which one-half were three and one-half four years old. This large yield realized nearly $1,500, During the same season, $300 worth of fruit was sold from 180 peach trees. Mr. Leigh has had much to do with advancing the horticultural interests of his district, and his fine orchard shows to the best advantage the capability of the soil of Santa Clara County for fruit culture.
At San Jose, on the tenth of February, 1881, Mr. Leigh married Miss Agnes McBain, a native of Quebec, Canada East. They have two children: Alice D., who was born November 11, 1883, and May Agnes, born May 1, 1888. Mr. Leigh's only sister, Theresa, is now the wife of George Rodgers.
Mr. Leigh is a member of San Jose Lodge, No. 10, F. & A. M., and of Howard
Chapter. He is also identified with the British Benevolent Society at San
Francisco. The Leighs are all members of the Church of England.
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.
Pg. 489-490SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHY PROJECT
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight