The Valley of Heart's Delight
JOHN D. SHAFTER
SURNAMES: DEAN, RICHMOND, BOTHWELL,
This well-known and highly respected resident of Santa Clara County is
a native of Vermont, having been born in Athens of that State, in 1820.
His parents, John L. and Ruth (Dean) Shafter, were both natives of
Vermont, living on a farm which they owned at Athens, and where they
died and are buried, the mother dying in 1866, aged seventy-eight
years; the father in 1868, aged eighty-one years. Mr. Shafter's
paternal grandfather was born in England in 1759, removing to the
United States with his parents when quite young. He became a soldier in
the War of the Revolution, and later represented his district for many
years in the State Legislature. The maternal grandfather was of English
descent. Mr. Shafter attended the district schools of his native place
and worked on his father's farm until the breaking out of the gold
fever in California, when, with others composing a stock company who
bought the ship Regulus, he came to California by way of Cape Horn.
Captain Bradford was the ship's commander, and they were 210 days in
making the trip, arriving safely in San Francisco October 10, 1849.
They had loaded the ship with provisions, with the timbers of a house
ready to put up upon its arrival, to be used for mercantile purposes,
and also with freight for others. On their arrival, however, they
abandoned their plan of operating together as a company, and sold their
house and provisions. The ship was taken to Benicia and anchored there,
to be used as a home in case any of the owners should have occasion to
use it as such, on account of sickness or other cause. Their chests and
other effects were stowed in the ship, which was then left in charge of
two keepers. These guardians afterward sold the vessel without
authority, appropriated the proceeds, and returned to Massachusetts.
Mr. Shafter, with others, went to the mines, working in El Dorado
County until the spring of 1852, with the usual average results, when
he returned to the old farm in Vermont to take care of his father and
mother. Perhaps another motive was mingled with filial duty, as he was
married in September of 1852 to Miss Susan Richmond, a native of the
same town. There were born to them three children: Frank R., now
engaged in fruit-raising in Santa Clara County; Florence R., wife of
Charles Bothwell, of San Jose, and Minnie, who died in San Francisco in
1862. Mr. Shafter lived on the Vermont farm from 1852 to 1859, his
eldest child being born there; the other two were born at Point Reyes,
California. In 1859 Mr. Shafter returned with his family to California,
and took charge of the celebrated Point Reyes Ranch
for its owners. Here he lived for five years, improving the ranch and
developing the dairy industry at that point. In 1864 he rented a ranch
at Point Reyes, and, buying stock, commenced dairying on his own
account, being quite successful, until he sold out, in 1869. He then
took his family for a visit to the old home in Vermont, his parents
having died in the meantime. In the summer of 1870 he returned to
California, coming to the Santa Clara Valley, where he purchased the "Fred Hall Ranch," containing 5,400 acres, in Hall's Valley,
at the foot of Mount Hamilton. He engaged in stock-raising on this
ranch until 1883, when he sold this property and has since lived in San
Jose, his residence being at 443 South Fifth Street.
Mr. Shafter has been a Republican since the formation of the party,
first being a member of the Free-Soil party from its organization. Mrs.
Shafter had two half-brothers, who did good service in the late Civil
War, one of them now enjoying a pension from the government on account
of disability caused by service at Port Hudson, Louisiana. Her
grandfather was in the Revolutionary War from Massachusetts. The
grandparents of both Mr. and Mrs. Shafter were among the early pioneers
of the section of Vermont.
SOURCE: 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. page 256-257 Transcribed by Carol Lackey
SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHIES
SANTA CLARA COUNTY-The Valley of Heart's Delight