Alum Rock Park


A rancher whose splendid success has been attained through his years of indus­try, a self-made man in the true sense of the word, is James Hansen, who is located about four miles east of Milpitas, on the Calaveras Valley Road. He was born in Denmark, September 23, 1865, the son of Frederick and Maria Hansen, the eldest of their three children, the others being Mary C. and Johannes Christian; the latter fought all through the World War in the German Army but was never wounded; he now lives in Schleswig-Holstein. The father served in the Danish Army during the wars of 1864 and 1870, and he, too, came through without any injury. Mrs. Hansen passed away in May, 1873, when James was not yet eight years old, and after his father's second marriage he remained at home only seven months, starting out at the age of nine to make his own way in the world, and he has done so ever since. He was confirmed in the Lutheran Church when he was fourteen and that ended his school days, as two weeks later, on April 18, 1880, with his few belongings packed in a bundle, he bade good-bye to his grandmother, Maria C. (Ferdinand) Hansen, who had shown him many kindnesses, and started on his voyage across the Atlantic. Landing at Castle Garden, New York, after a two weeks' voyage. Two days later he started for California, reaching San Francisco on May 18, 1880, just a month after leaving his home. Here he was met by his uncle, Lawrence Martin Hansen, who had generously sent him the money to make the trip, and the same day he accompanied his uncle to the latter's ranch near Mil­pitas, in the Laguna Valley.

Here he attended school and worked on his uncle's ranch for two years to pay back the $110 his trip had cost. Later he was employed on other ranches in the neighborhood and then he rented his uncle's ranch of sixty-one acres at Milpitas during the years 1888-1890. Afterwards he rented the 500-acre stock ranch owned by his uncle and which was located two miles above Alum Rock Park; here he engaged in stock raising on shares and was so engaged at the time of his uncle's sudden death, in 1890. James Hansen was appointed administrator of the estate. and when the sixty-one acre ranch was sold to pay the indebtedness of the estate, he bought it in, the 500-acre stock ranch going to Lawrence M. Hansen's mother, the grandmother of our subject.

It was on this sixty-one acre ranch that Mr. Han­sen got his first real start. He farmed it to hay and grain and by his good management and industry he began to accumulate a competence, purchasing sev­eral ranches, until he became the owner of 720 acres on the Calaveras Valley Road, part of which he has already given to his two sons, both of whom are very capable in all kinds of ranch work, as well as blacksmithing, horseshoeing and machinery repairing, Mr. Hansen having always maintained a machine and blacksmith shop on his place. In 1894 he was married to Miss Euphemia Brandt, a sister of Edward and Charles Brandt, and a member of a pioneer family that settled near Milpitas in 1863, and there she and her brothers were born. She was a beautiful and talented woman, and her death on February 3, 1917, brought the deepest sorrow to her family and a large circle of friends, who will ever remember her as a true wife and loving mother, a kind neighbor and a noble woman. She left three children, the eldest being Lawrence J., who married Miss Lucile Heine, and they have three children—Carol Mercedes, Marie and Catherine Phyllis; he is the owner of a prune orchard on Cypress Avenue, four miles west of San Jose; Edward C., who runs the home place of 720 acres, rendered valuable services to his country during the World War as an instructor in the government horseshoeing school of the Three Hundred Thirty-second Field Remount, and was stationed at Camp Fremont when the armistice was signed; Myrtle Mary, called Mabel, is the wife of Herman J. Dunkel, a prosperous raisin grower near Fresno, and they have a son, Darmon Edward.

On October 21, 1919, Mr. Hansen's second marriage occurred, when he was united with Mrs. Mary E. (Smith) Papson, who was born near Middletown, Lake County, Cal., a daughter of Nathan and Julia (Stephens) Smith; the former, who was born in Ohio, came as a boy to California with his parents, James Hartford and Elizabeth (Tribby) Smith. Mrs. Hansen was reared near Upper Lake, Lake County, and there she was first married to George W. Pap-son, who was born near Berryessa, Santa Clara County, a son of William and Matilda A. (Freer) Papson, very early settlers of this county. By this marriage she became the mother of five children, four now living: George Raymond, a rancher in Santa Clara County; Verona K.; Ina A., the wife of F. M. Vermillion, has one child, Evelyn; Earl W. Mr. and Mrs. Hansen now make their home on a fruit ranch of thirty-three acres one mile south of Berryessa, on Capitol Avenue, where they have a comfortable country residence. They are members of St. Mary's Catholic Church, San Jose, and are held in high respect by their many friends. Mr. Hansen has indeed made a wonderful success and he is now enjoying the rewards of his well-spent years.

Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1096


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight