BIO- Pen Pictures


one of the leading exponents of the fruit industry of Santa Clara County, is it the subject of this sketch.  Coming to this valley in 1849, observing the gradual unfolding of the resources of the section, and grasping, with a keenly intuitive instinct, its wonderful possibilities, he has always been foremost in advocating and illustrating these possibilities by personal exertion.  Mr. Flickinger was born in Germany in 1830, but from a child reared in Erie, Pennsylvania.  His parents, Adam and Katie (Hechtman) Flickinger, were long residents of Erie, and owned a farm near the place,  HE received his early education in the usual neighborhood schools, later attending for two years an academy in Erie.

At the age of nineteen, attracted by the wonderful  stories told of the then almost unknown California and its treasures of gold, he  went to New York and took passage for this State, around Cape Horn, on the bark Clyde, which left port on the twenty-fourth of April, 1849.  On the trip, wile off the Cape, they encountered a terrible snow-storm, which encrusted the sails and cordage with ice, and froze the rudder, causing the ship to drift for twenty days toward the south pole, during which time of anxiety they were imperiled by floating icebergs, and so near exhausting their provisions that the passengers and crew were put on an allowance of one hard-tack cracker and cup of water per day! Fortunately, the wind changed and they weathered the Cape, reaching Valpariso on the first of August, where they remained three weeks to recruit, and provision the ship, arriving at last in San Franciso on the first of November, 1849.

Mr. Flickinger came to San Jose in December, the "Legislature of a thousand drinks" being then in session.  He at once opened a meat market, which he kept through the winter,  When the Legislature adjourned he went to the mines, where he remained until September, 1850, when he returned to his San Jose meat market.  In the spring of 1851 he extended his business to general merchandising, in which he continued two years, when he closed this and went into the wholesale cattle business, exclusively. He continued in this until April, 1886, when he went into the fruit-canning business.  In 1880 he had purchased part of the land which he now has in orchard, adding to it at different times until he has now two hundred and fifty acres on Berryessa Avenue and Lundy's Lane, on which he has planted twenty-five thousand trees, -one thousand cherries, eight thousand apricots, ten thousand peaches, and six thousand prunes, of which in 1887, about fifteen thousand were in bearing.

When he purchased this land it was in pasture, grain, and mustard, and honeycombed by squirrels and gophers , and di not pay current expenses and taxes.  He immediately inaugurate a revolution,- planted his orchard, fought squirrels and gophers, spent money lavishly, but judiciously, until, as a result of his efforts, in 1887, in his cannery and drying establishment he employed over four hundred persons, turning out of the orchard goods that sold for over $100,000.  These are some of the results  which can be obtained in Santa Clara County by well-directed effort combined with pluck and knowledge.  The cost of his canning and drying plant has been about $20,000.

In 1858 Mr. Flickinger was married to Miss Mary A. Smith, a native of New York, her parents being Dr. China and Parnell (Hall) Smith, who came to California, from Rochester, New York, in 1855.  Dr. Smith died in 1885, aged eighty yeras, and his wife in 1880.  Both died in and were buried at San Jose.  There have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Flickinger five children; Katie and Charles S. (twins), born in 1860, the former now the wife of L. F. Graham, of  San Luis Obispo, and the latter in business with his father; H. A., born in 1864, also in business with his father; Nellie, born in 1868, now the wife of J. R. Patton; Sarah, bornin 1870, attending, in 1888, the Normal School.  Mr. Flickinger's father, who is now (1888) over eighty years of age, is still living on the old homestead in Erie, Pennsylvania; his mother died in 1862.  He has been a member of the I.O.O. F. Lodge, No. 34, San Jose.  In 1856 he joined the Republican party, helping to carry this coutnty for Fremont and Dayton, and has worked in this harness ever since.  He believes in the  fullest protection of American industries.

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 177-178
transcribed by CDF