1888 Bio

 Bio-Pen Pictures

        Among the historical families of Santa Clara County are the Berreyessas, to which the subject of this sketch belongs. He dates his birth November 9, 1841, at the old mission of San Jose. His parents were Carlos Antonio and Josefa (Galindo) Berreyessa. His grandfather, Nicholas Berreyessa, emigrated from Mexico to Santa Clara County over 100 years ago. His mother's father, Crisostomo Galindo, who died in 1877 at an advanced age of 106 years, was born in Santa Clara County, his father having emigrated from Mexico prior to the establishment of the missions in this county. Mr. Berreyessa was reared to farm life and stock-raising; his education was entirely neglected, but in later years he educated himself. After starting in life for himself, Mr. Berreyessa was not satisfied with the life of a farmer, and engaged in other pursuits, among which was that of threshing grain, and by his industry and economy, combined with his acquired business habits, was able to purchase a threshing-machine, engine, etc., and for many years has been actively engaged in this calling.

        In 1873 Mr. Berreyessa was united in marriage with Miss Helena Agnes Davis, the daughter of Thomas and Ellen (Herron) Davis Her father was a native of England, but at the time of her marriage was a resident of Virginia City, Nevada. Her mother was of Irish descent; she died when Mrs. Berreyessa was but three years of age. From the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Berreyessa four children have been born, viz.: Josephine Agnes, December 31, 1876; Mary Catherine, February 13, 1879; Mary Elizabeth, March 20, 1881; and Frederick, November 10, 1885. Mr. Berreyessa is a consistent Catholic. In politics he is a strong Republican, one who takes an intelligent interest in the political affairs of his county. He is among the few representatives of the old Californian or Mexican families that have been able to thoroughly Americanize themselves. He is deeply interested in the growth and prosperity of the county, and is ever ready to render all the aid in his power to any enterprise for the advancement of the section in which he resides. Mr. Berreyessa is the owner of, and resides upon, a tract of thirty-five acres, situated in the Berreyessa School District, on the Schweigert road. This is mostly hill land, and is devoted to hay, grain, and stock-raising. He has some fine Norman horses, though the greater part of his stock is of the common breeds.

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. 488-489

1922 Bio


A family with a most interesting history is that of Jose J. Berryessa, who was born in the old Mission of San Jose on November 9, 1842, the son of Carlos Antonio Berryessa, who had married Miss Josefa Galindo. Nicholas Berryessa, the great-grandfather of our subject, came from Spain around Cape Horn about 1765 and settled in Old Mexico—that is, he tried to settle there, but found that he could not do so with advantage, on account of the wild tribes there. He therefore pushed north into California, and pitched his tent in the Santa Clara Valley. Grandfather Berryessa was also named Nicholas, and was born in this county and died here. Juan Crisostomo Galindo, the maternal grandfather, who died in 1877 at the age of 106 years, was born in Santa Clara County, the great-grandfather having migrated to California prior to the founding of the Missions in this county, when the inhabitants were Indians and wild animals roamed the plains and mountains. Mr. Berryessa remembers when stock became so numerous that they had to gather them in corrals to be killed for the hides- and tallow so as to give feed for the remainder. After coming here, the Berryessas and the Galindos acquired large portions of land, section after section, in fact all the land that lies between the present eastern limits of San Jose and the mountains to the east, and as far north as Milpitas. In after years, this great area was designated in a Spanish grant; but when the Easterners came to California, the Berryessas lost out through the treachery of one of their family. Carlos Berryessa then bought some of the same land, and later still about one-quarter of a section, from the Pueblo, and there the parents resided until they died. Don Jose is the eldest of their family of eight children, five now living.

Mr. Berryessa was reared to farm life and stock-raising, one result of which was that his schooling was entirely neglected. This deficiency he partly made good in after life. He remained at home with his father until he was thirty-one years of age, although he was not satisfied with the life of a farmer. Then he engaged in other pursuits, and among them he took up the threshing of grain; and by his industry and economy, together with his acquired business habits, he was able to purchase a threshing machine, engine, etc., and for many years he has been actively engaged in this line of work. He owns thirty-six acres of the old Berryessa land, which he bought from an uncle, devoted to the cultivation. of prunes and general farming, and in 1908 he removed from this ranch to San Jose' and retired, and now rents his ranch. He used to raise fine Norman horses and roadsters on these trim thirty-five acres, and with the little ranch are interwoven cherished memories.

At Berryessa, on November 1, 1873, Mr. Berryessa was married to Miss Helena Agnes Davis, born in San Francisco, the daughter of Thomas and Ellen (Herron) Davis. Her father was a native of England, but at the time of her marriage, he resided in Virginia City, Nev. Her mother, who died when Mrs. Berryessa was only three years old, was of Irish descent. Helena Agnes received her education in the convent in Santa Clara. Eight children were born of this union: Josephine Agnes became the wife of Walter Schlosser, a government electrician living in the State of Washington; they have one child, Mildred. Mary Catherine is Mrs. J. E. Tetrault of Porterville; Mary Elizabeth is Mrs. Martin Haley, of Berryessa; she is the mother of one girl, Catherine; Frederick married Miss Lillian Williams, a San Jose girl, and the daughter of Michael and Anna (Farrell) Williams, who came to California in 1870 by way of the Isthmus of Panama route, from Dubuque, Iowa; Frederick is in the laundry business in San Jose, and he and his wife have two children—May Edith and James Lochr. Arthur was in the U. S. army during the war, but now employed at Mountain View; Walter is married to. Edna Stackhouse. They live in San Francisco and have one child, Eugenia; Neva is living at home, and Albert is at San Jose. The Berryessas are of especial interest, perhaps, because they are among the few California native families to thoroughly Americanize themselves, so ',that they have long taken an active part in politics. Mrs. Berryessa died March 17, 1902, mourned by a large circle of friends. Mr. Berryessa is a Republican, and under the banners of that party has sought to do what he could to effect civic reforms. He is a member of Santa Clara County Pioneer Society.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1094