The Valley of Heart's Delight


BIO Pen-Pictures,page 252-253

There is no happier lot in the world than that of the proprietor of a land estate, who lives upon his acres and devotes himself to their cultivation--- that is, where the soil is fertile and the climate genial, such as is the case in the Santa Clara Valley. That is the reason why everywhere, throughout the length and breadth of the county, "hill-side and hollow, and the verdant plain," all are dotted with the residences of comport and contentment. One of these delightful cottages, which bespeak at once both thrift and culture, is the Hill Crest Orchard, near the head of Fleming Avenue, in the Mount Pleasant School District, amid the rolling foot-hills that skirt the base of Mount Hamilton. It is the home of Mr. John P. Babb, who owns sixty acres here, twenty-five of which are orchard land, producing apricots, French prunes, and almonds, as also a scattering variety of peaches, apples, plums, cherries, etc. All are thrifty and vigorous, betokening at once careful attention and a favoring soil and location. There is also a small vineyard, including Muscat, Black Hamburg, Flame Tokay, Sweetwater, and Malaga grapes, designed chiefly for table use. The remainder of the ranch is devoted to hay and the raising of live stock, water for every purpose being obtained at a depth of forty feet.

Mr. Babb was married in 1861 to Miss Nettie Hetfield Williams, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. They have two children, Clement E. and Walter W., both at home with their parents, and members of the Young Men's Christian Association, of San Jose. Mr. Babb was born in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, May 28, 1837, the son of John P. and Mary (Shriner) Babb, and is the brother of Rev. Clement E. Babb, D. D., whose interesting biography precedes this. His father died when he was but four years old; his mother died four years after. At the age of twelve years he removed to Indiana, but four years afterward returned to Pennsylvania. When eighteen years old he became a shipping-cleck in the commission house in Cincinnati, afterward learning the duties of a printer; shortly he was promoted to the reportorial staff of the Cincinnati Gazette. In 1860 he engaged in farming in Jennings County, Indiana, continuing there until 1874, when he came to this county in California and purchased the valuable ranch where he now resides, which at that time was wholly unimproved.

He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of San Jose, being one of its Deacons, his whole family being also members in good standing of that church.

During the war he was a Sergeant in Company B, 137th Indiana Volunteers, entering the service in 1864. He remained until the close of the struggle, being on detached service in the Commissary Department at Tullahoma, Tennessee, and having charge of the books of that department. After the conclusion of hostilities he received an honorable discharge.

It should be further stated that Mrs. Babb's parents were named John M. and Catherine J. (Lane) Williams; her father was of a good New Jersey family, and is still living, residing near Wrights, Santa Cruz Mountains. Her mother, a native of Ohio, died when Mrs. Babb was quite young.

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 252-253 transcribed by Carol Lackey


SANTA CLARA COUNTY -The Valley of Heart's Delight

Aug 3, 2005