Gilroy Township

(see bio- 1881)

 B io-Pen Pictures


        The Juristac Ranch, owned by Sargent Brothers, lying in the southern portion of Gilroy Township, is one of the most interesting in the county. It contains over 7,000 acres of beautiful land, divided about equally between hill and valley. On the hill land are the famous " Tar Springs," as they are commonly known. Here are inexhaustible deposits of liquid asphaltum, which in places bubbles from the ground in the manner of water springs. For years the crude deposit has attracted attention, as asphaltum is a valuable material in the useful arts. Some of the best specimens of paving in San Jose were made from the asphaltum obtained from the Sargents place, heating being all the preparation that is required before using. But there are many other purposes besides that of paving for which this substance is useful, and perhaps not the least important of these is its use in the manufacture of illuminating and fuel gas. A process for manufacturing gas from it has been perfected by Mr. E. A. Holloway, of Gilroy, and as soon as his patents are procured, the system will be adopted in that place. Mr. Holloway has already demonstrated the practicability of the process by lighting the streets and business houses of Gilroy with asphaltum gas. This matter is further treated in another portion of this volume.

        The ranch is principally devoted to stock-raising and dairying, though some attention is given to grain-growing. On this place there are about 1,500 Durham or Shorthorn cattle, Mr. Sargent preferring the cross of these two fine breeds of cattle. When he first engaged in the stock business in California, he handled only the common American and Spanish cattle, but since 1872 has been steadily introducing the Durham or Shorthorn. In that year he also engaged in dairying, and his dairy interests are now among the most extensive in the county. Two hundred and fifty cows are kept for this purpose, and an average of twelve flats per day are manufactured all the year round, the output sometimes amounting to seventeen or eighteen per day. The place is splendidly adapted to dairy purposes, and all appointments are complete. The La Brea Creek flows through the ranch, affording a never-failing supply of water for all purposes. On this tract spacious pleasure grounds are laid off in attractive form, and are annually visited by many gatherings of people who come for a day's pleasure. The Southern Pacific Railroad runs through the ranch, and lands passengers at the station, known as Sargents, close by which are the pleasure grounds known as Camp Sargent.

        Mr. J. P. Sargent is a native of Grafton County, New Hampshire, born February 11, 1825. His parents, Jacob and Martha H. (Webster) Sargent, both came of old New England families. When a mere boy, he lost his mother by death, and he started in life for himself at an early age. After a year in Merrimac County, New Hampshire, he went to Massachusetts, in 1843, and was there employed during the winter in driving a milk-cart for an uncle, Hon. J. W. Robertson, living near Quincy, and in the summer in delivering ice in Boston. In 1844 he commenced the ice business on his own account in Boston, in connection with his brother, R. C. Sargent, and there he laid the foundations of a prosperous business career. In 1848 they went West and located in Chicago for the purpose of engaging in the ice trade in that thriving city, and it is of interest to mention that they packed the first ice ever put up in Chicago.

        The temptations of the great gold fever of 1849 were, however, too much for them to resist, and they sold out their business in the city by Lake Michigan, and crossed the plains to California. Locating at Weavertown, El Dorado County, they embarked in mercantile business and mining. In 1850 the subject of this sketch and three brothers engaged in the business of purchasing stock from immigrants, and into this business they drifted more and more until, in 1855, they closed out the store and gave their attention entirely to stock. In 1853 Mr. Sargent came to Santa Clara County and located on the Los Angeles Ranch (now in San Benito County). In 1854 he removed to a tract near Soap Lake, and in 1856 to the Juristac Ranch, where he now resides. The stock firm of Sargent Brothers, of which he is a member, is composed of J. L., R. C., J. P., and B. V. Sargent. For this extensive business a vast acreage is required. They have 25,000 acres in one body in the San Joaquin Valley, and other landed property there. In Monterey County, they have 24,000 acres in two tracts, and they have also a number of other small pieces of land, and on one of their tracts the town of Bradley, an important station on the Southern Pacific Railroad, is located.

        Mr. Sargent was married, in Monterey County, November 4, 1864, to Miss Agnes Bowie, a native of Montreal, Canada, whose parents came to California in 1857, locating at San Juan, where both have since died. Mr. and Mrs. Sargent are the parents of five children, viz.: James A., Ross C., Agnes, Ida, and Louisa.

        Mr. Sargent is a man of marked business ability, as indicated by his progress, making his own start in boyhood, and rising unaided to his present position. He is a Republican, politically, and in 1872 was chosen on that ticket to represent this district in the Legislature of California. He has been for many years a Director of the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Society, and in 1877 was elected its President. It can truthfully be said of Mr. Sargent that, wealthy as he is, and having accumulated his fortune by his own efforts, he has yet ever been free from everything of a sordid nature, and is known as a genial and whole­souled man

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. 665-666



SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight