A leading orchardist of the Santa Clara Valley, whose schooling was limited to seven days in his entire life, but who has succeeded far beyond many men more generously schooled, is John Svilich. He was born on the Island of Lissa, Dalmatia, November 30, 1861, a son of Martin and Victoria (Vidovich) Svilich, both born in Dalmatia. The father was a shoemaker and the family lived on a farm. There were two sons in the family: Vincent was a rancher in Santa Clara County until he became blind and now lives in Oakland, and John, the subject of this sketch. Early in life John began to work on farms about the home neighborhood, and before coming to the United States he was in the Austrian army for four years. When he arrived in America, in 1889, he first settled in Portland, Ore., and remained there for six months, then came to Santa Clara County. Cal. Four months of each season he spent in Washington and Oregon fishing in the Columbia River district and during the winter worked on ranches and five years was thus consumed; then for four years more he worked on ranches in various parts of Santa. Clara County and by good management and economy accumulated sufficient money to lease a twenty-acre farm on the Boity Road, and was engaged in fruit raising for eight years. In 1906 he purchased a twenty-acre ranch on the Homestead Road about one-half mile west of the Collins School; then he added five acres to his ranch bought from Mr. Calvert; later purchased ten acres adjoining in the D. C. Milligan subdivision. In 1919 he bought the Wolff place of thirty-one acres, sixty-six acres in all, a full-bearing orchard devoted to prunes, apricots, peaches and cherries. He has his own irrigating plant and the water is piped to the different parts of his ranch, and with the best of cultivation, his ranch is paying a fine profit. He is also engaged in buying, drying and selling fruit to packers, while he ships cherries to Eastern markets.

Mr. Svilich was married in Lissa, Dalmatia, on November 15, 1884, to Miss Irene Mardisich, the daughter of Joseph and Frances (Bonomo) Mardisich, all natives of Dalmatia. Joseph Mardisich was a soldier in the Austrian army most of his life. Mrs. Svilich is the youngest of a family of three children: Mitchell, Antonette, who died in infancy, and Irene. She was reared and educated in her native place and has been an able helpmate to her husband, encouraging and assisting him to gain his ambition. They have five living children and there are seven grandchildren: Victoria is Mrs. Mariani, the wife of a rancher in the Cupertino district, who are now visiting the old home place in Dalmatia, they have four children—Winifred, Irene, Matilda and Paul; Antonette is Mrs. Labrovich, the wife of a rancher on Fremont and Saratoga roads, and they have three children—Mary, Irene and Archibald; Joseph and William are assisting the father, while Peter is going to school. Mr. Svilich has devoted his time to the cultivation and beautifying of his ranch and has brought it to a high state of development.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1438

OBIT of Margaret Mardesich


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight