Well-Borer, Santa Clara County

BIO- Pen Pictures, James Thomas Courtney,
SURNAMES: Tobin, Coughlin

James Thomas Courtney dates his birth in Salem, Massachusetts, November 11, 1835. His father, James E. Courtney, was a native of Meath county, Ireland, his mother, Catharine (Tobin) Courtney, was born in Quebec, Canada East. Until the age of seventeen years Mr. Courtney attended school. In 1840 the family moved to Cayuga County, New York, where James T. resided until he came to California, in 1859. In 1852 he engaged himself as a locomotive fireman on the railroad from Auburn to Syracuse, New York. After two years of this work he was employed on the Erie Canal, and by his industry and attention to business became the owner and captain of a canal-boat before he was twenty-one years of age. He continued this occupation until 1857, when he entered the railroad employ and learned the trade of engineer, at which he worked until 1859. In that year he came by the Isthmus route to California and located in Tehama County, engaging in farm work and teaming, after which he went to Butte County, where he was an engineer in a lumber mill until 1862. He then made a trip to Oregon, and for some months was prospecting for gold on the Powder River. Not meeting with the desired success, he returned to California, and located in Santa Clara County. For the next seven years Mr. Courtney was engaged in various occupations. He worked at farm labor, and was also an engineer in Moody's Mills. In 1866 he was the proprietor of the St. George Hotel and in 1887 occupied the same position in the United States Hotel. In 1868 he was one of the builders of the first steam laundry erected in San Jose. In 1869 he entered into business as a well-borer, an occupation which he has successfully and profitably conducted since that date.

In 1870 Mr. Courtney was united in marriage to Miss Annie Coughlin, a native of Ireland. From this marriage there are three children, viz.: James E., John H., and Mary C., all of whom are living with their parents, and now (1888) attending school. Mr. Courtney is an industrious and practical mechanic, and by his attention to business and square dealing has secured a fair share of this world's goods. He is the owner of a comfortable home on the corner of Thirteenth and St. John Streets, in San Jose, and a fine farm of two hundred and sixty-eight acres near Mountain View, in this county. In 1885 he purchased a section of land (six hundred and forty acres) in Fresno County, which he still owns. Politically, he is a consistent Republican.

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.Transcribed by Carol Lackey- page 236-237