The Valley of Heart's Delight


Surnames:  Hassinger, Herbert, Dinsmore, Moody

A native of Nevada, Lillie Blackford is a representative in both the paternal and maternal lines of pioneer families of the state and in San Jose. The Blackford family was established in Virginia during the Colonial period in the history of this country. The paternal grandfather, Samuel Blackford, started across the plains to California with his family in 1850, traveling with ox team and prarie schooner and going by way of Salt Lake Valley. His wife succumbed to the hardships of the journey and passed away ere they reached their destination, while he was kidnapped by Indians, but managed to make his escape and rejoin the party.

He started out with a large number of cattle but ere he reached San Jose these were all stolen from him by cattle rustlers, who left only the ox team. He acquired from the Spanish government a 160-acre ranch on the Los Gatos road, about four miles from San Jose, and on this place he built a good house, devoting his land to the raising of grain and continued active in the management of the farm until his death.

His son, George W. Blackford, was born in Ohio in December, 1843, and he became a member of the second class that was graduated from the University of the Pacific in San Jose, where he completed a law course. Going to Marysville, he there opened an office, but at the end of a short time returned to San Jose, where he wedded Miss Lillie G. Hassinger, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and a representative of an old Maryland family. In 1859 she had come to California with her parents, who settled in Santa Clara County.

Following their marriage the young couple went to Dayton, Nevada, where Mr. Blackford practiced law for a few years and then returned to San Jose, becoming one of the prominent attorneys of this city. He also devoted considerable attention to fruit raising and took much pride in the development of his home ranch which he, too, had purchased from the Mexican government, which he irrigated by means of deep wells; also adding many other improvments and converting it into one of the model farm properties in Santa Clara County. On that place he resided until 1885, when he erected a beautiful home at 53 South Sixth street, San Jose, and here his daughter Lillie is now livings. He passed away on January 29, 1909, and Mrs. Blackford died April 29, 1914, and in 1917 the ranch was sold.

Mr. and Mrs. Blackford became the parents of six children, of whom the subject of this review is the eldest. The others are May F, ( ed note- Graduated State Normal School, San Jose, 1888-and taught at least two years in Monterey County)now wife of F.H. Herbert, of San Francisco; Mrs. Alice L. Dinsmore, a resident of Los Gatos; Maude C. Blackford, who is at home with her sister; Mrs. Florence G. Moody, of San Jose; and Walter G., who is also living in this city.

Miss Blackford is a member of the Episcopal Church, while the other members of the family are Presbyterians in religious faith. She gives her political allegiance to the Democratic party, all that pertains to the welfare and progress of community, state and nation. By inheritance she bears a name that has ever been an honored one in connection with the pioneer development and later upbuilding of the state and in her own career she exemplifies those commendable qualities which have at all times been a distinguishing trait of the family.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 424

SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY- The Valley of Heart's Delight