The Valley of Heart's Delight



Among the early settlers of the Santa Clara Valley is Lyman L. Nattinger, who came to California and settled here in 1875 and has been actively engaged in agricultural pursuits since that time. He was born in Eagleport, Morgan County, Ohio, January 7, 1843, the son of Samuel and Mary (Miller) Nattinger, born in Germany and Virginia respectively, who were farmers and later became pioneers of Illinois whither they removed in 1856 and both lived and died there.

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Nattinger had nine children, seven of whom grew to maturity; Almira became Mrs. Mason and died in Ottawa, Ill.; John was a member of Company E., One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, served till the close of the Civil War and died in Oakland, Cal; Julia died in Ottawa, Ill; Eliza, Mrs. McCormack, also died in Ottawa; Lyman L. is our subject; William resides in Chicago and Albert died in Earl Park, Ind.

Lyman L. received his education in the public schools of Ottawa, Ill., and went to work on a farm, remaining until he was sixteen years old; then he learned the carriage and wagon maker's trade. In August, 1862, when nineteen years old, he volunteered and enlisted in the U. S. Army in Company E., One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and during his two years and ten months of service was in thirty-two battles, serving as sergeant. Among some of the battles were Hartsville, Elk River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, then began the Atlanta Campaign of 108 days, including Resaca, Dallas, Dalton, Kenesaw Mt., Peach Tree Creek, Snake Creek Gap and the siege of Atlanta, after which he was on the chase of Hood's army to the Chickamauga battlefield when Thomas sent word that he could take care of Hoods's Army,  saying he could whip them with his own men. Then Mr. Nattinger took part in Sherman's March to the Sea, taking part in the taking of Savannah and the battles of Goldsborough and Bentonville. His regiment went into Raleigh on the skirmish line and marched from Raleigh, N.C., to Richmond, Va., in record time, making the 210 miles in ninety-four hours. To make this time they marched as the crow flies, through fields, and over fences. He took part in the grand Review at Washington as one of Sherman's greasers, after which his regiment was the first out of the brigade to go home; he was mustered out in Chicago June, 1865, as sergeant, the regiment being reduced to 183 men. At Hartsville, Tenn., he was wounded and taken prisoner and he remained a prisoner at different places until he was taken to Libby Prison, where he remained until he was paroled; then was in the parole camp at Annapolis, Md., until he was exchanged, when he rejoined his regiment.

After his discharge from service Mr. Nattinger worked at his trade in Alttona, Ill., until he decided to remove to California, arriving in San Jose in 1875. He spent five years as foreman of the San Jose Agricultural Works, then he ran a carriage and wagon shop on South First Street. During this time, in 1886, he purchased ten acres on Leigh Road, near Campbell, which he set out to prunes and as success attended his efforts he bought land adjoining until he now owns twenty-four acres in a full-bearing prune orchard. Some years ago he quit business in San Jose, after having worked at his trade for twenty-sevenyears. Since then he has devoted all of his time to his orchard and drying plant he had erected on Leigh Avenue, where he takes care of his fruit as well as for a number of his neighbors.

Mr. Nettinger's first marriage united him with Miss Mary Bergit, a native of Illinois, who passed away in August, 1875; the second time he was married to Miss Addie G. Ketcham, a native daughter, born in Placer County, and they had one child, Frank, a stalwart man, who is assisting his father in their horticultural enterprise. Mrs. Nattinger passed away in 1909.

He is a strong Republican in politics and fraternally is an Odd Fellow; a believer in cooperation as the best method of marketing the fruit, he is a member of the California Prune & Apricot Association. Mr. Nattinger is a very active and energetic man and despite his nearly four score years is found about his ranch evrey day, driving a team or doing a man's work, for he cannot tolerate idleness and believes it is more interesting and conducive to longevity to wear out than to rust out. He has a remarkable personality and is a man of strong convictions, always standing for what he considers right. He is well informed and well read and his retentive memory and ability as a narrator of events, particularly of the stirring times during the Civil War, make him an interesting conversationalist.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. 484