The Valley of Heart's Delight

Farmer, San Jose

Surnames: Pleasanton, Tillotson, Ogan, Dryden, Smith

A fine old California pioneer family is that of Loren N. Gifford, who was born in Illinois on March 21, 1861, the son of Alexander and Lucinda (Plesanton) Gifford, the former a farmer who came from Illinois to California in 1852, when he crossed the great plains. He returned to Illinois from California in 1855. Later, he removed to the frontier of Kansas, and there, in Crawford County, he breathed his last. He was the father of six children. Myra is the eldest; Myron A. is a resident of Denver; Melvin A. Gifford lives in Stockton; Loren is the subject of this review. William is still in Crawford County, Kans.; Freeman, who came to California about 1890, is ranching on the Almaden Road. Mrs. Gifford passed away in Kansas when Loren was about ten years old; and her devoted husband survived her three years.

Loren Gifford came to California in 1875 with his brother, Melvin, and on arriving at Berryessa, he worked for his uncle, H. Tillotson. He attended school at Berryessa, and then he took first one job and then another at various places. He next went to Yuba County, and for two years farmed near Marysville; and on returning to Berryessa, he was married on October 27, 1886, to Miss Laura J. Ogan, the daughter of J. M. Ogan, a native of Jefferson County, Missouri, where he first saw light near St. Joseph. He grew up to be a frontiersman and a farmer, and married Miss Marcissa E. Dryden; he settled in the Mt. Hamilton Road and farmed at the foot of the hills. Later, he came to Berryessa and acquired a ranch of 217 acres at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Hostetter Street, now known as the Orlando ranch; he also came to own a ranch of 300 acres of Pearl Avenue, and also 200 acres of grain-farm in Hollister. He sold the Hollister property and divided up the Pearl Avenue ranch among his sons; Laura Ogan attended the Berryessa school, and after that she went to the old San Jose high school. Thus the family, on both sides, is of old-line. American stock.

For six years, Loren Gifford rented the old Alexander Ogan ranch of 150 acres on Sierra road, and then he bought twenty acres adjoining that ranch on the west. He later bought an acre of land in Berryessa, and having remodeled the house then on it, he has lived there ever since. For four years he worked in the U. S. Public Health Service in the great work of exterminating the ground squirrel, and for three years, in response to his public spirit, he served on the Berryessa school board. A member of the Woodmen of the World, Mr. Gifford is a past council commander of the Alum Rock lodge.

A son of Mr. Gifford, Arnold by name, was married at San Francisco, on November 9, 1914, to Miss Maude N. Smith, the sister of O. J. Smith, whose life-story appears elsewhere in this volume; and they have had three children--Clifford, June Doris, and Fern Jane. Arnold Gifford was born on October 2, 1892, and was sent to the Berryessa school for his elementary training, and later he was fortunate in getting the best that Heald's Business College could afford. In 1914, he took over the running of the Sierra Road Ranch, and for a number of years operated the farm successfully. At present he is a partner with O. J. Smith in the Berryessa Garage, where he enjoys much the same popularity as has been accorded him in the Alumrock Lodge of the Woodmen of the World, in which, like his father, he is a popular and active member.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 533


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