deceased. The subject of this sketch was born in the State of Maine, April 17, 1827. In that State he was reared to manhood. The discovery of gold led him to come to this State. The long, weary journey was made by sail vessel, and six months were spent in the voyage. He engaged in placer mining for several years; in fact, that was his occupation until 1860, when he came to this county. In 1855 he returned East for a visit, by way of the Isthmus. His success in the mines was varied, and when he came to this county he had accumulated about $5,000. Soon after reaching the Santa Clara Valley, Mr. Willett bought a squatter right to about 200 acres of choice land, near Campbell Station, in what is now the Cambrian District. For this land he paid $2,200, and was obliged to buy out claimants under Mexican grants when pre-empting under United States land laws. Thus only 120 acres were finally held.
On the twenty-seventh of November, 1861, Mr. Willett married Miss Elizabeth A. Hartwick, at Santa Clara. She is a native of Schoharie County, New York, and is the daughter of C. J. Hartwick. In 1861 she came to Santa Clara County, with her father, who died here several years ago. Immediately after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Willett established their residence at the homestead. The commodious family residence of to-day they erected about 1866. The large, substantial barn on the premises was framed and fitted for erection in the State of Maine. Four rooms were fitted and furnished, and there Mr. and Mrs. Willett lived until increasing prosperity enabled them to build their present fine home. In this temporary home the two eldest children were born.
During the lifetime of Mr. Willett, the ranch was cultivated for the production
of hay and grain. He was not permitted to see the full results of his labor, nor
to enjoy a pleasant old age with his family in this lovely valley, for he was
called to the other world July 9, 1877. In the management of his ranch, Mr.
Willett showed the good judgment and energy that were characteristic of him. He
was an active, public-spirited man, remembered with respect by all who knew him.
His widow was left with five children, all of whom are yet under the parental
roof: Lottie, Luther, Charles, Annie, and Frederick. Since her husband's death,
Mrs. Willett has conducted the place partly as a fruit-ranch, with great
success. In the spring of 1884 she planted thirty acres to peaches and prunes.
In 1887, from 500 apricots, three years old, she harvested eighteen tons of
fruit, bringing $540. In the same year, from 300 peach-trees, eight tons of
fruit were gathered, the young orchard thus yielding about $1,000 worth of fruit
in one year. Possessing the ability to conduct this ranch so successfully, Mrs.
Willett is fortunate in the possession of it, and in the fact that her children
are all in her home. The estate is held intact, with the exception of ten acres,
which have been sold. Mrs. Willett is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church
at Santa Clara, as was also her husband.
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.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHY PROJECT