THE VALLEY OF
MRS. MARY A. WHITE
Gilroy, SANTA CLARA COUNTY
SURNAMES: SPELLMAN, FORD,
A distinguished pioneer who has seen the marvelous
development and growth of Santa Clara Valley, and is today honored by
all who know her for her own enviable part in that development and
expansion, is Mrs. Mary A. White, who lives retired on Day Road, some
two and a half miles northwest of Gilroy.
She was born in County
Roscommon, Ireland, on May 21, 1840, the daughter of Thomas and
Winnifred (Spellman) Ford, well known in their land and
generation. Thomas Ford died in 1842, and in 1844 Mary Ford
accompanied her mother across the Atlantic to Boston, Mass.
Meanwhile Edward and James Ford came to California, and in 1855 Mrs.
Ford and her family came out to California by way of the Isthmus of
Panama, taking passage on the old steamer Sierra Nevada, from New York
to Aspinwall. They crossed the Isthmus in a wagon and then
traveled from Panama to San Francisco aboard the side-wheeler Golden
Gate. Arriving in California, Mrs. Ford, Mary and two sons came on to
San Jose, to which city two older brothers, Edward and James, had
migrated. Mrs. Ford died at Edenvale, December 17, 1886, aged eighty
At San Jose, in 1858, Miss Ford married Thomas White, who
was born in Canada on November 24, 1836, and had come to California
with his parents in 1853, via the Isthmus, traveling in much the same
manner as had the Fords. He was a fine young man, and a very
hard, honest worker; but his promising life was cut off all too early,
and he passed away in January, 1889, at his home near Gilroy. In
1879, the Whites had removed to a small ranch near Gilroy, after Mr.
White had engaged in ranching for a while at Pine Ridge; and later Mr.
White acquired 100 acres of the James Murphy ranch on Day Road, which
he farmed to grain and stock. After the death of her husband, Mrs.
White added eighty-eight acres to the ranch, at the same time that she
was rearing and educating her twelve children, and later overseeing the
rearing of two grandsons under her roof. Although past eighty
years, she is singularly alert and her mental faculties are keen and
still ready for the varied demands of a modern day.
The children referred to have been: Thomas, who died in
infancy; Edward, who passed away when he was nineteen; William, who
resides with his wife and three children at Gilroy; Annie remains at
home with her mother; Thomas, married, lives with his wife and three
children at Oakland, although they have a ranch on the Watsonville
Road; James, deceased, is survived by his widow and two children, and
they reside at Colusa; John is also deceased, but his widow and a son
are living at Gilroy; a daughter is Sister Viviana, a nun at the
convent at Gilroy; Charles White, who married and has a wife and one
child, is an orchardist on Day Road, Gilroy; Frank is deceased; Louis,
unmarried, lives at home and is manager of the ranch; and Nellie also
adds her charm to the home circle. Mrs. White has done much in
her time to support St. Mary's parish; and as a Democrat she has also
exerted her best influence for highter and better political conditions.
Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 342
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