Bio- Pen Pictures

            Up to the present time the development of the petroleum resources of Santa Clara County, and, in fact, of California, has been entirely the work of one man – Mr. Robert C. McPherson.  He was born in Buffalo, New York, May 6, 1840, and was reared and educated there.  His father, John McPherson, was a Scotchman and had settled in Buffalo when it was a small village.  His business was that of a beef and pork packer.  In 1859, when the first oil excitement occurred in Pennsylvania, Robert, with his brother Angus, went there and operated until 1873, when he came to California.  At that time there had been some desultory prospecting in the southern counties, particularly in what is known as the Pico District.  Oil had been found by shallow wells but no intelligent and thorough effort had been made toward a complete development.  The work had been done principally by the San Francisco Petroleum Company, the directors of which did not seem inclined to make expensive experiments.  When Mr. McPherson came upon the ground, his experienced eye at once saw that the prospecting had been of a very superficial character.  Against the protests of the company and against the remonstrances of his friends, he commenced sinking a well with the determination to reach the reservoir, which he calculated was at a depth of about thirteen hundred feet.  After much expense and many discouragements he struck the oil-bearing sand at a depth of twelve hundred and ninety-five feet.  The oil flowed over the top of the derrick, eighty feet high.  This was the first deep well ever drilled in California, and from it sprung the oil interests of Southern California.  There was no lack of capital for the work after Mr. McPherson had shown the company how to employ it to advantage.  He operated there until 1874, when he sold the controlling interest to Charles N. Felton, and came to Santa Clara County, where he had leased land in Moody’s Gulch and vicinity.  Here he commenced drilling in 1878, and up to the present time, has made ten wells.  As a matter of history the operations at these wells are important, not only as to what has already been accomplished, but as a starting-point for future work.

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.

Pg. 164
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler


Bio-Pen Pictures
      J. J. Miller has been selling goods at New Almaden since 1874, and has been in charge of the store on the hill since the latter part of 1887.  He is a native of Canada, born at St. Johns, Province of Quebec, June 9, 1838, his parents being William and Mary (Faulkner) Miller.  His father was a native of Canada, and his mother of Ireland.  J. J. Miller was reared and educated at St. Johns, and commenced clerking at the age of fourteen years.  In 1859 he set out for California, by the ocean route, and landed at San Francisco in October.  He clerked for twelve years in Santa Clara, and then engaged in merchandising at Lexington.  Eighteen months later he went into the cattle business on a ranch in Monterey County, and from there came to New Almaden in 1874.  He was married in Canada, February 7, 1863, to Miss Susan Esinhard, a native of St. Johns, Quebec.   They have one child, Lillie J.

            Politically, Mr. Miller is a Republican.  Was reared in the Episcopal faith.  Is a member of the Santa Clara Lodge, No. 52, I. O. O. F.

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.

Pg. 342
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy




SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight