SURNAMES: FAIRCHILD, ACRES, ORMSBY
Melville S. Bowdish was born in Milford, Otsego County, New York, March 7, 1837. His parents, Joseph and Ann (Fairchild) Bowdish, were both natives of New York State. They reared a family of seven children, all of whom are living—five sons and two daughters. Joseph Bowdish died in 1877, and his wife in 1881, each being eighty-two years of age at time of death. Melville was raised in Otsego County until eleven years of age, when his parents removed to Illinois, and settled on Fox River, in Kane County, where he lived until 1858, receiving a common-school education. In 1858 he came to California, and located in Contra Costa County. He first worked on a ranch by the month, then bought a threshing-machine and threshed for two seasons. Between times he was engaged in ditching. He built the first ditching-machine used in California, and used quite a number of them near Antioch. He was engaged in that business until 1860, when he went back to his home in Illinois and remained five years. In 1866 he returned to California, and located in San Francisco, and began the manufacture of mills for grinding feed for stock, in which business he continued for two years, when he sold out to M. C. Hawley & Co., who owned at that time one of the largest hardware and agricultural implement houses on the coast. Mr. Bowdish was employed by them, and was a traveling salesman for them eight years. In 1876 Mr. Bowdish bought property in the town of Santa Clara and moved there, and at the same time bought a ranch near Los Gatos. From that to the present time he has made his home at Santa Clara. Besides his property in Santa Clara he has three ranches, a wood ranch of 160 acres, a grain and stock ranch of 200 acres, and a fruit ranch containing fifty acres.
Mr. Bowdish was married in October, 1865, to Eliza Acres, a native of Kane County, Illinois, who died in September, 1867. Mr. Bowdish was again married, December 23, 1869, to Eleanor J. Ormsby, also a native of Kane County, Illinois. They have two children: May P., born May 4, 1877, and Arthur J., born October 28, 1880.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.