SURNAMES: WARD, O'BRIEN,
Owen E. Gaffany was born on the
Atlantic Ocean, on the brig Constitution,
off Philadelphia, June 12, 1835. His
parents, Patrick and Anna (Ward) Gaffany, were natives of the eastern part of
Ireland. In May, 1835, they started for
America, the subject of the sketch being born, as above stated, before reaching
America. His father located on Grand
Isle, an island in Lake Champlain, in Grand Isle County, Vermont, where he
remained five or six years, when he removed to Beekman, Clinton County, New
York. He afterwards returned to Vermont
and located at Winooski, in Chittenden County, where he remained for about
eighteen years, when he bought a farm at Underhill, Chittenden County, Vermont,
and here he lived till his death, in 1882.
He had six children, the subject of this sketch being the eldest. Owen lived with his parents till he was
twenty-one years of age. He was married
February 12, 1858, to Mary O’Brien, a native of Ireland. He then went to work in, and had charge of,
a lime quarry for three years, when he went to work for the Vermont Central
Railroad, and was thus employed off and on for three or four years; then he
went back to the lime quarry, where he remained till the fall of 1863, when he
enlisted in the Second Vermont Battery and remained in it until mustered out at
the close of the war. He was with this
battery at Savannah, Mobile, Pleasant Hill, Black Gulf, and other skirmishes. After his discharge at Burlington, Vermont,
in 1865, he went home, and two months afterward again went into the employ of
the Vermont Central Railroad, where he remained till the spring of 1868. In that year he left his family in Vermont
and came to California, and in 1869 his family followed him.
Upon his arrival in California he worked for I. J. Hattabough on his ranch about three miles southwest of San Jose, and after remaining with him for six months came to Los Gatos, and here he worked till the next April, when he went to work in the Redwoods for the Santa Clara Company. The first year he worked in a saw-mill and the next year for Covell Brothers, contractors for the Santa Clara Mill and Lumber Company. He then went to work for the Santa Clara Valley Mill and Lumber Company and remained with them six or seven years in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Cruz County, his family being with him. In 1877 he bought his present ranch near Los Gatos, containing about 100 acres. He cleared the land and made the improvements on it. He now has about fifty acres under cultivation, fifteen acres being in fruit, principally in apricots, peaches, and prunes, besides other varieties in his family orchard. The most of his trees are four years old, while a few are ten years old. On the remaining portion of his land he raises hay. He is a member of E. O. C. Ord Post, No. 82, G. A. R., of Los Gatos, and at present its Post Commander. He has five children: Mary, who is one of the Sisters in the Convent of Notre Dame in San Francisco; John E., Anna, F. C., who is engaged in the mercantile business in Los Gatos; Josephine J., and Nellie L., who live at home. In politics Mr. Gaffany is a Democrat.
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.
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy