PATRICK G. SULLIVAN
SURNAMES: SHEEHY, MADIGAN, HENLEY, FITZGERALD, CARROLL, COMMONS, SCHERREBECK,
Patrick G. Sullivan, deceased. Among the successful pioneer farmers of Santa Clara County was the above-named gentleman, a brief history of whose life is as follows:--
Mr. Sullivan was born in Askeaton, Limerick County, Ireland, in 1813. His parents, John and Ann (Sheehy) Sullivan, were natives of that county. In 1827 his father emigrated with his family to Canada East and located in St. Edwards County, where he was engaged as a farmer and stock-grower, in which occupation the subject of this sketch was reared, receiving at the same time a good education. After arriving at manhood he entered into partnership with his father in farming operations and continued the same until 1842, when he took a portion of the old homestead and operated it on his own account. In 1842 he married Miss Bridget Madigan, the daughter of Daniel and Ann (Henley) Madigan, natives of Ireland, who emigrated to Canada East, and afterward, in 1853, came to California. Mr. Sullivan was engaged on his farm until 1851, in which year he came upon a steamer to California. He arrived in San Francisco January 2, 1852, and came immediately to Santa Clara County, where he rented land and enrolled himself among the pioneer farmers of the county. In 1854 he purchased his first land from General Naglee, comprising fifty-three acres located just east of San Jose, on what is now known as the “Nursery Tract.” He took up his residence upon this land and resided there until 1856. In this latter year he rented 266 acres of land from General Naglee, situated on what is now the Alum Rock road, at the corner of King road, in the Pala School District. This land was stocked with about 300 head of cattle, among which was a dairy of sixty or seventy cows. Mr. Sullivan early saw that the road to success in agricultural pursuits was not to be reached by exclusive grain production, but that only diversified farming could, in the end, be profitable. He became, with these views, one of the pioneer dairymen of the county, and his sagacity was amply rewarded, and through him many a man learned also the road to success. Mr. Sullivan was eminently successful in his operations upon this place, and from his first occupancy, devoted his means to its purchase. As the land increased in value and he made improvements upon it, claimants sprang up and claimed ownership under Spanish grants, homesteads, squatter rights, etc., and it was not until 1865 that he gained a complete title and ownership to the property. In the meantime his farming, stock, and particularly his dairy business, had proved very remunerative; also his fifty-three-acre tract first purchased had become very valuable, and he ranked as one of the most prosperous and wealthy farmers of his section. From this time until 1879 he conducted his farm operations. In this latter year he retired from the active pursuits of life, and under contract sold his farm to his sons, Daniel G., Frank J. and Thomas P. R. Mr. Sullivan also sold during his life-time fourteen acres of his fifty-three-acre tract, and at his death, which occurred April 8, 1886, left the balance of his valuable property to his widow.
Mr. Sullivan was an intelligent, energetic, and enterprising business man, as well as farmer. His foresight and firm belief in the future prosperity and growth of the county induced him to make the judicious investments which resulted in giving him a handsome fortune. He always ranked in public spirit, enterprise, and liberality in public improvements, among the leading men of his section. He was one of the projectors of the Alum Rock road, and gave the right of way through his land, and fenced the road at his own cost. In many other public enterprise he was equally liberal, and active in promoting them. He was always interested in public affairs. Though never aspiring to office, his influence was always felt in the elections, and always exercised for what he believed to be for the best interests of the public. He was a life-long conservative Democrat.
From the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan seven children are living, viz.: Annie A., who married Richard Fitzgerald, living in Nevada; John C., married Miss Maggie Carrol, of San Francisco, residing in Napa County; Michael R., married Miss Bridget Commons, of San Jose, and now a grocer in that city; Daniel G., Frank J., and Thomas P. R., who are the owners and reside upon the old homestead; Mary E., who married Thomas J. Scherrebeck, of San Francisco, and now residing near the old homestead; Katie A., the fourth child, died August 2, 1887, aged thirty years; Lizzie, the seventh child, died at the age of two years. Mr. Sullivan gave to his children the best of advantages for education. John C., Thomas P. R., and Daniel G. were educated at the Santa Clara College, the latter graduating in the class of 1872. Frank J. was educated at St. Mary’s College, in San Francisco. The daughters were educated in the Convent of Notre Dame in San Jose. The family are consistent members of the Catholic Church.
The fine farm owned
by the Sullivan brothers is well worthy of mention. It consists of 266 acres,
located on the Alum Rock road two miles east of San Jose. There are 120 head of
cattle on this place, 100 of which are used for dairy purposes. Among their
stock are some of the finer breeds, such as Holstein and Durham. Great care and
attention are taken in breeding, with the view of obtaining the most prolific
milkers, and in this great success has attended their efforts, and they have one
of the finest dairies in the county. There are two fine flowing artesian wells
on these lands, which furnish all the water needed for stock and domestic use.
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