The Valley of Heart's Delight

Bio- Sawyers
An enterprising and very successful contractor who has done much to advance the development of the painting trade in San Jose, is John W. Blanch, of 643 South Second Street, who was born in San Jose on December 19, 1865, the son of the late Charles Blanch. The latter was born in Gloucestershire, England, on February 20, 1831, and there he was reared and educated as a farmer. In 1851 he came to the United States and settled in Iowa, where he farmed for three years; and then he went on to Minnesota, and for five years continued agricultural pursuits there, although for two years in succession his entire crops were destroyed by grasshoppers. He crossed the great plains to California with the aid of ox teams, and came direct to Santa Clara County, arriving at San Jose in the fall of 1859. On the way the Indians stole their cattle. They followed the redskins for several days, until they came across the big band of thousands of Indians. Seeing no chance to recover their stock, they went, back to their wagons and waited until another train came up, and made arrangements to come through with them.

After living for two years in San Jose, Charles Blanch took up farming about ten miles out of town, where he lived until 1868, and then he proceeded to San Luis Obispo County and commenced dairying. but all of his cattle sickened and died. He then returned to Santa Clara County where he farmed for a year, and after that he made a journey to Oregon, where he put in a winter. In the spring, he was back in Santa Clara County. This time he settled at the place known as the White Oak Flat, in Burnett township; and at the expiration of four years, he located on a ranch of 150 acres in Hoover Valley, where he lived for many years.

At St. Paul, Minn., on April 27, 1859, Mr. Blanch was married to Miss Maria Watkins. also a native of England, by whom he had ten children. William T. was born on October 9, 1863. Then came John W.. the subject of our review. Mary E. was born on January 5, 1868. Charles E. first saw the light on December 7, 1869. Sarah M. was born on March 8, 1873. Robert [see bio below]entered the family on March 27, 1875. Charlotte was born on February 17, 1879. The date of the birth of Edmund H. was February 8, 1860, and he died on May 22, 1860. Jessie A. was born on June 2, 1861, and died on September 21, 1866. Richard, born on October 14, 1877, died three days later.

John W. Blanch attended the public school in the country districts for a couple of seasons, and when eighteen years old he started to make his own way in the world. He took up painting, beginning his apprenticeship under J. C. Roderick and finishing under Michael Lenzen, after which, as a journeyman painter, he worked for Mr. Baird for five years. Then he became a contractor in painting, and he continued active in that field for the following eight years, work ing throughout the Santa Clara Valley and as far as Hollister and Livermore. In 1899 he again became a journeyman, and he has continued as such for the past twenty years, acting also as a foreman painter, especially, for years, in the service of Walter McGinley, and during all that time making San Jose his home. He took up a homestead of 160 acres in the hills about sixty miles from San Jose; it is a valuable stock ranch, and is on the Phoenix Mining Road.

At San Jose, on November 4, 1891. Mr. Blanch was married to Miss Mattie Aborn, a native of Evergreen. Santa Clara County, and the daughter of John Aborn who had married Mary E. Fullmer, born in San Jose in October, 1848. Her grandmother, Mrs. Eliza Fullmer, was a member of the famous Donner party and came to California in 1846. The Aborn Road was named after John Aborn, who was a veteran of the Mexican and also of the Civil War. This pioneer couple had six children of whom Mrs. Blanch is the fourth. Four children have blessed this union of Mr. and Mrs. Blanch. Charles R. is with the Santa Clara Mill & Lumber Company; he entered the World War as one of the Grizzlies, on October 23, 1917. and was in the One Hundred Forty-fourth Field Artillery. He was sent to Camp Kearny and there he volunteered as a replacement man and was sent overseas. He left for France on June 28. 1918. going via England to Brest, and on July 26 went into battle with his new regiment, the One Hundred Eighth Infantry, later transferred to the One Hundred Eighth Field Artillery, and he has credit for the following offensives: Aisne-Marne, the Vesle Sector. August 15 to 18, and August 18 to September 10. Oise-Aisne offensive; October 30 to November 11. Ypres-Lys. September 10 to October 10. Meuse-Argonne. He saw a great deal of active fighting, and was wounded once on the hand with shrapnel. He returned to the United States on May 19, 1919. and on June 2 following was discharged. Hazel, the second child, is the wife of John E. Deeds of San Jose. Cecile has become the wife of Carle E. McAdoo. of the Benson Garage at San Jose. Walter W. Blanch is with the American Can Company. Mr. Blanch is a Republican, and he is a member of the Eagles of San Jose.

Transcribed cferoben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 730

SURNAMES: Watkins, Beck, Vance,Burke, Parsons, Markam

A thoroughly progressive, up-to-date and successful rancher, Robert Blanch, of Maybury Road, to the northeast of San Jose, is doubly interesting as the son of the late Charles Blanch, who was born in Gloucestershire,England, on February 20, 1831, and there he grew up as a farmer. He came to the United States in 1851, and for three years farmed in Iowa; and then he went to Minnesota and kept bravely at farming there for five year, although for two seasons in succession all the crops he raised were eaten away by grasshoppers.

As early as 1858 he and his brother, William (who was one of the first white men to be killed by an Indian in 1859, in San Jose) came across the plains to California, bringing a band of Durham cattle, which were all run off by Indians near Salt Lake, so that when they arrived they had only three oxen. They pitched their tent at San Jose; but in 1861 Robert moved to a ranch about ten miles south of town. In 1868, he established himself as a dairyman in San Luis Obispo County, and soon had reason to repent his venture, for his cattle died from Texas fever. Coming back to Santa Clara County, he farmed for a year, then went to Oregon for a winter, and after that came south again to White Oak Flat,  in Burnett township, Santa Clara County, removing at the end of four years to Hoover Valley, where he lived for many years, operating a ranch of 150 acres, where he raised horses and carried on a dairy. He died in 1896 on a leased ranch in the Calaveras Valley. On April 27, 1859, he was married at St. Paul, Minn., to Miss Maria Watkins, also a native of England, and their union was blessed with ten children. The eldest was Edmund H; then came Jessie A; William T; next came John W[see bio above].; after that came Mary E., and the others were Charles E., Sarah M., and finally Robert., the subject of our sketch. Charlotte and Richard, with Edmund and Jessie, all died in childhood.

Robert Blanch was born at San Jose on March 27, 1875, and he attended the grammar schools of Santa Clara County. As a youth he began to help his father on the home ranch, and he remained with him until the latter died, when the estate was divided up. Then he took up ranching alone, and for many years he has had an interest in a strip of range land of some 2,000 acres lying in the hills between Livermore and Mt. Hamilton. This ranch, which is leased , is devoted to grain, hay and stock, and Mr. Blanch still maintains his equity in the stock raising on this land. It was really railroad land, but it is better known as the McLaughlin Land Companies holding.

In 1906, Mr. Blanch bought a ranch of fifteen acres on the Maybury Road which is devoted to apricots, prunes and peaches--one of the oldest orchards in Santa Clara County, having been planted in 1880 by one of the Hobsons. The land is abundantly irrigated by water from a neighboring private pumping plant which produces about 900 gallons a minute. Mr. Blanch has lived on this ranch since 1906, and during that time as a Republican in matters of national political import. but as a nonpartisan "booster" in respect to local affairs, he has done what he could to improve civic and agricultural conditions.

At San Jose, on November 29, 1905, Mr. Blanch was married to Miss Ruth M. Beck, a native of San Jose and the daughter of Thomas and Laura (Vance) Beck.  Mr. Beck, who was an expert blacksmith, died in 1912, and his good wife in February, 1918. Of their six children, one is Rollo H. Beck, the world-renowned naturalist, who has traveled very widely to collect scientific specimens; the others are Mrs. Addie May Burke; Dr. Edna Beck, a medical missionary in India; Mrs. Helen Parsons; Ruth M., and Mrs. Blanche Markham. Mrs Blanch was given the best of educational advantages at the College of the Pacific, and she and her husband are the parents of one daughter who is attending the Berryessa grammar school.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 446


SANTA CLARA COUNTY -The Valley of Heart's Delight