Moody's Mills

The first flour mill in San Jose was erected by R. G. Moody in 1854 (see below)  on the banks of Coyote Creek about the spot where Empire Street ends.  Here the propelling power was water, procured from an artesian well.  The business was transferred to Third Street, near the corner of Santa Clara Street, in 1858, where steam instead of water was used to drive the machinery.   The improvements consisted of a mill and warehouse, the latter with a capacity for the storage of 40,000 sacks of flour.  The mill fronted on Third Street, the warehouse on Fourth Street.  Mr. Moody put in porcelain rollers soon after their introduction to this Coast and manufactured the once celebrated "Lily White Flour."  He retired from business in the early '60s and was succeeded by his sons, Charles, Volney and David B. Moody.  After a few years Volney Moody sold out his interest, removed to Oakland and became a banker.

In 1887 the Moody brothers sold out to the  Central Milling Company, which soon took in all the mills in Central California.  C. L. Dingley was president, and D. B. Moody secretary.   For a number of years the company used for manufacturing purposes the mill in San Jose, but the time came when the Santa Clara Valley ceased to be the grain center of the state.  Grain fields everywhere had been converted into fruit orchards, and fruit culture became the great industry of the valley.   In 1892 the Sperry Flour Company absorbed the Central Milling Company and W. G. Alexander was appointed manager.  Through his activity and sound business sense the company extended its operations until it had practically covered the entire state.  Now its tentacles have reached out to include Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Utah.  Mr. Alexander continued in office for twenty-three years- until he went into business for himself.  He was succeeded by his brother, Howard Alexander, who died in 1912.  E. B. Devine is the present manger .  The main office of the company is in San Francisco.  David B. Moody retired from the secretaryship many years ago.  He is now one of the directors of the San Joe Keystone Company, of which W. G. Alexander is president.

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. p. 308

transcribed by Cdf


This is the oldest mill now in operation in the city, and was first erected by R. G. Moody in 1854, on the bank of the Coyote creek, about the spot where Empire street strikes that stream.  Here the propelling power was water procured from an artesian well;' in the year 1858, however, the business was transferred to its present location on Third, near the corner of Santa Clara street, where steam was substituted for water to drive the machinery.  The premises consist of the mill and warehouse with a capacity for the storage of forty thousand sacks of flour, and has its frontage on Third, but running through to Fourth street.  The mill is supplied with an engine of forty horse-power, two run of stones, and has a working capacity of one hundred and twenty barrels of flour, and ten tons of feed in the twenty-four hours, while an annual business is transacted of about twelve thousand dollars.  The owners are Moody & Brother, sons of the original possessor.

History of Santa Clara County, California :
San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1881
transcribed by Cdf