The Valley of Heart's Delight

Stock-raising and Dairying in Gilroy
BIO- Pen Pictures, page 333


Among the substantial men of South Santa Clara County is Samuel Rea, who has been a citizen of the county since 1859, at which time his
total capital consisted of $70. For four years he was engaged in business with his brother, Thomas Rea, then bought where he now resides, on the county road leading from Gilroy to Hollister, and commenced operations independently, in the line of stock-raising and dairying. The ranch consists of 322 acres, with three flowing wells, one of which is worthy of special mention, as it throws four and a half inches of water over a seven-inch pipe. He has for many years been earnestly engaged in the work of breeding superior stock, --- in fact was among the first to give this subject attention. The excellent reputation of the "Rea's Nutwood" horses is a sufficient testimonial to his success in this matter. "Plutarch," son of his "Rea's Nutwood," recently sold for $2,000.

Mr. Rea has also an extensive dairy, usually milking about one hundred cows. At present, however, he is milking but eighty-five to ninety, and is
turning out an average of 225 pounds of cheese per day, which is shipped to the city market. He is quite a chicken fancier too, and has some game cocks that  have made good records.

Mr. Rea was born in Gallia County, Ohio, May 4, 1830. The Reas were of Irish descent, and the parental grandfather of the subject of this sketch, on leaving his native country, a young man, settled in Virginia. The father of our subject, James Rea, was born and reared in Virginia, and went, when a young man, to Ohio. There he married Hannah Hutsinpiller, also of Virginia birth and parentage. In 1838 the family removed from Hancock County, Ohio, to Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, and there Samuel Rea was reared.

 In 1852 he joined the throng of emigration to California, making the then tedious journey via New Orleans and Panama. After crossing the Isthmus, he took a sailing vessel for San Francisco. This latter part of the trip constituted an epoch in his history never to be forgotten. Six months were required to make the voyage from the Isthmus to the Golden Gate, the vessel being becalmed most of the time. Provisions were exhausted, water became scarce, and after enduring untold hardships and privations, the crew and passengers arrived in San Francisco July 28, 1852, in an almost famishing condition. The unpleasant incidents of the trip were soon forgotten for the time, in the haste to reach the mines, which characterized all new-comers to the golden coast, and Mr. Rea was soon at Downieville, in Sierra County, engaged in mining. For several years he followed the fortunes of the camp, part of the time working for others and the remainder prospecting on claims of his own. In 1859 he determined to give up mining as a means of livelihood, and then turned his attention to Santa Clara County, with which he has ever since been identified.

Mr. Rea was united in marriage, May 20, 1869, in Jefferson County, New York, to Miss Frances M. Powell, a native of that county, and a daughter of E. and Mary Powell. Two children have been born to them, ------Florence V. and Lillian Etta. Mr. Rea was elected Supervisor in 1897, serving three years. His influence in county and local affairs is a potent factor, and his opinions are always sought and respected in the councils of his party, the Republican.  He is a member of the A. F. and A. M. Lodge at Gilroy, No. 187, and of the R. A. M., No. 41, at Watsonville, and of San Jose Commandery, No. 10, K. T.,  and also of the A. O. U. W. Lodge at Gilroy.

SOURCE:  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.- Page  333 transcribed by Roena Wilson