"Watchemoket" Farm

 BIO- Pen Pictures

the proprietor of the " Watchemoket " farm, on the San Jose and Los Gatos road, in the Hamilton District, is the representative of an old New England family, who trace their American ancestry back to the days of Roger Williams, of the Providence Plantations, Rhode Island.

        Mr. Burges bears the name of his father and grandfather. His grandfather, Tristam Burges, represented Rhode Island in the halls of our National Congress for ten years, and was before the public in various positions for a longer period than the life of an average generation. His record as a public man, for ability, integrity, and faithfulness, has rarely been equaled. In debate he was the peer of the brightest intellects gathered in the halls of Congress. All readers of Congressional history will remember his celebrated debate with John Randolph, of Roanoke, which alone would have made him famous. He was often called the "Bald-headed Eagle," of Rhode Island, and the words, as applied to him, had a high significance. He died in 1853.

        Tristam Burges, the father of the subject of this sketch, was a prominent man in public affairs in Rhode Island. A member of the State Senate at the outbreak of the Rebellion, he entered with heart and soul into the work of putting Rhode Island troops into the field. A Colonel's commission was given him, by President Lincoln, to enable him to become a volunteer on the staff of General Sprague, and afterward on the staff of General McClellan. After the evacuation of Yorktown, in his zeal to be at the front, he attached himself temporarily to the staff of General Stoneman, and at the battle which followed the retreat of the rebel army fought at Williamsburg, he was so severely wounded that he died afterward, May 23, 1863.

        Tristam Burges, whose name heads this sketch, was born at Providence, Rhode Island, May 14, 1843, and was reared and educated in that State. He did honor to the patriotic principles inherited from father and grandfather, by enlisting as a member of the First Rhode Island Cavalry, from which he was soon transferred for special duty.

        In 1865 he became a resident of San Francisco, where for many years he was actively engaged in business. During the early period of his residence there, he acted as Clerk of the Probate Court for seven years. In August, 1884, he bought the thirty-one acres (then unimproved property) upon which he now lives. During the winter following, his residence was erected, in the designing of which his chief care was the combining of comfort and durability with beauty. His family took possession of their pleasant home on the sixth of March, 1885. All of his building improvements are first-class in every respect. His land (prepared for planting by himself) is set to French prunes and Moorpark apricot trees, in equal numbers. The orchard is now (1888) only three years old, but among the many fine orchards of Santa Clara County, none are seen more promising, and none that show better care, than this one.

        Mr. Burges is identified with the Republican party, and is a member of the George H. Thomas Post, G. A. R., at San Francisco. He is  also one of the leading members of the Masonic fraternity on the Pacific Coast. In 1888 he was Grand Commander, Knights Templar, of California, an honorary member of St. Bernard Commandery of Chicago, and the representative of the Grand Commandery of Illinois, "near the Grand Commandery of California," and also Grand Representative of Dakota. He was the organizer of the Golden Gate Commandery of San Francisco; a member of the Oriental Lodge, F. & A. M.; of the California Chapter, R. A. M.; of the California Council, R. & S. M.; and of the Golden Gate Commandery, K. T. He has also the honor of being a thirty-second-degree member of the Scotish Rite fraternity of Masons.

        In 1867 Mr. Burges married Miss Isabell R. Lucy, daughter of George H. Lucy, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have two children: Charles B., aged nineteen years, and Edith A., aged sixteen.

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.
Pg. 475-476