The Valley of Heart's Delight



Surnames:  Goodwin, Tanner, Hanney, Overfelt, Fisk, Houston

One of the early pioneers of this State, and a man who, until the time of his death, which occurred August 1, 1853 was prominently identified  with the history of California, encountering many perils and hardships, but in it all acting the gentleman and laying the foundation of comfort and competence for his family, is the subject of this brief biographical sketch.  He was born in Kentucky, March 1, 1810, his parents being Edward G. and Mary Rosanna Pyle, themselves also natives of the same State.  During Mr. Pyle's youth his parents emigrated to Illinois, where his father followed the vocation of farmer and surveyor.  Mr. Pyle was brought up to the calling of farmer, his education being limited to what was afforded by the country schools.

For several years he farmed in Illinois and Indiana, and later in Missouri, until on May 26, 1846, he started overland for California arriving at Sacramento, in this State on October 20 of that year.  He at once joined the little force under General Fremont, and was engaged with that gallant commander in all the stirring events of that date.  He accompanied the general to Los Angeles, finally, where he was discharged on the pacification of  the country, when he returned to his family, and engaged in the business of stock-raising in Tuolumne County.

In 1850 he came to Santa Clara County, transferring his stock interests hither, and carrying on at the same time the general business of a farmer upon the same land still occupied by his widow.  This is located on the King road in the Pala School District, about three miles east of the business center of San Jose.  Mr. Pyle was an industrious and energetic man during his life,one of the leading citizens of this section of the State, always at hand in every moment when his presence could be of benefit.  He was a member of the Vigilantes in 1852, who did such great, good work for the law-abiding citizens.

Mr. and Mrs. Pyle had four children:  Edward G., born May 26, 1838, who married Miss Margaret Hanney, a native of Scotland; they reside on the old homestead.  Mary, born October 26, 1839, married Wm. C. Overfelt, since deceased; she lives on a portion of the old homestead, William Henry, born April 18, 1842, married Miss Mary A. Fisk, a native of Maine; they reside at Los Angeles.  The fourth, John Francisco, born December 31, 1844, who married Miss Margaret E. Houston, of Santa Clara County and now resides on a portion of the old homestead.  This homestead originally consisted of four hundred and ten acres, being purchased by Mr. Pyle on locating in this valley, and being a part of five hundred acres, tract No. 47.  Before his death he sold ten acres of this tract, the remainder being divided amongst the children, except seventy-two acres reserved with the old homestead.  This is devoted to the growth of hay and grain.

After the death of her husband Mr. Pyle, in 1858, married Daniel Tanner, a resident of  Santa Clara County. A large part of the great hardships of the early days necessarily fell upon the women, and these pioneer ladies can relate exception accounts of their trails and sufferings. While  Mr. Pyle was in the service under General Fremont, he left his wife and young family alone in Tuolumne County, with but scanty supplies of sustenance.  Indeed, at one time they were brought to such a strait that, had it not been for the kindness of the Indians, who shared with them their game and acorns and such other food as they had, they would have perished.  But it was a trail that had to be borne, as the needs of the county always come first.  It should be stated further, that Mrs. Pyle was the daughter of Levi and Mary Goodwin, natives of Pennsylvania, who emigrated to Ohio at an early date.  Her parents afterwards went ot Indiana and finally to Illinois, where they died, in  an honored old age.

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 231, transcribed by Carolyn Feroben