Captain- San Jose Police Force-1872


            Thomas Vance, Captain of the Nightwatch of the Police Force of San Jose, is at present (1888) the veteran of the force, having joined it in June, 1872.  He was born near Jackson, Tennessee, in 1826.  His parents having died during his early childhood, he was brought up by an uncle, Thomas McKnight, who removed to Mississippi when Thomas Vance was about thirteen years of age.  He remained there until about eighteen years old, working on his uncle’s farm and attending school, when the opportunity offered.  At that age he went to New Orleans, and after remaining there four months he joined, early in May, 1846, the Second Louisiana Infantry, commanded by Colonel I. N. Marks.  They proceeded to Point Isabel, on the Rio Grande, and marched up to where Brownsville now is. The command remained on the Rio Grande while the Mexican War lasted, when they returned to New Orleans.  On being mustered out he returned to Tennessee, where he again devoted himself to farming until 1860, when he came to California, settling immediately in the foot-hills, near Los Gatos, in Santa Clara County.  Here he engaged in teaming and lumbering until 1870, when he came to San Jose, becoming Deputy Sheriff under N. R. Harris, then Sheriff of the county.  He remained in that position two years, at the expiration of which time he joined the police force, with which he has been connected ever since, working his way up from patrolman to his present position.  The fact that Captain Vance has been re-elected each year by the Mayor and Common Council is full evidence of his valuable and faithful service during that time. 

            He was married in December, 1849, to Miss Sophia Jane Smith, of Jackson, Tennessee.  They have three children:  Laura E., wife of Thomas Beck, of Berryessa; Mary A., wife of T. J. Rivers, of Los Angeles; Jessie S., engaged in teaching in Los Angeles County.

            Captain Vance has an orchard of four acres, planted in prunes and apricots, just coming into bearing.  He is a member of the American Legion of Honor, and also a member of the Mexican War Veterans’ Association, and pensioner of that war.

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. 370-371
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight