San Tomas Orchard

 Bio-Pen Pictures

            Thomas W. Mitchell is the proprietor of the San Tomas Orchard, the largest orchard in the San Tomas District.  The property fronts the Quito road, and is situated about one mile southeast of Saratoga.  Mr. Mitchell’s residence, which is approached from the road over an avenue eighty rods in length, stands near the center of his one hundred and eighteen acres, of which eighty-three acres are in orchard.  He bought the place in 1881.  It was then in bad condition, having been devoted many years to grain culture, and sadly neglected.  Years were spent in bringing the property into its present fine condition.  Now (in 1888) it is no disparagement to others to say that no property in the neighborhood shows better care and skill in management, or produces better results than does this—in fact, ‘tis not saying too much when it is stated that no better orchard can be found in the country.

            Fifteen acres are devoted to the culture of seventeen hundred cherry trees, principally of the Tartarian, Governor Wood, and Royal Ann varieties.  No fruit of this kind in the county ranks higher than does Mr. Mitchell’s in the San Francisco market.  The crop of 1887 brought $2,500.  Three hundred and fifty young peach trees comprise the peach orchard, and four thousand prune trees (chiefly French), the prune orchard.  These, with six hundred almond trees, Oregon and Bulgarian prune trees, apple and pear trees, besides a vineyard covering twenty acres (planted generally in rows alternating with peach and prune trees), make the grand total of product and revenue.  The entire property of one hundred and eighteen acres is made excellent in improvement and grand in productive results.

            Mr. Mitchell was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, November 29, 1825.  He is the son of William and Elizabeth Mitchell.  The family came to the United States, and settled in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.  There the subject of this sketch married Miss Martha Williams, in 1856.  Later, they removed to Walworth County, and from Wisconsin came to California in 1861.  They made Calaveras County their home for seven years, leaving it in 1868 to become residents of San Jose.  There they lived until they took possession of their Santa Clara home (before described), in 1881.

            Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell are the parents of three children, of whom two, Ada and Frank, are living.  Carrie, the wife of Charles C. Worthington, died at the age of twenty-nine years.  Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell have in their care her two children, Ada  Louisa and Georgie May.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell are consistent members of the Baptist Church.

            Mr. Mitchell has been a steadfast supporter of the Republican party ever since its organization.

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. 178-179
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight