The Valley of Heart's Delight

William Boots
Alviso Township

BIO Pen-Pictures

WILLIAM BOOTS is the owner of one of the largest and most productive farms in Santa Clara County. It is magnificent in extent, containing 640 acres, and is situated on the Alviso and Milpitas road, in the Alviso District, about six miles north of San Jose, and three miles southeast of Alviso. An orchard of twenty-three acres produces principally plums and French prunes, but also to a much smaller extent nearly all the varieties of fruit grown in that section. To the culture of strawberries of the Shapless, Cheney, and Longworth varieties, six acres are devoted. Asparagus is extensively cultivated, thirty acres being occupied by this vegetable. The remainder, and by far the larger part, of this ranch is used as a hay and grain farm, and for stock purposes. Mr. Boots is interested in stock-raising, and owns some fine thoroughbred racing horses of English stock. He is also largely interested in raising draught horses from American stock. Eight artesian wells, ranging in depth from 250 feet to 600 feet, furnish the water. Three of these wells are worthy of special mention, as having a flow of nine inches of water over a seven-inch pipe. The well, from which the water for domestic use is taken, upon being capped, displays great force, and throws water from a small nozzle attached to an inch hose fully forty feet high. The family residence is a fine and commodious one, and is surrounded by well-ordered grounds.

The subject of our sketch dates his birth in 1825, and is the son of James and Sarah (Sringer) Boots, who were residents of Jefferson County, Ohi. His father was a native of South Carolina; his ancestry, whose nationality is not positively know, came to the American colonies at an early period in the history of our country. His mother was a descendant from the original Penn colonists of Pennsylvania. His father emigrated to Ohio in 1814, being one of the pioneers of that State. He engaged in farming, and to that work the subject of our sketch was reared. His educational advantages wee extremely limited, he never having received more than 100 days' schooling in his life. His father's failing health compelled him to take charge of the farm and its interests, and thus to aid in the maintenance of the family. This care fell upon him when he was but seventeen years old, yet he fulfilled these arduous duties most faithfully and successfully. He remained on his father's farm until 1851, when he left home to come to this State. Reaching St. Louis in the autumn of that year, he there engaged in various occupatins, starting from there on the overland trip in the spring of the following year. He arrived in the Sacramento Valley on the fourteenth of August, 1852, and after a short stay there went into the mines. It required only a five days' trial to convince him that mining was not his vocation, and he abandoned it to return to farm labor, in which he engaged until fall. He then came to Santa Clara County, sick and destitute of money, but there were left to him an indomitable will to do, and courage which nothing could daunt. After almost six months of weary sickness and suffering, he was able to resume work, and for the next six months was engaged in farm labor for wages. At the expiration of this time he rented land, and commenced the raising of grain. A thorough knowledge of agriculture, combined with energetic and trained habits of labor, and a strict attention to business, soon assured his success, and in 1862 he was able to purchase land at his present location, upon which to base his future operation. Since then he has, from time to time, added to the acreage of his farm, until now (in 1888) he is justly considered one of Santa Clara's most prosperous and successful agriculturists.

In 1859 Mr. Boots married Miss Mary E. Hough, of Syracuse, New York. They have three children, all of whom are yet members of their father's family at the old homestead. Their names are: Charles T., Mary E., and William.

Mr. Boots is one of the most widely and favorably known citizens in this section. He is ready to give his help to all enterprises of real merit that will advance the interests and welfare of his community. He is what is called a self-made man, and is certainly most deserving of that description. His position, when he became a resident of this county, and the one which he holds now, when compared, give evidence as to the courage and industry which must have filled the intervening years. He is a strong and consistent Republican, and during the late war was an ardent supporter of the Union. He takes a deep interest in the welfare of the Presbyterian Church, of which he is a member.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California,
- Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. p. 275-276
transcribed by Carol Lackey