1860 Federal Census (off site)
1870 Federal Census (off site)

Geography.- Fremont township is bounded on the north by San Mateo county and a portion of the bay of San Francisco; on the east by Alviso and Santa Clara  townships; on the south by Redwood township, and on the west by San Mateo county.

Topography.- The topography of this township cannot be said to possess much variety, it for the most part being level valley land, ranging towards the western border into hilly country, which, rising tier above tier, finally attains a considerable altitude, these being for the most part timber ground.  That portion facing on the San Francisco bay is entirely marsh land decussated by many creeks, sloughs and water-ways; some navigable and others not.

Soil.- The soil of this township is not a whit behind that of any other portion of the  county, the rich, alluvial lands of the level country possessing marvelous properties in the production of grain, fruit and vegetables, while the higher lands afford ample pasturage for stock of every kind.

Products.-- The produce of this section is entirely in keeping with those of other parts of the valley.  Grain is grown in immense quantities, the harvest each year apparently increasing; butter is made to some extent; there is scarcely a house without an orchard, large or small, while vegetables are raised in great variety and profusion.

Timber.- That portion of the township bordering on the eastern heights of San Mateo is pretty generally covered with redwoods, although the sawmills supplied from them are entirely located in the adjoining county.  It is estimated in Fremont township there are still from fifteen to twenty thousand acres of timber lands.  Before the settlement of the country by Americans, the valley was covered to much a greater extent than it is to-day with white and live-oaks, sycamores, chemisal, and a dense jungle of undergrowth.  With the advance of years many of these prime trees have fallen victims to the woodman's ax, while indomitable perseverance has cleared away the brushwood, and left a park-like landscape, covered with teeming plenty.

Climate.--The climate of the entire township cannot be described as anything but fine.  Warm days as they should in there proper season; the same may be said of the colder weather.  Being within ken of the Bay of San Francisco the general influence of the sea-breezes, without the strong trade-winds, is felt, while there is no time of the year, from April till October, that out-door labor may not be conducted with profit to pocket and person alike.

Early Settlement.
--It will  be acknowledged on every hand that to treat of the early settlement of  a district, is a task requiring research and patience.  In our travels in Fremont township, the oldest resident we have  been able to converse with is the wife of Captain A. Greer, now residing about a mile and half from Mayfield.  this lady is the daughter of Rafael Soto, the original owner of the Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito and one of the very earliest settlers in the Pueblo de San Jose, where she was born in the  year 1817.  About the year 1827, she accompanied her father to the Martinez Rancho, now in the adjoining county of San Mateo, and there resided with him until he obtained the San Francisquito grant.  In the year 1835 they took possession thereof, and erected a dwelling near the site of the residence at present occupied by Doctor Newell, of San Francisco.  This house was built, says Mrs. Greer, of redwood sawed with  a whip-saw on the Martinez Rancho, and conveyed thence in the primitive wagons and along the still more primitive roads of the period.  It was one story in height, contained three rooms, and was the first house in the township.  Two years  later, we are informed, the Fathers of the Santa Clara Mission constructed an adobe for the use of their Indians, not far from where Secundino Robles now resides, while, about the same time, another fabric of that ilk was constructed, and still stands on the  property of ex-Governor Stanford.   It was occupied by  Antonio Buelna, and from having a position in  close proximity to the creek, was known as El Paso del Arroyo.  Prior  to the building of his house, however, Soto had discovered the navigability of the San Francisquito creek, had chartered some small craft to to attempt a voyage  up it tortuous way, had met them at its mouth, where, armed with a flag, he directed their winding and precarious course, and finally guiding them to their destination loaded them with hides and established an embarcadero which is still in use.

The country was wild in the  extreme; hill and valley were alike impenetrable; the lower grounds bore a crop of naught save chaparral and tangled undergrowth; trails were numerous but ran in perplexing confusion; traveling was a dangerous, for beasts of prey were plentiful, while all around bore evidence of impossible fertility.  What, then, must have been thought of John Coppinger, who. as long ago as 1837, tilled the soil of Senora Marian Antonia  Mesa, the widow of Rafael Soto, on ground now owned by Henry W. Seals,  near Mayfield.  Coppinger, who owned the tract of land in San Mateo bearing his name, had no domicile in Santa Clara county, but in 1837 married Maria Luisa Soto, who is now Mrs. Greer.  As this was the first marriage connected with this township, let us glance back at the merry makings that then occurred.  at an early hour of that bright and beautiful day two equestrians, mounted on a single horse, might have been seen threading their way through the mazes of brushwood en route  to the Santa Clara Mission.  These were a man and woman; he in the prime of life, she in  the first blush of maidenhood.  The sacred edifice attained, the two are joined in accordance with the Holy Catholic faith; the ceremony ended, the faithful steed is once more mounted, and the newly-made man and wife, alone with their happiness, their love, their hopes and their fears, commence the journey of life.  Arriving at the homestead it is found that every preparation has been made for a wedding feast more than ordinary grandeur;  congratulations are showered in from every side; the guests bidden to the fete give way to joy  and gaiety unrestrained; to regale the inner man, a weighty beef has been roasted whole among the bright embers which still smolder at the bottom of the trench, cyanides are spread in prodigious profusion, the fiesta gives way to the dance, the dance to more feasting; day succeeds night and still the joyousness continues, until the third day is ended, when each returns to his home, carrying in his mind recollections when many years of the "whips and scores of time" will leave unimpaired

The next to settle in the district, was one Jose Pena , a Spaniard, who owned the grant known as the Rancho Santa Rita, but in what year he came, we have been unable to trace.  About 1848 he sold his property to Secundino Robles who came to the district at that time and still resides on a portion of the original estate.  This gentleman of pure Castilian descent, was born in Santa Cruz in the year 1813, and was a resident of that place until he moved into this county.   In 1824 he became acquainted with the existence of the New Almaden mine, and with his brother Teodoro Robles, received four shares in the-partnership formed in November, 1845, to work the mines by one Andres Castillero; in 1846 he commanded a troop of Mexican cavalry, during the troubolus times being taken prisoner, when he broke his sword in twain, and thus surrendered it to his captors; two years later, as stated above, he acquired the Santa Rita Rancho.  Here he found an adobe built by Pena, it is thought about the year 1840; to this structure Robles added in 1849; later, he made some frame-work additions, and on the roof laid a dancing floor, where, his neighbors in by-gone days were wont to trip "the light fantastic toe."  To the rear of the premises stand some rare old pear trees, weather-beaten memento's of the past, but which still bear excellent fruit, and a couple of vines, planted five-and-twenty years ago, whose rich clusters yet hang in luscious profusion; under this wide-spreading canopy, it as that Secundino recounted to us the exploits of his more youthful days.  At his mansion in its palmiest days, the state changed horses, long before the line of the county road have been diverted: here was he in the habit of dispensing an open hospitality; at his board the guests were many, on his estate the hunters were not a few, when such game as bear, panther, and deer were thick in the jungle.  Secundino Robles to-day is a fine looking old gentleman standing over six feet in height, with well-cut features, and noble presence, while his dark-eyed wife is a fit companion for his robust old age, notwithstanding the family of nine-and twenty children she has given to the world.  His acres are not as many as in the days when he was bounded by Rafael Soto to the North and Mariano Castro (she had no actual domicile here), to the south, yet we trust that sufficient may long remain to him to keep the wolf from the door.

To John W. Whisman has the honor of being the first American settler in Fremont township.  This worthy pioneer was a native of Wythe county, Virginia, and after enduring the many hardships consequent on crossing the plains at so early a date, settled about a half a mile from where an inn was afterwards built and named the Fremont House, in 1847, not far from Mountain View.  In the following years, 1848, his cousin, John Whisman, arrived on the scene, and located on  the ground, a portion of which is now occupied by the depot of the Southern Pacific Railroad at Mountain View Station.  To save confusion the last-named settler in after years became familiarly known as "Old John."  These and their families and one Creghton, who dwelt near them, were without doubt the first pioneer settlers of the township.  The first death  was that of Alpha Whisman, in 1848.  In the next year, however, 1849, there was an undoubted accession to the population, for we learn of the birth of Joseph Palmer Whisman; the double marriage of Andrew Whisman to Serelda Whisman, and David Campbell to Mary Whisman in September 1849;  while, at about the same time, M. W. Dixon, himself a son-in-law of Mr. Whisman, arrived and took up his residence in the section.  In November, 1849, James Lynn and Washington Moody, his son-in-law,. lived and kept the Fremont House who bought it from the original proprietor named Harlan,  who settled there about 1848.  The establishment stood where Dan Murphy now resides on the  property of John Sullivan

Up to the end of 1849 it will be observed that the township was but sparsely settled; indeed we cannot find that any other settlers than these already named came into this portion of  the valley. In the Fall of 1850, however, a better start was made.  Martin Murphy, who had come to the State as long ago as 1844, but whose family had settled in other portions of the county, came down  from Sacramento district, acquired the Pastoria de las Borregas of Mariano Castro, and in the month of September of that year commenced the erection of the house he now occupies.  The original portion of the residence was brought out in pieces round Cape Horn from Boston and put up where it now stands, about half a mile from the railroad depot at Murphy's.  At this time there came Edward Dale, and a month later, in November, Barnes Holloway and two ministers of the cumberland Presbyterian church, named C. Waeger and Wesley Gallimore  These, in partnership with Dale, rented land from Mariano Castro, but each farmed a portion on his  own account.  About this period a man named Frost  settled on the Hollenbeck farm, while soon after the ground to the back of that tract was taken up by William Wright, who still resides on it.  During the Winter of 1850-51, Abner Bryant came from Gilroy, where he had resided for some years, and located close to Dale ant the others, at what is now  Mountain View Station.  At this period the upper portion of the township was without a permanent resident, except the Spanish families.  True, there was working in the redwoods and teaming, "Uncle Jim" Otterson, but it is doubtful if he had a fixed adobe within what are now the township lines.  This we do know, for he says so himself, that early in 1851 he settled on what is now the Stanford ranch, and thinking it to be Government land he afterwards disposed of it to David Adams who in turn sold it to Delavan Hoag, when the property became known as the Hoag Place.  This old pioneer was born in Tururo, Nova Scotia, May 5, 1805, and is now a resident of San Mateo county.  In the Spring of 1851, Milton A. Lewis, from Missouri, stetted on the farm now occupied by John W. Boulware near Mayfield, while, the period is made memorable by the establishment of the first school in the township.  The number of children had so rapidly increased that it as deemed desirable to open some place wherein  instruction might be given to those desiring it.  To this end a sum of money was subscribed , a cabin erected on the site of the present railroad warehouse, and the charge given to Rev. W. Gallimore, who had promised to undertake the labors provided twenty-five pupils were forth coming.  But this was not the only benefit , regular services were inaugurated the pastors being Messrs. Yaeger and Gallimore, while it was arranged that once a month the edifice should be handed over to the Methodist and Baptist Bodies, the first clergy-men alternating being Revs., Messrs. Bailey, now residing near Santa Clara, and Ricketts, of the baptists.  In the year 1851, there also settled near Mountain View, E. Jenkinds, B. C. Bubb, W. H. Bubb, and William McClellan who located on land now the property of S. P. Emerson.

With the new year the march of immigration continued.  Early in 1852, Nathan Hon arrived and brought out Abner Bryant, but some time after was removed from the  ground he occupied, it not being Government land, when he left for Gilroy, Bryant proceeding to Salinas.  Messrs. Blair, Meadows, Clark, Joel Levin, and Blazer too came about this period, while William Ware settled on the land now owned by B. C. Bubb.  I. N. Graham took up the ground on which he now lives:  Richard Johnson also came, and earlier in the year an Englishman named Curtis pitched his tent on what is now the property of Frank Sleeper.  There also located near Ware's place a  man named Neville and Joav Boone.  In the fall of the year, Richard Johnson disposed of his tract ot a new arrival named Thompson, who after occupying it for three or four years sold out to S. P. Emerson, who up to that time had his home on the Ynigo Ranch.  In the month of August G. E. Shore arrived; the next month E. F. Springer took up his residence, married a daughter of Mr. Shore in the next month, since when the two families have resided near Mountain View; there also settled in that section in the month of December G. H. Briggs.  To the upper portion of the township there came Jn W. Boulware, who went on the place described as having been located by Milton A. Lewis in 1851.  On arrival he found Silas Harmon farming forty acres, or thereabouts, on what is now Mr. Seal's property.  Mr. Boulware remained in this part of the township until December, 1852, when he moved to Mountain View bought the unexpired portion of a lease from Rev. C. Yeager, and there resided until 1854, when he removed to the Calaveras valley, Milpitas township, but returned to Fremont township in 1861.  In December, 1852, A. J. Pitman also located not far from Mayfield, near the San Francisquito creek.

It is always interesting in a work of the nature of a local history not only to tote the arrivals of the earlier settlers, but to trace their whereabouts at the time of writing.  We do not  usually make this apportion of the schedule mapped out for our guidance; but while in conversation with Edward Dale, the question was harded as to his knowledge of what had become of the foregoing pioneers.  He informed us that the Rev. C. Yaeger was now in charge of a circuit in what is known as the Mussel Slough county. Rev. W. Gallimore resides on his farm in Santa Clara township, adjoining the Ynigo Ranch; Blair,  Clark, and Blazer removed some years ago to the Russian River valley; 'Meadows died on his farm in or about 1853 or '54; Johnson is a resident of Pacheco, Contra Costa county; Curtis moved to Monterey, where he still resides ; McCellan died in 1861 or thereabouts; Frost is now in Arizona territory; Neville died in 1879; and Boone is a resident of Amador county.

During the Fall of 1852, the first fencing was done by Messrs. Dale, Holloway, and Yaeger, those then existing being only on the margin of water-courses, where hey had been left by each recurring flood.  The initial inclsure was commenced about where now stands the prosperous little village of Mountain View Station, though it is just possible that the Spaniards may have put up some kind of an inclosure to protect the little patches of watermelons and corn which they cultivated.  In this year was erected the first store in township by Richard Carr, who employed Jacob Shomway to conduct it ,in what is now Old Mountain View; while the upper protion of the section was supplied by William Paul from a trading -post he had  established on the San Mateo side of the San Francisquito creek at the embarcadero of Ravenswood.

The year 1853 we find was one of considerable moment, for the first town ws started; but it is not our intention here to recount its rise and progress; that will be dealt with the history of Mountain View.  Another noteworthy event, which will be found recorded elsewhere, was the construction by James Otterson, at whaat is now Mayfield, of the famous "Uncle Jim's Cabin," a house of entertainment which in the olden times had a wide celebrity.  Of the cettlers who arried at this epoch we have been only able to trace the names of Jonathan Richardson, Joseph Barton, Geoerge H. Grant, D. B. Bailey, George Charleston, Geoerge W. LaPierre, S. P. Taylor, O. Crittenden, C. J Fuller, and David Adams; while in June of that year ther resided on the Dunn place in Mayfield, now owned by Peter Coutts, one John Fine, and a man named Littel on what is now ex- Governor Stanford's home farm.  Kishener resided about a quarter of  a mile from Mayfield on the county road, and Sandy Wilson had squatted on the Palo Alto tract under the erroneous impression that it was Government land.  About this time the Weilheimer Brothers opened a store in Mountain View, as did the Hungarian called Ernest, who went by the name of "Doc:" while it was in this year that the cemetery at Mountain View , the only one in the town ship, was laid out on land donated for the purpose by Mariano Castro, a gift which speaks volumes for the liberality of that Spanish gentleman.

As year gave place to year the tidal wave of immigration, after beating against the precipitous sides of the Rocky Mountains and the almost inpassable barriers of the Sierra Nevada, fund its endless way into the valleys of the Golden State.  On the hundreds who came to the fertile vale of Santa Clara in the year 1854, there were a few destined to find homes within the limits of Fremont township, among them being Delavan Hoag, Mitchell Dubbs, and George DeWitt Gleason.  In 1854, E. O. Crosby purchased that tract of land now owned by Edward Barron, gave to it the pleasant name of Mayfied Farm, which in turn gave the title to the post office on its establishment in 1855, and still later to the thrifty little town which today bears that appellation.  We note that in 1855 Nathaniel Eaton and M. Spedding cast their lot in this district; while in the following years, 1856, that ancient Scot, William Paul, finding the opposition of Fuller too uch for his litte store at Ravensood, purchased the stock and good-will of the latter, removed his own little establishment, and planted in what is now Mayfield.  Besides Mr. Paul, there also found a dwelling place in that year W. W. Brown, and S. D. Hosmer.

In the following years immigration was heavy, and however willingly we would give the names of each successive settler, we find it impossible to do so,hence we mention only a few- not because there are non others equally as worthy of public mention, but because we hav not the requisite space.  In 1857, ther arrivedin Fremont township that worthy pioneer, Judge Joseph S. Wallis.  Coming to the State at a very early date, he, like everybody else, took a turn at the mines, but not finding here that success which he  desired, he retunred to San Francisco, entered upon the study and practive of law, and finally settled in Mayfield in the above year.  Not only has Judge Wallis been a warm supporter fo the public enterprises of that village, but he has always taken an active part in all matters appertaining to the township in which he has made his home.  Among the new-comers in this year were, Joseph Ponce, Robert Brown and Henry Ringstorff, the owner of the landing of that name, a history of those establishment there we have filed to procure, though several attempts to that end have been made. In 1858, we find these two energetic citizens, Walter Henderson, the first station agent on the Southern Pacific road at Mayfield, and Cornelius Van Buren, formerly a public servant in several capacities, but at prestn General Superintendent of the Ayshire Farm of Peter Coutts.  In 1859, John Snyder, and Theodore F. Grant came, while, in 1860, there arrived genial John Duchesneau, C. B. Davisdon, and last, though not least, that pioneer of '47 the Honorable Daniel Frink.

Thus far we have endeavored to bring what may be called the early settlement of the township, now under consideratoin. to perfecton-that is as perfect as may be.  Would that it were possible to polish up memory, and recity chronology; were such a thing feasible, then the diffculty would dwindle into insignificance, and our task be easy; as it is, we have usually had to depend on precarious recollections, foggy dates, and uncorroborated testimony.  What we have given to the read, has been leaned from what may be termed the "weight of evidence."
pages 255- 262*

Fremont Township, pages 255-270
History of Santa Clara County, California
San Francisco: Alley, Bowen, & Co., 1881
Transcribed by cdf


TRANSCRIBERS NOTE_---------this chapter continues on with details about these communites in the Fremont Township, and have been placed on  individual community pages:

History of Mayfield
Mayfield Lodge, #92, I.O.O.F.
Lumber Yard
Mayfield Railroad Brewery

Mountain View
History of Mountain View
Mountain View Lodge- IOOF #244
Mountain View Station
Mountain View House
 Enterprise Hall

pages 262-263
Mountain View Station
Mountain View Station
Methodist Episcopal Church, South
Mountain View Lodge, #194 F. & A. M.
Mountain View Lodge, #59, A. O. U. W.
Grand Wreath Lodge, #327, I.O.G.T.
Mountain View Hotel

pages 263-266