History of Santa Clara County, California

The History of Santa Clara County was undertaken now nearly a twelve-month since; the result of our labors will be found in the following pages. We claim no literary merit for our work. Our aim is to please the majority by presenting a volume, wherein will be found in convenient shape the principal events that have transpired within the county limits.

To the old settler, to the pioneer citizen, the events recorded in these pages, many of them in which he has figured, and which have been gradually and surely fading from the mind, will be as a revival of by-gone associations. The emulation of the sire will be revived in the son. The ground that he rescued from the wilderness will be made holy, while the infant will be taught to look with reverence upon the book which holds the annals of his parent's wanderings, and the rise and progress of his native county.


Table of Contents


Almaden Township
Alviso Township
Burnett Township
Fremont Township
Gilroy Township
Milpitas Township
Redwood Township
San Jose Township and City
Santa Clara Township


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Derivation of Name. The origin of the name which this county bears is thus described in a report made to the Senate under date April 16, 1850, by General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, then the Senator from the District of Sonoma, entitled, "Report of Mr. Vallejo, on the Derivation and Definition of the Names of the several Counties of California." In that report, unequalled in its style, and in the amount of information crowded into a small compass, he says of Santa Clara: "According to the Roman Book of Martyrs, or Martyrology, as Hortalana, the pious mother of Santa Clara, was once kneeling before a crucifix, praying earnestly that, being with child, she might be happily delivered, she heard a voice whispering, 'Fear not, woman, thou shalt safely bring forth;' whereupon a brilliant light suddenly illumined the place, and the mother, inspired by the mysterious prediction, baptized her child Clara, which is the feminine of clear, or bright. Clara was afterwards sanctified, on account of her many eminent virtues, and accordingly venerated by the Catholics in all Roman Catholic churches.

The Mission of Santa Clara, from which the county derives its name, was founded on the twelfth day of January, 1777."