History of Washington Township, Alameda County, California
The Country Club, under whose auspices this history is published, was the outcome of two political equality societies, one of Centreville and one of Niles. The first meeting of the Woman's Club of Washington Township, afterward re-named the Country Club, was held in December, 1897, at the home of Mrs. C.H. Allen, Centreville. At that time there were present twenty-five women from different parts of the township, who became charter members of the club then organized. At the present writing six of the seven villages in the township are represented, and there are a few members from outside districts.
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The greater part of Washington Township lies in what Father Palou, California's earliest historian, calls the Valle de San Jose, a name applied formerly to the whole long valley, because of the location therein of San Jose, one of the pueblos of California. Subsequently it was called Santa Clara, and the upper portion of it is often spoken of as the Alameda Valley, from the creek of that name flowing through it. Father Palotu incidentally mentions that when, in 1773, Capt. Bautista's party went through here from Monterey in search of San Francisco, the soldiers killed elk so large that the antlers measured eight feet from tip to tip. In 1793 the Spanish government of this country decided to establish a third town, or pueblo, and sent out a party to explore, as appears in the report, from Santa Cruz Mission "to the place of the Alameda," and although this place contained a creek, the pueblo, Branciforte, was located near Santa Cruz Mission, but was soon abandoned. There were twenty-one missions, four presidios (garrisons), and three pueblos (civic settlements) including Branciforte, established before 1833, when the missions were secularized. The history of the founding of these old missions is one of interest to everybody. Many of them are now in ruins, only piles of adobe indicating the places where they once stood, but the settlement and civilization of early California were wholly due to their institution, and although now of little or no civic importance, they mark a valuable as v^ell as poetic epoch in the history of the state- and the several localities in which they were established. In 1707 one of them was founded in what is now Washington Township, and so it follows that the early history of the township is largely that of Mission San Jose, which appears elsewhere in this work. In 1834 when the Mexican congress passed the act releasing the Indians from the control of the misrdons, and appointing men to manage the affairs of mission property, Don Jose de Jesus Vallejo was appointed administrator at Mission S.an Jose, where he lived many years.