History of Santa Clara County
Additional Events in the History of San Jose--The Advent of Street Cars and Other Metropolitan Advantages--The Crimes of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties--A New Form of Government.
An act to incorporate the city of San Jose was passed by the Legislature, March 27, 1850, by which it was directed that the city government should consist of a mayor and seven councilmen, who were designated a "body politic and corporate" under the name of "the Mayor and Common Council." This name was retained until the city adopted the commission form of government in 1916. The first city tax was levied July 11, 1850, and was for one per cent on the assessed value of all property. The first council voted themselves pay at the rate of six dollars per day. This ordinance was repealed in December of the same year, on motion of Dr. Ben Cory. The first order looking to the improvement of the streets was made on December 2, 1850, which provided for sidewalks in the business part of the city. The income of the city for its first year of incorporation was $37,339.30; expenditures, $37,106.04. The expenses included a debt of $7,500 handed down from the Ayuntiamento of 1849. The city was divided into four wards in April, 1853, and a fire warden appointed for each ward. An appropriation of $2,000 for fire apparatus was also made.
In 1855 the office of captain of police was created and the same year the mayor and council held session in the new city hall on Market Street, north of Santa Clara Street. In 1866, by act of the Legislature, the city funded its floating debt by the issuance of bonds, which were paid for in 1865, thus leaving the city out of debt.
A new charter was adopted in 1837. Under the new system the government of the city was vested in five trustees, a treasurer, a clerk and assessor, and a collector.
In 1853 gambling was licensed, $500 for each table.
The Democratic party in San Jose was organized in 1853. Dr. A. J. Spencer was president. John M. Murphy and Samuel Morrison, secretaries. In 1854 the first convention was held at the office of the mayor, chairman, Thomas J. West; secretary, P. K. Woodside.
The Whig party was organized in 1853 and on July 1, a convention was held with Coleman Younger, chairman, and Frederic Hall, secretary.
In 1854 a district school was established, Freeman Gates, principal.
In 1855 the Know-Nothing party came into existence but held no convention. Its candidates were nominated by primary.
The Republican party was organized in 1856 and a convention was held the same year with J. H. Morgan, chairman; A. C. Erkson and M. Sawyer, vice-chairmen: C. G. Thomas and R. Hutchinson, secretaries.
In 1857 San Jose was remapped.
In 1858 the Anti-Lecompton (Douglas-Democrat)
party convened at the city hall. W. M. Lent, chairman, and Freeman Gates,
An ordinance authorizing the city to lay gas pipes was passed January 11, 1858. In July, 1860, James Hagan secured a franchise from the city for this purpose. The first lights were given on January 21, 1861. There were then only eighty-four consumers and seven street lights.
In 1861 Jasper D. Gunn, city marshal, absconded, haying embezzled $2,700 of the city's money. Gunn was acquitted of the criminal charge but his bondsmen were sued by the city and judgment obtained against them.
Donald Mackenzie, in May, 1864, was granted permission to lay water pipes in the streets of the city. This was the beginning of the San Jose Water Company.
In 1865 a bridge was built over Coyote Creek at Santa Clara Street. The same year the Mansion House, built in 1850, was burned.
In April, 1867, Abijah McCall, county treasurer, absconded, being a defaulter in the large sum of $23,762.41. He was arrested and convicted.
William Blanch, an Englishman, was murdered on May 16, 1860, while at labor in a field he was cultivating about a mile from San Jose. The murderer was an Indian named Salvador Garcia, who had been accused by the deceased of stealing a rope. Garcia was hanged.
In March, 1868, the Legislature granted to S. A. Bishop and others a franchise to construct a horse railroad along the Alameda. On August 31 work on the road was started and on November 1, the cars made their initial trip, running from First Street, San Jose, to Main Street in Santa Clara. In 1869 the line was extended eastward along Santa Clara Street to the Coyote Creek bridge. On July 6, 1870, the board of supervisors granted the company permission to use steam, pony or pneumatic propelling power, and on November 6, 1877, authority was granted to permit cars to run over the bridge to McLaughlin Avenue.
On Wednesday, October 1, 1868, at eight o'clock in the morning a severe earthquake shook California. San Jose suffered considcrablv. The heavy brick cornice of Murphy's building, corner of Market and El Dorado Streets, fell to the ground. The Presbyterian Church on Second Street sustained great damage. All the brick turrets fell and large portion of the steeple were precipitated through the roof to the floor. The large water tank over the roof of Moody's flour mill fell through tile roof, carrying destruction in its course. Their wooden storehouse, 100 feet in length, filled with grain, was Totally wrecked.
Two large chimneys of the San Jose Institute were thrown down, one of them crashing through into the rooms below. A portion of the rear wall of Welch's livery stable fell. Otter's unfinished block at the corner of First and St. John Streets was severely damaged. There was not a brick building in the city that was not more or less injured.
The next winter San Jose was visited by a severe flood. The Los Gatos and Guadalupe Creeks overflowed their banks, flooding the land adjacent thereto. The high grade of the horse railroad track dammed the water back south of Santa Clara Street, inundating the houses and yards. The water broke over the track flooding the lots grounds between the College of Notre Dame and the Guadalupe. About a hundred feet of the railroad track was swept away. The main portion of the city front Third to Seventh Streets was under water to the depth of several inches.
In 1870 the population of San Jose was 9,118.
In 1871 Washington Square was granted to the state as a site for a Normal School. On April 3, 1871, Mayor Adolph Pfister sent a communication to the council stating that he had donated his salary for the year ($600) for the purpose of aiding in the establishment of a public library.
In December, 1871, another flood, caused by overflow from the Guadalupe and Los Gatos Creeks. On the east side of River Street seven small cottages floated down stream for a distance of a third of a mile. During the flood all communication with the outside world was suspended. Since that date the two creeks have been widened and improved so that now there is no danger of overflows.
On January 22, 1864, the Santa Clara Valley & Lumber Company was incorporated with a capital stock of S300,000. The directors were William P. Dougherty, W. H. Hall, Samuel McFarland, E. W. Haskell, W. W. Pratt, John Metcalf and G. W. McLellan.
On January 5, in the District Court, Judge David Belden presiding. Tiburcio Vasquez, the notorious bandit and murderer, was placed on trial for the murder of Leander Davidson, hotel keeper at Tres Pinos, San Benito County. This was the most celebrated trial ever held in San Jose. Attorney General John Lord Love, assisted by N. C. Briggs and Hon. W. E. Lovett, of Hollister and District Attorney Thomas Bodley of Santa Clara County, appeared for the prosecution. The night before, Judge C. B. Darwin, of San Francisco, to whom had been intrusted the principal management of the defense, withdrew from the case. Before the beginning of the trial, Judge W. H. Collins and Judge J. A. Moultrie were retained to assist P. B. Tully, of Gilroy, as attorneys for the prisoner. Everything being in readiness Vasquez was placed on trial. When the court adjourned in the afternoon, the following residents of Santa Clara County had been selected to serve as jurors: G. W. Reynolds, foreman, Tyler Brundage, Frank Hamilton, M. Dornberger, Noah Parr. M. Tobin, G. C. Fitzgerald, J. M. Moorehead, S. T. Woodson, M. Lubliner, C. S. Towle, Hugh O'Rourke. On Saturday, January 9, a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree, was rendered and on March 19, the execution took place in the jail yard.
Vasquez' career was one long series of lawless acts. He was born in Monterey in 1835, was a wild, harum-scarum youngster, but he did not give the officers any trouble until just before he reached his sixteenth year. Before an occurrence which launched him into a career of crime, his associates were Mexican law-breakers, cattle thieves, mainly, whose operations became extensive soon after the occupation of California by the Americans. One night, in company with Anastacio Garcia, a Mexican desperado, he attended a fandango. A quarrel over a woman, the fatal shooting of the constable while trying to maintain order, the lynching of one of Vasquez' associates and the formation of a vigilance committee sent Vasquez into hiding from which he emerged to ally himself with a band of horse thieves.
In 1857 he came to grief, but five years' sequestration in the state prison failed to produce any change in his morals. One month after his discharge he was operating as a highway robber on the San Joaquin plains. Chased by officers into Contra Costa County, he sought and obtained refuge at the ranch of a Mexican who was the father of a pretty and impressionable daughter. She easily fell a victim to the seductive wilts of the handsome, dashing young knight of the road. One morning Anita and Vasquez were missing. With stern face the father of the girl mounted his fleetest mustang and started in pursuit. He overtook the lovers in the Livermore Valley. They were resting under a tree by the roadside. Vasquez saw Anita's father and sprang to his feet, but made no hostile demonstration. His code of honor forbade an attack on the man he had wronged. A quick understanding of the situation sent Anita to her lover's side. "If you kill him you must also kill me," she screamed. The father frowned. Vasquez, with hands folded, stood waiting. After some consideration the ranch owner said if Anita would return home her lover might go free. The girl consented and Vasquez shrugged his shoulders as father and daughter rode away.
Transferring his field of operations to Sonoma County, Vasquez prospered for awhile, but one day in attempting to drive off a band of stolen cattle, he was arrested and for the offense spent four years in San Quentin prison. Immediately upon his discharge in June, 1870, he laid plans for robbery on a much larger scale than he had before attempted. Selecting as his base the Cantua Canyon, a wild and almost inaccessible retreat in the Mt. Diablo Range, formerly the camp and shelter of Joaquin Murietta, he gathered about him a band of choice spirits and for four years carried on a warfare against organized society, the like of which California had never before experienced. Stages, stores, teams and individuals were held up in the counties of Central and Southern California, and though posse after posse took the field against him he succeeded in eluding capture. In the hills he was safe. White settlers were scarce and the Mexican population aided and befriended him, principally through fear. Besides, his sweethearts, as he called them, were scattered throughout the hills of the Coast Range, from San Jose to Los Angeles. They kept him posted regarding the movement of the officers and more than once he escaped capture through their vigilance and activity.
In the fall of 1871, after a daring stage robbery in San Benito County, Vasquez got word that one of his sweethearts would be at a dance in Hollister that night. He resolved to be in attendance. The dancing was at its height when he appeared. Becoming flushed with wine his caution deserted him and he remained until near the break of day. He was not molested and emboldened by a sense of security he went into the barroom and engaged in a game of cards with one of the women. Here he was seen and recognized by a law and order Mexican. The constable was notified, a posse was organized and a plan laid to pot Vasquez at the moment of his appearance at either of the doors. A woman gave Vasquez warning of his danger, and disguised with her mantilla and skirt, the bandit went out of the dance hall, crossed in front of the approaching posse, found his horse, mounted it and was beyond the danger limit before the deception was discovered.
A few days later he stopped the stage from the New Idria mines. A woman's head showed at the door as Vasquez covered the driver with a rifle. She was the wife of one of the mine bosses, a man who had once befriended the outlaw. "Don't do it, Tiburcio," she entreated. Vasquez looked at the grim faces of his followers, hesitated a moment, then lowered his rifle. "Drive on," was his curt command. The stage lumbered away and the bandit leader faced a situation that demanded all his skill and nerve. That he succeeded in placating his followers may be taken for granted for that same day the band robbed a store and then rode toward a hiding place in the Santa Cruz Range.
While the robbers rested, the sheriffs of three counties were searching for them. A few miles above Santa Cruz the officers and the outlaws met. In the fight that ensued two of Vasquez's men were killed outright and Vasquez was shot in the breast. Though desperately wounded, he stood his ground, put the officers to rout and then rode sixty miles before he halted for friendly ministration. When able to stand on his feet he rode to the Cantua Canyon, where he found the remnant of his band.
There he planned a sensational fall campaign which opened by a raid on Firebaugh's Ferry on the San Joaquin plains. The story of what occurred was afterward told to the historian by Vasquez, who said: "I took a watch from a man they called the captain. His wife saw the act, and running up to me threw her arms around my neck and begged me to return the watch to her husband, as he had given it to her during their courtship. I gave it back and then she went into another room and from behind a chimney took out another watch. 'Take it,' she said, but I wouldn't. I just kissed her and told her to keep the watch as a memento of our meeting."
Then came the robbery of the Twenty-One Mile House, in Santa Clara County, which was followed by a descent on Tres Pinos (now Paicines), a little village twelve miles south of Hollister, in San Benito County. This raid, because it resulted in a triple murder, aroused the entire state. Rewards for the capture of Vasquez, dead or alive, brought hundreds of man hunters into the field, but for nearly a year the cunning outlaw successfully defied his pursuers.
The Tres Pinos affair was the boldest Vasquez had yet attempted. With four men--Abdon Leiva, Clodovio Chavez, Romulo Gonzalez and Teodoro Moreno--he rode into the village, robbed the store, the hotel, private houses and individuals, securing booty which required eight pack horses, stolen from the hotel stable, to carry away. The raid lasted three hours and the men killed were Bernard Bihury, a sheepherder; George Redford, a teamster, and Leander Davidson, the proprietor of the hotel. Bihury came to the store while the robbery was going on and was ordered to lie down. Not understanding either English or Spanish, he started to run and was shot and killed. While the robbers were at work Redford drove up to the hotel with a load of pickets. He was attending to his horses when Vasquez approached and ordered him to lie down. Redford was afflicted with deafness and not understanding the order, but believing that his life was threatened, started on a run for the stables. He had just reached the door when a bullet from Vasquez' rifle passed through his heart, killing him instantly.
All this time the front door of the hotel was open and Davidson was in the doorway. Leiva saw him and shouted, "Shut the door and keep inside and you won't be hurt." Davidson stepped back and was in the act of closing the door when Vasquez fired a rifle shot, the bullet passing through the door and piercing Davidson's heart. He fell back into the arms of his wife and died in a short time.
A short distance from Tres Pinos the bandits divided
the booty, each man being counseled by Vasquez to look out for himself.
Leiva had left his wife at a friend's ranch, near Elizabeth Lake, Los Angeles
County. Thither he rode to find that Vasquez had preceded him. As the days
passed Leiva began to suspect that his chief had more than a platonic interest
in the attractive Rosaria. He called Vasquez to account suggesting a duel.
But Vasquez refused to draw a weapon against the man he had wronged. After
some hot words matters were allowed to drop and for a few days all went
smoothly. Then Vasquez asked Leiva to go to Elizabeth Lake for provisions.
Leiva consented, but instead of carrying out instructions he hunted up
Sheriff Adams, of Santa Clara County, and surrendered, at the same time
offering to appear as state's witness in the event of Vasquez' capture
and trial. Adams started at once for the bandit's retreat, but Vasquez
was not there. He had been gone many hours and Mrs.
Leiva had gone with him.
A month later Vasquez deserted the woman and fled northward. This step was induced by the number and activity of the officers. The Legislature had met and authorized the expenditure of $15,000 for a campaign against the daring and desperate fugitive. One sheriff (Harry Morse, of Alameda County) organized a picked company of fifteen men and with provisions for a two months' outing started to explore thoroughly the mountain fastnesses of Southern and Central California. But so efficient was Vasquez' system of information that every move made by the officers became known to him. At last Morse gave up the hunt. Then the irrepressible Tiburcio made up for lost time. Robbery after robbery followed in quick succession. After holding up a number of stages, Vasquez entered the town of Kingston, Fresno County, and there made a rich haul. Stores were plundered, safes broken into, houses looted and provisions, clothing, money and jewelry taken away. The news of the raid spurred the officers into renewed action. Soon there was a rush of determined men into Fresno County. But Vasquez could not be found. He had retreated southward. Of his band of followers only Chavez was left. Gonzalez had fled to Mexico, Leiva was in jail and Moreno was in San Quentin, having been tried and given a life sentence.
A month after the Kingston raid, Vasquez and Chevez made a descent upon Coyote Holes, a station on the Los Angeles and Owens Lake stage road. The few residents were tied to trees, the station was robbed and the two bandits were about to depart when the stage appeared. After the passengers had been robbed and a goodly treasure taken from Wells-Fargo & Co.'s strong box, the horses were unharnessed, four more taken from the stables, and with bullion, money, jewelry and horses the lawless pair departed for the hills.
On the following day Vasquez and Chavez stopped the Los Angeles stage near Soledad and then dissolved partnership. Chavez to ride for the Mexican border, his California career forever closed, Vasquez to seek a favorite hiding place in the Sierra Madre hills. Here, secure from molestation, he remained two months, when word was brought to him that one of his sweethearts was staying at the house of Greek George, not many miles from Los Angeles. The place was in the zone of danger, but Vasquez resolved to go there. His intention in some way became known and word was sent to Sheriff Rowland at Los Angeles. A posse was quickly organized, and placed under charge of Under Sheriff Johnson and the rendezvous was soon reached. Vasquez was there and in attempting to escape received eight bullets in his body. It was thought at first that he could not survive, but a strong constitution enabled him to pull through.
On May 25, 1874, eleven days after his capture Vasquez was transferred to the county jail at Salinas, Monterey County. There he was closely guarded until July 26, when a court order was made transferring the trial to San Benito County. A second order sent Vasquez to the county jail at San Jose for safe keeping. On the afternoon of the same day Vasquez reached San Jose, to find himself in the custody of his old adversary, Sheriff Adams. Afterward the case was re-transferred to Santa Clara County and in San Jose the trial took place, as has been stated. Leiva was the state's witness. The opportunity to square accounts with the man who had wronged him had come at last. He swore that Vasquez not only fired the shot which killed Davidson, but also was responsible for the other murders committed during the Tres Pinos raid. His was the only positive testimony, but other and thoroughly reliable witnesses gave sufficient circumstantial corroboration to enable the jury to reach a verdict. The fatal day came and California's star bandit walked calmly to the scaffold and died with a smile upon his lips. After the execution Leiva went to Chile, remained there a few years, then returned to California. He died in Sacramento several years ago. Chavez was killed in Arizona in the fall of 1875 by an old enemy. The head was severed from the body and brought to San Juan.
On February 11, 1876, a franchise was granted to C. T. Bird, Charles B. Hensley and others for a street railroad from Julian and Market Streets to Willow Street. Afterwards the road was extended along First street to the Southern Pacific Railroad depot and along Willow street to Lincoln avenue.
In 1877 one of the most remarkable cases of mistaken identity had its origin in San Jose. Although there came a revelation on a most essential point when no revelation was expected, one mystery remained and that mystery has never been solved. John C. Arnold was a playwright for one of the variety theatres of San Francisco. He was well connected and a man of education but he had one besetting fault and that fault was overindulgence in strong drink. In the summer of 1877 his condition became such that grave fears for his reason were entertained by members of his family. A suggestion was made that a few months in the country would probably straighten him out, and as Fred Sprung, a pioneer minstrel and an old friend, was residing near San Jose, it was resolved to pack him off to the Santa Clara Valley.
Arnold reached San Jose in a shaky condition, but a few days of ozone breathing seemed to make a new man of him. One morning he left the Sprung residence on McLaughlin Avenue and came to town. Here he met a Mexican and the twain hired a rig from the City Stables, now used as the Santa Clara Street Extension of Hart's Emporium, and drove in the direction of Los Gatos. The next morning in Neff's almond orchard, near the Gem City, a ghastly discovery was made. Lying under a tree, with a bullet hole in his temple, was the body of a dead man. The body was brought to San Jose and for twenty-four hours remained unidentified. Then a newspaper description brought to the city Fred Sprung, Mrs. Ned Buckley and Lockhart, an undertaker from San Francisco. Each positively identified the body as that of John C. Arnold. The features were not disfigured and Sprung declared that without other evidence he was ready to swear that the body was that of his old friend. While visiting at the Sprung ranch Arnold wore shoes of certain marked peculiarities. Tthese shoes were on the feet of the dead man. Arnold wore a black broadcloth suit, much the worse for wear, one lapel having distinguishing marks. This suit covered the body of the corpse. Arnold carried a gold-headed cane. This cane was found a short distance from the tree, under which the body was found. Upon one of the fingers of the dead man was a ring. When Mrs. Buckley saw it she declared that it was one she had presented to Arnold and that an inscription which she gave would be found on the inner side. The ring was removed and the inscription was there as described. At the inquest two physicians swore that it was a case of murder and the jury returned a verdict setting forth that John C. Arnold had met his death at the hands of some person unknown to them.
The body was taken to San Francisco and interred in the Arnold lot in Lone Hill Cemetery. Three months later John C. Arnold in the flesh and the picture of health reappeared in San Francisco. He had come by steamer from Santa Barbara and was amazed when he learned that he had been looked upon as dead. Although put through a gruelling examination of Capt. I. W. Lees, then San Francisco's chief of detectives, he could give no explanation of the mystery that surrounded the crime of the almond orchard. All he could say that he had gone toward Los Gatos, had had a number of drinks near that town and that he remembered nothing more until he awoke in a stage coach going toward Santa Barbara. He knew that he had changed clothes with someone and was sure he had been robbed but as to the identity of the man who looked like him and who wore his clothes, he had not the faintest notion. The Mexican who had accompanied Arnold to Los Gatos was never found and the name of the man buried in the Arnold plot has never been discovered. On account of his striking resemblance to the playwright Captain Lees thought he ought to be a relative but investigation on this line came to nothing. Arnold lived for several years after his reappearance in San Francisco.
In 1879 the Legislature passed an act authorizing the city to open Market Street through the Plaza, close San Jose and Guadalupe Streets and sell the vacant lands adjoining Market Street. There was so much opposition to this that the street commissioner saw fit to do his work in the dark. The people awoke one morning to find the trees and shrubbery in the line of the street cut down and destroyed. The square remained in a dilapidated condition for several years. In 1887 it was selected as the site for the city hall.
In 1879 former Sheriff John H. Adams and former
County Clerk Cornelius Finley were murdered by bandits in Arizona. They
were on their way to Tucson from their mine when they were shot and killed
from ambush by Mexican bandits. Both of the murdered men held office at
the court house in San Jose when Vasquez was tried. Adams was one of the
bravest officers in the state and Finley was
extremely popular on account of his courtesy and generosity.
In January, 1879, J. C. Keane was appointed city clerk to fill the vacancy caused by the disappearance of W. N. Castle, a defaulter. Castle fled to Oregon and there ended his life with a pistol bullet.
In February, 1878, the city library was turned over to the city.
A systematic system for the improvement of St. James Square was adopted in 1869. The grounds were laid out with walks, grass, was planted and a superintendent was employed. The system was improved in the winter of 1887-88 and after a few years it was brought to its present beautiful condition.
In May, 1879, the new constitution was adopted and in the fall of that year a Workingmen's party was organized. It was in existence for two years.
San Jose had a sensation in 1881 when Dick Fellow's, the champion lone-hand highwayman of California, came to San Jose to put the officers on their mettle and furnish columns of scare-head matter for the daily newspapers. Fellows, whose real name was Geo. B. Lytle, was a school teacher and lecturer before he became a lawbreaker. It was claimed in his behalf that he fell from grace in order that he might assist a near relative, a poverty-stricken widow. About forty years ago he robbed eleven stages within a space of three weeks, his operations extending from Santa Barbara to San Jose. When he entered Santa Clara County, the sheriffs of half a dozen counties and Wells-Fargo & Co.'s large force of detectives were at his heels. He was captured near Mayfield by Cornelius Van Buren, foreman of the Coutts ranch, a former constable and justice of the peace, and turned over to Constable E. E. Burke, of Santa Clara, so that he could be taken to the county jail at San Jose. On the way to the jail from the Market Street depot Fellows asked if he might be permitted to have a drink before becoming the inmate of a cell. Burke made a mistake in consenting to the request. They passed the court house and entered a salon at the southwest corner of First and St. John Streets.
Fellows got his drink and then made a break for liberty. Out of the door he went and dashed up St. John Street toward Market. After he turned the corner he was lost sight of. The escape occurred after dark and therefore the search was conducted under unfavorable conditions. A few days passed and then Fellows was recaptured in a cabin near the Guadalupe mine by Chief-of-Police Dan Haskell and Juan E. Edson, a local detective officer. He was taken to Santa Barbara for trial on one of many charges. Conviction followed and a life sentence was imposed. After the trial he tried to escape, reached the street, mounted a horse and might have been successful in getting away if the horse had not bucked and thrown him from the saddle. After serving as a convict for twenty years he was released on parole. In 1917 Juan Edson was first tortured and then killed at his ranch near Tepic, Mexico, by a band of marauding Indians. Honest, brave and fearless Dan Haskell became shot gun messenger for Wells-Fargo &S Co. in Shasta County after his term of chief of police had expired. In October, 1905, while in the performance of his duty he was shot and killed by a highwayman, who was attempting to hold up the Redding stage.
In 1882, Jan Wasielewski, a Pole, murdered his wife at Los Gatos. He had been but a short time out of prison where he had served a sentence for cattle stealing. In 1877 he married a pretty Mexican girl. After his conviction on the cattle stealing charge he told his wife that he would kill her if she obtained a divorce. The threat was unheeded and when Wasielewski came out of prison he found that she not only secured a divorce but had married again. Then he planned to kill her. In June, 1882, he went to her home in Los Gatos, met his wife out of doors and stabbed her thirteen times. Leaving her dying on the ground the murderer fled, to be captured in March, 1884, by Juan Edson and Sheriff Ben F. Branham, of Santa Clara County. Before he reached the county jail in San Jose the prisoner feigned insanity. He would not speak and would not eat only enough to keep him alive. After his trial he sent out a bulletin giving notice that a great meeting of the angels would come off in a few days, that it would last two weeks and that in all that time he would be "immortal to the world." The meeting came off, according to his statement, and for two weeks not a morsel of food passed his lips. He was tried in May, 1884, and his defense was insanity. A commission of medical experts refused to uphold this plea and he was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. At the execution a novel feature was introduced in making a hair from the head of the murdered woman act as the last instrument in the hanging. In former hangings a piece of chalk line attached to the rope was always used, but Sheriff Branham had tested the hair, found that it would work and this hair stood between Wasielewski and death until it was severed by the knife of the executioner.
In 1882 the Democratic State Convention was held in the California Theater on Second Street. The leading candidates for Governor there Gen. George Stoneman, a noted cavalry commander during the Civil War, and George Hearst, father of William Randolph Hearst, proprietor of many newspapers in California and the East. Stoneman was nominated and elected. At this convention W. A. January, of San Jose, was nominated for state treasurer. He also was elected. Another nomination was that of James H. Budd for congressman from the San Joaquin district. He was elected, served one term at Washington and was afterward elected governor of the state. In the nominating convention he was opposed by Hon. B. D. Murphy, of San Jose. The contest was very close.
One of the most sensational murders ever committed in California occurred in June, 1883. It brought into vicious prominence one Lloyd L. Majors, the most dangerous criminal ever harbored by Santa Clara County. He had no love for newspapermen, though he tolerated them when he thought he could use them. When he could not use them and found their pencils turned against him, he hated them with the hate of a coarse, lying, revengeful brute. During his life of forty-two years, much of it spent in San Jose, he had been wagon-maker, lumber dealer, lawyer, temperance lecturer and saloon keeper. He was not a handsome man; in truth he was positively ugly. He had a hideous disfigurement of the lower lip, his forehead was low, his eyes cold and snaky, and his face wore an habitual scowl. In the late '70s, while he lived in San Jose, several buildings owned and occupied by him at different times, were burned. The public prejudice against him, caused by these burnings, caused him to leave the city and settle in Los Gatos. At this place he opened a saloon and to it came one Joseph Jewell, a good looking painter and grainer and recent arrival from the East. Majors quickly sized him up and when he suggested to Jewell a plan to rob and if necessary kill W. P. Renowden, an aged rancher living in the Santa Cruz hills, who was reported to have $20,000 hidden on his ranch, Jewell readily agreed to undertake the job. As assistant to Jewell Majors suggested John Showers, an illiterate ne'er-do-well, who had been doing odd jobs about town and whose favorite lounging place was Majors' saloon. Provided with implements of torture to be used if Renowden under murderous pressure should refuse to disclose the hiding place of his money, the pair left Los Gatos one night and proceeded to the ranch. Arrived there they found that Renowden had a visitor, a friend from Glenwood named Archie McIntyre. Renowden was shot by Jewell and Showers killed McIntyre. Though mortally wounded Renowden refused to tell where his money could be found and was then subjected to a nameless torture. Even when suffering the keenest agony the old man stubbornly held his tongue. A second bullet ended his life and the murderers returned to Los Gatos and informed Majors that their mission of robbery had failed. They were supplied with money and horses and quickly rode out of town to escape arrest. Majors, fearing that he might be suspected of complicity in the murders, saddled a horse and rode to the Renowden ranch to cover up, if possible, all traces of the crime. At the time he supposed that both dead bodies were within the house, while, as a matter of fact, Renowden had been killed on the outside and at some distance from the building. Hurriedly, Majors applied the match and when he saw the flames leap up he remounted his horse and rode like the wind to his Los Gatos home. The ranch house burned to the ground and the next day the charred remains of McIntyre were found in the ashes and outside, untouched by the fire, was the body of Renowden.
When Majors learned that his night ride had availed him nothing he tried, by lies and evasions to keep the officers from suspecting that he was the principal in the double crime. He talked freely to the historian and other press representatives, not thinking that much of what he said would be used against him at his trial. Showers was arrested at Gilroy and made a full confession. Then the hand of the law reached out and gathered in Majors. A few days later Jewell was arrested in Fresno County.
The three prisoners were lodged in the county jail at San Jose. In due time Jewell was tried, convicted and hanged. Showers, who was used as a state's witness, pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree, was given a life sentence. A few years later he was killed by a fellow convict. Majors was tried in San Jose for the murder of Renowden, convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced to life imprisonment. District Attorney Campbell was not satisfied with the verdict and so had Majors indicted for the murder of McIntyre. A change of venue to Alameda County was taken and after a lengthy trial Majors was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was executed in May, 1884.
In 1886 a most important proposition was presented to the voters of San Jose. The rapid growth of the cite created a demand for extraordinary expenses, which could not be met without a large increase in the rate of taxation. The channels of the streams needed to be improved so as to prevent oyerflowv. A system of up-to-date sewerage was necessary and there was a rapidly growing demand for increased school facilities. A tax sufficient to meet the requirements would have been a burden against which the people would have protested. An attempt was made in 1874 to break the charter rule which forbade the council to create any debt. A resolution was adopted by the council directing the drafting of a bill to be presented to the Legislature, authorizing the city to issue bonds to the amount of $40,000, the proceeds to be used in the building of school houses. The bonds were to run twenty years and to bear eight per cent interest. Nothing further was done in the matter and it rested until 1880. At the city election held that year the matter of issuing bonds, in connection with other propositions, was submitted to the people. The result of the vote was as follows: To incur a debt to build a new city hall--for, 842; against, 1096. To open Second Street through St. James Square--for, 192: against, 1649. To establish a free public library--for, 1232; against, 605.
This disposed of the question of a city debt for another six years. In 1886 a proposition was submitted to the people at a special election, asking for the issuance of bonds in the sum of $300,000 for public sewers, new city hall, iron bridges, improvement of squares and improvement of streets. It required a two-thirds vote to carry any of these propositions and they were all lost. Within twelve months the people experienced a change of heart. The great tide of immigration that was flowing into the southern counties had attracted the attention of the board of trade and strenuous efforts to turn the stream in the direction of San Jose were being made. Public meetings were held and the council was petitioned to call an election asking the people to vote for or against the issuance of bonds for the following purposes: Completing main sewer, $150,000; branch sewers, $135,000: building new city hall, $150,000: cross walks and parks, $50,000; wooden bridges, $15,000. Total, $500,000. The vote was in the affirmative on all these propositions. The bonds were issued payable in twenty years and bearing interest at five per cent. They were sold to A. Sutro, of San Francisco, who paid one-eighth of one per cent premium.
Early in 1888 it was discovered that the election which authorized the issuance of these bonds was not held strictly in accordance with the statutes. The irregularity claimed was that the notice was one day short of the time required by law. There was some difference of opinion as to whether or not this was a fatal error, but the purchaser of the bonds did not wish to leave the matter undecided, and asked that it be definitely settled. There was a proposition to make up an agreed case and submit it to the courts for adjudication, and another proposition to call a new election, issue new bonds and cancel the old ones. The latter method was considered somewhat hazardous, as the people had on three occasions rejected the proposal to create a debt against the city and there was a chance that the necessary two-thirds vote might not again be obtained. But the chance was taken, a new election was called and the proposition to issue new bonds was carried by a practically unanimous vote. The new bonds were issued and the old ones burned in the presence of the mayor and common council and a large gathering of citizens.
In April, 1888, a board of fifteen freeholders, to frame a new charter for the city, was elected as follows: L. Archer, C. W. Breyfogle, J. H. Campbell, A. W. Crandall, G. E. Graves, A. Greeninger, V. Koch, L. Lion, B. D. Murphy, D. B. Moody, H. Messig, C. L. Metzger, John Reynolds, John W. Ryland, D. C. Vestal. The charter was prepared and submitted July 6, 1888. It was defeated.
In 1886 the Democratic state convention was held in the auditorium on San Fernando Street. E. B. Pond of San Francisco was nominated for governor. During the session Hon Stephen M. White made a speech in which he asked the convention not to indorse him as a candidate for the United States Senate.
In 1886 B. F. Branham, sheriff of the county, was beaten for reelection on account of the action of the Mexican voters, who resented the killing of Pedro Pacheco, a gambler. In the early part of 1886 he committed his first crime. While out walking on North Sixth Street with a pretty Mexican girl a stop was made in front of The Villa, a notorious resort near Washington Street. Pacheco asked the girl to come inside and have some refreshments. The girl refused and then, as he afterward testified, he seized her in his arms and carried her into the house. Some hours later the girl escaped and told her story to Police Officer Richard Stewart, who had seen her approach The Villa. Upon her mother's complaint Pacheco was arrested for a statutory offense. At the trial District Attorney Campbell made out a strong case and Pacheco was convicted and sentenced to ten years' confinement in the state prison. On the eve of his departure from San Jose, to serve his sentence, he asked permission to go to Concord, Contra Costa County, his former home, to settle some business affairs and bid goodbye to his relatives, pioneers of the state and for one of whom the town of Pacheco, in the same county, was named. The district attorney gave his consent and Pacheco left the county jail with Deputy Sheriffs Healy and Bane as his guards. They were instructed to keep continually by Pacheco's side and to take him to San Quentin after he had concluded his business in Concord.
Arrived at the Contra Costa town the trio stopped at a hotel for refreshments. As soon as he entered the door Pacheco made a dash for the rear, where a horse, saddled and bridled, was awaiting him. Healy hurried after him but Pacheco was beyond shooting distance when the deputy reached the street. In the Mt. Diablo Range the fugitive found friends who advised him to get to Mexico as soon as possible. The advice was followed and a place of safety might have been reached but for Sheriff Branham's activity. Believing that Pacheco would ride south, Branham started out by wvay of one of the mountain passes to intercept him. At Bakersfield the sheriff learned that Pacheco was quartered at a Mexican ranch some miles away. He commandeered a farmer's wagon, obtained the assistance of a local officer, and, concealed in the bed of the wagon, the twain were driven to the ranch. They were near the house when they saw Pacheco and a companion in the yard, a short distance from their horses. Now was the time for action. The officers were driven forward and two rifles covered Pacheco to enforce the command to surrender. Instead of complying, Pacheco ran to his horse, mounted it and was in the act of drawing his pistol when the rifles spat out bullets that found lodgment in Pacheco's body. He fell over, mortally wounded and died in a short time.
The news of the shooting created a sensation in
Central California. In San Jose the Mexican element denounced Branham as
a murderer and threats to get even with him were freely made. The way to
reprisal was shown when Branham entered the fall campaign for reelection.
Before the Pacheco episode he had been considered invincible. But this
year he met his Waterloo. To arouse public sentiment against him a fund
was raised and the county was thoroughly canvassed, the late Juan E. Edson
taking the most active part in the campaign of vengeance. As a result of
the opposition Branham was defeated by Jonathan Sweigert. Shortly after
his defeat Branham left San Jose to engage in mining
in the northern part of the state.
One of the notable trials was that of the Dixon-Allen case. It excited nearly as much interest as that of the famous trial of Tiburcio Vasquez, the bandit. The plaintiff was Anna E. Dixon, late Normal School student, nineteen years of age, and the defendant was Prof. Charles H. Allen, principal of the school. Miss Dixon was a buxom demi-blonde, as pretty as a picture and chuck full of animal spirits. She had strong lungs and she chose occasions to make annoying use of them. Her love of mischief made her, while a student, the despair of her teachers and a source of grief to Professor Allen. Nothing against her character was ever alleged, but her pranks, according to Allen's allegations, interfered seriously with the discipline of the school. Once he wrote her mother asking her to withdraw her daughter from the school, saying that the girl's deportment had not been such as to satisfy the faculty that she was a suitable person to enter the work of teaching. As the mother declined to act, a meeting of the faculty was held and Miss Dixon was dismissed from the school. The charges against her were made up of small things. It was alleged that she sneezed with a whoop and in unexpected places; that she was in the habit of screaming without provocation and in such a manner as to nearly raise the roof of the school building; that she went out sometimes without a chaperon; that she sent in misleading boarding house reports; that she was boisterous and paid scant attention to the rules of the school and as a crowning delinquency was the propounder of conundrums, one of which had shocked Professor Allen and excited the risibilities of many of the teachers.
After the dismissal a series of communications appeared in the columns of the Mercury. They ridiculed Professor Allen and declared Miss Dixon had been dismissed because she sneezed. Allen replied by asserting that the girl's conduct in her classes and around the building had been such as to show she was full of tricks and almost destitute of those womanly and honorable characteristics that should be the prime requisites of a teacher. This article was made the basis of a libel suit. Miss Dixon sued Professor Allen for $10,000 damages for defamation of character. D. M. Delmas, now of Los Angeles was her attorney and Thomas H. Laine and W. A. Johnston were engaged by Professor Allen to conduct the defense. The case came to trial in November, 1881, and ran for over a week. Each day the court room was crowded to the doors. It was a battle of legal giants. Delmas was in the height of his power, while Laine and Johnston were looked upon as two of the shining lights of the San Jose bar. Delmas, in his closing argument, was at his best, and a more powerful and eloquent address was never heard in a San Jose court room. He said, among other things, that he was not trying the case to get damages--he did not want them--but he did want a verdict that would be a vindication for his client. Laine, suave, dignified, eloquent and persuasive, held the close attention of court, jury and spectators in a masterly plea for Professor Allen, while Johnston, precise, clear and logical and with the law at the tip of his tongue, gave Laine able support. The judge, in his charge, held that the article written by the defendant contained terms of disparagement and that these terms were actionable in law. If, however, the jury should find that Professor Allen acted in good faith and for the protection of the school, then these circumstances were to be considered as mitigating the damages and that no other than compensatory damages should be allowed. The jury brought in a verdict in favor of Miss Dixon and assessing the damages at one thousand dollars.
At the first meeting of the Board of Normal School Trustees, after the trial, Professor Allen tendered his resignation. The board refused to accept it and reelected him as principal for another term. Miss Dixon returned to her home and after a time married and settled down to domestic life.
In 1881 an electric tower was erected at the crossing of Santa Clara and Market Streets. The plan originated with J. J. Owen, publisher of the Mercury, and the architect was John Gash. It stood 208 feet above the street, was constructed of tubular iron and supported a number of lamps aggregating 24,000 candlepower, making it the largest light in the United States and the third largest in the world. Besides this there were in other portions of the city twelve masts 150 feet high supporting in all ninety lamps for lighting the streets. The tower was known all over the world, and before its destruction in 1917 it had small lights running from the ground along all the supports. Lighted at night it presented a beautiful spectacle. A high wind toppled it down so that its removal became necessary as a measure of safety.
On May 4, 1887, Chinatown, located on the ground at the southeast corner of Market and San Fernando Streets, was destroyed by fire. The Chinese occupied quarters on San Fernando Street, below Market, until there was secured a lease of the Heinlen property, between Fifth and Seventh Streets and Jackson and Taylor Streets. Shortly after its establishment in this section a rival Chinatown, under the management of "Big Jim," a notorious Chinese politician and gambler, was started on the banks of the Guadalupe nearly on a line with the Heinlen town. It was kept up a few years and then went out of existence.
In 1887 inflamed public sentiment operated disastrously in the case of Charles Goslaw of Los Gatos. The murders committed in and about that pretty foothill town, now one of the most peaceful and law-abiding on the Coast, had aroused the people, and the latest had brought them to a white heat of indignation and resentment. This one had been committed on the main street of the city. Two Mexicans quarreled and one of them, Encarnacion Garcia, killed the other. A mob of citizens gathered, the slayer was seized and without ceremony hanged from the bridge over Los Gatos Creek. It was reported at the time that Goslaw threw the loop of the rope over the murderer's neck. Not long after the tragedy, Goslaw, who was a house-mover, went to San Jose, leaving in charge of his house-moving tools an old man named H. A. Grant. He returned in an intoxicated condition to find that Grant, without permission to do so, had moved the tools to another part of town. Goslaw became furiously angry. He swore that he would find Grant and give him a sound drubbing. After taking a few more drinks to brace him up, he went to Grant's cabin and assaulted the old man. His fists were his only weapons, but as Grant was physically his inferior there is no doubt that finding his task an easy one he allowed his rage to carry him further than he had intended. Leaving Grant bruised and helpless on the floor, Goslaw went downtown, found the constable and asked to be arrested for battery. There was clear proof that he never intended murder and that he had no thought that the beating would result in death. He was arrested for battery and allowed to go on his own recognizance. A few days later Grant died. Then it was that outraged Los Gatos cried for vengeance. The carnival of crime that had given a black eye to the town must be stopped and the only way to stop it was to have the extreme penalty visited upon every person in Los Gatos and vicinity who should take the life of his fellow man. Grant's death caused the rearrest of Goslaw, this time for murder. He was tried in the Superior Court at San Jose and, having no attorney, the court appointed a young man who had just been admitted to the bar. Thus handicapped, Goslaw had slim chance of escaping conviction under testimony adduced by the prosecution, supplemented by the powerful arguments made by the district attorney and his aids. The jury found Goslaw guilty of murder in the first degree and the death sentence was imposed. Without money and lacking powerful friends, Goslaw was unable to take further steps that might have saved his neck. His newspaper friends did what they could, but no headway against the tide of inflamed public opinion could be made. But they resolved that when the time came for marching him to the scaffold he should not be in a condition to realize his position. Therefore some of these friends stayed in the death cell all of the night preceding the execution. They plied Goslaw with liquor which he was quite willing to drink so that when the sheriff came to take him to the scaffold he was so far gone in liquor that he could neither stand on his feet nor understand what the sheriff wanted. In that maudlin condition he met his death and the persons who were responsible for this condition have never regretted their work. They felt at the time that a judicial murder was about to be committed and that it was a humane act to ameliorate if they could not deaden the victim's mental agony. In their opinion Goslaw should have been convicted of manslaughter and it was afterwards their belief that had the trial been postponed for six months such a verdict would have been rendered.
On July 2, 1892, San Jose was visited with the most disastrous fire in its history. Half the block--the southern half--between San Fernando and Santa Clara Streets and First and Second Streets was burned. Among the fine buildings destroyed were the Lick House, the South Methodist Church, the California Theater and Krumb's Brewery.
In the early '90s a mystery case baffled the ingenuity of the city and county officers. Henry Planz was a bookkeeper at the Fredericksburg Brewery on the Alameda. As far as anyone knew he was without enemies. He was a tall, straight fellow, twenty-five years of age, single and lived the ordinary life of the young men of his time. On the evening of November 10, 1892, he came to San Jose and next morning his dead body was found hanging from the limb of a pepper tree on the northern side of Julian Street, not far from the bridge over the Guadalupe. When the officers arrived it was at first supposed that Planz had committed suicide, but investigations made after the body had been cut down soon dispelled this theory. It was a case of murder beyond the shadow of a doubt. An examination of the contents of the stomach of the dead man showed that he had been poisoned and there were evidences about the clothing which denoted that the body had been dragged for some distance before it was suspended from the limb of the tree. The heels of the shoes, seat of the trousers and back of the coat were abraded and dusty and there was ground-in dust on the back of the head. When the body was cut down a scarf tied over the face was found. At the inquest the conclusion was reached that Planz was dead before the hanging and that the murderer or murderers had driven along the street in a wagon containing the dead body and that the body had been dragged over the dusty street to the pepper tree. A verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown was rendered.
The mystery became a state-wide sensation. Detectives came from San Francisco to assist the local officers in trying to ferret out the truth, but nothing came of their efforts. A number of years afterward the pepper tree was cut down, but while it remained on Julian Street is was one of the sight-seeing (?) attractions of San Jose.
In 1896 a still greater sensation agitated San Jose and Central California. It was a sextuple murder committed by James C. Dunham, a young man who had heretofore borne an unblemished reputation. A few years before he had married the stepdaughter of Colonel McGlincy, an orchardist, whose home was on the Los Gatos road about six miles from San Jose. After their baby was born they separated on account of Dunham's cruelty, the wife taking refuge in the home of her mother, Mrs. McGlincy. The other inmates of the household, besides father, mother and daughter were James Wells, Mrs. Dunham's brother, a servant and two hired men. One night Dunham came to the house, for the purpose it was supposed, to induce his wife to again live with him. When he arrived late in the evening, McGlincy and Wells were gone, having left on hour or so earlier to attend a meeting at Campbell. Dunham entered the house, took off his shoes and ascended the stairs to the second story, where his wife's bedroom was located. What transpired in that room between husband and wife will never be known. But the fact remains that the woman was choked to death, although the babe was not harmed. There must have been a struggle for the servant coming out of her room adjoining was met by Dunham and killed. The double murderer then ascended the stairs to find Mrs. McGlincy on the first floor. She had heard the noise upstairs and had come out to investigate. Dunham killed her and then calmly waited for the return of McGlincy and Wells. At last they came and as they entered the front door Dunham shot and killed McGlincy. Wells then rushed forward, was shot, but despite his wound, grappled with Dunham and threw him to the floor. But the murderer was the stronger and soon Wells was a corpse.
Across the back yard was the barn where the two hired men were. One of them heard the shots and rushed out to ascertain the cause. A bullet from Dunham's pistol ended his lfe. The other hired man, fearing for his own life, retreated to the loft of the barn and covered himself up in the hay. Dunham rushed over to the barn for the purpose of making a clean sweep, but failed to find his man. His murderous work over, he mounted a horse, and still in his stocking feet, rode toward San Jose. Next day he was seen on Smith Creek by Elmer Snell and Oscar Parker, the last named the keeper for the Morrow ranch. Dunham appeared on horseback at Parker's cabin, about a mile south of the hotel, asked for something to eat and having been accommodated rode on up the canyon toward Indian Gulch. Next day Sheriff Lyndon of Santa Clara County, Sheriff Phillips of Santa Barbara County, a force of deputies and a large body of citizens, arrived at Smith Creek. Phillips brought two bloodhounds and near Indian Gulch, pieces of sacking which had been used to cover Dunham's feet, were found. Nearby the horse he had ridden was also found. Nothing else was ever discovered. The officers spent days in the search without result. As Dunham was without money and without food, had no shoes and had left his horse, the officers concluded that he had found some wild place in the hills and had there committed suicide. For years afterwards the papers chronicled the arrest of suspects, but in every case the man arrested proved not to be the McGlincy murderer.
In 1897 a new charter for the city was adopted. By a concerted resolution of the Legislature it became the organic law of the city on March 2 of that year. Under the old charter the mayor held office for one year. The new charter extended his term to two years. The first election for city officers took place on the second Monday in April, 1898. The charter provided that all elections subsequent to the first should be held biennially on the third Monday in May. Mayor Koch, who had been elected in 1896, held over until 1898.
In 1897 a Grand Army veteran named Schofield was killed at his ranch on the Llagas, a few miles west of Madrone. His wife and Dan Dutcher, a hired man, were arrested for the crime. Before his trial Dutcher confessed that he had killed Schofield to protect Mrs. Schofield, who was being threatened with a shotgun when the fatal shot was fired. There was an acquittal in each case.
On April 18, 1906, a severe earthquake shook up Central California. San Jose suffered considerably. A number of frame houses in the business section were wrecked, but the real center of destruction was reached in the business district. The big three-story Phelan building, corner of First and Post Streets, fell flat and three persons were buried in the ruins. At the corner of Santa Clara Street and Lightston Alley, the large three story building occupied by stores and the Elks' Hall became a shapeless pile of brick and mortar. Outside of the business district several large edifices suffered. The handsome and massive brick Catholic Church of St. Patrick at the corner of North and Santa Clara Streets was a picturesque ruin, its solid tower and front wall lying across the street, its rear and side walls thrown down into the auditorium. The fine high school on Normal Square crumbled and the large wooden Grant school on Empire Street was twisted out of shape to fall a mass of ruins a few days after the quake. Further downtown the tower and spire of the First Presbyterian Church on Second Street, near St. John, lay across the thoroughfare, its shattered walls telling the story of ruin. Immediately after the earthquake fire broke out on Second Stret near San Fernando. The three-story brick Martin building had been hurled to the ground and instantly flames burst from the wreckage. The Lieber building next north was on fire in a few minutes and then the conflagration enveloped the five-story Dougherty building, spreading thence to the three-story Louise building on the corner of San Fernando Street. There was but one other fire. It broke out in the El Monte lodging house on Locust Street and seven people were roasted to death. Material injury was done to the new Hall of Records, the Dougherty residence, a wing of the Hotel Vendome, the First Methodist Church, the Fifth Street and Golden Gate canneries, the Rucker building, St. Mary's Church, and many other structures. Following the quake martial law was declared and kept in force for several days. The total loss by earthquake and fire was $3,000,000. Killed, sixteen.
The recovery from the dreadful visitation was rapid. Inside of a week repairs were beging started and soon the debris disappeared and building operations were commenced. Two years later there was nothing to indicate that destruction had ever visited the Garden City.
In 1906 there was very little street or other municipal improvement, except to make repairs in fire houses and furnish new appliances and do the city's work in repairing the damages done by the earthquake. In 1908 a pronounced street paving movement was inaugurated by Mayor Davison. During his incumbency miles upon miles of paving work was done and the program he had laid out but not finished during his term was afterward carried out by his successors, Monahan and Husted. From 1908 to 1912, bonds for $355,000 were used for sewers, bridges, creek alterations and Alum Rock Park improvements.
In December, 1911, the city, by special election, took in as new territory East San Jose, Gardner and West San Jose.
In 1912 and 1913, under Mayor Monahan's administration, the horses were taken out of the fire department and motor-drawn trucks, engines and carts were put in.
In 1914-15, while Husted was mayor, the Canoas Creek bypath was diverted so that in the rainy season the waters would not flood Cottage Grove and adjoining sections.
On October 30, 1917, the Coyote bridge collapsed
beneath the weight of three heavy cars loaded with prunes. A boy riding
on a bicycle was on the bridge at the time and was instantly killed. In
the spring of 1918, a special election gave the city the power to use $65,000
remaining in the sewer fund for the
erection of a new concrete, steel-reinforced bridge. A contract was awarded and the work was completed in the spring of 1919.
In 1915 the following freeholders prepared a new charter giving San Jose a commission form of government: Elmer E. Chase, Robert R. Syer, W. L. Atkinson, L. E. Petree, Roy Newberry, G. M. Fontaine, John D. Crummey, W. J. Close, Walter L. Chrisman, H. J. B. Wright, Victor Challen, Chas. M. O'Brien, John J. Miller, Irving L. Ryder, V. Koch. The charter was filed February 15, 1915, adopted at special election April 19, 1915, and ratified by the Legislature, May 4, 1915. The charter went into effect July l, 1916. The important provisions were: Elective officers, the city auditor, police judge and seven councilmen; the initiative and referendum by which the people reserve to themselves the power to adopt or reject ordinances at the polls independently of the council; the recall, by which any elective officer may be removed from office by the electors; the election by the council of a city manager, who shall be the official head of the city with power to appoint a city treasurer, city engineer, city attorney, board of health, health officer, chief of police, chief of the fire department, board of education, board of library trustees, superintendent of parks; the election by the council of a city clerk, civil service commission and city planning commission; the removal of the city manager at any time by a majority vote of the council. At the first election Elmer E. Chase, W. L. Atkinson, Chas. M. O'Brien, and Elton Shaw were chosen as councilmen, the two first named to serve for six years, the two last named for four years. Ben Sellers, J. F. McLaurin and A. C. Jayet were the hold-over councilmen under the old charter. In 1918 Sellers and McLaurin went out and Matt Arnerich and E. S. Williams were elected in their places. In 1918 Williams resigned on account of removal from town and Dr. E. O. Pieper was chosen to fill the vacancy. At the May election in 1920, Joseph Brooks, D. M. Denegri and William Bigger were elected, Pieper, Shaw and O'Brien retiring.
When the new council organized in July, 1916, Thomas H. Reed was chosen manager. He served for three years and was succeeded by Dr. W. C. Bailey. The other officers of the city in 1920 were J. Lynch, city clerk; Roy Walter, city auditor; Louis Lightston, tax collector; C. B. Goodwin, city engineer; N. Bell, acting health officer; John C. Black, chief of police; H. Hobson, chief of the fire department. Dr. Bailey resigned after a three years' service and was succeeded by C. B. Goodwin. William Popp was appointed city engineer.
In 1917 immediately following the declaration of war the city manager appointed a committee to prepare a Loyalty Day celebration which resulted in the most stirring parade ever seen in San Jose. The most striking feature of it was thousands of school children bearing flags, who after marching through the streets, massed in front of the city hall and sang patriotic songs. The activities of San Jose during the war period--1917-18--will be found in another chapter.
In March, 1920, the city voted bonds in the sum of $700,000 for improvements in the high and grammar schools. The permanent properties of the city as shown in the first report of the city manager are as follows: Lands, $628,350; buildings, structures and improvements, $2,307,142.50; equipment, $140,083.45; total, $3,075,475.95.
In May, 1920, at the regular city election a proposition to increase the tax rate by adding 35 cents on each $100 valuation for three years, as a temporary expedient, was carried. The withdrawal of liquor license money caused by the prohibition law shortened the city finances so that an additional tax for a short period became necessary in order to place the city government in proper working order.
The mayors of the city from 1850 down are: 1850,
Josiah Belden; 1851-2-3-4, Thomas W. White; 1855, S. O. Houghton; 1856,
Lawrence Archer; 1857, R. G. Moody; 1858, P. O. Minor; 1859, Thomas Fallon;
1860, R. B. Buckner; 1861-2, Joseph W. Johnson; 1863-4-5-6-7, J. A. Quinby;
1868-9, Mark Leavenworth; 1870-71-72, A. Pfister; 1873-4-5-6-7, B. D. Murphy;
1878-9, Lawrence Archer; 1880-1, B. D. Murphy; 1882-3, Chas. J. Martin;
1884-6, C. T. Settle; 1886-7, C. W. Breyfogle; 1888-9, S. W. Boring; 1890-92,
S. N. Rucker; 1892-94, H. E. Schilling; 1894-96, Paul P. Austin; 1896-98,
V. Koch; 1898-1902, Chas J. Martin; 1902-1906, Geo. D. Worswick; 1906-8,
H. D. Matthews; 1908-12, C. W. Davison; 1912-14, Thomas Monahan; 1914-16,
F. R. Husted.