Sylvester Newhall was a citizen of Santa Clara county whose worth was widely acknowledged and in whose death the communiyt lost one of its valued and respected representatives. he was one of the pioneer orchardists and nurseryman of this portion of the state and did much to develop the fruit industry. Moreover, he was the champion of many measures for the general good, and in all his life's relations he was actuated by honorable purpose, manly principles and by a feeling of justice toward his fellow men.
Mr. Newhall was a native son of New England, his birth having occurred in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1820. The days of his boyhood and youth were spent in that portion of the country, and in 1851 he came to California, making the long and arduous journey across the hot sandy plains and over the mountain passes, his wagon drawn by an ox team. He was attracted by the discovery of gold and the hope that he might rapidly realize a fortune in the mines of the far west, but after spending a year or more in the mining regions he determined to devote his energies to other pursuits, and came to Santa Clara county, where he embarked in the nursery business, which he followed for about thirty years. He was very successful in this undertaking, and with the profits which thereby acrued he increased his holdings in orchard property until he became the owner of valuable real estate. To the further improvement of his land he devoted his energies, planting fruit orchards, and at the time of his demise he owned five orchards in various parts of Santa Clara county planted to fruit trees that annually returned to him an excellent yield and made him one of the substantial citizens of the community. He was one of the pioneers in this line of work in California and demonstrated the possibilities of the state in this direction. The pioneer in any legitimate undertaking is deserving of the gratitude of his fellow men. It is he who performs the most orduous tasks and leads the way that others may follow with less difficulty, and in this connection Mr. Newhall is deserving of the gratitude of his fellow citizens, for while promoting his individual success he also advanced the general prosperity by disseminating a knowledge of the value of California lands as a fruit-producing district. Prior to his death he invested in a large orange orchard in Exeter, Tulare county, comprising eighty-six acres and valued at one hundred thousand dollars. At the time of his demise he owned property to the extent of three hundred thousand dollars, which was divided among his children.
The career of Sylvester Newhall is worthy of commendation and emulation and entire respect, as it proves conclusively what can be accomplished through force of character, earnest determination and unfaltering industry. He came to the west with little capital, but he was energetic and resolute, and upon these qualities as a foundation he builded the superstructure of his success. He allowed no obstacle to deter him in his progress but overcame these by diligence and strong purpose, carefully utilized the means at hand and so controlled his resources that in course of years he became one of the capitalists of San Jose.
In the years of his early manhood Mr. Newhall was united in marriage to Mary E. Stoddard, who was a native of Ohio, and they became the parents of three children, a son and two daughters: Carl; Georgia, the wife of E. W. Dunn; and Belle, the wife of J. V. McKiernam, who resides in the vineyard district of California, and is a son of an old pioneer settler there.
Mr. Newhall departed this life in 1896 at the age of seventy-six years, but his widow still survives him at the age of sixty years. Through his life of industry and enterprise he was enabled to leave his family in very comfortable circumstances, and he also left to them an untarnished name and a memory of an upright, honorable life. That he lived at peace with his fellow men and that he was ever just in his business relations is shown by the fact that he was never involved in a lawsuit. In all of his business transactions he was never known to take advantage of the necessities of his fellow men, and his word became recognized as good as his bond. He was also a most charitable man, never turning one away empty-handed, and his broad humanitarian principles were a motive power in a life that was as kindly as it was honorable and straightforward. His widow gives much of her time to the management of the estate, making her home at the Hotel Vendome in San Jose.
Carl Newhall, the only son, was born on the 17th of October, 1876, in San Jose, and is associated with his mother in the management of the property. He inherited from his father a ranch of twenty-six acres and a fruit orchard valued at thirty thousand dollars. In the control of his property interests he displays good business and executive ability, and in San Jose, where his entire life has been passed, he has many warm friends because of a genial nature, unfailing courtesy and sterling worth.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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