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 San Benito County California

San Benito County. Organized in 1874. Bounded on the north by Santa Clara, east by Merced and Fresno, south and west by Monterey. Area, 1,000 square miles. Assessed valuation of property for 1874, $4,557,507. County seat, Hollister. Principal towns: Cholome, San Benito, Tres Pinos. The county, by Act of the Legislature of 1873-74, was created out of the northeastern portion of Monterey, the separating line commencing in the center of Pajaro River, at the Santa Clara County line; thence southerly to the summit of the Gavilan range of mountains; thence along the summit of that range to Chalon Peak, and thence southeasterly to the summit of the Monte Diablo range, and the line of Fresno County. Agriculture and grazing constitute the chief resource, but discoveries of mines of quicksilver and coal have been made. The county is long and narrow, the Gavilan range bordering it on the west and south, and the Monte Diablo range occupying the eastern portion. Between these ranges of mountains runs the San Benito River, the principal branch of the Pajaro, and along it and its tributaries are numerous valleys of fertile land, as the Pajaro, San Benito, Tres Pinos, Brown, Peach Tree, Priest, and Cholome. A branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad, which leaves the main trunk at Gilroy, runs, via Hollister, to Tres Pinos, 20 miles, and 8 miles south of Hollister, thus giving quick communication, and cheap transportation to the most occupied and productive portion of the county. The lower valleys are very fertile and arable, producing largely of wheat, hops, tobacco, and fruit, and the more distant and hilly region is devoted to cattle and sheep grazing. The mineral resources are not fully developed, but quick silvers well as silver-bearing veins, of undoubted wealth, have been discovered. There is much Government land yet unclaimed, of the hills, and of the small valleys among them, covered with a luxuriant growth of wild oats, and certainly most favorable for grazing, if not for tillage. Some of these are railroad lands, but as the Southern Pacific Railroad Company has decided on taking the Salinas Valley route, they will probably be restored to entry at minimum rates.
Officers: James F. Breen, County Judge; H. M. Hayes, Clerk, Recorder, and Auditor; N. C. Briggs, District Attorney; B. F. Ross, Sheriff and Tax Collector; Thomas McMahon, Treasurer; Haden Dowdy, Assessor; F. P. McCray, Surveyor; J. M. Black, Coroner and Public Administrator; H. Z. Morris, Superintendent Public Schools.

California Gazetteer | AHGP California

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875

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