gmhTODAY 12 gmhToday Jan Feb 2017 - Page 49

Rea Family Were Among Gilroy’s Early Pioneers Written By Elizabeth Barrett Photo Courtesy of Gilroy Museum The day following their Illinois wedding in 1853, Thomas Rea (1820-1907) and Mary Anne Rea (1827-1899) set forth on an ox-team emigrant train for the West. The 15-man traveling group included only one woman, the newly wed Mrs. Rea. Once the band reached San Jose, the Reas headed south to Gilroy, which at the time was a settlement of three homes, one small schoolhouse, a hotel with a mail collection drop, and a store. His 1853 arrival was not Thomas Rea’s first trip to California. Along with multitudes of other Forty Niners, he had headed West in 1850, first arriving in San Francisco. For the following two years, he worked in the Sierra gold fields before returning via the Isthmus of Panama to Illinois, where he married Mary Ann Jones At first, the Reas settled west of town on the Solis Rancho, where Thomas soon took up farming. In 1857, he began to purchase portions of the Las Animas Rancho, starting with a 160-acre parcel. Over time, he expanded his acquisitions of the historic rancho to nearly 1000 acres. During this period, the railroad line was being completed south from San Jose. Rea served on the celebration committee that welcomed the first passenger cars to Gilroy. Many dignitaries gathered for the event at the newly- constructed depot, including Santa Clara County officials, the City Councils of San Jose and San Francisco, and regional newspaper reporters assigned to cover the historic event. Besides farming, Thomas became a successful dairyman, as referenced in a December, 1868 Gilroy Advocate article, which noted that his ranch “produced excellent butter.” By this time, Gilroy had become known as the dairy and cheese making capital of California. Eventually, Thomas’s son James took over the family dairy, and the Reas moved into town, occupying an impressive home that sat on the corner of Sixth and Alexander Streets. After deciding to go into politics, Thomas threw his hat into the local ring, beginning with terms on the Gilroy City Council from 1872-1876. He went on to serve in the California State Assembly from 1873-1874. He was then elected Gilroy Mayor, serving from 1886-88. Samuel Rea, Thomas’s younger brother, had come to California in 1852. He worked at the mines in Downieville until 1859, when he moved to Santa Clara County. Besides operating the dairy and cheese making business with brother Thomas, Samuel raised stock and bred horses. Like Thomas, Samuel also ran for public office, becoming County Supervisor, First District, from 1876-79. An 1881 biographical sketch noted “Mr. Samuel Rea owes his success in life entirely to his own unaided efforts and is now one of the thrifty farmers of the Gilroy Township, that locality of truly excellent agriculturalists.” Samuel lived on his ranch south of town until 1899, when he moved to San Jose. Pioneer Thomas Rea’s family extended across the Gilroy generations. Thomas and Mary Anne had two sons and five daughters plus an adopted daughter. They were: James (1854), Addie (1855), Emma (1857), twins Clara and Carrie (1858), and George (1862). Their adopted daughter, Mary, was born in 1850. Daughter Clara married William Jacob Hanna and their children were Samuel, Thomas Rea and Walter Jacob Hanna. Clara’s twin sister Carrie never married but was prominent in Gilroy society. Other Rea children married into the pioneer Pyle (Mary), Strange (Addie), and Loupe (Emma) families. Thomas and Mary Anne’s youngest child, George, followed the family tradition and went into dairying. He married Mary Lee Tully, the daughter of Congressman P.B. Tully. Always the entrepreneur, he founded a mercantile business in Gilroy and later partnered with George Dunlap in running the 20,000-acre Coyote Cattle Company. He also operated a meat market in Gilroy and in 1902 was an incorporating member of the South Santa Clara Fruit Drying Co. George served on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors from 1895-1907. Following his father’s death, he became president of the Thomas Rea Real Estate Company. The Rea Building, once a prominent GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 gmhtoday.com Bronze Statue on Monterey Street in downtown Gilroy depicts “The Handshake” between Banker Thomas Rea and Landowner, Electa R. Ousley in 1872, a symbol of “A Community Partnership.” feature at the corner of Monterey and Fifth Streets, was one of the family’s real estate developments. The structure had been built with 300,000 bricks and the best quality redwood from the Hanna Mill at Mt. Madonna. The upstairs portion of the building became the first Gilroy Private Hospital, founded in 1898 by Dr. Jonas Clark. Besides housing the former Gilroy Private Hospital on its upper floor, the downstairs held a onetime popular department store, the Henry Hecker Company, later known as the Roth-Winans store. The landmark building was demolished in 1936. When the Rea building was torn down, wreckers found an old brass and cast iron gas light fixture in the walls, and a roll of 24 inch wide Irish linen, left from the store’s early mercantile days. Thomas and Mary Anne Rea are buried in the family plot at Gavilan Hills Cemetery in Gilroy. The City of Gilroy memorialized Thomas Rea and his contributions to the community with both a street named in his honor and a statue of him, shaking hands with pioneer Electa Ousley, located on Monterey Street. 49 Rea Family Were Among Gilroy’s Early Pioneers Written By Elizabeth Barrett T he day following their Illinois wedding in 1853, Thomas Rea (1820-1907) and Mary Anne Rea (1827-1899) set forth on an ox-team emigrant train for the West. The 15-man traveling group included only one woman, the newly wed Mrs. Rea. Once the band reached San Jose, the Reas headed south to Gilroy, which at the time was a settlement of three homes, one small school- house, a hotel with a mail collection drop, and a store. His 1853 arrival was not Thomas Rea’s first trip to California. Along with multitudes of other Forty Niners, he had headed West in 1850, first arriving in San Francisco. For the following two years, he worked in the Sierra gold fields before returning via the Isthmus of Panama to Illinois, where he married Mary Ann Jones At first, the Reas settled west of town on the Solis Rancho, where Thomas soon took up farming. In 1857, he began to purchase portions of the Las Animas Rancho, starting with a 160-acre parcel. Over time, he expanded his acquisitions of the historic rancho to nearly 1000 acres. During this period, the railroad line was being completed south from San Jose. Rea served on the celebration committee that welcomed the first passenger cars to Gilroy. Many dignitaries gathered for the event at the newly- constructed depot, including Santa Clara County officials, the City Councils of San Jose and San Francisco, and regional newspaper reporters assigned to cover the historic event. Besides farming, Thomas became a successful dairyman, as referenced in a December, 1868 Gilroy Advocate article, which noted that his ranch “produced excellent butter.” By this time, Gilroy had become known as the dairy and cheese making capital of California. Eventually, Thomas’s son James took over the family dairy, and the Reas moved into town, occupying an impressive home that sat on the corner of Sixth and Alexander Streets. After deciding to go into politics, Thomas threw his hat into the local ring, beginning with terms on the Gilroy City Council from 1872-1876. He went on to serve in the Calif ɹMхє͕䁙ɽ̴и)!݅́ѡѕɽ5Ȱ͕٥)ɽش)MՕIQϊéչȁɽѡȰ)Ѽ ɹȸ!ݽɭ)Ёѡ́ݹ٥չѥ䰁ݡ)ٕѼMф Ʉ չ丁 ͥ)Ʌѥѡ䁅͔)ͥ́ݥѠɽѡȁQ̰MՕɅ͕)ѽɕ̸͕1Q̰MՕ)ͼɅȁՉ չ)M٥ͽȰЁɥаɽش丁(āɅͭэѕq5ȸMՕ)Iݕ́́Ս́ѥɕѼ́ݸ)չ́́܁ѡѡɥ)ɵ́ѡɽQݹ͡ѡЁ䁽)ձ䁕ፕЁɥձɅ̻tMՕٕ)́ɅͽѠѽݸչѥ䰁ݡ)ٕѼM)͔)AȁQ́Ié䁕ѕ)ɽ́ѡɽ䁝Ʌѥ̸Q́)5ݼͽ́ٔ՝)ѕ́́ѕ՝ѕȸQݕɔ))̀ФԤܤ)ݥ́ Ʉ ɥरɝ(ȤQȁѕ՝ѕȰ5)݅́ɸ՝ѕȁ Ʉɥ)])!ѡȁɕݕɔ)MՕQ́I]ѕȁ)!) ɇéݥͥѕȁ ɥٕȁɥ)݅́ɽЁɽͽ丁=ѡȁI)ɕɥѼѡȁA屔5䤰)MɅ1̸)Q́5éչЁ)ɝݕѡɅѥݕ)Ѽ她!ɥ51Qձ䰁ѡ)՝ѕȁ ɕ͵@Qձ丁݅)ѡɕɕȰչɍѥ)ͥ́ɽ䁅ѕȁѹɕݥѠ)ɝչչѡɔ) є ѱ 丁!ͼɅѕ)ЁɭЁɽ)ȁ݅́)Ʌѥ)ѡMѠMф Ʉ)եЁ她 ɝ)͕ٕѡMф) Ʉ չ ɐ)M٥ͽ́ɽ(Դܸݥ)́ѡˊéѠ)ɕͥЁѡ)Q́IIхє) )QI ե)ɽ)%1I=d5=I8!%10M85IQ%8))9UId IUId) ɽ锁MхՔ5ѕɕMɕ)ݹѽݸɽ䁑̃qQ)!͡tݕ ȁQ)I1ݹȰфH=ͱ)Ȱ嵉q չ)Aѹ͡t)ɔЁѡɹȁ5ѕɕ䁅Ѡ)Mɕ̰݅́ѡéɕхє)̸ٕQՍɔե)ݥѠɥ́ѡЁՅɕ)ݽɽѡ!5Ё5и5)Qх́ѥѡե)ѡЁɽAɥمє!хչ(ȸ)́ ɬ) ͥ́ͥѡɵȁɽAɥمє)!х́ȁȰѡݹх)ѥձȁѵЁѽɔѡ)!!ȁ 䰁ѕȁݸ́ѡ)IѠ]́ѽɔQɬե݅)͡ظ]ѡIե)݅́ѽɸݸɕ́չɅ)Ёɽ́Ёɔѡ̰݅)ɽЁݥ%ɥ͠Ёɽѡ)ѽɗéɱ䁵ɍѥ̸)Q́5Iɔɥ)ѡЁЁ٥!́ ѕ䁥)ɽ丁Q 䁽ɽ䁵ɥ镐Q)Íɥѥ́Ѽѡչ)ݥѠѠɕЁ́ȁ)хՔ́͡ݥѠ)ф=ͱ䰁ѕ5ѕɕMɕи)ѽ乍(