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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(