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August 20, 1861: Morgan Hill

August 20, 2011

Camp 47

[Today], we left camp early, crossed some low hills by a byroad, then down the valley of Llagas Creek, a pretty, picturesque valley, and in about fifteen miles emerged into the Santa Clara Valley and camped at the “21 Mile House,” twenty-one miles below San Jose.

The Santa Clara Valley (San Jose Valley of the map) is the most fertile and lovely of California. At the point where we came into it, it is about six miles wide, its bottom level, a fine belt of scattered oaks four or five miles wide covering the middle. It is here all covered with Spanish grants, so is not cultivated, but near San Jose, where it is divided into farms, it is in high cultivation; farmhouses have sprung up and rich fields of grain and growing orchards everywhere abound. But near our camp it lies in a state of nature, and only supports a few cattle. One ranch there covers twenty-two thousand acres of the best land in the valley—all valuable. This Spanish grant land-title system is one of the great drawbacks of this country. One man will make an immense fortune from that ranch, but the public suffers.

We camped under some beautiful oaks, near a house, where we got hay and water.

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