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February 22, 1862: Alviso, San Jose

February 22, 2012

Alviso Warehouse 01

Warehouse ruins, Alviso; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr


[Ashburner] wanted to visit the New Almaden Mines before he sailed [for the East coast], so [today] I started with him to make the proposed visit. It was a rainy, wet, dull day, but the city was gay with flags, for it was Washington’s Birthday. The shipping in the harbor was even gayer than the city itself.

Alviso Boat Ramp

Boat ramp, Alviso Slough; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

We took steamer to Alviso, at the head of the Bay of San Francisco, then stage for seven miles to San Jose. The roads were awful. We loaded up, six stages full, in the rain, and had gone scarcely a hundred rods when the wheels sank to their axles and the horses nearly to their bellies in the mud, when we unloaded. Then the usual strife on such an occasion. Horses get down, driver swears, passengers get in the mud, put shoulders to the wheels and extricate the vehicle. We walk a ways, then get in, ride two miles, then get out and walk two more in the deepest, stickiest, worst mud you ever saw, the rain pouring. I hardly knew which grew the heaviest, my muddy boots or my wet overcoat. Then we ride again, then walk again, and finally ride into town, having made the seven miles in four hours’ hard work. The pretty village was muddy, cheerless, and dull beyond telling, but I called on Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton and had a pleasant time.

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