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November 26, 1862: Mission San Jose

November 26, 2012
Niles 02

Niles depot; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

We were out before light, and I went on my way. I got into a deep canyon, then climbed a hill about two thousand feet high, commanding a most grand view, then sank into a deeper canyon, and about noon emerged into a lovely little valley—the Suñol Valley—a little plain of perhaps 1,500 or 2,000 acres, studded with scattered oaks, large and of exceeding beauty.

Mission 01

Mission San Jose; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Here I struck another cabin, containing a woman. This cabin was, of course, far neater. She was old, but clever, and got me some dinner. The family had lived near the mouth of the canyon near, but last winter’s floods had carried off the house and all they had in it. Alameda Creek drains a large extent of country, and rose to a great river. The house was carried away in the night. The family, two men, two women, and a little girl, got into a tree, in the night, the fearful torrent roaring beneath, the rain falling in torrents. Here they remained until the next day in the afternoon when they were discovered and a rope was got to them. They were rescued by being dragged sixty yards through the water. The old lady described it as a fearful time.

Alameda Creek breaks through the hills by a canyon about six or seven miles long, and I think about 1,500 or 1,800 feet deep. The sides are very steep, rising to mountains on each side. I followed down this canyon and emerged on the plain, then footed it to Mission San Jose…

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