Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Hon. B. V. Sargent has resided in the town of Monterey since June, 1858. He is a prominent citizen by virtue of his long residence here, but more prominent because of his connection with the industries and politics of the county, having served his fellow-citizens in various official capacities, among others very acceptably and creditably filling the office of State Senator in the Legislature of 1887.

He was born in Grafton, New Hampshire, in 1828, and spent his early days in Boston. He arrived in San Francisco July, 1849, and immediately went to the mines on Mokelumne River. He went to San Jose in September of the same year, and kept hotel there until the opening of the first State Legislature. He then went to the Sandwich Islands, where he remained until the spring of 1850. Returning to California, he met his three brothers, J. P., R. C, and J. L. Sargent, who had come out overland from Chicago the year previous. In the fall of 1850 the four brothers settled in San Joaquin County, where the town of Woodbridge now stands, and went into the stock business as Sargent Bros.

The firm is one of the most widely known in the State, owning large properties in several counties. In San Joaquin County they have a grain and stock ranch of thirty thousand acres, under the charge of Ross and Dr. Jacob Sargent. In Santa Clara County they have twelve thousand acres, under the management of J. P. Sargent. This is one of the best properties in the State, and is used for diversified farming and stock-raising. Some of the fastest and best-blooded horses in the State are raised here. In Monterey County they have two ranches, which are under the supervision of B. V. Sargent. At Bradley, in the southern part of the county, is La Pestilencia, of twelve thousand acres. The name is derived from the stenches of sulphur springs on the place, the country thereabouts abounding in mineral springs. The soil of this ranch is very fertile and adapted to grain and fruit, although stock-raising has heretofore been the principal industry. The ranch consists principally of low rolling hills and ridges, which, in the spring-time, are carpeted with alfileria and wild grasses, bunch-grass being conspicuous. About six miles from Monterey they own a ranch of twenty-three thousand acres, El Potrero San Carlos y San Francisquito.

It was here that the hero of this sketch in an early day climbed a chaparral oak tree to get out of the way of some wild cattle, but was knocked out by the impact of a frightened bullock, and fell astride the back of a grizzly bear that had been frightened from his midday siesta by the stampede. He grabbed the shaggy hair of the brute, and, with a desperation born of fear, spurred him in the flanks. Down the mountain they came like an avalanche; Mr. Sargent's brother-in-law, who was in the canon holding their horses, above the noise of the stampede heard Brad's voice, "Save yourself! I am headed for you on the back of a grizzly!" But the bear turned up a little ravine, and our modern Mazeppa (or Munchausen) found an opportunity as he passed between two rocks to disengage himself from his untamed steed. In those days grizzlies were as thick as Fresno jack-rabbits, which makes more probable the possibility of such an adventure. But, unfortunately for Mr. Sargent, the only witness to this exciting bareback performance is dead.

The San Francisquito Ranch furnishes grazing for four thousand head of cattle, and is watered by numerous streams. It is considered one of the finest stock ranches in the State.

As noticed in the outset of this sketch, Mr. Sargent has served in various official capacities. He has been Supervisor of Monterey County several times, and was elected joint Senator of Monterey and San Benito Counties in 1886. He was married in 1856 at Mokelumne Hill. His wife is a most estimable lady, well known in Monterey for her goodness of heart and many acts of charity. They have four children, three sons and a daughter. Two of the sons, J. P. and R. C. Sargent, have the immediate supervision of the Monterey ranches. The other son, B. V. Sargent, Jr., is a promising young attorney of Salinas. The daughter is the wife of Mr. Cragg, a business man of Bradley, Monterey County. Mr. Sargent is unostentatious in his manner, a man of practical ideas and rare business sagacity. He is genial and sociable, possessing a fund of anecdote and a convincing and pleasing manner of telling his stories.

Source: Monterey County : its general features, resources, attractions, and inducements to investors and home seekers. Salinas, Calif.: E.S. Harrison, 1889, 89 pgs.