Morgan Hill is a city in Santa Clara County, California, at the southern tip of Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Take a look below for 15 fascinating and obscure facts about Morgan Hill, California, United States.
1. Morgan Hill is an affluent residential community, the seat of several high-tech companies, and a dining, entertainment, and recreational destination, owing to its luxury hospitality, wineries, and nature parks.
2. Prior to the arrival of Spanish colonists, the area of the Santa Clara Valley had been inhabited by the Tamyen nation of Ohlone people for more than 6,000 years.
3. In the area of what is now Morgan Hill, the Matalan tribe lived in a hunter-gatherer society.
4. Before the area was colonized as part of the Alta California province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, the 1772 Spanish expedition, led by Pedro Fages and Father Juan Crespí, camped in what is now Morgan Hill, alongside Llagas Creek.
5. The location of their camp subsequently became a popular campsite for Spanish soldiers on their way from New Spain to Alta California. With the founding of Mission Santa Clara de Asís, in 1777, the lands of present-day Morgan Hill were granted to the Roman Catholic Church.
6. Following Mexico’s independence from Spain, land was redistributed to Mexican citizens across California and the land encompassing modern-day Morgan Hill was granted to Juan Maria Hernandez, in 1835.
7. In 1845, Martin Murphy, Sr., an Irish-born Mexican citizen, acquired the area and named it Rancho Ojo del Agua de la Coche.
8. In 1850, Martin Murphy Sr.’s youngest son, Daniel Murphy, married Maria Fisher, heiress of the neighboring 19,000-acre (7,700 ha) Rancho Laguna Seca, thus combining the two estates. In 1853, Martin Murphy, Sr.’s father, Bernard Murphy, died leaving the majority of the estate to Martin Murphy, Sr., but a substantial portion to a Martin Murphy, Sr.’s mother, Catherine, who then married James Dunne.
9. By 1870, the Murphy family had acquired around 70,000 acres (28,000 ha) of the Morgan Hill area. In the history of Morgan Hill, the Murphy, Dunne, and Hill families are of the most prominent significance.
10. By the late 1850’s, Californio ranchero José María Malaguerra began cultivating vineyards in Madrone, then an independent township just north of Morgan Hill. In 1869, he founded the Malaguerra Winery, the oldest extant winery in Santa Clara Valley, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
11. In 1882, Daniel and Maria Murphy’s daughter, Diana Murphy, fell in love with Missouri businessman Hiram Morgan Hill. They married in secret, on account of his being a Quaker and her being from a prominent Roman Catholic family. When Daniel Murphy died, Diana and Hiram Morgan Hill inherited the 4,500 acres (1,800 ha) surrounding the original Murphy estate, near Murphy’s Peak (now known as El Toro). In 1884, the Hills built their weekend estate, as the family primarily lived in San Francisco, dubbed Villa Mira Monte (Spanish for Mountain-View Estate).
12. By 1886, the family chose to live primarily at the Ojo del Agua rancho, as they jointly inherited 22,000 acres (8,900 ha) around the estate. However, the move was temporary, as scandal caused by the marital complications of Hiram Morgan Hill’s prominent socialite sister, Sarah Althea Hill, and her husband, Senator William Sharon, made the Hills a source of social ridicule, thus causing them to start spending the majority of their time between San Francisco and Washington, D.C., thus leaving their rancho untouched for long periods of time.
13. In 1892, Hiram Morgan Hill contracted land developer C. H. Phillips to divide and liquidate the Rancho Ojo del Agua de la Coche, only retaining the Villa Mira Monte estate and the surrounding 200 acres (81 ha), which the Hill family would hold until 1916. By 1898, a significant community had built around what was then known as Morgan Hill’s Ranch, and a Southern Pacific Railroad station was built in the Huntington area. Rather than ask to stop at Huntington station, passengers would ask to stop at “Morgan Hill’s Ranch”, which eventually shortened to “Morgan Hill”.
14. On November 10, 1906, the planned community, a result of the divisions of C. H. Phillips, was incorporated as the Town of Morgan Hill. Hiram Morgan and Diana Hill’s only child, Diana Murphy Hill, married the French nobleman, Baron Hadouin de Reinach-Werth, and thus Baron Hadouin started to help manage Hiram Morgan Hill’s properties between California and Nevada. However, the baron was called back to France to serve in the military and never returned. In 1913, Hiram Morgan Hill died at his Elko estate in Nevada, thus leaving his properties to his daughter. Diana Murphy Hill later remarried, in 1916, to Sir George Rhodes, thus causing the Murphy heiress of the Morgan Hill estate to relocate to the United Kingdom, taking her and Hiram Morgan Hill’s daughter, Diana Murphy Hill, thus finally selling off the Villa Mira Monte and ending the Hill family presence in the community named after them.
15. In 1959, Morgan Hill annexed Madrone, turning the former township into a Morgan Hill’s northernmost district, bordering San Jose and Coyote Valley.