This large-format map of San Jose, California, is among the first and possibly the rarest separately issued maps of the city. Preceded only by Thomas White's map of 1850 and George Hare's map of 1872 (both considerably smaller), this map stands out as an important cartographic record of San Jose's early history.
The map identifies the city limits, several early additions and subdivisions, areas marked as surveys and tracts, the Convent of Notre Dame, St. James Square, Washington Square, the State Normal School, and a series of concentric circles denoting the distance from the corner of First & Santa Clara. Additionally, a pastedown label notes the transfer of the map's rights to F.A. Taylor, a news dealer.
San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777, as Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, becoming the first civil settlement in Alta California. In 1797, the pueblo was relocated to what is now the modern Downtown area. After transitioning from Spanish to Mexican control, the city became part of the United States in 1846. On March 27, 1850, San Jose was incorporated as the second city in California (following Sacramento).
James A. Clayton, born in England in 1831, moved to the US in 1839 and settled in Iowa County, Wisconsin, in 1840. Clayton and his brother Joel arrived in California in August 1850, briefly visiting the Gold Mining Regions before joining their brother Charles in Santa Clara on August 25, 1850. James returned to the Gold Regions in February 1851 and then traveled to Australia's gold mines in November 1851. He came back to California in August 1852, staying briefly in Stockton before returning to Santa Clara.
In January 1865, James Clayton settled in San Jose, where he bought a photograph gallery on Santa Clara Street, later relocating it to Spring's corner. He operated the business for 13 years. In 1861, he was elected County Clerk, and in 1867, he established a real estate office. Clayton went on to become the area's leading real estate broker until his death in April 1896.