Scope and Content
C. M. Silva & Son
Title: C. M. Silva & Son Correspondence
Date (inclusive): 1874-1886
1.4 linear feet
Abstract: Charles M. Silva (1823-1894) and his son Edward B. Silva (1854-1952) operated C.M. Silva & Son, a nursery specializing in
fruit trees and plants, in Newcastle, California. This collection contains 135 letters written to C. M. Silva & Son from 1874-1879.
Also included is one volume of outgoing correspondence from July to December 1886. The correspondence discusses growing fruit
trees and plants, orders for their fruit and plant stock, shipping procedures, the quality of their products, and account
debits and credits.
Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
University of California, Davis. General Library. Department of Special Collections.
Davis, California 95616-5292
Collection number: D-417
Language of Material: Collection materials in English.
Charles M. Silva (1823-1894) was a native of Richmond County, New York who moved to California in 1849. A resident of Newastle,
California from 1864 to 1894, Silva first planted several fruit trees and strawberry vines there in 1868. He was one of the
first to discover the adaptability of Newcastle's soil for growing fruit trees and plants and became one of the pioneers of
the fruit and nursery business in Placer County. Silva and his son, Edward, operated a nursery, C.M. Silva & Son, in Newcastle.
In 1870, the Silvas had about ten acres under cultivation, and although their fruit trees had not matured, they received approximately
nine hundred dollars per acre each year from different kinds of berries. They marketed five tons of strawberries in 1870,
averaging twenty cents per pound. They shipped thirty thousand dollars worth of fruit in 1874 and the business had doubled
annually for the preceeding four years. In 1875, they had thirty acres planted in fruit trees and strawberries.
Charles Silva had three children: Edward Burton Silva (February 16, 1854-April 24, 1952), Jennie Culver (July 17, 1858-April
27, 1941) and Elizabeth Oldham (September 7, 1860-June 14, 1948). He passed away on November 7, 1894.
Gittings, Samuel Evans.
The foundations of Placer County horticulture, 1850-1900. Auburn, CA: Placer County Historical Society, 1996.
Lardner, William Branson.
History of Placer and Nevada counties, California: with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the counties
who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present.
Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1924.
Obituary of Charles M. Silva.
Placer Republican, November 9, 1894.
Scope and Content
The collection contains 135 incoming letters to C.M. Silva & Son from 1874-1879. One volume of outgoing letters from July
to December 1886 is also included.
Correspondents include other nurserymen such as J. Capps and Sons of Mt. Pulaski, Illinois, McKinley Brothers of Los Angeles,
John Rock of San Jose, and Shinn's Nurseries of Alameda County and fruit and produce merchants such as M.T. Brewer of Sacramento
and Hixson, Justi and Co. of San Francisco, among others. Also present are three letters from Edward Payson Roe, a novelist
and cultivator of small fruits. The correspondence discusses growing fruit trees and plants, orders for Silva's products,
shipping procedures, the quality of Silva's products, and account debits and credits.
Arrangement of the Collection
The collection is arranged in two series: Incoming and Outgoing.
The Nursery and Seed Catalog Collection (O-009) contains price lists and descriptive circulars from C.M. Silva & Son from
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
C.M. Silva & Son
Silva, Charles M., 1823-1894
Silva, Edward B., 1854-1952
Rock, John, 1836-1904
Roe, Edward Payson, 1838-1888
J. Capps and Sons
Collection is open for research.
Sara Gunasekara processed this collection and created and encoded this finding aid.
[Identification of item], C. M. Silva & Son Correspondence, D-417, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University
of California, Davis.
Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17, of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote
from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of the Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items
and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.