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When San Jose attempted to annex Milpitas barely seven years later, the "Milpitas Minutemen" were quickly organized to oppose annexation and keep Milpitas independent.

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The land in modern-day Milpitas was divided between the 6,353-acre (25.71 km) Rancho Los Tularcitos (Spanish for "little tule marshes") granted to José Higuera.At the north side of the intersection of that road with the Milpitas-Alviso Road, for many years stood "French's Hotel" that had been originally built by Alex Anderson prior to 1859, when Alfred French bought it from Austin M. South of the site of French's Hotel, was a saloon dating from at least 1856 when Agustus Rathbone purchased the land and "improvements" from Richard Greenham.The first murder in Milpitas was committed in the early 1860s in "Rathbone's Saloon" (alas, the murderer escaped).Many of the Azoreans had such locally well-known surnames like Coelho, Covo, Mattos, Nunes, Spangler, Serpa, and Silva. A local farmer and first Assistant Postmaster, Joseph Weller, felt the Spanish word Penitencia might be confused with the English word "penitentiary." Instead of choosing Penitencia, he suggested another popular name for the area, Milpitas, after the name of Alviso's property, Rancho Milpitas.Thus was born "Milpitas Township." For over a century, Milpitas served as a popular rest stop for travelers on the old Oakland−San Jose Highway.Both landowners had built prominent adobe homes on their properties.

Today, both adobes still exist and are the oldest structures in Milpitas.

Kozy Kitchen was demolished soon after Jimmy Carlo sold the restaurant in 1999.

On January 26, 1954, faced with getting swallowed up by a rapidly expanding San Jose, Milpitas residents incorporated as a city that included the recently built Ford Auto Assembly plant.

In the 1850s, large numbers of Americans of English, German, and Irish descent arrived to farm the fertile lands of Milpitas.

The Burnett, Rose, Dempsey, Jacklin, Trimble, Ayer, Parks, Wool, Weller, Minnis, and Evans are among the early settlers of Milpitas.

Milpitas is also located within the Silicon Valley. The Ohlone Indians lived a traditional life based on everyday hunting and gathering.