Robert Tweedy, Sr.

Birth: Nov. 18, 1811, Illinois
Death: Sep. 17, 1899, Florence, Los Angeles County, California
Robert Tweedy and family came to California from Conway County, Arkansas in 1852. They were part of the Captain Johnson wagon train that arrived in El Monte in November of 1852, after spending 7 months on the Santa Fe Trail. The Tweedy family was one of the earliest white settlers in Southern California. Robert and his wife Mary acquired over two thousand acres of land which was part of the old "Rancho San Antonio" and when subdivided in the 1917 became the city of South Gate. Tweedy Blvd. was named after the family. 
Source: Savannah Pioneer Cemetery / Paula from SCGS

Jerry Lesandro provided the bio and photo of his ancestor, Robert Tweedy, Sr.

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 Jonathan & Phoebe Point Tibbet

Jonathan Tibbet, Sr., was born in Michigan, December 18, 1822, of Old Colonial stock. He was married to Phoebe Jane Point, February 12, 1844. This young married couple attended a meeting where John C. Fremont and his father-in-law, Colonel Benton, lectured on California, the then unknown region, and told about the great possibilities of acquiring quantities of cheap land, and distributed circulars giving a description of the country as they knew it. Mr. and Mrs. Tibbet became interested and decided to migrate to this new country. They started for the Missouri River working their way from place to place.

The first stop was at Keokuk, Iowa, where James Henry Tibbet, their first child, was born. Their next stop was at Nauvoo, where Mr. Tibbet was employed by the Mormons making wagons and ox yokes for their trip to Salt Lake. In 1848, Mr. and Mrs. Tibbet left Council Bluffs. Mr. Tibbet drove an ox team and Mrs. Tibbet did the cooking for their transportation. Soon after leaving Council Bluffs, the principal owner of this train had a falling out with most of the immigrants and, to save him from personal injury, Mr. Tibbet was forced to hide him in the bottom of the prarie schooner. The immigrants then elected Mr. Tibbet captain of the train. They followed the Old Mormon Trail to Salt Lake along the North Platte River through the South Pass. They stopped at Salt Lake to recruit their stock, then came on across the Salt Lake Trail through the Cajon Pass to the present city of San Bernardino, where they stopped to recruit their stock.

At the San Gabriel River this party of immigrants had the first Christmas tree ever had in the State of California. A willow tree was selected where Bassett now is located on the east bank of the San Gabriel River. False limbs were put in place, the tree was decorated with Indian beads, moccasins, rag babies, pop corn and such other things as they had in the train. The women sang Christmas songs, the men marched around the tree shooting off their guns and their pistols.

They camped for a while at the Old San Gabriel Mission, then they went to the Los Angeles River and established a camp there. Mr. Tibbet secured work at San Pedro on a boat at ten dollars per day. Mrs. Tibbet was an expert needlewoman, and when the California women learned of this they induced her to do some sewing for them. Prices were one dollar for each button hole, all other work in proportion.

Mr. Tibbet became acquainted with all the leading rancheros of that time. Among them being Senor Dominguez of the Dominguez ranch, who traded work horses and mules for oxen. With this outfit Mr. Tibbet started for the mines in Northern California, making his headquarters at Hang Town. There he engaged in mining, merchandising, had a boarding and lodging house and ran a pack train from Sacramento and another from Stockton. He also had a branch business in Indian Diggins. He was very successful, in one day taking out $8,580 worth of gold.

In 1852, they sold their business, and with their accumulation of gold returned East by way of Panama, Mrs. Tibbet riding on a Kanaka's back across the Isthmus. They purchased a large farm in the East. But the call of the West was so strong that in 1852 they sold their farm, went to the Missouri River, purchased cattle, sheep and horses, and drove them across the plains, arriving in California the latter part of that year. Mr. Tibbet purchased the interest of heirs to a large tract of land hear the San Gabriel Mission, engaged in stock raising and driving cattle from Southern California to the mines. The highwaymen and desperadoes often planned to waylay the return drovers but were never successful.

Jonathan Tibbet, Sr., founded the first white school in El Monte, known as the Old Mission School District, and it was there that his children attended their first school. The school house was of the old, crude pioneer style - boards nailed up and down and in may places, no battens on the cracks. The roof was covered with hand made shakes. In many places the sun shone through, and in the winter months the rain would come straight down from the heavens and the scholars and teacher were all compelled to seek some dry spot. In the summer months the lizards ran along the rafters and plates of the building.

Mrs. Phoebe Jane Tibbet, wife of Jonathan Tibbet, Sr., died September 29, 1892. Jonathan Tibbet died April 18, 1904. With James Henry Tibbet, they are buried in the Savannah Cemetery, three miles west of El Monte.

On both trips across the plains, Mrs. Tibbet walked more than half the distance carrying a baby in her arms. A chest of solid silver was buried on the plains, which could not later be located by Mr. Tibbet.

Mrs. S. J. Snoddy, now living at 2537 South Third street, Ocean Park, is a sister of Jonathan Tibbet., Jr., and the babe who was carried in its mother's arms across the plains in 1853.

Source: The Los Angeles County Pioneer Society Historical Record and Souvenir, Times-Mirror Press, Los Angeles, 1923. pp. 220-223.
Source: Savannah Pioneer Cemetery / Paula from SCGS 

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Samuel Sawyer Thompson and Margaret McKamy Thompson were among the early arrivals in El Monte, October 22, 1852. He was a Los Angeles County Supervisor in 1854 and an El Monte justice of the peace in 1861. They have twenty-three descendants buried in the cemetery and many living descendants, including the new board president, Eric Chase. This is the family story of their trip west, dictated by their daughter, Mary McKamy Thompson Cunningham Wyatt (1839-1915) to her granddaughter Eva May Chase Akers.

“Wishing to go west, Samuel Thompson and his wife built a large flatboat and with all their goods floated down the Tennessee River into the Ohio and into the Mississippi River down to the Red River in Louisiana up which they floated and paddled to Shreveport, Louisiana, where they lived. They journeyed about in Louisiana and up to Fort Smith, Arkansas. They went on to St. Augustine, Texas, where their child Mary was born January 28, 1839. At last they went to Bonham, Texas, where they helped form a train of 27 wagons which left Bonham April 10, 1852, to go to the goldfields of California. They went southwest through El Paso, down into Mexico and west through Arizona and Ft. Yuma. On October 22, 1852, they reached El Monte. Due to typhoid fever in his family, S.S. Thompson bought a house and remained in El Monte and a wagon train went on north to gold.”

Their household in California included two young African-American girls, Amelia and Paulina, born in 1847 and 1851 respectively. This story of their presence comes from Martha Russell, another great-granddaughter of the Thompsons: “I’ve always heard that the S.S. Thompsons had slaves and that he didn’t believe in slavery so when he started west he gave them up. The mother of the 2 girls begged him to take them with him for she said they would only live the life of slaves if they stayed behind. They were with the family when they lived on the ranch in Rivera.” One of the girls reportedly became a leading midwife in Los Angeles.

Submitted by David W. Hassler, another one of their great-great-great grandchildren
From the March 2007 issue of El Monte Cemetery Association Newsletter  / Paula from SCGS
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Benjamin Franklin Maxson

Benjamin Franklin Maxson was born in Friendship, New York, in 1841. In his early twenties he served with the Wisconsin Infantry in the Civil War. On June 7, 1867, the day after his twenty-sixth birthday, he bid adieu to family and friends and began his journey to California to gain for himself “a competence and to aid in establishing a permanent fund for educational purposes.”

His journey began in New York, two years prior to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. New York city was “rainy and muddy” upon his arrival on the morning of June 8, 1867, but he visited Barnum’s Museum and in the evening he saw America’s first blockbuster musical, The Black Crook. On June 10th he boarded the San Francisco and sailed out to sea. He wrote about the many sea sick passengers during the first several days, as well as the large schools of porpoises and flying fish, and the pleasant feeling of seeing islands such as Cuba and Santo Domingo.

After ten days the San Francisco dropped anchor in the bay near Greytown (San Juan del Norte),Nicaragua, and passengers boarded river boats without landing and began the trip up the San Juan river. Here the natives approached, offering oranges, bananas, pol cakes, rum, wine, etc. Maxson wrote that the tropical scenery was the most beautiful he had ever beheld. “Such rare plants! . . . The clinging vines decked with beautiful flowers forming natural arbors which far surpass any which I have ever seen constructed by the hand of man.” The exotic fauna, the historic ruins of El Castillo, as well as the geology were equally impressive.

This route across Central America followed the San Juan between Nicaragua and Costs Rica by boats, horses and mules, hikes around rapids and sand bars, to Lake Nicaragua, then by boat to La Virgen and overland by mules, horses or carriages to San Juan Del Sur, where Benjamin arrived on June 23, 1867. From there he boarded the steamship America and headed for San Francisco. With sightings of whales and one false fire alarm, the voyage was “rather pleasant”.

On July 6 he wrote that he was in San Francisco, “thank goodness,” put up at the International Hotel. He explored the city, went to Prospect Hill for a bird’s eye view, and to “the Chinese portion to observe their customs and dress.” On July 8 he went aboard a river steamer and started to Sacramento. The “evening pleasant, country
fine and rolling and middling. Thickly settled. Wheat and oats in the sheath ready for gathering. Large droves of cattle . . . feeding in the valleys and on hillside. Arrived at Sacramento next morning after being stuck for two hours on a sand bar.” He stayed at the What Cheer House, now a landmark in Old Sacramento, then camped at Richmond Grove while “fitting out for the mountains.”

The portion of his journal to which this article refers ends at this point. He later farmed in Colusa, then Tustin and El Monte, being among the first commercial walnut growers in that area. He was an early member of the Lexington Lodge (El Monte Masons) and was a trustee on the Mountain View School Board. El Monte’s Maxson Road and Maxson School were named in his honor. He died in 1899. He and his wife, Olive (Merwin) are interred at Savannah.

Submitted by Reed B. Maxson, great-grandson
From the Journal of Benjamin Franklin Maxson  / Paula from SCGS

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Andrew Jackson King

Andrew Jackson King was born in Cherokee Purchase Land in Union County, Georgia in 1833. Later his father, Samuel King, who was a tanner and a saddler, took the family to Helena, Arkansas. In 1849 the family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory. In 1852, Samuel King brought his family and forty or fifty other families of pioneers overland to El Monte, the oldest American settlement in Los Angeles County, located along the San Gabriel River, which was inhabited by a mixture of emigrants, largely Texans. The King family laid out a town there which was called Lexington.

King studied law in Los Angeles with Judge Hayes, the first district Judge of the County. Then these two young lawyers and Judge Scott opened a law office on Main Street a short distance south of the Plaza. King became the first County Clerk of San Bernardino County in 1853.

In March, 1854, A. J. King was one of the members of the California Militia Company called the Monte Rangers, organized by John G. Downey and others. The unit was actively operating against Indian raiders and bandits that plagued Southern California after they were driven out of San Francisco and the northern gold fields by vigilantes.

In 1859 King was elected a member of the California State Assembly and was on the committee which located the site for the State Capitol. From 1861 to 1865, A. J. King served as an Undersheriff of Los Angeles County and made many arrests.

During the secession crisis of 1861, he tried to form another militia company like the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles, the Monte Mounted Rifles, both units with secessionist sympathies. On April 26, 1861, the Monte Mounted Rifles asked Governor Downey for arms. 

However A. J. King ran afoul of Federal authorities and, according to the Sacramento Union of April 30, 1861 King was brought before Colonel Carleton, and was made to take an oath of allegiance to the Union and was then released. The governor sent the arms, but army officers at San Pedro held them up preventing the activation of the Monte Mounted Rifles. King did not flee eastward to the Confederacy with the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles and continued his secessionist activities.

On April 10, 1862, as the United States Marshall for Southern California, Henry D. Barrows wrote to the commander of the Department of Pacific of the Union Army in San Francisco complaining of anti-Union sentiment in Southern California. In that same year he was married to Laura Evertson, and remained in office as Undersheriff to 1865.

While Undersheriff, King's investigation of the murder of the wealthy ranchero John Rains resulted in a bitter feud with Rain's friend and brother-in-law Robert Carlisle, when he failed to get a conviction of the suspected murderer, Jose Ramon Carrillo. The dispute festered between the friends and families of both men for some time and became known as the King-Carlisle Feud. At a ball held in Los Angeles on July 5, 1865, Carlisle attacked King but friends separated the men. The next day, King's brothers, Frank and Houston, had a shootout with Robert Carlisle inside the saloon of the Bella Union Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, resulting in the death of Frank King and Robert Carlisle.

In 1865, King became a law partner of Judge Murray Morrison. From 1865 to 1870 he was also one of the proprietors and editors of the Los Angeles News. In 1866 and 1867 he was City Attorney and in 1869, County Judge.

In 1873 he printed and published the first city directory and he was one of the founders of the County Agricultural Society in 1871. He was active in aiding and inaugurating many of the early municipal projects of the city of Los Angeles.

On October 14, 1923, Judge Andrew J. King died at his home in Boyle Heights, 90 years old and the oldest member of the bar in Los Angeles.

Source: Wikipedia (edited for space)

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Fredrick Payson Cave
Highly esteemed as a public benefactor, and active in the early development of El Monte, was Dr. Fredrick P. Cave, who opened the first drug store here and also built up a large practice as a physician.

Dr. Cave was born in Montreal, Canada, March 26, 1853. His parents were natives of Ireland, coming to America and settling in Vermont, where they resided for many years. Dr. Cave attended the public schools of his home community, and on completing his academic education, he taught school for a number of terms near his home in Vermont. He later attended, and was graduated from, the New York Medical College in New York City.

Coming to California in the fall of 1888, Dr. Cave stopped for a few months in Monrovia, following which he came to El Monte. Energetic and enterprising to a marked degree, he immediately began the practice of medicine, and in due time, built up a large practice. In 1892, he built and opened a drug store on Main Street, a short distance east of Lexington Avenue. This was El Monte’s first drug store and filled a long felt need. At about this time he also built a nice residence a short way southeast of his drug store, and in 1896, he contracted for the erection of a large hall across the street from his drug store. This was known as Cave’s Hall, and for many years was the main place of meeting for public gatherings. It was a large two-story structure, the building was destroyed by fire in 1913.

Dr. Cave later acquired a walnut grove east of Puente, and also bought a home and other property in Los Angeles. June 23, 1883, he was married to Ettie M. Arnold. Little information is available regarding Mrs. Cave, other than she was a native of Peru, New York. To Mr. and Mrs. Cave were born three children, all of whom are still living, namely: Mable A. Garrett, of Santa Ana; Arnold S. Cave of Redondo Beach and Fredrick P. Cave of Oakland.

As a side issue, Dr. Cave invented an acetylene gas light for home and office use, many of which he manufactured and sold. In about 1902, he moved to Los Angeles where he continued his profession for a time. Meeting with financial reverses and failing health in his declining years and having left El Monte several years prior to his death, little is known of his last years. His death occurred in 1907.

Greatly interested in the improvement and general welfare of El Monte, and especially in its educational advancement, Dr. Cave was the first to advance the movement for establishing a High School here. For many years he served as trustee on the El Monte School Board, and his affirmative vote could always be counted on in all matters of community betterment.

Fraternally he was a Mason, Odd Fellow and Modern Woodman. In religion he was a member of the Methodist Church; and, politically a staunch Republican.


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Alfred and Huldah Johnson

In 1852, a wagon train captained by one William Johnson arrived in El Monte. Johnson is a rather shadowy figure in El Monte’s history; while many of the early settlers are said to have arrived with this party, Johnson himself does not appear to have stayed in El Monte. It is my belief that this “Captain William Johnson” was William T. Barry Johnson, who settled in Plainsburg, Merced County, shortly after arriving in California. It is certain that W. T. B. Johnson did lead a wagon train to California in 1852, and that many members of that party—though not Johnson himself—were among the early settlers of El Monte. Among them were his parents, Alfred M. and Huldah (Sanford) Johnson, who did locate in El Monte.

Alfred Johnson was born in Rutherford Co., North Carolina, ca. 1800, the son of William and Margaret (Hawkins) Johnson. His father is said to have been an attorney, a delegate to the North Carolina convention that ratified the U. S. Constitution, and later a colonel in the War of 1812. Alfred settled in the area of Howard/Boone Co. Missouri around 1820; his marriage to Huldah Sanford is recorded in Howard Co. 11 March 1821. Huldah was a Kentuckian, the daughter of John and Nancy D. (Roberts) Sanford. She was the aunt of W. T. B. Sanford, John Sanford, and Rebecca (Sanford) Banning (Mrs. Phineas Banning), all prominent in early Los Angeles county.

The Johnsons farmed in Missouri for several years, and were among the founders of Perche Christian Church in Boone County. One early Boone County settler is quoted as saying that Alfred Johnson was “the largest man in the world.”

About 1844 Alfred and Huldah and their several children moved to Crawford Co., Arkansas, settling near his brother, William Hawkins Johnson, who was in Franklin Co. They continued to live there until 1852, when their oldest son William T. B. Johnson returned from California and urged them to return with him to the Golden State. They left Arkansas 17 April 1852, and traveled a Southern route, entering California at Ft. Yuma in October or November. Among those traveling with them were Alfred and Huldah’s daughters Armenia, Huldah, Margaret (and her husband John Marshall James), Lucy (and her husband J. C. C. Russell, as well as his parents) and son Francis M. Johnson (later assessor of San Bernardino Co.). Another son, John, had recently married and stayed in Arkansas, though after the deaths of him and his wife, W. T. B. Johnson returned to Arkansas again and brought his three nephews to California.

Alfred died of typhoid fever at El Monte 22 August 1855, and is buried in the Savannah Cemetery. Huldah and several of her children continued to live in El Monte for a few years, but by the early 1860s most of them, including Huldah, had relocated to San Bernardino. Huldah died there 25 Nov. 1879, and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. Their descendants have spread throughout California and the West, and include former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Wright and long-time Lassen County sheriff Olin Johnson. 

~ Submitted by Richard O. Johnson

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William R. Dodson

In tracing the history of this truly public-spirited citizen, it is learned that he hails from the “old south” and that his ancestors were early settlers of the Old Dominion. His father, Gainaim M. Dodson, was a native of Halifax County, Va., and passed his boyhood and youth there. In 1833 he removed to Kentucky, where he met and married Nancy P. Thompson, who had spent her life in that section of the south. The young couple soon went to Crawford County, Ark., where their son, William R., was born in 1839.

The early years of our subject were passed in the uneventful routine of farm life, but he learned lessons of industry and thrift which have been important factors in his subsequent career. The clouds of Civil war were gathering and when the great issue was fairly upon the people of the land he waited only a short time ere he volunteered his services to the Confederacy, in whose rights he firmly believed. Though he entered the ranks of a regiment of cavalry as a private soldier, he was promoted for gallantry and courage to the captaincy of his company and in 1864 he sustained severe wounds in the left arm at the battle of Fayetteville, Ark.

At the close of the war Mr. Dodson went to Nevara County, Tex., where he embarked in the business of stock-raising and general farming and met with the success which he deserved, for he has always been systematic, persevering and industrious in all of his business undertakings. Much was being said of the beauties and possibilities of the Pacific coast at that time, and at last he decided to try his fortune in the far west, where so many men were becoming wealthy. Proceeding toward the setting sun by the tedious old overland route, he reached Downey, Cal., in October, 1868, and after prospecting considerably in the southern part of this state he purchased seventy-three acres of land situated south of the county road, near El Monte, and at once began the task of improving the same. In addition to this he built a blacksmith shop and for several years had all that he could attend to in that line of work.

In 1878 Mr. Dodson rented the El Monte hotel and commenced his new enterprise as a hotelkeeper. Like most of his ventures it was a success and at the end of two years he became the owner of the hotel, which has since been conducted by him. From time to time he has made substantial improvements upon the house and grounds and by due attention to the needs and wishes of the public has made warm friends and kept a fine class of guests. In 1882 he opened a livery stable in connection with his hotel, and from that time until the present has been able to furnish good accommodations to the public in this line as well. In 1887 he erected Dodson hall, and many other enterprises here have received his support. He has retained his old-time interest in agriculture and the raising of fine cattle and upon his valuable farm there may be found many excellent specimens of Jersey, Short-horn and Durham breeds, as well as thoroughbred horses.

January 2, 1866, Mr. Dodson married Miss Clairmond Jones, a daughter of William L. and Malvina F. Jones. The father was a native of Tennessee; and the mother was from Georgia. The death of William L. Jones took place in 1874, and his wife departed this life in November, 1897. To the union of our subject and wife six children were born, namely: J. W. B., who wedded Nellie Wixon and now makes his home in San Bernardino county; May, who is the wife of B. B. Mings, and lives in Texas; Clayborne B., Elbert,William L. and Foster A. Dodson. C. B.Dodson married Ana M. Mayes, and E. J. Dodson wedded Addie N. Newman. Both reside in El Monte.

In his political faith Mr. Dodson is a Democrat of the old school. Fraternally he is a member of El Monte Lodge No. 188, A. O. U. W. He always has had great faith in the future of Southern California and has seen many of his sanguine dreams in regard to this section of the Union realized.

(Source: Historical and Biographical Record of Los Angeles and Vicinity: Containing a history of the city from its earliest settlement.)

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The John Guess Family
Seated Harriett and John 
Back row (l-r) Hattie, Richard, Sally, Henry, Emma 

John Guess
Early Pioneer
One of the oldest settlers in the vicinity of El Monte was John Guess, who lived one mile west of the city and successfully engaged in general farming and stock raising. Mr. Guess came to California in October 1852, as a pioneer, and witnessed and participated in the development and upbuilding of this community. He was a native of the South, born in Batesville, Independence County, Arkansas, March 28, 1827. His father, Joseph, was born in the east and became an early resident of Arkansas, where he engaged in farming throughout his active life. His death occurred from cholera in New Orleans while there on a trip for merchandise. He was survived by his wife, formerly Lottie Menyard, also a native of the East, her last days being spent with her son in California, dying at the age of eighty-four years. She had three children, of whom the eldest is the subject of the sketch.

Reared in his native state, John Guess removed with his parents to Conway county when a child, and having lost his father when young, he was deprived of even the limited advantages afforded by the primitive schools of the country. He spent his boyhood days on the home farm assisting in the work and at twenty years of age began life for himself, working farms on shares until he succeeded in accumulating some means. He was married in Arkansas to Mrs. Harriet (Holifield) Rogers, a native of Conway county and a daughter of James Holifield, a pioneer farmer of Arkansas, whose death occurred in Santa Barbara harbor on a steamer on a return trip to California. The first trip of Mr. Guess, to California was begun April 7, 1852, following his marriage in March,  making the trip across the plains with two yoke of oxen, one wagon and all-necessary equipment and provisions of nine months. The trip was made with the party commended by Captain William Johnson, mentioned elsewhere in this work. They came through Texas Via Fort Belknap, El Paso and Yuma, entering California by way of this southern route, reaching El Monte after a seven months trip. One night the Indians stampeded their cattle and stole some twenty head. Other than this, they had no serious skirmishes with the Indians en route. A train of eighty wagons with seventy men well armed necessarily precluded any serious trouble with them.

For three weeks following his arrival he camped within three-quarters of a mile of what was to be his future home. He later located in the vicinity of Compton and began farming. In the spring of 1855 he returned to El Monte, rented a tract of land one year, then purchased a ranch one mile north of El Monte, where he farmed and engaged in the raising of cattle. He subsequently returned to Arkansas with the intention of purchasing and bringing a herd of cattle to California, but owing to the Indian hazard he gave up this plan. Finally concluding to again locate in the sunny land, he accordingly made the trip once more to El Monte in 1859. After selling his first ranch he purchased forty-eight acres on the site of what was then Savannah, and remained in that location until 1867, when he lost in the courts his title to the land, as it was proven property of the early grants. In the same year he located on another nearby tract, which also was disputed land known as the old Mission grant, taking possession of one hundred acres where he at once began improvement and cultivation. He set out sycamore trees which to this day still stand as massive sentinels about the place, many of them large and spreading, one measuring two and a half feet in diameter. He engaged in the raising of cattle, hogs, mules and horses, and a little later purchased one hundred and fifty head of cattle, which he drove to Tehachapi and sold. He followed a like course on the Chino Ranch, while his family still lived on the ranch near El Monte. In 1888 he bought an interest in the San Jacinto Ranch, then a part of the Santa Rosa Ranch near Temecula, where he had a herd of eight hundred cattle. He eventually added to his original ranch in El Monte by a purchase of sixty-four acres all being in one tract. He made many improvements on the place and brought it to a high state of cultivation, being about to raise alfalfa without irrigation on seventy acres of the place.

The second marriage of Mr. Guess occurred in Rivera, California and united him with Mrs. Sarah (Anderson) Hooper.

Mr. Guess took a prominent part in the public affairs in the community.  He was interested in the First National Bank of El Monte, and served as school trustee for two terms. Fraternally he was a Master Mason, having been made a member of that organization in 1862, in Lexington Lodge No. 104. He belonged to the Baptist Church of El Monte, in which he officiated as trustee. Politically, he was a staunch Jeffersonian Democrat. In memory of the early days in which he came to California, he was a member of the Los Angeles County pioneers. His death occurred in the year 1919. 

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In his adult life Taylor Scott White was called either T.  S. White or just plain Scott White. He was named for two generals under whom his father had fought in the Mexican War.

Scott White was five years old when, in 1853, he arrived via covered wagon on the Santa Fe Trail with his parents, John and Elizabeth White. He had been born in Johnson County, Arkansas in September 1848.

Scott married Mary Elizabeth Reed in 1878. Mary had come west on another of the covered wagon trains, arriving in 1858 when an infant.

It was to the Sphinx Ranch in Altadena that Scott White came after his marriage and began training for the real ranch life. And it was there that Scott’s first two children, Earl and Edith, were born.

About 1883, Scott White and family moved to Los Angeles. He went into the trucking business near where the Union Station now stands. Some four years later, the family moved to the picturesque Winston Ranch, which was just east of the San Marino Ranch.

Well-trained for his duties, White took over the foremanship of this ranch, raising its productivity to such a point that he became almost indispensable. In fact, at the passing of Mr. Winston, his widow relied solely on White in carrying on her husband’s operations of the ranch.

After some 10 years of responsibilities, White contemplated an early retirement, but it was not to be. Unknown to him, George S. Patton of Rancho San Marino had been closely observing Winston’s successful operations and had big things in store for him.

In 1898, the Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Los Angeles acquired full ownership of the San Marino Ranch. Mr. Patton, acting for banker I. W. Hellman, convinced White that he was the ideal man to become foreman of the ranch, also known as the Shorb Ranch.

White succeeded N. A. Strain who had resigned after 17 years to accept the position as road supervisor for Los Angeles County. So, at the historic old adobe, located at what is now the junction of San Marino Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard, the Strains moved out and the Whites moved in.

Scott’s daughter, Mrs. Grace Haynes recalled when they moved to the San Marino Ranch, an occasion when Mr. Patton showed a tall, very stately gentleman over the ranch. The gentleman was none other than Henry E. Huntington. Within a short period, Huntington acquired full title to the great ranch, soon to be his home, later to become the great Huntington Library and Art Gallery of today.

 Scott White did a fine job of revitalizing the San Marino ranch, both before and after Huntington took over. Much had to be done in replacing, replanting and cultivating new agricultural areas.

 Honored and highly respected, White retired in 1912 and died in September 10, 1918, ten days before his 70th birthday.

Taylor Scott White, his wife Mary Elizabeth (Reed) White, his sons Earl White and Walter White, and his daughters Edith Potter, Grace Haynes, Anita Roper, and Phebe Lashbrook, as well as some of their spouses and children are all buried at Savannah Pioneer Cemetery.

Based on an article in The Independent (Pasadena), February 21, 1963 submitted by Walter White
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Arthur Varley Slack

Arthur V. Slack, a native of El Monte and the Son of William Slack . . ., was born in 1871.

He remained at home assisting his father on the ranch near El Monte and attending public schools until he was seventeen years of age. From that time until in 1896, he was engaged in the butcher’s trade being employed in different places in this district and in Los Angeles. In 1896 he started a meat
market of his own at 27th and Main Streets in Los Angeles, which he conducted until 1911 when he expanded his activities to include the wholesale and live stock branch of his business. In 1916 he disposed of his business and retired, investing his capital in real estate in Los Angeles and Huntington Park. In the latter named place he purchased a comfortable residence where he and Mrs. Slack have since resided.

In 1892, he was married to Miss Cora May Robertson, a native of Indiana whose parents were John and Catherine Robertson also natives of Indiana who in 1881, came to San Diego and, nine years later moving to Los Angeles. To this union three children were born, namely: Harold A., of Roscoe, California; Hazel D. (Mrs. G.W. Nichols) of Huntington Beach; and Mildred C., (Mrs. C.E. Sarff) of Whittier.

In political matters Mr. Slack is a staunch Democrat, while his religion is the
practice of the Golden Rule. Until a few weeks preceding the publication of this work, Mr. and Mrs. Slack, content and happy in the realization of moderate success, and gratified with having contributed their share to the upbuilding of the communities in which they have lived, resided at 7018 Rugby Avenue, in Huntington Park. The family was saddened July 3, 1937 by the unexpected death of Mrs. Slack at their summer home in Seal Beach. Mr. Slack continues to reside in Huntington Park.

Source: (Works Progress Administration Project, ca. 1930s) [Editor’s Note: Arthur V. Slack died 20 Jun 1955 and is buried at Savannah Memorial Park.]

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Asa Ellis 

Asa Ellis served one term as county supervisor. He was elected in 1864. Born in St. Louis, Mo., on July 6, 1817, he was the son of Benjamin Ellis, a lumberman. Young Ellis followed in his father's footsteps, learning the lumber trade and becoming a successful businessman.

Ellis became involved in politics and served as sheriff and assessor. In 1849 he was appointed regent of the University of Missouri and served until he left for California in 1852. For the next nine years he resumed his career as a lumberjack in Central California, and later in the redwoods of Santa Cruz County.

In 1861 ill health brought him to Los Angeles County. He bought land near El Monte and established himself as a rancher. In 1864 he was elected county supervisor and served until 1866. In 1867 he was elected a state assemblyman. He also served two later terms, 1871-72 and 1877-78. In the Legislature he pushed to protect agricultural land from the cattle ranchers. Up until then, it was a long established custom of allowing cattle to roam freely over the plains, thereby damaging the land. Ellis spearheaded a bill on Feb.14, 1872, protecting farmers and their land. This bill helped change the growth of Los Angeles County from a grazing pasture to an agricultural and horticultural focus.

Honors included membership in the Lexington Masonic Lodge and the San Gabriel Valley Farmers' Club.

In 1883 he became county tax collector and in 1885 President Cleveland appointed him collector of Internal Revenue in San Francisco. Upon his retirement, Ellis moved to Fresno, where he devoted his efforts to developing irrigation systems and horticulture on a large scale.

He died Aug. 20, 1890. He was survived by a daughter, Victoria Ellis; a son, Frank Ellis; and two grandsons. (Source:

 ^ ^ ^
An Assemblyman, representing Los Angeles County, and a native of St. Louis, Missouri, Asa Ellis came to California in 1853; married; has a very interesting family; is a farmer by occupation, and a staunch Democrat. This is his third session in the Assembly, evidence in itself of his sterling worth, and the confidence reposed in him by his constituents. His oldest son, Frank, aged 19, is one of the Assistant Enrolling Clerks of the Assembly, and his son Charlie, aged 13, is a Page of the Senate. In his native State, Mr. Ellis served his county as Sheriff for years. He was also one of the Regents of the State University of Missouri for six years. In Los Angeles County he has served one term as member of the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Ellis is large and portly, with a smooth face and a genial disposition, and a voice as musical as the rippling of the silvery brook. In the discharge of his official duties, he is dignified and respectful, and could readily pass for a preacher; but the nearest he ever approached that profession was to serve on the Committee on Public Morals. Divested of his official toggery, he is the essence of wit and dry humor, and a social companion, and a gentleman in the full acceptation of the term. He never bores the Assembly with long speeches, but is industrious and punctual, and one of the reliable men of the session. At home he is alike respected by Democrats and Republicans, as, in matters of general interest to his constituents, he knows no party or clique, but claims to be a representative of the whole people. He resides in Savannah, Los Angeles County.

(Source: Pen Portraits, In Sacramento City, during the Session of the Legislature of 1877-8, Compiled by R.R. Parkinson. San Francisco, 1878.)

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Archie N. 


Born in El Monte, August 19, 1863, Archie N. Wiggins spent his entire life in the community and contributed generously in time and means to its advancement.

He was the son of Thomas J. and Ellen (Vise) Wiggins who were natives of Kentucky and Missouri respectively, both being of Scotch ancestry. In 1849, Thomas J., then a resident of Texas, joined a covered wagon train born for California. The captain of this train was Nathan Vise, one of El Monte’s early settlers, who was destined to become the father-in-law of Thomas J. Wiggins, father of the subject of this sketch. The party composed of this train first settled at San Diego. One year later, they came on to El Monte. Thomas J. Wiggins was eighteen years of age upon his arrival in El Monte. The remainder of his life spent here, during which time he engaged in farming. He had much to do with the early development of the district. Earlier, he was a Government contractor in the hauling of freight to Fort Yuma and Fort Tejon. His death occurred in 1914, his wife preceding him in death five years.

Archie N. Wiggins was educated in the Old Mission School, now known as Temple School, he being one of only seven American pupils in the school at that time. Between school terms he tilled the soil on his father’s farm which occupation he continued to follow after attaining his majority. He was quite successful in this work specializing in the raising of hay, grain and live stock. Perhaps his maximum fame as an agriculturalist was attained in the production of watermelons. In this line he made a record both in quality and quantity of his products, and as a result, he earned the worthy title of the “Watermelon King of Southern California”. He also raised potatoes extensively, and for a time, engaged in selling wood at the old market on Spring Street in Los Angeles.

Mr. Wiggins often spoke of the times when he had driven down Main Street in Los Angeles when the mud was a foot deep. He also spoke of seeing the first automobile in Los Angeles.

In matters of education, Mr. Wiggins was an enthusiastic booster favoring a $25,000 high school when the issue was for only $16,000 expenditure. He also advocated other movements for the moral uplift of the community, being influential in the original closing of saloons in El Monte. He was appointed a deputy constable by County Constable Benjamin Davidson, and courageously fought to enforce the Sunday closing of the saloons, which, while a city ordinance, was ignored and unobserved until Mr.

Wiggins became constable.

In 1891, Mr. Wiggins was married to Miss Mary Ellen Kleinsorge, a native of Sacramento, and daughter of Louis and Annie (Schewgrew) Kleinsorge, who were natives of Germany and Ireland respectively, coming to California in the late forties or early fifties. They became the parents of four children; Louis J.; Lavelle B.; Edwin McKinley; and Charles.

Mr. Wiggins was affiliated with the orders of Modern Woodmen, Odd Fellows, and Ancient Order of United Workmen. Politically he was a Republican.

He remained active in the management of his affairs, until death closed his useful and valuable career in 1927. In his death the community lost a conscientious citizen who believed that “right made might” and dared “to do his duty as he understood it”.

(Excerpted from:

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George Washington Tweedy

Prominent among the many men in Lower California whose untiring efforts in the early days of her prosperity have contributed to the upbuilding and development of her boundless resources, George W. Tweedy has already reaped the reward of a useful and busy life in the vicinity of Rivera. His original purchase of land in 1869 was but the nucleus of various additions of more recent date, so that he is now one of the largest land owners in this section of the country.

Mr. Tweedy is a native of Conway County, Ark., where he was born January 13, 1844. His parents were Robert and Mary (Holyfield) Tweedy, natives respectively of Illinois and Alabama. The Tweedy family is of English extraction, the first members to arrive in America having settled in Alabama. In 1852 the more recent scions decided to try their fortunes in the far west, and undertook the long and perilous journey across the plains. A few out of many, their emigrant train wound its way through the wild and unsettled country, the faithful oxen unmindful of the inclement or sunshiny weather, and the danger from Indian attacks, and the fording of rushing streams and rivers increasing with the progress of the way into the west. The caravan reached El Monte in November, 1852, having started out over the plains the previous March. For a time the Tweedy family continued to reside in El Monte, and in 1862 they moved to Green Meadows, locating about eight miles southwest of Los Angeles. In 1893 they went to the San Antonio district, where they lived for a number of years.

George W. Tweedy started out to make an independent livelihood for himself in 1863, leaving his family comfortably located, and engaged in agriculture. He went first to Gilroy, but soon returned to Los Angeles County, where he rented eighty acres of land near Downey, and himself engaged in agricultural pursuits. For a number of subsequent months his labors were of a diverse order, and took him to various sections of the country. In March, 1869, he settled on the ranch near Rivera which has since been his home, and where his efforts as a horticulturist have been attended with gratifying degree of success.

His land is composed of ninety-six acres on the home ranch, forty-five of which are devoted to the cultivation of walnuts and oranges, and to the carrying on of a model dairy, which is a source of pride and revenue to its owner. He also owns two hundred and thirty-four acres of land eight miles west of Rivera.

September 21, 1865, Mr. Tweedy married Martha Nicholson, a native of Texas, and of his union there have been nine children, eight of whom are living: James R., William T., Jackson, Lena, Lillian, Edward, George W., Jr., and Edith. Mrs. Tweedy died May 18, 1895, and February 14, 1898, Mr. Tweedy married Mary M. John, a native of Mississippi. Their

daughter Ruth is living at home. In political faith Mr. Tweedy is affiliated with the Democratic party, and has held a number of important positions within the gift of the people, including that of trustee of the Rivera district school for twelve years. He is an active member of the First Baptist Church, and contributes generously towards its support. As a typical pioneer of the substantial and reliable kind, Mr. Tweedy has won the confidence and esteem of all appreciators of enterprise and good fellowship.

Source: Guinn, J. M., Historical and Biographical Record of Los Angeles and Vicinity, Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1901, Pages 799-800

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James Cleminson 

James Cleminson was a representative of one of the pioneer American families of the El Monte District. He was born at Independence, Missouri, August 7, 1833, son of John and Lydia (Lightner) Cleminson. The children, who came with their parents to California in 1852, were: James, whose name heads this sketch; John Jr., Lydia and Diantha. Laura, wife of G.W. Durfee, and Mary M. wife of E.T. Mills, came a few years later.

The journey of the Cleminsons was a long and tedious one. The first winter was spent at or near Harrisonville, Missouri; the next, at Tucson, Arizona. At one time, losing nearly all their stock, one wagon was hauled by hand, sixty miles, and sold at Santa Cruz, Arizona.

After trials and troubles, which we have not the space to relate, the family reached this sunny land, James arriving at San Diego in time to participate in celebrating the national birthday, July 4, 1852, and the family, a few days later.

At San Diego, the first American wedding ever solemnized was the marriage of Lydia Cleminson with S. S. Reeves. This occurred April 15, 1853. After a short residence at San Diego, the family made their home in San Bernardino County, and in 1858, upon a ranch near El Monte. The mother died, August 11, 1873, and the father, November 28, 1879. He was a man well-known in Los Angeles County, and respected by all.

James Cleminson married, in San Bernardino County, Mrs. Caroline Beck, widow of Thomas Beck. She was a lady of English birth. Two children were born of this union, James D. and Willis S. The former, resided on his ranch two miles north of El Monte, and the latter died, January 10, 1882, aged four years and three months. Their mother departed this life March 27, 1880, aged thirty-six years. From her first marriage, she had one son, Charles Edward.

On October 11, 1885, occurred the second marriage of the subject of this sketch to Miss Emma Crist. She was born in the State of Iowa, a daughter of Levi Crist. Since the death, August 13, 1910, of Mr. Cleminson, she resided in Los Angeles, with her son, Hugh Delbert Cleminson, who was born November 18, 1886. Mr. Cleminson owned fifty acres of land at El Monte, and also a tract of ten acres near Azusa. Politically, he was identified with the Republican Party, and was a member of the Ancient Order of Free Masons. He died August 13, 1910.

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Jonathan Tibbet

Representative of the early pioneers of El Monte is the name of Jonathan Tibbet who was born December 8, 1822 in Franklin County, Ohio. His parents were Jonathan and Huldah (Root) Tibbet, the father being a farmer and native of New York, while his mother came from Vermont. They had a very large family, fourteen children in all, of whom the subject of this sketch was the sixth. An interesting fact concerning the family is that one of the children, Edward was the grandfather of the grand opera singer, Lawrence Tibbet.

Jonathan Jr., was educated in the public schools of the community in which he was raised. Upon reaching his majority, he assisted his father on the farm, which being in a timbered section, necessitated the work of splitting rails. He later learned the carpenter trade at which he worked for a time.

In 1849 Mr. Tibbet with his family came to California by ox-team, their first destination being Placerville, in El Dorado County. Arriving in February of 1850, Mr. Tibbet, engaged in mining and prospecting, in which he was very successful. His good fortune in this is attested by the fact that in one day he mined $8580 in gold. Soon afterward,
he returned to the East remaining in Ohio until in 1853, when he again set out for California. This time he came by the Southern Route bringing a drove of cattle and sheep. They landed in that year in El Monte, and settled first on a tract of land southeast of town where they remained for several years. Later, about 1859, Mr. Tibbet moved his family to a 160-acre tract near what is now Rosemead, which he had purchased. On this place Mr. Tibbet built the home, which still stands. The lumber for this home Mr. Tibbet and his sons cut in the Halcom Valley near San Bernardino, the logs being later sawed into lumber and transported to the home site. For years this was the only house for miles around in this vicinity. Here the family lived for several years while Mr. Tibbet engaged in freighting. This business required that he remain away from home many months at a time, since his trips took him from San Pedro to Salt Lake city, frequently returning by way of San Francisco. He was very successful in this line of work and continued in it until 1875 when he moved to Compton. Here he purchased a dairy, which he operated for a number of years, later moving to Santa Monica where he purchased a 100-acre ranch on which he developed another dairy. Here he remained for many years successfully managing on of the leading dairies of that section.

In 1844 Mr. Tibbet was married to Miss Phoebe Point, a native of New York, whose parents were Stephen and Eleanor (Scofield) Point, natives of Ohio.

To Mr. and Mrs. Tibbet were born three children: James H., who married Henrietta Mills of an El Monte Pioneer family; Samantha Jane, who married William Snoddy, pioneer of El Monte; Jonathan F., who married Emma Bowman of Riverside; and Phoebe, who married Percy N. Arnold of Santa Monica. Mr. Tibbet continued the management of his dairy near Santa Monica until the death of Mrs. Tibbet, which occurred in September 1892. He then retired from active work transferring the management of the dairy to his sonin- law, Percy Arnold; himself continuing to reside in the ranch home until called by death in April 1904.

In politics, Mrs. Tibbet was a Republican, and was active in contributing time and means to the promotion of the party’s interest. In religion he was a member of the Methodist Church, though not actively identified with it.


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John T. Haddox

John T. Haddox was among the early merchants of El Monte. His store was centrally located and was well fitted and stocked as a representative country general store. Mr. Haddox also combined the real estate and insurance business with his enterprise, and was the agent of E.J. Baldwin in his land sales. A brief résumé of his life and association with the industries of the San Gabriel
Valley is as follows:

He was a native of Hancock County, Ohio, dating his birth in 1858. His father, Jacob Haddox, was a native of that State, but a descendant of an old family of Virginia, who devoted himself to mercantile pursuits. Mr. Haddox lived in his native county until 1868, when his father moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the subject of this sketch received a good common school and academic education and also received his early training in mercantile pursuits. In 1876 he started in life for himself, seeking the Golden State as the scene of his operations. Upon his arrival in California he located at El Monte, where for about a year he engaged in farming with his cousin, William Haddox, after which he rented land from Nicholas Smith, about a mile east of town, and engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1881, he then established himself in the mercantile business, in El Monte in Partnership with Charles M. Bell, under the firm name of Bell and Haddox. This enterprise was successfully conducted until 1885, when he sold out his interest to Mr. Langstadter and established a business of his own.

He also owned ten acres of land located in the Temple School District, which he devoted to vegetable cultivation besides 240 acres near Fort Yuma in Arizona. He later disposed of these holdings. Mr. Haddox was a progressive and enterprising citizen, who by his energy and firm business principles secured success in his various enterprises, and who was ever ready to aid such projects and movements as would build up the section in which he cast his lot. He was a strong Republican in politics, and a worker in the ranks of his party, having been a delegate in many of the Republican county conventions. In 1881, he was appointed postmaster of El Monte, a position he held until 1887.

He served for two terms as a justice of the peace, first being elected in 1881, and later in 1888. He was a member of El Monte Lodge No. 104, F. & A.M. In 1886, Mr. Haddox was united in marriage with Miss Victoria Mayes, the daughter of the late Dr. Thomas A. Mayes, one of the pioneer physicians of Los Angeles County and a resident of El Monte at the time of his death in 1873.

By this marriage there were nine children, six of whom are living namely: Victor, Philip, Dorothy, Hilda, Miriam and Marjorie.


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William Slack
William Slack was born in Yorkshire, England, December 27, 1823. His parents were Richard and Ann (Britt) Slack, both natives of England. At the age of fourteen years, Mr. Slack was apprenticed to the trade of a molder, and after serving an apprenticeship of seven years, he followed that occupation as a journeyman until 1848.

In that year he came to the United States, landing in New Orleans. From there he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and was employed as a foreman in the foundry of Baker & Morton. He held that important position until 1850. He then started overland for Utah. Locating at Salt Lake City, he turned his attention to the mineral resources of that territory, and in partnership with his brother-in-law, Richard Varley, opened iron and coal mines and built the first blast furnace established near Salt Lake. He abandoned his enterprises there, and in 1852 came by the Southern route to California, and located at El Monte. There he rented land and established a dairy, and engaged in general farming, etc., until 1855. He then went to Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, where he was occupied in stock-raising until 1859. In that year he moved to Texas and located at San Antonio. The breaking out of the war in 1861 rendered business enterprises so unsettled in that State that Mr. Slack returned to California and again took up his residence at El Monte. He worked for several months as a superintendent in a distillery, after which he pursued stock growing and farming upon disputed lands in the Temple Tract, south of town. A dispute over this tract of land with Lucky Baldwin developed into a lawsuit which continued for several years, costing both parties a great amount of money. Regardless of the odds against him the legal battle ended finally in a victory for Mr. Slack, he being allowed to retain his land. In 1870 he went to the San Jose Valley, and for the next four years engaged in the stock business, after which he returned to El Monte and purchased eighty acres of land just south of town entering into general farming. He also purchased a residence and business building in El Monte, being for a time owner of the store occupied by J. T. Haddox, pioneer merchant.

From 1881 to about 1885, he engaged in the butcher business conducting a meat market in El Monte. For a number of years he served as a trustee of the Lexington School District. He was a Democrat, and very conservative in his political actions.

Mr. Slack was married three times February 13, 1845, he wedded Miss Eliza Varley, a native of Yorkshire, England. She died at El Monte, December 29, 1879. They became the parents of the following named children: Elizabeth, William Thomas, Jonathan, Richard J., and Albert, all of whom are now deceased, and Eliza, Sarah Ann, Mrs. Mathews of Baldwin Park; Mary, Mrs. John Paterson, of Los Angeles; George of Redlands and Arthur V., of Huntington Park. In 1881, Mr. Slack married Mrs. Ann Montgomery, a native of England. Mr. and Mrs. Slack returned to England in 1885, and spent a year visiting the homes of their childhood.

On their return they moved into a residence on Lexington Avenue, and there resided until the death of Mrs. Slack in 1891. In 1892 Mr. Slack was again married, his third wife being Catherine Ogden, a native of Ohio, whose parents were Zechariah and Mattie Hayden also natives of Ohio and early pioneers of San Diego.

No children were born to Mr. Slack except by the first marriage. Following the third marriage, Mr. Slack moved to Los Angeles, on Eastlake Avenue, where they resided for eighteen years. In 1911 they moved to Hollywood where they resided until death called Mrs. Slack in 1914 in her seventy-seventh year.

Fourteen months later, following a full and active life, and gratified in the satisfaction of having contributed his share to the up building of the county he loved, Mr. Slack, at the age of ninety-two, answered the final summons. At his death he proudly claimed ninety-one direct descendents. 

Source: (edited)

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James R. Durfee

James R. Durfee, successful rancher and realtor, and a native son of El Monte, was born January 22, 1874. He is the son of James D. and Diantha (Cleminson) Durfee, well known early pioneers of this district a sketch of whom is to be found elsewhere in this work.

James R. Durfee, was educated in the La Puente district school, now known as the Temple School situated near the old family homestead. He remained at home until he was twenty years of age, when he married and engaged in farming for himself on about one hundred acres comprising a portion of his father’s ranch. Here on the site of his present home on South Lexington Road, he built a residence and otherwise improved the property. General farming was followed for a time including the raising of vegetables, grain, and fruit. Later, the place was set to walnuts, in which undertaking he was very successful, the Durfee grove being widely recognized as one of the finest in the state. Mr. Durfee later added to the attractiveness of his property by erecting a beautiful two-story home. Unfortunately, however, this building was in 1918, destroyed by fire. Following this loss, the present excellent residence was erected.

On September 11, 1894, Mr. Durfee was married to Miss Estella Lucella Cain, a native of Iowa who at the age of eleven, was left an orphan and shortly afterward came to California with her elder brother (James) and family; her parents Morris and Mary Cain both of whom were also natives of Iowa.

To Mr. and Mrs. Durfee were born nine children, namely; Ruth D. (Mrs. E.M. Wyne) of El Monte, residing on the old original homestead of her grandfather, James D. Durfee, on Durfee Road; Miles R., of El Monte; Eva, (Mrs. K McIntire) of Sacramento; and the remaining children, Hillard, James, Olen, Glenn, Mildred and Allamay, are all members of the Durfee household.

Politically, Mr. Durfee is a Republican and is greatly interested in the welfare of his party. He has contributed much to the betterment of the community and his courage and far-sighted initiative have given him a place among the most progressive and successful men in the community. For several years he served as a trustee of the Temple School, and is at present, Vice-president and director of the First National Bank of El Monte.

Following the death of his father in 1920, Mr. Durfee extended his interests beyond the promotion of his ranch activities, engaging extensively in the real estate business in and adjacent to Los Angeles.

Successful in this work he continues busily engaged in the promotion of his varied interests, maintaining his residence (as he and Mrs. Durfee have through the years) on the old ranch south of El Monte.


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James Bascom Freer

James Bascom Freer, the second son of William H. Freer, whose name is known and honored throughout Southern California as that of a pioneer, was born in Trenton, Grundy County, Missouri, April 15, 1843, remaining a resident of his native state until 1849, when he was brought across the plains to California.

W. H. Freer, father of James Bascom Freer
Although a child of but six years, the events of that ever memorable journey remained fresh in his mind until his death. His duty was to assist in driving the cattle on the six months trip and although parties ahead and behind them were attacked by the Indians, they were mercifully spared this added trial. Leaving Missouri in April they arrived in California in September, and in 1850 they located in San Jose, being interested principally in the raising of grain. In 1869, he came as far south as Ventura County and purchased a stock ranch in Hopper canyon, improved the place and at the same time raised cattle in the mountains. He remained a resident of that section until 1884, when he located north of El Monte, conducted his father’s place for two years, then farmed in the Rowland tract near Puente, for several years. In 1888 he went to Oregon and near Pennington, Umatilla County, he followed stock raising for two years, after which, for one year, he was located in Puente. In 1891 he located on a tract east of El Monte, consisting of forty-five acres, at that time all set in walnuts.

In Santa Clara County, March 25, 1868, Mr. Freer was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Hopper, who was born near Lone Jack, Missouri. Her father, Ari, was born in Indiana and removed to Missouri, where he engaged in farming. In 1850 he crossed the plains to California by means of ox teams, and for a time following his arrival, worked in the mines. He returned to Missouri by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and in 1852 once more made the trip across the plains, bringing his wife and two children to California. They located first in Petaluma and then in the Santa Clara Valley. In 1859, Mr. Hopper settled in Ventura County, where he purchased land in what was afterward known as Hopper Canyon. He farmed there for many years, eventually removing to Covina, where he spent his last days, dying January 22, 1898, at the age of seventy-six years. He was survived by his wife, formerly Susan Easely, a native of North Carolina, whose parents removed to Missouri, when she was a child. She passed away at Covina, November 18, 1905, at the age of seventy-eight years.

In 1911, Mr. Freer retired from active work on his ranch, and, with Mrs. Freer, moved to Monrovia where they purchased a home. Here they spent the remainder of their lives. Mrs. Freer died in 1918, five years before the death of her husband, in 1923.

Mr. and Mrs. Freer became the parents of eight children, Albert, Eldridge, and Wallace, engineers residing in Santa Paula, George of Monrovia, Ida, (Mrs. Avis) of Monterey Park, Henry of Ojai, and Mary and Nettie, the last two being now deceased.

Mr. and Mrs. Freer were members of the Baptist Church, and politically Mr. Freer was an active Democrat, having on a number of occasions, acted as a delegate to County Conventions. He was a member of the Los Angeles County Pioneers. 


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