BRADLEY Retires from the Signal—Retrospection—Murder and Lynching—Land-holders—Regular Election of 1873—Year of Prosperity—Bank of Ventura—Trotting Park—Low Fares—Shipments of Produce—The Fourth of 1874—Hon. Walter MURRAY—Local Option—Nativity of the Settlers—Chief Tax-payers in 1874—Excessive Rain-fall—Fire Company—Ventura Gas Company—Ventura Planing Mill—Newspaper History—Free Press—Newspaper War—Political Affairs in 1873—People's Party—Election Returns for 1873—L. F. EASTIN.
ON the 14th of June, 1873, Mr. BRADLEY retired from the management of the Signal, the only newspaper published in the county at that time. During his connection therewith he had used his best energies to build up and develop the resources of a truly rich agricultural region, and now laid down his self-imposed task with all the more willingness that his objects had been so far attained. Since the paper had been established the county had been set off—the main object of its endeavors and in which it was a chief factor. Mr. BRADLEY's work in editing a useful local paper might be taken as a model and a reproach to many of the journalists of greater opportunities, who mistake their mission, and spoil a good local sheet in trying to achieve a wider notoriety and a more extensive sphere of action. He gave his exertions freely to benefit the home of his adoption, and disregarded ephemeral political discussion for the more profitable and worthy matters of county and township. His paper shows that he knew and appreciated the work that he was called to do, and he economized his powers in order that his grand objects of benefiting the immediate community should not fail. In this he was ably assisted by his wife whose efforts deserve more than a passing mention. Much of the success of the enterprise was due to the energy and industry of Mrs. BRADLEY, who even learned to set type, and by standing for hours daily at the printer's case, besides doing her housework, aided much in lessening expenses and putting the paper on a paying basis at a time when the population was scanty and advertisements and subscriptions few. The cause of the editor's retirement was ill-health, his being a consumptive tendency, which carried him off within a year, to the general sorrow of his fellow-citizens. In 1875 several of these citizens took the opportunity of celebrating, by suitable exercises, the fourth anniversary of the paper's existence, at which all bore testimony to the worth of the deceased, adding an extremely pleasant feature which deserves remembrance. This was the presentation to Mrs. BRADLEY of a deed to her home, previously under a mortgage. This act of appreciation is understood to have been the joint idea of quite a number, who contributed for the purpose.
The paper, on Mr. BRADLEY's retirement, passed into the hands of W. E. SHEPHERD and John J. SHERIDAN, the former becoming editor.
[Extract from the Signal of September 27, 1873.)
"Seven years ago, aside from a few adobe houses on Main Street, in the shadow of the old Mission Church, there were no improvements on the ground where our little city now stands. Then, a man coming here had to understand the language spoken by the natives, hunt up Mr. ESCANDON, or hold his peso; as no one but he understood the English language in the village. Then, the occasional steamer unloaded her freight from the lighters, as there was no wharf. Then, the land about the town was a vast cattle-range, and the commodities were principally tallow and hides. For years prior to that time the vaquero lassoed and drove his long-horned cattle wherever he willed—up to 1864, when the drought brought thousands of cattle to famishing, breaking many men who had all their means in stock. This disastrous season caused many to look about them for some other means of livelihood than that of keeping great herds of cattle, and some of them began to sow and plant, and agriculture began to assume some importance. Then the prospect for San Buenaventura seemed poor enough, and but few cared whether the sound of the hammer and saw and the ring of the anvil, which now are so common on every hand, were ever heard.
"Then, except the musical sound of the bells on the old church, there was nothing to disturb the stillness of the air. Now, Main Street has a dozen large buildings, prominent among which are the magnificent stores of EINSTEIN & BERNHEIM, and CHAFFEE & McKEEBY, which, in size and style, would do credit to any city in the State. Instead of three or four merchants there are a dozen substantial ones engaged in general merchandising. Besides the first named firms there are, F. MARTINEZ & Co., Antonio SCHIPPAPIETRA, T. BAESA, Emanuel FRANZ, and others, who have a first-class reputation for fair dealing. Besides these there are law and real estate offices, livery stables, saloons, carriage and blacksmith shops, a furniture store, jeweler, hotels, bakeries, restaurants, meat market, photograph gallery, paint shop, gun shop, lumber yards, and express office. Then, a mud finish was satisfactory; now, the best of lumber and finish is considered indispensable."
MURDER AND LYNCHING
The most sensational and striking tragedy that ever occurred in Ventura County took place on the Colonia Ranch on the third of March, 1873, resulting in the murder of George MARTIN by George HARGAN, and the immediate lynching of the latter by the formers neighbors and friends. This is the accepted account as given by a partner of MARTIN:
"George MARTIN, one of our most esteemed and worthy citizens, took his team and gang-plow as usual, and commenced tracing the lines around a certain piece of land that he had leased and occupied for the last three years (our lands are not fenced). After turning around a part of the land, he was met at one corner by a man named HARGAN, who had also leased a piece of land partly adjoining ours, so that the two pieces lapped by each other about twenty rods. HARGAN claimed that he had measured his land, and that the line should be moved so as to take a strip of MARTIN's land, about twenty rods long and
four wide. HARGAN had been on the place about four or five months, and had never done any work where he met MARTIN. HARGAN's son was present at the time, and testified before the Coroner's jury that HARGAN went in front of MARTIN's team and stopped it, and forbid MARTIN to run the furrow, and turned the team off; that MARTIN then said, let me run the line out and you can have the ground,' and started the team. When he had passed HARGAN about ten feet, HARGAN said, 'I have told you three times, and I will tell you no more,' and fired a heavy load of buckshot, which took effect. Eight shot struck MARTIN a little to the left of the spinal column under the shoulder, two passing through the heart. He fell forward on the plow between the wheel and horses and never spoke.
"Elias Woolley also saw the killing, but was too far off to hear any words that passed. After HARGAN had walked a little way his son asked him if he had killed MARTIN dead. He said he thought he had; that was what he intended to do. HARGAN then went to his house, hitched up his two-horse team, and he and his son got into the wagon and drove towards the river. After HARGAN had gone about three-quarters of a mile he met a man, and told him he had killed SAVIER’S partner and was looking for a justice to give himself up. Some men were in pursuit, and when he found he was pursued he put his team on a run. The race was short. He was soon overtaken and arrested. After he was arrested he made no denial; said he had left his house to kill MARTIN and had gone three-quarters of a mile and shot him. The whole neighborhood turned out and consulted together and kept the prisoner closely confined and guarded until the testimony was heard before the
Coroner's jury. The testimony was so plain and so great, and as there was no officer present to take charge or the prisoner the bystanders took him to the lone tree near the cactus-patch and hung him. The body was taken down after it had hung about three hours. There was but little excitement, but a great deal of determination.
"HARGAN had threatened to shoot two other men this winter; on one occasion he left his plow and went for his gun. When he got back his man had left also."
This report is inaccurate in one respect: a Justice of the Peace and a Constable were present, and demanded the prisoner in the name of the law, but their request being disregarded they went in search of assistance, but on returning the tragedy was ended.
The next topic which presents itself to interest the reader is that of the division of the agricultural lands of the county. By the subjoined tables can be seen the progress of industrial affairs since the year 1868, when, as already observed, the large ranchos began to be subdivided and small tracts came into the possession of industrious men, to whom the county's prosperity was due. The names of all the owners of tracts larger than 500 acres, with the amount possessed by each, are given:
There were 95 ranchos of 100 to 200 acres; 9 ranchos of 200 to 400 acres; 7 ranchos of 5(10; 2 ranchos of 600; 6 ranchos of 800; 2 ranchos of 900; 7 ranchos of 1,000; 1 ranch of 1,100; 3 ranchos of 2,000; 1 ranch of 2,500; 1 ranch of 4,000; 2 ranchos of 4,500; 2 ranchos of 6,500, and 1 each of 8,000, 9,000, 10,500, 12,500, 13,500, 17,090, 23,000, 24,000, 42,000 and 131,083 acres. Total number of acres assessed, 338,761; value (assessed), $1,554,951.
REGULAR ELECTION IN 1873
In the autumn of 1873, the regular State and county election took place. The official returns were as follows: -
OFFICIAL ELECTION RETURNS, 1873
COUNTY TREASURER'S REPORT
In January, 1874, the first report of the County Treasurer had been made public. By this it appeared that the total receipts of the county for the preceding year were $20,522, the disbursements $5,018, leaving a balance on hand of $15,504.
The year 1874 was marked by substantial advances in population and material wealth of the entire county of Ventura. It was in this year that the
BANK OF VENTURA
Was organized, dating its foundation from September 19th. This important and useful institution was capitalized with $250,000. The President was L. SNODGRASS; Vice-President M. CANNON; Cashier and Secretary, H. M. GAY; Trustees, L. SNODGRASS, M. CANNON, H. M. GAY, J. M. BROOKE, T. R. BARD, CHAFFEE, G W. CHRISMAN.
THE TROTTING PARK
One of the institutions of the town, also dates it rise from 1874, in which year it was opened for racing, on September 20th. An indirect result of it has been the increased attention paid to breeding horses, the prevailing type of animal now seen in the section being very serviceable, and shapely in form and individually equal in power and stamina to graded horses of any other vicinity.
Perhaps a more immediately gratifying circumstance than the inauguration of horse-racing or the foundation of the bank, was the remarkable cheapening in fares and freights coastwise from Ventura. This was the temporary result of competition between rival transportation companies doing business, as the South Pacific Coast Steamship Company, and the California Steam Navigation Company, whose interests conflicted in the matter of the carrying trade. These enterprising men, with the full and unreserved consent of the inhabitants along the coast, reduced their rates of fare to such an extent as to carry passengers to San Diego for $4.00, and to San Francisco for $3.00. The charge for merchandise was $1.50 per ton. This agreeable and satisfactory state of affairs did not long continue, however.
SHIPMENTS OF PRODUCE.
The shipments of merchandise from San Buenaveutura for the six months ending May 1, 1874, were Wheat, 5,600 sacks; barley, 23,000 sacks; corn, 6,000 sacks; beans, 2,100 sacks; wool, 1,000 sacks; hogs 300; sheep, 700; petroleum, 1,876 barrels.
For the purposes of comparison, the figures for an equal length of time ending November 1, 1875, are here inserted: Wheat, 2,390 sacks; barley, 8,316 sacks; corn, 6,603 sacks; beans, 2,217 sacks; wool, 1,150 sacks; hogs, 1,939; petroleum, 976 barrels; flour, 370 barrels.
THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1874
The celebration of the fourth of July, 1874, San Buenaventura, was, perhaps, the most unique that took place in the State. The traditional car of Liberty, with Miss GRIFFIN as the Goddess, surrounded by thirty-nine Maids of Honor, was well conceived. Uncle Sam was personated in good style by A. J. HARRINGTON, of Santa Paula. The old Mission Band, nearly as old as the Union itself, joined in the festivities. The members were Indians long ago converted from barbarism, and the instruments—rude violins, drum, and triangle—seem to have come down from a former age, and formed a striking contrast, both is appearance and sound, to the modern instruments and fine harmony of the Ventura Brass Band, which cheered the feelings of the people with the national airs. The burlesquers came in for a good share of attention. The military of 1776 was represented by H. S. POPE, with an old flint-lock musket; 1874, by a Henry rifle; 1900, by a banner with a newspaper printed on both sides. Captain SUDDEN had a boat rigged to represent the commercial interest of the town. The procession, under charge of Dr. C. L. BARD, Marshal of the day, passed along Main Street, halting long enough to be photographed by BREWSTER. The Declaration of Independence was read by Judge Milton WASON. Hon. Walter MURRAY delivered the oration, which was replete with patriotic sentiments and sound political principles. The entire oration is too long to he admitted here, but his pre-oration will give an idea of its style and force:—
"In defending the American people and Government from the aspersions cast upon them by other nations, and in whatever of eulogy I have felt it my duty to pass upon them, 1 am actuated by no servile spirit of adulation or blind partisanship. I am not one of those who would invidiously praise the American people above every other. The blood of all the nations of Europe courses in the veins of the Americans today, and it would ill become us to claim any superiority over our ancestry. But if there be any superior excellencies in the American character, and I think there are; if America stands forth to-day, and I think she does, the most powerful among the nations, the most enterprising, the most fertile in invention, the most rapid in advancement and in the development of her boundless natural resources; the most attentive to the education of her youth; a country where the poorest citizen stands upon an equal footing before the law with the richest; where humanity is not ground to the dust by the ancient distinctions of rank and birth; where the highest places are open to the emulation of the humblest citizens; where the greatest material prosperity is exhibited; where no man or woman need to fear starvation; where there is food and work for all; and finally where, at a call to arms to withstand a foreign foe, the whole population would rise en masse to repel aggression; all this and more, much more, that distinguishes our beloved country as first among the nations, I attribute not to any superiority of blood or natural advantage enjoyed by the American over his fellowman, but under Divine Providence, to the wisdom of our patriotic forefathers; to the excellence of our Republican institutions; to the glorious structure of a free government, which a Washington has defended, and Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Monroe, and Madison, and many another sage and hero, whose name stands enrolled upon the lists of fame, have perfected, consolidated, and bequeathed to us, the inheritors of their glory, and the fruits of their heroic deeds. In view of the great results achieved through their labors, it is well that the people of this free country assemble on the birthday of American liberty to exalt over the past, and to make promise of the great future. Well may the cannons roar, the bells ring, and the people shout. Well may the glorious stars and stripes be flung forth from mast and flag-staff, from windows and housetops, and well may a rejoicing nation listen with fervor and exultation even to the weak words and homely utterances of the commonest orator."
In the month of August, 1874, the question of local option in regard to the liquor traffic came up in Ventura County. As in other localities much interest was evolved, and a close canvass of the matter was resolved upon by the no-license faction, but their efforts failed most decidedly of their designed effects. The ladies had intended to participate as far as possible in the matter of canvassing, but from a mistaken sense of woman's mission, or from lack of courage, they failed to show as strong a front as did their sisters of Santa Barbara. The reader has already seen what a brave fight the latter waged to secure the peace of their homes, and no doubt he has commended their acts. In Ventura it was far different. Interested parties had raised the question of the constitutionality of local option, and the fear of the illegality of their proceedings, disarmed the ladies in their attempts to enter the political field.
It was said that as certain districts adjoining San Buenaventura were against licensing the sale of liquor, the town would be overrun with drunken vagabonds and saloon-keepers, in fact it would become the headquarters of the traffic for the whole section. This view was put forward, but does not appear to have frightened the average citizen, for at the ensuing election 144 votes were cast in favor of license, and only eight against it!
In other sections the result was not so entirely opposed to temperance. At the Santa Clara House Precinct the vote for license was 101, while forty-seven friends of reform cast their ballots against the trade. At Canada Precinct., out of a total of thirty-six votes, sixteen were counted for the better side, and at the Ojai the temperance party were outnumbered by three only, the vote being twenty-nine.
Thus it was found that the country was not ready for local option, but that the anti-temperance men were too numerous and influential for their opponents.
NATIVITY OF SETTLERS
One of the topics which received attention at the election in 1874 was that of the nativity of voters. As might be expected, the population of the county was cosmopolitan. Men and women of every clime had made their homes in this productive and pleasant land. Of the American-born voters who appeared at the election, seventy were born in New York, forty-six in Ohio, forty-seven in Missouri, twenty-one in Indiana, and thirty-seven in Illinois.
Prominent among the interesting phases of the growth of a new country is the topic of the division of property. It would be a fascinating pursuit to trace the fortunes of a tract of land; to study, in passing, the character of those into whose possession it falls; to gather from its condition of tillage in various years the character as to the industry and capacity of its owners; to study its increasing or diminishing productiveness; to enter into the details of its management; and what is vastly more important and instructive, to observe its direct and indirect influence upon the condition of society and the progress of civilization. All these things are within the domain of the historian, but belong more particularly to the speculative philosopher, whose cogitations and conclusions interest the attention of comparatively few. The greater part of mankind, without taste or capacity to generalize from particulars, or to descend from theory to details, content themselves with the observation of single facts, realizing only in them any satisfactory mental food. For the careful student of history the following table will present interesting matter for comparison with the previously-related condition of agricultural and business affairs in Ventura County. It is essential, in order to arrive at a full comprehension of what can be learned from it, to return to the description of the Spanish ranchos which is given in the previous pages, and also to the subsequent tables of acreage, etc.
Persons who paid taxes in 1874 on $5,000, or upwards: -
The winter of 1874-75 was noted for a great amount of rain. In January of that winter 9 32/100 inches fell in one week at San Buenaventura, while in the Ojai the fall was much greater, being estimated at ten inches for twenty-four hours. There may have been some inaccuracy in the measurements, but there is no doubt of the substantial truth of the statements. The San Buenaventura and Santa Clara Rivers were impassable for several days. This condition might have occurred in any rainy season, but the phenomenal part of the matter is that the rainfall was not general throughout the State. In the northern part of the State, where the rain-fall sometimes amounts to sixty inches in a season, three inches in twenty-four hours is extremely unusual. The explanation of the great rain-fall is in what are termed "cloud-bursts," this term being used not because it is appropriate, but because it is in general use in this and other parts of the Pacific Slope to indicate a vast rain-fall over a limited area, sometimes of less than one square mile. If the measurements had been taken at different places in the county, they would have shown still greater differences - much more rain in some places, scarcely any at others. As this subject is of interest, not only to the resident of Ventura, but to the general reader, it will be treated at length in the article on the Ojai Valley, because in that valley are evidences of one of the most terrific cloud-bursts known.
The "Monumentals," a fire company. was organized in 1875. The officers and members of this very necessary and useful company, the first to organize in Ventura, were among the most respectable citizens of San Buenaventura. B. T. WILLIAMS was the first President; L. F. EASTIN, Secretary; Louis ARNAZ, Treasurer; R. G. SURDAM, Foreman; and Owen Rodgers and A. J. SNODGRASS, Assistants.
Having now provided themselves with the means to extinguish fires, it is probable that the question of light and illumination began to agitate the San Buenaventurian mind, for in the same year
THE VENTURA GAS COMPANY
Was also organized. Its Board of Trustees consisted of J. M. MILLER, L. F. EASTIN, E. A. EDWARDS, M. A. POWELL, and J. J. MAHONEY, of whom the first named was President, the second Secretary, and the third Treasurer.
The manufacturing interests also received a start this year, in the construction of the
VENTURA PLANING MILL
Whose projectors were Messrs. WRIGHT and HICKERSON. They set up their establishment on the corner of Chestnut and Front Streets, in the vicinity of the wharf. Their building was 40x53 feet in size, was provided with a twenty-horse-power steam engine, driving sash-saws, mortising frames, planers, and other apparatus necessary to the business.
It would be impossible to write a fair and complete history of any civilized region without having recourse to the newspapers. On them, the faithful historian depends for a reflection of the events which together make up the annals of a people or a country. To the conscientious and industrious editor is due a debt greater than most men recognize. And this debt is large or small exactly in proportion to the care and labor which have been expended upon the faithful and accurate presentation, each day or each week, of the every-day matters which transpire in the immediate neighborhood of the newspaper office. As before insisted upon, the proper function of a country editor is exclusive attention to home affairs. No country editor ever yet made a reputation for himself or his paper, or ever even secured subscribers or advertisements, through attention to events occurring abroad or in the large centers of commercial traffic. Such events find abler treatment in the journals of that locality. No stranger ever examines a copy of a country paper for news concerning European affairs, or general political issues. His sole object in scrutinizing the columns of a local paper is to ascertain the condition of affairs - generally agricultural or pertaining to the business - of the neighborhood of the place of publication. The future historian, intent upon gathering important materials for his work, experiences the keenest disappointment in finding the files of papers on which he had placed reliance, filled with profitless discussions of the tariff, the Austrian Succession, or the state of affairs under the Commune, while the desired information as to the records and capacities of the immediate vicinity are totally neglected. Frequently in such cases the advertisements furnish the only index to the affairs of the surrounding locality, while even these are deservedly scarce in such a sheet.
The influence of the newspaper in developing the resources of the country has been referred to before. Something of the same sort was suggested by the remarks upon Mr. BRADLEY's connection with the Signal, and now there comes upon the scene another moulder of public opinion.
THE "FREE PRESS"
Was first issued on November 13, 1865. The editor and publisher was O. P. HODDY, and the paper's politics was nominally independent. There were twenty-three columns of reading matter, and the sheet was progressive and satisfactory in nearly every respect. For a short time a daily edition was also published, but of course unsuccessfully, the issue ceasing about January 20, 1876.
The Free Press, soon after its establishment, loyally took up the cudgel in favor of Ventura as against every other town. The Santa Barbara Press often referred to the wreck of the Lucy Ann, which was bleaching on the beach near San Buenaventura, and scouted the idea of calling the Ventura landing a harbor, or comparing it with the calm and safe haven of Santa Barbara, where a wreck was never known.
February 19, 1876, H. G. McLEAN became editor and proprietor of the Free Press.
Of course the interests of the two papers, the Signal and the Free Press, conflicted, and a wordy war was the result. Considerable personal matter was published in each paper, derogatory to the personal character of the publisher of the other; and the state of affairs resembled that existing at the same time in Santa Barbara. Mr. SHEPHERD, of the Signal, had been a soldier, and Postmaster; but did not profess to have an interesting or important biography, and did not propose to write it at any one's request; would, however, if paid for it.
In 1876 the Signal took Democratic ground, giving as a reason for any change of principles, that the Republican leaders had grown so corrupt as to promise nothing but ill to the unfortunate country whose government they controlled. Many interesting, able, and instructive articles were published by both papers in that year, concerning the resources of the county, borrowing the idea, probably, from Mr. Johnson's previous exertions for the parent county. Many copies of each paper were issued for circulation in the East, with the hope of influencing immigration.
During the trial of the persons charged with the More murder, the two papers assailed each other, the Signal condemning the murder in unstinted terms, the Free Press being rather inclined to excuse it. The Free Press expressed the opinion that the editor of the Signal was present at the murder. The latter retorted that the other was a liar and slanderer.
POLITICAL AFFAIRS IN 1875
The election of 1875 produced some curious and instructive phases. This, it will be remembered, was the election at which three State tickets, headed by IRWIN, PHELPS, and BIDWELL, were before the people, and in which the subject of drawing up a new Constitution was voted on. The people of Ventura entered into the spirit of the different issues with their accustomed energy, but evinced at least as much interest in the election of a County Supervisor as in the more momentous issues of the campaign. Between DALY and ROBINSON, the two candidates for that office, there was the fiercest rivalry. The Democrats were united on IRWIN and the rest of their ticket, but the Republicans were broken up into factions to an alarming extent. The temperance question had drawn away many votes. Under the leadership of W. D. HOBSON, an enthusiastic advocate of their cause, and their candidate for Lieutenant-Governor, the temperance people threatened to produce a considerable disaffection from the Republican ranks.
The result of the matter was that a committee of influential citizens, Republicans temperance men, and Independents, or BOOTH men, were formally requested by a large number of their fellow-citizens to meet and organize a party on such principles and sentiments as would united the entire Republican and temperance wings. The committee called upon to effect this were the following well-known citizens: Will EVANS, S. WHITE, M. D. L. TODD, J. G. RICKER, J. WILLET, L. SNODGRASS, I. BARNARD, J. MYERS, H. C. HASKINS, J. A. CONAWAY, F. A. SPRAGUE, J. W. GUIBERSON, W. S. McKEE, C. E SOWLES, R. ROBINSON, J. N. JONES, J. Y. SAVIERS, S. D. PINKARD, G. G. GLOWNER, John G. HILL, W. OLDS, Norman FAY, John SAVIERS, H. WALBRIDGE, W. I. RICE, D. ROUDEBUSH, M. H. GAY, G. W. CHRISMAN, J. P. CUTLER, E. B. HIGGINS, M. ARNOLD, and M. T. JENIFER.
The resulting Convention met on May 22, 1875, and selected a strong list of nominees for the county officers. These were: For district Attorney, J. HAMER; Clerk and Recorder, S. M. W. EASLEY; Sheriff, John R. STONE; Treasurer, L. SNODGRASS; Surveyor, L. D. CHILLSON; Assessor, W. P. RAMSAUR; County Superintendent, J. B. ALVORD; Coroner, S. P. GUIBERSON; Supervisor First District, Richard ROBINSON.
The corresponding Democratic nominations were: For County Clerk, L. F. EASTIN; Sheriff, C. O'HARA; District Attorney, B. T. WILLIAMS; County Surveyor, Ed. T. HARE; Treasurer, L. SNODGRASS; Superintendent Schools, F. S. S. BUCKMAN.
The resulting canvass was waged with enthusiasm, distinguished speakers from various parts of the State visiting and addressing the people of Ventura. Among others, IRWIN and Jo. HAMILTON appeared, speaking at San Buenaventura on the 28th of July. The withdrawal of one or two candidates left the two tickets with the composition shown in the appended table: -
L. F. EASTIN
The successful candidate for Clerk of Ventura County, who though still young, has seen many years of official life, so often selected as Deputy Clerk by others holding the office, and being repeatedly elected by the people. Lafayette Findla EASTIN was born in Lexington, Fayette County, Missouri, November 8, 1845. His parents, James Woodson EASTIN and Rebecca Ann FINE, were married April 13, 1843. On the 3d of May, 1847, they left Missouri on the long and desperate journey - as it was then in truth regarded - across the plains to California, taking with them the child of two years, the subject of this sketch. Thus does Mr. EASTIN rank as one of the youngest of the pioneers, with the prospect of living, to hand in person, the record of a noble band far down among his successors - the sons of the emigrants previous to 1850. The family of emigrants arrived at Sutter's Fort in the Sacramento Valley, August 20, 1847, having made a very quick and successful passage. In 1850 they settled in Santa Clara County, and are still living in the same house they first occupied in the exciting times of thirty-two years ago.
Santa Clara was a pleasant place to settle in, and there many of the early pioneers located and prospered. The principal towns of the county have been distinguished for their excellent schools and for the enlightened condition of society. In these schools young EASTIN obtained his education, completing his course at the University of the Pacific where he graduated with the honor of valedictorian May 31, 1866. During his youthful years, when not at school, he had assisted his father in the labor of the farm, and after graduating, returned to the work. For two years he continued the life of a farmer, and then, in March, 1868, entered the office of County Clerk of Santa Clara as Deputy Clerk. This position he held through two terms, his service expiring in 1872.
The following year he removed to Ventura County, arriving in San Buenaventura May 19, 1873. Shortly after he received the appointment of Deputy Clerk of the county, and held the position until he was elected to the office in 1875, taking possession in 1876, after three years' service as Deputy. Mr. EASTIN has been an exceedingly popular clerk, being peculiarly adapted to the position, and taking great pride in the completeness and perfection of his work. Such satisfaction did he give that he was again elected in 1877, re-elected in 1879, and is now, 1882, the County Clerk. During his official life he has been a prominent member of society, being fond of its pleasures, and in entertaining and being entertained by others. He was married July 19, 1874, in San Buenaventura, to Miss Fannie SUTTON, a native of Canada. Both himself and wife take great interest in the advancement of society, and by reading and travel are familiar with the manners and people of the world. Mr. EASTIN was one of the founders of the Ventura Library, of which, for three years, he was Trustee. Among the benevolent orders he is also prominent, being a member of San Buenaventura Lodge, F. and A. M., No. 214, of which he was Secretary in 1876, and Master in 1880, and re-elected in 1881. He is also a member of Royal Arch Masons, No. 50, and its Secretary; also a member of Ventura Commandery, No. 18, U. D., of which he is Recorder. Politically, he is a Democrat, and exercises a high degree of influence in that party, as his long and successful career of political life is sufficient evidence. Not only in politics, but in social and business life, has he been successful, adding energy and urbanity of manner to good education, talents and invariable good fortune.a