Santa Clara Valley—John MEARS, Joseph H. McCUTCHAN—Fruitraising—Abner HAINES—San Miguel Rancho—Raymundo OLIVAS—George G. SEWELL—Santa Paula y Saticoy Rancho—Rev. S. T. WELLS—BRIGGS' Orchard—Settlers in 1867—Michael FAGAN—Other Settlers—N. W. BLANCHARD — Orange Orchard—James A. DAY—G. W. FAULKNER—Pork-raising—John F. CUMMINGS—Towns—The Farmers' Canal—CHRISMAN and WILLOUGHBY—Good Farmers—M. D. L. Todd—John McKENNA—Santa Paula—S. P. GUIBERSON—Saticoy—Geo. F. ROTSLER—Santa Clara Del Norte—New Jerusalem —Sespe Rancho— Scenega— B. F. WARRING— The Camulos—San Francisco Rancho.
The Santa Clara River has its source seventy miles in the interior, beyond the Soledad Pass in the rugged canons of the San Gabriel Mountains; thence its course is west by south, gathering volume from several large tributaries, mainly from its northern slope, and finally breaking through the Santa Barbara range of mountains at Santa Paula, about fifteen miles from the coast. It ends at the sea-shore in the usual estero which has no visible communication with the sea, save when in winter the floods tear away the intervening wall of sand. Several considerable streams empty into the Santa Clara between Santa Paula and the eastern boundary of the county, all from the north. At Santa Paula is the creek of the same name, formerly called the Mupu; east of this is the Sespe, and near the boundary line, the Piru. In the canon of the first-named creek is the abiding place of
Who, after struggling through many phases of adverse fortune, dangers, and hair-breadth escapes, and while still on the bright side of life, finds himself the owner of many broad acres and a pleasant home. This gentleman was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, in 1844, where he spent his infancy. He was taken across the ocean to New Orleans by an aunt when nine years old. Remaining at New Orleans for two years, he went to Massachusetts, to which State his father had emigrated with four children. He remained with his father in Massachusetts for two years, and then returned to his aunt in New Orleans, remaining there another two years, when he went to Illinois and engaged at farming. At that labor he continued for two years, when he removed to St. Louis, where he stayed about nine months. In 1859, then a stalwart and self-reliant lad of fifteen years, having accumulated by his labors sufficient money to buy an outfit, he started upon a journey to Pike's Peak, the region that has since grown into the rich State of Colorado. Tarrying but five months in that now Territory, he concluded to separate from those who had accompanied him thus far, and, to push on to California. He was at that time the owner of three yoke of cattle, and with that capital he formed a partnership with an inexperienced German, who was the possessor of a one-horse wagon, to which the cattle were hitched, and procuring the other necessary supplies, the two started on their journey to the Pacific. Many perilous adventures were experienced on their travels, they, at one time, being upset in the bed of a raging torrent, from which they were rescued by a party of Government freighters. Many other dangers were encountered in their long and tedious journey of six months, but finally the young and verdant pair arrived in the land they sought. Young MEARS first sought and obtained employment as a farmer on the Cosumnes River, near Hick's Ranch. He remained thus engaged for two years, when he undertook teaming across the Sierra to the silver mines of Nevada. In this he established a business of supplying the hotels along the road with groceries, continuing the trade until 1867. In 1868 he was in San Francisco designing to establish a furniture store, but the great earthquake of October, that year, frightened him from his new enterprise, and he abandoned the city with its threatening walls, and retired to the country. Forming a partnership with two others, the party put in 200 acres of barley in the San Joaquin Valley. The crop being promising, he was enabled to dispose of his interest to his partners, which again left him free. These various enterprises had brought him to the year 1869, and to the age of twenty-five. His experiences had been many and severe, as, boy and man, he had wandered in different parts of the world. Under great disadvantages he had achieved success, and was ready to settle in a permanent home. In 1869 he removed to Santa Barbara County, and engaged in raising horses, cattle, sheep, and swine, locating at his present home in 1870. This is in Santa Paula Canon, three miles from the village of Santa Paula, where he has 640 acres devoted chiefly to grazing. Mr. MEARS was married in 1874 to Miss Ellen LAVALLE, and two boys are the hope of the family.
The Santa Clara Valley above Santa Paula is narrow and tortuous, with but a meagre amount of arable land; below, it spreads out into a stretch of nearly level area, which is approximately outlined by an isosceles triangle whose longest side extends from San Buenaventura to Point Magu, the southernmost point of the county, about twenty-four miles, and whose apex is at Santa Paula, distant from each of the above points about thirteen miles in direct lines. The upper Santa Clara Valley contains the rancho Sespe, occupying its lower and central portion, parts of the San Francisco and the Camulos Ranchos, next to the eastern county boundary line, and Government lands. The lower valley, bordering on the ocean, comprises the ranchos San Miguel, Santa Paula y Saticoy, Santa Clara del Norte, La Colonia and part of Guadalasca, and Government lands. Through the hills which skirt the eastern flank of the main expanse oceanward of the Santa Clara Valley, two fine valleys display their sinuous lengths of wooded hills and cultivated dells. The more northerly of these lies just over the hills from, and to the south of the upper Santa Clara Valley, and contains the Las Posas and Simi Ranchos. South of this again is the El Conejo Valley, embracing the ranchos Calleguas, El Conejo, and the upper end of the Guadalasca. The distorted, jagged Santa Barbara Mountains come close down to the channel of the Sands Clara on the north, while on the southern slope, above Santa Paula, the hills are much lower and eroded into more rounded outlines, though still, for a great part, untillable. The northern slopes are set with groves of live-oak and pine; the southern are covered with grass, flowers, and the honey-bearing sage. The prevailing trees along the watercourses are sycamore, walnut, cottonwood, and some inferior varieties of pine.
The soil north of the Santa Clara, and also the whole valley above Santa Paula, is a dark loam of the strongest kind, adapted to the cultivation of almost every grain, vegetable, fruit and flower. Extending along the channel of the Santa Clara, above Santa Paula, is a tract of sand about one mile wide and twelve miles long. The soil of the lower main valley, south of the river, varies from sandy to adobe.
Grain generally succeeds in the Santa Clara Valley without irrigation; but once turn on the water and a tropical luxuriance is the invariable result. The climatic conditions are such that the land, with proper irrigation, regularly produces two crops each year. As illustrating the resources of the soil, it may be stated that Mr. John F. CUMMINGS, in the present year, took off a crop of barley of twenty sacks per acre from a piece of land which has not been plowed for five years, the grain having volunteered year after year. Mr. CUMMINGS pastured it this year until March, intending to plow it up; but as soon as the stock was taken off, the barley came forward so vigorously that he concluded to let it alone.
From forty to sixty acres thoroughly cultivated, yield a support sufficient to the needs of a medium-sized family. Corn has produced 140 bushels to the acre without irrigation, and will average fifty. Barley fifty and wheat forty bushels to the acre are not unusual returns, without irrigation. Corn is the principal product, as in many places the wild mustard, which grows ten feet high, crowds out other grains. Odessa and White Russian wheat are rust-proof, and hence best adapted to the soil and climate. It is stated that from one grain of wheat, thirty-two stalks grew to a height of four and a half feet. Under favorable circumstances hay has averaged five tons to the acre. Lima beans have been cultivated to some extent. In 1871, Captain MAYHEW planted 100 acres to them.
Sheep and cattle-raising is an important industry; and of late years hog-culture has rapidly assumed extensive proportions. Messrs. Everett, CUMMINGS, CHRISMAN, WALL, HILL, WHITE, SEWELL and GRIES make a specialty of hog-raising, and have spared no pains in procuring the best-blooded hogs in the county. Messrs. EVERETT & CUMMINGS, living near Saticoy, are said to have the best breeds of Poland-China and Berkshires in California. To
JOSEPH H. McCUTCHAN
Also, the valley is largely indebted for raising the business to the basis of a science by the introduction of choice breeds.
This gentleman is a native of Virginia, born in Augusta County, March 23, 1839. There he resided during his youth and early manhood, acquiring such an education as the schools of that country afforded. As a Virginia farmer, he passed a quiet life until the eventful period of the War of the Rebellion, when the social condition of the State was revolutionized. In 1866, Mr. McCUTCHAN emigrated to California, and located in Tulare County, where he remained for ten years, engaged in farming and stock-raising. In 1876 he left Tulare County, and made his home in Ventura, locating on a place available for his business, about two miles west of the village of Santa Paula, a view of the residence and surroundings being given in this work. Since Mr. McCUTCHAN's residence in Ventura, he has paid great attention to improved breeds of swine, the rearing of which has constituted his principal business, farming and cattle-raising being carried on as a collateral business. He has introduced the Poland-China breed, with which he has made a success. His other stock and his business operations receive particular care, and his general prosperity is evident. Mr. McCUTCHAN was married November 22, 1865, to Miss Fannie NICELY, a native of Virginia. They have no children.
The fruits raised successfully in this valley, include all those of the temperate and many of the tropical zone. When sheltered from the wind, peaches, apples, pears, quinces, grapes, figs, oranges, lemons, limes and olives grow to a rare perfection, while the loquot, guava and fruit of the date palm reach full maturity..
The bee business is an important industry. The annual product in favorable years, in the whole county, is about 750,000 pounds, from about 4,500 colonies of bees.* (*Some persons have estimated the product at one thousand tons, but the figures in the text are probably nearer correct.)
Indications of oil measures are found everywhere in the mountains about the Santa Clara Valley; and much capital has been spent in developing them. Extensive asphaltum and sulphur deposits are found. These mineral productions are fully treated in another chapter. There are numerous irrigating ditches in the Upper Santa Clara Valley, notably that of the Farmers' Canal and Water Company, at Santa Paula; that on the Sespe Rancho, and the Santa Clara Ditch at Springville. There is an abundance of water in the Santa Clara River, four miles above Santa Paula, to irrigate all the agricultural land between the river and the ex-Mission Hills, Santa Paula and the sea—which, if properly utilized, would make this vast tract of choice land the garden spot of the county.
In the southwestern part of the valley, artesian wells, constructed at a comparatively small cost, furnish an ample supply of water. Good water for drinking purposes is found only in favored localities, and is often peddled out by the barrel from house to house. However, it is affirmed that the best of water can always be found in wells below 100 feet in depth. The Santa Clara River and tributaries furnish abundant first-class water-power, which awaits utilization.
The climate is what might be predicted from the physical features of the country. The mountains, which, above the city of San Buenaventura, hug the coast so closely, at that point break away, and leave a wide stretch of low shore line until Point Magu, the lowest point of the county, is reached. Twenty-five miles of open coast exposes a large interior country to the equalizing influence that the Pacific Ocean exerts on climate. Hence, in the lower Santa Clara Valley, the range of temperature is but small, being neither hot nor cold. In the upper Santa Clara, Simi and Guadalasca Valleys, further in the interior, the range is greater. Indeed, at Santa Paula, snow has been known to fall, and the thermometer has registered 108°. Such freaks of the weather are, however, very rare. Probably this part of the county has more than its average of windy days; whenever the direction of the air current is the same as that of the valley, a strong breeze sweeps through it. Here occurs one of nature's compensations. Such is the size and strength which the grain stalks attain from the rich soil, that grain fields are seldom prostrated.
Most of the towns of the county are within this district, and the county seat lies but two miles beyond its northwestern point. Santa Paula guards the entrance to the upper Santa Clara Valley; Saticoy is on the road between San Buenaventura and Santa Paula, eight miles from the former place; Hueneme is at the landing place of the same name, twelve miles southeast of the county seat; Springville is a. thriving town in Pleasant Valley; Scenega post-office is in the upper Santa Clara Valley; Newbury Park post-office is on the El Conejo Rancho; and JerusaIem, an embryo village, lies eight miles east of San Buenaventura, on the Santa Clara River.
Roads penetrate every part of the valley that needs them. The sea outlets are San Buenaventura and Hueneme. From these points steamers ply to San Francisco and intermediate ports. Before competition had reduced wharfage and freight rates to a reasonable basis, the prosperity of the country was seriously affected by the lack of a paying market. Barley has been known to sell at fifty cents per cental, under such circumstances and pork at two cents per pound.
Stages ran daily from San Buenaventura, via Saticoy, Santa Paula and Scenega, to Newhall, on the Southern Pacific Railroad, fifty miles; daily to Santa Barbara, thirty miles; tri-weekly to Los Angeles, via Hueneme, Springville, and daily to Nordhoff, the famous resort, fifteen miles.
He was born in Saco, York County, Maine, October 10, 1823. There he spent his youth and early manhood, attending the public schools and absorbing the knowledge those institutions are prepared to impart. He remained in the old "Pine Tree" State until he was thirty years of age, when he was seized with the California fever, the only cure for which was travel. In mature years, in the prime of a vigorous manhood, he was well prepared to venture upon a new career, to brave the hardships of a life in a new land, and to win in the contest for wealth. In 1853 he decided to go to the gold mines of California, where many thousands had gone before, who were then sending to the East some five millions of dollars monthly, and arousing the wonder of the world. Taking the steamer via Panama, he arrived in San Francisco in due time, and immediately proceeded to the mining region of the Sierra Nevada. The precious metal was not so readily gathered as he had imagined when reading of the many millions that concentrated in the shipments by steamer, and after three years' trial he concluded that fortune and happiness could more surely be secured in gathering the annual crop than in robbing the earth of its treasure by one despoiling process. With his earnings in the gold mines, he went, in 1857, to Sutter County, and there secured a section of land and became a farmer. There he continued, in the cultivation of his farm and raising cattle, until 1867, when he removed to the Santa Clara Valley and purchased the farm of 190 acres on the Santa Paula Rancho, where he now resides. [See illustration on another page.] This place is situated about three miles west of the village of Santa Paula, and is well adapted for the cultivation of almost every plant or fruit that the heart of man can desire. Mr. HAINES was married, in 1863, to Miss Charlotte GOODMAN, a native of Maine, and they are now blessed with two daughters.
SAN MIGUEL RANCHO
Lies in the extreme western part of the Santa Clara Valley. The ocean forms its southwestern boundary, Rancho ex-Mission San Buenaventura its northwestern, Rancho Saticoy y Santa Paula its northeastern, and Rancho La Colonia its southeastern boundary, this latter being separated from it by the channel of the Santa Clara River. It was granted to Raymundo OLIVAS, July 6, 1841, and contained 4,693.91 acres. The surface of the land, for the greater part, has a gentle slope back from the sea, along which it borders for about four miles. It is nearly all rich, arable land. Dixie W. Thompson owns 2,400 acres of it, lying nearest San Buenaventura, 1,700 acres of which he has under cultivation. The original grantee, now a venerable octagenarian, still retains possession of the southeastern half, which is sown mostly with barley and planted with corn. His home, a long, modernized adobe, is snugly perched in the midst of a delightful grove, upon a commanding eminence near the Santa Clara River. Here, under the shade of a magnificent fig-tree, warmly seconded by his well-preserved wife, herself a sexegenarian, and surrounded by forty-three descendants, eighteen of whom are their immediate children, be dispenses a hearty hospitality. His hospitality has been referred to on page 48 of this volume.
GEORGE G. SEWELL.
This gentleman is a native of the State of New York, born at Glens Fall, Warren County, February 24, 1819. In this most romantic section of the "Empire State," young SEWELL grew to manhood, attending its schools and academy until he had acquired a good education. In 1844, when twenty-five years of age, he emigrated, going to the new and rising Territory of Wisconsin, where for six years he was engaged alternately in teaching school and farming. The exciting tales of California gold mining aroused him to another moving, and in the fall of 1850 he left Wisconsin for the Pacific Coast, taking the long and dangerous voyage via New York and Cape Horn, making the passage in the ship Helena, Captain Land, arriving in San Francisco in March, 1851. He came in search of the native gold and to, the mines he continued his journey. Washing for gold in El Dorado and Placer Counties engaged his attention for one year, and he then engaged in farming on Auburn Ravine, near where the town of Lincoln was subsequently built. The locality was one of the best farming regions of the great Sacramento Valley, and Mr. SEWELL continued a farther for sixteen years. In 1867, he was nominated on the Republican ticket for the position of County Clerk of Placer County, and at the election, which was held September 4, 1867, was chosen to the office, receiving 1,820 votes, and his opponent, W. H. Kruger, a Democrat, 1,615 votes. This was a very spirited contest when the State went Democratic, electing H. H. HAIGHT Governor over George C. GORHAM by a large majority. Mr. SEWELL was reelected to the same position in 1869, over J. W. CHINN, by a majority of seventy-two votes, thus holding the office through two terms, of two years each, vacating it in 1872. After leaving office, he resided in the city of Sacramento one year, and in 1873 removed to and settled in Ventura County, on the E. S. WOOLEY place, where he has since made his home, heavily engaged in farming and stock-raising. He owns some of the best blooded hogs in the county. Mr. SEWELL's farm comprises an area of 800 acres, about one-half of which is choice valley land, and the balance low hills, well adapted to grazing. Fine improvements and a high state of cultivation attest the taste and enterprise of the owner. Mr. SEWELL's residence is comfortable and elegant, and has the most sightly location of any in the neighborhood, being on the foot-hills several hundred feet above the valley, one mile west of Santa Paula. A view of his place is given in this volume. Mr. SEWELL was married January 10, 1858, to Miss Eliza P. RICH, a native of Vermont.
THE SANTA PAULA Y SATICOY RANCHO.
Is a desirable tract of land, extending from the San Miguel Rancho to the Sespe Rancho, about twelve miles, with an average width of two miles between the Santa Clara River on the southeast, and the lofty ex-Mission hills on the northwest. Its upper portion laps over the river channel, including a narrow strip of its southern slope. It is one of the choicest pieces of land in the county. Its advantages are not obscure, and, as a consequence, it was one of the earliest settled ranchos, and is now the most thickly populated section of the county.
LITIGATION OF THE SANTA PAULA Y SATICOY.
The original grant was to Manuel JIMENO, April 28, 1840, its boundaries being described as follows: -
"From the Arroyo Mupu, Santa Paula Creek, on the east, to the small mountain on the west, and from the small mountain (supposed to be Sulphur Mountain) on the north to the Positas on the south."
JIMENO took possession in 1840, and in 1843 his grant was approved by the Departmental Assembly. In 1847, JIMENO petitioned the Alcalde, Pablo de la GUERRA, for judicial possession. The neighboring owners were called to witness the ceremony, and to recognize the boundaries. Possession was given to about 30,000 acres.
JIMENO's grantee, J. P. DAVIDSON, under Act of March 3, 1851, appeared before the Commission, and had his land, as before described, confirmed to him. A survey was ordered, and in December, 1860, the first TERREL survey was made, covering 17,773.33 acres of land. This survey was approved by the Surveyor-General, in accordance with the decree of confirmation, April 8, 1864. This was the second TERREL survey, and contained 48, 821 acres. It was also approved by the United States District Court, August 11, 1864. An appeal was taken to the United States Supreme Court, Judge FIELD presiding, which court reversed the mandate and judgment of the lower court, and ordered that the official survey of the land confirmed to the claimants, the first one made by J. E. TERREL, be approved and confirmed, as the correct and true location of the land claimed under the JIMENO grant. Under this decree, a patent was issued to about 17,000 acres of land, April 22, 1871, without further survey. The ex-Mission people claim that this survey concludes or limits the rights of A. P. MORE, and parties claiming under the JIMENO grant. A.P. MORE and attorney, however, claim that the second survey having been set aside, no practical survey exists, leaving the question open, and that thus they are not bound to limit their claims to 17,000 acres. The JIMENO grantees claim that as their title is the oldest, it must hold to the exclusion of the POLI title, whenever the lines conflict.
The name of this rancho is derived in part from the Saticoy tribe of Indians, that dwelt here in early times, before the advent of their white brothers. Captain LEWIS was one of their latter chiefs, when the band did not number more than thirty. Old adobes built by them are still standing. They made their headquarters at the Saticoy Springs, upon what is now the farm of the
REV. SAMUEL TAGGART WELLS
Of this venerable and distinguished gentleman it may justly be said, that but few people have lived more active and useful lives. He was born at Greenfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, August 6, 1809. His ancestors were of the pioneer, New England stock, tracing their lineage far back among the noble names of England, the family tree showing such names as WELLES, WELLESLEY, and other changes of the spelling, the same root being common to all. Many historical characters have appeared in the family, the Duke of WELLINGTON, in England, and Gideon WELLES, Secretary of the Navy under LINCOLN, being noted examples.
When six years of age, the parents of Mr. WELLS removed to the then far West, locating in Genesee County, New York. At that time the Genesee Valley was but sparsely settled, and Rochester, now the great city of that region, was then but a three-year old village. But western New York filled rapidly with New England people, and villages, churches and schools became common. In this young and vigorous community, Mr. WELLS passed the years of his youth. His early education was obtained in the neighboring county of Wyoming, where he prepared for college. A classical education was not as easily obtained at that time, as at present; high schools and universities were not then free to all, and only those who really desired and intended to lead a professional life, made the sacrifices, expended the means, or exerted the energy necessary to acquire a knowledge of the languages. When thus obtained, a collegiate education was thorough and complete, obtained for a specific purpose; and gave the graduate a distinction with a meaning. In 1834, Mr. WELLS entered Union College, at Schenectady, New York, where, after the usual course of four years, he graduated with honor. Before the days of State Universities, Union College ranked as one of the first educational institutions of the United States, and its alumni are among the ablest men of the world. The young graduate upon leaving college, selected the clerical profession for his life's vocation, and soon thereafter entered the Princeton Theological Seminary, and took a full theological course. Upon graduating, he was licensed by the Presbytery of New York, and in the spring of 1843 was ordained as minister in the Presbyterian Church. At the same time he was commissioned by the American Tract Society as general agent, to promote the colporteur enterprise in the West. The establishment of agencies of the society, and the distribution and sale of its books and tracts engaged his attention for many subsequent years, calling into exercise his energy, business ability, and his devotion to the cause he had espoused. His first service as colporteur was in Missouri, but in October, 1843, he removed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which he made the headquarters of his colporteur enterprise, and his home for the succeeding twelve years.
In 1855 he was appointed synodical missionary for the State of Iowa, where, in the first three years he organized some sixteen Presbyterian churches in the northern part of the State. In 1860 he was commissioned by the Presbyterian Board of Publication to proceed to California, to establish the colporteur enterprise in that State. During the first two years of his California experience but little could be accomplished, as the great Civil War was raging, which engaged the attention of the people. In the interim, however, Dr. SCOTT of San Francisco, having left his church without a pastor, Mr. WELLS was called to supply the place for a period of nearly one year, until the arrival of Rev. Dr. WADSWORTH, who had been secured as the successor of Dr. SCOTT. During the following two years, the war still continuing and interfering with his business, Mr. WELLS preached regularly at San Lorenzo and Hayward, in Alameda County. During this period he saw the necessity of establishing a large and improved cemetery at the growing city of Oakland, and conceived the plan of the Mountain View Cemetery at that place, which is now one of the best arranged and handsomest resting places of the dead in California. Mr. WELLS being familiar with cemetery organization in the East, obtained the co-operation and influence of wealthy men in Oakland, and organized an association that insured success. The association employed Frederick Law OLMSTEAD, one of the finest landscape gardeners in the world, to superintend the laying out and ornamenting of Mountain View, and his ability is attested by the result.
Notwithstanding the many obstacles encountered, Mr. WELLS, in six years, succeeded in circulating $22,000 worth of the Board's publications. This was very satisfactory to the management. In one of the Annual Reports of the American Tract Society, Mr. WELLS is mentioned as the most able manager of the colporteur enterprise in the United States.
In 1869, Mr. WELLS purchased for his eldest son a ranch of nearly six hundred acres, situated near Saticoy in Ventura County. The son, however, being interested in mines, did not take immediate possession, and the ranch has since been leased save for two years. In the spring of 1878, Mr. WELLS, while passing through San Buenaventura, en route to his farm, was solicited to take charge of the Presbyterian Church in that place, it being at that time in a very depressed condition, struggling under an indebtedness of $1,600, the membership decreasing, and but little life or interest manifested in it. Mr. WELLS, with his characteristic courage and energy, accepted the charge and labored with the church three years and three months, until October, 1881, when he resigned his position. He was then placed on the Committee of Supplies, and obtained as his successor the Rev. Frederick D. SEWARD, an enterprising and gifted young man. He left the church clear of debt and in a prosperous condition, with increasing membership.
Mr. WELLS, now a vigorous septuagenarian, resides upon his fine farm, which is under the management of his nephew, Mr. James R. BOAL, an enterprising young man, who has greatly improved the place and made of it a very profitable property.
Mr. WELLS had married in May, 1842, Miss Catharine McPHERSON, of Schenectady, New York. This lady died in the spring of 1853, leaving him four children, two sons and two daughters. He was again married, in 1857, at Burlington, Iowa, and Mr. and Mrs. WELLS now occupy the pleasant home near Saticoy, Ventura County, a view of which is given elsewhere is this volume.
One of the most important events in the history of the rancho is the advent thereon in 1862, of Mr. Geo. G. BRIGGS, of Marysville, Yuba County. This gentleman, well known as the most enthusiastic, enterprising and extensive orchardist in the State, conceived the idea that in the Santa Clara Valley he had discovered such a combination of soil and climatic conditions as would enable him to place his fruit in San Francisco some weeks in advance of all competitors, and thus secure the "cream of the market." To this end he purchased the rancho of the MORE Bros., paying therefor $40,000, on condition that the final confirmation of the title should give him four leagues, which it did. In March, 1862, he started a large nursery, and the next winter he planted 100 acres with several thousand fruit trees of various kinds. The site of the orchard was two miles up the river from the Indian town of Saticoy. It was carefully nurtured for five years, and was a success in every respect save that of early maturity; but failing in this the project was abandoned. Of 25,000 thrifty trees, but a few miserable stragglers now remain. Mr. N. W. BLANCHARD, who visited the valley in the spring of 1865, reported grass then as high as one's head and no cattle in sight. In 1867, Mr. BRIGGS subdivided the rancho and sold it in small farms to those wishing to make their homes there.
One of the earliest settlers upon the Santa Paula y Saticoy Rancho was J. L. Crane, a nephew of the orchardist, Geo. G. BRIGGS. He located upon the site of the present village of Saticoy in November, 1861. In the December following he brought his family down on the semi-monthly steamer, John T. WRIGHT, running between San Francisco and San Diego.
SETTLERS IN 1867
In 1867 the following settlers were to be found at work upon the Rancho: Dr. MILLHOUSE in the Wheeler Canon, Col. Wade HAMPTON, in the Canada Aliso, Mr. MONTGOMERY, now of Los Angeles, Horatio STONE, Charles MILLARD, Edward WRIGHT, Wm. GARDEN, Andrew S. NUTT, A. GRAY, E. S. WOOLLEY, and Wm. McCORMICK. Geo. Marston RICHARDSON came to the county in 1867, and settled where he now is, on the river across from Santa Paula. Isaac PARSONS moved in on February 16, 1868.
Cast his lot with the good people of the Santa Clara Valley, after a career which was, indeed, a varied one. An illustration of the home in which he now enjoys his prime is published in this volume. It is situated two miles above Saticoy. Mr. FAGAN is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in the Keystone State on the 26th of August, 1840. When two years of age his parents removed to Illinois. While residing there he had the misfortune to lose his mother, who died in 1851. The following year the father, with the motherless children, came to California. The year had not passed ere the father, too, was taken, leaving the subject of this sketch an orphan at the age of twelve years, in a strange land, dependent upon his own resources for his livelihood and his future. Such a position appears most desperate, and he who succeeds in life from that age without a parent's care and aid, or the interposition of kind friends, exhibits a stability of character of the highest order, and may well be styled a self-made man. Cast upon the world at this tender age, he sought some congenial and respectable employment for support. This was in 1852, and he was in the mining region of Calaveras County, California. In such a locality, at that period, employment would readily be given a worthy lad, and Michael FAGAN went to work as a miner. Strong and willing, he was able to do a good day's work, and thus he labored for three years, when he went to San Joaquin County and engaged as a farmer. Neither the extravagancies of the times nor the temptations of the saloons, then so prevalent and so glaring, allured him from his honest course, and he continued to toil as a farmer until 1862, when, following the rush to the silver mines of Nevada, he became a miner in that Territory. At that time the great war between the North and South was raging, and as a consequence the price of cotton had risen some ten or fifteen times its former cost, and efforts were made to establish cotton plantations in other countries. Such a plantation was undertaken on the western coast of Mexico, and laborers were sought to go to that country. In 1864 Mr. FAGAN went to Mexico, and engaged in cotton-growing and merchandising; but that did not long continue, and he next sought Arizona as his field of operations. The land of the cactus and Apache had not sufficient attractions to detain him for more than one year, when his wanderings again brought him to the San Joaquin Valley, in Stanislaus County, where be remained until 1869, thence going to San Joaquin County, where he engaged as a butcher. The same year he removed to Ventura County, where his wandering footsteps have found rest, and where he has made his home. On the 9th of April, 1880, Mr. FAGAN was married to Miss Hattie TILLOTSON, a native of New York.
William EVANS settled on a 100-acre tract in the fall of 1869, from which time to the present he has kept a rain-gauge. He was followed the next year by his brothers, T. J. and James EVANS. They began farming at once. Their first crop was barley. The harvested result was about 1,500 pounds to the acre, though the season was a dry one.
Alex. GRAY has an orchard of 3,175 fruit trees of different varieties, which was planted in 1869. He makes the business a specialty, and enjoys a large measure of success.
The winter of 1871-72 is worthy of notice, as being a very severe one, in which much of the stock perished and the prosperity of the settlement received a severe check.
N. W. BLANCHARD,
Who is often mentioned in this volume, in connection with the town of Santa Paula, was born in the town of Madison, Maine, in July, 1831, his father being Merril BLANCHARD, of the old New England family of BLANCHARDs, that has furnished so many inventors and machinists for the manufacturing institutions of that part of the Union. His mother's maiden name was Eunice WESTON. This family name is not common in New England, but is quite so in the older country from which the New England settlers emigrated. Mr. BLANCHARD's young days were spent in the good old fashion of hard work on the farm in summer and studying the elementary books in the winter, in the common schools. In 1841 the parents removed to Woodstock, New Brunswick, where the family had the misfortune to lose the mother—a loss, indeed, to the young son, then only ten years of age. This sad misfortune seemed to break up all the plans of the family, for in two years after, they returned to Maine, settling in the town of Houlton, where he continued the old New England routine of alternate summer labor and winter schooling. When the Houlton Academy was instituted, in the autumn of 1847, he commenced the preparatory collegiate course, and in 1851 entered Waterville College, now called the Colby University, where he remained until the third or junior year, when a desire for a more active life induced him to leave and come to California. His first attempts at striking a fortune were made in the vicinity of Columbia, Tuolumne County, without much success, however, for we next find him engaged in the butchering or meat business at Iowa Hill; thence he went to Dutch Flat, where he remained until he went to Ventura County, in 1872, where he finally located, purchasing land and building up the property and town of Santa Paula. While in Placer County he was sent to the Legislature, being elected in 1861, and performing the duties to the satisfaction of his constituents. He spent the winter of 1863-64' in the East, and was happily married during the latter year.
Mr. BLANCHARD has inherited the spirit of industry, as well as the serious cast of countenance, born of years of battle with the rough climate and still rougher soil, common to the people of New England—an impression likely to cease here in this land of plenty, in the next generation, for want. of adverse circumstances to foster it.
He is devoted to business which he pursues with untiring energy. He is exact and honorable in all his transactions, and gains the confidence of all with whom he comes in business relation.
He has a beautiful home overlooking the town of Santa Paula and vicinity, surrounded with orange and other semi-tropic fruit trees, a view of which is contained in this volume. An accomplished wife and a family of interesting children make his home attractive, and dispense an elegant and genial hospitality to their numerous friends and acquaintances.
In 1872 he moved into the valley and associated himself with Mr. E. B. HIGGINS, who had purchased the orchard from George G. BRIGGS. He next bought out Mr. HIGGINS' half interest, and sold it to Mr. E. BRADLEY. BLANCHARD & BRADLEY at once began making extensive improvements. Fences were built which cut up the property in a manner calculated to attain the greatest utility. In 1874 they set out an orange orchard of 100 acres in the vicinity of Santa Paula. In the early times Santa Paula was the site of a mission. They had built a ditch in which to convey water for their use. Messrs. BLANCHARD & Bradley enlarged this, and by means of it secured waterpower to operate their flouring-mill, which they built in 1872 and '73. The ditch is taken from the bed of the creek in the Santa Paula Canon, about two miles above the town, through which it passes, extending one mile beyond into their ranch. It supplies the town with water.
The orange orchard of Mr. BLANCHARD is now a flattering testimonial to the enterprise and judgment of its projectors. It covers an area of ninety-five acres, and contains about 8,000 trees in a flourishing condition. For flavor and size its fruit compares favorably with any grown in the State. When any tree proves to be of an inferior sort, it is immediately cut back and grafted to the best varieties known. The soil seeming to possess some remarkable properties, a sample was examined by Eugene W. HIGLARD, Professor of Agriculture in the University of California, at Berkeley. In a letter to Mr. BLANCHARD he writes:—
"That orange-orchard soil of yours proves of special interest, on account of its power of raising moisture from below, and easy tillage; in which respects, jointly, it seems to excel any I know of in the State."
In the report of the College of Agriculture to the Board of Regents, in 1880, the Professor says:
"Light sediment soil, from Mr. BLANCHARD's orange orchard, on the first bench of the Santa Clara River Valley, at Santa Paula, Ventura County. Is remarkable for remaining moist within twenty inches of the surface, throughout the season, the water table being fifteen to twenty feet below the surface."
Mr. BLANCHARD has seven and a half acres in apricots: His home orchard contains all the common fruits, which it fully perfects. He has also 600 acres which he farms, of which 175 acres are in alfalfa. He is also interested in stock-raising.
In 1874. the valley gained one of its most progressive settlers, in the person of James A. DAY, who bought a flue property below Saticoy. Here he planted an orchard in 1875, which became a great success. Mr. FINNEY moved in and set out an orchard in 1876. These two gentlemen are amongst the few fruit specialists of the valley.
JAMES A. DAY'S PLACE.
While traveling from San Buenaventura to Saticoy, one is forcibly struck with the appearance of a fruit farm, about six miles from the former and two miles from the latter place. No garden was ever more carefully tilled; no nursery ever presented to the sight clearer, brighter or thriftier fruit trees. The dark, sandy loam forms an extensive bed, as level as a floor, upon which the trim and tidy foliage casts its beautiful silhouettes of stem, branches, twigs and leaves.
As might be expected from such thorough culture, the orchard is resplendent with great harvests of golden apricots, rosy-cheeked, bouncing apples, bright, yellow limes, lemons and oranges.
Water for domestic use was peddled out by the barrel when he came into the valley. He started a well, and after due ridicule for his trouble, he succeeded in getting a supply of good water.
Undaunted by the disaster that overcame BRIGG's orchard venture, Mr. DAY has eighty acres set with 8,000 fruit trees of various kinds. Amongst these are 2,000 apricot trees, 1,500 apple trees, 500 lemon trees, 500 lime trees, 500 orange trees and 7,000 walnut trees. Many of these are seven years old; some but two. The orchard is a complete success except as to oranges, which, although sweet, are small. Many of the apricot trees three years from the bud are bearing heavily, while those of six and seven years are yielding sometimes 200 and 300 pounds to the tree. There are also a number of loquots, guavas, and Japanese persimmons, all of which reach full maturity. Mr. DAY sends but little fresh fruit to market, but has the most perfect apparatus to be found for converting it into other marketable products. He has three Plummer dryers - two of medium and one of large size. He has a distillery that produces fruit brandy which rivals the far-famed Otard and Cognac of France. Mr. DAY was one of the first to demonstrate not only the ability of the country to raise fruit, but also the possibility of making the business profitable. Whatever he touches seems to turn to gold; or, to state it more exactly, realizing that knowledge is power, he gathers all the data available to his business, and, by a wise judgment, adapts what he has saved to his peculiar circumstances, and adds to all originality and invention, and a keen knowledge of character and the ways of the world.
He has recently planted to fruit trees another tract a mile or two from his home, which bids fair to rival the older orchard. Mr. DAY has also a town residence for the benefit of his family when attending school or church.
An illustration of his homestead buildings accompanies this volume.
In person Mr. DAY is unpretending, genial and hospitable; indeed a visitor must plead hard to be excused from partaking of all that the place affords.
G. W. FAULKNER
Located in this valley in 1876. On another page are illustrated his residence and surroundings, situated on the stage road leading from the town of San Buenaventura, or Ventura, as it is commonly abbreviated, to Santa Paula, three and a half miles from the latter place. The farm consists of 150 acres of some of the finest land in the county, well improved and equipped in the style of a careful and prosperous farmer. The owner of this fine estate is a native of Ohio, born August 16, 1846, in Richland County, where he resided until thirty years of age, when, in the centennial year of American Independence, he migrated to the Pacific Coast, purchasing the home he now occupies in pleasant Ventura County, where he has since resided. The change from the Buckeye to the Golden State has been an agreeable one for Mr. FAULKNER, as here he has found a milder and still as invigorating climate as on the borders of Lake Erie, while all the fruits of the semi-tropics grow in profusion around him. Here health and abundance abound, and a happy future awaits the prosperous farmer. Mr. FAULKNER was married in 1875 to Miss Roda S. SEYMOUR, daughter of Rev. S. D. SEYMOUR, of the North Ohio Conference, and they have two children to share their comfortable home.
In 1881 many of the farmers satisfactorily inaugurated a new departure in the marketing of their wheat and barley crops. They converted their grain into pork, a transaction likely to be repeated when the price of grain is low and that of pork high. Forty thousand dollars was realized in .1880 from the sale of hogs raised in the vicinity of Santa Paula, and this amount was doubled in 1881.
The original rancho is now owned mostly by small farmers, and sustains a large and enterprising population, who have builded for themselves churches; schools, and such other institutions as are demanded by a prosperous and intelligent community. As typical of the class of settlers in this vicinity, some particular mention should be made of
JOHN F. CUMMINGS
This sturdy representative of the disciples of Ceres was born, September 19, 1835, near Mansfield, the chief town of Richland County, Ohio. In that prosperous State and among that thrifty people, he grew to maturity, receiving his education in the graded schools of the highest class, for which Ohio is distinguished. When of sufficient age, he entered the field as a farmer, and became familiar with the varied classes of labor, mechanisms, stock handling and business required on a farm in one of the Northern States. With such an education and such an experience, the intelligent American farmer is well qualified for any position in life, and to enter the world to compete for its prizes in labor, trade, manufactures or politics. At the age of twenty-five Mr. CUMMINGS left his native State to seek a new home on the shores of the Pacific, taking the route via the Isthmus of Panama. His first place of business in California was at Marysville, Yuba County, in which vicinity he engaged in farming, remaining there for five years. From Yuba he moved to Sutter County, and there continued farming until 1868, when he returned to Ohio on a visit to his old home and friends, after an absence of eight years. At the end of six months Mr. CUMMINGS was again in California. On his return he located on a farm on Honcut Creek, Butte County, where he remained four years, when he removed to Ventura County, where he has resided since 1872, four miles west of Santa Paula. His farm comprises 150 acres of choice land, and is under a high state of improvement. A view of the home and its surroundings, published in this volume, aids in illustrating the scenery and the improvements of that section. This thorough-going farmer has shown great enterprise and judgment in introducing the highest breeds and most valuable classes of stock. He has some of the finest Jerseys among his cattle, and his swine are of the purest Berkshire and China-Poland blood found in the State.
Mr. CUMMINGS was married, September 22, 1880, to Miss Georgie SWENEY, a native of Long Island, New York, but more recently of Oakland, California.
The rancho boasts two towns, Saticoy at its lower, and Santa Paula at its upper end. The settlement is famous for its fine farms, thoroughly cultivated, handsome groves of trees, and its culture of flax, corn, fruits and flowers. The busy hum of industry tells its own tale to the visitor in the rich luxuriance of its crops, of its orchards and of its gardens. Everywhere are seen temperate and semi-tropic fruits and flowers, in orchard, garden and yard, making attractive, pleasant and valuable homes. Rosy, healthy children, playing among the flowers no fairer than they, make a picture of rural loveliness never excelled. The land has a warm exposure, sloping south and eastward, and affords a fine view of the sea and islands. It is peculiarly well adapted to the successful growing of all the semi-tropical fruits, as well as those of hardier climes. The climate is warm, breezy, bracing, and usually free from the extremes of heat and cold.
THE FARMERS' CANAL
Has a flow of 400 inches, and extends from a point two and a half miles above Santa Paula to a point six miles below. There are two or three other minor ditches. Water for irrigation is plentiful, and thousands of acres of land, especially along the foot-hills, are lying athirst for the blessed moisture that shall call their latent wealth into existence. It is stated that several parties near Santa Paula, who have large ranches, contemplate cutting them into small tracts for fruit farms and residences. The land below the ditch is expected to range from $35.00 to $50.00 per acre, in ten or twenty-acre tracts.
Among the foremost farmers in the Santa Clara, mention must be made of
CHRISMAN & WILLOUGHBY,
Who are cultivating nearly a thousand acres of the fine land near Saticoy. Thorough-bred horses and cattle are specialties, though other kinds of stock are not neglected. The farm buildings are large and commodious. The orchard, that source of comfort and means of hospitality has not been forgotten. A grove of eucalyptus protects the buildings and orchard from the strong ocean breeze, and the orchard flourishes and yields bountifully.
G. W. CHRISMAN, the senior partner, is a native or Missouri, coming to the State in 1850, and to Ventura in 1869. When Mr. CHRISMAN can be induced to relate his experience here in early days he can tell some interesting things. Enough incidents might be gathered out of his recollections to stock a half-dozen sensation novels.
He has a residence for his family in Ventura, where his family can have the benefits of the churches, schools and society of that town. A view of his town residence and also of his farm is given in this volume.
T. J. JAMES and Wm. EVANS may be mentioned as good farmers. On their land, corn has produced 3,400 pounds to the acre; flax, 2,200 pounds, and wheat, 3,000 pounds. Mr. Jacob REIS owns the place once belonging to Mr. MONTGOMERY, from whom he bought it. Mr. REIS states that grizzly bears used to come and drink from the river near his house.
Mr. RICHARDS, at Saticoy, planted 1,000 acres to canary seed in 1880. The profit from this crop is estimated to be ten times that of barley, and the labor much less. One thousand eight hundred pounds to the acre is stated to be an average crop.
Numerous examples of a happy home and a comfortable competence, achieved simply by industry, sobriety and economy, are afforded the rising generation in this valley. The career of
M. D. L. TODD
Illustrates this idea. He was born in Chautauqua County, New York, February 13, 1837, and remained in his native State until he had reached the age of seventeen, attending the common schools of the country, and receiving that other education of practical life which has enabled him to overcome the obstacles in the path of unaided youth, and to achieve the success of a prosperous and contented manhood. In a farming country and as a farmer's boy, he grew up inured to toil and familiar with farm work. At the age of seventeen he removed to the Territory of Nebraska, then so fully and freely advertised by the discussions in Congress, and through the press of the Kansas-Nebraska imbroglio over the question of the admission of slavery into the Territories. In Nebraska Mr. TODD engaged as a farmer, and continued in that employment for nearly five years, when, in the fall of 1858, he returned on a visit to his native State. Tarrying at his old home but through the winter, in the spring of 1859 he again turned his course westward.
In 1859, the journey to California across the plains was still by the tedious ox and mule conveyance, though settlements then stretched far out into Nebraska, along the valley of the Platte, which had been so wild and unknown to the pioneers of ten years before. Salt Lake also furnished a resting place, although rather a dangerous one to those who too freely expressed an opinion of the peculiar institution of the "saints." Farther west, also, settlements existed in Carson Valley; and thus the route was relieved of a part of its loneliness and dangers. Mr. TODD made the journey in safety, locating in Sutter County on his arrival. He obtained employment as a farmer, and continued his engagement for three years. After this period of experience, he purchased a farm of his own, in the winter of 1862-63, which he held and cultivated until 1869, when he sold it and removed to his present location.
His farm is situated on the stage road from San Buenaventura to Santa Paula, about four miles from the latter place, and comprises ninety acres of fertile land. Of this, he has twelve acres in orchard, containing a variety of fruit trees. In this pleasant locality he has settled for the future, rearing a happy family about him. Mr. TODD has been twice married; first in Sutter County, to Miss Mary J. BECKWITH, who died shortly after the marriage; and again January 22, 1871, to Isadore RICKARD, a native of Massachusetts. They have four children—three girls and one boy. A view of Mr. TODD's place is given in this volume.
Has one of the beautiful homes for which the valley is celebrated, a view of which is published in these pages. The popular owner is a native of Ireland, born in County Mayo, June 24, 1833. Spending his early years in the Emerald Isle, he followed the throng of his countrymen to the free land beyond the sea, sailing from Liverpool in the ship William Penn, April 17, 1849, and landing at Philadelphia on June 5. Pushing westward he stopped at Cincinnati, Ohio, during the winter, and early in 1850 went to the State of Michigan. On March 29, 1852, he left his temporary home by the great lakes, and started on the long journey across the plains to California. The tedious trip was made without special incident, the route at that time being well known, and travelers familiar with its requirements and dangers. Mr. McKENNA came with horses, and was thus enabled to make a quick passage, arriving at the busy mining camp of Hangtown, now Placerville, on the 7th of August. The year 1852 was one of the busiest in the history of placer mining, and in all the gulches and on the river banks and bars gold was found in such quantities as would at least afford a living, and often a miner would make a rich strike that would place him in a position of independence. Soon after his arrival in California, Mr. McKENNA sought the mines of Placer County, where be remained for seventeen years; with the exception of three years spent in following the great rush to Frazer River, which, in 1857 and '58, threatened to draw off the entire mining population of the State. Returning, he resumed his work in one of the richest gold mining regions of the earth, and there continued until 1869, when be removed to the valley of the Rio Santa Clara, then belonging to Santa Barbara County, and there settled upon the home he now occupies. Here he has a farm of choice land situated about half a mile east of the village of Santa Paula, and between sixteen and seventeen miles from the county seat. Mr. McKENNA was married in May, 1869, to Miss Ann KREGAN, a native of Roscommon, Ireland, and three children, two girls and one boy, bless their union.
In 1872 its present site was a wilderness, where were to be found no improvements save an old adobe house or two, an antiquated barn, and a half-effaced irrigating ditch, the relics of a mission once established there. When N. W. BLANCHARD arrived upon the scene in that year, he was impressed with the idea that there might be built up a town at that point, and so Messrs. BLANCHARD & BRADLEY laid out some town lots, and built the flouring-mills, before mentioned, on the Santa Paula Creek, one-half mile above the town. The site of the town is on the Santa Paula Creek, about one mile above the Santa Clara River, in the upper part of the rancho Santa Paula y Saticoy.
In anticipation of the coming town, some half a dozen lots were sold, but as late as the summer of 1875, a. small liquor shop was the only building erected. June 16th of that year, the village was more extensively laid out. Mr. BLANCHARD bought about 27,000 acres of land in the vicinity.
In December, 1875, the town was visited by a snow-storm, an almost unprecedented event for that section. The growth of the hamlet received a severe check from the dry winter of 1877-78. In the fall of 1878 the village supported a Baptist Church organization that had a church building and a membership of thirteen. Amongst the principal supporters of the good work were William SKAGGS, Warham EASLEY, O. P. GROWALL, and H. CRUMRINE. The Rev. J. W. ROBINSON had been their pastor, but having returned East in the preceding June, they were for some time without a spiritual guide.
On October 18, 19, and 20, 1878, the Santa Barbara Baptist Association celebrated their second anniversary at the Santa Paula Baptist church. In 1879, under the gratuitous labors of Rev. T. G. McLEAN, the Baptist Church was blessed with a gracious revival. Seven members wore added to the church by baptism. The population of Santa Paula in 1879, numbered about 250.
In 1881 Santa Paula bases its claims to respect as a considerable town upon the presence of the following business interests: C. N. BAKER, hotel; BLANCHARD & BRADLEY, flouring-mill; B. W. EVER
MAN, D. McLEAN, and E. BOOR, teachers; L. HECTOR, W. BROWN, and S. WILKERSON, blacksmiths; M. & S. COHN, John SCOTT and SKINNER & DOBBINS, dealers in general merchandise; W. A. GORDON, liquors; Dr. S. P. GUIBERSON, drugs; P. McMILLAN, livery stable; A. H. Shepard, Postmaster and agent for the Western Union Telegraph Company, and Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express. There were also a boot and shoe shop, a Justice of the Peace, a Constable, Good Templars Lodge, but no school house.
The District Lodge of I. O. O. T. for Ventura County convened at Santa Paula on July 27, 1881, and held a two days' session. The occasion brought together a number of people from various localities throughout the county. The Rev. FISK, of Santa Barbara, delivered a temperance lecture to a large and attentive audience in the Good Templars Hall.
In August there was considerable talk of organizing a joint stock company to erect an Odd Fellows hall in the town of Santa Paula.
September, 1881, is noted as the hottest month in the history of the town. For several successive days the thermometer registered 100° in the shade, and on September 8th, the mercury rose to 108°.
In 1882 Santa Paula is a lively town next in size in the county to San Buenaventura. It is situated in the center of a choice fruit and farming section as well as of the petroleum region. It has a fine school house and a good school. BLANCHARD & BBRADLEY's flouring-mill has grown to very respectable proportions. They have four run of stone, two of four feet, and a capacity of fifty barrels per day. Three men are kept constantly employed. The purifying process was adopted soon after its introduction into the State. The enterprising proprietor is determined to keep his mill up to the best standard of the times. His brand of " Middlings Purified" is much sought for in the local markets. Mr. BRADLEY, his early partner, is now deceased, and Mr. BLANCHARD supervises the business alone. There is a granary or store-house at a fire-proof distance from the mill.
The water supply of the town preserves it from dust and from disastrous fires, and is taken from pipes having a head of eighty-five feet in a reservoir, which is itself supplied from BLANCHARD's ditch, whose capacity is 400 miner's inches. The creek by which the ditch is fed never falls below a flow of 150 inches. The water, though slightly impregnated with oil at the head of the ditch, is pure and healthy when it reaches the town.
The climate of Santa Paula is much like that of the Ojai Valleys, the town being at a considerable elevation above the sea, and at such a distance from it that the winds from the ocean become greatly tempered before reaching there. Its accessibility, and the fact that it is on the route of that great broad-gauge railroad which at no distant day must be built down the Santa Clara Valley, adds greatly to its popularity with those desiring pleasant homes out of the reach of the coast winds and heavy fogs.
Among the attractions of to-day are BLANCHARD's orange orchard which is fenced along the public road with a hedge of lime trees. The grove of eucalyptus trees planted by BLANCHARD & Bradley, some seven years ago, is now a prominent feature of the landscape. They are set as thickly as they can grow and wave their glossy leaves at a height of from seventy to eighty feet.
In the matter of rare fruits and flowers Santa Paula is very showy. Its variety of evergreens is remarkable, and the growth of its young orchards is something wonderful. The loquot, guava and date palm, show specimens as fine as those grown in Central America. There are many fine English walnut trees which have not as yet come into bearing.
It is a perennial source of surprise and pleasure to one traveling through the rural districts of California to find stowed away in a small hamlet some gentleman, who, to scientific and philosophic attainments; unites an ardent love of natural science and the truths of nature.
DR. S. P. GUIBERSON,
At present, druggist, archaeologist, geologist and a genuine man, friend, and neighbor, is the man. Kind-hearted and open-handed, he is ever ready with a pleasant word or generous deed. A scholarly man of a wide culture, the result of a half century of careful study and keen observation. his salient characteristics are simplicity, modesty and candor, qualities common to all men through whose natures runs golden thread of love for the truth. He is ever ready to disclose his rich stores to those who apply to him, and is equally willing to listen when there is anything to be learned. His greatest pleasure is a ramble through and over the mountains in company with an appreciative companion. He knows the geology of the vicinity thoroughly, and never tires of expounding his theories thereof. From a depth of eight feet he has dug unmistakable evidences of former Aztec occupation. Quantities of these materials have been shipped to the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, D. C., where they were highly welcomed. Who can tell the influence of such a man in a community?
This promising village is situated on the Santa Clara River, about eight miles east of San Buenaventura, nine miles north of Hueneme Wharf, and eight miles southwest of Santa Paula, at the lower end of the old Santa Paula y Saticoy Rancho. Here are the famous Saticoy Springs. In the olden time, migratory Indians and Mexicans were fighting in the grim tragedy of existence at these springs, weaving around their waters many a bloody tradition, that adds a pleasant, melancholy, and romantic charm to the enchanting beauty which renders it a most delightful spot.
J. L. CRANE settled upon the site of the village in November, 1861. Saticoy is the headquarters of a section noted for its choice farms and orchards. A school was opened as early as 1868, and to-day the fine public school house stands a monument to the progressive spirit of the people. Over the post-office building great troops of flowers madly but fondly run riot, while the yard is filled with rare shrubbery, a fitting testimonial to the soil and climate. J. P. QUESNEL, a carpenter and builder, is Uncle Sam's agent, and
GEO. FRED'K ROTSLER,
A worthy imitator of Vulcan, salutes the ears of the passing wayfarers with a ringing anvil chorus.
Mr. ROTSLER was born in the town of Witlengen, in the grand dutchy of Baden, Germany, January 4, 1831. His parents were Daniel and Mary (HOUPT) ROTSLER, both natives of Germany. The family consisted of the parents and six children, there being two daughters and four sons, the subject of the present sketch being next to the youngest. The social laws of the fatherland require that all be prepared for the practical battle of life, and young ROTSLER was thus subjected to the discipline of the common schools of his country, and when he arrived at the age of fourteen was apprenticed to the trade of a machinist. Continuing at this for a period of three years as an apprentice, he then became a journeyman, and worked at his trade in his native land until he was eighteen years of age Having acquired a reliable trade, and approaching manhood, he looked forward to a broader field of life and greater opportunities than were offered in the densely-peopled countries of the Old World. The great Republic beyond the sea was attracting the attention of his countrymen and relatives, and in 1849 he joined the emigrants for that distant land of the free. In the usual course of time he reached the great city of the New World, and sought employment at his trade. This he shortly found near the banks of the lordly Hudson, in Green County, New York, where he remained employed for fifteen years. After this long trial in his new home he entered upon business for himself, engaging as a merchant and manufacturer, which business he continued until 1867, when he removed to Missouri, locating in Audrain County. There he established a merchant flouring-mill, and continued the business for about nine years. The star of Mr. ROTSLER's prosperity was bright and hopeful, but the brighter star continually led the way to the West, and thither he followed. In 1876, he came to California, locating in Ventura County, on the premises he now occupies in the town of Saticoy. Here, in addition to the practice of his trade, he is engaged in farming, having a well-improved ranch of seventy-five acres, a view of which is incorporated in this volume.
East of and across the river from the lower portion of the Santa Paula y Saticoy Rancho extend the fertile fields of the
SANTA CLARA DEL NORTE RANCHO
To its east is the Las Posas Rancho, while its southern boundary is formed by the Rancho La Colonia. It was granted to Juan Sanchez, May 6, 1837, and contained 13,988.91 acres, which acreage was also confirmed to him. It lies six miles east of the county seat and borders on the Santa Clara River about three miles. The SCIAPPAPIETRA Brothers own the greater part of it, but reside in their elegant home in San Buenaventura. They lease about a third of it to parties who raise great quantities of flax. Three-fourths of the rancho is tillable. The grazing land supports 8,000 head of sheep. A vineyard planted by DOMINGUEZ & PEARSON, seventeen years ago, now produces 10,000 gallons of wine annually. The owners challenge the State to produce a better article. It sells readily at fifty cents per gallon. The rancho has 'growing upon it an orchard of five hundred trees,'_which includes every variety of fruit known to the country. Two good artesian wells, one fifty-six and the other sixty-five feet deep, and the Santa-Clara ditch, which passes through the eastern part of the rancho, supply an abundance of water.
Is a promising little village on the Santa Clara del Norte Rancho, about eight miles east of San Buenaventura, and near the east bank of the Santa Clara River, where the county road to Los Angeles crosses that stream. It is located in the midst of a rich farming district, with good schools, stores, and shops, and a very fine Catholic Church.
Adjoins the Santa Paula y Saticoy Rancho on the northeast, extending eight miles up the Santa Clara, and comprising most of the arable land in the valley on both sides of the river in that extent - 8,880.81 acres, or two leagues. Right in the center of the rancho, but not included in its area of two leagues, is an oval tract of Government land lying along the river. The title to the rancho is perfect, being a United States patent.
The story of the struggles, legal and illegal, in connection with the title to and possession of this rancho, is, perhaps, the most remarkable of all California rancho histories, involving, as it does, allegations of the most extensive frauds, of trespass, of misdemeanor, of attempted homicide, of arson, and of murder. Its importance demands a special article, which is given to it in this volume, and where the subject is fully treated.
Among the early settlers there are found, in 1861, the MORE Brothers, W. H. NORWAY, and Capt. Wm. MORRIS. For a part of the year the Americans nearest to them were at San Buenaventura. The first crop of grain was sown in the winter of 1860-61. The MORE Brothers put in about 200 acres of wheat and barley. It was harvested by W. S. CHAFFEE and W. H. NORWAY, while Alexander CAMERON was the contractor. It was cut with a reaper and threshed out by horses.
In 1876 the Sespe Rancho, owned by T. Wallace MORE, was assessed at $9.00 per acre, whereupon he brought suit to have a portion of the taxes refunded. It was held that the land could be sold for twice that sum in twenty-four hours.
The rancho has been principally used for many years for cattle, horses, and sheep to roam over, and is, for the most part, a rich, virgin soil. Between this rancho and the San Francisco Rancho is a strip of Government land about eight miles long, and at one time included within the claims of the Sespe proprietor. Of this whole section stretching between the Santa Paula y Saticoy and the San Francisco Ranchos, it may justly be said to possess such natural qualities of soil, climate, and water as need but an active human agency to transform it into a very paradise. Only about 150 families live here at present, of which over 100 occupy the original Government lands. When desired, almost the whole of it may be irrigated. But as has been seen, this is not considered essential, except in some cases. Corn, wheat, barley, flax, beans, and vegetables are profitably cultivated. Its sunshine, absence of frost, and evenness of climate are favorable in a high degree to the culture of semi-tropical fruits. The olive will pay the best without irrigation, while raisin-grapes are probably quickest in their returns with a limited supply of water. This valley has demonstrated its adaptation to the cultivation of cereals and vegetables, and oranges, limes, lemons, figs, grapes, and almost the whole list of choice fruits. It is the natural home of the apricot. There are a great many apiaries, as the finest bee pasturage in the county abounds along the foot-hills. Among the large apiaries, that of Messrs. ATWOOD & KENNEY, of the Sespe, stands in the front rank. They have 300 stands of bees, half being of the Italian species. At one time, during a run of five hours, they extracted 1,000 pounds of honey from the comb.
As to the health of the climate, it is claimed that the Sespe Rancho is a queen among the health resorts of the Pacific Coast. Its elevation is 2,000 feet above sea level. Twenty dollars per acre is given as the maximum price asked for unimproved lands.
Above the upper limits, and on the " Little Sespe," are situated the oil wells of the Los Angeles Oil Company. Their oil is run down through pipes a considerable distance to the oil refinery, which is kept in full blast by the product of 120 barrels per day from the oil wells above.
The Sespe Grange was organized March 13, 1874, with the following officers: S. A. GUIBERSON, M.; J. A. CONAWAY, 0.; F. A. SPRAGUE, L.; James HEANEY, S.; C. W. EDWARDS, A. S.; C. H. DECKER, C.; Mrs. C. E. SPRAGUE, T.; Thomas MARPLES, Secretary; T. J. CASNER, G. K.; Mrs. M. E. GUIBERSON, Ceres; Mrs. E. M. DECKER, Pomona; Mrs. T. J. CASNER, Flora; and Mrs. J. EDWARDS, L. A. S.
Is the name of a post-office about fourteen miles up the Santa Clara Valley from Santa Paula, on the stage road to Newhall, which latter place is distant about twenty-one miles. It should properly have been spelled " Cienega" (a marsh), as it is of Spanish origin. The office was established on the 22d day of March, 1875, with Charles H. DECKER as Postmaster. He retired in 1877, and was succeeded by Hermon HAINES, the present Postmaster and dealer in general merchandise.
Mr. HAINES has not escaped the attentions of the wandering predatory Mexican. In November, 1881, one of this class entered his store and made a small purchase. Upon raising up from getting change HAINES found a six-shooter pointed at his nose, and heard a demand for plata. He handed over about $30 belonging to Uncle Sam. The Mexican then left, and he and his partner, another Mexican, who had remained outside to hold the horses, rode off for parts unknown.
In the vicinity of Scenega is the famous Buckhorn Ranch, the property of
B. F. WARRING
This enterprising gentleman was born March 1827, in the town of Tioga, Tioga County, New York. His father's name was Hudson WARRING; his mother's, Rebecca SHERMAN; his grandfather, Amaziah SHERMAN, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, for which he received a pension from the Government
By the death of his mother, when he was but seven years of age, his home was broken up and he was sent to live with Elihu SLOCUM, on his farm in Cayuga County. Here, engaged in the duties of the farm, he laid the foundations of a strong and vigorous constitution, which served him well in after years. His education was obtained by attending the country schools, while living on the farm.
Conceiving the idea that his fortunes lay in the resources of the Pacific Coast, he bade adieu to the scenes of his youth, and at the age of twenty-four, left his native State, and started for California, by way of the Isthmus of Panama.
The steamer on which he had embarked not making connection with the one on the Pacific side, he was detained on the isthmus about two weeks, and contracted the much-dreaded Panama fever, which reduced him to a skeleton, but when the Golden Gate made her appearance for her first trip to California, he managed, by staggering down through the surf, with his trunk on his back, to get on board, more dead than alive. After a voyage of fourteen days, he reached San Francisco, and at once left for San Jose, where he had a sister living. His first occupation after reaching California, was the lumber business, in which he engaged in company with two partners, commencing operations in the lower redwoods, opposite Redwood City. This proved very lucrative, and although having their lumber several times destroyed by fire, the final profits were all that could be desired. Returning to San Jose, he engaged in selling lumber on commission, which business he followed two years. He next bought a farm of 160 acres near San Jose, where he remained eight years, but was finally swindled out of it by a fraudulent grant. In September, 1869, he removed to Ventura and settled upon 160 acres of land, the now famous "Buckhorn Ranch."
This name had its origin in the deer horns that hang over the gate. Mr. WARRING is a great hunter, and has brought down many a nobly antlered buck. His house being for some time the only one along the road for miles, be was compelled to keep open house, and so the old Buckhorn Ranch became well known all over the county. The land had been claimed as belonging to the Spanish Sespe grant of T. Wallace MORE, but after having fought the case and had it contested in the courts for ten years, Mr. WARRING has finally succeeded in getting a U. S. patent to the same. An illustration of his residence adorns these pages.
In politics Mr. WARRING is a Republican. He was a member of the San Jose cavalry during the late war, and was drilled under Captain McELROY. He was married September 5, 1854, to Miss Missouri Dorcas EASLEY, of San Jose.
THE CAMULOS RANCHO
Which belongs partly to Los Angeles County, is situated at the confluence of Piru Creek with the Santa Clara River, adjacent to the Sespe, on the Newhall stage road, and separated from it by a six-mile tract of Government land. It was granted to Pedro C. CARRILLO, October 2, 1843, and comprised 17,769 acres. The Temescal Rancho, now incorporated with the Camulos, was granted to Francisco LOPEZ, March 17, 1843, and contained 13,320 acres. It was confirmed to R. de la CUESTA as 4.400 acres.
In 1861 the rancho came into the possession of Don Ygnacio del VALLE, whose interesting biography is given in this volume. The rancho is now held by the heirs, of whom the Hon. R. S. de VALLE, the eldest, is a worthy representative of a line of illustrious ancestors.
One hundred and fifty acres of the rancho are under a high state of cultivation. There are thrifty orchards of peach, apple, pear, fig, quince, and lemon trees, all yielding the finest of fruit. The golden fruit of about 500 orange trees is noted everywhere as the largest and most delicious found in the markets of Southern California. There are 500 olive trees in full bearing, from whose fruit is manufactured a fine grade of olive oil. Forty thousand grape-vines yield annually 10,000 gallons of wine and 300 gallons of the justly celebrated "Camulos" brandy.
Camulos is most elegantly fitted up in all its appointments of buildings, with a great variety of adornments of flowers, and surroundings in the old hidalgo style. It is one of the most beautiful places in all Southern California.
In the immediate vicinity is a large settlement of Spanish-Californian farmers, who are using improved agricultural implements and raising good corn, barley and bean crops.
Soon after passing Camulos the scenery changes at every advancement up the winding valley, revealing new and beautiful nooks, valleys and bluffs, with the gentle river flowing by.
The next great estate reached is the
SAN FRANCISCO RANCHO
Which lies partly in Los Angeles and partly in Ventura County, and contains about 11,500 acres of grazing and 3,000 acres of tillable land, of which about 13,000 acres belong to Ventura County. The Santa Clara River divides it into nearly equal portions.
The rancho was granted to Antonio del VALLE, January 22, 1839, and confirmed to Jacoba FELIZ and others. It then contained but about 10,000 acres. It now, for the most part, belongs to the estate of H. M. NEWHALL, the well-known San Francisco auctioneer.
Newhall, a station on the Southern Pacific Railroad, in Los Angeles County, is situated upon this rancho. The NEWHALL mansion is in Los Angeles County. Aside from this there are few houses that attract attention. Wheat has been largely raised. To a stranger, looking at this part of the country, seeing so many hills and mountains, with long, steep canons, covered with coarse, wild sage-brush and weeds, it appears a worthless waste of land piled up in narrow valleys, but the highest brush on these hills, it should be remembered, yields it nectar to the bee, which, in turn, transforms it into that desirable commodity, honey. Then, too, the oil interests are far from having been fully developed. Near Newhall are located the Star Petroleum Refining Works.
It is stated that these lands are offered for sale in large or small tracts, at reasonable rates.