Biographical Sketches B Surnames
"A Memorial and Biographical History of the
Counties of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties"
By Yda Addis Storke
F. W. Baker is one of the representative business men of the city of Ventura. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, May 7, 1853, the son of F. W. and Mary L. (Eaton) Baker, the former a native of Vermont, of Scotch descent, and the latter of Cambridge, Massachusetts, of English ancestry. Mr. Baker was the oldest of four children. He attended the Winchester High School and also the Massachusetts Agricultural College. His first work for himself was in the dry-goods business with Jordan, Marsh & Co., of Boston. Not being suited with that position, he obtained a place in the wholesale hardware store of Hogan, Clark & Sleeper, and remained with them two years, when the great Boston fire occurred and they were burned out. He then accepted an offer to travel for Baker & Hamilton, a San Francisco hardware house, remaining in their employ four years. At the expiration of that time he engaged in business for himself in Napa, under the firm name of Stone & Baker, doing a tin and hardware business. Two years later he sold out to his partner, returned to San Francisco, and again entered the employ of Baker & Hamilton, working for them two years longer.
Mr. Baker then came to Ventura and purchased the store of E. A. Edward, who had been the pioneer hardware man of the place. This purchase was made in April, 1879, and, with the exception of one year, Mr. Baker has conducted the business and has been very successful. From time to time, as necessity demanded, he has increased his facilities for doing business. The little building that once served for a store room has given place to a fine two-story brick, 30 x 75 feet, and the first building, moved to the rear, is used for a warehouse. The store occupies both the lower and upper story of the new building. Mr. Baker has the only elevator in the city. He owns a factory, 30 x 50 feet, in which he manufactures tinware, honey and fruit cans in large quantities. He employs five men all the time and in the busy season seven or eight. His business extends all over the county, and some of his manufactures are shipped all over the State. In one season he made 12,000 sixty-pound honey cans, and many thousand smaller ones. They adopted a plan that every person who purchased $1 worth of goods should have a guess on how many cans they were making. The one who guessed the nearest was paid $50, the next $25, and the third $10. This store is No. 216 Main street, between Oak and Palm.
Mr. Baker was united in marriage to Miss Annie M. Sheriden in 1880. She was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, the daughter of S. N. Sheriden, of Ventura. They have three interesting children, two sons and a daughter, all born in Ventura, viz.: George L., Frederick N., and Annie M.
Mr. Baker is Senior Warden of the Masonic Lodge, F. & A. M.; is also K. of P., and District Deputy of the order to the Grand Lodge. Politically he is a Republican. Mr. Baker is a stockholder in the Ventura Gas Company, and does his full share in all public enterprises. He is the owner of a good home, where he resides with his family, and also owns other valuable real estate.
Mrs. Baker is a member of the Congregational Church.
Henry W. Baker, one of the prominent ranchers of Saticoy, came to California in 1859, and to his present ranch in the fall of 1875. He was born in New Hampshire, December 28, 1828. His father, Davis Baker, was a native of that state, born about the year 1790. He was a faithful member of the Congregational Church, passed his life on a farm, and died in 1842. The ancestors of the family were English people. Mr. Baker's mother, nee Hannah Church, was a daughter of Mr. Elihu Church. Henry W. Baker was one of a family of nine children, seven of whom are now living. He received his education in the public schools of his native state, and his life has been principally devoted to agricultural pursuits. He purchased a farm in Lake County, California, in 1866, which he improved and on which he was engaged in general farming for nine years, raising both stock and grain. At the end of that time he sold out and went East on a visit. Upon his return to California, he bought his present farm of forty acres, and has since added forty acres more to it. This property he has improved by building, tree-planting, etc. In his orchard he has apples, pears, peaches, apricots, prunes, figs, oranges and lemons. He is doing a grain and bean farming.
Mr. Baker is a Republican and is one of the reliable and substantial men of Ventura County. His widowed sister, Mrs. Leavitt, keeps house for him. She is a member of the Congregational Church.
Dr. Cephas L. Bard, a pioneer of San Buenaventura, of 1868, deserves special mention in this work. Previous to the Revolution the progenitors of the family to which he belongs came to America and settled in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, when the colony was in its infancy. The men were men of character and ability, active in the affairs of the time. The Doctor's father, Robert M. Bard, was a native of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, born in 1810, and for many years practiced law in that county, being at the head of the bar; was a man of talent, a prominent leader, and a candidate for Congress at time of his death. He married Elizabeth Little, a native of Mercersburg, same State, who was born in 1816, the daughter of Doctor P. W. Little. Their family consisted of two sons and two daughters, the Doctor being the third child. He completed his education in a classical course at Chambersburg Academy, and his medical education at the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. His ancestors on the maternal side were nearly all physicians, and on the paternal side Drs. John and Samuel Bard were founders of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York. It is but natural thereford that the subject of this sketch should inherit a taste for this profession. He began his medical studies by entering the office of Dr. A. H. Senseny, a talent physician of Pennsylvania; and while he was pursuing his studies there, he enlisted as private in Company A, One Hundred and Twenty-sixty Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, participated in the battles of the Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After his term of service had expired he attended lectures at the Jefferson Medical College; and later he passed a satisfactory examination before an army medical board, and was appointed assistant surgeon in the army. Going to the front with his regiment, the Two Hundred and Tenth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, he participated in all its successes and reverses, in the Army of the Potomac, until the close of the war. This regiment was a crack one, composed of remnants of several veteran regiments, and was commanded by Colonel William Sergeant, brother-in-law of General Meade, Commander of the Army of the Potomac, and its history shows that it ever was in the front when the battle raged most fiercely, and its casualties were enormous. Its greatest losses occurred at Hatcher's Run, Dabney's Mills, the fights before Petersburg, Gravelly Run and Five Forks. One flag of truce sent in by Lee at Appomattox passed through a portion of this regiment deployed as skirmishers. By an official order one assistant surgeon was always with his regiment in order to give instant aid, and Bard was ever with his command, and on several occasions, when meeting with reverses, he remained behind exposed to the volleys of his friends as well as those of his foes.
Returning home he continued his practice until 1868, when he came to Ventura County, California, where for twenty-two years, with exception of two years devoted to study in Eastern cities, he has been identified with all the interests of the place of his adoption. He was the first American physician with a diploma to locate in this county. By devotion to his calling and ambition for excellence he has justly attained an enviable reputation.
His professional character has been shaped by his army experience and residence in a frontier country. Debarred association with the professional brethren and remote surgical supplies, he is bold, self-reliant and full of expedients. An accomplished rider and well versed in the language and ways of the native Californians, he seems to be "to the manner born." A description of his long rides; his varied adventures in mountains and swollen streams; his contact with characters not met with now, and his reminiscences of men and things, would make a most interesting book. He has not allowed himself to become an old fogy, but by close study, and by attendance at the Eastern medical schools, he has kept fully abreast of the times. He is at present a member of the Board of Pension Examiners, President of the County Medical Society, and Surgeon to the County Hospital.
He is a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, Grand Army of the Republic, and Knights Templar, and is a Republican in his political sympathies and a Presbyterian in his religious opinions. His residence is one that in all its features and appointments exhibits refinement and taste.
Hon. Thomas R. Bard, a prominent business man of Hueneme, is the best known and most distinguished factor in the growh and development of the county of Ventura. He is a man with whom the history of Ventura County is more intimately connected than with any other. He was born in Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, December 8, 1841, the son of Robert M. Bard, a lawyer, born in the same county in 1810, and died in 1851. His grandfather, Thomas Bard, was also born in the same county, and his great-grandfather, Richard Bard, was of Scotch-Irish descent. He came to America in 1745, and was one of the earliest pioneers of that part of Pennsylvania; both himself and his wife were captured by the Indians, April 19, 1758. Five days after being captured he made his escape, and made unceasing efforts for the release of his wife. She was in captivity for more than a year, but was finally given up at Fort du Quesne, Pittsburg, her ransom being forty pounds sterling. Mr. Bard's mother was Elizabeth S. Little, a native of Mercersburg, Frnaklin County, Pennsylvania, born in 1812, and died in 1880. She was the daughter of Dr. P. W. Little, and a grand-daughter of Colonel Robert Parker of the Revolutionary army.
Mr. Bard's parents had two sons and two daughters, all of whom are still living. He was reared and educated at the Chambersburg Academy, and began, at the age of seventeen, the study of law with Hon. George Chambers, then a retired Supreme Justice of the State of Pennsylvania; but, finding an active life more suitable to his tastes, he abandoned his studies of law for the profession of railroad and mining engineering, in which he received a practical training in the Alleghany Mountains. When he returned he was offered a position in a forwarding and commission house at Hagerstown, Pennsylvania, which he accepted. While at that place the war broke out, and the firm, differing in politics, dissolved, the town being a border town and excitement running high. Mr. Zellar, one of the company, took Mr. Bard as a partner, and then he commenced his business life, before he was twenty-one years of age. While in business at Hagerstown the firm there were agents for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and were in constant danger of rebel raids, and had to be constantly on the alert to know of the proximity of Confederates. For this purpose Mr. Bard found it necessary to do some scouting, and was on the battle-field of Antietam when the battle began, and afterward voluntarily took up arms on the Union side in that fight. He then became acquainted with Colonel Thomas A. Scott, then Assistant Secretary of War, and did valuable service for him, which was much appreciated by the Colonel. The rebels, under General Mc Causland, in one of their raids, burned Mr. Bard's mother's house, after which Colonel Scott induced him to come to California to take charge of the business interests here.
Mr. Bard sold out his interests in the business at Hagerstown, and January 5, 1865, came to Ventura County. His first work here was the superintendency of the California Petroleum Company, in which Colonel Scott was interested. They attempted to develop the oil resources of Ojai Rancho, and everything they required in the way of machinery came from new York, via Cape Horn to San Francisco, and from San Fancisco by boat and landed by means of rafts, through the surf at San Buenaventura. This was the first attempt to develop the oil fields of California. Their work was practically unsuccessful. When they had gained experience enough to know where to locate the wells, the company became discouraged and closed the work. After this he took charge of the property in which Colonel Scott ws interested, consisting of the ranchos: - the Simi, 113,000 acres; the Las Rosas, 26, 600 acres; the San Francisco, 48,000 acres; the Calleguas, 10,000 acres; the El Rio de Santa Clara, 45,000 acres; the Canada Larga, 6,600 acres, and the Ojai, 16,000 acres. In addition to this he took charge of a large part of the town of San Buenaventura, and Colonel Scott's lands in Los Angeles and Humboldt counties, about 12,000 acres, making a grand total of about 277,000 acres. This vast acreage was devoted to sheep and cattle-raising, and Mr. Bard had charge of it until sold. The business was attended with much inconvenience and trouble through people stealing on the lands, supposing it to be Government land; almost all of the vast property was involved in dispute concerning title, and much ill-feeling was the result; some of the parties were desperadoes. Generally Mr. Bard succeeded in a just way to pay the people for their losses, and all of the lands he has disposed of have been found to have perfect titles. The land was rented to the people, and many of them afterward became purchasers.
In the meantime his own affairs had grown upon his hands, during the time he laid out the town of Hueneme, and built the wharf, in 1871, and from that time the town took its start. He continued to manage Colonel Scott's affairs until the time of his death, which occurred in 1882, after which he became his administrator in California, and closed out the property.
The liberal course taken by Mr. Bard with the tenants and squatters on the lands resulted beneficially in the settlement of the county. He eventually bought the wharf and warehouses and invested in real estate, which, with the growth of the county, has become valuable. He was one of the incorporators of the first Bank of Ventura, and was its president for fifteen years; he is now President of Hueneme Bank, and of the Hueneme Wharf Company. He organized the Simi Land and Water Company, and the Las Rosas Land & Water Company. Mr. Bard is President of the Mission Transfer Company, which owns the large system of pipe lines and refineries, at Santa Paula, and which handles the whole of the oil production of Ventura County; he is also the President of the Sespe Oil Company, which controls 22,000 acres of oil territory. He is also President of the Torrey Canon Oil Company. The output of these companies aggregate 600 barrels of oil per day.
Mr. Bard has 320 acres of land adjoining his home, of which all is being farmed; he has fifty acres of ground surrounding his home, on which is a beautiful and commodious cottage, and very excellent grounds, in which he takes much enjoyment in the collection of flowers and other plants. As one enters the grounds he is confronted by a large triangular bed of scarlet geraniums, making a brilliant show of blossoms. Back of this is a large fountain, and the winding drives branch off in two directions, making curves in divers directions amid groves of trees and flowers and amid the border of evergreen hedges, until the avenues meet in front of the house.
Mr. Bard held for several successive terms the office of Supervisor in the first district of Santa Barbara, before the county of Ventura was formed; he was first elected Supervisor on the Republican ticket, against a Spaniard on the Democratic ticket, when there were not over a dozen Americans in the district. He was the Republican candidate for State Senator in 1877, in the Senatorial district composed ot the three counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. He was defeated, but Ventura and Santa Barbara counties gave him a handsome majority, which was barely overcome by his opponent in San Luis Obispo County. He was also on the Garfield ticket for Elector, in 1880. He was a delegate at large for the State to the memorable convention at Chicago that nominated Mr. Blaine, in 1884.
He married, in 1876, Miss Mary B. Gerberding, daughter of Mr. E. O. Gerberding of San Francisco, who was one of the founders of the San Francisco Bulletin. Mrs. Bard was born in California, in 1858. They have five children, all born in Hueneme, viz.: Beryl B., Mary Louisa, Ann Greenwell, Thomas G. and Elizabeth Parker. Mrs. Bard is an Episcopalian, and Mr. Bard is an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He is a man of liberal views, broad business capacities, and a quiet and unobtrusive gentleman.
J. A. Barker. - In traveling east of Santa Paula a mile and turning to the south a quarter of a mile, one comes upon the lovely sequestered spot, under the spreading oaks, and numerous shade and fruit trees of the owner's own planting - the cosy home of the pioneer, J. A. Barker. The house is nearly hidden from view by the endless variety of fruit and other trees that surround it. The first intimation of life on the ranch is the friendly greeting of the harmless old house dogs, which by their wag and twist seem to say, "We are glad you have come." Next, the visitor is met and taken by the hand by the pioneer himself, who, in his frank and hospitable manner, invites his guest in and makes him feel at home.
Mr. Barker was born in Louisville, Kentucky, December 3, 1833. He is a son of John Barker, a native of Kentucky, born in 1802, and a grandson of Stephen Barker, also a native of the "Blue Grass State." Both Mr. Barker's mother, nee Mary Asheroff, and her father, James Asheroff, are Kentuckians by birth. The subject of this sketch is the youngest of a family of ten children, only four of whom are now living. He was educated in Missouri and lived on a farm there until twenty years of age. In 1853 he came to the Golden State, in search of its rich treasures. For six years he mined in Nevada County, with good success, his average per day being from $7 to $14. He came out of the mines with what to him seemed satisfactory results. He makes the statement that he has seen a piece of quartz rock seventy-six pounds in weight, that contained $8,250 in gold. After leaving the mines he engaged in freighting, and received $35 per thousand for drawing lumber seventeen miles. There were very few settlers in this part of the county when Mr. Barker came here in 1869 - Mr. J. Crane, Judge Wason and Mr. George M. Richardson were here, and soon other settlers came and the work of development was pushed forward. Mr. Barker took up a Government claim of 160 acres, which he has improved, and where he has been engaged in general farming, raising corn, barley, beans, horses, cattle and hogs. Mr. Barker is only one of the many who have come here and have made for themselves and families beautiful homes in this sunny clime.
He was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Lee, a native of Ohio, and daughter of Joseph Lee, who was born in Massachusetts. They have had a family of eight children, six of whom are living: James, Benton, Mary Ella, Sarah Isabel, John Wesley and Hattie. Several of the children are married and live near him. Mr. Barker's political views are Democratic. He and his wife are members of the Baptist Church.
J. S. Barkla came to California in 1853 and located in Ventura County in 1871. He was born in Cornwall, England, March 9, 1832. His father, John Barkla, was a mining contractor in England, and both his parents were natives of that country. Mr. Barkla was reared and educated there, and in 1849, at the age of seventeen years, came to the United States. His business, that of a copper miner and prospector in the employ of a copper mining company, took him into the States of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. The gold excitement of California brought him to this coast in 1853, where he engaged in mining for the precious metal. His operations began at Hangtown, now Placerville, where he spent six years, most of the time in tunnel mining, being very successful. In the summer of 1856 four men worked four days and cleared up fifty ounces of gold as the result of the labor, worth $925. After this he put $8,000 in one claim and worked hard for three years to get his money back again. After leaving the mines he came to Ventura County and bought forty acres of land on Main street, Santa Paula, and of this he retains five acres, on which his residence is situated, and on which is a variety of fruit trees, including oranges in bearing. Mr. Barkla also owns land in this and Los Angeles counties. During his residence in Santa Paula he has done his share toward the development of the town.
Mr. Barkla was united in marriage in Pennsylvania, April 17, 1860, to Miss Hannah Hinton, a native of England, born in 1840. When a child she came to America with her parents, and was reared in Massachusetts. They have three children living: Laura H., born in El Dorado County, March 23, 1861; Luna Jane, in the same place, August 31, 1863; Carl Benjamin, born on the Cosumnes River, El Dorado County, April 23, 1866. Mr. and Mrs. Barkla are Universalists in belief. In politics his views are in harmony with Democratic principles. From 1883 until 1887 he served as Supervisor of Ventura County. He united with the I. O. O. F. in 1855.
A. D. Barnard, one of the best known pioneers of Ventura, was born in Calais, Maine, December 12, 1830. His father, W. K. Barnard, was a native of Massachusetts, and their ancestors were from England. His mother, whose name before marriage was Nancy Denny, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her ancestors came to that State during its early settlement. Her father, Daniel Denny, was one of the posterity of John Denny, of Suffolk, England, who lived there in 1439. A picture of the old English home of 450 years ago is still preserved in the family, and there is also in their possession a complete genealogy of the family from 1439 to the present time. Branches of this family have established themselves in all the States of the Union. In Mr. Barnard's father's family were six children, all sons, he being the eldest. He was brought up and educated in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, completing his education in New Hampshire. He began business for himself as a merchant. In 1852 he came to Oregon and was engaged in general merchandising in Corvallis until 1859; he traveled for two or three years, and in 1868 came to Ventura, when that town was just starting, the American residents there being Messrs. Chaffee, Leach, Ayers, Grimes, Simpson, and the Hobsons. Mr. Barnard engaged in the lumber business, and soon purchased a home place of thirty acres about a mile up the avenue; and he has also been engaged in real estate. His home place now comprises 125 acres, beautifully cultivated, and artistically arranged with ornamental trees, hedges, etc. He has 3,000 walnut trees just commencing to bear fruit; has twenty three kinds of fruit altogether. He has also two or three other farms in the valley. He has been a very busy man, accomplishing much in the improvement of his ranches and of the locality generally. Such industry and such faith in the country has had its ample return. Mr. Barnard has never joined any society, is not a politician, but is a Republican. His parents are Unitarians.
In 1861 he married Miss Sarah E. Lehman, a native of Wayne County, Ohio, and of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. They have six sons and one daughter, all natives of the Golden West: Frank E., Edwin L., Austin D., Charles V., John C. and Mary E., all at ho
home with their parents.
Frank P. Barrows, the leading general merchant in the town of Nordhoff, was born in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, June 23, 1850. His father, J. L. Barrows, was a descent of the Puritan Fathers. (See the ancestry of the family in the history of his brother, Thomas Barrows, in this book.) The subject of this sketch is the youngest son, and was educated in the public schools of his native town. He began business for himself, in Chicago, in 1867. In 1871, he, in partnership with his brother, took a general agency for the Victor Sewing Machine, and they did a thriving business, selling 25,000 machines in the short time they were there. They were in the great Chicago fire, but a week afterward were at business again and receiving orders. Mr. Barrows, on account of failing health, his disease being throat and lung trouble, was obliged to give up business, and, by the advice of his physician, came to California in 1875, and to Ventura County in 1879. He has here fully recovered his health. His first venture was to buy the Ojai Valley House, which he improved and conducted for five years. He bought 100 acres of land, and later purchased a stock of general merchandise in Nordhoff, and is doing a thriving business, employing five clerks. He has the largest store and stock of goods in the town, and enjoys the confidence and patronage of the people in the two valleys. He is liberal in his views on all topics, and has good natural as well as acquired ability for the mercantile business. He takes orders and delivers goods all over the territory which naturally belongs to Nordhoff. His customers have found they can buy no better goods elsewhere. Mr. Barrows gives only a few hours each day to his business, just enough to keep himself thoroughly informed as to how it is being conducted. He has a handsome residence near the center of town; the grounds, comprising ten acres, are dotted over with beautiful live-oaks and other trees, with flowers in profusion. A delightfully shaded brook runs through the grounds, and the whole place speaks of taste and refinement.
Mr. Barrows was married in 1882, to Miss Julia Smith of San Francisco, daughter of Stephen Smith, a merchant there. This union has been blessed with three children, all born in Nordhoff: Albert L., Stephen S. and Edward S. Mr. and Mrs. Barrows are both members of the Congregational Church. In politics Mr. Barrows is a Republican. He spends most of his time with his family, in his beautiful home, surrounded with balmy air, fine scenery, cooling shade, and enjoys a paying business. Why should he not be healthy and happy in his lovely California home?
Thomas Barrows is a native of Massachusetts, born on Martha's Vineyard, April 14, 1843. His father, James Lloyd Barrows, was also a native of that State, and was a merchant and manufacturer. Their ancestry came from England. His mother, Hannah Cottle, was born in Massachusetts, the daughter of Captain Edward Cottle, a sea captain of merchant ships. Mr. Barrows finished his education at Gorham, Maine. He began his business career at Indianapolis, as clerk in a wholesale dry-goods house. After this he accepted the position of general traveling agent for the Grover & Baker Sewing Machine Company, and acted in that capacity for several years. He next took the general agency for the Victor Sewing Machine Company, for the Northwest, with headquarters at Chicago, the firm being Thomas Barrows & Co. During this time he was a partner in the Elgin Iron Works, manufacturers of small engines and castings. Their sewing-machine business in Chicago became quite extensive, sales reached 8,000 machines in the best year, and altogether they disposed of 25,000. They were caught in the great Chicago fire and lost quite heavily, but were again receiving orders the week following the fire.
In 1875 impaired health caused Mr. Barrows to leave Chicago and come to California. He was first in Oakland and San Francisco. His disease was hemorrhage of the lungs and attending troubles, and his physician advised the mildest climate possible. The Ojai Valley was decided upon, and he arrived at this place in 1878. He purchased 160 acres of unimproved land, which, under his judicious care and management, now presents a very different appearance. He has erected a comfortable home, planted a large variety of trees and vines, and his property has become a lovely tree-embowered retreat. Mr. Barrows has long since regained his health, and is now in a situation to enjoy life, under the shade of the vine and fig tree of his own planting. His ranch is provided with ample barns. He is now engaged in raising Holstein and Jersey cattle and fine blooded horses of the A. W. Richmond stock, and is also raising work-horses; has had as high as 300 head of horses and cattle at one time. He has dealt some in real estate, and owns about 250 acres of choice land in the valley. He is engaged in orange culture both at his home and also at Pomona.
Mr. Barrows was married, in 1869, to Miss Sarah W. Coffin, a native of Edgartown, Massachusetts, daughter of Jared W. Coffin, who traces his ancestry back to Nantucket. This union was blessed with a daughter, and a few days later the young mother and beloved wife was called away, and thus a most sad bereavement came to him. The daughter, Charlotte C., is now attending the Pomona College. Several years after his wife's decease, Mr. Barrows was again married, in 1872, to Miss Ella A. Cole, of Medway, Massachusetts, daughter of Captain John Cole, a sea captain of whaling and merchant vessels. They have one child, David P. Barrows, who is also attending Pomona College, in the freshmen class. All the family are members of the Congregational Church. While in Chicago Mr. Barrows was superintendent of the Tabernacle Sunday-school and deacon in the Tabernacle Church; is now a deacon in the Nordhoff Congregational Church, and also an active worker in the Sunday-school. He is a gentleman of pleasing and genial manners, and one whose influence for good is felt in the community in which he resides. Politically, he is a Republican.
Charles G. Bartlett, one of the prominent business men of San Buenaventura, was born in the southern part of England, February 23, 1852. His parents, Samuel and Elizabeth (Griffin) Bartlett, were both natives of England. His paternal grandfather, Richard Bartlett, kept a hotel, in earlier times called an inn, at Axworth, and his material grandfather was a flax merchant. Charles G. Bartlett came to the United States when five years of age with his parents, and settled at Adrian, Michigan. In that State he was raised, educated and learned his trade of jeweler. In the year 1872 he came to San Francisco, and worked in a large establishment on Montgomery street, for three years, where they were doing a large jewelry business. In 1875 he came to Ventura, and with his brother, Albert G. Bartlett, opened a jewelry, stationery and music store, which has grown from a little room 10x15 feet into their present large business. Bartlett Bros. have now a second store in Los Angeles, of which Albert G. is manager; Charles G. is manager of the business in San Buenaventura. They enjoy the leading jewelry trade of the city; they have also had the Pacific coast steamship passenger agency for ten years. They employ three men in the San Buenaventura store. It is remarked about Mr. Bartlett that he devotes more time to his business than any other man in the city. Mr. Bartlett has built a very artistic and beautiful home on Santa Clara street, in the best portion of the city, where he enjoys the comforts of home with his industrious family.
He was united in marriage to Miss Alice Day, a native of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and daughter of James Day, of Ventura. Mrs. Bartlett had one son by a former marriage, Charles, born in Ventura. They now have two daughters: Effie and Mabel, both born in Ventura. Mr. Bartlett joined the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1872; he is a fine musician, and has been one of the foremost in organizing the fine orchestra and band in Ventura. In politics he is a Republican, but is too much engrossed in business to give much attention to political matters.
Francis J. Beckwith is one of the reliable ranchers of the section of the county where he resides. He was born in Ontario County, New York, August 14, 1834, of Scotch ancestry. His father, Nathan Beckwith, Jr., was born about the year 1798, resided in the State of New York for many years, and removed to Iowa, and from there back to Ontario County, New York, where he died at the age of sixty-five years. His grandfather, Nathan Beckwith, Sr., was a resident of Oswego County, New York, for many years, and an early settler there. Three of the Beckwiths were in the war of 1812. Mr. Beckwith's mother, Phebe (Granger) Beckwith, was born in Ontario County, New York, in 1808. She was the daughter of Elihu Granger, who came from New Jersey and settled in New York, where he resided for many years. Their ancestors had for a long time been residents of America. Mr. Beckwith was the youngest of a family of seven children, three of whom are now living. The family moved to Indiana when he was quite young, and he was reared on a farm and educated in the public schools of that State. Early in life he lost his father, and he remained on the farm with his mother until he was twenty-seven years old, and has made farming his life occupation. When Mr. Beckwith left home he removed to Michigan and purchased a farm near Vermontville, Eaton County, where he resided for two years in a log house of his own building - the only kind in which the early settlers lived. He sold out and worked in a mill for three years. In 1874 he came to California, and September 21 he came to his present ranch. He remained with his brother, Appleton Beckwith, who owned the ranch, for two years. Then he returned to Indiana, and two years later came back to California and worked for his brother nearly a year. February 3, 1881, Appleton Beckwith died, bequeathing his ranch to the subject of this sketch and another brother. This brother Mr. Beckwith has since bought out, and now owns the whole ranch, about 700 acres. Three hundred acres are farming lands, and the rest is pasture and waste land. The location of this property is in a beautiful farming country. Hogs and cattle were formerly the chief products of this district, but now the principal crop is corn and beans, twenty-five centals of corn to the acre and 2,000 pounds of Lima beans per acre being an average crop. Mr. Beckwith has made most of the improvements on the place. The grounds, with trees and flowers, everything about the house, the large barns and well-filled corn-cribs, all denote plenty and comfort. Twelve acres are in bearing English walnut trees, sixteen years old, and there is also a fine orchard containing a variety of fruit. The walnut grove yields at present $100 per acre.
In 1859 Mr. Beckwith married Miss Sarah Greenmayer, who was born in Ohio, July 5, 1841. Her father, Jesse Greenmayer, was a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1818, of Pennsylvania-Dutch ancestors. They have had a family of four children, all living. The two oldest were born in Indiana: Caroline M., September 20, 1860, now the wife of George A. Jones, and resides near Ventura; Charles F., January 12, 1862. Delbert T. was born in Michigan, January 31, 869, and Emma G. was born in California, October 22, 1878. Charles and Delbert are settled near their father, and Emma is at home with her parents. Mr. Beckwith's political views are Republican.
J. R. Bennett, a rancher near Nordhoff, was born in Ireland, December 1, 1845, the son of respectable Irish parents. In 1864, at the age of nineteen years, he set sail for America, land at Quebec, June 15 of that year. He had relatives there engaged in business, and for a time he was employed by his cousin as supercargo. They bought provisions and clothing and took them to the coast of Labrador, bringing back a load of fish and oil. After three years thus engaged he went to Thurso on the Ottawa River, where for two years he clerked in a general merchandise store. In July, 1869, he came to California nd worked in a saw-mill a year in Mendocino County. In 1870 he sent for his brother George and gave him a position in the mill. Starting out in search of easier and more profitable employment, he next went to Vallejo, where he was engaged in laying water pipes until he could accumulate a little money to go still further in search of better employment. Going to San Francisco he worked for a while on the wharf, unloading vessels, and then obtained a situation in a wholesale dairy produce store, conducted by T. H. Hatch & Co. Soon he secured a position there also for his brother George. Two years later he and his brother engaged in the dairy produce business for themselves in the California market, which they continue to the present time, supplying the elite of San Francisco with "Bennett's Celebrated Butter."
While in the market, Mr. Bennett contracted catarrh, which extended to his bronchial tubes, and he was compelled to seek a milder climate than San Francisco. Leaving the business there in charge of his brother, he started in search of health, traveling the whole length of California, from Sisson's to San Diego, and found the most desirable place for pulmonary complaints to be the Ojai Valley. Here he purchased sixty-one acres of land, on which he is now building a handsome residence. He is entering largely into fruit culture, having planted French prunes, almonds, olives, and raising grapes. The property is now in a flourishing condition, and is destined to become one of the most delightful homes on the coast.
Mr. Bennett was married in 1878, to Miss Hatty Greeleese, a native of Thurso, Canada, and a daughter of William Greeleese. Mr. Bennett became acquainted with her while in Thurso ten years previous, and succeeded in persuading her to meet him in California. Upon her arrival, Mr. Bennett went to meet her, taking a minister with him, and they were married in Sacramento. They are the parents of four interesting children, the three eldest having been born in San Francisco, and the youngest in the Ojai Valley. Their names are: Lillian, Stewart R., David S. and Anita. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are members of the Baptist Church. Mr. Bennett is independent in politics, but shares the views of the Republican party. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., and also of the F. & A .M.
H. G. Bennison, one of the business men of Santa Paula, was born in Memphis, Missouri, September 1, 1858. His father, Henry Bennison, was born in England, in 1826, and came to America in 1846. He entered the regular army of the United States, fought through the Mexican War; was then sent to Florida to fight the Indians; and also served all through the late war. Mr. Bennison's mother was nee Miss Agnes Perry, a native of Michigan. They had two children, the subject of this sketch being the first born. At twenty years of age he went to learn the blacksmith's trade in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1878. He opened a shop in Galesburg, which he conducted for several years. He sold out and came to Santa Paula, California, in 1884, and bought his present shop on Main street, where he is doing an extensive business for the size of the town. Three men are employed in the shop besides himself, and they do blacksmithing and carriage work. Since coming to California, Mr. Bennison has purchased forty acres of land, located about two miles east of Santa Paula, which he has improved and on which he has built a neat residence. With the exception of a fine orchard of a variety of fruits, the whole place is devoted to French prunes and English walnuts. The neat way in which the property is kept shows th thrift and enterprise of the owner.
Mr. Bennison was united in marriage, in 1885, to Miss Eda Olmstead, a native of California, born in 1867. They have one daughter, Eda B., born in Santa Paula, December 22, 1887. Mr. Bennison is a Republican, and a worthy member of the I. O. O. F.
Tyler Bither is another of the worthy pioneers of California. He was born in Houlton, Aroostock County, Maine, June 15, 1828. His father, Benjamin bither, was also a native of Maine, and his grandfather came from England to that State in an early day. Mr. Bither's mother, Anna (Tyler) Bither, was a native of Maine and of Dutch descent. The subject of this sketch remained in his native State until twenty-three years of age, when, in 1854, he came to California, and for twelve years was engaged in mining in Tuolumne County. He dug from $2.50 to $100 per day, and in one pan got six ounces of gold, which he sold for $102. When he quit mining he went to San Josquin, took up Government land, which he improved, and ten years later sold it and located in San Luis Obispo County, remaining in that place one year. In 1877 he came to Ventura and, after renting land three years, purchased the farm of 100 acres on which he now resides. This he has improved, and his home is a comfortable and attractive one. Mr. Bither is devoting 400 acres to the cultivation of Lima beans and also small white beans, and is realizing from $30 to $80 per acre from his crops.
The subject of this sketch was married in 1852, to Miss Sarah J. Ward, who was born in Massachusetts in 1836. For thirty-eight years she has shared his joys and sorrows, and knows much of pioneer life. They have reared a family of seven children, all now living, viz.: Arthur A., born in Maine in 1853, resides in the San Joaquin Valley; Marion J., born in Tuolumne County, California, in 1861, is now the wife of J. M. Coffman, of Santa Barbara; Annie S., also born in Tuolumne County, now the wife of W. S. Newell, of Ventura; W. W. W., one of triplets, now a resident of Ventura, the other two having died a few hours after birth; B. F. and Minnie M., both born in San Joaquin; and S. J. Eva, born in Ventura in 1880.
Politically Mr. Bither was formerly a Douglas Democrat, but since the war has been a firm Republican. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. lodge. His mother was a Freewill Baptist and his father a Universalist. Mrs. Bither was raised a Congregationalist.
Nathan W. Blanchard, a prominent pioneer of Ventura County and founder of the town of Santa Paula, was born in Madison, Maine, July 24, 1831. His father, Merrill Blanchard, was born in Abington, Massachusetts, July 18, 1806. His grandfather, Dean Blanchard, and his great-grandfather, Captain Thomas Blanchard, and his ancestors two generations back were natives of the same State. His ancestor was of French Huguenot stock, who settled near London, having been driven from his own country by persecution. His ancestor, Thomas Blanchard, the ancestor of a large part of the New England families of that name, came from London in 1639. In the manufacturing interest of that Commonwealth they have been active as machinists and inventors, doing a large share in the production of labor-saving machinery. Mr. Blanchard's mother, nee Eunice Weston, was born in Madison, Maine, on the Kennebec River, in 1804, the daughter of Deacon Benjamin Weston. At that point two generations of the family had resided. Mr. Blanchard's parents had six children, three daughters and three sons, and they are all living. Mr. Blanchard was educated at Houlton Academy and Waterville College - now Colby University - where he received his degrees.
In 1854 he came to California and engaged in mining for a season near Columbia, Tuolumne County, and in the fall went to Iowa Hill, Placer county, and conducted a meat market there for four years; then he went to Dutch Flat, continuing in part in the same business several years longer. From 1864 to 1872 he was engaged in lumbering with excellent success. Selling out he came to Ventura County and in partnership with E. B. Higgins purchased the site of the town of Santa Paula - 2,700 acres. In the fall of 1872 he bought Mr. Higgins' interest and sold it to E. L. Bradley. The first at once began to make valuable improvements on the property, in fencing and conducting water to it from the bed of the creek two miles above the town. From it they also obtained water for the lands and power for their flouring-mill, which they built. This mill and all the property were managed by Mr. Blanchard, Mr. Bradley being a non-resident. In 1885 the property was partitioned, and Mr. Blanchard now gives his whole attention to the production of citrus fruits. In 1874 he had an orange grove of 100 acres, planted by Mr. Clark, who did the work for an interest on the same; and they afterward bought Mr. Clark's interest. In 1876 they budded 1,000 trees to lemons and as many more to different varieties of oranges. The orchard remained so long in an unbearing condition that most people had decided that it would never bear; and not until 1888 did the orchard return a profit. In 1889 Mr. Blanchard shipped 8,386 boxes of oranges and 2,540 boxes of lemons. The prospects now are that it will continue to increase in productiveness for many years. No fertilizer has been used; the soil being a very deep, rich loam.
The family are delightfully situated in their California home, surrounded with the trees and flowers of their own planting, and overlooking the town which Mr. Blanchard platted and with which he has had so much to do in its improvement and growth. He has also aided materially in the construction of the academy; and is now president of its board of trustees; has also taken a lively interest in the public schools, serving as trustee of the same several years. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the three principal branches of Freemasonry, having passed the chairs in both the blue lodge and the commandery and also the lodge of Odd Fellows. In his religious views he is a Congregationalist, and in his political a Republican. He is a good, straight-forward business man and unassuming in his manner. While in Placer County, he was elected District Collector and served two years, then was elected to the State Legislature, and subsequently declined a nomination tendered him, when the nomination insured an election. In the Legislature he served efficiently on the Committee on Education, and was author of a bill enacted into a law which suppressed an immorality prevalent in the mining towns of the State, namely, bands of dancing girls, who periodically visited the mining communities, played the tambourine and made the drinking saloons their headquarters.
In the flal of 1864 he went East on a visit, and December 21, married Miss Ann Elizabeth Hobbs, a native of North Berwick Maine, and daughter of Wilson Hobbs, an old resident of that state. They have two daughters and one son, all born in California, namely: Sarah E., Eunice W. and Nathan W. The elder daughter is now in San Francisco studying art.
A. W. Blumberg is the proprietor and manager of the Ojai Hot Springs, in the Matilija Canon, located fifteen miles from Ventura and five miles from Nordhoff. Here Mr. Blumberg has what might be called a village for the sick, the halt, and the invalid of every description, and here are located three springs. The Hot Sulphur Spring is 104° and is impregnated with sulphate of soda, magnesia and other healing properties, and is the safest and most healing to be found. Every one who has tried its efficiency speaks in the most emphatic manner of the benefits derived. Another fine spring is called the Fountain of Life, which is tonic in its effect. The third spring Mr. Blumberg calls the Mother Eve spring. It is alternative and cathartic in its effect. It is one of the unexplained mysteries of nature how these delightful health-giving fountains should flow from our beneficent mother earth in the same locality. The canon in which the little health town is located has a beautiful, clear mountain stream, the San Buenaventura River, running through it, filled with a great many shy little trout, that all can fish for but only the expert can catch. This romantic spot is hemmed in by mountains 1,000 feet high on either side, and those who enjoy wild and rugged scenery can here find a place of delight. It is about nine hundred feet above the sea, and is completely shut in from the breezes of the great Pacific, fifteen miles away. Mr. Blumberg has eighty acres of land, in the center of which he has built the Matilija House, which is designed with kitchen, dining-room, parlor and office, near which are five or six cottages in which guests may have the quiet of home. There are also some tents, the bath-house, a store and post office, all built and conducted by Mr. Blumberg, who is also the Postmaster. He is an enterprising business man, well informed, pleasing in his manner, and takes great pains to look after the comfort of his guests. Consequently, his resort is fast becoming a popular one.
The subject of this sketch was born in Roxbury, Delaware County, New York, July 9, 1836, the son of Christopher Blumberg. His grandfather, George Blumberg, came from Germany, was detained in the British army, and afterward became a settler of Delaware County, New York. Mr. Blumberg's mother, nee Jane Mackey, was a native of New York. Her father, Thomas Mackey, was also born in the same State. They were of Scotch ancestry. Mr. Blumberg received his education in New York, and afterward went to Iowa, where he was admitted to the bar. In 1872 he came to California, and after residing in Los Angeles one or two years came to Ventura County, where he has since remained. He built the first hotel in Nordhoff, for which he received the twenty acres of land on which it stands. He arrived in Nordhoff January 12, 1874, and at that time the town was in the embryo state. Mr. Blumberg named the hotel which he built The Nordhoff, but it has since been called the Ojai House. For three years he was its proprietor and conducted it successfully. The land for the town site was bought for $4.25 per acre, and sixteen years later Mr. Blumberg sold one-fourth of an acre for $5,000. He still has considerable real-estate interests in the town. He started the Hot Springs enterprise January 20, 1887.
Mr. Blumberg was married in 1859, to Miss Catherine E. Vancuren, a native of New York, daughter of Calvin Van Curen, also a native of New York. Their union has been blest with five children, four of whom are living, viz.: Ines O., Wheeler C., Birdsel W. and Irene M. The last named was the first child born in Nordhoff. Mr. Blumberg is a Republican and was elected Justice of the Peace by his party. He is a Master Mason.
C. D. Bonestel is a pioneer business man of the State, having landed on the golden shore in 1849. He was born May 30, 1826 in New York, a son of John Bonestel, who was a native of the same State. His ancestors on his father's side were German. His mother was a native of Connecticut. In their family were four sons and two daughters. Mr. Bonestel, our subject, and one of his sisters, are all that are now living. He was brought up on a farm and when grown he came to California by way of Panama, and during a part of the succeeding winter he followed gold-mining in El Dorado County, on Hangtown Creek, in partnership with three others. Intending to build a saw-mill, they obtained the material and machinery - the freight charges on which were excessively large - and the rains set in, compelling them to abandon the enterprise for the season. They continued mining until they obtained gold enough to pay these charges and other debts on the mill material, when Mr. Bonestel found he had about $700 left. Then, with a partner, he bought a log hotel in Placerville, at $3,000, with the aid of borrowed money. They ran this hotel for two years, and in 1854 erected a brick building at Placerville, a place then of 4,000 or 5,000 inhabitants. The lower story was rented for stores, and above was a concert hall. Mr. Bonestel speculated in cattle and horses, and during the winters of 1860-'63 he was clerk of the California State Legislature. In 1862 he started on a visit to the East, taking passage on board the Golden Gate, which had about 350 passengers. She was burned on the sea, only 150 passengers making their escape. The boat in which Mr. Bonestel was taking refuge was water-logged as night was approaching. The other two boats came along, one on each side, and took the passengers out, bailed the boat and the load was evenly distributed between the three boats. During the night the boats became separated. In Mr. Bonestel's boat were four sailors, and they supposed when morning came that, as the sea was against them, they would still be found above Mancinillo. They rowed hard and took turns at the oars all day. As night approached and no signs of the town appearing, they decided to land through the surf on a sand beach. They were upset in the surf, but got ashore. One man had $6,000 in a buckskin vest, and lest it should sink him he took it off. The sailors advised him to make it fast to the boat, and it would be wafted ashore; but he endeavored to bring it in his hands and was obliged to let go of it and it was all forever lost. Another man, who had a gold-brick of about $2,000 value, tied up in a handkerchief, fastened it to the boat and it came ashore all right.
After landing the party traveled several miles before finding potable water, arriving at a river. Soon afterward they reached a small Mexican hamlet and learned they were 100 miles below mMancinillo and could not go back on the coast, but would be obliged to make a detour back in the country to find a road on which they could travel. They were but partially clothed, as those who had clothes divided with those who had nearly nothing. They supposed that the country was infested with Mexican robbers, and were trying to engage the Mexicans to take them on horseback to the coast, when one little Frenchman, who had no garments, was particularly afraid of the Mexicans. While they were talking they heard the clatter of horses' feet and the clanking of spurs and swords. The Frenchman started into the brush as fast as he could run, to escape for his life, when the party came up and proved to be men from another village who heard of the disaster and came up to see what assistance they could render. Mr. Bonestel says he always laughs when he remembers the figure that little Frenchman made as he ran, in his red shirt and drawers, as fast as if he had been shot out of a cannon.
They finally reached the town, and twenty days elapsed after the disaster to their boat before they obtained another, on which they proceeded to New York. After remaining in New York three months visiting his family, he took passage on the steamer Ariel for California, which carried 800 men, women and children. Some apprehensions were entertained that the rebel vessel Alabama might fall in with them and capture them; and much sport was indulged in concerning the matter. Several times it was stated that the Alabama was sighted, which however proved each time to be a hoax; but when off the east end of the island of Cuba Mr. Bonestel and others were below, eating their dinner. The butler put down his head and cried out, "The Alabama is after us!" Mr. Bonestel replied, "Oh, that's chesnuts;" but in a very short time they heard the report of a gun, and he and his friends made an effort to get upon deck. They were met by a crowd of people trying to get below. The shot which they heard was indeed the Alabama firing a blank cartridge at them to make them slack their speed and surrender. The Captain of the Ariel did not stop, and soon they saw two puffs of smoke from two of the guns of the Alabama, and they saw, or supposed they saw, two large balls coming directly toward them. They seemed as plain as a base ball. One of them struck the main mast and tore a large piece out of it and caused the splinters of the mast to fly all over her deck. The Ariel was stopped and a boat was sent by the Alabama to take their captain. All the passengers were filled with surprise and terror; some of the ladies fainted, and others went into hysterics. When the officer, Lieutenant Lowe, came on deck, many implored him to spare them and asked him to save them. He replied, "Ladies and gentlemen, not one of you will be harmed or injured;" and then they began to ask him all kinds of questions what he was going to do with them. Their questions were all answered in a polite manner; and such was the gallant bearing of the officer that they actually began to admire him. It was finally decided that the passengers would be landed at Kingston; but when they arrived at that point a vessel came out, which was spoken by Captain Semmes of the Alabama. He then sent word for the Captain of the Ariel to come on board the Alabama, informing him that the yellow fever was raging in Kingston and he did not wish to disembark. He said that if the captain of the Ariel would give bonds for the value of the boat - $300,000 - he would let them go. The arrangement was made and they were permitted to resume their voyage, and they arrived at San Francisco January 2, 1863.
Mr. Bonestel resumed his place in the Senate that winter as clerk, and afters its adjournment went to Austin, Nevada, and speculated in mining property and also opened an office or bank, with a partner, and conducted it for two years. He then bought out his partner and the First National Bank was started there. He closed his business and was elected vice-president of the First National Bank of Nevada. At the end of a year he found his health failing, and he came to San Francisco, bought an interest in a book and stationery store, and remained there until 1871. Then, selling out, he made another trip to the East, and returned in the winter of 1872. He then was a resident of San Francisco until January, 1875, speculating in stocks; and finally he came to Ventura County and four years held the position of under sheriff. The next two years he speculated in grain and cattle. In 1882, forming a partnership with Messrs. Chaffee and Gilbert, under the firm name of Chaffee, Gilbert & Bonestel, they afterward added the lumber trade to their business of general merchandising, and since then they have been carrying on these trades until February, 1890. They then sold out their lumber business. In October the farmers organized and incorporated a lumber company under the name of the People's Lumber Company, and elected Mr. Bonestel their president and general manager of the company.
Mr. Bonestel was brought up a Democrat, but during the war became a Republican, and so has since remained.
He was married in 1868, to Miss Nannie Smith, a native of Louisiana, but brought when an infant by her parents to California. Their three children, all born in San Francisco, are: Cora, Alonzo and Edith. Cora is now the wife of F. J. Sifford, of Ventura.
John Borchard is a native of Hanover, Germany, born October 8, 1838. Both his mother and father were Germans and both are still living, at the ages of eighty and seventy-seven years, respectively. Mr. Borchard contemplates returning to his native land to visit them during the present summer, 1890. The subject of this sketch is another illustration of the way the thrifty sons of Germany succeed when they come to the United States. He came to his present location in 1871, and purchased 400 acres of land, on which he is now raising barley, beans, and corn. He owns 4,000 acres on the Conejo, where he is raising cattle and hogs, keeping an average of 400 head of grade Durham cattle, and from 400 to 500 head of hogs. He also owns property in Texas, 6,000 acres of land, which he rents to four men. On his Conejo ranch, Mr. Borchard is building a brick house. This ranch is divided into six or seven pastures, and each is supplied with plenty of spring water and fenced with wire. fencing.
Mr. Borchard was married in Germany in 1865, to Miss Elizabeth Chothelm, a native of that country. They have three daughters, all born at their present home in Ventura County, California: Mary, Ann, and Theresa. The family are consistent members of the Catholic Church.
Notwithstanding that Mr. Borchard is a rich gentleman, he calls himself an old Dutchman, and works as hard as ever he did, the thrift and economy acquired in the fatherland still staying by him in California. During the nineteen years he has lived on this coast, he has seen many remarkable changes, and has given a helping hand to many a German friend.
J. C. Brewster, a well known and highly esteemed citizen of San Buenaventura, who has been connected with the growth of the place and interested in its moral and business welfare, and now the proprietor of the art gallery, was born in Wayne County, Ohio, December 31, 1841. His father, Calvin Brewster, was born in Canterbury, Windham County, Connecticut, in 1787, a descendant of Sir William Brewster who came to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620. He (Sir William) was the father of Love Brewster, and the generations in succession were Wrestling, Jonathan, who came to Windham, Connecticut, in 1729, Peleg, born in 1717, who must have removed to Canterbury when quite young, for his oldest son, John - who made the sixth generation - was born in that town in 1739. Peleg was Mr. Brewster's great-grandfather. Jedediah, a younger son of his, was Mr. Brewster's grandfather. The record of Jedediah's birth was lost; but the town records show that he was married to Prudence Robinson May 19, 1773. According to the good-fashion in those good old times, they had a good large family, and about every two years there was a record of a birth in the family. The names on the record are as follows: Elizabeth, Silas, Anson, Florina, Sarah, Calvin and Jedediah, Jr. Elizabeth, Sarah and Jedediah died in childhood, and January, 1789, the good wife Prudence died, and the next autumn Jedediah married for his second wife Miss Asenath Hapgood, to aid in the care of the family. He removed a few years later to Berne, Albany County, New York. In 1808 he sold some of his land to Silas Brewster and the deed descends to him as living at Berne. The same year he sold his homestead to Deacon Barnabas Allen, whose son still owns it. It is about four miles from the village of Canterbury. A descendant of the Brewsters was recently there and was shown around by the proprietor. She drank from the old well that had been in uninterrupted use for more than a century. The farm is considered one of the best in that sectiion, although a Western farmer would consider it very poor land. The old burying-ground was about a mile from the house. It was given to that part of the town by one of the Brewsters, and has been used by four or five generations and about a dozen families. Here are the names of Prudence Brewster and the children alluded to. In the lot are some stones so old that the inscriptions have become completely defaced, and some have sunk so deeply in the ground that only their tops are visible. The graveyard, however, is kept in excellent condition by a Miss Winchester, whose ancestors have been buried there for several generations. She is a spinster of eighty-five years - the last of her family. She has made provisions in her will to have the graveyard kept in condition after she has gone. She remember old 'Diah Brewster, as she called him, and said her mother used to go over there on certain occasions.
Mr. Brewster's mother, whose maiden name was Harriet Cramer, was a native of Strausburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and was born in 1813, of Dutch ancestry. The parents were married in 1837 and had a family of six children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the second. He was eight years old when the family moved to Iowa. Before he was of age he taught two terms of school, holding a first grade certificate both in Iowa and Missouri. He began to learn the art of photography in 1860, in Warsaw, Illinois, and since then has devoted his entire attention to it. In 1862 he came to California and for a short time taught a select school in Sacramento city. Soon afterward he engaged in partnership with Frank M. Stamper, and subsequently he sold to his partner and took charge of a photograph gallery on J street, that city, and continued in its charge until the proprietor sold it. Then he went to Virginia City, Nevada, and took charge of the gallery of R. H. Vance, of New York, who was a pioneer photographer of the coast. Next he had charge of a gallery at Carson City, for the same party.
In the spring of 1865 he went to Idaho with a Concord wagon and four bronchos, for Sutterly Brothers, and opened business at Ruby City. They had good success there, and his salary was $50 a week, and board without room $16 a week. In the fall they went to Placerville and also to Centerville; thence to Salt Lake City. There Mr. Sutterly built a gallery and Mr. Brewster continued to run the tent at Douglas, three miles east. In the spring of 1866 they moved into the new gallery and did a large business, the receipts sometimes reaching $200 a day. Soon after this Mr. Brewster went to Helena, Montana, and opened a gallery for himself. In the fall of 1868 he sold it and returned to Salt Lake City, and continued in business there and at several other towns in the vicinity, with fine success, until the next spring. He then went to Nevada, and was there until 1871, with his brother-in-law as partner. They had a large gallery and fine building. Thence he went to Visalia and to San Francisco, where his mother then resided. His health had failed, but soon after returning home he recovered, and began work for William Shaw, on Kearny street; but at length he was discharge because he would not work on Sunday. He then worked for Bradley & Rulofson until he decided to begin on his own account. He had a nice trade at San Luis Obispo until 1874, when he came to San Buenaventura and opened a gallery near the mission church. A year afterward he moved between Oak and California streets and built a gallery, with the privilege of moving it. In the spring of 1877 he bought his present location on Oak street and moved the gallery there, building additions to it, and has since then conducted his business with brilliant success. His gallery is splendidly equipped, and is filled with samples of his work which reflect great credit upon his skill. He was among the very first to adopt the dry-plate method, so superior to the old method.
He has recently built a nice two-story residence on Santa Clara street, surrounding it with choice flowers and young trees and shrubs. In 1875 he married Mrs. Mary O. Sinclair, widow of J. S. Sinclair; her maiden name was Mary Oberia Hadley. They have had two children, but lost the little son. Their daughter, Pansy Augusta, was born in Ventura, August 15, 1880. Mr Brewster was elected one of the School Trustees of the city; he is a Prohibition Republican, a business man of talent and a citizen without reproach. He is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, of which denomination his family are also members. He is treasurer of the Young Men's Christian Association, and has been made an honorary member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. He is also Treasurer and Depositary of the American Bible Society at Ventura.
A. W. Browne came to Ventura County in the fall of 1873, from his native city, Philadelphia, where he was born February 9, 1852. His father, N. B. Browne, was born in Philadelphia, in 1818; was a lawyer and a Representative in the Legislature from his district; held the office of Postmaster of Philadelphia under the administration of President Lincoln; was Sub-Treasurer and had charge of the Mint and Custom House; helped to organize the Trust and Safe Deposit Company of that city; was president of the company, and it might be said that he was the originator of that enterprise. The ancestors of his family were originally English. Mr. Browne's mother, nee Mary Jane Kendall, was a native of Reading, Pennsylvania, and also of English descent. The subject of this sketch was the third of a family of two sons and two daughters, and his mother's death occurred when he was only four years old. Mr. Browne received his education at Sanders' Institute, Philadelphia, and at Williston Seminary, East Hampton, Massachusetts. For five years he was employed in the Trust and Safe Deposit Company, Philadelphia, beginning as errand boy and rising to the position of receiving teller.
He came to California and engaged in sheep-raising, in Ventura County, ten years, being in partnership with Levi Taylor. They had as many as 12,000 sheep at a time, divided in flocks of 2,000 each. he disposed os his sheep, and afterward purchased 5,000 acres of land and engaged in the cattle business on the ex-Mission rach, ten miles east of Ventura. He sold out in 1887, and for a year was one of the managers of the Anacapa Hotel. In 1882 he had served as Supervisor, and resigned the office to go away with his sheep. He was again elected, in 1888, to represent the town of San Buenaventura on the County Board, which position he now holds. He is the secretary of the Republican Central Committee, of Ventura County, and is a tried and true Republican of intelligence and ability, and a leader in his party.
Mr. Browne was married, in 1878, to Miss Neotia Rice, a native of California, born in 1860. She is the daughter of Peter Rice, who traces his ancestry back to the Germans. They have four children, all born in Ventura County, viz.: Albert O., Valeria O., Nathaniel B. and Samuel H. Mr. Browne takes a just pride in being a member of the California National Guard, of Ventura; is Second Lieutenant of the Company.
P. L. Byers was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, December 15, 1845. His grandfather, David Byers, came from Germany about the year 1768, and settled in Pennsylvania where Peter Byers was born in 1812. He was a well-to-do farmer and wedded Miss Susanna Sourwine. They were the parents of thirteen children, the ninth one being P. L. Byers, the subject of this sketch. He was reared and educated in his native state, and when eighteen years of age entered the war, enlisting in Company K, Eighty Ohio Cavalry. He was in the Army of the Potomac and participated in all the battles of the campaign. At the battle of Winchester, September 19, 1864, he was wounded in the right arm and laid up for three months in the Little York hospital, Pennsylvania. Upon his recovery, he returned to his regiment at Beverly, West Virginia, and served until the close of the war, being mustered out August 5, 1865. On account of the wound received, he gets a pension of $2 per month.
After leaving the service, Mr. Byers returned to the quiet life of the farm, and has been engaged in agricultural pursuits ever since. He came to Santa Paula, June 25, 1875, and after seven years gardening, he purchased his present home property of five acres. He has built a nice house, planted a hedge and all kinds of fruit trees and small fruit, and has one of the neatest little places in all the county. Mr. Byers was married, in 1870, to Miss A. Davidson, of Illinois. She was born in 1850, daughter of John Davidson of that State. Her ancestors were natives of Kentucky, but her father was born in Pennsylvania. They have had eight children, six of whom are living. The first two were born in Missouri and the others in California. Their names are Norman O., Ona M., John L., Creed H., Marge E. and Earl. Mrs. Byers is a member of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Byers has never joined any society, is a strictly temperate man, Democratic in his political views, is an industrious man, and one highly respected by his fellow citizens.