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John B. Tays is one of the early settlers and enterprising and progressive citizens of Ontario. He is the owner of forty acres of land in that colony and has for years been building up the horticultural industries of his section. His place is located on the south side of Thirteenth Street, east of Euclid Avenue. Mr. Tays purchased this land in 1883 and immediately commenced its improvement, planting trees and vines. He is justly ranked among the pioneer horticulturists of Ontario, and has produced one of the representative places of his section. He now has twenty acres in citrus fruits, of which fifteen acres are in oranges of the Washington Navel and Mediterranean Sweet varieties; five acres are in lemons. His fine vineyards contain twenty acres, fourteen acres being devoted to wine grapes of the Zinfandel, Berger and Riesling varieties, and six acres to Muscat raisin grapes. There are also 400 olive trees upon his laud, three years old. The products of his vineyards are cared for upon the ranch. He dries, packs and ships his raisins, and to dispose of his wine grapes has built a well-ordered and complete winery for distilling the brandies necessary to fortify his sweet wines. He is successful in this industry and his products find a ready sale at good prices. A neat and comfortable cottage residence, suitable outbuildings, etc., attest the well-ordered home.
Mr. Tays has also been identified with building up the town of Ontario. Among his improvements in that respect was the improvements on the villa lot on the corner of D and Euclid avenues, where he lived for the first three years of his residence in Ontario colony. He has ever been a public-spirited citizen and a strong supporter of schools and churches, notably so in donating the lot upon which stands the Methodist Church. No enterprise is started in the colony that has the merit of advancing the interests of the community that does not find a supporter in Mr. Tays.
The subject of this sketch is a native of Nova Scotia, dating his birth in 1842. He was reared and schooled in his native place until twenty years old, and then started in life by crossing the continent to British Columbia, where he engaged in mining in the Cariboo and Koolama districts until 1869. He then came to the United States and spent the next two years in the mining districts of Montana, after which, in 1872, he went to Texas and located at El Paso, where he spent several years as a miner, stock-grower, hotelkeeper, etc. The years of 1881 and 1882 he passed in Mexico, engaged in mercantile pursuits and packing supplies. His enterprises there proved successful and in 1883 he concluded to seek a more desirable occupation and place of residence, and therefore chose the Ontario colony.
In 1878 Mr. Tays married Mrs. Amelia St. Vrain, a native of Illinois. No children have blessed this union, but Mr. and Mrs Tays are rearing two children, Amelia and Mary Roman, the daughters of a brother of Mrs. Tays. Most people, in visiting Ontario, are struck with the so called gravity car upon the Euclid Avenue line, whereby the mules or horses are transported from the heights to the lower terminus of the road. This effective and labor saving arrangement is the invention of Mr. Tays.