Richard Gird is the well-known owner of the Chino Ranch, San Bernardino County. The few facts obtained in regard to his life and successful career form an interesting chapter in this Memorial History. Mr. Gird was born in Herkimer County, New York, in 1836. His father, John Gird, was a native of New Jersey, a farmer by occupation, and to that calling he reared his son, giving him the benefits of such an education as could be procured in the common schools. The subject of this sketch was of studious habits and disposition, and made the best of his advantages. He devoted considerable attention to the study of mechanics and other scientific studies. Of an ambitious disposition and desirous of a more extended field of operations, he sought the far West, and when less than seventeen years of age, in 1852, he came by steamer to California. Soon after his arrival he went to mining in El Dorado County. After some months in that calling he located on the Russian river in Sonoma County, and engaged in farming and stock raising. In 1858 he embarked for South America, and upon his arrival there was for several months engaged in prospecting for mineral wealth, after which he engaged in railroad building, under the old California pioneer, Harry Meigs.
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A year spent in South America satisfied him, and after a short visit to his old home in the East, Mr. Gird returned to California. Upon his return he engaged in surveying until 1861. In that year he located in Arizona, and for several years was engaged in prospecting the mining regions in the vicinity of La Paz on the Colorado River, and also engaged as a surveyor. In 1864 Mr. Gird was authorized by the Territorial Legislature to make a map of Arizona. This work was successfully accomplished. The map was the first Territorial map ever issued. Its accuracy and reliability was acknowledged by all, and it became the basis upon which were founded the subsequent military and other maps that were issued in 1866. Mr. Gird returned to California and located in San Francisco. There he established himself in manufacturing mining machinery, engines, etc. He was thus employed until 1872, when he again located in Arizona, and was for years engaged in assaying, superintending the construction of mills, furnaces, and surveying. In 1878 Mr. Gird was prospecting in the now famous Tombstone district. Himself and the Schieffellin brothers were the original discoverers of that district, and through the exertions of those three men was laid the foundation of one of the richest mining districts in the world. From the very first Mr. Gird was the leading spirit in develop ing the mineral wealth of that section. He was one of the original incorporators and superintendent of the Tombstone Mill and Mining Company. He designed the first mill ever erected in the district, and turned out the first bullion. He was equally prominent in building up the city of Tombstone, and was the first Postmaster appointed, and the first Mayor elected in that city. In 1881 Mr. Gird sold out his interest in Tombstone, came to San Bernardino County, and purchased the Chino ranch, a description of which is included in this volume. Upon his taking possession of his ranch, Mr. Gird began the extensive operations of developing and building up the Chino Valley, that has made the Chino ranch and Richard Gird household words in Southern California.
Mr. Gird is a man of broad views, marked ability and sound business principles. His name is synonymous with honesty and straightforward dealing with all who know him, and his friends are legion. Aside from his enterprises at Chino, he has been connected with other industries and interests in the county. He is one of the original incorporators of the Farmers’ Exchange Bank, of San Bernardino, and is vice-president of the same. He is also director in the San Bernardino National Bank.
He is a strong supporter of churches and schools, and his purse is ever open to any call that advance the interests of either. In political matters he is a stanch Republican, taking a prominent part in the councils of his party. He has for years been a member of the County Central Committee, and was chairman of the same in 1884. In 1888 he was a member of the State Central Committee, and in the same year was elected alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention. In 1881 he was married to Miss Nelly McCarty.