Biography of Amos W. Bemis
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Amos W. Bemis, living two and one-half miles west of San Bernardino, on Fifth Street, is one of the early and successful pioneers of this county. He was born in Jefferson County, New York, and is a son of Alvin Bemis, who with his family removed to Ohio when Amos was eight years of age. In 1844 he removed to Lee County, Iowa, where he died in 1847. The family lived in Lee County three years after Mr. Bemis’ death, and in 1851 the mother, seven sons and three daughters, started for California. Amos being the eldest the others naturally looked to him, and on his shoulders rested the greater responsibility. They spent two winters in Ogden, Utah.
In 1853 he married Miss Julia McCullough, a native of New York State. Her father, Levi McCullough, moved from Erie County, New York, to Michigan, in 1836. He was therefore a pioneer of that State, and was a citizen of Jackson when it could boast of one store, one mill and a few small houses. In 1846 he left there for Iowa. At this time the Mexican war came on and he entered the service as a volunteer and served until the close. He then joined his family in Iowa, and almost immediately set out for Ogden, Utah, arriving there in 1852, and there it was that Mr. Bemis met and married his daughter.
They started across the plains March 20, 1853, and June 5, of the same year, they arrived in San Bernardino County. He first bought ten acres of land; he now owns a fine farm of 200 acres. For twenty-five years he engaged in stock-raising, but recently he gives more attention to general farming. He has built an excellent residence on Fifth Street, and has a fine orchard of semi-tropical fruits; he began operations here by camping out one entire summer. The city of San Bernardino was then only a miserable little fort. They had some tough times at the start, and with bears and Indians all around life was uncertain. Two of his brothers thus met their death; Samuel Bemis, his older brother, was killed by the bears while searching for a younger brother, Nephi Bemis, who had been killed by the Indians. Could those of the present day who come to this magnificent country, with its fruitful fields and pleasant groves and commodious residences, know but one-half the dangers and privations, labors and hardships endured by the pioneers, surely they would more fully appreciate their advantages and show more respect, as well as give more glory to the frontiersman who had the nerve and push to develop so thoroughly the resources of the country.
Mr. Bemis has been eminently successful, and his excellent wife has been a close sympathizer to rejoice with him in prosperity, and to labor, cheer and comfort him when Fortune hid her face. They have brought up seven children, namely: Frances, now Mrs. Milo Brooks; Amos Henry, Levi, Irvine, Wilson, George and Loran.