Captain Joseph S. Garcia. -There is no man in Ontario who is better known or more respected than Captain Joseph S. Garcia. He is a California pioneer of the days of 1849, and has for the past twenty years been identified with the agricultural and horticultural interests of Cucamonga, Etiwanda and Ontario. No history of San Bernardino County would be complete without a more than passing mention of Captain Garcia. He was born on the island of Fayal in 1823. His parents were subjects of Portugal and natives of that island. His youth was spent in acquiring an education until fourteen years of age, and he was then apprenticed to Captain James Woolley, of the ship Louisa of Lynn, Massachusetts, to learn the calling of a mariner or seaman. His first experience was on a whaling voyage, and later in various freighting voyages to different ports of the world. The subject of this sketch was a straightforward, manly youth and an apt scholar, speaking fluently four different languages, viz.: Portuguese, Spanish, English and French. He made rapid progress, and in 1847 was a second officer, and two years later rose to be chief officer of some of the famous packet ships of that day.
In 1849 he was chief officer of the large clipper ship “Mary Ellen,” bound from Boston to San Francisco, and upon his arrival at the latter port he decided to try life in the new El Dorado of the West. He made his home in San Francisco and in 1850 bought an interest in the schooner ” S. D. Bailey ” and was placed in command of the vessel in the coasting trade. During the next eighteen years Captain Garcia was actively employed as owner, master, etc., of vessels employed in deep water and coasting voyages from the port of San Francisco. He was well and favorably known in that city. In 1869 he was induced by the Cucamonga vineyard owners to take charge of that plantation, and he took up his residence at that place.
In 1871 he purchased a 400-acre tract and engaged in wine-making until 1874, when he sold out to I. W. Hellman, I. M. Hellman, J. G. Downey and B. Dreyfus, for the sum of $45,000, and now it is worth about half a million dollars. He then purchased several claims of Government land and water rights from settlers and built upon and improved the place, and devoted it chiefly to the raising of cattle and sheep. In 1881 he sold this interest to the Chaffey brothers (George and Wm. B.) and they named it Etiwanda. Captain Garcia lived in Cucamonga a year and then bonded 6,500 acres of Cucamonga lands, then owned by a San Francisco company comprising John Archibald, Dr. Henry Gibbons, Sr., Captain Matthew Turner and others, with half the water flowing from San Antonio creek or canon, for $65,000, to Chaffey brothers. It is now called Ontario. In 1883 the Captain moved to Ontario, his present home, which is a forty-acre tract on the east side of Euclid avenue, between Seventeenth and Eighteenth streets. Since that time he has devoted himself to improving his lands. At this writing he has twenty acres in fruits, classed as follows: five acres in Washington Navel oranges, four to five years old; six acres in French prunes and nine acres in peaches, apricots, apples, pears and other deciduous fruits; twenty acres of his land is devoted to hay and grain.
Captain Garcia has always taken a deep interest in the success of the Ontario colony, and has been a liberal supporter of all enterprises that tended to advance the welfare of the community in which he resides. His straightforward, manly course of life has endeared him in the hearts of a large circle of friends. He is a strong supporter of schools and churches and is a trustee in the First Presbyterian Church of Ontario and was for many years a school trustee in the Cucamonga district. In political matters he is a Republican and has served many times as a delegate in the county conventions; and as a member of the Society of California Pioneers, and also of Phoenix Lodge, F. &. A. M., of Sari Bernardino.
In 1861 Captain Garcia was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth L. Ford, a native of Vermont, and the daughter of Caleb Ford, a prominent family of that State.