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Among the leading horticulturists of Riverside colony none are more deserving of mention than the subject of this sketch. Mr. Hart is a native of Cortland County, New York, born in 1835, and reared and received his education in his native place.
At the age of eighteen years he started for the great West, and located in Beloit, Wisconsin. His boyhood days, when not attending school, were spent in his father’s store, and was somewhat schooled in mercantile life, but upon his advent in Wisconsin he engaged in farming. He spent eight years in that State, and in 1862 moved to Iowa, and settled near Belle Plain in Tama County.
Mr. Hart settled down to farm life, but the war of the Rebellion, then raging, appealed so strongly to his patriotism that he entered the United States military service as a private in the Sixth Regiment of Iowa Cavalry. The Indian outbreak of the Northwest was then at its height, and his command sent him in that direction. He participated in the Indian wars and campaigns that followed, and served faithfully, discharging his duties in a soldierly manner, and was promoted to be Sergeant. It was not until the fall of 1865 that he received his honorable discharge from the service. After this he spent a year in Wisconsin, and in 1866 returned to Iowa and continued his farming operations until 1873.
In that year he came to California and settled in Riverside. Upon his arrival he purchased from L. C. Waite a squatter’s right to an eighty-acre tract of Government land, three miles south of Riverside. Forty acres of this land, at that time, had been plowed, but no attempt had been made in tree planting; the balance was as it came from nature’s hand. Mr. Hart took possession of this land and engaged in horticultural pursuits and general farming, which he successfully conducted for years. He now owns forty acres of land, fifteen acres of which are devoted to raisin-growing, three acres in lemons, and the balance, except that occupied by his residence, outbuildings and extensive grounds, is producing oranges. He is a first-class horticulturist, and conducts his enterprise on sound business principles. He packs and markets his fruits and raisins, and his name upon a fruit package is considered by dealers as a guarantee of a first class article. The building improvements upon his model ranch denote a successful citizen, and his fine two-story residence is a model of convenience and comfort, beautiful in architectural design and imposing in appearance. His spacious and well-ordered grounds abound in shade and ornamental trees, rich floral plants and grassy lawns that add much to the beauty and comfort of his California home. A commodious fruit-packing house, substantial stables and outbuildings have also been erected. Mr. Hart has been a supporter of Riverside enterprises, a stockholder in the Citrus Fair Association, Arlington Riverside Railway, and other incorporations.
In politics he is a supporter of the Republican Party. He is a consistent member of the First Congregational Church of Riverside, and also a member of Riverside Post, No. 118, Grand Army of the Republic.
Mr. Hart was twice married: his first marriage was with Miss Ruth Emma Woodward in 1865. She died nine years later, leaving two children: Effie D. and Mary L. His second marriage was in 1884, when he wedded Miss Anna Woodward: no children have been born from this marriage. His parents, Samuel and Sarah S. (Potter) Hart, were natives of New York. His father was engaged in mercantile life, and was well known in the business circles of Cortland County.