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Horace Saunders, one of the representative orange-growers of Riverside, owns a ten-acre tract on Colton avenue, on the corner of Russell street, about one mile north of the business center of Riverside. This grove was planted with seedling oranges as early as 1872 by its then owner, W. P Russell, and later many of the seedlings were replaced by budded trees. The grove now contains 800 seedlings and 400 budded orange trees, besides a small variety of deciduous fruits for family use.
Mr. Saunders purchased the place in 1880, and has since conducted its cultivation. He has made many improvements and secured a success in his horticultural industry, his orange grove justly ranking among the finest and most productive in the valley. His orange trees occupy eight acres, and the crop of 1888-’89 sold on the trees for $3,675; this is a yield of over $150 per acre. Crop of 1889-’90 sold on the trees for $1,550. Everything about his place is characterized by a prolific yield. A magnificent grapevine of the Catawba variety; sixteen years old, gives a yield of over 300 pounds of grapes a year. Although he has one of the best locations in Riverside, with rich, deep soil, and admirable irrigation, much of his success must be justly attributed to the watchful attention and care he bestows upon his trees, and to his systematic cultivation and fertilization. His life has been spent in business pursuits, and he came to Riverside with a mind well trained to the practical affairs of life and business enterprises. He entered horticulture as a business, conducted it as a business, bestowing upon it the same research, study and principles that he had to his previous enterprises, and the result has been success to the fullest degree.
Mr. Saunders was born in Moorestown, Burlington County, New Jersey, July 2, 1832. In 1838 his father moved to Illinois, locating in Wabash County; his death occurred in Edwards County three years later, and the widowed mother returned to their old home with her family. There the subject of this sketch was reared and schooled until 1849. He then went to Philadelphia and entered into the mercantile business as a clerk and bookkeeper. From 1853 to 1855 he was located at Altoona, Pennsylvania, and in the latter year moved to Missouri, establishing himself in general merchandise business in Springfield, in which he was engaged in August, 1861; the war being then in progress caused a financial depression in the border State, and he decided to seek other localities; accordingly he went to Leavenworth, Kansas, and established a wholesale and retail dry-goods store, which he successfully conducted until 1881, when he came to California and took up his residence in Riverside.
He is an enterprising and progressive citizen, deeply interested in the growth and prosperity of his chosen section and a desirable acquisition to any community. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church at Arlington and a strong supporter of churches of all denominations. In political matters he is a strong Republican, and never faltered in his Unionism and feality to the war party in the darkest days of the Rebellion. Mr. Saunders married Miss Hannah S. Buck, a native of Philadelphia.