James Fleming, a prominent lumber manufacturer and dealer at San Bernardino, came from Canada to San Bernardino County California, in June, 1880, with the intention of spending a year on the Pacific coast and then returning to the British Dominions; but, being highly pleased with the country and climate and favorably impressed with the prospective future of Southern California, he has passed ten pleasant and prosperous years in the county for which he has formed such an attachment, and has acquired such extensive business and property interests that his permanent residence is assured.
For several years after his arrival he was engaged in various vocations, a portion of the time as salesman in a store. In 1886 he started in the milling and lumber business with his uncle, W. S. Lapraix, and upon the accidental death of the latter in May, 1887, by injury received at the mill in the mountains, Mr. Fleming assumed entire control of the business as executor and principal legatee of his uncle’s estate, and has carried it on ever since. This estate owns 1,700 acres of timber on the mountains north of the city, where their saw-mill is located, which Mr. Fleming estimates will require ten to twelve years to exhaust at the present rate of consumption: 600,000 to 1,000,000 feet per annum. Mr. Fleming’s lumberyard is situated on the corner of E and Fourth streets in San Bernardino, where the product of the mill is kept in stock and sold, the chief market being San Bernardino County, though some of it is shipped to San Diego and Los Angeles counties. The timber, which consists of mountain and sugar pine and cedar, is cut into all classes of building lumber, of which about 500,000 feet is kept in stock in the yard. The cost of the lumber cut at the mill is $5 to $6 per 1,000 feet; and the cost of freighting down from the mountains to the city, a distance of some fourteen miles, is $6.50 to $8 per 1,000 feet. This hauling is done by large six-horse (or mule) teams, on immense lumber wagons, which carry from 3,000 to 4,000 feet at a load. Mr. Fleming’s uncle, Mr. Lapraix, was one of the pioneers in developing the mountain-lumber business, and was one of the builders of the mountain toll-road, and a stockholder in it at the time of his death.
Mr. Fleming was born in Canada in 1857, and resided there until he came to California. He is recognized as one of the representative and successful business men of the county. Besides his extensive milling and lumber interests, he owns a fine tract of very choice citrus fruit land in Highlands of great value.