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Stephen R. Magee, M. D. Among the representative orange groves and vineyards of Arlington in Riverside, mention should be made of that owned by D. Magee. The improvements on this place were commenced by Mrs. Magee in August, 1875. It was then a wild and barren plain. Mrs. Magee in that year preceded the Doctor to California and located on a forty-acre tract, on what is now the corner of Center and Palm avenues. She caused a small cottage to be erected, in which herself and children were domiciled, and then at once commenced the planting of ornamental trees and shrubbery and flowers, and as soon as the ground could be cleared, entered into horticultural pursuits by planting citrus and deciduous trees and vines.
The Doctor arrived in 1876 and found that his energetic wife had made rapid progress. He entered heartily into the improvements, and soon laid the foundation to one of the finest properties in the colony. He found his acreage more than he could devote the proper care and cultivation desired and later sold off all but twenty acres. He has now sixteen acres in oranges, about equally divided in seedlings and budded fruit, and four acres in vineyard, devoted to Muscat raisin grapes. Both the Doctor and his wife are thorough horticulturists, and as illustrative of their success in orange growing it is noted that in 1886, 200 Mediterranean sweet orange trees yielded four and one-half boxes per tree. The character of this fruit was of the highest standard and sold for $10 per tree, giving a return of over $750 per acre. The remaining trees in his grove produced equally well, considering the age of the trees. His vineyard in 1888 yielded him $125 per acre. The improvements upon his place are of the highest order. His residence is a large two-story building of modern design and finish, well ordered and complete in all the appointments that constitute a modern home of comfort and luxury; well-kept grounds, ornamental trees and floral plants, and to the beauty and comfort of his home.
The subject of this sketch was born in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, September 1, 1820. His father, Thomas Magee, was a native of that State. His mother, nee Charity Mathews, was a native of the Isle of Guernsey. In 1832 his father moved to Ohio and located in Cambridge, Guernsey County. He was a farmer by occupation and Dr. Magee was reared to that calling until eighteen years of age, receiving the advantages of a common-school education. At that time he entered upon his medical studies under the tutorship of Dr. McCullough. a prominent physician of Reynoldsburg, Franklin County. After some three years of study he proceeded to Philadelphia and entered the Rush Medical College, where he completed his medical education and graduated in 1843. He then returned to Ohio and entered upon the practice of his profession in Harrison County.
In October 1844, Dr. Magee was united in marriage with Miss Jean K. Thompson, a native of Steubenville, Ohio. Her father, Robert Thompson, was a native of Ireland, who located in Ohio in early youth and there married Miss Elizabeth Kelley.
The Doctor continued his professional life until 1861. In that year he was elected upon the Republican ticket as the Sheriff of the county and held the office for the next four years. He was prominent in politics, and a strong Union man, and did not allow his official position to debar him from rendering military service to his country. He was the Quarter-master Sergeant of the One Hundred and Seventieth Regiment National Guard of Ohio, and in 1864, upon a special call for troops from the general Government, was mustered into the United States service and served his term of enlistment in the Department of Washington and in the Shenandoah Valley, and participated in the defense of Washington against Early’s troops, and the pursuit of his army through the valley. Upon his discharge from the service the Doctor returned to his Ohio home and resumed his official duties. In 1866 he located in Steubenville, Ohio, and engaged in coal mining. He was also the agent of the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad Company at that place, until 1876, when he came to Riverside.
Dr. Magee has been a strong supporter of schools and churches, and has contributed liberally toward their establishment in Riverside. He is a trustee and the clerk of the Arlington school district, and a consistent member of the Episcopal Church. Inn political matters he has been a Republican from the organization of that party in 1856. He is a member of Riverside Chapter, No. 67. Royal Arch Masons, and also of Riverside Post, No. 118, G. A. R. He has six children living, viz.: Mary R., now Mrs. James A. Crawford, of San Bernardino; Thomas A.; Anna B., now Mrs. -R. F. Cunningham, of San Bernardino; Jessie; Robert T., who married Mrs. Cora Cotton, of Riverside, and Lucy A. Thomas A. Magee, the Doctor’s eldest son, is associated with him in his horticultural pursuits on the home place.