Location: Ontario California

Biography of Alfred Piddington

Alfred Piddington was born in Warwickshire, England, in 1829. He is the son of George and Elizabeth (Fifield) Piddington, both natives of England. Mr. Piddington was at a very early age (when twelve years old) apprenticed to a trade, and was almost entirely deprived of the advantages of a schooling, but he schooled himself to a certain extent. His early life was one of severe toil and he became a man in thought and action at an age that more favored youths devote to boyish occupations. In 1859 he immigrated to Toronto. There he commenced work as a bookbinder, a trade he had taken up as an amateur. His strong will and determination to succeed soon enabled him to become a practical workman, and in 1859 he started a small business of his own as a bookseller and binder. This he gradually increased by his sound business principles, coupled with his untiring energy, until he gradually rose to be the sole proprietor of one of the largest book establishments in Toronto. These years of close application to business pursuits had so impaired his health that, in 1883, Mr. Piddington recognized the absolute necessity of suspending his labors and seeking a southern climate. In that year he came to California, visiting many places in search of health. He finally visited Ontario, and so pleased was he with its climate, soil,...

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Biography of John B. Tays

John B. Tays is one of the early settlers and enterprising and progressive citizens of Ontario. He is the owner of forty acres of land in that colony and has for years been building up the horticultural industries of his section. His place is located on the south side of Thirteenth Street, east of Euclid Avenue. Mr. Tays purchased this land in 1883 and immediately commenced its improvement, planting trees and vines. He is justly ranked among the pioneer horticulturists of Ontario, and has produced one of the representative places of his section. He now has twenty acres in citrus fruits, of which fifteen acres are in oranges of the Washington Navel and Mediterranean Sweet varieties; five acres are in lemons. His fine vineyards contain twenty acres, fourteen acres being devoted to wine grapes of the Zinfandel, Berger and Riesling varieties, and six acres to Muscat raisin grapes. There are also 400 olive trees upon his laud, three years old. The products of his vineyards are cared for upon the ranch. He dries, packs and ships his raisins, and to dispose of his wine grapes has built a well-ordered and complete winery for distilling the brandies necessary to fortify his sweet wines. He is successful in this industry and his products find a ready sale at good prices. A neat and comfortable cottage residence, suitable outbuildings, etc., attest the...

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Biography of Albert E. Payne

Albert E. Payne came to California in August 1883, and located upon a ten-acre tract in Ontario, San Bernardino County, which he purchased in 1882. Immediately upon his arrival he engaged in horticultural pursuits, and in September of the same year established a general merchandise store on the west side of Euclid Avenue. This was the first store established in the Ontario colony, and the pioneer store of the now thriving city of Ontario. Mr. Payne conducted his store and horticultural industry until October 1886, when he sold out both interests and located in Chino Township, in the Chino School District. There he purchased the Gates ranch, located about four miles southeast, devoting himself to agricultural and horticultural pursuits. He now has thirty acres of his land in prunes and apples, and he finds the soil and climate so well adapted to these productions that he is raising nursery stock, and in the near future will devote at least 100 acres of his land to these fruits. In his general farming he is raising grain, hay and stock. Mr. Payne is a native of England, born in Chatham, Kent County, in 1841. His parents George and Amelia (Husted) Payne, immigrated to the United States in 1851, and located in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father engaged in hotel keeping. The subject of this sketch, when seventeen years old, entered as...

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Biography of Joseph Holmes

Joseph Holmes, one of the representative horticulturists of Ontario and progressive citizens of San Bernardino County, came to California in 1883 and located in the Ontario colony as one of its early settlers, and has ever since taken a leading part in building up his chosen section and advancing its interests. His home is on the corner of Fourth Street and Campus Avenue, where he has erected a substantial two-story residence, well furnished and fitted with modern conveniences. He has surrounded his home with ornamental trees and rich floral plants. His twenty-acre tract is located between Third and Fourth streets and east of Campus avenue. Upon this tract he has, for the past six years, been engaged in horticultural pursuits. He has now twelve acres in oranges, also a choice variety of lemons, and a family orchard of deciduous fruits. Seven acres are devoted to vineyard, producing raisin grapes of the Muscat variety. All of his trees and vines have a remarkably fine growth and attest the intelligent care bestowed upon them. Mr. Holmes is a native of Trenton, New Jersey, and dates his birth November 1819. His parents, Samuel and Hannah (Jackson) Holmes, were natives of England. His father came to the United States in 1816, and his mother in 1800. When Mr. Holmes was about six years old his parents located at Kensington, near Philadelphia, and there...

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Biography of Thomas Holmes

Thomas Holmes is a well-known resident of Ontario, San Bernardino County. He has for the past thirty years been identified with the mining, mercantile, agricultural and horticultural industries of the Pacific coast. A review of his life is of interest. Mr. Holmes was born in Lancashire England, in 1834. His parents, James and Hannah (Mort) Holmes, were natives of that place. In 1844 his father immigrated to the United States and settled in Putnam County, Illinois, where he engaged in farming and stock growing. The subject of this sketch received the benefits of a common-school education and became practically versed in the duties of a farmer. When twenty years of age he started in life for him-self, and spent the next five years in farm labor and other occupations. In the spring of 1859 he started on an over-land trip for California. After undergoing the usual hardships and labor attending a trip of that character, he arrived in August of that year and located in El Dorado County. His first occupation was in the placer mines of that section. He followed the calling of a miner in the various counties of California until 1868. In that year he entered Nevada and located in Elko County. There he combined cattle raising with his mining enterprises, and also established a general merchandise store at Truckee, under the firm name of Jones...

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Biography of Isaac W. Whitaker

Isaac W. Whitaker is the pioneer of Ontario. In January 1883, Mr. Whitaker was a resident of San Francisco, broken in health, and it became a matter of absolute necessity that he seek a mild climate. He decided to try Southern California, and on the 11th day of that month himself and his brave wife pitched their tent upon the land which he has since occupied. The colony lands had been surveyed and work was in progress in grading avenues and piping water, but Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker were the first settlers to occupy the lands. All about them was a barren waste. Not a tree and scarcely a plant was in sight. It was almost disheartening, but with a courage undaunted and a firm belief in the future they went to work to build up a home. Their eyes were soon gladdened by a sight of other settlers, and it seemed but a short time before they actually had neighbors. A little shanty succeeded the tent for a residence, and then a barn was built and occupied as a home, and it was not until 1885 that Mr. Whitaker’s neat and comfortable cottage residence was built and occupied. During these years he was engaged in clearing his land and planting trees and vines, and soon he found his desert bidding fair to become a veritable Garden of Eden....

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Biography of Leroy S. Dyar

Among the pioneers of Ontario and representative men of that beautiful colony, mention should be made of Leroy S. Dyar, who was born in Franklin County, Maine, in 1833. His father was Colonel Joseph Dyar, a well-known agriculturist of that county. His mother was Mary S. Gay. Both of his parents were natives of that State. Mr. Dyar was reared and schooled in his native place, closing his studies in the high school and academy. He was reared as a farmer. In 1858 he decided to try his fortune on the Pacific coast, and came by steamer to San Francisco. After a short stay in that city he proceeded to Yuba river and engaged in mining until the next year. He then located in Salem, Oregon, and was employed in farming and teaching until 1863, when he established himself in mercantile pursuits in Salem, under the firm name of N. O. Parrish & Co. In 1864 he was appointed Postmaster at Salem, and held that office until 1868. He was engaged in various enterprises in Salem until 1871, when he accepted a position in the Indian Department as superintendent of schools of mechanical and agricultural instruction, and was stationed on the Yakima Indian Reservation until the fall of that year, when he went to the Grand Ronde Reservation as commissary in charge. In the spring of 1872 he was...

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Biography of Captain Nelson Green Gill

Captain Nelson Green Gill, Post-master of San Bernardino, came to California from Toulon, Illinois, in March 1849, with a team composed of four oxen and two cows. He came by way of St. Joseph, Fort Laramie, Fort Hall and Lassen’s cut-off, with a train composed of twenty-two wagons. They brought with them a ferryboat, which they used in crossing the North Platte and Green rivers, afterward selling it for $100. They arrived in Sacramento valley, September 26, 1849. Leaving his ox teams at Bidwell’s ranch, Captain Gill started for the mines on Feather River. After he had been in the mines a few months, provisions ran short, and he and a fellow miner started with their oxen and wagon for Sacramento to lay in a supply. The Sacramento River was swollen to a flood, and, becoming involved in the flood, they lost their wagon and oxen, and Mr. Gill’s companion lost his life. Three months elapsed before Mr. Gill got back to camp; he had lost everything he started with, including $600 in gold. Not being successful at mining and being troubled with scurvy, as were many others, he, accompanied by a mining companion, started for Los Angeles, walking to Marysville on foot. They took a rowboat to Sacramento, thence, by steamer, to San Francisco; then, not having money enough to buy two tickets, they walked all the way,...

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Biographical Sketch of E. P. Clarke

E. P. Clarke is the senior member of the firm of Clarke Brothers, publishers of the Ontario Record, and is also the editor of the paper. He is a native of the State of Maine and reared and educated in that State, closing his educational career in Kent’s Hill (Maine) Seminary and the Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, graduating at the latter institution with high honors in 1885. He then was engaged for some months on the United States geological survey in Maine and New Hampshire. In October 1885, he came to California and located at Ontario, and in December of the same year established the journal he has since so successfully edited and conducted. Mr. Clarke is one of the progressive men of Ontario, to whom much of its prosperity is due, and has ever taken an active part in all enterprises tending to advance the interests of his chosen city. He is a member of the San Bernardino County Board of Education, and secretary of the Board of Regents of the Chaffey College, and during 1888-’89 filled the chair of Latin and English literature in that institution. He is a member of the Republican County Central Committee and has been secretary of the same. Mr. Clarke is a contributor to the Overland Monthly and Pacific Monthly, and lectures occasionally with...

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Biographical Sketch of A. F. Clarke

A. F. Clarke, of the firm of Clarke Brothers, proprietors of the Ontario Record, is a printer by trade, and to him is due much of the credit which has been gained by that journal for its typo-graphical beauty and neatness. He is a native of Maine, in which state he received his education and learned his trade. He came to California in 1883 and located at Pasadena, where he was connected with the Pasadena Union. In December 1885, he located at Ontario and assisted in establishing the Record. He is fully identified with Ontario and its progress and is a strong believer in its future...

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