Location: San Bernardino California

Biography of Joseph C. Rich

Judge Joseph C. Rich, eldest son of Hon. Charles C. Rich, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this history, was born in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, January 16, 1841. His mother’s maiden name was Sarah D. Pea, good stock all around, his ancestors being of that hardy pioneer school who have subdued the wilds of the middle and western states and made possible the grandeur of those noble commonwealths. When but a boy of five years he, in connection with his parents and several thousand others, was driven from the city of his birth by mobocratic persecution, and commenced that historic journey, the Mormon exodus toward the setting sun, which has since resulted in the settlement and the development of our great “Inter-Mountain Empire.” He wintered in 1846-7 at Mount Pisgah, then a portion of the wilderness of Iowa. At this place nearly one-third of that camp died during the winter, through sickness brought on by exposure and want. The well peopled graveyard found there by the permanent settlers who subsequently settled that region, attests sufficiently that fact. As soon as grass could grow in the spring of 1847 the journey westward was resumed and continued throughout the summer until one thousand four hundred miles long, lonesome and weary ones brought them, on the 2d day of October 1847, to the then parched and desolate valley of the...

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Biography of Charles C. Rich

Pioneer of Utah, California and Idaho, Charles C. Rich figured prominently in the early development of these states, and took an active part in furthering the welfare and promoting the progress of the commonwealths. He was also a most able exponent of the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and with a colony of believers he founded the beautiful and thriving little city of Paris, the County of Bear Lake, Idaho, and the Mormon colonies of southeastern Idaho. A native of Kentucky, Mr. Rich was born in Campbell County, in 1809, and was of English and Irish ancestry. His parents removed to Indiana during his youth and there he was educated. In 1829 they went to Illinois, becoming pioneer settlers of that state, and in April 1832, Charles C. Rich embraced the faith and was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, becoming one of its most faithful and prominent adherents. In 1839 he went to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he remained until 1846, and while there he was elected an adjutant general in the Mormon forces, a part of the Illinois militia. A little later, however, the regiment was disbanded by the governor of the state. At that time Mr. Rich had been ordained a high priest of the church. In the fall of 1846, in the general Mormon exodus,...

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McClellan, Vella – Obituary

Died at San Bernardino, California, February 9, 1922 Vella McClellan. Deceased was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. McClellan of Union. She had been an invalid for a number of years and was staying with an aunt in California. Her remains were shipped to Union, arriving Tuesday morning. The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon, February 14, at 2 o’clock p.m., at the Latter Day Saints church. Interment in the Union cemetery. Contributed by: Larry...

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Welch, Roy – Obituary

Roy Welch Was A Barber At Haines Graveside services were held September 24 for a former Haines resident. Roy Jackson Welch who passed away September 20, 1973 in San Bernardino, California. Burial was in the family plot at Hemet, California where he had lived for several years. Mr. Welch was a retired barber. He owned and operated barber shops in Haines, Oregon and California and had followed the barber trade for fifty years. He was born in Haines, Baker County, Oregon September 22, 1904, the son of G.W. and Ida Long Jackson, foster son of W.I. and Clara Long Welch. He attended school in Haines and barber college in Portland. He is survived by his wife Lucille of Hemet, California; a daughter, Dolly; a step-daughter, Ann; six Grandchildren and three Great grandchildren; a sister, Emma Welch Fisher of haines; two brothers, John Jackson of Woodland, Washington and Charlie Jackson of salem; several nieces and nephew and many cousins in Baker County, Oregon. He was preceded in death by a son Richard Lee Welch; a brother, Ray Welch, two sisters, Nina Jackson Dahl and Ora jackson Collins and a brother Lonnie Jackson. Contributed by: Carla...

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Biography of Nelson Sleppy

Nelson Sleppy, successor to the firm of Sleppy & Bullis, is one of the representative business men of Colton. He is at the head of one of the largest hardware establishments in that city and the pioneer in the business in Colton, having established his store in 1882. He conducted the establishment alone until 1888, when he formed a partnership with William S. Bullis, now the mayor of Colton, and the business was conducted under the firm name of Sleppy & Bullis, with Mr. Sleppy as the chief and managing partner, until February 5, 1890. The subject of this sketch dates his birth in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, in 1845. His parents, George and Amelia (Kremer) Sleppy, were both natives of that State. His father was a carpenter and builder, and at twelve years of age Mr. Sleppy commenced his apprenticeship at that trade under his father. He was quick to learn and naturally a mechanic, and at the age of seventeen was a skilled workman. He started in life on his own account, and the next five years were spent in working at his trade in the Western States. In 1867 he commenced his journey across the continent with California as his objective point. He spent two years in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, in carpenter work, prospecting, mining, etc., and it was not until 1869 that he reached...

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Biographical Sketch of William J. Guthrie

William J. Guthrie, one of San Bernardino’s brightest and most successful business men, was born in Detroit, Michigan, and was there brought up and educated, and started out in life as an employee in a mercantile agency, where he obtained a thorough knowledge of business customs and methods. His connection with that branch of business continued for years, during which time he rose from a reporter to joint partner in the McKillop Mercantile Agency. In 1878 he came to California and spent a year in the Ohio valley, Ventura County, when he was made superintendent of the Dunn Mercantile Agency at Denver, Colorado. At the end of two years he resigned that position to return to Ventura County and engage in private business. A year later, in 1882, he came to San Bernardino, and, in partnership with a Mr. Gilbert, opened a grocery and crockery store combined. In 1884 they closed out the grocery feature and Mr. Gilbert retired from the firm, leaving Mr. Guthrie sole proprietor of the crockery business, which he conducted prosperously until November 1889, and then sold out, retiring temporarily from active business. His was the only exclusively crockery-house in the city, and he carried a large stock of high grade and common wares, in which he had a fine trade. Mr. Guthrie owns 160 acres of valuable land, on the Colton terrace, on which...

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Biographical Sketch of John Suverkrup

John Suverkrup, senior partner of the firm of Suverkrup & Hook, manufacturers of and dealers in lumber at San Bernardino, has been sixteen years on the Pacific coast and twelve years in San Bernardino County. Prior to locating here he was engaged in the grocery business in Sacramento; and after settling in San Bernardino he for a time devoted his attention to farming. In 1887 he and his partner, John Hook, built the mill known as the Saverkrup & Hook Mill, on the mountains north of the city, which has a cutting capacity of 20,000 feet of lumber per day, and giving employment to eighteen or twenty men. The firm owns two sections of choice timber on the mountain, consisting of yellow, black and sugar pine, and cedar, which will require fourteen years to manufacture into lumber at the present rate of cutting, 800,000 to 1,000,000 feet a year. They own and conduct a lumberyard in San Bernardino for the purpose of handling the lumber cut by their mill exclusively, and in which they carry a stock of 500,000 to 600,000 feet of lumber. The product of the mill is transported down the mountain into the valley on heavy wagons drawn by six mule teams, which haul 2,000 to 3,000 feet at a load. This lumber, consisting of everything in the line of building material, finds a market in...

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Biography of Fred T. Perris

Fred T. Perris, chief engineer and superintendent of construction and bridges of the California system of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company’s lines, and resident at San Bernardino, was born in England fifty-three years ago. He went to Australia in his youth, and was educated for his profession of civil engineer in the city of Melbourne. Coming to America in 1853, he did a large amount of professional work on the Pacific coast for the United States Government and the State of California, in the capacity of Deputy United States Surveyor, and Mineral Surveyor. His first railroad work in this country was done in the ’60s on the Union Pacific, under Samuel B. Reed, during its construction. Mr. Perris settled permanently in San Bernardino in 1874, and has been actively and prominently identified with Southern California and San Bernardino County in both a professional and official capacity for fifteen years. He has served San Bernardino as City Engineer, and the county as County Surveyor, and is now (1889), a member of the City Board of Trustees. When the question of securing a railroad into this valley and city was agitating the public mind, Mr. Perris was chosen at a mass meeting of the citizens a delegate to go to San Diego and meet G. B. Wilbur and L. G. Pratt, of Boston, and representing Eastern capitalists in...

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Biography of William Francis Holcomb

William Francis Holcomb, a member of the Society of California Pioneers of San Bernardino County, and the discoverer of gold in the valley which bears his name, was born in Indiana in 1831, but his parents moved to Will County, Illinois, in his infancy, where they lived till he was eight years old. They then went, in 1839, to Iowa and located in Portland, Van Buren County Iowa. His father having died, his mother moved with her family in 1845 up into Wapello County and took up a piece of Government land. The same year his oldest brother, Stephen Holcomb, went to Oregon, where he still resides near the city of Portland. Stephen achieved considerable celebrity as an Indian scout in the employ of the Government out on that then wild frontier. After eleven years’ residence in the Hawkeye State, the subject of this memoir left Ottumwa, Iowa, on the 5th of May 1850, for California, In crossing the plains his company narrowly escaped a conflict with the Indians several times, but experienced nothing more serious than slight skirmishes. They came via Fort Laramie, Green River and Sublet’s cut off. In crossing Green river, the ferryboat sank and Mr. Holcomb’s wagon and the entire contents, including his boots, which he had taken off to assist in getting their cattle across, were lost. Securing a mule to pack their little...

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Biography of George W. Prescott

George W. Prescott, of San Bernardino, Master Mechanic of the Southern California Railroad, and one of the most expert mechanical engineers in this country, was born in New Hampshire fifty-one years ago. At the early age of seven years he was left without father or mother, and at thirteen he left his native State and started out to fight the battle of life alone and unaided. Going west as far as Ohio, he spent the next-five years in the old city of Chillicothe, where, following the natural bent of his mind, he studied the business of machinist, and when just past his eighteenth birthday he took charge of a locomotive engine. In 1856 he went to Columbus, Kentucky, and commenced building the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. On January 15, 1857, he unloaded from the steamer J. C. Swan the first locomotive engine that ever passed over that road, and set it up and run it aver the line. He put up all the engines and cars for that road till the spring of 1861. On May 3, of that year, the war of the Rebellion having broken out, and Mr. Prescott New England blood and patriotism allying him to the cause of the Union, he resigned his position and went North, notwithstanding he was offered $500 a month by the Superintendent of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad if he...

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Biography of David H. Wixom

David H. Wixom, the tenth of a family of twelve children of Nathan J. and Betsy (Hadlock) Wixom, was born in 1848 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 1850 his parents started with their family, consisting then of ten children, to cross the plains to California. They loaded three ox teams and one horse team with their effects, and brought fifty cows, ten head of horses and a small flock of sheep over as far as Salt Lake, where they spent the winter, and there their eleventh child, Charles W. Wixom, was born. In the spring of 1852 they resumed their journey to the Golden State, and settled in Monterey County, near San Juan Mission, and lived there two years, Mrs. Wixom and her daughters carrying on the dairy business with their cows, making butter and cheese, which they sold at very high prices, to go to the mines. They also kept a public house for the entertainment of travelers. Mr. Wixom devoted his attention to mining. In the spring of 1854 they removed to Los Angeles and two years later came to San Bernardino, and settled on a half block of land they purchased on the corner of Ninth and F streets. In 1857 Mr. Wixom sold out and took his family to Salt Lake, but returned to San Bernardino in August 1858, having been gone ten months. He...

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Biography of Samuel Alder

Samuel Alder is one of the pioneer mechanics of Riverside, having established the first carriage making, and general blacksmithing ever founded in the city. No history of the manufacturing and business enterprises of Riverside could be considered complete without a mention of Mr. Alder, and his association with the building up of the city and colony. The subject of this sketch was born in Wiltshire, England, in 1845, son of Samuel and Ann (Chivers) Alder, both being natives of that county. His father was a weaver by occupation and the family was dependent upon his wages alone for support. The children were put at labor early in life, and at the age of twelve years, when a mere child, Mr. Alder was apprenticed at the trade of wagon-maker. He served a six years’ apprenticeship, and then worked as a journeyman for a year. Realizing the disadvantages the workmen of the old country were laboring under, he decided to try his fortune in the new world, and in 1864 embarked for New York. Soon after his arrival in that city he struck out for the great West. His first stop was in Wisconsin; not satisfied, he continued his westward march; securing a position as teamster, he joined an emigrant train and drove a team across the plains to Salt Lake City. There he obtained employment at his trade and remained...

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Biography of Mrs. Ellen Woods Crafts Meacham

Mrs. Ellen Woods Crafts Meacham. This lady, who, with her husband and family, occupies as a residence one of the old landmarks of the county (the well known Crafton Retreat), is a native of Jackson, Michigan, and daughter of Myron Harwood and Miranda (Capen) Crafts. Her father, who was born in Whately, the family seat, was a man of great force of character. He came to San Bernardino County when the country was new, locating at the place which took his name, and left the impress of his character indelibly upon the community. His unusual business ability, while securing for him ample means and property, could have enabled him to accumulate a much vaster fortune had his inclinations run more to hoarding. He established his home at the place which took the name of “Crafton Retreat,” a spot of great natural beauty, which has been rather enhanced than detracted from by the hand of man. He had a clear foresight of the great future which was in store for the community of his adopted home, and his judgment was verified even before his death, which occurred in this county. He was one of the early members of the Republican Party, and during the war stood manfully by his convictions, though he and a Mr. Robbins at that time cast the only Republican votes in the county. His daughter, Mrs....

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Biographical Sketch of David Meacham

David Meacham was born in Genesee County, New York, May 3, 1835, and was reared at Geneseo, learning the carpenter’s trade. In 1858 he came to California, crossing the plains with General Harney, shortly after the Mountain Meadow Massacre. He helped to gather up the bones of the murdered emigrants, and assisted in building the monument erected by the Government on the scene. Arriving in California, he located at Bloomfield, Sonoma County, where he followed his trade five years. In 1863 he came to San Bernardino, and here followed the building trade. He rode to Riverside on the first load of lumber ever hauled there, and, as before stated, built the first house there. He has resided in this State all of the time since 1858, except one year he spent in Virginia City, Nevada, where he went in 1869, and there followed mining principally, but also did some work at his trade. Mr. Meacham is a man of excellent qualities of character, unassuming in manner, fair and honorable in business...

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Biography of Clarence Stewart

Clarence Stewart, a well-known businessman of Riverside, is a native of Rockford, Illinois, dating his birth in 1848. In 1849 his father, John N. Stewart, came to California and engaged in mining. In 1851 he returned East, and the next year brought his family to the State and located in Sacramento for about three years, and then moved to Sonoma County, where he engaged in farming until he came with his family to San Bernardino in 1865. The subject of this sketch was reared in California and schooled in her public schools. Shortly after his arrival in San Bernardino he went to Arizona and was there employed by Indian Agent George W. Beihy as his deputy on the La Paz Reservation. He spent a year in that territory and then returned to San Bernardino and learned the trade of a wagon-maker, after which he spent a winter in Wickenberg, Arizona, and in 1869 established himself on the old Jurupa Ranch, about one and one-half miles west of the present site of Riverside. He purchased fifty-five acres of that ranch and engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock-growing. Mr. Stewart has a fine orchard of deciduous fruit, forty acres in extent, upon his ranch that in 1888 yielded over 250 tons of green fruit; also a large vineyard of raisin grapes. A large portion of his land is of a character...

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