Yorba Linda History

Historic Documents

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close this bookYorba Linda - Its History
View the documentDedication
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentPreface
View the documentChapter 1 - The Indians
View the documentChapter 2 - The Hacienda Era
View the documentChapter 3 - Carlton
View the documentChapter 4 - The Pioneers
View the documentChapter 5 - The Business District "Down Town”
View the documentChapter 6 - Recreation and Celebrations
View the documentChapter 7 - Water
View the documentChapter 8 - The School Story
View the documentChapter 9 - The Library
View the documentChapter 10 - The Churches
View the documentChapter 11 - Organizations
View the documentChapter 12 - Incorporation
View the documentChapter 13 - Richard M. Nixon
View the documentChapter 14 - Famous Citizens
View the documentChapter 15 - A Forward Look
View the documentChapter 16 - Yorba Linda - What Now?

Chapter 4 - The Pioneers

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As I start on this chapter of our book, which tells the story of the pioneers and the beginnings of our town of Yorba Linda, I pause with a feeling of inadequacy. There is much researched material. The story is a fascinating one. But can I do justice to it ... to the quality and stature of those capable and industrious people who came with little but their ingenuity, perseverance and small capital and built a community that has proved to be so wholesome, of such worth to the many who have come and continue to come here to live? For there is something about this small city that whispers of greatness, of distinction, not in the grandiose manner but rather in the quiet stability of a dedicated undergirding by its founders. These were people whose integrity and self discipline in spite of adversity, enabled them to build a valuable social structure of far more worth than the physical erection of homes and commercial buildings.

The land upon which the town was built had originally belonged to the Yorbas, described in our chapter on the Hacienda Era. Bernardo Yorba was the first owner, and later some of the land passed into the possession of Trinidad Yorba and some to Teodosia Yorba. On February 3, 1874, the land was conveyed to Francisco Yorba de Vejar. On January 5, 1907, Porfirio Yorba transferred the land to Maurice Rey who sold it five days later on January 10, to Jacob Stern, a resident of Fullerton. [19]

The Janss Investment Company, headquartered in Los Angeles, had been scouting for development sites in the area and acquired the Yorba Linda land from Jacob Stern in 1908. They developed a map of the projected area and filed the papers in the court house at Santa Ana that year. They then laid out town-site and acreages. They completed their plans for development during 1908 and 1909.

On the brochure which they circulated at that time is a map of the area. It roughly corresponds to the present map of the Library District with north boundary just above Citrus Avenue, from several blocks east of Palm Avenue on the east to Carbon Canyon Wash on the west, excluding Carlton townsite and traveling hi a zig-zag line to the west boundary. Since there are no street names on the old map it is hard to determine the streets exactly. The line extended south to Yorba Linda Boulevard and then east to Van Buren Avenue where it went south to the Santa Ana River, then east to Taylor Street, and north then east skirting the reservoir, which was called Yorba Linda Lake at one time, and finally back to Palm Avenue.

The advertising on the brochure was a bit extravagant, as proved through subsequent years, but not extreme as that of the Carlton promoters. The Janss people stressed the fact that the place was absolutely frostless. In our Scrap Book History we have a photograph taken in Yorba Linda in later years of locations in the area where eighteen inch icicles hang from a sign warning of bear traps and from near-by trees and shrubs. It doesn't happen often, but those who have lived here for twenty-five years can verify the statement that it can happen.

George Kellogg testifies to the following story. In January of 1913, Southern California had such a freeze that thousands of groves had frozen fruit. Trees in the Pomona Valley, where the thermometer stood at 12° above zero, froze so badly that they burst open, completely killing them. Mr. Kellogg at that time traveled from Porterville to the Mexican border and found heavy frost damage everywhere, but Yorba Linda was the least harmed by the freeze. Only nursery stock and little newly planted trees [20] were killed and in some spots tomatoes still hung unfrozen on the vine. This was because a Santana wind blew during the cold spell and the topography of Yorba Linda land is such that nothing blocks the free flow of the Santana which blows from northeast to southwest. We have no high ground to the west or south. Placentia froze badly as did La Habra, where land was selling as high as $1500 per acre.

The brochure's enthusiasm continues, "You can grow tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, peas and many other crops every month of the year with a market in the field for everything you raise. Our terms are so easy you can make the land pay for itself and own a home that will support you in luxury should sickness or old age be your lot. . . . Parties living out of town and desiring to purchase some of this land, the most desirable of the remaining acreage will be selected for them, and if desired, planted to lemon or orange trees and cared for two years at actual cost. . . . Valencia oranges are guaranteed never to turn green no matter how long left on the tree. Market values — Navels $1.00 to $1.50 per packed box on the tree. Valencias $2.00 to $3.00, same. The source of water supply is from the Santa Ana River, giving an inexhaustible amount of pure, soft water, the water shed being the San Bernardino Mountains."

They offered 777,600 gallons of water every 30 days on each ten acres of land at actual cost of production. Price of land was $150 per acre. A circle map on the brochure showed four towns, Los Angeles, Whittier, Fullerton and Yorba Linda.

We can picture the various emotions with which the first settlers viewed the land. Some, having read the brochure, probably expected more than met the eye at once. We have a brief description by one of these people, "The land was gently rolling and covered with desert type brush and native grass."

The days were smog free and from the higher places the ocean and Catalina Island could be seen to the south. To the southeast could be seen "Old Saddleback", so called by the Paisanos (Spanish Californians) of an earlier day. "Old Saddleback" is really two summits eight-tenths of a mile apart. The left [21] hand or northern one is Modjeska Peak, two hundred feet lower than 5,687 foot Santiago Peak on the south, the highest peak in the Santa Ana mountains. To the north were the San Bernardino Mountains where "Old Baldy" (San Antonio Peak) could be seen majestically crowned with snow in the winter months.

It was truly an ideal spot to start a village and plant groves. The soil was known as Ramona loam, with a clay sub-soil that would take water — excellent for citrus fruit growing.

Dr. Peter Janss, holding a controlling interest in the company that promoted the Yorba Linda tract, had inserted a condition in every deed issued to land owners. This condition was that no alcoholic beverage was to be sold on the property and if the condition were violated, the land was to revert to the original company. One of the early settlers who knew Dr. Janss personally describes him as being an individual of high standards and personal integrity. The people who settled the area were the kind of folks who appreciated this safeguard of a liquor free town and used it on occasion to discourage the type of enterprise that might be a blight to their community.

When the Roosevelt administration came in and prohibition was nullified, a state and a federal license were issued to a man who ran a small liquor store on Yorba Linda Boulevard at the base of Main Street. After some time he wished to sell. The ministers from both the Friends' Church and the Methodist Church together with Hurless Barton and George Kellogg, after some preliminary bargaining over a period of time, bought the licenses for $150, Mr. Barton and Mr. Kellogg each contributing $25, the ministers raising the remainder from their congregations. Since neither minister wished to possess these documents it was decided that Mr. Kellogg would keep them in his possession. He had kept them but a short time when he was visited by a law officer and told that it was against the law to hold the licenses unless he opened a liquor outlet. He was given a period of time to either open such a place or go to jail. He went to interview the man most powerful in this respect at the time and pled his case. This person told him it was against the law to allow what Mr. Kellogg asked, [22] but he was sympathetic toward what they were trying to do. He said he would take the state license and keep it. If no one asked to buy it all would be well. Since no one knew what the situation was there was no request for it and the town remained dry until the population explosion brought demands for several liquor outlets. Before that time the need for borrowing money from the land banks in the 1940's had caused the sending of a petition to the Janss people to waive the deed condition concerning alcoholic beverages, which they did so that the land banks would loan money on the land.

The Janss people hired Hiram Clay Kellogg, (related by marriage to George Kellogg) to lay out the tract and the town-site. Roads were laid out, but were not graded at that time. In 1916 after the property owners were not able to get the Janss Company to grade the roads, as promised, they asked the supervisors to form a road district. A survey was made by William J. Renshaw, City Engineer of Fullerton, in order to establish an estimate. Mr. Charles Knowlton of Fullerton was employed as surveyor's helper and continued on the assignment until it was finished. In 1959 Mr. Knowlton, hearing that we were collecting material for a scrap book history of Yorba Linda, wrote to us giving the above information.

Considerable road grading was done by the early settlers themselves, using teams, scoops and drags. This is another instance of their assumption of responsibility on their own behalf for necessary community projects. C. H. Eichler states that some of these roads, graded and oiled in those days, are still being used today.

There was one home in the area, but not on the original tract land, when the first settlers came. This home was occupied by the Ross Knight family. He was a fireman on the Santa Fe Railroad. In 1906 he transferred to this area and was in charge of the Santa Fe Water Station on Daum, adjacent to the El Cajon Canal. He supplied the oil company, a subsidiary of Santa Fe, with water. The Santa Fe people built a home for him at this place. Here he lived with his wife, Maura, a Long Beach girl. Two [23] children were born in this home, Marjorie and Roy. Mr. Knight worked for the Santa Fe people forty-four years. The early settlers journeyed to this place where he supplied them with their domestic water until they were able to establish a water district. Marjorie became Marjorie Ball in later years and Roy Knight worked many years as zanjero for the Yorba Linda Water District before his retirement in 1965. He and his wife, Elsie, still live in the area. Elsie has considerable artistic talent and their son, Lee, designs auto styles for General Motors in Detroit.

In the winter of 1909-1910 there was a family of three living in Missouri who had heard of the desirability of life in Southern California and decided to make the pilgrimage and see for themselves. They landed in Redlands, and while there, read the Janss Company brochure on Yorba Linda. They took a train to Los Angeles, went into the Janss Company office and investigated. They were brought out to the tract and bought a parcel of land on El Cajon Avenue. They were the second family to establish a home on the original tract as laid out by the Investment Company. This was in January of 1910.

These people were George and Fannie Corbit and their son, Hoyt. They were destined to contribute a great deal to the new little community to which they had come.

Their first concern was for shelter, so father and son set to work and erected a small, temporary house which served them well for two years while they were busy doing their planting and improving the land. The material for building the house was shipped out from Los Angeles on the Santa Fe railroad which ran a spur from east Atwood to Olinda.

Mrs. Corbit had a few chickens from which she developed a fair sized flock which provided the family with fresh eggs and meat during the coming years. Two horses and a cow and two pigs were housed in the barn, the next structure built on the homesite.

As soon as it was possible, this hard working family of three planted a garden and set out a small orchard near the house, of apple, peach and apricot trees which started bearing the second [24] year. Can't you imagine the wholesome meals Mrs. Corbit would serve from food raised right on their own place? This type of living has been dreamed about by many a city dweller and even today many of us would gladly give up our freeways and supermarkets for the privilege of starting all over again on just such a small country ranch in a smog free Southern California.

In 1912, after their citrus grove was established, the Corbits built their permanent house. It was a two story dwelling planned by Mrs. Corbit with the help of Ralph Thing who did the construction work. Hoyt, who was a mighty busy boy in those days worked with Mr. Thing on the new house.

The living room which faced north as did the house, was spacious and pleasant; the dining room was comfortable and roomy, but the kitchen was the room with true charm, according to Bess McKenzie who lived in the house in the early 60's. Mrs. McKenzie says that she hated leaving the place, mainly because of the kitchen. A snug window seat looked out into a fascinating grape arbor on which grew golden concord grapes of exquisite flavor. One evening the McKenzies looked out to see an opossum family, the babies hanging by their tails from the vine, each holding a grape in its little paws and slurping the delectable juiciness with all its might.

The house had three bedrooms, two downstairs and one huge room upstairs. This upstairs room was also a delight. Windows in all directions looked out upon interesting views. As the house was on the crest of a knoll, this added to the dimensions of the view.

Mrs. Corbit took an active part in community affairs, being one of the very early presidents of the Yorba Linda Woman's Club and chairman of the committee on Civic Affairs of that organization. Some of her writings on club and town history were used in research items for this book.

Mr. Corbit was also an interesting participant in many decision making gatherings in the community and was respected for his sound judgment and integrity. [25]

Hoyt as a young man helped many a neighbor in home making projects and was often involved in worthwhile activities of village life and promotion. He is credited with being the oldest bonafide resident of the original Yorba Linda area. He is still active in Rotary Club and other civic affairs. His wife, Mildred, in Federated Woman's Club work, was District President of that organization at the time of her death in November, 1967.

The Corbits soon had neighbors, as settlers looking for home sites came in a steady influx. There were the Haags who are credited with planting the first lemon grove; the Selovers, who planted citrus trees; the Gages and Royles who set their ranches to citrus stock; the Whedons who owned land in the northwest section of the tract and grew the famous Fuerte avocado tree from which all Fuertes in Southern California were budded.

This tree was grown almost by accident. Mr. Whedon had ordered different varieties and did not want the Fuerte, but when the disastrous freeze of 1913, with a low temperature of 26 degrees, blighted all avocado fruit in the area this tree was the only one to survive. It still thrives at its original location on the old Tuffree ranch and has been often photographed for published stories on the avocado industry.

As there was yet no established market for avocados, Mr. Whedon occasionally packed a suitcase with this newly developed fruit and took it to Los Angeles where he sold it to the better hotels and restaurants at a good price, sometimes getting as much as a dollar apiece for his fruit.

Dr. William V. Marshburn had an office in his home on the south side of Yorba Linda Boulevard between Richfield Road and Casa Loma Avenue. He was the first physician in the community and was a man of considerable ability. A number of his descendants still live in the community. He was the uncle of Austin and Clinton Marshburn and among his own children were Mrs. Allen Dyer, formerly Esther Marshburn, and Frank, Clifford and William Marshburn who are the owners of Marshburn Farms, shipping packaged vegetables to all parts of the United States and many foreign countries. [26]

Dr. Marshburn was a man of unique wisdom and integrity. Men in the community today who remember him speak highly of these qualities in him and of his influence on people and organizations.

The T. B. Welch family was interested in community projects. Mr. Welch was the first president of the Chamber of Commerce, organized February 10, 1913. The daughter, Gertrude Welch, an alert young woman, started a little community library in one of the cloakrooms in the school house in 1913. She learned of the passage of the District Library Law in October, 1913, and immediately went to work to organize a district library for Yorba Linda and so our most useful Yorba Linda District Library came into being as the first of its kind in the state.

Frank Sheppherd was the first person to buy a parcel of the original tract, but was teaching at El Centre at the time, so did not live here until later. He was called "Professor" Sheppherd because of his vocation, and his old friends remember his interest in stamp collecting.

The H. E. Truebloods were among the first settlers, Mr. Trueblood having the small distinction of being the first passenger to ride on the Pacific Electric from Pillsbury (another small, later abandoned town west of Brea) to Yorba Linda. The conductor aboard did not know what the fare would be and so charged our Trueblood pioneer the sum of ten cents for the ride.

Mrs. Trueblood had a penchant for writing, especially of historical events. We are indebted to her for the chronicling of a number of happenings in those long gone days. Three members of the family are listed as charter members of the Yorba Linda Friends Church.

The N. T. Brooks family early concerned themselves in community affairs. Mr. Brooks was one of those ardently instrumental in obtaining a school for the infant town. Mrs. Brooks was a recorder of events for the Woman's Club and for posterity. She compiled a list of "Firsts" for the historical files of the Woman's Club among which we find that the first orange grove was owned by Edwin Simmans of Bisbee, Arizona and the work was done by [27] Fred Quigley and Hoyt Corbit in April, 1910; the first round trip ticket from Yorba Linda to Los Angeles was purchased by her husband, Nathan Brooks; the first Christmas tree was in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Brooks; the first roads accepted by the county were Yorba Linda Boulevard and Lakeview Drive; the first china painter was Mrs. Emma Haag; the first boy born on the tract was Carl Albert Morris, son of Mr. and Mrs. Curt Morris, born December 5, 1911; the first girl born was Evelyn Speer, born May 11, 1911; and the first American flag to fly over Yorba Linda floated from a flagpole on a small barn on Main Street on May 30, 1911.

Trivia? Perhaps to us, fifty some years later, but it is to the work of such people that civilization owes a debt for mountains of recorded data, available to researchers sometimes thousands of years later, as a source of valuable information as to the characteristics of the people of any given era in history.

Are you surprised to learn that there once was a railroad war in Yorba Linda? The Pacific Electric people originally planned to establish a road from Los Angeles through Whittier, La Habra. Brea and along Imperial right of way to Yorba Linda, to Santa Ana Canyon and on to Riverside and San Bernardino, then returning to Los Angeles through San Gabriel. They advertised for passengers to take a trip "Through the Orange Empire on the Big Red Cars".

At the same time the Santa Fe railroad people were anxious to be the first railroad to enter Yorba Linda, thus keeping out all competition. Their plan was to run a spur track from their road two miles to the south and pick up the fruit from the proposed packing plants.

The Santa Fe people sent four boxcars of armed and deputized men who set up a twenty-four hour vigil, mainly to intimidate the Pacific Electric workers. This made interesting viewing for the settlers, in the northwest section of the tract near Imperial Right of Way. But there was no bloodshed and the P. E. workers kept up a furious pace, laying track in both directions from their vantage point within the tract. The situation was tense for several [28]

weeks but the Santa Fe people decided to move out and Pacific Electric came into the town, built a depot and served the Yorba Lindans for many years until the automobile, improved highways, and closing of the two packing houses forced them to close down.

At one time this electric transportation commodity furnished passenger service along its route. Cars traveled from Yorba Linda bound for Los Angeles nine times daily and an equal number of times traveling from the city to our town. The earliest left Yorba Linda at 6:28 A.M. and the latest returning car left Los Angeles at 11:25 P.M. In this day of clogged freeways and smog we regret the loss of this wonderful convenience.

Fruit was shipped out by the carload on this road and fertilizers, lumber, machinery and many other supplies were delivered at the depot which still stands at the intersection of Imperial Highway and Lemon Drive.

There is an organization in California of men who are "Old Railroad Car Buffs." Such a man is Don Shelburne of Huntington Park. When he learned of our project of researching early days of Yorba Linda, he kindly sent two pictures of the street cars used on the Yorba Linda line, one taken on its last day of service on January 22, 1938. On May 14, 1939, Mr. Shelburne was a member of a group of Railroad Boosters of Los Angeles who chartered an old P. E. car and made the trip to Yorba Linda and back which he says they greatly enjoyed.

One of Yorba Linda's hardest working citizens was a conductor on this railroad for many years. He would often give youngsters of the town a free ride from Yorba Linda to Stern and back. Stern was the end of the road, a mile or so east of the town, where the car turned to go back again. This kind hearted gentleman was Ben Foss, owner of a fourteen acre lemon and orange grove on Buena Vista Street.

Mr. Foss was the subject of an illustrated article published in the Los Angeles Times of October 6, 1918. Says the article, "Mr. Foss firmly believes that within twenty-four hours there are two perfectly good working days besides a good night's sleep, and he proves it by holding down two jobs. From four o'clock [29] in the afternoon until one o'clock next morning conductor Foss performs the duties of what is generally considered a day's work ... he sleeps soundly after his early breakfast . . . and usually is at work at his out-of-door tasks by 8 o'clock in the morning".

Mr. Foss had been planting and caring for his ranch and acting in his capacity as P. E. conductor for six years when the article was published. He put in 3400 feet of eight inch irrigation pipe by hand on his land, planted 1100 trees and cared for his orchard with the help of two mules, named Mutt and Jeff. He had 200 chickens on his ranch, and in the year 1918 had shipped 500 boxes of fruit from his grove.

Passengers told that as he approached Yorba Linda on the electric car he would call out, "Yorba Linda, the capital of the world!" He was a community leader, serving as a member of the school board, was head of the citrus board at one time, member of the federal land bank and had still other duties. Mr. Foss was a Freemason and a member of the Friends Church. He was one more example of the sturdy stock from which came our pioneers.

The Pickering family arrived in August, 1910. They established a grove and home at the north end of Valley View Avenue, their land extending south to Citrus Avenue. To the Pickerings were born the first twins of the town, Elinore and Caroline. The girls, as they grew older, were musical, Elinore playing the violin and Caroline the cello. They played in an orchestra composed of the young folk of the town, directed by the Rev. George Rogers and practicing in the home of Mrs. Carl Seamans. Others in the orchestra still living and who will be remembered by local residents, were Hoyt Corbit (saxophone), George McCracken (alto horn), Bobby Selover (violin), Ada Day (violin), Walter Harwood (trumpet), and others.

Other children of Arthur and Cecil Pickering were Chauncey, the oldest, and Elizabeth, the baby of the family.

This family suffered two devastating tragedies just one year apart. In 1920, their eleven year old son, Chauncey, went with other boys of the tract to the lake south of Buena Vista Avenue to swim. Chauncey was not a good swimmer and became separated [30] from the other boys. He stepped into a hole and, unable to extricate himself, drowned. The other boys, thinking he had returned to school, left and he was not missed by his parents until evening, when a search was begun. A young man by the name of Amon Cole discovered the body at the north end of the lake. A second young man, a worker at the Orange packing house was drowned in the same lake two or three years later.

In 1921, the family picked mushrooms in one of the canyons leading into Carbon Canyon. Mushrooms grew in abundance on the hill to the north of the Pickering home and they often picked and ate them. But on this day a young lad spending the day with the family picked some of a different variety. When Mrs. Pickering cooked the mushrooms she applied a test, supposedly able to show the difference between the edible and the poisonous of this fungus growth, but it failed and the family, all but Elinore, who ate none of the mushrooms, became very ill and the baby of the family, Elizabeth, died.

Mr. Pickering served on the board of the Mutual Orange Distributors Packing House before it was sold to the Yorba Linda Citrus Association. Mrs. Pickering has been a valuable member of the Yorba Linda Methodist Church, giving generously to that institution. She is now in her eighties, very alert mentally and able to take care of herself in spite of several serious accidents that have had a crippling effect on this gracious lady. She has sold her home in Yorba Linda and lives with a granddaughter and her family.

The name of Andrew L. Page was one often spoken by town people. He lived south of Atwood at the time Dr. Peter Janss was active in the area. The doctor, driven by his chauffeur in a big car, got stuck in the sand near the Page home. Andy, with his team, hauled the car out of the sand and a friendship began between him and Dr. Janss. And so Andy Page was given the job of superintendent of laying the pipe lines and grading the streets of Yorba Linda. He was active in the town from that time on and served his friends and fellow citizens in a number of ways.

The Quigleys were a prominent family of the early days, coming in 1911. Merlin Quigley built the first blacksmith shop [31] at the corner of Main and Lemon Streets. He rented the building to a blacksmith who gave some space to a barber and his chair. Since barbering was not too much of a steady job at that time, the blacksmith would run up a flag when a customer arrived and the barber, who lived within viewing distance would come and take care of his customer.

George Quigley made a business of laying irrigation lines. J. M. Quigley was the father of Merlin, George and Fred Quigley and Merlin Quigley was the stepfather of Chauncey Eichler, who was sixteen years old when the family arrived in 1911.

The Fred Johnsons came in 1912. Both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were active in church and community affairs for many years. Mr. Johnson was one of the main ones in organizing the Friends' Church. He was the first president of the Citrus Association and served this organization for a number of years. He still lives in Yorba Linda on Eureka Avenue with his son, Robert Johnson.

The Bemis family arrived in 1911. There were four children in this family, Homer and Arthur, the boys, and Edith and Topsy, now Mrs. Chauncey Eichler and Mrs. Gailerd Page, the girls. Mrs. Eichler and Mrs. Page still live in Yorba Linda and have contributed considerably to the life of the community, Mrs. Eichler having taught in the Yorba Linda and Placentia schools and Mrs. Page giving of her time and talent through the Woman's Club and Methodist Church.

The Pike family lived on Yorba Linda Blvd. One of Yorba Linda's earliest romances was that of Homer Bemis and Helen Pike. The couple lived, before Helen's death, on the heights above Fullerton. An early photograph in our Scrap Book History shows Chauncey Eichler and Edith Bemis eating pie "at a social in the School St. school house, before their marriage.

Another family that contributed greatly to the vitality and stability of our town came upon the scene at an early date. The John Howard Barton family arrived in 1912. They purchased 10 acres of land lying north of Imperial Highway where Barton Chevrolet Sales Firm now is. There were three boys in this family, [32] Clyde, Hurless and Harry. Hurless and Harry were in school at the time the family arrived.

John Barton, the father, was a contractor and builder. He built the first bank building in the town and a number of residences. It was said when the old bank building was razed to make room for the new one, that the older building was remarkably constructed, showing very little wear for the number of years it had stood and served its town.

In 1921, the Perley Cram family arrived. Their son, Roscoe had come earlier at the end of his service in World War I, to work with his uncle, Ralph Thing, who was also a contractor and builder. The Crams had a daughter, Laurietta, who married Hurless Barton two years later in 1923, Hurless having built and opened a garage and filling station in 1921, at the corner of Main Street and Imperial Highway.

The Hurless Barton family had two sons, Leroy and Kenneth and one daughter, Edith Mae, who married Louis Grimm, son of the LeRoy Grimm family, coming later to the Yorba Linda area. Hurless Barton, well known for his interest in people and public works has sometimes been referred to as Mr. Yorba Linda.

George Kellogg, mentioned previously, came early to our town and took great pride in the growth of the community. His hobby was roads. He has been one of the officials for many years of the Imperial Highway Association and was instrumental in getting that highway into Yorba Linda and properly surfaced. George and his wife, Gae, were active in many community affairs. George was in San Francisco in 1906 at the time of the earthquake, as a corporal in the National Guard. He had the task of distributing twelve hundred loaves of bread to the homeless and hungry people resulting from the quake.

Yorba Linda was proud to number among its earliest citizens, a Japanese family by the name of Dobashi. The father, Mr. Joe Dobashi, was an expert at raising tomatoes and achieved the title of Tomato King in the area. The Dobashi land fronted on Citrus Avenue and their home was a large and comfortable one. There were five children in this family, Yoshika, Yonika, Tomika, [33] the girls, and Joe and Paul the sons. Paul and his family and his mother still live on the home place and Yonika, now Mrs. Takahiro Iwatsuru, lives on Citrus Avenue. The Iwatsurus have three sons, Gary and Dave in the service at this time and the youngest son, Wendell, a student at Troy High School. Paul's son Donald is in the Air Force stationed in Germany. Son Robert attends J. C. in Fullerton and daughter Judy is with Bank of America.

Mr. Dobashi, who arrived on the tract in 1910, at one time had the area where the Country Club now stands planted in tomatoes. He had several patches of tomatoes and peas inter set in young groves on the tract also. He took his produce to the market in Los Angeles with team and wagon.

John J. Kaub came in 1913, settled on El Cajon Avenue and planted an orchard. His son, Ed Kaub, came in 1916, built a home on North Lakeview and planted a citrus grove. He was a carpenter and built a number of buildings on the tract. Among his children was Edith Kaub who later married Herbert Worsham. The Worsham parents also had a home in the town and the elder Worsham and Kaub families resided here for many years. Mother Kaub and Father Worsham died after a long life for each, and then to the surprise and best wishes of an interested town, Father Kaub and Mother Worsham married and established a home on Yorba Linda Blvd. Their children, Herbert and Edith Worsham mailed announcements to friends, stating that they were happy to announce the marriage of their parents, Edwin Kaub and Belle Worsham. The community was delighted. Three generations of these interesting people have passed on, but two great grandchildren of J. J. Kaub, Nita and Noel Worsham, still make their home here and two fifth generation, great great grandchildren, Rebecca and Allan Worsham now carry on the Worsham name. These two children and the two children of Ralph Claire Shook, Julie and Leslie and the three children of Dick Shook, Jana, Jill and Douglas and three children of Susan Renneker Shinkle, Timothy, Jill and Kaye are the only fifth generation children of original settlers still living in our city. [34]

An example of the style and language of the reporting of those days is found in an old clipping of a Yorba Linda wedding. It says that "the new club house was the scene of a brilliant affair ... a Mr. Joseph C................ filled the club house with his rich tenor notes as he rendered 'At Dawning' in splendid grand style. Mrs. S............ played, in her usual masterful manner, Lohengrin's 'Wedding March'. Rev. N. spoke so kindly, words of cheer and advice to the charming couple . . . most highly respected pioneer families ... all well known and recognized among the best wherever they go !....."

The Yeringtons in 1913 bought land at the corner of Lake-view and Buena Vista Avenues, but did not move to Yorba Linda until 1918. Their daughter, Kathleen Netherland, operates the Grafters' Shop in Yorba Linda at this writing. Their two sons, Albert and William, follow careers in entomology and geology respectively.

Frank and Hannah Nixon were the parents in an early pioneer family, destined to become known worldwide because of their second son, Richard, who entered politics, becoming Vice President of the United States for the two terms of the Eisenhower administration and in 1968 was elected President. We have more about him later in this book.

The Nixons had a ten acre lemon grove on land now part of the Richard Nixon School grounds. They were the parents of five sons, Harold, Richard, Donald, Edward and Arthur. The family was a loyal part of the Friends Church congregation. Mrs. Nixon was an early chairman of the education committee of the Yorba Linda Woman's Club. Headlines of the news of her death appeared in papers across the nation in 1967, because of the international prominence of her son, Richard.

The Marion Vernon family arrived in 1911, bought land on Eureka Avenue, built a home and set out a grove there. Marion and Julia Vernon were the parents of five children, Marie, Marsha, Lee, Charles and Ted. Again we must pay tribute to the quality of the pioneers. Julia had great leadership and knew when and how to act. Those still living here speak highly of her. She organized [35] the women of the town into a group which later became the Yorba Linda Woman's Club, and she was the first president of that organization. Under her leadership the women set about beautifying the little town. They planted many pine and acacia trees in the area, some of which still flourish where they were planted over fifty years ago.

As many a good husband does, Marion Vernon found himself pressed into service to do the things the women couldn't manage. He hauled water in barrels to keep the little trees alive until they were established. When they came to the Water Company pumping plant he refused to water those trees, insisting it was so easy for the men there to do so. As time passed, the young trees over the tract thrived beautifully ... all except those in front of the pumping plant.

Marie Vernon was at one time a teacher in China, connected with a mission school there. She also taught in Yorba Linda for several years. She married Warrick Murray, a brother of Mrs. Ernest Walker, another of Yorba Linda's pioneers. The Murrays had three children, Julia, Charity and James.

Charles Vernon was a newspaper man and was editor of our Yorba Linda Star for many years, taking it over from a Mr. Douglas who first published The Star at La Habra before coming to Yorba Linda. Mrs. Charles Vernon, (Adele), still lives at her apartment in the Lutheran Home south of Anaheim. At one time the famous William Allan White, editor of the Emporia (Kansas) Gazette and personal friend of Charles Vernon, came to Yorba Linda to visit him.

Marsha lived on the home place on Eureka until shortly before her death when she was in her eighties. She had fine artistic ability and brought forth marvels of beauty with her flower arrangements. Lee attended theological seminary and went into the ministry. Ted operated a grocery store in Placentia for many years.

In February of 1911, two brothers, Ralph and Roy Shook, came to the tract and established a home on Buena Vista Avenue in the southeastern part of the area. Their parents, Mr. and Mrs. [36]

Shook arrived in January of 1912 with another brother, Lloyd. The parents stayed only a short time, but Lloyd remained. He and Ralph became a part of the life of the small community.

Arriving in 1912 was George Calkins, who built his home on Buena Vista Street. Mr. Calkins, who was the father of Mrs. Peter Amstutz, had a most colorful history. When he was twelve years old he traveled across the continent in a covered wagon with a party of settlers who were coming to California about one hundred years ago, in the 1860's. Mr. Calkins recalled that the party lived largely on buffalo meat on the way and fought hostile Indians frequently, especially when crossing rivers.


A man who was destined to add luster to the fame of Yorba Linda came here in 1912 and purchased five acres of land at the northeast corner of the tract. He was John H. Whedon, living in Los Angeles at the time. He did not move his family to Yorba Linda, but he decided to plant avocados on his five acres.

Mr. Whedon went to the West India Gardens Nursery in Altadena, owned by F.O. Popenoe, an Englishman, and ordered forty small avocado trees to be ready for planting in the spring of 1913.

The winter of 1912-1913 set a near all time record for low temperatures in Southern California. When Mr. Whedon went for his avocado trees in the spring of that year, Mr. Popenoe sadly told him the situation. The frost had killed all of the varieties Mr. Whedon had ordered. Mr. Whedon demanded his money back. Mr. Popenoe told him that he had lost a great deal of money because of the freeze and that it would be impossible for him to refund the cash, but that he had some trees of another variety that had survived the weather, but were new to the area and he didn't know how they might produce, the scions having been cut from a tree in Mexico.

Mr. Popenoe had sent a young man by the name of Carl Schmidt, into Mexico to look for promising trees from which to obtain cuttings for his avocado experiments in the nursery. [37] Mexican trees at the time mostly bore only seedlings, as they had not done much in budding avocados. Mr. Schmidt found a tree at the town of Atlisco, about one hundred twenty miles southeast of Mexico City. The fruit was especially good on the tree and Mr. Schmidt was able to buy a quantity of scions from Señor Blanca, who owned the tree. These were the small trees offered Mr. Whedon. Mr. Popenoe said he was naming them Fuerte, the Spanish word for "hardy" because they had survived the freeze.

Mr. Whedon was unhappy, but accepted the forty little trees. He later told a friend that he drove his white horse hitched to a spring wagon loaded with the trees to Yorba Linda, ill tempered all the way because he felt he had accepted worthless trees. However, he set them out on his five acre tract, which is now known as part of the "Old Tuffree Ranch".

A few years later there was another cold spell when avocado trees suffered badly, but Mr. Whedon's Fuertes kept alive and unhurt. As they matured they produced an excellent quality of fruit and developed good root and branch systems. There was one tree in particular that stood in a slight depression and probably got more water than the other trees, and it produced phenomenally.

Mr. Whedon began to cut scions from the tree and had no trouble finding a market for them. He reported that in some years he sold as much as six thousand dollars worth of buds, and was getting twelve dollars a dozen for the avocados he delivered to hotels and restaurants in Los Angeles. The big tree thrived marvelously under this treatment and grew a magnificent superstructure so that it has proved to be very photogenic. It has probably had its picture in more newspapers than any other tree in Southern California. It is referred to as the "Mother Tree of the Fuerte Avocado in California". The Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce has honored the avocado by placing a picture of the fruit on its insignia.

It is interesting to note that some years later, when the "Mother Tree" had gained fame, the Kelloggs and the Pickerings [38] from Yorba Linda went with a group of thirty people, members of the Avocado Association, to Atlisco, Mexico to find the tree which had furnished the scions for the Whedon trees. They took with them a plaque and placed it on the tree, having found the Blancas who were still living on the same land. The mayor of Atlisco was present and took part in the ceremony. Later, the Mexican Government made a national reserve of the tree and some surrounding land.

The Amstutz family arrived in 1912, and a daughter of this family, Claire, married Ralph, one of the Shook brothers. More is told of this family in the stories of "Water" and the "Library." They have two sons, Ralph Claire, now superintendent of the Water Company, and Richard, manager of a local laundromat and employee at Colliers Chemical Corp. Plant. The daughter, Katherine, makes her home in San Diego. Grandchildren living in Yorba Linda are Julie and Leslie, daughters of Ralph Jr., and Jana, Jill and Douglas, daughters and son of Richard. These children, great, great grandchildren of George Calkins, with five others, the Worsham and Shinkle children, are the only fifth generation children of the original settlers now in the city.

The E. K. French family came at an early date and settled on Valley View Street. Mr. French established an avocado nursery, the first such nursery on the tract. His two sons were Jack and William, his daughter was Reva. William French, brother of E. K., was the father of Yvonne French, now living in Brea, but a long time resident of Yorba Linda and well known in this city.

A man of unusual talents and physique made his home on El Cajon Avenue at its intersection with Prospect Avenue in 1915. He was Henry Livingston Bancroft. Mr. Bancroft was six feet, four inches tall and had a large frame, well-muscled but lean. He was a lover of books and had a sizeable collection in his home library. He was first cousin to Hubert Howe Bancroft, the California historian. Our Yorba Linda Mr. Bancroft had a keen interest in and devotion to Freemasonry and completed all degrees in that organization, except the one given in Scotland. [39]

The Bancrofts had two daughters, one of whom, Mrs. Carl Nissen, still lives on the homestead where she came to live and care for her father some time after the death of Mrs. Bancroft in 1928.

Mr. Bancroft was noted for his prodigious walking ability. When he wanted to purchase something in Fullerton, he walked there and got it. On his eightieth birthday the family was having a celebration on Balboa Island. Mr. Bancroft walked there and back, by preference. On his ninetieth birthday he was visiting at the home of a granddaughter in San Francisco. He was missed for some time during the day and when questioned about his absence upon his return, he replied, "Oh, I just took a walk across the bridge and back." This was the Golden Gate Bridge! Mr. Bancroft lived until only a few months before his one hundredth birthday.

The Selover family arrived from New York in 1911. Mother Selover came in September of that year and her son, Charles, the following December. Their dwelling and orange grove was on Orange Drive and Santa Fe Street. Ben, brother of Charles, came in 1913. The mother and two sons held the ranch in equal possession for several years. Ben married Kathryn Miller, a member of a family coming from Canada, and this couple lives on the original homestead today.

Charles Selover married Gertrude Welch, the young woman who was the village's first librarian. More is told of her in the history of the library. A daughter of the original Selover family, Ella, became the wife of Joe Buckmaster, early business man. They were the parents of Julia (Mrs. Sam) Oilman and Esther (Mrs. Howard) Brown.

To Ralph Navarro belongs the distinction of being the oldest living resident of our town. He was born here in 1897. His father, Raphael Navarro, had a ranch on what is now part of the Country Club area. Their home was on land between what is now Grandview and Orchard Drive. This bordered on the eastern limit of the original Janss land. Ralph recalls that his father had several long tables under some trees near the house and Dr. Janss [40] brought settlers to this spot, using the tables to lay out maps and other papers. Ralph's brother, Raymond, was also born on this homesite. The Navarro family is certainly among the oldest residents of Southern California. Members of the family are still in possession of the great grandfather's baptismal papers, showing that he was baptized in the Santa Barbara Mission November first, 1799.

Three generations of the men of this family worked for the Anaheim Union Water Company. Ralph's father put in fifty-two years, Ralph himself, fifty-one years and his brother, Raymond, who is still with the company has been with it for thirty years. Few families can take credit for such loyalty to an organization.

Ralph and his wife, Carolina, (a former De los Reyes girl), are still living in our city. They are the parents of Beatrice Guinn, a teacher in the Yorba Linda school system; Sophia Navarro, with Bank of America at Anaheim, Ted, with Orange County Water District and Irene Navarro, a nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange. Carol and Terri Guinn are the grandchildren.

Our city can boast of a number of Basque families, of whom we may be proud. The Adot and Etchandy families are of Basque heritage, as are also the Apalateguis. Frank and Margaret Apalategui arrived early in the area east of Yorba Linda (about 1910) and established a home east of the original tract. Ten children were born to this family, all of whom have been a credit to their community. Catherine Travaglia, a daughter, still lives in Yorba Linda.

The Basque people continued to revere their homeland, a mountainous country in the Pyrenees in Spain and France. Their language is one unrelated to any other known language and a most difficult one for any outsider to learn. They have a legend that has been told by these people for generations. The Devil was said to have come to Basque country at one time and attempted to learn the language so he could communicate with the people, but failed completely and had a very difficult time escaping from the land. [41]

An annual religious celebration is held near Chino by these people during the week after Easter. A missionary priest comes from France to be with them. They have lively song fests and devout religious ceremonies.

A family of unusual talent and ability arrived in 1911 to establish a home on Valley View Avenue after a preliminary visit in 1910 to assess the situation. This was the Vernon C. Dillingham family. Mr. Dillingham planted his first twelve acres to citrus trees, orange and lemon. He later added avocados on land extending into the foothills on Valley View. The bungalow type house built for his family still stands on Valley View Avenue. Mr. Dillingham, a native of Massachusetts, settled into the life of his chosen California town with gusto. He was interested in roads and helped in the laying out of some of the first roads. He was president of the Citrus Association for several years and was a director of Yorba Linda's first bank.

The two daughters of this family, Miss Grace Dillingham and Floyce, (Mrs. Dillingham-Anderson) were able to contribute considerable to humanity and progress during the course of their lives. Grace prepared herself for missionary work and served twenty-five years as a Methodist missionary in Korea. She established the first girls' school in Pyeng Yang, Korea. Floyce, then Mrs. Dillingham-Smith, and interested in aeronautics when it was in its early stages was employed by the Fokker Aircraft Company at Teeterboro Airport in New Jersey, in charge of publicity.

In those days there were no instruments such as are used today to aid the pilot in charting his course and maintaining it. The roofs of buildings in strategic spots were marked with directional arrows with names of cities, towns and locations where refueling was possible. Mrs. (then) Dillingham-Smith worked and flew with Howard Hughes, who bought the Fokker Aircraft Company. Together they worked to develop a system of airway markers to assist the pilots of those days. Charles A. Lindbergh was one of those pilots and our Yorba Linda woman also flew with him in connection with her work in mapping and marking the airways. [42]

Andrew Basil McDavid, living in Los Angeles in 1912, came to Yorba Linda and bought land on the east side of Lakeview Avenue. He planted a lemon grove and made trips on the Pacific Electric cars to care for it. He worked for both Home and Sunset Telephone Companies in Los Angeles at the time and had been with them for many years, acting as inspector, among other duties.

In 1914 he moved his family to Yorba Linda and built a large and comfortable home on his land on Lakeview Avenue. The three children of the family were Ruth, now Mrs. Don Munger, and the twins, Jack and Betty. Mrs. Munger and Jack McDavid still live in Yorba Linda. The Mungers live in the old Conley house on Casa Loma, the first permanent ranch dwelling built on the tract. Betty is married and lives in Los Altos, California.

Mr. McDavid was interested in radio when it was in the primitive crystal set stage. He made such a set and had it in his home here where the neighbors gathered in the evenings and listened, using ear phones, and marveled at the wonders coming to pass. Later, as a hobby he made radio sets and sold or gave them to customers or friends. Mrs. McDavid took a keen interest in the Parent-Teachers Association, working diligently at ice cream socials, selling ice cream ordered out from Los Angeles on the P. E. car.

Ruth was in grade school when the family moved here and graduated from the eighth grade in the same class with Jessamyn West in 1915. Jack McDavid has for many years been greatly interested in Boy Scout work and has been a well known leader in that organization. His hobbies are sports cars and miniature railroads. At one time he was Orange County president of the H. O. Miniature Railroads of America.

The Renneker family arrived in Yorba Linda among the very early settlers and established a home and grove on El Cajon Avenue. Nofle Renneker was the head of the household at this time, but his father, who was blind, made his home with this family. Noble, twin brother of Nofle, also resided there.

Mr. and Mrs. Nofle Renneker were both educated in Whittier High School and Whittier College, where they had first become [43] acquainted. After living on the place on El Cajon for about five years they sold and bought a grove on Citrus Avenue, in partnership with a Mr. White of Whittier, where they built a large, square two story brick house and later bought out Mr. White's interest. There were six children in the Nofle Renneker family: Noble, who went into the oil drilling business; Peggy, who became Mrs. Boyd Smoot; Viola, who became Mrs. Hubert Singer; Fern, later Mrs. Martin; Jean and the second son, William.

Susan Renneker Shinkle, daughter of Noble, is now living on the original tract land and has three children. They are Timothy, Jill and Kaye and are three of the fifth generation children living in Yorba Linda whose great-great grandfathers were among the pioneer settlers.

The McFadden family left Seattle in 1912 and arrived in Yorba Linda, where they established their home and citrus grove north of the Imperial right of way where the Garden Place homes are now located, west of the Michael's Market complex. Mrs. Samuel McFadden was of Irish Presbyterian background, her parents having emigrated from Ireland and settled in New England. When the Presbyterians established a congregation in Yorba Linda, Samuel was one of the congregation who made himself useful in helping with the building program.

Mrs. McFadden had a brother, still living, who was a Congregational District Superintendent in Connecticut. Now in his eighties this elderly gentleman, Craig Whitsitt, still preaches occasionally, remaining active in church life. There were three children in the McFadden family, Margaret, Esther (now Mrs. Valdo Smith), and Richard. Margaret was librarian of the Yorba Linda District Library in 1927.

Esther Smith recalls the Santana winds of the early years and how much stronger and more destructive they were then than now A Santana once blew the McFadden's barn roof off, causing terror to the family. She also recalls a little private club composed of the McFadden, the George Kinsman and Eldo West family mothers and children. The mothers called it a cooking club and the daughters were taught pioneer culinary arts and all the family was [44] able to enjoy the results thereof. At times they made journeys to the beach which was a very special treat to all members of the trip, especially the children.

The Frank Day family arrived in 1916 and built their first home on Mountain View Avenue on land south of where the Lemon House now stands. They later bought the land on which the Friend's Church is planning to build a new sanctuary and then sold this land and bought the Speer Ranch on Citrus Avenue and moved there where they raised lemons and oranges. The young people of this family were Floyd, Ada (now Mrs. Clyde Barton), and Frank Jr.

Mrs. Day (Pearl) was on the school board for eleven years acting as clerk of that organization. The first Richard Nixon School was built during Mrs. Day's service on the school board. She was active in Parent-Teacher Association work and is a life member of that body. Mr. Day served a term on the Yorba Linda Water Board.

And so we leave our Pioneer families. Doubtless there were others that should have been included in our story, but we do not know about them. We have spent many hours on the telephone and in consultation with sons and daughters of the early settlers. We have made our account as accurate as possible, but we also know that error has a way of creeping in. Sometimes two persons' accounts of the same incident will vary, and no wonder, when people are thinking back for fifty years and more.

Of one thing we can be sure. These pioneer people were of exceptionally fine stock and we are proud of the chance to tell their story before it is too late to capture it. [45]

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