Nearly every old man in the world believes that if the story of his life were written it would make an interesting
book. And so it would.
Let it not be thought, however, that we advise all old men to print the stories of their lives. There are almost too
many books in the world, as it is, and there are hundrels of thousands of books now that should be read and
that are not read. Therefore, it is not well to add to the number.
However, this does not change the fact that the story of any man who has lived to old age would make an
interesting chronicle to print. No matter how humble any man's life may have been; no matter that he never was
in the wars, or that he has no hair-breadth escapes to relate, his life would still make an interesting story.
For this is the great miracle: That we are born and that we live our lives. And if a man shall have experienced
just that and no more, he has come home from a great adventure when he sits down with old age in the twilight
of the years.
The humblest and the least known old man of today, what wonders has he not seen? He learned to read by the
light of a tallow candle, he saw the advent of the kerosense lamp, and now he ponders over the world's big
news in the glow of an incandescent bulb. He has stood on the threshold of time to welcome the steam engine,
the telephone, the wireless telegraph, the sewing machine and the motion picture.
If awaiting the child who was born today there be half the wonders in store that there were for the child who was
born threescore and ten years ago, that youngster may well be envied and his life story will also be worth
printing in a book.
There is always some delicacy in writing one's own life for fear there may be too much egotism, but faults of that
kind the writer would ask the reader to kindly overlook.
The 29th of June, 1838 was the day and year of my birth and a small village called Fenwick and Ayrshire
Scotland was the place. Ian Mac Laren has graphically portrayed the simple life of the average resident of the
country village in Scotland. The happy, simple life in the open air with the plain diet is largely conducive to the
robust manhood of the average Scot. In the little village in which I was brought up there was not then, nor is
there now, any railroad nor factory to break the monotony and so the petty tradesman was content and happy
in attending to his daily secular duties and to his religious ones on Sunday. It was fashionable and customary to
have large families and so as soon as the education could be completed at home an opening for the business
and active life had to be found elsewhere in the large city or in a foreign land. My school days were finished at
thirteen, but that was too early an age at which to go out alone in the world to fight life's battle and so work on
the farm or in. the village was the one resource. Opportunities for mental improvement were not wanting and
the village library of select books was largely drawn upon for acquaintance with the men and opportunities of
the wide world. The village debating society and the "Weavers Parliament" which met daily at the noon hour
and after work hours around the village pump were largely instrumental in keeping the village hermit in touch
with the outside world.
Eighteen years old and 1856 found me in London where I stayed for nearly three years gaining experience of
life and the world and planning for the future. There was nothing for me in London and December, 1858 found
me on the ocean on the way to New Zealand. Four months of interesting experience on the ocean without
seeing land or sail showed that the earth is vaster than we have any conception of on land. The publication of
the manuscript newspaper and the ship's daily position were the events that broke the monotony of the voyage.
New Zealand was a new country, newly settled and everything, climate, land, birds and vegetation, were all new
and full of interest. Animals there were none, nor snakes although St. Patrick is not reputed to have visited the
islands in the course of his missionary labors. Sheep farming was the only remunerative business in the early
days. Several years found me on a sheep station with nothing to do but walk the boundary and keep the sheep
from crossing. Tea and sugar, flour and mutton were furnished and the recipient could cook them to his own
liking. Communication with the outside world was had about once a month when someone was sent for the mail.
For reading, newspapers were not to be had, but a few select novels circulated among those who cared to
read. "Back to the land" was the cry there as it was and is everywhere and in course of time I found myself on a
piece of land where I soon found that a home could not be founded by man alone, and after a time I found a
blooming red-cheeked lass who was willing to join her fortunes with mine and make a home. For fifty-three
years she stayed with me, helping rear the family that was her care in vigorous life and her pride and devotion
in declining years.
A desire for new scenes and a honeymoon tour found us again on the ocean on the way to California via
Panama this time under steam. A month's straight sailing found us in Panama and on board an American
steamer and this was our first introduction to America. Something a little different occupied the time. Acapulco
was visited during the French occupation of Mexico. On the west coast the barefooted, ragged Mexican soldier
on duty was almost a laughable incident were it not for the serious side of it. A word from Uncle Sam, however,
and the French occupation was terminated and Maximillian's reign was no more. Two weeks of pleasant sailing
up the coast brought us to San Francisco with its green hills most beautiful to look upon, now the site of homes
of the more prosperous. Nothing was required of us on landing and there were no question asked—we were
free to go and come as we pleased—this was in January, 1867.
The mountains and the redwoods of the Coast range took our fancy and there we spent three years in the
lumber and shingle mills and in farming.
Southern California with its oranges and semi-tropical products had an attraction that could not be withstood
and my wife and I were again on the move overland by wagon. Under the old California, travel to Southern
California was by steamer, stage or by wagon. By wagon was our way and three weeks were passed before we
got to Los Angeles. California of that time was the great wheat producing state and San Francisco the shipping
point. California as the great fruit-producing state was unknown and the road from San Francisco to Los
Angeles was an unoccupied waste except for cattle and sheep. San Jose, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara
were the only villages on the way. Los Angeles was an overgrown village, headquarters for supplies for ihe
meager wants of the interior with a newly built railway to tidewater at Wilmington running a mixed train of cars
once a day each way. This was in 1870.
Riverside was then being founded, but not advertised in California. A season of corn growing and some letters
of Judge North's in the San Francisco Weekly Bulletin called my attention to the new settlement of Riverside
where oranges and other semi-tropical products could be raised. This to our fancy looked like the promised
land and so one day in April, 1872, I took my blankets and provision and started on horseback to spy out the
promised land. Night found me camped in the Santa Ana river bottom and next morning in Riverside where I
received a cordial welcome. It was Sunday morning and being told that there was that day to be formed a
society of the Congregational Church I attended and am about the only one alive today who was present at the
founding of the Congregational Church. The meeting was held in the little schoolhouse.
Riverside appealed to me as being a desirable place to come to both on account of the promise of the land and
also for the progressive condition of the people and before I left I had made arrangements to settle on a
quarter section of government land. When I reached our home my wife was delighted with my report of the
promised land and we made immediate arrangements to make our home in Riverside and July, 1872, again
found us on the road and in Riverside after two days travel.
Our life in Riverside has been part of the history of Riverside. Coming without any money owing to an .unlucky
purchase of land near Los Angeles, it was a hard struggle to make both ends meet as there was but little
opportunity in the early days to earn much while trees and vines were growing. In the following spring I got a
little orchard of all kinds of trees set out with a small vineyard of raisin grapes and while waiting for returns I got
enough to live on by hauling freight for the stores from Los Angeles and team work in other ways.
In the course of my travels in this way, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Bakersfield were all visited, together with
trips to the mines at Beaj Valley and as far as Panamint one hundred and fifty miles away on the desert near
Death Valley. The grading of Magnolia Avenue, planting it with trees and the care of it for one year was one of
the contracts I carried out. Fixing up the streets of Riverside as road overseer was accomplished in the early
days before paving or oiled roads were heard of. My further history will be embraced incidentally as this history
proceeds, but enough has been said at present to show that I had a hand in helping to make Riverside the
beautiful city it now is.
Some readers of my personal history have asked for a further continuance of it, in a less general form and at
the risk of egotism I venture to give a brief resume. We are all interested in the personal experience and
adventure of those who have gone before us, if they only can be told in an entertaining form. The conditions of
the early seventies in Southern California can never be encountered again or reproduced in any part of the
United States. Oil, gasoline and electricity with all the discoveries and appliances resulting therefrom forever
preclude those experiences and the pioneers of that time will always be in a class by themselves.
Orange culture and the growth of those luxuries such as figs and raisins now looked on as necessities had a
fascination for my wife and myself that was irresistible.
At first in the winter of 1870-1871 as we had not heard of Riverside as yet we rented a small house in the lower
part of El Monte near the Old Misson San Gabriel which had been abandoned as being too liable to overflow
from the Old San Gabriel river and moved to the New San Gabriel as it was then called. Here was our first
acquaintance with the native Californian—the Spaniard or Mexican as he is generally known. This was not
much over twenty years after the acquisition of California by the United States and he was pretty nearly in his
primitive condition as he was under Mexican rule. We found them kindly disposed and neighborly as we have
since invariably found them. After a short residence there, we found an American who was anxious to do us a
favor by selling us a fine piece of land at a cheap rate and on easy terms for the unpaid balance, with
abundance of water for irrigation from the San Gabriel river. This was so good looking that we soon found
ourselves in a new home with fifty-three acres of land and contented for the time being. We, after a few months,
found that the bulk of the land was useless on account of alkali which we had never seen before and in any
case it was entirely unsuited for the growth of semi-tropical fruits and this put us in a quandary for at best only a
precarious living could be gotten out of the land.
When we read Judge North's letter in the San Francisco Bulletin it did not take my wife and I long to decide that
we were better to throw away the place we were on than continue as we were. As mentioned heretofore a visit
to Riverside confirmed us in the desire to move and sacrifice everything. Fortunately in the end it was not so
disastrous as we feared for about that time the Southern Pacific Railway was planning to build to Anaheim and
Santa Ana if those who were interested would give the right of way. As planned the right of way would go
diagonally through our place which was half a mile long and take about seven acres ruining the place for
further use. The sensible way was to buy the place outright and sell the remaining fragments to the neighbors,
and so we gladlv received a commitee from Anaheim a year or two after settling in Riverside who proposed to
purchase at about half of the original purchase price and got relief from a mortgage.
Riverside was unlike most other places for there was but little chance to make a living out of the soil while fruit
trees were growing into bearing and unlike what it is today for the change from a dry and arid climate brought
about by so many fruit trees and so much water developed even on the Cucamonga desert as it was then
known has produced changes that make it much easier to raise things that are in every day use now. This had
a good influence on the class of settlers who came to Riverside for it was no place for a man to settle, grow
some corn and raise a few hogs and care nothing as long as he could eke out a living in as easy a way as he
The various kinds of vegetables both summer and winter always succeeded which was fine for family use, but
there was no market for them for everybody had all he wanted to raise for his own use. But some money was
necessary to pay for water and the tax collector when tax paying time came around. There was but little call for
labor when every man did his own work on the outside and his wife did hers on the inside and in beautifying the
surroundings. All groceries had to be hauled from Los Angeles and the stores hired teams to do the hauling
and paid in groceries.
I had a four horse team and took in what hauling I could get and many a load of groceries and other things I
brought from Los Angeles. Four days were consumed in the trip always camping out at Spadra or somewhere
near water sleeping out in the open air generally under the wagon with the horses tied to the wagon. Enough
provision was cooked in the home to do for the four days so there was not much cooking to do except boil the
coffee. Generally two teams went together for company and mutual assistance when necessary and good times
were experienced sitting around the campfire. While away on these trips my wife was left alone with the little
ones and to look after things at home. There were no tramps or other disreputable or dangerous characters so
there was no fear felt on that score for all would be safe on the return. Later on as times improved I was able to
have someone at home to help with the outside work. The most annoying trouble arose from loose Spanish
horses for everyone who could afford a saddle had a horse which was usually turned loose to find its own feed
and the green and succulent alfalfa formed a tempting morsel for the hungry horse. Sometimes in the spring a
load of wool from the Perris Valley and the plains and valleys as far as Temecula and San Jacinto formed a
welcome and profitable addition to the Los Angeles trip for a load both ways and a six days trip was always
more profitable. But again the Santa Ana river had to be forded and when it was in flood which was not very
often there was danger that the wool would get wet and have to be unloaded and unpacked and dried. This
only happened once in my hauling experience and not to my own load. When the river looked at all dangerous
we always doubled teams and took no chance to get stuck in the quicksand. It was alwavs the rule of the road
whenever a team was stalled either in the river or in heavy sand on the desert (as it is still on the Arizona or
Colorado desert in California) to help the other man out without any expectation of pay. The first bonanza in
that line I got at a time when I very much needed it was when I overtook Moses Daley who then owned the Old
Rubidoux place across the river. I overtook him down the river on the road via Chino with an overload of wool
on the way to Los Angeles. Stopping to help him he put part of his load on my empty wagon which I hauled to
Los Angeles. When we came to the San Gabriel river there was half a mile or more of dry heavy sand to haul
through quite unlike what the San Gabriel river bed is today with its damp sand.
The few dollars I got for this service came in good time to buy groceries. This happened when I was hauling
some of my household effects from our abandoned ranch. Between loads and other contracts, there was
opportunity to look after the growing trees and vines, which seemed as if they were endeavoring to make up by
their encouraging growth for the difficulties encountered while waiting for returns from them.
Once in a while there would be long trips. About the time that the Riverside Land and Irrigating Company was
formed by the coming of S. C. Evans, D. W. McLeod came to Southern California for his health. His wife was a
niece of Mr. Evans. Mr. McLeod; who bought land down Arlington way, came to live in Riverside when orange
growing promised results, but health matters had to be attended to and a living made as well. Bee keeping was
an untried, but promising business except on a small scale. A negro who was working at the tin mine had a few
hives which had done well. Mr. McLeod was the first beekeeper in the Temescal valley who went into
beekeeping on a large scale and his pioneer work showed what could done. He bought his bees in San Diego
County near Escondido and I along with two other teamsters got the job of moving them. Two trips were made
for bees and one or two to San Diego for hives and hive materials. These trips consumed a week or more each
time, but they were all profitiable and helped "keep the pot boiling." Selling hay delivered at the tin mines at a
time when barley hay was unsaleable came in to good purpose and consumed two days in delivery.
The grading, planting of Magnolia Avenue and the care of the trees for one year was quite a large contract.
This was for the oldest part of it and extended from the head of the Avenue where one of the original trees is
now planted for a distance of two and a half miles to the street below the Indian school. This avenue would
have been continued right into the end of Main Street something on the line it now is except for the
unreasonable opposition of one or two men. A bond for the fulfillment of the contract was one of the conditions
of the contract, but none was ever asked and at the end of the year every tree was growing and satisfactory.
Fifteen hundred dollars was what I got for the work.
The hauling of lumber from San Bernardino (and sometimes off the mountains but rarely) was one of the early
occupations for the man with a team. Latterly when the railroads were built and when there was a demand for
redwood and a better class of lumber than the San Bernardino mountains afforded Anaheim was drawn on for
this class of lumber. This was to a certain extent in competition with the railroads which enabled lumber yards to
be kept at Colton. This was before Riverside had a railway of its own. Anaheim was a four days trip and the
road down the Santa Ana canyon crossed the river several times. The lumber for the lower story of the Odd
Fellows hall which was first built for a hall for fruit exhibition purposes was hauled from Anaheim, the upper story
for an Odd Fellows hall. The hauling for the exhibition hall was paid for in stock in the new building and sold
afterwards about half of its face value to the Odd Fellows. The third story was an afterthought for a later day.
Another source of income to the needy was the care of orchards for abstentees or for those who did not own a
team. Once I had a trip to Bakersfield on a wild goose chase trying to sell some local produce on the
suggestion of, and in the company of a fellow teamster. This was disastrous in its results and over poor roads,
up the Cajon canyon branching off at Swarthout Canyon and down Rock creek to the base of Cucamonga
mountain where there was a great meadow with abundance of water, thence on by Elizabeth Lake and on past
Fort Tejon and down Tejon pass and canyon, and across the dreary dry plain to Bakersfield. Nearly a month
was spent and practically lost on this fruitless trip, but that was not the worst for in that malarial country 1
brought back a dose of malaria which fortunately did not develop for a few days after my return, for I found my
wife sick and half dead, but still keeping on her feet to look after the small children. My first case was to look
after her and bring her back to health, but I had no sooner get her back to her old standard than I was down
with malaria, and for a whole month I was unable even to do any of the chores. She had everything to do out
and in, and the little children as well on her hands. But we were cheered at the prospect of our growing fruit with
enough for our own use and the addition of the fine vegetables and melons which were always a success in
Again when "Lucky Baldwin" found his mountain of gold in the east end of Bear Valley and wanted to put up a
forty stamp mill I helped haul up some of the machinery. It took nearly a week then to get into the Valley up the
Cajon canyon, down on the other side, and by Hesperia on the mesa, through the yuccas and away across the
Mojave river deep sands, past Rabbit Springs and on to Cushenberry's at the foot of the long rocky canyon,
that finally leads over the grade and into the valley to Bairdstown where the stamp mill was in process of
erection. A night's camp in the cold mountain air found us in the morning with a covering of two or three inches
of snow. The return trip was made in about half the time being mostly down hill. We had to haul feed for our
horses, both going and coming. Always tw6 or three teams together to double teams in the worst places.
Another time it was a trip to Panamint, a new mining camp away 150 miles out on the waterless desert north of
the San Bernardino near Death Valley on a newly tracked soft road with water about twenty miles apart, and in
one stretch forty miles where water had to be hauled for one night's supply. In winter it was so cold that some
teamsters made big fires of brush to warm the ground before spreading their bedding for the night. I hauled a
load of lose hay on that trip besides hauling feed for the team both ways. Five cents per pound was paid for
hauling to the mine, and a lesser sum for a load of ore back. This was again pretty near a month's trip for the
road was heavy and the team slow. Thus the early years in Riverside were passed. Every one, man and woman
did their share, and everything pointed to a bright future and there was not lacking the bright side. Having
plenty of horses and vehicles, an outing during the summer was a possibility. One of these outings, repeated a
few years later, was to Bear Valley while the foundation to the dam was being built. With the lumber wagon to
carry the baggage, provisions and feed, and a heavy spring wagon to carry the people who could not all pile
onto the big wagon, and a few friends for company, a jolly time was had both going and coming and a whole
month in the valley, and the stock getting fat in the luxuriant growth of feed in the present bottom of the lake
and carefree, who would not be happy? Dr. Greeves, one of the founders of Riverside was with us on one trip.
While in the valley I was set to work by Judson and Brown fixing up roads by blasting and removing rocks and
boulders, and so the time passed and the children grew rugged and strong in the open air and living on the
pure milk, rich butter and the tender beef of the mountains. This was in 1884 and never again will the stock
graze and grow fat in the abundant pasture that grew in the bottom of what is now Bear Valley Reservoir.
Excursions to Holcomb Valley, to Bairdstown to see the abandoned stamp mill with its rusting machinery and the
ruins of the shanties in which the miners lived, and the better homes of those who had their families with them,
all were interesting. Again in that country where there was gold, who could say but a rich ledge might be
discovered and then what? Imagination could build the fairest "Castle in Spain." Best of all was the three days
trip to the summit of San Gorgonio mountain better known as Greyback, the highest mountain in Southern
California, on horseback to the base of the large peak which had to be climbed on foot and in the very early
morning in order to see the sun rise. There was also the chance that in the absence of any trail the way might
be lost as there was no traveled path, but everyone took his own way, certain that if he kept climbing over the
rocks and boulders, the summit would be finally reached and the glorious view of the sun rising to be enjoyed
and the magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and country even as far as Catalina Island on the ocean
on a clear day viewed with awe and admiration. Then the coffee and the early breakfast warmed with wood
carried some distance (for the top of the mountain is above the line of vegetation) was thoroughly enjoyed. On
the way down which was down some loose fine rock the passage was easy and the streak of snow alongside
was tempting for a toboggan slide were it only certain that a safe landing could be made. The gnarled and
crooked trees near the top crushed down to the ground by the snow and the strange vegetation in the higher
altitudes, familiar to colder climes were all full of interest, and home again to camp, the time flew swiftly until the
month's outing was spent, all making the drudgery of every life more agreeable if only from the novelty of
Another season Santa Barbara was visited and the seashore was a variation in the busy everyday life and the
time flew as those only who have something to do can realize.
Everyone almost who has got the wanderlust in his blood and comes to California with its wonderful tales of
digging for gold and the lucky strikes wonders if there may not be some rich mines or strike of some kind
somewhere in the mountains or in some inaccessible place for him —the most inaccessible and out of the way
the better. Then there is traditions of very rich prospects being found by solitary wanderers who were always
forced by unforseen circumstances to abandon the "find" for the time being until they can go on the inside and
get fitted out in a way to take advantage of the treasure. Then there were the traditions of Indians who would go
away by themselves and come back with enough gold to carry them on for the time being. All of these strikes
were confirmed by rich specimens. There were always good reasons why these finds were lost, generally the
death of the prospector. Such a find was made by an old mountain trader and hunter called Peg Leg Smith, so-
called because he had a wooden leg having lost his own in a skirmish with some Indians in a horse raid. The
specimens were there, but Peg Leg Smith died before he could get back. Many a search has been made for
the mine, but no one has ever discovered the gold. Tom Cover, one of the early settlers of Riverside
disappeared in one of these prospecting expeditions. I went on one such expedition with a party both as a hired
teamster and an interested participator out by Indio and across the bed of the Salton Sea and into San Diego
county over a very dry and desolate country. Back and forward to Indio for supplies and into what is called the
bad lands, but after a weary and exhausting search nothing came of it and Peg Leg's treasure is still on the
Another time I was away out north and east of the San Bernardino Mountains which another party with no
results, but there is always the gamblers excitement which in some is never quelled. As far as I am concerned
my desires in the mining line are satisfied and I am content to "let George" do the rest of the adventure.
One very interesting trip was made all alone both ways to the Imperial Valley by team with a spring wagon at a
time when I was proving up a desert claim for my daughter. It would seem rather foolhardy for an old man of 75
to go away so far unattended on a lonely desert road where you would maybe at times be twenty miles from a
living human being. But I went nothing fearing for it was no new thing to me. The route lay over the old
Butterfield Stage route in the eatly history of California before the war and during its continuance. I mean the
war of the secession. At one of the old Stations above the Salton Sea there was a haunted camp, but I saw nor
heard anything of the haunt. There was no danger of robbers for there was nothing to rob. There is, however,
the danger that some accident may happen without any help near. One Riverside citizen dropped dead
suddenly on one of those trips, leav-. ing his wife and small babies alone all night amid the howling desert
The road was very difficult a good part of the way after leaving Warner's ranch, steep pitches the corkscrew
canyon and twenty or thirty miles of deep almost impassable creek sand without any water. It was a very
interesting trip, a great part of the way completely desert.
Meantime children grow up and railways and motor cars come into use and before we realize it the old fashions
and old fashioned ways pass and the new comes in, and in place of mother taking the babies out for an outing,
the babies take her out and father goes along too and the world passes and the fashions thereof change.
In a busy life other things come up and the children can be substituted and trusted to look after the homes and
the home place and can go out on their own responsibility, and they also when large enough in the higher
grades know just how things can be done on the home place while their elders take their outing without the
cares of the family. These outings were great things for the growing children and for their expansion of body
and mind. An occasional rattlesnake varied the monotony and fishing for trout in the canyons with a night's
camp there helped to pass the time pleasantly. These occasions were all looked on as pleasure trips and
everybody got out of them what was looked for.
Meantime other factors were coming up in my life. From the very first I had always looked on fruit raising not as
an incident in life, but as the main issue in material existence and whatever would advance the prosperity of
Riverside would also benefit me too.
In the later seventies the Southern California Horticultural Society came into existence and in connection
therewith there was soon a paper devoted to the interests of the soil and soon there came a fair or exhibition of
products from all parts of Southern California. Discussions in connection therewith were also had as to how it
was done and as to best methods.
There were always opportunities for participation in these discussions. This was before the State or Nation was
able to send out experts or issue monthly bulletins and before Farmer's Institute were instituted As a matter of
fact these meetings of the farmers set the pace for those that were to come after and the reports served to
preserve what was valuable. At all of those fairs I along with others had exhibits which took their share of
premiums and medals. It was always easy to get a hearing in the papers for anything of interest written in an
interesting manner. In these various ways I was active, never at a loss for an opening or a hearing in the
papers. Soon we in Riverside had our Horticultural Clubs and also an East Side Literary Society which had an
active and useful career for many years in all of which I had membership and was constituted reported for all of
them. Our annual Citrus Fairs also gave opportunities for active work. Reports of other public meetings were
always welcome. I was constituted and held the position for years as writer of the Farm and Orchard Work of
the California Cultivator besides writing articles on special subjects. Then came up the Farmers Clubs and
Farmers Institutes held in various places in Souther California to all of which I was made welcome at a time
when railroad passes were plenty among newspaper men. In this connection I was a member of a Farmers
Institute held at Imperial when there were only a few houses there—about 1901—when a ride in a hired
conveyance across the desert from Old Beach to Imperial in a spring wagon was a feature. Coachella and Indio
at the same time had their instiutes. All these new places with their promising future in new specialties and in
early fruits and vegetables were all written up. All of the rising places and settlements were written up and
reports made that were read on the newer California that was laying fuoridations for the greater things that
were coming. A horseback trip to Bear Valley under the guidance of F. E. Brown, of Redlands, with a special
party of observation was one of the pleasures of my life and an opportunity to see 10,000 inches of water
flowing out of Bear Valley before the dam was built to impound it. This was in a wet season, but that amount of
water it was estimated flowed for three months in as great volume.
On that trip there was climbing through the snow, on foot and fording on horseback the swollen and dangerous
Mill Creek. My newspaper connection gave me privileges not accorded to the ordinary wayfarer. As a reporter
with railroad privileges I could go where I wished cheaply. For a whole month I conducted the Editorial
department of the Riverside Enterprise in the absence of the editor with I hope no great detriment to that
department of that paper. My connection with the Present Day Club for many years at first as reporter for the
Enterprise was educational and beneficial—of later years only as an active participating member. The years I
was a member of the Board of Directors of the Riverside Water Company was I hope not detrimental to the best
interest of the Company At least my connection with it by suggesting paying the Directors a small sum for
attendance made all meetings possible and punctual in place of a meager attendance or a postponed meeting
for lack of a quorum.
In my official duties as Road Overseer the roads were benefitted by my labors and in case of the Box Springs
boulevard I was able to introduce several beneficial innovations that save every traveller some time in his
Through my connection with the newspapers and in other ways I was able to attend as a delegate to the
National Irrigation Congress at Spokane and incidentally gained a flying glimpse of some Eastern States as far
as New Orleans and Chicago with the result in my opinion that nothing east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains
was equal to California in attractiveness.
All of these outings and connections with the Press were thoroughly enjoyed and made the most of and the
special features of each inscribed on my memory with pleasing association with pleasant people, but all things
considered, Riverside is my choice.
But time and tide wait for no man and Dr. Osler and his theories came up and as I am long past bis prescribed
time and the great (?) must have their downfall and new kings reign and the old must be laid on the shelf. The
only mournful thing about it, or maybe the reverse is that in the place I helped and where I used to know
everybody I am almost a stranger and about ready for burial, but while awaiting patiently albeit enjoying life as
well as ever I did, as a member of the Pioneer Historical Society of Riverside the subject of preserving the
traditional and unwritten history of Riverside came up before the society a few years ago and I was honored
with the title of Historian. I could not, however, enter into my duties at once, but the old pioneers were all dead
or going fast and I could do nothing because of a sick wife and the care of a ranch. I was urged to start (I was
gathering material) or I too would be likely to cross the silent river. My wife passed on over a year ago after a
fellowship of 53 years and I was left alone. My six children (two of whom died a few years ago) all having homes
of their own and doing for themselves. A year of loneliness on the place that once had been alive with the
happy laugh of children and the home occupations of the elders convinced me that there was another place
and occupation for me in the world after seventy years of active labor and so the first day of May, 1921, found
me without a home of my own and a stranger installed and owner of everything and my bridges behind me all
While all this was going on the Western Historical Society came round saying the Association wanted to write up
a history of San Bernardino and Riverside counties telling me very flatteringly I was about the only one who was
available that could write the history of Riverside County and here I am in a room by myself telling the reader
some things in my life I have never told before. The primary history which is large and costly in comparison with
the modern novel will first be published then will come later the very pleasing duty of complying with the request
and duty of telling the pioneers and others interested how it was done.
I hope I will be able to meet the expectations of those I have met who have spoken so encouragingly to me. If I
do not it will not be for lack of the desire to please them, but for lack of ability.
I have this much to say in favor of California that in all of my travels of more than fifty years in California that I
have never carried arms of any kind and have never had any need of them.