John C. Anderson
Birthdate: June 1, 1845
Occupation: Building contractor
Properties Owned: 215 E. Lime Avenue
John Calvin Anderson was a carpenter working in Los Angeles when Monrovia was being subdivided in 1887, and if he wasn't the first builder to make Monrovia his home, then he was among the first. Besides his own house, Anderson built Monrovia's first hotel, the Mills Hotel, on the west side of Myrtle between Lemon and Orange (Carew 406).Anderson was born June 1, 1844, in Ohio. His headstone at Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia, California, indicates he was in the Union Army, but little else is known about his life before he came to California. His wife, Elizabeth H. Lindesmith, was born November 30, 1853, also in Ohio.
Los Angeles.California Voter registration lists indicate that John C. Anderson was in Los Angeles by 1873, where he is listed as a carpenter. The 1888 voter registration entry has him living in Monrovia working as a contractor. He had bought three lots (16, 17, & 18) in Block A of the Town of Monrovia Subdivision and built a house on Lot 16 that was valued in 1888 at $700. That house still stands today and is the site of the Anderson House Museum. After John Anderson's death, his wife continued to live in their house but sold off the other two lots.
John C. Anderson died on January 25, 1902, and his wife Lizzie died on April 18, 1929. They are both buried in Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia. The Andersons had two sons. Lewis Harvey Anderson was born on January 7, 1883, in Los Angeles County. As a teenager, he worked in a hardware store in Monrovia, but his life's vocation was as a forest ranger with the U.S. Forestry Service. He married in 1918 but had no children. Lewis Anderson died on October 22, 1956.
George Howard Anderson was born August 23, 1886, in Millport, Ohio, and lived almost his entire life in the house his father built at 215 E. Lime Avenue. He was employed as a bank cashier for the Security-First National Bank (later Security Pacific) in Monrovia from 1905 until he retired in the 1960s. He continued living in the family house after his mother died in 1929.
When he died in 1974, George Anderson left the house to his bank to as a trustee for the California Community Foundation which is a charitable trust. The Foundation then donated the property to Friends of the Monrovia Public Library who donated it to the Monrovia Historical Society which restored it and furnished it as it would have been in the 1880s. Today it is a museum that illustrates what life was like for a middle class family in Monrovia at the turn of the last century.
George Anderson never married.
- Carew, Harold D. History of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley. S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1930. Print.
- California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Web.
- Monrovia Historical Society. Monrovia's Heritage Volume 1. Unknown: Unknown, 1980. Print.
- Wiley, John L. "Observations". This is a collection information that appeared in the Monrovia Daily News Post around 1930. They were collected by Mrs. F.A. Slosson and were loaned by her son, Ralph D. Slosson, to Myron T. Hotckiss, Monrovia City Historian, who transcribed them at an unknown date. A copy is on file at the Monrovia Historical Museum, Monrovia, California.
George & Harriet Barry
Occupation: Newspaper publisher
Properties Owned: 115 E. Lime Avenue
George Barry was born in October 11, 1846 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and his wife Harriet was born in Wisconsin in 1885. Census records indicate they were 19 years old when they got married, which would have around 1904. It is unclear when they came to California, but Charles F. Davis reports in his book History of Monrovia that the Barrys came to Monrovia from Ventura, most likely to join A.E. Cronenwett in the publishing of the new Monrovia newspaper the Monrovia News.
Specifically, Cronenwett had established the paper in 1903 and involved Harriet Barry with the editorial department, specializing in society news (Wiley 92). Cronenwett sold the paper to the Monrovia Publishing Company, which had been formed in October of 1906 specifically to take over the Monrovia News. The officers of the company were A.P. Seymour, president; Paran F. Rice, vice president; Hugh Sutherland, treasurer; and George A. Barry, secretary. Barry also served as editor and manager of the paper, while his wife did much of the writing.
The location of the Monrovia News was originally on East Olive, but around 1911, it was changed to 115 E. Lime Avenue, and the Barrys lived there, as well as working there. At this time, the newspaper was renamed the Monrovia Daily News.
The 1908-1909 Monrovia directory has them living at the La Vista Grande Hotel. In 1910, they were living somewhere on South Myrtle, and in 1911, they are listed at the 115 E. Lime address where they lived for many years.
Besides the News, the Barrys also put out the following publications: the Weekly Monrovian, Pacific Poultry Craft, and Harriet’s specialty, California Woman’s Bulletin.
The Barrys were also active in the community. In 1909, George Barry was nominated to act as officer and director of the Board of Trade (Los Angeles Herald, May 17, 1909), and Harriet Barry was an active member of the Saturday Afternoon Club.
According to his own account, Charles F. Davis arrived in Monrovia shortly before World War I and was associated for a short time with the Barrys publications, but he left the Monrovia Daily News in 1919. The Barrys carried on with a small staff until 1922, when they sold the paper to C.C. Howard. They continued living in at least part of the brick structure at 115 E. Lime because their address changes to 115 ½ E. Lime.
No death dates have so far been found for them.
The Barrys had two sons: Richard Hayes, born September 21, 1881, became an author and lived most of his life in New York. He married a women named Elizabeth, and there seems to have been no children from this marriage. Their other son, Griffin Randolph, wrote and also worked overseas for the American Red Cross. He married Dora Winifred Black, and they had two children, Roderick and Harriet. No death date has been discovered yet for Richard, but Griffin died of an aneurysm in London, England in 1957.
Luther Reed Blair
Birthdate: July 17, 1849
Properties Owned: 508 S. Ivy Avenue
Luther Reed Blair was born on July 17, 1849 to James Blair, a farmer, and his second wife, Elizabeth Morrow. Census records show the Blairs were a large family with at least 13 children, and Luther was the youngest.
Un-sourced family tree records on Ancestry.com give the following information about James Blair. He was born on November 21, 1790 in Guinston, York County, Pennsylvania, to Robert Blair, and Irish immigrant and Jean Allison, a Pennsylvania native. He married Nancy Wallace in 1823 in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. They moved to Ohio and James started farming and Nancy started having children, the first being born in 1824. In total, they had five children (that lived...there could have been more!) in 10 years, and Nancy died in 1834, about a year after her last child was born.
The un-sourced records indicate that James Blair married Elizabeth Morrow in the same year his wife died, 1834. James and Elizabeth's first child was born in 1836 and died within that same year. They went on to have the following children: Alexander (b. 10 Aug 1837 d. 5 Dec 1918), Samuel Farmer (b. 10 April 1839 d. 15 Sep 1923) David Humphries (b. 21 Apr 1841 d. 16 May 1904, Joseph (b. 10 May 1843-?), Moses Morrow (b. 10 Mar 1845 d. 3 Aug 1864), Elizabeth Jane (b. 5 Feb 1847 d. 17 Feb 1890), and Luther Reed.
Census records indicate that sometime between 1839 and 1841, the Blairs moved from Carroll County to Bellfontaine in Logan County, Ohio, where the last five of the Blair children, including Luther were born.
Military records from the Civil War show that Luther's full brothers Alexander, Samuel, David, Joseph and Moses served in the Union Army. Moses died in 1864, but Samuel survived the war, married, had two children and went on to become a physician. David was discharged from the military in 1865 for medical reasons. He married, had five children, became a minister of the Gospel, but his health gave out again and he went into the U.S. Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in 1894. The 1900 census shows him still living there. Alexander was discharged as a sergeant. He married, had five children and became a farmer. After leaving the army, Joseph got married in Kansas, had three children and worked as a carpenter for about 20 years before moving to Colorado.
In 1876, Luther Blair married a woman named Ada who was born in Massachusetts in August of 1853. Census records show that three years later, they were living in Denver, Colorado, where Luther was a carpenter. The first three of their seven children were born there: Agnes (b. 8 Jul 1879 d. 26 Feb 1954), Winona M. (b. Nov 1881 d. ?), and Charles Andrew (b. 15 Nov 1885-d. ?). Because there is no census available for 1890, it is difficult to ascertain when the family arrived in Los Angeles. However, there next child, Rosa E., was born in March of 1887 in California. Three more children were born by 1896: Nellie Irene (b. 15 Sep 1888 d. 27 June 1940), Lena M. (b. September 1889 d. ?), and Annie A. (b. July 1896 d. ?).
The first recorded address for the Blairs appears in the 1900 census at 1331 Berndost Street in Los Angeles. They were still there in 1910. Luther continued working as a contractor during the years he spent in California.
It is unknown when either he or his wife died.
Agnes married a man whose last name was Morrison. She died in Santa Clarita in 1954.
Winona became a pharmacist and married Albert P. Nielson. They had two children, Torvald and Clifford. It is unclear if they ever married or had children. Torvald died in 1984 and Clifford in 1982. Winona appears in the 1910 census but not the 1920 one, so she must have died some time in those years.
Rosa married Joe Walton, a policeman. They had no children and Mr. Walton died before 1930. Rosa shows up in the 1930 census living with her two nephews, Torvald and Clifford Nielsen. The date of her death is unknown at this time.
Nellie also married a policeman, Henry S. Boardman. They lived in Manhattan Beach, California, and had two children, Margaret (born in 1823) and Ralph (1926). Nellie died June 27, 1940. There is no further information at this time about her children or her husband's date of death.
Lena lived for a short time with Nellie and worked as an exchange clerk at a department store. Both sisters had previously worked as sales clerks in a department store while they were still living with their parents. No other information is available at this time for Lena Blair.
Luther Blair's last child, Annie A., is last seen in the 1910 census when she was 14. No death information is available for her.
William Albert Chess
Birthdate: June 9, 1853
Birthplace: Near Brownsville, Michigan
Occupation: Bank Cashier
According to John Wiley's book History of Monrovia, W.A. Chess, after a public school education, clerked in his father's general store. At that time, he was 17 years old, but he soon decided he wanted to continue his education in commercial law and business at Clinton, Iowa. He then returned to Michigan and worked in Cassopolis, Michigan. On November 22, 1888, he married Mary (Minnie) B. Smith.
He and his wife moved to western Kansas to work in the sheep business. He was joined there by his brother Edward. In 1885, the brothers started a new enterprise, an animal feed store in Garden City, Kansas.
Based on the good news about Monrovia from a younger brother, Frank, the Chess family closed out their feed business, packed up, and came to Monrovia in 1887.
W.A. Chess worked as a bookkeeper at the First National Bank and then later as a cashier when the back consolidated with the Security Trust and Savings Bank in 1924. After 35 years of banking, Chess retired in 1925. William was not only very adept at finance, but also a poet and essayist. He assembled some of his work in a book, Fireside Fragments
Chess also served as Monrovia's deputy assessor, compiling the towns first assessment. Additionally, he served as town treasurer from 1894 to 1896. He was also involved in civic groups and served on the library and park commissions.
William and Minnie Chess had two children: Claude Smith, who had a radio business in the early years of the last century, and Edna A. who taught art at Monrovia High School. Claude married Kathleen Berry, and they had one child, Robert William. Claude Chess lived almost all his life in Monrovia, dying on July 30, 1960.
Edna Anita Chess never married and died in 1952.
His first house was on Ivy Avenue, his second at 301 W. White Oak (now Foothill) Avenue, where the Aztec Hotel stands today. He was encouraged by the city to move to a house at 153 Highland Place because it was felt the city needed another hotel. He lived in the Highland Place house until his death in 1937.
Minnie continued to live in the house for some years after William's death. She died in 1944.
First Congregational Church
Properties Owned: 243 E. Lime Avenue
Mable C. Menefee
Birthdate: December 7, 1883
Birthplace: Burnet County, Texas
Properties Owned: 217 E. Lime Avenue
Mabel Menefee was born December 7, 1883, in Burnet County, Texas. By 1900, she and her mother were living in a boarding house at 441 N. Grand in Los Angeles.
Tax records show that Miss Menefee purchased Lot 17 from Cora M Graves who had only owned the property for two years; however, she had built a house, valued at $400, on the site. The 1911 Monrovia directory lists Mabel Menefee as living 217 E. Lime Avenue, and her occupation is listed as “nurse.” The 1920 directory lists her as an office nurse for Dr. J.K. Sewall. The 1930 census lists the value of the house at $4,000 and Miss Menefee’s occupation as a dental assistant.
The 1913 Sanborn map shows two dwellings on the property, and it is likely that Mabel Menefee rented out the smaller house which had an address of 217 1/2. Mabel Menefee lived in the house for 39 years until her death on July 31, 1950.
Lewis D. Remington
Birthdate: August 31, 1869
Birthplace: Pontiac, Michigan
Properties Owned: 145 Stedman Place
Lewis Durkee Remington was born on August 31, 1869, in Pontiac, Michigan, to William and Mary (Graham). Lewis was the third of five sons, and his father was a minister.
Lewis worked in education, serving as principal at a high school principal in Fenton, Michigan. But his wife, Maud Lila (Holdridge) had a lung disease. He brought her to Monrovia, California, to be treated at Pottenger Sanitorium which specialized in diseases of the lungs. Unfortunately, Maud Lila died, leaving Lewis a widower with their daughter, Beatrice Dorothea (1904-1983).
His experience with his wife turned Lewis into a different direction professionally. He went to medical school and received his MD in California in 1909. He became an instructor of diseases of the chest at the University of Southern California and taught there from 1912-1915. He went on to be a lecturer at the same school from 1915-1916, and an assistant professor from 1916-1918.
In 1910, he married again to Cassie A. Prentiss. The first evidence of them living in Monrovia is from the 1910 census. It reports them and Beatrice as living at 146 N. Primrose Avenue and his profession as physician with a specialty of the heart and lungs. Because of his medical specialty and previous experience with Pottenger Sanitorium, he may have been associated with the clinic and the other doctors there, but he definitely had his own medical practice in Monrovia. The 1911 directory for Monrovia gives his business address as 603 ½ S. Myrtle Avenue. Later, his practice was located at 416 S. Ivy Avenue.
He served during World War I in the Marine Corps. In a transport list (undated), his name appears in the column under sick and wounded attached to Headquarters, 40th Division, DSO. In another transport list, he is listed as a captain.
According to his granddaughter, Marie, he used the front room of the Stedman house as his office and was an avid gardener. On his days off he would work in the yard until 11 a.m., then come in, shower, put his suit on, have lunch and then take fruit, veggies or flowers to his patients.
He died on June 12, 1963, in Orange, California, at the age of 93, and was buried in Fenton, Michigan.
Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Brimhall, Dean R. & J. McKeen Cattell, eds. American Men of Science: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume 3. 1921. Press of the New Era Printing Press, Lancaster.He lived at 146 Primrose and in 1939 built a home for his third wife at 145 Stedman Place. Was Chairman of the Monrovia Branch of the Los Angeles County Medical Association in 1928-1929. Had an office at 416 S. Ivy Avenue near the fire station.
Monrovia City Directories
James John Renaker
Birthdate: August 27, 1810
Birthplace: Harrison County, Kentucky
James John (J.J.) Renaker was born in 1856 in Harrison County Kentucky. The extended Renaker (the name had various spellings) family were wealthy farmers. He was the son of John Harrison Renaker and Amanda Edwards.
J.J. Renaker married Sarah Elizabeth Stewart (born in 1858) in 1880 and began a family in Cynthia (Harrison County), Kentucky. By 1887, his brother-in-law Dr. C.H. Stewart, also from Cynthiana, was living in Monrovia and serving as postmaster. The Monrovia Planet on May 28, 1887, states that James Renaker would be coming out to Monrovia in July to open a book and stationery business in a building being erected by Dr. Stewart.
Additionally, he was going to be the assistant postmaster to Dr. Stewart. Renaker, his wife and two sons, C.T. (Charles Taylor) and Leslie, arrived in Monrovia in September, and there are a number of newspaper articles about J.J. Renaker in the September 24, 1887 edition of the Monrovia Planet. One states that "J.J. Renaker will open out, about October 1, in the Post office block a fine selected stock of books and stationery." Elsewhere in that same edition, there is an announcement that Renaker has just been appointed Deputy Postmaster and plans a number of improvements, including 120 new post office boxes, in the office. They came to Monrovia with their two sons, C.T. (Charles Taylor), Leslie, from Cynthiana (Harrison County), Kentucky, in September of 1887 (Monrovia Planet, September 24, 1887.) Mrs. Renaker was pregnant at the time of their arrival.
The next year, 1888, Renaker experienced several personal tragedies. The Monrovia Messenger for January 21, 1888 states that "An infant son of Postmaster Renaker died Thursday night." This son was John Harry Renaker who was born some time after their arrival in the fall of 1887. John Renaker's brother-in-law, Dr. C.H. Stewart, died in the spring, and Renaker's father died back in Kentucky in May.
Sometime in late 1887 or early 1888, Renaker expanded his book and stationery store to include furniture and an undertaking business. J.J. Renaker was also been acting as deputy postmaster, but he became postmaster when Dr. C.H. Stewart died in March of 1888.
Renaker's store had items other than furniture, books and stationery. Articles in The Monrovia Messenger for the year of 1888 have short entries advertising Bixby’s Royal shoe polish (15 cents per bottle), Tansil Punch cigars, fishing tackle, baseballs and notions.
In 1894, Renaker purchased a structure at what is now known as 517 S. Myrtle from E.P. Large. Large had started a furniture and undertaking business here in 1887, and it is very likely that this store is the two story wooden building shown in the Sanborn map of 1888. Renaker and his son, Charles Taylor, ran the store until J.J. Renaker’s death.
Renaker and his wife were involved in a number of civic projects. Renaker was a member of the Monrovia Guards during the Spanish-American War in 1898. His wife was assistant treasurer of the Visiting Nurses' Association
J.J. Renaker died on July 17, 1904. Elizabeth, his wife, lived on until 1936.
The Renaker family had several business locations in Monrovia. The following is a list complied from Monrovia city directories:
- 1909-1911 furniture and undertaking business is located at 627 S. Myrtle. They moved here after their first store located at the southeast corners of Myrtle and Colorado Avenues (the Badeau Block) burned down in 1904.
- 1913-1914 has Renaker Funeral Parlor at Lime and Myrtle.
- J.J. Renaker Furniture is at 627 S. Myrtle and then moves to 612-614 S. Myrtle in 1916.
- Baker, Stephen. Monrovia City Historian. Oral interviews.
- Monrovia Planet
- Wiley, John. History of Monrovia. Press of Pasadena Star News, Pasadena, California: 1927.
Charles Taylor Renaker
Birthdate: May 21, 1884
Birthplace: Cynthiana, Kentucky
Occupation: Undertaker/Funeral Director
Charles Taylor Renaker was born on May 21, 1884, in Cynthiana, Kentucky to John James and Sarah Elizabeth (Stewart) Renaker. He was three years old when he came to Monrovia on September 15, 1887. He lived in Monrovia all his life except for 1892-1894 when he lived on a ranch in Duarte that his family owned. Renaker’s grandfather, John Harrison Renaker, had been a well-to-do farmer in Harrison County, Kentucky, and was able to well-educate his four children [the 1860 Federal Census shows John H. Renaker with real estate valued $10, 000 and a personal estate of $3,300 amount of money for those days in rural Kentucky].
Renaker, who went by his middle name of “Taylor”, attended Throop Polytechnic Institute and then joined his father in the funeral parlor and furniture business, running it with his younger brother Leslie after his father died in 1903. The family business was originally located at the southeast corner of Colorado and Myrtle (the Badeau Block) and then at 627 S. Myrtle.
Taylor's father died in 1903 (Davis 197), and around that same time, the funeral parlor burned down. Taylor Renaker constructed a new building, located at the northeast corner of South Myrtle and East Lime, the address being listed over the years as 101 E. Lime, 103 1/2 E. Lime (likely Mrs. J.J. Renaker's address as she lived upstairs over the mortuary), 107 E. Lime, and 109 E. Lime because of new structures being built. By the 1930's, the address for the mortuary is 334 S. Myrtle and Lot 15 still has that address today Though Mrs. Renaker continued to live above the mortuary, Taylor Renaker moved out when he married.
Taylor Renaker married the widow of A.P. Seymour, Emily, around 1913 or 1914. The Seymours, along with their son, had come to Monrovia around 1905, and Mr. Seymour had acquired several pieces of property as well as establishing the Monrovia Publishing Company. He built the house at 205 E. Hillcrest around 1907. Taylor and Emily lived in this house until around 1925 when they moved to another house at 555 Norumbega.
C.T. Renaker was extremely active in community activities. He was elected the first Exalted Ruler of the BPOE in 1921, he was on the Board of Trustees of the Baptist Church, he was a mason and a member of the Kiwanis Club. In 1936, the year before he died, he was the general chairman for the Monrovia Day on its 50th anniversary. According to the book History of Monrovia (Davis 197), Taylor Renaker was a staunch promoter of Monrovia, which accounts for his membership in so many civic organizations.
Taylor Renaker's mother died in 1936, and he died on July 23, 1937. Charles Taylor Renaker, his wife, mother, and his father are all buried in the Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia. Taylor and Emily had no children together.
- Baker, Stephen. Monrovia City Historian
- Davis, Charles F. ed. Monrovia History. Monrovia, California, 1957.
- Wiley, John L. History of Monrovia. Press of Pasadena Star-News, 1927.
Leslie Morton Renaker
Birthdate: August 28, ?
Birthplace: Monrovia, California
Occupation: Undertaker/Funeral Director
Leslie Mortimer Renaker was born October 8, 1890 in Monrovia, California to James John and Sarah Elizabeth Renaker. He lived most of his life in Monrovia working with his brother Charles Taylor Renaker in the family furniture store and funeral parlor located at 324 S. Myrtle Avenue.
He married Moss Lucrezia Davis who was born on January 22, 1894, in Iowa. They had two children: Jane S. who was born May, 1913, in Tulare County, California, and died on May 6, 1991, in Sonoma County, California; and John J. who was born about 1916 in California. The death date has not bee determined.
Shortly after their marriage, the Renakers moved to 104 E. Center Street in Azusa, while Leslie continued working with his brother at the mortuary. The next year they moved to 329 San Gabriel Avenue and lived there until sometime after 1920 when they moved back to Monrovia at 235 N. Canyon.
After the death of his brother, Leslie Renaker sold the mortuary business to Cliff Mendenhall and started a new mortuary business in Buena Park, California.
He died in April of 1971 in Buena Park, California. His wife Moss died on August 20, 1982, and is buried in the Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia.
J. C. Rowly
Properties Owned: 235 E. Lime Avenue
Other than owning property in Monrovia, nothing is else is known about Josiah Ro
Birthdate: 12 May 1815
Occupation: Building contractor
The Venderink Improvement Company (construction) consisted of a father and son, Berend and Berend T. Venderink. They had been living in Cleveland, Ohio, and were apparently seduced into thinking that the San Gabriel Valley would provide their fortunes. Berend T. wasn't married, his mother was probably dead, and his sister were either married or gainfully employed, so it must have seem a good idea to take the chance of striking it rich in in Southern California.
The Wasp, a magazine from 1887 has a color illustration of buildings in the newly founded Monrovia, and the Venderink's office/home is featured in it, so they were here early in Monrovia's history. There is also a confusing listing in the California voter list for 1888. It lists Berend T. as a builder, 27 years of age, and a Benj. T., also a builder 27 years of age, living in Monrovia.
They lived in a building that served as an office as well as home on Lot 13, Block G., in the Town of Monrovia Subdivision. I have provided a picture of that building from The Wasp a magazine from 1887.
Unfortunately, things didn't work out well for them as the building boom of 1888 burst, and they left for Los Angeles There is a listing for them in the Los Angeles city directory for 1890 for Berend T. Venderink, but after that, there is no record of them until 1904 when Berend T. is listed the Cleveland directory.
There is an unsourced death date on Ancestry,.com of June 15, 1896 for Berend as well as an unsourced date of 1880 for his wife, Anna Rauch. Berend was born in Holland in 1815 and Anna in the western part of Germany in 1825. They met in Cleveland, Ohio, and married in 1851. They had six children, five of them girls.
The oldest, Hanna, was born in 1852 and may have died young as there are no other records for her. Harriet was born in 1854, married and died in 1921. Louisa was born in 1858, but I could find no records for her after 1880. Katherine, also known as Kittie, was born in 1861. She married, but I could find no death date for her. Eva, the youngest, was born in 1865 and had a long career in education, first as a teacher and then as a principal. She never married and died in 1937 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Berend T.'s was born in 1861 in Cleveland, Ohio. He had worked with his father in construction before getting the idea to go to Southern California. However, once he and his father returned to Cleveland, Berend T. went off on his own in the varnish business. The 1904 Cleveland directory lists him as the manager of the B.T. Venderink Company, the western distributor of Newark Varnish Works. He continues running his business for at least the next 21 years. In the 1920s, his sister Eva lives with him until he dies on May 8, 1936.
Though Berend T. Venderink failed to find his fortune in California, he did extremely well in Cleveland, living a full life and dying at age 73.
Properties Owned: 229 E. Lime Avenue
No additional details are currently available about Martha Ward.
David S. West
Birthdate: May 1, 1847
Occupation: Rancher (Citrus)
David S. West was born in May of 1847 in Ohio to Calvin B., a school teacher, and Elizabeth (Hudson). The 1850 census lists the value of West’s real estate as $1,000.
The 1860 census shows the West family living in Oregon, but Calvin is not listed on the census. So it is unclear if he moved with the family to Oregon and then died or died before the family left for Ohio. Elizabeth West was left well off with her real estate valued at $1,000 and her personal estate at $850. Her son David is recorded as being a farmer.
David West married Merit Emily Wright in Oregon in 1873, and it doesn’t seem as if they ever had children. However, Merit’s nephew Lester and niece Esther Pearl Wright lived with them for a long time.
Though David West started off as a farmer, by 1900, he was working as the city recorder for the city of Roseburg, Oregon.
Sometime around 1909, David, Merit, and Esther Pearl came to Monrovia. They either bought or inherited property at 127 E. Lime Avenue (Lot 19, Block B, Town of Monrovia) from Adaline F. Wright. However, they lived at 147 N. Magnolia Avenue. The 1916 California voter list shows David West’s occupation as a rancher. In Monrovia where there are many citrus orchards, being a rancher would have meant working in agriculture rather than with animals.
The West’s niece moved away and perhaps because the Wests no longer needed a larger house, they moved to their property at 127 E. Lime Avenue between 1917 and 1919. David West died in 1921 and is buried at Live Oak Cemetery.
His wife, joined by her niece Esther Pearl, continued to live in the house on Lime Avenue into the 1930s. She died on January 8, 1942, in Orange, California.
William Aaron Crandall
Birthdate: March 19, 1842
Birthplace: Watson, Lewis County, New York
William Aaron Crandall was born March 19, 1848, in Watson, Lewis County, New York. His father, John Miller Crandall, owned a lumber mill in Watson. His mother's name was Clarissa Ward.
There is no evidence that Crandall served in the Civil War. There is a marriage record for him and Annie E. Denslow for December 30, 1868, in St. Joseph, Indiana. Sometime later, they moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where William Crandall sold sewing machines (1880 Federal Census).
The first mention of W.A. Crandall living in Monrovia is an announcement in the Monrovia Messenger on February 7, 1889, identifying Crandall as coming from Sioux City, Iowa, and having bought the tinning business of Woods Brothers and moving it to the Badeau Block. It also states that Crandall is going to carry jewelry in addition to tinware. The February 21, 1889, gives his occupation as a jeweler and describes his shop in the Badeau Block as having jewelry and watches on one side, while the other side has hardware, tinware, and plumbing supplies. He has a plumber and tinsmith who work for him. Another issue (October 17) identifies Henry Ritter as the employee who is working for Crandall as a plumber and tinner.
Another article in the April 18, 1889 edition of the Monrovia Messenger, states that Crandall is having an addition built to his home on Lime (235 E. Lime Ave.) and making other improvements about the place. In September (12), the newspaper reports that Crandall added a barn to his property.
In 1890, Crandall moved his store across the street into the Johnson Block (Monrovia Messenger, January 30, 1890). Crandall was also on the board of directors of the Gregory Oil Company. Crandall continued working at his hardware business until his death on May 3, 1910.
In addition to his house at 235 E. Lime Avenue, Crandall and his wife also owned the property to the west of them, 229 E. Lime Avenue (Lot 20) and to the west of them 237-239 E. Lime (Lot 22). They built a small house at 229 E. Lime and used it as rental. A larger house was built at 239 E. Lime, and Annie Crandall's nephew, Warren Herbert Denslow, purchased it after Mr. Crandall died.
The Crandalls never had children, so it is likely that Warren Denslow and his family moved next door to keep an eye on Annie Crandall as she was 62 years old when her husband died. Both Denslow, a plumber, and Annie Crandall built additional structures on their property to use as rentals.
Annie E. Crandall died on January 31, 1935 in Monrovia. Both she and her husband are buried in Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia, California.
Levi Jackson Newlan
Birthplace: Broome County, New York
Properties Owned: 225-225 1/2 Lime Ave.
Levi Jackson Newlan was born in 1830 in New York, probably Broome County. His father Frederich, born in 1796 in Vermont, was a blacksmith, a trade that Levi practiced most of his life. Levi's mother, Fanny, was born in 1798 in New York. There are a total of six living children listed in the 1850 census, and Levi was the third oldest.
There are no other records for Levi until 1863, when he is listed in the New York draft registration records. His record gives his occupation as "blacksmith" and indicates he is married. Other Civil War records show that Levi Jackson Newlan served as a farrier (a person who shoes horses) in Company A, 25th New York Cavalry, and that he mustered out of the military on June 27, 1865.
On July 23, 1867, Newlan receives letters of patent for a hand-tool that he has invented. The tool is used for cutting or trimming bolts.
The next record, the Kansas census record for 1875, indicates he, his wife and two sons, Charles A. and Frank Eugene, are living in Valley Falls, Jefferson County, Kansas.
Sometime between 1881 and 1884, the Newlans moved to Pasadena. The 1884 California Voter Registration lists Levi and his two sons living there. It is unclear if his wife Jane moved with her husband and sons, and she may have died in Kansas. His occupation and that of his son, Charles A., is given as "blacksmith", while his other son is a harness maker.
In 1887, the town of Monrovia, just a few miles east of Pasadena was established, and Levi Newlan purchased Levi had purchased Lot 19, Block A, in the Town of Monrovia, and built a dwelling, valued at $300 on it. The address for this lot was 225 E. Lime Avenue, but the house is now longer standing. The voter registration for 1896 lists his occupation as "Tobacco and cigar dealer", but the 1900 census indicates he was working as a blacksmith again. Tax and voter records indicate that Levi and his son lived together on Lime Avenue at least until 1900.
Levi Jackson Newlan most likely died in 1906. Tax records for 1907 lists the property being owned by his estate. There are no records for him being buried at the local cemetery, so the exact date of death is uncertain.
There is an entry in a 1920 Monrovia city directory listing Charles A. Newlan living at 109 E. Orange (now Colorado) Avenue. This address was the location of a boarding house. There are no other records and it doesn't seem as if Charles Newlan ever married.
Records show Frank Eugene Newlan lived for a few years in Monrovia, but by 1896, he was living in Merced, California, and working as a harness maker. He moved around over the years living in Escondido, the Imperial Valley, Los Angeles, and then back to Pasadena. He died on September 1, 1941, at the age of 81. There is no record of his having married.
Chester P. Dorland
Birthdate: May 24, 1851
Birthplace: Henry County, Iowa
Properties Owned: 261 N. Canyon Blvd.
Chester Paul Dorland was born on May 24, 1851, in Henry County, Iowa. His parents, Willet Samuel and Abigail (Bedell) Dorland, left New York where they were both from and moved to Salem, Henry County, Iowa, to farm. Besides Chester, who was the oldest, there were two other children: Willet Samuel Junior and Artilissa. In 1860, the family moved into town where Willet Dorland became a successful merchant.
The children seem to have been brought up with a desire to do well because all three children maximized their education and did well as adults. It isn’t clear which of the three came to California first, but all three lived here their entire adult lives and raised families here.
Chester Dorland attended Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, graduating in 1872. Even though his father could well afford to pay for college, Chester Dorland taught school part time while going to college, and he paid for his entire education himself. After graduating, Dorland taught school and was a school administrator, studying law during school vacations. Though I was unable to find solid information, Dorland must also have studied theology, as he spent some time as a minister after coming to California.
In 1876, he married Hylindia Atlantic Ninde (she used the named “Linda A.” her entire life), and they had one child, Mary Cosette, who was born in 1888 in Iowa.
The earliest reference to Chester Dorland in California is in 1888 when is practicing law and living at 715 S. Flower in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles directories record him also in living in 1891 at 251 Bunker Hill, while he worked at 11 W. First. In 1898, he is living at 165 N. Workman Avenue and working as a pastor for the East Lost Angeles Congregational Church.
Even though he wasn’t living in Monrovia during those years, he was buying up large amounts of property here. He and his wife owned most of Oak Grove #2 Subdivision by 1889. In late 1894 or early 1895, Dorland had built the house he and his family would live in. This house still stands on Lot 9 of the Dorland Tract: 261 N. Canyon Blvd. By 1896, Dorland had all his property in Oak Grove #2 re-subdivided into the Dorland Tract.
In the spring of 1912, Chester Dorland was voted in to serve as president of the Monrovia Board of Trustees (mayor) in 1912. I haven’t had a chance to read any of the Monrovia papers from this time, but there was something really ugly going within the city government that accompanied Dorland’s arrival. In his book History of Monrovia, John Wiley states: “The official axe fell upon about every appointive head in city hall...Some of the appointees forestalled official action by resigning” (126-127).
The next two years were tough for city hall. In 1913, there was a freeze that devastated the citrus crop in Monrovia. Dorland seemed to have continued serving until April 16, 1914, when his office “...was declared vacant” (Wiley 135). He apparently didn’t resign...he just left. He sold his house, applied for a passport in January of 1914 and left for Europe that same year.
Though he still owned a few lots here and there in Monrovia, he lived in South Pasadena until he died in 1947.
Dorland’s daughter married Milo Clinton Halsey in 1900 and had three children. The Halsey family lived down the street from the Dorlands at 255 N. Canyon Blvd. This house is a two-story Craftsman and has been land marked.
Charles Taylor Stewart
Birthdate: Aug. 9, 1849
Birthplace: Harrison County, Kentucky
Dr. John Taylor Stewart was born in Harrison County, Kentucky on August 9, 1849, to William Harvey and Elizabeth A. Webb. Over the years, Dr. Stewart gave conflicting information on the birthplaces of his parents. The most likely birthplace for his father is in Indiana, while his mother was definitely born in Kentucky. Both parents were born sometime during 1824 and married July 9, 1848, in Nicholas County, Kentucky.
According to the 1860 census, William Stewart was a successful farmer near Cynthiana in Harrison County, Kentucky, with real estate valued at $3500 and personal possessions valued at $1500. In addition to John Taylor, William Stewart had two other sons, James N. and Charles Harvey, and one daughter, Sarah E. The Stewart family valued education. Charles and John both became doctors, and James became an attorney.The Harrison County, Kentucky, online index of marriages (www.harrisoncountyky.us/marriages) indicates that John Taylor married Sue Martin on June 21, 1880.
Sue Martin was born in 1859 in Berrys Station, Harrison County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Mortimer D. Martin, a well-to-do farmer, and his wife Zerelda. Their son, Charles Mortimer (called Mortimer) was born on July 30, 1881 (died April 25, 1961).
John Taylor Stewart arrived in Monrovia in 1887. His brother, Dr. Charles H. Stewart, had established a medical practice in Monrovia, but he was very ill with tuberculosis and needed assistance with practice. When his brother died in March of 1888, Dr. Stewart took over the practice located at what would now be 140-142 E. Lemon Avenue (Lots 2 and 3, Block K, Town of Monrovia Subdivision.) Dr. Stewart was involved with civic affairs and served for a time as trustee on the Monrovia City Council around 1889.
In 1889, Dr. Stewart began sharing his office with a Dr. Davy from San Diego. It is unclear if they were actually partners. In 1890, Dr. Stewart moved the building his brother (Charles H.) had built as a post office to Myrtle Avenue next to J.F. Norman=s office (Monrovia Messenger, 11/13/1890).In 1890, Dr. Stewart bought a small house that R.M. Mullally had owned and moved it to the corner of White Oak and Primrose Avenues (Block D, the south 150 feet of the east 57 feet of Lots 4 and 5, Monroe Addition). He fixed up the house and added a barn to the property, but he didn’t live there long, selling the house in 1894 to moved to Los Angeles and run a small, private hospital. It is unclear when his wife, Sue Martin Stewart, died, but she is not shown living with Dr. Stewart and his son in 1900 census. The 1910 census shows that Dr. Taylor had married a woman named Minnie M., who was born in 1876.
John Taylor Stewart died July 13, 1922, and the age of 72 years.
Properties Owned: 211 E. Lime Avenue
Louis Beer, a farmer, came from Sharon, Minnesota, his wife and two daughters, came to Duarte, California, between 1871 and 1879. The census record for 1870 shows him farming in Sharon with his wife Prescence (later known as Carrie) and his two daughters Louisa (b. 1860) and Bridget (b. 1864.) The California Voter Register for 1879 records him farming in Duarte with his family.
The family seems to have trouble settling as they were in El Monte, California, farming in 1880 and then were back again in Duarte by 1884. In 1880, his oldest daughter Louisa had married George Ulrich (b. Germany 1848) and gone with him to farm in Rialto, California. Bridget married Charles Haberkern and moved up to Kern County to farm there.
Lewis seems to have decided to sell the farm to try real estate as the tax records for 1888 show him owning eight lots in the Town of Monrovia Subdivision. Two of these had improvements on them. One of them, Lot F2, had his bakery, the Pioneer Bakery, on it. Unfortunately, business didn't seem to work well for him, and he went bankrupt. On top of that, he had marital problems, and his wife filed for divorce.
Sadly, Louis killed himself by drowning in a reservoir in Los Angles in April of 1889. On his body was a note that declared his intention to kill himself, and inquest produced a verdict in accordance with what he had expressed in the note.
Source: Monrovia Messenger, Vol. III, No. 24, 2 May 1889
James J. McLachlan
Birthdate: 1 Aug 1852
Properties Owned: 328 S. Myrtle Ave.
McLachlan arrived with his parents, James and Jean, and siblings Jannette, John, Mary, and Catherine August 16, 1855, when he was three years old. They had been living in Argyll, Scotland, where James Senior was employed as spirit (beverages made from distilled alcohol and fruits, vegetables or grain...Scotland is known for its Scotch whiskey made from distilled barley, wheat or rye..among other things!).
The 1860 census records the family living in Groton, Tompkins County, New York. James's father, also names James, is listed as being a farmer, and from the looks of it, he was an extremely successful one. The value of his real estate is listed as $5,700 and his personal estate at $500. In the five years since they had arrived, two more children, Euphemia and Archibald had been born.
Even the Civil War doesn't seem to have affected James Senior's financial status. The Census record for 1870 shows that his land was now worth $9,280 and his personal property $3,000. With such affluence, he was able to provide a good education for his children.
By 1880, James J. McLachlan had graduated from Hamilton College, taught school and was elected commissioner of schools for Groton, New York. He also received a law degree and practiced law for many years in Pasadena, California, finally becoming a state senator.
According to the Biographical Directory for the United States Congress, James came to Pasadena, California, in 1888, ut there is an entry for him in the 1888-1889 Los Angeles City Directory indicating that he is an attorney-at-law and living at 24 1/2 Colorado in Los Angeles. In 1887 and early 1888, the hype over the new town of Monrovia was at its height, and McLachlan purchased property there at least in 1888 and possibly as early as 1887 when the town was incorporated. It doesn't seem he ever actually lived in Monrovia. He was living in Pasadena by 1890, according to California Voter Registration, and Pasadena City directories indicate he continued living there at 558 S. Marengo Avenue.
Living in Pasadena would have enabled him to be close enough to keep an eye on his Monrovia property. He owned three Lots 13-15 in Block B, Town of Monrovia Subdivision from 1888 to 1911, but he never built anything on them. The year after he bought them, their valuation dropped from $200 a piece to $150. By 1903, they were each worth only $125. This trend reflected the "bust" in the Southern California land boom. McLachlan, apparently a very patient man, held on to his property all those years, finally selling one of the lots in 1912 when the land was valued at $3,500!! By 1915, the other two lots were valued at $4,300 a piece. Even after paying the taxes on the properties for all those years, McLachlan still made money.
McLachlan served as an assistant district attorney for the County of Los Angeles from 1890-1892, and then was elected to the position of state congressman (Republican) to the 54th Congress (Biographical Directory). He served from 1895- to 1897, but was not reelected for the 55th Congress. He did manage to get reelected to the 57th Congress and kept this position until 1911when he lost his reelection bid for the 62nd Congress.
James J. McLachlan never married and is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.
Source: The information on McLachlan's political career comes from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. Washington, C.C.: Government Printing Office, 2005. This information was accessed from Ancestry.com on 22 March 2012 at the following URL:
William Newton Monroe
Birthdate: June 4, 1841
Birthplace: Flat Creek, Scott County, Indiana
The story of William Newton Monroe is the story of an extremely fortunate man, a man who had the right family, the right wife, the right friends, and the ability to recognize a good opportunity and then squeeze it for all it was worth. Well known in the Los Angeles of the 1880s and 1890s, he still wasn’t quite famous enough to have a biography written of him as happened with some of his other cronies, for example, Collis P. Huntington who built the Central Pacific Railroad and whose involvement with the Southern Pacific Railroad brought him into contact with Monroe. The lack of a serious biography is extremely unfortunate as that leaves the primary sources as the Monrovia newspaper, which, understandably, would think long and hard before printing anything negative about a man to whom many owed their livelihoods and whose brothers held important civic positions in Monrovia. John Wiley’s book History of Monrovia (1927) is fulsome in its praise for the entire Monroe family, as well as other major figures in early Monrovia history. This isn’t surprising as many of their descendants were still living in Monrovia when the book was published.
So we get a very one-sided view of what must have been a very complex man. What we have left is a summary, a list of his accomplishments and major events punctuated by the dates at which they occurred. Informative, but dull.
Monroe’s family was close knit, supportive, and most were on the same page as far as getting ahead in life. His father, Sanders Alexander Monroe (1814-1892), who was doing well farming in Indiana, decided to sell out and move to Keokuk, Wapello, Iowa, with his wife and at least five of his children (the two oldest daughters may have married or died in Indiana as there are no records of them in Iowa). Arriving sometime between 1851 and 1855, he was successful at farming in Iowa, and had enough money to educate his children. He may have been thinking ahead to having his children make enough money to support him in his old age, as once William had settled in Monrovia in 1886, Sanders and his wife quit the farm life and joined him there. The California Voter Registration list records him as being a farmer (Monrovia was a citrus growing area) but as he was 72 at that time, he more likely spent his days on the porch of his son’s impressive house sipping a cool drink and watching oranges grow.
Two of William’s younger brothers, Felix and Campbell (one brother died in childhood, another stayed in Iowa to farm, and a third drops out of records after 1860), joined him soon after he established his home in Monrovia (1886). Having an older brother who had established a town and become mayor was definitely an advantage for Felix and Campbell. Campbell had followed William into working for railroad companies and done well enough for himself to establish himself in a cottage surrounded by acres of his citrus trees. All three men were involved together and singly in real estate and holding public office. With the absence of laws regarding nepotism, the Monroes had solid positions in the community.
It wasn’t just the Monroe parents and sons who lived in Monrovia. William’s two sisters had also moved here. One of them had married a doctor and after a few years of living in Iowa, moved out to Monrovia. Eliza Lea married Charles C. Hotchkiss, also from Iowa, who owned and managed real estate and businesses in Monrovia.
In addition to Monroe’s siblings and parents, his wife Mary Jane Hall, was also a tremendous asset to him. None of the sources available are clear on exactly how William and Mary Jane met. She was from Missouri, and her father, William S., was a railroad contractor, a profession William followed after he mustered out of the Union Army on August 23, 1864. According to History of Los Angeles County (290), William Monroe went to Ashland College University College in Iowa, but left to join the army when the Civil War broke out. He married Mary Jane on December 24th, 1863, in Nebraska, and then went to work for her father after the war.
Mary Jane was a great partner for William Monroe. His employment with her father enabled him to accumulate $150,000 which he would use to purchase property. Additionally, his work on the Union and Southern Pacific railroads brought him into contact with some very rich and powerful railroad men, such as Collis P. Huntington, which provided access to important information, such as what land the tracks would be laid through, as well as financing for many of his real estate projects. She provided stability for him by traveling with him (along with their children) wherever he worked: Arizona, Nebraska, Mexico, Chile, Alaska, Texas, and Monrovia, California. As active as William Monroe was in governing the city, she matched his enthusiasm in the community and in their church, she kept up his grand house and raised their five children (one, Jessie Lee, died at the age of seven).
I think what is most poignant for me about Mary Jane’s devotion to William Monroe is that towards the end of their lives when their finances had ebbed somewhat, she continued traveling with him. Sometime between 1896 and 1900, the Monroe’s sold their beautiful Victorian home in Monrovia and went to Alaska. The History of Los Angeles County (291) states that Monroe went there in 1907 to the gold fields, but actually he went up there in 1900 to work on the Wild Goose Railroad, a narrow gauge railway that went from Nome to the goldfields. Mary Jane was 54 years old at that time, and life up there could not have been easy, even for a much younger woman. When they returned to Monrovia, they lived in a small cottage at 245 N. Myrtle Avenue.
Besides making a great deal of money, Monroe’s railroad career brought him into contact with some very important people. Somehow, probably by using his nest egg from his railroad career, Monroe got himself elected to the Los Angeles City council. He served for one year, 1880-1881, but in that time he made the acquaintance of E.F. Spence, who was a mayor of Los Angeles, J.D. Bicknell, a lawyer and later judge, and J.F. Crank, a businessman and financier. Monroe, in mind of the path of the Southern Pacific railroad would probably take, had been scouting around the San Gabriel Valley for land. He found what he wanted in the Santa Anita Tract owned by Elias J. Baldwin. He persuaded Spence, Bicknell, and Crank to form a consortium with him to purchase land from Baldwin which they then subdivided into the Monrovia Tract in 1886 (refer to the section of this website on subdivisions for a further description of the Monrovia Tract), as well as the Town of Monrovia Subdivision in the heart of the tract.
Besides buying property as a consortium, they also purchased property in the tract itself and in the surrounding area on their own. In addition to lots in the Town of Monrovia Subdivision and Monrovia Tract, Monroe himself purchased property to the north of Monrovia Tract, naming it after himself, Monroe’s Addition.
Monroe continued to make financial alliances with other men as they came to the new town of Monrovia. He also acted as agent for people who owned large amounts of land in Monrovia in but who did not live here. Jerome I. Case and J.M. Studebaker, farm implement manufacturers from the Midwest were just two of these men.
In addition to real estate ventures, Monroe also joined with other influential men, Case, Studebaker, Spence, Bicknell and B.S. Hayes to establish the Granite Bank of Monrovia.
From his many alliances, a conclusion may be drawn that Monroe was an extremely persuasive man. Then as his schemes were seen to be successful, he was able to continue to develop more projects and more people were willing to involve themselves with him. The Southern California real estate boom of 1888 was over by 1889, but Monroe and the associates I have named here were able to weather it. Hundreds, though, lost everything they had and simply abandoned the property they owned.
Other communities that started at the same time as Monrovia did not survive either. That Monrovia managed to come through it was due in part to wise and conservative financial management of the banks in Monrovia. But Monrovia also had an extremely strong and stable city government since its inception. Either William Monroe or his brother Campbell served on the Board of Trustees of Monrovia until 1898. Many of the other trustees were in business with Monroe and most likely were on the same page as Monroe.
Logic says that in the powerful position that Monroe had, there must have been resentments, questionable business practices, and grumbling. But we will never know any specifics. So what remains is the tangible effect of William Newton Monroe: the layout of the town, churches that exist because he donated the property on which they could be built, and a strong foundation which enabled Monrovia to weather the financial reverses of the 1890s.
Mary Jane, William’s life partner for almost 70 years, died in 1932. William died on December 26th, 1935 in Monrovia. Their surviving children were George Otto Monroe (1868-1951), Myrtle Mignonette Monroe Bailey (1873-1960), and Mabelle Huntington Monroe Dyer (1883-1963).
1. Davis, Charles F., Editor in Chief. History of Monrovia and Duarte. Monrovia, California: A.H. Cawston, Managing Editor and Publisher, 1938. Print.
2. Harrison, E.S. Nome & Seward Peninsula, History, Description, Biographies & Stories. Seattle, 1905. Web. 28 Mar 2012. http://genealogytrails.com/alaska/nome/nomebios.html
3. McCroarty, John Steven, Editor. History of Los Angeles County, Vol. III. The American Chicago and New York: Historical Society Inc., 1923. Print.4. Obituary for William N. Monroe. University of Southern California. Lib. Web. 28 Mar 2012. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/search/controller/view/chs-m17815.html.
For more information on biographical events regarding the Monroe family, you may see the information at Ancestry.com. Select “Public Member Trees” in the SEARCH drop down menu and enter the name William Newton Monroe. Fee required to access this information.
Russell D. Adams
Birthdate: October 1849
Birthplace: Walled Lake, Oakland County, Michigan
Properties Owned: 113 N. Primrose Avenue
Russell D. Adams was the son of William R. Adams, a farmer, and wife Clarissa. William, originally from Ohio, was a merchant in 1850 living in Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York. Clarissa Adams was born in Pennsylvania. An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County incorrectly states both parents as being from New York. An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County also indicates that William and Clarissa moved to Michigan around 1826 to start a general store, but 1850 census records show William R. Adams living in Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York, being a merchant. An Illustrated History further states that William R. Adams retired in 1868 and moved to Illinois where he died in 1869.
William’s son Russell D. Adams was born in October of 1849. An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County gives the following information:Russell D. Adams was born in Walled Lake, Oakland County, Michigan. He received a good education as a boy and then was sent to Syracuse, New York for high school. He took two years out of his studies to serve as a medical steward in the United States Navy. From there, he went to Michigan State University. He graduated from Long Island College Hospital with a medical degree. In Bloomington, Illinois in 1868, he married Miss [Callie] Ellis, a native of Ohio. Callie Ellis was born in May of 1840 in Ohio, according to census records. Other records show that Callie and Russell were married in 1868 in Ohio. Their first child, Jennie G. Adams was born in November 8, 1868, in Bloomington, Illinois.An Illustrated History continues reporting that Dr. Adams and his family moved to Skiddy, Morris County, Kansas, in 1873 where he had a successful practice for several years. However, census records state that a son, Charles E. Adams, was born in Kansas in 1871, so he must have arrived earlier than Illustrated History states. Other records show the Adams, along with his mother-in-law Rebecca Ellis, living in 1875 and 1885 (Rebecca Ellis had died before the last date) in Rolling Prairie, Morris County, Kansas.Charles E. Adams doesn’t appear in any other census records after 1885. A daughter Alice was born in May of 1879 (census records). Another daughter Frances was born in 1884 (census records). In 1885, Dr. Adams and his family went to Council Grove, Kansas, to continue his practice. While in Kansas, Dr. Adams was active in politics in and served in the Kansas State Legislature. But he didn’t like the climate so in 1888, he came to Alhambra, California, reports An Illustrated History.In 1893, Dr. Adams moved to Monrovia form partnerships with other doctors, one of whom was Dr. Pottenger. He moved into a house at 113 N. Primrose Avenue (at that time it faced Foothill and the address was 201 W. White Oak Avenue), which had been the house of a doctor, John Taylor Stewart.Dr. Adams was active in civic affairs. He was on the first school board in 1887 along with Prof. J.G. Cross (USC) and J.J. Renaker. He was on the building committee for the Monrovia Baptist Church’s new building, located at the northwest corner of Palm and Encinitas Avenues and was also a staunch Republican (History of Monrovia).Dr. Adam’s daughter Frances (Frankie), graduated from Monrovia High School in 1902. Alice, Jennie, and Frank never married and continued to live in the White Oak house after their father’s death on June 11, 1917. Sometime in the early 20s, they moved to 327 N. Myrtle. Frank worked as a teacher at Orange Avenue School, Jennie was a dressmaker who worked from the house, and Alice apparently kept house from them. An interesting fact in the 1930 census has Alice being the head of the family though she was younger than Jennie, didn’t work, and Jennie had previously been listed as head of the household. Jennie died on September 16, 1954. Her obituary states that though she had been deaf since the age of two, she played the organ for her church. The obituary also says that she was an avid hiker who belonged to a hiking club and climbed to the summit of Mt. Whitney when she was 82 years old. It also states that she had no survivors, so Alice and Frances must have predeceased her. No reliable information on death dates could be found for Alice, Frances, or Mrs. Adams. None of the Adams family was buried in Live Oak Cemetery.
Harvey, J.W., ed. Monrovia Messenger Illustrated Souvenir Edition. Monrovia: J.W. Harvey, 1887. PrintState University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn: Long Island Coll. Hosp., 1864, (G)Census Records Data 1900, 1910, 1870 (in Bloomfield Michigan)
Daniel Edison Moran, Jr.
Birthdate: 21 April 1905
Birthplace: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Occupation: Airplane & Auto Mechanic
Daniel Edison Moran, Jr. was not an early pioneer of Monrovia, a long time resident of Monrovia, nor was he active in civic affairs. However, he does play a significant role in Monrovia history as on May 19, 1938, he flew the first airmail flight out of Monrovia Airport. The airport, which shut down in 1953, was bordered on the north by Falling Leaf (now Huntington Drive) and on the south by Duarte Road. Originally, Shamrock Avenue on the west of the airport and Mountain Avenue on the east ran all they way down to Duarte Road. Now the 210 Freeway bisects the area where the airport used to be.
The airport had begun in 1928, and Moran and his partner Wyman Ellis took over around 1935. Moran was an auto mechanic and had his own gas station/auto repair facility at 324 S. Myrtle Avenue (Lots 13 & and the north 46.7 feet of Lot 14, Block B of the Town of Monrovia Subdivision). He sold the gas station to lease the airport with Wyman Ellis who also had a gas station in Alhambra which he sold.
In Jack Irwin’s book Monrovia Airport Alias Monrovia Flying Field 1928-1953 (54) he describes Daniel Moran this way: “Dan was the more serious of the two and worked at the airport every day. He took care of the books and the bushiness end as well as helping out as a mechanic. Although he wasn’t one to joke around with, he was a nice fellow and very well liked. Dan was a very good auto mechanic and actually opened a auto repair shop in one of the hangers. Since more people had cars that airplanes, the auto repair business kept them busy.”
Moran and Ellis only ran the field for a few years. How they lost the business seems to be in question, but Jack Irwin tells the story that a customer, Al Blackburn, was given a repair bill of $2,000 for repairs on his plane. Though a wealthy man from Ohio, he felt he was being overcharged, so he went to Citizen Bank who controlled the property and bought it from the back for $12,000, which meant that Moran and Ellis were now out of business since their lease had expired and they didn’t have the money to buy the property.
Moran and his wife Beaulah who had married in 1926, lived at 421 Wild Rose Avenue from no later than 1926 until they moved then moved up to Spokane, Washington, sometime after 1940. I found a 1949 directory entry for them at N5017 Lincoln, Spokane, Washington, indicating that Daniel had become manager of Western Sky Ways, Inc. John Irwin states that Daniel Moran later worked as a maintenance inspector for the Civil Aeronautics Administration (57).
Daniel Edison Moran, Jr. was born on April 21, 1905, in Pennsylvania to Daniel Edison Moran and Emma Mathilda Prager, who had also both been born in Pennsylvania. Both had contracted diseases in their youth which left them unable to hear. Because they were so young when they lost their hearing, their speech skills were also affected. They married in 1901 and started out farming in Spring, Crawford County, Pennsylvania. All five of their children were born there, but census records showed they moved to Conneaut, Ashtabula, Ohio, where Daniel Senior worked as a machinist.
The entire family moved to Monrovia in the early 1920s, and, except for Daniel Junior and his wife, Emma and Daniel Senior, Carolyn, Raymond P. , and Victor L., lived down the street at 301 Wild Rose Avenue on the north east corner of Canyon and Wild Rose. The house no longer exists, but Sanborn Fire Insurance maps show the house on a large lot.John Irwin’s book says that Daniel and Beulah had a son, but I haven’t found evidence of one yet.
They moved down to Alameda, California, and he died there on January 7, 1980. His wife died in Stockton, California, on March 29, 1999.
Daniel Senior was born in New York July 15, 1876. He and his wife Emma had both had childhood illnesses which left them deaf. Because of the early onset of the deafness, they didn't speak either. They received a good education for the deaf at Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind (now Gallaudet University) in Pennsylvania where they probably met. Daniel Senior was a painter for most of the time he lived in Monrovia, though he also helped out at the Monrovia Airport. The 1930 census and some of the city directories indicate that at times he was living apart from his wife. One address was 319 E. Olive Ave., a boarding house where his daughter Florence later lived. Another address where he lived was at 327 S. California Avenue where his son Raymond and Raymond's wife were living. Daniel Edison Moran, Senior died on July 25th, 1947, in Monrovia, and his wife Emma died December 28, 1944.
Their second child Carolyn Moran was born November 25th, 1907, and worked as a servant for a private family (Census Records 1930). She married Howard Smith in 1939 and on January 22, 2003, in Sunland, California.
Raymond P. was born May 30, 1909 in Spring, Crawford, Pennsylvania . He seems to have stayed in Monrovia the longest, appearing in the 1942 Monrovia telephone directory as living with his wife Vivian at 327 S. California Ave. He died March 30, 1976, in Pleasant Hill, Contra Costa, County, California.
Victor Leroy was born September 28th, 1911 in Pennsylvania, married a woman named Beth and seemed to follow his oldest brother to Spokane where he also worked as a mechanic. Before moving to Spokane, they lived at 503 Wild Rose Avenue. He died on June 19, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona.
Florence W. was born in 1915 and moved out of the family home after 1930. Resident directories for Monrovia gives her address at 319 E. Olive Ave. in 1935 and 1939 but no occupation. I was unable to get any more information on Florence.
Joseph Francis Sartori
Birthdate: 25 Dec 1858
Birthplace: Cedar Falls, Iowa
Properties Owned: 123 E. Lime Avenue
Though he didn’t live long in Monrovia, Joseph F. Sartori was an early resident and served as the Monrovia’s first city treasurer. A lawyer by trade, his real talent lay in banking, and he was extremely influential in setting up the town’s finances so that later it was able to weather the rough times of 1888-1895. In 1889, he founded the First National Bank of Monrovia, serving as cashier, and later as vice-president when the bank merged with Security Trust & Savings Bank (Wiley 206).
Sartori first arrived in Los Angeles 1886 with his bride, on a wedding trip to check out the opportunities in the area. According to Charles F. Davis (Monrovia-Duarte Community Book167), Sartori was not impressed. But in 1887, two of his Los Angeles friends, John F. Brossart and John Wilde convinced him there was money to be made in land speculation, especially in Monrovia, so he returned for a second look.
Davis tells a story that Sartori went by horse and buggy, crossed the swollen San Gabriel River, and took out an option to buy the Dougherty ranch in Azusa for $150. The next he went into Los Angeles and was approached by a man who asked him if he was the one interested in the ranch. When Sartori replied that he was, the man offered him $8,500 for his option. Sartori sold the option and decided that perhaps there was money to be made and he wired for his wife to come (168).
Whether or not the story is true, it is a great illustrative of how fast the land prices were rising at that time. He bought property for himself and his wife and had a house built on it. Additionally he purchased other properties in partnership with Brossart and Wilde. He also picked up properties where the owners, unable to pay the taxes on the land, had simply disappeared.
Sartori’s efforts at seeing Monrovia through the financial crisis of 1888 brought him to the attention of the banking institutions in Los Angeles, and he was offered financial opportunities and fiscal responsibilities that were not available to him in Monrovia. So in April of 1889, Joseph Sartori sold his house in Monrovia, resigned as City Treasurer and his position at the First National Bank of Monrovia, and he and his wife moved to Los Angeles.
From that point, Sartori had a long, successful career in banking. In 1889, he organized the Security Savings Bank which became the Security Trust & Savings Bank. He became chairman of the board of the Security First National Bank in 1934 and held that position until he died.
Joseph Francis Sartori was born of German immigrant parents on December 25, 1858, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. His father, also named Joseph Sartori, arrived to the United States and married Theressa Wangler in 1856. Though Joseph Sartori was a plasterer and brick layer, he was determined that his son get a good education. His son went to Cornell College, spent one year studying in Germany, then came back and graduated from Cornell in 1877.
In 1881, Joseph F. Sartori received a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Michigan. From 1882-1887, he practiced law in La Mars, Iowa, with a partner, I.S. Struble who was also a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In June of 1886, he married Margaret Lambert Rishel who was born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania on February 1, 1864. A year later, they started their lives in Southern California. They were joined here by Margaret’s father and mother, Peter S. and Jannette. Peter S. Rishel was an attorney, and I can find no evidence that they ever lived in Monrovia, but there are records of them living in Los Angeles from 1896.
Sartori was involved in over 24 organizations as an officer or board member, and his wife was a regent of UCLA and active in the Federation of Women’s Clubs. Margaret Rishel Sartori died in Los Angeles in 1937. Joseph F. Sartori remained active in banking until his death on October 6, 1946. They had no children.
Sources: Davis, Charles F. ed. Monrovia Duarte Community Book. Monrovia, California: Arthur H. Cawston, 1957. 166-169. Print.
Wiley, John. History of Monrovia. Pasadena, California: Press of Pasadena Star-News, 1927. Print. 205-208.
Samuel Emerson Salsbury
Birthdate: January 1862
Birthplace: Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York
Samuel Emerson Salisbury was born in January 1862 in Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York. He was the son of Hopkins Samuel Salisbury, a carpenter and Civil War veteran, and Mary Antoinette Conable. His grandfather, Samuel Salisbury, and great-uncle were early settlers from Vermont, arriving in Warsaw in 1807. Samuel Salisbury served in the War of 1812 and was a deacon of the Baptist Church of Warsaw.
Samuel Emerson Salisbury married Fanny Goodstorf in 1885. He became a dentist and had two children, Marie (1886) and Harold Emerson (1887). According to his obituary, Salisbury and his family came to Monrovia in the spring of 1905. At this time, they were living at 337 N. Mayflower. Dr. Salisbury had his practice at 527 ½ S. Myrtle but moved it to 521 ½ S. Myrtle Ave by 1911.
A city permit dated December 30, 1912, shows that Dr. Salisbury had become the owner of Lot 18, Block B of the Town of Monrovia, the address being 123 E. Lime Ave., In 1913, Dr. Emerson moved his office to 216-218 American National Bank Building, but shortly after that, he decided to run his practice from his house, and he continued to do this for the next 20 years. According to his obituary, after Dr. Salisbury retired, he continued his hobby of adding to his book and curio and collection.
Samuel Emerson Salisbury died on May 1th, 1934. His wife continued to live in the house on East Lime Avenue until her death on January 19, 1945.
It is unclear what happened to their daughter, Marie. She appears in the 1900 census record, but it is unclear if she ever married. Her father’s obituary indicated she had predeceased him.
The Salisburys’ son, Harold Emerson, was born in New York on August 29, 1887. He became a commercial artist and married Abigail Eliza Clark. They moved to Los Angeles and had two children: Clark E. and Marie A. Clark was born on December 1, 1914, and died November 29th, 1964. It is unknown if he ever married.
Marie A. Salisbury was born on December 10th, 1916. She married Walter Hunter Townsend, and she died on August 30, 1946. It is unknown if she had any children.
Charles Eugene Slosson
Birthdate: September 1860
Occupation: Real Estate
Charles Eugene Slosson was an extremely successful real estate businessman who was also the first notary public in Monrovia and served in public offices of city clerk in 1890 and city trustee from1893-1897. He also served as an officer and director of the Board of trade for 1909. Even so, it isn’t until one looks at the tax records that ones understands how important a man he was. Not only did he buy up real estate as an investment from those who couldn’t make their payments, he also acted as agent for the many land owners who lived across the United States far from the property they owned.
He also was instrumental in getting the struggling town going by subdividing the Oak Park, Valley Vista and Orange Avenue Tracts, making land available for people to build homes.
According to his obituary in the Monrovia Daily News (Saturday, Jan. 14, 1917), Slosson arrived to Monrovia in 1886 as the land boom hit. Coming from Iowa, the state of Monrovia pioneers Joseph F. Sartori and the Monroe family, it is likely he heard of the opportunities available in the San Gabriel Valley. Another edition of the Monrovia Daily News (3 Oct 1889) states that Slosson was also a lawyer, but there is no evidence that he ever practiced law in Monrovia.
In Monrovia, he met Anna V. MacCulloch who was staying with her sister Jean T. Dunwell and her sister’s husband on Magnolia Avenue. Anna MacCulloch was born in July of 1863 to William and Christina MacCulloch, Scottish immigrants who had settled in Kingston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Charles and Anna were married on October 2, 1889, in her sister’s house. According to the Monrovia Messenger (3 Oct 1889), they went live in the “Morgan cottage” on Orange Avenue. In a few years, they moved to 210 W. Lime Avenue where they lived until their deaths.
Charles Slosson had other business interests in addition to real estate. In 1903, he organized the Monrovia Steam Laundry with partners and became manager and director in 1912 until the business was sold in 1916. He was also a stockholder in the San Gabriel River Rock Company.
Born in September of 1860 in Iowa, Charles’ father, John M. Slosson, was a well-to-do farmer. The 1870 census records the value of his property at $3,600 and the value of his personal estate at $1.000. Both John and his wife Jane R. Finch (aka Roxie Jane) were born in New York, and they seem to have arrived in Iowa sometime between 1850 and 1860.
Charles was the oldest of five children., and most of his family came to Monrovia eventually. His mother came in 1900 after the death of her husband and lived first on Lime and then 208 S. Encinitas until she died in 1919. Charles’s sister Mary and her husband, George W. Stelson were living in Monrovia by 1900 with her mother on South Encinitas, , but after 10 years, they moved to Los Angeles where she died in 1934. Frank A. Slosson married and came to Monrovia to deal in real estate. He lived at 122 N. Encinitas Ave., dying in Monrovia in 1919 the same year as his mother. The youngest two sons, John and Roy, stayed in Iowa.
Charles and Anna had one daughter, Arline, who married John W. Snider, and the couple continued living in Lime Avenue house. John drops out of the picture by 1930, though his death date has yet to be found.
Charles Slosson suffered a nervous breakdown on July 14, 1916, and his physical health began to suffer as well. He died on January 12, 1917. His funeral was conducted by the same person who had married him and Anna, Reverend Colcord. He was buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles. Anna outlived him by many years in the house at 210 W. Lemon Avenue. Charles’ mother had been living with them at the time of his death, and later her widowed sister Jean Dunwell moved in with Anna. I was not able to find her exact date of death, but the last entry for her in the Monrovia city directory was in 1937.
More information about the Slosson and Dunwell families may be found on a family tree I made for them at Ancestry.com.
“Slosson Funeral Will Be Monday.” Monrovia Daily News. Vol. VII, No. 277. 13 Jan. 1917: Pages 1 & 4. Print.
“Three Weddings.” Monrovia Messenger. Vol. 3, No. 46. 3 Oct. 1889: Page 1, Column 4. Print.
Birthdate: 18 Apr 1860
I was very fortunate to be able to meet the granddaughter of Hermann Zerell, Dorothy Lee Zerell Jefferson, and interview her about her family and the homes they lived in in Monrovia. Additionally, Dorothy has taken much time in writing memories of her life in Monrovia and the histories of her parents and grandparents.
Herman Zerell, a German immigrant arrived to Monrovia in 1887, shortly after marrying Jacobina Heim, also a German immigrant, on 4 June 1887 in Arkansas where they had met earlier that year. One of the reasons they moved to California was because Jacobina had contacted malaria, and the weather was supposed to improve her health. It certainly did that as she assisted her husband in his bakery business, bore five children, and lived to be eight-nine years old!!
When Herman Zerell arrived in the United States, he worked at a cracker factory, and then for a butcher. He had trained as a baker in Germany before emigrating to the United States. Shortly after arriving to Monrovia, he was advertising himself as a baker (Monrovia Planet, 24 Dec. 1887)
In 1900, the Zerell family moved to 336 N. Ivy Avenue where members of the family lived for almost the next 90 years, and though they were not the first owners, the house became known as the "Zerell House" and received local historic landmark status in 1998.
Where the Zerells lived before moving to 336 N. Ivy Avenue has been a puzzle to me and to Dorothy Jefferson. Her father told her that his parents lived around Huntington Drive when they first moved to Monrovia and some of the tax records support that. But there are other records that indicate that they may have lived in at least two other places as well.
The 1888 tax records show the first place the Zerells may have lived was Block 13, Lot J in the Bradbury Subdivision. This property is on the west side of South Myrtle, about where the 210 Freeway is now. In the tax record, the description of the property next to Herman Zerell’s name is crossed out and a note written that the property was assessed to L.L. Bradbury. There is an improvement recorded for that property of $125 which would have been a very small house. The city clerk may have thought the Zerells owned the property because they were living there but then realized his mistake and penciled a note that the tax had been assessed to L.L. Bradbury. If Zerell was renting the property, he was probably doing his baking there, assisted by Jacobina, and carrying the goods around town by wagon until he made enough money to buy something more permanent which he did in 1889.
The Monrovia Messenger of 1888 (August 9) reports that "H. Zerell the baker has removed to the building he purchased on Orange (now Colorado) near the Place Meat market and is prepared to furnish all kinds of bread, cakes, pies, etc. All of excellent quality, try him." However, there is no tax record showing that he owned any property at all in 1888, but this could be another case where the tax record is incorrect.
What the 1889 tax records do show is that Zerell purchased was the east half of Lot 16 in Block K where the parking lot for the Monrovia restaurant is now. In 1890, there is a $400 improvement listed for that property which was the bakery, but it was a one-story building, so the Zerells definitely didn’t live there.
Besides the bakery property, the 1889 tax records show that the other piece of property Zerell bought was in the Bradbury Addition, Block 13, Lot J, the lot he may have been renting since 1887. This was located on the west side of South Myrtle, just about where the 210 Freeway now crosses, but if the tax records are correct, he only kept this property for one year.
In 1890, having sold his property in Block 13 of the Bradbury Addition, he bought another piece of property in the same addition, only this time Block 11, Lot H. This is on the west side of South Myrtle, between Cherry and Los Angeles Avenues which would have put him about one block closer to town. However, he didn’t build anything on it until 1893 when his first child was born so where were the Zerells living in the meantime?
They could have stayed in one of the residential hotels in town. The Central Hotel was only two lots away from his bakery. Or the tax records could be wrong and they didn’t buy the house in Block 13 but continued to rent it until they moved to the other Bradbury in Block 11.
In 1892, Herman Zerell began to invest in more property and purchased some prime property on South Myrtle, Myers Subdivision of Block L, Lots 23 & 24. What Myers had done was to take Lots 23 & 24 of Block L in the Town of Monrovia and divided them up into seven narrow lots. Zerell bought Lots 2 & 3 of this new subdivision which is between West Lemon and West Orange (now West Colorado). The 1897 Sanborn map (see #...) shows a one-story, narrow building on each lot. One is identified as a bakery, a much bigger bakery than the one Zerell owned on East Orange. The other building is divided in half, one side is a restaurant the other is a jewelry store. These were single story dwellings at this time, so it isn’t likely the Zerells were staying here. Zerell owned this property until 1914. Tax information indicates a new structured appeared in 1909 and updated in 1917. At this time, a second story would have been added above the commercial buildings, but this enlargement would have too late for the Zerells as they had moved into their family home on Ivy in 1900. This building which should be known as the Zerell Block still exists with addresses of 519, 521, and 521 ½ South Myrtle Avenue.
In 1893, Zerell bought a very small odd piece of property, the south 25ft of the north 50ft of Lot 13 in Block P. The Sanborn fire insurance maps shows that Lot 13 faces South Myrtle and is on the alley. Mr. Zerell bought the part of the lot that was on the alley. Perhaps he used it for storage for the bakery. The last tax record that shows Zerelling owning Lot 3 in Block P was in1905
Here are the remembrances Dorothy Jefferson has of her grandfather’s bakery business:
"Herman and Jacobina’s bakery was on the north side of the 100 block of East Colorado (then Orange Avenue). When I was young my father [John H. Zerell] pointed out the lot to me and indicated that was where grandpa had his bakery. He also showed me an iron ring, embedded in the concrete in front of that space and told me that was where horses were tied while their owners were shopping in the bakery.
Herman traveled, with a horse and cart, selling his baked goods, to towns around the area. The circuit took him about a week to complete, and Jacobina handled the business in his absence. The Monrovia Messenger on 27 February 1890 again stated, "H. Zerell is baking excellent bread now. Try it and be convinced."
A significant even occurred for Herman and Jacobina in 1894. Grover Cleveland was president and the economy was not doing well, so a large contingent of unemployed workers left Los Angeles to go across the United States to Washington D.C., to bring attention to the plight of the unemployed. They stayed overnight in one of Monrovia’s large fruit packing/drying sheds and needed to fed, so the City asked Herman and Jacobina to make 600 loaves of bread to feed the hungry men.
By 1897, living space in their house on South Myrtle must have been getting tight. The Zerell’s first child, Mary Francis "Fannie", had been born in 1893, Mary Alice in 1896, and Lydia B. in 1897. This may have caused Herman Zerell to look around for property on which to build a bigger house, and it may have been what he had in mind when he purchased the west half of Lot 4 in Block M of the Town of Monrovia in 1897. Block M lies between the second block of West Lemon and West Orange (now Colorado). Lot 4 is on the south side of West Lemon. He held onto the property, eventually buying the east half of Lot 3, until 1903, but he never built anything on them.
Another unimproved property the Zerells purchased in 1897, was Lot 25 in Block E of J.D. Bicknell’s Addition. This property, which is on South Magnolia between West Chestnut and West Walnut, was also very promising as the Pacific Electric ran right up the street, but he never built anything there either and sold it by 1904.
In 1900, however, he finally found THE house, Lot 45 in Block B of the Ocean View tract, 336 N. Ivy Avenue. Their first son, John Herman was born the same year in the house. And the Zerells lived the rest of their lives and raised four children in this modest Victorian, which, on a clear day, really did have an ocean view.
1903 was a mixture of sadness and happiness for the Zerell family. On September 5 daughter Lydia died at the age of five. Three months later, Herman and Jacobina’s last child, Benjamin Adams was born on December 2nd.
There is one last piece of property associated with Herman Zerell, and that is a piece of property on the west side of South Myrtle, right above East Olive that he bought in 1904. This was Block 0, Lot 23 (Town of Monrovia) and the north 7 ½ inches of Lot 24. The next year the tax record shows that he built a structure on them valued at $1500,which puts the total value of this property $3,090, and Zerell’s property taxes for this property alone in 1905 was $49 dollars. He was probably able to build such a substantial structure because he had sold off his properties in Block M and Bicknells addition He owned these properties in Blocks L and O at least up until at 1916 when tax records at the Monrovia City Hall end.
Herman Zerell actually sold the bakery on East Orange in 1903. There are ads in the Monrovia newspaper during the 1890s for the sale or rental of the property...cheap...but it didn’t sell. Herman Zerell may also have sold his bakery, but he continued to work for other bakeries, one in Pasadena where he stayed during the week and then came home on weekends. Between that job and the income from his property rentals, Herman Zerell was able to make a good living for his family.
Dorothy Jefferson Zerell describes the lives of her grandparents, father and aunts and uncles as very frugal. "Both my grandparents were very frugal, as you could imagine, because they were still using the wood stove in the kitchen and as long as I visited, they had an "icebox" on the back porch. No electric refrigerator. Property was important to my grandfather, but material things were not. They had what they needed, but no extras... they lived frugally and were wise in their investments and savings. They were able to send both of their daughters to college and helped their sons become established in their businesses and in the purchase of homes for their families."
According to Dorothy Zerell Jefferson, her grandmother became involved with a religious group often referred to has "holly rollers" or perhaps today as evangelical Pentecostal. The church was quite controversial at the time as their worship services tended to be rather vocally enthusiastic. Dorothy quotes from an article she found in the Los Angeles Herald (21 July 1906) "There was conflict among the Monrovians, some of whom criticized the religious fervor that, in some cases, resulted in the individuals going into a trance like state and speaking in a language that could not be understood. This was known as speaking in "tongues" and was suppose to be the individual receiving divine messages that they were delivering to the congregation." Apparently Jacobina Zerell’s association with the group caused some talk about her being in her right senses.
Jacobina had originally been a Catholic but couldn’t seem to make a connection with the local Catholic church, but she did find her peace with God in this small, enthusiastic, and loud church, along with her children. Her husband, a Lutheran, did not involve himself in the church but never interfered with her many church activities
During the first few years the Zerells lived on North Ivy, the Zerells rented out one of their upstairs rooms. Two of the people they rented rooms to eventually played an important part in the commerce of Monrovia...the McBratney bothers. They started off selling Irish linens in a cart in the streets of Monrovia and ended up with the first and only department store (until 1955 with the addition of J.C. Penneys) on South Myrtle Avenue. The store employed many young people over the years, one of them being a young Dorothy Lee Zerell.
Dorothy remembers her grandfather as not being a quiet man and his voice seeming loud and his Germanic accent harsh. She knew he was a kind and gentle man and he also had a sense of humor. He would tease and his eyes would twinkle, letting her know that he was having fun with her. Additionally, he recognized the importance of ice cream to a young girl. Dorothy practiced on the piano in her grandparents’ parlor. Dorothy says: "Then my grandfather would come in when he heard the ice cream man ringing the truck’s bell as he drove through the neighborhood. Grandpa would take me with him, and we would wait out in front of the house for the ice cream truck to reach us. Then grandpa would let me pick out the ice cream bar I wanted. Of course, I had to eat it before it melted, so by the time my mother would return for me, I would not have practiced the amount of time she had expected. On the days that she was not working, that was okay, as she would just wait for me to complete my hour’s practice. But on the weeks when she was working and had to return to the station, she became quite "short" with my grandfather for stopping my practice. It didn’t bother him, and he continued to ensure that I got my ice cream.
On the other hand, her memories of her grandmother are of a small, quiet woman who sat in the background when the family gathered together at her house. By the time Dorothy was eight years old, Jacobina Zerell was already experiencing mental memory problems which would probably today be diagnosed as Alzheimers. Dorothy’s mother told her that when Dorothy was a baby (she had been adopted as an infant), that Grandma Zerell came over almost every day, wanting to hold little Dorothy. Dorothy says, " She and grandfather gave me a silver baby spoon, and when I was choosing a silver pattern for my wedding, I chose that Rose Point pattern, by Wallace."
Herman Zerell was born in Gross Krebs, Marienwerder, West Prussea, Germany, on April 18, 1860. His two older brothers emigrated to the Little Rock and Pine Bluff areas of Arkansas where an enclave of German immigrants had settled in the 1880s. Herman emigrated in 1882 or 1884 depending on which census record one looks at. As Dorothy tells the story: "When he reached Little Rock, he was helped, by a man at the hotel, to find work in a cracker factory. He was full of ambition and worked day and night, saving his money and sending some back home to his father. The factory later closed, and it was then that he found work with Michael Heim who was a butcher in Little Rock."
Michael Heim, had emigrated with his family and his brother’s family from Wachenheim, Germany, in 1881. His family was in the wine business. His younger sister and brother had arrived to the U.S. one week earlier, and the family headed out to Little Rock, Arkansas. Michael Heim’s sister was named Jacobina, and she had been born June 16, 1860.
Because Jacobina Heim was Catholic and Hermann Zerell was Lutheran, they were not allowed to marry in the church, so they were married in the home of the priest on June 4, 1887. Because Jacobina had had malaria, the decision was made to move to California, a dryer climate for her lungs.
Dorothy Jefferson told me that at the end of their lives, Jacobina had been calling her husband "that man" and seemed not to recognize him as her husband. This saddened him, as he cared deeply for her and his children. After he died on June 3, 1944, at the age of 83, several times a day Jacobina would ask, "Where is that man who lives here?" She would be told that he was away for awhile, or went down town, or some other statement that she could accept and that would not cause her grief. Granddaughter Dorothy said it was heartbreaking to watch her try to reconcile the bits of information that would float through her consciousness. Jacobina Heim Zerell died on October 12, 1949.
They had four children who lived to adulthood and all inherited their parents’ strong work ethic. The two eldest girls went to college and became teachers. The two boys both went into service industry jobs and married women who worked as hard as their husbands did.
Mary Frances (Fanny) married Luther Benning Foster, a real estate salesman, had two children, Luther Benning, Jr. (1923-2005) and Mary Jacqueline (1925) and lived in Los Angeles. She died in Long Beach on February 13, 1982.
The biographies Mary Alice, John Herman, and Benjamin Adams Zerell are entered elsewhere on this site as they are connected with other properties in Monrovia.
Mary Alice Zerell Siebert
Birthdate: October, 17, 1896
Birthplace: Monrovia, California
Mary Alice was the second child of Herman and Jacobina Zerell who had arrived to Monrovia in 1887 to establish a bakery business. In 1896 when Mary Alice was born, her parents and older sister Mary Francis were living on the west side of South Myrtle close by where the 210 Freeway is today.
Though her father originally prepared his baked goods from their home, by 1889, her father had a storefront on the north side of the first block of East Orange Avenue, now East Colorado Boulevard (the east half of Lot 16, Block K in the Town of Monrovia). Four years later, the family moved to their new home at 336 N. Ivy, the house that Mary Alice would live in for most of the rest of her life.
Mary Alice attended Monrovia schools, graduating from Monrovia High School. Her parents, who were very careful with their money, were able to send both Mary Francis and Mary Alice to college, and both young women became teachers.
Dorothy Zerell Jefferson, the daughter of Mary Alice’s brother John, describes her aunt this way:
Auntie would have made a great “flower child” of the 60’s. She was totally into health foods, and organic products. She was a gentle lady, dressed in flowing skirts, vests and scarves. However, she too had a voice that could turn your head. She was very artistic and it was her interest in art that brought her to the marriage with Uncle Max.
The picture of Mary Alice shown here is certainly evidence that what Dorothy says is true.
After graduating from college, Mary Alice got a job teaching and lived for awhile at 833 Cabrillo in Los Angeles with her sister. After Frances’s marriage in 1921, Mary returned to her family and rode the red-car to and from her teaching position in East Los Angeles.
Mary Alice enjoyed traveling; in 1934 she, her sister Mary Frances and Mary Frances’ two children went on a world tour. She went to Mexico in 1935 and Italy in 1936.
In 1938, Mary Alice married a German artist, Max Lewis Siebert. Unfortunately, the marriage was extremely short-lived. They were living in a rear house at 370 Kensington Avenue in Pasadena when Max died in his sleep of a heart attack in 1939. Mary Alice moved back into her parents’ house and lived there helping them until her first her father and then her mother died (1944 & 1949). She continued living in the family home until her late 80s when she became too infirm to live alone, and she moved into a nursing home.
The Cornwall family across the street looked out after her until she had to move, and she deeded the family home over to them. It was no bargain at that time. Her niece Dorothy Zerell Jefferson told me Mary Alice’s brother Ben said the only thing holding the house together were the termites holding hands in the foundation.
Additionally, Dorothy described her aunt as never throwing anything anyway. In other words, she had a mild case of hoarding. I was in the house right after the Cornwalls purchased it and opened it to my historic preservation group to buy the many “vintage” items still in the house. So I can say that it is true that Mary Alice saved everything, which was a good thing for collectors!
Mary Alice died in 1988 at the age of 91. It is unfortunate that she didn’t live long enough to see the wonderful restoration work the Cornwalls did on her family home and to see her family home receive historic landmark status.
Edwin P. Large
Birthdate: July 1853
Birthplace: Muskingum County, Ohio
Occupation: Furniture Dealer
Properties Owned: 207 S. Encinitas Ave.
According to Biographical Sketches From an Illustrated History of Los Angeles County, Edwin F. Large was born in July of 1853 to Andrew T. Large and Sarah Hendrickson in Muskingum County, Ohio. Census records show Andrew was born in New Jersey, and he was a a builder and carpenter. Edwin’s mother, Sarah Hendrickson, was from Rhode Island.
The family moved from Ohio to Monroe County, Wisconsin and stayed until 1865. The family then moved to Chicago, where he, Edwin, worked for a while with his father in their carpenter shop and then as a shipping clerk at age 17 for F.H. Hill & Co. After the Great Fire in 1871, he used his carpenter skills in rebuilding Chicago. The following year, F.H. Hill went back into business, and Large returned as a clerk.
In 1866, Large came to Los Angeles County and settled in Pasadena doing real estate. By being in Pasadena, he was in a good position to observe opportunities in other areas of the San Gabriel Valley, and he came to Monrovia in the spring of 1886 to start the first furniture store. John Wiley’s book states Large started the store “...in 1887, one year after the founding of the city,...” (179). The History of Los Angeles County (544) also indicates that Large’s store was the first furniture in Monrovia; it opened in October of 1887. The store, actually owned in partnership with a man named Wheeler, was in the name of Large and Wheeler. It sold furniture, carpets, oil cloth, and other household necessities.
The store was on property that Large owned, the north 28 1/3 feet of Lot 22, Block O in the Town of Monrovia Subdivision. The 1888 Sanborn map shows a two-storey structure here. He also lived upstairs at this location, which is now 617 S. Myrtle. Besides the store property, Large also owned property in other areas of Monrovia such as the B&G Subdivision, Keefer’s Subdivision, and the Monroe Addition.
Large’s parents moved out to the West Coast, too, but they moved to San Diego. His mother died there in 1888.
In 1888, Edwin Large married “Jeanette” Beebee, daughter of Alonzo Beebee ( a resident and pioneer of Kendall County, Illinois) in 1878. Jeannette was born in April of 1853. The 1880 census shows Edwin as married to “Jannette” and having one son, James, who was six at the time of the census.
Soon after this, Large and his family moved to 121 N. Myrtle Ave, a house which had been designed by Luther Reed Blair. The May 28, 1887, edition of the Monrovia Planet states that architects and builders, Messrs. Ziummerman and Blair have plans...for a residence for E.P. Large at a cost of $3,000.
In 1888, Large was appointed one of the first school trustees, serving with W.C. Badeau, and U. Zimmerman.
Republican and a delegate to conventions
Sometime in the late 1890's or early 1900's, Large sold his property to move to Los Angeles. John J. Renaker and his sons moved their furniture and undertaking businesses to this location after their property at the southeast corner of Colorado and Myrtle burned down in 1904.
By 1900, Large and his wife had moved to Los Angeles and lived their until their deaths. Edwin P. Large died September 17, 1922 at the age of 69 years. His wife died on December 31, 1937, at the age of 84. Though the Larges had had three children, none survived childhood.
Harvey, J.W., ed. Monrovia Messenger Illustrated Souvenir Edition. Monrovia: J.W. Harvey, 1887. Print
Occupation: Rancher (Citrus)
From 1910 to at least 1923, George Croxon raised citrus fruits which was the main industry in this area. The 1920 census lists him as owning his property (orange grove) which was mortgaged. His ranch was in southeast Monrovia on Mountain Avenue between Central Avenue and Huntington Drives. The 1924 city directory lists George's occupation as "watchman." Since his ranch had been mortgaged, he may have sold it and remained on as watchman over the property.
Soon after that, he retired from raising fruit and moved to 267 N. Myrtle Avenue with his wife and two sons, Frederick George Croxon and Norman Nicoll Croxon Senior.
We have been unable to find a reliable source for a death date for George Croxon. His wife Edith continued to live in the house at 267 N. Myrtle Avenue until the early 1950s when she moved in with her grandson, Normal Nicoll Croxon, Junior, in his house right next door to hers at 271 N. Myrtle Avenue. She died September 28, 1963, probably in Monrovia.
Frederick George Croxon
Birthdate: 11 Nov 1910
Birthplace: Los Angeles County, California
When he was in his teens, he moved with his family to 267 N. Myrtle Avenue.
Frederick George married Doris Theresa Hallett on April 17, 1937. She was the daughter of an English professor of music and had lived in Pasadena all her life. They had one daughter, Patricia Anne Croxon, who was born on 17 Nov 1947 and who died on 07 Feb 1985 in Orange County. Patricia Anne married Blaine P. Turner on 8 Jun 1974. They had one daughter, Kristen, who I assume is still living. I don't know when she was born or anything else about her. This is the end of that branch of the George Croxon tree.
Norman Nicoll Croxon, Senior
Birthdate: 13 Aug 1913
Birthplace: Los Angeles County, California
Occupation: Gas Station Owner/Worker
Norman Nichol Coxon Senior, the son of George and Edith Mary Nicoll Croxon, spent his early years on his father's fruit ranch which was located on the west of Mountain Avenue between Central Avenue and Huntington Drive. He moved with his family to 267 N. Myrtle Avenue sometime around 1924.
He married Thelma Garrison on 25 Jan 1938. He seems to have been involved with Union Oil company, working at and owning gas stations. He and his wife lived in Monrovia across the street from his parents at 260 N. Myrtle Ave. They had at least one child that I could confirm, a boy named Norman Nicoll Croxon Jr. He was born November 14, 1940, in the Imperial Valley of California. His parents were living in El Centro at the time while Norman Senior worked for the Union Oil Company. They were only there about two years, and then the family moved back to Monrovia at 260 N. Myrtle. Norman Senior lived there until he died.
Thelma Garrison's death date is unknown.
Norman Nicoll Croxon, Junior
Birthdate: 14 Nov 1940
Birthplace: Imperial County, California
Occupation: Forestry Service
Norman Nicoll Croxon, Junior, was the grandson of an Englishman, George Croxon, who had come to Monrovia about 1910 to raise citrus crops. His father, Norman Nicoll Senior had been involved with the oil business, almost entirely in Monrovia.
According to city directories, Norman Junior went to work for the Forestry Service. His first wife was named Judith, middle initial "A". It is unknown if she died or they divorced. He second wife was named Tammy. Norman moved into 271 N. Myrtle Avenue sometime during the 1960s. His grandmother had moved into that house around 1952 after her husband died. Previously she had lived just to the south at 267 N. Myrtle. Possibly he inherited the house from her as she died in 1963.
By 1968, Norman is working in Stockton, California, working for the Forestry Service. He stays up there for awhile, perhaps retiring in Bishop where he seemed to work form 1992-1996. We found no trace of chldren for Norman Junior, and he had no siblings, so this branch of the Crox family would come to and end.
It is unknown if Norman and his wives were still living.
J. Grace Worthen
Properties Owned: 271 N. Myrtle Ave.
No records have been found on her birth or death, but she lived in Monrovia at least from 1916, working as a teacher and leaving at 143 W. Greystone Ave.