Occupations | Unknown

First Congregational Church

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Birthplace:

Occupation: Unknown

Properties Owned: 243 E. Lime Avenue



Occupations | Unknown

Gospel Church

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Occupation: Unknown

Properties Owned: 201 E. Lime Avenue


Occupations | Unknown

General W. A. Pile

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Occupation: Unknown

Properties Owned: 255 N. Mayflower Avenue


Occupations | Unknown

J. C. Rowly

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Occupation: Unknown

Properties Owned: 235 E. Lime Avenue

Other than owning property in Monrovia, nothing is else is known about Josiah Ro


Occupations | Unknown

Martha Ward

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Occupation: Unknown

Properties Owned: 229 E. Lime Avenue

No additional details are currently available about Martha Ward.


Occupations | Unknown

William Aaron Crandall

Birthdate: March 19, 1842

Birthplace: Watson, Lewis County, New York

Occupation: Unknown

Properties Owned:

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.


Occupations | Unknown

Louis Beer

Birthdate: 1829

Birthplace: Switzerland

Occupation: Unknown

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


Occupations | Unknown

William Newton Monroe

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Birthdate: June 4, 1841

Birthplace: Flat Creek, Scott County, Indiana

Occupation: Unknown

Properties Owned:

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).

Sources:
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.


Occupations | Unknown

J. Grace Worthen

Birthdate:

Birthplace:

Occupation: Unknown

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.


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