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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


ALLEN BREAK is a man whose energy, ability and personal efforts have enabled him to so take advantage of opportunities offered in Southern California as to advance himself from a position of financial obscurity to a plane of substantial independence. He is now one of the representative citizens of the Bryn Mawr district of San Bernardino County, and it is pleasing to accord him recognition in this work.

Mr. Break was born in Elgin County, Province of Ontario. Canada, on the 30th of November, 1871, and is a son of John and Mary Break, the father having been a farmer by vocation. The lineage of the Break family traces back to Swiss origin, and in Switzerland the spelling of the name was Brech. John Break, the founder of the American branch of the family, came to this country in the year 1751 and established his home in Pennsylvania, where he died at the early age of thirty-two years. His brave and resourceful young widow, with her two fatherless children, emigrated to Ontario, Canada, where she purchased 200 acres of heavily timbered land, at $2.00 an acre, and instituted its reclamation. This property was retained in possession of the Break family more than 100 years, and portions of it have been sold in recent years for a price as high as $125 an acre. The soil was of excellent constituency, and this is shown in the fact that a black-walnut tree planted on the old homestead grew to such gigantic proportions as to overshadow and cause the death of the apple trees in thirteen rows adjacent to it. This tree was planted by a member of the Break family and when it was recently felled and sawed into lumber the lumber was divided among the surviving representatives of the family. The parents of the subject of this review continued their residence in Ontario until 1920, when they came to California, where they now reside near the home of their son Allen, who is one of their family of five children and of whom he is the eldest; Catherine, born February 2, 1873, is the wife of William Call, and they reside in the State of Wyoming; David, born December 27. 1879, resides at Florence, Kansas ; Rose, born January 22, 1882, resides at Redlands, California; and Estelle, born October 1, 1891, is the wife of Donald Donson, foreman of the fruit-packing house of the Redlands Orange Growers Association at Redlands.

In the public schools of his native province Allen Break continued his studies until he had completed the work of the seventh grade at Kitchener. Thereafter he continued his association with farm industry in Ontario until the spring of 1892, when he came West and found employment as a farm hand in Kansas, at a stipend of eighteen dollars a month and his board. He worked literally "from the rising of the sun until the going down of the same," and he continued his alliance with farm enterprise in the Sunflower State four years, within which in 1894 he married Miss Cynthia Clausen, who was born in Denmark, September 23, 1876, and who was eighteen months old when her parents came to America and established their home in Kansas, where they passed the remainder of their lives, as sterling pioneers of that commonwealth.

In January, 1897, Mr. Break came to California, in company with his wife and their eldest child, then an infant, and upon the arrival of the family at Pomona the tangible possessions of Mr. Break were summed up in forty dollars and the two trunks in which the personal belongings of the family had been transported. He obtained employment with the California Fruit Growers Exchange at Pomona, and continued this connection seven years, within which he was advanced to the position of manager of the packing house. This experience has proved of great value to him in his independent operations in connection with the raising of citrus fruits. Upon leaving Pomona Mr. Break came to Redlands Junction and engaged in the buying and packing of oranges in an independent way. He also purchased a tract of twenty acres, of which eight acres had been planted to citrus trees, which were bearing fruit. On the remainder of the tract he planted orange trees of the Navel and Valencia types. In undertaking this enterprise he assumed an appreciable indebtedness, but his energy and good management enabled him eventually not only to free himself from debt but also to develop one of the fine fruit ranches of this section. He now owns and operates a high-grade orange grove of ninety-seven acres. Mr. Break has been notably prospered in Ws speculative enterprise in the buying, packing and shipping of California fruit, and is one of the leading independent packers and dealers of San Bernardino County. His interests are such that he is a very busy man, and he may well take pride in being one of the world's productive workers who have "made good." He now does his marketing almost exclusively through the excellent medium of the Mutual Orange Distributors of Redlands, an admirable organization that has developed the best of direct trade relations in all sections of the United States, as well as principal Canadian markets. Mr. Break has prospered where many other men have failed. He has had unlimited confidence in the resources of Southern California, and he attributes his success mainly to his conservative policies and careful methods.

In 1910 Mr. Break purchased thirty-four acres as a townsite at Redlands Junction, ten acres of the tract being platted into lots and placed on the market, and twenty-one acres having previously been planted to oranges and eucalyptus. Thus was founded the attractive suburban district of Bryn Mawr, and incidentally Mr. Break sold the site on which is now established the fruit packing houses of Redlands Junction. He became a strong advocate of segregation of Mexican children in school work, and he sold the land on which was constructed a school for the Mexican children of the community, his interest in the enterprise having been shown by the fact that he let the property go for half the price he could have obtained had he otherwise placed it on the market. It was thus largely due to his efforts that the separate schools for Mexican and American children were here provided. Within three years he sold all of the tract of thirty-four acres, and in this connection he received a handsome profit. Honest and straightforward policies have attended his course in all stages of his progressive career, and he is always ready to give counsel and all possible aid to ambitious young men who set forth to avail themselves of the great advantages offered in Southern California. He early set to himself a definite success-goal, and this he has reached. He states that to accumulate his first $1,000 was the hardest task in this connection, and he pays tribute to his wife as having been his best partner and coadjutor. He has relied largely upon her excellent judgment in financial and other business matters, and looks upon her as his valued co-partner in every sense.

In civic relations Mr. Break has shown himself most loyal and liberal, and in the community his list of friends is limited only by that of his acquaintances. He is affiliated with the lodges of Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks at Redlands.

In conclusion is given brief record concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Break: Samuel Wesley, who was born in Kansas, August 30, 1896, is a graduate of the Redlands High School, and his is the distinction of having represented California in the nation's military service at the time of the World war. Upon his enlistment he was assigned to service in testing men on the rifle range, and as a pointer of large guns he was later assigned to duty with the United States Navy. Since the close of the war he luLS been retained as a member of the Reserve Corps of the navy. On his twenty-first birthday he received from his father a gift of $2,000, and with this he purchased a five-acre orange grove, from the yield of which in two. seasons he made full payment on the property. He is now the owner of an excellent orange ranch of fifteen acres, has been identified with the citrus-fruit industry from his early youth, and is now foreman of the Bryn Mawr Fruit Growers Association. Anna Letta, the second child, was born at Pomona, this state, June 20, 1900. She is a graduate of the Redlands High School, and as a skilled accountant she now holds the responsible position of head bookkeeper of the Redlands National Bank. Mary Irene, who was born at Redlands Junction, August 10, 1905, was graduated from the Redlands High School and she remains at the parental home, both she and her sister being popular factors in the social life of the Redlands district, and the family home being known for its generous hospitality and good cheer.


History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011