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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


REGINALD BRINSMEAD Although born and educated at London. England, Reginald Brinsmead is an intensely patriotic American, and the love He bears for the country of his adoption undoubtedly surpasses that of many of its native-born citizens. He owns a magnificent seventeen and one-half acre orange grove on Victoria Avenue, and finds his greatest pleasure among his trees and with his family. When this country entered the World war, he offered his services to the Government, but owing to slightly defective eyesight, he was not accepted, and seeking some other outlet for his patriotism, he found it in the government library service, and was made superintendent at Camp Pike, in Arkansas, which positon he is still holding. He is popular and widely known, especially at Riverside, and throughout the state through his many articles on citrus culture and agricultural subjects which have been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Citrograph, local and other newspapers. He has made a special study of these subjects, and is regarded as an expert on citrus culture.

Reginald Brinsmead was born at London, England, August 3, 1880, a son of Thomas James Brinsmead, now deceased, who was a piano manufacturer of London, and a man of large affairs. He was a pioneer in many industries, and did much research work. A man of progressive ideas, he was one of the earliest to recognize the value of the Welsbach Mantle, and was a heavy stockholder and a director of the company manufacturing them. He was one of the pioneers in the development of kinema colored photography, and along other lines, and never lost his zest in life. His death occurred in November, 1906, he and his wife passing away within three days of each other, both of them being over seventy years of age.

Reginald Brinsmead attended the Merchant Tailors' school of London, a preparatory institution, Aspatria University and the Royal Agricultural College, being graduated from the two last named, and earned a fellowship in the Royal Agricultural Society. In 1897 Mr. Brinsmead first came to California in company with Matthew Gage, and was so delighted with the many delightful phases of the Golden West that he made up his mind to make it his permanent home. Going back to London, he completed his course at the Royal Agricultural College, and then returned to Riverside. He secured seventeen and one-half acres of land on Victoria Avenue and Horace Street, and has made this city his home ever since. The grove was planted by Captain Pimm and his house was the first one erected in Arlington Heights. Originally it was meant for a stable, but the many additions that have been built have entirely changed it and it is now one of the most comfortable and desirable homes in this part of the city. There is a large cedar tree near the house which was fairly well grown when it was brought from the Himalayas by Captain Pimm and placed in California ground. This is a species which requires seventy years for its full growth, and as it is fully matured, an excellent estimate can be made of its age.

Mr. Brinsmead supplemented his knowledge about citrus growth and things agricultural by much study and observation in the governmental station, and with the assistance of Mrs. Brinsmead has added interest, beauty, novelty and revenue to the place by the addition of many growths, including the peijoa, avacados, kumquats. loquats, edible Passion vine and sixteen varieties of fancy guavas. The grove consists of both navels and valencias, and between fifty and sixty English walnuts in full bearing. A very large assortment of beautiful roses, wistaria and other flowers in profusion, make up a home that leaves nothing to be desired. Mr. Brinsmead is a cheerful optimist and notwithstanding adverse market conditions and disappointments, sincerely believes that anything can be grown in the unrivaled soil and glorious climate of California, and that it can be made to pay large dividends on the effort.

In addition to his home grove Mr. Brinsmead at one time owned a share in the Walton & Dean grove, and was also interested in a large grove at Arlington. He was one of the founders of the Victoria Fruit Exchange and the Fairview Fruit Exchange, and was one of the organizers of the fruit exchange at Santa Ana. At one time he belonged to the Elks, and was one of the first members of the Victoria Club. At present he belongs to the Casa Blanca Club.

On June 5, 1907, Mr. Brinsmead was married at Riverside to Miss Mabel Tracey Simonds, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of the late Edwin D. Simonds. Mrs. Brinsmead was for two years a social settlement worker in Chicago Commons, and at the time of demobilization, after the close of the World war, was assistant government librarian at Camp Pike, Arkansas. She and her mother first came to California to escape the rigors of the Eastern climate, and the latter became the owner of an orange grove on Van Buren and Duffer in streets. After the death of Mrs. Simonds this property was sold. One of Mrs. Brinsmead's most cherished possessions is a time-yellowed parchment which bears the date 1836, and the name of her grandmother. It is a teacher's certificate issued to that lady, authorizing her to teach school in Richland county, Ohio, and is the first one ever issued in that county. Mr. and Mrs. Brinsmead have two children, namely : Ruth and Thomas, both of whom are students in the Riverside public schools. They are members of All Saints Episcopal Church of Riverside, and active in the parish.

Mr. Brinsmead has a vast pride in Riverside and its environs and he and Mr. Rumsey organized the first Victoria Avenue Improvement Association. This spirit, which is also possessed by other residents of Riverside, has made the city what it is so universally acknowledged to be, the Gem of the most beautiful section of the finest country on earth. The natural resources and beauties were all here for hundreds of years, but it was not until the progressive spirit of the white American developed them that they have become so attractive. No region can be greater than its people, and unless the men and women of Riverside had possessed deep in their souls the real love of the beautiful could present results have been obtained. Therefore Mr. Brinsmead and his associates in civic beautification and improvements have every reason to be proud of their work, and their success cannot help but stimulate them to further efforts along similar lines.


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