California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
CHARLES R. BUCKNELL. — The largest and finest home at Ontario is at the southwest corner of Laurel and G streets, a magnificent residence recently erected by Charles R. Bucknell for his permanent home. Mr. Bucknell has been a resident of Ontario for a number of years, and has had an interesting and successful role as a capitalist, dealer in real estate, and has done much in a constructive way for the development of this section. He achieved his prosperity as a highly successful Michigan farmer and land owner, and he still owns a large amount of valuable property in that state. He was born at Nottawa, St. Joseph County, Michigan, October 6 1841, son of John Henry Francis and Elizabeth (Bucknell) Bucknell. His parents were both natives of Somersetshire, England, but only distantly related. His father was born in 1815, and died in Michigan August 30, 1848, while his mother was born in 1820 and died in 1891. John H. F. Bucknell as a young man came to America, traveling by water as far as Toledo, Ohio, and thence overland to St. Joseph County, Michigan, where he bought eighty acres of Government land. This he improved and sold on payments and turned the price to reinvestment in 220 acres. He plunged heavily in debt, but he had the resourcefulness and the great energy that justified assuming such responsibilities. Six years after coming to America he married, having known his wife during his boyhood in England. The three children of their marriage were: Julia, born March 10, 1839, and died in 1892; Charles R.; and George M., born October 8, 1843, still leading and prosperous farmer in Southern Michigan.
Charles R. Bucknell was only seven years of age when his father died, leaving his widow and three children. Charles R. Bucknell at once left school for two years, took charge of the stock, and at the age of eleven had the full responsibility of the farm. His mother, however, was a remarkable business woman, and her efficient administration during the five years after her husband's death paid the debts and accumulated much property besides. Charles R. Bucknell and his mother continued to operate the home farm, and during her lifetime they accumulated eight large properties in Southern Michigan. Charles R. Bucknell, while denied early school advantages later made up for this deficiency, attending high school and getting a good education. His career in Michigan as a farmer proved a factor in the construction development of his section of the state. At one time he owned nine first-class farms, models of improvement and agricultural efficiency, and he still owns three farms respectively of 320 acres, 175 acres and 80 acres in his home county, and also 100 acres in an adjoining county.
During the early '60s Mr. Bucknell was called back to Devonshire, England, to settle and dispose of a large estate consisting of ground and two stores in Bristol. This business required his residence in England for about two years. In the fall of 1864 he married there Miss Anna Coles, daughter of a rich English farmer and stockman who had sold cattle to (Queen Victoria. Mr. Bucknell's brother-in-law was a perfect specimen of physical manhood, and from a crowd on a street was selected on this account to serve as one of Queen Victoria's bodyguard, and acted as special guard for two years to her majesty. He is now a successful dealer in musical instruments and an importer in New Zealand. Mr. and Mrs. Bucknell soon after their marriage returned to Michigan, and their three children were all born in that state and died there. Albert H. was born November 27, 1865, and died in 1898; Bell was born September 26, 1867, and died in 1892; and George M., born June 30, 1872, was drowned at the age of thirteen. The mother of these children died in Michigan in 1891.
With his home broken up Mr. Bucknell during the past thirty years has traveled extensively, has crossed the Rockies to and from California twenty-nine times, and many years ago he selected Ontario as his permanent home. December 11, 1904, he married Miss Cynthia J. Miller who was born at Middlebury, Indiana, daughter of Lemuel and Sarah Catherine Miller, natives of Pennsylvania. Her father was a very prominent grain dealer and owner of some large flour mills in St. Joseph County, Michigan. Mrs. Bucknell had a finished education and has traveled extensively, spending three years in the Hawaiian Islands. The three children of Mr. and Mrs. Bucknell are: Charles R., Jr., born at Ontario July 28, 1908; Alice Margaret, born October 28, 1910; and Roy Lawson, born July 17, 1913.
Mr. Bucknell bought his home property in Ontario in 1902, at 213 West G. Street, and subsequently bought the ground at the southwest comer of Laurel and G streets, where he has just completed his magnificent home. The architecture of this residence has attracted wide attention, and the principal building material is solid granite, a material Mr. Bucknell was selecting over a period of seventeen years. The house comprises twenty-two rooms, and is a home of beauty and comfort within and without.
Since coming to California Mr. Bucknell has dealt extensively and with great profit in real estate and land, buying and selling many parcels over the southern half of the state. One of his early purchases was ten acres of vacant land at the comer of Western Avenue and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. He paid eighteen hundred dollars for this tract in 1900, and in 1921 he sold it to a studio company for eighty thousand dollars. Mr. Bucknell and family are Presbyterians, and he was one of the founders of the church at Ontario and one of the heaviest contributors to its maintenance. Mrs. Bucknell is deeply interested in educational and civic affairs, a member of the Current Events Club, an active prohibitionist and a member of the W. C. T. U.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011