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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


W. S. BUTTON California seems to have a call for easterners and Riverside especially seems to draw its share of business men, not only men wishing to retire, but also young men with ability and activity to push ahead and build from the ground floor up, and connect themselves on a large scale with the industries and activities most adapted to this part of the country.

One who is noteworthy in this connection is W. Stewart Button, distributor for Chevrolet automobiles in Riverside County and also connected with the Riverside Sheet Metal Works, and other growing interests. He is also a public spirited man.

W. Stewart Button was born in Teeswater, Ontario, Canada, on January 11, 1884, son of William Button, native of Canada. A complete sketch of the "Button" family is given elsewhere in this book. Living for a number of years in his native province he received a public school and high school education, attending the Collegiate Institute at Clinton, Ontario, took a business course at Chatham, Ontario, and also attended college at Toronto. He also took an active part in sports and played on the different teams in his home town and at high school and college, helping to hold the "cup" for the full time while at high school. After completing his studies he engaged in the lumber business with his father for five year3 in Toronto, Canada, and New York and Pennsylvania States, manufacturing lumber and mangle rollers, which they exported to Europe. He was also engaged in the hardware business for a short time in Shelbume, Canada, but his activities were transferred to the Canadian West and great prairie provinces and for a time was in the real estate, business at Edmonton, Alberta.

He spent one winter in California, and going back to the Canadian West again soon found that he could not forget the California climate and came back to* stay after his marriage, bringing his wife with him.

On arriving at Riverside in December, 1912, Mr. Button became interested with his brother and father in the sheet metal business, their specialties being the manufacture of "orchard heaters" ovens and canteens. During eight months in 1914-15 this firm manufactured 155,000 orchard heaters, and W. Stewart Button having full management of the factory. He also possesses the inventive faculties, and his ingenuity has resulted in several profitable devices. A special mouthpiece on canteens was patented by him which is being put on the market today, also a patent on a "spring cushion skate." For nine months he was at Buffalo, New York, manufacturing this spring cushion skate, finally selling his patent rights.

In 1916 he returned to Riverside and he and his brother took the agency for the Chevrolet automobile in Riverside County, W. Stewart Button having managership of the business.

In 1919 the Scripps-Booth was added to the agency. They were the second firm to handle the Chevrolet car in Riverside County and have distributed nearly seven hundred cars here : for this business Mr. Button built a fine garage and show room at 1045 Main Street.

Mr. Button was one of the first in this section to become interested in the date growing industry and helped to organize, first, the Thermal Date Company and finally re-organized into the Arabia Date Company, Incorporated, and was secretary and treasurer of both companies. The company bought 110 acres in Coachella Valley and set out forty acres in dates and in time will have full acreage set out in dates. These dates started to bear lightly in 1921, in a couple of years will be bearing heavily.

Mr. Button is also interested in business property in the City of Edmonton, Canada. Mr. Button is a Mason and a member of the Riverside Chapter. He also served as a member of the Home Guard. He is also a member and an official of the board of the First Methodist Church.

December 4, 1912, Mr. Button married Miss Sadie Montgomery, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and daughter of Alexander Montgomery. The Montgomery family was identified with the pioneer period in both eastern and western provinces of Canada. Mr. and Mrs. Button have four children : William Bruce, Ruth Elizabeth, Phyllis Irene, and Stewart Dever Button.


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