California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
ANDREW J. CRAM was born and is still living at the old Cram homestead at the end of Orange Street at East Highland. This is a property that has been in the possession of one family since pioneer days. Its handling well illustrates the processes of development through which this country has gone in its transformation from a wild desert to a wide stretching orange grove.
Mr. Cram was born there August 6, 1867, son of Lewis F. and Sarah Ann Cram, being the oldest of their seven children, six sons and one daughter. His father was born in New York State in 1834. His mother was born in 1847 in Quincy, Illinois, and is still living at the old home. The parents came overland with ox teams, making a number of stops en route, and their first location in California was at the Chino Ranch, where they engaged in farming. Later Lewis Cram homesteaded a hundred and sixty acres on section 3 in what is now known as East Highland. He and his brothers, together with one of the Van Leuvens, also filed on water rights from the Santa Ana River. This right is still referred to as the Cram and Van Leuvens right. The water was conveyed to their lands through an open ditch. These were the first settlers on the bench land. They planted vineyards and deciduous fruit orchards on the bottoms and did dry farming on the upper ground. All of this tract was cleared and improved by these pioneers.
Eighty acres of the old homestead is still owned by Mrs. Lewis Cram, and nearly the entire tract is covered with orange groves. Lewis Cram spent a busy and effective life in this community and died at Highland February 27, 1915.
Andrew J. Cram out of his personal recollections can recount practically every stage in the development of the community. As a boy he attended school in what is still known as the Cram district, a name given to it because of the many Cram children who have been pupils there. The schoolhouse he knew was a little building 16x24 feet, rudely constructed, merely with framing timbers and boards on the outside and without ceiling. Subsequently, as needed, additions were made until the schoolhouse was 75 feet long.
The first experimental growing of oranges on the Cram homestead was the setting out of two acres of seedlings. The fruit of these trees Andrew J. Cram and his brothers gathered and packed in the orchard, m absence of packing houses. The oranges were graded and packed in paper lined boxes two feet square and eight inches deep. The oranges were not wrapped individually then. These boxes were hauled bv wagon to the nearest railroad station at Colton. Colton was also the site of the only cannery in this section, and all deciduous fruits were hauled there.
The oranges produced by the first grove on the Cram estate were shipped through in A. 1, condition, and were sold so as to bring the grower between three and a half and five dollars a box. in the extension of the fruit interests on the Cram homestead vines and peach trees were planted and oranges in blocks of six and eight acres, until all is now a citrus grove, one of the largest and most productive in the entire county.
Andrew J. Cram is the father of four children: Maggie, wife of Melvin Roddick, of Highland, and the mother of three children, Mildred, Virginia and James; Mollie, wife of George Hamilton, an orange grower at East Highland, and they have two sons, Arthur and Neiland; Mrs. Mabel Burright, of San Jose, and Florence, wife of Arthur Cook, a prosperous cattleman in Colorado.
Mr. Cram takes the liveliest satisfaction in the transformation he has witnessed of the wild cattle range into a superbly improved district where modern improvements and citrus groves give land value between three and four thousand dollars an acre. He has done his part well and effectively in that transformation, and is now enjoying life in his comfortable home in East Highland with his mother.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011