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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


JAMES S. EDWARDS, recognized as one of the representative and influential business men of Redlands and San Bernardino County, was born at Plymouth, Illinois, on the 14th of April, 1857, his father having been one of the substantial farmers of that locality. After profiting by the advantages of the public schools Mr. Edwards continued his studies at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, and the Missouri State Normal School at Kirksville, Missouri. In April, 1881, as a young man of ambition and purposeful outlook, he came to Riverside, California, and found employment in the work of an orange grove. In the following November, shortly after a plat of Redlands had been filed, he came to the new district and became one of the first buyers of property here. In 1882 he made minor plantings and other improvements on his land, and two years later he here initiated his nursery industry, by planting seed and starting the growing of nursery stock. The citrus-fruit industry of the Redlands district was then in its infancy, but a period of specially rapid development ensued and Mr. Edwards supplied a very appreciable part of the early nursery stock of the district. Under his careful and vigorous management the business became an important and prosperous one. In 1887 Mr. Edwards became associated in business with Wilbur N. Chamblin. Besides extending their nurseries, they built a warehouse (now belonging to Cope Commercial Company) and engaged in the shipping of fruit for the growers in a cooperative way and also in the handling of grain and hay. About the same time, the firm purchased about 500 acres of land in the East Highlands section of the Redlands district. In '91 their interests were segregated, Mr. Chamblin taking the warehouse and the mercantile business, Mr. Edwards taking the land and nursery stock. In 1893 Mr. Edwards began planting this tract of land to oranges and the entire area is now covered by orange groves. The property is now operated under coporate [sic] control, Mr. Edwards having effected, in 1893, the organization and incorporation of the East Highlands Orange Company. Of this corporation he is the general manager, and Robert Roddick is the efficient foreman. Here has been developed one of the best groves of navel oranges in California. The early selection of the land as the stage of such enterprise has proved a very wise action, for the district is comparatively free from damage by frost and the soil and general climatic conditions wonderfully to the successful propagation of navel oranges of the finest type.

Mr. Edwards helped to organize also the Goldbuckle Association, which owns and operates one of California's most complete and successful fruit-packing plants. In connection with the modern packing house, which is of large capacity, the association maintains its own ice-manufacturing plant, which supplies all ice required in connection with the business. Mr. Edwards is president of this association and C. S. Hunt is manager. Mr. Edwards is a director of the California Fruit Exchange, and Fruit Growers Supply Company, and is in every sense one of the leading representatives of the citrus-fruit industry in the state. He and his associates in the Goldbuckle Association have given careful study and consideration and conducted divers experiments in perfecting the service of what is conceded to be one of the most satisfactory and efficient fruit packing and shipping agencies in the state all growers being assured the maximum excellence of service through the medium of the Goldbuckle Association.

In August, 1887, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Edwards to Mrs. Alice Pratt, a native of the state of New York and a woman of exceptional culture. Mrs. Edwards, a talented musician, is a zealous member of the Congregational Church, and is known as an earnest worker in behalf of the unfortunate and helpless, as well as for the general uplifting of humanity. Of the three children of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards the eldest is Ruth, who was born November 19, 1888, who was graduated in Pomona College, and whose marriage to Paul R. Jennings occurred June 19, 1893, their home being in the city of San Diego. Paul L. Edwards, who was born September 24, 1891, is a graduate of the University of California, after leaving which institution he entered the Government service, in the department of commerce and labor. He was first sent to Brazil, and thereafter became commercial attache of the American embassy at The Hague, Holland, where he continued in service until the spring of 1920. During the period of the World war he served as representative of the Netherlands on the war trade board. Since his return to the United States he has remained in the service of the Government and he was stationed in the national capital until the spring of 1921. For nine months he was in various European countries and is now commercial attache at Constantinople. Russell W. Edwards, the third child, was born July 18. 1897, and was graduated in the Redlands High School. Though not twenty-one years of age at the time when the nation became involved in the World war, he promptly enlisted in the coast artillery, and he was in the training camp at the time of the signing: of the historic armistice which brought a technical close to the war. He is now assistant superintendent of the Goldbuckle Association and proves an able coadjutor of his father in directing the large business of this organization. May 2, 1918, recorded his marriage to Miss Marjorie Reynolds, of Redlands.

James S. Edwards had little capital save energy, ambition and resolute purpose when he initiated his independent business career in southern California. He applied himself unremittingly in the developing and upbuilding of his nursery business. He is distinctively one of the representative pioneers of the Redlands district and has contributed loyally and in generous measure to its development and progress. Mr. Edwards has ^en a most energetic and vigilant worker in behalf of prohibition, and he has been nominee of the Prohibition party for various high state and Federal offices. He was one of the original board of directors of the First National Bank of Redlands. He has vied with his wife in earnest and effective service in the Congregational Church of Redlands, and for a number of years was superintendent of its Sunday School.


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