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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


THOMAS E. FENTRESS. Riverside has many consistent and effective boosters, but no one is more enthusiastic about the city of his adoption than Thomas E. Fentress, one of the solid business men of the city, and a teaming contractor upon an extensive scale. He located here because he was convinced of the great possibilities of this region, and his convictions have become strengthened with his residence here, and to his efforts in its behalf Riverside owes a strong support to its most public-spirited movements. He was born near Decatur, Illinois, May 26, 1857, a son of Silas and Harriet (Gilmore) Fentress, both of whom are now deceased. Silas Fentress was born in Kentucky, but later moved to Illinois, where he continued his farming operations. The Fentress family is of Revolutionary stock and English descent. Mrs. Fentress was born in Indiana, and her family is also of Revolutionary stock, but of Irish descent.

Growing up in Illinois, Thomas E. Fentress attended the public schools near Hillwood, that state, and then became a farmer, operating land in Illinois until 1877, when he went on a farm in Southeastern Kansas, near Oswego, and remained there until 1888. In February of that year he made a trip to Riverside in response to letters relatives of his wife had written giving such glowing accounts of the city and county that he felt inclined to investigate. Not only was he fully satisfied that these accounts were more than true, but he was embued with the determination to participate in the enjoyment of these advantages, so, returning to Kansas, he disposed of his holdings there, returned to Riverside and has since made this city his home, although it was necessary for him to make several trips back to Kansas before he fully arranged his affairs. His first investment was in an orange ranch which he conducted for four years, and then traded it for town property, and embarked in his present business of general teaming, which he has since expanded to large proportions.

On December 31, 1882, Mr. Fentress married at Labette City, Kansas, Josephine A. Webb, a native of Indiana, and a daughter of William J. Webb, and a member of an old Delaware family of English descent. Mr. and Mrs. Fentress have the following children : George E., who is associated with the General Petroleum Company near Placentia, California; Pearl, who is the wife of Charles Van Decker, of the Gudes Bootery of Ij3S Angeles, California; Maude E., who is the wife of Russell Shedd, a realtor of Phoenix, Arizona; and Daisy May, who is the wife of Clifford Shigley, a civil engineer employed by the Sierra Power Company. Mr. Fentress is a republican, and while he has not taken a particularly active part in politics, has always done his duty as a good citizen by earnestly supporting those measures he felt would be beneficial to the majority. He finds his greatest pleasure in his home circle and has not cared to connect himself with any organizations outside of his membership with the Fraternal Aid Union. He and his wife are honored members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and can be depended upon to do their part in all of the work of their congregation. Earnest, hard-working and thrifty, Mr. Fentress has forged forward, making a success of his various undertakings because of his good business sense and his sterling honesty. While he has achieved a material success, he was gained something of still greater value, the respect and good will of his fellow men.


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