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San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

JOHN WILLIAM FOWLER has gained precedence as one of the most successful growers of citrus fruit in San Bernardino County, where he is now the owner of a valuable property devoted to the best types of oranges and lemons. He and his young wife initiated their enterprise as orange growers with minimum financial resources, and he credits his wife for much of the splendid success which has been achieved in this connection, for her effective counsel and ready co-operation have counted for much in his progressive career in the Rialto district of the county.

Mr. Fowler was born in Crawford County, Kansas, June 23, 1870, a son of David and Elizabeth (Thomason) Fowler, both natives of North Carolina, where their marriage was solemnized. As young folk the parents migrated to Missouri and established their home on a farm which is now the site of the City of Springfield. Later they became pioneer settlers in Crawford County, Kansas, about the time of the beginning of the Civil war, and there the father engaged in agricultural and stock-raising enterprise. The parents endured not only the hardships and trials that pertained to pioneer life on the Kansas frontier, but also suffered greatly from depredations committed in connection with border warfare in the Civil war, both the guerrilla bands and hostile Indians being a constant menace. On the old Kansas homestead the devoted mother died in 1878, and there the father continued to reside until his death in 1906, as one of the venerable pioneer citizens of the Sunflower State. In the family were two sons and two daughters, all of whom survive the father.

John W. Fowler was reaped on the old home farm in Kansas, profited by the advantages of the public schools of the locality, and in 1892 graduated from the Kansas Normal College at Fort Scott. In 1894, influenced by correspondence with a kinsman who had preceded him here. Mr. Fowler came to Rialto, California, where he promptly found employment in a citrus orchard of forty acres. He was an apt student of horticulture and was soon made foreman and thereafter superintendent of this fruit ranch, where he remained four years. He then married the sweetheart of his early days in Kansas, and it was largely through the counsel of his talented young wife that they purchased ten acres of unimproved land, with water right, for a consideration of $1,150, their initial payment being only $100. Mr. Fowler planted a windbreak and began the general improvement of his land. In 1900 he laid a pipe line for irrigating the tract, and the tract was planted to oranges. After holding this property ten years Mr. and Mrs. Fowler sold the same for $12,000, and they had previously cleared themselves of all indebtedness. Mr. Fowler has continued his successful activities as a grower of oranges and lemons, and they now own a well improved property of twenty acres, ten acres being situated just to the south of the original place, which now constitutes the oldest and finest lemon orchard in the Rialto district. In 1912 Mr. Fowler erected his present residence, at 128 East Third Street. Rialto, and the same is one of the finest and most modern homes in this beautiful and prosperous section of San Bernardino County. As an authority in the citrus fruit industry Mr. Fowler is also superintendent of many groves owned by non-residents, he being responsible for the care of ninety acres of such orchards.

Mr. Fowler is an uncompromising republican, and he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is affiliated with San Bernardino Lodge, B. P. O. E. : with Rialto Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America, and he and his wife are charter members of Rialto Lodge, A. I. U. He is a member of the Board of Education of Rialto and is an enthusiastic worker in behalf of efficient educational system. Mrs. Fowler is a member of the Christian Science Church and the Rialto Woman's Club, and in the home community both she and her husband have a circle of friends that is limited only by that of their acquaintances.

May 4, 1898, recorded the marriage of Mr. Fowler and Miss Oneda M. Hayes, who came from her home in Kansas to join him, the marriage having been solemnized at San Bernardino. Mrs. Fowler is a daughter of Jesse B. and Cecelia A. (Long) Hayes, the former a native of Indiana and the latter of Pennsylvania. Upon removing to Kansas Mr. Hayes purchased a farm near Fredonia, judicial center of Wilson County, and there his wife died in 1887. Mr. Hayes later removed to the western part of that state, and he passed the closing period of his life at Ocean Park, California, where he died September 8, 1906. Mrs. Fowler depended largely on her own resources in gaining her higher education, which included one year at the Kansas State Normal School at Fort Scott and one year at the Kansas State Normal College at Emporia. She was for six years a successful and popular teacher in the public schools of Kansas, and retired from such pedagogic service it the time of her marriage. Of the five children of Mr. and Mrs. Fowler two died in infancy ; Aleta M., who was born at Rialto May 26 1900, is a graduate of the high school and also of Longmire's Business College in San Bernardino, and she now holds a responsible position in the office of the American Fruit Growers at Rialto. Eugene, born December 17, 1906, is, in 1922, a member of the sophomore class in the San Bernardino High School. Julian Hayes, who was born March 26, 1911, IS attending the Rialto graded schools.

 

Source:
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