California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
CHARLES PRICE HUMPHRIES — One of the best known citizens of the Ontario community is Charles Price Humphries. His friends know him as a man of ample prosperity, with a long record of success as a fruit rancher. A few know that when he came to California many years ago he possessed practically no capital beyond his individual enterprise and energy.
He was born February 12, 1865, at Strathroy, Ontario, Canada, son of Samuel and Caroline (Bowen) Humphries. His maternal grandfather, Arthur William Bowen, was a major in the English Army, and for his services the English Government gave him extended concessions in and near Hamilton, Ontario. Charles Price Humphries was reared and educated in Strathroy, and at the age of sixteen became a clerk in a mercantile store at Wyoming, Ontario. A few years later he came to California and at San Jose during 1884-85 worked on a ranch to learn the fruit growing business. Subsequently he was at San Mateo and for two years had charge of the famous trotting stallion, Guy Wilkes, which held the Pacific Coast trotting record for a number of years, until it was taken away by another celebrated horse, Stamboul. Mr. Humphries was not inclined to follow racing as a permanent business, and finally, with perhaps a hundred dollars in capital, he started in a small way the growing of deciduous fruit, going to Cucamonga in January, 1887, and purchasing five acres of land at two hundred dollars an acre. In March, 1894, he moved to Ontario, where he has had his home for over a quarter of a century and where from the first he engaged in the deciduous fruit business on an extensive scale. Mr. Humphries now has thirty-seven acres planted to peaches and apricots. He was among the first to make a commercial success of deciduous fruits in the Ontario district, and he was the very first man of that section to market direct the product of his orchard. For his first peaches he received six dollars a ton and eight dollars a ton for his apricots. The crop of 1920 he sold at a hundred dollars a ton for the peaches and ninety dollars for the apricots.
Through many years of determined work and accumulating interests Mr. Humphries is now comfortably prosperous, and has an income sufficient for his needs from his bonds of the Edison Electric Company and other companies and the rental of property he owns in Los Angeles and Glendale. While his extensive fruit orchards are a business that he could play with provided his inclinations ran to radical experiments. For several years he was a director in the Cucamonga Water Company. Mr. Humphries is a republican, is a past noble grand of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and past chief patriarch of the Encampment, and jwas secretary and in 1919 was president of the Pioneer Society of Ontario. He is a member of the Methodist Church. His fruit ranch is a mile east of Ontario.
At San Bernardino November 23, 1887, Mr. Humphries married Mary Richards, daughter of George and Lydia (Powell) Richards. Mr. and Mrs. Humphries have three children: Leland Richard married Olive M. Wilcox, and they have two children, Billie and Donald Wilbur; Arthur Emerson married Helen Whitcher, and their two children are Arthur Wilbur and Ruth. The only daughter, Grace Winifred, is a teacher in the schools of Honolulu. Mrs. Humphries' father, a native of England, came to Canada at the age of four years with his parents, and was educated in Canada. Later he was interested in the oil business at Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. Both her parents are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Humphries visited their daughter in the Hawaiian Islands in the winter of 1920 and 1921, and while there he took an active interest in the working of the oldest Lodge of Odd Fellows west of the Rocky Mountains. An American ship captain established this lodge in 1847. Its charter called for the establishment of a lodge in Oregon. The captain of the vessel sailed out of his course, and while in the Hawaiian Islands gathered enough members from his crew to establish a lodge under the charter.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011