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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


THOMAS E. KETCHESON has not been a passive witness of the march of events since he came to San Bernardino County and located in the Upland Colony. He has participated in the strenuous work, the long toil necessary to get the land into condition for planting, the care and cultivation of the orchards, and it was out of the proceeds of labor that he bought and paid for this first land. Since then he has developed several valuable holdings, has achieved a competence, and at the same time has furnished his family a delightful home and supplied liberal educational opportunities for his children.  

Mr. Ketcheson was born in Ontario, Canada, March 31, 1872, son of Samuel and Phoebe (McTaggart) Ketcheson, also natives and farmers of that province. Thomas was the third in a family of eight children.  

As a youth in Canada he completed a public school course and also attended the Ontario Business Collie at Belleville, Canada. After leaving collie he went back to the farm, and soon afterward went out to British Columbia and joined an uncle at Vancouver, with whom he farmed for five years. In 1893 Mr. Ketcheson came to California and joined his uncle, John Vermillion, who then owned a forty acre tract in North Ontario, now Upland, between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets, east of Euclid Avenue. Part of this was set out to oranges and a portion was in vineyard, and at that time there were only a few scattering groves of orange trees in this entire district. Mr. Ketcheson worked for his uncle in looking after the grove until it was sold. The first purchase he made on his own account was two lots bought from the Harwood brothers. Still later he bought ten acres of wild land at the corner of Eleventh and San Antonio Avenue. Largely through his own labors he cleared and leveled this property, and in 1905 set it to Washington Navel oranges. Several years later, when the grove was fully developed, he sold the property for $22,000 dollars. His next investment was ten acres on Thirteenth, between Mountain and San Antonio avenues, and he also sold this at an advance. Mr. Ketcheson still owns an eight acre grove of nine year old lemon trees on Mountain Avenue. His residence, which he bought in 1912, had just been completed by P. E. Walline and stands at the southeast corner of Palm and West Tenth Street in Upland. This is a picturesque and valuable home and Mr. Ketcheson and family have thoroughly enjoyed its delightful comforts.  

Mr. Ketcheson married on June 9, 1896, Miss Ella Washburn, a native of Indiana. Her parents moved when she was a child to Kansas, and in 1887 she came to California with an uncle. Mr. and Mrs. Ketcheson have three children. The oldest, Pauline, born at Upland June 20, 1899, graduated from the Chaffey Union High School, attended the University of Southern California at Los Angeles and is a graduate of the State Normal College at Santa Barbara, and has the character and intellectual gifts that make her an accomplished as well as a well educated woman. She is now the wife of Richard E. Elliott, and they have a son Richard, Jr., born August 1, 1921. Mr. Elliott was born at McAlester, Oklahoma, February 10, 1897, and had an unusual record of service in the World war. He enlisted at Hot Springs, Arkansas, January 31, 1918, joining the 533rd Engineers with the Fifth Army Corps. After a brief training at Washington, D. C, he embarked for overseas March 30th, landing in France the 6th of April, and was with the Engineers in some of the difficult and hazardous service that marked the advance of the American Forces in several battles and campaigns, including Belleau Wood, Soissons and in one of the campaigns on the Marne. He remained overseas seventeen months, but was never wounded or otherwise injured. He was mustered out January 7, 1920, at Fort Scott in San Francisco, and is now engaged in ranching at Upland.  

The two younger children of Mr. Ketcheson are Howard, born at Upland November 4, 1903, and Edna, born September 1, 1909. The son was educated in the grammar school and the Chaffey Union High School.  

Mr. Ketcheson came to Bernardino County when land was wild and cheap and wages for labor were low, with long hours, and under such conditions he bought and paid for his first land and eventually made himself secure in property interests and the good citizenship of the locality.

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