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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
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San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

RUFUS E. LONGMIRE. Those who now come to San Bernardino County can have no real idea of the conditions prevailing when the pioneers, among whom were Rufus E. Longmire and his family, located amid what was then practically a sterile wilderness. Irrigation was practically unknown in its present high state of development, dirt ditches being the only means of watering the soil, and the walls of these frequently broke through, resulting in a loss of the moisture so sorely needed. Citrus culture was then in its infancy, and had to be carefully studied and experimented upon. The results were so doubtful that it took one with great faith in the locality and industry to dare to risk all in these experimentations, but because there were these brave souls, willing to work and endure, this r^ion has been made into one of the finest and most productive portions of the Golden State.

Rufus E. Longmire, for so many years connected with the citrus industry of San Bernardino County, and for a long period an honored resident of Highland, was born in Tennessee in 1843, and died at Highland, California, February 15, 1919. In 1868 he married Miss Mary E. Shanlever, who was born in Tennessee in 1844, and they settled on a farm in the vicinity of Clinton, Anderson County, Tennessee, and made it their home until 1882, and there their five daughters and two sons were born. In that year a brother of Mr. Longmire returned from the West with such glowing accounts of California and its possibilities and opportunities that these hard-working and watchful parents decided to make the long trip to the Land of Promise, being willing to endure much in the hope of obtaining advantages for their offspring.

Therefore, filled with hope for the future and imbued with the determination to succeed no matter what the hardships might be, Rufus E. Longmire and his devoted wife set out for California. They arrived at East Highland in the fall of 1882, and rented land from the Van Leuven ranch, and lived on it for five years. At that time the region was but little improved, and father, mother and children had to work very hard to get a foothold in the new home. Scattered citrus orchards and grapes were to be found, but there was no concerted movement toward the establishment of a sound industry. However, the Longmire family were united in a harmonious whole and worked with a definite object in view, that of owning their home, and this they were able to bring about after five years of unremitting toil and the closest of economy. Mr. Longmire bought ten acres on Base Line, now known as the Parsons place, and this he and his family set to orange trees. Theirs was one of the early orchards of this region, and they lived on the place until the orchard was well grown, and then sold to advantage and bought ten acres on Highland Avenue, at Boulder Avenue. Once more they set out the trees that had been raised on the Base Line property, where he had maintained a nursery with profit. The second orchard flourished and was sold, again at a handsome profit, in 1912, following which Mr. Longngmire retired from active participation in business, bought a comfortable home at Highland, where the remainder of his life was spent, and here Mrs. Longmire is still residing. She also owns a grove at Rialto, California. They came to San Bernardino County poor people, with their way in life still to make, and when Mr. Longmire retired they were possessed of ample means, and Mrs. Longmire is surrounded today with not only the comforts of life, but also many of the luxuries, all of which have been earned through the toil and good management of the Longmire family.

When the Longmires came to California the eldest child was fourteen years of age, she being Ida, who was born in October, 1868. She married Charles Hidden in 1892, and they have two children: Lloyd, who was born January 21, 1894, is a veteran of the World war, having served as an enlisted man in the artillery; and Gertrude, who is with her parents. The second child of Mr. and Mrs. Longmire, Lassie, was born April 3, 1870, and died August 18, 1889. Mattie, the third child, was born August 13, 1871, and she was married to John P. Coy, inspector of horticulture, and they became the parents of three children: Clifford, who was born December 1, 1898, is a veteran of the World war, in which he served in the aviation branch; Blanche, who was born November 17, 1899; and John, who was born May 9, 1916. Charles, who was born May 30, 1873, lives at Santa Ana, California, and is a real-estate man. He is married and has two children: Lucille, who was born April 1, 1904; and Rufus, who was born February 14, 1907. Kitty, the fifth child in the Longmire family, was born December 1, 1874. She was married to Frank Cram, a prominent citrus grower of Highland, and they have two children : Fred, who was born July 1, 1896, was in the aviation service during the World war ; and Mary Elizabeth, who was born May 27, 1900. Maggie, the sixth child in the Longmire family, was born April 25, 1877, and died February 9, 1896. James Longmire, the youngest in the family, was born February 9, 1878. He lives at Highland, is married, and has two children : Donald, who was born January 30, 1916; and Merritt, who was born February 16, 1921. His eldest child, Gerald, who was born November 11, 1914, died in infancy. Mrs. Longmire is very proud of her children and grandchildren, as she has every reason to be, for they are fine people. The sons and daughters are numbered among the substantial residents of the several communities in which they are located, and the grandchildren are showing forth in their lives the results of careful training and the good stock from which they have sprung. When their country had need of them the young men went forth to battle for it, and made records as soldiers which will be cherished by future generations.

 

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