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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
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San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

PETER GEORGE MCIVER Lawyer and justice of peace at Redlands, Peter George McIver has lived the most interesting period of his life in California, and his varied experiences, his versatile accomplishments and the influence he has exercised among men makes him a man of outstanding importance in Riverside County.

Judge McIver was born October 24, 1864, at South Cove, Victoria County, Nova Scotia. His father, Angus J. McIver, was a native of Scotland and early in life moved to Nova Scotia, where he married Miss Christie McIver, a native of Nova Scotia and of an unrelated branch of the McIvers. Their children consisted of six sons and three daughters. Angus J. McIver was a school teacher by occupation, and Peter George attended a country school taught by his father. However, his education as derived from schools was limited. Possessed of sound Scotch intellectual inheritance, Mr. McIver has sought knowledge by contact with the world as he has gone through it, and is a man of learning in the truest sense of the word. He early learned to be dependent upon his own exertions. For a time he was a sailor on ships in the coastwise trade. In the fall of 1884, he went to Maine, and for a time cut cordwood, and for about two years was employed by the Knickerbocker Ice Company in harvesting ice on the Kennebec River, residing in Gardiner, . Maine. During the winter of 1886 he worked in the woods on Dead River, Maine, for the firm of Putnam & Clawsoft who owned a saw mill at Pittston, now Randolph, Maine.

This in brief was the sum total of his experience when he came to California in the spring of 1887, reaching Redlands June 9th. It was a dull time in business and industry in California and elsewhere over the country. Some of the first work he did for wages here was shingling houses. Back in Nova Scotia he had learned as a boy something of the trade of shoemaking. In California he became acquainted with P. F. Bugee, and they bached together in a small cabin. Mr. Bugee was a shoe cobbler, and after his day of outside work Mr. McIver frequently assisted Mr. Bugee at the bench in the evening. On the 24th of October of that year, while teaming, his horses ran away, and left him by the side of the road with a broken leg and severe injuries. After a time he was discovered by John P. Fisk, a real estate agent of Redlands, and was cared for by Dr. W. L. Spoor. On partially recovering but before he was able to take active outside employment he devoted his entire time to shoemaking. About that time he and Mr. Bugee secured a sewing machine, and they manufactured the first shoes in Redlands, the first pair being made for Harry Brush, and they also made shoes for Scipio Craig, the pioneer Redlands editor. Business conditions continuing dull. Mr. McIver, after recovering from his injuries so that he could walk, accepted a suggestion made by an old acquaintance, George W. Danna, with whom he had boarded while at Gardiner, Maine, and who in the meantime had come to California and was operating: Redland's first barber shop, and began learning the barber trade in 1888. After about two years he bought a half interest, and for one year was in partnership with Danna.

During his early life Mr. McIver was a member of the Methodist Church. As the result of much self searching of his mind and heart he found his views at variance with this church's teachings. After formulating to his own satisfaction his belief he engaged a hall and held services Sunday afternoon. Finding that many were attracted to these meetings he also held meetings in the evenings and in that way became associated and worked with the First Day Adventists. Leaving his shop, he went to Nebraska in the summer of 1893, and with an evangelist. William E. Todd, traveled about holding tent meetings, at which he delivered lectures and sermons. Ever since 1893 Mr. McIver has been a preacher of Christian Adventist doctrines. He was a minister at Springfield, Nebraska, for several months and was then called back to Napa, California, and was pastor of the church there two years and seven months. He then went to the San Francisco Church on Church Street, between Twenty-ninth and Day streets, and in the spring of 1899, to Potter Valley in Medocino County, where he preached two years. While there he engaged in a discussion with an editor on the subject of Baptism. In the discussion he was at a disadvantage, since the editor led to points which were not permitted to be discussed. The church authorities then took a hand, and Mr. McIver, holding to the honesty of his convictions, retired from the formal ministry.

In August, 1901, he returned to Redlands, but for three months supplied the Pasadena Church on Fair Oaks Avenue. Leaving the pulpit, he returned to his trade as a barber, being employed by J. P. Hird six years. While thus engaged he spent five years in diligent study of the law, and in February, 1908, left his trade and entered the Kent Law School at San Francisco. He was a student there from February to July, 1908, and then took the bar examinations in the Los Angeles District Court of Appeals. Among thirty-two applicants he was the first to receive a certificate. Judge McIver began practice at Redlands in 1908, and in 1910 was elected to the post of justice of the peace, an office he has filled continuously and with credit and efficiency since January 4, 1911. He had been in California a number of years before he completed the naturalization process and attained American citizenship. On March 4, 1904, Judge Bledsoe administered the oath of allegiance. Judge George E. Otis and Robert McGinnis being his sponsors.

On August 18, 1891, Mr. McIver married Miss Ruth Amy Rhodes, of Smith Center, Kansas, daughter of a prosperous farmer in that state. They are the parents of three children: Paul George; Ruth Amy, who was born at Redlands November 12, 1902, and is now a senior in the Redlands High School; and Robert Rhodes, born January 7, 1914, at Redlands.

Paul George McIver, who was born at Napa, California, January 26, 1895, graduated from the Redlands High School in 1912, from the law school of the University of Southern California June 7, 1917, and for a time was claim adjuster for the Maryland Casualty Company. In 1918 he entered the army, being trained as a machine gunner at San Diego, later was transferred to Camp Hancock, Georgia, where he was trained as a machine gun officer and commissioned second lieutenant. He was placed on the reserve list. He is now assistant district attorney at Phoenix, Arizona. December 29, 1920, he married Miss Ruth Amy Switzer, of Napa, California.

 

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