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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
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San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

HARRY H. MILLER, who has been a resident of California since 1884 and who has become one of the very successful orange growers of the Fontana district in San Bernardino County, has here proved himself a man of thorough as well as resourceful action, for he encountered many obstacles in the earlier period of his enterprise as an orange grower, was not to be deflected from his course and eventually achieved distinctive success and reputation in his chosen sphere of effort. His orange grove, one of the best in this colony, is situated on Palmetto Avenue, one-fourth of a mile south of Foothill Boulevard, on Block No. 528, Fontana being his postoffice address. Mr. Miller was born in the State of Iowa, near Burlington, September 11, 1856, and this date indicates with significant emphasis that his parents were numbered among the early pioneer settlers of that commonwealth, both having been born in Pennsylvania, and the father, Barnett Miller, having reclaimed and developed one of the productive pioneer farms of the Hawkeye State. Of the family of four children the subject of this review was the second in order of birth, and he was reared under the conditions and influences that marked the pioneer days in Iowa, his early education having been effectively supplemented by the careful reading and study, which have made him a man of broad information and mature judgment. He continued his active association with farm enterprise in Iowa until 1884, in March of which year he arrived in Merced County, California. For several years thereafter he was employed on large grain ranches, and in 1891 he came to Fontana and purchased ten acres of land on Palmetto Avenue. The representatives of the Semi-Tropic Land & Water Company tried to persuade him to buy twenty acres, but he refused to purchase more land than he could pay for at the time. By paying cash he bought the ten acres and a supposed water right for ninety dollars an acre, a ten percent reduction from the price he would have paid with deferred payments. The water right proved valueless, and later he purchased water shares from the Fontana Company, which succeeded the corporation previously mentioned. With characteristic energy Mr. Miller cleared the brush from his land, which he planted to raisin grapes. About two years later, however, in 1893, he set the tract to oranges, and when his water right failed he hauled domestic water from Rialto for two years in order to preserve his trees from destruction. He did all manner of incidental work to meet expenses, never wavering in his determination to develop his orange grove to successful productiveness, and he thus persevered at a time when many of his neighbor's abandoned the field in utter discouragement. His reward is evident i|i his ownership of one of the best orange groves of this district, and the passing years have brought to him substantial prosperity, the while he has had the satisfaction of contributing his quota to both the industrial and civic advancement of this now favored section of San Bernardino County. He has about fifty hives of bees and makes the apiary department of his business likewise distinctly profitable. Mr. Miller has won success entirely through his own ability and efforts, and takes constant delight in the study of the best literature pertaining to the citrus industry, with the result that he has applied the most approved scientific methods in the development and care of his fine orange grove. He is a stalwart republican in politics, is affiliated with the Rialto Camp of the Knights of the Maccabees and is one of the popular bachelors of San Bernardino County. He served six years on the School Board.

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