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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
of
San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

DANIEL BREWER MILLIKEN. The faith and optimism of a pioneer was the distinctive quality in the character of the late Daniel Brewer Milliken, whose enterprise opened up a great and new source of wealth for the famous Cucamonga District of Southern California. He was a pioneer Californian, running back almost to the days of 49, and had all the ruggedness and dauntless spirit of the real argonauts, though he had very little success in gold mining and his prosperity was due to more permanent lines of industry.

He was a native of Maine, born in the town of Brewer, November 26, 1829, son of Daniel W. and Rebecca (Smith) Milliken, also natives of Maine. His father was a sailor, followed the sea all his life, and for many years was a skilled pilot in the Penobscot Bay and River.

Daniel Brewer Milliken was on the sea almost from childhood, making many trips with his father and as a regular seaman. He went once to Cuba; also was on many coasting voyages along New England. In the fall of 1851 he left Boston, going to the Isthmus, and thence north by boat which reached San Francisco in June, 1852. His first location was in Mendocino County, where he engaged in lumbering, prospecting and contracting. While there he developed an extensive lumber industry, and this brought him his first real capital. In 1876 he removed to San Jose and vicinity of San Francisco for the purpose of making his permanent home there. Then for several years he participated in the mining industry, but without important financial success.

It was in 1883 that Daniel B. Milliken came to the Cucamonga District of Southern California, and in partnership with George D. Havens purchased 520 acres of wild desert land. They were men of capital, vision and determination, but they set the land to grapes, chiefly wine grapes, without providing irrigation. Their effort was scoffed at and they were almost openly called fools for putting the cuttings into the dry sand, inviting disaster. But the prophecies failed of grim realization, and, as a matter of fact, the plantation outlived its planter and returned a tremendous measure of profit, the example thus set encouraging a widespread development of this section to vineyards. Subsequently the land was divided and half of its is still the Milliken estate.

Daniel Brewer Milliken died in 1912. In 1856 he married Miss Charlotte Smith, daughter of Thomas Smith, a lumberman. She was born at Surrey in Hancock County, Maine, and died January 2, 1899, at the age of sixty-three. To this marriage were born three sons and one daughter. The oldest was Newell S. Milliken. The second, Reuben Morton, died in 1905, and his only son passed away in 1910. The two younger children are Richard R. and Ashie Mae, both unmarried and now living in England.

Daniel Brewer Milliken had a capital of about eleven thousand dollars which he invested in the new and untried experiment of grape planting in Cucamonga, and this capital was increased many fold by his investments, and the vineyard has paid astounding dividends in subsequent years.

Newell S. Milliken was born in Surrey, Maine, August 11, 1857, and died August 16, 1919. He was well educated in Mendocino County, in the San Jose High School, and became an expert assayer. He followed mining in Idaho and other western states, and for a time was a full fledged cowboy working on the ranges. In 1886 he joined his father at Cucamonga, and thereafter was closely associated with the vineyard industry, and at his father's death in 1912 he took full charge. He acquired forty-two acres adjoining the original estate, and developed that wild land to vineyard, also building a home there and another modern residence in Fairmont. Newell S. Milliken was a stanch republican and for a number of years a member of the Central Committee, served as deputy assessor fourteen years and for eighteen years was postmaster of North Cucamonga. His was a strong and upright character, and the work he did and the influence he exercised made his death a source of inestimable loss to the community where he had lived so many years.

On August 11, 1891, he married Miss Kate Sempel, who was born in Traverse-de-Sioux, Minnesota, October 11, 1864, daughter of Frederic August and Anna Barbara (Herkelrath) Sempel. She was one of eight children, and had come to California and was a teacher in the public schools of Cucamonga before her marriage. Mrs. Milliken is now guardian of the estate, and with her older daughter has demonstrated the abilities of a thoroughly successful business woman in handling the complex details of the industry.

Her oldest child is Ruth E. Milliken, who was born June 5, 1892, and is thoroughly well educated, being A. B. graduate of Pomona College, and had two years of post-graduate work in the State University at Berkeley. For two years she was principal of the Fort Bragg High School, but at the death of her father gave up her school work and has since been active in superintending the three hundred acre vineyard and handling the many harassing details of business administration in difficult times and under abnormal conditions. The second child, Mildred A. Milliken, was born January 23, 1900, graduated A. B. from Pomona College in June, 1921, and is now continuing her study of music in Pomona College Conservatory, being proficient as a pipe organist and pianist. The only son is Daniel B. Milliken, born May 12, 1904, and now a senior in the high school at Claremont.

 

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