California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
MRS. MILDRED B. PIERCE — What is at once one of the most beautiful and most historic homesteads in San Bernardino County is the Crafts place, which on April 11, 1921, passed by purchase to Mrs. Mildred B. Pierce. Mrs. Pierce appreciates not only the wonderful charm of this home, but also its historic relationship with the community of Crafton.
The founder of the homestead and also the founder of the village of Crafton was M. H. Crafts, a New Englander. later a successful business man of Michigan who came to California in 1861 and bought four hundred and fifty acres at what is now Crafton, then known as the Altoona neighborhood. Later he increased his holdings to eighteen hundred acres, and in 1886, from a portion of this, he platted the town of Crafton and was busily engaged in carrying out plans for its development when he died in September, 1886. He set out the second orange grove in San Bernardino Valley, in 1870.
Mrs. Pierce, present owner of the homestead, is the widow of the late J. E. Pierce, of Massachusetts. Mrs. Pierce is of Southern ancestry, her father's father and mother and her mother's father and mother being Virginians. Much of her own life has been spent in the South.
Her only child and joint owner in the Crafton property is Colonel Junnius Pierce, a distinguished army officer who for fourteen years wa^ in the service of the Regular Army. He was through the Great war, going overseas in October, 1917, and returning in December, 1920. He was adjutant to Major General John Biddle, chief of all the American Forces in England, and when General Biddle returned to the United States Colonel Pierce was appointed to perform his duties and later was made chief in England of the United States Liquidation Commission. He was performing his duties with that commission until he resigned to associate himself with a British Syndicate, handling its affairs in America. Colonel Pierce was awarded the distinguished service medal by his own Government. Also by the order of King George he was made companion of the Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, the investiture taking place at Whitehall, Field Marshal' Haig placing the decoration.
At San Francisco in 1913 Colonel Pierce married Barbara J. Small, daughter of the late Henry J. Small, who was a prominent official of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company for more than a quarter of a century. Colonel and Mrs. Pierce have a daughter, Mildred Barbara Pierce.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011