California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
MORTON EVEREL POST — has been in the most significant sense a founder and builder, and the splendid achievement that has been his in connection with the development and civic and material progress of Southern California marks him as a courageous and sagacious leader in thought and action. In offering a review, necessarily brief, of his career in California no better conception of his work can be given than by offering quotations from an appreciative article that appeared in the Los Angeles Daily Times of January 1, 1915. In this reproduction minor paraphrase and no little elimination must be indulged to bring the matter within the compass of a publication of this nature :
"Among the untiring, strenuous men whose fertile minds have blazed pathways to success and supplemented the tales of the Arabian Nights with real performances, none can show a brighter record than Morton Everel Post, a giant factor in the Southland's growth. His admirable achievements here are identical with the progress of the Mission Vineyard, a veritable garden of green, yielding vines planted on the level, rich ground where the patient padres began grape culture many a year ago. Mr. Post came to Cucamonga (San Bernardino County) in 1895, and his keen perception and foresight soon grasped the unequaled advantages that obtained here, and his energy, business ability and faith in the undertaking to which he set his head and hands are responsible for the existence of the vast vineyard and model winery. More than 1,000 acres of grape-producing soil are embrace^ in the enterprise, and the winery contains the most economical and sanitary equipment the world affords. More than $150,000 annually is added to the wealth of California by this establishment, and its scope of activity is constantly widening. Last year approximately $100,000 was paid out for labor and materials by the Mission Vineyard, all of this money going into the local marts of trade and enriching the people of this state alone, and, in bearing a heavy portion of taxes, contributed to the support of the State and Federal governments.
"The great Mission Vineyard was developed by the perseverance of one man and his chosen associate, on an earth surface that a few years ago was scoffed at and considered absolutely worthless. Sagebrush, wild, rough plants of the silent, barren places and parched dust were the offerings to man, and every foot of land reclaimed from the white plain was won by vigilant toil. That the man who has achieved a victory in the long-drawn-out battle with the desert possessed indomitable courage and a never-say-die spirit is strikingly proved by the record of his life.
"Mr. Post was born on a farm near Rochester, New York, December 25, 1840, and is a son of Morton A. and Mary (Wickware) Post, both natives of the old Empire State and both of New England ancestry. Morton A. Post was a substantial farmer in Monroe County, New York, and was ninety years of age at the time of his death, in 1895, his wife having died at the age of fifty-six years. Morton E. of this review, was the fourth in order of birth in their family of three sons and two daughters.
"After his graduation in the high school at Medina, in Orleans County, New York, Morton E. Post came West and engaged in freighting from the Missouri River to various western points. As foreman of a wagon train he made many overland journeys across the plains and mountains. He finally engaged in the same line of enterprise in an independent way, and in several years of operation he won considerable success. In the spring of 1864 Mr. Post followed the gold rush into Alder Gulch, Montana, from Denver, Colorado, and he left Alder Gulch with $75,000 in gold. This, it should be borne in mind, was in one of the most perilous parts of the plains, and the work was filled with hardships and dangers. Battles were fought with road agents and Indians, and in one encounter Mr. Post barely missed capture by a band of nearly 100 redskins, who attacked his wagon tram with fury, one of his men being killed and nine out of the thirteen being wounded. Late in 1866 Mr. Post opened a forwarding house in North Platte. Nebraska, then the terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1867 he joined the rush to Wyoming, where he became a pioneer in the stock-raising industry and also a leading merchant. Prior to 1888 his fortune was estimated at more than $1,000,000. In that year a storm destroyed nearly fifteen million dollars' worth of property in Wyoming, and the catastrophe hit no one harder than it did Mr. Post, all of whose property was lost in the overwhelming crash. After passing a year in a tour of Europe he engaged in mining in Utah, where he met with varying success until he came to California and acquired the property which stands to-day as a monument to his genius.
“For more than twelve years Mr. Post was a power in democratic politics in Wyoming. He served in the upper branch of the Territorial Legislature from 1878 to 1880, was elected a delegate from the territory to Congress in 1881, and he thus served until 1885, when he declined the unanimous nomination proffered by his party.
"Other sections of the Southland have lured Mr. Post, and he has extensive interests all over Southern California. Of his handling of large and important holdings, landed and industrial, it is not necessary to give details in this brief sketch. He has been identified with development and progress in many counties in this section of the state, and his interposition has invariably inured to the benefit of the various communities. He has lived close to nature's heart, and nature has rewarded him by giving him the profit of requited toil. He has been a foremost figure in the development of both the vineyard and citrus-fruit industries in Southern California, as well as of the olive industry.
"Mr. Post resides at the Jonathan Club in the City of Los Angeles, and maintains a splendid country home on Havens Avenue, in the district of the Mission Vineyard. Here his many friends are often entertained with lavish hospitality. To be his guest is an honor that always brings pleasure and interest.
"It is more than worthwhile to talk with the man who created the wonderful Mission Vineyard, a man who has never known such a word as fail. Let him tell how it feels to lose the result of years of work, how it strikes one to lose a million dollars in a night, and then let him tell how it feels to take heart again and win a fortune greater than he knew before. Such things as these give strength and fortitude to mankind."
Mr. Post disposed of his vineyard and winery interests in 1919, at an enormous advance over the price which he originally paid for the property which he developed into the wonderful Mission Vineyard. He now has a luxurious home at 722 South Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, and still holds the Jonathan Club as his favorite resort in the city. His has been a life of action and productiveness, he has done big things, and his own bigness of mind and heart has marked him as a man among men and one worthy of the confidence and good will that are uniformly accorded to him by his fellow men. By his character and achievement he has honored the great State of California, and this commonwealth in turn grants to him appreciation and honor.
He has been an apostle of progress in the West since his young manhood, and through him California has had much to gain and nothing to lose.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011