California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
GEORGE WASHINGTON SMITH of Wineville has individually owned some properties in Southern California, but the chief claim to considering him in this publication rests upon his demonstrated abilities in constructive lines of achievement and the efficient superintendence and management of large agricultural and horticultural enterprises. He is now superintendent of the Stearns & Sons ranch at Wineville, where he resides.
Mr. Smith was born in Platte County, Missouri, near Kansas City July 4, 1871,. son of George B. and Jane R. (Cole) Smith, natives of Indiana. He was one of ten children, three of whom died in infancy and one in childhood. The other six are all living in California. Ida L. is Mrs. L. S. Wilson of West Riverside; Alice L. is Mrs. B. R. Smith of Pomona; Mrs. Kate E. Foster lives at Arlington; Mrs. Lizzie P. Wilson is a resident of Guasti; and J. L. Smith lives at Riverside and married a daughter of the pioneer Daly family, their marriage being celebrated in the old adobe at Rubidoux.
George B. Smith was a blacksmith by trade and arrived in California on Christmas Day of 1878 with his family. He settled in West Riverside but three years later bought twelve acres of land from Mrs. Anna B. Cunningham and improved this, finally sealing it in 1907 to George W. Smith, a son, who continued it^ improvement and development, planting it to alfalfa and fruit and building on it a modern home. In 1910 George W. Smith sold this property to the Portland Cement Company, whose plant was on adjoining ground. George B. Smith died in 1909, having survived his wife several years.
George Washington Smith has lived in California since he was seven years of age and he acquired his. education in this State. After selling his property in 1910 he did dry farming on leased land for three years. He then developed some land of his own, and also took part in the construction work on the new canal at West Riverside from the cement plant to Pedley. He became interested in the business of preparing adjacent ground for the planting of orchards. The excavation was done by contract and the planting of trees by day labor. After selling his own land Mr. Smith took a vacation, traveling all over the northwestern part of the United States looking for a suitable location, but in 1911 he returned to California and became general superintendent for the Fontana Company, handling the big job of planting a thousand acres to citrus fruits. He remained with the Fontana Company six and a half years, and during that time he developed five thousand acres. He also improved ten acres of his own and built his home on Cypress Avenue on the west side of the Fontana tract. This private property he disposed of for Los Angeles income property and then came to Wineville and accepted a position with the Charles Steams & Sons as general superintendent of their ranch. He has the entire responsibility of two thousand acres. He has been with Steams & Sons since January 1, 1919. When the prohibition law became effective Steams & Sons proceeded to destroy their vineyard of wine grapes, and Mr. Smith had to superintendent this great task. He removed the vines at the rate of 160 acres in eight days, destroying 800 acres of vineyard and replanting it during the first season with 12,000 apricots and 73,000 peach trees. At the present time the Stearns ranch comprises 800 acres of vineyard, 800 acres of apricots and peaches, while the rest of the 2,000 acres tract is in farm land. It is stocked with 400 head of hogs. There is a modern cannery covering two and a half acres and every part of the equipment is thoroughly modem. Mr. Smith was selected as manager of this big property because of his demonstrated record of efficiency and capability in the handling of large affairs and as a capable executive of men.
In 1896 Mr. Smith married Addie Suits, who was born in Indiana in 1872 and was reared and educated in that state. She was of Holland ancestry. Mrs. Smith died at Fontana in the fall of 1914. In May, 1916, Mr. Smith married Mrs. Nannie B. Levett of Los Angeles, whose maiden name was Nannie B. Stewart. She lived during her early childhood at Fort Scott, Kansas. Mr. Smith is a republican. He is a thorough Californian, in love with the country and its people and its opportunities. As a youth he was fond of riding over the ranges and frequently he joined a party of young people who went on horseback from West Riverside to Rincon, a distance of sixteen miles, and then danced until daylight.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011