California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
CHARLES YOST was youth of fifteen years at the time of the family removal to California, and his experience has touched much of pioneer activity in the southern part of the state. He is now giving his attention to the management and further development of one of the fine fruit ranches of the Coachella Valley, and has proved one of the resourceful and progressive citizens identified with the civic and industrial advancement of Riverside County. His attractive home is situated some miles distant from Thermal, on rural mail route A.
Mr. Yost was born at Elden, Iowa, on the 4th of September, 1859, a date that indicates clearly that his parents were numbered among the pioneers of the Hawkeye State. He is a son of Isaac N. and Nettie (Hicks) Yost, both of whom were born and reared in Indiana. Isaac N. Yost became not only a pioneer exponent of farm industry in Iowa, but also found there much requisition for his services as a blacksmith, he being a skilled workman at the trade. In 1874 he came with his family to California and established his residence at Santa Ana, Orange County, where he engaged in the work of his trade and where he remained until his death, on the 5th of November, 1881. He was one of the honored citizens of that community, and after his death his widow continued to maintain her home at Santa Ana until she too passed away, on the 27th of December, 1920, she having been one of the revered pioneer women of Orange County.
Charles Yost gained his youthful education in the public schools of Iowa and California, and by practical apprenticeship in his father's shop he became an expert workman at the trades of blacksmithing and wagon-making. He assumed charge of the shop at Santa Ana at the time of his father's death, and he continued his active connection with the blacksmith and wagon-making business at Santa Ana until 1900, save for a period of one year passed in the northern jjart of the state. He found employment in the shop of L. Sherrard at Redlands, San Bernardino County, and about one year later he there formed a partnership with George M. Smallwood and established a blacksmith shop and wagon works at the corner of Fifth Street and Central Avenue, where they purchased land and erected a building for their use in the year 1901. The firm built up a substantial and prosperous business, and the partnership alliance continued until 1906, when Mr. Yost sold his interest to his partner, but in the following year he repurchased his former interest in the enterprise. In 1906 Mr. Yost purchased eighty acres of unimproved desert land in the Coachella Valley, Riverside County, and here he has developed the requisite irrigation facilities and effected the improvement of forty acres of the tract, which he is making the stage of vigorous and successful industry in the raising of date palms and other fruits, besides which he finds ready demand for the excellent vegetables which he raises according to the best standards of propagation. He is developing one of the many model places of the kind in the Coachella Valley, and is known as one of the most loyal and progressive citizens of this attractive section of the state. He continued to hold his interests in the blacksmith and wagon shop at Redlands until 1915, when he sold the same.
Mr. Yost recalls that when as a boy he passed through the district of which Redlands is now the center the site of that city was marked only by the presence of herds of cattle and sheep, this being in 1874, the year of the arrival of the Yost family in Southern California. There were no railroads in this vicinity except a line from Los Angeles to San Pedro, and for other railway facilities it was necessary to go to San Francisco. The family came by boat to San Pedro and thence proceeded by team and wagon to the destination at Santa Ana. Mr. Yost had the distinction of producing the first wagons manufactured in Southern California, and he remembers that when the first "Old Hickory" wagon was shipped into this part of the state it became his privilege to describe to the purchaser the changes that must be made in the vehicle to make it available for practical service in this country. Schools were few and primitive, and conditions were in general those of a pioneer section. He recalls the hanging of a renegade horse thief near Santa Ana. The vigilantes who captured the man ran two wagons together, with the wagon-tongues raised and fastened together, and thus was improvised the scaffold on which the renegade paid the penalty of his numerous malfactions. On another occasion the "committee" broke down the door of the Yost Shop, took a sledge-hammer and with the same proceeded to demolish the door to the jail at Santa Ana, the object being to take therefrom a Mexican who had murdered Charles McKelvey, superintendent of the Modjeska ranch, the Mexican's enmity having been incurred because through the instrumentality of his victim he had been compelled to pay a poll tax of two dollars. The lynch law worked its force in this instance, and the Mexican was hanged. In the 70s horse stealing was of frequent occurrence through this section of the state, but after 1880 the vigilance committees, with their generous use of rope, made the game a very unpopular pastime. In the early days the father of Mr. Yost was identified with gold-mining activities in Amador County, and the work of the vigilance committee in that section was vigorous and effective, doing away with the theft of gold from the unlocked cabins of the miners and making drastic methods supply the place of regularly constituted law proceedings, which were not available in the unorganized and isloated communities. In his personal career Mr. Yost has demonstrated the enduring value of earnest and honest and loyal communal spirit. He has reared and educated his fine family of children, has provided well for his family, has kept pace with the march of development and progress and has won a competency sufficient to sustain him well as the shadows of his life begin to lengthen from the golden west. He takes pride in having done his part in the transforming of a new and unproductive district into one of the garden spots of the great State of California.
November 24, 1883, recorded the marriage of Mr. Yost and Miss Jane Phillips, of Downey, Los Angeles County, her parents having come from Missouri to California in an early day and her father having become a prosperous farmer in Los Angeles County. Of the six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Yost four are living: Laurel J., who was born January 16, 1885, is the wife of P. E. Hicks, who is a civil engineer, their home being on Stillman Street, Redlands. They have two children, a son and a daughter. Kathryn F., who was born December 5, 1887, is the wife of Frederick Orth, a successful orange grower in San Bernardino County. Mr. and Mrs. Orth reside on Alabama Street, Redlands, and their attractive home is brightened by the presence of three fine sons. Beatrice is Mrs. Huckaby and resides on Wossh Street in the City of Redlands, her birth having occurred on the 9th of May, 1890. Leland J., born February 5, 1898, is identified with fruit growing enterprise in the Coachella Valley. He married Miss Crystal Sayer, of Tulare County.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011