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THE ERNEST (JOHNSON) AND OLIVE (LAUFELD) STORY PART 2by Olive Laufield Johnson,
Ernest became so interested in the Garden that Mrs. Bryant made him the administrator. To help classify plants he used Jepson' Manual and later Dr. Munz book “Flora of California”.
Several people asked me what college he attended and graduated from. He was self-educated and was interested (and knowledgeable) in many different subjects: history, geography, philosophy and business.
Ernest belonged to the Elks club in Anaheim for quite a few years. Later on he became a charter member of the Placentia Rotary Club. He was president for one year.
When Dr. Howell left the Garden, Dr. Carl Wolf, botanist came to the Ranch. Mrs. Bryant built a lovely home for him, near hers and the administration building where plants were kept in a herbarium. Meetings were held in the Herbarium where botanist and visitors could see the native plants.
Following Dr. Wolf, the next Botanist for the Garden was Dr. Philip Munz. He has written many books on California Flora. A terrible tragedy happened in 1946. Susanna Bixby Bryant lost her life in an airplane crash. In 20 years the Garden had become renowned for its work on California Flora. The trustees decided to move the Gardens to Claremont. It is now connected to Claremont College and is endowed by Mrs. Bryant.
I was sad when it was moved because it was close and endeared by Ernest and all the family. We changed our minds when we saw how beautifully it was developed and it is more accessible to students and the public.
Ernest was always very generous. He brought his Mother and Father from Kansas and helped his 3 brothers and 4 sisters. It was not too difficult for we had two salaries. We had free living in a beautiful ranch house. No light, fuel or water bills to pay and much good food like milk, oranges, lemons, walnuts and vegetables from the ranch garden. Also we had fish from the river and a deer now and then and rabbits from the hills.
When we were married we had no property, just each other. Property was not as high per acre in the twenties and thirties. We bought ten acres on Kramer Street in Placentia for $600.00 per acre and later sold it for much more.
Ernest loved working there and had a beautiful orchard of oranges. Here are two little incidents: One day he helped a mama skunk get her babies out of an irrigation ditch. Another time when granddaughter Susie was little and staying with us at Yorba Linda, he hurried home to get her and took her back to the orchard to show her a little baby bunny sitting and hiding under a leaf where its mama had hidden her from possible enemies.
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