Yorba Linda History

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close this bookRichard M. Nixon Oral History Project
View the documentReverend Charles Ball
Interviewed by Mitch Haddad, December 22, 1969
View the documentWilliam H. Barton
Interviewed by Richard D. Curtiss, February 10, 1970
View the documentOllie O. Burdg
Interviewed by Richard Curtiss, February 16, 1970
View the documentHoyt Corbit
Interviewed by Tom Peters, April 30, May 6, 10, 17, 20, 1968
View the documentHoyt Corbit
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 15, 1970
View the documentVirginia Shaw Critchfield
Interviewed by Jeff Jones, May 2 & 9, 1970
View the documentDavid W. Cromwell
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 25, 1976
View the documentDr. Buel F. Enyeart
Interviewed by Dan Hoppy, December 2, 1968
View the documentMr. and Mrs. Richard "Jack" Gauldin
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 8, 1970
View the documentYoneko Dobashi Iwatsuru
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, April 30, 1970
View the documentGeorge Kellogg & R. Fay Young
Interviewed by Daniel L. Hoppy, John Tugwell, November 14, 1968, January 8, 1969, April 26, 1972
View the documentRalph Navarro
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, June 4, 1970
View the documentCecil E. Pickering
Interviewed by Steven Guttman, June 30, 1970
View the documentMary Elizabeth Rez
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, April 21, 1970
View the documentPaul Ryan
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 15, 1970
View the documentGerald Shaw
Interviewed by Jeff Jones, June 3, 1970
View the documentRalph C. Shook Sr.
Interviewed by Richard Curtiss, February 10, 1970
View the documentMary G. Skidmore
Interviewed by Greg Brolin
View the documentFelix Stein
Interviewed by Greg Brolin, October 13, 1970
View the documentCatherine Travaglia
Interviewed by Milan Pavlovich, May 21, 1970
View the documentHerb Warren
Interviewed by Greg Brolin, October 1, 1970
View the documentMerle West
Interviewed by Robert Davis

George Kellogg & R. Fay Young

Interviewed by Daniel L. Hoppy, John Tugwell, November 14, 1968, January 8, 1969, April 26, 1972   Open this page in a new window



Yorba Linda

Community History Project


Yorba Linda's Early Years Remembered

O.H. 74a,c and O.H. 98

Edited by Dennis A. Swift

The following work consists of edited transcriptions of interviews that were conducted for the Oral History Program, sponsored by the California State University, Fullerton. The reader should realize that an oral history document is spontaneous in nature, and portrays information and impressions as recalled by the interviewee.

Scholars are welcome to utilize short excerpts from any of the transcriptions without obtaining permission as long as proper credit is given to the interviewee, the interviewer, the editor, and the University. Scholars must, however, obtain permission from California State University, Fullerton, before making more extensive use of the transcriptions and related materials. None of these materials may be duplicated or reproduced by any party without permission from the Oral History Program, California State University, Fullerton, California, 92634.

Copyright © 1989

The Oral History Program

California State University, Fullerton


Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii

Vita of George Kellogg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

George Kellogg interviewed by Daniel L. Hoppy (O.H.74a). . . . 2

George Kellogg interviewed by John Tugwell (O.H.74c) . . . . .45

Vita of R. Fay Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60

R. Fay Young interviewed by Daniel L. Hoppy (O.H.98) . . . . .61

Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98



Time travel. Traveling back through time to experience events and/or personalities. Sounds impossible you say? Well, I have done it, and you can too. You see, oral history is a type of time travel. It is a nexus of past, present, and future. Through oral history, one can read about places and events (by looking at the edited transcripts, much as you are doing now), and one can travel back to the moment of creation of the particular document by listening to the tape from which it is derived. Now you are in the present, actually listening in on a conversation between two people--a conversation that happened quite some time ago. When you have finished reading the transcript, or listening to the tape, you file it away for future reference. There it will sit, holding the past, until such time as you desire to experience it all over again--and start the process of time traveling once again.

I went through that process in compiling and editing this collection of oral histories, and the experience was a pleasant one. I know quite a bit about Yorba Linda--I should, I've lived here for all but two weeks of my nearly twenty-eight years on this planet--but I learned even more about my home town by listening to, transcribing, and editing the tapes and transcripts for this project. More than that, I experienced the actual interviews, and felt that I came to know the participants--as if I had actually been there for the interview itself! In a sense, I was there; I was eavesdropping on a conversation that happened nearly twenty years ago.

That sense of time traveling, of "eavesdropping" if you will, is one of the things that makes oral history so different from any of the other forms of "History" you might be acquainted with. It is history in the rough, with most of the blemishes intact. You have to deal with it, as is. In a sense, you become the historian, sifting through the "facts" to give form to an interpretation--your interpretation, based on your own experiences plus those of the people you have just listened to or read.

As editor of this collection of oral histories, I was not able to choose my topic, nor the experiences of the interviewers and interviewees. That was already done and I had to deal with it. Fortunately for me, the participants in these oral histories were adept to the task at hand and I only had to smooth the rough edges of what was their creation. I supervised the transcription of the untranscribed interviews; edited each of them for clarity (to make the spoken word conform somewhat to the vagaries of written form); checked on the spelling of names and places; gathered [ii] photographs to illustrate certain points; indexed the transcripts to aid in locating topics; and brought it all together into a publishable format. With all of that editorial meddling it would be a miracle if no mistakes, either in content or format, were present. If some are detected, rest assured, they are mine.

Likewise, if you find this compilation enjoyable, entertaining, and informative, be advised that I did not do it alone. Nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished alone, and on this project I again had much more help than I deserved. Heartfelt and profuse "Thank Yous!" are hereby rendered to Michael Oldenburg for help in re-typing some of the original transcripts; Kathy Frazee for help in producing the covers; the directors and staff of the Yorba Linda Library, in particular CarolAnn Tassios and Wilda Kovich, for allowing me to do this project in the first place and aid in locating photographs; the Math Department of CSUF for use of their laser printer; CSUF's Oral History Program for use of their facilities; the Associate Director of CSUFs OHP, Shirley Stephenson, for advice, aid in all aspects of production, and inspiration; and most of all to my wife, Kimmi, who transcribed most of the tapes, procured the use of a laser printer, gave pointed suggestions as to style, and gave me the love and encouragement to continue on and do my best when I felt like quitting.

Dennis A. Swift

May 1989 [iii]

Vita of George Kellogg

George Kellogg was born in the Dakota Territory, in 1888. After witnessing the formation of the states of North and South Dakota (his father was a member of the group that helped draw up one of the state's constitutions), young George made the trek west and ended up in Santa Ana in 1897. After moving to the Antelope Valley to work on a ranch with his father, George moved to Los Angeles in 1902 to attend Los Angeles High School (then located on Fort Hill). He graduated with the class of 1906, and after working for the city of Los Angeles for a few years, bought the land that he lived on and loved in Yorba Linda in 1914.

He somehow managed to plant his land with lemons, oranges, and avocados, cultivate and nurture his crops, and serve ten years with the California National Guard, culminating in 1917 when he joined the U. S. Army. After serving in Europe for three years, George was finally able to devote most of his time to farming his land in Yorba Linda.

From 1920 to 1977 when he died, George Kellogg lived in Yorba Linda, raised a family, nurtured his beloved orchards, was an enthusiastic booster of the community, and served on countless committees, boards, and associations. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, past president and member of the Orange County Farm Bureau Federation, member of the Yorba Linda Water Company Board of Directors, member of the American Legion, and secretary of the Imperial Highway Association for over forty-five years.

He was well known and well liked, and was truly one of Yorba Linda's finest pioneers and boosters. He was here when Yorba Linda was first settled, and he was here when Yorba Linda became incorporated in 1967. Still farming that same piece of land he bought when he first moved here in 1914, George Kellogg passed away in September, 1977. [1]



Yorba Linda Community History Project


INTERVIEWER: Daniel L. Hoppy

SUBJECT: Remembrances of Yorba Linda's Early Years

DATE: November 14, 1968; January 8, 1969

H: This is an interview by Dan Hoppy of Mr. George Kellogg on November 14, 1968. I am here at his home which is located at 5932 Orchard Drive in Yorba Linda. Right now we are sitting in his living room and the time is about 10:25 am.

Mr. Kellogg could we possibly start with where you were born?

K: I was born, believe it or not, in Dakota Territory. Now if you are good at history you will know all about that. My father was a member of the group that drew up the constitution for the state of Dakota. At that time it consisted of what is now North Dakota, South Dakota and a portion of Montana, and they had a very great debate in regards to whether or not they should be "wet" or "dry" [alcohol sales permitted or prohibited]. The people in North Dakota wanted it to be dry because when they get out into a blizzard they have got to have their wits about them or they do not get home. The people in South Dakota wanted it wet. My father told me that we quarreled over that for a few days and finally one morning a fellow got up out of a school desk (the meeting was being held in a school house), and he climbed out of the desk and said, "Gentlemen, I have got a compromise. The people down here want a wet portion and the people up north want it dry--now let's split the territory completely into two and we will have North Dakota and South Dakota. South Dakota can be wet and North Dakota can be dry." Dad said they all jumped up and hollered and [2] clapped their hands and said that was a good compromise. That is the way it went through. Now up until the time I was nine years old, I had only seen two drunken men in my life, but when we came west into Montana every other house was a saloon and I saw lots of them there.

H: What year was this now?

K: I came to California in 1897

H: What area did you come to?

K: Well I came through Los Angeles, but I had a sister who was married and living here in Santa Ana. So we came down to Santa Ana and stopped with her. Then we went back up to Antelope Valley up near Palmdale and Lancaster. I lived up there from 1897 to 1902 when I came down to go to high school in Los Angeles. I worked up there--my father had a big ranch up there and my brother ran it. My father had been a carpenter all of his life so he went down to Los Angeles and went into the building of houses. So, in 1902 I came down and stopped with him in the old Southern Hotel which is right opposite where the City Hall is now on North Main Street. I went to high school up on the hill. Los Angeles high school was up on Fort Hill. I went to high school there from 1902 to 1906, graduating from the class of Summer 1906.

H: Then you lived in Los Angeles right at this time.

K: I lived in Los Angeles from about that time up to the time I came out here to Yorba Linda in 1914. I went to work first for a highway construction engineer, and later I went to work with the city of Los Angeles. I worked with the city assessor, the city clerk, and the city tax collector. At various times it was a swing job that did not last the whole year through. I had the opportunity to do a little night work, as well as day work. I had to, in order to keep everything going. From 1908, when I went to work for the city, to 1917 I worked on and off with them, even though I bought the ranch out here in 1914. First, I took a vacation from City Hall and worked out here to plant the orchard.

H: This is the ranch right here? [3]

K: This is the ranch right here--it is the only place I have had. In 1917 I had ten years experience in the National Guard and went down on the Mexican border two different times, 1914 and 1916. I was discharged from the National Guard as a color sergeant of the Seventh Division up in the California Infantry.

When World War One broke out in April 1917, I figured that it was going to last quite awhile, because the Germans had a pretty good reputation at that time. So, I made an application in August of 1917 after I had got this place planted to oranges in the bottom as well as lemons on top. I went into Los Angeles and applied for an Officers Training Camp. I attended the second Officers Training Camp and was commissioned to first lieutenant of infantry in November of 1917. From November 1917 to January 1920 I was in the regular army. At that time the place was not paying any--there were no returns coming in from the place. I had a captain's pay at that time. That was better than I could make anywhere else so I stayed right with it for three years. Then I came out here in 1920 and went to work for the Union Oil Company. So I went to work for them and worked for them for nine years. In the meantime, of course, I kept up the ranch.

Now the orchard industry nowadays is not anything more than avocados. I became interested in avocados in 1917 and just before I went into the Officers Training Camp I planted 100 avocado seedlings out here on the second hill over, just to the north and a little bit to the west where we are at the present time. That was my first planting of avocado seedlings and I did not seem them again until three years later. Incidently, I pay tribute to my neighbors because while I was gone three years and three months in World War One, my neighbors took care of my place for me just as if I had been there--just as if I had taken care of it myself. That is what I consider wonderful neighbors.

H: Where did you purchase your seedlings and what type of seedlings were they?

K: They were seedling trees in paper pots about six to eight inches high. If I remember rightly, I paid ten cents apiece for those seedlings. Now, if you are interested in avocados are you familiar with the difference between a seedling and a budded or grafted tree? Do you know the biological difference between the two?

H: Well, one is a hybrid, is that correct? [4]

K: That is it. The seedling is a hybrid. It is the result of the cross-pollination by bees or other insects that cause cross-pollination of a female pollen with a male pollen. Therefore, the resulting seed that comes from that pollination is not entirely like either the parent tree or where the other pollen came from. You cannot tell until after the tree begins to bear what the fruits are going to be like. Shall I describe something of the history of the Fuerte--because the Fuerte is one of the avocados that is uppermost in all plantings at the present time? Now let's explain first the difference between a bud and a graft. Are you familiar with that?

H: The bud could be a small tree, right?

K: No. The bud you take where the leaf comes out from the tree and take the leaf off and right under the edge of the leaf you will find a little bit of a bud which will grow. Now you take a good sharp knife and you cut about a half inch below the bud and cut into the bark so that the incision is about and inch long and it encloses the bud. Where the leaf was cut off there is just a little stem coming out. Then you take that and insert it under the bark of a seedling, or any avocado tree. You insert it under the bark where there is a "T" incision or into an inverted "T," which is the opposite. Slip it under there, shove it up, and then take it and tie it up first with rubber--rubber is the best because you have to allow for expansion. If you tie it with string then you have to change that string every few days. When that grows out you cut off the rest of the seedling branch and what grows is a portion of the original tree that you cut.

Every Fuerte avocado in Southern California, and we have millions of them, every one of them is a part, if you please, of the original tree which was a Mexican one that was down about 120 miles south and east of Mexico City. I have visited that old tree twice, once when it was still alive, and again after it had died. At the present time it is a Mexican monument. It is a national monument of Mexico because we went down there in 1938 and placed a copper plaque upon that tree, and when it died they cut it off to see how old it was. We could guess that it was somewhere near 60 years old. But it was a seedling and they counted the rings in the stump of that tree. Then the Mexican government made them nail the tree back onto the original stump. When I visited it that last time, which was in 1948, it was standing there as a dead tree but the plaque was at the base of it. Every one of [5] the millions of Fuerte trees growing in Southern California and elsewhere are all from the same tree.

H: Can you tell me the story of how these buds or seedlings were brought up from Mexico?

K: Yes, I think I have just about as good an opportunity to describe that as anybody has that is still alive. To begin with, Mr. John T. Whedon purchased five acres of land in Yorba Linda around 1912. At that time he had a home on West Pico Street in Los Angeles. He disposed of some pigs and took the money from the sale of the pigs because he had learned something about avocados, although I do not know if he had ever tasted any by that time. He went up to Altadena to the West India Gardens which were run by the Father of the two Popenoe boys. Senior Popenoe in Altadena and the West India Gardens had made agreements to purchase a certain number of trees--which were the old type of trees that we had in California at that time. That was before the Fuerte was even known or had been brought out. He said he would be back for them about February or March of 1913. When he came back in February, 1913, Mr. Popenoe told him "We cannot give you the trees you ordered because we had some very cold weather the first fews weeks of January and the trees you ordered were frozen. We have a tree here that we are perfectly willing to substitute, which because it withstood the frost we have named the Fuerte which means 'hardy'." Old man Whedon said no, he did not want that, he wanted the trees he paid for. They said they were awfully sorry but they could not give him the trees. He said, "Well then, give me my money back." Mr. Popenoe said, "We are sorry about that, but we lost about 100,000 dollars in the freeze and we are not in the position to give you your money back, but we are willing to give you something that is just as good as, or even better than, what you ordered."

The old man had a white horse and a string wagon and he loaded 40 trees in the back of the wagon--he told me this one night when he was down here at the Yorba Linda Masonic Temple, where they presented him with a 50 year certificate of membership in the Masonic Order. I was the one who know him best and was invited to introduce him to the group. As we sat up on the platform before the ceremony started he told me, "You know, I drove that old white horse home and whacked him all the way, and cussed at him [Popenoe] because he would not give me the trees I wanted, but the Fuerte has done pretty well for me." At that time he was about 80 years old. [6]

H: What year was this?

K: That was about 1925 or 1926. He said, "You know, after it got advertised I sold as much as 6,000 dollars a year with the buds off those trees." He had orders from hotels in San Francisco and Los Angeles for all the Fuertes he could send them at twelve dollars a dozen.

H: Now where did you purchase your seedlings? Did you purchase your seedlings from Mr. Whedon?

K: I purchased my seedlings, as I told you, in about July or August of 1917, and I planted them over here on this hillside.

H: Now were these from Mr. Whedon?

K: No, I cannot tell you where I got them from. I got them from somebody who had an avocado nursery at that time, because the seedlings were pretty near everything they carried. They had not even begun to be familiar with the Fuerte at that time. That was not until I came back in 1920 or 1921. By that time, only a portion of those seedlings were still alive, but over there on the hill they did pretty well. The fact that I had not been here for three years and three months probably had something to do with that. So then I hired a person to come and bud them for me. That was my first experience and he budded them into the Fuerte.

As far as that is concerned, from 1920 through 1923 and into 1924, I was so interested in avocados that I took all of the avocado seeds that I could find and planted a seed between each one of the lemon trees on top of this hill. In fact, later on I planted them on the hillside and everywhere else. Now those particular seeds were at somewhat of a disadvantage, because when I planted my lemons I knew that I had a very tough clay subsoil down beneath the surface that would be quite detrimental to the growth of roots of any kind because it was so dense. It would not allow the water to penetrate. With the lemons I took and drove down a hole where each lemon tree was to be planted and shot it with about half a stick of dynamite in each hole--and I shot each one! That was when I planted my lemon trees in this particular place, but when I planted the avocado seeds I did not provide any holes beneath them. Therefore, the avocados were at a disadvantage. Many of them grew all right to begin with, but then they could not penetrate that hard subsurface. Some of them still show the effects of not getting the [7] moisture that they should get, and I have quite a few dead trees in the orchard.

In addition to that, when the avocados grew, those that continued to grow shaded out the lemon trees. And, when you shade out a lemon tree, it does not grow well either. At that time, I was still working for the Union Oil Company and I had a young man in the neighborhood cultivate my orchard for me. I told him that whenever he came across a dead tree to hook on it with his tractor and drag it out and burn it up. So, it was not too long before I had all of the lemons dragged out of the orchards. Years later, I proceeded to get a bulldozer and shove out all of the dead avocado trees I had. Then I turned around and planted more lemon trees where the dead avocados were. So at the present time I have about five acres, and I have about 220 younger lemons and about the same number of avocado trees growing. They have been producing well, and if I were to do it over again I would replant with an avocado in every other row and lemons in every other row. The result would be that the avocados would have so much more room for growth that when they get big enough to shade out the lemon trees, which they would do, there would still be a double space for the avocado trees-a single space of 22 feet is not sufficient for an avocado tree.

I might tell you more about the original tree down in Atlisco [also spelled Atlixco or Altisco ], Mexico. Carl Schmidt was employed by Mr. Popenoe to look around all over Mexico for the best fruits that were in the markets. When he found a good fruit in the market he was to follow it up to where it came from and go to that tree and cut buds off that tree and then pack them in moist sawdust or wood shavings and send them up to the West India Gardens. That is what he did during 1911. Now he must have found quite a few trees, because the original signs of the Fuerte that were sent up here numbered fifteen. Of course, at that time they did not know what it would do except to know it would provide a fruit something like the tree that was down in Mexico. It was number fifteen, so he sent them up afterwards and he sent them up before; so he must have sent up a lot of cuttings to them in Altadena. They in turn planted those [buds] in their avocado seedlings about 1911.

So, this was all done by 1912 when we had the cold weather. January, 1913 was when that was. It got down to ten degrees below zero in Pomona, and Pomona at that time was practically the center of the citrus industry in Southern California. In Pomona, I had friends who [8] owned orange groves and they said that the cold weather just splits the bark right on the trees and kills the tree. Ten degrees below zero is just too cold for anything that tropical. The cold air, we have found, naturally floats down the hill--it is heavier than warm air. The result is that in places like Altadena, fairly high above Pasadena, the cool air drifted down. It did not stay there long. Well, the same thing is true for Yorba Linda. Yorba Linda is up on the foothills and when the freeze came in 1913--I had a friend of mine by the name of Mr. Rivers and he said "the reason why it did not freeze much in Yorba Linda was because we had the Santa Ana blowing all night." Well, the Santa Ana air is normally warmer than the other air, because it comes off the desert. Now there is no obstacle between here and the ocean, and there were no wind breaks at that time in Yorba Linda--they came later. Therefore, the Santa Ana pushed this cold air right on out to the ocean.

Now I came through La Habra in 1913 when I came out here. In La Habra, they have a mountain out in front [actually three sets of hills: Fullerton Hills, Sunny Hills, and Los Coyotes Hills], really a hill covered in oil wells, and there were young trees in La Habra that were nothing but white stakes. There were white stakes coming out of the ground with shrubbery growing from below, but the bud was showing that the trees had been killed by the cold weather. Now I looked around somewhat in Yorba Linda, but I did not look everywhere, and had I known enough at that time I would have looked in the canyon bottoms and might have found frozen trees, but I did not find a one. I looked around Yorba Linda and the trees were about two or three feet high and none of them were over two years old. I could not find a frozen tree.

Now it happened that I had a little two cylinder Maxwell at that time--right hand drive, two speeds forward, and one speed reverse (I wish I had it today because it would be quite a relic). I drove it all over Southern California. I had a sister who was a school teacher up in Lindsay (Lindsay is up above Fresno). When I visited her up there in the winter time one time, it was so cold that I had to stick my head out the window to see because the windshield was all frozen. Boy, I tell you, it is cold up there in that county--and they learned it that year in their citrus plantings! They have big citrus plantings, but it gets cold up in that country. So, I had traveled all the way from up there in Lindsay to the Mexican border. [9]

In 1913, when we had a big freeze, I was duck hunting down in Imperial Valley. The ice was an inch and a half to two inches thick down there. I do not care for any citrus in Imperial Valley for that reason: because I know how cold it gets down there. I went duck hunting at night, because in those days they were anxious for us to hunt at night so the ducks would not eat up all of their alfalfa--which was coming up out of the ground. I had traveled, as I said, clear to the Mexican border.

Well, one day while I was working for the city clerk in the city of Los Angeles, with some time on my hands, the newspaper at my elbow, and the telephone at my other elbow, I noticed an article in the paper that said something about "frost-free lands." I proceeded to call up that real estate man and tell him he was "just another real estate man." There was not any frosted land in Southern California! He said, "If you are from Missouri I can show you." Well, I said, "I am sure from Missouri, I have traveled all the way from Lindsay to the Mexican border, and I have not been able to find any land that is frost-free." So, in November 1913 he brought my wife and I out here to Yorba Linda and we passed through La Habra, as I told you, and there was nothing frozen in Yorba Linda. I immediately bummed up 25 dollars to hold five acres over here on reservoir hill that I thought would make a good building sight, as well as a site to raise citrus.

I was not interested in Avocados yet, just citrus, but I had learned that lemons were a little bit more tender than oranges. I wanted a place that did not freeze, and it was proven to me that it did not freeze to any great extent in Yorba Linda. However, I have been told by those who lived in Placentia that one grower said he ran water in the ditches so as to try and get the heat that is in the water to offset the cold air that was coming down through there, and he said that the water froze in the ditches around Placentia in January 1913. There was only one other time that we had it that cold in Southern California. Along about 1938 or 1939 it got to be ten degrees above zero in Glendale, but they do not raise any citrus in Glendale.

H: Where did the avocado originally come from as far as being developed in California? Did Hawaii have any part in this?

K: No, it is a native of Mexico, Central America, and South America as far as Northern Chile. Now as I understand it, the original vessels that came and discovered America traveled around the horn and went as far as the Philippines. And, in doing so, they took avocado seeds to [10] Hawaii and the South Seas. So the avocados were grown there, but they were not, as I understood it, original in those countries. They were original right here in Mexico, Central America, and South America. They are all sub-tropical trees, all of them.

H: What kind of farming or tillaging did you do?

K: Well to begin with, as I told you, I planted two tracts because you can see here that I have two hills. This main hill is about five acres and I have a hill over there about one acre. I planted the two of them with lemons on the top. It wasn't until 1917 that I planted the bottom land--there are two bottoms here and over on the other side of the hill that are good heavy soil, the best soil I have got, as far as I am concerned. I planted those bottoms with oranges in 1917 just before I went away to World War One. Also, in 1917 I terraced the hillside, and in terracing the hillside I managed to stack them so that I have a water line that went over the edge of the hill and went down into the oranges that I had planted. And from that water line each way, I formed a tripod which gave an indication of decreasing elevation because I wanted the water to flow. And so I set a stake about every 20 odd feet along the side of the hill, and about every 20 feet for the second terrace to the third terrace and to the fourth terrace. I had a team of horses at that time, and I took a horse up to the plow and I plowed a furrow where the stakes were set. The stakes were at about a two percent grade, so the water would drain. The horse had terrible time trying to keep his feet on the side of the hill. After we got the first furrow established it wasn't so hard to make the second. Then I took a three-cornered pusher with blades on both sides, in a form of a tripod, and hooked the far side of that and as fast as I would make a furrow I would pull this tripod down in and push the loose dirt over the edge of the hill. Do you get the idea?

H: Yes, I do.

K: The result was that eventually, after quite a few times, I was able to make terraces that were about six or seven feet wide and about 20 feet apart with each terrace about ten feet lower than the other. On these two hills--in fact, there were three sides, the one side on this hill over here and two sides on the other hill over there--on those terraces is where I planted oranges, when I had got them from the nursery, and between the oranges I planted the avocados the same way as I planted the avocado seedlings between the lemon trees. So, that, to a certain extent, shows cultivation. [11]

Normally, you are to cultivate with a disk-cultivator or blade-cultivator after about every second irrigation, and, before the next irrigation, go in with a tiller, which does about three or four rows between each row of trees and can run wider than that. I did irrigate once a month during the summer time. Sometimes when we had dry weather, I would have to irrigate in January two or three times. I am convinced that the avocado tree needs considerably more water than the lemon tree does, because the avocado is more of a sub-tropical than even the lemon.

H: Approximately what amount of rainfall would constitute a normal amount?

K: Well, you should have at least three inches of rainfall at a time in order to penetrate to the depth where the lower roots are. Now if you have anything less than three inches of rain you will get the top-soil wet and a portion of the roots wet, but you won't get the very bottom wet.

H: Now with your clay sub-surface, would this be considered marginal land because of this?

K: Yes, to an extent. In fact, I had one of the greatest compliments I ever had because of this. One of the original growers here in Yorba Linda who was a pretty good grower and came over here and spent some time with me in the twenties said this, and then it came back to me second-handed, he said, "Well I guess Kellogg has the most marginal piece of ground in Yorba Linda, but I guess he is making a go of it." I consider that a pretty good compliment.

H: I say by the way it looks right now, you did a fantastic job.

K: Well, I have not been dissatisfied at all, although I will admit that I am a pretty economical individual and instead of going out and spending all of my money for automobiles and things like that, I invested it, and if wasn't for that I probably would have done like alot of others did and go to the bank.

H: Now another point. The water seems to be very significant, and normally the rainfall is not sufficient to supply your trees. Where does your water come from? [12]

K: That is a story in itself. Now you are going to want a little history of Yorba Linda because there is a history behind that. Now the Janss Company of Los Angeles had something to do with this. I went through high school with Harold Janss, one of the sons of the old man, and he was in one of my classes in high school. The Janss Company were the ones who put this area on the market for the first time. This real estate salesman was working for the Janss Company when he sold me--or he tried to sell me--this piece of land out here in Yorba Linda. Now they are the ones who established the Yorba Linda Water Company and they have a pump, whether you know this or not, here in the bottom. They pump out here, below the river bed of the Santa Ana River. Now this old river has been here for millions of years, and it was filled with sand from the mountains that was washed down through here. Our wells are not very deep, I know that there are others in the oil wells--I worked with one--that are down 1,500 feet or more, and we pumped oil out of the inner tube and we pumped water out of the outer pipeline and that water was one of the best in the whole community. Boys came from all over to get water in their jugs, because it was good water. The surface water is pretty hard. So, this water is the result of the rain that fell on the San Bernardino mountains.

This Santa Ana River has quite a history. We just finished the most expensive law suit ever experienced in California by suing Colton, Riverside, and San Bernardino, and property owners in all of that county. We had several hundred of them that we had to sue in order to make them stop pumping that water, because we are supposed to have the overflow waters from the Santa Ana River like we had in the earlier days. When they went to pumping up there, we did not get this overflow anymore, and our water company down here, Orange County Water Company, has had to sue all of those water users and they just got it settled here now.

H: How long ago did they originate this suit?

K: The suit originated about twelve years ago, and it has continued on for twelve years and I don't know how many millions of dollars it has run into. If you would call the Orange County Water District they would tell you just exactly the dates and what it has cost to have this suit. And we believe it's finally settled and they have finally agreed to reduce their pumping and reduce their consumption to such an extent that we will have a certain amount of overflow down here in this basin. "Riparian water rights" is what it is called. That is what they [13] mean when somebody from the lower end of the stream is entitled to certain use of the water at the time he cited the usage, and no others have the right to come in and take the water.

I started to tell you that the Janss Company would set the wells down here in the bottom about half a mile below Atwood. They had agreed to sell this land to the purchasers in Yorba Linda and would furnish a certain amount of water, which would cost them a certain amount per year. The original growers found after a few years, this was before 1914, that the Janss Company were not only charging them the cost to produce the water, but they were also charging them for the cost of bonds that had been issued against the water company. The growers said no, we do not believe we should be charged for the bonds, because they are yours originally and we are only going to pay for the water. Well, they had the meeting down here in Yorba Linda, and the growers got together and decided they would do that and they need someone to go to the Janss Company and talk with them. One fellow spoke up and said he knew the Janss Company pretty well and he would go down and talk to them. About a year later they found out that particular fellow was an employee at the Janss Company, and when he came back and told them they did not have a case, then they thought maybe they did have a case. So it happened that they had another meeting and they decided they would bring suit against the Janss company, and they wondered who they could hire that would bring suit against the Janss Company and not sell out to them.

I have been given a little credit, and I don't know that I am entitled to that credit. I had been to San Francisco at the time of the fire with the National Guard, and a few years after the fire Mayor [Eugene E.] Schmitz and his attorney [Abe Ruef, organizer of the Union Labor party machine] were brought to chance because they had played loose and wide with certain moneys that they had received from certain interests in San Francisco, and because they hadn't done a very good job, a suit was brought against them. The committee that brought the suit knew that they couldn't hire anybody in San Francisco that might represent them fully, so they hired an attorney from down in Arizona--I am trying to think of his name and I can't remember it right now [Francis J. Heney]. Anyway, I made a suggestion to Ralph Shook at one time when they were talking about who they might get, that, if they would get a certain attorney that they got up in San Francisco to represent them, that he wouldn't sell out. Now, I understand that at that meeting, which I did not attend, this information was conveyed to them and they said where can we find this man? Well it happened that [14] he had a branch office in Pasadena and they went to this branch office. Now this particular attorney that represented San Francisco in this suit never entered into the case, but one of his associates in Pasadena did.

So the trial came up here in Santa Ana, as I remembered, in 1914. I did not go to the trial, but I remember that when it came up it was a peculiar trial, because Yorba Linda was originally settled by a group of people from Whittier [mainly Quakers or "Friends"]. Now the friends here were a very religious group of people, and when they convened the court in Santa Ana, the judge knew of the circumstance and opened up with a prayer--probably one of the worst times that ever happened, and probably one of the only times it ever happened. They went on with the court trial and by the noon recess the Janss people began to feel that maybe they were in such a position that they might be prosecuted for obtaining money under false pretense. So they came back in the afternoon and offered a substitute. They said, if you take the bonds that are outstanding at the time, we will give you the water company. So they did that, and from Yorba Linda they took over about, as best as my memory can tell me, between 60,000 to 70,000 dollars worth of bonds, and they established the water company in their own name--the Yorba Linda Water Company. Now when the depression came in 1929 and 1930, which you probably heard about before now, the records show that the Yorba Linda Water Company was run by such an economical group of Friends that we were the only water company in California that had nothing in debt--we paid off our debts. So that in itself is a little history for Yorba Linda.

H: So that is something to be very proud of.

K: So, as I say, this water situation is a situation that all of Southern California was interested in during the early days, because Orange County was actually a desert. The only time water came down through here was probably in the spring of the year, or at least an underground flow during the rest of the year.

H: Now if it wasn't for this water, the citrus and avocado industries in Orange County would have never come about would they?

K: You know, here is something that I think is interesting, and you can take it with a grain of salt if you want to. Have you ever studied the map of the State of California and noticed the difference between the [15] large counties in Southern California and the multitude of small counties in Northern California?

H: No I have not.

K: Well now, the next time you look at a California map you will find a group of counties in the central part of Northern California that are quite small. The reason for that is quite simple when you realize it. They found gold, in 1849 I think it was, up in Sacramento. There was a rush to come to California. It was not entirely due to the finding of gold up there, because the first gold of any magnitude was found in Southern California. Believe it or not, I went down to the museum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles and saw a sign that said the first gold found in California was at Sutter's Mill. I said to the party I was with that that was not the first gold found in California. The first gold found in California was in Los Angeles County. Placerita Creek was were it was, and "placerita" means placer mining. Placerita Creek, just above Newhall, was named because a certain Mexican pulled up a wild onion and he found in the roots of the wild onion, gold. So they found gold up there in the early 1840s, and they took it down and they traded it for groceries at a store in Los Angeles. The man who owned the grocery store, in turn, took 6,000 dollars worth of gold to the Philadelphia Mint in about 1842. The trouble was that the Mexicans would not tell him where they found it. They knew back east, as well as here in Southern California, that there was gold around here somewhere, but they did not know where. When it came out in the public information that gold had been found in Sutter's Creek, there was a stampede to come to California. There was a great 100,000 or more rushing to California. They could not even keep people on their ships in San Francisco, because they would abandon their ships and come to California to find gold.

Now why are there small counties up north? Because, if you were not able to leave your claim and go and file your papers, and get back before sundown, you did not have a claim the next day. That is the secret why we have a dozen or so counties up there around Sacramento, nowhere near as big as Orange County. Now the difference is that in Southern California at that time, they had only raised sheep and cattle. Now what was the objective in making these counties large? Los Angeles County at one time included Orange County, up to 1889. It also included portions of Riverside County clear out to the Colorado River--San Diego Counly ran up to the Colorado River up until just about 25 years ago. Why these big [16] counties? Because, those people who raised sheep and cattle wanted to get as far away as they could from the county assessor. That's what they wanted to do--they did not want any county assessor.

H: Going back to the Janss Company; these water wells that they drilled, these were down in Atwood just off of Orangethorpe. Did you have to pipe the water up to where you were?

K: Oh yes, they put the pipes in. They put water up here in the reservoir, right there up on the hill--which is a little bit higher than anything else in Yorba Linda. Then they put the pipes up there and ran the water everywhere.

H: These pipes were already in place when you bought this place?

K: Yes. Water was furnished with the land.

H: Now this was with all people who bought land?

K: Yes, all the land in Yorba Linda, some 3,000 acres. They all had water piped to the lots. My brother in law, H. Clay Kellogg of Santa Ana, who my oldest sister married and never changed her name, he married into Kellogg family. H. Clay Kellogg was the county engineer of Orange County when I first came here in 1897. He was the one that drew the maps and platted Yorba Linda's tracts. I did not learn that until may years after. I lived with him during the summer of 1898 in Santa Ana, and at that time he was the engineer for the Janss Company. He established this reservoir over here for the Anaheim Union Water Company. He brought me up here one day--I remember that there was some barbed wire nailed to some eucalyptus trees along a little narrow lane right down below here--after I had bought this property, where the old Yorba school is. I went down there one day and I saw this same barbed wire nailed to the same Eucalyptus trees, and I remembered it from the time he brought me up here. We have gotten away from avocados quite a bit.

H: You were tying in the point that the water is very significant. What would you consider to be the high peak of the avocado industry? Could you put a period between certain years in this area-the high points?

K: Well, I presume that it would be wisdom to say that the high point of the avocado industry was the recognition of the Fuerte avocado as [17] being of so much greater value than any other variety we had at that time--and it still is. At that, the high point was probably between 1922 and 1923, because in 1913 when Mr. Whedon brought these 40 Fuerte avocado trees and planted them here, they were the only ones. Now I understand that somebody in Anaheim purchased some of these Fuerte trees and planted them down in Anaheim, but because Anaheim did not have the location to be free from frost as the Whedon orchard had in 1922-1923, they froze down in Anaheim, but they did not freeze here at the Whedon orchard.

H: Now it is my understanding also, that some of the original Whedon avocado trees are still alive.

K: Yes they are. I was up there not too long ago. I have been quite close to that Whedon orchard because I knew Mr. Whedon, and I corresponded with Professor Hodgeson--he was a professor at UCLA for many years. I corresponded with him quite a bit trying to find the original Fuerte tree up here at the Whedon orchard. I was in error; I assumed that because of the several trees up there, that the one that was in a depression, which allowed water to drain down through it, was the original tree which probably was the first to bear and had the best avocados on it. On the other hand, Austin Marshburn, who is now in a rest home somewhere, said, "No, that is not the tree. This tree over here is where I cut buds off of it in 1918-1919." The one that I thought was the best tree died, and I could not figure that out. But one of the persons that did the cultivation on that orchard told me many years afterwards why that tree died. They let the bermuda grass grow around it, and someone started burning it one day and the tree burned up. That was the one I thought would be the one first to bear. We will assume Austin knew what he was talking about, cutting the buds off the other tree. I conveyed the wrong information to Mr. Hodgeson and I know that they did have a tin sign on it, the original Fuerte tree. There was not an original Fuerte tree, there were 40 Fuerte trees planted there.

H: How dependable are these trees yearly bearing fruit? Can you count on them?

K: Yes, but that is variable. I think it is due to the fact that they have good undersoil, and in the second place possibly more water and proper irrigation than the others. It is only natural if one of them is planted in a tough clay undersoil that does not allow the water to penetrate, it is not going to bear as well or as early or as consistently [18] as one which is in a much better situation from the standpoint of planting. Even the Fuerte will vary. Now, for instance, the San Joaquin Ranch were one of the ones that bought these buds for ten cents apiece from Mr. Whedon in the early days, and they found after awhile that their trees were not entirely similar. They took their best trees and, as I understand it, they cut off all the other trees and grafted them into seedlings from this best tree. That was an improvement, but I still think that the underground where the root system is has some value or some influence on the bearing of that tree, regardless of having the same tree as a seedling put in and growing. So I feel that the soil and irrigation is a very big influence on which trees will bear fruit better.

H: That is very interesting. How about this question: was the avocado industry in this area large enough that it required outside assistance in cropping the avocados and picking them? Or were all the farmers involved in the avocado industry capable of picking and marketing the avocados themselves?

K: I think the answer to that is that the growth was pretty slow. For instance, in Yorba Linda most of your tracts were five acres. I have one of the larger ones, which was fifteen and a half acres, originally. My neighbors took care of my property while I was gone to war in 1917-1920. The same cooperation existed through all of us older people here in Yorba Linda. We all help one another. The result was that I do not think there was any demand for hired labor of any kind.

H: So you find with the Bracero Program that existed earlier in picking, say oranges and so forth, that this was not seen in the avocado industry?

K: Not to any great extent. We do have some Mexican pickers. Most of them live right here by the tracks, or close by. They are not the same pickers that pick lemons and oranges, that is the group that comes in from Mexico ["braceros"].

H: Once you pick them, where do these avocados go if you are going to sell them? Do the farmers individually take them to markets? How are they sold throughout the United States?

K: Originally so, when we first started talking about the avocado industry, Mr. Pickering--I spoke to you about him being the one that said I had one of the most marginal pieces of land in the Yorba Linda [19] tract and yet was making a go of it--he contracted with certain produce men in the Los Angeles market, up there at Alameda and Seventh streets. He hauled in the pickers' fruit. It was not until about 1923 that we established the Avocado Association--the California Avocado Growers Association. You will find that they are in the southern part of Los Angeles. You can look up the Southern California Avocado Association and they can give you the history of the formation of that association. Now that association was formed by avocado growers who associated themselves together for a marketing unit which is still functioning. At the present time they handle about 50-60 percent of the fruit that is grown. Now, there are a number of independent marketing groups. For instance, in Yorba Linda we have the H and H Company--we have at least three in Yorba Linda and two in La Habra that are independent people.

About five years ago we organized the California Avocado Advisory Group, which was a combination of the independent growers and the CALAVO [California Avocado Growers Association] growers. Each has a number of directors on the board and the object of this association is to advertise, not to handle, but to advertise avocados. At the present time we are spending about one million to one million and a half a year advertising avocados throughout the United States. In order to pay for that advertising we had a special act of the Legislature form an avocado marketing association, which allowed the California Avocado Advisory Board to be formed, and provided them with a five percent tax rate on all the avocados that are marketed. I take my avocados down here to an independent company, and the other avocados that go into the CALAVO all have to pay five percent of whatever the gross amount is paid to the grower. That money has to be sent before it goes to the grower--it has to be deducted and sent directly to the State Agricultural Department, which in turn keeps the books and allows the Avocado Advisory Board to advertise. They hire one of the big advertising companies in the United States and they direct the advertising. We have spent something over a million dollars a year for the past five years in advertising. This last year was one of our best years. We got up in the neighborhood of 20-25 cents a pound as our share, excluding the five percent tax off the top. This does not sound like very much per pound, but if you put that into a tons basis it runs into a lot of money--especially compared to 60 and 70 and 75 and 80 dollars a ton for peaches and pears, and things like that. Get the idea? So we have been so prosperous that when the market started this year, a month and a half ago, we were getting 40 and 45 cents per pound for our avocados, but there were not many because they had not [20] come into the market yet. I got 40 cents per pound for a few--they had to be big. We had a law passed that says nothing under eight percent can be marketed. Under eight percent will give you a fairly good avocado, even as low as six percent.

H: This percent is butter fat?

K: The six percent is rather flat. Now the Fuerte runs up to 20 and 22 percent butter fat. Now let me say something about butter fat. There are a few of us who maintain, by all that is holy, that an avocado is not fattening. Every cock-eyed doctor in the country denies it. Now, I am an example; I eat more avocados than anybody in Orange County. I eat them every day and do I look as if I am fat?

H: By no means.

K: We had an experiment down at the Veteran's Hospital in Florida, in which a group of people were fed avocados every day and another group of people were not. And the findings were that there was no difference between the two groups. But the doctors will not admit it! They say that a fat is a fat, and an avocado puts fat on you. Now I maintain it is different, and I am not the only one. A vegetable fat is not an animal fat. Now an animal fat will put fat on you but a vegetable fat will do the opposite. It will actually take the animal fat away from you.

H: So, even though the avocado, specifically the Fuerte, is high in butter fats, it is not actually fattening? There are certain types of mineral oils that are like this also, and this butter fat is a form of oil. Is it that it could pass through your system without being digested?

K: Yes, it is a form of oil. It is a vegetable oil. Now the difference between the vegetable oil and animal oils is that the reaction is considerably different. We, the avocado group, maintain that avocados are not fattening. And the doctors will not admit we are right.

H: What would you estimate, or to your knowledge consider, to be the high price of avocados and the low marketing price of avocados in supermarkets? [21]

K: We have not seen the low price of avocados yet, because it is too new. The planting and so forth are somewhat expensive. Therefore, we have to get a certain return in order to make it profitable on what we have done. Now eventually there will come a time when avocados will probably be much cheaper than they are now. They might, we will probably say, compare with--if they ever do--pears and peaches and other fruits of that kind. But lord forbid, those prices will not be seen anywhere soon. Now I have marketed avocados at six cents per pound. T hat does not give you very much return when the marketing agency will put any where from ten percent to twenty-five percent into second grades, which only get four cents per pound, and when you pay three cents per pound to have them picked-that does not leave much left, although one cent per pound amounts to twenty dollars a ton. I remember prunes and pears sold for less than twenty dollars a ton.

H: Could you estimate how many pounds a year you harvest from your five acres?

K: Well, it is pretty hard to do that. As I told you, I inserted avocados between every lemon tree and then had to throw out my lemon trees and then had to throw out a certain amount of my avocado trees. Then I replanted lemon trees and replanted some avocado trees. There are at the present time, I would imagine, around fifty percent lemons and fifty percent avocados on this upper end and, as far as I am concerned, there are fifty percent lemons and fifty percent avocados on this lower end. It is awfully hard to figure out just exactly. Now I can show you my books and show you the amount of tons of avocados that I have marketed every year, but to say how much per acre is almost impossible.

H: How much per year would you say on your books--maybe five tons? Two tons?

K: Well the best way to do it is to get the book. I have entered a lot of data into this book. Do you want to go back to 1967?

H: That is fine, that is a good year. Are there different grades and grading systems for avocados, specifically the Fuerte, other than its butter fat contents, or is that the grading system?

K: Well that is rather a hard answer to give you because. . . . [22]

H: Or is there no grading?

K: Well there is a grading to a certain extent. There are the different varieties, and almost all varieties are graded beneath the Fuerte. The only one that comes anywhere near it is the Haas. It was named after a man that has a tree over there in La Habra. Now the Haas comes closest to being a marketable fruit compared to the Fuerte. I have not gone to anything else because I am sold on Fuerte and believe they are the best in the world, and, therefore, have not tried to fool around with anything else.

H: How about the Bacon?

K: The Bacon is a fairly good avocado--a very good avocado--but it has certain draw backs. For instance, I think that you will find right now that the Bacon does not have the value that the Fuerte has.

H: Do you know personally Mr. Knight?

K: Oh yes, I knew Knight very well.

H: Did you have any type of association with Mr. Hoyt Corbit?

K: Yes, yes. [after paging through his books]

Well, 31,078 is fifteen and a half tons.

H: Fifteen and a half tons for 1967. And would you say this is roughly covering two and a half acres?

K: No, more than that. I would say in the neighborhood of, at that time, about five acres. But then it is almost impossible to tell you what the acreage actually amounted to.

H: Close to five acres then. Now have you been progressing upward every year.?

K: No, last year was one of the best years.

H: Is there a fluctuation up and down?

K: Yes, and that fluctuation generally varies along with our rainfall. [23]

H: Well this has been very interesting and enlightening Mr. Kellogg, and I want to thank you for your time and hope we can get together and maybe cover more material at a later date.


[The following is a second interview with George Kellogg by Daniel L. Hoppy. It took place only a few months after the first one and is considered to be a continuation of O.H.74a]

H: This is Dan Hoppy and I am at Mr. Kellogg's home again for a second interview. It is almost 9:00 am, and we are sitting in Mr. Kellogg's living room. The date is January 8, 1969.

K: During the summer of 1913 I was working for the city clerk in the City of Los Angeles not having very much ahead of me to do. A newspaper on a desk caught my attention, and I found an advertisement for frostless citrus land. I immediately called that real estate man and said to him, "I have traveled all over Southern California and I know that there is not any place that does not freeze." He said, "If you are from Missouri, I can show you." Well, I said, "I am from Missouri." So the result was that in November 1913 he picked me and my wife up in a model T Ford and brought us out to this newly advertised tract called "Yorba Linda."

H: Excuse me, but there were roads then, besides the railroad track, that were already built out this far?

K: Oh yes. They had good roads running down through San Diego. In coming out to Yorba Linda we came out on Whittier Boulevard, from Los Angeles. We passed through La Habra. Previous to this, there was some cold weather in January 1913. Some young citrus orchards in La Habra were selling for 1,500 dollars an acre, which was an enormous price at that time. Well, two weeks after the freeze they could not sell the same property for five hundred dollars an acre, because of the fact, as I learned later, there is a mountain [actually a set of hills] in front of La Habra or between La Habra and the ocean, and cold air is just like cold water. It flows down hill. But, when there is something ahead of it so that it cannot flow any farther, then it backs up and freezes. That was the reason that La Habra froze. [24]

On the other hand, when we got to Yorba Linda the citrus areas were mostly lemons, and were only about two years old and not over thirty-six inches high, and there were not any wind breaks. There was a complete flow of air, from the hills clear out to the ocean, with nothing to stop it. The result was that this moving air did not freeze like a still air did. I have talked with men who have been educated along that line and they tell me they do not know why this is--that a still, cold air with the same temperature will freeze citrus or vegetable matter; whereas, if it is moving air it does not do so, or have the same temperature. They do not know why.

H: Is it a possibility that the friction that is created by this air mass moving across the ground is what warms it up?

K: No, I think it is due to the fact that when the cold air stops it apparently has a greater effect than when it is passing through. And they do not know, and they have done studies on it and still do not know, what causes it. I looked around Yorba Linda and about half of the tracts had around the neighborhood of 3,000 acres in the tract. Half of it was planted at that time with one, two, and possibly two and a half year old trees. None of them were very tall. I also found no frozen leaves.

However, if I had known a little more about the weather conditions, and if I had looked in the barrancas in the bottom lands, there might have been some frozen leaves. We have always said that in the 1913 freeze Yorba Linda was not touched. For that reason I immediately put a small deposit on a piece of ground that I thought I would like to have, because it was a beautiful building sight. However, I was unable to make arrangements for a piece of property I had in Los Angeles--to raise sufficient money off of it to continue with the purchase of that Yorba Linda property--with a result that after a period of thirty days I lost my twenty-five dollars. I came out later, along about March, on the Pacific Electric Railroad, and I contacted a real estate man in Yorba Linda and he brought me out here to this property that I own at the present time. At that time, I thought that I had approximately ten acres of level land and about five acres of barranca, but I found out later that I had considerably more barranca than I had anticipated. I proceeded to buy this piece, and in June of 1914 I took three months leave from the city of Los Angeles and proceeded to plant this property, the upper portion with lemons. It was not until 1917 that I managed to terrace the hillside and plant oranges on the hillside and on the bottom. [25]

Now, back to cold weather. We had some cold weather in 1938, and it got down again to twelve degrees above zero in Southern California, but that was in Glendale where there was no citrus in the vicinity. We did not have the loss of the citrus industry like we had in 1913. Those were the two coldest experiences we had since I have been acquainted with the citrus industry in Southern California. Now this third one, which came in December of this year, was two weeks ahead of the ones we had previously. This has been somewhat of a disaster to Southern California. I think the reason for it is this: as I told you before, at the 1913 freeze there was no obstruction of air between Yorba Linda and the ocean. There was not at that time any wind breaks--they did not have them planted at that time. Today, we have wind breaks everywhere, and we also have other trees everywhere. In the orchards themselves, we have large trees. This all interferes with the flow of the air, and the result is that this year, even on the upper plateau of my acreage here, there has been considerable damage to the avocados because of the stagnation of the cold air in the orchards. I had hoped that the avocados on the plateaus would be free from frost, but I find that there has been quite a drop in the orchard. In the bottom lands, practically all of the avocados are frozen, and they are all dropping off onto the ground. This year we have had a greater loss because it was sufficiently cold, what with the obstruction of the air and all.

We do not know yet what our loss is going to be in citrus. My lemons are on the top part of my property, and those lemons have been cut by the packing-house foreman. He told me over the telephone that he thinks they are ok. They are coming out today to pick these lemons and try to get them to the market. In the bottom lands in 1938, my oranges all went for "orchard run," which is a minimum value, but not the minimum grade. While the returns were fairly good, I missed minimum grade because they were not badly frosted. They were the poorest oranges I have ever raised and I feel that this year the oranges will be in even poorer condition than they were in 1938, because the trees are now over sixty years old and therefore they are not as hardy as they were when they were young and robust trees. That is about the total that I have to tell you about the three freezes that I have gone through.

H: What effect will this have on the price of your avocados or lemons? [26]

K: I anticipated this. To begin with, this year the price on avocados was very high, because the avocado advisory board, of which I was a member for more than three years, is doing a considerable deal in good advertising. They are spending in the neighborhood of nearly a million dollars a year for advertising avocados. This last year with a crop that was very large, but with the advertising at the end of the year, we were getting as high--I got forty cents a pound for some of my avocados that I picked early, which was many times what we had previously gotten. The worst year that we had was about 1964 or 1965 and we got six cents a pound for avocados. It was only the largest avocados that I picked off and sent into market. After a few weeks the price dropped to sixteen cents, which was still fairly good. When they rushed in the quantity of avocados into the market the price fell to six and seven cents, and now that we have had a frost I do not think they are selling very many avocados at the present time.

The inspection is very strict. I understand that some of my neighbors picked up some of the drops in their orchard and came down to the packing house and the packing house would give them $.75 a box for their avocados because they planned on shipping them to Mexico. When they got down to the border they found out that they could not get through the border inspection. The packing house lost the investment they made in those avocados. No frosted avocado is eatable--it does not have the nutrition content of a good mature avocado, it does not taste good, and it tastes flat. I have had considerable amounts of these crops and some of them have been fairly mature. The result is that I have been eating these dropped avocados all the time, but they are not as good and they will not allow them to be sold in the market.

H: In other words, the butter-fat content would be lower in these than, say, a natural grown one.

K: Much lower. We have a law at the present time that our fat content has to be in the neighborhood of eight percent. Now that is a vegetable fat. I do not know if I told you the difference. The avocado is not fattening to the human person. I want to emphasize that, although we cannot make the doctors admit it. There is a difference between a vegetable fat and an animal fat. An animal is a fat that puts the fat on your bones. A vegetable fat does not stay on the body, it goes on through. A vegetable fat, such as an avocado fat, is beneficial to even a portly person. We have had a test in the Veterans Hospital in Florida in which a group of veterans were fed the normal food of the [27] hospital and another group of the same number were put on eating avocados. We found in the end of a period of time that there was absolutely no difference between the two groups. We are positive in our own minds that the vegetable fat in an avocado is not fattening.

H: If you go on more of a supply and demand basis and there is a high demand but there is a low amount of supply, because of this frost, a lot of avocados are not marketable. Of those that are still on the tree that survive, do you get a higher price?

K: Well, naturally you expect to and hope to. I talked to you about the Fuerte last time, didn't I?

H: Yes, you did.

K: One of the beauties of the Fuerte avocado is that it will mature past the eight percent, sometimes as early as October. So in November and December it is in good shape and we try to take advantage of the Christmas market. We got has high as forty cents per pound, which under the present conditions was far more than was justified. The result was that they were rushed into market and they had a lot on their hands, and, of course, because they had a lot of them on their hands at the time that the frost came, they were fairly fortunate because they had them picked. From now on out, we with the Fuerte are able to leave it on the tree until June and it will not drop, not unless there is a heavy wind or something like that. Therefore, I am leaving everything that is not brown stemmed. However, when the frost comes along, the first thing it does is it browns the stem and in a week to ten days the fruit drops off. I have too many, even on this top place. Why? Because I have great big avocado trees that have stopped the wind from going though and it has gotten cold enough in there to brown some stems. I have got avocados scattered all over the orchard, not only on the bottom, but on top as well. I expect to do no picking of avocados in the bottom lands because they all have dropped. But, on top I am hoping that a certain amount are not brown stemmed and will stay on the tree until May or June. I am going to probably get a good price because there are very few of them at market at that time. I will not expect to get as much as forty-five cents, but even if I get thirty I figure that there will be enough left on the trees that will make me as much money as if I were to have picked everything.

H: You will receive a higher price for those that are remaining and that will compensate, price wise, for a full crop. [28]

K: You are right, but the thing is that we are going to have to wait for this present situation to clear up. There are too many frosted fruits around here now for the inspectors to allow them to go through. Possibly, the California Avocado Advisory Board will figure that they may not need to spend as much money this year for advertising because of the natural situation.

H: Of those trees down in the barranca, because of their age have any of those been killed because of the weather, or is it just the fruit?

K: I had one tree in a little half acre plot that I have, about half a mile north of here, that is in the bottom land. I do not expect to pick any fruit in there because I think it is all spoiled. On top of that, I have one tree that I noticed was evidently a very sick tree. It was heavy with fruit and it is practically a dead tree, there is no doubt about that. The last time I looked at it, it was a very sick tree but loaded with fruit.

H: So that is an entire loss then?

K: Oh, yes it is.

H: Well, after the last interview we went out and looked at the acreage back here. I noticed with the barranca and your tilling that the hills here act more or less as wind breakers. Is that true?

K: Yes, anything that is of a frictional nature is bound to act as a wind breaker, there is no question about it.

H: Does this have any bearing on the productivity of the trees--from the ones grown from the bottom area as opposed to the ones grown on the top?

K: Did you also include the terraces?

H: Yes, the terraces would be part of it also.

K: The terraces are so much harder to handle and irrigate that they are not cultivated at all. Because you cannot get on them after you get your trees going, and you can only get on a terrace with a horse when you make it. But, after you get your trees planted and they get to any size, you cannot get on there with an animal or a machine even. So I [29] have not irrigated my terraces in the last two years, because they are not productive enough and are too hard to take care of to justify the expenditure of time and effort for the return I got out of it. I have discontinued the terraces. I was probably one of the first ones to terrace my hills. Most of the people in Yorba Linda did not do much terracing, because it is said that I had the most marginal piece of land in Yorba Linda. I had a very good friend that would tell others that, and others brought the story back to me. He thought I was making good on the property, and I was for a period of time. When the years were good with avocados I made sufficient money to put some of it away. If I had spent my money the way most people do, I would probably be right down here at the bank asking them to give me a loan. I have been sufficiently frugal to have made investments that are much better than the returns that I could get on that orchard at the present time.

H: I noticed also, when I drove up, that there are eucalyptus trees in the back here. Is that correct?

K: There is a row of eucalyptus along the entire edge of the Anaheim Union Canal.

H: That is not part of your acreage then?

K: I used to have two acres and a half on the other side of the Anaheim Union Canal. About six or seven years ago I sold that, and a man [Roy Knauft] built a beautiful home on that two acres because it looks right out on the golf course. That is what he wanted it for--the view. At the present time I just own this, lot three block twenty-four, Yorba Linda tract--that portion south and west of that center line of the Anaheim Union Canal. All along this edge of the canal are wind breaks. I was one of the first ones to plant wind breaks. In addition to that, I have a wind break that goes down across the barranca about two thirds of the way towards the canal, and this is right where the irrigating water goes over the edge of the hill and used to irrigate the terraces. Down at the bottom it irrigates the oranges all the way down to the road. Down at that end of the road are eucalyptus trees, which get the full benefit of the water as it starts to irrigate the oranges, with a result that I have probably, without a doubt, the tallest eucalyptus tree in Southern California. I have one tree whose base is about fifty feet below where we are now in the barranca. It sticks up in the air, which I estimate to be approximately 250 feet tall. But that is not the tallest one. I talked to an agricultural commissioner from Australia, [30] where the eucalyptus comes from, and he said they have eucalyptus that go up not quite as high as our redwoods. But they go up to a considerable height. I doubt that any one of them has gotten over 250 feet. I had a man from the Santa Ana Register out here a couple of times endeavoring to get a picture of it. The trouble of it is that it is surrounded by citrus oranges and he could not get close enough to get a picture. He spent a couple of days out here trying to get a good picture of it, but he gave up.

H: How long ago was it that you planted these? I understand that there is a gentleman with the farm bureau that had promoted this growing of eucalyptus trees as wind-breakers.

K: Now wait a minute. Gillman was the man that promoted oranges around Placentia and beyond. Mr. Gillman had the first orange groves down in that neck of the woods. He is the one that gets the credit for that, but he did not do anything about wind-breakers.

H: The question I was asking was, who was the gentleman that had promoted the growing of eucalyptus trees as wind-breakers, and how long ago was this?

K: I understand. Our farm advisor, Harold Wahlberg, still lives in Santa Ana.

H: Is he any relation to Brent Wahlberg?

K: That is Brent's father. He had two sons. I am very well acquainted with the Wahlbergs.

H: Now Brent Wahlberg is the overall manager of the fruit company over here on Commonwealth [Boulevard] in Fullerton. It was his father, Harold, that promoted the planting of the eucalyptus trees?

K: Harold was our farm advisor in Orange County. I joined the Farm Bureau when I was still in New Jersey, two years before I was discharged from the army. Harold and I are very good friends. His wife was the clerk in the office and within two to three years they were married.

H: Now I understand that the eucalyptus trees grow relatively fast. Do they need quite a bit of water? [31]

K: No, not necessarily. Australia is not a water country; it is more of a desert to a certain extent. They do grow with a minimum amount of water.

H: You mentioned last time that this is marginal land, and as a result, the topsoil is relatively low before you hit that clay pan. Now what would be the root structure of the eucalyptus? Would it be rather broad instead of deep?

K: I could not tell you that because I have never tried to dig up a eucalyptus tree, and I do not know what its roots look like.

H: Considering the height, it may possibly be broad.

K: It has to be pretty good size roots to hold them up in the air like that. Of course, they do lean with the wind. When they die it does not take too long until the wind tips them over.

H: Have these roots created any type of a problem? Have they grown close enough to the orchard to kill some of your trees?

K: Yes, yes, they bother you in the orchard. For a number of years I had a root-cutter from Tustin come up here and cut the roots between the wind-breakers and the rows of trees. That has not happened in about twenty years now, with the result being that anything within two rows of the wind-breakers does not do much growing. This is partly due to the fact that the shade does not encourage growth either.

H: You mentioned earlier that in La Habra you had the foothills and you had this air mass coming down and it stops and it cools off. You have a cold air mass, and as a result, this can devastate your crop. Likewise, we have these Santa Ana winds that blow off the deserts and out to the ocean. Which is the worse, if you are going to pick the worse between two evils--freezing of the fruit from the cold air mass, or the strong Santa Ana winds blowing out from the desert knocking the fruit off the trees. I am sure that they had debated this back and forth, but which one would be the worse?

K: We would not have the wind breaks if it was not for the Santa Ana winds. On the otherhand, there was a Mr. Rivers that lived about three quarters of a mile north and west of me. He told me when I came out here to work planting, that the reason it did not freeze here in Yorba Linda was due to the fact that the Santa Ana's were blowing [32] all night long on the coldest night. I slept out that coldest night, down there near Oceanside, and in the morning I went walking on the beach and there was ice on the rocks! That is cold weather. That first week in January was the coldest week we had ever had, and it was three weeks of continuous cold weather and wind. Mr. Rivers said that there was a Santa Ana blowing all that night. I have had people tell me who had citrus in Placentia that they turned their water on in the daytime to try and get a little heat out of the water. Any water that will flow before it is frozen will give a little heat to the atmosphere because it is colder than the water. It was colder, because they told me that it froze right in the ditches where they ran the water.

H: Now normally you go to the big freezes in 1911, 1912, and 1913. Did you go to the one in 1938 and the one we had this year? Much of the fruit was devastated. Now if the seedlings are ruined or frozen, this would indicate that next year's crop could be very lean, is this correct?

K: There is a difference; there is no question about it as far as that is concerned. When they are all productive, fruit has its lean years and its on years. The oranges do that and the lemons do that, we do not know exactly why, but I think I have an idea. The lemon crop I have out here--I think maybe after fifty-four years of citrus growing I have reached a point where I think I know how to get a good crop of lemons, because I certainly have the best crop this year that I have had in years and years. They fluctuate. They have a good year, and they have a poor year. The avocado is very fluctuating. Unless you have an avocado that you know of, the average seedling may not bear fruit up to seven, eight, or nine years of age. Then again, I had some that would bear about once every five years, and it was a very good crop. I cannot explain why, but it was evidently the health and growth of the tree that caused it.

H: Would I be correct in taking the assumption that because of this extremely cold weather and the causing of a loss of a lot of fruit, that next year's crop will not be a normal crop because a lot of the seeds have been destroyed?

K: That would have to depend, to a certain extent, on the amount of frost that the tree has. There is the possibility that sometimes the tree will produce a rather good crop, in order to perpetuate itself. There is the possibility that it might benefit a set for next year, providing there was not sufficient frost to hurt the blossoms. You see, the avocado has [33] three different blossoms, so there are three different growths of fruit on the trees--sometimes at one time. We call the first growth "off bloom" and that is possibly what we sold it for at forty cents a pound. It was a big fruit and it had come at an early bloom which generally was around December/January. There is another bloom that comes on in another month or so. There might be, if the tree was not harmed too much, a pretty good bloom and it will sell pretty well. Eureka lemons will have five blooms in a year. There is another lemon, which we have out here at the present time, that has only about one bloom a year, maybe two. Eureka can be picked just about every other month.

H: Have you found this problem in your orchards yet--the problem of disease with avocado, cinnanoma or "cinnamon rot?"

K: It is the cinnamon root-rot. The root-rot is due to the fact that the water stands around those roots and causes them to rot.

H: Has this taken a large toll in your orchard.

K: Oh yes! The reason for that was this, and I think I told you this before, when I planted my original lemons I planted them twenty-two feet on a triangle. Do you know the difference between a triangle and a square? The triangle means that they will be hexagonal altogether, so you have in there actually, three triangles. They will be twenty-two feet apart on the outside and one in the middle which is twenty-two feet from the others--that is a perfect hexagonal. Now in planting hexagonal, I was the first one to do that, the result is that we have ten more trees to the acre then we do on the square. On the square there would be ninety-three trees to the acre, twenty-two feet apart, but on the hexagonal there are one hundred-three trees. I took advantage of the extra ten trees. I would not do it again.

I have learned that in a hexagonal you have to cultivate three ways in order to get everything. If it is on the square you only have to cultivate two ways. There is additional work in taking care of a hexagonal orchard. In addition to that, they are a little bit closer together because there is an angle. When I first planted my lemons here, I stacked them to begin with, and that was quite a job. Then I knew that I had this heavy, red-clay undersoil down anywhere from six inches down, to a foot down. I prepared for it by getting a case of dynamite. I then took half of a stick of dynamite, a fuse, a cap, and poked a hole down to about the middle of the clay cap. I then put the [34] dynamite in and put dirt in on top of it and lit the fuse and walked away until it went "poof". The result was, when I planted my trees there was space opened up. Those lemon trees did very well and I have no complaints about those lemon trees. However, when I got the idea that avocados were something that we ought to have here in Yorba Linda and became the "avocado booster," as they called me here in Yorba Linda, I planted the seeds in between each lemon tree, but I did not poke a hole down and I did not use dynamite to blow a hole through the clay cap, and the result was that about half of my original avocado trees got this cinnanoma, which was root-rot.

H: Now they got this when--just recently?

K: No, no, they got it a short period of time after the seeds were planted. When the seeds first started to grow they had a little top soil to help them out. They grew to beat the band. They grew so extensive that it was not too long before the avocados practically shaded out most of my lemons, because they grew so much bigger and taller. So I told the young fellow who did my tractor work, "Whenever you see a dead lemon tree, just hook on to it and drag it out, and we will burn it up." He had the orchard practically denuded of lemons between 1930-1940. Then I had the tractor come in, and wherever we had a dead avocado tree or a space where there was a lemon which was gone, I had him take and go down as far as the bulldozer would go and have him push the bottomsoil on top and the topsoil on the bottom. I then proceeded to plant in the neighborhood of about 220 lemon trees. And those two hundred trees never stopped growing.

H: Did this prove to be successful, or are you sorry that you did this?

K: Well I do not know, but I will admit that I took a somewhat unusual course, one not recommended by the extension service [University of California Agricultural Extension, of which there are two field stations--one near the U.C. Riverside campus, and one near the El Toro Marine Air Station]. I had observed that grapefruit roots were far more fibrous. When I went to plant my last lemons, I went to a nursery man, Mr. Marshburn, and I told him that I have a grapefruit tree up in the orchard of which the fruit is full of seeds. "I will give you several boxes of grapefruit, and you take the seeds out of them and plant those seeds, and from that bud--from that group of the grapefruit--bud them onto this Escondido lemon," and he did so. So I witnessed large masses of roots on the lemon group. To tell you the truth, he gave me bald trees. So he did cut off a certain amount of [35] these roots, but their growth was such, and especially in as much as I had the bulldozer push through this heavy clay soil and go down to gravel, these trees have never stopped growing. They were planted about fifteen years ago. I am spending practically all of my time rooting. These lemons are growing twice as well as the original lemon trees. These were such, that at three years old they looked like the size of a six year old lemon tree.

H: In your orchard of avocado trees, how many would you say were killed or are in the process of becoming dead?

K: I would say about half. I never did count them.

H: So eventually, with this disease, I suppose it will probably kill off more, unfortunately.

K: That is right. In addition to that 220, there are probably a dozen or more that are very poor growers at the present, or are almost dead.

H: What you will eventually do, instead of pulling these out and selling your land, like many of the other people in the area, you will probably pull yours out and replant with lemons or oranges?

K: Well of course, now you are entering another phase, which is not an agricultural phase. You probably realize that we are the fastest growing county in the United States. And everybody, and you cannot blame them at all, had a taste of it up at Seattle. I do not think you will want to live up there. Those people that went, the first pioneers of North Dakota, then came out here and do not want to go back. The result is that there is no question that California, anywhere practically in California, even though it gets cold up north, is that the sun is sure to rise. They are coming, and they have not stopped coming. We are still growing, although not quite as much this year as we did two years ago. I may not do much of anything more agricultural in Orange County, if I can sell it [the land] at anywhere near the price that it is supposedly worth at the present time. I have had any number of real estate men here talking to me about buying this property, but because it is so rugged and so marginal, they do not come through with their expectations. I probably have got one of the best building sites in Orange County, because believe it or not, there are three or four days ago when I saw the outline of Catalina again. When I first moved out here we saw the outline of Catalina every afternoon. But the building site is not exactly what everybody wants. Some want it, but they do [36] not want to buy it in as much of an acreage as I have. I still have thirteen acres and this piece right here. On the other hand, and this is not necessarily in view of the awfulness of the situation, but there is--I find that even the best magazine that I think is printed at the present time,U.S. News and World Report--there is a question in the minds of the economists as to whether we are due for a depression. The last two days the stock market has gone down almost thirty points.

H: But this is typical, I think, of an election year.

K: Yes, there is an uncertainty that makes it difficult. But even at that--I read this magazine thoroughly, because I think it is one of the best from the stand point of truthfulness and fairness, because they try to bring in both sides--there are those who think that we are possibly not going to have too good a year. There are others who think that everything is fine and dandy. We do know there is a different philosophy and will be, after the twentieth of January [Richard M. Nixon took office on 20 January, 1969].

H: Would you say that due to this large population that is expanding in Orange County and, what with the disease that has been prevalent in the avocado orchards, that possibly, maybe, this is good for the individual who is growing these crops? What would happen in the next couple of years is that most of these trees would be dead, and the people growing these crops would be losing money. Now, with this population expansion, many of these farmers are selling their acreage and as a result, they are becoming quite wealthy and are making far more profits in selling their land than they are from the avocados.

K: There is the draw back that the tax collectors, either state or national, as well as their own county, are catching up with them. Anything that I sell, I put on a cash-down agreement in there that they are not to pay anything over thirty percent. If they pay over thirty percent of what you have in the place, you have to pay the income tax on all of it.

H: This would be a leverage then that you are aware of?

K: Oh yes, practically everybody is. We have made an awful lot of money, but I can tell you this, that when I bought this place in 1914, and after 1929, there was talk about a depression. In my mind, I go back to 1896 and that was a real depression. I sold potatoes, as a little bit of a kid, at twenty-five cents a bushel. People went to the poor-house in 1896. My mother refused to turn away anybody when they [37] came and asked for food. She fed sixteen tramps in one afternoon. Those were hard times. Now in 1929 we had hard times because the stock market broke. The reason we had hard times in 1896 was because under President Cleveland they had allowed wheat to come in from Argentina. We were in a wheat growing section in the Red River Valley of North Dakota--one of the finest wheat growing places there is in the whole United States. We got fifty cents a bushel for our wheat. Now, it is nothing but utter foolishness, and I do not want to get into too much politics. It was utter foolishness for the people in America to continue to raise their prices as they are now, what with the strike down here in the oil fields, and raise the prices up and up and up and up. And, to allow things to come in from foreign countries whose wages are one tenth of what ours are. If they let that kind of industry come in, we cannot expect to let our prices go up and not have a depression.

H: What was it like living out here during the depression years? Was it as noticeable out here?

K: It was noticeable to this extent. I had a neighbor about a mile and a half from here who bought early. Early means he paid about 300-350 dollars an acre for his land. By 1920 there was a little depression then, but the worst one came in 1929. But, along about 1922 or 1923, he sold his place down here for 1,500 dollars an acre. That was a good price. In 1933-1935, I bought eight acres above here for the same price I paid for this piece in 1914.

H: So, in otherwords, the value of the land had diminished quite a bit.

K: The bottom dropped out of it, practically. There was property over in Montebello where it probably went up to five or six thousand a lot. After the 1929 drop, when they were building roads in through here, they found they could not sell the lots here for what the roads and the sidewalks and curbs cost. So you cannot tell what is in the future for us.

H: Were there many farmers out here that lost their land or the bank took their mortgage?

K: Well I knew some that did. We have what you call a "Farm Loan Bank" in Berkeley. That was formed here after 1929 because we could not get the banks to loan us any money. I was in debt still at that time, and I did go to the bank to borrow enough money to live on [38] during the year until my crops were marketed, but I was fortunate not to have to borrow any more money than what I could get out of my crops. When the better years came along, and when the avocados began to pay, I did not go spend it. I remember one day going down here to the meat market and buying hamburger, and next to me was one of our very prominent citizens and I noticed that he bought some of the finest steak I think that I have ever looked into. Beautiful stuff--made my mouth water! But I knew my capacity and I was satisfied with hamburger; he was not. He turned over his five acres to the Farm Loan Board and walked away a couple or three years later. Anybody that criticizes our cities, or our counties, or our state, or our nation for being spendthrifts and having high taxes who does not curb in his own belt, is a hypocrite. If he does not do it himself, he has no right to criticize other people for not doing it. We have got to discipline ourselves to what we expect to have in the future.

H: When you first came out here the tract was about half sold. In the Yorba Linda area were there any general stores?

K: Yes, Yorba Linda had a very nice general store.

H: Would this be where it is right now, over on Main Street?

K: No, it was on Main Street all right, but it was more near where the present drug store is [Burt Brooks1 Rexall Drugs--no longer in existence], down at the lower end of Main Street.

H: So there was a store already out here with plenty of staples?

K: When they platted this tract--(laughter) this is a joke--Jake Sterns was the man that owned this property and had it surveyed for the Janss Investment Company and sold it to them. My brother-in-law was the engineer that platted the Yorba Linda tract. His name is on the Yorba Linda tract maps. Incidently, my oldest sister married into the Kellogg family about a seventeenth cousin, so this H. Clay Kellogg was my brother-in-law, which makes everybody look at me kind of funny when I say that. Jake said to Clay, "If we run the streets down the valleys then we won't have any trouble with irrigating, and over in the center of this tract there is a piece of land that won't grow nothing." That is where they put the town center. The town site was nothing but twenty foot lots. They are having fits over there now because they want half acre lots. (laughter) They are having a good time over [39] small lots, and the first ones were twenty-five foot lots down at the packing house in Yorba Linda. They were all good people and good neighbors, because I was gone for three years and three months and the family across the barrancas here from me, the Stairs, took care of my ranch while I was gone away to war. Now if that is not being a good neighbor, I do not know what one is. I communicated with them by letter and paid them, but they raised cabbages in between the tree rows and credited me with what the cabbage sold for.

H: That is great. That is what we need more of now.

K: Everybody knew everybody and we were all good neighbors.

H: What type of social life was it like or what kind of social events were there here in Yorba Linda that could cause every one to come?

K: To begin with, Yorba Linda was originally settled by a great many people from Whittier. The first thing they established was a Friends Church. That was the first social gathering that they had. It was about two years later when more people came in that were of a different denomination, so they established the Methodist Church.

H: In otherwords, your main source of socializing was church-centered then.

K: But the difference in opinion with regards to Methodists or Friends was such that the community was very divided. We had a certain packing house that one group went to, and the other group went to another place. We had certain grocery stores in which the preachers would advise them where to go--very great rivalry. In fact, we had the Women's Club, as well. Dick's mother was one of the originators of the Women's Club.

H: Mrs. Nixon?

K: Yes. Of course, Dick was born here in January 1913. They finally got a school in here. First they had to go up to Olinda to go to school. Then they built a school here, which was back of the present Friends Church on School Street. I think the first school was in the present water company office, but I am not sure. When we got the school there was the Parent/Teacher Association. The Parent/Teacher [40] Association was one group of people and the Women's Club was another. Then we had the Chamber of Commerce, and then the Farm Bureau. In 1918 I think it was, the Farm Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce were united for about one year or two years, and then they drifted apart again.

We had a very divided community. We managed to get them all united at a community picnic once. We had a picnic in Irvine Park, and one of the members of the police department of Los Angeles, who owned a piece of property out here, came over here that day and he looked around and everything was closed up. He made his inquiry and they said, "They have all gone over to the picnic." He came over to the picnic and said, "I want to belong to this organization." I was the president of it at the time. That got them together again. We had a brotherhood, which was a group from the two churches. I never belonged to either one of the churches here because I am of a different denomination, but I attended, and when I started talking about avocados they put me on what they called the "Booster Committee." This was because I was always boosting avocados when ever I had a chance to, and because I believed avocados were the future of Yorba Linda.

H: For a second, maybe you could tell me what it was like down on the border with the army. Exactly what were you doing down there?

K: Well, there were two instances that I was down on the border. The first one was in 1914. I had belonged to the National Guard of the State of California ever since 1904, when I was in high school. We had a Latin professor in high school that was made a first lieutenant of the National Guard, and he dropped the hint that he would like some of his boys to join in his company because it was kind of run down. About eight or ten of us went down to the old armory at 8th and Spring Street in Los Angeles and joined the National Guard. Our first encampment was up at what is now Atascadero--some say it was the Smith Ranch, but I thought it was the Henry Ranch. It was nothing but a big ranch. In 1904 we had a National Guard encampment up there; we had the National Guard from Oregon, Washington, and California all together. We had about equal amounts of regular army troops, including a regiment of cavalry. I will never forget that regiment of cavalry--those horses marched to the music! It was a beautiful thing. They were all dapple-grays. General Arthur MacArthur, the father of Douglas MacArthur, was our commanding officer. I was in the [41] National Guard for twelve years or more, before I was discharged in 1916, down on the Mexican Border in Arizona.

Previously, we had been called out by Governor [Hiram] Johnson to go down to Mexico because we had a Mexican Governor down there who was somewhat warlike. Imperial Valley residents were very fearful of having them come across the border like they did when Pancho Villa came across. Johnson called together the first battalion here in Los Angeles. We went down there with a major in command, and a Colonel Schreiber of our regiment in command of him. We were down there for about three weeks to a month. The Governor of lower California never came across the border with his men. He came over one day and told Colonel Schreiber he did not like to have our musician, a fellow by the name of Munden, playing so loud. Munden played the bugle and it excited his troops when he played. The Colonel said, "Alright, we will blow a whistle, and you will not hear that." So the rest of the time down there we had whistle calls. Two different times I spent the night with a guard down on the border. One night we were on top of a water tower which is right on the border, and we looked right down and caught them digging trenches within fifty yards of the border. They were afraid we were coming across and we were afraid they were coming across.

H: So what actually happened was nothing. (laughter)

K: (laughter) We just waited until daylight and slipped down from the tower and went away. The second time was in 1916 when he called out the entire National Guard because of Pancho Villa's coming. General Pershing, he took the army down into Mexico, but there were no National Guard troops that accompanied them. They stayed on the border. We were down there for little over three months. I was discharged down there because I was at that time a regimental color sergeant. My salary was thirty-six dollars a month. Those were my two instances, but we never got below the border down in Arizona. I was discharged, as I said, because of a dependent family before they were through. There was no action of any kind except a whale of a rain storm.

H: The first time you were in Imperial Valley and the second time you were in Arizona?

K: That is correct. [42]

H: What were your responsibilities down there on the border? In the event that the Mexicans would cross the border you were to defend it?

K: We were to stop them, the first time especially, down there at the Imperial Valley border. You could not tell what "Canto" [the tape and transcript are both unclear as to the proper pronouncement and/or spelling, but he is referring to the Governor of Northern Mexico] might do. He paid fairly good wages as we understand it--one dollar a day, which was more than we were getting. My first experience I got fifty cents a day up at Atascadero. I was up there for two weeks. Down at the Mexican border this time I was then a sergeant in "A" company. I was a mess sergeant and was in charge of purchasing the food and so forth for the company. The company at that time was made up of only sixty men. We were under the orders of the Governor with the idea of preventing "Canto" from coming over the border.

H: That must have been quite an experience.

K: I have a couple of medals, one for the Mexican border and another for World War One.

H: Well you have lived a very exciting, very interesting life.

K: I have lived a life in which I have seen quite a bit. For instance, I was one of the few picked out from my Eighth Division, which is regular army division, to go over seas for training school. I and sixty other officers and about the same number of non-commissioned officers. We were ordered to go over seas the last of October 1918. We landed in Brest [France] and we celebrated the Grand Armistice on the eleventh of November.

H: I think we have pretty much covered your life history and it is very fascinating. You are a very fortunate man in many respects.

K: Getting back to going over seas, on Armistice Night they marched and played their horns until way into daylight because they were so happy that everything was over--those Frenchmen were scared to death, that's all there is to it! From there we went on up to "Gonderdor" [Marshes of Saint Gond or Grand Morin most likely] where we were supposed to go and I was the adjutant of the detachment. The adjutant has to do all of the running and so forth and so on. You would call him the secretary. We had every branch of the service up in there of [43] all kinds. They went to their own camps for instruction. We infantry went to "Gonderdor," which was up against the Marne border up near the Swiss border. We spent three or four weeks up there. Then finally our division headquarters--our Colonel that was left back in the states--applied to Washington to have us sent back. The first available ship was a Dutch vessel which Mr. Hoover had been able to get for us to send troops back home. On that vessel we had about an equal number of Dutch people who lived in the Dutch East Indies and they had sent their children back to Holland every year for schooling, but when the war started they could not send them any more so they had to stay there for about three years. Half of the people on that vessel were military and the other half were civilians who were going to get back to the Dutch East Indies where their families were. They were coming up through New York, then through San Francisco, and from there another boat, to get back to the Dutch East Indies. We had New Year's Day half way between Brest and New York on board the vessel. I was in charge of the program on the vessel. Of course, our troops were the ones that did the stunts on board. We got back, and then I stayed in the army because I was drawing captain's pay, and it was a better salary then I could get working for the city of Los Angeles. So I stayed there for three years and three months.

H: Well, you have been a very good source for me and it was very enjoyable talking to you. Listen, I think I am going to turn off the old tape-recorder here. Thank you very much for all of your valuable time.




Yorba Linda Community History Project



SUBJECT: Remembrances of Yorba Linda's Early Years

DATE: April 26, 1972

T: This is an interview with George Kellogg, for the Community History Project of California State University, Fullerton, by John Tugwell at 5932 Kellogg Drive in Yorba Linda, California, on April 26, 1972 at 12:45pm.

Mr. Kellogg, since you came to Yorba Linda in 1914, I imagine you knew the Nixon's.

K: Yes, I worked in the oil-fields with Mr. Nixon [Frank Nixon, the father of Richard M. Nixon], after I came back from World War One. In fact, I owe to Mr. Nixon my present membership in the Masonic Lodge, because he was a Mason. We were watching down on the Shepherd Well, which is just across the canyon, and one of the things we were supposed to observe was that nobody threw any rocks into the finished oil well holes. When they went to open it up and start drilling again, they found some rocks down there. Evidently, some boys had dropped them in and we had not seen them, and Mr. Nixon told me if it was not for the fact that I had my Sunday pin on, I think we'd have both got fired. That was enough information for me to desire to belong to the Masonic Lodge. Yes, we worked one summer down here with the Union Oil Company, and after that he moved to Whittier and started a grocery store. Richard Nixon himself was born here. I think it was the seventeenth of January, which was right after the coldest spell we ever had in Southern California in 1913. He went to [45] school here in Yorba Linda in the grammar grades, and my daughter went to school here in his class. That is about 1921 to 1922. She's very proud of the fact that she went to school with the President of the United States.

T: Yes, I imagine so.

K: Yes indeed. Mrs. Nixon was quite prominent in the Women's Club, and my wife became president of the Women's Club and one of her valuable pictures is one taken with Mrs. Nixon.

T: Have you had much contact with the Nixon's since they became prominent in politics?

K: Not to any great extent. I met him one time when he was running for Vice-President. He came in the airport and a lot of us went down to meet him, and when he saw me he called me by my first name and I answered him in the same language, and later on he spoke here in Yorba Linda.

T: I know the Nixons are a religious family, and I've heard that Yorba Linda has always been a relatively religious community.

K: Yes, Yorba Linda has always been a religious community. We were settled in the first place by a group of people that came out from Whittier, who were the Quakers [also known as "Friends"], and later on others established a Methodist Church here in Yorba Linda and they were very religious too.

T: I know that in another interview you talked about how you had grown up in a dry state, and I know that you and Hurless Barton bought the license of a liquor store owner here in Yorba Linda.

K: Yes.

T: Could you tell us that story?

K: Yorba Linda was a very very religious community because of the two churches we had, and they were the only two churches there in the community. There's a lot of them now, but for many years they were the only two churches. [46] We had a local option in Orange County. At the time of the local option there were only two cities in Orange County that were wet. One of them was Anaheim, which had a brewery, and the other was Seal Beach, which had a poker game. Everywhere else in the County was dry until the Federal Government opened up liquor, which was not a place to drink it. I don't know exactly what they called that. It was just the on-site-of-sale place for liquor, but there was no opportunity for drinking it in the store. It was down next to the old packing house, and for many years we had desired to do away with that in Yorba Linda. Then the old fellow that owned it desired to transfer his ownership. He wanted to sell it to a young man in the community who had been of his patronizers, and whom we did not want to obtain such a liquor license because he would be more detrimental to us than the kind of place that the old man had run. So, when they had a hearing down here in Santa Ana as to the transfer of the liquor license, several of us went down, including representatives of both of the preachers here in Yorba Linda and other representatives, including Hurless. And at that hearing I said to the group, "The old man has invested his money here and it does seem rather wrong to say that he couldn't dispose of it. He'd be out of that money. I wonder if we couldn't buy him out." There wasn't much said about that, it was just a statement. However, a little while later the opposition came up again for a transfer, and I don't remember at the present time who it was that was to take it over this time, but at any rate, when we assembled I asked the group again what they thought about buying him out. They said, "Well, if you think you can get him to be modest in his price, we might do that."

At that time there was also a refusal to transfer the license, and he had hired one of our local families to run the place and he went up north. A little bit later I had a talk with the woman of the family, and I learned that she wasn't too happy because she had a family and she did not want the children to be brought up in that atmosphere. So I asked her to find out if the old man would sell us the liquor license. First, he wanted to sell the property upon which the store had been built and we said, "No, we did not want to buy any property." All we wanted to do was to buy up the liquor license. After a period of a couple of years after the second hearing, she called me and said, "I've just heard from this man that owns the grocery store and he says that he'll sell the liquor license." I said, "how much does he want?" "Oh," she says, "he'll sell it for a hundred and fifty dollars." "Well," I said, "we can raise that easy enough." So I immediately got in touch with Hurless, and the two preachers at the Churches, and told them how much [47] money we needed to put up. I put up twenty-five dollars and I know Hurless did the same, and I presume both of the preachers probably put up fifty. But, at any rate, we had the hundred and fifty dollars.

Hurless ran a garage at that time and we got together down there and put up our money, and I had found that not only did we have a California Liquor License for the sale of liquor, but not the one for drinking, but we also had a government license. I said to Hurless, "Do you want to take this license?" "No," he said, "I don't want it." So I turned to each of the preachers and I said, "would you want to uphold this license?" They said, "No." "Well," I said, "if you folks don't do it, I was the one that started this so I'll take the license." We paid off the hundred and fifty dollars and got clear of that, or so we thought. However, about a week or two later I had a man come to my door and he said, "Are you the man that's got that liquor license that used to be down in east Yorba Linda?" I said, "yes." "Well," he said, "when are you going to open up?" I said, "we aren't going to open up. We bought it so we could close it." He said, "You can't do it." And I said, "Why not?" "Because, the law don't call for that," he said. "The law says that if you have got a liquor license you have got to open it up." Well that was something different.

At that time, we had a man in the state of California who had charge of all of the liquor licenses. That is, he was responsible for observing all of them for the state and his office was in Los Angeles. So I went in to see him and I told him the situation. He said, "There's no question about it, if you bought that liquor license with the purpose of closing it, there's nothing in the law that allows that. Now, I see your position, and I'll tell what to do. If you want to give me that license, I'll hold it, but if anybody comes along and demands that I turn the license over to him, I'm going to have to do it." "Well," I said, "if that's the best we can do, fine and dandy." So I let him have the license. It wasn't until some many years afterward, I don't know exactly how many, that he got into trouble with the State of California because he had collected money to be reelected to his position from the liquor interests, and so the result of that was a trial, and the result of the trial was that he found it was better living in Mexico than it was in America. He spent the rest of his life in Mexico. I don't know whatever became of my liquor license. I don't know whether he took it with him or not. But at any rate, that's the way we ended the liquor situation in Yorba Linda. [48]

At the present time we have liquor being sold in the grocery stores. A short time ago they considered a sale of liquor on the property, but our City Council didn't approve it. So we're still a dry city. And, as I said, in the days of local option there were only two places in Orange County that had open liquor stores. One of them was in Anaheim, and that was because they had a brewery there, and the other was down at Seal Beach. Now we did have the Blind Pig" [a tavern] down here in the railroad tracks near Atwood [an unincorporated area between the boundaries of Anaheim, Placentia, and Yorba Linda]. Those who insisted on getting their liquor knew they could get it down there, but it wasn't a legal office of any kind. That's my story in regard to liquor in Yorba Linda.

T: That's a very interesting story. I've read where your hobby has been roads. Now could you tell me about your fight to get the Imperial Highway out to Yorba Linda.

K: All right. It started a long time back. To begin with, when this Yorba Linda tract was laid out by my brother-in-law--and my brother-in-law happened to have the same name as my own, his was H.C. Kellogg and he was, at one time, the engineer for the county of Orange shortly after the County of Orange became organized, I think it was from 1892-1898--he had an understanding with the man who owned the property north of what is now Yorba Linda Boulevard, and this man's name was Jake [Jacob] Stern. This station down here on the old Pacific Electric [Railroad] was named after him. It was Stern Station. Clay, because he married my sister, was quite close to me, so he told me that when Jake told him to lay out the track he said, "Now Clay, you let the streets run down the valleys and we won't have any problems with irrigating the orchards." That's how they laid out the streets. The result was we had some very crooked streets in Yorba Linda, and for many years people coming to Yorba Linda often couldn't find the place, and if they did find it they couldn't find their way out to get away from here because of the crooked streets. For instance, there were five right-angle turns between Yorba Linda and Brea. Now, you won't believe that because today we have one road, Imperial Highway, running from Brea right to Yorba Linda with no crook-turning at all. A little crook, but not anything like a right-angle turn.

So, I became interested in roads to begin with when I first got out of high school in Los Angeles because I worked for two contractors, and that was before we had good roads in Southern California. San Diego [49] County had the first good roads and yet they weren't paved roads, that is, they weren't asphalt paved roads. They were what they called, "natural cement." But they were very good gravel roads, and Los Angeles followed suit. It was about 1906, 1907, and 1908 that I worked for two different contractors that built some of the good roads in Los Angeles County, so, to a certain extent, I had had enough experience to be interested in good roads in Yorba Linda.

I joined the Orange County Farm Bureau in 1919 before I left the Army, and when I came up here to Yorba Linda after having had my neighbors take care of my property for three years and three months while I was away, I connected up with the Farm Bureau and was made head of the Roads Department of the Farm Bureau in order to get better roads for Orange County. Yorba Linda had this problem, as I said before, of the crooks in the roads between here and Brea, and the crooks in all of the barrancas that we had because the roads were only dirt roads. It wasn't too long before a group of people got together, over here at Brea in 1929, for the purpose of having a road go east and west through Yorba Linda and up into Santa Ana Canyon, which is now the Riverside Freeway [the 91 Freeway]. I did not attend that first meeting. That first meeting, as I said, was held in Brea with the Chairman of our Chamber of Commerce attending, and the head of the Bank down here at Yorba Linda, who was looking after the interests of Yorba Linda. When they came back, the bank president talked to me about this group that had gotten together. There were Chamber of Commerce men from several cities to the west of us that got together here, and he wanted to be sure that I was interested, because of the fact that I was head of the Farm Bureau Road Department. So I went with him to the next meeting. At the meeting in Yorba Linda they had elected a president from one of the towns to the west of us. When we got to the second meeting, we found that the man who had been designated as president had turned in his resignation and the secretary from this other town, who happened to be a Chamber of Commerce secretary, turned in his resignation also. The result was that they elected the one that was selected for vice-president from Brea as president. Then, when it came to a secretary, they went all around the table and wanted to know who would take the job as secretary. Mr. Hargrave, who was the bank president here at Yorba Linda, suggested my name. I accepted, and that was in October of 1929, and I will admit that I have peculiar ideas in regards to holding a job of that kind. [50]

It might be valuable in a political way someday, but I don't think anybody would vote for me, because we have an American Legion throughout the United States and I have belonged to that American Legion ever since about 1925. We had a group who were appointed at the original Paris meeting of the American Legion who drew up the Constitution and by-laws of the American Legion. And that Constitution and by-laws of the American Legion says that every patriotic citizen of the United States of America owes something to his community, state, and nation. I've added three or four words to that, and that is without thought of compensation. The result was that I made a resolve that I've kept up to the present time: that I would not receive any payment from the Highway Association that I was representing. They could pay my expenses, and they were very small, but I would not accept any compensation. I believe that is one of the finest statements that I know of. I have gone ahead and been their secretary.

To begin with, they had meetings every month throughout the length and breadth of this highway, and this length and breadth of this highway when they started was only from El Segundo to Yorba Linda, and the towns in between. However, we realized that if we didn't want to have to go up Carbon Canyon to get over to Imperial Valley that we'd have to have a new route. We could go as far as Corona on the Riverside Freeway and then we turned to the right and went over towards Temecula, which was on the old Butterfield Trail. That was in 1847, 1848, and 1849--something like that--before the Civil War cut off [The Butterfield Stage and Overland Mail was in operation from 1848-1861, when the Secession and Civil War fears put an end to it]. And then we have a great deal of information relative to the boys bringing in the mail to Salt Lake. What did they call them? The Pony Express. The Pony Express only took the place of the Butterfield stage when the Butterfield stage was stopped on account of the Civil War. So, we carried on the route of the old Butterfield Stage that went on to Riverside County, San Diego County, and down into Imperial County. I was with the president of the Imperial Highway Association at that time who went over the route and outlined the way we should go. Previous to that time we could have gone up to Beaumont and Banning, and then down. Of course, we have that route today [State Route 60]. But this is a somewhat shorter route, and we think, a much better route.

So, the result was that up to the time of World War Two, we met every month. But in World War Two there was a restriction on [51] gasoline, and we changed it to once every two months. We have endeavored to live up fairly close to that dictum of having a meeting once every two months. We have the grandest bunch of boosters that you ever saw. We have people come to our meetings from as far north as above Los Angeles County--what's the county above Los Angeles County?

T: Ventura County?

K: Ventura County. We have a life member from up in Ventura County that used to come very regularly. He had a brother down here in Los Angeles County and he came very regularly also. We have another past president that is exactingly regular, and he comes from San Diego County. For many years we used to meet regularly, once a year, down at El Centro and we had a lot of people come up from El Centro to our meetings. Now when people will come those distances, I'm telling you, that's a pretty good bunch of people that are boosters for a road. The Imperial County has pretty well petered out.

The road is a paved road all the way through from El Segundo clear down to El Centro. But, it is desert most of the way down, there is no question about that. We have merely encouraged our cities along the route, our counties--and there are five of them, and the state of California, to do this. Much has been expended in improving this highway, and the 1971 annual report showed that we had something like sixty-million dollars expended on that highway since we started our desire.

One of the most fortunate things we had was that after the first meeting in which I attended in Lynwood, I wrote up the minutes of that meeting and sent out copies to all that attended the meeting. It happened that just at that time, the city of Redondo [Beach] had decided that they wanted a road to the west just like we were asking for, and they wanted to call it "Imperial Highway." So we had two Imperial Highways, but at the Planning Commission of Los Angeles County, I presented the minutes that I had written up of the meeting that we held here at Lynwood, and because the date on those minutes was several days ahead of the minutes that the Redondo Chamber of Commerce put up, they allowed us to have the name "Imperial Highway." So, I don't know what name they've got for Redondo going west, but that's what ours is at the present time.

T: That's very interesting. [52]

K: At the time of the beginning of the International Airport [LAX], Imperial Highway was to run in front of the southern portion of the International Airport. Now we still run that way, but when they improved the International Airport, the city of Los Angeles spent several million dollars, and when they did, they reversed the entrance to the north-end instead of the south-end. The present time they have some airplanes moving out of the south entrance, where it is just recently that they said they have come back there. There was a lot of industry along there with airplane factories and so forth, but the north entrance was the main entrance. Now, it is still a main entrance, but they are doing something at the south entrance. At that time, there was only half a road, down from the airport this way about a couple of miles to the east, the northern portion of which was owned by the Los Angeles Real Estate Company. The Los Angeles Real Estate Company was quite a big concern; I guess they still own an awful lot of property over there, but they didn't deed the northerly portion of our present highway because they told me, frankly, that they didn't want to have the expense of building it. So I went in and saw them one day and I told them what we were planning to do, and I said, "If you will give us a deed to the north half of that street, we'll see that it is paved without costing you anything." They said, "You would?" So they took it up with the Board and the City Council. In about two weeks I said to him, "Will you just send me a statement that you will make to the City of Los Angeles in regard to transfer of this property?" He said, "Sure." I waited about two weeks and then I went to see him. He said, "I'll tell you Mr. Kellogg, your suggestion was so unexpected that I said yes right away, but I found that I had to take that up with my Board because it need their approval." I asked him if he had got it out. He said, "Yes, I have just finished it. Here is a copy of it for you." I then proceeded to go into Los Angeles and talk to people there, and they were big boosters for Imperial Highway because we had put on quite a show, and so we got that road full-width all the way through. Now that was the situation. It was simply urging people and they were generous enough all the way through to give it to us. Because to a certain extent they realized that we were trying to do something for the benefit of California and especially Southern California.

T: Very interesting. What are the future plans for the road and the Association? [53]

K: Well I don't know. As I told you, we have it paved all the way through, although it isn't straight. After we got Imperial Highway paved all the way down to the Riverside Freeway, there was a lessening of interest to a certain extent in Yorba Linda. Like one of our meetings I remember, we had in the clubhouse [of the Yorba Linda Women's Club] the Governor of the State of California. At that time the president of our Imperial Highway Association was the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in El Centro, and he and his wife were both up here to that meeting. That will give you an idea of where they traveled from. We had that Women's Club in Yorba Linda full. That was all there was to it. And I'd say that Yorba Linda was one of the biggest boosters for the Imperial Highway Association. One of our presidents was from Lake Elsinore, and at that time he coined a little phrase that we have used since and that was that "Yorba Linda was the gateway to Imperial Highway." It was to a certain extent, but it wasn't the gateway too much at that time. We were just getting established. To tell you the truth, Elsinore at the present time has more members and has a bigger booster club and attendance at our meeting today than Yorba Linda has. At our last meeting here in Yorba Linda, which was here in March, we had a very small turnout. I think it was only two or three of us from Yorba Linda at that meeting. So there you are--you get something done and there is no demand for it like there was before it was done.

T: You told a very interesting story about it. Now I know that is not the only association you belong to in connection with Yorba Linda. I read where you were a member of the Board of Directors for the Water Company.

K: Yes, I was a member of the Board of Directors for the Water Company, for one term and only one term. I am one of these kind of fellows who don't believe in too many terms, and yet I have reversed that from the standpoint of the Imperial Highway Association. But where people are elected to office, I think it is wisdom for there to be less length of term and less continuation on the board. I think the Yorba Linda Packing House that we used to have here for the packing of lemons and oranges, had one of the best schemes, and that was there were seven on the board and each one took his turn being the Chairman of the Board, but that was all. Now seven years is a long time, far too long. I think that four years is too long with most of our elected officers. I'll admit, as I told you before, that I don't think I'd ever get elected to office because I believe that in as much as our American Legion has officers who only hold office for one year, that [54] the same scheme should be good for the officers that we send not only to Sacramento, but to Washington as well. If we only had them one year there wouldn't be so many of them trying to run for President this year.

T: It would take a lot of the politicking out of their office.

K: Right. It would take ninety-nine percent of the politicking out of it.

T: What were your functions as a member of the Board of Directors of the Water Company?

K: It was just seeing that everybody got some benefits when they moved in and so forth. The Water Company was originally started by Janss. In fact, this whole tract was sold by the Janss Investment Company. Now you probably don't know anything about the Janss Investment Company, but the Janss Investment Company were the ones that sold the property over where UCLA is at the present time. They sold all that country up in there around the University of California in Los Angeles after they left Yorba Linda. I went to high school with the younger Janss. The youngest one, Harold Janss, who has now passed on. They have all passed on. Of course, that was way back in 1906 when I got through high school, and that's about when he got through high schooL

About all there was to the function of the Water Company was seeing the bills were paid and so forth.

T: And was there always enough water out here?

K: Oh, we had plenty of water because we have a well set down here in the stream bed. Not the stream bed itself, but down below Yorba Linda. The Janss Company put in that well down there and they furnished water for each piece of property here in Yorba Linda. They started it, but we took over the Water Company for the farmers here and ran it after they left. I only served, as I say, for about four years.

I was also president of the Orange County Farm Bureau. Later on as a booster, I was president of the Association of Chambers of Commerce, in which every Chamber of Commerce in Orange County was a member. Due to this industry that you see down between here and Anaheim, all of those people formed this Orange County Chamber [55] of Commerce and it took over the functions of the Associated. I also became a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Farm Bureau. I have my dues to pay and everything else. But, as a life member of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, I have no dues to pay.

T: I know you were an early Commander of the American Legion out here; are you still connected with that group?

K: I'm still connected with them. In fact, I am their representative of National Safety at Indianapolis, although I haven't attended the National Security Commission. People don't realize what some of our people are saying about America at the present time. Some of these things I'd hate to say myself, but I get in the messages from Indianapolis that there are a lot of very dubious people. Like some of the old-time military men are dissatisfied. That the only way to keep from going into the hands of socialism is to have a military dictatorship. They say that. Of course, you know what I mean by socialism?

T: Yes I do.

K: You probably don't realize we have only got about five or six percent of the people in the world who believe that we should love our brothers. The great majority, sixty percent or more of the people who organize governments in the world at the present time, their slogan is, "The end justifies the means." If you every stop to think about what that slogan says, it means that they want their own way and they don't give a damn who likes it or not. And that's what Russia says, and that's what China says, and that's what all Southeast Asia says, except a few little ones that we are trying to support. Korea is one of them.

After World War Two, our institution in Washington was enthralled with the fact that we were the greatest nation in the world, and second, they promised to all small nations that if at any time the "big bad wolf" got to breathing down their necks, we would help them out. I understand that was the case in Czechoslovakia when they tried to get away from Russia here about four years ago. They even thought that we would come in and help them. We didn't think that it had been extended quite that far, because that is why we went into Korea. It was because South Korea was being stepped on by North Korea, and that in turn was China, and then came this last one here in which not [56] only Laos and Cambodia, but South Vietnam as well were all stepped on to a certain extent by North Vietnam. Now we are finding out that their support comes from Russia itself. So I'm telling you we have got an awful lot of people that are thinking that we will do the same thing as many of our South American countries have done, and that is go to a military dictatorship.

T: Do you find that there is still public acceptance of the beliefs of the American Legion? Do you find a large audience will endorse it?

K: There is no objection that I know of at the present time, that is, any kind of an organized objection, except the few that we see in the papers of the ex-servicemen from Vietnam. Apparently, from what we read in the newspapers, there is quite a realization--and of course you can't blame them, because this was before they were born--that our government extended its sympathy to these twelve or fourteen little nations to help them. We went in to help Korea and we were successful because we had a pretty good military commander at that time, and possibly it hasn't been due entirely to the military commander, but we haven't been successful in South Vietnam, nor in Laos and Cambodia, who both came in afterwards. But it is the same situation in each of them.

T: Do you feel that a commander such as MacArthur would have handled the situation differently?

K: MacArthur was the finest tactician that we have ever had since George Washington. He was, no question of doubt, the finest tactician.

T: Think the situation in South Vietnam would be a little different now if he was in charge?

K: Had they not crucified him, I think things would be a lot different. Of course, there is no question about it, we found that Japan has been pretty-near our best friend and yet it was our enemy, and it was purely due to him. It was the way he handled it that gave them a constitution and everything else. The only thing he didn't do was to let go of the Mikado, but then I guess it has been just as good as far as Japan is concerned. The old Greeks used to say that a benevolent dictator is the best form of government you can have--and that was before they ever dreamed of our idea of democracy. But that's what they said, a "benevolent dictator." That's what the Mikado apparently is at the present time. He doesn't seem to try to run the country, but [57] they have got some kind of a system over there that MacArthur gave them that has made them friends of America and that is what they are. I look for Japan in another hundred years to have control of all of Southeast Asia. I think she'll have it.

T: Do you think a "benevolent dictator" idea is somewhat like the "boss system" that we see in some cities in America? Do you think that is along the same line?

K: I don't know of any city in America that is not politically inclined, and certainly "politically inclined" is not a benevolent dictatorship. Do you realize that what's his name who was head of Italy up to the time he tied in with Germany in World War Two. . . .

T: Mussolini.

K: Mussolini was to a certain extent the benevolent dictator. His salary for many years was seventy-five dollars a month. I take my hat off to the guy that's that benevolent, and that's what it amounted to. And certainly Italy at the present time is a horrible example of democracy.

T: Yes. A lot of confusion over there. Now retracing a little bit, I read where you are a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. Could you tell me about that organization?

K: The organization, the Order of the Eastern Star, is an affiliate of the Masonic Lodge. You cannot belong to the Order of the Eastern Star unless you are connected in some way with the Masonic Lodge. And are you at all familiar with the Masonic Lodge?

T: Not enough.

K: It was founded very closely on Christian ideals. It dates back a long, long time. We maintain, although we cannot trace it quite that far, that it went back to the Temple in Jerusalem--the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. They were presumed to be builders in all of the countries of the, shall I say "New World," at that time. It was the New World from the time of Rome on, and we don't go quite that far back, but we do go clear back to the early days of England where they were builders, and in Germany, where they had a Masonic Lodge and were builders. So, as America was founded, we came here and established our Lodges under the authority of the British Lodge. [58]

I have not been too much of a student along those lines, but at any rate, I will give you a little idea because I am simply biased. All of our officiation in the Eastern Star, the officers at the meeting wear the long dresses that the women used to use. Once in a while you will see somebody up there with a short dress on, but it will not be an officer. They will just be sitting on the sidelines. But the long dresses, to my sense of old fashioned business, are a reflection on the goodness of the Eastern Star. I have been a patron four different times and I will show you a little miniature cup out here presented to me at one time. I will let you read the inscription on it. My wife was very close to the Eastern Star. She was a matron, and she was secretary for at least one year, and that is quite a job. She was very fond of the Eastern Star. And because I was there regularly with her all the time, I was chosen four different times, and it is the women that do the choosing. The men are just patrons. Of course, if they are patrons and so forth, they are officers. Every member of the Eastern Star has a vote, but it is a women's organization.

T: I see. Well, I have about run out of questions and we have about run out of tape. But I want to thank you very much Mr. Kellogg.

K: Not at all.


Vita of R. Fay Young

R. Fay Young was born in 1895, in a little town called Drake's Creek, Arkansas. In 1921 he came to California, arriving first in Fullerton, and then making a trip out to Yorba Linda from there. He moved to Yorba Linda after having lived in Brea for a few years, in 1923. He has lived here ever since.

Fay Young is another of those multi-faceted pioneers who seemed to be able to do just about anything and everything. During his years in the community, Mr. Young performed orchard care work, worked in the Union Oil fields in Brea, ran a clothing store with his wife, owned and operated a popular little cafe in "Downtown" Yorba Linda, operated a chicken ranch, and grew lemons, oranges, and avocados.

He also served as president of the Yorba Linda Citrus Association, was for a time the chairman of the Yorba Linda Planning Committee, was "elected" Honorary Mayor of Yorba Linda by the Chamber of Commerce many times, and served as the chairman of an ad hoc committee of the Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce to study incorporation in 1956.

Although he has not been too active lately in Yorba Linda's affairs, he still is a well respected member of the community and is very interested in what is going on. Along with George Kellogg and a large handful of others, R. Fay Young is truly one of Yorba Linda's finest pioneers and residents. [61]



Yorba Linda Community History Project


INTERVIEWER: Daniel L. Hoppy

SUBJECT: Remembrances of Yorba Linda's Early Years

DATE: January 13, 1968

[The interview is taking place at Mr. Young's house on 18001 Avolinda Drive, Yorba Linda, Ca. interview. Mrs. Young is present for the interview]

H: First of all Mr. Young, we'd probably best start out by if you were to give me a biographical sketch of your life, starting from about boyhood.

Y: Yes. I was born in the small town of Drake's Creek, Arkansas, in 1895, and my boyhood was spent in this small country town where my father was a merchant. I grew up in this small community, which at that time was quite a timber community, where they had sawmills and made material for making wagons, and made most all of the wood material that would go into a wagon. A Springfield wagon--there in Springfield [Illinois] they had wagon factories you know--and this material made the bow which held the wagon covers that went over the wagon. They also made the round parts, the outside rim of the wheel and spokes, and all parts of the wagon at those hardwood mills.

H: Now, what was a Springfield Wagon? How does that differ from say, a Conestoga Wagon? Is there much difference?

Y: It is a brand name. It is Springfield, the name of the wagon, now Springfield, Illinois where the manufacturing plant was. This material [61] was prepared in this town where I lived, in this community where I lived. We went to school there. As young folk we worked during the vacation period of the school and after school we worked on the farm. We kids that lived around town picked up a little work on the farm by working with the hay crop and harvesting and that type of work.

We had free access to hundreds and thousands of acres of hunting. When I was a kid I loved to hunt! I had one or two dogs and a twelve-gauge shotgun, and I roamed the hills of Arkansas hunting rabbits, and squirrels, and quail, and all that type of small game. I was married quite young. I met Fanny, my wife, one time when she came over to our community. You know, back in those days you didn't have television and radio, you had to dream up your own entertainment. We would have, usually built around the old school house were we attended school, a community sing or a spelling bee, or what we called in those days a "literary," where we had plays that we would put on over at the school. Everything was free, no charge. At one time I believe, there was a singing convention. Fanny came over to that community and that is where I met her at that time. I think I asked to take her home. She was staying at her sisters in that community about a mile from the school house. So you know, we only went together about six months before we got married. Fifty-five years of wedded bliss, 7-17-70.

H: Well, I'll be. Now was Fanny living relatively close?

Y: No. She lived in the adjoining county, about fifteen to twenty miles from where we lived. Now you must remember, that was in the horse and buggy days--when you traveled you rode a horse, or you had a team of mules to a wagon, or you had what was called a "buggy." That was in the days when it would take probably three to four hours to ride from your place to where she lived.

M: I lived in Washington County.

Y: She lived in Washington County, Arkansas, and I lived in Madison County, Arkansas, so I rode horseback when I went to see her when she was home. We wrote letters back and forth, of course. Love at first sight, I guess!

H: What year was this?

Y: This was 1915 when we got married, wasn't it? [62]

M: In July.

H: July of 1915?

Y: This July of 1969 we will have been married fifty-four years.

H: You know that is remarkable. That's really remarkable. So anyway, now you are newlyweds and you are still living in Arkansas?

Y: Yes. I wanted to tell you here about the problem. Her father was a farmer and he was a good one. He made a success of farming. He owned two hundred and fifty acres over in the county where I lived. He farmed also another farm over where the family lived, in Washington County, Arkansas. But when Fanny and I got married, my father, being a merchant, told us, "Now, you kids are. . .you're just kinds, you haven't finished your education. You live here in my home and I'll feed you, cloth you, and take care of you 'till you finish your education." Well, her father said, "Well, if you're not going to school, you can move up on that two hundred and fifty acres up there and farm. And I'll give you a cow." What all was it, Fanny?

M: A cow, and we had a team of mules and so many chickens.

Y: So would you believe it, we took the farm. Now as I look back--and now I realize it more than ever--I was just telling her the other day, "You have to live a life-time to see what an education really means." If I had it to do over again, I would take my dad up on that going to school. Now here we are--we got up to about the seventh grade, and quit school.

Well, we went up there and farmed a couple of years. Then the war came along.

H: Now, exactly what happened here--were you drafted?

Y: That's the World War [One] and we were registered, but we were classified as farmers. I expect that was the only reason I did not have to go to war.

M: Well, you would have been in the next call. [63]

Y: Yes, I would have been in the next call, but at the time the Armistice was declared signed. And then in the next call I was a "Four F" which was then classified as a farmer. I would have gone to war if it had continued, but, as it happened, the war was over just before my classification was called up.

H: So what did you do during the First World War during that time lapse?

Y: We were farming.

H: What type of farming was this?

Y: Well, it was, general farming; like growing crops. Mostly corn, oats and wheat, and things like that. And some stock grazing, hogs, and that type of general farming. But we did not stay at the farm, we stayed over there two years, I guess. And then we moved into town, over to Fanny's county. At Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was a town of about eight or ten thousand. The University of Arkansas is in that town. And I went to work at public work. The first job I had there was with a transfer company, which they had at the time and they did not have a truck--they did have one truck, I think--but most of all was teams of horses and wagons. And we worked at whatever there was to haul. This man Guthrie that I worked for would get assignments for hauling to the University. At that time their heating was done with coal. I remember the hardest job I ever did in my life was to haul coal from the railroad yard up to the university. Also, I hauled it to the heating plant and shoveled that coal off with a scoop shovel. Boy, that was hard work! From that job I went to the A.C. Hamilton Company. It was a packing house for dried apples. I worked there for quite sometime. That was quite a bit better paying job, and a lot cleaner and nicer. On this job you worked ten hours for two dollars and a half per day--that is twenty five cents an hour.

H: Twenty-five cents and hour-this time period would be about 1919 or 1920?

Y: About then, I would say.

H: 1920?

Y: Yes. [64]

H: Twenty-five cents an hour, jeepers! But was that enough to sustain you and your wife then?

M: Things were cheap.

Y: Yes, we lived on that. We only paid eight dollars a month house rent. Is that right, Fanny?

M: Three dollars a month.

H: Three dollars a month. Now that is remarkable, my gosh!

Y: Three dollars a month house rent. And of course, we had a water well right out in our front yard. We did not have to buy any water. I remember the people we rented from had a cow on the back of the lot. They milked a cow. He rented us that portion of their house to live in.

H: Now this well, was it electrically pumped or did you have to crank it?

Y: You would draw it up with a rope and a bucket. I think I went from that job back to transfer--called the Washington Transfer Company. The man's son that owned the commercial hotel in town had this transfer company, and he had a twelve passenger bus that he met the trains with--the passenger trains that come into town. There were twelve trains a day that came into that town. He would meet those trains and pick up the traveler (salesmen) and haul them up to town to the hotel. Must have been ten to twelve blocks from the railroad station. At twenty-five cents a head. Which included round trip, up and back. I worked for him.

H: You were driving for him?

Y: Yes. I would drive this bus. He also had a small truck that he hauled baggage, like trunks, and suitcases, and things like that, up to the university and all over town. You could call up and have your own luggage picked up if you were going to Seattle. Like it is today--you would call up and say you were leaving on such a day and would like your trunk taken over to the depot. Also, this hotel had a display room where these traveling salesmen brought their trunks with them for their goods and they sold them to merchants. Now they had this sample room and they would go there and take these huge trunks of merchandise, and they would open them up and make a display. Then they would call all the merchants in the town--their customers--and [65] they could see the material they were going to buy for their stores before they placed their order. That was quite a thing to haul a traveling salesman to the hotel and bring his sample trunks too. And then of course, his company paid the bill because he had an expense account, all the time. Well, I finally wound up buying a half interest in that business. And I guess we come to California, we kept that a while, and then we in 1920?

M: Twenty-one.

Y: 1921, we came to California.

H: Now where did you specifically come to? Directly to Los Angeles?

Y: I came to Fullerton on a passenger train and got off with just fifty cents in money. I wanted to someone here on Rose [Drive], You know, up there where Rose [Drive] crosses Imperial [Highway] now in Yorba Linda.

H: Yes, I live up there on Wabash [Avenue].

Y: On Rose and Golden [Avenue], if you remember, there is a house that is set back from the street.

H: Is that on the north side or the south side of the street?

Y: South side.

H: Right next to the railroad tracks?

Y: Well, no, it's. . .

H: A little further down?

M: Across the street.

Y: Across the street from the one house that sits near the railroad. There is a house that sits over there.

M: Well, it is all piled up with dirt around it.

Y: The house that we came to is about where all that dirt is being piled in there now. [66]

M: It was a ranch.

Y: It was a ranch house, and the house set back from the street quite a ways. You drove in from the street and drove back quite a ways to get to the house. Now my sister and her husband lived there and I came out there. But I was going to tell you a little story here, it just shows you the courtesy of the West. I came over from the Santa Fe Depot to the Pacific Electric Depot there in Fullerton--it's still there! The Pacific Electric is still there, but they do not run the cars anymore. Now I took the electric car there and came over to La Habra and changed cars at La Habra for Yorba Linda. I asked them how much the fare was and I did not have enough money to pay it, and he said to me, "Oh, that is ok. Who are you going down to see?" I said, "I'm going down to see Earl Hill." Now he is my brother-in-law. He says, "Oh! I know Earl. Come on, I'll take you down there." And he brought me down on the electric car to Imperial and Rose and as I got off the car he pointed over there and says, "There is where Earl Hill lives. Right over there." My wife had not yet come.

H: Now, you came up by yourself?

Y: Yes, I came alone.

H: How did you happen to decide to come to California to begin with?

Y: Well, I had four sisters out here. I just decided to make a change. I naturally wanted to come out where my family was. My parents had previously passed away, and my older sister and the girls had come out to California. So I wanted to come out here too.

H: Now, would they have been married when they moved out here? Or did they just come out here?

Y: One of them had been married. The other girls were single. I had two sisters, I guess, that married in Arkansas. One of my sister's husbands was killed in the war. I just had four sisters left in the family and they came out with the older sister.

M: There was two of them that came out with the older sister and Nella was living with us, and she came when I did. [67]

Y: Yes, I guess that is right. I went to work in California for my first job. I was working for a man that did orchard care and then went back to horses and wagons again. He was cultivating groves with a team of horses, and a disc, and all of the paraphernalia that is necessary to take care of a citrus grove. He was contracting and I went to work for him. He was sure a nice man. His name was Roy Gaulden. He is still living. He is quite elderly though, and he is in a rest-home over in Fullerton. He was a godsend to me because he would harness up a team for me every morning and leave them in the corral, and I would walk over on the Stern's lease, which is about two or three miles, and see the foreman of the Union Oil Company-that is where my brother-in-law worked, for the Union Oil Company, and I was wanting to get on the oil-fields and eventually did--but I would go over there, and if they did not have work for me, then I would come back and get this team and go out and cultivate in the grove.

H: Now this team was in what is now Placentia?

Y: I believe it is the city limits of Placentia now.

M: Just down Rose Drive.

Y: That was on Golden and Rose. That green house that sets up there next to the railroad. Roy Gaulden and his mother lived there at the time. That was quite a highlight of my first adventure in California. It was working for Roy and cultivating groves. Eventually, I got a job with the Union Oil Company, about Thanksgiving in 1921, because I had told this to Mr. Brown when he gave me the job the day before Thanksgiving! I saw him come out of a grocery store in Brea with a huge basket on his arm and a turkey leg sticking out, and "Boy," I thought, "this would be a good time to talk to Mr. Brown about a job!" I congratulated him on the outlook for a Thanksgiving dinner the next day and I said, "You know, Mr. Brown, if you would give me a job, there wouldn't nothing suit me better than eating my Thanksgiving dinner right out there in the oil fields tomorrow." I also said, "It's a good day to remember. I can be thankful you gave me a job and you can be thankful that you're able to give it to me." And he said, " Well, I'll just give you an order to go to work." And I went to work Thanksgiving Day.

M: That was in 1922, because we came out here in the Fall. [68]

Y: Yeah, we came then. I worked for them for five years, then I went into the cafe business in Atwood.

H: Can I interrupt you for one second? What type of work did this entail, working with the oil company?

Y: Working in the oil fields was drilling oil-wells--in those days we drilled with steam. You had to set up two big boilers that carried 120 pounds of steam. And we'd usually have three boilers in a battery and hook 'em up in unison. I dug ditches to lay the pipe lines--waterlines--down through these boilers, and I helped to brick 'em up. I'd fire these boilers and I've helped the the crew drill their oil-wells. I've worked nearly every position in the oil fields.

H: What type of fuel did these boilers use? Was it coal, or gas?

Y: They burned oil and gas.

H: Oil and gas!

Y: Yes. Now when they first started drilling oil-wells out there--I think that field was discovered about 1918 or 1919--they burned oil.

H: Now is this by Atwood, or up in the hills?

Y: No, it's right down here now where the Alta Vista Country Club is. The Alta Vista Country Club is the old Chapman lease for the Union Oil Company. They still have that property, but their discovery was right back of that club house down there at Alta Vista.

H: Their very first pump?

Y: Oh, yeah, it came in a big well! It's still going. Of course, it flowed naturally--no telling how many million barrels of oil that well has made. And at least the count is still going, but it's pumping now. Then, my work was centered around that field, but they were still drilling wells there when I finally graduated out. When you first go to work in an oilfield, you get the hardest job there is. In those days, they didn't have any mechanical way of mixing cement. They mixed it with a hoe--a garden hoe. They had these big old garden hoes with holes in them about this big. There would be twenty-five to thirty men standing around a big vat about two-and-a-half, three feet deep. They'd mix 450 sacks of cement in that vat and pump it down the well [69] to shut off the water. After cementing the oil wells, I went from there to what they call a "rotary helper" and helped the drilling crew. You get a certain ways there, and when you were advanced you'd get to be a "derrick-man," but you work on the top, which gets you a little bit more money. And you go from the "derrick-man" back to the "driller," and that's where the good pay is. That's the best job there is, the "driller."

H: And you worked up to that?

Y: Then I went from that job into the supply--oil-well supply--which worked out of a warehouse, or out the back of a truck at this time. And we hauled drilling bits, and rope, and rubber gaskets, and whatever that was necessary for drilling an oil-well. We hauled it out to the rigs, to supply them. Eventually, in about 1925 I guess, I quit the oilfields and went into business for myself.

H: Now your wife had come out, and one of your sisters evidently, when you first had received this job with the oil company?

Y: What year had she come out in? 1922, I guess.

H: 1922. And you folks lived in Yorba Linda?

Y: Then our first residence, we rented a one-bedroom apartment in Brea. Paid thirty-five dollars a month for a one-bedroom and a kitchenette. We lived up there, which wasn't too close to work 'cause we didn't have a car then. So we heard of Yorba Linda through some boys I was working with in the oil fields--George Kellogg was probably one of them. He was one of the first that I got acquainted with. He said, "There is this little town down here of Yorba Linda. Small place, but you can rent very reasonable." So we came down here and the building is still here that we lived in. Right down there by the water company office is that old two-storey apartment house there [on Olinda Street].

H: Directly across from the water company?

Y: Yeah, it's back a ways. It has the Christian Science Church in it now [currently it houses a business computer store].

H: Yes, I've seen this. [70]

Y: I lived right upstairs, in one of the front windows up there. Eighteen dollars a month. We cooked with kerosene. We had electricity--just one light bulb that came right down the center of the ceiling. That was closer to work for me. I could walk over to work. The walk was about a mile and a half.

H: How did you manage it before? Did you, when you lived in Brea, was it. . .

Y: I'd catch a ride with somebody or walk with someone. And, I think it was the latter part of 1922, I bought a used 1918 or 1919 Ford Coupe. First car I ever owned, a 1918 or 1919 Ford Coupe. I paid 475 dollars for it. I bought it in Fullerton from a man called Wickersham. And he, instead of being "Wickersham Garage" or something like you'd see "Barton Garage" or something like that today, it was the Wickersham Implement Company.

H: It's a rather unusual name for. . .

Y: A Ford agency.

H: For a dealer, yes.

Y: Yeah, and I bought this used Ford Coupe. I used to have to jack up the wheel on it [to get it started]. It's one of those old timers with a coil type starter. It didn't have a battery, it had a coil. And they were hard to start on a wet morning, or a wet night, for that matter. We'd have to jack up one wheel, to give it a little momentum you know, when we were cranking it to get it started. I've also taken hot water from the stove and wrapped a burlap sack around the carburetor and manifold of this old car. And then I'd pour hot water on that thing to get it kind of warmed up to get it to go.

H: It must have worked.

Y: It works. That's right.

H: So anyway, now you've moved along and you've given up working in the oil fields, and you now what--started your own little business?

Y: I started a little business in Atwood, but I only kept it for six months. I traded it for a house and lot in Fullerton. And I'm still living in [71] Yorba Linda, but I traded the house and lot in Fullerton for a business in Yorba Linda.

H: Another business.

Y: Yeah, and the business that we traded for then is the Ladies' Ready to Wear Shop, down here on Main Street.

H: That's directly up from Bill Drake's and the newspaper office, The Yorba Linda Star?

Y: Yeah, right down the street from him. And that's where--now that building, that is a new building from what we had. The building we were in has burned down. They had a fire down there [in 1938] and that burned that out, but we had the back of that building, a three room apartment. We had a counter and a soda fountain, and booths and tables up front, and then in the back we lived. Back there.

H: How long were you there? What was this time span?

Y: We were there from 1927 until 1932, I believe. We moved down the street where one of the real estate offices is--down there, the other side of Barton's. . . of the Union Oil station. You know where that real estate office is?

H: Yes. [it was on Main Street]

Y: We moved down there and operated there awhile, but, eventually, we came back up to where the pet shop is know. A man named Morris built that place, twenty by twenty-four, and I rented from him for awhile and then bought the building back from him and added onto the back.

H: Now what effect did the depression have, specifically on you and your family, during this time period?

Y: Oh, it was bad! One day we got down to. . . we took in four dollars and something. Well, that was from seven in the morning to nine-thirty at night, and my wife and I decided that if business didn't pick up--if business wasn't better the next day--we were going to close shop. But that was a low day. It started after that to pick up a bit. That was along about the time W.P.A. started. That's Works Progress Administration, remember? [72]

H: Yes.

Y: Well, when the boys began to get a little paycheck from that, well, our business started picking up a little bit. We operated a cafe over there where the pet shop is from 1935.

H: In Yorba Linda, on Main Street.

Y: Yeah, until 1947. And we sold that in 1947. In the meantime, we have bought property where the water company is along--you know this dog and cat hospital there?

H: Now this is over in Atwood?

Y: No, this is in Yorba Linda.

H: In Yorba Linda, ok.

Y: Near the water company there, where the dog and cat hospital is.

H: Oh! Yes, yes.

Y: That was our home for a good many years. We eventually sold out in 1947. Let's see, I believe it was '47. We bought the property over here where Michael's Market is [currently a bowling alley]. That was twelve and ninety-hundredths acres of lemons and avocados and oranges--principally lemons--and it had a house on it about where Michael's Market sits now.

H: This was when? Starting in about 1947?

Y: About 1947.

H: And, so now what were you doing? You were retiring from farming or returning to farming?

Y: I had just recently sold that cafe, you see?

H: Yes.

Y: And I was. . . I just sold that cafe and made a kind of tour back East, back in Arkansas and back in Texas, and all over the country. I was [73] seeing a good part of the United States by automobile by that time. Then, we came back here to Yorba Linda, to our home, and bought this property down here where Michael's Market is.

H: And tell me this: how many acres again now? This is four. . .

Y: Twelve and ninety-four hundredths acres.

H: Almost thirteen.

Y: Yeah.

H: And so what did you do? Take up farming then or?

Y: I took care of that grove, and it had a poultry house on it--eighteen feet wide and two-hundred feet long. And I got the bright idea: "Well you got a poultry house; why don't you get 'em some poultry and instead of buying fertilizer you get it both ways: you sell eggs and chickens, and use the fertilizer back on the grove." And now, it worked out pretty nicely. I had a retail egg business there that was really something. And it put people on their honor. You know, I'd be out in the grove working and, that old bell out there, you see it?

H: Yes.

Y: That bell was on our ranch. When the customer would come in and want eggs and chicken, they'd ring that bell. Well, we would have to come out of the grove--we were working out there--to wait on them. So we got to where we'd just pack up these eggs and leave 'em on the table and put a paper out there and told 'em to sign up how many eggs they were taking like: "Joe Brown, two dozen eggs, so much."

H: So kind of an honor system prevailed.

Y: Honor system. I put change out there--put ten dollars of change--and I let 'em wait on themselves, and it just worked out beautifully. Now I suppose we was over at that. . . we lived there fifteen years, didn't we Fanny?

M: Yes.

Y: On this project. [74]

H: Hmm. . . Now, you must have done quite a bit of marketing with your oranges and your avocados and lemons.

Y: I already sold 'em to the Yorba Linda Citrus Association. Now that is down along Yorba Linda Boulevard where the building is still there.

M: Is no more.

Y: They dissolved.

H: It was a packing house, wasn't it?

Y: That was a packing house and Fanny went to work down there. And she worked there in lemons and that was principally lemons. Now, this one over here by the lumber-yard, that house was oranges at that time, all oranges. The other houses were lemons.

H: Now, with your avocados. . .

Y: The avocados--we just kind of sold those--we kind of picked our markets for them wherever the buyer was paying the best price, and that is where we'd sell 'em.

H: Did you ever belong to CALAVO?

Y: No, never belonged to CALAVO. I sold independent. I sold some to McCahn, and when Mr. Corbit was in the avocado business, I sold the avocados to him.

M: And Virgil House [one of the founders of H & H Avocados, which is still located in Yorba Linda].

H: Larry Moriarty now owns the Table Praise Avocado Packing House. Now him and Hoyt used to be partners.

Y: They were partners.

H: You said?

Y: Yeah, they were partners. I used to sell them avocados. And House over at H & H...

H: H & H-Virgil and McCahn and those. . . [75]

Y: Yeah, Yeah. I sold them avocados some too. But you see, I didn't have enough avocados to really say that I was in the avocado business, because we had probably a dozen trees in the corner of the grove. A pretty big majority of our grove was lemons, and that was our principal crop. Oranges and chickens were just a side line.

H: Yeah. Now of these avocados, how did you select? Did you go to each packing house like H & H, or to what is now Table Praise, or to one of the other ones, and ask, "What's the going price?"

Y: Yeah. I would usually just go to the telephone and I'd call 'em up. I'd just ask what's an avocado worth today? There's always a little difference, a couple of cents. Wherever I thought the price was best, I'd sell.

H: What kind of avocados were they?

Y: They were Fuertes mostly, and we also had a few Haas. I did plant half a dozen trees of a seedling that bore very heavy and that was called a Herbert. It's a small avocado--about, oh, probably half the size of Fuerte--and bore very heavy.

M: They ripened earlier. . .

Y: And they stood a little more cold weather than the Fuerte would and came in earlier when prices were higher. In those days they didn't grade avocados; now they grade. In those days an avocado was an avocado. It ought to be that way today because I've never yet seen a culled avocado on the retail market. And I don't think. . .I don't see how they could cull them, unless they could make grades on 'em and unless it be based on the size, because the quality is just the same.

H: Well, one of the units of measurements, I believe, is the oil-content or possibly, the butter-fat contents.

Y: There has to be a certain oil-content before they are marketable.

H: In California?

Y: Yes, in California. Now, they have an advertising method. I think that a certain percentage of your crop goes into advertising. [76]

H: That's correct. That's right, yes.

Y: But in those days we didn't have all that.

H: Did you have problems with trees? I realize that most of this land out here is considered "marginal" land. In other words, you have a topsoil layer that may run for maybe six inches to maybe a little deeper than that, then you have under that a hard clay-pan surface. So as a result, it would indicate that if you would irrigate it that you would be creating...

Y: Root rot.

H: Did this have any effect on your trees?

Y: Along about the time that we quit and sold our ranch, they began to have a lot of that root-rot fungus, and they figured it was from too much water. But I don't know. I always figured it was something like a nematode-something like that. But I'll tell you what happened in my own grove. In the lemon part of it, we quit cultivating, You know, we used to cultivate and sow a cover crop in the Fall of the year, and in the spring we would disc it under.

H: What kind of crop would this be like? Cabbage?

Y: No, this is citrus.

H: Oh, yes, I know, but. . .

M: What kind of crop. . .

Y: The kind of crop would be wild mustard. Wild mustard and--what was the other one?

M: Malva.

H: I know wild mustard used to grow wild all through this kind of area.

Y: Yeah, mustard and malva, and once in while we would sow alfalfa in the grove and disc it under in the spring.

H: Now would the alfalfa. . . did it ever have any effect on the roots of your citrus, in respect to the depth in which the alfalfa grows? [77]

Y: No. I don't. . . I never heard of it, but it wasn't a very common occurrence, the alfalfa. But I found the biggest boost I ever did to our grove was when we quit cultivating and sowing. We used oil for controlling weeds, weed-oil. They do it yet, but for the first five or six years after you quit cultivating, your trees just absolutely respond something terrific. At the time we bought the old grove, everyone thought I was crazy for buying that old run-down grove. They couldn't see any future in it. We quit cultivating that grove, and started putting chicken fertilizer on it, and cutting the deadwood out of the trees, and really taking care of it and. . .Boy, did it come out of it! But then, after six of seven years of non-tillage it started to go the other way. There is something else they have to do to 'em, I think. They probably, no doubt, do know more about it. Now Mr. Adams over there across from Michael's Market, he was the manager of the Yorba Linda Citrus Association. He could be a good man for you to go and see. Now he could really tell you about citrus because he was manager of that house for. . .how many years do you think?

M: Oh, I think it was about 1932 or '33 that he went in there and stayed 'till the house closed, and that was two or three years ago.

Y: Now he still owns citrus. He owns lemons up there across from the Baptist Church on Lemon [Drive]. He has sold off the oranges and subdivided. He still has citrus there, and citrus down on Mariposa [Avenue].

M: And that little grove right in front of his house, right on the other side of Michael's, right across from the library, on the corner [of Lemon and Plumosa].

Y: Now you need to talk to the avocado man if you need to find out more about avocados.

H: Now I understand you were at one time president of the Farm Bureau here in Yorba Linda. Is that correct?

Y: Yeah, Yorba Linda Citrus Association.

H: Yes, what does that entail? What was the function of that organization? [78]

Y: Well, it was just like any other board of directors of any company. That was to keep it moving, keep it going. You know we belonged to the the Sunkist Exchange at the time I was there, and the California Fruit Growers Exchange.

H: Now what was this exactly? You held monthly or weekly meetings, perhaps?

Y: I think we had monthly meetings.

M: I think it was, too.

H: Did you have outside speakers come in?

Y: Oh, no. Ours were pure and simple business meetings regarding the operation of the [packing] house, and the sale of fruits. I don't know how many members we had in Yorba Linda at that time that belonged to this association that sold their products through there. However, the avocados didn't go through that association, they were separate from it. This was oranges and lemons, Yorba Linda Citrus Association. We sold through the Sunkist organization. I couldn't tell you how many growers we had that brought their fruit there into that organization.

H: They brought it up from San Diego?

Y: The Yorba Linda Citrus Association just about kept their growers going. They just about financed the whole operation. The grower, if he had five, ten, fifteen, twenty, forty, or fifty, or whatever number of acres he had, that sold through the house. They also acted as a buyer of supplies for the grower to use on the grove. They would buy fertilizer and weed material and whatever they needed to get their crop grown and harvested went through the packing house. Then after the crop was picked, after it would go through the house, they would take out the expenses that your grower had incurred during the season and pay him what was left.

H: The difference. Now, who did the picking of their actual fruits?

Y: The Citrus Association had their own pickers, their field men. Their foreman that went with these and on the last. There were a lot of Mexicans and nationals come up here from Mexico. They lived down here at Atwood, in that old school building. The last of them did, I [79] believe. And some lived in Placentia. Some of the men that worked in this association here had families, and they were citizens of California, lived here in Placentia and worked through this packing house.

H: Now this would be more or less a seasonal type of job, now wouldn't it?

Y: Well, the lemons, it was almost the year round. I don't believe there was over a couple of months out of the year. . .

M: Hardly a month that we didn't work some. . .

Y: Hardly a month that they didn't work in that lemon house. It is just about year round. Now your oranges--that is seasonal.

H: Same way with your analogy, you have the navel orange and you have Valencia. Likewise, you have the Fuerte and the Haas. So it would be sort of a year round process then. Now did you have any special type of education in regards to this type of farming? How to take care of the orchard or lemons or avocados?

Y: No.

H: You just sort of played by ear?

Y: You just got to play it by ear or hear it from other growers. Now we had also at that time the Orange County [branch of the] California Farm Bureau, and each county was represented in the California Farm Bureau. Each community had their center, the California Farm Bureau Center. Orange County's Farm Bureau is located in Orange--I guess it is now on Chapman [Avenue] in Orange. And, in turn, each community had its own center, like Yorba Linda Farm Center, Placentia Farm Center, La Habra Farm Center, Orange Farm Center, or Tustin Farm Center. Whatever county in the state that had centers, they worked through it, and the farmers organized it. It was a buying organization where we all gathered once a month to talk over our problems, and had speakers come in from the state level, or from some other place. We learned a lot about growing citrus through the Farm Bureau.

H: So in otherwords, you didn't directly take extension classes from the University of California at Irvine? [80]

Y: No. Now Mr. Adams did. Al Adams, he was the manager of our house here, and he, in later years, he studied at Riverside, I believe. He took extension work, but the grower--he never did. He just went "by josh" and guessed, you know.

H: Now first of all, what would you consider the high point of the avocado industry or what was the period in which the avocado is most productive here in Yorba Linda? What years would you know?

Y: I wouldn't know. I couldn't tell you. Now Mr. Corbit can tell you that. Hoyt [Corbit] could tell you that. He was very much into the avocado industry. And both from a buyer's standpoint and a grower's, and also taking care of them, because he had a contract, orchard care business. And he can really tell you about the avocado, I couldn't. I just had one little corner down there with a dozen trees and I didn't much care whether they'd produce or not. Finally, I got 'em so wet they started dying anyway.

H: So naturally they died out?

Y: Yes.

H: You replaced these then with lemons or oranges?

Y: Yes.

H: What type of social life, or whatever, existed in the Yorba Linda area when you moved out here? I mean, what sort of functions did there exist, wherein the neighbors could get together and socialize?

Y: Well now, this Farm Center meeting was really looked forward to and we had some good entertainment in that. We'd have either some of our local group or we'd call on someone out of the community, or we had these potluck dinners at this meeting, always. We'd furnish--each family would make a certain amount of food. You know what potluck dinners are like!

H: Yes.

Y: That's the way we'd work it. The Center would furnish meat--in those days it was cheaper. When they would furnish the meat and the rolls and the coffee, we'd take the salads and the desserts and that line of [81] stuff, plus our knives and forks and spoons and plates and that kind of stuff.

H: And this was the main entertainment?

Y: They were the main entertainment then. We had only two churches in Yorba Linda for so many years! We had the Friends Church and the Methodist [Church]. They were the only two here for many years.

H: Now I guess that the Friends had moved out here quite awhile ago, hadn't they? Did the majority go there?

Y: They were both here when we came here, so I don't know.

H: I see. How about in the area of the Eucalyptus trees? Did you grow them?

Y: I was here before they started growing those. They started out as a wind break. Boy, but the East wind here! Boy, they used to really whistle through and did lots of damage to the citrus. And they started this Eucalyptus project, for wind breaks, to control the wind. It controlled the wind alright, but it also held the cold sometimes too. But I think, really, they did a lot more good than harm. They cut out the circulation of air during cold spells and there was damage from the cold. But I believe the damage from the wind was far ahead of the damage from the cold. But now they're taking them all out again. I don't know what it'll be like.

H: Did you ever raise any of these yourself? On your acreage?

Y: No.

H: You never did?

Y: I had a wind break, but it was there when I went there.

H: Was it Eucalyptus trees then?

Y: Eucalyptus, yeah. We had to cut the roots every year or two from the Eucalyptus. We didn't, in those days, water our wind breaks after they became a certain age. We figured they had enough moisture to live with. It was sort of a dry weather tree anyway. Those long roots would go out for that moisture, they'd come down at your watering [82] trees with them. So we finally got the idea of running a big cutter up there every year or so and cutting the roots. Then by the time they'd get out again, why, we'd go through and cut 'em off again. That seemed to help that row of trees near the wind break.

H: That's one of the questions I was going to ask. How close, first of all, was the wind break of Eucalyptus trees to the first row of trees? Did you have to leave a row empty?

Y: Usually about fifteen feet. Fifteen to twenty feet.

H: And, what of the first row? The one closest that is growing, it could be a second row. But the first row, closest to the Eucalyptus trees, did it ever have any effect on the productivity of the trees?

Y: Yeah, I think it did. I think the tree took away a certain amount of moisture. Also, after it got up to a certain height, they shaded the trees more, you know. But it'd keep the sun off of it until the middle of the day. So I think that the shade hurt the first row of trees.

H: Did you have all you avocados trees bunched or not bunched, but all in one area? Or were they interspersed between lemon trees?

Y: They were when I went. . .they were all in one corner of the grove. Later I quit cultivating. I got the idea, "Well, why don't I put them in the center." You see, in a grove trees--rows of trees--let's say there is eight rows of trees, and in picking we kept one row of trees empty for a drive through. . .

H: That was left empty so that. ..

Y: The truck driver, when they were picking fruit, he'd go through this row and they'd pick four rows on the side and bring 'em here so he could pick 'em up. Well I was thinking, "Well, if I'm not cultivating, why don't I set out some avocados in the center?" Now ordinarily a tree is set about twenty-two feet apart. But someone had set these at eleven feet apart, one way. These trees where set up in what we call "hedge-rowing." That is eleven feet apart.

H: Now what kind of trees were these? Were these lemon or avocados?

Y: These were lemon. [83]

H: Lemon. Ok.

Y: The setting in those days was twenty-two feet apart. But they got the idea, a little newer lemon tree that they felt had a little better root system, a little better tree. So, they intersect. They set it right in the center of this twenty-two foot area, which made 'em about eleven and a half foot apart, you see? Then, the idea was when this tree gets up to producing, they'd cut out the old trees and they'd still be twenty-two foot apart. Get the idea?

H: Yes.

Y: Well, I thought, "Well, now, I'm not going through there with the cultivator to cultivate these weeds down, so I'll set trees in here." And these budded lemon trees that I set out were supposed to grow tall and not bush out so much. So I set 'em in between, to get 'em where they'd get a little more ground.

H: Now what was the spacing? Was there any particular scheme?

Y: 'Bout twenty to twenty-four

H: Ok, but how about between that new lemon tree you just planted?

Y: Well, I would try to put it in the center. I hadn't yet taken these old trees out. Before I got too far into this, why, they'd start buying acreage around here for subdivision and businesses popped in. That was when I thought I was going to get rich quickest. So I sold my little piece of land over there. It's worth four times as much as I got out of it. Anyway, that was the way they used to set their trees when they would hedge-row them, and then set the new tree in between the old ones with the idea that they were going to take the old ones out and still have their twenty-two foot spacing.

H: What I'm wondering is. . .the idea sounds good, but. . .yet with the avocado trees being spaced in there also, and the size of the avocado and avocado tree, was it possible that it was overshadowing your lemon trees and as a result, possibly--if not killing it--at least slowing down the productivity of the tree?

Y: Yes, well, I figured the avocados were going to be the best to have, and to take the lemons out all together because lemons weren't worth [84] anything. You see, about that time they started canning lemon juice--and orange juice, for that matter. It killed the fresh fruit market.

H: So as soon as you start canning, you might as well just cut your losses down and quit?

Y: Why, it didn't even pay to grow them. A lot of people would say, "Well, why squeeze a lemon when you can pour it out of a can?" See? It killed the fresh fruit market. I thought, "Well, I'll just set this grove to avocados, and I'll keep my old trees until my avocados get up to producing and then I'll cut 'em out." See?

H: Now you start with seedlings when you plant these avocados?

Y: No, they were budded trees.

H: How large were they?

Y: Oh, they'd be probably four. . .five feet high. They'd come out balled. Balled in burlap, you know--root system was balled up.

H: How long until they became productive?

Y: 'Bout three years and they'd start bearing. Some of them would start the second year with a little bit of fruit on them, but usually about three years before they'd start bearing. Problem was they were five years old before they'd start to being a paying tree.

H: So did you ever get a chance to see this?

Y: I got to see these trees grow. But I expect that was a big factor in me selling my acreage. Another thing was the poultry investment. What I started with was good. You could really make money with poultry. I had a little room fixed up to be a dressing plant. It was a little dressing plant, and I raised fryers, and I killed them, dressed them, and packaged them, and sold them right there on the ranch. I did very well with my poultry project, not counting it with fertilizer, what I used on the grove. But you know, a farmer never gets into anything but somebody else wants to get into it, and they got into mass production together. That's what's wrong with that farmer today--mass production. You know a farmer, he hardly has anything to sell. All he can say is, "Well, it will cost you so much". The farmer "Ed," he goes to market, and he takes what they'll pay him. He's never [85] going to do any good until it's the other way around, until he can control his market. W ell, I was going along swell in the egg and poultry business, and my old citrus business. Lemon business was no good, the bottom on it had fallen out.

H: Now this would be about 1949?

Y: Yeah, or 1950, along in there. So business started this caged chicken laying flocks. Instead of a man having fifteen-hundred hens that made him his grocery bill and little more besides, why then they started one man taking care of five-thousand hens, and they'd put 'em in these little cages, little wire cages up off the ground, out of the disease. I even built some of them myself. I built probably seven hundred to a thousand cages. Just built them myself out of wire I'd buy through the Farm Bureau. I could see the possibilities in it, and boy, how they started up! Some people have got huge poultry ranches, thirty to forty-thousand hens, and more. Some as high as a hundred-thousand laying hens! Well, there goes your poultry business for the little independent. Then it got to where the man couldn't dress his own chickens and sell 'em out to his neighbors like I was doing there on the highway. You had to go through government inspections. Well, it made it prohibitive; he couldn't operate, he just had to get out of it.

H: So as a result, you had to stop that segment of your investment.

Y: Just when the independent went to work, the big guy got to producing so many eggs--they got such a large amount of chickens, those people that were putting them in--the little independent, he didn't have a chance. It was either get larger or get out. And the little man got out.

H: So, as a result you pulled up short and got out of it.

Y: Yeah, I got a chance to sell my acreage, and I just sold it.

H: How did you decide to sell? I mean first of all, what was the time, and what period was this? The 1960s?

Y: It was about 1958 or '60, along in there. That's when this thing started really going, from '55 to '60. About five years in there. Since then, it has just really skyrocketed, and there's not very many groves left in Yorba Linda. [86]

H: Now, I know. . .like you were somewhat plagued with this cinnamon root-rot. This is very detrimental, specifically to avocado trees. Now I don't believe it affects your lemon or orange trees?

Y: Now lemon's got a disease called "quick decline," it affects lemons and oranges. They got that disease. I was never bothered with root-rot very much. But I had a few trees that died from "quick decline." They'd just be a beautiful tree one day, and the next day they're wilted.

H: It happened just instantly?

Y: That was just it. They would wilt almost instantly. Now it was tragic, some of the groves around Placentia and Yorba Linda and Fullerton that you'd see that would have that disease, that "quick decline." It so happened, they found out it is a certain root-stock that has that. It seemed that anything on a sweet-root stock, had this "quick-decline." They started getting away from that, getting better root-stock up at the University of Redlands. They worked on that an awful lot. I made several trips up there when I was on the Board of Directors, looking at the progress they were making getting a tree that was resistant to this "quick decline" disease, but it took years. It's taken years to get away. Not completely away from it, but yet, they know a lot about it. Then they had trees up there that they were experimenting with this smog, the effect smog has on 'em. You know, smog has an effect on the size of an orange. They've discovered that now. You take a grove along a freeway or a highway where there's lots of traffic and the orange has no size, little stuff like this. Up at Riverside [U. C. Riverside Agricultural Field Station, Citrus Division], they were making their own smog up there, on the trees they were growing.

H: Testing the theory?

Y: Yes.

H: So, there is a detrimental effect from the smog also on the orchards?

Y: That's right, sure.

H: What I'm wondering then, because of this disease and the effect that it has on.. .well, first of all, root-rot on the avocados, and then on your lemons and oranges, perhaps this is going to be a race between population out here and death to the trees through disease. [87]

Y: I'm sure of it. Now I can take you to country where they don't have population and it is virgin soil, down here in San Diego County, most beautiful groves you ever saw.

H: Now, this would be what? Down around the Fallbrook area?

Y: Yeah, down in the area east of Fallbrook. Down there around Rincon [Springs] and that little valley down there [Pauma Valley], beautiful citrus and they don't have population there. But they're getting more and more all the time. Eventually they'll have the same difficulty we all did.

H: Well, they're having a problem, I wonder with the disease, the plant disease.

Y: I don't know. They haven't had any problem down there, I don't believe, in avocados. They got the most beautiful avocados down there that you can see. And I've passed there many times. It [Highway 76] takes you over to Lake Henshaw, fishing, and I went up through that country before it was settled up. Hoyt Corbit and I used to go together back in the '20s and '30s along in there. We'd leave Yorba Linda at noon on a Saturday and go up to Lake Henshaw and stay over night, go fishing, and come home Sunday evening. We'd go right up through there where those beautiful avocados are now, in those piles of rocks that you wouldn't think would grow anything. Here they are the most beautiful avocado groves you could hope to see.

H: That's remarkable, because I know that in Florida now they're raising, or they have been raising avocados--as a matter of fact, their first record of the avocado predates that of California. It was by about six years being grown in Florida. The soil texture is juxtaposed--I mean there is a big difference. In California, you have a granitic type of soil, and in Florida you have a very fine soil.

Y: Well. . . aren't they down by the water table quite a bit?

H: They have a high water table. However, this has not proven detrimental to the avocado industry back there as it has out here. But coming back again to the question of this disease and population, perhaps maybe it's best that the disease came along, or maybe not. The point I am trying to make is that the farmers are becoming rich [88] by selling their land for population development, or housing developments for the expanding population. Whereas, if they kept their orchards for several more years, they may be running at a deficit. Do you agree with this?

Y: That's right. That was happening here. You know they got down here, the growers did, where they weren't making expenses. Now since this population growth in Yorba Linda, so what's going to wind the grower up now is going to be the cost of production. He can't do it--he can't pay his water bill with what it costs to irrigate now with the prices they're getting.

H: What do you think will eventually happen?

Y: I'm sure it's going to bring in more industries, more and more and more industry, and less and less small farms until the little guy can't compete. What I mean is, right in Orange County here, in this area and along the coast where the population increase is, they can't compete, unless they get some much cheaper water. I talked with some farmers just this year and they say, "Well, this is it. We just can't make it." You can't pay the water bill.

H: That's unfortunate.

Y: It is unfortunate.

H: I know I talked to a representative from CALAVO, and he felt that's pretty much the case. But you also brought up the point that with more technology we will learn to be just as productive with less acreage than we have right now. In other words, instead of taking ten acres to grow so many bushels, or so many pounds, or so many crates of oranges and avocados, it may only take half that to produce the same amount, and maybe when that day arrives, that water consumption could make it profitable for farmers to grow again.

Y: Now when I first came to know avocados was in the '20's. After I came to Yorba Linda and got into the restaurant business, there was some of my customers that were growing avocados. A man that was an awful good friend of mine, named [Arthur] Pickering, had one of the first commercial groves, I believe, in Yorba Linda. It was up there on Citrus Avenue. Well, that recently been changed to Bastanchury Road. Well, it looks to me like right now there might be a couple of acres in there of his old trees yet. I drove up through [89] there today and noticed that it looked to me like there's two acres up there, and not one of those is a tree that he planted. Back in those days, he could get as high as eighty cents a pound, 'cause there weren't many of them around. He used to haul 'em up in his car and take them to Los Angeles. He'd sit around up there and get people acquainted with what they were, you know. They were high priced and he used to tell me about what he got for his avocados. If we could ever get people to know what they are, become acquainted with the quality of food they are, they would sell.

H: They would sell, they would catch on, right?

Y: They would catch on. They would sell, and now, now it's like that. I suppose, I don't know what house he's at. I believe he's with that biggest operator in town.

H: H&H?

Y: Yeah. I think they are the largest operator in town. I believe he sells more fruit than the other two combined. But I don't know what his tonnage is that he moves out, but they bring it in from Ventura County and from San Diego County.

H: Now they are independents?

Y: They're independents, yeah. But I believe they pay into this advertising though. Don't they?

H: Yes. Well, those belonging to CALAVO pay a percentage. At first, when they started doing this, some of the people were a little upset because the whole industry profits from the advertisements, even though they are not all paying for it. Whereas, now, everybody pays a certain percentage and that's more fair, I believe.

Y: Larry Moriarty, he has increased the size of his packing shed when he come over here on Main Street. I don't know how much business he's doing. Now, Louis McCahn over there was with Tropical, wasn't he?

Y: I know of three packing houses in Yorba Linda, but I'm only acquainted with two of them.

H: Yeah, Louis McCahn, he belonged to the Rotary Club. I'm well acquainted with him. He's a fine fellow. His brother, he is in the [90] selling end of it in Los Angeles, down in that big market. He didn't know anything about avocados when he came out here, took over this little avocado house for his brother, and got Hoyt to work for 'em after Hoyt sold out to Larry.

H: Larry Moriarty?

Y: Yes.

H: Where was Corbit's packing house? Was it on Main Street?

Y: No. It was right there where the Post Office is [off of Lemon, between Olinda and Main Street]. You know that little furniture store in there?

H: Yes.

Y: That was their business.

H: That was their packing house? So, they only moved a matter of maybe a block or two then. What is now the Table Praise Packing House, what was there prior to that? Can you recall offhand?

Y: I think Larry was buying avocados before Hoyt and him went together. Larry used to come out here in a truck and buy his fruit and take it back to wherever he lives--Southgate--wherever he lived up there north of Los Angeles, and sold it back, packed it, and sold it out faster.

H: Now this dates back quite a while.

Y: Quite a ways.

H: I understand in the '20s or '30s, something like that.

Y: Yeah, it went back quite awhile before Hoyt got in with him. Because they used to come to eat at my cafe, and that is how we came to know about this. I had the only cafe in town and they all would come there and eat.

H: So, it was a good gathering place as well as a place to learn quite a bit about what's going on. [91]

Y: To know quite a bit about what was going on. That's probably why I'm so unhappy now. I don't like retirement because I've always been before the public, and I like the public. I like to be out there and hear what's going on.

H: Right, right. Did you ever get a chance to meet Mr. Knight, Mr. E.E. Knight?

Y: Knight. Yeah, yeah, I did.

H: What type of person was he?

Y: Oh, he was fine fellow, he was in the avocado business too.

H: Yeah.

Y: I didn't know him too awfully well, but he had eaten in my place. Yeah.

H: I know just prior to. . .well, we've had three very detrimental frosts in about the last sixty years. We had one back around 1911, 1912. We had another one about 1935 or 1937.

Y: Around in that period.

H: Now we had a third one, just about less than a month ago.

Y: That's right. Boy, that one back in '37 or '38 was a dilly. I believe that's the worse one we ever had because out here on Valley View [Avenue]--there was lemon groves up and down Valley View then--and that one was so cold there that the trees bursted.

H: Completely broken or just fell?

Y: It burst, it just split. It was that cold. Of course, where the Alpha Beta Market is right now [Valley View and Yorba Linda Blvd.], that was the Warren Ranch then. That was considered the coldest place in the Yorba Linda tract. That's where the weather bureau set the thermometer out there. Boy, it was cold up there.

H: Why would this be? Is it because of some geographical location-is it a kind of draw? [92]

Y: It's a kind of draw where the cold would settle in.

H: Where it would settle in, I see.

Y: You know, I always grew up under the impression that cold traveled at the high point. Down in Arkansas we used to talk about it being cold up on the ridge. Seemed like down in the canyon, it didn't get too cold, but out here, and it would stand to reason that cold goes down

H: Cold air is heavier.

Y: It is heavier, it goes down.

H: Plus, it moves at a faster rate than warm air, surprisingly so.

Y: Yeah.

H: So what effect do you think this frost that we've just had here, less than a month ago, what do you feel that this may have on the citrus industry or the avocado industry?

Y: It has hurt us. Yes, hurt us. It's been damaging. They won't really know until they start to harvest the crop of oranges, because when they start to pick the crop of oranges, then they'll find out how just how badly they're frozen.

H: Now, I know with the avocado. . .

Y: With the avocado, it's immediate. You can go out there on the back porch and see what it's done to my few trees here. I got that big tree there, you can look out there and see one with gray leaves on it. See it?

H: Yes.

Y: All the fruit dropped off! The fruit wasn't frozen; but what it did to them was it froze the stem. See they have a long stem, a long green stem, and that stem freezes.

H: That turns it that brownish color? Then it will snap? [93]

Y: Yeah, and it drops off. Well, but you've got five-hundred pounds of fruit out there. It just dropped off. I've been giving it to all my neighbors. There wasn't no market for it.

H: Yeah. Well, I've heard that the avocados, even if they are frosted, are still edible.

Y: Oh, they're still good.

H: However, they're not marketable though.

Y: No.

H: So, as a result, you have all these avocados, but you can't sell 'em.

Y: Yes. One man says that this hurt him to the tune of $75,000. That's a pretty big loss.

H: It's a lot of avocados.

Y: He had a beautiful grove at Corona. His name is Mr. Bradford, and he said it was going to cost him at least $75,000 in lost fruit alone. Think what the tree damage will be.

H: Is there any type of insurance where the farmer could be compensated? That he would carry insurance that would cover such a loss?

Y: I think he could. I don't know. You can carry nearly any type of insurance a farmer can, but whether or not he'd think to insure his property or not, I don't know. I believe that he was doing it. That's what I'd do. I'd insure it, something like an avocado crop. You take like Mr. Bradford, with his acres of beautiful trees. It seems to me like it would be worthwhile to insure the crop, and he may have. I hope he did because...

H: If not, he has lost a lot of money. Ok, we know that the avocado, when it is frozen, its stem is brittled and browned and breaks, snaps when the avocado falls. Not only that, but the avocado will turn a brownish texture on its skin. How can you tell with lemon and orange trees? Whether they are really damaged? [94]

Y: Well, you can't very well tell unless you cut the fruit. Now a fruit man, well, like Mr. Adams and the manager for the house, it's his business and the field men's to know when this stuff is frozen. They have what they call a "fruit knife," a long-blade knife that is real sharp. They'd go up and they'd pick out a fruit and they'll cut right through the middle of it. If it has frozen, it has turned white and wrinkly inside and the cells would be small--you could see right inside the fruit. It's too early to tell right now on the tree, but you wait two or three months and you go out; you can tell it. You cut that fruit and you can see the frost in it, and because that cell was frozen, it starts drying up. You could tell when we washed the fruit, when we were in the fruit business. I wouldn't be surprised now if they came out with some electronically operating machine that'll pick that frosted fruit right out, but back then, the only way we could tell it was when they went through the washer. The fruit that was frozen would float.

H: Because it was dry inside.

Y: Yeah, and lemons or oranges both, as they went through the washer, they'd float and they'd pick 'em right out. But I believe that they now have up around Oxnard and Ventura, I believe they kept up to date a little better than we have down here. They have some packing houses up there that really can pick out the fruit. They'd pick out the size, I believe, and they'd pick out the frosted fruit.

H: Well, we mentioned that farmers cannot afford to pay their water bills. It's almost come to that, if it's not already arrived with at least some of the farmers. Where then, will the citrus industry and the avocado industry, where will it go? Where could it turn to?

Y: Well, a good many people in Orange County, when they began to sell off to Disneyland, and sell off to the homes and various other industry and everything, when they'd sell their grove they went further north along the coast and bought land and put in new groves. Quite a few of them from here had gone up in that country, and bought acreage and put in groves. How they've come out, I don't know. Yuma, Arizona is another place now. There is a man over there, a good friend of mine, Dave Chris, that had several citrus groves and when he sold out to the houses, and the subdivisions, he went down there in the citrus business.

H: The amount amount of rain that you would receive, could it be comparable to that of Yorba Linda? [95]

Y: I don't know about that. I'm not too well acquainted with the Arizona citrus land, but I know they have cheaper water. He told me that they have, where he was, anyway, they had Colorado River water, and he said that it cost quite a bit less--water cost less--and taxes were considerably less. So, that would be an inducement.

H: Certainly, you're right. Now, since 1947, you've had the orchard, you sold out in '57 and '58.

Y: Sold out in '60, yeah.

H: In 1960, and then from there, you've moved to this present site right here. You've been here and are right now enjoying retirement?

Y: Yeah, if you could say it.

H: Are there any type of activities that keep you active right now? Do you play golf at all?

Y: No, I don't play golf. I like to fish and that's my boat sitting out there.

H: It's a fine looking boat.

Y: I have a boat and a forty-horse Johnson motor on it. I go fishing to the Colorado River, and camping occasionally, and I'm working with a Christian businessmen's group--I'm very interested in that. I'm secretary-treasurer of that group. The chairman this year said, "Fay, you've got more time than anyone else."

H: Right.

Y: But I enjoy that work very much.

H: Well, it has been quite enjoyable talking with you, and as a well-rounded individual, one who has spent many years in Yorba Linda, you've been very valuable to me in this respect and I appreciate your time.

Y: Well, I hope I've been able to help you.

H: You sure have. [96]

Y: It's been a pleasure talking with you, and I expect that had we spent more time. . .maybe I haven't given it all to you. I have given you most of the highlights. I at one time, after I quit the oil fields, I got into it again, though I really needed to work a little bit. It was during the depression, and one of my customers was a Standard Oil man and he offered me a job firing boilers, which was not manual labor, it was something I could do and still run a restaurant. So, I worked about a year for Standard Oil Company at Santa Fe Springs as a fireman.

H: As a fireman. Now, while you were working in oil fields, did you ever get a chance to come across or meet. . .Mr. Nixon's father, I guess it would be?

Y: No, but I stopped at his store. His father's store on Whittier Boulevard. When I used to go up to Los Angeles, you know, back before this influx of people--when it was really back in the early days of California--if we would go up to town, up to Los Angeles, we just jumped into the car and took off. We went right up past Nixon's father's grocery store and service station in East Whittier. Oh, yeah, I could go right to it today, I know that very well.

H: Yes.

Y: But you know, I guess, probably Nixon must have been about nineteen years old when he left Yorba Linda, and we were living here at here at that time, but I didn't meet him.

H: Well, you've lived a very interesting life. You've been a busy man and I want to thank you for your time once again.

Y: Well, it's pleasure, now. Hope that it'll help you in your studies and your records or whatever it is you're going to do.

H: Thank you.


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