Biography of Joseph Bagley
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





JOSEPH BAGLEY. - As one of the thriving business men of the county, and especially of Fortuna and Eureka, where he has been engaged in business for several years, Joseph Bagley is well known and also well liked. His latest venture, however, is attracting much attention, both to himself individually and to Eureka and the county generally. It is the development of the English walnut industry in Humboldt county, the site of the enterprise being the Mattel valley, above Petrolia. In 1913 Mr. Bagley organized the Mattole Valley Orchard Tract Company, which controls two thousand acres in the upper Mattole valley and also has a saw mill there and practical facilities for clearing and improving the land. During 1914 this company cleared and planted three hundred and eighty acres of land to walnuts, and has also sold several hundred acres in small tracts of five, ten and twenty acres, all of these being planted to orchard and most of them to English walnuts. While the company is making a specialty of the walnut, this locality being particularly adapted to its culture, it is not limited to this one line, but has also set out several orchards of apples and pears, the soil and climate of the locality being also well adapted to these fruits. Mr. Bagley is acting as manager of the Mattole Valley Orchard Tract Company, and is doing much for the development of this new industry in the county, which is attracting widespread interest from horticulturists throughout the state. The orchards on the tract are in splendid condition and give every evidence of proving a great financial success. Mr. Bagley, however, does not give his entire time and attention to this one enterprise, extensive as it is, for he is also vice president of the Diamond Fruit Company, of Eureka, and is manager of the Bonbonier Confectionery Store.

From earliest memories Mr. Bagley has been familiar with certain sections of the county, particularly the Eel river valley, where he was born September 2, 1877, and where his father, Eli Bagley, a pioneer of 1869, after a few years of identification with stock raising in the Mattole district, had purchased three hundred and sixty seven acres of raw land and begun the task of improving and placing under profitable cultivation the large and fertile tract. After years of identification with the same neighborhood the father in 1893 leased his farm for a dairy ranch and retired to a small farm near Ferndale, but in 1898 purchased a home in Fortuna and moved to the new location. The improving of the small property became a source of great pleasure to hint One of his original ideas was the training of four trees on his lawn, so that their branches spelled the word "Home," and in other ways he showed originality of ideas as well as artistic ability in landscape gardening. A musician and composer of local fame, his children inherited his talent and became skilled in the art that he loved from youth. A native of Appanoose county, Iowa, born November 24, 1849, he had come to California in early life and in this state met and married Laura Bugbee, who was born in Trinity county, Cal., in 1854, and died June 5, 1888. Five years after her death he married Flora Reese, who was born in Humboldt county April 27, 1874. Of his first marriage five children were born, namely: Ralph, who died at seventeen years of age; Eli F., who developed a half section of land in Oregon; Nancy, wife of Ernest Williams; Joseph, whose name introduces this article; and L. Weltha, wife of Dr. C. Wiggins, of Los Angeles.

Joseph Bagley passed his childhood and youth on his father's farm at Grizzly Bluff and there learned the dairy business at an early age. Later he went to Oregon and bought a dairy farm in the Elk river valley, Curry county, consisting of three hundred and twenty acres, which he improved and ran for five years, meeting with much financial success. He then returned to Humboldt county, locating at Fortuna, where he dealt in notions, sporting goods, confectionery, etc. He also bought and managed the Fortuna Opera House. Later (in 1902) he disposed of all his interests in Fortuna, the store being taken over by the Diamond Fruit Company, of Eureka, of which he is now vice president. Since that time Mr. Bagley has resided in Eureka and has been manager of the Bonbonier Confectionery Store, at the corner of Fourth and F streets, one of the finest confectionery stores in Eureka. The Diamond Fruit Company owns a number of similar establishments in Eureka and Fortuna, and is meeting with great financial success.

It was in 1913 that Mr. Bagley organized the Mattole Valley Orchard Tract Company, and since that time he has been giving much thought and attention to the affairs of this organization, again meeting with much deserved success. The property is sold under a liberal five year contract and is meeting with a ready market. The company is endeavoring to place thereon men who desire to make homes and is making every effort to encourage the best class of people to investigate its plan and the opportunities offered on the tract. Personally Mr. Bagley is very popular with his business associates and also with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. His clean cut, forward business methods place him in high favor with all who have any transactions with him, and his faith in Eureka and Humboldt county is unlimited, as is attested by the investments that he has made and is making, and by this splendid new venture in the development line.

With so many business enterprises to engage his attention it might not be expected that Mr. Bagley would devote much time to public affairs or fraternities, but we find him always willing to aid public spirited projects of undoubted benefit to the community, while in the line of fraternal and social organizations he is a well known member of the Humboldt Club, the Native Sons of the Golden West, Maccabees, Elks, Woodmen of the World and Modern Woodmen of America.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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