Biography of James D. Clapp
Riverside County, CA Biographies





JAMES D CLAPP
Years have come and gone since the death of James D. Clapp, but so well had he lived and so thoroughly had he impressed his personality upon various lines of activity that his accomplishments have not been forgotten. He became identified with Riverside at an early day, when its present prosperity was undreamed of and when settlers were few and improvements lacking. Under these conditions he identified himself with fruit growing interests, and at no time did he become discouraged with his undertaking, continuing to develop and improve his property from that time until Death stilled his hand.

The ancestry of the Clapp family can be traced to dearly New England history. Nathan Clapp, the father of James D., was a native of Connecticut, where he grew to manhood and later estabished a home of his own. When his son J. D. was a child of two years the family home was transferred to York, Livingston county, N. Y., where his boyhood was passed. The time and place were conductive to obtaining only the most meager opportunities for an education, but notwithstanding this, by diligence and determination he acquired an excellent education. Several institutions contributed to this end, but none more than the Wyoming (N. Y.) Academy, an institution well known in that day. For a time a leaving the academy he taught penmanship in Temple Hill Academy, at Genesee, N. Y., but after giving up this position he turned his attention to mercantile pursuits. The breaking out of the Civil war about this time made him ambitious to join the ranks and assist in maintaining his country's honor, but ill health prevented this. During the period of the war he was making his home in Hazel Green, Delaware county, Iowa, but subsequently he returned to New York, settling on a farm in Livingston county Deriving no benefit from the change of location, he determined to come to California in the hope that the balmy air and sunshine would restore his health. Coming to Riverside in the year 1871, he soon began to see a change for the better, a circumstance that naturally attracted him to the place, and he determined to make it his permanent home. His foresight as to the future of the locality proved well founded, for he lived to see it grow from an undeveloped country to be one of the best known fruit sections of America, and he also had the personal satisfaction of knowing that he had taken an active part in bringing about these conditions. Upon coming to Riverside he bought twenty acres of land on Brockton avenue, which he set out to oranges and other fruits. Later, in 1880, he purchased two and a half acres on Ninth street that was sold by his daughter to the city a year ago. Here his last days were spent and here he passed away March 23, 1896, when in his seventy ninth year. Conservatism and good judgment may be given as the keynotes to the success that came to him in his various enterprises. During his entire business career he never showed the recklessness of investment so common in this day and generation. On the other hand he was very conservative, and so accurate was his judgment that he rarely had cause to deviate from his decision. Public life had no attractions for him, but he was a stanch Republican and always supported party men and measures. The Congregational Church of Riverside benefited by his membership and support, and many charities and private individuals were recipients of his benefactions.

Mr. Clapp's marriage, in Livingston county, N. Y., united him with Miss Mary Jane Dodge, who was born in that county the daughter of John Dodge, a volunteer in the war of 1812 who had moved there from New England and settled on a farm. Mr. Dodge was one of three county school visitors (a position corresponding to that of county school superintendent of the present day) and filled the office without remuneration, considering it a privilege to thus help this community. He was born in Wardsborongh, Windham county, Vt., October 24, 1784, and died in York, N. Y., April 30, 1853, when sixty eight years old. Mrs. Clapp was educated in the public schools of her home county and in Rochester Female Seminary, after which for a time she taught school in New York. After the death of her husband she continue to reside in the old homestead, until her death, which occurred November 9, 1902. This was also the home of her only daughter, Helen E., until her marriage to S. G. Ames, of San Diego. A niece of Mrs. Clapp, Miss Nancy M. Burt, has been a member of the household ever since she accompanied the family to California. She is at present residing at No. 992 Mulberry street, Riverside.

From:
History of Riverside County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Elmer Wallace Holmes
And other well known writers
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1912


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