CHESTER AUGUSTUS CROSBY
A pioneer citizen of Riverside, and a man who is highly esteemed for his good qualities and public spirit, is Chester
A. Crosby, who was born July 11, 1845, in Putnam county, N. Y., a son of David and Elira (Marvin) Crosby, both
natives and lifelong residents of that county. David Crosby engaged in the shoe business at No. 40 East Broadway,
New York City, for several years. He died at the age of about thirty.
C. A. Crosby was left fatherless at a tender age and was taken into the home of a relative who reared him to young
manhood. Upon completing his public school studies at the age of sixteen, he entered Claverack College on the Hudson
and took a two year course, later taking a commercial course to better fit himself for life's duties in the commercial
world. At the age of twenty one he engaged in the shoe business, in partnership with an uncle, F. G. Crosby, in
Ottawa, Canada, under the firm name of F. G. & C. A. Crosby. This concern grew gradually until it was the largest
of its kind in that city. In 1879, on account of the ill health of his wife, Mr. Crosby decided to seek a milder
climate, and, selling out his interest in the business, came to California and located in Riverside. At that time
there was but little to attract the settler; no business center to show that there was a rich country surrounding;
no streets improved as seen today; the fruit industry was in its infancy and experimental stages; but water was
being developed and there was a class of people already located here who had come to open up the way for better
things. They had come from the various parts of the country, from trades, professions, and other occupations, all
with one end in view-that of making a home in the wonderful health giving climate of the Southland-all willing
to endure privations and hardships to attain the object of their migration hither. All this was brought to the
eye of Mr. Crosby, and like them, he decided to cast in his lot with these pioneers and assist in building up a
city and county, and that he has done his share, all with whom he has been brought in contact willingly concede.
Mr. Crosby made a purchase of thirty acres of land on Arlington avenue, in a location that seemed to be favored.
The soil was rich and productive, and he improved his property by erecting buildings and cultivating the land,
putting out a vineyard, apricots and oranges, and for a time it prospered and was one of the show places of Riverside.
About the year 1891 he sold twelve acres to Mrs. William Thaw, the consideration being $16,000, which shows the
increased valuation. In 1899 the crops began to decrease, and it was found that the entire property was almost
a total loss, caused by seepage water, damaging him to the extent of over $30,000. Thus was all hope of an independent
income destroyed, but he at once sought another location. In 1900 he accepted a position with the late C. E. Rumsey,
becoming the manager of a ranch purchased by him at that date. This consisted of eighteen acres of oranges in bearing
and was the nucleus of the now famous Alta Cresta groves owned by the estate of C. E. Rumsey, consisting of one
hundred and seventy five acres. Since 1900 he has occupied the position of general manager of this property, and
the one hundred and fifty seven acres that have been added to the first purchase have all developed under his careful
personal supervision. The land was originally covered with greasewood and sage brush- this giving way to oranges
and beautiful drives, where tourist and citizen may enjoy all that nature and taste can offer in the making of
a city beautiful. The drive through these grounds has been one of the show places of Riverside for years.
Mr. Crosby is a Republican in political belief and a most progressive citizen. He was united in marriage at Carmel,
Putnam county, N. Y., May 18, 1868, with Miss Emma E Fowler, a native of that county, and a woman of culture and
refinement. Three children have been born to them, viz : Chester E., a resident of San Diego; Harold D., of Pasadena;
and Ruth, at home with her parents. The daughter received her schooling in Mills College, at Oakland, Cal. Mr.
Crosby and his family are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Riverside, in which church he is a charter
member, and for the past twenty years has efficiently served as elder. He assisted in the organization of the Magnolia
school district and for about fifteen years served as clerk of the board. The warm, practical interest Mr. Crosby
has ever shown in the welfare of his fellow men is worthy of emulation.
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
Riverside County, CA
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