Biography of Chester A. Crosby
Riverside County, CA Biographies





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.

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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