Biography of Jose Jensen
Riverside County, CA Biographies





JOSE JENSEN
Ever since the era of western history whose initial period was marked by the discovery of gold in 1849 the Jensen family has been intimately connected with the material development of the commonwealth and particularly with that portion thereof embraced within the present limits of Riverside and Los Angeles counties. Different races blend their blood in the veins of the present representatives of the name. The maternal progenitors were of ancient Spanish lineage and long ago sought the sunny land of California. On the paternal side of the house the ancestry is of honorable Danish lineage and as far back as the genealogy can be traced the forefathers lived and labored in the little rugged, storm swept land separating the North from the Baltic sea.

The family history shows that Capt. Cornelius Jensen, born in Denmark in 1814, early went to sea as a sailor and rose to the rank of captain, commanding his own vessel for twenty years. Meanwhile he visited the principal seaports of the world and acquired a cosmopolitan knowledge that made him an intensely interesting conversationalist and genial companion. To a man of his courageous temperament and love of adventure the discovery of gold in 1849 proved a lure that could not be resisted. Giving up the command of his vessel after arriving in California, he followed the call to the mines. Here his experiences were similar to those of other Argonauts of the day. Mercantile pursuits later engaged his entire attention and he remained in the camps of the northern part of the state until 1853, when he removed to Los Angeles. The now prosperous metropolis was then a hamlet of adobe houses inhabited by Spaniards, many of whom had belonged to the nobility in the old home land and represented an aristocracy ancient and honorable.

Destiny had led the rugged and bluff sea captain to Southern California to meet his fate in the dark eyes and sweet face of a young Spanish beauty, Mercedes Alvarado, who was born in Los Angeles of Spanish ancestry but Californian parentage. The newly married couple began housekeeping in San Bernardino county, where the captain carried on a general store at Ague Mansa and became well known throughout all that section of the country. As he began to accumulate money he invested it in property until he had purchased several hundred acres in what is now Riverside county and later he acquired the title to a part of the Rubidoux ranch, where he settled in 1869. He bought over five hundred acres of land near Murrietta which was devoted exclusively to the stock business. Under his energetic efforts the place was improved and made profitable. Alfalfa yielded large crops of hay. A small orange grove and a vineyard brought their annual harvests to swell his growing income. On the land he erected the first brick house in the county, a substantial structure that formed an attractive and comfortable home for the family. In this house he died December 12, 1886, and here his widow still resides, surrounded in her advancing years by the love and ministrations of her descendants and the respect of a large circle of friends. For about fourteen years Captain Jensen served on the board of supervisors in San Bernardino county.

Born in Los Angeles county August 19, 1855, Jose Jensen grew to manhood in what is now Riverside county and remained at the old homestead until his marriage, February 9, 1886, to Miss Valencia M. Case, a native of Ohio and for some years a teacher in that state, Nebraska and California. After his marriage Mr. Jensen settled on a ranch of one hundred acres within two miles of Riverside and here he has since resided, meanwhile having increased the size of the ranch to one hundred and fifty acres. The residence was erected under his supervision as were also the other buildings on the place. The greater part of the ranch he has placed under alfalfa, but there is also an orange grove of seven acres in good bearing condition. In addition to the home place he owns three other ranches which he devotes to the pasturage of cattle and horses and he further owns a house in Riverside, so that his property holdings represent a large valuation in the aggregate. In his work he has had the assistance of his only child, Walter C., a capable young man, who received a high school education and later attended the Riverside Business College for two years.

The principles of the Democratic party have received the support of Mr. Jensen and frequently he has acted as a delegate to local conventions. For four years he served as deputy assessor and he further aided local affairs by service as a judge of elections. Not only is he well informed regarding political matters, but he also possesses a broad knowledge of local educational affairs and through a service of some fifteen years as a member of the board of education, he promoted the welfare of the school of his district. His father was one of the organizers of the irrigation ditch that waters part of this section of county and after his death it was incorporated as the Jurupa Ditch Company, of which Jose Jensen has since been connected in an official capacity, now being superintendent. This is the oldest ditch in the county. The ranch at Murrietta is now owned jointly by Mr. Jensen and his mother, he looking after the interests. It has been Mr. Jensen's privilege to witness the remarkable development of Southern California and he is proud of the fact that he is one of its native born sons, proud also of its standing as one of the most productive regions in the country and as returning from its soil a per capita income not surpassed by any other portion of the West. In 1911, with a partner, Mr. Jensen engaged in the real estate business in 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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