Biography of John G. North
Riverside County, CA Biographies





JOHN G. NORTH
In the death of John G. North in London„ England, January 9, 1910, Riverside lost a worthy pioneer. He was born in St. Anthony (now Minneapolis), Minn., September 16, 1855, a son of Judge J. W. North, founder of Riverside. The first six years of John G. North's life were spent in his birthplace and the next year in central New York. Then, in 1861, he joined his father in Nevada, where he received his preliminary education and later attended the University of the Pacific at Santa Clara, Cal. In 1865 the family returned 'east and the following year Judge North located in Knoxville, Tenn. There the son continued his studies until 1870, when he joined his father, who had just organized the Southern California Colony Association and concluded the purchase of the tract of land upon which Riverside is now situated, and the following four years he served as assistant secretary of the association of which his father was president.

In the meantime, in 1872, Mr. North became telegraph operator for the Western Union in Riverside, being the first to send and receive messages in the new colony. Resigning his position in 1874 with the association, be went to San Francisco, where he had secured a position in the sub treasury and mint and for the following two years was in the employ of the United States government, after which he became cashier and manager of a leading business house in that city. In 1881 he returned to Riverside and located on twenty acres of land on Cypress avenue and North street and for a time devoted himself to horticultural pursuits: He was called upon to aid in many enterprises for the development of Riverside and gave freely of his time and means in those interests. He was one of the incorporators, in 1883, of the Citizens' Water Company and for years was a director. He was also a director and one of the organizers, in 1884, of the Riverside Water Company and from August 11, 1885, to June, 1887, was superintendent. In the latter year he resigned his position to become land agent for Richard Gird's Chino ranch and spent several months in Pomona. Returning to Riverside in September, 1887, he again became identified with this city and in March of the following year was elected president of the Riverside Water Company. He also served as president of the Riverside Improvement Company, both of which offices he resigned in 1890 to become the general manager of the Bear Valley Land and Water Company, making his home in Redlands for a short time. Soon afterward business reverses overwhelmed him in serious financial losses and the climax was the destruction of about fifty thousand dollars worth of nursery stock by frost and the panic of 1893 left him without a dollar He was a great student of Napoleonic history and through the inspiration of Napoleon's career decided to take up the study of law in his fortieth year. He was admitted to the bar April 10, 1894, and began practice in Riverside. He soon built up a large clientele and overcame the handicap of his late start in life and scored success in his profession. In 1900 he was a candidate for superior judge against J. S. Noyes and his defeat was a bitter disappointment but proved a most fortunate happening, as during the latter years of hips life he had one of the best paying practices in the state and built up a comfortable fortune.

Mr. North carried the struggle of the Home Telephone Company for a franchise in Riverside to a successful ending and was then called into counsel in a similar fight for the company in San Francisco and Oakland and carried it through. He was attorney for the Riverside Trust Company and its allied corporations and for the Bank of California in their suit against Matthew Gage and it was on a trip in the interests of this case that he died, in London. He was a stockholder and director in the Citizens' National Bank and the Security Savings Bank of Riverside, and was a member of the National Geographical Society; the National Forestry Association; the California Water and Forest Association, which he served as president two years; the Los Angeles Bar Association; the Southern Archaelogical Institute; the Sequoia League; Sierra Club; the Commonwealth and Olympic Clubs of San Francisco, and the Auto Club of Southern California. He was a Knight Templar Mason and a member of the Knights of Pythias.

In 1876 Mr. North was united in marriage with Miss Augusta C. Nourse, who died in 1891, leaving four sons, who now survive their father: John C., Maurice E., Alfred C., and Richard L.

Mr. North was a courageous man, who, when once he had made up his mind he was right, never deviated from his course an iota to appease any opposition that was brought against him. From tributes of friends at the time of his death we quote as follows:

"If John North had a fault it was extreme loyalty to his friends and a determination to do what he believed to be right, regardless of consequences. He cared little for idle gossip or opposition, or, if he cared, never allowed it to ruffle his composure for an instant His recreation was hard work. . . . Mr. North was a man of wonderful versatility. His knowledge of literature was amazing, when it is considered how busy was the man. He could quote pages from the masterpieces of the great writers. . . . His memory was extraordinary, it was a treasurehouse of valuable information and this was always available to its possessor. He had a wide acquaintance through the entire state and was known and respected by all classes of people His loss will be felt keenly by many people outside of Riverside who are not known in the city where he made his home." Francis Cuttle.

"John North is dead. I am shocked beyond all measure. . . . I had the pleasure of being one of his close friends. . . I learned to respect his ability as a lawyer and his worth as a man. . . . He was an indefatigable worker, with a clear insight and grasp of the law. He had a forceful and assertive temperament and was never without an opinion and, while this made some enemies, it drew to him hosts of friends. . . . It is late but it is eminently proper to eulogize and while so doing let the mantle of charity fall over whatever of fault he may have committed. He was my friend and I lay this tribute on his grave. He was an honest and upright man, a loyal friend and an exponent of the law whose death is a distinct loss to the bar of California." Judge Densmore.

"He was a man who impressed everybody with his energy and business sagacity in employing that energy. Through all his work, his endeavor in this section, he became endeared to everyone who came in contact with him by his warm hearted manner of meeting and treating all his friends. He was a man who felt a great sense of obligation to his friends, so much so that he sacrificed his own business often for the sake of going to the assistance of a friend. He raised himself out of obscurity by his own sheer ability and made a place for himself which was an enviable one. A sympathetic man of warm impulses, a man who made hosts of friends and deserved everyone he had. We shall miss him sadly in Riverside, and the whole state has lost a valued business man, a talented attorney and an unswerving friend. " E. W. Holmes.

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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