CAPT. LYMAN C. WAITE
Associated with the history of Riverside from its beginning is the life history of Capt. L. C. Waite, who has always
been counted one of the most progressive and public spirited citizens of the county and city of that name. He was
born in Walworth county, Wis., September 12, 1842. His parents, Sidney and Parmelia (Barker) Waite, were both natives
of western New York, where his father followed farming and assisted very materially in opening up that section
of the country. It was in 1836 that the scene of activity was transferred to Wisconsin and there the pioneering
continued under more trying conditions. In the vicinity of Sheboygan Falls, Fond du Lac and Appleton this son grew
to boyhood and young manhood amid the environments of frontier life. His early education was obtained in the schools
of the neighborhood and being of a studious nature he was given the best advantages that conditions and surroundings
would permit. He worked with his father on the farm during his school days and thus laid the foundation for a sturdy
constitution. After he had completed the common school courses he was permitted to enter Lawrence University at
Appleton in 1860.
Soon after this eventful period in his career the Civil war with its call of patriotism absorbed his attention
and he could not resist the desire to rally to the support of the flag and give what assistance he could to preserve
the Union. His course of study was brought to an abrupt ending by his enlisting as a volunteer in 1862 and he was
assigned to Company D. Twenty first Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Col. B. J. Sweet commanding. He entered
upon his new life with a zeal and energy characteristic of him and though but twenty years of age, his soldierly
bearing and bravery on the field of battle so attracted his superiors that he rose rapidly through the ranks of
the non commissioned officers to a lieutenancy and was later made captain of Company C and served with distinction
and bravery throughout the conflict. After its reorganization at Chattanooga his regiment was attached to the First
Brigade, First Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, and with it he took part in some of the hardest fought battles
and campaigns of the war, serving under some of the most noted men in our history, Sherman, Grant, Rosecrans and
Buell, and during his term of service participated in forty two battles and skirmishes and was with Sherman in
his March to the Sea, also participated in the Grand Review at Washington, D. C. The history of his regiment forms
one of the bloody chapters in the annals of the war. One year and eight days after its organization there were
but forty two men able to report for duty and it was commanded by a captain; his own company could muster only
five enlisted men and two officers; the latter were on detached duty or it is doubtful if they would have been
numbered among the living.
The war over, Captain Waite received an honorable discharge and returned to civil life at his old home in Wisconsin.
He reentered the university and completed his course of study and was graduated three years later and at once began
teaching school. In 1869 he located in Belle Plaine, Iowa, and became principal of the graded schools. In 1870
he entered the law offices of Clark & Tewksberry and in October of that same year was admitted to practice
at Toledo, Iowa. It was but a few weeks later that he decided to come to California and on December 8 we find him
in Riverside. His capital amounted to $100, but he had experience, a personality and unbounded energy and perseverance
and he entered upon a career here that soon won praise and confidence in his ever widening circle of friends.
In January, 1871, he was admitted to the bar in San Bernardino county and at once opened an office in Riverside.
He was the first justice of the peace elected in the new colony and was the first notary appointed here, holding
these offices four years. In 1872 and '73 he taught school in Riverside and during these years was also engaged
in horticultural pursuits, although at that time the work was purely experimental. In this way he laid the foundation
for his later success. He first purchased ten acres of land and to this he added fifteen more and after he had
developed it and carried on a nursery business for some time he sold both tracts and again made other purchases
until he had quite a large acreage. In 1873 he started a nursery in Riverside and in 1886 took as a partner J.
A. Simms, the firm being known as Waite & Simms In the nursery business he became well known and the business
grew from a small beginning to one of large proportions. He also started two nurseries in Redlands and two in Highland.
As an orange grower he met with good success and by years of constant research and application he produced some
of the finest trees in the world and also owned a model grove, which had been one of his aims in life. Selling
his original purchases he again bought property in the growing city and set out a grove of oranges and erected
a comfortable home for his family.
The first marriage ever celebrated in the new colony was that of Captain Waite and Miss Lillian M. Shugart, the
only daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Shugart, pioneers of this section. The ceremony was performed by Rev. I. W. Atherton
on April 5, 1872. There have been six children born to this worthy couple, the eldest of whom, a son, was accidentally
drowned when two years and eight months old. The others are: Marion P., a graduate of Stanford University and now
a broker in Los Angeles; Charles E., also graduated from Stanford and now connected with the Riverside Savings
and Trust Co; Lillian Martha, a graduate of Marlborough Institute; and Leilia M. and Mildred M., both attending
the Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood.
Mr. Waite is connected with twenty two corporations, among which we name the following: President of the La Mesa
Packing Co. since 1894; oldest living director and one of the organizers, in 1885, of the First National Bank of
Riverside, of which he was vice president from 1885 to 1900 and then president until 1905; president of the East
Riverside Water Co. for sixteen years; is director of the Artesia Water Co.; of the Pacific Lumber Co.; of the
Loring Opera House Co.; president and largest stockholder in the Highland Domestic Water Co. of San Bernardino;
director and stockholder in the coast line of the Santa Fe Railroad; assisted in organizing and for five years
was president and is still a director, of the Riverside Savings and Trust Co. He has been identified with the orange
growers' associations and other enterprises that have had for their object the advancement of the city's welfare
and growth and never has been called upon in vain to aid all such movements. He has always been mindful of his
duties as a citizen while advancing his own interests and has given of his time and means to beautify the city
to make it the attractive place it is today for tourist and settler. In the early days of the colony's struggles
he exerted an influence for good and was the means of bringing many settlers to Southern California. He has served
in the city council five years, being elected from the first ward in 1906 and retired in January, 1912. During
these years he was instrumental in building streets and otherwise beautifying the city.
Captain Waite is a member of Riverside Post, No. 118, G. A. R.; is a member of the Loyal Legion and vice president
of the San Bernardino Valley Division; he is a charter member of the Chamber of. Commerce of Riverside and a loyal
supporter and advocate of all of the progressive movements of that body. In their home on Mulberry street they
are surrounded by comforts and luxuries that have been made possible by Mr. Waite's success in business affairs.
As a man and citizen the captain is always the genial, refined gentleman, and now in the evening of his days he
can look back upon a life well spent and with no regrets.
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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