Biography of Capt. Forest H. Lancashire
Tulare County, CA Biographies





Captain Forest Henry Lancashire, a veteran of the World war, a civil and mechanical engineer of wide and varied experience and one of the best known and most successful horticulturists of Tulare county, proprietor of a fine orchard at Naranjo (Woodlake) and of one of the best equipped packing plants in the fruit region, is a native son of the old Wolverine state but his interests for many years have centered in the west and southwest and for the past ten years and more in California, he having taken hold in 1914 of the citrus holdings at Naranjo of the late Fred E. Harding, uncle of his wife. With characteristic energy Captain Lancashire has developed that property until now it is recognized as one of the best and most successfully operated ranches given to the growing of oranges and grapefruit in this region.

In the distribution of the Harding estate the Lancashires received the home and the seventeen acres of oranges and grapefruit surrounding the same, also another six acres of citrus. This was in the fall of 1914. Captain Lancashire ran this property for the following season, doing all the work himself and investigating and studying the best methods of citrus culture in the process. The results were so satisfactory that first season that he decided to stay with the citrus business. That he has had no occasion to regret this decision his neighbors well know, for the success which has attended his efforts has gained for him a most gratifying measure of distinction in the best informed circles in the great industry he so conspicuously represents, a distinction that recently (June, 1925) was recognized by The California Citrograph, which gave over three of its pages to a review of Captain Lancashire's career as a grower and packer, with an interesting and informative description of the methods whereby this success was achieved, concluding with the statement that "the expansion of citrus holdings from a few acres to one hundred within ten years, and the development of a noteworthy packing business at the same time well entitles the subject of this sketch to a position on the list of those who have achieved in the citrus industry."

With acknowledgment to the Citrograph article above referred to it may be stated that in the fall of 1915, a year after he had taken hold of his ranch here, Captain Lancashire leased a tract of eighteen nearby acres for a term of three years, which tract later was purchased. Three acres also were planted. Because he felt that he was not getting as good prices as his fruit should command in the market, Captain Lancashire decided to become a packer himself. There was on the ranch property a small packing house which years before had been in operation. This he decided to reequip. His engineering experience here came in good stead and new equipment was installed efficiently and yet economically. The capacity of the house was such that he found he could handle some outside fruit. So during the season 1916-17 he packed and shipped about thirty cars of outside fruit, giving special care to the grading and to the appearance of the pack. As a result the fruit brought good prices and the packing business since then has grown consistently, with a present output of one hundred and fifty cars or more annually.

On the entrance of the United States into the World war in 1917 there was an immediate call for engineers, as that department was organizing all of the special technical corps. Captain Lancashire immediately offered his services to the chief of engineers but was not called until in the spring of 1918. At that time he was commissioned a captain of engineers and was ordered to report to Camp Lee (Virginia) for military training, presently being transferred to the office of the chief of engineers at Washington for special duty on a confidential detail, while on this assignment serving as the executive officer in charge of a section having fourteen captains and various civilian employes. Not long before the collapse of the Teutonic forces Captain Lancashire succeeded in getting assigned to field troops, being sent to the Eleventh Division which at that time was being mobilized for embarkation overseas, and was made commander of Company B of the Two Hundred and Eleventh Engineers Sappers. The war was over before all of the division got to France and in December, 1918, Captain Lancashire secured his discharge and returned to California to take up his citrus work. In the following December (1919) the Captain's packing hhouse wasdestroyed by fire and he then purchased the house of the Antelope Heights Orange Company, which he since has been successfully operating, at the same time continually expanding and developing his operations as a grower. In 1921 he purchased fifty seven acres of young citrus orchard north of Woodlake, a few miles from his Naranjo holdings, and has there developed a fine piece of property. The Captain now owns one hundred and forty acres of orange and grapefruit orchards, is affiliated ^ith the California Fruit Growers Exchange through his mmembershipin the Central California Citrus Exchange, is also an active and influential member of the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce and takes a proper interest in all movements and measures having to do with the promotion of the best interests of the community in which with pleasure he long ago elected to make his home, and to which he and Mrs. Lancashire are as thoroughly devoted as though indeed "native and to the manner born".

Forest Henry Lancashire was born in the city of Detroit, Michigan, October 18, 1879, and is a son of Lawrence Henry and Josephine Mary (Conner) Lancashire, the latter of whom was a member of one of the oldest families of that historic old town, her grandfather, Richard Conner having settled there following his appointment in settlement days to the post of Indian agent in the old fort town. She was born on the site in that city now occupied by the plant of the Chalmers Motor Car Company. The Conners of this line in America are descendants of that Conner who was one of the plucky adventurers in the train of Joliet and Pere Marquette, explorers of the Great Lakes country in the '70s of the seventeenth century. Lawrence Henry Lancashire, a native of England, came to this country in the days of his young manhood and located at Detroit, where, after his marriage he established his home and spent the remainder of his life, his death occurring in 1896. He became one of the leading merchants of Detroit and at the time of his death was vice president of the company operating the Mabley department store there. An instance of his enterprise in business is cited in the fact that he was the first merchant in the state of Michigan to employ bill board advertising.

Reared at Detroit amid an excellent social environment, Forest H. Lancashire was given every advantage in the way of schooling and in 1902 was graduated from the University of Michigan, majoring in engineering and earning the degrees of Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering. Upon securing his diploma he became connected with the staff of the engineering firm of F. F. VanTyle & Company at Detroit, and in the next year (1903) was made construction engineer in the work of building the Davenport (Iowa) interurban electric railway. Upon the completion of these labors he was made general superintendent of the operations of the Davenport Gas and Electric Company and not long afterward was made consulting engineer of the Burlington Railway, Light and Power Company and later chief engineer and manager of construction of the Rock Island Southern Railway Company and was thus engaged until in June, 1906, when he went to Monterey, Mexico, as construction engineer in the operations of the Monterey Railway Company, in charge of the erection of light and power plants. Three years later he established offices in Dallas, Texas, as a consulting engineer and in that capacity had charge of various engineering projects in the southwest, including the construction of the Elk City waterworks, sewer system and street paving, the sewage reduction system at Oklahoma City, the lighting plant and sewers at Ryan and the plans for the waterworks at Foraker. He also superintended the construction of the stormwater sewer system at Dallas, had charge of the engineering on the waterworks system at Hamilton, made a report on the municipal waterworks and lighting plant at Paris, Texas, and was actively connected with the work of construction or improvement of the waterworks, lighting plants and sewer systems of Georgetown and Corpus Christi in that same state. In 1914 Captain Lancashire returned to Monterey (Mexico) as efficiency engineer for the Monterey Railway, Light and Power Company and was thus engaged when Europe went to war in the late summer of that year. The combination of a World war and the revolution then going on in Mexico caused all operations to stop and with his family he returned to the States, losing most of his personal property in the transfer. On his arrival in St. Louis he came down with an attack of typhoid fever. About that time Mrs. Lancashire had fallen heir to a third interest in the citrus holdings in Tulare county of her uncle, Senator Fred A. Harding of Monmouth, Illinois, and upon his recovery he and his wife decided to come to California and settle upon this place at Naranjo. As set out above, they never have had occasion to regret the choice then made and they are very comfortably situated in their California home.

It was on May 26, 1906, at Monmouth, Illinois, that Forest H. Lancashire was united in marriage to Miss Lois Harding, a member of one of the old and influential families of that city, and they have one child, a daughter, Lois Justine, born in 1913. Captain and Mrs. Lancashire are republicans and take a proper interest in local civic affairs as well as in the general social and cultural activities of the community in which they live. The Captain is a member of the American Legion and takes an interested part in the activities of that patriotic organization. In 1906 he was elected a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, one of the youngest men ever achieving membership in that body, and is widely known in engineering circles. He is a member of the College fraternity, Theta Delta Chi.

From:
History of Tulare County, California
By: Kathleen Edwards Small
and
Kings County, California
By: J. Larry Smith
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1926


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