Henry Washington Byron

A career of much unusual activity and usefulness has marked Henry Washington Byron as one of the valued citizens of his com­munity, he having been a strenuous worker in the pioneer days, evincing high traits of character and forceful will. Much credit is due him for his work and expense in securing the winery at Lemoore and the organization of the Kings County Raisin and Fruit Associa­tion, which has proved a splendid influence for good among the fruit growers of the community. Henry W. Byron makes his home a mile north of Lemoore, Tulare county. He is a son of an English­man, Peter Byron, who located in Pennsylvania and there married Mary Hesketh, a native of that state and of Dutch stock, and took her with him to Ohio. Six children were born to Peter Byron and wife. James served in the Mexican war as artilleryman and during an engagement lost his left arm by a premature discharge; Philander served in the Civil war and was a prisoner at Andersonville ; William was also in the Civil war, being a prisoner at Libby Prison; Olive became the wife of Mr. Greensides and went to live in Ohio ; Eliza­beth married in Peoria county, Ill., and lived at Elmwood, Ill.; and Henry Washington, born in Ohio, February 22, 1840, was so named because of the date of his birth.

When Henry W. Byron was seven years old he accompanied his parents to Illinois, where he lived until 1859, coming then to San Francisco by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and in 1860 was a miner in Placer county. In the year last mentioned, following the lure of the gold-seekers, he went to Australia, where he mined until 1864. Returning to San Francisco he made his way to Somersville, Contra Costa county, where he worked in a coal mine until August, 1869. Then, with $25 in his pocket, he started in a spring wagon to move to Visalia, but at the ferry at Kingston he heard such glowing accounts of the land in the Mussel Slough country he drove to that point and took up one hundred and sixty acres where he now lives. He soon found employment digging ditches and making barriers of willow trees as protection against wild cattle and horses. Two years later he and twenty-five other men organized and constructed the Lower Kings River ditch which was a boon to the whole section of country. After eight years of grain farming he began setting out vineyards, his first venture having been on forty acres. The next year he started a fourteen acre apricot and nectarine orchard and put some land under alfalfa. He now has seventy acres of vineyard and fourteen acres of fruit trees, and except for eight and a half acres which he gave for a cemetery the remainder of his homestead is under alfalfa. During recent years he has interested himself in oil and has become a stockholder in the following companies: The Devil's Den Consolidated, the Tresseiretos Oil Company, the Alamo Oil Com­pany, the Pluto Oil Company and the Lemoore Oil Company.

While in Australia Mr. Byron was married to Rosina Gallard, daughter of Matthew and Frances Ann (Smith) Gallard, both natives of England, near Kent. Mrs. Byron was born in New South Wales, Australia, and is one of a family of ten children born to her parents. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Byron, as follows: Lincoln H., of Lemoore; Dr. E. H., of Lemoore; Dr. W. P., of Lemoore; Dr. Albert, of Oakland; Olive and Rupert, both deceased; and Frank Mark, who died in infancy.

Fraternally Mr. Byron has long affiliated with the Odd Fellows. In Australia, in 1862, he identified himself with the Manchester Unity, the forerunner of American Odd Fellow lodges. When he returned to California he joined the lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Somersville, Contra Costa county, from which later he was transferred to the Lemoore lodge. He was identified also with Manhattan Tribe, No. 2, I. 0. R. M., of Somersville, the second tribe organized in California, and later joined the tribe at Lemoore. He was a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen until his lodge gave up its charter. In all the affairs of his community he takes an active interest. Until 1903 he long was president of the Lower Kings River Irrigation Ditch Company, and in all his various con­nections with concerns in this community he has evinced the habits of honorable dealing, straightforward and conscientious in every detail, and loyal and active in his citizenship.

Copyright © 2007-2017 Marc Irish. All Rights Reserved.  Material on this site may NOT be commercially reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. You may copy the content for your personal use, but please acknowledge the website as the source of the material.