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Madera Biographies: BONNER

Cicero Ferguson Bonner Residence
124 North K Street (ca. 1910)

     CICERO FERGUSON BONNER was born December 22, 1850 to Redding Bonner, Jr. and Elizabeth Rutledge Bonner.  He was reared on a large farm in the Viola Valley of Warren County, Tennessee.

     In 1886, Cicero went west by train and settled in Madera County, California.  There he had a fruit and nut ranch and started a packing plant for dried fruit.

     Cicero was first married to Laura Reagan, also of Tennessee. Sometime after the death of Laura, Cicero met and married Susie Jane Argo of Tennessee.  They lived in Pasadena and  by 1920 moved back to Madera where they bought a ranch and raised their only daughter, Mary Redding Bonner. Eventually the family moved back to Tennessee where Cicero Ferguson Bonner died in 1935 at the age of eighty-five.

     A first impression of Madera County by a Tennessean:

     "The appearance of the country in general was not what I had expected to see. The through train does not stop at Borden, so I had to go to the next town to get off which is Madera.
     I walked back to Borden and found that Mr. Etter had just left.  I had some trouble to get out to where he lived.  I walked a good deal during the day.  Whatever beauties this climate possesses in winter, I found it rather warm to walk much with a coat on in the summer.  The thermometer registered 102 in the shade.  Drinking water warm, yards dry, bare and dusty.  A great many have their garden in the yard, where they can irrigate with the windmill from the well.
     Wheat in this community is not near so good as I expected to see it, but they remind me that this is a newly settled neighborhood, and that they have not had time to beautify their houses and fix things up generally--and that most of the wheat that I see is first year's land, and a good deal of it put in too late and wet.
     When I see more of the country and get better prepared to write about its merits and demerits, I will probably write again.
     I want to say in conclusion, that I received an exceedingly warm and hearty reception from the homes of my Tennessee friends here."
Borden, Cal., May 20, 1886.

Contact relation: Sarah at kurthyn2@earthlink.net

Last update: September 11, 2000
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