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Madera Biographies: SAYRE


Albarnus Logan Sayre who passed away December 17, 1917, was one of the leaders in the fruit business of central California for many years. Inheriting his ‘‘Sierra Rancho’’ two miles south of the City of Madera from his father, A. L. Sayre, Sr., the younger man developed the property along many lines, made of fruit farming and organized business, and was for a time a director of the California Raisin association.

A. L. Sayre, the subject of this sketch, was born in New York City, August 8, 1860, the son of A. L. Sayre and of Julia Harris Sayre, the latter a native of Ossining, N.Y. The father was an old time merchant of New York City, and A. L. Sayre, Jr. was engaged in business with him for a time after leaving school. The elder man made several trips to California, once before gold was discovered. He ultimately purchased the land which became known as the "Sayre Ranch’’ in 1874 and lived a considerable portion of each year there until his death in 1887.

A. L. Sayre Jr., on his father’s death, came to California to take charge of the 804-acre ranch. Under his guidance the place was developed into one of the most noted properties in the state. There were 250 acres of raisin vineyard, and also dairies, tree fruits and grain. The herd of Holstein-Friesian cows was famous. He introduced modern business methods in cost accounting and industrialized the place. Using both fuel and electric power pumping, he made a successful effort before the railroad commission for equitable power rates. He was one of the first in Madera county to irrigate from wells.

Mr. Sayre took part in the formation of the California Raisin association (the Kearny association) in 1898 and was the first secretary of the board of directors. He was also active in support of the California Associated Raisin Company (the Sun-Maid), and took a prominent part in a campaign for renewal of contracts. He was also a promoter of the California Peach Growers Association, of which he was an officer.

Mr. Sayre was convinced of the need of diversified farming, and the value of his ranch was increased by the production of alfalfa, hogs and other sources of revenue. Since his death, his son A. L. Sayre III (Logan) has continued to develop the place along these lines.

Mr. Sayre was married to Etta Mae Hensley, daughter of John M. Hensley, who came to California in 1853, was elected sheriff of Fresno county in 1890 and was throughout most of his life a resident of what was to be Madera county. The Sayres had two sons: A. L. (III.) and Donald Monroe Sayre. Both were born on the Sayre ranch.

Miss Julia Sayre of Fresno, who has been known for many years as the head of the Young Women’s Christian association and as active in other civic and club affairs, is a sister of the late A. L. Sayre.

From the History of Fresno and Madera Counties, 1933, Joseph Barcroft, editor for Madera County.

Last update: March 28, 2002
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