The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Fernando C. Herbert of El Monte California

Successful as a horticulturist and prominent in the early growth and development of El Monte and vicinity, Fernando C. Herbert is also a liberal contributor to the movements of general uplift to the community. Mr. Herbert was born in Hempstead County, Arkansas, October 9, 1862.  His father, educated for a medical doctor but preferring the life of a farmer, which occupation he followed, was F.C. Herbert, Sr., a native of Tennessee.  The mother was in maidenhood Miss Anna Deavenport, also born in Tennessee.  The father died in 1868, leaving the widow and seven children, the subject of this review being the fifth in the order of birth and but six years of age.  Following the death of the mother in 1874, the children were separated, going to live with relatives until such time as they could provide for themselves. In 1877, Fernando, with and elder brother, Thomas, moved to Arkansas and until 1886 engaged at farming. In the fall of ’86 he came to California, settling first in Monrovia.  Shortly after he assisted in laying out the town of Glendora, following which for a time, he engaged in the carpenter trade in Monrovia, and as a teamster in Redondo Beach. In 1890, with a brother and brother-in-law, Mr. Herbert moved to El Monte and purchased a seventeen acre tract, a part of which is the present ranch home of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert on Cogswell Road, northeast of town.  Later, the brother-in-law sold his portion of the tract and Mr. Herbert took over his brother’s interest, leaving him with about twelve acres.  Meeting with success of his farming ventures, Mr. Herbert continued to add to his holding, later acquiring forty acres just north of his original tract.  A few years later, irrigation having been found practical in the district, Mr. Herbert drilled wells and greatly increased his walnut production.  For a number of years he was also actively engaged in caring for other groves in the district.  He later acquired other properties, some of which he still owns. In 1915 he built his present residence and a large walnut drying house with a capacity for drying nuts from 100 acres. Mr. Herbert has been twice married.  His first wife was Miss Mabel Palles, a native of California, born in Orange County, and a daughter of an early pioneer family.  They were married in May of 1899, but were destined to spend but a short time together for Mrs. Herbert died only about three months after marriage. In 1902, Mr. Herbert was married to Miss Fannie B. Ludwig, born in Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Daniel and Leah (Seitz) Ludwig.  She came to California in 1896. To Mr. and Mrs. Herbert were born two sons:  Ross D., of El Monte, and John E., of Fresno. Politically, Mr. Herbert is a Democrat, and a loyal supporter of his party and its traditions.  Fraternally he is a member of the Odd Fellows, and the Independent Order of Foresters.  He is a charter member of the Mountain View Walnut Growers’ Association, and served nineteen years as a director of the Southern County Bank.  He also contributed much of his time to educational supervision, serving for nine years on the Union High School Board and for six years as a trustee of the Mountain View Grammar School. Much credit is due Mr. Herbert for the success he has attained by his hard work, good judgment and executive ability.  As he says, all of his business ventures have not been profitable, but he takes the philosophical view that some folds, at least, have gained by the activities, which he assisted in promoting.

Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.

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