The Works Progress Administration

Biography of J. Scott Killian of El Monte California

J. Scott Killian, for years prominent in the agricultural development of El Monte and vicinity, especially in the walnut industry, was born in the State of Georgia, June 3, 1856.  He was the son of L.A. Killian, farmer, and Martha (Lee) Killian, both natives of North Carolina. His education was received in the public schools fo his home community where he remained for a time after becoming of age.  In the early eighties he moved to San Marcos, Texas, where for a time he farmed, following which he engaged in the mercantile business. In 1887, he came to California, stopping first at Monrovia.  In 1889 he settled in El Monte, near where he leased the ranch of John Hayes, early pioneer of this district.  This and other property, which he later acquired, he developed by the extensive settling of the land to walnuts.  In this new industry he was universally successful.  In 1892 he, in partnership with Frank Hayes, installed the first pumping plant in this district, and developed the industrial production of water for general irrigation.  This initial development was soon taken up by other ranchers, and agriculture in the district was thus given added impetus. The results of irrigation in the district were manifested by the great increase in production of farm products and the general prosperous conditions, which followed.  Alfalfa production was particularly increased from four or five crops per year without irrigation, to eight or more when irrigated.  Mr. Killian later engaged in the raising of citrus fruit, and for a time, was interested in banking in El Monte, being the organizer of the Southern County Bank. Mr. Killian was twice married, his first wife being Lucy White-Fairmount, a native of Georgia.  To this union four sons were born, three of whom are still living, namely:  E.W. of Oakland; O.C., of Santa Barbara and Jonas E., of Riverside.  The other brother, Howard, is deceased.  The mother was taken by death February 15, 1908. The second marriage of Mr. Killian occurred in 1917, when he was wedded to Miss Gertrude Dunlap, on of El Monte’s schoolteachers and a native to Texas.  Her parents were John and Laura Dunlap, natives of Virginia, her father being and editor. Following his second marriage, Mr. Killian retired and moved to Los Angeles where he lived until death called him in 1927.  For several years following his removal to Los Angeles, Mr. Killian was president of the York State bank on York Boulevard.  Politically Mr. Killian was a Republican, and fraternally a member of the Lexington Lodge, No. 104, F.& A.M. in El Monte. In religion he was a member of the Methodist Church.

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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