Two and a half miles northeast of El Monte is located a ranch, which was owned by Joseph L. Coleman, one of the progressive and enterprising citizens of this section. The family of which Mr. Coleman is the California representative is of English origin, the grandfather, Steven, having emigrated from England and located in Virginia, where he engaged as a farmer until his death. The father, Richard D., was born in Tazewell County, Virginia, there reared to manhood, when he followed the general mercantile business. He later was killed in battle during the Civil War.
Next to the oldest child in a large family, Joseph L. Coleman was born in Tazewell County, Virginia, July 9, 1852, and passed the first ten years of his life in Virginia, the family removing to Kentucky in 1862. After service in the Civil War the father located in Hutchinson, Minn., with his family and there carried on farming until the death of the mother in 1864. Little more than a child in years, Joseph L. was forced to take up the burden of self-support, the only work at hand being on a farm or steam boating on the Mississippi River, both of which he did. In 1869 he went to Montana and near Helena worked on a stock range. In 1875 he went to Northern California and near Yreka engaged in the stock business, later buying a ranch in Lake County. In 1901 he sold his stock, leased his lands and came to Southern California, locating in Monrovia. In 1903 he purchased sixty-five acres of the Peck Tract and Chicago Park, considered wasteland with deep ditches through it, but undaunted by its uninviting appearance, he spent time and energy upon it and turned it into a profitable walnut grove and alfalfa farm. He installed a pumping plant, at that time the largest outside of the City of Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles Mr. Coleman married Miss Lena Linder, a native of Switzerland. They were the parents of three children, Nancy, Magdalene and Mary E. Mr. Coleman was a Republican in his political convictions. Records, unfortunately, are unavailable giving the date of both his and Mrs. Coleman’s death or the present residences of their children.
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.