The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Thomas Andrew Garey of El Monte California

Thomas Andrew Garey was born of German ancestry in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 7, 1830.  He started for California in 1850, stopping about a year in New Mexico and six months at Tubac, Arizona, arriving at San Diego, in 1852.  At Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1850, Mr. Garey was untied in marriage with Louisa J. Smith, a native of Massachusetts. Soon after their arrival in San Diego, they came to and settled in El Monte.  Several years later, Mr. Garey bought land on San Pedro Street in Los Angeles, and engaged extensively in the citrus nursery business.  The demand for young orange, lemon and lime trees at that time was enormous, and as Mr. Garey was a very enterprising and energetic man he did what he could to meet this demand.  His sales of fruit trees, mostly citrus, one year were about $75,000, and during a period of three years, they were $175,000.  He sent abroad for the best varieties, and it was he who introduced and named the Mediterranean Sweet orange, the Paperine St. Michael, and also the Eureka lemon. Mr. Garey was for a time president of the Los Angeles county Pomonlogical Society; was overseer of the State Grange for one term, and of the Council of the District, composed of sixteen subordinate Granges and Master of the Los Angeles Grange.  In connection with others, he helped to found the towns of Pomona and Artesia, and the new town of Garey in Santa Barbara County. Mr. Garey was one of Los Angeles County’s most useful citizens.  He contributed materially toward the development of our agricultural resources.  To Mr. and Mrs. Garey were born eight children, lack of records and limited time and means prevents obtaining complete and authoritive sketches of each.  However, mention is made of the eldest son, Andrew T., who was born near Puente in 1854.  He, like his father, engaged in farming and in 1876, was married to Miss Belle, daughter of David and Susan (Thompson) Lewis. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were among the pioneers of Los Angeles County and lived at El Monte, where they engaged extensively in the cultivation of hops, for many years.  W. E. Garey, the second oldest of the family, also a nurseryman, was born in San Bernardino county, March 21, 1856.  He was married in Santa Monica, in 1884, to Miss Laura E. Carpenter, daughter of Stephen F. Carpenter.  She was a native of Minnesota, born May 10, 1864.  Margaret A. was born in Los Angeles, January 7, 1864.  She was married December 13, 1882, to Daniel J. Carr, who several years ago, was the Grand Secretary of the Grand Division of the Brotherhood of Railway Conductors.

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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