The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Thomas H. Lambert of El Monte California

Numbered among the progressive citizens of El Monte is Thomas H. Lambert, who as a farmer, horticulturist and, of recent years, sub-divider and realtor, holds a prominent place among the successful men in this section.  He is a native of Franklin County, Arkansas, born April 27, 1870, in the vicinity of Fort Smith; his father Frank M., was born in England and came to the United States in about 1845, settling in Alabama.  Later he moved to Arkansas and engaged in farming in that section, until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he left his farm, shouldered a musket and fought gallantly for the cause of the Confederacy.  He returned to civil pursuits after the close of the struggle and followed farming until his death in 1873.  His wife, formerly Elizabeth Jones, died in 1876, leaving five children of whom, only the subject of this sketch now survives.

The youngest of his father’s family, Thomas H. Lambert was orphaned at the age of seven years, when he went to live with an uncle, George Lambert.  After two years, he made his home with his married sister, Mrs. Bradley Metcalf, and while with her, received what education it was possible for him to obtain with the limited advantages of the vicinity at that time.  Thrown upon his own resources at the age of fourteen years, he secured employment on neighboring farms until he was seventeen, when with his accumulated savings, he went into the general merchandise business with an uncle, Joseph Lambert, at National Springs, Arkansas, until 1889.  In this year he sold out and came to California.  After remaining two months in Los Angeles and a like period in Pasadena, he came to El Monte, entering the employ of J.S. Killian, a horticulturist of this section.  In 1891, he returned to Arkansas and the following year married Miss Fannie Bryant, a native of that state.  In 1894 they located in Briartown, I.T. (Indian Territory, now Oklahoma), and farmed for two years, when Mr. Lambert once more turned his face to the Pacific Coast.  In El Monte, he engaged as a foreman for Mr. Killian until 1898, when he decided to enter the work for himself.  He began by raising potatoes in different places in this district, but not until 1906, did he purchase property; in that year buying thirty acres in the El Monte school district three-quarters of a mile north of town.  Here he began raising walnuts and alfalfa, and later added many improvements.
Since that time he has acquired additional acreage in the vicinity of his first tract and for the past several years, had been actively engaged in subdividing his holdings into small home sites.

Mr. Lambert is President of the El Monte Walnut Growers’ Association, and takes an interest in promoting the interests of the community at large.  For two years, he was President of the Los Angeles County Farm Bureau.  He was President of the El Monte Chamber of Commerce for three years, and is now its Vice President.  Mr. Lambert was also for a number of years, President of the San Gabriel Valley Associated Chambers of Commerce, a cooperative organization comprised of the Chambers of twenty-two towns.  He has also been especially interested in the educational affairs of the community, serving for six years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the El Monte School District.  Fraternally, he is an Odd Fellow, Mason, and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine.  Politically he is a Democrat.

To Mr. and Mrs. Lambert were born two children.  Stella, (Mrs. Ray B. Marshall) of El Monte and Ottie, now deceased.  Mrs. Lambert, until her death, which occurred in 1928, was a member of the Baptist Church of El Monte.

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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