The Works Progress Administration

Biography of William Shugg of El Monte California

As a prominent and successful walnut grower, William Shugg held rank among the enterprising citizens of the Mountain View District, his finely improved ranch of nineteen acres being located a mile and a half southeast of El Monte. Mr. Shugg was a native Californian, his birth having occurred in San Gabriel, November 26, 1863.

His father, James Shugg, was born in Kelston, England, and was there reared to young manhood. He immigrated to America, and in Michigan, worked in the copper mines in the Lake Superior region. While thus engaged the great gold discovery of California turned his attention toward the Pacific Coast. He immediately outfitted and set out across the plains, taking the extreme southern route, which led him through New Mexico and Sonora, Mexico, whence he made his way to Los Angeles, then only a pueblo. Deciding to remain in this country he secured for his first employment work with Nathan Kelley. Later he became foreman for B.D. Wilson at Alhambra and there set out orange groves. With the thrift characteristic of his countrymen, he saved his earnings and was thus able to finally purchase land, located in the vicinity of Rivera, where in 1869, eh set out one of the first walnut groves of that section. From that time until his death, which occurred in 1882, he added to his property as to acres and improvements, his sixty acre ranch taking rank among the finest of this section of Los Angeles County. Up to the time of his death, at the age of sixty-four years, he was hale and hearty, retaining his interests in all public matters, and voting the Democratic ticket. He was survived by his wife, formerly Esther Graham, who was born in Crawford County, Arkansas, and crossed the plains with her father in 1852. Her death occurred in Rivera in about 1920. They were parents of six children: Alyda, Mary, Joanna, Martha, Thomas, who died in El Monte in 1902, and William, of this review.

The boyhood days of William Shugg were passed on his father’s farm near San Gabriel, his education being received in the public schools in the vicinity of his home. He remained with his father until the latter’s death, after which he and his brother Thomas engaged in the management of the home farm until 1886. At that date he purchased the present property of his widow east of El Monte, and two years later set the place to walnuts. He later built a fine residence, substantial outbuildings, etc., making it one of the best ranches in this section. His brother, Thomas, also engaged as a walnut grower in this vicinity until his death.

In Alhambra, November 2, 1892, Mr. Shugg married Miss Alice M. McCaige who was born in Downey. She is a daughter of George and Janey (Hurst) McCaige who came from Arkansas in 1877. George McCaige engaged in farming in Downey for several years, his death occurring in Puente in March of 1928.

To Mr. and Mrs. Shugg were born two children: Mable, Mrs. F.M. Stockton of El Monte, and Emery, who resides with his mother on the home place. Mr. Shugg throughout his life took a deep interest in educational work, serving as a member, and later as president of the Mountain View School Board. Fraternally he was associated with the Ancient Order of the United Workmen, in which he became a past Master Workman, and both himself and his wife were members of the Degree of Honor, his wife being Past Chief. He also belonged to the Modern Brotherhood of America. Politically he was a Democrat. He was a charter member of the Mountain View Walnut Growers Association, of which he served as Director and Vice President. His death occurred in 1929.

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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