W. R. Senter
Compiled from a first person interview with the local newspaper (1937) and “The Early Days” by Nora Pogue Montgomery. Presented on March 21, 2015 at the Lemon Cove Women's Club Annual Open House, and enacted by students from Sequoia Union School, Lemon Cove, California.
My wife May and I have just celebrated our Golden Anniversary here at our Mesa Verde ranch with our family and friends. We have lived here in Lemon Cove since 1909.
Like my wife, my parents came to California during the Gold Rush. My father, Riley, came from New York by ox team in 1849 and immediately went to the gold fields near Murphys. He later went into the general mercantile business, marrying my mother, Hattie, in the early 1850’s. I was born in March of 1866, one of two children.
May and I were married November 24, 1887 in Murphys. A year later, we moved to Stockton where we lived for 16 years while I worked and traveled as a representative for Folger’s Coffee. We heard from a fellow salesman, W.L. Whepley, about the growing citrus business in Lemon Cove. We decided to move here in 1909 and bought the Mesa Verde Ranch with its newly planted navels, from the J.F. Mitchells who were moving to Elderwood. It turns out that the Whepleys (my salesman friend) were living right next to our property.
This is the end of 1937 and we’ve seen this citrus industry grow, especially with the coming of the railroad to Lemon Cove in 1905. Prior to the railroad, fruit was packed and hauled by team to Exeter for shipment. As a result of the rail, we have been able to buy and plant on more properties. We have been fortunate in having the Upper Pogue ditch (now the Lemon Cove Ditch Company), provide irrigation water for our ever-expanding groves.
Well, this get-together was quite an event. Better help May get things back in order.