Sometimes you’re just looking for a change.
Residents of Lordsburg – named by and for Isaac Lord who founded the place – never were very happy about their city name. When Lord died in 1917, residents wasted no time in voting to change the name to today’s La Verne.
More than 25 years earlier, residents of Ontario were called to a meeting by some who felt it was also time to change their city’s name.
Some felt “Ontario” sounded as though it was a colony of Canada, where city founder George Chaffey was born. The city had indeed attracted a number of immigrants from Canada and “many of the former Canadians living in Ontario would be glad to see the change made,” claimed the Sun newspaper on Sept. 28, 1894.
Chaffey and his brother had left town for Australia several years before so they wouldn’t be around to object to the Sept. 29 meeting at Thomas Knoles’ real estate office.
The Ontario Record of Oct. 3 reported that some suggested the city be called San Antonio – for the adjacent mountain, water company and packing house nearby.
Chosen to preside in this meeting was Joseph L. Paul, president of a local bank and well-known businessman. It’s not clear who actually pushed for the name change but it sounded as though Paul was for it. At the meeting, he “told of some advantages that would occur from a change of name,” wrote the Record, though the paper didn’t list them.
When the vote was taken, those in opposition voted “in such a volume that the windows rattled,” ending any chance of a name change, said the Record.
Years later, Paul’s wife Frances Mary was active in building Upland’s first hospital. In the years after her husband’s death in 1911, she donated a sizable amount in his memory to greatly expand the medical facility that still serves so many today. And perhaps appropriately, the hospital’s name is San Antonio Regional Hospital.
I don’t know which is more unusual in this story – one chicken’s output or that someone spent the time counting it.
From the Los Angeles Post-Record, Oct. 26, 1926: “The Queen, who reigned over the henneries at Fontana Farms for four long years, is dead.
“She went out and laid egg No. 1,174, then selected a shade tree, where she laid down and died. Bill Henry, transport expert at Fontana, plans a befitting funeral.”
Or perhaps dinner.
It was a pretty easy decision for the school board of Rialto in the summer of 1899.
After all, J.C. Ruymann – their selection as principal (as head of city’s schools) – had provided impressive diplomas and credentials from Iowa as well as letters of recommendation with his application.
He was informed by the district that the only thing he needed to begin working for it was to secure a California teaching credential from the San Bernardino County Board of Education. That’s when things started to fall apart.
County school board member N.A. Richardson asked Ruymann in his board interview why the diploma and teaching credential he presented seemed to have items erased or scratched out. Ruymann claimed ink had been spilled on them and the smudges were from his attempt to clean them.
But Richardson, as a long-time school teacher who had heard plenty of excuses from students in his career, became suspicious of Ruymann’s rather sophomoric explanation. He quickly sent telegrams to Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and Iowa’s education superintendent asking about Ruymann’s academic qualifications. Each agency reported it had no record of him.
The county school board then directed District Attorney Jesse W. Curtis to arrest Ruymann for fraud. Curtis – a future state Supreme Court justice – was unclear as to what crime he had violated and pointed out the school board had no power to order such an arrest.
But soon after, Ruymann was arrested and held without bail, reported the Sun on Aug. 26, 1899.
Ruymann did not deny forging the documents. He rationalized to police: “I guess I have got my foot in it this time, but other men have done worse than I have.”
What followed were weeks of attempts by Ruymann’s attorney to get him released, especially as the district attorney continued to have trouble determining what law he had broken.
Finally, after sitting in jail for six weeks, Ruymann was brought before Judge Frank F. Oster and “discharged from custody on the grounds that there has been no crime committed,” reported the Sun on Oct. 3, 1899. He reportedly immediately boarded a train and headed for San Francisco.
The Rialto school board then decided that the best man for its job was actually a woman and appointed Mrs. B.F. Saunders of Redlands to serve as principal.
Joe Blackstock writes on Inland Empire history. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @JoeBlackstock. Check out some of our columns of the past at Inland Empire Stories on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IEHistory.