McFadden family, pioneers of Newport and Santa Ana, Orange County, California.
James McFadden shares a frontier heritage with his wife, Marilyn.James R. McFadden's great, great grandfather, John McFadyen, sailed from Scotland to the United States in 1826. He eventually purchased land and established a family farm in upstate New York on "Scotch Mountain", overlooking the Hudson River Valley, where he met his wife Effie Lamont, also from Scotland. John's sons, James, Robert, John, and Archibald, who had never seen a kitchen stove until leaving home (they cooked over the hearth), eventually came west to California in the 1860s and 1870s.
Jim's great grandfather, John McFadden, rode across the country on horseback. He first worked as a school teacher for a year in Grass Valley, CA, and then joined his brothers in their business in present day Orange County, California. The McFadden brothers established McFadden's Landing (now named the Newport pier), a pier and railroad, at the area now known as Newport Beach, where tall merchant sailing ships docked with their cargos. The brothers also began to invest in and farm the extremely fertile land of future Orange County. James' grandfather, Edwin Thomas McFadden, was born in Santa Ana in 1890, and his father, Edwin Thomas McFadden Jr., was also born in Santa Ana in 1930.
As a boy, Jim's dad accompanied his own father on the rounds of the citrus and avocado orchards he managed in Tustin, Irvine, and El Toro, and with which the family had financial interests. The 126 acre Los Alisos Ranch, in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains in El Toro, where Jim was raised, was purchased in 1926 and quickly planted with citrus and avocados. This land was once part of the 10,668 acre Rancho Canada de Los Alisos, granted to Don Jose Serrano in 1846. The old Kings Highway, El Camino Real, connecting the California Missions, passed through the property and actually included the driveway leading to Jim's childhood home. Eight thousand acres of the Rancho were sold to Dwight Whiting in 1885, and after several exchanges the piece of property encompassing the Los Alisos Ranch was sold to a partnership including Jim's family.
Jim grew up on the Ranch, accompanying his own dad and learning not only to perform all ranch jobs, but developing a personal pride in his land and in a job well done. Jim began driving the ranch tractor in junior high school, re-cutting new irrigation furrows in the spring. Using a chainsaw he cut apart 100-foot tall eucalyptus trees from the orchard's windbreaks that had toppled to the ground during Santa Ana winds. With his brothers he watered the Valencia orange trees using the old low-pressure cast-cement pipeline system with cement irrigation stand pipes. Water was pumped during the night from the Ranch well into the open hilltop reservoir (and swimming hole) and then drained using gravity pressure through the water pipes to appropriate sections of the orchard. Because the Los Alisos Ranch was an official rain monitoring station, Jim took great pride in checking the Ranch rain gauge every morning promptly at 7:00 a.m. before school. In the spring and summer, as the oranges bloomed, thousands and thousands of bees from the Ranch hives filled the air with a continuous humming buzz, and to this day Jim's favorite smell is that of orange blossoms. In the winter and spring the Ranch reservoir was filled with a chorus of thousands frogs and toads that gathered to breed and which could be heard at night for miles around. Thus a lifetime pattern was established, of hard work, of pride in work accomplished, and of an affinity with the earth and the land.
Lamb family, pioneers of San Jacinto, Riverside County, California.
Marilyn McFadden’s family homesteaded Lamb’s Canyon in Riverside County.In the foothills below Idyllwild few motorists who daily drive over State Highway 79 from San Jacinto to Beaumont ever wonder how this canyon got its name.Many believe the name is due to the wild bighorn sheep that once roamed the area.This is not so.
Leaving their home in the Ohio Valley, Elijah and Harriet Lamb traveled west in a covered wagon to Campo in San Diego County.Their first child, Edgar Lamb (Marilyn’s great grandfather), was born there in 1863.By 1866 the Lamb’s had moved north, a timber claim was made, and the family settled into their new home--Lamb’s Canyon.Here the ranching of cattle and sheep began.The Lamb’s filed the first cattle brand in Riverside County in 1893.Marilyn’s mother keeps the brand at her home while Marilyn maintains the brand registry.In their quest to build the aqueduct, the Municipal Water District cut the underground river water that fed the springs in Lamb’s Canyon that provided water for the cattle.The Lamb family was eventually forced to move down the hill into the San Jacinto Valley where water was more abundant.Marilyn’s grandfather was a foreman on a cattle ranch in San Jacinto where Marilyn’s mother, Mary Lamb, was born.
As a depression baby, Mary grew up with the knowledge that the family could raise much of their own food and sell any excess to buy additional necessities such as clothes and shoes for school.The Lambs raised their own chickens, rabbits, pigs, vegetables and fruit.Mary Lamb eventually married David L. Flake, the future California Dept. of Forestry Fire Chief of Riverside County.David, of Choctaw descent, had also been raised in a rural setting growing his own vegetables and maintaining his own livestock.Together they developed Sunnyside Ranch in Menifee, named after another family homestead in Arizona.Here they grew avocados commercially and maintained their own orchard, garden, horses, pigs and livestock for family use.This is the ranch Marilyn grew up on and where she gleaned the value of ranch living and an appreciation for traditional family recipes and fresh handpicked produce.