WILLIAM JAMES BEST
William James Best, chairman of the board of supervisors of Imperial county, with office in the courthouse at El Centro, is a resident of Calexico. He was born in Grundy county, Illinois, August 23, 1868, his parents being R. C. and Hannah (Kale) Best, natives of Pennsylvania. R. C. Best, a coal miner and farmer, left the east for Illinois in an early day and followed agricultural pursuits in that state until his son William was fourteen years of age, when he removed with his family to Nebraska, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was a worthy exemplar of the teachings and purposes of the Masonic fraternity, to which he belonged. To him and his wife, who is also deceased, were born ten children, nine of whom survive.
William J. Best acquired his education in the public schools of his native state and assisted his father in the work of farming in both Illinois and Nebraska, as well as in coal mining, while subsequently he engaged in railroad work. It was in 1898 that he came to the Imperial Valley. He was in the employ of the Texas railroads, the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific. Mr. Best took up land south of Yuma, Arizona, but later sold this and for many years thereafter was actively engaged in irrigation work, the building of canals and in similar projects which constituted an important factor in the improvement and development of this part of the country. He has always been helpfully interested in public affairs and in 1930 was elected a member of the board of supervisors of Imperial county, of which he is now chairman. His record in office is a most commendable one, for he has rendered effective and valuable service to his fellow citizens.
Fraternally Mr. Best is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks at Calexico and is chaplain of Calexico Lodge, No. 412, F. & A. M., at Calexico; and Scottish Rite Consistory of Los Angeles. Fishing and hunting are his favorite sports, and in the early days he frequently stalked deer and quail. He has in his possession a fine collection of early photographs of the Imperial Valley, and it may be mentioned here that Mr. Best was one of the men who prevented the flooding of the valley by the Colorado river. His home is at 821 East Seventh street in Calexico, where his many friends attest his personal popularity.
Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.
Source: California of the South Vol. V, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 123-124, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 Cecelia M. Setty.