CHESTER E. HOLCOMB
A leader in every project for Orange County’s development and prosperity, Chester E. Holcomb belongs to that desirable class of citizens who make their private business enterprises public assets and is now in charge of the Long Beach office of the D. S. Jeppson Company, certified public accountants, but resides at 2202 East Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton. He was born in Muscatine, Iowa, June 1, 1867, a son of the Rev. Francis Reuben Holcomb, of who more extended mention is made elsewhere in this work, and Annie L. (Johnson) Holcomb, both now deceased.
Reared in the Hawkeye state, Chester E. Holcomb supplemented his public school training by attendance at the Eastern Iowa Normal School and the Iowa Wesleyan University. In 1888 he came with the family to California and has since been identified with the citrus fruit industry of Orange County. He was chosen secretary of the Placentia Orange Growers Association in 1895, acting in that capacity until 1899, and was next cashier of the Fruit Growers Bank of Fullerton. It was converted into the First National Bank of Fullerton in 1900, Mr. Holcomb continuing as cashier until 1901, when he went to Thermal and took up a desert claim, proving up on it. In 1903 he entered upon the duties of cashier of the Citizens Bank of Anaheim, which he helped to reorganize, and it then became known as the First National Bank of Anaheim. Of this institution he was cashier and a director until 1904, when he disposed of his banking interests, and returned to the Coachella Valley, specializing in the raising of cantaloupes and asparagus. In 1905 he formed the Melon Growers Association of Coachella Valley, doing important work as manager of the organization, and this was the real beginning of melon growing in southern California. Pioneering in other departments of agriculture, Mr. Holcomb, in association with his father, was the first to ship asparagus from southern California to Chicago and eastern markets. Chester E. Holcomb began growing oranges about 1907, continuing for thirteen years. He was one of the organizers and the first president of the Northern Orange County Fruit Exchange, also became president of the Anaheim Citrus Association and a director of the Semi-Tropical Fruit Exchange.
In 1914 Chester E. Holcomb again became an influential factor in financial circles of Orange County by acquiring control of the First National Bank of Anaheim, of which he was elected president, and the American Savings Bank of Anaheim, affiliated with the First National. In 1919 he purchased stock in the First National Bank of Fullerton and was made vice president of the institution, which also profited by his financial acumen and foresight. Constantly increasing the scope of his activities, he turned his attention to public utilities and for three years was a director of the Southern Counties Gas Company. Formerly he was also identified with the newspaper business as an associate of George Case, with whom he published the Fullerton Journal in 1890. He has an unusual capacity for detail and his power of concentration enables him to give his entire thought to the matter in hand, so that he brings to bear all of his force and energy in the accomplishment of his purpose. He is now the manager of the Long Beach branch of the D. S. Jeppson Company, well known as certified public accountants, who also maintain offices in Santa Monica and Los Angeles.
In 1899 Mr. Holcomb married Miss Minnie Zeyn, whose father, John P. Zeyn, was one of the original founders of the Anaheim colony in 1857. Mr. and Mrs. Holcomb have two sons, John Francis and James Willis. A thirty-second degree Mason, Mr. Holcomb belongs to Anaheim Lodge, No. 207, F. & A. M.; and Long Beach Consistory, A. A. S. R. He is likewise a Shriner, with membership in Al Malaikah Temple at Los Angeles. In politics he is a Republican but has never sought public office, preferring to discharge the duties of citizenship in a private capacity. A tireless worker and a broad-gauged man of strict integrity, Mr. Holcomb has been one of the potent forces for progress in his district. His initiative spirit has enabled him to continue beyond the paths marked out by others into new and untried fields where his intelligently directed efforts have resulted in successful achievement.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 397-399, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 V. Gerald Iaquinta.