REV. FRANCIS REUBEN HOLCOMB
††††††††††† High on the roll of Fullertonís honored dead is written the name of the Rev. Francis R. Holcomb, who was known and esteemed throughout Orange County, first as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church and later as a grower of citrus fruits.† He was born in Windham, Portage County, Ohio, June 4, 1841, a son of Chester Reuben and Adaline (Spencer) Holcomb, who were natives of Granby, Connecticut, and members of old American families.† The father was born in 1814 and followed the occupation of a mechanic as a young man.† Turning his attention to the athletic sports, he became the champion wrestler of New England.† In 1844 he left the east and with his family journeyed westward to Muscatine, Iowa, in which state he spent the remainder of his life, passing away in 1874, when he was sixty years of age.† His wife was born in 1816 and attained the advanced age of ninety years, departing this life in 1906.
††††††††††† As a child of three years Rev. Francis R. Holcomb went with his parents to Muscatine, Iowa, where he attended the public schools and Stoneís Academy.† For a number of years he was a teacher in the schools of that vicinity, performing the duties of an instructor during the winter months, while in summer he looked after the home farm.† Afterward he studied theology and in 1879 entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Iowa.† He was first assigned to Wapello and subsequently was engaged in pastoral work at Wayland, Mount Pleasant and Agency, Iowa.† In 1888 he came with his family to California, settling in Fullerton, the railroad station being known then as La Habra.† During 1891 and 1892 he occupied the pulpit of Chadbourne Hall, which was used as a house of worship by the Methodists of Fullerton.† In 1893 he was called to the pastorate of the Methodist Church at Garden Grove and continued to preach the Gospel with eloquence and power until 1904, when he retired from the ministry.† His service in that connection covered a quarter of a century and was productive of much good.
††††††††††† On the 7th of March, 1866, was solemnized the marriage of the Rev. Francis R. Holcomb and Miss Annie L. Johnson, a daughter of Ezra and Sarah (Hoskins) Johnson of Bellevue, Michigan.† Rev. and Mrs. Holcomb were the parents of a son and two daughters:† Chester E., whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Mrs. Mary Case, whose home is in Orange; and Mrs. Annie Gardiner, of Roscoe, California.† The mother of these children died in August, 1875, and on January 1, 1877, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Shepard of Muscatine, Iowa, became the wife of Rev. Holcomb.† In 1888 he purchased a ranch in Orange County, planted an orchard and, in addition to the cultivation of citrus fruits, produced asparagus and other vegetables suited to this locality.† He was accounted one of Orange countyís most progressive agriculturists and successfully operated his ranch until 1916, when he retired to Fullerton.† With its financial life he was closely associated as a stockholder and director of the Fullerton Savings Bank and the First National Bank of Fullerton until his death on the 9th of October, 1930, at the age of eighty-nine years, four months and five days.† He was a prominent Mason and a man of exemplary character, esteemed and respected by all with whom he came in contact.† For four years he had survived his second wife, whose death occurred on the 7th of July, 1926.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 461-462, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis.† 1933.
© 2012 †V. Gerald Iaquinta.