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            Diligence and fidelity to trust have ever been salient traits in the career of Joseph Shipp Bordwell, whose life record is the story of an orderly progression that has brought him to the position of Auditor of the Southern Sierras Power Company at Riverside.  He was born in Marshall, Michigan, August 20, 1878, the son of Herbert Wilson Bordwell and Mary Ann Amelia (known to her intimates as Minnie) Shipp.  Minnie Shipp was born in Emmitt, Michigan, the sixth child of Joseph Shipp and Elizabeth (Saunders) Shipp, natives of Bristol, England, who came to America soon after their marriage, March 13, 1842, in the parish church of St. Philip and Jacob in the city of Bristol, England.  They lived a long and honored life in Calhoun County, Michigan, Joseph Shipp dying August 28, 1887, aged 71, and his widow January 1, 1913, aged 92.

            On the Bordwell side, Joseph Shipp Bordwell is descended from a long line of American patriots, beginning with Robert Bardwell who came from London, England, 1670 to Boston, Massachusetts, and married Mary Gull, daughter of William Gull and Elizabeth (Smith) Gull of Hatfield, Massachusetts.  Through their fourth child Samuel, born 1685, who married Martha Allen; their son Samuel, born 1715, who married Anna Severance; their son Reuben, born 1754, who married Susannah Wilson; their son Medad, born 1791, who married Myra Crosby, a granddaughter of Martin Severance; their son David Brainard, born 1823, who married Martha B. Reid, and their son Herbert Wilson Bordwell, who married Minnie Shipp, 1875, the subject of this biography is descended.

            David and Martha Bordwell were natives of New York State.  Medad Bordwell and family migrated with several other families to Michigan, 1834, from Madison County, New York.  They chartered a canal boat on the Erie Canal and towed it to Buffalo with their own horses.  From Buffalo to Detroit they came by water and Medad Bordwell, the only one of the group who settled in Eckford, Michigan, there bought a yoke of oxen and completed the journey, which required eight days from Detroit to Eckford, Calhoun County, Michigan.  Their first house was built of logs, later being replaced with a large frame home.

            Herbert W. Bordwell, born in 1853 in Michigan, was associate with his father, David, and brother, Melville H. Bordwell, in the implement business, and soon after the latter moved to Madison, Nebraska, H. W. and his family came to California in 1887, locating in Palmdale, adjoining the village of Palm Springs; and as superintendent of the Palm Valley Land and Water Company had charge of planting one hundred and sixty acres to oranges and of building a narrow gauge railroad from Seven Palms station on the Southern Pacific Railroad, the Seven Palms station then being located near the southern end of the large sand dune through which the present highway passes.  The line of the old right of way for this railroad, long since dismantled and abandoned, can be plainly seen ending near the present “Smoke Tree Ranch” on the Palm Springs and Indio highway.  As part of this development the stone ditch, which brought water from near Whitewater Point, was built, remnants of which are still to be seen.  Owing to controversy over water rights, the whole project was abandoned and the Bordwell family moved to Riverside in 1889, having sacrificed everything to premature vision of the present Palm Springs.

            H. W. Bordwell married, 2nd, Mary L. Mead in 1884, following the death of his first wife in 1881, and by the second marriage had Edward Mead Bordwell, born 1886, now residing in Long Beach, California, and Laura, born 1892, who died in 1914.

            While in Riverside, Mr. H. W. Bordwell was active in the upbuilding of Riverside, was a dealer in real estate, served as City Trustee when the first street paving and first street lighting were consummated in 1894, and later operated the Bordwell Hotel, now the Reynolds Hotel.  His later years were spent in Cuba in the development of citrus properties, where he died in 1918.  His widow survived him and died in Riverside at the home of J. S. Bordwell, May 14, 1928.

            Joseph Shipp Bordwell was then (1889) about ten years of age and his educational advantages where those afforded by the grammar and high schools of Riverside.  As a clerk he entered the service of the Southern Pacific Railroad, 1895, where he spent three years; thence to Los Angeles with the Union Pacific; and thence to Kingman, Arizona, office of the Arizona and Utah Railroad in 1900.  From there he went to Naco, Arizona, as a clerk for the Green Consolidated Copper Company, which was then building its railroad to Cananea, a promising copper camp in Sonora, Mexico.  In 1901 he went to Cananea as a stenographer and clerk and steadily rose to the position of auditor.  In 1911, he, with his wife and son, went to Hayden, Arizona, where two years were spent, one with Ray Consolidated Copper Company and one with the American Smelting and Refining Company.  In 1913 he returned to Riverside with his family and has since been associated with The Southern Sierras Power Company, in which company he was promoted to Chief Clerk in 1914 and, proving his worth, was made Assistant Auditor and in 1930 he was made Auditor of this large corporation and its subsidiaries.  He was already Vice President and superintendent of their vast acreage and farming properties in Inyo and Mono Counties.  His auditing Department is one of the best managed departments of the business and by reason of his systematic, efficient work, he has thoroughly justified the confidence reposed in him.

            In 1903 Mr. Bordwell was married to Miss Anna Alden Rice, a daughter of Chas. T. And Emma J. (Noland) Rice of Riverside, and they have one son, Dr. Alden Shipp Bordwell, a practicing Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon in Riverside, who married, 1931, Miss Eva Cordelia Reed.

            Mrs. Joseph S. Bordwell is Regent of the Rubidoux Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution; a member of various clubs and societies; past worthy matron of Ungave Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star; a member of Mayflower Descendants through descent from Francis Cooke and other lines; and the Alden Kindred of California and the Alden Kindred of America through descent from John Alden.

            In Masonry Mr. Bordwell has connection with Riverside Lodge, No. 635, F. & A. M.; and is past master of the York Rite Cananea Masonic Lodge in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico, and past district deputy grand master of the northern district of Mexico.  During his term as Master of that lodge he secured the permission of the Grand Lodge of Mexico to institute an Eastern Star Chapter in Cananea, the only one in Mexico which was instituted under the jurisdiction of the Grand Chapter of Arizona.  Mr. Bordwell is also a member of the Riverside Loge No. 643, B. P. O. E., and of the Lions Club.

            To the best of his ability he has fulfilled life’s duties and obligations and his highly esteemed in the city which has been his home for so many years and to which he is deeply attached.




Transcribed By:  Michele Y. Larsen on July 24, 2012.

Source: California of the South Vol. V,  by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 237-240, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012 Michele Y. Larsen.