Leo Borchard, a lifelong resident of Southern California, is a prominent and prosperous rancher who makes his home in Santa Ana. He was born on a ranch two and one-half miles northeast of what is now Oxnard, Ventura County, California, December 16, 1879, being the eldest son of a family of five sons and three daughters whose parents were Casper and Theresa (Moring) Borchard. The mother died when her son Leo was seventeen years of age. Casper Borchard, a native of Germany, immigrated to Southern California in an early day and became a successful stockman and farmer, owing four thousand acres of land in Ventura County and twenty-seven hundred acres in Orange County. He made settlement on raw land, cleared the brush and plowed it for cultivation. He was the first man to turn the soil south of the Santa Clara River in Ventura County and one of the first cattle and grain ranchers in that section of the state. In 1913 he formed the Borchard Land Company and some years later the children divided the property and he maintained his home on Conejo, California, with his daughter Mary T. Borchard. His death occurred on the 12th of December, 1920.
Leo Borchard was reared on the home farm in Oxnard and attended the public schools in the acquirement of an education. In 1900 when in his twenty-first year, he came to the vicinity of Santa Ana, and what was called Gospel Swamp, and here he was given the job of running the excavator or ditch-digging machine owned by his father, W. T. Newland and W. D. Lamb. He was thus employed until two large and important ditches were completed, aiding very materially in the reclamation of the swamp land. Under his father he also assisted in the construction of the Talbert Road, and cleared many acres of the swamp land, which was developed into one of the most valuable and productive ranches in Orange County. Here he and his brother, Frank P., owned nine hundred acres, which they farmed together very profitably until a greater part of the property was sold. They also owned the following well improved ranches: three hundred sixteen acres and one hundred sixty acres on the west side of Santa Ana; two hundred acres south of Huntington Beach; one hundred eighteen acres on the Mesa; two hundred fifty-two acres in the bottom, and sixty-six acres at Fairview. Leo Borchard also owned jointly with his four brothers a twenty-acre tract at Garden Grove, Orange County, and a half interest with W. T. Newland, Sr., in sixty acres southeast of the Newland ranch in the Huntington Beach district. In 1920 Leo and Frank P. Borchard sold eight hundred acres of their land for three hundred thirty-five thousand dollars. During those years Mr. Borchard and his brothers also became widely known for their success as breeders and raisers of Norman-Percheron horses as well as high grade mules. They brought here some of the best Percheron stallions ever imported into Orange County and raised many draft horses weighing eighteen hundred to two thousand pounds. They also owned the celebrated jack “Burr Oak,” which cost them three thousand dollars. Leo Borchard was one of the first in Orange County to use tractors in farming operations, owning three Holt caterpillars, and did a vast amount of drainage and road building work. He sold a number of his ranches some years ago but is still the owner of valuable citrus land in Orange County, growing both lemons and oranges. His holdings also include one hundred three acres in Arizona, fifty-five miles east of Phoenix; forty acres at Hemet, Riverside County, California, and a tract of land near Tampico, Texas. He was a stockholder in the First National Bank of Santa Ana and has long been numbered among the representative citizens and leading ranchers of this part of the state.
In 1904 Mr. Borchard was united in marriage to Miss Marie E. Hauptman, a native of Collinsville, Illinois, who at the age of sixteen years was brought to California by her parents, Henry J. and Margaret Marie Hauptman. Mr. and Mrs. Borchard reside in their beautiful home at 1617 East Fourth Street, Santa Ana. Mr. Borchard is a Republican in politics and fraternally is identified with Santa Ana Council of the Knights of Columbus; Santa Ana Lodge, No. 794, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of which he is a life member; and Santa Ana Parlor, N. S. G. W.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 231-233, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 V. Gerald Iaquinta.