Menifee Valley Historical Association

Menifee Valley Historical Association We promote the historic legacy of the Menifee Valley. #MenifeeHistory
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Menifee 24/7
04/04/2020
Menifee 24/7

Menifee 24/7

Wearing protective masks and bandanas, Riverside County health officials today issued their most urgent warning yet to those who continue to leave their homes for non-essential trips and go out in public without “masking up”.

“To those who continue to work who are non-essential, who gather at churches, at home, at parks – please stop, we beg you,” Dr. Mike Mesisca, medical director for the Riverside County operations branch.

Menifee Mayor Bill Zimmerman and City Manager Armando Villa voiced their support of the County request and Villa discussed possible ramifications for "non-essential" businesses that remain open. Story below.

The Evans Family MADE THEIR WAY TO MENIFEE by Government Train  and settled Menifee’s west sideThomas Jefferson Evans, a...
04/03/2020

The Evans Family MADE THEIR WAY TO MENIFEE by Government Train and settled Menifee’s west side

Thomas Jefferson Evans, as a young man left his native state of Indiana to explore the west. In 1849, he crossed the plains with a government train and located in Santa Fe, NM, where he bought his first piece of property and was employed as a government agent for two years. After returning to Indiana, the lure of gold in California soon took him west again to the Feather River area. His marriage in 1859 to Cynthia Fowler of Maine, had him settling down in the Gilroy area where they started their family. Their second son Henry (shown in photos) was born in 1863 and the family moved to San Bernardino in 1873. The family then chose Menifee as their home for a year in 1891/1892. Thomas wrote in his diary every Sunday from 1863 until his death in 1901.

Young Henry Evans (11) and his older brother George (13) learned to work hard at an early age and were sent into the mountains to cut wood for shingles. In 1885, at the age of 22, Henry married Ella Ferrell, daughter of James B. Ferrell and they soon moved to a ranch in Menifee to be near his in- laws. Ferrell filed a Homestead Claim on land in 1887 on what is now the Audie Murphy Ranch. Henry and Ella lived on property that his father purchased which was located at the eastern end of today’s Canyon Lake. In 1927 Henry and Ella sold 1,150 acres to the Temescal Water Company so a dam could be built to store water that flowed from San Jacinto River and Salt Creek, which created Railroad Canyon Lake. Through the years Henry’s brothers Arthur and Newton also lived in Menifee. Arthur lived on Holland Road and his 11 children all attended the 1890 Menifee School on Newport road. Newton lived on the SE corner of Murrieta and Newport Roads.

Henry Evans also bought 65 acres in 1908 where the Menifee Middle School and Menifee History Museum are now located. He farmed his land and in 1914 he served as Riverside County road foreman for the Menifee District. He recognized the importance of a quality education for the children residing in his community, so he served as a trustee for the Menifee School District and was active in all matters of social and civil interest. Evans road and Evans Ranch Elementary School have been named to honor the pioneer settler.

Henry Evans’ favorite poem and philosophy was “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man”. Five generations of his descendants have called Menifee home and many still live here today.

We appreciate the input and narrative provided by Mrs. Elinor Evans Martin to compose this article written by Bill Zimmerman - Vice President Menifee Valley Historical Association. For more information about the Evans family and other pioneer settlers, please visit the Menifee History Museum, which is open Sundays from 1 to 4pm. Admission is free.

"Discover Menifee's Past" by clicking on this link below to learn about our pioneer families and Menifee’s history.  The...
04/03/2020
Photos & Articles | Menifee Valley Historical Association

"Discover Menifee's Past" by clicking on this link below to learn about our pioneer families and Menifee’s history. The tab next to it on the website called ‘Resources’ has a link to the 12 historical monuments around town. Take a drive with your family (look for the green circle on the map to find the general location).
Have fun!! #menifeehistory

IDENTIFY PRESERVE PROMOTE

From all of us at MVHA, we wish one of our favorite historians Merle Zeiders, a very happy birthday.  At 92, Merle is th...
03/25/2020

From all of us at MVHA, we wish one of our favorite historians Merle Zeiders, a very happy birthday. At 92, Merle is the longest living native of Menifee !

We have made the difficult decision to temporarily close the Menifee History Museum. The health and safety of our commun...
03/14/2020

We have made the difficult decision to temporarily close the Menifee History Museum. The health and safety of our community is the most important factor in this decision.

Stay tuned. We will let you know when we re-open.

William Newport -  THEY MADE THEIR WAY TO MENIFEE in1885 by Ship and Wagon TrainThe city of Chester is one of England’s ...
03/06/2020

William Newport - THEY MADE THEIR WAY TO MENIFEE in1885 by Ship and Wagon Train

The city of Chester is one of England’s oldest. It is still surrounded by ancient walls built by the Romans in A.D. 73 that once protected its inhabitants from invasion. In this city on June 5, 1856 William Newport was born. William “Billy” Newport was a “born farmer”. His father and grandfather were English farmers. He loved the business and brought great energy of character into the lifestyle of his choice.

In 1876, at the age of 20, Newport came to the United States with the desire to purchase land in California for farming. He landed in New York, then to San Francisco and Los Angeles. He lived and farmed in Los Angeles for nine years. Soon, he found what he was looking for - good plow land - and made a purchase of 2,000 acres in Menifee.

It must have been a real sight to see in 1885, Mr. Newport making his way to Menifee. Like a young English patriarch with twelve wagons in his train, loaded with implements, provisions, lumber and his 9’ x 18’ cook-house on wheels. He had with him his men servants and his cattle and horses.

The local farmers who were already established in Menifee pitied the young man, who they thought, would likely make a failure of farming in this dry valley.

When Newport’s ranch hands unloaded their caravan, they immediately took to the task of constructing a good ranch house, two large barns and a bunkhouse, which were located near today’s Lazy Creek Park. Newport carefully laid out the grounds around his ranch with ornamental trees and fruit orchards.

His main industry was production of grain, mainly wheat, barley and alfalfa. He ran four gang plows pulled by teams of horses which gave him the ability to cultivate, sow or harvest two hundred acres in a day. He also enjoyed breeding prized Birkshire hogs.

In 1890, while visiting England, he married 17-year old Mary Catherine Lloyd who became mother of his four sons and a daughter. William “Billy” Newport made many warm friendships in Menifee, employed numerous local men and showed what judicious efforts can produce as a result. Today, Menifee’s main east-west thoroughfare is named in Mr. Newport’s honor.

Written by Bill Zimmerman - Vice President Menifee Valley Historical Association. For more information about William Newport and other early Menifee settlers please visit the Menifee History Museum which is open Sundays from 1 to 4pm. Admission is free.

City of Menifee-Police Department
03/06/2020

City of Menifee-Police Department

Did you hear? Our Department unveiled and commissioned our new Police Department Patch and Badge! The police patch and badge are two of the most visible and significant symbols of public safety around the world- and our Department is proud of our community and made sure that elements of it were included ....

News Release: https://www.cityofmenifee.us/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2791

A wonderful Valentine’s Day Story. ENJOY!!!The Drake Family MADE THEIR WAY TO MENIFEE by Train from PennsylvaniaIn 1887,...
02/14/2020

A wonderful Valentine’s Day Story. ENJOY!!!

The Drake Family MADE THEIR WAY TO MENIFEE by Train from Pennsylvania

In 1887, Joseph and Harriett Drake of Lawrence County Pennsylvania boarded a train with their four children bound for California. Their final stop was in Elsinore.

Shortly after their arrival, the family met Mr. George Everitt, who had just finalized a homestead claim of 320 acres in Menifee. Mr. Drake offered Everitt $1,600 in gold coin for a portion of that land. Everitt agreed to sell 80 acres to the Drakes. The property is located on Zeiders road just north of Keller road, in the southern portion of Menifee.

Upon arriving, the Drakes got busy with improvements on their newly acquired property. By 1888 they had completed construction of a home and large barn.

In 1906, Harriett Drake, then a widow, granted title of the property to her son Lou for one dollar. Lou had a fiancée in Philadelphia named Lizzie Weldon❤️. The couple had been corresponding by mail for over 25 years planning their wedding. It had been Lizzie’s duty as the youngest child to remain with her parents until they passed away. In November 1914 at the age of 42, Lizzie arrived as a bride and lent personal touches to her new home in Menifee. She planted lilac that she had brought from her Pennsylvania home, and a rose bed. She had Lou construct a fence around the yard “to show where it came to an end.”

From her front porch that faced east, Lizzie could clearly see the children walking along Scott road to the one-room Antelope schoolhouse. It was so clear in 1914 that she could see the trees on San Jacinto Mountain, and so quiet she could hear the train whistle in Romoland, 10 miles to the north.

An unfortunate injury forced Lou to give up wheat farming. He sold his teams of horses and built chicken houses in order to raise fryers and eggs to sell commercially. Under the house on the north side was their egg cellar where Lizzie candled and weighed eggs. She would have used an actual candle as there was no electricity in our valley until 1946. In the cool cellar Lizzie set pans of milk for the cream to rise so she could make butter. There was an ice box in her kitchen and ice blocks were delivered from Perris.

Lizzie was known for baking the best Angel Food cakes, and several times a year she would deliver a cake for the dozen children attending the one-room Antelope schoolhouse. Although she never had children of her own, she was loved by the children in this valley. She was their Sunday School teacher and held 4-H meetings in her home.

Today the Drake home is the residence of Mrs. Betty Bouris. When Betty and her husband Herk were married in 1950 they knew they wanted to be farmers and live in Menifee. Mrs. Drake offered to sell her place to them.
Betty Bouris recalls those days fondly. “I remember hanging linens on the clothes line in 1951. It seemed to me I was standing on the edge of the world,” says Bouris, who serves as board member with the Menifee Valley Historical Association. “The only thing to stop the eye were a few farm buildings in clumps of trees scattered a mile or two apart and then the hills and distant mountains beyond miles and miles of wheat.”

On the property today, the windmill and well are in their original place, and in Lizzie Drake’s rose bed some of her roses still bloom each year, close to 100 years old.

We appreciate the input and narrative provided by Mrs. Betty Bouris to compose this article, written by Bill Zimmerman. For more information about the Drake family and other settlers, please visit the Menifee History Museum, which is open Sundays from 1 to 4pm. Admission is free. Also visit http://pos.li/2efd7s

02/09/2020

Bill Zimmerman talking to Menifee History Museum visitors about mining and farming ⛏🌾

Menifee Valley Historical Association
01/22/2020

Menifee Valley Historical Association

Menifee Valley Historical Association
01/22/2020

Menifee Valley Historical Association

Come on over to the History Museum.  Learn about Menifee’s history and earn a free patch.  Just like this young lady! 👏 ...
01/21/2020

Come on over to the History Museum. Learn about Menifee’s history and earn a free patch. Just like this young lady! 👏 #menifeehistory

01/18/2020

History Program - Women Trailblazers of Menifee

Menifee History program Saturday, January 18 at the Antelope Menifee Rural Center on Haun Road, north of Garbani. Starts...
01/18/2020

Menifee History program Saturday, January 18 at the Antelope Menifee Rural Center on Haun Road, north of Garbani. Starts at 9:30am. #menifeehistory

City of Menifee-City Hall
01/04/2020

City of Menifee-City Hall

#ThrowbackThursday #TBT #MenifeeCA

The Kittilson Family -  THEY MADE THEIR WAY in 1882 by Horse-drawn WagonIn the 1870’s, Mr. Andrew Kittilson, a native of...
01/03/2020

The Kittilson Family - THEY MADE THEIR WAY in 1882 by Horse-drawn Wagon

In the 1870’s, Mr. Andrew Kittilson, a native of Norway, lived in Los Angeles with his wife Myra. Their daughter Norma was born April 16, 1877 near Downey, CA.

After learning that the government had opened land in this area for homesteading, Kittilson and his neighbor traveled together to scout out an ideal piece of property, which he found in the Menifee Valley. He filed on 160 acres on section 14, which is north of Scott Road, and east of Antelope road (shown in photo - immediate right next to cottonwood trees). His neighbor filed on land just north of Perris.

Kittilson built a small board and batten house from lumber he obtained from San Jacinto Mountain. It was then time for his wife and daughter to make the journey with him from Los Angeles to their new home in Menifee.

In the fall of 1882, they came by wagon pulled by two horses, Fanny and Shylock, bringing their chickens, cat and their dog Benny. Their household goods were shipped by rail to Colton, as that was the nearest rail depot.

The family stayed the first night of the trip with friends, Mr. and Mrs. Banning in Duarte. The second night they camped in the dry bed of the Santa Ana River west of Riverside. They ate their lunch at Box Springs the next day. The trail followed the bottom of the canyon at that time, the springs enclosed in a box, whence the name. A strong norther was blowing but subsided by nightfall. They arrived at their destination on November 26, 1882.

The Kittilsons proved up after five years of residence and obtained the deed to the land. They also obtained an additional 160 acres through a timberculture claim. To qualify for this, they agreed to plant 10 acres of “timber”. Mr. Kittilson obtained tiny cottonwood trees from nearby Cottonwood Canyon and transplanted them onto the property south of Garbani road.

Mr. Kittilson’s wife Myra operated the valley’s first post office called Anon from their property. The mail was brought once a week from Murrieta.

Their daughter Norma attended the first Paloma and Antelope schools. In 1899, Norma married William Brown, a local farmer from Winchester (shown together in the attached photo). In 1906, the couple moved to the original Kittilson timberculture claim property at the corner of Antelope and Garbani roads and raised their family there.

Written by Bill Zimmerman - Vice President, Menifee Valley Historical Association. For more information about the Kittilson-Brown family and other settlers, please visit the Menifee History Museum, which is open Sundays from 1 to 4pm. Admission is free.
#menifeehistory

Best wishes for all things wonderful and best of health in 2020!
01/01/2020

Best wishes for all things wonderful and best of health in 2020!

Happy Holidays from your friends at the Menifee History Museum
12/25/2019

Happy Holidays from your friends at the Menifee History Museum

Happy Holiday Greetings as shared from the Karakul Fur Farm!!Introduced in the Menifee Valley in the late 1940s,  the sh...
12/20/2019

Happy Holiday Greetings as shared from the Karakul Fur Farm!!
Introduced in the Menifee Valley in the late 1940s, the sheep are known for their ability to forage and thrive under extremely harsh living conditions. They can survive severe drought conditions because of a special quality they have... storing fat in their tails! The farm lasted for a few years and was located on where the Audie Murphy Ranch development is. The sheep were kept for milking, meat, pelts, and wool.

Enjoy your holiday

Thank you Lesley Stevens for obtaining this grant to bring your class as well as Leann’s class on a tour of Menifee’s Hi...
12/16/2019

Thank you Lesley Stevens for obtaining this grant to bring your class as well as Leann’s class on a tour of Menifee’s History Museum! #menifeehistory

Eleven Menifee Union School District teachers were selected to receive individual grants from the Assistance League of Temecula Valley, with a value of up to $500.00 each. They also received a certificate of acknowledgement for having been selected as recipients. Each grant will be used to purchase items, or in support of a wide range of activities for students in MUSD for years to come.

The grant recipients are: Sean Barnett, Bonnie Chilton, Holly Fratt, Fredric Harvey, Tracie Lents, Marylynn Nieves, Sherelle Talboom, Diana Vasquez, Carly Perez, Lesley Stevens, Darrin Zimmer, and Candi Anderson, (some were joint applicants).

The Menifee Union School District would like to thank the Assistance League of Temecula Valley for their continued generous support of students and staff through their programs such as Teacher Grants, Operation School Bell, etc.

#MenifeeLearns with the support of the community!

When you are at the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 4pm today on the MSJC campus imagine yourself back in time....  ...
12/07/2019

When you are at the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 4pm today on the MSJC campus imagine yourself back in time.... This team of six horses is pulling two wagons loaded with sacks of grain. They are heading from the field to the Kirkpatrick barns for storage (on the current Menifee Lakes and MSJC property).
Harvesting season was from July to September which was the peak of the hot summer months.
Robert C. Kirkpatrick first saw the valley in 1879. He and his 4 sons left Tennessee and went to Orange County in 1874 and then brought their families to Menifee in 1882. Robert and his sons later bought land in this valley on both sides of Newport Rd and east of the freeway which totaled 3,000 acres of land that they farmed together. The location of the homesteads was where MSJC and Menifee Lakes is now situated.

Address

Museum: Garbani Road Between Murrieta And Evans
Menifee, CA
92584

General information

Our mission is to identify, preserve and promote the historic legacy of the Menifee Valley, to promote respect for our past and educate the public about its historical significance.

Opening Hours

Sunday 13:00 - 16:00

Telephone

9517086842

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Comments

Interesting history on a town I may be living in........
SWEEET story! Thanks so much for sharing!
I've often wondered how to pronounce Ethanac as in Ethanac Road. We know it's named after A.C. Ethan, but how to pronounce it? I usually say the "ac" part of it to rhyme with "sack," as in "Ethan-Nack." Well, I'm watching the new Ken Burns documentary, "Country Music," and there are several people in country music history named A.C. Particularly, the husband of Maybell Carter (from the Carter Family), A.C.Robertson. Turns out A.C. went by the nickname "Eck" (rhymes with "neck" and named that way in the Burns documentary). Coincidentally, another man in the doc with the name A.C. was also known as "Eck" and it was pronounced the same way. Is the correct pronunciation, then, of Ethanac, “Ethan-Neck?” Can anyone at the Historical Society confirm this? Thanks.
I had a great time today!...hope to see you in May at your next meeting!...
Hello my name is Ronald Scott and my Great Grandfather Marion Hills once owned the property at 28990 Mapes Rd. Here is a photo taken in the 1950s. Note the water tower in the back of my family.