The annual picnic that brings back many of the residents from the valley who used to live here is again upon us. On May 26th many of those who lived here or have relatives here will gather to meet old friends again. The festivities will begin about 9:00 a.m. and go until 3:00 p.m. or until the urge to leave overwhelms the urge to stay. As usual Mr. Bill Jennings and the coffee crew will provide their version of "Farmhouse" mud. Gather up your vitals and your silverware and come join us and rekindle old friendships. Also would suggests you dig out any old annuals from your high school days if you went to school here. Many displays by local Historical groups, including the WINCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF PLEASANT VALLEY, will be their for all to see. The Hemet Public Library and Golden Years also will set up displays. Hope we can see you all there for this happening.
It has come to our attention from a letter received last month that a name in Mary Whitneys fine article was misspelled. The name Garboni should have been spelled Garbani. We apologize for the misspelling of one of the founding families of the Winchester area. This oversight did bring up an interesting thought however. In my travels in and about the area we have seen the road sign for the road called Garboni Road. Also the San Jacinto Register of the 1890's in an article about the shooting of Gaudenzio Garboni (their spelling) show it spelled with an "o". However one week later in a follow up article they spell it with an "a". Thus I guess we are not the only ones confused at times.
But back to what our thoughts were. How did names get changed. I, your humble editor, has for many years had his name spelled many ways. It seems that names were often changed by government documents simply because the people taking information did not know how to spell or had lousy penmanship. Sometimes the fact that the person giving the information did not read or write caused a problem. Another factor was the fact that local people could not pronounce the name so it was changed.
Again we apologize for any mistake we made.
Winchester And Valle Vista
Another glaring entity that the two communities did not share initially, although the people in Winchester thought they would eventually, was water. One year after the Fairview investors established their corporation they founded another company with 20,000 shares of capital stock which they named the Florida Water Company. The plan was to sell plots of land accompanied by Florida Water Company water stock certificates. The holder of a water certificate, i.e. the owner of the land, would be entitled to a portion of the water belonging to and developed by the water company as the number of shares bears to the whole, as perhaps one or five shares bears to 20,000 shares. Significant in its absence on the certificates given with each land purchase, was the amount of water the Florida Water Company owned, the amount it planned to develop, and when and how often it would be supplied.
To their credit, the Directors of the Florida Water Company started developing water to their lands as soon as possible by improving an existing water ditch, called the Hamner Ditch, which headed at the San Jacinto River and traveled northwest to the Fairview Lands, a distance of approximately four miles. To their discredit, the Directors of the Florida Water Company who were also the owners of the Fairview Land and Water Company, gave away their rights to a portion of the river which supplied the most water, thus diminishing the amount and delivery of their water, especially during the summer months.
In February 1887, the Fairview Directors entered into an agreement with another group of investors who planned to develop about 6,000 acres of San Jacinto Valley land west of the Fairview Lands. This latter group incorporated two companies in January 1887, the Hemet Land Company and the Lake Hemet Water Company. Their intent was to hold back the waters of the South Fork branch of the San Jacinto River part of the year by building a dam across this fork in Hemet Valley, high up in the San Jacinto Mountains. The one problem they had, however, was conveying water to their lands across lands they did not own, i. e. Fairview lands. So they made a deal with the
Fairview/Florida Water Company Directors.
In exchange for a right of way across Fairview lands, the Lake Hemet Water Company Directors agreed that the Fairview Directors could have the water rights to North Fork and Strawberry Creek, the other two branches of the San Jacinto River, while Lake Hemet Water Company Directors could have the rights to South Fork. The one thing the Lake Hemet Water Company Directors knew and the Fairview Directors did not was that North Fork and Strawberry Creek normally went dry during the summer months, but South Fork was rarely dry during the same period. Consequently, the Florida Water Company could never develop the quantity of water it needed to supply all of its lands, although the directors of the Fairview Land and Water Company never admitted this, especially to people living in Winchester who desperately needed water and thought they might be able to import water from the San Jacinto River, 15 miles away.
By the end of the 1880's the people living in and around Winchester were becoming concerned about their ability to obtain water for their lands. Initially water was found by digging wells, some no deeper than 20 to 30 feet, but the wells could not produce the amount of water that was needed to grow fruits, nuts, and olives, products the settlers wanted to grow, and frequently the wells went dry. Two Winchester ranchers, F T Lindenberger and William Haslam, were the initial leaders for the beginning of meetings to rally support for the formation of an irrigation district under the California Wright Act.
Born in 1853 in Olive Green, Ohio, Lindenberger first purchased 80 acres in 1887 in what was called Menifee Valley, an area approximately one mile southwesterly from the town of Winchester. In 1889, Lindenberger, along with his brother, H H, started planting olives trees on 10 acres of their land in Section 36 Township 5 South Range 3 west, naming the property Olive Green. Eventually, the Lindenberger brothers turned their attention to real estate, hoping to make money on land development with the promise and existence of water from an irrigation district.
William J Haslam was born in Manchester England in 1828, coming to Pleasant Valley from LeMar, Missouri in 1885 and buying 280 acres of railroad and 160 acres of government lands, located about two miles from the town of Winchester. Unlike Lindenberger, Haslam raised grain and developed a stock farm of horses, mules, and cattle, but like Lindenberger he was very interested in getting more water for Pleasant Valley. On October 17, 1889, the Winchester Recorder reported that the San Jacinto Land and Water Association Directors agreed to join with Perris and Menifee to name a committee to form a water district. Three of the district forming committee members were W P Fowler, H T Hewitt, and P L Griffin, all from San Jacinto. The presence of P L Griffin on the committee is significant in light of his attempts to develop a water system from the San Jacinto River, entirely separate from the systems being developed by the Florida Water Company and the Lake Hemet Water Company.
P L Griffin was a salesman for the San Jacinto Land and Water Association.. The existence of an irrigation district made selling lands and making more money possible and an enticement to find ways to develop more water. Griffin thought he could develop more water and send it to Winchester, through San Jacinto Land Association lands, from the Cienega. This unusual year-round swampy area some 4 miles southeast of the town of San Jacinto was ¼ mile in length and extended entirely across the river, a distance of about 800 feet. Griffin discovered, after drilling in the Cienega some 14 feet down through sand and gravel, a solid clay bottom or dam which prevented water from percolating into the river bed. As a consequence, a surface and
subterranean stream of water 800 feet wide poured over the hard clay pan.
Griffin's plan was to build a tunnel into the Cienega fifteen feet below the surface, draining water through the tunnel and sending it in wooden flumes and a dirt ditch to outlying lands. With this in mind, he acquired the rights to the Cienega property from Matthew Byrne and started filing water appropriations on the waters of the San Jacinto River at points on and above the Cienega. After these initial actions, Griffin formed a corporation in January 1890 which he named the San Jacinto Land, Flume and Irrigation Company, conveying all his titles and rights to this company, and he started overseeing the building and digging of his very long irrigation line, stretching to Lindenberger's olive grove.