Albert E. Payne came to California in August 1883, and located upon a ten-acre tract in Ontario, San Bernardino County, which he purchased in 1882. Immediately upon his arrival he engaged in horticultural pursuits, and in September of the same year established a general merchandise store on the west side of Euclid Avenue. This was the first store established in the Ontario colony, and the pioneer store of the now thriving city of Ontario. Mr. Payne conducted his store and horticultural industry until October 1886, when he sold out both interests and located in Chino Township, in the Chino School District. There he purchased the Gates ranch, located about four miles southeast, devoting himself to agricultural and horticultural pursuits. He now has thirty acres of his land in prunes and apples, and he finds the soil and climate so well adapted to these productions that he is raising nursery stock, and in the near future will devote at least 100 acres of his land to these fruits. In his general farming he is raising grain, hay and stock. Mr. Payne is a native of England, born in Chatham, Kent County, in 1841. His parents George and Amelia (Husted) Payne, immigrated to the United States in 1851, and located in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father engaged in hotel keeping. The subject of this sketch, when seventeen years old, entered as an apprentice the machine shops of the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad. After serving an apprenticeship of three years he engaged as an assistant engineer on the lakes, and at his trade in Cleveland. In 1868 he went to Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania, and was engaged in well boring for oil, which occupation he followed for about three years. He then established himself in the coal business in Cleveland until 1873, when he entered more extensively into prospecting for oil in Clarion and Warren counties, and was successfully employed for the next ten years, always having an interest in the enterprise.
In 1883 his wife’s failing health admonished him to seek the more congenial climate of California. He is a firm believer in Southern California and has real estate interests in Los Angeles and other sections. In political matters he is a Republican, and in 1884 was appointed Postmaster of Ontario, which office he held until the Democratic administration-July, 1886. He is a school trustee of his district and takes a deep interest in the welfare of the public schools. He is a charter member of Ontario Lodge, No. 231, A. O. U. W. He has for many years been a consistent member of the Disciples’ Church.
Although not a pioneer of the county, Mr. Payne was one of the early settlers of the Ontario colony, and was one of its strongest supporters, and well known as one of its representative men. He has a large circle of friends in Ontario, as well as in his present section. His straightforward course of life and dealing with his fellow men entitle him to the respect awarded him.
In 1864 he married Miss Mary Sheppard, a native of Cleveland, Ohio; she is the daughter of William and Mary (Jackson) Sheppard. Her father was a native of Manchester, England, and a prominent merchant of Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother was born in Boston. From the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Payne there are three children, viz.: William E., Oliver T. and Marie I., all of whom are members of their father’s household.