Biography of David Morey

David Morey, one of the pioneers of Redlands, was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, in 1824. His father, Jacob Morey, moved to Delaware County, Ohio, at an early day, and took a farm out of the woods. He died there at the age of ninety years. His mother, Barbara (Jacobs) Morey, is still living, at the advanced age of ninety-two years.

The subject of this sketch left home at the age of fourteen to learn the cabinet trade. He worked at this trade in Marysville, and in 1842 went to Indianapolis, where he remained until 1845. He then went to Lexington, Kentucky, and in 1850 started from St. Louis across the plains to California. They left Independence, Missouri, May 10, 1850, and were on the way four months to Nevada City, California.

Mr. Morey, like many others, engaged in mining from 1850 to 1858. He then went to Scottsburg, Oregon, where he worked at the cabinet trade and ship-joining on river steamers. Then he went to Columbia River and helped built steamers. After this he came back to the Cascades and built the steamer “Iris;” then to Puget Sound, to Victoria, and finished the steamer “Alexandria,” for William Moore. He then went to Umpqua River and built the steam sawmill and the schooners, “William F. Brown,” “Pacific” and “Mary Cleveland.”

In 1870 he went to San Francisco, and from there to Watsonville, where he engaged in the gunsmith business for ten years. About this time he invented the ” straw-burner,” and sold the right of the Pacific coast for $5,000. The right was infringed, and he had to defend it, which cost him a great deal of money. His next invention was the hay and grain elevator. This invention broke him up financially. He also invented the Ball Laster, for shoemaking, and in 1880 he left and went to Plumas County, where he located on a hydraulic mining claim. He next went to the Plumas and Eureka quartz mines and worked at millwrighting for about two years.

In 1882 he came to Redlands and purchased ten acres of land. He soon bought ten acres more with borrowed money and set it out to oranges. His excellent wife has done as much as he or more in making and beautifying their grounds and orchards. She spaded the ground to grow the young orange trees, with her own hands. She planted the first trees in Redlands: 1,900 the first year; the next year she had a bed 24 x 6 feet, and had 21,500 seedlings. This stock she sold, and with the proceeds bought ten acres of land with ten shares of water on it. The next year she planted 40,000 trees. She now has 38,000 of nursery stock, three years old. She also sold trees and paid for grading a ten-acre lot, and $1,000 for the improvement of the same. She now has on hand 16,500 nursery stock, which she donates to the Congregational church. Mrs. Morey is of French origin. Her maiden name was Sarah Jane Reforest, and she was a native of New York. Her parents, John and Elizabeth (Van Wormeth) DeForest, were French and German respectively. Her father died when she was quite young, and she went with friends to Oregon, where she was married to Mr. Morey in 1870. Mrs. Morey’s enterprise and labor in helping to make their beautiful but as yet humble home, is known far and wide, and the fact is recognized that she has done as much as anyone in Redlands toward the cultivation of oranges and the beautifying of orchards and grounds.


The Lewis Publishing Company. An Illustrated History of Southern California embracing the counties of San Diego San Bernardino Los Angeles and Orange and the peninsula of lower California. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1890.

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