Biography of Henry A. Westbrook

Henry A. Westbrook is one of Riverside’s earlier settlers and ranks as one of her most successful businessmen and horticulturists. Mr. Westbrook dates his birth in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, June 20, 1848. His father, Benjamin Westbrook, was a native of New Jersey, who in his young manhood located in Pennsylvania and there married Miss Lucy L Nichols, a native of that State. He was a carpenter and builder by occupation. Mr. Westbrook was reared in his native village until eight years old, and then placed on a farm until the age of seventeen, during which time he obtained such an education as the winter terms of the public schools afforded. He then abandoned farming occupation, and returned to his father, and under his tutorship became skilled as a carpenter and builder.

In 1869, he struck out for the West and located in Clinton, Iowa, working at his trade as a journeyman, and later went to Belle Plain, Iowa, and there established himself as a contractor and builder. In 1872 he went to Chicago, and was there actively engaged as a contractor and builder for two and a half years, during the rebuilding of that city. In 1875 his health failed him and he was compelled to suspend his operations.

He then returned to Belle Plain, deciding to seek a home on the Pacific Coast. In 1876 he came to California and located in Riverside, and upon his arrival he established himself as a builder, and later also devoted his attention to horticultural pursuits. Success has crowned his efforts. He is a thorough mechanic, well schooled in his calling, and possessed of sound business principles. He came to Riverside with but little or no capital, and his manly conduct, honest and straightforward dealing soon secured the patronage and support of the community, and for many years he has been identified with the building industries of that city and colony, and gained a well-earned competency. At this writing he is still occupied as a contractor and builder, having his place of business on Main Street, corner Sixth Street. He is also the owner of a twenty-acre tract on the east side of Orange Street, south of Russell Street. This tract attests his success as a horticulturist. It is thoroughly improved and under a high state of cultivation. His fine orange grove contains 320 seedlings, and 800 budded trees of Washington Navel, Australian Navel, St. Michael Malta Blood and other approved varieties; also 100 lemon trees, Lisbon variety. His vineyard of raisin grapes is four acres in extent. He also has two acres in alfalfa, which under his admirable system of irrigation yields six crops a year, giving an aggregate of nine tons per acre. His trees were planted in the years intervening between 1877 and 1880 and are now many of them in good bearing, rendering profitable crops.

Mr. Westbrook has always been a progressive citizen and a strong supporter of such public enterprises as would tend to build up Riverside. He is a stockholder and director of the Riverside Water Company. In political matters he is a Republican, has served several terms as a delegate in county conventions and may always be found supporting the best elements of his party.

Mr. Westbrook was married in 1871, wedding Miss Jane E. McDowell, a native of Gettysburg, Ohio. Her parents, Robert and Sarah (Campbell) McDowell, are natives of Pennsylvania, and were among the earlier settlers of Darke County, Ohio. Her father is one of the pioneers of Riverside. From the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Westbrook there are two children, Lucy Ada and Lova.



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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