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Fresno County Founding Fathers

These are some of the people who put Fresno County on the map


Moses Joshua Church

Beginning in 1868, he built the earliest canal in Fresno County, the Fresno Canal System. The canals were originally called "Church Ditches."


Crazy Mariana

'The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta' (page 148) by James F. Varley relates: "In the year 1883
the demented old Mariana began predicting the imminent end of the world and in so
doing, drew a swarm of Hispanics to the arroyo many of whom were said to be robbers
and murderers." Many thanks to Roland Young for this information. The book was printed
by Big Lost River Press P.O. Box 2721, Twin Falls, ID 83303-2721. The book has 218 pages.


 A. Y. Easterby 

A prominent early rancher who, with Moses Church, formed the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Company in 1868.


Chris Evans

In the course of an 1893 jailbreak engineered by Evans and his associate. Ed Morell,
Evans shot and wounded Fresno city Marshall John D. Morgan. Morgan survived.


James Faber 

In 1872 Faber became the first merchant and resident of the Central Pacific Railroad's
newest stop, a little place called Fresno Station, which later grew into the city of Fresno.


W. Parker Lyon

Elected mayor of Fresno in 1905, W. Parker Lyon proved to be its most colorful and controversial public servant. Although castigated for his ties to saloons and the Tenderloin district, Lyon achieved a great deal for the fledgling city, including the building of a new City Hall.


Lt. Gabriel Moraga

Spanish commander of two expeditions through California's Central Valley. On January 6, 1805 he named a river that he and his men came to, "Rio de los Santos Reyes," in honor of the Holy Kings, whose feast day it was. Today it is known as Kings River. On March 20, 1805 he named a second river after the saint whose holy day it was, Saint Joachim, the father of the Virgin Mary. Its name today?  The San Joaquin River. On his second expedition, which took place the following year, Moraga encountered  swarms of yellow butterflies while traveling across what is now Merced County. So he named the area "Mariposa," the Spanish word for butterfly.


John D. Morgan 
Fresno city marshall in 1893, signer of the Fresno City Charter in 1901, and first Fresno Police Chief.


James Porteous
Over 200 patents are credited to this prolific Scottish inventor who founded the oldest continuous business in Fresno in 1874, originally called Fresno Agricultural Works. (Now known as Fresno Ag Hardware). His most famous invention is the Fresno Scraper, a device which moved large quantities of earth when pulled by a horse. In 1941 the Fresno Scraper was atttached to Caterpillar tractors and renamed "the bulldozer."


Dr. Chester Rowell
Rowell founded the Fresno Republican newspaper in 1876. It became a great crusading newspaper that has been credited with breaking the monopoly of the Central Valley Railroad and electing Hiram Johnson governor of California.