An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County, California Ė
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1889 Page 440
JAMES CLEMINSON, of El Monte, is a representative of one of the pioneer
of San Gabriel Valley. He dates his birth at Independence, Missouri,
August 7, 1833, son of John and Lydia (Lightner) Cleminson.
John Cleminson SR was born in England, December 29, 1798. During the war of 1812,
he came to the United States, via St. Johns, New Brunswick, with his father,
James Cleminson (whose wife had died in England). After a residence of some
time in Virginia, the family made their home in Louisville, Kentucky.
Upon reaching manhood, John Cleminson, the father of the subject of
this sketch, went to Lexington, Missouri, then a wilderness. There,
December 28, 1822, he wedded Miss Lightner, who was of Dutch descent,
born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, July 11, 1800. Mr. Cleminson worked
at his trade, cabinet and carpenter work, many years at Lexington,
moving from there to Independence and later to Illinois, where with
his family lie lived first at Galena and later in Carroll County.
September 15, 1850, with his wife and four of their six children,
he started, via the overland Santa Fe trail, for Southern California,
with two teams of oxen and cows together for transports. The children
who came with their parents were: James, whose name heads this sketch;
John, Lydia and Diantha. (Laura, wife of G. W. Durfee, and Mary M.,
wife of E. T. Mills, came a few years later). The journey of the
Cleminsons was a long and tedious one. The first winter was spent
at or near Harrisonville, Missouri, the next at Tucson, Arizona.
At one time, losing nearly all their stock, one wagon was hauled
by hand sixty miles and sold at Santa Cruz, Arizona. After trials
and troubles, which we have not the space to relate, the family
reached this sunny land, James arriving at San Diego in time to
participate in celebrating the national birthday, July 4, 1852,
and the family a few days later.
At San Diego the first American
wedding ever solemnized was the marriage of Lydia Cleminson with
Sam S. Reeves. This occurred April 15, 1853. After a short residence
at San Diego the family made their home in San Bernardino County,
and in 1858 upon a ranch near El Monte. The mother died August 11,1873,
and the father,John Cleminson Sr, November 28,1879. He was a man well known in Los Angeles
County and respected by all. His son, James Cleminson, married, in San Bernardino
County, Mrs. Caroline Beek, widow of Thomas Beek. She was a lady of
English birth. Two children were born of this union, James D. and
Willis S. The former has his home in San Bernardino, and the latter
died January 10, 1882, aged four years and three months. Their mother
departed this life March 27, 1880, aged thirty-six years. From her
first marriage one son, Charles Edward, is living.
The present wife of Mr. James Cleminson, formerly Miss Emma Crist, he wedded October 11, 1885.
She was born in the State of Iowa, daughter of Levi Crist, now a
resident of Washington Territory. Her child, Hugh Delbert Cleminson,
was born November 18, 1886. Mr. Cleminson is the owner of fifty acres
of land at El Monte, and also a tract of ten acres near Azusa.
Politically, he is identified with the Republican party.
He is a member of the ancient order of Free Masons. John Cleminson Jr,
the youngest of the Cleminson family, owns and resides upon thirty acres
adjoining his brother James.