WILLIAM L. NORTHERNBio-Pen Pictures
To say that a a man lives in the Willows District has come nowadays to mean almost that a man has grown wealthy in fruit-raising. Those who have settled in that fertile section have shown themselves sagacious, and are now reaping a rich reward for their discernment. Mr. William L. Northern came to California in 1859, and, after a residence here of seven years, decided to settle in the Willows. In 1868 be purchased six acres of land, where his homestead now stands. Four years later he set this out to fruit‑trees, including apples, plums, and prunes. From time to time he has added to his possessions until now he owns twenty-four acres of land, all set out in fruit, sixteen acres being in yellow Newtown pippins, and eight acres in prunes. As yet only the apple crop is in bearing. As an instance of the returns afforded by fruit in the Willows, it may be stated that Mr. Northern received as high as $3,200 one season for the apple crop sold upon the trees, and his average income therefrom varies from $2,500 to $3,000 per year. The codling moth, which has been such a pest to fruit-growers, is effectively controlled by Mr. Northern, so that last year the apples were in much better condition than before. He kept six men busy a good part of the season picking off the fruit that was attacked. This was dumped into a large kettle, thoroughly cooked, and fed to the hogs, thus effectually killing the worms. This did not in the least affect the quantity of the fruit on the trees, as it simply served the purpose of properly thinning it, and even then it has sometimes seemed still to leave the fruit too thick.
Mr. Northern was born February 15, 1836, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. When about nine years of age he removed to Tennessee, where he remained until twenty-one years old. This time was spent at Newmarket, which is situated some twenty-five miles east of Knoxville, in Eastern Tennessee, on a farm with parents. In 1857 he emigrated to Missouri, and in 1859 came to California. He went at once to the mines, locating at Inskip, about thirty miles from Oroville, in Butte County, and engaging in placer mining, with the usual luck of miners, sometimes rich and sometimes poor, generally poor. He saw, however, that there was nothing permanently profitable in mining, and in 1866 came to Santa Clara County, where he worked at the carpenter trade until he married and settled down to farming. His parents were Thomas and Lucinda (Holt) Northern, natives of North Carolina, who removed to Tennessee in 1845. The subject of this sketch had nine brothers and sisters. Three of his brothers did honorable service in the war for the preservation of the Union: Thomas S., who was First Lieutenant in the First Regiment of East Tennessee Cavalry; James M., also a soldier of the Union army, who died in hospital from wounds received in the battle of Murfreesboro; Alfred F., also a soldier in an infantry regiment of the Union army under General Thomas, throughout his campaigns in Tennessee. Joseph H., who lived in Newmarket, was killed soon after the war under distressing circumstances. A stranger whom he was hospitably entertaining overnight robbed and murdered him!
Mr. Northern was married at San Jose, December 24, 1868, to Miss Lizzie H. Easley. Their children are: Lulu Maud, born March 2, 1870, who graduated at the Willows Grammar School, and is now attending the Garden City Commercial College; Pleasant M., born February 13, 1872, graduated at the Willows Grammar School, and is about to attend the Commercial College; and Cornelia May, born November 20, 1876, died June 26, 1881.
Mr. Northern is
a member in good standing of Friendship Lodge, No. 210, Masonic, of San Jose, of
Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar, of San Jose, and of Howard Chapter, No. 10,
Royal Arch Masons, also of Garden City Lodge, No. 142, I. O. O. F., of San Jose.
Mr. Northern is a consistent Democrat, strongly in favor of the protection of
American industries and the fruit interests of California, in so far as this
protection cannot be used as a basis for monopoly.
Pen Pictures From The
Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated.
- Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHY PROJECT