Lester F. Carpenter

Lester Fish Carpenter is a personage of significance in early San Bernardino County history. Still, much of the record of his existence is obscure and even non-existent at this point. No photo of him survives.
Born on December 14, 1831 in Moriah, New York, Lester Carpenter was the son of Elijah and Abigail Parsons Carpenter. His wife, Mary Davis, the daughter of Dr. Davis, was born in St Louis Missouri. Lester and Mary were married in 1855 in San Bernardino. Mary Carpenter died in San Bernardino on April 29, 1898 at the age of 85, which would have made here 18 years older than her husband. No record of Lester’s death has been found. A child, Alva, listed with them in the 1860 Census is presumed to be the son of a tenant, Alva Farnsworth.
The earliest record of L.F. Carpenter was found in Ingersoll’s “Century Annals of San Bernardino County 1769-1904” page 432, as follows: “In 1857, Lewis Cram and Brothers, who had already started a chair factory in San Bernardino, moved several miles farther up the Zanja in order to secure better water power. In 1858 the Crams sold their original claim to L.F. Carpenter. Soon thereafter, George H. Crafts bought the tract of land just below the Carpenter place.”
As this is the first recorded property transaction in San Bernardino by Mr. Carpenter, it is assumed he arrived in San Bernardino with his family in May 1858. He made other land purchases in 1858, 1859 and 1860, and sold property in 1862, 1863, 1864 and 1866. He was elected one of three water commissioners in 1860. A candidate for Second District supervisor in 1863, he ran behind H. Yager, J.F. Miller and William Bryant in the original September polling. Robert Carlisle and L.F. Carpenter demanded a recount. The recount put Carlisle and Carpenter on top, but on November 3, 1863, Judge A.D. Boren ordered the clerk, A.F. McKinney, to issue certificates of election to Yager, Miller and Bryant. Miller never appeared at any meeting, but L.F. Carpenter did. Carpenter apparently became Second District supervisor by default, and attended both the November 16, 1863 and February 15, 1864 meetings. He was replaced in April 1864 by Hardin Yager. There is no further record of Lester Carpenter.
Carpenter does not appear in San Bernardino County’s “Great Register of Voters,” begun in June 1866. It is assumed that for unknown reasons he and his family left the area about that time, since it coincides with his last property sale.

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