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Finding Aid to the Kearney Ranch Records, 1873-1949
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The records include account books for the Fruit Vale Improvement Company; records of the Easterby Rancho; records of the Kearney Vineyard Syndicate; labor and crop reports; financial statements; inventories; general accounts; and records relating to the Federal Trade Commission and its anti-trust actions concerning the California Associated Raisin Company (later called Sun-Maid Raisin Growers).
Martin Theodore Kearney died on May 26, 1906, in his stateroom aboard the Cunard liner Caronia, alone, as he had lived in the Victorian mansion adjacent to his vast Kearney Vineyard property. Kearney was considered the strong man of the raisin industry, and one of the largest producers of raisins in California. His origins are obscure, although it is known that he lived in Boston from 1865 to 1867, and in San Francisco after January 1, 1870. He was known as a real estate broker and was a partner of W.C. Chapman, a speculator in Fresno County lands. In 1877 he was agent for the Bank of California in the sale of the Easterby Rancho in Fresno, and in 1880 purchased N.K Masten's share therein -- probably Kearney's start in the ranching and vineyard business. He acquired the Fruit Vale estate also, and later a controlling interest in the Fresno Vineyard Company. He played an important role in the California Raisin Growers Association and maintained important social connections in San Francisco. The Kearney Fruit Vale ranch was an estate of 5400 acres, including alfalfa, vineyards, citrus trees, packing facilities, and a large house. The property was bequeathed to the Regents of the University of California by Mr. Kearney in 1906 and was administered by the University of California until 1948.
100 volumes, 12 cartons, 4 boxes, 12 oversize boxes, 4 cardfile boxes circa 35 linear feet
Collection is open for research.