Gerner, John

Died: 29 April 1919

Gerner, John, owner of an eighty-acre ranch on Jensen Avenue, eight miles from Fresno, Ca. John Gerner had been a resident of this section since 1891 and was associated with the building-up of the agricultural and horticultural interests of this part of Fresno County.

He was born in Washington County, Wis., 14 July 1856, a son of Christian and Johanna (Seidermann) Gerner, natives of Germany, but married in Wisconsin. The father was a wagonmaker by trade but followed farming after reaching the United States. Both he and his good wife died in Wisconsin. They became the parents of nine children, seven of whom are still living.

John was the second child and oldest son and the only one to live in Fresno County. The elder Gerner appreciated the advantages of an education and the son was sent to the district school during the year until he was old enough to assist on the farm, after which he attended the winter terms.

John learned to care for stock, helped operate their farm when the work was done by ox teams and he began to plow at the age of ten. As the dairy interests became more important in their section the lad became familiar with it and they furnished milk to the creameries there. In time he became owner of 100 acres in Washington County, which he improved and farmed until he
came to California, in 1888.

During his residence in his native state, John Gerner, was married to Mary Eager, by whom he had three children: Robert, born in 1881, was killed by the kick of a horse in 1894; Arthur E., who was born in Wisconsin 23 July 1883, raised on the California ranch, educated in the public school, now owner of 130 acres improved to vines and trees, besides his interest in the home place, and who is a trustee and for years clerk of Highland school district, and who belongs to the Peach Growers, Inc., and who married Edna Orich and has three children John, Allen and Carl; and Anson J., the third son, is a civil engineer by profession, a graduate of the University of California, who spent six years in the Government reclamation service in Utah, and who was in the engineer officer’s training school at Camp Humphrey’s, Va., and who will operate the home place in partnership with his brother, and who married Sophia Hazelton.

John Gerner decided he would come to California where he felt greater opportunities awaited him, and accordingly he sold out and arrived at San Bernardino, where he remained one year, then went to Los Angeles. He was looking over the country in search of a suitable ranch and made his first visit to Fresno County in 1891. He liked the looks of the country, saw the possibilities of irrigation, and made the purchase of eighty acres. This was a part of a large grain-field from which a heavy yield of wheat had been harvested. He moved his family to a rented house in Fresno until he could prepare a suitable home for them on his ranch, which he did in December, 1891. Part of his ranch had been used for a sheep fold and this contributed to the fertility of the soil. He began to set out a vineyard in the spring of 1892, and now there are fifty-five acres of muscats, and fifteen acres of malagas, and the balance is used for farm buildings, pasture, and a family orchard.

When he settled on the ranch there was no road into Sanger, and the nearest neighbor was one and a half miles away. Mrs. Gerner died at this home in 1915. Mr. Gerner’s second wife was Mrs. Harriett L. Darling, widow of A. P. Darling.

Mr. and Mrs. Gerner met an accidental death by being struck by a Southern Pacific train at the Minnewawa vineyard, on 29 April 1919, and the funeral, one of the largest in Fresno, was held at the home on 6 May 1919.

Mr. Gerner was a progressive worker and thinker, always ready to cooperate in all forward movements for the good of the county and community. He helped to build the highways and to organize the Highland school district.

John is in the 4th edition of the Friedrich Seidemann Family Tree Book on page 223 with his first wife Christina (Beger) Gerner on their wedding day. He is listed on page 217 with his parents, his wife, and his siblings and on page 271 and 272 with his first wife, their children, their grandchildren, great grandchildren, their great, great grandchildren, and their great, great, great grandchildren and his second wife. John is a third descendant of Friedrich and Rosine Seidemann and his genealogy line is as follows: Friedrich, Johanna, and John.