BENJAMIN served as Coroner for Napa County and as a County Supervisor (as did LEONARD
LILLIE), as well as a school official. In 1869 the family moved to near ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA
where they purchased 640 acres of the ABEL STEARNES RANCHO.
The first eight of the nine children of BENJAMIN and MARY ORILLA were born in the Napa Valley .
EFFIE was less than five months old when the family first arrived at West Anaheim on May 21, 1869, and
for the first time looked over the land they had purchased. What they saw there must have caused some
question in their minds as to what opportunity they may realize.
The family had purchased a section (640 acres) of the then recently defunct ABEL STEARNES RANCH0.
Stearnes had gone bankrupt and his creditors had foreclosed on his vast Spanish-grant rancho, paying him only
two cents on the acre, and then had placed the land for sale by sections.
What the family paid for their section
is not known.
It would be considerably more than what Stearnes had received, but still a price that would have
been very reasonable, as the creditors were in real need of recovering their money and there seemed to be little
future for the uncleared land which must be dry-farmed, and was some distance from the slowly developing
community of Anaheim.
When the family first settled on this land it was all wild and raw, never having been cleared and farmed before.
Weeds were nearly as tall as one's head and wild-horses were frequent pests for several years and along with
grasshoppers and drought, caused heavy loss of what crops could be planted as the land was slowly cleared
The family lived in a tent while the first construction were corrals and barn for the horses and
livestock. MARY and the older children - those still too young for heavier work - planted and tilled a vegetable
EFFlE then a baby, would be placed upon a blanket on the ground.
Her mother would watch her with
care as ants were thick and rattlesnakes were sometimes seen.