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Frederick J. Brandon
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Birth: May 15, 1865
El Dorado County
California, USA
Death: Mar. 30, 1964
El Dorado County
California, USA

Frederick Joseph Brandon was born May 1865 at Jayhawk, El Dorado County, Calif. He was named Frederick for his grandfather, Frederick T. Reimer and Joseph for his mother's middle name, Mary Josephine Reimer. She was, in turn, named Josephine for her native St Joseph County, Indiana. Fred was devoted to his lovely wife, Mary Alice Killough, daughter of John Wesley Killough and Elizabeth Poteet. Fred went to work as a ranch hand in the 1890's for John Wesley Killough at the ranch out at Cold Springs (aka Iowa Flat.) Fred was a short, stocky very muscular and handsome young lad. John Wesley Killough's daughter, Mary went heels-over-head for this good-looking ranch-hand. She asked her dad if it would be OK for her to marry a Brandon from Rescue a common ranch hand. The Killough's were appalled to even consider having their fine dau. marry a man of such low social station. Indeed, the Brandons were known around the area to be quite poor. Edgar, Fred's father, had been a constable for El Dorado County, but that was many years before the Killough's ever knew Fred. The Killough's just didn't like the entire idea and firmly disapproved the marriage.

So Fred and Mary Alice had to take the train with Fred's sister, Sylvina Brandon and her beau, Newton Weymouth down to Sacramento where they were married in 1899 by a Justice of the Peace. (Mary was old enough that she didn't need her parent's consent.) John and Elizabeth Killough were furious. They never did approve of Fred, but Mary stuck by her husband for all the years of their marriage. She d. at Iowa Flat in 1951. I (John Gibson) can remember her quite well when we visited there in the 1940's. She was then an old lady and loved children. I never knew either John Wesley Killough or Elizabeth his wife. But my mother and her sisters (nieces to Frederick Brandon)remembered Elizabeth Killough quite well. They called her Grandma Killough. She d. about 1944.

Fred Brandon inherited the ranch at Cold Springs (Iowa Flat) after his father-in-law died about 1901. He changed it into a pear orchard operation and it prospered under his able management. He obtained a water right through the El Dorado Irrigation District and irrigated his orchard with water from the ditch which came from Twin Lakes on the South Fork of the American (now called Caples Lake). He sold the pears wholesale through the Pacific Fruit Exchange in Placerville. It was a lucrative business and the Brandon's were quite well off in those days. He bought an automobile about 1910 the first one in El Dorado County. It was a Pope-Hartford. I have no photo of that car in my collection. The Brandon's were proud of it. Their two daughters, Irma and Florence, grew up not knowing privation or hard times. They really had it pretty good. Even through the Great Depression, the pear ranch continued to be a good money-maker. They used Mexican laborers for most of the pruning and picking operations. The Mexicans stayed in the bunkhouse, part of which is still visible at the ranch to this day (2013).

After Fred died in 1964, the entire operation fell to his grandson, Vernon Cook and his wife Thelma. They were great people but entirely incapable of running any business much less a pear ranch. Neither Bud nor Thelma had any business acumen at all. It wasn't something Bud really liked and the place just slowly began to fall apart. The pear decline(a form of blight) also struck the state's pear industry in the late 1950's. They lost many of their trees and that contributed further to the collapse of the ranch. Bud drove the school bus from Kyburz every day to bring in income, but that barely paid their bills. Thelma had to go to work for the county and later the school district, but she wasn't capable of taking the stress of a day-to-day office job. Irma became a burden to Thelma which further accelerated her downward decline. Her health slowly became worse and declined even faster after Bud d. in 1992. She was just worn out when she finally d. in 2003. I hated to see her slowly run out of steam.

Florence became despondent after her dad's death. She began to travel to the lake all the time not telling anyone where she was going. She and Irma spent time at the cabin at South Lake Tahoe, and Florence began to frequent the casinos at the South Shore. She slowly became a compulsive gambler. Before Irma and Bud could stop her, Florence made huge withdrawals from their savings accounts and gambled the money away at the lake. They were suddenly poor and forced to sell everything about 1970.

The old ranch at Cold Springs is today, once again, a beautiful farm and again quite prosperous. The owners grow bulbs for sale all over the U.S. The pear orchards are gone, now but it is a a beautiful place today.
Fred was buried next to his wife in the Killough plot at East Lawn in Sacramento. He died in April 1964, a few days before his 99th birthday.

I shall always remember him fondly and still miss him to this day.

John Gibson
Folsom, Calif.
April 7, 2013

Mother's Maiden Name: Reimer
Family links: 
  Mary Brandon (1874 - 1951)*
*Calculated relationship
East Lawn Memorial Park
Sacramento County
California, USA
Created by: RMcGuire
Record added: Jun 13, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 53656936
Frederick J. Brandon
Added by: RMcGuire
Frederick J. Brandon
Cemetery Photo
Added by: William Tatum
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