Lyman C Waite

Left: Lyman C. Waite home, enlarged by Augustus Boggs in 1890. Right: Lyman C. Waite.

Three months after the colony in Riverside was started, Lyman C. Waite, 28 years old, arrived from Wisconsin. Before coming to Riverside, Lyman had fought in the Civil War in the Union army and obtained the rank of captain. He was admitted to the San Bernardino County Bar Association in 1871 and opened his law office in Riverside. He served as a justice of the peace. In that role, he is credited for formalizing the relationship of Luther and Eliza Tibbets, although it is not described as a marriage. He had been a teacher in Wisconsin and Iowa before getting his law degree in 1870. Lyman was one of the earliest school teachers in Riverside and the first practicing lawyer.

On April 5, 1872, Waite married Lillian Shugart, the daughter of Dr. K. D. Shugart. This was the first wedding performed in Riverside. Tragically, their first born, the colony’s first male child, was the second person to die in the new colony. In 1876, before his third birthday, he drowned in the canal. Both Lillian and Lyman Waite have windows dedicated to them as founders of the Universalist Church where George Henry Deere was the minister.

Waite’s most important work was the development of his citrus property. He bought 25 acres of land north of First Street and in 1873 added to this acreage and opened a nursery. It became famous in Riverside and was called the Waite & Simms Nursery. He increased his fortune for the next six years. In 1885 Waite helped organize the First National Bank of Riverside and served as its president for many years. He was also president of La Mesa Packing Company and along with Stephen H. Herrick, they created Highland’s first packinghouse. In all, Waite was connected with 22 corporations, serving as a director or officer, including many water companies: the East Riverside Water Company, the Artesia Water Company, the Highland Domestic Water Company. He served with Miller on the board of the Loring Opera Company. Other business interests included the Pacific Lumber Company and the Santa Fe Railroad.

Lyman and Lillian lived at 3121 Mulberry Street and held many fabulous parties. Their children: Marion, Charles, Lillian, Margaret Leila and Mildred fondly remembered while growing up there. The modest house was completely redesigned by architect A.C. Willard in 1890 and constructed by Augustus Boggs.

Waite also served on the Riverside City Council from 1906 to 1912, until poor health caused him to retire from the council and some of his businesses. Lyman died in 1934 just one year after his wife passed away.