Milton J. Daniels shown at right in the lobby of the Orange Growers National Bank

Milton John Daniels

Milton John Daniels, his wife, and three children came to Riverside for health reasons, following the Reverend George Deere from Rochester, Minnesota. Daniels had been highly successful in Minnesota. He was a Civil War veteran, a bank president, a state legislator, and a state senator.

In 1890, Daniels moved to Riverside and purchased 10 acres of citrus grove on Brockton Avenue and built a turreted Queen Anne Victorian home. On July 3, 1891, Daniels organized and became president of the Orange Growers National Bank. In 1899, Daniels broadened his business interests by buying an interest in The Enterprise, a Riverside newspaper, where he installed his son-in-law, Pember Castleman, on the staff. In 1903, Daniels again entered politics, running for and winning election to the Fifty-Eighth Congress.

Embezzlement by Cashier Tom Hays caused the failure of the Orange Growers Bank and cast a shadow over Daniels. The reporting at Daniels’ newspaper, The Enterprise, by Daniels’ son-in-law, Pember Castleman, supported Daniels. Nevertheless, Daniels did not stand for reelection. The Citizens Bank, later called Citizens National Trust and Savings, took over the Orange Growers Bank, sparing depositors but leaving stockholders to bear the loss of the Orange Growers Bank failure.

Daniels managed to keep his house, despite his losses, and joined his son-in-law in the real estate business.