While not a colonist himself, Perry D. Cover came to Riverside in the footsteps of his brother, Thomas W. Cover, the man who approached Dr. James P. Greves and John W. North to see if they were interested in the parcel of land that would become Riverside.
Born in Richland County, Maryland, Perry Cover served during the Civil War in the Eighty-seventh Ohio volunteers, Company D, and was on duty at Harper’s ferry during Robert E. Lee’s entry into Maryland in 1862. He was one of the troops who surrendered after the battles and after the war came west to San Francisco and then to the mining districts of California and Nevada. He was with his brother Thomas, when Thomas staked one of the first five claims, striking gold at Alder Gulch (later called Virginia City), Montana.
Perry Cover was a merchant in Fort Scott, Kansas (1868) where he married Mary E. Fowler, and Chicago (1874). His wife’s poor health led him to come to southern California in the spring of 1874, buying 20 acres south of Jurupa Avenue and establishing himself as an orange grower. In 1877, his wife Mary died. She is also buried at Evergreen. In 1882, he married Mary’s sister, Julia, and sold half his land.
In 1884, his brother, Thomas, disappeared. Bitten again by the bug that causes gold fever, Thomas believed that he could find the legendary lost gold mine of Peg Leg Smith, rumored to be somewhere northwest of Yuma. He and his companion separated and when their wagon holding the water supply overturned, the friend walked on to Indio. Thomas Cover was never found, lost forever in the Borrego Valley.
In 1886, Perry sold the balance of his land, building a house at the corner of Orange Street and University Avenue. He joined forces with J.D. Sebrell to open a drugstore on Main Street under the name Sebrell and Cover, until Sebrell bought him out in 1889.
Cover’s business dealings were widespread. He was a director of the Eighth Street Improvement Company, builder of the Arlington Hotel, was a founder and President of the Mound Land & Water Company which purchased 500 acres and founded a town that became Loma Linda. He was part of the business interests that piped irrigation water down from Bear Valley and built a $30,000 hotel. He was a director of the Citizens National Trust & Savings Bank, the bank that took over the liabilities and assets of the Orange Growers after it failed as a result of embezzling by Tom Hays.