Photo of the Schmitz Ranch workers

The Schmitz Ranch

The Schmitz Ranch on what was once the old Chapman place, came about through the industriousness of the first John Walter Schmitz, who obtained employed employment as a supervisor for Miller and Lux in 1871. At first he was a fence builder but soon caught the eye of the cattle king because of his attention to detail and hard work. In a short time, Schmitz was made the superintendent of Miller’s entire Santa Rita Ranch. When Schmitz left Miller and Lux, he purchased the Chapman Ranch, which was located in the vicinity of the old Alpha School. By the time of his death in 1910, he had but together this huge ranch that was then operated by his son and grandson. In this 1908 photograph, taken before the elder Schmitz’s demise, are Frank Townsend (in the buggy) Chauncey Kast (driving the machine), Mike Pinkham (the header), and Ed Kline (the sack sower). (Madera ImagesBill Coate)

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