The Old Mother Grapevine Revisited

Raven jake w mother grapevine 

Folks, remember how I said I didn't think there was anything to the story that David Frankin Hall of the Michael White Ranch planted the Old Mother Grapevine of San Gabriel? Well now that I've read the affidavit, I think I was wrong! At least I'll say the jury ain't out, and that David Franklin Hall here makes a compelling case:

California missions and landmarks: El Camino Real

By Mrs. A. S. C. Forbes, 1915 pp 95-96


The immense grape vine at San Gabriel is worthy of a visit, not because of its age but because of its size. The overzealous sometimes claim that the vine was planted by the padres, but the following copy of an affidavit, the original of which is owned by Mrs. Susan Thompson Parrish, who lives near El Monte (Los Angeles County) and who was one of the three persons present at the planting, will set the matter at rest and prove that truth is stranger than fiction.

 The vine was planted in 1861, and the gigantic proportions which it has attained makes the enthusiast believe and rehearse that it is over a century old and the largest grape vine in the world, while in reality it is only one of the largest vines in the world, and it is only a half century old!

And here's the sworn statement:

State of California, County of Los Angeles


Personally appeared before me one DAVID FRANKLIN HALL who deposes and says as follows: In 1854, Dr George I. Rice and I bought of Hipolito Cervantes the house and lot now known as the Grape Vine property. The house was a small affair of three rooms and a bat roof and there was no grape vine on the lot. L.J. Rose's purchase of land, which he improved and called SUNNY SLOPE, included the house of Courtney, (a son-in-law of Michael White, one of the oldest pioneers,) on which he (Courtney) had transplanted a wild grape vine he procured from a canyon near the home of B.D. Wilson (Lake Vineyard).

Its location obstructed the plans of Mr. Rose and he gladly gave it to me, and assisted me in digging it up. It had been pruned to a height of two and a half (2 l/ 2) or three (3) feet and the trunk had thickened to a diameter of three or four inches. We left one short branch on it.

I took it in my buggy to my own house, and placed it where it now flourishes in the spring of 1861. It grew luxuriantly from the start and we used its shelter as a summer kitchen until I sold the premises to Mr. Bailey in 1881 or 1882, of which date I am not positive, but I had been there continuously for twenty seven years.


Subscribed and sworn to before me this 10th day of January 1908, DR WELLER, Notary Public in and for Los Angeles County California.

The vine was planted in 1861, the year that the San Gabriel River divided its course and therefore one to be well remembered. The growth of the vine attests to the wonderful fertility of the soil for it should be remembered that it was only a wild grape vine dug up out of a cañon.



~ by ravenjake on September 10, 2010.

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