Ira Saunders, a well known and worthy representative of farming interests in San Joaquin county, owns and operates two hundred and forty acres of land on Roberts Island about eight miles southwest of Stockton. Twenty-two years have come and gone since he arrived in this portion of the state. He settled on the San Joaquin river in 1886 and has since occupied the farm which is now his home, it being a well improved and highly cultivated tract of land, the rich fields returning to him golden harvests as a reward for his care and cultivation.

The width of the continent separates Mr. Saunders from his birthplace, for he is a native of Central Falls, Rhode Island, his natal day being March 27, 1848. His parents, Moses and Eliza (Sprague) Saunders, were also natives of that state, and in the maternal line Ira Saunders comes of Scotch ancestry. In the year 1851 Moses Saunders removed to California, making the trip by way of the isthmus route. He engaged in mining gold for some time and finally settled in Calaveras county, where he died in 1877. He was numbered among the pioneer miners who faced the conditions incident to the development of the state at that early period and laid the foundation for the present progress and prosperity of the commonwealth.

In 1857, when a mere boy, Ira Saunders came with his mother and other members of the family to California. They, too, journeyed westward where they joined the husband and father. There Ira Saunders grew to manhood, and his education was acquired in the common schools of that county, supplemented by the practical experience of after life. When he entered upon his business career he had little capital, but he has brooked no obstacles that could be overcome by determined purpose and honorable effort and has gradually worked his way upward to a position of affluence. His farm is neat and thrifty in appearance, indicating its careful supervision, and in his agricultural methods he is practical and progressive.

On the 24th of December, 1882, Mr. Saunders was joined in wedlock to Miss Elizabeth Watson, a native of Tuolumne county, California, and a daughter of David Watson of Stanislaus county, this state. Seven children have been born of this marriage, namely: Addie B., Elizabeth A., Ira E., David G., Moses R., Francis A. and Viola.

Mr. Saunders is a member of Mineral Lodge, I. O. O. F., at Copperopolis, Calaveras county, California, and in his political views is a Republican. He is now serving as a trustee of the Fairchild school district and is the clerk of the board of trustees. His labors have been effective in promoting the educational, social and material advancement of his community, and he endorses every measure which tends to advance the general welfare. He is numbered among the early settlers of his neighborhood, and has witnessed great changes during his residence here as the county has emerged from pioneer conditions and has taken on all of the improvements that indicate an advanced civilization.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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