Waller Flowerseed Company and Lionel Waller


 

This is a history of Waller Flowerseed Company started by Lionel Waller, or as he was known to many, LD, and to me as Grandfather. Lionel came to the United States via Canada from England about 1905. He first worked in a Nova Scotia lumber camp then came to Boston. I have a letter of introduction written for him by his Boston employer stating that he was leaving them on good terms as he wanted to find a position that allowed him to "work in the sun".

Grandfather knew flower seed raising, he heard about Louis Routzhan who was growing sweet peas in Arroyo Grande California. The family story is that he had enough money to take a ship to Galveston where he "rode the rails" to Arroyo Grande and appeared at the Routzhan home with his letter of introduction.

LD soon came to manage the Routzahn ranch at Oso Flaco Lake, 640 acres of sweetpeas. He seems to have gotten a little hunting in along side of his work.
  LD near Oso Flaco Lake 1908-1912
I will add more text as I continue the website, but I will get photos up first.
  Young Louie Routzahn, friend and hunting companion of LD, Location unknown, Louie is in a photograph of the Arroyo Grande High School baseball team in 1911.
The house shown was the Reverend Louis Routzahn's home near south Halcyon and Highway 1 in Arroyo Grande
  Probably the other son, Paul Routzahn, he seems the straight man of the group, although, notice the great trousers! Probable location, near corner of Halcyon Road and Highway 1
Horses were required for farmin until replaced by machines. These large draft horses must have been wonderful to watch at work.
  A magnificent horse draws a cultivator at Oceano

LD started LD Waller Seed Company in Guadalupe, CA in 1912.

Production doubled each year for the first several years.

 

Doctor John Franklin was interested in plant breeding and came into the company soon after.

 

He became a partner and the

 

 

A matched team drawing an implement, at Oceano, the hill behind now has Highway 1 climbing from left to right.

The name of the company was changed to Waller Franklin Seed Company.
  Doctor Franklin and Mr. Waller next to the office of Waller Franklin Seed Co. in Guadalupe CA, some time in the 1910's
Japanese immigrants were used to work the fields. Many stayed with the company until the relocation during World War 2. After the war the company was among the first to rehire these Americans who had been placed in concentration camps.
  Workers in Sweet Pea fields, location unknown
 
  A worker, notice the boots and jodhpurs, I am guessing he was a foreman. His descendants may still be in the Arroyo Grande area. Location; probably the current Talley lemon orchard on Huasna Road.
 
  Heading back to camp at the end of the day. Probable location, current Talley lemon orchard.



Field #10 some time in the 1910s, on Huasna road, compare with the below photos, same place today. The Talley field and orchard with the mushroom farm in the rear left.




An early crawler tractor with a ripper plow, Do you know the make? Oceano field.



Arrastre used to crush flowers to harvest seed.



Early truck, loaded by pitchfork!

 

 There are additional photos on page 2, you may click here to go to those.

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