Certificate for 100 shares of stock in the Santa Paula Mining and Reduction Co., issued July 30, 1901, to L.M. Hardison by F.M. Edgar, president, and R.H. Irwin, secretary.
The Santa Paula Mining and Reduction Co. operated a mill in the Argus Range in Inyo County (see The Engineering and Mining Journal, Vol. LXXII, July-December 1901).
Lowell Mason Hardison
"Reduction" is the act of separating minerals from their host rock, and milling was a common way of doing it. We don't know if this was the company's only operating venue; nor do we know whether it was mining gold or silver or both. There were numerous gold and silver mines in the Panamint Valley at the time.
At the time, Lowell Mason ("L.M.") Hardison was a farmer living in Ojai Township, according to the 1900 U.S. Census.
A nephew of Newhall and Ventura County oil pioneer Wallace Libby Hardison — who was just two years his senior* — L.M. was born Aug. 26, 1850, in
Caribou, Aroostook, Maine, the hometown of the Hardison clan.
Although it appears L.M.'s father, Jacob Hardison, remained back East, three more of L.M.'s uncles (brothers of Jacob and Wallace)
— Ai, James and Harvey — came out West
and became involved in oil operations in the late 1800s and citrus farming in the early 1900s.
L.M.'s uncle Wallace Hardison, you might recall, came to Newhall in 1883 to join his partner Lyman Stewart in the hunt for oil in Pico Canyon. They hit dusters in Pico but had great success a decade later in Ventura County — so great that their venture became the Union Oil Co. of California.
Accidents would claim the lives of two of L.M.'s uncles: Harvey Hardison was killed in an 1890 tunnel explosion while working at the Hardison & Stewart Oil Co. in Santa Paula,
and Wallace (b. Aug. 25, 1852 in Caribou) was killed April 10, 1909, when his automobile was struck by a Southern Pacific locomotive in Los Angeles County.
One of L.M.'s brothers, Allen Crosby Hardison, was president of Hardison Ranch Co. and later became president of the huge Limoneira Co.
According to Triem 1985 (2nd. Ed. 1990:109), Hardison Ranch Co. formed in 1911 with 170 acres of lemons under cultivation in the
Santa Paula-Fillmore area.
L.M. Hardison penned a family history in 1935 that resides with the Santa Paula Historical Society. He was in his 90s when he died Oct. 1, 1946, in Los Angeles County.
* Genealogical research by Tricia Lemon Putnam.