“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fresno in Fresno County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Moses J. Church

Moses J. Church Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Lester J Letson, circa April 2007
1. Moses J. Church Marker
Located at the Fresno Irrigation District Office.
Inscription. The Father of Fresno Irrigation. He was born in New York State in 1819, became a blacksmith and emigrated to California in 1852. He came to Fresno County in 1868 and employed by A. Y. Easterby, built the first irrigation system for lush fields of wheat, which in 1872 prompted Central Pacific to survey a townsite here called Fresno. Directing the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Co., he built hundreds of miles of canals, located hundreds of settlers on farms, expanded cultivation and forged Fresno's favored Kings River water right. He died March 20, 1900 in Calaveras County.

Jim Savage Chapter 1852 E Clampus Vitus
October 3, 1976

Erected 1976 by E Clampus Vitus. (Marker Number 20.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 36° 41.717′ N, 119° 44.717′ W. Marker was in Fresno, California, in Fresno County. Marker was on South Maple Avenue south of East Edgar Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. On weekends the marker is behind locked gates at the Fresno Irrigation Department on Maple in Fresno. During working hours, from
Moses J. Church Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Lester J Letson, circa April 2007
2. Moses J. Church Marker
Picture taken from an access road in front of the Fresno Irrigation District front door.
9 to 5PM, the gates are open and the monument is available to the public. Marker was at or near this postal address: 2907 South Maple Avenue, Fresno CA 93725, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Fresno Assembly Center (approx. 2.5 miles away); The Fresno Brewing Company (approx. 2.8 miles away); Frank Chance Field 1935-1941 (approx. 2.9 miles away); Billy Vukovich Memorial (approx. 3.3 miles away); Young Corbett III (approx. 3.3 miles away); Fresno Traction Company (approx. 3.4 miles away); China Alley (approx. 3.6 miles away); Honoring the Ex-Braceros and Their Contributions (approx. 3.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fresno.
Regarding Moses J. Church. Moses J Church started the irrigation canals well before the city of Fresno was even considered. As a result of the water being brought to the valley, both the cities of Fresno and Clovis came about because the area became such a bountiful agricultural area leading the railroads to bring their lines into the valley. As a result, Moses Church is recognized on this marker, on another marker in downtown Fresno (Church-Sperry Mill), and in a large marker next to his gravesite in Mountain View Cemetery put up by his friend Fulton Berry
Fresno Scraper Photo, Click for full size
By Lester J Letson, circa 2007
3. Fresno Scraper
A Fresno Scraper sits right next to the Moses J Church marker on the Fresno Irrigation District property. The brass plaque reads: "The Fresno Scraper" Patented in 1885 by James Porteous, this horsedrawn earthmover was used extensively in canals that comprise the Fresno Irrigation District system. Donated by Jerry Cave in honor of his father Hubert H. Cave, Sanger, CA. No date is given
that recognizes Church as "The Father of Fresno Irrigation." He also raised sheep, and became part of the "Cattle Versus Sheep" wars of the late 1800's. Always a peaceful man, he walked away from many fights and survived several attempts by cattlemen to kill him.
Also see . . .  Moses Church. A Find-A-Grave posting offering additional biographical information and additional photos. (Submitted on February 26, 2010.) 
Additional comments.
1. Moses J Church marker
The Fresno Irrigation District recently moved the marker from the lawn and have it in storage. No information yet on what will be done with it. The marker remains the property of E Clampus Vitus and should be replaced or moved to another suitable location if the Fresno Irrigation District no longer wants it on their property.
    — Submitted October 27, 2014, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.

Categories. AgricultureMan-Made FeaturesNotable PersonsWaterways & Vessels
Moses J. Church Marker From Outside the Fence Photo, Click for full size
By Lester J Letson, circa June 2005
4. Moses J. Church Marker From Outside the Fence
This is all you will see if you show up on a weekend, the marker faces in towards the Irrigation District front door, and only the back is visible from the street while the gates are locked on the facility.
Moses J. Church Photo, Click for full size
The History of Fresno County by Paul E Vandor published 1919, circa 1880
5. Moses J. Church
Church-Sperry Mill & Mill Ditch Photo, Click for full size
By Lester J Letson
6. Church-Sperry Mill & Mill Ditch
Another marker commemorating Moses Church. The Church-Sperry Marker was rededicated on September 6, 2013 just outside the back door of the Fresno Water Tower. A second re-dedication stone tells the story that the Church-Sperry mill stood 437 feet west of the water tower.
Moses J Church Marker at Mountain View Cemetery Photo, Click for full size
By Lester J Letson
7. Moses J Church Marker at Mountain View Cemetery
This Monument to "The Father of Fresno Irrigation" was erected by his friend Fulton Berry. It is located near his headstone at the cemetery.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. This page has been viewed 2,056 times since then. Last updated on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.   3. submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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