Glendale California Biographies

Ellis T. Byram

        Ellis T. Byram was one of the builders of Glendale; one of the pioneers who found here a section of beautiful valley covered in the most part with growth of sage brush and cactus, and when called from the scene of his many years of active up-building, left it an ambitious young municipality, struggling valiantly to make good the future, for which he and a few others had laid the foundations.

        Ellis T. Byram was the youngest son of William and Abby D. Byram, and was born January 8, 1839, near Liberty, Union county, Indiana. He was of Puritan stock, a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullen Alden, of the Mayflower Company. William Byram was one of the leading men in his section of the state, being county treasurer for several years and prominent in the Presbyterian Church. The son, Ellis, received a fair practical education in the common schools of his native town and during his minority assisted in the care of the parental homestead. At an early age he joined the Presbyterian church and was active in the work of that organization until the last days of his life. In 1864 he married Huldah Miller, gaining a help-meet who shares in all of his useful activities and who has been active in the valuable work accomplished by the wore of Glendale, particularly during the early days of its history. After his marriage Mr. Byram settled down as a farmer for a while and then moved his family to Perry, Iowa, where he entered into the hardware business.

        Mrs. Byram’s health failing, the climate of California was recommended and she, with two sons and a daughter, came to Los Angeles in the fall of 1882. Mr. Byram, with the other son and older daughter, joined the rest of the family in the spring of 1883. Mr. Byram, with B. F. Patterson and George Phelon, in the summer of 1883, purchased about 100 acres of the Childs tract, lying on the east side of Glendale Avenue, subdividing and disposing of the same in ten acres tracts, which resulted in transforming that section from its natural condition into pleasant homes surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Mr. Byram selected a home site near the upper end of the tract on Glendale Avenue, building one of the finest two story houses in the settlement, and in November of the same year the family occupied the new home. New the home site then was a couple of young sycamores, now tall trees. The improvements made on the Thom, Ross and Crow properties were, at that time, about all the signs of home building existing north of San Fernando Road.

        From that time forward for many years Mr. Byram was a prominent and leading spirit in every movement having for its object the upbuilding of the community. Such projects as the Glendale Hotel (now Sanitarium), the Salt Lake railroad, the Pacific Electric railroad, the high school, the public schools, the churches, the water companies—in fact everything in the nature of public welfare work, requiring the expenditure of time, energy and money, had Mr. Byram’s active support. To all of them he contributed more than his quota as a citizen. With Capt. C. E. Thom, Judge E. M. Ross, H. J. Crow and B. F. Patterson he formed the Verdugo Springs Water Company, the first real water company (owning and distributing water) in the valley. He served as secretary and treasurer of this company for many years. He was also one of the organizers of the Bank of Glendale. He was one of the men who formed the “Glendale Townsite” in 1887, thus putting Glendale on the map. Politically, he was a Republican, casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln. He was one of the organizers of the Presbyterian church in Glendale in 1884, being the first elder and serving in that capacity for many years. During the last few years of his life his activities were curtailed by his failing eyesight, but even with this handicap he maintained his interest in and contributed his influence to the advancement of the community, keeping up a cheerful mien and setting an example of high Christian character and patience under severe trial.

        Mr. Byram passed from this life on May 30, 1908, at the age of sixty-nine. A may loyal in friendship, conscientious in service, of genuine manliness and true Christian character.

        Mrs. Huldah Byram, wife of Ellis T. Byram, one of the oldest of Glendale’s pioneer women, at all times an efficient helper of her husband in his many activities, has earned on her account much credit for public work for the community. Having preceded her husband to California by a few months, she remained in Los Angeles until the other members of the family arrived a few months later. While there she helped organize the first W.C.T.U. in the City and by her letters to them induced Francis Willard and Anna Gordon to visit the city and start the temperance work going. Mrs. Byrams’s successful efforts to get the name of the Glendale postoffice changed to its proper designation is spoken of elsewhere. Although handicapped by deafness, Mrs. Byram has labored with great efficiency in the church and temperance organizations, and for civic betterment during her long residence in Glendale.


From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. P. 306-310. Photos of Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Byram are on page 307.