Butte County, California


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Otis Harrison Vanderford (6003)

Father: William Harrison Vanderford (5001)
Mother: Emma Amanda Brown

b. May 15, 1891 in Oklahoma Indian Territory [Thelma]

d. July 28, 1964, of a heart attack, Chester, California, buried in the Gridley-Biggs Cemetery, Gridley, Butte County, California [Gridley Herald 7/29/64]

m. April 29, 1914 in Pomona, California, Birdie Cleo Mock, b. September 9, 1891 in Osterburg, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, daughter of Thomas (Stufft) Mock (stuf5001) and Susan "Sue" Weyant [Thelma], d. May 18, 1995 buried in the Gridley-Biggs Cemetery, Gridley, Butte County, California [CA Deaths]

Just Married

Otis and Birdie "Just Married" - 1914 Pomona, California

Issue: [Thelma]

Otis, Birdie, and ThelmaThelma Suzette Vanderford(7008), b. Oct. 23, 1923


Otis was a member of the board of Drainage District 833 for 20 years. He was a past master of North Butte Masonic Lodge, a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Ben Ali Temple of the Shrine, the Gridley Rotary Club and a director of the California Flying Farmers. [Thelma]

Otis and Birdie took over his father's desert homestead in Inyokern, Kern County, California. They had two mares and one colt which took all their funds to feed. Otis got a job running the pump on a farm two miles away. The only water they had they brought back in a barrel and half would spill out by the time they got home. Birdie got a job at $1/day plus their meals for 15 days cooking at a little restaurant in town while the cook had her baby. They stocked up on food supplies only to have Otis' brother Harmon (6004) and his girl friend arrive for a visit and eat up all the food. [Birdie]

June 15, 1917:
According to Otis' World War I Draft Registration Card he was married and farming in Inyokern, Kern County, California. He was tall and slender with light blue eyes and light brown hair.

1917 to 1919:
Otis farmed rice on the Compton Ranch in the Sacramento Valley. He also farmed some of I. G. Zumwalt's land in Colusa County with his brother Carl, father-in-law T. J. Mock, and brothers-in-law Jess Anderson and Merle Carr. [Thelma]

May 15, 1919 and November 21, 1919:
Otis received his land patent for a cash sale of 160 acres in Kern County, California from the Bureau of Land Management. . Otis sold one half interest of this 160 acres to his brother Carl (6002) for $10.

Otis moved to Marysville and grew rice in Sutter County. [Thelma]

June 16, 1922:
Otis received his land patent for 160 acres under the Desert Land Act in Kern County, California from the Bureau of Land Management.

Otis moved to Gridley and went into partnership with his brother Carl and George Adams and farmed several properties west of Gridley owned by the Farris Estate. [Thelma]

1928 to 1934:
The three Vanderford brothers, Otis, who raised rice near Gridley, Vint (6005), west of Yuba City and Carl (6002), in the Natomas District north of Sacramento.were fascinated by airplanes. Why not use them to seed rice?

Otis was a rice grower in Gridley, Butte County, Calfiornia.

Birdie was president of the Gridley Women's Club. [Oakland Tribune 10/4/30]

March 30, 1935:
Otis took to the air as a student pilot and never came down. He got his pilots license #40420 on April 13, 1938 and usually kept a plane on the ranch. His three longest held planes were 1941-47 a Cub Coupe (Continental 50) NC21849, 1947-49 a Piper Cruiser (Lycoming) NC34157, and 1949-53 a Stinson (Franklin) NC65097. He belonged to the Flying Farmers and flew to their fly ins such as ones to Brice Canyon and to Yellowstone. He flew to to the summer cabin at Chester on the weekends and was always ready to give a "hop" to anyone who needed (or wanted) one. His log book is filled with reasons to fly, some pretty imaginative: "inspecting rice harvest, looking for cattle, looking for grain bags, Red Cross rescue party, locate ducks for Fish & Game, look for lost sheep, chase blackbirds off rice, search for stolen farm equipment, etc." There was always a reason to go flying.

Since the Adams and Vanderford partnership had been dissolved, Otis purchased "the Old Miller Ranch" (now the "Vanderford" Ranch) 8 miles west of Gridley, California. This land had been part of the old Farris Estate, and had been previously farmed by the parnership. [Thelma]

August 8, 1947:
Otis and his brother Vint (6005) departed the Davis University Airport this morning in their Stinson to attend the second annual meeting of the Flying Famers National Association in Stillwater, Oklahoma. [Davis Enterprise]

Otis was a Gridley City Councilman. [Thelma]

May 3, 1964:
:Mr. and Mrs. Otis H. Vanderford of Gridley will hold an open house in observance of their Golden Wedding anniversary. The Gridley Herald

September 13, 1991:
Birdie Vanderford Marks 100th Birthday at Parties -

Photo Gallery

1930 Eagle Lake        Jensens and Vanderfords


    Otis in bedroom in Pomona before marriage    Otis & trout taken with light tackle in stream    1920-25, Otis & fish in back of house in Marysville


Birdie at age 4        

Desert Homestead - Inyokern, Kern County, California

Birdie & Otis with Jesse, Bob and Lena Anderson    Horses at desert homestead    Quail Hunt

Vanderford Ranch - Gridley, Butte County, California

Otis and his plane    Vanderford Ranch

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