JOHN CELUM, a well known rancher of El Paso county living at Clint was born in Randolph county, Arkansas. He was reared upon a farm and remained in Arkansas until early manhood. He then came west, spending some time in Arizona and in 1884 he made his way to the Rio Grande valley, locating on h is present place near Clint post office. He was one of the pioneer farmers in this part of the state, there being only a few settlers scattered in the valley at the time of his arrival here, and these were mostly Mexicans. The country, however, had been known among the Mexicans for several generations as particularly adapted for fruit raising when water could be supplied to the soil. When Mr. Celum first came here and for some time thereafter water was more plentiful in the Rio Grande river than it is now since the numerous irrigation ditches of Colorado and New Mexico have appropriated so much of the natural supply. Consequently it was a comparatively easy matter to procure then a sufficient supply of water bys mall irrigation ditches extended from the river, and now, after a few years of comparative scarcity of water the present project of a great irrigation system under government control, to supply water form the Engle dam to the land owners in El Paso valley, once more assures a splendid future for the owners of farm property such as Mr. Celum’s and land in his vicinity is already being held at one hundred dollars per acre or higher.
Mr. Celum’s home place consists of seventy-five acres under a high state of cultivation and is devoted to alfalfa and fruit. The finest crops of the former raised in the country are here produced. In his horticultural pursuits he makes a specialty of the pear, which reaches its greatest perfection there through the combination of soil, water and climate. He also raises apples, grapes and other fruits and high grades of vegetables, principally tomatoes, celery and onions. His ranch at present receives its supply from what is known as the community ditch owned by the neighboring farmers, but will come under the big government ditch when it is completed. It is due to such men as Mr. Celum coming in as pioneers and experimenting with crops and developing the country that it enjoys its present prosperity. He is careful and practical in all that he does, and his labors have been attended with a high measure of prosperity which will be fully augmented in course of construction has been carried forward to completion.
Mr. Celum was married to Miss Hattie Butler and they have the following children: A. T., William, Frances, Samuel and Albert.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 590.