Month 3: Sarah Morey
The first Redlands businesswoman, who introduced the orange trees
By Toni Momberger
David Morey, a shipbuilder living near Eureka, had a dream about a woman walking toward him in a pink dress.
The very next day, a much younger woman than he, Sarah J. DeForrest from New York, walked toward him in a pink dress, so he married her. It was May, 1870.
He knew the Craft family (as in Crafton), and at George Craft’s urging sent Sarah to check Redlands out as a possible place to relocate.
She liked us, and in January 1882 she bought four 10-acre lots on Brookside Avenue.
The town at that time had no store or any other actual business in it.
The Moreys’ lot was right next to the ex-Daily Facts building.
In 1884, Sarah put about 2,000 orange seeds in the ground with great success.
The next year it was 25,000 seeds and little orange trees were sold to a couple of developers named Judson and Brown.
Sarah was running the largest nursery in town, supplying most of the orange trees planted in Redlands and in Riverside to boot.
She was a regular Queen Midas with $15,000 in hand by 1889 selling her trees at $1 a piece.
When David built her what we call the Morey House on Terracina Boulevard, he chiseled out all the oak on the stairways to make carved orange blossoms, symbolic of her nursery, which was already her legacy.
Sarah lived there for a year.
She died unexpectedly in that house in 1901 and is buried in Hillside.
She has become infamous for haunting the grounds, especially the garden and the home’s “Blue Room.”