Welcome to the Bigelow Farms website.
THE BIGELOW FAMILY JOURNEY
The Bigelow Family story is one of the Central San Joaquin Valley foothills pioneers who tamed the territory in the late 1800’s. Scratching out a living in the rural foothills of the Eastern Madera County town of O’Neals took a great deal of hard work.
In 1885, young Harmon Bigelow, settled in O’Neals with his family. He soon made his own opportunity with a contract to transport U.S. Mail from Madera to Fresno Flats and O’Neals with just two horses and a spring wagon. Soon a transportation stageline was born.
In 1908 Bigelow Stageline had five stagelines operating out of O’Neals. The telephone business started when Harmon’s wife Leota ordered 2 phones from a mail order catalog so she could speak with her mother who lived a mile away. Harmon grew the telephone network from a family convenience to an essential communications tool for the stageline, ultimately extending to the surrounding foothill communities.
In 1915 Harmon exited the stageline business, selling nearly 150 horses, when transportation technology radically changed with the introduction of the mass-produced automobile. He grew his ranching business consisting of milking Shorthorns and wool breed Columbia sheep, and hung onto the telephone business.
The small Bigelow Telephone Company, now Ponderosa Telephone Company continued to route calls through the ranch house switchboard as the family tended their ranch business, raising sheep and cattle.
The sheep are long gone, but the shorthorn cattle are still an integral part of the Bigelow Family. It is a family affair, mostly nurtured and tended by Matt Bigelow, his wife Stacey, Frank Bigelow and Frank, Jr. Matt’s children, Taylor and Tenley are sixth generation Bigelow’s who live and work on the home place ranch. The shorthorn cattle business is alive and thriving in O’Neals.