Byron “Barney” Crawford, Tustin’s first mayor

Byron "Barney" Crawford, Tustin's first mayor

First published 2/7/23

Byron “Barney” Crawford was born on 10 April 1878 to William Foster Crawford and Ella Jewel in Ripon, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. He came to Orange County in 1888 with his family and attended Tustin Grammar School, Santa Ana High School and Los Angeles Business College.

He operated a stage line that went from Needles to Searchlight, Nevada from 1904-1906 and made his home in Searchlight. After marrying Violet Forney on 22 February 1906 in Los Angeles, Barney and Violet moved to the Pomona area, where Barney began working in the citrus packing houses.

In 1913, the couple moved to Tustin and Barney went to work for the San Joaquin Fruit Company on the Irvine Ranch. In the early 1920’s he was the manager the Tustin Hills Citrus Association, a position he held until his death.

By the mid 1920’s the couple, with their young children Dudley, William, Janet and Kenneth moved into 445 W. Second Street (the Vandermuellen-Bennet House) in Tustin.

When Tustin decided to incorporate, it went to a vote of the 900 Tustin citizens on September 14, 1927. The count was 248 in favor of incorporation and 110 against. Nine citizens were on the ballot for what was called the Board of Trustees. Byron Crawford received the most votes, with 136 votes and became President of the Board of Trustees. In their second board meeting, the Trustees renamed themselves and became Tustin’s first City Council and Byron Crawford, the first Mayor of Tustin. He served from 1927-1932.

Barney was active in the Knights of Pythias, the Santa Ana Elks Lodge, Masons, Rotary Club and the Farm Bureau. He loved horses, horse shows, western movies and sports. He passed away in 1947 and is buried at Melrose Memorial Park in Anaheim.