R. E. McGinness is a native of Missouri, where he was born in Wayne County, in 1854, and lived until 1876, when he came to California. He was brought up on a farm and has followed ranching as a business most of his life. For about five years he was engaged in mining lead and iron in Missouri, and for something over a year was in the grocery business in San Bernardino. His first place of residence in California was Los Angeles, but he came to Crafton in 1877 and leased the Leffingwell ranch, afterwards known as the Byrne ranch, for twelve years. He afterwards bought the Nickerson ranch of twenty acres, now owned by H. H. Garstin, and at one time owned the property now belonging to C. E. Owen.
Mr. McGinness has served as a member of the board of trustees of the city for nearly four years last past. His term of office will expire next April. In the fall of 1892 he commenced the erection of the McGinness block, on State Street, which was completed in April, 1893. The hall, which occupies the entire upper story, is rented by various societies, and was first used April 10, by Redlands Lodge, No. 300. F. & A. M. A sister acts as his housekeeper and lives with him at his home on Colton Avenue and Orange Street, overlooking the city.
(Source: Illustrated Redlands, 1897, p. 30.)