Freeman, Daniel, 1826-1908

Alternative names
Birth 1826-04-26
Death 1908

Biographical notes:


Daniel Freeman was born in 1837, on a farm in the province of Ontario, Canada. Freeman first taught school but, in 1859, moved on to the study of law at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, being admitted to the bar in 1864. Besides law, he became engaged in business in Port Burwell, on Lake Erie, where he became president of the Port Burwell Harbor Company.

In 1866, he married Catherine Grace Christie, and from this union three children were born: Archibald C. Freeman (1867-1931); Charles Freeman (1868-1906); and Grace Elizabeth Freeman (1870-1956). The Freeman family moved to Julian, California, supposedly after Daniel Freeman had read Charles Nordhoff's California: For Health, Pleasure, and Residence, which had persuaded him that life in California's mild climate would prove beneficial for Catherine's health. There the Ranchos Sausal Redondo and Centinela were leased from Sir Robert Burnett in Catherine's name. Catherine Freeman would die, though, one year later. Daniel Freeman eventually purchased the ranchos over a period of four years (1881-1885).

With the ranchos as his financial and business foundation, Daniel Freeman would undertake a number of business ventures that would establish him as a major figure in southern California. The drought of the mid 1870s caused Freeman to shift the agricultural emphasis of the ranchos from pastoralism--their traditional use--to the raising of cash crops, in this case, barley, which Freeman sold on the commercial markets of the United States. He served as director of the Centinela Land Company, formed in 1874, in its attempt to develop the ranchos commercially. Freeman was central in another undertaking, that of the Centinela-Inglewood Land Company in 1887 to develop what would be known as the town of Inglewood near the Rancho Centinela.

After the company failed because of the decline of the great Los Angeles land boom of the late 1880s, Freeman assumed its holdings through quitclaim deed in 1890. After this, Freeman continued to sell real estate in Inglewood, and in fact had already had his own mansion built in Inglewood in 1888. Besides commerical sales, Freeman leased the lands of the ranchos for farming. He also developed property in Los Angeles, including the Freeman Building at Sixth and Spring Streets and property along South Main Street. Freeman's status in the Los Angeles business community earned him the presidency of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (1893-1894); he also served as director of the Southern California Railway and was an esteemed benefactor of the University of Southern California. His son-in-law, Charles Howland (d. 1934), was also Freeman's active business partner. He had married Grace Freeman, Daniel's daughter, in 1888.

Daniel Freeman died in 1918; the dissolution of the ranchos occurred most likely before his death. Grace and Charles Howland divorced in the early 1920s, but Grace continued to reside on the Freeman estate in Inglewood until her death in 1956. She had granted nine acres of Freeman property to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1942 for the building of a hospital with the name of Daniel Freeman, which opened in 1954; after her death the Freeman estate was given in toto to the Sisters.


  • 1837: Birth of Daniel Freeman in province of Ontario, Canada.
  • 1866: Daniel Freeman marries Catherine Grace Christie.
  • 1873: Freeman family moves to California. Sir Robert Burnett leases Ranchos Sausal Redondo and Centinela to Catherine Freeman.
  • 1874: Daniel Freeman becomes board member of Centinela Land Company. Catherine Grace Freeman dies.
  • ca. 1875: Daniel Freeman shifts ranchos from ranching to raising of barley.
  • 18881 - 1885 : Daniel Freeman purchases the Ranchos Sausal Redondo and Centinela from Sir Robert Burnett.
  • 1887: Centinela-Inglewood Land Company formed and begins development of Inglewood, California, on the Ranchos Sausal Redondo and Centinela.
  • 1888: Freeman estate (the "Centinela") built in Inglewood, California. Grace Freeman, daughter of Daniel Freeman, marries Charles Howland.
  • 1890: Daniel Freeman acquires assets of Centinela-Inglewood Land Company and continues development of Inglewood, California.
  • 1893 - 1894 : Daniel Freeman serves as president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
  • 1918: Daniel Freeman dies.
  • 1956: Grace Freeman Howland dies. Freeman estate in Inglewood, California, willed to Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, who build Daniel Freeman Hospital on site of estate.

From the guide to the Daniel Freeman Family Papers, 1849-1957, (Loyola Marymount University. William H. Hannon Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.)


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  • Inglewood, California (as recorded)
  • Redondo Beach, California (as recorded)