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The city of Clovis started as a freight stop along the San Joaquin Valley Railroad. Soon after its founding in 1891, Clovis became an agricultural center for Fresno County and remains so today. The city is named after U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Charles J. Clovis, who died in the Philippine Islands during World War I while serving on USS Chester (1894). Clovis was founded by William Mendenhall and Thomas R Reed on September 17, 1891; both men were railroad employees at the time. They each invested $350 to secure land near the rail line owned by Southern Pacific Railroad between Fresno and Bakersfield. Originally located within Tulare County's boundaries, a group of investors purchased 1,400 acres (570 ha) that would become downtown Clovis in 1907.