Fresno, Tulare and Kern Counties, California
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ELIAS JACOB, a pioneer business man of Visalia, Tulare County, came to California in 1852. He was born in Germany, of Ger man parents, in 1841, his father being a merchant of that country. When he arrived in California, a lad of twelve years, he obtained employment in a dry-goods store in Stockton, where he remained until 1856. He then ventured into the San Joaquin valley, spent one year at Millerton, then the county seat of Fresno, and from there came to Visalia and took charge of the store of his brother in law, II. Mitchell, till 1859. His brother-in-law dying in that year, he became his successor, enlarged the store and continued the business until 1876, and during that period opened several other stores in Fresno and Tulare counties.
In 1876, on account of declining health, he retired from mercantile pursuits and gave him self up entirely to farming and stock-raising, the change having fully restored his health. His industry from that date became almost a passion, so much so that the ramification is endless, clearing up new fields and opening up every industry pertaining to grain, fruit and live stock. The aid he had given during the days of his mercantile life to the opening of irrigating ditches is yielding him golden fruit, as the lands he then acquired have become of great value by reason of the water supply. The lands he is now using for grazing and wheat cultivation, from the present indications, are soon to be transformed into orchards and vineyards. The demand for small holdings seems to increase to the extent that it will no longer be profitable to retain large tracts. Mr. Jacob owns through out Tulare County a total acreage of 45,000 acres, the largest tract being 8,000 acres, all sowed to wheat this year. On some of his tracts he has made as many as eight artesian wells, which average a flow of 280,000 gallons of water in twenty-four hours, the water being used for both irrigation and stock purposes. An inventory of his stock shows that he has 200 horses and mules, 2,000 cattle and 12,000 sheep. He has erected a number of buildings in the city of Visalia, which are all rented.
Although Mr. Jacob has given close attention to his own affairs he has also done much toward shaping the political destiny of his county, but has declined everything in the shape of office, although he could have had anything in that line which he wished. His political affiliations have been with the Democratic party, and he has rendered the party efficient services, having been a member of both the county and State Democratic committees. He is an active and honored member of the Masonic fraternity, and has reached the royal arch degree. He received the appointment from the Grand Master of the State. to take the part of orator at the lying of the cornerstone of the new county courthouse, which position he filled most acceptably.
Mr. Jacob is a good looking gentleman, and
what is greatly to be wondered at he is still a single one.
He is an enthusiast in regard to the resources of Tulare Comity and her immense supply of water, which he says is sufficient to irrigate every acre of her land susceptible of irrigation. He sees a bright future for the county, and has such love for it that he will go almost any length to advance its interest.
E D. EDWARDS, a successful and prominent member of the Fresno Bar, was born in Missouri, in Clay County, in 1846, one in a family of three children. He attended school at the William Jewell College at Liberty, pursuing his studies there until the war broke out, when he enlisted in the Confederate army, remaining in the ranks until peace was declared.
The conflict over, Mr. Edwards settled down to the study of law in the office of Dickson & Hough, Memphis, Tennessee. He subsequently opened an office of his own and began the practice of this profession at Union City, Tennessee. In 1876 he directed his course toward
California and sought a home among the activities of the west coast. He located in Tulare County, and continued the practice of law in that vicinity for two years, after which he moved to Fresno County, where he has since resided.
At different times Mr. Edwards has filled various offices of public trust. At Union City, Tennessee, he was the City Attorney for three terms (six years). In Fresno County he served as Deputy District Attorney from 1878 to 1882, and as District Attorney from 1884 to 1885, declining a re-nomination for the latter office. Mr. Edwards' rare abilities as a lawyer have placed him in the front ranks of his profession, and he not only has the high regard of his associates at law, but also of the community at large.
Mr. Edwards resides in his delightful
country home, located five miles northeast of Fresno, consisting of 100
acres, eighty of which are in bearing vines. Besides attending to his
professional duties, Mr. Edwards also finds time to devote to the care and
improvement of his vine yard. This beautiful estate, known as 44Sandias
ranch," is one of the most attractive in the valley, and the visitor who
lingers to admire its beauty will be welcomed in a most cordial manner by
the owner, who is a true type of the Southern gentleman.
JAMES EDWARD DENNY, one of the well and favorably known citizens of Visa , ha, has been a resident of California since 1854. Briefly stated, a review of his life is as follows: Mr. Denny was born in Bond County, Illinois, June 1, 1835, son of James and Mary (White) Denny, both natives of North Carolina. The Dennys had their origin in Ireland, while the Whites originated in Wales. Several of Mr. Denny's people served in the Black Hawk war, and three of his brothers fought in the civil war, one of them being killed. His parents had nine children, eight sons and one daughter, nearly all of whom are living. The subject of our sketch was educated at home and at the college at Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois.
One of his brothers had come to California in 1850 and established himself in a prosperous business in Sierra County, and 1854 Mr. Denny came West, joined him at Forest City, and there they remained together five years. From that place Mr. Denny went to Kingston, on the King's river, Fresno County, and, in company with another, purchased a ferry boat and kept a hotel and store, the overland stage making that one of its stopping places. In 1859 President James Buchanan appointed him the first Postmaster of the place, and Mr. Denny gave it the name of Kingston.
From Kingston Mr. Denny came to Visalia, purchased an interest in a livery stable with Mr. Cady, and conducted the business until 1865, when he sold out and went to Millerton, Fresno County. At that place he was engaged in the mercantile business until the winter of 1867—'68 when there came a flood that swept the town away, and he lost all he had. Returning to Visalia, he clerked for R. E. Hyde till 1871. Then for a year he kept the Visalia House, after which he went East. Coming back to California, he located at Portersville and took charge of the store of D. R. Douglas, remaining thus employed until 1873, when he was elected Clerk, Auditor and Recorder of the county. He served two years and was then elected Recorder and Auditor, afterward acting as Deputy Treasurer two years. Again he turned his attention to the general merchandise business, being a partner with John Crowley until 1882, when he was elected County Recorder. At the expiration of his term of office he engaged in the drug business with Mr. Griggs, now the firm of Griggs & Co., and sold out in 1886. About that time he was nominated on the Republican State ticket for Comptroller of State. That, however, was the off year with his party and he was not elected. He is now engaged in the real estate business and farming, owning a ranch of 1,080 acres, ten miles north of Visalia, where he is raising grain.
Mr. Denny resides in a pleasant home on
Church street, fronting the courthouse square. He was married in 1866, to
Miss Jennie Drouillard, a native of Iowa, and of the four children
born to them, two Mabel and Lawrence—are living, the others having died in
childhood. Mrs. Denny died in 1880, and the home is now pre sided by over
Miss Mabel. Mr. Denny's a blue lodge, royal arch and Knights Templar Ma son,
and is also associated with the A. O. U. W.
M DENICKE is of German descent, born in the Province of Hanover, Prussia, in 1840. In 1849 his parents came to America and located in New York city, where they made their home for many years, and where the subject of this sketch was reared and educated. After finishing his studies, he became a bookkeeper and was connected in that capacity with several large houses in New York, be ing thus occupied when the civil war broke out. Mr. Denicke joined the Sixty-eighth New York Infantry, and left for the seat of war in 1861. During one of the early battles he was wounded and captured by the rebels in Virginia and was sent to Libby Prison. After two or three months of prison life he was paroled and sent home. He subsequently joined the One hundred and Thirty-Second New York Infantry, then detached, and was ordered to report at Georgetown for instructions in signal service. During this period Mr. Denicke for a time had charge of the entire signal corps of instructors, commanding twenty-five officers and several hundred men near Cumberland, Maryland. He received his discharge from the service on September 18, 1865, and returned to New York, his former home.
Following the example of thousands of men in the Empire State and New England, Mr. Denicke turned his face to the setting sun, determined to try his fortune in California, about which so much had been said and written. In company with' his sister and brother-in-law he arrived in San Francisco, where he followed various pursuits for several years. In 1881 he came to Fresno, and has since made this his home.
He owns a fine vineyard of eighty acres, located three miles and a quarter east of Fresno, and 800 acres of grazing land further removed from the city. He is extensively engaged in raising wine and raisin grapes and figs, being the pioneer in the proper curing of figs. All his products he ships to various points in the East, and in fact all over the country, his fig crop being put up in a way which has given its owner a wide reputation.
Mr. DenIcke is one of the representative
citizens of the community, and is held in high esteem by all who know him.
He is unmarried.
GILLUM BALEY.—Among the long resident citizens of Fresno County, who hold a high place in the esteem and regard of the community, the gentleman whose name heads this sketch is entitled to honorable mention. Coining of the old Virginian stock, he bears the impress of the Southern gentleman, a synonym for good breeding wherever found. His birthplace was at a point in Gallatin County, Illinois, on the Ohio river, between Flynn's and Ford's Ferry, where he was born June 19, 1813. He was not reared there, however, as, two years later, the father removed the family to Missouri, where he was one of the farmers and stock raisers of those early days, and a universally respected man in that community.
The subject of this sketch, an active lad of thirteen, went back to Illinois, and in Sangamon County, near Cotton Hill, and only a few miles from Springfield, afterward made the State cap ital, he went to work on a farm. For five years he remained there, and then went further west, to Pike County, where he engaged in similar work. In 1832, only about a year after his removal to Pike County, the trouble with the Indians, which had long been brewing, culminated in what is known to history as the Black Hawk war, and in this our subject, then a youth of nineteen years, enlisted as a volunteer, and by the division of the command in which he entered became a member of Captain Petty's company. He served with the regiment to which he be longed until it finished its term of service, and was mustered out with the command at Hennepin, Illinois. He then went back to Pike County, and was there married in 1835, to Miss Catherine Decker, who died during the second year of their married life, leaving one son, Moses, who died in California in 1885. In 1836 he returned to Missouri, where he again followed agriculture, and in 1837 he was there married to the companion of his later days— Miss P. E. Myers, a native of Jackson County.
When the discovery of gold in California, by Marshall, electrified the civilized world, Mr. Baley was one of those who was affected and he was one of that brave body of pioneers, who in 1849 crossed the vast stretch of plain and mountain and desert intervening between his home and the far Pacific. For two years he followed the fortunes of the mines in this State, and then went back to rejoin his family in
Missouri. The favorable impression of California formed during his two years of experience, however, caused him to decide to make it his ultimate place of residence, and in , 1858, all preparations having been made, this plan was carried out. In his particular party, though others made the trip with them, were Mr. Baley, his wife and nine children, and his brother, W. R. Baley, and between them they had five wagons and the necessary ox teams to haul them, as well as about 100 head of cows and stock cattle. The start from home was made on the 22d of April, and the southern route was chosen on account of the Mormon troubles about Salt Lake, which were then a matter of much moment. This precaution did not add much to their prospects of safety, however, as will be seen from a brief recital of a few of their hardships and dangers. No particular difficult Y was reached until they approached the valley of the Colorado river, in which vicinity, the party under Mr. Baley joined that of L. J. Rose, now one of the prominent men of California.
As the journey of the two parties was continued in company, we may be pardoned for here introducing the published account given by Mr. Rose of the experiences at this point, supplemented by our own narration from Mr. Baley's description. Mr. Rose says, in sub stance, that on reaching the summit of the mountain range bounding the valley of the Colorado, they saw the river, which seemed near at hand, but the mountain was so steep that they had to let their wagons down with ropes; and after reaching the valley or plain they began to suf fer for want of water. The journey to the river consumed a whole day, and the sufferings of the party became so intense that some of them be came insane from thirst. On finally reaching the river, the men unyoked the cattle and let them loose, and themselves rushed for the water, lying down in the river and drinking their fill, then, becoming stupefied. lay partly in the water and rested and slept. The heat was so great that the suffering of the party was indescribable. The Mojave Indians came in upon them in a threatening manner, but they were reconciled for the timely presents of tobacco and trinkets. They killed —cattle, however, without molestation and wasted the meat. The second day the Indians came into camp, but as they were not given everything they wanted they retired. On the third day they failed to make their appearance, and the guide warned the party that the absence of the Indians was an evil omen, whereupon they formed the wagons in a semicircle, with the river as their base in the rear, and prepared to defend themselves against the treacherous savages. They saw large numbers of Indians crossing _the river from the other side, and the following day, about 1 o'clock, over 800 of them attacked the camp. This attack was one of the most savage and determined in the history of Indian warfare in the West, and waxed hot until night amid intense excitement and desperation of the Indians. The whites numbered sixty, of which Mr. Baley's party contributed seven men, including himself, and of this number nine were killed and seventeen wounded. The redskins suffered frightful loss, for, as they swarmed against the whites in solid mass, they were simply mowed down by well directed volleys, and when the fight was finished eighty seven of their dead, were counted on the scene of carnage, while their wounded, as well, probably, as some of the dead were carried away by their fellows. After the Indians had been beaten off, ther4 was much worry as to the best course for the sturdy band of emigrants to pursue; and it was on the advice of Mr. Bailey that the plan chosen was adopted, thus undoubtedly saving the lives of the party, who must ultimately have succumbed to the overwhelming numbers of their foes. So they turned back toward Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the journey was accompanied with much suffering, the men walking, half barefooted; their feet being lacerated with cactus thorns. At night they slept under their wagons on the sand as soundly as on feather beds, in their joy for having escaped being massacred.
At Albuquerque the emigrants lay up for some time. Mr. Baley and his immediate party remaining there for seven Months, after which they again set out for California, which they reached this time, and without particularly noteworthy incident, although all such trips were necessarily attended with much of interest and many unusual experiences. Having reached Visalia, they stopped there long enough to rest themselves and brighten up their stock, after which they proceeded on to Millerton, then the seat of government of Fresno County, and there he located his family. As for himself, his time for the next four years was spent during the season at 'mining, principally on the San Joaquin and Fresno rivers. He was then elected Judge of Fresno County, and presided over the judicial affairs of the county at Millerton while the county seat remained there, and continued in the same position when it was removed to Fresno, until he had served twelve successive years in that capacity. It may be as well .to mention here that Mr. Baley was not chosen to that position on account of any legal training, but, what was much more to his credit, from the fact that the people of the county at that early day had learned to respect him as a man of whose nature fairness and honor was an inherent part, and they felt ,willing to entrust their litigation to his hands, knowing that their interests would receive earnest and honest consideration. How correctly this faith was placed, and how well the Judge fulfilled his trust may be recognized, even by those not conversant with the fact, when it is stated as an historical fact that, during the dozen years of his incumbency of the Judgeship of Fresno County, not one single ease of his was ever reversed on appeal.
On his retirement from the bench, Judge Ba,ley directed his attention to mercantile pursuits, embarking in the grocery trade, and for eight years was one of the prominent merchants of Fresno. During this period, however, he was again called for a time to public life, being elected Treasurer of Fresno County, which office he held for two years. In 1888 he retired from business cares, and at this writing, though having passed through a severe spell of sickness, he is and looks a much younger man than a consideration of his years alone would indicate. Now, enjoying the respect and esteem of all his fellowcitizens, he enjoys the freedom from the restraints of active business and official cares, though still a worker, surrounded by an industrious family, most of whose surviving members are residents of this county. Of the eleven children of the present marriage of Judge Baley, two are deceased, viz.: Elizabeth, who was the wife of the late J. Scott Ashman, who was for fourteen years Sheriff of this county; and Lewis Leach, who died in this city at the age of seventeen years. Those living are: Rebecca, now Mrs. M. Shannon, of Alameda; Catherine, now Mrs. Krug, whose husband is an architect and builder of Brazil, South America; Frances, now Mrs. Yancey, of this county; George; Helen G., now Mrs. McCardle, of Selma; Charles; Nancy J., now Mrs. Greenup; and Berthena, now Mrs. Judge S. H. Hill, both of Fresno.
In concluding this brief sketch of one of the noteworthy men of Fresno County, it is fitting in this connection to say that Judge Bailey has been for sixtythree years a consistent member of the Methodist Church, and that he was the organizer of the congregation of the Methodist Church, South, of Fresno, which commenced with a membership of five, all but one of them from his own family, and which has progressed until now it has 240 members. He also built the church edifice.
The Judge is a lifelong Democrat, and while
he has never made himself offensive by bitter ness toward those who differed
with him politically, he can look back upon a long record of faithfulness to
the principles and standard of the party of his birth and his choice. tinned
to reside thee until 1850, when he came to California, arriving at Hangtown
August 26. He saw Chicago as early as 1839.
E F. OATMAN, cashier of the First National Bank of Fresno, is a native of Dundee, Illinois, born in 1847. His father, Ira E. Oatman, came to California in 1849, bringing his family with him. and locating in Sacramento,—not, however, making that city his permanent residence until 1852. After working in the mines during the gold excitement from 1849 to 1852, he settled down to the practice of medicine at his home, which profession be followed with marked success up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1889.
At the age of fifteen years the subject of our sketch returned East to pursue his studies, at tending the Northwestern University at Evans ton, Illinois. Before completing the course at this university he enlisted in the army, in May, 1861, with Company F, One Hundred and ThirtyFourth Illinois Infantry. After the close of the war he decided to finish his studies at a business college, and entered such an institution at Poughkeepsie, New York, where he graduated with honor. In 1866 Mr. Oatman came back to Sacramento. His first business experience was with the firm of Waterhouse, Lester & Co., of that city, with whom he was connected for two years. He rose rapidly from an humble position with the firm to that of manager, which office he filled one year. In 1868 he became connected with the banking house of D. 0. Mills & Co., and was with this wellknown firm eleven years. In June, 1879, he assumed the office of secretary and auditor of the Eureka & Palisade Railroad Company, at Eureka, Nevada, which company was controlled by D. 0. and Edgar Mills, and filled this important position for a period of nine years. December 1, 1888, Mr. Oatman came to Fresno and entered upon the duties of his present position, that of cashier of the First National Bank. A man of sound judgment and varied experience in financial affairs, he discharges in a most satisfactory manner the important and difficult duties entrusted to him.
He was married in 1880, to Miss Lucy R.
Nichols, a native of Sacramento. They have two children.
WALTER JAMES is a citizen well known ))c` throughout Kern County as a practical J civil engineer and one of the chief promoters of the great canal water system of the county with which he has been identified for the past twenty years.
He was born in Marion County, Ohio, April 22, 1837. His father, Judge Isaac E. James, was one of the pioneers, and figured prominently in the history of that portion of the State of Ohio. The subject of this sketch, after securing a liberal education, spent some years traveling in New Mexico and among the western Indians. He returned to his native town in 1862 and en listed in the Ninetysixth Ohio Volunteers; was afterward transferred to the United States Signal Corps, from which branch of the service he was honorably discharged at New Orleans, July 4, 1865. He was present at the many battles leading to the surrender of Vicksburg and the defenses of the city of Mobile. In 1867—'68 he had charge of some farming operations in the San Joaquin valley near Hill's Ferry. Witnessing the failures of the crops for several years in succession in this great interior valley, for want of sufficient rainfall, his attention was directed to the subject of artificial irrigation. He came to Kern County in the autumn of 1871 and entered upon the work which has distinguished him as one of the most efficient men in his line of work in the State. From 1874 to 1876 he was County Surveyor. He has for years past superintended the construction of the irrigating works belonging to J. B. Haggin and the Kern County Land Company, which, with perhaps a single exception, are the most extensive and complete in the world, and he is still employed upon the same.
Mr. James is a selfpoised man, of unassuming manners, and a popular citizen and employer. He was the Republican nominee for Assemblyman for the Seventy fifth Legislative district of California in 1891, and in the election he polled a large vote, although his district was largely Democratic.
In the autumn of 1865, at Marion, Ohio, Mr.
James married Miss Lauretta Gillispie. and moved to Virginia City, Nevada,
where he was employed with his brother, J. E. James, Jr., the noted civil
engineer, and with him made many surveys and explorations, both in Nevada
and California. He has an accomplished daughter, sixteen years of age, born
W. P. LAIRD, from early youth a resident of California, is a lawyer by profession. a citizen of Bakersfield and a leading member of the bar of Kern County. He was born at Mount Carroll, Illinois, May 28, 1848. His father, Peter Laird, was a stockraiser and miner. He was born in Ohio and came to California, locating with his family in El Dorado County, in 1852. In his mining enterprises he was fairly successful. From El Dorado County he removed to Inyo County, continued his mining there, and there still resides, advanced to the age of seventytwo years. For twenty five years past he has made stockraising his chief occupation. He married Miss Julia A. Lindsey, a native of Alabama, and of their two sons the subject of this sketch is the older and the only one living.
Mr. Laird made the best of his advantages for schooling in El Dorado County, studying much outside of school hours, as opportunity afforded. Afterward he took a brief course of study at Sacramento, and after that the study of law in 1879, and was three times elected Dis trict Attorney of Inyo County. During the administration of President Cleveland he was appointed Register of the United States Land Office of the Independence land district, in which he was at the time a resident, and served four years in that capacity. He formed a law partnership with J. W. Mahon, of Bakersfield, in 1891, and has taken up his residence in that city.
He was married in Inyo County in 1872, to Miss Henrietta McLaughlin, a lady of excellent domestic and social acquirements. They have three sons,—Joseph E., John L. and Rollin McLaughlin.
Mr. Laird is essentially a selfmade man.
His natural love for books and desire to acquire knowledge inclined him to
reading law as a matter of practical information, and he thus developed a
desire to adopt the profession. That he possesses the true instincts of a
successful lawyer is evinced by the methods he pursues in his practice. He
is a diligent student and makes it a rule to familiarize himself with the
merits of every case entrusted to him, and seeks to have all legal
difficulties settled on their merits. He is a man of plain, unassuming
manner. In examining witnesses in court his invariable rule is to treat them
as gentlemen and courteously aid them in clearly and truthfully testifying
as to the points at issue. His arguments in court are forceful and
convincing in that they are concise, to the point, and bear marks of the
convictions of a candid and honest advocate. A large share of Mr. Laird's
time in past years has been devoted to stockraising. He has located at
Bakersfield to gratify a desire of almost a lifetime, namely, to practice
the profession of law to the exclusion of other matters.
JUDGE GEORGE A. NOURSE is a native of Hallowell, Maine, and a descendant from Puritan stock, his ancestors being among the early settlers of New England. On his father's side he is lineally descended from Francis and Rebecca Nourse, the first of that name who came from England and settled there. This Rebecca Nourse, an earnest Christian woman, praised for her good works by all, was, at the age of more than threescore years and ten, one of the first victims of the Salem witchcraft delusion. Dr. Amos Nourse, father of the subject of this sketch, was elected to the United States Senate from Maine in 1857 to succeed Hannibal Hamlin, Governor elect. On the mother's side Mr. Nonrse is a descendant of William and Annis Chandler,_ who came from England to Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1632. Joseph Chandler, who fought in the French and Indian war of 1756, and died in the service in 1776, a captain in the Continental army, was a descendant of this couple, and an ancestor of Mr. Nourse. His son, John Chandler; Mr. Nourse's grandfather, enlisted in the Continental army when a boy of sixteen, and in the war of 1812 was a brigadiergeneral in the army of the United States. In later years General Chandler was sheriff of Kennebec County; member of the Legislature of Massachusetts while Maine was a province of that State; president of the Senate of Maine when it became a State, and a Senator of the United States from that State from 1820 to 1829.
Mr. Nourse was a student at Bowdoin College
until his failing health compelled him to abandon study. He then went to
Aroostook County in the northeastern part of Maine, where, in the latitude
of Quebec, he took up land in the midst of the forest and cleared up a farm.
Subsequently he engaged in lumbering in that region. In 1852 he turned his
attention to the study of law, afterward graduating in the law school of
Harvard University. He then came West as far as Minnesota, and began the
practice of his profession at St. Anthony. While there he was City Attorney,
then District Attorney of Hennepin County, and the Republican candidate for
Attorney General of the State in 1857. In 1859 he removed to St. Paul, and
while there he received the appointment from President Lincoln of United
States Dis trict Attorney for Minnesota, which office he held until 1863,
when he resigned to remove to Carson City, in the then territory of Nevada,
the mining craze on the Comstock Lode being then at its height.
While practicing law in Carson City, he was A member of the convention which framed the constitution under which the State became a member of the Union. His independence of character is well illustrated by his motion in the convention to strike out the word "white" from the qualification of voters, for which he could not get a. second, although the members of the convention, with one exception, were unanimously Republican in their politics.
In 1868 Mr. Nourse removed to San Francisco, where, for sixteen years, he was one of its best known lawyers, having an especially high reputation for skill and learning in land titles. In 1884 he removed with his family to Fresno, where he had some landed interests, intending to become a fruitraiser, and for some three years was planting and developing an orchard near Fresno, practicing law in the city while he waited for his trees and vines to come into bearing. During the boom some capitalists wanted his land for town lots more than he wanted it for the fruit: so the land was sold. He is still engaged in the practice of law in Fresno, being the attorney for two banks and having a large general practice.
He was urged for nomination as Judge of the
Supreme Court of this State by the Fresno County delegation, and had a
strong backing from other counties in Central and Southern California, in
the last Republican State Convention; but the combinations for other
offices, in which more interest was taken, defeated him.
ALFRED J. PEDLAR, M. D.—Among the enterprising gentlemen who are deeply interested in the prosperity of Fresno, few have done more to promote the growth of the city than Dr. Pedlar.
He was born in Yolo County, California, in 1853, the son of J. and Sarah Pedlar, early pioneers of this coast, who came across the plains from Wisconsin to this State in 1850. His father engaged in mining in El Dorado County for many years, and died in Gilroy in 1885. Sarah Pedlar died in 1861, in San Francisco. The subject of this sketch was educated in the common schools and at Hesperian College, Woodland, Yolo County. At the age of seven teen he passed a rigid examination, after which he began teaching in the public schools of San Joaquin and Yolo counties. He taught eighteen months in Stockton, and while there began the study of medicine under a preceptor. In 1871 he entered the Medical College of the Pacific, now known as Cooper Medical College, and graduated in 1877. His education proceeded under many difficulties, he being from the age of seventeen entirely dependent upon his own resources.
After completing his medical course, Dr.
Pedlar began the practice of his profession in Truckee. Two years later, in
1879, he removed to Fresno, with which he has since been identified. He
enjoys a large practice and has always been prominent among his medical
The Doctor was married in Stockton, in 1878, to Miss Kittie E. Clifford. His residence, at No. 1619 L street, is among the most attractive and commodious in Fresno. It is a twostory frame building of the Queen Ann style of architecture, the most striking and unique feature of which is the circular bowwindow, ex tending from the floor of the first story to the ceiling of the second, surmounted by a tower. The Doctor and his wife have one son living, Chester C., born in 1881.
While Fresno was yet unincorporated, and it became necessary to provide protection from fire, Dr. Pedlar was selected as one of the three fire commissioners. He was one of the first to advocate Fresno's incorporation, and did as much to secure that result as any citizen within her limits. Since the incorporation, in 1885, he has been continuously serving the city in official relations, as Health Officer, member of the Board of Education and City Trustee, giving his time and labor without any other remuneration than the consciousness of aiding in the advancement of Fresno. In 1888 he was elected President of the Board of Trustees, the chief executive of the city. The direction of affairs in a newly incorporated city of 10,000 people required no small degree of executive ability, and Dr. Pedlar has been .universally recognized as the right man in the right place. During his incumbency the sewer system has been completed, which is considered one of the best in the State; and it was largely due to his individual efforts that the present style of street pavement was introduced. The walks are made of bituminous rock with concrete bed.
In politics Dr. Pedlar is a Republican, and
for many years he has been prominent in the local councils of the party. In
the medical profession he stands high. He is an active member of the State
Medical Society, and ex President of the County Medical Society. He is a
member of Fresno Parlor, No. 25, N. S. G. W., and was Grand Lecturer in
1886. He was the first member of the A. 0. U. W. in the county, and it was
through him that Yosemite Lodge, No. 171, was instituted.
FIRMAN CHURCH.—Among the veteran members of the legal profession of Fresno, we find the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. He was born in Sinclairville, New York, in 1828, and received his early education in the select schools of that locality. He lived at home and worked on the farm with his father until he was twentyone years of age. His father, Daniel Church, moved to La Porte, Indiana, during Firman's youth. There our subject gave his attention to law. He completed his studies, and in 1855 was admitted to the bar. He then settled in Valparaiso and entered upon a professional career. In 1864 he was elected to the Legislature, and in 1866 to the Indiana Senate for a term of four years.
In 1871 Mr. Church moved to Chicago and associated himself with Judge Lyman Trumbull, which partnership was successfully and satifactorily continued for a period of eight years. After the firm was dissolved, Mr. Church continued his practice in Chicago and La Porte until 1886, when he came to California to transact some business, and was so pleased with the people and the climate that he brought his family to this State in June of the same year and settled in Fresno, not, however, engaging at once in business. In January, 1887, Mr. Church represented the Fresno Board of Trade at Los Angeles, as manager of the Fresno exhibit, and, with free wine and raisins, created a great sensation among the tourists, which resulted in much emigation to Fresno. Mr. Church then began the practice of his profession in Los Angeles, but in the spring of 1888 returned to Fresno to be near his children, who are located there. He opened an office in Temple Bar, where he is now actively engaged in professional duties.
Mr. Church was married in La Porte, in 1847, to Miss Augusta Freeman, and their union has been blessed with four children, one son and three daughters. One of the latter, Mrs. A. C. Harding, still lives in Chicago; another, Mrs. T. A. Fisher, resides in Omaha; the other daughter, Mrs. J. M. Collier, resided in Fresno until in May, 1891, when she died. The son, Jesse F. Church, resides in Fresno, and is
connected With the Fresno Daily Expositor as bookkeeper and manager of the business office.
Mr. Church is a member of the Masonic order
of Valparaiso. He is an ardent Unitarian and is President. of the Unity
Society of Fresno. In early days he was a Republican, but is now a Democrat,
being opposed to tariff except for revenue purposes.
C A. SMITH.—Among the large number of Eastern families who have crossed the f\/ plains to California with ox teams, may be mentioned one whose representative,—now a prominent citizen of Kingsburg and a well known and conspicuous figure in Fresno,—forms the subject of this biography.
Mr. Smith was born in Johnson County, Arkansas, in 1850, and six years later the family removed West, settling in Calaveras County, this State. There he was reared and educated, and after finishing his studies became a teacher, following that occupation in his own neighbor hood for a period of five years. While teaching, Mr. Smith served on the Board of Examiners in his district. For three years he was principal of the old Gilroy public schools in Santa Clara County—a school well known to every inhabitant of that locality.
In 1878 he settled in Kingsburg, Fresno County, his present home. Here he was principal of the public schools for three years and a half. At the end of that time he engaged in the warehouse and real estate business, in which he is now engaged.
In educational, business and political affairs, he has taken an active part. For ten years he has been a member of the Board of Education, six years of which he was its president. From 1886 to 1889 he was Justice of the Peace for Kingsburg. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Centerville & Kingsbnrg Ditch Company, and is a stockholder in the Central California Bank of Fresno. He is a member of the Masonic order, Knights of Pythias, Good Templars and the A. 0. U. W
Mr. Smith was first married in 1876, by
which marriage he had two sons, and his second marriage occurred in 1882. By
the latter union be has one child, a girl. He is a gentleman of marked
ability and occupies a prominent position in the community in which he
CRAIGIE SHARP, JR., a prominent real-estate dealer in the city of Fresno, was born in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1843, a descendant of Scotch ancestry_ His parents, aged seventyfive and seventynine years, are now residents of Hanford, Tulare County, California. In 1844 they emigrated from New Jersey to Elgin, Illinois, and later to Lamoille, same State, where they lived for many years. Sitting on the split log benches in the country schoolhouse near Lamoille, Mr. Sharp received the foundation of his education. He subsequently attended Abingdon (Illinois) College, and Eureka College, Woodford County, Illinois.
In 1861 he engaged in farming in Minonk, Illinois, and a year later joined his father in the sale of agricultural implements. Then he bought an interest in a merchant mill with Frank Burt, which partnership continued until 1867, when he sold out to accept the position of superintendent in the building and operating of the Chicago, Pekin & Southwestern railroad. In 1888, while superintendent of the above road, he raised the money to grade, bridge and tie the Illinois Grand Trunk railroad, which was built the following fall, from Mendota to Prophetstown, Illinois. In 1870 he bought timber land and a sawmill in La Porte County, Indiana. The mill was in running order at the time of purchase, and he operated it extensively for three years. He also secured a large con tract from the Government to furnish brush for harbor improvement work at Michigan City, which proved a financial success.
October 9, 1871, Mr. Sharp married Miss
Sarah A. Johnson, of Niles, Michigan, youngest daughter of S. R. Johnson,
general road master of the Michigan Central railroad. He took his bride to
La Porte County, where they made their home for two years. In 1873 he sold
his property there and bought timber land in Cass County, Michigan. To this
place he moved his mill and named and founded the present town of Glenwood,
located on the main line of the Michigan Central railroad. While there he
seen red a contract from the railroad company to furnish them 40,000 cords
of wood, but owing to the open winter and the condition of the roads, he was
unable to meet the contract and lost about $125,000 in building houses and
plank roads to get out wood and lumber.
In February, 1877, he wound up his business affairs in Michigan and came to San Francisco. Before permanently locating, he journeyed from Mexico on the south to the north of British Columbia, visiting every county and valley on the coast. He then became general agent for the Wilson sewingmachine, and later for the Wheeler & Wilson, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, with headquarters at Portland, Oregon, working the entire northwest. He was very successful, and at Salem, Oregon, in 1878 took eleven first premiums and also the gold medal, besides selling nearly 200 machines..
In 1881 Mr. Sharp severed this connection closed up Frank Bros. house in Salem, Oregon, and became general traveling agent for The West Shore, an illustrated paper published at Portland, Oregon. In 1881 he visited his parents in Hanford, Tulare County, California, and was so well pleased with the growth and improvements of this State that he sent for his family and settled in Hanford. At first he engaged with his brother in the hardware business, and later became associated in the real estate business with W. G. Hawley, and after ward, with F. A. Blakeley.
In the fall of 1888 Mr. Sharp came to Fresno and formed the partnership of Thomas, Sharp & Manning. This firm put the Perrin colony, No. 1, of 7,000 acres upon the market. In 1889 Mr. Sharp sold his interest to Messrs. Thomas and Manning and formed a partnership with Alex. Gordon, which, after thirty days, was consolidated with the firm of Vincent, °bitten den & Cole, now the firm of Vincent, Chittenden, Cole, Sharp & Gordon, which firm is now doing an extensive business. During the year 1890 they placed on the market the following named lands: Enterprise colony, 2,500 acres; Caledonia colony, 640 acres; Perrin colony, No. 2, 6,000 acres; Kutner colony, 960 acres; and Kutner & Peters colony, 320 acres. All these lands are irrigated, the water supply coining from King's river and being principally owned by the Fresno Canal & Irrigating Company which furnishes oneeighth cubic foot of water to every twenty acres. They have just put on the market Perrin. colony, No. 1, of 12,000 acres, and No. 5, of 6,000 acres.
Mr. and Mrs Sharp have four children, two
sons and two daughters, all at home. They reside at No. 717 Q street, one of
the many fine residences in Fresno.
THOMAS A. BAKER, a leading merchant of Bakersfield, and the Treasurer and Tax Collector of Kern County, was born in Visalia, Tulare County, California, July 22, 1859. He is the only surviving son of the late Colonel Thomas Baker, a pioneer of California, and a distinguished citizen of the counties of Tulare and Kern, where, as may be seen in a biographical sketch printed elsewhere in this work, he spent the best years of his active and useful life. Young Thomas was afforded the best schooling advantages of his time, which he improved. He graduated at the Washington College, Alameda County, in 1880, after which he returned to his home. On the 10th of October, 1881, he was united in marriage with Miss Arnie, daughter of J. Smith, Esq., of Los Angeles. She also is a native of the Golden State, and was born in Kern County.
Mr. Baker soon drifted into the field of local politics, and in 18811was elected Tax Collector of Kern County. In 1886 he was reelected to the same office, and in 1888 was elected to the office of Treasurer and Tax Collector, the offices having been combined. In 1890 he was again elected to the same office and is now filling that position. A fact .worthy of note is, that Mr. Baker was retained in this office with practically no opposition, running_ as he _did two or three hundred votes ahead of his ticket, which is one of the most substantial tokens of respect and esteem that an appreciative public can bestow upon a faithful and popular public servant.
Thomas A. Baker is a man of modest demeanor, genial in his manner and temperate in his social habits. He is a member of Baker Parlor, No. 42, Native Sons of the Golden West, which parlor was given their family name in token of the esteem in which they are held in the community. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias.
Mr. Baker's mercantile establishment, a clothing and gents furnishing goods store, is one of the largest and best conducted of its kind in Central California.
Both as a business man and a public
officer, Mr. Baker is prompt and active. He is thoroughly awake to the
growing interests and importance of his home city and county, and is ever
found ready to encourage any enterprise tending to their future growth and
J MANASSE, one of the pioneer merchants of Hanford, Tulare County, California, was born in Germany in 1853. At the age of sixteen years he emigrated to the United States and came direct to California.
He located at Snelling, the old county seat of Merced County, and entered the employ of Simon, Jacobs & Company as clerk in their general merchandise store, remaining there until 1874. Be then represented the firm in their small branch store at Grand View, a little village on the Southern Pacific railroad north of the present town of Traver. At the auction sale of town lots at Hanford, in February, 1877, Mr. Manasse was present and purchased a lot on Sixth street, between Douty and Harris streets. He then returned to Grand View, sawed his little store into sections and moved store and contents to Hanford, and thus established one of the pioneer stores of the town. Business was conducted in the name of Simon, Jacobs & Co. until 1885, when the firm was succeeded by .Manasse & Weisbaum, continuing very successfully until 1888, when the store building and contents were wiped out of existence by a destructive fire, and in the settlement of affairs the firm dissolved. In 1889 the firm of Simon, Manasse & Co. was organized, and resumed the general merchandise business in a store at the corner of Sixth and Douty streets. Trade becoming so extended and greater facilities being needed, in the spring of 1891 they built their present handsome store, 50 x 150 feet, with basement same size, to which they moved in May of the same year With enlarged stock and increased facilities, they control an extended trade through the valley, also operating a branch store at Coal inga in the foothills of the Coast Range.
Mr. Manasse was married at Hanford in 1880, to Miss Lilly Weisbaum, a native daughter of California. They are the parents of two children: Arthur and Reta.
In 1877 Mr. Manasse was appointed the first
Postmaster of Hanford, and held the position acceptably both to the
Government and the people of Hanford for a period of five years, after which
he resigned to attend to his increasing business interests. By a special
election held August 8, 1891, the town of Hanford was incorporated as a
city, and Mr. Manasse was chosen to serve as one of the councilmen. He is a
member of the A. 0.11. W. of Hanford and of the B. B. Society of Merced.
1 II A, n 40.
T. MAUPIN, M. D., was born in Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, in 1839. His father, William Mau pin, was one of the pioneers of Missouri. He moved from Kentucky to that State in 1816, settling in Howard County, and going to Boone County in 1820, when it was infested by Indians. He built the first house in Columbia, the county seat, in 1820, and carried on farming and trading. Mr. Maupin was a personal friend of Daniel Boone, for whom the county was named.
The subject of this sketch was educated at the William Jewell Academic College at Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, graduating in 1859: He then began reading medicine in Columbia, taking one course of lectures at the St. Louis College, after which he went to Philadelphia and finished his medical course in the Jefferson College, graduating in the oldschool of medicine and surgery in 1865.
Returning to Columbia, Dr. Maupin entered upon the practice of his profession. In February of the following year he was married to Miss Mary Matthews, a native of that city. Columbia is a college town of about 6,000 in habitants and is known as the educational center of the State. There the Doctor continued to reside until 1887, and during that time was prominently identified with the best interests of the place. He was actively engaged in the practice of medicine and for many years was Health Officer; was also a member of the board of curators of Stephens College of Columbia.
In 1886 Dr. Maupin moved his family to
California and settled in Fresno, where he in vested quite extensively in
city property. He also owns a vineyard of twenty acres located near the
town. Immediately after his arrival here he began practicing and was alone
until 1890, when he formed a partnership with his son, J. L. Manpin, a
classical graduate of the University of Missouri. The Doctor was elected
president of the Board of Health in 1889, and Health Officer in April, 1891.
He regards the city of Fresno at the present time one of the healthiest
localities in the State, with no epidemics and very rare cases of acute
He and his wife have a family of four children, one son and three daughters, all living at home.
Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare and Kern, California
Illustrated The Lewis Publishing Company 1892
Transcribed by: Martha A Crosley Graham - 26 May 2008 Pages 368 - 385
Site Created: 26 May 2008
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