Merced County, California



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There are few names more closely identified with the history of Merced County than that of William Edward Landram, who, as banker and citizen, has wielded a strong influence that has done much for the growth and prosperity of Merced, which has been his home for more than a third of a century. His birth occurred in Cairo, Mo., March 11, 1867, a son of W. L. and Betty (Boney) Landram. W. L. Landram was drafted for service during the Civil War and was on his way to the front when the war ended; he had been a farmer all his lifetime and died on the old homestead in Missouri on June 8, 1924, having reached the venerable age of ninety-one years; the mother of our subject passed away on April 29, 1922, aged eighty-five years.


William Edward Landram first attended district school in the vicinity of the home farm in Missouri; then he attended the Kirks­ville Normal and the Kirksville Business College. He was reared to farm work and spent twenty years of his life on the farm in Missouri, receiving practical knowledge of agriculture that proved of great worth after coming to California. On September 29, 1887 he came to Merced and soon thereafter became an employee of the Merced Lumber Company. After working and saving his money he bought stock in the business. For a time Mr. Landram ran the Merced River Flour Mill, on the river near Snelling; then he was in the transfer, wood and coal business for six years and for two years had charge of some land in the vicinity of Merced, and he now owns 320 acres of land in the Merced Irrigation District. In 1900 he took charge of the Merced Lumber Company, of which he has been vice-president and was general manager until January, 1924, when he came into the Farmers and Merchants Bank to give it his entire attention.


The marriage of Mr. Landram occurred in Merced on September 23, 1890, and united him with Miss Ida Banks, daughter of the late John Banks, senior member of the firm of Banks & Bedesen, pioneer butchers of Merced. Mrs. Landram was also a native of Missouri. One son was born of this union, John William, manager of a branch lumber yard at Livingston. Mrs. Landram passed away March 28, 1924. Mr. Landram is a thirty-second-degree Scottish Rite Mason; he also belongs to the Odd Fellows and the Woodmen of the World and with his wife was a member of the Eastern Star and Women of Wood­craft. Locally he belongs to the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Landram is the active vice-president of the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Merced, to which he gives all his time. The family are prominent and active members of the Central Presbyterian Church, of which Mr. Landram has been clerk of the board for the past twenty-three years.



A retired pioneer of Merced and Stanislaus Counties, John C. James has been identified with the development of the San Joaquin Valley for the past sixty-five years, and in that time he has lived a life full of responsible work for the community at large and developed his own personal resources. He has been a factor for real progress and advancement in all of Central California. Born in Dodgeville, Iowa County, Wis., on November 16, 1840, he was the eleventh child born to his parents, William and Eva James, natives of Cornwall, England, who came to the United States with three children and settled at Dodgeville. The father was a blacksmith in England, but after coming to America he became a farmer, and built and operated a flouring mill on Otter Creek. He was a stanch Republican and after becoming naturalized held the office of justice of the peace in Dodgeville, where both parents died the same month and year.


John C., now the only living son, received his education in the public school and at Mineral Point Seminary. He came West via Panama and arrived in Stockton on May 1, 1861, on the side-wheeler Cornelia from San Francisco, having made the Atlantic part of the voyage on the S. S. Northern Light, and the Pacific journey on the S. S. Constitution, being twenty-three days from New York to San Francisco. His brother, Captain Henry George James, the third child in the family, had preceded him, arriving in California in 1851. In the sixties he was a prominent rancher and stockman living west of Turlock, Stanislaus County. Another brother, Edward, the oldest of the family, was a Forty-niner, having come around the Horn to the gold fields of California. William, the second child, crossed the plains in 1850. The first work John C. did after reaching this State was on the San Joaquin River, in the employ of a Captain Jones who ran the steamer Alta, with a Mr. Ward as pilot. Later, when Captain James and Charles Blair engaged in the retail meat business at Big Oak Flat, John C. was his bookkeeper, after Mr. Blair sold to Captain James. They sold ten dressed beeves daily while the mines were in full blast. Later a shop was opened at Tuolumne City with John Simmons as a partner, but when the majority of the people moved to Modesto, in 1872, the two James brothers moved also; but Mr. Simmons remained in Tuolumne City. James Street, Mo­desto, is named for Captain James, deceased pioneer.


In the years up to 1879, John C. James resided in the great ranching center of Stanislaus County, where he served as the first enrolling clerk on the registry law; that year he came to Merced County, and farmed 2000 acres of the J. W. Mitchell lands, wheat being his chief crop. With the exception of four years absence in Oregon, where he conducted a shingle mill at Coquelle, he has made Merced County his home from that date. He developed a choice vineyard of fifty-three acres, north of Atwater, which since has been subdivided and is a part of Gertrude Colony. He also owns desirable real estate and rental property in Merced, and has prospered with the developing of the fertile Valley of the San Joaquin, for his keen foresight and ability to see the wonderful future in store for this section of the State have netted him good returns, and at the same time he has been able to contribute to the settling up and further advancement of the State's resources.


The marriage of Mr. James, which occurred in 1876 at the home of Jack Hayes, Modesto, united him with Miss Jennie Weston, the first girl babe born on Sherlock Creek, Mariposa County. Her father, Lewis Weston, was a native of New England who crossed the plains and settled in California in 1849. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. James; Sydney L. is married and the father of three sons and resides in Mariposa County; John H. is a rancher of Mer­ced, married and father of three children; and Gertrude A. Casad of Merced is the mother of four children. Mrs. James passed away in Oregon in 1903.


Mr. James has always maintained a deep interest in State history, and he has done much for his fellow pioneers; he contributes to local newspapers, a most interesting style of writing, on past events and early California history, his Nom de Plume being "Wilkins Mc­Cawber," and he often favors civic clubs and the like, during banquet hours, with his presence and gives little talks, and is always received with ready response for "More, more !" A most likable man, he holds the respect and liking of his friends and acquaintances through­out the great central valley. Fraternally, he is an Odd Fellow ; and in line with other civic work, he served one term as deputy county asses­sor of Stanislaus County under Tom Wilson. In 1919, in company with his brother, Richard, he made an extended visit to eastern states, but while enjoying the sights of the "effete East," he saw nothing to make him regret his early decision to "come West and grow up with the country."



A native son of California, born near Oleta, Amador County, on August 8, 1866, Peter J. Wolfsen is the eldest of nine children born to Henry C. and Amelia (Howell) Wolfsen, pioneers of that county. Henry C. Wolfsen was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and came to California during the Gold Rush, via the Panama route. He engaged in work, first in the Southern Mines, later in the silver mines in Nevada, and also in sawmill work, finally devoting his whole ener­gies to agriculture. In the fall of 1875, he moved to Merced County, and located on the old Crawford ranch, near what is now Planada; this property he leased, and operated for three years raising wheat with good success. He then moved to the Page ranch of 1280 acres, operated it for one season, and finally settled on the J. M. Mont­gomery ranch, embracing 4000 acres, on Bear Creek, and this property he purchased in 1880 and made it the family home for the remainder of his days. He was a well-known Odd Fellow, and an active man in school work, serving as a trustee of the Bear Creek district. Amelia (Howell) Wolfsen was a native of England, but came to the United States when a girl, with a party of friends, and crossed the plains with ox-teams from Missouri. She and Mr. Wolfsen were married in Amador County, and were among the permanent upbuild­ers of the central part of the State. Mr. Wolfsen died January 30, 1901, aged sixty-five years, four months and eleven days; Mrs. Wolf­sen passed away January 20, 1918.


Peter J., being the eldest of a large family, and the times uncom­monly hard for the early ranchers, had opportunity for but little schooling, and was forced to go to work at an early age, learning the ranch business through contact with its practical side in close associa­tion with his parents. He remained at home until 1889, and then, following his marriage, he commenced ranching on his own account on one-half of his father's home ranch. This he continued until 1894, when he moved to his present place six miles southeast of Merced. This property then comprised 1360 acres, and he was very successful as a grain- and stock-raiser for many years; he later sold off some of his land, and today owns only 200 acres, highly improved to intensive ranching, and with modern residence and ranch buildings.


The marriage of Mr. Wolfsen, at Hornitos, April 8, 1891, united him with Miss Mary Arthur, born at Coulterville, Cal., the daughter of the late Robert and Belle (Steele) Arthur, both native of Ohio of Scotch extraction. They were also among the early settlers of Central California. Married in Ohio, they came west in 1865, via Panama, and that year settled in Coulterville, where Mr. Arthur ran a blacksmith shop. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wolfsen: Arthur, married Agnes Ball, of Nevada, and is the father of two children, Norman and Gertrude; Ruth, at home; and Chester, married Hazel Elliott, of San Francisco, and is the father of three children, Elliott, Harlan and Beverly Jean. Mrs. Wolfsen passed away on September 22, 1924, aged fifty-seven years. Mr. Wolfsen is highly esteemed in his community as a man of good principle, and one who has the real upbuilding of his district at heart. He is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, of Merced.



One of the early settlers who became a successful stock-raiser on the West Side in Merced County was Joseph S. Sparks. He was born in Kentucky, May 12, 1830, a son of Madison Sparks, a Vir­ginian, who had married Winnie Thomas, who bore eight children, Joseph S. Sparks being the third in order of birth. He was able to get a fair education in the local schools and remained in his native county until he was of age. He had heard of the discovery of gold in California and it so fired his enthusiasm that he decided he would cast in his lot with the pioneers and followed the trend of emigra­tion, crossing the plains in 1852.


Upon his arrival in this state he went to the mines in Placer County and was engaged in mining for many years, meeting with the usual luck of the miner, sometimes meeting with good success and sometimes with reverses, but continuing with the hope that he would find his fortune. In 1867 he went to Chico and engaged in the lumber business for a time, filling contracts for hauling logs to the mills. In 1869 he came down into the San Joaquin Valley, bought 160 acres of land, and the following year added 320 acres near Ingomar, which he fully improved and farmed for many years. He became a suc­cessful stockman, noted for breeding and raising fine horses. He operated his farming operations on a large scale and became a valued member of his community.


In Chico, Mr. Sparks married Melissa C. Eachus, who was born in Iowa, and came with her parents to California in 1865. They had six children : David William, deceased; May L., Mrs. Detlefsen; Nellie Bird, deceased; Margaret Russell, wife of H. J. Miller of Oakland; George Madison of San Francisco; and Joseph Spencer, Jr. deceased. Mr. Sparks, who was much beloved by all who knew him, died in 1892. He was an Odd Fellow and a consistent Christian, hold­ing membership in the Methodist Church. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Sparks continued on the home place and in 1901 erected a modern house on the ranch and at the same time conducted the place with the aid of her sons. She now makes her home in Oak­land. Mr. and Mrs. Sparks won a host of friends who appreciated their worth as citizens and neighbors.



Numbered among that intrepid band of pioneers who came to California in the stirring times when gold was discovered we find the name of Joseph Vasche, who had come across the plains behind slow-moving oxen to reach the land of opportunity and share in the wealth that seemed to be obtainable here. He and his hardy band met with the usual trouble that the immigrants experienced with Indians, though no record has been made that any of their party were killed or injured. Upon arriving in this state he followed mining for a time, and although a mere boy, he participated in the stirring times of the Vigilante Days in San Francisco. He turned his attention to the more secure method of gaining his independence and engaged in the sheep business, continuing until about 1875, when he disposed of his flocks and went to San Jose and was engaged in the mercantile business for six years. The future of Merced County appealed strongly to him and he returned here and invested his money in 2100 acres of land at Athlone, which he developed into a fruitful ranch with diversified products, though he was one of the large grain raisers here.


Joseph Vasche was born in Germany in 1826, came to America when he was but fourteen years of age, grew up in Missouri until 1848, and then began his journey to the unknown West. In 1871 he was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Bielenberg, the wedding taking place at' the famous old "stone house" above Plainsburg. They had one daughter, Josephine, Mrs. Ringnalda, now connected with the schools in Los Angeles. The wife and mother died in 1872, after which Mr. Vasche toured Europe. In 1874 he was married to Maria Halenkamp, born in Germany and who became the mother of ten children, four of whom remain at home. The children are: Pauline Lines, deceased; Gertrude, supervisor in the schools of Merced County; Joseph, Henry, Francis (deceased), Elma (deceased), Fred­rika, Florence; Karl, who saw service in Siberia during the World War ; and Harold, who also was in the service of his country when the armistice was signed.


Mr. Vasche died in 1912. He was a Democrat in politics and cast his first vote for Franklin Pierce. It is to such men as Mr. Vasche that the generation of today owe much of their prosperity for he was among the early trail-blazers in California.



Among the best-known of the old-timers now living in Merced is Henry Nelson, whose memory carries him back to the earliest days in the forming of the county, and who is able to recount the happen­ings of those early days when a "man was a man" and stood upon his own feet. Mr. Nelson was born in Frederickton, N. B., on August 17, 1844, the son of William and Anna C. (Campbell) Nelson. The former died in May, 1896, at Sonora, and the latter in' September, 1895, at Merced Falls; both are buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Snelling.


Henry Nelson attended school in San Francisco and Merced Falls and at Nicholson's Seminary in Stockton, in 1865, and the Pacific Business College in San Francisco in 1866. This school became the nucleus of Heald's Business College, Mr. Heald being Nelson's teacher. In the first school he attended, the first in San Francisco, on Washington Street, Professor Pelton was the principal. His school days over, young Nelson returned to Merced County and be­gan driving team for his father, who ran Nelson's Flouring Mill at Merced Falls, delivering flour through Mariposa and parts of Tuo­lumne and Fresno Counties for three years. They sold over $2,500,­000 worth of flour from the mill during its existence from 1854 to 1893, mostly in the hills. He then became solicitor for the mill, and also was bookkeeper a little later. In 1866 he was taken into part­nership by his father, William Nelson, in the mill at Merced Falls. He secured the stock subscribers for the Merced Falls Woolen Mill erected there in 1869. In 1868 Mr. Nelson bought wheat up and down the Merced River, some 500 tons, paying thirty dollars a ton for same; in two weeks the price jumped to fifty dollars per ton and he made a profit of $10,000. On April 4, 1872, the woolen mill burned down, also the flour mill. The fire is supposed to have caught in the picker room of the woolen mill. Nelson & Son had the controlling interest, amounting to about $20,000, in the concern. Both mills were rebuilt, but were again burned to the ground on September 23, 1893. While living in Merced Falls, William Nelson was post­master of the place and Henry had all the work to do for about thirty years; he also was secretary of the Woolen Mill Corporation.


Henry Nelson was married on June 16, 1869, at the Odd Fellows Hall in Hornitos, to Miss Lola Antoinette Lawrence, a daughter of Michael and Adelia (Heicox) Lawrence. Her father was born in Alsace-Lorraine and her mother in Naugatuck, Conn., and Mrs. Nel­son first saw the light at Lyons, Wayne County, N. Y. Of their mar­riage the following children have been born: William. H., of Yose­mite; Mrs. Lola A. Cease, superintendent of Ahwahnee Sanitarium; Alma May, wife of John Taylor, of Merced; Inez Mildred, wife of Louis Dorn, of San Antonio, Tex.; Miss Etta Myrtle, of Merced; and Beatrice Hazel, who married Frank J. Duncan, of Merced.


Mrs. Nelson came out from the East with her father and three sisters, via. Panama. Eudora married William Franklin Overstreet; and their daughter Fanny Eudora, who became the wife of George Kelsey, was reared by Mrs. Nelson after the death of her mother, when she was a little girl. William Lorenzo Overstreet, brother of Mrs. Kelsey, is editor of the paper at Carmel. Gussie married James D. Craighan, and their children are: Lilly, of San Francisco; Mrs. Minnie Morris, of Hollywood; Nettie Louise, a teacher in San Francisco; Mrs. Della Viola, wife of Charles K. Weller, of Fort Bragg; Mrs. C. E. (Favorite May) Kocher, of Berkeley; James D. Jr., of Sacramento. Louise, the oldest sister of Mrs. Nelson, mar­ried Mr. Logsdin and died on March 26, 1905. The four brothers of Mrs. Nelson are: Dr. Lorenzo Lawrence, who died in Sonoma about 1894; W. H. H. Lawrence, who died in Salinas in 1924 at the age of eighty-six; Raymond, who died in Mexico; and Francis, who died in early childhood in New York State. The mother also died there, after which the remaining members of the family came to California.


Mr. Nelson has always voted the Republican ticket on national issues, but in local affairs he considers the men best qualified for pub­lic office, regardless of their politics. He served as a member of the board of supervisors from District No. 1 for four years. Frater­nally he was a member of the Odd Fellows, having joined Willow Lodge No. 121, I. 0. 0. F., at Snelling, when he was twenty-one ; later he withdrew to join Hornitos Lodge No. 99, I. 0. 0. F., where he held his membership until about 1896. He also belonged to the Oso Encampment at Bear Valley, and passed the chairs of the lodge in the early nineties ; and he was a member of the workmen until 1910. In early days Mr. Nelson belonged to the Sonora Rifle Club, of which Fred Sutton, Dr. Bromley, and Mr. Nelson are the only survivors.



Of southern birth and lineage, Thomas Alexis Mack displays in his character many of the qualities that have distinguished citizens of that section of our country for generations, and have won for him­self a popularity and esteem which place him among the influential citizens of Merced County. He has been an active participant in public affairs for the past thirty-five years; for ten years he served as a constable of Merced, then became shotgun messenger for Wells, Fargo Express Company, a position he held for nine years, during the time when gold was transferred from the mountains to the rail­road, and each trip was fraught with danger. Mr. Mack established a reputation for courage and fearlessness, which led to his appoint­ment as a deputy sheriff in 1911. Upon the death of Sheriff Cornell, Mr. Mack was appointed to fill his position, and in 1916 he was elected without opposition; again in 1919 he was elected to succeed himself and still again in 1922. His service has been characterized by the strictest integrity, unbounded courage and a spirit of progress that has had a beneficial influence upon the community in general.


Thomas Alexis Mack was born in Carter County, Ky., in 1857, a son of John and Catherine (Roach) Mack, farmer folk in the southern State. Both parents are now deceased. Mr. Mack attended public school in Kentucky and assisted his father on the farm until 1880, when he removed to Washington County, Iowa, where he farmed for three years. His desire to come West was realized in 1883, when he settled at Snelling, Merced County, and found work on the Montgomery ranch. It was not until 1888 that he became a resident of Merced, which has been his place of residence ever since.


The marriage of Mr. Mack united him with Miss Nettie Yoakum, a native daughter of California, and of this union three children have been born. Maude is now the wife of A. T. Munn and they have one daughter, Virginia; the family resides in Los Angeles. George Tho­mas is an engineer for the State Highway Commission; during the World War he served in France for two years; and William Alexis is with the Yosemite Lumber Company. In politics Mr. Mack is a Democrat. Fraternally, he belongs to the Woodmen of the World and Knights of Pythias. He is a member of the Merced Chamber of Commerce.



Among the well-known men and progressive citizens of Merced County is William T. White, president of the White-Crowell Com­pany, Inc., of Livingston. He was born in Paris, Ky., on May 27, 1868, and was orphaned by the death of his father that same year, while his mother passed away ten years later, in California. William T. White grew up from infancy in the Golden State and received his education in the schools of Merced and San Jose. When he was twelve years old he entered the employ of Miller and Lux, Henry Miller treating him as a son, giving him every advantage possible with the corporation, and this close friendship lasted until the death of Mr. Miller. Promotion followed promotion and soon young White was placed in charge as manager of the Miller and Lux store and other interests at Los Banos. Mr. White's entire life, with the exception of seven years, has been spent in Merced County. Two years he was in the hotel business in Jamestown, two years in the merchandise business in Coulterville, and three years were spent in • Old Mexico as a foreman in railroad construction.


In 1901 Mr. White returned to California and again entered the employ of Miller and Lux, where he remained until 1909, the period making him one of their trusted employees for twenty years. The last mentioned year he came to Livingston and purchased the interest of the late R. W. Hammatt in the general merchandise store, the firm becoming White and Crowell; this partnership was continued until 1919, when the business was incorporated under the firm name of White-Crowell Company, Inc. The officers of the corporation are William T. White, president; J. J. Boyle, vice-president; and L. E. White, secretary-treasurer. Mr. Boyle is in charge of the dry goods department, C. R. Davis is the head of the hardware department. Their grocery department was discontinued on January 1, 1923 and the business now includes dry goods, hardware and clothing, with a complete stock in each department.


On November 4, 1891, William T. White was united in marriage with Miss Sadie M. Crowell, a sister of F. E. Crowell, a former partner with Mr. White, and daughter of the late G. F. and Sarah (Warfield) Crowell. Mr. and Mrs. White have two children, Lester Eugene, mentioned on another page in this volume, and Ethel M., whose first husband was W. C. Close; her second marriage united her with N. C. Matthews, cashier of the First Bank of Livingston. Mr. White has been active in all movements for the advancement of his section of Merced County, was one of the organizers of the First Bank of Livingston, is an extensive rancher, landowner and vine­yardist, having a twenty-acre alfalfa ranch, a half interest in a fine forty-acre vineyard, and a half interest in a seventy-acre vineyard and alfalfa ranch near Livingston. During the World War he was at the head of the Red Cross and all bond drives in his section and helped put Livingston "over the top" each time. He served two years as the president of the Livingston Merchants Association, which he helped organize. He is the present president of the Boosters' Club, and was active in getting Livingston incorporated as a city of the sixth class in 1922. A friend of education, he serves as vice-presi­dent of the Merced Union High School, and was seven years a mem­ber of the board of trustees. He was the moving spirit in securing the Union High School for Livingston, the high school building being completed in October, 1924 at a cost of $150,000. Mr. White was appointed a member of the advisory committee to the board of super­visors on county highways, being appointed by the supervisors, and through their untiring efforts the many miles of concrete highways have been constructed in the county. In 1913 he completed one of the finest homes in Livingston, where the family reside. There has been no issue put forth for the advancement of Merced County that he has not done his share, giving of his time and means to keep Merced County and its diversified interests on the map. Fraternally, he is a member of the Elks and Knights of Pythias in Merced, and the Odd Fellows and Woodmen of the World in Los Banos, having been a member of the last two over thirty years.



In improving the opportunities that have come his way, Mr. Mumby, the proprietor of the principal hardware store in Dos Palos, has evinced both discretion and sound business judgment and has won an enviable place among the upbuilders of his locality. He was born in Lincolnshire, England, April 14, 1874, a son of William and Sarah Mumby, who came to Ontario, Canada, in the fall of 1874, when their son, William, was only six months old. After nine years in Canada they came to Saline County, Nebr., in 1883, where they engaged in farming. In February, 1895, they came to Dos Palos and farmed again. They both died in 1906.


The son, William, was educated in Nebraska and growing up on a farm, he drove teams for his father when he was only ten years old. From 1895 to 1906 he carried on a dairy farm in Merced County; after that he was construction foreman for Miller & Lux, and steam engineer, a trade he had learned in Nebraska. In 1911 he started in the hardware business in Dos Palos on his own account, and six months later lost his business by fire. Then he reopened a store and as the business has expanded he has moved from one loca­tion to another, each time to larger quarters, and is now quartered in the Odd Fellows building. In 1924 he erected a warehouse 50x90 feet. In 1923 he erected a fire-proof building, 45x180 feet, occupied by the Ford agency.


Mr. Mumby had five sons by his first wife, Susan Archer, whom he married in 1898, and who died in November, 1906; they are: William E., in Long Beach; Granville A., who married Eva Ellingson; Isaac Desmond, in Long Beach; Delmar and Maurice Odell, at home. The maiden name of his second wife was Mamie Gies, and she is a native of California ; they were married in June, 1920, and there is one daughter by that union, Luella Frances. Mr. Mumby is a member of the Dos Palos Sanitary Board, and $30,000 bonds have been voted and sold to install a sewer system for Dos Palos. He is a member of Santa Rita Lodge No. 124, I. 0. 0. F., of Dos Palos, Rebekah Lodge No. 333 ; Dos Palos Tent No. 31, K. O.T. M.



A successful rancher and business man of Merced County is Thomas B. Rector, a native son of the State, born in Merced County near Hopeton, on February 10, 1863, the second son and child of Elbridge Gerry and Amanda (McFarlane) Rector, pioneers of Cal­ifornia, the former now deceased but the latter is a resident of Ber­keley and at the age of ninety-four is in possession of all her faculties and enjoys life to its full. A full detailed mention is made of the family on another page of this history.


After finishing his school work, Thomas B. Rector was employed on his father's ranch until he accepted a position as clerk at Snelling with Simon-Jacobs Company, where he remained for five years. He next was interested in extensive grain-farming on the bottom lands during 1887-1888, meeting with fair results. He then entered the employ of John Ruddle and moved to the Rotterdam Colony and ranched there in 1892. At Hornitos, Mariposa County, he was next engaged as a rancher, then moved back to Merced County and bought forty acres of land at Atwater, which he fully improved. He now owns ten acres near Atwater, two and one-half acres lying in the town limits. He has since made this section his home and is now living retired from farming activities.


The marriage of Thomas B. Rector united him with Miss Mary Ellen Little, born at Hopeton, a daughter of the late William Little, a pioneer in California of 1852, when he had crossed the plains. He followed stock-raising and ranching all his life. Mr. and Mrs. Rector have had five children, viz : William Gerry, of Oakland, is mar­ried to Miss Genevieve Hart and they have one daughter, Marian; Archibald Thomas, of Atwater ; Mary Lee, a graduate of the Univer­sity of California, Class of 1924, married Paul Thornton and now lives in Petaluma ; Stanley and an infant are both deceased. Mr. Rector is a Democrat and he has served as a trustee of the Snelling district. The family are members of the Methodist Church.



Remembered as an early pioneer of California, a man of erudition and scholarly attainments, and a citizen whose efforts were always given towards the advancement of public interests, William G. Col­lier is named among the representative men of the State as the "Father of Irrigation" and as a leader in the early days of the settling of Merced County. A native of Kentucky, he was born in Shelby County on July 17, 1827, a son of Michael and Amelia (Wilcox) Collier. The latter was a grandniece of Daniel Boone, and on her father's side was descended from a long line of Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Divinity. Michael Collier, a Mason of high degree, was a prosperous merchant, following the mercantile business for some years, or until his death early in life. After he died his widow removed to Missouri with her family and settled in Boone County.


William G. Collier passed his boyhood and early manhood in Missouri, and finished his education, with a three-years course in the University of Missouri at Columbia. He left the university before his graduation, to take charge of his brother's lumber business, this brother having gone to California as a gold-seeker; and soon after, he bought out his brother and conducted the business for himself until he, too, decided he would come to California, which he did in 1853, selling out his varied interests and embarking in a train that crossed the plains with oxen and the old time prairie schooners. Mr. Collier experienced the usual experiences of the pioneer in the long journey of six months crossing desert, plain and mountains ; and upon his safe arrival in the Golden State he went to Tuolumne County and there engaged in the lumber business, also taking a very active part in the upbuilding of the county, where he served as a member of the board of supervisors for a time.


The year 1859 marks his advent into Merced County. Here he settled on the Merced River about five miles from its mouth and en­gaged in stockraising; and when the grain era began, he was among the first to engage in that industry. He kept adding to his landhold­ings until he came to own some 3000 acres, which he superintended.


Besides ranching, Mr. Collier did a great deal of surveying for Miller & Lux, as well as for others who needed his services. He was very far-sighted and could see the benefit to be obtained by the ranch­ers if they could get water on their lands ; and to William G. Collier, more than to any other man of his time, is due the credit for the irri­gation of the lands in Merced County. He promoted the first irriga­tion enterprise of any size in the entire State, that of the Robla Canal Company, which was incorporated on March 30, 1870, and was financed and managed practically by himself, in company with W. P. Sproul and S. Baltzley, with its principal place of business at the Col. Tier Ranch. Of this company Mr. Collier was the president. Its organization was the result of years of planning and in putting it into practical operation he introduced a measure that was to figure largely in the agricultural development of the Valley. He was also associated with The Farmers' Canal Company, which later became the Crocker Huffman Land & Water Company, and was thus the forerunner of the great Merced Irrigation District. Mr. Collier served as county surveyor of Merced County several terms, and in many ways did his full part to place on a safe and sound foundation the future welfare of Merced County.


Mr. Collier was united in marriage on July 29, 1851, in Chariton County, Mo., with Miss Ann Eliza Jackson, daughter of George Jackson, who served as a judge in his county and was a political leader there. George Jackson was a brother of Governor Jackson of Mis­souri, and was also related to Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Of this fortunate union were born the following children : Amelia Collier Stone; Harriet Collier Whitworth; Laura Collier Munson; Elizabeth Lee Collier Olds ; Frances Collier Hartman; George Jack­son Collier, deceased; William Lee Collier, who married Bessie Eliza­beth Guier; Mary Collier; Carolina Calhoun Collier, deceased; Vir­ginia Washington Collier; Sara Boone Collier ; and Lillian Collier.


Mr. Collier was much interested in politics, and was a stanch Democrat. He was baptized a Catholic, but was reared by Baptist parents; he had no active church affiliations. He died October 9, 1883 ; and in his passing, Merced County and the State of California lost a most loyal citizen. Mr. Collier was a great reader, an ex­ceptionally well-informed man. He was a thinker, a scholar. In early manhood he had taught school for a short time, until he entered larger spheres of activity. He was held in high esteem by all who knew him, or had business or social relations with him; and no one was ever turned away whom he thought in any way deserving of his assistance. An unselfish man, his first thoughts were for his family and friends, and his name will ever be held in memory by posterity.



As a dealer in real estate and an active member of the Merced County Republican Central Committee and as justice of the peace of Township No. 8, W. H. Osborn of Atwater has been closely identified with all forward movements for the upbuilding of Merced County and of this section of the San Joaquin Valley. A native son, he was born in San Francisco, on February 12, 1856, the eldest of six children (four living) of Henry Augustus Osborn, a pioneer of 1850 in California. He was born in Oxford, Conn., on February 13, 1829, grew up there until he was sixteen, then came to California via Cape Horn. Much suffering was endured by the passengers on that eventful journey, but finally young Osborn arrived in San Fran­cisco, where he later engaged in the draying business. He was a member of the San Francisco Vigilant Committee of that early day and was always much concerned in the world events during his entire lifetime. He was a step-brother of the late J. W. Mitchell, a Forty-niner and a San Joaquin Valley pioneer. Mr. Osborn peddled goods out of San Francisco and Stockton to the miners in Tuolumne and Amador Counties in a cart drawn by oxen; and he also mined in that section. He went through the flood of 1862 while he was ranching on the Mitchell place on Cherokee Lane between Stockton and Wood­bridge. He farmed on a large scale for that period as the harvesting was done by hand; no modern conveniences were even thought of at that time. He went to Jackson, Amador County, and for seven years mined in what was once the richest of the gold fields at Poker Flat; he also got out timbers for the mines and did some farming on 160 acres. In 1868 Mr. Osborn went to Turlock and for a time rented land of J. W. Mitchell, but later he invested in 640 acres one mile west of town, the property adjoining the cemetery. Today that same ranch is under irrigation and divided into ten and twenty-acre farms. He married on May 13, 1855, Minerva Jane Baker, born in Arkansas, but living in Amador County. She crossed the plains with an ox-team with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Baker, who settled at Poker Flat. She died at the age of forty-nine, survived by five children. Mr. Osborn died on January 4, 1915, aged eighty-six.


W. H. Osborn attended school in Amador, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties and when twenty-one took to ranching on 1600 acres leased from J. W. Mitchell four miles east of Turlock, raising wheat and rye, and for seven seasons he met with fair success. In 1884 he went to Madera County, and eight miles south of the town of that name, farmed 1700 acres of the Mitchell property, but did not meet with even fair returns and he came to Atwater, where he has since lived and become a potent factor in the progress of the town. He owns fifty acres in his home place and twenty acres near by. About thirty years ago Mr. Osborn set out his first orchard and planted alfalfa. He has made his second setting of peaches and has exhibited his fruit at the various fairs in the State. His entire property has been brought to a high state of cultivation.


Mr. Osborn was married on December 25, 1878, to Miss Lucinda E. Bonnett, a native of Iowa, who came to California in 1864 with her parents, David D. and Elizabeth (Ronk) Bonnett. Her father was born in West Virginia on March 21, 1835 and went to Okaloosa, Iowa, as a pioneer farmer in 1858. With a party of emigrants and with a four-horse covered wagon he came with his family to Utah Territory, and then with ox-teams via Salt Lake, to California. He resided in Lockeford for four years, cleared his land of the timber, which he hauled to the fuel yards in Stockton, for the tan bark, and was engaged in farming. Between 1870 and 1880 he farmed rented land, some 1120 acres, on the present site of Denair, Stanislaus County. He retired from active work about five years before he died, being one of the last of the old pioneers to give up. He pros­pered and invested in 640 acres, which is now under the Turlock Irrigation District and has been colonized. He was twice married. His first wife, Elizabeth Ronk, was born in Indiana on February 6, 1839, and died in Turlock. His second marriage united him with a Mrs. Bradley, who now resides in Minnesota. Mrs. Osborn attended the same school as did her husband, a pioneer school house with but one room where all grades were taught. Of this union of Mr. and Mrs. Osborn five children were born, viz : Oro E., who married Frank E. Smith and died leaving three children, Bertha, Elvira and Rich­ard; Eathel E., Mrs. W. H. Hurd of Patterson, the mother of three children, Elta, Fern and Erma ; W. Lloyd, of Atwater, married Ethel Oswalt and they have six children, Hazel, Ellen, Lester Lloyd, Paul­ine, Verna and Walter William ; Nathaniel Dade, of Atwater, mar­ried Ruby Herrod and they have a son Dean. Nathaniel Dade en­listed for service in the World War but never got over seas. And Arita E., Mrs. Perry Deardorff of Patterson and the mother of a son, Alvin. A great-grandchild, Marvin M. Simpson, son of Bertha Smith Simpson of Tulare, brightens the home circle of the Osborn family. The Christmas holidays always find at the Osborn family home in Atwater the foregathering of the Osborn clan. Mr. Osborn has always been an active Republican and since 1900 has been a mem­ber of the County Central Committee. On the organization of Town­ship 8, in February, 1914, he was appointed by the supervisors the justice of the peace. He tried his first case on March 7. He estab­lished his real estate office on Front Street in February, 1907, and with the exception of a few months in 1908, when he was a partner with Owen Brothers, has operated alone. He was the local agent for the Jordan-Atwater Tract, Merced Colony Tract No. 2, and the Wood-Arena Tract. He has seen prices go from $25.00 and $40.00 per acre for raw land in 1908, to $200.00 per acre in 1920 and $250.00 and over per acre in 1925, and says that about fifty per cent of the first settlers made good. He has been an eye witness to the changes that have taken place in the last half century, for in 1870 he drove a supply wagon through here to the sheep camps on Owens Creek when he was working for J. W. Mitchell for $1.00 per day, and he has implicit faith in the future of the county. There were then only three ranches, the Atwater, the Dillon and the Ritchie ranches in this section and the roads were, according to Mr. Osborn, "wherever you took a notion to drive." In March, 1925, Mr. Osborn had the pleasure of a visit with his school teacher of 1870, Fanny Walsh, now seventy-nine years of age, who taught fifty-three terms in the schools of the State.



We may respect the reticence of a modest man with regard to his good deeds, but it is right for the public to know something of them as it is a great stimulus to others to emulate his example. When any one begins at the bottom and builds up a successful busi­ness, triumphing over adverse conditions and becomes a public bene­factor, it is of general interest and benefit to know how it was accom­plished. James William Ives was born on June 3, 1874, in Alameda County, Cal., a son of James H. and Emma J. (Adamson) Ives. Up to twelve years of age he lived in Oakland and after that went to school in Napa County, and finished in the Adventist school at Healdsburg, where he learned the trade of carpenter. From there he went to San Francisco, before the great fire and carried on a sales stable. In 1906 he was burned out and lost what he had accumulated, then he took up the carpenter's trade again and helped to rebuild the stricken city. His subsequent activities in that line include a long and notable list, on which are the Humboldt Bank and the Miller buildings. Coming to Los Banos in 1910 he worked as a carpenter for Miller and Lux, and he helped to erect the old pavilion in the park. Taking up contracting on his own account he erected, among others, the J. V. Toscano and the John Barneich blocks, and sixty and more residences, including the fine home of J. V. Toscano; a number of dairy barns on ranches are credited to his activity. In 1922 Mr. Ives bought the B. R. Bilby hardware store and now has the only exclusive hardware store in Los Banos. When he took the stock over it invoiced $3700, and in two years time he increased the stock to $14,000, and has a fine showing of goods.


Mr. Ives was united in marriage with Miss Lydia Baldwin, born in San Francisco, and they have a daughter, Lola. He is prominent in fraternal orders, being a member and a Past Grand of Los Banos Lodge No. 82, I. 0. 0. F.; belongs to Newman Encampment; Modes­to Canton, and to the Rebekahs. He is a Past President of the Fra­ternal Order of Eagles, Aerie No. 3050, and belongs to Merced Parlor No. 24, N. S. G. W. In civic and educational affairs Mr. Ives has shown his public spirit in many ways. He served three years as a member of the board of city trustees of Los Banos ; was clerk of the grammar school board, and was the prime mover in having the line of busses put on that now transport the children to and from school ; the first bus was a made-over truck that carried the children from the oil tank section. Now there is a fine line of modern busses that carry from 150 to 200 pupils daily.



A particularly well-known grain and cattle raiser of the San Joa­quin Valley, George W. Baxter has lived in this section of the State since 1874, and during that long stretch of time has been a part of the growth and development of his district, where he is prominent as an agriculturist and a man of fine business integrity. Born in Colchester County, Nova Scotia, June 5, 1865, he is the eldest of eight children born to his parents, J. C. and Agnes (Miller) Baxter, mentioned elsewhere in this history. George W. received his educa­tion in the Appling school, and later, in 1895-96, took a business course at the Ramsay Business College in Stockton. With his father and brothers he engaged in sheep and wool growing until 1878; in dry years, such as 1877, they drove their flocks into the mountains as far as Inyo County, Owens Valley, where feed was plentiful. His uncle, the late Robert Baxter, who had preceded the family to Mer­ced County, was one of the successful pioneer grain ranchers of the valley and died at their home ranch in 1884. He was the inventor of the Stockton Gang-plow which has been such an important factor in grain development in the entire country.


When twenty-four years old, George W. Baxter went into the grain-raising business on his own responsibility on an extensive scale, planting as many as 2500 acres at times, and raising large quantities of wheat and barley, always ranching in the Appling district. He became well known as a breeder of excellent work stock, having raised more fine mules than any tither individual in this part of California, with shipments into Arizona, New Mexico, and even to the Hawaiian Islands, besides supplying local markets. His property embraces 1000 acres of choice land in Merced, Mariposa, and Madera Counties, and 240 acres at Plainsburg, being a taxpayer in three counties. He attri­butes his success largely to persistency of effort despite reverses, for he has taken the "ups" with the "downs" and won out by staying at the helm in all kinds of weather.


The marriage of Mr. Baxter, occurring at Santa Cruz, Cal., on October 17, 1888, united him with Fanny Taylor, born on Dry Creek near Snelling, Merced County, a daughter of William Fielding and Elizabeth Ellen (Inman) Taylor. Their biography is written at length in another article in the history. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Baxter : Nelly A., deceased; Wallace W., married Leona Grow and has a daughter Nellie, and is a rancher at Le Grand; Alvin, rancher at Le Grand, married Helen Walker ; Ellen A., a teacher, now deceased; Glenn W., at home; and Mary E., at home; all natives of Merced County. Two sons, Alvin and Glenn, served their country during the World War. Alvin served in the United States Navy for four years, and Glenn went into training at Stanford University for six months. A Republican in politics, Mr. Baxter has always voted for the men and worked for the measures which meant the future development and upbuilding of his district and the country at large. He has served for twenty years as trustee of the Appling school district, and has been active in other civic and educational affairs. Fraternally, he belongs to the Odd Fellows, both the Lodge and Encampment at Merced, and to the Merced Camp, M. W. A.



John W. Thomas was born at Mountain View, Santa Clara County, on September 22, 1853, the son of Silas and Emaline (Haun) Thomas. The father was a native of Missouri and came to Califor­nia at the age of nineteen, in 1849; he died in Mountain View, leav­ing a family of four children: John W.; Seth, deceased; Eliza, who became Mrs. Vaughan of Watsonville and is deceased; Ellen, who became Mrs. Sprague of Oakland and is also deceased. Emaline Haun was also a native of Missouri and crossed the plains with an ox-team. She first married Silas Thomas, and after his death married C. B. Crews. In 1864 the family moved to a ranch at Old Gilroy which is known to this day as the Old Crews Place.


John W. Thomas was educated in the schools of Mountain View and at a private high school which was in Old Gilroy. He has been twice married, first at Oakland, in March, 1875, to Miss Bell Doll, who was born at Red Bluff, Tehama County, in 1856, the daughter of Jacob Granville and Harriet ( Johnson) Doll. Mr. Doll was one of the early settlers of Tehama County, coming with the gold rush. He was a man of affairs. and represented Tehama County two sessions in the State Senate. Mrs. Thomas died in 1884, leaving four children, namely: John M., who lives at Fresno and has two boys; Erwin M., superintendent of the Frankenheim ranch of Oakdale, who has two sons; Lucy, Mrs. William Blake, of Gilroy, now deceased; and Emma, Mrs. George Dexter of Betteravia, Cal., who has one daugh­ter and two sons.


In 1875, in company with his brother-in-law, Mr. Thomas pur­chased 3500 acres of land lying three miles south of Pacheco Peak in Pacheco Pass, and they carried on the stock business on this ranch until 1900, when Mr. Thomas moved to Dos Palos. Having traded some of his mountain land for a thirty-acre ranch one mile northeast of Dos Palos, he improved the place and built a home on it and other farm buildings and has carried on general farming and a diary.


On May 14, 1888, in Gilroy, Mr. Thomas married for his second wife Calphurnia Neel, born in Red Bluff, Tehama County, the daughter of Barnett and Calphurnia ( Johnson) Neel, and a cousin of the first Mrs. Thomas, their mothers being sisters. Barnett Neel was a native of Pennsylvania and his family traces its ancestry back to 1700, when the Neel family first landed in America. His great-grand­father fought in the American Revolution. Mrs. Thomas' mother came from Tory stock in Virginia and she was born in Missouri, but her mother, Martha Brock Johnson, Mrs. Thomas' grandmother, came from Virginia. In 1852 Calphurnia ( Johnson) Neel came to California, across the plains in the train under the command of Cap­tain Bridger, and landed in Truckee in the same year. Barnett Neel came to California later, settling in Tehama County, and being an expert in figures he was for years a public accountant and served Te­hama County as treasurer. He passed away in 1869. Mrs. Thomas was one of four children: Nora, Mrs. Voss of San Francisco; Martha Neel and Granville D., both of Watsonville ; and Calphurnia. She was educated in the Oakland Grammar School, and after one year in the high school she was later graduated from the San Jose State Normal School. She began teaching in the Bryant district of Fresno County and for fifteen years followed teaching in central California ; the last fourteen years she has taught in the Dos Palos Colony, and one year in the Junior High School of Dos Palos. In 1923 she was appointed by the superintendent of schools of Merced County as rural super­visor of general subjects, and has charge of all rural schools west of the Merced state highway to the west county line. She is a member of the County Board of Education.


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have three children, namely: Martha of Oakdale; Granville, of Berkeley, who has a daughter; and Helen, Mrs. E. E. Flory of Dos Palos, who has two girls. These children have received the best of educations and all are following the pro­fession of teaching and are very successful educators. Mr. Thomas is a Democrat in politics. Mrs. Thomas is active in club and lodge work, and is a charter member of the Dos Palos Women's Improvement Club. She is a member of the Eastern Star and a Past Worthy Mat­ron of Morgan Hill Chapter ; she is also a member of the Ladies of the Maccabees, of Dos Palos.



The story of pioneer days may be told by the biographies of the pioneers who struggled amid difficult conditions in order that their successors might find prosperity and comfort. A venerable pioneer, who not only paved the way for others, but reaped the reward of his own labors, was the late William J. Ferrel, landowner and farmer on the Merced River, who was born in Dallas County, Texas, in 1838, and died at Berkeley, Cal., in October, 1911. His father, Walter Ferrel, was a slaveowner ; his mother died when he was two weeks old, and his father remarried a year later.


Starting on his own account at the age of eighteen, William J. Ferrel left Fort Belknap on May 7, 1856, with cattle and horses for the West. He arrived in Los Angeles in October, 1856, having been successful in bringing his stock across the plains and selling them after his arrival. He came to Merced County in the spring of 1857, and for seven years worked on ranches, receiving monthly wages. By saving his earnings he was able, in 1861, to invest in land on the Merced River, which proved to be the foundation for his own and his son's fortunes. He bought 500 acres four miles west of Snelling and in time became a prosperous grain farmer, and by industry and frugality he obtained financial independence. By later purchases he added some 1300 acres of hill land northeast of Snelling to his holdings; this acreage he used for grain-raising and the stock business. He was a pioneer in the use of modern methods of agriculture, and on his river ranch he employed hundreds of Chinese laborers. Corn and hogs were raised as a specialty. Dairy farming and the raising of other stock have since replaced the corn and hog combination, and the Chinese have long since disappeared. Mr. Ferrel used to relate the experiences he had had as an early settler in these parts, but he was a man who boasted very little of his achievements. He did his first day's work in Merced County for the late J. M. Montgomery, and they became very close personal friends. Mr. Ferrel was a stanch Democrat, and he will long be remembered for his good work as chair­man of the board of school trustees of the Dry Creek school district.


The marriage of William J. Ferrel occurred in the old El Capitan Hotel at Merced, on January 15., 1879, and united him with Miss Jessie Frances Burns, who was born in 1860 at Lake Tent House near Roberts Ferry on the Tuolumne River, on the old Stockton-Mariposa wagon road. She was the youngest of five children of the late John A. and Luinda Frances ( Jennings) Burns.


John Burns was born in Missouri and came to California across the plains with oxen and a covered wagon, arriving in Los Angeles in 1849. He spent the winter of 1850 on Monterey Bay and in the spring of 1851 began farming in Monterey County, continuing there for three seasons. He made money there ; and when he removed to the Lake Tent country, in Stanislaus County, he conducted a hotel for seven seasons. The surrounding country was sparsely settled, vast cattle and sheep ranges making neighbors few and far between; thou­sands of antelope and wild horses ran over the unfenced country, and the only marks of civilization were along the main traveled road. In 1864 Mr. Burns moved to a place ten miles below Coulterville, and for nine years he conducted a public house, livery stable and stage sta­tion there. He kept many fine horses, which were used by tourists go­ing into Yosemite Valley. While there Mr. Burns dispensed a broad and liberal hospitality to the guests and tourists, who made that stop­ping-place a lively and enjoyable resort. In 1871 he moved to Merced County, took up land three miles north of Snelling on Dry Creek, and engaged in grain farming, being a pioneer in this venture, for up to that time the government lands were not opened to settlers. He died there at the age of seventy-six.


The children of the late pioneer and Forty-niner, John A. Burns, are as follows : John S. was formerly proprietor of the Athlone Hotel in Merced County, and is deceased. Sarah died in Mexico in 1883. Alla Katherine Welch, widow of the late P. L. Welch, supervisor, Mason, successful storekeeper and grain farmer of Plainsburg, resides in Snelling. By her former marriage she was the wife of Rev. B. A. Hawkins, who was a school teacher and a member of the board of education in Fresno and Merced Counties, and who died in 1908. Isabel M. Haskel, of Le Grand, has been married three times, and had two children by her first husband and eight by her second mar­riage. Mrs. Jessie. F. Ferrel is the youngest of this progressive and highly esteemed family.


The Burns children attended the Anderson district school, where Mr. Burns was a trustee for many years. The region was built up by the settlers, and there were but eighty pupils in the district when at its best. Mrs. Ferrel received the best education the local school af­forded. She was reared on a ranch, learned to shoot and ride, and still finds great pleasure and gratification in going hunting, for she is able to handle a gun and is a good markswoman. She is active as a member of the Snelling Lodge of Rebekahs, being a Past Noble Grand, having served as Noble Grand in 1923, and has been a delegate to the Grand Lodge twice. She makes use of her franchise, voting on public questions, and handles her own business affairs. Since her hus­band's death she has shown a splendid acumen in the care of her pro­perty, which embraces 420 acres of Merced River bottom lands. Her two sons are both in the dairy business: W. J. Ferrel, Jr., owns and conducts a dairy and stock business on his ranch, making his home with his mother at Snelling. Francis Eugene Ferrel, a dairyman, married Miss Ethel Hooper, and has two daughters, Gene and Joyce. During the Panama Pacific Exposition at San Francisco, Mrs. Ferrel took a very active part and ably represented Merced County in an official capacity. She has become well and favorably known in the State of California as well as in Merced County.


In 1919 Mrs. Ferrel bought the store building used by Jacobs and Simons, one of the oldest landmarks in Snelling, the building having been erected in 1858, of sandstone construction. Since 1920 she has lived on this site in a commodious home which she rebuilt from the huge stone structure, and she owns ten acres adjoining this residence property, running back to the edge of the Merced River. Here Mrs. Ferrel dispenses a liberal hospitality to her many callers and friends.



In political and financial circles in Merced County, John H. Simon­son has wielded a wide influence for many years and as a public-spirited and broad-minded citizen has helped to make it the Merced County of today. He was born near Hamburg, Germany, on November 6, 1850, the son of Jasper and Anna Maria (Clausen) Simonson. jas­per Simonson was a cabinet-maker and he immigrated to America in 1857. Purchasing land in Minnesota, near Ulen, he farmed one year, then he moved into Marine Mills, Minn., and followed his trade until his death. This worthy couple had six children, John H. being the youngest.


Obtaining his early education in the public schools of Marine Mills, Minn., John H. Simonson became a wage-earner at the age of thirteen, becoming a clerk in a general store; he was promoted to be bookkeeper and remained with the same firm until 1876. The fall of that year he came to Merced and accepted a position with the house of Simon, Jacobs & Company, and here he continued as bookkeeper two and one-half years. He was asked to become the nominee on the Republican ticket for county clerk, was elected and served from March, 1880, until January, 1883, the term having been extended by legislative action. Mr. Simonson was reelected twice, serving until January, 1887, to the satisfaction of nearly everybody. He then engaged in the real estate and abstract business, compiling a complete set of abstract books. In 1890 he was nominated on the Republican ticket for county assessor and, being elected, served for four years, and was reelected for a second term, serving until January, 1899. He refused to again become a candidate and returned to his former business and as the senior partner in the firm of Simonson-Harrell Abstract Company carries on a thriving business in real estate and abstracting, handling both city and country properties. He is also a live-wire insurance agent and broker.


John H. Simonson was united in marriage in Merced, to Miss Jessie B. Stoddard, who was born in Calaveras County, a daughter of that early settler, E. M. Stoddard. They have a son, Stanley S. Simonson, who is in business with his father. There is one grand­child, Stanley S. Jr., to brighten the Simonson home circle.


Mr. Simonson is prominent in fraternal circles and is a member of the various Masonic bodies. He was made a Mason in St. John's Lodge No. 1, A. F. & A. M. at Stillwater, Minn., and after being a member for fifty years, demitted to Yosemite Lodge No. 99; he de­mitted to Merced Chapter No. 12, R. A. M., in which he is a Past High Priest; he belongs to Fresno Commandery No. 29, K. T.; and to Islam Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S. in San Francisco. He is a mem­ber and a Past Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias. He has always been a stanch Republican and has served on the county central com­mittee for many years. As one of the best-known and among the most active citizens of the county John H. Simonson holds a recog­nized position here and throughout the San Joaquin Valley.



In the life history of George A. Kahl we find he is a worthy son of the late Adam Kahl and his good wife, whose sketch appears on another page of this history, and who are worthy of mention for the part they played in the early history of Merced County. George A. was born in the county in which he now lives, on September 26, 1866, and with the exception of a very few years, his life has been passed amidst the scenes of his birthplace. He attended the public schools and the Stockton Business College, spending five years in perfecting himself for the responsibilities of later years. He then spent a few months in San Luis Obispo County, and then returned to Merced County, where he settled down to the life of a rancher; and that he has more than made good is shown by his possessions today and by the position he holds in the esteem of his fellow-citizens. With his brother, Ernest D. Kahl, he operated the home ranch with good results in raising grain and stock. He has always been in the front rank with those who help to make for progress and was one of the first men in the Plainsburg section to install a rural telephone, and with the march of progress he has been extensively interested in developing orchards and vineyards on his own ranch. With the ad­vent of irrigation and intensive farming to fruit and vines Mr. Kahl has noted with the greatest of satisfaction that the prosperity of the citizens has been on the up-grade, and they have shown their public spirit by encouraging every worthy cause for advancement of com­munity and county.


When George A. Kahl came to marry, on April 26, 1888, he was united with Miss Mabel B. Gardner, born in Tennessee, a daughter of William Gardner. Mr. and Mrs. Kahl have had five children: Georgia W., wife of H. H. Vasche of Napa ; Evelina M., died at the age of eighteen months; Helena W., Mrs. R. C. Wakeman of Norwalk, Ct.; Guy, in Merced; Mabel L., married Richard Norris and is deceased. Fraternally, Mr. Kahl is a member of Merced Lodge No. 208, I.O.O.F.; Merced Encampment No. 46, I.O.O.F.; and Merced Lodge No. 1240, B.P.O.E. Politically, he casts his vote for the best men and measures. For fifteen years he served as justice of the peace (1891-1906). He is one of the dependable men of the county and has an ever-widening circle of friends.



One of the most likable men in Merced County and one who has witnessed the gradual growth and development of the whole State since he was old enough to remember, is James G. Ruddle, born January 7, 1862, the oldest and only surviving child of the family of the late John Ruddle and his wife, who are mentioned at length on another page of this history. James G. attended the schools in Hopeton and in Merced and he has spent his entire life on the ranch. At an early age he began riding the range, the country then being in its virgin state when there were no fences to impede travel and with cattle roaming at will. During the late seventies he was engaged in sheep-raising and wool-growing and continued along those lines for more than ten years with varied success. He owns some 2000 acres of river bottom land upon which there is being carried on six dairies with about 1000 head of milch cows which are owned by the tenants. This industry was started with about 100 cows and with the passing of the years has grown to be a large and paying industry.


Mr. Ruddle devotes his time to viticulture and _horticulture, begin­ning in 1921 to plant fruit on a commercial scale in order to keep up with the progress of the county along those lines of industry. Mr. Ruddle has set a section of his own land to peaches, 640 acres to Thompson seedless grapes and eighty acres to Malagas. Of this privately-owned tract, 800 acres are in the Merced Irrigation District and the balance is on a higher elevation, supplied with water from three deep wells, the smallest of which throws 1200 gallons per minute. Mr. Ruddle has men who have been in his employ for thirty-five years.

As the stock-raising and farming interests increased Mr. Ruddle kept abreast of the times and in time he conducted a mill, fitted with modern machinery and sanitary in every way to make flour; and the mill was run to capacity, which is 100 barrels of flour daily. He has come to own 3800 acres of land, all of which he has operated him­self until he began leasing to dairy tenants. With James F. Peck, J. D. Bradley and others Mr. Ruddle installed the electric lighting plant in Merced Falls, it being the first water-power plant in this county, and he was one of the organizers of the Merced Falls Electric Light Company. He has been a hard worker, thoroughly honest and straightforward in all his dealings, and has won a high place in the esteem of his fellow-men.


Mr. Ruddle was united in marriage with Annette Stockard, born at Hills Ferry, Stanislaus County, a daughter of the late John Stockard, a California pioneer of 1852, and a niece of James J. Stevinson, who settled on the San Joaquin River in 1852. The children born of this union are : John Garland, who is associated with his father in business and is a favorite native son of Merced County, and Allan B., who resides in Merced. James G. Ruddle is a member of the Merced Lodge of Elks, having been one of the men who was instrumental in its organization; and he belongs to the Knights of Pythias in Merced. Politically he is independent and gives his co-operation to all progressive movements. The Ruddle home site is one of the most scenic in the county as it overlooks the fertile lands on the river be­low the town of Snelling, and here a broad and liberal Californian hospitality is dispensed to a large circle of friends.



Prominent among the well-known and highly esteemed county officials of Merced County is Fred Amherst Robinson, who as county assessor has won friends among all classes of people by his genial manners and kindly courtesy. His training for public service began in 1898 when he became deputy county assessor under A. G. Clough and covered a period of twenty years. Six years ago he was elected county assessor, and he has served with entire satisfaction to the public.


Fred Amherst Robinson was born in Providence., R. I., on Janu­ary 19, 1864, a son of Augustus W. and Mary (Herrick) Robinson. When our subject was a young lad he had the misfortune to lose his mother. In 1876 he accompanied his father and an uncle to Califor­nia and they located in San Francisco where they remained for two years. The father then engaged in mining at Hornitos, Mariposa County, which occupied him for three years, when he located in Merced and engaged in the life insurance business with Sam Bates. In 1888 he returned to San Francisco and there passed away.


Fred Amherst Robinson received his education in the grammar and high schools in San Francisco. His school days over, he engaged in mining for two years, then took up the study of dentistry and prac­ticed this profession in Nevada County four years, meeting with fair success. Then he engaged in contracting and building until 1898 when he became deputy county assessor.


The marriage of Mr. Robinson united him with Miss Susan Jones, born at Quartzville, Mariposa County, Cal., and they are the parents of two children: Ella J. is now Mrs. Keefer; and Lloyd A. is deputy county assessor of Marin County, Cal.; there are five grandchildren. Mr. Robinson is a Republican in politics and is affiliated with the Elks of Merced. He finds his recreation in periodic trips to the mountains, where he enjoys hunting and fishing. Mr. Robinson is a liberal and enterprising citizen and holds a high place among the men who have aided materially in the development and upbuilding of this section of California.



The fortunes of Charles D. Martin have been more or less intimately identified with the State of California since 1882. His life has been a varied and eventful one and its record is entitled to a place in the history of the State and more especially of Merced Coun­ty, which has been the scene of his activity since 1884. Mr. Martin was born in Watertown, N. Y., on July 13, 1863, a son of James and Abigale (Pinney) Martin. James Martin was also born at Water­town and was a successful candy manufacturer during his life. Mrs. Martin was a native of Vermont and both are now deceased.


Charles D. Martin completed the grammar and high school courses in Watertown, after which he took private instruction in civil engineering. In 1882 he came West to San Francisco and entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, remaining for two years. He then came to Merced, in the interests of Charles Crocker, to assist in the construction of the canal location, which was known at one time as the Merced Irrigation Company, and still later as the Crocker-Huffman Land & Water Company, and in June of that year he was given entire charge of the engineering department. Some years later he had full charge of the distribution of water. Mr. Martin had the supervision of the development work of this company for twenty-seven years. From 1886 to 1890 he was county surveyor of Merced County. In 1911 he entered private practice but was retained as consulting engineer for the Crocker-Huffman Company. Mr. Martin is now occupying the position of city engineer for Mer­ced; in this position his more than ordinary ability and experience find an ample outlet, and this locality is indeed fortunate in securing such an able man.


The marriage of Mr. Martin united him with Miss Hallie Bost, born in California the daughter of John and Mary (Fitzhugh) Bost. Three children have blessed this union, viz : Beatrice now Mrs. Allan B. Ruddle; Rosalind is the wife of Delwin Shumann; and Alan Bost, who entered the service of the United States and served during the World War,. arriving at New York the day the armistice was signed. He married Isabelle Kerrick, of Stockton and they have one child, Kerrick Martin. Mr. Martin is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and belongs to the California Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Politically he is a Republican.



A man of excellent business ability and thrift, Joe Cleveland Cocanour is a worthy representative of the successful business inter­ests of Merced County and the San Joaquin Valley and he is held in high esteem as a man and citizen throughout the entire commun­ity. A native of California, he was born in Merced, on July 30, 1883, the son of John Boyd and Mary E. (Mitchell) Cocanour. John Boyd Cocanour was born in Lancaster County, Pa., on April 15, 1813, and when ,he was eleven years old he went to New Orleans. In 1832 he located in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he worked at the trade of carpenter until 1850. In that memorable year he left for Cali­fornia via Panama and arrived in San Francisco on August 12. He went at once to the mines and after a short time spent in seeking for gold he turned his attention to raising cattle, realizing that a surer way to independence would be found in that line of work. He ranged his stock along the Merced and San Joaquin Rivers and met with good success, having as high as 8000 to 10,000 head of stock. He used to hold his rodeo on Bear Creek near the present site of Merced. He took an active part in the political life of the country and served as supervisor of Mariposa County before Merced was organized, and when the latter county was formed he became a member of the supervisorial board here, serving in all fourteen years. He was one of the prime movers in establishing the Merced Woolen Mills and was a large stockholder in it. With the changing of conditions Mr. Cocanour disposed of his cattle in 1872 and thereafter devoted his time to agriculture. He was one of the builders of the Madera Flume and lost a fortune in its construction, as did the other promoters of the project. In 1877 he married Miss Mary Mitchell; and they had three children: Mary Alma, of Merced; John Roy, in the San Joaquin; and Joe Cleveland. For several years prior to his death John Boyd Cocanour was superintendent of the County Hospital. He passed away on November 26, 1893 at the age of eighty years. Mrs. Cocanour is still living in Merced.


Joe C. Cocanour attended the Merced public schools and when he was about twenty-five years old he entered the retail grocery busi­ness but during 1923 he changed to the wholesale grocery and pro­duce business and is building up a wonderful trade. Besides shipping in carload lots he is also a wholesale distributor for Merced. During the busy season he employs 100 people and is the largest truck-shipper in this locality.


As early as 1915 Mr. Cocanour began packing and shipping tomatoes, first on a small scale and continuing until his business has grown from year to year until he now operates two packing houses and ships hundreds of cars of tomatoes to all parts of the United States every year. It was directly through his efforts that the Merced Tomato Products Co. is building a $100,000 plant at Merced for canning tomatoes, specializing on tomato paste. Through extended tests it has been found that the Merced tomato is best adapted for that product. The 1925 acreage will total 2000 acres. Besides to­matoes, Mr. Cocanour has the largest single tract of land in sweet potatoes in California that has ever been planted.


Mr. Cocanour was united in marriage with Miss Della May Dean, a native daughter of Merced, and they have two children, Donald and Jane. Fraternally, Mr. Cocanour is identified with Mer­ced Lodge No. 208, I. 0. 0. F.; Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. 0. E.; and Yosemite Parlor No. 24, N. S. G. W. In politics he sup­ports the democratic candidate in national elections but in local affairs considers the man best fitted for the position. He is deeply interested in the growth and development of the county and State and supports liberally with his time and means those projects that have for their aims the upbuilding of the commonwealth.



It would be hard to find a man more thoroughly in accord with the times, or more keenly alive to the great work to be done in this generation to help forward world affairs and scientific construction work than Dr. Kylberg. Besides being eminent in his profession as a physician and surgeon, he has given much time and thought, and un­limited energy, to help with projects for his district which are un­limited in the scope of their effect on posterity; projects which required the aid of a man big enough to see their ultimate object, and to push forward to success over and through all obstacles. The bill which he introduced and put through the State legislature and which made possible the Merced Irrigation District, and was passed over great opposition, is just one instance of the true caliber of the man, who, though born in a far country, has been an important factor in California's growth.


A native of Kalmar, born October 16, 1865, on the Baltic Sea in Sweden, Dr. Kylberg was educated in Gothenberg, Sweden and began his medical education in London, England. After coming to this country he was graduated from the California Medical College, in San Francisco, in 1893, and took a post-graduate course in London hospitals. He practiced in San Francisco until 1899, and was pro­fessor of surgical anatomy in the California Medical College there for two years. He then was located in Calaveras and Mariposa Counties for a time, in the practice of his profession. Coming to Merced County in 1910, for five years Dr. Kylberg was surgeon for the Yosemite Lumber Company at Merced Falls. An expert in bone surgery, he performed bone grafting operations with great success, and became prominent in that line of work.


A deep student, the Doctor knows the value of keeping abreast of the times in scientific work, and he has taken post-graduate courses in Chicago and New York hospitals, and also with those interna­tionally known surgeons, the Mayo Brothers, of Rochester, Minn., taking a post-graduate course with them in 1923. During his prac­tice in California he has been county physician of Mariposa and Mer­ced Counties, and city health officer of Merced City.


A member of the State legislature in 1917-18, representing Mer­ced and Madera Counties, Dr. Kylberg introduced the bill in the Assembly for the Merced Irrigation District, and labored until it was passed. Great opposition developed, and it meant work early and late to put through what is now considered the most important pro­ject for future development work that has ever been instituted in Merced County, and with far-reaching effect throughout the State. Other bills were introduced and passed with the aid of Dr. Kylberg, among them the bill for the County Tubercular Sanitarium. He is known as a thoroughly public-spirited man, working for the benefit of his district at all times.


Dr. Kylberg married Miss Juanina Costa, a native of Honolulu. One son by a former marriage, Brother L. Kylberg, was a law student at Stanford University, graduate of Class of 1925. Prominent fra­ternally, the Doctor belongs to the Mariposa Lodge of Masons, and for ten years was inspector of the Masonic District comprising Mari­posa, Merced and Stanislaus Counties; he belongs to Merced Chapter No. 12, R. A. M., and Modesto Commandery No. 57, K. T. He is a Past Exalted Ruler of Merced Lodge 1240, B. P. 0. E. He is known throughout the Valley for his success as a physician and sur­geon, and as a man of fine principle and attainment. For six years he acted as secretary of the Merced County Medical Association, and has proven his worth by giving always of his time and energy to help in the civic and welfare work of the county at large.



It is a trite saying that "A rolling stone gathers no moss," but Antonio Padula had done a great deal of traveling in his day before he finally settled down as a pioneer in Los Banos. He was born in lower Italy, on November 10, 1858, the son of Vingenzio and Rosa (Poppala) Padula, both born and reared in Italy and both now deceased, dying in Los Banos, the mother in 1918, and the father in 1922; they were brought to this country by Antonio in 1895, and he cared for them until they died. While a mere lad Antonio went to Montevideo, S. A., at the age of nine and there he learned the shoe­maker's trade, working for a time in a shoe factory. At the age of eighteen he went back to Italy to visit, and eighteen months later returned to South America. He once more returned to his native land and while there was married, then he was in Panama and other Central American countries, but not to make a permanent home. Again returning to Italy he spent two years, and next set out for America and California, where he arrived in 1888 when Los Banos was but a small village, and he worked for a Mr. Davis, also for a Mr. Leonard. He left his wife and daughter in Italy and after he had secured a job with Miller and Lux as a harness maker his wife and daughter joined him in 1892. Finally he had saved money enough to go into business for himself as a shoemaker, harness repairer and general leather worker and carried on a good business in Los Banos for several years. In 1895 he made a trip back to Italy after his parents, who thereafter made their home with him here. He has been successful and owns a thirty-two acre alfalfa ranch; built and owns the Buick garage and other business blocks on I Street besides a number of houses and lots in Los Banos, and property in Italy.


On May 26, 1884, Antonio Padula and Teresa Ciuffa were mar­ried in Italy, where his wife was born, and they have the following children : Rosie, wife of L. Emberlee and mother of Teresa and Antonio Emberlee ; Camilla, wife of John Emberlee has two children, Rosa and Antonio; James L., of Dos Palos married and has a daugh­ter, Maryln; Marie, the wife of L. Puccinelli, has two daughters, Eunice and Florina ; Flora, married Antone Toscano and lives with her parents. In November, 1895, Mr. Padula became an American citizen and votes with the Republicans. He was one of the founders, in February, 1901, of the Foresters of America Lodge No. 178 and was the first Chief Ranger. He has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows since 1898. He has always tried to do his share to help build up Los Banos and can be counted upon to advance the interests of the entire county when matters of importance come up. He is well-liked and highly respected by all who know him.



A pioneer of the Hilmar Colony of 1903 in California, Gust E. Johnson has been closely identified with the movements that have brought this favored section of Merced County to the front. He was born at Brattrud, Laxareby, Dalsland, Sweden, on January 23, 1862, the sixth son of Johannes and Maria Lovisa (Bergman) Andersson, and was educated in what was known as the "folk" school. in Sweden. As he grew to young manhood he learned the trade of carpenter in Sweden, then went to Norway where he was employed for eighteen months in the nickel and copper mines. He returned to Sweden for a short visit and then sailed for America in the spring of 1882, coming direct to the State of Iowa, where he remained for some months and then went to Minneapolis, Minn., and for the fol­lowing three years followed his trade of carpenter, principally in shop work. In the spring of 1885 Mr. Johnson traveled westward into British Columbia to work as a bridge carpenter on the Canadian Pacific Railway, remaining in the Canadian Northwest until the summer of 1886, when he returned to Minneapolis and again took up shop work until the spring of 1887. He then left for Eastern Colorado, where he took up a homestead in what was then Weld County, later being incorporated into Phillips County. While proving up on his land he worked at his trade in the city of Denver. However, not seeing his way clear to start farming in earnest he relinquished the homestead and remained in Denver.


While living in Denver, Mr. Johnson was united in marriage on March 20, 1889, with Miss Hilma S. Nelson, also born near Oskars­hamn, Sweden. In 1891 they removed to Durango, Colo., where Mr. Johnson followed his trade and later engaged in the lumber busi­ness for four years, or until leaving for California in 1903, coming direct to Hilmar Colony, where they have since made their home. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have had eight children, viz.: George W., who married Bertha L. Thyberg of Oakland, and died in 1924, survived by his widow and three children; Carl Oscar, who died in infancy ; Gust Adolph, who married Signey Johnson, a native of Sweden; Ernest Theodore, who married Olive Lundell of the Hilmar Colony; Marie Louise, Harry David, Hazel Malvi and Irwin Ben­jamin are single. Mr. Johnson has always voted the Democratic ticket and he is a life member of Durango Lodge No. 46, A. F. & A. M. The Johnson family are well-known and highly respected citi­zens in this section of California.



After many years of faithful public service in Merced County, the late Geo. H. Whitworth passed to his reward on October 8, 1922. He had been elected and reelected to the responsible office of super­visor again and again, and his associates honored him with a term as chairman of the board. So long had been his identification with this county, and so intimate his association with local development, that, viewing the remarkable transformation wrought within his memory, he could well exclaim "All of which I saw, and part of which I was." Great as had been his activity in general, it was as supervisor that the people of his home county most appreciated Mr. Whitworth, who served them in that office more than twenty years, having been chosen by a good majority at each succeeding election. His heart and mind were engrossed in the well-being of the county, and such was his suc­cess in the solution of many difficult problems that his fellow-citizens more and more reposed their confidence in him.


Geo. H. Whitworth was born at Dutch Bar, on Woods Creek, Tuolumne County, March 10, 1856, the son of Henry and Ann (Hall) Whitworth, natives of Lincolnshire, England. His father left Liverpool for America on September 12, 1848, and pushed his way west to Chicago. On learning of the discovery of gold in Cali­fornia, he with others planned to reach the new Eldorado. They outfitted at St. Louis, Mo.; and with a train of wagons drawn by mules, there being fifty men in the party, he crossed the plains, com­ing by the southern route. During the trip, each night the train was guarded with military precision, and particularly was this necessary while passing through the Apache Indian country. On reaching Cali­fornia they made their way up the coast to San Jose Mission, and from there they traveled south to cross the Coast Range at Pacheco Pass and, after crossing the San Joaquin River at Hill's Ferry, went into the Mariposa mines.


Later, Henry Whitworth came to Tuolumne County, where he hauled provisions with an eight-mule team from Stockton to the stores and miners at Chinese Camp and vicinity. Later he kept a provision store for Walkerly .Brothers at Dutch Bar, where our sub­ject first saw the light. Afterwards he was engaged in mining at Chinese Camp, and then, still later, near Crimea House on Keystone Flat, where our subject first went to school. Henry Whitworth ac­quired an interest in the old Eagle Quartz Mining Company at Blue Gulch, on Woods Creek, where they had a mill. He had so won the confidence of his associates that it was his task to divide the gold and weigh each one's share as it was handed to the different parties in­terested in the mine. Mr. Whitworth and Ann Hall had become engaged to be married back in England, and she made the trip to California early in 1855. She was met by Mr. Whitworth, and their marriage was immediately consummated; and he then took his bride back to the mines, where he continued until 1863. The family then moved, with teams and wagons, to Contra Costa County, taking three days for the journey. There he farmed until 1869. In 1868 he had homesteaded and preempted land on Quinto Creek, in Merced County, about twelve miles south of Newman, and in 1869 located on the place and engaged in farming and stock-raising, in which he was very successful. In 1877 he was bereaved of his faithful wife, whom he survived for twenty years, passing away in 1897.


Of the three children born to this worthy pioneer couple, Geo. H. Whitworth was the oldest, and was the last one to pass away. As has been stated, he first went to school near the old Crimea House on Keystone Flat ; and later for a short time he attended a preparatory school at Berkeley. Thereafter his education was obtained by his own efforts through reading and studying at night and through first- hand practical experience, until he came to be known as a well-in­formed man. In 1877 he started out for himself, embarking in grain-raising on Quinto Creek on a ranch of 600 acres. He really acquired for his enterprise 450 acres and then leased adjoining land. In 1882 he came to the present location and purchased 120 acres three miles south of Newman, under the San Joaquin River canal, and later added eighty acres to his holding. This land he leveled and checked and sowed to alfalfa. The soil is very rich and productive and yields large crops. The 200 acres have been divided into two ranches, each leased to tenants and improved with a set of farm buildings, with sanitary barns for dairying, the two places carrying about 150 cows. He also owned eighty acres across the canal, which he planned to put out to alfalfa, but this has since been sold.


In December, 1892, Geo. H. Whitworth was married at Santa Cruz to Miss Agnes Mahoney, born in San Francisco, by whom three children were born. John Henry and George Hall are living; and the youngest was Carol, who died when she was six months old. Mrs. Whitworth passed away in 1903.


On May 27, 1905, Mr. Whitworth married the second time, be­ing united with Miss Harriet Collier, born at Shaw's Flat near So­nora, Tuolumne County, a daughter of William G. and Ann Eliza (Jackson) Collier. On the maternal side she is related to Gen. Stonewall Jackson and to Gen. Robert E. Lee. Her parents moved to Merced County when she was but three years old, her father be­coming a large stock-raiser, owning some 2500 head of cattle and a ranch of some 1500 acres of land on Merced River. He was born in Kentucky, had the advantages of a fine schooling, was a civil engi­neer and served as county surveyor of Merced County. He went to Missouri when young, and there his wife was born. In 1853 he started across the plains and upon his arrival in California settled in Tuolumne County, in the mountains, and was engaged in lumbering. Both parents passed away in Merced County after long and useful lives. Their daughter, Mrs. Whitworth, attended the grammar schools of her district and later graduated from the San Jose State Normal and became a teacher in the schools of Merced County, where she spent twenty years. She inherited 156 acres of the Col­lier estate on the Merced River, and later Mr. Whitworth bought 104 acres adjoining, all of which they improved with a pumping plant and devoted to alfalfa. This property was later sold at a good ad­vantage.


In 1922 the Whitworths completed a thoroughly modern stucco residence of fine style of architecture, the inside being finished in ivory and mahogany, making it one of the finest residences in the San Joaquin Valley. Mrs. Whitworth is a woman of culture; and with her artistic tastes, the home is most beautifully furnished.

In 1900 Geo. H. Whitworth was nominated on the Democratic ticket for supervisor of the Fourth District in Merced County and was elected, and so well did he discharge the duties of his position and office that he was reelected five times by good majorities. In the primaries in August, 1920, through the apathy of his friends, who were away on vacations and who were confident of his nomination, his opponents won out by 124 votes. Then Mr. Whitworth and his friends instituted a write-in campaign, and his long and efficient service was rewarded by his election by a safe majority; and he entered upon his duties of a sixth term. He served longer than any former incumbent in that office. During his years on the board many per­manent improvements were accomplished all over the county; these included the new jail, new county hospital, many substantial bridges, and many miles of new roads, and the expenditure of a $1,250,000 bond issue in constructing county highways.


Fraternally, Mr. Whitworth was a member of the Odd Fellows, Woodmen of the World, Neighbors of Woodcraft and the Degree of Honor at Newman. Politically he was a Democrat. All in all Geo. H. Whitworth, in his long years of residence on the West Side, had an enviable record, and his life was an open book; so much so that his honesty of purpose and integrity were never questioned, and in his unselfish way he tried to do all he could to help build up his community and enhance the facilities for the comfort and happiness of the people.



Among the pioneer ministers of the eighties in California mention should be made of the late Rev. Lewis Robert Bond, who was one of the outstanding figures in the California Presbyterian Church and a man who spent his entire life doing good for his fellow man anu rearing a family.


Rev. Lewis Robert Bond was born August 29, 1842, on his father's farm, not far from Nashville, Tenn. In 1861, he entered the Confederate Army and served in the cavalry until the end of the war, in 1865. Between this date and 1871, he worked on his father's farm, at the carpenter's trade, and also taught school. In 1871, while teaching school, he became a candidate for the ministry of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, before the McMinnville, Tenn., Presbytery ; he was licensed in 1872, and ordained in 1873. While serving churches near Lebanon, Tenn., he was able to resume work in Cumberland University, which he had been compelled to relinquish on account of the financial depression of 1873. He was graduated from the Cumberland Theological Seminary in 1880, and was mar­ried the same year to Miss Christina Hoodenpyl, of McMinnville, Tenn., who was a graduate of, and later a teacher in, the Cumberland Female College at McMinnville, Tenn.


After a year and a half of service in the churches of Marion Junction and Pleasant Hill, in Alabama, he moved with his wife and infant son to California, and became pastor of the churches at Plains-burg and Mariposa Creek, in Merced County, near the present town of Le Grand. Thereafter he served churches at Lemoore, Bakersfield, and Farmington. In 1893, he moved with his family to Pome­roy, Wash., and there he remained two years. Subsequently, he moved his family to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where he served in succession churches at Coburg, Woodburn, Sodaville, and Florence. He was honorably retired from the ministry by the Wil­lamette Presbytery of the reunited Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., in 1911, with thirty-one and a half years of active service in the ministry to his credit since his ordination.


One year before his retirement he moved with his family from Florence to Eugene, Ore., where he continued to reside until the year 1919, when he moved with his wife to Le Grand, Cal. At the latter place he passed peacefully to his final rest, December 18, 1922, at the age of eighty years, three months and nineteen days. He is sur­vived by his widow, and all five of their children: Mrs. J. J. Baxter of Le Grand; Paul G., and Capt. Aubrey H. Bond of San Francisco, Lewis A. Bond of Berkeley; and Prof. Jesse H. Bond, of the Univer sity of North Dakota, at Grand Forks, N. D. Two of his sons, Aubrey H. and Lewis A., served as commissioned officers with the A. E. F. in France. His outstanding characteristics were honest faithfulness, strong common sense, and patience. Mrs. Bond resides with her daughter, Mrs. J. J. Baxter near Le Grand, and is now in her seventy-third year and hale and hearty.



Prominent in the civic and business affairs of Le Grand, Judge Dooley is well-known throughout Merced County as a keen business man and an able jurist. He was born near Elgin, Kane County, Ill., on April 10, 1855, and when nineteen years old went to the Texas frontier, in the San Antonio country, where he worked as a cowboy on the range for three years. In 1877-78, he was a member of the famous Texas Rangers, and for eight years was a member of the County Frontier Battalion, Co. E, under Capt. John Sparks. Later he worked as an attendant at the State Insane Asylum at Austin.


In 1884, Judge Dooley came to California and his first work in the State was on grain ranches as machinist on repair work, and running the harvester. Then for five years he worked as a cooper at the Sierra Vista Vineyard, working in the winery and distillery. In 1891, Judge Dooley came to Le Grand, where he has represented the following firms: Baker-Hamliton & Holbrook; Merrill & Stetson Company of San Francisco for the past seventeen years; and for thirty-three years represented the Aermoter Company of Chicago, in' installing windmills in Merced and adjoining counties. He also represents the Home Insurance Company, and the Fidelity-Phoenix Insurance Company, both of New York. Judge Dooley is now serv­ing his second term as justice of the peace of Le Grand and has made a record for the clean, judicious carrying-on of his office, with the full confidence of the people. In addition to his other work, the Judge has done some contracting work in Le Grand, erecting a num­ber of houses. Among other business enterprises, he organized the Le Grand Rochdale Store (now the Le Grand Mercantile Company), on May 8, 1901, and has been president of that concern ever since.


The marriage of Judge Dooley, occurring at Austin, Texas, on April 13, 1881, united him with Sarah Loveday, a native of London, England, and one son was born to them, James L., whose death occurred January 8, 1921. Fraternally, the Judge and Mrs. Dooley both belong to the Fraternal Aid Union.



One of the most substantial families of Merced County is ably represented by John L. Canevaro, manager of the Canevaro Estate at Snelling. This property embraces 219 acres on the Merced River and is devoted to stock-raising, being jointly owned by John and Govanni Canevaro and their sister, Miss Tasia Canevaro, all of whom reside at Snelling, where the home has been for over fifty years. At Moccasin Creek, Tuolumne County, on October 5, 1862, John L. Canevaro was born to Antone and Angelina (Calori) Canevaro, and is the eldest of eight children, six of whom survive the parents, who were born in Genoa, Italy.


Antone Canevaro left Italy to escape military service and arrived in California in 1855, where he joined his father, Lorenzo Canevaro, who, after spending nearly twelve years in mining in the vicinity of Hetch Hetchy, returned to Italy, where he passed away. Angelina Calori came via Panama in 1856 to San Francisco, where she was married to Antone Canevaro, and went to Moccasin Creek as a bride. Mr. Canevaro mined for some years, but eventually engaged in the growing of fruits and vegetables, which supplied the camps at the Aurora Mine, in Esmeralda County, Nev., using burros for packing and Indians for guides. He also shipped his products by pack animal into the Walker River country, and it was necessary to use an Indian guide at first, until the trial was blazed across the mountains. In 1862 flood waters ruined his personal property, thus necessitating the reestablishment of his fortunes, so in 1869 the family moved to Snelling, then a thriving town. He opened a general store with a partner, A. Durio, who later sold out to Mr. Canevaro and moved to Tulare, where he died. This business prospered for years, but Mr. Canevaro finally turned the establishment over to his sons, who disposed of it in 1895. He became an American citizen at Sonora in 1858, and subsequently allied himself with the Democratic party. He was a man of integrity and his death on November 12, 1894, at Snelling, was a loss to both family and community. His good wife passed away at San Francisco, December 27, 1895.


Six children survive the esteemed pioneer parents : John L., Govanni, Tasia, Mrs. Rose Pierce, all of Snelling; Mrs. Nina Ring-house, of Merced; and Mrs. Julia Anderson, of Santa Clara. The sons sold out the mercantile business in 1895, and thenceforth have devoted their energies to farming, and have operated successfully. A fire in 1910 destroyed the store buildings at Snelling, and at present John L. Canevaro owns the site.


Starting with the growing of grain and corn, John Canevaro and his brother Govanni have gradually branched out in other lines of agricultural development. For the past three years they have been setting out and developing a tract of ten acres each year to vineyard and orchard. They also had success in raising livestock, principally hogs. On their ranch, which was formerly a portion of the Mont­gomery grant, is a grave, said to contain the remains of the first white man hanged in Merced County. A large oak tree stood nearby for many years, but has fallen. This spot is about one mile southwest of Snelling. To show that many varieties of trees do well in this favored section Mr. Canevaro set out an olive tree in 1903 at their home, and it has produced heavily for ten seasons, being a superior tasting olive, when cured green. Govanni Canevaro has a patent process for curing the olives and the fruit thus prepared easily wins the favor of a most exacting epicurean.



History of Merced County California: John Outcalt

Historic Record Company Los Angeles, California 1925

Transcribed by Martha A Crosley Graham – Pages 429-475