Merced County, California
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HON. MIRABEAU DALLAS WOOD
A pioneer of 1868 in California and one of the early settlers and among the most representative men of Merced County is M. D. Wood, manager of the Security Savings Bank in Merced. He was born May 22, 1846, in Gadsden County, Fla., a son of Igdaliah and Eliza (Dixon) Wood, both born in South Carolina. The father was educated for the law, and after his admission to the bar practiced for a time in his native state. He later moved to Florida and purchased a plantation and there was engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death, at the age of seventy-two. He was of English ancestry, his paternal grandfather having been an early settler of South Carolina in colonial days. The maternal grandfather of our subject, Abel Dixon, was of Scotch descent and served in the War of the Revolution, also in the War of 1812. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Igdaliah Wood there were thirteen children born, of whom twelve grew to years of maturity; four sons served in the Confederate army. The mother died in Florida.
M. D. Wood was the youngest of thirteen children. He grew up on the home plantation and was educated in private schools and Mount Pleasant Academy. In 1863 he enlisted in Company K, Sixth Florida Confederate Volunteer Infantry as a private, serving under General Bragg and participating in many engagements in Kentucky and Tennessee, covering the retreat of the soldiers out of Kentucky after the battle of Perryville, and being at the front at Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain and Chickamauga. He took part in the Georgia campaign, was commissioned a second lieutenant, and at Kenesaw Mountain had charge of Company F, whose officers had nearly all been killed. July 22, at Peachtree, Lieutenant Wood was captured and sent as a prisoner to Johnson's Island, remaining until paroled the following spring, when he returned to his Florida home.
In 1866 Mr. Wood became superintendent of a sawmill, and two years later, in 1868, he was elected to the Florida State Senate. Resigning at the close of the session he started for California and arrived in Sonoma County, October 22, 1868, the day of the big earthquake. The same fall, Mr. Wood embarked in ranching in Stanislaus County. Removing to Merced County the following spring he purchased 600 acres on Bear Creek, and for ten years successfully farmed, then returned to Sonoma County and at Santa Rosa completed the normal course and taught there for some time.
Returning to Merced in 1882, Mr. Wood served as deputy county assessor for a year, and that same fall he was nominated for county treasurer on the Democratic ticket, was elected and served two terms, from January, 1883 to January, 1887. He was elected county assessor in the fall of 1887 and filled that office until January, 1891. The next two years he was in the grocery business. In February, 1893, he was appointed by the board of supervisors, superintendent of the county hospital and gave his entire attention to that position until in February, 1897, when he engaged in the grain business. He was agent for Balfour, Guthrie Company in Merced and for several years had entire charge of their grain-buying, warehouses and lands in Merced County. He also carried on a successful insurance business. In 1907 he became first vice-president and manager of the Merced Security Savings Bank, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on March 9, 1925, giving a banquet the following Saturday evening.
In Merced County Mr. Wood married Annie Rucker, born in Missouri, the daughter of A. G. Rucker. She bore him three children:
George Marvin, who died in Merced; Lou, who became the wife of Bert Crane of Turlock and died in April, 1925; and Jesse D., who was associated with his father in the insurance and grain business and is now the agent for Balfour, Guthrie & Co. Mrs. Wood died in Sonoma County. For his second wife Mr. Wood married in Sonoma County, Maron L. England, a native of Missouri but reared and educated in Sonoma County. Seven children blessed this union: Bessie, who became the wife of J. G. McKerty, of Merced; Dallas England who is part owner and editor of the Palo Alto Times ; Marjorie, who married L. G. Mackie of Berkeley; Barton Dixon, who saw service in the World War and is now an architectural engineer in Detroit, Mich.; Kenneth Eugene, an assistant cashier of the Security Savings Bank; Carol V., who is at home; and Melville, who is connected with the San Joaquin Light and Power Co. at Merced. Mr. Wood has always been active in Democratic circles; he was a member and president of the first board of trustees of Merced, and for one term was a member of the county board of education. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and served for years as one of the trustees. He has been a member of the Knights of Pythias for almost fifty years. He is a 'man of solid worth and his well-directed intelligence and worth-while abilities have met with due recognition from his fellow-men, by whom he is conceded to rank among the most prominent citizens of Merced County.
PETER J. GIOVANNONI
The success achieved by Peter J. Giovannoni shows what a man can accomplish by honorable industry and close application on the West Side of Merced County, a portion of the county which he, more than any other person, has helped to upbuild and bring to the front, and where he is an honored pioneer. He is called the "Father of the Dairy Industry" in this part of the State, has led a very useful and active life, and has reached an enviable position of affluence which gives him a place among the really successful men in the San Joaquin Valley.
Peter J. Giovannoni was born at Logo Magior in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, on December 17, 1864, a son of Giacomo and Madeline (Nicora) Giovannoni, well-to-do farmer-folk, who were respectively of German-Swiss and Italian-Swiss extraction. They specialized in horticulture and viticulture, as well as dairy farming. Peter J. received, in the public schools of his native land, a very fair education, which was supplemented by a practical knowledge of the industries pursued by his father. He early learned budding and grafting, and still has in his possession the first set of tools used in his horticultural work at school, as a boy in Switzerland. Being filled with an ambition to better his condition in the New World, he bade good-bye to home, father and mother, and sailed from the port of Havre, France, landed at New York City on July 5, 1883, and thence proceeded by rail to the place of his destination, Petaluma, Sonoma County, Cal., where he arrived on July 18. He worked out for three years, during two of which he was employed as butter-maker. In 1886 he went to Santa Clara County and entered the employ of Michael Callahan, pioneer, and took charge of Mr. Callahan's Evergreen Dairy, near San Jose.
About that time C. C. Crow and his father, the late Bradford J. Crow, pioneers and extensive land owners at Crow's Landing, wished to get into the dairy business, and through the favorable recommendations of Michael Callahan, the subject to this sketch and his brother Henry were employed by the Crows to come to Stanislaus County and build up a dairy on the Crow ranch. Dairying as a commercial venture was then unknown to this portion of the San Joaquin Valley and presented many perplexing problems, one of which arose from the fact that the native cows were not used to being milked without their calves at the opposite side from the human milker, that being the method followed by those early pioneers in procuring the milk needed for home consumption. With them, to milk a cow without her calf also sucking at the same time was as much of an innovation as to milk her on Sunday. Everything in the milk-products line was crude, both as to methods of production and as to marketing. Butter was sold in Modesto and Merced for eleven cents per pound, in rolls wrapped in white cloth. Soon another of our subject's brothers, Tranquil, joined Peter J. and Henry, and they all entered into a partnership under the name of Giovannoni and Crow, in 1890, and the dairy business was rapidly expanded and was made to yield a paying return. The Oristemba Cheese Factory was established on the Crow ranch in 1890, with only a few cows. Three dairy barns were built, and the business grew so fast that by 1893 they had a total of 312 cows. Peter J. Giovannoni had learned the art of making American cheese at Gilroy in 1889 ; and the Oristemba brand of American cheese, being of excellent quality, soon won popular favor, and the company was reaping a rich harvest.
In 1892 the Giovannoni Brothers came over to the Cottonwood district in Merced County and bought 160 acres, upon which they established a dairy of their own. Peter J. still owns and lives upon eighty acres of this place. Their success was not without its serious drawbacks, however. A fire destroyed the dairy barn and hay on the Cottonwood ranch on July 13, 1894, and on the 23rd of the same month an even more disastrous conflagration swept away the three dairy barns, with 600 tons of hay, at Crow's Landing. Undaunted by these heavy losses, they set about and rebuilt with a stronger determination than ever to make a success of their venture. They built a stone house creamery and new barns in the center of their quarter section on the Cottonwood ranch, and installed the first cream separating machine ever brought into Stanislaus or Merced County. This building was built from chalk-stone, and was later used as a cheese factory; and although not now in actual use, it is still standing in a fair state of preservation, and represents an interesting incident in the progress of the dairy industry in Merced County.
Other unavoidable heavy losses were sustained by these pioneer promoters in the early days of the cheese industry on the West Side. Owing to the cows' eating certain poison grasses, two carloads of cheese had to be destroyed, incurring a very heavy financial loss. But on the whole their enterprise succeeded to such a degree that it attracted general attention. The Crows were in the habit of having their books inspected by accountants each year, and for that purpose employed the firm of Lathrop and Stuhr, realtors at Newman. The books as kept by Peter J. Giovannoni were found to be correct, and the profits exceeded their most sanguine expectations. It opened their eyes to the possibilities of the dairy industry, gave them a talking point, and led them to become ardent boosters for the West Side. An incident showing Mr. Giovannoni's thoroughness is the fact that in 1891, realizing the necessity of a better knowledge of business methods, he took a course in an Oakland business college and acquired a practical knowledge of double-entry bookkeeping as well as up-to-date usages in business. It should be mentioned in this connection that J. N. Stuhr is still living, and the subdivision of the Sturgeon ranch of 1880 acres in the Cottonwood district, with its seventeen prosperous dairy farms, is the result of his keen and ready insight. This successful venture was the means of the building and operation of the New Era Creamery. On May 18, 1899, a meeting was called in Plato Hall at Modesto to canvass the situation with a view to building a creamery in that city. Among those present were Judge 0. W. Minor, 0. McHenry, A. L. Cressey, Frank Cressey, Theo. Turner and other prominent men. Mr. Giovannoni was sent for, and he put forth such a clear and understandable argument that the resolution was adopted and Modesto got her first creamery.
Mr. Giovannoni has had absolute faith in this section of California from the very start, and has proved his faith by investing in property and buildings. In 1904 he built a cottage in Newman and invested in various other building sites. In 1910-1911 he erected the two-story brick Giovannoni store and office building adjoining the Bank of Newman building. In 1914 he built the fireproof steel and concrete garage building, 70 by 150 feet, which is the Newman home of the Dodge motor car ; and in 1922 he built the postoffice block, installing fixtures which alone cost $6,000, and making it a credit to that city.
He has always evinced an active interest in the general progress of his community, especially as pertaining to irrigation. Realizing that an abundance of water for irrigation purposes means everything to the West Side, he has for years stood as the uncompromising champion for an enlarged district with ditches and laterals so constructed as to bring the cost of water within the reach of every farmer and business man. He has taken a broad and generous view, insisting on a square deal for everybody. He will be long remembered for the courageous stand he took, and the clear and forceful arguments he put forth, at a meeting at Newman on December 10, 1910, which was attended by 400 persons from Stanislaus, Merced and Fresno Counties, wherein he showed very clearly what a correct rate should be and how a large acreage in the outlying district could be brought under irrigation. He won the day. As a result the San Joaquin Water Storage District has recently been established at a cost of $33,000,000, bringing in to the project 8400 acres in the Santa Nella, 5300 acres in the Quinto, and the Outside Extension section, 14,300 acres, and 415,300 acres additional, making a consolidated district with water-rates for all time to come established at figures that any good farmer or business man can well afford to pay.
At Modesto, on June 14, 1893, Mr. Giovannoni was united in marriage with Miss Celestina Ghiorzo, born in San Francisco, a daughter of Vincent and Angelina (Simons) Ghiorzo, California pioneers, her father being of Genoese Italian, and her mother of French ancestry. While yet a little girl her parents moved to Modesto, where she was reared. Two boy babies were born to this union, both of whom passed on during their infancy. Mrs. Giovannoni is a most estimable lady. During all the hard years of struggle incident to pioneer life, she has been a most loyal helpmeet and has shared all joys and sorrows in common with her husband. A hard worker and a most excellent housekeeper, she presides most graciously over the Giovannoni household and dispenses a broad and liberal hospitality. Their ranch home, with its beautiful lawns and shrubbery, is a picture of beauty and contentment, one of the truly excellent homes of Merced County. Mr. and Mrs. Giovannoni are known to a large circle of friends and are justly popular and most highly respected. In 1906 they made an extended tour of Europe, visiting most of the noted cities and places of interest. They are both members of the Rebekah Lodge of Newman, while Mr. Giovannoni is a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Modesto.
WILLIAM MILTON PHILLIPS
Among those brave and hardy men who came to California in the early fifties mention is here made of William Milton Phillips, worthy pioneer and esteemed citizen of Merced County, who closed his eyes to things on earth in March, 1910. He was born in Newtown, Hamilton County, Ohio, July 30, 1829, and ten years later went with the family to Polk County, Iowa, where his father bought a farm near Des Moines. It was the paternal grandfather, James Phillips, who settled in Ohio when that was a frontier state. He had come from Germany and had served in the War of 1812, and he lived to the age of 110 years. His son, also James Phillips, father of W. M., was born in Ohio, eventually going to Montgomery County, Ind., and from there to Paulding County, Ohio, thence in 1839 to Iowa, where he spent his last days. He was fairly well-to-do and raised a family of seven children.
William Milton Phillips acquired a good education for his day and he had the training of the youth brought up to farming pursuits. The old log schoolhouse was fitted with slab benches, hewed flat on one side, and he wrote with a quill pen. Until he started out on his own responsibility he had an uneventful life. In 1851 he went to New Orleans and was employed on Mississippi River boats until the spring of 1852, when he was found a member of an emigrant train bound for the Golden State. He was a fine marksman and owned a fine horse, so he was chosen hunter for the train and he kept it supplied with fresh meat during the entire trip. In his journeyings away from the train he met many Indians with whom he was very friendly, having gleaned the knowledge of how to keep them on friendly terms through his contact with them both in Ohio and Iowa. He arrived in Hang-town in August, 1852. After mining in Eldorado County two years, Mr. Phillips went to a ranch in Contra Costa County, later locating in Lake County, and in 1872 he came to Merced County and took up the ranch that was to be his home for so many years. He raised grain and stock, maintained a dairy, and made every improvement to be seen on his place.
On September 30, 1869, he was united in marriage with Sarah Jane Phillips, born in Ray County, Mo., the daughter of a farmer, William P. Phillips, who crossed the plains in 1852, and engaged in farming and stock-raising in Oregon until removing to Antioch, Cal., in 1865. Later he went to Hollister and still later to Fresno, where he met a tragic death in 1889, when the Dexter stables were destroyed by fire. He had married Elizabeth Hartman, also a native of Missouri, and she died one week after their arrival in Oregon from mountain fever contracted en route to the West. Her daughter was a babe of six months and she was reared and educated in California. She bore her husband seven children: Lenora E., wife of T. L. Baldwin; Florence, who became the wife of C. 0. Freeman; Oscar Ephraim; Elmer ; Ivy Eleanor, Mrs. Lockhart; William and Vivian, deceased. Mr. Phillips and his wife were consistent Christians, doing their part to assist in maintaining the standard of morals to a high degree. Politically he was a Republican.
WILLIAM MASON ROBERTS
A very well-known and successful man, one of the pioneers of the town of Los Banos and a rancher of the West Side, where he has been engaged in the blacksmithing business for many years, and also a man who has served in official capacity in both town and county, is William Mason Roberts, who was born in Smith County, Tenn., on April 10, 1866, the son of Oliver W. and Lucy A. (Whitley) Roberts, the former born in Virginia and taken to Tennessee when he was eight years old and there reared and lived his entire life as a planter. On the maternal side the forebears were of English descent. Grandfather Roberts came from Scotland and made settlement in Virginia. Oliver and Lucy Roberts had the following children : Elizabeth, deceased; Wiley, of Tennessee ; Tempa, deceased; William Mason; and Donie, James, Melonee, and Robert S., all in Tennessee; and Inus, of Long Beach, Cal. William M. was educated in the grammar school of his native State, and in 1889, at the age of twenty-three, started out to work for himself, doing odd jobs, blacksmithing chiefly, until 1890, when he came to California and first stopped in Madera County, being employed in various places doing work on ranches, later worked for wages at blacksmithing and running a harvester each season for the large grain farmers in Merced and Madera Counties, continuing some ten or twelve years, finally settling in Los Banos, when the town was first started. He started in the draying business, but sold out after a short time; then, in company with H. C. M. Reuter, he opened a blacksmith shop. When the people were looking for a reliable man for constable of Township No. 3, they selected Mr. Roberts, who was already serving as a deputy sheriff of the county; he was elected and served for sixteen years, up to 1917. His partner carried on the blacksmithing while Mr. Roberts looked after official duties. As he began to be a man of substance he purchased fifteen acres just outside the city limits of Los Banos and lived there until 1923, then he purchased the old Charles Aker place of eighty acres five miles from Los Banos and moved there. This ranch is devoted to alfalfa and will come under the new canal.
William M. Roberts was married in Merced, on October 9, 1897, to Miss Drusilla Mills, born in Santa Cruz County, but reared on a ranch near Soledad, Monterey County, the daughter of John Boardman and Louisa Christina (Bickmore) Mills, natives of Maine, among the pioneers who braved the dangers of the water and overland routes to locate in the West. Mrs. Mills crossed the plains in
1849, and Mr. Mills came about the same time. Mrs. Roberts is a second cousin to the late D. 0. Mills, pioneer banker of Sacramento, and she is one in a family of twelve children: William, deceased; Sylvina, of Gonzales; Rose, of Salinas; Oliver, deceased; Clara, of Chico; Drusilla, Mrs. Roberts; Emma, of Corvallis, Ore.; Edgar, deceased; Mary, of San Jose; George, of Oakland; Phoebe, Mrs. 0. E. Phillips, of Los Banos; and Rachael, of Long Beach. Mrs. Roberts' father was a carpenter and farmer and died when he was fifty-eight ; her mother died at the age of fifty-four. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have two sons, William Mason, Jr., and Marvin Mason. Politically Mr. Roberts is a Democrat. Fraternally, he is a member of Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. 0. E.; Los Banos Lodge No. 312, F. & A. M.; Mountain Brow Lodge No. 82, I. 0. 0. F., of which he is a Past Grand; and he belongs to the Woodmen of the World in Los Banos.
CHARLES SHEFFIELD ROGERS
The descendant of one of California's earliest pioneers, and himself born here when California history was in the making, Charles S. Rogers has had a most interesting and eventful career. Starting among pioneer surroundings, and continuing through life as a huntsman, he has viewed the beauties of nature in her most rugged form as few men have had the opportunity to do; from the Big Trees, and mountain heights, to the plains, he has traveled afoot, camping out by some wayside stream and enjoying life to the full, as only a nature-lover can. Born near Linden, in San Joaquin County, June 27, 1863, he is the youngest of two sons born to the late Nathaniel Sheffield and Jennie (Russum) Rogers, the former a native of New York, and the latter of Pennsylvania. Nathaniel S. Rogers came to California via Cape Horn in 1849, as a gold seeker, and worked that winter on Sullivan Bar, Tuolumne County. He was an expert marksman and spent considerable time as a hunter, bringing in game which he sold to the miners for their meat supply, and receiving in return one dollar per pound for venison. By profession he was a school teacher, and had taught some in the public schools of Michigan in the late forties. At Sonora, Cal., he established himself as a storekeeper, supplying the miners, and had splendid results from this business
venture for several years. Later, he sold out and moved to the San Joaquin Valley, where he entered the grain and stock business, farming on Mormon Slough, near Linden, and there he remained through the fifties and sixties, raising good crops, and selling wheat as high as five cents a pound.
In 1868 this fine old pioneer moved to Merced County and took up a homestead on Bear Creek, one and one-half miles from the present town of Merced, which at that time was not known. The old Rogers home was erected in 1868, just a mile and a half from where the Central Pacific Railway built their station in 1872, and founded Merced. A full and unique life was given to Nathaniel S. Rogers; and he often recalled his experiences in interesting reminiscence to his large circle of friends in his later years. He sent stock to the mountains in 1877 for feed on account of the worst drought in the history of that section and succeeded in saving his herds. Bear and other wild animals were numerous when he first settled on the plains, and his expert marksmanship often stood him in good stead! A well-educated man of fine caliber, he was active in political circles, and he was one of the most active and oldest members of the Odd Fellows, a Past Grand in Merced Lodge, No. 208. He remained quite active past his eightieth year, and his death occurred July 23, 1905, while the wife and mother passed on June 28, 1908, at the old family home, aged sixty-two.
Charles S. Rogers, was brought up on the home ranch, and received his education in the McSwain district school, which his father organized and taught for the first two terms. He recalls the building operations and the construction and completion of the railway through Merced, and the locating of the station so near his home. He worked for his parents on the ranch, and at the early age of seven, showed remarkable ability for holding and handling firearms ; wild animals and birds of all kinds were plentiful on the plains and along the creeks, and he hunted in his spare time until he was fifteen years old, becoming an expert marksman. His first firearm was a No. 8, muzzle-loading shot gun, which he used to carry and rest on a tripod; then he had an old Kentucky muzzle-loader. As the lighter arms were brought into use he became the proud owner of these, and entered the market hunting business, which he has followed each season for fifty years, shipping his game to the San Francisco hotels and markets, where he found a ready sale for all he could supply. Geese, ducks, rabbits and deer were among his game supplies, and his hunting expeditions have taken him over the rugged mountains on the east and west slopes of the Sierra Nevada's, in Nevada and California, from Modoc County, where he acquired many Indian relics, through the Golden State to Lake Tulare and the rich duck feeding grounds of the San Joaquin. His trips have occupied much of his life, and to be properly chronicled would mean the filling of many pages. A close student of nature, and the life of the unexplored corners of mountain and swamp regions not often traveled by man, he has a most unusual and very valuable collection of pioneer relics, hunting knives, firearms, ammunition, deer horns, stuffed birds and animals, Indian curios, arrowheads, baskets, beads, etc., which he has gathered and put on display in a specially built room at his home; it is perhaps the largest display of its kind in the West, and among the pieces he has entrusted to his care are the private hunting weapons of such hunters and well-known pioneers as Joe Heacox, George Kibby, Jack Kennedy, Dr. Joshua Griffith, Ben Jolley, and others, who have handed material, arms, etc., to the care of Mr. Rogers. Two relics of special interest are the old gold scales and old Kentucky rifle of H. Hultz, the former used in early days when gold was the medium of exchange. In addition to his hunting activities, Mr. Rogers is the owner of sixty acres of rich bottom land on Bear Creek, which he farms to grain, and where he makes his home.
His marriage, at the family homestead, united Mr. Rogers with Mary Ivers, born in Merced, the third of six children born to Richard A. Ivers, a venerable pioneer of Merced County, and prominent citizen during its early history. Like her husband, Mrs. Rogers was reared and educated in the McSwain District.
FRANK H. FARRAR
A native of Mississippi, Frank H. Farrar was born at New Prospect, Winston County, on May 27, 1848. His father, Rev. William H. Farrar, moved from Winston County to Jackson County in 1858, and assumed the editorship of the Mississippi Baptist, the official organ of the Baptist Church for the State of Mississippi, and continued to edit it until 1862, when he moved to Clinton, that State, where their son Frank entered Mississippi College. He prosecuted his studies in college until he had completed his freshman year, when, on account of General Grant's raid through Mississippi, the family moved back to Winston County. In the year 1866, Frank Farrar entered the office of the Macon Beacon, at Macon, Miss., and there learned the printer's trade. In 1869 he came to California and located in Merced County, and for three years was in partnership with M. D. Wood in ranching operations. Finding that ranching was not suited to his inclination, he went to Snelling and for a few months worked as a printer in the office of the San Joaquin Valley Argus, after which he was employed as a clerk in the leading hotel in Snelling. In the spring of 1872 he entered the law office of Hon. P. D. Wigginton, afterwards Congressman from the Sixth California District, as a law student and continued his studies for three years at Snelling and at Merced. In the latter place he was admitted to practice in 1874. Soon after being admitted to the bar, he purchased the Merced Tribune, changed the name of the paper to the Merced Express, and for two years edited and published it as a Democratic organ. He then sold out and entered into a co-partnership with Hon. P. D. Wigginton in the practice of law.
In 1879 Mr. Farrar was elected to the office of district attorney of Merced County, and was reelected in 1883. Four years later he was elected Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias for the State of California, and served for one year. As a lawyer, Mr. Farrar became one of the leaders of his profession in Central California. During his campaign for district attorney he promised that if elected he would have the books of the county officials examined, a thing which had never been done before; this he did, though the job took an expert accountant two years to complete. For a time Fred Ostrander, now a prominent attorney of the Bay Cities, was his law partner. A fluent public speaker and gifted orator, Frank H. Farrar was much in demand at public gatherings. When Grant made a visit to the Yosemite, he had charge of the arrangements, introduced the General at the banquet held at the El Capitan Hotel, and made the occasion a memorable one. A successful and honest man, he gave freely to charity and was a true friend to those in trouble; those who came to him for help did not ask in vain. His conscience was always his guide, and his many acts of kindness made him one of the best beloved figures in the public life of Merced County. He was a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church. In fraternal circles he was a Knight of Pythias, having served as Grand Chancellor of the Grand Lodge of the State for a year, giving his time to organization work in California, during which his eloquent voice was heard in every principal city in the State. His portrait graces the Grand Chancellor's Lodge, while the Yosemite Lodge, in which he held membership, promptly passed resolutions of condolence and respect at the time of his death, on March 22, 1922. During the World War, Judge Farrar served his country in the capacity of a member of the Legal Advisory Board No. 1, Merced County, his services being highly commended by E. H. Crowder, Provost Marshal General, and Governor W. D. Stephens.
Judge Farrar was a consistent advocate of temperance. He fought the evils of the saloon through his advocacy of high license in the early days, and stanchly supported war-time prohibition and the Eighteenth Amendment during the latter years of his life. He was very active in having the county seat removed from Snelling to Merced, and circulated the first petition for its removal.
Brilliant as was the public career of Judge Farrar, his home life was no less felicitous. At the home of the bride's parents near Le Grand, Merced County, he was united in marriage on May 27, 1873, to Miss Udola Peck, born in Mariposa County, a member of an historic pioneer family, being a daughter of Charles L. and Lucy Jane (Dickenson) Peck, and granddaughter of Gallant Duncan Dickenson, first alcalde of Stockton, Cal., who had outfitted at Independence, Mo., in the spring of 1846, for the trip across the plains to California. Mr. Dickenson had a number of wagons of his own and was chosen captain of the train, which at one time traveled with the train containing the Donner party. Upon reaching the divide in Utah, a disagreement arose as to the route to be taken. Captain Dickenson there promptly decided to take a different route, and with his ten wagons arrived safely in the San Joaquin Valley and thus escaped the fate of the Donners. Mrs. Farrar's mother, after the death of Mr. Peck, married N. B.. Stoneroad and lived on a farm near Le Grand for-nearly forty years. She was a woman of great beauty, force of character, and versatility. In the St. Louis Globe Democrat of July 12, 1914, is an article based upon an interview with Mrs. Stoneroad, from which we glean these facts of historic interest.
"I was born near Jackson, Mo.," she says. "My father, Gallant Duncan Dickenson, was a roamer. He was reared in Virginia, where he was left an orphan while in his teens, and as soon as he was able to shift for himself, returned to Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he was born ; and there he married Isabella McCreary, also born in Murfreesboro. But he chafed under the confines of the South in those days, and was always looking towards the West in contemplation of the better opportunities to be found there. He persuaded my mother to journey to northwest Missouri, settled at Independnce, but remained only a few years. It was the creative period of the West, and tales of the glorious country beyond the mountains influenced ambitious young men to seek their fortunes on the shores of the Pacific. He joined a great caravansary that made Independence its rendezvous. We set out on the morning of May 6, 1846, with more than forty wagons of immigrants and provisions. I recall the day so well; the tearful adieus of our friends and neighbors and the sad look that my mother cast behind. It was indeed like putting out to sea in an open boat without chart or compass.
"It was October 20 before we reached our promised land; and when we finally pulled up at Johnson's ranch at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we had been three days without food, except what the gun brought down and what roots and food we found in the woods. The winter of 1846 we spent near what is now the city of Santa Clara. San Jose was already established, and it became our headquarters. My father became connected with several cities in California. He built the first brick house in Monterey, which for a long time was a show place and is still standing. Moving to Stockton, my father erected the first hotel in that place with material shipped around the Horn. He also built and gave the Methodist congregation its first church building, and became the alcalde of Stockton. My sister was the second white girl to be married in Stockton. Her name was Margaret Elizabeth Dickenson, and she was married in 1849 to Amos Giles Lawry. My marriage to Charles S. Peck, in 1850, was the third in the immigrant population. My sister's daughter was born in 1850, and she claims the distinction of being the first child of Anglo-Saxon parents born there. She is now Mrs. Hill, of Salinas."
Charles S. Peck was born and educated in Virginia and came to California via Cape Horn in the early fifties. Mr. and Mrs. Peck became the parents of four children, Mrs. Farrar being the second in order of birth and a twin sister of Mrs. Tallula Harris of San Francisco. They were the first white twin girls born in the State. She was educated at Mills Seminary and is the mother of two living sons, George W. and William D., both holding honorable discharges from service in the World War. Mrs. Farrar is a much-loved person. She is still living at the Farrar residence at No. 451 Twenty-second Street, Merced, which as a bride she helped her husband to build in 1873, and has always made it a true home, a center of social activity and domestic felicity ever radiating a broad and wholesome hospitality.
CASPAR H. DETLEFSEN
A successful rancher and dairyman is found in the person of Caspar H. Detlefsen, a native son of California, born in the Pajaro Valley, Santa Cruz County, January 8, 1872. His parents were Andrew and Sena Detlefsen, natives of Denmark, who sought the more prosperous country of America in which to succeed in the battle of life. Andrew Detlefsen came to California in the sixties and engaged in ranching in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. He died in 1921, aged seventy-seven years, nine months and nine days; his good wife died when she was sixty-nine. They had seven children: Nis; Annie, Mrs. W. H. Rhodes; Caspar H.; James; Andrew; Elsie, Mrs. Ben Cruse; and Lillie, Mrs. George Rohrback.
The third in order of birth in his parents family of children, Caspar was educated in the schools of Santa Cruz County and from boyhood was brought up to work on the home farm. In 1889 he came to the West Side in Merced County and was employed on the Sturgeon ranch, after which he began for himself by purchasing twenty acres of the Crittenden place, raising alfalfa. The ranch was under the San Joaquin-Kings River ditch; he sold this place in 1923.
In 1907, in Oakland, Cal., Mr. Detlefsen was married to May L. Sparks, born on the old Sparks ranch near Newman, the daughter of J. S. Sparks, of whom mention is made on another page of this history. After their marriage the young folks rented one section of the Sparks ranch and farmed to grain. In 1917 Mr. Detlefsen purchased 280 acres, part of the Eachus ranch, and farmed successfully. He now leases 200 acres of his land and on the balance conducts a dairy of about thirty head of cows. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and both himself and wife belong to the Pythian Sisters at Newman. Politically he is a Democrat. In all that he has undertaken, Mr. Detlefsen has been fairly successful and he takes a helpful interest in all matters of public import.
The oldest permanent settler in point of residence in the Atwater district between Merced and the Merced River and between the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads is Daniel Halterman, residing on his ranch on the Atwater-Winton highway between the two towns. The sixth child in a family of twelve children, he was born a Native Son in Pope Valley, Napa County, on October 30, 1859. His father, Joseph Halterman, was a native of Ohio, in which state he was united in marriage with Abigail Barnett, likewise born in the Buckeye State. They came across the plains to California with ox-teams in 1852 and settled in Pope Valley, Napa County, where Mr. Halterman followed ranching. In 1873 the family moved to Merced County and for a year lived on the G. H. Fancher ranch, after which they located on the Hamlin ranch near Snelling. Besides carrying on farming pursuits, Joseph Halterman did teaming, hauling goods and produce to the mountain towns. It was while engaged in the latter occupation that he was killed when his team ran away and he died on November 22, 1877, at the Frank Lewis ranch. In 1878 Mrs. Halterman and her family moved to Hopeton and she managed the ranching affairs for the next three years ; at that time the older sons assumed the care of the family and the mother thereafter made her home with her children. She died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. L. L. Short, in Napa County, when she was eighty-three years old.
Daniel Halterman attended the public schools in the Plainsburg and Eden districts in Merced County. Having been reared on a ranch it was but natural that he should continue that as his life work and he assisted on the home place until 1880. From 1882 to 1884 he leased the Toal farm; from 1886 to 1888 he was farming part of the George H. Fancher ranch at Tuttle to grain. In 1891 he came to the Reynolds ranch, a part of the J. W. Mitchell holdings, and with J. M. Bell leased 2200 acres and farmed to grain. In 1904 he bought fifteen acres in the Gertrude Colony and soon established his home here. In the meantime he started a vineyard and orchard, and while these were maturing he did considerable contract team work during the building of the Yosemite Valley Railway to a point nine miles from El Portal, since which time he has given his time to the conduct of his place and has brought it to a high state of productiveness. He has been active in the community life of Atwater.
On December 27, 1886, occurred the marriage of Daniel Halter-man and Miss Ellen Weston, born in Mariposa County, the daughter of the late Louis Weston, a pioneer miner and a well-known and honored citizen of this part of the San Joaquin Valley. There were five children born of this union : Mary E., Mrs. J. E. Stanfield, now living in Atwater and the mother of a son, Eugene; Yen L., a machinist at Snelling; Florence, Mrs. H. K. Potter, of Sacramento and the mother of two children, Harry J. R. and Bernice; Donald Joseph, of Atwater is the fourth; and Helen I., a pupil in the local school. Mr. Halterman is a Republican in his political belief and he is a firm believer in co-operative marketing and is a member of the Atwater Fruit Exchange, the Merced-Stanislaus Sweet Potato Association and the Milk Producers' Association of Central California.
WILLIAM E. BUNKER
The Bunker family, represented in Merced County by William E. Bunker, extensive agriculturist, were citizens of New England for many years. The father of our subject, Nathaniel Emmons Bunker, left Massachusetts to seek a new location and settled in Minnesota where he took up government land, on which he farmed. After a few years he came farther west to Nevada and became a pioneer of that State and for several years served as a member of the State legislature. He married Miss Elizabeth B. Dunning, also of New England birth, and by this union six children were born, namely: Minnie E., deceased; Charles E., lives in San Francisco; William E., the subject of this review; Fred E.; Sadie, the wife of J. St. Clair; and David T. In 1868 the parents came to the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley settling in the Cottonwood district; from time to time land was purchased until they farmed 3000 acres of deeded and rented land besides range lands. Here large bands of sheep, hundreds of cattle and great quantities of grain were raised. A few years prior to his death the father moved to Oakland, and there he passed away at the age of seventy-six years ; the mother passed away at Modesto, in December 1924, at the age of seventy-seven.
William E. Bunker was born on October 14, 1873, in the Cottonwood district of Merced County and at the district school adjacent to his father's ranch he first attended school; later when the family removed to Oakland he also attended school there. In young manhood he became associated with his father in farming and after his father's death the estate was divided among the heirs and Mr. Bunker farms his share consisting of about 500 acres, a portion of which lies in the Cottonwood district. Of recent years he has leased a part of his ranch for dairy purposes, retaining an interest in the business, his share of the dairy herd being about 120 head. His herd sire came from the Bridgeford Holstein Farm at Patterson and Mr. Bunker is gradually bringing his stock to a registered herd. Mr. Bunker has a walnut orchard of five acres on the home place, and walnut trees have been contracted for to set out 100 acres more; he has an orchard of fifty acres of black Mission figs and fifteen acres in walnuts on a ranch at the south edge of the Cottonwood district.
September 2, 1903, in the Cottonwood district of Merced County, Mr. Bunker was married to Miss Rose T. Pfitzer, born at San Felipe, Cal., daughter of Anthony and Theresa (Mayr ), both natives of Germany. They were pioneers of California and came to the San Luis district of Merced County in 1868 where he owned extensive range lands and engaged extensively in the sheep business. There are nine children in this family: Frank; Joseph; Mary, Mrs. Domengine ; Julia, Mrs. McCabe ; Anthony; Rose T., the wife of our subject; William ; Clarice; and Louis. Mr. and Mrs. Bunker have three children, Edwin, Jack, and Elizabeth. Upon the death of Geo. H. Whitworth, Mr. Bunker was appointed by Governor Richardson to fill the unexpired term of two years as supervisor of the Fourth District of Merced County. During the World War, Mr. Bunker leased his ranch and removed to Merced and for two years served on the exemption board. He is a member of the Walnut Growers' Association and a director in the Bank of Gustine. Since 1913 Mr. Bunker has served as clerk of the Gustine High School board and is also a trustee of the Gustine Grammar School; since 1919 he has been the president of the Chamber of Commerce. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bunker are Republicans. Fraternally, Mr. Bunker is a member of Hills Ferry Lodge, No. 236, F. & A. M., at Newman; Modesto Chapter No. 49, R. A. M.; Modesto Commandery No. 57, K. T., and Aahmes Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., at Oakland.
JOHN S. CARDOZA
One of the leading Portuguese-American citizens of the West Side of Merced County is. John S. Cardoza, born at St. George, in the Azores, on October 12, 1859, the second child born to Antone and Anna (Silvieira) Cardoza. The father followed farming all his life in his native land. The mother died in 1869, when her son was a lad of ten years, and it was after the death of this parent that our subject began to be self-supporting. He was given work to do on the farm that would have been enough for a man, but he was strong and willing and in a way accomplished what he was set to do. He had but little opportunity to go to school for his days were given over to monotonous work and, as he grew older, he could see but little promise for the years that were to come ; so he decided he would come to America where there was more opportunity for a man of persistency and purpose.
In 1873, when fourteen years of age, J. S. Cardoza landed in New York, with but little money and among strangers. He secured work on a farm in Rhode Island, but the wages were small and after eighteen months he had saved barely enough to pay his passage to California, where he arrived on January 1, 1875, having but a "two-bit" piece in his pocket. He was ambitious to get ahead and he worked his way to the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley where there were many of his countrymen with whom he easily found work on a ranch. He saved his money and by 1881 was able to embark in ranching for himself on 1000 acres of leased land upon which he began raising grain, each year adding to his leasehold until he had under cultivation some 2500 acres. He was so successful in disposing of his grain that in 1885 he and Charles Nye purchased 160 acres of the Page tract, which they put into alfalfa and sold at a good profit. Mr. Cardoza then bought his present home place, first only eighty acres, then adding seventy, all of which he improved with a good set of farm buildings, with barns suitable for dairying, and here he has been successfully engaged in that industry ever since. He was one of the pioneers in the dairy business in this locality and with the passing of the years he has won the respect and good will of his neighbors and has an ever-widening circle of friends. Upon the organization of the Bank of Newman Mr. Cardoza was invited to become a stockholder and later was made a director and after some years sold his stock. In fact nearly every project for advancement of this section has had his hearty cooperation and support.
The marriage of John S. Cardoza at Centerville, Cal., united him with Miss Mary Munyan, who was born there, a daughter of Frank Munyan, who crossed the plains in 1849 and had the usual experiences of the pioneers in that long and hazardous journey. He mined for a time, abandoning that to undertake ranching near Centerville, in which occupation he was very successful. Of this marriage thcre were born the following children: Charles; Lena, married Frank Dias, has two children, Frances and John, and lives in Merced; Geneva, wife of Tracy Barrett, lives in Berkeley; Carrie, married Ralph Reed and resides in Stockton; Lunas; and Stuart, all of whom have had the advantages of the best schools to prepare them for the battle of life. Mr. Cardoza is a Republican in politics of national import, but in local affairs he believes in the best men for the office regardless of party lines. He is a member of the Knights of Phythias, Woodmen of the World, Women of Woodcraft, Degree of Honor, and United Portuguese Union. In the review of the life of this worthy citizen we find that his success, and the position of honor in which he is held, are the result of prudence, perseverance and push, the three P's of success, all combined with good citizenship.
DR. WILLIAM ROBINSON
The subject of this interesting review, Dr. William Robinson, was born in Athens County, Ohio, September 12, 1828, a son of Ebenezer and Elizabeth (Hamilton) Robinson. The father died at Zanesville, Ohio, in 1833. At the age of fourteen years, William Robinson assumed the responsibilty of providing for himself, and until he was sixteen years old worked for four dollars a month. In December, 1844, he went to Des Moines, Iowa, and there took up a government claim, on which he built a cabin. In a short time he went to Schuyler County, Ill., and there engaged in the trade of broom-making. In 1847 he enlisted in the service of his country in the war against Mexico, being a member of Company C, commanded by Capt. N. C. Cunningham. He arrived at the front too late to participate in the actual fighting, but did patrol duty until he was honorably discharged on July 7, 1848. During his service in the war with Mexico he mastered the Spanish language, becoming very proficient. On September 1, 1848 he went to Independence, Mo., where he was in the employ of a railroad company, for a time, and then returned to Schuyler County, Ill., and worked at the cooper's trade until 1850.
In 1850 William Robinson was married to Miss Susanna Woodruff, and they removed to Henderson County, Ill., where he devoted his energies to agriculture until 1854. His next abiding place was Oskaloosa, Iowa, and there he farmed and worked at the cooper's trade until 1863. Then came a call for additional troops to defend the old flag, and he volunteered in Captain Sherry's 3rd Iowa Cavalry, serving in the quartermaster's department at Davenport for nine months, when he was discharged on account of the death of his wife, who left five children : William H.; Joshua A.; Annie Jane, who married Joseph Brady of Kansas City, Mo.; George Edward; and Addie Leona, who married Peter S. Skelly. He then worked at the carpenters' trade for a while. In September, 1869, Dr. Robinson was married a second time, this union joining him to Miss Melissa Yonker. After their marriage they removed to Missouri, where he farmed from 1869 to 1874. Then followed the journey to California, where Mr. Robinson became the owner• of one of the productive farms in Merced County. Of this second marriage the following children were born : James B.; Nellie M., who married Joseph Harrigan of San Francisco; Benjamin B., a rancher near Snelling; Frank D., in Merced; Flora B., wife of John Wolfsen of Merced County; Sheldon, who died aged twenty years; and Alice, who died in childhood.
Dr. Robinson's career was marked with many changes, and he experienced many different phases of life, but the attractions of the Golden State were sufficient to hold him for the balance of his life. He passed away in Merced in 1905, aged seventy-seven years. Mrs. Robinson passed on in 1911. Dr. Robinson was an exemplary citizen. He was strictly temperate in his habits, a profound student of the Bible, and in every way a man whom it was an honor to know; and he was recognized as one of the most esteemed citizens of Merced County.
DAVID L. ELLIS
The life story of this "born and reared" Californian is full of interest to all students of history, including as it does the experiences of pioneer parents, and his own life as a youth, during the early days in the settling up of the valley regions of the State. Born in Plains-burg, Merced County, August 29, 1869, of Scotch-English extraction, David L. Ellis is the eldest of eleven children born to his parents, all of whom survive, but none of the family, with the exception of David L., now reside in Merced County. Thomas H., the father, born August 18, 1826, in Humphrey County, Tenn., was a Forty-niner, and worked his way to California with a party of emigrants who left Tennessee in 1848 and arrived at the Southern Mines in 1849, and followed mining until his marriage. After his marriage, which united him with Maggie Harris, her family at that time living near Plains-burg, he settled in Merced County, at Sandy Mush, and devoted his life to stock-raising and ranching. He was well and favorably known on the range from Stockton to Tulare Lake, and from Mariposa to Hollister. Active as a Democrat, he was always much interested in California progress, and did worthy work toward that end. He later sold out his Merced County interests to spend his declining years in Selma, and there his death occurred, July 10, 1899. Maggie Harris Ellis was the daughter of the late Isaac Harris, a Texas ranger who came to California in 1853 ; she was a native of the Golden State, and her death occurred November 23, 1900, at Selma, Cal.
David L. attended the Lone Tree school, with some sixty-five other pupils, having for a teacher Judge Connolly, now of Madera. He was practically reared in the saddle, working on the range with his father, and recalls many interesting experiences, one of them indelibly printed on his memory. It occurred during the exceedingly dry year of 1877, when he accompanied his father, driving a band of cattle from Sandy Mush to the North Fork of the San Joaquin River. The sad sight of the dead stock on the plains due to the drought, made an impression on his youthful mind and heart which he has never forgotten.
When Mr. Ellis started out to work on his own account, he entered the employ of Henry Miller, and remained steadily in his employ until 1890, in charge of cattle camps on the Santa Rita, New Columbia and Hoglan ranches; a faithful and trusted employee of the former "Cattle King" of California, he became well-known throughout the valley as a man to be depended upon. The next nine years were occupied at Sandy Mush homesteading 160 acres, and working on the outside on the Chowchilla ranch and also for Chamberlain & Company. In the meantime he invested in the Landram Colony at Buhach buying twenty-six acres and starting development work there. He is now the owner of this ranch, having brought it to a splendid condition of development, and also owns city lots in Atwater.
The marriage of Mr. Ellis, July 9, 1889, at the Moran Hotel, Merced, united him with Leila Robison, born April 26, 1873, at Mariposa, the daughter of Neil and Tabitha Ann (Elam) Robison, both natives of Tennessee, the father born February 14, 1840, and died October 16, 1889, at Plainsburg, Merced County; while his good wife was born July 3, 1849, and died February 2, 1882. Six children were born to them, Mrs. Ellis being third in order of birth. Three children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Ellis : Neil L., an ex-service man who served in the World War as a Second Lieutenant, now resides in Fresno ; Mae L., wife of H. A. Dodson, also of Fresno; and Lee R., at home. There is one grandchild, Neil L., Jr. Fraternally, Mr. Ellis has been a member of the Modern Woodman of America for twenty years. He is keenly interested in the further growth and development of his section of the State, .and does all in his power to aid in movements which have that end in view.
OSCAR EUGENE SMITH
One of the "old-timers" of the West Side in Merced County is Oscar Eugene Smith, living retired at the western city limits of Los Banos. He was born in Fayette County, Iowa, on May 5, 1861, soon after the first gun of the Civil War had been fired, and was the son of Samuel A. and Nancy (Dollarhide) Smith, born in Illinois and Indiana, respectively. The father was a school teacher and farmer and thirteen months after their first child, Oscar Eugene, was born, in 1862, they set out for California, across the plains behind horse-teams, coming via the Platte River and Salt Lake routes. Arriving in California, the family lived in Yolo County one year, then settled in Solano County on the present site of Dixon, where Mr. Smith did a general farming until 1868, then came down to Merced County and settled on the West Side near what is now the town of Los Banos. Here he preempted 160 acres and bought 160 more, and began making improvements and raised grain and stock. He had to guard his fields from the depredations of the cattle belonging to Miller and Lux, he standing guard during the night and his son during the day, as there were no fences at that time. While the irrigation canal was being built Mrs. Smith boarded the engineers and, foremen in charge. This couple had ten children, six now living. Mrs. Smith died in 1879, and Mr. Smith died on January 5, 1923, aged eighty-four years. A more detailed sketch of the family is given on another page in this history.
Oscar Eugene Smith grew up on the home ranch and attended the public school in Los Banos. When he was seventeen he was driving a six-horse team over the mountains through Pacheco Pass, teaming from Gilroy to the San Joaquin Valley, continuing this business until he was twenty-one. Then he married and located on a ranch he had preempted, made all improvements, and after considerable litigation over the title, which was claimed by Miller and Lux, he received his patent from the government to 160 acres and here he has lived and prospered for forty years, doing general farming and dairying. He sold eighty acres of the original quarter section; also five acres to the Associated Creameries for their plant site.
On May 31, 1883, Mr. Smith was united in marriage with Miss Amy Hunt, born in Mankato, Minn., the daughter of William Harry and Rebecca (Frizzell) Hunt, natives of New York State and London, England, respectively. Upon coming to California the Hunts settled in Ione, Amador County in 1875, where Mr. Hunt had charge of a mine. Later they moved to Stockton, and still later, about 1880, to the West Side of Merced County, where they lived until moving to Turlock, where Mr. Hunt spent the balance of his days, dying at the age of seventy-five. Mrs. Smith is the only survivor of the six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hunt and she finished her schooling in the Central Point district school. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have had ten children, viz : Clarence E., of San Jose, married Ella Johnson and they have two children, Dorothy and Harold; Letha B., Mrs. David Allen, of Newman; Oscar Noble, deceased; Harvey S., deceased; Myrtle Ruth, married Fred Carroll of Corcoran and they have three boys, Frederic, Ruxton and William Allen; Jesse M., of Merced, served as a mechanic during the World War and was the first man to enlist from Los Banos. He trained at Kelley Field in San Antonio, Texas, then went to New York and from there to Dover and was commissioned a lieutenant. He is married and has one son, Jesse M., Jr. Wesley Leland is the pioneer mail aviator pilot in the United States service, now flying between a point in New Jersey to Bellefontaine, Ohio. He served in the World War, entering the University of California, then going to Camp Lewis, trained at Rockwell Field and received a commission as lieutenant. He is a fine baritone singer. David H., principal of the Weber school in Stockton, has two children, David H., Jr., and Randolph; Blythe A., married Thomas Hancock of Los Banos and has two children, Thomas and Betty; and Lyle H., of Salinas. Politically Mr. Smith is a Democrat. He is a member of the Fraternal Aid of Los Banos.
JAMES CAMPBELL BAXTER
Among the pioneers who helped make history after 1868 in California, and at the same time build up for posterity a heritage of a good name and a competence to start them out in the world, was the late James Campbell Baxter. He was born in Nova Scotia on March 19, 1841, the son of David and Helen (Waugh) Baxter, both born in Scotland, the former on March 30, 1799, and the latter on June 25, 1800. They were married on January 13, 1824, and raised their family on a farm. James C. attended the schools in his native province and farmed there until 1862, when he was united in marriage with Agnes Miller, who was born in Nova Scotia in 1842. He had decided he would come to California, where a brother, Robert Baxter, had already settled, and in 1868 he left his family in Nova Scotia and came via Panama, arriving in that year in San Joaquin County. He farmed near the present site of Tracy with ordinary results; also he and Lee Fancher worked together in the construction of the Central Pacific Railway when it was built into Stockton. In In 1871 Mr. Baxter came into Merced County and settled about twelve miles from Plainsburg, hauling the lumber for his first house from Dover, a point then reached by the steamers plying the San Joaquin River. He began to make headway and developed a ranch, equal to the best in the county.
In 1874 Mr. Baxter was joined by his wife and their two children, George W. and Margaret Ellen, who later became the wife of Ernest Kahl. In time the following children were added to the family circle : James Robert, David Andrew, Mary Agnes, Mabel Agnes, now in Oakland, John Jerdine and Harrison. Their oldest child, named David, had died in Canada. Mrs. Baxter passed to her reward in 1891. Mr. Baxter continued to be a successful farmer and stockman in Merced County until 1900, when he retired to Oakland and there he passed away on December 17, 1924. He left to his heirs 3400 acres of as fine land as there is to be found in Merced County. Mr. Baxter was a Christian gentleman and endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact.
CHARLES W. KAHL, M.D.
A native son of Merced County who is now a well-known professional man in his home community, Dr. Kahl was born in the Plains-burg District on Mariposa Creek, on December 24, 1868, the son of Adam and Lydia Ann (Spangenberg) Kahl, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of New York State, both now deceased. The father reached seventy-eight years, and the mother eighty-five, dying in September, 1924. After receiving his preliminary education in the district schools, Charles W. Kahl attended Bainbridge Business College, at Stockton, and then returned to his father's ranch, remaining there until 1891. In 1896, he was graduated from the Missouri Valley College, at Marshall, Mo., with the degree of A. B., and in 1899, he was graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, San Francisco, with his degree of M. D.
Dr. Kahl then passed one year in Nome, Alaska, and was later surgeon on the John S. Kimball steamship line, between San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu, putting in two years in that service. He next practiced medicine in San Francisco, at Sixteenth and Mission Streets, and was burned out by the big earthquake and fire of 1906, losing all his effects, and gave his services to help the suffering population of the metropolis during that trying time. On account of ill health, he returned to Merced County, locating at Le Grand, and in 1914 opened his office in Merced, and has since that time maintained his practice here, in home surroundings and with a patronage upheld by the confidence of the people who have known him since childhood, and to whom he has demonstrated his ability, both as a man and a physician. To his practical experience he adds constant study of the new discoveries science is bringing to the world, and his conscientious application has won him many friends in the community.
Dr. Kahl has been twice married, the first union being with Isabel Allen, at San Francisco, in 1897; she was a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, and bore him two sons : Charles W., who saw service with the U. S. Navy after the war, with the Atlantic Fleet, and is now a mechanical engineer ; and LeRoy, who also served in the Navy after the World War, and is now employed in the San Mateo postoffice.
Dr. Kahl's second marriage, in 1916, united him with Mrs. Eugene Reid, a native of San Francisco. Mrs. Kahl is a Past President of Veritas Parlor of the Native Daughters, and Past Noble Grand of the Rebekahs. Fraternally, Dr. Kahl is a Past President of Yosemite Parlor No. 24, N. S. G. W., of Merced; is a member of Mariposa Lodge No. 24, F. & A. M.; Pyramid No. 14, Sciots, of Merced; Past Grand of Unity Lodge No. 131, I. 0. 0. F., San Francisco; and belongs to the Rebekahs, the Redmen, and the Women of Woodcraft.
MRS. LUCY DRUMMOND-HOLLINGSWORTH
Among the pioneer women of Merced County, none is held in greater respect than Mrs. Lucy Drummond-Hollingsworth, who has been an eye-witness to the wonderful growth and development of Merced County, where she has borne her part as a substantial citizen. She was born near Ashton, Ill., a daughter of John Quincy and Eliza Jane (Rosecrans) Drummond, both natives of Ohio. Her father was born June 20, 1827, a son of Andrew Drummond, who was born and reared in Pennsylvania and became an early settler of Ohio, where for a number of years he was engaged in farming in Licking County. Removing to Illinois in 1838, he took up land in Ogle County, and there pursued his chosen vocation until his death. He married Elizabeth Lutzenhizer, who was born in Pennsylvania, and died in Illinois, at the age of sixty years. She bore him eleven children, five of them being boys.
John Q. Drummond acquired his education in the little log cabin. with its customary puncheon floor, shake-covered roof, and slab benches. Settling in Ashton, Lee County, Ill., when a young man, he was engaged for a time as a merchant and grain dealer. In 1850 he came to California with the gold seekers, crossing the plains with ox-teams, and being six months en route. Locating in Eldorado County, he worked in the Georgetown mines for nine years, meeting with average success. Then, after making a visit in Illinois, he located in Sacramento, and for three years was engaged in freighting to the Washoe mines, in Nevada, and while thus employed hauled the first battery for crushing ore used in Virginia City, an undertaking that took six months, being snowed in on the way. Losing his horses by drowning in 1862, Mr. Drummond entered the employ of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, and assisted in grading the road bed from San Jose to Gilroy, from San Quentin Point to San Rafael, and other parts of the road, and also helped in the building of the road through the Livermore Mountains. Coming to San Joaquin Valley in 1871, Mr. Drummond took a prominent part in the construction of the Kings River canal, beginning work as foreman of a gang of men, becoming superintendent of construction, and later was general manager of the work, his services in all covering a period of eighteen years. Turning his attention then to agricultural pursuits, Mr. Drummond bought three-fourths of a section of land near Ingomar and later added to this holding until he owned 600 acres irrigated by water from the ditch, 160 acres in the mountains, and 320 acres in the Panoche district. As a stockraiser and dairyman he carried on a large and lucrative business, and was also financially interested in the Ingomar warehouse. In 1852, Mr. Drummond was married in Illinois to Miss Eliza Jane Rosecrans, a native of Ohio and cousin of Geri. William S. Rosecrans, who acquired fame in the Civil War. She died, in Sacramento, Cal., in 1866, aged thirty years. There were four children in this family; Lucy, the subject of this review; Walter, deceased; Arthur, residing at Gustine; and May, deceased. Mr. Drummond lived within six weeks of having reached the age of ninety-four years. He was a Republican in politics, and for one term served as county supervisor. Fraternally he belonged to Los Banos Lodge, F. & A. M.
Lucy Drummond received a common school education in Lee County, Ill., and at Sacramento on December 4, 1878, she was married to James Edwin Hollingsworth, born at Granville, Mo., May 30, 1850, who came to California a few years before his marriage to Miss Drummond. The young couple located on twenty acres which they purchased just across the canal from the old Drummond homestead. When the town of Gustine was started, Mr. Hollingsworth purchased two acres within the city limits and here the home was built. Three children were born of this union. Ruby is now the wife of A. D. Davenport, a native of Massachusetts, who owns a magnesite mine in the hills of Merced County; they have four children, Dorothy, Austin, Arthur and John Drummond. John resides in Oakland. Leslie is the wife of Henry P. Green. Mr. Hollingsworth passed away December 4, 1915, at the family home in Gustine. He was a Democrat in politics, and for a number of years served as a deputy county assessor of Merced County.
NELSON LOWELL ADAMS CODY
The Cody family is an ancient and honorable one, harking back to France, where the ancestral name was spelled "Codex." As soldiers under William the Conqueror, they helped to conquer England, and were duly rewarded for their fealty and became prominently identified with leading events in English history. During the centuries, this family has maintained its position and intermarried with the best strains in England, Wales, and Scotland, with the English-Scotch blood predominating. A recently published geneaology of the Cody family gives much interesting information along this line.
Nelson Lowell Adams Cody was born in Waukegan, Ill., March 22, 1848, the son of Nelson T. and Susan C. (Adams) Cody. His life history is one of unusual interest, for in a career which is now drawing close to four score years, he has been a witness to many wonderful changes in this land and throughout the world; and as a second cousin of the famous "Buffalo Bill," he has come in close contact with many notable characters. His father, a druggist and dentist, was born on a farm in Cicero, N. Y. His mother was a daughter of Dr. L. Adams, of Providence, R. I., and died when he was only two years old. His father married again, and then crossed the plains to California in 1851, his family coming to the State via the Horn by steamer one year later, which makes our subject a resident of the Golden State since 1852.
The senior Cody went first to Hangtown, and engaged in mining. After his family joined him in California, they lived in Gilroy, Santa Clara County, for a short time, and later went to Horseshoe Bend and opened a general store. Wherever he settled in those early days, the miners had such confidence in him that they deposited their gold dust in his safe, for his was a character which inspired confidence and trust; and he never betrayed the confidence reposed in him. His second wife died in 1855, and he removed to Stent, then called Poverty Hill, and thence to Chinese Camp, where he practiced dentistry and also bought a stock of drugs. In April, 1856, he went to Big Oak Flat, where he was burned out on November 12, 1862. He then went to Coulterville, Mariposa County, and was in the drug business there until 1880, when he sold out and went to Seattle Wash., and was in the drug business there for a year.. He had married again, and engaged in the drug business in Ventura, Cal., and also had the Wells Fargo Express agency, which he served in different places for thirty years. The death of this honest and active pioneer occurred at Ventura on December 1, 1906, at the age of seventy-six.
On the maternal side Mr. Cody is descended from Duke Leslie of Scotland, at one time Provost of Edinburgh. A silver cup en‑
510 HISTORY OF MERCED COUNTY
graved with the Leslie coat of arms (a dragon encircled by a wreath) is still in Mr. Cody's possession. On the Cody side there is a consanguinity with Lady Godiva, extending through William the Conqueror as common ancestor. His mother's full maiden name was Susan Chamberlain Adams. Mr. Cody's paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Leslie, received the first pianoforte ever brought into Onondaga County, N. Y.; it was imported from England, and was manufactured by one Aster.
Young Nelson Cody went to school in Chinese Camp in 18541855, and also pursued his studies at Big Oak Flat and Coulterville. His youth, spent in these early mining camps, gave him a good idea of Californian life during the fifties. In 1867, he came to San Francisco and was in the wholesale stationery store of George B. Hitchcock for a short time, and later did some stenographic work for George 0. Dougherty, and also for Andrew J. Marsh. He then got a position as clerk in a drug store in San Francisco, and later went to Virginia City, Nev. Coming back to San Francisco, he went from there to Suisun, where he was with M. D. Stockman for a year. Returning to San Francisco, he was with Bancroft, the historian, in a subscription agency, and canvassed Mariposa, Tuolomne and Merced Counties. He there met Mark Twain's partner, 'William Gillis, and helped sell the books of the famous writer and humorist.
The marriage of Mr. Cody, occurring in 1870, united him with Miss Collins, daughter of John Collins, a pioneer of Mariposa County. In 1871 he engaged in the drug business in Snelling, Merced County, his father having divided stock with him, and he was appointed postmaster there in November of that year. His wife passed away in that town, and he married Miss Olive St. John, daughter of Charles St. John, an attorney formerly of Big Oak Flat, but who had gone back to Connecticut. Mr. Cody then.went to Oakland, and there also engaged in the drug business, and from there to Vallejo, in the same pursuit. Returning to San Francisco, he again engaged in the drug business until the fall of 1888. It was in that city, in 1879, that he met General Grant. In 1884 he went East on an extended visit, and four years later he made a trip to Europe, sailing from New York on July 17, 1889, and spending a year in the principal cities, particularly enjoying his travels in Germany and France..
On his return he visited his father in Ventura, Cal., then went to San Francisco for a short time, and then came to Merced and visited his friend, W. H. Turner, who urged him to locate here. This he decided to do, and in March, 1891, purchased the one of George Knox's two drug stores which was located at the corner of Seventeenth and Canal Streets, and there he carried on the drug business for twenty-eight years. He also built the Cody block in Le Grand in 1914, and also conducted a drug store there until he sold out in February, 1920, trading this store for a ranch of 394 acres, six miles from Crow's Landing. There, in partnership with his brothers-in-law, Charles Newton, .Christian and Matthew Nelson, he maintains a herd of Holstein cattle and also raises hogs, having built adequate farm buildings at a cost of $4500. Fire destroyed the dwelling house in 1924, which has since been rebuilt.
On May 18, 1899, in San Francisco, Mr. Cody was united in marriage with Miss Anna Marie Nelson, daughter of pioneer parents of Virginia City, Mont., the ceremony being performed by Reverend Bours, formerly of Merced. Mrs. Cody's father, Christian Nelson, born in England of Norwegian parents, was educated in England. Her mother, Mary (Satre) Nelson, as an infant was miraculously rescued from a wreck off the coast of Norway. From the coat of arms on all of her richly embroidered apparel it appeared that the child came from some distinguished family. As a child, Mrs. Cody showed a great fondness for music; she became a pianist and studied the violin, no doubt having inherited her musical gifts from her mother, who was likewise a musician. While in her teens she became organist in the Episcopal Church in Virginia City, in which church she was reared. Devoted to her art, Mrs. Cody is one of the founders of the Merced Musical Club, and has never relinquished her interest in it, often rendering selections on the piano and violin. Her address, "Women Composers," recently delivered before the club, showed careful research and thorough preparation, and was much appreciated.
Mr. and Mrs. Cody reside at Coda Villa, modern apartments built by them at 857 Eighteenth Street, Merced, where their many friends are always welcome. They are active in both the social and business life of the city, and were among the first to start the public library. Three Merced ladies, Mrs. Lillian Brouse, Mrs. 0. A. Baker, and Mrs. Cody, collected $1.50 from each member who wished to enjoy the privileges of a circulating library, and with the money bought books, which were given shelving room donated by Mr. Cody in the balcony of "Cody's Corner Drug Store," for three years, until the available room in the store could not accommodate the growing needs of the library, with its 600 books. The ladies thereupon gave the books as a nucleus to the Merced County Free Library, which is now in a flourishing condition. Through years of business and social contact, Mr. and Mrs. Cody have endeared themselves to the growing population of their home city, and their friends are innumerable. She is a Democrat in politics, while he is a stanch Republican.
Among the many interesting reminiscences related by Mr. Cody, one is of the driving of the famous golden spike in connecting the two ends of the great transcontinental railway, on May 10, 1869. His mind is stored with recollections, and he tells interesting stories of the pioneer days of gambling, shooting, wild horses, etc., reminiscent of California in early days; for from perusing his life history it will be seen that his travels and experiences were many from very earliest childhood. These all have gone into the making of a broad-minded and public-spirited man, who has always stood willing, to do his full share in building up the commonwealth.
WILLIAM A. DUNNING
The same spirit of adventure and a desire to get on in the world, which characterized most of the California pioneers, no doubt prompted William A. Dunning to come from his far off home in Maine and cast in his lot with the Pacific Coast country. He was born in Washington County, Me., on August 10, 1856, the son of Albion and Mary (Foster) Dunning, who had six children, viz : Fred H., in Maine ; Mrs. Nellie M. Getchell, a widow residing in Oakland; William A., our subject; Waldo F., in Oakland; Mrs. Linnie McRavey, in Maine ; and Carrie S., deceased. The father died in Maine after a life of usefulness to his family and community.
William A. came from Maine and landed in a lumber camp in Snohomish County, Wash., where he remained for a year ; then he worked for an uncle in Nevada for two years, after which he came to San Francisco and spent a year. Coming to the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley he stopped at Hill's Ferry a short time and in 1880 settled in the Cottonwood district and worked on the Ewing ranch for M. E. Bunker.
Mr. Dunning was married on the Ewing Ranch, on August 22, 1883, to Miss Laura A. Ewing, born in the Tassajara Valley, Contra Costa County, August 25, 1865, daughter of Andrew and Mary (Dailey) Ewing. Andrew Ewing came to California from Iowa crossing the plains with an ox-team in 1852 and locating in Stockton, where he remained a year; then he went to Chinese Camp, Tuolumne County, and mined. His next move was to Contra Costa County and it was there his daughter, Laura A., was born. There were the following children in the Ewing family : Samuel, deceased; Charles and Edgar are deceased; Rebecca, died in Iowa ; and Laura A., Mrs. Dunning, the only survivor. Andrew Ewing came to Merced County in 1868 and settled in the Cottonwood district and here took up a homestead and farmed to grain. He developed his ranch home and lived there until his death at the age of seventy-seven years. In the seventies he served in the State legislature. His wife died in 1907 at the age of eighty-five years. In 1880 Mr. Ewing had purchased eighty acres of land under the San Joaquin-Kings River canal about four and one-half miles from what is now Gustine, where Mr. Dunning now lives. The son, Samuel Ewing, married Letitia Tinnin, a native of California and daughter of an old pioneer family from Missouri. He died in 1886.
Mrs. Dunning was educated in the Clay district school and after their marriage Mr. Dunning leased the old Ewing ranch, also other lands from time to time, and carried on grain farming on a large scale. He bought forty acres of the eighty on the canal and erected their home and made other improvements and he and his wife live on this place. He also owns 160 acres under irrigation in the Cottonwood district. Mrs. Dunning owns the old Ewing ranch of 160 acres and the forty which joins their home place. Mr. and Mrs. Dunning have two children : Mary Ray, Mrs. F. M. Lamb, of Stockton, the mother of two children, Francis Dunning, born in 1915, and Jean Elizabeth, born in 1918; and Gladys, a student in the University of Southern California, Class of 1925. In politics Mr. Dunning is a Republican, while Mrs. Dunning is a Democrat. He belongs to Hills Ferry Lodge No. 236, F. & A. M. of Newman; Modesto Chapter No. 49, R. A. M. ; Stockton Commandery No. 8, K. T. ; and Aahmes Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., of Oakland. Both Mr. and Mrs. Dunning are charter members of Orestimba Chapter of the 0. E. S.
CHARLES W. SMITH
Now living retired after a life of usefulness, during which time he has seen the wonderful development of the Badger Flat section of Merced County, Charles W. Smith first saw the light in Marion County, Ill., on August 7, 1846. He is a son of Martin M. and Martha E. ( James) Smith, both of whom were born in Tennessee. The elder Smith was a farmer and spent most of his active years in Illinois, but came to California and died here at the age of seventy-nine years. This worthy couple had eleven children, several of whom died in infancy.
Charles W. Smith attended the public schools of Illinois and in 1866 came to California via Panama and settled in Napa County, where he worked for wages until 1870. He then came to Stanislaus County and farmed at Hills Ferry for eight years. In 1878 he bought a ranch near Los Banos on Badger Flat, consisting of seventy-eight acres and here he carried on general farming and dairying with success. He still retains forty-one acres of his original purchase and this is under the Kings River ditch.
Mr. Smith was united in marriage on September 30, 1874, at Napa, Cal., with Miss Dorinda G. Robison, born in Napa, a daughter of M. F. and Margaret (Kirk) Robison,. who came to California from Iowa, although they were,both born in Ohio. They were of that great number that crossed the plains in 1853. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have three daughters : Flora May is-Mrs. McBride of Gustine; Mrs. Martha Mabel Baker lives in Los Angeles; and Lela G. is Mrs. James Negra. Mr. Smith served as justice of the peace of Third Township for six years and was honored by being elected a member of the board of supervisors representing the Fifth District in Merced County and served one term. Politically he is a Democrat and fraternally is a member of the Knights of Pythias at Merced.
WILLIAM E. MOORE
The changing vicissitudes of life brought Mr. Moore into many localities and various occupations before he finally located in Dos Palos and became the manager of the Lucerne Cream & Butter Co. Walla Walla, Wash., `was the place where he first saw the light, on May 15, 1864. His father, Joseph Moore, was a native of Indiana, but reared in Ohio; his mother, Elizabeth (Morris) Moore, was born in Tennessee. In 1852, Joseph Moore came to California, via the Isthmus, was shipwrecked off the coast of Acapulco, but finally arrived on the Feather River in California, where he engaged in mining for a time. At one time in the early days, he owned 160 acres of land where the city of Alameda now stands. He remained four or five years in California and then went to Washington, and to Oregon, where he conducted a tavern at Meacham, in the Blue Mountains. In 1871 he returned to Yolo County, Cal., and then went to Lakeport, where he was in the blacksmithing business about sixteen years, returning to the Capay Valley, Yolo County. He continued his blacksmith business for six years. His next move was to Klamath County, Oregon, where he farmed for a number of years. On returning to California he lived in various places and finally died at Richmond, Cal., and was buried in the Sunset View Cemetery.
William Moore was the fifth in order of birth of six children born to his parents, namely: J. M., Lydia Anna, Martha F., James B. (who was killed at Corning, Tehama County, Cal.), William E., and Alice (Mrs. W. W. Norton of Richmond). William started out for himself when he became of age, and for a few years followed farming in Klamath County, Oregon. He then obtained a position as salesman for the Mitchell-Lewis-Stayer Company of Portland, Ore., and for two years sold farming implements in Klamath County. For the next six years he was engaged in the livery stable business in Klamath Falls, and during that time he was appointed and served as the first town marshal of that town. Leaving Klamath Falls, Mr. Moore came to California and for a year was a resident of Madera. In 1904 he came to Dos Palos and since April 20, 1905, has been buying cream, first for the Golden State Creamery, then for thirteen years for the Western Creameries Company, and since then for the Lucerne Cream and Butter Company, of Hanford.
Mr. Moore was married in Klamath Falls, Ore., on October 14, 1892, to Alice Dixon, born in New Zealand, the daughter of Samuel and Susan (Perrin) Dixon, and they have four children; Perrin E., express agent at South Dos Palos; Etta, Mrs. A. B. Bowden of Fresno; William E. Jr., employed with the Owl Drug Company in Fresno; and Alice Frances, Mrs. A. W. Bennett of Dos Palos, who is the mother of a son, William Howard Bennett. Mr. Moore owns a comfortable home in Dos Palos, is a Democrat in politics, and was a charter member of the Odd Fellows lodge at Klamath Falls, but demitted to Santa Rita Lodge No. 124 in Dos Palos, in which he is a Past Grand. He has always shown his public spirit by helping to promote all interests for the building-up of city, county and State.
An outstanding character in the progressive element of his district, a worker for the cause of education, and the forward movement for improving the general welfare, Thomas Jordan has done as much as any individual in Merced County to forward the progress of this part of the State. A native of England, his birth took place August 6, 1863, at Southampton, the youngest of twelve children born to his parents, and the only one to leave England. His people were of moderate circumstances, and he obtained his education in the public schools near Southampton.
In 1884, Mr. Jordan left home to come to the United States; his first two years in the new country were spent in the timber region of Sturgeon, Mich., on the Great Lakes, and of this period two seasons were put in as an edger in one of the large sawmills, at $1.25 a day. In 1886, he came to California and located in Merced County, working in the grain fields for the Ostrander Ranch Company; then after six years at Atwater and Plainsburg, and a two-year period spent on the Leeker ranch in Merced and Mariposa Counties, he invested his savings in land, and a home near Plainsburg. He later purchased 440 acres in the Appling District, which remained the family home for fifteen years, and in the meantime he added another ranch to his holdings, the Hamlett place, a 280-acre grain ranch, which he still owns, and eighty-one acres in Dixieland Colony, forty acres near Le Grand, and recently ten acres and his residence on the edge of that town. He sold his 440 acres in the Appling District about 1913. Coming to California with practically no assets, he has by his own unaided efforts made what he owns and holds, made possible through the cooperation of his helpmate, his wife, faithful and devoted.
The marriage of Mr. Jordan, at New Forest, England, on December 24, 1887, united him with Miss Alice Vince, a native of Alden, England, and eight children have blessed their union; Gertrude, Mrs. Otto Hake, in Madera County; Viola A., died an infant; Edward, a farmer at Athlone ; Margaret, wife of Neal Watts; Fred, in Alameda; LeRoy; Vince ; and Ruth. There are six grandchildren in the family.
Mr. Jordan received his United States citizenship papers at Merced, on July 26, 1896, and he takes a keen interest in civic, State, and national affairs, voting on all issues and picking his men with the same foresight which has made his success in life. He is director of the Merced County Farm Bureau, five years in office, and is prominent in irrigation movements, with great faith in the future of Merced County, and to his faith he adds works. He is a stockholder in the Le Grand Bank and one of its organizers. Fraternally, he belongs to the Odd Fellow and Rebekah lodges, and is a charter member of the Redmen, a past officer and delegate for six years. Mr. Jordan has been absent from Merced County on but two occasions since his first arrival here; six weeks in 1912, on a business trip to his old home in England; and six months in 1921, when, with his wife, he made an extended visit there.
SANSOM B. DISMUKES
One of the most prominent and substantial citizens of Los Banos, who is actively interested in the welfare of his adopted community and willingly gives of his time and means to advance every worthy project brought before its people, is Sansom B. Dismukes, dealer in furniture and carpets and insurance agent. A native of Georgia, he was born at Weston, Webster County, in February, 1862, and educated in the schools of his district, where he grew to young manhood. Ten years prior to his coming to California he made his home in Athens, Ga., and came to San Jose, Cal., in May, 1896, remaining there until 1902. That fall he returned to Georgia on account of the death of his father, but came back to California in December, and in March, 1903, located in Los Banos, then a growing town, .and entered upon the career of furniture dealer and insurance agent, representing the Home Insurance Company since March, 1903, and also handling insurance in other solid companies. Since he has written insurance for the Home Company, there have been but very few losses that company has had to pay, because of the extreme care Mr. Dismukes takes in examining the risks before writing the policies.
Since locating in Los Banos Mr. Dismukes has entered into the spirit of the growing West and served as city treasurer when the town was first incorporated. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board of trustees twice and was then elected to the position ; and so favorably have his efforts impressed the citizens that they have reelected him to the position three different times. During his terms in office nearly all of the important movements have been pushed through to completion, the new sewer system installed, the streets paved, and the water system purchased from the Miller & Lux interests, greatly extended and improved. When the sewer bond issue of $30,000 was passed, his name was written 4800 times on the bonds.
Mr. Dismukes was married in Athens, Ga., in 1894, to Miss Susie Mae Patman. There was one daughter born to them, now Mrs. Agnes Ethleen Sneed, of Stockton, Cal. Mr. Dismukes is a prominent Odd Fellow, holding membership in Mountain Brow Lodge No. 82, I. 0. 0. F., in Los Banos, and is also a member of Newman Encampment, Modesto Canton, and Los Olivas Rebekah Lodge No. 214, of Los Banos. He was the prime mover in organizing the I. 0. 0. F. Hall Association, and was selected for its first president in 1917. He was the moving spirit in raising the money to build the first unit of their fine hall in 1917, erected on lots purchased by the Odd Fellows some years previously ; and in 1921 he negotiated the loan from the Bank of Italy to erect the second unit of their building and make a home for the postoffice, which occupies the building under a ten-year lease. When the office was moved from the shack it had been occupying for about two years to the new location that year, he mailed the first letter posted in the new office in December. The financial arrangements of the Odd Fellows building have been such that the debt is being fast reduced and there will be a surplus on hand to meet necessary repairs and purchase equipment for the lodge when the debt shall have been lifted. Mr. Dismukes has served as clerk of the Los Banos High School board for nine years. He is treasurer of the board of stewards of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, served as superintendent of the Sunday school for fifteen years, and assisted in financing the erection of the new church edifice in Los Banos. In fact, his standing as a responsible business man has had much to do with his selection by his fellow citizens to assist in almost every movement for bettering conditions in general; and his friends are legion.
WALTER B. COOPER
A citizen of much worth, Walter B. Cooper is highly esteemed by all who know him. Since coming to Gustine in 1907 his influence has been felt in the upbuilding of the best interests of the town and he has won a position of prominence among the representative men of the community. He was born in Berlin, Wis., on March 11, 1861, a son of George and Lucy M. (Frankish) Cooper. George Cooper was born in Derbyshire, but reared in Nottinghamshire, England, was a wagon-maker by trade and came to the United States in 1848, landing in Buffalo, N. Y. He removed to Rochester, Wis., where he followed wagon making. Still later he went to Berlin, Wis., and engaged in the wagon and carriage making trade; he built 3000 wagons in Berlin, and he was the inventor of the hub machine used in turning out wooden hubs for wagons and which was very generally adopted and used by wagon manufacturers throughout the United States. In connection with his trade he built a sawmill, at that time the largest in the State, at Winneconne, Wis., operating it successfully. His wife came from Lincolnshire, England. The Cooper family left Wisconsin and settled in Mantorville, Minn., where the father continued his wagon and carriage manufacturing. One year later he lost his factory by fire, and in 1865 the family settled in Kasson, Minn., where Mr. Cooper operated a manufactory. Sixteen children were born to this worthy couple, of whom but four survive, namely: Frank M.; Tryphena, now the wife of William Hall; Minnie, now Mrs. Anderson; and Walter B., our subject. In 1884 the father retired from active business cares and in July of the same year passed away at the age of seventy-one, the mother lived to be seventy-five years old, passing away in 1894.
Walter B. Cooper received a grammar and high school education in the schools of Kasson, Minn., and while growing up learned the wagon and carriage-making trades. After his father's death he took charge of his eighty-acre farm in Minnesota, which he conducted for one year. After leaving the farm he opened up a paint shop in the building formerly occupied by his father. In 1904 he came to California and first located at Fresno, where he followed the painter's trade three years. Then he located in Gustine and that year built the first section of his paint shop and as his business expanded, the following year he built another section; he has since followed painting contracting and enjoys a good business in his line. He is an inventor of note, having five valuable inventions to his credit. He is now working on a new electric sign and four other inventions.
At Kasson, Minn., April 28, 1900, Mr. Cooper was married to Miss Lydia G. Johnson, native of Sweden, daughter of Peter and Caroline (Hallstrom) Johnson, farmer folk in their native land of Sweden. There were ten children in this family; Emma C.; Maria W., deceased; Albert; Alfred; Johannes; Lydia G., wife of our subject; Trofit; Axel, deceased; Leonard, deceased; and Hjalmar, deceased. Both parents are now deceased. Mrs. Cooper received her education in the public schools of Sweden. Upon her arrival in the United States she located in Nebraska, then resided in Cheyenne, Wyo., and later in Big Timber, Mont. In 1899 she returned to Sweden for a visit, remaining for one year, when she came to Kasson, Minn., and the same year was married to Mr. Cooper. Mr. Cooper is a Republican in politics, and fraternally is affiliated with Romero Lodge No. 413, I. 0. 0. F. of Gustine. Mrs. Cooper is a member of the Rebekah Lodge of Gustine.
LEWIS HAMER APPLEGATE
A retired rancher and banker of Merced County, who had a prominent part in the development of ranch land and farming in the county, Lewis Hamer Applegate is a native of Ohio, born December 21, 1844, the son of Perrine and Susan (Frybarger) Applegate, natives of New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, respectively, who became the parents of sixteen children. Lewis H. was reared on his father's ranch and attended the common schools of the district, and the Goshen Seminary, after which he taught school until he came to California, in 1870. His first year after arriving in this State he spent in and about Stockton. In 1872, he came to Merced County, but stayed only a short time and later farmed near Turlock, Stanislaus County, until 1875. That year he returned to Merced County to stay, and rented land six miles east of Merced. In partnership with David Toal, he next leased the George Fancher ranch of 1160 acres on Bear Creek, and raised grain. This was nine miles east of Merced, and was his home and the center of his operations for thirty years. Mr. Applegate became a large landowner, having 1340 acres at one time. He owned a section of land one mile from Atwater, a forty-acre alfalfa ranch in Fresno County, and a twenty-acre ranch in Yosemite Colony. His present holdings are the Muller and the Kerry places, 600 acres, and a forty-acre ranch on Bear Creek. He made many improvements on the above ranches, erecting ranch buildings and adding to the conveniences of the houses. His ranch property is now rented and he lives retired from active business cares, though still acting as a director of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Merced.
Always active in the upbuilding of his section, Mr. Applegate was prominent in the Grange, serving as Master for three years, and is a Past Master and Overseer. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a man to be relied upon at all times to help in the general advancement of his community. Two brothers and a sister of Mr. Applegate were residents of Merced County. William Applegate, now deceased, farmed a part of his brother's land, and was prominent in politics, being at one time a candidate for sheriff of Merced County. John P. Applegate, another brother, now deceased, also farmed a part of Mr. Applegate's land. One sister, Miss Addie Applegate, now residing in the East, was prominent in church work, being a deaconess of the Methodist Episcopal Church for over twenty years.
It is men like Lewis H. Applegate who are the bulwarks of our nation, and in their lives and labors are found the real reason why we have advanced to such a leading part in world affairs in the past half century; for the work of each individual of his caliber goes to make up the whole of a prosperous country, and nothing is impossible of accomplishment with such shoulders to the wheel.
LEWIS B. WILSON
A prominent rancher and stockman of Merced County, and the descendant of a pioneer of '49, Lewis B. Wilson was born in Stockton, Cal., April 10, 1883, the only child of L. P. and Martha A. (Field) Wilson. A resume of their lives will be gained from the following extracts, copied from newspaper items, printed in memoriam of the late L. P. Wilson at the time of his death, in 1907, and showing the high esteem in which this venerable pioneer of the San Joaquin was held :— "Pioneer of '49 Joins Silent Majority on the Other Shore
"L. P. Wilson, known among his friends all over the county as `Hookey' Wilson, died this morning at his home on the Bouquet ranch, ten miles north of Snelling. Mr. Wilson had been quite sick for some time, and as he was eighty years old, his passing was not unexpected.
"The deceased was born in New York, but came to California with the gold-seekers in 1849, across the plains. He first settled on the San Joaquin River, but after a short time moved to Merced Falls, where he ran the ferry. Later he moved to Snelling and engaged in the hotel business, and a few years afterward located on the Bouquet ranch, between Snelling and La Grange, which was his until the time of his death.
"Mr. Wilson cast his first vote at Snelling in 1850. He was an Odd Fellow for forty-four years, and was a man highly esteemed and respected by all who knew him. He leaves a widow and one son, L. B. Wilson. A more extended account of his life will appear in the Sun in a few days. The funeral will be held in Snelling tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 10 o'clock."
The following is an account of a visit made by Mr. Wilson to Stockton, in 1906 :—"L. P. Wilson of Merced, the man who built the first schooner to sail the upper San Joaquin River, is in Stockton on a visit to his brother-in-law, A. D. March, and to old friends. Mr. Wilson is 79 years of age and is familiarly known to old-timers as `Hookey' Wilson. He came to Stockton before there were any houses here and when the only residents of the place were camping in tents along the levee. He is an old-time friend of Andrew Wolf, and the two pioneers spent last evening in driving about the city, Mr. Wolf pointing out the many improvements to Mr. Wilson. Mr. March's wife is the sister of Mr. Wilson's wife.
"Messrs. Wilson and March visited the Record office last evening and the pioneer recounted many interesting experiences here.
"Mr. Wilson, then but a boy, came to Monterey on the United States man-of-war Ohio in 1848. With some of the other jackies, who had caught the gold fever, he deserted, and they made their way on foot toward San Jose and then through the Livermore pass to this valley. The others went on to the mines, but Mr. Wilson remained on the San Joaquin River, where now the steel bridge is at what, up to the time the bridge was built, was known as Shepherd's ferry. Three men—Doak, Bonsal, and Scott—were then operating a ferry-boat across the river at that point, and Mr. Wilson hired out to them to operate their ferry-boat. They charged $1 each for ferrying men, mules, or packs over the river. For six weeks Mr. Wilson operated the ferry and took in $600 a day during all of that time, including Sundays.
"Then he and Mr. Scott cut down oak trees growing on the river bank there and whipsawed the logs into lumber and built a trim little oak schooner, which they christened 'San Joaquin.' In their schooner they sailed down the river, which in those days was a broad, deep stream, to San Francisco, where they sold the craft for $3000 in gold dust, and with the gold on their backs started to walk back. They arrived with their gold safely after many hardships and adventures, during which Mr. Wilson lost one boot and was forced to walk with one foot bare.
"About that time a lumber vessel sailed up the San Joaquin to the mouth of Marsh Creek on the West Side near Byron, and Mr. Wilson went there and bought a part of the cargo. He lashed the lumber into a raft and floated it up to Stockton on the tides, eight days being consumed in the trip. He had 110,000 feet of lumber in his raft, and he sold it for a good price in this city, which was then but a camp. It was the first lumber brought here, and from it the St. Charles Hotel, the first hostelry in Stockton, was built. It stood where the C. N. & I. Co.'s steamer landing now is."
In the spring of 1850 Mr. Wilson moved from Stockton to Merced County, where he resided until his death. He took the first threshing outfit to that county, having purchased the machine in Stockton, and he also established the oldest ferry in the county, at Merced Falls. Later he moved to Snelling and engaged in the hotel business, and a few years afterward located on the Bouquet ranch, which remained his home and still is the family home. On December 13, 1874, occurred the marriage of L. P. Wilson and Martha A. Field, and Mr. and Mrs. Wilson resided in Snelling until 1878, when they moved to the Bouquet ranch. Mr. Wilson cast his first vote in Snelling in 1850; in 1865 he became a member of Willow Lodge, No. 121, I. 0. 0. F., of Snelling, and continued as a member of high standing in the order until his death, which occurred in his eightieth year, leaving a widow and one son, Lewis B. Wilson.
Lewis B. Wilson was brought to Merced County as a boy, and attended the Anderson district school. Brought up on the home ranch, he early learned the rudiments of ranching, and has brought the property to a high state of cultivation; it comprises 320 acres, a portion of the old Bouquet Rancho, and is now owned by his mother, who has a life interest in the estate.
Like his esteemed father, Mr. Wilson has been prominent in Odd Fellowship, having joined in 1904, and he is a Past Grand of Willow Lodge No. 121, and has served as a delegate to Grand Lodge conventions many times. He is a Past District Deputy, serving in 1909-10 in District No. 56 under Grove L. Johnson. Deeply and actively interested in the advancement of his home town and county, he votes on all questions which come up before the public, and gives his support to those measures he thinks best calculated to further develop its resources and advance its general welfare. He has one daughter, Miss Grace Wilson, now attending the Modesto schools.
JOHN WESLEY GIBBONS
A worthy pioneer whose record for public service will long be remembered was John Wesley Gibbons, owner of one hundred acres of choice land near the edge of Merced Falls, where he resided and engaged in stock and poultry raising. He was born in Mississippi, on October 27, 1858, the fourth of seven children, and the eldest son of Walter Seth and Martha (Appling) Gibbons. Walter Seth Gibbons was a planter, slave-holder and a veteran of Lee's army, having lost his left eye in battle. He served throughout the war, and then married Martha Appling, whose three brothers, R., Edwin and John, were Forty-niners in California. Edwin Appling returned to Mississippi at the close of the war and in 1868 removed to California with this family and relatives, the party being twenty-eight in number. They came via Panama and on the Pacific side were passengers on the steamship San Diego. This proved to be her last successful voyage, for on the next trip she went down when well out of San Francisco, many lives being lost. The party came direct to Stockton, then proceeded overland through the San Joaquin Valley to the Appling ranch near Chowchiila. The sociability of the pioneer life of that period was made agreeably conspicuous by the liberal hospitality of the Appling Brothers, who were prominent and well-to-do.
After securing a public school education in Mississippi and California John Wesley Gibbons began his participation in business affairs by peddling fruit and produce from his wagon throughout the mines and to Yosemite Valley. He had been reared on the valley and mountain ranch of his parents, and he decided to move to Mariposa County, where he engaged in teaming and freighting. Incidentally, he took up the study of horse and cattle diseases, for in 1870 there was a terrible epidemic in the valley and thousands of heads of stock died. He purchased standard .works on veterinary science, mastered them and soon became an authority on the diseases of live stock. By self application and study he advanced his knowledge to a point where, in a few years, he became the leading veterinarian at Merced Falls, being active in this profession for thirty-five years. In the meantime, he invested in one hundred acres of land near Merced Falls, where he built and conducted a livery stable and hospital for animals, and he resided there from 1876 to the time of his death. He trained horses for the stockmen and cattlemen of the seventies, eighties and nineties, being well-known as an authority on horses; his best work in this line was in horse dentistry.
At the Cosmopolitan Hotel, in Merced, on April 4, 1881, Mr. Gibbons and Miss Helen L. Turner were united in marriage. The bride was born at St. Johns, New Brunswick, a daughter of Captain Turner, a fur dealer, who lost his life at sea. She came west with her mother to the home of their uncle William Nelson, a millman of Merced Falls, in 1867. Her mother's relatives, the Nelson family, were the pioneers of Merced Falls, and made early history in the milling business, being owners of the Nelson Flour Mill, which they conducted many years ; they also owned the townsite, built the first mill dam and iron foundry, and owned stock in the woolen mill. Mr. and Mrs. Gibbons had seven children: Warren, who lives in Oakland; Mrs. Ava Platt, of Merced Falls ; Jesse, who died at the age of eighteen; Norman, of Stockton, is an ex-service man and was a member of the A. E. F., having been a mechanic in the aviation corps of the United States Army; Paul and Arline live in Merced; and Mrs. Ruth Orton, who resides in Kings County.
The reminiscences of Mr. Gibbons tell the history of the section in which his services were rendered. He recalled the Merced Falls of the seventies as a place of much activity, with a woolen mill and flour mill, two Chinatowns with over 200 Chinese and their usual gambling-houses, the store owned by Simon-Jacobs and Co., Hotel Murray, the row of adobe houses and one tailor shop owned by Abe Rosenthal. Church was held every three weeks, although a Sunday School was conducted in private homes every Sunday. The venerable pioneer woman, Mrs. Nelson, was the active leader. Mr. Gibbons was also an eye-witness of the rise and fall of Merced Falls as a town, its life and growth from a center of thirty inhabitants to a lively mining and freighting point of hundreds of people, its sudden decline to practically nothing, and the subsequent revival of community spirit to its present state of prosperity.
As a public servant Mr. Gibbons served as school trustee of Merced Falls for many years, and of later years he served on the election boards. His vote was counted on the side which chooses the best man for the place, regardless of party lines. He died at Dameron's in Stockton on June 20, 1924.
History of Merced County California: John Outcalt
Historic Record Company Los Angeles, California 1925
Transcribed by Martha A Crosley Graham – Pages 476-526