Merced County, California



Note: Use CTRL-F to Search







One of the most prominent figures in the development of the East Side of Merced County was the late C. H. Huffman, whose son, J. Walton Huffman, the subject of this review, is one of the young business men of Merced. A sailor before the mast, C. H. Huffman came round the Horn in 1848 and settled in Stockton in early days where he was successfully carrying on the business of hauling freight into the southern mines. He first visited Merced County in 1868 and later became right-of-way agent for the Central Pacific Railway. Acting in this. capacity, he purchased the Merced townsite. The father later established his residence here, beginning the acquirement of farm and grazing lands, and became agent of Isaac Friedlander for the purchase of grain in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1882 C. H. Huffman joined Colonel Crocker in the development of the present irrigation system, later incorporated as the Crocker-Huffman Land & Water Company. Mr. Huffman was resident manager until his resignation in 1892, and for many years he occupied, with his family, the company's residence on Bear Creek at the end of M Street, which old timers call to this day the "Huffman mansion." Mr. Huffman superintended the building of the canal system, which was under the engineering direction of C. D. Martin. Mr. Huffman relinquished his connection with the canal company early in the nineties and sold his interest in the canal system and the lands of the company to the Crockers, removing his residence to San Francisco, where he died.


J. Walton Huffman is a native son of Merced, Cal., born May 18, 1890, a son of C. H. and Laura (Kirkland) Huffman. The latter, a native of Missouri, crossed the plains in early days with her parents. J. W. received his education in the schools of San Francisco and in young manhood removed to Modoc County, where he spent fifteen years raising cattle and horses. He then returned to his native county and established his present business, that of sand and gravel contractor ; his business has steadily increased in volume during the passing of the years.


The marriage of Mr. Huffman united him with Miss Pearl Jones, of Los Angeles, Cal., and they are the parents of one daughter Lois Evelyn. Mr. Huffman is independent in his political views. Fraternally he is a member of the Elks, the Knights of Pythias, the Native Sons, and he belongs to the Rotarians.




The science of husbandry could find no representative more worthy than John Halverson, retired rancher of Snelling, who has met with success in the growing of grain. His history, as well as that of his forebears, is one telling of perseverance and struggle, coupled with honesty and resulting in prosperity. He was born at Boney Prairie, Wisconsin, March 30, 1858, the eldest of the five children of Oliver and Christine (Johnson) Sorenson, both natives of Norway. The grandparents were among the earliest Norwegian immigrants to Wisconsin, and they brought with them their respective families. John Halverson's maternal grandparents and his own parents were among a number of Wisconsin people who came to California in 1861 in a train of 100 wagons, and they were en route nine months. His grandparents had two five-yoke teams of fine oxen. During the early part of the journey Grandfather Johnson became ill and it was thought he could not survive the trip. His wife drove the other five-yoke team the entire way from Wisconsin. His death occurred at Stockton, Cal., soon after they arrived. John Halverson's mother, Christine Sorenson, divorced her husband and married Ole Halverson, a native of Norway, who proved to be a generous, kind-hearted stepfather and husband. He had a son by a former marriage, and thus their family was increased to six children, all of whom were reared to maturity in California. John took his step-father's name, as did all of the children. During the flood of 1861 the family lived in Stockton and were forced to vacate their home, which was made of adobe, and seek higher ground. Mr. Halverson owned and operated a claim and silver mine near Silver City during 1862 and 1863.


John Halverson received a good education at Stockton, Adamsville and Paradise City, in Stanislaus County. In 1867 the family moved to Stanislaus County, where the parents died in their home at Adamsville in 1869. The countryside was open and unfenced, and only a very few years before their arrival the plains were thickly inhabited by elk and antelope. The native fiber grass was cut and harvested by the settlers for hay for several seasons, and this region was known as "the pocket country." After the death of his parents John Halverson went to live in the home of a friend of his parents at Paradise City, where for five years he was subjected to a life of torment and treacherous handling, with no privileges and the hardest kind of labor. He then entered the employ of a rancher in 1874, and drew his first wages at Adamsville; and by continuing steadily until 1881, he was able to take the responsibility of leasing land on his own account, on which he put in a crop, and with fair results during the ensuing years made his start. In 1886 he moved to Merced County, and since that year his residence has been within a four-mile circle of Snelling. He was always engaged in the growing of cereal grains and at times has operated 3500 acres, raising large crops of wheat and barley. In addition, he raised all the work stock he used, and always had some to sell each year. In 1899 he purchased 418 acres three miles northwest of Snelling, where he built his home. In 1921 he sold all but eighty acres of his ranch, but later bought back forty acres. His first investment had been in 1893, when he bought and sold forty acres, south of Merced. On his present ranch of 120 acres he has erected a group of buildings, including a fine modern residence, and here he lives with his wife, renting out a portion of his land.


The ability of Mr. Halverson as a horseman may best be told by mentioning the work accomplished by him in various places. His teams were used in hauling pile timbers from Merced in the construc­tion of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, for which he received three dollars per ton, the contract running over a period of three months; and he did his share in building the railroad from Merced Falls to Merced, which was finished in 1906. At one time he owned ninety-five head of work stock. In his operations on the West Side, in the fall of 1906, his teams were used with others by the Associated Oil Pipe Line Company, from Mendota to the Coalinga fields, and he was three months on this job. In 1896 he drove a team of eighteen animals into Hornitos, drawing three wagons loaded with machinery for the mines. Besides the regular ranch routine work, every season after harvest, until 1906, his, teams were to be seen on the county roads in transporting grain to Nelson's mill at Merced Falls, or to Turlock. His brother owned and operated one of the earliest harvesters ever used in Merced County, and Mr. Halverson worked on it several seasons, later owning one of his own. His uncle, widely known at "Bale Rope" Johnson, was a pioneer teamster and, being a world-wide traveler, wrote the interesting book "Journey Around the World"; he passed away at his home in San Jose, Cal. The Modesto Herald frequently published interesting articles prepared by him.


In Adamsville, on June 17, 1883, John Halverson married Miss Sarah Jane Grayston, born in Pennsylvania in 1866, the twelfth in order of birth of fourteen children born to Robert and Ellen Burt Grayston, natives of England and Scotland, respectively. This family came to California about 1868, being preceded by the father two years. Mr. Grayston was a farmer in the Adamsville and Westport districts and died aged sixty-three. His widow was accidentally killed when she was seventy-four. Mrs. Halverson received a good education at the Westport school, and prefers the great open spaces, having been reared and having always lived on ranches. Mr. and Mrs. Halverson have seven children, six of whom are living. Henry lives in Merced; Oliver died in 1919 at Snelling, being survived by his widow and twin sons; LeRoy B., of Modesto, is a partner with his brother Charles, the firm being known as Halverson Brothers, building contractors; Mae Harder, of Modesto, has two daughters; Clara Hannos resides in Merced; Charles, of Modesto, is a building contractor ; and Bessie Geary, of Snelling, has one daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Halverson have twelve grandchildren, the eldest of whom is a student in the Merced Union High School. Mr. Halverson is a public-spirited citizen and a good mixer. He served as a school trustee from 1887 to1899 in the Snelling district ; and he holds membership in Willow Lodge, I. O. O. F., having belonged to this lodge for the past thirty-two years, and is also a member and Past Chief Patriarch of the Encampment. Both Mr. and Mrs. Halverson are active in the Rebekah Lodge, and have been delegates to the Grand Lodge. Mr. Halverson was District Deputy in 1923, and he holds the office of treasurer of the Rebekah and Odd Fellows Lodges, and is a member of the Veteran Odd Fellows at Fresno.




The son of an honored pioneer and himself a native son, William Henry Harrison Shaw is one of the progressive and substantial citi­zens of Snelling, where he has resided since 1895. He was born at West Point, Calaveras County, on April 26, 1868, being the second in order of birth of the thirteen children of W. S. and Henrietta (Stipe) Shaw. The father was born of Scotch-English parentage in Missouri, on February 11, 1835, and coming West in 1861, located near Sacramento, where he worked in the mines on the Calaveras River. He had been accompanied across the plains by Mr. Callameans, there being about one hundred wagons in the train. Henrietta Stipe was born in Virginia, August 13, 1850, of German parents, and she came with her parents from Iowa, landing near Stockton. At Jenny Lind she was married to Mr. Shaw and they started out together on the old Griffith ranch on the Merced River, ten miles below Snelling, in 1873. In the fall of 1874 they moved to Hope. ton, where Mr. Shaw was employed on the Ruddle ranch, and in 1880 they went to Washington Territory, but came back to Merced County in the fall of 1891, where they were occupied in extensive grain farming for eleven years. Mr. Shaw was a Democrat, a man highly respected among his fellow-citizens, and was greatly mourned when his passing occurred at Hopeton, on February 23, 1893. Mrs. Shaw died in 1917, likewise missed by her friends and family. In 1923, those who survived the parents were : Sam H. H. Shaw, of Snelling; W. H. H. Shaw of this review; Mrs. E. H. Halstead, of Snelling; Mrs. Dora A. Bloed, of Snelling; Thomas P., also of Snelling; Rachel Poor, of Brewster, Wash.; and R. W. Shaw, a rancher near Snelling.


About forty pupils, with but one teacher in attendance, comprised the student body and faculty of the Hopeton School where Mr. Shaw gained his elementary education. Being reared as a farmer's son, he worked out on ranches as a plow boy, and later on the Bill Grade ranch, driving eight-to-ten-animal teams. Upon removing to Snelling in 1895, he ran a freight team from Merced to Snelling and Merced Falls, continuing in this business for seven years. Upon the completion of the Yosemite Valley Railroad he was appointed by the American Railway Express as agent at Snelling, and he served from May 21, 1906 until January, 1921.


A fine three-and-one-half-acre plot in Snelling, upon which a resi. dence has been erected, comprises the home place of Mr. Shaw. He has developed his ranch into a splendid income property, it being devoted to berries and fruit, which are shipped to the Yosemite Val­ley in the open season, and also sold at Merced Falls. He receives good prices, and has little trouble in disposing of his produce. He has harnessed the water in the old Montgomery ditch, which runs through his place, using water-wheel power to lift the irrigation water to a tank seventeen feet above the ditch. This contrivance he made with his own hands. An eight-foot wheel runs the force pump with a ten- inch stroke, affording ample water for fire protection on the ranch.


Mrs. Shaw was formerly Jessie Alice Kauffman, a daughter of the late D. J. and Sarah Kauffman, and was born in Virginia. They came to Washington Territory in 1879 and to Fresno, Cal., in 1891, where they were prosperous farmers. In Fresno, on June 20, 1896, she was united in marriage to Mr. Shaw and their union has been blessed with the birth of two children: Nina, who resides with her parents, and Floris, who is stenographer with the Sperry Flour Company in Fresno. Mr. Shaw is a Democrat in national affairs but he stands for broad community development. He contributes generously to all worthy church organizations, and is a Past Grand and Past District Deputy of Willow Lodge, No. 121, I. O. O. F., having belonged since January 28, 1893; and is also a member and Past Chief Patriarch of Snelling Encampment, No. 83, I. O. O. F. He has belonged to the Woodmen of the World at Merced for over twenty years.




One of the most highly developed fruit ranches' and vineyards located on the State highway in Merced County and situated at the crossing of Cressey Way was improved to its present state by William Newton Baker, who is now residing on the property and superintends its cultivation for his son, Dr. W. A. Baker, of Tuscon, Ariz., to whom he recently sold it. Mr. Baker was born in Boone County, Mo., March 18, 1853, the son of Ambrose Dudley and Hannah (Baker) Baker, both natives of Kentucky, but who were married in Missouri, where the father was a farmer and a stock-raiser. They both died in California, the father at Modesto, at the age of sixty- eight, and the mother at the home of our subject in 1913, aged eighty- three. They came to California in 1864, with their five children, across the plains and arrived at Tuolumne City on July 20, of that year, where an uncle, C. C. Baker, was already located. The children of the family were : Columbus Baker, who died in Santa Ana in 1920; Martha Margaret Hamilton, who died in Orange County in 1918; William Newton, of this review; Pauline, widow of I. C. Grimes of Modesto; and Queen Elizabeth, Mrs. J. E. Clarey of Fruitland precinct, Merced County.


William Newton was a lad of eleven when his parents crossed the plains and he drove the loose stock brought by his father, riding horseback all the way. He attended school in Missouri, and in Stanislaus and Merced Counties, the school in the latter county being taught by Frank Fowler, a well-known teacher at Snelling, when that was the county seat. He grew up in Stanislaus County until 1869, when the family removed to Merced County and located at Snelling. His first business experience was in the sheep business, going out on the old Spence ranch above Merced Falls, where he ranged his band of sheep, which in time increased until he had 3000 head and owned 720 acres of land on the Merced River, having a frontage of one and one-half miles on that stream. This ranch is still known as the Baker ranch. From the sheep business Mr. Baker engaged in merchandising at Snelling and Merced Falls, but as the population was decreasing he left there and went to Modesto where he bought wool for San Francisco firms for several years. His next move was to Delano, Kern County, where he operated a store for about five years, removing at that time to Orange County and engaging in the real estate and insurance business, and in buying wool, for fourteen years. We then find him back in Merced engaged in the real estate business for three years. He had bought ninety acres on the highway and rented it, but the renters did not carry on as he wished and he moved onto the place and since then has been looking after its cultivation. He set out all the trees and vines and erected the buildings suitable for his needs. Now there are seventy-five acres in Malagas, Empe­rors and Tokays, and seven acres in peaches, also an acre of family orchard. He sold it all to his son, Dr. W. A. Baker, but manages the property for him. While living in Modesto Mr. Baker served as justice of the peace for two years.


Mr. Baker was married in 1872, to Miss Elizabeth Willis, daugh­ter of Thomas and Elizabeth Willis, ranchers near Sonora, Tuolumne County, where the wedding was celebrated. They had five children born to them: Walter E., a rancher in Fruitland precinct; E. N. Baker, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce at Merced; Edna Elizabeth (twin of E. N.), now the wife of R. C. Balaam of Merced; W. A. Baker, a prominent dentist in Tuscon, Ariz.; and Maud B., who became the wife of B. C. Keister of Merced. The wife and mother died in 1882, at the age of thirty-three. The second marriage of Mr. Baker was in 1883, when he married Mrs. Clara A. Clark, widow of C. A. Clark, by whom she had a daughter, Grace, now Mrs. G. T. Parr, of Berkeley. Mrs. Clara A. Baker was a daughter of A. H. Hall, a lumberman of Truckee many years ago. She was born in Maine and died in Berkeley on June 18, 1923, aged seventy- two. Mr. Baker has always been interested in the development of Merced County and has done what he could to help every worthy project that would be of benefit to the people or make the county a better place in which to live and prosper. He holds the respect of all who know him and his friends are legion.




A representative of an old pioneer family in Merced County, Ernest D. Kahl well represents the name left by his father, in the ranks of the agricultural and horticultural developers. He is a native of the State, born in Monterey County, March 27, 1860, a son of the late Adam Kahl and his good wife, whose sketch appears in another part of this volume. Our subject was educated in the schools of Merced County and alternated his attendance with working on the ranch with his father, from whom he received a practical training in all branches of farm labor so that he has been enabled to make a success of his work in later years. He has been actively engaged in ranching in Merced County for many years and has been so successful that he has been able to turn the ranch over to his sons, who continue its operation in partnership with the father.


When Ernest D. Kahl married he chose for his wife Margaret Baxter, who was born in Nova Scotia the daughter of J. C. Baxter, a prominent rancher of this county wherein she was reared and educated. There were two sons born of this fortunate marriage, Leslie A. and James A., who are now conducting the ranches controlled by their father. Mr. Kahl is a strict prohibitionist and fraternally is a mem­ber of Yosemite Parlor No. 24, N. S. G. W., Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Encampment of that order. He takes an interest in promoting every good cause for the welfare of the county and its citizens and he and his wife have an ever-widening circle of friends.




A native son of the Golden State and an educator of prominence and influence in Merced is Anthony Warfield Meany, the principal of Merced High School and supervising principal of the Livingston High School. Mr. Meany is blessed by nature with a healthy mental and moral outlook on life and early in his career manifested a desire to enter upon a professional career; this desire was gratified largely through his own efforts. A son of the late Anthony J. Meany, he was born on March 24, 1882, in Merced. A. J. Meany was a prominent citizen of the San Joaquin Valley and was born in Ireland on March 1, 1842, was taken to Canada when a babe in arms and there grew to boyhood. At about the age of eleven he left home and went to Pennsylvania, where he served an apprenticeship, under an older brother, to learn the trade of carpenter and cabinet-maker. In early manhood he worked on an Ohio River steamboat for a time, then drifted into St. Louis, where he remained and made his start for California via Panama about 1863. Upon arriving in California he at once located in Mariposa County and followed his trade and became a very well-known and successful contractor and builder. In time he located in Snelling, Merced County and worked at his trade and while living there was elected sheriff of the county in 1872, serving in that office for twelve years. When the county seat was removed to Merced he located in that city and ever afterwards made it his home. After his term in office expired he resumed the building business and continued active until his death, passing away in November, 1891, at the family home in Merced. He was twice married. His first wife was Emma Ruddle, niece of the late John Ruddle, and one daughter is now living, Daisy Meany the wife of J. F. King, an Oakland dentist. His second marriage, in 1881, united him with Miss May Tackett, who was born in Tuolumne County in 1858. Her parents crossed the plains in 1856 and settled near Sonora, where her father was engaged in the building business. By this second marriage a son, Anthony Warfield Meany, was born. A. J. Meany had served two terms in the California State senate.


Anthony Warfield Meany was reared in Merced and attended the public schools for his preliminary education, graduating from the high school in 1900. His father dying when he was a lad of nine, he has but little recollection of him. Determined to get a good edu­cation he next entered the University of California at Berkeley, meanwhile working in warehouses during vacations to pay his own way. He was active in the student body at college and was on the track team for three years, was on the Blue and Gold staff and Rally committee and was a member of the Skull and Keys, and the Golden Bear, honor societies, and still holds his membership in the Kappa Alpha fraternity. He was graduated with honors in 1905 with the A. B. degree. He took a position in a warehouse for a time, then spent three years as an employe of the Yosemite Valley Railroad during its construction. His next position was as book­keeper for John R. Graham, where he remained until he began teaching in the Merced school in 1908; six years later he was appointed principal of the high school when there were eight teachers and a student body of 150. This has been increased to twenty-seven teachers and a student body of 450 in Merced, and when the Livingston branch was added the faculty was increased to thirty-five and the student body to 600. The new buildings have been erected since Mr. Meany has been in charge.


The marriage of A. W. Meany with Miss Kathryn Stradley, of New York, took place on July 6, 1914, and they have a daughter, Kathryn Christine. In politics Mr. Meany is a Democrat and served as chairman of the County Central Committee. He is an exempt fireman, having served as a volunteer of the Merced department for six years. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masons, the Elks and the Native Sons; and he is a member of the Rotary Club, the California State Teachers' Association and the California High School Principals' Association. During the war he was County Food Administrator under Ralph Merritt, and served on the County De­fense Committee and various Bond and Speaking Committees. As a citizen he is progressive and a champion of all measures for the benefit of his town, county and State. All in all he is a man of whom his city may be justly proud.




A resident of Merced County for the last thirty-five years, and until the last few years an extensive grain rancher of the San Joaquin, J. J. McMaster has been prominent in the developing of this part of the Golden West; and during his residence here he has built up a reputation for honesty of purpose, and as an advocate of the creed of right living has had a very helpful and wholesome influence among his friends and associates in his adopted country. A native of Ontario, Canada, he was born on November 3, 1856, the fourth of eight children, and second of four sons, born to his worthy parents, Robert and Minerva (McGleason) McMaster, both natives of Ontario and now deceased. They were farmers in the Dominion, and young John J. grew up on the home farm, attending the public school and between study periods learning the duties of a farmer's son in the sixties, when soil cultivation was a quite different matter from what it is today, with all the modern machinery and farm appliances. When nine years old, he earned his first dollar, paid him by a wealthy stockman for the return of a strayed animal; and in those days a dollar looked mighty big to the lad. On reaching thirteen years, he started to work as a plow boy, working for a widow, Mrs. White, who paid him nine dollars a month and supplied him with an ox-team and plow; and so he started life in Canada, amid pioneer surroundings, working out on neighboring farms but remaining at the home fireside until he reached the age of twenty-four. That year he married and took on the responsibilities of a man of family, starting in the ranch business in Brighton Township, at a time when general prices were lower than at any previous time. Locating nine miles from Trenton, he made three trips to market weekly to dispose of his produce; and by the hardest kind of work, and early and late application, made a comfortable living for his growing family.


In 1890, Mr. McMaster and his family arrived in Merced, Cal., with his entire reserve capital amounting to $312. A brother, C. W. McMaster, had preceded him to California and was located in Horni­tos, owning and conducting a goat farm. The brothers started a joint business in general ranching, three miles from Hornitos, and also farmed the Chamberlain place in Merced County, two years, after which J. J. McMaster sold out his interests to his brother. In 1893 he started ranching on his own account as a grain-raiser on the Al Sylvester place near Hornitos, and five years later went to Cathey Valley and for five seasons farmed there, doing well each year. He then enlarged his equipment and stock, and entered grain-raising on an extensive scale, farming the Garibaldi ranch of 1800 acres for a period of five years; and while he had seasons when losses occurred, he always made up for it the next, and come out very successfully in the long run. He put in grain on the Wolfsen ranch, in Merced County, one year with excellent results, and rented the Earle ranch nine years steadily, making good, but only as a result of hard work and good management, the secret of all agricultural success.


In the meantime Mr. McMaster had made investments in an alfalfa and dairy ranch at Le Grand, his present home place, fifteen acres on the edge of town. He continued in the grain business until after the World War, and sold out in 1919, after realizing on two of the fullest crops in his experience ; he was at that time farming on a large scale near Valley Home, Stanislaus County.

Mr. McMaster is a stockholder in the Le Grand Bank, a share­holder in the Le Grand Mercantile Company. With the exception of two occasions, when he has been absent from California on visits to Ontario, he has remained in the Golden State since his first arrival on January 19, 1890.


The marriage of Mr. McMaster, on December 24, 1880, at Smithfield, Brighton Township, Ontario, united him with Miss Fannie Bray, a native of Huron Township, that country, and daughter of a well-established family of Canadian farmers. Seven children have been born to them, as follows : Mrs. Martha Pate, of Le Grand, mother of seven children; Robert, of Merced, who has four children; Charles, deceased; Roy, of Merced, who has two children; Mrs. Stella Clendennin, of Le Grand, who has five children; Harry, of Plainsburg, ex-service man of the Ninety-first, A.E.F., serving over seas for nine months and in the United States for ten months; and Lily (a twin of Harry), living at home.


Mr. McMaster received his United States citizenship papers in Merced, March 20, 1895, and he has always been active in local affairs. He is a Democrat in politics, and a worker for the cause of right in all matters. He has done jury service, and held the office of school trustee, among other public duties. As he says, his favorite hobby is right living; for he firmly believes that obedience to law and truth is a power for good in one's success, helping to bring out char­acter, while at the same time requiring character, and that "stick-to-itiveness" is the greatest item in success.




Well known as a successful farmer and vineyardist, George K. Simpson is counted among the energetic agriculturists of the Livingston section of Merced County. A native son of Merced County, he has witnessed its almost marvelous development and progress, and has well performed his part in those transformation scenes that have changed the wild and uncultivated tracts of land into waving fields of grain, productive vineyards and fruitful orchards. A son of Thomas Jefferson Simpson, he was born on December 7, 1871, in Merced County, within one mile of the town of Livingston.


A native of Tennessee, Thomas Jefferson Simpson located in Texas while still a young man and was there married to Miss Rebecca Hardy, a native of Virginia, but reared in Texas. During the Mexican War, when only sixteen, he volunteered his services, but the war was over before he reached the front. Then he helped an uncle who had a contract to furnish horses to the United States government; this was a hazardous undertaking, fraught with hardships and dangers, but was accomplished without serious mishap. He came to Cali­fornia via Panama in 1852, and engaged in mining for a time; return­ing to Texas he was married, and in 1858, with his wife and eldest son, returned to California via the Isthmus of Panama. He again engaged in mining, then conducted a store at Don Pedro, Tuolumne County; later he removed with his family to Snelling and engaged in ranching. He next purchased 214 acres near Livingston, on the Merced River, where the Central Pacific Railroad built a bridge across that stream. It is related that Thomas Jefferson Simpson was the only farmer in this vicinity who ever received money from the rail­road company for a right-of-way; but it was accomplished by force, even resorting to carrying a shotgun and forcing from the company's agents and employees, pay for the right-of-way. Five children blessed this union: Ben, the eldest, born in Texas, is now an employe of the Sugar Pine Lumber Company at Sugar Pine, Cal.; Otis, a rancher, lives across the road from our subject; Virginia, married John Gardner and is deceased; Thomas Jefferson, Jr., deceased; and George K. is the subject of this sketch. The mother of our subject passed away when he was only fourteen years old; the father lived to be fifty- eight years old.


George K. Simpson attended the district school near his father's farm and at an early age went to work for Hammatt and Crowell on their ranch near Livingston. In 1920 he located on his present home place, which consists of forty acres owned jointly by himself and William T. White. When Mr. Simpson located on this place it was wholly unimproved. In the spring of 1920 he made his first plantings of Thompson seedless grapes; this was before there was any irrigation project and he pumped the water and watered his newly planted vineyard by hand. This section is ideal for raisin culture and now the land is irrigated by the Merced Irrigation District and soon the vineyard will be in full bearing.


In 1914 Mr. Simpson was married to Miss Alice De Neves, a daughter of M. J. De Neves, a prominent rancher and fruit grower of Atwater, Cal., who died April 1, 1925. Mr. and Mrs. Simpson are the parents of three children: George K. Jr., Virginia Alice, and Hauleymay Elizabeth. Mr. Simpson is a consistent Democrat and pays due attention to principles and qualifications of candidates.




One of the well-known ranchers of Merced County, Modesto V. Baleme has been identified with agriculture here in the San Joaquin Valley for over forty years, and it has been a long journey from the poor boy, who landed in a new country without funds, or even a working knowledge of the new language, to the successful man who is now an integral part of the country's citizenry. Born June 15, 1852, in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, he is the son of Andrew J. and Mary (Bary) Baleme, both natives of that country, and farmers by occupation. Educated in the public schools of Switzerland, he came to the United States when a lad of sixteen, arriving in 1868, and with no knowledge of English, started to look for work to earn a living.


The young adventurer worked his way to California, and here took a job on the De Martini dairy ranch, near Petaluma. There he worked steadily for two years, and then, for the next twelve months, worked for Charles Love, on the coast of Marin County. He saved his money, and was soon able to send home his fare, which had been advanced him. His good mother died in 1871. In the evenings, when his day's work was finished and it was a full day's work, in those days—he learned the English language, being helped by the tutoring of Mrs. Love, for he was fortunate in having unusually kind employers. After the three years spent in ranch work, Mr. Baleme went to San Francisco, and for the following three years was employed as a stevedore in the metropolis. From there he went to Stockton, and there worked for Meyer Brothers for three years on their grain ranch. He then came further north again, and took a position as foreman on the K. Fly ranch, in Napa Valley.


In 1883, he came to the San Joaquin to stay, first locating in Tur­lock, where he entered the employ of the late J. B. Osborn, and finally went into the employ of the late J. W. Mitchell, extensive stockman and rancher, as a teamster and warehouseman. He remained in his employ as foreman at Central Camp, and later established another camp, named Modesto Camp, and here he made a wonderful success as a buttermaker; the M. B. brand was known throughout the valley, and was the most popular butter carried in the Merced stores. Mr. Baleme made weekly trips to Merced with produce, and had no trouble in disposing of his output, for it was the best seller on the market. In the meantime, he made an investment in land on his own account, purchasing forty acres, six miles west of town, later adding ten acres to his holdings, and engaged in grain-raising; as his sons matured, he took them on as partners, at the same time conducting a more extensive business on leased lands, marketing his wheat, which was the principal crop, at Garibaldi Mills, Merced. In 1920, he sold out his mules to the Heinz Company, and bought a 75-h. p. C. L. Best tractor, and invested in his present ten-acre home place, one mile from Merced, where' he enjoys the comforts of a newly-built, strictly modern home. He has set out his acreage to peach trees, which will soon be in bearing, making his place one of the show places of this section. He also owns residence property in Merced, and other desirable securities, and can surely be said to have reached success through his own unaided efforts, adding value to the section he chose for a home, and doing his share in its development. The marriage of Mr. Baleme, in Modesto, in 1886, united him with Louise Hamilton, who was born in San Jose, the eldest of seven children in the family of Alex Hamilton, whose father was a Forty- niner, and he himself came to California in 1858. He married Mary Ferrett, a native of New Orleans, and his death occurred at the age of sixty-three; in 1870, the family moved to Paradise City. They were also farmer folk. Thirteen children blessed the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Baleme : John A., of Cressey; James E.; Loretta Berry ; Albert V.; Louise M. Furtado; Helen Ellis; George F.; Josephine Tetzlaff ; Fred M.; Walter W.; Mary E.; Irene Lorraine; and Emma N. Adams. There are nineteen grandchildren in the family. A Republican in politics, Mr. Baleme received his citizenship papers in Merced. Fraternally, he has been a Knight of Pythias since 1884, when he joined the Turlock lodge.




Another pioneer resident of Merced County may be found in the person of Stillman Robert Swan, who for more than a third of a century has been identified with the agricultural interests of this section of the State. It was in Oxford County, forty-seven miles from Portland, Maine, that Mr. Swan was born, on October 3, 1854, the son of Joseph Greeley Swan, who owned and farmed 200 acres in Oxford County, and who married Miss Temperance Allen, born at Wales, Maine. The Swans are of Welsh extraction; the paternal grandmother, Betsy Howe, was a descendant of General Putnam, of Revolutionary War fame, and the paternal grandfather, William Swan, a millwright by trade, was a drum major in the war of 1812. Stillman Robert Swan is the youngest of three children, the others being Sarah, who become the wife of John Swan and passed away in Merced, and Sylvia Howe, who became the wife of Albert L. Cressey, of Modesto, both now deceased.


Stillman Robert Swan received a common school education in his native State; he walked four miles to attend a high school, which was located at Denmark Corners. At Brownfield, Maine, on Christmas Day, 1876, Mr. Swan was married to Miss Addie A. Harnden, born in East Fryeburg Township, Oxford County, Maine, a daughter of Elbridge Harnden, Jr., a farmer and freeholder in Oxford County, who passed away at the age of forty-two years, leaving his widow and two children: Addie Augusta, the wife of our subject, and Ina M., who became the wife of Elmer Dayton Jones, and died in February, 1895. Mr. and Mrs. Swan farmed the old home place in Oxford County, Maine, for eleven years; then they decided to come to Merced County, California, where Mr. Swan's two sisters were residing.. Mr. Swan rented land from his brother-in-law, Albert L. Cressey, and farmed to wheat, rye and barley for twenty-one years on 1700 acres of land two and a half miles south of Livingston. Prosperity attended his untiring industry and perseverance, and he bought twenty acres which he developed to fruit, and later sold and is now living in Livingston, retired from active business cares. Mr. Swan was pain­fully injured in an automobile accident in 1922 which incapacitated him for over a year. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Swan : Grace H., a partner with her brother, S. H., in the Steam Laundry in Livingston; Stillman Herbert, married Minnie A. Condon and is head of the Steam Laundry in Livingston; Claude Elbridge, a State traffic officer, living at Merced. During the World War he served in the machine gun corps and at the close of the war was discharged with the rank of corporal. Claude married Lucy Baker and they have one daughter, Geneva Louise. S. R. Swan has been active for the betterment of his locality and has been a member of the board of trustees of the city of Livingston since its incorporation. In politics he is a consistent Republican. He was among the first to subscribe to the capital stock of the First Bank of Livingston, and is a director. Although retired from active duties, Mr. Swan retains an interest in the Livingston Steam Laundry.




People familiar with the advancement of the Catholic faith on the Pacific Coast within the last third of a century unhesitatingly attribute a share of its growth to the untiring efforts of Rev. Father George D. Doyle, who since 1922 has been pastor of Our Lady of Mercy at Merced. George D. Doyle was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on October 18, 1868, the son of Thomas E. and Margaret (McKee) Doyle. Thomas E. Doyle was an artist of considerable ability and was particularly adept on interior decorating. Both parents are now deceased. George D. Doyle acquired a liberal education. He attended grammar and high school in his native city, then pursued the classical course in the University of Pennsylvania, studied philosophy at the St. Charles Seminary at Overbrook and gained his theological training at St. Paul's Seminary at St. Paul, Minn. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Ireland, June 8, 1895. Following his ordination he taught in the seminary at St. Paul for six years; then he came to the Coast as a missionary under Bishop Conaty, who had charge of the Indian reservation in San Diego. Father Doyle remained on the reservation for thirteen years, and during this time he restored the Pala Mission, which was later, in 1916, destroyed by the flood of the San Luis Rey River, but was rebuilt by father Doyle. When the Indian school at Banning was built, Father Doyle was put in charge ; he organized the Indians and built chapels. In 1906 the Banning Indian school was destroyed by fire and Father Doyle was instrumental in its restoration at a cost of $75,000. Father Doyle was then transferred to Needles, Cal., and while there the church was destroyed also by fire. Father Doyle took charge of rebuilding a new church and remained there for two years when he went to Madera, remaining there until he took up the work at Our Lady of Mercy in Merced.


In a local newspaper in Merced of May 30, 1914, is the following historial review of the diocese where the church of Our Lady of Mercy is located. "Situated at the extreme southeasterly limits of the archdiocese of San Francisco, stands St. Patrick's Church, an edifice perhaps not of a very commanding appearance, being, in fact, built of wood, but around whose sacred precincts have foregathered many of the old pioneers of California, and within the sacred doors of which the same venerable priest whose name is intimately associated with its structure, still performs his solemn duties. Father McNamara, hale and hearty despite his advanced age, celebrates the sacrifice of the mass and performs the varied duties connected with his calling. He is known to everyone, not alone in Merced, but almost throughout the entire section of the territory, as his labors in the State have extended over a period of forty-three years. The church edifice and parochial residence are reminders of what might aptly be called the early pioneer life and buildings of California, for certainly in appearance they are woefully unlike many of the substantial and ornate churches gracing other cities. However, the parishioners are content, devout in their duties, and relatively speaking, the congregation is a large one. Father McNamara, of the old school, ripe in years and a close student of books, is a beloved priest on whom the shadows of age linger as if loath to show their hand, but willing rather to reveal the fount of a long and active life."


The first settlers were of Catholic persuasion, consisting of a num­ber of hardy men who were in the section. The fall of 1868 saw their coming, and being fairly satisfied, these pioneers lacked only the spiritual comforts afforded in Catholic teachings to make their lives complete. They besought the aid of Archbishop Alemany, who re­ferred the matter of a visiting priest to the parish of Mariposa. Two parishioners, Patrick Carroll and Michael Dougan, under the instruction of the Archbishop, induced Rev. T. Fitzpatrick to visit Merced, where he celebrated holy mass and conferred the sacraments, the ceremonies being necessarily performed in the private dwelling of a parishioner. Father Fitzpatrick continued his service at odd . intervals, the distance being great and the roads hard to travel. He was succeeded by Rev. Michael McNaboe, who labored along the line of his predecessor.


In the year 1871, Father Michael McNamara succeeded Father McNaboe as pastor of Mariposa parish, and in the year 1872 the Catholics in Merced set about the task of building a church of their own. A parochial residence was also built at that time, and with its completion and consecration, by Archbishop Alemany, came the appointment of Father McNamara who remained the pastor of St. Patrick's Church. The duties of Father McNamara up to and including the years 1887 called for many exactions, the parish being wide and scattered, embracing all of Mariposa and Merced Counties.

In 1916, after forty-three years of faithful service, Father Mc­Namara was called to his reward. His body now lies in the splendid edifice since erected.


A few months after the passing of Father McNamara the Most Rev. Archbishop Hanna appointed Rev. T. J. Brennan pastor, who, recognizing the fact that, due to the increase in population, the time was now ripe for a modern structure, proceeded immediately to raise funds for the splendid edifice which stands today a monument to his zeal. Father Brennan was succeeded by Rev. Edward M. Looney in 1918, who in turn was succeeded in 1920 by Rev. T. J. Kennedy. Upon the erection of the diocese of Monterey and Fresno Father Kennedy was withdrawn to San Francisco and Rev. George D. Doyle of the Los Angeles diocese was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Mercy.


When the diocese of Monterey-Fresno was established in 1922 the diocese of Sacramento contributed Mariposa County and the archdiocese of San Francisco assigned Merced County to the new jurisdiction. Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Merced, was the only English-speaking parish in the two counties having a decent church.


The change of the name from St. Patrick's to Our Lady of Mercy took place when the new church was finished under Father Brennan by permission of the Archbishop. The humble parish house was replaced by a modern parochial residence.

The parish embraces all of Mariposa County, and Merced County as far north as Buhach, and west as far as Los Banos. The large attendance at St. Patrick's gives evidence that the faith of its parishioners is still as strong as that of its earlier members, who received only the visiting ministration of a district priest.


Father Doyle prefers to stand by the principles of the Republican party, but is liberal-minded in selecting the candidate best suited to fill the office for which he has been chosen. Fraternally he is identified with the Elks and the Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Merced. He takes a good citizen's part in all civic affairs that aid in the prosperity and advancement of his community.




A prosperous and well-known rancher of the San Joaquin, Frank F. Souza has been active in development work in Merced County since November, 1888, and during that interval of time has built up a reputation as a sweet potato grower and shipper. Starting among the very earliest in sweet potato culture, he is now one of the largest shippers of that product in the valley, and his trademark on a shipment, "Frank Souza," carries weight to the trade wherever found, as to quality and evenness of product. A native of Caveira, Flores, Azores Islands, he was born September 21, 1869, the only son in a family of nine children born to his parents, Juan F. and Catherina (Souza) Mendoza, who lived and died in their native land, the mother in 1922, aged eighty years, and the father in September, 1925, aged eighty-three years. They were farmers, successful and well-to- do, and highly thought of by their many friends.


Frank F. received his education in the schools of his native isles; reared on the home farm, he saw but few opportunities ahead and decided to start for the New World, boarding the vessel Sarah, a three-master. After a voyage of twenty-one days, he reached Boston on May 22, 1886, with seven dollars and a half in his pocket, and took a job at New London, Conn., on ships and fishing smacks, at twenty dollars per month, working two seasons on the water. The inspiration received when he first saw Old Glory floating in the breeze on the Massachusetts shore, never left the immigrant lad, and his one object was to work and save, so that he could take advantage of the opportunities he felt sure awaited him in his adopted land To this end he spent one and one-half years in New London, saving what he could of his wages, and also sending some home to the dear ones left behind; he was ambitious to succeed, and knew the only path for him lay through hard work and self-denial.


Late in 1888, with funds enough to make a start up the ladder, he came west to California, and on reaching here, went to work on the Chowchilla ; later becoming foreman on a ranch for Joe King of Merced. After reaching this State he found so many named Men­doza that it was difficult to receive any mail; so he took the name of Souza from his mother's family, and has ever since been known as Frank F. Souza. For the next five years he worked and saved, and in the meantime made several small investments which proved good, and he was soon able to start in business for himself, on twenty acres in the Buhach Colony. Over twenty-four years ago he made his first shipment, 240 sacks of sweet potatoes, to J. D. Martinez, a San Francisco broker, which brought him $105. He has steadily carried on the business since, and in 1923 was the heaviest of any shipper in the district, as shown by the books of December of that year. He does most of his loading at Keyes and Fergus, dealing in fruits and sweet potatoes in the territory from Turlock to Merced, his brand finding a ready market, and known as dependable all over the State. In 1915, at the P. P. I. E. in San Francisco, he received the gold medal for sweet potatoes of the San Joaquin Valley.


The marriage of Mr. Souza, occurring at Martinez, Contra Costa County, on June 1, 1896, united him with Mary Frietas, born at Alamo, that county, and daughter of the late Joseph Frietas, a Forty-niner and gold miner in early days in California. Six children have blessed their union: Catherine, deceased; Rosa, Mrs. Arthur Brill, who has one son; John; Frank; Joseph; and Antone, deceased. Mr. Souza is the owner of 130 acres of choice farming land in the Merced-Atwater district. Besides his profitable shipping business he is interested in real estate in Atwater. A progressive man in every respect, he received his citizenship papers in Merced, from Judge Fred Ostrander, and has always been a true patriot to the land which has proved so kind to him, doing all in his power to bring even greater advancement to his section of the country. He is a stockholder in the Merced Security Savings Bank. Fraternally, he is a member of the Odd Fellows, both Lodge and Encampment, and is Past President of both the U. P. E. C. and the I. D. E. S. Societies. For over twelve years he served as school trustee in the Buhach district, helping to further the cause of education; and he is a member of the Buhach Catholic Church, and donated one-half acre of land to the Immaculate Conception Church.




There is something commanding respect and honor in the personal appearance of a man, and if to that is added a character of sterling worth we have a gentleman of whom any community is proud and does well to place in the foremost ranks of representative citizens. That is what we have in Oscar A. Johnston, dealer in hardware in Irwin, Cal. A man of powerful frame, large and generous-hearted, he has made his way to the top by an integrity of character, skill and native genius that have been the admiration of all who know him. Mr. Johnston was the fourth of six children namely : Amanda, Mrs. Bjork, Sweden ; Edward, who died single in Denver, Colo., 1910; Carl, who died single in Calexico, Cal.; Albert Oscar, our sub­ject; Leonard F., a rancher in Irwin ; Theodore, still in Sweden.


The son of Johanas and Anna Charlotte Johnson, he was born in Jan Kjoping, Sweden, April 24, 1871. His early education was obtained largely in the shop of his father, who was a blacksmith; it was there he got the principles of iron-working which made him an expert machinist. He was brought up and instructed in the faith of the Swedish Lutheran Church and passed his confirmation. Then, like all aspiring youths of red blood he began to think of what he was going to do in the world. His eyes were turned to the New World beyond the sea ; accordingly on March 27, 1888, he embarked at Gottenberg on the Cunard line for England and after eight days in Liverpool he set out again for America and arrived in New York in April, 1888. His seventeenth birthday was passed on the train on the way from Chicago to Waverly, Nebr., where he found employment with his uncle, for whom he worked five years. With his earnings he was able to buy a threshing outfit, which he ran with unprecedented success. Being a natural machinist, he was able, not only to repair machinery of all kinds, but to make the tools to do it with, and he ran a whole season without losing more than an hour on account of a breakdown. For eight years he carried on this business threshing thousands of bushels of wheat, and he had a corn-sheller with a capac­ity of a thousand bushels an hour.


In May, 1902, he came out to the Hilmar Colony in California and bought 160 acres of land for himself and brother, who is living on that land. On December 1, 1906, he came to Turlock and engaged in farming and blacksmithing. He also had a blacksmith shop in connection with his farm for some years in Irwin. When he came to Irwin he sold part of his 160 acres to his brother and improved the rest of the farm with buildings. In 1918 he entered the hardware business in Irwin and built the A. O. Johnston brick block, 50x75 feet and further improved his sixty-acre farm; later he built a frame addi­tion of the same dimensions, making a fine business block.


On February 6, 1915, he was married to Miss Hulda B. Anderson, a native of Minnesota and daughter of A. T. Anderson, now living in Irwin. There are two children of this union, Freda Olivia and Veda Evelyna, pupils in the Hilmar School. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston are both members of the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church. The name was originally Johnson but was changed to Johnston on account of confusion of names in the postoffice.


Mrs. Johnston's parents, A. T. Anderson and Hannah (Nelson) Anderson, were married in Minnesota and were farmers at Eagle Bend, Minn. They came to California in 1912. They had two chil­dren, Hulda Beatta, now Mrs. Johnston, and Nels T., who served in France, was wounded and honorably discharged. The Andersons own a farm of twenty acres near Irwin. Mrs. A. T. Anderson was born in Sweden in 1867 and came to America when she was eleven years old.




When the Fin de Siecle Company launched the Hilmar Colony the first twenty-acre plot was bought by John Pearson, who still holds the title deed dated July, 1902 signed by the president, G. B. Bloss, and the secretary, Horace Crane. He and his good wife hold a high place in the affections of the people of the colony for their generous hospitality, their activity in the church and their intelligent efforts to promote the general welfare.


Mr. Pearson was born in Christianstadslan, Sweden, April 12, 1864, the youngest of five children, four boys and one girl, born to Per and Bertha (Oakesdatter) Soneson. John grew up in Sweden, worked on his father's farm, attended the public schools and was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. The father was a carpenter and wagon-maker as well as a farmer; thus it came about that John learned the carpenter trade under his father, which afterwards was of great service to him. He served two years in the military camps and worked on farms when he was grown up. At one time he was employed on the farm of Rudolph Stjernsward, who was secretary to Queen Sophia of Sweden. Sone Pearson, John's elder brother, was the superintendent of that farm for eleven years. Niels Person Norberg, another brother, was already in Omaha, Nebr., and the favorable accounts which he wrote home induced John to bid goodbye to his native land and in the latter part of April, 1891, he embarked at Malmo, Sweden, for Hull, England; and passing through England to Liverpool, he sailed again on the "Teutonic" of the White Star Line and arrived at Old Castle Garden, N. Y., May 1, 1891. He proceeded at once to East Orange, New Jersey and got a position as gardener and coachman with E. B. Brooks, a manufacturer of government and railway supplies and held it eleven years. He united with the Swedish Mission Church in East Orange and helped raise the money for the new Mission Church which was built there in 1894.

It was in East Orange that he met Clara Wilhelmina Anderson, a native of Opland, Sweden, the daughter of Anders and Karen Person, farmers in her native country. She came to America when she was twenty years old and worked in East Orange, where she met Mr. Pearson. She came to California in 1902, worked for a while in Los Angeles but soon went to San Francisco, when she accepted a position in the household of General Hughes at Fort Mason. Thence she came to Hilmar to marry Mr. Pearson, and was one of the first, if not the first bride in the Hilmar Colony, the nuptials being performed on April 25, 1903. They united with the Mission Church in Hilmar. Mr. Pearson brought with him letters of the highest recommendation from his employer in East Orange.


The land on which the Mission Church in Hilmar was located was donated by the Fin de Siecle Company. When the first church built by Rev. N. 0. Hultberg became too small the present magnificent new church edifice was built in 1921-1922, Mr. Pearson being a donor. His knowledge of carpentry enabled him to build his own house and other buildings on his place, which is devoted to raising alfalfa, dairying, hogs and poultry. He has helped along the irrigation schemes of Merced County. He was a stockholder in the Rochdale store in Turlock. Mr. and Mrs. Pearson have two children; Ethel Margaret is a student in the University of California studying to become a high school teacher ; Arthur is in the Hilmar high school and helps on the home farm. Mr. Pearson is a Republican in politics but at all times aims to vote for correct principles and the man who may be relied upon to carry them out.




It is a frequent occurrence that the entire family of Mr. Wassum gather around the festive board at his home in Atwater to enjoy all the good things to eat and to recount the good old times the pioneers of California enjoyed. There are six living children, six­teen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren to be accounted for in this family. Though aged eighty-six T. A. Wassum is hale and hearty and enjoys the gatherings of his large and interesting family. He is now living in quiet retirement at his Atwater home, which he purchased from Charles Shaffer in 1919.


Thomas A. Wassum was born in Missouri on May 2, 1839, the eldest of five children, three of whom are still living, of Jacob and Jane (Alexander) Wassum, natives of South Carolina and Tennes­see, respectively. As the son of a planter, when he grew up, Jacob Wassum was called "Squire Wassum." In 1846 he went down into Texas with a band of stock but the venture proved very unprofitable and he returned to his home in the spring of 1847. In 1852 he fitted out an expedition for crossing the plains to California, his outfit consisting of two yoke of oxen, one yoke of cows, fifteen head of cattle and a blind horse, which was ridden by one of the party in driving the loose stock. He joined a party of seventeen wagons under James Fryer and Steve McReynolds, a Forty-niner, who headed the train. On account of making a late start they laid over in Salt Lake until it was safe to travel the following spring, when the party arrived safely in Eldorado County and settled at Mud Springs. Our subject worked at teaming, hauling supplies to the mines, with the ox-team, as his father was in poor health. His partners in the enterprise were Ed. Schlossi and a French boy. During the winter seasons they did prospecting for about ten years. In those early days Mud Springs was a considerable town and there was a camp of about 1500 Chinese there also. In 1922 Mr. Wassum made a trip by automobile through that section of the country and he was unable to locate any landmark that told of his early days in the section. During the time he was teaming he made a trip into the Napa valley and worked in the harvest fields. He located in the Berryessa Valley in 1870 and undertook to start a dairy business but the locality was not suitable for that industry and he turned to dealing in stock which he sold in the larger markets. He also raised grain.


The advent of the California pioneer into Merced County dates back to 1904, when he began renting large tracts of land in the Cressey and Livingston districts, also some in the Tully tract in Stanislaus County, and over in the Planada section. He raised large crops of grain and prospered exceedingly and when he sold his last standing grain crop in 1919 he decided he would retire.


On October 18, 1858, Mr. Wassum was united in marriage with Amanda Stice, born in Missouri on August 24, 1842. She was reared in the home of an uncle, Moses Stice, and crossed the plains with his family in 1857. Moses Stice became a well-known figure in the Sacramento Valley as a raiser of blooded stock and harness horses, but he suffered heavy losses in the flood of 1861-1862. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Wassum the following children were born: Charles, a resident of Napa County, is married and has a family of six children; John, also residing in Napa County, is married and has a family of four children; Sarah lives at home and cares for her aged father; Clara married W. H. Johnston and died leaving four children, three now living. Her son, Finis E., was killed on the battlefield in France. Thomas now resides on the home ranch at Atwater, is married and has one daughter; Jennie, widow of F. A. Doane, resides at Atwater; and Jacob, a rancher in Stanislaus and Merced Counties, is married and has a daughter and son. Mrs. Wassum died on February 19, 1917, on the ranch near Atwater. Mr. Wassum has always been public-spirited and a believer in the great future of the Golden State. Now in the evening of his days he is surrounded by those he loves and is living in the enjoyment of the competence he won by his own exertions and sound judgment.




Although not a native Californian, the earliest recollections of Elbert Garnette Adams are associated with the scenes of his adopted State, in which all but the first three years of his life have been spent. The family is of English ancestry, for many generations residents of New England; the first emigrant was supposed to have settled in New Hampshire. The paternal grandfather, Charles W. Adams, was born in New Hampshire and was directly descended from John and John Quincy Adams, who later became Presidents of the United States. Charles W. Adams settled in central Illinois in 1840, and ten years later crossed the plains via the Oregon trail and settled in Sacramento, Cal., where he established a shop on Front Street and engaged in business as a carpenter and cabinet-maker. He married Maria Henry, who is related to the Northern branch of the Patrick Henry family, and is a direct descendant of General Putnam, of Revolutionary fame. Charles W. Adams helped to build the first railroad in California from Sacramento to Placerville. Then he was employed on the Central Pacific Railroad, and still later he became a car-finisher for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. He died as a result of a fall in 1918, aged ninety years. His widow is still living at Berkeley, and has reached the advanced age of ninety-two years.


Charles Henry Adams, the father of our subject, was born at Springfield, Ill., and was four years old when his parents came to California. His preliminary education was obtained in the common schools of Sacramento; and while still a young man he went to New York City and there studied law and shorthand. He then returned West, and at Denver, Colo., was married to Miss Mertie Dratt, born at Canton, Ohio, the daughter of David Dratt, a Civil War veteran. David Dratt lived to be seventy years old, and was one of the last survivors of the battle of Lookout Mountain, which was fought above the clouds. Charles Henry Adams and his wife removed to Cripple Creek, Colo., where he was the first justice of the peace. Later, when they removed to San Francisco in 1892, he became a practicing lawyer and court reporter. He followed this profession at Santa Rosa, Auburn and Sacramento, being court reporter for the third appellate district court. Four children were born in the family : Benita, now the wife of H. N. Herrick, an engineer for the Standard Oil Co., residing at Berkeley, Cal.; Kenneth Clyde, who married Bernice Marshall and is a newspaper man residing in San Francisco ; Elbert Garnette, our subject; and David Arden, assistant city editor of the Sacramento Bee, who married Phyllis Kramer and resides in Sacramento. The father passed away in Sacramento in 1921, aged sixty-two years.


Elbert Garnette Adams was born at Elizabeth, Colo., August 11, 1889, and lived there until he was three years old, when he was brought by his parents to California. He grew up and attended school in Santa Rosa and Auburn. During his junior year in the Auburn High School he left school and went to Sacramento, where he found employment as a reporter on the Sacramento Star, remaining in that position for three years. Then he went to San Francisco and became pony telegraph editor for the United Press at that place. From 1910 to 1912 he was a reporter on the Fresno Herald. In 1912 be became a citizen of Merced County and worked for three years on the Merced Sun. In 1915 he purchased the Livingston Chronicle, a weekly newspaper of eight pages devoted to the news of this section of Merced County. Mr. Adams has succeeded in putting the Chronicle on a paying basis, and has given to the Livingston section a necessary adjunct to its future prosperity and development. This newspaper was established in 1909 by the late P. H. Higgins, who passed away in 1912. When Mr. Adams purchased it in 1915, everything was in a run-down condition; he equipped the plant with new machinery, thus enabling him to turn out any job of printing that may be demanded.


On October 25, 1911, Mr. Adams was married to Miss Mayme Hamlett, of Le Grand, Cal., daughter of E. W. Hamlett, an old settler and rancher who still lives at Le Grand. Her father married Lillie Turner, daughter of Marion F. Turner, familiarly known as "Rupe" Turner. He crossed the plains from Missouri in 1851 with his father, Nicholas Turner, and the family settled on Mariposa Creek near where Le Grand now stands. In 1855, when Merced County was formed from a part of Mariposa County, the first session of the district court of Merced County was held at the home of Nicholas Turner on Mariposa Creek. Mr. and Mrs. Adams are the parents of two children, Vernon and Udell.


Perhaps no citizen has been more active in the development of Livingston than Mr. Adams. He made the first motion, as director of the Merced County Farm Bureau, which later resulted in the organization of the Merced Irrigation District; he became the secretary of the organization committee, bonds were voted, and the district was established. Mr. Adams never for a moment relaxed his zeal in this undertaking, and appeared several times before the California legislature in its behalf. He is local registrar of vital statistics at Livingston, holding this office by appointment of the State Board of Health, since 1918, when the law creating it was passed. Mr. Adams is a director in the Livingston branch of the California Home Improvement Association, with headquarters at Oakland. The most outstanding community enterprise in which Mr. Adams was the prime mover is the Community Fund, which has given to this section the reputation of an exceptionally progressive community. Mr. Adams conceived the idea of the Community Fund, which is subscribed to in January of each year, practically every business house and other interest cotributing a given sum monthly. The fund makes possible the maintenance of a thirty-piece community band, which renders weekly concerts from May to October each year ; a winning baseball club; and an active booster club ; and pays for all community enterprises, such as the community Christmas tree and a Raisin Day entry, and any other special undertaking. The Merchants' Association of Livingston is the director of this fund and designates how it shall be disbursed. Mr. Adams is the secretary of the Boosters' Club, successor to the old Board of Trade.


Becoming the candidate, in 1924, of the Democratic party for the forty-ninth California legislative district, comprising Merced and Madera Counties, Mr. Adams won out by the largest majority ever obtained by any candidate for the legislature in said district and that, too, in a Republican landslide year in a strongly Republican district. He has ably championed the interests of the producers of the State, having introduced and successfully passed Bill No. 225, known as the Commission Men's Regulation Bill. He has introduced several other bills and has especially sought to further the interests of the farm bureaus of the State. Four of his bills aimed at relief for the Delhi Land Settlement, one of which was introduced as a concurrent resolution calling for the appointment of a legislative investigating committee for the purpose of looking into the conditions at Delhi and resulted in giving substantial relief to the colonists. His influence is ever cast for the good of the people, according to true Jeffersonian doctrine. Both Mr. and Mrs. Adams are members of the St. Mark's Mission in Livingston. Fraternally, he is a member of the Fresno Camp, W. 0. W.




It was on August 28, 1874, that A. W. Stothers was born, a son of William and Caroline ( Duff) Stothers, in Pratt County, Mo. Six weeks later the parents brought their son with them to California and here he grew up and attended school in the Russell district in Merced County. When he was twenty he started out for himself and leased 1260 acres of the Ivett property, south of Planada, and began operations as a grain farmer. He continued thus occupied for twelve years, sometimes having as many as 2500 acres in grain, principally wheat. In carrying on his operations he employed from three to forty men, as occasion required, and he had a combined harvester drawn by mules and horses, but as more modern methods came into vogue, Mr. Stothers kept up with the period and was one of the first in this sec­tion to use a caterpillar tractor and combined harvester and thresher. In 1919 he gave up grain farming, and by 1923 he had set ninety acres to figs and twelve acres to almonds on his own property, which comprises some 414 acres in all ; and on this ranch he has made every one of the improvements seen today, he having owned the land for the past twenty-five years.


On January 29, 1896, Mr. Stothers was united in marriage with Miss Violet A. Brady, born in San Diego County. Her parents having died when she was twelve years old, she came to Kings County to make her home with relatives and there she was married. Mr. and Mrs. Stothers have had five children : Eva, a stenographer in San Francisco; William Earl, still at home ; Alma, a resident nurse at Lane Hospital in San Francisco; .Eileen, also a stenographer in San Francisco; and Shannon Elmo, attending the Merced Union High School. Mr. Stothers is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Merced. In politics he votes the Republican ticket.




It is getting more and more uncommon in this day to find a man who has remained on the home ranch, faithful to the responsibilities he took up as a boy, and carrying on the work of his pioneer parents, who undertook to develop barren land into acres of fruition for future posterity. And when we do find such men, we know that their outstanding characteristics are reliability and and a steadfast "hewing to the line." J. J. Baxter was born on the ranch where he now makes his home, January 28, 1883, the youngest child now living in the family of James Campbell Baxter, pioneer rancher of Merced County. He received a good education, attended the Oakland High School, and later was graduated from the Oakland Polytechnic Business College in 1905.


Mr. Baxter resided in Oakland until 1906, which year he returned to the home ranch and worked for his brothers, D. A. and J. R. Baxter, and learned the fundamentals of ranch life from practical experience. He started ranching on his own responsibility in 1911 and has made a success of his chosen work in life, and he feels that Merced County has much to offer the settler who chooses this part of California in which to carry on development work. His ranch property now consists of 700 acres, and embraces the old Baxter home, in the Appling District, Merced County.


The marriage of Mr. Baxter, which occurred September 25, 1907, at Florence, Ore., united him with Miss Roberta Bond, born at Plainsburg, Merced County, September 25, 1885, the only daughter of the late Rev. Lewis Robert Bond. She is a graduate student of music under Prof. Z. M. Parvin. One child has blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Baxter, Christine Margaret, born in Oakland, Cal., and a student in the Le Grand High School, class 1925. Fra­ternally, Mr. Baxter is a member of Merced Lodge No. 208, I. O. O. F., having joined that order in 1911 ; he also belongs to the Fraternal Aid Union of Le Grand, and in line with his ideas on cooperation, he is a member of the Le Grand Farm Bureau. In religious belief the family are members of the Presbyterian church.




Coming from a long line of New England ancestors, Luther Batten was born August 28, 1848, on the Eau Claire River, in Wis­consin, a son of John Batten, Jr. His grandfather, John Batten, Sr., a native of Massachusetts, moved to Vermont when young and there spent the rest of his life, dying at the age of seventy-three. His wife, in maidenhood Hannah Banfield, spent her sixty years of life in the Green Mountain State.


John Batten, Jr., was born in Orange County, Vt., September 8, 1805. He served a seven-year apprenticeship as a carriage-maker in Springfield, then followed the trade in various parts of the country, finally going to Maryland, where he was connected with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as an employe. He subsequently assisted in building a canal along the Potomac River as far as Hagerstown. He then located in Philadelphia and was engaged in transporting coal from Mauch Chunk to that city. Resuming his trade he went to New York City and Buffalo, thence to Canada, where he embarked in the lumber business at Port Kent. His next move was to Michigan, settling at Monroe, then a straggling hamlet. In 1839, three years after his marriage, he moved to Galena, Ill., and from there to Grand Rapids, Wis., where as a pioneer dealer and operator he ran the first sawmill. He later went to Stevens Point, remaining there until 1870, when he went to Gar Creek, Lincoln County, Nebr., where he took up a tract of raw land and improved a farm. In 1879 he sold out and bought a tract in Lancaster County, where he lived until his death in 1891.


John Batten, Jr., was married in 1836, in Monroe, Mich., to Sophia Allen, a native of New York State. She died in Wisconsin at the age of eighty-six. Her father, Samuel Allen, was a cousin of Col. Ethan Allen of Revolutionary fame. She bore her husband seven children, one of whom, Hannah, born in Galena, Ill., died in childhood. The others grew to maturity: Mrs. Mary Chapin died in Nebraska in 1903; William lived in Wisconsin; Clarissa died in Wisconsin; Luther; John, of Waupaca; and Mrs. Adaline Dunbar, also of Wisconsin.


Luther Batten attended the schools of Wisconsin, then went with the family to Nebraska in 1870. In 1872 he homesteaded eighty acres on Gar Creek, and when he sold out he bought 160 acres in Oak Precinct, Lancaster County, where he settled with his family. He became owner of 290 acres, which he broke and improved into a very productive farm and where he carried on farming for many years, also raising stock and operating a threshing machine for about a quarter of a century, first using horse-power, but later using steam power. He was prominent and popular both as a citizen and a farmer and wielded a wide influence. In 1894 he came to California with his family and bought twenty-four acres near Dos Palos, where he started an orchard and developed eighteen acres to apples, pears, peaches, apricots, walnuts, figs, etc. He had thirty different kinds of trees on one acre for experimental purposes. He owned sixty acres in all and had an interest in the local telephone company and was manager of the G. A. R. park of ten acres.


On April 19, 1874, in Lancaster County, Luther Batten was married to Helen Hermance, born in Scio, New York, a daughter of J. L. Hermance. FI,er grandfather, John S. Hermance, born in 1806, died in Cuba, N. Y., in 1885. His wife was Marion Bristol, daughter of a clergyman. J. L. Hermance was born in 1832 in Rensselaer County, N. Y., and was a farmer. He served in Company C, Sixty-seventh N. Y. Volunteer Infantry, and was on detached duty at the Douglas Hospital, Washington, until July, 1862, when he was discharged on account of ill health. When he had recovered he reenlisted in Company A, 188th N. Y. Infantry, in which he served as color bearer for the Fifth Army Corps. He was mustered out after the Grand Review at Washington and returned home to take up civil life. In 1872 he went to Nebraska and took up a homestead north of Lincoln and improved a farm. He served as superintendent of the poor farm for six years. He later set out a fine orchard and improved a good farm five miles north of Lincoln, and eventually became a wealthy man. He was married March 28, 1852, to Esther Hawkins, also a native of New York. They had two children who grew up: Ernest Hermance and Mrs. Batten. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Batten was blessed with eight children: Ernest LeRoy died December 8, 1904; Carrie Addie died in 1901; Winnie died in 1903 ; and Elmer died in 1906, all dying or being buried on their twenty-first birthdays. Three other children died in infancy. Fay is the only survivor. Mr. Batten was a Republican and fraternally belonged to the Maccabees. Mrs. Batten was a member of the Methodist Church, South. Mr. Batten died on August 29, 1911, and Mrs. Batten passed away on October 28, 1922.




Among the varied industries for which California is noted is bee culture, and a man who has made a record for himself in that industry is Walter W. Thompson, of Dos Palos, inspector of apiaries for Merced County. The son of Ephraim and Martha J. (Cook) Thompson, he was born in St. Charles County, Mo., on May 21, 1873. His father was born in Wythe County, Va., on October 26, 1842, the son of Bryant and Barbara (Buchanan) Thompson, of old Virginia families and prosperous farmers and stockmen, Bryant Thompson owning a farm of 640 acres. Ephraim's education was interrupted by the breaking out of the Civil War and on April 6, 1861, he enlisted in a company of cavalry under Captain McDonald of General Stuart's division in the Army of the Potomac. He entered as a private, served through the war, was wounded three times, was captured and spent thirteen months in the prison at Camp Morton, in Indianapolis, and came out of the service a sergeant. After the war he went to Missouri and bought seventy acres of land, leased some more and farmed for twenty years. He was married at Crab Orchard, Va., on November 5, 1866, to Miss Martha J. Cook, born in Virginia, a daughter of Frank and Mattie Cook, farmer folk of the South. In 1890 the Thompson family came to Dos Palos, Cal., where the father bought thirty acres northwest of Dos Palos, and here he has farmed and raised chickens ever since. There were four sons in the family who grew up. Walter is the oldest of those living; the others are John T. and R. C.


Walter W. attended the public schools of St. Charles and O'Fallon, Mo., and when he was twenty-two he struck out for himself, going to El Dorado County where he mined; also following mining in Oregon and Idaho. In 1900 he came back to Dos Palos and improved a five-acre ranch he had purchased, and he also owns twenty acres in Fresno County and 480 acres in San Bernardino County.


On June 12, 1905, Walter W. Thompson was united in marriage with Miss Susan E. White, daughter of Henry Jackson and Sally White. Her mother was twice married and by her first husband she had a son, George Appleton. By the second marriage she had the following children: Rebecca, Mrs. Alvord of Merced; Eva, Mrs. Smith, also in Merced; Susan E.; Emma and Anna. Mrs. Thompson was born at Raymond, Fresno County and was educated in the high school in Merced. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have two children: Virginia, wife of Orlo Cruisenberry of Los Banos, and Edward, a high school student, Class of 1926. Politically, Mr. Thompson is a Democrat. Fraternally he belongs to Santa Rita Lodge No. 124, I. O. O. F., in which he is a Past Grand; and he belongs to the Rebekahs and to the Modern Woodmen of America in Dos Palos. Mrs. Thompson is a member and Past Noble Grand of Rebekah Lodge No. 333, of Dos Palos. Mr. Thompson has been raising bees in Merced County since 1905 and has had as many as 600 stands at one time. He is an authority on bee culture and has served as deputy inspector and inspector of apiaries of Merced County since 1911.




When the discovery of gold in California was drawing thousands from all parts of the world, among the hardy and adventurous argonauts who crossed the plains in 1849 was Mark Hadley, who was born in Pottsville, England, and came here with his wife, Jane (Woodhouse) Hadley to Wisconsin. Leaving his family there, he came to California with a party, by the Platte River, Salt Lake and Ogden route. After a few years spent in mining he returned to Wisconsin and took up an eighty acre claim of government land at $1.25 an acre and remained there until his death, in 1890, at the age of eighty. His wife was eighty-eight years old when she died in 1905. Fredrick Hadley, son of Mark Hadley, was born in Grant County, Wis., on July 6, 1848, and was one of thirteen children. Educated in the common schools and reared on his father's farm, he started out to work for himself when he was twenty-one.


On February 20, 1869, Mr. Hadley was united in marriage with Miss Ellen Brown, born in New York, near Binghamton, the daughter of Pulaski and Electa (Hugaboom) Brown, both natives of New York State. The Browns subsequently moved to Clayton, Iowa, where they farmed, later moved to Grant County, Wis., and after a time returned to Iowa and settled in Buena Vista County, and here the mother died, at the age of sixty-six. After her death, Mr. Brown went to Pennsylvania and there he died, when he was eighty-four years old. Mrs. Hadley is one of five children and the oldest living of the family and received her education in Grant County, Wisconsin. After her marriage with Mr. Hadley they farmed in Grant County for ten years, then moved to near Storm Lake, Buena Vista County, Iowa, and for seventeen years farmed there. Then they decided they would come to California, which they did, and located in Dos Palos Colony in 1895, being among the first settlers. He bought forty-two acres over in Fresno County and ran a dairy. About 1906 they purchased property in Dos Palos and erected their home. Mr. Hadley owns several parcels of real estate in the town and has property in Madera and ten acres of his Fresno County ranch. Mr. and Mrs. Hadley have had four children. Laura E. married F. H. Grieme and had two children, Mrs. Eva Redfern and Mrs. Opal Ma1m. The latter has a daughter, Betty Marie. Mrs. Grieme died on September 22, 1923. Lucius S. lives in Fresno. He married Miss Bessie F. Gable and they have a son, Glen M. Edith May is the wife of E. P. Gable and resides at Long Beach and they have a daughter, Mrs. Madeline Hickok. Lela P. married B. F. King. She met an accidental death in an automobile accident in Modesto on March 20, 1925. Mr. Hadley served as a constable while living in Grant County, Wis. He is a Republican and is a member of the Methodist Church. Mrs. Hadley is a social member of the Maccabees.




The name of Charles Bizzini was well-known among the successful agriculturists of the Gustine section of Merced County for many years, where he located the year prior to the laying out of the town of Gustine. His birth occurred in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, November 4, 1855, a son of Rafael and Madaline Bizzini, also natives of that country. Charles Bizzini received a common school education in Switzerland and when twenty years old came to California and settled at Cayucos in San Luis Obispo County, where he worked as a ranch laborer; later he removed to Monterey County where he leased land and farmed.


At San Luis Obispo, on September 16, 1885, Mr. Bizzini was married to Miss Delfina Dalidio, also born in Switzerland, daugh­ter of Jacimo Pietro and Mariana (Filippini) Dalidio. Her father had married in Switzerland and during the gold excitement in California came West leaving his family in the old country. He mined for twelve years, then returned to his home and there passed away at the age of fifty years Mrs. Bizzini's mother lived to be seventy-one years old. There were four children in this family: Angelina, died in Switzerland; Delfina, the wife of our subject; Amelia, still makes her home in Switzerland; Theresa, deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Bizzini lived in Cayucos for three years. In 1906 they removed to Merced County and purchased seventy acres in alfalfa just south of where Gustine now stands; here a residence was built. Later he purchased a nine-acre ranch on which he built a house and this was used as the home place. Mr. and Mrs. Bizzini became the parents of ten children, namely: Elvira and Esther, twins. Elvira is now Mrs. Calanchini, and Esther is Mrs. Zanini, and has four children, Alma, Louis, Henry, and Walter ; Dora is now Mrs. Bonta and she has four children, Floyd, George, Mary and Chester. Edward G.; Louis Ralph; Clara is now Mrs. McFaul; Amelia is Mrs. De Martin; Albert Charles ; Rosalie is Mrs. Louis P. Taglio ; and Nellie D., a graduate of the University of California, taught two years in the Gustine Grammar School and is now a teacher in the Gustine High School. Mr. Bizzini passed away at the family home July 2, 1917. He was an honored member of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Gustine and a good citizen in every sense of the word.




The career of Antone A. Souza, who has risen to be one of the largest dairy farmers in Merced County, is of unusual interest. Though of foreign parentage, he was born in Watsonville, Cal., on March 13, 1882, a son of Antone L. and Mary (Day) Souza, both natives of the Azores, the former of St. George and the latter of Flores. The father came to California in the early seventies and worked on ranches, was foreman on the Logan ranch, and also owned fifty acres five miles from Watsonville. He died at the age of sixty-eight; the mother is still living. There were five children in the family, namely: Antone, who died in infancy; Antone A.; Mary, Mrs. Amarante of Gustine; Joseph, deceased; Joseph, at Watsonville. The son Antone A. was educated in the grammar school and the business college in Watsonville, and when he became of age he started out to work for himself as a ranch hand. In 1904 he came to Los Banos, where he was married on September 6, 1904, to Miss Helen Mellow, born in Watsonville, the daughter of Frank and Lucy Mellow both born in the Azores, the father at St. Miguel, where he was a dairyman. They were pioneers of Monterey County, and are now deceased. There were nine children in their family, as follows : Mary, Frank, Lucy, Helen, Antone, Manuel, Joseph, Anna and John. Mrs. Souza was educated in the public schools in Pajaro Valley.


Upon coming to the West Side, Mr. Souza rented James Sweeney's ranch near Los Banos and had a dairy of fifty cows for one year. He then went to Watsonville and worked one season on a hay press, returning to the Cottonwood district where he pur­chased a quarter interest in a dairy of 100 cows ; but four months later he sold it and worked for wages for a year. Then he engaged in a dairy business at Los Banos for a year and a half, when he sold out, and ran a dairy on the Noble Marsh place four months, and one near Dos Palos for nine months. When he sold the latter he bought forty acres of land in the Cottonwood district, but disposed of this and went to Colusa County and with John Westfall ran a dairy on a percentage basis for a year and half. Mr. Souza then moved to a point seven miles below Knight's Landing in Yolo County on the Sacramento River and rented 2000 acres in the region now embraced in the Yolo County By Pass, but on account of the opening of this pass he had to quit this ranch and went to raising hogs and cattle, having about 400 head of each, continuing on one ranch four years. He then came to Cottonwood again and leased 648 acres on which he moved 375 head of cattle and thirty head of horses from Yolo County. The Cottonwood ranch is on the canal about six miles below Gustine. He leases several other ranches among which are the Jameson alfalfa ranch of 166 acres; the McCabe ranch of 320 acres, 200 acres of which are devoted to alfalfa; the Johnson ranch of 160 acres, 100 acres of which are in alfalfa; the Maude Wood's place of 345 acres, 150 acres of which is in alfalfa. He pays out $21,000.00 a year for land he has leased, but he sub-leases some of these ranches to other tenants for dairies. He now has a herd of 450 dairy cattle and has purchased the J. D. McCarthy ranch of 160 acres. He does some dry farming and has 300 acres in grain about four miles out from Los Banos.


Mr. and Mrs. Souza have no children of their own but have reared the following children taken from the Watsonville orphanage, namely: Robert Pompey, Clifford Jones, Martin Heath, Antone Espinosa, Clifford Marshall, Louis Jensen and Victor Lawrence. In politics Mr. Souza is a Republican. Fraternally he is a member of the U. P. E. C., and of the Eagles- of Los Banos.




Born in Brisbane, Australia, of Italian parentage, Jack Banchio is typical of the hardy mountaineers of northern Italy, as will readily be seen from an incident here related, which took place in his child­hood days, and truly shows that "the boy is father to the man." His parents went from Piemonte, northern Italy, to Australia, settling in Brisbane, and there Jack was born and reared, and his schooling obtained in the public school. He had his own ideas on the subject of education, however, and when eight years old he decided to start out in life for himself, and ran away from home, starting afoot to the interior of Australia. The school and truant officers undertook to return him to his parents, and overtook him quite a distance from home; after capturing him they made him ride on a horse with one of the officers, and while en route the officers, tired from their chase, stopped to get some refreshments, leaving young Jack on the horse; he turned a handspring off the animal, and was again soon lost in the brush. He this time headed across country, as the officers had threatened to whip him and put him in jail for being a bad boy, and he headed for Ipswich, where he arrived safely. The officers were soon in pursuit, but, being a strong, husky lad, used to the wilds, he succeeded in outwitting them and did not go home until he was about twelve years of age.


Not a long time following this occurrence, his parents left Bris­bane for New Zealand, and after remaining there a short time they went to Sidney, Australia, and then decided to return to northern Italy via the Indian Ocean to the Isle of Ceylon, through the Red Sea and Suez Canal, then down the Mediterranian to Italy; so before their son Jack was much older he had become quite a traveled youngster and knew how to find his way about. On reaching young manhood he came to California, and finally landed in Merced County in 1910, where today he is one of the influential men of that district, one of the city trustees of Gustine, and proprietor of the Gustine Hotel, and Gustine Hotel Grounds. A man of originality and strong character, his influence is always for progress and the further advancement of his home section, and he has proven himself a real citizen of his adopted country. He has in his possession citizenship papers of England, Italy and the United States.



The sketch of the life of Michael De Gregori shows his wide experience in America and in foreign lands. He was born in Naples, Italy, on September 29, 1841, the youngest of three children born to Antonio and Laura De Gregori. As a lad he followed the sea and during his travels landed in New York; from there he came to California via Cape Horn and found employment on a ranch after his arrival. He later went to Stockton and raised vegetables in San Joaquin County, which he sold in the city. He was married in Stockton on May 19, 1877, to Miss Adeline Alegretti, born in the province of Genoa, Chiavari, Italy. Her father was a sculptor and an artist and died when his daughter was only seven years old.


After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. De Gregori lived in Stock­ton, where their first two children were born. Then they moved to the Stevinson Colony in Merced County, leased ten acres of land and raised vegetables. In 1887 they moved to the West Side and bought 320 acres of land about four miles southeast of what is now the town of Gustine and improved the land and made it their home for several years. This ranch is still owned by Mrs. De Gregori and is devoted to all kinds of farm produce. Their next move was to buy eighty acres one mile from the New Era Creamery and run a dairy. They leased this property and moved into Gustine, where they bought a home, and here Mr. De Gregori passed away on November 20, 1915. Mrs. De Gregori resides in this home.


This worthy couple had eleven children: Sylvia, Mrs. Rimola, died leaving one son, Paul; Joseph, of Los Banos has five children, Walter, Ernest, Oliver, David and Annie; Artelia, deceased; Frank, of Gustine has a son, Michael; Louis, of Los Banos has two children, Blanche and Elmer; Antonio, of Newman; Mary, widow of J. O. Souza has two sons, Clinton and Vernon; Annie, Mrs. D. J. Canale, of Santa Cruz has one daughter, Virginia; Laura and Louise, twins, the former deceased; and George.




The owner of the Ragsdale subdivision and addition to Meced, James T. Ragsdale, has a national reputation as a dealer in horses, mules and blooded stock. It was a business that came naturally to him from his father. He was born on a farm in Missouri on October 25, 1869, the fourth of nine children born to Thomas and Betty (Smith) Ragsdale, both natives of Missouri. The elder Ragsdale was a farmer, who owned vast tracts of land in Missouri before the first railroad bridged the Mississippi; he was also a well-known buyer of mules and horses, taking large droves of them to St. Louis. He devoted his life to that work and was a most successful business man; he died at the age of sixty-nine, and his wife at the age of sixty-eight.


James T. Ragsdale was brought up on the farm and attended the Washington district school. At the age of eighteen he began an interest in his father's business, taking charge of 160 acres, five miles south of Shelbina, and was there located until 1902, in the meantime engaging more and more in the breeding of shorthorn cattle, buying and selling mules and horses and handling as high as 2000 head of horses and mules in a season, shipping them to Texas and into the South. As a buyer he represented Brown and Price and Clay Robinson, of Chicago. During those days he never failed to show at the county and state fairs of Missouri for thirty years. At the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893, he and his father took many premiums; he was the only one of his brothers who followed in the footsteps of their father in the stock business. In 1893 James T. Ragsdale was married in Missouri to Miss Nannie Whaley, a native of Missouri, and they have a son, Marcus, who is married and has three children. Mr. Ragsdale and his family came to Merced County in 1902. The county was a great wheat belt and be began farming on a ranch two and one half miles out of Merced on the Oakdale road. Six months later he invested in Merced town property, and buying out the Merced Livery Stables changed the name to Yosemite Stables. From time to time he added other stables until he had three of the largest livery stables in Merced County with a string of seventy-five horses. During this time Mr. Ragsdale brought to Merced the first five-gaited horses. He owned the celebrated Monroe McDonald, a $1000 three-year-old; in 1914 he was the gold medal grand champion winner at the Sacramento State Fair. He also owned the champion stallion, Orfeld Prince who was bought, in 1910, by Miller & Lux.


In 1914 Mr. Ragsdale sold out his entire livery stable business owing to the coming of the motor vehicles and has since devoted a great deal of attention to the buying and selling of mules and horses throughout the valley. He represented T. H. Gilroy, of Kansas City, as agent of the U. S. Government in purchasing and shipping animals in 1917-1918, handling 150 a week throughout the valley from Sacramento to Bakersfield. He also shipped to Guyton and Harrington Mule Company at Kansas City, Mo. He was made the initial horse and mule inspector for California. Soon after the call came from the U. S. Government for horses and mules for war pur­poses, in association with Godfrey Priest of Long Island, he trans­ported mules to French soil, and conducted the first inspection of war stock for the French government held in California, which took place in Merced when 250 horses were inspected. Since the war he has dealt with Rominger & Co., of Fort Worth, Texas, supplying work stock for southern cotton planters. He has shipped to Lambert and Langley in Salt River Valley and Phoenix, Ariz., also to Hono­lulu and other foreign ports. In 1920 he quit the stock business and entered the real estate field and bought the Bradley Tract embracing fifty-two acres, on Bear Creek at the eastern boundary of Merced, and placed the Ragsdale Addition on the market and found a ready response, for its value is unequaled in the State.


He has been a member of the Modern Woodmen of America thirty years; the Court of Honor twenty years; an Odd Fellow and a Rebekah in Merced for seventeen years. Mr. Ragsdale served as city trustee, 1918 to 1921, resigning the latter year when he removed from the city into the Ragsdale Addition of Merced. He has made two trips East since 1902, and has returned each time with a higher appreciation of California.




The eldest in a family of five children, Frank Baldwin was associated with his father, Perry Baldwin, until his death. Perry Baldwin was a farmer of the frontier who came with his wife, who was in maidenhood Miss Lavancha Woodard, to Hamilton County, Iowa, where their eldest son was born. Other children of the family were Blanch, Mrs. Clarence Worthy of Berkeley; Etta, Mrs. Hugh Doyle of the Dos Palos Colony; Carl and William, both deceased. Frank Baldwin was educated in the common schools of Iowa and went with the family in 1895 to California, and located in the Dos Palos Colony. The father bought forty acres there and later added forty more. Frank worked with his father and helped develop the land. His father died March 28, 1921, aged seventy-six. His mother lived to the age of eighty and died April 20, 1919.


In August, 1921, Mr. Baldwin was married to Miss Rosalie Baldwin, who was born in Iowa, the daughter of Andrew Baldwin, and they reside on the old Baldwin homestead.


Hugh Doyle, a brother-in-law of Frank Baldwin, is a native of Coles County, Ill., born at Lerna, on June 16, 1876, a son of James and Elizabeth (Lynn) Doyle, natives of Ireland, who had five children as follows: Charles, deceased; Edna, of Corning, Cal.; Hugh; James and Elizabeth, both of Dinuba, Cal. Hugh attended the grammar schools of Illinois and started out for himself doing odd jobs at the early age of twelve. Drifting from place to place over the west he rode the range in Wyoming and Montana, and came from Denver, Colo., to Dos Palos, Cal. He worked two years for Miller & Lux.

Hugh Doyle married Etta Baldwin on January 3, 1904. Since then he has successfully engaged in farming in the north end of the Dos Palos Colony.




A native of California, Jasper Parnell is a highly esteemed citizen of Merced County. He was born in Calaveras County, November 14, 1853, a son of John Parnell, who was a native of England and came to America in 1840, settling at Galena, Ill. He was a steamboat engineer, subsequently becoming a resident of Wisconsin. In 1850 he crossed the plains with horse teams and mined in Cala­veras County until 1867, when he located on the West Side in Stanislaus County, near Grayson. He took up 160 acres of government land and improved a fine ranch, meeting with good success and increasing his holdings until he owned 1000 acres. When he retired he went to Stockton and bought a home and lived there; he also had a summer home at Pacific Grove, where he died July 28, 1902. He had married Julia Stevens, who was born at Cornwall, England and died at Stockton, Cal., January 2, 1903. They had four children, three sons and one daughter.


Jasper Parnell was the oldest son and second child. He attended the schools in Calaveras County and went with his parents to Stanislaus County, where he assisted his father to improve the home ranch and where he became familiar with the various branches of ranch work. In 1887 he bought a ranch of his own, consisting of 480 acres in Merced County, near Ingomar ; he also owns another ranch of 320 acres near Grayson.


In Stockton, Jasper Parnell was united in marriage with Cassie Barney, a native of Pennsylvania, and they have had three children: Stella, Harold and Cora. Mr. and Mrs. Parnell spend most of their time on the home place, but enjoy their home at Pacific Grove during the summer. Mr. Parnell is a Democrat. He belongs to the Odd Fellows and Woodmen of the World.




The seventh child in a family of eight children born to his parents, Melvin Neighbor was born at Snelling, October 20, 1891, a son of Gilbert B. and Matilda (Smith) Neighbor, early pioneers, a sketch of whose lives is given on another page of this history. He received a good education in the public schools. He grew to manhood and assisted his father in the store, later formed a partnership with him, and they continued to carry on a general merchandise business until 1920, when they sold out and closed their building. On March 27, 1919, Melvin Neighbor was appointed postmaster of Snelling and has efficiently served the people of his locality. On February 1, 1921 he became the agent for the American Railway Express, and about the same time became agent for the Yosemite Valley Railroad, serving with the efficiency inculcated by his father, who was faithful to every trust reposed in him.


Melvin Neighbor was united in marriage with Miss Mable J. East, the ceremony being performed at Merced. She is a daughter of J. W. East, formerly of Watsonville, but now of Snelling. They have two children; Esther and Ruth. Mr. Neighbor has done much to keep alive the community spirit of Snelling and when the postoffice was to be taken away by default he offered his services and the use of his building free. He handles the duties of the office efficiently and is counted one of the progressive men of his locality.




Men of the type of Pompilio Stefani, who have come here from the farms and vineyards of their native countries, and have brought their first-hand knowledge of all forms of agriculture to a new land, helping in its development and upbuilding, are very real factors in our present-day prosperity, and deserve to be mentioned in its per­sonal history. Born February 2, 1871, at Marla, Province Lucca, Italy, Mr. Stefani was the seventh of ten children born to Constan­tino and Maria (Lorencetti) Stefani, both natives of Italy, where the father was a farmer and vineyardist. He attended the public schools of Marla, and was reared on the home farm, learning in his boyhood the unceasing effort necessary when reaping a harvest from the soil.

Mr. Stefani served twenty-three months in the 8th Regular Infantry of the Italian National Army, and at the end of that period decided to seek his opportunity in America. Leaving Italy on July 4, 1894, he went to Havre, France, and there boarded the steam­ship Fulda, and ten days later reached New York. He had been preceded to California by a brother, Carlo, who came in 1892, and he himself came direct to San Francisco from New York.


September 12, 1894, Mr. Stefani came to Merced County, and at once entered the employ of Thomas Wood, then superintendent of the Santa Rita ranch; his wages were twenty dollars per month, working in the dairy and alfalfa, and he spent three years in their employ. He worked in the Italian Colony in Madera County, and remained there six months during the harvest season of 1896. Re­turning to Merced as foreman of the ranch workers' gang on the grain ranch of the Crocker-Huffman Land & Water Company, he was thus occupied steadily for the next six years. In the meantime, in 1903, he invested in 'twenty-nine acres of land in Ash Colony and his property today is known as Franklin Corners, three miles north of Merced on the State Highway. Here he set out a vineyard of black grapes and a fruit orchard, and now has a highly developed property, with class A buildings and residence. He added seventeen acres by subsequent purchase, and set out more vineyards, and in 1923 he erected a fireproof garage building, 40' by 80' on the Franklin Corners, and has leased the corner to a garage and service station company. In all this development work, Mr. Stefani has added to his own resources, and at the same time has added to pro­perty values in the county. A man who believes in the judicious investing of his savings for permanent improvements, he has been an upbuilder to the community where he settled and makes his home.


The marriage of Mr. Stefani, at Marla, Italy, when he returned home for a nine months' visit, in 1908, united him with Teresa Marchini, a native of Lucca, and third of six children born to her parents, Joseph and Anna Marchini, farmers of that place. Three children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Stefani: Annie, Constantino, and William. Mr. Stefani received his citizenship papers in Merced in 1897, and is a Republican. Fraternally, he has been a member of the Merced Lodge of Druids for eleven years.




Known throughout Merced County as an expert on fig growing and developing, Albert G. Tracy has been one of the most important factors in that branch of horticulture in this section of California, for he not only has brought his own acreage to the highest state of cultivation and valuation, but he has been of very material aid in helping others to do the same. He is known to all as a genuine man, ready to help those in difficulty, among whom he is known as the "Fig expert," gaining the title through actual experience with prob­lems of his own in the industry.


Mr. Tracy is a native of Ohio, born in Toledo, August 12, 1874, and he is the only survivor of a family of four children born to George A. and Sarah (MacElroy) Tracy, the former a native of Connecticut, and the latter of New York State. George A. Tracy, who at the venerable age of eighty-four years is making his home with his son, of this review, has an enviable record as a building contractor. Coming to Los Angeles at the tail end of the boom of 1886, he remained there six years, and then moved to Fresno, in 1892, and he has been a leader in the trade for over forty years of building in the State. His wife passed to her reward on October 22, 1922.


Albert G. received his education in the schools of Los Angeles and Fresno; and in 1896 with a party of thirteen Fresno men, he went north to the west coast of Alaska, and was absent for four and one-half years. On his return to California he entered the service of Uncle Sam, and with the United States Regulars, went with a pack-train into the Boxer region of China during that uprising, occupying the territory for twelve months. He was afterwards with the troops under Major Case in the Philippines, and with Engineer Andre in road construction and helped put in the first American roadbeds on the islands. He was elected sheriff of Sourge, and filled that office for three years.


When he returned to California and civilian life, Mr. Tracy located in Fresno, and took up horticultural work in 1905. Starting on forty acres in the McKinley district, and with limited means at the start, he has made several remarkable achievements in his chosen field as a fruit man. Raisin grapes and peach-growing were his first endeavors, and for seven years he tussled with each as a problem, both from the standpoint of grower and also the marketing side of the industry, which in the days before cooperation was a very serious problem for the grower. Mr. Tracy was instrumental in organizing, and is a charter member of the California Peach and Fig Growers Association. He developed a fine ranch, and acquired other valuable holdings in Fresno, which he disposed of, on his removal to Merced County.


His latest success has been in the Black Mission and Adriatic fig industry, and he is conceded by those who know to be an expert authority on fig growing in California ; his counsel and advice, is sought from near and far. In 1912 he sought a new field in which to develop the fig, then in its infancy as an industry and unknown to the large majority of valley ranchers as a producer, and a profitable one. He looked up and down the State, and after careful consideration chose the Merced district for his development work. Purchasing a tract of land five miles east of Merced, on Childs Avenue, up to the present writing he has developed into fine fig groves some 300 acres of land, having in the meantime engaged in the real estate business, with an office in Merced until a short time ago, when he discontinued his town office and now transacts all his business at his home, situated on the site of his first location in the county, and surrounded by eleven acres of figs in a highly developed state. Mr. Tracy named some of the avenues in his district, and he was one of the pioneers in an industry which has been of far-reaching effect in placing Merced County near the head of California's fruit districts, the value of which will be shown more and more plainly as the years pass.


November 15, 1905, occurred the marriage of Albert G. Tracy to Miss Maude L. Beck, a native of Kansas City, and daughter of a pioneer Fresno family, where her parents now reside. Mr. Tracy is a member of the Masons and Odd Fellows, both of Merced.




It was a piece of very good fortune that M. Caton, of Atwater, was able to get such a capable and efficient manager as David Ca­saretto for his meat market in the Martha Washington Stores, Inc. at Atwater. Having a most thorough knowledge of the butchering, meat-packing and curing industry gained by long years of experience, he is able to handle the customers in such a way as to make the best of friends of every one with whom he has dealings and has proved a most valuable help to his employer. He was born in Indian Gulch, Mariposa County on June 24, 1856, the second of four children. His father, Giuseppe Casaretto, is mentioned in another place in this book. He attended the Merced Falls school and was reared at Indian Gulch. He began the wool-growing business in company with his brothers and continued in it until 1884 when he took up the butcher trade, which he followed in Arizona and Colorado as a journeyman for forty years. Six years ago he came to Atwater and became manager of the Sanitary Meat Market, where he remained until 1924. About January 1, 1925, he assumed his present position. He owns his residence in Atwater. He does not tie to any political party but votes for the best men and measures at all elections.

Mr. Casaretto was married in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 1888, to Miss Ella McElroy, a native of Missouri, who came to California with her parents. There are four children of the union, viz. : Verne W., of Atwater ; Ruth, wife of Charles Wirow, in San Diego County; Hazel, wife of Arthur Davis of Los Angeles; and Herbert, who died at one year of age. There are also six grandchildren.




The son of a baker by trade, Matthew Jensen was born in Schleswig, Denmark, on March 4, 1867, and there he attended the common school. To the same school went Margaret Lindberg, who came from a neighboring farm; they met daily and played to­gether. Matthew Jensen was the fourth in a family of seven child­ren : Doretta, Mary, Harvey, Matthew, John, James and Anna, deceased.


Matthew, at the early age of fifteen, started out to make his own living and came to America and California. A stranger in a strange land, ignorant of the customs and the language, and with no means or influential friends, it was a tough proposition which faced the lad. But he got a job on a ranch near Watsonville and for eight years worked around on different ranches. Then he went to San Louis Obispo and worked two years. By saving his money he had accumulated funds enough to go into the dairy business on his own account, and with a partner carried on dairying seven years on rent­ed land. The profits were not so good but that an engagement with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company seemed to be a little better and for many years he was in their employ, first as a section hand, three years as inspector of tracks, and seven years as section foreman of the Tracy Division. But before this he bought a ranch two miles south of Los Banos and built a home and farm buildings.


The girl he used to go to school with in his native land had come to America five years before, and they were married in Watsonville on November 12, 1892. In 1910 he resigned from the railroad business to devote his time to the little home ranch where he resides in comfort today. There were eight children born to this union, viz.: Anna, Mrs. C. C. Anderson of La Center, Wash.; Antone E.; Eva, Mrs. Joseph Ellis of Los Banos; Mark L.; James, deceased; Margaret E. (Rita Beth), Mrs. M. J. Lane of Livermore ; James H.; and John Norman. Mrs. Jensen passed away on December 30, 1924, aged fifty-four years, six months and one day, mourned by a wide circle of friends. Mr. Jensen is a Democrat in politics and fraternally is a member of the Woodmen of the World.




The name which heads this review is representative of one of the oldest families of Monterey County, Cat., where Mrs. Taglio was born, a daughter of John B. and Juanita (Artellen) Leoni, the former a native of Switzerland and the latter of Monterey, Cal. The mother of our subject is one of the oldest native daughters in the State born of white parents, her father having been Peter Artellen, a native of France and among the first white settlers in Monterey. His wife was born in Monterey, of Spanish parents, who had immigrated from Spain. The parents of our subject were married in Monterey and engaged in farming in that section until the father's death in 1914, at the age of seventy-one. The mother has reached the age of seventy- four years, and makes her home in Watsonville.


Nellie A. Leoni attended public school and the Catholic convent in Salinas. On April 14, 1892, Miss Leoni was married to Peter L. Taglio, a native of Switzerland, son of Louis Peter and Dominica Taglio, who never left their native country. Peter L. Taglio was educated in the schools of Switzerland. In 1886 he came to California and first settled in Sonoma County, where he worked as a dairy hand. He attended night school while working and became proficient in the English language. He removed from Sonoma County to San Benito County, and there established a dairy of his own, continuing until he sold this business and removed to Salinas, where he engaged in the dairy business with 100 cows for the following eight years. He sold this business at a good profit and engaged in the stock business, buying and shipping cattle and hogs to the San Francisco markets. Following this, Mr. Taglio engaged in farming at Gonzales, Monterey


County, for four years. Fourteen years ago he located at Gustine. Here he purchased the old Sturgeon ranch, consisting of 163 acres in the Cottonwood district, and conducted a dairy until 1919, when he turned the management of it over to his three sons.

Mr. and Mrs. Taglio removed to Gustine, where he bought four acres within the city limits. He lived retired in his new home until his death at the age of fifty-eight years, and here Mrs. Taglio still makes her home. They were the parents of seven children: Louis Peter, Romeo, Peter, Phillip, Nellie, Theodore, and Raymond. The son Romeo served as a corporal in Company M, 364th Infantry, 91st Division, and saw service in France. Mr. Taglio was active in all Red Cross and Liberty Loan drives during the World War; he was a member of the Gustine Chamber of Commerce and was exceedingly public-spirited, taking an active interest in everything pertaining to the progress and development of his locality. Fraternally he was a mem­ber of the Druids and had passed through all the chairs of that order. He was a Democrat in politics, and was a faithful member of the Catholic Church, of which Mrs. Taglio is a liberal and consistent communicant.




A well-known and successful dairyman and rancher, Hugh L. New­som was born in Oakland, Cal., on January 10, 1877, the son of Alexander and Corine (Jones) Newsom, the former a native of Toronto, Canada, and the latter born in San Jose, Cal. Grandfather Hugh Jones was one of the early pioneers of California, where he became a cattleman and settled in the Santa Clara Valley. Hugh's father died when Hugh was very young and his mother married W. W. Wright, who is now residing in the hills near Los Banos. His mother died at the age of thirty-eight. Hugh had two step­brothers, William and Walter, and two step-sisters, Nell and Bell. Mr. Wright was a stockman and moved to Merced County in 1883 and settled in the Romero District, where Hugh attended school. At the age of thirteen he started out to work for wages; he milked cows and drove a milk wagon in Los Banos. Later he went to the moun­tains west of Los Banos and worked for his board and attended school in the Alvarado district. Afterwards he went to the mines at Angel's Camp in Calaveras County and worked with the compressed air drill in the mines of the "Mother Lode" four years. He went to Oakland and took a business course in Aydlott's Business College after which he was employed with W. P. Fuller and Co. in San Francisco as interior decorator; he then took up the work of artistic designing and painting for the company and continued in the business with the Fuller Company up to the time when the Tozer Company purchased the wall paper and decoration departments, Mr. Newsom continuing with the new firm, putting in altogether eleven years. He was next employed in the same work by Edgar De Wolf of San Francisco. In 1905 he formed a partnership in the dairy business with Manuel A. Marshall.


Hugh L. Newsom was married on November 23, 1904 at Ross, Cal., to Lucia A. Marshall, born in Ross Valley, and a sister of his partner, Manuel A. Marshall. Mr. Newsom is a Republican in politics; fraternally, is a member of Golden West Parlor No. 50 N. S. G. W., of Oakland. He is also a member of the Building Trades Council of San Francisco.




Though comparatively a young man, Fay W. Batten has achieved very satisfactory results both in business and in farming, which have won for him the respect and confidence of the community where he has attained to positions of honor and trust. The son of Luther and Helen (Hermance) Batten, he is now the only living member of the family. A sketch of his father is given on another page in this history. Fay was born at Raymond, Nebr., on July 16, 1894 and when a babe in arms was brought to Dos Palos, Cal., and he attended the Reynolds Avenue school, then had two years in high school and one year at the College of the Pacific in San Jose. He was always associated with his father in business matters and some time before his father died he was managing the ranch. The father owned 160 acres, and this property is now owned by our subject and is devoted to alfalfa, dairying and gardening. From 1919 to 1922, Mr. Batten and Frank Allen were partners in a grocery in Dos Palos.


Mr. Batten has been twice married. His first wife was Mabel E. Birkhead, born in Troy, Mo., on September 4, 1889, the daughter of Shapely and Mollie Birkhead, who brought their family to California in 1895 and settled in Tulare County. Their marriage was celebrated on June 18, 1913. They had three children born to them, only one now living, Fay Elizabeth. Mary Helen died in in­fancy and Luther Batten died on May 17, 1922, aged five years. The wife and mother passed away on December 21, 1918 and her loss was keenly felt by all who knew her.


The second marriage of Mr. Batten, uniting him with Eleanore Sargent, took place on September 1, 1923. She is the daughter of John Emery and Elizabeth (Pitts) Sargent, natives of Ohio and California, respectively. Grandfather Pitts was an early settler in California, coming soon after the end of the Civil War. J. E. Sargent is a lumberman and has a yard at Upland, Cal., where he and his wife make their home. One sister, Mrs. Katherine Matthews, lives in San Francisco. Mrs. Batten was educated in Pomona College and taught school in Dos Palos prior to her marriage. Besides looking after his ranch interests, Mr. Batten is acting as agent for the Ford and Lincoln automobiles and the Fordson tractor. In 1922 he was elected a member of the Dos Palos Grammar School board and served as clerk. He is a member of the Methodist Epis­copal Church, South, and is non-partisan in his politics. For several years he did considerable work with the Boys' Agricultural Club and was active in the Farm Bureau. Mrs. Batten belongs to the Dos Palos Women's Improvement Club.




The path to fortune is not strewn with flowers even under the most favorable conditions. In the life of Serafino Borsini there were many obstacles to be overcome which would have discouraged many young men, hence the success to which he has attained is worthy of mention. He was born in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, on April 25, 1855, the son of Sebastian and Josephine (Berta) Borsini, farmer folk in Switzerland who spent their entire lives there, the father dying at the age of fifty and the mother at seventy years. The sixth of eight children, Serafino received his schooling at the local school and when he was nineteen he came to America, arriving in Nevada in 1874, where he found employment in the mines and in the woods near Virginia City for a year. He then came to Plumas County, Cal., worked as a milker at twenty dollars a month and found for the first four months, on a dairy in the Sierra Valley. Even with this small wage he was soon able to buy cows and go into the dairy business for himself. In 1905 he came to Merced County, purchased forty acres of alfalfa land north of Cottonwood school house and here he has carried on a prosperous dairy business ever since. Mr. Borsini became an American citizen in 1883 and votes the Republican ticket at all times.


On October 30, 1883, Mr. Borsini was united in marriage with Miss Celia Mead, daughter of Allen and Mary (Price) Mead, of Pennsylvania Dutch stock. Grandfather Price crossed the plains with oxen and a prairie schooner in the pioneer days and settled in Plumas County. Allen Mead was a teamster ; both he and his wife have passed on. Mr. and Mrs. Borsini have had nine children, viz.: Carrie Edna, Mrs. F. B. Sleeper of Oakdale; Mary Josephine, widow of Al Terzich, of San Francisco; Katherine Alberta, Mrs. Robert Cassity, has six children, Frances Lucille, Fay Roberta, Robert Hulen, Aloha May, Vernon Claire and Helen Grace; Frankie Rae, Mrs. George Gilligan of San Francisco, is the mother of Ernest, Melba, Dorothy, Juanita, Frank, Mary, Jack and Jeanette Gilligan; William S., who died when seven years old; Celia Rebecca, married Herbert Graham of Vancouver, Wash., and has a son, Bruce; Albert Sebastian and Allen Carlton, twins; Brenda Avis, Mrs. Laurence Sterling, of Gustine. Mr. and Mrs. Borsini are public spirited and hospitable people and assist in doing good wherever they can.




Located four miles south from Gustine is the fertile alfalfa ranch comprising 340 acres that is owned by Howard M. and Rus­sell B. Hunt and was inherited by them from their' father, the late Martin Luther Hunt. He came from Quebec, Canada, where he was born in 1858 and was a pioneer of 1884 in the Golden State. He was engaged in the retail milk business in San Francisco for seven years after his arrival here, and it was in this State that he was united in marriage with Miss Emma Green, a native of Ver­mont. After a successful business career in the bay metropolis Mr. Hunt came to the Quinto ranch, located in the hills on the West Side in Merced County, and for the ensuing eighteen years held the position of superintendent, supervising the details of the operation of this large tract of land very successfully. In the meantime he in­vested in the 340 acres now owned by our subjects and here he made the improvements that today make the ranch what it is. In point of years he did not live long to enjoy his splendid possessions, for he died in 1921 aged sixty-three. The mother made her home on the ranch, enjoying the competence accumulated by her husband and surrounded by the loving ministrations of her sons, until her death on December 20, 1924.


Howard M. Hunt was born on the Quinto ranch on July 14, 1890, attended the Cottonwood school and grew up to assist his father with the work on the ranch, at the same time learning from his worthy sire the details of successful ranch operation. He married Miss Helen Detoy, a native of Fresno and a daughter of Louis Detoy of Berkeley, on February 24, 1925.

Russell B. Hunt was born on the Quinto ranch on January 1, 1892, and he went to the Cottonwood school and did his share of work on the home place as he was growing to manhood. On May 20, 1918, he enlisted in the United States Army for service during the World War, was stationed at Camp Kearney with the Twenty- first Infantry, Fortieth Division and remained in camp until he was honorably discharged eight months later, at the Presidio in San Francisco on January 20, 1919. He is a Mason, belonging to the Newman lodge.


The Hunt Brothers jointly own three 100-acre ranches, two of them in alfalfa and leased to dairy farmers; the third ranch is being leveled and checked preparatory to putting in alfalfa. The brothers have worked in harmony on the ranch left by their father and have shown the same public spirit he demonstrated by supporting every worthy cause for the advancement of their locality. They have spent their entire lives in this section and are counted among the success­ful young ranchers of the West Side. They have been a part of the growth of the county and have been interested participants in the events that have brought about the transformation from barren land to rich and productive ranches peopled by contented families.




The life of Joaquin Vierra which began on the island of Terce­ria, of the Azores group, on March 14, 1856, sustained one of the greatest afflictions that can befall a young child, for his mother died when he was only fourteen months old. His father, also named Joaquin, was a farmer and lived to the age of seventy-two. His mother's maiden name was Josephine Gomez. The son grew up on his father's farm and went to the common school until he was sixteen years old. Then he started out for himself, came to America and directly to California, and eventually arrived at Haywards, Alameda County, where he spent the winter. He then came to the West Side and worked for Mr. Bunker in the Cottonwood district of Merced County, on the ranch now owned by John Jeffers. Young Vierra worked on this ranch six years and then made a trip back to his native land for a visit. Returning to California he worked another year for Mr. Bunker and then started out for himself and began raising stock on a small scale on the Donahue ranch for a number of years. He later sold this place of forty acres and pur­chased ten acres in another location and carried on a small dairy for six years. In 1910 he had so prospered that he was able to buy sixty-five acres under the ditch and is now making that his home, living practically retired, having turned the dairy over to his boys, who also run the McCabe ranch of 160 acres, of which 100 acres are in alfalfa.


While living on his first ranch Mr. Vierra sent back to his native island where his intended wife, Angeline Menzes, lived and she came to California and they were married in San Francisco on September 18, 1891. Her parents were Gariot and Margaret (Mar­tinez) Menzes, and of this union there have been five children, viz.: Margaret, Mrs. Rocha of Volta ; Joaquin, Jr., who manages the ranching interests; and Joseph, Frank and Estella. There are fifteen grandchildren in the Vierra home circle to brighten his fireside. He belongs to the I. D. E. S., and the U. P. E. C., of Los Banos and is an ex-officer of both lodges. He has served for years as trustee of the Santa Nella school district of Merced County.




Though fairly successful Edward Foletta has met with many discouragements and has been bereaved of his parents, Jasper and Filomina (Pedrazzi) Foletta, who died in Switzerland, the former at the age of sixty-three and the latter sixty-five. Of their fourteen children eight are living : Edward, our subject; Josephine, in Switzerland; Mary, in Italy; John, at King City; Mrs. Joseph Vosti, of Modesto; Harry, in Modesto; Constantine and Rosalinda, both in Switzerland.


Edward Foletta was born in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, on October 12, 1865, and his education, begun in the common schools, was completed by a military course until he was twenty-one years old. The year 1889 found him in America and he landed eventually in Pescadero, San Mateo County, where he got a job on a dairy ranch as milker at twenty-five dollars a month for two years. He learned the trade of cheese-making and then earned forty dollars a month, continuing for seven years, when he had accumulated enough funds to go into the dairy business on his own account with 130 head of cattle on a 1200-acre ranch, at Pigeon Point; he also carried on a cheese factory for nine years, taking in milk from neighboring ranches; then for nine years he was at Point New Years, near Pigeon Point, on 600 acres. In October, 1909, he bought an eighty-two-acre ranch three miles south of Los Banos, and added twenty acres to it in 1921, now devoted to alfalfa ; and he has a dairy of sixty cows. In 1922 he bought fifty-five acres three miles east of the home place which he runs in connection with the home place alternately.


On February 21, 1898, Edward Foletta was married to Ernes­tina Cicardini, a native of Canton Ticino, Switzerland, born Novem­ber 28, 1876, a daughter of Joseph and Mary (Goi) Cicardini. Her father was a native of Piedmonte, Italy, and her mother was of Swiss descent. He was a stone mason and lived and died in Switzerland. She was one of eight children, namely: Basilio, Theresa, En­celmo, John, Modesto, Angelina, Lena, and Ernestina. Mrs. Foletta was educated in the elementary schools of Switzerland and arrived in Santa Cruz, Cal., on April 13, 1893, where her sister Theresa was already located. She worked five years as a servant girl before she was married. Mr. and Mrs. Foletta have seven children: Mary, Mrs. Albert Bizzini, of Volta; Lena, of Los Banos; Emma, Mrs. Hugo Debene, of Los Banos; Edward, Emil, William and Josephine. Mr. Foletta belongs to the Sunset Center of the Merced County Farm Bureau and has served as a trustee of the Central school district for nine years.




From the time of establishing mercantile interests in the town of Gustine, Merced County, up to the present, Manuel M. Silva has been a leading factor in the commercial life of the place, a contributor to movements for its. substantial and permanent progress. No influence has entered into the growth of the town more important than that exerted by him in his capacity of general merchant. Since 1910 he has been at the head of a general merchandise store which has grown with each succeeding year to pits present proportions. He is one of Cali­fornia's native sons, having been born on his father's ranch three miles from Watsonville, Monterey County, near the county line, December 22, 1883, a son of Manuel and Mary (Smith) Silva. The father, also named Manuel Silva, was a native of St. George, of the Azores, and he came to California when a young man and engaged in the sheep business. He was married to Miss Mary Smith, a native of Santa Cruz, who was one of the first white children born at this place. The father herded his band of sheep in the San Joaquin Valley every sea­son taking them to the Sierra Nevada Mountains for pasture. Later he went out of the sheep business and with the money he had accumu­lated, established a dairy business which occupied him until his death, when something over fifty years old. There were nine children born in this family, namely: Manuel M.; Mary, deceased; George; Eu­genia; Margaret; Jack; Frank; Louis; and Walter.


Manuel M. Silva obtained his education in the Watsonville Grammar School and the business college at that place. When about eighteen years old he began clerking in a grocery store in Watsonville; he later drifted to Newman and for two years worked in the general store of Antone Souza. This brought him to the time when he located in Gustine in 1910 and that year he built a store building and opened his general merchandise business, which has since occupied his attention.


On November 26, 1906, Mr. Silva was married to Miss Ella Johnson, born at Santa Cruz, this State, a daughter of Hans and Marie (Scheuter) Johnson, both natives of Denmark; her father is a farmer in the vicinity of Santa Cruz. There were two daughters in this family, Mrs. Silva and Anna, who died single. Mr. and Mrs. Silva are the parents of two children : Mildred and Anna. Mr. Silva has been a member of the board of trustees of the town of Gustine and in politics is a stanch supporter of the Republican party; he is identified fraternally with Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. O. Elks of Merced; the Foresters of America ; and the U. P. E. C. Lodge No. 99 of Gustine and for some time has served as its treasurer.




One of the really progressive men who helped to lay the foundation for the present-day prosperity that is being enjoyed by the citizens of the West Side in Merced County, was the late Dante Pometta, a prosperous and efficient dairyman and rancher living five miles south of Gustine. He was born in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, on March 3, 1873, and received his education in the schools of his locality. When he was sixteen he made up his mind he could better his condition in America ; and hence he embarked for the land of opportunity, coming direct to California. He found employment as a milker on a dairy in Marin County for two years, and then for another two years he was in San Luis Obispo County. He saved his money and was fast picking up the English language, and when he was twenty years old he bought a dairy of fifty cows in Solano County, near Bird's Landing, which he ran for five years. In the meantime he had married. In 1898 he sold out his dairy herd, and with his wife and two children he visited Switzerland for a year; but the call of the Golden State was too strong, and they returned to engage in the dairy business in San Benito County near Hollister, where he had about 100 cows. He worked hard and prospered accordingly, and in 1904 he moved to Crow's Landing in Stanislaus County, where he carried on his business five years.


The year 1909 marked the time when Mr. Pometta became a land­owner; for he moved into Merced County and bought 110 acres in the Cottonwood district, about a mile north of the Cottonwood school­house. This land was a bare field, and he began to make improvements by building fences, a house, and barns, and sinking wells. The land was planted to alfalfa. This is now known as the Pometta Home Place, and here he lived until 1912, when be bought the Beck ranch of forty acres a little north of his home place and moved on to it, leasing his 110 acres and doing business on a smaller scale, to gain needed rest. In 1920 he bought another 100 acres, known as the Sturgeon place, adjoining his first purchase. He farmed this property until his death, since which time his sons have carried on the business on their entire possessions. They are meeting with good success, having learned the business from their father. Mr. Pometta became a citizen of the United States in 1900, and was a Republican.


The marriage of Dante Pometta and Miss Ida Brughelli, who was born in Canton Ticino and who had come to America a few years be­fore, occurred on November 30, 1894. They became the parents of six children : Emma married Louis Luchessa and lives in Modesto; they have a son, Alvin. Adaline became the wife of Ulisse Alessi, has a daughter Hilda, and lives in Gustine. Edward W., Secondo W., and Guido K. operate the Pometta ranches, having about 200 cows in their dairy. They are all energetic young men and members of the Woodmen of the World at Modesto; and Secondo and Guido belong to the Knights of Columbus in Modesto. Esther attends the Cottonwood school.


Mr. Pometta died on January 7, 1922, leaving a void in the family circle, who cherish his memory for the good he did during his life. He was a public-spirited man, always ready to help every project that he thought would help develop his adopted county. An item of historical interest is the, fact that, located on the corner of one of his ranches, stood the old Sturgeon corner postoffice in early days, when ranches were many miles apart and when Hill's Ferry was the nearest commercial center for shipment of produce.




The position as a member of the board of trustees of the Living­ston grammar schools shows the high esteem in which Alvin A. Eshelman is held in his home community by his fellow citizens. He was born in Mt. Morris, Ill., on October 3, 1872, the fifth of seven children in the family of M. M. Eshelman, who was born in Pennsyl­vania and reared on a farm there. After his preliminary education was finished he began teaching school to pave the way for his future work. Leaving the school room he became the editor of the Breth­ren at Work, a religious paper printed under the auspices of the Dunkard denomination, at Lanark, Ill.; when it was moved to Mt. Morris he continued as editor until 1882, when he went to Jewell County, Kans., and lived about five years, then removed to Republic County, that State, where he was instrumental in founding a Dunkard college. He next came to Lordsburg, Cal., and became immigration agent for the Santa Fe Railway and was the means of bringing many families into California, especially the southern section. He died in Los Angeles County at the age of seventy-six years, after completing a life full of work and promise. He was the father of seven children, viz.: Olive M., married J. W. Keefer and lives at Covina, Cal. ; Vinnie, wife of O. W. Lehmer, residing at Alhambra, Cal.; Harvey H., a rancher at Sawtelle, Cal.; Clara I., widow of J. E. Kindig, lives in Los Angeles, Cal.; Alvin A., the subject of this sketch; Amy A., wife of C. C. Langfeld of Brookings, Ore.; and Herbert N., of Spokane, Wash.


A. A. Eshelman's early life was spent in Illinois and he attended the schools in Lanark and Mt. Morris, and the high school in McPherson, Kans. At an early age he found employment on farms, and he came to Southern California with the family in 1890. He was asked to come to Merced County by his brother-in-law, O. W.. Lehmer, who was the general manager for the Yosemite Valley Railroad Company, to improve some land he owned near Livingston in the Number Two subdivision of the Livingston Land Colony. This colony had been settled by many railroad men and our subject began to improve and plant orchards and vineyards for them, finally becom­ing the owner of the property where he now lives and has a comfortable home and valuable ranch land.


Mr. Eshelman was married on March 23, 1903, in San Joaquin County, Cal., to Miss Minnie E. Isbell, born at Lathrop, the daughter of C. E. Isbell. He was born in Stockton when the old Eagle Hotel and two other buildings were the only wooden structures in that city. He married Florence Hunsucker, who was born in a tent where French Camp now stands, at that time nothing more than a range. Her father, Adolphus Hunsucker, and her mother, were born in the South, crossed the plains in 1851 and were among the pioneers of San Joaquin County, where they were farmers. Grandfather Isbell and his wife were natives of the South and were Forty-niners in California. C. E. Isbell and his wife had three children: Minnie E., Mrs. Eshel­man; James L., a rancher near Tracy ; and Lloyd, who died at sixteen. Mrs. Eshelman attended the Lathrop school and had one year in Doane's Business College in Stockton. She then worked two years as a stenographer for Rev. H. R. Holsinger in the preparation of his history of the Brethren Church, taking in the German Baptists and the two branches of the Dunkard churches. Four children have come to bless the union of Mr. and Mrs. Eshelman, viz.: Vinnie M., wife of C. W. Nobbe, a rancher of the Livingston district. Mr. Nobbe served as a stenographer at the Base Hospital at Newport News, Va., and was honorably discharged after fifteen months of service during the World War. They have one son, Harold C. Alvin M. graduated from the Merced High school, class of 1923, and assists his father with the home ranch; Mildred B., a junior in the Livingston Union High school; and Wilbur, a grammar school pupil. Mr. Eshelman is a member of the board of trustees of the Livingston Grammar School and evinces a live interest in the cause of education. He belongs to the Livingston Center of the Merced County Farm Bureau. He was reared in the Dunkard faith, but there being no church of that denomination in Livingston he affiliates with the Metho­dist Church. Mrs. Eshelman was reared in that church and is active in the work of the church. They are both highly esteemed in their circle of friends.




A man of superior attainments and culture, well fitted by study and experience for a professional career, Charles E. Stagner is the leading physician and surgeon of Gustine, where he has built up an extensive and lucrative practice in this part of Merced County. He is a native son of California, born at Wheatland, October 30, 1883, a son of A. C. and Louise (Greitman) Stagner. There are three children in this family: Hattie, the wife of Professor Ganthier, the principal of the Lompoc High School; Leora ; and Charles E., the subject of this review.


Charles E. Stagner began his education in the Wheatland Grammar school; then he entered the Marysville High school, from which he was graduated in 1903; then for three years he attended Stanford University; and in 1912 he was graduated from the Cooper Medical School, receiving his degree of M. D. from that institution, after which he served an interneship in the Sacramento and San Joaquin County hospitals. In 1916 he located at Gustine, where he engaged in the practice of his profession and succeeded in building up a good practice and in endearing himself to the people of the community. In 1919, Dr. Stagner founded the hospital at Los Banos, taking as his partner in the enterprise, Dr. Bush; this hospital will accommodate about twelve patients; and as the demand increases, no doubt the hos­pital will be enlarged to meet the growing population of this section. Dr. Stagner served as health officer for Gustine and also deputy county health officer of Merced County. He is now Medical Superintendent to the San Joaquin County hospital, where he is now living in French Camp.


At Modesto, Cal., July 18, 1916, Dr. Stagner was united in marriage with Miss Lucy Schit, born at Harrison, Nebr., daughter of Charles Edward and Mary (Schyler) Schit. Her father was a farmer by occupation and came with his family to California in 1901, locating in the Bowles district of Fresno County, where he spent the balance of his life, passing away at the age of fifty-two years; his wife still makes her home in that section. Dr. and Mrs. Stagner are the parents of one son, Alan Charles. Dr. Stagner, in partnership with W. H. Gilbert, is the owner of fifty acres at Wheatland, ten acres of which is in bearing peaches and walnuts ; and the balance has been set to young trees. This ranch is irrigated by a private pumping plant. Dr. Stagner is a Democrat in politics, and fraternally, belongs to the Odd Fellows Lodge of Gustine and the Elks of Me-rced.




Well-known among the industrious, respected and prosperous business men of Livingston is Albert Court, proprietor of the Court Theater and the Court Confectionery Store. He was born in the County of Surry, England, on May 23, 1862, a son of Albert and Elizabeth (Stanley) Court. The father, who was a carpenter and joiner, made two visits to America and for a time followed his trade in Philadelphia. The paternal grandfather, George Court, was an Englishman and his wife was a native of Wales. He also was a carpenter and builder ; his family, consisting of his wife and seven children lived in County Surry, England, where he and his wife passed their last days.


Albert Court attended school in England and at the age of twenty- one was married to Miss Marion Leeding, native of County Surry, and daughter of Edwin and Charlotte (Thompson) Leeding. In 1892 Mr. Court removed to Saskatchewan, Canada, where he worked as a carpenter, building many of the substantial buildings of that place. In 1907 the family moved to San Francisco, where he followed his trade for two years. In the fall of 1909 Mr. Court located in Livingston, purchased ten acres near town and in partnership with Finch Wilcox, built the first real estate office south of the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks; his firm, known as Court and Wilcox, built the Crowell block, the grammar school building, and many business houses and residences in the town. In 1917 Mr. Court erected the Court Theater building and since that time has added to it and remodeled and enlarged it until it will now comfortably seat 250 people. Mr. and Mrs. Court are the parents of nine children: May Stanley is the wife of Herbert Holley, Southern Pacific freight agent at Livingston; they own a twelve-and-a-half-acre vineyard within the city limits. Arthur Stanley served four years over seas with the Canadian Army during the World War and received a medal from King George ; he married Emily Kimmerle and is a carpenter and builder residing in Livingston. Gilbert Stanley married Hazel Mc­Connell and is in the ice and fuel business in Livingston ; Harold E. Stanley died at the age of twenty years ; Eleanor Stanley is the wife of Richard Allen, a railroad brakeman, and they reside at San Jose; Edwin Stanley married Sarah Mary Smith and he is a farmer in Saskatchewan, Canada. Albert Stanley married Naomi Herndon and is in partnership with his father; he served in the United States Navy during the World War. Dorothy Stanley is the wife of William Choisser, a barber in the Court building; and Vincent Stanley is assist­ant cashier in the First Bank of Livingston. There are thirteen grand.' children in the families. Mr. Court votes the Republican ticket. In 1921 he became a member of the first board of trustees of the city of Livingston and is still serving in that capacity. Mr. and Mrs. Court are members of the Episcopal Church at Livingston, of which Mrs. Court is organist; she has been a teacher of piano for many years, but is now retired. The daughter Dorothy Stanley and the son Albert Stanley are both musicians; they play the organ in the Court Theater and are in demand at local functions.




A citizen of the strictest integrity, honorable and upright in all his dealings with his fellow-citizens and a pioneer of the Hilmar Colony in Merced County, Oscar A. Wickstrom was born July 17, 1851, at Jonkjoping, Sweden, a son of Peter Anderson and Maria Larson, who were well-to-do farmers in Sweden, owning 160 acres of land. They had three children. One son, Johan, is still farming in Swe­den. Oscar A. went to the thorough Swedish schools and was brought up and baptized in the Lutheran Church. He remained in Sweden until May 3, 1871, when he took passage on the old Anchor Line, passed through Scotland and reembarked at Glasgow for America, landing in June. He went to Jamestown, N. Y., where he was employed at various kinds of work, principally as a laborer. He was married in Jamestown, N. Y., March 12, 1876, to Miss Caroline Johnson, like himself of Swedish birth, and who had come to this country in 1869, when she was eighteen.


After their marriage Mr. and Mrs.Wickstrom farmed at Fowler, Benton County, Ind., on rented land; later they went to Iowa for two years, thence to Beresford, Dakota Territory. In 1886 they went into Colorado and from there to Knox County, Nebr. It had been the aim of Mr. Wickstrom to come to California and this he did in 1902, and settled here with his family in February, 1903. He was the seventh man to buy property in the Hilmar Colony and here he has forty acres of land, well improved and in a flourishing condition, all through his own efforts. His wife has proven a true helpmate and they have made a host of friends since settling in the San Joaquin Valley. He bought land in this colony for seven of his friends and was true to his trust and assisted them in every way to get ahead. He supports the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church, although not a member. He does jury duty and serves on the election board of Irwin Precinct, also on the school board.


Mr. and Mrs. Wickstrom have had six children : Arthur 0.; Mrs. C. A. Mord; Florence, widow of Elmer Ahl and the mother of a daughter, Evelyn ; Minnie ; Roy, electrician in Los Angeles ; Elmer is on the home ranch. All have been given the best of educational advantages consistent with the means of their parents.




Notwithstanding hardships and discouragements, of which he has experienced not a few, Andrew Andersen, by persistency of purpose and preserving industry, has risen to a position of influence among the business men of Gustine, where for the past twelve years he has been the agent of the Buick automobile and in connection therewith operates a modern garage with a good stock of accessories. He was born at Marstal, Denmark, January 28, 1885, a son of Hans R. and Agnes (Christensen) Andersen, both natives of the same country. The father, Hans R. Andersen, is a blacksmith by trade and with his wife is still living in Denmark.


Andrew Andersen received his education in the public schools of Denmark and learned the blacksmith's trade with his father. At the age of nineteen he left home and came to California, locating at Newman, Stanislaus County, where he worked on ranches for Simon Newman & Company for two and a half years; he then worked for about six months in the blacksmith shop owned by Mr. Jefferson in Newman. Following this he engaged in the blacksmith business for himself in Gustine, where he had bought a lot and built a shop on it. In 1912 he sold a half interest in the business to Peter E. Petersen. Mr. Andersen then made an extended trip to his home in Denmark and upon his return to California in 1914, built a modern garage building and became the distributor for the Buick automobiles, the firm being Andersen and Petersen. In 1919, Gilbert Kerr bought Mr. Petersen's interest in the garage and the firm is now Andersen and Kerr. In 1923 Mr. Andersen sold the blacksmith business to Mr. Petersen. In 1924 he made another trip back to his old home, taking his wife and children, to attend the golden wedding anniversary of his parents' marriage.


At Fresno, Cal., on October 6, 1914, Mr. Andersen was married to Miss Volberg C. Petersen, also born in Denmark, daughter of Rasmus Petersen. Mr. and Mrs. Andersen are the parents of three children: Jane, Richard, and Virginia. In 1910 Mr. Andersen received his United States citizenship papers and since that time has voted the Democratic ticket; he has served as deputy constable of Gustine and also as trustee of the city. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Dania Lodge and Romero Lodge No. 413, I. O. O. F., of Gustine.




The name of C. R Davis is well-known throughout Merced County, where he has been identified with the business, political and social life for several years, and he holds a place of especial prominence among the citizens of Livingston. He was born in Steubenville, Ohio, on January 12, 1880, a son of Edmund and Laura (Kettlewood) Davis, natives of Wales and Pennsylvania, respectively. Edmund Davis came to America while a young man and followed his trade of sheet-metal worker; while working in a mill at Wellsville, Ohio, he sustained injuries  from which he died in 1916, aged sixty-eight years. The mother is still living and makes her home at East Liverpool, Ohio, and has reached the age of sixty-eight years.


C. R. Davis is the third in a family of seven children and is the only one residing in California. He grew up in his native State and there received his education in the common schools; after leaving school he thoroughly learned the sheet-metal trade. Before leaving Ohio, Mr. Davis was married to Miss Erla Thompson, born at Wellsville that State, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Malone) Thompson, in whose family there were four children. The mother passed away when Mrs. Davis was six years old and the father is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have a family of four children: Willett McFarland is a lineman for the San Joaquin Light & Power Com­pany; Ralph; Bert; and Dorothy Elizabeth. The Davis family came to California in 1903 and direct to Merced County, where Mr. Davis bought forty acres one mile north of Livingston; this he improved to fruit trees and vines and after five years sold it. He then entered the employ of Hammatt and Crowell as outside man, putting in crops of oats, rye, barley and wheat; two years later he became clerk in the store for the same company. He has grown up with the business and is now head of the hardware department for the Crowell-White Company, Inc., successors to Hammatt and Crowell. Mr. Davis and his family reside in a modern six-room residence in Livingston built in 1913. He is a Democrat in politics and is a member of the Boosters' Club of Livingston. When Livingston was incorporated as a city, Mr. Davis was elected a member of the first board of trustees; for six years he served as clerk of the grammar school board. For the past eighteen years he has served as a fireman, first on the bucket brigade; Livingston now boasts an up-to-date fire department and Mr. Davis serves as fire chief. Largely through the efforts of Mr. Davis the Livingston branch of the Merced County free library was established. Fraternally Mr. Davis is a member of the Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen of America of Livingston. The family are members of the Episcopal Church of Livingston.




It is the second generation of people who are now maintaining the standard set by more advanced settlers of the pioneer period in the Golden State, and none is more deserving than Oscar Ephraim Phillips, who was born at Badger Flat, Merced County, May 23, 1875, the son of the late William Milton and Sarah Jane Phillips, mention of whom is made on another page of this history. After finishing the courses at the Center Point school near Los Banos, O. E. Phillips became associated with his father, remaining with him until twenty-three years of age. He was then given forty acres of land by his father, who gave him the necessary equipment to carry on the project he had undertaken and for more than twenty-five years he has carried on a dairy industry. As he has succeeded he has bought sixty-five acres nearby, and finally he purchased eighty acres south of Los Banos on the plains, and in 1921 added fifty-five acres to his holdings one mile east of Los Banos. He raises grain on some of his land and on the rest he maintains a dairy of fifty cows. He is one of the successful ranchers of this part of the county and takes a live interest in all that pertains to the advancement of the people's interest.


On November 1, 1898, Oscar Ephraim Phillips and Miss Phoebe Mills were made man and wife at Gonzales, Monterey County. Mrs. Phillips was born in that county, the daughter of John Board­man and Louise (Bickmore) Mills, and she was reared in the San Miguel Canyon. Her father was a rancher and carpenter and one of the early settlers of that locality. He died at the age of fifty; Mrs. Mills lived to be fifty-six. D. O. Mills, pioneer banker in Sacramento, was an uncle of Mrs. Phillips. The following children have been born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Phillips : Ervin Glenn, Lurine, Irma, Hazel and Melva Illeen. Mr. Phillips is a Republican and he holds membership in the Los Banos Center of the Merced County Farm Bureau. Fraternally, he belongs to the Woodmen of the World at Los Banos.




To Rev. E. N. Train is given the credit for the building of the new and modern Swedish Evangelical Mission Church at Hilmar, Merced County. He was born in Sweden, June 22, 1881, the youngest son of Gustav and Mathilda Train, who came to America in 1886, and made their first settlement at Lindsborg, McPherson County, Kans., where the father followed making and repairing shoes. They were poor but honest people and, with their family of eight, had a struggle for existence. The father had been well-to-do in Sweden but lost his means through signing notes for another and had to begin all over again and in a land of strangers. Our subject attended the local public school, after which he entered the office of the Lindsborg News as printer's devil and started to learn the business. He next became a grocer's clerk and worked hard to get the necessary means to attend college and finally entered North Park College, near Chi­cago, and finished the regular theological course, graduating with the class of 1907. This college is controlled by the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church of America. Although he had graduated, the rules of this church require three years service as a preacher and mission worker before ordination; accordingly Mr. Train complied with the rules and was ordained a minister in 1910. He began his duties as a mission worker and preacher in South Bend, Ind., during his last year in college and, after finishing, returned to South Bend, in all spending five years there..


The year of his graduation Mr. Train was married, on June 12, 1907, at Clyde, Kans., to Miss Elvira. Ostlund, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Ostlund, who were farmers in Republican County, Kans. She was born and educated in Kansas, taking a musical course in the Conservatory of Music at Lindsborg, Kans., studying vocal as well as instrumental. She developed a fine soprano voice and sang in the Messiah, the oratorio which is rendered annually in the Lindsborg College and said to be the best rendition of the Messiah in America. They have had five children, all boys : Edward N., Jr.; Roy Enoch; Wesley Andrew; John Harvey Lind; and Ronald James Waldo.

Following ministerial work, Rev. Train went from South Bend, Ind., to Helena, Mont., and a year later took a post graduate course


in the Montana Wesleyan University and won the Ryder scholarship. He was then sent to Seattle, Wash., in 1913, and while there also did post graduate work at the University of Washington, pursuing classical studies, modern and ancient languages. He was at Seattle for seven years. In 1919 he came to Hilmar, Merced County. Reverend Train is a leader in the young peoples' conferences of the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church and is recognized as an organizer of the young peoples' organizations, having specialized in that in Indiana, Washington and California. He is deeply interested in the public schools at Hilmar ; is treasurer of the California Conference of his Mother Church ; is president of the Young Peoples' League of California; is vice-chairman of the board of directors of Emanuel Hospital at Turlock and is active in all other philanthropic and worthwhile enterprises that have for their object the raising of the moral and religious standard of the people.


It was largely through the efforts of Reverend Train that the handsome church edifice at Hilmar was erected at a cost of $40,000.

It is a modern structure 68 by 80, stucco construction, with a belfry sixty-two feet high. Ground was broken on January 4, 1921, the cornerstone was laid Easter week of that year and the building was dedicated in November of the same year. It is the best-appointed church in any country town and is the pride of the congregation, which was organized only in 1903. Every modern convenience is installed in the construction and arrangement of the building and the various rooms, and all in all it is considered to be a model of its kind.




A native of California, Roy Kruger was born in Merced County, four miles south of the present site of the town of Gustine, on November 16, 1884, a son of Charles and Sarah Kruger, the former a native of Germany but a resident in California since he was twenty-five years old, when he located in Merced County and in time became the owner of an hundred-acre farm on which he raised hogs. There are two boys in this family, Hartley, of Gustine, and Roy, the subject of this review. The mother of our subject passed away when he was fourteen months old; the father made his home in Glendale, Cal., for several years and died in December, 1923.


Roy Kruger attended the Enterprise district school, which is now in the Gustine school district. At eighteen years of age he began to earn his own way in the world and for eighteen months worked at the New Era Creamery. He then learned the carpenter's trade, which he has since followed, and for the last ten years he has been in the contract building business in Merced County. His good work­manship and reliability have been the means of bringing him a comfortable income and at the same time have aided in the development of his home town.


At Riverdale, Cal., December 10, 1913, Mr. Kruger was married to Miss Saidie Bradley, born at Mustang, Merced County, a daughter of W. T. and Frances (Leek) Bradley. There were four children in the Bradley family: Cora, now the wife of William O. Brown; Eba, now Mrs. Jerome Harlan; Maude, married Thomas Virgo and is deceased; and Saidie, the wife of our subject. Mrs. Kruger received her education at the Clay district school in Merced County. Fraternally, Mr. Kruger is affiliated with Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. O. E. of Merced and politically is a Republican. Mr. Kruger built his present home in Gustine ten years ago and his interest centers in the locality where he has spent his entire lifetime.




A man of unquestioned ability and integrity, active and enterprising, Willard K. McBride, as manager of the California Milk Products Company, is prominently identified with the industrial progress of Merced County; he is also interested in agriculture, owning a half interest in a forty-acre ranch in Stanislaus County and a twelve-acre ranch devoted to walnuts at Gustine, Merced County. His birth occurred on his father's ranch near Salida, March 15, 1895, a son of S. N. and Alice M. (Keeley) McBride. The father came to California about 1876 and followed teaching for about nineteen years. He mar­ried Miss Keeley, whose family came to California in an early day, and they are now living retired on their ranch near Gustine.


Willard K. McBride is the only child of his parents. His education was obtained at the grammar and high school in Modesto; then he was sent to the Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania and during this time was an understudy with Smith-Kline & French Company in Philadelphia. In October, 1917 he entered the United States Army and was placed in the 154th Depot Brigade of the 79th Division; he was promoted to the post of sergeant and attended the 3rd Officer's Training School at Camp Mead, Md., and at that camp received his discharge on account of disability. He returned to Modesto, Cal., and worked for one year for the Carpenter Cheese Company in Modesto. In 1919 he located at Gustine and assumed the manage­ment of the California Milk Products Company; this company manu­factures milk sugar, albumin and casein. Under the able supervision of Mr. McBride this company has built up a fine business which is steadily growing from month to month, as the products become better known.


On September 9, 1919, Mr. McBride was married to Miss Ora Lathrop Powers, a native of California, daughter of Lathrop B. Powers, a farmer residing near Oakdale. Mrs. McBride passed away in July, 1920. On July 23, 1924 he married Miss Fay Truitt, a native daughter of California. Mr. McBride is a Republican in his political views and fraternally belongs to Hills Ferry Lodge No. 136, F. & A. M., of Newman; Modesto Chapter No. 49, R. A. M.; Modesto Commandery No. 57, K. T., and Aahmes Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Oakland; and to Romero Lodge No. 413, of Gustine.




Among the largest and most successful dairymen on the West Side in Merced and Stanislaus Counties is Manuel A. Marshall, of the firm of Marshall and Newsom. He is a very hard worker and a very good business man. Manuel A. Marshall is the son of Joao Machado and Mariana (Bento De Ramos Medeiros) De Souza. The father was a native of St. George, of the Azores. When he came to this country he found the name De Souza rather bewildering to the Americans; so he adopted Machado as a surname, which was in course of time changed to the more euphonious name of Marshall, and thereafter he was known as John Marshall. In common with many of the young men of the Azores, the sea appealed to him; and the seaman's life gave him an opportunity to see several of the prin­cipal ports of South America, as well as of North America. Being well educated in the schools of his native country, and apt, he became secretary for a very wealthy Brazilian coffee planter, which position he held for several years. After this he visited the United States and then returned to the Azores and married, and, as captain of a ship, came with his young wife to New York, where he lived for a few years. His first two children, Manuel, who died in New York State, and John, were born in Buffalo. Coming to California, he settled at Tiburon and began farming. Later on, for a short period, he farmed at Sausalito. In 1883 the family moved to Ross Valley in Marin County, where the family of twelve children were reared. They were as follows : John, Mary, Lucia, Joseph, Manuel A. (the subject of this review), Rose, Anthony, Carrie, Henry, Laura and Lenora (twins), and Helen. There were thirteen in all, including the two born in New York State. John Marshall, the father, died January 5, 1922, and his widow survived but a few days afterward, dying on January 25, that same year.


Manuel A. Marshall was born at Tiburon, Marin County, July 19, 1882, and worked for his father until he became of age. He was associated with his brother, Anthony L., in purchasing their father's interest in the dairy business in Ross Valley in 1903, and the two brothers conducted the business for about two years. Then Manuel A. bought his brother's interest, and on November 2, 1905, he sold a one-fourth interest to his brother-in-law, Hugh L. Newsom, and the firm name became Marshall and Newsom. This was later changed to Marshall-Newsom Co., when the father, John Marshall, bought a one-fourth interest from our subject, on January 1, 1907. This interest in the partnership the father held from that date until he sold it back to Manuel A. in 1921. Marshall and Newsom leased ninety acres of land at Crow's Landing and had two strings of cows. Afterward they located in the Cottonwood district of Merced County, eight miles south of Gustine, where they leased a quarter-section of land from Dennis McCarthy, which became the place of residence. Marshall-Newsom Co. bought 162 acres of the Henry Kuns ranch in 1910, and they have built a fine dairy barn upon it and intend eventually to make this their home ranch. It is one of the best dairy farms in Merced County. Besides this 160 acres, they also rent 1120 acres in Merced and Stanislaus Counties, which is used in connection with the dairy for raising feed and pasturing young stock. They have 300 milch-cows and are among the largest and most successful dairy farmers on the West Side. Mr. Marshall began only with his good will, and empty-handed; but he has been a tireless and intelligent worker and business manager, and his numerous friends are glad to know that he is on the road to success and independent competency.


Mr. Marshall was married on October 9, 1924, to Mary Olivia ' Chapman, of Twin Falls, Idaho, who was born at Butte, Montana. Mr. Marshall is a member of the I. D. E. S. and the U. P. E. C. Socie­ties, of Gustine. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, West Side Council No. 2157, at Newman. He is a Republican.


When the Merced County Farm Bureau was organized in 1917, Mr. Marshall was made a director of the Cottonwood Center of this organization, which office he still holds. Since 1919 he has also been vice-president of the County Farm Bureau. The Cottonwood Center takes in all of the country north of San Luis Creek up to the north county line, and from the San Joaquin River to the west county line. The Cottonwood Farm Center became a positive force in securing the enlarged irrigation district for the West Side. Mr. Marshall was made chairman of a committee of seven, representatives of Cotton­wood and Dos Palos Farm Centers, to take action to bring about the formation of the West Joaquin Irrigation District. The activities of this committee brought about the harmonious co-operation of land owners in Madera, Fresno, Merced and Stanislaus Counties for the formation of a much larger irrigation district, to be known as the San Joaquin Water Storage District. On account of the many dairies operated by Marshall-Newsom Co., our subject was not able to give the necessary time to the duties of chairman of this body, and he resigned in favor of W. E. Bunker, county supervisor.


Mr. Marshall has served as trustee of Romero school district since 1914. He has always worked for community progress and better­ment, and has given freely of his time to further all such projects.




One of the first purchasers of real estate in the town of Gustine at the time the town was laid out is James Robert Jensen, who stands out prominently among the enterprising and progressive men who have been influential in promoting the agricultural, industrial and social prosperity of this part of the state. He was born near Newman, on January 23, 1883, a son of Chres and Marie (Hansen) Jensen, both natives of Denmark. The father, Chres Jensen, came to California in very early days and settled at Hills Ferry, now Newman, Stanislaus County; he was married to Miss Marie Hansen at Modesto, who had come to California a short time before their marriage. The father leased land near Newman for a time, then he purchased SOO acres which he devoted to grain raising. There are seven children in the family, all living: James R. the subject of this sketch; Sallie M., Mrs. Nicolaisen, residing in Newman; Elmer C.; Grover N.; Irene ; Harvey C.; and Leslie F. The father passed away at the family homestead at the age of sixty-five years; the mother is still living at Newman.


James Robert Jensen attended school at the Newman district school and during vacation time helped on the home ranch. At the age of seventeen he began to learn the machinist's trade at Newman, and after completing the trade worked as a journeyman for seven years at various places in California. He located in Gustine in 1907, when the town was laid out, purchased the property where his present modern garage stands, built a blacksmith shop and followed this trade for three years. He took his brother, Elmer C., in as a partner in 1910 and together they went into the automobile business and became distributors for the Oakland automobile. Mr. Jensen is now the agent for the Chevrolet, and in conjunction runs a general repair shop, carrying also a full line of automobile accessories. Mr. Jen­sen is also interested in agriculture, owning a twenty-acre ranch near Gustine devoted to grapes and walnuts.


At Gustine on June 13, 1910, Mr. Jensen was married to Miss Anna Bladt, born at Newman, daughter of Peter and Anna Bladt, both natives of Denmark, who came to California with the father of our subject. Peter Bladt settled on a farm near Newman and raised grain during his active life. There were two children by Mr. Bladt's first marriage, Peter, and Anna, the wife of our subject. By the second wife there are three daughters, Rose, now Mrs. Devecchio ; Estella, and Fannie, the wife of E. C. Jensen. The mother of Mrs. Jensen passed away at the age of twenty-eight years, and her father died at the age of sixty-three years. Mr. Jensen is a Democrat in politics and fraternally is a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Gustine, while his wife is a member of the Rebekahs of Gustine, of which she is a Past Grand. Mr. Jensen was a member of the first board of trustees of the town of Gustine, and served for seven years, and a year and a half he was chairman of the board, when he resigned.




Among the popular and successful business men of Livingston is James John Boyle, the genial and accommodating head of the dry goods department of the White-Crowell Company, Inc.; he also serves as vice-president and director of this institution of which he is a stock­holder. His birth occurred in the Province of Quebec, Canada, on February 2, 1863. His father, James Boyle, was also born in Canada and was part owner of a whaling vessel and followed whaling for several years. He married Annie Ascah. The paternal grandfather, also named James Boyle, served with General Wolfe at the siege of the Plains of Abraham during the Revolutionary War.


James John Boyle attended public school in his native province until he was sixteen years old. He then became a clerk in a general merchandise store at Gaspe, Canada, where he worked for three years. At the age of nineteen he removed to Philadelphia and clerked in the store of John Wanamaker. In 1890 he came West and settled in Washington where he remained until 1898, when he joined the gold rush to Alaska, and placer-mined near Atlin, B. C., with only fair success during his two-years stay. In 1900 he returned to Washington and resumed his former position as clerk in a large drygoods house in Tacoma, but his desire to locate in California caused him to leave after one year. He first located in Oroville, then came to San Francisco where he clerked for Hale Brothers. In 1902 he removed to Los Banos and was employed in the drygoods department of the store of Miller and Lux. In July, 1911 he located in Livingston and became an employe of White-Crowell Company, Inc.; soon thereafter he was made head of the drygoods department, which position he has since occupied. Mr. Boyle is an active member of the Merchants Association and the Boosters' Club of Livingston; fraternally, he is a Past Grand of Mountain Brow Lodge No. 82, I. O. O. F., of Los Banos.




In the ranks of the business men of Livingston, Gordon Harvey Winton occupies a prominent position and he is widely known as a leader in business and financial circles in Livingston. He stands for every measure intended to enhance the general welfare and was the leading spirit in organizing the First Bank of Livingston, and also in the incorporation of the city. A native son of California, he was born at Lakeport, January 22, 1885, a son of Rev. J. B. and Jessie (Williams) Winton, both natives of Missouri. Rev. J. B. Winton was born on his father's farm near Springfield, Mo., and the old home­stead is still in the possession of members of the Winton family. The mother was born at Booneville, Mo., but her folks were from Pennsyl­vania, of German ancestors. Rev. J. B. Winton was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, who came to California in 1883, and held pastorates at Healdsburg, Lakeport, Knights Land­ing, Plainsburg, and Rockville. His last charge was at Rockville, Madera County, and he was on his way to the mountains for his health when he passed away at Raymond on May 8, 1892, aged forty-two years. There are five children in the family: G. E., a civil engineer residing in Merced; Florence ; Gordon Harvey, our subject; Anna, now Mrs. Bolton; and Margarita. After her husband's death, Mrs. Winton bought ten acres west of Merced, where the family lived' for the next ten years ; she still lives in Merced.


Gordon Harvey Winton attended the district school adjacent to the farm home; then he entered the high school at Merced and was graduated therefrom in 1904. During his school days he worked in a drug store in Merced and also in the First National Bank, and in August, 1905, he became a stenographer in the First National Bank and by promotions became assistant cashier, remaining there until 1914 when he became the cashier of the First National Bank of Livingston, which was organized in 1913. In 1920 he was chosen vice-president, and in 1922 became president of the institution, continuing until his resignation to give his undivided attention to his personal interests. Mr. Winton is interested in farming lands, his holdings aggregating 200 acres, and he conducts a real estate and fire insurance business, which also embraces automobile insurance and accident insurance.


In 1912 Mr. Winton was married to Miss Mildred Stoddard, a daughter of D. K. and Mary (Comins) Stoddard. Her father, who is mentioned elsewhere, has been a resident of Merced County since 1872. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Winton: Gordon Harvey, Jr., Stoddard, and Dower Keith. Mr. Winton is now serving as a member of the board of trustees of the City of Livingston and was president of the board of trade which was suc­ceeded by the Merchants' Association of Livingston. He has served as trustee of the Merced Union High School, and also as trustee of the Livingston Grammar School. Fraternally, he belongs to Yosem­ite Lodge No. 99, F. & A. M.; also to Merced Lodge No. 208, I. O. O. F., at Merced; and from 1913 to 1917 he served as auditor of the Fraternal Brotherhood. Mr. and Mrs. Winton are members of the Methodist Church at Livingston, of which Mrs. Winton is organist. Mr. Winton is a member of the board of stewards and also serves as treasurer of the church. In politics he is a Democrat and is at present a member of the Merced County Central Committee. He is a director in the Merced County Chamber of Commerce, and takes an active interest in furthering the best interests of Livingston and Merced County.




One of the first men to settle on Badger Flat in 1872 was Michael Sarbo. He had walked all the way from New York City, working at different places along the way to defray his expenses. His wife Bertha Pircolo, whom he had left back in Italy, his native country, came on to him four years later at Gilroy, where he was engaged in market gardening for two years. He then came on to Badger Flat, worked a while for wages on the grain ranch of W. J. Stockton, then came down into Merced County, and engaged in vegetable gardening, leasing land of Miller & Lux. The remuneration was sufficient to enable him to invest in thirty acres, which he added to by other purchases until he had 180 acres in the Badger Flat country under the irrigating ditch. He and his good wife became the parents of ten children, as follows: Mary, Mrs. J. V. Toscano; Martha, Mrs. L. Manduca ; Joseph, Antone, and Joseph II are deceased; Louis E.; Grace, Mrs. J. G. Marchese; Rose, Mrs. Chetro; Angeline, Mrs. N. Dibiaso; and Flora, Mrs. John Rosseli.


Louis Sarbo was born in Badger Flat, on June 22, 1882, and his education which was begun in the Monroe school district of Merced County was finished in Heald's Business College in San Francisco.


For a short time he was bookkeeper in the Portuguese-American Bank at Los Banos. He then returned to the home ranch and carried on the ranch operations and now owns fifty acres of the old home place, and he has purchased 160 acres, eighty acres and fifty acres in other places, part of which he leases out, and carried on a dairy until 1923, when he sold out the business.


On November 20, 1911, Louis E. Sarbo was united in marriage to Miss Madaline Bove, a native of the Province of Potenza, Italy, daughter of Andrew and Agnes (Peluysa) Bove, farmers in Italy. The daughter came to California and lived with her brothers until she was married. There are three children of this union, Bertha, Michael A. R., and Henry A. L. Mr. Sarbo is a Republican in his political affiliations. Fraternally; is a member and Past Noble of the Druids of Los Banos, and belongs to Merced Parlor No. 24, N. S. G. W. of Merced. He is clerk of the board of trustees of the Monroe district school of Merced County.




Most of the thirty-eight years which John Magnuson has spent in California he has been engaged at his trade of carpenter. His birth occurred in Gottenburg, Sweden, on August 17, 1858, a son of Carl Peter and Anna Magnus, both natives of the same place. The father, Carl Peter Magnus, was a cooper and woodworker by trade. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a military man and one of Sweden's ranking generals ; he served with Field Marshal Jean Bernadotte, who became King Oscar the First of Norway and Sweden. The paternal grandfather reached the remarkable age of 117 years, six months and three days.


Carl Peter Magnus came to America, bringing his wife and family, in the latter part of his life and he located at Worcester, Mass., where he spent the remainder of his life, passing away at the age of ninety-seven years, and his wife reached the age of ninety-three years. To them were born eleven children of whom our subject is the ninth in order of birth.


When John Magnuson was fourteen years old he came to America and joined his sister, Mrs. Hannah Allen, who was living in Boston, Mass., and there he attended night school and learned his trade of carpenter and cabinet maker; for six years he was employed in the Chickering Piano Factory; then he moved to Moline, Ill., and for seven years worked with a manufacturing company. In 1886 he came to California and settled at San Jose, where for twenty-six years he was engaged in house building.


At Worcester, Mass., in 1877, when he was nineteen years old, Mr. Magnuson was married to Miss Albertina Coolson. They had eight children : Oscar, foreman of the San Jose Foundry, married Ida Steinnesson; James, deceased; Rocilda, married Ted Eckhart of Seattle, Wash.; Gladys, a widow living in Portland, Ore.; Mrs. Ethel Dunn, residing in Richmond, Cal.; Emery is a machinist; Vernon is an automobile mechanic and lives in Livingston; and Eva lives in Seattle. Mrs. Magnuson passed away in April, 1906. Mr. Magnuson continued his work as builder in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and other cities and invested his earnings in property in various places. Becoming dissatisfied after his wife's death, he traded his property for ten acres near Livingston, where .he has since resided, selling his ranch in 1922. He lives in Livingston and follows his trade.




The family to which T. W. Pedigo belongs is a very ancient and honorable one. They came from the town of Pedigo in the North of Ireland and settled in Virginia, where they were farmers. The great-grandfather of T. W. Pedigo fought in the War of the Revolution. The father, John D. Pedigo, was living near Bedford, Ind., when T. W. was born on July 30, 1864. The boy was brought up in the Christian Church. Owing to the death of his father, when he was only nine years of age, he had but three years' schooling in the district school for he had to begin doing for himself at the age of thirteen. His mother lived until he was eighteen. He worked at various tasks, and finally got a job as brakeman on the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad, known as the "Monon." When he was nine­teen he settled up the affairs of his mother and came to California in November, 1884. Young as he was, he was a zealous partisan of James G. Blaine and he was grieved when he read of his death. At Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, he got a job in a vineyard and worked two years ; then went to Tulare County and worked in the sawmills in the mountains above Portersville on the headquarters of the Tule River. He was appointed postmaster of Daunt, Tulare County, and from that built a mercantile business in connection with the postoffice. He stayed at Daunt until 1906, then went to Berkeley, where he lived two years; two years more were spent in Finley, Lake County, where he had a grocery store in connection with the postoffice. From there he came to Merced County in 1910, settling in the Hilmar Colony and kept a store at Irwin. When the Tidewater and Southern Railroad established the Hilmar line, Mr. Pedigo sold out his store and moved onto a ten-acre ranch near the town of Hilmar, established in 1916.


At the general election in November, 1922, T. W. Pedigo was elected justice of peace for Township No. 5 of Merced County, by a large majority over the incumbent, J. W. Hall. He took office on January 8, 1923. Besides the justice court at Livingston, he holds court in Hilmar on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday of each week, and in Livingston, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Township No. 5 comprises the following voting precints : Livingston No. 1, Livingston No. 2, Madison, Delhi, Irwin, Fairview, Turner and San Joaquin. The Judge resides at Hilmar in the Irwin precinct and has to drive twelve miles in his auto three days of each week to and from his office at Livingston. He is a man of commanding presence, six feet two inches tall, with coal black hair in which scarcely a gray hair is to be seen. Strong in body, he is equally strong in mind and his judgments are clear, fair and satisfactory to all who have any sense of justice.


T. W. Pedigo was married at Daunt, Cal., on October 2, 1898, to Miss Grace Wells, of that town, the daughter of the late Joseph Wells. They have had two children : Maude, who married L. L. Flesh- man and has one child and resides at Hilmar, and Minta, the wife of Morris L. Cramer, a millwright at Klamath Falls, Ore., and the mother of one daughter. Judge Pedigo is the president of the Hilmar Board of Trade.




The sterling personal characteristics which have placed Mr. Wherity in the position of irrigation representative have been proof of his high standing in his home community. He was born in Plumas County on July 24, 1874, the son of Peter Patrick and Mary (Kelley) Wherity, natives of County Meade and Kilkenny, Ireland, respectively. The father came to this State when a young man and upon arriving at Yerba Buena in 1846, went on foot to Ellis' Point, now Point Richmond. After the news of the discovery of gold he went to San Andreas and engaged in mining and freighting. After his mar­riage he settled in Beckwith Pass in November, 1874, and was en­gaged, principally in ranching. He and his wife became parents of the following children: Eugene P., of Woodland; Mary, widow of M. C. Judge, lives in Berkeley ; Elizabeth, married Alex White and also resides in Berkeley ; Harry P., of Loyalton, Cal.; Ida, wife of Isaac Bobo of Woodland; Nicholas, also living in Woodland; James Richard, our subject; and Annie, who married Sam. Holtz and resides in Sacramento. The father died in Berkeley on April 30, 1913, aged eighty-six years.

James Richard Wherity's childhood was passed in Beckwith Pass attending the local school after he was fourteen. Up to that time he helped his father on the ranch, driving a combined harvester with thirty-two horses as a part of his practical education. He had to walk three miles to the Island district school in Plumas County, which to this day is one of the landmarks; later he attended Downieville College, pursuing an English course. He then entered the law office of Will Goodwin and U. S. Webb, now the attorney general of the State, in Quincy, studied law and was admitted to practice in the courts of the State, on February 22, 1897, and for the following five years he carried on a general practice. He was later engaged in work at Roberts Brothers sawmill above Loyalton. In 1901 he located in Lodi, Cal., and until 1912 he was the leading contractor and builder, helping to erect many of the homes in that town. He erected the arch across Pine Street, Lodi, that attracts much attention. He then was in various places until 1915, when he located near Livingston and took up ranch work and has developed a valuable property.


James Richard Wherity was united in marriage with Bertha Ella Hatton, on February 1, 1905, at Stockton. She was born in Mendon, Adams County, Ill., the daughter of Parker Nicholas and Rebecca (Tuxford) Hatton,,, the former born in the South in 1836, and married at Mendon, Ill. There were five children in his family, including an adopted son: William Henry, of Portland, Ore.; Thomas, fruit raiser of Lodi ; Sarah Frances, wife of James Tout, of Tulare County; Mary Etta, married Benjamin Tout and lives at Sultana; and Bertha Ella, wife of our subject. She attended school at Mendon, Ill., and the Maplewood High School at Camp Point, that State. At the age of seventeen, lacking one year of graduating, she came to California with her mother as two sisters had located in this State some time before. The father was a veteran of the Civil War and died in 1882, at Mendon, Ill., at the age of forty-six, from the effect of his wounds received during the war. The mother, who had been born in Cincinnati, Ohio, located at Lodi, Cal., and there spent her last days, dying on July 8, 1914. Her ancestors were of English extraction. On the paternal side, grandfather Nicholas Hatton and his wife, a Miss Knotson, were born in Kentucky and Tennessee, respectively, but were stanch supporters of the Union. Mr. and Mrs. Wherity have three children : Hillard Richard, garage mechanic in Livingston; Effie Beatrice, high school student; and Frances Aileen.


Mr. Wherity appeared before the State legislature in 1901 in the interest of the Anti-Japanese legislation, which has now become a law, being upheld by the supreme court in November, 1923. He takes an active interest in the Farm Bureau movement and is a mem­ber of the Livingston branch of the Merced County Farm Bureau, serving as its secretary for several years. He is the legal representa­tive of the original Crocker-Huffman Land and Water Company, contract holders, now the Livingston Irrigation District. He is a 100 per cent American and interested in all movements for the advancement of his locality.




The Azores Islands lie in almost a direct line from Portugal to the capital of the United States, and from them come many of our best citizens, some to make money and remain loyal to the Stars and Stripes, others to make money and return to their native shores to spend the balance of their days in comfort among those they know best. One of the latter was Domingo Antone Noya, a native of Ponta Del Gada, who left his home at the age of fifteen and, after having sailed around the world, landed in California and made his fortune, then returned to his native land, married and settled down to farm and political life at Ponta Del Gada, and there he died at the age of sixty-two years. His good wife was Anna Margarida da Conceicao, and they had four children, three daughters, who are still in the Azores, and Manuel, our subject.


Manuel was reared on his father's farm and attended the local school until he was old enough to make his own way. It was but natural that he should want to come to California where his father had made his stake, for he had told his son of the wonderful oppor­tunities that awaited the ambitious young men. When seventeen he left home and boarded the three-masted ship Sarah and twenty-four days later was landed in Boston. He did not tarry there for within two days he was en route for California, arriving there ten days later via New Orleans. Being a stranger in a strange land did not stop him from securing work in the cherry harvest at $1.25 per day; from that work he was employed on a ranch at twenty dollars per month, working from sun to sun, continuing so employed until 1898, when he visited the land of his birth and was absent for five months. Returning to California he located in Merced County and worked for Al. Owens near Atwater. In the meantime, in 1898, he had invested his savings in thirty acres of land in the Mitchell Colony near Atwater. and while he was developing this he worked on the Bloss ranch as foreman of the gang setting out trees of peaches and apricots, for nine years. Then he located on his own property and has since given his time to its intensive cultivation. Mr. Luiz was given his naturalization papers in San Francisco in 1896, and at the time he signed them he dropped the name Noya and wrote it Manuel Luiz, the latter being his middle name, and as such he has ever since been known. His father had received his citizenship papers before returning to Flores.


On November 18, 1909, at St. Mary's in Stockton, Manuel Luiz was united in marriage with Miss Mary Josephine Vieira, born in Swansea, Mass. She was the second of five children born to her par­ents, Manuel V. and Mary (Soares) Vieira, the father born in Flores and the mother in Pico Island. The latter is now deceased but the father is living and resides on the ranch with his daughter and Mr. Luiz.


Manuel Vieira was born in 1859, was educated in the Portuguese schools and is a fluent linguist in Portuguese and English. He came to Boston a young man of seventeen on a sailing vessel, being thirty days on the water. The ship ran out of food and there was almost mutiny on the high seas, when the Bermuda Islands were sighted and there they landed and restocked for the rest of the voyage. He worked as a weaver in Massachusetts for five years, then returned to Flores, but remained only a short time, when he again came to America and straight on to California. He spent some time in Modesto as a barber in 1883. He was married in Oakland to Mary Soares, returned to Swansea, Mass., where two children were born, Alfred J., and Mary. With his family he made another trip back to the Azores to make a visit, but upon coming back to America he made for California and settled in Sebastopol, where two children were born, Palmyra Tahoe, Mrs. H. L. Wrheman, and Ernest. His wife died there and he came to Oakland and ran a grocery store, then for seventeen years he was with the State Harbor Commission in San Francisco, when he retired to make his home with his daughter. In 1925 he started on another trip back to his native country and a tour of Europe. He is an interesting story­teller and it is expected that upon his return he will have many new stories to tell his grandchildren.


Mr. and Mrs. Luiz have four children: Mary C., born February 17, 1913; Anna Aileen, born December 23, 1915 ; Ernest D., born April 29, 1917 ; and Elaine M., born July 8, 1918. These children are attending the Atwater school. Mrs. Luiz is a great reader and is much interested in education, being a past vice-president of the Atwater Parent-Teachers Association, and served on the Ways and Means Committee in 1923. She served as the treasurer of the U. P. P. E. C. society for some time. Mr. Luiz is secretary of the U. P. E. C., of which he has been a member for over fifteen years. He is the president of the Atwater Pentacost Club Association, which he helped to organize. He is a Republican in politics. Both Mr. and Mrs. Luiz are stockholders in the California Peach and Apricot Association and their thirty acres is in a highly developed condition, with trees from five to seventeen years old. They are liberal-minded and cooperate in all movements for the betterment of the community.




Lying northwest of Hilmar three and a half miles is the highly- developed ranch of fifty-five acres owned by Oscar Holden, a respected and popular native son of California, who is a director in the Hilmar Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Mr. Holden raises alfalfa, runs a dairy and also specializes in breeding pure-blooded, prize Minorcas. His original purchase of land was sixty acres, but he deeded five acres for an irrigation ditch. He is public spirited, well-liked and interested in the welfare of the Turlock Irrigation District and every other good thing for the county and the community.


Mr. Holden was born in Goleta, Santa Barbara County, May 15, 1879, the youngest of three children of Oscar and Mettie (Bad­ger) Holden, late of Santa Barbara County, where they farmed. Oscar Holden, Sr., was born in New York State and married in Nebraska, where he was engaged in cattle-raising on the Nemaha River, when Nebraska was a territory. In 1875 he moved with his family to Goleta and farmed for a while and then moved to Monte­cito, a suburb of Santa Barbara. His wife was born in Michigan and grew up in Iowa and Nebraska. Her parents were also pioneers. Oscar Holden grew up on his father's farm in Goleta until he was seventeen. When his parents moved to Montecito he attended the public school there and learned the carpenter's trade. He did a little contracting and a little teaming. His attention being called to the Hilmar district in Merced County, he visited the place in 1908 and was so well satisfied that he bought sixty acres. Coming home he loaded up his goods and unloaded them at the Hilmar station on February 16, of the same year.


Mr. Holden was married in Santa Barbara to Clara Stevens, a daughter of Lyman and Lydia V. Stevens. Her father was a veteran of the Civil War, who came from Missouri to California after the war and passed away at the age of seventy-one. Her mother resides in Napa County, and is now seventy-five years old. The Holdens' two children are Earl Lyman, an electrician, and Laura, the wife of Donald Ross, an engineer in the cold storage plant in San Jose. Mr. Holden was elected a director in the Hilmar Mutual Fire Insurance Company in 1906 and has served acceptably and continuously ever since. This company provides insurance for about one half the cost of old-line companies. During the late war he was captain of the district in the various bond drives, and his district went over the top every time. It is largely through his efforts that the Prairie Flower school district was organized, in which he has served as director for many years. Mrs. Holden has also served on the election board and done jury duty, and is deputy county clerk in the Riverside voting precinct, which has recently been formed out of a portion of the Fairview Valley precinct. Mrs. Holden is a very estimable lady and shares the excellent progressive spirit of her husband.




When John Groom came to Livingston, Cal., in 1910, there was not much to suggest the present remarkable prosperity which he him­self has helped to bring about. His first experience in Livingston was as a building foreman, but it was not long before he saw an oppor­tunity for an energetic contractor. From the very start Mr. Groom averaged one building per month and to his credit stands the Marshall store building, the Livingston telegraph office building, the library building, the Sumner Grammar School building, the pool hall, the First Bank of Livingston building, the Walter Ward building, the Livingston bakery. He built the George Bloss home in Atwater, the residences of A. Craig, E. G. Adams, Dr. G. C. Saunders and others. In 1923 he built the Atwater Grammar School at Atwater and the new addition to the Merced Falls Grammar School. Mr. Groom has built five houses for himself and has sold four of them and is living in the fifth.


Mr. Groom is of English descent; his father, also named John Groom, and his mother, Anna Theresa (Williams) Groom, were born in England. They immigrated to Canada, and were there united in marriage. John Groom, Sr., located at Muskoka, Canada, where on May 22, 1876, John Jr., was born. The family remained in Canada for the following three years, then removed to Chicago, where the father engaged in contracting and building in the stock­yards district. There were six children in this family : Anna, the wife of Angus Morrison, of Philadelphia, Pa.; Emma, the wife of George Palmeter, of Hood River, Ore.; John, our subject; Thomas, assistant superintendent at the California Barrel Factory at Arcata, Cal.; James, deceased; and Bessie, wife of Mark Austin, of Living­ston. The father passed away at Antigo, Wis., aged sixty-five years, and the mother died at Livingston on February 9, 1924, aged eight- one years.


John Groom attended public school in Chicago and one year at Benton Harbor, Mich., and at the age of fourteen he went to work as an apprentice to learn the carpenter's trade. He left the family home at Antigo, Wis., and came to California in 1901, locating first at Gonzales, Monterey County, where he worked for about eight months ; then went to Eureka, where he remained until 1908, when he removed to San Francisco and worked for a couple of years prior to locating at Livingston.

At Livingston, in June, 1914, Mr. Groom was married to Miss Abbie E. Carson, a daughter of John Carson. and of this union one child has been born, John Carson Groom. Fraternally, Mr. Groom is affiliated with Humboldt Lodge No. 77, I. 0. 0. F., and Mt. Zion Encampment, I. 0. 0. F., both at Eureka, Humboldt County, Cal. He is a stockholder in the First Bank of Livingston. He is very active in all matters pertaining to the advancement of the Livingston section of Merced County and is ever looking for an opportunity to aid in its further development.




The list of public-spirited and highly respected business men of Merced is not complete without the name of James Ryan, a member of a large family of pioneers and a man who took an active part in local affairs. Being a stanch Republican, he made his influence felt in every movement to promote the welfare of Merced City and County. He was born on his father's farm in Mariposa County, on August 8, 1878, a son of James and Louisa (Pate) Ryan. The father came from New York State in 1859, while yet a boy, and mined for nine years, and then bought the ranch now known as the Cornett ranch, and farmed to grain. He sold this ranch and took up what is now known as the Ryan ranch, but moved from it two years before his death. His sons farmed the ranch up to the time of his death, in 1921, and it was later sold by the family to Frank Crane. There were thirteen children in the family, of whom two died young; the others grew to maturity and eight are now living.


James Ryan, Jr., attended the Cunningham school, four miles from his home, and afterwards took a course in the Santa Cruz Business College, at the age of eighteen. From working on a ranch he went to San Francisco and was employed in a wholesale store for three years ; his next engagement was in a store in Le Grand for a while. Then until 1918 he was engaged in farming, and afterwards in pros­pecting for oil in Fresno and Merced Counties on the West Side. In 1924 Mr. Ryan became owner of a third-interest in the Lost Pose Eaton gold quartz mine in Tuolumne County, and at the present time they have struck a ledge assaying from $100 to $2000 per ton.


James Ryan married Miss Eva Holloway of Illinois, but reared in California, and they have three children, namely : Leonore (Mrs. Phil Clark), Evelyn, and James. Fraternally Mr. Ryan is an Odd Fellow, and served as Grand Master of California in 1922; and he is also a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Native Sons of the Golden West, and Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. O. E. He belongs to the Lions' Club and the Chamber of Commerce in Merced. He is fond of outdoor life and in his younger days was a baseball player.




It is from Sweden, Denmark and Norway that the United States gets many of its energetic, reliable and progressive people, who make loyal citizens, and typical of the best in those races we have P. A. Lundquist, owner of a forty-acre well-improved ranch in the Fairview precinct of the Hilmar Colony. On a five-acre addition, which he later acquired, he has built a comfortable home which will serve him and his wife during their declining years.


The son of Andrew E. and Catherine Lundquist, P. A. was born in Skaraborg Lan, Sweden, on May 19, 1856; and he came with his parents to America and settled with them in Jefferson County, Iowa, being the youngest of three children, two sons and one daughter. He entered heartily into the work of helping to clear up and develop his father's farm. In 1886 the parents moved to Montgomery County, Iowa, where the parents and sister died. The brother, John G., is still living retired in Stanton, Iowa.


In 1892, P. A. Lundquist was married in Montgomery County, Iowa, to Miss Louisa Holm, a daughter of a merchant-tailor in Sweden. As a young girl of sixteen she courageously migrated to Iowa. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Lundquist bought an eighty-acre unimproved farm in Montgomery County, Iowa, upon which they carried on a general farming business. Three children were born of this union. The oldest, John E., served in France during the World War and is now a farmer north of Hilmar; Agnes married Arthur Nilsen, and is the mother of three children, Arnold, Leonard and Reuben, and resides on the home ranch; David W., who graduated from Heald's Business College of Oakland in 1920, is a young man of sterling worth and is working for the Standard Oil Company.


Mr. and Mrs. Lundquist became interested in the Hilmar Colony in California and in 1915 they left Montgomery County, Iowa, and came here. They brought with them considerable means and have wisely invested it and have improved their property. They are active members of the Swedish Mission Church and are among the best people of the Hilmar Colony. In politics they are Republicans.




Closely associated with the advancement of the agricultural pros­perity of Merced County is Peter Petersen, who owns and occupies a choice and well-improved ranch of forty-eight acres, which is pleas­antly situated west of the limits of the city of Gustine. During 1923 he purchased another ranch which contains 13.62 acres, both ranches being under the Miller & Lux canal. Mr. Petersen conducts a dairy of forty cattle and raises alfalfa. The birth of Peter Petersen oc­curred on the Island of Als, Germany, but now Denmark, March 2, 1875, a son of Mathias and Catherina (Petersen) Petersen. Mathias Petersen was a cooper by trade and also followed farming in his native country; he never left Denmark, passing away there in 1883, while the mother passed away about 1905. Five children blessed this union : Maria, Mrs. James Hansen, residing at Newman; Peter, the subject of this review; Hans, deceased; Mathias, living in Michigan; and Doris, who still makes her home in Denmark.


Peter Petersen attended public school in Germany and remained at home until he was sixteen years old, when he came to America. Locating in Escanaba, Mich., he worked for six and a half years in a saw mill. Desiring a change of location, he came to California and stopped at Newman, where he learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for the next fifteen years. At the end of this time he came to Gustine and purchased his present home place, which was uncultivated land at that time; on this place he established a dairy and planted the land to alfalfa; his second purchase of land is also being developed to alfalfa.


At Modesto, June 18, 1908, Mr. Petersen was married to Miss Catherina Miller, also born in Als, daughter of Jorgen Miller, who was a professional musician, also a farmer, but devoted most of his time to music. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Petersen: Esther, Wilbur, and Edwin. During January, 1919, the flu epidemic claimed Mrs. Petersen and the two eldest children, all passing away within one week's time. Mr. Petersen favors the principles of the Democratic party, but usually votes for the candidate best fitted for office regardless of party lines. Fraternally he belongs to Romero Lodge No. 413 I. O. O. F. and to the Dania Lodge at Gustine.




The rapid advance of education in every part of our fair land and the development and improvement of educational methods have raised the teacher's calling to the dignity of a true profession, which today is one of the most useful known. Especially qualified for his present position by reason of his broad learning, rare patience and good executive ability, Christian Stoner Weaver is successfully filling the position of county superintendent of schools of Merced County. A native of California he was born near Livingston, Mer­ced County, on October 28, 1878, a son of William L. and Annie (Stoner) Weaver. W. L. Weaver was born in Pennsylvania in 1847, came to California the first time in January, 1870, remained until October, 1871, when he returned to his eastern home and on December 28, 1871, was united in marriage with Miss Annie Stoner, born in Pennsylvania on February 5, 1847. In 1874, with his wife and two children, Mr. Weaver again came to California and in 1876 located in Merced County and followed the carpenter's trade and engaged in ranching. In 1900 the family moved to the British Colony and here Mr. Weaver continued farming until he was acci­dentally killed in a railroad accident in 1907. Mrs. Weaver is still living and is the mother of nine children, all living, as follows: Charles H., residing with his mother; Mrs. Elma Middleton, of Ceres, who has two children; Mrs. Sadie Clark, of Alameda, who has two children; Christian Stoner, of this review; Robert S., of Merced, who is the father of three children; Mrs. Mollie Lander, of Ceies, the mother of five children; Nettie and Margaret A., who are with their mother ; and Alvin E., of the British Colony and the father of two children.


Christian Stoner Weaver was reared and educated in Merced County, supplementing his public school studies with courses at the University of California, the Stockton Normal School, the Stockton Business College, and the Fresno Teachers' College. His first position as teacher was in the schools of his native county for three years. He then was in the employ of the Yosemite Valley Railroad during its construction for four years, after which he returned to his pedagogical work for three years in the schools of Fresno County; then in the city schools of Fresno for four years, and serving one year as deputy county superintendent of schools. In 1920 he came back to Merced County and farmed for a short time. He next taught for two and one-half years in the Tuttle school and in November, 1922 he was elected to the office of county superintendent of schools of Merced County, a position he continues to fill with efficiency.


The marriage of Mr. Weaver united him with Miss Anna Peden, a native of Kentucky, and four children have blessed their union: Robert Christian, Martha Elizabeth, Ruth Louise and Doris Mae. Fraternally, Mr. Weaver is a Mason, belonging to Yosemite Lodge No. 99, F. & A. M., and Fresno Consistory of the Scottish Rite; has been through the chairs of Merced Lodge No. 208, I. 0 0. F.; and is also a member of the Woodmen of the World. Mr. Weaver is devoted to his work and is a close student of the educational needs of Merced County. Politically, he is independent in his views.




A representative dairyman of the Fairview Precinct in Merced County, who has made his own way in the world and has reached his present place in the esteem of his fellow men, is Clyde E. Bridegroom, residing about seven miles southwest of Turlock. Mr. Bridegroom was born at Mt. Carmel, Wabash County, Ill., Decem­ber 28, 1885, the son of William E. Bridegroom, the present mayor of Turlock, Stanislaus County. The latter was born in Winamac, Ind., and became a railroad man, running on freight and later on passenger trains as a conductor, first with the "Big Four," then with the Wabash, and later was with the Texas Pacific in Texas. He had married in Indiana, Miss Mary Gill, born in that State; and she bore her husband four children who are now living.

Clyde E. attended the public schools in Illinois and after com­pleting his courses at the age of sixteen he took to farming on 192 acres owned by his father at Reinard, Ill. The lure of California called to the young farmer in Illinois and on October 3, 1905, he arrived in Los Angeles to see if he could not better his condition,he being the first member of his family to come this far West. After the usual sight-seeing in the southland, Mr. Bridegroom found employment in the factory owned by the Southern California Lumber & Box Company, and a few months later he went to Bakersfield, where he was fortunate to become a foreman for the Kern County Land Company on their 120,000-acre Poso Ranch and he remained in that position for the ensuing seven years. His next field of endeavor was with the American Oilfields Company, at Taft, as foreman of the Transportation Department for two years. In 1906 he had made a visit to Turlock, Cal., and at that time purchased a few lots in the new and growing community. In 1912 he came back to that city, but in the meantime had traded his lots for twenty acres of land south of the city, upon which he built a house and made improvements, and it is here that he still makes his home. Through general ranching and dairying he has succeeded and now owns 120 acres of fine land upon which he runs a dairy of seventy cows, having every modern convenience obtainable to make his barns and equip­ment sanitary and convenient.


Much of the success that has accompanied the efforts of Mr. Bridegroom he attributes to his wife, whom he married in Modesto and who was in maidenhood, Miss Ethel Marie Kirkwood, born in Ukiah, Cal., the daughter of William Edward Kirkwood, who came to Mendocino County from Iowa when he was eleven years of age. Of this happy union have been born four children: William Rad­cliffe, Bethel Beatrice, Robina Bernice and Kirkwood Clyde. Mr. Bridegroom is essentially a "home-man" as he finds his greatest happiness in the bosom of his interesting family. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and are Republicans in politics. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bridegroom are highly esteemed by their ever- widening circle of friends and well-wishers.




Among the younger generation of dairymen and ranchers in Merced County, Paul D. Bloom has won a name and place for him­self. He was born in Davis County, Iowa, March 16, 1891, a son of John and Laura A. (Royer) Bloom. John Bloom was born in Sweden, near Stockholm, and was reared on a farm. He left his native land, lived in Iowa, where he married; in 1900 he came to California, eventually locating in San Jose, where he passed his last days, dying at the age of sixty-six years. He had been engaged in the hotel business in San Jose. Mrs. Bloom still makes that city her home.


Paul D. Bloom grew to manhood in San Jose and was educated in the public schools, after which he started out to make his own way in the world when he was twenty. His first employment was with the Standard Oil Company at San Jose in the sales department. He was there until he came to Merced County, in 1918. Here he located on the ranch owned by his father-in-law, Jasper Parnell, having at first forty acres, but now operates 160 acres devoted to dairying and raising alfalfa on shares.

On July 16, 1913, occurred the marriage of Paul D. Bloom and Miss Julia Stella Parnell, who was born in Stockton, the daughter of Jasper and Cassie Parnell, mention of whom is made elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Bloom have three children: Cedric, Mildred and Donald. Politically Mr. Bloom is a Democrat. Fraternally he is a member of the Odd Fellows at Newman.




It is a significant tribute to the merits of Merced County, that a man of such wide experience as Charles W. O'Donnel should choose to settle here and invest his money. He is a citizen of whom any community might well be proud and the people of Merced County have accorded him a place in the foremost ranks of its representative citi­zens and business men. His material worth is represented by two fine ranches, one of sixty-five acres near Arena devoted to alfalfa, dairying and fruit; another of forty acres in the Jordan-Atwater section, in which there are ten acres of Thompson Seedless grapes, twelve acres of Malagas, fourteen acres of Elberta peaches, and four acres of alfalfa. He has concrete pipes for irrigating and an abund­ance of pure water from his own wells for domestic, stock and irri­gating purposes which are operated by means of two Fairbanks-Morse gasoline pumping engines. The two farms are very fertile and valuable.


Mr. O'Donnel was born at Parker's Landing, in Butler County, Pa., on November 6, 1876. His father, L. D. O'Donnel, was born in 1847 and married to Edith Black in Venango County; he was well known as one of the first contract-drillers in the Venango County oil fields of Pennsylvania and was in the oil game until his retirement, in 1896, to his farm in Venango County. He drilled the first oil well that was drilled by contract in the United States, it being the discovery well at Scrub Grass, Pa., and drilled on what is now the right-of- way of the Pennsylvania Railroad, now known as the Allegheny Val­ley Railroad, between Oil City and Pittsburgh. Mr. O'Donnel is still living in Pennsylvania. His wife died there in 1914 at the age of fifty-nine. There were three children, the others being Edward, of Sharon, Pa., an inspector of the Carnegie Steel Works at Farrell, Pa.; and Daisy, Mrs. J. C. Reynolds, whose husband is a concrete contractor at Franklin, Pa.


The second child, Charles Wilson O'Donnel grew up in Pennsyl­vania. His education, begun in the common schools, was topped off by a commercial course after which, at the age of sixteen, he started in business with his father; and when his father retired, he took possession of the five strings of tools in the Rosenburg field in Pennsylvania. He has drilled in nearly every oil State of the Union. He came to California in 1910 and drilled at Taft for the K. T. & O. Co., which is subsidiary to the Southern Pacific Railway. In 1913 he left California and went to Electra, Texas, where he brought in thirty wells. When he left Breckenridge, Texas, in 1910, and came to Cali­fornia Mr. O'Donnel purchased his first ranch in the Jordan-Atwater tract in Merced County, but continued drilling until 1918. He standardized and brought in the first oil well at Burnett, Texas, where he kept six strings of tools at work.


Mr. O'Donnel was married in Franklin, Pa., in 1908, to Miss Edna Levier, born in Venango County, Pa., the eleventh child of the twelve born to John Levier and his wife. Mrs. O'Donnel died in 1918.


On December 15, 1924, Charles L. O'Donnel, who is the oldest son of Edward O'Donnel, of Sharon, Pa., purchased an undivided half interest in the 105 acres of land owned by our subject at Arena and will give his time and best efforts to developing the property into fruits, and to the development of a market from Arena to Sharon, Pa., for California fruits. Charles L. O'Donnel was born at Pittsburgh, Pa., on June 27, 1897, and for ten years was connected with the Carnegie Steel Company, at Sharon. He was also for two years with the Pennsylvania Railway Company. His wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Moriarity, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, is a proficient stenographer, was secretary to the secretary of the Sharon, Pa., Chamber of Commerce, and like her husband, has a wide acquaintance and is well posted as to the market conditions and requirements for fruit of the people in the Pittsburgh section of Pennsylvania. 400 carloads of California grapes and other green fruits were marketed at Sharon during 1924. Mr. and Mrs. C. L. O'Donnel have one son. Their advent in Arena is very welcome, particularly as it initiates a new era for Arena as a fruit shipping center.




Prominent among the active, wide-awake and progressive lawyers of Merced County is James Robert McHenry, whose untiring efforts and continued industry, combined with skill and practical judgment in conducting the duties of his chosen profession, have met with a well-deserved reward. His birth occurred on a farm in Missouri, November 20, 1879, a son of James and Emma (Galvan) McHenry, who came to California when our subject was a child of three years and settled in Stanislaus County.


James Robert McHenry acquired his early education in the public schools ; this was supplemented with private study and a business course. His legal education was obtained through private study in Merced and he was admitted to the bar in 1916 and immediately thereafter opened offices in Merced, where he has continued to practice with gratifying success.


The marriage of Mr. McHenry united him with Miss Margaret Kelly. Her parents are old pioneers of the Snelling district of Merced County. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. McHenry; Anna, Lola and Harvey. In politics Mr. McHenry is Independent. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. In 1922 he was elected treasurer of the Merced Irrigation District. Mr. McHenry is actively interested in horticulture, especially in the culture of figs, which reach the zenith of perfection in the Merced district; he spends his leisure time looking after his 200-acre fig orchard and when opportunity presents itself he goes to the mountains, where he enjoys hunting and fishing.




The principal of the Elim Grammar School, located between Hilmar and Irwin, Harry M. Baker is a representative of a San Joaquin Valley pioneer family and was born in Stanislaus County, on October 11, 1888, a son of Francis M. Baker, a native of Ohio, born in 1852, and Elizabeth Harmon Baker, who was descended from Pennsylvania Dutch stock and who died in Richmond, Cal., in 1922, aged sixty-two years. F. M. Baker is a second cousin of the late President Harding; the Harding farm near Blooming Grove, Ohio, joined the farm belonging to the father of F. M. Baker. Both Harry M. and his father have autographed letters from the late President. The Baker ancestry is traced back to 1450 in England, from which country the progenitors of the family came to America and settled in the New England States, where they became wealthy mill-owners. Grandfather Baker was a Mexican War veteran, having served in that conflict.


F. M. Baker came to Turlock in the early seventies and started an eating house; some time after he had become established he returned to Ohio and was married and returned to California with his bride and took up his work in Turlock. He next went to Snelling, where he was employed in a flouring mill for some time; then was engaged in the same occupation with the Merced Milling Company. In 1896 he ran the Oak Park Dairy, having 200 cows, and superintended the making of cheese at the factory; he next had charge of the cheese factory on the Wallace Ranch, near Modesto. In 1900 he had the first irrigated farm in the Turlock Irrigation District at the Tegner District, having bought this land several years previous for twenty dollars per acre. He sold it at a handsome profit and invested in 100 acres in Mendocino County, which he also sold to good advantage. Then he moved to Richmond, Cal., and bought and sold real estate for several years until now he is able to retire from business worries and is enjoying life at his Richmond home, saddened only by the death of his wife. There were twelve children born to Mr. and 678       


Mrs. F. M. Baker. The oldest child, a girl, met an accidental death by falling down stairs when she was two years old; the others are living and are: Alta, Mrs. J. M. DeVee; Roy W.; Jesse F.; Harry M.; Ethel, Mrs. C. 0. Fewell ; William W.; Hazel, Mrs. Elmer Ridd; Dora, Mrs. W. T. Woolley; Effie, Mrs. C. W. Friel; Gladys, Mrs. Emmet Dailey; and Estella, Mrs. Jesse White. An uncle of our subject, James A. Baker, was connected with the Southern Pacific Railway for thirty years and is now retired on a pension; he also receives a pension from the United States Government for his services during the Civil War and owns real estate in Newman, where he makes his residence.


Harry M. Baker was reared on a ranch and attended the schools in Turlock and in the Tegner District, and was graduated from the Turlock High School, class of 1910, and from the Western Normal School of Stockton in 1912. He began teaching in the Franklin School in Merced County, where he was principal in 1913-1915; then for one year he was employed as a stenographer for the Moline Plow Company, in Stockton, and later served as a deputy under Eugene Graham, county clerk of San Joaquin County. He next put in three years in the office of the Spreckels Sugar Company in Manteca, beginning as assistant bookkeeper, and advancing to head bookkeeper and next to auditor. He then resumed teaching as principal of the Atlanta Grammar School in San Joaquin County, 1919-1922. In the latter year he came to his present place in the Elim Grammar School in the Hilmar Colony. This has the largest enrollment of scholars of any grammar school outside of the incorporated towns in Merced County, the number being 246 in 1925. The pupils are transported to and from school in three large motor busses. Mr. Baker holds a State life diploma, also State administration credentials which entitle him to a superintendency of schools as supervisor of educa­tion. He keeps abreast of the times by reading and study and is thoroughly up-to-date in educational work.


Mr. Baker was married in 1914 to Mary Alice Carter, born near Manteca, a daughter of James and Medora (Kiel) Carter, a pioneer family, natives of Wisconsin who came to California with their parents via Panama and from San Francisco to Stockton by boat. Mrs. Baker was a student in the Western Normal School in Stockton and there she met Mr. Baker, and their marriage was the result. She is secretary of the Ladies' Aid Society of the Methodist Church, of which she is also a member and a teacher in the Sunday School. They have two children, June and Ila. Mr. Baker is an athlete of more than ordinary ability, is a champion sprinter and pole vaulter and could run 100 yards in ten and two-fifths seconds; even now he keeps up with his athletic exercises and occasionally wins over those much younger than himself. He is strictly temperate, and never has used tobacco or liquor. He plays on the violin at concerts and special gatherings. For some time he edited the Hilmar Enterprise, now owned by Mrs. Betty Wright, but he severed this connection when he took up the Boy Scout work, being one of the organizers of the local troop, and is their Scout Master. He believes in the young boys and does everything in his power to help them to the right path they should take in future life. He and his family reside at Irwin, and are the center of a wide social circle.




How the family represented by Fred A. Lagomarsino came to be established in this country is an interesting story, showing the circumstances that have led many to leave their native lands and seek their fortunes in the great West. Antone Lagomarsino was a native of Italy ; he was drafted into the Austrian army but in order to evade military duty, he took to sea in 1849, and after six months on the ocean he arrived at San Francisco, and learning of the gold discovery, he set out for the mines. He reached Moccasin, Tuolumne County and instead of mining, started gardening and fruit-raising, and with such success that he continued in it. In 1852 he was married to Maria Canevaro who had just come from Genoa, Italy in a party from there. In 1854 Mr. Lagomarsino moved to Merced County and took up land on the river four miles below Snelling and engaged in general forming and prospered well by his industry and frugality, acquiring much valuable town property in Merced. He died in 1887. His wife removed to Merced where she died at her home in 1895, survived by seven children : Frank, who died at the age of thirty-five; Julia Faubel, of San Francisco; Louis, who died aged thirty-two; Mary; Joseph; Fred A., the subject of this sketch; and a child who died in infancy.


Fred A. was born on the Snelling ranch, March 25, 1872, and was reared on the Merced River ranch and worked with or for his parents until leaving home to learn the plumber's trade, which he followed as a journeyman for eight years. He owned and carried on the Merced Soda Works for twenty years, but he sold it out in order to give his attention to ranching which had been in the hands of tenants. He and his sisters own the old homestead of 219 acres on the Merced River and some of Merced's most desirable business property in lots and buildings. He is a member of the Exempt Firemen, and of the Native Sons of the Golden West and of the U. P. E. C. and the I. D. E. S. of Merced. He belongs to the Catholic Church.




So much of the future development and advancement of California as a State, and each county as a unit in its progress, is dependent upon the growing generation, that enough cannot be said in favor of the men and women who are devoting their lives to educating these embryo citizens and helping to make them into men and women who will be an asset to any community. Especially in the line of vocational education, fitting them for their future work in life; or in preparing them for college courses, so that they, in their turn, may become educators. And Merced County has been unusually fortunate in its selection of faculties for the different schools in the district..


As principal of the Hilmar Union High School, Maurice Gaylord Greenly is filling an important place in county education. A native of South Dakota, he was born in Estelline, that State, on December 23,1890, the son of Hiram B. and Latie A. (Gaylord) Greenly, both born in the State of New York ; and they became homesteaders in Dakota Territory, the mother locating there in 1881. The parents moved to Brookings, S. D., when young Maurice had reached the age of eleven years, in order that their family of three children, of whom he was the youngest, might obtain good educational advantages. He attended the Brookings High School for three years, and then entered preparatory courses for entry into Brookings College, now the South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. Taking up a general science course in college, he graduated from that institution with the Class of 1913, with his degree of B. S.


Following his graduation, Mr. Greenly immediately went to Honolulu, and there engaged in teaching in private schools for one year, and for the following seven years taught in the public schools there. Returning to California in 1922, he spent that year and the next as a post graduate student in the educational department of Stanford University, and received his degree of A. M. in June, 1923. In September, 1923, he entered upon his duties as principal of the Hilmar Union High School and has since that time devoted his ener­gies, both mental and physical, to the building up of the school under his care and maintaining its high standard of efficiency.


The Hilmar Union High comprises the following subsidiary grammar schools; the Elim Union, Fairview, Hilmar, Merquin Union, Riverside and Raisin districts, Prairie Flower being joint with Stanislaus County. A regularly accredited high school with the University of California, with courses in commercial and vocational instruction as well as the regular high school courses; and situated as it is, in the midst of the fertile Hilmar Colony, in the northern part of Merced County, the school has an important bearing on the future in store for this county. There are 130 pupils at the present writing, 1925, and this enrollment mounts steadily with the growing population and development of the district. Housed in a modern and well-planned building of brick construction, built at a cost of $35,000, in 1919, the school was first started in 1911; and eight years later the bond issue was established for the badly needed new building. The first issue of $28,000 was found insufficient and an additional $6000 voted. Mr. Greenly is the fourth principal of the school, the others who served before him being W. W. Pettit, Herbert Kittredge, and A. L. Wedell. A "born" educator, and intensely energetic and interested in his work, Mr. Greenly keeps the Hilmar Union High up to a fine standard of work, getting unusual results from his earnest work in striving to bring out the inherent ability in each individual student.

During his years spent in Honolulu, Mr. Greenly met his future wife, and there his marriage occurred, in 1917, to Miss Helen Hoag, a native of Pasadena, Cal., and a graduate of the San Jose Teachers College, Class of 1915. Three children have blessed their union: Maurice Gaylord Jr.; Patricia Jean; and Marian Leilani.




It takes some character in a lad of fifteen to start out alone, for a strange country, on borrowed money and with no capital to see him through after his arrival, but these handicaps did not daunt Joseph M. Souza. He was born in the Azores Islands, on February 7, 1877, and was educated in the common schools and at the age of fifteen came alone to America to locate with his brother in Merced, Cal. He had borrowed $200.00 to make the journey, and on landing in New York, took the overland train for California, and was eight days crossing the continent. It was a lonesome trip for the boy; he could not speak a word of English, and the only thing which cheered him on his way was the sight of numerous bands of sheep seen from the car windows, for he was raised in a sheep country and they made him feel a little at home in the strange land.


Arriving in Merced on May 11, 1892, he first worked for his brother, A. M. Souza, herding sheep for two and one-half years, and later became a partner with this brother in the sheep-raising business for about eight years. He sold out his interest and worked for F. I. Freitas, herding sheep, and later engaged in the business for himself, but again sold out and became a partner with Mr. Freitas, this time remaining so engaged for six years. At the end of that period he disposed of his interest, and purchased a ranch of 170 acres, west of Merced, which he sold at a good profit in two years' time. In 1922, he bought a band of sheep, and now is raising about 3000 head, his partner in business being Bert Crane of Turlock.


The marriage of Mr. Souza in 1902, united him with Rosa A. Rodrigues, also a native of the Azores, and five children have been born to them : Joseph M. Jr.; Elsie, wife of Toney Freitas of Merced; Clarence; Rosaline; and Clinton W., all native of California.


A self-made man in every sense of the word, Mr. Souza was made a United States citizen in Merced, August 6, 1906, and he has never regretted his decision to come here and establish his home and raise his family, for he realizes the opportunities at hand. Fraternally he is a member of the U. P. E. C. Society.




No better example of the self-made man can be given than the life work and accomplishments of John Barneich; nor of the wonderful opportunities offered by California for the man or woman to rise to positions of affluence and influence by their own endeavors. Coming to California a lad of seventeen, poor in purse but rich in ambition and in strength, the success to which he has attained has been obtained by patient, persevering and honest labor.


John Barneich was born in the Basque province in the Pyrenees in the south of France, on May 6, 1863, and his education was obtained in the common schools of his section of country and he was reared in the sheep industry until he was seventeen. In 1880 his desire to become a citizen of the United States was granted him and he arrived in California and got work herding sheep for J. Miguel Arburua; and at the same time he, was studying the English language. When these sheep were sold to Miller & Lux our subject went along with the band and remained in the employ of Mr. Miller for two years. From 1884 to 1886 he drove sheep through the Pacheco Pass to the stockyards and slaughter houses in San Francisco and Oakland while employed by Eugene Ayy, a butcher in San Francisco, who had the Little Panoche Ranch in Fresno County.


In 1885 Mr. Barneich had saved enough money to engage in the sheep business on his own account; in 1886 he homesteaded 160 acres of land on Little Panoche Creek in Fresno County, and as he prospered he kept adding to his holdings until he owned 2000 acres, all in Fresno County. He farmed 150 acres of it, had twenty acres in alfalfa, with water rights. Here he made his home until 1898, when he sold his sheep and came to Los Banos and opened a butcher shop, one of the pioneers of the new town, and this he operated until 1915, when he sold out and retired to devote his time to his personal interests. He owns the 0. B. Garage building and some residence property in Los Banos; and he also owns his ranch in Fresno County, which is leased to tenants.


Mr. Barneich was united in marriage in 1890, with Louise Cla­yere, born in France, and they have had nine children, viz.: Isadore J. of Los Banos; Julia, wife of Martin Jussel of Oakland, and the mother of two children; Mary, wife of Bernard Benitou of St. Helena, and mother of one child ; Justine, married Frank La Forte, of Oakland and has one child; Annie, of Los Banos; John L., of Oakland; and Bernice, Louise and Marguerite, all of Los Banos. Mr. Barneich has always been public spirited and helped to promote all interests for upbuilding Los Banos and Merced County.




In writing the history of any section, it is important that we include in its pages the histories of the outstanding men who have contributed to its real growth and advancement, and their effect on the moral and intellectual progress as well as the more material side of a nation's development. For the growth of town and city, county and State, is a part of the whole movement "toward the light" which our glorious country is slowly but surely making, and is important in the general scheme of things; and when we find a man who has worked faithfully both as a minister of the gospel, to help men to a better life, and as a man of affairs in the working world, putting his shoulder to the wheel to bring to actual accomplishment the movements which make for the upbuilding of a community, its general welfare and future progress, such a man is worthy of all praise, and his labors merit permanent record.


Rey. David C. Williams, a Methodist minister, and a member of the State assembly from the 49th District of California, was born in North Wales, Great Britain, June 15, 1879, and was educated primarily in the British grammar schools and a private English classical school, there taking up classic languages and modern sciences under a private teacher. He received his degree of A. B. in the University College of Wales, and in 1900 graduated with the degree of M. D. from the Liverpool College of Medicine. That same year he came to California. After his decision to enter the ministry, he attended the Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tenn. Since 1904, he has been a minister, preaching at various places in California, among them Lemoore, Hanford, Arbuckle, Williams, Red Bluff, Kingsburg, Modesto, Le Grand and Merced. In 1918, Dr. Williams came to Le Grand, Merced County. He was chaplain in the United States Army during the World War, stationed at Camp Taylor, Ky., and received his commission as first lieutenant, being later commissioned a captain. Prominent in ministerial affairs, Dr. Williams is historian for the Methodist Conference, and active in the various meetings of the church body.


As assemblyman from Merced and Madera Counties, Dr. Wil­liams was of invaluable assistance in promoting and putting through to completion some of the most important bills that have ever been before the public from this section of the State, among them the bills providing for the Merced Irrigation District and the Yosemite Valley Highway from Merced to El Portal. He served on the following committees in the State assembly : the Medical and Dental Laws, Labor and Capital, Soldier and Sailor Affairs, Public Morals, Mili­tary Affairs, and Agriculture; and he was chairman of the Committee on Irrigation. A brilliant and forceful speaker, he was called the best orator of the assembly, and his constituents were justly proud of his achievements, for they reflect good judgment on the part of those who put him in office, at the head of public affairs in their district. Dr. Williams was the founder of the Mercy Hospital of Merced and put that project through to completion, filling a much needed want in the community. He was president of the Le Grand Board of Trade, and he always giyes of his time and knowledge to all causes which he knows are for the real benefit of his fellow citizens, for his yision is unusually broad and he can rightfully be called one of the builders of Merced County. He came to Merced as pastor of Bethel Methodist Church, South, in 1924.


The marriage of Dr. Williams, occurring at Lemoore on January 1, 1917, united him with Ruby Lobb, a native of California; and one daughter has been born to them, Eugenia Pearl. Fraternally, Dr. Williams is a Mason, a member of the Kingsbury Lodge of that order; and he is also a member of the Knights of Pythias, Yosemite Castle, at Merced.




A resume of the careers of the people who contribute to the best interests of Merced County would be incomplete without mention of the earnest efforts of Timothy Thornton, formerly deputy city marshal of Merced. In the biographical sketch of Daniel K. Thornton, found on another page of this history, mention is made of thirteen children, three of them daughters, born of the marriage of Michael and Ellen (Hanlon) Thornton, who came to Merced County in an early day and located on a homestead two and one-half miles west of Merced. One of their sons was. Timothy and he was born on the place on December 25, 1879. He grew up on the farm and attended the public school along with the other children of their neighborhood. When he was eighteen he began farming on his own responsibility, continuing for ten years ; then he became a member of the police force in Merced. In April, 1923, he was made deputy marshal, a position he now holds.


Upon reaching manhood's estate Mr. Thorton was united in marriage with Agnes C. Gainey, of Washington, D. C. She is a teacher in the Arena School and served as president of the County Board of Education. They have one child, Francis. In political affiliations Mr. Thorton supports the platform and measures of the Demo­cratic party. Fraternally, he is a member of the Woodmen of the World. For recreation he is fond of all healthy out-of-door sports. As a public-spirited man, he is deeply interested in the progress of Merced, town and county.




A name that is worthy to be enrolled among the pioneers of the Hilmar Colony in Merced County is that of A. W. Sward, an enterprising and persevering citizen of whom any community might well be proud. He owns a ranch of forty acres one-half a mile south of Irwin at the corner of Lander and Williams Avenues, all well-improved and productive. He was born in Ostrejotland, Sweden, on March 11, 1869, was educated in the schools of his native country and when he was eighteen he took passage on a White Star Line steamer for America and arriyed at Castle Garden, N. Y., in December, 1886. His destination was Axtell, Nebr., where a brother had already located, and as soon as he arrived there he found employment at farm work, continuing for two years as a wage earner there. Wanting to see something of the country he traveled to Kearney and to Omaha, both in Nebraska, where he found employment to his liking, remaining in the latter place until 1902, when he had saved enough money to come to California. Soon after his arrival in the month of May, he bargained for forty acres in the Hilmar Colony, which was then a worn-out wheat field, and he set to work to make his property a good investment. How well he has succeeded is demon­strated by the well-kept and productive ranch he owns today.


In 1902 he was married at Omaha, Nebr., to Miss Anna Swenson, who had come to America from Sweden in 1894. This couple arrived in Hilmar Colony on June 10, 1903, settled on his ranch, which he had purchased through the representations of N. 0. Hultberg and A. Hallner, promotors of the colony. They began making improvements and in order to have water for their use they had to carry it from the well of C. A. Lundell three quarters of a mile away. This continued until he had sunk his own well, securing water for all needs at a depth of forty-one and one half feet. He also built his home and outbuildings. This worthy couple have had eight children, viz.: Emma, who died at the age of sixteen and one half years; Albert, a graduate of the Hilmar High School, class of 1923 ; Hilda, a pupil in the Hilmar High School, class of 1925 ; Leonard, also in the high school; and Esther, Wallace, Edith and Martin, pupils of the grammar school. Mr. Sward received his citizenship papers at Omaha, Nebr., in 1903, and exercises his right of franchise by supporting men and measures he considers best for the greatest number. Mr. and Mrs. Sward helped organize the South Elim school district and are in fayor of the best obtainable for the children to get their start in life.




Occupying a position of prominence and influence among the citizens of Merced is Jesse Dallas Wood who, since 1920, has occupied the important position of mayor of the city. In 1906 he was elected city clerk of Merced and at the end of his term of two years was reelected and served until 1920, when he was elected a city trustee and appointed by the board as chairman, which carries with it the office of mayor ; he was reappointed again in 1922. He is esteemed for his worth as an earnest, practical business man and a citizen who has always manifested the greatest interest in the general welfare of the community in which he has resided for so many years. He is a native Californian, born in Sonoma County, October 9, 1877, a son of M. D. Wood, whose sketch may also be found in this history. While still a lad, Jesse Dallas Wood accompanied his parents to Merced and in this thriving city he received his education in the grammar and high school; then for one year he was connected with a wholesale house in San Francisco. He returned to Merced, where since 1899 he has been associated with the Balfour, Guthrie Company, first as a bookkeeper ; and rising steadily he became their local agent in 1907, which re­sponsible position he still holds.


In 1900, Mr. Wood was united in marriage with Miss Daisy Ansley, born in San Francisco, and educated in the schools of San Francisco and Merced. Two children have been born of this union. Jesse Shirley is a student at the Stanford University, Palo Alto, Cal.; and Marjorie is in the high school in Merced. Since 1912 Mr. Wood has been the junior member of the draying firm of French & Wood, conducting a successful hauling business in Merced and vicinity. In politics Mr. Wood is a stanch Democrat; fraternally he is a member of the Elks, the Knights of Pythias, the Woodmen of the World, and Native Sons, and he belongs to the Chamber of Commerce of Merced. He is vitally interested in the welfare of his community and spares no effort to aid in its growth and advancement along all lines. Personally he is pleasant and genial, with a fine regard for the feelings of others, and he has many friends who esteem him highly for his genuine worth.




Although a young man, Lester Eugene White has attained to a position in the mercantile and horticultural industries of which he may feel proud. While he has been practically reared in the mercantile business, yet his success has been the reward of perseverance and industry. His birth occurred at Los Banos, Cal., August 24, 1892, a son of William T. White, whose interesting sketch will be found in this history.


Lester Eugene White received his education in the Los Banos Grammar School and the schools of San Luis Obispo, graduating in 1911 from the California Polytechnic at San Luis Obispo after completing the mechanical course which included ciyil engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering. In the same year of his graduation he entered the county suryeyor's office in Merced, where he held the position of draftsman and assisted in field work, remaining in that office until 1913 when he went to work in the county clerk's office, occupying a position until December, 1916. He then entered the employ of White & Crowell at Livingston and was in the dry goods department until his enlistment August 24, 1917, at San Francisco, entering the 117th Regiment of Engineers of the 42nd Division, known as the Rainbow Division. He was one of the three first men from Merced County to go across to France and served on the following fronts: Luneville Sector from February 28 to March 21, 1918; Baccarat Sector from April 1 to June 1.6, 1918; defense of Champagne, from July 1 to July 18; the Chateau Thierry front from July 26 to August 10, 1918. Then he seryed in the St. Mihiel Salient from September 12 to September 30; then to the front west of the Meuse River, October 13-31; and in the Argonne, November 1-8. On the 11th of November, 1918, he was on the Meuse River near Sedan when the armistice was signed. On November 16, being re-qquipped, his company hiked through Luxemburg, up the Rhine, and was with the Army, of Occupation until February 19, 1919, when they moved up to Kritz, on the Rhine, and were there until April 10 of the same year, when they were ordered home. They embarked at Brest on April 17, and landed at Hoboken on the 28th; they were at Camp Merritt, N. J., until May 12, when they left for the Presidio, S. F., arriving there on May 17, and on the 20th he was honorably discharged and the same day returned to his home at Livingston. Mr. White serves as secretary-treasurer of the White-Crowell Company, Inc., and also conducts a fire insurance agency, representing the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company of San Francisco; the Hartford Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, Conn.; Fidelity-Phoenix Fire Insurance Company of New York; and the Liberty Underwriters of Sacramento, Cal.


On April 20, 1920, Mr. White was married to Miss Louise M. Stayton, born at Fresno, Cal., a daughter of J. W. and Laura (Brazee) Stayton. Her father, J. W. Stayton spent his actiye years in the painting and decorating business and is now living retired in Fresno, Cal. Mr. White owns a twenty-acre vineyard within the city limits of Livingston on which he expects to build a fine country home in the near future. Fraternally, he belongs to Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. O. Elks; and is an active member of the Boosters' Club of Livingston.




The qualities which made Hans Raven the efficient and capable superintendent of the cattle department of Miller and Lux's large cattle ranches were inherited from a Danish ancestry. His parents, Iver and Mary (Lauritzen) Raven, both came from Denmark and were living in Des Moines County, Iowa, when their son Hans was born. The father was a farmer and moved with his family to Watsonville, Cal., in 1885, and from there to Los Banos in 1890, and here the father died; the mother is still living in Oakland at the age of seventy-one. Hans is the eldest of five children. The others are : Louis P. and Gertrude, Mrs. Conrad of Oakland; Anna, Mrs. Crowley, of San Francisco; and Carl, deceased.


Hans J. Raven, after two or three years schooling in Watsonville, started to work for himself, at the age of fifteen, on ranches and for the last thirty-three years has been with Miller and Lux. He is at present the superintendent of the cattle department of Miller and Lux. He owns a ten-acre orchard of prunes on Saratoga Avenue, near Santa Clara in Santa Clara County, also a fifty-two acre dairy farm four miles out of Los Banos, which he leases.


On July 2, 1902, Mr. Raven was married to Miss Lillian Irene Lenhouts, a native of Iowa, the daughter of Pete Lenhouts, a farmer of Iowa. There are two daughters of this union, Edna and Irene Bernice. Politically, Mr. Raven supports the nominees of the Republican party. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Los Banos, and of the B. P. 0. Elks of San Jose.




The well-known firm of Youngborg Bros., who operate and own two dairy farms in the Hilmar Colony, is composed of August and Axel Youngborg, hard-working, intelligent and successful men. They came together to the Hilmar Colony, from Stanton, Iowa, in 1903 and have worked together in harmony and haye been leaders in the Hilmar Colony since their arrival. August is single and a maiden sister keeps house for him. Axel has a wife and family and holds several honorable positions. He is secretary of the Farmer's Union Telephone Lines, organized May 11, 1909, with the following officers: A. Hallner, president; J. P. Snugg, vice-president; Axel Youngborg, secretary; and 0. A. Lundell, treasurer. It was started with sixty members, each paying in $36.25, was incorporated with a capi­tal stock of $25,000, the paid-up stock being $8181, par value one dollar a share. The present officers are D. E. Johnson, president; Harry Simms, vice-president; Axel Youngborg, secretary and treas­urer. In addition to the aboye there is a board of directors consisting of F. A. Heil, Andrew Schendel and Albert Peterson.


Axel Youngborg was born in Sweden, on April 24, 1878, was brought to America in 1882, by his parents, who settled in Stanton, Iowa, where they farmed. The father is liying in the Hilmar Colony at the age of eighty-three. The mother died here in August, 1922, seventy-nine years old. There were seyen children in the family, as follows: Charles and Frank, twins; August, who owns eighty acres in the colony; Hannah, Mrs. Axel Tedborg, of Stanton, Iowa ; Axel, our subject; Huldah, who keeps house for August; Emma, now Mrs. Sederquist in the Hilmar Colony.


Axel Youngborg grew up on his father's farm in Stanton, Iowa, attended the common schools, and later took a commercial course in Boyles Commercial College, in Omaha, Nebr. After graduating he and his brother August -came to the Hilmar Colony in California, bought land and set at work at once to improve it. He was made secretary of the Mission Church in Hilmar and has held the office for many years. He helped organize the Hilmar Mutual Fire Insurance Company and is its vice-president and has served in some official capacity ever since its organization; he helped also to organize the Farmer's Union Telephone Lines and has been its secretary continuously since its organization.


Axel Youngborg was married on June 16, 1909 to Miss Ruth Lindholm, a native of Marinette, Wis., a daughter of Rev. J. E. Lindholm, a retired preacher living in Santa Cruz. There are five children of this union, Marian, Pauline, Franklin, Esther and Donald. Politically, Mr. Youngborg supports the men and measures of the Republican party.




The real estate interests of Merced, Merced County, and vicinity are well represented by J. Emmett McNamara, one of the prosperous and enterprising citizens of this place, who carries with him in his work the esteem and confidence of all with whom he has come in contact. He is a native son of California, born at Selma, Fresno County, August 8, 1892, a son of John H. and Sarah J. ( McGinn) McNamara, natiyes of Ireland and California respectively. Grand­father John McGinn was a pioneer in the Mother Lode country in the gold days. John H. McNamara came to California in 1882, when he was about eighteen years old; he died in February, 1924, aged sixty years, and was among the oldest residents of Merced and did his share in the development of the county.


J. Emmett McNamara attended grammar and high school in Merced; then went to Oakland, Cal., and in 1912 was graduated from the high school there and four years later he was graduated from St. Mary's College in Oakland. He then entered the Hastings Law School, where he spent one year. Returning to Merced, where his parents were residing, he became deputy county clerk ; after four months of service he enlisted in the Navy and for eighteen months was on board the U. S. S. Invincible; he was discharged in New York in December, 1918. Returning to California he entered the employ of Hind-Rolph & Co. and soon thereafter was sent to Merced to take charge of their property interests in this place, which he is still handling. In May, 1922 he organized the firm of McNamara & Company, Inc.; this company specializes in opening up additions and putting land under cultivation preparatory to selling. Among the subdivisions are Hind Irrigated Lands, Boulevard Acres, and the Ragsdale Subdivision.


The marriage of Mr. McNamara united him with Miss Hazel Clark of Oakland and they had one child, Carmel. Mrs. McNamara passed away in December, 1921. Fraternally, Mr. McNamara belongs to the Elks and Knights of Columbus, Third Degree; he is a past commander of American Legion Post No. 83 ; he also belongs to Yosemite Parlor No. 24, N. S. G. W. He prefers to vote independently of any party restrictions. While in college he was the manager of athletics at St. Mary's College in Oakland and still takes a decided interest in all healthful sports.




Commercial activity in Merced finds a worthy representative in Frank D. Robinson, who has been engaged as a commercial photo­grapher for the past thirteen years at this place, where he has built up a far-reaching and satisfactory business, his work extending over the entire county. He is a native of the county, born near Merced Falls, on March 17, 1875, a son of Dr. William and Malissa (Yonker ) Robinson, whose sketch may also be found in this work.


Frank D. Robinson received a public school education and while the greater part of his life has been spent on a farm he has been employed in various lines of work, broom making, smithing and mill­ing; he learned mineralogy in the old Mariposa Mine.


Since taking up commercial photography he has been content to make Merced his permanent home.

Mr. Robinson's marriage united him with Miss Edith Gann, a daughter of Eli Gann, a California pioneer of Mariposa County. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson were the parents of one son, Ernest Alton, who was accidentally killed when only eighteen years of age. Mr. Robinson is independent in his political views, voting for the man best fitted for office, rather than be confined to strict party lines. Fraternally he is a member of Willow Lodge No. 121, I. 0. 0. F., of Snelling, in which he is a Past Grand; he also belongs to Yosemite Lodge No. 30, K. of P., of Merced.




As the son of one of the pioneer grain ranchers of the San Joaquin Valley, Mr. Medlin has passed most of his life in Merced County, and he is now one of the prominent business men of the Los Banos and Dos Palos districts. Born in Los Banos, on March 10, 1893, he is a son of F. D. and Jennie (Koepf) Medlin, both natives of Tennessee, and the latter still living to enjoy the fruits of their early labors. The father came to California some fifty years ago, and for many years was a grain farmer on the west side of the valley; he lived to reach almost eighty years, dying in Dos Palos in August, 1924. Eleven children were born to F. D. and Jennie Medlin; the nine now liying are : E. G., of Fresno; R. B., of Los Banos; C. Y., of Dos Palos; W. G., of Sacramento; M. M., of Dos Palos; P. E., of Sacramento; Mrs. B. F. Smith, of Tracy; F. D., of Los Banos; and Mrs. Carroll Jones, of Fresno.


Florsilin D. Medlin got his early schooling at the McGill School, near Los Banos, and also attended schools in Los Banos, Newman, and Gustine, finishing at the Dos Palos High School. He then took a course at the Barnes School of Embalming, in San Francisco, and gained practical experience with Halstead and Company, in that city. Returning to Dos Palos, he opened a furniture store and undertaking business, which he later sold out, and bought the undertaking business of W. J. Stockton, of Los Banos, which he has since operated as a first-class establishment, also maintaining a branch at Dos Palos. He has always carried on his work in the most conscientious manner pos­sible, using modern methods, and the aids which science has brought to bear on this most necessary work for humanity. In the years he has been in business he has gained the respect and confidence of his community as a man of fine character and high ideals.


The marriage of Mr. Medlin, occurring in Dos Palos on August 17, 1915, united him with Margaret C. Mason, a native of Santa Cruz, and two children have been born to them, Thaylia and Garna. Prominent fraternally, Mr. Medlin is a member of Los Banos Lodge No. 312, F. & A. M.; Merced Chapter No. 12, R. A. M.; Centinella Chapter No. 136, 0. E. S.; Mountain Brow Lodge No. 82, I. 0. 0. F. of Los Banos; Merced Parlor No. 24., N. S. G. W.; and U. P. E. C., Los Banos Council.




Noteworthy among leading citizens and business men of Merced is J. R. Cornett, a man of more than ayerage intelligence and ability, who is engaged in the insurance business and is also actively interested in the agricultural development of this section. He is one of Cali­fornia's natiye sons, born on his father's ranch in Mariposa County, May 10, 1877. His parents, H. W. and Mary F. (Wills) Cornett, are of eastern birth but were brought across the plains to California while still small children; the father owned and operated a large ranch in Mariposa County.


J. R. Cornett first attended the rural school adjacent to the home ranch; then he entered the Pacific Methodist College in Santa Rosa, and after finishing school he taught for a couple of terms. Then he concluded he would try his luck at mining, which engaged him for a few years; he then returned to the home ranch and for several years was associated with his parents in farming.


The marriage of Mr. Cornett united him with Miss Sadie Louise Owen, a daughter of R. T. Owen, a pioneer of Fresno County. To Mr. and Mrs. Cornett have been born one son, Owen Walter. Since locating in Merced, Mr. Cornett has become an active factor in its development and prosperity and is now serving his second term as a member of the city council. He is a Democrat in politics and gives his hearty support to the local Chamber of Commerce in all move­ments inaugurated for the advancement of the city and county. Fraternally he is a member of the Masons, the Native Sons and the Elks, all of Merced.




Although born in San Francisco, Dr. Deane can really call Merced County his home; for he is the descendant of a well-known family of this section, who for three generations have been a part of the upbuilding of Merced County. Born in San Francisco, on March 19, 1890, G. I. Deane is the son of George C. and Clara (Ruby) Deane. The father, a native of Merced County, born in the Cottonwood district, was one of the first men to run a threshing machine in this section of the State. Grandfather B. H. Deane settled in Merced County in 1850, and was one of the early miners at Copperopolis, in the mountains, later devoting his time to agriculture. In 1892, B. H. Deane, in company with his sons George C. and Charles H., colonized Deane Colony. Dr. Deane's mother, Clara Ruby Deane, was also of an early pioneer family. Her parents crossed the plains in 1855 to reach the far west frontier, and her birth occurred in Shasta County. She now resides in San Francisco. G. C. Deane passed away February 16, 1924.


George Ingram Deane was educated in the grammar and high schools of Merced, and he then entered and was later graduated from the College of Optometry of San Francisco, and also took a postgraduate course in the Los Angeles College of his profession. He first practiced in Richmond, Cal., for one year, and then opened his office in Merced, where he has gained the confidence of a large clientele as a man who thoroughly understands his work and gives it his entire attention. He has served one term as president of the California State Association of Optometrists, and he was sent to Chicago and New York as a special delegate to the Educational Congress.


The marriage of Dr. Deane, which occurred June 28, 1911, united him with Miss Louise Wright, of Newman, Cal., a native daughter. Fraternally, the doctor belongs to the Masons, the Eastern Star, the Elks, the Knights of Pythias, and the Odd Fellows, and has been through all the chairs of the last two orders. He is a mem­ber of the Rotary Club. In professional organizations he belongs to the Central California Association of Optometrists, the California State Association of Optometrists and the American Optometric Association.




In the ranks of good citizenship, Merced has enrolled a large num­ber of capable and conscientious citizens, among whom is Claud Henry McCray, district attorney of Merced County. Energetic, progressive, and possessing the sound judgment and executive ability necessary for conducting the legal affairs of the county, he has won for himself the esteem of its citizens. He was born and reared in the State of New York, a son of L. P. and Emma (Blakeslee) McCray. The father was a practicing physician for years, and he served two years as chairman of the board of supervisors of Chautauqua County, New York. He died in 1924, aged seyenty-four; the mother is also deceased. After completing the grammar and high school courses in his native State, Claud Henry McCray entered Hobart College, from which he was graduated with the degree of B. S. in 1907; then he entered the George Washington University at Washington, D. C., from which he received the degree of LL. D. In 1911, and immediately following the completion of his course, he began the practice of his profession in New York State, where he continued for one year. In the early part of 1913 Mr. McCray located in Merced and established a law office ; in 1914 he was elected district attorney of the county and served for four years. In 1918 he entered the army and after his discharge returned to Merced, and in 1922 he was again elected district attorney. Mr. McCray is endowed with marked natural ability which has been augmented by a thorough training and years of practical experience, all of which serves to make of him an efficient public official.

The marriage of Claud H. McCray united him with Miss Mayme Barney, a daughter of a prominent rancher residing in Merced County. Fraternally, Mr. McCray is affiliated with the Masons, the Elks, the Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Pythias, and he belongs to the Merced Chamber of Commerce. During the World War, Mr. McCray enlisted in the U. S. Army but his service was on this side of the water.



Among the busy business men of California, one who has made his own way in the world is Tom P. Polich, a member of the cor­poration known as the United Concrete Pipe & Construction Com­pany, with its main office in Ventura and branch factories in Merced, Woodland, and Santa Maria, besides the plant at Ventura. The beginning of this industry was made by Tom P. Polich in 1919, at Merced, when he started the Polich Construction Company. The business was carried on by him for a short time, and then, in 1920, he sold a half interest to B. J. Ukropina and Steve Kral, of Ventura, who are still his partners ; and at this time the name became the Merced Concrete Pipe Company. This concern continued the business, grad­ually expanding year by year, until in 1924 they consolidated with the United Concrete Pipe Company of Ventura, which concern was owned by Steve Kral and B. J. Ukropina. Soon after the consolidation, the name became the United Concrete Pipe & Construction Company, Inc., with its principal business office in Ventura, as mentioned above. This corporation employ from sixty to 300 men in their work; and they are equipped to do all kinds of concrete work, manufacturing and laying concrete pipe, building concrete bridges, concrete roads, and foundations for buildings, and installing complete irrigation systems anywhere in California or elsewhere. In fact, no concrete job is too big for them to handle and successfully complete.


Tom Polich was born in Serbia on March 22, 1888, and attended the common schools of his native land up to the time he decided he would come to the United States, which he did in 1905. He could not speak English, and he had only about forty dollars in his pocket after arriving in Los Angeles. He did not wait for a job to come to him, however ; he sought the job, and worked at any employment that would yield an honest living, at first. He gradually worked into the concrete business, first in the employ of Bent Brothers, where he began by sprinkling newly made pipe ; and from that he went through the various departments until he knew concrete pipe manufacture from start to finish and became a competent and experienced workman. He worked for G. T. McIntyre as general foreman, and later as superintendent of his business in Ventura. Then he was superintendent for Turner and Seppe, of Whittier, and afterwards went to Van Nuys as superintendent for the Valley Concrete Pipe Company, and remained with them for two and one-half years. Each year he had improved his opportunities and saved his money ; and during the time he was in Van Nuys, he was deciding whether he would give up a salaried position to embark in business for himself. He decided upon the latter course.


After giving due notice of his resignation, Mr. Polich spent fiye months traveling over the State looking for a suitable location in which to establish himself, and finally selected Merced as having the best future for his business. In 1919 he established the Polich Construction Company, and his first work was the installation of a complete irrigation system for the California Packing Corporation at their orchard at Tuttle. This contract consisted in laying sixty miles of concrete pipe throughout their 4000-acre orchard of peaches and apricots, the largest orchard in the world in one body. From that beginning, the concrete business of the company has steadily grown until it has reached its present proportions, and is still on the increase, for the company plan considerable extensions. Some of the contracts the company have filled in Merced County are the construction of the John Muir school building; a number of concrete bridges throughout the county; the large outfall and sanitary sewer for Merced, using 30,000 feet of concrete pipe of their own manufacture ; eight miles of concrete highway; considerable work for the Merced Irrigation District, which required especially large pipe; work on the Titus ranch near Livingston; and many irrigation systems for ranchers throughout the county in general. In all this work, Mr. Polich has been a busy participant.


Fraternally, Mr. Polich is a Mason, holding membership in Yosemite Lodge No. 99, F. & A. M., at Merced, and in the Oakland Consistory of the thirty-second degree, Scottish Rite Masons, and Aahmes Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., in Oakland. He is a member of the Long Beach Pyramid of Sciots, the Knights of Pythias of Mer­ced, and the D. 0. K. K., in Fresno. Mr. Polich believes in progress along all lines, and is an enthusiastic Californian by adoption.




In the history of Merced County the name of Charles Edward Lounsbury stood for energy, industry and progressiveness, and when he suddenly passed away the city of Merced lost one of it most popu­lar and capable business men. He was born in Ft. Collins, Colo., on April 19, 1884, a son of Rufus and Emma (Rowley) Lounsbury. In 1892 the family located in Nevada, where they remained for six years, when they removed to San Jose, Cal. There the father passed away. The mother died in Merced on December 13, 1924.


Charles Edward Lounsbury received his schooling in Nevada and in San Jose, Cal., He helped his father on the home ranch near San Jose until he went to San Francisco, where he became apprenticed as a machinist with the Union Iron Works. He remained in San Francisco for ten years, most of the time being spent in the automobile business, having charge of several large shops. In 1910 he removed to Merced to take charge of the Barcroft Garage, and after nine months he purchased the business with C. Jones as a partner ; after one year R. Shaffer bought the interest of Mr. Jones and the business was conducted under the firm name of Lounsbury & Shaffer until March 1, 1923, when the partnership was dissolyed, Mr. Shaffer taking over the Ford automobile agency. Mr. Lounsbury continued at the old place of business, haying the agency for the Buick and Cadillac automobiles. The Lounsbury Garage & Machine Works is the largest of its kind between San Francisco and Los Angeles ; the business has grown until additional room 50x150 feet is contemplated on a lot purchased for that purpose. Thirty people are employed in the dif­ferent departments of the business. The mechanical department is equipped with lathes, cylinder grinders, drill presses, with a 250-ton hydraulic press; the electrical department is equipped with all testing and charging devices ; battery department is equipped with charging machine. The company maintains a large accessory department with a $15,000 stock, and a $5000 stock of tires. The company has a large stock of parts for all makes of cars as well as a large stock of electrical parts ; a paint shop is also conducted, as well as a repairing department, vulcanizing department, greasing and oiling department, garage and storage for 150 cars.


By his first marriage, Mr. Lounsbury had two children, Earl and Gladys. His second marriage united him with Miss Blanche McCrary, a native of Nebraska ; and they had two children, William Miller and Harold Edward. Mr. Lounsbury was democratic in his politics and fraternally was identified with the Masonic and Sciots lodges, and locally was a member of the Chamber of Commerce. His death on December 7, 1923 remoyed one of Merced's most progressive and esteemed citizens.




Constituting one of the most remarkable examples of business ex­pansion in the San Joaquin Valley, stands Hansard's Grill, consisting of restaurant, cigar stand, billiard hall and soda fountain, the whole plant being estimated in value at $70,000. Guy E. Hansard, the proprietor, purchased the poolroom in 1917. At that time there was a billiard-room of modest proportions, a cigar stand and small soda fountain, the entire equipment not representing a very large outlay. Mr. Hansard, with the help of one employe, conducted the resort. In 1918, the cigar stand was enlarged, and a year later the agency for United Cigars was obtained, and has been a feature of the cigar stand eyer since. In the same year, the lunch counter was trebled in size, and regular meals were offered the public. The most marked change, however, was completed when the large restaurant was added, and the billiard-hall was moved upstairs. This restaurant has a large horseshoe lunch counter and a number of tables. They are examples of Merced handiwork, haying been manufactured by the Cross Lumber Company from Philippine mahogany. The entire space occupied downstairs is 50x150 feet, running through from Seventeenth Street to the alley. There is a seating capacity of 120. In the place of one employe in 1917, Mr. Hansard now uses thirty-three employes during the summer season, and twenty-eight in winter. The monthly payroll is in the neighborhood of $3000. The kitchen is all-electric, cooking, dishwashing, and baking being done by electricity. The Hansard Grill bakes all its own breads and pastry.


Mr. Hansard was born in Hepner, Ore., on October 21, 1879, a son of G. B. and Benicia (Bowers) Hansard. The father is still living, but the mother of our subject passed away when he was a small child of four years. Guy E. Hansard received his education in the public schools of Oregon and Washington and was still a young boy when he began to earn his own living by working on farms in eastern Washington for about six years. He came to California in 1900 and resided in Los Angeles for twelve years, three years of this period being spent with an abstract company.


The marriage of Mr. Hansard occurred in Los Angeles, where he was united with Miss Emma Frank, a native daughter of California. Mr. and Mrs. Hansard remoyed to Merced in 1912 and four years were spent on a farm in the vicinity of this place. In 1916 his present business was purchased, and under his capable management it has grown to its present proportions. That he is confident of Merced's future must be evident when it is realized that no other such business as the Hansard Grill can be found in a city of Merced's size. It is a resort of which a much larger city might well be proud. Mr. Hansard is a public-spirited citizen and is affiliated with the Elks, the Knights of Pythias, the Red Men, the Woodmen of the World and the Chamber of Commerce.




Among the educators of high literary attainment is Cyrus Stanton Clark, who since 1910 has occupied the important position of district superintendent of the Merced Union Grammar School. He is not only an able instructor, but is deeply interested in the educational advancement of the locality where he has made his home for the past fifteen years. Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, February 27, 1884, he was a small lad when he accompanied his parents, John A. and Lucy E. (Stanton) Clark, to California, where the father pursued the oc­cupation of a farmer until the time of his death; the mother of our subject is still living.


Cyrus Stanton Clark completed the grammar school course, then entered the Merced High School, from which he was graduated in 1901. He then went to San Francisco and for one year worked in a wholesale house; from there he went to Stockton, where he was in the wholesale business for seven years. His one desire had always been to become an instructor, so with this in view he took first a priyate course in teaching, then went to San Jose and entered the San Jose Teachers' College, receiving his teacher's diploma in 1906. His first teaching experience was in Colusa County, where he taught for two years. Then for one year he taught at Oakdale and two years in Stockton, receiv­ing the highest commendation for his thorough work. He took up his duties as district superintendent of the Merced Union Grammar School in 1910, and his capabilities have been recognized as ex­ceptional.


The marriage of Mr. Clark united him with Miss Ismay Wilson, a native daughter of Monterey, Cal. They have been blessed with two children, Beverly and Jane. Mr. Clark is a Republican in his political views; fraternally he is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and he is an active member of the local Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Clark is an enthusiast for all wholesome outdoor sports.




As a pioneer business man of Le Grand, Merced County, Mr. Cardwell has been identified with its growth since the town first came into being, and he has taken an active part in the movements toward the making of a small hamlet a prosperous and still growing business center, surrounded by such fertile valley lands. Born October 23, 1859, Walter C. Cardwell is a native of Fayetteville, Ark., and after his schooling was finished, he clerked in a store at Paris, near Forth Smith, that State. On April 12, 1885, he came to Merced Coun­ty and at first lived with his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Allen, on their ranch east of Le Grand. He later took a course at the Stockton Normal School, and then went to Plainsburg, where he clerked in the store of Abe Jacobs, and acted as assistant postmaster of Plainsburg, also being proprietor of the Plainsburg Hotel.


Coming to Le Grand in 1897, Mr. Cardwell first clerked in the store of E. C. Dickinson, and was assistant postmaster of Le Grand under postmaster S. W. Dickinson. He next clerked in the Rochdale Store for two years, and in 1906 bought the grocery store which he still owns, conducting it as a general grocery store, with a full and up-to-date stock of goods.


In all his years of residence in the San Joaquin, Mr. Cardwell has been sure of the ultimate prosperity in store for this section of the State, and he has supported the men and measures best calculated to further its real advancement. Fraternally he is active as a member of the Fraternal Aid Union, being past president of that order, and now serving as secretary.




That adverse conditions build up strong characters and break down the weak is a truism emphasized in the life of Charles Hyatt. Fortune smiled but little on his boyhood years; but in the difficult and somewhat bitter school of experience, his character was formed, his mind developed and habits of self reliance inculcated.


He was born in Indiana, on September 14, 1863. His father, Witt Hyatt, was a soldier in the Civil War, and died at Nashville, Tenn., leaving five children ranging from the age of four to seventeen. The mother, Margaret (Hughes) Hyatt was born in Indiana and bravely tried to keep the family together after her husband's death, but finally succumbed and left the son, Charles M., an orphan at the age of twelve. When only thirteen years of age he had to start out and make his own liying working on farms round about for four dollars a month at first, then six dollars and eight dollars by the time he was sixteen; when he was seventeen he went to western Missouri, where he received sixteen dollars a month. In 1886 he went to Nevada and worked in and around Reno until 1889, when he secured a position with Senator Newlands and worked for him twenty-five years.


On September 17, 1885, Charles M. Hyatt married Miss Addie Ramsey, the daughter of William and Louisa (McPeak) Ramsey. Her mother was a native of Ohio, and died in Missouri about 1904 at the age of seventy-seven. Her father was born in Illinois and died in Kansas at the age of eighty-five. There were five children of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt : Edna, married Fred Saxer and resides in San Diego; Frank, lives in the Hilmar Colony, he married Violet Calvin and they have one child; Ethel, married Ed. Ryder and resides in Oakland, and has one child; Charles, married Miss Bertha Armstrong of the Hilmar Colony and is a rancher; and Lou, at home.


In 1908 Mr. Hyatt made an extensive tour looking for a place to invest the money he had saved in thirty-five years of steady and arduous service. He finally found the Hilmar Colony and finding conditions to suit him, bought twenty acres for which he paid $92.50 an acre. It is a fine ranch and very valuable, being situated immediately east of the Union high school building at Irwin, and he improved it with a comfortable living-house, barn and other buildings and planted alfalfa and fruit, etc. Mr. Hyatt died on January 3, 1925, and was buried in the Turlock Cemetery. He was a man of excellent judgment and business acumen and was well posted on current events and voted for the candidates and principles which were for the best interests of the majority. He was generous, fair and public spirited and his death marks a real loss to the community.




The descendant of pioneers of California, Joseph James Youd has lived since his birth in the central part of the State, and is now one of the successful business men of Merced. Born on Mariposa Creek, six miles south of Merced, on December 4, 1873, he is the son of Charles and Ellen (Howell) Youd. Charles Youd, who was born in 1845, came from England to St. Louis, Mo., when three years old, and in 1858 crossed the plains with oxen to California, arriving in Amador County in 1859, where he mined for a time and attended school three months. He later took up ranching and stock- raising. Ellen Howell Youd, who was born in St. Louis, Mo., in January, 1853, crossed the plains with her parents at about the same time as did Charles Youd. They were married in Amador County, and became the parents of six children, one of whom died in infancy, but four girls and one boy grew to maturity and are now living, viz.: Joseph J., Mrs. Eunice Reid, Geraldine, Mrs. Emma Harvey, and Mrs. Alice Mudd. In 1869 the family came to Merced, from Stock­ton, and the father farmed here until he retired, and with his wife he now lives in Concord, Contra Costa County. Mr. and Mrs. Youd celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on December 17, 1922.


Joseph James Youd received his education in the rural schools of Merced County. He helped his father on the home ranch until 1892, at which time he went to work for the Mariposa Commercial Mining Company, remaining with them for seventeen years as an electrician. In 1913 he bought into the garage business in Merced, with his uncle William Youd, and since that date they have operated the Hiway Garage, maintaining an up-to-date establishment for motor car service, and have met with steady success. They employ ten people, and turn out expert workmanship.


The marriage of Mr. Youd, occurring on August 31, 1905, at Bagby, Cal., united him with Miss Matie Grider, a native of Bagby, Mariposa County, and two children have been born to them: James T. and Ruth Ellen. Naturally interested in his native county, Mr. Youd stands ready at all times to do his part in furthering the pro­gress and advancement of Merced. In civic matters he votes an inde­pendent ticket, placing the man above party affiliations, for he realizes that the greatest factor in all progress is to pull together for the greatest good.




On the list of Merced County's viticulturists appears the name of J. C. McCollum who, since January, 1911, has been a resident and property-owner near Snelling. His property embraces twenty-five acres of highly developed vineyard one mile north of Snelling, and here he has pioneerd and prospered. He began operations on his ranch by raising alfalfa and hogs, and has gradually set it to fruit, including Thompson seedless grapes and a small orchard of almonds. He is the pioneer in the use of modern methods in this vicinity, and many another rancher has followed successfully in his footsteps.


J. C. McCollum was born near Lynnville, jasper County, Iowa, on April 27, 1874, the fifth in order of birth of six children, of whom five reside in California, and one in Seattle. His parents were Isaac and Louisa (Ballinger) McCollum, both born in North Caro­lina. The father came West to Iowa in 1850 and took up government land, which is the present townsite of Stewart. The family moved to California in 1883, locating in Los Angeles, then a city of 8000 inhabitants ; soon after they removed to Pasadena, where Mr. McCollum purchased an acreage in the vicinity of Hill and Allen Avenues, the present site of the Pasadena High School buildings. J. C. McCollum attended Throop Polytechnic for two terms and the Pasa­dena High School. Then he located at the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Street, now the heart of the business section of that city. He learned the machinist trade, working at the bench at the Pacific Brass Works in Los Angeles for four years, and went out as a journeyman, following his trade for fifteen years. In the meantime he had invested his savings in town lots in Los Angeles, some of which he still owns, and they are now very valuable.


At Pasadena Mr. McCollum was married to Miss Mettie King, who was born in Kansas, the daughter of Jerome and Olive King, of Glendora, Cal. The King family came to California from Kansas in 1888. Mr. and Mrs. McCollum have two children. Walter is a ma­chinist, and the night foreman at the Yosemite Mills in Merced Falls. He served during the World War with the Port Guard in San Fran­cisco harbor; he is married and has two children. Irene McCollum married Leslie Halstad, of Snelling, in 1923. Mr. McCollum is a member and Past Grand of Snelling Lodge No. 325, I. 0. 0. F. at Snelling. He is a liberal Republican and supports any movement for progressive civic development. He came to the Merced River district with the belief that here is offered much more for the working dollar than in most new districts of diversified farming in California, and has never altered his opinion of this garden spot. He is a real booster and works in cooperation and harmony with the Merced County Farm Bureau, as well as the California State Agricultural Extension Bureau. While he has put in two seasons at the bench in the Yosemite Mills, he is an ardent lover of the outdoors, and accordingly spends much time at home on his well cared for ranch, which is a portion of the old Grimes Estate.




A man of ability and energy, W. H. Searing is intimately associ­ated with the industrial prosperity of Merced as one of its leading business men. As manager and part owner of the Union Steam Laundry and especially active in movements intended for the advancement of his locality, he is advancing the prosperity of this section. He was born in Merced, May 31, 1880, a son of Charles and Agnes (Young) Searing. The father came to Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras County, in 1852 via the Isthmus of Panama. The mother was born at Hornitos, Mariposa County. Her father, William Thomas Young, crossed the plains in 1849. His wife, Lucretia Phillips, crossed the plains in the same train. Mr. and Mrs. Searing were married in Merced, where the father conducted a liyery stable business for many years; he was a pioneer of Merced, locating here in 1873 and was an active spirit in the early development of the county. The mother passed away in 1882, the father surviving until March, 1915, when he passed away, aged eighty-three years.


W. H. Searing attended grammar school until he was fourteen years old when he went to work at the printing trade, which occupied him for six years; then he engaged in the grocery business until he became interested in the laundry business, first as an employe, then as owner-of the laundry. In February, 1919, the company was formed which is now known as the Union Steam Laundry, the other members of the firm being R. D. Ebert and 0. M. Hickok; their establishment is equipped with modern machinery of all kinds and they employ an average of fifteen people in conducting the business.


Mr. Searing has been married twice. By the former marriage there is a son, Roy Dwaine, a student in St. Mary's College, Oakland. The second marriage of Mr. Searing united him with Miss Caroline Alma Ormsby, a native daughter of California ; she is a member of the Eastern Star, while Mr. Searing belongs to the Woodmen of the World, the Native Sons of the Golden West, the Elks and the local Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Searing enjoys all healthy outdoor sports and finds his recreation in the open.




Sheep-growing has been a very lucrative business in California ; many have made fortunes, but like everything else there are ups and downs in it, as Mr. Escallier has learned by experience. Brought up in the business from childhood, he herded sheep when he was only eight years old, in the Hautes Alps country in the south of France, where he was born April 27, 1862. Upon coming to California in 1882, he first visited with his brother, Louis, in Delano, Kern County, for a month and then was employed herding sheep until the year 1885. After sheep-shearing time in the spring of 1885, Mr. Escallier and his brother, Louis, started from Delano with a band of 4000 sheep, herding them as they went along they found pasturage in Kern, Inyo, Mono, and Tuolumne Counties, and in September they sheared the second crop of wool. Coming back through Merced County they went through Los Banos when there was no town or railroad on the West Side, crossed White's Bridge in Fresno County and saved all their sheep. The sheep were the property of his brother and partner, and in the spring of 1886 our subject bought an interest in the band, continuing for three years, when he sold out, and his brother returned to France. In 1891 our subject bought another band, kept them for a time and then sold at a good profit.


In 1892, in company with Etienne Chabot, he engaged in the sheep business and they were doing very well, when on May 14, 1894, their flock was caught by a heavy snow storm on Pine Ridge and 1600 perished. That year wool sold for five cents a pound and yearling lambs brought $1.05. The next year he sold what was left to his partner and came out with only three horses and a few dollars.


After he had gone out of the sheep business for himself, Mr. Escallier went to work for wages, but it was not long until he bought a band of 200 sheep. He sold them in 1898 and again quit the business. Coming to Los Banos in August, 1899, he worked on the Woods ranch ; and later he worked three winters on a sheep ranch twenty miles southwest of Los Banos during the lambing period. In 1908 he got the job of janitor at the old Los Banos Grammar School and in 1911 was made janitor of the high school, which position he still holds. He owns Los Banos real estate. Mr Escallier reared seven children. His wife, Leone L. (Atger) Escallier, died in 1916. Their children are as follows : Elsie, Henry, Aime, Felix, Louise, Blanch and Joseph. Mr. Escallier is a member of the Woodmen of the World.




A very highly learned California pioneer, now eighty-one years of age, is Asa William Finley, who is at present making his home at Hotel Stevinson with his daughter, Mrs. G. H. Blount of Stevinson, Cal. He is one of the oldest, if not indeed the oldest living settler in California, in point of time of residence, haying been a boy baby of two years of age in his mother's arms when his father, mother and grandfather, Capt. William Campbell, crossed the plains to California in 1846. They landed at Santa Clara, Cal., in October, 1846, settling there when every able-bodied male person, over fifteen years of age, enlisted and served under John C. Fremont. He was born in Saline County, Mo., July 23, 1844, a son of Asa Wallace and Sarah (Camp­bell) Finley, both born in Kentucky, where grandfather Campbell was a tanner, though they later moved to Missouri. The train started from Marshall, Saline County, Mo., in April, 1846. They were all ordered to rendezvous at St. Joseph, Mo. After traveling some days, there being a train of 100 wagons, it was found that the train was too large; so they decided to divide up the train. This was done and William Campbell was duly elected captain of his division or train. Campbell's company elected Kit Carson as their guide to take them over the Sierras. The other company, which was a part of the origi­nal train and known as the Donner party, ill-fated in history, selected Hastings as their guide. Kit Carson hurried his train through, while Hastings' dilatoriness led to being caught in the snows and the sad fate of the Donner party. A son of Capt. William Campbell, namely Benjamin Campbell, took up 160 acres of government land located between two Spanish grants in Santa Clara County; and when the railroad from San Jose to Santa Cruz went through, Benjamin Camp­bell donated the depot site, and the town of Campbell, Santa Clara County, was named after him. The Finley family originally came from Ireland. The Campbells were of Scotch origin. The father and William Campbell and his two sons, Benjamin and David, all served under Fremont. Asa Wallace Finley became a farmer and raised wheat two miles south of Santa Clara. Capt. William Camp­bell, together with Asa Wallace Finley, built the first sawmill in Santa Clara County. It was built near what is now Saratoga, back in the mountains, and was operated by them. They manufactured fir and redwood lumber, which at that time was worth $300 per thousand. Capt. William Campbell then built the first American store building in San Jose and was San Jose's first American merchant. There the Finley children grew up. The parents had seyen children, of whom our subject is the second, and the youngest born in Missouri. The mother died in Kern County, when forty-fiye years of age. The father married a second time, to Miss Jane Steele, who also died, leaving one child. He was married a third time in Missouri to Mrs. Bessie Loper. He died at Steyinson on February 4, 1910, and was the first person buried in the Stevinson Cemetery.


Asa William Finley was educated in the early public schools of Santa Clara and San Jose and grew up on his father's farm. He was married the first time in Watsonyille, Cal., in 1866, to Miss Frances Whisman, born in California. The Whismans and Moodys were members of the Campbell train crossing the plains. She died within three years after the marriage, leaving no children. He was married a second time at Hollister, San Benito County, on October 9, 1872, to Miss Elmira Hastings, a daughter of John Hastings, who died in Missouri. Elmira Hastings came out to California in 1871 with her mother and stepfather and settled that year at Hollister. By this union there were seyen children. The first two children, Rufus and Charles, both died in infancy. The others are : Lelia, the wife of G. H. Blount, of Steyinson; Edgar, who died at the age of twenty-three years; LeRoy, who married Mrs. Carrie (Eular) Pascoe, and is employed by the Standard Oil Company at Richmond; Ella, the wife of William James of Kernville, Kern County, an extensive stock­man; and Nannie L., who passed away at the age of ten years. The wife and mother died on July 30, 1915.


Mr. Finley was engaged in farming and stock-raising for the greater part of his life. He bought twenty acres in the Steyinson Colony in 1907, and in 1912 he traded his land for the Hotel Stevinson property. This property he sold to his daughter, Mrs. G. H. Blount, in May, 1925, and she is now conducting the hotel. Mr. Finley is still in the real estate business, haying been a licensed realtor for the past five years, and is considered an expert on land values. He has been a consistent and lifelong Democrat and is one of the best-preserved men of his years in California. He helped to organize and build the Christian Church at Stevinson, and was called the "father of the Christian Church in Steyinson."




A man who is closely identified with the business life of Merced, Cal., is Roy P. Thorpe, the well-known fire insurance broker, who since 1914 has been county sealer of weights and measures in Mer­ced County. He was born on his father's farm in Ross County, near Washington Court House, Ohio, on January 15, 1882, a son of Daniel and Hannah (Robinson) Thorpe. When our subject was six years old, the family removed to Kansas, where the father engaged in farming; he passed away when Roy was a lad of nine years.


Roy P. Thorpe received a grammar and high school education in the schools of Kansas, taking his high school course at Garden City. He came to California in 1902 and spent two years at Stanford University; then he was engaged in the automobile business in Palo Alto until 1908, when he sold out and removed to Merced, where he entered the employ of the Cooperative Land & Trust Company, remaining with them until 1910. That year, in partnership with Walter Casad, he established a real estate and insurance business, the partnership continuing until 1912, when he became a partner of G. A. Howell. Since 1913 Mr. Thorpe has successfully operated the business alone. Mr. Thorpe also owns and operates a ranch adjacent to Merced.

The marriage of Mr. Thorpe united him with Miss Isabel Bird, a native daughter of California, daughter of Isaac Bird, now living retired in Palo Alto. Mr. and Mrs. Thorpe have one son, Harold. Fraternally, Mr. Thorpe is a Mason and an Elk, being a past exalted ruler of the Lodge in Merced. In politics he adheres to the principles of the Republican party.




A man of broad years of experience who is unusually fitted for his present position in the business world is H. R. Lowell, the capable and efficient general manager of the Yosemite Lumber Company, of Merced Falls. A native son, he was born at Sacramento, on September 8, 1876, the youngest of two children, and the only son of R. C. Lowell, a native of Portland, Maine. R. C. Lowell came with his parents across the plains in 1852 with a large train of covered wagons, and his father located in Sacramento, where he founded a tannery on Front Street and engaged in the hide and leather business for many years. He was succeeded by his son, R. C., the father of our subject, who married Miss Nettie Simpson. She was born in Marysville, the daughter of the late John Simpson, a Forty-niner, who built the first toll bridge over the Yuba River on the Grass Valley road, where formerly he owned and operated a ferry boat. R. C. Lowell was a prominent Mason, and died in Arizona in 1903, survived by his widow and children. His home was later located at N, 0 and Eighteenth Streets, the old home being pulled down for business buildings, since it was in the heart of Sacramento. The tannery business founded by his father in the fifties is still in existence, a son-in-law, W. B. Sumner, haying become the worthy successor. He is the present head of W. B. Sumner & Company, located at Third and Townsend Streets, San Francisco.


After taking advantage of the educational opportunities offered in the public schools of Sacramento, H. R. Lowell entered the employ of his uncle, W. B. Sumner, at Benicia, where for four years he was an apprentice to the tannery trade. The following two years he was foreman in the tanning department, and was then sent to the forests of Mendocino County in search of a supply of tan-bark. He never returned to the tannery, for after his experience in the woods he became enthused oyer the prospects of becoming a logger, and, in addition to his newly-awakened ambitions, impaired health, due to the confining work in the tannery, made it imperative to give up his trade. Consequently he entered the employ of the C. N. W. Lumber Company, Ed. Middleton being the superintendent, and went into the woods and logging camp for one season. In 1900 he went to Scotia in the dense redwood forests, working as a logger ; and then he was employed for three years by the California Timber Company as foreman at Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz County. He was giyen the position of logger superintendent for the McCloud Lumber Company at Siskiyou, and for the following six years had charge of the camps, employing as many as 600 men. The next six years he officiated as general superintendent of the Standard Lumber Com­pany mills in Tuolumne County, and after three years as woods superintendent for the Yosemite Lumber Company he was made general manager of the company, taking up the responsibility of office in June, 1922, and has since resided at Merced Falls. Mr. Lowell is a pioneer in modern methods of lumbering, haying gone forward steadily since his twenty-fifth year, when he decided to make lumbering his business. He installed the initial incline railway for the handling of logs in the mountains from timber to mill, a new departure in the logging business which is destined to become the future method of the lumber trade in many of the present inaccessible places where virgin timber stands.


The company which Mr. Lowell serves is worthy of mention. The Yosemite Lumber Company, Inc., was founded in 1910, and opened the same year with a two-band mill and resaw at Merced with two ten-hour shifts and a capacity of 300,000 feet of lumber per day. Since that time the business has prospered, and more especially since Mr. Lowell was put in complete charge. Many improvements have followed, with the reinstallation of manufacturing machinery, the enlargement of all departments, and the employment of 1000 men. The general manager has a corps of assistants made up of able and experienced men, including a superintendent of mill and shipping, who also acts as assistant manager, one woods superintendent, three woods foremen, and so on, down to the track walker on their seventy-five-mile railway with two inclines. Thus, cooperation among the heads of all departments has been one of the most valuable assets with which the subject has built up this organization. The company, besides their own lands, buy timber from the federal government to the extent of eighty per cent of the standing timber, leaving twenty per cent of seed-bearing trees for reforestation. The ground cut over is cleaned up and left in as good condition as possible. Sugar pine, white pine, white and red fir and cedar are the varieties cut, and these timbers are found in the mountains at an elevation of from 4500 to 7000 feet, in Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties. This mill owns standing timber conservatively estimated to be in excess of the amount of two billion feet, or, in other words, a supply of logs to run the mill over four decades.


This is more timber than the required amount they cut, but the development of the modern sawmill and lumber yard is steadily advancing. Among the improvements in the sawmill will be the working of the carriages by elec­tricity, making a saying of $1000 per month in hauling the saws. It is also planned to install new furnaces that will develop 1500 horse­power, using slabs for fuel. The present dry yards and kilns cover forty acres on the north side of the town of Merced Falls, which the company own, the 120 acres embracing the townsite. Six new kilns or dry houses will be built and a shed eighty feet wide and 800 feet long will be used for the storing of dry lumber. The storage capacity of the present plant is 40,000,000 feet, and it is frequently filled. The stored lumber supplies the retail yards in California from Sacramento City to Los Angeles, and forty such yards are operated. This business is subsidiary to the Charles Nelson Company, of San Francisco. A great deal of lumber leaves the Yosemite mills for export at tidewater and is reloaded from the railway cars to the Nelson boats at San Francisco, and from there sent to Australia, China, Japan and South Africa. The social side of life at Merced Falls is augmented by a company clubhouse, and the company expends $180,000 annually for provisions to feed the workmen, the best quality of foods being used.


The military record of Mr. Lowell bespeaks his loyal support to his country in times of war. He was a volunteer of the W. S. A., during the World War, and was qualified on examination by Colonel Du Bois, of the 20th United States Engineers, and received his commission as first lieutenant. He held himself in readiness to go with the A. E. F., on first call, but due to the Armistice was not called. He is now a reserve officer on the list of the Engineer Corps, Logging and Timber. In civil life Mr. Lowell has served as a deputy United States marshal in 1906, and was active during the emergency of the fire and earthquake at Redwood City, during the administra­tion of Judge Buck. His political views are Democratic in principle. His affiliation with the Blue Lodge of Masons, No. 5, at Benicia, shows his status and character as a man worthy of recognition in the community. He makes his home with his mother, and together they are enjoying the opportunities which their native State, the Golden State, has in store.



The growth and resources of Merced County, and its development from large ranches and stock ranges to a more intensive kind of agriculture, are matters of first-hand knowledge to C. J. Bloed, for he has been a part of ranch and stock actiyities here for over thirty years, and has within that space of time seen many changes take place in this section of the State. He was born at Princeton, Mariposa County, May 17, 1869, the son of Franklin Charles and Gertrude (Whipler) Bloed, the former born in Baden, Germany, November 15, 1826, and the latter a native of Carlsruhe, Germany, born March 19, 1827. The father came to California early in 1850, and worked in the mines at Copperopolis for a short time, and later went to Mt. Bullion. He conducted the hotel at Princeton, Mariposa County, for six years, and from there went to Merced Falls, where he worked in the mill. He had returned east to Pennsylvania, in 1856, and there his marriage occurred, in Philadelphia, and their eldest child, now Mrs. J. Coulston, of Modesto, was born in San Francisco, as the young couple soon came to California to make their home. The father was accidentally drowned in the Tuolumne River, near La Grange, his death occurring February 15, 1'881, and the mother lived until February 4, 1893, their last years being spent at Snelling, Cal.


The youngest of nine children born to his parents, three of whom survive, C. J. Bloed received a good education at Merced Falls, and started in life for himself as a plow-boy, doing his first work in 1884, on neighborhood ranches, and continued in steady employ of large ranch and stock ranges until 1919, when he settled at Snelling, and soon after became successor to A. Bertraind's Snelling Pool Hall & Smoke House, where he conducts a first-class establishment.


The marriage of Mr. Bloed united him with Miss Dora A. Shaw, a native of Oregon and daughter of William H. Shaw, late of Hopeton, Merced County. One son has blessed their union, Franklin W., now a student at Heald's Business College in Fresno. Mr. Bloed is a member of the Knights of Pythias of Merced, and for three years past he has been a member of the Merced Municipal Band, playing the slide trombone. He is a booster for Merced County, and especially the Merced Riyer district, one of the most fertile in the State, and eyen now just at the beginning of its real development.



Numbered among the prominent and progressive agriculturists and business men of Gustine is Jospeh A. Oliveira, who owns a 100 acre ranch three miles south of Gustine; he also owns two other large dairies in partnership with others and he is also part-owner of a butcher shop which occupies the ground floor of his own building in Gustine. A self-made man in every sense implied by the term, he is everywhere respected, and his honesty and straightforward business methods have gained for him the confidence of the community in which he resides. He was born July 2, 1875, on St. George of the Azores, where his parents, Joseph A. and Mary (Bontello) Oliveira were also born and reared. His father came to California when a young man, in 1855, and worked a few years for J. D. Patterson, the West Side pioneer. He was then married at Mission San Jose and lived for a time in California, where their first child, a girl, was born. Then the family returned to the Azores, where the rest of the children were born and where the father died. His widow returned to California and died in Haywards at the age of seventy-two years. There were five children in the family, namely : Mary A., deceased; Manuel A; Josephine, Mrs. Frank Lopes; Joseph A., our subject; and Antone A., manager of the Jersey Milk Butter Company of Oakland, Cal.


At seventeen years of age Joseph A. Oliveira began to make his own liying. After arriving in the United States he worked eleven years for one man in Rhode Island. Then he came to California and located in Oakland, where he worked in a paint shop for six months. Going then to Dutton Landing on the Sacramento River, he went into the dairy business and had succeeded in building up a fine dairy herd when the flood of 1906 wiped out the accumulations of years of hard work. He then removed to Newman and by borrowing money was able to establish a dairy business in this place, and did well. After seven months he bought the dairy business on the John Azevedo ranch, which he conducted for five years. By industry and economy he was able to lay up sufficient money to purchase forty acres of land six miles southwest of Gustine, upon which he conducted a dairy of about 130 head of cattle. Later he sold a half-interest in his dairy business and, having decided to try another section of California, removed to San Jose ; but after nineteen months spent there he was convinced that Gustine was the locality most promising for his line of work. Returning to Gustine, he accordingly rented 137 acres and started another dairy, which occupied him for four years, after which for four years he shipped cattle to the San Francisco markets. He then went into partnership in the grocery and meat business in Gustine, later selling out the grocery department and with his partner, Frank Car­bello, continuing the meat business, in which they employ four persons. He carries on a dairy on 100 acres he owns, the old Kruger place, three miles southwest of Gustine. Under the firm name of Oliveira and Mello he operates a second dairy on fifty-seven acres of the Isabel Bunker place, two and one-half miles southwest of town, where he runs forty-fiye cows ; and he and John Mattos conduct a dairy ranch of 137 acres on the William Bunker place.


At Fall River, Mass., in 1904, Mr. Oliyeira was married to Miss Mary Avala, a native of Little Compton, R. I., and a daughter of Manuel and Rosie (Bettencourt) Avala, both natives of St. George, Azores Islands. Mr. and Mrs. Oliveira are the parents of five children: Joseph A., George, Frank, Dorothy, and Henry. Mr. Oliveira is a Republican in politics; and fraternally he belongs to the I. D. E. S. of Gustine. The family reside in the new home bought by Mr. Oliveira.




An experienced rancher, who has met with success in his own enterprises, and who also successfully served his community as president of the Farm Bureau for Merced County, Dwight K. Barnell is well known in the San Joaquin Valley. Born in Benton County, Iowa, on March 15, 1877, he is the fifth of six children born to his parents, Aaron J. and Elizabeth (Youel) Barnell, both natives of Indiana. Aaron J. Barnell settled in Iowa in the early fifties, and served as justice of the peace for his township in that State. During the Civil War he had served three years with the 20th Iowa Volunteers, receiving his honorable discharge as a sergeant, and after many years spent in Iowa, he settled in Los Angeles, in 1906, and there his death occurred.


Dwight K. Barnell and his brothers were reared and educated in Iowa and farmed the home place. He received a good education, graduating from the Benton High School, and then taking a course at the Cedar Rapids Business College. In 1914 he went to Barnes County, N. D., and there was superintendent of the farm lands of the Dennstedt Land Company. Preceded by his father and brothers, he came to California in 1917, and joined with his brother in operat­ing the land left by their father, the Barnell-Merced Tract, which that farseeing rancher had purchased in 1912.


The marriage of Mr. Barnell, on June 14, 1905, united him with Miss Estella McGranahan, a native of Newhall, Iowa. She is a graduate of the Academy of Music in Cedar Rapids and was well known in musical circles in that city. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Barnell : Charles G., in the class of 1925, Merced High School ; Helen, also in that class; Robert and Elizabeth, both in the Tuttle Grammar School.


A man of strong public spirit, Mr. Barnell was elected a director in the Merced Irrigation District, from District No. 5. And as president of the Merced Farm Bureau, elected for 1923-1924, the efficiently carried on the work and directed this fast-growing organization in sixteen local centers.



Since 1915 Frank Pebley has been active as a member of the board of supervisors in the upbuilding and development of Merced County and more especially of the town of Atwater. He is now serving his third term on the board, his first election being in 1915. He was born in Salem, Ore., on November 25, 1871, a son of Robert and Marcella (Gum) Pebley. The father, Robert Pebley, crossed the plains to the Pacific Coast from Missouri in 1854 and located in California, where he remained until 1866, when he went overland to Salem, Ore. Remaining there until 1879, he went by team to Walla Walla, Wash., one year after the Indian War ; in 1880 the family moved to Olympia, Wash., where they remained for eight years. They then came to California and located in the Buhach Colony of Merced County. The Pebley family were among the first to settle in this locality and they became successful farmers, and here the father passed away in 1911. Mrs. Pebley died in 1873.


Frank Pebley received his education in the public schools of Washington and Oregon. He came to California in 1888 and stayed on the home farm with his parents near Buhach until 1914 when he removed to Atwater, which has since been his residence.

The marriage of Mr. Pebley on December 10, 1899 united him with Miss Ora Carter, one of California's native daughters; her father, J. E. Carter, is a pioneer of Merced County, locating there in the late fifties. Mr. and Mrs. Pebley are the parents of one son, Clinton W., who is married and has one boy, Harlan Eugene, and resides in Los Angeles. In political matters, Mr. Pebley prefers to vote independently of party lines. Fraternally, he is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Woodmen of the World, and the U. P. E. C. of Merced. Mr. Pebley is a man who takes a keen interest in the prosperity and advancement of his community, being ever on the alert to advance its best interests.




One of the substantial ranch owners and a highly respected citizen of the Hilmar Colony, Leonard F. Johnston is a man of whom it may well be said "His word is as good as his bond and his bond is of the yery best." In many ways he has proved a valuable citizen of Merced County, contributing to its growth, fostering its enterprises and promoting its welfare. He has much in common with his brother, A. 0. Johnston, the well-known merchant and rancher at Irwin, who was a partner of his at Wayerly, Nebr.

Leonard F. Johnston was born in Sweden, January 26, 1873. When nineteen years of age he set out for America and arrived at Waverly, Lancaster County, Nebr., where he found work as a farm hand at twenty dollars, a month. After working around for a few years he had saved enough money to go in with his brother, A. 0. Johnston, in the purchase of an eighty-acre home place near Waverly; to this they added 160 acres, and also cut hay on shares on 400 or 500 acres of upland by which they cleared about twenty-fiye dollars a day. Their parents were Johannes and Anna Charlotta (Samuel­son) Johnson. It is a peculiarity of the Scandinavian names to add "son" to the Christian name of the father. The father's name being Johannes, the surname of the son should have been Johanneson, or shorter, Johnson. But on account of the confusion of names in the mails the sons found it convenient to change the name to Johnston.


While the boys were growing up in Sweden they learned black­smithing and carpentering in the shop of their father, who was a mechanical genius. So the boys became expert machinists, an accomplishment which has been of great service to them in America. They first bought a Nicholas Shepard thresher, made in Battle Creek, Mich., and afterwards an Ayery, made in Peoria, Ill. They were operated by a steam traction engine for power. Their corn sheller had a capacity of 1000 bushels per hour. Being expert machinists, by replacing worn parts at night, they were able to run a whole season without losing more than three hours for a breakdown. By frugality and good management they had accumulated considerable capital when they came to California. A. 0. Johnston was the first to come to California. Leonard has forty acres one mile southwest of Irwin and another ten acres under a high state of cultivation one mile north of the home forty acres.


Leonard Johnston was married in 1917 to Mrs. Alette Dignes, widow of Jens Dignes of Randsfonden, Norway, and daughter of Borger and Bertie Marie (Anderson) Gulbrandson of Hadeland, Norway. She had one son by Dignes, Borger, now a farmer in the Hilmar Colony. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston have adopted John Vernon Nordstrom a bright lad and the youngest child of Mrs. Johnston's deceased sister. Though successful as a whole, Mr. Johnston met with a heavy financial loss by becoming bondsman to the amount of $10,000 with A. T. Anderson for 0. C. Holt, builder, in the erection of the high school gymnasium building at Tracy, Cal. Mr. Holt died before the building was completed; so the bondsmen had to make good and Mr. Johnston is out oyer $11,000 cash.


Mr. and Mrs. Johnston are hospitable and very highly esteemed in their community. Mr. Johnston has acquired a vast stock of knowledge through experience and general reading, and he aims to keep himself posted on the national, State, county and local issues and he will cast his ballot without fear or favor for what expresses his honest conviction. An interesting incident in his life is his acquaintance with W. J. Bryan, which came about through his enthusiastic admiration of Bryan and free silyer in the latter's first campaign for the Presidency. Bryan heard of it, and when he was in Waverly called on him and walked up the street with him. His respect for the Great Commonor is as profound as ever.



One of the many highly respected citizens of Merced County is Roy van den Heuyel, a resident of Merced and proprietor of the Merced Monumental Works and a cement contractor. He is a native son of California, born at Santa Rosa, on July 22, 1875, a son of William and Eliza (Iles) van den Heuvel. About 1872 William yan den Heuvel came from his native country of Holland to the United States and directly to California and located in Lake County; he passed away in 1888, while the mother of our subject is still living.

Roy van den Heuvel received a public school education and when the family located in Merced, he learned the butcher trade with Banks & Bedesen, working for them five years. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he volunteered for service and was made first lieutenant of Company H, 6th Infantry of the 1st Battalion; after serving eight months he returned to Merced. He began clerking in a grocery store but after three months secured the position of janitor of the high school, which he occupied for eight years, the last two years acting in the capacity of assistant manual training instructor. He resigned this position and served as deputy sheriff of the county for four years, at the end of which time he engaged in the cement construction business and in 1918 established the Merced Monumental Works; he does all kinds of flat concrete work, including sidewalks, curbs, foundations, gutters, copings and vaults.


The marriage of Mr. van den Heuvel united him with Miss Mary Gstrein and of this union two sons have been born, Cyril A. and Raymond W. Mr. van den Heuvel is a Democrat in his political views, and fraternally has been clerk of the Woodmen of the World camp for eighteen years; he is also a member of the B. P. 0. Elks and the Odd Fellows lodges of Merced.




One of the pioneer fruit men of the Planada district, Mr. Reiman and his wife are among the three families of Planada's original set­tlers who have the distinction of having remained there through "thick and thin" in she years of the pioneering of this new fruit section, and they are now the owners of a very fine ranch, entirely of their own development, and in the meantime haye built up a remarkable business in the raising of prize-winning Giant Bronze turkeys. A natiye of Somerset, Pa., born January 22, 1888, M. M. Reiman is the third of four children born to J. J. and Rebecca (Schrock) Reiman, of that State. J. J. Reiman was born June 26, 1854, the youngest of four children, and he became a school teacher in early life. He later engaged in farming as a vocation, and was successful in his undertakings, for he was a decidedly enterprising man; he organized and is still a director of the First National Bank of Berlin, Pa.; is secretary of the Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and a man whose friends are legion. He is still living, actiye and well-known in his section of the country as a man of dis­tinct public spirit and the energy to carry through his ideas to completion.


M. M. Reiman attended the Stony Creek public school, and at the age of sixteen passed the teachers' examination with the county superintendent of schools, and taught for the next three terms. He was a graduate and class president of the Normal School at California, Pa., receiving his degree in 1910. After teaching for one term in Centerville Borough, Pa., he left for California, in August, 1911, and never returned to his native State until 1924, when he made a visit to his people.


After his arrival here, Mr. Reiman remained six months in Southern California, and as a sightseer took in that entire section. In April, 1912, he located at Planada, Merced County, investing in twenty acres of land, a portion of the Holt Ranch. He taught school for five terms in the Plainsburg and Planada schools, from their beginnings, and in the meantime he set about the development of his ranch, setting it out to almonds and figs, and has added by subsequent purchase an ajoining ten acre tract. His ranch property has been brought to a high state of cultivation, and is yery sufficient proof, both of his ability and industry, and of the suitability of this section of the State for profitable raising of fruits.


In the spring of 1913, Mr. Reiman started with a single setting of eggs, to raise turkeys; he now has enlarged this branch of his business to an extent shown by the size of the annual catalogue he issues, giving full information about his prize-winning birds, and showing many testimonials from pleased patrons. The year 1924 ushered in the initial Fair of the Merced County's Poultry Association, of which, on its organization in January of this year, Mr. Reiman was elected president, at the general meeting. The show was a huge success, with about seventy-five exhibitors and 500 birds in evidence, breeders exhibiting from Fresno, Madera, and Stanis­laus Counties, as well as from Merced. Among Mr. Reiman's exhibits was his forty-five pound turkey gobbler, "Warren G. Hard­ing," who was transplanted from Illinois to Planada. He was presented to President Harding to grace a White House Thanksgiving table, but the former President said he was too nice a bird for mere "eats," and so he is still alive to carry off all honors. This turkey was a first winner at Chicago, both as a cockerel and a yearling, and since Mr. Reiman bought him in 1922, he has captured first ribbons, both at Los Angeles and Modesto, and at Chicago during two successive years. He was pronounced by Frank Platt, of the American Poultry Journal, as "outstanding, in a class by himself, a flame of bronze." With this bird at the head of his flock, Mr. Reiman is going in for even higher standards; during the eleven years he has been breeding bronze turkeys it has always been his aim to produce "better turkeys," and he has built up a large patronage in turkey eggs for settings, which are shipped to customers in Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Hawaiian Islands, Philippine Islands and South America.


The marriage of Mr. Reiman, occurring August 15, 1911, at Pittsburgh, Pa., united him with Elma Ruth Weaver, the third of eight children and eldest daughter born to L. S. and Lucy Leora (Smallwood) Weaver, both natives of Pennsylvania and still living. Mrs. Reiman is a graduate of the Centerville, Pa., High School, class 1910, and also attended both the Pennsylvania and California State Normal Schools, and taught in the primary grades for one term. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Reiman : Genevieye E., Gerald Milton, Irma Rebecca, Rita K., and Ruth Lucille; the first born in Los Angeles, and all the others natives of Planada.


While neyer seeking public office, Mr. Reiman has, since his first coming to the district, been active in upbuilding the community and in adyancing the general welfare. He was the first secretary of the Merced County Farm Bureau, resigning in 1919, and for three years he seryed as school trustee of the Planada district, and in 1925 was elected a trustee of the Joint Union High School of Le Grand, Cal.



An extensive grain rancher of Merced County, Clarence L. Fancher is a member of a family well known in the county since the early days of 1850. He was born on a farm, five miles west of Niles, Mich., on February 11, 1875, the fifth of seyen children born to Jonathan W. and Margaret C. (Roe) Fancher, the father a native of Syracuse, N. Y., born in 1835, and the mother of Indiana, her death occurring in Michigan, in 1905. Jonathan W. Fancher was a cooper by trade, who settled in Michigan in 1853. Moying to Indiana in 1885, he became an extensive owner of land and stock there; and Clarence L., from the early age of ten, took up duties on the home ranch as chore boy, and remained there until 1899, when he came as far west as Butte, Mont., and later went into the Big Horn Basin, Wyo., where he entered on land under the Carey Act and homestead law, forty miles from the railway, and for twelye years developed the land, deyoting it to grain, sheep and hogs, with marked success. In the meantime, his father had come west to Merced, Cal., in 1900, where he had been preceded by his brothers, the late George H., and Lee R. Fancher, settlers there in 1850 and prominent figures in Merced banking and farming circles. Jonathan W. had acquired land near Merced, and came out to look after his interests, and in 1912, Clarence L. brought out a carload of stock, and has since handled the ranch work and managed the property.


C. L. Fancher's marriage, on March 27, 1903, in Wyoming, united him with Miss Lydia A. Lindsay, a natiye of Utah, and the fifth of ten children born to her parents, the late Edwin R., and Mrs. Emma Bowden Lindsay of Big Horn Basin. Six children haye been born to Mr. and Mrs. Fancher : Lila, Iras, Arlene, Virginia, Lindsay, and Llewellyn.


In 1921, Mr. Fancher entered the Poultry Producers Association, and he is building up his pens to full capacity, with 1600 hens, engaging in egg production on a large scale. He is a member of the Planada-Tuttle Farm Bureau, and has always championed modern methods, both in theory and practice, for he sees in intensive cultivation the real growth of California, and especially her valley lands. He is likewise interested in educational advancement, and is a mem­ber of the board of school trustees for the Tuttle district. A Re­publican in political adherence, he sponsors all movements which have for their purpose the ultimate development of the district's resources, realizing that in that way is the prosperity of the indiyid­ual enhanced, in proportion as the country develops.



The name of Turner is synonymous with advancement and development; for when William C. Turner came to California and Merced County, though he at once plunged into mining, he soon realized that the future of this great Western State depended on land development, and in 1852 he became a rancher and stock-raiser. A sketch of his life appears on another page of this history. Thomas Crawford Turner, familiarly called "Tommy" by his associates, is a worthy son of his father, and like him has done his share to bring Merced County to the fore in agricultural circles. He owns 500 acres of fine land on the Merced Riyer in Livingston Precinct No. 2 and 320 acres south of the Mellican Bridge, across the riyer in Turner precinct; and on this large and fruitful acreage he has been raising grain and stock, as well as some fruit.


Tommy C. Turner was born in Merced County on July 19, 1874. After pursuing his early studies in the public schools of Merced County, he finished the high school course at Santa Cruz, and then entered Stanford Uniyersity. He remained at Stanford until the death of his father, when he came back home and carried on the work begun by his father on some 7000 acres in the home ranch ; and ranching has been his forte ever since. He has been successful in his undertakings and holds a high place in the esteem of his fellow citizens.


In San Francisco occurred the wedding of T. C. Turner and Miss Della Prusso, and they had three children : Louise, Beatrice, and Thomas C., Jr. Mrs. Turner died on January 1, 1919. Mr. Turner is a member of Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. 0 Elks. He is a stockholder in the First Bank of Livingston. Politically he supports Democratic candidates and principles in national affairs, but locally he is guided by an independent estimate of men and measures.



Success has accompanied the efforts of Joseph R. Souza in his work as general blacksmith; he located in Merced in 1906 and estab­lished his present business, at first on a small scale, but it has increased during the passing of the years to its present proportions and he is now equipped to repair anything in the way of wagons and farming machinery and with the help of four men takes care of his large and growing business. He is a native of Mariposa County, Cal., born July 15, 1877, a son of J. M. and Mary Souza, both natives of the Azores. J. M. Souza came to California in 1862 and engaged in mining; later he followed farming in Mariposa County. There were seven children in the family. The mother is still living but the father died March 27, 1925, eighty-three years of age.


Joseph R. Souza received his education in the public schools of Mariposa County; after leaving school he drove a team for the Mariposa Mining Company for three years; following this he learned the blacksmith's trade, which he has since followed.

The marriage of Mr. Souza united him with Miss Iyah Ellen Pickard of South Bend, Ind., and they are the parents of four children: Annie, Chester, Lloyd, and Robert. Mr. Souza is a Republican in politics, and fraternally is affiliated with the Odd Fellows, Woodmen of the World, Neighbors of Woodcraft and I. D. E. S., all of Merced. He has spent the greater part of his life in Merced and has shown his public spirit in various ways, always supporting men and measures for the development of the resources of this place.



Not only is Chester E. Welch well-known and highly respected, but he is among the most prominent business men of Merced. As the senior member of the firm of Welch & Griffin, undertakers, he has become well-known as a man of broad sympathies and kindly nature. The firm occupies the entire lower floor of the Masonic building and is thoroughly equipped to handle their business in the most modern way and with up-to-date methods.


Chester E. Welch was born on a farm in Kansas, July 9, 1886, a son of C. R. and Flora (Winches) Welch. The family came West when our subject was a child of two years and located in Salem, Ore., where they lived for fourteen years, then removed to Medford, Ore., and from there to Baker City and thence to Portland. During all these years the father, C. R. Welch, was engaged in the furniture and undertaking business. He sold his business in Portland, Ore., and removed, with his family, to Oakland, Cal., where he successfully con­ducted a furniture and undertaking business until his retirement ; he still has large interests in this line of business in Oakland and there makes his home.


Chester E. Welch received a grammar and high school education in the schools of Oregon and from the time he was sixteen years old was associated with his father in business, learning the undertaking business in a thorough manner. Mr. Welch located in Merced in 1915, when he bought the undertaking business then operated by Mr. Nordgren and the firm became known as Welch & Company; later he sold an interest in the business to W. M. Griffin, who died in 1924, and was succeeded by his widow Mrs. Lulu Griffin. The firm still conducts business under the name of Welch & Griffin. Some few years ago Mr. Welch became interested in agriculture and has invested considerable money in farming land adjacent to the city of Merced.

The marriage of Mr. Welch united him with Miss Josephine Reuder, a native daughter of Merced. Mr. Welch has been deputy county coroner for many years and is now serving as county coroner and public administrator. He is a Republican in politics and fraternally is associated with the Elks and the Moose, and he is an actiye member of the Chamber of Commerce.



Merced County has been unusually fortunate in attracting men of broad vision and the practical experience to carry out the possibilities they could see in this most fertile part of our wonderful State. Among these C. B. Hanner has played a prominent part in the extensive development work done in the county during the past few years, where the face of this section of California has been changed from a haphazard grain field into one of the most produc­tive fruit growing valleys in the world. Mr. Hanner was born in Waverly, Iowa, the fifth of seven children born to his parents, John and Margaret ( Jewell) Hanner, both now deceased. John Hanner was a native of Montreal, Canada, of Scotch parents, farmers who migrated to Rockford, Ill., in the early sixties, and later located in Iowa, crossing the Mississippi River on a ferry, and drove overland with ox-team to where the town of Waverly now stands. John Hanner became a widely and well-known rancher and stockman in Iowa, and his family are among the present day representative men and women of that State.


C. B. Hanner was reared in a good home on the farm in Iowa, attending the Wayerly Grammar and High schools, and also taking a dairy course at Ames College, Iowa. At the age of nineteen he took an active part in the conduct of the home farm with his father and a brother, and continued so engaged for several years. In the early nineties he purchased a farm near Forest City, Iowa, and endured many privations in order to get ahead quickly, and he soon became one of the leaders in that section, and in 1895 organized the initial Farmers' Cooperative Creamery in Madison County, becom­ing its secretary and manager until he resigned, in 1899, to come to California. He was a breeder of high-grade cattle and thorough­bred hogs and was very successful, and also as a breeder of imported Percheron horses from Riga, France, always selling his stock at top prices, for they were the best obtainable. His knowledge on all farm problems and market conditions is well rounded from both a theoretical and practical standpoint and in all fields of land deyelop­ment he is an able authority, as has been well proven by his success since coming to California.


He came West in 1899, and reached Fresno at a time when building was active. With considerable knowledge of the trade, and being a good carpenter, he soon started out as a builder there, and followed it through until 1918, devoting his attention to residence and home structures, and doing his own planning and designing. His work stands out in Fresno today; the H. Swift home, on Cala­veras and L Streets, the Creighton, Beane, and scores of Fresno's finest homes are from the plans drawn and work done by Mr. Han­ner. In the meantime he was always interested in land development, and owned a ranch of 160 acres in Lone Star, which he held until it came into bearing, growing Muscat grapes; and a highly developed vineyard of 115 acres in the Dinuba district.


In 1918 Mr. Hanner left Fresno, having a big contract to fill at Chowchilla, Merced County, $75,000 worth of construction and development work on the D. Hayes property. He incidentally became interested in a 1000-acre tract himself, which he subsequently sold off until he now holds but 200 acres of this. It was in 1919 that he came to Merced County to do his greatest piece of work.


On August 15, 1919, he brought from Chowchilla over the highways into Planada $60,000 worth of land developing implements to carry on his work, consisting chiefly of the following: seven Holt caterpillar tractors, subsoiler and full equipment, land-levelers, etc.; and a gang of twenty men started to Work almost at once, near Tuttle. People looking on did not realize then what they were destined to see today on the land, the largest orchard in the world, peaches, and apricots, embracing some 4000 acres. Mr. Hanner was in full charge of operations, the property being owned by the Cali­fornia Packing Corporation, owners of the Del Monte brand.


Through 1919-1920-1921, this great project worked slowly but suc­cessfully into a state of being. It is conceded by authorities that the remarkable growth of the 350,000 trees which stand today in such splendid symmetrical lines could not have attained such growth had it not been for the skilled work performed with Hanner's wonderful outfits—the subsoilers.

While this was being accomplished, this energetic man had to haye something to do for himself, so he bought 160 acres, the former home place of M. L. Holt, in December, 1919, and started at once to transform it from a grainfield into a fine vineyard, surrounded by a border of Kadota figs.


The marriage of Mr. Hanner, at San Francisco, May, 1923, united him with Miss Nellie Mae Backus, a native of Boston, Mass. She came to California in 1918, and is an ardent supporter of "our" climate and other factors which make California a pleasant place in which to make one's home. Mr. Hanner's parents both came to California in 1894, from Iowa, locating at Fresno, where the home they built is still standing, on East Avenue. The father returned to Iowa on a visit to his sons there, in 1898, contracted a severe cold en route, and died in Wayerly, in January, 1898. The mother re­mained a steadfast devotee to Fresno, and her death occurred there in 1911.



History of Merced County California: John Outcalt

Historic Record Company Los Angeles, California 1925

Transcribed by Martha A Crosley Graham – Pages 579-731