James Miller Guinn.

Historical and biographical record of Los Angeles and vicinity : containing a history of the city from its earliest settlement as a Spanish pueblo to the closing year of the nineteenth century ; also containing biographies of well known citizens of the past and present online

. (page 45 of 133)
Online LibraryJames Miller GuinnHistorical and biographical record of Los Angeles and vicinity : containing a history of the city from its earliest settlement as a Spanish pueblo to the closing year of the nineteenth century ; also containing biographies of well known citizens of the past and present → online text (page 45 of 133)
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wife of J. B. Francisco; and Otto, a student of law.

HON. N. P. CONREY. Though only in the
prime of life, N. P. Conrey, prominent in
the ranks of the Los Angeles bar, has won
distinction and honors far bej-ond his years.
Frequently he has given the public evidence of
his ability and earnest desire to promote the in-
terests of the commonwealth and the community
in which he dwells, and this led, in 1898 and
1899, to his being elected to represent this dis-
trict in the state legislature, where he fulfilled
the expectations of his numerous friends and well-

The birthplace of Mr. Conre)' is in the vicinitj-
of Shelby ville, Ind., and the date of the initial
event in his history is June 30, i860. His father,
David L. Conrey, also a native of Indiana, has
spent his entire life in the neighborhood of the
town mentioned, and for two-score years he has
been actively engaged in manufacturing enter-
prises in the western part of the place. The
mother, whose maiden name was Hannah Jame-
son, was born in Lancaster county. Pa., where
her ancestors had settled at an early period. A
brother of our subject, J. A., is a resident of Shel-

After completing his public-school education,
N. P. Conrey entered Indiana Asbury University,
and was graduated with honors in the class of
1 88 1. Subsequently he pursued the study of



law in the Universit}- of Michigan, where he re-
ceived his degree in 1883, and afterwards he was
admitted to the Indiana bar.

In Februarj-, 1884, he established an office and
commenced the practice of law in Los Angeles,
and during the j-ears of 1S86 and 1S87 he main-
tained a branch office at Pasadena. He took part
in the organization of that city as a corporation,
and was honored by election to the office of city
attorney. In connection with the movement in
the direction of establishing local option in that
city he prepared the prohibition ordinance, which
was successfully established in the courts, and hav-
ing stood the test of trial in the supreme court of
California, set at rest the question then in doubt as
to the legality of a city's rights in the matter of
local option. Mr. Conrey has always taken an
active part in public movements and has been es-
pecially interested in the cause of education.
During his service as a member of the Los An-
geles school board, in 1897 ^nd 1898, he cast his
influence on the side of progress, and contributed
toward some needed reforms. His city office is
located in the California Bank building, and his
clientage includes many of the representative
business men and corporations of Southern Cali-
fornia. Fraternally he is a Knight Templar

Ten years ago was solemnized the marriage of
Mr. Conrey and Miss Ethelwyn Wells, daughter
of the Rev. A. J. Wells, then pastor of the
Plymouth Congregational Church of this city.
They have a son and a daughter, David Wells
and Ethelwyn.

one of the busiest men in Los Angeles is the
gentleman whose name appears at the be-
ginning of this sketch, and whenever a new
enterprise or improvement for the city or vicinity
is attempted, he is certain to be one of the first
consulted, and, whenever he finds that he can
devote any time, attention or means to the further-
ance of the project, he can be safely relied upon
to do all within his power. His prominence in
many of the great undertakings effecting this
region, notably that of the improved harbor
at San Pedro as a seaport for Los Angeles, has
made his name a familiar one to the general

public, and his noble, disinterested services on
behalf of the city and state which he loves so
sincerely renders him highly esteemed and

Now in the prime of manhood, Thomas E.
Gibbon was born May 28, i860, in Monroe
county. Ark., to which state his father. Dr. W.
R. Gibbon, had recently removed from Virginia.
The latter, a son of Thomas Gibbon, was a native
of the Old Dominion, where, having completed
his literary education, he was sent to the Virginia
Military Institute. During the Civil war, his
sympathies naturally being with his native state,
he fought in the Confederate army, and suffered
throughout the long struggle which followed.
Having obtained a degree as a physician and
surgeon, he then commenced the practice of his
chosen profession in Arkansas, and, some years
subsequently, turned his entire attention to the
management of a plantation which he purchased.

Thomas E. Gibbon did not have as excellent
advantages in his youth, perhaps, as he would
have possessed if a resident of a state nearer the
educational centers of the east, but he was a
student by nature, and when he was twenty-two
years of age he went to Little Rock, where, by
application and hard work, he mastered the
intricacies of the law, at the same time meeting
his own expenses by teaching in the public
schools. In 1883 he was associated with W. L.
Terry, who has been for several years past a
member of congress from Arkansas, and for a
period of four years he worked indefatigably to
build up his practice and serve the interests of
his clients. In the meantime, the young lawyer's
rare ability to handle the affairs of the public
became known, and in 1884 he was elected to
represent Pulaski county in the state legislature
of Arkansas, where he enjoyed the honor of being
the youngest member of that august body. The
double responsibility which rested upon him, of
attending to his professional duties and to the
interests of his constituents, proved too great a
tax upon the young man at that time, for he was
not robust, and long years of persistent study and
application had made gradual and almost imper-
ceptible inroads upon his health. Accordingly^,
he wisely decided to abandon work and for sev-
eral months he traveled, care-free, upon the
continent and through England. Then, returning



home, he resumed his interrupted hibors, only
to find that he must seek a permanent change of

After due thought, Mr. Gibbon determined to
cast in his lot with the inhabitants of Southern
California, and, for more than a year snbsequeut
to his arrival here, July 17, 1888, he spent most
of his time in the open air, drinking in health
and vigor from nature's reservoir. He opened
an office in Los Angeles, and before long had
gained the confidence of the local public, and
from that time onward he has found little leisure
time. He has chiefly been engaged in corpora-
tion law, and is past master in everything pertain-
ing to the law as applied to business enterprises.
That he is looked upon as an authority in this
line may be seen from the fact that he has been
called upon to serve as the attorney for so many
local corporations and organizations. Among
others, it may be mentioned that he is thus
retained by the Los Angeles Lighting Company,
the Los Angeles Electric Company and is not
only counsel but also vice-president of the Los
Angeles Terminal Railway Company, and vice-
president of the Herald Publishing Company.

In his devotion to his professional duties, Mr.
Gibbon never neglects his duty as a citizen, and
strives to advance the welfare of his community
in every manner. He has been a member of the
board of police commissioners of this city, whose
business it is to look after the proper protection
of our citizens and their property, and is one of
the directors of the League for Better City
Government; is also a director of the Fiesta Asso-

As a member of the Free Harbor League, he
accomplished grand results for the deep-sea har-
bor at San Pedro, so long and earnestly desired
by the majority of Southern Californians, and,
having been honored by being made chairman of
the committee which was to attend to the matter
of settling the subject of the new harbor in the
proper light before congress, he has gone to
Washington seven or eight times, and has nobly
battled for the rights of San Pedro and clearly
demonstrated to the various committees the urgent
need of this great enterpri.se, which is destined to
materially increase the desirability and wealth of
this region. He is a member of one of the com
mittees of the Chamber of Commerce, and in the

summer of 1S97 he was sent as a delegate from
Southern California to the Trans- Mi.ssi.ssippi Com-
mercial Congress at Salt Lake City, where he
urged upon that body, chiefly representing the
western states, the necessity and untold impor-
tance of their using every po.ssible influence
toward the constructing of the San Pedro harbor,
so long delayed. In summing up his career, it
may be said that few men of twoscore years
possess such ripe, keen judgment, such rare
sagacity and clear mental grasp of the leading
issues of the day.

Mr. Gibbon married Mi.ss Ellen Rose, daughter
of Judge U. M. Rose, of Little Rock, Ark., and
they have one son, William Rose Gibbon.

representative of one of the wealthy and in-
fluential families of Cincinnati, Godfrey
Holterhoft", Jr., was born thirty-nine years ago in
the city mentioned, and there spent the days of
his boyhood. His father, Godfrey Holterhoff,
Sr., has been almost a life-long resident of that
metropolis, and for a great many j-ears has been
identified with the financial and industrial inter-
ests of that locality. A man of sterling integrity
and honor, he commands the respect and high
regard of all who know him. His wife, the
mother of our subject, bore the maiden name of
Helena Guysi, and three sons blessed their union,
one of whom, Charles R., is an attorney-at-law
in Los Angeles.

In the excellent public schools of his native
city Godfrey Holterhofl", Jr., acquired a liberal
education, completing his studies in the high
school. When he was nineteen years of age, his
health having become somewhat impaired bj'
close application to his books, he concluded to
try the balmy climate of Southern California,
which, it may be said in passing, soon effected
wonders for him, and to-day he is rugged and
equal to great physical exertion. He became
deeply attached to this section of the Union, and
now considers Los Angeles, which has grown
amazingly even during his residence here, as his
permanent home. For eight years he dwelt in
San Diego, where he is well known.

Twenty years ago, when the Santa Fe Railroad
commenced the construction of its western




branch , Mr. Holterlioff took a position as a
clerk in the San Diego office of the company and
there gained the practical experience which has
since served him so well. Gradually he was pro-
moted from one position to another and finally
was made cashier and paymaster, in which capa-
city he acted until 1893. His ability being thor-
oughly recognized by this time by the various
business men and railroad corporations with
which his duties brought him into relation, he
had numerous flattering opportunities to transfer
his allegiance to some other organization, and at
length accepted the responsible position of secre-
tary and treasurer of the Santa Fe Route lines
west of Albuquerque, with headquarters in Los
Angeles. This was in 1893, and since that time
he has been established in this city. His offices
are in the Bradbury building, one of the finest
in this section of the state. The Santa Fe has no
more faithful or efficient official, and, as his con-
nection with it dates back twenty years, he is one
of the oldest employes in years of continuous
service. Every detail of work coming into his
department is under his supervision, and he han-
dles the great volume of business transacted by
his now extremely popular road with despatch
and accuracy. The public finds no reason to
complain of the treatment accorded by the splen-
did Santa Fe system, which is the shortest and
most direct route to the great business cities and
markets of the central and eastern states, and
much credit is certainly due Mr. HolterhofF, who
has displayed remarkable foresight and good
judgment in dealing with all of the innumerable
difficulties which beset a road wheii it is entering
upon the early years of its existence.

In addition to his regular occupation Mr. Hol-
terhoff" devotes some time and means to outside
enterprises, and holds the offices of secretary and
treasurer of the Pacific Land and Improvement
Company, a flourishing local organization, which
has accomplished a great deal for the city and
vicinity. He possesses the confidence of the
general public, and his acknowledged genius as a
financier has led to his being chosen to act as
treasurer of several associations here. Politically
he uses his franchise in favor of the Republican

In 1889 Mr. Holterhoff married Mrs. Louise
Lewis, whose home formerly was in Dayton,

Ohio, and they have one daughter. Their home
is very attractive and hospitable, and is at
No. 1360 West Adams street, one of the pleas-
antest rcvsidence locations of this beautiful city.

I OUIS ROEDER. This California pioneer
C of 1856 is one of the very, few of his early
12 day in Los Angeles who survive to witness
the marvelous growth and development that the
past forty years have wrought in the city of their
adoption. Mr. Roeder was born in Hesse-
Darmstadt, Germany, January 28, 1832. While
yet a mere boy he was apprenticed to learn the
wagonmaker's trade at his home. This he
accomplished in the thorough manner character-
istic of the German people. He possessed a
deep-seated desire to do something for himself in
the world, and, hearing much of the advantages
offisred to young men in America, he decided to
try for his fortune in the new world. Embarking
from Antwerp, he arrived in New York City July
2, 1 85 1. For about five years he remained in
New York, where he found steady employment
at his trade.

The wonderful developments in mining and
other industries in California were constant
themes of conversation in New York in those
days, and a desire to visit the new El Dorado
seized young Roeder, as it did thousands of other
young men of that age. He shipped at New
York for San Francisco via Nicaragua. The
voyage was made without incident until they
reached the port of San Juan del Norte. Govern-
msntal matters in Central America at that time
were unsettled and dominated by William Walker,
the filibuster. The steamship on which the
party were to sail for California, the Brother
Jonathan, was detained in port for tribute,
which had been made on her cargo of coal.
Pending the adjustment of the matter a number
of the passengers went ashore. Mr. Roeder
thus saw San Juan, which he describes as a small,
uninteresting Spanish town, with an aimless and
listless population. The surrounding country
was fertile, produced a natural and heavy growth
of vegetation, and was capable of great horticul-
tural possibilities.

After having been detained for three days, one
night the Brother Jonathan stole out to sea,



evading the authorities aud payment of dutj-, and
sailing direct for San Francisco. May lo, 1856,
the ship entered the Golden Gate. Mr. Roeder
remained in San Francisco until the 28th of
November, and then came to Los Angeles, where
he commenced work at his trade in the shop of
John Goller, who was the first, and at that time
the only wagon manufacturer in Los Angeles.
He was located on Los Angeles street, between
Commercial and Laguna streets. For seven
years, and until 1863, he remained with this
employer. He then leased a lot on Main street,
adjoining the present German- American Bank on
the north, and, making some improvements there-
on, he conducted a wagon-making business on the
site for five years. From 1865 he had the late
Louis Lichtenberger associated with him as a
partner. In 1866 they purchased a business lot
at No. 128 South Main street and erected thereon
the two-story brick Lichtenberger block, which
still stands. Three years later they built the
two-story brick block now owned by J. Khurtz,
at the northwest corner of Second and Main
streets. The partnership with Mr. Lichtenberger
continued about three years, when Mr. Roeder
retired from the firm, selling his entire inter-
est to his partner. Mr. Roeder' s next step
was the purchase of one hundred feet frontage on
Spring street, adjoining the Nadian hotel, where
he established himself as a wagon manufacturer.
The north fifty feet of the lot he improved, erect-
ing thereon a commodious aud substantial brick
block. Later he built a like structure on the
south half of the property. For four years he
did business in the first building he erected. The
property became valuable for renting purposes
and he finally retired from business, since which
time he has given his attentiou to the oversight
of his extensive real-estate holdings in the city.

Mr. Roeder has ever kept up with the trend of
local affairs. He is a man of quiet and unassum-
ing manner. While he has never sought office,
about thirty years ago he served as a member of
the city council, and during his service the fran-
chise was granted to the Los Angeles City Water
Company. His position on all questions of pub-
lic expediency has ever been found tenable, and
as councilman he was efficient, businesslike and
progressive. Then, as now, the water question
was an issue of great importance. It was by no

means easy in those days to find purchasers of
the stock of the newly formed water company,
when it was looking for investors. He himself
declined to buy, although stock was offered him
at exceedingh- low prices. As a business propo-
sition the enterprise languished for several years,
but when it came under judicious management
the stock increased in value and the service has
since been brought to its present perfect condition.
In an interesting talk before the Los Angeles
County Pioneer Society, in January, 1899, Mr.
Roeder touched upon this question and threw
considerable light upon th^ condition of affairs in
Los Angeles before the water company com-
menced the distribution to citizens. Among
other things, he stated that when he came here
in 1856 aud stopped at the Bella Union hotel,
water was delivered throughout the pueblo in
carts. For this service the citizens concluded
the\- were paying extravagant prices and a num-
ber of them therefore formed a company, put in
wooden pipes to the river at Downey street bridge
and there erected a large wheel with which to
lift the water to the level of the pipe line. Soon
after the completion of this system there came a
heavy flood, which tore out the wheel and ren-
dered the pipe line useless. The city was then
obliged to return to carts and casks for its sup-
ply of the precious fluid The city was so poor
that it could not pay legitimate bills. Dr. John
S. Griffin and Mr. Sansevaiu made a proposition
to bring water into town, which was accepted b}'
the cit}' and a zanja was built, running down
First street and through San Pedro street, sup-
plying water for irrigation purposes to residents
of that portion of the city. Childs & Hoover
then proposed to distribute the water in other
sections of the town for domestic purposes aud
they were given land for so doing. However,
after the ditches were built the water again failed,
although the builders did not fail to secure the
laud. Referring to city land, Mr. Roeder recalled
the fact that the citj' survej-or, not finding his
ofiice profitable, laid out the hill land and sold it
to Stephen Mott in a body. For the land on
which Westlake Park stands the auctioneer
could not get a bid of even twenty- five cents an
acre, as, the land being impregnated with alkali,
was considered worthless. What is now Boyle
Heights was disposed of in a similar manner by



Andrew Boyle. The site of what is now Ever-
green cemetery was purchased by John Shoe-
maker for fifty cents an acre and afterward sold
by him for $9,000.

In 1864 Mr. Roeder assisted in founding the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Los Angeles,
and later served the lodge as treasurer, warden
and past grand. He was married in this city in
1863, his wife being Miss Wilhelmina Huth.
They have six children: Henry; Louis, Jr.;
Lizzie, wife of Charles Dodge; Carrie, who is the
wife of Frank Johansen; Minnie, wife of John
Joughin; and Annie, who is single. The success
which Mr. Roeder attained in life is due entirely
to his industry, frugality, enterprise and thrift,
which have resulted in the ownership by him of
some of the best business and residence property
in Los Angeles, and he is justly held in esteem
as one of the city's most honored pioneers and
substantial citizens.

HON. FRED L. BAKER. One of the most
important industries of Los Angeles is the
Baker iron works, of which Mr. Baker is
president and general manager. The plant is
situated at Nos. 946-966 Buena Vi.sta street, and
is well equipped with every modern convenience.
At the time of the establishment of the works
only four or five hands were employed, but the
increase of the business has been so rapid and
steady that now two hundred workmen are em-
ployed and the plant is operated both day and
night during much of the year. Its success is
due in a large degree to the intelligence, ability
and wise judgment of the manager. The prod-
ucts of the plant comprise principally heavy
machinery, pumps, boilers, elevators and oil well

The subject of this sketch was born in Lansing,
Mich., in February, 1865, a son of Milo S. and
Harriet (Lawrence) Baker. His father brought
the family to Los Angeles in 1872, and two years
later established the Baker iron works, beginning
the business on a very small scale. The original
title of Bower & Baker was later changed to
M. S. Baker & Co., and he remained connected
with the business until his death in 1S94. Dur-
ing his residence in the east he had been con-
nected with a similar business. He had also

represented his district in the legislature while
living in Michigan. His wife was a member of
a New York family and is now living in Los
Angeles. Of his three children, Milo A. is
superintendent of the Baker iron works, and the
only daughter is living with her mother.
. While still a mere lad Fred L. Baker was em-
ployed by the Wells-Fargo Company. As a boj-
he made considerable money out of his chicken
ranch and at the same time he helped his father
in the works. He never attended school a day
in his life, but studied at home and gained a
broad knowledge that has proved most helpful to
him in his business career. By the time he was
eighteen he was thoroughly familiar with every
detail and every department of the iron works.
For years before his father's death he practically
had entire charge of the business, having risen
from a position as apprentice in the shop to fore-
man, superintendent, secretary, vice-president
and president successively, having held the last-
named position since the death of his father.
The foundation of his success is due largely to
his close devotion to business. His assistants in
the works are men of ability in their respective
departments, and he trusts all matters of detail to
them, but his is the master mind, the guiding
hand, behind it all.

Thoroughly devoted to business, Mr. Baker
nevertheless never neglects his duty as a citizen.
He possesses true public spirit, and uses his in-
fluence to enhance the best interests of the city,
supporting all worthy enterprises for its advance-
ment. Reared in the faith of the Republican
party he saw no reason, on arriving at mature
years, for changing his political views, and he
has hence remained true to the tenets of the
party. In 1897 he was chosen to serve in the
city council. The following year he was re-
elected to the office. He is one of the prominent
members of the Chamber of Commerce.

Among the important interests which Mr.
Baker has had may be mentioned that of the
Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association,
which he assisted in organizing and of which he
was the president in 1898. The following year
he was again offered the same position, but
declined, owing to the demands upon his time by
reason of his private business affairs. He is
vice-president of the Southern California Build-


ing and Loan Association, one of the established
organizations of its kind in Los Angeles. He is
also a local director in the American Surety Com-
pany of New York.

Online LibraryJames Miller GuinnHistorical and biographical record of Los Angeles and vicinity : containing a history of the city from its earliest settlement as a Spanish pueblo to the closing year of the nineteenth century ; also containing biographies of well known citizens of the past and present → online text (page 45 of 133)