Samuel Armor.

History of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present online

. (page 105 of 191)
Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 105 of 191)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


became one of its pioneer residents. He formed a partnership with H. B. Crozier,
under the name of Crozier and French, and they became actively engaged in contract-
ing and building. This partnership continued for seven years, Mr. French after-
wards continuing in the contracting business alone. He has always been very success-
ful in his business, making a specialty of fine residences, and many of the beautiful
homes at Huntington Beach stand as examples of his superior workmanship. He has,
indeed, been a big factor in the upbuilding of the city.

Mr. French's interest in his chosen place of residence was not limited to its mate-
rial a'Jvancement, for despite his busy life as a contractor, he has always been keenly
interested in all the civic affairs of the city, and has taken an active part in them.
For six years he served as a member of the board of tru^stees of Huntington Beach,
and for two years was chairman of the board, this office corresponding to that of
mayor. During his term of ofifice many important improvements were made; the
beautiful concrete pier was built, a sewer system installed, and many of the streets
were paved. Mr. French thus witnessed a marked change in the appearance of the
city during his residence there, as when he arrived there was not even a paved street
there. He was also enthusiastic in the work of the Huntington Beach Chamber of
Commerce, being one of its organizers and serving as its president for four years,
until his removal to Santa Ana. In 1919, Mr. French resigned his ofiice as chairman
of the board of trustees to become city marshal of Huntington Beach, holding this
position until March 12, 1920, when he was appointed under-sheriff of Orange County
by Sheriff Calvin E. Jackson. This appointment was a fitting recognition of Mr.



942 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

French's capabilities, as there were a number of applicants for the office, and he was
selected as the man best fitted for the post.

Mr. French's marriage united him with Miss Estelle D. Bradley, who was a
native of Edgar County, 111., and they are the parents of five children: Homer
E. is engaged in concrete highway construction in Northern California; Gladys is the
wife of Roy Labodie of Huntington Beach; John B. is associated with his brother
in highway construction work; he enlisted for service during the World War, serv-
ing for fourteen months in the quartermaster's department in France; he was top
sergeant of his company, and at the time the armistice was signed was attending an
officers' training school in France; Julia and Margaret are under the paternal roof.

Politically, Mr. French has always been a stanch adherent of Democratic prin-
ciples and active in the councils of that party. In fraternal affairs he is prominent in
the circles of the Odd Fellows, being a member of the Huntington Beach Lodge, No.
183, of which he is a past grand; he has also served as District Deputy Grand Master
of District No. 69, California, and he is also a prominent member of the Encamp-
ment and Canton at Santa Ana. He was made a Mason in Huntington Beach Lodge
No. 380, F. & A. M. Besides, he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.
Since coming to Santa Ana he continues to show his deep interest in civic and busi-
ness affairs with the same energy he showed at Huntington Beach, and is now a
member of the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce.

WILLIAM E. CLEMENT. — A successful business man who is also an experienced
horticulturist, and who in both undertakings has displayed unmistakable talent as a
systematic manager operating according to the latest and most approved methods, is
William E. Clement, one of the best city officers Orange has ever had. For fourteen
years he has been manager of the Griffith Lumber Company, for ten years he was chief
of the fire department, and for eight years he was responsible for the town finances.

A native son very proud of his association from the beginning with the Golden
State, Mr. Clement was born in Garden Grove, Orange County on December S, 1876,
the son of Johnson Clement, a native of Missouri, who came with his parents to Cali-
fornia, crossing the great plains as a boy, and finally locating in Orange County. He
married Miss Cassia Morrell, a native of Texas who also came to California with her
parents, and settled at Bolsa, where the Morrells were farmers. The grandfather,
Lafayette Morrell, was one of the pioneer founders of that settlement. Johnson Clem-
ent was married in what is now Orange County, and with his devoted wife com-
menced to farm at Garden Grove. Later, they removed to Santa Ana, where Mr.
Clement engaged in real estate; and today he is a very successful realty operator at
Orange. Mrs. Clement, it is sad to relate, died at Los Angeles in 1914. They had
three children — two girls and a boy; and of these William was the oldest.

Brought up in Orange County, William attended the public grammar school and
also the Santa Ana high school, and then took a stiff course at the Orange County
Business College in Santa Ana, from which he was graduated with honors in 1894.
Then for three years he was with the Newport Lumber Company at Riverside, when
he returned to Santa Ana, and was employed in the Exchange Bank as a bookkeeper,
until it was consolidated with the First National Bank, when he continued in the same
responsible capacity.

Having resigned, Mr. Clement accepted his present position, on March 15, 1906.
as manager for the Griffith Lumber Company, at Orange, and he opened their yard
here, and has been in charge there ever since. The yard is located on North Cypress
Street, and there the company carry lumber, mill-work, doors, windows, cement, roof-
ing and wall-board. They also maintain a planing mill, and this alone has proven of
great service to the community.

Mr. Clement, while never an office seeker, has responded to the calls of his fellow
citizens and has done his ftill duty as an office holder. In 1910, he was elected the
second chief of the fire department of Orange, reelected each year and served until he
resigned, on January 1, 1920. During that period, with the loyal cooperation of others,
he built up the department so that from the condition with only a hose cart, the city
now has a Seagreave combination motor truck with its full equipment. In 1912, he
was elected the city treasurer of Orange, and he has been reelected ever since, for
terms of two years. In respect to party preferences, Mr. Clement is a Republican; but
this party affiliation never operates to prevent him from entering heartily into whatever
seems best for the development and prosperity of the community.

Mr. Clement has been twice married. On the first occasion, the ceremony took
place at Riverside, and Miss Mabel Russell, a native of California, became his bride.
Her health failing, she was taken to the mountains; but she died at Riverside. She left




^^



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 945

two children, Margaret and Virginia, both of whom are in the Orange Union high
school. The second Mrs. Clement, whom he married at Orange, was Miss Nora Miller
in maidenhood; she was a native of Kansas, and has become the mother of three
children: Lois, Melvin and Clarence. Mr. Clement owns a fine residence in town,
and a fine ranch west of the town, which he devotes to the raising of Valencia oranges,
on which account he is a member of the Santiago Orange Growers Association. He
belongs to the Orange Lodge of the Odd Fellows, and the Santa Ana Lodge of Elks.

WILLIAM ABPLANALP. — In making mention of those men who have made a
success of ranching in Southern California and who. at the same time, have cooperated
in all movements that have had for their aim the building up of the state, and Orange
County in particular, William Abplanalp of the Anaheim district is to be found
worthy in every way. For twenty years he has made his home on the ranch on Lincoln
Avenue, west from Anaheim, improved the property from a barley field, and has set
out walnut, peach and apricot trees that are now in full bearing, and with the develop-
ment of water in 1913, and the installation of an irrigating system, bids fair to make
of this eighty-acre ranch a veritable show place in the near future. For thirteen years
he carried on dry farming, and even in that line of agriculture demonstrated that a
success could be made by the man of enterprise and thrift. It is said by many who
know that Mr. Abplanalp has gained a financial reward through his own efforts
and hard work, assisted in all that he has undertaken by his wife and helpmate, who
shares with him the esteem of all who know them.

Mr. Abplanalp was born at Sunman. Ripley County, Ind., August 27, 1864, the
son of Jacob and Annie ( Stahley) Abplanalp, the former a native of Switzerland and
the latter of Indiana. Mrs. Abplanalp had two children, William and Emma, now
Mrs. August Michael, both of whom are residents of Orange County, this state. When
William was four years old his mother died and his father married again, and by his
second marriage was the parent of three children. The father made five trips to Cali-
fornia from' his Indiana home — the farm, by the way, on which he is still living was
improved by his father in 1852, was operated by himself until he turned it over to his
son, who still conducts it, and with whom he makes his home when in Indiana. He
spent about six years in California at various times and was highly respected by all
who came to know him for his kindly manner and charitable deeds.

William was educated in the public schools of his native county, and followed
farm work there until 1886. When the "boom" struck California he came West, and
ever since that time has been closely identified with Orange County, though it was
a part of Los .Angeles Countj' when he first located at Orange and worked at any
honest employment until he could make a stake, which he did, and then invested in
ranch land, believing that such investment was the surest way to wealth, and so it
has proven to him.

On May 25, 1895, in Orange County, William Abplanalp and Miss Ruth Goodrich
were united in marriage. She was the adopted dau.ghter of Brainerd and Susan
(Williamson) Goodrich, and was born in Taylorville, 111., in 1870. Her mother died
when she was a babe and she was taken by Mr. and Mrs. Goodrich and reared in
their home as a daughter. Her girlhood was spent at Hartford, Conn., where she
attended the public school until she was fourteen, then accompanied her parents to
Orange County, Cal.. and settled with them at Orange, where Mr. Goodrich was for
thirteen years connected with the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company as its secre-
tary, and was widely known throughout the entire county. He died in 1910, leaving
two daughters: Mrs. Ruth Abplanalp and Mrs. Alice Sproule. Mrs. Sproule taught
school in Orange County for about eighteen years, and is now teaching at Hemet,
Riverside County, her home since her marriage. Two children have come to bless the
home of Mr. and Mrs. Aliplanalp, Wilton B. and Lucy .'\. The family are members
of the Fullerton Baptist Church, and both Mr. and Mrs. Abplanalp belong to the Fra-
ternal Aid Union.

During the World War the family assisted in every way to aid the Allied cause,
Mr. Abplanalp spent much of his time in working for the various Liberty Loan drives,
the Red Cross and the Salvation Army drives, and bought to the limit of bonds him-
self, even refraining from making needed improvements on his ranch in order to invest
in securities of the government. Mrs. Abplanalp and her daughter worked in the Red
Cross and the Junior Red Cross. For more than seven years Mr. .A.bplanalp has shown
his interest in matters of education by serving as a school trustee, and in national
politics he is a staunch Republican. Both he and his wife were residents here before
there was any Orange County, and they have watched the development of this won-
derful county with great interest and have done their share to assist in making ii the
banner county of this state.



946 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

FRED T. VOLBERDING. — A self-made young man who has long ago proven to

his fellow-citizens his qualities as a loyal American and an enterprising man of busi-
ness, intent both on building up his private interests and also in contributing what he
can for the general building up of Orange County, is Fred T. Volberding, partner in
the Orange Contracting and Milling Company. He was born near Reinbeck, Grundy
County, Iowa, on April 5, 1882, and reared on a farm, while he attended the public
schools; and when seventeen years old, he commenced to learn the carpenter trade,
also working on his father's farm. At twenty-one, he began working out at his trade,
and at that time his parents moved into Reinbeck.

In December, 1908, Mr. Volberding came west to California and located in Orange
County where he was employed by the Ainsworth Planing Mill, and later he was with
the Griffith Planing Mill at Santa Ana. At the same time, he followed contracting and
building, returning to the mill when he had completed his job. He built bungalows
and other structures, and helped to finish the interior of the St. John's Lutheran
Church. In December, 1914, Mr. Volberding became associated with Messrs. Miller and
Loescher, and they built a planing mill, and entered actively into contracting and
building; and four years after this triple alliance was formed, Mr. Volberding and
Mr. Miller bought out Mr. Loescher, and since then they alone have owned the Orange
Contracting and Milling Company. They employ ten men, do all their own mill work
and custom work, make their own designs, and cater only to the highest class trade.

At Orange, Mr. Volberding was married to Aliss Martha Anschutz, a native of
Saginaw, Mich., by whom he has had one child, Helen. The family belong to St. John's
Lutheran Church, and Mr. Volberding is a member of the Lutheran Men's Club, and
interested in all that makes for moral uplift in the community — an interest actively
shared by Mrs. Volberding. Orange congratulates itself on such good and highly
progressive citizens.

JOHN W. STEELE. — Garden Grove is indeed fortunate to number among its
residents so capable a man as John W. Steele, the principal contractor and builder
Ihere. A man of ability, force of character and strict integrity, he learned his trade
very thoroughly in his native England. As a master workman in his line, that of
interior finisher, in point of fineness of work he has few equals in Southern California.

Mr. Steele was born on December 21, 1866, at the little town of Hyde, near Man-
chester, England, the son of Jabez and Rebecca Esther (Carrington) Steele. The
father, who was a master plumber and contractor, died when John W. was only three
years of age. He was the ninth child in a family of ten children and the youngest of
six brothers. The death of the father made it necessary for the children to become
the breadwinners of the family, so when John was but eight years old he went to work
in a cotton mill in Hyde, his small wages going to support his mother, and he continued
to work in the mills until he was fifteen years old. In the meantime he had secured a
common school education and he now began to learn the cabinet maker's trade, serv-
ing an apprenticeship of five years. In England at that time the trade of cabinet
making included interior finishing and Mr. Steele became an expert in that line,
working on the interior woodwork of several of the fine churches and residences at
Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire.

In the meantime Mr. Steele's oldest brother, William Steele, had immigrated
to America and was foreman for a large plumbing firm in New York City. On a
visit to his family in the old home place in England he related such glowing tales of
the opportunities to be found in America that Mr. Steele was enthused with the idea
of seeking his fortune here. Accordingly on June 27, 1887, he sailed from Liverpool
on the S. S. Brittanica, landing at Castle Garden nine days later. His brother, mean-
while, had removed to Cleveland, Ohio, so Mr. Steele was thrown upon his own re-
sources. He went to work at West Rutherford, N. J., as a carpenter and builder, also
helping do the finishing work on one of the large churches of Passaic, N. J. In the
fall of that year he went to Cleveland, Ohio, and remained there for more than a
year. Later he went to Salem, Columbiana County, Ohio, and worked at organ build-
ing and interior finishing for a period of about nine months, when he returned to
Cleveland, remaining there until 1895, working at his trade.

In 1889 Mr. Steele was married in Cleveland, Ohio, to Miss Annie Askin of that
place. She was born and reared in Sheffield, England, and came to Cleveland as a
young lady in 1885. In April, 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Steele, with their two children, re-
moved to California, and after remaining a few weeks at Los Angeles, they came out
to Katella precinct in Orange County and there bought ten acres of land. His brother,
William Steele, also purchased a ten-acre tract, but went back to New York, where he
passed away four years later. Mr. Steele improved his land, planting it to walnuts
and building a residence on it,' where he made his home for several years. He still



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 949

continued, however, in his occupation of contractor and builder, and during this period
he became connected with D. M. Donald and Son, leading contractors at Redlands.
He removed there with his family and bought three lots on which he erected a cozy
residence and made this his home for five years. During this time he had charge of
all the interior finish work for all the fine residences in Redlands and vicinity made
in the planing mill of Donald and Son.

In 1910 Mr. Steele moved to Garden Grove and built his commodious residence
there which has since been the family home. During the ten years he has thoroughly
established himself as the foremost contractor and builder of this district, and besides
building most of the handsome homes in Garden Grove and the surrounding locality.
he has built the two-story brick business block of J. D. Price on Ocean Avenue, the
Hardware Store block, owned by A. E. Emerson, the warehouse for the Garden Grove
Walnut Growers Association, the Vegetable Unions' warehouse and the Lima Bean
Growers warehouse.

Mr. and Mrs. Steele are the parents of six children: Edith is the wife of William
Abbott, a rancher living near Garden Grove; Reba is Mrs. Elmer Launders and lives
at Garden Grove; Clara is engaged with the Pacific Telephone Company at Santa Ana;
Grace E. is now Mrs. Wesley Hien and resides on an orange ranch at Olive; Ruth is
also employed by the Pacific Telephone Company at Santa Ana; John is a student at
the Santa Ana high school. Mrs. Steele is a member of the Methodist Church at
Garden Grove. Miss Sarah A. Steele, Mr. Steele's only sister and relative in America,
is a resident of Los Angeles, and follows the profession of nursing.

WILLIAM E. CASE. — The proud owner of a fine twenty-acre walnut grove on
Euclid Avenue, between Garden Grove and Anaheim, William E. Case is one of the
early settlers in this locality, and he devotes his entire time to producing the best
of nuts from his grove, having set out the trees with his own hands, as well as having
made all the improvements seen on the ranch.

Mr. Case was born at Oaks Corners, Ontario County, New York, on April 10,
•1844, and was a lad of twelve years when his parents moved to Defiance County, Ohio,
consequently he was privileged to attend school in both states. At the outbreak of the
Civil War, then a young man of eighteen, he demonstrated his patriotism by enlist-
ing in the service of his country, in 1862, for a short term, in the Eighty-seventh Ohio
Volunteer Infantry. He was taken prisoner at Harpers Ferry, but was soon paroled,
and as soon as his parole expired he again enlisted, this time with the Ninth Ohio
Cavalry, Company I, for "three years or for the duration of the war." He par-
ticipated in many skirmishes and some sharp engagements, was with Sherman on his
famous March to the Sea, and at the close of hostilities was honorably discharged at
Lexington, N. C, in 1865.

After his discharge he returned to Ohio, where he spent the winter, then went to
Chicago, where he was engaged in various lines of activity until 1880, when he removed
to Boone County, Nebr., and followed farming until 1890, when he first came to
California and spent a year. So pleased was he with conditions as he found them
here that he returned to his home in Nebraska, raised two crops from his farm, which
he had broken from the original prairie sod, made arrangements to sell out, and in
the spring of 1894 again landed in California and settled in Orange County. The
ranch he bought was a barley field, and at that time property hereabouts was selling
at the high price of from $100 to $150 per acre. At considerable expense he has
improved his holdings until he has one of the best walnut groves in his locality, with
a fine well which he uses for domestic purposes.

In Chicago, 111., on November 2, 1870, occurred the marriage of William E.
Case with Miss Catherine Spellacy, a native of Ireland. They have had five children,
four now living: Mrs. Alice Reynoldson, of Albion, Nebr.; Mrs. Louisa Irene Clark,
of Puente, Cal.; John B., deputy state oil inspector, with headquarters at Taft, Cal.,
and Mrs. Loretta Farris. of Baldwin Park, Cal.

As a man, citizen and friend, no one stands higher in the esteem of all who know
him than does Mr. Case. -For many years he was a prominent member of the Masonic
fraternity, but is now deniitted; he is an esteemed member of Sedgwick Post, No. 17,
G. A. R., at Santa Ana, and in political views votes with the Republicans. He makes
friends wherever he goes and retains them as well, and though over seventy-si,x years
of age, his years rest lightly upon him, and he is to be found in active management of
his productive ranch and wide-awake to anything that tends to benefit his community.
In all his operations he has had the active cooperation of his good wife, who has
shared his joys and his sorrows for half a century. Now in the evening of a life well-
spent they can look back upon the years that have passed with but few regrets, for
they have lived by the golden rule as nearly as it has been possible.



950 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

DRUCE BROTHERS.— The poultry ranch of Druce Brothers at Stanton is
widely known for its production of the finest White Leghorn fowls in Southern Cali-
fornia. Their strain of chickens is produced from the best laying hens and finest male
birds, which have been carefully selected from a large assortment of White Leghorns.
Their selected hens have a record of 280 eggs per season, this being far in excess of
the general average and is evident proof of the splendid care that Druce Brothers give
to their flock of 2,000 to 3,000 fowls.

The firm of Druce Brothers consists of Sidney H. and Campbell H. Druce, natives
•of England. Sidney H. Druce, the older brother, was born in London, England, on
August 6, 1872, the son of Herbert and Louise (Reeve) Druce. He emigrated to the
United States in 1889 and settled in California. For four years he operated a nursery
of five acres at Fullerton and for eight years filled the important position of dairy
inspector for Los Angeles. He was united in marriage with Miss Gertrude Fitz Henry,
who passed away in 1912.

Campbell H. Druce was born in London, England, on March 20, 1878, and left
liis native land in 1903 for America, coming directly to Orange County, where he has
continued to reside ever since. In 1915 he was married to Miss Emma Waters, a
native of Hlinois, and they have been blessed with one daughter, Mary L.

Druce Brothers are members of the Southern California Poultry Producers Asso-
ciation and the Garden Grove Farm Bureau, Sidney Druce having been a director of
the former. They have facilities for hatching 5,000 baby chicks and brooders to accom-
modate 3,500. Their plant consists of four houses with cement floors; one is 120 by
20; another 110 by 20; a smaller one, is 50 by 18 and another 20 by 40 feet. These
furnish shelter for 3,000 chickens. The brothers do their own grinding and also raise
their green feed. Their ranch is situated in the city of Stanton, where it has been
located since 1908 and it is one of the most important enterprises of the community.

HARRY JENTGES.— The enterprising proprietor of the cement pipe works at
Garden Grove, Harry Jentges, is a man whose force of character and determination
lias overcome many obstacles in reaping the success in life that is deservedly his. Born



Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 105 of 191)