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 112 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 112 of 191)
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the next two years he was employed as a clerk in the large establishment of Blair
Brothers, dealers in clothing at Sedalia, and for the first time came to California in
1884, settling in Mono County. He purchased an alfalfa ranch of 240 acres, situated at
an elevation of 5,000 feet above the level of the sea, and raised cattle, hogs and horses.
It was a cold country in winter, and he had two cuttings a year from the alfalfa
grown there. The ranch was located in Antelope Valley and at first his trading
center was Carson City; but this was later changed to Minion, Nev.


On April 11, 1887. Mr. Shields was married to Miss Florence Warfield Crapster.
who was born near Florence. Md., the daughter of William and Ellen A. Crapster.
Her father was a graduate of Yale, Harvard, and a theological college at Gettysburg,
and he taught for a while in Yale College. Afterward he established a school of his
own at Lisbon, Md., at which place he died in later years. Mr. and Mrs. Shields
had a dairy of more than thirty milch cows of the Holstein strain on their Mono
County ranch, and they bred and raised their own stock.

In 1911 Mr. Shields sold out and removed to Santa Ana, and here he purchased
twenty acres of open land on Irvine Boulevard, which he sold in the short period of a
year. In 1919 he bought what was known as the William F. Lutz home, and this
is only one of many pieces of land and property which he has owned since coming to
California. He has a full-bearing orchard of twenty acres of oranges in Villa Park
to which he gives part of his attention.

Five boys and four girls have blessed this fortunate marriage of Mr. and Mrs.
Shields: Raymond C. is at home, working on the ranch; Lela F. is also at home;
Cecil R. is serving in the Navy at Guam; Hazel V. is deputy auditor for Orange
County; Sylvia S. is employed by the Southern California Edison Company; Gladys C.
is at Woolworth's in Santa Ana; Ivory T. is a high school student in the same town;
Dallasy — whose name was made up from the last letter of the first name of each of
the older brothers and sisters — is a pupil in the intermediate schools; and Martin, Jr.,
is in the grammar school.

Cecil R. Shields volunteered for service at Santa Ana, and was enlisted at Los
Angeles on June 5, 1917. He trained at Goat and Mare Islands, and entered as ship-
yeoman, but was transferred as an electrician to the S. S. "Illinois," at Norfolk, Va.
Again he was transferred to Philadelphia, and from there he sailed for Brest, France.
He did convoy duty in the English Channel and returned to the United States on
December 30, 1918, landing at Hampton Roads. He was then sent to the submarine
base at New London, was transferred to Newport News, and still later sent to the
Island of Guam, where he is at present.

Mr. Shields is a Mason and also an Elk, in aftiliation with the lodges at Santa
.\na; he is a Republican in matters of national politics, and his family are active partici-
pators in the work of the United Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana.

HENRY SEIDEL. — An example of the perseverance and determination to succeed
which overcomes every difficulty is found in the life of Henry Seidel of Santa Ana, who,
by his own unaided efforts, has made a success in his line of business. He was born in
New York City on March 1. 1884, the son of Frank and Anna (Tine) Seidel, the father
I'/eing a shoemaker in the early days. In 1893, when Henry was nine years of age, the
family came to California, locating at Monrovia, and in 1894 coming to Santa Ana.
Here the father died, leaving a family of six small children. Henry attended the public
school of Santa Ana, but his education was cut short by his father's death, as being'
the eldest of the family, when he was only twelve years of age he had to go to work,
and with the help of one of his brothers he supported the family. In fact, he had
already begun to look out for himself when he was a small lad in New York, having
sold papers on the streets of that city.

From this time up until the year 1898 Mr. Seidel was engaged in various occupa-
tions, spending some time in ranching, working two years on a celery farm and for
some time laying sewer pipe. At this time, because of an unusually rainy season, mak-
ing outdoor work difficult, he entered the butcher business, working under Theodore
Kling. For the fii"st six months he received $3.50 a week and after that $4.00 a week
for a few months and then gradually more wages, and here he continued for five years,
learning all the details of the business at first hand. It was in 1905 that he then deter-
mined to go into business for himself, and with but little except indomitable pluck and
the determination to succeed he made the venture, starting in a little ten-foot room
with a capital of only $7.20. His integrity and strict attention to business have won for
him a well-deserved and unqualified success, and he has just completed one of the
finest and most modern markets in Orange County. He employs eight people and has
the largest business in this line in the city. In addition Mr. Seidel owns a market, just
as well appointed, in Balboa, where he has the largest business in that seaside resort.
He can well claim the title of the pioneer butcher, for there is no other in his line of
business here now that was here when he started his shop.

Politically Mr. Seidel is a Republican and in his fraternal relations he is a member
of the Elks and Odd Fellows. He has also been a member of the National Guard of
California. Especially fond of outdoor life. Mr. Seidel finds his most enjoyable recrea-
tion in hunting, fishing, and particularly in trapshooting . He is an enthusiastic believer
in the future of Orange County and is ever ready to aid in any movement that makes
for its progress.


WALTER A. SUTTON. — A progressive, practical and scientifically disposed
rancher sure to attain to such results as will mark some real progress in local agricul-
ture, is Walter A. Sutton, of North Flower Street, West Orange, who was born there,
a native son proud of his association with the Golden State, in the old Sutton home
on what was called the County Road, on September 19, 1886. His father was James V.
Sutton, a native of Adair County, Mo., where he was born on March 18, 1848. When
he was nineteen years old he moved to Nebraska with his parents, and for two years
lived in Plattsmouth, Cass County, after which they migrated to Collins County,
Texas, where they farmed. In May, 1869, he was married at Anna, Collins County,
in that same state, to Miss Elizabeth C. Talkington. a Kansas girl, and three years
later, or in 1872, he came west to California and at Orange built the fourth house
in the town east of the Santa Ana River. In 1875 he returned to Texas and there
farmed for the following seven years, when he returned to Orange and purchased a
sixteen-acre ranch, setting out the entire acreage to walnuts. This ranch, of excep-
tionally rich soil, is under the service of the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company.
Some years ago he leased the farm to his son Walter, and now lives in Orange. Five
children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Sutton. .Mice C, the eldest, is Mrs. Walton of
Orange; Victor is a telegrapher near Sacramento; Herbert is employed in the pipe-
organ factory at Van Nuys; Walter is the subject of our sketch; and Sadie, Mrs.
Ritter, lives at the home of her parents.

Walter Sutton was educated in the Orange schools and then served his appren-
ticeship in mechanics under Ben Davis at Orange, after which he worked for Messrs.
Kolberg and Gardner in the Orange Buick works. On the last day of the year in
1912 he was married to Miss Maude Belt, the ceremony taking place at Garden Grove.
She was a native daughter, also, having first seen the light at Westminster, and her
parents, who came to California fifty years ago, were James and Susan (Brown) Belt.
She attended the common schools of Garden Grove, and later graduated from the
Santa Ana high school. After their marriage, Mr. Sutton lived at Santa Ana for five
years, when he was with Kolberg and Kenyon, and then he spent a year with
Charles Davis in his garage.

The next five years were given to the Studebaker Garage, under Mr. Lutz, and
it was in 1918, while he was unloading a car of autos, that he had his back broken,
the result of an auto falling and pinning him down. Everything possible was naturally
done for him after the accident, and he was nursed back to health through scirrtific
and loving care at the home of Mrs. Belt, in Garden Grove.

Since his miraculous recovery Mr. Sutton, who had been such a skilled mechanic
from 1904 to 1918, has lived on the old Sutton ranch, where he has built for himself
a home. Ten acres are in his father's title; three and a half in his own; while another
two and a half belong to his brother, Victor W. Sutton, but Walter has the care of
the entire ranch. He has there a pumping plant with a capacity of forty inches; and
with the exception of threS and a half acres, which are set out to Valencias, all the
ranch is in walnuts. He is a member of the Orange Walnut Growers Association,
and takes a keen interest in its problems.

Two children were granted Mr. and Mrs. Sutton, but one, Susan .\ileen, passed
to the spirit land when she was seventeen months old. The other. Fae Lanaire, is
now a promising youngster in her second year. Mr. Sutton gives some attention to
the great game of politics, but believes in nonpartisan support of the best men and
the best measures.

CHARLES W. McKEEN. — A modest, unassuming, but talented gentleman, now
a successful walnut grower at San Juan Capistrano, whose family history is associated
with interesting chapters in American annals, and who was himself connected with the
development of other parts of the Golden State, is Charles W. McKeen, who lives about
two miles east of the town on the Hot Springs Road. He was born at Litchfield,
Meeker County. Minn., on June 16, 1867, the son of John W. McKeen, a native of
Portland, Maine. His grandfather, John V. McKeen, was a ship carpenter in that
famous port, and as John W. grew up, he learned ship carpentering. Mrs. Hannah
E. McKeen, the mother of our subject, is still living, on Birch Street in Santa,
aged seventy-four years. A brother of Charles, Roy A. McKeen, is agent for Orange
County for the Savage Automobile Tire Company with headquarters in Anaheim.

Charles W. grew to maturity at Litchfield, and when fourteen, went with his
father to Dayton, Ohio, where the latter worked as a millwright. The young man
stayed with his father and learned the trade thoroughly. He inade Dayton, Ohio, and
Indianapolis his headquarters for several years during which time he helped build
numerous flour mills, from Texas to Canada. Clever at drafting, he drew up plans
for many of the most noted mills on this continent. This fact may be readily under-


stood when it is known that Mr. McKeen, as one of the foremost mill builders in
America, constructed the "A." "B" and "C" mills for the \\'ashburn-Crosby Company
at Minneapolis, the Pillsbury "A" Mill at Minneapolis, and the "Palisade," the "Cas-
cade" and "Cataract" at the same place. He also put up the mills for the American
Mill Company at Nashville, Tenn., the George C. Urban Mill Company at Buffalo,
the Dallas Milling Company at Dallas, Texas, and the Imperial Mill at Duluth.

In 1894, Mr. McKeen came to California and settled at Bolsa. and there he em-
barked in the celery business, owning 127"i acres of peat lands. About 1908, he went
to Garden Grove, and there he bought forty acres of walnut orchard. His next move
was to San Juan Capistrano, where he expects to remain — for some time to come.

At Santa Ana Mr. McKeen was married to Mrs. Annie A. Davis, and so became
stepfather to her one son, Paul O. Davis, a well-known architect of Los Angeles. Mr.
and Mrs. McKeen take a live interest in all that bids fair to develop Orange County
permanently and along the best lines; and they are ever ready to "lend a hand" when
hard work needs to be done or funds subscribed.

CONRAD OERTLY. — Among the many good citizens of foreign birth Conrad
Oertly, who resides on Euclid Avenue, Garden Grove, is worthy of note. A native of
the canton of Appenzell, Switzerland, he was born November 25, 1858, the son of
Conrad Oertly, a dealer in lumber, who was born, lived, married and died in his native
country, Switzerland. Mr. Oertly's mother was also a native of Switzerland, and
before her marriage was Miss Anna Encler.

Conrad Oertly's life was spent in his native country until the age of twenty-two,
and there he learned the trade of carpenter, afterwards traveling as a journeyman car-
penter. He was a resident of Paris, France, one year, then, in 1882, came to America,
locating in the Mohawk X'alley, at Little Falls, New York, where he remained three
years working at his trade. He also worked in Utica and Bufifalo. going thence to
Covington. Ky.. where he was united in marriage with Miss Elisa Wiedmer, whom
he first met in Little Falls. New York. She also is a native of Switzerland, and was
born in the canton of Berne, at Dientigen, the daughter of Jacob Wiedmer, a stock-
man, and her mother was in maidenhood Magdalena Werren. When twenty years
old, in 1882, just three months later, and upon the same ship, the "La France," in
which Mr. Oertly crossed the ocean, she joined an older sister in New York. After
their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Oertly removed to Lexington. Ky.. where he worked at
carpentering four years, and there two of their children were born.

In 1889 Mr. Oertly took his family on a trip to their old home in Switzerland,
remaining two and a half years, although they did not intend to make so long a visit.
While there Mrs. Oertly was injured in an accident, which prolonged their stay. Re-
turning to America, they came at once to California and settled in Los Angeles in
March, 1892, and there Mr. Oertly was employed at his trade for two years; afterwards
he worked in the dairy business for two years, then engaged in the dairy business
on his own account for three years. Having been successful in this business, he
purchased nine acres of land at the corner of Figueroa and Forty-eighth streets,
Los Angeles, and remained in that city until 1906, when he removed to Garden Grove
and purchased a twenty-acre piece of property which he improved into an orange and
lemon grove, and afterward sold to his son.

Mr. and Mrs. Oertly are the parents of four children, Soule C. who is mentioned
on another page in this work; Bertha, the wife of J. G. Allen: Bernhard. who died
at Nobleford. .\lberta. of the influenza, when it raged so relentlessly throughout the
country in 1918. and George M., who is in the fuel and feed business at Long Beach,
Cal., and who was also at Nobleford, Alberta, from which place he entered the U. S.
service and trained at Camp Lewis, then went to the aero squadron at Kelly Field,
San Antonio, Texas. From there he went to Pittsburgh. Pa., where he attended the
Carnegie school for quick repairing of aeroplanes; returning thence to Kelly Field
he entered the chemical department, and in time was promoted to the head of the
department. It was his duty to analyze the lubricating oils and gasoline and O. K.
all the purchases of oils; he stood in line for promotion to a lieutenancy when the
armistice was signed. He is a well-known football star.

Mr. Oertly has a clear brain, is an interesting talker and a loyal American. Of
friendly disposition, warm hearted and genial, he has led an active, moral and useful
life, and given his children excellent educational advantages. Gifted and successful,
they stand among the most prominent people in the county, and they, as well as their
parents, take an active interest in the betterment of the community in every possible
way. In their religious convictions Mr. and Mrs. Oertly are members of the Baptist
Church at Garden Grove, where Mrs. Oertiv is active in Sunday School work.


HANS GATJENS. — The popular proprietor of the Orange County Soda Works
at Anaheim, Hans Gatjens, is a native of Schleswig-Holstein, where he first saw the
light of day July 21, 1872. At the early age of sixteen he migrated to America and
located first in Iowa, working on farms in Scott and Benton counties for five years.
In 1893, attracted by the greater opportunities on the Pacific Coast, he came to Cali-
fornia, where he chose Orange County as the scene of his future operations. At first
he found employment on a sugar-beet ranch. Being very thrifty and industrious, he
saved his money and by 1904 he was able to lease 120 acres of land, upon which he
raised sugar beets and successfully continued in this business up to 1912.

In 1913 Mr. Gatjens returned to the scenes of his boyhood days in Germany and
after a pleasant visit he returned to Orange County, where he entered the employ of
the Orange County Soda Works, which was then located at Anaheim. Being a man
of enterprise and initiative he soon gained a thorough knowledge of the soda business
and in 1918 purchased the works and later erected a plant at 400 South Claudina Street.
He has installed new machinery and otherwise improved the plant so that it is up to
date in every way and capable of handling his large and increasing business, which
now extends all over the county. At present he makes twenty different kinds of soft
drinks, his orange flavor being especially popular. He uses two auto trucks in his

During his first trip to his native land, in 1902, Mr. Gatjens was united in
marriage with Johanna Gatjens, a native of the same district in Germany where Hans
was born, although not a relative. Mr. and Mrs. Gatjens are the parents of three
children, all born in California, Hattie, Effie and Harry. Hans Gatjens is recog-
nized as a self-made man. of which honor he is justly proud. He is a member of the
Concordia Society of x\naheim,

W. LESTER TUBES.— An interesting representative of one of the worthiest
pioneer families of California, members of which have frequently been identified with
the really stirring and epoch-making events in the annals of the Golden State, is W.
Lester Tubbs. who was born at Emerson, Iowa, on July 10, 1894, the son of William
L. Tubbs, :x native of Flowerfield, Mich. His father was Judge Lewis W. Tubbs,
who came to California with an ox-team in 1849. leaving Iowa on March 1 as captam
of a train which took six months to get across the desert and mountains. He was a
native of New York, where he was born in 1829, and brought with him from the
Empire State some of that natural spirit of leadership which led his fellow-citizens to
send him as a delegate to the first California legislature after California's admission
to the Union. Later he made many trips back and forth between the Coast and the
Middle West. He married a daughter of William Wheeler, of Michigan, who became
colonel of a regiment of volunteers that served the cause of the North in the Civil
War. William L. Tubbs married Miss Alice N. Tomblin, and coming to California
in 1901, they lived on a small ranch in Tustin for the first seven months, after which
they moved into Santa Ana, and Mr. Tubbs became one of the most active organizers
of the Santa Ana community. He was the first to be exalted in Lodge No. 794 of
the Santa Ana Elks, and was a Mason and a Shriner. When he passed away, on July
11, 1911, his going was mourned by a large circle of devoted friends.

W. Lester Tubbs attended the grade schools of Santa .\na, and afterward went
to the Shattuck Military School at Faribault, Minn., from which he was graduated in
1912. He had attained the captaincy of Company C, and was presented with a beautiful
silver loving cup by his fellows in the company.

His first venture in business was with the Security Trust and Savings Bank of
Los Angeles, where he remained for three and a half years, t.raveling back and forth
each day between Santa Ana and Los Angeles. He was in the loan department of that
fine institution, and there demonstrated his capability in caring for the insurance.
On February 15, 1917, he became teller in the Orange County Trust and Savings Bank
of Santa Ana.

When the recent war broke out, Mr. Tubbs went to San Francisco and took
the officer's examination, and on April 9, 1917, was recommended for a commission;
but he was later held back on account of being under weight. On November 2, 1917.
he was finally admitted to the service, and served at Camp Lewis in the Ninety-first
Division, in. the enlisted men's ranks. In August, 1915, he was commissioned second
lieutenant and was held as instructor in the Thirteenth Division at Camp Lewis. On
December 3, 1918. he was honorably discharged. He is treasurer of Santa Ana Post,
No. 131, of the American Legion. On his return to civilian life, Mr. Tubbs resumed
his position with the Orange County Trust and Savings Bank. On June 1, 1919, he
accepted the responsiiiility of representing the Auto Club of Orange County as oflice
manager at Santa -\na.




On July 5, 1919. Mr. Tubbs was married to Miss Dorothy L. Hendrie, daughter
of I. R. and Alice (Dakan) Hendrie of Santa Ana. She began her education in the
public schools of Long Beach and continued her studies at the Santa Ana high school,
and received private instruction in music and the drama. During the recent war, Mrs.
Tubbs served as a nurse in the Good Samaritan Hospital at Los Angeles, disengaging
herself therefrom when hostilities ceased on November 11, 1918. Mr. Tubbs is a mem-
ber of the Chamber of Commerce and a life member of the Elks, and few if any enjoy
a more deserved popularity.

JAMES ALLAN KNAPP.— A Californian of more than ordinary interest, both
on account of his personality and his varied life story, is J. A. Knapp, one of the fore-
most citizens of Garden Grove, and popularly spoken of as the "Chili King." His
face and figure have become familiar to many non-residents who have attended the
afternoon lectures by D. VV. McDaniel, the capable representative of Orange County
at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Knapp was born seventy miles north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and ten
miles northwest of Barrie, the county seat of Simcoe County, on his father's farm
of 100 acres, on December 23. 1879, the third child and the second son of Peter B.
Knapp, who had married Christina M. Livingston. Peter Knapp was of Scotch origin,
and belonged to the loyal Tory stock in Pennsylvania, who returned to British soil,
that is, removed to Canada, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. He was
reared at Kingston, Ont., and became a farmer, and he died on January 6, 1903, aged
fifty-two years, in California, to which milder region he had come for his health in
1898, with his eldest son, George Knapp. He had stopped first at Weiser, Idaho, from
June until September, 1898, and from there he came to Anaheim, where he remained
until March, 1899, when he went back to Canada, leaving his son here. He straight-
ened out his affairs and returned to Anaheim, and there bought land, and made many
friends; so that today he is favorably remembered in the neighborhood of his demise.

Seven children blessed the union of Peter and Christina Knapp. George was the
eldest and died at the age of twenty-si.x, at Anaheim; May is the wife of George W.
Dorr, the chief clerk of the U. S. Railway Mail Service running out of Los Angeles
to El Paso, Texas, and resides at 235 East Adams Street, Eagle Rock; James Allan
is the subject of this review: Annie died at the age of twenty; Rachel J. is the wife
of E. M. Christensen, a farmer and cement contractor, living two miles northeast of
Garden Grove, and Elmer C. and Robert L. are both single and live with their mother
on the original Knapp farm of fifty acres, purchased in February, 1900, and now
planted to oranges.

James A. was twenty years old when he came to Garden Grove. He had attended
the public schools at Minesing, Canada, and the Collegiate Institute at Barrie, and
so was well equipped for a successful tussle with the world. On his arrival in
California, he lost no time iii going to work as a farm hand on an orange ranch at
eighteen dollars a month. .\t the end of the month, however, he quit to try his hand
at walnut culture, and for three-quarters of a year he was on a walnut ranch. Then
he went to work on the home ranch, where he remained until he was thirty years of
age. While working at the walnut grove, he watched his neighbor grow a two and a

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 112 of 191)