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 113 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 113 of 191)
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half acre patch of Chili peppers, for canning, and since these were the first of that
edible he had ever seen, the process interested him not a little. His father had thirty
acres of idle land, and Mr. Knapp soon conceived the idea of utilizing it for pepper
growing. The following year, therefore, he and his father put in eight acres, with
good results, netting them about $200 an acre, and the second year they planted fifteen
acres, and each year planted more and more, until now Mr. Knapp has 1,000 acres of
peppers, leased land, all of which he supervises himself. The peppers are grown on
contract, and he uses Mexican, Jap and white labor. In busy harvest seasons he em-
ploys about 500 people. He owns the largest chili warehouse in Garden Grove, and
Garden Grove is the largest and most important initial Chili pepper market in the
United States, if not in the world.

Tlie varieties of peppers grown from seeds of Mr. Knapp's own raising are as
follows: The Mexican type, Chili pod (parent stock being imported from Old Mexico),
this type being first grown by Mr. Knapp in 1907, and his first crop was sold at St.
Louis in the same year; the California long red pod Chili, which is native: the Pi-
miento, or sweet peppers, the seeds of which were imported from Spain in 1910, and
brought over by various canning companies.

Mr. Knapp and his father built at Anaheim, in 1901. the first evaporator in Orange
County used for drying peppers artificially, and now he has a number of drying houses.
one plant containing eight separate buildings, or units. He has devised a type of
evaporator, which has been very generally adopted by all the rest of the growers.


The pepper contains at least ninety per cent of water, which is more than that generally-
found in vegetables, and this renders it necessary to have a special form of dryer. In
1915 natural gas fuel for generating the necessary heat for the evaporators was adopted
in place of oil. and this was an important step forward.

Mr. Knapp's chili warehouse is a large frame structure, 40 x 100 feet, situated on
the right of way of the Pacific Electric Railway, and was built by him in 1917. He
works up his own markets for chili peppers, and has done so from the start. He does
his own selling, and ships direct to his many customers in car load lots. The Latin
races of California, New Mexico. Arizona and Texas were the first to use chili pep-
pers, but his trade now includes the Mississippi Valley, and is traveling rapidly both
East and North. In 1919 he even invaded New York City with a car load of that year's
crop, and this shows how. under such splendid leadership as that of this captain of
industry, the pepper market has been expanded.

In 1910 Mr. Knapp became interested in some other business afifairs in Garden
Grove. The previous year he had helped to organize the Garden Grove State Bank,
when he became its first vice-president, and later its president, and this solid institu-
tion has now become the First National Bank. In 1916 he was elected president of
the Garden Grove State Bank, and he is still a stockholder.

Seventy acres of land belonging to Mr. Knapp are given up to \'alencia oranges,
and he also grows beans. He helped to organize the Garden Grove Bean Growers
Association in 1915. and has served as the president ever since. In 1914 he helped to
organize the Garden Grove City Water Company, a private enterprise, of which he
is both president and manager.

On December 19. 1911, Mr. Knapp was married to Miss Nina Frances Richard-
son, of Sibley, Iowa, where she was born and reared, the daughter of Robert and
Catherine (Bremmer) Richardson, both of whom are still living in that place, where
the father is a meat packer. She was educated at the Sibley high school and the State
Teachers College, at Cedar Falls, Iowa, and coming to California, taught in the Gar-
den Grove schools. They have one child, Dorothy Mae. and have lived at Garden
Grove since their marriage. They belong to the Baptist Church of Garden Grove, and
Mr. Knapp was on the committee which had charge of the erection of the fine edifice,
which seats 300 people, and was remodeled in 1914. He is now chairman of the
church board of trustees, and was also superintendent of the Sunday school for
several years, resigning in 1917. Mrs. Knapp is a teacher in the Sunday school, and
is an officer in the missionary society. Mr. Knapp is a Republican in national politics,
and both he and Mrs. Knapp were participants in all the various war activities. He
was made a Mason in the Anaheim Lodge. F. & A. M.. in 1907, and is still a member
there, being a past master.

FRED K. GRESSWELL.— The leader in his line of work, that of sign painting,
window lettering, and the making of glass and metal signs, Fred K. Gresswell of
Anaheim is noted for the excellency of his work and its artistic qualities. A native
of England. Mr. Gresswell was born at Grimsby on October 9. 1855. but for many
years he has been a loyal citizen of the United States, having taken out his final papers
on November 4. 1898. He received his education in private schools and the Methodist
College of his native land. In England, in those days, the training of the trades was
very thorough, and Mr. Gresswell served as an apprentice at the painter's trade for
seven years, and for one year as an "improver" which is slightly higher than an appren-
tice, and with advanced wages. In those days the colors for paints were ground with
a muller and stone and the oil was taken from the cake mill and boiled. This work
was done in the winter, preparatory for the summer season, and Mr. Gresswell did a
great deal of this primitive paint making and this thorough grounding in all the details
of his work has added greatly to his proficiency.

In 1879 Mr. Gresswell came to the United States, locating in Chicago, where he
followed his trade for some time. He went back to England, but returned to Chicago,
later coming west. He arrived in California in 1903, engaging in his line of work at Los
Angeles and Long Beach until 1907, when he came to Anaheim. Here he established
himself as a painting contractor, continuing in this until he took up his present work
of sign painting, window lettering and glass and metal sign making, and in this work
he has been most successful. He makes a specialty of gold lettering on glass and has
done all the work of this kind on the First National Bank Building, the Anaheim Na-
tional Bank Building and the Golden State Bank Building, and part of the work on
the First National Bank Building of Fullerton and the First National Building of
Yictorville. He also does all the lettering for the city of Anaheim. For a number of
years he has had the decorating contract for the Orange Show held in San Bernardino
each season. One of the most enthusiastic boosters Anaheim has ever had. even during
his vacation he carries his paint pot with him. and on rocks, fences and buildings paints


the number of miles from Anaheim, which has proved very convenient and helpful,
especially to strangers driving through this part of the country. In addition to his
own line of work, Mr. Gresswell has also been interested in a number of real estate
operations. He sold the land on which the Anaheim Sugar Factory is located for the
owner, W. F. Patt of Los Angeles. He owned twenty-four lots next to the site, on
which he established a Mexican colony, thus segregating them from the city proper,
and at one time there were 300 Mexicans living thefe. He has also dealt in other
.\naheim property and erected two houses.

During the war Mr. Gresswell was very active in the Liberty Loan drives, helping
Anaheim go over the top. He designed the Statue of Liberty used in the Third Liberty
Loan and painted the signs for the Fourth Loan which were placed in the public
square. Both the above were fine and artistic in their concept and attracted much
attention. For his work in the Victory Loan he received a medal from the United
States Government. He has always been prominent in the work of the Chamber of
Commerce, being a director and chairman of the advertising committee and of the
exhibits. He designed the exhibit now being used in the Board of Trade rooms.

In his early days in England, Mr. Gresswell was much interested in natural
history, being a member of the Naturalist Society of Grimsby, and the curator for
five years of the Marine Fisheries of England. In 1882 the latter was taken over
bv the English government. Fraternally, he is a member of the Anaheim Lodge, No.
134S, B. P. O. Elks.

While still living in England, Mr. Gresswell was married to Rebecca Reed, a
native of that country, who passed away in Los Angeles. She was the mother of four
children: Herbert, a bookkeeper in the Los Angeles postoffice is married and has two
children; Ada is Mrs. David Pryor of Huntington Park, and she is the mother of
four children; Clara married Gage Owen of Pasadena and has one child; and Ella, who
is Mrs. William Schmitt of Los Angeles, has two children. Mr. Gresswell was married
a second time to Mrs. Eliza Bowles, born in England, who passed away in Long
Beach. In Anaheim, in March, 1920, Mr. Gresswell was married a third time to Mrs.
Emma G. White, also a native of England, and they reside at 317 Clementine Street.
In national politics Mr. Gresswell is decidedly Republican.

BERNARD J. DRESSER.— It is peculiar to Orange County, and particularly to
Anaheim, that the men engaged in business there are men who have had years of
experience in their special lines, and have brought to this section the benefit of their
knowledge, as shown in the many fine business establishments in the county, equal
to those in any of the larger cities of the state, and with the most modern methods
used in carrying on their various lines. Among these may be mentioned that of Bern-
ard J. Dresser, proprietor of the W^hite Lily Bakery, at 307 West Center Street,

Mr. Dresser is a native of Missouri, born in Osage County, June 22, 1860. The
family moved to Portland, Ore., in 1874, when he was a lad of fourteen, and there he
finished his education. In 1884 he and his father came to ."Anaheim, where they re-
mained until 1893, and Bernard J. assisted his father in developing his twenty-acre
orange ranch, and also clerked in grocery stores in the city. In 1893 they returned to
Portland, and Mr. Dresser became a member of the grocery firm of F. Dresser and
Company, remaining in the firm for over twenty years, during which time he became
very active in affairs pertaining to the grocery business in Portland; for three years
he was president of the Retail Grocers .Association of that city, and in 1908 attended
the National Convention of Retail Grocers as a delegate, held in Boston. Mass. He
was also one of the founders of the Portland Grocers and Merchants Magazine, and
helped to put it on a sound financial basis; the periodical is still published and is now
one of the influential and popular publications of the northern city.

Anaheim and its beckoning opportunities had never faded from his mind, however,
and in 1915 Mr. Dresser came there to reside, and purchased the White Lily Bakery,
since which time he has built up an actually phenomenal business in a short space of
time, and made many improvements. When he took over the business one baker and
one helper were employed; fifteen people are now employed and a large wholesale and
retail trade supplied, three delivery trucks deliver bread to all the surrounding towns
in the valley, and new agencies are constantly being added. His retail trade is growing
rapidly, as the fame of White Lily bread has spread from household to household,
and it is a case of "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." \ full line of cakes
and fancy pastry is also made, and this bakery is the only one in the county with two
ovens, the combined capacity of which is 8,000 loaves daily, with a daily output at
present of 3.600 loaves. .\11 the new and modern machinery is used; after the dough is
put into the moulds, they are put on racks and wheeled into the steam room, after
which they are ready for the ovens. The bakery floors are cement, and the walls and


ceilings in white enamel paint, with the entire plant as clean and sanitary as a good
housekeeper could keep her kitchen.

The marriage of Mr. Dresser, in Portland, Ore., 1895, united him with Elizabeth
C. Heitkemper. a native of Iowa, and two children have blessed their union: Bernard
H., and Catherine. A true helpmate in every sense of the word, Mrs. Dresser has been
of great assistance in carrying on the business, and like most women of today, keeps
in touch with current events and with the business and civic, as well as the social
life of the community. The family attend the Catholic Church, and Mr. Dresser is a
member of the Anaheim Council No. 1154, Knights of Columbus. He is also a member
of the Anaheim Lodge of B. P. O. Elks No. 1345, and of the Woodmen of the World.
Prominent in business circles in the county, he stands ready at all times to aid in every
way the best interests of his community, and as a member of the Anaheim Board of
Trade, and the Merchants Association, he does his share in all movements for the fur-
ther advancement of Orange County.

FRANK E. PARTRIDGE.— Among the bright, far-sighted and promising young
men of his district, to whom Orange County naturally looks for much of its future
development and prosperity, must be noted Frank E. Partridge, the progressive rancher
who cultivates a productive orchard of oranges located on Fairhaven, between Yorba
and Prospect avenues, which he has brought to a high state of perfection. He has
owned his acreage only since 1906, and in the intervening years he has made all of
the improvements which mark the property as a choice estate.

Of an old Eastern family, Frank E. Partridge was born in Philadelphia, Pa.,
September 12, 1889, his parents being Joseph A. and Mary H. (Freeman) Partridge, both
natives of Brooklyn, N. Y. Joseph A. Partridge was well known in the mercantile
circles of New York City, having established the firm of Partridge and Wilcox, whole-
sale dealers in notions and dry goods, the business still being conducted under this
name although he passed away over twenty years ago.

The youngest of a family of five children, three of whom are living, Frank E.
Partridge was educated in the public schools, later attending the \'ermont Military
Academy at Saxton's River, Vt., for two years. In 1903 the Partridge family came to
California, spending a year at San Diego. Coming back in 1905, they went to Pasadena
to look over property with a view to buying, but returned to their Eastern home with-
out purchasing. In the spring of 1907 Frank E. Partridge came to Ocean Park and
then to Santa Ana, and in the fall of that year, with his mother he purchased a tract
of ten acres on Fairhaven Avenue, near Orange. To this ranch he has given intelligent
and careful attention, increasing the planting from 210 to 640 Valencia orange trees,
and the orchard is now in a thriving condition and is an excellent producer.

On October 11, 1919, Mr. Partridge was married to Mrs. Josie (Stearns) Jamar,
the daughter of William and Lillie (Richie) Stearns; her parents were ranchers at
Orange, but now reside in Arizona. Since his first residence here Mr. Partridge has
shown himself to be public spirited and progressive and he stands high in the regard
of the community for his willingness to cooperate in advancing the welfare of this
section in all lines. He is a member of thf McPherson Heights Citrus Association
and the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company, and in political matter is a staunch
adherent of Republicanism. While devoted to business, Mr. Partridge still finds time
to enjoy outdoor sports, of which he is fond, and which the climate of California
makes so attractive the year round.

WILLIAM H. BOON. — To be recognized as a self-made man is the honor
accorded to William H. Boon, the popular agent for the Harley-Davidson motorcycles
at Anaheim. His career presents a striking example of what industry and resourceful-
ness, coupled with thrift and an indomitable will to succeed, can accomplish even in
the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulties.

William H. Boon was born in Parsons, Kans., August 22, 1888. In 1904 his
parents migrated to California, locating at Randsburg, Kern County, where William
finished his school days and afterwards for a short time was employed in a book
store. His next employment was with the Yellow Aster Mining Company where he
remained seven years during which time he rendered faithful and efficient service in
various capacities until he worked his way up to the important position of fireman in
the large mill.

After leaving the Yellow Aster Mining Company Mr. Boon was at Colton, Cal.,
for a short time where he was connected with the Pacific Fruit Express Ice Company:
afterwards, for three months, he was employed by the Fontana Company at Fontana,
Cal. During this time he formed the acquaintance of T. W. Smith, who had the con-
tract for sinking wells for the Fontana Company in Lytle Creek, and entered his employ
for two years. In 1910 Mr. Boon came to Anaheim, in the interests of J. W. Smith


who had contracted to sink wells for the Anaheim Union Water Company at Anaheim.
While engaged in this work in Orange County, he was so greatly impressed with
Anaheim as a business center that he determined to make it his home and as soon as
practicable he entered into partnership with John Kemper and operated a bicycle shop
under the name of Boon and Kemper at 205 South Los Angeles Street. Soon after-
wards Mr. Kemper sold his interest to Charles Griffith, who later sold out to Fred
Minyard. He remained but a short time when Mr. Boon bought his interest and
became the sole owner of the business.

By his judicious management, Mr. Boon has greatly increased the business and
now occupies new and modern quarters at 147 South Los Angeles Street. He has
the agency for northern Orange County for the well known Harley-Davidson motor-
cycles, his sales averaging twenty-five new machines annually. He also carries in stock
a line of American bicycles, does repair work, has a complete welding outfit with
which he does the welding for the automobile companies of Anaheim.

The marriage of Mr. Boon united him with Launa Whittaker, a native of Colo-
rado, and of this happy union three children were born: lona Ray and lola May,
twins; and Robert Harry. Mr. Boon is a member of the Anaheim Board of Trade and
the Merchants Association. Ever since he was twenty years of age he has made his
way in the world and although coming to California originally for his health's sake,
he is now strong and vigorous and one of Anaheim's successful business men.

ERNEST HENRY RURUP.— A successful rancher who has so well prospered
in California tliat he is naturally very devoted to the Golden State, is Ernest Henry
Rurup, of North Flower Street, Santa Ana, the fancier of and authority on Percheron
horses. He was born in Onhausen, Prussia, Germany, on June 28. 1849, and came to
America in January, 1866. For four years he worked in Cottage Grove, Dane County,
Wis., and then leased a farm in the same vicinity and engaged in general farming for
seventeen years. In 1889 he removed to Nebraska, where he farmed from 300 to 400
acres near Aurora, in Hamilton County. He soon purchased half a section of land
in the same locality, and this he used for general farming until 1903. While there he
made a specialty of raising short-horn cattle and Percheron horses.

In that year, having made up his mind to remove to California, he came direct
to Santa Ana and bought twenty acres on North Flower Street. This is now devoted
to choice walnuts, and is under the service of the Santa .\na Valley Irrigation Com-
pany. The land has always been rich, and since Mr. Rurup has brought it to a very
high state of cultivation, it makes one of the choicest ranches in all Orange County.

On September 22, 1871, Mr. Rurup married Miss Johanna Grote, a native of the
Duchy of Braunschweig, or Brunswick, Germany, who came to America with her
parents in 1871, and settled in Wisconsin. Nine children blessed their happj' union.
Charles L. is in the implement business in Judica, Nebr. ; William is on a farm in
Hamilton County, in the same state; Clara married Louis Holland and lives at
Orange; Henry is living in Arizona; Minnie resides at El Centro; Walter works in the
oil field at Newport Beach; Emma. is now Mrs. Miles Hill and lives at home; Flieda
is Mrs. C. Irwin of Brea; and Ernest George lives at Phoenix, Ariz.

Mr. Rurup takes a live interest in civic aflfairs, losing no opportunity to set forth
the advantages of always choosing the man best fitted for office, rather than standing
by party candidates. California and Orange County, therefore, have always profited
through such high-principled citizens as Mr. and Mrs. Rurup. and no greater wealth
has come to the great commonwealth than in such worthy families as theirs.

WAYLAND WOOD. — An aggressive, whole-hearted and thoroughly public-
spirited citizen, who made a reputation in Montana as a pioneer before he came to
California and led the way in successful subdivision of some of the choicest Santa .\na
property, is Wayland Wood, the scientific and progressive walnut grower of 1524
North Broadway. He was born in Atchison County, Mo., on January 16. 1869, the
son of William Henry and Isabel E. Wood. The elder Wood was a pioneer Baptist
minister, having a wide circuit in western Missouri; but this did not prevent him
from giving our subject a high school education in Maryville, Nodaway County, Mo.

For twelve or thirteen years Wayland Wood was busy as a contractor and builder
in Maryville, but in 1900 he went to Custer County, Mont., whither came also Miss
Delia J. Baker, who was born near Maryville on March 25, 1870, and went to the same
school, at the same time, in that town. And at Terry, Mont., on March 25. 1900,
they were married. She had taught school in the vicinity of Maryville for a number
of years, and became an agreeable companion and a most helpful mate. As a happily
married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Wood lived together in Montana until November. 1914,
when they came west to California. They have four children — Carrie E. and Charles
H., students in the Santa .\na high school, and Mary Margaret and Isabel O. Wood,


pupils in the grade schools. Mrs. Wood died in 1915 at Santa Ana. The family attend
the First Baptist Church at Santa Ana.

Mr. Wood was the pioneer grain grower of the country between Powder River
and Fallon Creek, in Montana, and now he has fifteen acres of walnuts in two
groves near Santa Ana, under the service of the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Com-
pany. When he purchased the Barton Tract on North Broadway in 1915, he had the
foresight to subdivide and develop the tract, and he rapidly sold city lots there and
even built several houses, adding greatly to the value and the attractiveness of North
Broadway property.

A Democrat in matters of national political import, although nonpartisan in
his attitude toward local candidates and measures, Mr. Wood also belongs to the
Masons and Knights of Pythias, and among the most popular of live-wire fraternity
men in their circles.

EDGERTON B. SPRAGUE.— An influential citizen of Santa Ana who has
worked his way up by intelligent, hard and honest effort and so has become prominent
in financial circles, is Edgerton B. Sprague, the popular cashier of the Orange County
Trust and Savings Bank of Santa Ana. He was born near the Connecticut River, at
Windsor, in Windsor County, \ t., on November 25, 1880, one of the ninth generation
of Spragues descended from Edward Sprague whose two sons, Ralph and William,
came from England to Boston in 1630 and helped to establish here those American
branches which later included such celebrities as Daniel Chamberlain Sprague, the mis-
sionary to the Sandwich Islands; Alfred WJiite Sprague, the scientist and author;
Charles Sprague, the poet; John Titcomb Sprague and John Wilson Sprague, the sol-
diers; Peleg Sprague, the jurist; William Sprague, Sr., and William Sprague, Jr.,
governors of Rhode Island; and William Buel Sprague, the clergyman widely known
in Europe as well as in the United States, who collected over 100,000 autographs of
note and published many interesting volumes of travel and essays. Great-great grand-
father Jonathan Sprague drifted to Hanover from Massachusetts, and erected there the

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 113 of 191)