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 121 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 121 of 191)
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Santa Ana arriving on July 24. well satisfied that this is the garden spot of the country.

CHARLES C. READ. — An esteemed, retired citizen of Santa Ana who saw much
of the great Northwest, through business trips he made there, before he came to Cali-
fornia, is C. C. Read of South Birch Street, one of the first settlers in that part of
the city. He was born in Compton, Kane County. 111., on November 22, 1844, the
son of Ephalet Read, who had married Malinda Myers and had migrated with her
from their native home in New Brunswick to Illinois in 1838. Our subject was edu-
cated in Kane County, at the common district schools, and helped his father, who
was a grain and stock farmer there, having developed his farm from the raw prairie.

On December 17, 1874, C. C. Read was married at Fulton, in Whiteside County,
111., to Miss Margaret Ellen Wilson, a native of Whiteside County, and the daughter
of Thomas and Margaret (Laughlin) Wilson, well-situated farmers She attended the
schools of her home district, and so was prepared for the responsibilities of life.
After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Read purchased a farm of 265 acres, and there,
in Kane County, they lived for fourteen years, while they carried on general farm-
ing and stock raising.

When they had advantageously rented this farm. Mr. and Mrs. Read moved to
Sycamore. 111., where they lived for twelve years, and thefe he bought and sold stock.
He made trips to Iowa and Minnesota, in order to buy stock, which he again sold;
and after a while he returned to Kane County and for another seven years lived on


the home farm again. He disposed of it finally, when he had decided to move to the
Pacific Coast, in 1908. He arrived in Santa Ana in the spring, and a year later built
his home at 402 South Birch Street. At the time when Mr. Read built his home
there the tract between Birch and Ross streets was a barley held, and his was the
first home that far south on the west side of the street.

In 1912 his son, Walter Wilson Ixead. purchased from Dr. Samuel Strock a
walnut and orange grove of thirteen acres on the Santa Ana Canyon Boulevard
north of Olive, which he still owns. Walter W. Read was born in Kane County,
111., in 1881, and was a student at Wheaton College, at Wheaton. 111. He married
Miss Mabel E. Chaffee, who was liorn in Kane County, and also educated there. Three
children blessed their union: Charles C. a high school student of Santa Ana: and
Morris Wilson and Mary Emily, pupils of the grammar school.

C. C. Read adopted two children in 1879: William C. Katten, nine years of
age, and Emily Manning, a year younger. She lives at present in Chicago. William
C. Read was born in 1870. and was educated in the common schools of Kane County,
III. He spent his boyhood and youth on his adopted father's farm, and was married
on September 22. 1894, to Miss Maude E. Anderson, a native of De Kalb, 111., where
she was educated in the local schools. He took up painting and worked at that
trade until he came to California in 1909. Three children have been born to them.
Genevieve C. is now Mrs. A. McConnel! of Santa Ana: Rheta E. is a student of the
Santa Ana Business College, and Claude C. is a pupil in the grammar school. Wil-
liam C. Read is a member of the Modern Woodmen, and believes in the fitness of man
for office regardless of party.

JOHN D. LAVIN. — A highly-esteemed citizen of Orange County, now retired,
who has merely continued to operate in California according to the same high stand-
ards and approved methods as characterized him in former years, having always been
a man of affairs wherever he has lived, is John D. Lavin, who was born in Ireland,
came to America with his parents while a babe in arms, lived at Windsor, Ont., until
he was thirteen years of age, and ever since then has resided in the United States.
He lived for a while in Michigan, and finished his education at Bryant & Stratton's
Business College in Chicago.

As a young man he started railroading, in the service of the Chicago & Grand
Trunk Railway, and after a while became agent for that company at Flint, Mich. In
March. 1880. he removed to South Dakota, and at Columbia, then 120 miles from a
railroad, established the first mercantile business in Brown County, which he continued
for fifteen years. He was mayor of Columbia, and he also served as one of the com-
missioners of Brown County, part of the time acting as chairman of the board. He
and his two sisters owned 1.600 acres of fine farm land in South Dakota, which they
leased out to tenants on shares.

For twenty years Mr. Lavin was grand recorder for the state of South Dakota
of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, with headquarters at Aberdeen; he was
appointed by Governor Herried as a member of the state lioard of charities and cor-
rection, having iii charge all the state charitable and penal institutions. He resigned
his position with the Workmen in 1909 to come to California on account of his sisters'
health. Since locating in Anaheim, he has been active in civic aft'airs. as he was in
South Dakota, although retired from business, merely overseeing the general man-
agement of his fine ten-acre ranch in South Los .\ngeles Street, which he set out to
\'alencia oranges in July. 1919. For a number of years he was a director in the
German-American, now the Golden State National. Bank of Anaheim, and he is
now a member of the Anaheim Pu1)lic Library Board, and was formerly chairman of
the same. He is a member of the Catholic Church, belongs to the Knights of Colum-
bus, and also to Anaheim Lodge No. 1345, B. P. O. Elks.

LEWIS G. BUTLER.— A very interesting "old-timer" who. as a pioneer farmer,
nurseryman and grower of citrus fruit, has made a definite contribution to the growth
and development of Southern California, is Lewis G. Butler, of 1211 Van Ness Avenue,
Santa Ana, who eniovs. with his good wife, the high esteem of many friends. He was
born at Prairie du Chien. Wis., on February 28. 1851. the son of George H. and Eliza-
beth (Schoolcraft) Butler, natives of New York State who came west to Wisconsin.
His father followed agricultural pursuits, and when our subject was a babe, his parents
moved to Iowa, where they settled on a farm, and there the father died when Lewis was
only three years old.

After the father's death, Mrs. Butler removed, first, to Belvidere, and then to
Svcamore, 111., takincr the four children, among whom Lewis G. was the third in
the order of birth, ^^'hen ten years old, he went to live with an uncle. Peter Lawyer,
a farmer at Sycamore, and with him he stayed, working out on farms until he was



eighteen. Then he removed to Iowa and there worked for two years for another
uncle, also named Lawyer. Another change brought him to Lincoln, Nebr., where ho
labored at farm work for a couple of years.

In the fall of 1874, he made still another change, and one calculated to bring him
still greater prosperity and happiness. He came out to California and settled at
Orange. The year previous he had been married in Nebraska to Miss Martha H.
Selby, a native of Ohio and a daughter of George Selby, and Mrs. Butler came along
to the Golden State to assist him to win his fortune and to make a comfortable homi..
He worked for a while for Lockwood on East Chapman Street, cultivated his
orange orchard and put Out nursery stock for him. He then entered the employ of
Dr. Beach, who also had an orange orchard and raised nursery stock, besides prac-
ticing medicine. Thus Mr. Butler rapidly extended a valuable experience, and he cam.-
to enjoy the reputation of l>eing the boss budder in the county.

He budded, for example, the first Washington Navels in the district of Orange,
getting his Inids from Tom Covert of Riverside, who had one of the old original treci
sent out from Washington. And about this time he started in the nursery business i.i
Orange, lirst as a partner of Dr. Beach; he planted fifteen acres to oranges and live
acres to apricots, and the results attracted wide attention. He also owned twenty
acres on Hast Walnut Street in Orange.

.'\lways, too, a fancier of good horses, a chance acquaintance with the late
John Bushard in the Wintersburg district, resulted in his turning his attention to
that field, so that he l^ecame a partner of Mr. Bushard and bought a ranch of 400
and eighty acres south and west of where Wintersburg is now located. At the end of
three years this partnership was dissolved, and then Mr. Butler went up into the
San Jacinto Valley, improved a ranch and fruit land, and came to own 160 acres there.
and there he prospered for the ensuing thirty years. In March. 1918, he let go his
holdings there, and the following November he removed to Santa .'\na.

Mr. and Mrs. Butler have had one child-, Chester G., who died in September.
1917, at the age of thirty-five, leaving a large circle of steadfast friends. Mrs. Butler
belongs to the Christian Church, and both husband and wife find pleasure in sup-
porting movements calculated to make California, and especially Orange County, a
better place in which to. live.

NIELS JOHNSON. — .\n honest, kind-hearted and highly esteemed citizen of Pla-
centia, who, while seeking to live a retired life, free from the cares of labor or invest-
ment, finds it hard to kee)) his hands off the plow entirely, and who therefore may
often be seen superintending the work of the harvest, is Niels Johnson of East Chap-
man .Avenue, a native of Southern Denmark, where he was born near Kolding, Novem-
ber 5. 1847. His father was a grain farmer, and as the eldest of a fan-iily of seven
children, Niels had to go to work early in life. He attended the ordinary grammar
schools, and when he grew up, served in the Danish army for the required term, until
he had obtained his honorable discharge. After that Mr. Johnson went across the
border into Slesvig to work at harvesting, as he rece.ved lietler wages there than at Irs
old home in Soutlurn Denmark. He remained there and in due tine, met a young lady,
the ac(|naiiitam r npcning into a more lasting tie and she became his wife. She was
Miss \<. I' born in Apenrade, Slesvig. a woman of attractive personality,
and thtir union \\;i^ indeed a happy one.

After thru- man-iage Mr. and Mrs, |ol,„vun m-a^ed in farming, but Mr. lohnson's
longin.g lor th.- .X.-.v World was so stro,,..; tiu-v ,!>■,-, ,l(.al t.. nii-ral.- to t!i.- laud of
the Stars ,ui.l StniH-., When he had -a - d -uliir,:a-i hm-l-. t,. d-. Ir.iy llir of
the tri)). lie sailed \-. itli bis family from llanil.ui - , with New York as their destination.
Ships tra\eK(l more ,sl,,\\l\- in tliosi. da.\ -. and u i,i.-k i ii. en days to cross the Atlantic,
and fiftei-n day- more laf.M-f tlu'v re iclud San rianrisco. .A brother-in-law had
already eon-e lo California and located in \\ atsom die. and here the travelers came.
For three and a iu'lf years Mr. Johnson worked at VVatsonville in the lumber yards;
then Peter Hansen, whose wife was a cousin of Mrs. Johnson, and who resided
at Fullerton. Mr. John.fon learned about Orange County, and the story of its wonderfrl
possibilities led hin-i to bring his family there. On their arrival, Mr. Johnson purchased
four acres near Placentia. aiul in the follow:ng years, as he worked for the .Anahe'm
Union Water Company, he purchased more land and brought the same to a h-gh state
of cultivation. About the year 1890. he bought twenty acres from the Stearns Land
Company in the Placentia district and later bought eight acres on East Chapman
Street, which is now devoted to oranges. The twenty-acre ranch has been leased and
successfully exploited for oil, and he now^ derives a good income from it; he has also
leased his horiie place for oil recently. The balance of his land has been .g'ven to h's
children. In 1920 Mr. Johnson built a modern bun.galow on his East Chapman Street
property, and here he res-dcs w-iUi his eldest d'.t'.ght-r. .\it.t "1"-: pres'des o-'cr his


home in a charming manner and shows her devotion by looking after his comfort and
entertaining his many friends. The other living children are: George, a rancher at
Placentia; Dora, the wife of Frank Trendle of Orangethorpe Avenue; and Raymond,
a rancher at Placentia, who served in an artillery regiment overseas during the World
War. Mr. Johnson is a stockholder in the Anaheim Union Water Company, and he is
a charter member of the Placentia Orange Growers Association.

.\ sorrow never to lie effaced came into the life of this happy home circle in the
death on Novcmliei- 14, 1''18, of Mrs. Johnson, who passed away after a short illness
due to a fall, in her sixt.\-lifth year. She was operated on at the Fullerton Hospital,
and was belie\ ed to lie progressing toward complete recovery, when she passed away
very suddenly. She meant much not merely to her near of kin, but to the communitj'
as a whole, and it is not surprising that Mr. Johnson attributes much of his success in
life to the inspiration of her noble character and her hdelity as a loving and ever
devoted helpmate.

ERNEST A. BEARD.— When we are temporarily deprived of the use of the tele-
phone we begin to realize what an important part that invention plays in our modern
business and social life. The telephone system of Anaheim and Fullerton is under the
competent management of Ernest A. Beard, a native of Ohio, who was born in Richland
County in that state Novemlier 16. 1877. He is the son of Charles W. and Charity
(Baker) Beard. While living in the East the father was an insurance agent and was
also engaged in the implement business. The family came to Santa Ana, Cal., in 1881,
where the father engaged in business and for a number of years was one of the city
officials of Santa Ana, His demise occurred in 1910.

Ernest A., the youngest child in a family of four children, was four years of age
when he accompanied his parents to California. He received a competent education
in the schools of Santa Ana, and later attended the Los Angeles Business School, from
which he graduated, .\fter taking up the responsibilities of life he was engaged as a
telegraph operator, and for four years was in charge of the Santa Ana postal office.
He afterwards went north and learned the harness trade, which he followed for six
years. After this he was on an eastern farm for two years, and upon returning to Cali-
fornia followed the occupation of farming. Following this he engaged in selling trac-
tors and in the automobile business for the next ten years, and in 1918 became inter-
ested with the Anaheim telephone company, which is also in charge of the Fullerton
system, with headquarters at Anaheim. Since assuming the management of the tele-
phone company Mr. Beard has demonstrated his ability to fill that important position.
He still maintains his ^"alencia orange grove, which is located on East Santa Ana
Street about one-half mile east of town. He is a member of Anaheim Lodge, No. 1345,
B. P. O. Elks.

His marriage occurred March 8, 1906, uniting him with Miss Anna Morthland, and
they are the parents of a daughter named Loma. Mr. Beard, who is musically inclined,
finds diversion from the arduous cares of business life in the art of music and is man-
ager of the Anaheim band. He is also fond of the sports of hunting and fishing, but
dearer than all else to his heart is his interest in the successful growth and development
of the county in which his lot in life is cast. Although a Republican in principles, he
does not allow party prejudice to influence his vote, ever seeking to lend his influence
for the man best fitted for the office, regardless of party affiliations.

HENRY J. HARKLEROAD. — .\n important overseer on the Irvine ranch, who
has also become a successful tenant and a prosperous landowner, is Henry J. Harkle-
road, foreman of the Harkleroad Camp, or that portion of the San Joaquin ranch con-
taining some 815 acres planted to walnut, lemon, orange and avocado trees, and irri-
gated by means of wells and pumping plants. He is also an individual tenant on the
same San Joaquin ranch, leasing 200 acres of bean and barley land individually and in
partnerships operating another lease of 600 acres devoted to the same products.

A native son, as one might suspect from his aggressive progressiveness, Mr. Hark-
leroad was born at Hollister on February 26, 1877, the son of Henry J. Harkleroad, a
native of Tennessee, who came to California and here married Mi-ss Caroline Welborn,
of Maryland. He was a rancher at Hollister, where he owned 160 acres of land. He
died in 1884, when our subject was only seven years old; and Mrs, Harkleroad passed
away in 1917. They had four children: Lucy resides at San Jose; Henry T. is the
subject of this review; Samuel W. is the manager of the Andrew Mattei Commercial
Company of Fresno; and George A. is principal of the high school at Fall Brook, San
Diego County.

Henry attended the public schools at Hollister, but being the oldest son, he had
a great deal of responsibility thrust upon him through the early death of his father.
He managed, however, to get in a good course at the Hollister Business College, and


when a young man he went to San Francisco and enlarged his experience as a foreman
for three years in the Union Iron Works. There he learned to handle men — now
unquestionably his forte. He was foreman in the chipping department of the cast steel
foundry, many of their castings being used in the construction of vessels, among them
the battleships Wisconsin and Ohio and the cruiser California, as well as some of the
first submarines turned out for the government. Next he was in the real estate and
insurance business at Hollister and San Jose, through which activity and experience he
became a still better judge of human nature. After that he was for several years in
charge of his mother's ranch, helping her to successfully handle her estate.

On December 1, 1908, Mr. Harkleroad came to Orange County and for the lirst
two years was employed on the home ranch for the Irvine Company as foreman and
since 1910 he has been in charge of the Harkleroad Camp as stated above. He also
owns 320 acres in Arizona, eighty acres 'in Los Angeles County, five acres in Orange
County and ten acres in Madera County.

On June 30, 1906, Mr. Harkleroad was married at Hollister to Miss Mae Fowler
of Mulberry, San Benito County, a native of Portland, Ore. He is a Republican in
national politics and fraternally is a Knights Templar Mason and a Shriner, as well
as a member of the Santa Ana Lodge of Elks. Mr. Harkleroad has become a very
enthusiastic booster for Orange County and the Southland from observation and experi-
ence, and his two boys, Henry J., Jr., and William F. Harkleroad, bid fair to display
the same virtues.

WM. OSCAR WILSON. — A native son who has become one of the most success-
ful bean ranchers is Wm. Oscar Wilson, who was born in the city of Ventura on May
19, 1892, the second son of William Wilson, the pioneer lima bean grower on the
Irvine ranch. Oscar, as all of his friends call him, was only five years old when, on an
October day, he came to Irvine, where he grew up on his father's ranch, and had as
good time as any boy in the county. He attended the local public schools at Irvine and
Tustin, and applied himself to his studies sufficiently to make it worth the while, later,
to take a course in the excellent Orange County Business College at Santa Ana, where
he was graduated in 1909.

His father had allowed him a workman's wages since his seventeenth year, and
with his studies ended, he went in for some of this world's goods. He had felt very
deeply the loss in his fifteenth year of his mother (who was Miss Emma Shepard, of
Missouri, before her marriage), but fortunately he was already enthused with certain
ideals, and resolved to make his way forward and upward, and to enjoy success. His
decision to remain at home with his father until he himself set up a domestic establish-
ment was favorable to the quiet formation of a sturdy character such as those who
know him highly esteem. When he was nineteen, at Santa Ana, June 10, 1911, he was
joined in wedlock to Miss Lenore Brenot, a stepdaughter of Abe W. Johnson of Irvine.
She is a native daughter, born at Irvine.

Mr. Wilson spent some time at Capistrano on his father's lease, and then he
worked for three years in Santa .\na. He began farming operations for himself three
years ago, and now he has under lease from the Irvine ranch, and planted, about 250
acres. One hundred forty of these are given to lima beans; sixty to blackeye beans;
and fifty acres to barley hay. Twelve head of mules furnish for him the motor power
for which the mule is famous.

Two children have blessed the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Wilson, adding
happiness to their happy home, a daughter and a son, Elizabeth Adell and William
Wesley. Fraternally Mr. Wilson is a member of Santa Ana Lodge No. 236, I. O. O. F.
and of the Encampment, and with his wife is a member of the Rebekahs.

HENRY F. GIBBS. — An enterprising, thoroughly capable ranchman of Hunting-
ton Beach, is Henry F. Gibbs, who resides at his ranch two and a half miles northeast
of the town, where he devotes thirty acres to the cultivation of sugar beets and berries.
He was born on January 9. 1880. in Nodaway County, Mo., the son of Henry Gibbs,
now the proprietor of the grocery business at the corner of Walnut and Main streets,
which was established by the son. Henry Gibbs was born on November 22, 1850, at
Tunbridge in Kent, some thirty miles from London, and his father was James Gibbs,
a native of England and a farmer who came to America and settled in Wisconsin.
He came out here in 1857, two years before the rest of his family, and in Wisconsin was
joined by his wife and a daughter and five sons. Henry Gibbs' mother was employed
by Queen \'ictoria as a housemaid, and in the performance of her duties about the castle,
often conversed with the Queen. Mrs. Henry Gibbs was Lucy Latter, a native also
of England. When James Gibbs came to VVisconsin, he farmed at Waukesha, and
owing to the primitive conditions of that region, Henry's schooling was very limited.
Grandfather Gibbs died when Henry was nineteen years old, and three of the ten



children of the family having died when they were in England, Henry F. was the
next to the youngest. Henry Gibbs worked out on farms at twelve cents a day in
harvest time, carrying water to the cradlers and binders — a jug of water in one hand,
and a jug of whiskey in the other; harvesting was then done by cradling, and binding
was performed by hand.

In Wisconsin Henry Gibbs met and married Jeanette or Nettie Cross, a native
of Macomb County, Mich., where she was born on March 24, 1855. She was reared in
that state until her twelfth year, and then she came with her parents to southeast
Wisconsin. Her father, Leonard Cross, a New Yorker, was kicked by a horse and he
died from the injury, passing away a day after Nettie was fifteen years old. Her mother
was Elizabeth Woodard, a daughter of Vermont. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Gibbs were
married in 1873, and a year after they removed to Nodaway County, Mo., where they
farmed for twelve years.

In 1886, they came to California, and settled in Los Angeles, and there engaged
in the sale of staple and fancy groceries. In 1896 Mr. Gibbs bought a ranch of twenty
acres at Smeltzer, Cal., and in 1902, he went to Santa Ana, where for two and a half
years he busied himself with real estate deals and the management of a restaurant.
As a business man at present in Huntington Beach, he is one of the oldest merchants
in the city, and he is still ably assisted in his business by his wife.

Henry F. Gibbs was six and a half years old when he came to California vyith his
parents, and his early education was obtained in the grammar schools of Los Angeles,
and a year in the Los Angeles high school, after which he took a commercial course at
the Santa Ana Business College under Prof. R. L. Bisby. In 1901 he married Miss
Viola M. Stewart, the only daughter of O. C. Stewart, a member of a family of early
settlers in what is now Orange County, and a sister of D. O. Stewart of Huntington
Beach. They have two children — Stewart and Beatrice Nettie.

Few farmers have succeeded better than Henry F. Gibbs in demonstrating the
qualities of the soil and environment of Huntington Beach for agriculture of a scientific
and aggressive sort; and besides the success thus attained, he and his family enjoy 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 121 of 191)