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 144 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 144 of 191)
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next year, he returned to California and Santa Ana, rich in added experience.

On March 11, 1897, Mr. Pierce married Miss Maude B. Lacy, the daughter of
Dr. John McClelland and Eliza (Bean) Lacy, pioneers of Santa Ana. where Dr. Lacy
was a prominent and well-known physician and surgeon. One child, Newton Lacy


Pierce, now a sophomore in the Santa Ana high school, blessed the union of Mr. and
Mrs. Pierce.

As far back as 1874 in Michigan, Mr. Pierce was a lumber inspector, a partner in
the firm of Pierce Bros., who established an office in Ludington in 1876, which the3-
kept open until 1895. In time, he became connected with the sinking of early salt
wells in Western Michigan. When the California grapevine disease threatened the
industry on the Pacific Coast, David Hewes sent to \\ashington for aid, and the au-
thorities at the Federal capital sent to Michigan for a competent man; and as the result
of special recommendation, Mr. Pierce was appointed by the U. S. Agricultural Depart-
ment to find a way to fight the disease.

In 1889, he was placed in charge of vegetable pathology for the United States
Department of Agriculture, and three years later established the wild plant improve-
ment gardens. He became a life member of the American Association for the Advance-
ment of Science, a member of the International Association of Botanists, the American
Association of Bacteriologists, and a life member of the Michigan and Illinois Hor-
ticultural societies. He was also a member of the California Entomological Club and
of the California Viticultural Club. In religion he was a consistent member of the
First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana.

Mr. Pierce, w^ho was a true and reverent scientist, established an e.xchange bureau
with various misssionaries throughout the world, thereby- obtaining wild plants from
all over the globe, and this important work is now being carried on by a special branch
of the United States Agricultural Department. When he passed away, on October
13, 1916, to the sorrow of many besides his personal friends, he had given his name as
author to several interesting books and numerous papers on plant disease, including:
"California Vine Disease," edited in 1892, and "Peach Leaf Curl," a work produced
eight years afterward.

FREDERICK E. BANGS.— A successful California rancher who may look back
with satisfaction to a long and enviable record as a distinguished educator in the East,
is Frederick E. Bangs, of 701 Orange .\ venue, Santa Ana. He was born in the town of
Groton, Tompkins County, N. Y., on July 27, 1848, the son of Samuel and Eliza (Berry)
Bangs, farmer folk in a dairy country. They moved to Ca5'Uga County when Frederick
E. was a year and a half old, and purchased a farm there of 160 acres. The lad was
therefore brought up on a farm, and until he was fourteen, sent to the district school.
Then he continued his studies at Cortland Academy, Homer, N. Y.. and later attended
Lawrence University at .\ppleton. Wis., from which he was duly graduated with honors.

He taught school for three winters and a summer near Oshkosh. at the same time
keeping up his college work, and afterward attended Yale University, from which he
was graduated with the Class of 76, in the Centennial year of the Republic. He had
received his degree of E.S. at Lawrence, and when he obtained his B.D. degree from
Yale, he was given, automatically, the M..\. degree of Lawrence University. After that,
he went into the mission field at Farniington, Iowa, for a year.

Then he was appointed principal of the five grammar schools in Wooster district,
at New Haven, Conn., and there he remained from 1877 until 1894. Prior to beginning
his teaching — that is, at New Haven on May 18, 1876 — Mr. Bangs was married to Miss
FMith Seaver Day. the daughter of Horace and Sarah (Seaver) Day, her father, a
scholarly man, being secretary of the Board of Education of New Haven, serving forty
years. She proved an invaluable helpmate, but passed away on February 28, 1884. A
second time, four years later, on May 3, Mr. Bangs married, this time choosing Miss
Augusta Crane, a native of East Orange. N. J. The ceremony took place at Little Falls
in that state. She was the daughter of Charles and Louisa (Munn) Crane, and her
father was a dealer in general merchandise at Orange. Both the Munn and Crane
families trace their ancestry back to colonial times. She was first sent to the
Orange grammar schools, and later to the New Jersey State Normal at Trenton, where
she was graduated in the advanced courses. She taught one year at A'ineland. then she
was an instructor in the schools at East Orange from 1876 tn IST'i under C. F. Carroll.
Then she was called to New Haven by S. T. Dutton and tanulit fnr two years in the
Eaton school under him, and in 1880 she served as first assistant ti-aclier to Mr. Bangs
at New Haven, and continued to teach there until she was married.

After having had charge of the Wooster schools for seventeen years. Mr. Bangs
retired from teaching in 1894, and returned to the old homestead at Groton. where he
engaged in general farming. In 1901 he disposed of his holding and came west to
California and Santa Ana. Here he purchased a ranch of eleven and a quarter acres
on Orange .\venue. which was at one time the southwest part of the old Stafford
estate, and later he sold four and a half acres lying east of the Pacific Electric Railway.
Now he has about six acres, interset with oranges and walnuts, and thriving well under
the service of the Santa .Ana Valley Irrigation Company.

6 , ^. uUa^yv


In national politics a Republican, Mr. Bangs endeavors to perform liis civic duties
in local affairs without restricting partisanship and in the broad spirit most likely to
make for the best standards in citizenship. Naturally, he is an advocate of popular
education, and leaves no stone unturned to advance and strengthen one of the most
aggressive and most beneficent of American institutions.

Two children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Bangs: Marguerite Louise
is now Mrs. Charles H. Stearns of Santa Ana and the mother of two sons — Oliver
Charles, born January 12, 1916, and Frederick Edward, born May 5, 1918. She gradu-
ated from Pomona College with the Bachelor of Arts degree, and also received the
degree of Master of Arts from the University of Southern California. She was a high
school teacher at Bishop, Cal., for a year, and for another year at Visalia. Edward
Crane Bangs is also a graduate of Pomona College with the degree of B.A., and is an
alumnus of the University of California, having majored at Berkeley in chemistry. He
was teaching in the high school at Areata, when he enlisted in the United States Army
in February, 1918, as a member of the Three Hundred Nineteenth Engineers Corps, and
was sent to Camp Fremont. In April, he was sent to the officers' training school at
Camp Lee. Va., and in the following month of May was commissioned a second lieu-
tenant. He proved one of the ablest of the class, and was needed in the chemical de-
partment of the army. He was then sent to the gas defense school, from which he w-as
graduated in July, 1918. After that, he was despatched to Camp Grant, to become
instructor in gas to the entire camp; and when it transpired that this camp was not
ready for his work, he was sent on to Sparta, Wis., as. the instructor to the artillery
stationed there. He later returned to Camp Grant and took charge of the instruction
in defense work, and rose to the rank of chief gas officer. On February 17, 1919, he
was honorably discharged at Camp Grant, and returned to his home state, where he
is now engaged as a high school teacher.

JO LOWELL. — An industrious, successful man of comfortable affluence is Jo
Lowell, the rancher of 1108 West Fifth Street, Santa Ana, whose modest disposition,
despite his useful, influential life, draws to him a circle of devoted friends. He was
born at Sacramento on Maj' 10. 1872, the son of William Henry and Mary Lowell. The
father was an employe of the Wells Fargo Express Company, before the advent here
of the railroad, and had charge of one of the wagon routes. The mother died when
Jo was ten years old. and at that tender age he set out to seek his own fortune.

He went into Kern Count3', on the south fork of the Kern River, and worked on
T. S. Smith's stock ranch of one thousand acres; and for twenty years he was in the
employ of the same man. In the fall of 1903 he came to Santa Ana; and on November
18 he was married to Miss Mabel T. Townsend, a native daughter born in San Ber-
nardino, whose parents were B. F. and Anna Townsend. They came to Garden Grove
when she was two years old, and became pioneers of Orange County, so that Mabel
\v3.s sent to the Garden Grove district school. Later, she continued her studies at a
preparatory school at Orange and in time was graduated from Stanford University.
Their wedding took place at Santa Ana. and was one of the quiet, pleasant events of
the year. For a while thereafter, while they made Santa Ana their home, Mr. Lowell
worked on ranches in the vicinity.

In 1906 he went to San Diego, Texas, and ranched sixteen miles to the southwest
of that town until 1909 on 2.J00 acres. On his return to California, he farmed 260
acres near Stockton, raising barley and potatoes. In 1912, he came back to Santa Ana,
to take care of his fourteen and a half-acre ranch, ten acres of which were devoted to
Valencia oran.ges. and four and a half acres to walnuts. This neat little ranch was
purchased by B. F. Townsend, Mrs. Lowell's father, in 1886. and as he died in May.
1917. Mr. and Mrs. Lowell inherited it. They have also inherited 2.300 acres in Texas,
once owned by Mr. Townsend, as well as the latter's home, at 1108 West Fifth Street.
Santa .\r\i.

Three children have come to make still happier the delightful home life of these
thoroughly American folks. Kenneth Townsend Lowell is a high school student a't
Santa Ana: Virginia May is in the intermediate school; and so is Charline Elizabeth.
Fraternally. Mr. Lowell is a Mason; in national politics he is a Republican.

RODGER BROS. — Conspicuous among the most properous and interesting indus-
trial estalilisliments of Balboa is that of the auto and shipbuilding firm of Rodger Bros.,
composed of C. G. and E. D. Rodger, who own a first-class garage, machine shop
and sliip ways, are always active in promoting the best interests of the tourist, and who
have added to the attractiveness of Balboa as a harbor resort by keeping well-equipped
boats for charter.

C. C. Rodger, popularly known as Cordie Rodger, was born in Iowa, in April.
1876. while E. D. Rodger was also born in Iowa, in August, 1878. They were both
the sons of Glaud H. and Xancy M. Rodger, who came from Iowa to California.


although the father had been here before, and was in many ways a thorough, typical
Californian. Grandfather Glaud Rodger was a native of Glasgow, Scotland, who had
married Miss Matilda Clark, a native of Liverpool, England. They crossed the great
American plains in 1852, and stayed at Salt Lake over winter, and there their child,
Glaud H., was born. The following season they came on to California and settled at
San Bernardino. The grandfather was a farmer, and Glaud H. grew up to follow
agriculture. He went back to Iowa, and when twenty-two years old married Miss
Nancy M. Sutherland, the ceremony taking place in Decatur County, Iowa.

Mr. and Mrs. Rodger lived in Iowa for thirteen years, and then they came to
California in the spring of 1887, and settled at what is now Laguna Beach. Later
they went to El Toro and farmed on the Moulton Ranch — in fact Mr. Rodger did the
first grain farming on the great Moulton acreage, and he bought and operated the first
header ever brought on to that place. Now he and his devoted wife are both living in
their comfortable residence at Balboa. They belong to the reorganized L. D. S. Church.

Of their nine children, six grew to maturity, three having died in fancy. Jessie
married \\'illiam Woodhouse, a rancher at El Toro; but she died four years ago,
mourned by many. C. G. and E. D. Rodger, the subjects of this instructive review,
hate materiallj' advanced the importance of Balboa in its relation to the outside world
and as an attractive place for outsiders to come to and settle in. Fred is a rancher at
El Toro. Dolly is the wife of William Cubben, the machinist; and Ethel is at home.

Twelve years ago, E. D. Rodger came to Balboa and went to work as a machinist
for W. S. Collins at the Collins shipyard in Balboa, and later he founded the firm of
Rodger Bros., which got along at first with a building 35x126 feet in size, now adjoin-
ing on the east their newer structure of- 1920, 35x136 feet in size. They have built and
equipped many boats, among them the Limit, constructed in 1916, and the Harriet N.,
1918^both fine specimens of naval architecture; and they repair much of the craft
used on the bay and the ocean. Even as boys, both of the Rodgers were apt machinists,
and it is not surprising that their patrons come from miles around. They make a
specialty of motion picture water work — now one of the departments of a most impor-
tant modern undertaking, with its effect on the civilization of the four quarters of the
globe. In 1900, E. D. Rodger was married at El Toro to Miss Viola Zimmerman, a
lady of talents and the capacity of cooperation, who also has her circle of friends.

EARL L. MATTHEWS.— .\n admirable example of the man who can accomplish
much entirely through his own initiative and determination to succeed is found in
Earl L. Matthews, the president of the Orange County Ignition Works, Inc., the largest
business of its kind in the county, and his reputation for thorough workmanship and
absolutely reliable service has brought him a lucrative patronage that is in every way
well deserved. His career, in its practical results, is an encouragement to every strug-
gling young man who has ambition and genius and is willing to make sacrifices and
endure long hours of hard work.

Earl L. Matthews is a native of Ohio, being born at Toledo on April 2Z, 1888. His
parents are William H. and Frances (West) Matthews and they left their Ohio home in
1906 and came to California to reside. They located first at Porterville in Tulare
County, remaining there for two years, then removing to Long Beach, where they re-
sided for another period of two years, coming to Santa Ana in 1910, and they still
make their home there. The only child of his parents, Earl L. Matthews was edu-
cated in the public and high schools of Toledo, Ohio, and later took a commercial
course in the Toledo Business College. Always of a mechanical turn of mind, after
coming to California in 1906 Mr. Matthews became interested in auto electrical work
and very wisely decided that the surest way to success was to begin at the bottom and
master every angle of the business. Accordingly he spent considerable time in some of
the largest shops in Los Angeles, learning all the details of the work and gaining a
most valuable practical experience.

On coming to Santa Ana in 1910. Mr. Matthews started the nucleus of his present
large business, beginning in a small store building at 414 West Fourth Street, and by
well-directed effort the business increased so rapidly that he saw the need of expansion,
and so occupied three other locations before coming to his present place at the corner
of Fifth and Spurgeon streets. In 1916 he incorporated his business as the Orange
County Ignition ^^■orks and since that time he has built up a wonderfully successful
business, employing over thirty people, and having branch houses at Fullerton and
Orange. At both of these placesTie occupies fireproof buildings, which have been erect-
ed accorditig to his own designs and needs. He handles the Willard storage battery
and specializes in electrical apparatus pertaining to automobiles, confining his business
to this line of work. He maintains a thoroughly equipped electrical repair department
which is fully prepared to handle ignition and electrical trouble on every make of auto-
mobile and particular attention is paid to electrical trouble on trucks and farm tractors.



thus giving assistance and immediate aid to ranchers and transportation men in the
fields and remote highways.

Mr. Matthews' marriage at Los Angeles on April 28, 1909, united him with Miss
Letitia Hennessey of Santa Ana and they are the parents of two children, Russell P.
and Marjory F. The family attend the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics Mr.
Matthews gives his allegiance to the Republican party and in fraternal circles he is
prominent in the ranks of the Elks and is a Knights Templar Mason. To further the
interests of his own line of work he is a member and vice-president of the Orange
County Auto Trades Association, and he is no less zealous in aiding in the work of the
Merchants and Manufacturers Association and the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce,
Holding membership in both of these organizations. He finds much enjoyment in out-
door life and is particularly fond of fishing. Generous and liberal, he is one of Orange
County's loyal boosters and can always be counted upon to support all movements for
the public good.

JAMES ARTHUR ROSS.— A most interesting representative of a long-honored
pioneer Santa Ana family is J. Arthur Ross, familiarly known by his friends as Ott
Ross, a son of Samuel Ross, who crossed the great plains in the middle si.xties, accom-
panied by his bride of a few weeks, to whom he had been married in Ross Township,
III. This Samuel Ross became one of the earliest settlers at Santa Ana, and Ross
Street was named after a brother, Jacob Ross, who was county tax collector and
assessor in early days. Mrs. Ross was Catherine Leonard Ij^efore her marriage, and
she died when J. Arthur was nine years old. Ott Ross was born at Santa .Ana on
January 15, 1881, and grew up in that town, one of eleven children, six of whom are
still living. He attended the public grammar schools and learned to be a farmer.

When he was married, he chose for his wife Mrs. Jennie (Smith) Kight of Santa
Ana, a native of Madison, Ga., a daughter of William and Carrie (Reid) Smith, also
of that state. The father served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War and died
when Mrs. Ross was a child; she was reared and educated in Georgia. Her uncle,
Capt. John G. Smith, was one of the early settlers of Birmingham, Ala., and was a promi-
nent veteran of the Confederacy and a Mason ajid laid the cornerstone for the Masonic
temple at Birmingham. She is the youngest of three children: the eldest was Henry
who died in Box Springs, Ga., and Wni. Eugene is an extensive cotton buyer at
Madison, Ga. In 1899 Mrs. Ross came to Santa Ana with her mother where she met
Ott Ross, the acquaintance resulting in their marriage and she has proven the most
helpful of helpmates. Her mother died here in 1915. They have four children —
Catherine, Lula, Christy and Leonard. Mr. Ross has engaged in farming in the district
south of Santa Ana for twenty years and since 1918, farming on the Irvine ranch.

Notwithstanding a serious set-back in 1919, such as might well discourage many.
Mr. and Mrs. Ross are succeeding and, little by little, attaining their goal. In that
year, a mysterious fire burned down their barn, shed and other outbuildings, and de-
stroyed, among other things, a great quantity of hay. It was a severe blow, for Mr.
Ross had little or no insurance. He bravely rebuilt, however, for like the other tenants
on the San Joaquin ranch, he owns his own buildings and equipment. He is energetic
and persistent; Mrs. Ross is cheerful and optimistic; and it is not surprising that he
and his family live happily, and that those who know them, expect great things from
them in the years to come. He leases 270 acres, where he devotes about 200 acres
to lima beans; the balance to hay and blackeye beans. Mr. and Mrs. Ross are believers
in protection for Americans and are naturally strong Republicans.

ASBURY J. SHAW.— Numbered among the successful ranchers of the El Toro
district is .\sbury J. Shaw, who is equally proficient as a machinist, as he does a great
deal of work on automobiles, gasoline engines, threshers and all kinds of farm machin-
ery, maintaining a well-equipped blacksmith shop on his place. A native son of Cali-
fornia, Mr. Shaw was born on the original El Toro ranch in Aliso Canyon on October
2, 1891. His parents were R. L. and Catherine Ellen (Little) Shaw, natives, respectively,
of Texas and Georgia. Besides the subject of this review, a daughter, Fannie Pearl,
was born to Mr. and Mrs. Shaw and she is now the wife of Albert Gibson, a rancher
on the Irvine ranch. R. L. Shaw was twice married; by his first marriage he had two
children, one of whom is living, Frank Shaw of Laguna Beach. Catherine Ellen Little
was also married twice, her first husband being Peter Eraser Groover, who was born in
Georgia. They came to California about 1872, and located in Fresno County, where
they were engaged in sheep raising; afterwards they came to Gospel Swamp, now
Talbert, and later to .\liso Canyon, where they homesteaded and farmed. Mr. Groover
died at Downey in 1881. Of this marriage there were five children; Frank, who is a
mechanic, resides in Arizona; H. L., also a mechanic, makes his home in Santa .-Vna;
F. E. farms on the Irvine ranch; Hattie Gertrude is Mrs. Boxley of Los Angeles; \'. D.


also farms on the Irvine ranch. About three years after her husband's death Mrs.
Groover married Robert L. Shaw, who came with his parents across the plains in an
ox-team train, in the early fifties. He followed ranching in Los Angeles and Orange
counties and he and Mrs. Shaw still make their home in Orange County.

Asbury J. Shaw spent his boyhood days on the Aliso Canyon ranch, and early in
life started to earn his own way. working out as a farm hand on the neighboring
ranches, earning at first only ten dollars a month. He became expert at handling mules
when he was only a boy and this helped him to get employment in hauling cement
and other heavy freight at the time of the building of the great Los Angeles Aqueduct.
He was considered one of the best drivers on the entire job and handled a team of
twelve mules perfectly.

In 1913 Mr. Shaw began ranching operations for himself by leasing 150 acres
of the Santa Margarita ranch, the property of James O'Neill. Since then he has
added to his acreage and now has 275 acres, all plow land, which he devotes to grain,
barley and hay being his principal crop. He has a $5,000 equipment on his place, owning
ten head of horses, six mules, a twelve-foot Deering header, a fifteen horsepower Fair-
banks-Morse portable engine and a separator for threshing either grain or beans.
Recently he has been engaged in rebuilding a ^■entura threshing machine and putting
a gasoline engine in shape, and with this combination he will thresh his own crop of
barley and beans, as well as threshing for others in the neighborhood. Mr. Shaw's
blacksmith shop is also equipped with wood-working machinery and with his natural
aptitude toward everyth#ig mechanical he does considerable work in this line. For
several months he was at Yvima, Ariz., where he was engaged in running a gasoline
lioist at the old Pecachio gold and silver mines.

Mr. Shaw's marriage, which occurred in October, 1916, united him with Miss
Ruby Leona Alsbach and one child. Marion Lucine, has added to their happy home
life. Of a genial disposition, Mr. Shaw has many friends who admire him for his
mtegrity and his sterling, industrious character. While generally votmg the Democratic
ticket in national elections. Mr. Shaw is broad-minded and nonpartisan in local affairs,
aiming to vote for the best men and measures.

THEODORE ROBERTS.— Orange County has drawn its leading citizens from
many countries, and the opportunities to be found here have attracted men of character
and with the progressive ideas which make for success in any country. Among these
may be mentioned Theodore Roberts, prominent in business circles in Anaheim, where
he is the leading jeweler and optometrist. A native of Germany, Mr. Roberts was
born in Danzig, West Prussia, February 12, 1882. There he learned the trade of watch-
maker and jeweler and worked at his profession in the large cities of Germany,
Switzerland, France and Belgium. When he landed at Boston, in 1905, he could not

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 144 of 191)