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 145 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 145 of 191)
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speak a word of English, but gradually acquired the language and after visiting New
York he went to Ann Arbor, Alich.. where he secured work on a farm at a wage of
one dollar per day.

Although intending to make farming his occupation in the new country, the young
traveler soon gave up that intention, and in 1907 he came to California, settling in Los
Angeles, where he took up his trade, and also studied optometry. After working in
leading jewelry stores in that city, he sought new fields, and in 1911 he came to
Anaheim and opened a small jewelry store at 113 East Center Street. As his busi-
ness grew he enlarged his quarters, and in 1915 he moved into larger quarters at 105
East Center Street. In 1918 he purchased a large piece of property, including the
block between Lemon and Clementine and Helena and Palm on West Center Street, a
part of the old Deutch property. He has erected a building on the whole of the block
from Lemon to Clementine on Center, making twelve stores and a large garage, and
he also erected a building on West Center between Helena and Palm, and is now starting
work on the erection of the Roberts Theater on West Center and Clementine streets,
which, when completed, will be the largest theater building in Orange County. So it is
readily seen that in a few years he has accomplished much and thus has done more than
his share in the Iniilding up of .\naheim. In 1920 he moved his store to 223 West
Center Street, where he has a thoroughly up-to-date establishment with a large and
carefully selected stock.

From the beginning of his residence here Mr. Roberts has taken a keen interest
in the upbuilding of the city, and he was one of the first merchants to advocate the
widening and improving of Center Street, and in fact started the movement.

A self-made man in every respect, for he came to a new land, not knowing a word
of its language nor with anything but his own brain and muscle to help carve a future,
Mr. Roberts can rightfully be called a representative citizen of his adopted country, and
serving its best interests as he serves his own.



The marriage of Mr. Rolierts united liim with Ella B. Stroka. a native of Austria,
and two sons have blessed their union: Theodore. Jr., and Joseph, both nativ"es of Ana-
heim. Fraternally, Mr. Roberts is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and in business
circles he is a member of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. He is also interested
in horticulture, owning an orange grove in the Placentia district, while professionally
he is a member of the Retail Jewelers Association of California and the State Associa-
tion of Optometrists.

C. E. UTT. — A man of much enterprise and force of cliaracter. a native son and
the son of a '49er. is C. E. Utt, the president of the First National Bank of Tustin, who
for the long period of forty-six years has been identified with this place. His father,
Lj'sander Utt, was a native of Virginia, of Dutch ancestry, and he came here with the
early gold seekers of the Argonaut days. While in the gold-mining country he met
and married Miss Arvilla Piatt, a native of New York who had come to California with
her parents when a girl. Lysander Utt crossed the Santa Fe trail a number of times
before the JMexican War and made and lost several fortunes. In 1874 he brought his
family to Tustin. driving overland all the way from Placer County. The Southern
Pacific Railroad was then just being constructed to Los Angeles, which was a town of
iibout 8,000 people. Santa Ana was a hamlet of perhaps a dozen houses, while a little
cluster of half a dozen cottages constituted the present town of Tustin. It was at
that time still a cattle and sheep country, agriculture being yet in its infancy, as not
more than two per cent of the county had even been plowed. Here Lysander Utt
engaged in the merchandise business, buying the stock of H. H. Dickerman. who had
started the first store in Tustin two years before, and died.

C. E. LTtt was the only child of his parents and was but eight years old when the
familj' came to Tustin. They made their home in the store building and he naturally
grew up with the business from his childhood, and when he was twenty-one years of
age he took charge of the store. From that time until 1893, he continued in the
general merchandise business, giving it up at that time to engage in ranching, and this
he has pursued ever since with great success. With the exception of sugar beets, he has
grown practically every crop known to Orange County.

Mr. Utt was one of the organizers of the San Joaquin Fruit Company, and has
been its president since its inception. This company owns 1.000 acres of land adjacent
to Tustin, set out to Valencia oranges, lemons and walnuts, and now produces several
hundred carloads of fruit and nuts every year. There are three packing houses on the
ranch and a spur from the Santa Fe tracks runs up to their packing houses in the
middle of the ranch.

In 1894 Mr. Utt was united in marriage with Miss Mary M. Sheldon of Tustin, the
daughter of an old pioneer family. Mrs. L'tt passed away in 1918, leaving five children:
Mrs. Gertrude Hess of Victorville; Mrs. Dorothy Robertson of Los Mochis. Mexico;
James B. of Tustin: Louise and Elizabeth. The family attend the Presbyterian Church
and politically Mr. Utt was a strong Prohibitionist: since the passage of the Eighteenth
Amendment he affiliates with the Republican part}'. In addition to his duties as presi-
dent of the First National Bank of Tustin he is also treasurer of the Haven Seed Com-
pany. A self-made man, he has won his success by hard work and good management
and he enjoys the confidence and good will of the whole community.

WILLIAM G. KOTHE. — One of the most enterprising horticulturists of the dis-
trict in which his orchard is situated is William G. Kothe, whose well-cultivated orange
grove of eight acres is devoted exclusively to Valencias. He has been a resident of
Orange County for over twenty years, and to him there is no other section of the
Golden State he finds so well adapted for citrus culture. Like many another, he began
at the bottom of the ladder: but by hard work of untiring brain and muscle, he has
won his way to a favorable place in the horticultural world.

Mr. Kothe is a native of Hanover, Germany, where he was born on August 2,
1877, and his parents were William and Sophie Kothe. also natives of Hanover. There
were three children in the family, and they all came to reside in the West. Mary, Mrs.
Riggers, is in Idaho; Annie, Mrs. Hiesterniann. in Kansas, and William G., our subject,
is the eldest of the family. The father died in Germany in 1883, and in time Mrs. Kothe
remarried to Henry Ohlde. and three children were born of her second marriage.

In 1885 the entire family migrated to the United States, and settled in \Vashington
County. Kans. William was then seven years of age. and he was reared and educated
in. as the Kansans say. the "Garden of the West." Then, until 1900. he followed farming.

At the begimiing of the century, he migrated to Orange County. Cal., and began
his experience in orchard work. In 1904 he made a trip back to his old Kansas home
and while there wed Miss Minnie Heitman who had come to Kansas to visit her
brother, the acquaintance resulting in their marriage at Washington, Kans., May 25,


1904. She was the accomplished daughter of William and Dorathea Heitman, and
was also born in Hanover, Germany, coming in 1893 to the United States. She was
one of twelve children, the others still living being William, Mary, Freda, Ernest,
Henry, Emma, George, Olga and Louis.

After his marriage Mr. Kothe returned with his bride to Orange County and
engaged in horticulture. In 1909 he purchased their present place of eight acres on
Tustin Avenue near Fairhaven, which he has improved to a splendid Valencia orange
orchard. Aside from his own place he also cares for twenty acres of orange groves
for others. He is a stockholder in the Santa Alia Valley Irrigation Company, and the
Santiago Orange Growers Association. He has lately completed a seven-room bunga-
low, which is much enjoyed by his family. Their four children are Elsie, who attends
Orange Union high school; Arnold, Dorathea and Martin. With his family, Mr. Kothe
is a member of St. John's Lutheran church at ■Grange. Mrs. Kothe has been of great
aid to her husband by encouraging him in his ambitions, and he in turn appreciates
and acknowledges her assistance.

HAROLD EDWARD WAHLBERG.— A scientifically trained agriculturist whose
advice has come to be recognized as of such value that he devotes his time professionally
to studying other agriculturists's problems and to counseling the less experienced in
the way they would better go, is Harold Edward Wahlberg, a native of the state of
Washington. He was born at Seattle, on July 18, 1890, and his father was Hans Chris-
tian Wahlberg. He had married Miss Elizabeth Swedberg, by whom he had four chil-
dren — one girl and three boys. The parents are now living retired at San Francisco,
honored by all who have the pleasure of knowing them.

The eldest in the family, Harold attended both the grammar and high schools
of the vicinity in which he grew up, and later pursued courses of study at the Oregon
Agricultural College. In 1910 he was graduated from that institution with the degree
of Bachelor of Science.

For a year he served as the first superintendent of the Eden Valley Orchards of
Medford, and then he removed to Woodland, Cal., where he was superintendent of the
Yolo Orchard Company for two and a half years. After that he put in about three
years with the Sycamore Ranch Company at Los Molinos, Cal., where he was general
manager, and then for a year and a half he was on the horticultural commission for
Glenn County. Since August, 1918, he has been farm adviser for Orange County.

Mr. Wahlberg is a Democrat, and under Democratic banners he has been a
live wire, when needed, in national political affairs; but he believes in nonpartisan-
ship in local civic movements, and has ever been ready to help along the community
in which he has cast his lot. Very naturally, he is deeply interested in the problems
of development in Orange County, nor could he have a more fruitful soil upon which,
actually and figuratively speaking, to spend his energies. On March 17, 1920, Mr. Wahl-
berg was united in marriage with Miss Bertha Wing, born in New England, but a resi-
dent of California for several years, and they make their home in Santa Ana.

The Masons and Elks claim Mr. Vv'ahlberg as a member, and as a devotee of
both boating and chess, he seeks the invigorating pleasure of outdoor life, and the
stimulating pastimes of the quiet corner.

H. E. DUNGAN. — The proprietor of the oil station at the corner of Euclid and
Stanford avenues, at Garden Grove, H. E. Dungan, is a man who has seen much of life
in the various countries of the New and Old World that he has visited. An ex-soldier
on the retired list, he was born near Muscatine, Iowa, May 2, 1869. His parents, John
B., and Anna (Pratt) Dungan, were farmers, and after his birth removed to Illinois,
going thence to Clay Center, Clay County, Kans., where they settled on a farm. Mr.
Dungan's earliest recollections are associated with the Kansas farm where he lived until
he was fourteen years old. He then returned to Illinois, and from there went to Texas
and thence to the territory of Washington. Returning to Texas he gave up ranching
in 1891, went to Dallas, Texas, and enlisted in the Twenty-third Infantry of the U. S.
Army for a term of three years. After his term of service expired he entered the
Quartermaster's department at Laredo, Texas, and served in that department eighteen
months. He then drifted to old Mexico and Central America, working at mining and
railroading, and when the Spanish war broke out in 1898 was near Gorgetown, Central
America. Losing no time he took the first boat out, went to Cuba and enlisted with
the Fifteen U. S. Regulars for a term of three years. He was in Cuba fourteen
months, and during this time was in numerous skirmishes. Returning to the United
States, he was stationed in Vermont six months, and was then ordered to San Fran-
cisco. Leaving there under sealed orders, when they reached Nagasaki, Japan, they
were ordered on to China. Transferred to another steamship they landed at Taku,
China, and Mr. Dungan was all through the Boxer troubles, from Tientsin on to Pekin,


f.#.. ■










China. After this campaign was over he was transferred to the Philippines, and
served at Tabaco, Pandan and Samar Island. His term of service expiring in the
Philippines he went to the constabulary and severed nine years at different places and
on different islands in the Philippines. In 1911 he resigned and came back to the army
in order to be retired, and was first sergeant when he was placed on the retired list
ill 1912. He came to Garden Grove in that year and bought two and a half acres,
which he afterward sold.

In 1914 he was married at Riverside to Aliss Marie Rich, a native of France who
came to California from her native country when a girl of fifteen. Two children have
been born of their union, Frances and Donald by name. In 1917 Mr. Dungan was
called back to active service and was engaged in the recruiting service at Los Angeles
and in Arizona and Southern California, until the close of the war with Germany. He
says: "The American soldier is the best soldier on earth." He has been around the
world once and has made four trips to the Philippines. He owns the acre and a
half at Garden Grove, on which his oil station and residence are located, and deals in
the Standard Oil Company's products, handling gasoline and lubricating oils. In poli-
tics a Republican, he is a humanitarian in his view of life, and is a man of reliability
and rectitude. He has lived a clean and consistent life, and is justly entitled to the
competency he has earned, and to the respect accorded him by his intimate friends
and acquamtances.

HENRY MEIER. — An industrious young man of exceptional ability who' has
naturally "made good" and is the admiration of many, is Henry Meier, who was born
in Belvue, Pottawatomie County, Kans., in August, 1879. His father, George Meier,
was a native of Germany and as a young man came out to the United States. He
stopped in Illinois and for years worked at farming for a James Short. Then he moved
to Kansas and became an early settler in Pottawatomie County. He bought railroad
land, was the first to break up much of the soil, and he engaged in raising corn and
stock. In 1895, however, he rented out his farm and, coming west to California, pitched
his tent at Orange for a couple of years. Then he bought a ranch of thirty-nine acres
on East Chapman Avenue and engaged in general farming and the raising of vegetables.
He also set out walnuts. In 1904, full of years and blessed with many friends, Mr. Meier
died, at the age of sixty-nine. His wife was Mary Grote before her marriage, the
sister of Henry Grote, another well-known pioneer of Orange, and she is now in her
seventieth year, the mother of four children: Amelia is Mrs. J. F. Stone of McPherson;
Henry and Annie are twins, and the latter lives at Los Angeles; and Bertha is Mrs.
Bogart of San Jacinto.

Brought up in Kansas, Henry attended the public schools and first came to Cali-
fornia in his sixteenth year, when he completed his schooling. Then he helped his
father on the home farm, and after a while he ran the place, and he has continued the
management of the estate, at the same time conducting his own ranching enterprises.
The home place consists of twenty-eight acres, and he himself owns eleven acres ad-
joining. The old place is used for the growing of oranges and lemons, on trees grown
in his own nursery and set out and cared for by himself; for twelve years ago he began
the nursery, making a specialty of Valencia orange trees, as well as lemons and walnuts,
and he is still raising nursery stock, in what is widely and favorably known as the H.
Meier Nursery. He also owns another six acres of citrus orchard, giving him sixteen
acres of citrus fruit, and this acreage, under his experienced eye and hand, approacHes
very nearly to the ideal of a true "show place." As might be expected of one known
to understand the problems of citrus growing and to favor every sensible measure likely
to develop the industry in California. Mr. Meier is an active member of the Central
Lemon .\ssociation and the McPherson Heights Orange Growers Association. In 1919
his nine-year-old tree? had the record crop of this association for heaviest yield per
acre. The Kansas farm, still owned by George Meier when he died, was sold by the
family in January. 1919.

Mr. Meier was married at Los Angeles. May 16, 1912, to Miss Amy West, a native
of California, born in Orange, and the daughter of Henry West, an esteemed pioneer of
Orange; a clever young lady of present-day training and enterprise. After completing
with credit a commercial course at the Orange County Business College in Santa .'\na.
she entered the employ of the National Bank of Orange, continuing there for eight
years until her resignation, when she married. She is capable, therefore, of cooperating
.with Mr. Meier in a very helpful way.

Mr. Meier is very enthusiastic for the future of this region and is not averse to
putting his shoulder to the wheel and "boosting" Orange and Orange County, for which
he sees a bright future, and he is always ready to work for its upbuilding and enhancing
the importance of the commonwealth.


OTTO R. HAAN.— A native of Michigan, who has been privileged to contribute
much toward the development, along the most desirable and permanent of lines, of
the youthful county of Orange, is Otto R. Haan, who was born at Grand Rapids on
January 7, 1879, the eldest of two children born to Rudolph and Gertrude (.Smith) Haan.
Mr. Haan attended the common school and received the usual training for a tussle
with the exacting world.

For seven years he was news agent on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern
Railroad, the Michigan Central Railroad, the Pere Marquette, as well as the Wabash
■■system and step by step he advanced until he became superintendent of the news
service for Fred Harvey on the Santa Fe system, a post he continued to fill for twenty
years. This association with one of the best-known purveying concerns in the country
caused him to travel widely and to reside from time to time in various places, and he
lived in particular at Albuquerque and Los Angeles.

On coming to Santa Ana in 1917, Mr. Haan bought out H. H. Kelley's Cadillac
agency, later incorporating the Cadillac Garage Company, of which he is president
and manager. The business has grown very rapidly and it now requires the services of
fifteen men. It is located at the corner of Second and Main Streets. Mr. Haan is
active in automobile circles, is a member of the Orange County Auto Trade Associa-
tion, of which he is president and is now vice-president of the California Auto Trade
Association. Intensely interested in Orange County, he is an active member of the
Merchants and Manufacturers Association and the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce,
and gives them, whenever possible, the best support.

On August 7, 1913, Mr. Haan was married at Chicago, 111., to Miss Dora May
Dazey, a native of Chicago and the daughter of Frank L. and Eva L. (Dove) Dazey,
who shares his love of outdoor life. Fraternally he is a Knights Templar Mason and
a Shriner, as well as an Elk, and is a member of the Orange County Country Club and
counts his friends — one of the best of all business assets — among all social and com-
mercial circles. Both Santa Ana and Orange County may be congratulated on the
success attained here under their fostering, favorable conditions, of this aggressive and
progressive leader in the business world.

CHARLES E. HOUSER.— With California as his birthplace, Charles E. Houser
is a typical representative of the native sons of the Golden West, and is enjoying the
prosperity that has come to him solely as the result of his own unaided efforts. Mr.
Houser was born in Los Angeles. March 25, 1886, the son of Benjamin F. and Jennie
(Lewis) Houser. The father is a native of Indiana, but went when a young man to
Kansas, where he was married, residing there until 1884, when he and his wife came
to Los Angeles. Mrs. Houser is deceased, but Benjamin F. Houser is still living and
is engaged in ranching at Corcoran, Cal.

The eldest of a family of five children, Charles E. Houser grew up in the Fountain
Valley district in Orange County, where his father had leased land and engaged in
farming. Early in life he began to work on the home farm and later on the neighboring
ranches, acquiring a valuable knowledge of agricultural methods, especially those appli-
cable to the soil and climate of Southern California. In 1909 he entered the employ
of the Golden \\'est Celery and Produce Company working as a teamster for eighteen
months, later becoming warehouseman, having in charge the extensive warehouse of
the company in Westminster for four years; with one exception this is the largest
warehouse in Orange County, having a capacity of 60,000 sacks. During the palmy
days of the Golden West Celery and Produce Company, Mr. Houser contributed
largely to its success and he remained its foreman until the company sold out, April
12, 1919. He at once entered the employ of R. L. Draper as head foreman, a position
that his experience and ability eminently qualifies him to fill. The Draper ranch is one
of the most extensive in this region, consisting, besides Mr. Draper's own farm of 160
acres, of 565 acres owned by the Aldrich Land Company, formerly the Golden West
Company's ranch. The Draper place is largely devoted to growing sugar beets and
liina beans, which have become a leading industry of Orange County, and Mr. Houser
is thoroughly conversant with the latest and most successful methods in their suc-
cessful production.

Mr. Houser was married in 1917 to Miss .^nnie Nankervis and one child, a daugh-
ter Geraldine. has been born to them. Mrs. Houser is likewise a native daughter, her
parents being Richard and Caroline (Buzza) Nankervis, pioneer settlers of West-
minster. The father was born in England, but came to America when a young man,
settling in Philadelphia, where his marriage occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Nankervis
came toCalifornia, settling first in Nevada County, and coming to what is now Orange
County in 1885. They are the parents of nine children, all living: Thomas is a rancher
at Westminster; Carrie is the wife of William Olson, an engineer on the Southern
Pacific, they reside at E! Paso, Texas; Agnes is the wife of James Rogers, manager of


the packing house at Aziisa; John is a rancher and owns the old Nankervis place west
of Westminster; \innie is the wife of Harry Bray, the proprietor of a meat market at
Oakland; Richard. Jr.. is in the employ of the E. K. Wood Lumber Company of Los
Angeles; Jennie makes her home with her brother. Thomas; Will is a rancher at
Westminster; and Annie is the wife of Charles E. Houser, of this review. Both Mr.
and Mrs. Richard Nankervis are living and reside w-ith their oldest son, Thomas

In fraternal circles, Mr. Houser is a member of the Independent Order of For-
esters at Westminster and of the B. P. O. Elks of Santa Ana. Well informed, kindly
disposed and generous, he has host of friends throughout the county. Mrs. Houser
shares with her husband a just popularity in the social circles of Smeltzer and

JOHN UTZ. — .-Xn unusually interesting, fine old gentleman, whose mental and
physical powers command admiration, and whose interesting personality has brought
him. with the passing years, a host of steadfast friends, is John Utz, a native of Jeffer-
son, Clinton County, Ind., where he was born on November 4, 1837. His father, Jacob
Utz, was a native of Maryland, and in that state he was married to Miss Matilda Koontz,
also a Marylander. They migrated to Clinton County, Ind.. and as Mr. Utz was a car-
penter by trade, he started a wagon shop in Jefferson, and continued to manage it until
he was forced to retire on account of a stroke of paralysis. He died in 1863, and his
good wife follow-ed him to the grave ten years afterward. They had three children:

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 145 of 191)