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 149 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 149 of 191)
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twenty choice acres on Euclid Avenue, one mile north of Garden Grove. He was born
at Watertown, Jefiferson County, Wis., on April 13, 1879. the youngest son in a family
of nine children, including two brothers and si.x sisters. His father was Adolph F.
Schnitger, who came here from Watertown in 1892, and bought the forty acres known
as the Langenberger Place. It was planted to a vineyard, and fenced around with
liittice — but the vineyard died out, and Mr. Schnitger turned it into an alfalfa ranch.
He became well and favorably known in and around .\naheim and Garden Grove as a
man in every way of sterling worth; and when he died, in 1913 at the age of sixty-si.x,
he was widely mourned. Mrs. Schnitger was Caroline Hager before her marriage, and
she is still living at Anaheim. Mary, the eldest child, marriei the Rev. J. Schneider,
and now resides at Oakland; Edwin expects to remove from VVatertown to California:
Yvilliam E. is the president of the Garden Grove Walnut Growers Association; Lydia
is the wife of Martin Fisher of Anaheim; .-Xrthur Albert is the subject of this sketch.
Pauline became the wife of H. C. Meiser, orange grower and nurseryman at Fuller-
ton; Ella died at the age of eleven; Esther, a seamstress, shares the home life of her
mother at Anaheim; and Hattie, who married Henry G. Carl, resides at Salem, Ore.

.-Arthur Schnitger attended the district schools in Jefiferson County, Wis., and
continued his studies at Garden Grove, where he was graduated from the grammar
school. In 1906 he bought the twenty acres he has so handsomely developed — an
unattractive stretch of grain land, with not a tree upon it; now he has fourteen and a
half acres set out to Valencia oranges, five acres planted to walnuts, and maintains a
very good family orchard and vegetable garden. He has a fine well 149 feet deep, with
a fifty-foot lift, driven by a powerful electric dynamo. His ranch has already reached
the horseless stage, where a touring car and a Cleveland tractor do it all, and there
is not a horse to be seen. He has also a good blacksmith and machine shop on his
place, and there he does nearly everything needed in the mechanical line.



1340 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

The first improvement effected by Mr. Schnitger on his place was his barn,
after which came the sinking of a well and the building of a water tank. In 1916, with
the assistance of the late Benjamin Oertly of Garden Grove, he built his attractive
bungalow without the help of any other carpenters or meclianics. The two friends not
only did every part of the carpenter work, but also the porches, steps, chimiTey and
other cement and brick work, and thej' executed all so well that the house is strikingly
attractive and embraces many modern conveniences, provided in plans drawn lo a
scale by Mr. Schnitger and his talented wife.

For several years Arthur Schnitger, with others, ran a bean threshing outfit, and
while his partners sold out from time to time he, himself was interested in the business
longer than the others. With the Belle City and the Rumely, both rebuilt machines,
the men did a good business in their lines from Tustin to Buena Park and south to
Wintersburg. W. E. Schnitger, assisted by Arthur A. Schnitger rebuilt and converted
a steam threshing machine into a traction thresher using gasoline. The various men
who at different times composed the partnership in threshing were Messrs. Dozier,
Schnitger, Andres and Gibson.

At Garden Grove Mr. Schnitger. was married to Helen Schneider, born in Missouri,
by whom he has had two children, twins, Barbara Joy and Fern Lucile. Leading
upright, industrious lives, Mr. and Mrs. Schnitger find time for something beside the
acquisition of material v^ealth, and take especial pleasure in active participation in all
the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Garden Grove.

VERNON H. KING. — Among the ablest and most successful newspaper editors
and proprietors of California, and one deserving in full the popularity he enjoys in his
own and neighboring communities, must be rated Vernon H. King, the live wire manip-
ulating the well-conducted Garden Grove News. He was born at Little Rock, Iowa,
on May 7. 1884, the son of Charles H. King, who is still living and resides with the
subject. Mrs. King, the mother, was Huldah Beeman before her marriage, and she died
at Bellflower, Cal., two years ago. These good pare.nts had nine children, and six are
living today: Everett, the eldest, was until recently editor and proprietor of the Covina
Citizen, and now resides at Los Angeles; Vernon was the second in the order of birth;
Ethel has become the wife of Judge Hall, county judge of Brookings County, S. D.;
Charles is the superintendent of the Los Angeles Creamery; Laura is the wife of
Wallace Cornman, and lives at Los Angeles; Leonard is employed by the Union Oil
Company at Los Angeles. Charles H. King was a native of Maine; and Mrs. King a
native of Iowa. The father was a farmer and stockman, and moved from Lyon County,
Iowa, to Grant County, S. D., where, from 1891 to 1896, he was located at Summit.

His first actual newspaper work was done on the Pipestone Leader, when he was
for a while the "devil." or boy-of-all work, and incidentally learned to set type. He
worked on both of the newspapers there, also the Brookings Press and the Brookings
Leader, and added rapidly to his experience; and when the Minneapolis and St. Louis
Railw^ay was building through South Dakota, he bought lots at Florence, S. D., pur-
chased presses and other necessary equipment for a newspaper office, and put in his
printing plant before the rails had been laid to Florence. That was in 1906; and at
Florence he established the Florence Forum, and later bought the Wallace Wbrld and
also the Crocker Tribune, making three newspapers of which he was editor and pro-
prietor, at the same time. He continued to live in South Dakota until he sold out his
newspapers to come to California, in 1912.

Settling in the Imperial \^alley, in 1914 he established the Niland Review at Niland,
formerly called Imperial Junction, and that was the first newspaper there. He con-
ducted the Review until 1916, when he came to Garden Grove and bought out Walter
Potter, the owner of the Garden Grove News. A most loyal American, first, last and
all the time, and a Republican whose counsel is often sought by the local party leaders,
Mr. King contributes what he can toward both a better citizenship and to the welfare
of the community. He was chairman of the League to Enforce Peace, and participated
actively in all war work. From 1917 to 1918 Mr. King was the wide-awake secretary of
the Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce, and it is no wonder that the circulation of the
News has doubled since he took hold of the paper. His printery includes all the
equipment necessary for any variety of high class job and newspaper work.

In 1908 Mr. King was married to Miss Belle R. Ohnstad. a native of Codington
County. S. D., and a daughter of the late L. K. Ohnstad, who died in South Dakota in
1918. She attended high school at Waubay and at Watertown, S. D.. and there was
well prepared for the duties of life. Two children have blessed the fortunate union,
Orville and Velma, Upon coming to Garden Grove, four years ago, Mr. King pur-
chased five acres, planted to \^alencias, at present in a handsome stage of their growth;
and recently he has bought residential property on Ocean .\venue.



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 1343

GUSTAVE J. CALLENS.— An excellent illustration of the advantages of coopera-
tion in industry, especiallj- among near of kin understanding each other and impelled
by common, unselfish motives, is afforded in the operations of the Callens Brothers,
Belgian-Americans, who have made good since they established themselves in Cali-
fornia. The eldest of these is Gustave J. Callens, the rancher, who resids five miles
to the north of Irvine Station. He was born near Kortryk rn Flanders, Belgium, on
November 13, 1879, the son of Henry Callens, a farmer, who was born and married
in Belgium, and is still farming there. He had married Mathilda Seurinck, a worthy
daughter of that country, whose fidelity as wife and mother was such that her end,
in being run over and killed by an enemy truck, was pathetic in the extreme. They
had eight children, two of whom died; and the other two who came to America are
.Adolphe and Joseph Albert. Adolphe was born about 1884. -married Miss Alice Vander-
beke. a resident of Anaheim but a native of Belgium. During 1920 they returned to
Belgium for a visit, being among the few thus favored in early seeing the devastated,
but still beautiful, country. The third brother of the group is Joseph Albert, whose
birth occurred about 1890, also in Belgium. All three of these sturdy boys grew up
in their native country, and enjoyed the usual educational advantages for which Bel-
gium is widely known, studying in particular foreign languages, so that they read,
write and speak Flemish, the language of the people, French, which is more generally
used in business and officially, a'nd English, now especially such a requisite in inter-
course with the outside world.

Adolphe Callens was the first of the brothers to come to California, in 1907,
and he was followed the next year by Gustave and Joseph Albert. They had many
relatives in Oxnard. Ventura County, and there for a while they worked around on
ranches; and in 1911 they came south to Orange County, where they began to rent
six hundred acres of their present ranch. Since then, they have augmented the area
of their valuable lease by clearing up and bringing under the plow a lot of land that
previously was waste.

They are renting, in fact, two farms — one of nine hundred sixty-seven acres, and
another of six hundred acres, making over fifteen hundred acres in all which they
are operating. They also own a fine ranch of eighty acres at Greenville, in Orange
Count)', devoted to the culture of lima beans, and a forty-acre walnut grove at Ana-
heim. Of the 967 acres rented from James Irvine, one hundred sixty-five acres are
set aside for lima beans, three hundred acres for black-eye beans, one hundred fifty-five
acres for wheat, and one hundred fifty acres for barley. The balance is in pasture, or
rough land, for this ranch lies close to the foothills. The scientific, economic and
progressive manner in which these experienced ranchers handle their crops has been
a source of instructive interest to fellow ranchers, and no one in the vicinity stands
higher than the three Callens brothers.

Gustave Callens, besides being a successful rancher, with something definite to
show for his intelligent industry, also has a war record of which anyone might be
proud. In 1914. having returned to Belgium, he was impressed for military service;
and having previously performed three years of military drill, he went into the front
lines as a seasoned soldier. He campaigned for four and a half years in Belgium and
France, and was in many very bloody engagements: but. luckily, he was never
wounded. After a year's service in the Belgian infantry, he was transferred to the
commissary department, in which he served as first sergeant during the last three
and a half years of the war. The first year he was in the Third Company, Seventh
regiment of infantry.

While in Belgium, on May 1, 1919. Mr. Callens was married to Miss Elie Devlies,
who returned with him to California, and was nicely settled on the San Joaquin
ranch, at the head of an ideal country home, but she died on June 22, 1920, mourned
by all who had come to know her.

ADOLPHE CALLENS.— An energetic, able, "get-there" type of young man
whose success has been phenomenal, is Adolphe Callens, one of the three well-known
brothers, bonanza ranchers on the San Joaquin, and the first one to come to America
and to lead the way for the other boys to reach California. He was born in West
Flanders. Belgium, on August 6. 1884. the son of Henry and Mathilda (Seurinck)
Callens, worthy farmer folks, who gave themselves to years of honest, exhausting toil.
The father is still living in Belgium at the age of seventy-six; but the mother was
killed during the World War when run over by a truck of the enemy. They had eighi
children and seven are living.

-Adolphe's early life was spent in his native land, where he was given the best
of public school educational advantages, especially in the matter of modern tongues,
so that he learned French and Flemish before leaving for abroad, and for some time
he worked on his father's farm.



1344 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

He first came to America in 1907, and proceeded west to Ventura County, Cal.,
and the following year he was joined there by his brothers, Gustave and Joseph. The
three were not long in hiring themselves out to work on farms, and being intelligent,
strong and willing, they became favorites with those who employed them. In 1910 he
came down to his present locality, and in partnership with his brothers rented a ranch
from Mr. Irvine. Now they are operating two large ranches on the San Joaquin,
and they also own an excellent ranch of eighty acres at Greenville, Orange County,
on which they grow lima beans, and they own and operate a grove of walnuts forty
acres in size, near Anaheim.

At Anaheim in 1916, Mr. Callens was married to Miss Alice Vanderbeke, a native
of Belgium and the daughter of Angelus Vanderbeke, who was actively engaged in
farming until he was eighty-two and now lives retired at the advanced age of ninety-
two years. His devoted wife, who was formerly Juliana Vermeerch, passed away
April 8, 1919, in her seventy-fourth year, leaving three children: Adiel, a farmer in
Orangethorpe; Alice, Mrs. Callens, and Adila, who presides over her father's home.

After completing her education in Flanders, Mrs. Callens came to Newton, Jasper
County, Iowa, in 1910, and in 1911 came on to Anaheim, Cal., arriving July 4 of that
year. She graduated as a nurse from the Anaheim Hospital, where she practiced her
profession until her marriage. Three daughters have blessed the union of Mr. and
Mrs. Callens, and they are named, Angela, Agnes and Anita. Mr. Callens is a member
of the Knights of Columbus, affiliated with the Santa Ana branch.

During 1920, Mr. and Mrs. Callens made a trip to Belgium to see the familiar
spots and faces, or such as were left of them, again. On their return they landed at
New York City on the Fourth of July; but they soon embarked for the West and made
such good time that they arrived in their favorite home place in California on July 8.

AUGUST L. MARTEL. — A French-American with an interesting history and
experience having to do with both the Old World and the New, and with both North-
ern and Southern California, is August L. Martel, the livestock man, butcher and land-
owner of Talbert. He was born at Gap, in the Hautes-Alpes, in the southeastern part
of France, on February 4, 1865, and had the good educational opportunities of that
country. His father, Louis Martel, was a farmer and a stockman, who married
\'eronica Boudoir, their birth and marriage, as well as their death, taking place in
their native France. They had four children — three girls and a boy — among whom our
subject was the second in the order of birth.

At nineteen years of age, he came to San Francisco in 1884, where he served an
apprenticeship as chef and when he was proficient he served in that capacity for the
celebrated Bohemian Club, of San Francisco, and also for the Palace Hotel and Maison
Dore, and coming south to Bakersfield, he also was chef for the old Southern Hotel,
and was there when the city and the old hotel burned. He then ran a restaurant there
for several years. Removing to Los Angeles, he displayed his culinary art to the patrons
of the old Hollenbeck Hotel, and thousands knew of his'tasteful dinners and lunches,
and his skill in manipulating great banquets.

Three years before he came to Los Angeles, or about twenty-two years ago.
Mr. Martel went down to Fountain \'alley and immediately he bought his ten acres, of
which he has since had such good reason to be proud. Thereon he has erected a
store building, which contains his meat market and grocery, residence and barns, and
where he employs three men in the business. The balance of the acreage he has
brought to a high state of cultivation. Always a hard worker, he has reaped the usual
fruits, in success of intelligent, persistent labor. He takes a live interest in the duties
of a citizen, and while voting on national issues under the principles of the Republican
party, he casts aside partisanship in local campaigns, and supports whatever or who-
ever is best for the community. Besides dealing in staple and fancy groceries — the
finest and best are none too good for him — and fresh and salt meats, in the selection of
which he is naturally an expert, he buys and sells, and also butchers, beeves, hogs, sheep
and calves.

While living at Bakersfield. Mr. Martel was married to Miss Mamie Lincoln, by
whom he had one child, who passed away; and in Fountain Valley this good companion
passed away. He was married a second time, in Los Angeles. January 24, 1910, to
Mrs. Millie Mueller, the daughter of John and Lou F. (Motley) Heaston. who are now
residing at Huntington Beach, honored as among the oldest pioneers in this western
part of Orange County. Mr. Heaston, who was born in Missouri, is now eighty-two
years of age, and Mrs. Heaston. who hails from Old Virginia, has attained her sixty-
second year. Mrs. Martel was born near Richmond, and lived there until she was seven.
Then, after a couple of years spent in Missouri, she came west to California and grew
to young womanhood in San Diego County. There she met her first husband, Emil
Mueller, D.D.S.. a graduate of the dental department of the L'niversity of Southern



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 1347

California at Los Angeles. He practiced dentistry at Spring and Fourth streets. Los
Angeles, and at the same time was professor of dental surgery at the University of
Southern California until the time of his death, at the age of thirty-eight, in 1906. She
had one child by her first husband, Mary, now nineteen years old and a graduate of the
Huntington Beach high school, now Mrs. Emil Keslenholtz of Anaheim. Mrs. Martel
has six brothers and sisters, all of whom have been prosperous. One is Mrs. George
Bushard: another, James Heaston, who resides at Los Alamitos; a third, Cleve, who
is a resident of Los Angeles; a sister, Mrs. Frank P. Borchard, of Santa Ana; a brother
named Fields M. Heaston, a rancher of Lancaster, Los Angeles County; and the
youngest of the family, John W. Heaston, a rancher of Kern County.

ROBERT L. KNAPP.— Numbered as one of the ambitious, industrious and
progressive men of the younger generation of ranchers in Orange County, Robert
L. Knapp is rapidly advancing to the front rank of successful orchardists in the
Anaheim district, his ranch being located on Nursery Avenue in the Katella school
district. He was born in Canada on Decetnber 6, 1896, the son of the late Peter
B. Knapp, who came to California and located in Los Angeles County, as there was
no Orange County at that date — 1888. The mother was in maidenhood, Christine
Livingston, who, like her husband, was a native of Canada. There were seven chil-
dren in the Knapp family, all born in Canada, and five of them are living: Mary M.,
Mrs. G. W. Dorr; J. Allen; Rachel J., Mrs. E. M. Christensen; Elmer C; and Robert
L. George and Annie are both deceased. Mr. Knapp died in 1903 and his widow still
lives on the home place with her son Robert L. After Peter B. Knapp and his son
George had been in Orange County about twelve years the other members of the
family came here to join them in 1900, and they moved on the ranch where the family
now lives.

Robert L. Knapp attended the public schools in Orange County, and he at once
began making improvements on the ranch after the death of his father. Under his
skillful hands, assisted by his brother, Elmer C, who was born in Canada on May 20,
1894, the thirty-acre ranch has been set to Valencia oranges and lemons. VVhile
the trees were maturing they raised beans and peppers between the rows to meet ex-
penses. The trees are now in a very thriving condition and much is expected from
the model ranch as the years pass. With the exception of the buildings on the place,
every improvement has been placed thereon by the Knapp Brothers, and is being oper-
ated by them, they having bought the property from their mother and each looks
after his portion. Robert is public-spirited and lends his aid to all movements for the
betterment of conditions and the upbuilding of the county, and his friends repose the
highest confidence in his integrity, and his standing in the community is deservedly the
highest. It is in the hands of such men that the future of Orange County is placed
and the results they will obtain are certain to' be of the highest order.

HUNTINGTON BEACH UNION HIGH SCHOOL.— Few institutions of learn-
ing in California have done more to help shape the destiny of the younger and fast-
growing communities than has the Huntington Beach Union High School, whose
excellent standing as an accredited high school, admitting to colleges and universities
without further examination, is due in part to the scholarly, thorough work of Mc-
Clelland G. Jones, its principal. The grounds include ten acres, a mile northwest of
the business center of the beach, while among the buildings on that site is the two-
story brick and concrete structure devoted to manual arts work. There are excellent
facilities for athletics, including a basket ball ground and three tennis courts, together
with a football and baseball field, and fields and track for general athletics. The high
school course includes four years of work beginning with the ninth and extending
through the twelfth grade; and there is also an opportunity for graduate work. As in
most modern high schools the program includes a commercial department and a depart-
ment of domestic science; as well as courses in art, music and agriculture. The precinct
of the high school takes in all the beach and coast from Seal to Newport Beach, and the
school furnishes transportation for those pupils coming from the. cities and places on
the line of the Pacific Electric Railway, namely. Balboa. Newport Beach, Sunset Beach
and Seal Beach. The school also operates two auto busses, gathering up the pupils
from the outlying country districts. The enrollment December, 1919, was 163 pupils,
and there are twenty-three seniors in the class of '20. The average daily attendance
is 155 pupils.

The board of directors of the Union high school are: President, E. R. Bradbury;
clerk, C. .\. Johnson; and the balance of the trustees. VV. T. Newland, Sr., R. E. Larter,
and H. L. Heffner. Meetings of the board are held the second Friday in each month.
The principal, as has been stated, is McClelland G. Jones; and the remainder of the
faculty is as follows: Miss Nettie Owen, Mrs. T. B. Talliert. Miss Ruth Munro, Miss



1348 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

Margaret Keen, Miss Francis Douthit, Miss Martha Traftord, Miss Florence Larter,
Frank Smith, Leon Olds, Ray Walker, and Dr. Paul White. Mrs. Julia M. Payne is
secretary to the principal.

Principal Jones was born at Delevan, Cattaraugus County, N. Y., on December
14, 1885, the son of Evan Jones, who was born in Wales. He became an educator,
having migrated to America, and was graduated from the Geneseo, N. Y., Normal
School, after which he taught school in western New York for ten years. Then he
went into business in the same region and engaged in the manufacturing of butter and
cheese. Mrs. Jones, now deceased, was also a native of the Empire State and was
popular as Miss Adda Gibby; she graduated from the Franklinville Academy, and was
a teacher before her marriage. In the spring of 1914 she passed away, mourned by five
children, among whom the subject of our interesting review was the second in order
of birth.

McClelland Jones was graduated with the class of '04 from the Delevan, N. Y..
high school, and for three years engaged in business. Then he entered the the Liberal
Arts department of the University of Michigan, and was graduated in June, 1911, with
the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He served as principal of the high school at Owosso,
Mich., from 1911 to 1915, in all four and one-half years, when he was advised by phy-
sicians to seek out-of-door life; but remaining in central Michigan until January, 1918,
he sufifered a complete breakdown.

On March 7 of the following year Mr. Jones came west to Los Angeles, and for



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 149 of 191)