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 155 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 155 of 191)
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after a visit to California; but Mrs. Rogers passed away in Orange County. They
had three children: Estella resides at Santa .\na: Ruth became the wife of John L.
Taylor and died at Los Angeles in 1905, leaving one child, Merl; while the third in the
order of birth is William Reginald, the subject of our sketch.

When he was eight years old. he came out to California with his parents, and
for a short time lived at Ballard, in Santa Barbara County. About 1890 his folks came
down to Santa Ana, an^ they bought the ten acres upon which he is now living and
which is owned by Miss Estella Rogers and himself. He attended the public schools
and grew up to know a deal about California farming. These ten acres are devoted
mainly to the culture of sugar beets, and they are on Brystol Street.

As one of the most successful growers of lima beans and sugar baets south of
Santa .Ana, Mr. Rogers also rents and farms ten acres half a mile to the west, and five


acres to the south, both of which tracts he devotes to sugar beets, and five acres imme-
diately west, where he grows lima beans. He is a member of the tirm of Fickas and
Rogers, and they rent of the Haven Seed Company forty acres for beet growing.

Four children make still more glad the happy home of Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. They
are Reginald W., Edwin, Ellene, and Noma, and they stimulate Mr. Rogers' interest
in all the children of the neighborhood. In 1919 he was elected president of the board
of education of the Diamond school district, and ever since he has worked for the best
educational advantages for the little ones.

H. PERCY THELAN. — A hard-worker, who keeps healthily active for the love
of labor and not on account of the necessity of the thing, is H. Percy Thelan, known
widely as not only having "made good" as deputy game warden, but as having set an
excellent example of just how such a responsible office ought to be conducted. A
native son, he was born in Santa Ana at the home of his father, a pioneer saddler and
harness maker of Santa Ana, who then owned the house and resided at the corner of
First and West streets, now the corner of First and Broadway. He first saw the light of
day on June 5, 1879, and was lovingly cared for by his parents, Charles Columbus and
Emma (Palmer) Thelan, and welcomed into this world by the late pioneer, Noah
Palmer, his esteemed grandfather. Noah Palmer came to Santa Ana in 1874, and C. C.
Thelan followed two years later. He died on October 16, 1897; and Mrs. Thelan, be-
loved by all who have ever known her mind and heart, remarried and is now Mrs.
George J. Mosbaugh.

H. Percy Thelan finished his studies in the grammar school now historic as the
oldest in Santa Ana, and then took a commercial course under Prof. R. L,. Bisby in the
Orange County Business College. In 1898 he left Santa Ana to work in Kern County
during the "boom" in the oil-fields, and there he continued for four years. He was a
tool dresser on the Monte Cristo lease at Maricopa, and going to San Francisco, he had
no difficulty securing a good engagement with Messrs. McNabb & Smith, foundrymen
and machinists, as a machinist's helper, which post he held for another three years.

He then became a member of the firm of Thelan & Merrit, proprietors of the
garage at Twelfth and Oak streets, Oakland, running that successfully; but he came
back to Santa Ana in 1910 and two years later started the Thelan Machine Shop and
Garage, now the Mayo Machine Shop, on East Fourth Street. When he sold out, he
became deputy county game warden for a couple of years.

Mr. Thelan then bought a couple of fishing and towing outfits at Newport Beach,
and is now the owner of the popular boats, "Ray II," a tug-boat, fifty feet long, and the
"O. U. I.," a fishing trawler thirty feet in length. He was formerly a member of the
Chamber of Commerce at Santa Ana, as he is now of the Chamber of Commerce at
Newport; and with plenty of faith in the beach towns, he remains one of the most ener-
getic and loyal of all "boosters" for Orange County. He owns a business block at
Laguna Beach.

In 1911, Mr. Thelan was married to Miss Edith Yost, a daughter of W. R. Yost,
of Santa Ana; and they have one child. Ray Palmer Thelan. Mr. Thelan owns the resi-
dence in which he lives at 632 North Broadway, and has, besides, a summer home at
Laguna. A desire to be most useful to society, therefore, impels him to daily toil,
through which he keeps himself thoroughly in touch with the rest of the world.

EUGENE O. AHERN. — Among the most progressive and prosperous grain farm-
ers of Southern California must be rated Eugene O. Ahern, for fifteen years past one
of the principal tenants on the Lewis F. Moulton and Company ranch, two miles south-
east of El Toro. where he owns the farm buildings and all the necessary harvesting
machinery for handling the 2,000 acres which he has under lease. A native son of Cali-
fornia, he was born near Saticoy in Ventura County, .'\pril 28, 1874, the son of Thomas
Ahern, a native of Ireland, who came to .America from the Emerald Isle, and direct to
California, when he was eighteen years of age. He married Miss Honora Purcell, also
Irish by birth, and they had fourteen children, among whom Eugene was the sixth.
Mr. Ahern has gone to his eternal reward; but the mother still lives at Anaheim.

Eugene Ahern's boyhood days were spent in Los Angeles, when the present
metropolis was comparatively a small place, receiving his education in the public
schools. When nineteen years of age, he came to Orange County in 1893 and began
working on farms in the vicinity of El Toro and by experience and contact with the
world, and through keeping his eyes and ears open he has become a well-informed man.
His father ranched at various times in Contra Costa. Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange
counties, and very naturally Eugene gave him the greatest assistance he could, mastering
at the same time all kinds of ranch work. Finally at Santa Ana he was married,
Februry 2. 1899, to Miss Margaret Anna Kelly, born in New Zealand, the daughter of
Wm. and Margaret (Nichols) Kelly, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Isle of Man,


respectivel}'. Her father. Capt. W'm. Kelly, was a seafaring man and rose to master of
the vessel. For some j-ears he made his headquarters in New Zealand. It was in 1884
he came to Newport. Cal., where he became particularly well known, piloting vessels
'oveF the bar. Captain Kelly and his good wife now live in Santa Ana. Mrs. Ahern is
the third oldest of eight living children and she was reared and educated in the public
schools of Orange County. Two children came to add to their marital happiness:
Laura who married Drennan Krauchi, now deceased, and now resides at the Ahern
home at Tustin; and Juanita.

As has been said, Mr. Ahern began his acquaintance with the life and problems
of the farmer on the ranch of his father, who at one time was engaged in farming
leased land on the Irvine, or the San Joaquin ranch at Irvine. Later on, he came down
to El Toro and worked on the Twist ranch. He rose to be Mr. Twist's foreman, and
held that position for a number of years; about rifteen years ago he began farming
operations on his own account. At the present Mr. Ahern has 1,600 acres planted to
grain, of which 250 acres are in wheat, and 1,350 acres are in barley grain. He has
200 acres of hay, and 200 acres of beans. He resides with his family at Tustin, where
he owns a ranch — a trim little farm of twenty acres, seventeen of whicli are set out to
budded walnuts, while three acres are in Valencia oranges.

Mr. Ahern is serving as school trustee in the El Toro district, and is interested in
the proper education of the rising generation, believing that every boy and girl sliould
have the best of educational opportunities. In national politics, he is a Democrat, but
he aims to study and to act upon the great questions of the day in the broadest, most
nonpartisan spirit. He and his gifted wife still continue to apply themselves closely
to their life work and to give the most conscientious attention to every detail in busi-
ness; and they enjoy the highest respect of a large circle of friends.

GEORGE H. HANSEN.— .\n enterprising, successful rancher with an enviable
record as an expert oil driller, whose prosperity has stimulated his interest in local
affairs of every sort, is George H. Hansen, who was born, a native son, in Placentia,
Cal., on May 25, 1882. He is the eldest son of the well-known and highly respected
citizen of Placentia, Peter Hansen, and from childhood enjoj'ed the advantages of a
comfortable home, while he attended the district school at Placentia. Later he grad-
uated, as a member of the class of '97, from the Orange County Business College at
Santa Ana.

Entering the employ of the Union Oil Company at Maricopa, in Kern County,
Mr. Hansen was for four years an expert driller in that company's service, acquiring
practical experience which proved very profitable. Then in 1913 he took up ranching,
on his nine acres devoted to Valencia oranges. It is under the service of the Anaheim
Union Water Company and he is a member of the Placentia Orange Growers Associa-
tion. In 1918, he built a handsome residence on his ranch.

Mr. Hansen has been married twice. His tirst wife. Ceola D. Boswell, before her
marriage, died in 1917, the mother of three children — Christine May, Ernest and Robert.
Ernest served a year and a half in the merchant marine, and at San Francisco was
honorably discharged, and now he is an expert baker at Portland. His second marriage
made him the husband of Miss Bertha L. Herman, the daughter of R. B. Herman,
the rancher of Anaheim. She was a trained nurse, and is now a great helpmate; and
sh'e is the mother of one child, George Hansen, Jr. In national politics, Mr. Hansen
is a Republican; but he is first, last and all the time American, and ready to work for
America and her ideals.

WARREN M. GRAY. — An industrious, progressive and self-made young man
conspicuous among those who are "making good" is Warren M. Gray, naturally a
mechanic, through training an expert machinist, and very experienced in the handling
and directing of men. He is the owner of an excellent ranch about a mile and a
quarter east of El Toro, in whose community he and his promising family are highly
rated for their citizenship and neighborliness.

He was born in Boone County, Iowa, on July 8, 1886, the youngest of five children
born to J. M. and Frances (Westlake) Gray, and he came to California in 1891 with
his parents and the rest of the children. They settled first at San Juan Capistrano, and
there Warren grew up and attended the public schools. When thirteen years old he
began to work for the Santa Fe Railway, helping to construct and repair, and laboring
especially at the laying of track. Three years later, he was made section foreman, and
in that capacity he continued with the Santa Fe for thirteen years. His father was a
track and construction man for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway in Iowa for
twenty-three years and seventeen years for the Santa Fe at Capistrano: he now resides
with his daughter, Mrs. .'\lfred Trapp at El Toro. in the eighty-fourth year of his age,
the mother having passed awaj' there in 1910.


Warren M. Gray took up mechanical engineering through the International
Correspondence School at Scranton, Pa., which gave him the necessary insight, since
which time he has fortified himself through actual, valuable experience. He is very,
efficient in repairing automobiles, is a good separator man, and with A. C. Carle he
owns a complete and dependable threshing outfit. Some time ago Mr. Gray purchased
twenty acres of rich land, his present home place, and he has since set it out to walnuts,
making it a very productive ranch.

In 1910 Mr. Gray was married to Miss Rosie Zarn. a native of Del Mar, in San
Diego County; and they have two attractive children, as one might expect who knows
Mrs. Gray's charming personality. They are named Catherine and Carrie.

ALFRED HUHN. — A far-seeing business man of winning personality who has
repeatedly demonstrated that he has marked ability, is Alfred Huhn, president and
manager of the Ehlen and Grote Company. He was born at St. Louis. Mo., on No-
vember 18, 1875, the son of Peter and Lena (Theiss) Huhn of St. Louis, where her
father was a prominent merchant for many years. There were four children in the
family, and three are now living; and Alfred is the only one in California. Both
Peter Huhn and his good wife are now dead.

Alfred was reared in St. Louis and educated in the local schools, after which he
entered VValther College, from which he was graduated with the Bachelor of Arts
degree. Soon after this he entered the Third National, now the First National Bank
of St. Louis, following banking until 1901, when he resigned his position and came
west to California. He looked over the Southland and was not long in locating in
Orange. Soon after his arrival, he entered the employ of the Ehlen and Grote Com-
pany, and for some years continued with them as a clerk. When the business was
incorporated in 1906, Mr. Huhn became a stockholder and was elected secretary and
director; and in that capacity he remained until Mr. Ehlen sold his interest in 1910,
when Mr. Huhn was made president and manager; and these positions he has filled
to everyone's satisfaction since 1910. Through the excellent management accorded
by Mr. Huhn and his associates, the firm retains its old-time prestige of being the
largest retail grocery in Orange County, and very naturally Mr. Huhn is a livewire in
the Orange Merchants and Manufacturers Association.

Mr. Huhn is interested in horticulture, and owns an orange ranch near Olive.
He also owns business property in Orange and in Los Angeles. He is a director and
secretary of the California Fig Nut Company, which maintains factories for the prepa-
ration of breakfast food known as "Fig Nuts" made from figs, nuts and whole wheat,
a superior article rapidly coming to the front; the demand has increased so rapidly
the company is enlarging the capacity and also making plans for materially enlarging
the plant. He is also a stockholder in the National Bank of Orange.

At Orange Mr. Huhn was married to Miss Sophie Grote, a native of Kansas, and
the daughter of Henry Grote, the pioneer. Two children have brightened their home,
and their names are Alfred, Jr.. and Lester.

The family are members of St. John's Lutheran Church, and Mr. Huhn is a
member of the Lutheran Men's Club, as well as the Commercial Club of Orange. Both
Mr. and Mrs. Huhn are intensely interested in the broadest and most enduring develop-
ment of Orange County, and are eager supporters of every good movement tending
toward those ends.

ERNEST L. MORRISON.— One of the prosperous ranchers of Santa Ana is
Ernest L. Morrison, of South Birch Street, a native of Iowa who came to California
to spend the rest of his days, and has since had so much success here that he has taken
a new lease of life and more than ever, perhaps, longs to play the game. He was born
near Cedar Rapids on November 10. 1864, the son of J. W. and Emilie Morrison, and
was sent to school at Cedar Rapids, while his father traveled hither and thither as a
.salesman for wholesale houses. He was an apt student, and in time was graduated from
the Cedar Rapids Commercial College.

When only seventeen years of age, he also started out as a salesman, representing
the Farmers Fire Insurance Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; limited in his territory
at first to Cedar and Jones counties, but later special agent, representing the entire
state. He next purchased various strips of timberland and built a sawmill in Iowa, cut
his own timber, and sold cordwood, railroad ties and lumber. He built many houses
in Cedar Rapids, and bought and sold property there. He had a delightful suburban
farm of twenty acres near Cedar Rapids, suitaljle for the life of a country gentleman,
and a farm of 180 acres in Cedar County, devoted to general agriculture. Much of the
time while he owned this ranch property, he had a tenant on the farm, and he himself
gave his attention to the insurance business.


In 1908, Mr. Morrison sold his interests in Iowa, including some stock in the
Farmers Fire Insurance Compan.v, and came out to California on a six months' tour
of inspection; and having looked the state over pretty well, he located in Santa Ana.
He built a home at 530 East Seventeenth Street, and there made his home until he
sold the place in 1916. In April of that year, he bought a hve-acre grove of Valencia
oranges on Santiago Street, which is well watered by the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation
Company. In February, 1920, Mr. Morrison purchased twenty acres from R. J. Thomp-
son of Santa Ana. lying west of the County Hospital, for which he has a private pump-
ing pFant — that of the Dawn Company, Inc., which has a capacity of 200 inches. He
bought his present home at 116 South Birch Street in April, 1919. He is, very naturally,
a member of the Santiago Orange Growers Association.

On October 14. 1886. Mr. Morrison was married to Miss Martha A. Jeffries, who
was born near Cedar Rapids and educated at both the high school and the commercial
college of that city, in the district in which the Jeffries were early settlers. Mr. and
Mrs. Morrison are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana, and Mr.
Morrison is one of the trustees of that congregation. He was formerly a director in
the California National Bank. In national politics a Republican, Mr. Morrison is too
broad-minded to be partisan in his "boosting" of local projects, and therefore supports
heartily any movement deemed worthy for the betterment of the community or the
county in which he lives, labors and prospers.

HARRY BARTER. — For nearly a quarter of a century Harry Barter, the pro-
gressive rancher of Magnolia Avenue, Stanton, has resided on the same place where
he now lives. The ranch was purchased by his father, Alfred Barter, from the Stearns
Rancho Company and at that time was a sheep pasture.

Harry Barter was born in Virgil City, Vernon County, Mo., April 17, 1884, the
son of Alfred and Annie (Swartz) Barter. The family consisted of six children, three
of whom are living, two being residents of Los Angeles County. Alfred Barter was
an extensive farmer who. in conjunction with general farming, conducted a nursery
for many years in Orange County. He passed away in 1897 and his widow now resides
at Long Beach.

Although born in Missouri, Harry Barter was reared and educated in Orange
County and has always followed agricultural pursuits. His ranch of eighteen acres is
devoted to general farming and is highly cultivated and very productive.

In 1911, Mr. Barter was united in marriage with Miss Mary F. Hooven. a native
of Wyoming Valley, Pa., and the daughter of Mrs. Tillie Hooven. Mr. Barter is an
enterprising and progressive rancher and is most highly respected for his integrity and
high ideals of citizenship.

CHARLES PRINSLOW.— A self-made, self-reliant, substantial and well-to-do
rancher, who has worked hard for every dollar that he possesses, is Charles Prinslow,
the orchardist, whose trim fifty acres near the Costa Mesa postoffice are well known
to other California farmers. He was born at Brandenburg, Germany, on September 28.
1853, the son of Martin and Wilhelmina (Fredericks) Prinslow, farmers and landowners,
who migrated with their eight children to Fond du Lac, Wis., in 1869, and there con-
tinued agricultural pursuits. The second son and third child. Charles, was then sixteen
years of age, and therefore he was educated partly in his native land and partly in

When twenty-three years of age, he struck out for himself and first pulled up in
Lincoln County, Dakota Territory. There he took up a homestead of 160 acres and
also a timber claim of the same extent, and proved up on both; and this land he still
owns, and a section more.

In 1881, he was married to Miss Nina Ireland, born near Randolph, Wis., and a
daughter of James Ireland, who became a farmer near Centerville, where our subject
then lived. And after his marriage he raised wheat, corn, hay and barley, as well as
stock, so that he became a cattle feeder. Indeed, he fed thousands of cattle for the
Chicago market, and was favorably known as one of the extensive cattle feeders of
southeastern South Dakota. He bought more land, and in every way prospered.

In 1915, Mr. Prinslow came out from South Dakota, took in the two expositions
at San Francisco and San Diego, and returned to his farm of 960 acres in Brooklyn
Township, Lincoln County, and the following spring came back to California with
Mrs. Prinslow. After looking over various attractive localities, they bought a five-acre
home, to which they moved with their family, in January, 1916. They still retain their
fine Dakota farm, worth, according to a conservative estimate, at least $300,000, and
since their coming here they have made a trip to South Dakota each year. Mr.
Prinslow has identified himself in many ways with the life and progress of Orange
County, and is known it Newport Heights as president of the Newport Heights Irri-


gation District, which owns three artesian wells on twenty acres of ground bought
from James Irvine.

Mr. and Mrs. Prinslow have had eight children — the same number as made up the
family of which the subject of this sketch was a member. Mabel is the wife of William
losty, a farmer at Centerville, S. D.; and Elmer, the second born, is also farming
nearby; Lewis was a sergeant in the United States Army, now a barber at Marysville,
Cal.; Frank died, unmarried, when he was twenty-two years old; Minnie's husband is
John Boyd, the rancher and orchardist in Harper Precinct and they have a son, William;
and Charles is a farmer in Lincoln County, S. D.; Alice married John Jones, a fumi-
gator residing at Costa Mesa, and they have one child, Robert; Clarence, who has
reached his seventeenth year, lives at home.

Mr. Prinslow is a Republican according to his party preferences; but he endeavors
to put aside partisanship when local movements and measures are up for support or
defeat, and in that way works for the best interests of the community in which he
lives and prospers.

ROBERT L. BLANCHAR. — A far-seeing, progressive agriculturist, who leads a
quiet but very fruitful life, operating with excellent results some twenty acres on North
Flower Street, is Robert L. Blanchar, among the most successful of Orange ranchers.
He was born near Windsor, Wis., on August 24, 1877, the son of Harvey C. and Mary
Blanchar, and grew up in a circle of refinement and education such as might be
expected from the fact that his father was a student at the University of Wisconsin.

In 1900 Robert moved to Faribault County, Minn., with his parents, and there
purchased a farm of 200 acres of prairie land, which he devoted to the raising of cattle,
horses, sheep and grain. He lived nine years in Minnesota, and then sold out his hold-
ings. In the meantime, in 1908, his parents moved to town. In that same year, also,
our subject was married, on July 2, to Miss Grace Rorman, the ceremony taking place
at Winnebago, Minn.

In December, 1909, Harvey Blanchar came to California and located on North
Flower Street, in Santa Ana, later returning to Minnesota. In the spring of the fol-
lowing year he and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Blanchar, moved out to
California for good. This North Flower Street ranch consists of twenty and a half
acres, five of which are set out to apricots, two and a half to oranges, and thirteen to
walnuts. Our subject set out the apricots and oranges himself, but the walnut trees
were already there. He has ten acres under the service of the Santa Ana Valley Irriga-
tion Company, and also a private pumping plant with a capacity of forty inches. He
uses an electric motor of fifteen horsepower, and a number four pump. In 1910 he
built the home in which his mother now lives. His father died, ripe with the honors
of seventy-one years, on June 29, 1917. Robert Blanchar belongs to the Orange Lodge
of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of Santa Ana.

Mrs. Blanchar was born at Delavan, Faribault County, Minn., the daughter of
Will and Kate Rorman, natives of Minnesota, who continue to reside in that state.
She attended the grammar schools of the district, and also studied at the high school
in Winnebago. Four children have blessed their union. Helen E., Eunice D. and

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 155 of 191)