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 156 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 156 of 191)
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Vivian M. are pupils of the grammar school; and Robert L., Jr., is at home. The family
belongs to the First Baptist Church of Santa Ana.

JOSEPH E. DURKEE. — That a professional man may become a successful and
prosperous rancher, under the benign influence of sunny California, is clearly demon-
strated in the career of J. E. Durkee of Orangethorpe, where he owns twenty acres
devoted to oranges and walnuts. For twenty years he taught school in Iowa, and for
eleven years he was superintendent of schools of Buena Vista County, in that state.

Mr. Durkee was born January 6, 1862, in Leeds, Wis., the son of Joseph and Edna
(Webb) Durkee. In 1855 the parents moved to Wisconsin, and from there the father
enlisted in the Civil War and was killed at Yorktown. Later the family moved to
Iowa, where J. E. received his early education in the excellent public schools of his
locality. Subsequently he attended the Agricultural College of Iowa at Ames, from
which institution he was graduated in 1889; he then took up teaching as a profession
and for which he was admirably qu«ilified.

In 1909 Mr. Durkee came to California, and after spending one year in Los
Angeles, he purchased his present ranch in Orange County, where he has since resided.
At the time of purchase the ranch was mostly unimproved, but Mr. Durkee, with his
characteristic enterprise and spirit of progress, began at once to improve and develop
the place, and after expending much money and labor he has brought the ranch up to
a high state of productiveness and has made of it a beautiful homestead.

Mr. Durkee's marriage occurred in 1892, when he was united with Miss Lucinda
Stewart of Floyd, Iowa. Five children have been born to them, three of them living

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Beatrice, wife of E. T. Watson of Orange, Florence and Ruth. Mrs. Durkee died in
Los Angeles in 1910. Fraternally, Mr. Durkee is a Mason, a member of Sioux Rapids,
Iowa, Lodge A. F. & A. M., and a member of the Chapter of that city; he is also
affiliated with the Odd Fellows.

In these days of scientific farming a man of education and attainments is a valu-
able asset to any community. That Mr. Durkee's capabilities have been recognized by
his fellow citizens is evidenced by the fact that he has been made a school director
of his district and he wields a broad influence in shaping its educational policy, as he
is an enthusiastic supporter of every movement for the widening of the educational
facilities of the community.

MRS. MINNIE M. DIETRICH.— An enterprising, liberal and kind-hearted woman
who has spent many years of her life in Santa Ana, where she is well liked and highly
esteemed is Mrs. Minnie M. Dietrich, who was in maidenhood Minnie M. Buchmann, a
native of Berlin, Germany, born in 1856, a daughter of John and Rosina (Seidel) Buch-
mann, who brought their family of children to Buffalo, N. Y., in 1860, where after a
residence of four years they removed to Richardson County, Nebr. There they became
successful farmers and there both spent the remainder of their lives.

Minnie Buchmann spent her teens in Richardson County and received a good
education in the public schools of that county, and at Fall City, Nebr., she was
married, January 21, 1872, when Penrose C. Dietrich became her husband. He was a
native of Pennsylvania, born at Kutztown, May 24, 1840. His father, Daniel Dietrich,
was also born in Pennsylvania and was a farmer near Kutztown, where he and his
estimable wife died. Penrose Dietrich after completing the public schools of his
locality came out to Iowa when seventeen years of age and soon afterwards still farther
west, locating at Fall City, Nebr., where he met Miss Buchmann, the acquaintance
resulting in their marriage. The young couple then located on a Nebraska prairie farm
which they improved, growing corn, wheat and oats. In about 1895 they removed to
Long Island, Phillips County, Kans., where they purchased and improved a farm and
became successful stock raisers and feeders. They met with splendid returns and
became owners of a 400-acre farm.

In 1900 they made their first trip to Santa Ana, Cal., and after remaining a year,
returned to their Kansas farm, but the lure of the balmy climate was too great and they
responded to the call of the West, so in April, 1905, sold their Eastern holdings and
located in Santa Ana. They purchased the place Mrs. Dietrich still owns, between four
and five acres, on Grand Avenue. They also owned the old Renter place on Depot
Street, where they first made their home until he sold it. They journeyed back East for
a visit and there he was taken ill, but so strong was his desire to return to California,
the state of his adoption, that he made the trip back, but died six or seven months
later, on April 11, 1918.

After his death Mrs. Dietrich spent some time in Los Angeles at her residence.
1231 West Forty-first Street, but now she makes her home on the Grand Avenue
ranch, surrounded by her children and many friends. Her seven children are as follows:
Annie is the wife of John Hasenyager of Santa Ana, and they have two children;
Wm. married Leola Wagner of Santa Ana; Edward is a rancher in Tustin, and married
Miss Maude Skelton of Kansas; Frank married Miss Bessie Killebrew of Kansas;
Albert and Carrie are deceased; and Elmer is assisting his mother in the care of the
ranch. Mrs. Dietrich is a member of the Lutheran Church in Santa Ana and is very
charitable in her donations for its upkeep.

JOSEPH POLLOCK.— A very successful, influential rancher whose busy life has
been fruitful, ever since his advent here, in advancing the best interests of Orange
County, is Joseph Pollock, who lives on Santa Clara Avenue, in Santa Ana, where he
devotes his time exclusively to the culture of oranges, and where he has operated since
1911 buying and selling real estate, encouraging others to come to Santa .'Kna and
vicinity to settle, and proving the magnet thropgh which many have found their way
to Southern California and fortune.

Mr. Pollock was born in Washington County, New York state, on June 10. 1849,
the son of William and Rheuamy (Kinney) Pollock, natives, respectively, of Ireland
and New York. He was one of eight children, all of whom grew to maturity, while
six are now living; and he is the only one residing in California. He was reared in the
Empire State and there educated at its excellent public schools; and when the time
came for such a decision, he himself chose to be a farmer.

In 1864. however, as a lad of fifteen, when the Civil War was in full swing, he
enlisted as a volunteer in the United States Navy and was assigned to the Albert Lee
squadron, in which he served on the old frigate Minnesota, at Fortress Monroe, and
afterwards on the .^gawam, at Deep Bottom, on the James River, where the second


officer was Lieutenant George Dewey, in more modern times Admiral Dewey, the hero
of Manila Bay. After extended, active service along the Atlantic Coast, Mr. Pollock
was honorably discharged at Norfolk, Va.. in July, 1865, when he returned to New York.

He then started West and traveled in most of the Middle and Western States, as
far as Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, where he followed mining; and then he came
back to Hinkley, 111., and on November 30, 1876, was married to Miss Amanda Strever,
the daughter of John Strever, a lady of accomplishment and a member of a family
long highly esteemed in their locality. Then he resolved to settle down: and in the
spring of 1877 he removed to Austin, Mower County, Minn., where he remained for
thirty years, and where he owned and cultivated a farm of 220 acres.

In 190S, he removed to Orange County, Cal., and more than ever he has prospered
in his latest environment. He came here with some $15,000, and this he has invested
so wisely that it has multiplied materially. Besides his home ranch on Santa Clara
Avenue, Mr. Pollock has another farm of twenty acres near Anaheim, upon which he
has placed his son, Roy Pollock, who cultivates both oranges and lemons.

Mr. and Mrs. Pollock have had two children, but only one has survived. Roy
married Miss Carrie White, by whom he has had four children, three of whom are still
living. Mr. and Mrs. Pollock are members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church at
Santa Ana, and politically are staunch Republicans, and he is naturally a worthy member
of the Grand Army of the Republic at Orange.

HANS VICTOR WEISEL.— Prominent among the attorneys of Orange County
is Hans Victor Weisel, of Anaheim, where he maintains offices in the Golden State
Bank Building. Although not a native of this state, Mr. Weisel has spent much of his
life here, coming here with his parents when he was a lad of but nine years. His birth
occurred in Milwaukee, Wis., November 6, 1883, and he is of German and French
descent, his parents being Peter and Josephine (Cordes) Weisel, the latter a native of
Milwaukee, Wis. Both parents are now deceased. The family came to California in
1892, and Hans, who was the seventh child in order of birth of the nine children, re-
ceived the greater part of his early education in the grammar and high schools here.

Later he attended Rose Polytechnic Institute at Terre Haute, Ind., where for two
years he gave his time and attention to the study of electrical and chemical engineering.
However, having decided upon a career in the legal profession, he returned to California
and entered the College of Law, University of Southern California, where he graduated
in 1907. Coming to Anaheim, he entered the practice of law, and after three years he
formed a partnership with Roger C. Dutton. under the firm name of Weisel & Dutton.
This partnership continued until 1915, and since that time Mr. Weisel has maintained
his own offices.

Taking a deep interest in politics, Mr. Weisel was honored by election to the
House of Representatives of the State Legislature of California, serving in 1912-14. In
politics he is a Republican and was a firm supporter of Roosevelt and Johnson. Fra-
ternally he is an Elk and a member of the Alpha Tau Omega.

On September 25, 1910, occurred Mr. Weisel's marriage to Miss Evangeline C.
Gentry, a native daughter of California, and two children have been born to them,
Victor G. and Anita E. Their home is at Brookhurst and Mr. W'eisel is also the ovs-ner
of an orange grove. Fond of outdoor life, he enjoys especially the sports of hunting
and fishing. Deeply interested in all matters of local import, he is progressive and
wide awake in his views and a firm believer in the future of this part of the state.

MISS BELLA J. WALKER.— Among the educators of Orange County who are
entitled to the highest confidence and esteem, partly because of their character and
personality, and partly on account of the high standards they have set and attained
in their academic work, may be named Miss Bella J. Walker, the head of the department
of English in the Anaheim Union high school. She comes of a family well known for
its identification, through her father and brothers, with the Christian ministry, and is
herself rated as a brilliant instructor. She enjoys a popularity not only complimentary
in the highest degree to herself, but helpful to the institution in which, under the
general leadership of its able principal, she has the honor to teach.

Miss Walker was born in Cayuga, in the province of Ontario, Canada, and is the
daughter of the Rev. J. L. Walker, a Methodist minister who was born in Aberdeen,
Scotland, and came out to Canada when he was ten years old. He married Miss Eliza-
beth A. Baldwin: and when our subject was in her third year, they crossed the line into
the United States and settled at Columbus. At the end of two years, according to the
custom in the Methodist Church, Mr. Walker went on to the L'Anse Indian Mission in
the Northern Peninsula, and for many years presided over various charges in Michigan.

Miss Walker received the best training possible in the grade schools, considering
that she was compelled so often to change her schools and teachers, and in 1893 was


graduated from the Ypsilanti Xormal College. Then, for seven years, she taught in
the high school of Republic, Mich. .After that, in 1902, she studied at the University
of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and then, for two years, she was both principal and in-
structor in the high school at Petoskey, Mich. In 1904, she went to Owosso, in the
same state, and became an instructor in the County Teachers' Training School; and
she was there until 1907.

In that year, Miss Walker journeyed west to California, to visit her brother, J.
Franklin Walker, who was principal of the Anaheim Union high school; and during her
visit she purchased five acres on North Street. She went back to Michigan, however,
and taught for a year; and in 1908 she returned to the Golden State with her father
and sister, Margaret. She built a home on her ranch, and within a year the trio moved
onto the five acres. Her beloved mother had passed away in Michigan, and her father
went to his eternal reward, rich in the works of eighty-four years, in 1916 while residing
in California.

Having once established herself as a member of the .Anaheim community. Miss
Walker joined the staflf of the Anaheim high school and was made head of the English
department; and in that very responsible position she has served the commonwealth
ever since, contributing what she could toward the highest efficiency in the study of
English, both for the present and the opening years to come. When she first saw the
high school ^t Anaheim, her brother as principal was in charge of seventy-nine pupils;
and now the school has four hundred. A sister, Miss Margaret Walker, married J. K.
Langdon. and lives in Anaheim; and this social relation, together with such activity
as Red Cross work during the progress of the late war, has added to the happiness of
Miss ^V.alker's residence in the early Orange County town.

The Reverend Mr. Walker found cactus and brush on the land on North Street
purchased when they came, and he developed the waste into splendid acreage. Now
it is devoted to the cultivation of citrus fruit, and supports seven and eight-year-old
Valencia orange trees, irrigated by Section No. 2 of the Water Company. The success
of his labors there was but such as one might have expected who had followed his long
and successful harvesting as a reaper of souls.

JACOB S. SWINDLER. — .About two miles south of Anaheim is the highly culti-
vated and well-kept walnut grove and orange orchard of Jacob S. Swindler. He was
born on October 6, 1852, in Montgomery County, near Crawfordville, Ind., in a log-
house, and when quite young his parents moved to Missouri where he was reared and

His parents, Joseph S. and Salina (Lyter) Swindler, had a family of eleven
children, nine of whom grew to maturity, and six are now living. Jacob S. is the only
member of the family living in California. During most of his life he has followed
farming although he learned the trade of a carpenter, which he had found of great
benefit to him, even in ranching, as the knowledge of the trade enables him to do his
own carpenter work, and at times he has done work for his neighbors. Mr. Swindler
resided in Missouri until 1900, when he went to Idaho, bought a ranch of 160 acres near
Lewiston, where he remained until coming to California in 1911.

Mr. Swindler has been married three times; his first wife was Miss Catherine
Davis of Missouri, to whom he was united in February, 1879, and of this union three
children were born, two of whom are living: Virgil C; and Laura, Mrs. .Alfred Edwards
of Missouri. Mrs. Swindler passed away in 1883. On October 22, 1886, he was united
in marriage with Miss Maggie Boyd, she died in .April, 1913, in Orange County. Mr.
Swindler's present wife, before her marriage, was Mrs. Mary (Williams) Wiley. She
and Mr. Swindler were married on June 13, 1914, and one daughter. Dorothy Elizabeth,
has been born to them. Mrs. Swindler is a native of Ohio, of Welsh parents, and is
the mother of three living children by her former marriage: Fannie. Ethel and
W. Victor Wiley. Mrs. Swindler has lived in California since a year old. Her parents
came to what is now Orange County in 1876, and settled in Gospel Swamp, where they
have since lived. She was reared and educated here, and in 1900 was married to Victor
L. Wiley. She spent six years in Iowa after her marriage, but came back to California,
where Mr. Wiley died in 1908.

Mrs. Swindler is the owner of a ranch of ten and one-third acres which is well
improved, and since her marriage to Mr. Swindler he has given it his especial attention,
making many improvements which have enhanced the value and attractiveness of the
property by setting out six acres of Valencia oranges and four acres of walnuts. Mr.
Swindler owns eleven and one-quarter acres of walnuts near by, all of which he looks
after in person. Mr. and Mrs. Swindler are members of the Christian Church and are
highly respected citizens of the community, where they have many warm friends. In
politics they are Republicans.


HERMAN F. MEYER. — An industrious and enterprising orange grower, residing
on Katella Road and Palm Avenue, in the Anaheim district, is Herman F. Meyer, the
owner of a five-acre orange orchard, about seven years old. His ranch is well improved
and a modern residence adds to its attractiveness. Mr. Meyer was born on September
S, 1857, at Chicago 111., a son of Herman and Wilhelmina Meyer, natives of Germany.
Herman Meyer, Sr., learned the trade of a shoemaker in Germany but after emigrating
to the United States he followed agricultural pursuits. The family settled in Iowa,
where the father engaged in farming until he passed away in 1900. After the death of
her husband, Mrs. Meyer moved to California in 1907, with her son Herman F., and
she passed away at Los Angeles in 1911. Mr. and Mrs. Meyer were the parents of
eleven children, seven of whom are living, and four brothers, Henry, August, Charles
and Herman F., reside in California.

When Herman F. Meyer came to California in 1907 he went to Santa Cruz, where
he lived for six and one-half years, subsequently going to Aromas, San Benito County,
where he owned about sixty acres which he devoted to general farming and fruit
raising. In 1918 he removed to Orange County and located on his present place, and
as a result of his diligent work he has become one of the successful ranchers there.

On June 4, 1896, Mr. Meyer was united in marriage with Miss Anna M. Rudolph,
daughter of Valentine and Catherine Rudolph, and they have become the parents of
si.x children: Edgar, Marie, Carl, Albert, Merten and Herman. Mrs. Meyer is a native
of Cedar Lake, Ind., where she was born on December 21, 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Meyer
are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and politically they support the
Republican ticket. A former marriage of Mr. Meyer, in 1884, united him with Miss
Sophia Frevert, and two children were born to them, Hulda of Santa Rosa, and Esther,
who is now deceased.

EDWARD KARLOFF. — An enterprising, successful orange grower who is known
as a liberal-minded, public-spirited citizen, ready at all times to do what he can both
to build up the town and the county and also to help in the great work of upbuilding,
or improving things socially and educationally, is Edward Karloflf, who was born in
Posen, Germany, on March 5, 1868, and there attended the public schools. As early
as 1891 he was fortunate in being able to come out to America and to Chicago, and
there he soon found work in the great stockyards. Then he took to gardening, and
made a success of that; and when he decided to push on still further to the West, he
was ready for the new and severer problems awaiting his attention.'

In 1894 he arrived at Anaheim and at once went to work on a ranch as a farm
hand, getting one dollar and a quarter a day for from twelve to fifteen hours of labor,
and boarding himself. He was frugal, however, notwithstanding these adverse condi-
tions, and by 1902 had saved enough to be able to buy his present place of ten acres on
Ball Road. It was raw land then; but his industry, guided by intelligent reflection, soon
transformed it into improved land, and there he set out Valencia oranges, interset with
walnuts which his enterprise had raised independently of the nurseries, and today all
are bearing finely.

While in Germany, Mr. Karloflf was married to Miss Louisa Kroeger. a native
of Posen and a woman with the desirable domestic virtues and accomplishments for
which Germans are so favorably known; and they have three bright children — Elsa.
Bertha and Walter. The family attend the Anaheim Lutheran Church; and Mr. and
Mrs. Karloflf. intense in their patriotic Americanism, subscribe to the political creeds
of the Republican party, although in supporting desirable local projects they are non-
partisan in the extreme. Mr. Karloflf thinks that Orange County can have only a
brilliant future; and Orange County naturally expects but one result from the hard work
of Mr. and Mrs. KarlofT to make a happy home and a prosperous ranching estate.

JOHN F. GUTHRIE,— Descended from Scotch ancestors who were early settlers
of Virginia, John F. Guthrie is himself a native of the Old Dominion. He was born
October 14, 1874, near Nathalie, in Halifax County, Va., his parents being Thomas and
Sallie Guthrie. His father, who was also a native of Virginia, was the owner of a
400-acre tobacco plantation in Halifax County, and here John F. spent his boyhood
days, receiving his education in the schools at Nathalie. When he was twenty-two
years of age he took an extensive trip through the Southern States and also made a
visit to Cuba and Porto Rico. During the year 1897 he farmed in Florida, near Braden-
town on the Manistee River. The following year, when the Spanish-American War
broke out he enlisted for service and was in the quartermaster's department of the
U. S. Army,^ being stationed both in Cuba and Porto Rico.

Returning to his old home in Virginia at the close of the war, he farmed there
for two years, but the trips that he had taken gave him a taste for travel and a keen
desire to see more of the world. Accordingly he set out for California, and arriving


at Los Angeles, engaged in various kinds of work, being for a time with tlie Kerckhoff-
Cuzner Lumber Company and later spending a short time on a ranch near Compton.

On April 2, 1907, Mr. Guthrie was married to Miss Emma Ahrens, the ceremony
being solemnized at Los Angeles. She is a native daughter of California, her parents,
Fred and Caroline Ahrens, residing at Main and Nineteenth streets at the time of her
birth. Mr. Ahrens, who was a cabinet maker by trade, came to California from
Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1886, following his trade after locating in Los Angeles. Mr.
and Mrs. Guthrie are the parents of two sons, Randolph and Arthur.

Shortly after his marriage Mr. Guthrie removed to San Mateo, where he spent
six j-ears with the Wisdom-Loop Lumber Company, as foreman of their San Mateo
yards. He then gave up lumber yard work and came to Orange County, purchasing
ten acres of land on Magnolia Avenue in 1912. At the time he bought it, it was barren
cactus land and he set to work to develop it, setting it out to Valencia oranges. He has
used the most up-to-date methods in his ranch work and has been very successful, the
income from his orchard increasing steadily each year. Mr. Guthrie has a private
pumping plant on his ranch and has one of the best pipe systems in the vicinity, having
three sets of valves across the property. Besides caring for his own ranch Mr. Guthrie
rents from SO to 100 acres of land each year on which he does truck gardening, raising
corn, tomatoes, beans, etc.

Mr. Guthrie takes an active interest in all civic affairs and has served on the
school board as a trustee. A believer in the principles of the Republican party, he
gives his support and vote to the nominees of that party. Fraternally he is affiliated
with the Masonic order and with his wife attends the Grace Lutheran Church at Ana-
heim. During his residence in San Mateo Mr. Guthrie was appointed by Governor
Gillett to fill a vacancy on the sanitation committee of the hospital in that vicinity, and
he discharged the duties of this office to the satisfaction of everyone.

MISS MABLE McGEE. — One of the most capable and successful business women
of Brea, and one who, in fact, has the distinction of having filled four city offices, is

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 156 of 191)