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

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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 167 of 191)
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Knights of Pythias.

S. L. PUGH. — A well-posted, successful oil man who thoroughly understands his
business is Solomon Leonard Pugh. the former superintendent of the Heffern Oil
Company, now connected with the Orange County Drilling Company, a contracting
concern; he is also growing oranges on his splendid nine-acre orchard, thereby demon-
strating his knowledge of horticulture as well as of oil. He was born in Romney,
Hampshire County, W. Va., on July 25, 1880, the son of J. W. Pugh, a farmer who
came to Missouri and now resides at Mansfield in that state. He had married Miss
Lillian Burkheimer, a West Virginian, and she also is living. Our subject is the oldest
of the seven surviving children, and was brought up in Virginia until four years of age.

Going to Missouri with his parents, he attended the public schools there, and in
that same state, on September 16, 1902, was married to Miss Lena B. Christner, after
which he followed farming. He purchased a farm in Douglas County and operated it
with success until he came to California in 1910.

Landing at Bakersfield, he entered the oil business, first for the Howell and Davies
Oil Company, and then for several companies in Taft. He next entered the service
of the Head Drilling Company, and after that with the Associated Oil Company in
Taft. In 1917. he removed to Brea. to work for the .'\malgamated Company, and then
he helped drill four wells for the Head Drilling Company.

In 1919, Mr. Pugh became superintendent of the Heffern Oil Company, and he
was also made a stockholder and a director. They have about 300 acres in their lease,


so that he had a position of much responsibility. He belongs to the Oil Workers'
Union, and is likely to do his full share in the development of Orange County's hidden
and untold liquid wealth.

Three children were granted Mr. and Mrs. Pugh, two still living — Thehna Marie
and Everett Fowler. Mary Lillian died, aged two j'ears and eight months. Mrs.
Pugh attends the Baptist Church; Mr. Pugh belongs to the Modern Woodmen of
America, and has been affiliated with that organization since he was eighteen years old.
In national politics he is a Democrat; but he does not favor party politics in local
movements. In 1918 he traded his Missouri farm for a nine-acre ranch, set out to
Valencia oranges; he has a fine home there and enjoys the alternation of ranching with
his oil interests.

RAYMOND C. FINCH.— .\ well-educated, progressive and highly successful
young orchardist. operating according to the last word of science and with the most
approved methods and appliances anywhere to be obtained, is Raymond C. Finch,
tenant-proprietor of the celebrated Finch ranch, well situated on North Main Street,
about midway between Santa Ana and Orange. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on
April 14, 1890, and grew up in that city until the beginning of his teens, when he came
to California with his parents. His father. Charles Finch, engaged in the oil business
at Bakersfield and later conducted a meat market at Los Angeles, where he died in
1907. He acquired ten acres of excellent land at the above mentioned site, and it is this
ranch of walnut, apricot, Valencia and Navel orange trees belonging to the Finch estate
which Mr. Finch is now managing.

Mrs. Finch, whose maiden name was Elizabeth I. Robinson, died on the home
ranch in the month of November, 1918, at the age of fifty-eight, much loved by her family
and friends. She left five children, Alfred W., Raymond C. Jennie, John and Leonard,
all of whom have succeeded in the world.

Raymond Finch enjoyed the superior advantages of an educational training at the
Harvard Military School in Los Angeles, and in 1911 he began to farm. Since then he
has been attaining more and more success, and consequently more and more enjoying
the esteem of fellow ranchers who like to see enterprise and common sense operations
in their field. Mr. Finch takes a live interest in the various political and sociological
questions of the day, and stands ready at all times to "lend a helping hand."

WILLIAM J. OELKE. — The fumigating of orange groves has developed into one
of the important adjuncts of citrus growing in Southern California, and the men, expert
in this line of business, are indispensable to the productiveness of this principal indus-
try of Orange County. Among these, William J. Oelke is well known throughout the
district and is kept busy by an ever-increasing demand for his services.

Born in Summit, Essex County, N. J.. June 14. 1891, when a lad he learned the
trade of carpenter and followed that occupation in his native town until he located in
Anaheim, in 1909. For four years after his arrival here he worked in the oil fields,
doing rig building and carpenter work. In 1913 he started in as a fumigator and became
foreman for the two leading fumigators in Orange County, Mr. Coffman and Mr. Bon-
kosky. He had charge of the crews for these contractors and gained a thorough
knowledge of the business. In the summer of 1919 he decided to go into the fumigating
contracting business for himself, and in partnership with his brother, Carl F., formed
the firm of Oelke Bros., which continued one year and proved very satisfactory, in fact,
they had more work than they could handle with their equipment. In January, 1920,
W. J. Oelke became sole owner and he has been adding enough equipment to enable
him to take care of the rapidly growing business. The first season Oelke Bros, treated
70.000 trees, their territory covering the entire citrus belt of Orange County; Mr.
Oelke contracts work by the tree and the gas is paid for by the owner of the grove.

William J. Oelke has made a thorough study of tree fumigating and is one of the
best informed men in that line in the county. He is the first man in the Anaheim,
Fullerton and Orange districts to do daylight fumigating, heretofore all the work being
done at night, and has been very successful with daylight work. When he entered the
business the work was done on the trees every other year; now many of the growers
are fumigating every year. Mr. Oelke states that fumigating stimulates the tree and
adds to its growth and advocates yearly fumigating. In connection with his work he
advises with the grower, examines the grove, and in other words, acts as a "tree
doctor." He has gained many friends among the growers and takes pride in having
them find his work always thorough and satisfactory.

The marriage of William J. Oelke united him with Miss Osa .\. Pontius, a native
of Indiana, and one daughter. Coral, has blessed their union. Mr. Oelke is a member
of .Anaheim Lodge Xo. 1345, B. P. O. Elks.


ESTABAN AND PETER OYHARZABAL.— Among the enterprising ranchers
of San Juan Capistrano are Estaban and Peter Oyharzabal, natives of Basses-Pyrenees,
France, born in Canton Hasparren, Arrondissement Bayonne, in 1877 and 1882, respec-
tively. Their father, Jean Oyharzabal, was a business man and farmer, and died in that
country. Their mother, who was Graciosa Amestoy. is still living in the vicinity of the
old home, the mother of seven children, three of whom are in California; Domingo, a
sheep raiser at Bakersfield. and the two brothers in Capistrano. The Oyharzabal boys
were brought up in the region of the Pyrenees, receiving a good education in the local
schools and at the college in Mauleon. and later at Larressore. When sixteen years of
age Peter left for South America with a sister, .\rriving at Buenos Ayres, he found em-
ployment, and in 1899 his brother Estaban joined him. They had two uncles, Domingo
and Estaban Oyharzabal, who were early settlers of San Juan Capistrano, where they
were prominent merchants, so they resolved to migrate to California, and in 1904 the
two brothers came on to San Juan Capistrano, where they entered the employ of their
uncles, riding the range and became proficient in the care of cattle, learning to rope and
brand. Later Peter entered his uncles' store as a clerk and Estaban became manager
of the Oyharzabal ranch of 4,000 acres and they continued in their respective capacities
until May, 1920, when the two brothers formed a partnership, leased their uncles'
ranch and engaged in ranching.

The two brothers own a fine ranch of seventy-four acres on the Capistrano
River, twenty-five acres being in walnuts. They also lease and operate a part of the
E. Oyharzabal ranch, which they devote to raising grain, alfalfa and walnuts. The
whole is under irrigation from their individual pumping plant and thus they are en-
gaged in general farming. Peter Oyharzabal was married in Capistrano on April 24,
1911, to Miss Crecencia Leon, a native daughter of San Juan Capistrano, the daughter
of Don Incarnacion and Juana (Mendes) Leon, born in Sonora, Mexico, who were
early settlers of Capistrano, where Mrs. Oyharzabal was reared and educated in the
public schools. Mr. Oyharzabal is a member of the Walnut Growers Association and
in politics favors Republican principles.

G. FRED PRESSEL.— .\ self-made man. and public-spirited as are all men of the
calibre to succeed against obstacles. G. Fred Pressel is numbered among the early
pioneers of Anaheim, where he has prospered with the growth of the community and
has reached a position of real success in life. A native of Obermetzbach, Bavaria,
Germany, he was born December 22, 1855, and, after finishing his schooling, served
three years in the army. At the age of fourteen he began the trade of a blacksmith
under his father, John Pressel, and followed this work in his native land until after
his father's death.

Coming to California in 1887. Mr. Pressel went direct to Anaheim, and after his
arrival worked one year for Boetticker, the blacksmith, on the spot on West Center
Street where he now owns his own blacksmith shop. He then located in Portlarid,
Ore., and worked for four and a half years in a machine shop. Returning to California,
he operated a shop of his own in Monrovia for a year; then selling out, in 1891, he
went back to .\naheim with $300 capital, with which he bought out his old employer
and continued the business at 218 West Center Street. In 1910 he took his son Carl
in as a partner and built a new shop, and was actively engaged there until September,
1915, when he retired on account of an injury to his right arm. Since then he has
remodeled his building for a garage, now occupied by the Franklin Motor Company. A
man of strict business integrity and farsighted in his selection of a site for future
endeavors, he has increased his original capital over one hundred times, and has in the
meantime taken an active part in the civic and business growth of the community. At
one time he owned a twenty-acre orange grove at Placentia. which he sold. He now
makes his home at 403 East Broadway, and also owns an orange grove of three and a
half acres at 300 West Santa Ana Street. On retiring, Mr. Pressel sold his business to
his son, who is carrying on the enterprise on Oak and Clementine streets, with the
characteristic attention to details, which makes for success.

Twice married. Mr. Pressel's first wife was Margaret Mueller, a native of Ger-
many, and she passed away in 1914. leaving three children: Carl, who carries on the
blacksmith business, is an Odd Fellow and an Elk; Margaret is the wife of Thomas
L. Hoag; and Kate, the wife of C. O. Vannatta; both sons-in-law are Masons. An
example of Mr. Pressel's fine spirit may be found in the fact that he has built three
fine houses, one for each of his children, on South Clementine Street, and presented to
them as wedding gifts. The family are members of Zion's Lutheran Church at Anaheim.

Mr. Pressel's second marriage took place in San Francisco, when he was united
with Mrs. Alma (Gerick) Miller, a union that has proven very happy to them both.
She was born in Berlin, Germany, and came to Illinois with her parents, later removing


to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Her parents afterwards returned to Chicago, where they
resided until their death. Alma Gerick attended school in Council Bluffs, and it was
in the former metropolis that she married Mr. Miller, who was engaged in the real
estate business in Janesville, Wis.; he also built and owned eight bowling alleys in
southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. In 1909 Mr. aiid Mrs. Miller came to Cali-
fornia and were among the first settlers of Brea, building one of the first two houses
erected in that place. They also built two stores and the first livery barn, and pur-
chased a ranch at Inglewood. They returned to Janesville, Wis., in 1912, and there Mr.
Miller passed away in 1916. After settling her affairs there Mrs. Miller came back to
California to look after her property, and located at Anaheim, from which place she
superintended her interests, and she still owns her business property at Brea. In
Anaheim she met Mr. Pressel and the acquaintance resulted in their marriage May 12,
1919. She was a prominent member of the Janesville Rebekah Lodge No. 171, and a
past noble grand, and was representative to the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin. She is now
a member of Lois Rebekah Lodge of Anaheim, as well as the Royal Neighbors, and
takes much pleasure in her membership in the Ebell Club. She is also a member of the
ladies' society of Zion's Lutheran Church and the Woman's Relief Corps, while politic-
ally Mr. and Mrs. Pressel are both strong Republicans. Mrs. Pressel is a cultured,
refined woman, her taste for the beautiful finding expression in her work as an artist,
in which she shows much ability, her home being replete with her own handiwork of
paintings on canvas and china and water-color work.

In 1909, Mr. Pressel, accompanied by his two daughters, made a six months' trip
to Europe, where he visited the old home and many other places of interest on the
continent, but returned to Anaheim more pleased than ever with his adopted land.

FELIX STEIN.— One of the enterprising merchants of Orange County, Felix
Stein has progressed with the growth of this section, and has reached an assured
position in the community. His birth took place many miles away, in Barton, Ger-
many, February 8, 1888. When a youth of sixteen he landed in New York City, in the
year 1904, and for a few years he was in the employ of a wholesale clothing company
there. The year 1908 marked the arrival of Mr. Stein in Fullerton, Cal., and in the
spring of that year he entered the employ of Stern and Goodman, mercantile firm, as
a clerk. Later he was manager for their branch stores at Anaheim and Olinda for a
time. Then, in partnership with Mr. William Fassel he bought out the branch stores of
Stern and Goodman in Olinda, Placentia and Yorba Linda, operating the three stores
under the firm name of Stein and Fassel. In 1918 they took over the Stern and
Goodman store in Fullerton, and Mr. Hax became a member of the firm in that city,
and under the firm of Stein, Fassel and Hax they operate a modern and up-to-tlate
grocery and hardware establishment at 100 South Spadra Street: they have put a new
front in the store and in keeping with the other mercantile establishments in Fullerton,
maintain a high grade of merchandise handled with the efficiency and good management
of men experienced in their line of business.

Mr. Stein has also interested himself with the horticultural development of the
county, and has bought and sold orange and lemon groves: at the present time the
firm own two orange and lemon ranches in this section.

The marriage of Mr. Stein, which occurred at Fullerton, united him with Claire
Nicolas, a native of Fullerton, and the daughter of Pierre Nicolas, one of the pioneers
of the city. Two children have blessed their union, Babette and Paul. Mr. Stein has
joined in the fraternal life of the county, and is a member of the .Anaheim Lodge No.
134S, Elks, and of the Knights of Pythias of Fullerton. A believer in progress and a
"booster" for his section, he sees even greater advancement for Orange County in
the future than has taken place in the past, and is willing at all times to do his share
toward the further upbuilding of the section where he makes his home and carries
on his business interests.

WALTER J. JEWELL. — An enterprising operator on a large scale in Orange
County real estate who has done much to make known to the outside world the attrac-
tions and advantages of this flourishing county, thereby encouraging many substantial
people to settle here and establish themselves comfortably, is Walter J. Jewell, who is
coming to be one of the best known realtors in the county. Michigan is Mr. Jewell's
native state, and here he was born at .\nn Arbor on May 13, 1881: his parents are
Richard and Mary (Hall) Jewell, the father a native of England, and they came to this
part of Michigan when the country was new and but sparsely settled.

Walter J. Jewell was educated in the grammar and high schools of ."Xnu .\rbor,
following this with a business course in Flint College, at Flint, Mich., which in subse-
quent years he has found to be of much benefit. Remaining at Flint he went to work
for the Buick automobile factory, and for three years was employed in their great


plant there. In 1906 Mr. Jewell came to California, locating at Brea, and later, for five
years he was a partner in the Brea Machnie Works there. During the war he helped
back up the Government's shipbuilding program by working at the shipyards at Long
Beach, spending a year there. Coming back to Anaheim after the close of. the war,
Mr. Jewell organized the W.' J. Jewell Realty Company and from the beginning he has
been most successful. He makes a specialty of ranch lands and leases and his realty
operations now extend over practically the entire county. A close observer of land
values in the years of his residence here, Mr. Jewell's judgment in matters of this
sort is highly regarded and this, combined with thorough honesty and justness in his
business transactions, has enabled him to close some important deals.

Mr. Jewell has also shown his faith in Orange County's prosperity by purchasing
a ten-acre ranch four miles west of Anaheim; he has developed this tract into a fine
Valencia orange grove, doing a large part of the work himself, and has installed a
private pumping plant. The grove is in a thriving condition and bids fair to be one
of the most profitable producers in the vicinity.

On June 17, 1904, Mr. Jewell was married at Anaheim to Miss Lois M. Blake of
that city, a native of Reedsburg. Wis., the daughter of L. C. and Marian (Carver)
Blake, Mr. Blake being connected with the Fullerton Tribune. Mr. and Mrs. Jewell
are the parents of two children, Richard and Mary, and make their home in their
attractive residence on their ranch, while Mr. Jewell maintains his office at 136 North
Los Angeles Street, Anaheim. Mrs. Jewell is a granddaughter of Washington 1.
Carver, one of Anaheim's oldest and most highly respected citizens, a review of his
life appearing upon another page of this history.

WILLIAM DEVENNEY. — A successful rancher whose experiments on a large
scale have contributed to advancing the science of sugar beet culture in California, is
William Devenney, who owns a valuable farm near Talbert, and also has 120 acres of
sugar beets on rented land. He is a son of a California pioneer who married one of
the excellent daughters of Orange County; and as a chip oft the old block, he is a live
wire, and a very likeable fellow.

He was born in Sonoma County, Cal., on March 8, 1874, the son of John Devenney,
born in Iowa, who was once deputy sheriff of Orange County and died at Seal Beach
in 1914, at the age of sixty-eight, when he was manager for the Stanton Bayside Land
Company. He was married in Iowa to Miss Eliza McDonald, a native of that state, and
came from Iowa to California. For a while he and his good wife lived in Sonoma
County, and then, for a short period, they moved down to San Bernardino County, and
after that came to Los Angeles, now Orange County, where Mr. Devenney bought a
farm of forty acres near old Newport. He was elected road overseer for twelve years
in succession, and this fact speaks well for his standing in the communities in which
he moved. Mrs. Devenney died in 1918, also highly esteemed by those who knew her
worth. Two of Mr. and Mrs. Devenney's children died in infancy; the other eight are:
Annie, the eldest; William, the subject of our review; and Maggie, who is the wife of
Jean Lytton, and resides at Orange; Henry is the fourth in order; and Sadie married
Tom Harlan, of the San Joaquin ranch; Fred is foreman at the Southern California
Sugar Factory; Inez is the wife of Walter Stark, and resides at Seal Beach. The
youngest of the family is Lou Devenney.

William Devenney was only two years old when he came with his parents to what
is now Orange County and he attended the public schools of his home district. In
his youth, he was a noted sprinter, and held the Pacific Coast amateur record for 220
yards, and won his laurels on the association race track south of Santa Ana. Later,
he worked for the Flood brothers, grain farmers on the San Joaquin ranch; and now,
while he rents out his own land, he farms seventy acres which he rents from the
Southern California Sugar Company, and another fifty acres which he leases from a
private individual, so that he has 120 acres in sugar beets. To operate this acreage, he
uses ten head of horses and mules. On his fifty-acre ranch in the Talbert precinct, he
grows chili peppers as well as sugar beets.

In May, 1900, Mr. Devenney was married at Santa Ana, to Miss Martha Williams,
an accomplished lady, who shares in his popularity. She is a native of Orange County
and the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Williams) Williams, natives of Wales,
where they were married and afterwards migrated to Ohio, residing there until about
1880, when they migrated to California and located near Santa Ana. where they have
since successfully engaged in farming at New Hope. This worthy couple have fifteen
children that are living, Mrs. Devenney being the third oldest; she was born at New
Hope, Orange County, and there she received her education in the public schools. She
is endowed with much ability in business affairs and is of great assistance to her
husband in his farming enterprises, a credit he proudly accords her.


WILLIAM F. SPEER. — A splendid example of an enterprising, progressive man
who, assisted by his faithful and gifted wife, is well rewarded for the attention and
energy expended in developing an orange ranch, is afforded by William F. Speer, who
was born in Essex County, N. J., in 1888. His father was Charles T. Speer, a native
of Montclair, N. J., who was a contractor and builder, first at Montclair, then at
Orange, and who made trips to California. He had married Miss Amelia Small, also
a native of New Jersey, a lady of enviable traits, who died, rich in friends, in December,
1919. They had six children, three boys and three girls; and among these William was
the third child.

He was brought up at Orange, N. J., attended the grammar and the high school
there, and was duly graduated from the latter institution, after which he went into
New York City and entered the service of Topping Bros., wholesalers in hardware and
furniture, working in their offices for six years. He acquired an excellent idea of busi-
ness as conducted in one of the great cities of the world, and in a practical way supple-
mented his schooling so that he was well prepared for commercial work anywhere.

In 1911 he came out to California and settled in Orange County, entering the
horticultural field and commencing to grow oranges; and the same year he bought
ten acres of land, raw as could be found, in the Commonwealth district, which he
cleared, leveled and otherwise improved. With others, he invested in an electrical
pumping plant; and then set out his land to Valencia oranges. He also bought five
acres which he set out to lemons, and then sold. He joined the Placentia Mutual
Orange Growers Association, and both derived benefit from the same and also con-
tributed to its success.

During the year 1918, at Los Angeles, Mr. Speer was married to Miss Augusta
Hein; and they have one child, a daughter, Ruth. Mr. and Mrs. Speer are Republicans
in their preference for national political creeds; but they are broad-minded when it
comes to supporting local measures, and especially interested in forwarding the best
interests of Orange County first, last and all the time.

JOHN W. MAAG. — Among the men of the younger generation of the vicinity of

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 167 of 191)