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 181 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 181 of 191)
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cultivation and it is now one of the most profitable ranches in the vicinity, bringing in
a handsome income. Mr. Koch has installed a complete system of cement irrigation
pipes and has erected an attractive modern residence costing $4,000, besides up-to-date
outbuildings. The prosperous, well-kept appearance of the place betokens the industry
and thrift of the owner. In October, 1919, Mr. Koch leased his ranch for oil„ being
included in a blanket lease. Two wells are now down and have struck oil so he is
already receiving an income from his lease.

At McKittrick, Mo., February 11, 1884, Mr. Koch was married to Miss Minnie K.
Lindhurst, a native of St. Louis, Mo., and a daughter of Adolph and Louisa (Kall-
meyer) Lindhurst, early settlers of Missouri where her father died while the mother
came to California and passed away here in 1920. Mrs. Koch was the oldest of their
four children. Mr. and Mrs. Koch are the parents of three children: Adolph H. is a
rancher at Yorba and is the owner of an eight-acre citrus ranch; his wife, before her
marriage, was Miss Myrtle Bubach; Albert W. married Miss Lula McClelland and is
with the Standard Oil Company at Fullerton; George A., who married Miss Hattie
McCoy is with the Union Oil Company at Anaheim. The family are all members of
the Anaheim Evangelical Church and Mrs. Koch is prominent in the work of the
Women's Circle' of that church. Mr. Koch was made a Mason in Yorba Linda Lodge,
No. 469, F. & A. M., is a member of Fullerton Chapter, R. A. M., and also a member of
Fullerton Lodge, No. 103, I. O. O. F., in which he is past grand and has served as
representative to the Grand Lodge, and he is also a member of the Modern Woodmen
of America. In politics Mr. Koch is an adherent of the Republican party, although not
blindly partisan in his views. Unselfish, liberal-minded and a conscientious Christian
worker, he well deserves the comfortable fortune that he has accumulated entirely
through his own industry and perseverance. Since leaving his home state twenty years
ago he had made two trips back and so appreciative and enthusiastic is he over Cali-
fornia, and particularly Orange County, that each time he was delighted to be back
in the land of sunshine and flowers.

ROBERT R. SMITH. — A merchant whose happy combination of conservatism
and aggression in enterprise has brought him substantial success in commercial returns,
is Robert R. Smith, the well-known dealer in feed, fuel and ice. He was born and
reared on a farm near Rockford, Winnebago County, 111., on September 25, 1861, and
he grew up in Illinois on a farm. His father was Robert C. Smith, and he had married
Catherine Stewart. Both parents are now among the silent majority.

The fourth in the order of birth of seven children, Robert attended the rural
schools of Illinois, and then helped on a farm until he was twenty-si.x years of age,
when he engaged in the grain and stock business in Orchard, Mitchell County, Iowa.
Later he removed to Traer, Tama County, Iowa, where he continued the same line of
business for seven years, coming to Santa Ana. Cal.. in 1905. His first trip to
California was as early as 1887, then another trip in 1892, when he was married in Santa
Ana to Grace Smiley, a sister of his late partner, by whom he has had three children:
Stewart is the athletic coach at Fullerton high school, having served in the U. S.



1606 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

Marines during the World War; Carson, who was a chemist in the U. S. service at
Washington, is now with the Goodyear Rubber Company at Akron, Ohio; Harold is
attending the Santa Ana high school. After locating in Santa Ana in 1905, Mr. Smith
established himself in the grain business as Smiley and Smith, at 401-403 West Fourth
Street, which continued until 1915, when he purchased Mr. Smiley's interest and
continued the business of retailing feed, fuel and ice until December, 1919, when he
sold out to give all of his time to real estate. The family attend the United Presby-
terian Church. In national politics Mr. Smith is a Democrat, and both he and his
family are distinguished for their public-spiritedness.

Few men in Santa Ana are better or more favorably known than Robert Smith.
He was elected to the school board in 1915, for a four-year term; and during that
period was president of the board of trustees for three years. He installed the Junior
College and advocated such radical changes in the direction of the best business
methods in the management of the schools that debts were cleaned up, and when he
left that high office he turned over to his successor everything in apple-pie order.

It may be added that Stewart Smith has enjoyed the honor of coach at both the
Santa Ana and the Fullerton high schools, where he has made a record for handling
boys; while Carson Smith, the Washington chemist, who directed the services of
twenty subordinates, has made a record for handling men.

JOB DENNI. — A native of Canton Unterwalden, Switzerland, Job Denni was
born on September 30, 1878, at Geswil. He was educated in the public schools of his
native country and is the only one now living of a family of four children born to his
parents. Job Denni lived in Switzerland until 1902, then decided to seek his fortune in
the United States, and having an uncle, Louis Denni, who had been a resident of
Southern California since 1881, living in Los Alamitos, Orange County, he came here
and his first employment was with the Los Alamitos Sugar Company. So faithful was
he in fhe discharge of his various duties that he soon won the good will of his em-
ployers, and also mastered the English language by persistency of purpose so that
he is proficient in his knowledge of that tongue and feels that it has had no small
assistance in his success.

Mr. Denni's uncle was engaged in the dairy business at Los Alamitos, leasing
land from 'the Bixby Land Company. After working for his uncle by the day, master-
ing the details of the business, he took over his uncle's interests in 1912 and has since
been the successful proprietor of what is known as Dairy No. 2. Mr. Denni owns 150
head of fine Holsteins, besides which he has an interest in other herds. His stock is
kept largely on sugar beet pulp, the home dairy ranch being contiguous to the sugar
company's plant. This is one of the oldest dairy ranches in Orange County and under
the management of its owner produces on an average of 90,000 pounds of milk per
month, which he finds market for in Los Angeles and Long Beach. The ranch covers
500 acres of ground and he grows large quantities of alfalfa and grain. Previous to
buying out his uncle he operated Dairy No. 1, in Los Angeles County, near Signal Hill.

On April 18, 1910, at Long Beach, Job Denni was united in marriage with Miss
Juanita Enfield, a native daughter, born in San Francisco. Her parents were of French
and German extraction and her mother is still living at Long Beach, but had been a
resident of San Francisco for forty-five years. Four daughters have been born to Mr.
and Mrs. Denni — Juanita, Mary, Marguerite and Josephine. Mr. Denni is a member
of the Knights of Columbus of Anaheim.

In 1905 Mr. Denni began buying land in the Cypress district, making his first
purchase of ten acres, and to this he has added from time to time until he now owns
120 acres, twenty acres of which he has set out to \'alencia oranges and the balance is
used for alfalfa and barley. He put down a fine well, 618 feet deep, installed a pumping
plant and put in a cement pipe line for irrigating his acreage, even supplying his
neighbors with water, such an abundant supply did he get. He was the very first man
to install a pipe line and many of his neighbors have profited by his example and have
connected up with his line. By his progressive methods he has demonstrated that his
section is a coming Valencia district and thereby enhanced the value of the properties
thereabouts. It had been said that citrus fruit could not be grown successfully west
of Magnolia Avenue and when Mr. Denni bought his land, which was composed of
what is known as dead sand upon which grain would "not grow six inches high, people
said it was useless, but his experimental work has won commendation and others are
following in his footsteps and many acres have been set to oranges. Mr. Denni
is a self-made man and by his industry and close application to business has won for
himself a decided success and stands high in the esteem of all who know him for his
square dealings.



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 1609

RUPERT BEST.— A pioneer of the early eighties, who is hale and hearty in his
discharge of home duties at the age of seventy-two, and is still highly esteemed as a
most useful citizen, is Rupert Best, for many years an active member of the Maccabees
and long their valued organist. Now he lives retired at 1150 Hickey Street, visited
regularly by devoted friends who find pleasure in talking with him about old times. He
was born in Cornwallis, Kings County, Nova Scotia, on October 29, 1848, the son of
Elisha and Mercy Ann (Bishop) Best. His father was a farmer in the fertile valley of
Cornwallis, who raised potatoes, apples and various kinds of fruit: and while Rupert
was attending the district school, he lived at home and helped his father to run the
farm, thus gaining a valuable experience.

At the time of attaining his majority, Mr. Best left home and went to Halifax
where for five years he clerked in a shoe store. Then, having learned the ins and outs
of that business, he himself embarked in the same line, and continued to sell shoes
until he came to California in the fall of 1882. On October IS of that year he arrived
at Santa Ana, and having purchased forty acres six miles to the southwest of the town,
he lived there eleven years, enjoying the companionship of and assisted by his family.
He devoted his ranch to gene-ral farming, and for the most part raised potatoes, barley
and alfalfa.

The twenty-fifth of November, 1878, witnessed the marriage at Halifax, Nova
Scotia, of Mr. Best and Miss Alice Maude West, the daughter of James T. and Sophia
West, who were early settlers of Nova Scotia. Mr. West owned two ships and engaged
in trade between the West Indies and Nova Scotia, sending from Halifax cargoes of
dried, salted and pickled fish and bringing back West Indian products, including sugar.
Mrs. Best had been educated at the district school in Halifax, and proved an excellent
helpmate to her devoted husband. In 1893 he traded his ranch for his present place
at 1150 Hickey Street, Santa Ana, which he improved with a modern residence and here
he has since resided. On February 8, 1918, Mrs. Best passed away, mourned by her
family and friends.

Six children blessed this fortunate union: Ida B. is the wife of Charles F. Conlt-
hard, the alfalfa rancher of Chino; Charles Newton, the second-born, aflords his father
a comfortable home; Lilly is Mrs. DeardorfT of Lents, Ore.; Percy L. is a driller at
Oil Fields; Louis K., of Sixth Street, is employed by the Edison Company; and Eddie
Grant is also with that firm. In national politics a Democrat, Mr. Best always works
and votes for the best men and the best measures in local aflairs, irrespective of party.

Mr. Best has always been devoted to the study of music, and for twenty-five
years, or from 1892 until 1917, he served as the organist to the Knights of Maccabees.
'J'his extended period speaks much for the vitality of this rugged gentleman who has
passed his three score years and ten. Mr. Best's mother was also of an exceptionally
hardy constitution. She joined h'im in California at the age of seventy-four, and it
is said that the balmy climate of the Golden State, and particularly Orange County so
benefitted her that she was able to add nearly a quarter of a century to her life, attain-
ing the fine old age of nearly ninety-six.

JAMES CLOW METZGAR.— How much of the success of the Chamber of
Commerce as the livest kind of an agency in promoting permanently the best interests
of Santa Ana is due to the labors, well directed and untiring, of its secretary, James
Clow Metzgar, those who are familiar with his exceptional gifts and fortunate training,
as well as his unselfish devotion to the day's work on hand, know. He was born at
Monongahela City, Washington County, Pa., on July 19, 1876, the son of Daniel H.
Metzgar, a dentist of Pittsburgh and a war veteran. He married Mary Virginia Clow,
the daughter of Dr. James L. Clow, whose father was a pioneer of Pittsburgh and once
owned land from the center of the present Pittsburgh business district five miles up
the Alleghany River .to Sharpsburg. James Beach Clow, father of Dr. Clow, was the
first town clerk of Pittsburgh and the first elder in the first Presbyterian Church
established there. He was a son of Captain Clow of the Revolution, and both families
are on record in the first United States census, published in 1790, in the Pittsburgh
district.

James C. Metzgar attended the common and the high schools of Pittsburgh, and
later entered the service of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, in its telegraph
department. In 1902 he came West to California, and took up real estate and bond
brokerage. At present he is the secretary of the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce,
and also of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Orange County and the Santa
Ana Merchants and Manufacturers Association.

.\t Uniontown, Pa., on March 14, 1899, Mr. Metzgar was married to Miss Belle
Hustead, daughter of William Hustead. a prominent coal operater of that city, who
had married Mary Brown. Both the Husteads and the Browns were pioneer families



1610 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

of Fayette County, Pa. Three children were born of this union: Miss Mary Virginia
Metzgar is now at the Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles; James Hustead
Metzgar has been attending the Santa Ana high school; and Edgar Clow Metzgar is
deceased. The family attend the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Metzgar belongs to the
Orange County Country Club, the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Elks. In national
politics a Republican, he is at all times nonpartisan in his "'boosting" for Santa Ana
and Orange County.

A thorough American, Mr. Metzgar naturally takes pride in his ancestry. His
father's family came from Holland, and descended from the French Huguenot, Thebald
Metzgar, who established the North German Lloyd Steamship Company, and died in
1642, leaving a large estate, later taken over by the Holland Government. His mother's
family, on the other hand, came from pure Scotch blood, descending from Captain
Clow of the Dragoons in the American Revolution. He was the youngest son in a
family of twelve, and the only one who came to America.

FELIX YRIARTE.— A public-spirited, highly-esteemed citizen of Brea, who
warmly advocates popular education and furnishes the best of examples of industrious
citizenship in working eight hours a day in the shops and fhen eight hours on his ranch,
is Felix Yriarte, who was born in Basses-Pyrenees in Spain, November 20, 1884, and
came to America in 1889, when he was five years of age. His father was Patricio
Yriarte, a sheep and cattle owner and herder, and his mother, Pascuala (Arrese)
Yriarte, was also a native of Navarra, in the Basque country. When eleven years of
age, Felix tended the flocks of sheep at Olinda, and there was then a number of oil
wells there. His father controlled, under lease, 4,000 acres, and had 6,000 head of sheep
in an open, wild country. Felix went to school in Orange County, Cal, and here
learned his English.

These good parents lived at the old ranch home in Brea until the death of both
in March and April of 1915, and our subject worked on the farm for his father until he
was twenty-five years old. He had full charge of the machinery and the farm work,
and when the time for a larger development came, he was instrumental in erecting the
very first oil well derrick of the Brea Canyon, in the hills south of Brea, where the
field has proven the largest in the county.

Now Mr. Yriarte understands oil production as well as anyone, and he has also
become an expert acetylene welder and does the most difficult lathe work in the shops
of the Union Oil Company at Brea. This is interesting in contrast to Mr. Yriarte's
experience in San Diego some years ago, when he was swindled out of $4,000 through
an unwise land investment. He had an estate of thirty-three acres left him by his
father, which he improved to lemons and sunk his own well and sold in November, 1920.
On Orange Street, at Brea, he erected the first residence, in 1909.

At Los Angeles, on December 2, 1909, Mr. Yriarte was married to Miss Celestine
Lorea, a native of the Spanish Basque country, who came to the United States in 1906.
Four children have blessed this union, and they are Mary, Joseph. Paulina and Mar-
guerita. Mr. Yriarte is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and also of the order
of D. O. K. K. of Los .\ngeles.

WILLIAM J. FITSCHEN.— A young and promising rancher whose career is
all the more interesting because he is a native son, and one alert to every opportunity
presented by the great commonwealth of California, is W. J. Fitschen. resident on La
Veta Avenue, Orange, where his beautiful fourteen-acre ranch is exclusively devoted
to citrus fruits. This property, formerly part of the estate of his father, Henry Fitschen,
who bought it in 1906, he has owned for several years.

Mr. Fitschen was born in Orange County, in April, 1890, and is the son of Henry
and Anna Fitschen, natives of Germany, from which country they emigrated to the
United States in 1878. The next year they moved west to California and Orange
County, and ever since Henry Fitschen has been one of the producers of Orange
County. There were nine children in the- family, all Americans by birth, and they
bear the names of William J., .Anna, Henry, Emma, Frederick, Louisa, George, Mary
and Louis.

Brought up and educated in Orange County, where he enjoyed the advantages
of both the common and the high schools. Mr. Fitschen early engaged in agricultural
pursuits, and so has traveled further in that scientific and industrial field than most
men of his age. On June 2, 1915, he was happily united in marriage to Miss Wanda
O. Schoeneberg, daughter of Mrs. Marie Schoeneberg. by whom he has had two
children. Marie and William. She is a native of Wisconsin, and is a fine type of the
Western woman of that part of the country. The family are worthy members of the
Lutheran Church, and are among those most enthusiastic for all that spells the
permanent development of Orange County on the broadest and best lines.



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 1613

HUBERT H. DALE.— A Minnesotan so keenly alive to the trend of modern
trade that, foreseeing the development of the automobile industry, he was able to
take the tide at the flood, as Shakespeare says, and attain to fortune, is Hubert H. Dale,
of the well-known firm of Dale & Company, proprietors of the auto body, top and
sheet-metal works at 418-428 West Fifth Street, Santa Ana. He was born at Fairmont,
in the North Star State, on December 14, 1879, the son of D. A. Dale, who became a
hardware merchant of Santa Ana and has had a pleasing part in the fitting out of
many settlers in this favored region. He married Miss Amy J. Allen, who became
the mother of five children, among whom Hubert H. was the oldest. All the family
are now living.

The lad grew up in Minnesota and attended the excellent grammar and high
schools in the vicinity of his home. Then he took a course in a business college, and
thereafter engaged in the livestock business in Chicago. He ne.xt went to Wisconsin
and entered the trade in building materials; in each of these undertakings acquiring
more and more experience of value later when he joined the busy, competitive workers
on the Coast.

In 1912, Mr. Dale came to California and Fullerton, and for five years he was
engaged in making well casings — a line of activity he abandoned only to take up
another, his present occupation, still more attractive. Now he has a large, modern
shop, equipped with every kind of machinery needed; and with a trained staff of
twenty-five men, he handles the bulk of the business in his field for Orange County.
The reputation of the establishment, not only for fair dealing but also for experience
and facilities enabling it to meet almost any emergency, has very naturally brought it
steady patronage, with very little solicitation.

At Oshkosh, Wis., on November 11. 1910, Mr. Dale was married to Miss Ivy
Guenther, a daughter of August Guenther and a native of Wisconsin; and two children,
Hubert H.. Jr.. and Loraine M., have blessed their union. The family attend the
Episcopal Church. Mr. Dale is an Elk and a Republican.

Though unable to give much time to public affairs without the neglect of his
business, Mr. Dale accepted election as city trustee in April, 1919, and notwithstanding
his brief residence here, he has made his presence and influence felt in the unfailing
support of every movement likely to advance Santa Ana and Orange County within
and beyond California.

JOSEPH HOLTZ. — A self-made rancher who has become prosperous and also ex-
pert as a beekeeper, is Joseph Holtz, who was born at Herringen, Kreis Saarburg.
Lorraine, on May 12. 1870, the son of Louis and Margareta Holtz, with whom he lived
in that district on a farm until he was twenty, meanwhile enjoying the usual common-
school education and learning the ins and outs of scientific agriculture. In the fall of
1890, he came to the United States quite alone, traveling almost direct to Los .'\ngeles,
and from Los .Angeles to Orange. Here he worked on farms when vegetables were
the main crops, and raised potatoes and cabbage. After a while, grapes were planted
and raisins became the crop. However, as the growers were not organized there was
no profit from the enterprise and labor.

In 1894, he came to Silverado Canyon and became interested in the raising of bees.
He spent the summers in bee culture, and during the winters worked out as a ranch
hand. In 1901 he purchased a half-section of land, and this is now the site of his ranch
in Silverado Canyon.

Only an adobe house was standing on the property, and he set out to improve the
land in many ways. In 1905. he built a ranch house, and the same year he married, in
Santa Ana, on January 24, Miss Mary A. Veith, born at Humphrey, Nebr., the daughter
of Ignatz and Julia Veith. They came from Columbus, Nebr., in 1903, and having
enjoyed community advantages had been able to give their daughter a good common
school education. Immediately after the marriage, the husband and wife moved onto
the ranch, so that the improvements now there are their handiwork.

They have ten acres in barley, three acres in wheat, three acres in corn, ten acres
in alfalfa, and this alone yields from four to seven cuttings a season. Water is obtained
from Silverado Creek by private right of irrigation; the acreage was originally railroad
land. There is an acre of all kinds of fruit trees for domestis use; and there are also
horses, cattle and chickens, and some 160 colonies of bees, and the season of 1920
yielded him thirteen tons, being the best season he ever had; he is a member of Cali-
fornia Beekeepers Association.

Six children have come to bless the domestic life of Mr. and Mrs. Holtz. Joseph
L., Alban P., Margaret M., Henry A., Agnes A., and Marie A. The four eldest attend
the Silverado School, of which Mrs. Holtz is one of the trustees. The family attend
the Catholic Church of Santa .\na, and Mr. Holtz is a member of the Knights of
Columbus. In national politics, they are Republicans.



1614 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

ALBERT WILLIAM WOOD.— Not every popular official so well deserves the
honors accorded him as does Albert William Wood, the constable of Anaheim Town-
ship, the late marshal of the city of Anaheim and license tax collector, nor does every
favored office holder succeed so well in carrying his honors with modesty and dignity.
A native of Quebec, Canada, where he was born on June 27, 1875, Mr. Wood was the
son of a farmer, John Wood, now deceased, whose wife was Miss Grace Wilson before
her marriage. They were the parents of nine children and Albert William was the
seventh child.

From twelve years of age he was reared at Vankleek Hill, Ontario, and there
received his education in the grammar and high schools, helping on the home farm
and teaching for two years after his own schooling was finished. Next he matriculated
at McGill University at Montreal, expecting to study medicine, but he found at this
time that his health would not permit him to continue the confinement necessary



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 181 of 191)