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 186 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 186 of 191)
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Orange County, and numbered among the enterprising and progressive men of the
Tustin district. He is the owner of ten acres devoted to the culture of citrus fruit. He
purchased his present home ranch in 1917, and has erected a beautiful and commodious
bungalow with all modern improvements and conveniences.

Mr. Merrick was born in 1874 in the state of Kansas, and is the son of Dr. John
K. and Sarah Merrick. The father, a man of letters who added the degree of D.D.S.
as well as M.D. to his name, practiced his profession in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and
Kansas. In the parental family of nine children two became dentists and si.x of the
nine are now living, namely, Henry, Mary, Hattie, Don, Grace and Joseph A. of this
sketch. He was reared and educated in California, coming to the latter state in his
early childhood. For tw-enty-five years he has followed mechanics, principally structural
steel engineering in connection with the Lacy Manufacturing Company about thirteen
years, holding a position with them at the present time. He was with the Union Oil
Company eleven years and has been a resident of Orange County, Cal., for fourteen
years. His marriage .\pril 14. 1900. united him with Miss Pearl E. Dixon, a native of
Minnesota, and of their happy union three children have been born, namely, \'ernica,
J. A. Jr., and Ronald.

CHARLES L. HANSEN. — An enthusiastic advocate of the superior possibilities
of Fullerton and her environing districts, whose opinions carry the greater weight
because of the scientific and practical attainments of the "booster," who can himself
demonstrate what can be done through his own high degree of cultivation, is Charles
L. Hansen, the rancher of Placentia Boulevard, who is a native son not only of Cali-
fornia, but of Placentia, where he was born in the boom year of 1886, on August 7,
the youngest son of Peter Hansen, the well-known pioneer. He attended the grammar
school at Placentia. and in 1909 was graduated from the Colorado School of Mines,
with the degree of K. M.

Since that time, Mr. Hansen has been very successful in mining engineering.
He was first employed as a mining engineer with the Quartette Mining Company at
Searchlight, Nev. : then he became superintendent of the Investors Mining and Leas-
ing Company at Wall Street, Boulder County, Colo.; then manager of the Dagger
Mining and Milling Company at the Vontrigger mines in San Bernardino County,
covering a period from 1909 until 1915. He is frequently employed as an expert, his
trips taking him to diflferent parts of California, Arizona and Nevada. In all of these
positions of responsibility he has demonstrated fully his fitness for the problems and
work committed to his care. Somewhat impaired health, however, led Mr. Hansen to
return to Placentia and assist his father to subdivide the home ranch.
59



1644 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

In the beginning, he purchased two acres and a house on I'lacentia Boulevard,
and now he owns sixteen acres in Valencia and Navel oranges, full bearing. In
1919, with H. C. Head, he bought ten acres adjoining, also developed to oranges. He
takes a keen interest in agriculture, and as a result of advanced, intense stud}- and
what might be termed intensive farming, obtains the largest returns for all his invest-
ments. From 145 Valencia orange trees, for example, seven years old, he harvested
a yield of 1,140 field boxes of fruit. He belongs to the Placentia Orange Growers
Association, and also has valuable oil leases.

On December 10. 1912, Mr. Hansen was married to Miss Agnes Hanifan, a
daughter of Thomas Hanifan, who lived retired at Los Angeles until his death, Novem-
ber 10, 1920. She is a graduate of the State Normal at Los Angeles, and is most
active in club life at Fullerton, being an ex-president of the Ebell Club. In national
politics a Democrat, Mr. Hansen is at all times a nonpartisan, supporter of the best
obtainable for local improvement, and he is never more loyal to his home district
than after such a trip as he recently made of 1.600 miles to the Yosemite and
Lake Tahoe.

E. OYHARZABAL. — A sturdy, interesting pioneer of Orange County who. as
one of the early settlers in San Juan Capistrano added one more to the French colon\
in Southern California, is E. Oyharzabal, popularly called "Steve" Oyharzabal, owiur
of the California Hardware Company's building in Los Angeles. He was born in
the Basses-Pyrenees, on January 26, 1854, and sent to the local French schools, where
he received instruction in French and Spanish, while he acquired the idiom of the
Basques. His brother, Domingo, who was born in the same locality eight years
before, and had come to America in 1863, was already in California; and this fact
proved an encouragement to our subject and another brother. W'illiam, who also
set out for the western land of promise. William died soon after reaching San
Juan Capistrano, and Domingo and "Steve" who was still in his teens, went to
Inyo County and bought land, and then embarked in the raising of sheep — an enter-
prise later carried on at Bakersfield. Their father, Baptiste, and their mother, Saljina
(Belsunce) Oyharzabal, were farmers and stock-raisers; and although the father died
when "Steve" was only two years old. the lads grew up to have a better understanding
of that line of work than any other. The burden of nine children upon the mother
made it necessary for some to leave home, and the three sons mentioned took the
initiative in striking out for themselves.

Both brothers worked hard, and Domingo, perhaps because he was the elder,
soon became prominent. He had a keen eye to climate and conditions, and when he
came to Orange County in 1878, and settled at San Juan Capistrano, he believed that
he had found here, a combination of advantages to be had nowhere else in the state.
His faith in Orange County's future led him to make investments in real estate,
purchasing ranches from time to time, as his means permitted, until in 1910 he owned
over 4,000 acres of choice land. He himself planted 150 acres of walnuts. He also
raised large herds of cattle, sheep and livestock, and in time installed a fine system
of irrigation reaching to the remote ends of his ranch, thus greatly enhancing the
value of his land. He even acquired valuable real estate in Los Angeles, and during
his early residence at San Juan Capistrano, he erected the old French hotel, long a
landmark of the Mission town. He is especially mentioned by Harris Newmark, the
distinguished pioneer, whose "Sixty years in Southern California" is such a store-
house of information concerning old-timers in the Golden State. Domingo died,
unmarried, at San Juan Capistrano, in 1913, recalled by all who knew him as a
typical Franco-American. Then, for the first time, the long partnership between the
brothers was dissolved.

They were equal partners in all building as well as farming operations, and while
Domingo was the most enterprising, "Steve" did the hard, outside work. Domingo,
for example, superintended the erection of the building now used by the California
Hardware Company at the corner of Alameda and First streets in Los Angeles,
while his brother was in France, but he never lived to see the edifice completed. He
was taken ill and died in his sixty-seventh year; and his demise was regretted by
many, for he was a good-hearted, upright man.

E. Oyharzabal owns the building now used for a grocery store on Central
Street, San Juan Capistrano, just north of his home, a two-story affair maintained,
from 1878 to 1903, by the Oyharzabal brothers as the French hotel, and presided
over for seven years by Mrs. E. Oyharzabal, a woman of accomplishment, in maiden-
hood popular as Miss Lucy Darius, whom he had married in 1896. Mr. Oyharzabal
returned to France for the first time in 1884, while his mother was still living; and
in 1903, after he had taken to himself a wife and had his business afifairs in excellent



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 1645

shape, he went back again to visit his Ijeloved Basque country. He remained in the
Basses-Pyrenees until 1905, when he returned to California and to San Juan Capi-
strano with Mrs. Oyharzabal. Once more, in 1909, this deserving pair crossed the
ocean to France and Spain, and set foot again on California soil in 1913, shortly before
Domingo Oyharzabal's death.

Mrs. Oyharzabal is a daughter of Pierre and Antoinette (Pocheln) Darius, resi-
dents of Bayonne, and she attended school there and also at Bordeaux, where she
acquired, in addition to the Basque dialed, both French and Spanish. She has since
added English. Her father was a railroad conductor in France, and that circum-
stance enabled her to travel somewhat in her country. Mr. and Mrs. Oyharzabal live
in a stately adobe house on Central Avenue, near the State Highway in San Juan
Capistrano. The years of their hard labor have certainly been rewarded, for Mr.
and Mrs. Oyharzabal, knowing where they can find a million or more when they
want it, are about to start once more for France and Spain, to be gone, they hope,
for another three years at least.

A. J. ALBERTS.-^A philanthropist who first very wisely learned the great lesson
of doing for himself before attempting to help others, is A. J. Alberts, the successful
rancher of 1135 East Washington Street, who began his career as a newsboy in Chicago.
He was born in Sterling, Whiteside County, 111., on March 12, 1878, the son of A. J.
Alberts, a dry goods merchant of Chicago, whose foresight and hard work eventually
brought him prosperity. He was a native of Illinois, and he had married Miss Sophie
Beuck, also a native of that state.

Our subject enjoyed the advantage of both the grammar and the high schools of
Chicago, during which time he sold newspapers as a boy in that city. He earned for
himself not only many dollars a day, but a reputation which led to his appointment after
five years as the assistant circulation manager of the Chicago Daily News, whicli
responsible post he held for fifteen years.

In 1903 he made a trip to Antelope Valley, and for a while he stayed at Littlerock,
Los Angeles County. He was connected for some time with a realty company in
Chicago, so that when he again came to California and visited Los Angeles in V<\3
he t\'as in a position to profit from a tour of the orange grove districts.

He bought eleven acres of full-bearing walnut and orange trees, nine years old.
joined the Santiago Orange Growers Association, and also the Santa Ana Walnut
Growers Association, and subscribed to the Santa Ana \'alley Irrigation Company,
getting their service.

When Mr. Alberts married, he took for his wife Miss Anna Koehl, a daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. John Koehl, residents of Pennsylvania, where they died, after Mr. Koehl
had been for years an active merchant. The Alberts are liberal supporters of the
Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana, and they also patronized the Red Cross and helped
along the War loans. Mr. and Mrs. Alberts have three children. Grace and Paul are
attending school at Santa Ana, and Edward is at home.

JOHN L. PLUMMER, Sr. — A successful promoter of realty in the now famou>ly
fashionable Wilshire district of Los Angeles, who has come to have unshaken faith
in the future of Balboa and as a logical result calculated to influence others, has
already built a great deal there and plans to accomplish far greater things for the
bay town and himself, is John Louis Plummer, who was born on Powell Street, San
Francisco, on March 31, 1856. The story of his parent's life, it has been well said,
reads like romance. His father, John C. Plummer, was an English sea captain, who
came to the United States from Southampton as early as 1832, and sixteen years
later crossed the Isthmus of Tehuantepec on foot in his eager desire to reach tlie
Pacific. He navigated successive sailing vessels for the P. & O. Company in the Orient,
and after years of adventure and even hardship, during which he had done his share
to build up the merchant marine on the Pacific, he retired from the sea and lived
comfortably at Los Angeles, where he died in 1910. He had married Miss Mary
Cecilia McGuire, a native of the Hawaiian Islands, and a daughter of George McGuirc.
a well educated woman of advanced ideas and an early advocate of woman suffrage
in California. On taking up her residence in Los Angeles in 1862, she acquired
Government land, bought and sold real estate, and became the owner of 1,000 acres
in the Wilshire District, which the family continued to hold title to until it had
greatly appreciated in value.

John Louis Plummer, therefore, had the unusual experience of growing up more
or less familiar with life in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, and of being able
constantly to make comparisons between the pulsations of the two municipalities.
He came to the Southland to reside in the early sixties, and for many years farmed
more or less of the 800 acres or more in the West End, raising cattle, hogs, grain and



1646 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

garden truck, wht-rc now rise some of the stateliest residences in the city. He and
his folks also owned downtown property of great value in Los Angeles. He laid out
160 acres on Sunset Boulevard and cut it up into two-acre tracts, and 140 acres in
Highland Park, which he sold oflf without subdividing. Besides owning property in
Hollywood, Mr. Plummer has in recent years subdivided the Plummer Ridgewood
Park on Van Ness Avenue, an estate of ninety acres, into lots sixty by 170 feet, with
streets 100 feet wide, on which have been built some thirtj' houses costing from
S6,000 to $30,000 apiece. ^

Wishing to hie away from city life, Mr. Plummer in 1914 purchased some sixty
acres of Brand Boulevard land, near San Fernando, set out an orchard and built four
attractive houses, for himself and his children: but as early as 1906 he had begun to
invest at Balboa, and he has continued to do so ever since. In 1919, he erected ten
I'ungalows in a court, known as the Plummer Place, and he intends to add eleven
more, and a large residence on the Baj^ front, where he will make his home as his
final harbor.

Mr, Plummer was married at Los Angeles to Miss Ellen Dalton, the youngest
daughter of Henry Dalton, the famous pioneer of the Azusa, who came to Southern
California by way of Peru, and owned among other extensive tracts of more or less
historic interest later, much of the land acquired by "Lucky" Baldwin. Mrs. Plummer,
it is sad to relate, passed away in 1918, a noble woman who had nobly fulfilled her
mission in each community wherein she had dwelt, and mourned by a large circle
of friends, and especially by her four sons, John. Charles, Theodore and Anthony,
and the four adopted children. Raymond, Henry, Inez and Eudora. Balboa looks to
Mr. Plummer with greater confidence than ever in facing the problems of the future,
nor will the deserving beach resort be disappointed, for in all that he has hitherto
?et his hand, this courageous path breaker has always succeeded.

J. C. WILLIAMS. — An esteemed pioneer who has the distinction of having
been among the first to advocate the cultivation of the Valencia orange as a com-
mercial industry is J. C. Williams, the rancher and real estate dealer of Fullerton.
v,ho was born in Monona County, Iowa, in April, 1878, the son of J. W. Williams,
an expert mechanic, who had married Miss Delphina E. Mendenhall. The worthy
couple came to California in 1886 and settled in Los Angeles; and there, for twenty
>ears, Mr. \Mlliams followed his trade. Our subject received his early education in
I he graded schools of the old Mission city, and later attended the University of
Southern California, where he pursued a business course. Then, at the age of twenty-
one, he went into the hardware business. He started modestly, but came to have a
profitable wholesale trade with a store in Los Angeles and another in San Francisco,
and he sold out when tlie fire at San Francisco wrecked so many.

Mr, Williams then entered the real estate field, joining his brother, A. G. Williams,
in a partnership. Thej- had offices at both Los Angeles and Anaheim, and during
their eflforts to advance the best interests of this part of the Southland, they took up
the possibilities of Valencia orange development, and enthusiastically presented the
prospects of the industry. They were thus instrumental in inducing many persons
to develop \'alencia orange groves, and handled millions of dollars' worth of prop-
erty when land was cheap. Such was their experience in contributing to advance
valuations that they saw a certain grove jump in price from $1,200 to $1,400, then
to $7,500, then to $14,500. and recently to $28,000. This grove is near Anaheim, and
is only one of many that the Messrs. Williams handled to the great benefit of suc-
cessive owners, and to the advancement of the orange industry in Orange County.

Unmarried, and residing with his sister on Orange Grove, near South Spadra,
on a ranch of choice land, well irrigated by a private pumping plant. Mr. Williams
leads a quiet life, studying citrus and realty conditions, and lending a hand whenever
laid wherever he can to elevate politics and civic life, and to upbuild as well as build
up the community in which he has so long and pleasantly lived and labored.

MORTIMER HUGH PEELOR.— A well-known and always interesting pioneer
v.ho, having made a success in business and become a prosperous merchant, has been
able to branch off and become an equally expert and successful horticulturist, is
Mortimer H. Peelor, who helped establish the foundation of things in Orange as far
back as 1885. He was born in Henry County, Mo., and came to California when he
was sixteen years old. His father was C. P. Peelor, a merchant of Orange, and he
had married Miss M. C. Lotspeich. Two uncles, the Lotspeich brothers, were the
earliest settlers of Villa Park in the Mountain View district, and they were very
worthy men.

Mortimer, the eldest in a family of four children, enjoyed the advantages of
both the common and the high schools, and later was graduated from the Woodbury



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUXTY 1647

Business College in Los Angeles. Then he worked in his father's store for a while,
and coming to Placentia entered the employ of Stern-Goodman, with whom he
remained for a number of years or until he bought them out and established himself
in the mercantile world under the firm name of M. H. Peelor. Two years ago, he
sold out his well-conducted grocery, and turned his attention to quite another field.

In 1906, Mr. Peelor had purchased ten acres of choice land, on which he set out
both walnuts and oranges; and in time he became a member of the Placentia-Ful-
lerton Walnut Growers Association; The Placentia Mutual Orange Growers Asso-
ciation. He also became a shareholder in the .\naheim Union Water Company. He
is interested in bank stocks, and he wishes prosperity to everybody else, hence he is
a first-class "booster" for both town and county. He is a Democrat in matters of
national political moment, but never allows partisanship to interfere with his enthu-
siastic, loyal support of things strictly local.

On October 7, 1890, Mr. Peelor married Miss Mayme Jones, daughter of the
well-known rancher, O. P. Jones of Santa Ana; and one child, Kathleen, now the
wife of S. James Tuffree, and a graduate of the State Normal School at Los Angeles,
class of '13, has blessed this fortunate union. Two years ago Mr. Peelor erected
his residence, where a generous hospitality is dispensed to all of Mr. and M^,^.
Peelor's wide circle of friends.

JOHN H. KIRSCH. — Descended from a long line of honored ancestors, residents
of that stanch little buffer state, Luxemburg, the pawn of kings since the thirteenth
century, Jolm H. Kirsch was the first of his family to leave the old home for the
New World, which has now been his home for more than thirty years. His parents
were John and Marie (Berg) Kirsch, both of whom passed their whole lives there,
until their decease, some years ago. The eldest of a family of ten children, four
of whom are now living, two at the old home and two in California, John H. Kirsch
was born in Canton Diekirch, Luxemburg. November 11, 1865. The father was a
well-known miller and farmer, and after receiving a good education in the local
schools, John H. from his boyhood made himself useful on the farm and at the
mill, learning the miller's trade and also how to dress the mill stones used in the
old water-power mill. On reaching the age of seventeen he left the old home and
went to France, working at his trade of miller, near Chalons-sur-Marnc. in the depart-
ment of the Marne.

In 1889 Mr. Kirsch came to the United States, and located at Winona. Minn.,
where he engaged in farming, later leasing a large farm which he devoted largely
to stock raising. Here he continued until he purchased a farm near Grand Rapids,
Wis., which had an excellent location on the \\'isconsin River. It was fine, rich land
and here Mr. Kirsch was very successful, bringing it up to a high state of cultivation.
.Attracted by the great opportunities offered on tli,e Pacific Coast, however. Mr. Kirsch
disposed of his Wisconsin farm and came to California in 1906. locating first in
Tulare County, where he purchased forty acres of land and engaged in dairying and
alfalfa raising. Remaining there for a year and a half, he then disposed of his
holdings and came down to Orange County, buying thirteen acres on East and
Santa Fe streets, near Anaheim. This Mr. Kirsch set out to Valencia oranges, bud-
ding and raising half of the trees himself, and caring for the orchard until it was
five years old, when he sold it to Mr. Gruessing, and it is now one of the finest
orange groves in the district. He then bought a tract of twenty acres on Nursery
Avenue, which he also improved, setting it out to oranges and lemons, and under his
expert care it soon became one of the show places of the neighborhood, so that in
1917 he was able to dispose, of it at a handsome profit. Since that time he has bought
and sold a number of orange groves, and with his wide knowledge of all of the
details of the citrus industry and of Orange County lands and soils, he has been
very successful in all the deals he has closed, giving satisfaction to everyone con-
cerned. Optimistic for the future of Orange County, and believing it to he the finest
locality in the world, particularly for citrus culture, Mr. Kirsch neglects no oppor-
tunity to prove his faith by his works, taking an active interest in every progres-
sive movement.

In 1891, while a resident of Minnesota, Mr. Kirsch was united in marriage with
Miss Lena Lift, who like himself was a native of Luxemburg, and who came to the
United States during the same year — 1889. Three children have been born to them:
Katie, is Mrs. J. W. Heinz, her husband being an orange rancher at Anaheim; Anna,
married Ben Heinz, who is also the owner of a citrus ranch at .Anaheim; John F.
enlisted when twenty years of age in the U. S. Naval Reserve Corps, serving until
he received his honorable discharge, and he. too, is engaged in orange growing at
.\naheim. Mr. and Mrs. Kir>ch reside in their comfortable, attractive home at Palm



1648 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

and Chartres streets, Anaheim, a property ^\•hich Mr. Kirsch built and improved.
In 1904, while a- resident of Wisconsin, he made a trip back to his native land, and
spent a happy time visiting his old home, and friends, but returning to the land of
his adoption more than ever enthusiastic over its great opportunities. His fore-
sight and initiative have enabled him to take advantage of these opportunities and
he has made a splendid success. Liberal and kind-hearted, he is ever ready to lend
a helping hand in every worthy enterprise and he shows his willingness to cooperate
in local affairs by membership in the Anaheim Orange Growers Association. In
fraternal circles he is popular in the ranks of the Knights of Columbus.

WILLIAM E. STRADLEY.— A man eminent in the busy world of affairs in
L,os Angeles, who has also become a leader in both the building up and the upbuilding
of Placentia, is William E. Stradley. who was born in Humboldt County, Kans., on
January 12, 1872, and came to Des Moines, Iowa, as a small boy. He was a mason
by trade, and first reached Los Angeles in 1887, at the time of- the great boom in
Southern California realty. The next year he made a trip back to Iowa, and then he
came out to the state of Washington, and he laid the first brick in any building in
Seattle on June 9, 1889, three days after the big fire there.

He followed his trade in Seattle, and then, as a journeyman brickmason, traveled



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 186 of 191)