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 188 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 188 of 191)
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native son in Hornitos, Mariposa County, on January 3, 1867, the son of a sturdy
pioneer. Mack Henry Morrison, who crossed the plains and mountains from Little Rock,
Ark., to California in 1850. He located in Mariposa County and married Miss Susan
Titchenal, the daughter of William H. Titchenal, an early settler of Santa Ana. Five
of Mr. and Mrs. Morrison's children still survive, and Mack Henry is the third son
among them.

He attended the common schools in Mariposa and was reared on a farm of three
hundred twenty acres, five miles northeast of Hornitos, Cal., where his father raised
stock and grain, the nearest market being Merced. In 1883, he was sent to Santa Ana
to attend school, after which he returned to his father's farm. Then he worked out,
saved his earnings, and in 1889 came back to Santa Ana and Orange County, and soon
thereafter entered the employ of Frank and George Heil as a brickmason.

On October 2, 1888, Mr. Morrison was married, at Snelling, to Miss Ida Hamilton,
daughter of Joel and Sarah Hamilton, of Snelling, Merced County. She came to Cali-
fornia as a girl with her parents from Moberly, Mo., and it was not long before she
had thoroughly caught the California spirit. For seven years, Mr. Morrison farmed
for himself in Merced County before coming to Orange County to make his home
in this thriving locality.

In 1896, the happy couple located on the old Neal Place on Bristol Street, in
Santa Ana, and then, for a year, he went to El Modena and the Hot Springs. After
a while, he purchased a ranch at 1120 East Washington Street — a home place with
three acres of walnuts and a good family orchard, where he now makes his residence.
Meanwhile, he is an employee at C. H. Chapman Lumber Yards in Santa Ana. He has
other important financial interests besides those of his ranch, so that, with his daily
labor, he is a busy man indeed.

Six children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Morrison: Crystal is the
wife of Dyas Kenner, a rancher, at Tomato Springs, and the mother of a child, Alieen;
Loftus B. is at home, with a fine record as a graduat.e of the Orange County Business
College and as a soldier; Marvin, a graduate of Pomona College and at present the
athletic director, football coach, and professor at the Santa Ana high school, also has a
military record, receiving the commission of ensign; he married Miss Cecil Wood, of
Beverly Hills; Orval is in the fire department at Portland, Ore.; Rosalind attends the
Lincoln school; and Evelyn is in the Santa Ana intermediate. The family worship at
the Methodist Episcopal Church South, at Santa Ana. Mr. Morrison, who is a Demo-
crat, has always supported prohibition. He is an active member of the Maccabees.

J[OEL BRUCE HANDY.— Even as a boy the inclinations of Joel Bruce Handy
were in the direction of agricultural pursuits and at the early age of si.xteen he started
ranching on his own account. A native son of Orange County, he has grown to man-
hood in his home environment and has been a liberal contributor to modern ideas on
the subject of vegetable growing, particularly of the Monstrous variety lima beans.

The next to the youngest of four children born to Owen and Mary (Parker)
Handy, Joel B. Handy was born December 5. 1881, on Handy Street in Orange, Cal.
His schooling was received in the schools of Villa Park and he was always a leader in
athletics during his school days, being very proficient in all kinds of sports and games.
In 1897 he decided to start out on his own responsibility, although but a boy, and he
began the growing of vegetables. At first he grew only small produce, such as peas,
beans, corn, etc., marketing his produce at Los Angeles and San Francisco. He was
the pioneer in the growing of small vegetables in the Villa Park district and was one
of the founders of the Orange County Vegetable Association, with headquarters at
Vijla Park. Mr. Handy was always very successful in his work and soon became
purchasing agent for the large commission firms of Quadroos and Joseph, and Jacobs
and Malcolm, both of San Francisco. He was also the representative of the Aggeler-
Musser Seed Company for some time and proved up on the Monstrous lima bean
here and at Laguna Beach, which has proved the biggest bearer of all lima beans. For
about seven years of this time he also had a nursery, raising orange and lemon trees.

For the past fifteen years Mr. Handy has been manager of the Handy ranch of
thirty acres, which is situated at \'illa Park, devoted to oranges and lemons. In addi-
tion to his extensive activities as a vegetable grower he has also become interested in
citrus culture, and is the owner of an orchard of seven and a half acres at \'illa Park,
half \'alencia oranges and half lemons, and here the family make their home. He is a
member of the Central Lemon Association and \'illa Park Orchards .Association.

On February 10, 1904, Mr. Handy was united in marriage with Miss Esther May
Johnson, born in Michigan, who came to Orange. Cal.. in 1902 with the family of her


uncle, G. J. Stock. She is the daughter of Wm. M. and Elizaljeth ; Stock) Johnson.
Her father is dead, while her mother now makes her home at Anaheim with a younger
brother, Estel Johnson. A sister of Mrs. Handy, Mrs. J. H. Gunnett, resides at Long-
Beach. Mr. and Mrs. Handy are the parents of three attractive children: Zelda Eliza-
beth, in Orange Union high school, and Owen William and Bruce Johnson.

A man of unusual energy and initiative, Mr. Handy makes a success of any work
that comes his way, and in addition to his profitable ranching activities he is also of
an inventive turn, which frequently stands him in good stead in his ranching enter-
prises. Notwithstanding a very busy life, Mr. Handy retains his prowess as a sports-
man and has a line bungalow and fishing launch at Laguna Beach, where he gets great
enjoyment out of the free outdoor life. A firm believer in protection, he is naturally
an adherent of the principles of the Republican party.

THEODORE REUTER.— A self-made man who has won recognition as a success-
ful rancher, is Theodore Router, who was born at the old ranch house at 902 Grand
Avenue, Santa Ana, on February 12, 1890. His father, Ludwig Reuter, a native of
Germany, married a daughter of that country, Magdalena Hercliert; and in 1887. when
so many were flocking to California on account of the "boom," they became pioneers
of Orange County, following one of Mr. Renter's brothers, already comfortably settled
here, and Mr. Reuter bought eight acres on Fruit and Grand streets.

The second son in a family of four surviving children, Theodore went to the
grammar schools in Santa Ana and then took two years of the high school course; and
from his seventeenth year he began to give his attention earnestly to agriculture. In
1902, Ludwig Reuter increased his holdings to twenty acres, and in time the family pur-
chased and improved other ranches and then sold them at a profit. At present Theo-
dore is the manager of nineteen and a half acres, in which two brothers and a sister
also have a share. Ludwig Reuter died in March, 1915, aged fifty-four years; but his
widow is still living at the old home ranch, aged a])out fifty-six.

Ludwig Reuter became an early winemaker and also wine merchant of Santa Ana,
and the old Reuter home place is a landmark known to thousands throughout the
county. The old house, too, was once used in Tustin as the early schoolhouse, and
so it still has its associations for many. This structure was removed Ijy the ingenious
pioneer, who retained it in good condition. Now Theodore has the management of ten
acres of walnuts, and about nine acres of oranges. He belongs to the Santa Ana
Walnut Growers Association, and also to the Santiago Orange Growers Association.

On August 25, 1916, Mr. Reuter was married to Miss Dorothy Weber, a daughter
of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. ^^'cller of West Garden Grove: and one child has blessed their
marriage — the baby, Jean. The family attend the Christian Church, and Mr. Reuter is
a member of the Fraternal Brotherhood of Santa Ana. In national politics, he is a
Republican. Patriotic to the core. Mr. and Mrs. Reuter supported all tlie Liberty Loan
drives during the war.

A sister of Mr. Reuter is Hedwig S., now the wife of Roy W. Angle, master
mechanic of the Union Oil Company. A brother is H. A. Reuter, and another brother
is Ernest A., who is at liome. H. A. Reuter, who is connected with the Santa Ana
Register, enlisted in the World War, as did his brother, Ernest, in August, 1917; and
for two years they both served overseas. E. A. was in the First Division of the Mobile
Repair Ordnance; and H. A. was in the Supply Service at Neuf Chateau. France. In
1919. at San Francisco, they received their honorable discharges.

OTTO L. AHLEFELD.— A native of California in all but birth, Otto L. Ahlefcld
has lived in Orange County since his third year, so that his memory of his childhood
days does not reach beyond its borders. He was born in Lombard, a short distance
from Chicago, 111. January 4, 1894, his parents being George and Louise (Stanch)
Ahlefeld, both of whom were born in Germany, the father coming to America from
his old home at Hamburg when but a young lad. There were six children in the
Ahlefeld family, three of whom are living: Fred E. married Miss Gertrude Lippe of
Santa Ana and they are the parents of one child. Richard; Otto L., the subject of this
sketch; and Ethel, the only daughter, resides with her parents in Orange.

George .\hlefeld farmed in the vicinity of Lombard. 111., for a number of years,
until 1897, when he brought his family to California, settling near Orange, where he
immediately began citrus ranching. He still resides on his original purchase, which
he has improved and developed, having erected a comfortable residence on the property
some years ago. Otto was reared on the home place, receiving a good education in the
public schools at Orange. He early began to help his father on the ranch, so was for-
tunate when but a boy in getting a thorough and practical knowledge of the citrus
industry. In 1916 he purchased a tract of five acres at Olive and this he has developed
and iiuprovcd, planting it to oranges, and he has had water piped to it for irrigation


purposes from tlic Santa Ana Vallcj' Irrigation Company. In 1920 he made a consider-
able addition to liis holdings l)y the purchase of a well developed ranch of ten acres
on Palmyra and Santiago Creek. Five acres of this ranch are set to \'a!encia oranges,
while the remainder of the acreage is taken up with the buildings and a thriving walnut
orchard. His ranch at Olive is now leased to the Olive Petroleum Company.

On August 30. 1916, Mr. Ahlefeld was married to Miss Verona Strong, born in this
county, a daughter of Carl and Alice (Straud) Strong, who were pioneers of Orange
and are still ranchers in Los Angeles County, Mrs. Strong being a native daughter
of California. One child, Carl G., has been born to Mr. and Mrs., Ahlefeld. They make
their home on the ten-acre ranch which Mr. Ahlefeld purchased this year and here he
is devoting his time and energy to bringing the place up to the highest degree of culti-
vation. Seeing the l)enelits accruing from organization among the growers, Mr. Ahle-
feld is a mem])er of the McPherson Heights Citrus Association and of the Olive Hill-
side Growers Association, also of the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company. Politically
he is a believer in the principles of the Republican party. He is a memlicr of the
Lutheran Church at Orange and botli of them are active in its circles, where they enjoy
a wide popularity.

LEROY A. WARREN. — .\ professional man whose choice of the open-air life
of California made him a rancher, and whose common sense and experience have made
liini conservative in his progressive operations, is Leroy A. Warren, known to those
who really know him as public spirited and patriotic in every particular. He was born
in Arkansas City, Kans., on September 14. 1891, the son of Thomas L. Warren, now
a business man and property owner at Santa Ana, where he also has a brother in
business, Howard T. Warren. Thomas \Varren was born in Iowa in 1866, and later
moved to Kansas. He had married Hiss Elizabeth Wilson, who was born in Ohio in
1862, and they came to Santa Ana on Christmas Eve, 1900, bringing their three children
— our subject, an older brother, Martin W. Warren, now in the post office at Santa
.\na, and a younger brother, \\'illiam H. Warren, who is with the Union Oil Company
of Santa Monica.

Leroy Warren attended the grammar schools at Santa .\na. and in 1911 was
graduated from the high school of this city, after which and during the academic year
of 1912-13 he was a student at Occidental College. Then he matriculated at the Santa
Barljara Normal school, from which he was duly graduated in 1914. He first taught
in the ^'isalia high school, where he was the athletic trainer for a year, giving instruc-
tion as well in the other city schools, and from 1917 to 1919 he was a teacher in the
manual arts department of the high school at Santa Ana, and was athletic trainer and
football coach at Santa Ana.

In 1919 Mr. Warren retired from his professional work and on April 26 bought
three and a half acres of oranges and one and a half acres of lemons at Villa Park — a
small ranch, having a fine residence and an orchard. He has five shares in the Serrano
\Vater Company and three shares in the Santiago Well Company, and with tliis most
adequate irrigation he is an independent shipper, and has come to enjoy an enviable
reputation for the quality of his ranch products.

On Decemlier 28, 1916, Mr. Warren was married to Miss Ruth E. Alexander, of
Hollywood, who was a fellow-student with Mr. Warren at the Santa Barbara Normal
school. She is a lady of excellent accomplishments, wdio also taught school, instruct-
ing in domestic science at the Inglewood schools. Their one child, James .Mexander,
was born on May 15, 1918. Mr. Warren supports the Community Church at Villa Park,
and under the leadership of the Republican part3' endeavors to work for improved
civic standards.

ALFRED W. LEICHTFUSS.— ,\ live worker and. therefore, a very live wire in
the Orange Men's Club, boasting at present a membership of nearly ISO, is Alfred W.
Leichtfuss. who was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on July 1, 1883, the son of August F.
Leichtfuss. also a member of that great commonwealth liy reason of birth. He was a
decorator and a dealer in artistic draperies; and after a long, arduous business career,
which enabled him to contribute much toward the proper direction and development
of artistic taste in Wisconsin, he came out to California to live in retirement, and now
resides with his son, our subject, on the home ranch. He had married Miss Auguste
Janicke, a native of Germany, who brought to her aid as his life companion the best
traits of womanhood and domestic life in her native land, and a tjne appreciation of
the social institutions of .\merica and their significance to broad-minded and large-
hearted women.

.Alfred Leichtfuss attended the local grammar schools in Milwaukee, and from
his thirteenth year worked hard for a living. He learned the baker's trade, and was
head baker of the busy shop of Heith & Porth, in Mihvaukee, continuing in that business


for four and a half years. He was the third son in a family of nine children, all still
happily alive, and he made good as a salesman. He represented, also, the Edgewood
Dairy Farm of Wisconsin, and for years traveled extensively for that well-known
concern. In October, 1904, he came to Villa Park and worked as a rancher, and now he
owns and operates for himself sixteen acres, ten of which are set out to Valencias,
three to lemons and three to Navel oranges. By hard, steady work, and in various ways
he greatly improved his ranch and raised it to a high state of cultivation.

On August 1, 1905, Mr. Leichtfuss was married to Miss Elsie Knuth, and they
have three children, all bright students in the neighboring schools. Their names are
Wilfred, Harvey and Lawrence. The family attends the Lutheran Church, in which
Mr. Leichtfuss has served on the building committee. He is a member of the Villa
Park Orchards and the Central Lemon Growers associations, and he marches in his
civic endeavors in the ranks of the Republican party.

MANSON ROUSE. — An enterprising ranchman, with a fine knowledge of horti-
culture and full of the progressive spirit of the twentieth century, is Manson Rouse,
who was born at San Francisco on September 3, 1897, the son of D. M. Rouse, a native
of Agency County, Iowa, where he was born in 1870. He had married Sarah Mc-
CuUough, a native of County Armagh, Ireland, and came to Northern California as a
boy in 1875. His success in large irrigation projects in the north has fixed his fame
among the inhabitants there, where he was best known as the superintendent of the
San Joaquin and Kings Rivers Canal and Irrigation Company. His death occurred at
Santa Ana in 1912.

Manson Rouse was sent to the graded schools in Santa Ana, after which he took
the high school course in the same city. For four years he was employed by
Miller & Lux in Merced County, coming direct from the north in 1917 to Villa Park.
With his mother and his younger brother, David, Mr. Rouse also began the manage-
ment of a fine lemon and orange ranch of twenty acres, located on the beautiful
Center Drive, and this estate, owned by his mother, he now directs. According to
Mr. Rouse, nowhere in California does the lemon industry make a better showing
than at Villa Park, and this opinion, founded on scientific study and practical experi-
ence, is naturally of great interest to all who are essaying citrus culture in Orange
County. He uses tractdrs on his up-to-date ranch, and with a fine system of pipe
lines and a complete outfit of modern machinery he is able to maintain a "show place"
and to make a very comfortable income for all concerned.

In national politics Mr. Rouse is a Republican, but he does not allow partisanship
or narrow views of any kind to interfere with his vigorous and effective support of
every measure or movement likely to build up or upbuild the community with which
he is so vitally and so honorably associated.

WILLIAM J. S. HOLDITCH. — An enterprising, experienced and successful
rancher who has made a specialty as a horticulturist, is William J. S. Holditch of Villa
Park, known to everybody for miles around as a "good fellow." He was born at
Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, on September 27, 1881, the son of James Holditch, a native
of that place, who both kept a store and ran a ranch in Sturgeon Falls, and was honored
by his fellow-citizens as their choice for mayor of that town. He came to Sturgeon
Falls as a pioneer with John Parker, and married Ellen Parker, a native of England,
who came to America when she was a girl. William attended the local schools in
Canada, graduating from the high school of Sturgeon Falls, and as the oldest son in a
family of seven children, worked for two years for an uncle in a planing mill at
Sturgeon Falls.

In 1901 Mr. and Mrs. Holditch and a daughter came to California for a year, to
look around and size up the country, and in 1902 they arranged for the remainder of
the family to follow them here. In October of the same year our subject entered the
University of Southern California, and for a couple of semesters pursued such studies
as were congenial to him. He discontinued the course when the health of his fatlier
became impaired, and it was necessary for someone to take charge of the fine twenty-
five acres purchased by him in Villa Park in March, 1903. This ranch has ten acres
of Navel oranges, three acres of apricots, and the balance, or twelve acres, in barley.
It also came to have a good well, finished by James Holditch in 1912. In course of
time John Holditch, another son, bought eight of the acres.

William Holditch started a nursery of citrus trees, where he planted and grew
stock both for his own ranch and for the market. In 1907 he bought from Frederick
Meade of New York some twenty-one unimproved acres at Villa Park, and there he
himself set out the trees. In addition to the water supply from the well dug by his
father, Mr. Holditch commands other service through his holding of stock in the


Serrano Water Association, anil he is a memlier and sliareholiler in Imtb tlie Central
Lemon Growers and Villa Park Orchards associations.

James Holditch came west in pursnit of better health, and found the improvement
desired in Orange County. Cal. He died in 1913, aged sixty-three. His widow li\es
contentedly, having at home a daughter. Marguerite, our subject, and two other sons.
George E. and Bronson Holditch. A son, John, married Miss Myrtle Adams and lives
at Villa Park; and a daughter, Anna, became the wife of W. A. Knuth. John Holditch
saw active service in France as a member of the Ninety-first Division of the Three
Hundred Sixty-fourth Regiment. Bronson was also in the land of the Gauls as
one of the Fortieth Division in the One Hundred Forty-lifth Battery of the Heavy
Artillery, and George E. Holditch was connected with the ground service in the
aviation department of the U. S. Army. All received honorable discharges. John is
a member of the Elks at Anaheim, while William is a charter member of, and has held
office in, the Knights of Pythias of Orange.

In national politics a Republican, in local affairs a first-class nonpartisan "booster."
Mr. Holditch supports the Community Church and every movement likely to result
in the uplifting and upbuilding of Villa Park and her favored sister communities in the
most favored of all counties, Orange.

BENJAMIN W. JEROME.— A native-born son of the state, who has come into
prominence as one of the successful ranchers of Orange County, is Benjamin W.
Jerome, who possesses in a large measure those qualities which have been the founda-
tion of the upbuilding of the West, enterprise and determination, qualities which he
no doubt inherited from his father, William Jerome, a pioneer settler with a record for
valiant service in the Civil War, and later in the bloody conflicts with the Apaches, that
his descendants may well cherish with pride.

William Jerome was born in London, England, on July 21, 1846, and on migrating
to America located in Pennsylvania. Shortly after his arrival there the Civil War
broke out, and he at once joined the colors of his adopted country and enlisted in the
First Pennsylvania Cavalry, and served throughout the conflict, .\fter the close of
the war he enlisted in the regulars and was sent to the Pacific Coast to relieve tlie
First California Volunteers, who had restrained the depredations of the Indian tribes
during these days. Coming to California via the Isthmus of Panama, they landed at
San Pedro and made their way to Yuma. Ariz. Here Mr. Jerome served for two
years under Captain Dunkelberger, and later in the company of Captain Bernard, and
took part in the .Apache when Chief Cochise was at the head of the trilie.
During one of the battles he was twice wounded and on account of climatic conditions
and lack df hospital facilities he was sent to San Diego. After his recovery he was
given his honorable discharge and mustered out and located in Los Angeles; here he
was appointed as a member of the police force, and it was during this time that he
made the acquaintance of Miss Martha Ward, like himself a native of London, England,
who had come to California on a visit. The acquaintance continued and resulted in
their marriage in 1875.

In 1879 Mr. and Mrs. Jerome removed to Vidiat is now Orange County, settling
at Olive, and on September 25, 1881, he located at Tustin, where he built his home and
thereafter made his residence. Here he engaged in business as a plaster and cement
contractor, a trade which he had learned in Philadelphia in his early days. He -was
always prominent in the ranks of the G. A. R., and his passing, on August 20, 1900.
at the age of fifty-four, left a heartfelt void in the ranks of his comrades. His widow
survives him and makes her home with her daughter, M. Louise, on the Irvine Ranch.
Five children were born to this worthy couple: William C. is the present auditor of
Orange County and a partner with his brother in the ranching business; Benjamin
W., the subject of this review; M. Louise leases 200 acres of the Irvine ranch; Nellie
is the wife of C. E. Stone, who is foreman of the Whiting ranch operated by the

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 188 of 191)