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 29 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 29 of 191)
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study of bees and particularly of the diseases that aflfect them in this climate, and it
is safe to say that there is no one in Southern California who has done as much to
advance this profitable industry. He was chosen to take charge of the California
bee exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in New Orleans, 1884. When the
office of bee inspector was created in 1902, Mr. Pleasants was unanimously made
its first incumbent and he continues to serve up to the present time. In 1888 Madame
Modjeska bought his ranch of 200 acres and he then bought 400 acres of land, his
present place, which he devoted to the raising of thoroughbred stock.

Mr. Pleasants' first marriage united him with Miss M. Refugio Carpenter, her
mother being a native Californian. She passed away in 1888. and two years later
Mr. Pleasants married Miss Adalina Brown, likewise a native of this state, born at
Petaluma, Sonoma County, but grew up and received her education in Los Angeles:
she is a daughter of Milton and Clarissa (Wing) Brown, natives of Kentucky and
Illinois, respectively. They crossed the plains to Oregon in 1852 and two years later
came down the coast to Sonoma County, and soon afterwards came to Los Angeles
where they were pioneer ranchers. After his wife died Milton Brown made his home
with Mr. and Mrs. Pleasants until a few days before his death at the hospital in
Santa Ana in 1917, aged ninety-five years, six months. Mrs. Pleasants after reaching
womanhood taught school for several years. She is intensely interested in early
California history of which she has been a student and reader and is well informed
and an interesting conversationalist.

A member of the Bee Keepers' Club of Orange County and an active member
of the State and National Bee Keepers' Associations, at the annual meeting in Los
Angeles, February, 1920, Mr. Pleasants was elected president of the California State
Bee Keepers' Association, a fitting honor to his years of study and research in
bee culture. Mr. Pleasants has always taken a prominent part in the activities of
these organizations, promoting in every possible way the furtherance of this industry.
He has been a valued contributor to the various journals published in its interest in
the United States and furnished the data for the chapter devoted to the subject
appearing in this history. Now one of the oldest settlers in this county, he is living
in comparative retirement at his home in Silverado precinct, and blessed with an
exceptional memory, he can recall many interesting reminiscenses of the early days
of Orange County. Occupying a high place in the esteem of his fellow citizens, Mr.
Pleasants can look back upon a long, influential and well-spent life.


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GEORGE W. FORD.— Coining to Orange County in 1876. George \V. Ford is
known throughout Southern California as an authority in walnut growing, having made
a special study of this industry and securing results not equalled by any other grower in
the county. A native of Illinois, he was born in the neighborhood of Centralia on
October 21, 1848, a son of John and Louisa (Youngblood) Ford, both descendants of
old Southern families, who had settled in Illinois when it was a territory. In 1897
they came to California and resided here during the remainder of their lives. They
were the parents of ten children, nine of whom grew to maturity.

The oldest child of the family, George W. Ford, was reared on a farm and was
educated in the common schools of that time, attending about two months during the
winter, and the remainder of the time after he was old enough to work, was spent
in helping on his father's farm. From the time he was a lad of fifteen, Mr. Ford
was filled with a desire to see California, having read an article in a paper, written from
Anaheim Landing, and he made up his mind then to visit this section some time in
the future. When he was a little older he worked for a time in a country store, also
helping on the .farms in the vicinity of his home, and one season while working in the
harvest field he was overcome by the heat. His health began to fail and in March, 1875,
he decided to come to California, on the advice of a friend, who had been in this
state and knew the conditions to be found here by one seeking health. Arriving in
San Francisco with less than ten dollars, this small sum had dwindled almost to the
vanishing point before he secured employment, but he was fortunate in completely
regaining his health.

In February, 1876, Mr. Ford came to Los Angeles County, first working on a
ranch and then securing employment in a nursery, where he obtained his first experi-
ence in that line. Having saved up a little money he decided to invest it in real estate,
and secured five acres of land at Santa Ana, and upon this small tract he started the
nursery business that was destined to become one of the largest in the state. From
time to time he added to his holdings, in 1884 buying a tract of twenty-three and a
quarter acres. At the time of the purchase it was but little better than a sheep pasture,
but the extension of the city limits made it a valuable property. As the county set-
tled up, his business increased in proportion and at one time he employed twenty
men and did a business of over $30,000 a year. He made many of his own importations
and sold in carload lots, shipping walnut trees all over California and to .Australia, as
well as many other fruit and ornamental trees, plants and shrubs. He was one of the
first to bring the soft-shelled walnut to this part of the state, and in 1885 he originated
the Ford improved soft-shell walnut and continued year after year to improve the
grade. In the cultivation of walnut groves he also made valuable contribution through
his many and extensive experiments. He was one of the first growers to learn that the
best results were obtained by allowing the orchards to remain unplowed, as he found
that a "plow hardpan" is formed by cultivating, and also that it breaks off the small
shoots sent up by the roots to draw nourishment from the air. He also found that
his yield was much increased by planting the trees much farther apart than was the
custom, thinning them out until they were at least sixty feet apart.

Mr. Ford continued his nursery business until 1898. when he disposed of it at a
good profit. In 1892 he erected his present home and spent much time in beautifying
the grounds,. having the greatest variety of ornamental trees and shrubs of any home
in the county, among them being some extremely fine camphor trees. ,\ stockholder
in the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company. Mr. Ford worked in 1877 on the first
ditch started by that company.

.•\lways a lover of fine horses, Mr. Ford was for a number of years engaged in
raising some fine racing stock, breeding some of the fastest horses ever sent out of
the state. His horses were raced all over the Pacific circuit, and in the early days
he did his own driving and won many races. In 1900 he bought the Orange County
Fair Association race track, and for several years maintained it as a training and race
course. It was considered one of the fastest mile tracks in California, and it was here
that Silkwood, one of the best trotting horses of his day, made his record of 2:07.

Coming here when Santa .\na was but a small, struggling village. Mr. Ford has
seen it grow to be one of the most prosperous towns in Southern California, and in
this development he has had no small part. Mr. Ford's marriage occurred in Los
.•\ngeles, when he was united with Miss Mary Teague. who was born on a farm adjoin-
ing the Ford homestead in Illinois, and came to California in 1878. They continue to
reside on their old home place, once a pasture, but now in tlie lieart of the residence
district of Santa Ana.


DAVID HEWES. — In the annals of Southern California none of its citizens
occupy a more distinctive place than the late David Hewes, whose name is indelibly
associated with the great, progressive movements of the state, over a period dating
from 1850 to his demise in July, 1915. A man of affairs, a successful financier and a
Christian gentleman, his life was ever a power for good and an influence toward the
highest ideals of manhood. His long and useful life of ninety-three years was replete
with varied experiences that would furnish a volume of material for the biographer,
rich in interest, but only the outstanding points of his career can be touched upon here.
Born in Lynnfield, Essex County, Mass., May 16, 1822, David Hewes was the
representative of one of the old families of that state, tracing his ancestry back seven
generations to the patriot, David Hewes. The death of his father when he was but
five years old, with the rather rigid discipline of the New England home, early gave
him a sense of responsibility, and the habits of industry that formed the foundation of
his success in life. From the age of fourteen he supported himself and earned enough
to secure his early education in West . Reading Academy and Phillips Academy, and
later he was enabled to enter Yale College. Meanwhile he had added his savings to
the small inheritance left him from his father's estate and during his second year at
Yale he invested his capital in galvanized iron houses which he shipped to California.
Leaving his studies he started on the long trip to the Pacific Coast, via the Isthmus
of Panama, arriving at San Francisco in February, 1850. While he had not expected
to remain in the West, the wonderful possibilities opening up at this period made him
decide to cast his lot with this new and untried land. Going to Sacramento he opened
up a general merchandise store and from the first was successful, but in 1852, at the
height of his prosperity, the city was practically wiped out by a conflagration, followed
in January of the next year by a disastrous flood, so that Mr. Hewes left there prac-
tically empty-handed.

Realizing the possibilities of San Francisco as the future metropolis of the Pacific
Coast, Mr. Hewes decided to locate there. At that time the beginning of the city's
growth made necessary the leveling of the hills and the grading and filling of the
streets and here he saw an immediate opportunity, though his limited capital made it
necessary for him to begin operations on a very limited scale. It was not long, how-
ever, until he increased his business and he was soon engaged in the prodigious task
of reclaiming the harbor, filling in blocks that are now in the heart of the city's
commercial center. To the present generation it is almost inconceivable that the shore
line once extended to Montgomery Street, all this section being made land. It was
most fitting that Mr. Hewes was called the "maker of San Francisco" since it was
through his initiative and energy that the task was undertaken and accomplished.

While not actively connected with the building of the first transcontinental rail-
road, Mr. Hewes was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the project and it
was he who furnished the golden spike that marked the completion of the road. It
was also he who planned the connection of the railroad company's wires with that of
the Western Union, by which the taps of the silver hammer driving the golden spike
were transmitted to San Francisco, thus signalling the accomplishment of this long-
waited event. Many other activities occupied Mr. Hewes' attention in the following
years, before his removal to Southern California, where he entered upon one of his
greatest achievements — the development of the famous Hewes ranch near El Modena,
in Orange County, which he gave the name of Anapama, "a place of rest." Originally
a sheep ranch, and comprising over 800 acres, Mr. Hewes spared neither time nor ex-
penditure in its development. A large part of its acreage was converted" into a vine-
yard, but when Orange County was visited by the blight, it went the way of all the
other vineyards. Nothing daunted, Mr. Hewes at once set about to restore the ranch
by planting citrus fruit and it became one of California's noted orange groves, remain-
ing a part of the Hewes estate after Mr. Hewes' death, until January, 1920, when it
was sold for $1,000,000. The famous Hewes Park, one of the beauty spots of the
Southland, was Mr. Hewes especial pride, involving an expenditure of many thousands
of dollars. Formerly a barren hill top, this knoll is now a beautiful flower garden,
through which are many walks and drives, its lovely terraces ornamented with rare
trees and shrubs. From its summit may be seen Catalina Island, the Sierra Madre and
Santa Ana Mountains, with the snow-covered summit of "Old Baldy" in the distance.

Business alone, however, did not occupy all of Mr. Hewes' time and thought,
despite the great enterprises in which he was always concerned. A lover of art, he
spent much time during his European trips at the art centers, and his magnificent col-
lection of pictures, statuary and frescoes was ultimately presented to the Leland Stan-
ford University. A trustee of Mills College for many years, he gave generously to
that institution, one of his gifts lieing the chime of ten bells that hangs in the belfry,
and his benefactions to other schools and churches were legion. The owner of large

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holdings in San Francisco, when the earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed his building
at Sixth and Market streets, although he was at that time in his eighty-fourth year, he
at once made plans for rebuilding, the fifteen-story structure erected on the old site
costing half a million dollars, and it is considered one of the best constructed buildings
in that city.

Mr. Hewes' first marriage, which occurred in 1875, united him with Mrs. Matilda
C. Gray, and following this they spent two and a half years in Europe. It was on
their return to America that Mrs. Hewes' delicate health made it advisable to seek the
more balmy climate of Southern California, and they established their residence at
Tustin, Mrs. Hewes passing away there in 1887. Mr. Hewes was again married in
1889 to Miss Anna Lathrop, a sister of Mrs. Leland Stanford, the next eighteen months
being spent in Europe, Egypt, Palestine and other parts of the Orient. Mr. Hewes
was again bereaved of his companion in 1892, Mrs. Hewes' death occurring in August
of that year.

A man of remarkable energy, until he was past ninety Mr. Hewes continued to
drive his own horses and went about the crowded streets of Los Angeles and San
Francisco unattended, looking after his many interests. With a rich heritage of the
best New England stock, he reflected in his character the unpretentious honesty and
unswerving integrity of his forbears. His is a career that will never pass from the
memory of those who have known him, for its influence will live for all time in the
lives of those who have felt the impress of his upright manhood.

ALBERT S. BRADFORD.— No one who has recently visited the attractive and
instructive orange shows held at San Bernardino will fail to have been greatly im-
pressed by the Orange County exhibits, arranged by Albert S. Bradford, president of
the Placentia National Bank, each under his scientific and artistic touch for the past ten
years of differing and striking arrangement. He was born at Shapleigh. York County,
Maine, on August 18, 1860, the son of William Bradford, a namesake and descendant of
the famous William Bradford, who came out on the Mayflower and later was governor
of Massachusetts. A. S. Bradford's father married Miss Lucy Thompson, also a member
of a Revolutionary family who stood by Washington and his laudable aspirations
through the thick and thin of the war, or until independence had been attained.

Albert S. Bradford was reared on a district farm where he had plenty to do every
summer, although he enjoyed the usual school advantages of the rural districts in
Maine during the winter: but, concluding that such a life would aftord him little oppor-
tunity for the future, he ran away from home at the age of fourteen and started to
paddle his own canoe in the larger, if stranger world. Arriving in Boston, he' secured
employment in a market garden where garden truck was raised under glass, for which
labor he received six dollars a month and his board. He remained there for a number
of years; but he did something more than earn a living; he kept his eyes and ears open,
he studied hot-bed culture and horticulture, and by conscientious application laid a
broad and deep foundation of knowledge and practical experience of great value to him
in later years. In 1881. he even started a business of his own in the outskirts of Boston.
.A venture of another kind, that of managing a summer resort, at Colchester on Lake
Champlain. Vt., merely proved beyond question what he was best fitted for. When,
therefore, he established himself at Stoneham, Mass., and began to cultivate garden
produce, he was able to give it his undivided attention and effort.

.'\bout the time of the great boom in California, that is. in 1887. Mr. Bradford
came to the Coast, stopping for a while at San Diego and then coming to Santa Ana.
at that time in Los .\ngeles County, just in time to take a prominent part in the forma-
tion of Orange County in 1889. At first, he was foreman of the Daniel Halladay ranch;
1)ut in 1890 he located in what is now the Placentia district and acquired twenty acres of
land on Palm Avenue — the Tesoro ranch — to which he added later, so that now he owns
some fifty-five acres, all set out to Valencia and Navel oranges, under his expert direc-
tion brought to a high state of cultivation. Besides this. Mr. Bradford has other citrus
land holdings, including oil-producing property.

He helped to organize the Southern California Fruit Exchange, and was a director
in the same, although for a number of years he was an independent fruit packer and
owned his own packing house. Later he sold this to R. T. Davies, and he now packs
through him. For fifteen years he was a director of the .-Knaheim Union Water Com-
pany, and chairman of the ditch committee, and he helped to organize the First National
Bank and the -American Savings Bank of Anaheim, and is still a director in both.

Mr. Bradford's place in California history, is pleasantly assured through his dis-
tinction as the founder of the town of Placentia. He bought sixty acres of land for the
townsite from Richard Melrose of .\naheim in 1910. laid out the town and secured the
right-of-way for the 'Santa Fe Railroad to build its line; and Placentia is now a busy,
thriving town, with paved streets, modern business lilocks and atlracti'.e hur.ies, situated


in the heart of the richest orange and oil section of Orange County. It has a modern,
up-to-date grammar school and its own private water system for domestic service. The
Placentia Domestic Water Works has one well ISO feet deep, and another 187 feet, with
a modern pumping plant. Two large iron tanks hold 52,000 gallons, and a small tank
contains 1.800 gallons, for the use of the packing houses. The largest street main is a
six-inch pipe, and there are now 228 water meters installed. There are eight tire
hydrants, and the town has a twenty-horsepower electric motor. It will be seen, there-
fore, that with clear, pure water, the water system of Placentia compares favorably
with that of any other place in the county.

The Placentia National Bank of which Mr. Bradford is president was organized
by him in 1911, and occupies a modern brick building of its own — some evidence of its
almost phenomenal success from the start. He was organizer of Placentia Savings Bank
and president of it and is also a director in the Standard Bond and Mortgage Company
of Los Angeles, president of the Republican Petroleum Corporation, and director in
the Orange County Automobile Association. He is chairman of the County Board of
Foresters, and vice-president and director in the Southern Counties Gas Company, all
of them representative business associations. Since 1909 he has had charge, as has
been said, of the Orange County exhibit at the annual orange show held in San Ber-
nardino each February, and for ten season has made a new- and novel design.

Mr. Bradford has been married three times. The first Mrs. Bradford w-as Miss
Fannie R. Mead before her marriage, and she was a native of Winchester, Mass., and
the daughter of Captain H. Mead. The latter commanded the U. S. Gunboat Monadnock
during the siege of Fort Fisher, in the Civil War, and continuing to follow the high
seas, he met a tragic death in the burning of his steamer ofl Cape Hatteras. Four
children blessed the union: Elsie G., the only daughter, grew up to graduate from the
FuUerton high school, and died on March 17, 1908. Hartwell A. and Percy L. became
mainstays to their parents; but the mother, who passed away on January 9, 1910, did
not see the patriotic service of the younger child. Warren M. Bradford, who served in
France in the World War, as first lieutenant of the Twenty-third U. S. Engineers.
His was the strenuous life of the able-bodied, idealistic and enthusiastic soldier, who
never was willing to do the minimum possible, and it is not surprising that he was in
several of the most important and famous drives. The blow to Mr. Bradford in the
death of his devoted companion threatened to unnerve and incapacitate him; but
through the endeavor to overcome the ill eflfects, he accomplished the great work of
providing for the Santa Fe cut-off from Richfield to Fullerton, through Placentia, and
also for the founding of the latter town. Hartwell A. Bradford graduated from the
Colorado School of Mines, and has made a name for himself as a mining expert in
both the United States and Mexico. Percival Loring Bradford was graduated from
the .\rmour Institute of Chicago, as an electrical engineer; while Warren is a musician
with proficiency on the piano and cornet. The second Mrs. Bradford was Ellen R.
Mead who died November 23. 1918. The present Mrs. Bradford was Mrs. Winifred
Wade Bryan, born in Missouri, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Wade.

Mr. Bradford is one of the most prominent Masons in California, having been
made a Mason in .Anaheim Lodge No. 207, F. & A. M., of which he was master three
years. He was exalted to the Royal .^rch degree in Santa Ana Chapter and was an
organizer of Fullerton Chapter No. 90, R. A. M., and for three years was its high
priest, although he did the work for five years. He is a member of the Grand Chapter
of California and was deputy grand lecturer of the Nineteenth district. He is also a
member of Santa .\na Council No. 14, R. & S. M. Mr. Bradford was knighted in
Santa Ana Commandery No. 36, Knights Templar, and afterwards became a charter
member of Fullerton Commandery. He is a member of Los Angeles Consistory. S. R.,
and also a life member of A\ Malaikah Temple, .\. A. O N. M. S., Los Angeles. .Always
a believer in protection and nationalism for Americans he is decidedly a Republican
and has always been active and prominent in matters of political moment to the
county and state.

STROTHER S. BALL — During his forty years of continuous residence in
Orange County, Strother S. Ball has witnessed the marvelous development of agri-
culture and citrus culture in the county, as well as the growth of villages into up-to-
date cities. He was born January 29, 1848, in Gentry County, Mo., the son of Hezekiah
R. and Ellen (Stephens) Ball, the former a native of Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Hezekiah
Ball were the parents of eight children, five of whom are living.

In 1865, after the Civil War, the family migrated, by the ox-team route, to Arizoija.
The indomitable spirit of the pioneer possessed this hardy family to such a degree
that they determined to migrate still farther westward until the Golden State was
reached. In 1866 the family arrived in San Ber;iardino, where they remained until
1880, when they located in what is now Orange County.



In 1881 Hezekiah Ball purchased 200 acres of land at the small price of fifteen
dollars an acre. Here he followed general farming until his passing away in 1909. The
land was subsequently divided and disposed of, Strother Ball receiving his share of the
estate. Mr. Ball occupies an established place in the community where he has so long
been a resident, and stands high in the estimation of a large circle of friends.

RICHARD T. HARRIS. — A public official who made an enviable record that
will long speak for both his high sense of integrity and his sagacity was the late

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 29 of 191)