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 32 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 32 of 191)
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private schools of that vicinity. He always improved such opportunities as were pre-
sented to him and by careful and extensive reading became a well informed man. Six
of the Joplin brothers served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, Josiah C.
enlisting in March, 1862, in Company A, Second Virginia Cavalry. They were first in
Colonel Ashby's command, in Stonewall Jackson's Valley campaign, until Colonel
Ashby was killed at Port Republic. After arriving at Richmond, his regiment became
a part of the First Brigade, under Gen. J. E. B. Stewart, and was in the engagement
at Meadow Bridge, Va., when General Stewart was killed. He served under Generals
Beauregard and Robert E. Lee, participating in the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg,
Richmond, and the Wilderness and others of equal importance. During his service he
was slightly wounded in three different battles.

After the war was over Mr. Joplin returned to Franklin County, Ya.. where the
family had moved during hostilities. He remained there but a short time and then
went to Mississippi and Arkansas, spending three years in these states. He eventually
returned to Virginia, and spent three years there in agricultural pursuits. While there
he was united in marriage with Rebecca C. Boyd, a native of Virginia, born June
18, 1845, a daughter of Andrew Boyd. Her uncle, Hon. W. W. Boyd, was a member of
Congress when Virginia seceded and he withdrew and joined the Confederacy and be-
came a member of the Confederate Senate. The following children were born to Mr.
and Mrs. Joplin: Andrew Boyd, John Booth, James A., William P.. Joe and Otho, de-
ceased. Four of the boys are located in this county, and James A. is at Parker, Arizona.

In 1876 Mr. Joplin decided to remove his family to California and it was here
that he found the land of "golden opportunity," for he found health and an opportunity
to rear his children under a wider scope than he had found in the eastern country. He
came direct to the present limits of Orange County, but then Los Angeles County,
and has made this his home ever since. At the time of his arrival it was but sparsely
populated and the thriving cities and towns of the present were but in their infancy.
He located a 160-acre homestead in Belle Canyon, residing there seventeen years as
a possessory claim before it was surveyed so he could file his homestead claim. He
also purchased 320 acres from two settlers adjoining him and 286 acres from the South-
ern Pacific Railroad, and this he put under cultivation, engaging principally in stock
raising and hee culture.

It can be truthfully said that no man has been more interested in the development
of the county than Mr. Joplin, and through participation in every progressive move-
ment he became well acquainted with every well-known citizen within its boundaries.
He has willingly given of his time and means to promote the welfare of the entire
county, and no man has ever been more loyal to its citizens, for he has always guarded

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well every trust reposed in him. One of the most important projects fostered by Mr.
Joplin and which did much to advance the interests of the county was his connection
with the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893. He personally collected an exhibit of the
products of this county and his management of the exhibit there won for him much
praise. So successful was he in this undertaking that he was chosen to superintend
the exhibit of the county at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis, Mo.
Mr. Wiggins, who was the superintendent of exhibits from the seven southern counties
of California, gives him credit for being the first to make a success of chemically
processing fruits for exhibits. Mrs. Joplin prepared a special exhibit of domestic canned
fruit, for which she received a medal and diploma at the World's Columbian Exposition
at Chicago.

Politically, Mr. Joplin has always adhered to the principles of the Democratic
party, and although Orange County usually has been strongly Republican, he has
served several consecutive terms as county treasurer. He was first elected in 1898,
from January 1, 1899 to January 1. 1903, then he was again elected county treasurer
m 1906 and has been reelected every four years, or in 1910, 1914 and 1918. The last two
times he was elected at the primaries. When requests were made through the legis-
lators to the State Legislature for an increase in salary, Mr. Joplin refused to ask for an
increase, saying that the county was paying him enough. No wonder that he stands
high with all parties.

Mrs. Joplin by her many charitable deeds, kindness and modesty greatly endeared
herself to the people of Santa Ana and Orange County, because she always stood for
truth, uprightness and a high standard of morals, and never failed to give substantial
encouragement to all movements in that direction; thus she was universally mourned
by everyone when she passed away on March 20, 1911. She was a faithful wife and
mother, having always been the greatest help and encouragement to her husband in
his ambitions and naturally very proud of his success and the political honors he had
received. With the same high standard and principles in view she trained and reared
her children to be God-fearing, law-abiding and useful citizens, and her great regret
at passing was that she could no longer see to the ministering of comforts to them,
and before her death she wrote and left a letter addressed to her children, admon-
ishing them to live right and useful lives and follow the example of their father,
who had gained such a high place in the estimation of the public. She had been ill
for several years and knew that the end was coming, so in her loving and thoughtful
way she made a distribution of her keepsakes and household furniture and dishes,
giving each one the things she knew they liked ajid that she wished them to have.

Always active in the interests of education, Mr. Joplin was instrumental in the
organization of the Trabuco and Olive school districts. He took an active part in the
founding of Orange County and his Trabuco precinct obtained the banner, because all
votes were for county division and the organization of Orange County, and not one
vote against it. One of the organizers of the Humane Society of Orange County in
about 1900, Mr. Joplin has been its president ever since and very active in its work.
He was one of the organizers and president of the first Fish and Game Protective
Association of Orange County, and was one of the promoters of the Santa Ann Cham-
ber of Commerce, serving as director for several years. He is prominent in the ranks
of the Odd Fellows and was one of four organizers of the Orange County Veteran
Odd Fellows .Association, serving as its first president, and takes an active interest
in the Orange County Historical Society. Some years ago Mr. Joplin sold his large
ranch and since then has bought two small ranches, comprising a little over 300 acres
. of land in Belle Canyon, and these he devotes to stock raising and horticulture.

WILLIAM H. BROOKS — A very interesting pioneer who has the distinction
of being the first white man to live at Laguna Beach, also of now being the very oldest
living resident of this place, his first habitation being a cabin located back of where
the present postofiice now stands, is William H. Brooks, rancher and mail carrier.
He was born in Ellis County, Texas, on September 9, 1855. the youngest son and child
of Spencer Brooks, who was born in New York in 1823, went to Illinois a young man
and there married Miss Sylvia Heminsway, a native of Vermont, where she was born
in 1828, and who had gone out to Illinois in her youth. The family went to Texas and
remained there two years, and not liking the country returned to Illinois and Winne-
bago County, where Mr. Brooks was a stockman and farmer- There he died in 1857.
but his widow came west to California and died at Laguna at the age of eighty-four
years. One of the sons, Oliver S. Brooks, enlisted for service in the Civil War when
he was sixteen, served three years, and he died at Laguna in 1897.

William H. Brooks spent his boyhood and youth on the open plains of Kansas
and Colorado, became an expert with the rifle, and knew Wild Bill, Buffalo Bill and
all of the scouts of those early days. In 1875 he had left home at Burlington. Kans..


and arrived in Los Angeles when the now flourishing city was but a Mexican adobe
village with nothing to presage its future greatness. The family had moved out to
western Kansas in 1861, and they operated a stage station on the overland stage route
to California. Those were the days when the country was infested with Indians and
many a time this young lad stood guard with the men of the station to protect the
people from the red men, and he also experienced many narrow escapes with his life.
After these early experiences it was but natural that he should want to come to the Far
West in search of a permanent location.

Arriving in Los Angeles County, Mr. Brooks went to Downey, at that time one
of the most flourishing and wide-open towns in the Southland, and here he engaged in
ranching. It was that same year that he wandered down to Laguna Beach on a
hunting trip, and seeing the advantageous location for ranching he took up a gov-
ernment claim of what is now the town site of Laguna Beach, and was joined some few
months later by his brother, the late "Nate" Brooks. Some time later Mr. Brooks
sold his holdings here to an uncle by marriage, Henry Gofif, for the paltry sum of
fifty dollars cash. At the time of the boom in the Southland Mr. Goff sold otT much
of the land in lots and small acreage. As Mr. Brooks took notice of the rapid trend
of affairs towards the development of the place he began to buy back property as he
could until he became owner of considerable town property. As the beach city grew
apace he has sold off much of his holdings at very advantageous prices and invested
m alfalfa land in Antelope Valley.

In 1882 Mr. Brooks had finished his apprenticeship as a blacksmith under Hank
Stow, of Anaheim, and established a shop of his own in Los Angeles, and for years
he was the smith employed by the I. W. Hellman Street Railway Company when
horses were used to draw the cars. His next shop was in Santa Ana, then at Laguna
Beach, later at Calabasas and then Bakersfield. Mr. Brooks built the hotel and store
at Laguna. but this was burned down in 1895, and it was then he went to Bakersfield.
He served as constable of Laguna for twelve years, was deputy sheriff for two years,
and postmaster for three years, and during his time he witnessed many interesting
incidents that relieved the monotony of life at the little village. After being away
for some years he returned in 1912 and took up his residence at Laguna, and since
1914 he has been mail carrier there. Since 1919 he has been interested in ranching in
Antelope Valley, where he and his sons own valuable land.

On July 4, 1878, at Downey, W. H. Brooks was married to Miss Annie Clapp,
born at San Jose, a daughter of Frank Clapp. a planter of Kentucky, where he was
born. Her mother was Ruth Condit before her marriage. The family located in
Alameda County, Cal., in 1856; Mr. Clapp died in Santa Ana in 1897, > and the widow
died there in 1907. An uncle, Frank Hartley, was one of the officers who captured
the bandit, Vasquez. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Brooks: Josephine
is the wife of Maston Smith, of Corona, by whom she has two children, William
and George. By her first union with Harry Kelly she had seven children, six now
living, and three of these daughters are living and married and have five children. The
next younger than Josephine is Robert F., who is married, but has no children; Walter
R. married Miss Stevens, but they have no children; Clarence H. married Miss Throll
and they have two children, Eleanor and William; Roy, the youngest son, is not mar-
ried. All of the sons live and farm in Antelope Valley. Mrs. Brooks is known to her
intimates as "Aunt Annie," and she has the honor of giving the name to- Arch
Beach, the attractive strand to the south of Laguna. Both Mr. and Mrsi. Brooks are
highly esteemed by all who know them in Orange County.

MRS. HATTIE W. ROSS. — A highly-honored representative of a pioneer family
of Santa .-Xna is Mrs, Hattie W. Ross, the rancher and landowner, whose home at
1429 North Baker Street is always the center of warm-hearted hospitality. She was
born at New Madrid, Mo., the daughter of Frederick W. and Virginia Maulsby. who
were cotton planters, owning between 7,000 and 8,000 acres of choice Missouri land.
Mr. Maulsby received his early education in the Southern Missouri Academy, and
later was clerk of New Madrid County, Missouri.

Miss Maulsby came to Santa Ana with a sister, Mrs. Kate Doyle, now of El
Monte, arriving at Santa Ana in September, 1885. She thus saw both Orange and
Santa Ana develop from their infancy. When the plaza in Orange was laid out she
assisted in the entertainment. On August 18, 1886, at the old Doyle home near Santa
Ana, she was married to U. J. Ross, oldest child of Josiah and Sarah Ross, who grew
up in Santa Ana, but was born in Watsonville. He is now foreman for the Hammond
Lumber Company in Los .Angeles. Mr. and Mrs Josiah Ross came across the plains
in an ox-team train in 1865 and settled in the Salinas Valley for a short time, coming
down to Los Angeles County and settling in what is now Orange County a year
later. Then there was for the most part only Mexican and Spanish settlers here, and


considerable trouble was had with the natives. The early settlers' grain would be
endangered by the Mexican ponies, which were allowed to graze at random, and it
was necessary to kill many of these ponies before the Spanish element took any meas-
ures to keep their animals off the land they had sold to the early settlers. Josiah
Ross came across the country in prairie schooners, and if anyone "had a story to
tell," he certainly did. The wild mustard grew so tall that even when one stood on
the driving board of the prairie schooner it was impossible to see over the fields.
When dried, the mustard was used by the Ross family in place of firewood. Mrs.
Eva Sweetster, sister-in-law of Mrs. Ross, was the first girl born in Santa Ana.

Josiah Ross purchased 275 acres of land at one dollar an acre, and a part of this
tract is now the home place of Mrs. Hattie Ross. The rest of the land is still owned
by Josiah Ross' descendants. Mrs. Ross is the owner of an eight-acre grove interset
with walnuts and apricots. Her house was built on this ranch in 1907.

Four sons honor Mrs. Ross: Ernest F. is at home; Raymond married Miss Cora
Huntington of Santa Ana; Melvin is married to Miss Cora Hazelwood, a Nebraska
girl, and they live at Pasadena; and Carroll B. lives at home, a graduate of the Santa
Ana high school and an employe of the Hammond Lumber Company of Santa Ana.
Ernest Ross hauled the first and last loads of gravel to build the beet sugar factory at
Delhi, and he was given a gold locket by the company. Raymond Ross was in the
United States Navy during the late war, and did valiant service as a gunner on the
U. S. S. "Dakota."

GRANVILLE SPURGEON. — Prominent among the names worthy to be per-
petuated in the annals of Orange County, and particularly in the development of the
city of Santa Ana, is that of the late Granville Spurgeon, whose sterling life and
character will ever leave its impress on the community in whose upbuilding he was
so loyally interested for many years.

The Spurgeon family traces its lineage back to England, the early representatives
of the family settling in Virginia. The grandfather of our subject removed from the
Old Dominion State to Bourbon County, Ky., during the days of Daniel Boone and
other early pioneers, and here Granville Spurgeon, Sr., was born and reared. When
he reached young manhood he was married to Lovina Sibley, who was born in Prince
Edward County, Va., and who was directly descended from an influential English
family. Removing to Columbus, Ind., in 1830, Mr. Spurgeon engaged in farming
near there, for about ten years, when the family located in Clark County, Mo. After
several years spent in agricultural pursuits there they removed to .'Vlexandria, Mo..
where Mr. Spurgeon engaged in the mercantile business and took a prominent part in
the affairs of the community. It was during this period that Granville Spurgeon, Jr.,
the subject of this sketch, was born, on August 19, 1843, at Louisville, Ky., the family
being on a visit there at the time.

Granville Spurgeon was educated in the private and public schools of Missouri,
and also had the advantage of a course in a business college in that state. In 1849
his father had made the trip overland to California, and engaged in mining for
eighteen months. As the years went by he again felt the call of the West, and in
1864 he again set out on the long journey, this time accompanied by his family, five
months being spent in crossing the plains. They settled in Solano County. Cal.,
and here both parents passed away. Granville Spurgeon remained in Solano County
for two years, then with his brother Benjamin and a sister he went to Watsonville,
Santa Cruz County. In November, 1867, these two brothers joined their older brother,
William H. Spurgeon, in Los .\ngeles County, taking up land between Compton
and Los Angeles. William H. left them the following year, purchasing a tract of
seventy-six acres belonging to the old Santiago de Santa Ana Grant, and here he
laid out the town of Santa .Ana. On the death of Benjamin Spurgeon in 1870, Gran-
ville Spurgeon joined his brother William H., entering into partnership with him,
and from that date until his death, which occurred August 7, 1901, he was continu-
ously identified with the development of Santa Ana, taking a prominent part in
every undertaking and enterprise that gave this community its well-grounded, sub-
stantial start and enabled it to take its place as one of the representative cities of
Southern California, so that the name of Spurgeon will ever be indissolubly associ-
ated with its history.

With his brother, W. H., Granville Spurgeon conducted the first mercantile estab-
lishment in Santa Am. and for many years this was the leading establishment of the
town. Later he established a thriving fire insurance business, continuing in this for a
number of years, finally disposing of it at a good profit on account of his health. In
later years he purchased a tract of 100 acres of peat land, devoting this to the produc-
tion of celery. This was at the period when celery growing was at its height in
Orange County, and Mr. Spurgeon was most successful in raising some of the finest


celery ever grown here. During his early years here he acted as agent for the Wells
Fargo Express Company, and later was appointed postmaster of Santa Ana, an office
he filled for a number of years with the utmost satisfaction to the community. In
fraternal circles Mr. Spurgeon was prominent in the ranks of the Odd Fellows, the
Encampment and the Rebekahs, serving for sixteen years as treasurer of the subordi-
nate lodge. While a believer in the principles of the Democratic party, he was essen-
tially too broadminded to be swayed by mere partisanship, especially in local politics.
At the time of his death, in 1901, he was one of the oldest residents of Santa Ana,
and in his passing this city lost one of her stanch upbuilders and one who occupied
a distinctive place in her development. Commencing life without means, Mr. Spur-
geon's habits of thrift and industry, coupled with good business judgment, enabled
him to amass a competency, and his life presents a record well worthy of emulation.

Mrs. Spurgeon, who before her marriage was Miss Frederica Reinhold, is a
native of Milwaukee, Wis., where she received an excellent education. Comirrg to Cali-
fornia in 187S on a pleasure trip she met Mr. Spurgeon, at that time a leading mer-
chant of Santa Ana, this acquaintance leading to their marriage the following year.
They took up their residence in the house at Sixth and Main streets that Mr. Spur-
geon had erected for his bride, and this remained the family home during his lifetmie.
After his death Mrs. Spurgeon disposed of the property and purchased her present
home on North Broadway. Now among the oldest settlers of Santa Ana, Mrs. Spur-
geon well remembers the early days of this now prosperous city, when what is now
the finest residential section was a wilderness of wild mustard, and bearing little prom-
ise of the beautiful shady streets, attractive homes and well-kept lawns of today. .\
continuous resident of this city for forty-five years, with the exception of a year spent
at Manitou, Colo., for Mr. Spurgeon's health, Mrs. Spurgeon has always taken the
deepest interest in the welfare of the community, and, like her late husband, has
shown a public spiritedness that has meant much to the advancement of the social
and moral good of the whole neighborhood.

Of the two adopted daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Spurgeon, May S. is the wife
of R. H. Ballard, president and general manager of the Southern California Edison
Company, and they reside in Los Angeles. They have one daughter, Harriet, who is
attending Vassar College. Helen S. is training for a professional nurse at the Good
Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles.

JUSTIN M. COPELAND.— Among the well-known educators who deserve the
gratitude of posterity may well be mentioned, and in foremost place, the late Justin
M. Copeland, a native of New Hampshire, where he was born on St. Patrick's Day, 1835.
His father, the Rev. David Copeland, was a Methodist minister and became a pioneer
clergyman in Southern Wisconsin. Justin M. began his education at Kent's Hill Semi-
nary, Maine, later attended the Middletown College, in Middlesex County, Conn., and
finished at Lawrence University, Appleton, Wis., to which town his parents had moved
in 1857. When fifteen years of age he commenced his teaching in Maine, where he
taught a term of school in Winthrop; then he taught in Connecticut, later in Wis-
consin and then moved to Odell, 111., where he taught for two years. On his return
to Wisconsin he served for several years as an instructor at Fond Du Lac, next going
to Kansas, where he purchased a farm near Derby which he worked in summer, while
he taught in winter. In 1876 he went south to Key West, Fla., and there conducted
a school for two years, when he returned to his ranch near Derby, Kans.

In May, 1881, he came west to California and settled in Old Newport, now Green-
ville, and for two years he taught the district school. He also taught in other places
in Orange County, among them Villa Park. Trabuco. .'X.liso Canyon, New Hope and
Newport, and only when his eyesight failed him, and he could no longer do justice to
the work, did Mr. Copeland give up a work very dear to his heart and in which he
had been so signally successful — a wonderful career, having taught over forty years.

On September 7, 1860, in Chicago, at the home of the bride's brother, Henry
French, Mr. Copeland was married to Miss Mary E. French, a native of South Chester-
ville, Franklin County, Maine, who was born March 20, 1836. the daughter of Isaac
and Eliza (Brown) French, worthy Yankee farmer folk of good old Maine. Four
brothers of the French family came from England to Massachusetts in 1620. in a ship
of the Mayflower party, and later some of the brothers went to New Hampshire and
then to Maine. Mrs. Copeland's Great-grandfather French came from New Hampshire
to Maine, and her grandfather, Joseph A., and two brothers were among the founders
of South Chesterville, Maine. Mrs. Copeland had two brothers in the Civil War,
Captain Henry French, and Joseph French, who was in a Maine regiment of cavalry
and who now lives on the old Joseph French place. She attended Kent's Hill Semi-
nary, and when a young lady came west to Chicago, where she resided with a sister
and a brother. She had made the acquaintance of Justin M. Copeland while the Rev.



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David Copeland was on that circuit and the acquaintance continued and resulted in
their marriage.

On retiring from the pedagogical field, Mr. Copeland purchased 100 acres of land
in Orange County, which he disposed of to advantage during the early days of 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 32 of 191)