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 35 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 35 of 191)
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War broke out he at once offered his services and joined in the conflict. It is needless
to say that he suffered many dangers and privations during that long siege, but he
never wavered in his loyalty to the cause he had espoused and through his courage
and patriotism he rose to the rank of colonel in the Continental .Army.

Colonel and Mrs. John Kelly had a family of nine children, and one of their
sons, John, who was for many years a resident of Juanita County, Pa., married Miss
Rebecca Clarke, a native of Scotland, and their son. Moses Kelly, married Miss Eliza-
beth Patterson and reared a family of ten children in Juniata County, Pa. The seventh
of their children was Tames R. Kellv, of this review, who was born near Mifflintown,
Pa., June 28, 1835.

Educated in the public schools of Juniata County and trained to a practical knowl-
edge of agriculture, James R. Kelly became one of the intelligent and prosperous
farmers of his native county, where for years he devoted himself to his chosen occu-
pation, save for the period of his service in the Civil War. Upon retiring from
general farming he removed to Kansas and established a home at Lawrence, Douglas
County. Three years later, in 1888. he came to Southern California and purchased
a lot and built a home at 528 W^alnut Street. Santa Ana. w-here he resided until his
death. Immediately after his arrival he identified himself with the fruit-growing busi-
ness and soon became familiar with every department of the leading industry of the
locality. On his ranch he raised apricots, oranges and walnuts. It was his aim to
grow only fruits of the choicest varieties, so that the products of his grove might
command the highest prices in the Eastern markets.

Mr. Kelly's marriage on March 18. 1869. united him with Miss Jane Robinson,
a native of Juniata County, Pa., and a daughter of George and Priscilla (Laird) Robin-
son, both of Scotch-Irish ancestry, but born and reared in Juniata County. Mr. and
Mrs. Kelly were the parents of three sons: Frederick M.. who was educated at the
University of Michigan, is an assayer and chemist; he is one of the leading citizens of
Needles, Cal., where he has been postmaster for many years. He married Miss Pearl
Glenn of Springville, Iowa, a granddaughter of the first white child born in Chicago,
and they are the parents of two sons, Robert Glenn and Fred; George Patterson Kelly,
who was also educated at the University of Michigan, practiced law for a number of
years in Chicago and while there married Miss .\gnes K. Gavney of Aurora, 111. George
P. Kelly passed away in 1915 at Santa Ana and his wife died in 1919. leaving one son,
James T.; R. Bayard, born at Juanita. Pa., March 13, 1880, attended the public schools
a{ Santa .Ana, took bookkeeping and telegraphy and was employed at Needles for eight


years, then returned to Santa Ana and was a successful walnut grower of the Tustin
district until selling in 1919. He was married in 1915 to Miss Magdalena Lauterbach,
who was born at Buflfalo, N. Y., but who has been a resident of California since 1904.
They are the parents of one son, Robert. Mrs. James R. Kelly passed away at her
home in Santa Ana, April 6, 1919, at the age of about eighty-three.

Like his forbear of Revolutionary days, James R. Kelly was intensely patriotic and
any mention of his life work would be incomplete without recording his war service,
which put to a severe test the qualities of courage, patience and endurance possessed
by him to a remarkable degree. Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War Mr. Kelly
offered his services to the Union and on July 25, 1861, he was accepted as a member
of Company A, First Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry, enlisting from Juniata County.
This regiment was ordered to the front at once and became one of the most famous
fighting units of tlie Federal Army. In the charge at Cedar Mountain Companies A,
B, C and D went into action with 264 men and came out with only seventy-two able
to report for duty. Mr. Kelly held the rank of first lieutenant in Company .A and
owing to the frequent absence of the captain was often called upon to command the
companj". In the battle of Shepherdstown, July 17, 1863, an exploding shell struck him,
cutting an artery in his leg and leaving a painful wound. On another occasion he
was slightly injured in battle. While in a cavalry skirmish at Samaria Church, \'a..
June 24, 1864, he was taken prisoner and confined in the famous Libby prison. Later
he was transferred successively to Columbia, S. C. Macon, Ga., Belle Isle, Savannah,
Ga., and Charleston. S. C, remaining in these prisons until the close of the war with
the exception of two brief periods when escape had been rendered possible by the
ingenuity of the prisoners. However, in both instances he was recaptured. It was
characteristic of the man that he never complained in the midst of hardships that would
have daunted any Ijut the bravest of spirits. On the other hand, he was quick to note
any humorous incidents that occurred and his cheerful disposition was a ray of sun-
shine to others in hours of trouble. When he was mustered out, April 25, 1865, he
returned to his Pennsylvania home with the esteem of his superior officers and the
friendship of his comrades, .\fter the organization of the Grand .\rmy of the Republic
he identified himself with that work and never ceased to cherish aflfection for the
"boys in blue." Politically he voted with the Republican party and during his resi-
dence in Pennsylvania he filled local offices. Early in life he had become a member
of the Presbyterian denomination, and after coming to Santa .\na he officiated as an
elder in the First Church, to whose philanthropies and missionary enterprises he was
a generous contributor.

DR. JOHN McCLELLAN LACY.— Whenever the historian shall essay to tell the
story of Santa .Ana. he will find it a pleasureable duty to narrate again the career of
Dr. John McCleflan Lacy, the pioneer physician, who did so much in many ways for
the welfare and advancement of the town. He was born at Huntsville, Ala., on Wash-
ington's Birthday, 1837, the son of Thomas H. and Mary E. Lacy, Southern planter
folks who moved from Alabama to Arkansas, when John was eighteen years of age.
.And there, in 1861, Thomas Lacy died, the father of three boys and eight girls, worthy
descendants of a family tracing its ancestry back to France. .At that time, the name
was de Lacy; but when the Huguenots came to .America on account of religious
persecution in France, this branch of the family, coming with them, changed the name
to simple Lacy. Mrs. Lacy was a McClellan, and her mother's ma;iden name was
Wallace; and she was able to trace her ancestry to Sir William Wallace of Scotland.

John McClellan Lacy attended the grammar school in Huntsville, .Ala., and when
old enough to do so. read medicine with Dr. William B. Welch in .Arkansas. He later
was graduated from the St. Louis Medical College, and still later took post-graduate
work at the University of Nashville, Tenn.

When the Civil War broke out. Dr. Lacy volunteered for service in the Con-
federate .Army as surgeon to an Arkansas regiment, and from 1861, he marched and
fought for four long, hard years. He had farmed and shipped cotton, while reading
medicine, and so was able to hold his own in the arduous campaigning.

-After the war. Dr. Lacy practiced medicine in .Arkansas and the Indian Territory,
(later Oklahoma) and in 1879 came to California across the great plains. He made the
journey in wagons, and was eight months on the road; and he and his party had many
interesting experiences with the Indians, and other adventures by the way.

At Cane Hill. Ark., on April 3, 1861, Dr. Lacy married Miss Eliza P. Bean, daughter
of Mark Bean, and his wife, Nancy J. He was a wealthy cotton planter and factory
owner, and was honored by his fellow-citizens with election to the state legislature
as a representative from Washington County. Several children blessed the fortunate
union. Margaret M. is the eldest daughter; and the other children are Mary L.. Mrs.
William P. \'ance: Maude L., Mrs. Newton Pierce; Lcla, Mrs 1. E. Vaughan; Laura


L., Mrs. J. W. Murray; and Mark B., who married Genevieve Waffle. Dr. Lacy's
youngest brother was sheriff of Orange County for sixteen years.

A Democrat in matters of national politics. Dr. Lacy was a member of the city
council. He belonged to the State and County Medical Societies, and served for'a while
as city health officer of Santa .-Xna. He belonged to the First Presbyterian Church, and
was a Mason, having joined that order in 1860, and a member of the Ancient Order of
United Workmen. When he died, on February 2, 1913. at Santa Ana, he was almost
seventy-six years of age.

Old-time friends of the deceased bore the casket, and the Rev. T. A. Stevenson
paid the departed such a tribute as he deserved. He said, in part; "The working
days of the physician are restless days. He knows no hours that are his own. He
is the servant of suffering humanity, morning, noon and night. No man knows the
weary hours that are contributed by the men that are tired almost to death. But
when the restless days and nights of Dr. Lacy's working time were gone he knew a
harder restlessness in the times of his own sickness. The days were long, and the
nights were longer, and pain and suffering were there. Then out of the restlessness
of life. God called him to the rest of a blessed eternity. Dr. McLaren has made im-
mortal the 'Doctor of the Old School.' But thank God we do not have to hasten
to the distant fields of Scotland nor into the pages of literature to find the splendid
hero. The cultured, kindly, unassuming, uncomplaining, self-forgetful Christian gen-
tleman. Dr. Lacy, was an honor to the Church of Christ, a benediction to this com-
munity, and an adornment to the medical profession."

MRS. EROLINDA YORBA.— A distinguished, highly esteemed representative of
one of the oldest and most historic families in California is Mrs. Erolinda Yorba, the
well-to-do widow of \'icente Yorba, whose family settled along the Coast at a very
early period. His parents were Bernardo and Felipa (Dominguez) Yorba, born in San
Diego and Los Angeles, respectively. Bernardo Yorba was the holder of grants aggre-
gating over 165,000 acres, given him by the King of Spain. These grants were La Sierra,
in Riverside County, and Rancho San Antonio Cajon de Santa Ana, in Orange County;
and just how historical the character of the founder of this family was, may be gath-
ered from the reference to him by his contemporary, Harris Xewmark. the Los Angeles
pioneer, who says in his personal reminiscences, "Sixty Years in Southern California."

"Bernardo Yorba was another great landowner; and I am sure that, in the day of
his glory, he might have traveled fifty to sixty miles in a straight line, touching none
but his own possessions. His ranches, on one of which Pio Pico hid from Santiago
Arguello, were delightfully located, where now stand such places as Anaheim, Orange.
Santa Ana, Westminster, Garden Grove and other towns in Orange County — then a
part of Los Angeles County." In McGroarty's Mission Play, one of the leading char-
acters is Josefa Yorba, the grandmother of Vicente Yorba, who was selected because
of her beautiful character and many deeds of kindness.

As early as 1835 Bernardo Yorba settled and built his home — a ninety-room
adobe — at what is now the town of Yorba, and a part of the old building is still stand-
ing. In it was a crude jewelry shop, harness shop, saddlery, blacksmith shop and a
general merchandise store: in other words, it was a miniature city, known all over
Southern California. It was a more or less dreary section then, and these worthy
pioneers improved the land and the surroundings at the cost of their own lives and
health. For a long time the well-known Yorba adobe sheltered the growing family,
but the enterprising father never lived to see all the transformations he and others
associated with and guided by him brought about. Bernardo Yorba died on November
20. 1858, and thus followed to the grave his devoted wife and companion, who had
passed away seven years before.

V'icente Yorba, one of the youngest of the family, was born at Yorba on Februarj^
3. 1844; and being early thrown upon his own resources, he in time amassed consider-
able property. He owned, for example, a fine ranch of forty-four acres on the north
side of the Santa Ana River, and another ranch of 343 acres at Yorba. The old home
ranch upon which Mr. Yorba passed away came to be noted for its walnuts, its vineyard
and its alfalfa, and was especially famous for its productivity. The other property,
on the south side of the river, was given up to general farming and the raising of
walnuts. Upon Mr. Yorba's death, the family moved to this last-mentioned ranch, and
there erected a large and modern residence, in which they have since resided, .\lthough
Mr. Yorba was very optimistic in his belief of a great future for Orange County, yet in
his most optimistic moments he could not have dreamed of the wealth so soon to be
brought from the depths under these lands; and on his original home place the Union
Oil Company is now sinking wells for oil, and have been rewarded with an excellent

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On October 25, 1876. Vicente Yorba was married to Miss Erolinda Cota, a native
of Los Angeles and the daughter of Francisco Cota, another well-known native, whose
family owned the Spanish grant, Rancho de Bellona, what is now the site of Venice.
Her mother was Martina Machado. and her grandmother a Sepulveda. She was edu-
cated in the parish schools of Los Angeles, and there received such an excellent train-
ing that, while prepared to manage her own business afTairs, she was also enabled to
maintain the refinement characteristic of the highest social breeding, and to preserve
a striking and natural beauty of feature, form and demeanor, scarcely altered since Mr.
Yorba died, on February 24, 1913, on the ranch to the north of the Santa Ana River, in
his tifty-ninth year. Mrs. Yorba is a member of the Catholic Church at Yorba, and is
the center of an admiring and devoted circle. To Mr. Yorba's public-spiritedness is
largely due the establishing of the well-equipped school at Yorl)a. on which he was a
trustee for many years until his death.

Six children blessed the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Yorba: Hortense M. is the
wife of Porfirio Palomares, an extensive landowner of Pomona, now residing at Oxnard:
Mantina L. is the wife of Lorenzo Pelanconi. and resides at Hollywood; Mary L. is the
wife of Ignacio Vejar of Pomona; L^benia Juanita married George Wents and lives with
her mother; she has one child, Erolinda Dolores: Bernardo was in the Fortieth Heavy
Coast .\rtiUery, where he was assistant observer, and was in New York, on his way to
France, when the armistice was signed, when he returned home and is now assisting
his mother; he is married to Miss Edna Leep of Nebraska: Vicente Francisco married
Lidella Walters of Placentia: they have one son, \'icente Samuel, and also reside on tlie
Yorba ranch.

Since the death of Mr. Yorba. the family continue to reside on the ranch which
is owned by Mr. Yorba and which they have greatly improved with an irrigation system
and with Valencia orange orchards. Here they dwell together in harmony, each
assisting and cooperating to the mutual advantage of all. With the mother at the head
of afifairs — an honor her children lovingly accord her — she is ably assisted by them
and they in turn appreciate her confidence and shower on her their love and devotion,
thus relieving her from much unnecessary worry and care.

JUDGE CHRISTIAN C. STONER.— An efficient, popular public official with
a very interesting war record is Judge Christian C. Stoner, a native of Blair County.
Pa., where he was born on December 27, 1844. He is the son of Jacob E. Stoner, a
native of Lancaster County, Pa., who in 1849 removed to Noble County, Ind.. where
he was a pioneer farmer. In 1873 he pitched his tent in Cloud County, Kans., and
there he contintied to farm until he died, honored of all men. He had married Polly
Cowen, a native of Blair County, and she also died in Kansas. They had six children,
and the subject of our sketch was the fourth in the order of birth.

Reared in Noble County, Ind., on a farm, C. G. Stoner went to a log-cabin school
house and sat on slab benches: later, he enjoyed more comfortable quarters in a frame
school building, but left school to volunteer for service in the Civil War. In 1863 he
entered Company B of the Eighty-eighth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered
in at Kendallville, and sent to join Sherman's Army at Chattanooga. As a part of the
Fourteenth .\rniy Corps, he was with Sherman until the close of the war. and partici-
pated in the battles of Resac, Dallas, Dalton, Snake Creek Gap, Buzzard's Roost, Kene-
saw Mountain, Peach Tree (where General McPherson fell). Jonesboro, Goldsboro,
Bentonville and other notable places. He never received a scratch or wound, nor was
he ever in a hospital: but of five relatives who enlisted when he did, he was the only
one to return. .\ brother, David, was in the same regiment and was killed at the Battle
of Bentonville, N. C. With his comrades he marched to Richmond and then on to
Washington, D. C: and there he took part in the Grand Review. .-\t Louisville, Ky.,
in July, 1865, he was mustered out. and returned home.

.■\fter the war, Mr. Stoner went to the home school for a couple of years, and
when there was a vacancy, he taught there. He remained for two years, and "brought
order out of chaos": then went to W'olf Lake high school, and after that taught for
another two years. In 1873. he removed to Kansas, near Concordia, Cloud County, and
took a homestead of 160 acres, where he engaged in farming.

Seven years later, the citizens of that district selected him to teach school, and
for three years he trained the young idea how to shoot: was justice of the peace of
Nelson township for fifteen years, and was probate judge of Cloud County for two
terms, being elected in 1890 and reelected in 1892, and served until January, 1895.
In 1896, he was elected a member of the .Assembly of the Kansas State Legislature, and
served there during 1896 and 1897. His legal knowledge enabled him to be particularly
valuable to his constituency; for while he was probate judge only two cases he had


decided were appealed, and in each of these instances the higher court sustained his

About 1904 Judge Stoner removed to Lincohi County, Kans., and for five years
owned and edited the Lincoln Sentinel. In 1909 he located in Orange County, Cal.,
and bought an orange grove near El Modena, which he managed for two years, then
disposed of the property, and retired. He was a city trustee for six years, and during
that period was chairman of the board, or acting mayor, for four years. The night
his term was up, the Judge was appointed city recorder, in April, 1918, and he has held
that responsible office ever since.

While in Indiana, in August, 1867, Judge Stoner was married to Miss Rachel A.
Winebrenner, a native of that state, and by her he has had three children. Barbara Ellen
is Mrs. Secrist of Long Beach; George, a graduate of Lincoln College, Kansas, took
a course at the University of California and is now a teacher in the Orange high school;
and Peter is a graduate of the State University at Berkeley and is a teacher in the high
school at Pasadena. Judge Stoner is a member of Gordon Granger Post No. 138, and
is at present the commander of the post. He was aide-de-camp on National Com-
mander Somer's stafif, in 1918. He belongs to the Christian Church, where he has been
an elder for many years.

DAVID CLARENCE DRAKE.— .\n authority on citrus culture in California, and
a prominent factor in the development of the industry in Orange County, is David
Clarence Drake, whose advice, as that of a sensible man of original ideas, is often
sought by growers. He comes of an interesting family, long associated with the
history of Long Island, and has identified himself in an enviable way with the history
of the Golden State.

He was born at Southampton, Suffolk County, N. Y., in 1864, the son of David
R. Drake, who was born at Roxbury, Morris County, N. J., and reared on Long
Island becoming a sea-captain, thereby maintaining an interesting tradition from the
time of the English renowned explorer. For more than thirty years the master of a
whaler, he sailed out of Sag Harbor, L. L, and also New Bedford, Mass., into the
various oceans of the globe, touched at many foreign ports, and thus grew familiar
with important places all over the world, and was indeed a well-traveled man. About
fifty years ago, he quit the sea and retired to his home at Southampton. He had
married Harriet Fithian, a native of that place and a member of an old Long Island
family of Welsh descent, and three children had blessed their union. Two are still
living, and our subject is the only one in California.

Brought up in quaint old Southampton, L. I., David C. Drake was educated at
the grammar schools of that neighborhood, and also at the Southampton Academy,
after which, for a couple of years, he attended the Franklin Literary Institute in Dela-
ware County; then entered Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., from
which he was graduated in 1882; the pleasure of his studies leading him to move west
to the Pacific Coast, and to study for two years in the Van der Nailen School of
Engineering at San Francisco, where he took a course in railroad engineering and
surveying, and was duly graduated with honors.

On his return East and to Southampton, Mr. Drake married Miss Harriet Ford-
ham, who had also been born in that town, of an old and prominent family; and he
then engaged in the raising of fruit for the New York City market, and also for the
summer trade at Little Newport, L. I. This essay in horticulture he continued until
1896, when he sold out, came west to California, and pitched his tent at Pomona. It
was in truth but a temporary camp that he established, for he then traveled all over
the state, and up and down the Coast, even into British Columbia, getting first-hand
impressions of the great West; at the end of which varied enviable experience, he de-
cided that Orange was most to his liking, and ever since he has been closely asso-
ciated with the fortunes of the fast-developing place.

He purchased his three acres on East Chapman Avenue, Orange, and made all
the necessary improvements, set it out to oranges, and built his handsome, comfortable
residence, and made of the whole a beauty spot. He also bought thirty acres of raw
land at the corner of Seventeenth Street and Holt Avenue, where he set out twenty
acres of Valencia oranges and ten acres of lemons.

For many years Mr. Drake was a director in the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation
Cornpany, and assisted in bringing that popular concern to its present state of high
efficiency. In 1897 he joined the local organization of citrus ranchers, the Santiago
Orange Growers .\ssociation, and in 1898 they built their first packing house in
Orange — the parent association from which have sprung eleven different citrus asso-
ciations in this vicinity, and resulted in the final formation of the Orange County
Fruit Exchange. Mr. Drake, after having been a director in the Santiago Orange
Growers Association, is now its president: and he is also president of the Orange

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County Fruit Exchange, which handled over live million dollars' worth of l)usines.s
in 1919. For six years Mr. Drake was trustee of the city of Orange, and all that period
he was president of the board, or mayor of the town. He started, with his associates,
tlie building of sewers, and bought the present sewer farm, and they were starting
the improvement of streets and sidewalks when he resigned. In national politics, he
is a stanch Republican. A member of the First Presbyterian Church at Orange, Mr.
Drake has been an elder there for the past twenty years. He was made a Mason in
Orange Grove Lodge, No. 293, F. & A. M., and belongs to the Fraternal .Aid Union.

PETER HANSEN.— Horticultural enterprises have engaged the attention of
Peter Hansen for a long period of successful activity, and by means of his skill in
this field as well as his perseverance and industry, he has added another name to 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 35 of 191)