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 36 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 36 of 191)
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list of prosperous fruit growers of the county and has furnished additional evidence as
to the adaptability of the soil to such pursuits. He is now the only surviving member
of the pioneers who settled in the Placentia district as early as 1867, a worthy repre-
sentative of those hardy and intrepid settlers.

A native of Denmark, Mr. Hansen was born at Varde, Jylland, on Christmas Day.
1838. His parents were farmers, so from a lad he made himself useful about the farm,
in the meantime receiving a good education in the excellent schools of Denmark. Being
the next to the youngest of a family of five children, he remained at home and assisted
his parents until he entered the Danish army and served the required two years' time,
when he again followed farming until the breaking out of the Slesvig-Holstein War.
He was called to the colors, and immediately responding, he became a member of a
cavalry regiment of the Danish army and served as a corporal until the close of the

Immediately after his discharge, Mr. Hansen resolved to emigrate to the United
States, so in the fall of 1865 we find him making the long journey via the Isthmus of
Panama to San Francisco, where he was employed for two years. Having heard favor-
able reports from Anaheim and vicinity, he came by boat to San Pedro and on to Los
Angeles. The present metropolis of the Pacific Coast was then a small hamlet built
around the plaza, with only a few houses and one hotel. He came on to Anaheim,
where he was employed by Tim Boege at teaming, hauling freight to Los Angeles and
.\naheim Landing, the latter now being known as Seal Beach. In the meantime he
invested his savings in 106 acres of raw land at Placentia, then Los Angeles Count}';
it was virgin land in what was then a wilderness, for which he paid the small sum of
fourteen dollars per acre. He cleared the land of brush and wild mustard and planted
rye. wheat and barley. In those days game of all kinds was abundant, and the wild
horses and cattle that roamed the plains caused Mr. Hansen much trouble, invading his
ranch and destroying his crops. He purchased one of the first threshing machines used
in his district, a stationary machine run by horsepower, drawn by eighteen horses, and
the first year his crop yielded enough to pay for the machine, which he used all over
the country threshing for others. He next set out his ranch to grapes and built one
of the first wineries in the county, a brick structure 40 by 100 feet in size. After
making wine for many years and selling it in casks to people who came from miles
around to purchase it, he took out the vines and planted seedling and Washington Navel
orange trees; later he budded his trees to Valencia oranges, his present orchard. To
his brother Charles, who came from the East and worked for him on the ranch, Mr.
Hansen gave fifty-three acres of the property. The brother died in 1903. In later
years Mr. Hansen deeded a large part of his holdings to his children, retaining enough
property to give him a competency for his retired years.

Mr. Hansen's wife, who before her marriage was Christine Jensen, was a native
of .\benrade, Slesvig, their marriage being solemnized at Orangethorpe in 1874. .\n
able helpmate and a loving wife and mother, her death on March 14, 1900, made an
irreparable breach in the family circle. She left five children, as follows: Mattie is the
wife of .Arthur Edwards of Placentia, and the mother of two children, Gladys and
Hugh; .Anna married Horace Head of Santa .Ana and they have two children, Melville
and Iris; George, who lives at Placentia, is married and has four children, Christine,
Ernest. Robert and George; Charles L. also lives at Placentia; Christine is the wife of
Walter C. McFarland of Placentia and they are the parents of one child, F'orest
Walter. Mr. and Mrs. McFarland own and reside in the old Hansen home, over which
Mrs. McFarland presides gracefully, showing her loving care and devotion to her
aged father, who appreciates her ministrations to his comfort and happiness. Mr.
Mcl-"arland served in the World War in the Three Hundred Sixty-third Infantry at
Camp Lewis until he volunteered in the Signal Corps, Aviation Section, being stationed
at Kelly Field, San .Antonio, Texas, and at North Island, San Diego, Cal., until after the


armistice, when he was honorably discharged, returning to the peaceful pursuit of
farming. In early days Mr. Hansen was a school trustee at Placentia and was one of
the twelve men who founded Balboa Beach, in which he has always been deeply
interested, and where he owns a fine residence, to which his fondness for the ocean
causes him to make frequent visits. He was also one of the founders of the Anaheim
Union Water Company. Fraternally he was a member of the Anaheim Lodge of Odd
Fellows. Accompanied by his daughter Christine, in 1902 he made a trip back to his
native land, from whence he came a poor boy. but richly endowed with the natural
characteristics that Dame Nature is pleased to reward — indomitable energy and a spirit
undaunted by the difficulties encountered on the road to life that leads to success.

HUBERT ISAAC. — A most interesting pioneer, partly on account of his early
history as a railway man and a miner before he came to California, is Hubert Isaac,
distinguished to all who know him for his foresight and his strict integrity. He was
born at Milwaukee. Wis., on February 26, 1856, the son of Francis Joseph and Anna
(Schreiner) Isaac, natives of Aix-la-Chapelle; and grew up to do farm work. Going
to Hancock. Mich., however, he joined a train crew, first as one of the operatives on
a freight train, then as a baggageman, and then on a passenger train, on the Mineral
Range Railway. For the next four and three-quarter years, he was employed in the
Black Hills, weighing ore in the mining country, when he pushed on the California, via
Cheyenne. Wyo., in 1879. He stopped at Los Angeles, but ran out to see El Modena,
with friends, on a hunting trip.

He chanced to meet there David Hewes. the well known pioneer who has left
behind him such a record for doing things, and as he needed some one to do carpenter
work, he entered his employ. His first job was to build a corral enclosing a space of
half an acre; and when this was satisfactorily finished, friendly relations were estab-
lished and he continued to work for Mr. Hewes steadily for a year and a half. He
was then under the direction of Henry Young, the first foreman of the great Hewes
Ranch, on which ranch Mr. Isaac was also foreman twice. Later, he returned to Mr.
Hewes' service, and was with him for twenty-seven years and nine months, so that it
may safely be said that he was one of Mr. Hewes' most trusted employees.

Mr. Isaac bought eleven lots in El Modena before the "boom," and there he
built thirteen houses, which he rents to others. Altogether, he owns forty-two lots,
and is the largest taxpayer in El Modena. Personally, Mr. Isaac is known for his sym-
pathetic nature, his keen insight into daily life, his sense of justice, and his desire
to do right and to see that righteousness is done. In many respects, while ultra-
conservative perhaps, he represents the dependable type of safe citizenship and financial
endeavor, and enjoys, as he well merits, the esteem and confidence of his fellow-men.
RICHARD ROBINSON.— One of Orange County's oldest pioneers, Richard Rob-
inson is living retired at Garden Grove, after a well-rounded life filled with many
adventurous experiences, having reached the age of ninety-three years. Born in the
township of Edwardsburg. Grenville County, Ontario. Canada, September 9, 1827, Mr.
Robinson was the son of Isaac and Margaret (Moses) Robinson, both natives of
Ireland, who soon after their marriage there in County Tyrone, came to Canada, and
here all their nine children were born. Isaac Robinson was a shoemaker by trade, but
followed farming to a great extent, owning a farm of 260 acres. He was killed by a
horse when Richard was only sixteen years of age; the mother lived to be ninety-two
years old. Richard early learned the shoemaking business and from the time he was
sixteen years old he took his place in the world as a breadwinner for the family. He
ran a shop on the home farm, often working in the fields all day and then at shoemaking
until late at night. Necessarily his schooling was limited, both from his lack of time
and from the scarcity of educational opportunities, as in those days they had only
subscription schools, maintained by the people of the community, the teachers boarding
'round among the families.

When he reached the age of twenty-four, Mr. Robinson made up his mind to try
his fortune in California, and accordingly sailed from New York on the "Fannie Major,"
which was bound for San Francisco around the Horn. While off the coast of Brazil
they encountered a severe storm in which the top main mast of their vessel was
broken off and they had to put in to San Salvador for repairs. While there Mr. Robin-
son saw slavery in its worst form and has yet vivid memories of some of the horrible
conditions that accompanied it in that country. Proceeding on their journey they
doubled Cape Horn and again encountered a terrific gale which lasted for several days
and nights during which every sail was torn to shreds. Although it was the latter
part of June, zero weather prevailed and every hour it seemed as if they would surely
be swallowed up by the angry waves. After miraculously escaping from being dashed
to pieces on the rocky coast of Patagonia, they finally reached Tocawanda. Chile,


where they procured an entire new set of sails and then continued the journey to San
Francisco, reaching there in September, 1852, after a voyage of five and one-half months.

From San Francisco Mr. Robinson went up to the mines on the Yuba River, later
going on to Placerville, where he mined with considerable success, clearing up some
money. Here he was married in March, 1854. to Miss Letty Bolton, the daughter of
Richard and Lucretia (Redmond) Bolton, natives, respectively, of Ireland and Canada.
She was also born in Canada, only about twelve miles from Mr. Robinson's birthplace,
although they had never known each other until they met at Placerville. She had come
across the plains in 1851 with the family of her brother-in-law, John Johnson. Later
Mr. and Mrs. Robinson went up into British Columbia, where he mined for a time on
the Fraser River, but did not meet with much success. In 1859, with his wife and
child he went back to Canada to visit his old home, returning in 1862 to California,
making the trip, both going and coming, by way of Panama. On reaching here he
settled in Sonoma County with his wife and three children, twins having been born to
them during their stay in Canada. Here Mr. Robinson purchased a farm of 230 acres
five miles from Petaluma, and improved it, building a dairy barn that was at that time
the finest in the county. Here he contracted tubercular trouble and, not being able
to stand the heavy fogs, he sold out and bought a 200-acre farm in Colusa County,
farming it for three years and completely recovering his health.

In 1884, Mr. Robinson removed to Garden Grove where he has since made his
home. He purchased seventy-five acres of land here and farmed it for a number of
years, but he disposed of all of it except five acres where the home stood many
years: he has a remarkably good memory and keen mind for a man of his years and
enjoys recalling the interesting events of his past life. Mrs. Robinson died on .August
23, 1920, aged almost eighty-nine. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson had nine children, eight of
whom grew to maturity: Isaac resides in Stockton and is deputy county treasurer and
tax collector: Chester .-Mlington lives at Ascot Park, Los Angeles, and has five sons,
one of whom, Capt. Ralph Redmond Robinson, was with the Marines throughout the
whole campaign in the late war. He was with the detachment of Marines that was a
part of the famous Second Division and was in action at the Argonne, St. Mihiel and
Champagne, where he saw terrific fighting. He is still serving with the Marines and
is now stationed at Port au Prince, Hayti; Forest Wellington died at the age of
thirty-three years, leaving one son, Chalmers, who is an oil man engaged in the Fullerton
field: Mina .Anna is the wife of Harvey V. Newsom, a rancher at Garden Grove, whose
sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Frank Bolton resides 'in Los Angeles: his son,
Ray Albert Robinson, who is a crack shot, became a captain in the war, training troops
at Quantico, Ya. He was aide-de-camp to General Butler and while stationed at Brest
on General Butler's staff, he lived in Napoleon's old house there. He is still in the
service at Quantico, \'a.: Addie May is the wife of Capt. Joseph Newell, who is captain
of the largest supply ship in the U. S. Navy: they reside at West Newbury, Mass.;
Richard Byron has a ranch of forty acres near Gait; Porter died at the age of four
years at Colusa; Alice Bertha, the youngest of the family, resides with her father.

-\ few years ago Mr. Robinson came near losing his life in a railway accident, and
was laid up for a year. The accident happened while he was crossing the railroad
tracks at Santa Ana, and by a curious coincidence he had just been on a jury in a case
brought to recover damages for death and injury sustained to a family who had met
with the accident at the same railway crossing in Santa .Ana. For many years Mr.
Robinson was a stanch Republican, casting his last vote on that ticket for James A.
Garfield as President, but since that time he has been a consistent Prohibitionist. He
was converted at the age of nineteen and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church at Garden Grove. Always on the side of that which made for the uplifting
and improvement of the community, Mr. Robinson has ever stood high in the esteem
and respect of a large circle of friends.

MRS. SUSAN BELT.— Of Southern lineage, but of uncompromising Union
allegiance. Mrs. Susan Belt, an Orange County pioneer and widow of James H. Belt,
is a woman possessed of great strength of character and executive force. Her husl)and,
who came t)f a fine family, was born in Johnson County, .Ark., in 1840. His grandfather,
Middleton Belt, the founder of the .American branch of the family, was a native of
England who settled in Maryland and afterwards removed to Tennessee, where he
settled and reared his family. The father of James H. Belt, Dotson Belt, was probably
born in central Tennessee, and his mother, Miss Penelope Laster before her marriage,
also was born there. The parents were planters, and James H. followed in the footsteps
of his father and became a successful cotton grower. .At the outbreak of the Civil War
his sentiments were strongly with the Union, and perceiving that he would be con-
scripted he left home, taking his best horse, started for the Union lines, and with his


handkerchief tied to the ramrod of his gun approached the picket line. He enlisted in
Company L of the Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry and served until the close of the war.
In the meantime the home folks, because of their Union sentiments, suffered terribly.

Mrs. Belt recalls some very exciting incidents that she underwent also during those
trying times. She and her seventy-five-year-old father were making garden in the
spring of 1863 when a band of bushwackers rode up and began shooting at them.
Eight shots were fired at her father and little brother, and the father was killed by the
bullets of the guerillas. Mrs. Belt's maiden name was Susan Brown, the daughter of
Reuben and Martha (Hines) Brown, the father a native of Maine and mother born
in Tennessee. Her parents settled in Missouri after their marriage and the father
became a farmer and stockman. Mrs. Belt was born in Missouri, September 10, 1844.
the youngest girl and the eighth child in order of birth in a family of ten children, and
was three years old when her parents moved to Sebastian County, Ark. She received
her education in the subscription schools of Arkansas, and July 31, 1863, was united
in marriage with Mr. Belt. It was thought that the war was about over, but her
husband had to go back to the lines and was in several battles after that. He was in
the Western army and was honorably -discharged after the close of the war. Mr. and
Mrs. Belt moved on to eighty acres of land in Sebastian County, Ark., given th.em by
Mr. Belt's father. He prospered while there, but suffering from the after effects of
the measles, which he contracted in the army, and which as a result of taking cold
settled in his eyes and on his lungs, came to California for his health during the seven-
ties, accompanied by his family. They settled at Bakersfield where they were taken
with chills and fever, and from there went into the mountains near Tehachapi and
remained a year and a half. Recovering their health they came to Los Angeles County,
and later settled in the vicinity of Santa Ana, where Mr. Belt bought twenty acres of
raw land on the river. ' Mr. and Mrs. Belt became the parents of four sons, William.
Joseph, Henry and Jasper, and four daughters, Emma, Cora, Bertha and Maude; of the
eight children, five are living. She has one granddaughter. Fay L. Sutton.

Mrs. Belt is an interesting conversationalist; her reminiscences of early days, with
their halo of romance and adventure, is an ever interesting topic of conversation. She
has a large circle of friends by whom she is highly esteemed, and her comfortable home
is noted for its good cheer and hospitality. In her political sentiments she is a stanch
Republican, and a member of the Woman's Relief Corps, while Mr. Belt was a member
of the Grand Army of the Republic.

CHARLES LORENZ.— In the early period of Anaheim's history, Charles Lorenz,
now deceased, located in this now up-to-date city of Orange County, his advent being
on October 22, 1859, soon after the town site was first laid out. He was born in 1814,
in Crossen, Germany, but removed to Berlin while quite young. He learned the trade
of a machinist, and so thoroughly did he master the intricacies of that line of work
that he became an expert, and to him belongs the honor of having constructed the first
locomotive in that section of Germany.

In 1845 Mr. Lorenz was united in marriage with Louisa Schidler, the ceremony
being solemnized in Berlin. During tKe year 1850 he left Germany, intending to come
to California, but after being on the sailing vessel about six months decided to land in
South America, where he spent two and a half years in Valparaiso, Chile, and five and
a half years in Concepcion. While there they learned to speak Spanish and this helped
them after coming to California. His youngest daughter, now Mrs. Louisa E. Boege.
was born in Valparaiso in 1852: the eldest daughter, Mrs. Elmina C. Dorr, was born in
Berlin, Germany, in 1848. During the early part of 1859, Mr. Lorenz, accompanied by
his wife and two daughters, sailed from Chile for California, landing at San Francisco,
where they remained but a few months and. later stopped a short time at San Luis
Obispo. In October of the same year he arrived in Anaheim, coming from San Pedro
with a twelve-mule team, and he soon opened the first blacksmith shop in the new
town. In March, 1860, he purchased twenty acres on South Lemon Street, where he
planted a vineyard and made and sold wine. He helped organize the German Meth-
odist Church and was an Odd Fellow. Later on Mr. Lorenz sold all but one acre of
his land, and here his two daughters now reside. He lived to the advanced age of
eighty-five, his death occurring in 1902, his wife having passed away in 1885.

His daughters. Mrs. Louis Dorr and Mrs. Henry A. Boege, are among the pioneer
citizens of Anaheim, having come here over sixty years ago. At that time the country
between Anaheim and San Juan Capistrano was a wilderness, as was the territorj
between here and Los Angeles.

LOUIS DORR, a native of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, married Elmina
Charlotte, the eldest daughter of Charles Lorenz. He left his native country when a


young man to reside in England and afterwards went to Australia. In 1862 he arrived
in Anaheim, where he was engaged as a bookkeeper; he also owned a vineyard and
made wine. Mr. and Mrs. Dorr were the parents of seven children, five of whom are
living: Louis, the oldest member of the family, is a forest ranger and resides near
Palmdale; Charles is a miner at Tonopah, Nev.; Agnes and Dorothy are living at Los
Angeles, where they conduct a cafeteria: and Arthur is a mining man and is in Mexico.

Mr. Dorr passed away in 1895. Mrs. Dorr lived in San Francisco and in Los
Angeles for about fifteen years, then came back to Anaheim and has lived here ever
since and has been a witness of the wonderful growth and development of the county.

HENRY A. BOEGE was united in marriage in 1871 with Louisa Emilie Lorenz,
the youngest daughter of Charles Lorenz, the ceremony being performed at the
Lutheran Church, Anaheim. He was a native of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and
came to Anaheim when nineteen years of age. He opened a butcher shop and also did
teaming and freighting. At one time he owned a vineyard west of Anaheim. Later on
he superintended the ranch of his father-in-law and at one time was engaged in street
work for the city of Anaheim. His death occurred in 1893. He was a member of
the Odd Fellows Lodge.

JOSEPH P. desGRANGES. — Numbered among the oldest settlers of what is now
Orange County and one of the few remaining pioneers of Fullerton, who has become
a leader in horticultural circles and is regarded as an authority on the early history
of Orange 'County, is Joseph P. des Granges, the rancher of East Chapman Avenue,
Fullerton, whose philanthropic sympathies and patriotic sentiments have made him
popular among all know him. He was born at St. Louis, Mo., on June 8, 18S8, and
with a brother came to Anaheim on May 1, 1873. Los Angeles was very primitive at
that time, the United States Hotel being one of the very few brick buildings in the city.

The des Granges family are of old French-Huguenot stock. Early members of the
family who. as the name indicates, were landowners of France, were obliged to Ree for
their lives from their native land at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
They first found refuge in Switzerland, but later settled in Prussia, where the family
thrived in their new surroundings. Otto des Granges, the father of our subject, was
a university man and a civil engineer by profession. Locating at St. Louis, Mo., he
became extensively interested in manufacturing, establishing an iron manufacturing
plant. His wife was in maidenhood Miss Josephine HarfT.

As early as 1871 Otto des Granges came to San Francisco, soon afterwards coming
down to what is now Fullerton, then in Los Angeles County. Here he purchased eighty
acres of raw land, and with the help of his son improved it and brought it to a high
state of cultivation, and here the parents resided until their demise, the father at the
age of ninety, the mother surviving until 1914, when she passed away at the age of
eighty-six. Of their family of four children, Joseph was the third in order of birth, and
he was fortunate in receiving a good schooling during the residence of the family in
St. Louis, Mo., before their migration to California.

Joseph was only fourteen years of age when he began to assist his father in the
development of their California ranch, and very naturally he learned a good deal for a
boy of his age. The land was in its primitive state, covered with sunflowers and
mustard of an unusual height, and they truly found here in the West a wild, open
country, with plenty of elbow room. They raised barley and other grains, and later
established a system of irrigation. That the best obtainable in irrigating facilities were
eventually theirs may be inferred when it is known that Joseph des Granges was
instrumental in having .\naheim equipped with the modern electric light system when
Los .\ngeles was the only other city in this locality so favored. The first light plant
which he constructed was a great success, and this was followed by others. Mr. des
Granges also built and established a grist mill at Anaheim, in fact, he conducted a feed
mill and store there for about ten years, and thus early played an important part in- the
mercantile world.

Having continued his ranching ventures, Mr. des Granges owns at present twenty
acres of the original tract, set out to Valencia oranges and walnuts, and he markets

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 36 of 191)