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 40 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 40 of 191)
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was the owner of an eleven-acre farm, which he disposed of before coming to .AmerFca
with his wife and four children. They sailed from Bremen on the Steamship "Sillare"
of the Hamburg American line, and landed at New York, in May. 1880. going at once
to Young America, Minn., the place of their destination. Here Mr. Kloth purchased
an eighty-acre farm, reaped two crops ofT of it, and came to California in 1882. Fred
Struck and the Borchards. of Orange, relatives of his wife, caused them to consider
Orange as a future home. Mr. Kloth worked at the cement business at Orange
for twenty-three years, in the employ of the Santa .\iia \\'aler Company and the El


Modena Water Company, manufacturing cement pipe and cement ditches. He pur-
chased a ten-acre ranch near Olive, operated it several years, then disposed of it, and
in 1910 bought the ten-acre place he sold in 1920. The oldest trees on the last place
are sixteen years old, and the youngest ones are seven years old. He planted all
the trees on the place except three acres, which were six years old when he bought
the place.

Mr. and Mrs. Kloth's four children were all born in Germany: Emma became
the wife of Joe Derson, and they were ranchers at La Habra. She died in 1908 and
left a child, Leona, whom Mr. and Mrs. Kloth reared, and legally adopted, April 2,
1920. She was two years and two months old when her mother died, and is now
fourteen years of age. Lena is the wife of Henry Franzen of Riverside, a hardware
merchant, and they have three children; Rosella married Benjamin F. Dierker, a
rancher at Orange, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; they have four
children, two boys and two girls; Herman is single and farmed the home place for
his father.

Gottfried Kloth has helped build three Lutheran church edifices at Orange, the
last one erected at a cost of more than $42,000, and he advocates the cause of tem-
perance and is a consistent Christian. He' and his good wife have been hard
workers and deserve a rest after such arduous and useful lives. Much credit is due
Mr. Kloth for the success which he has won by a life of industry and integrity.

JAMES S. RICE.— Back to an enviable ancestral record, James S. Rice of Tustin.
one of Orange County's early citizens, can trace his lineage. Of English descent, the
first representative of the family settled in Massachusetts, and here Harvey Rice, the
father of James S., was born at Conway, on June 11, 1800. After his graduation from
Williams College, well-known as the alma mater of President Garfield, when a young
man of twenty-four, he decided to try his fortune at Cleveland, Ohio, then a little
frontier town of only 400 inhabitants. Reaching there without funds or friends, he
began his career there as a teacher, being one of the pioneers of that profession in that
vicinity. With true foresight he invested his first earnings in real estate, and when,
in later years, this land increased in value it made him a wealthy man. He took
up the practice of law and became one of the leading lights of his profession during
his long career. He was a leader among the public-spirited citizens of his day, and
several of Cleveland's most noted monuments were promoted through his influence,
among them the Perry monument and that of Geo. Moses Cleveland, the founder of
the city. His early work as a teacher always gave him an added interest in educa-
tional matters, and he was ever at the forefront in every movement that made for
progress in those lines. He was the author of the original common-school law of
Ohio, a law that has been copied in many states. As a recognition of this service
and his many years of disinterested work on boards of education and boards of
charity, a life-size bronze statue of him was erected in Wade Park at Cleveland,
largely paid for by pennies from the school children of the state. In the early fifties
he represented his district in the state senate and made for himself a high place
among the legislators of that period. Educator, legislator, historian, he passed away
at the age of ninety-one years, full of honors. Mrs. Rice, who was Maria Fitch, a
daughter of Col. James Fitch of Putney, Vt., died in Cleveland, aged seventy-seven.

Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Rice were the parents of five children, and of these, James
S., the subject of this review, was next to the youngest. He was born at Cleveland,
Ohio, October 31, 1846, and was educated in the schools of Cleveland and at the
Western Reserve College at Hudson, Ohio. He completed the classical course and,
in accordance with his father's wishes, was looking forward to a legal career, but
decided to enter business instead. In company with an elder brother, already estab-
lished in the house furnishing business, he remained a partner for eleven years, until
in 1874, in search of health and a warmer climate, he made a trip to California to
visit his brother-in-law, James Irvine, the original owner of the San Joaquin Rancho
in Orange County. He remained here for three months, and then returned to Cleve-
land. He was so well pleased with what he saw of the Golden State, however, that
he decided to return, reaching here on January 18, 1877. He went into the stock busi-
ness with James Irvine, raising cattle and hogs on the San Joaquin Rancho, but that
year was extremely dry and they had no feed for their stock, the sheep dying by the
thousand. He was then living at the old San Joaquin ranch house at the head of
Newport Bay, the first plastered house in Los Angeles County, remaining there six
months. He next purchased some land of Peter Potts at Tustin, and started an
orange grove, and later he bought a tract of fifty acres north of Tustin, part of
which he still owns. He paid fifty dollars an acre for this land, and set it to Muscatel


grapes, from which he averaged $200 an acre for several years. During the boom of
1886-1887 in this vicinit3% he sold quite a portion of his land, some of it at the rate
of $4,000 an acre. Land values, of course, receded after this abnormal inflation, and
Mr. Rice was compelled to take back some of it. He erected a line three-story resi-
dence on his property, and now has a twelve-acre orange grove that has been brought
up to the highest state of cultivation and productivity.

Mr. Rice's marriage, which occurred in Cleveland, Ohio, united him with Miss
Coralinn Barlow, the daughter of Gen. Merrill Barlow, an eminent lawyer of that
place, who was quartermaster general of Ohio during the Civil War period. A brother
of Mrs. Rice is Hon. Charles A. Barlow, of Bakersfield, who has been one of the
most prominent figures in the oil development of Kern County. Mrs. Rice was an
exceptionally talented woman, a singer of note, having had an excellent musical edu-
cation, and her gracious hospitality made their home the social center of a large
coterie of friends, among them Madame Modjeska. She occupied an individual place
in the community, to which her death, in November, 1919, came as a distinct loss.
Mr. and Mrs. Rice were the parents of four children: James Willis, a rancher at Tus-
tin, married Miss Rubel Martin, and they have two children; Merrill and Harvey are
both deceased; the youngest son, Percy F., is an inventor.

In politics Mr. Rice has always been a stanch adherent of the Democratic party
and prominent in the local affairs of the organization. He is now chairman of the
Democratic County Central Committee.

WILLIAM THOMAS BROWN.— An early pioneer in the commercial world of
Orange County, enjoying the distinction of having been the first president of the
FuUerton Chamber of Commerce, and a pioneer advocate of the most enthusiastic
sort of good roads, able to boast with pride that he actively participated in giving
Fullerton her fine thoroughfares, renowned as among the best in all the state, William
Thomas Brown, a native of Georgia, represents very ably the handsome contribution
made from time to time by the South toward the development of the Southland in
California. As president and general manager of the Brown and Dauser Company, Mr.
Brown is not only a force in the lumber field, but influential at all times, and in the
right way and most needed places.

He was born at Macon, Ga., on September 18, 1852, the son of Dr. William A.
Brown, a physician and surgeon who practiced for years in Georgia and first came to
California ten years after the arrival of our subject here. Dr. Brown married Miss
Salina J. Jenkins, a native of North Carolina and she became the mother of seven
children, among whom William Thomas was the fourth oldest child. He was educated
in private schools in Winchester. Texas, and for three years was in a drug store in that
state. Coming to California in 1873, Mr. Brown spent the first ten years as agent and
operator for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and then for a year he was
secretary of the Santa .\na Valley Irrigation Company at Orange. In 1881 he pur-
chased a ranch of twenty-one and a half acres on North Main Street, half-way between
Orange and Santa .Ana. where he spent a couple of years farming, and then he entered
the lumber field, becoming interested in the .Anaheim yard of the J. M. Griffith Lumber
Company. He assumed the management, a position he filled with success for a period
of si.xteen years, and it is self-evident that he not only mastered the business there,
but also had much to do with giving the development of the lumber business in general
in Orange County the right turn and the needed impetus.

In 1899 Mr. Brown incorporated the Brown and Dauser Company and purchased
the T. S. Grimshaw lumber yard in Fullerton. and here he has since Ijeen in business.
In about 1904 he purchased Mr. Dauser's interest and devotes all of his time to tlie
management of the business, being president and manager of tlie company. It is the
oldest yard in Fullerton and has a fine planing mill; and it demands the services of
fifteen men. Besides the Fullerton yard, the Brown and Dauser Company have two
other lumber yards — one at La Habra, the other at Brea. .As a live member of the
Fullerton Board of Trade, Mr. Brown may look back upon the community in which
he has become a commanding figure with mingled feelings. When he was the first
agent for the Southern Pacific at Santa .Ana, the station was in an old caboose. The
next spring the new depot was completed and he was agent at Santa .Ana from Decem-
ber. 1877, until March, 1881.

When Fullerton Ijegan the agitation for good roads it required much eflfort and
time to persuade many of the taxpayers that better and the best roads were the greatest
of assets and after the bonds were voted Mr. Brown was appointed a member of the
commissioix that liad charge of the construction, and that finally gave Fullerton pave-
ments such as many larger municipalities do not boast of. He has always been a
Democrat in national political affairs. l)Ut a Democrat who willingly threw aside his
partisansliip in tlie consideration of local affairs. Mr. Brown still continues his interest


in horticulture, for he not only owns his original ranch on North Main Street, but owns
two other ranches devoted to citrus culture.

On April 17, 1878, Mr. Brown was married at Wilmington, Cal., to Miss Isabella
Campbell, a daughter of William and Katherine Campbell. She was born at London,
Canada, where she was reared and educated, coming to California in 1875. She passed
away in 1893, leaving six children: Lottie M. is the wife of Dr. H. C. Stinchfield of
Los Angeles; Catherine B. is Mrs. C. L. McGill of La Habra; Mabel G. is Mrs. Butler,
also of La Habra; the second, fifth and sixth of the children are Albert W., W. Grant
and Helen Brown, the latter living at home. Mr. Brown was married a second time,
the ceremony taking place at Anaheim, on October 9, 1895, uniting him with Alice
Beaizley, a native of Australia, born at Sidney of English parents. Her mother died
when she was a little girl and she came to California in 1870 with her father. Rev.
Theophilus Beaizley, a minister in the Presbyterian Church.

Fraternally Mr. Brown was made a Mason in Wilmington Lodge, F. & A. M., in
1875, but is now a member of Fullerton Lodge No. 339. F. & A. M., and with his
wife is a member of the Order of Eastern Star. He is also a member of the Knights
of the Maccabees in Anaheim. Intensely interested in the growth and development
of Orange County, he has always been a member of the local civic bodies and for
six years was the representative from Fullerton in the Associated Chambers of Com-
merce of Orange County.

FIRST NATIONAL BANK, TUSTIN.— The history of the finance and the finan-
cial institutions of a community are an index to its growth and development as a
whole, and the First National Bank of Tustin, Cal., has been conspicuously successful
since its establishment, February 5, 1912. Organized with a capital of $25,000, its
volume of business grew from its inception to a marked degree, and judicious man-
agement increased its capital to $50,000, with deposits amounting to $286,887.96. W. C.
Crawford was the first president of the institution and C. J. Cranston its first cashier.
Its present ofificers are: C. E. Utt, president; John Dunstan, vice-president; C. A.
Vance, cashier; W. S. Leinberger, assistant cashier; directors: C. E. Utt, John Dunstan,
Sherman Stevens, V. V. Tubbs, I. L. Marchant, C. A. Miller and C. A. Vance.

C. A. Vance, cashier of the bank, has displayed his perfect knowledge of the
banking business in the creditable manner in which he has filled his important position.
He is a native of Kansas, and in 1912, having disposed of a bank in his native state,
removed to Chula Vista, Cal., where he organized the Chula Vista State Bank. He
sold this bank in August, 1916, and January 1, 1917, located at Tustin.

William S. Leinberger, assistant cashier of the bank, is a native of Nebraska, and
was born in 1883. He is the son of L. F. and Kate Leinberger, natives of Pennsylvania
and Ohio, respectively. He was reared and educated in the public schools of his native
state, and in 1910, at the age of seventeen, migrated to California, first locating at
Alhambra, Cal., graduating from the business college there, later teaching bookkeeping
there for a year. He then was with the Alhambra Savings Bank until he took his
present position as assistant cashier in the Tustin First National Bank.

JOHN O. FORSTER. — Prominent among the ranchers, business man and polit-
ical leaders of San Juan Capistrano must be mentioned John O. Forster, who was
born at Los Flores, San Diego County, on August 14, 1873, the son of Don Marco
Forster, who married Guadalupe Abila, a daughter of Don Juan Abila, once the owner
of the San Miguel Ranch. Don Marco's father was the famous John Forster, or Don
Juan, who was born in England, migrated to California during the Spanish regime,
and married Ysidora Pico, a sister of Pio Pico, the last governor of California under
:he Spanish regime. Don Marco was born in Los Angeles in 1839, and became one of
(he largest landholders in Orange County, owning 15,000 acres of very choice hill, pas-
ture and grain land. Before the Eastern settlers came, father and son carried on a very
extensive business in the raising of cattle, sheep and horses, allowed to roam over their
vast estate, and they had as many as 5,000 head of horses and five times that number of
head of cattle. Fences were then unknown, and cattle and horses ran wild. Santa
Margarita Ranch, as the property was designated, included many thousands of acres
of rich land, and was one of the choicest and most productive of the old-time estates.
Pio Pico also owned a large estate near Capistrano. some of which, joined to a part
of the Forster property, made more than a handsome holding.

Don Marco Forster died in 1904, the father of six children, among whom John
O. was the third in the order of birth. The others were Marco H.. Frank A. — a part-
ner in various enterprises with our subject — George H.. Ysidora, the wife of Cornelio
Echenique, and Lucana, later Mrs. Thomas McFadden of Fullerton. When Don Marco
passed away. John O. Forster was made an executor.

Romantic was the career of the founder of this virile family. Don Juan Forster,
■who was a captain of one of the fine old sailing vessels of early days, married into a


long-established and wealthy Spanish family, and so later came to control one of the
most noted principalities of pre-pioneer days; and equally romantic has been the history
of Don Juan's renowned ranch. The ranch really included three old Spanish grants,
the Santa Margarita, the Mission Viejo, at San Juan Capistrano, and the Trabuco, each
with its own romantic history. The two first-mentioned originally belonged to the
Picos; but in the forties John Forster, having captured the heart of Don Pico's sister,
secured the ranches also. John Forster became esteemed and powerful as Don Juan;
and on his death left such a heritage that it would have required in the days of no
irrigation a small fortune to manage, and manage successfully. As it was, his heirs
assumed indebtedness to keep the property; and when much of it was heavily mort-
gaged, it passed into the hands first of Charles Crocker, then of James Flood, and
finally of Richard O'Neill.

John O. Forster attended the public schools at San Juan Capistrano. and later
studied at St. Vincent and Santa Clara colleges. Then he went to work on his father's
ranch, caring for his cattle, and after that, for four years was. proprietor of a general
merchandise store and was postmaster at San Juan Capistrano. In that old historic
town, too, he was married in 1900 to Miss Mae Marshall, a native of Virginia City,
then residing at Reno, Nev., a lady who has proven the most helpful of life-mates.
Mr. Forster has become the prime mover in the San Juan Capistrano W'alnut Associa-
tion, and he is also interested in the Capistrano Water Company. He belongs to the
Mission Church, and for eighteen years has been a member of the board of trustees
having charge of the grammar school. In 1901 he erected his comfortable home, amid
some seventy acres of walnuts.

Frank A. Forster, John's brother, who was born at Los Flores on December 7,
1871, is in partnership with John and other members of the family, the children of the
long-honored pioneers thus preserving a pleasant tradition of early days. With com-
mon interests and generous syinpathies, these thoroughly representative Californians
are able to accomplish enough to give new force to the old adage, "In union there is
strength," and to renew the assurance that property and wealth need not and ought
not to be a bone of contention, but rather a source of felicitation among near of kin.

HON. Z. B. WEST. — Orange County has never failed to appreciate the worthiest
of its judiciary, and distinguished among these who have deserved the highest esteem
and confidence may be mentioned Hon. Zephanian B. West, the efficient and popular
judge of Department One of the Superior Court, at Santa Ana. He was born in Wayne
County, 111., on March 1, 1852, and first came to the Golden State in the great "boom"
year for Southern California, in 1887. His father was Samuel West and he married
Miss Margaret .A. Hoover. To this union there were born nine children, five boys and
four girls. They settled and did yeoman work in pioneering in Southern Illinois,
encountering every hardship incident to making a farm and a home in a new and
unsubdued wilderness country, such as that was at that time. They were very poor
and upon the subject of our sketch — he being the eldest of the children — the burden
of assisting in supporting the family fell very heavily, but ever mindful of his duty as
a faithful son, he manfully remained with his parents and shared their burdens and
hardships until he was twenty-one years of age; then launched out in pursuit of an
education for which he had longed and thirsted; and without aid from any one, even
to the extent of one cent, he pressed on and by self-denial, with indomitable energy,
optimistic courage and the greatest sacrifice, completed the education he so much
desired and began his professional career which has moved onward to higher and
more worthy attainments and to his present important and influential position.

Mr. West graduated in 1876 from the National Normal University of Lebanon,
Ohio, upon the completion of the full teacher's course prescribed by that splendid
institution with the degree of B.S., and three years later from the Central Normal
College of Danville, Indiana, with the degree of A.B. He then read law in Illinois
and was admitted to the bar, upon examination before the Supreme Court of that
state, in 1885. He was thus well grounded in legal subjects before he left his native
state to push out into the world.

Coming to California, he settled at Santa Ana and here opened a law office for
general practice; was city attorney for seven years, and conducted the legal proceed-
ings by which the Santa Ana Water Works were installed — Santa Ana being the
second city to take such action under the municipal law as it then stood. He was
chairman of the Board of Education of Santa Ana for four years, and served five
years on the State Normal School Board, and was acting in that capacity when the
Normal School at San Diego was erected. He was also appointed by the Board of
Supervisors district attorney of Orange County, to fill a vacancy for two years, and
at the general election in 1902, when he had well established a wide reputation for
clear thinking and honest, fearless dealing, he w-as elected judge of the Superior Court


for six years, and has since succeeded himself each consecutive six years; so when he
finishes his present term he will have served in that high office twenty-four years. In
addition to his undergraduate work, the real foundation laid for much of this public
service was Judge West's experience as an Eastern pedagogue. He was superintendent
of schools of the city of Fairfield, 111., for two years, and county school superintendent
of Wayne County, 111., for five years, and was engaged in school work altogether for
about fourteen years — a part of this time before he had graduated from college.

At Fairfield. 111., on May 20. 1885, Mr. West, who is of English and Scotch-Irish
descent, married Miss Elizabeth E. Wright, a daughter of Stephen and Emma Wright,
of English ancestry; and their fortunate union has been further blessed by the birth of
five children: Lulu A. West married R. Victor Langford, and Z. Bertrand West, Jr.,
married Miss Linna Yarnell. The other children are Marguerite E., Frank Gordon and
Edmund C. West. Judge West is a member of the First Baptist Church of Santa Ana,
and was superintendent of the Sunday school for almost twenty-eight years. He is
still a valued and influential member and also of the Men's Club of that Church.

The Judge is a stanch, broad-minded Republican, and has unbounded confidence
in the principles of that great party. He has been initiated into three branches of
Masonry, knows the mysteries of two branches of the Odd Fellowship, is a Maccabee
and a member of the Fraternal Brotherhood. This interesting career, so typical of
American progressive manhood, is of double appeal, for it reveals the many-sidedness
of the Judge and easily explains his broad sympathies and his ability — so widely appre-
ciated by both the legal fraternity and the public in general — to enter into almost every
phase of social, business and political life, and so render justice far more surely than
would have been possible had he not run the gamut.

WILLIAM J. EDWARDS.— A resident of Orange County for more than forty-
six years, William J. Edwards has contributed a large share to the development of
the Westminster district, where he continues to make his home. Born in Derinda
Township, Jo Daviess County, 111., April 22, 1858, Mr. Edwards grew up there on
his father's 150-acre farm, attending the schools of the neighborhood. His parents
were Samson and Diana (Rogers) Edwards, of whom mention is made on another
page in this history.

Coming to California in 1874, John H. and William J. Edwards rented a tract
of 320 acres of land in the Westminster district, which they farmed in partnership,
going in on a large scale in raising grain, potatoes and live stock. After five years
the partnership was dissolved, William J. carrying on the ranching alone and meet-
ing with great success, later renting 160 acres from his father, which he farmed for

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 40 of 191)