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 51 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 51 of 191)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

modern buildings, and after many years of continuous development of the land from its
primitive condition, Mr. Bacon has lived to see his original experimental walnut grove
a financial success. His ranch is devoted to diversified farming and to the dairy business.
He bought land in early days for fifty-four dollars an acre, a marked contrast in land
values of today. In early days Mr. Bacon worked out by the day and improved his
own land at odd times, as circumstances would permit, but in course of time he discon-
tinued this, when he had succeeded in developing his land to the point where it yielded
enough to support his family.

Thrift and frugality are strong characteristics of Mr. Bacon, and to these, coupled
with hard work and a definite aim, are due his present prosperity. On Christmas Day,
1905, Mr. Bacon was united in marriage with Miss Agatha Van Loenen, a native of
Iowa, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Van Loenen, natives of Holland. This happy
union has been blessed with three children: Mildred, James E. and Robert W., all
attending Orange County public schools.

Mr. Bacon is deeply interested in the educational affairs of the county, and for
five years served as an efficient trustee of Centralia school district, and is an honored
member of the Farm Bureau of Buena Park. In politics he is a stanch Republican, and
has served as a delegate to many conventions. In every way that he could, Mr. Bacon
has supported all movements for the upbuilding of the county- Especially has he
worked to form a storm district for the control of the Santa Ana River. As a pioneer
of the Buena Park district he has seen the development of the land from sheep pastures
into small tracts and settled upon by contented families.

ANDREW WESLEY THOMPSON.— Strong and active at the age of seventy-
six, Andrew W. Thompson has the unusual record of never having had a day's illness
in his life. One of Orange County's pioneer citizens, he has always been a leader in
the neighborhood affairs of El Toro and his counsels are eagerly sought on political
matters, and he has for the past fifteen years occupied the oifice of deputy county clerk
at that place.

Through his maternal ancestors Mr. Thompson traces his ancestry back to
Holland, the progenitor of the Commer family in America having come from that
country in 1632, settling in the Mohawk Valley in New York. Grandfather Commer
served under General Washington in the Revolutionary War, and nine cousins
including the subject of this biography, fought in the Civil War. Andrew W. Thompson
was born December 16, 1844, his parents being Andrew and Maria (Dayton) Thompson,
the latter the daughter of Alexander Dayton. Mr. Dayton ran a ferry across the Pike
River in Canada, and also ran a hotel there, and it was while Mrs. Thompson was
staying there that Andrew W. was born; but, although he was born in Canada, the
family were residents of New York. There were seven children in the Thompson
family, and Andrew W., who was the second in order of birth, is now the only one
living. He came to Henderson, Sibley County, Minn., in 1854, with his parents, and
here grew to manhood. The country was in its primitive state at that time and there
were practically no opportunities for an education, so that Andrew had no schooling
until after he was married, when, realizing the handicap he was under, he went to
studying and became a well-informed man. He worked hard in those early days,
helping break the virgin .soil of Minnesota and raising some of the first hard wheat
grown in that locality.

In December. 1862, Mr. Thompson ran away from home to enlist in Company M,
Second Minnesota Cavalry, and for two years fought the Indians on the frontier, having
many thrilling experiences, among others being called to the relief of the white settlers
during the massacre at New Ulm, Minn. He then served for four years with the
Union Army during the Civil War, after which he returned to Minnesota. In 1870 he
began farming there, and also kept a trading post at Big Stone Lake, trading with the
Sioux Indians. With a cousin he hunted buffalo for the Government to feed the troops
stationed in this territory. In 1875, with his wife and two children, Mr- Thompson
made the long journey to California, settling in Ventura County, where they remained
for a year. In 1876 they came to Laguna and bought 172 acres about two miles north



H i.c ^^g ft

m^.a.u^A^ /^>



of what is now Laguna Beach, this place being known as the Spring Ranch, paying
$1,500 for the place. He also took up 160 acres of Government land, so that he had a
ranch of more than a half section, where he farmed and raised stock. He also worked
on the San Joaquin ranch for a time, helping care for the stock.

In 1870 Mr. Thompson was married at Glencoe to Miss Esther Tickner, a native
of Illinois. Her father, Ezra Tickner, hunted ducks in the early days where Chicago
now stands, later becoming a pioneer farmer in Minnesota. Seven children were born
of this union: Senath died at the age of sixteen; Ivy, Mrs. Charles Thompson, resides
at Watts; Irving is a retired rancher of Madera; Joseph is employed by Orange
County on road construction and resides in Santa Ana; Maria is the wife of Levi
Gockley, who owns the old Rosenbaum ranch north of Capistrano; Rebecca was the
wife of Orin Boyenton, who died on their ranch at Escalon, Cal., in 1920. She still
resides there; Andrew Wesley, Jr., is a rancher, and lives with his father. Mrs.
Thompson passed away at Laguna Beach July 23, 1886. Mr. Thompson's present wife,
to whom he was married in Santa Ana in 1908, was Mrs. Sarah M. Bonnell, the widow
of William Bonnell, who died in the East, leaving her with one son, Robert L. Bonnell,
a photographer in New York City. Mrs. Thompson in maidenhood was Miss Sarah
M. Clarke, the daughter of Timothy and Rachel Clarke of Passaic, N. J. She was
born in Passaic, N. J., where she was educated. She was gifted with a beautiful soprano
voice and sang in Henry Ward Beecher's choir of vocalists, in reserve for his famous
church choir.

Mr. Thompson removed to El Toro in 1890 and he has since made his home
there. He is a member of Sedgwick Post No. 17, G. A. R., at Santa Ana. In religious
matters he is a member of the Reorganized Church of Latter-Day Saints of Santa Ana
pnd a preacher and elder in that denomination, and has traveled and preached all over
the state. Politically he is a Republican and has always taken a prominent part in the
local affairs of his party.

ALEXANDER N. HENRY.— It is given to few men to look back over a life
so crowded with eventful memories as that of Alexander N. Henry, one of Anaheim's
best-known retired pioneer citizens. A native of Scotland, he was born at the seaport
town of Leith, February 15, 1837, the third child in the family of Innes and Jacobina
(Nicholson) Henry, natives of Lerwick, the chief town of the Shetland Islands. His
grandfather was named Innes, as was his great-grandfather, who was chief of the
clan and lord of the islands. The Henry clan coat of arms was a mailed arm pointing
uiiward, the hand grasping a scimiter, the inscription being "Semper Paratus" (always
ready). The maternal grandfather, William Nicholson, was also of an old family of
the Shetland Islands, and took part in the Battle of Waterloo. There were eight
sons and four daughters in the Henry family.

When only ten years old, Alexander N. was apprenticed to his brother, who
owned a fleet of vessels and it was while he was at his work that .he met with an
accident which rendered him unfit to continue and his indenture was cancelled and
he was sent home. Two years later, in 1852, he joined a British man-of-war and for
eight years was in the service of his government. During this period he went through
all of the Crimean War, being wounded six times in battle. He took part in the
storming of Sebastopol, the famous charge of Balaklava, and the battles of Alma and
Inkermann. After the war his ship, the Agamemnon, was sent to the Baltic, later to
the Clack Sea, under Admiral Lyons. When he left the navy he apprenticed himself
to the ship builder's trade at Leith, later sailing the seas as a ship carpenter. During
his service in the navy and the merchant marine Mr. Henry sailed in every sea and
visited almost every important seaport in the world. The broad knowledge he ac-
quired during his travels make him an interesting and instructive companion. Nat-
urally one of his most thrilling recollections is of the charge at Balaklava, immortal-
ized by Tennyson in his "Charge of the Light Brigade" and he well remembers how
with set faces and hearts that knew no faltering, "into the Valley of Death rode the
six hundred" on that October day in 1854. Other stirring memories cluster about
Mexico, which he visited during the reign and downfall of Emperor Ma.Kimilian.

Sailing from Glasgow on a vessel bound for California around the Horn. Mr.
Henry landed in San Francisco after a journey of six months. For a time he con-
tinued as a ship carpenter, later followed mining in different places in the state. In
1867, ten years after the San Francisco Company had made its initial efforts towards
founding a colony at Anaheim, he came to this town, which was then an undeveloped
settlement, and he purchased 220 acres of land at West Anaheim and began farming
and raising fruit, principally wine grapes, and for eight years he maintained a winery.
When the blight struck the vines in this section he turned his attention to growing
oranges and walnuts, being among the pioneers who experimented with these- products
which have since given the county of Orange such a reputation all over tlie world, as


a center for nuts and fruit. After disposing of all but fifty acres of his original
purchase, Mr. Henry developed his homestead, Caledonia Grove, thus linking it with
the ancient name of his native country. Here he developed one of the finest and
most productive ranches in the county, raising oranges, walnuts and some grapes,
and erected a residence costing $10,000, also beautifying the grounds with ornamental
trees and a cypress arbor, that was one of the finest in the entire state, and made
of his ranch a show place of the Southland. Mr. Henry had a number of discouraging
experiences, chief among these being a heavy loss through four fires, in three of
which he had no insurance, and in the fourth only one eighth, when he lost more
than $30,000 worth of property. In 1910 he sold his ranch and retired to a home
in Anaheim which he erected. While a rancher, at a cost of $8,000, he constructed
a water plant on his property that produced 156 miner's inches from two wells of
600 and 320 feet.

While still in his native town of Leith in 1862, Mr. Henry was married to
Catherine Mason, who was born and reared there. Three sons have been born to
them, all now living retired after active and successful lives as ranchers. They are
Innes. John and Archibald. Mr. Henry was a member of the Ancient Order of
United Workmen for thirty years. He is a charter member of the Knights of Pythias
and of the B. P. O. Elks, both of Anaheim, and he is most enthusiastic in his support
of these orders. He still retains his membership in the Masonic lodge at Leith.

Mr. Henry is intensely patriotic and when the Boer War was in progress, being
an enthusiastic supporter of the cause of England, volunteered his services and agreed
to pay his own expenses to the field if he would be allowed to enlist. This he was
not allowed to do unless he would relinquish his American citizenship, which he felt
that he could not do. After the death of King Edward and when George V was to
be crowned Emperor of India, all the veterans of the Crimean and Indian wars were
invited to witness the coronation in India as guests of the English government.
On account of illness in his family Mr. Henry was unable to attend, though he was
prevailed upon to be present.

It was but natural after participating in such stirring events as did Mr. Henry
in his young days that his interest and enthusiasm should be aroused during the
World W^ar. After the sinking of the Lusitania he went to Los Angeles to see the
British Consul, who wrote to the British Minister in Washington, D C., that Mr.
Henry had offered his services in any capacity and on any condition to the British
government and would pay his own expenses to Canada if he could only be guaranteed
the privilege of joining either the army or navy. At that time the minister wrote that
he had no authority to enlist American subjects. After the United States entered
the war he went to Los Angeles three different times and tried to enter the service
of his country in any capacity they chose to put him but the members of the military
boards replied, "We can see the fighting devil in your eye, but we are very sorry to
state that you are too young to be accepted," so he had to return home and to be
content to work for those who were at the front. He was active in all the allied
drives and organized efforts that had such an important part in backing up the men
at the battle front, giving freely of his time and means. He had a muzzle-loader
salute gun cast and mounted at Los Angeles and this arrived in Anaheim a few days
before the armistice was signed; it was used to fire the salute of victory. He now
uses it on all occasions where salutes are fired. Robert and George Henry, nephews
of our subject and subjects of Great Britain, lost their lives when their ship was
sunk in the battle of the North Sea. A grandson, Archibald Henry, of Anaheim,
trained for service but was taken ill and honorably discharged and died five weeks
after he reached his home. Mr. Henry helped organize Orange County and has
contributed generously to its prosperity during his residence of fifty years.

STEPHEN McPHERSON.— One of the earliest settlers of the Orange section
of Orange County was Stephen McPherson. He was born in Chaumont. Teflferson
County, N. Y., on March 5, 1839. the son of William and Jane (Forsythe") McPherson.
His father, a native of Deering. N. H., moved to northern New York in the early part
of the nineteenth century, and there became a successful farmer. Stephen McPherson
began his education in the public schools of his native county. He then attended the
Belleville Academy and the Jeflferson County Institute at Watertown, N. Y. Before he
reached manhood he was teaching schools near his own home. He then attended and
was graduated from the Bryant and Stratton Commercial College at Buffalo, N. Y.
Following this, he taught school two years in Ohio.

In 1862 he came to California by way of Panama, where a brother and sister had
already preceded him. He settled first in Santa Clara County and followed his
profession as a school teacher. In 1872 he came to Los Angeles and settled in the
Westminster Colony. The same year, with his brother, he bought land east of the


^^^ ^;^^^^^B

^^^^^m^B '^ '^^^^^^1

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^H / ^^^^^^^H^^l

^^^^^^^^^^^^^H .'.:'-''''-.'%:;''' > f ;^i^^*''^^^HH||^^^^|HPPB^^^^^^^^|

C^. a. (L^e^^iS^.^


Santiago Creek, of Chapman and Glassell. This land was cleared of brush and cactus
and the first raisin vineyard in Southern California planted. A partnership was formed
under the name of McPherson Brothers, and the raisin business grew to large
proportions. In the eighties it was the biggest of its kind in California, until the raisin
business was wiped out by the Anaheim grape disease in 1887-88. In addition to
viticulture, Stephen McPherson was one of the pioneer school teachers of Los Angeles
County. In 1872 he taught the lirst term of the Orange public school. At that time
the Orange district was known as Richland, and included what is now several school
districts. During the following decade he taught various schools in what is now Los
Angeles and Orange counties, known as Newport, San Gabriel, El Monte, Santa Monica
and Los Angeles City. After the dying of the vineyards, Mr. McPherson gave his
attention to other lines of farming, and was particularly interested in orange growing.
He saw cactus and brush covered land that he bought at ten and fifteen dollars an acre
in pioneer days grow to high values.

Mr. McPherson was an earnest Presbyterian and a charter member of the church
in Orange. In politics he was a Republican. In 1882 he married Miss Jennie E. Vincent,
who was born in Cape Vincent, Jefferson County, N. Y., and survives him. Three
children are also living: S. V., who works for the Southern Pacific railroad at Colton,
Cal.; William, now living with his mother, and farming; and Lulu, wife of Walter
L. Vieregg of Hollywood, Cal. Stephen McPherson died August 21, 1917. He was a
pioneer and upbuilder of Orange County and lived long enough to see the fruition of
his efforts.

CORNELIUS C. COLLINS.— A decidedly progressive and successful man in
the world of business, who is at the same time quite as pronounced a "home man,"
and therefore very much interested in all that means the development, building up
and upbuilding of the community into which he has cast his lot, is Cornelius C.
Collins, of the widely-known firm of C. C. Collins Company, the fruit packers and
shippers of Santa Ana. He was born in Greene County, Ohio, November 20, 1852, the
son of Joseph Collins, a farmer, who was also a pioneer in Ohio enviably identified
with the forming of the Buckeye State. He married Miss Isabella Morrow, and they
had eight children, the youngest being the subject of this sketch.

Cornelius C. attended the rural schools of his neighborhood, and later was a
student in the Ohio Central and Antioch colleges. After finishing his studies he
remained in charge of his father's farm for several years; but in the year of 1887,
when California was harvesting largely from its great "boom," Mr. Collins disposed
of his interests and came west to Santa Ana. For a year he was busy with real
estate ventures, but in 1890 he entered the packing field, and formed a partnership
with W'. M. Smart, the firm being known as Smart & Collins. This continued for
two years, when the concern became the Collins Fruit Company, and later C. C.
Collins; finally, when Mr. Collins' son, W. C. Collins, had completed his education
he became a member of the firm, which has since been known as the C. C. Collins
Company. In its consecutive history under these various names, the establishment
is the oldest business house of its kind in the county and has won a high standing
for square dealing among the growers of fruit and nuts wherever the company has
had business with the producers. The statement has often been made that Mr.
Collins' word is always as good as his written agreement. He belongs to and
supports the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants & Manufacturers' Associa-
tion, as well as other public movements for the betterment of conditions in general
throughout the county and state.

At Clifton, Ohio, on December 5, 1878, Mr. Collins was united in marriage to
Miss Emma Elizabeth Anderson. The union was an exceptionally happy one and has
been blessed by the birth of six children and three grandchildren. A daughter is
Ina Isabella, the wife of F. W. Stanley of Fresno; Walter C. is in partnership with
his father; Wilford A., is a bean thresher and fruit dryer; Robert W., is engaged
in the shoe business; Mary F. is the wife of Ernest C. Fortier of Turlock, Cal., and
Joseph S., an automotive mechanic. The family are all members of the United Pres-
byterian Church, in which Mr. Collins has always been an active worker; for many
years he has been identified with mission work in Orange County, part of the time
among the Spanish people and later with the Christian Endeavor in the County
Hospital, always having in mind the moral uplift of the people in general.

The C. C. Collins Company pack and ship dried fruit, beans and walnuts, send-
ing their products to all sections of the country; and they employ from fifty to 150
persons in all branches of their industry during the busy seasons. They have one
packing house in Santa Ana, where the main office is located, and the other at Hill-


grove, near Puente, Los Angeles County, both being equipped with modern methods
of handling their output.

As a pioneer business man of Santa Ana, Mr. Collins has always been much
interested in the advancement of the city as a commercial center and in all move-
ments for its upbuilding has ever been found among the leaders. During the World
War he gave of his time and means to make Orange County go "over the top" in all
the allied drives for loans and funds. He has seen the city grow from a straggling
village to one of the best cities in the Southland. Public spirited to a high degree no
one is prouder of the city and county of his adoption than C. C. Collins.

CYRUS NEWTON MAGILL.— A very successful rancher with a record of thirty
years or more as a pioneer, is Cyrus Newton Magill, whose twenty acres constitute
one of the "show-places" of the West Orange voting precinct. He was born in Clinton
County, Ind., on August 12, 1836, the son of Cyrus D. Magill, a native of Kentucky
who farmed for a while in Indiana and later in Wisconsin. While in the Hoosier State
he was married to Sarah Miller, and it was in the historic year of 1849 that he moved
to Wisconsin. He attended the public schools in Indiana, and also at Richmond, later
Orion, in Richland County, Wis., and grew up on his father's farm, two miles from
the Wisconsin River. Thus he saw that section of the country in its undeveloped
state, before there was any railroad there.

In 1863, Mr. Magill enlisted in Battery C of the First Wisconsin Heavy Artillery,
and was stationed for a while at Fort Wood, near Missionary Ridge. There, in 1864,
he was taken ill, and at Madison, Wis., he was honorably discharged, being mustered
out at Nashville, Tenn., on September 21, 1865.

Twenty years later, in Kansas, he was married to Miss Matilda Brady, a daughter
of the late Peter Brady, who died at Garden Grove on February 11, 1920. In 1869, Mr.
Magill and his father and family moved from Wisconsin to Kansas, and settled in
Wilson County, where he pre-empted a tract of 16D acres and bought forty acres
of school land. Two children were born in Kansas — Dwight E. Magill, whose sketch
appears elsewhere in this work, and Dr. Peryl B. Magill, who lives at home.

Cyrus Newton Magill came with his wife and their two children from Kansas to
California in March, 1889, and for the first year lived at Santa Ana. Then he bought
his present twenty acres, and there reared his family. Two more children have been
born here. James Magill first saw the light on August 24, 1892, and after attending
the public schools at Garden Grove, grew up on his father's ranch. On March 8, 1918,
he enlisted in the aviation school at San Diego and trained at Rockwell Field, with' a
Curtis plane, showing such proficiency that he was favored with three promotions.
He was never in an accident, and was honorably discharged on November 30, 1919.
Now he is a charter member of the Santa Ana Post of the American Legion. Julia M.,
the fourth child, is at home. Mrs. Magill, lamented by all who knew her, died on
September 7, 1901. In 1907 Mr. Magill erected a fine cement-block dwelling house on
his ranch property.

The family attend the Presbyterian Church, and are active in good works for the
benefit of the community. As a patriotic Civil War veteran Mr. Magill is a member of
Sedgwick Post No. 17, G. A. R., at Santa Ana, and he has done civic duty by serving
on juries.

WILLIAM COCHEMS. — A hard-working, successful business man of Santa Ana,
who thoroughly understands the problems of his field, and who feels that he also so
well understands Santa Ana and Orange County, and their problems and prospects,
that he is in perfect harmony with his environment, is William Cochems, the
wide-awake owner and director of the popular Vienna Bakery and Confectionery
establishment at 210 East Fourth Street, Santa Ana, and residing at 640 French Street,
where his revered mother presides over his household. For twenty years he has
devoted on an average not less than eighteen hours a day to his business interests; and
it has been this careful attention to details, ever anticipating the wants of his ever-
increasing patrons, that has enabled him to "win out" despite high-cost times.

He was born at Chicago on June 22, 1879, the son of Joseph and Gertrude (Stoltz)
Cochems, with whom he came to California and Los Angeles in the late eighties- In

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 51 of 191)