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 53 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 53 of 191)
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ment in Los Angeles. Lawrence J. is with the ship yards at Mare Island Navy Yard.
Orilla May is a graduate of the Los Angeles College of Osteopathy and practicing at
Redlands. Carrie is at home. Benjamin is an engineer at Nenach. Jennie is a grad-
uate of the Anaheim high school and now at home.

Mr. Evans helped to organize the First Christian Church in Pasadena, in 1881,
and the First Christian Church in Anaheim, in 1890; and he has been an active member
ever since.

HUGH T. THOMSON — A very interesting family, immediate and in its many
worth-while connections, is that of Hugh T. Thomson, the manager of the Jotham
Bixby Company's large ranch, as he is also manager of the Peralta Tract, in Villa
Park Precinct. He was born in Chicago on August 23, 1871, and growing up there,
came to California in 1892, when he was twenty-one years old. He had been married
in Chicago, and on arriving here, purchased a ranch of ten acres in the Villa Park
Precinct. He was at that time wholly unfamiliar with ranch work, and had had no
experience in ranching or orcharding. He was apt, however, and learned rapidly.

Having settled in this vicinity and become acquainted with the late Jotham Bixby.
he became an employe on his ranch, and arose to be foreman and superintendent, and
was continued in the employment of the Bixby's for a period of twenty-three years.
After coming to the Jotham Bixby ranch, Hugh Thomson studied civil engineering
and became a practical civil engineer. When the Jotham Bixby Company was organ-
ized, and this ranch was taken over by the new corporation, Mr. Thomson remained
with the new company; he also had to do with the Bixby Development Company, a
subsidiary concern engaged in improving and selling off the Peralta Hills Tract of
400 acres. He set out orchards on this place about fifteen years ago. and now they are
in full bearing.



448 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

Of all the hard work he has done, however, none gives him more satisfaction
than his recent war work. He became enthused about this at Los Angeles when he
heard an address by Will H. Hays, Chairman of the Republican National Committee;
and he accepted the local secretaryship of the campaigns for the second, third, fourth
and fifth loans, and successfully put his constituency over the top every drive in
record-breaking time. He was also in charge of two Red Cross drives. In the year
1918 alone he put in five months' time on war work.

He was born, as has been stated, in the early seventies, the son of Somerville
Thomson, a wholesale baker in Chicago, who was burned out and ruined during the
great Chicago fire. He was a Scotchman by birth, and came to the United States when
a young man. He married Elizabeth Boyd, who died at Ontario, Cal., in 1917.

When he married, Mr. Thomson chose for his wife Miss Emma Conger, a cousin
of Edwin H. Conger, the American Minister to China at the time of the "Boxer" siege
of Pekin; and four children have blessed this fortunate union: Hugh Conger Thomson,
who was foreman of the Bixby Company, owns a ranch in Villa Park; Somerville
Thomson, having returned from war service in France, is at present foreman, in place
of his brother Hugh; and there are Margery and Lois, schoolgirls. The family attend
the Congregational Church at Villa Park, where Mr. Thomson is a prominent member.
He has also done good civic service as a trustee of the Villa Park grammar school, and
was on the building committee when the new school, thoroughly up-to-date, was
erected. In every way he is interested in the development and permanent, healthy
growth of Orange County, and never fails to help along any good movement likely to
benefit any of its rising communities.

ANSON LAMB.— The history of the Lamb family in America dates back to the
early colonial days. The founder of the family in this country was Terry Lamb, who
came from Ireland in the early days of New England and fought in the War of the
Revolution under George Washington. During the period of his service he was cap-
tured by a band of Oneida Indians, but later a force of cavalry came to his rescue and
saved his life. After the Revolutionary War was over the Government took upon
itself the task of educating the Indians in the constructive arts of peace, and Mr.
Lamb was appointed a teacher to instruct the Oneida tribe and in the course of his
work he taught them the trades of blacksmithing and carpentering, as well as the
science of farming. Afterwards he settled in Onondaga County, Xew York, where he
established the family home, and here he lived, an honored and respected citizen, until
his death in 1824. He and his wife, who was a native of New England, were the
parents of five children: Terry, Timothy, William, John and Nancy. Of these children,
John became one of the pioneers of Grand Rapids, Mich., and here he lived to the ripe
old age of eighty-four years, prominent in the political affairs of his locality and a
staunch adherent of the old school of democracy. During his early manhood he had
farmed in New York state, and while there married Mary Chase, a native of that state,
who passed away at their Michigan home at the age of ninety-six.

Mr. and Mrs. John Lamb were the parents of eight daughters and three sons,
and one of the latter was Anson Lamb, the subject of this review. At the time of his
birth, August 25. 1818. his parents were still living in New York, and his early years
were spent on the old homestead there. He began farming when but a youth, having
been brought up to a knowledge of agricultural pursuits, but later he became second
mate on a boat plying on the Ohio River. During the Civil War he was in the Govern-
ment service and after the close of hostilities he located at Nevada, Iowa, where he
worked at blacksmithing and also operated a threshing machine. During his residence
here, his wife, Caroline I Bartholomew) Lamb, whom he had married in New York,
passed away in Dubuque, when their son, William D. Lamb, Orange County's well-
known pioneer citizen, was only four years old. Ten years later father and son started
across the plains in a Mormon freight train. locating at Salt Lake City. There they
embarked in the lumber and sawmill business in Mill Creek Canyon, about nineteen
miles from Salt Lake City. Here they developed a remarkably successful business,
which they continued in for several years. In the meantime. William D. Lamb had
been married to Miss Elizabeth Holt, and shortly after that, about the year 1869, he
came to California, settling in what is now Orange County, and becoming one of its
best-known settlers and a large ranch owner. Anson Lamb was associated with his
son in many of his extensive undertakings and he became the owner of 800 acres of land.
149 acres belonging to the Stearns Rancho, of which William D. Lamb was for many
years manager. The remainder of the acreage was formerly a part of the Laguna
Rancho. He did much pioneer work in the development of this region and contributed
valuably to its agricultural upbuilding. This property descended to the grandchildren.
His death occurred at the ranch in August, 1906, at the age of eighty-eight years.




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HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 451

STEPHEN F. CLARKE. — Many years of various business experiences have gone
to make up the thorough knowledge and understanding of human nature which has
contributed .so largely to the success accompanying the efforts of Stephen F. Clarke,
of Orange, who is known throughout Orange County as one of its sterling and
progressive citizens. A descendant of good old New England stock, Mr. Clarke was
born at Boston, Mass., in 1859, his parents being Isaac P. and Caroline (Frothingham)
Clarke, both natives of the Bay State, where they passed their entire lives, the father
attaining the age of eighty-four, while Mrs. Clarke passed away when seventy-three
years of age. There were five sons and one daughter in the Clarke family, as follows:
Eben B. of Pittsburgh, Pa.; George F. of Boston, Mass.; Isaac Wells, also a resident
of Pittsburgh; Charles McClellan of Buffalo, N.Y.; Edith R. of Pittsburgh; and
Stephen F. of this review.

Fortunate in a family environment where a thorough education was considered of
prime importance, Stephen F. Clarke was given exceptional advantages and unlike many
youths of his age he appreciated these opportunities. Being naturally of a studious
disposition he made good use of his time and when his school days were over he was
well grounded in all the subjects that are the basis of true education. Taking a
special course in drawing, he subsequently made use of the technical knowledge thus
acquired when he served as draftsman with the board of park commissioners of Boston.
Notwithstanding his pleasant environment and splendid prospects for a successful
future amid the cultured surroundings of his birthplace, Mr. Clarke was imbued with
the spirit of the early pioneers and chose rather to carve out his future in a new and
undeveloped region.

Leaving the parental home in 1883 he chose California for his future home and
not long after arriving here he purchased a twenty-acre tract near Orange, ten acres
of which had already been planted to oranges, the remainder being uncultivated land.
At that time there was much activity in the grape industry in this district, hundreds
of acres being planted to vineyard and a number of wineries being established, Mr.
Clarke set out ten acres of grapes, but with the gradual dying out of this industry,
due to several causes, he later experimented with other crops, among them figs and
barley, but while he attained a reasonable success he came to the conclusion some
years ago that citrus fruits were the best all-around paying crops. His acreage is now
divided between Navels and Valencias and the grove is one of the heaviest producers
in this locality, bringing in a handsome income. Mr. Clarke has given his property the
most intelligent care and he is rewarded in seeing the value of it increase from $3,500,
which he paid for the entire acreage, to what it is today with adjoining land selling
for $6,000 an acre besides a sanguine possibility for oil.

In 1908 Mr. Clarke returned to his native state, the occasion being the solemniza-
tion of his marriage to Miss Katherine Keith Alger, which occurred on July 20, 1908,
at the family home of the Algers at Yarmouth Port, Mass. Mrs. Clarke is the
daughter of Francis and Izette (Matthews) Alger, both descendants of old and re-
spected families of the Bay State. Mr. and Mrs. Clarke are the parents of one
daughter, Izette Caroline.

In addition to his horticultural holdings Mr. Clarke has also given considerable
time to other developments, spending three years at Copperopolis, where he was asso-
ciated with Fred Ames of the Union Copper Mines. Of recent years he has given
much time to the study of the mineral resources of Orange County and it is his belief
that this county will be the largest producer of oil in the state of California. An in-
dependent in his political views, Mr. Clarke is vitally interested in every movement
that concerns the welfare of the nation as well as the purely local issues and during
the war he not only gave generously of his time and endeavor in all the drives, but
also served as a private in Company Seventy-six, California Military Reserve of Orange.

ANTON SCHILDMEYER and MRS. LOUISA SCHILDMEYER.— When, on

December 20, 1919. Anton Schildmeyer passed to his eternal reward, Orange County
lost one of the most conscientious of her experienced and industrious ranchers, and
one who had long operated on such broad lines as to entitle him to the credit of
having been a true empire-builder. He was a studious, widely-read rancher, and his
well-planned orchards, symmetrical yards, drying-hoilses, poultry houses, garages and
machine sheds, show the manner of man that he was. He had reached his sixty-
fourth year, so that his life may be said to have been fairly well rounded out.

Mrs. Schildmeyer was born near Louisville, Cass County, Nebr., and became a
social favorite as Louisa Brunkow, a daughter of Frederick and Ann C. (Panskey)
Brunkow. She was educated at the ordinary public schools, and was married in 1882
to Mr. Schildmeyer. Three miles east of Greenwood they bought a farm of 200 acres,
which they conducted with success. On March 9, 1893, they came to California, and



452 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

in August of the 'same year they commenced to build their two-story, eight-rooni
frame house. He owned two ranches at the time of his death — the home ranch of
thirty-three acres, and the ranch where his son, Oscar A. Schildmeyer, resides, three
miles northeast of Orange, a fine tract of fifty-five acres. He also owned other valu-
able personal property, and he became a stockholder in the Farmers and Merchants
Bank of Santa Ana.

Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Schildmeyer — three girls, who first saw
the light in Cass County, Nebr., and two boys of Orange County birth. Marie A. is
the wife of John Gobbruegge, a rancher of Riverside, and the mother of two children.
Emma C. married Arthur Hoeffer, a rancher of Owensmouth, Los Angeles County.
Martha S., who is at home, is a graduate of the Orange high school and a graduate
registered nurse. Oscar A., the rancher living north of Orange, married Merl Brown,
and has one child, a boy baby, named Robert. Frederick William operates Mrs.
Schildmeyer's place. The family are members of the Evangelical Association of
Santa Ana, to whose building committee Mr. Schildmeyer belonged. Mrs. Schildmeyer
is a member of the Ladies' Aid and Women's Foreign Missionary Society of said
church. This estimable lady continues to reside at the Schildmeyer ranch of thirty-
rhree acres, four acres of which are devoted to the culture of Valencia oranges, two
to the growth of Navels, six to apricots, soon to be superseded by Valencias, and
the balance to walnuts. The property has long been exceptionally productive, and
under the skillful management of the enterprising son, bids fair to become even more
so as the years go by.

MATHIAS NISSON. — A prosperous rancher, prominent for years as one of the
most successful horticulturists of Orange County, is Mathias Nisson, who was born on
March 31, 1847, in Tondern, North Schleswig, near the boundary line of Denmark and
Germany, the son of Nis and Esther Nisson, a member of a long line of educators, his
grandfather and uncle both being renowned as instructors. Very naturally, therefore,
he enjoyed the best of educational advantages in the superior schools of his native land.
In 1873, when twenty-six years of age, he bade farewell to home, friends and the scenes
long so familiar and dear to him, not because he loved his Fatherland less, but because
he believed that the New World would offer greater opportunities.

Passing through New York City, he stayed for a short time in Chicago, and then
went to the vicinity of Faxton, Ford County, 111., where he worked on various farms
for three years, and at the same time he attended the district school for a winter's term
at Paxton. When 1876 rolled 'round, California began to be more talked about, inci-
dental to the Centennial at Philadelphia, and after a while Mr. Nisson concluded to
leave Illinois and make for the Pacific Coast.

That same year, therefore, he reached Orange County and on the fourth of
November arrived at Santa Ana, where for four years he worked on various farms.
Then in 1880 he purchased twenty-one acres, his present place at 2500 North Main
Street, and in his efforts to do something with the land, he went through the hardships
of the early grape industry. After the vines had been grubbed out, he planted his own
nursery stock, which he next set out. He had five acres in prunes and five acres in
apricots. Later still, he grubbed out both the prunes and the apricots and gradually set
the whole out to walnuts and oranges. Now he has eleven acres of walnuts, nine acres
of Valencia oranges and one acre of Navels and as his ranch is under the service of
the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company, he has an abundance of good water.

For fifteen years Mr. Nisson was a director in the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation
Company, serving as president of the board for several years. He also has a joint
ownership with John Maier and Henry Rohrs in a pumping plant that throws sixty
inches of water. This well is used during the dry season. Mr. Nisson has also im-
proved his ranch with a handsome and commodious residence. He was an organizer
and is a director in the California National Bank of Santa Ana, a director in the Santa
Ana Steam Laundry, and also a stockholder in the Santa Ana Commercial Company,
of which he has been a director. Believing in cooperation, he was one of the organizers
and thus a charter member of the Santa Ana Walnut Growers Association, serving as a
director for several years. He was also a charter member and a director of the Santiago
Orange Growers Association at' Orange.

In San Francisco, on July 12, 1888, Mr. Nisson was married to Miss Charlotte
Laederich, a native daughter, born in San Francisco. Her parents, Jean Jacques and
Louise (Weiss) Laederich, were natives of France, who came to New York City in
1848. In 1849 Mr. Laederich took the gold fever and started for the new Eldorado, com-
ing in a sailing vessel around Cape Horn to San Francisco, so was an Argonaut in the
true sense of the word. His wife joined him in 1852, coming by way of Panama, cross-
ing the Isthmus on muleback with Indian guides. Mr. Laederich was prominent in



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 455

the business and social life of San Francisco in those early days and was a member of
the first vigilance committee.

At an early age Mrs. Nisson removed with her parents to Santa Clara, where she
received her education and grew proud of California and its institutions. Two children
blessed their family life: Clarence A. married Vera Montgomery, and they are living
on a citrus grove in Tustin with their two sons — Clarence A., Jr., and Richard Mont-
gomery: Estelle G. graduated at Stanford University with the degree of A. B., after
which she did graduate work at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa., taking a war
course in employment management and industrial supervision, then spending some time
in New York City in the personnel division of the Retail Research Association.

The family take an active part in the work of the First Presbyterian Church of
Santa Ana; they did their part in the bond drives during the late war and they are
alert to contribute in any way to the elevation of civic standards and the election of
the best men or women, irrespective of party politics. Mr. Nisson belongs to the Santa
Ana Lodge of Odd Fellows and with his wife is a member of the Rebekahs.

ANDREW GUSTAV BLOM.— Probably one of the best known and most expert
steel rolling mill men on the Pacific Coast is Andrew Gustav Blom, who is now
living on his eighty-acre ranch, beautifully situated in Villa Park. It is one of the
finest properties in the vicinity, seventeen acres being set out to oranges and lemons,
fifteen acres of hay land and the balance foothill land, in the neighborhood of the
oil-producing section of Orange County. When Mr. Blom purchased this place, in
October, 1919, it was already improved with a beautiful, commodious mansion, located
on a hill commanding a wonderful view of the Santiago Valley, and with its winding
roads, beautiful trees and flowers, it is indeed one of the beauty spots of this section.
The house is furnished with every convenience enjoyed by the city dweller and sleeping
porches and sun parlors add to its attractiveness.

A native of Vermland, Sweden, Mr. Blom was born there on January 8, 1861,
and was the fourth eldest of a family of nine children, seven of whom are still living.
His parents were Olaf and Annie Blom, both of whom were born, married and died
in Sweden, the mother passing away when Andrew was but eleven years of age, leaving
the following children: Britta, the wife of Nils Person, a carpenter and builder of
Chicago. 111.; Charles John, in the automobile business at Ishpeming, Mich.; Mary, the
widow of Olen Urban, resides on her farm at Washburn, Wis.; Andrew Gustav, of this
review; Olaf August, the largest wholesale iron and steel merchant in Stockholm,
Sweden; Mina resides in Stockholm; Emma is the wife of A. W. Stark, who is in the
hotel business at Milwaukee, Wis.

Olaf Blom, the father, was an iron and steel worker, and Andrew started to work
in the steel mills when but a small lad, running the big water-power hammer for his
father when he was only nine years old. After his mother's death the home was
practically broken up and Andrew went to Toosby, another steel town, where he ran a
power hammer for a year. After a short visit at his old home he then went to
Soderhamn, in the eastern part of Sweden, where he was engaged in railway con-
struction work; later he located in the large rolling mill town of Munkfors Brook,
making railroad iron for construction work. During these twelve years Mr. Blom
gained a wonderful training in all the many and varied processes of the steel industry,
but, possessed of an unusual amount of energy and ambition, he felt that the New
World offered greater opportunities for advancement. Accordingly, he sailed from
Gothenburg, Sweden, in April, 1882, expecting to locate at Worcester, Mass., where a
sister was living. He worked his way over on a vessel that landed at Philadelphia, Pa.,
and soon his money gave out and he had to barter a feather pillow for a night's
lodging — the last of his possessions, with the exception of his clothing. Reaching
Worcester, Mass., he went to work in the wire mills of Washburn, Moen & Co..
remaining there for about six months.

Mr. Blom's next move was to St. Louis, Mo., where he obtained work in
Helmbacher Forge and Rolling Mill, now well known as the American Car and
Foundry Company. Before he had been there three years he was made head roller, a
position which he was well qualified to fill through his many years of thorough
training. For twenty-four years he remained with this company, gaining a well-
deserved reputation for being one of the most expert rolling-mill men in the country,
and establishing himself in an authoritative position in this great industry. During his
years of residence in St. Louis Mr. Blom was also actively interested in the realty
business, building, buying and selling many residences and apartment houses there.

On July 7, 1905, Mr. Blom came to Los Angeles to take the responsible position
of head roller with the Southern California Iron and Steel Company, located at
Fourth and Santa Fe Streets, holding that position continuously until 1917, when the



456 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

strike occurred. Mr. Blom went out at that time because of his convictions on the
principles involved, and he has never gone back, but now gives all his time to the
care of his extensive ranch. This is not Mr. Blom's first venture in the citrus industry,
as he was formerly the owner of a. grove of fifteen acres between Garden Grove and
Anaheim. For many years while Mr. Blom was engaged in work in Los Angeles
Mrs. Blom had charge of the orange grove and so successfully did she superintend
its development that when it was sold it brought $50,000 net, nearly tripling its
purchase price of $17,000. This ranch was one of the show places of Orange County
and her flowers took prizes and received honorable mention at the Orange Flower
Shows. Mrs. Blom has also shown her talent as a writer of poetry.

Mr. Blom's first marriage, which occurred in St. Louis, united him with Miss
Mary Spenley, who passed away there, leaving five children, as follows: Josephine is
the wife of R. T. Mitchell, a rolling mill worker in Los Angeles: Stella married Fred
Conrad, Jr., employed in the lumber business in Los Angeles; Ollie W., formerly a
steel worker, is now a producer of feldspar and silica at Ethanac, Cal., where he is the
owner of a mine; Florence, who became the wife of Earl Ladd of Garden Grove, passed
away in 1917, leaving two children — Vivian and Oliver; Helen died at the age of eleven
in Los Angeles. Mr. Blom was married on March 8, 1905, to Mrs. Elise Floyd, the
widow of George G. Floyd, the ceremony being solemnized in St. Louis. She is the
daughter of Charles L. and Mary Josephine (Lahay) Pelot, the father being a native
of Canton Berne, Switzerland, and the mother of French-Canadian extraction, and
was one of a family of seven children, four of whom are now living, all residents of
California. Mrs. Blom was born in Farmington, Mo., her father being a well-known



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 53 of 191)