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 55 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 55 of 191)
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velopment and shipping of walnuts in Southern California. He urged the ranchers to
plant more walnuts, and then became a buyer, shipper and packer, selling them in the
Los Angeles market; for the first lot he paid nine cents a pound. For fifteen years
he carried on this business, one year shipping twenty-two cars from the district, buy-
ing all over Orange County, the largest buyer in his day. He was also the originator
of sugar beet growing in Southern California, importing the seed from Germany. It
was tried out with success and he urged the farmers to plant on a commercial scale,
and from this small start has grown the large sugar beet industry, so he can justly
be called the father of the sugar beet industry in Orange County.

Progressive and public spirited, Mr. Nebelung has held many official positions in
the civic and commercial organizations of the community. He served as a director of
the Anaheim Union Water Company, and for ten years was a member of the audit
board; for fourteen years consecutively he was city clerk of Anaheim, being elected
seven times and defeated the last time by only one vote; he was chairman of the board
of trustees of Anaheim from 1910 to 1914, and one term on the board of education; for
seventeen years he has been secretary of the Anaheim Cemetery Association. . For
three years he was proprietor of the old Anaheim Hotel, which stood where the beau-
tiful new Valencia Hotel now stands. He is the ownef of a modern apartment house
which he recently built on the corner of Chartres and Lemon streets. With three
associates Mr. Nebelung owns a small ranch at Richfield which is leased for oil to
the Midway Petroleum Company.

In 1883, Mr. Nebelung was married to Josephine Finck, born in Missouri, daugh-
ter of Henry Finck, a pioneer of Oregon, who later moved to Anaheim where he was
a music teacher. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Nebelung: Dolores
died -when four years old; Mrs. Elsie P. Skinner of Anaheim, the mother of three
children living: Violet, Mrs. Thomas F. Cantwell of Los Angeles, who has one child;
and Raymond E., who is a graduate of University of California and is farm adviser of
Riverside County.

JAMES C. SHEPPARD. — .\n esteemed rancher who, after a busy apprenticeship
of many years in the science of agriculture, has become a successful orange and walnut
grower, is James C. Sheppard, who was born near Eldorado, Union County, Ark., on
August 31, 1856. His father, who was killed when our subject was only one and a
half years old, was Abner Sheppard, and he married Miss Lucinda Carrol, now de-
ceased. Of their three sons, James was the second in order of birth and is the only
one living.

Having been educated in the public schools of Arkansas, Mr. Sheppard came to
California in 1875, and wishing to acquire a higher education, he attended the Southern
California College at Downey for two years and then entered the law department of the
University of California, but before graduation was advised by a specialist that he
must give up studying or lose his eyesight; so he was obliged to give up his ambition
of a legal career and turn his attention to other lines. In 1880 he began working as
a railroad contractor and helped to build the Santa Fe from San Diego to Colton.

Mr. Sheppard then took up farming on the Alamitos ranch at Long Beach, and
for four years he was a partner of John W. Bixby & Company, in the raising of stock.
Selling out his interests there, he came to Fullerton in 1890 and bought his present
place of fifty-six acres, and in the following January he came here to live. He has
been very successful in the development of this place, which is devoted to oranges and
walnuts, and it is now bringing in splendid returns. Mr. Sheppard has not given all his
time to agriculture, however, as he has been very active in a number of irrigation
projects. A good illustration of his capability is found in the building up of the Ana-
heim Union Water Company, which he superintended; it was badly run down, but for
more than eight years he clung to it and reconstructed it. restoring it to its old pros-
perity. After resigning as superintendent of this company he engaged in general con-
tracting; he built the ,\rroyo Ditch Company's system at Downey, the Los Nietos
Irrigation Company's project, the Cate Water- System at Riviera and the San Juan
Capistrano Irrigation System, all splendid water systems. Next he built five and a half
miles of the Salt Lake Railroad through Senator Currier's ranch and in each direction
from his place in Pomona \'alley. Next he constructed the water system for Canal
No. 6 in the Imperial Valley through Lower California, about thirty miles in length.
In his work he used 250 head of stock and a full complement of men. Mr. Sheppard
has always been a lover of fine horses and at various times has owned some very



468 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

fine standard-bred stock. He is particularly fond of horseback riding and now has a
beautiful black saddle horse which he admires and enjoys very much.

At Spadra, January 16, 1884, Mr. Sheppard was married to Miss Dixie C. Fryer,
the accomplished and charming daughter of Rev. R. C. and Caroline (Veazey) Fryer,
natives of Alabama, who were pioneers of El Monte where she was born. Reverend
Fryer with his family crossed the plains in 1852. In 1869 they located at Spadra, where
they engaged in agricultural pursuits. Reverend Fryer was one of the pioneer Baptist
ministers in Southern California. He founded numerous congregations in Southern
California, among them Santa Ana, Pomona and many others. He also served as a
member of the state legislature. He passed to the great beyond in 1890, his wife
having preceded him eleven years. Mrs. Sheppard was engaged in educational work
and taught school in Pomona, in 1883, until her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Sheppard
have four children: Edna May is the wife of W. K. TuUer of Los Angeles; Carrie
assists her mother in presiding over the home; Sue Lucinda is the wife of C. C. Mc-
Bride of Hermosa Beach; James C, Jr., left Occidental College to enter an officers'
training camp and was stationed in Texas when the armistice was signed. He is again
at Occidental College and is president of the student body.

Mr. and Mrs. Sheppard are prominent members of the Baptist Church, having
been among the twelve original members that organized the church at Fullerton,
Mrs. "Sheppard serving as the secretary for many years. A firm believer in protection
Mr. Sheppard is a decided Republican, but he has never solicited nor accepted public
office. He has for many years been affiliated with the Odd Fellows, is active in
the circles of the Fullerton Board of Trade, and for several years served on the board
of directors of the Anaheim Union Water Company. Fullerton may be congratulated
on such a citizen as James C. Sheppard — an idealist ever desiring the best that is avail-
able for his town and its environs.

O. T. CAILOR. — To such learned, experienced and common sense members of
the California Bar as O. T. Cailor, the well-known attorney and junior member of the
firm of Tipton and Cailor, Orange County owes much of her rapid progress in certain
fields, on which account all who enjoy an acquaintance with this gentleman will con-
gratulate him for his steady and increasing success. He is a Hoosier by birth, and was
born in Clay County, Ind., on June 19, 1865. His father was Tobias Cailor, a general
mechanic and wagon maker, who married Miss Alma Moody, by whom he had five
children. He passed away years ago, and Mrs. Cailor died in 1912 at the hoime of our
subject. The second eldest in the family, O. T. was sent to the rural schools in Clay
County, and later attended the State Normal School, after which he taught for twelve
years, then entered the University of Indiana, from the Law School of which, after
a stiflf course of two years, he was graduated in 1894, and for a while practiced in Clay
County, and there he tried himself out.

In 1902, Mr. Cailor came west to California and settled at x\naheim; and almost
at once he began to practice. The readiness with which he impressed those who came
in contact with him of his knowledge of the law, and the force of his strong, but
pleasing personality, combined to bring him more and more patronage; and for years
he has been numbered among the leading lawyers of Orange County. He belongs
to both the State and the County Bar Associations; while as a Republican, he has
taken an active part in national political aflfairs and in the elevation of citizenship and
a stimulated, healthy civic interest. He is especally active in the Board of Trade.

On December 15, 1898, Mr. Cailor was married to Miss Essie Click, also a native
of Indiana, and they are the parents of four children. Ray and Fay are twins; while
the other children are Clarence and Alma. All are able to boast of California birth,
and thus to belong to the enviable army of "native sons and daughters." Mr. Cailor
is both an Odd Fellow and a Mason — having passed all chairs in the former.

MRS. MARTHA A. NIMOCKS.— One of the beautiful country homes in western
Orange County is owned by Mrs. Martha, or "Mattie" A. Nimocks, and lies one-half
mile east of Talbert. Mrs. Nimocks resides in her beautiful country residence, but
leases the 184 acres of her ranch to tenants for raising lima beans and sugar beets.
A native of Wisconsin, she was born in Milwaukee, the daughter of Plummer
Brownell, a manufacturer there of the Brownell plows and other agricultural imple-
ments, who moved to Omro, Wis., after the death of his wife, which occurred when
Martha was four years old. Mrs. Nimocks is a grand-niece of Stonewall Jackson on
her mother's side, who was in maidenhood Ann Jackson. Her father married again,
and Martha was adopted into the family of Bonaparte Blackmer, storekeeper at
Omro, Wis., in whose family she grew to young womanhood and was educated in the
public schools of Omro. Later she went to live with some of her mother's relatives



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HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 471

near Milwaukee. Wis. She has an own sister Elsie, Mrs. Williams Brooks, living at
Argyle, LaFayette County, Wis.

For over thirty years Mrs. Nimocks has owned the ranch near Talbert, and has
lived on the place since 1904. Previous to 1904 she owned the celebrated Hawkins
Ranch at Santa Fe Springs, which she operated successfully as an orange grove and
fruit ranch, its 140 acres being set to oranges, pears and alfalfa under her direction.
Magnificently built up for those days, this property was for many years one of the
show places of Los Angeles County, Mrs. Nimocks' rare sense of the beautiful and
artistic nature serving in good stead in the plans carried out on the ranch. Needing
pasture for her increasing herd of cattle and band of horses she purchased the 184
acres near Talbert from the StearnS Rancho Company about thirty years ago. when the
county was yet undeveloped. This place was a part of what was known as "Gospel
Swamp," and was grown up to willows and tules. She cleared the land and made it one
of the most valuable ranches in the Talbert district. When she purchased the place a
cow corral was located near the site of her present residence. She had bought fine
blooded, registered Jersey cattle and for many years successfully ran a large dairy
business. She formerly owned the Argyle Hotel at Second and Olive streets in Los
Angeles. Mrs. Nimocks was in early life a member of the Good Templar Lodge, and
has been a consistent worker for prohibition, suffrage, and the good of the common
weal. She has been interested in all movements for the advancement of Southern
California and gifted with unusual tact, business ability and executive force, she is
one of the few women of her generation who have really been successful in business
operations, and is a well-known business woman with a wide acquaintance in Cali-
fornia. Attractive, accomplished and interesting, her admirable traits of character in
addition to her natural ability, have won many friends who esteem her for her intrinsic
worth, and her name will be chronicled in the annals of Orange County among its
citizens who have contributed to the highest development and progress of that portion
of Southern California.

HENRY W. ROHRS.— Among the enterprising and successful of Orange County
ranchers is Henry W. Rohrs. the well-known pioneer horticulturist and capitalist, who
attributes much of his prosperity to his devoted and equally far-seeing and industrious
wife. He was born in Hiddingen, in the kingdom of Hanover, Germany, on June 12,
1851, the son of Henry Rohrs, an experienced farmer of that section, who had married
Annie Vos. The lad attended the grade schools of Hanover until he was fifteen years
of age, and then began to paddle his own canoe, working on farms in the vicinity of
his old home for seven years.

In 1873 he left home for America, sailing from Bremerhaven in a steamer that took
nine days in crossing the Atlantic. He stopped for a while in Ohio, and helped raise
grapes, peaches and other fruit. He also assisted in making wine, for which, as well as
the choice fruit, there was a good market in Chicago, Detroit and Toledo.

On December 1. 1880, Mr. Rohrs arrived in Wilmington, Cal., in which city, none
too attractive then, he remained for a couple of weeks. Then he came into what is now
Orange County; and at Santa Ana purchased his present place of fourteen acres at the
corner of Lincoln and Santa Clara avenues. Then the best of land sold for seventy-five
dollars an acre; and the price, as well as the promise of the new acquisition, appealed
to one who had seen the more worked-out East.

When he migrated to America, he entered the port of Baltimore, and having taken
a train west, located at Napoleon, Ohio. Soon after, however, he went to Kelley's
Island, in Erie County, and there, for three years, he rented land. At the latter place,
on April 30, 1878, Mr. Rohrs was married to Miss Anna Cordes. also a native of Han-
over, Germany, who came to .America with her parents while she was quite young.
Five children survive from this fortunate union. William H. lives at Orange; Marie C.
resides at Dixon and is the wife of William Wittman, a rancher; the next in order
of birth were twins — Albert F., who is at Orange, and Nellie K., who resides at home;
while the youngest living is Otto C, who also resides at Orange. Mrs. H. W. Rohrs
passed away on February 27, 1914, and was buried at Fairhaven; she was a woman
highly esteemed for her many virtues and was mourned by her family and friends.

Mr. Rohrs owns some of the best land between Santa Ana and Orange, where at
first he set out half of the acreage to vineyard, reserving the balance for .-Xustralian
Navel and Mediterranean Sweet oranges, and later he put in Valencia oranges and wal-
nuts instead. In 1883, he purchased ten acres across the Santa Fe tracks, and there he
is growing oranges and walnuts. The Santa Fe laid a track through his land in the
"boom" year of 1887. from Santa .\na to Orange.

Mr. Rohrs is the owner of some very desirable ranch property at Olive, and is
interested in other ranches at McPherson and Buena Park. Fie uses a tractor and four



472 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

horses on his farms. In 1881 he built a beautiful, symmetrical residence on his ranch,
or home-place. A believer in cooperation, he is a member of Santiago Orange Growers
Association and also in the McPherson Heights and the Olive Heights Associations,
and he also belongs to the Central Lemon Growers Association at Villa Park, and the
Santa Ana Valley Walnut Growers Association, and he is a stockholder in the Santa
Ana Valley Irrigation Company.

In national political affairs — a subject always of absorbing interest to Mr. Rohrs —
he is a Republican, although he never allows partisanship to affect him in his support
of local measures ^nd men likely to benefit the localities in which he lives and operates,
and where he endeavors to see that others besides himself have a winning chance. He
has always favored Prohibition, and in church membership belongs to the Evangelical
Association, having been one of the organizers of the church at Santa Ana, and served
on the board of trustees as well as the building committee. In 1910, he made an ex-
tended trip to his old home in Germany, when he was accompanied by his daughter,
Marie. They visited the relatives at his former home, and then traveled through France,
Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and Italy, remaining away from home for about seven
months, and during their trip they had the pleasure of visiting Oberammergau, when
they witnessed the Passion Play. In Italy they visited the Coliseum and Catacombs
of Rome as well as Vesuvius and ancient Pompeii.

Albert F. Rohrs enlisted on May 21, 1917. in the naval reserve band, at San Pedro,
and traveled with that organization to many cities on the Coast, playing at concerts in
behalf of the loan drives, the Red Cross campaigns, and in support of other war activi-
ties. And on December 21, 1918, he received his honorable discharge at San Francisco.

MRS. ELLA D. COLE.— The owner of one of Orange County's most profitable
ranches is Mrs. Ella D. Cole, whose husband was the late Myrtle Cecillian Cole. The
history of the Cole family in America dates back to the earliest colonial days, the first
representatives of the family coming over from England in 1629 and settling at Ply-
mouth. They were prominently identified with all the early development of those
pioneer days and when the days of the Revolutionary War came the Cole family fur-
nished more than 1,000 soldiers to help in the defense of the principles of American
liberty. In religious affiliation the Coles were of the Baptist persuasion and they
played an important part in the early days of that denomination as well as in the
succeeding generations. A family of education, character and progressiveness, they
have always been leaders in every community in which they have settled.

Mrs. Cole, who before her marriage was Miss Ella Delavan, was born at Canaan,
Columbia County, N. Y.. in 1855, the Delavan family being of French Huguenot ances-
try. Her parents were Albert H. and Mary A. (Sperry) Delavan, the Sperrys being
one of Connecticut's prominent families who settled in central New York in the
early days, Mrs. Delavan having the advantage of an education in the select schools
of the latter state. At the time of Mrs. Cole's birth, her father, Albert H. Delavan,
was engaged in farming in eastern New York, but when a young man he had been in
the railroad business, having had charge of the freight house at Canaan, N. Y. He
was also superintendent of construction of the street railway at Albany, N. Y., and
of the Albany and Binghampton Railway.

In Duanesburgh, N. Y., on January 31, 1878, occurred Mrs. Cole's marriaie, when
she was united with Myrtle Cecillian Cole, who was also a native of New York. He
was born at Deansboro, in Oneida County, September 18, 1854, and received his first
schooling in that neighborhood, afterward attending a school at Delhi, N. Y., so that
he was fortunate in receiving a good education. He also studied law and was admitted
to the bar in the Empire State; for some time he practiced law at Deansboro and kept
books for his 'father, Menzo White Cole, who was extensively engaged in growing
hops in central New York. Mrytle C. Cole afterwards became interested in agriculture
and operated a large market garden at Oneida, Madison County, N. Y. In 1898, with
his wife and children he came to California, first settling at Glendora, where he re-
mained for one year, coming then to Santa Ana, where he took up agriculture and
horticulture, farming twenty acres at Wintersburg which was formerly the property
of his father, M. W. Cole, who had passed away at Glendora in 1896; his widow
survived him until 1917. Myrtle C. Cole became possessor of the twenty-acre Win-
tersburg ranch, improved this place and afterward sold it, and then purchased the sixty-
acre Ross ranch near Wintersburg, which Mrs. Cole still owns. Mr. Cole was a
scientific and progressive farmer and he effectually drained and irrigated this farm
and brought it to a high state of productivity. His death occurred at Santa Ana
August 13, 1916.



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 477

Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Cole: Homer L. is a well-known con-
tractor and builder in Santa Ana; he married Jessie M. Hoffman and they have one
child, Clifford Delavan. Ernest Delavan, the second child, is a graduate of Stanford
University with the degree of civil engineer and is now located in Gainesville, Texas,
where he is engaged in building a large oil reservoir; he has spent considerable time in
South America in connection with the oil industry. Philip Chester, a graduate as an
architect of the International Correspondence School at Scranton, Pa., married Irma
B. Hale and practices his profession at Chico, Cal.; Edith Blanche, a graduate nurse, is
now the wife of Oscar Blake and they reside on the Cole ranch near Wintersburg and
have a daughter, Ellen Dee.

Since her husband's death Mrs. Cole continues to reside in Santa Ana, where she
has built a comfortable bungalow on East Pine Street, looking after the interests left
by Mr. Cole, in which she is ably assisted by her devoted children.

Considerate and generous, Mrs. Cole is a woman of rare attainments and she has
ever taken a genuine and active interest in all movements that aimed at the better-
ment of the community. In her girlhood she was a student at the state normal school
at Cortland, N. Y., and taught school in that state for five terms before her marriage.
A consistent Christian, she is a member of the First Presbyterian Church at Santa
Ana, in whose benevolences she takes an active and liberal part.

WALTER A. GREENLEAF.— A California agriculturist whose highly intelligent
and aggressive work in walnut and citrus fruit culture has been productive of a decided
advance in those important fields, is Walter A. Greenleaf of Santa Ana, who was born
at Carson City, Nev., on September 25, 1865. His father was Edward F. Greenleaf, a
pioneer who braved all the hardships necessary to cross the great plains to California
in 1865; and his mother, who was Miss Lucy Sweet before her marriage, shared those
trying experiences with her husband. In his time, Mr. Greenleaf was one of the leading
men here. Both parents are now among the great silent majority. They had ten
children, and Walter was the sixth in the order of birth.

Walter A. started to learn the lessons of life in the public schools, and continued
in the vast school of human experience. In this way he progressed to what is popu-
larly termed a self-made man. Little by little, he prepared for increasing responsibility;
and when he undertook to farm some fifty acres at Olive and Santa Ana he made a
marked success of it.

Busy as he has always been, Mr. Greenleaf has still found time to do for others,
and especially to serve the state. He was a member of the National Guard, and for
six months served in the Spanish-.-\merican War as first lieutenant of Company L of
the Seventh California Volunteers. Later, imbued with a desire to help build up the
town in which he lived. Mr. Greenleaf accepted election to the office of city trustee.
He is a Democrat in national politics, but knows no partisan distinctions in campaign-
ing for the best local measures and the best local men.

Inheriting from his father, who was one of the early pioneers and who also took
an active part in public affairs, a deep interest in Santa Ana and its unrivalled valley,
Mr. Greenleaf is keenly alive to all future possibilities in the region, while as observant
of what has happened in the past, and the lessons we ought to learn from the set-backs
and the strides forward of persisting man. He is a popular member of the Elks.

NELSON THOMAS EDWARDS.— A representative Californian. although a
native of Illinois, having been born near Galena, Derinda Township, Jo Daviess Coun-
ty, on September 19, 1872, Nelson Thomas Edwards, supervisor of the Fourth District
in Orange County, has been privileged, beyond the good fortune of the average citizen
to participate in public, commercial, financial and social affairs, and so to help guide
the destiny of Southern California. His parents were Samson and Diana (Rogers)
Edwards, highly esteemed pioneers of Orange County and residents of Westminster
and Santa Ana for close to a half century, a sketch of their lives being given elsewhere
in this work.

The youngest son of the Edwards family. Nelson Thomas, through whose business



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 55 of 191)