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 56 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 56 of 191)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


integrity the community of Orange has profited since his advent in the middle nineties.
was graduated from the grammar school at Westminster in 1887 and from the Orange
Business College in 1890. His first experience in business was as an employee of his
brother John, who had succeeded Samson Edwards and was proprietor of a meat
market in Westminster and, as a driver of one of his brother's wagons, he got his
first insight into a field into which in time he ventured on his own account. He then
built up a fine wagon trade in and around Santa Ana, which he continued until he
came to Orange in 1894. For a time thereafter he was employed by the Santa Ana
Meat Company, but subsequently he bought out the stock and good will of the pro-
prietor and ran the business for himself. Later he took into partnership J. E. Meehan,



478 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

this continuing- for six years, and during this time they made the Plaza market the
finest establishment of the kind in Orange or vicinity. The meat market, however, is
not all that has come to command the attention of Mr. Edwards. Besides owning
several orange groves in Orange County, an interest in business blocks at Orange,
the townsite of Gadsden, Ariz., acreage at Yuma and stock in the Olive Milling Com-
pany of Olive and the National Bank of Orange, Mr. Edwards is a director in the
Olive Milling Company and also in the National Bank of Orange and the Santa Ana
Canyon Oil Company of Santa Ana.

A Republican in matters of national political moment, he has served his fellow
citizens as city trustee of Orange, postmaster at Orange, from June 11, 1906, to Apru,
1915, a member of the Orange County Highway Commission, from September, 1917, to
January, 1919, was appointed county clerk to fill a vacancy and served a little over a
year, and he is now one of the Orange County supervisors. He belongs to the Orange
Commercial Club at Orange and the Yuma County Commercial Club at Yuma, Ariz.

At Olive, on December 31, 1896, Mr. Edwards was married to Miss May TetzlaflE,
a native of Bloomington, 111., where she was born on Christmas Day, 1877, and the
daughter of Mrs. Susie Tetzlaff. of Olive. Two children have blessed this union, a
son, Roy Edwards, and a daughter, Maybelle. Mr. Edwards is a member of Orange
Grove Lodge No. 293. F. & A. M., of which he is past master. He also belongs to
Orange Chapter No. 7i. R. A. M., the Santa Ana Commandery No. 36. K. T.. and Al
Malaikah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Los Angeles, and he belongs to and is a past
grand of Orange Lodge No. 225, Independent Order Odd Fellows.

LORENZO NATHAN BROOKS.— Whatever the future historian of Laguna
Beach may find desirable to say concerning those pioneer men and women whose
far-sightedness, courage, industry, frugality, enterprise and self-sacrifice made possible
the founding and development of this unrivalled coast resort, he will not fail to give
a prominent part of his narrative to Lorenzo Nathan Brooks, better known to all
his friends and acquaintances as "Nate" Brooks, who was born in Rockford, 111., on
January 6, 1852, and came first to this locality on horseback in 1876, arriving in the
month of December, having been preceded by his brother, W. H. Brooks, who arrived
in June of that same year. That was at a time when these two men were the only
whites in the place, the balance of the inhabitants being Indians who tried to steal
what these white men had brought with them — their ponies.

"Nate" Brooks at once homesteaded a claim which took in what is now known
as Arch Beach and part of Laguna Heights, and purchased the balance lying between
the former and Laguna from George Rogers, who had preempted it from the Govern-
ment, paying $1.25 per acre for it. The holdings of Mr. Brooks totaled 600 acres.
This spot was to "Nate" Brooks the very choicest spot on earth and he held on to
what he had during many years when others became discouraged and "let go" their
holdings. He was made of sterner stuff and the hardships and deprivations he en-
dured to hold on to his land were remarkable. His promptness is meeting every
obligation was characteristic of the man. Money was not to be earned nearer than
Los Angeles, and then only by working in the grain fields for one dollar a day from
sun up till sun down; and later on as he saw the development of his dreams he was
ever ready to even mortgage his holdings to promote the best interests of Laguna
Beach. In 1883 he platted Arch Beach and installed a small water system from a 500-
foot tunnel in the hills. In 1912 he subdivided Laguna Heights, developing water for
that tract after thirty years of patient search and experimental digging and pumping.
He could be depended upon to help in any enterprise that was beneficial to all, and
he lived to see many of his dreams come to pass.

After living a life of single blessedness for nearly fifty years he was united in mar-
riage on December 14, 1899, with Mrs. Catherine A. Skidmore, widow of the late George
E. Skidmore, well-known pioneer merchant of Los .\ngeles and a native of Texas.
A mention of his life will be found in the sketch of J. W. Skidmore on another page
of this history. Mrs. Brooks was in maidenhood Catherine A. Brenizer. daughter of
Josiah K. and Antoinette (Roberts) Brenizer, the former a native of Ohio, where he
was born on a farm and while pursuing the even tenor of his way the Cival War broke
oiit and he enlisted in the Forty-sixth Illinois Regiment and served his country from
1861 to 1865. He came \\'est in the early seventies and settled on a ranch near
Compton, later retired to Long Beach and died, in 1905. in Los Angeles where he
was then living. His wife was born in Pennsylvania but was reared near Rockford,
111., her father being one of the founders of that city. Mrs. Catherine A. Brooks, who
is one of the pioneers of California and had many interesting and dangerous expe-
riences in the early days, was an able helpmate to her husband and when he died,
on April 27, 1914, after an illness of some months' duration she became sole owner —




c^ <:>^ £^.-.>-.,.^A^



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 481

by purchasing the interests of the other heirs— of Laguna Heights, and this property
is now being looked after by her son, Joseph W. Skidmore.

At the passing of this worthy pioneer of Orange County, not only the county
and Laguna Beach, but the state lost one of its upbuilders. "Nate" Brooks always
backed his "boosting" of his favored section with cash, and he could always raise
that. No one ever went to him for help that he did not put his hand in his pocket
and give the aid asked for.

Other settlers came to Laguna Beach in those hard years, saw, but failed to
"stick." Making the utmost record compatible with opportunity, without duality of
allegiance to his self-set task, with a complete hold on the realities of life, with a
towering self-confidence, erected on a solid foundation, "Nate" Brooks must be re-
garded as "The Father" of Laguna Beach. It is easy, and cheap, to be wise after
the event. Well did he know that his vision's realization could not be an act of
startling immediacy, and this has been borne out by subsequent events. Communities
often express their feeling toward the "father" of their town in monumental masonry.
Santa Ana, for instance, has the Spurgeon building, dedicated to the memory of the
father of the county seat. The memory of the father of Laguna Beach, Lorenzo
Nathan Brooks, is perpetuated in the work he started. Most beginnings are difficult,
and this case was not an exception. May those who happen to have been accorded
the privilege of continuing the good work, so bravely started by this valiant pioneer,
prove themselves worthy of their predecessor.

THOMAS HILL. — One of the most highly esteemed citizens of Stanton, Orange
County, is Thomas Hill, who has been a resident of that section of the county for
thirty years. Mr. Hill is a native of Ireland, born in 1858, the son of William and
Margaret Hill, whose family consisted of seven sons and one daughter, five of whom
emigrated to the United States.

Thomas Hill came to Orange County in 1883 and since that time has witnessed
many marvelous changes and developments. He is the owner of sixty acres of fine
land which he devotes to general farming. This land was in its primitive state when
Mr. Hill purchased it, but after years of hard work and close attention to its special
needs he has brought it up to a high state of development, and has installed many
modern improvements for the operation of his ranch as well as for the comfort and
convenience of his cozy home. He is regarded as one of the most progressive ranchers
of his community, a man of strict integrity and probity of character, well known for
his patriotism. It is a recognized fact that many of the natives of the Emerald Isle are
counted amongst the best and most loyal citizens of the United States, being friends
of education and enlightenment.

In 1888 Mr. Hill was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Tait. also a native of
Ireland, and the daughter of George and Matilda Tait. Of this union three children
were born: Matilda, who is a graduate of the State Normal School; William and
Margaret E. The family are members of the Episcopal Church and Mr. Hill is a
Mason, a member of the Buena Park Lodge No. 537, F. & .\. M. For six years he
has held the olfice of trustee of the city of Stanton and has been an efficient member
of the school board for eight years.

LOUIS D. GUNTHER. — A highly esteemed citizen whose influence in many di-
rections is due to his successful business career during a long and exemplary life, is
Louis D. Gunther. who located in California in the early part of the present century.
He was born in Maywood, Cook County, 111., in 1858, the son of Justus Gunther, who
was a mason and a builder, and a first-class one at that. He made a trip to Fort
Dod.ge. Iowa, but returned to Cook County, where he married Miss Wilhelmina Weiss;
and in 1859 he moved his family to Fort Dodge and became there a pioneer contractor
in mason work. Through a sad accident, he died at Fort Dodge on February 19, 1879.
Twenty-seven years later. Mrs. Gunther. after a comfortable life in which she had
surrounded herself with a large circle of friends, passed away in Iowa. Six children
had blessed their union: Louis, the eldest and subject of this sketch; Ernestine, now
Mrs. Craemer of Orange; .\nnie, Mrs. Trost of Fort Dodge; Laura, who became Mrs.
Grumm and Louise, who is Mrs. Adolph Dittmer. both of Orange; and Mrs. Clara
Loescher of Richfield.

Brought up at Fort Dodge, Louis attended the grammar schools, and while yet a
boy began to learn the mason trade under the guidance of his father. Then, when old
enough, he. too, took up contracting and building, and for years followed that tine
of activity in Fort Dodge and vicinity. In 1901 he made a trip to California, and was
more than pleased with what he saw here.

He was so well pleased, in fact, that two years later he decided to return to the
Coast and to locate here permanently; and having settled at Orange, he erected a large,



482 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

handsome brick residence at the corner of Almond and South Olive streets. He then
engaged again in contracting and building, which engrossed him until, in 1915, he re-
tired. In the meantime, he had built three residences for himself, and one by one sold
each of them. He also built a store, and when he had a good offer, disposed of that.
A second store was built and sold in the same way — each deal evidencing the shrewd,
but straightforward and honest business sense of the man. He has also owned and
operated both orange and walnut ranches. In 1920 he erected a very artistic and
attractive residence on South Olive Street which is one of the show places in Orange.

Mr. Gunther was married in Forest Park, 111., April 3. 1884, to Miss Adolphine
Aneling, also a native of Maywood, Cook County, 111., a daughter of Gotfried and
Lauretta (Gunther) Aneling, who were prosperous farmers at Maywood. The union
of Mr. and Mrs. Gunther has been blessed with two daughters and three sons: Clara,
the oldest, is Mrs. Bandick of Orange; Emma, a graduate of the Clara Barton Hos-
pital, Los Angeles, is at the Letterman Hospital in the United States service: Louis
G., a contractor, who enlisted for the great war, but was not called to the colors on
account of the armistice, is now ranching at Orange; Oscar, who is also ranching near
Orange, was in the harness business, while he served the city as a trustee, until he
enlisted in the United States service as a leather inspector; and Elmer is attending
the Concordia College at Oakland. Mr. and Mrs. Gunther are members of the St.
John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, at Orange, and he is chairman of the board of
trustees. He has been a member of this board for many years, and was on the building
committee when the church was erected. He is also a member of the Lutheran
Men's Club.

During his residence in Iowa, Mr. Gunther was for two terms a trustee of the
city of Fort Dodge; and in 1918, on the resignation of his son Oscar, as a trustee of
Orange, he was appointed to fill the vacancy thus created, and is chairman of the
finance committee, and a member of the light and power committee. He is interested
in various enterprises, of more or less local business significance, and is a stockholder
and director in the First National Bank of Orange.

WILLIAM J. WICKERSHEIM.— An establishment which has grown to occupy
a commanding place in Orange County, Cal., is that of the Wickersheim Implement
Company of Fullerton. Its founder, William J. Wickersheim, was born in Lake County.
111., May 6. 1866. the son of Jacob and Louise (Meyer) Wickersheim, both born in
Alsace, the former in July, 1836, and the latter in 1839. Jacob Wickersheim emigrated
with his parents to America in 1845, settling in Lake County, 111., where his father died
in 1865. His mother passed away in Cook County, that state, in 1868. Louise Meyer
was brought to America by her parents when she was a child of three, and she was
reared in Illinois, and in Lake County married Mr. Wickersheim at Long Grove, in
1858. They had five children, all of whom are living: Charles Jacob is a resident of
Orange; Louise Mary lives in Hollywood, Cal.. with her mother; William J. is the
subject of this review. These three were born in Lake County, III. Edward F. is a
resident of Santa Ana, and he was born in Wheeling, 111., whither the family had
iTioved. Emma is the wife of George Heil, and they live in Santa Ana. She was
born in Roberts Lake, Minn., where the family, in the fall of 1869, had settled
on a farm five miles from Faribault. In 1878 they all moved to Lincoln County,
Minn., and continued to farm and improve a homestead and timber claim. In 1898
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Wickersheim and two of their children came to Santa Ana and
settled, and there the parents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in April.
1908, and it was here, too, that the father passed to his reward on July 23, 1910, aged
seventy-three years. His widow, eighty-three years of age, makes her home in Holly-
wood, as does her daughter, Louise M. Wickersheim. Jacob Wickersheim always took
an active interest in all movements in the localities where he lived to make them a
better place morally, and he was a loyal American citizen and often held oflices of
various kinds where he lived. Grandfather Wickersheim had the distinction of having
served under Napoleon.

William J. Wickersheim received a liberal education, attended the high school at
Faribault for two years, then took a four years' advanced course in the second State
Normal at Mankato, after which he taught school for nine years in Minnesota, and
served four years as county superintendent of schools of Lincoln County. In 1894
he came to California, whither his two sisters had preceded him but a few months.
He taught school one year at Fallbrook, then a like period at Menefee, Riverside
County, and three years in Old Newport, Orange County, selling school supplies during
vacations. He ne.xt moved to Orange, where he had bought two orange groves, and
there spent three years in cultivating them. Hoping to broaden his field of business
he moved to Fullerton in 1902 and opened a bicycle, vehicle and implement house.




.?:^^^>^^<;^(2,^^>=*^?|e<i-*;f-t,^^



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 485

starting on a small scale, and as the locality expanded he increased his business to
keep pace with the times and enjoyed an increasing prosperity. It was on January
1. 1913, that he secured the agency for the Ford automobile for the Fullerton terri-
tory. The business was incorporated in May, 1907, as the Wickersheim Implement
Company, and it now employs twenty-five men in its various departments. Their
sales volume for the year 1920 will total a half million dollars, due in a great measure
to the guiding hand of the founder of the business, who has won and held the confi-
dence of a very wide circle of friends, which is ever increasing as the population
increases. The courteous treatment and square deals accorded each and every cus-
tomer at this establishment is the best advertisement they issue.

W. J. Wickersheim has been twice married. His first wife, whom he married
on June 25, 1893, was Miss May Ladenburg, of Marshall, Minn., who was a teacher
in Lyon County, that state. Two children blessed this marriage: Lyle is a graduate of
the Fullerton High School, and the University of Southern California, where he took
the course of electrical engineering. Since his graduation he has been in the employ
of the Western Electric Company of New York and Chicago, and by the end of the
first year he had been promoted to the research department, where he has specialized
on the multiple telephone and telegraph. He served one year in the army in the
signal corps and as instructor in radio. He and his wife are wintering (1920-21) in
Key West and Havana, where he is in charge of the technical and scientific part of
the laying of the multiple telephone and telegraph between Key West and Havana.
Mildred is a graduate from the Fullerton high school, and also graduated in music
at the State Normal in Los Angeles. She then taught school for one and one-half
years in the Hawaiian Islands, then returned and entered the Southern California Uni-
versity, and graduated with the class in December, 1920. The wife and mother,
mourned by all who knew her, died at Old Newport on July 1, 1898. On March 5,
1902, Mr. Wickersheim was married to Miss Emma Oswald, and they have a son,
Theodore J., a talented pianist, and a student in the Fullerton school.

Mr. Wickersheim is a Methodist in his religious belief, and politically he sup-
ports Republican principles, and has served as a delegate to state and county con-
ventions for years. He is a member of the California Auto Trade Association and a
charter member of the Fullerton Board of Trade. He is a man of fine character, public
spirited, and a supporter of every movement that has for its aim the building up of
state or county; particularly is he interested in all projects that put Fullerton to the
fore. His financial success has been deservedly won and he enjoj's the confidence and
esteem of his fellow-citizens, with whom his word is as good as his bond.

DAVID F. CAMPBELL. — An excellent citizen whose reputation as an unselfish
"booster" of the town and county of Orange has given him an enviable influence in
many fields of activity, is David F. Campbell, who came here during the great boom
of 1887. He was born at Aha, Peoria County, 111., on December 12, 1854, the son of
Robert Campbell, a native of Pennsylvania, in which state he was also married. His
bride was Catherine Fasnacht before her marriage, and she was a native of the Keystone
State. They moved to Peoria County, 111., and here this worthy couple were success-
ful farmers; and when they came to California in 1884, they brought with them a
valuable experience. The father died in Los .\ngeles, and the mother passed away at
Orange. They had two girls and five boys, all of whom grew up; and two of the sons
were in the Civil War. Walker W., who enlisted at Peoria in an Illinois regiment,
returned alive; John, however, who was in the Seventy-seventh Illinois Regiment, was
killed in the battle of Vicksburg.

Next to the youngest in the order of birth, David was brought up on the farm at
Alta, and there he started out to farm for himself. In 1878, he removed to Corning,
Holt County, Mo., and engaged in the drug business with his brother-in-law, H. F.
Ferris; but at the end of three years he sold out his interest and returned home to
Illinois, to resume his farming.

When the boom was at its height in California, he again sold his holdings and
came west to Orange; and immediately he located on his present place of twenty acres
on South Cambridge Street. Here he began horticulture with the raising of oranges —
seedlings in those days; but after a while he changed to Valencias. It happened that
some of the original trees were of that stock, and now he has some Valencias over
fifty years of age, the oldest of the kind in the state. This is a strange fact for which
there is no accounting; and as he has about one hundred of these aged Valencias, the
circumstance is all the more profitable and interesting.

Mr. Campbell also owns eighteen and a half acres of Valencia oranges on Tustin
.'\venue, and he is one of the original stockholders in the Santiago Orange Growers
.Association, where he has been a director for many years, and is also vice-president



486 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

of the association. He is a member of the Central Lemon Association at Villa Park,
and a stockholder in the Orange County Fumigating Company. He owns valuable
lesidence property in Orange, has been a director of the First National Bank from
the time of its organization, and is the vice-president of that institution. He is a
stockholder in the Security Savings Bank of Orange, and is one of the directors. He
is also a stockholder in the Orange Building and Loan Association, in which capacity
he has served for over twenty-six years, was formerly vice-president and is now presi-
dent. This association he has seen grow from assets of $20,000 to about $700,000.

While in Peoria County, HI., Mr. Campbell was married to Miss Julia F. Shaw,
a native of Hlinois, where she was born near Alta. Ten children have blessed their
union. Earl E. is a rancher on twenty acres adjoining the farm of his father; Henry
S. is a rancher near Orange; Roy, a graduate of the University of California, is
assistant entomologist in the Department of Agriculture, and is stationed at Afham-
bra; Elma is Mrs. Wood of Corona; Ruby is a graduate of the University of California
and won a Carnegie scholarship at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa.; she is now
with Hamburger Bros, in Los Angeles; Ensley is also a graduate of the University of
California and is assistant farm adviser in Monterey County; Robert is attending the
University of California; Margaret is in the Orange union high school; and Hazel and
Julia are in the grammar school. Mr. Campbell, who is a Republican in national
politics, was a nonpartisan trustee for the Orange school district for many years. Mrs.
Campbell is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

MRS. MARY E. ALSBACH.— A devoted, motherly woman who enjoys the quiet
of California canyon life, is Mrs. Mary E. .\lsbach. the widow of Montgomery
.\lsbach, who passed to his eternal reward in the summer of 1918. She was born in
Carthage, Hancock County, HI., the daughter of Isaac and Louisa Lucas, prosperous
farmers, who raised corn and small grain on a large Illinois farm. In 1881 they re-
moved to La Plata, Mo., where Mr. Lucas purchased 90 acres.

Montgomery Alsbach was the son of Michael and Sarah Alsbach — the former a
German Evangelical minister, who traveled through the country creating new interest
in the church. When twelve years of age, Montgomery accompanied his parents to
Indiana, where he lived through the Civil War. At the conclusion of that terrible
struggle. Rev. Alsbach moved to Chicago, where he made his home, while he continued
to travel through Illinois on his mission work. After thirty-four years, they moved
from Chicago to Missouri, and there he spent the rest of his days on a farm which he
purchased.

For a while Montgomery had worked on a farm near Chicago, but in 1872 he
left Missouri and went to Minneapolis, where he was employed by the Shockby
Milling Company, and later by the Pillsbury Milling Company. At Minneapolis, on



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 56 of 191)