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 57 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 57 of 191)
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March 8, 1887, he was married to Miss Mary E. Lucas; and, after living in Minne-
apolis for five months, they came west to Los Angeles. For a year and a half Mr.
Alsbach engaged in carpentering, and then moved to a ranch at Downey. In 1892
he moved to Silverado Canyon and homesteaded 160 acres of land, and here they built
a residence and made improvements. There were forty acres of tillable ground, and
at present thirty-five acres are in barley and five in wheat, while the rest is good
pasture land. The sycamore, live oak and water alder grow bountifully in the canyon
ranch, and as there is plenty of stock for domestic use, the rancher is almost rendered
mdependent of the outside world. A well-educated man, who had had a good grammar
and high school education, and three years of study at Northwestern University.
Mr, Alsbach was greatly mourned when he died, on August 16, 1918.

Four children owe much to their mother, Mrs. Alsbach. The eldest is Mrs. Naomi
Schulz of Williams Canyon. The second is Mrs. Ruth C. McKinzie of Santa Ana.
"Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Shaw of Laguna Beach is the third in the order of birth. The
fourth is Mrs. Ruby Lola Shaw of El Toro.

In 1920 Mrs. Alsbach sold eighty acres of the ranch and retired from farming, and
will make her home at Laguna, where she is building a new residence in .\rch Beach
Heights of that seaside resort.

A brother of Mrs. Alsbach is Scott Lucas, a gentleman blessed with the family
afifability. The youngest in a family of seven children, he was born on November 28,
1873, and he lived with his parents on the home farm in Missouri. He not only had a
grammar school education, but the last year of his schooling he assisted the teacher.
He helped his father until he was twenty-two years of age. and then he came out to
California and to Santa Ana. He became an expert brick burner and maker of cement,
and had a part in much building of note in Los Angeles and in and about Santa Ana.
In November, 1918, soon after Mr. Alsbach's death, Mr. Lucas came to Silverado Can-
yon to live with his sister.

a^. S, dLil-c^di.


HERMAN G. LEMBCKE.— A leading contractor and builder, whose valuable
experience, far-seeing capacity and exceptional enterprise, enabling him to operate on
broad, generous lines, and with a sensible view of the future as well as the immediate
present, have been of the greatest benefit to both the city and county of Orange, is
Herman G. Lembcke, who was born at Ulzen, Hanover, Germany, on May 3, 1861, the
son of John Lembcke, a brick manufacturer. He came with his wife, who was Mary
Pagel before her marriage, and his family, to Wisconsin in 1885, and there for a time
resided, although he spent his last days in Nebraska, where Mrs. Lembcke also died.
Four of their six children are still living, and Herman is the youngest of all, save one.

The lad received the best of educational instruction in the local schools and a
private academy, where he majored in drawing, after which he assisted his father in
the making of brick, as well as in farming. In 1885 the family moved to Cedarburg,
Wis., and for a time Herman attended the Addison .\cademy at Addison, 111., follow-
ing which he undertook contracting and building at Cedarburg. Having a brother,
however, at Canastota, McCook County, S. D., he removed there in 1887, and then,
for four years, was engaged in contracting and building at Sioux Falls, and later also
at Canastota. In both Dakota and in Minnesota, Mr. Lembcke erected many of the
leading edifices of that time.

In 1907 he made his first trip to California, and he was so pleased with what he
saw here that on his return he at once shaped his plans for removal to the more
favored Pacific country. In 1909 he effected that important step, and came here, family,
bag and baggage. He looked the state over carefully and finally selected Orange
as the most desirable, and soon engaged in contracting and building; and ever since
he has been augmenting an enviable reputation as one of the ablest and most
reliable men in his important field. He frequently makes even his own designs, and
buch has been his acknowledged success that he has been called to Los Angeles and
other towns beyond the confines of the county for important building enterprises. He
belongs to the National Contractors' Association, and is ever ready to lend his counsel
for the best development and the building up of Orange and its environs.

While in South Dakota, Mr. Lembcke was married to Miss Elizabeth Muehl, a
native of Erie County, Pa., by whom he has had six children. Walter is a carpenter,
assisting his father; Herbert, also a carpenter, is yardman for the Griffith Lumber
Company; Hugo is attending Stanford University, taking an engineering course;
Edgar is a student at the Orange Union high school, and there are Hilda and Althea.
The family attend the Lutheran Church, and Mr. Lembcke is a member of the Lutheran
Men's Club. At Canastota. S. D., he was for thirteen years secretary of the board of
trustees of the Lutheran Church. He is a Republican in national politics, and yet is
decidedly nonpartisan in all cooperation for local improvement and uplift. Some years
ago Mr. Lembcke built for himself and family a large, very comfortable residence at
320 North Lemon Street, and there they now dispense an old-time hospitality.

MICHAEL F. REAGAN.— America has been blessed with adopted sons and
daughters from every corner of the globe, many of whom have done much to make
possible the rapid development of this country, and among those who have proved
their worth are natives of Ireland, and those of Irish descent, whose American birth
and training have added to their characteristic resourcefulness. Typical of the latter
is Michael F. Reagan, who was born in Norfolk Township, St. Lawrence County, New
York, in 1862, the son of Jeremiah and Mary (Donovan) Reagan, both natives of the
Emerald Isle. To them were born nine children, five of wljom are still living, Michael
being the only one in California. He was reared in New York, and there he received
his education; early in life he learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for
many years.

Mr. Reagan came to California in 1889, settling in Anaheim, where he followed
his trade, and so has been a resident of the county for over thirty years. In 1896 he
came to Los Alamitos, being one of the early settlers to locate there, and he has since
made this his home, being the oldest settler, in point of residence, in the locality. In
the fall of 1904 Mr. Reagan saw the necessity of supplying the residents of Los Ala-
mitos with water; the artesian well was going dry on account of many wells being
sunk for irrigation purposes, and also on account of the drouth. He sunk four wells
with a six-inch bore from 300 to 400 feet deep, to supply the growing town of Lo.i
Alamitos with water for domestic purposes; they are operated by electricity and fur-
nish water for 140 families. The original wells were the property of the Bixby Land
Company until he purchased their interest. This supplies Mr. Reagan with enough
business to keep him moving around in the midst of his patrons, and at the same
time reimburses him for the capital and labor expended.


In 1909 Mr. Reagan was united in marriage with Miss Annie Hedgepeth, and to
them one child, who died in infancy, was born. Mrs. Reagan's death, in 1912, deprived
him of a loyal and helpful companion. Mr. Reagan has seen many remarkable changes
in the county, the development of oil, the sugar beet industry, and the building up of
towns throughout the entire county, until today when this county stands foremost in
the counties of the state. Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

ADOLPH STANKEY. — During his thirty years' residence in Orange County
Adolph Stankey has seen many changes wrought and has had an active part in the
development which has taken- place with such rapidity during that span of time. His
birth occurred in Germany, August 29, 1870, and he was reared in Walline, Russia, a
son of Frank and Ernstine (Laflfman) Stankey, the former a native of Germany and
the latter of Russia. The family came to Anaheim in 1888, and here the father located
and is now living on his ranch two miles west of town, on the county road.

Young Adolph did not have very good school advantages in Russia, and is what
may be called self-educated, picking up knowledge and experience as he went along
in life, the most thorough of all teachers. On arriving in Anaheim, in 1888, he worked
for a time at ranching with his father, and later leased 400 acres of land near Placentia
and cultivated it to grain. Land in that section could then be bought for seventy-five
dollars per acre, and the same land he farmed in early days is now finely developed
into large orange groves and worth in the thousands per acre. The first year Mr.
Stankey was quite successful in grain raising, and cleared $5,000. The next three
were dry years and he lost all he had put in the venture.

Later, he lived on a twenty-acre ranch of his own west of town and near his
father's place, where he raised barley, corn and sugar beets. Selling this out, in 1905,
Mr. Stankey moved to Anaheim and bought his present home, at 136 North Lemon
Street, and started his work in cement; he was in the employ of Chas. Scindler, and
also of Conliffe Bros., cement contractors. After gaining a thorough knowledge of
the business, he started in contracting for himself, and since that date, 1910, he has
constructed many miles of cement sidewalks and curbs in Anaheim, besides porch and
house foundations. He has done much work for the city of Anaheim, and also ceme-
tery work, and has made a reputation for the class and quality of his work, which is
known throughout the county as first-class in quality and lasting — in fact, always

The marriage of Mr. Stankey united him with Ernestine Pressel, a native of
Poland, and three children have been born to them: Harry, an electrician, in the
employ of J. Leep; Nettlie and Hattie. An active worker for the further advancement
of his home community, Mr. Stankey has never doubted the future in store for this
section of the state since his first location here, and has done his share to make it
one of the most progressive cities in Southern California.

O. A. STEWART. — Another walnut grower whose progressive foresightedness,
thorough familiarity with the problems before him, and untiring industry have helped
him to attain success far beyond the ordinary rancher in his field, is O. A. Stewart
of South McClay Street, Santa Ana, who has ten acres of twelve-year-old trees, inter-
planted to lima beans. He was born in Hartford, Blackford County, Ind., on April 7,
1849, and when only ten years of age crossed the great plains with his parents and the
other five children in the family, in 1859, traveling in a prairie schooner drawn by
oxen. They were part of a large train that started from the Hoosier state and tried
to reach Pike's Peak in 1859 during the Pike's Peak excitement, but while still on the
Platte River, before turning oflf of the trail for Denver, they were disappointed with
what they heard of returning Pike's Peakers who were discouraged, and so continued
on to Nevada, locating in Carson City. There Wellington Stewart, our subject's
father, opened a law office and began the practice of law, which he continued until 1866,
when he removed to Helena, Mont., where he maintained a law office for another six
years. He was a member of the legislature in Nevada, and also Montana, and in the
latter state he was the speaker of the house. He was a well-posted lawyer and had a
large clientele. Then he moved back to Carson City, and later on went to San Diego,
where he opened a law office and practiced there until he went to Washington and
settled at Seattle, and there he died at the age of eighty. He was born at Painted
Post, Steuben County, N. Y., and was married in Indiana to Miss Sarah Barnhart,
a native of Pennsylvania, who died in Carson City, Nev., at the age of sixty-nine
years. They had six children, O. A. Stewart being the third in the order of birth,
five of whom are still living.

O. A. Stewart attended the public schools in Carson City, Nev., where he
grew up, fortunate in being in that town when the great Comstock Lode was discovered.
In 1870 he went to San Diego, Cal, at the beginning of that city, and having studied


law in his father's office, he was admitted to the bar in San Diego County. He
never practiced law there, however, but for a number of years taught school in that
county, at Encinitas, San Luis Rey. Julian and Temecula. While at Encinitas he
met Miss Florence Ada Foss, the acquaintance being continued while teaching at San
Luis Rey, ripened into love and resulted in their marriage at San Diego on Febru-
ary 3. 1874. She was a native of Jackson, Maine, but came to California with her
parents, David R. and Rebecca A. (Libby) Foss in 1861 via the Isthmus of Panama.
lirst engaging in dairying in Marin County, and later he was in business in San
Francisco. In 1869 they came to San Diego County where he farmed, residing there
until his death in 1886 at the age of fifty-three. The mother is now living at Manteca,
Cal., eighty-five years of age. Mrs. Stewart is the oldest of three cildren, the others
being Mrs. J. J. Rawleigh of Manteca and Albert J. Foss, an apiarist at Corona, Cal.
The one child of Mr. and Mrs. Stewart is an adopted daughter. Mattie, who lives at
home. Mr. Stewart continued teaching until 1879, and then engaged in ranching at
De Luz, San Diego County, where he homesteaded 160 acres, improved it, put the
first plow in the raw land and engaged in viticulture, general farming and bee culture,
having two apiaries. In 1906. after having brought the place to a high state of cultiva-
tion, he sold it and located in Santa Ana and bought a ten-acre alfalfa field, which he
set to budded walnuts, now full bearing. He is a member of the Santa Ana Walnut
Growers Association. In 1912 they erected their elegant residence where alfalfa grew
when Mr. Stewart first came here.

Being an admirer of Horace Greeley, his first vote was cast for a Democrat
candidate, and he continued with that party until he became a strong nationalist and
protectionist, and since then is a Republican.

PROFESSOR W. M. CLAYTON.— A man of high scholarly attainments, whose
thirty-five years of service in the cause of education has given him an authoritative
place in that profession, is Prof. W. M. Clayton, who during his residence of eighteen
years in Santa Ana has contributed generously, not alone to school afTairs but to the
life of the whole community. A native of the Buckeye State, he was born at Van
Buren, Hancock County, Ohio, October 20, 1861. He obtained his early schooling in
the public schools of his home district and being ambitious beyond the average lad,
he determined to secure a college education, even though it meant hard work and
sacrifice on his part. He matriculated at Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware,
Ohio, working his own way through, and graduating' there in 1891; during the school
year of 1889-1890 he was principal of the Allen Township high school at Van Buren,
Ohio, this being one of the first township high schools to be organized in the state.
After his graduation, Mr. Clayton was superintendent of schools at Piketon and
Waverly, Ohio, serving for four years in each place. While he was teaching at Piketon
he organized the Teachers' Summer Normal School at Piketon and during the session
had about 175 teachers in attendance from southern Ohio. For six years he was
county examiner of teachers in southern Ohio.

In 1899 Professor Clayton came to the Pacific Coast and for one year occupied the
chair of mathematics and was vice-president of the Southern Oregon State Normal
School at Ashland, Ore., and for the following two years was president in the same
institution. In 1902 he came to California, and located at Santa Ana, for the next eight
years occupying the post of principal of the Roosevelt grammar school. Following
this he went to the Santa Ana high school as a teacher of mathematics. Four years
after the new Polytechnic high was organized, in 1917, he was made vice-principal and
head of the mathematics department. Professor Clayton is an expert mathematician
and occupies an authoritative position as an instructor in this branch of study. It is
worthy of note that in thirty-five years of teaching he has lost but three daj's on
account of illness, a record that few can equal.

Prominent in fraternal circles. Professor Clayton is a Knights Templar Mason,
and is a past commander of Santa Ana Commandery No. 36, and a Shriner. member
of A\ Malaikah Temple of Los .A.ngeles. While at Piketon he was made a member of
the Knights of Pythias, and is past chancellor of Lodge No. 521, at that place; he is
also past commander of Santa Ana Tent No. 8. of the Maccabees, member of Santa
Ana Lodge No. 236, I. O. O. F.; Society of Sons of the Revolution: Phi Beta Kappa,
Faculty University of California Smith-Hughes Teachers Training Division, and
while a student at the university was a member of Beta Theta Pi. During the World
War he gave much time and assistance to the local patriotic activities, and was one of
the four-minute men.

By Mr. Clayton's marriage in Van Buren, Ohio, he is the father of two children:
Allen D.. of Pasadena, and a daughter, Georgiana. who died at the age of nine years.
Professor Clayton is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana.


JESSE O. NICHOLS. — Among the most successful orange and walnut growers of
the Buaro and West Orange precincts of Orange County, especial mention is made of
Jesse O. Nichols, now living in Huntington Beach. He was born August 9, 1864, at
Avon, Fulton County, 111., a son of Albert Kimball Nichols, a native of Vermont, who
married Miss Harriett Rose, of Avon, 111., where her father was the owner of a grist
mill. Albert Nichols was a ship carpenter and worked at his trade in Chicago, after the
great fire. Mr. and Mrs. A. K. Nichols came to California in 1896 and made their
home with their son. Mrs. Nichols died in 1898, and he in 1907.

When Jesse O. was eight years of age, his parents moved to Waukegan, Lake
County, 111., and here he remained until he was eighteen; during this period he learned
the trade of a machinist. In 1882 he migrated westward, locating for si.x months at
Denver, Colo., where he followed his trade. In the fall of that year, he arrived in the
Golden State, stopping at Los Angeles, subsequently taking up school land at Cuca-
monga, which, after two years, he sold and then located at El Monte, going from there
to San Diego County. In partnership with M. F. Quinn, his father-in-law, he rented
3,000 acres of the Warner ranch, a tract of 50,000 acres, where they raised stock and
farmed to grain and hay.

On August 4, 1889, Mr. Nichols was united in marriage with Miss Susie Quinn,
daughter of Michael Fay and Ruth Jane (Glenn) Quinn. Mrs. Nichols was born at
El Monte, and when seven years of age her mother passed away. She crossed the
plains from Texas when a girl and they had some exacting times with Indians. Mrs.
Nichols' father, Michael Fay Quinn, born in New York City was of stanch old Irish
stock, his parents having been born in the Emerald Esle. His grandfather was born
in 1761 and died in Wisconsin in 1857. John Quinn, the father of Michael F., was born
in Limerick in 1808, and married Mary Fay in 1832, coming with his family to America
in 1836. Two years later he died in Wisconsin, and subsequently his widow became
the wife of Richard Hartwell of Ohio; she passed away six days after her marriage.

Michael Fay Quinn was born in New York City, February 14, 1836, and at the
tender age of four years he was orphaned. His stepfather cared for him until he
reached the age of twelve years. In the spring of 1850, he went to Fort Snelling,
Minn., where he obtained a position as clerk in a sutler store, owned by a Mr. Steele.
Through the influence of Colonel Lee, the commanding officer at Fort Snellng, and an
old schoolmate of his stepfather, Richard Hartwell, the young man secured a position
in the quartermaster's department, and in 1854, when but eighteen years old, he was
appointed government wagon master and started from Fort Leavenworth with an
expedition against the Sioux Indians. On September 26, 1854, they surprised a camp of
about 5,000 Indians at Ash Hollow, on the Platte River. Several Indians were killed
and nearly the entire camp captured. The expedition proceeded to Fort Laramie,
where some of the troops were left, the rest going on to Fort Pierre, on the Missouri
River, where the great treaty with the Sioux was made by General Harney, on New
Year's Day, 1855. Immediately after his arrival in Fort Pierre. Mr. Quinn was sent
out with twenty-eight six-mule teams and wagons loaded with supplies for the troops
at Fort Randall. The trip was safely made in ten days, and two days later the return
trip was started, with empty wagons and provisions for ten days. A severe snow-
storm set in, continuing with slight abatement for twenty-two days, burying their
camp in deep drifts of snow. On the twenty-fourth day, after great labor, the party
cut its way out and continued the journey. Cottonwood trees were used for the mules'
provender, while the men lived on corn and mule meat. They arrived at Fort Pierre
at the end of thirty-six days, with only forty-eight of their 180 mules left. After many
interesting adventures Mr. Quinn succeeded in reaching' St. Louis, Mo., by steamboat
and on November 2, 1855. he matriculated in the Illinois State University, where he
remained until April 11, 1858, Robert T. Lincoln, son of the illustrious President, being
one of his classmates. Mr. Quinn joined General Harney's expedition against the
Mormons and was appointed wagon master under Captain Winfield Scott Hancock,
later so well known as General Hancock. Mr. Quinn became Government purchasing
; in charge of purchasing materials used in constructing Camp Floyd, Utah.

On February 12, 1859, Mr. Quinn joined a company of seventy-two men bound
for California and March 5 found him in Los Angeles. Twenty days later he went to
the San Gabriel Canyon gold mine, where his quest of the precious metal was un-
successful. Returning to Los Angeles, he secured work as a carpenter and time-
keeper on the old court house, where the Bullard Block now stands.

In 1859 Mr. Quinn located at El Monte, where he engaged in contracting and
building, and also operated a lumber yard. Subsequently he commenced farming and
was engaged in agricultural pursuits for many years. He was always intensely inter-
ested in the progress and development of Southern California; served as president of

[^amptpJi B'.'Di.hs/s far HiEini'ic ':ievard O



the Los Angeles County Pioneers Society and after a busy and more than interesting
career passed away in 1911.

Mrs. Nichols attended the El Monte public school, afterward attending the Los
Angeles State Normal School, where she was a student for one and a half years. In
January, 1891, Mr. Nichols located in Orange County, where he purchased twenty acres
of land which had been used as a sheep pasture and was devoid of any improve-
ments. They set out every tree and helped make the roads, established the markets,
etc. Seven acres were planted to walnuts the first year and the balance as they could,
farming in the meanwhile, raising chickens, melons and garden truck. He subse-
quently purchased twenty acres for his son and at one time possessed in all ninety-five
acres of land, of which he still retains forty-five acres. In 1916 Mr. Nichols built a
beautiful, cozy bungalow on his property. He has the distinction of installing the
first pumping plant in his vicinity, which was in 1898; it was run by horse power.
He was the first in his locality to install a gasoline engine for pumping purposes in
irrigating, and again took the lead by being the first to install an electrically driven
pump. He and his neighbor, W. H. Hending, owned the pumping plant under the
name of Nichols and Hending and sold water to some of their neighbors, or until they
put in their own wells.

Mr. and Mrs. Nichols are the parents of one son, Albert Quinn, who ownf
twenty acres near his father; he was married to Miss Rose Anna Haase on October
30, 1920. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols are highly respected in their community, where they

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 57 of 191)