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 66 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 66 of 191)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


pamphlet form, and is beautifully illustrated. He has also published "Gramatica del
Metodo," for teaching the English language phonetically to Spanish-speaking people,
and a like work for English-speaking people who wish to learn the Spanish language.
Among the various other works that he has published may be mentioned "The Rights
of Indians and Neophytes of the Missions," which was used by the Land Court in
Santa Fe, N. M., and so valuable was the material contained in it that Mr. Forbes was
presented a substantial check by the Secretary of the Interior in recognition of his
research work along these lines. In politics he has always been a stanch advocate of
Republican principles, and he has always brought to bear in his daily life those high
principles of honor, honesty and uprightness which were part of his inheritance from
his noble Scotch ancestry.

CHARLES H. FORBES.— A native son of the Golden West dating back to days
prior to the Mexican War was the late Charles H. Forbes, born in Santa Clara, 1835,
a brother of J. Alexander Forbes, whose interesting history, as well as that of the
Forbes family in California, is on another page in this history. He received a splendid
education and became agent and bookkeeper for Don Abel Stearns, and after his death,
for Mrs. Arcadia Stearns Baker, continuing for her until his death in 1900. His
headquarters were in the Arcadia Block, Los Angeles. His care of Don Abel Stearns'
estate and Mrs. Baker's interests made her property worth millions.

In early days he was agent for the following ranches: Los Coyotes, La Habra.
San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana, Los Bolsas, Los Alamitos, Los Paredes, Bolsa Chica
and La Sierra Jurupa.

Charles Forbes became a prominent and well-known figure in Southern California
and a man most highly respected and esteemed. His wife, Louisa Olvera. was born in
Los Angeles and was descended from an old Spanish family, a daughter of Don Agustin
Olvera, who was secretary of the Departmental Assembly of California during the
Mexican regime, and she preceded her husband to the Great Beyond, leaving him
twelve children. The passing of Charles H. Forbes took away one of the old interest-
ing and reliable men of affairs in the early history of Los .\ngeles and Southern
California.

ROBERT C. NORTHCROSS.— A native of Tennessee, Robert C. Northcross,
popularly known as Bob. was born at Trenton, on March 10, 1877. the son of Marshall
Northcross who had married Miss Rebecca Caldwell. They were also natives of Ten-
nessee, and were reared and educated in that state. The grandfather on the paternal
side was Nelms Northcross of \'irginia, who had married Margery Marshall of Ken-
tucky. He was a planter in the "Volunteer State," and in 1868 came to California by
way of the Panama route, and made a tour of the state, going as far north as Lake
County and visiting Orange County, after which he returned to Tennessee. He came
back to California with his family in the seventies, and settled in the town of Orange
and there, in 1881, he died.

The death of Nelms Northcross brought to California, for the settlement of the
estate, his son, Marshall, the father of our subject, who was accompanied by his wife.
his daughter, Margery, and young Robert. They settled on a ranch near Orange. It
consisted of eighteen acres, at the corner of Main and Chapman streets, and was a part
of the grandfather's estate. At first, Mr. Northcross cultivated grapes and seedling
oranges, which he in time took out and put in Mediterranean sweets. These he also took
out, and then planted Navel oranges only to substitute for these Valencias. On this
acreage the family lived for thirty-five years. All the children of Mr, and Mrs. Marshall
Northcross were sent to the old public school at Orange, and in time Robert was
graduated from the high school at Santa .\na, with the class of 1897. M the outbreak
of the Spanish-.\merican War, he enlisted for service as a member of Company L of
the Seventh Regiment, California Volunteers, and served throughout the war. In 1899.
also, he enlisted as one of the Thirty-fifth U. S. Volunteer Infantry, Company D, and
served during the Phillipine Insurrection. He was made a sergeant, and was in the
Island campaign for eighteen months.



562 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

In 1901. Mr. Northcross engaged with a wholesale electric supply concern in
Denver, where he remained until December, 1903, when he returned to California and
went back on the ranch. In 1905 he entered Occidental College, and in 1906, went with
Company L, Seventh Infantry, National Guards of California to San Francisco and
took part in the relief work so imperatively demanded at the time of the earthquake
and the fire. The same year, he went to Mexico and for a year worked with the engi-
neers of construction on the Yaqui River Railroad. In 1909. Mr. Northcross went on a
walnut ranch of ten acres, on Chapman Avenue, west of Orange, and there he remained
until 1914. From 1914 until 1915 he lived in Los Angeles, and in January, 1915, he went
to work for the Orange County Forestry Commission, to propagate trees for, and
plant them on the county highways. At first he was in charge of the county nursery,
and now he has full charge of the highway forestry work.

On December 30. 1909, Mr. Northcross was married to Miss Eleanor S. Hammack,
a daughter of .fudge Daniel M. Hammack, of Los Angeles, whose wife, before her
marriage, was Miss Belle Stewart, daughter of Judge James Stewart of Monmouth, 111.
She had attended the public schools of San Diego, had then matriculated at Occidental
College Academy, and was graduated from the University of California with the class
of 1900. One son, Robert Hammack Northcross, has been born to them. Mr. North-
cross has generally stood by the political doctrines of the Democratic party in national
political affairs, but he has been willing to waive and forget the claims of partisanship
in all local matters, and has always found great pleasure, as has his wife, in supporting
whatever seemed likely to make for the best conditions, and to assure the upbuilding
of the community.

DR. MARION ALBERT MENGES.— A man of forceful character and fine pro-
fessional attainments who through his many years of identification with the best in-
terests of Orange County made a substantial contribution to its development in more
than one line, is Dr. Marion Albert Menges, whose passing away in 1912 removed from
the community' one of its most public-spirited citizens. Dr. Menges was born in Elk-
hart County, Ind., in 1859, the son of George W. Menges, a well-known farmer in
Elkhart County. Marion A. Menges attended the local schools and then entered the
Northern Indiana State Normal at Valparaiso, where he was graduated. He then began
teaching, first in his native county of Elkhart and then in Green County, Ind., and while
so engaged he determined to take up the study of dentistry and accordingly entered the
dental college at Cincinnati, Ohio, graduating from there in March. 1888. with the
degree of D.D.S.

Four years previous to his graduation, in 1884. Dr. Menges had been married to
Miss Stella Butcher, who was born at Bloomfield, Green County, Ind.; she was the
daughter of David and Wilhelmina (Hopkins) Butcher, natives, respectively, of Mis-
souri and Ireland, the father being a prominent farmer and business man of Green
County, where he resided until his death. Mrs. Butcher, who now makes her home at
Santa Ana, is the mother of three children, two of whom are living: Mrs. Menges and
Mrs. Cora B. Cavins, both of Santa Ana. Immediately after his graduation, with his
wife and their two children. Dr. Menges came to California, locating at Santa Ana,
where for some time he engaged in the practice of dentistry. He was quick to see the
great possibilities of Orange County, both for horticulture and the development of oil,
and after a time he gave up his dental practice and, in connection with the late Ralph
Smith, began the development of oil on a twenty-acre tract in Brea Canyon. In start-
ing in this field he showed commendable judgment and enterprise, as it was on this
lease, after he sold his interest to Otis Birch, that a gusher well came in. This was the
first great gusher in this section and although Dr. Menges was compelled to let go of
his holding before its final development, it made a millionaire of Mr. Birch, who is now
a resident of Pasadena. As it was, Dr. Menges used the capital obtained by the sale of
his oil properties for the acquiring of horticultural lands, and for a number of years he
was very active in the realty field in Orange County. At the time of his demise he was
the owner of considerable valuable property in this section, and was one of Orange
County's well-to-do and influential citizens. He was a Knights Templar Mason and
past master of Santa Ana Lodge No. 241, F. & A. M.

Five children .were born to Dr. and Mrs. Menges: Mina is the wife of Ed King,
a rancher at Tustin, and they are the parents of three children: Dr. Mark Menges, who
is a practicing dentist at Fullerton, married Miss Gladvs Harrison and they are the
parents of one daughter; George married Miss Bernice Roper of Santa Ana and man-
ages the home ranch; John is also engaged in the practice of dentistry and is in part-
nershio with his brother Mark at Fullerton: Helen is a student at the Santa Ana high
school. The two older children were born at their eastern home, the three youngest
being natives of California.



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 565

Since the death of Dr. Menges, Mrs. Stella Menges has continued to maintain
their beautiful ranch home at 1602 East First Street. Santa Ana. The commodious
residence, set in the midst of attractive and well-kept grounds and surrounded by a
thirteen-acre walnut and orange grove, shows the painstaking care that has been be-
stowed upon it. It has been brought up to a high state of cultivation through the
efficient and careful husbandry of Mrs. Menges' son, George, who, with his accom-
plished wife, resides on the ranch. The Menges ranch is one of the show places of the
locality, with its many ornamental trees and particularly its row of stately palms — one
of the finest in Orange County,

The Menges family has throughout its residence in Orange County been promi-
nent in its social and civic life, and Mrs. Stella Menges has aided in many of the
movements for the upbuilding and betterment of the community. She is a member of
the Christian Church and takes much pleasure in her affiliation with the Eastern Star
and the Ebell Club of Santa Ana.

CAPTAIN HARRY GANTZ.— A South Dakotan who has added his mite to the
development of Orange County and California, and like all Dakotans has written for
himself an enviable record of practical accomplishment not likely soon to be effaced,
is Capt. Harry Gantz, the rancher from the historic Deadwood, where he was born
on September 4, 1888. His father was Fred M. Gantz, a professional man of that state,
who married Miss Molly Christie, a native of Virginia, still enjoying, with her hus-
band, the blessings of life and health. Harry was an only child, and it is safe to
say was not neglected in his education.

He not only attended the grammar school, but also went to high school and a
first-class military school, where he remained for five years. This school was the
Kemper Military School, of Booneville, Mo., from which he was graduated with the
class of '07. Then he went to the Philippines, as second lieutenant in the Philippine
Constabulary. After three years he came home in 1911, and joined the regular U. S.
Army as second lieutenant of infantry. In 1914 he was made first lieutenant in aviation,
and in 1916 was promoted to be captain in the same arduous and dangerous field. In
the fall of that year, he resigned and went to live on his California ranch. Now he
has 140 acres, in Orange County, and employs eight men to maintain them in their
high-water condition of development.

At Santa Barbara, on September 1. 1915, Captain Gantz was married to Miss
Beatrice Wooster Miller, a native daughter and the only child of Charles Wooster
Miller, now deceased, and Gertrude Benchley Miller, They were large landowners at
Fullerton. Captain Gantz, who is fond of polo, horses and dogs, has completed with
his gifted wife, a beautiful home of pure Spanish design which is, like his ranch, one
of the real show places of the county. In national political afifairs, he is a Republican,
but he works untiringly for the best interests of the locality in an unpartisan manner
affording a stimulating example to all young men ambitious of serving society and their
country. He is an Elk. a life member of Deadwood Lodge No. 508, a member of the
Fullerton Club, the Board of Trade, the Santa Barbara Country Club, and the Army
and Navy Club, in each of which established organizations he is known for a strong
personality and positive influence.

OLIN E. STEWARD.— Although a native of Michigan. Olin E. Steward, the
recently appointed city manager of Anaheim, is associated through his family with the
pioneer days of California. His father, Newton B. Steward, came to the California
gold fields by way of the Isthmus of Panama in 1853, and for fifteen years followed
mining. The mother, who was Lorana Gilbert before her marriage, crossed the plains
at the age of sixteen years, in 1852, and some years later met and married Newton
B. Steward. After these years of arduous struggle in the mining camps, for there were
hardships a-plenty in those pioneer days, Mr. Steward's health failed and he returned
East, settling in Michigan. There he remained until 1889, when he came back to Cali-
fornia and engaged in ranching at Santa Ana for a number of years until his demise
in 1896. The mother still resides there at the age of eighty-four years.

Of the five children of Mr. and Mrs. Steward, all of whom are living, Olin E. is
the fourth in order of birth. He was born in Wayne County, Mich., on July 4, 1868.
His early education was obtained in the rural schools in his home district, and he then
attended Albion College, graduating fom there with the degree of Bachelor of Arts
in 1898. He then pursued a further course of study at Northwestern University in
Chicago, and there, in 1901, he received the degree of Bachelor of Sacred Theology.
On completing the work there he entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal
Church. Aiter devoting four years of his life to this work, his health failed and he was
compelled to abandon his plans for a ministerial career and seek other fields of work.



566 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

It was then that he took up engineering work, and he has since been successfully
engaged in this line of endeavor.

For two years he was with the assessor's office at Santa Ana, and in 1909 he
became city engineer of Anaheim, and through his efficient administration great strides
have been made in the development of the city, as all the paving, sewer work and side-
walk laying have been done since he took office. In addition to his work as city engi-
neer, he was also superintendent of streets. In November, 1919, Mr. Steward was
made city manager of Anaheim, a position he is exceptionally well qualified to fill,
because of his intimate connection with the city's material development of the past
years, giving him a broad grasp of its future needs and possibilities. In addition to
the duties of his office, Mr. Steward is also a member of the Anaheim board of health,
is gas and sewer inspector, so that his civic interests radiate in many directions.

Mr. Steward's marriage, which occurred on September 14, 1898, united him with
Miss Edna M. Simmons, a native of Michigan. Two children have been born to them,
Katherine and Wendell. Deeply interested in the future development of his chosen
state, and particularly in Orange County, Mr. Steward ranks high among its public-
spirited citizens, as he is always ready to give of his time and energy to every worthy
project that has for its motive the upbuilding of the community. He has served for
three years in the ranks of the California National Guard. Mr. Steward still manifests
an intense interest in the Methodist Church, being president of the board of trustees of
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Anaheim.

HON. J. RALPH CARHART.— The Empire State was never better represented,
among those who have attained fame as public officials in California, than in the
phenomenally successful career of the Hon. J. Ralph Carhart, the popular mayor of
FuUerton. whose influence has been so potent in favor of a broad and substantial
development of the municipality under his control. He was born in New York City
on January 12, of the Centennial year of 1876, and his father was Thomas F. Carhart,
the clothing manufacturer so well known to New Yorkers of. that day, and founder of
the firm of Carhart, Witford and Company. He married Miss Marie Louise Casteria,
a native of New Orleans, the daughter of Louis Casteria, a prominent attorney of that
city, and they were the parents of seven children, but only two sons and two daughters
are now living. Mr. Carhart died in 1882; his widow survives and makes her home with
her son, J. Ralph Carhart, giving him an opportunity to minister to her comfort and
happiness, while she receives the homage of the whole family.

The second youngest of the family, Ralph attended the Columbia grammar school
in his native city; but having removed to California with his mother in 1891, he con-
tinued his studies at Throop Polytechnic at Pasadena. His mother had acquired ranch
property of value in the San Fernando Valley, and this estate he managed for her for
five years. After that he came to Fullerton, and since then he has be.en successfully
engaged in ranching. He has devoted himself in particular to the breeding of Jersey
cattle and Poland-China hogs, and his exhibits at fairs have won the first prize.

At Fullerton, on September 28, 1898, Mr. Carhart was married to Miss Helen
Anna Benchley, daughter of Edward K. Benchley, president of the Farmers and Mer-
chants Bank of Fullerton. Their daughter, Helen Louise, is now Mrs. Stewart S.
Miller; and there are two sons, Ralph Benchley and Thomas Fair Carhart. The family
attend St. Michael's Episcopal Church at Anaheim and Mr. Carhart is a Royal Arch
Mason, a member of Santa Ana Council No. 14, R. & S. M., Anaheim Lodge No. 1345,
B. P. O. Elks, the Fullerton Club, the Hacienda Country Club at La Habra and the
California Club of Los Angeles. In politics Mr. Carhart is a Republican, and on
April 20, 1916, he was elected mayor of Fullerton for a four-year term. His adminis-
tration has proved just what anyone would expect who knows the man and his peculiar
fitness for such a high office of trust.

MARCUS ARTHUR BRIDGE.— A native son of California and the son of a
pioneer of the gold days, .\rthur Bridge has successfully combined his work as a
masonry contractor with citrus ranching, his ten-acre citrus grove at Yorba Linda
bearing the marks of intelligent care. Born on March 6, 1879, at Compton, Cal.,
Mr. Bridge is the son of Marcus L. and Amy (Millard) Bridge. The father crossed
the plains in 1850, when but nineteen years of age, settling in Northern California, and
remaining there until the Civil War broke out. when he returned East and enlisted in
an Illinois regiment, serving throughout the conflict. As soon as the war was over
he returned to California, locating in Los Angeles, at that time a small settlement, and
he and Mrs. Bridge still make their home there.

Of a family of five children, Arthur Bridge is the third eldest, and with the other
children was educated in the public schools of Los Angeles. Early in boyhood he
took up the masonry trade, learning the work from his father, who had been engaged



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 569

in this line for many years. Leaving home at fifteen, he started out in life for himself,
and soon was successfully contracting big jobs, among them the extensive building
operations of the Janss Investment Company. During this period he worked on some
of the largest buildings ever erected in Los ."Xngeles and San Francisco, and made a
reputation for himself for this thorough, high-grade work. In 1910 Mr. Bridge came
to Yorba Linda and purchased ten acres of bare land and immediately set out his
nursery stock, from which his present grove of lemons was planted. In these days
there was no water company at Yorba Linda and Mr. Bridge was compelled to haul
water in wagons both for irrigation and household purposes, until the present pipe line
was installed. All of Mr. Bridge's brothers and sisters are interested in land at Yorba
Linda, but at present none of them are permanent residents.

In addition to the development of his citrus ranch Mr. Bridge has also continued
his work as a masonry contractor, and since permanently locating here he has had
charge of practically every job of plastering and bricklaying both in Yorba Linda and
the surrounding country.

On December 6, 1906, Mr. Bridge was married to Miss Myrle Reese, who, like*
himself, is a native of California. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin M. Reese, were
pioneers of California who settled at Santa Barbara in the early days. Mr. Reese died
in Arizona and Mrs. Reese is now a resident of San Francisco. Mr. and Mrs. Bridge
are the parents of two children, Dorothy Myrle and Donald Arthur, both attending
school at Yorba Linda. Mrs. Bridge is a charter member of the Women's Club of
Yorba Linda and takes an active part in all the progressive movements of the com-
munity. Mr. Bridge is prominent in all the cooperative organizations of Yorba Linda,
being a member of the Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Chambers
of Commerce and a charter member of the Foothill Groves xAssociation, of which he
was formerly a director, being one of its organizers. In fraternal circles Mr. Bridge is
affiliated with the Yorba Linda Lodge of Masons. Politically he gives his support to
the Republican party.

PIERRE NICOLAS, Jr.— Whenever the historian of Fullerton shall attempt the
agreeable task of narrating the story of this favored spot in Southern California, the
knoll overlooking the entire valley whereon is the magnificently-situated home erected
by the late Pierre Nicolas, will be a certain reminder of the life and successful labors
of one of the most prominent and widely esteemed citizens of that city. He was born
in Los Angeles on October 21, 1881, the son of Pierre and Hippolyte (Vincent) Nicolas.
The father had originally settled at Whittier and there their son attended for a time
the grammar school, later going to the Sisters School at Anaheim and laying a firm
foundation for a course at the Orange County Business College of Santa Ana and the
finishing course at St. Vincent College of Los Angeles. All these years Pierre lived
on his father's ranch and when not in school or otherwise employed, assisted with the
ranch work.

On October 21, 1914, Pierre Nicolas was united in marriage with Miss Kathryn
Backs, a native daughter of Orange County, born in Anaheim into the home of Joe
and Catherine fHyermann') Backs. Joe Backs came from Germany to America when
a child and made his way directly to California; Mrs. Backs came to California when
a girl of seven and her life has been passed in this locality ever since. Kathryn
received her first schooling in Anaheim and has been reared in Orange County.

The elder Nicolas owned a tract of land north of Orangethorpe Avenue on the
avenue now known as Nicolas Avenue which was named in his honor. The property
east of Nicolas Avenue that finally came into the possession of his son, Piefre, was
owned by his father for si.x months before he died. Pierre added a tract of twelve
acres, making forty-five acres in the home place, all of which he improved with pipe
lines and pumping plant and set to oranges, lemons and walnuts, also terraced the prop-
erty at a big expense of time and money and made of it the show place of Fullerton.
He later bought sixty acres on Orangethorpe .'\venue and this he set to Valencia
oranges and installed a cement pipe line throughout the entire ranch, which is under
the Anaheim Union Water Company. Pierre, or "Pete," as he was familiarly known
to his friends, was a man of action and was never idle. When he was twenty he was
engaged in the livery business in Fullerton, in partnership with O. R. Fuller, and when
he embarked in ranching he operated on a large scale, leasing some 2,300 acres which
he put into grain. He used the most modern machinery and implements and employed
many men to perform the duties on his ranches. His greatest ambition was to make



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 66 of 191)