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 69 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 69 of 191)
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Ana and prominent in its circles.

STEPHEN TOWNSEND.— .\mong the representative citizens of Southern Cali-
fornia, and held in the highest esteem by all who knew him, Stephen Townsend came
to the Golden State as early as 1876. He first located in Pasadena, where he proved
an important factor in the development and upbuilding of its best interests, securing
its first franchise and building its first railway; and later the .\ltadena and other street
car lines; establishing the Pasadena Warehouse and Milling Company and conducting
the same successfully; and as a member of the city board of trustees advancing plans
which were acceptable to both the conservative elements and were acted upon to the
entire satisfaction of the people. In 1895 he became associated with the interests of
Long Beach, in which city he foresaw a wonderful future.

Mr. Townsend was a descendant of English ancestry, the first members of both
paternal and maternal families having located in this country during its colonial period.
Descendants drifted into the Middle West, and in the state of Ohio, David, the father
of Stephen Townsend, was born and reared to manhood as a farmer's son. He married
Sidney Maudlin, also a native of Ohio, and until 1855 they remained residents of that
state and of Indiana. In the last-named year they emigrated to Iowa and in Cedar
County, near Iowa City, engaged in general farming and stock raising. He continued
in that location until 1876, when he brought his family to California and became a
member of the Indiana Colony, now Pasadena, where he engaged in horticulture up to
the time of his death. He was survived twenty years by his wife, who passed away
in 1903, at the age of eighty-three years.

Stephen Townsend, the eldest son and sixth child of their thirteen children, was
born in Hamilton County, Ind., October 19. 1848. He was but seven years old when
the family located in Iowa, where he received his education in the public schools and
later the Iowa State University. Upon leaving the university he began to farm on
his own responsibitly upon land purchased in Franklin County, where he made his
home for three years. Following this he was similarly employed in Cedar County
for two years, when in 1876. he accompanied the family to California. The West ap-
pealed to him. with its broader opportunities and responsibilities, and he readily became
one of the most prominent men of Pasadena, developing his latent powers of manage-
ment and executive ability.

Prior to Mr. Townsend's location at Long Beach he purchased twenty acres of
land on the .Anaheim Road, adjoining the city limits and one mile from the beach.
The year after his location at Long Beach he engaged in the real estate business, laying
out various divisions there and also helping in the development of Huntington Beach.
He was a partner in several real estate firms, among them Bailey and Townsend. Town-
send and Campbell, the Townsend-Robinson Investment Company, later the Townsend-
Van de Water Company. He also contributed extensively to the development of
Orange County, being one of the organizers and directors of the Orange County Im-
provement .Association of Newport, of which he acted as president, serving in the same
capacity for the La Habra Land and Water Company and for the Sunset Beach Land


Company. In addition to the foregoing Mr. Townsend was vice-president of the First
National Bank of Long Beach and president of the First National Bank of Huntington
Beach. He organized and was president of the Land and Navigation Company which
owned 800 acres where the Long Beach harbor was dredged; in fact he took an active
interest in all movements tending to promote the welfare of this section of California.
The real estate firm which he organized was one of the most substantial in this part
of the state, and carried on an extensive business, the high character of ability enlisted
in the work making it one of the most successful enterprises of Long Beach. In addi-
tion to his engrossing real estate interests he was active in the municipal life of Long
Beach, in 1903 being elected president of the board of trustees, which office he filled
with efficiency.

In Iowa, near Iowa City, in Johnson County, on October 19, 1869, Mr. Townsend
was united in marriage with Miss Anna M. Carroll, who was born near LaPorte, Ind.,
and who came to Iowa with her parents when she was seven years of age. While a stu-
dent at the University of Iowa she met Mr. Townsend, the acquaintance resulting in
their marriage. They became the parents of five children, two of whom died in early
childhood, and Frances Maye passed away in 1901, aged twenty-eight years; she had
graduated from the College of Music of the University of Southern California in 1894;
Esther Belle, who is a graduate of the Los .\ngeles State Normal School, is the wife
of Dr. A. T. Covert of Long Beach; Vinton Ray graduated from the University of
California at Berkeley and from the medical department of the University of Southern
California, as an M.D., married Miss Ada Campbell, the daughter of W. L. Campbell,
and they reside at Los Cerritos.

Mr. Townsend was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and prominent
in all its good works, officiating as a member of the board of trustees and superintend-
ent of the Sunday school, and was a member of the building committee when the new
church was erected at Long Beach. He was also a director of the Young Men's Chris-
tian Association and served as president of the Long Beach Hospital .Association, of
which he was one of the organizers. It can truly be said of Mr. Townsend that he
was representative of the best in American citizenship, living up to a high standard in
public and private life, and in his passing away on July 22, 1920, the community lost
one of its most valued citizens, whose influence had ever been exerted for its moral
uplift and betterment. Like her distinguished husband, Mrs. Townsend has always
been prominent in the life of the city, particularly in the circles of the Methodist Epis-
copal Church and of the Ebell Club, and aiding in all other movements for the
community's good.

MME. HELENA MODJESKA.— No complete and satisfactory history of Orange
County ever can be written that does not record the life and labors of Mme. Helena
Modjeska, the famous tragedienne, and her happy and fortunate relation to the Cali-
fornia Southland, in which she passed so many dreamy and eventful days, and where
at length, scarcely more than a decade ago, she closed her eyes forever to the scenes
of an admiring world. She was born at Cracow, Polan.d, on October 12, 1840, the
daughter of Michael Opid, a noted musical instructor there, whose home was the
rendezvous for artists and musicians in the old capital, and very naturally aspired
toward the stage; but it was only after she had married Gustav Modrzejewska —
abbreviated later to Modjeska — that she was able, in 1861, to overcome family opposition
and appear in an amateur performance in .Austrian Poland. So great was her success
that her husband organized a company to support her on a tour of Galicia, and within
two or three years she had become, on her return to her birthplace, the leading lady
at the local theater. All Poland soon sounded her praises; her fame e.xtended to
Germany. France and England; and even the younger Dumas paid her the high compli-
ment to invite her to Paris to take the part of Marguerite Gautier in his famous
"Dame aux Camelias," best known to the world through the acting of Sarah Bernhardt.
She remained loyal to Poland and the Polish stage, however, and only ventured abroad
after her first husband's death.

In September, 1868, she married a second time, choosing for her new companion
Karol Bozenta Chlapowski, a gifted fellow-countryman, and a year later settled in the
more brilliant Warsaw, where she appeared in the principal female parts of Shakespeare,
Goethe, Schiller and Moliere, as well as plays by Polish authors. Failing health, worry
over the harassing, absurd Russian censorship, and other difficulties, induced her to
leave the stage, and with her husband she came to the United States and California,
hoping to found there a colony for Polish political refugees or other congenial spirits.

The coming Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia, engrossing in particular the
curiosity of her son, then an embryo engineer and full of interest for science, was
really the first incentive to Mme. Modjeska and her husband to come to .America, as


she tells so charmingly in her always readable "Memories," and the person who piled
on torch after torch to the burning fagots was none other than her friend, Sienkiewicz,
the author later of "Quo \'adis." Despite the reports of rattlesnakes, bears and the
California jaguar, it was agreed by the company of enthusiasts who met evening after
evening to look over maps, books and pictures, that one need not starve in the Golden
State, for rabbits, hares and partridges were to be had for the mere shooting, and gold
was to be dug almost anywhere; and in her intense longing for a change that would
mean rest to tired nerves, Pani, or Mrs. Helena, as her friends called her, pictured
herself under the blue skies of California, riding on horseback with a gun over her
shoulder, or cooking out in the open, in the land of freedom, or bleaching linen at the
lirook like the maidens of Homer!

After a delightful visit in New York, when they saw and met some of the stage
celebrities of the time, the party traveled south to Panama, and there crossed the
Isthmus, "a two hours' enchantment," and then came north to San Francisco; and the
very next day after their arrival at the Golden Gate they witnessed Edwin Booth act in
a series of performances, including the roles of Shylock and Marc Antony. Once
in the Southland, they made for Anaheim, then inhabited mostly by German colonists
and Spaniards, and were welcomed liy Sienkiewicz and others of the Polish company
who had gone ahead to Anaheim Landing. After a life spent in the fine old ancestral
homes and mansions of Poland, Mme. Modjeska tells us that the little house at Anaheim
which had been rented for her seemed painfully small — a dining room, a so-called
parlor, with a square piano and a sofa, two bedrooms, a front yard, which "looked like
a poorly-kept small graveyard"; Init there was one redeeming point, at least, and that
was the magnificent view of the Sierre Madre Mountains to the north, and of the Santa
Ana range to the east.

Space will not suffice to tell in detail the many novel, exhilarating and also dis-
couraging experiences of this charming idealist and her dreamy, impractical, if also
delightful associates, who so identified themselves with first one canyon or beach or
other corner of Orange County that forever these places will be hallowed to all who
are privileged to trace out and follow in their footprints. The reader may need only
to be reminded again how, when it was evident that the voyageurs from over the seas
could no longer live on sunshine and cigarettes, something had to be done, not merely
to supply a stipportable income in a raw and undeveloped country, but to satisfy the
longings of the higher self, Mme. Modjeska, in the spring of 1877, went back to San
Francisco on a visit, encouraged by overtures from theatrical managers whose interest
she had long before enlisted, but had never made use of, and after scarcely less than
four months' study of English, made her first appearance in the historic California
Theater as Adrienne Lecouvreur. Her success was instant, and from the first evening
of her performance she scored an acknowledged triumph as one of the leading Ameri-
can actresses. Thereafter she made numerous tours of the United States, and played
in London and the other leading cities of the British provinces, and even returned to
the stage in Poland, distinguishing herself in no less than twenty-five or thirty classical
parts acknowledged to be sufficiently difficult to test her claims to have been a truly
great actress.

Besides her home in Santiago Canyon, maintained for a while under conditions
in strange contrast to what she had left behind in the Old World, and satisfying only
to those in such search for the romantic that they drew largely upon their imagination
and were blind to commonplace, everyday facts, Mme. Modjeska made her home at
various places in Southern California, generally not far from where she first had settled,
and in each place not only shared her comforts (as well as, no doubt, a few of the
discomforts!) with some of the most gifted and even brilliant, as well as noble hearted
of her compatriots, but entertained at various times many of the most famous men
and women, particularly in the dramatic or musical world, who happened the way of the
Pacific, or journeyed long distances to enjoy her company or partake of her unbounded
hospitality, dispensed with rare humor and a full appreciation of the droll or the
ridiculous. She counted the greatest minds and the largest hearted of Americans among
her friends, and when such of these, as the poet Longfellow, could not visit her, their
friendly, devoted or affectionate missives found their way over sea and land and into
the forest or canyon recesses to where she, in periods of rest, loved to come again and
again. The residence she finally erected was at Forest of Arden. in Santiago Canyon,
Orange County, which she named for the scene in the celebrated Shakespearean play.
.As You Like It. It has long since been a Mecca for tourists to California who know
of her only by name. It was roomy, dignified, elaborate and luxurious, both as to its
ornate exterior and its well-appointed, richly furnished interior, especially its large and
rich library; and there are still living those who may recall the lireakfast parties
presided over by this rare woman, held out in the open and further animated by her


son, Ralph Modjeski, the eminent civil engineer of Chicago, and his interesting family.
The last home of Mme. Modjeska was on Bay, now called Modjeska Island, in East
Newport, to which she had removed a few months prior to her death, on April 8, 1909 —
a cosy, worthy seaside residence which she bequeathed to her grandson, Felix Bozenta
Modjeska, who now occupies it with his family, and maintains it as nearly as possible
as it was when she so gracefully moved about on the verandas and enjoyed the refresh-
ing breeze.

SAMUEL KRAEMER. — Wonderful have been the changes witnessed by Samuel
Kraemer since his boyish eyes first beheld the vast unsettled tracts of Southern Cali-
fornia. It was in 1867. when he was ten years of age, that he arrived here with other
members of the family, at the expiration of a long and tedious voyage from the East.
Vast tracts were then untrodden by the foot of man, but were given over to countless
herds of wild cattle and horses. Travel was almost wholly on horseback through
pathless fields in which the wild mustard at times hid the animal and rider from view.
Now his swift automobiles convey him over perfect roads and through a country
densely populated with a contented, prosperous people. Then he aided in the cultiva-
tion of the ground with such rude implements as could be obtained; now his land is
cultivated by workmen having the most modern machinery that money can buy. In
those days he gazed aloft with no prophetic vision of the time, when under his super-
vision an aeroplane would be constructed, not only as a demonstration of the possi-
bilities of science, but also for future usefulness and enjoyment. Financial institutions
were not in vogue in those days, for currency was too scarce to render banks a necessity;
nor could his vision point ahead to his present service as a director in the First
National Bank of Anaheim and the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Fullerton. in which
latter institution he also officiated as president for one and one-half years. He was
also an organizer and is a director in the Placentia National Bank, is a director in the
Placentia Mutual Orange Distributors Association and president of the Anaheim Walnut
Growers Association.

Born in St. Clair County, 111., July 9, 1857, Samuel Kraemer was a son of Daniel
and Elenora (Schrag) Kraemer, natives, respectively, of St. Johannes, Germany, and
Landauch, on the Rhine. They emigrated to the United States in early years and
passed away in California at advanced ages. The family became pioneers, of California
in 1867. The journey was commenced at St. Louis, Mo., whence they traveled to New
York, arriving in that city at the end of four days. A steamer was there boarded for
Panama and after a tedious voyage of sixteen days they landed at the Isthmus. Three
days were spent in unloading on the eastern side, crossing the Isthmus and loading
up on the Pacific side, after which they sailed on a steamer bound for San Francisco.
The voyage consumed fifteen days and the only stops made by the steamer were at
Acapulco and Manzanillo, Mexico. The fact that the ship did not anchor at any port
in Southern California caused extra expense and delay to the Kraemer family, who
were forced to wait for twenty-one days in San Francisco before any vessel started
for the southern part of the state. Eventually they landed at San Pedro, Los Angeles
County, after a voyage of five days from San Francisco, and from San Pedro, pro-
ceeded to Anaheim. At that time Los Angeles County embraced all of what is now
Orange County. The environment was uninviting, for Americans had not settled in
sufficient numbers to embark in any improvements and wild stock roamed the ranges.

Immediately after his arrival, the elder Kraemer bought thirty-nine hundred acres
of land (which was the smallest land tract that could be bought) in what is now
known as the Placentia district. The land was originally owned by A. D. Ontiveras,
a Castilian gentleman, a native of Spain, who received his grant from the Mexican
government. In time Mr. Kraemer had fenced eighty acres of the tract, besides
making other improvements. The entire country was open with the exception of
twelve hundred acres at Anaheim, which was fenced, admission being through four
gates on the four sides of the tract, and by means of this solid fence all wild cattle
were excluded. Eight years later the fence law kept out cattle and brought settlers.
From the first Samuel aided his father in the many difficult tasks connected with
improving the wild tract and it was not possible for him to attend school regularly,
but he was a pupil in the Yorba school for a time, and since then by reading and
observation he has becofne a well informed man. Five hundred acres of the original
estate is now owned by him, the larger part of the land being in grain, but in addition
he has sixty-five acres in oranges and 130 acres in walnuts. Stock is raised for the
needs of the ranch, but not for the general markets.

On September 30, 1886, Mr. Kraemer married Miss Angelina Yorba, a native of
California and the daughter of Castilian parents now deceased, representing early
settlers of the state, Prudencio and Dolores (Ontiveras) Yorba. Ten children were

c/o^-f^ <^



born of the union, of whom five sons and three daughters survive: Adela is Mrs.
Walter Muckenthaler of Fullerton; Samuel P. married Miss Edna Wentz of Ohio,
served in the U. S. Army in the World War and is an orange grower in Placentia;
Elena Mauri of Oakland, is an orange grower at Placentia; Gilbert U. married Esther
Arnold R., who served in the U. S. Naval Reserve, stationed in New Jersey, and married
Munger of Santa Ana, and is a rancher on Kraemer Avenue; Angeline is the wife of
Edward Backs and resides in Placentia; Laurance P. is attending Occidental College;
Geraldine and Louis are attending the Union high school.

Caring little for politics or secret orders, Mr. Kraemer nevertheless finds much
to occupy his time. The supervision of his large estate, the discharge of duties as bank
director, the enjoyment of domestic and social pleasure, the recreation through travel
and the development of irrigation and fruit interests keep him fully occupied. While
serving as a director of the Anaheim Union Water Company he also for a time filled
the office of vice-president. Even more than many horticulturists, he has realized the
importance of a successful solution of the water problem and at all times he has been an
active factor in the development of irrigation interests. The fact that the water
supply is so abundant and so satisfactory is due not a little to his influence and timely
actions. Other important local measures have had the benefit of his aid and cooperation
and very justly he occupies a leading position among the pioneer citizens and horticul-
turists of the county. In company with William Crowther, .A. S. Bradford, H. H. Hale
and C. C. Chapman, Mr. Kraemer became one of the promoters of the new town of
Placentia. They gave the right-of-way to the Santa Fe Railroad and Mr. Kraemer
donated besides ten acres of land on which the depot and side tracks are situated.
Work was begun in August, 1910, and four packing houses have in the meantime been
erected, one of which Mr. Kraemer erected at his own expense. He is a shareholder
and director in the Placentia Mutual Orange .Association. They have just completed a
large modern packing house at a cost of $150,000, one of the finest in California. His
influence in Orange County is felt far and wide and his name is mentioned with honor
and respect because of a well-regulated and well-spent life, contributing in no small
manner to the well being and upbuilding of the county.

JOSE SANSINENA.— An early settler of the La Habra Valley in what is now the
northern part of Orange County, who came to California in 1872 and from a humble
beginning by perseverance and close application became one of the largest and most
successful stockmen and landowners, is the late Jose Sansinena, who was born at
.\ldudes. Basses Pyrenees, France, in 1854, where he was reared and obtained his edu-
cation in the local school. His parents were farmers and stock raisers, so from a lad
Jose assisted on the farm and became adept in the care of stock.

From his countrymen who had returned from California he learned of the many
opportunities that awaited young men of lirain and brawn who were willing to work.
So his desire was whetted until he started for the land of gold and sunshine on the
Pacific Coast, arriving in 1872 a young man full of ambition and hope to make a fortune
in the new world. Soon after his arrival he entered the employ of Mr. Bastanchury and
his steady habits and watchful care of his employer's interest attracted Mr. Bastanchury.
so that when the young man had saved enough money and showed a desire to engage
in business Mr. Bastanchury took him into partnership and they continued together,
meeting with success and became owners of large flocks. In those early days there
was no market to speak of in Los .Angeles so each year they drove bands of sheep to
San Francisco where they were sold in the market, the price per head ranging from
$1.50 to $2.00 with the wool. These trips usually consumed two and a half to three
months' time.

The marriage of Mr. Sansinena and Miss Dolores Ordoqui was celebrated at the
historical old Plaza Church, Los .Angeles, in 1889, the ceremony being performed l)y
Father Liebana. The bride was a native of Navarra, Spain, but reared in Los .Angeles.
She came with her parents, when a girl in 1872, and was educated in the Sisters Con-
vent, Los .Angeles. Soon after their marriage the partnership with Mr. Bastanchury
was dissolved and Mr. Sansinena continued in the stock business and purchased 5.000
acres of the Stearns Rancho in the La Habra Valley and they took up their residence
on the ranch, making the necessary improvements for their comfort and convenience,
and here they made a specialty of raising sheep, ranging them on the broad acres of
their ranch which was well adapted for the purpose, being well watered by numerous
springs. His flocks increased until he had from 10,000 to 15.000 head, and when the
railroad was completed from San Francisco to Los .Angeles, as well as the Santa Fe
into Southern California, he shipped both to the Northern as well as the Eastern mar-
kets. His keen perception and business ability was felt and he rose rapidly to a position
of affluence and acquired an independent position financially and a competency for

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 69 of 191)