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 79 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 79 of 191)
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steamship "Orizaba," to Wilmington Harbor, and then to Gospel Swamp by wagons.

The elder Yost was a blacksmith by trade, and soon set up his forge at the
corner of Main and Fifth streets, Santa Ana. A year later he sold and the family
moved to Klamath Falls, Ore. Being a good millwright he built a saw mill on Lost
Run Creek, run by water power. Selling out eight months later he returned to Santa
•Ana and built a blacksmith shop on Fifth and Broadway, and came to have a very
interesting association with the early development of the town. He died in Santa
Ana in 1882.

The maiden name of Mrs. Yost was indicative of her Scotch-Irish blood, although
she came of the best Revoluntionary stock, and her father, one of the early settlers
of Iowa, fought in the Black Hawk War. She died on December 24, 1919, eighty-three
years old. the mother of ten children. Charles is a vineyardist at Coachella; Clara is the
wife of John Miller, a merchant at Phoenix, Ariz.; William R., now a farmer, is oper-
ating the McQuiston ranch of 120 acres at Talbert; John was accidentally killed at El
Toro; James resides in Santa Ana; Mary is the wife of William McLaughlin and resides
in Ventura County; George, also a rancher, resides in Fresno County; Malin works
in the shipyard at San Pedro; Myron is in the auto business at Los Angeles: and Leo
is the wife of Fred Cole, of West Fourth Street, who owns a walnut ranch of twenty
acres in Santa Ana.

William R. attended the common schools in Santa .\na, learned the blacksmith's
trade under his father, and in the same town started in business for himself. He ran

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a machine shop and a foundry, and made all kinds of vehicles and implements such as
would he demanded thereabouts, and he did all the blacksmithing work for James
McFadden, who was the chief spirit in building the Santa Ana and Xewport Railway-
as well as for the Fairview Railroad, now a thing of the past. His shop was located
at the corner of Fifth Street and Broadway, and there, among other exceptional things
not turned out by everyone, he made all the switch plates for the Newport road.

After a while, Mr. Yost quit smithying and became a cattle buyer and a drover,
raising, buying, selling and shipping cattle in Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles and San
Diego counties. About 1906 he began farming on the O'Neill ranch near El Toro,
and then he went to San Juan Capistrano, leased a ranch where he raised grain and
beans, then back on the San Joaquin ranch where he farmed about live years. In
1920 he leased the McQuiston place of 120 acres near Talbert, where he raises Ijeets
and alfalfa.

On April 30, 1889, Mr. Yost was married to Miss Ida Kell, a native of Sacramento,
and a daughter of William and Sallie (Sharp) Kell, early Californians. Her father later
settled at Pomona, and there she was married. They have had nine children. Lucy is
Mrs. James Leonard and resides at Los Angeles. Edith is the wife of H. P. Thelan
of Santa .Ana. Wilmath is in the telephone office at Santa Ana. Ida is Mrs. Jack
Melchard, and lives in Santa Ana. Wilfred is an engineer at Sacramento. John is
with his father on a farm, and so is Robert; and Ruth and .\ngela are at home.

Mr. Yost is prominent as an Odd Fellow in Santa .\na, and has been very active in
many ways in furthering the development of Orange County; and he is well known
among and highly esteemed by the pioneers of both Santa Ana and Orange counties.

ANDREW BAKER. — An enterprising and successful rancher who has devoted
over a quarter of a century of his life towards the development of Orange County is
-Andrew Baker, a resident of Stanton. He was born in Perquimans County, X. C on
December 25, 1848. the son of James A. and Lucretia (Blanchard) Baker, who moved
to Indiana before the Civil War. It was some years later that Andrew Baker migrated
further westward, stopping in Jasper County, Mo., where he followed farming until
1879, then disposed of his holdings and located in Morris County, Kans. Thirteen
years later he decided on a new move that would take him to California, and he arrived
in Orange County on March 22, 1892, purchasing his present property the following
year. This forty acres was situated on what was called the alkali flat, and was a part
of the great Stearns Rancho. The land was in its primitive condition, covered with
cacti and infested with jack rabbits. Possessed with the indomitable spirit of the pio-
neer settler, Mr. Baker at once began to clear the land and make necessary improve-
ments so he could begin .ranching, and even had to help to build the roads in this
section, which had only been staked off. He hauled off from his property over fifty
wagon loads of cactus, and has made of his place one of the best and most productive
ranches in this part of Orange County. At first his water for irrigation came from
an artesian well, but this source of supply soon gave out, and he sunk a new well to
the depth of 159 feet, which gives him an abundance of water for irrigation and
domestic purposes. For seven years he pumped the water by horse power, then in-
stalled a thirteen horsepower gas engine. He grow-s a diversified lot of products, and
is well satisfied that he has cast his lines in such pleasant quarters as Orange County.

Mr. Baker has always been interested in every movement that had as its aim the
upbuilding and development of the best interests of his community, and took an active
part in the incorporation of the town of Stanton, and in the educational affairs of his
district. He was the prime mover in having the Magnolia School district organized in
1895, and gave the name to the school, and he was a member of the first board of
trustees. His ranch is near the school on Magnolia Avenue, and therefore he was
more deeply interested in the maintaining of a good school, which now has an enroll-
ment of almost 100 scholars.

On January 1, 1878. .\ndrew Baker was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth
A., daughter of John P. and Martha (Hayworth) Mills. Mrs. Baker was born in
Keokuk County, Iowa, on March 8. 1853, lived there until she was fifteen, and then
accompanied the family to Jasper County. Mo., where she was united in marriage with
Mr. Baker, at the city of Carthage. This happy union has been blessed with si.x chil-
dren: .Arthur G., a graduate of the Hastings Law School in San Francisco, is a well-
known attorney in Los -Angeles. He is married and lives in Pasadena. Fannie M. is
the wife of J. T. Lyon, a realty dealer of -Anaheim; Dora M. became the wife of G.
N. Miller, and had two children. Yiola and -Alice. She died June 24, 1919. Oliver G.
was in charge of the Pacific Electric station at Stanton for over eight years. He owns
eight highly improved acres of oranges on Stanton Avenue, where he and his wife re-
side. James .A. owns ten acres of oranges on Broadway, was a teacher for several


years, 1)Ut is now a member of the realty firm of Lyon and Baker in Anaheim. He is
the father of three children, Marjorie, Warren and Gerald. Paul Noble received a high
school education and was an electrical engineer in the employ of the city of Los
Angeles, and when the first call came for soldiers and sailors for the great World War,
lie enlisted as a common sailor in the U. S. Navy, and through his exceptional ability
and efficient service rose to the rank of ensign. He is still in the Navy.

Mr. Baker is a firm believer in Christianity and supports all movements that come
to' his notice for the elevation of the standard of morals and the social betterment of
his community. He and his family are very highly esteemed by all who know them
for their genuineness of character and high ideals of citizenship.

HENRY ROHRS, JR.— A resident of Orange County since his fifth year, Henry
Rohrs, Jr., is developing a flourishing and productive orange and walnut orchard on
West Fairhaven Avenue in the vicinity of Orange. Ohio was Mr. Rohrs' native state,
his birth occurring at Defiance, Henry County, in that state August 3, 1876. His
parents, Fred and Anna (Grobrugge) Rohrs, were both natives of Germany, coming
here in the days of their youth. The father located at Defiance, Ohio, and after pur-
chasing eighty acres of land, which he cleared of timber and stumps, there engaged
in raising stock and grain.

There were five children in the Rohrs' family; Henry, the subject of this review;
Fred, John, George and Minnie. When Henry Rohrs was five years of age the family
removed to Santa Ana, Cal., arriving on March 12, 1881, where the parents still make
their home. He attended the public school in Santa Ana and at the same time worked
on the home ranch, his father being engaged in ranching after coming to California.
Until he was twenty-four years of age Henry remained at home, working hard in help-
ing his father with all the duties of the home place. He was always thrifty and indus-
trious, so that in 1900 he was able to purchase eleven acres on West Fairhaven Avenue
to the development of which he diligently applied himself. In 1916 he became the owner
of nine acres at Tustin and Fairhaven avenues, which was planted to Navels and
Sweets, but he has since reset the whole tract to \'alencias, which bids fair to be one
of the best producing groves in this locality.

At the home of the bride's parents in the Orange district on March 21, 1901, Mr.
Rohrs was united in marriage with Miss Minnie A. Franzcn. the ceremony being per-
formed by Reverend J. Kraeber. Mrs. Rohrs is a daughter of Asmus and Dorothea
(Schmidt) Franzen, who were born near Flensburg, Denmark. The father served in
the Danish army in the Slesvig-Holstein War, 1864 to 1866, and afterwards also served
in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-71. He resided near Flensburg until 1879, when
he came to America, and later brought his family to Columbus Junction, Iowa, where
he pioneered, cleared the raw land from brush and broke the soil for growing crops.
In March, 1889, he located in Orange County and soon afterwards bought twenty-seven
and a half acres on Fairhaven Avenue at the corner of Yorba Avenue, where he built
a residence and made his home until 1908, when he sold it and moved to Santa Ana,
where his wife died at the age of seventy-three. He then made his home with Mr.
and Mrs. Henry Rohrs, Jr., until his death on February 4, 1916, at the age of seventy-
seven. Mr. Franzen for his services in the Slesvig-Holstein War received a medal
of honor from King Christian of Denmark. The last three years of his life he received
a pension from the Danish government. Mrs. Rohrs is the youngest of four children,
three of whom are living. She came here in her youth and received her education
in Orange County.

Mr. and Mrs. Rohrs are the parents of four children, to whom they are giving the
best educational advantages within their means: Frances A. who is in the Orange
Union high school class of 1921; Alvin H.; and the twins, Clarence and Kenneth. They
are active members of Zion's Evangelical Church at Santa Ana.

In partnership with Mathias Nisson and John Maier, Mr. Rohrs sunk a well 400
feet deep on his place and installed a Pomona deep well pump run by a twenty-horse-
power motor. This was completed June 12, 1912, and with its flow of forty inches of
water has since then been of exceptional value to the three ranches although they all
get service from the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company.

Mr. Rohrs is a member of the Santa Ana Walnut Growers .Association and is
deeply interested in public affairs, gives intelligent consideration to all the vital ques-
tions of the day, although he personally does not care to hold public ofiice. While a
supporter of Republican principles he casts his vote for the Ijest man in local affairs,
regardless of party. Both Mr. and. Mrs. Rohrs' highest ambition is to rear their
family according to the loftiest ideals of .American citizenship.

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J. EDMUND SNOW. — The inspiring annals of pioneer life are certainry - r€called
in the family history of J. Edmund Snow. His father, H. K. Snow, was born in White-
side, N. H., in 1834, being directly descended from the three Snow brothers of Snow
HHl, London, who arrived in this country four years after the Mayflower landed.
When only eighteen years of age he came to California around the Horn on the "Witch
of the Wave," the voyage lasting 116 days. Arriving in California, he went at once to
the mines of Calaveras and Mariposa counties, where he remained four years. He
crossed the Isthmus of Panama four times.

Later he was engaged in business at Osage, Iowa, and while there married Miss
Cynthia Downs. In 1859 they moved to Bandera County, Texas, where they engaged
in the cattle business. When the Civil War broke out, they moved to California; being
Union sympathizers they could not pass through El Paso, so, driving an ox team, they
made a detour through Chihuahua, arriving in San Francisco late in 1861. For seven-
teen years Mr. Snow engaged in lousiness in X'allejo and while there served for two
years as county recorder.

In 1877 he removed his family to Tustin, buying a home place of fifty acres in
orchard, and Jater bought and sold other properties. He devoted all his time to the
improvement of these lands and to the extension of the irrigation system, being one
of the originators of the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation system. Mr. Snow made his
name familiar to every horticulturist in the state while in Tustin. When the California
Legislature recommended a tariff of twenty cents a cubic foot on citrus fruits he
believed the amount too small and determined to give his eflforts toward securing a
higher rate. He originated the idea of the tariff of one cent a pound on citrus fruits.
Accompanied by M. J. Daniels he was sent to Washington by the Los Angeles Cham-
ber of Commerce. Securing the support of Senator Perkins and Senator Jones of
Nevada, and of Senator White, a Democrat, his efforts were successful, after spending
five months in Washington.

Not alone were his efforts devoted to citrus fruits, for he was one of the enter-
prising parties to establish the peat drainage district at Smeltzer. In 1903 the Tustin
home was sold to Ray Osmun, who erected a beautiful home of Mexican type upon it.
Here the world-famed Madame Modjeska resided for a time, and later it was purchased
by A. J. Crookshank. president of the First National Bank of Santa Ana, who now
makes it his hoine.

Mr. Snow moved to Ventura County, building a new home on his walnut ranch.
Here he lived the remaining days of his life, passing away in 1913. He was a life-long
Republican and was a thirty-second degree Mason, belonging to the Chapter and Con-
sistory. His second wife, Elva Downs, a sister of his first wife, still resides at the
Ventura County home.

James Edmund Snow, the third son of Mr. and Mrs. H. K. Snow, was born in
Vallejo and was but two years of age when the family moved to Tustin. Here the
lad attended the public school and later attended the Santa Ana high school. In
1899 he went to Cibola, Ariz., and proved up on- a half section of land lying along the
Colorado River. At this time he also purchased from his father what was known as
the .\llen ranch, lying between Talbert and Costa Mesa. This place was adapted to
the raising of grain and celery and for dairying. It was sold in 1906 to Goldschmidt
Bros., and it is of interest to note that it was on this ranch that gas was first noticed
in Orange County. Some fifteen years before this, Mr. Allen, the original owner,
lound gas coming from an artesian well. This he collected in a tank placed over his
well, pipes carrying it to his home and it was used successfully for fuel.

In 1903 Mr. Snow was married in Santa Ana to Miss Edith Johnston, daughter
of John and Laura (Safley) Johnston, who moved to this state from Tipton, Iowa, when
Edith was nine j-ears of age. The Johnstons purchased a home on North Main Street.
Santa Ana, and here Mr. Johnston still lives, Mrs. Johnston having passed away in
1914. Mrs. Snow was educated at the Santa .\na high school and at the Los .\ngeles
State Normal School.

In 1908 Mr. Snow moved from Santa .\na to the Imperial \'alley. where he pur-
chased government land relinquishments near Brawley, until he had 800 acres under
development with the service of the Imperial Water Company, No. 5, from the Colo-
rado River. In 1912 this ranch was traded for seventy acres of oranges at Riverside.
Here the family resided until the death of Mrs. Johnston, when they returned to Santa
.■\na and for the next three years kept the home on North Main Street for Mr. Johnston.

In Feltruary. 1918, the present home at 335 West Eighteenth Street was pur-
chased, and here Mr. and Mrs. Snow now live with their interesting family of three
sons — Jack W.. James Edmund, Jr., and Paul Johnston, who are pupils in the public
schools. Mr. Snow is engaged in the real estate business. He is is a Mason and in
national politics is a Republican, but in local affairs is as nonpartisan as they make 'cm.


HENRY EVANS. — The handsomely built city of Norwich, Norfolk County, Eng-
land, with its world-wide reputation as a center for the manufacture of textile fabrics,
was the birthplace of Henry Evans, the owner of a fine ranch located a mile southwest
of Garden Grove.

Mr. Evans was born May 6, 1848, a son of William and Mary (Pierce) Evans,
both natives of England who married, lived and died in their native country. The
father, who was a stockman, died at the age of seventy-six, and the mother at forty-
eight, when Henry was twelve years old. In a family of four children Henry is the
youngest child and the only member of the family now living. His sister Sarah, and
brother William, both unmarried, lived with him on his Garden Grove ranch and died
there. Another sister lived and died in England. Henry grew up on his father's 100-
acre stock farm in England, and was educated in the common schools and in boarding
schools of his native country. Coming to America in 1881 he located in Texas, and
after a year and a half drifted to the San Fernando \"alley, Cal., where he spent eight
years before he came to Garden Grove in 1891. He has lived on his present ranch
thirty years, and now, at the age of seventy-two, has retired from the more active
duties of life, and rents the property to tenants who raise chili peppers on it.

Mr. Evans has seen much of the development of this section of 'the state and
Orange County and is a man of forceful personality, gifted with a high order of in-
telligence, and his mental and moral characteristics are such as have won for him the
esteem and confidence of all who know him. In his religious convictions be is an

JOHN REEDER GARDINER. — .\ progressive upbuilder and a native son of
Orange County, J. R. Gardiner of FuUerton has demonstrated his public spirit in many
ways as a supporter of every movement that has had for its aim the betterment of
conditions in general for Fullerton and its environs. He was born near what is now
the town of Fullerton, on December 21, 1873. a son of the late Alexander Gardiner, a
native of Scotland who came to the United States when he was eighteen years old and
settled in Rockford, Tenn. He became the superintendent of a cotton mill there and
demonstrated his ability as a machinist and an engineer on many occasions. He was
married in Rockford to Miss Susan Reeder, a native daughter of Tennessee and they
migrated to California in 1868, traveling by train to San Francisco and thence by boat
to Los .\ngeles County, settling on a ranch in what is now known as the Orange-
Ihorpe school district. There he developed a ranch and lived until he answered the
final roll call in .\ugust. 1916, at the age of seventy-eight. His good wife survived
him until June, 1920. when she passed away at the age of eighty-three years, the mother
of seven children, six of them now living.

John R. Gardiner received his schooling in the Orangethorpe school district, and
remained on the home ranch until he was eighteen years of age, when he went to
Duarte to learn the trade of blacksmith and horseshoer in a shop owned by his brother-
in-law. .\fter mastering the trade he returned to Fullerton in 1896, the flourishing city
being then little more than a villager and started in business. The venture did not
prove profitable and he left it to work in the oil fields in Bear Canyon for a year; In
1900 he took charge of his brother's livery business and carried it on for three years,
then went to Los Angeles and engaged in selling real estate. It was in 1907 that he
again felt the lure of his native town calling him and he returned and began to work
at the forge until 1910,' when he purchased his employer's business and here he has
been ever since. The business grew from a small beginning until it assumed the pro-
portion of the largest blacksmith shop of its kind in this section of the county. Mr.
Gardiner, by his genial manners and efforts to please, retaining his patrons, who came
from far and near to secure his services. In 1920 he added to his establishment a
complete line of agricultural implements, trucks and tractors, the whole representing
many thousands of dollars invested and here he requires the services of from five to
ten men to handle his work. The most modern of equipment is found in operation and
his quality of work is considered his best advertisement.

On February 19, 1902, Mr. Gardiner and Miss Louise Dean were united in marriage
.at Fullerton. She is a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of James W. and Susan
(Brown) Dean, both now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner have had three children:
Carroll D., Kenneth R. and Donald William. Mrs. Gardiner shares with her husband
the good will and esteem of their many friends.

In politics Mr. Gardiner is a Democrat on national issues, but in local matters
he is strictly nonpartisan and works for every local improvement. He was one of the
first trustees of Fullerton after the incorporation of the city and he was reelected,
serving for three terms, during which time many substantial and lasting improvements
were installed. For eight years he served as city treasurer. He is a charter member


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of the Fiillerton Club and when the World War was in progress he joined the local
Home Guards and otherwise assisted in war work. Mr. Gardiner is a Mason, holding
membership in Fullerton Lodge No. 339, K. & A. M., of which he is a past master;
he is a member of Fullerton Chapter No. 90, R. .\. M.; Santa Ana Council No. 14, R.
& S. M.; Fullerton Commandery No. 55, Knights Templar and Fullerton Chapter, No.
191, Order of Eastern Star, in which he is a past patron. Mrs. Gardiner is past
matron of the Eastern Star.

DAVID G. WETTLIN.— .A gentleman unusually well qualified as a public official
IS David G. Wettlin, city clerk and ex-officio city assessor of Orange, formerly an
experienced practicing attorney, who came to California about a decade ago. He
was born at Woodville, Miss., on May 20. 1886, the son of G. A. Wettlin, a native of
Germany, who settled as a merchant in Mississippi, where he lived until he retired.
He now resides at .-Mhambra, Cal. He had married Maggie Lindenmeyer, a native of
Mississippi, who died there when David was in his second year. They had three
children, and our subject was the youngest in the family.

He was brought up at Woodville, where he was educated in the preparatory
school, and at Sewanee, Tenn., in the Episcopal military academy, and after having
finished their courses entered the University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn., where
he continued for two years. Then he matriculated in the law school of the University
of Mississippi at Oxford, from which well-known institution he was duly graduated,
in 1907, with the degree of LL.B. He was admitted to the bar of Mississippi and
practiced at Woodville for two years.

In 1910 Mr. Wettlin came to California and located at Los Angeles, where he
engaged in real estate transacting, and at the end of two years removed to Hunting-
ton Beach, for the practice of law. His knowledge of legal procedure was soon
appreciated, and he was elected city attorney of that place, and when he gave up that
responsible office, it was to leave there an enviable record for both ability and fidelity.

In 1913 Mr. Wettlin located at Orange, where he practiced law with success, and
in .April, 1918, he was elected city clerk of Orange, and in the middle of that month

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 79 of 191)