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 81 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 81 of 191)
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born at Lowell, Mass., July 18, 1851, came to California in 1872, and settled on a bee
ranch near Pomona. He married Margaret L. Cunningham on October 25, 1877. She
was born at El Monte on January 24, 1858, and became the mother of five children.
Through her father, Mrs. Akers traces her ancestry back to Aquila Chase, who came
from Cornwall, England, in 1670. The Chase family married into the Leland family,
members of which came from England to America in 1652, Mrs. Akers representing
the ninth generation in a direct line from the progenitor of the family in America. She
is a native daughter, and a graduate from the Los Angeles Normal class of '99, and
was a public school teacher a few months in Ventura. She has served as president of
the Parent-Teachers' Association of La Habra, and treasurer of the Woman's Club.
Three children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Akers: Dorothy May, born in
Brea Canyon. March 18, 1902, and died May 25, 1913; John Fred Akers, born February
6, 1906, in Los Angeles, attends the FuUerton high school, and Elizabeth Lois, born
November 17, 1909, in Los Angeles, goes to the grammar school of La Habra. Both
Mr. and Mrs. Akers have supported the work of both the Red Cross and the Salvation
Army, and Mr. .\kers, as a Democrat, has sought to elevate civic life standards.

SAMUEL ROSS. — The good old days of the pioneer and his picturesque prairie
schooner, of the bravery and the sacrifices of the men and women who founded the
great commonwealth of California, are recalled by the life story of Samuel Ross, the
early settler long honored throughout Orange County, and especially so at Santa
Ana where he made his home. He crossed the plains in 1865 with his bride, Catherine
Leonard before her marriage, to whom he was joined in matrimony in Ross Town-
ship (now Rossville), Vermilion County, 111., a place named after his father, Jacob
Ross, who also came in the same wagon train. This train was made up largely of
farming people in Vermilion County, 111., and Hoosiers, from across the Illinois line
in Indiana, and was augmented with two wagons falling into line in Nebraska. There
were 87 wagons in all, and they were drawn by horses, oxen and mules. In the com-
pany were Jacob Ross and his wife — whose maiden name was Elizabeth Thompson —
and four sons and a daughter: William Ross, Samuel Ross and his wife, Josiah Ross
and his wife, and Jacol> Ross, at that time single. Ross Street in Santa Ana was
named after this brother, Jacob, who was later tax-collector and assessor for Orange
County. In the party, also, was Christie A. Ross, now Mrs. S. T. McNeal, of 1004 Baker
Street, Santa Ana.

The Rosses settled first in Monterey County, where they rented land for two
vears, and then they came to Orange County, in 1868, then a part of Los Angeles
County, and bought land where Santa Ana now stands. The elder Jacoli Ross bought
all the land from Broadway to Ross Street, and later he sold it to William H. Spur-
geon. Samuel Ross took up agriculture, and established as comfortable a home as
any of the company; but in 1890 his devoted wife died, leaving seven children — three
having already passed away. Of these seven, Lambert Ross died, unmarried, at the
very promising age of twenty. The six living are: Frank Ross, who works for a
lumber yard in Los Angeles, and married .\nnie Hansen, by whom he has had one
child. Harvey. Ida B. is Mrs. King, a widow, who farms on the Irvine ranch. James
Arthur is popularly known as Ott Ross; he married Mrs. Jennie Kight. nee Smith, a
daughter of William Smith, who had married Carrie Reed, pioneers of Georgia.
They have four children — Catherine, Lulu, Christie A. and Leonard. Myrtle is the
wife of John Froehlich, and resides in Los Angeles, where he is a carpenter for the
Fox Film Studios, and also their foreman. Alda Lawrence is a farmer at Holtville,
in the Imperial Valley, and has five sons; and Jessie May is the wife of Glenn W.
Wells. They have three children and reside at Yorba Linda.

Mr. Ross still owns a house and seven lots in Santa Ana, and 320 acres in Arizona,
where he lived for three years. The Rosses are among the interesting families in
America reaching liack to the Old World. Samuel Ross's great-great-grandfather
was John Ross, who came from Scotland to Ohio; and the Rosses were prominent
in the United Brethren Church. Most of them have also been life-long, stand-pat

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ARTHUR STALEY. — A resident of Orange County since early boyhood, and
taking an active part in its growth and development since reaching maturity, Arthur
Staley is a native son of the state, born near Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, April 28,
1870, a son of Theodore and Drusilla (Teague) Staley, the former a native of Missouri,
and the latter of Indiana. Both parents were pioneers of California, Theodore Staley
having crossed the plains with ox-teams in 1856, and Drusilla Teague was brought on
the long overland journey by her parents in 1865, the wagons being drawn by horses,
and some trouble with Indians was encountered by the young pioneers.

Theodore Staley farmed in Sonoma County until 1881, when he located at Orange,
remaining there one year, and then located in Placentia, where he followed grape,
orange and walnut growing. He was an active member of the Christian Church, and
a charter member of the Anaheim Church of that body. He was a man of broad inter-
ests and active in politics in the county, affiliating with the Democratic party and serv-
ing on the County Central Committee in early days; and as school trustee, he did his
share in the educational upbuilding in the county. Three children were born to this
pioneer couple — Arthur, Mrs. Myrtle Lillie and VValter, all residing in Placentia. The
father passed to his reward in 1903, and the mother still resides on the home ranch in

Arthur Staley attended the Orange and Placentia public schools, and graduated
from the Fullerton high school, finishing his education at Stanford University, from
which he graduated with the class of 1900. Since that time he has been very active in
the development of the orange and walnut industry in Orange County. For five years
he was secretary of the Fullerton Walnut Growers Association, and the Placentia
Orange Growers Association; and' for two years he was cashier of the Farmers and
Merchants Bank of Fullerton. He is at present secretary of the FuUerton-Placentia
Walnut Association, and a director in the following concerns — the Yorba Linda Water
Company, the Placentia National Bank, and the Fullerton Masonic Temple Association.
A man of foresight, and a firm believer in the future prosperity of Orange County, Mr.
Staley has been an important factor in bringing his home section of the state to its
present state of productiveness and development, and takes a just pride in being one of
the farsighted men who have accomplished its upbuilding in all the ways which go to
make Orange County an ideal home community, and with business interests which
reach to the far corners of the world.

The marriage of Mr. Staley united him with Bessie Pendleton, a native of Pla-
centia and daughter of Alexis T. and Sarah J. (McFadden) Pendleton, both pioneers
of the state. In addition to his other business interests Mr. Staley owns a finely
developed orange grove of twenty-five acres at Yorba Linda, now in full bearing, which
he planted from nursery stock in 1910.

Active in Masonic circles, Mr. Staley is a past master of Fullerton Lodge, No.
339. F. & A. M.; a member of Fullerton Chapter, No. 90, R. A. M.; master of Santa
Ana Council, No. 14. R. & S. M.: past commander of Santa Ana Commandery, No. 36,
Knights Templar; now commander of Fullerton Commandery, No. 55, Knights Tem-
plar, and a member of Al Malaikah Temple. A. A. O. N. M. S., of Los Angeles.

CLARENCE S. SPENCER.— A leader in Republican county politics, and the
owner of an exceptionally fruitful and attractive grove of oranges, Clarence S. Spencer
is not only influential in citrus fruit circles, but he is also one of the path-breakers in
the fast-developing oil industry. He comes from a family of representative Californians,
and is himself one of the best representatives of the ideal Californian of the future.

He was born in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa, on September 23. 1881, and is the
son of Thomas and Mary A. Spencer — the former from Newcastle. England, and the
latter from Iowa. The father was both a physician and a druggist, and in 1849 crossed
the plains in a prairie schooner drawn by an ox-team. He settled in Santa Rosa. Cal..
opened a drug store and resumed the practice of medicine. There the first Mrs. Spencer
died, and Dr. Spencer returned to Iowa, where he married a second time. His bride
was then Miss Mary A. Rogers, and she became the mother of our subject.

In 1888. Doctor and Mrs. Spencer came to Orangethorpe and purchased twenty
acres of apricots and a few walnuts. Dr. Spencer took out both the apricots and the
walnuts, and set out seedling oranges and lemons, and some young walnut trees. He
devoted fourteen acres to the walnuts, and six acres to the oranges and lemons. Then,
on June 1, 1891, he passed to his eternal reward, kindly remembered by all who knew
him as a man who had contributed his best influence, wherever he had dwelt, for the
building up and the upbuilding of the community. After his death, the widow, with
the assistance of our subject and his two brothers, handled the estate.

On August 3. 1916, Mr. Spencer was married to Miss Annie Irene Thomas, a
native of Cold Springs, Texas, and the daughter of James S. and N. V. (Dobson)
Thomas. Her grandparents were plantation owners, and when she was very young,


her parents moved to Shepherd, Texas, and there she was reared and educated. Later
she attended the Normal School at Huntsville. Texas, but having finished her studies,
she took up nursing near Shepherd. One child has blessed this fortunate union — a
daughter. Gladys Bernice.

To the original Spencer estate now in the name of the widow of Dr. Spencer,
twenty acres were added in 1906, making forty acres in all, and five of these forty
Clarence S. Spencer purchased for himself. He built a beautiful home there in 1917, and
by other improvement's has made a neat "show place" such as one is willing to journey
a few miles to see. Since the time of the purchase of the twenty additional acres, Mrs.
Spencer has bought forty acres half a mile to the north, and one mile west of Fullerton.
These forty acres are open land, as yet unimproved.

Mr. Spencer was a delegate to the Republican County Convention in 1912; and
he is a stockholder in the Fullerton Citrus Orchards, and also in the Fullerton Leasing
Company, handling oil leases. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias Lodge at Anaheim,
and is among the most popular of its devoted members.

GEORGE S. SMITH. — If there is anyone in Orange County who has demon-
strated a proper appreciation of both the responsibility and the delicacy of the task
committed to the undertaker, then surely that man is George S. Smith, who came
here to California during the great "boom" in Southland realty, and has seen Orange
County and her sister districts gradually develop and take to themselves the best that
modern social and business life, in all their complexities, can afford. He was born
on a farm near Albany, 111., on July 25, 1871, the son of S. W. Smith, who came here
in 1886 and later established the undertaking business which in 1891 became Smith
and Son. He retired from active work in 1914, and on March 24, 1916, himself passed
way. Mrs. Smith, too, who was Elizabeth Myers in maidenhood, is also dead.

George received his early training at the grammar and high schools of Santa
-Ana. and finished his course at the Los Angeles Business College, Then he learned
the difficult work of undertaking with a first-class firm in Los Angeles, and after that
became associated with his father in the partnership referred to. When S. W. Smith
withdrew, the firm was named after our subject. In 1915 it became Smith and Tuthill.
a name now widely and well known. For eight years, Mr. Smith was coroner and
public administrator. As a leading business man, he belongs to both the Santa Ana
Chamber of Commerce and Merchants and Manufacturers Association, serving as
treasurer for several terms, and was at one time a director of the Merchants and
Manufacturers organization and the Chamber of Commerce. As an orchardist. Mr.
Smith has developed four ranches.

On May 1. 1894. Mr. Smith was married to Miss Carrie R. Jones, who attends
with him the Presbyterian Church. A daughter is Mrs. Georgia Atsatt of Berkeley.
Mr. Smith is a Republican in national politics, and for two years was secretary
of the Orange County Republican Central Committee. He is a Mason, a Knight
Templar, an Odd Fellow and an Elk; and belongs to the Orange County Golf Club.

F. D. PLAVAN. — A well-educated, genial gentleman, who easily evidences his
descent from the best of Roman ancestry, is F. D. Plavan. the successful ranch owner
residing at 506 South Birch Street. Santa Ana. He was born on December 21. 1867, in
the Waldensian Valley in the Duchy of Savoy — that picturesque and romantic country,
once a part of the Sardinian Kingdom, but ceded to France in 1860. His father was
David Plavan. a horticulturist and agriculturist, a native of that country, who had
married Elizabeth Balmas, also of Savoy; they passed on to their eternal reward, the
father at the age of eighty-four, the mother tour years older. The grandparents of
our subject were also hardy and long-lived, attaining each an age above ninety.

Having enjoyed the best of educational advantages in the schools of his native
district, in which he was taught both French and Italian, while he learned the patois
of the Waldenses. Mr. Plavan bade good-bye to home and parents when fifteen years
of age. and followed an older brother. David, now deceased, who had migrated to
.America and settled in Missouri. Sailing from Havre, he landed in New York on
July 28, 1883. .At Plymouth, Mo., he joined his brother and remained for a month,
then the two brothers came west to California. F. D. secured employment in Santa
Clara County, working on fruit ranches and in almond orchards and vineyards in the
Santa Clara Valley for four years.

In 1887 Mr. Plavan went back to Missouri and engaged in farming, and there he
was married in 1889 at Monette to Miss Katie Planchon. born in South America of
Waldensian parentage. After two years of farming he rented out his land and went
to work in the railwav shops at Monette for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway,
and he continued in the employ of this company for eighteen years, being for nine and
a half years a locomotive engineer.





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In 1905 Mr. Plavan returned to California, and settled near Huntington Beach.
He bought and improved a ranch of ten acres, then sold it and moved east to Talbcrt,
where he improved a 200-acre ranch. .\t one time he farmed from 300 to 500 acres,
usually putting 300 acres into sugar beets. Before that time he grew celery very
extensively and successfully, and served as a director in the Orange County Celery
Growers' .Association. In 1920 he had 140 acres in sugar beets, 120 acres in lima beans,
barley and alfalfa. He and his wife also own a fine dairy ranch of 100 acres near
Talbert. With his oldest son. Urban H.. of Huntington Beach, he owns some 440
acres of land at Lake View, Riverside County. Mr. Plavan helped organize the
Greenville Bean Growers' Association, and with others was instrumental in building
the large fireproof warehouse at that place.

Mr. and Mrs. Plavan have eight children, who have belonged to the First Presby-
terian Church at Santa .-\na, and in this organization Mr. Plavan was an elder for
three years: Urban H. resides at Huntington Beach; - Mma is the wife of Loren Mead, a
Santa Ana boy. a graduate of Cornell University and an employee of the Standard Oil
Company; Ernest farms at Lake View, and Paul is also ranching there; Clyde assists
his father on the ranch; Leland and Edith are graduates of the Santa Am high school,
and Wilma is a student there. Paul and Clyde rendered good service to their govern-
ment during the late war. and were honorably discharged.

Orange County may well be proud of the invaluable contribution made to its
permanent growth and real progress by such citizens as Mr. and Mrs. Plavan and
their family.

GEORGE W. POLLARD.— .\ man who by hard and honest toil has become one
of the best known ranchers of his district and has come to enjoy a large place in the
confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens, is George VV. Pollard of Tustin, who from
a very small beginning has accumulated a large acreage now yielding, under his wise
management, a bountiful harvest. His homestead comprises ten acres, which are de-
voted to the production of oranges and English walnuts. In addition, he owns sixty
acres in Delhi, in two ranches of forty and twenty acres, where he raises sugar beets.
If we look for a self-made man, then surely Mr. Pollard will fill the bill.

He was born in Erie County. N. Y., on December 1, 1859, the son of Hopkins
and Sarah (Grannis) Pollard of New England stock, and was reared and educated until
his twelfth year, in Darien, Genesee County, N. Y. In 1872 he removed with a sister
to Kansas, near Chanute, and in that state he remained until 1884, when he came to
California. He first settled in Santa .Ana, where he was employed on ranches for
one year and then purchased the street sprinkling outfit from William Bush and con-
tinued to sprinkle the streets of Santa Ana, until the city was incorporated. He
pumped the water from a well at the corner of Spurgeon and Second streets with the
old-fashioned horsepower method, using one horse, and the streets were served by
a sprinkler drawn by a team. He also had a tank wagon to furnish water to contrac-
tors in making foundations. When Santa Ana was incorporated he sold them
the sprinkler and followed teaming for some years. He had the contract to haul the
steel and granite for the new court house, and when it was completed, he moved on
to the Ritchey ranch and ran it for four years and then bought twenty acres, his
present place, but has since sold ten acres of it, retaining ten acres on Walnut Street,
south of Red Hill Street in Tustin. This he has set to \'alencia oranges and walnuts,
and he has an electric pumping plant with thirty-inch capacity. .\s early as 1887 Mr.
Pollard purchased land at Delhi and he now owns two ranches there, each having an
electric pumping plant and devoted to sugar-beet culture. He was among the first
in this vicinity to raise beets for the sugar factory, at times having out several hundred
acres, at which he continued until he turned it over to his sons. Mr. Pollard helped
to build the street car line to Tustin and also helped to build the railroad to Newport.
He hauled the material for many of the early buildings in Santa .\na. as well as
freight from Newport Beach to Santa Ana. Since that time he has turned his waste
land into its present productive condition, and not only evidenced his own farsighted-
ness, efficiency in general and special adaptability to just such problems, but he has
demonstrated beyond question what California, and in particular what Orange County
and Tustin can do for the ambitious settler.

At Santa Ana in 1889 Mr. Pollard was joined in marriage to Miss Catherine Wood-
house and they are the parents of seven children: Walter J., who resides in Tustin. is
a rancher at Delhi; .\lbert is farming at Delhi; Clarence is a student at the Lhiiversity
of California at Berkeley; William is farming with Walter; Jennie is a student nurse
at the Methodist Hospital, Los .'Kngeles; Helen and Ronald are at home. Albert, a
member of the .American Expeditionary Forces in the World War. saw service in
France and he also saw service, prior to going abroad, on the Mexican border; Clar-


ence was at Camp Lewis; and William served in the army at Camp Kearny, where
he was stationed when the armistice was signed.

Mrs. Pollard is a native daughter, born at Bolsa, five miles west of Santa Ana,
and the daughter of John and Mary J. (Cook) Woodhouse, born in Scotland and
Missouri, respectively. Her father was a sailor for fifteen years and came around Cape
Horn to San Francisco at the time of the discovery of gold and in 1849 quit the sea and
went to the mines, following gold mining for fifteen years with its ups and downs,
during which time he met Miss Cook, who, when a child, had crossed the plains with
her parents to Sonoma County; after their marriage they came to Bolsa and were
farmers until their demise. Mrs. Pollard, who was educated in the public schools of
this county, is a woman of rare attainments, good judgment and much business acumen
and has always encouraged her husband in his ambition and thus assisted and helped
him in every way. Cultured and refined, they are both highly esteemed and appre-
ciated by all who know them.

Republicans in matters of national political import and nonpartisan supporters of
every good movement for the uplifting of the community, Mr. and Mrs. Pollard are
Presbyterians, but give their support with equal heartiness to any rational program for
retigious growth.

JACK JENTGES. — Up-to-date and progressive in every feature of its life and
development. Garden Grove attracts energetic, progressive men who are on the lookout
for a place where wealth is poured into the lap of the worker who will use the
intelligence with which he has been endowed. Among the men of this order residing
at Garden Grove, Jack Jentges is worthy of special mention. He was born December
12, 1873, at Korich, Canton of Kapellen, in the independent grand duchy of Luxemburg.
His father, Peter Jentges, a farmer in Luxemburg, and his mother, Mary Ann (Engels)
Jentges, were the parents of eight children, six of whom, four boys and two girls, grew
lo maturity. Five of the children arc living: Jack and his brother Harry, residents of
Garden Grove; Michael, a farmer at Heron Lake, Minn.; and a sister and brother in
their native country of Luxemburg.

lack Jentges was educated in the public schools of his native land and speaks
and writes French and German fluently. He was eighteen years old when he left home
and sailed from Antwerp for America's shores, and landing at New York, he proceeded
to Iowa, where he worked by the month as a farm hand for two years, and attended
the public school for two months one winter. His knowledge of English was acquired
after coming to America. From Iowa he came to California in December, 1894, with
a depleted pocketbook, and learning that employment was to be had at ^^'estminster,
he went there and secured work with John H. Edwards at fifteen dollars per month
on the Edwards ranch. He continued to work for Mr. Edwards as a ranch hand for
several years, and afterward engaged with Lawsing and Larter, for whom he worked
four or five years.

The marriage of Mr. Jentges united him with Miss Dorothy E. Watkins, a native
of Goldendale, Klickitat County, Wash., daughter of Charles and Elizabeth (Kurtz)
Watkins. Her father, a native of Milwaukee, Wis., and her mother, a native of Indiana,
were both descended from good old Pennsylvania stock. Her father is living at Santa
Ana. Mrs. Jentges was two years old when her parents removed from Washington to
Shasta County, Cal.,' and was nine years old when her mother died. .A.fter her mother's
death her Grandmother Watkins reared her and an older and a younger sister. She
was twelve years old when she accompanied her father and the family to Santa Barbara,
Cal.. and at fifteen she removed with the family to Orange County and lived at
Westminster and also at Wintersburg, where she was her father's housekeeper. She
moved to Santa Ana with her father and his family, and was married at Santa Ana
December 1, 1911. Mr. and Mrs. Jentges are the parents of two children, Gertrude
May and Thomas William.

After his marriage Mr. Jentges worked for the Golden West Celery and Produce
Com.pany at Westminster and Smeltzer, being engaged in the business when it was at
its zenith. Later he rented land, became an independent celery grower and was among
the unfortunate growers who suffered the loss of all they had when the celery blight
came and celery growing failed. With eighty dollars in his pocket he moved to Santa

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 81 of 191)