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 83 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 83 of 191)
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him here and to Orange County, and with his family he settled at Westminster, where
he took up his practice again. In 1906 he removed to Garden Grove, coming here early
enough to see the advent of the Pacific Electric Railway in the town. He welcomed
it, as he welcomed everything else of benefit to the community, for he is by nature a
good booster. The same year he built a bungalow residence, and now he owns a home
with an orange grove of five acres, which he set out himself. He has added a ten-acre
orchard of walnut trees, six years old, a mile northeast of Garden Grove, which he also
looks after in person.

In 1911 Dr. Violett established the modest but very efficient cottage hospital of
four beds and an operating room at Garden Grove, which has served the community
admirably, proving a very necessary adjunct to this growing section. His family
practice is constantly increasing and he has more than he can do. He is a member of
the American Medical Association, the State Medical Society, treasurer of the Orange
County Medical Association, and, last but not least, a member of the Volunteer Medical
Service Corps.

Dr. ^'iolett helped organize the Chamber of Comnu-rcc, which was first known
as the Business Men's Association, and when, in June, 1919. it became the Chamber of
Commerce, he was made its president. In national politics a Democrat, he is a member
of the Democratic Central Committee of Orange County. For ten years past Dr.
Violett has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the First Baptist Church at
Garden Grove and is now the treasurer. He is a well-known Mason and is a member
of Santa Ana Lodge No. 241. F. & A. M., Orange Chapter No. 73, R. A. M., Santa Ana
Commandery No. 36, K. T., and he belongs to .\\ Malaikah Temple. .A. .\. O.N. M.S., of
Los Angeles. Mrs. Violett is a member of the Eastern Star at Santa Ana. Dr. \'iolett



728 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

is a past master of the lodge at Napoleon. Ky.. where he was made a Mason, and was
master there for four years, in different terms.

During the war Garden Grove made an excellent record, going over the top in
all the drives, the Liberty and Victory loans, and in all the other activities, but in the
work of the Red Cross, especially, a great service was accomplished, and for this much
credit is due to the ability and initiative of Mrs. Violett and her associates, for through
her efficient organization as chairman of the Garden Grove auxiliary the work was
speeded up and there was a most generous response from the whole community in
garments, money, time and labor. Out of this spirit of patriotism and activity has
grown the establishment of the Red Cross Community nurse of Orange County, who
is now operating in the public schools of Garden Grove. This was brought to the
notice of the public by the establishment and operation of a rest room and first aid
station at the Orange County Fair. Mrs. Violett has served her community in many
other ways, the most lasting, perhaps, being the establishment of Orange County's
Parent-Teachers' Association.

SOREN CHRISTENSEN.— .\ most highly rc>pected pioneer of the Garden
Grove section of Orange County is found in the person of Soren Christensen, a resi-
dent there since August, 1890, when he settled on his present ranch two miles north-
east from the town. An interesting personality, he has a fund of reminiscences of
the early days of Southern California, particularly of Los Angeles in 1869, the year
of his arrival there in the old Mexican adobe town. Broadway was then known as
Fort Street, barley fields abutted the town where Sixth Street now is, there was not
a house on the hill, no street cars, and Government land was to be had below what is
now Exposition Park. Like thousands of others Mr. Christensen could not foresee
the present condition, and of course let "slip" many chances to become wealthy. His
stories are replete with character sketches of many of the men who later became
prominent in varied circles there.

A native of Denmark, Soren Christensen was born on September 16, 1843, the
son of N. C. and Catherine M. Christensen, who had ten children in their family, six
of whom grew to years of maturity, and two of the sons, the oldest and youngest of
I he family, live in Southern California. Our subject was reared in his native country
until he reached young manhood, attended the schools of his district and was con-
firmed in the Lutheran Church, which, by the way, he has a picture of and is among
his treasures. Leaving home he followed the sea as a common sailor and he landed
in San Francisco on May 1, 1865, sailing through the Golden Gate on a ship he
boarded, after running away from the one he had shipped on, at Mazatlan. He was
barefooted, had worked his passage on the William Richardson, landed without a
dollar except the one a kindly sailor gave him to buy some shoes. Thus he had to
begin at the very bottom of the ladder and he followed the sea in vessels plying
up and down the coast until he tried his luck in mining in Inyo County, where he
worked in the smelter at Swansey. when its first run was made. That life did not
appeal to him and he left it to seek other fields of endeavor.

In 1869 he arrived in Los Angeles and soon entered the service of the Griffith
Lumber Company, with whom he remained for fifteen years. It was in their interests
that he first came to Santa Ana to establish a branch yard, the same year that the
Southern Pacific was finished to that town from Anaheim. Crocker Bowers was the
local agent. This was wdien the town boasted of a store, and but a few scattered
houses to mark the place that has since taken the lead in this part of the state.

In 1890 Mr. Christensen made a deal for sixty acres near what is now Garden
Grove, trading his property in Los Angeles for the ranch, upon which the foriner
owner had erected a brick house, but which has since been razed; there was also a
well 176 feet deep on the place. The ranch was practically raw land, but with char-
acteristic energy the new owner began to improve it and found that two crops could
be raised instead of one if irrigation could be secured and he put down another well
of the same depth, and now has plenty of water for all purposes. He set the land
to oranges, installed a modern pumping plant operated by electric power, and
altogether has been very successful. He still retains thirty-eight acres of his original
purchase, having sold off the balance to his children as they grew up.

Mr. Christensen was united in marriage in 1876. in Los Angeles, with Miss
Johanna C. Johnson, a native of Sweden, but who had come to the United States
in 1869. and to Los Angeles in 1875. She has been a good helpmate and together
this nioneer couple look hack upon a life well spent and to the future without fear,
for they have lived by the Golden Rule and won a wide circle of good friends. Their
marriage has been blessed by the birth of eight children, six of them living: Clara M.,
is the wife of Bruce S. Boyer and lives at Indio: Carl J., is at home; Serena, is teach-
ing in the Twentieth Street school in Los Angeles; Herman W., lives in Long Beach




v^ Se^^/^



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 731

and has two bright children, Leroy and Leslie (the only grandchildren in the Chris-
tensen family); E. Martin, is a rancher in Orange County; Agnes, married S. W.
Gibson and died January 13, 1920; and Albert R., is also living at home. All the
children are graduates of the high school, and Carl served in the Spanish-American
War, and Albert in the World War, and because of efficient service was made a
sergeant and detailed as a mustering officer.

Mr. Christensen is a self-made man, proud of the success he has attained through
honest effort and believes in progress, doing all he can to help build up the county
of his adoption as a member of the Garden Grove Walnut Growers' and Orange
Growers' Associations. His good wife shares in the esteem in which he is held by
all their friends.

J. T. DUNLAP. — A well-cultivated ranch of some of the best Orange County soil
is that of J. T. Dunlap, who resides on Brookhurst Street, near Anaheim, and grows
citrus fruit, according to the most approved methods of science and personal experience.
He has sixteen acres, sufficient to afford anyone ground for modest pride; and if that
should prove insufficient, then Mr. Dunlap can fall back on the fact that his is a native
state which has produced more presidents and more representatives of the Union in
high station than any other. For he was born in Ohio in 1854, the son of William
Dunlap, who was twice married and had ten children. Mrs. Elizabeth (Fonts) Dunlap
was the mother of our subject and five other children besides.

J. T. Dunlap was reared and educated in Missouri, to which state his father moved
while he was yet of tender years. Through the occupations of boyhood, the young
man settled down to agricultural pursuits as the most likely always to guarantee him a
living, and an honest one at that; and this keeping close to Mother Earth brought
various blessings in its train.

In the Centennial Year of the Republic, when California was beginning to be
talked about in the East, Mr. Dunlap came to the Golden State and settled in San
Benito County, where he remained up to 1884, when he removed to Oregon; but in
1903 he returned to Colusa County, Cal., and in 1911 he came to Orange County.

The following year he purchased his present ranch, then raw land, and began to
set out the trees which are today the objects of real interest to those engaged in citrus
culture, and which amply pay for themselves. He belongs to the Garden Grove Orange
Association and delights in participating in both such work and discussion as will tend
to advance California horticulture.

In 1882, Mr. Dunlap was married to Miss Melissa DeVaul, a native of Missouri,
and three children have blessed their union. One is Mrs. Ethel Schroeder; another,
Alice, is a trained nurse; and a third is Mrs. Hazel Suggett. In politics Mr. and Mrs.
Dunlap are independent, but they work hard for the best men and the best measures,
and are very loyal to local community interests.

WILLIAM A. COLLMAN.— A modest, hard-working rancher, who has done
something to advance horticulture in California while attain'ng success for himself, is
William CoUman, who lives three miles to the southwest of Fullerton. on the Brook-
hurst Road. His own life has been varied with interesting experiences, and he represents
those of an earlier generation, who were prosperous and influential in their sphere.

He was born in Freeport, 111., on November 10. 1872, the son of Albertus Collman,
a man of many lines of business and associated in particular with a brother, C. O.
Collman, who was the head of the German Insurance Company of Freeport. William
attended the Freeport common schools, and later the Nagle Business College, and he
spent his early days at home. After his father's death, on July 3. 1880, he w-ent to
Nebraska and embarked in business with his brothers.

In 1896 Mr. Collman came to Fullerton, and purchased, at first, four acres on the
Garden Grove Road. After a short time, however, he sold the same, and then he
bought twenty acres on the Brookhurst Road. Ten acres of this was already set out.
and the other ten he hhnself set out to Valencia oranges. He has an interest in the
Brookhurst Water Company, which owns a pumping plant with a capacity of about
seventy-five inches of water, thus guaranteeing him an excellent irrigation supply. He
markets his oranges through the Anaheim Orange and Lemon .Association, and is
again well served. He cultivates the grove with a tractor, and in other respects follows
the last word of science and uses only the most approved methods and apparatus.

At Los .Angeles, on January 18, 1912, Mr. Collman was married to Miss Ella
Hetrick, a native of Nebraska and the daughter of a worthy Nebraska farmer; and two
children have come to brighten their home: .\lbertus and Wilma. In 1913 he built his
cosy country home. He is a member of the B. P. O. Elks of .Anaheim, and believes
in the fitnes- of the political candidate for office, rather than party endorsement.



7i2 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

CYRUS G. SPARKES. — The poultry industry is fast taking a leading place in the
commercial life of Orange County and the enterprise conducted by Cyrus G. Sparkes
and his partner, Alvin O. Melcher, is the only one of its particular kind in the state.
The place of business is located on Fairview Avenue, Anaheim, where their unique
plant was erected in 1918, and still in its infancy, bids easily to outdistance others in
the state as an up-to-date hatchery for commercial purposes. The building, erected of
hollow tile, and circular in form, is a two-story structure, sixty feet in diameter, built
in the most modern manner and equipped with a heating plant of three units so piped
as to distribute heat to the various compartments where eggs are placed for hatching
and maintain a temperature of 101° to 103° on all levels in the building without the
aid of a fan; the humidity is maintained at 56 per cent without the aid of artificial
moisture. The entire building is well ventilated and can hatch 1,000.000 eggs as easily
as 100. These eggs are arranged on trays and exposed to an equal degree of heat in
all parts and the necessity of having to turn each egg daily is done away with. Heat-
mg. ventilating and moistening is done at the same time by the installation of the
Pemberton System, installed after careful study by Mr. Sparkes and his partner. The
demand for chicks is becoming so great that this institution bids fair to become one of
the most remunerative hatcheries in the state and does away with the old incubator
system so long in vogue all over the country.

Mr. Sparkes owns the ranch on which the hatchery is located and the land is
given over to walnuts, oranges and lemons, and is in a high state of cultivation and
very productive. All the improvements on the place have been the result of careful
study by Mr. Sparkes, who has been a resident of the county since 1893. He is proud
of being a native son of California, for he was born in San Bernardino on June 2,
1859. the son of George W. and Luanna (Roberts) Sparkes, who came across the plains
with ox teams in 1852 and settled at Diamond Springs. This pioneer couple had eight
children, five of whom are still living, viz: E. .\. Sparkes, Mrs. Hattie Carter, Mrs.
Sadie Keller; Cyrus G., and R. J. Sparkes, and three of these live in Orange County.

Cyrus G. received his education in the public schools of this state and followed
agricultural pursuits nearly all his life and has been a pioneer in many activities. He
was married in 1890 to Miss Mary E. Davis, a native daughter of this state, whose
father, D. S. Davis, came as a pioneer in the days of gold and here he married Miss
Clara Brown, a native of Missouri, in 1849. One son has blessed this union, James G.
Sparkes. Mr. Sparkes is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America of .\naheim
and is a real booster for Orange County.

-A resident of Orange County since 1911, -\lvin O. Melcher has entered into the
spirit of this western commonwealth and has become a typical Orange County booster.
He was born in Sheboygan County, \\'is., on January 31, 1893, the son of M. F. and
Bertha Melcher, and is the seventh child in a family of ten children. Of this family,
three of the children and their mother reside in Orange County. For forty years the
father was town clerk of Sherman, Wis., and is now deceased.

A. O. Melcher was united in marriage in 1915, with Miss Vivian Fox. a fair native
daughter, born to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Fox, pioneers of Anaheim, and two daughters
have been born to this couple, Olive and Thelma. Mr. Melcher was formerly occupied
as a builder of houses. He is a member of the B. P. O. Elks of Anaheim.

EDWIN TILL. — A progressive, prosperous rancher who was formerly a successful
Philadelphia merchant, is Edwin Till, now well and favorably known, in addition, as a
contractor, making a specialty of finishing new homes. He is never without plenty of
work, his patrons living at Fullerton. La Habra, Long Beach, Yorba Linda, and from
the latter place to the beaches. He was born in London on October 9. 1856, the son
of Edwin and Eliza Till, and grew up in the world's greatest city, under the guidance
of his father, who was a contractor, operating on a large scale. He attended the London
schools, and was thoroughly prepared for a career at home or beyond the seas. At-
tractive as England was and always is. Mr. Till elected to leave his native land and to
come to America.

He settled in Philadelphia, and there as an enterprising leader in the mercantile
world built up a moderately large business. From Philadelphia he went to Chicago,
and from Chicago to New York; and in each of these places he conducted a dry goods
store for a year. When he returned to Philadelphia it was to resume the selling of
dry goods, and in that city and field he continued until 1894, when he sold out and came
to California. Locating at Latin, near Los Angeles, he lived there for six years,
when he came to Orangethorpe, and in 1900 purchased a ranch of ten acres. The
land was bare, but by hard work and close attention to the problem in hand, Mr. Till
developed the land in an admirable manner, setting it out to Valencia and Navel oranges.
He also built a home on the ranch. .\t first he went in for chickens, but he soon



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HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 735

discontinued the poultry enterprise, and conlined himself to citrus fruit. His land is
under the Anaheim Union Water Company, and that is equivalent to saying that it is
■well-watered.

At London, on March 6. 1884, Mr. Till was married to Miss Adelaide Wyatt, a
native of London and the daughter of James and Adelaide (Barton) Wyatt, the latter be-
ing a descendant of Lady Sarah Barton. Her father was a stone contractor and helped
build the famous Spurgeon Tabernacle in London. Two sons have resulted from this
fortunate marriage. Fredric James is living in Los Angeles and is in the garage
business, and James Fullerton is an electrician with the Union Oil Company of Brea.
He married Ruby McNeil and is the father of a girl, Edna, and a son, Wyatt James;
while Fredric James became the husband of Miss Mary E. Hart. In 1892 Mrs. Till
returned to England to witness the coronation of King Edward — a wonderful sight, as
one might have expected of one of the greatest spectacles in modern history; and she
was also fortunate in being an eye-witness to the Queen Victoria Jubilee in 1887,
celebrating the fifty years of that beloved sovereign's reign. As if, perhaps, to remind
the observing world of Britain's great naval strength, there were seven miles of ships
lined up in close formation at the grand review at Portsmouth. Mrs. Till was one of
the organizers of the Parent-Teachers' Association of the Orangethorpe school district,
and with her husband has always been a liberal supporter to all movements that have
had the betterment of general conditions and the upbuilding of Orange County.

ALBERT H. SITTON.— The development of the automobile industry has led to
the creation of various related enterprises, among them being that of the modern garage;
and these enterprises have called for the brains, experience and aggressive initiative of
thousands known in other fields as successful men of affairs. One such man is Albert
H. Sitton, proprietor of Sitton's Garage, a native son born at Downey on June 18, 1878.

His father was Brice M. Sitton, a farmer who married Miss Nannie B. Harris
whose folks had crossed the great plains by ox-teams in early days. Mr. Sitton arrived
in Nevada in 1869, and three years later reached California. Years afterwards, Mr.
Sitton was killed, and Albert had to assist in the support of his mother and his sister.
The family had settled in Los Angeles County near Orange in 1880, where the mother
still makes her home.

The younger of two children, Albert attended the public schools of Orange County
and then engaged in the bicycle trade in Santa Ana. On January 1, 1900, he went to
Fullerton and for a couple of years continued to repair cycles; and next he embarked
in business for himslf. It was only a step, and a very natural one, to work into auto-
mobile repairs and sales; and now, with northern Orange County as his field, he is
the wide-awake agent for the Overland and Willys-Knight. Self-made in more respects
than one, with his own hand at the helm, Mr. Sitton has been so successful that he
needs to employ ten men.

On August 27, 1902, Mr. Sitton and Miss Rose B. Rogers were married at Fuller-
ton, the bride being the daughter of Joseph Rogers, a rancher. Mrs. Sitton was born
in Iowa. One son, .\rthur. has blessed the union, and with his parents attends the
Baptist Church at Fullerton. \\'hen recreation time comes, Mr. Sitton likes to hunt
and fish. He is a Republican in party politics, but an American first and last, as seen by
his record of service with Company L of the Seventh California Regiment in the Span-
ish-American War. For twelve years. Mr. Sitton has been a school trustee; and while
a member of the school board the present grammar school building was erected. He
served one four-year term as a city trustee.

JOHN M. JOHNSON.— .\ rancher whose several tours of inspection and careful
quest in search of the best soil and conditions for walnut growing were well rewarded
is John M. Johnson, the owner of fifteen acres on La Mirada .\venue, constituting one
of the finest groves in the northwestern section of Orange County. He was born in
Smaland. Sweden, on June 14. 1863, the son of John P. Johnson, who is still living
there, an alert and able-bodied farmer at the golden age of eighty-six years. He had
married Miss Louisa Anderson, and as a good mother she sent John tn the cxcelleni
common schools in his native land.

In 1882, our subject came to .\merica and settled in Duluth, Minn.; and there
lie followed the occupation of a cook, preparing the repasts first for camps and then
■for various well-known hotels. For five years continuously, for example, he was with
the Willard Hotel of Duluth. and previous to his work there he cooked for one of the
largest lumber camps near Duluth. He spent the winter in the camp with the loggers,
and then cooked for the "gang" during the spring drives when the timber was cut
loose and was floated to the mills.

In 1905. Mr. Johnson came to the Pacific Coast and made a tour of inspection
preparatory to purchasing land, and then he spent a season at the Lewis and Clark



736 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

Exposition in Portland, after which he returned to the Southland and purchased his
fifteen acres west of La Habra. The land was practically bare; but he soon set out
thirteen acres to walnuts and two to \'alencia oranges, and he soon had a ranch wliich
many came miles to look over. It is under the service of the La Habra Irrigation
Water Company, and Mr. .lohnson markets his chief product through the California
Walnut Growers Association.

An American citizen full of the American spirit of elevation with expansion, Mr.
Johnson is an Episcopalian, and as such is ever ready to cooperate in good works. He
is a member of the Knights of Pythias of Whittier, and there are few if any members
there both enjoying; and so deserving of popularity.

HENRY YOUNT. — More than interesting and instructive, from several stand-
points, is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Yount, pioneer settlers of California, who,
after a life of hard labor and self-sacrifice, are enjoying the reward of having found
the Golden State a veritable paradise. Mr. Yount was long a faithful and popular
public official, privileged to be identified with the first movements toward the forma-
tion of the county of Orange, and, as a result he is never at a loss, wherever he goes,
for admirers and friends.

He was born near Platte City, Platte County, Mo., on December 11, 1845, the
son of Henry Yount. a native of Pennsylvania and a pioneer farmer in Missouri. He
married Deborah Daugherty, who was born in Indiana, and soon after he died, in
1845, she married, taking for her second husband Abraham Van Vranken. Henry
Yount got what schooling he could in Missouri during the disturbed condition of Civil
War days, and for a while worked on the farm of his stepfather. The latter died in
Missouri in 1860, and three years later Mr. Yount, with his mother and three sisters,
crossed the great plains to California with an ox team in a train of fifty wagons.



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 83 of 191)