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 84 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 84 of 191)
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During the journey his eldest sister, Mrs. Sarah J. Dinsmore, died, and was buried
on the Humboldt River, but aside from this sad incident good luck attended the ven-
ture of these sturdy emigrants, who had no trouble with the Indians, lost only two
head of oxen on the way — poisoned by alkali — and arrived at their goal with ten head
of horses, whereupon they settled in the San Jose Valley, remaining in Santa Clara
County for the year 1863-64. Then they went to San Joaquin County and farmed for
four years, purchasing 320 acres of land there and raising wheat by dry farming.

In 1868 Mr. Yount went to Stanislaus County, and near what is now Modesto
purchased 240 acres on which, for another four years, he raised wheat. His next move
was to Visalia, where he purchased a half-section of range for sheep, besides which
he rented some land; and for a couple of years he raised sheep there. In 1875 he
sold out and came south to Compton, Los Angeles County, where he purchased and
farmed forty acres.

When he had disposed of this land, in 1880, Mr. Yount came to Santa Ana. and
on Lyon Street in Tustin he bought twenty acres. It was raw land, but he set it out
to grapevines; the vines died, and then he set walnuts. The acreage is now under the
Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company, and is therefore well watered. Mr. Yount lived
on the ranch at Tustin and thus was enabled to give his personal attention to the
improvements which afterward made the sale of the property, at a neat profit, easy.
He then purchased an alfalfa ranch of twenty acres on McFadden Street, and when
he had sold that, bought a ten-acre ranch on Santa Clara Avenue, which he had for a
year. His next purchase was a ten-acre grove of Valencia oranges on Collins Avenue,
northeast of Orange, which he retained until 1919, when he sold it.

At Compton, on March 12, 1880, Mr. Yount was married to Miss Alice A. Twombly,
who was born near Lansing, Leavenworth County. Kans., the daughter of Benjamin
H. and Augusta A. Twombly, educators known for their idealistic, efficient work both
in Kansas and California. Her father, a graduate of Dartmouth College, a fine scholar
and linguist, and an able speaker, was an attorney and a member of the Kansas legis-
lature, and was a member of the committee that located the state penitentiary at
Lansing, Kans. He was the first tax collector of Howard County. Mo., and he rode
horseback with saddlebags over the county fulfilling the duties of his ofiice. Coming
to California for his health in 1873, he was followed two years later by his wife, his
daughter Alice, now Mrs. Yount, and his son Benjamin. Four children — two boys
and two girls — blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Yount: John H. is with the Southern
Pacific Railroad in Los Angeles; Augusta is Mrs. George H. Merrill of Los Angeles;
Charles is with the American Express Company at the same place, and Harriett, who
graduated from the Los Angeles State Normal and the State Manual Arts School.
Santa Barbara, is now in Hollywood, teaching at the Manual Arts School. In 1908
Mr. Yount purchased the residence at 844 Van Ness Avenue, Santa Ana, and here has
since made his home.




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HISTORY OF OR.\X(^,E COUNTY 739

Mr. Yount has several times held offices of considerable public trust, and well Iie
deserves to have done so. for in 1888 he circulated the first petition to form the county
of Orange. For two years, from 1887 to 1889. he was deputy assessor of Los Angeles
County, and from 1889 to 1897 was deputy assessor of Orange County. He thus
served under C. C. Mason, Fred Smythe and Frank Vegley, and if he found them
inspiring chiefs, it is certain they found in him one of the rare dependables.

Mrs. Yount has always been prominent in the civic and social life of Santa Ana;
for more than twenty-eight years she has been a member of the Sedgw.ick Corps, No.
17, W. R. C. of Santa Ana. and occupied the office of president three different times.
In 1907, at the Department Convention, held at Santa Barbara, she had the honor of
being elected department president of California and Nevada, presiding at the depart-
ment convention held at Santa Ana in May, 1908, and the same year she attended the
national G. A. R. Encampment, held at Saratoga Springs. N. Y., thus being honored
for her splendid work as department president. Mr. and Mrs. Yount have been
active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Santa Ana for over thirty-six
years, Mrs. Yount being president of the ladies' aid society for thirteen years, and
they are among the oldest and most prominent members of that church. Thej'
are both staunch Republicans and prominent in the councils of the party. Mr. Yount
was for years a member of the county central committee, and is now active in the
work of the local Republican club.

WILLIS J. NEWSOM.— An interesting representative of a fine old pioneer
family of California, and a man of such progressive tendencies that, as a natural leader
he has been able to point the way onward and upward to others, is Willis J. Newsom,
the well-known teacher of Los Angeles and the president of and prime mover in the
Farmers' Loan Association of Orange County. He was born at Glen Elder, Mitchell
County, Kans., on April 20, 1882, the son of Alfred J. and Christina (White) Newsom,
who came to El Modena in 1887. The father bought some land there, but sold it and
went to Pasadena, thence to Lankershim. and from Lankershim to Whittier; moving
to Garden Grove in the fall of 1891.

Willis attended the schools at Garden Grove, and for a year went to the Santa
Ana high school, still later studying at the Los Angeles Normal School, from which
he was graduated in 1903. He began to teach at West Anaheim, and is now teaching
at the Santa Fe special school for incorrigibles at Los Angeles. Besides taking charge
of this responsible work, going back and forth every day, he directs the farming of
forty acres of land near Garden Grove.

He owns twenty-five acres, has planted ten acres to Valencias, and fifteen acres
to budded walnuts. He has improved the ranch with a fine house, the best of facilities
for a water supply, and a mile of cement pipe for irrigation. All this he has in a high
state of cultivation. He is a member of the Farm Bureau.

In 1917, the Federal Farm Loan Association of Orange County was organized,
and Mr. Newsom became its president. How well he has pushed its interests and
directed its expansion may be shown from the fact that today it has outstanding loans
aggregating a quarter of a million dollars, and is growing faster than ever.

Mr. Newsom was married in 1907 to Miss Grace Parish of Berkeley, who died in
1913, leaving one child, Christine Elizabeth. He was married a second time in 1915
to Miss Glee Woolley of Alva. Okla.. then a teacher at Covina; and one child has
blessed this second union — Willis Robert. Mr. Newsom is a Republican, and belongs
to the Southern California Teachers' Association.

CHARLES C. KINSLER.— A i)ioneer of Brea and one of the first men who
settled there, Charles C. Kinsler is well known as a prominent citizen who always takes
an active lead in the advancement of the interests of his home town.

He is a native of the Empire State, and was born January 4. 1878, at Otto, N. Y.,
but was reared at Bradford, Pa., where his ediication was acquired in the public scliools
of that place, and as a boy he was in the employ of the J. T. Jones Oil Company of
Bradford. He is a veteran of the Spanish War, having enlisted as a regular in the
Thirteenth United States Infantry when the trouble with Spain arose. One of the
heroes of San Juan Hill. Cuba, he served alongside the late Theodore Roosevelt and
was wounded in the leg during service. After his discharge from the army he came to
Olinda, Orange County, Cal., December. 1899, where he worked for the Olindh Oil
and Land Company for one year. He then located at Whittier, and was in the employ
of the Home Oil Company at that place. .Afterward he became major and drill master
at the Whittier State Reform School, retaining the position three years. He then went
to the Puente oil district, w^hcrc he was engaged with the Birch Oil Company. In 1912
he purchased land at Brea. buying the third lot that was sidd in the town, and he built



740 ■ HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

one of the first homes on the townsite. He held the office of city clerk of Brea and
was the first secretary of the Chamber of Commerce after its inauguration, resigning
the position in 1920. At present he is engaged in the real estate and insurance business
and is also secretary of the Brea Oil Workers' Union.

Mr. Kinsler's marriage united him with Miss Lena Morse, a native of Vermont.
and they are the parents of three daughters: Thelma, Arlene, and Mildred. Fraternally
Mr. Kinsler is very prominent in Masonic circles. He is a member of the Blue Lodge
and Chapter at Fullerton, the Whittier Commandery, and the Shrine at Los Angeles.
He is further affiliated with the Knights of Pythias at Brea, the D. O. O. K. at Los
Angeles, the B. P. O. Elks at Anaheim, and is a Modern Woodman. He takes a keen
interest in the welfare of Brea, is a dominant factor in its business life, ever on the
alert to advance its best interests, and justly enjoys the comforts worthily earned by
his labors, and the esteem and respect of his fellow-citizens.

ROBERT GISLER. — An Orange County rancher who has contributed much
toward the substantial and permanent development of a part of his adopted country,
while advancing in prosperity for himself, is Robert Gisler, a native of Switzerland,
where he was born in the Canton Uri, on February 28, 1861. His father was Joseph
Gisler, a farmer and a dairyman, who had married Elizabeth Troxel,; they were born,
married and died in the canton so famous in Swiss history. They had nine children, two
of whom died young; Robert was the fifth in the order of birth, and is the only one in
California. Besides himself, the only other surviving member of the family is a sister,
Mrs. Rosa Scroggin, who dwells on the old Gisler homestead. Robert grew up a Swiss
peasant boy. attended the Roman Catholic Church, and learned the German language.
His mother died when he was fifteen; and perhaps it was his early dependence that
made him desire all the more to see America.

At seventeen, then, he bade good-bye to father, brothers and sisters, and took the
railway to Havre, France, from which port he was to sail across the Atlantic. He
embarked on May 1, 1878, and eleven days later arrived on a French liner at Castle
Garden. Without delay he pushed on to Sacramento, Cal., together with some young
folks from Switzerland- who had relatives at \entura; and from Sacramento they took
the river boat to San Francisco. Even the strange metropolis of the Coast did not
detain them, and as soon as possible they continued their journey by steamship to
Ventura, where they arrived on June 4, 1878. Mr. Gisler had only enough money to
take him to Ventura, and on arriving there he immediately went to work on a farm.

He labored fourteen months for one employer at that place, and then went back
to San Francisco and worked at various kinds of employment, mostly dairying, for a
couple of years. He put in another two years at dairying in Napa, when he .returned
to Ventura County and began to farm for himself. He became acquainted with Casper
Borchard, Sr., and from him rented a grain ranch of 2,400 acres, in the management
of which he continued for four or five years. He toiled and struggled, but prices were
very low, and the laborer at times could scarcely depend upon a reward worth talking
about. He then bought 300 acres of grain ranch, well situated in N'cntura County, but
after farming there for five years he sold it.

In 1903 Mr. Gisler came down to what was known as Gospel Swamp and bought
some eighty acres as a starter, bringing with him his wife, whom he had married in
Ventura County. Her maiden name was Anna Pflanzer, and she was a native of
Switzerlan-d, having come to America with her sister, now Mrs. Samuel Gisler of
Huntington Beach, when a young woman. The happy and resolute couple set about
to improve the Swamp property; they cleared away the willows and drained and plowed
and cultivated. After a while Mr. Gisler purchased sixty acres more, and then another
sixty acres, and after that twenty acres; so that he finally had about 220 acres a mile
south and a mile east of Talbert. In partnership, also, with his two sons, Walter and
Tom. Mr. Gisler bought from F. D. Plavan, in 1919, a handsome block of ninety-nine
acres, for which they paid $50,000. He has since built a large farmhouse, and has sunk
three ten-inch wells and four seven-inch wells, installed a pumping plant and built a
tank house, thus adding greatly to the improvements on the home place — improvements
in which he can take the more pride since they are the fruit of his own toil.

At first Mr. Gisler kept cows and went in for dairying, but as soon as he got his
land clear he continued the raising of sugar beets, a knowledge of which he had acquired
in Ventura County. There was then no sugar factory, except the one at Los Alamitos,
and his first four crops were shipped up to Oxnard. He has seen the several beet sugar
factories built at Huntington Beach and Santa Ana, and he now sells to both the Holly
Sugar Corporation at Huntington Beach and the Southern California Sugar Company




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HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 743

at Santa Ana. In 1919 he had forty-five acres of sugar beets, while he now grows
mostly lima beans. In 1920, for example, he and his sons planted about 200 acres to
lima beans and eighty acres to sugar beets, and the balance to alfalfa.

Mr. and Mrs. Gisler belong to the Roman Catholic Church at Huntington Beach,
and Mr. Gisler is a member of the Knights of Columbus at Anaheim. In national
politics he is a Republican, but he never draws the party line when it is a question of
giving a whole-hearted support to a worthy local movement. They have seven children:
Walter, who married Marie Collins of Talbcrt, is a rancher; Emma is the wife of
Bernard Stouffer, another rancher, and lives at Anaheim; Thomas is also a rancher;
Delia has graduated from the Huntington Beach High School, and is now living at
home; and there are Agnes, Harold and Lucile.

Thomas Paul Gisler, the third in the order of birth, was called into service for
the great World War through the first draft, and trained at Camp Lewis. Then he
joined Company E of the Three Hundred and Sixty-fourth Infantry. On July 12, 1918,
lie sailed from New York for Southampton, and then proceeded to Havre — the same
port from which his father had embarked for America — and for a month continued
training at Longchamps. From there he was assigned to the reserves at St. Mihiel,
France, and in the great Argonne drive was wounded in the left arm by a piece of
shrapnel. His severe injuries confined him to a hospital in France for eight and a half
months, and on account of disability he was discharged at the Letterman Hospital in
San Francisco on June 9, 1919.

ALFRED E. HAWLEY, MRS. ELIZABETH M. HAWLEY.— Distinguished as
the oldest living pioneers at Newport Beach, in point of actual continuous residence,
Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Hawley enjoy an enviable position at one of the most attractive
and most promising of all beach resorts along the Californian Coast. Their faith in
Newport Beach, it is not surprising to learn, has always been firm, and it is getting
stronger year by year. They have invested wisely here and now own a number of
choice residential lots and about eight houses, which they have built and which they
keep rented out. They have been in Orange County for thirty-three years, and if
anyone is likely to make a success of the business in realty so ably handled by Mrs.
Hawley, they are the old-timers of experience.

Mr. Hawley manages a large sporting-goods store at 305 N. Sycamore Street,
Santa Ana, and is the head of the firm of A. E. & E. M. Hawley, and is therefore
one of Santa Ana's pioneer business men; a gentleman of strict integrity, deep knowl-
edge of human nature, and a reputation for urbanity and a desire to please, who
naturally has both a wide acquaintance throughout the county, and also a very profit-
able and growing trade.

He was born in Cambridge, Vt., and when his mother died in Vermont he came
to Madison County, N. Y., with his father, Julius Hawley. He attended school near
Oneida, and it was there he met the lady who afterwards became his wife, Elizabeth
(Mallery) Hawley. She, however, was born near Lansing, Mich., Init reared in \ir-
ginia. She was the daughter of Gibson and Sarah M. (Chadwick) Mallery, both natives
of England.

After his marriage Alfred E. Hawley engaged in manufacturing, becoming super-
intendent of the Wescot Chuck Company at Oneida. They were manufacturers of
lathes and drill chucks. However, they had a longing to live on the Pacific Coast, so
came to Santa Ana in 1887. He purchased the small stock of sporting goods from
J. P. Hutchins, which business he enlarged from time to time until it is the largest
of the kind in the county, and he now has tliirty-three years of honorable and suc-
cessful business experience to his credit.

Mr. and Mrs. Hawley first' came to Newport Beach in the boom year of 1888,
and the summer month of August, and it is natural that they should feel the deepest
interest in the building up of what today owes so much to them. They have three
children: O. J. and Ralph E. are associated with Mr. Hawley in the store, while .\rline
married Terrel Jasper, and he is assistant postmaster at Newport Beach, and shares
in the popularity of the family. Mr. Hawley's enterprise leads him into being an
active member of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Merchants and Manufac-
turers Association. Fraternally, they are members of the Maccabees, while Mr. Hawley
is a popular member of the Santa .A.na Lodge of Elks, where he is much appreciated
for his native good humor and pleasantness.



744 HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY

C. GEORGE PORTER. — A representative of one of the most historic American
families in Orange County, C. George Porter is well known as both the owner of a
very fine orange grove and also as a leading and helpful spirit in the local fraternal
world. He was born, a native son, in Orangethorpe, Los Angeles County, now Orange
County, on March 7, 1875, the son of Benjamin F. and Mary H. (Meade) Porter, who
have been identified with Orangethorpe and its district since the early seventies. The
father, who was born and educated in Tennessee, came to San Diego County in 1869,
journeying hither from Texas. He was a plantation holder in that commonwealth, and
was therefore always a man of influence. On coming to what is now Orange County,
he bought forty acres on the north side of Orangethorpe Avenue, and this his wise
and progressive management soon made known as the Porter Estate. There our
subject lived until he was married, on July 29, 1898, to Miss Jane Orell Jennings, a
native of Kansas, who grew up in San Diego; she passed away on September 11, 1917.
leaving one child, Charles G., Jr., and the memory of a charming woinan.

In 1898 George Porter purchased fifteen acres on the south side of Orangethorpe
Avenue, and he now has a valuable grove devoted to Valencia oranges, which he markets
through the Specialty Fruit Company of Fullerton. Well-grounded in his education at
the Orangethorpe graded school, and later at the Los Angeles Business College, Mr.
Porter has operated successfully in both oil and real estate in the county.

On December 22, 1919, Mr. Porter was married for the second time, his bride
being Mrs. Alta Rose Rhodes, a native of Iowa, in which state she was educated; and
they reside in the fine Porter home built by our subject in 1898. .A member of the
Masonic Lodge of Fullerton the last twenty years, Mr. Porter has been active there,
and he is a past master of the Blue Lodge; also belongs to Fullerton Chapter and
Santa Ana Council and the Hacienda Country Club. He also belongs to the Eastern
Star. In national political affairs he prefers to work with the Democrats, but he is
too broad-minded to allow partisanship to interfere with his support of any movement
properly indorsed and likely to benefit the community in which he lives and prospers.

CHARLES DAVID OVERSHINER.— Among the Federal representatives in Cali-
fornia whose administration of oftice has proved satisfactory, is Charles David Over-
shiner, the popular postmaster of Santa Ana, who hails from Kentucky, where he was
born at Hopkinsville, Christian County, on December 29, 1863. His father was the mer-
chant, John G. Overshiner, who married Miss Margaret Nichols, the daughter of David
and Mary Nichols, and by her had nine children, of whom five are living. Both parents
are now dead.

Mr. Overshiner enjoyed the usual public school advantages of those days, and
supplemented them in the field where so many men have acquired a rare education —
that of printing. Having learned the printer's trade, he came to California in June.
1883, locating at Santa Ana, and identified himself with the Santa -Ana Standard, later
with the Blade, and still later with the Santa Ana Bulletin, in which he still retains
a half interest.

As a Democrat, Mr. Overshiner was active in support of his party, and on January
12, 1915, was appointed to the responsible position he now holds. His only child.
William H., is a graduate of the Santa Ana high school and the University of California,
and is a civil engineer, connected with the U. S. Geodetic Survey, stationed in the
Philippines. Mr. Overshiner is a Mason, Odd Fellow and an Elk, and has attained to
various chairs, his popularity in official circles even being eclipsed liy that showered
upon him in fraternal life.

J. M. CALLAN. — An enterprising, progressive citizen, whose burning desire for
years at last drove him "back to the soil," is J. M. Callan. now handsomely rewarded
for the struggles of the past in the possession of one of the best-developed groves in
Orange County. A native son, proud of his association with this great state, he was
born in El Monte, on July 4. 1867, the son of J. M. and Ruth J. (Glenn) Callan. The
father came to California in 1850, and the mother reached here in the hardly less
stirring days of a decade later. J. M. Callan, Sr., settled at first in Northern California,
and when he came south, he pitched his tent at El Monte.

Our subject thus went to school at El Monte, and finished his education at the
Woodbury Business College. His father having died when he was an infant, his mother
married a second time, then becoming the wife of M. F. Quinn. The lad helped his
stepfather until he was seventeen years old, and then he began to work for an uncle
who had a ranch of 2,400 acres, and raised stock. This uncle was A. T. Currier, senator
from the thirty-eighth district.

On November S. 1891, Mr. Callan was married to Miss Lenore Bronson. a native
of Savannah and the daughter of A. C. and Fannie (Green) Bronson, also early settlers



HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY 747

of California. She was educated at Walnut and Spadra, and was particularly fortunate
in having superior opportunities, from which she profited, for the study of music.

While a boy, it may be mentioned, J. M. Callan served as page during three
sessions of the state legislature, and thus had the best chance to see and hear notable
men, and to be present on historic occasions. He came to know, in particular, Hiram
Johnson, and has always cherished the friendship then formed. He was also a carrier
of telegrams between Los Angeles and San Dimas, and went the whole distance on
horseback. After his marriage, Mr. Callan farmed for four years, and then, in 1896, he
went to Arizona, trying his luck at silver and lead mining, south of Casa Grande, in
the Vekol district. After two years in that state, he returned to California and worked
in the railway mail service. He traveled on various lines, but chiefly on the Southern
Pacific, and ran especially between Los Angeles and El Paso, and Los Angeles and
San Francisco.

His main interest, however, has always been ranching, and in 1912 he purchased
ten acres in oranges and eight acres in walnuts, grubbed up the latter and set out
Valencias. In 1916 he purchased an additional twenty-five acres, also devoted to
oranges, and like the other ranch, well watered by the Anaheim Union Water Company.
Now he is a director in the Anaheim Orange and Lemon Growers Exchange; and his
son Forrest is living upon a part of the homestead, and also forwarding by his work



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 84 of 191)