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 98 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 98 of 191)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

set the place out to walnuts.

Mr. Otis has been twice married. At Cairo, 111., in September, 1880, he became
the husband of Miss Daisy H. Robbins, who was born in Chicago in 1857, a daughter of
Chandler Robbins and a member of an old Boston family. Her grandfather, the Rev.
Chandler Robbins, was a pastor of one of the Congregational Churches in Boston for
many years, and she was a graduate of Ferry Hall Seminary, Chicago. She passed away,
a sweet memory to all who knew her only to love and esteem her, in Kansas City, in
April, 1891, leaving five children: Lillian is the wife of C. A. Vance of Tustin; William
E. Otis, Jr., lives at Fort Worth, Texas; E. G. Otis is assistant cashier of the California
Bank of Los Angeles; Clara has become the wife of A. S. Cosgrove of the Southern
Trust and Commerce Bank of San Diego; Mildred, who passed away in., 1918, appre-
ciated by a circle of admiring friends, was the wife of Eugene Ferry Smith, an attorney
of distinction in San Diego. On the occasion of Mr. Otis's second marriage, at East
Orange, N. J., in September, 1916, he was joined to Mrs. Emma (Gould) Whipple, a
native of Andover, Mass., and a representative of another old New England family who
have been prominent in American history, being a descendant of Capt. Joseph Gould,
who served as a captain in the Revolutionary War, raising a company of twenty men
at Topsfield. Mass., and marching them to Boston where they fought with the Con-
tinental forces. He was one of Paul Revere's men who rode out and gave the alarm.
On her maternal side Mrs. Otis is descended from the Cogswells of Westbury, Eng-
land, who came to Massachusetts in about 1635 and settled at Andover, and she now
owns the old Cogswell homestead, a quaint old New England home. She is an active
member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, having served as regent of the
Santa Ana Chapter. Mr. and Mrs. Otis are members of the First Congregational
Church of Santa Ana, where Mr. Otis is chairman of the board of trustees, an office
of honor and responsibility which he also most creditably filled for years during his '
residence in Kansas.

WALTER ALBERT STORTZ.— One of the most loyal residents of Seal Beach
who is always pleased to extoll the advantages of its climate and beach attractions, is
Walter Albert Stortz, a native of Ohio, born at Newark, April 24, 1883, the son of
John C. and Elizabeth (Hershman) Stortz, also born in Ohio. His father was a
moulder until cement construction came into general vogue when he followed cement
contracting until he came to California, his wife passing away in Los Angeles, and
he now lives retired in Seal Beach.

Walter A. is the second oldest of their four children, being reared and educated
in Newark. When his school days were over at the age of eighteen years he was


apprenticed at the plumbing and steam heating trade; completing the trade he continued
as a journeyman for several years. Wishing to come to the Pacific Coast, he came
out to Los Angeles in 1909, later on going to San Francisco and afterwards on to
Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, working at his trade in the different cities for about
three years. On account of the damp climate his health became very poor and he
came to Los Angeles and laid off for two years. He could get no relief, the physician
finally telling him he could not live very long, so in his desperation' he determined to
come to the beach and enjoy the few days he had remaining. Coming to Seal Beach,
then Bay City, he went in bathing, rested on the sand, basked in the sun, and ate shell
fish; he started to pick up and in less than one year he went to wDrk. There was no
local plumber here and he was soon in great demand and opened a shop, since which
time he has engaged as contracting plumber. He has done the principal plumbing and
steam heating jobs in Seal Beach and vicinity. Mr. Stortz owns eighty acres of govern-
ment land near Victorville in Luzerne \'alley.

The marriage of Mr. Stortz and Inez Devenney occurred in Seal Beach. She was
born in Anaheim, being a daughter of John and Elizabeth Devenney, old time settlers
in Orange County. Their union has been blessed with one child. Tenney. Mr. Stortz
is serving his second term as a member of the board of trustees of Seal Beach, being
chairman of both police and street committee. He is also an active member and
director of the local Chamber of Commerce. In national politics Mr. Stortz is a
Republican of the progressive type. He is a member of the State Master Plumbers'

HENRY WINTERS. — A pioneer of Orange County whose enterprise is con-
nected particularly with Wintersburg, the town that bears his name, Henry Winters
is a conspicuous example of a successful agriculturist, and notably associated with the
advancement of the country during the past thirty years of his residence in California.
Born in Trumbull County. Ohio, July 12, 1855, he was reared in his native county, where
he attended the public schools and learned the carpenter's trade, at which he served
a three years' apprenticeship. Mr. Winters is of German lineage. His father, Frederick,
who came from near Hamburg, Germany, was a miller by trade, in the old country,
and owned one of the quaint, picturesque old mills run by wind-mill power on the River
Elbe. He married after coming to the United States, in Ohio, and worked five years
for Governor Todd in the coal fields. In 1879 he removed from Ohio and settled in
Saline County. Kans.. where he became the owner of an eighty-acre farm, and lived
practically retired until he died in Kansas at the age of seventy-two. His wife, in
maidenhood Margaret Hardman, emigrated from Germany with her parents' family
in 1830, and belonged to the first generation of boys and girls of Girard, Trumbull
County, Ohio. Her father had seen active service in the French army as a soldier
under Napoleon. She was the mother of eight children, six of whom were by a former
marriage with John Krosinger, a tanner by trade. She attained the advanced age of
eighty-nine and died in Kansas.

Henry Winters married Miss Ella Eckenrode, in Ohio, and with his wife and
family lived at different places in Ohio, Kansas, Washington and Oregon. His wife
died on their first visit to California, in 1883. survived by one child, a daughter named
Blanche, who is now the wife of Peter Lauer of Sharon, Pa. For thirteen years Mr.
Winters followed his trade in Ohio and Kansas, and did a great deal of construction
work in the latter state. He made four overland trips, moving back and forth to
various places, and finally settled in Orange County thirty years ago. In 1895 he
again entered the state of matrimony, being united with Miss Cordelia Wilson, daugh-
ter of John Benjamin and Sarah (Ivy) Wilson of Pasadena, who came to Orange
County and engaged in farming and dairying. Later they moved to Modesto, where
the father died in 1916. The mother is living at Modesto. Mrs. Winters is the oldest
child in a family of eight children, six of whom are living. She was educated at La-
manda Park, Cal., and was nineteen years old when the family moved to the Winters-
burg section of Orange County. Mr. and Mrs. Winters are the parents of six children:
Bonnie H., a stenographer with the Western Union Oil Company at I^os Angeles;
Josephine, the wife of Dale Elliott, residing at Santa Ana; Walter and Wallace, twins,
and sophomores in the Huntington Beach high school; Hazel M.; and Homer A.
After coming to California Mr. Winters turned his attention to agriculture, and his
profound faith in practical development of the soil has not only convinced scores of his
undisputed good judgment, but has been the means of their taking advantage of the
conditions which he has turned to good advantage. In the earlier years of the county's
history, Mr. Winters purchased twenty acres of land in Ocean View where his home
is situated in what is now the great celery district, and turned his attention to raising
corn and potatoes. To this he added in 1917, another twenty adjoining, giving him


forty acres of the best land in the district, for which he refused $50,000 in September,
1920. His land yielded 137 bushels of shelled corn and 100 sacks of marketable potatoes
to the acre the first year, and these were grown in close proximity to tons of pumpkins,
which naturally absorbed much of the richness of the soil. Samples of this remark-
able showing were placed on exhibition at the World's Columbian Exposition at
Chicago, in 1893, and created a great sensation. Probably this exhibit, more than
any other display from California, had a tendency to place the resources of Orange
County in the proper light before the world in general. It was said by J. C. Joplin,
who had charge of the exhibit, that the fact of this exhibit having been grown in con-
junction on the land the same year created the interest. Mr. Winter's name appeared
on the exhibit and resulted in a large correspondence from incredulous and inquiring
observers, which he personally answered. The next year his acreage exceeded the
former production. Another of his exhibits created wonderment at the Chamber of
Commerce at Los Angeles, and he has made a number of creditable exhibits at the
county fairs. He was the first man in Orange County to bring knowledge of the won-
derful peat lands at Wintersburg to the world's attention. He cut a piece of peat two
by twelve by fifteen inches in dimension, and encased it in a glass container, so that the
wonderful composition could be carefully viewed and examined. Not content with
past success, Mr. Winters began to branch out in agriculture on a larger scale. He
purchased twenty acres where Wintersburg now stands and followed the purchase by
another twenty acres in the Fountain "Valley district, four miles southeast of his
present home, which he sold.

He was among the earliest celery raisers in Orange County, and for several
years grew and marketed, on an average, twenty acres of celery per annum. About the
same time he became the owner of 1,280 acres of land in Nye County, Nev., and has
bought and sold land at various times since that, in most instances to good profit.
Owing to his knowledge of the culture of celery, he was chosen president of the Cali-
fornia Celery Company in 1898. He served in this capacity two years, and- placed
Orange County celery on the New York and other Eastern markets. In 1897, when
the railway was built through what is now Wintersburg, by James McFadden, he
cooperated with Mr. McFadden and donated the right of way for station and yardage.
He also donated ground for other town site purposes. In recognition of his valued
services his fellow-townsmen, headed by James Kane, circulated a petition that the
town be named Wintersburg, in his honor, and it was so named. Mr. Winters has
recently built a beautiful and commodious bungalow residence in the suburbs of Win-
tersburg, where he and his family reside and keep up the old-time hospitality for
which California of olden days was renowned. Their guests are treated to the best
there is in the culinary line, and Mr. Winters, who keeps up the old Ohio idea of a
family orchard and vegetable garden, takes pride in the fact that the major portion
of the meats, fruits and vegetables served in his dining room are the product of his
orchard and vegetable garden, in which he grows fifty varieties of fruits. Mrs. Winters
is a member of the Presbyterian Church at Westminster. Mr. Winter's energy, keen
judgment and efficiency, in combination with his versatility and thoroughly disinterested
progressive spirit, entitle him to the high esteem which his friends and fellow-towns-
men accord him. and the wealth and success he has wrested from crude but promising
materials commend itself to the consideration of the younger generation who may be
imbued with ambition and possess the adequate energy and continuity of purpose to
surmount the obstacles that lie in the pathway of success.

SIMON TOUSSAU.— A pioneer who has seen much of California grow from a
wilderness and who is, therefore, a natural lover of the Golden State, is Simon Toussau,
a native of France, where he was born at Oloron, in the Basses-Pyrenees, on November
12, 1877. His father, John Pierre, was a farmer who died in October, 1919; and his
mother, Marie Sarthou, in her maidenhood, passed away the same month. They had
seven children, six of whom are now living, and four are in California. John is a
cement worker in Anaheim; Rose is Mrs. Sesima, of the same place, and conducts the
French Laundry there; Pierre is a grain farmer, residing near Fullerton; and the
youngest is the subject of our review.

He was brought up as a farmer's boy, and in 1898 performed the military service
expected of him as a member, for a year, of the Eighteenth Infantry. On getting his
honorable discharge, and thus securing himself as a patriotic citizen in good standing
for the future, he came to America, and in April, 1901, arrived in California.

He located in Fullerton, where he was employed by August Toussau a sheepman
for three years, and he ranged his sheep where now acres of improved, fruitful ranches
may be found. For four years he was in the employ of the Southern California
Lumber Company in San Pedro, and while there built the residence which he sold




again, in 1920. He was two years with the Anaheim Lumber Company, and when he
quit their yard he bought this ranch of ten acres on the Ball road, now handsomely
set out to Valencia oranges in full bearing. He also cares for forty acres or more of
other orchards. In 1920 he completed a large two-story modern residence, where he
lives with his wife and two children, Madeline H. V. and Albert.

At Anaheim, on February 11. 1904, Mr. Toussau was married to Miss Marie
Poyet, a native of Los Angeles, of French parentage. Her father. Jean B., was born
in Lyons, France, became a marble cutter, and did superb work on cathedrals in
France, and in 1871 came out to Los Angeles, where he engaged in ranching in the
Verdugo. Then he moved to Fullerton, where he bought land, and there he died. His
wife was Victorine Amet, a native of Paris, and she died at Santa Ana. They had
three girls and one boy. and the son and two of the daughters are still living. Believing
that growers must organize and unite to market their product, Mr. Toussau is a member
of the Anaheim Orange Growers Association.

DAVID F. SHARRATT.— Among the most interesting pioneers of Orange County
must be mentioned D. F. Sharratt. a retired citizen of Wintersburg. who was born at
Waterford. Maine, on April 18. 1838. the son of Frederick Sharratt. a native of England.
As a sailor he came to New England, and in Maine married Elizabeth Whitcomb, a native
of that state. He became one of the under-officers of a trading sailing-vessel, which
ran into a tropical gale; the vessel foundered, and Mr. Sharratt was drowned. Besides
a widow, he left two sons, the suliject of our review and an older brother. William
Frederick, who has resided in the Hawaiian Islands since 1855.

Mrs. Sharratt later became the wife of George W. Cummings. and with them
Mr. Sharratt moved from the state of Maine to Wisconsin, in 1850. and settled at Oasis.
Waushara County. He squatted on Government lands on the Menominee Indian
Reservation, and from his fourteenth to his twenty-seventh year worked at lumbering.
In 1865 he was married to Miss Mary Dwyer. a native of Ireland, who was brought to
America in her mother's arms.

Mr. Sharratt left Wisconsin in 1870 and went to Kansas, where he settled at
Blue Rapids. Marshall County, and bought railway lands. He improved his holding
and then sold out at a profit, and after that worked in a flour mill at Blue Rapids
for three years. In 1881 he came with a covered wagon and his wife and children to
Montana, and went into the Bitter Root \'alley.

In the fall of 1895 Mr. Sharratt said goodbye to Montana and pushed westward
to California, and in the spring of 1896 he arrived at Big Rock Creek, in the Antelope
Valley. Later, he came down to Wintersburg and bought twenty acres of land; and
noticing wild celery growing here, he became the pioneer celery grower in the Smeltzer
district, and was one of the most successful celery growers in this section, where, at
one time, over 6,000 acres were devoted to celery culture. This incident alone in the
life of this observing and aggressive pioneer will furnish a cue as to his real character
and the spirit of advancement which has long actuated him.

Mr. and Mrs. Sharratt have four children still living. Emory F. is in the Bitter
Root Valley. Mont.; Edith E. is the wife of S. H. Atkins, a rancher in the Imperial
. Valley; Wallace F. now works on the Sharratt home ranch, although he also has
lands at Watsonville; and W. H. Sharratt lives at the latter place . .\ twin-brother
to Wallace died in Kansas when he was two years old.

Mr. and Mrs. Sharratt attend the Baptist Church at Huntington Beach and par-
ticipate in such good works for social uplift and the general improvement of the com-
munity as they can devote time and labor to. He is a Progressive Republican, and is
never weary in contributing to raise the standard of civic ideals.

BLUFORD C. BAXTER. — An interesting example of one man's struggle toward
success in this, his native state, and his unaided achievement of that end after many
discouragements and ups and downs may be found in the life story of Bluford C.
Baxter. Born February 25. 1866, in Mendocino County. Cal., he is a son of John
and Mary (Taylor) Baxter, the former a native of Tennessee, and the latter of Mis-
souri, both now deceased. The father crossed the plains to California in 1849,
coming from Missouri, and cut timber in Mendocino County, later ranching in Los
Angeles County in the early seventies, near Compton. He also took up Government
land two and one-half miles south of Anaheim, and still later located at Wilmington,
before the city of Long Beach was started.

Bluford C, Baxter attended the country schools in Mendocino, and then at Little
Lake, near Whittier, Los Angeles County, and also at Los Nietos. As a young man
he worked for wages on ranches in Kern County. Locating in Los .Angeles he ran
a transfer business for fifteen years in that city. He finally decided on the Placentia


district for further endeavors, and rented land for ranching activities, and was the
second man to plant and raise sweet potatoes on a large scale, cultivating as high as
ISO acres of that edible and producing from 100 to 250 sacks to the acre. He was
called the Sweet Potato King and had a special brand, of first quality, whith sold
readily at advanced prices, being shipped in carload lots to the mining district of
Arizona. In 1906 Mr. Baxter bought twenty acres of raw land on East Orangethrope
Avenue and raised sweet potatoes at first, then, in 1910, he planted his acreage to
Valencia oranges and now has a finely producing grove, improved with cement pipes
and laterals for irrigating. He owns his own home in Placentia and is a stockholder in
the Placentia Mutual Orange Association. Among his interesting reminiscences of
earlier days in the county is the fact that he helped haul the first load of lumber for
the first oil derrick erected in Orange County; this was located at Olinda, and
Doheny, the present oil king, was the man who drilled for oil, in the interests of the
Santa Fe Railway. The present scope of the oil industry in this district was beyond
the wildest dreams of those days and is but an instance of the wealth still lo be
unearthed in this wonderful county.

The marriage of Mr. Baxter, which occurred November 25, 1914, united him
with Margaret Hurless, a native of Iowa, and one daughter, Phyllis, has been born
to them; they also cherish an adopted daughter, Claudine. As a self-made man who
has succeeded against obstacles, Mr. Baxter is a fine example of an American and
Californian, and with characteristic loyalty he adheres to the theory that the man
who grasps his opportunities can hardly help but succeed in this truly Golden State.
Mr. Baxter is at present residing in Beaumont, Cal.

WILLIAM WINFRED BUSHARD.— How the ever-interesting traditions of an
estimable family are perpetuated in the successful career of the younger generation is
pleasantly illustrated in the life story of William Winfred Bushard, one of the four
children — three sons and a daughter — of John B. and Mary V. Bushard, well-known
residents of Orange County. John B. Bushard belonged to an ancient family of French
origin, established in Canada by John Bushard, who was the first to emigrate to
America. He developed a farm near Rosser Point, and in the homestead that he himself
built, he passed away at the ripe age of three score and ten. One of his most virile
children, born at La Kedze, Canada, near La Prairie, was James Bushard, who grew
up in his native land, but later removed to the States and became an extensive farmer
in Clinton County, N. Y. He married Miss Amelia Trombley, granddaughter of John
Trombley, such a pioneer settler there that his name was given to an indentation called
Trombley's Bay. The old man used to tell of his long tramps through dense timber
to Saranac or Plattsburg, with a sack of corn on his back, to the nearest mill, and
then the tramp back again with the bag of flour. John B. Bushard was one of a large
family of nine — four sons and five daughters — born of this union, his advent into the
circle occurring at the old homestead in Clinton County, N. Y., on March 20, 1843.

John B. grew up to follow agricultural pursuits and as a young man pushing
westward to Minnesota, he may have anticipated Horace Greeley in his advice to youth.
He tarried for a while in St. Paul, and then went to Brown County, where his parents
had bought a quarter section of land for himself and brothers. He had hardly com-_
menced to cultivate his share of the investment when the awful contest between the
North and the South broke out in all its fury; and in 1861, he enlisted for two years.
The war not having yet come to an end, Mr. Bushard reenlisted, joining Company A
of the Minnesota Cavalry, and becoming quartermaster of Major Hatchie's battalion,
he was stationed, first at Fort Snelling, and then at Fort i\bercrombie, and served until
1866, when he received his discharge at the former place. He participated in several
battles, among them Mail Springs, Somerset, Ky., when the Union Army won one of
its first victories; and later he was at other battles, including that of Gettysburg.

When the Civil War was ended, John B. Bushard came out to California, and
some time afterward, five sisters and two of his brothers followed him. He arrived in
the period prior to the railroads, when teaming and hauling being prime necessities,
were well paid enterprises, and he engaged in transportation from Cerro Gordo to
Bakersfield and Los Angeles, and also between the latter city and Prescott, Ariz. There
was plenty of money for the risks involved, but the wild depredations of Indians, and
the often unrestrained lawlessness of some of the miners contributed to rob the venture
of its permanent attraction. When he gave up teaming, Mr. Bushard went back East
for a year, and on his return to Los Angeles, entered the real estate field there, and
acquired some valuable property in East Los Angeles and elsewhere. He came down
to the "Gospel Swamp" district in what is now western Orange County, and bought a
squatter's claim of 1,800 acres; but the Stearns Rancho contested his title, and he was
dispossessed. He then went to Ventura County and bought some two thousand acres,



which he improved and sold at such a profit that he was able to return to the "Swamp"
and purchase the land, once lost to him, from the Stearns Rancho.

On June' 11, 1876, John B. Bushard was married at Los Angeles to Miss Mary
Virginia Page, a native of Michigan and the daughter of Louis E. Page, for many
years well-known as a resident of Los Angeles, where he died on September 25, 1906.
He was born at Rochester, N. Y., in 1831, and forty years later came to Los Angeles,
where he was a carriag'e manufacturer and the senior member of the firm of Page and
Gravel. John B. Bushard's death was the result of a runaway team accident, and
occurred on January 1, 1905, in his si.xty-first year. He was buried in Santa Ana Ceme-
tery. Four children were born to the honored couple — a daughter, Marie Junette,
residing at 1340 West Twenty-third Street, Los Angeles, with her mother; and the

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 98 of 191)