Chicago Standard Genealogical Publishing Company.

A Volume of memoirs and genealogy of representative citizens of northern California, including biographies of many of those who have passed away online

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Online LibraryChicago Standard Genealogical Publishing CompanyA Volume of memoirs and genealogy of representative citizens of northern California, including biographies of many of those who have passed away → online text (page 48 of 108)
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was identified with mining interests. In connection with David Binklemann,
he established the first brewery of Grass Valley. Later he sold his interest
to his partner and established another brewery, conducting the same until
the time of his death, which occurred in 1883. After his demise the business
was carried on under the supervision of his widow until April, 1895, when
she transferred it to her sons G. \V. and Frederick. The partnership be-
tween them continued until June 3, 1898, when the elder brother dietl. The
mother's death occurred in 1896.

In the public schools of Grass \^alley ^Ir. Frank, of this re\"iew. ob-
tained his education and has spent the greater part of his life here. He was,
hnwever, at one time a resident of San Francisco, where he remained for
four years, learning the haniess-making trade during that period. After
his return 'he became associated with his elder brother in the brewing busi-
ness, and, as stated, their connection was maintained until the death of G.
\\'. Frank, when our subject became the sole proprietor of the plant and
business. He is a practical brewer, having an excellent knowledge of the
Inisiness both in principle and detail. The Washington Brewery is one of
the best in California and its products are very popular and have a large
local sale, wherefrom Mr. Frank derives a good income.

On the JOth of February, 1895, was celebrated the marriage of Mr.
Frank and Miss Mary Hurley, of Nevada county, California. They now
have three sons, — Ellsworth, Robert and John. Mr. Frank exercises his
right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Democratic
party, and affiliates with the Knights of Pythias, the Foresters of America,
the Native Sons of the Golden West and the .-\merican Legion of Honor.

AMOS A. \\'OOD.

In no profession has there been greater advancement during the past
fifty years than in dentistry. One of the ablest and most prominent exponents
of this profession in Stanislaus county, California, is Dr. Amos A. Wood, of
Modesto.

Dr. A\'ood is a native of Parke county, Indiana, and was born Septem-
ber 7, 1839. His ancestry was English and his progenitors in different lines
settled in New England and were all members of orthodox churches. His
parents were Amos and Sarasila Wood, and he was orphaned by the death
of his father when he was only six months old, and when he was seven years
old liis mother died, leaving five children, the oldest of whom, Mary, now
^Irs. Baker and a widow, living near Linden, cared for the others. Dr.
Wnod's eldest brother. John, came to California in 1849 and now lives in
Nevada. .Another bnithcr, Zachariah. lives near Fresno, California.

Dr. Wood recci\ed his education in public schools, in Indiana and Imva



366 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

and at the outbreak of the Civil war resi)onded to President Lincoln's initial
call for troops by enlisting in Company H, Nineteenth Regiment, Iowa
Volunteer Infantry, of which he was elected the first sergeant. His first
experience under fire was at the battle of Prairie Grove. He had not at that
time yet fired a gun in the war. His regimait unexpectedly met an overwhelm-
ing force of Confederates and was driven back after a few minutes' fighting,
with the loss of one hundred and eighty killed and wounded, including Colonel
McPherson and other officers. From Prairie Grove the regiment went to
Van Buren. Arkansas, and tlience to Vicksburg. Mississippi, where it par-
ticipated in oiierations against that Confederate stronghold until it fell. At
Vicksburg he suffered a sunstroke which necessitated absence from his regi-
ment for three months, during which time the regiment participated in sev-
eral engagements and was captured at Baton Rouge. When he rejoined his
regiment it was stationed at New Orleans, but it soon afterward embarked
for Texas on board the old ship Banks. The vessel carried fifteen hundred
men altogether and on the gulf of ]\Iexico encountered a severe storm which
came near wrecking it. The ship sprang a leak and it was difficult to keep
it afloat even after the artillery and other heavy material had been thrown
overlioard. The storm lasted twenty-four hours and at times the sea ran
so high that every life on board was imperiled. The regiment remained sev-
eral months in Texas and later went to Alabama and fought at ilob'le, where
it was stationed when General Lee surrendered and the war ended. Dr.
Wood was mustered out Seoteniber i8. 1865, after a continuous service of
f)n!y eighteen days short of the three years for which he had enlisted. He
was so fortunate as not to receive even the slightest wound and was pro-
moted to the office of second lieutenant by the governor of Iowa in recog-
nition of faithful service rendered his country.

.After the war Dr. Wood became a stock-raiser and ranchman in Kan-
sas, but was obliged to give up the work of such an occupation on account
of the sunstroke he had received in the war, the effects of which had re-
mained. He studied dentistry and ])racticed his profession in Kansas until
1886. when he came to ^Modesto, where he has continued the practice of his
profession with such success that he has gained a high reputation and acquired
considerable property. He is one of the owners of Horseshoe mine in Tuolum-
ne county and owns a stock ranch in Sanislaus county, which he is conduct-
ing successfully. In partnershi)) with his son and another .gentleman, he has
a i)rospector in the Klondike, wliere they have several valualile mining claims.
He has taken an interest in every public enterprise at Modesto and is one
of the leading and progressive citizens of the town. He is an active Repulili-
can, a member of the Re])ublican county central committee and of the Re-
publican county executive committee. He is an Odd Fellow in high standing
and is a past commander of Grant Post. No. 9, Grand .\rmy of the Republic.

Dr. \\'ood was married in i860, to Aliss Catharine Byers. a native of
Ohio, a daughter of Samuel Byers and a descendant of an old and honorable
family, and they have three sons and two daughters: their son, George F.
Wood is the postmaster at Modesto. ^linnie married James G. Smith, of



OF XORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 367

San Francisco, California, and is 'now a member of her father's household.
C. C. Wood is a dentist at Oakdale. Stanislaus county. Jessie Kate married
S. L. Hanscom. of Stanislaus county. Edward E. Wood is a popular jeweler
at ]\Iodesto. Dr. and Airs. \\'ood have a pleasant home at Modesto and are
active and influential members of the Methodist Episcopal church in which
Dr. Wood has for many years held the office of steward.

WILLL\M R. DEES.

There is e\'er an element of interest in the history of the self-made man,
— one who starts out in life empty-handed and wrests fortune from an adverse
fate. Obstacles and difficulties are encountered, but to the man of resolute
]>urpose these but call for renewed effort and serve as stepping-stones to some-
tliing higher. The life record of Mr. Dees stands in exemplification of what
may be accomplished in this free land of ours where the man of ambition and
determination is unhampered by caste or class.

A native of Georgia, Mr. Dees was born on the 3d of October, 1835. and
represents one of the old families of that state. His father, John Dees, was
born in North Carolina and married Miss Keziah Taylor. For a number of
years thev were residents of Alabama, and both departed this life in 1865.
They had seven children, of whom only two are living.

Mr. Dees, the only one in California, was reared in the state of Alabama,
where he received but limited educational privileges, his knowledge having
lieen acquired mostly in the school of exprience. He has, however, become a
well informed man of practical learning, and through the exercise of sound
judgment he has worked his way steadily upward. Crossing the isthmus of
1 'anama. he made his way to the Pacific waters, having previously sailed from
Xew Orleans to the dividing land between the continents. Making his way
to the Pacific coast on one of the vessels in use in that day, he arrived in San
I'Vancisco, on the ist of April, 1852, and thence went to Coloma, in Eldorado
county, and later to Cold Springs and Placerville. He first engaged in mining
at .\Iabama Flat, where he met with very gratifying success, making as high, as
one hundred dollars in a single day. He continued to mine for a number of
years with the varying luck of the gold-seeker, and then turned his attention to
raising sheep, having a large ranch on which he had from two to three thou-
sand sheep at all times. He continued that industry for thirteen years and then
sold his sheep for nine thousand dollars, after which he was engaged in the
livery business for three years at ]\Iilton. In that enterprise, however, he lost
nearly fifteen hundred dollars anl then turned his attention to other affairs.
He purchased one hundred and si.xty acres of land a half mile from Milton and
is now cultivating wheat, barley and hay. He keejjs a number of horses and
cows and has a well improved farm supplied with all modern accessories. His
home is one of the pleasant residences of Milton and there he resides witli
his family, contentedly passing the evening of an upright and consistent life.

In 1853 was celelirated the marriage of Mr. Dees and Miss Helen Vir-
ginia Burdis, a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Two children have come



368 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

to bles.> their union, — Cora Elizabeth and John W. In liis political affiliations
ilr. Dees is a Democrat, but has never sought or desired public office. In 1880
at Copperoix)iis, he was made a Master Mason, and has since Ijeen identified
with that fraternity, filling the various offices in his lodge. He now holds mem-
bership in Keystone Lodge, Xo. 161 F. & A. M., of Milton. He and his
wife are devout members of the Methodist church and are people of the highest
respectability.

CHARLES A. WERLE.

The fact that honesty, industry and perseverance will triumph over for-
midable obstacles has been many times proven; but the story of the struggles
and successes of self-made men is always interesting. Any truthful biogra-
phy of Charles A. Werle, ice manufacturer and the proprietor of the bottling
works at Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras county, must of necessity be an indorse-
ment of the value of the priceless qualities to which reference has been made.

Charles A. Werle was born at Buffalo, New York, May 21, 1849, and
is descended from German ancestry. Michael Werle, his father, was born of
German parents at Paris, France, and his great-grandfather and his sons were
the owners of a fiouring mill in the fatherland. Michael Werle was only six
months old when his parents brought him to America. They located at
Buffalo, Xew York, and there he was reared and educated and married Miss
Rosilia Baumgarten. He came to California in 1852, and mined at Mokel-
umne Hill with .satisfactory success until 1858, when he went back to BufTalo,
New York, and brought his family to California. Locating at Mokelumne
Hill, he engaged in freighting between Mokelumne Hill and Stockton and
between Stockton and Bakersfield. Kern county. He died in 1875. at the age of
forty-se\en years, of pneumonia, which resulted from a cold caused by his
getting wet in Kern river, where he met with an accident in the prosecution
of his l)usiness. His wife sur\i\es him and is now seventy-two years of age.
Three children were born to them after they came to California, ^^'illiam
died at the age of five years; Estella when in her twenty-first year; and Mary
is in charge of the telephone office at Mokelumne Hill.

Mr. Werle was nine years old when he was brought to Mokelumne Hill
by his parents in 1858. He attended the public schools there and finished his
education at St. Mary's College, at San Francisco. He was engaged in pros-
pecting and mining until 1874, when he established at Mokelumne Hill his
present business of bottling all kinds of temperance drinks, with which he com-
bines the manufacture of ice. He has built bottling works and an ice factory
and keei)s several teams busy distributing his goods tb.roughout the surround-
ing country.

In ])olitics he is a Democrat, and he was appointed postmaster at ]\Iokel-
umne Hill by President Cleveland and held the office during that national
executive's administration: and his sister. Miss Marv Werle, was his deputv.
His success in life has been well earned, ami he is widely and deservedly
pninilar.



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 369

In 1871 ilr. \\'erle married Aliss Emma Fray, a native of Calaveras
county, and the}- have tixe children, all of whom were born at Mokelumne
Hill, — Charles \\'illiam, Frank W'., Lee, Herbert and Rosalia. The latter is
the wife of \'ictor S. Lagarmarsino and lives at Mokelumne Hill. Mr.
Werle's residence is near his 1x)ttling works and most of the members of his
family assist him more or less in his business. Mr. Werle is a progressive
and capable business man who has material gains to show for his labor, and
his public s[)irit is such that he is regarded as a patriotic and helpful member
of the communit}-.

GEORGE OPEL.

George Opel was born in Germany, July 20, 1831, of German parents,
Jiihn and Margaret (Keslevey) Opel, and one of a family of seven children.
In 1849 the Opel family emigrated to America, locating at St. Louis, Mis-
souri. Subsequently the father died of cholera, while on his way from St.
Louis to New Orleans. The mother resided with her chillren in Jefferson
county, ^Missouri, and reached a good old age, being ninety at the time of her
death. Of the children only two are now living.

George Opel, at the time he came to this country, was eighteen years of
age. He remained with the other members of the family in Missouri until
1853, when with four other young men he came to California. Their jour-
ney was made overland in a "prairie schooner" drawn by oxen, and it was
six months before they reached their destination. The leader of the little
party had been to California before and it was at his' suggestion that they trav-
eled leisurely, his idea being to reach the mines about the time the fall rains
set in. Their first stop in California was at Grass Valley. There they
mined during the winter, but with little success, however. Subsequently
they were more fortunate on the north fork of the American river, where Mr.
Opel had a claim of his own, in which he worked from 1858 until 1894, and
during that time took out a great deal of gold. He sold his claim in 1894.
Since then he has been more or less interested in mining, and still owns a
good drift mine, but for the past ten years he has not been engaged in any active
business, on account of ill health, beinp- troubled with bronchial asthma.

Mr. Opel was married in 1885 to Mrs. Drusilla Barber, the widow of Will-
iam Barber. By Mr. Barber she had ten children, five of whom are living,
and in the support and education of this family Mr. Opel has shown as much
interest as if they were his own. The eldest, Amelia, is the wife of Charles
Kellogg, of New Castle, California; Maria H. is the widow of E. Towle;
Jennie is now Mrs. Val Curran; Louise is the wife of James W". Jameson,
postmaster and merchant of Dutch Flat; and the only son is Charles E.
Mrs. Opel has been a resident of California since 1861. She was born in
England, a daughter of James Sherrin, and in- her girlhood was brought to
the United States by her parents, their settlement being in Pennsylvania,
where she was reared.

Al the lime he came to California Mr. Op-el was a poor young man, with



370 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZEXS

nothing but his pluck and energy and liis willing hands for capital, and as
a result of his industry and good management he has acquired a sufficient
amount of this world's goods to make him and his family comfortable: they
occupy one of the best homes of Dutch Flat and are held in high esteem by
the i)eople of the community. The only fraternal organization witJi which
Mr. Opel is connected is the I. O. O. F.. and with this he has been identified
lor a number of years.

PETER KIXG.

Peter King, the manager i>f the Union Lumber Compan\^ of (jrass
\"alley has lieen actively identified with the growth and prosperity of Nevada
county, esi^ecially along the line of its lumber interests, for a number of years.
His business ability is such as to aid in qualifying him for the control of
extensi\-e interests, and his enterprise and determination have been stepping-
stones on wiiich he has risen to the responsible place which he now occupies
in commercial circles.

.\ nati\-e of Maine, Mr. King was born in W'hitefield, Lincoln county,
on the 12th of August, 1854, his parents being Enoch and Eleanor (Baily)
King, both of whom were natives of the Pine Tree state. His ancestors
on l)oth the paternal and maternal sides resided in America prior to the Revolu-
tionary war. and the grandfathers of our subject were patriot soldiers in that
memorable struggle which brought independence to the nation. Enoch King
was a lumlierman by occupation, and for many years engaged in the operation
of a sawmill and the sale of lumber in Maine. He died in 1870. Li the
family were eight children, including a pair of twins, one of whom is our
subject.

I'eler King is indebted to the jjublic-school system for the educa-
tional privileges which he received in literary lines. He afterward entered
the Dirigo Business College, of Augusta, Maine, where he gained a
theoretical knowledge of the principles and practices of business life. His
early boyhood days were s])ent upon a farm and he assisted in the labors
of field and meadow. Subsequently he secured a clerkship in a mercantile
establishment, and was thus emi)loyed for six years. In 1877 he came to
California, locating in Grass N'alley, where for twelve years he was employed
l)y the Mohawk Luml)er Company, and after the expiration of that period
lie s])ent one winter in San Francisco. He then removed to- Georgetown,
Eldorado county, and later he bad two years' experience in the boot and
shoe trade in Eiu'eka. Humboldt county. On selling out that business he
returned to Grass Valley, where he entered into partnership as a member of
the firm of King & Wolford. proprietors and operators of a sawmill. This
liusiness connection was formed in 1893. and the firm purchased and operated
the planing-mill of George Murphy. Later the company was incorporated
under the firm name of the Union Lumber Company, of which ]\Ir. King
has since been manager, the directors being George W. Towle, Sam. Wolford,
Mrs. Emma Kitts, iVilliam Coyne, Grant McMulIen and Peter King, who



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 37 1

also holds the office of manager and secretary. Messrs. King & W'olford
also own other mill property located about sixteen miles from the city, ami
having a capacity of fifteen thousand feet of lumber daily. The business
done by the Union Lumber Company has reached extensive proportions, and
under the capable management of Mr. King the enterprise has proved a
very profitable one. He is a man of great energy, of resolute purpose and
marked executive ability, and these qualities have enabled him to secure an
excellent trade.

On the i/th of November. i8qo, was celebrated the marriage of .Mr.
King and Miss Catherine Mulkohey, a native of California, and they now have
two children, — Sunrin D. and Carl. In politics Mr. King is a Republican,
Init has never sought or desired public office, preferring to devote his time
and energies to his business interests. Socially he affiliates with the Masonic
order, ha\-ing taken the degrees of the blue lodge and chapter. He deserves
credit for his success in life, for it has been achieved entirely through his
well-directed efforts, and at all times his reliability in business transactions has
commended him to the confidence and regard of those with whom he has
been brought in contact.

ALBERT L. CRESSEY.

/

The subject of this sketch has several claims to consideration. He is
the president of the Modesto Bank, at Modesto, Stanislaus county, Cali-
fornia, one of the stanchest financial institutions in that part of the state.
He is one of the most prominent citizens of his town and county and was
an early settler in California. He was born of old English stock and some
early representatives of the family in America were prominent in Massa-
chusetts and New Hampshire. Curtis R. Cressey, his father, was born in
Xew Hampshire and man'ied Miss Susan Littlefield, a native of that state.
The}' were prosperous farmers, who were respected by all who knew them
and were active and consistent members of the Baptist church. Curtis R.
Cressey lived to be eighty-three years old and died at Brownfield, ^Laine,
which had for some time been his home. His wife died when in her thirty-
sixth year. They had six children, of whom two are living.

Albert L. Cressey, who first saw the light of day in New Hampshire,
was reared to the work of the farm and had few early opportunities for
'"book learning," and his education, which impresses one as being quite ample,
was acquired by self-directed reading and in the liroad and instructive field
of human exjjerience. Sailing from New York by way of Panama, lie ar-
rived at San Francisco in 1857. young, single anel with just money enough
left after having paid his passage to settle his first hotel bill at Stockton.
Tlis knowledge of farming was turned to good account and he farmed in
line way or another on other men's land until he was able to take up one
hundred and sixty acres of government land on his own account. He pros-
jiercd and as occasion offered added to his possessions until, he had a fine
farm of fi\e hundred acres. He gave his attention exclusively to farming



372 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

for a niiniljer of years, until teaming became profitable in his part of the
state, when he piit a number of teams on the road hauling goods from Sacra-
mento and Stockton to Virginia City and other mining towns in Nevada.
This enterprise was successful and he directed it from headquarters on the
Calaveras river north of Stockton and later at a point in Alerced county,
wiiere he owns a second farm.

He took up his residence in Modesto in 1875, and he and his brother,
C. J. Cresscy, organized and opened the Modesto Bank, the first bank in
Stanislaus county, of which C. J. Cressey was the president until he organ-
ized and assumed the management of the Grangers' Bank in San Francisco,
when Albert L. Cressey became the president and manager of the Modesto
bank. The two brothers were partners in these and various other business
enterprises until the death of C. J. Cressey in 1892. During his entire active
career, Mr. Cressey has been a hard worker and his industry and business
acun-icr: ha\-e brought him well-deserved success. During a serious drought
in the Cala\-eras valley he obtained water and irrigated his wheat-fields, and
by so doing was able to insure a good yield, when the wheat crop was a
failure throughout the valley, and he sold his wheat in his granaries at five
cents a pound and took notes of the purchaser at two-and-a-half per cent a
month, and it was ten years before he received final payment! They were
for some time in the sheep and wool growing business and their enterprise
in that line brought them the money with which they erected a one-story
brick building and organized the Modesto Bank. Their building was used
for the bank until 1893. when the stockholders erected the present bank build-
ing, which is one of the finest banking structures in the state and is a credit
alike to Mr. Cressey's enterprise and to the city of Modesto. It is a three-
story stone and brick building, with the bank on the ground floor, fitted up
with elegance and with due regard to safety, the floors above being utilized
for office purposes by some of the leading business and professional men
of the town. The institution does a general commercial banking business.
Frank A. Cressey. a son of C. J. Cressey. deceased, is its vice president, and
G. 1\. BronglUou has ably tilled the office of cashier for more than twenty
years.

Mr. Cressey owns nine thousand acres of land, including farms already
mentioned in the counties of San Luis Obispo, Kings, Merced and Stanis-
laus and farms on a large scale. He formerly owned more than eight thou-
sand sheep, but now gives his attention principally to wheat, horses and cat-
tle. His Han ford ranch is devoted to the raising of horses and mules. By
the importation of a Norman Percheron Draught stallion weighing thirty-



Online LibraryChicago Standard Genealogical Publishing CompanyA Volume of memoirs and genealogy of representative citizens of northern California, including biographies of many of those who have passed away → online text (page 48 of 108)