George Henry Tinkham.

History of Stanislaus County California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres online

. (page 104 of 177)
Online LibraryGeorge Henry TinkhamHistory of Stanislaus County California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres → online text (page 104 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

in all their activities. The class of people brought into Stanislaus County by the
Church of the Brethren are rural folk, with deep moral convictions and high ideals.
As a colonizer and as a teacher, therefore, Elder Sanger has wrought a greater work,
perhaps, than he even can conceive, for high, moral standards and clean, simple living
will bless the community for generations to come. Of genial, yet commanding pres-
ence, he is a forceful speaker, albeit at seventy-two years of age; and having great
powers of enunciation, he has often been selected to preside at general and district
conferences as well as large conventions.

JOHN BEATY. — A very successful business man who has demonstrated his
ability particularly in the management of a first-class hotel, is John Beaty, the popular
proprietor of the Hughson at Modesto. A native of Toronto, Ontario, he is the son
of Joseph and Rachel (Dixon) Beaty, natives of the same place. They were of Irish
descent, and as farmers in Gray County, enjoyed the inheritance of sturdy qualities.

Jack Beaty, as he is familiarly called by his many friends, was brought up on the
farm and received a good education in the local schools. He was stirred up, however,
by reports of the still more favorable conditions in the far West, and in 1896 came
out to Vancouver, B. C, where he entered the hotel business. From that time on, he
was interested in different hotels at different places.

In 1915 he came south to California, and for eighteen months he was proprietor of
the Lodi Hotel. In 1917, he leased the Hughson Hotel at Modesto, where he has
since made his greatest success. He has a well-appointed and well-regulated hostelry,
the finest in Modesto or, for that matter, in all Stanislaus County. He also owns
eighty-five acres on the State Highway, near the town of Ripon, where he raises fruit
and vegetables for his hotel. He calls his farm the Hughson Hotel Ranch. He is very
enterprising, and has placed signs advertising the Hughson Hotel and giving the dis-
tances to it and Modesto every five miles along the State Highway, in all directions.
So well equipped, according to strictly modern ideas, is the Hughson that there is even
a swimming pool in the basement for guests — the only one of the kind in the state.
Mr. Beaty belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and California Hotel Men's Assn.

GEORGE P. OLSON. — An enterprising, liberal-minded citizen who has always
proven an upbuilder of Turlock and the surrounding territory, is George P. Olson,
who was born near Carlstad, Skane, Sweden, on September 1, 1862, where he
was reared on a farm and attended the public schools. When he attained his four-
teenth year, he was apprenticed to a blacksmith and within three years learned the
blacksmith trade; and then, as a journeyman smith, he traveled, according to the
continental custom in Europe, through Sweden, France and Spain, and over to Algeria,
in Africa, and then back to Sweden, the two years of his wanderings adding much to
his knowledge and skill. In 1886 he was fortunate in reaching the United States
and locating at Kewanee, 111., and later he settled at Buda, Bureau County, 111., where
he was a blacksmith in the railway shops. Then he worked in a shop in Galesburg


as a blacksmith for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. In 1893, he
removed to Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he homesteaded and improved 160 acres of
land ; he built a smithy on his farm, and for eight years did the blacksmithing there.

In 1902, Mr. Olson sold out his holdings and came west to California and Tur-
lock; and at Hilmar he bought 100 acres and built the first house in the section. He
also brought in the first carload of goods, put up a blacksmith shop which was of
great service to the new community, and leveled and checked his land, and set out a
peach orchard and vineyards. In 1905, Mr. Olson bought twenty acres half a mile
south of Turlock, which he improved, and to that choice ranch he removed in 1915.
He also bought twenty-seven acres in Patterson, which he improved and sold. His
home ranch is devoted to alfalfa and the growing of melons.

At Princeton, 111., Mr. Olson was married to Miss Emily Swanson, a native
of Karlskrona, Blekinge, Sweden, and the marriage has been blessed by the birth of
six children. Oscar is ranching on the old home farm; Emma, Mrs. Mathiesen, resid-
ing in Riverside, Fresno County ; Esther is a graduate of the San Jose Normal School,
and is a teacher at Hilmar, where she began school; Albin is in the U. S. Naval
Reserve Corps, and having served overseas is again at home ; Ella is studying to be
a nurse at Emanuel Hospital ; Hilmar, first child born in the colony, is at home.

The Swedish Mission Church of Hilmar was organized in Mr. Olson's home,
where church meetings and the Sunday school were held until the church edifice was
completed the following year. Mr. Olson, therefore, was one of the first church
trustees, and he and his family are still members. He was also a school trustee when
the district was organized and the schoolhouse built.

WILLIAM R. VAN VLEAR. — A very successful stockman whose self-made
qualities are reflected in all his enterprises, is William R. Van Vlear, a native son born
in Farmington, San Joaquin County, Calif., where he first saw the light on February
6, 1875. His father was George Van Vlear, a native of Ohio, who was reared in
Niles, Mich. He crossed the plains with ox teams to California in 1852 and for a
while devoted himself to mining; but he soon quit the hazard, to engage in stock
raising in San Luis Obispo County. The dry years, and then the big flood came, and
he was not successful; so he removed, in 1862 and '63, to San Joaquin County, and
bought a ranch at Farmington, where he went in for raising grain.

In 1870, Mr. Van Vlear returned East, and in the fall of the following year he
was married in Chicago — the year of the big fire — to Miss Mary Nye, a native of
Niles, Mich., and then returned to his ranch in California. Soon after, he sold the
farm and moved to Tulare County, where he engaged in farming ; and he was among
the first settlers near Hanford, at that time in Tulare County. The malaria, how-
ever, affected him and his family, and as a consequence he sold out and came to Oak-
dale, where he was a fruit farmer until he retired, to make his home in Fresno, where
his death occurred. _ Mrs. Van Vlear died in 1881, while on a trip East, when our
subject was only six years old — the mother of three children: John, who resides at
Hanford ; William R., and Ella, who is Mrs. Charles Miner of Oakland.

William was reared at Oakdale and educated in the public school, after which he
attended the McKinzie Normal School, at Oakdale, where he completed a commer-
cial course. He then became bookkeeper for Messrs. Gilbert & Company, Oakdale,
and for three years remained with that well known lumber firm. In June, 1899, he
came to Modesto, and here he entered the employ of J. Scoon, the butcher, on Tenth
Street; and a month later, with a partner, Robert Coombs, he bought out Mr. Scoon.
They moved the business across the street, and continued for two years there ; and
the place is still known as the City Market. Next Mr. Van Vlear bought out Coombs
and ran the City Market alone; he built a slaughter house on the outskirts of the town,
and eventually sold out to Morrison Bros.

Some years afterwards Mr. Van Vlear started the Independent Market, with
J. Scoon as his partner; and he managed it until Mr. Scoon died, when he sold it to
Case & Hards. After that he continued to slaughter cattle, and was then in the
commission business for a year. Then he purchased the City Market again from O.


McHenry, who had become its owner ; and with C. K. Grider as partner, he ran the
establishment until 1917, when Grider & Van Vlear sold out.

In the meantime, Mr. Van Vlear had become interested in stockraising and had
established his ranch eight miles east of Waterford ; and when he sold the City
Market, he continued in the cattle business. Now he owns 700 acres of land, but
leases thousands of acres. He has a ranch of 3,750 acres from the Modesto Irrigation
district; 1,500 acres procured from Luther Crabtree, and 500 acres leased from
Roxie Harbert, or 5,750 acres in all, on which he has as many as 1,000 head of
cattle. Some years ago he bought from Gov. Sparks' herd in Nevada some pure-bred
Herefords, and for a while he raised Herefords ; but he has just sold these, and now
raises only Shorthorn cattle. He is a large buyer and shipper of cattle, and at times
brings them from points as far away as Nevada. His brand, the Bar V, is the letter V,
with a bar over the first half of the letter.

Mr. Van Vlear was married in Jamestown, Tuolumne County, June 30, 1898, to
Miss Cleo Reeder, a native of Sonora in the same county, and the daughter of Henry
Reeder, who was born in Little Rock, Ark. He crossed the plains in the pioneer gold
days of 1853 and followed mining. He was married in Sonora to Miss Cleo Cabrera
and both died at Oakdale, where Mrs. Van Vlear was educated. They have two chil-
dren, Alvaneice and Reeder. Mr. Van Vlear is popular in circles of the Modesto
lodge of B. P. O. E., and makes his home at 127 Hackberry street, Modesto.

ARTHUR McCLELLAN HUDELSON.— One of the extensive grain growers
of Stanislaus County in the Hickman section is Arthur McClellan Hudelson. He
was born in Hickman township, September 21, 1892, the son of F. McClellan and
Julia Ann (Buthenuth) Hudelson, born near Hughson and Jamestown, Cal., respec-
tively. Grandfather James G. Hudelson, who died about ten years ago, crossed the
plains in the early fifties, took up land in Stanislaus County in the early days and
became a prominent and influential farmer.

F. McClellan Hudelson was married at Oakdale and then located on his ranch
near Hughson, where he is a large land owner. They had six children, of whom
Arthur M. is the oldest, and attended the public schools of Empire, now Hughson
district, and then Heald's Business College at Stockton, where he was graduated in
1910; he then began farming on his father's ranch near Hickman. He was mar-
ried in January, 1918, at Hughson to Miss Cora Donaldson, who was born in Min-
nesota, the daughter of Daniel D. and Hattie (Bateman) Donaldson of Minnesota,
who brought their family to Hughson in 1912 and there engaged in horticulture.
Mrs. Hudelson is a graduate of Hughson high school and attended the College of
the Pacific at San Jose for one term. Mr. and Mrs. Hudelson live on the old
Hudelson ranch just three miles east of Hickman, where they rent 800 acres from
his father and 600 acres from Mayor Snyder erf Los Angeles, located in Hickman
precinct. He has 800 acres of the 1921 crop in barley, 200 acres in wheat, and
summer fallows 600 acres. He uses the most modern equipment, operating a Yuba
tractor in his work, and harvests with a self-propelled Holt combined harvester and
thresher. He also owns a forty-five horsepower Yuba tractor and is able to handle
the intricate power-drive harvester and thresher himself, with three hands to take
care of the grain, etc. He is considered one of Stanislaus County's live wires and
being young and enterprising, he and his young wife are bound to become successful
and prosperous. They have made many friends and are highly respected in the com-
munity in which they reside.

He is a member of Twintown Lodge, K. P., at Waterford and of the Hickman-
Waterford Farm Bureau. Mr. and Mrs. Hudelson are Methodists, their member-
ship being at Hughson, and politically Mr. Hudelson is a Democrat. During the
World War, his brother, B. W., ran the farm, while he served in Company H,
Seventy-fifth Regiment, Twenty-fifth Brigade, Thirteenth Division, U. S. A. Enter-
ing the service August 7, 1918, he was stationed at Camp Lewis, Wash., until he
received his honorable discharge at the Presidio, January' 29, 1919, when he returned
and took up his work of raising grain.

O d^uo^ Ci,. /%^\^ctCC^»->^^


CHARLES G. SWANSON.— A splendid example of thrift and enterprise,
Chas. G. Swanson has been a resident of Turlock since January, 1903. He was born
in Kalmarlan, Sweden, December 3, 1847. His father, who was a farmer, died when
Charles was a boy of eight years, leaving a widow and two sons. Charles, being the
eldest, had to help in the support of the family, hence his schooling was somewhat
limited, but he has profited in later years by reading and observation and has become
a well-informed man. He learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed, and when
he reached military age he served the required time in the Swedish army and received
an honorable discharge.

Coming to Chicago in 1880, he was employed at his trade, becoming foreman
for a period of six years. He was then employed by the Illinois Central shops as
cabinet maker, after which he located in Joliet and worked at the carpenter's trade.
Finding the climate in Illinois unpleasant and having read of the rich soil and pleasant
climate in California, he came to Turlock, arriving January 6, 1903, and was the
first to purchase land south of town, where he built a house and began improvements.
It was a barren waste of sand, but by leveling and checking the land, with the aid of
water he soon had an alfalfa field and set out an orchard and vineyard, so he was
;imong the men that paved the way to make a success of intensive farming. During
these years he also worked at his trade of building houses in Turlock. He has lately
disposed of his land and he is now enjoying the fruits of his labors. A man of sterling
integrity and worth, he is highly esteemed by a large circle of friends.

Mr. Swanson was married in Chicago, being united with Miss Maria Lena
Gustafson, who was also born in Kalmarlan, Sweden, of whom he was bereaved after
only two years. Their only son, Carl F., survived the mother only two years.

Mr. Swanson is enthusiastic over the possibilities and future greatness of Turlock
and never tires of praising this county of his adoption. He attends the Swedish Mis-
sion Church in Turlock, and is now one of the oldest Swedish settlers in these parts.

JOHN ROEN. — A self-made and progressive man, blessed with the Biblical
"three score and ten" years and more of active, fruitful life, is John Roen, an extensive
landowner of Waterford. He was born at Ringebo, Guldbrandsdalen, Norway, on
January 1, 1849, the son of Lars Olson Roen, a tenant farmer in Guldbrandsdalen.
He married Kari Iversdatter, like himself a native of that region, and there they
lived and died, each attaining the remarkable age of ninety-two years, the father having
first seen the light in 1803, and the mother in 1812. They had six children who grew
to maturity, and among these our subject is the youngest. Iver Larsen, a brother, died
in Oakdale after a strenuous life as a Stanislaus County rancher. John Roen is the
only one of the Roens now in California; a sister, Annie, the wife of Ingebrit Hilstad,
living at Eugene, Ore., and another sister, Marit, Lars Johnson's widow, living at
Wheeler, Wis. Still another sister, Kari, is married and lives in Guldbrandsdalen.
A brother, Ole, was drowned in Norway at the age of twenty-seven in 1860.

John Roen attended the common schools in his home parish, where he received
a limited education, and then for some years he worked at farming in Norway. In
May, 1869, he came to America, landing at Castle Garden, in New York, in June,
1869. The day before they landed at New York City the steamship collided with an
American vessel loaded with iron from Scotland, and the sailing vessel sank so quickly
that six of the crew were drowned, while only four were saved.

Coming West to Fillmore County, Minn., Mr. Roen began to work out on farms;
and after three years he came to California, arriving in October, 1872. He came West
with his employer's son, and intended to settle in Oregon, but was persuaded to visit
some friends at Hill's Ferry, Stanislaus County, and, therefore, they bought tickets
for Stockton. This was in 1872, when that section was little developed; and he
engaged to work on ranches on the West Side, and he worked on farms at Hill's
Ferry, coming to Waterford in 1873. In the winter of 1882-83, when he was severely
injured in a runaway, he decided to go back to Norway for a visit while recuperating ;
and on his return to California in 1883, he became acquainted with the young lady,
also traveling in the party, whom he married at San Francisco on December 13, 1883.
She was Miss Oline Olson Gunstad, a daughter of Ole E. Olson and Cecil (Syvers-


clatter) Gunstad. They were natives of Guldbrandsdalen, and were freeholders, and
people of considerable means, and owned one of the best farms in Norway. After
marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Roen took up their residence and work on his farm, then
leased for the raising of grain. Mr. Roen bought his first land in 1885, 640 acres
two miles east of Waterford on the Tuolumne River ; and since then he has farmed
to grain, wheat and barley, and raised cattle, horses and mules. He still owns that
farm land. Later, he bought two or three large farms, and now he is the owner of
3,000 acres or more in different farms, all in the Waterford district. These are now-
farmed by the sons. In his cattle raising he uses the brand, J.R.

Eight children were granted Mr. and Mrs. Roen: Clara is the wife of Hans
Erickson, and they reside with their four children on their ranch at Eugene, in Stanis-
laus County; Emma died on November 9, 1920; Olga, who passed away in her twenty-
sixth year, was a pianist and vocalist, who had graduated with honors from King's
Conservatory in San Jose in 1907, and was engaged in teaching piano until her illness
which terminated in her death ; Thora closed her eyes to this world when only two
years old ; Lewis runs the home ranch of 640 acres ; Thora O. lives at home ; Oltar
John married Miss Alberta Pine ; he is a rancher and a partner with his brother,
Albert S., on the large Roen ranch. They also assist the father in looking after Mr.
Roen's stock ranch adjoining the Modesto reservoir. Albert S., the youngest, is
married to Miss Marguerite Hermanson, the only daughter of Rev. Hermanson, .the
evangelist, and is now a partner of his brother, Oltar J. All the. children are very
musical and good singers and the daughters are also pianists

Mr. Roen bought the beautiful residence built by Jesse M. Finley, a fine place
with six acres in Waterford, making the transaction three vears ago. In 1893, Mr.
and Mrs. Roen and their four children made a visit to Guldbrandsdalen, Norway,
where they stayed about two years; and on their return to Waterford in 1895, they
bought a house in town, and have since resided there. In national politics a Republi-
can, Mr. Roen is always ready to put aside partisanship for community's interest.

Mrs. Roen and daughters are prominent members of the Baptist Church at
Waterford ; and Mrs. Roen is treasurer of the church. Their home is spacious and
abounds with works of art and literature. Mrs. Roen has dispensed a lavish hosii-
tality and in doing so has been exalted by motives of kindness and practical Christianity.
Mr. Roen has been the means of bringing about 155 of his fellow-countrymen to Cali-
fornia. Many of these have been young men, farm-laborers, who came here during
the days of the saloon, when there were no less than thirteen drinking places and dives
in Waterford ; and Mrs. Roen has ever been interested in shielding these young men
from the snares and pitfalls of the dram-shops. She has always extended a welcome
to strangers, especially to those from her native land, saying to them: "Keep out of
the saloons; keep yourselves straight; you will ever be welcomed at my home." The
amount of good she has thus accomplished cannot be told. But her cupboards full of
elegant silverware testify to the gratitude and appreciation which her hospitable acts
have instilled in the hearts of these younger friends, many of many are now well-to-do,
and all of whom are respected citizens.

HERBERT LEWIS BEARD.— A representative of a pioneer family who does
justice to an honored name is Herbert Lewis Beard, the fourth child and second son
of T. K. and Grace Adah (Lewis) Beard, of Modesto, and a member of the third
generation of Beards in Stanislaus County. He bought the Eardly place of 265 acres
two miles north of Waterford, in 1908, which he has since made his headquarters
for his farming operations.

Mr. Beard was born near Kiona, in the Yakima Valley, Wash., on April 26,
1885, and came to Stanislaus County with his parents in about 1887. At eighteen
he started in business for himself; and coming to Waterford, he put in a wheat and
barley crop. Now he farms 3,000 acres, leasing largely from his father, which is
principally devoted to raising barley. He is an excellent farmer, unafraid of work and
keenly alive to progress, so that the saying, "He who at the plow would thrive, himself
must either hold or drive," well applies to him ; he is industrious, thrifty and success-
ful. Naturally, he belongs to the Farm Bureau.


In 1909, Mr. Beard was married to Miss Minerva E. Hairgrove, a native of
Illinois and a daughter of Charles and Mar)' (Fulton) Hairgrove. Her father died
in Illinois, and in 1908 she came out to California with her mother, who still lives
in Modesto. Mr. and Mrs. Beard have one child, Dorothy L., who attends the
grammar school. Both Mr. and Mrs. Beard are highly regarded for their own
sakes and for what they represent.

CHRISTOPHER ROBERT WEILBERG.— A man of importance fostering
important Stanislaus County interests is Christopher Robert Weilberg, the wide-awake
agent of The Grange Company at Turlock. He was born in Alsace-Lorraine, in the
ancient and picturesque city of Strassburg, December 28, 1887, the son of a hotel pro-
prietor who provided well for his family as long as he lived. His father, Wilhelm,
having died, however, Christopher attended the public schools in Strassburg until nine
years of age, then to the "Adler Flucht Schule," or Eagles Flight Academy, at Frank-
fort-on-the-Main, and when fifteen years of age took to a seafaring life. As a seaman
he was apprenticed to a Norwegian merchant ship named Vega, sailing from Havre,
France, and he made a trip to the West Indies and back to Liverpool, then came back
to Havre, and then, on the "Hermod," sailed to Japan via Cape Horn and back to
Astoria, Ore., in 1904. There he left the ship and quit the sea. He had always wanted
to come to the United States, and when he was twenty-one he decided to ally himself
with the American Republic. In 1909, therefore, he took out his first papers, and soon
after began to ride the range in Eastern Oregon, obtaining his full papers in Oregon
after five years' service in the national guard. He then went to Portland and entered
the employ of Andrews & Son, and afterwards with Johnson & Company, both grain
and hay firms. In 1915, he came to Hughson and was put in charge of the feed store
of Croley & Company, but after six months he came on to Turlock, and entered the
employ of The Grange Company. For two years he was foreman of the warehouse ;
and in June, 1918, he was made agent for the company and has had charge of their
business ever since. Having had to get his education largely from the school of hard
knocks, Mr. Weilberg has applied himself closely to his duties, and has made a success
of whatever he has undertaken, both for others as well as for himself.

At Portland, in 1908, he was married to Miss Lillian Bowman, a native of
Wilmar, Kandiyohi County, Minn., and the daughter of Eric Bowman, a pioneer
farmer on the frontier, who saw many perilous and exciting times during the Indian
troubles, and afterwards enjoyed more comfortable days in California. He and his
wife, who was Betsy Nelson, now reside in Turlock. Four children blessed this union
of Mr. and Mrs. Weilberg: Virginia, Darro, Robert and Arlo. He resides with his
family in his attractive bungalow at 800 Mitchell Street. Mr. Weilberg belongs to
the Turlock Camp No. 795, Woodmen of the World, and with his wife attends the
Baptist Church in Turlock. He is an active member of Turlock Chamber of Commerce.

While living in Oregon, Mr. Weilberg became interested in the national guard
of that state, serving with the same for five years in Company C, Twelfth Oregon
National Guard, after which he was honorably discharged. During the World War,
in Turlock, he joined the Forty-seventh Company of California Military Reserve, and

Online LibraryGeorge Henry TinkhamHistory of Stanislaus County California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres → online text (page 104 of 177)