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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 106 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 106 of 177)
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declared the camp colony outfit the best of any such establishment in the state. Nearly
all of the products of this cannery go to Eastern markets, and there they command
the best patronage and the highest prices. In this outfit just referred to, there is a
playground for children, with an experienced woman in attendance, and there are
ample shower baths and toilets.

At Oakland, Mr. Shannon was married to Miss Bessie J. Ilgenfritz, a native of
Iowa, and with this accomplished lady he resides in the Crane Addition. He has two
children, Burton and Kathleen, and also a son, Donald — now with the Fort Sutter
National Bank in Sacramento — bv his first marriage to Miss Maude McLelland of
Buffalo, N. Y. Mr. Shannon belongs to Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. O. E., and
was made a Mason in North Butte Lodge No. 230, at Gridley, from which he was
later demitted ; he is now a member of Turlock Lodge No. 395, F. & A. M. He
was exalted in the Truckee-Oroville Chapter No. 20 and knighted in the Oroville
Commandery No. 5, K. T., after which he was demitted and became a charter mem-
ber of the Knights Templar of Modesto. With Mrs. Shannon he belongs to the
Wistaria Chapter, O. E. S., and he is also affiliated with Aahmes Temple of A. A.
O. N. M. S. of Oakland. Mr. Shannon naturally takes an interest in farming, and
owns a ranch which he has improved as an orchard for the growing of peaches. The
firm belongs to the Chamber of Commerce.

CHARLES DUNCAN BLAINE. — A representative native son in his commend-
able participation in all community life, Charles Duncan Blaine was born at Castro-
ville, in Monterey County, on November 1, 1879. His father was Allen Blaine, born
in Wisconsin, whose father was born in New York State, who had married Miss Anna
Tidrow, after coming to Tulare County from Knox County, 111., in 1871, the Tidrows
being a family of pioneers that crossed the great plains during the Utah massacres in
the late fifties. Allen Blaine was a farmer, and Charles passed his boyhood helping
his father on the ranch, while he attended the Salinas Valley district school.

When eighteen years of age, Mr. Blaine worked for wages for a couple of years
on a farm in the Salinas Valley, and then for three years he was with the California
Powder Works at Santa Cruz. He then went to San Francisco and spent a year with
the United Railways, and after that, having removed to San Luis Obispo County, he
worked for a few months on the Pacific Coast Railroad. Next he took up the phono-
graph business in Arroyo Grande and then in San Luis Obispo, and for nine years was
the best-known dealer in that field in such musical instruments ; and for three years
he was in the insurance business in the old Mission town.

In 1916 Mr. Blaine arrived in Modesto and embarked in the automobile busi-
ness, becoming the manager for Cuyler Lee of San Francisco until he sold his Modesto
branch ; and then he became identified with J. H. Clark in the agency for the Kissel
car. After that, for two and a half years, he was office manager for the Frank Andrews
Battery Works at Modesto, and at present he is again in the insurance line, and is
Stanislaus County agent for the Missouri State Life Insurance Company, the U. S.
Fidelity & Guaranty, and Massachusetts Bonding & Insurance Company.



948 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

At San Francisco, on February 6, 1912, Mr. Blaine was married to Miss Mary
Lathrop, a native of Arroyo Grande and a member of a well-known pioneer family,
Mrs. Mary Lathrop, Mrs. Blaine's mother, having been the first white child born in
the city of Santa Barbara. Mrs. Blaine was reared and educated at Arroyo Grande
and attended there both the grammar and the high school. Mr. and Mrs. Blaine live
at the corner of Fresno and Sierra streets, where they have built themselves an attrac-
tive home. Mr. Blaine belongs to the Modesto Lodge No. 1282, B. P. O. E., having
joined the order in San Luis Obispo Lodge No. 322, where he was exalted ruler, when
he resigned in 1913 on his removal from that city. He is also a member of the Im-
proved Order of Red Men of Modesto, and chief of records of Winola Tribe No. 248,
and past sachem of the order.

FRED L. O'NEAL, D.V.M. — Prominent among the able veterinary surgeons
in Stanislaus County who have done so much for the increasingly important industry
in dairy stock and horses, is Dr. Fred L. O'Neal, D.V.M. , whose name is generally
linked with that of his father as representing the last word in veterinary science. He
was born in Decatur, Burt County, Nebr., on Washington's birthday, 1895, son of
Dr. W. R. O'Neal of Scotch-Irish Covenant or Presbyterian ancestry, who married
Miss Jennie Learning, of English and Scotch descent. They were early settlers of
Burt County, and in his younger years, W. R. O'Neal was a farmer. Later, he
graduated from the Kansas City Veterinary College, and since 1904 he has been a
veterinary surgeon — in California since 1910. After two years in Long Beach, he
settled in Newman.

Dr. Fred L. O'Neal attended the Wayne, Nebr., schools, and in 1910 he accom-
panied his parents to Long Beach, where his father practiced his profession. He fol-
lowed in paternal footsteps by attending the veterinary college in San Francisco.
Later, he received his degree of D.V.M. from Kansas City Veterinary College in
1917, his father's alma mater. Since 1912, Dr. W. R. O'Neal has made Newman
his home; and in practice has taken western Stanislaus County as a field; and father
and son have cooperated with mutual success. The O'Neals have a modern, well-
equipped veterinary hospital located on North N Street, with operating tables and
advanced appliances.

In Bakersfield, on November 22, 1919, Dr. O'Neal married Miss Gladys Roach,
a native of Hanford, Cal., daughter of W. R. and Ella (Houston) Roach of Hanford.
She is a graduate of Hanford high school and Heald's Business College at Fresno,
and was stenographer for the California Peach Growers. Inc., of Fresno. Dr. O'Neal
ranks high in popularity among Newman Odd Fellows, and with his wife holds
Rebekah membership.

In November, 1917, Dr. O'Neal volunteered in the Medical Corps and was
ordered to the officers' training school at Camp Greenleaf, Ga., where, after the armis-
tice, he received his honorable discharge. He did his part, therefore, as a citizen, and
can always look back upon this service with patriotic satisfaction. He is a member of
the Northern San Joaquin Valley Veterinary Medical Association, being chairman of
the committee on resolutions, and of the American Veterinary Medical Association ;
and the Delta Chapter Alpha Psi Fraternity of Kansas City, Mo., also claims him.

ARTHUR P. FERGUSON.— A faithful, efficient public official is A. P. Fer-
guson, the popular city clerk of Turlock, who was born at Marshalltown, Marshall
County, Iowa, on December 23, 1862, the son of S. C. Ferguson, who was born in
Beaver County, Pa., and migrated in 1832 to Indiana, after which he came to Iowa
in 1856, where he married Miss Madeline E. Seymour, who was born at Union
Village, Broome County, N. Y. Mr. Ferguson served in the Civil War as a member
of the Thirty-fifth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, was mustered in as sergeant, and
rose to be a lieutenant-colonel in the regular army. He had been wounded while with
his command, and after his discharge from the hospital, he was detailed to organize
and muster in a negro regiment, and was commissioned captain, and rose to be lieu-
tenant-colonel. After the war, he established himself as an architect, contractor and
builder at Marshalltown, and was city and county assessor, and was secretary of the



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 951

school board for thirteen years ; he was a prominent G. A. R. member, and was
adjutant of the local post, and died, duly honored, in June, 1919, aged eighty-seven
years. His devoted wife passed away in 1894. They had nine children, among whom
our subject was the third in the order of birth.

He was brought up in Marshalltown and Albion, Iowa, where he attended the
local schools, as well as the Albion Seminary, an auxiliary to Mount Vernon Univer-
sity, from which he was graduated, and then he matriculated at the University of Iowa
at Iowa City. At the end of two years, however, he discontinued his studies there
in order to take up teaching in Marshall County, Iowa ; and afterwards for five years,
he taught in Cherokee and Ida counties. At Cherokee City, also, on December 18,
1888, Mr. Ferguson was married to Miss Mary A. Leonard, a native of Rochelle,
Ogle County, 111., and the member of an old pioneer family who settled near Pres-
cott, in Adams County. Mr. Ferguson taught until 1889, and then he located on a
farm in Iowa, where he remained until 1893, when he came to California.

He brought his family to Bakersfield and bought a farm twenty-one miles to the
northwest, near McFarland, where he engaged in raising grain, alfalfa and stock; and
he continued until 1904, when he sold out and spent a year in Los Angeles. In 1905,
he came to Turlock in the employ of the Modesto Creamery; and having begun as
a helper, he learned the making of butter so thoroughly that at the end of fourteen
months he was made manager of the Turlock Creamery, a post of responsibility which
he held until 1915.

In July of that year, he was appointed city clerk of Turlock to fill a vacancy
caused by the resignation of A. E. Sutton ; and the following spring he was elected
city clerk for two years. In 1918 he was reelected without opposition, and again in
1920 the electors signified their preference for him, this time for a term of four years.
In national politics a Republican, Mr. Ferguson treats local movements and measures
with as much of a nonpartisan view as is possible, and in 1914 was a candidate for
state senator, but defeated by a small majority in a Democratic district.

Eight children were granted Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, and seven are still living.
William Ward is first assistant cashier of the First National Bank of Turlock, is mar-
ried to Sarah Coffman and has three children. Dora Valesca Madeline is supervisor
of the Turlock Home Telephone & Telegraph office. Mary Elizabeth graduated
from the College of the Pacific with the class of '20, is taking post-graduate work in
University of California at Berkeley. Violet May is attending the Junior College at
Turlock. R. Prentiss, formerly a clerk in the Turlock post office, is now attending
the College of the Pacific. Rudolph is attending the Turlock high school ; and Her-
bert Nathaniel is in the grammar school. Mr. Ferguson is a member of Turlock
Lodge No. 402, I. O. O. F., where he is an ex-secretary and a past grand ; and Mr.
and Mrs. Ferguson are charter members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which
Mr. Ferguson has been a trustee from its organization. He is the district secretary
of. the Civilian Relief Association of Turlock, belongs to the Red Cross and has been
active in all its good work from the time of the organization of the chapter.

HERBERT W. RAMONT.— An enterprising worker in the motor trade who is
fast rising to an enviable leadership, is Herbert W. Ramont, who was born at Mar-
shalltown, Iowa, in January, 1895, the son of William and Augusta Ramont, highly
esteemed farmer folks. The father was a pioneer of the Hawkeye State, who came
from Michigan and he did much to hasten the development of that section of Iowa.

H. W. attended the grammar school at Marshalltown and spent his early days
with his parents on the home farm until, with them, he came out to California and
Modesto. This was in 1911, and at that time William Ramont retired from active
service. The lad attended the Modesto high school, and then went to the University
of California, where he specialized in electrical engineering.

At the outbreak of the great war between the Central Powers and the United
States, Mr. Ramont enlisted, in May, 1917, in the ambulance unit of the University
of California and trained at Camp Crane, at Allentown, Pa. This ambulance unit,
upon its arrival in France, was subdivided into several smaller bodies, and Mr. Ramont
was assigned to and served with Unit No. 45, with the French forces. He had sailed



952 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

for France in June, 1918, and immediately after arriving abroad, he was sent into the
lines and participated in the drives at Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel, the Lorraine front,
and the Meuse-Argonne offensive. After the armistice, he was located near Toul,
France, in a town called Joinville, and was later sent to Bordeaux, from which port he
was returned to the United States in May, 1919, and at Camp Dix in New Jersey
he was discharged. He holds membership in the American Legion.

In June, 1920, the United Automotive Service of Modesto was organized as a
corporation, and Mr. Ramont was chosen as its president ; and in that responsible office
he has continued to develop the business ever since, each week showing appreciable
gains. They carry a complete line of automobile accessories, and maintain a well-
equipped machine shop and a first-class garage — both real boons to the motorist who
desires the best that is obtainable.

HENRY THEODORE JOHNSON.— A rising young structural engineer of
very promising ability, who also is identified with Stanislaus County agriculture as the
owner of one of the best farms of eighty acres for miles around, is H. T. Johnson, who
lives about three miles north of Modesto, and known as the president of the Paulsen
Platform Tractor Company, manufacturers of the Paulsen Platform Tractor, a
Modesto invention. He was born at Pittsburgh, Pa., on December 30, 1882, and
graduated from the Western University of Pennsylvania, class of 1900, where he had
pursued a mechanical and structural engineering course. For ten years he was estab-
lished in San Francisco, and during that time among the buildings he rebuilt and built
we mention the Starr King Church, the first permanent building after the fire; the
Haslett Warehouse, in which were used the largest timbers ever used in San Francisco ;
the Morris Packing House, the Chinese Hospital, the Potter building, and the down
town Realty building. Undoubtedly he inherited much pronounced ability, for his
father, who lived and died in Pittsburgh, was engineer for the Pittsburgh Coal Com-
pany for thirty-five years. H. T. played, too, for three years on the football team of
the University of Pennsylvania, and so developed a sound body, and likewise a sound
mind, with the result that he is powerful as an athlete and strong intellectually.

Mr. Johnson owns a well-situated ranch on Sylvan Avenue, bought by him in
1915, where he resides with his second wife, formerly Miss Ellen M. Jones, of Colo-
rado and Modesto, whom he married at Oakland, on May 1, 1919, and the two chil-
dren by his former wife, Helen E., and John H. This ranch, however, he intends to
sell in order to remove to Los Angeles and give his entire time to the manufacture
of the tractor invented by T. R. Paulsen, the mechanical engineer, while he lived at
Modesto, in the sale of which Mr. Johnson believes there are millions for everybody
concerned, including the buyers. With others, Mr. Johnson has invested many thou-
sand dollars in what he regards as one of the greatest mechanical contrivances ever
put upon the market ; and this confidence in the form of hard cash is perhaps the best
evidence of the real faith that is in the promoters, who certainly deserve, with the
investor, all possible success.

The officers of the Paulsen Platform Tractor Company are: H. T. Johnson,
president; T. R. Paulsen, vice-president, and S. S. Latz, secretary and treasurer. The
offices of the company are at 1006 Washington Building, Los Angeles. Mr. Johnson
is also vice-president and organizer of the Power Implement and Machine Works of
Modesto, manufacturing the Zanon mower attachment for all tractors. Mr. Johnson
is a member of King Solomon Lodge No. 260, F. & A. M., of San Francisco.

VICTOR V. GOEFFERT.— Prominent among the well-trained pharmacists of
Stanislaus County may be mentioned Victor V. Goeffert, a native of this city, where he
was born on December 5, 1888, the son of Henry and Mary (Silvey) Goeffert,
pioneers. His father was a native of Saxony, and first came to California in 1852;
and thirty-three years later he removed from Solano County to Modesto, after a career
devoted in part to the development of mining interests. Mrs. Goeffert came to Cali-
fornia, across the plains in 1849, with her parents.

Victor attended the excellent grammar and high schools of his native town, and
then was apprenticed to Dr. L. P. Player as a pharmacist and to learn the drug trade.
He continued there as an employee for eight years, and then for a couple of years was



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 955

;n partnership with Dr. Player; and since 1917 he has been in business for himself.
Naturally, he belongs to the Chamber of Commerce, and for a season was one of its
board of directors. The high standards set and followed by Mr. Goeffert in the
maintenance of one of the best-equipped drug stores in the county have brought him a
generous patronage by and the fullest confidence of an appreciative public.

On August 26, 1910, Mr. Goeffert was married at San Francisco to Miss Letha
Islip, also a native of Stanislaus County, where she was born on February 10, 1890.
Her parents were Charles and Anna Islip, who came to California at an early date,
and they were doubtless related in an interesting way with the noted family in Amer-
ican colonial history, after which Islip Grange on Great South Bay, Long Island —
purchased, by the way, from the Indians as far back of 1683 and in 1697 confirmed
by royal patent — and the present Islip, in Suffolk County, in that state, have been
named. One daughter, Dorothy Jane, has blessed this fortunate union. Mr. Goeffert
belongs to Modesto Lodge No. 1282 of the B. P. O. Elks; Stanislaus Lodge No. 206,
F. & A. M.j Modesto; and Parlor No. 49, N. S. G. W. In politics he is independent,
and favors selecting a candidate regardless of party.

DELL M. SEELY. — A wide-awake expert whose experience and enterprising
operations have proven of great benefit to the Modesto motor world, is Dell M. Seely,
a native son, proud to have been born in that city on February 21, 1880. His father
was Martin V. Seely, the son of Charles R. Seely, who, as an early pioneer, came
from Iowa across the plains in 1848 and settled in California. He took up farming
on Government land, and was long known for his activity in the San Joaquin Valley,
and particularly in the section about Modesto. Martin V. Seely married Miss Emily
Mahoney, the daugher of John B. Mahoney, of Schenectady, N. Y., a rancher, who
was also a pioneer of Stanislaus County and acquired large tracts of land. A son, a
brother of Mrs. Seely, was West B. Mahoney, who recently passed away, honored
as one of Modesto's best citizens. Martin V. Seely became a large grain farmer,
owning a large tract of land between Oakdale and what is now Waterford, at one
time being the largest wheat raiser in the county. Afterwards, he spent some years
as a fruit grower in Santa Clara Valley, then returned to the San Joaquin Valley,
where he is a farmer and stockman at Ripon, and there he and his estimable wife
welcome their old friends of pioneer days. John B. Mahoney died in Modesto about
1906, while his widow is stillliving in San Jose. On his maternal side, Mr. Seely is
a lineal descendant of Stephen Girard of Philadelphia. They are also proud to know
that Thomas Edison is of the same family.

Having profited by the grammar schools of Santa Clara County, Dell M. Seely
attended the San Jose State Normal and also Heald's Technical School in San Fran-
cisco, after which he served an apprenticeship as a machinist in the Union Iron Works
of the bay city. He remained with the latter firm for seven years, and in that time
had worked up to the rank of outside installing engineer and covered the entire western
country west of the Mississippi. He had charge, among other contracts, of the setting
up of the Miami plant of 22,000 horsepower, at Miami, Ariz., the Van Balm Young
plant at Honolulu, the North Beach power plant in San Francisco, and other impor-
tant plants over this territory. While with the Union Iron Works Mr. Seely was in
trial trips on the different Government war vessels built at the works for the Pacific
fleet while he was with the company. He worked on the first submarine built on the
Pacific coast and was on the submarine when it made its trial trip, which was the
first underseas trip on this coast.

On his return to San Francisco Mr. Seely engaged in the automobile repairing
business, and had a shop much patronized. In 1916 he came back to Modesto and
bought and operated the Reliable Garage on West Ninth Street until he sold it in
1917 and engaged as an electrical contractor over California until July, 1920. He
then purchased the garage at 809 Thirteenth Street, where once more he established
a reputation for general automobile repair work. He is not only a machinist and
electrical engineer, but is able to do anything in the line of the iron trades.

In San Jose, on September 30, 1903, Mr. Seely was married to Miss May Zurcher,
a daughter of David and Elizabeth Zurcher, and a native of Kansas. Her father was



956 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

a millwright, and he passed away in 1910. Her mother died at their home in Modesto
in November, 1920. Now Mr. and Mrs. Seely have two daughters and a grandson.
Alva has become Mrs. Clifford Gaar and lives at Modesto, with a son, Robert Gaar,
while Delia Seely lives with her parents, and still attends the grammar school at
Modesto. Mr. Seely belongs to the Druids, and is a standpat Republican. He was
one of the first members of the California Automobile Trades Association in Modesto.
He is a member of the American Technical Society and is consulting engineer for the
Master Aeronautical Engineers, both of Washington, D. C, and during the World
War was a member of the National War College.

JAMES GIBSON. — A worthy descendant of the splendid pioneer blood which
carved the foundations of our glorious California statehood, James Gibson, a native
of Stanislaus County and one of our most highly respected and influential citizens, has
done much to aid the growth of his native county, being especially intimately associated
with the development of the irrigation systems which have transformed vast areas
into highly improved farms. He now owns the old V. B. Dale ranch of seventeen
acres, at the corner of Dale and Oakdale roads, where he is largely engaged in dairy-
ing and in the breeding of registered Holstein cattle, of which he has developed an
specially fine strain. He has a herd of fine young cows and a senior herd sire of note,
the celebrated three-year-old bull, Palo Netherland Korndyke, son of Rag Apple Im-
perial Korndyke. Mr. Gibson has taken many prizes with his stock, including the
first prize on a junior heifer at the San Francisco Stock Show, 1917, and second,
third and fourth prizes at the Modesto Fair, 1916. He is a member of National
Holstein-Friesian Breeders Association, and also of the State and County Holstein-
Friesian Breeders Associations and is considered one of the best informed stockmen in
the county, capable and practical, and an excellent judge of stock.

A native of Stanislaus County, James Gibson was born in Jackson precinct, a
few miles west of Salida, September 18, 1875, the son of Samuel and Guadalupe
(Ramirez) Gibson. His father was born in Missouri and came to California, cross-
ing the plains in 1849. He was the hunter and scout for the party, and the old
muzzle-loading grizzly bear rifle which he carried is now in the possession of our
fellow-citizen, and one of his most treasured possessions. The party was attacked by
Indians many times and not a few of the hated Redskins lost their lives by this same
rifle. The Indians finally succeeded in stealing all the stock of the party in the Carson
Valley, and from there on made their way over the mountains to California on foot.
Mr. Gibson was a crack shot and champion of this county at one time. The party
finally reached Big Bar, north of Sacramento, where they prospected for gold. Mr.
Gibson was a friend of Bodie, owner of the Bodie Mine near the California-Nevada
state line, and went there to work until Mr. Bodie was killed by the Indians, Mr.
Gibson being the one to find the dead body. Meeting with success in his mining
ventures, Mr. Gibson presently had accumulated considerable capital, and came into
Stanislaus County in 1864 and purchased 800 acres four miles west of what is now



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 106 of 177)