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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

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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 108 of 177)
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corner of Eleventh and I streets, the News Building, the Fire Engine House, the
County Jail, the Turner Block, the Thomas Griffin Garage, and the building now
occupied by the Nash Garage. He has also constructed many smaller places, receiving
his full share of the building contracts. Of late, he has specialized in cement contracting.

A Republican in his preference as to national political affairs, Mr. Sears is non-
partisan enough when it comes to supporting the best candidates and the best measures
for local improvement and development. He is a member of the Foresters of America,
and no one could desire a more enviable popularity than he there enjoys. A native
son, Mr. Sears is particularly loyal to Stanislaus County, and never neglects an oppor-
tunity to advance its permanent interests.

NAZARETH SWEDISH LUTHERAN CHURCH.— Interesting from several
standpoints, the Nazareth Swedish Lutheran Church is of particular appeal to all
thoughtful American citizens as one of the effective agencies in Stanislaus County for
the upbuilding of society, the improvement along broad and permanent lines of the
community. It was organized in 1912 by Rev. M. A. Nordstrom with eighteen
charter members, and was incorporated in 1913.

In that same latter year the church edifice was built at the corner of South Broad-
way and D Street with a seating capacity of 250; and such was the wisdom displayed
by those having the matter in charge that sufficient funds were raised at the outset to
guarantee that the building would be paid for when completed. Rev. Magnus was
the first pastor and continued his ministry until 1916, when he was succeeded by the
present pastor, the Rev. John Billdt, who took hold when there were fifty-four com-
municants, whereas there are now about 175. A comfortable parsonage has been built
at 509 West Main Street, and it is almost paid for. The Sunday School numbers
ninety-five members, the Luther League has fifty-five, the Ladies' Aid has fifty mem-
bers, while the Mission Society numbers thirty.

The Berea Lutheran Church at Hilmar was organized as early as 1906 by Dr.
Nelander with about twenty members, and it was incorporated in 1910, when the
church building was erected. Now it has 105 communicants. The Rev. John Billdt
was pastor from when he came to Turlock until 1920, and they have their local pastor.

JOHN S. ELLIOTT. — A capable man whose hard work has rewarded him with
success is John S. Elliott, the superintendent of the California Cooperative Canneries
at Modesto, who was born at Millard, in Faulk County, S. D., on June 14, 1888, the
son of William H. and Mary Elizabeth Elliott. His father was a native of Markesan,
Green Lake County, Wis., and he early removed to South Dakota, where he took up
Government land, preempting and homesteading, and for a number of years he farmed.
Later he became a commission merchant, dealing in grain, and for a time he was buyer
for the Bagley Elevator Company of Minneapolis, Minn.

John Elliott commenced in South Dakota to attend the grammar school, but he
was compelled to change schools, as his father removed to Berlin, Wis., to become a
stock buyer for the Milwaukee and Chicago yards, and he again removed to Mari-
nette, where he opened a butcher shop. The lad finished his grammar schooling at the
latter place, and took the correspondence course of the Extension University of La
Salle Institute at Chicago. Mr. Elliott moved back to Markesan after a year, and
there engaged in farming. While working on his father's farm, John sustained an
injury; and not long after his father, whose health began to fail, moved to Marquette,
a town on the Fox River, and retired from active life.

Recovering from the accident, John Elliott entered the service of the Randolph
Canning Company at Randolph, Wis., and for five years he served that busy concern as
its foreman. On February 17, 1915, Mr. Elliott was married at Randolph to Miss
Nellie Violet Crain, a native of Troy Mills, Iowa, and the daughter of Franklin
Crain, a farmer who died when the daughter was a little girl. The happy couple came




O-Ci^er^- U\^£7



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 96/

to California on their honeymoon, and for a short time they stopped at San Francisco,
when Mr. Elliott worked for four months as a checker for the American Can Com-
pany. Then he removed to Sunnyvale and for two and a half years worked for Libby,
McNeill & Libby; and after that he went to San Jose and took a position with the
California Packing Corporation, acting for six months as a mechanic at Plant No. 4.
His next engagement was with the California Cooperative Canneries at San Jose, as
warehouse foreman; and after being two years there, he was transferred in August,
1920, to Modesto as superintendent of the canneries here belonging to that company.
He owns an interest in the Cooperative Canneries.

Two children blessed the fortunate union of Mr. and Mrs. Elliott, and they
bear the names of Hope Elliott and Keith. Mr. Elliott is a Republican in matters
of national politics, but a nonpartisan, valued "booster" in all local movements; and
he is a popular member of the Woodmen of the World, belonging to San Jose lodge.

JACOB REITZ. — "Silver Oaks," one of the beautiful country places on the
Salida-Oakdale State Highway, in Prescott precinct, so named on account of the
numerous silver oak trees that adorn the place, is the home of Jacob Reitz and his
family, one of the enterprising dairymen in Stanislaus County. Mr. Reitz is engaged
in dairy farming on eighty acres of as fine land as the county offers, and has brought
his farm under a high state of cultivation, stocked it with pure-bred milch cows, and
equipped it with a full complement of machinery and buildings necessary for modern
scientific dairying. His property has increased in value at least an hundred fold since
he bought it, due largely to his excellent care and management.

Mr. Reitz is a native of Germany, born near the city of Darmstadt, province of
Hesse-Darmstadt, November 5, 1882. His father, Johannes Reitz, who was the
superintendent of an estate, died when Jacob was but twelve years of age, leaving his
widow with eight children, our subject being the third born, but the eldest son. His
mother, whose maiden name was Anna Traboldt, came to California with her family,
leaving Jacob behind. She is located in San Francisco and was there married to John
Gasner, then employed on a dairy farm in Humboldt County, near Ferndale. Here Mr.
Reitz came to Califoria early in 1898, and for several years assisted his mother, who
had rented a farm and was dairying on a large scale. When he was twenty-one years
of age he started in business for himself, renting a ninety-acre dairy farm near Areata,
in 1903, which he ran for three years. Selling this at a satisfactory profit, he then
went to Ferndale and bought a sixty-cow dairy and leasehold, which he continued to
run with great success until 1913, when he come to Stanislaus County and purchased
his present property of eighty acres, where he has since resided. He is a member of
the Milk Producers Association of Central California.

The marriage of Mr. Reitz and Miss Martha Hansen occurred in Ferndale,
January 24, 1914. Mrs. Reitz is a native daughter of Ferndale, and the only daughter
of one of that thriving little city's prominent business men, Johannes Hansen, now
the general manager of the Russ-Aggler- Williams Store, and one of the old-time
residents of Humboldt County. She is a woman of culture and a genuine helpmate
and home maker. Two children have been born to them, Maria Johanna and Jane
Augusta. Mr. Reitz, who takes a hearty interest in all that concerns the business and
general welfare of the county, is a Republican politically, but is in no sense "hide
bound," being liberal, progressive and public spirited at all times.

HENRY J. LUNDELL. — A successful horticulturist and dairyman, who has
done much to improve the land in his neighborhood, is Henry J. Lundell, who came
to Turlock nearly two decades ago. He was born in Vermland, Sweden, on March 21,
1862, there reared on a farm and sent to school; and on the old home-place he re-
mained until he was twenty-four years of age. He served for a couple of years in the
Swedish army, and at the end of that time received his honorable discharge.

In 1886, Mr. Lundell came to the United States and located in Renville County,
Minn., where he worked on a farm for a year while he studied English, and the next
year he removed to Marshall County, where he took 160 acres in the eastern part of
Red River Valley, which he cleared, broke and improved from raw brush land. He



968 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

raised hay and stock, and bought fort}' additional acres, so that he had 200 acres within
eighteen miles of the Thief River Falls. In 1903, Mr. Lundell came West to Cali-
fornia, and taking a fancy to Turlock, he bought his present site of forty acres on
West Main Street, just west of the corporate limits. He improved this land, and
built there a fine residence with the necessary barns and other outbuildings, and in-
stalled a domestic pump with an electric plant. After a while, he sold twenty acres,
but he still owns the other half. He raises alfalfa, and runs a dairy with eleven cows.
While in Minnesota, Mr. Lundell was married to Miss Mary Dalstrom, a native
of Sweden, and they have had eight children: Hilma is Mrs. F. L. Vail of Sacra-
mento ; Albert was in the U. S. Navy, and served in the World War, being stationed
at Guam for over three years; Fred was in the U. S. Army, and served overseas;
Esther is Mrs. Oscar Bostrom of Turlock; Agnes is employed in Dr. Pearson's office;
Malvina, Lydia and Selma are at home. The family attend the Swedish Mission
Church, of which Mr. Lundell is a charter member; and they stand for temperance
and the enforcement of the Prohibition amendment, first, last and all the time.

JAMES K. BARNETT. — An automobile specialist familiar with every detail of
this field of enterprise, James K. Barnett is the accommodating manager of the United
Automotive Service of Modesto. He was born at Bloomfield, Davis County, Iowa, on
July 29, 1893, the son of J. A. and Elizabeth Barnett, and grew up where his father
was a farmer, and his grandfather had settled, after migrating from Indiana, and
had taken up Government land. He attended the country school near Bloomfield, and
later the Southern Iowa Normal school, and he spent his early days on the home farm.

In 1913, Mr. Barnett came to California and settled at Modesto. He had
already pursued machinist work for three years in Iowa, having been identified with
the mechanical department of the Velie Motor Company at Moline, 111., and it was
natural that he should follow the same line of work here. He went into the automo-
bile business with E. J. Boundey, and in this partnership had a machine shop and
garage from 1913 until February, 1916. He then went into business for himself and
conducted what was popular as Barnett's Garage, with an excellent machine shop and
a supply department as well. In 1920, Mr. Barnett organized the United Automotive
Service, a corporation, and at once became its manager. The concern undertakes to
furnish all kinds of automobile repair service and to supply everything needed, and
covers the Stanislaus County and adjoining territory, with both wholesale and retail
service. The officers of this well-organized and well-maintained company are: Pres-
ident, Herbert W. Ramont ; vice-president, Robert Dow; treasurer, Robert C. Smyth;
secretary, C. C. Barnett; manager, James K. Barnett.

At Bloomfield, Iowa, on June 11, 1913, Mr. Barnett was married to Miss Bertha
E. Marshall, daughter of James S. and Emily Marshall, a young lady who was also a
native of Iowa and had enjoyed a high school education. Three children have blessed
their union: James K., Jr., is in the grammar school, and the others are Helen E. and
Miriam. Mr. Barnett belongs to the Independent Order of Foresters and Moose of
Modesto, the First Presbyterian Church, and marches under the Republican banner.

CALVIN H. CONRON. — A well-trained public official who seems to find it easy
to please both his fellow-citizens and the Federal authorities under whom he is serving,
is Calvin H. Conron, a native of Topeka, Kans., where he was born on May 5, 1869.
On both the paternal and maternal sides of the family, he comes from natives of Penn-
sylvania, who removed to Kansas in 1859. His father, Peter C. Conron, preempted
land and farmed near Topeka until he passed away at the age of seventy-eight. He
married Miss Louisa T. Tucker, and she died there in 1920, aged eighty-four.

Calvin attended the grammar and the high schools of Wakarusa, a district about
twelve miles south of Topeka, and up to his twenty-third year, spent his early manhood
on the home farm with his father. In 1892, he removed to Topeka with his brother,
John E. Conron, and for six years engaged in the music business. He then took a civil
service examination, and having passed with credit, he entered the postal service on
September 1, 1898. He received the appointment of substitute letter carrier, and was
promoted during his service until he reached the postmastership.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 971

In 1912, he was transferred to California to the Bakersfield office, and made
registry clerk; and six years later, he was again transferred to Modesto, when he was
appointed assistant postmaster. He served in that responsible capacity until, on
January 21, 1920, Mr. Howell was released, and since then he has been acting post-
master of the city to the satisfaction of everybody. Mr. Conron's father had enlisted
for active service in the Civil War as a member of Company I of the Eleventh
Kansas Infantry, and while with his regiment was wounded by a huge powder ex-
plosion ; and after recovering from the injuries he then and there received, he served as
a paymaster and traveled through the Northwest to pay the troops.

Mr. Conron has been twice married. At Topeka, on January 19, 1895, he be-
came the husband of Miss Beatrice Webber, a native of Topeka, and the daughter of
Elwood P. and Elizabeth Webber ; her father was a bookbinder by trade, and she was
given good educational advantages in the Kansas schools. Four children were born of
this union: Helen Louise is at Bakersfield, teaching in the grammar school; Lois C.
is the present Mrs. Percy Johnson of Bakersfield ; Calvin H., Jr., is a senior in the
Modesto high school, where Harry M. is a sophomore. Mrs. Conron died at Ventura
in 1913. Three years later, at Bakersfield, on September 20, Mr. Conron married
Mrs. Effie M. Overmyer, who was born near Topeka, the daughter of George Neil,
and reared there on a farm. Mr. and Mrs. Conron have their own home in Modesto,
and are interested in ranch work. Mr. Conron is a Republican.

BION V. HARMAN. — An important and growing business in Modesto which
owes its remarkable success to the ability and experience of the proprietor and his
gifted wife, is that of the poultry and egg business of Mr. and Mrs. Bion V. Harman,
who have the McCullough Provision Company of Modesto, with headquarters in
San Francisco, the Modesto place of business being located at 715 Eighth Street.
Mr. Harman was born at Gettysburg, Darke County, Ohio, on April 14, 1885, the
son of Jackson G. Harman, a native of the same state, who came of Pennsylvania
parentage and was a farmer. He married Sarah Horner, who was born in Ohio and
was also of Pennsylvanian lineage. Both parents are now living, the object of affection
of seven of the eight children born to them, the other one having died.

Bion was the youngest son and the second youngest child, and was brought up on
a farm until he was sixteen years old. He attended the public schools and he also
went to the Ohio Northern University at Ada, Ohio, where he completed the com-
mercial and telegraph courses. Then he entered the employ of the Pennsylvania Rail-
road Company at Gettysburg, and after that saw much service on the Pennsylvania
lines, especially at Greenville, Ohio.

In April, 1907, Mr. Harman came to California, and for a while stopped at
Modesto and then removed to San Francisco, where he was in the employ of the
Southern Pacific Railroad. He asked for a transfer to Modesto, and was fortunate
in obtaining it, as there was a vacancy; and he was operator at Modesto for over a
year when he resigned to join the staff of B. Weil & Son, and clerk in their hardware
store. Three months later he went to their Turlock store, for six months.

At Modesto on December 18, 1907, Mr. Harman was married to Miss Laura
Alma Foster who was born at the old Foster ranch home near Turlock, and was the
daughter of Samuel E. Foster, whose instructive life-story is given elsewhere in this
volume. She attended the public school at Ceres and the Modesto high school, and
grew up esteemed and honored as the granddaughter of William Hughes, a genuine
'49er who crossed the great plains to California with ox-teams. Her mother, Nancy J.
(Hughes) Foster, a native daughter, died in 1915.

In 1908, after Mr. Harman and wife had made a trip for three months East,
they returned here and he entered the employ of the Enterprise Grocery. Later he
was a traveling salesman for the American Tobacco Company, his territory including
the whole of California; and six months after that he entered into partnership with
Charles Fellows, and they bought out a poultry, egg and feed business, and were also
agents for the Roeding Nursery Company of Fresno. The partners continued together
from August, 1909, until June, 1910, when Mr. Harman took over the poultry and
feed business and the partnership was dissolved.



972 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Having outgrown their quarters, Mr. and Mrs. Harman were planning to enlarge
their business. About this time Mr. Harman's ability and success had attracted the
officials of the McCullough Provision Company of San Francisco, who made over-
tures to Mr. Harman, which resulted in his becoming a stockholder and director in the
parent company of the McCullough Provision Company in March, 1920, and he was
chosen manager of the new branch, which they started at Modesto. With his usual
energy, Mr. Harman has built up the plant until it is second to none and is not only
the largest of its kind in Stanislaus County but is said to be the largest in the San
Joaquin Valley. Besides Modesto, the company also has branch stores at Petaluma
and Tulare. Recently the Modesto branch has been divorced from the parent com-
pany and incorporated as McCullough Provision Company of Modesto, in which Mr.
Harman is a director, secretary and manager. Mr. Harman has the distinction of
shipping the first car load of eggs from this county to New York City. The first car
left February 23, 1921, others followed, and one day they shipped two cars.

Mr. Harman gives no small degree of credit for his success in business to his
estimable wife who has always been his willing helpmate since they launched into
business. Being possessed of a pleasing personality and much native business acumen.
Mrs. Harman has been a wonderful encouragement to him in realizing the goal of his
ambition. Naturally, Mr. Harman is a member, and a live one, too, of that excellently-
conducted organization, the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, and the Progressive
Business Club of Modesto. Fraternally, he is a member of Modesto lodge, B. P. O. E.,
and of the Knights of Pythias, and few enjoy greater popularity in either order.

ALBERT J. MAZURETTE.— A young engineer who, although a late comer to
Modesto, has demonstrated his ability so that he is favored with a large share of con-
struction work, is Albert J. Mazurette, who was born in Detroit, Mich., on September
17, 1886, the son of Odlion A. Mazurette, who had married Miss Bella Rodidoux, and
had brought his family from Canada to the United States, reaching California even-
tually in 1900, five years after the mother had died. In Canada, Mr. Mazurette was
interested in sawmilling.

Albert attended the public schools of Stockton and Oakland until 1904, in which
year he completed his studies with a thorough course at the Oakland Polytechnic ; and
when eighteen years old, he started out for himself. He identified himself with the
Santa Clara Planing Mill, and went through a complete apprenticeship to that line
of industry. In 1905, he removed to Stockton and joined the forces of the Enterprise
Planing Mill there, working with R. P. Morrell, who was one of the best architects
of that section. In 1906, he came back to Oakland, to the Pacific Coast Lumber &
Mill Company, and in 1907 he worked with Karl H. Nickel, the "bungalow king"
of the Bay district, and remained with him until 1910.

In that year Mr. Mazurette opened offices for himself in the Architectural Busi-
ness Offices at Oakland, and four years later, in January, he organized the Melbourne
Construction Company, taking the presidency and establishing offices in Oakland and
also in Alameda. This company specialized in warehouses, factories, pumping plants,
bridges, office buildings, and all types of first-class structures. Among other notable
buildings erected by him and his company may be mentioned the Alameda-Venice
Baths, now known as Neptune Beach. He joined the Transportation Club of San
Francisco, and also the American Society of Engineers.

Mr. Mazurette remained in Oakland until the Fair opened at San Francisco, and
then he went with the Fair Association, and had offices in the fair grounds, becoming
one of the architectural staff responsible for and deserving much of the success of the
Exposition. When the United States entered the World War, Mr. Mazurette became
assistant plant engineer at the Fowler Aeroplane Works, and was in charge of produc-
tion. From there he was transferred to the U. S. Shipping Board, and in San Fran-
cisco he was in charge of refrigeration. He was next identified with the Liberty Plant
at Alameda under the jurisdiction of the Aberthraw Construction Company, which
built the Government shipyards.

At the close of the war, Mr. Mazurette came inland to Modesto, and for a year
was with Ernest Green in construction work. Then he organized the firm of Wieland-



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 973

Mazurette-Wieland, architectural, structural and mechanical engineers, with head-
quarters at Modesto, and soon found himself and his colleagues in demand and very
active all over the San Joaquin Valley. While in Oakland, Mr. Mazurette had also
served as assistant treasurer under "Billy" Fitzmorris.

At Oakland, in the year 1916, on July 14 — the anniversary of an historical event
so dear to the French and their descendants — Mr. Mazurette was married to Miss
Barbara Nellie Wampler, a native of Butte, Mont., and the daughter of Fleming
and Mary Elizabeth Wampler. Her father was a cattleman of Montana, operating
on a large scale, and he was also the oldest settler of Beaverhead County in that state.
As a fraternity man, Mr. Mazurette belongs to the Gamma Chapter of the Sigma
Omega Psi (an engineers' society), and also the Alpha Chapter of the Delta Kappa
Sigma of the Knickerbocker Club of San Francisco. He is, besides, a member of the
Alameda Lodge No. 1015, B. P. O. Elks. In national politics he is a Republican.

FOSTER A. WILL. — An active dealer in Modesto real estate who is naturally
interested in development which makes for a greater city and a greater county, Foster
A. Will was born near Newark, Ohio, September 13, 1879, and spent his boyhood days
in the Buckeye State. His father, Samuel A. Will, is still living near Newark, where
he is well known on account of his business and political activities in the Buckeye State.

Foster A. Will served during the Spanish-American War, in Company K, Seven-
teenth U. S. Infantry. He has traveled extensively throughout the world, having cir-
cled the globe three times, visiting parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Philippines,
China, Japan and the Hawaiian Islands. In 1901 he came to San Francisco and
entered the study of the real estate field. He was a charter member of the State Real
Estate Association and he is still a member of that organization. In 1905 Mr. Will
opened offices in Oakland, which he maintained until 1915, at which time he retired
and bought the Imperial Hotel at Stockton, which he conducted until 1918.

Mr. Will then moved to Modesto and opened up a real estate office which is now
located at 913 J Street. He has purchased a twenty-five acre ranch on Michigan
Avenue, near the Paradise Road, which he is developing and setting out to peaches,



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 108 of 177)