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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 126 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 126 of 177)
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In 1895, his brother, K., was arrested by the Turks and locked up six weeks al
Marsovan, and when the report of his incarceration was received, and it was learned
that he might be executed, Harry and his father retained an attorney, who telegraphed
President Cleveland ; and the U. S. Administration demanded his brother's release
The result was that the Turks sent him back to the United States where he was a
citizen. In 1896, this brother K. became one of the partners in the firm of Arakelian
Bros. & Company, which was then composed of our subject, his brother K., and the
hrother-in-law, J. Light, a cousin, Dick Arakelian, and a Mr. Simonian. They went
in for raising melons, especially cantaloupes, and not only near Fresno, hut on land
lying here and there from the Imperial Valley to Lodi ; and in time they had 4,000
acres of cantaloupes and watermelons, and 1 ,000 acres of sweet potatoes, and were the



1136 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

largest growers of melons and sweet potatoes in the world. They also grew raisins,
tobacco and cotton.

In 1920 Mr. Arakelian retired from the extensive business of growing melons,
and since then he has devoted his time to his lands and real estate. He owns a ranch
of 300 acres at Livingston, and it is devoted to the raising of Thompson seedless
grapes. He believes in building up the communities and owns valuable business prop-
erty in Fresno, and is now building the Roosevelt Hotel on Van Ness Avenue — a
concrete, fireproof building that will cost a quarter of a million dollars. He also
owns valuable business property in Livingston and plans a big business house there.

In 1916 Mr. Arakelian moved to Turlock where he resides with his family. One
of the two children is a daughter, Theresa, who has become Mrs. Kullijian; they have
a son, Harry, and reside in Turlock. A son is John, the husband of Louise Atamian,
who is assisting his father in business and owns a vineyard of ninety-six acres at Living-
ston. He also resides in Turlock and has two children — Geo. and Albert. John
Arakelian is a member of Turlock lodge of Masons. Politically Mr. Arakelian is a
strong believer in protection for America and so is a staunch Republican.

CHARLES A. SPERRY.— A California freeholder whose pride in the Golden

State is reflected in the esteem felt for him and his family, is Charles A. Sperry, who
was born August 25, 1876, on the Whitmore ranch, near the present site of Hughson,
the eldest child of the late Charles Edwin Sperry, a native of Maine and a second-
cousin of the founders of the Sperry flour mills, and his good wife, who was Miss
Clara Sabin, a native of the Catskill region in New York state, both well-known
pioneers of Stanislaus County. When he was four years of age, his father purchased
a farm of 966 acres, which he made the historic Sperry ranch, famed for its grain and
stock. Since then much colonization has taken place, which has resulted in the cutting
up of the original tract.

When a young man, Charles Sperry engaged with his brother, Louis N. Sperry,
in raising grain there on an extensive scale, and after his father's death, he took charge
of the ranch, and the brothers continued to raise grain and stock for twenty years,
farming from 4,000 to 5,000 acres. As far back as 1906 he started a colony of
farmers, and since then the district has been subdivided rapidly, and what was once
a large, well-cultivated ranch has given way to many small, prosperous farms. Mr.
Sperry retains sixty acres of the Sperry farm, on which he resides and farms.

Miss Elmira Agnes Hartman, who was married to Mr. Sperry, is the daughter
of David and Elizabeth Hartman, natives of Missouri and early pioneers in California,
having located near La Grange in 1850. There Elmira was born about 1880. Two
children have blessed this union, George A. and Richard N. Mr. Sperry has always
taken a keen interest in public questions and has served on the election board for years.
In national politics he is a Republican.

CHARLES L. KILBURN. — An interesting story of pioneer activity and
achievement is recalled in the narrative of Charles L. Kilburn's family, long identified
with the development of California. His father was Guy Kilburn, also of Newman,
who migrated to the Golden State in 1852, and early identified himself with both agri-
cultural and industrial pursuits. He had been born on November 17, 1836, in Ger-
mantown, Tioga County, Pa., where his father, Wells Kilburn, was born', and where
he followed agriculture until 1852, when he came to California with his family. He
traveled by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and was shipwrecked before he got here.
He took up land in Napa County, and there followed farming for the rest of his days.
In Napa, therefore, Guy Kilburn married Miss Jeannette A. Smith, a native of West
Liberty, Iowa, and a daughter of Egbert T. Smith, who had come to California from
Iowa across the Isthmus of Panama in the same year of the Kilburn migration. For a
couple of years he was employed in the mercantile trade at Marysville, and then he
removed to Napa County, where he took up land and resided until his death in 1879,
at the age of eighty-five. His wife was Miss Sarah Schencke, a daughter of the Rev.
William Schencke and a native of Ohio, and she died in 1851 in Iowa. Guy Kilburn
early built a warehouse to hold his grain, on account of the inadequate transportation




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1139

facilities of those days, and when Salinas, Monterey County, appealed to him more
than Napa, he removed hither, and only in the late sixties came to Stanislaus County.
Here he acquired 1,000 acres about four and a half miles north of the present site of
Newman, and from the beginning devoted all of his energies to grain farming. After
the canal was opened, he was one of the first ranchers to devote his land to alfalfa.

Charles L. Kilburn was born on the old Kilburn estate on March 27, 1881, the
next to the youngest of the family, and attended the old White Crow school, growing
up with his sister, Stella, who became the wife of William C. Smith of Stockton ;
Ada; Ruth, later Mrs. George Stewart of Stanislaus County; Kate, the wife of D.
Pickard of San Francisco; E. S. Kilburn died in 1917; Ella, who married W. G.
Wilson, who died overseas in the World War, and his widow resides in San Francisco:
Mabel, the wife of L. M. Doty of San Francisco. When nineteen years of age Charles
left home and spent five years in the employ of the Wells Fargo Company at San
Francisco. In that city, also, he engaged for a while in carpenter work, but the earth-
quake having created chaos there, he moved inland, with thousands of others, and
settled at Newman.

On May 8, 1911, Mr. Kilburn was married to Miss May Grogan, a native of
Sacramento, who lost her parents when she was only two years old. She was reared
by her sister and brother-in-law, Mrs. and Mr. John O'Brien of Sacramento, and was
sent to the schools of that city. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kilburn are highly esteemed at
Newman, in the lasting prosperity of which town they are especially interested.

J. H. PINCKNEY. — Belonging to the first generation of native Californians,
J. H. Pinckney, genial proprietor of the Modesto Carriage Works, located at the
corner of F and Eleventh streets, Modesto, was born in San Francisco, May 17, 1856.
His father, Richard, a native of Tarrytown, New York, and a carpenter and builder
by occupation, had a brother in New York City who was the owner of a sash and
door mill. This was the reason that the elder Pinckney brought a shipload of sashes,
doors and building material with him when he came around Cape Horn to San Fran-
cisco in 1849. He also brought machinery for a sawmill which he built in Mendocino
County, and from which he brought the rough lumber to his San Francisco lumber
yard, located at the corner of Second and Mission streets, as early as 1853-54. He
returned to New York to bring a bride back to California — before her marriage Miss
Eliza Jane Loder, a native of New York City, to whom he was united in marriage
in New York in 1855. Returning to California he later engaged in contracting, and
moved to East Oakland where he continued the occupation until a short time before
his death, which occurred December 18, 1872. His wife also died in Oakland.

J. H. was the oldest child of the family and after completing his studies at the
old Lincoln school in San Francisco, just after his father's death, he learned his trade
in Oakland. After working for a time in San Francisco he was afterwards at Benicia
five years with the Baker and Hamilton Agricultural Works. While there they built
1,000 wagons and 500 buggies. He was assistant foreman and learned modern wagon
making with modern machinery. After this he worked at Snelling, then returned to
San Francisco. Learning of a shop for sale at Modesto, January 1, 1890, he bought
the shop and three corner lots from the owner. He has remodeled the building and
installed new machinery. The shop is now 50x100 feet, well equipped with modern
machinery, planes, saws, tools, etc., and there is also a blacksmith shop in connection
with it with all modern facilities and conveniences for handling work. Mr. Pinckney
makes a specialty of automobile work, also has machinery for making auto springs,
wheels, truck and trailer beds, doing work in that line for every garage in Modesto.

He has also built a planing mill adjoining his shop, equipped with modern ma-
chinery and has at one time or another done custom work for the different lumber
yards in town. It is the consensus of opinion of traveling men that he has the best
equipped most modern of any individual blacksmith establishment in the county.

Mr. Pinckney was married at San Francisco to Mrs. Jane Hawkins Geer, who
was born in Los Angeles and whose father, John, a native of Virginia and a veteran
of the Mexican War, crossed the plains with ox teams in 1849. He was engaged in the
gunsmith business in Los Angeles and moved from there to Merced County, where he



1140 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

engaged in ranching. His wife, Lyda Hawkins, was a native of Spain. They were
married in the East and she died in Merced. In a family of seven children, Mrs.
Pinckney was the fourth child. She married James Soper and by this marriage had
two children, Harriett, now Mrs. Forbes of Oakland, and James, who resides in
Snelling. By a second marriage she was united to Thomas Geer, and one child was
born of this union, Elsie, now Mrs. Ring of Oakland. Politically Mr. Pinckney casts
his vote for the principles advocated in the Republican platform. He is a member of
the Chamber of Commerce, the Merchants Association and the Board of Trade.

JEREMIAH BARNHART.— An eventful, fruitful life has been that of Jere-
miah Barnhart, who, ably assisted by his gifted and devoted wife, has made a success of
carpentering, engineering and farming, to say nothing of preaching and the rearing
of a family of which any parents might well be proud. He was born in Millerstown,
Pa., on June 22, 1854, the third son of Daniel B. Barnhart, who followed his trade
of wagonmaker until his death. Then an older brother carried on the business for-
merly known as the Traction Wagon Works, but more recently styled the Kreamer
Wagon Company. Jeremiah enjoyed but a limited schooling, and at sixteen set out
to learn the blacksmith trade, at which he was apprenticed for three years; and so well
did he do as an intelligent workman that his employer saw fit to give him each year an
increase above the standard wage scale for apprentices. The first year he worked for
five dollars per week ; the second for eight dollars ; and during the third year, ten.

At the time of the panic of 1872, Mr. Barnhart came to the oil fields at Oil City,
Pa., and took a job as tool dresser. A few months later he engaged as a contractor
and employed eight men on two sets of tools, and went to drilling on contract; and
this work he continued until he was twenty-three. All through the last four years of
his work in the oil fields, Mr. Barnhart had been studying the Gospel in the evenings
and taking up a special theological course; and when he was examined by the .Board
of Conference Preachers, he was appointed circuit minister of the Free Methodist
Episcopal Church, and served several years, when he was elected district elder, serving
nine years in the Pittsburgh conference, then came West.

Desiring the better to carry out religious work, Mr. Barnhart dropped his trade,
and since then has devoted the major portion of his time to his calling in the Christian
ministry. As elder for four years of the Bradford district of Pittsburgh, he not only
trebled the church membership, but he was also instrumental in the erection of seven-
teen churches and parsonages throughout his district. It was natural for him to work
with vigor, and he always carried through what he had once undertaken. After a
year as elder in the Alleghany district, he was forced to resign, owing to impaired
health ; and for the same reason he was persuaded to go West.

Locating for a time at Colville, Wash., as superintendent of Sharp & Winslow's
lumber mills, he benefited in health and financially from the outdoor work, and was
then given entire charge of the extensive mills and their 200 laborers, a position he
held until 1902, when the concern changed hands. He then settled in Seattle and
opened up a general merchandise business in partnership with his son, Lowell W.
Barnhart ; and together they carried on very successfully the business known as the
"Ross Marche." At the end of four years he sold out and exchanged his real estate
holdings of 240 acres of timberland for a ranch of twenty acres near Keyes, in Stanis-
laus County; and since 1912 this ranch has been developed by Mr. Barnhart into one
of the finest farms of its size in the state. He engaged for a time in dairying with
such choice stock as Dutch Belt cattle, and he also bred Hampshire pigs, in both of
which departments of enterprise he was very successful. The call to return to the
service of the church, however, was persistent, and in 1916, at the California Con-
ference of the Free M. E. Church, the Rev. Mr. Barnhart was unanimously elected
elder cf the San Francisco district. He is now president of the board of trustees of
the Free M. E. Church of Turlock, and served on the building committee when the
new church and parsonage were erected in 1919. He also served as financial secretary
to the Hart Memorial Chapel at 3024 Twenty-fourth Street in San Francisco. He
organized a society at Tulare, and after carrying on revival work in that city for a few
weeks, he raised funds for the Lake Drive Free M. E. Church. He was elected for



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1141

four years a delegate to the Missionary Board at Chicago, to which he went as a
delegate in 1920 from the Pacific Coast district, a worthy honor considering that Mr.
Barnhart has spent the best years of his life serving other people.

On July 25, 1877, Mr. Barnhart was married to Miss Maretta Gavett, who was
•born in New York twenty years before. Her father was Daniel B. Gavett, and he
was a lumberman all of his life. Four children have sprung from this union: Grace
R., born on April 18, 1878, and deceased on February 25, 1916, left a family of six
children who are being reared by Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart; Lowell W. lives at Tur-
lock; Ethel B. married W. B. Van Valin of Los Angeles; -and Mabel G. is the wife
of R. E. Cochrane of Turlock.

LEWIS W. BOIES.— A native of Iowa, Lewis W. Boies was born in Wood-
bine, Harrison County, May 25, 1888. His father, James A. Boies, was a native of
Pennsylvania, where he learned the hardware business. When the gold excitement in
Colorado started he made the journey to Pike's Peak, and after the Civil War started
he enlisted in a Colorado regiment of cavalry and served in the Civil War. He was
engaged as a hardware merchant in Woodbine, Iowa, from 1879 until his death in
1898. His wife was Emily J. De Cay, born in Simcoe, Canada, of French descent,
and she continues to make her home in Woodbine, a devoted Methodist.

Of their five sons, Lewis W. is the next to the youngest and the only one residing
in California. After completing the public schools, he studied at the Woodbine
Normal, after which he entered Highland Park College of Pharmacy at Des Moines,
where he was graduated in 1906 with the degree of Ph.G. He followed his profes-
sion at Woodbine, Iowa, until 1910, when he came to Fresno and entered the employ
of Smith Bros, as prescription pharmacist, and afterwards with the Patterson Phar-
macy in a similar position until 1915, when he resigned and came to Turlock, forming
a partnership with E. A. Sweet as Sweet & Boies. They purchased the Keller &
Bennett store, which they remodeled, installing new fixtures, thus having one of the
finest drug stores in the county, where as pharmaceutical chemists they are making a
specialty of prescription trade. They have the agency for the Eastman kodaks and
have a department for developing films and printing enlarged pictures of same.

Aside from his business, Mr. Boies is interested in horticulture, and with two part-
ners, E. A. Sweet and Dr. J. L. Collins, owns eighty acres at Livingston, which they
have planted to a vineyard of Thompson Malaga grapes and an apricot orchard, with
fig trees lining the border and avenues, and it is known as the S. B. C. vineyard.
During the World War Mr. Boies enlisted in the U. S. Medical Corps at San Fran-
cisco in November, 1917, being stationed at the Letterman General Hospital at the
Presidio, rising from private to first lieutenant in the sanitary corps, having received
the latter commission February 13, 1919, and his honorable discharge April 30, 1919.

In San Francisco Mr. Boies was married to Miss Hazel Dunning, who is a native
daughter of San Francisco, and they have one child, Lewis Wm., Jr. Fraternally
Mr. Boies is a member of Turlock Lodge No. 395, F. & A. M., and Turlock Lodge
No. 98, K. of P., in which he is vice-chancellor, and he is also a member of the
Modern Woodmen of America and Rex Ish Post No. 88, American Legion, at
Turlock, while professionally he is a member of the California State Pharmaceutical
Association and the National Association of Retail Druggists.

ALFRED CARLSON. — A pleasant and affable gentleman who has done his
part in improving and building up of the community of Turlock, is Alfred Carlson,
who was born in Westergotlan, Sweden, March 7, 1859, where he grew up and
received a good education. From a lad he made himself generally useful on the home
farm until nineteen years of age, when he was apprenticed at the blacksmith trade, and
foon after completing the trade he decided to come to the United States, arriving in
McKean County, Pa., in May, 1882. He worked at his trade in Smithport, that
county, for a year and then moved to Dagus Mines, Elk County, Pa., where he filled
a position as blacksmith in a coal mine some years.

While at Dagus Mines, Mr. Carlson was married to Miss Mathilda Johnson,
who was born in Sweden, and they continued to reside there until 1893, when they



1142 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

moved to Anita, Jefferson County, Pa., where Mr. Carlson was the blacksmith at the
coal mine until March, 1904. Rev. Boden, who had been their pastor, had come to_
Turlock, Cal., in 1903 and his report on conditions of soil and climate were so satis-
factory that Mr. Carlson resolved to come hither, for after twenty-nine years working
at the blacksmith trade, he was desirous of quitting this work and engage in farming^

Soon after arriving in Turlock Mr. Carlson purchased twenty acres just south of
the town, paying forty-five dollars an acre. He built a small house and moved in just
nine days after arriving here. He improved the place from raw stubble field to alfalfa
and made of it a beautiful and valuable ranch. In 1918 he sold ten acres of the
ranch, but still owns ten acres on the State Highway, which he devotes to alfalfa and
a peach orchard, having set out every tree.

Mr. Carlson was bereaved of his estimable wife in 1917, when she was fifty-six
years of age, a woman much loved by all who knew her and particularly by her hus-
band and two children, Minna, who survived her mother only until 1918, and Lillie,
Mrs. Lindgren of Youngstown, Ohio. Mr. Carlson has seen Turlock grow from a
small town to a city of considerable importance and he is now one of the old-timers
among the settlers to do intensive farming.

AUGUST C. AHRENDSEN.— Inventor, first-class mechanic and blacksmith,
with several very valuable patents, and a fine, up-to-date shop in Empire, where he
does general blacksmithing and manufactures his patented devices, August C. Ahrend-
sen yet finds time for a vast amount of good work among his less-fortunate fellow-men,
always standing- ready to lend a helping hand, or an equally helping dollar. For a
period of years he was actively associated with the work of the Salvation Army, being
for a time one of its officers. He organized missions, Bible societies and cottage prayer
meetings, and did great good among a class of people who are ordinarily non-church
going. In 1916, in association with Mrs. C. A. Howe, and other prominent church
women of Modesto, he organized the Bible Mission, in the Labor Temple in Modesto,
where the hungry were fed and the idle provided with jobs. The mission was self-
supporting from almost the very first, and was an instrument for much good.

Among the inventions in which Mr. Ahrendsen is at present especially interested
in manufacturing are the A. C. A. weeder, a very useful tool around the farm and
garden, a dish-washer, and a wheel attachment to the Fresno scraper. He also makes
a line of trucks and trailers. Mr. Ahrendsen is an American in every sense of the
word, and although foreign born, he has been a resident of the United States since
1891 and a citizen since 1902, when he received his final naturalization papers. He is
a native of Schleswig, Germany, born April 27, 1872, the son of a Danish father,
although born under the German flag. His father, Ahrend Ahrendsen, was born
under the Danish flag in 1831, and served in the Danish army. Later he was a farmer
and storekeeper by occupation, keeping the store at Oldrup in Schleswig, after it was
ceded to Germany. He was married there to Johanna Krus, and of their union were
born seven children. He died in Schleswig in 1886, at the age of fifty-six. The
mother passed away in 1902.

Our Mr. Ahrendsen passed his boyhood in Schleswig, attending the public schools,
and was educated and confirmed in the German Lutheran Church. He learned the
blacksmith trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years, and continuing to work
at this trade until he was eighteen. In 1891 he bade farewell to mother and family
and in March set sail for New York City, arriving on April 10, 1891. The place
of his destination was Millard, Douglas County, Nebr., whither an elder sister had
preceded him. Here he worked on farms for four years, in the meantime being
joined by two other brothers.

It was in 1894 that Mr. Ahrendsen and his brother, John T., came to California,
locating at Dixon, Solano County, where A. C. worked at his blacksmithing track for
the following two years. Later our Mr. Ahrendsen was working as a journeyman
blacksmith at St. Helena, Cal., and while there was converted in meeting by the
Salvation Army. Following this he went to the Rogue River Valley, Ore., and
farmed for a year, and then Mr. Ahrendsen went to Portland, where he entered the
Salvation Army Training School, and became an officer of that organization. He



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1145

then served as a lieutenant at Centralia, Ore., later organizing missions, reading
rooms and libraries (about thirty-five in all) in Washington and Oregon, among
these being the mission at Salem. He then returned to the pursuit of his trade, opening
a blacksmith shop in Oregon for a time, but in 1916 returned to California and built
his present splendidly equipped shop at Empire. He has never lost interest in religious
and humanitarian work, and is well known for his efforts for the benefit of humanity
throughout Stanislaus County, being still associated with rescue and mission work in
Modesto and vicinity. The patents which Mr. Ahrendsen has perfected give evidence
of the fertility of his brain, and it is opined that he has still greater possibilities along
this line. Politically, Mr. Ahrendsen is a Republican, and never fails to give his un-
qualified support to any movement for the welfare and uplifting of humanity.



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 126 of 177)