Copyright
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 129 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 129 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


messages to the American consul at Athens, Mr. Kounias was finally released, after
nearly twelve weeks detention. He immediately went to Constantinople where he
waited until his father joined him, when they went to Naples, Italy, remaining a week
and then went to Marseilles, France, spending another week, thence to Gibraltar, and
on to Lisbon, proceeding from that port by steamer to New York.

Reaching Modesto, August 1, 1921, they found a warm welcome, and his father,
who is now seventy, was amazed at the glories of California. As his business had been
left in good hands, Mr. Kounias resumed the management of his affairs, and feels
grateful for the assistance rendered him by his Modesto friends. He not only warmly
appreciates it, but is proud to have such a loyal following in the city of his adoption.
Mr. Kounias found conditions all over Europe very poor, money scarce and farms
neglected. In some places he saw only children and old men ; the robust young men
had been sacrificed to Mars, and women did all kinds of work. The towns and cities
at the front were still torn up and devastated. Modesto, by contrast, naturally looked
specially inviting, on his return.

Being possessed of unbounded faith in the future of Stanislaus County, Mr.
Kounias has invested from time to time in farm lands, buying his first twenty acres
in 1913. In 1914 he added twenty-seven acres, and in 1917 forty acres, all in Laurel
Lodge precinct. He also owns two valuable vineyards in San Joaquin County, of
forty-two acres each, and several unimproved business lots in Modesto. He takes a
keen interest in everything that pertains to the welfare of the county and especially
of Modesto, and can always be counted upon to give unqualified support to any
worth-while undertaking. He is a member of the National Holstein Breeders Asso-
ciation, and the California and Stanislaus County associations of breeders of Holsteins.

GEORGE M. A VILA.— It is the proud claim of George M. Avila that he is
not only a native born son, but the son of a highly esteemed pioneer as well, who was
born on December 9, 1890, near San Juan Bautista, San Benito County, the son of
Joseph M. and Isabel (Nunes) Avila. His father came to California in 1865, was
well known in San Juan, where he was an extensive breeder of cattle and horses, who
is still living in San Jose. There were thirteen children in the Avila family: Daniel, a
dairyman now at Crows Landing; Antone, who passed away at the age of thirty-one;
Man', the present Mrs. John Borba of Newman; Joseph, a cattle buyer at Crows
Landing ; Manuel, a dairyman of San Jose ; Frank, also engaged in breeding pure-bred
Holsteins ; John, a cattle buyer at Newman ; Isabel, who lives with her father at San
Jose; William, who passed away in infancy; Anna, who is employed at the Gustine
Bank; Rose, also with her father at San Jose, and William Joseph, who is engaged in
the dairy business with his brother Manuel at San Jose. Their early days were spent
on their father's ranch, a 1,250-acre tract devoted to grain and cattle. In 1900 the
father leased this farm and moved to Crows Landing, where he bought 123 acres
about one mile east, on which he erected a modern house, two large barns and out-
buildings and had at times from 80 to 100 head of milk cows and was actively
engaged in dairying until 1913, when he retired and left the ranch in charge of his son
Joseph, who managed the place until July 1, 1918, when Geo. M. Avila took it over.

George M. Avila was educated in the San Juan district school, but being the
eighth in the order of birth, of a large family and his services needed at home, had little
opportunity to attain an education in his youth, but later on took advantage of the
opportunities offered by the night schools. At the age of fourteen he left home and took
up horsemanship and for the next four years was employed by William Best of Pleas-
anton, driving the latter's horses on the track. The next six years he spent with Ruby &
Bowers at Portland, Ore., where he followed the same line of work, after which he
came to Crows Landing and engaged in various kinds of work there and at Newman
and Gustine until July 1, 1918, when he moved to his present abode.









w



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1165

At Merced, on December 4, 1911, Mr. Avila was married to Miss Ethel Pettit,
born on the Kerr farm south of Gustine, the daughter of Jerry and Julia (Woodworth)
Pettit, the mother being a native-born daughter and the father a native of Montreal,
Canada, who for a number of years was engaged in the dairy business at Gustine. Mrs.
Avila received her education at the Enterprise district school, now known as Gustine,
and is the sister of Iva, the present Mrs. Claude Wright of Patterson ; Elmer and Fred,
residents of Gustine : Joshua, deceased ; John, Charles, Waldo and Leslie, who live with
their parents at Gustine. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Avila:
Ethelrose, Gerald Milton and Annabelle. Politically, Mr. Avila is a nonpartisan in
his views, giving his vote to the man he thinks best qualified for the office.

ARTHUR FLUX. — Hard work and good business management have placed
Arthur Flux among the prosperous dairymen and ranchers of Stanislaus County.
Mr. Flux was born on the Isle of Wight, in the English Channel, August 1, 1861, and
is a son of James and Mary Ann (Salter) Flux, who were also born on the Island
of Wight, the father being in the government emnloy in the stores department of the
penitentiary. Both parents are now dead. Of their seven children, Mr. Flux is the
youngest ; he had the advantages of a common school education in his native country
and there he worked on dairy farms until he was twenty-one years old. Coming to
America in the year 1882, he began by working out on farms in Ohio, in Geauga and
Portage counties, in the Lake Erie region.

In Nelson, Ohio, on December 25, 1885, Mr. Flux was united in marriage with
Miss Ella Hamblin, who was born in Lexington, Ky. Her father, David H. Ham-
blin, was born in Ohio and served in an Ohio regiment in the Civil War, being
wounded in action. He married a Miss Coe and was engaged in the jewelrv business,
passing away in Kentucky. Mrs. Flux is the youngest of their four children and
when she was two years old, she lost her mother, after which she lived with her
uncle, Almon Coe, and attended school at Montville, Ohio. Five children have been
born to Mr. and Mrs. Flux: Lee died at the age of one and a half years in Ohio;
Alfred J. is married and lives at Portland, Ore. ; Herbert A. is helping his father
on the farm ; he gave two strenuous years in the defense of his country during the
World War, first in the Ninety-first Division. He started overseas, but was taken
with scarlet fever at Omaha. On his recovery, he went to Camp Merritt, N. J., and
was sent overseas September 1, 1918. Arriving in France, he was transferred to the
Ninetieth Division, serving in the first line trenches, and after the armistice he was
with the Army of Occupation until he returned to Newport News, Va., June 7, 1919,
and two weeks later arrived in San Francisco, where he was honorably discharged
June 27, 1919, then returning home. George A. Flux also assists on the farm, while
Frank is attending the Modesto high school.

Mr. Flux continued to farm in Ohio for twenty-two years, owning a farm at
Hiram. In 1907 he located at Lebanon, Linn County, Ore., and purchased a farm,
engaging in farming and stock raising. Desiring to locate in California, he came to
his place on March 31, 1915, buying a tract of sixty-two and a half acres east of
Empire. He lost no time in having it planted to alfalfa and getting together a herd
of twenty-seven milch cows, besides young stock. He ran a large dairy and made
many substantial improvements on his place, among them an attractive bungalow
residence. While his son Herbert was in the service he could not handle the dairy
alone, so sold off twenty-five of his cows and twenty-five acres of the land. He is still
engaged in dairying, but is gradually planting his alfalfa fields to fruit trees. He
planted twelve acres in 1921 to Malaga and Thompson Seedless grapes, peaches and
apricots, and in a few years will be reaping a good income from his orchard.

Mr. Flux is a member of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau and in national
politics is a Republican, but in local matters he is nonpartisan in his views. He is a
member of the Empire Board of Trade and the Milk Producers Association of Central
California, while Mrs. Flux is a member of the Get-Together Club. In 1896, Mr.
Flux, with his wife and son Alfred, made a trip to England, visiting his old home and
other places in that country, spending five months among his friends and kindred.



1166 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

ANTONIO A. OLIVEIRA.— One of the leading dairy ranchers of his section
is A. A. Oliveira, whose dairy farm of forty-eight acres with thirty cows is situated
three miles northeast of Crows Landing. Born on the Island of St. George of the
Azores on August 1, 1864, the son of John and Rosie Oliveira, when only seventeen
years of age he crossed the Atlantic, settling in Vermont, where he made his own way
hy working in a sawmill. In 1882, believing that California offered greater oppor-
tunities, he came West and did ranch work for a year near San Mateo. From there he
went to Point Reyes, Marin County, where he worked for two and a half years on a
dairy farm. Desiring to farm for himself, he went to San Rafael, where he bought
a half-interest in a large dairy farm of 650 acres, on which they kept fifty cows. After
a period of eight years he sold his interest in the dairy farm and took a position as a
butter maker for three and a half years on a farm near San Geronimo. On leaving
that place he went to Tocaloma near Point Reyes, where he purchased an interest in
a dairy business. A year after, however, he sold out his interest and operated a dairy
farm alone near Nicasio, Marin County, on which he kept eighty cows. He kept this
dairy ranch one year, when he sold it out and went to Tomales, remaining there for
two years on a dairy farm. The next five years of his life were spent on a ranch near
Valley Ford in Sonoma County, when he returned to Tomales, where he operated a
dairy farm of eighty cows for six years. In 1912, Mr. Oliveira came to Crows Landing
and purchased his present holding of forty-eight acres three miles east of there, sowed
the land to alfalfa and two years later erected his present home and farm buildings.

On October 30, 1897, Mr. Oliveira was married to Miss Rosie Areia, the daughter
of Antone and Marian Areia, who was born on the Island of St. George not far from
her husband's birthplace. When Mrs. Oliveira was twelve years old her parents came
to the new world, settling near San Rafael, and here she grew to womanhood. Her
parents are still living and make their home at Salida. Mrs. Oliveira passed away
on February 9, 1920, leaving seven children: Mary E., Rosie, Antone, Manuel, Lena,
Joseph and John. Mr. Oliveira belongs to the I. D. E. S. and U. P .E. C. of Tomales.

ROLLIE R. PETERS.— It was in January, 1912, that Rollie R. Peters came
with his family to Stanislaus County, and located at Patterson, where he had bought
sixty acres of fine land on Walnut and Elm Streets in 1910. He immediately began
to improve his property, erecting a handsome modern home, and commodious barns.
Tn 1919 he sold this property to Frank Mendes, and moved to a farm of twenty acres
on Almond Avenue, which he had purchased in 1914, and already it is fast becoming
one of the show places of the vicinity, attractively improved and exceptionally well
kept in every detail. At present it is largely devoted to alfalfa and annual crops, but
Mr. Peters purposes to make it into one of the finest fruit and alfalfa ranches in the
county. Another plan which he intends to put into operation at an early date is that
for breeding registered Holstein milch cows, for which there is a great demand. As
he is a capable, efficient farmer-stockman, his success is a foregone conclusion.

Mr. Peters is a native of Ohio, born near Lightsville in Darke Countv. Sep-
tember 30, 1875, the son of Ambrose and Manora Peters. His father was a farmer
on an extensive scale, and until he was twenty-one young Rollie remained with his
parents on the farm, attending school and assisting with the farm work. On reaching
his majority he left home and for six years was employed at Grundy Center. Iowa.
Here he met and married Miss Julia Gilbert, a native of Ohio, born in Darke Countv,
near Arcanum. Her parents were Silas and Frances Gilbert, well-to-do farmers. Mrs.
Peters, as Julia Gilbert, attended the nublic schools of Arcanum, and graduated from
the Normal School at Mount Morris, 111. Following this for ten years she was actively
engaged in educational work, teaching a part of the time in her own home county in
Ohio, and a part of the time at Grundy Center, Iowa, where she wedded Mr. Peters.

Following his marriage, Mr. Peters leased 200 acres of land in Hardin County,
Iowa, near Eldora, where for the succeeding nine years he engaged in farming, rais-
ing stock and grain, and meeting with deserved success. During this time he had
become interested in California land and opportunities, and in 1910 he invested in
land in Stanislaus County. Two years later he came to California, and has since
resided in the vicinity of Patterson, where he and his family hold a high place in



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1167

public esteem. Mr. and Mrs. Peters are the parents of five children, the eldest two,
Frances and Harold, being popular high school students in Patterson, while Margaret,
Eugene and Everett are still of grammar school age.

Mr. Peters is a director in the Patterson Irrigation Company, having served in
this capacity for the past two years. He is also a member of the Milk Producers'
Association and of the Stanislaus County Farmers' Union, having a splendid grasp
of all situations pertaining to farm questions. He is today recognized as one of the
most successful and influential men in the Patterson district, holding the confidence
and esteem of the leading men of the community.

GEORGE K. BEARD. — Another representative of one of the most interesting
historic families is George K. Beard, the third son and seventh child of T. K. and
Adele Grace (Lewis) Beard, the well-known pioneers long prominent in Stanislaus
County's best circles. With his wife, Mr. Beard is very busy building up their home
on their fruit ranch of 100 acres in the Dickinson precinct, five miles west of La
Grange on the Waterford-La Grange Road. This property Mr. Beard purchased
from his father, and he has certainly improved it greatly since he took possession.

George Beard was born in Modesto on February 4, 1893. After spending three
years at the Modesto high school he entered Anderson Academy at Irvington, a mili-
tary school, where he was graduated in 1910. After that he spent two years at the
University of Nevada, from 1912 to 1914, pursuing the mechanical engineer's course.
He was next manager for two seasons on his father's large Stanislaus County ranches,
and in 1917 set up for himself. He has erected a beautiful dwelling, and also a
spacious barn; has sunk a well and has built a 15,000-gallon tank on a hill near his
house, in order to obtain the desired supply of water for domestic purposes, and for
lawn and garden. He is planting peach, apricot and other fruit trees.

In Los Angeles in 1914, Mr. Beard was married to Miss Irma Keith of Denver;
and they have been blessed with two children, Betty Ann and Barbara J. Mr. Beard
belongs to the Odd Fellows of La Grange.

In Mr. Beard is represented one of Stanislaus County's leading families, and it
is pleasant to observe that he himself, totally disinclined to live upon a reputation
created by others, is making a place and a name for himself, and so is contributing to
the enviable record of the family.

LON J. TAYLOR. — A resident of Patterson since its infancy, closely identified
with its activities and development, Lon J. Taylor, engineer for the Standard Oil
Company, is one of the best-known men in this part of the county. His association
with this great corporation has brought him in close contact with many of the leading
men in the community, and he stands high with his employers and with his associates
in the business, holding alike the confidence and respect of all.

Mr. Taylor is a Southerner, born in Kentucky, at Tompkinsville, January 29,
1882, the son of William Jasper and Jane Taylor, both of Southern ancestry. His father
was a farmer and horseman, and was held in high esteem in Tompkinsville. Lon J.
Taylor received his early education in private schools of his native city, but these were
in session only about five months during the winter. He helped his father on the farm
and became thoroughly efficient in farm work and management. But he had heard
much of the opportunities of California, and as soon as he was of age he came West to
seek his fortune. He located first in Tulare County, near Tulare, where he worked on
a fruit ranch for a year, learning much of value about the farm life of the state. He
then went to Southern California, where he farmed 1,100 acres on the Laguna Ranch,
one of the famous Spanish ranchos near Whittier, now belonging to Simons Brick
Company of Los Angeles. After a year and a half here he returned to the central part
of the state, and became associated with the Standard Oil Company in Kings County,
working as an engineer at Lemoore. From here he went to Bakersfield for the Stand-
ard Oil, being located for a year and a half at the Rio Bravo station on the West Side.

It was in 1912 that Mr. Taylor came to Patterson for the first time, remaining as
engineer in charge of the Standard Oil Company's station until 1915, when he was
transferred to Tracy for two years. At the end of that time he was transferred again to



1168 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Patterson, since which time he has resided here. He has identified himself with the
best interests of the town and community and is recognized as a leading citizen.

On August 24, 1904, before he started his westward journey, Mr. Taylor was
united in marriage with Miss Ethel Pitcock, born in the vicinity of Tompkinsville,
where she was married, and reared and educated with her future husband. Mrs. Taylor
was the daughter of John and Alice Pitcock, her father being a well-to-do farmer and
sawmill owner. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have three children, one daughter, Jewell R.,
attending the Patterson grammar school, and two sons, A. Guy, also in grammar school,
and L. Rex, not yet of school age. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have a pleasant home on
Third Street, which they own, and where their many friends are always certain to find
a warm welcome. Mr. Taylor is prominent among the Masons of Patterson and a
member of the local lodge. In politics he is a Republican and takes a keen interest
in the political welfare of the county, state and nation.

ANDREW J. OLESEN.— A farmer with a valuable, well-situated ranch,
highly improved as the result of his own handiwork, is Andrew J. Olesen, the proud
possessor of a score or more cows, and a successful dairyman. He lives about two
miles southeast of Newman, and is to be classed among the industrious residents of
Stanislaus County who have done something to advance California agriculture. He
was born in Schleswig on July 20, 1866, the son of Christ and Christine (Brink)
Olesen, and grew up to help his father, who was a landscape gardener and a nursery-
man. He also attended the grammar schools for which his fatherland was famous.

In the spring of 1891, Mr. Olesen crossed the ocean to America, and having
been fortunate in the choice of the Golden State as his goal, he arrived at Newman
on April 23. The conditions were very different in this New World from those of
the Old, which he had left behind, and methods of and implements for farming were
not a little strange at first ; but he was always quick to learn, and so he soon adapted
himself and began to push forward.

For eight months Mr. Olesen worked for Henry Miller on the Miller & Lux
ranch, and then he hired out to Miller & Lux for the same kind of service on the
McPike ranch. After that he entered the employ of John Schmidt, an early Stanis-
laus settler, and later on the Captain Morris ranch at Crows Landing, and it was
not until 1894 that he started farming for himself. For a couple of years he raised
grain; but he then gave up the attempt to make a living in that manner, for the price
of grain was not sufficient to make things pay. His next effort panned out better,
for he started a dairy, and has continued dairying ever since. He had already acquired
some experience needed in Schleswig, and he began on familiar ground. As early as
the fall of 1894 he purchased ten acres of land southeast of Newman, and a year
later set it out to alfalfa. At the end of two years, he purchased another ten acres
and set that out in the same manner, and some years later he added ten acres more,
so that he now owns thirty acres, and still later he purchased thirty acres of land
three miles west of his present place.

Among those who came to America at the same time as Mr. Olesen was Miss
Carrie Holm, a native of Vilslev, Denmark, the daughter of George and Anna
(Mayer) Holm, dairy folk, and on February 23, 1894, they were married. The
bride had attended the schools of her native land, and had been lucky in growing
up at home, where she mastered the ins and outs of domestic life. Three children
have blessed their happy home life. Christine is at present Mrs. Peter Juncker,
farming Mr. Olesen's ranch near Newman; Anna is a bookkeeper in the Modesto
Bank, and Christ is at home. Mr. Olesen is a Republican, but he aims to support
local movements apart from party considerations.

In 1905 Mr. Olesen, accompanied by his wife and three children, returned to
Schleswig to celebrate the golden wedding of his parents, leaving for Europe July
3, and returning to America on November 8. The delightful anniversary was cele-
brated on August 12, 1905, and Mr. Olesen enjoyed every moment with "the old
folks at home" and in seeing once again the scenes of his childhood, but all were
delighted to get back to their own home in sunny California. They are members of
the Lutheran church in Newman.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1171

PETER J. ROGUET.— A worthy representative of one of the old, historic
French families of French Bar, now La Grange, was the late Peter J. Roguet, the
popular barber and constable, who was equally efficient as deputy sheriff, and enjoyed
the distinction of being the oldest living inhabitant of La Grange, and the oldest
man continuously in business there. He was born at La Grange on January 9, 1864,
the son of Peter Roguet, a native of Alsace, France, where he was born near Metz
in 1822. He came out to California in 1854, and settled at Don Pedro Bar, about
ten miles above La Grange; he mined on week-days and barbered the miners on Satur-
days and Sundays. . After two years he went back to Alsace and there married Mag-
dalene Zigler; and in 1857 he returned with his bride to Don Pedro Bar, where he
continued barbering. He moved from Don Pedro to Mariposa Gulch in Mariposa
County, and thence to Hornitos, in the same district; and in 1862 he came to La
Grange. He knew all the placer gold miners, 600 of whom were Frenchmen, at
French Bar, which was later called La Grange; and he died there in 1877 at the age
of fifty-five. In 1881 Mrs. Roguet moved to Modesto; and two years later she died
there, seventy-nine years old. These worthy parents had three children. The eldest
is Miss Amelia Roguet of San Francisco ; our subject was the second-born ; while the
younger was Charles E. Roguet, who died in his thirty-second year.

When Peter Roguet, the father, died and La Grange was without a barber, the
citizens insisted that Peter, although then only thirteen years old, should succeed his
father and maintain business at the old stand ; and thus while he grew up and at-
tended the local school, he early had his career determined for him. In 1899 he was
married to Miss Dora Montgomery, a native of Stanislaus County, and the daughter
of James Louis Montgomery, first tender of the dam ; they had one child, Harold E.

In national political affairs, Mr. Roguet preferred to work as a Democrat, but
he was a good mixer, ready to give as well as to take, and was, therefore, in local
matters, a first-class "booster." For nineteen years he served as deputy sheriff under
Sheriff R. B. Purvis. In 1886 he ran for constable, was elected, and in 1887 took



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 129 of 177)