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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 135 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 135 of 177)
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to his present state of affluence have given him an understanding of human problems
and a sympathy with human needs that causes him to do all his business on a basis of
justice and fairness, cornerstoned on the Golden Rule. He is a member of the Modesto
Chamber of Commerce and the Modesto Realty Board.

The marriage of Mr. Ealey and Miss Delia Darrah occurred in Los Angeles,
February 1, 1905. Mrs. Ealey is a native of North Dakota, but came to Los Angeles
as a young girl and was reared and educated there, and is well known among a wide
circle of friends in the Southern metropolis. She is the mother of three children,
Marvin, who died October 16, 1920, in his fourteenth year; Norma Burdell, and
Rosalie Vivian. Mr. and Mrs. Ealey are popular in social and civic ranks.




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1219

JACOB ORR. — An example of what can be done by hard work, intelligence,
perseverance, and frugality is shown in the progress made by Jacob Orr and his
family. He was born in County Armagh, Ireland, on August 5, 1843, son of William
and Martha Orr, parents of eight children, three of whom are living in California;
our subject, besides Robert, a rancher, near Farmington, and Sarah Selina, who is
single, in San Francisco.

Jacob Orr was married in Pollockshaws, Scotland, July 17, 1874, to Mary Jane
Jenkinson, also born in County Armagh, Ireland. In Scotland the Orrs both were
in others' employment for ten years, when the parents decided to take their five children
to America, and its larger opportunities. Landing in Boston, Mass., in March, 1887,
they first worked near there on a farm, then moved to Bath, Me., where the sixth
child was born.

In 1888 the Orrs came on to California, first working on a farm near Stockton for
eleven years, then moved to North precinct, Stanislaus County, and bought the 754
acres which Mr. Orr is now operating. He is known throughout the district as one
of the most successful grain and sheep ranchers. He had leased land some years, hav-
ing 1,000 acres in grain and running as high as 1,000 sheep. About four years ago
the Orrs built a splendid up-to-date bungalow on their ranch, where they radiate a
generous hospitality.

Mr. Orr has been ably assisted by his noble wife and helpmate, and their industri-
ous children, twelve in number: William James, who died when six years, and Jacob,
Jr., who died when three months old in Scotland ; Elizabeth is the wife of George C.
Pehl, resides in Farmington, has five children: St. Clair C, Theo. R., Gladys A.,
Alvena E. and Chester G. ; James M. resides in Oakland, is with the Southern
Pacific and has a daughter, Edina ; Sinclair Robert is on the home ranch ; Mary Jane
is Mrs. Henry W. Carey, of Farmington, and has two children, Frances May and
Shirley W. ; Joseph assists his father on the home farm. These children were born in
Scotland. Then there are George H., born in Bath, Maine, who gives his time to
the home ranch ; Sarah Selina, now Mrs. Edward M. Brennan, in Sacramento, with
one child, Beverly Marie; John M. assisting his parents on the home farm; Rachael,
Mrs. Thomas D. Brennan, on a nearby ranch and California Frances, who lives at
home. The last four children were born in California. George H. Orr served in the
Three Hundred Sixty-fourth U. S. Infantry in the World War, being stationed at
Camp Lewis for four months. The Orrs are indeed a remarkable family and the fact
that Mr. and Mrs. Orr worked out for others for years before they became ranch owners
makes their splendid success all the more praiseworthy. Father, mother and children
have worked unitedly and enjoy the highest esteem and the good-will of their district.
Capable, kindly and loved by everybody, Mrs. Orr is an ideal wife and mother, and no
small part of success has been due to her efficient industry. Although seventy-eight
years old, Mr. Orr keeps busy, always doing something good and useful. Politically,
the family are all stanch Republicans.

WALTER MILLARD CRIGLER.— An experienced rancher and popular pub-
lic official who enjoys the confidence and esteem of everyone, is Walter M. Crigler,
who lives near the Bald Eagle ranch, about five miles north of Modesto. He was born
at Cloverdale, Sonoma County, Cal., on January 19, 1882, where he grew to man-
hood and was married. His grandfather, William E. Crigler, was born in Madison
County, Va., on October 27, 1824, a son of Jonas and Lucy (Finks) Crigler, who
owned a large plantation. Jonas Crigler was born in the Old Dominion in 1796, a
son of Aaron Crigler, a German who settled in Virginia in 1750, and he married
there and was a large planter and a Southern aristocrat. In 1834, Jonas Crigler
removed with his family to Boone County, Ky., where he lived for two years, and
then he removed to Monroe County, Mo. At the age of twenty-one, William E.
Crigler married, on December 3, 1845, Miss Sallie Hurd, a native of Kentucky, who
went to Missouri with her parents in 1830. They had seven children, of whom only
one, Thomas, the father of our subject, survived. The family moved to California in
1864, and W. E. Crigler bought a claim six miles north of Cloverdale, on the Russian
River, now the old Edwards ranch ; he died in 1906. When Thomas grew up he



1220 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

became first a farmer and then a carpenter, and he married Miss Bessie Porter, born
near Healdsburg, Cal., the daughter of Thos. Porter, a pioneer of California, who
died in Sonoma Count) 7 . Thos. Crigler died in 1906, in Sonoma County, at the age
of fifty-two years, leaving a widow, who still lives at Cloverdale, at the age of sixty-
three. There were three children in Thomas Crigler's family. Sally has become the
wife of Thomas E. Murray, a stock rancher north of Cloverdale ; Walter Millard
is the subject of this review ; Lucy married Harry L. Henley, a Dry Creek rancher.

After attending the common schools, Walter worked at the carpenter trade with
his father; and on October 8, 1904, he was married in Sonoma County to Miss Tillie
Welsky, a daughter of John and Annie Welsky, who resided on a ranch north of
Ukiah, and who are now residents of Dallas, Ore. Mrs. Crigler was born in Minne-
sota, and came here with her parents when a babe of two months, and was educated
in the schools of Ukiah. One child has blessed the union — a son, Harry Walter, who
attends the Bel Passi grammar school. Mr. Crigler is a member of the Independent
Order of Foresters.

Ordinarilv, Mr. Crigler votes the Democratic ticket. He served as deputy sheriff
under Sheriff Davis, and he is now deputy sheriff under Robert Dallas. Mr. Crigler
was for some vears employed in the bridge and building department of the California
& Northwestern Railroad. In 1913, however, he came to Stanislaus County and
purchased twenty acres on Dry Creek, engaging in dairying, later selling it at a profit.
He next purchased his present place, which consists of thirty-two and three-fourths
well-improved acres adjoining the great Bald Eagle Ranch, of which it was formerly
a part. The three Gragg Bros, bought ninety acres of the Bald Eagle Ranch in 1913,
and built there houses, barns and other outhouses, and Mr. Crigler bought Bernard
Gragg's place. At first he raised alfalfa and went in for dairying, and in time he
engaged in raising barley and beans, but has now set it to Thompson Seedless grapes.

JAMES F. JOHNSON.— Although one of the later comers to Stanislaus
County, James F. Johnson, now seventy years "young" and so active and energetic
that it keeps a man of half his years hustling to keep up with his labors through a
long summer day, is one of the most enthusiastic boosters that the state and county
have today. He resides with his splendid wife on his valuable little ranch of five acres
on Dale Road, adjoining the homes of two of his sons, George W. and Jesse W., and
near that of his son Charles, on Snyder Road. Since coming here in 1914, Mr.
Johnson has erected a comfortable modern residence, planted an orchard, and made
other improvements incident upon the establishment of a real home, doing all the
construction himself. Besides the three sons mentioned, all of whom have fine ranches
in Prescott precinct, there is also one daughter, Hettie W., now the wife of Emmett
Bennett, a rancher at Anderson, Shasta County, this state.

Mr. Johnson was born near Scottsville, in Clark County, Ind., September 3,
1850. His father was John Johnson, a native of Kentucky and a descendant from
an old Virginia family, who removed to Indiana when a boy, and there grew to man-
hood on his father's farm, and was married to Miss Nancy Mavity, descendant of an
old Dutch family. They became the parents of nine children, the third being James F.,
who received his education in the public and high schools of his native county. He
was married at Grantsburg, Ind., August 22, 1872, to Martha Elizabeth Hughes, a
native of Leavenworth, Ind., her parents, Eli and Catherine (Patrick) Hughes, of
old English descent, having come to Indiana from Kentucky in an early day. Mrs.
Johnson is a woman of education and culture and was attending a teachers' normal at
Grantsburg, Ind., when she met her future husband. After his marriage, Mr. John-
son engaged in the general merchandise business at Grantsburg for a period of eight
years, later farming near there for some time. In 1896 he removed with his family
to Areola, Mo., where he again engaged in farming for a period of five years, coming
to Ventura County, Cal., in 1901, whither he had been preceded by his three sons.

Arriving at Santa Paula, Ventura County, Cal., January 9, 1901, Mr. Johnson
engaged in farming and for thirteen years ran a truck garden, with much success. In
1914 he disposed of his interests there and came to Stanislaus County and located in
Prescott precinct, where his three sons were already established on valuable farms of






HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1221

their own. Both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson take great pleasure in their children, and in
their grandchildren, of which latter there are ten. The bond among the members of
this family is a very beautiful one, the men giving in a business way much valuable
assistance and cooperation to one another. In this spirit the father takes the lead, with
his stalwart sons following closely. Mr. Johnson has governed his life, both social
and business, squarely upon the golden rule, and has found it to be the safest and best
paying business principle. He is a Mason, belonging to the Leavenworth, Ind., lodge.

All of Mr. Johnson's three sons hold enviable positions in the good will and
esteem of their community. Charles W. and George W. were the first of the family
to come to California, arriving in Ventura County in January, 1900. Charles W.
owns a fine forty-acre ranch on Snyder Road, in Prescott precinct. He was married
in 1905 to Miss Olive Barker, who passed away in 1919, leaving, besides her husband,
three children, Wallace, Russell and Harold, to mourn her loss. The other two sons,
George W. and Jesse W., own a fine seventy-five acre prune ranch together. They
are both married, and maintain separate establishments on their ranch. George W.
was married to Miss Hattie Barker, in Ventura County, in 1907, while Jesse W. •
married Miss Effie Gilbert in Los Angeles during that same year. The sketches of
both George W. and Jesse W. Johnson appear elsewhere in this volume.

JESSE W. JOHNSON. — Occupying a place of prominence among the horti-
culturists and general farmers of Prescott precinct, Jesse W. Johnson is one of the
successful prune growers in the district. Arriving in California with only seventy-five
cents in cash in his pocket, he is today estimated as being worth from $35,000 to
$40,000, the undivided half-interest in one of the finest fruit ranches in the vicinity.

Mr. Johnson is the youngest of three sons born to James F. and Elizabeth
(Hughes) Johnson, the date of his birth being October 21, 1876, at Grantsburg, Ind.
Here he grew to young manhood under the tutelage of the "Hoosier schoolmaster,"
and was nineteen when his family removed to Missouri, where the father continued to
engage in farming. In 1900 he came to California, and with his brothers he went to
work with will and determination, saved their money and George and Jesse were soon
able to buy a ten-acre ranch near Santa Paula. In 1907 Jesse W. Johnson was filled
with a desire to locate at some point where his opportunities would be greater, and in
November came into Stanislaus County. In January, 1908, he was joined by his
brother George, with whom he has always maintained a close copartnership in all
business enterprises, and they bought eighty acres in Prescott precinct. Of this they
later sold five acres to their parents, and today the remaining seventy-five acres, which
they hold in undivided partnership, is one of the most valuable prune ranches in the
county, valued at close to $80,000. The brothers, both married, have erected their
separate residences on the property, and have brought it under a high state of culti-
vation, with careful management, making it very profitable.

The marriage of Mr. Johnson and Miss Effie Gilbert was solemnized at Los
Angeles June 12, 1907, and they have become the parents of two children, Gilbert
and Lloyd. Both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson take an interest in all social and civic
matters of their community and are general favorites. Mr. Johnson is a man with
unusual capacity for hard work, and although his arduous farm duties have taxed both
his time and his strength, there is never a time when he is not ready to do a goodly
turn to his fellows or to lend a helping hand where one may be needed.

AUGUST H. VOIGHT. — A prosperous horticulturist and apiarist of Empire
precinct, is August H. Voight, who owns a splendid ranch of eighteen acres, which
he has set to orchard, including prunes, almonds, peaches and Bartlett pears. His
apiary consists of ninety stands of bees, and is one of the most profitable in the county.
He has made a careful study of horticultural conditions, both state and local, and
his orchards are especially well kept and productive.

Personally, Mr. Voight is affable and enterprising, being an agreeable neighbor,
an obliging friend, public spirited and dependable. He is a native of Germany, born
at Brokum, Hanover, August 28, 1883, the son of William and Caroline (Holtman)
Voight. In 1884, while he was yet a babe in arms, his parents came to America,
coming directly to the home of his father's brother, Henry Voight, of Stanislaus



1222 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

County. Here the father engaged in farming until the time of his death in 1912.
Mr. Voight is, therefore, a Stanislaus County boy, having no remembrance of any
other home or influence throughout his entire life. He attended the public schools of
his district until he was fourteen years of age, and then, being ambitious, he started
to work for wages on neighboring farms. He has won for himself a reputation for
industry and frugality, and for good, old-fashioned common sense in all matters of
farm management. He takes a keen interest in all questions pertaining to. farm
activities, and is a member of the Stanislaus County Fruit Growers Association, the
Cooperative Cannery Association, and a strong advocate of cooperation among the
farmers and orchardists as a means to better conditions on the farms. Mr. Voight's
mother at seventy-four, hale and hearty, graciously presides over his household.

IMA W. AYRES. — A Californian who has always appreciated the greatness of
Stanislaus County and its many possibilities, and who has exercised a helpful influ-
ence in many fields, is Ima W. Ayres, a native of Hartford City, Blackford County,
Ind., where he was born on April 3, 1875. His father, George P. Ayres, also a native
of Indiana, came of an old Pittsburgh, Pa., family that early settled in Indiana. He
was a prominent business man in Hartford City until 1910 when he came to Modesto,
where he was associated, until 1919, with his sons in the grocery business. Then he
sold out his interest in the firm to Ima Ayres and since then has lived retired on
McHenry Boulevard. His wife, who comes of an old Ohio family, was Mary
Holmes before her marriage, and she, too, was a Hoosier by birth. She is, happily,
still living, the mother of two children, Ima W., the subject of our sketch, and H. E.
Ayres, who also resides in Modesto.

Ima attended both the grammar and the high schools of Hartford City, while as-
sisting her father, during spare hours in the grocery. When he was through with
his high school studies, he began to drill oil wells, and in time he became an oil-well
contractor. He operated extensively over a wide area, sinking wells in Indiana, Penn-
sylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Texas.

Having a desire to come to the Pacific Coast, he visited Seattle in 1910, took a
trip South and traveled through much of California; but when he reached Modesto
and discerned its wonderful possibilities, he decided to seek no further but to cast in
his lot with the good citizens of Stanislaus County. He was particularly impressed
with the rich land and abundance of water ; and his father and brother, agreeing with
his optimistic views, they built their present store building at the corner of Twelfth
and Needham streets and there opened a grocery under the firm name of George P.
Ayres. They established and developed such a flourishing business that in 1919 Ima
purchased the interest of his father and brother and now the firm is I. W. Ayres. The
establishment ranks as one of the leading stores of the county.

While in Hartford City, Ind., Mr. Ayres was married in 1905, when he was
united with Miss Ora Clapper, a native of that city, and now they have three children,
Helen, Edith and Ima W., Jr. The family reside in their beautiful residence at 610
McHenry Road. The Chamber of Commerce of Modesto numbers this gentleman
among its most active members, and he also belongs to the Merchants and Manufac-
turers' Association and the Progressive Business Club.

MARTIN HENRY STADIE.— A successful dairy farmer and one of the late
investors in Stanislaus County land, is Martin Henry Stadie. He came to McHenry
precinct in the fall of 1919, from Coos County, Ore., where he had been engaged in
farming on 135 acres, conducting a prosperous dairy business. This was not his first
trip to Stanislaus County, however, for he spent a year at Newman in 1912, and his
return here was the direct result of his acquaintance with local conditions and oppor-
tunities in the dairying industry. His farm comprises thirty-two acres of fine land,
and was bought from Walter Aspden, who had built up many of the present improve-
ments. Mr. Stadie is engaged in raising alfalfa, double cropping, and dairying, having
a herd of twenty-two fine milch cows and a high-grade Holstein herd sire.

Mr. Stadie is a native of Germany, born in Schleswig-Holstein, July 10, 1890.
His father was August Stadie and his mother Anna Coranelsen, both natives of Ger-






HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1225

many. August Stadie was for a number of years employed on the dykes and on
the Kiel Canal. He was a stone setter by trade, and died in 1898 at the age of
thirty-eight. The wife and mother is still living in Germany, still a widow, and now
almost sixty years of age. There were five children in the Stadie family, namely:
Herman Frederick, now postmaster on the Island of Pellworm, Germany; Martin
Henrv, the subject of this sketch; Louise, the wife of Henry Steffins, an engineer on
a steam dredger, lives in Husum, Schleswig ; Annie Augusta, the wife of Ernest
Boysen, a farmer on Pellworm Island, where they reside ; and Albert.

It was in 1907 that Mr. Stadie left Germany for America, sailing from Ham-
burg for New York, where he arrived on April 20. Ten days later he reached San
Francisco, and went immediately to Ferndale, where he had friends. Here he found
immediate employment and for three and a half years he remained in Humboldt
County, working hard and saving his money against the time when he should have a
home and a family of his own. In February, 1911, looking for larger opportunities,
he went to Coos County, Ore., remaining for a year, whereupon he came to Stanislaus
County and for a year worked at Newman. Returning to Coos County, he leased a
dairy farm and engaged in the dairy business until October of 1919, when he again
came to his present Stanislaus property on McHenry Road, in November.

Shortly after going to Ferndale, Mr. Stadie met Miss Mary A. Sutter, a native
of Ferndale, who was to be his future wife. She is the daughter of Rageth and Anna
(Risch) Sutter, both natives of Switzerland. She has two sisters and one brother,
namely, Mrs. Sabina Haywood and Mrs. Julia Gevins, both now residing in Fern-
dale, and Rageth Sutter, a farmer near the same place. The marriage of Mr. Stadie
and Miss Sutter was solemnized at Ferndale, September 15, 1915, and of their union
have been born three children, only one of whom is now living, Adrian Herman,
born October 1, 1918, in Coos County, Ore. Their first born, a son, Raymond
Martin, passed away at their present home in January, 1920, of the influenza, when
three and a half years old. The second child, Herman Rageth, born June 22, 1917,
died on the day of his birth. Both Mr. and Mrs. Stadie have made many friends since
coming to McHenry precinct, where they bettered farm life and conditions.

THOMAS N. BECKNER.— A worthy citizen, with a record for years of activ-
ity in important affairs, was the late Thomas N. Beckner, who had been a resident of
Stanislaus County for over a decade. He was born in Hawkins County, Tenn., on
February 10, 1860, the son of an abolitionist, who had firm convictions against slavery,
and was persecuted, as a result, during the Civil War. He was Perry Beckner, a
native of Hawkins County, where he was also married to Miss Margaret Phillips, also
of that section, whose folks had been slaveholders, but who also became abolitionists.
The Beckners, far back, were of German extraction, although Grandfather Joseph D.
Beckner was born in York County, Pa., on August 18, 1781. He married Miss Sarah
Moore, who was born two days after the historic July 4, 1776, near Fincastle, now in
Roanoke County, Va. The Moores were Scotch-Irish, while the Phillips were from
England, and they were all pre-Revolutionary families, Grandfather Phillips being in
the War of 1812. He was at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, under General William
Henry Harrison, and knew the doughty old hero well in his more vigorous years. On
account of his antislavery views, the Confederate soldiers took everything he had.

Thomas Beckner grew up in Tennessee until he was nineteen years old, when
pictures of teams plowing the virgin soil of Illinois attracted his attention, and he
became inflamed with the "western" fever. He set out for Illinois, and arrived at
Mattoon in July, 1879, where he worked on a threshing machine. He later worked
at threshing and all-around farming in Coles, Douglas and Moultrie counties, in
Illinois, and after that went to Macoupin County. He attended school in Illinois, in
the winter season, after he was grown up, and on August 5, 1883, he was married to
Miss Sarah Jane Harnish, daughter of John and Regina (Hoss) Harnish, born in
Lancaster, Pa., and Germany, respectively. The)- were farmers near Taylorville,
Christian County, 111., later in Gove County, Kans., and then moved to Conway
Springs, Sumner County, Kans., where they died. Mrs. Beckner was the third oldest
pf seven living children. She was educated in the public schools of Illinois, and was a



1226 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

member of the Church of the Brethren before her marriage, while Mr. Beckner at-
tended both that church and the Baptist. His mother was a Baptist, but his father
was a Brethren minister, and two of his mother's brothers were Baptist ministers.

After his marriage, Mr. Beckner removed, with his wife, to Macoupin County,
111., and there for ten years followed agriculture upon a rented farm. Then he went
on to Kansas and settled in Sumner County, at that time very wild, and there he
bought 160 acres at twelve dollars per acre. He worked hard, had abundant yields,
and at one time he had enough corn, wheat, cattle and hogs on his Kansas farm to
keep his family 300 years, a computation which was stimulated by a statement from
the great Populist leader, Jerry Simpson, in a political speech, and which challenged
in particular Mr. Beckner's party theories, he then being a standpat Republican.

Mr. Beckner continued in Kansas for ten years, and in 1903 removed to Nampa,



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 135 of 177)