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 136 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 136 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Boise Valley, Idaho, and four years later concluded his wide migrations by coming out
to California. He landed in Fresno County and bought land near Reedley, where he
successfully planted and developed three vineyards. On January 1, 1911, he came into
Stanislaus County to live, and settled near Empire, where he bought a ranch to the
north of the town, and later bought, improved and sold several ranches. In July, 1918,
he bought the Empire Meat Market and actively engaged in business, assisted bv his
sons. Mr. Beckner passed away suddenly of heart failure on December 22, 1920,
mourned by his family and friends

Mr. and Mrs. Beckner were the parents of four children. Arthur P., a graduate
of the University of Idaho in 1911, with the degree of B.A., taught in the Philippine
Islands for four years, after which he was principal of high schools in Oregon and
Northern Idaho. He was married in the Philippines to Miss Elva Carl, born in
Portland. They have one child, Jean. In December, 1920, he returned to Empire
and is a partner with his brother in the Empire Meat Market. Lela is the wife of
Daniel E. Eymann, the banker, who resides at Reedley. The third in the order of
birth was an infant who died in Illinois. Orville L. married Miss Elberta Ruth
Bonsack of Empire, born at Cando, N. D., and he is a partner with his brother.

O. G. OLSON. — A man who has made a prominent place for himself in the
business world is O. G. Olson, the popular fruit shipper and horticulturist. "Gust"
Olson, as he is popularly known, was born at Rensetter, in Vermland, Sweden, on
April 25, 1865, and received a good training in the local schools, at the same time
that he assisted on the home farm. In 1883, when he was eighteen years old, he
crossed the ocean to the United States and settled in Traverse County, Minn., and
there his parents joined him a year later. They homesteaded a farm of 160 acres,
and Gust helped them until he began for himself in 1887.

Then he purchased a farm of 160 acres near Norcross, Minn., and after having
operated it for a few years, he rented it and was employed as salesman by Charles
Batcher, an extensive dealer in lumber. In 1891, he went to Chicago and attended
the Chicago Theological Seminar}' for a year, and the next year entered North Park
College, then located in Minneapolis. He continued to attend the college the next
year when it was removed to Chicago, and in 1894 he was graduated from the theologi-
cal department.

He then accepted a call to Brainerd, Minn., and immediately took up his duties,
having been ordained a minister in the Swedish Mission Church in 1894. In that year,
also, he was married to Annette C. Backman, and in 1895 he accepted a call to Su-
perior, where he was pastor for four years. When he resigned, he located in Braham,
Minn., and for four years engaged in mercantile pursuits; at the same time that he
was pastor of the church at Braham, and also of one at Grass Lake, Minn. He then
moved back to Superior and engaged in the shipping and produce business.

In 1908, Mr. Olson came out to California and Turlock, where he became man-
ager of the Rochdale Store, a position of responsibility which he filled admirably for
three years. He then organized the Turlock Shipping and Supply Company, and
managed that until 1917, when the company was dissolved and their business discon-
tinued. Since then Mr. Olson has been busy as an independent shipper, and also as a
grower of cantaloupes. Now he ships cantaloupes, watermelons and sweet potatoes,




CjV^lM'l&.VK?*^/




HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1229

the offices of the packing house being located at the Southern Pacific tracks. Naturally,
he is a member of the Turlock Board of Trade.

Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Olson: Miriam is Mrs. W. J. Thorn-
burg of Oakland ; Milton is employed in the First National Bank in Modesto ; Hilding
attended St. Mary's College at Oakland, for two years and then entered the Students'
Army Training Camp at St. Mary's until the armistice, and now he is assisting his
father in business; Violet graduated from Armstrong College in 1920 and is now em-
ployed in the office of the Turlock Irrigation District; Doris is a graduate of the
Turlock high school and now attending Mills College, Oakland, and Carmen is in the
Turlock high school. Mr. and Mrs. Olson are active members of the Swedish Mis-
sion Church ; Mr. Olson is a Republican and a strong advocate of temperance legislation.

EARL VICTOR LAUGHLIN.— Among the representatives of those early
families who are well known in the annals of California pioneers may well be men-
tioned Earl V. Laughlin, the son of J. C. Laughlin of Oakdale. He was born three
miles east of Modesto on May 15, 1884, and for the usual period in boyhood, attended
the common schools in the Robinson district. He worked for his father; and Sep-
tember 28, 1905, he was married in Modesto to Miss Clara Adams, a native of
Snelling, Merced County, but moved to Tuolumne and Mariposa counties. Two
children blessed this union — Verna Martha Isabel and William Julius Laughlin.

Mr. and Mrs. Laughlin own a home farm of 100 acres about three miles north
of Waterford, and they rent 320 acres three miles west of Hickman, where they raise
grain and barley. On the home farm, where he has thirty-five acres leveled and in
alfalfa, they conduct a dairy with thirty cows. In 1917, they farmed 1,100 acres on
the old Laughlin Ranch ; and in the fall of that year they built their bungalow.

The parents of Mrs. Laughlin, who are now living in Stockton, are William
Nelson and Sarah Isabel (Cole) Adams. Mrs. Adams was a daughter of Lum Cole,
who was born in Missouri and came to California in the fifties, and in 1860 settled
in Knights Ferry, and there Sarah Adams was born before the flood of 1861-62.
William Nelson Adams, Mrs. Laughlin's father, was born in Illinois, a descendant
of the Adams family in the East. He came to California when only nine years old,
and crossed the plains in a train with his father, William Adams, and his family, who
set out from Illinois about 1860. There were six children in the family, and Mrs.
Laughlin was the fourth in the order of birth. From Knights Ferry, Mr. and Mrs.
Cole moved to Langworth. Grandfather Cole teamed for many years to the Southern
mines, and then he bought a farm and went in for the raising of grain in Claus pre-
cinct. One of Mrs. Laughlin's brothers, Herbert Harold Adams, fell in the Argonne
drive, "a soldier in France," and his body will be reinterred at Oakdale. Mr. Laugh-
lin is interested in the cause of education and is serving his third term as a member
of the board of directors of the Robinson school district, having been clerk of the
board since his election.

EDWARD EARL ARBIOS, JR.— Active in the life of his community, is
Edward Earl Arbios, Jr., the postmaster and agent for the Pacific Telephone and
Telegraph Company at Waterford, the owner of the building occupied by the post
office, and the proprietor of a confectionery store. He was born in San Francisco on
March 10, 1896, and lived there long enough to begin his schooling in the Bay City.
Then he moved with his parents to Calaveras County and grew up at Angels Camp,
where his father, E. E. Arbios, now the manager of the Turner Hardware Company
at Oakdale, ran a store and had a stock ranch. He was born in Alameda County, and
married Miss Laura Howard, who was popular as a school teacher. Both Mr. and
Mrs. Arbios live at Oakdale; three of their children have survived, two having died
in Calaveras County. Our subject is the oldest of these three: Emily has become
Mrs. L. H. McBride, and is a dairy farmer, with her husband at Escalon ; Arthur is
in the grammar school and lives with his parents at Oakdale.

Edward E. Arbios, Jr., attended the Bret Harte high school for three years at
Angels Camp, and finished his high school work at Oakdale with the class of '1-1 —
two years in advance of the graduation of Miss Richards, now Mrs. Arbios, from the



1230 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

same institution. After graduation, Mr. Arbios went to work for the Wells Fargo
Express Company at Oakdale, and for a year ran their delivery wagon ; then for two
years he was an assistant with the company, and after that he was cashier for the
Southern Pacific Railroad Company at Oakdale.

In that town, too, he was married in 1916 to Miss Edna Richards, who was born
in Sonora, and soon after marriage he took a position as clerk in the office of the Sierra
Railroad Company at Jamestown, and in time he was made traveling auditor. Mr.
Arbios next went to work for the Wells Fargo Express Company at Fresno ; but after
three months he returned to Oakdale, to undertake relief work for the same company.
Not long afterward, he entered the employ of the Standard Oil Company at Water-
ford, and held the first clerkship there ; and when there was a vacancy in the local post
office, he took the civil service examination, passed, and was appointed postmaster.

At first, Mr. Arbios installed the post office in Mr. Court's residence in Water-
ford ; but in August, 1920, he commenced the erection of a suitable building for the
postal service on his own lots at Waterford. It is a one-story stuccoed structure,
25x50 feet in size, and houses both the post office, the switchboard and other outfit
of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, and himself and family, in the rear.
Mrs. Arbios assists her husband to conduct the postal and the telephone service, and
in the confectionery business. When he became agent there were only six farm lines,
and now there are fifteen lines and eight\-seven subscribers.

Fraternally, Mr. Arbios was made a Mason in Oakdale Lodge No. 275, F. &
A. M., and Modesto Pyramid No. 15, A. E. O. S., and is also a member of Twin
Town Lodge No. 342, K. of P., at Waterford, and is master at arms ; and is a mem-
ber of the local Chamber of Commerce and of the publicity committee.

HANS J. SORENSEN.— One of the men of affairs of Hughson is Hans J.
Sorensen, among the leading and successful contractors of the country. He was born
at Aalborg, Jylland, Denmark, on February 9, 1886, and when a mere youth left
his native land and came out to America. His father Jens Sorensen, was a builder
by occupation, operating in wood, brick and stone, and he married Miss Christina
Petersen. She was a good mother and Hans was given such school advantages as
their circumstances would afford. He began, however, to help support himself at
the age of seven years, and on account of the death of his mother he left home early
and made his own way in the world thereafter. He was one of a family of five
children, and though his father tried to care for them, it seemed necessary that he
should go out to work on farms to pay for his board.

At the age of fifteen Hans turned from farming to carpentering, and after work-
ing for a couple of years at his trade in Denmark, he set out across the ocean to
America and almost immediately came west to San Francisco, arriving April 22,
1904. There he found work in the planing mill owned by Hansen Bros, and he gave
such satisfaction that he was induced to remain for four years. He then worked for
a couple of years at cabinet work and fixture building. In 1911 he came to Stanislaus
County, and after looking the ground over, he concluded that Hughson offered the
best prospects for an expanding future. He therefore settled here, and at once pur-
chased a ranch of fifteen acres in the Tully tract, south of Hughson, which he farmed
for three years; in the meantime, he embarked in the contracting business. His first
ranch, however, he sold in 1915. and since then he has had three other ranches which
he has improved with suitable buildings and then sold. The last of theses investments
was forty acres in the Tully tract, and after selling this in 1920, he built for himself
a model bungalow home in Hughson, just west of the new high school.

In the building of the new high school for Hughson, which cost approximately
$110,000, Mr. Sorensen was superintendent of construction, and he has more and
more specialized in first-class homes and farm buildings. He has thus been able to
render the community a substantial and appreciated service by helping to form and
guide public taste and by stimulating the highest standard in architectural construction.

On December 20, 1904, Mr. Sorensen was married at Eureka, Cal., to Miss
Clara Jacobsen, who was reared at Ferndale, Humboldt County, the daughter of
Jacob and Mary Jacobsen. Her father came to California from Denmark some years




-^H



t)



cJ






HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1233

ago and is now the proprietor of Canyon Park, a resort on the Eel River near Scotia.
Mr. Sorensen was bereaved of his faithful companion, who passed away March 6,
1918, deeply mourned by her family and friends. They were the parents of four
children: Thea attends the Hughson high school; Alma and Elsie are in the grammar
school; James is at home. In national politics a Republican, Mr. Sorensen is a broad-
minded "booster" in local affairs, and may always be counted upon to do his utmost
to forward the best interests of the community. He is a member of Bornholm lodge
of the "Dania" at Modesto.

VOLKERT VAN DER PLAATS.— A native of Holland, Volkert Van der
Plaats is a representative of the highest type of foreign-born American citizen, whom
California welcomes to her broad lands. Mr. Van der Plaats has been a resident of
Empire, Stanislaus County, where he owns a valuable 100-acre farm, since 1909, and
of California for ten years previous, and is a thorough, scientific agriculturist.

Mr. Van der Plaats was born at Friesland, Holland, November 16, 1863. His
father, also Volkert Van der Plaats, was a well-to-do tea merchant, importing princi-
pally from the East India market. His family was for generations native to Fries-
land, Holland. He was married to Miss Catharine Gertrude Schagen, and they
became the parents of seven children, of whom the subject of this review was the third
born, and is the only one in America. Five others are living and reside in Holland.

Educated in the excellent schools of Holland, Mr. Van der Plaats was given
careful training in the Dutch, English, French and German languages, receiving in all
a well-rounded education. He took to the sea when he was but fifteen, and at sixteen
he went into his father's business. His father, however, passed away when his son
was only eighteen, and he then turned to agricultural pursuits, going onto the farms
of Holland, where he became thoroughly familiar with farming and agriculture.

Mr. Van der Plaats left Antwerp on November 27, 1886, and landing at New
York City, proceeded almost immediately to Sioux County, Iowa, locating at Orange
City. Miss Sarah Dykstra, a native of the same city in Holland, had come to Iowa
with her parents in 1881, and she and Mr. Van der Plaats were married at Orange
City in January, 1887. Mr. Van der Plaats, immediately after his marriage, bought
two farms of 243 acres and 160 acres, respectively, in Sioux County, and later added
a third farm of 200 acres. On this property, which lay some two and half miles
southwest of Orange City, were born the six children which blessed his marriage, and
here he resided with his wife and family until, in 1899, his wife's failing health brought
them to California. He located in Los Angeles, where he invested in property, and
where he resided for the next ten years. Agricultural interests of the state invited
Mr. Van der Plaats' attention, and he eventually came into Stanislaus County and
bought 100 acres near Empire, where he has since resided. His farm has been managed
by his eldest son, Fulton, except for the time this young man was in war service .

During the great gold rush to Alaska Mr. Van der Plaat made the journey
there. His party, under the leadership of Dr. Henry of Sioux City, Iowa, were the
first to explore the third glacier from Ketchikan. They also explored the Alsac River
for gold, but here, as elsewhere, they failed to find the precious metal in paying quanti-
ties. Mr. Van der Plaats turned his hand to other activities, being for a time in the
salmon fishing industry and also in the canning industry before he returned to California.

Mr. Van der Plaats is a student and a wide reader, having an unusually broad
grasp on great questions. His children are all known here and highlv esteemed.
Fulton enlisted in the army soon after the outbreak of hostilities in the World War,
and saw much active service in France with Headquarters Troop of the Ninety-first
Division. He had many hairbreadth escapes from death and injury, but was not
seriously wounded. He is now farming his father's 100-acre ranch. Donald is also
assisting his father in his farming operations; Bertha is the wife of H. Hider of
Vallejo ; and Gertrude, the youngest, resides at home with her parents. Politically,
Mr. Van der Plaats is a Republican, a strong party man, and an advocate of clean
principles in government and real business administration. Mrs. Van der Plaats is a
member of the Presbyterian Church, in which her children have been reared.



1234 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

EARL WILLIAM COSTNER.— Much of the progress in California agricul-
ture of recent years has been due to such successful grain farmers as Earl William
Costner of the Waterford precinct. A native son, proud of his association with the
great Pacific commonwealth, he was born near Modesto on July 12, 1895, on the
ranch of his father, W. S. Costner, whose biography may be found elsewhere in this
volume. He had married Mattie Halliday. The lad attended the local schools; and
at La Grange, on October 5, 1919, he was married to Miss Verda McMillan of that
town. He had already rented a grain farm in the vicinity, and so was established at
La Grange before he undertook the responsibilities of marital life.

Since then, through hard work and strict attention to business, Mr. Costner has
succeeded where others have failed. In 1919 he rented the Roxy Harbert ranch of
700 acres in the Waterford precinct, and there he operates with a full complement of
farm machinery, using two twelve-mule teams. He heeds the late developments of
science, and also seeks to incorporate the most practical means and the shortest cuts,
and is a member of the Hickman-Waterford Center and Farm Bureau Exchange.

As might be expected of one who was by birth a Californian, and who had come
to prosper in this part of the state, Mr. Costner is very devoted to Stanislaus County
and the Waterford precinct, and is ever ready to "boost" this favored section.

PETER PALLESEN. — Although one of the more recent arrivals in Stanislaus
County, Peter Pallesen has identified himself with the best interests of the county. He
is the owner of two good ranches, both highly improved, and he and his sons are
recognized as men of superior ability as farmers. The eldest son, Arne, rendered
splendid service under the Stars and Stripes on the fields of France and with the Army
of Occupation in Germany. He saw service with the One Hundred and Fifteenth
Engineers Corps. He was overseas for eleven months, and was honorably discharged
at the Presidio, at San Francisco, July 10, 1919. There are eight children in the
Pallesen family. They are, besides the son mentioned above, Jens Christian, Chris-
tine G., Delia, Neils, Thomas, Martin and Mary. The mother passed away in 1913
the year before the family came to California.

Peter Pallesen, now a loyal, true American citizen, and the father of splendid
young citizens, was born in Jylland, Denmark, October 23, 1868. His father was a
small farmer, owning about thirty acres, and here the family of seven children were
reared and educated, and all confirmed in the Lutheran Church. The young Peter
was confirmed at the age of fourteen years, at which time he also practically com-
pleted his education. Later he worked with his father on the farm. When he was
twenty-two he journeyed across the ocean to join an elder sister, who had the year
before come to Albert Lea, Freeborn County, Minn. This was in 1890, and for two
or more years he worked for wages on the farms of that vicinity, learning the manners
and customs of the new country, acquiring their speech and saving enough money
to go into business for himself. In 1893 he and a brother-in-law, now deceased, rented
a farm in Freeborn County and engaged in ranching on an independent basis.

The marriage of Mr. Pallesen occurred in 1894, uniting him with Miss Mary
Olsen, a native of Freeborn County, Minn., and descended from a good old Danish
family. Following his marriage he went with his bride to Clay County, Minn., where
he bought 240 acres of land sixteen miles southeast of Moorhead, Minn., where he
farmed with great profit. Later he sold this property and moved to Douglas County,
where he bought an improved farm of 160 acres. It was here that Mrs. Pallesen
passed away in 1913, leaving her husband and children desolate at the great loss. The
following year the home farm was sold and the entire family came to California. At
first they lived for a short time in Yolo County, where Mr. Pallesen owned 195 acres
of fine land five miles southeast of Woodland. Coming to Stanislaus County in the
fall of 1919, he has bought two places, one of thirteen acres just west of Empire,
where the family home is established, and another of 130 acres of grain land at Oak-
dale, both very valuable. Mr. Pallesen has prospered steadily since he came to
America, now some thirty years ago. He brought a goodly competence with him to
Stanislaus County, which he has invested wisely and well, increasing his holdings.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1237

A. E. SANDBERG. — An enterprising and prosperous merchant of Turlock who
has yet found time to devote to both church work and civic affairs, is A. E. Sandberg,
who was born near Red Wing, Minn., on July 28, 1877, the son of A. B. Sandberg,
an early settler in that region. He followed farming and was very successful; and
when he removed to Minneapolis and engaged in contracting and building, good luck
also rewarded his efforts. After that, he took up his residence at Willmar, Minn., and
farmed for fifteen years, and then he came back to Minneapolis, where he died. Mrs.
Sandberg still resides there, the mother of seven boys and a girl. Our subject is the
only one in California, the other six sons being in the grocery-bakery business together.

A. E. Sandberg was reared in Minneapolis, and there attended the local schools,
although part of his school days were passed at Willmar. On his return to Minnea-
polis, he attended Northwestern College, now Minnehaha Academy; and after being
graduated, he set himself up with his brother, Samuel, in the grocery business, under
the firm name of Sandberg Bros. At the end of four years, he sold out his interest
to his brother, and in 1907 struck out West for California.

He had not been here long before he chose Turlock as the locality which appealed
most to him and here he entered the employ of M. M. Berg as general clerk in different
departments. At the end of the year, he went with the Turlock Rochdale Company as
ilerk, and was in charge for a year of their dry goods and clothing department; and
when that firm became the Turlock Mercantile Company he continued with them
until April, 1917, when he started "The Reliable" establishment for boys' and men's
clothing and furnishings and shoes, forming his present partnership with A. C. Lund-
gren under the firm name of Sandberg & Lundgren. They are located at 212 West
Main Street, and not only is their store equipped and designed in an ideal manner, but
their methods of doing business, together with their large, varied and complete up-to-
date stocks, make the place most desirable and satisfactory. Mr. Sandberg belongs to
the Board of Trade, and is a stockholder in the Yosemite Hotel Company.

At Willmar, Minn., Mr. Sandberg was married to Miss Lydia Anderson, a native
of Minnesota; and three children have blessed their union. Harold Edward is the
oldest; then comes Marian Janet ; while the youngest is Lorraine Violet. Mr. Sandberg
is a member of the Swedish Mission Church, of which he was for years the financial
secretary, and he is at present president of the official board. He has also been secre-
tary of the Board of Trustees of Emanuel Hospital from the time of its organization,
and has been especially active in building up that most serviceable institution. Mr.
Sandberg is also interested in ranching, and owns a small farm which is devoted to
the raising of peaches, raisins and cantaloupes.



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 136 of 177)