George Henry Tinkham.

History of Stanislaus County California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres online

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Online LibraryGeorge Henry TinkhamHistory of Stanislaus County California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres → online text (page 138 of 177)
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its first president, since which time he has been secretary and is the representative from
Hickman to the Stanislaus County Board of Trade since its organization, serving
-everal years as a member of the advertising committee. He has been a member of the
board of directors of the Hickman school district several years.

Mrs. Haldeman, the postmaster since 1904, who is also engaged in running an
ice-cream and confectionery store nearby, is the daughter of John T. Williams, a
mechanical engineer of Indianapolis, who was born in Indiana and there married to
Miss Mary A. Whittaker, of Greencastle. They had three children, two of whom are
still living: Mary F. became the wife of Max Streicher, a shoe dealer in Los Angeles,
but died six years ago and left one child ; Ella is Mrs. Haldeman of this portion of
our review; George resides in Pasadena. Mr. and Mrs. Williams came to California,
and Mr. Williams died in Los Angeles six years ago, in his seventy-first year. The
mother is seventy-five years old. Mrs. Haldeman grew up in Indianapolis, attended
both the grammar and the high schools there, and then went to a business college;
in 1894 she came to California with her parents.

JACOB WARREN DEARDORFF.— A total-abstinence pioneer who has the
satisfaction not only of having helped to establish a branch of an important church,
but to advance the cause of prohibition, is Jacob Warren Deardorff, the rancher and
leveling contractor, well known in Stanislaus County, who is acting elder in the
Church of the Brethren at Waterford. He was born in Henry County, Ind., on
June 14, 1864, the son of John Deardorff, a native of that county. The Deardorff
family is traceable back to Catherine Deardorff, of York, Pa., who was the mother of
a large familv of sons and came of a family at one time living in Holland. John
Deardorff was married in Henry County to Miss Matilda Bowman, also a native of
Henry County and the daughter of an Indiana farmer and preacher in the Church of
the Brethren. Eight children were born to that union, and among these our subject
was the fifth child and the eldest son. By a second marriage, John Deardorff had
two more children, and all ten grew to maturity.

J. W. Deardorff attended the common schools of Huntington County, and later
in Henry County, Ind. Near Eaton, Preble County, Ohio, December 21, 1883, he
married Miss Elizabeth Howard, a native of Ross County, Ohio, born near Green-
field, where she grew up. Later, she moved with her parents to Preble County, Ohio,
and there she was married. She was a daughter of Christopher and Mary Howard,
and the seventh among ten children. She obtained her schooling in various places, and
went to the common schools in Ross County, Ohio, and later at Maple Hill and
Davis, Ind. After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Deardorff continued to farm in
Henry County, and then Mr. Deardorff became a traveling salesman for the Harding
& Miller Music Company of Evansville, Ind., and for five years sold pianos and
organs throughout Southern Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. His home was at
Oakland City, Ind., until he moved to Murray, Ky.

While living at Murray, Ky., Mr. Deardorff had an attack of typhoid fever,
and with the breakdown of his health, he was also attacked with inflammatory rheu-
matism. He was told that North Dakota would be favorable to him ; and he went
there and regained his health. In that state, also, he obtained salvation, and at Egeland,
N. D., in 1903, he was elected to the ministry, and the following year advanced, and
the third year he was ordained a bishop. From North Dakota he came to California
and Modesto in 1909. Arriving here, he went over the Empire section with Mr.
Beery of the Colonization Company and was so favorably impressed with the land
that when asked by Mr. Beery and his colleagues of the company what he thought
of it, Mr. Deardorff replied, "As far as I am concerned, whether you buy or not, I
shall buy a farm there anyway." That settled it with the members of the Coloniza-
tion Company and the result was the founding of the Empire Colony. In February
of the next year Mr. Deardorff bought forty acres of stubblefield at Empire, and in
the same month moved here with his family. He checked land and planted alfalfa ;
and as a land-leveler he has become an authority. He is also a practical engineer.


Mr. Deardorff has done much to build up the church at Empire, and became the
first presiding elder, serving for two years, and assistant elder for the same period.
He has also taken a live interest in the Sunday school work. The church grew from
a membership of thirteen to over 300 souls. At the same time, he helped to establish
the church at Waterford, having sold his land at Empire. He bought new acreage at
VVaterford, has checked up five acres and planted the same to alfalfa. He already
has a barn, tank house, and garage, and a new residence will start soon.

Mr. Deardorff belongs to the Conservative body in the Church of the Brethren —
the other parties being the Old Way and the Progressive, and in 1913 he was a dele-
gate to the national convention of the church at York, Pa. He has attended many
of the church conferences, and he and his good wife will in all likelihood'go back and
attend the international conference at Hershey, Pa., in 192 1. He helped the settlers
to organize the Church of the Brethren at Waterford, in the fall of 1918, and the
church now has a membership of about 110, with a Sunday school having 130 pupils.
He is now presiding elder of the church.

Mr. and Mrs. Deardorff have two children: Irwin Howard is a rancher living
west of Waterford, where he has ten acres, half of which are devoted to Calirnyrna
figs and half to alfalfa. He married Miss Hattie B. Garvev, a native of Missouri.
Goldie Olive, the second-born, is the wife of David Howard Rinehart, the rancher, who
also has five acres west of Waterford. They have three children — Mary. Fern and
Warren La Verl. Mr. Deardorff was one of the organizers of the Old Peoples Home
of the Church of the Brethren at Empire and was a member of the board of trustees
from its organization for six years, a part of the time as president.

AUGUST DICKOW. — As the pioneer rice-grower of Stanislaus County, August
Dickow, of the firm of Dickow & Cook, in the Waterford precinct, enjoys with his
partner, W. F. Cook, an enviable position in the history of progressive agriculture in
Central California. He was born at Bergbruch, Germany, on December 12, 1865,
the son of John Dickow, who owned 300 acres of land in the province of Posen, Ger-
many — now belonging to Poland — where he was a successful farmer. He married
Miss Augusta Dendenger. Jno. Dickow is now dead ; but a year ago the mother was
alive, at the age of ninety-eight, and since then Mr. Dickow has net heard from her.
Four brothers and four sisters in the family of nine remained in Germany, but our
subject came to America in 1887 to escape military duty.

He sailed from Bremerhafen and reached New York City on February 14, 1887,
and in the metropolis he learned the harness-maker's trade. He had received a high
school training in the gymnasium in Germany, and had pursued there a course in
forestry. When he settled at Cincinnati, he worked for the Perkins Campbell Com-
pany, wholesale harness manufacturers, continuing with them for twelve years, when
he went into business for himself at Seymour, Ind., and built up a harness factory
which employed forty men, and he did half a million dollars' worth of work for the
Government during the Philippine campaign.

In 1888, Mr. Dickow was married at Cincinnati to Miss Charlotte Klein, a native
of Ohio. One child was born of this union — a son, Ewalt E., who was entered into
service for the late war, served six months in camps in the United States, caught cold,
was discharged, came home to Oakdale, took cold again, and died on November b,
1918, at the age of twenty-six, passing away at the same place where his mother,
sixty years of age, had died on October 6, 1918.

In 1910, Mr. Dickow came direct from Seymour, Ind., to Biggs, and there he
became acquainted with the pioneer rice-growers of Butte County, Mr. Grant and
Mr. Sushima. Coming to Wasco, Kern County, in 1914, he there started the rice
industry, being the first rice grower in Kern County, and raised a fine crop ; owing to
insufficient water for irrigation, he came to Oakdale the following year. Some
Japanese had commenced to grow rice at Paulsell in 1914, but Mr. Dickow was the
first white man to carry on rice culture in Stanislaus County on a commercial scale.

Messrs. Dickow and Cook rent 400 acres from Jesse M. Finley, and Mr. Dickow
lives on the Henry Walthers Ranch of 408 acres, which he also rents. During 1920,
they raised 500 acres of rice, an excellent crop, some of which went as high as sixty-five


sacks to the acre. They have under lease in Stanislaus County, all told, 880 acres, of
which 208 acres are in pasture, and 100 acres in barley. This area of 880 acres in-
cludes the so-called Jap Ranch of 300 acres, devoted to rice and barley. Owing to the
heavy rains, most of the 1920 crops was out until April, 1921, when it was harvested
and put in sacks and stored. The firm of Dickow and Cook have bought 400 pigs, and
by using a steam cooker, will convert the damaged rice, by feeding it to the pigs, into
pork. The firm owns and operates five binders with gasoline motors, and they also
have a Buffalo Pitt rice-threshing outfit. In addition they. have a Best sixty-horse-
power tractor, and have recently rented 1,000 acres at Colusa, on the Moulton Ranch,
500 acres of which is in barley, with a fine crop in sight.

Mr. Dickow is now a naturalized and thoroughly patriotic and devoted American
citizen, having been made a citizen in the Hoosier State. He cast his first vote for
McKinley, whom he knew personally, and he also knows ex-President Taft and Presi-
dent Harding, having done much business in Marion, Ohio.

OSCAR GREEN. — An excellent, successful business man who was highly es-
teemed as a citizen, neighbor and friend, was the late Oscar Green, a native of Rush
City, Minn., where he was born on January 27, 1878. His father was a farmer and
died when our subject was thirteen. He therefore learned the blacksmith trade ; but
on his removal to Turlock in 1907, he purchased and improved some raw land on
Colorado Avenue, and made for himself a farm.

On June 4, 1913, he was married in Los Angeles to Miss Lydia Nelson, who was
born in Daleslan, Sweden, the daughter of Peter and Mary (Olson) Nelson, who
came to America and Manistee, Mich. The mother died in California in 1918, and
the father now makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Green. She was educated in
Manistee and Trout Creek, on the Upper Peninsula, and in 1908 came out to Turlock.

In 1912, Mr. Green started in the blacksmith business on South Broadway, in
Turlock, and being a thoroughly capable mechanic, he built up a brisk trade. He sold
the farm he had first improved, and then he bought some more raw land, also east
of the town, in the Geer Colony, which he likewise improved, and is still owned by
Mrs. Green. This twenty-acre ranch he rented out, and was actively engaged in busi-
ness until he died, on Februar}' 11, 1920, in his forty-second year.

Three children blessed this happy and fortunate union of Mr. and Mrs. Green.
The eldest is named Margaret, the second Robert, and the youngest, Oscar Ben.
With their mother they attend the Swedish Mission Church where the memory of
our departed subject is sacredly cherished.

MARTIN LUTHER HUFF.— A rancher and orchardist of Empire is Martin
Luther Huff. He was born in Dunkirk, Hancock County, Ohio, February 8, 1882,
the son of Thos. G. and Elizabeth (Baughman) Huff, both natives of Ohio. They
were the parents of three sons: Harry H. is in the hardware business as Savonbury,
Kans. ; Jonathan B. operates a ranch at Empire, and Martin Luther.

When Martin was two years old, his parents moved to Kansas and there he
grew up on his father's Allen County farm, attending the public schools of that local-
ity, and then taking up preparatory work for the University of Oklahoma at Norman,
Okla. He then went to work at the carpenter's trade and did contracting and building
for the next two years. Having heard of the Coast and its possibilities, accompanied
by his mother and father, he came to California in 1904 and settled at Glendale.
Here he engaged in building houses and general carpenter work.

February 21, 1912, Mr. Huff was married in Los Angeles to Miss Lydia Alberta
Reigle, who was born in Whitesville, Wood County, Ohio. She is the daugh-
ter of Martin and Lydia (Sparr) Reigle, who were born in Wyandotte and Hancock
counties, Ohio, respectively. The Reigle family were from Pennsylvania, while the
Sparr family were originally from Maine. Martin Reigle, when nineteen, enlisted in
Company A, Forty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving four and a half years in
the Civil War, being wounded in two different battles, which greatly impaired his
health. He was afterwards postmaster at Whitesville, Ohio, later removing to
Bluffton, Ohio, where he engaged in farming until his death at the age of seventy-


lour. The mother passed aw,ay about 1900. Of their eight children, Mrs. Huff
is next to the youngest and was educated in the public and high schools at Bluffton,
and later graduated as a nurse from the Lima hospital. Coming to California in 1911
for rest, it was here that she met Mr. Huff, the acquaintance resulting in their mar-
riage. They moved to Empire in 1913 and bought eighteen and a quarter acres a
mile north of Empire, where for some time he has been engaged in raising alfalfa and
had a number of dairy cows, but in 1920, deciding to change his crops, he sold all
but four cows and is now planting trees and vines. He has recently purchased another
fifteen-acre tract a half mile east of his home, which is unimproved but under irriga-
tion. He is now leveling it off and intends to plant it to Thompson seedless grape?
in 1922 and in about 1924 he will have both places planted to vines and fruit trees
Mr. Huff's mother and father made their home with their son, the father being totalh
blind the last twenty-five years of his life. The sight of one eye was lost during hi;
service in the Civil War and in time the other became blind. He enlisted Februan
22, 1864, in H and I Companies, One Hundred Fifteenth and One Hundred Eight-
eenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served one year, seven months and twenty-nine
days. He died at Empire, May 21, 1917. The mother lives with her son at Empire.
Mr. and Mrs. Huff have two children: Thomas Martin and Merideth Luther.
In 1916 Mr. Huff was elected to serve on the board of trustees of the Empire
Union grammar school and re-elected in 1919, having been clerk since his first elec-
tion. Thev are now building a new $63,000 schoolhouse of six rooms and auditorium
and employ seven teachers. He is also a member of the Empire Board of Trade,
and is a director and appraiser of the Empire branch of the California Home Invest-
ment Company, their main offices being at Oakland, Cal. Mr. Huff stands for
progress and improvement in all that has to do with the civic life of the neighborhood
and has made it a rule to uphold every plan and measure for the general good.

JOSEPH F. FRITTS. — An experienced, successful and prosperous farmer who
has become an active and influential public man, helping to spell prosperity for others,
is Joseph F. Fritts, who was born in Lebanon, Hunterdon County, N. J., on
October 6, 1862, the son of Joseph A. Fritts, a farmer, and a grandson of Joseph
Fritts, a veteran of the Civil War, and at one time a member of the New Jersey
State Legislature. His father married Miss Susan C. Huffman, and they lived in
New Jersey until the middle eighties, when they removed to Gage County, Nebr.
Joseph attended the district school in New Jersey, then Ryder's Business College in
Trenton, and then later the State Normal school at Trenton, N. J., and in 1886,
having completed his education, he followed his parents to the West. The elder
Fritts bought 320 acres of land, and Joseph intended to take up a homestead ; but he
put it off a day too long, as President Cleveland had revoked the homestead aot.
Mr. Fritts farmed in Nebraska, and during that time he made a trip to Colorado, but
remained there but a short time when he returned to Nebraska. In 1888, he came to
Salt Lake City and was employed in a nursery until 1890, then he accepted a position
with the Government in the railway mail service, working on the Central, now the
Southern Pacific, and he gave such satisfaction, and was so well satisfied himself, that
he remained there for five years, running between Ogden and San Francisco. In 1895,
he was transferred to the Coast route, on which he continued until July, 1911. He
resigned to devote his time to horticulture, having been twenty -one years in the mail
service, during which time he saw some of the exciting and seamy sides of life. On
August 18, 1907, he was in a wreck at Point Conception and the mail car in which he
was working turned over and he was unconscious for some time. In November, 1890,
Mr. Fritts had purchased twenty acres near Mountain View, which he improved to
peaches, prunes, apricots and cherries. In 1908 he had purchased forty acres near
Hughson, on which he located in 1913, and a year later sold his former place. He
has improved his Hughson ranch with a modern residence and a full-bearing orchard
and vineyard. In addition he owns forty-one acres four and a half miles southeast of
Hughson, which he intends also to set to orchard and vineyard. He is president of
the Hughson branch of the Federal Loan Board, also a member of the California
Associated Raisin Company, the California Peach and Fig Growers, Inc., California


Prune and Apricot Association, California Bean Association and the Farm Bureau
Exchange. Mr. Fritts was a director in the Mountain View Fruit Growers Ex-
change from 1904 to 1911, and also had the honor of helping to organize this exchange
and the associated packing house.

At San Francisco on June 21, 1894, Mr. Fritts was married to Miss Laura
Burton, a native of Morrison, 111., and the daughter of George and Mary Burton, an
excellent woman who died at Mountain View on April 18, 1905. For a second time,
Mr. Fritts married, at the same place, when on April 7, 1907, he took for his wife
Miss Lora May Hopper, who was born at Ukiah, Mendocino County, the daughter
of Greenberry and Sarah (Van) Hopper. Her father came to California in 1847,
and traveled across the plains in an emigrant wagon drawn by oxen. She attended
the Santa Maria schools. Four children were born to Mr. Fritts by his first wife —
Joseph Burton, James William, Mary Grace, and Harriett Martha. Mr. Fritts has
been on the board of trustees of the Hughson Union high school for the last seven
years, and has been the president of the board all this time. A new high school build-
ing has just been completed at a cost of $110,000.

Mr. Fritts is a Democrat, and prides himself on having long worked for prohi-
bition, and has done what he could to make the country dry. He was also active in the
campaign which deposed the Mormons from political power in Salt Lake City. In
local politics, however, he favors less partisanship. He belongs to the Odd Fellows,
which he joined at Ogden, Utah, in 1890, and afterwards transferred his membership
to Mountain View lodge, in which he is past grand.

His son, Joseph Burton Fritts, enlisted for service in the World War on Decem-
ber 9, 1917, and was sent to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, and the following April
he was sent on to St. Paul, for a mechanic's examination. After that, he was sent
back to Brook Field at San Antonio as an expert mechanic in repairing aeroplane
motors, and there he remained until July 15, 1919, when he was honorably discharged.
James W. Fritts, the other son, enlisted on August 1, 1918, in the Naval Reserve
Flying Corps, and was sent to Seattle, and trained and drilled there until December 9,
1918, when he also was honorably discharged, as chief quartermaster.

KNUT K. FRISVOLD. — A native of Norway, but a resident of America for
more than forty years, a citizen of the United States, and the father of two sons
who served in the military arm of the U. S. Service during the great World War,
Knut K. Frisvold is a true and loyal American, and highly respected among his friends
and neighbors in Patterson colony. He owns a splendid farm of thirty acres which
he farms to alfalfa, keeping a dairy of twelve milch cows. Mr. Frisvold's farm,
located on Fig Street just east of Elm Avenue, is one of the attractive places of
Patterson, being well improved and carefully kept in every detail.

Mr. Frisvold was born in Norway, near Guldbrandsdalen, September 22, 1853,
the son of Knut and Thora Frisvold. His father was a farmer and Mr. Frisvold
worked on the farm during his early boyhood, and was later engaged for four years
in the fishing industry, having a large fleet of fishing vessels which he operated
on the North Sea. The trips usually occupied two or three weeks, the catch amount-
; ng generally to about 2,500 barrels. It was a hard and hazardous life, however, and
in 1881 he came to America, settling in Minnesota, in Freeborn County, where he
was variously employed for a period of years, working on railroad construction work,
on farms, and in the winter months, in the logging camps near Eau Claire, Wis. He
then went to Becker County, Minn., where he bought 148 acres of land with his
hard-earned money, and for the succeeding fourteen years engaged in general farm-
ing. He then sold this property and went to Thief River Falls, Minn., where he
rented 160 acres and farmed successfully, until he came to California in the spring of
1908. For three years he was employed with Ole Olson on his farm near Newman.
During this time Mr. Olson made a trip to Norway, leaving Mr. Frisvold in charge
of the ranch. Following this he went to Gustine, where for two years he worked for
Mr. Hunt on his ranch just south of that place. By this time he was ready to invest
for himself, and in 1915 he came to Patterson and bought his present place, where
he has since lived. He is a member of the Stanislaus County Farmers Union.


Mr. Frisvold was married before he left his mother country, espousing Miss
Ingeberg Neilson, in Brudvig, Norway, of which place she is a native. Mrs. Fris-
vold's parents were Nels and Sarah Neilson, her father being a farmer in comfortable
circumstances near Brudvig, where she received her education. She has been the solace
and comfort of her husband throughout the years. Mr. and Mrs. Frisvold are the parents
of eight children: Nels and Carl are now deceased; Carl T. is in the employ of the
San Francisco post office but residing across the bay ; Anna, Mrs. J. T. Christopher-
son of Patterson; Severt A., a student in the State University; Marie is now Mrs.
F. L. Greening, residing at Oakdale, while Martin and Alfred are at home.

The two sons who were in the great World War are Severt A. and Martin.
Of these Severt was the first to go. He enlisted in July, 1917, and was in the
Aviation service. He trained at Kelly Field, at San Antonio, Texas, and sailed for
France on January 1, 1918, and was stationed at Bordeaux, where he worked on
repair and construction of aeroplanes until his return to America in May, 1919. He
was honorably discharged on May 17, of that year. The younger son, Martin, entered
the service on September 15, 1918, and served in the Medical Department at Camp
Kearney. He was discharged in February, 1919. Mr. Frisvold is very proud of
both these sons, and stood loyally back of them during the trying days of the war.

JOHN GASNER. — No better citizenry ever comes out of the great American
"Melting Pot" than that brought across the seas from the little Republic of Switzer-
land, and of such ancestry and nativity is John Gasner, dairy farmer of Prescott pre-
cinct, a man of ability and much executive force. He came to California a boy of
nineteen years, became very soon a citizen of the United States, and has been a resi-
dent of Stanislaus County since 1911, and of Prescott precinct since 1918, when he
bought his present place of twenty-two acres, which he has highly improved, building
a modern residence, dairy barns, and other outbuildings necessary. He owns a fine

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 138 of 177)