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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 139 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 139 of 177)
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herd of high grade cattle, including fifteen fine milch cows and a registered Holstein
herd sire, besides young stock and several horses. The entire place is kept up in the
most approved manner, giving evidence of the industry and ability of its owner.

It was in 1891 that Mr. Gasner first came to California, from his native canton,
Graubiinden, Switzerland, arriving in New York in November 22, of that year, and
reaching Oakland one week later, November 29. His brother, George Gasner, was
engaged in the dairy business at Oakland, and on the very day of his arrival young
John went to work on the farm, where he remained for two years, learning the ways
and customs of the new country and becoming familiar with its language. For the
following three years he worked around Oakland, and in 1894 went up to Eureka,
Humboldt County, and later to Ferndale, that county, where he was employed in the
dairy business for the succeeding five or six years. At the close of this period he went
down to San Francisco, and while there he met and married, in 1896, Mrs. Anna
Reitz, the widow of the late John Reitz, who had died in Germany several years
previously. Mrs. Reitz, who was Miss Anna Trabold, a native of Hesse Darmstadt,
Germany. She is a daughter of Joseph and Katherine (Kretzmar) Trabold, natives
of Darmstadt. Her father was a mechanical engineer and later in life was a farmer.
He has passed away since she came to the United States. • Mrs. Gasner was first
married to John Reitz, who was in the employ of a prominent government official of
the district and also served as a soldier in the Franco-Prussian War. Mr. Reitz
passed away at the age of forty-eight years, leaving his widow and eight children as
follows: Helen is Mrs. Hansen and resides near Ferndale; Kate, Mrs. Klausen, also
lives at Ferndale : Jacob is a prominent rancher in Prescott Township, Stanislaus
County; George is assisting his brother Jacob in farming operations; Mary, Mrs.
Schmidt, and Margaret, Mrs. Dedlefsen, both live at Coos Bay, Ore.; Adolph served
overseas in the World War and now resides at Visalia ; Fred is a resident of this
county. Desiring to give her children the wider freedom of life in the United States,
Mrs. Reitz came to California in 1895 and it was here she met Mr. Gasner, the
acquaintance resulting in their marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Gasner have become the
parents of two sons, Bartlett and John.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1253

Following his marriage, Mr. Gasner, together with his wife and family, returned
to Humboldt County, where he engaged in dairying and general farming until 1910,
when he sold his interests and went for a short visit to Europe, visiting his old home
in Switzerland, where his parents were both living, where his mother still lives, and
also traveled in Germany. He had no inclination, however, to consider that country
as a residence place, so after a stay of about seven months he returned to California
and after a residence of five months in Humboldt County, brought his family and located
at Newman, this county, buying a farm of fifty-eight acres, which they highly improved
as a dairy farm. In 1918 Mr. Gasner sold this place at a handsome profit and bought
his present home place in Prescott precinct on Bangs Avenue, which he has made one of
the attractive places of the vicinity. He is a member of the Milk Producers' Asso-
ciation, Central California.

Mr. Gasner was born at Fanas, Canton Graubiinden, Switzerland, May 7, 1871,
the son of Bartholomeus and Elspet (Rieder) Gasner, his father a prosperous farmer.
There were seven children in the family, namely: Margretha, who lives in Switzer-
land ; George, a fruit rancher in Contra Costa County, Calif., where he owns a fine
farm of thirty-five acres; Parlina, who married Peter Wurtlinger, of Oakland, where
she died in 1896; Chris, a farmer in Switzerland; John, the subject of this sketch;
Casper, a dairy farmer in Coquille Valley, Ore., and Bartholomeus, who farms the old
place in Canton Graubunden. Mr. and Mrs. Gasner are members of the Lutheran
Church in Modesto in which they were raised and have always taken an active part,
and politically they are Republicans. Mr. Gasner has never regretted coming to
America, and California may well be proud to claim him as one of her adopted sons.

ARTHUR FOSTER. — A public-spirited citizen who is a vigorous endorser of
all worthy enterprises, is Arthur Foster, who has been phenomenally successful with
his Thompson seedless vineyard and his rich land near the river, at the end of Orange
Avenue, Patterson, so well adapted for the growth of melons. He was born in
Clinton County, Iowa, near Wapsipinigan, on May 12, 1857, the son of Joseph and
Eliza Foster, who removed with him, when he was only two years old, to Jones
County. His father was a minister of the Gospel, and also a farmer: and his choice
of occupations led to his moving about a good deal. Arthur commenced his schooling
in Jones County, at a district school ; but when he was twelve, his father moved on to
Delaware County, Iowa, where he continued farming. Ten years later, Arthur moved
to Columbus County, Kans., and when he had been there three years, he bought rail-
road land and took up general farming. For three years he worked for wages.

In 1888, Mr. Foster came to California and settled in Santa Clara County, be-
tween Santa Clara and Mountain View. At first he rented a fruit farm, and for a
couple of years grew wine grapes and fruit. Next he pitched his tent in the moun-
tains on Bear Creek, near the Montezuma schoolhouse, south of Los Gatos, and there
he purchased twenty acres of redwood trees, cleared the land and set out prune
trees and grapes, raising and budding his own tree stock; and he lived until 1905 on
that ranch. After that, for eleven years, he ran a rural delivery mail route south of
San Jose. In 1916 he traded his Santa Clara ranch, where he had made his home for
years, for ten acres of alfalfa land on Los Palmas Avenue, between Sycamore and
Elm, in Patterson Colony, to which he immediately moved ; and at the end of two
.» ears he sold the ten acres and bought twice that amount along the river. Now he
has fifteen acres planted to Thompson seedless grapes, and he intends to set out more.

Mr. Foster has been twice married, and both wives have passed away. At Co-
lumbus, Kans., on March 18, 1886, he was joined in wedlock to Miss Ella Hamilton,
a native of Indiana and the daughter of Nathaniel Hamilton, a substantial farmer;
and she died at Los Gatos, Cal., in 1892, the mother of two children — Dora Ann and
Markham, named after Henry Harrison Markham, Governor of California. Mr.
Foster's second marriage took place at San Jose on December 23, 1896, when he chose
for his wife Mrs. Annie Webbley, a native of California. One child blessed this
union — Clarence R. Foster, who is a student at the high school at Patterson. Mr.
Foster is a Republican, and while living in Santa Clara County was a trustee of the
Montezuma school. He is a member of Moose Lodge No. 104, San Jose.



1254 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

GEORGE G. NELSON. — A wide-awake master mechanic who has recently

equipped his planing mill with the latest and most improved machinery and an electric
plant for furnishing all the power needed, is George G. Nelson, who came to Cali-
fornia in 1904, and is now able to meet any demands for output in his busy field. He
was born in Vermland, Sweden, April 1, 79, and came to the United States and Iowa
in 1881, when they located twenty miles east of Storm Lake, where his father, Andrew
G. Nelson, farmed and eventually died. His devoted wife, in maidenhood Christine
L. Erickson, now makes her home in Turlock. The third oldest of four children,
George was brought up on the Iowa farm and educated in the public schools, topping
off his preparation for a tussle with the world at North Park College.

In 1904, Mr. Nelson came out to California, and at Oakland he was employed
at the carpenter's trade, while he studied architecture and drawing. Three years
later, he located at Turlock, and bought a twenty-acre farm four miles west of the
town. He set out an orchard and vineyard, and further improved the ranch by
planting the acreage to alfalfa; and he established a dairy and ran it for eight years,
while he worked at the carpenter's trade not only in Turlock and vicinity, but all
over Stanislaus, and into San Joaquin County. In 1912, he sold his ranch; and
since then he has given all of his attention to building and contracting.

He has also put up a modern planing mill, conveniently located at No. 216 N.
First street, where he does all of his own work and also turns out work for others.
The mill is run by electric power, and he has handy, and in good working order, all
the machinery that such a shop ever needs. He has erected many good buildings here,
among them the Ford Garage, Pentecostal Chapel, the Covell Garage, in Modesto,
and numerous residences in Turlock and vicinity. He often makes his own designs,
and employs at times as many as twenty-five hands.

Mr. Nelson has invented and patented an improvement for bodies on dumping
trucks. It is an arrangement where the load is dumped on either side clear from the
wheels of the truck, so well poised and balanced that one man can manipulate it and
without a derrick as used in other dumping arrangements. This new dump body on
account of simplicity of construction can be built at a minimum cost and has proven
efficient through tests made and will no doubt be readily adopted by motor truck and
wagon manufacturers. It dumps from either side instead of the end. By a slight
movement of two small levers the load will dump itself automatically, thus getting
away from expensively operated hoists. The patent was obtained in April, 1921.

Mr. Nelson is now building bodies for high school busses after his own plans. This
new Nelson bus has brought new orders from different parts of the state.

At Oakland Mr. Nelson was married to Miss Agnes Ekstrom, who was born in
Sweden; and both he and his devoted wife attend the Swedish Mission Church. They
have two children, Waldemar and Ella.

CHARLES GUSTAFSON.— For more than twenty years a resident of Califor-
nia, and for much of that time actively engaged in the building industry, Charles
Gustafson is now one of the most reliable and efficient carpenters and builders in Pat-
terson, where he has resided since 1918. Mr. Gustafson is a native of Sweden, born
in Kristianstad, January 14, 1855, the son of Gustaf Nelson and Anna (Peterson)
Gustafson. His father was a farmer and Charles remained at home, attending school
during his youth and then helping his father on the farm until he was twenty-five
years of age. But he was ambitious and energetic and the opportunities in his home
land were limited, so, bidding farewell to family and friends, he came to America in
1880, locating in Chicago, 111., where he took up carpentering and cabinet making.
While here he met, wooed and married Miss Elsie Peterson, the marriage being
solemnized on June 4, 1884. Mrs. Gustafson is a native of Sweden, born near Kris-
tianstad, and the daughter of Peter Russell and Johannah Peterson, her father hav-
ing been one of the well-to-do farmers of that locality.

The farming interests of the plains of Minnesota promised large returns, and
in 1886 Mr. Gustafson went to Polk County, Minn., where he preempted a quarter-
section of land and engaged in general farming, remaining for fifteen years. He be-
came one of the well-known farmers of this section and met with well-deserved sue-







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 139 of 177)