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 144 of 177)
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John J. Fay was a lad of spirit, with a keen love of adventure, and at the age
of ten years he ran away from home and came to America with some friends, landing
at Boston. Here he worked for his board and expenses and attended the public school
for several years. But the spirit of adventure still called, and in 1888 he came to
California, going to Sonoma County, where at Soby Vista he worked for Col. George
Hooper for two years. It was while here that he took out his first citizenship papers,
carrying his naturalization through in the shortest possible time. Following this he
went to work for the Southern Pacific Railway Company on maintenance of way,


and six months later was made foreman, in 1895, being stationed at various points
on the Western Division from Sacramento to Oakland.

The marriage of Mr. Fay and Miss Mary Elizabeth McDonald occurred in
San Francisco February 18, 1903. Mrs. Fay was the daughter of Charles and Cecelia
(Ferguson) McDonald, and, like her husband, a native of Ireland, born in County
Mayo, near Bally Castle. Her father was an extensive raiser of stock, prosperous
and well known, and she received her education in the public schools of her native
countv. In 1898 she came to San Francisco, where she lived until her marriage.

Following his marriage, Mr. Fay came to Stanislaus County, being transferred
to Westley as section foreman for the Southern Pacific, in which capacity he served
until November, 1909. He then bought the Ed. Richards ranch northwest of West-
ley. Resigning his position, he engaged in grain farming, and has brought his land
under a high state of productivity, raising principally grain. He has a complete
tractor equipment and other modern machinery for scientific grain farming, and has
greatly improved his property, making it an attractive home place. In 1917, he
bought an additional 170 acres adjoining him on the west, and now owns one of the
most valuable tracts in that section of the county.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Fay are communicants of the Patterson Catholic Church.
They are the parents of a promising family of seven children. Of these, the two elder
sons, John Charles and Francis Joseph, are students in the Patterson high school ;
Edward Aloysius, Leo Stanislaus, Joseph Patrick and Marie M. Cecelia are attending
the Westley school, while the youngest child, Fergus Donal, is not yet of school age.

JESSE WILLIAM BLUE. — Another example of a self-made man who arrived
in Stanislaus County a few years ago with scarcely any means, and who is now one of
the substantial and prosperous citizens of the growing municipality of Patterson, in
the vicinity of which he owns real estate valued at well above $20,000, is Jesse William
Blue. He is a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Dallas, and has served as deputy constable.

Jesse William Blue is a native of Tioga County, Pa., born on Pine Creek, Sep-
tember 19, 1872, the son of William and Matilda (Lent) Blue. His father was a
native of Pennsylvania, while his mother's people came from Wisconsin. His paternal
grandparents were very early settlers in Pennsylvania, his grandfather, John Blue,
being a hunter who rode into Tioga County from Virginia in an early day and
settled there. When he was seven years of age the family moved to Linn County,
Iowa, residing near Cedar Rapids for two years. From there they moved into Kansas
and resided near Salinas for a year, during all of which time the father was engaged
in farming. The following year they returned to Cedar Rapids, and here young
Jesse William received much of his early training, attending the public school and
assisting with the work on the farm. He is the second in a family of four boys, the
youngest of whom passed away when he was a young man. The older brother, Bert
L. Blue, is now head miller for one of the newer milling companies at Sioux Falls,
S. D., and a $10,000 a year man. He learned his trade at Kansas City, where he
commenced at $1.50 a day. The younger brother, Marion L., became a painter and
at present is with the Iowa Railroad and Electric Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Jesse W. Blue left home when he was eighteen years old, determined to see the
world and to carve his fortune in his own way. For a year he worked as a logger at
Fife Lake, Mich. In 1895 he returned to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and became identified
with the City Fire Department, serving for three years, the last two of which he was
captain of the department. The war with Spain then came on, and during 1898 and
1899, he served hl< country in her military activity in Cuba in Company C, Forty-
ninth Iowa Volunteers, being honorably discharged at Savannah, Ga., in 1899. He
is a member of Thomas Enright Post, No. 97, Veterans of Foreign Wars, of Modesto.
Returning again to Cedar Rapids, Mr. Blue became interested in building and fol-
lowed the carpenter's trade for a year, and in 1900 came west to Colorado, locating
in Leadville, where he followed carpentering for nine months. In 1901 he went to
Kansas City and for a year and a half was employed as millwright with the Atlas
( >ats Company of that place. But the call of the West was heard again, and in 1902
he came to California, going into the building business, first at Santa Cruz and later


at San Jose. In 1907 he accepted an appointment to the Government police service
and sailed for the Panama Canal Zone, to be gone for two years. At the close of his
service, however, he came again to California, reaching Hollister in January, 1910.
where for a year he engaged in carpentry.

It was in 1911, July 15, that Mr. Blue eventually came to Patterson, where he
has since made his home. He immediately bought several town lots and erected dwell-
ings on them. Later he bought five acres just south of the Standard Oil station, on
which he has recently completed a charming modern bungalow, which he sold in 1920.
[n 1913 he filed on 160 acres of homestead land in the Del Porto Canyon, west of
Patterson about twelve miles. A little later he was able to increase his holdings
under the enlarged homestead act, and again under the grazing act, until today he has
made his final proof for 640 acres of fine canyon land, which is of increasing value.

The marriage of Mr. Blue and Miss Anna A. Hoffman was solemnized in
Denver, Colo., October 3, 1909. Mrs. Blue is the daughter of John and Sophie
(Byron) Hoffman, her father being a mining and cattle man of the Lake Valley
country in Colorado and of New Mexico, where he was one of the earlv pioneers.
Mr. Blue's mother's father came to California during the gold rush of 1849, but was
never heard from afterwards, and was supposed to have fallen victim to Indian
savagery. Mrs. Blue has many interesting tales to recount of her girlhood among the
Indians of New Mexico. She is a woman of rare strength of character and great
courage, as is shown by one experience of her girlhood. She discovered a plot by
certain Indians to massacre a number of white settlers, and under cover of night she
rode" out to warn them. She rode her horse until he gave out, and then stole another
from a convenient farm, being shot at in the darkness as a horse thief, but she rode on
and notified the settlement in time for them to escape annihilation.

ROLAND C. HUNT.— A self-made man who started out in life when little
more than a lad to make his own fortune, and meeting with much well-deserved
success and appreciation, is Roland C. Hunt, for a number of years past chief engineer
of the Associated Pipe Line Company, located at the Patterson station. Mr. Hunt
is an expert in his line of work, having acquired his knowledge in the school of prac-
tical experience, in which he has. been an active student since he struck out for himself
at the age of seventeen years. For fourteen years he was with the DuPont Powder
Company, holding positions of responsibility and trust, and receiving a training in
handling men under emergencies which has been of great value to him. He was with
this company in a boiler explosion, when many men were killed, and earned a reputa-
tion for coolness and level-headedness under stress.

A native of England, Mr. Hunt was born on the Trent, in Stratfordshire,
January 11, 1881. His parents, Horace E. and Martha (Wallace) Hunt, migrated
to America when the subject of this review was but four years of age, locating first
in Denver, Colo., where they remained for six years. The father was a photographer
by profession, and had a prosperous business in England. He opened up his business
in Denver and prospered, but later determined to come on to California, and in 1891
located in Stockton, continuing in the photography business. He met with success,
but moved to Crockett, Cal., where he passed away, June 21, 1920, and where Mrs.
Hunt still makes her home.

Roland C. Hunt received his education in the schools of Denver and Stockton,
and when be was seventeen, he started out to win his own way in the world. He
studied mechanics and soon secured a position .with the DuPont Powder Company,
at the works at Pinole, Cal. He was soon promoted to the position of engineer and
for the fourteen succeeding years remained in this position.

While with the DuPont Powder Company, Mr. Hunt met and married Miss
Bertha Cook, their marriage being solemnized August 14, 1906, at Pinole. Mrs.
Hunt is the daughter of C. P. and Ella Atterberry Cook, and a native of Missouri,
where her father is a well-to-do farmer, and prominent in state politics, having served
several years as representative of Lawrence County in the Missouri Legislature. Mrs.
Hunt was in delicate health, and came to California to recuperate, visiting for a time


with an uncle in Oakland. Upon her complete recovery she accepted a business posi-
tion in Pinole, where she met and married Mr. Hunt. Of their union have been
born two children, Roland C, Jr., and Leland. Following his marriage Mr. Hunt
took up a homestead on the Madaline Plains in Lassen County, and for a number of
years resided there. He was proprietor of the general merchandise store at Ravendale,
postmaster for two years under the Taft administration, and N. C. O. station agent
for two years.

At this time the position of assistant engineer with the Associated Pipe Line
Company of California was offered Mr. Hunt and he accepted, and was at first sta-
tioned at Arbios Station south of Gustine, where he remained for a few months. He
was then promoted to the position of chief engineer, and served for a few months each
at Levis Station and at Silaxo and Arbios, coming at the end of that period to Vano-
mar Station just north of Patterson, where he has been in charge as chief engineer
since 1918. He is a Republican in his political affiliations, and is a Mason and a
member of Pinole Lodge, No. 353, F. & A. M.

WILLIAM ANNEAR. — A most dependable mechanic is William Annear, for
the past score of years a Californian who has helped develop the state, and now, at the
shop at 704 James Street, Modesto, he enjoys a patronage such as does not always
reward even the intelligent and industrious after twenty years. A native of rugged
Cornwall, he was born at St. Just, England, on August 25, 1873, the son of Simon and
Ann (George) Annear, farmers who spent their entire lives in their native place.
William went to the common schools in Cornwall, and at the age of fourteen "years
began working as a blacksmith, following that and mining until 1900, when he came
out to the United States, where he worked for wages for some eight months in New
Haven, Conn. He then moved westward to Cincinnati, Ohio, and continued to ply
his trade there for about a year.

In April, 1902, Mr. Annear came West to Modesto and took a position with T. K.
Beard as foreman of construction, and was not only sent to various parts of the San
Joaquin Valley, but different parts of California and into Nevada. He also worked
with Mr. Beard on state highway building. Since 1914, however, he has been in
charge of Mr. Beard's yards at Modesto, acting as yard foreman and mechanic, where
he is looking after and renting out machinery. In addition to this responsibility, he
has taken charge of Mr. Beard's blacksmith shop at the yards of the Modesto & Empire
Traction Company. He has had plenty of opportunity for the display of his ability,
and he has never been wanting. In 1918 he purchased six acres of land on James
Street, devoted to a variety of fruit, including oranges, peaches, and olives, and he is
succeeding equally well with this modest agricultural venture. In 1906 he was sent
by Mr. Beard to King City, Monterey County, to superintend a gypsum mine, con-
tinuing in charge until 1912, when Mr. Beard's lease expired and he returned to
Modesto and as above stated continued in the employ of Mr. Beard.

Mr. Annear has been twice married. At Modesto, on June 13, 1908, he was
united with Miss Minnie Juliff, who was born in Cornwall, the daughter of James
and Mary Juliff. Her father was an expert trapper, and dealt in pelts and hides. Mrs.
Annear, beloved by many, passed away in October, 1911, leaving one daughter, Ellen
Annear; and in November of the following year Mr. Annear remarried, this time
uniting himself with Mrs. Emma (Fisher) Graser. Mrs. Annear was born in New-
port, Ky., the daughter of Conrad Fisher, who was a merchant tailor. Her mother
was Helena Snelter and both parents spent the remainder of their lives in Kentucky.
Emma was the youngest of their ten children and spent her school days at Newport
and there, too, occurred her marriage to Otto Graser, an electrician. After his demise,
she migrated to Modesto, Cal., in 1912, with two children, Robert and Alice Graser,
and renewed an acquaintance with Mr. Annear, whom she had met in Cincinnati,
I >ln'o. The renewal of the friendship resulted in their marriage. Mr. Annear is a
Methodist in religious faith. Fraternally, he was made a Mason in San Lucia Lodge
Xo. 302, F. & A. M., at Kings City, Monterey County, and is also a member of the
Loyal Order of Mouse in Modesto.


WILLIAM N. GRAYBIEL.— A successful lawyer with a large clientele and a
wide influence, always exerted for the public good, is William N. Graybiel, the city
attorney of Turlock, who came to California less than a decade and a half ago, and
yet in that short time has identified himself in an enviable manner with the Golden
State. He was born in Antelope County, Nebr., the son of Alexander Graybiel, a
native of Ontario, who settled in the United States near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a
farmer, and later became a pioneer of Antelope County. There he homesteaded land,
a year before the Elkhorn Valley Railroad, now known as the Northwestern, came
through. He was a progressive agriculturist and also a member of the county board
of supervisors, serving in that capacity for some years; but in 1906, appreciating the
still greater possibilities for the farmer in California, he came west and located at
Chico, where he engaged in horticulture. And there, in May, 1919, he died. He had
married Miss Jannett Mitchell, a Scotch lady born near Glasgow, who came out to
Iowa with her parents when she was eighteen years of age. She now resides with
the subject of our interesting review at Turlock, the honored mother of three sons,
two of whom are still living.

William N. Graybiel, the youngest in the family, spent his childhood on a farm
in Nebraska, while he attended the public schools and Gates Academy at Neligh, in
that state. During the year 1906-07, Mr. Graybiel taught school, and in 1907 he
came to California, following his parents, and entered the Chico Normal School,
from which he was graduated in 1908. He then served as principal of the Spreckels'
School in Monterey County for two years, and during the same time studied law;
and after that he pursued the courses of the Law School of Stanford University, and
on April 7, 1913, was admitted to the Bar, when he immediately located at Turlock
and opened an office for law practice there. His straightforward and honest methods
brought him excellent patronage, and he has been more than ordinarily successful.

In 1916, Mr. Graybiel was appointed city attorney of Turlock, and since then he
has been reappointed each year. He belongs to the Stanislaus County Bar Association,
and is a member of the Democratic County Central Committee, and also serves on
the Turlock grammar school board of trustees. Mr. Graybiel is interested, like every-
one else who lives in this highly-favored country, in ranching, and owns forty-one
acres east of Turlock, devoted to general farming; and he was one of the organizers
of the Turlock Merchants & Growers, Inc., a cooperative marketing association for
the handling of local products, and is a director in the same and the company's attorney.

At Fresno, on December 30, 1915, Mr. Graybiel was married to Miss Maud
McCormick, a native of Monterey County, a lady of accomplishment who shares
with Mr. Graybiel in the active work of the local Presbyterian Church, in which Mr.
Graybiel is chairman of its board of trustees. He was superintendent of its Sunday
school four years.

J. HALSET. — Starting out to seek his fortune when he was twenty-two years
of age, J. Halset has had many interesting experiences in the long years that have
stretched between that time and his present peaceful days on his beautiful little farm
near Patterson, where he spends much time in experimental work in his gardens.

A native of Norway, born near Christiansund, January 5, 1858, the son of
Norwegian farmer folk, Mr. Halset passed his boyhood days on the farm and in
attending the public schools of his vicinity. His parents were Ole and Gertrude Halset,
of good old Norwegian stock. He assisted his father with the farm work and spent
several years in the more hazardous life of a fisherman on the North Sea. In 1888
he came to Minnesota, locating in Polk County, where he homesteaded a quarter sec-
tion ot farm land. Proving up on his farm, he worked it for seven years, improving
it greatly, and sold at a good profit. While here Mr. Halset was married to Miss
Marie Nelson, at Saint Helenas, Minn., also born near Christiansund, her father own-
ing a farm near the Halset farm, but the families being unacquainted.

Following his marriage, Mr. Halset moved with his family to Washington,
where he bought a farm near Montesano. Here he farmed for nearly twenty years,
becoming thoroughly identified with the interests of his community and meeting with
merited success. Two children were born to him before death called his faithful wife.


Jennie is now Mrs. Waldo Swenson, whose husband is engaged in farming near the
old Halset ranch at Montesano, Wash., and Fred is engaged in farming with his
father. In 1912 Mr. Halset came to California, locating at Patterson, where he
bought fourteen acres of what was then a barley field. This he has improved himself,
building a comfortable residence and farm buildings and planting several rows of
beautiful trees. He raises principally alfalfa, and keeps a small dairy. In his garden,
Mr. Halset has conducted a series of experiments with various fruits and vegetables,
planting at various depths and at varying seasons, following each experiment with
painstaking care; he is an expert on pear blight and has made this a special study.
He is highly regarded by his neighbors and friends and is a loyal adopted American.

CHARLES N. BOW. — A live wire with an artistic gift which he has been able
to commercialize, to the advantage of others as well as himself, is Charles N. Bow, the
partner of Cecil W. Janes in the sign-writing enterprise, well known throughout Stanis-
laus County. He was born in Chicago, on March 11, 1881, the son of Thomas C.
and Augusta (Davies) Bow. His father was an expert accountant with the Rock
Island Railroad, and passed away in '83, after which Mrs. Bow came to California.

Charles was sent to the grammar school in San Francisco, and when twenty years
"Id struck out for himself. He served for five years as an apprentice to sign-writing,
and then established and maintained a business at Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and
Calgary, after which he came back to California. In 1915 he opened a sign-writer's
shop at San Diego, on the same day when the gates of the San Diego Exposition were
thrown open, but after a year in the Southland, he came north to Modesto ; and
here he has been, prospering more and more, ever since.

Mr. Bow formed a partnership with Cecil W. Janes, and opened a still finer
sign-writing studio, well-equipped for any kind of work ; and these able and accom-
modating gentlemen have done so much to supply a want here that they receive a good
share of the business of both the city and the county.

Mr. Bow has been twice married. In 1911, at Montreal, he was joined in wed-
lock with Miss Stella Matheson, the daughter of a merchant of Prince Edward
Island ; and after she died, lamented by all who knew her, he became the husband, at
Modesto, of Miss Gerritena Harcksen, the daughter of S. Theodore and Albadena
Harcksen, natives of Holland, who came direct from Europe to South Dakota. Mr.
Harcksen was a merchant there, and in later years he came to Modesto and settled on
a farm three miles out on the Tully Road. Mr. Bow belongs to the subordinate lodge
of Odd Fellows at Modesto as well as the Encampment, and also to the Canton at
Stockton. He and his family attend the Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Bow votes
the Republican ticket.

W. LESTER WILSON, M. D.— Distinguished as the eldest practicing physi-
cian and surgeon in Turlock, Dr. W. Lester Wilson, enjoying the esteem of a Chris-
tian gentleman, has been able to exert an enviable influence both for the building up
and the upbuilding of the progressive and fast developing community. He was born
in the historic town of Crawfordsville, Ind., on December 27, 1860, the son of Owen
M. Wilson, a native of Ohio, who was a farmer near Crawfordsville and died where
he tilled the soil. He had married Miss Susan Watkins, who was born at Crawfords-
ville, the granddaughter of a pioneer of the same name who came from Ohio, and as a
pioneer settled in the undisturbed timberland of the Hoosier State. Three sons were
born to Mr. and Mrs. Owen Wilson, and all are still living.

W. Lester Wilson, the only one in California, was brought up on a farm and
educated at the public schools of his home district. Then he attended the normal
school at Ladoga, from which he was graduated in 1883, when he began to study medi-
cine under a preceptor at Whitesville, Ind., continuing his studies at the Medical
College at Indianapolis, from which he was graduated in 1887 with the degree of
M.D. He practiced at Tiosa, Ind., and in September, 1888, he came West.

For fifteen years Dr. Wilson practiced medicine and surgery very successfully at
Milpitas, in Santa Clara County, and then he removed ' to San Mateo, where he
enjoyed a lucrative and agreeable practice for another four and a half years. After



that he spent a year at post-graduate work in Chicago and New York, attending lec-
tures and noted clinics, and on his return to California in June, 1910, located at
Turlock, where he has ever since enjoyed the prominence due to one ever active for
the benefit of the entire community. He has followed the general practice of medicine
and surgery, and for three years was health officer of the town. He is also an examiner
for various life insurance and fraternal associations, giving equal satisfaction to the
companies and to their patrons. He is a member of the American Medical Associa-
tion, the State Medical Society, and the Stanislaus County Medical Society.

As is natural with most professional people living in this favored Turlock environ-
ment, Dr. Wilson owns several ranches which he has improved from raw land and now
devotes to general farming; and he also has title to a ranch of twenty acres at San
Jose, where he grows choice prunes and apricots. He is a Republican in his choice of
national political policies, but non-partisan in his advocacy of every good movement
■lesigned to advance the horticultural and other interests of the neighborhood.

During his residence at Tiosa, Ind., Dr. Wilson was married on April 5, 1888,
to Miss Sarah Luetta Miller, a native of that attractive town; and five children
have blessed their union. Walter is an auto mechanic in Turlock; George is on a
ranch near San Jose; Harry, who enlisted for war service, but was rejected, is also

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 144 of 177)