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 147 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 147 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

a farmer near Parker, and is the mother of two children. Ralph H., single,
is a mechanical dentist of Turlock. Eva P., who married Dan Cook, resides at Kern-
ville, and Alice D. attends the high school at Turlock.

Besides being an organizer and a director of the Turlock Merchants & Growers,
Inc., which was formed in 1915, Mr. McVey served for eleven years as a member of
the board of trustees of the Tegner School District, acting as clerk of the board for nine
years, and for three years he has been a director of the board of trustees of the Tur-
lock Union high school. He has served on the Democratic County Central Committee
of Stanislaus County, and in 1910 he was census enumerator for the Madera County
district, and helped out on the Federal census. Ten years later, as Federal enumerator,
he was in charge of the Stanislaus territory. For the second and following Liberty
Loans during the last war, he served as chairman of the Tegner district ; and for years,
in numerous ways, he has demonstrated his belief in the principle that a country worth
living in is also worth living and working for.

EDGAR E. CLAYTON. — An experienced rancher who has also become profi-
cient as a well-trained, clever carpenter, is Edgar E. Clayton, who was born, a native
son proud of the Golden State, in San Benito County on May 8, 1876. He is the
third son of Randolph S. R. Clayton, a native of Maryland, who came to California
in 1850 and put in two years in the Southern mines, after which he engaged in stock
raising in San Benito and Monterey counties. A man of integrity and alert, he
proved successful ; and as a testimonial of his real worth, he left his widow and ten
children, at his demise in 1910, a handsome estate in San Benito and Monterey coun-
ties, of which about 1,000 acres yet remain. He had married Miss Sarah Cleveland,
a native of Illinois, and she now resides in Coalinga.

Edgar Clayton was reared on the range and even as a boy took a live interest in
stock. He attended the Valley school, obtained there and on the home farm a good
preparation for the various duties in life, and when twenty-one years of age home-
steaded, proved up on and sold 160 acres of land in Monterey County. Later, he
identified himself with the opening of the Coalinga oil fields: he helped to bring in
the second well on the West Side and for eight years worked in the oil fields.

In 1906 Mr. Clayton came to Turlock, having purchased, the year previously, a
forty-acre ranch about three miles southwest of Turlock, and since that date his
developments, with improvements, have brought him a good return. Naturally, he is
a member of the Stanislaus County Farm Union. He is a freeholder of one-tenth
interest in one-half of his late father's estate, already referred to; while as an expert
carpenter, particularly able as a joiner, he has a small fortune in his useful trade.

At San Jose, on July 14, 1898, Mr. Clayton was married to Miss Nellie Don-
nelly, a native of New York, by whom he has had seven children — Dorothy, Jeanie,
Marie, Esther, June, Belle, and Edgar E., Jr. Mr. Clayton is a member of the Mod-
ern Woodmen of America, and a director of the Mitchell School District.


FRANK C. DIAS. — A dairyman who is a credit to Turlock, as he has become
well-known among the most successful of dairy ranchers in Stanislaus County, is
Frank C. Dias, who was born on the Isle of Flores, in the Azores, on February 23.
1876, the youngest son of Manuel and Anna Dias, substantial farmer folk. For
generations their ancestors followed agricultural pursuits ; and being natives of
Flores : they lived near the town of Eliza, on a farm long in the Dias family.

When seventeen years of age Mr. Dias left the balmy Azores to come to Amer-
ica, and on the second of April, 1893, he landed in Boston. After a while he came
to California and located at Centerville, Alameda County, in the dairy region. He
spent three years there as a laborer, and then he removed to Siskiyou County, and
for a couple of years worked in the hydraulic mines. When he returned to Center-
ville, he assisted his brother Manuel until 1905 to conduct his store.

In the fall of 1905 Mr. Dias located at Turlock near where he eventually pur-
chased his forty acres; and having improved his farm, he leases it out to others. He
also owns eighteen acres of land adjoining the Tegner school property on the south,
upon which he has erected a fine residence. He has made his family as comfortable as
possible, and expects to give each of his nine sons and daughters all the advantages of
popular education. He belongs to the Farm Bureau, profits by the association with
others, and contributes what he can to make the Bureau still more serviceable. His
nine children are Anna, Louise, Joe, the twins Avelina and Agnes, Mary, Caroline,
Clariss and Frances, all except the baby in school. Their mother was Miss Man'
Goncalves before her marriage, a native of the Isle of Flores, where she was born in
1879, and Mr. Dias married her in 1904 while on a return trip to the Azores to visit
his aged father, then eighty-four. The family attend the Catholic Church at Turlock.

RICHARD HARDING. — A retired, independent rancher whose years of suc-
cessful labor have entitled him to step aside and view the passing show of California's
ever-increasing greatness, is Richard Harding, who was born near Barnstable, Devon-
shire, England, on September 7, 1858. His father, William Harding, was a well-to-
do farmer, owning his farm near Barnstable ; and his mother, before her marriage, was
Miss Grace Burgess. They were both natives of Devonshire, and there the lad, Rich-
and, was reared and attended the district school. For twelve years he worked on the
home farm, starting as a laborer for wages, when he was only twelve years old, and
in 1880, or when he was twenty-two, he came out to America and located in Cres-
ton, Ogle County, 111., where he worked for farm wages for another eight years.
Then, for a couple of years, he rented land and farmed for grain and stock. In 1891,
he located near Canton, in Lincoln County, S. D., where he worked on a farm for
two years; and then he purchased a farm of 160 acres, which he farmed successfully
for grain until coming to California in 1903.

In that year, having leased his farm in South Dakota, Mr. Harding made a trip
to Turlock, where he had already purchased 100 acres of land three miles south of
Turlock, through his brother-in-law, Charles Cline ; and liking California, he sold his
Dakota property and established himself permanently in Stanislaus County. In 1906,
he sold his 100 acres, and straightway purchased forty acres across the road. Now,
after twelve years of steady work in developing and improving this farm, he has leased
his land and is living retired, enjoying the esteem of all who know him.

On September 11, 1893, Mr. Harding was married to Miss Hattie Cline, of Can-
ton, S. D., a native of Sweden, from which country she came to America in 1880. On
June 16, 1920, this estimable lady, beloved by so many, passed away, and was buried
in the Turlock Cemetery. She and her husband were members of the Brethren
Church of Turlock, where he is a trustee of the board of directors.

On May 10, 1921, Mr. 'Harding was united in marriage with Nora Gow, a
native of Missouri, whose father, James M. Gow, was presiding judge of Clay
County, Mo., for seventeen years. She came to California on a visit to her brother
and here was married. Mr. Harding did commendable service for the United States
during the World War, successfully canvassing the territory on the loan drives and
contributing himself substantial!) to the funds of the Red Cross.


FRANK G. JOHNSON.— The value of a record for years well lived and work
well done has been well demonstrated in the case of Frank G. Johnson, the esteemed
pioneer now residing west of Turlock on West Main Street, who was closely and
most honorably associated with the development of a part of Fresno County until the
summer of 1918. He was born near Lynsherpen, Central Sweden, on November 3,
1859, the son of John A. and Anna (Swanson) Johnson, natives of Sweden and
members of the Swedish Lutheran Church ; and during the winter months attended
the public schools in the district where he was reared. When thirteen years of age
he had to begin to earn his own living, for his father had died nine years before ; and
in 1880 he came out to America, traveling in the company of a young friend. The two
left their native land to escape military duty, and selected the United States as their goal.

Mr. Johnson first located near Sheridan, in Lucas County, Iowa, and while he
was learning the English language, he spent his time working on farms for from eight
to ten dollars a month. In October, 1880, he removed to Boone County, Iowa, and
there he remained on one farm, working for three years, and four years more on other
farms. On March 25, 1887, he was married to Miss Matilda Sakrison, also born in
Sweden, who had come to America seven years before, and in 1888, he ventured his
first important financial deal in the purchase of eighty acres of land in Pocahontas
County, Iowa, adding forty acres to his holding the third year later. He went from
one success to another ; but he was never so busy with his own affairs that he could not
render service to the community when called upon to do so. He was made an Ameri-
can citizen in Boone County, Iowa, in April, 1887.

In 1904, Mr. Johnson removed with his family to California and settled in
Fresno County, continuing there until June, 1918, when he came to Stanislaus County,
He proved himself enterprising, progressive and public-spirited, and soon won the
highest respect of his fellow-citizens. In June, 1918, he came to Stanislaus County,
having retired from farming when he sold his vineyard in the Garfield district near
Clovis; and he purchased ten acres from Mr. Horsman and built a very substantial
residence. He belongs to the Farm Bureau of Stanislaus County. Seven children
were born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. Hannah T., the eldest, died in Iowa at the age
of six. Alma Helen lives at Fresno. Esther Matilda is the wife of Albert Peterson.
Hannah T. is Mrs. M. V. Vestrom of Fresno. Martin D. is an ex-service man,
and now resides at Clovis. Elmer J. is deceased. Ernest Lowell attends school.

A. McGEORGE. — The advanced state of stock raising in Stanislaus County
owes much to such aggressive pioneers as A. McGeorge, who was born in Lincoln
County, Ohio, on July 6, 1851, the son of the Rev. Robert and Tilda (Van Meter)
McGeorge, both native Pennsylvanians. The Rev. Mr. McGeorge was a minister of
the Christian Church, and he also followed, for his own pleasure largely, limited
farming. On the maternal side of their family, the ancestors were of Scottish birth,
;ind one grandfather served in the Revolutionary War. When our subject was about
a year and a half old, his parents removed to a farm in Michigan.

When nineteen years of age, Mr. McGeorge left the paternal roof and came
west to California and Inyo County, where for eight years he worked as a teamster,
handling from sixteen to twenty-four head of mules hauling freight to the silver mines
of the late Senator Jones in Southern Nevada. In Humboldt County he also worked
at teaming, hauling out great trees used as piles on the Great Northern Railroad.
Hoping to profit from a change of climate, he went to the Black Hills in Southern
Dakota, and while there for fifteen years assisted in the construction of the Burling-
ton Railroad. He also became an extensive buyer of cattle and a stockman.

In Guthrie County, Iowa, in 1872, Mr. McGeorge was married to Miss Jennie
Titus, daughter of Zedic Titus, farmer. The children are; Ed, employee of the
Southern Pacific Railroad at Fresno; Frank is superintendent of the San Joaquin
Light & Power Company at Springville, he has two children ; Jessie, wife of John
Honea and mother of eight children, lives on a ranch nearby ; Annie married B. S.
Carman of Fresno and they have one child ; Bessie L. Nicholson resides at home and
the mother of two children; Mabel, wife of H. Richardson, an oil man at Coalinga,
they have one child. In 1910, with his family, he came to Turlock,. Cal., and pur-


chased twenty acres ten miles southwest of Turlock. He also leases eighty acres, and
he raises beef cattle. But other luck came his way. In 1910, while trying for
artesian water, the drillers encountered gas and oily water at a depth of 300 feet. Mr.
McGeorge was the promoter of the Turlock Land & Oil Company and ever since
finding oil on the place he has been working to demonstrate that oil existed and
finally was able to interest capital that began drilling and at this writing (1921)
prospects are for a proven territory. The first rig erected stands 100 feet from the
house of our subject — a fact of very exceptional interest to him, with all that it may
portend. He has worked hard, and invested confidently in his time; and no one
who knows him will begrudge any additional fortune that may fall to his lot. He is
a member of the Modesto Milk Producers Association.

In national politics a Republican, Mr. McGeorge is first and last a good Ameri-
can and always ready to sidetrack partisanship and prove a good "booster" for the
locality in which he lives, labors and prospers.

OLE OLSON. — A successful, comfortably situated rancher whose prosperity is
a source of satisfaction to his many friends, is Ole Olson, who was born in the province
of Gestrikland, Northern Sweden, on December 3, 1868, the eldest son of Ole and
Bertha (Olsen) Olson, both natives of the same province. The father was a car-
penter by trade and also a farmer, was active the major part of his life, and became
a well-to-do citizen. He owned a model farm, and was selected as a juryman for
eight years. Five children survive these worthy parents, and all the rest of the fam-
ily, save a sister, Mrs. Jerner of Turlock, are in Sweden.

Ole finished with credit the required courses in the public schools, and was
then, according to Swedish custom, confirmed in the Lutheran Church. After that
he worked on his father's farm until he was twenty-four years of age. This was in
the middle eighties, and three crowns, or about eighty cents was a day's wages.

On November 15, 1892, Mr. Olson bade his folks and home adieu and sailed
for Nova Scotia. He landed at. Halifax, and in December, 1892, he reached Red
Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa. He came to stay with an aunt, Mrs. A. P.
Johnson; and he worked on her farm until 1894. Meanwhile he studied English,
and in Minnesota, for fourteen years labored in lumber camps and on farms.

The severe winters in the Middle West led him to come to California, and he
first pitched his tent at San Diego. Then, in January, 1909, he came on to Stanis-
laus County, and bought eighty acres, seven miles west of Turlock. For four years
he was employed by the Turlock Lumber Company, during which time he began to
develop the raw land, made many improvements, and when it was ready as a very
desirable home-place, he was married, on January 12, 1914, to Miss Ida Carlson, a
native of Finland, where she was born in 1876. They came to their ranch and have
since lived here. Her parents came from Sweden to Finland, and were named
Herman and Etta (Isaacson) Carlson. In 1910, she came from her native land to
California. Two children have blessed their union, Olaf Leonard and Eric Olva.

HENRY EUSTICE.— An expert blacksmith whose skill has brought and held
for him many satisfied patrons is Henry Eustice, who was born in Santa Clara
County, thirty miles south of San Jose, in Gilroy, on July 28, 1880, the eldest son of
John and Annie (Babb) Eustice — the former a native of Wisconsin, the latter of
Tennessee. . John Eustice's ancestors came from England in the Colonial period, from
which it will be seen that the family has long been avowedly American. In 1870 — a
very early date for this section of the countrv — John Eustice established the second
blacksmith shop in Gilroy, and for thirty years he worked industriously as a wheel-
wright and general blacksmith. Now, retired, he lives at Mountain View.

After finishing the courses of the grade school, Henry Eustice became an appren-
tice in his father's shop, and at the age of twenty started out for himself. He spent
fifteen years as a wage-earner in the shops of the San Joaquin Valley, and in 1916 came
to Stanislaus County to locate permanently.

On January 1, 1920, having made valuable connections here, he opened the
blacksmith shop at Hatch, six miles west of Turlock, on the Turlock highway. Those


who know the ability of Mr. Eustice and his reliability for first-class work will learn
with interest that he plans to enlarge and still further equip his shop, and to open
at Hatch what is very much needed there, a first-class garage.

On October 21, 1920, at Stockton, Mr. Eustice was married to Miss Mattie
Stephens, a daughter of John Stephens, a native of Kentucky who came to California
with his family in 1916, from the Blue Grass State. Mr. and Mrs. Eustice are
Republicans and are ever ready, both within and without that party, to work for the
building up and the upbuilding of the growing district in which they live.

G. SCHENONE. — Among the representative merchants in Modesto who has
established a reputation for fair dealing and honesty of purpose is G. Schenone, who was
born in the province of Genoa, Italy, October 16, 1879, a son of Giacomo and Rosa
Schenone, farmer folk who spent their entire life in the sunny country on the Mediter-
ranean. Mr. Schenone was the youngest of their five children and naturally he learned
farming as carried on in his native country, assisting his father until he reached his
majority. He had excellent school advantages from which he has profited and he is
today a well-informed and successful business man. When twenty years of age, Mr.
Schenone entered the Italian army, serving in the Tenth Company of the Second
Regiment, "Gerneto Genio," for three years, when he received an honorable discharge.
After this he spent another year on the home farm. He had heard and read of the
better opportunities afforded young men of energy who were willing to apply them-
selves to their task in California and concluded that was the place for him and his
ambition, so he emigrated to the Pacific Coast, arriving in San Francisco in 1904.

Soon after his arrival he entered into partnership with others and leased 125 acres
near the Cliff House and he was chosen manager of the business, which was continued
for a period of three years, when they sold out. He then came to Stockton and with
three others rented a ranch which was devoted to raising vegetables. He was again
chosen as manager, a place he filled acceptably for six years, when they sold out and he
located in Modesto in 1913.

Here Mr. Schenone purchased an interest in a grocery store on Ninth Street and
later on purchased his partner's interest and has since continued at the helm, having
built up a large business in groceries and general merchandise, making a specialty of
imported Italian goods and delicacies. His business place is located at 606 Ninth
Street, where he has a large patronage and steady customers, a matter in which he
naturally takes much pride, for it shows the appreciation his patrons have for him
when they trade with him year after year.

Mr. Schenone is a self-made man, for he started without a dollar, but with an
ambition and determination to succeed, which he has accomplished, as well as having the
good will and esteem of his fellow-citizens. He is liberal and enterprising and is inter-
ested in and helpful to movements that have for their aim the upbuilding of the com-
munity and improving the condition of its citizens. He is a member of the Catholic
Church and politically espouses the principles of the Republican platform.

ALBERT T. PETERSON.— An enterprising, far-sighted native of Iowa who
has made good in California is Albert Peterson, who was born near Albert City,
Buena Vista County, on December 17, 1890, the only son of Albert Peterson, now-
deceased, who had married Miss Emma Nelson. His father came to America when
he was twenty-five years of age, while the mother came here in 1881. He was em-
ployed at the Deering Implement factory in Chicago for many years as a shop worker,
and married Miss Nelson in that city, and at once removed to the Hawkeye State,
and they were farming in Buena Vista County when Mr. Peterson died in 1891.

Albert T. Peterson, Jr., was then only five weeks old; but being sturdier than the
average, he grew up and at an early age was able to help his mother until they came
West in 1910. He abandoned public school in his thirteenth year, and both acquired
experience in farming and in business affairs. He took a business course in Highland
Park Business College, at Des Moines, Iowa, and also a course in steam engineering
at the University of Minnesota. On arriving in Turlock, he was able to begin ranch
life under favorable auspices. He has made a specialty of the growing of melons and



grain, and has progressed so well that he has not only been able to ship car-load lots
of melons from his own farm, but has found it profitable to buy up melons in the
surrounding district, and sell them also. The sub-station of the Tidewater Southern
Railroad joins the Peterson farm on the south, and this has proven of great conven-
ience to the rancher. A live member of the Farm Bureau of Stanislaus County, it is
just what one would expect of Mr. Peterson that he should be an enthusiastic
"booster" for Turlock. He also handles farm properties and realty.

In 1918, at Turlock, Mr. Peterson was married to Miss Esther Johnson, the
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. G. Johnson, who came to Stanislaus County from
Fresno County in that year, and a mention of their lives is found on another page of
this work. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and Esther Mathilda
was the third. One child, Elizabeth, has come to Mr. and Mrs. Peterson. They
belong to Turlock Swedish Mission Church.

Since locating on his thirty acres some four miles west of Turlock, Mr. Peter-
son has added many improvements, including a thoroughly modern residence, sub-
stantially built, and has eleven acres in Thompson seedless grapes. He also owns
twenty acres one and one-quarter miles west. When Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, the
parents of Mrs. Peterson, came from Clovis, in Fresno County, Mr. Peterson sold
them ten acres adjoining his ranch and they also made an attractive home place.

FRED WILLIAM WALTI. — An experienced ranch executive whose industry,
studies and foresight have contributed to advance California husbandry, is Fred Wm.
Walti, a native son who was born at Santa Cruz on July 9, 1889, the son of Fred R.
Walti, a native of Zurich, Switzerland, who settled at New York when he came
out to America at the age of sixteen. Later he located in Nevada, where he did ranch
work, and as a result, he continued ranching on moving west to Santa Cruz in the
early eighties. He operated extensively, and also went in for the packing of meat.
Mr. Walti's ancestors were professional men, and his grandfather was acting supreme
judge of the Supreme Court of the Canton of Aargau, Switzerland, and most of these
forebears were well-to-do. Theirs was not a military family, however. It was
natural enough, therefore, that Frederick R. Walti should serve a number of years
on the city council of Santa Cruz, where his influence was always exerted in behalf of
progressive movements and measures. He had married Miss Eliza Degner, a native of
Santa Cruz, who died when our subject was still an infant. Then Mr. Walti remar-
ried, and the child found in the tender-hearted woman the only mother whom he
knew. She passed away at Modesto, and now her husband lives retired at Santa Cruz.

Fred, having finished the courses of the grammar school, in 1905, was graduated
four years later from the Santa Cruz high school, after which he entered Throop
College at Pasadena, and during 1909-10 studied electrical engineering. He then
took up agriculture instead; and in 1914 he was graduated from the State University
;:t Berkeley with the coveted degree of Bachelor of Science. The year following, he
assisted his father in the wholesale and retail meat business at Santa Cruz.

Mr. Walti then accepted the superintendence- of a ranch of 8,000 acres at Spof-

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 147 of 177)