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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

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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 150 of 177)
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J. Snyder, became a partner. Both brothers maintain separate residences in Riverbank,
where they are welcomed and honored members of the community. In addition to
the regular garage, they also maintain an auto livery, and they have the contract to
take the children to and from the high school at Oakdale. They are equipped with
three Chevrolet machines, one being a very large auto stage, capable of carrying forty
students at a time, and thev have another large stage and a large passenger auto.
The firm of Snyder Bros, deals in Ford cars, Fordson tractors, and Ford equipment and
extras, and they also deal in automobile accessories, gasoline and oils, and do a general
garage business, having a well-equipped machine shop and competent mechanics.

The garage of Snyder Bros, is the authorized Ford service station, being a Ford
sub-agency located at Riverbank. The two proprietors are Chester G. and Norman
Tames Snyder, sons of Charles B. Snyder, who came to California in 1860, settled in
Stanislaus County, and for many years ran a large grain farm near Crows Landing.
An uncle, J. F. Snyder, usually called "Frank" Snyder, owns a section of land near
Newman; he was formerly a partner with Charles B. Snyder, and together for many
years they were numbered among the most extensive and successful grain farmers.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1347

Charles B. Snyder was married in Stanislaus County to Miss Nellie Meek, a native
of Jackson County, Mo., who came to California with her folks. There were three
children in the family — Chester G.. Norman James, and a daughter, Lucile. now
sixteen years old, and living with her stepmother, Mrs. Catherine K. Snyder, at River-
bank, her own mother having died in 1908. Charles B. Snyder died in November,
1919. about sixty years old.

Chester G. Snyder was born near Crows Landing on November 26. 1896, and his
brother, Norman, was horn at the same place on June 23, 1898. The latter was mar-
ried at Modesto on August 30, 1920, to Miss Mildred Johnson, who was born at Mc-
Cabe, Ariz., graduated from the Phoenix high school in 1920, and then took a business
course at the c amc institution, through which she became very proficient in shorthand
and typewriting, and took the first prize in stenography in the state contest held at
the University of Arizona at Tucson in 1920.

JACOB BUCHER. — The assistant superintendent of the Borden Company of
California at Modesto, Jacob Bucher is a native of Lucerne, Canton Zug, Switzer-
land, born August 7, 1865. He is one of three sons born to Jacob and Anna (Lesher)
Bucher, who were born in that canton, where the father was the proprietor of a large
flour mill until he retired. He passed away seme years ago, being survived by
his widow, now nearly eighty years of age. On completing his studies in the high
school, Jacob Bucher entered the employ of the condensed milk factory at Cham,
working until he learned every detail and process in the manufacture of condensed
milk until the company sent him to Dixon, 111., as head condenser for the Anglo Swiss
Company. He continued with them from 1889 until 1902, when he entered the
emplo\ of the Borden Company, working in the different departments until the
company sent him on the road as sanitary inspector, and for a period of four years
he traveled for them, visiting their different factories in New York and the Middle
West, when he was appointed superintendent of the plant at Genoa Junction, Wis.
One year later he was sent to Monroe, Wis., where for a year he was assistant
superintendent and then appointed to the same position at Modesto, Cal., arriving
with his family October 6, 1919, since which time he has given it his time and
experience.

The marriage of Mr. Bucher occurred at Cham. Switzerland, November 14,
1884, when he was united with Miss Fredericka Voight, who was born in Wohlen,
Canton Aargau, Switzerland. Her father, Casper Voight, was a blacksmith and had
married Farnia Gerig, both now deceased. Their union has been blessed with three
children: Joseph,' served in the aviation section of the U. S. Army in the World War,
and is now with the Borden Company; Freda is Mrs. Cary ; Jacob, Jr., is also with
the Borden Company. All make their home in Modesto. Mr. Bucher is a man of
forty years experience in the manufacture of condensed milk and one of the oldest in
the business in the United States. His years of experience makes him an important
factor in the industry. Mr. Bucher is a member of the Modern Woodmen of
America, the Court of Honor and with his wife is a member of the Mutual Protective
Association and Mrs. Bucher is a member of the Royal Neighbors. Mr. Bucher is
a strong Republican in national politics.

B. G. DROUILLARD.— A native of Michigan, B. G. Drouillard was born in
Algonac, St. Clair County, May 11. 1883. His grandfather, Thos. Drouillard. of
French descent, was born in Montreal, Canada, and he settled in Michigan, where
Jog. M. Drouillard, the father of B. G, was born. One of the ancestors of
Drouillard was a member of the Lewis & Clark expedition to Oregon. They were
pioneers in that region which was inhabited largely by Indians of the*-Potawatomie and
Chippewa tribes, and the Drouillards learned to speak the language of these tribes,
John M. Drouillard was a contractor and builder in Algonac and still resides there
with his wife, who was in maidenhood, Mary J. Dubeau, a native of Buffalo, N. Y.,
whose father, Edward Dubeau, horn in Quebec, was an early settler of Buffalo, N. Y.,
where he was a shipbuilder. Later he moved to Algonac, Mich., where he was fore-
man of a shipyard.



1348 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Mr. and Mrs. Jno. M. Drouillard had three children, of whom B. G. is the
oldest. He attended the same public school in Algonac, Mich., that his father and
mother had attended, and then entered the Algonac high school, where he was gradu-
ated in 1901. During the summer vacations after he was fourteen years old he
followed sailing on the lakes in the northern and northwest lake survey, under the
U. S. War Department, continuing up until the summer of 1902. He had also
learned the painter's trade while in the government employ. In 1903 he came to
Los Angeles, where he followed this trade for three years.

Mr. Drouillard was married in Los Angeles on July 25, 1906, to Miss Mary
E. Swain, who was born in McLouth, Kans., a daughter of Loring R. and Lucy
(Rice) Swain, natives of Indiana and Kansas, respectively. They came to Whittier in
1893, where Mr. Swain, who was also a painter, followed his trade and there his
wife died in 1895. In 1909 Mr. Swain came to Modesto, and he now resides on his
ranch on the Waterford road. Grandfather Swain served as a captain in the Civil
War, was captured and never returned, so it is presumed he died in Libby Prison.
After his marriage Mr. Drouillard returned to Algonac, Mich., with his bride and
there followed his trade until 1908, when he returned to Los Angeles and in 1909 he
came to Modesto, where he has since been engaged in contracting and painting.
Among some of the work he has done is the county jail, Lesher Apartments, science
wing and manual arts building of the high school, and many residences in Modesto,
Turlock and Ceres, as well as work throughout the county. He has erected a resi-
dence at 406 Melrose, where he resides with his wife and two children : Elma M. and
Loring, Jr. Mr. Drouillard was one of the organizers and is president of the Master
Painters Association in Turlock, and is a member of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church.

JAMES C. BERG. — A young man of enterprising and progressive ideas is James
C. Berg, a dairyman on Bangs avenue, in McHenry precinct. He was born in
Birkelse, Jylland, Denmark, July 14, 1891. His father was named Christian Bjerg,
but on account of the difficulty in pronouncing the name in this country James dropped
the j and made it Berg when he took his citizen's papers. Christian Bjerg is a farmer
in Denmark where he was married to Thomina Jensen of whom he was bereaved in
February, 1897, leaving eight children: Christene is Mrs. Klit of Denmark; Anna is
Mrs. Louis Larsen of Paso Robles ; Christ Christensen is a rancher on the Coffee
road; Jensina, Mrs. Joseph Rafter, resides on the Waterford road; Louis served in
the Eighty-eighth Division, over seas in the World War and now resides on the
Coffee road ; James C. is the subject of this review ; Anton is a farmer in Denmark ;
Neil, a minister in the Baptist Church in Nebraska, also served overseas in the U. S.
Army and was gassed while at the front.

James Berg was early thrown on his own resources and from a lad of nine
years made his own way, working on farms during the summers, and winters attending
school. Some of his brothers and sisters had immigrated to Iowa, so he naturally
came to have an admiration for and a desire to come to the land of the Stars and
Stripes; so when eighteen years of age, in 1909, he arrived in Walnut, Iowa, going to
work on a farm and attending public school the first winter. In 1910 he came to
Salinas, Cal., where he was employed at teaming for eighteen months, and then
returned to Iowa, and that winter attended college in Harlan. After a period
of two years in that state he again came to Salinas and spent a year working on a
farm. April 1, 1916 he came to Stanislaus County and engaged in farming with his
brother, Christ Christensen, for eighteen months. He then leased a farm at Salida,
until he entered the U. S. service, serving in the Twenty-fifth Coast Artillery,
stationed at Ft. Rosecrans, until after the armistice, being honorably discharged
February 18, 1919, after which he resumed farming in Stanislaus County. In
September, 1920, he purchased his present ranch of twenty-two and one-half acres on
Bangs avenue, which he is rapidly improving to an alfalfa and dairy, farm, having a
herd of high-grade Holsteins and Jerseys. He is a member of the Stanislaus Milk
Producers Association of Central California at Modesto.

Mr. Berg was married in Modesto, July 24, 1919, to Miss Bertha Christensen,
who is a native of Tennessee, the adopted daughter of Andrew Christensen, a farmer



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1349

in McHenry precinct, with whom she came from Iowa to California in 1913; they
have been blessed with one child, Edith M. He is a member of the American Legion
at Modesto, and is a member of the Baptist Church at Modesto, while politically he
is an ardent Republican.

C. WILFRID MATLOCK.— A member of the firm of Matlock & King, gen-
eral contractors, leaders in their line is C. Wilfrid Matlock, a native of England,
born in the large manufacturing city of Leicester, April 28, 1882, and there he
attended the Sir Isaac Newton school, where he completed the scientific course. After
his school days were over he apprenticed under his father, who was a general con-
tractor, continuing with his for six years, during which time he took a course in
architectural drawing. He then engaged in the business of contracting for a short
while until he decided to cast in his lot on the Pacific Coast, of which he had read
and heard such good reports. Arriving in San Francisco, Cal., in August, 1906, for
a few months he was employed as a journeyman, when he became superintendent
for O. E. Brady & Son, continuing with them for nine years; during which time he
assisted actively and enthusiastically in the rebuilding of San Francisco, from the
ruins of the big fire, superintending some of the largest buildings erected in the Bay
cities. He then accepted a position as superintendent with W. C. Duncan & Company
for four and one-half years, from 1915 to 1920, on the construction of buildings in
different parts of the state, among them being the Bank of Eureka, the American
Sugar Company's plant at Oxnard, Bankers Hotel in Oakland, Children's Hospital
in San Francisco, Western States Life Building in San Francisco, Turbine Machine
Shops of the Bethlehem Ship Corporation plant in Oakland and the construction of
Camp Fremont.

In January, 1921, Mr. Matlock resigned his position with W. C. Duncan &
Company to engage in the general contracting business, forming the present partner-
ship with Mr. King, and under the firm name of Matlock & King, opened offices in
Modesto, from which city as a headquarters they are successfully engaged in general
contracting.

ERNEST METTLER.— A member of the busy firm of Mettler & Binder,
Ernest Mettler was born in Herisau, Canton Appenzell, Switzerland, October 18,
1894, the son of Conrad and Elizabeth (Rutz) Mettler, who are still living in
Herisau, where the father, a machinist, is foreman of a factory; of their nine children,
Ernest is the youngest, and the only one in the United States. He received his
education in the local schools and after two years in the high school, he quit to work
in a chemical laboratory, but after six months concluded to come to the United States.

In 1911, when only sixteen years of age, he arrived at New Glarus, Wis., and
began working for an implement company, repairing agricultural machinery, continu-
ing there for a period of four and one-half years, when he came to San Jose, Cal.,
January 3, 1916. With a partner he leased land and ran a dairy for eighteen months,
until he enlisted in Company Twenty-nine of the Coast Artillery, being sent to Ft.
Scott, where he remained nine months and then to Camp Eustace, Va., and from there
was sent overseas, being stationed at Mars-sur-Allier, when the armistice was signed.
On his return to the United States he was honorably discharged at the Presidio at
San Francisco, April 1, 1919, with the rank of sergeant.

Until October 1, 1919, Mr. Mettler was marine machinist at the Union Iron
Works, and during this time attended the marine engineering school; next he was
with the Palo Alto Stock Farm, where he ran a Holt, tractor until March, 1920, and
then entered Heald's Engineering College in San Francisco, where he completed an
electrical engineering course. After this he was engaged as an automobile mechanic
in San Jose, until January, 1921, when he came to Turlock and formed the present
partnership of Mettler & Binder, as proprietors of the Carolyn Garage, where they
do general automobile repairing, both being first-class automobile electricians and auto-
mobile mechanics. They also have a battery and ignition works. Enterprising and
progressive young men, they are meeting with deserved success. A loyal citizen of his
adopted country and a firm beliver in protection for Americans, Mr. Mettler is
an ardent Republican.



1350 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

NICKELS NICKELSEN. — Among the successful farmers and dairymen in the
vicinity of Ceres is Nickels Nickelsen, who was born in Fohr, Denmark, on June 12,
1866, the son of John and Christina (Hendricksen) Nickelsen. The father was a
sea captain and, as master, sailed into the various distant ports of the world, rounding
Cape Horn and Cape Good Hope many times. He was in San Francisco at various
times in the early days. On his last voyage, during a severe storm, he fell and broke
his leg, after which he quit the sea and resided on his farm until he died, aged sixty-
seven years. His wife had preceded him, aged 53 years.

Of their seven children, all of whom are living, Nickels is the next to the young-
est. He had no liking for sailing on the sea so he remained on the home farm and
attended the local school. A strong desire to come to California resulted in his
coming to San Francisco when fifteen years of age, in April, 1882. He immediately
went to work on a farm at Haywrads, for two years, thence to Blocksburg, Hum-
boldt Count) -, where he rode the range on the Fairbanks cattle ranch for nine years.
He then came to Petaluma, where he followed dairying for a few years. In 1910 he
came to Stanislaus County and purchased land near Ceres, and later bought forty
acres more, now the home place, two and one-half miles south of Ceres, and still later
added twenty acres to it, and now he owns ninety acres, which is devoted to raising
alfalfa and beans and he also maintains a small dairy.

In San Francisco, October 3, 1903, Mr. Nickelsen was married, being united
with Miss Adelheid Meyer, who was born in Bremervorde, Hanover. Germany, the
daughter of Cord and Lucy Meyer. Her father was also the master of a sailing
vessel, and was in the coasting trade. He died at eighty-four, being survived by his
widow. Mrs. Nickelsen is the next to the youngest of their seven children, and
received a good education in Hanover. She came to San Francisco in 1896; their
union has been blessed with three children, Frank, and Nickels and Pauline, twins.
Mr. Nickelsen is a member of the Milk Producers Association of Central California.
Politically he is a Republican, and fraternally a member of the Druids.

GEO. ASQUITH.— Born in Bruntleff, near Leeds, England, September 23,
1841, only two and one-half miles from Morley, where Herbert Asquith was born,
George Asquith is the son of Francis Asquith, a native of Netherton, England,
where he was superintendent of one of the largest woolen mills in England ; while
Grandfather Wm. Asquith, was a boot and shoe manufacturer at Netherton. The
mother of our subject was Jane Walker, a daughter of Geo. Walker, a malster, and
she was the mother of eight children, of whom Geo. is the second oldest. He was
reared at Batleycar, where he attended public school, though after he was eight
years of age he went to school but half a day, while the other half he worked in the
woolen mill. Later he went to work steadily in the mill learning the business under
his father, and for a while during his apprenticeship he went to night school, a thing
he has never regretted as it has been of great aid.

In 1853 Mr. Asquith took charge of a set of machines at Marfield, and con-
tinued in that line until he decided to migrate to Lawrence, Mass., in 1863.. The
first year was spent in the Washington Wnolen Mills; then he became a foreman in
the Everett Mills, then at Methuen, until he was solicited to return to Lawrence at
advanced wages. Later he spent a year at Lisbon Falls, Me., but he found the
climate too cold, so he went to Baltimore, Md., as foreman, then to Frederick, where
he remained for two years. In 1868 Mr. Asquith removed to Auburn, Ky., then
on to Howling Green, remaining until 1870, when he went to Fayetteville, Lincoln
County, Tenn., remaining with the woolen mills of that place nine years, advancing
to superintendent. He resigned and removed to Marvville, Blount County, Tenn.,
where he was foreman of woolen mills for five and one-half years. Next he was
superintendent of a mill at Knoxville, Tenn., from 1885 until 1914. Resigning his
position after a long and satisfactory career he came to Los Angeles, where he lived
retired until May, 1918, since then he made his home in Turlock.

Mr. Asquith's marriage occurred in England, with Miss Hannah Hirst, who
was born at Hopton. Their union proved a very happy one until her death at Knox-
ville, February 14, 1904. She was the mother of nine children: John W., died in



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1351

Maine ; Frank died in Lawrence ; Ella passed away in Tennessee ; Harry is superin-
tendent of the water works in Knoxville; Ida is Mrs. Rowland, residing near Modesto;
Joe died in Knoxville in 1894; Fannie is the wife of Jno. H. Hunter of Washington,
D. C. ; Geo. H. lives in Rochester, N. Y., while the youngest, Annie, presides grace-
fully over her father's home, looking after his welfare and ministering to his wants.
She is a graduate of the Knoxville Business College and is now bookkeeper for the
Turlock Merchants and Growers Association. Mr. Asquith is a member of the
Knights of the Golden Cross. Miss Annie Asquith attends the Christian church,
is a member of the Ladies' Aid and the Missionary Society and is the pianist for the
congregation. Mr. Asquith has indeed had a long, eventful and useful life and now
lives retired in comfort and peace, knowing that he has done his duty.

C. L. TORGESON. — A representative citizen who has resided in Turlock since
1907 is C. L. Torgeson, who was born in Christiania, Norway, September 3, 1871.
He is a son of Gustav C. Torgeson, who was engaged in the manufacture of orna-
mental iron work until he. passed away in 1878, leaving a widow, Martha Torgeson,
and three children, one of whom passed away soon after the father. The others are,
Inga of St. Louis, Mo.; Amanda, who died in El Paso, Texas; Axel C, who is also
in St. Louis. Mrs. Torgeson brought the family to the United States in 1883,
locating first in Minnesota, but soon moved to St. Louis, where she married John
Borgstrom. She passed away in 1907. C. L. Torgeson attended the Christiania
grammar schools three years, and in 1883 he came with his mother to Pope County,
Minn., where he immediately went to work to support himself. Later he went to
Alexandria, Douglas County, where he had an opportunity to attend school. Return-
ing to Pope County, he engaged in farming with his brother until he moved to
Minneapolis, where at the age of twenty-four, he was married to Christine Eksstrom,
who was born in Sweden, but grew up in Douglas County, Minn.

After his marriage Mr. Torgeson engaged in the grocery business in Minneapolis
for two years, when he returned to Pope County, where he was foreman for the Sault
Ste. Marie Railroad for ten years. In 1907 he brought his family to California and
located at Turlock, since which time he has seen the place grow from sand dunes to a
veritable garden spot. He resides with his family at 433 High street. Mr. and Mrs.
Torgeson are the parents of two children, Arthur and Ruth.

ANTHON G. HARVE. — A young man who saw service overseas during the
World War is Anthon G Harve, who was born in Isanti, Isanti County, Minn.,
October 1, 1892. His father, L. O., was born in Helsingland, Sweden, September 22,
1849, and when a young man located in Isanti, in 1882. There he was married in
1889, being united with Freda Carlson, who was born in Ostergotland, Sweden.
They became possessors of a nice farm near Isanti. Disposing of their holdings, Mr.
and Mrs. Harve brought their family to Patterson, Stanislaus County in 1912, where
they bought 20 acres which they improved to alfalfa. In 1912 they sold out and
located in Turlock, where they own ten acres devoted to raising alfalfa and grain.

They had six children, four of whom are living: Anthon, the subject of this re-
view; David is in the employ of the Don Pedro dam project, who served in a
California regiment and was stationed at San Diego until the armistice, and Signa,
with the Peoples' Cash Grocery at Turlock ; Esther died when eighteen.

Anthon G. Harve received his education in the public schools of Minnesota.
He came to Patterson in 1912, where he was employed on his father's farm until 1914,
then the family moved to Turlock, when with his father he engaged in raising
cantaloupes, peaches and apricots. On September 23, 1917, he entered the Three
hundred sixty-third U. S. Infantry, Company B, being stationed at Camp Lewis,
until the Transport Carpathia carried them to France, April 5 1918, when he was
transferred to Company A, Seventh Infantry, Third Division, serving in the front
line trenches and went over the top at Chateau Thierry. Afterwards lie was on the
St. Mihiel front and then in the Argonne Forest, where he went over the top five
times. He was not wounded, but October 12, 1918, he was gassed, and ordered into
the hospital, and had recovered sufficiently to go back to the front when the armistice



1352 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

was signed. Returning to the United States he arrived in San Francisco, February
19, 1919, and on March 1, 1919, he was honorably discharged. The young veteran
returned to his home in Turlock after an honorable and valiant military service.
Since then he operates his father's ranch and in winter is also a cement worker. He is
decidedly a Republican. Mr. Harve is a member of the Rex Ish Post No. 88, Ameri-
can Legion at Turlock, a member of the Swedish Baptist Church, and vice-president
of the Young People's Society.

FRED CARLSON.— Born in Ostergotland, Sweden, June 2, 1872, Fred Carl-
son was the promising son of John and Helena Christene (Peterson) Carlson, who
came to Minnesota in 1887, locating in Isanti County where they were pioneer farmers
and land owners, until their demise. They were the parents of five children: Mrs.
Freda Harve, of Turlock; Gabriel of South Dakota; Mrs. Louise Soderquist and
Mrs. Helena Bergstrum of St. Paul, and Fred the subject of this review. The latter
was educated in the public schools in Sweden, but when fifteen years of age he came



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 150 of 177)