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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 152 of 177)
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of the Union Pacific Railroad, and for eight years was fireman on that line. In
1894, however, he quit the railroad service, and the next year removed to Gothen-
burg, Dawson County, Nebr., where he bought a farm and went in for grain and
stock raising. He added more acreage, until he finally owned 480 acres. Five years
later he leased out the farm and removed to Potter, Cheyenne County, and again he
entered the employ of the Union Pacific Railroad Company and running cattle there.

In 1904 he came to California and located at Turlock, and at once bought a
ranch of forty acres half a mile south of the town, on Lander Avenue. He engaged
in general farming, and he also bought another thirty acres across the road. He



1358 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

planted alfalfa, and he set out both a vineyard and a peach orchard. He made many
improvements on the forty, and built a fine residence. In 1908 he sold off twelve
of the thirty acres, and he still owns the balance of eighteen acres. In 1920 he
disposed of his forty-acre place and then bought his present place of ten acres, made
improvements there, and now has a fine ranch of twenty-eight acres.

During his residence at Rawlins, Wyo., Mr. Johnson was married to Miss
Sophia W. Johnson, also a native of Sweden, where she was born in Westergotland ;
and they have been blessed with seven children: Hilma O. is Mrs. Daniel Lee of
Turlock ; Effie is a graduate of the Chiropractic College in Davenport and is now
Mrs. Melvin Lundgren of Turlock; Arthur, a graduate of Heald's Business College
at Stockton and of the S. F. Auto School, owns a garage at Ripon ; Elida is likewise
a graduate of the Heald's Business College at Stockton ; Edith is in Munson's Busi-
ness College, San Francisco; Victor and Flora are at home. In Nebraska, Mr. John-
son was a school trustee, and he is now a trustee of the Swedish Mission Church.
Politically he is a Republican, and a strong advocate of temperance.

O. D. WILLIAMS. — A Californian who is a successful contracting builder, and
who, as a loyal native son, is equally energetic as an upbuilder, is Osbert Duray
Williams, who was born in old Los Banos, Merced County, on November 24, 1873,
the son of Cyrus Williams, a native of the Old Dominion. He crossed the plains
in 1849 in an ox-team train, and went in for mining and pioneering; and in Cali-
fornia he married Miss Rosie Soper, who was born in Merced County of an old
pioneer family. He then engaged in stock raising on the San Joaquin River, Merced
County, and after that undertook grain farming near what is now Livingston, where
he continued until 1916, when he retired and lived in Turlock with his son, O. D.
Williams, until his death on March 13 of that year. His good wife, the mother of
our subject, now makes her home in Richmond.

The second eldest of four children, O. D. Williams was brought up on the farm
near Livingston, where from a youth he made himself useful, early learning to drive
the big teams in the grain fields. In the meantime, too, his education was not neg-
lected, and when twenty-one years of age, he was able to start out for himself.

He leased land' near Livingston and tilled a section of land until 1903, when
he gave up ranching and located at Merced. There, for three years, he was employed
at the carpenter trade, and such was his success that in 1906 he located in Turlock
and engaged in contracting and building, a line of activity which he has since fol-
lowed, and for which he has become better and more favorably known as the years
have gone by. He has also built about five different residences, each of which he has
sold ; and many fine residences and bungalows in the city and nearby country.

At Stockton, Mr. Williams was married to Miss Lula Richey, a native of
Amador County, and they have had" three children. Osbert Duray, Jr., is assisting
his father; and the others are Arthur Ellery and Elgin Fay. Mrs. Williams is a
member of the Presbyterian Church, and while at Livingston Mr. Williams served
as a school trustee. He is a member of the Turlock lodge of Odd Fellows, and of
the Woodmen of the World, Modern Woodmen, Royal Neighbors and the I. D. E. S.

ANDREAS ERICKSON.— An esteemed couple of Turlock whose reward for
years of conscientious labor has been retirement in one of the garden spots of the world,
coupled with some opportunities for travel, are Mr. and Mrs. Andreas Erickson, who
came to California from Idaho. He was born at St. Peter's Parish, Elsborslan, Swe-
den, July 9, 1833, and there, in Ostergotland, learned the machinist's trade in one of
the largest machine shops in that country. During his eleven years there, he came to
know John Ericsson, the builder of the famous "Monitor," the first turreted vessel
of the kind in any navy, and had the honor to help bore the cylinders of cannon used
on the Monitor, which, under the command of John Lorimer Worden, on March 9,
1862, met and defeated the Confederate ironclad ram, "Merrimac," in Chesapeake
Bay and thereby fought one of the decisive naval battles of history. John Ericsson
was born in Langbanshyttan, in the province of Wermland, Sweden, and moved back
and forth between his native land and New York City, where he died in 1889.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1359

In 1868 Mr. Erickson migrated to America and Chicago; and being an expert
machinist, he was steadily employed, at good wages, for eleven years. He then removed
to Phelps County, Nebr., in 1879, where he homesteaded 160 acres; and as fast as he
succeeded, he bought land adjoining until he owned 1,120 acres which he devoted to
grain and stock raising. He attained to an enviable position of usefulness and influ-
ence, and was elected one of the supervisors of Phelps County. Turning the ranch
over to his children, Mr. Erickson in 1894 removed to Idaho Falls, Idaho, and there
purchased and improved 360 acres of land, which he later sold. Then he bought 240
acres in the same vicinity, which he farmed until 1912. In that year he came out to
California and located in Turlock; and here he and his good wife now live, retired.
He made his first trip to Turlock in 1909, when he bought 140 acres south of the
town, which he improved and sold.

Mr. Erickson has been thrice married. His first marriage occurred in Sweden,
when he was wedded to Miss Amelia Hammerstrand, who died in Chicago, leaving
him five children: Fred, an Idaho rancher; Andrew, a merchant and lumber dealer at
Funk, Nebr.; John, a stockman at Aurora, 111.; Henning, a banker at Holdrege,
Nebr.; and Charles, a farmer in Oklahoma. His second marriage took place in Chi-
cago, when he was joined to Mathilda Johanna Larsen, a native of Sweden; she died
in Idaho, leaving two children: Theodore, who resides in Turlock, and Marie, who
has become Mrs. Ed. Johnson of Turlock. Mr. Erickson's third marriage was also
in Chicago, when Miss Anna Garberg became his wife. She was born in Hudiksvall,
Helsingland, Sweden, and in 1869 crossed the ocean with her parents to Rhode Island,
where they died. In 1900 she came to Chicago; she had been a fashionable dress-
maker in Providence, R. I., for many years, and was established in the same business
in Chicago, where she met Mr. Erickson. He made a trip back to his old home in
Sweden in 1893, and Mrs. Erickson has three times revisited her native country. She
has enjoyed the experience and voyage, but she has also been glad to return here.

Mr. Erickson helped to build up the Swedish Mission Church in Chicago, where
he became a stockholder in the Missions Vannen, the popular Swedish paper, and he
helped to start the Swedish Mission Church in Nebraska and at Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Mrs. Erickson also participates actively in the work of this church and both are active
in the Swedish Mission Church in Turlock and Mrs. Erickson is a member of the
Dorcas Society. He is a standpat Republican, and has always believed in protection.

C. O. STRANDBERG. — An enterprising contractor operating on a large scale,
doubtless because he has well established his reputation for thoroughly understanding
the science and art of concrete construction, is C. O. Strandberg, who was born at
Westergotland, Sweden, May 20, 1869, and there, under an environment bound to
be helpful in many ways to every industrious lad, he was brought up and educated.
In 1888, he crossed the Atlantic to New York City, where he was in the employ of
the Scandinavian Emigrant Company for several months, acting for them at Castle
Garden, and then he went on to Philadelphia and secured work in the Bradford oil
fields. He made foundations for the oil tanks and soon demonstrated his ability for
responsible commissions. In 1892 he came to Chicago, where he lost no time getting
into the service of the Pullman Car Company's planing mill. He remained there
until the great strike; but when things got too rough, and stones began to My, he
concluded it was time to quit and he went to Madison, Wis., and engaged to quarry
stone for a company having contracts for road work.

Mr. Strandberg next went to Red Wing, Minn., where he resumed stone-
quarrying, and besides cutting some of the best blocks for the new Reform School
there, he learned the putting in of cement work, and learned it thoroughly in all of
its details, later removing to St. Paul to continue with the Portland Stone Company.
While at Red Wing he had gone to Milaca in Millelacs County, Minn., and bought
a farm ; and he also took a timber claim and worked at it in his spare time. He went
through the terrible fire at Milaca in 1894, when 700 were killed at Hinckley. He
had a very narrow escape hut saved his house. After removing to St. Paul, he worked
at quarrying and cement construction for other stone companies, and later he went
to Seattle, Wash., and engaged for himself in contracting to do cement work.



1360 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

In 1903, Mr. Strandberg came to California and proceeded on to Merced. There
he located and engaged in contracting for five years, and during that time he built
thirteen miles of sidewalks and curbs. Then he removed to San Diego County and
for six years followed contracting, then stopped in Los Angeles and for two years
was a successful contractor there. In 1917, Mr. Strandberg located in Turlock and
engaged in building sidewalks, curbs and foundations, and also to make and lay cement
pipe. His pipe-yard is situated on North Center Street, where he has a lot 90x200
feet in size, and there he is fully equipped to make pipe from ten inches in diameter
to two and a half feet. He has made a specialty of laying these pipes on ranches,
and has not only thereby increased the volume of his business considerably, but he
has done something definite to advance local agricultural enterprise. He is the agent
for two Los Angeles companies that make gates and valves in pipe lines for irriga-
tion, and this connection has enabled him to easily equip the farmer. He also did
some cement work for the Geckler Building. Speaking of his service to the farmer,
it is interesting to record that Mr. Strandberg was the first man to introduce and
install irrigation gates and valves in this locality for private persons.

At St. Paul, Minn., November 30, 1893, Mr. Strandberg was married to Miss
Ida Swanson, a native of Blekinge, Sweden, and five children have blessed their for-
tunate union. Harriet C. M. Strandberg is the eldest; Walter is an automobile
mechanic; George, who assisted his father, died May 21, 1920; Frank died at St.
Paul, aged five months; and Elmer. The family attend the Swedish Mission Church.

EDWIN ULLBERG.— A wide-awake, public-spirited journalist, Edwin Ullberg
is the editor and proprietor of California and formerly of the Turlock Daily
Journal, which was sold to the Farmers' Press Association of Stanislaus County in
December, 1920. He founded the former, and he made of the latter one of the
livest, most up-to-date daily newspapers in all the state. He was born in Minne-
apolis on October 30, 1875, and there reared and educated; and at the age of fifteen
entered the office of the Daily Produce Bulletin where, under the leadership of Charles
Y. Knight, the owner and now famous as the inventor of the Silent Knight motor,
he started on the lowest round and learned the newspaper business thoroughly. In
time, he became foreman of the Produce Bulletin plant, and he continued there for
seven years, until Mr. Knight sold out and went to Chicago.

Mr. Ullberg then took a business course in a commercial college in Minne-
apolis, after which he worked on different papers in that city. In 1910, he removed
to Spokane, Wash., where he was foreman for a year of the Swedish North-M'est,
and at the same time he started a job printery. Later, he became interested in the
American-Scandinavian Publishing Company as half owner and manager.

In 1914, Mr. Ullberg sold his interest and came to San Francisco, residing there
until 1916, when he located in Turlock and founded the publication, California.
in response to the solicitation of the California Missionary Society, a Swedish organ-
ization. The first issue of the California, of which he is both editor and propri-
etor, appeared on March 10, 1916, and the weekly has been published ever since
as a six-column folio devoted to the interests of the Swedish Evangelical Mission
Society of California, attaining a larger and larger circulation with each passing
year. Mr. Ullberg also had a music business here, for the sale of pianos, phono-
graphs and other musical instruments, but this he sold in the spring of 1920.

On June 1, 1919, Mr. Ullberg bought the Turlock Weekly Journal, and twelve
clays later he started it as the Turlock Daily Journal, making it up as a six-column
quarto. He is also publisher of the Hilmar Enterprise, a six-column folio weekly,
which he established in March, 1919. In connection with these enterprises, he has
a job-printing office. In politics, Mr. Ullberg is independent.

At Minneapolis, Mr. Ullberg was married to Miss Carrie L. Johnson. Mr.
Ullberg has been a member of the Swedish Mission Church for years, and has been
a very active worker therein, especially as a musical director and organist. He is
extremely fond of music, and has found much pleasure in giving, with the aid of local
talent, some fine concerts in the places where he has lived. He is also interested in
ranching, owning a fine piece of land near Crows Landing, devoted to grain.






HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1361

CARL N. P. AHLGREN. — A comfortably retired contractor and rancher is Carl
N. P. Ahlgren, who came to California about the middle of the eighties, just thirty-
years after he was born in Gothland, Sweden, in 1854. His father was a merchant
tailor, but Carl was reared on a farm, while he attended the good public schools of
that country. When twenty-one, he elected to learn the millwright's trade; and on
becoming a journeyman, he came, in 1882, to America and Wisconsin. There he
followed millwrighting, and then he was a saw-filer at Porterville, near Eau Claire.

In 1884, he came to San Francisco and was employed as a carpenter, and later
he was engaged in contracting and building. At the time of the great fire in 1906,
he had a large house, to cost $24,000, under way and nearly completed; but he had
only received $9,600 in payment, and lost most of the balance. A payment was to
have been made him on April 17; but as the architect had not inspected the job and
could not O. K. the work, Mr. Ahlgren was unable to collect the amount due him,
and when he sued the party, it was seven years before he got a hearing in the superior
court. The other party then carried the case to the supreme court, and another three
years went by before he was awarded $2,500 — about one-half the amount he lost. He
had this job insured in the Austrian-Phoenix Company for $3,000 and after suing
and winning judgment has been unable to collect.

After the fire, he engaged for eighteen months in contracting, and did a huge
business, having seven jobs at one time ; and afterwards he took a trip to Sweden to
revisit his old home, returning to San Francisco after ten months' absence. There
he again contracted for a time in building, but in 1912 he came to Hilmar and bought
twenty acres, which he devoted from the start to alfalfa. In 1916, he sold out and
located in Turlock, where he built his comfortable residence at 174 Angeles Street.

Mr. Ahlgren's first marriage occurred in San Francisco, when he chose Miss Ella
Peterson, a native of Sweden who died at San Francisco in 1908, the mother of two
children, both of whom are deceased. Carl Emil died when he was twelve and one-
half years old, and Esther, who graduated when only seventeen from the San Fran-
cisco high school, died two years later. In 1911, Mr. Ahlgren was married to Miss
Emma Jacobson, a native of Gothland. Mr. and Mrs. Ahlgren are members of the
Swedish Lutheran Church, and wherever he has lived Mr. Ahlgren has always been
active in that organization. He was deacon in the Ebenezer Lutheran Church in
San Francisco, and for many years was superintendent of the Sunday school there.
In Turlock, also, he was deacon and Sunday school superintendent.

A. SODERQUIST.— The proprietor of the Rose Hill Poultry Farm and Hatch-
ery, A. Soderquist, has been a resident of Turlock for nearly twenty years. He was
born in Westergotland, Elsborslan, Sweden, on July 20, 1863, and was reared on
the farm of his parents, well-to-do farmers, and enjoyed the best of educational ad-
vantages. As a boy, he had had his interest in America awakened ; and when twenty
years of age, he set sail for the New World. He traveled by way of Philadelphia,
Chicago and Minneapolis, and in the fall of 1884 reached Minnesota.

There he was employed in a furniture factory for three years, and then he put
in some time on a farm and learned American husbandry. He next bought 160
acres of railroad land in Renville County — raw prairie into which he put the first
plow, and where he turned the first furrow; and he was unusually successful as a
grain raiser. He owned the farm three years, then sold it and engaged in the hard-
ware business for several years at Buffalo Lake and later went back to the farm. In
1902, he rented out his farm and brought his family to California; and at Turlock
he bought sixty acres two miles west of the town which he leveled and checked.
Then he sowed alfalfa, and also set out oranges and a vineyard ; and having farmed
this land until 1908, he rented it five years, and in 1913 sold it. Meantime, he had
bought his present ten acres adjoining Turlock on the west. He built a comfortable
residence there and moved onto the ranch ; and there he raises alfalfa and cantaloupes.

Mr. Soderquist also owns forty acres one mile and a quarter southwest of Tur-
lock, where he had a notable apiary; for he was the first man in this vicinity to
engage in bee culture, and he had two apiaries built up to 150 stands, which he
finally sold in order to devote his time to poultry. In 1909 he took up that inter-



1362 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

esting branch, and established the Rose Hill Poultry Farm and Hatchery. He has
twenty incubators, each with a capacity of 540 eggs, and during the spring of 1920.
turned out over 40,000 chicks. This is the largest hatchery here, and it is interesting
to note that all the hatchery's product is sold in the locality. He breeds from
Hoganized stock, and raises high, pure-bred White Leghorns. He is a member of
the Turlock Farmers Union and the Tegner Farm Bureau.

In Renville County, Minn., Mr. Soderquist was married to Miss Emma Lund-
gren, a native of Sweden, by whom he has had three children. They are Mamie,
Reuben and Edwin. Mr. Soderquist is a member of the Swedish Mission Church,
and was a trustee of that organization for six years. He has been active and promi-
nent in various movements for the upbuilding of Turlock, and his strongly patriotic
American sentiments lead him often to lend a helping hand.

ALVIN DAVID PETTIT.— A machinist and inventor of exceptional ability, who
has a fine record in Turlock as a machinist and an assistant manager with the desired
executive talent, is Alvin D. Pettit, who was born at Convoy, Ohio, on June 2, 1880.
His father, David, was born at Ithaca, N. Y., and came to Ohio, where he was first
a merchant and then a farmer. He also dealt in agricultural implements, and bought
and sold timber. And after a busy life, known for its industry and honesty to all
men, he passed away in Ohio. He had married Miss Anna Beamer, a native of
Ohio, and there she died, the mother of two children, Alvin being the only son.

He attended the grammar and high schools of Convoy, and when eighteen was
apprenticed to learn the machinist's trade, after which he worked with his father
in the handling of implements, and was next a machinist in a cooperage plant. He
then went to Indiana, and labored in the same line until he came to California.

In 1910, Mr. Pettit found it necessary to change his residence on account of
his wife's health ; and having two brothers-in-law here, he also came to Turlock. The
next year he entered the employ of the G. W. Hume Company, and he has been
with them steadily ever since. He was made machinist and foreman of the plant
soon after it was started; and he filled those responsible posts until 1916, when he
was made general foreman, and in 1918 he was made assistant manager of the plant.

In 1906 Mr. Pettit was married to Zelda M. Brown, a native of Indiana and
a lady of many attractive qualities, who in time contracted a serious cough, from
which she suffered for a year and a half. Two months after coming to Turlock
the indisposition left her and she was apparently strong and healthy. At the end of
six years, however, her health again failed and she passed away in August 1919,
leaving three children, Alvin, Doyt and Thelma, to mourn her loss.

FREE DELBERT FORDHAM.— A native son and the representative of a fine
old family, Free Delbert Fordham was born at Chico on May 14, 1880, the son of
J. F. Fordham, a native of New York state, who crossed the great plains to Cali-
fornia in 1852, as one of a party in an ox-team train, when he was eighteen years
of age. His grandfather, Frederick Fordham, was mining in Shasta County, and so
his father followed mining there and became a contractor and builder in Shasta,
and later in Red Bluff. Later still, he settled at Chico, where he had a brickyard
and was one of the earliest contractors and builders, and helped to erect the Bidwell
mansion. He is now living retired, at the fine old age of eighty-seven. He married
Miss Louise Goodrich, a native of Wisconsin, who crossed the plains in 1862 with
her parents; her Great-grandfather Goodrich came in the train, and having crossed
the plains in 1850, he piloted the party. Grandfather William Goodrich and his
father brought a band of sheep across the plains in 1862, and Dan Goodrich became
a prominent sheepman. He also served in the Indian War, and was a deputy sheriff
of Butte County.

The eldest of the three children in the family, Free Delbert Fordham was
brought up in Chico and sent to both the grammar and high school. From his
twelfth year, during the vacations he worked in the Chico Cannery; and after com-
pleting his high school course, he took up the mechanical part of the cannery. Later
he went to Marysville and was employed by the California Fruit Canners Associa-



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1363

tion as mechanical engineer, a post he continued to fill for three years; and after
that he went to Oakland and was in the shops of the California Fruit Canners
Association as mechanical engineer. He went to different parts of the state to install
machinery, and helped, in 1906-07, to install the North Beach Cannery.

In 1908 Mr. Fordham resigned and was then employed by the Gold Dredging
Company at Hammond City, and for a year he assisted in putting in the machinery.
He resigned again and went to Los Angeles, where he helped erect a sawmill. He
was next in the service of the Colton precooling plant and after that with the Central
California Canneries at Yuba City as construction engineer, working also at San
Lorenzo, San Jose and Sacramento, and when the California Packing Corporation
was formed in 1916, he entered their employ and continued with them as construct-
ing engineer. In February, 1919, he entered the employ of the G. W. Hume Com-
pany, as chief engineer at the Turlock plant, which is now in their new building.
Wherever he has worked, Mr. Fordham has made improvement or new inventions,
and it is not surprising that his dependable service should be duly appreciated.



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 152 of 177)