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 153 of 177)
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At Oakland, Mr. Fordham was married to Mrs. Nellie Orr, a native of Illi-
nois, and a woman of worth. He was made a Mason in Corinthian lodge No. 9,
F. & A. M., at Marysville. Mrs. Fordham shares her husband's popularity, and
both rejoice in a wide circle of friends.

ALBERT WILLIAM JOHNSON.— A first-class mechanic who thoroughly
understands his duties as steam engineer in charge of the boilers of the G. W. Hume
Company, is Albert William Johnson, who was born in Essex, Page County, Iowa.
on October 16, 1877, and came to Turlock nearly a decade and a half ago. His
father, A. G. Johnson, was a farmer and a pioneer, who removed to Holdrege, in
Phelps County, Nebr., bought 160 acres of land, resided there for years, and was
interested in the manufacture of windmills. He established a factory, began with a
wooden mill, then had steel works, and in 1896 removed to Raton, N. M., where
for thirteen years he was at the head of the mechanical department of the Santa Fe
Railroad. In 1909 he came to Turlock, and in this delightfully situated town he
now resides, retired and comfortable. He had married Miss Sophia Johnson, but
she passed to her eternal reward in Iowa, when Albert was nine or ten years of age.

The oldest of five children, he was brought up in Iowa until 1893, when he
removed to Holdrege, Nebr., where he went to school until he was fourteen years
of age. Then he was employed in his father's factory until he was sixteen, and on
accompanying him to Raton, N. M., he was employed in the store department of
the Santa Fe Railroad there for a year, when he became a fireman, running out of
Raton, and later engineer. In 1900, he resigned and entered the employ of the
Colorado & Southern Railroad at Denver, and after firing for that company for a
while, he later ran a switch engine on their road. After a year he was employed for
a short time by the Denver Gas & Electric Company, in its electrical power house ;
and in 1901 he made his first trip to California, remaining for a week at Turlock,
when he bought twenty acres of land, after which he returned East again.

In 1903 he enlisted in the U. S. Navy for four years, as a fireman of the first
class, and going into the engine room, he was promoted to be oiler, and then machin-
ist's mate of the second class, and that position he held until March, 1907, when the
term of his enlistment ended. He returned to Raton, and in the fall of that year
located in Turlock, where he farmed in a small way. At that time there were no
improvements, and not much that was inviting or encouraging; wild poppies met
the eye for miles around, and jack rabbits abounded everywhere.

After a while he was employed by the Turlock Grape Juice Company as their
chief engineer, and he ran their steam boilers until 1910, when the G. W. Hume
Company started to build their plant. Then he entered their employ, and installed
the first large boiler plant here. It had 140 horsepower, which in 1914 was increased
to 210, and three years later to 350 horsepower, its present size, supplied by oil fuel.
And in charge of this responsibility Mr. Johnson has been ever since. He is there-
fore one of the pioneers longest here. In 1901 he bought twenty acres near Tur-
lock, and kept the same until 1910, when he sold the tract; and in 1907 he bought


another twenty acres at Hughson, which he has also since sold, both sales netting
him a handsome profit and showing his good judgment as to land values.

Mr. Johnson was made a Mason in Turlock Lodge No. 395, F. & A. M., and
is a past master there, having served in 1916, and he belongs to Modesto Chapter
No. 49, R. A. M., and was a Royal Arch captain. He also belongs to the Modesto
Commandery No. 57, of the Knights Templar, and to Aahmes Temple, A. A. O. N.
M. S. at Oakland, and is a member of Stanislaus Camp No. 8367 of the Modern
Woodmen of America, in which he is a past consul. The Republicans and their
party platforms have generally appealed most successfully to Mr. Johnson ; but he is
too much interested in the broad and permanent development of Turlock to allow
partisanship to interfere with his giving his earnest support to the best men.

MISS FRANCES KIERNAN.— A fashionable milliner known throughout Stan-
islaus County for her artistic, up-to-date modes and the novelty of her new and
unique creations, is Miss Frances Kiernan, who enjoys a wide circle of patrons and
friends. Her father was Edward Kiernan, a native of Massachusetts, while her
grandfather on the paternal side was of the same name. He brought his family to
California in pioneer, gold-digging days, and himself followed mining in Columbia,
Tuolumne County; and as an early settler of Stanislaus County, he became a suc-
cessful farmer.

Edward Kiernan, the father of our subject, was just a lad when he first saw
California, and so he completed his studies at the public schools here. Then he
engaged in farming at Salida, and was afterwards an extensive grain farmer at Tur-
lock. While there and so engaged, he was one of the most prominent men in agitat-
ing the movement to establish the Turlock Irrigation District, and as a member of
the board of directors, was active in the building of its canal system. At the time
of his death, on August 13, 1915, he was president of the board. One of his favorite
projects was the damming of the Tuolumne River six miles above La Grange — a
splendid work now at last about consummated, in a dam that stretches across the
Tuolumne River in a natural gorge 280 feet high and is able to impound 260,000
acre feet of water, sufficient to supply water, the year around, to both the Modesto
and Turlock irrigation districts.

Mr. Kiernan married Miss Annie Smith, a native of Massachusetts, who crossed
the plains with her parents in pioneer days, and passed away eighteen months after
her husband. They had five children, four of whom are still living. The second
youngest of these is the subject of our review, and she was born at Salida, in Stanis-
laus County. There she attended the Mitchell school, after which she entered St.
Agnes Academy at Stockton, from which she was graduated with honors. At San
Jose she learned the millinery trade, and in 1912 she established herself in business
at Modesto, and since then she has been very successful, acquiring an increasing
prestige. Miss Kiernan's store is popularly known as The Hat Shop, and is the largest
establishment of the kind in the county. As a live business woman, Miss Kiernan
is a very wide-awake member of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, and so directly
cooperates with all seeking the rapid development of Modesto on substantial lines.

E. J. CADWALLADER. — An old-timer who has such great faith in the future
of Stanislaus County as one of the most productive and most promising regions in
all California, and who, therefore, has become both an upbuilder and a "booster"
of Turlock and vicinity, is E. J. Cadwallader, who came to California in the fall
of the famous boom year in Southland realty, 1887. He was born near Buckley;
111., in June, 1865, and was left an orphan at the age of twelve. His early life was
spent in Ohio and Indiana, and he attended the Indianapolis public schools.

Having arrived here in Los Angeles when the bubble created by unnatural rise
in land values burst, the bottom fell out of the boom, and there was nothing to do,
Mr. Cadwallader went north to Fresno, and in March, 1888, engaged in farming,
lie was made foreman of a large grain ranch, and in that position discharged satis-
factorily considerable responsibility for seven years. Then, for another seven years,
he engaged in farming and viticulture. In 1902, he removed to San Jose, and in


1904 he located in Stanislaus County. He purchased land at Denair, and improved
it, devoting the acreage to dairying, and it fell to his pleasurable experience to build
the first residence in Denair. He was the representative of the C. N. Whitmore
Company in the sale of the Elmwood Colony lands, and since 1905, he has engaged
in handling real estate, with well-appointed offices in Turlock, and is now one of
the oldest as well as the most reliable real estate men in Turlock. With E. P.
Mains, he laid out and sold, for example, the Gallo Tract of 320 acres near Keyes,
in Stanislaus County, and was very successful in each and every sale; and with the
same partner he owns the northeast corner of Main and First Streets, Turlock, now
built up with business houses. He is naturally an enthusiastic member of the Tur-
lock Chamber of Commerce.

At Fresno, Mr. Cadwallader was married to Miss Mamie Miles, a native of
Kansas, and three children have blessed their union. E. Miles and Beulah Cadwal-
lader are graduates of Pacific Union College, and Leona is a student at the Denair
high school. In national politics preferring generally the platforms of the Republi-
can party, Mr. Cadwallader is broad-minded enough to work without partisan ham-
perings for the best local men and measures, while fraternally he gives generously
to the Woodmen of the World, where he is an honored and a popular member.

JOSEPH C. GOTOBED.— A long-headed, successful business man whose
acquirements after a start from almost nothing would seem phenomenal were not the
history of California replete with similar instances of winning out for the far-
sighted and the courageous, is J. C. Gotobed, of Turlock, popular as a public-spirited,
large-hearted citizen willing to give back to the community in which he has so greatly
prospered. He was born in Bowland Township, Rock Island County, 111., seven miles
south of Rock Island, on September 5, 1878, the son of Joseph Gotobed, a native of
Cambridgeshire, Eng., who had married Miss Betsy Barnes in 1854 and migrated with
her the next day for the United States. His wife's parents came with them and four
others, there being eight in the party, and when they arrived in Cleveland their funds
were exhausted except twenty-five cents mustered by the whole party. They settled
in Cleveland, Ohio, where Mr. Gotobed was employed with the Lake Erie Railroad
at as low wages as seventy-five cents a day. Then he resigned from his position with
the railroad, and in 1857 made the trip to Iowa City, Iowa. The depot of Iowa City
at that time was in a freight car, and as he did not like the looks of things, although
land was offered for twenty-five cents an acre, and he could have purchased land in
the heart of Iowa City for fifty cents an acre, instead he went back to Cleveland,
where he worked for two years. He then came west again to Rock Island, 111., and
bought fifty acres and made his home there; he improved the land and set out a trui"
orchard, and engaged in the fruit business. He also grew grain, and made a success
of that. And there he died, being survived by his widow, who lived until 1910.
She was the mother of four boys and a girl, all of whom are living.

The youngest in the family, and the only one in California, J. C. Gotobed was
reared on an Illinois farm and until he was sixteen years old attended the school at
Milan, 111. In 1894, he came out to Red Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa, and there
he both learned the butcher's trade and worked on a farm. When he was eighteen,
he started butchering and selling for himself, and he also soon turned many a dollar
hv buying and shipping cattle. He purchased a farm of eighty acres, and engaged in
the raising of grain and cattle. Then he bought and shipoed cattle to Omaha.

At Red Oak, December 24, 1901. he was married to Miss Adah M. Johnson,
a native of that town and a daughter of Andrew Tohnson, an earlv settler and prom-
inent business man, later, in Turlock; and in 1908 Mr. Gotobed also came west to
California and located at Turlock, where he was employed for a while by the Turlock
Lumber Company. In 1910 he started a butcher business on East Main Street, and
for that purpose formed a partnership with Geo. Schearer, under the firm name of
Schearer & Gotobed, and they called the establishment the Palace Market. For eight
years these well-mated partners continued together, andjduriria: that time they moved
to Mr. Gotobed's present business location on South Center Street.


In 1918, Mr. Gotobed bought out the interest of Mr. Schearer, and continued
the business alone. He has built his slaughter-house, one and three-quarters miles south
of Turlock, just off the State Highway, where he owns five acres for stockyards and
there he feeds his cattle and hogs. His Palace Market place is fitted up in the most
modern style, with a Remington ice machine and four-ton compressor, and a large cold
storage room with a capacity of twenty beeves and ten hogs, as well as plenty of other
meat. He has a manufacturing room, and a pickling room, and the machinery is
run by electric power, all in a very fine plant. Mr. Gotobed also owns other valuable
city property in Turlock, among others, in partnership with L. N. Johnson, a lot
144x180 feet in size at the corner of East Main Street and Thor, which he expects soon
to improve with a brick block. He is also interested in other properties, and is a stock-
holder, in the Turlock Theater Company and the Stanislaus Hotel Company.

Three children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Gotobed, and they are George,
Grace and Evelyn. He was made a Mason in Turlock Lodge No. 395, F. & A. M.,
and he is also a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America,
the K. O. T. M., and the Board of Trade. Mr. and Mrs. Gotobed attend the
Methodist Episcopal Church, and they belong to the Eastern Star.

R. V. MEIKLE. — Chief engineer of the Turlock Irrigation District since 1914,
R. V. Meikle was born in Ohio in 1884 and attended school in Portland, Ore. On
completing the course at the Portland high school, he entered Stanford University and
completed the civil engineering course. After spending several years on different large
engineering projects in the West, Mr. Meikle came to Turlock in 1914 and since then
has been in charge of all the engineering work for the board of directors of the above
district. In March. 1920, he was also appointed chief engineer for the Turlock and
Modesto Irrigation districts for the construction of the Don Pedro dam.

M. M. BERG. — Prominent among the business men of Turlock, M. M. Berg is
always found in the fore of any movement for both the building up and the upbuilding
of the town. Arriving in California in 1901, he was not long in selecting Turlock,
after carefully looking over the entire state, as the most desirable place of residence
for one wishing to transact his business; and ever since 1903 he has participated very
actively in the development of the city and its environing district.

On coming here from San Francisco, where he pitched his tent for a while, Mr.
Berg established what was to be the nucleus of his present large department store
business — the most extensive in town — purchasing the corner of West Main Street
and Broadway; and there in 1912 he built the substantial block, 100x140 feet in size,
with an annex on Broadway, 28x150 feet in size, known as the Berg Block. It is one
of the most creditable structures in the city, and indeed would do honor to any city
of the same size anywhere in the world ; it contains a variety and a high grade of
stock offered at such moderate prices as to enable the public to help itself somewhat
in the great struggle against an increased cost of living; and Mr. Berg, as well as the
town of Turlock, may be congratulated for what is daily there achieved.

In view of the success of this broad-minded, far-sighted man of commercial
affairs, it is not surprising to find Mr. Berg one of the organizers, as far back as 1907,
of the People's State Bank, and a director in the same since the time of its organiza-
tion. Nor can one doubt that, as the years go by, he will identify himself more and
more intimately and serviceably with the town and broad and rapid development.

MRS. ANNA SORENSEN.— A wide-awake business woman of exceptional abil-
ity who, as a splendid type of the progressive California womanhood of today is
highly regarded in Turlock and Modesto by a wide circle of friends, is Mrs. Anna
Sorensen, secretary of Turlock Irrigation District. She was born near Trier (Treves),
famous as the oldest town in all Germany, and most picturesquely situated on the
bank of the River Moselle, a daughter of Philip Simon, for fifty years a school
teacher in that place, who lived to celebrate his golden jubilee as an educator of note.
Her grandfather was also a teacher in the same school, as was her great-grandfather;
and she has a brother who is a graduate of the University of Strassburg. Her mother,
Miss Elizabeth Christoffel before her marriage, died, like her father, at the old


home. They had nine children, and four of them came to California — Amelia,
Charlotte, now Mrs. Christ, Anna and a brother, August, settling at Modesto.

Mrs. Sorensen was educated at the school of, and under the personal super-
vision of, her father, and in 1873 reached Modesto, just when the Court House was
completed. There, too, she was married to Martin I. Sorensen, a native of Slesvig,
Denmark, who had come to California when he was eighteen years of age, and was
a bookkeeper in the lumber yard. In 1888, he was elected county recorder on the
Democratic ticket, following C. S. Abbott, and took the oath of office in January,
1889. He was reelected in 1890, and again in 1892, and he served until January,
1895. Then, for four years, he became deputy county recorder, after which he was
the expert accountant and bookkeeper for the Turlock Irrigation District. His office
and books were then in Modesto, and he served with singular capacity and integrity
until his death, on November 24, 1902, at the age of forty-two years. He was promi-
nent as a past grand of the Odd Fellows, and chief patriarch of the Encampment,
and belonged to the Rebekahs, while he was a past chancellor of the Knights of
Pythias, and a past officer of the Druids, and a past noble Grand Arch of the Grand
Grove of California, from 1891 to 1892.

After Mr. Sorensen 's death, Mrs. Sorensen, who had often helped him in his
work, was selected by the directors of the district to succeed him as bookkeeper. And
she served faithfully as such until, in 1905, she was selected by the directors as the
Irrigation District's secretary. In 1903, the office was in Ceres, but in June, 1910,
it was removed to Turlock, and since then her home has been there. On June 1,
1908, wishing to return to Modesto, she resigned from her office; but in 1910 the
directors again induced her to accept the secretaryship, and she resumed her duties
on the first of September of that year, and she has been at the helm ever since.

Two children sprang from the happy union of Mr. and Mrs. Sorensen — Elise,
or Mrs. W. O. Oliver, of Merced, and Edward P., who lives in Modesto. Mrs.
Sorensen is a charter member of the Golden State Rebekah Lodge No. 1 1 0, which
she joined in 1887, at Modesto, and she is also a past noble grand, having served
several terms, and she has also been a district deputy. She belongs to the Mistletoe
Circle, No. 9 of the U. A. O. Druids, and is a past officer, with several terms to
her credit, and grand arch druidess of California in 1901-02.

C. A. TORNELL. — An exemplary business man who enjoys the reputation of
having become the leading contractor and builder at Turlock, is C. A. Tornell, who
was born near Stockholm, Sweden, on July 6. 1878, and when he was fifteen years old
crossed the ccean to the United States and settled at Fort Dodge, Iowa. There he was
apprenticed to learn the carpenter's trade, while working ten hours for one dollar a day
and boarding himself; and on completing his trade, he joined his brother, Charles, at
Fort Dodge and worked at contracting to build for three years.

In 1903, Mr. Tornell came out to Oakland, Cal., and accepted the position of
foreman for Ben O. Johnson, a large contractor who employed about sixty hands, and
during the three years in which he was with him, they built, among other notable
edifices, the Polytechnic School. This was just before the earthquake, and he and his
brother had commenced two buildings, one on Wisconsin Hill and the other near the
Golden Gate, and when the earthquake occurred, the dismayed populace carried all
the lumber, representing about half of what was needed for the jobs, away, without
giving any compensation for it, and they had to buy new materials for building. It
thus took them several months longer to finish the jobs, but they completed the work,
although at a loss.

In the fall of 1906. the brothers came to Turlock and bought a farm, and our
subject bought a second, west of Turlock, for himself; but he soon found that ranch-
ing was not to his liking, and again he engaged in contracting and building, joining
Peter Larson in the formation of a firm known as Tornell & Larson, which was car-
ried on for ten years, when they dissolved. Since that time, often emplo\ ing from
twenty to forty men, Mr. Tornell has been contracting for himself; and among the
local buildings of note due to his skill may be mentioned the Enterprise Building,
the addition to the People's Bank, the Berg Block, the Union Block, the Swedish Mis-


sion Church, Hale Bros. Garage, and the Turlock Theater, while he also erected the
Merced Hotel at a cost of $90,000. He also put up the Broadway Garage and the
Hedman Building, and hundreds of smaller business buildings and residences. For
himself, he erected the Tornell Building, which he later sold. He still owns a farm,
but he rents it out to others. He has just completed a new residence at 827 West
Main Street, one of the most artistic in the city, for his family home.

At Fort Dodge, Mr. Tornell was married to Miss Selma Eugenia Eckstrom,
and they have been blessed with four children — Alvick, who assists his father, and
Evelyn, Edgar and Violet. The family are members of the Swedish Mission Church ;
and Mr. Tornell belongs to the Woodmen of the World, and takes an active interest
in all civic movements that have for their aim the improvement of his community.

ERNEST A. HALE. — A far-seeing, optimistic and successful business man of
Turlock is E. A. Hale, copartner with his brother, C. C. Hale, in Hale's Garage, the
wide-awake agency of Ford motor cars and tractors. He was born at Baldwin,
Jackson County, Iowa, the son of Alexander Hale, a native of Scotland, who came as
a young man to Iowa and went to school near Baldwin. He grew up a farmer and
married Miss Augusta Tabor, a member of an old Iowa family, after which he re-
moved to the vicinity of Fort Dodge. Then he went to Woodbury County, still in
the same state, and as late as 1912 came out to Turlock, where he engaged in farming.
He is still living there, although his devoted wife passed away in Iowa. Their one
child is the subject of our story. Mr. Hale married a second time and had two
children, a daughter and a son, C. C. Hale.

E. A. Hale was brought up in Jackson and Webster counties, Iowa, and there
attended the public schools, and at twenty-one he married in Iowa Miss Lucy Burdick,
a native Hawkeye. Then he engaged in business as a merchant in Baldwin, and
continued in business in Woodbury. At Luverne, Minn., later he embarked in the
lumber trade, laying the foundation for his success as a lumber dealer at Wenatchee,
Wash. The year following in which his father removed to Turlock, he also came
south to Stanislaus County, convinced of the far greater opportunities in California.
With his brother, he secured the Ford agency, and at Turlock, under the firm name
of Hale Bros., they established the first representation of this now world-famous and
all-around satisfactory car. In 1917, they built their garage at the corner of South
Broadway and A street, and there they have a splendid patronage.

Three children — Ruth, Howard and Helen — complete the family circle. Mr.
and Mrs. Hale and the family attend the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Hale
was made a Mason in Wenatchee, Wash., Lodge, and is now a member of Turlock
Lodge No. 385, F. & A. M. He is still a member of Wenatchee Chapter No. 22,
R. A. M. He belongs to Modesto Commandery No. 57, K. T., and to Islam Temple,
A. A. O. N. M. S., San Francisco, and to the Knights of Pythias in Turlock. Both
Mr. and Mrs. Hale are members of Wistaria Chapter No. 296, O. E. S., of which
Mr. Hale is a past patron.

ANDY THORSEN. — A thoroughly trained, expert mechanic who understands

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 153 of 177)