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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 156 of 177)
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Then he went to San Francisco and joined Norman DeVaux and the Auburn Motor
Company, and after that he migrated from San Jose to Fresno and other points in
Central and Northern California, always identified with the handling of motor cars.
On February 15, 1918, Mr. Kerr came to Modesto, and started with the Stephens ;
and the next year he took up the distribution of Marmon cars. He is now president
of the Stanislaus Auto Trade Association.

On February 22, 1910, at Pacific Grove, Mr. Kerr was married to Miss Philippa
Folger, a native of Jackson, Amador County, Cal., and the daughter of Henry Folger,
who had married Margaret Brown. Her father, Judge Brown, was a prominent
early settler in Amador County, while Mr. Folger, a member of the Nantucket fam-
ilv, of that name, was a mining man and came to California in the stirring days of
1850. In 1904, after the death of her husband, Mrs. Folger moved to Pacific Grove,
and there Mrs. Kerr attended the high school. Both husband and wife belong to the
Episcopal Church, but Mr. Kerr keeps himself independent of political party affilia-
tion. He belongs to Kerman Lodge No. 420 F. & A. M., and to Stanislaus Chapter
No. 49 R. A. M., also Pyramid No. 15 A. E. O. S., and of the Modesto Chamber of



1380 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Commerce. During the World War, Mr. Kerr organized the Stanislaus Motor
Reserves, which acted as a home defense council, and he commenced aviation activities
and was instrumental in successfully putting through the project of a local aviation
field. Mr. Kerr was the prime mover in having the board of supervisors pass ordi-
nances on the burning of stubble; also having tractors equipped with spark arresters.
These county measures were carried to the Legislature, passed by the law-making
body and are now part of the laws of the state.

O. SCOTT HURLBUT.— A rising young business man who has been very*
successful in the electrical field is O. Scott Hurlbut, the partner of W. B. Mahoney
■ n the well-known battery and ignition works. He was born in New Hartford, But-
ler County, Iowa, on November 13, 1889, the son of E. J. and Trilla E. Hurlbut,
and his father was an Iowa farmer who came to the Hawkeye State with his father
when a boy, at which time Grandfather Hurlbut took up Government land. The
Hurlbuts originally came from New York, with which family William Henry Hurl-
but, the eminent journalist, was so prominently connected, and they were of the
timber with which great commonwealths such as Iowa and California have been built.

O. Scott Hurlbut attended both the grammar and high schools at New Hart-
ford, Iowa, and when eighteen years of age, on the threshold of manhood, came West
to the Golden State and settled at Modesto, where for a couple of years he clerked
for the Morris Bros., the booksellers. At the same time, he pursued a course at the
Modesto Business College. Then, in 1910, he became deputy county assessor, under
J. F. Campbell; and on Mr. Campbell's retirement from office, he engaged to clerk
for the Weils Furniture Company, remaining with that enterprising concern for a
year and a half. Next he had a furniture business of his own for a couple of years in
Patterson, and on his return to Modesto, he undertook the sale of Dodge motor cars.
It was only a step to embark in storage battery work, and his subsequent move was
the formation, in January, 1919, of the partnership with Mr. Mahoney.

On June 16, 1912, Mr. Hurlbut was married near Ceres to Miss Eva Case, a
native of Minnesota and the daughter of F. B. and Elizabeth Case, who came to Cali-
fornia from Minnesota in 1910. Miss Case was educated in the North Star State,
and for several years before her marriage taught school herself. Two children have
blessed this fortunate union : the one is Orrin and the other Enid. The family reside
at 201 Orange Avenue, Modesto, where Mr. and Mrs. Hurlbut own their home,
and they attend the Baptist Church at Modesto. Mr. Hurlbut belongs to the Mod-
ern Woodmen, Modesto Lodge.

EMIL BERNARD BOHN.— A highly-esteemed young man who is modestly
proud of his overseas service during the late war is Emil Bernard Bohn. He was born
in Eau Claire, Wis., on March 5, 1887, the son of Christian Bohn, who was born in
Christiania, Norway, where he was reared on the farm and received a good education.
At the age of twenty-two he migrated to the United States, locating in Eau Claire,
Wis., where he met Miss Anna Johnson, the lady who afterwards became his wife.
She was also born in Norway and came with her parents on a sailer to the United
States in 1867, the trip consuming three months. They located at Eau Claire, where
Anna attended the public schools. Mr. Bohn, after many years of successful business,
was taken away in 1898, aged fifty years. Emil attended the Eau Claire grammar
-chools, and on attaining his thirteenth year, struck out for himself, working for a
year in a dry goods store. Then he entered the wholesale grocery trade as an order
clerk, and soon after became the shipping clerk of the concern ; but neither employ-
ment appealed to him, and at eighteen he took up the painting trade, and served his
apprenticeship under A. Hansen of Eau Claire. Since then he has been very active
in both the painting and paperhanging lines.

It was in April, 1906, that his mother and sister, Cornelia, came out to Cali-
fornia, and three years later he followed them. At first Mrs. Bohn and her daughter
settled at Oakdale, but in March, 1907, they moved to Modesto. In February, 1909,
they made a trip back to the old home in Wisconsin, remaining until June, when,
accompanied by Emil, thev returned to Modesto and the three have since made this



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1381

city their place of residence, dwelling together. Mrs. Bohn is a member of the W.
R. C, while Cornelia Bohn is a member of Golden State Rebekah Lodge No. 10.

In June, 1918, Mr. Bohn entered the service of the U. S. Army and after
twenty-six daj's of training at Camp Kearney was sent overseas to France. He trained
::t La Chatelle with the One Hundred Fifteenth Trench Mortar Battery, and was in
reserve for the drives. Such hardships were encountered by him and his fellows, how-
ever, that he was taken sick from exceptional exposure and for many months was in
hospitals near Paris, Chaumont and Bordeaux. In April, 1919, Mr. Bohn returned
ro the United States, and on the third of May he was discharged at the Presidio.
Then he returned to civilian life at Modesto; but still suffering somewhat through
impaired health, he has been* able to work only occasionally at his trade, and is only
slowly regaining his former strength, thus affording an admirable illustration of the
personal sacrifices made by many to attain a victory by which the world is expected
so greatly to profit. He is naturally deeply interested in patriotic societies, so we
find him with Thos. EnrightPost No. 97, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

WILLIAM N. YOUNG. — An esteemed executive who is filling a position of

responsibility requiring tact, courtesy and sympathy, is William N. Young, the super-
intendent of the Roman Catholic Cemetery, who was born in Allen County, Ky., on
December 13, 1864, the son of Oscar and Mary Young. His father was a farmer in
the Blue Grass State; and while William enjoyed for awhile the comforts of a country
home, he attended the district schools. He was deprived of a mother's care, however,
for she died when he was a little boy ; and being one of a large family, he began to
earn his own living at the tender age of twelve. He worked for his father at first,
and then he was employed on other tobacco plantations.

On April 22, 1912, he landed in California and settled in Stanislaus County,
and for six years he was employed at various kinds of labor requiring more than ordi-
nary intelligence. Since 1918, he has had entire charge of the beautiful Roman
Catholic burial grounds, and has thus, while performing his duties, been able to render
a service appreciated by all who come in contact with him.

During April, 1893, Mr. Young was married, in Sumner County, Tenn., to
Miss Sallie Young, a native of Sumner County in the same state, and the daughter of
Wright and Narcissa Young, Tennessee farmer folk. Five children have blessed their
union. Lucian Purvis is at La Grange. Chester Wright is with the Power Company
of Modesto, and so is John William, his brother. Avie has become Mrs. A. W.
Hall, and Fannie is Mrs. A. N. Phillips, both of Modesto. The family live at 323
Kimble Street, where Mr. and Mrs. Young own their home. Mr. Young is a standpat
Democrat, but is ever ready to view local questions from the broader standpoint.

RALPH VAN WAGNER. — Prominent among the leaders of dairying interests
in California, Ralph Van Wagner has worked not only constantly but intelligently,
and today, as foreman of the extensive Milk Producers Association of Modesto, he is
well known as an expert in the manufacture of milk sugar. He was born at South
Edmeston, Otsego County, _N. Y., on April 11, 1877, the grandson of a merchant
of the well-known Van Wagner family of New York, and the son of an agriculturist
who had a farm on which the lad grew up ; and while doing the usual chores about
the farm, he attended both the grammer and the high schools of New Berlin, and not
until he was twenty did he strike out for himself. Then he was employed in a cheese
factory, and worked up to the position of foreman. This factory was at South Edmes-
ton, and was owned by the Phoenix Cheese Company; and he remained there for
eight years, superintending the output, a full line of fancy cheese.

Taking up the manufacture of certain milk products, Mr. Van Wagner was for
a year with the National Milk Sugar Company of Edmeston, and then he made milk
sugar for the Phoenix Cheese Company for six years. Next, migrating to California
and settling at Gustine, in Merced County, he worked for Smith, Kline 5c French, a
Philadelphia concern; and in May, 1919, he came over to Modesto and assumed the
responsibilities of foreman of the milk sugar department of the Milk Producers Asso-
ciation of Modesto. He also had charge of the powdered milk product of the same



1382 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

corporation, and turned out about 3,000 pounds of milk sugar a day. The concern
also manufactures about 1,000 pounds of albumen daily for poultry food, and has a
large capacity for dry milk.

At South Edmeston on July 25, 1900, Mr. Van Wagner married Miss Jennie
Katherine Vidler, a native of South Edmeston, N. Y., and the daughter of Joseph and
Alberta Vidler. She, too, enjoyed a high school training, and their one child, Elwyn
Van Wagner, is now a student at the Modesto high school. The family make their
home in Modesto, where Mr. Van Wagner is the owner of town property. Mr.
Van Wagner is a Republican.

WALLACE H. HUBBERT. — A gifted young ma/i whose association with the
leading architects of California has been but preliminary to his promising work as a
rising architect in the Valley, is Wallace H. Hubbert, who was born at San Francisco
on May 29, 1891, the son of Nathaniel Hubbert, a native of Kansas who came out
to the Coast and established himself in business in the Bay City. He married Miss
Jeanette Carey, a native daughter born in San Francisco, and a member of a family
known for their work as pioneer contractors, builders and designers.

Wallace attended the grammar and high schools of San Francisco, and then took
a course offered by the American Society of Beaux Arts — an international system
equivalent to a university course in architectural instruction. In San Francisco he
had a valuable experience with the Exposition Company, and he has worked for or
with such leading architects as B. R. Maybeck, Willis Polk, G. Albert Lanzburgh and
J. R. Miller. He spent six years in San Francisco, and then went to Fresno, where he
became office manager for four years for Ernest J. Kump.

From Fresno, in 1918, Mr. Hubbert came to Modesto and opened an architec-
tural office for himself ; and since then he has designed, among many others, the
Ramont Building, the C. R. Tillson Apartment House, the Covell Garage, the Cen-
tenary Methodist Church, the residence of Dr. Reamer, the Waterford and the Fair-
view schoolhouses, the Thomas Griffin Building, the Ripon Garage and other notable
structures. He has always taken a keen interest in local development, and while hold-
ing himself independent in politics, has sought to elevate the standard of citizenship.

At Waterford, Cal., on December 18, 1920, Mr. Hubbert was married to Miss
Alice McConnick, a native of Tennessee, and the daughter of John and Louisa
McConnick, early settlers of Waterford, where Mr. McConnick held and developed
much land. Besides the usual elementary studies, Miss McConnick completed the
course of the Oakdale high school and so laid the foundation for that preparation by
which she has been of such help to her husband.

H. E. ZIMMERMAN. — An interesting family organization that has become
one of the important business enterprises of Stanislaus County is the Stanislaus Imple-
ment & Hardware Company, which is ably managed by H. E. Zimmerman. He was
born in Stockton, Cal., on March 14, 1891, the son of Louis W. Zimmerman, a native
of Bavaria, Southern Germany, who, after migrating to America, spent a few years
in New York and Illinois and then came to California. and settled in San Joaquin
County in the early seventies. It was here that he married Miss Bena Tischbein, who
migrated from his old home. For a number of years he engaged in stock raising and
dairying and later went into the grape industry and had a nice vineyard near Stockton.
He passed away in 1904, but his good wife is still living and now resides at 509
Fourteenth Street, Modesto, where she makes a comfortable home for her sons,
although having attained her sixtieth year. The worthy couple raised seven children,
two girls and five boys, all of whom are still living.

The father died when his son, H. E. Zimmerman, was thirteen years of age, and
ever since that time our subject has been steadily making his own way in the world.
After finishing grammar school he took a course in a business college in Stockton and
after some preparation took a position with the California Moline Plow Company, a
factory branch of the Moline Plow Company, Moline, 111., at Stockton. After some
years with this firm, he took further training in a business college in San Francisco
to better equip himself for his line of occupation. After that he went with the Call-



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1383

fornia Moline Plow Company at Los Angeles for five years, then for three years in a
retail business handling the same goods as the Moline in San Jose, and then he had an
interest in a firm of this kind for one year in Orland, Glenn County, Cal. At the end
of a year he gave up this business and enlisted in the World War. On his return to
California he came to Modesto, and with his two brothers, Louis W. and Otto E., and
in association with M. M. Berg of Turlock, formed the Stanislaus Implement &
Hardware Company. This firm has for its territory the northern half of Stanislaus
County, while M. M. Berg, who is president of this firm, also has a separate business
at Turlock under his own name which handles the same lines out of there and has for
its territory the southern half of the county. Entirely conversant with the many ins
and outs of this important line of business, the Zimmerman brothers have already
built up a nice business in Modesto and each day they are adding more pleased cus-
tomers to their list. L. W. Zimmerman and Otto E. Zimmerman both hold positions
with this firm and as their training was almost identical with that of H. E. Zimmer-
man, it makes a very strong combination of young men who are thoroughly posted.

The war record of the Zimmerman brothers is also enviable. H. E. Zimmerman
enlisted on June 28, 1917, and after a few weeks' training at Camp Kearney he went
overseas with the Fortieth Division. His unit received final training at the artillery
range at Camp de Souge, near Bordeaux, France. After the armistice he transferred
to a transportation unit at Bordeaux. While he did not get into any actual fighting,
ne had many experiences and was able to do considerable traveling while in the service.
He went through England, France, Belgium and the occupied territory in Germany
from Cologne in Germany to Strassburg in Alsace-Lorraine. He was discharged at
the Presidio on July 1, 1919, and came to Modesto in October.

Louis W. Zimmerman entered the service at Camp Lewis in September, 1917,
and trained with the famous Three Hundred Sixty-third Infantry of the Ninety-first
Division. He saw service with them at St. Mihiel, the Meuse-Argonne offensive and
the drive in Belgium. He rose to the rank of battalion sergeant major. He returned
to the United States and was discharged at the Presidio in April, 1919.

Otto E. Zimmerman entered the Navy and trained at Point Loma, near San
Diego. He later went to San Francisco and then was sent to New York and served
on a cruiser doing convoy duty for troop and supply ships out of there. He was mus-
tered out of service on Thanksgiving Day in 1918.

Another younger brother, Charles S. Zimmerman, who follows this same line of
business in Fresno, enlisted in the merchant marine during the war and made a number
of trips to Honolulu and the Philippines. His work and training has been the same
as his brothers at Modesto and he later intends to be with them here. An older
brother, George, is farming near Stockton. All the boys are earnest boosters for
Modesto and feel that it has a great future.

C. LESLIE SWAN. — An enterprising and promising young man of particular
interest in part as the son of a well-known pioneer of Stanislaus County and prom-
inent banker of Modesto is C. Leslie Swan, who was born, a native son, in Mont-
pellier, Stanislaus County, on June 24, 1897. His father was Charles D. Swan, the
financier, and his mother, in her maidenhood, was Miss May Jones.

Leslie Swan finished the usual grammar school course in Modesto, and then
graduated from the high school of the same city ; and having equipped himself for
responsible work, he joined the staff of the Union Savings Bank of Modesto as book-
keeper. He was well established there when the great World War involved the
United States; and in defense of his country, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy on June
30. 1917, and was trained at the San Pedro Naval Base. In February, 1918, he was
transferred to Cape May, N. J., and on May 18 of that same year he sailed from New-
London, Conn., for the Bermuda Islands, and then on to Ponta Delgada in the Azores,
from which he proceeded on to Brest and was finally landed at Plymouth, England,
where he served at the Naval Base Camp. He returned to New York on May 2^,
1919, and was released from active duty in the Naval Reserve on June 12. 1919.

On his return to Modesto, Mr. Swan took a position as bookkeeper with the
California National Bank; but since the organization of the American National Bank,



1384 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

he has become one of its assistant cashiers. His ability and his affability unite to at-
tract and to hold the desired patron, who rejoices in the excellent banking facilities
furnished in the growing city of Modesto.

On September 22, 1920, Mr. Swan was married at San Francisco to Miss Eleanor
Green, a native of Pocatello, Idaho, and the daughter of John A. and Maude O.
Green. Her father has retired from active business, and now resides at San Francisco.
He gave his daughter every educational advantage, and she attended the best schools
available in Denver, British Columbia and Seattle.

MODESTO MILK COMPANY.— Modesto owes much to such well-
organized, well-conducted business concerns as the Modesto Milk Company, which has
played an honorable role in the local commercial world, affecting personally, and in
a far-reaching manner, the well-being of thousands. It was incorporated in 1919,
and its officers are : President, James T. Irvin ; vice-president, Nels Nyborg ; secretary
and treasurer, John A. Wenger. Mr. Irvin is a Mason, and has been very active
in the building up of the venture. Mr. Nyborg, also a Mason, is an expert on dairy
products, and has hitherto been greatly sought for by creameries of the valley. Mr.
Wenger is a native of Pennsylvania, where he was born near Lebanon on the estate
of his father, who was a prosperous farmer ; he attended both the grammar and high
schools of Lebanon, and topped off his studies with a course in a business college. In
1909, he came to Modesto, and for nine years he was with the Modseto Creamery.

In April, 1918, Mr. Wenger entered the military service of the nation and
trained in the Supply Company of the Three Hundred Sixty-third Infantry at Camp
Lewis. He sailed for France in June, 1918, and further trained in France at Camp
Nojent. He participated in the St. Mihiel and the first Meuse-Argonne drives, and
was then with the United States forces in Belgium, which operated about twenty
miles east of Brussels. He returned to the United States in May, 1919, and received
his discharge at Camp Dix on May 22, 1919. Coming back to Modesto, he arrived
at the lucky moment of the inception of the Modesto Milk Company, and at once
became the secretary and treasurer of the organization. Mr. Wenger belongs to the
Odd Fellows, and he enjoys there an enviable popularity.

The Modesto Milk Company's building and equipment were installed at an
approximate cost of $75,000, and is, therefore, modern throughout. The company
draws its supply of milk from San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, and it was started
for the purpose of pasteurizing milk and making ice cream. During the past year,
the company has been making butter on an extensive scale, but the wholesaling of ice
cream remains the main business.

DRUA J. DAVIS. — A deputy in the sheriff's office at one time actively engaged
in the maintenance of law and order and now participating in one of the great move-
ments for the blessing of millions, the development of irrigation, is Drua J. Davis,
who was born at Le Roy, Coffey County, Kans., on March 22, 1863. His father,
Ehod Davis, came there from West Virginia in 1857, a millwright, carpenter and stair
builder by trade, and he built the first flour mill in Coffey County. He married Edith
Gappen, who died in 1906, Mr. Davis surviving two years; both died in Kansas.

Drua attended the grammar school at Le Roy, and when twenty-two years old
started out for himself, when he took up carpentering in Oklahoma with his father
when the boom was on there and did well from the start. At the end of six months,
however, he left Oklahoma City and went on to Texas, where he worked for the
Santa Fe Railroad in bridge and depot construction at Gainesville; but in four months
he was off for Colorado, and there he remained for four years in the Pueblo car shops
of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. On his return to his old home in Kansas, he
followed the carpenter trade for five years.

Coming to Southern California in 1908, he stopped at Riverside, but immediately
pushed on to Oregon and for two years ranched about twenty-five miles northeast of
Portland, raising principally crops of potatoes; and from there he and his wife and
Mrs. Davis' father and mother drove in lumber wagons to the Klamath Valley, and
from there to Stanislaus County,' arriving at Modesto in 1911. Mr. Davis soon



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1385

found work with the Home Construction Company, and assisted to erect some of the
fine residences in the city. For a while, too, he served as deputy sheriff under Sheriff
George T. Davis, and in 1920 he became an employee of the Modesto Irrigation
District and worked at installing concrete weirs. He owns ten acres of fine land
about eleven miles out on the Crows Landing Boulevard, half a mile from Mountain
View schoolhouse, in Glendora Colony.

In Iola, Allen County, Kans., on December 8, 1906, Mr. Davis was married to
Miss Nova Darr, a native of Jasper County, Mo., and the daughter of David Darr,
a native of Missouri and a farmer, who moved to Oklahoma, where he preempted
Government land and raised stock. His health failed him, and for three years the
Darr family lived in Washington, Oregon and California, when they again returned
to Missouri, and it was then that Mrs. Davis was married. They later came to
California, where Mr. Darr died in Modesto. Her mother was a native of Texas,
who came to Missouri directly after the Civil War, and is now making her home with



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 156 of 177)