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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 158 of 177)
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Mr. Weichert worked for four years with the Chicago Lumber Company's
branch at Smith Center, then spent one year with his father in the blacksmith shop
and another year with a hardware firm at Smith Center, then going to Franklin
County, Kans., he spent two years in a machine shop at Ottawa. Then he went to
Omaha, Nebr., and for the next ten years was connected with the railroad depart-
ment of the Union Stockyards Company as locomotive engineer. In 1900 he came
to California and settled at Morgan Hill, in Santa Clara County, and was there for
the following eleven years. He purchased a thirty-acre prune orchard, and in 1910
traded this for a forty-acre ranch four miles east of Hughson. This he leveled and
checked and devoted to raising alfalfa and dairying. When he had it improved, in
1911 he moved into Hughson, purchasing a five-acre ranch adjoining Hughson on
the north, which he has set to apricots.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1391

Mr. Weichert's marriage, June 18, 1882, united him with Miss Belle Engle, and
she passed away in Omaha in 1897. His second marriage, which occurred on March
15, 1898, united him with Miss Nellie Applegrath, born in Janesville, Wis., and a
daughter of John W. and Mary Applegrath. They are the parents of three children :
Grace Dorothy was educated at the University of California and at the Armstrong
Secretarial School at Berkeley, where she graduated ; she is bookkeeper for the Arts
and Crafts School at Berkeley; Glenn Donald was in the class of 1921 of the Hugh-
son high school, and is the owner of a five-acre Thompson Seedless vineyard, adjoin-
ing his father; David Mortimer is in the class of 1923, Hughson high school. Both
sons are interested with their father in business, Glenn being the manager of the busi-
ness. He had been in the employ of Warren- Johnson, merchants at Hughson, and
in the latter part of 1920, Mr. Weichert purchased the business and established the
firm of G. P. Weichert & Sons. Under their unremitting attention, the business is
prospering splendidly and they have a trade that is bringing in a fine income. Mr.
Weichert is now reaping a harvest from his persistent labor and frugality that would
he gratifying to any man who had succeeded entirely by his own efforts.

JOHN MORRIS. — An enterprising merchant, thoroughly initiated into the
many-sidedness of the furniture business, is John Morris, whose establishment at the
corner of Sixth and H streets is one of the important commercial centers of fast-
developing Modesto. He was born at Dodgeville, Wis., on November 21, 1856, the
son of Robert L. and Maria (Williams) Morris, both born in Wales. At that time,
his father was a caretaker in an asylum; but in 1858 he removed with his family to
Emporia, Kans., where he became a building contractor and put up the large court-
house and normal school there. He and his good wife lived and died in Kansas. Of
their eleven children, John was second eldest. He attended the grammar school at
Emporia, and when twenty-one started away from home to care for himself. He
established himself in the livery business at Osage City, Kans., and continued there
for three years, and then for the same period of time he was in the butcher business in
the same place. From there he came out to California with his family in 1888, and
settled at Santa Cruz, where he spent one year handling furniture.

Mr. Morris then removed to Oregon, and at Medford had new and second-hand
furniture for sale; and he liked the town so well, and the town was so satisfied with
his way of doing things, that he remained there for eight years. After that, he trans-
ferjed his business to Ashland, in the same state, and there he spent the next two years,
then moved to Chautauqua County, Kans., where he was in business for three years,
and then returned to Ashland, where he spent six more years in the furniture business.
From Ashland, in 1912, he went to San Diego, Cal., for a year's work in the same
field ; and the next year he spent at Long Beach, also in the furniture trade. Then he
purchased a ranch east of Escalon ; but he farmed for only six months.

In 1914, Mr. Morris came to Modesto and opened a well-stocked store for
both new and second-hand furniture, and here he has been ever since. He owns the
building, 50x130 feet, at the corner of Sixth and H streets, which affords more floor
space for furniture than does any other establishment in the city. He also owns his
home and other town property.

At Carthage, Mo., March 17, 1880, Mr. Morris was married to Miss Eda Cop-
pock, a native of New London, Ind., the daughter of Irvin and Ruth (Marshall)
Coppock, born in Ohio and Indiana, who were early settlers in Missouri, where Mr.
Coppock plied his trade as a carpenter and builder. Mrs. Morris was educated at
Carthage, Mo. Six children blessed the union: Grace is Mrs. Millsap of Los
Angeles; Ethel is Mrs. Stanton Rice of Modesto; Muriel is Mrs. Hopkins of Hunt-
ington Beach ; Willard E. Morris is in the furniture business at Modesto ; Ruth is
Mrs. Amos and resides in Whittier ; and Earl is with his father. Mr. Morris was
a member of the common council of Cedar Vale, Kans., where he filled that office for a
year. He was a charter member of the Medford, Ore., lodge of the Woodmen of the
World, and has continued such for twenty-eight years. In national politics he is a
Republican, while Mrs. Morris is a member of the Methodist Church in Modesto.



1392 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

CARL F. ECKFORD. — The importance of a good hostelry to a growing town,
in the expert hands of an accommodating host, is demonstrated through the success of
the comfortable Hughson Hotel, ably managed by Carl F. Eckford, among the enthu-
siastic admirers of Stanislaus County, albeit his residence here has been brief. He
was born a Hawkeye, in Osage, Mitchell County, Iowa, on May 9, 1892, the son of
John and Augusta (Freitag) Eckford — the former a native of Scotland and the latter
of Germany. His father first settled in the vicinity of Chicago, 111., on coming to
the United States, but later he removed to Mitchell County, Iowa.

Carl attended the grammar school at Osage, and later studied at Cedar Valley
Seminary in the same place; and shortly after finishing the course in that excellent
institution, he passed the civil service examinations necessary to admit him to the
postal service. Coming to California in November, 1913, he was for five years iden-
tified with the postal service at Escondido, where he had charge of the dispatching of
the mails. He left the postal service to go into the U. S. Army, and in October, 1918,
he entered the Twenty-fifth Regiment of the Heavy Coast Artillery and trained for
two months at Fort Rosecrans. There he was also discharged, with the credentials for
honorable performance of duty, in December, 1918, returning to Escondido.

The next two years Mr. Eckford spent in Escondido working as a carpenter,
wishing to get outside work and recover from the ill effects of the influenza ; and feel-
ing much improved, he came to Hughson in December, 1920, as manager for Mrs.
Aukerman of Los Angeles, of her property here, the Hughson Hotel. He is doing
well with a popular resort for those in need of good hotel accommodations; but he
has professional ambitions, and expects eventually to study law and to take his place
at the California Bar. He expects to enter the State University, and will no doubt
make as many friends there as at Hughson. In politics, Mr. Eckford is a Republican.

ROBERT CRUSE.— A newcomer to Stanislaus County and a far-sighted,
successful rancher, pointing the way to others, and lending a hand to any willing to
follow his lead, is Robert Cruse, who lives to the south of Hughson. He was born in
Lexington, Ky., on February 9, 1855, the son of James and Man' (Shaw) Cruse,
representatives of old-time Kentucky families. When Robert was six years old, his
parents removed to near Atlanta, 111., and went to farming in McLean County, on a
farm lying partly in Tazewell County, 111., and partly in McLean County, but lived
on the Tazewell and McLean County line. In 1878, James Cruse removed to Pawnee
County, Nebr., where he purchased a farm twelve miles west of Pawnee City, where
he farmed until he retired. He now resides in Pawnee City, aged eighty-six years. His
wife passed away in Illinois in 1877.

Robert Cruse attended the Tazewell County schools, and remained on his father's
farm until he was married. Then he took up farming for himself, but in October,
1899, came to California and settled near Bakersfield. He worked for the Kern
County Land Company for two years, and then the oil boom struck Bakersfield.
From the latter place he went to Tulare County and tried dairying; and in 1908 he
removed to Sonoma County and for seven years was on a chicken ranch. He next
farmed for three years at Hilmar, in Merced County; and in the fall of 1919 he
removed to Stanislaus County, and here purchased twenty acres of alfalfa and fruit
directly south of Hughson. He carries on general farming, gives some attention to
dairying, has about 900 White Leghorns, and keeps thirty swarms of bees.

Mr. Cruse's marriage took place at Pawnee City, Nebr., on October 18, 1876,
when he was joined in wedlock to Miss Louisa Hitchcock, a native of Perry County,
Ohio, who came from the Buckeye State with her parents to Tazewell County. 111.
Her father, Caleb Hitchcock, was the son of Lucien and Penelope (Marshall)
Hitchcock, who were farmers in Perry County, Ohio. Caleb, Hitchcock married Mary
Brown, a daughter of Joseph and Ann (Kelly) Brown, the former having served in
the War of 1812 as a drummer boy. In 1863, Caleb Hitchcock removed to Taze-
well County, 111., and in 1876 to Pawnee County, Nebr. His wife died in 1S84, and
he passed away about the year 1907. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs.
Cruse, seven of whom are still living: Nora is the wife of Joseph F. Bookwalter of
Pawnee City, Nebr. ; Maude is the widow of Nathan Wilbur Thomas and resides at



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1393

Hanford; Earl is in Bakersfield ; Emma is Mrs. Silas Wright of Shafter; Lulu is Mrs.
Wm. H. Smith of Fellows ; James is married and lives at Sebastopol, Sonoma County :
Merrill died when three years old ; and Robert Cruse, Jr., is at Stockton. James
Cruse entered for service in the World War in September, 1917; trained in Company
K of the Three Hundred Sixty-third Infantry, Ninety-first Division, at Camp Lewis;
and served in France with his regiment, being discharged in April, 1919.

JAMES H. RICHARDS. — A native son, proud of his association with Cali-
fornia, James H. Richards has become well known at Hughson, not only as the one
blacksmith of the growing, lively town, but as one who so thoroughly understands his
trade that citizens of other communities come to him to benefit from his skill and
conscientious labor. He was born near Soulsbyville, Tuolumne County, Cal., on
January 4, 1873, the son of William and Mary (Lanyon) Richards, earnest and
hard-working people. His father was a native of Illinois, of English parents, while
the mother was born in England. They came to California in 1872, and Mr. Richards
went to work at the Soulsbyville mines; when James was four years old, his folks
moved to a ranch about six miles south of Sonora, and there he attended the Blanket
Creek school, and spent his early days on this ranch.

On January 1, 1890, four days before he was seventeen years old, James Richards
started out to make his own living. He had been helping to raise grain and stock on
his father's ranch of 160 acres, and going to Sonora, he learned the blacksmith trade
under Fred Dambacher, a pioneer blacksmith, with whom he spent a couple of years.
Then he worked for about ten years with various other good blacksmiths, and at the
end of this period he opened a shop for himself in Sonora, and stayed with the enter-
prise for over five years. Then he sold out and went to Grass Valley, Nevada County.

There he opened a blacksmith shop, but continued to manage it only for a year
and a half. The severe winters, with the heavy snows, were not to his liking, and he
moved to Los Angeles. There his health did not improve; and after five months he
came to Hughson. He bought out the business formerly conducted by Robt. Langill,
and in April, 1910, opened his blacksmith shop which has since become locally famous.
Having worked at all kinds of blacksmithing, from the sharpening of miners' tools
to the building of wagons, Mr. Richards is ready to meet any emergency.

On May 31, 1903, Mr. Richards was married to Miss Mabel Harris, the cere-
mony taking place at Sonora. Miss Harris was a native of England, and the daughter
of Jack and Malinda Harris. Her father came alone from England to California
at an early date, and was a worker in the gold mines ; and only several years later was
he followed bv his wife and family. The eldest of the four children springing from
this happy union is Clifford W. Richards, and he is at the high school at Hughson,
class of 1921. James and Thelma are at the grammar school, and little Mabel is at
home. Mr. Richards is by no means a partisan in politics, and much prefers, at each
campaigning, to make his own selection of candidate and proposition.

WILLIAM SWICKARD WYANT.— A far-seeing, up-to-date rancher is Wil-
liam Swickard Wyant, a native of Ohio, where he was born at Toronto, in Jefferson
County, on the Ohio River, on December 17, 1869, the son of Samuel Hastings
Wyant, a carpenter and mechanic, who followed building in Toronto. He had mar-
ried Miss Nancy Swickard, like himself born and reared in Jefferson County.

William Wyant attended both the district school near their home and the gram-
mar school at Toronto, and when thirteen years old started out into the world to pro-
vide for himself. He learned the bakery trade in New Cumberland, Va., across the
river from Toronto, serving an apprenticeship of three years at it, and before the
three years had been rounded out, he had a shop of his own. He was doing well, but
when he was twenty-one, he sold out and made tracks for California, arriving in 1890.

For a short time after his arrival, Mr. Wyant worked on ranches in Sacramento
County, then he married, and after his marriage he purchased a bakery which he
managed at Pacific Grove for four years. On selling out, he returned to Ohio for a
short visit, and then he came back to Pacific Grove again. He resumed carpentering;
hut in 1914 he came to Hughson and purchased twenty-five acres. He has a vine-
yard of six acres, a double-crop of alfalfa, and ten cows to consume it.



1394 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Miss Katherine Monroe was the name of the estimable lady whom Mr. Wyant
took for his wife at Modesto on October 1, 1897, the adopted daughter of Ishmael
and Annie E. (Slaymaker) Monroe, extensive ranchers at Burwood, San Joaquin
County, Cal. She was born in San Bernardino, Cal., attended the grammar school
at Burwood, and the Oakdale high school. One child has blessed this union — Ray-
mond by name. Mr. Wyant and his wife and son are members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church at Hughson. He is a member of the Milk Producers' Association of
Central California, the California Associated Raisin Company and the Stanislaus
'County Farm Bureau.

ORVILLE DEVILLA FISHER.— An intelligent, industrious rancher known
to his friends and patrons as a level-headed man whose ambition it is to be a good
citizen and neighbor, is Orville Devilla Fisher, who was born in Washington County,
Iowa, on September 12, 1861, the son of Albert McNeilly Fisher of Ohio, who went
into Kentucky, then moved to Washington County, Iowa, where he was in the com-
missary department of the Union army during the Civil War. There he married
Miss Agnes McKittrick, who was born in Ohio, and after the war closed they removed
to Kansas City, Mo., and built the Fisher sawmill. All in all, he put up three
mills — one on the Kansas side and two on the Missouri side ; and he sawed the timber
that built the first railway bridge across the Missouri River. He then moved to Park-
ville and engaged in the nursery business with George Parks and Walter Gano and
propagated the Ben Davis apple ; later he moved to Snringfield, Mo., and with Mr.
Gano propagated the Gano, Arkansas Black and Welcome apples, and set out an
orchard of 900 acres. Their first trig orchard, however, was one of 800 acres, set
out to Ben Davis apples, in the Salt Creek Valley near Leavenworth, Kans., at that
time probably the largest apple orchard in the world. Albert M. Fisher died in
Kansas City, while his wife passed away in Johnson County, Kans.

Orville Fisher went to the grammar school in Kansas City and also to the
Spaulding Commercial College, where he graduated, and later he took a course in
the Trueblood School of Elocution. Then he spent many years traveling throughout
the country, and visited many places, far and wide, including South America, Africa,
Australia, India and the islands of the Pacific, and spent several years in British
Columbia, mining and lumbering. In 1911, he came to Pleasanton, Cal., and about
five months later in the same year he reached Hughson, Stanislaus County, where he
bought twenty acres situated a mile south of the town. He has some choice fruit, and
fine alfalfa from which he gets several crops a year; his improvements are substantial
and his home comfortable and attractive.

Mr. Fisher was married at North Yakima, Wash., on June 16, 1891, to Miss
Ida M. Gleed, a native of Kansas and the daughter of James C. and Sarah (Tilton)
Gleed, born in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, respectively. They located in Illi-
nois, where Mr. Gleed served in the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry in the Civil War, after
which they moved to Kansas, later to Colorado, and then on to North Yakima, Wash.,
where Mr. Gleed passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Fisher were granted one child, Irl
Maurice, who made many friends by a winning personality which promised much for
the future. Their lives were saddened when he was taken from them some years ago,
having lost his life when overtaken by a landslide in the state of Washington.

HENRY BOSS. — An enterprising, industrious citizen who, as an expert auto-
mobile painter, has proven of real value to the local industrial world, is Henry Boss.
He was born in Schenectady, N. Y., on November 15, 1858, the son of Henry Boss,
a general mechanic of much original ability and cleverness, who was particularly
proficient as a blacksmith and wagonmaker. He was born in Darmstadt, Germany,
and his training as a consequence was very thorough. When a lad he came to the
United States with his father, our subject's grandfather, who was also a blacksmith
with a mechanical ingenuity sufficient for many problems and much difficult work.
Henry Boss had ten children, and the subject of this review is the only survivor of
the family. He attended both the grammar and the high schools near Schenectady,
and when twenty years of age he had gradually worked into blacksmithing, wood-



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1395

working and painting. In 1895, he left New York State and migrated westward to
Colorado, and having established himself as a blacksmith at Fort Collins, he stayed
there for five years.

In 1900, Mr. Boss came out to California and settled at Healdsburg; and during
the fifteen years of his residence and labor there, he little by little grew more and
more active in the auto-painting trade. In May, 1917, he came to Modesto and
built for himself a home on the corner of McHenry and Almond streets ; and there
he also erected a painting shop. He attended strictly to business, studied and antici-
pated the wants of his patrons, did his best to serve and to please, and for many months
has been drawing business from Merced to Stockton.

At Schenectady, on June 7, 1882, Mr. Boss was married to Miss Sarah Gardi-
nier, a native of that city and the daughter of James and Elizabeth Gardinier. Her
mother is still living, at the age of ninety years, and makes her home with Mr. and
Mrs. Boss. One daughter and one granddaughter enliven the home circle. The
family attend the Modesto Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Boss works for civic better-
ment under the banners of the Republican party.

ORRIN R. FELLOWS.— A progressive farmer who has worked hard and
operated intelligently all his life, with the result that he now owns a comfortable
home on a ten-acre ranch and is interested in realty, is O. R. Fellows, of Westport
precinct. A native son, he was born in Sonoma County, near Petaluma, on November
22, 1876, and when he was only a year old, he was brought to Hanford, in Kings
County, by his parents, David S. and Zelpha (Rennard) Fellows. His father had
come out to California in the early fifties, and had engaged in stock and dairy farm-
ing, and he made the first cheese to be displayed in San Francisco as a product of
Sonoma County. As the years went on, he became more and more an extensive
dealer in dairy products, owning 160 acres of valuable dairy land near Petaluma.

Orrin R. Fellows attended both the district grammar and the high schools, and
after that spent all of his time on the home farm until he was twenty-four years old.
Then he rented the farm for two years from his father, and in 1901 was married at
Hanford to Miss Mattie Reid, a native of Wisconsin. Her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth
Reid, now resides in Modesto. Mr. and Mrs. Fellows have two children, Mildred
and Vernon, a source of happiness to their friends as well as to themselves.

In 1902 Mr. Fellows and his family moved to Stanislaus County, and in that
3'ear he erected a very comfortable residence on a well-selected farm of ten acres in
Westport. which he has brought to a high state of cultivation. He has been sufficiently-
prosperous that he could also invest in Modesto real estate. He takes a keen interest
in all that pertains to the rapid and permanent development of Stanislaus County,
and has shown his live interest in the cause of popular education by serving for ten
years as a Fairview school trustee.

HENRY FORD. — For twenty-five years a newspaper man, publisher and
printer in the Middle West and South, Henry Ford, one of the newcomers in Modesto
vicinity, is fast making for himself a place in the county. He has made a thorough
study of the different forms of cooperative marketing associations, and is keenly inter-
ested in all matters pertaining thereto. He is an influential member of the Stanislaus
County Cooperative Marketing Association, and, although 1920 marks his first season
as a farmer, he has met with marked success in his various enterprises, his vineyard
yielding as high as fourteen tons of Thompson Seedless grapes to the acre, with other
products showing a similar abundance. His property is a splendid sixty-acre tract in
Hart precinct, Wood Colony, a part of the old Wood Ranch, formerly owned by
E. L. Newell, and purchased by Mr. Ford in February, 1920.

Air. Ford is a native of Michigan, born in Kalamazoo County, April 18, 1875.
He is the only son of G. D. and Katherine (Myers) Ford, both natives of New York
state, his father having pioneered into Michigan when a lad of fifteen years, where he
became a successful farmer. Our Mr. Ford was reared on the farm, but did not
take kindly to farm life. He attended Albion College for two years, but the lure of
business was too strong to allow him to continue through the entire course. As a lad



1396 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

he had developed a natural ability for printing, and rigged up a crude print shop in
his father's barn. This little shop was supplanted by a regular print shop in the
basement of a business block in Galesburg, Mich., from which the business grew to
such proportions that Mr. Ford launched into the publication of a semi-weekly news-
paper. For a time he met with serious difficulties, but finally met with merited suc-
cess, owning and editing the Semi-Weekly Argus, which he sold in 1919. The busi-
ness was made doubly profitable by his job printing business, including the state and
county printing, and an extensive binding business.

In 1916 Mr. Ford had established himself in Fort Myers, Fla., and launched a
daily and a semi-weekly paper in that city. Incidentally, it was here that he made the
acquaintance of his distinguished namesake of automobile fame, who has a beautiful
winter home at Fort Myers. After three years in Florida, Mr. Ford disposed of
all his newspaper and printing interests and came to California. He has a very inti-
mate knowledge of the entire Atlantic coast and of the Middle West and South, hav-



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 158 of 177)