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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 159 of 177)
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ing traveled through these sections bv automobile, but he found in California and in
Stanislaus County the conditions which exactly satisfied him. Mr. Ford is turning
his attention to agriculture and horticulture and his attractive ranch, which he calls
Hermosa Rancho, has fifteen acres of almonds, and thirty-seven acres in grapes.

Mr. Ford's marriage to Miss Nellie A. Clark took place at Kalamazoo, his
bride's native city, October 3, 1900. Mrs. Ford is the daughter of Thomas O. Clark,
a farmer and lumberman of Vicksburg, Mich., her brother, Harry T. Clark, of Tully
Avenue, being one of the well-known ranchers of this district. She has borne her
husband two children, a son, Everett, and a daughter, Alberta, both students in high
school. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ford are members of the Methodist Church of Modesto,
and Mr. Ford is a Mason and a member of the Knights of Pythias.

HARRY E. CRISPIN. — The son of one of the best-known and highly respected
pioneers of California, Harry E. Crispin was born near Turlock, July 26, 1886, the
son of Thomas J. Crispin and his wife, Mae Milton, and has been a resident of this
county for practically his entire life. Always filled with energy and ambition, he
started out to "paddle his own canoe" (to quote Mr. Crispin himself) at the early age
of seventeen, soon after he had completed the public schools. He became a carpenter,
and soon gained a high degree of efficiency and was able to carry on his own contract-
ing jobs. He became identified with the leading building contractors of Tuolumne
County, and also for a number of years was in the contracting business in Stockton,
where he was very successful. His marriage took place in 1910, when he was united
to Miss Jeannett Grant, a native of California, and the daughter of Allen and Ann
(Breckle) Grant, the father a pioneer Stanislaus grain farmer, and the mother a
native of Germany, who came to America with her parents when a young girl, locat-
ing in California. Mrs. Crispin, then Miss Grant, attended the old Junction school,
which stood near the Grant Rancho in Hart precinct. Mr. and Mrs. Crispin are the
parents of one daughter, Mae Adeline, now in grammar school.

Mr. Crispin makes his home in Salida precinct, a few miles from Modesto, on
the Beckwith Road, where he owns twenty acres of fine land. He farms in all 100
acres, eighty being leased from his father. Formerly Mr. Crispin was in the dairy
business, owning some fifty head of high-grade stock, but in 1915 he sold his dairy
stock and is now engaged in general farming. He has been for several years president
of the board of trustees for the Jackson district school, is fire warden of Salida pre-
cinct, and also a deputy sheriff. He is a genuine sportsman, fond of the great outdoors,
a member of the Owl Rod and Gun Club, and a frequenter of the fishing and hunting
districts in the high Sierras. He has a reputation as an excellent marksman, his
friends declaring that he only avoids bagging more than 'his limit of deer each season
by taking "two loaded shells and his trusty rifle," on his deer hunting trips.

Mr. Crispin's father, Thomas J. Crispin, is one of the old pioneer settlers of
the state and county, and has been intimately identified with the growth and upbuild-
ing of this part of the state for more than forty years. He is the owner of valuable
property, an authority on land and land values, and a man of great integrity and influ-
ence in all local affairs. An account of his interesting career appears in this volume.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1397

CARL R. TAYLOR. — A young man who has acquired the true farm-spirit,
which is the salvation of present-day America, is Carl R. Taylor, owner of valuable
property in Paradise precinct, where he is engaged in diversified farming. His prop-
erty consists of twenty-two acres, where he conducts a first-class dairy ranch, having
a herd of thirty high-grade milch cows and a registered Guernsey bull. He is also
engaged in poultry raising, having two strains of fowls, white and brown Leghorns,
numbering several hundred hens each. He is now planning a new and thoroughly
scientific hatching and brooding house, which he believes will add materially to the
profits of his poultry business. He also keeps ten or fifteen swarms of bees, which
prove very profitable.

Mr. Taylor is a native of California, born in Pleasant Valley, Eldorado County,
June 4, 1884, the fourth son in a family of six brothers. His father, Win. H. Taylor,
was a pioneer fruit and stock raiser in Eldorado County, where his sons were reared
and educated. The subject of this sketch worked on the farm much of his boyhood,
occasionally hiring out to the neighbors to make extra spending money. His first
individual enterprise was general farming at Mountain View school district, Stanis-
laus County, where he purchased thirty acres of fine land, remaining for a year and a
half before he sold and removed to his present location, in May, 1919.

The marriage of Mr. Taylor and Miss Clara Wright occurred September 3,
1916, at Modesto. Mrs. Taylor is the daughter of J. E. Wright of Eagle, Nebr., and
was visiting her sister, Mrs. Ouken, in Mountain View district, when the energetic
voung rancher won her affections and induced her to remain in California. Mr. and
Mrs. Taylor have one son, Norman, and a daughter, Carol.

Mr. Taylor is a member of the Stanislaus County Farmers' Union, and of the
local Paradise Farmers' Union, of which he is vice-president. This union has sent its
representative to Washington, D. C, in 1920, and will receive much aid from gov-
ernment sources, in both scientific and practical farming methods. Mr. Taylor is also
a stockholder in the Milk Producers Association, which markets his dairy products.

LAMBERT SCHMITZ.— The son of sturdy pioneer settlers of Wisconsin,
Lambert Schmitz was born in Fond du Lac County, Wis., April 27, 1865, the eldest
son of Paul and Eva (Daun) Schmitz, both natives of Germany. Mr. Schmitz's
father and grandfather, also Lambert Schmitz, came to America in the early '50s.
The grandfather, a splendid, high-spirited man, father of four sons, did not wish
them reared under the militaristic rule of the Fatherland, and so migrated to the
New World, where he might find freedom and opportunity. He settled in the wilds
of Wisconsin, and no tale of fiction could equal the struggles through which they
passed. Paul Schmitz was a lad of thirteen when the family came from Germany.
and located in Fond du Lac County, Wis. The west side of the township in which
they settled was inhabited by Indians, but they were peaceable and assisted them in the
rarm work. When twenty-six years old he bought a place of fifty acres in Brother-
town, Calumet County, to which he added, and there he farmed until his death,
March 21, 1878, aged forty, leaving a widow and seven children: Lambert, of this
review: Annie died at eighteen; Christ died at twenty-four; Kate died at twenty-
four; Mary was Mrs. Winkel and died at forty-three; Joseph resides in Modesto.
The mother died in Brothertown in 1908, sixty-eight years old. After his father's
death the burden of the support of his mother, brothers and sisters fell upon young
Lambert. The farm labor was hard and constant, but eventually he cleared 100 acres
and bought twenty acres more, which he farmed to grain and in dairying, and so
won his way to independence, and a farm of his own.

Mr. Schmitz remained on the home farm with his mother in his native state until
he was twenty-one, when he started out for himself, engaging in farming enterprises.
He met with severe reverses in Minnesota, where he had tried farming in Renville
County, and again in Wisconsin, and in 1910 he came to Los Angeles, Cal., and for
several years worked for wages. In 1912 he came to Stanislaus County, where he
has since made his home. He purchased forty acres in the Wood Colon\- district,
three miles northwest of Modesto, and here he has turned misfortune into fortune,
having accumulated a considerable amount of wealth through hard work, honesty,



1398 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

integrity and business application and good judgment. In 1917 he erected a beautiful
pressed brick residence, which stands a monument to the united efforts of himself,
his wife and sons. The property has been improved in every way until it is one of
the most attractive in the county and of great value. Mr. Schmitz engages in dairying,
having a herd of fifteen registered Holstein cows, with De Kol Rag Apple as herd
sire. He is a member of the Farmers Union and the Milk Producers Association.

The marriage of Mr. Schmitz occurred at Russell, Calumet County, Wis.,
February 3, 1897, uniting him with Miss Lizzie Conrad, a native of Holstein, Wis.,
and daughter of Nicholas and Virginia (Noal) Conrad, both natives of Belgium
and pioneer farmers in Wisconsin, where they now reside. Mr. and Mrs. Schmitz
have three children, two sons, Sylvester N., now employed in the great oil fields of
Texas, and Edward, who assists his father on the farm ; and one daughter, Lena, a
graduate of Modesto Business College.

JAKE M. OLDS. — The wide plains of Minnesota have given to California
many a stanch son, and among them is J. M. Olds, owner of a typical California
ranch of five acres on the Paradise Road, one mile from the post office at Modesto,
where he has made a decided success of intensive farming, proving that it is care,
cultivation and scientific methods, and not extensive acreage, which are essential to
success. Mr. Olds is especially interested in dairying and has a herd of seven
blooded Jersey cows, of which he is justly proud. In addition to his home place he
owns a ten-acre farm in Wood Colony, where he also formerly owned a twenty-acre
tract, which he sold in 1918.

Mr. Olds was next to the youngest in a family of five boys, his father being
S. S. Olds, a native of New York State, a farmer and railroad engineer in the em-
ploy of the Burlington Railroad for many years. The family removed from New
York to Minnesota when Jake M. was a child. Our fellow-citizen was born in New
York City, February 23, 1879. When he was but five years of age, both his parents
died. His boyhood was passed largely on a farm in Spring Valley, Minn., and where,
after completing his education, he leased land and commenced farming on his own
resources, raising grain and livestock on an extensive scale.

The marriage of Mr. Olds and Miss Edna C. Paul occurred at Spring Valley,
Minn., in 1899. Their union has been blessed with two children, Pauline, now a
student in the Modesto high school, and Frances, still in grammar school. The
family came to California in 1908 and located on Paradise Road, where they have
since made their home. Mr. Olds is a progressive and wide-awake citizen, highly
respected and greatly trusted by all who know him, and one of the most loyal sup-
porters of war activities during the strenuous days of 1917-1918.

SAMUEL MONTGOMERY.— A descendant of a long line of Southern an-
cestry, the distinguished Scotch-Irish family, the Montgomerys of Virginia, Samuel
Montgomery was born in Jewell County, Kans., near Jewell, November 24, 1883.
His father, George Montgomery, a native of Virginia, migrated to Indiana at a very
early date, and again in 1872, followed the western trend of migration into Kansas,
where on a farm of 160 acres, near Jewell, he raised grain and bred fine stock.

Remaining on the farm with his father until he was twenty-two, Samuel Mont-
gomery made his first independent business venture at that age, farming 300 acres
of land to corn, and meeting with such success that he was soon able to take unto
himself a wife, and on March 22, 1905, was married to Miss Alma Reystead, at
Mankato. Mrs. Montgomery is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Reystead. her
mother, who still resides in Mankato, having recently been her guest at the Mont-
gomery home in Carmichael precinct.

It was in 1912 that Mr. Montgomery came to Modesto, looking for a location in
California where soil, climate and general living conditions should meet with his
approval for a permanent home, and soon purchased twenty acres on Kansas Avenue,
Carmichael precinct, two and a half miles west of Modesto. Here he is engaged in
dairying, at one time having a herd of forty head of stock, including about twenty-
nine milch cows and a registered herd sire, all of high grade Jersey stock. He is also



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1399

engaged in poultry farming, which he is finding a very profitable business. He has
1 ,000 White Leghorn hens and an especially well-equipped hennery. He takes an
active part in the doings of the Association of Milk Producers of Central California,
and of the Poultry Producers Association of Central California, of which organiza-
tions he is an influential member. He is also a member of the Farmers' Federation
of Stanislaus County.

Believing in making home the pleasantest place of all, Mr. Montgomery has a
beautiful country place, with all modern conveniences and comforts. Of their three
sons and two daughters, Rollo S. and Dorothy D. are natives of Kansas, while Wil-
lard S., Bessie I. and Donald R. are natives of California and of Stanislaus County.
Mr. Montgomery believes in the old adage that all work and no play makes Jack a
dull boy, and he enjoys hunting and fishing for his recreation.

LOUIS A. PODESTA. — Engaged in one of the important industries of the
state — truck gardening — Louis A. Podesta's gardens form one of the attractive sights
on Woodland Road, a mile west of Modesto. Mr. Podesta, while an Italian in name
and in antecedents, is a native son of California, and a genuine American in every
sense of the word. He was born in Merced, April 4, 1877, the eldest son of Antone
Podesta, pioneer vineyardist and truck gardener of Merced County, who planted one
of the first vineyards therein, and which still is bearing luscious grapes on the old
'iome place near Merced.

Antone Podesta, a native of sunny Italy, came to California at an early age and
was actively identified with the development of the state for many years. He married
Theresa Casazza, also a native of Italy, at Coulterville, and settled at Merced in
the early '70s. Previous to this they were identified with the gold mining; ventures of
Mt. Bullion, in Mariposa County, but failed to find the riches for which they hoped
■ and which were afterward found there. Both Antone Podesta and his wife passed
away, the mother in 1886 and the father in 1887.

Louis A. Podesta attended the public schools of Merced, and after the death of
his parents he went to live with his uncle, Andrea Casazza, a farmer at Coulterville,
where he coimleted his education. For several years he worked in the Mary Harri-
son mines, and later in the Princeton mines. Tiring of this occupation, he came to
Modesto in 1903 and bought thirteen acres on the Woodland Road, which he planted
to vineyard and fruit and engaged in dairying, in addition to his truck gardening.
Mr. Podesta has been very successful in his enterprises, and owns other real estate in
Mariposa County. He has one brother, John Podesta, an engineer with the Sierra
Power Company in Modesto, and a sister, Mrs. Mary Brown, of La Grange, whose
husband is also an engineer.

RALPH C. DOOLITTLE.— One of the leading merchants of Ceres, proprietor
of the principal confectionery, book and stationery store in that thriving little city,
Ralph C. Doolittle stands high in the confidence and esteem of his fellows. He moved
into Ceres in 1909 and he engaged in the confectionery business with some $300
invested, covering stock and fixtures. From the very first he won the co-operation
of the townspeople in his determination to establish a confectionery business along the
latest high-grade lines, and they gave him their practical support. From this small
beginning he has rapidly developed his business until today he has a variety store,
including a complete line of books and stationery, office supplies, toys and novelties,
as well as a full line of confections and a modern soda fountain, worthy of any
modern city of many times the size of Ceres. He has always taken an active part
in local affairs, and for five years served on the sanitary board of the city. During
the war he was prominent for his labors in the war loan and Red Cross drives.

Mr. Doolittle is a native of Massachusetts, born at Great Barrington, August
25, 1878. His parents were Augustus Albertus and Margaret E. (Hobson) Doo-
little, the father a carpenter. They moved to Detroit when our subject was a baby
of two years, and there he was reared and educated, attending the public schools and
ivorking with his father in vacations. He came to California with his parents in
1893, locating in Oakland, whither his brothers and sisters had come some six years



1400 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

before. The father passed away in Los Angeles in 1918, where the mother still
resides. She is well known in Ceres, where she frequently visits her son, and where
she has some property interests.

Soon after coming to Oakland Mr. Doolittle entered the employ of Tillman &
Bendel, in San Francisco, wholesale grocers, remaining for six years. The following
six years he was with Hill Brothers, in the same line of business in San Francisco.
He started his career in the Bay City at twenty dollars per month, and ended as an
expert in the tea business, and was so engaged at the time of the fire in 1906. Follow-
ing this great catastrophe, which so disrupted the business conditions of San Francisco,
Mr. Doolittle moved with his wife and mother to Stanislaus County, where he bought
a ranch of twenty-two acres in the dairy section near Ceres, and for three years engaged
in the dairy business. In this he was very successful, but the business opportunities
offered by the growing city of Ceres interested him more than the farming industry,
presenting, as he believed, greater chances for successful endeavor.

The marriage of Mr. Doolittle occurred in Oakland in 1900, when he was united
with Miss Sadie Harvey, the daughter of George and Frances (Burdette) Harvey,
and a native of Illinois. Her father was descended from an old English family, and
came to Ohio when he was a youth. The mother was a native of Virginia, a mem-
ber of an old and honored family, one of Mrs. Doolittle's uncles, Judge Samuel Bur-
dette, being now circuit judge in the district court in Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Harvey
and their daughter came to California in 1893 and located in Oakland. Mrs. Doo-
little has borne her husband one child, Dorothy Frances, of Ceres Union high school.

Politically Mr. Doolittle is a Republican, but in all local affairs he discounts
party lines for sound principles and progressive movements. He was one of the most
active supporters of the bond drive in the sewer construction plans for Ceres in 1920.
He is a member of the United Artisans of Ceres and of the local Board of Trade.

JOHN W. VETTER. — A man of executive ability and of a manly, moral
character, John W. Vetter is indeed deserving of the success he has achieved. Having
lost his mother at an early age, he realized more than most what it meant to be with-
out a home, and this with his conversion to the true Christian life and membership
in the Church of the Brethren since 1884 has well qualified him to hold the position
of superintendent of the Old People's Home located at Empire, Cal. He was born
at Aetna Mills, Clinton County, Ind., September 24, 1869, the son of John Vetter,
a native of Germany. He came to the United States in 1854 and here he married,
his wife being of Scotch descent. She died when John was only fifteen months old
and her six little children were put out in different families.

John W. Vetter was brought up in the family of Jno. J. Wagoner, a farmer
at Pyrmont, Ind., where he remained until he had reached the age of twenty-one.
While there he had the advantages of the public schools, then attending Mt. Morris
College, meanwhile assisting on the farm. On reaching his majority, he received from
his foster father the sum of $500, which was to give him a start in life. As a young
man he engaged in various pursuits: at making carpets, weaving rugs, and at times
worked at the tinsmith's trade.

His marriage united him with Miss Elzina P. Mellinger on December 22, 1892,
at Pyrmont, Ind., who was born at Aetna M'H S > Ind., January 6, 1874, and grew
up in the same community as her husband. An estimable Christian woman, she is
a true helpmate to her husband. Mr. and Mrs. Vetter have become parents of two:
a boy who died in infancy, and Delia Esther, now Mrs. C. C. Jamison of Empire.

Mr. Vetter has recently purchased a three-acre tract near Empire, which he is
farming and improving. His first trip to California was in 1912, then they went
back to Indiana before the year was over and \ived there for five years, then came
back to California December 1, 1917, and settled in Lake County, taking charge
of a pear orchard south of Kelseyville for a year, then came to Stanislaus County
after a short stay in Oakland. For about a year he was employed in Wood Colony
by Chas. B. Rumble, when he was called to the superintendence' of the Old People's
Home at Empire and took charge of it November 1, 1919.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1401

Mr. Vetter was converted in January, 1884, at the early age of fourteen, and
later in life continued his studies and obtained an education by strenuous self sacri-
fice at Mt. Morris College, located at Mt. Morris, 111., a college of the Church of
the Brethren. The Old People's Home at Empire was established six years ago and
is maintained by the Church of the Brethren. Mr. Vetter is an extensive reader and
a constant student. His private library is well selected; he has a large collection of
excellent works and has done considerable work in compiling data for the history
of the Church of the Brethren and is now preparing a history of the Empire Church.
He is also a deacon in the church, which has a large membership and has the second
largest Sunday School of any church in Stanislaus County. He takes a great interest
in all the various activities of his church and for years was a Sunday school teacher.

WILLIAM EDGAR HALL. — A successful young rancher who is fast acquiring
an enviable reputation both as a scientific agriculturist and also as an economic man-
ager, is William Edgar Hall, known to his Hickman friends as a patriotic, public-
spirited citizen willing to work for the rapid development of Stanislaus County's
resources. He is a son of the late W. W. Hall, who was born in San Joaquin County
but grew up to become a well-known Stanislaus County farmer, and eventually
married Orilla A. Rowe, now Mrs. Hugh Head, written of elsewhere in this work;
and a grandson of E. A. Hall and S. T. Rowe, and a great-grandson of John Jones,
the bonanza wheat grower, famous in his time throughout San Joaquin County.

He was born on the Hall ranch on October 10, 1899, and was twelve years old
when his father died. He was educated in the public schools, and at an early age
began to work on the Hall ranch, where he learned to run tractors. Now he is
part owner with his mother, Mrs. Hugh Head, of a Holt tractor of seventy-five
horsepower and a Harris combined tractor and thresher.

In 1918, Mr. Hall was married to Miss Verna Knowles, a daughter of Ansel
L. Knowles, whose life-story is given on another page of our history; and they have
one child, Cecilia Adeline, enjoying with them their beautiful bungalow home erected
on the 640 acres reserved for him by his mother. He raises barley and oats, and seeks
to apply a mixture of practical common sense with the "last word" of science to the
successful solution of all knotty problems. Mr. Hall is a Republican in matters of
national political moment; but when it comes to boosting Hickman precinct or even
Stanislaus County, he is always willing to throw aside narrow partisanship if by so
doing he may be able to advance any good cause.

IRA S. TOMBAUGH. — Numbered among the successful ranchers and business
men of Stanislaus County is Ira S. Tombaugh, who was born in Hancock County,
Ohio, thirteen miles south of Findlay, March 19, 1872, the son of John and Emaline
(Wheeler) Tombaugh, both now deceased. Their only daughter, Mary Candace
Baughman, resides at Turlock.

Ira S. Tombaugh's boyhood days were spent on his father's Ohio farm of 100
acres, enjoying the educational advantages of the district schools of that locality, and
helping his father on the farm, gaining while very young a knowledge of what it
takes to make a good farmer. At the age of twenty-three, he was united in marriage



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 159 of 177)