Copyright
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

. (page 164 of 177)
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 164 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ing out on a farm for nine months, in March, 1884, he pushed on to Nebraska; and
in Adams County he took up homestead land, which he duly proved up and acquired
full title to.

In 1904, Mr. Rieger moved on to Arkansas, and in 1907, he came out to the
Coast, and since that time he has been identified with this part of the prosperous



1424 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

and promising West. He bought sixty acres at what was then Thalheim and recently
he bought another twenty acres, one-fourth of a mile southeast of Valley Home. He
owns, besides, 374 acres in Arkansas, at Grand Prairie, near Stuttgart, and four lots,
with a residence and barn in Valley Home.

At Hastings, Nebr., in November, 1884, Mr. Rieger was married to Miss Mary
Burkhartsmeir, a native of Wuertemberg, who crossed the ocean with him, as a fel-
low passenger, when he came to America ; and nine children have been granted them.
Otto runs the ranch in Arkansas, in which state, on June 2, 1918, his next youngest
brother, Charlie, was accidentally killed by a live electric wire. He was married,
and left two children. Sophie is employed in San Francisco. Christiana died in
Arkansas at the age of five. Hannah is the wife of Ray Ivinson, of Los Angeles.
Rosa is a nurse at the Dameron Hospital, in Stockton. Fred married Bertha Walther
of Valley Home and is a rancher, and the father of one child. Johnny is in Arkan-
sas with his brother, while Louis goes to school at Valley Home. Mr. and Mrs.
Rieger are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Valley Home, in which
flourishing congregation Mr. Rieger is an honored trustee. He takes a live interest
in all that pertains to the building up of the community.

FRANK LONGIS. — An enterprising French-American who has become a man
of affairs in the Oakdale commercial world, is Frank Longis, of Frank Longis &
Company, proprietors of the Union Steam Laundry here, conveniently situated at the
corner of Railroad Avenue and H Street. He was born at Aertte, in the Basses-
Pyrenees, France, on January 2, 1877, the son of Joe Longis, who had a big stock
farm. He married Miss Mary Apson, who is still living in France, although our
subject's father died there some eighteen years ago. They had four children: Jacques
is a policeman in Paris ; Peter is in the laundry business in San Francisco ; Frank was
the third in the order of birth ; and Mary is the wife of Pete Moulia and lives on
the home place in France with her mother.

Frank attended the public schools of his native country, and, his brother Pete
having come out to California in 1910, he joined him at San Francisco two years
later. For five months he worked in a laundry there, and then, on October 23, 1912,
he came to Modesto. There he worked for the French Laundry steadily for eight
years, and on December 1, 1919, he moved over to Oakdale, where he bought the
Union Steam Laundry of Boom Bros., and then formed the company of which he is
the principal owner, having as his partner his brother-in-law, John Galar. The
laundry is equipped with the most up-to-date machinery, consisting of a five-roller Troy
steam mangle, and a Hoffman and a Troy press, and so is enabled to put out strictly
first-class work at popular prices, a service rewarded by the steady increase in trade.

At Modesto, on April 25, 1914, Mr. Longis was married to Miss Marie Bergez,
a daughter of Jacques and Tulie (Casanbon) Bergez, both of whom are still living in
the Basses-Pyrenees, the parents of the following children: Jeanne Marie; Nancy,
the wife of John Galar ; Marie Louise, Jean Pierre, Andre and Pierre. Mrs. Galar also
assists her sister, Mrs. Longis, in the laundry. One child has blessed the union of
Mr. and Mrs. Longis, Jennie, now in her sixth year. They are Catholics.

SILVIO ROSSINI.— A valued member of the Central California Milk Pro-
ducers Association is Silvio Rossini, a rancher at Langworth, near Oakdale, a hard
worker, ably assisted by his loyal wife, to whom much of the credit for their com-
bined success as dairy farmers is due. They own thirty-eight acres at Langworth,
including the old brick schoolhouse at Langworth, which he bought in November,
1919, a part of the old Langworthy Ranch. It is really one of the landmarks in the
early history of Stanislaus County, and twenty-six acres are in the river bottom of
the Stanislaus River and are rich as the Valley. He checked the land and sowed
it to alfalfa immediately after purchasing it, and the very first year he cut six crops
of alfalfa, from what was seeded about April 1, 1920.

He is also running a dairy, and has a string of thirty milch cows with a regis-
tered Holstein bull. Before buying this farm, he held a five-year lease on three hun-
dred acres. For three years he operated a dairy on the rented land, and then he



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1425

sold the leases and bought this property. Prior to coming here, he lived at Modesto
and ran a dairy for four years; and before that he lived for nine years at Palto Alto,
where he first settled when he came to America from Canton Ticino, Switzerland,
in 1903. There he was born, on March 3, 1884, and in the Swiss Republic he grew
up until his nineteenth year.

Mr. Rossini started his career in California as a milker, and worked steadily
for four years for one man, and then for five years for another. He was married at
Oakdale December 7, 1918, to Mrs. Adelina Albertoni, the widow of S. Albertoni,
nee Adelina Richina, who was also born in Canton Ticino. She had had four chil-
dren — Meta, Albert, Helen, Ruby — and they are all living with Mr. and Mrs.
Rossini, who have one child of their own, named Silvio. Mr. Rossini's father,
Severro Rossini, is still living in the Canton Ticino, Switzerland, at the age of
sixty; but his mother died when he was only eight years old.

Mr. and Mrs. Rossini were brought up in the Roman Catholic faith, and grew
up in the Italian section of tri-lingual Switzerland, and so speak, as their native
tongue, Italian. But they are, and have been for years, one hundred per cent Ameri-
cans, and just the kind of settlers and citizens, intelligent and prosperous, whom
Stanislaus County is proud to welcome.

SEBASTIAN C. MONDO.— An able and energetic man who has become a
successful horticulturist, is Sebastian C. Mondo of Oakdale. He was born at
Betzano, in the -province of Turin, Italy, on July 9, 1883, the son of Bartholomew
and Rosa (Casalegno) Mondo, owners of a farm of fifteen acres in Italy, the birth-
place of our subject, where they still reside, and it was here he obtained most of his
knowledge concerning horticulture, viticulture, dairying and farming. They were
the parents of three children, of whom Sebastian C. was the eldest; Ezolina. still
single, is living in Italy ; Mario V., who also came to America, is a rancher at Ripon
in San Joaquin County.

Sebastian Mondo was educated in the Italian public schools, meanwhile helping
on the home farm. When eighteen years of age, having heard of the wonderful
opportunities afforded in this new country — for he had two uncles here — he sailed
from Havre, France, landing at New York on November 17, 1901, then went direct
to San Jose, Cal., arriving there on November 25, and has liked the Golden State
so well that he has made it his home ever since that date. He began by working
in orchards and vineyards on the San Martin ranch, where his uncle, Thomas Casa-
legno, was superintendent, and continued there two years and with other horticul-
turists in Santa Clara Valley.

In 1913, Mr. Mondo rented 119 acres at Langworth, Stanislaus County, from
Thomas Casalegno, whose daughter, Miss Annette Casalegno, he married in 1914.
She was the granddaughter of Peter Pellier, noteworthy as the man who introduced
the French prune in California. Her father is still living in San Jose. Proving an
efficient farmer, Mr. Mondo operated it until 1918, when he purchased sixty-five
acres at Langworth ranch, and on January 5, 1920, bought the home place of 120
acres, from his wife's father, this making a total of 185 acres, all in prunes, peaches,
pears, cherries, apples, almonds and walnuts, a very nice holding. Mr. Mondo gives his
trees the most scientific care, sowing cover crops, which are plowed under for fertiliza-
tion and he is an expert at pruning. His whole place bears the marks of intelligent
attention and is bringing him an excellent income.

ENOS BECHIS. — An energetic and highly successful Italian-American is Enos
Bechis, the rancher living northwest of Oakdale, whose wife is a native daughter,
as was her mother, of French extraction and with the distinction of being the grand-
daughter of the far-seeing pioneer, who introduced the French prune into California.
He is a late arrival in the Oakdale district, having formerly made a name for him-
self as a rancher in the Santa Clara Valley, but he is none the less welcome, and bids
fair to become, through his satisfaction with the Stanislaus County country, as much
of a "booster" as anyone of this favored district. He was born in the province of
Alessandria, Italy, near Asti, on January 3, 1881, the son of John Bechis, who died in



1426 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Italy twelve years ago. He married Miss Rosa Curutti, by whom he had five chil-
dren; and when he died he left her a fine farm he had long owned. The oldest son,
John, is in Italy; Enos is the subject of our story; Margaret is married and lives in
Italy ; A. O. Bechis resides in San Jose ; and J. S. Bechis is a citizen of Redwood City.

Enos grew up on his father's farm, and was the first of the family to come to
America. He sailed from Havre and landed at New York, in 1899, and on November
7 of that year reached San Jose — a stranger in a strange country, with only seven dol-
lars in his pocket. It was at that period, too, when there were thousands of the unem-
ployed ; but he soon got a job pruning the vineyard for Mrs. William Weiner, seven
miles southeast of San Jose, where he worked for seventy-five cents a day and had to
pay thirty cents a day for board, or cut wood for three hours. The prospect was blue
enough, but Mr. Bechis kept working industriously.

In April, 1900, he went to work in the brick yard for sixty dollars per month and
his board, and was compelled to do some very hard work; and after six months he went
out into the country again on a fruit ranch. When he was twenty-two years of age,
he was married at San Jose on November 10, 1903, to Miss Denise H. Mirassou, a
daughter of Peter Mirassou, who had married Miss Henrietta Pellier, a daughter ol
Peter Pellier of San Jose, the horticulturist who brought the first French prunes to
California and here cultivated them. His brother, Louis Pellier, was the first florist
in San Jose, and came with Peter to California, sailing for six months around the
Horn to San Francisco. Mrs. Bechis' mother, now sixty-five years old, was born at
Evergreen, eight miles east of San Jose. Peter Mirassou died at San Jose when Mrs.
Bechis was eight years old. Mrs. Mirassou was the mother of five children, among
whom Denise is the oldest. Peter is a rancher at Evergreen. Teressa is the wife of
John Bidou, the rancher at Gilroy. Herman J. is a rancher near San Jose, and John
A. is farming near Evergreen. Mrs. Mirassou married again, choosing Thomas
Casalegno as her husband, and he is now a retired farmer living in San Jose. He lived
at Langworth precinct in Stanislaus Countv for ten vears, and is well-known at
Oakdale.

After marrying, Mr. Bechis took charge, as foreman, of the Santa Clara Valley
Land Company's ranch, known as the San Martin ranch, of 9,000 acres, and in 1907
he became the superintendent. He started the planting there, and set out 4,500 acres
in grapes, and the balance in prunes, apricots and peaches; and at the end of seventeen
years, he saw this ranch successfully sub-divided into ten-acre lots and sold. At
present, the land is worth from $2,000 to $3,500 per acre. After resigning he bought
a ranch of forty acres in Berryessa, devoted to prunes. In 1919 he sold it and bought
a ranch of 215 acres at Langworth, which he operated for ten months and sold, and
then-he purchased a home in San Jose, which he sold on December 21, 1920. He
secured his present ranch on February 23, 1920. One hundred ten acres are given
up to almonds, ten acres to alfalfa, fourteen acres to apricots, twenty acres to Zinfandel
grapes, thirty acres to Muir peaches, twenty-three acres to pears, two acres to cherries,
one acre to walnuts.

Three children were granted this worthy couple: Ernest J. Bechis, a general
favorite, died at Oakdale on November 20, 1920, when he was sixteen years old;
Eugene H. has reached his thirteenth year, and Louis A. is ten years old. Mr. Bechis
is a stockholder and a member of the California Prune & Apricot Growers Associa-
tion since organization and is much interested in cooperative marketing for growers.

HARTWELL SUMMERS.— A successful Stanislaus County rancher who
thoroughly understands the many problems of dry farming, is Hartwell Summers,
now living at Oakdale, who has been able to increase his yield of wheat greatly by
summer fallowing. He was born near Hill's Ferry, when that was a live place, south
of what is now Newman, the son of G. R. Summers, who married Miss Elizabeth
Clarke, and both of his parents are now living in San Joaquin County. He grew up
on a grain ranch in Merced County, a veritable bonanza grain farm, and so, while
attending school, had the best of opportunities, from his twelfth year, of learning the
ins and outs of western agriculture. He learned to handle horses and machinery, for
fifteen years driving harvesters, and could manipulate as many as thirty-six horses.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1427

Mr. Summers has rented 1,800 acres five miles north of Oakdale whereon he
raises grain by dry farming, and he also rents two tracts of land just north of Oak-
dale — the 400-acre tract belonging to H. T. Griffin, of Oakland, and the 1,360 acres
belonging to Charles Mettler of Los Angeles, which he operates together. To earn-
on these extensive operations, he runs a Holt caterpillar of seventy-five horsepower and
a combined Holt harvester known as the Sidehill Holt combination harvester and
thresher, with which he can cut and thresh forty acres a day. He has farmed for
twenty-five years, and has raised great quantities of barley and wheat. For eleven
years past he has farmed in this vicinity of Oakdale, and before that he was in Merced
County, where he was born and reared. He now makes his home in Oakdale, driving
to and from his ranch daily.

Mr. Summers was married at Farmington, in San Joaquin County, March 24,
1912, to Miss Frances Alders, born at Farmington, a daughter of the late Charles M.
Alders of that county; and they have two children — Erla Bernice and Ethyln Jane.
Mr. Summers belongs to the Odd Fellows of Farmington, and is a Democrat.

GUY JOHNSTON. — A citizen of Modesto who has contributed materially to
its upbuilding, Guy Johnston was born in Petoskey, Mich., August 7, 1878. His father
was Curtiss Johnston, a New Yorker, who came to Michigan when he followed rail-
roading, and there married Georgia Sever, who was born in Maine. In 1880, he
removed to Freeville, N. Y., where he railroaded and later became a farmer, and was
thus engaged until he died, being survived by his widow and nine children, of whom
William is sixth. After completing the public school in Freeville, he learned the
machinist's trade in the D. M. Osborn Harvester Works at Auburn, N. Y. Four
years later he went with Henry & Allen, manufacturers of agricultural implements,
where he continued for a period of three years, when he returned to Michigan, locat-
ing in Wayland County, where, as a bricklayer and cement worker, he became foreman.

In 1910, Mr. Johnston came to Modesto, Cal., becoming foreman of cement and
brick work for Ernest Green, continuing in that capacity until he started as a con-
tractor of cement and brick work. While with Ernest Green he was foreman on the
building of the Hotel Hughson, the Majestic rooming house, Murray & Jones build-
ing, then the Ward building under W. A. Stevens. Mr. Johnston built the P. J.
Griffin building on Tenth Street, and did the brick work on the following buildings:
The addition to the high school, the departmental school, Gandy building, Blue Seal
building, Tilson building and the Borden's condensed milk factory. Mr. Johnston
has a new, modern equipment for mixing and preparing the cement and concrete
for his work. He is a member of the Bricklayers' International Union.

W. W. GRANT.— A native of Canada, W. W. Grant was born in Ingersoll,
Ontario, March 27, 1870. His father, Rev. Wm. Grant, was born in County Glen-
garry, in the province of Ontario, of Scotch parentage, and was a minister in the
Baptist Church until his death in January, 1918. Mr. Grant's mother was Ann
Jane Wallace, born in County Armagh, Ireland, coming to Ontario when nine years
of age with her parents. She now resides in New Jersey, the mother of four sons,
of whom W. W. was the eldest.

On completing Ingersoll high school, he obtained a teacher's third-class certificate
when sixteen years of age, but did not follow teaching, for having learned cheese
making during the summer vacations while working in the Maple Leaf cheese factory
at Ingersoll, he continued as a cheese maker in different factories in Ontario for ten
years. In 1893 he took a dairy course at the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph,
when, after graduating, he became instructor in cheese making at different factories in
Ontario, and also inspector of cheese making and of milk from 1894 to 1897, when
he came to the States, spending five years in New Jersey, where he was superintendent
of the creamery at Reaville and built their new creamer)' at a cost of $75,000. In
1902 he came to Manhattan, Kans., and became instructor of dairying at the Kansas
State Agricultural College and thence to the Iowa State Agricultural College at
Ames, Iowa, where he was assistant instructor of dairying. Next he was superin-
tendent of a large creamery at Mitchell, S. D. In 1904 he came to Marshfield, Ore.,



1428 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

and superintended a cheese factory for three years and during this time, in the win-
ter of 1905, he was instructor of dairying in the agricultural department of the Uni-
versity of California at Berkeley, and in the winter of 1906 held the same position
at the Oregon Agricultural College at Corvallis, Ore.

In 1906 Mr. Grant was appointed state dairy inspector of California under the
State Dairy Bureau and held this post until 1908, when he came to Los Banos, with
the Golden State Creamery, developing the sweet cream business for them, for at
this time very little was known of pasteurizing cream in California, and he introduced
it on the West Side. In 1914 he was cheese maker at Gridley. In 1915 he was at
Caruthers, Fresno County, as cheese maker for Carpenter, and when the latter came
to Salida, he helped establish the Salida factory. In 1916 Mr. Grant accepted a
position with Mr. Gum, the late manager of the Modesto Milk Producers Associa-
tion, as cheese maker, and has since given his time to building up the cheese making
department of this large plant. Fraternally he is a member of the Odd Fellows and
Foresters. Politically he is a strong Republican and a great admirer of the late
Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Grant has been a liberal contributor to dairy journals
and particularly to Hoard's Dairyman.

ERICK HALL. — Among the prominent and early residents of Turlock was the
late Erick Hall, born in Vestmanslan, Sweden, January 1, 1835. He was a farmer boy
and when sixteen years of age was apprenticed and learned the cabinet maker's trade
in Stockholm, where he continued the trade until he came to Minnesota with his wife,
Charlotte, and their two children, locating in St. Paul, where he followed carpentering
and where his wife died, leaving two children, Axel of Oakland and Charles of San
Pedro. Some years later, in 1881, Mr. Hall married again, the ceremony occurring
in Minneapolis, uniting him with Miss Ingeborg Verme, who was born in Vermland,
Sweden. Her father, John Verme, was manager of a manufacturing establishment at
Hogfors until he came to Minneapolis, Minn., in 1879, with his wife. One year later
Ingeborg Verme also came to Minneapolis, where she met Mr. Hall, the acquaintance
resulting in their marriage.

Removing to Stillwater, Mr. Hall worked as a carpenter in the iron works and
later in the furniture factory connected with the state penitentiary. In the fall of
1903 they moved to Turlock and purchased ten acres on what is now East Avenue,
where he engaged in general farming and horticulture until his death, October 17,
1917. He was prominent in the Swedish Mission Church in St. Paul and Stillwater,
Minn., and in Turlock. He was well read and was talented as a speaker and frequently
filled the pulpit. In Turlock he was active in the Sunday school, was a trustee
of the congregation and was one of the founders of the Bethesda Society in St. Paul.

Five children were granted Mr. and Mrs. Hall: Esther is Mrs. A. G. Crowell,
who has three children, and resides near Turlock; David, a jeweler in Turlock, mar-
ried Miss Jennie Johnson of Thief River Falls, Minn., and have one child ; Joseph is a
jeweler, and married Ida Warren, and they have one child; Harry is also a jeweler,
while George is an electrician. The latter two served overseas for a year in the World
War. Since her husband's death, Mrs. Hall continues to reside on the old home
farm, her two soldier boy sons making their home with her. Mrs. Hall is a member
of the Swedish Mission Church and an active member of the Dorcas Society.

JOHN H. HANSON.— A resident of Stanislaus County since 1903, during
which time he has been associated with the building up of the agricultural interests
of the county, John H. Hanson was born in Grenola, Elk County, Kans., January 24,
1875. His father, Chas. Hanson, a wheelwright, was born in Fyen, Denmark. He
served as a soldier in the Danish army in the Slesvig-Holstein War. Coming to New
York, he followed his trade and there married Angeline Scott, who was born in West
Saugerties, N.'Y., whose father was a captain in the Mexican War. They migrated
to Elk County, Kans., and there purchased school land and engaged in farming until
1881, when they sold and removed to Boise City, Idaho, and three years later went
on to Wallowa, Ore., where Chas. Hanson homesteaded and improved a farm. He
died in 1908, and his widow now makes her home at Enterprise, Ore.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 1429

Of the family of ten children, John H. is the second oldest of the seven now
living; being reared on the frontier farm in Oregon from the age of nine years, and
received his education in the public schools of the locality. From the time of his
arrival in Oregon, when nine years old, he began to work in the fields, driving teams
and riding the range after cattle, becoming proficient at riding, roping and branding,
as well as breaking horses. When twelve years of age he entered the employ of
Anthony Morgan, continuing with him for seven years. He then followed carpenter-
ing for a while, but soon again returned to the employ of Mr. Morgan.

Mr. Hanson was married in Wallowa County, Ore., January 28, 1903, to Miss
Laurine Katterine Ipsen, who was born in Bornholm, Denmark^the daughter of
Henrick and Mattia (Larsen) Ipsen, farmer folk. Her father died when she was
nine years of age, while her mother is still living in Bornholm. Of their six children,
four are living, Laurine being the third oldest, and residing in Denmark until the
spring after her father died, when she came to Wallowa County, Ore., to live with
her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Morgan, receiving a good education in
the public schools of Oregon. In 1900, when eighteen years of age, she accompanied
Mr. and Mrs. Morgan on a trip to Denmark, visiting eastern cities en route. After a
year's trip, they returned home, accompanied by her sister, Miss Andrea Ipsen, who
now resides in Salem, Ore.

In 1903, Mr. Hanson sold his ranch in Oregon and with his wife came to
Modesto at the same time that Anthony Morgan and his family came. For two
years he followed the carpenter trade and then joined Mr. Morgan in farming and
dairying. He purchased sixty acres near Mr. Morgan's ranch, which he improved
to alfalfa. Aside from dairying they raised sheep, horses and mules. They engaged
in shipping horses from Oregon to their ranch, which they broke to harness and sold
to ranchers in Stanislaus County, and in this way probably brought a thousand head



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 164 of 177)