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 17 of 177)
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years. In May, 1901, the session extended a call to the Rev. E. A. Holridge. He
accepted and remained in charge until July 1, 1903. In October, 1903, Rev. H. K.
Pitman took charge and continued as their beloved pastor until the allied war Then,


believing in his duty to his country, he resigned and took up war work with the
Y. M. C. A. The present pastor is the Rev. M. C. Martin.

In a neat little cottage residence on Seventh Street near H Street, the Danish
Baptists worship. It is the youngest religious denomination in Modesto, having been
organized May 4, 1916, by the traveling missionary, N. L. Christensen. The charter
members of the little church assembled that day in the home of L. C. Nielson in the
Woods Colony. They were M. J. Petersen, Mr. and Mrs. James H. Petersen, Mr.
and Mrs. M. West, Mr. and Mrs. Peter H. Petersen, Mrs. Andrew Christensen,
Mrs. Peter Miller, Mrs. Haus P. Holm, Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Neilsen, Mrs. John
Jensen, Miss Mark Kaas and Miss Louise Lindgreen. Rev. Peter Jorgensen, who took
charge of the work January 20, 1917, is still in the field. The Sunday school was
organized at the same time as the church, and Mr. L. C. Nielsen has continued from
that time until the present time as its superintendent.


On the corner of H and Fourteenth streets stands the neat little building of the
Episcopalians. Rev. A. L. Walters is the rector in charge. It was organized in 1879
as St. Paul's Mission by the Rev. D. O. Kelley of Trinity Church, San Francisco.
He was succeeded in 1880 by the Rev. D. L. Mott, the parish missionary until 1883.
During his term as rector the little chapel was erected. No chancel was built at that
time, but in 1909 the Rev. W. H. Harker became resident rector and a chancel was
built, Mr. Harker doing the principal work. Still later choir stalls were built, the
gift of Mrs. Frank Cressey, Sr. In 1912 the guild hall was built at a cost of $2,300.

According to the official report, the church was incorporated in 1885, with the
following persons acting as trustees and officers: George W. Schell, the attorney, as
president, Harry French, secretary, and A. M. Hill, treasurer. According to a press
report the church was incorporated when it became a parish June 20, 1910. At that
time Bishop Nichol appointed Rev. W. H. Harker to conduct the election of the fol-
lowing vestrymen: J. C. Naylor, Henry S. French, Frank A. Cressey, Sr., H. H.
Hatton and Vital E. Bangs. The senior warden was J. C. Naylor and the junior
warden, A. H. Williams. The vestrymen at this time (1920) are L. F. Baker, C. K.
Garrison, C. W. Doner, O. H. Williams and A. L. Walters.

As we have stated, St. Paul's Episcopal Church was a mission only from its
organization in 1879 until 1909. During those many years the congregation were
obliged to accept the services of those who were willing to preach the gospel almost
gratuitously. Nearly all of the supply came from the churches of San Francisco,
being sent on the mission bv Bishops Kip and Nichol. Thev served in the following
order: Rev. D. O. Kelle v ; 1879; D. L. Mott, 1880-83; Henrv Scott Jeffres, 1884-
85; Archdeacon Scrivner and W. H. Dver, 1886-87; Rev. Octavius, June 5, 1891;
D. O. Kellev, 1899; H. F. Compton, May, 1907; C. S. Lindsey, March, 1908;
Charles Mainan, 1908-09. The first parish rector remained until April, 1911. Then
came Rev. W. H. Wheeler, who remained one year, followed by Rev. John Atwell,
May to November, 1912; W. P. Williams, April, 1913, to May, 1915; Charles
Hitchcock, July, 1915, to May, 1916; Oliver Kingman, May, 1916, to March, 1917,
the present pastor, A. L. Walters, taking charge June 1, 1917.

With an ever-changing pastorate no church could rapidly increase either in spir-
itual influence or membership, but St. Paul's has held its own. In 1885 the member-
ship of the church was fifty-seven, and the number of children, forty-four.
The membership is now 218, with thirty-five children in the Sunday school.
Confirmation services were first held in 1891, Bishop Nichol confirming three candi-
dates. The first marriage in the county by an Episcopal minister was at Turlock,
October 27, 1885, Rev. W. H. Dyer then united in marriage Herbert Dunn and
Miss Tymlson.



This church, said Branch, is the oldest religious organization in Modesto. Or-
ganized in 1871, it became the circuit headquarters, which included Adamsville, Dry
Creek, Knights Ferry, Burneyville and the district surrounding Modesto. In 1875
the church was made a station and it has supported its ministers without any church
board assistance since that date.

Another account, one handed to me by Henry F. Turner, says that the church
was organized in 1864 by Silas Belknap with eleven persons, namely: Mr. and Mrs.
J. F. McLaughlin, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Long, Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Fincher, Mrs.
Anna Monroe, Mrs. C. E. Henderson, Miss Carrie Moore, Len Crawford and S. E.

Its first board of trustees were A. J. Hart, C. J. Cressey, Isaac Frye, Frank
Kett and A. Calderwood. The church was incorporated in 1873 with Garrison Tur-
ner, Isaac Frye, Theodore Turner, F. F. and Albert Fuquay as trustees. The trustees
in 1873 purchased lots at the corner of H and Fourteenth streets and erected a church
of frame construction at a cost of $4,000 and a parsonage costing $1,500. A much
larger and finer building was erected in 1889, the press stating September 27: "The
Methodist Church is progressing rapidly to completion. The steeple and weather-
vane, surmounted by an immense bronze ball, are in place, and it already presents an
imposing appearance." The fire across the alley in 1890 badly damaged the edifice
and the church was rebuilt in 1891 at a cost of $10,000. The continued growth of
the congregation compelled them to make additional room and a substantial rebuild-
ing was carried out in 1906 at a cost of $15,000. Still more room became necessary
and in September, 1910, more additions were made, together with a new heating plant
:ind a $3,000 pipe organ. The entire work of rebuilding was performed by union labor.
As an appreciation of that fact, a day was set and the unions of Modesto were com-
manded to attend the service on Sunday morning, January 15, 1911, in a body.

Among the pastors of the church we note Revs. J. L. Burchard, E. M. Stewart, C.
G. Belknap, E. A. Hazen, C. G. Miles, E. A. Winning, C. E. Rich, 1881; Westlev
Dennett, 1890; F. C. Lee, 1899; Edgar F. Brown, 1910-11 ; C. B. Sylvester, 1919-20.

The church membership in 1881 numbered 108, with seventeen probationers,
and now numbers 650. The Sunday school in 1881 numbered 185, which has increased
to over 500. For twenty continuous years, up to and including 1911, Henry E. Turner
was the Sunday school superintendent; the present superintendent is W. F. Ramont.

This organization several years ago erected a frame edifice on the corner of
Sixth and J streets. The members are principally farmers and voluntarily they give
their tithes to the Lord. A few years ago they sold their building to the Colored Bap-
tists and erected on the site a neat, substantial, concrete house of worship.

Along religious lines, one of the most remarkable growths, especially in the
large cities during the past twenty-five years is the growth of the Christian Scientists.
It is the religion founded by Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy and rich and poor alike have
accepted the doctrine as set forth in her book, Science and Health. In Modesto,
meetings were held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Spanker, corner of J and Thir-
teenth streets. After a time their numbers had so increased the house was not
large enough and they assembled in the Masonic hall. Officially recognized, a
Christian Science society was organized in 1909 and continuing their services until
1917 that year in September they obtained a charter for the "First Church of Christ,
Scientist, of Modesto." Shortly after that they rented a small wooden building on
Thirteenth Street near J, formerly a Protestant church, where they now hold services;
they also maintain free reading room for the public.



The press is the moulder of public opinion all of the time ; the servant of a
political part.v and of corporations the most of the time, and the greatest of prevarica-
tors among men, sometimes. Hence we find the newspapers of the county joined to
some party, favoring some corporation and at times "lying to beat the band." In
March, 1850, there was published at Stockton a paper called the Stockton Times and
Tuolumne Intelligencer. It was a Democratic newspaper and the proprietors in-
tended to supply the wants of the citizens of Stanislaus (then Tuolumne County)
with the news. As the county had no mail service this idea was quickly abandoned
and the last name omitted as there was no way in which the paper could reach its
subscribers. The first paper in the county was the Knights Ferry Bee which was
published September, 1859, by W. J. Collier. In a short time the Bee passed into
the hands of J. B. Kennedy, who stated that the paper would be published every
Saturday morning "from the office, north side of the public square." It was a
four-page, six-column paper and the price was twenty-five cents per copy or five dollars
a year. Wholesale liquor houses and whisky shops, together with famous restaurants
in Stockton and San Francisco, formed the bulk of its advertisements. In Knights
Ferry, N. L. Buddington called attention to his splendid bar which was stocked with
the choicest liquors and newly cushioned billiard table, the best in the town. The
Bee discontinued its publication in less than fourteen months. Its successor was the
Stanislaus Index. It was first published in 1861 by Garrison & Whicher, and it sus-
pended publication shortly after the flood of January, 1862. Six years later and the
miners were leaving the "diggings," for they declared the mines had "petered out"
and they began locating in the valley and seacoast cities.

Among those whose fortunes were blasted by the exodus of the miners was a
young man named J. D. Spencer, who was then publishing in San Andreas a paper
called the Mountain News. A Virginian by birth, he returned to California the
second time with his family in 1853 and began mining in Calaveras County.
In 1862 he engaged in the photographic business and three years later became an
editor in charge of the Woodbridge Messenger on the banks of the Mokelumne River.
Young Spencer, then twenty-five years of age, entered into politics and strongly
espoused the Democratic party. In November, 1867, he published the Mountain
News. At that time indications were that Stanislaus would soon become a large and
flourishing county and having no paper he concluded to locate in Tuolumne City
and publish a Democratic paper. Landing there early in 1868, on February 14, the
first copy of the Tuolumne News was issued. It was a four-page, six-column paper
and published every Friday morning in the upper story of the Ross House, the hotel
being upon the main street of the town. The News in its politics was thoroughly
Democratic, "yet at the same time warmly enlisted in the progress and advancement
of the county. By its boldness the land office ring at Stockton was broken up and
it next boldly urged the repeal of the 'no fence law,' thus securing the new settlers
from the heavy expense of fencing their lands before their crops could be raised."

"The News" Moved to Modesto
Mr. Spencer soon learned that he had made a mistake in locating in Tuolumne
City and immediately he began making preparations to move to the new railroad
town. In the last issue of his paper, November 29, 1869, he said: "We came here
three years ago assisted by friends expecting that the Tuolumne would be navigable
for at least ten months of the year. Now the railroad will kill the town and we
intend moving to Modesto. There we can daily get the news and issue a daily
and a much better paper." Tuolumne City at that time had a population of about
300 people and one-half of the county's population lived within thirteen miles of
the town. There were other inducements which caused the removal of the paper


to Modesto, namely, a deed to two town lots free of cost. About this time, Miner
Walden, assemblyman from Stanislaus, concluded that his future political interests
and those of the Neivs were identical. Going to the agent of the contract and finance
committee of the Southern Pacific he induced them to deed two lots to J. D.
Spencer for a home and printing plant. Although the News was antagonistic to the
railroad politically and as a corporation, they agreed to deed Spencer the land, as a
good paper would help to advertise and boom the town. In the spring of 1870 the
printing plant was loaded upon wagons and moved to Modesto. Branch, in record-
ing this event wrote: "When the News office was located on its present site, there
were not a half a dozen shanties in the town of Modesto. It stood alone, isolated,
facing the east, with no view or prospect to break the monotony of the broad, sweep-
ing plains, until the unobstructed vision rested on the snow-clad peaks upon the
Yosemite." The office was located in a deep swale or slough, rendering it almost im-
possible to reach it during the rainy season. The name of the paper was changed
to the Stanislaus Neivs and the first number was issued December 2, 1870. It was
issued as a four-page, six-column paper with a subscription price of five dollars per
annum. The advertising rates were three dollars per square one insertion of ten or
less lines. Contract rates on quarterly contracts were considerably less than the
regular rates. Among his first advertisers may be found the firm of George W.
Schell and J. J. Scrivner, attorneys and real estate, Knights Ferry ; Thomas A. Cold-
well, district attorney, Knights Ferry; Abraham Schell and A. Hewel, residing in the
county seat; John B. Hall, W. C. Buckley, Warren S. Montgomery, Stockton; Maj.
James Burney, notary public, Burneyville, and B. G. Wier, justice of the peace,
Tuolumne City,

Spencer continued publishing the Neivs as a weekly paper until December, 1884,
when he branched out December 1, 1884, as the Daily Evening Neivs. The price was,
one year, five dollars; six months, three dollars; three months, one dollar and fifty
cents. It was published as a four-page, five-column paper. In the first issue the
editor said : "The Daily Evening News makes its formal bow to the public today. It
is here in accordance with the overwhelming call of the popular sentiment of the
people of this county. In politics every one has a right to expect that it will be
strongly, boldly and aggressively Democratic. In the issuing of a daily it is no secret
that strong Democratic friends, numbering among them the wealthiest, truest and
best citizens, have generously assisted in this daily publication to offset the politics
of Republicanism, preached in our daily press." The paper had a circulation of 800
or 900, says C. P. Rendon, with J. D. Spencer as editor; James Madrell, reporter,
and C. P. Rendon as compositor. Rendon, who later was district attorney of San
Joaquin County for twenty years, was born in Stanislaus County at La Grange, and
learned the printer's trade on the Wheat Grower at Oakdale. He was later employed
on the Modesto Strawbuck and later on the Republican, then conducted by H. I.
Bradford. Rendon began reading law with Thomas A. Coldwell, a Modesto lawyer.
In March, 1889, Spencer took in as a partner W. D. Crow and they published the
location of their paper as "corner of I and Eleventh streets, opposite the court house."

In 1881 Spencer purchased a new cylinder press and in 1890 he was compelled
to erect a new building. "We are cramped for room, as the building we are in is
one of the first moved from Tuolumne City and only eighteen feet wide, is too
narrow for our new machinery. It has been moved to an adjoining lot and a new
building, hard finished throughout, 25x75, will be erected." He was in his new
office March 24, and his expenses in publishing a daily were quite heavy, $800 per
month. His employees represented five families and four-fifths of the money was
spent in Modesto, he stated. The expense was too heavy and the paper went back to
a weekly edition. Five years later, December 13, 1895, Spencer died in Modesto.
For several years after his death the paper was published by the Spencer estate with
R. D. Maddrell as managing editor. In time he retired and J. H. Cavill took
charge, the News being issued as a four-page, eight-column paper.

When J. D. Spencer's son, Herbert, became of age he sold a half interest in the
paper to O. E. Perigo, and young Spencer disagreeing with Cavill in regard to the


management of the paper, Cavill retired and opened a print shop on I Street. In July,
1911, Perigo sold his half interest to J. W. Guyler, an employee in the office, and A.
W. Cowell, former editor of the Stockton Mail. Mr. Cowell was appointed secre-
tary of the irrigation company, and retired from newspaperdom. A corporation was
then formed. Spencer sold out and two gentlemen from Reno, Nev., E. T. Sherman
and S. T. Morgan, bought up the principal stock and are now conducting the News.

Long before his death the editor of the News had had many a political fight and
many a heated contest with its Republican opponent, the Morning Herald. And,
says the local historian, "in the days of fierce, journalistic rivalry and enmity, the
editors of the local press were not on speaking terms." Following close after the
establishment in Modesto of the News, a newspaper was issued by S. Marcey, in
1873, called the Modesto Mirror. It was independent in politics. In the spring of
1874 the Mirror was purchased by h: F. Beckwith who bought it from Marcey. In
the "local option" campaign some" years later the Mirror advocated the "dry" side
of the question, which resulted disastrously to that paper. The material was later
purchased by H. E. Luther, and that gentleman, January 28, 1875, issued the first
number of the Morning Herald. Then the paper was incorporated and H. E. Luther's
health failing, Charles Maxwell took charge of the paper and bought up all of the
stock. Maxwell seems to have been a successful newspaper man. He enlarged the
Herald from a six-column folio to a six-column quarto and in August, 1879, refitted
the office with new material, all except presses. The business increased rapidly and
in August, 1880, he moved to the second story of the Baum Building, southeast cor-
ner of H and Tenth streets, in the business center of the town. In its new quarters
the paper was again enlarged to a seven-column quarto. Republican in politics we
cannot imagine the cause of its success, for it was a Republican paper in the midst of
a strongly Democratic city and county. Notwithstanding the fact that the Herald
was the largest and best paying plant, its opponent, the Neil's, got all of the "political
pie." It received all of the city and county printing regardless of who was the lowest
bidder and in 1876 the Herald charged that the News had received $209.75 for print-
ing election notices. The Herald's bid was $70.50 for the same work. Although the
law plainly declared that the supervisors of each county shall give all county printing
to the lowest bidder, the supervisors in 1878 again gave the work to the News. The
Neivs' bid for the work was almost double that of the Herald's bid. It was alto-
gether too raw, and Maxwell of the Herald brought suit against the supervisors, ask-
ing that the Neivs bid be set aside. The case came up before Judge Booker of the
district court and he declared the Neil's bid was null and void.

Hanscom Shoots Himself
Sometime in the '80s the Herald came into the possession of A. E. Wagstaff, an
old newspaper -man who was very aggressive, with S. L. Hanscom as editor. From
that time on things were quite lively in Modesto for the Herald scored men and party
right and left for their illegal and "rotten work." In consequence of this fact Hans-
com's life was threatened and to protect himself he always went armed. Unfortunately,
on April 3, 1888, he was shot by his own weapon. He carried in his overcoat pocket
a self-cocking revolver and in sitting down in his office that day it was accidentally
discharged, the ball passing through the fleshy part of his leg about two inches below
the knee. In January, 1889, the San Francisco Chronicle said in playing for subscrip-
tions: "Stanislaus County is among the best-governed counties in the state." The
Herald , commenting upon the article, said : "The 'only trouble with the above is, it
isn't true. Today and as far back as we can remember Stanislaus has been pilfered
and robbed in every imaginable way by a set of Democratic thieves, typical of whom
is Johnny McCarty, whose red head is about to flash like a meteor across the bay to
San Quentin. How soon his successors will follow him, time will tell." -


Brown Attempts to Shoot Editor
Hanscom was called to account for his plain statements by an infuriated young
man named George Brown, a son of T. C. Brown, chairman of the board of super-
visors. It appears that Supervisor Brown was dominated by A. S. Fulkerth, and
when a certain proposition came up before the supervisors the Herald said in its
edition of July 25, 1889: "Brown of course, has to vote as Fulkerth tells him. Ful-
kerth knows too much about the crimes committed by a son of Brown's for the later
to refuse to do Fulkerth's slightest commands." Over a week later, on August 8, while
Hanscom was sitting in his office, young Brown entered. Stepping up to Hanscom s
desk he threw down a copy of the paper of July 25 and pointing to the article inquired :
"Are you the author of this?" "Yes," replied Hanscom. Brown then quickly drew a
revolver and pointing it at Hanscom's head, fired. Hanscom, fortunately, had thrown
up his hand a moment sooner and the ball passing over the editor's head, lodged in the
wall. Hanscom then grappled with the attempted assassin and parties hurrying
into the room found the men grappling- with each other, both with revolvers in their
hands, trying to use them. The two men were disarmed and Brown was taken to jail.
In the meantime parties on the street heard the shot and some cried out "murder"
and others yelled "fire!" The bell was rung and the whistle blown and in a few
minutes the firemen and a big crowd were on the street. A reporter from the News
office attempted to interview Brown in the jail. He was, however, so maudlin drunk
that little information could be obtained. He said that he would not have resented any
reflections upon himself, but his father was too good a man to be abused and vilified
and he would not permit it if he could help it.

Hanscom Libels Judge Hewel

Hanscom, who had been a county school teacher and later a reporter on the Neivs,
in 1890 purchased the Herald. He celebrated the event by an attack on Judge Hewel,
one of the attorneys in the county since 1864. Hewel, a German by birth, was a
prominent politician in those days of packed conventions, fraudulent voting, and when
the purchasable votes of Front Street carried many a candidate into office. He was
deputy county clerk in 1865; county clerk in 1866-67 and elected county judge in
1879. Hanscom "bearded the lion in his den" and through the Herald he accused
the Judge, while acting as an election officer, of folding the ballot of John Hays and
depositing it in the ballot box while the said John was so drunk he was unable to know
what he was doing. Hanscom also charged the Judge with dishonesty while acting as
an election clerk, 1870. Judge Hewel sued the writer for $40,000 damages to good
name and fame. The suit was called February 16, 1890, with Judge M. H. Harris
of Fresno presiding. L. J. Maddux and General J. R. Kittrelle appeared for Hanscom
and James H. Budd of Stockton and P. J. Hazen for the plaintiff. The jury sworn
in to try this remarkable and interesting suit according to the law and the evidence,
comprised N. E. De Yoe, John James, S. Shackelford, E. Gatzman, D. A. Brown, C.
M. Brockworth, N. M. Parsons, J. F. Davin, Frank Medina, E. Richardson, L. B.
Farrish and Moses Sheakley. The jury brought in a verdict in favor of Judge Hewel
and the Neics in commenting on it said: "By the above verdict Judge'Hewel is com-

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 17 of 177)