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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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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 175

Hotel. During this time, P. C. Lander, who came to California in 1867 for his
health, died January 27, 1876, and his brother Richard was appointed to the office.
Lander was succeeded by E. M. Pierce. After a time he was found short in his
accounts and he was superseded by Stony Allen. During Allen's appointment the
office was again moved to the West Side in a store southwest corner of First and Main
streets. Allen was superseded by John L. Brown, formerly a saloonkeeper and notary
public. Brown was a Republican, a popular man, well liked by the citizens, and
he held the office from 1901 until 1917. Then Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic
nominee, was elected President and Brown was superseded by a native son, Ralph P.
Giddings. Regarding the growth of Turlock from a post office view, in April, 1909,
an excursion of business men from Stockton visited Turlock. David F. Lane of
Turlock, in a speech, said: "Fifteen years ago (1894) there were only 150 people
getting their mail at Turlock post office, now there are 1,800 people in the city and
5,000 in the district getting their mail from the office. In 1903, $20,000 was all the
money the farmers had deposited in the banks, now they have $892,639 deposited."

The Turlock Churches
"I can tell you that Turlock is a town of churches," said a recent visitor to that
city. True it is and with its population of 4,000 inhabitants it supports sixteen differ-
ent denominations. A large portion of the membership live in the surrounding country.
When they attended service on a Sunday it looked, said the visitor, like a big circus
day so many were the horses and wagons around the places of worship. Now they are
surrounded by automobiles. Included in the number of churches there are three of
the Swedish faith, namely the Free Church, The Swedish Baptist and the Swedish
Mission. The church last named is one of the largest and most costly edifices in
Turlock. Then comes the Seventh Day Adventist, the Nazarene, Lutheran, the First
Church of Christ, Scientist, the Brethren, the Free Methodist, the Presbyterian and
the Methodist Episcopal. All of these congregations save the Swedish Mission hold
service in buildings constructed of wood. The Baptist, the Christian, the Catholic and
the Mission are built of reinforced concrete.

The Methodist Episcopal Church
"The first church work in Turlock," said the Rev. H. J. Farr, "dates back to
1868, when a Baptist minister named Father Reese came riding over the plains and
held religious service in the homes of the people, notably the home of Mr. and Mrs.
S. V. Porter. While Mr. and Mrs. Porter were devout Methodists, they were liberal
minded and perfectly willing to fellowship with other religious denominations, hence
various pastors from other denominations held religious services in their home. As
the religious population increased in number the home of the Porters was over-crowded
and religious services were held in the little public school building, now the site of
the cemetery. Services were held by different denominations in the schoolhouse. A
Union Sunday school was organized and the Christmas celebration of December 21,
1871, is still a pleasant memory of many now living. The California Conference of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, established a church at Turlock in 1881, and the
pulpit was supplied by that splendid pioneer pastor, Rev. W. C. Curry, living at
Ceres. Mr. and Mrs. Porter in 1887 presented the church trustees a lot, at the corner
of West Main and Lander Avenue for the purpose of building a house of worship.
The following year Turlock was reported to have a "boom" and that year the Metho-
dists erected a neat handsome building at a cost of $6,350. The church was dedicated
October 7, 1888. Heavily mortgaged, they were unable to pay the debt and "after
a continuous struggle for ten years the property was sold to the Swedish Mission,"
says Mrs. S. V. Porter, who sent me these notes. The loss of the property was
unfortunate and very disheartening to the zealous Methodists of Turlock for it caused
a scattering of the congregation. Six years later the conference declined to make any
further appointments for Turlock. Ten years passed. In November 1906 water
was flowing over the land, the population had rapidly increased in numbers, many
Methodists had located in the town and the church was reorganized. The reorganiza-



176 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

tion took place in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Porter, the presiding elder of the district,
Rev. H. E. Beeks, effecting the reorganization. A full board of stewards and trustees
were appointed, with Rev. Irwin Farr as temporary pastor. For over two years the
congregation worshipped in rented halls and a tabernacle which they erected. In 1908
the trustees secured the lot corner of Broadway and A Street and they erected a very
pretty and comfortable building. The church has been enlarged several times to accom-
modate the increasing congregation and the trustees are now planning a new up-to-date
building with a community center. The church has a flourishing Sunday school.

The Rev. E. B. Winning made a special effort in the work of the Sunday school.
The church also rapidly increased in membership and when the present pastor, Fred
A. Feast took charge in September, 1918, he found a membership of 500, now increased
to over 700. The following pastors have served : Reverends William C. Curry, Sep-
tember, 1881, to September, 1884; J. H. Jones, 1884-1887; D. W. Calfee, 1887;
Lorenzo Fellers, Thomas Leak, John Appletin, J. S. Smith and no further appointment
until 1906. Rev. Irwin Farr, temporary pastor, November, 1906; J. M. Hilbish,
December 20, 1906-1908; E. H. Mackay, 1908-1911; J. U. Simmons, 1911-1915;
E. B. Winning, 1915-1918; Fred A. Feast, 1918, present pastor.

The Methodist Church was erected on the West Side and the Baptist and Con-
gregationalist on the East Side. The last-named congregation erected a fine church
edifice but it also was heavily mortgaged and when in time compelled to sell, it was
purchased by the Brethren. The Seventh Day Adventists were organized in 1906, the
Presbyterians in 1910.

The Catholics

The Catholics in July, 1889, erected a little wood structure, 24x36 feet, seating
100 persons, at a cost of $1,800. Mass was celebrated by Father Thomas Maguire
from Modesto. Father Bailey became a resident pastor in 1910. The following year
the archbishop erected Sacred Heart Church, a handsome brick structure costing
$25,000, and with its two towers, one supporting a large bell, is an imposing building.

The Newspapers of Turlock

California newspapers are as prolific as mushrooms; they as quickly come to life
and as quickly fade away. Turlock was honored by a newspaper the Turlock Times
as early as April, 1892. Its editor was D. J. Foley. On November 11, 1904, the
Turlock Journal was published by J. L. and H. T. Randolph, who had lately come
to California, from the eastern states. They issued an eight-page, four-column weekly,
on an old-fashioned platen press. Meeting with considerable success in August, 1906,
they purchased a Babcock cylinder press and changed the form of the paper to a four-
page, six-column publication. Later it appears they took in Tipton Randolph, who
acted as the bookkeeper, with Urellis Randolph as pressman. They were an enter-
prising class of men and in February, 1910, they issued a splendid special edition of
Turlock from which I got considerable information. It was quite profusely illustrated
with cuts of Turlock in 1888, showing half-tones of the Catholic and Congregational
churches, the high school building, Fountain and Turlock hotels and street scenes.
In 1918 there was a popular young printer on North Broadway, named Edwin
Ullberg, proprietor of a print shop. The following year he purchased the Journal and
immediately began issuing a morning daily paper. The paper has had some good
editors, at one time Paul Bronaugh, formerly of the Stockton Record, now on the
Modesto Herald; A. V. Hoffman, editor in 1917, Melvin C. Mayne and Mr.
Greenfield.

Another bright little newspaper is the Turlock Tribune, published by Veda C.
Calkins with Bailey Rosette as editor. It is a six-column eight-page journal and is
published thrice weekly. It was first issued in 1911 by C. W. Dockinhouse, and four
years later, November, 1916, it was sold to Veda C. Calkins and Lou K. Reimfield.
On the first of April, 1920, Mrs. Calkins purchased her partner's interest in the paper.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 177

The Public Schools

Turlock is proud of her public schools and her school buildings, as handsome and
up-to-date as may be found. The high school building and its beautiful surroundings
have been pronounced the equal of any in the state. The public school system of the
city began with fifteen pupils in 1870. The schoolhouse was a small cheap wooden
building erected for a county school about a mile west of the town. Mrs. Hughs was
the pioneer teacher. After the town grew in size the school was moved to what was
known as Grangers Hall on North Front Street near Main Street, later it was moved
to Washington Hall on East Main Street. In 1883 the citizens erected the four-
room, two-story school building where now stands the Hawthorne school. That fine,
twelve-room building was erected in 1894 and served its purpose for a short time only,
as the city was growing rapidly in population and soon there was a cry for more
school room. The trustees then purchased about three and a half acres of land on the
west side for a new school site. The property was purchased of Cooper & Lyons,
for $2,200, the owners generously deducting $600 from their selling price because of
its object. There the present Lowell eight-room building was erected. The trustees
in 1920 built additional rooms to the Hawthorne school and will soon erect a second
grammar school on the east side.

The Turlock high school was organized in 1906 and a high school was erected
at a cost of $25,000. Each year since its organization the class has had its class
exercises and its baccalaureate sermon delivered by some prominent pastor and its
commencement exercises in some public hall. The graduating exercises in 1920 were
held June 14 in the Turlock Theater. It is the largest of graduating classes and
includes three who have received special honors, namely, Doris Olson, Ella Crowell
and Kathleen Britton. The exercises in the theater comprised an invocation by the
Rev. C. R. Eastman ; class greeting, Doris Olson ; song by a double quartette ; address,
Rev. Thomas Giffen of Fresno ; pianp solo, Doris Olson ; presentation of class gift by
James Howard, '20; acceptance of gift, Elvin Knutsen, '21; awarding of diplomas,
President C. C. Carlson; class song, composed by Wells Hively; benediction, Rev.
E. C. Gammon.

Memorial Day Celebration

The 30th of May, a day observed in every large city in the nation was first
observed in Turlock in 1909. On that day a large crowd assembled in the Swedish
Mission Church to "honor the men who died that our country might live." The
exercises began by an introductory speech by the old Grand Army veteran, Julius
Cuendet, who related incidents in the Civil War ; prayer by Rev. C. S. Needham ;
address by the Reverend Rodger Darling, "This day shall be unto you for a memorial" ;
benediction, Rev. H. P. Farr. During the exercises music was furnished by a male
quartette comprising J. W. Farr, O. H. Roberts, J. Elmer and Rev. H. P. Farr.

The Great Fire of 1910
The fire caused by a defective flue broke out in the tailor shop of P. O. Clint &
Sons, located on West Main Street near the St. Elmo Hotel. A heavy wind
was blowing at the time and the flames, spreading rapidly through the wooden
shanties in less than one hour, over 140 feet of business firms were destroyed. For a
time the entire business part of the town was threatened and the firemen had great
difficulty in saving the St. Elmo Hotel, at the time one of the finest hotels in the
upper valley. The firemen had two heavy streams of water playing upon the flames
and they did not succeed in extinguishing the flames until over $20,000 worth of prop-
erty was consumed. The St. Elmo was badly damaged, the fire burning out the
windows and setting fire to the rooms of all three stores on the west side of the
building. Among the losses were those of B. W. Childs & Company, real estate, Mr.
Childs losing a valuable library which he had been twenty years collecting; Turlock
Shoe Shop, Turlock Tanning Company, P. O. Clint & Son, tailors; Cadwalader &
Baker, real estate; W. Litchfield, cigars and pool room; A. L. McGill, insurance;
Cunningham & Lundrake, clothing; D. Salberg, Rapp Brothers, butchers, and Dr.



178 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Dexter, dentist. The burned block was immediately rebuilt with pressed brick at a
cost of $40,000 and now presents a neat and handsome appearance.

The Turlock Fire Department
The fire department upon which the city depends to protect it from destruction
from fire, is first class as to its man power, for its consists of a volunteer department of
twenty-four virile young men, full of enthusiasm. Its fire apparatus, however, seems
to an outsider to be a joke. It does the work, however, as was shown in the late
Carolyn Hotel fire. After the fire of 1893, there was not much of the town left
except Osborn's store, alone on the sand lot. The town was practically dead, but
after the completing of the irrigation canal the town began to grow. In 1907 a
fire department was organized with H. S. Crane, M. M. Hedman and J. Gall as
trustees. These men purchased a sixty-gallon chemical engine, and they also ordered
a local manufactured combination wagon to carry hose and hooks and ladders. A
small alarm bell was purchased and the Southern Pacific permitted its erection in the
tower on the reservation. In 1909 the trustees purchased something new in the fire-
fighting line; it was what is known as a Howe cylinder pump, with a twenty-horse-
power gasoline engine. On its first trial, the engine was set at a well near Osborn's
store and threw a stream of water twice the height of the St. Elmo Hotel. It was
the first fire engine of its kind in California. It plays two one-inch streams, drawing
water from a well or hydrant, and now mounted on a Ford truck seems to fill the bill.
The department also has a combination chemical and hose wagon and with a forty-
five-pound pressure from the hydrants, they have plenty of water and sufficient force
to extinguish any fire. In the pioneer days water was obtained from wells bored
in the earth from thirty to sixty feet and windmills were everywhere seen. In 1909,
January 17th, the citizens by their vote of 171 to 11, authorized the city trustees to
bond the- city $26,000 for municipal water works and $27,000 for a sewer system.
They now have a large pumping plant drawing water from wells 150 feet deep, and
two large steel tanks which supply the city with an abundance of pure water.

Turlock the First "Dry Town"

Turlock was incorporated under the general state law of 1908, which authorized
any town of less than 5,000 inhabitants to organize a city government of the sixth class
and elect as city officials a board of five trustees, and from this number shall be chosen
a president of the board, a city clerk, city attorney, a city treasurer and city marshal.
The election was held January 21, 1908, and the following officers elected: president,
H. S. Crane; trustees, H. C. Blewett, E. B. Osborn, Theodore Olson and August P.
Warren; Clerk, A. G. Elmore; treasurer, Charles Klein; marshal, E. T. Skiff.

The first election was interesting and important but not half as important or
exciting as the second city election that of January, 1910. The excitement was not
because of the keen rivalry of "seekers of office" so much as the all-important question :
"Shall the board of trustees pass a high license ordinance of saloons or refuse to license
them?" If the majority voted against the high license then the saloons must close
their doors for evermore, on July 1, 1910. "The election was the most strenuous ever
held. Business was deserted and for one day the people fought a great fight." The
interest in the candidates was intense. The most interest, however, centered on the
question, "saloons or no saloons." The drys were out in full force as were the wets
and both sides had registered every possible man to assist them in the struggle. When
the polls closed at six o'clock the City Hall was filled with an eager crowd and there
was great excitement as the count progressed. It was seen when the count was two-
thirds over that the drys had won the victory by a majority of sixty-three.

The election aside from the liquor question resulted as follows: Trustees for the
full term of four vears, three to be elected, Dr. T. N. Topp, 252; A. J. Clipper, 211 ;
Charles H. Geer,183; J. V. Baker, 182; C. C. Cullen, 143. For the term of two
years, H. S. Crane, 217; E. B. Osborn, 195; H. C. Houskin, 121 ; Theodore Olson,
120; for clerk, A. G. Elmore, 236; for treasurer, Charles Klein, 91 ; for marshal, E.
T. Skiff, 192; John L. Kiernan, 18.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 179

Turlock's area is nearly square four miles, the canal forming two-thirds of the
eastern boundary. The first survey of the townsite was made under the direction of
John W. Mitchell. All subsequent surveys have been made by John T. Luyster, for
many years city engineer. Additions to the town were made from time to time by
different owners of land tracts and the result is a very incongruous assortment of
blocks. Some are 250 feet by 800 feet in length. Some are 300x400 feet in size, and
there are several so-called blocks containing less than an acre of land. Denair Park,
on the east side, contains less than an acre and a half of land, with streets upon three
sides. While on the other hand the Free Library is located on the north end of a
block 800 feet in length, with streets upon three sides, the apex not exceeding 150 feet
in width. For a small city Turlock is to be commended for her many miles of well-
paved streets and it has been asserted that for her size and age the city has more
miles of asphalt paved streets than any other city in the United States.

Turlock Lodges and Societies

The city had literary aspirations as early as 1904 and December 3, a literary
society was organized with W. C. Blewett as president; D. L. Lane, vice-president;
Pauline Klein, secretary; Dr. Hicks, treasurer, and John Holmes, sergeant-at-arms.

There are twelve Turlock societies that hold their meetings in Fraternal Hall
on East Market Street near Front Street. The smaller societies hold their meetings
during the daylight hours of the morning or the afternoon. One of these societies is
Turlock Lodge No. 98, Knights of Pythias. It was organized in 1909 by Grand
Chancellor W. D. Wagner of San Bernardino, with twenty-five charter members.
The meetings were held in the Gall-Denair Hall. The officers from the Newman
Lodge K. of P. came over and conferred the degree on ten young men. The first
officers of the Lodge were chief chancellor, J. L. Randolph ; vice-chancellor, L. J.
Gaamewell; prelate, M. E. Hickok; master of work, Louis Wolf; master of exchequer,
E. T. Vignolo; master of finance, L. T. Brown; inside guardian, Dan Gilroy; outside
guardian, T. W. Sundy.

Turlock Lodge No. 395, F & A. M., was instituted November 14, 1908, by
Grand Master Oscar E. Lawler of Los Angeles. For nearly a year a number of
Masons were engaged in the necessary preliminary work and in finding enough Masons
:o organize a lodge. They finally succeeded in interesting eight past masters and with
:hem, sixteen Masons signed up for a dispensation. It was granted by the Grand
Lodge in October, 1908, and the following officers were elected and installed: B. W.
Childs, worthy master; Donald Bymore, senior warden ;'C. R. Bronough, junior war-
den; J. B. Quigley, treasurer; Dr. B. F. Clarke, secretary; Dr. B. H. Nichols, senior
deacon; H. W. Rickenbacher, junior deacon; C. C. Coffinbury and James Funk,
stewards. B. W. Childs was installed as worthy master January 28, 1910, for the
third term. On that occasion he wore a beautiful hand-painted apron, which belonged
to his grandfather, who wore the same apron when installed as worthy master.

The Masons have now erected a magnificent three-story building at a cost of
$250,000. The new Masonic temple is a credit to the order and the pride of the
citizens of the city. Turlock has another beautiful building, its new theater. It was
erected by Messrs. Crane, Greer and Varner, and completed in 1920, cost complete a
quarter of a million dollars.

Turlock Lodge No. 402, I. O. O. F., was instituted January 18, 1908, by H. P.
Weyer, deputy district grand master, assisted by H. D. Richardson, grand secretary
and the following past grands: George Perley, James Leonard, Charles MacDonald,
B. F. Fowle, A. R. Schofield and J. R. Broughton. The following are the charter
members: Guy F. Donkin, Joseph Samuelson, Daniel Raymond, Arthur G Crowell,
John R. Adams, John Carlson and Joseph A. Coveney. Eight candidates were
initiated.

Pansy Rebekah Lodge No. 230, was instituted September 8, 1908. by Dora B.
Carr, deputy district president. The following are the charter members: Margaret
and Maurice W. Huff, Bertha and Thomas Menzies, Mattie and George Hale,



180 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Minnie Lofflin, Flora Anson, Alonzo Brackett, Isabel and P. E. Anderson, Eliza
Lauder, Rachel MaoGregor and Hazel Edmondson.

The Woman's Club

The Woman's Club was organized June 12, 1906, in the Church of the Brethren.
Its object was the civic improvement of the city, and soon after its organization the
city trustees put them in full charge of the cemetery. It must have been in a very neg-
lected condition, for we read that the club employed three men, working for three
weeks, making the sacred ground presentable. Unfenced, they also spent $300 in en-
closing the grounds, obtaining the money by a "Tag Day" sale. In 1908, a little library
was established in a little store on West Main Street. The librarian was Mrs. S. R.
Douglas and the library was sustained by patrons from city and county, who paid
twenty-five cents per month. In the following year the Woman's Club donated
twenty-five dollars to the library with the understanding that the money should be ex-
pended in purchase of children's books, the money coming, perhaps, from proceeds of
the concert given March 3, 1909, in the Turlock Opera House. There was a chorus of
fifty singers directed by Professor Fred Twicher, formerly of Boston, Mass. Mrs.
Laura De Yoe Brown, soprano, and B. P. Hawkins assisted as soloists. The orchestra,
with Professor Kasky as leader, comprised Miss Nelson, pianist; John Osborn, Dr. John
Hodges, H. T. Randolph, H. C. Blewett and Andrew Dutillieul. The city trustees
took over the library in 1910 and October 5 passed an ordinance supporting the library
by taxation.

The Carnegie Library

In the far East there was a naturalized Scotchman named Andrew Carnegie. He
made so much money out of steel he didn't know what to do with it. As one means of
disposing of it he began giving away the coin for the building in various parts of the
country free public library buildings. Attached to the gifts were certain strings, first
the library should forever be called by his name ; second, the lot must be secured free of
any debt or mortgage ; third, the city trustees must contract to furnish a certain amount
of money per annum in support of the library. This amount varied in proportion to
the amount appropriated for the library building. A few of the enterprising women of
Turlock who heard of the generosity of this billionaire proposed taking advantage of it,
and a club was organized to serve as a working base for the erection of a Carnegie
Library. The Turlock Civic Club, as it was called, was organized December 4, 1914,
with the following officers : President, Cora Johnson ; secretary, Mrs. Ethel Sill ;
treasurer, Mrs. C. E. Brown. The club seems to have comprised a library-getting
quartette, for the three club officers, together with Mrs. California Walker, did all
of the preliminary work of communicating with Carnegie's agent, soliciting funds,
selecting and purchasing the site. After the purchase of the lot on North Broadway,
the deed was offered to the city trustees for their acceptance. By a vote of three to one
the deed was accepted by the trustees. For some reason one trustee voted no and one
refused to vote; perhaps, like the Oakdale trustees, they thought Carnegie's money



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 27 of 177)