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 30 of 177)
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treasurer. The Legion was organized with a membership of fifty. It was named
after Stanley L. Collins, an Oakdale boy and engineer in the first expeditionary force
to cross over in the Tuscania. She was sunk by a German submarine.

Order of Eastern Star

The present secretary of the chapter, Elizabeth F. Crowe, writes to me that
Oakdale Chapter No. 226, O. E. S., was instituted in Odd Fellows Hall, Aoril 11,
1905. The instituting officers were Worthy Grand Patron pro tern George W. Lan-
gridge and Worthy Grand Matron Pauline Wetzlar Dohrman of Homo Chapter No.
SO, Stockton. These officers were assisted by the following grand officers pro tern:
Lizzie S. Wilcox, associate matron ; Mamye Lancaster, secretary; F. J. Yost, treasurer;
F. L. Kincaid, conductress; D. O. Castle, associate conductress; Zillah Wood, chap-
lain; Elmira West, marshal; Harriet K. Black, organist; Gertrude Rowland, Adah;
Ella B. Hornnee, Ruth; Roma Tulloch, Esther; Elizabeth Perrv, Martha; Luella E.
Cavis, Electa; Mary Manuel, warden, and William Emery, sentinel.

The charter members of the chapter are Henrv C. Barton, Ebenezer Crabtree,
Anna M. Hennemath, John L. Hennemath, William H. Hall. Orilla Hall, Bertha
C. Kahn, Joseph H. Kahn, Rheta Loraine Kahn, Darcev E. Lee, Frederick J. Martin",
John Henry Mulroy, Amanda H. Mulroy, Charles Calvin Wood, Essave Johanna
Wood. The following officers were elected and installed: Cecilia Kahn. worthy
matron; Charles Wood, worthy patron; Caroline Emery, associate matron; Rheta L.
Kach, secretary; H. C. Barton, treasurer; Mabel Kahn, conductress; Anna May Hen-
nemath. associate conductress. After the close of the meeting the members enjoyed a
feast in the adjoining hall.

Woman's Improvement Club

At the state election of October 10, 1911, the voters of California adopted an
amendment to the constitution granting to all females over twenty-one the right of


suffrage. About that time and perhaps a few years previous women's organizations
were formed for the purpose of, as Mrs. Henry Sanders of Oakdale declared, assisting
in beautifying the cities, encouraging public sentiment for the betterment of the com-
munity and assisting in all matters where progress and publicity are required.

Stanislaus County seems to be particularly "blessed" with women's improvement
clubs. They have one in nearly every town and since they have become voters, the
supervisors and city trustees "sit up and listen" when they offer any suggestion for
city betterment or improvement.

The Oakdale Woman's Improvement Club was organized in April, 1907, with
Mrs. Clara Sanders as its first president. One of their first subjects of discussion
was a children's playground or park. Little could they accomplish in that direction, as
they had no funds of any great amount and public sentiment was asleep. Soon after
their organization, however, Edward and William Rodden, two native sons, donated
the club a block of land on First Avenue between A and B streets, for park purposes.
In honor of the wives of the donors, the club named it Dorada park, Dora and Ada
being their Christian names. The ladies "planned and planted" the park, but unable
to pay the expenses of a caretaker, they turned it over to the city. They were intru-
mental, also, in having the Carnegie Library erected and are agitating the question
of improving the city cemetery and building good roads at the present time. The
cemetery is about a quarter mile southeast of the town and there lie the pioneers of
Oakdale, among them T. R. Roberts, David Tulloch, A. J. Patterson, Samuel Acker
and other former well-known residents.

In April, 1916, the club inaugurated a "clean-up week" and by a proclamation
they called upon all of the citizens to "clean up their back yards, mend their broken
fences and gates, and pile up all boxes, tin cans and other rubbish so as to make the
city presentable for the big barbecue to be given the Grand Parlor of Native Sons on
Wednesday next." And then came the report, April 14: "The city clean-up under the
auspices of the Woman's Improvement Club was a big success, and the citizens hauled
about 100 tons of rubbish to the city dumping ground. Citizens worked for a week
in cleaning up their premises and today it was hauled away."

The officers of the club, elected at that time, April 22, 1916, were: Mrs. Clara
Sanders, president, re-elected; Mrs. C. O. Willard, vice-president; Mrs. A. E. Wood,
secretary, and Mrs. Alton Sivley, treasurer. The present officers, elected March 18,
1920, are: Mrs. W. T. Kerr, president; Miss Mary Lambuth, vice-president; Mrs.
Garrison Turner, secretary, and Mrs. Ralph Kennedy, treasurer. The past presidents
of the club are Mrs. Clara Sanders, Mrs. Lottie Hoffman, Mrs. Abbie Carmichael,
Mrs. Minnie Ordway, Mrs. Marie Tulloch, Mrs. Hattie Clark.

• The Dorada Club House

Situated opposite the park on the east side is the Dorada club house, the lot
having been given to the club by the Rodden brothers. The club having some money
on hand, and with the assistance of citizen donors, erected a club house at an
approximate cost of $2,000. It was erected as an assembling place for social enter-
tainments, dancing parties, dramatic performances and all kinds of public gatherings.
It was provided with a parlor, dressing rooms, stage with plenty of light, and a fine
dancing floor. The club house was formally opened on the evening of April 15, 1916,
and all of the elite of the city were present. "The hall was transformed into a flower
garden, the latticed walls being hung with roses, while potted plants and baskets
of flowers were used in artistic arrangement to give a vivid color to the new furnish-
ings." The program given in the evening included musical numbers by Mesdames
Roy Maxey, Edward Dorsey, Miss Ida Warford of Riverbank and Dot Moore of
Stockton. Readings were given by Lucile Squibbs and Mrs. Alton Sivley, and short
talks by Father Rooney, Clarence Wood, Roy L. Acker and J. A. Young. During
the evening Miss Nellie Walker pleased the audience by singing, in costume, the cere-
monial songs of the Zuni Indians.


The Carnegie Library

The Carnegie library represents in a measure the literary progress of the citizens
of Oakdale, for of a literary tur/i of mind they were, away back in the earlier days of
the town. Mrs. Lucia Hoisholt Ferguson, writing for me a short sketch of the begin-
ning of the library, says it "started from the Shakespearean club." They purchased
books of fiction and non-fiction, and charged one dollar a year for the use of
the books. The library room was in the grammar school in 1901, rent free, with an
income of sixty dollars a year, the money being derived from entertainments and
rent of books. Probably at a later date the library was removed to a room over the
Farmers & Merchants Bank. From there it was moved to a store on West Railroad
Avenue near the post office. After the establishing of the Stanislaus County Library
the city books were divided between the library and the high school library. Miss
Provines, librarian of the county library, took up the question of permanent Oakdale
city library and in connection with the Woman's Improvement Club a correspondence
was opened with Carnegie's library agent. In course of time an agreement was made
and Carnegie proposed to appropriate the money for a $10,000 library building pro-
vided the city trustees would obtain and deed the lot and agree to maintain the library
with an income of $700 a year.

The correspondence took place in 1916 and immediately the women struck a snag.
When the club brought the matter before the trustees they refused to take any action
or even discuss the matter. Two of the trustees refused because they declared the
library would be erected with tainted money, and three refused action because they
said the city was financially poor and such extravagance would be unwise. Not in the
least discouraged by this rebuff, the club then made a proposition to the supervisors
to establish a county library. The supervisors favored the proposition. The club
then obtained the money and purchasing lots 2 and 4 in block 105, July 15, 1916,
presented the deed to the supervisors. The following day, says the record, the super-
visors appointed Supervisor John H. Clark to confer with the Oakdale committee
regarding the building of the library. The building was completed in 1917. Miss
Lucia Hoisholt was the first appointed librarian, being succeeded by Mrs. Elizabeth
Crowe, who still holds the position.

The Newspapers i

Oakdale today has a very creditable weekly newspaper, if being the success or of
the Wheat Grower and the Graphic. The Wheat Grower was established as early
as 1882, by L. M. Booth, formerly of Knights Ferry. Mr. Booth was the editor, col-
lector and advertising man. The mechanical part of the paper was handled by Cecil
P. Rendon as compositor and pressman, with a boy assistant. Mr. Booth soon retired
from the editorship of the paper, leaving in charge an editor who nearly demoralized the
paper and scandalized the town. Booth was again compelled to take charge of his
paper and restore harmony. This was October 6, 1883, and the people rejoiced at the
welcome change.

The Graphic, which superseded the Wheat Groii'er, was first published in 1883.
Its home, no doubt, was on West Railroad Avenue near H Street, for to this day you
may there see a small one-story building and upon the front in large letters the word
"Graphic." The paper was published for many years but we have no knowledge of it
save that later it moved into the Nightingale building and when that buliding was
leased to George Kennedy the Graphic went out of business.

The Oakdale Leader was established in 1888, probably by W. C. Holloway, who
was editor and proprietor in June, 1890. In February, 1895, the Leader was moved
to the Haslacher & Kahn building. In July, 1899, the paper changed hands and
Davis W. Tulloch, named after his grandfather, the pioneer, is credited with being the
proprietor. His editor was Judge W. H. Griffith, who unfortunately, June 12, 1900,
lost his beautiful two-story residence by fire. Mrs. Griffith, who survived the Judge by
many years, died in December, 1919.

The Graphic was consolidated with the Leader July 3, 1918, and it gave the
proprietor of the Leader at that time, Louis Meyers, the opportunity of improving his


paper, for with opposition from other newspapers in small towns there is nothing in
it for either paper. In the following year, December, the Leader was improved by the
installation of a new and the latest model of type-setting machine, together with six
different type faces varying from eight point to subheads. Installing in February of
this year a press formerly in use by the Auburn Daily News, the Leader was changed
in form from a five-column, eight-page paper, to a six-column, eight-page paper. This
gives eight colunms more space and with the new press, a daily can be published.

The Oakdale Grammar School

For a number of years the children of Oakdale were obliged to attend the Lang-
worth district school. In time, however, the population of the town rapidly increased,
and the school children were so numerous that it became necessary to build a school
building within the town. In 1881, a two-story wooden building was constructed on
the block where now stands the fine grammar school. Additions were made to the
building from time to time until it became nothing more than an old fire trap, in
which a hundred children's lives were daily in danger. The citizens finally demanded
a modern up-to-date school building. And in February, 1900, they circulated a petition
requesting the school trustees to submit to the voters the proposition to bond the
district for a school building. The school trustees, acceding to the demands of the
citizens, called an election for June 30, 1900, for the issuing of bonds to the amount
of $26,000 for the erection of a school building. The proposition carried almost
unanimously, only 34 out of a vote of 227 opposing the issue of bonds. Those interested
in the movement became so enthusiastic over the result that a ratification jubilee was
held "and there was danger of all of the powder and fireworks in the town being
exploded to celebrate the event."

Laying of the Cornerstone

Almost immediately the trustees began preparations to erect the new building.
The additions to the old wooden building were torn down and the main building
was moved away and is now used as a lodging house in the northern part of the city.
The plans of the new building were drawn by Hugh Bronton of Stockton and the
successful contractor was Richard Nowell from the same city. The plans called for
a two-story brick building, 140x150 feet, with a tower 40 feet in height. The building
was to contain ten class rooms, each room 30x35 feet. There was a principal's room,
a library, closets and hat and coat rooms.

Early in February, 1901, the foundation had been laid and everything was ready
for the laying of the cornerstone. The matter was placed in the hands ef the Oakdale
Masonic Lodge and they appointed D. B. Warfield, Louis Kahn, Dr. C. C. Wood, E.
P. Tulloch, E. M. Endicott and the master of the lodge, John W. Tulloch, as the
committee of arrangements, and they invited the Grand Lodge of California to lay
the cornerstone. The invitation was accepted, and Grand Master James F. Foshay
deputized Grand Senior Warden Orrin S. Henderson to act as grand master. Satur-
day,' February 9, 1901, is a day to be long remembered in the history of Oakdale,
because of the important event and the immense crowd that filled her streets. All of
the Masonic lodges of Stockton, Modesto, Turlock and other points were invited to
attend the ceremony. The Stockton Masons in large numbers met at Riverbank by
the Oakdale Masons, were taken in carriages to Oakdale. On arrival the grand
lodge, comprising Orrin S. Henderson, grand master ; Michael Fennell, deputy grand
master; A. W. Davidson, senior grand warden; Frank Israel, junior grand warden,
and W. F. Weinbeck, assistant junior grand warden, acting grand officers pro tern,
all of Stockton, were escorted to the hall of Oakdale Lodge No. 275, by Pacific Com-
mandery No. 3, of Sonora. The Grand Lodge then convened and after the opening
ceremony all Master Masons were admitted. At one o'clock a procession was formed
on West Railroad Avenue, comprising the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias,
Woodmen of the World, children of the public schools, and citizens. Led by the band
they marched along West Railroad Avenue across the track to East Railroad Avenue to
the new school building. After a selection by the band and a song by the quartette,
the silver trowel with which the cornerstone was laid was presented to Grand Master


Henderson. Then came songs by the children and the laying of the cornerstone in
accordance with the time honored ceremonies of the Masonic order. The ceremony
concluded with an oration by George McCabe. The splendid celebration concluded
with a banquet in the evening which was tendered to all of the visitors. The building
was completed in time for the beginning of the school term, and cost some $40,000.
The teachers in the new building, all of them having taught in the old wooden
structure, were R. E. Murtha, principal; Lizzie Rodden, Elsie Turner, Ida Simpson,
Jennie W. Roberts, Mrs. L. M. Cornwall and Mrs. Mary F. Sawyer. Mrs. Sawyer
is the oldest teacher in the school department, having taught continuously from 1881
until 1914. Soon after retirement friends and her former pupils presented her with
a purse of $500. She died at Oakdale, January 7, 1920, the Oakdale Eastern Star
lodge conducting the services.

The Oakdale Union High School
The father of the high school is Prof. J. M. McKensie, who emigrated to
California from Nebraska, located in Oakdale. Soon after coming he saw the neces-
sity of a high school in the prosperous town, and he induced a number of progressive
citizens to form a company and erect a building adapted to school purposes. A build-
ing was constructed on Euclid Avenue, then quite a distance from the business center,
and opened by the professor as a tuition boarding high school. It was a complete
success. Soon after its establishment, however, the state legislature passed a law
providing for the establishment of a district high school, the school to be supported
by district taxation. The corporation gave the district the free use of the building.
Unfortunately, however, in September, 1897, the building was destroyed by fire. This,
of course, put an end to the instruction of the high school branch for a time. After
the building of the brick grammar school, rooms were provided in that building until
1 906. At that time the Union high school was completed. Its first graduates were
Jennie Acker Wood, Thomas Gray, Eleanor E. MacNuIty, Minnie Thompson, Mayme
Holloway Smith, and Elsie P. McNealy.

The Protestant Churches

In the early history of the church at Oakdale, the Christian advocates erected
a house of worship at the corner of F and Second Avenue. It was dedicated in 1882
and was known as the "Union Church." Here for a year or more they worshipped
God, ofttimes singing, no doubt, the old familiar hymn — ■
"Blessed be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love ;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above."

The population of Oakdale rapidly increased and it brought corresponding in-
crease to the membership of each religious denomination worshipping in the "Union
Church." As each society believed itself strong enough to stand alone, they withdrew
from the union congregation and erected their own denominational edifice. Unfortu-
nately, we have no dates regarding the withdrawal of denominations. However, in
January, 1895, A. J. Patterson called "a meeting of the trustees to determine what
shall be done with the Union Church building. It was built by all denominations but
each has now its own edifice, and the church is vacant." It is stated that E. G. Craw-
ford, the first Southern Pacific agent in Oakdale, purchased the property for $500. He
then expended $500 more in fitting up the building for the use of the Christian
Church, he being a member of that denomination. Few in number, they could not pay
the monthly expense, and the building remained vacant for many years. It was finally
sold to the Methodists for $1000.

The United Brethren in Christ, occupying a building on the corner of E and
First Avenue, are a sect of many years standing. They have at present no pastor,
but services are conducted by a former member of the Presbyterian church.

The Free Methodists are a long established sect with a church building and par-
sonage at the corner of G and Third Avenue. Their history is lost in the dim past,


and the present pastor, the Rev. Alfred Randall, says he knows of no one with a knowl-
edge of its early history except one former member now living in a distant city.

The Presbyterian Church, whose present pastor is Rev. George Grieg, lies a block
east of the Free Methodist building. It is a small, neat looking building, noticeable
because of a live oak tree standing near the church entrance with its eight large
branches less than two feet from the earth. The history of the organization dates
back to 1883, with the Rev. J. M. White as pastor. The church building was
erected, when? Previous to 1894, however, for in November of that year the Presby-
terian Church is having a new bell tower erected, said "Caroline's Aunt." The Rev.
White was a manly man, for it is recorded of him that in the great fire of March 7,
1884, "the Presbyterian minister fought the fire for two long hours, backing out only
when scorched and blistered by the heat."

The Episcopal parish existed some eighteen years ago, and about that time a little
chapel was erected on F Street. The Mission Church .was probably supplied from
Stockton and Modesto. They had a lot and a fund of $1000 "available for church
purposes in October, 1900" and, says the record, "Archdeacon Emery has been here
this week looking into the matter."

First Oakdale Church Dedication

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Oakdale was organized in September, 1881,
by the Rev. William D. Crabb, the first pastor. Services were held in the school-
house until the building of the "Union Church." The Methodists then united with the
other churches. The following year, however, they purchased a lot at the corner of
G and Third Avenue and at a probable cost of $3500 erected a comfortable little
building. It was dedicated December 14, 1883, by the Rev. John Holmes of Alameda.
He was assisted in the service by the Reverends J. M. White and W. C. Curry and
William D. Crabb. The music at the mornping service was led by Miss Brinkerhoff
of Modesto, and at the close of the service subscriptions were solicited to pay off
the small church debt, and nearly $400 was subscribed and collected when the plate
was passed around.

In our research we found that in February, 1895, an addition .was made to the
building. Huntky & English signed a contract to build an addition 24x38 feet with
a fourteen-foot arched ceiling, $543 to be the cost.

One of the most attractive church edifices in Central California is the present
structure of the Oakdale Methodist Episcopal Church. The building, says Frank C.
Farr, the pastor, "is a work of art," and its erection was made possible by the splendid
mechanical ability and love for his art of A. J. Steppe of Turlock and the gift of land by
E. H. Gatling, who at the age of seventy years became a convert to Christianity,
partly through the efforts of the Rev. Richard Rodda. Constructed of waste chippings
from the Raymond granite quarry, the building is 78x91 feet in size, of the mission
style of architecture, and will seat, including the Sunday school room, 1000 persons.
The auditorium and balcony will accommodate 670 persons. The basement contains
a large social hall, kitchen and dining room, and a furnace with an attachment serving
both as a heating and a cooling plant. The building cost about $20,000 and it was dedi-
cated, debt free, July 29, 1917, by the Bishop Adna Wright Leonard. The morning
service consisted of a hymn, baptismal service, soprano solo by Mildred Gilbert, recep-
tion of new members, solo by Rev. Richard Rodda, a short address by the bishop,
hymn and benediction. In the afternoon the church was dedicated and a sermon deliv-
ered by Bishop Leonard. The services included anthems by the choir, Scripture read-
ing and a prayer. In the evening there was evangelistic services, special choral music,
a solo by Mrs. C. H. Atkinson and short addresses by former pastors.

The first Sunday school in Stanislaus County was organized near Burneyville
under an oak tree in 1865 by A. J. Coffee, who acted as its superintendent. The first
Methodist Episcopal pastor was the Rev. Pansy, who had an appointment near
Burneyville. These facts were given to the Rev. F. C. Farr by Mr. Coffee shortly
before his death. Mr. Coffee also said that at that time Oakdale was a "solid forest
of white and live oak," with only one old shack of a home.


The following are the pastors who have served in the Methodist Church: Wil-
liam D. Crabb. 1881 to September, 1884; William Chilson, 1884-86; Joseph R. Wolfe,
1886-88 ; A. Holbrook, 1893-96; Hugh Copeland, 1896-97 ; Carl M. Warner, 1902-04;
Alfred J. Chase, 1904-06; J. U. Simmons, 1906-08; Walter C. Howard, 1908-09;
N. M. Parsons, 1909-11 ; Fay Donaldson, 1911-15. Three pastors have each remained
in charge five years, Solomon Kinsey, 1888-93; Richard Rodda, 1897-1902, and F. C.
Farr, since September, 1915.

The City Government

Like every question of importance there was an affirmative and a negative side
to the question, "would a city government be beneficial to Oakdale?" For thirty years
they lived without a city government, and without the heavv taxation that accom-
panies if. A community unorganized has its advantages ; so, also, does a city govern-
ment. The opinions of a majority of its citizens favored a government and it was
incorporated under the general law of 1906 as a city of the sixth class. The officers
comprised five trustees, elected by the people, the trustees having authority to appoint
attorney, clerk, treasurer and marshal. Their term of service was four years. The fol-
lowing officers have since held office: 1906 — J. B. Stearns, Oakdale's first blacksmith,

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 30 of 177)