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 33 of 177)
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Leading up to the organization of the district, I quote from an article by T. M.
Maxwell in May, 1911. Near Oakdale, on what is now Brichetto's ranch, and in
other places, pumping plants were put up and a few vegetables raised. In these small
beginnings was the germ which developed later into the mighty system of irrigation, of
which Turlock and Modesto were the first. Many of the discontented of the Modesto
district sold their holdings and came to Oakdale. They later saw the land which
they had sold at ten dollars, fifteen dollars and twenty dollars an acre increase in value
(by irrigation) and sold at fifty dollars and $100 an acre and they knew wisdom at last.
About two years ago it became apparent to the well-informed that Oakdale also
must have its irrigation system. A mass meeting was held in the city hall to discuss


the advisability of forming an irrigation district under the Wright law. So great was
the enthusiasm shown that the City Hall was not large enough, and larger quarters
had to be obtained. A committee of twelve was appointed to take charge of the pre-
liminary work. Engineers under the instructions of H. S. Crowe were immediately
put in the field to survey the boundaries of the district. As soon as the boundaries
had been established, a petition signed by a majority of the land holders petitioned
the supervisors to declare it an irrigation district. It was submitted to a vote of the
people and carried 40 to 1. Officers were elected and bonds voted almost unanimously
for $1,600,000. The Oakdale Irrigation District then joined with the South San
Joaquin District, then being organized, and together they purchased the Tulloch
system, paying Mr. Tulloch $650,000, the amount being divided equally between
the two districts. "A partnership dam known as the Goodwin dam was built on the
Stanislaus River," says Arlington Otis, "near Knights Ferry and the two districts
agreed to share the use of eight miles of main canals, which has a carrying capacity of
1,700 cubic feet. The Oakdale Irrigation District comprises 74,146 acres on both
sides of the Stanislaus River, 6,000 acres of the amount being in San Joaquin County."


The Goodwin dam, named after Benjamin A. Goodwin, president of the San
Joaquin Irrigation District, was built in 1912 at a cost of $350,000. "It is a double-
arch dam, the main arch being seventy-eight feet high with a radius of 135 feet. It was
designed to divert the waters to the north and south side of the river, the Oakdale
district taking 600 second feet on the south side and 260 second feet on the north side
through the enlarged Tulloch ditch. The completion of the dam was celebrated
April 6, 1913, in great style. There were thousands of people in attendance from all
parts of the state, including forty legislators. The legislators arrived at Stockton
from the capital on a special traction car and from the Gateway City were trans-
ported to the dam in automobiles. Shortly after two o'clock the exercises were begun
by W. A. Patterson, president of the day. Standing on the brink of the chasm, he
said: "We have gathered to celebrate the wedding of the waters of the Stanislaus
and the virgin soil of the South San Joaquin and Oakdale Irrigation districts. We
have had an example set before us by the Modesto and the Turlock districts. We
have seen what could be done with water. We are from Missouri and we have been
well shown." He was followed in his speech by George W. Tatterson, president
of the irrigation bureau. The speaker declared : "We have assembled here to
dedicate the waters of the Stanislaus to the plains below. The two districts embody-
ing an area of 147,675 acres will cost when the work is completed $6,000,000."
Addresses were then given by ex-Lieutenant Governor Alden Anderson of Sacra-
mento, L. L. Dennett and T. H. Griffin of Modesto and Senator W. A. Sutherland
of Fresno. J. L. Craig of Stockton then being introduced, presented the board of
directors a large bronze plate two by six feet, to be riveted on the side of the arch in
commemoration of the event. On the plate these words were inscribed :
Goodwin Dam
Built jointly by the Oakdale Irrigation District and the South
San Joaquin Irrigation District. Dedicated April 6, 1913.
Mr. Craig also presented four gold spikes to be used in riveting the plate to the
stone arch to W. A. Patterson, president of the Oakdale District; B. A. Goodwin,
president of the South San Joaquin District; Thomas K. Beard, the contractor, and
Edwin Duryea, Jr., the engineer in charge of the work. There was more music by
the Oakdale Brass Band, F. J. Pedro, leader. Then the chairman of the State Irri-
gation Committee, Senator D. A. Mott of Los Angeles, who came as the repre-
sentative of Gov. Hiram Johnson, presented the compliments and success to the enter-
prise of the governor. In closing he said: "Acting for the Governor of California
and in the name of the sovereign people I command the gates of Goodwin dam to
open." Immediately two Boy Scouts flashed a semaphore signal to two other scouts
in the deep chasm a half mile below. The workmen began slowly lifting the im-
mense steel gates and as the first waters rushed out into the large concrete lined canal,


William Gray, an Oakdale boy, and Helen Wurster, daughter of Fred Wurster of
San Joaquin, showered golden poppies upon the water. It was a pretty symbol of
the golden wealth being borne to the thousands of acres below. Then the Stars and
Stripes were unfurled over the arch, while the three massed bands of Oakdale,
Manteca and Riverbank played "America."

"I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills,
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above."


The irrigation district directors soon learned that reservoirs or dams were
necessary to impound water for late in the season, when the rivers cease flowing.
The Modesto District was the first district in the state to construct a reservoir. This
was the so-called Davis reservoir, which is located in the foothills, a short distance
southwest of La Grange. It has a capacity of 30,000 acre feet.

The second reservoir constructed was that of the Turlock District. It was con-
structed in 1915, and with a capacity of 50,000 acre feet, is known as the T. A.
Owens reservoir. It covers 3,267 acres of land and cost over $500,000.

The largest of all the reservoirs is the Don Pedro dam, soon to be constructed
jointly by the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation districts at an estimated cost of
$4,000,000. The dam is located near Don Pedro bar and will store up 300,000 acre
feet of water. "When completed it will give the two districts the greatest supply of
water for irrigation purposes of any district in the world," says W. E. Conway, secre-
tary of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.


In 1904, the Modesto District was practically one wheat field of 82,000 acres.
The tourist looked from the car window upon the combined harvesters, great cara-
vans moving in all directions, dropping in regular rows sacks of golden grain and
piles of glistening straw. Grain wagons coupled together and drawn by long teams of
horses or mules raised frequently clouds of dust along the highways. The Federal
census ranked Stanislaus County as one of the leading grain-producing sections in
California. Now there is a complete change in many parts of the county. Where were
found immense grain fields and a few farmhouses a mile or more apart, indicated
perhaps by a lone clump of trees, now one may see hundreds of homes, each with his
small farm, cultivating fruits, berries and vegetables. What has caused this change?

Statistics are, as a rule, very drv and uninteresting reading, but it is necessary
to give briefly a few scattering figures showing the wonderful resultsof water flowing
over the soil. In 1890, ten years before they had any water upon the land, Stanislaus
County had farmers who boasted of their 1,000 acres, with only 243 taxpayers owning
from five to 500 acres of land.- Each one of sixty-two men paid taxes on 500 acres,
ten men owned forty acres each and forty-one men had only five acres apiece. But in
1915 there was a remarkable increase in the list of taxpayers and 1,617 men paid taxes
on the farms ranging in size from five to 500 acres. The number of 500-acre men
had been reduced to sixteen, the forty-acre men had increased to 237, the twenty-acre
men to 286, 185 men owned ten acres and 277 men were the owners of five acres.

While the Modesto and Turlock districts were fighting lawsuit after lawsuit that
they might have irrigation, the West Side was in alfalfa, for they had water, and the
Newman creamery was making 100,000 pounds of butter a year. In 1903, the West
Side produced 1,000,000 pounds of butter and in 1911 their 302,416 cows produced
7,873,114 pounds of milk, making 786,224 pounds of cheese. In that year the
county produced 5,166,515 pounds of butterfat, which was one-tenth of all the
butterfat produced in the state. This immense amount of butter could not have been


produced were it not for the extensive growth of alfalfa cow feed, grown from four
to seven crops a year by irrigation.

In 1912 there was shipped from Modesto, daily, 8,163 pounds of butterfat, which
brought a return of $306,075. The Modesto canneries sent out 60,000 cases of
canned goods worth $200,000. And this together with hay, corn, beans, alfalfa meal,
grapes, green and dried fruits brought in a total of $1,607,450. In Turlock District
alone that year there were 56,604 acres in alfalfa, 6,125 acres in fruit trees, 5,695 acres
in beans, and 2,539 acres in potatoes, these products realizing $9,154,602. Turlock
shipped that year, from July to September, 821 carloads of watermelons and canta-
loupes, 18 carloads of sweet potatoes, 44 of peaches and one carload of pears. The
products were not decreasing, but increasing yearly, and McDonald said: "The farm
products of 1913 are the only ones at hand and when you realize that that year was
decidedly lean, you may get some idea of the output of Stanislaus County in agri-
culture and horticulture. Grain, mostly barley, 1,060,000 bushels; beans, 10,000
bushels; sweet potatoes, 533,500 bushels; alfalfa hay, 991,000 tons; melons, 72,000
tons, and pumpkins, 25,000 tons, these products having a total value of $9,545,000.
In addition to this there were dairy products amounting to $3,012,823; poultry sold,
$370,000 ; animals sold and dressed and sacks of wool making a grand total of
$16,054,000. Not desiring to weary -the reader we give the last report, that of 1919,
by A. L. Rutherford, horticultural commissioner, and statistics gathered by the
Modesto Evening News. There was raised 22,500 tons of wheat, which brought in
$1,510,000; 93,000 tons of barley worth $6,045,000, the price averaging sixty-five
dollars a ton. Although the cantaloupe crop was partly destroyed by an insect, it
brought in returns of $1,577,120. The bean crop was a slump, only $300,000 being
realized because of an overproduction; in 1918 this crop brought in $2,269,880.
Although the alfalfa tonnage did not equal that of 1918 by fifty per cent it brought the
farmers $436,500 more than last year. Dairy products led all others, and the country
produced $5,196,400 worth of butter and $4,054,100 in all milk products. It was
the greatest daily yield in the county's history. The Turlock District proclaims in a
big billboard advertisement, "A Great Producer. In 1919 shipped over two freight
lines, 5,740 carloads of products, total value $6,000,000." The melon crop repre-
sented $300,000.

And now, in these closing lines, tracing the history of the county as we have from
the days of the Indians, through the cattle and sheep raising days, the struggles for
existence of the poor farmers, the splendid day of river and freight transportation, and
the awakening period of irrigation and its grand results, just in their infancy, may we
not with the poet Cowper say:

"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform."


The California voter, in former days, had no direct vote in the election of
United States senators. They were elected by the Legislature and many a hard
contest was fought over the election. Since 1914 the United States senators have
been elected by a direct vote of the people, and in that year the county gave Francis
J. Heney, progressive, 3,609; James D. Phelan, Democrat, 3,137; Joseph R. Know-
land, Republican, 2,337, and F. F. Wheeler, Prohibitionist, 1,481 votes.

The representatives in Congress are elected by the people indirectly by con-
gressional districts. Each district included one or more counties, according to its
population. The counties are subject to the partisan Legislature. Each dominant
party schemes to favor its political leaders, hence a county is juggled from district to
district in order that party candidates may obtain a majority of votes, and a majority


of power in the Legislature. Stanislaus County, because of her limited population,
has never had a direct vote for representatives, but has been jointly connected with two
or more counties surrounding her. This is true not only in the election of her con-
gressional representatives, but in the election of her state legislators. In her represen-
tative voting, the county was originally in the First district. In 1875 she was placed
in the Fourth district; in 1884 the Second district; in 1896 in the Seventh district,
and in 1902 the Sixth district. The representatives for whom she voted were as
follows: 1867-68, Samuel B. Axtell, Democrat elect; 1871, Lawrence Archer; 1872,
E. J. C. McKewen; 1875, P. D. Wiggington, Democrat elect; 1876, Wiggington;
1879, Wallace Leach; 1880, Leach; 1882, P. B. Tully, Democrat elect; 1884. Charles
A. Sumner; 1886, Marion Biggs, Democrat elect; 1890, A. Caminetti, Democrat
elect; 1894, Grove L. Johnson; 1896, Marion De Vries, Democrat elect: 1898-
1902-04-06-08-10, James C. Needham, Republican elect; 1912, Denver S. Church,
Democrat elect.

The county until 1898 went Democratic, but Republican voters began settling
in the county and from that time on a solid county Democracy was a political event of
the past. To show the solid Democratic majority and at the same time the growth of
the county, let us record the political county vote for the first thirty-odd years, for the
governor of the state. You will notice that for several years the state elections were
held in every odd year. In this record the governor-elect is first named. 1855, J.
Neeley Johnson 255, John Bigler 299. Bigler was elected governor in 1852-54, but
the Know Nothing partv were in power for just two years. 1857, John Weller 419,
Georgie Bowie, K. N., 130. Edward Stanley, Republican, 8 votes. 1859, Milton
S. Latham, 389; D. John Curry, anti-Lecompton Democrat, 106; Leland Stanford,
R., 13 votes. 1861, Leland Stanford, 247; John R. McConnell, the secession candi-
date, 415; Tohn Conness, Union Dem.. 231. 1863, Frederick F. Low, Union Dem.,
347; John G. Downey, 399. 1867, Henry H. Haight, 451 ; George C. Gorham, R.,
219. 1871, Newton Booth, R., the farmers' candidate, 527; H. H. Haight, 817.
1875, Wm. Irvin, 788; T. G. Phelps, R., 323; John Bidvvell, Ind., 137. For a
constitutional convention, yes, 1,188; no, 423. 1879, Flugh J. Glenn, 994; George C.
Perkins, R., 593; Wm. F. White, workingman's candidate, 74. 1882, George Stone-
man, 1,360; Morris M. Estee, 714; R. H. McDonald, Prohibitionist, 89. 1886,
Washington Bartlett, 1,086; John F. Swift, 596; P. D. Wiggington, American, 36
votes. 1890, Henry H. Markham, R., 918; E. B. Pond, 1,363; John Bidwell, Pro..
131. In 1902 the county gave the Republican candidate, George C. Pardee, 1,069
votes; Franklin K. Lane, Democrat, 1,458, and T. D. Kanouse, Prohibitionist, 44
votes. In 1914 there was a wonderful change in the political complexion of the
countv, and it gave Hiram Johnson, Progressive, an overwhelming vote of 5,245 ;
J. B. Curtin, Dem., 2,530: J. D. Fredericks, Republican, 2,201, and Clinton P.
Moore, Prohibitionist, 1,131 votes, a total county vote of 11,990.

That the county polled a solid Democratic vote for so many years was unfor-
tunate, for the state as a rule is Republican and Democratic legislators in a Republican
senate or assembly cannot expect many political favors. This is especially true
where the representation is iointlv with other counties. State Senators James W.
Coffroth, '56-'57; James W. Mandeville, '56-'57; William Holden, '58-\59; George
H. Rodgers. '58; Isaac Quinn, '59-'60; John J. Franklin, '60-'61 ; C. V. Williamson,
'61: John G. McCullogh, '63; Warren Montgomery, '64-'66; James H. Lawrence,
'68-70; Thomas L Keves, '72-'74; Tohn Montgomery, '76-'78; David M. Pool,
'80-'81 ; John D. Spencer, '83-'85 ; A. J. Meany, '87-'89; Thomas D. Harp, '91-'93;
John B. Curtin, '99-'01-'03 ; Lewis J. Maddux, '13-'15. Assemblymen, John Cook,
'55-'56; William Holden, '57; George W. Thomas, '58-'59; Miner Walden, '60-'61 ;
Thomas W. Lane, '62; Tames Robertson, '63 ; W. L. Dickinson, '64; Tohn M. New-
son, '68; Miner Walden, '70; John B. Sensabaugh, '72; H. B. Davis, '74; John J.
Scrivner, '76; Caleb Dorsev, '78; John D. Spencer, '80; Leonidas C. Branch, '81;
Elihu Beard, '83-'85 ; C. C. Wright, '87 ; Vital E. Bangs, '89 ; John S. Alexander, '91 ;


Frank H. Gould, '93 ; L. A. Richards, '95 ; John G. Elliott, '97 ; George R. Stewart,
'99; J. W. Haley, 1901 ; Vital E. Bangs, 1903; Lewis L. Dennett, 1915; Miss Esto
Broughton, 1920.

James W. Coffroth, a famous lawyer and politician, died at Sacramento October
9, 1872. William Holden in early days was a ferryman on the Tuolumne River. A
keen politician, he was elected lieutenant governor in 1867 and died at Healdsburg
June 3, 1884. James Mandeville was surveyor general from 1857 to 1861. John J.
McCullogh was attorney general from 1863 to 1867, and in 1903 was governor of
Vermont. Warren Montgomery, one of Stanislaus' brightest minds, was later
district attorney of San Joaquin County and died at Stockton February 20, 1894.
J. D. Spencer, founder of the Tuolumne Times, was clerk of the supreme court
'from 1886 to 1891. He died at Modesto, December 13, 1895. Thomas D. Harp
died at Modesto, May 22, 1900. Caleb B. Dorsey was shot and killed at Sonora
March 28, 1885, by his partner over land trouble. Elihu Beard passed away in
Modesto in May, 1901. Miss Esto Broughton has the honor of being one of the first
women in Stanislaus County elected to office and one of the first in California to sit
in the Legislature. Miss Florence Boggs was the first woman official elected super-
intendent of schools in 1902.


Judges— H. W. Wallis— (time of election) 1854, Robert McGarvev— 1858,
Albert Elkins— 1862, A. G. Stakes— 1872, George W. Schell— 1874, E. T. Stone—
1876. A. Hewel— 1880, Wm. O. Minor— 1882, L. W. Fulkerth— 1902-21.

Sheriffs— Wm. D. Kirk— 1854, John Myers— 1857, Geo. L. Murdock— 1860,
Geo. W. Branch— 1862, Thomas W. Lane— 1868, John L. Miller— 1870, Tohn
Rodgers— 1872, A. S. Fulkerth— 1878, R. B. Purvis— 1884, A. S. Dingley— 1906,
Geo. A. Davis— 1914, Robert Dallas— in office.

Countv Clerks— Robert McGarvev— 1854, Wm. D. McDaniels— 1858, T. A.
Leggett— 1860, A. B. Anderson— 1862, John Reedy— 1864,- A. Hewel— 1866,
Thomas E. Hughes— 1868, L. B. Walthall— 1870, Geo. W. Branch— 1872, L. C.
Branch— 1875, Elton Baker— 1876, J. W. McCartv— 1878, E. W. McCabe— 1886,
T. A. Lewis— 1888, A. S. Dinglev— 1896, W. J. Martin— 1902, S. B. Mitchell—
1906, Hugh Benson— 1914.

Treasurers— W. S. Martin— 1854, Geo. W. Murdock— 1856, John Reedv—
1860, Thomas W. Lane— 1864, S. Bishop— 1868, Geo. W. Toombs— 1870, M. H.
Hall— 1880, N. W. Baker— 1884, Geo. P. Ostrom— 1886, J. W. Dunlap— 1894,
W. A. Downer— 1896— in office.

District Attorneys— S. P. Scaniker— 1854, P. B. Nagle— 1862, A. G. Stakes—
1863, E. Basse— 1864, A. G. Stakes— 1866, Thomas A. Coldwell— 1868, L J-
Scrivner— 1872, C. C. Wright— 1876, Wm. O. Minor— 1880, T. A. Coldwell—
1884, John R. Kittrelle— 1886, L. W. Fulkerth— 1890, John M. Walthall— 1902,
L. J. Maddux— 1906, Joseph M. Cross— 1914.

County Assessors— E. B. Beard— 1854, Samuel Hovt— 1856, E. B. Beard—
1858, Geo. M. Curry— 1862, E. D. Giddings— 1864, A. H. Jamison— 1868, H. G.
James— 1875, Thomas A. Wilson— 1876, J. F. Tucker— 1885, J. T. Tulloch—
1886, T. F. Campbell— 1894, Geo. A. Threlfall— 1908-14.

Survevors— Silas Wilcox— 1854, R. B. Hall— 1856, Silas Wilcox— 1858, E. B.
Beard— 1862, A. G. Stakes— 1864, James Ward— 1866, Geo. B. Douglas— 1870,
A. W. South— 1874, R. B. Robinson— 1876, Geo. B. Douglas— 1884, F. S. Lane—
1890, Geo. B. Douglas— 1894, A. L. Finney— 1902, E. H. Annear— 1906-14.

Coroners— Heth Williams— 1854, I. D. Morlev— 1858, A. C. White— 1860,
H. D. Latour— 1862, J. S. Colman— 1864, W. G. Sanders— 1868, H. K. Covert—
1870, T- H. Lowe— 1872, M. S. Duncan— 1873, James Burnev— 1875, Wm. B.
Howard— 1876, W. H. Robinson— 1878, Henrv Lewis— 1884, L Phelps— 1890,
W. K. McNeal— 1896, D. P. Howell— 1902, W. S. Bowker— 1906, Harrv W.
Wood— 1914.


Superintendents of Schools— E. B. Beard— 1854, W. D. McDaniel— 1856, T. A.
Leggett— 1860, A. B. Anderson— 1862, Geo. W. Schell— 1864, T. T. Hamlin— 1866,
B. F. Haislip— 1870, James Burney— 1872, Wm. B. Howard— 1876, W. H. Robin-
son— 1878, Wm. B. Howard— 1886, J. A. Hammond— 1894, J. A. Wagner— 1896,
Miss Florence Boggs— 1902, Frank A. Bacon— 1914, A. J. Elmore— 1918.

Public Administrators — L. M. Ramsier — 1855, W. W. Bowen — 1856, Thomas
Ewing— 1858, I. D. Morley— 1860, J. McHenry— 1866, J. C. Davis— 1868, Wm.
Maxwell— 1870, M. S. Duncan— 1872, James Burney— 1875, Wm. B. Howard—
1876, W. H. Robinson— 1878, Henry Lewis— 1884, J. Phelps— 1890, J. D. Bentley
—1894, W. K. McNeal— 1896, D. P. Howell— 1902, W. S. Bowker— 1906, Harry
W. Wood— 1914.

Recorder and Auditor— Robert McGarvey— 1854, W. D. McDaniels— 1858,
T. A. Leggett— 1860, A. B. Anderson— 1862, John Reedy— 1864, A. Hewel— 1866,
T. E. Hughes— 1868, L. B. Walthall— 1870, Geo. W. Branch— 1872, L. C. Branch
—1875, B. G. Weir— 1876, John McCov— 1878, M. T- Sorenson— 1888, C. A. Post
—1894, H. C. Keeley— 1902, H. C. Keeley— 1914.

Regarding these county officers, Wm. D. Kirk, the first sheriff, died in 1857,
and for one day John Clark, the town marshal, acted as sheriff, John Myers being
appointed March 4, 1857, to fill the unexpired term of the deceased sheriff. A. G.
Stakes, who was an associate judge in the Court of Sessions in San Joaquin County in
the '50s, immigrated to Stanislaus County. He was a lifelong Democrat and in
August, 1862, was appointed district attorney by the board of supervisors to fill the
unexpired term of P. B. Nagle, who resigned. The following year the judge was
elected county surveyor, and in 1866, district attorney. In 1872 he was elected county
judge, and the following year, while riding on a wagon at Hill's Ferry, he fell to the
ground and was so severely injured that he died December 26, 1873. Governor New-
ton Booth, on January 2, 1874, appointed Attorney George W. Schell to fill out the
unexpired term of Judge Stakes. You will notice that in 1880 Abram Hewel was
elected superior judge, the name having been changed under the new constitution from
county to superior judge.


If Davis S. Terry's statement be correct, the Southern Pacific Railroad was com-
pleted and cars running to the south bank of the Stanislaus River as early as April 6,
1872. The following notice was served on the San Joaquin supervisors in calling for
the delivery of bonds, by Judge Terry at that time: "I have the honor to inform
you that the railroad of the Stockton & Visalia Railroad is constructed from the
waterfront in Stockton across and to the south bank of the Stanislaus River, and the
track laid thereon. That said road is supplied with the necessary engines, cars and
rolling stock and that said cars are running upon said road and carrying freight and
passengers to the said south bank of the Stanislaus River."

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 33 of 177)