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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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L. M. Hickman, who has just returned from his ranch in Stanislaus County
some four miles south of Oakdale, says he never saw grain in that section looking so
well. He estimates the probable yield at from twenty to twenty-five bushels to the
acre, and thinks the county will turn out 5,000,000 bushels, proving itself again the
banner wheat county of the state. — Independent, April 15, 1878.

A terrific windstorm swept through this place last Tuesday, June 4, 1878, about
seven-thirty o'clock. The gust came from the east and drove through the town at
rapid pace in a westerly course, throwing dust and sand in front of it. Before it
reached here dark clouds could be seen concentrating near the foothills from which
vivid flashes of lightning were emitted. A few heavy drops of rain fell before the
storm and for a time the skv was overcast with clouds. — Neics.



216 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

In Oakdale, July 15, 1885, a fire broke out in the rear of Miller's restaurant and
about one-half of the block was destroyed with a loss of fully $25,000. The fire
alarm was sounded and the firemen responded promptly, but the waterworks were so
long delayed in getting up steam that the fire obtained a great headway before the men
could get a stream of water on the flames. The places destroyed were Williams &
Company, jewelers and furniture; Freeman's dry goods store; Central restaurant and
saloon; Emery's general merchandise store; English lodging house and restaurant,
and Hubbell's saloon. The town is greatly excited over the event, as it is supposed
to be an incendiary fire, and three attempts have been made during the past month
to burn the town.

Said the Modesto Herald May 14, 1880, "We learn from a reliable source that
already arrangements have been made with the Central Pacific Railroad to extend the
Oakdale Railroad to the Tuolumne River, striking it near Waterford. Bonds ate to
be given the Central Pacific by the farmers that on the completion of the railroad the
company will be paid $50,000. The work is assured and the road will be completed
in time to move this year's crop."

A friend informs the Nexus that there is not less than 10,000 tons of wheat on
the river bank at Hill's Ferry, and at Grayson and Crow's Landing there is also a
large quantity of wheat. At the three points named there is not less than 20,000 tons.
At Patterson's Landing there are 20,000 sacks, and it is rapidly accumulating along the
river banks, because of a scarcitv of steamers and barges to move it to tidewater. —
August, 1872.

A correspondent stated May 31, 1880, "I have just returned from a trip through
Stanislaus County; I have traveled over the county during the past twelve years and
never before have I seen things so prosperous. Modesto is improving very much, and
business of all kinds is lively. Ceres is booming. They have just dedicated a large
social hall which adds very much to the appearance of the place. The best feature of
the- towns is, they have only one place where they keep 'tangle-leg' and the bar-
keeper they say is not getting wealthy."

The little stern wheel steamer Harriett, Captain J. W. Smith, arrived at Hill's
Ferry February 13, 1872, with a load of grain and feed consigned to the farmers of
the upper San Joaquin.

"A few days ago the citizens of the Ferry found that they had a very undesirable
transient population in the town, and a suggestion was made that a Vigilance Com-
mittee be organized to give them notice to leave. The deputy sheriff, however, be-
lieved that the boys be given notice to 'git up and git.' He had notices printed stat-
ing that the young men's room was better than their companv, and taking the hint
thev quietly left Hill's Ferrv, thus avoiding anv trouble or 'hanging bees.' " — June
30, 1880. '

The Modesto and Turlock Irrigation districts are figuring on securing reservoir
sites on the Tuolumne River watershed for the purpose of constructing large reservoirs
for the storage of water for late irrigation. Superintendent Griffin of the Modesto
district and Superintendent Smith and Director Mires of the Turlock district are now
in the mountains looking for sites. If suitable locations are obtained the directors will
take up the bond proposition for the purpose of constructing dams. — July 24, 1908.

The Oakdale municipal election was held on Monday and 443 votes were cast,
185 being women. They voted without any trouble and asked but few questions and
instructions. Some came with their husbands and others in groups of two or more.
The trustees elected were A. L. Gilbert, William Gerry and W. F. Wheeler. Roy
Acker was elected city clerk over Thomas Maxwell by a vote of 287 to 142.
Alban Maxwell was elected city treasurer over Thomas Towell. — April 10, 1912.

The Union Savings Bank and the First National Bank of Modesto have just
announced a change in their directorship. W. N. Steele has resigned as vice-president
and director of the Union Savings Bank, and has been succeeded by C. R. Gailfus,
formerly vice-president of the First National Bank. E. C. Peck, who was cashier
of the Union Savings Bank, will be vice-president of the First National Bank. George



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 217

C. Nelson will be advanced to cashier of the Union Savings Bank. Both banks are
largely controlled bv the same interests. — May 22, 1912.

The Republican Congressional convention assembled today in Modesto. The
delegates, 100 in number, were met at the train by the leading citizens of the town
and the leading Republicans and heartily welcomed. A parade was formed and the
march led to the beautiful courthouse park, where a grandstand had been erected
on the lawn beneath the fine old shade trees. A large American flag hung over the
stand and from the front of the stand a large banner bearing the Congressional record
of James C. Needham through his five previous campaigns. These were as follows:
1898, Needham, 20,783 votes; Castle, 20,680; 1900, Needham, 23,450; Chichton,
18,981; 1902, Needham, in another district, 17,264; Ashe, 13,732; 1904, Needham,
18,824; Conley, 13,074; 1906, Needham, 18,928; Green, 12,868. The incumbent
was again placed in nomination for Congressman by L. L. Dennett and the nomina-
tion was seconded by Frank Short of Fresno. He was elected unanimously and,
appearing upon the platform, was greeted by tremendous applause. He said, "I want
to thank the delegates and through them the people of this district. I regard my
nomination at your hands not only as a signal honor, but as a call to duty. Many
people hold the opinion that men in politics are ungrateful. I want to assure you
this is untrue." — August 26, 1908.

The case of the Oakdale Irrigation District versus Samuel Pratt in a condemna-
tion suit for a right-of-way for the main canal was partly a victory for the district.
Mr. Pratt was awarded $1,528 in full payment for all ciaims. He wanted $26,000
for 2,600 acres of land and $2,000 damages. The outcome is an indication of the
change of sentiment with which the people of Stanislaus now regard irrigation. A
marked contrast to fifteen vears ago, when the fate of irrigation hung in the balance. —
April 29, 1912.

The electors of Turlock yesterday voted in favor of permitting the three saloons
of the town to continue in business. Out of a total vote of 260 the wets polled 160
votes. The campaign was spirited and the saloon proprietors did not overlook any-
thing that tended to win votes. The anti-saloon men are more determined than ever
before to wipe out the saloons, and it is only a matter of time when the question will
again be brought up. — July 24, 1908.

City Marshal George T. Morrison of Oakdale was summoned to La Grange
December 29 on account of the death of his brother, Charles Morrison. The de-
ceased at the time of his death was a butcher doing business in La Grange. He was
born in Knights Ferry some fifty-four years ago, and engaged in various occupations
and was held in high esteem for his moral character and integrity. — January 1, 1912.

The Riverbank Producers and Consumers Co-operative store onened for business
this morning. The rush was so great that people were standing in line before the
doors were open. It was necessary to send out an S. O. S. call for help. — Jan. i, '12.

The Boy Scouts, under Scout Master L. W. Miller, have collected close to $100
for a gymnasium and for their headquarters. The drive is still on and those who wish
to contribute can hand the amount to any Boy Scout. — July 29, 1919.

The sale of the Red Cross canteen building at Turlock closed the history of
another institution that, during the heat of the Allied War, gained quite a reputation
up and down the valley and in a way became famous. Thirty thousand soldiers and
sailors going up and down the line in their work for Uncle Sam were served coffee
and doughnuts free from this little canteen. — July 24, 1919.

In a shooting affair which occurred in Modesto in a house of prostitution on J
Street, Jerry Lockwood, a laborer, was shot and killed October 2, 1872, by Barney
Garner, it is supposed. Lockwood was shot with a double-barreled shotgun, one charge
taking effect in the left arm and breast and the other in the throat. It is said that
the affair was started by Lockwood, who was abusing Garner and hit him over the
head with a revolver.

On July 17, 1905, the election in Ceres for the proposition of voting a special
tax of $500 for the building and an addition to the school and to pay the salary of ar



218 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

extra teacher carried with only a few opposing votes. Ceres is not adverse to spend-
ing money for education, and they want ample school facilities.

Oakdale's new service flag was dedicated with appropriate ceremony Saturday
afternoon, April 2, 1918. It contains the names of sixty-eight young men of Oak-
dale now serving their country and this week a half dozen more will follow to the
various army camps. The program included a prayer by the Rev. F. C. Farr; a
short talk by Roy Acker, during which he read the names of the boys in service ;
"The Star-Spangled Banner," sung by Mrs. Roy B. Maxey, accompanied by the Oak-
dale Band ; address by Attorney F. W. Reeder, and "America," sung by the audience
with band accompaniment.

January 14, 1920. — Modesto Labor Temple will be the official name by which
the Central Labor Council will incorporate with a capitalization of $20,000. The
Labor Council will take over the labor temple recently purchased by T. F. Griffith
for $13,000. A stock company will be formed and T. F. Griffith will take fifty shares,
the carpenters' union one hundred shares, the painters' union twenty shares and the
electricians' union twenty shares.

"Archbishop Edward J. Hanna of San Francisco will be the guest of the people
of Oakdale on Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, 1918. A public reception will
be held at Hughes hall on Saturday evening, which will be attended by the citizens of
Knights Ferry, Eugene, Waterford, Thalheim and Oakdale. The Archbishop will
deliver an address on the Red Cross at that time, this being- the opening of the Red
Cross drive in Oakdale. Sunday he will administer the sacrament of confirmation
to a class of forty-five communicants."

At a meeting of the Modesto Woman's Improvement Club yesterday Mrs. Edgar
H. Annear was elected president; Mrs. Walter Garrison, first vice-president; Mrs.
C. H. Griswold, second vice-president; Mrs. C. F. Gailfus, treasurer, and Mrs. A. A.
Field, financial secretary. The new trustees are Mrs. Wm. H. Langdon, Mrs. W. H.
Hutton and Mrs. C. A. Zander.— April 8, 1913.

Modesto went wet yesterday. The contest was a hot one, both sides working
hard. The wets feared the result on the assumption that since the town went wet
last July many of their supporters had left the city. The election was upon a drastic
high license ordinance. It limited the saloons to one for every 1,500 inhabitants, and
one saloon to every hotel with fifty or more rooms. Strict regulations were demanded
and all entrances must be equipped with clear glass fronts. — April 9, 1913.

October 29, 1873, Archibald G. Stakes was killed at Hill's Ferry by falling
from a wagon. His neck was broken and he died instantly. A Virginian by birth,
he came to California in 1850 and located at Stockton, and began the practice of law.
In 1852 he was elected an associate judge of the Court of Sessions of San Joaquin
County. Removing to this county in 1861, he was elected several times to office..
The judge was fifty-five years of age.

At Oakdale, August 29, 1890, Barr's general merchandising store was robbed of
jewelry and several hundred dollars' worth of clothing. Some tools were also taken
from the Copperopolis engine. Suspicion attaches to a gang of loafers who have been
hanging about Oakdale for the past two months.

It was said in August, 1872, that the farmers on the West Side of the San
Joaquin River are in want of a railroad from Banta's to Los Banos, a distance of not
more than fifty-six miles, as from that point the road can connect with the Central
Pacific. Not more than one-third of the enormous crop raised between the two points
named has been shipped the past season because of low water, and it will not pay to
ship it by team. A railroad could be built cheaper than in any other section of the
state for the same length of road.

In Modesto, August 30, 1906, a fire which broke out about eleven o'clock de-
stroyed property to the extent of over $10,000. Were it not for the splendid work of
the fire department the entire block would have been swept away. The fire started
between Frank Medina's grocery and James Harter's blacksmith shop. How it started
is a mystery, as there was no fire in the forge and none in the grocery. Frank Medina



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 219

lost building and stock, $6,000; Charles Hunter, building and goods, $700; Mrs.
M. E. Tucker, three store rooms in Tucker building, $1,500.

1905. — The First National Bank of Turlock was opened for business Monday,
July 10, with C. A. Anderson cashier in charge. Although a distinctive corporation,
it is a branch of the First National Bank of Modesto, Ora McHenry, president.

In December, 1872, the question of building a new schoolhouse was being
agitated by the citizens of Modesto. The citizens of that town have built one of
the best courthouses in the state outside of San Francisco, with probably a single
exception, that of San Jose, and they should have a fine school building.

March 10, 1852. — The flood of a few days ago did serious damage in this
county. The pontoon bridge and the ferry boats at Heath and Emory's Ferry are all
gone, and there are 200 people waiting at the ferry to go to the mines, but the roads
are impassable. Several horses were drowned at Islip's ferry. At Robinson's ferry
also the boats have been swept away, and at McLean's ferry the current made a
clean sweep of it and carried away ferry boat and houses. Reynolds' new ferry boat
is gone. Dent & Vantine were compelled to cut away their large hawser at Knights
Ferry and theirs is the only ferry boat saved on the Stanislaus. The waterworks a
half mile below Knights Ferry was entirely washed away with a loss of $6,000. The
storm commenced on Friday, March 5, and continued without interruption until
Sunday, the 7th. At Knights Ferry the water arose twelve feet higher than in the
flood of '49-'50, higher than ever before known, and the stream at that point was 300
feet in width and forty feet deep.

April 16, 1872. — The trial of David Fine, charged with the murder of Richard
Heath near Knights Ferry some time ago, was commenced today before Judge Samuel
A. Booker of the district court. The prisoner has- a number of very able attorneys
to defend him — N. Greene Curtis of Sacramento, the ablest criminal lawyer in the
state; Judge Davis S. Terry of Stockton, and George Schell and J. J. Scrivner of
Modesto. The prosecution is represented by the district attorney, Thomas A. Cold-
well, and Abram Hewel.

Fred A. Ruhl of Stockton, says the press of July 13, 1878, has just completed a
deep well pump for a West Side farmer which is designed to lift water from a well
170 feet deep to a tank twenty feet above the ground. It is a combined suction lift
and force pump. It sucks the water the first ten feet, lifts it to the surface and then
forces it wherever required.

Kahn & Haslacher, the well-known grain buyers of Oakdale, in May, 1901, pur-
chased the warehouses at Merced and at Athlone on the line of the Santa Fe Railroad.
This gives them a string of twenty-six warehouses for the storage of grain, on the
four different lines of railroad in this valley. These warehouses are all connected
by 136 miles of telephone wires.

Memorial Day, May 30, 1901, was celebrated at Oakdale under the direction
of Oakdale Lodge No. 230, Knights of Pythias. The Native Sons, Knights of
Pythias, the public school children and citizens took part in the parade, led by the
drum corps. The following program was can ied out at the cemetery : Prayer ; song
by the children; introductory remarks; song, "Sleep and Rest"; recitation, "Cover
Them Over," Mrs. C. C. Woods; oration, J. P. Hazen; song, "Old Glory"; decorat-
ing of gaves.

Paris Kilburn, who has 4,000 acres of wheat near Hill's Ferry, states that the
grain crop is something wonderful all over that region. On the West Side in Stanis-
laus County alone there are over 100,000 acies of continuous wheat fields. On the
East Side the acreage is probablv three or four times greater, and all in most excellent
growth.— March 21, 1872.

The rowdy element committed a most outrageous act as the emigrant train pulled
into Modesto from the south on the morning of November 13, 1883. As soon as
the train stopped a half-dozen toughs boarded the cars and demanded money from the
passengers. One of the fellows grabbed a purse held by a young woman and at-
tempted to take it away from her. She held on to it and was abused by the fellow
in the most violent language. Her husband came to the rescue and knocked the rowdy



220 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

down and finally threw him from the car. The other would-be robbers were simi-
larly treated and all five then ran down the track, followed by shots from revolvers
and a Winchester rifle. Constable Walker of Lathrop happened to be on board and
he pursued the men, succeeding in capturing one of them and lodged him in the
Modesto jail. The other four were later arrested by the deputy sheriff.

1876. — The prisoners confined in the county jail at Modesto escaped on the
night of August 4 by prying open the prison bars with a stove leg. The officers started
in pursuit as soon as they learned of the escape, but no word has been heard of the
criminals.

A correspondent writing of affairs in Modesto in April, 1872, before it was the
beautiful little city that it is now is said, "In about an hour and three-quarters after
leaving Stockton over the Southern Pacific Railroad we arrived at Modesto. This
cannot be called an attractive place. It is built on a sandy soil and the houses are
not elegant, but its inhabitants have great confidence in its future and believe that it
will be a thriving and interesting town. All are looking forward to the harvest
and then Modesto will get busy and money be plenty. The district court is now in
session and is engaged in the murder case of the People vs David Fine for the killing
of Richard Heath. The court is held in a small frame building near the railroad
depot, which is uncomfortably crowded.

February 9, 1872. — The new town of Merced is rapidly building up and today the
steamer Empire, towing the barge Franklin, steamed up the San Joaquin River with
a large load of lumber consigned to that point.

The San Joaquin Republican stated in February, 1852, "We are informed by
Captain Vantine of Knights Ferry that a horrible murder was committed a few days
ago on the Stanislaus River at Spanish Bar. Two men named Charles Baxter and
William Donelly were murdered by Mexicans. Their heads were crushed and their
throats cut from ear to ear. The two Mexicans who are supposed to have done the
deed have disappeared from the bar, but there is little doubt that they, will soon be
brought to justice."

July 19, 1885. — "The citizens of Oakdale are much excited over the recent fires
and a watch was placed on all suspicious characters. Considerable surprise was mani-
fested at the arrest of E. Miller, proprietor of the Central Restaurant, where the
fire broke out. on the charge of perjury. He made an affidavit to the effect that his
loss was $1,600, being insured for that amount. The insurance agent, being sus-
picious that something was wrong, swore out a search warrant and found a large por-
tion of stock alleged to have been destroyed hid away. Later Miller was arrested for
arson, it being charged that he set fire to his rsstaurant."

Salmon of more than usual number are making their way xvt the stream this
year to the head waters of the San Joaquin River. In shallow places in the river
the fish can almost be caught by hand. The Indians of early days were very expert in
catching them by hand. — September 4, 1873.

There was an epidemic of measles raging in Modesto in May, 1901. As a con-
sequence the public schools were all closed except the high schools. The school
remained closed for a week. Even the Sunday schools were closed.

1905. — Fire which started about eleven o'clock Saturday night, September 16,
totally destroyed the new cooperative creamery at Ceres, with a loss, plant and build-
ings, of $16,000. The creamery was constructed less than two years ago, after the
destruction by fire of the former creamery. The present officers are S. J. Irvin,
of Modesto, president; Dan Baldwin, of Ceres, vice-president; J. U. Gortin, of Ceres,
secretary, and Mr. Barnes, manager. The creamery was doing a splendid business
and turning out 1,500 pounds of butter per day.

There will be no pork raising in the city limits of Oakdale, notwithstanding the
fact that the government wants plenty of pork. A. G. Reinn, agricultural instructor
in the high school, has charge of the pork campaign in this county and he asked per-
mission of Mayor Endicott to permit the raising of hogs within the city limits. The
mayor declared that if Uncle Sam is in need of pork, he had no objection. Attorney
Reeder, however, said it could not legally be done. J. B. Stearns, a city trustee, also



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 221

strongly opposed it. "Before the city was incorporated," said Stearns, "I spent several
weeks taking a petition over the county to stop the running of hogs at large, and I
don't want all my work to go for nothing." Reeder declared that in the old days a
butcher drove eighteen head of hogs through the town to the railroad for shipment,
but before he arrived at his destination he had two carloads of hogs gathered on the
way.— April 5, 1918.

1905. — The members of the San Joaquin county supervisors will visit Modesto
today, August 9, to meet with the county supervisors and open bids for a bridge over
the Stanislaus River near Ripon. The bids will be opened this afternoon and an effort
will be made to have the bridge completed before the winter rains set in.

The Union Democrat of Sonora says, March 30, 1872, "A Mexican who came
from Modesto last Thursday reported that George Tubbs, Isadero, a Chileno, and a
young Mexican were hung by a mob for horse stealing in that vicinity last week. The
three young men- had been living very dissolute lives in Sonora."

August 19, 1873. — Oscar Baickan, while working on a threshing machine on
Richard's ranch, four miles south of, Oakdale, was killed today. He was standing on
the table and fell into the cylinder while the machine was in action. His legs were
crushed and one leg was torn from the hip joint. He lived only twenty minutes. The
man was a resident of Knights Ferry and leaves a wife and five children.

The trial of John Rech for the killing of Levi Arnold in May, 1883, com-
menced in the district court at Modesto October 15. Arnold and a number of
friends were having a glorious time at Hill's Ferry, and Arnold proposed that they
go into Rech's saloon and get another drink. As the glasses were placed upon the
counter Arnold, reaching across the bar, struck Rech over the head with his heavy
straw hat. This angered the barkeeper and, refusing to give Arnold any more liquor,
ordered him out. Arnold then called the saloonist a vile name and Rech returned
the compliment. The drunken man then grabbed a glass and threw it at Rech's
head with full force. The tumbler was smashed into a hundred pieces and Rech,



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 34 of 177)