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 36 of 177)
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six years.

March 24, 1906.— A farmer from the West Side near Crows Landing says the
ranchers of that section have entered into a three years' contract with Hatfield, the
rain maker. They believe that his operations this season brought them rain and that
he can repeat the trick.

A valuable span of horses belonging to Miller & Lux were stung to death by
bees on June 7, 1901, near Los , Banos. While Frank O. Neal, an employee
of the corporation, was driving the team along the road they were attacked by the bees.
The animals jumped sideways, breaking the tongue, and the driver then cut the team
loose from the wagon. One horse jumped the fence into the bees' nest and was stung
to death in a few minutes. The other maddened animal ran into the plowed field and
died in a few hours. Mr. Neal was badly stung, but escaped without any serious in-
jury, the insects apparently making their main attack against the horses.

A grand ball was given in Snyder's hall at Oakdale November 1, 1878. Great
preparations were made for the event and the music was furnished by the Stockton
Mechanics' Band.

January 29, 1873. — The Oakdale House in this city has been leased and will be
conducted in the future by John Crofton and son-in-law, John McDougall, former
residents of Stockton.

March 10, 1876. — The newly elected assessor, Thomas A. Wilson, has appointed
the following deputies: O. Sorder to take charge of the office and make the assess-
mnts in Modesto; F. H. Avers at Westport; J. C. James at Salida, and Richard Lan-
non at La Grange. Elton Baker, the newly elected county clerk, has appointed J. B.
Coldwell as his deputy.

August 18, 1905. — Stanislaus County is sorely afflicted with a plague of grass-
hoppers and they are creating great havoc in the vicinity of Oakdale. They come in
clouds and devour everything in their path. At the ranch of Dave Precert, five miles
southeast of Oakdale, the insects have wrought considerable damage. They first
attacked the fruit trees, devouring fruit, leaves and all. Then they preyed on the
orange trees, eating the oranges and leaves, and over a third of the orchard was literally
stripped by the pests.

An interesting murder trial in June, 1873, was that of George Davis, accused
of the murder of Charles Thompson at La Grange. During the trial the courthouse
was crowded and the jury brought in a verdict of guilty of murder in the second
degree. Both the prisoner and the people were represented by able attorneys, the
district attorney, John J. Scrivner, being assisted by Judge D. S. Terry of Stockton
and George Shell of Modesto. The defendant's attorneys were J. H. Budd and
and George Schell of Modesto. The defendant's attorneys were J. H. Budd and

April 10, 1888. — The city trustees of Modesto have granted a franchise to
F. A. Cressey, L. W. Fulkerth, Charles Moore and G. W. Whitby to construct and
maintain a street car line in Modesto. The franchise is for a term of twenty-five
years, and the roadbed must be commenced within one year and completed within
three years.

"Last week a small run was started on the First National Bank," said the
Modesto Herald, September 22, 1905. "It was started, no doubt, by persons jealous
of President Ora McHenry's prosperity. The run was checked when word was
received by telegraph from the First National Bank of San Francisco, 'You can have


all the money you want to the extent of your liabilities.' Ora McHenry can today
pay all the indebtedness of the bank and of himself and retire with a half million
in gold. His father laid a solid foundation for a fortune and his son continued
adding to that fortune during all these years. Father and son were and are asso-
ciates in business with the best men in Stanislaus County."

As Mr. Ostrom was coming from church on the evening of October 26, 1878,
while passing down H Street a bright light in the rear of the Old Corner saloon
attracted his attention. He immediately gave the alarm of fire, and in a short time
the flames were extinguished. On investigation it was seen that some firebug had
collected paper, straw and light inflammable wood, and placing it against the Loven-
thal restaurant, had set it on fire. In a few minutes the entire block would have been
in flames, but for the discovery and promptness of Mr. Ostrom in calling out the
fire department.

October 10, 1878. — The Herald said, "The broad plains for miles around
Modesto, during the past week, have been illuminated by the burning stubble from
the many wheat fields. In fact, all over the vast valley looks like one limpid flame
of fire feeding upon the earth's surface. The hundreds of acres that have been burned
filled the atmosphere with smoke all day, giving the sky a dark, smoky appearance."

Matthews Corrigan, who died in Oakdale Sunday, July 20, 1919, made his home
in this section for more than a half century. He was for many years one of the largest
grain farmers in this region. Hundreds attended his funeral. Mass was celebrated
by Father Maher and he was interred in the Modesto Cemetery.

The Oakdale automobile camp is getting to be its principal attraction. Every
evening the camp is filled with those returning from the Yosemite Valley, and nearly
every state in the Union is represented. Nearly all of the tourists come by the way
of Big Oak Flat. The camp is on the Santa Fe Railroad ground, the company giv-
ing it to the city August 5, 1919.


Stanislaus County's 748,678 cultivated acres during 1919 gave their owners
$34,260,728 in crops, and in this year this banner county produced about one-tenth
of California's milk supply. In cereals, 3,140,541 bushels were produced on 154,418
acres, and 253,410 tons represents the hay and forage yield from 78,889 acres.

On farm property valued at $110,595,497, as shown by the recent Bureau of
Census bulletins, which before irrigation twenty years ago were rated at $17,031,950,
there is livestock worth $9,140,797, while in 1910 this livestock total was a little
over a million and a half dollars.

Stanislaus statistics are eloquent. They are a story of fast growth. Twenty
3'ears ago there were 2,687 farms, as against 4,566 at last report; and back in 1900,
when irrigation began, their number was only 951.

With 928,000 acres as the county's land area, over three-fourths is under culti-
vation. Incidentally, of the 4,566 farms mentioned, 946 are free from mortgage debt.
The value of mortgaged ranches is $27,388,819, of which the mortgage debt is covered
by $8,964,050. It is interesting to note that farmers owning entire farms aggregate
2,880, while 606 rent additional land. The native white owners are 2,196, foreign-
born white 1,278, while non-white owners are only 12 — thus removing the drawback
burdening some sections of California.

An empire of trees in bearing and nearing the bearing stage affords potential
wealth in Stanislaus. For instance there are 500,579 bearing fruit trees, which
harvested 922,757 bushels in 1919, and 150,832 trees, now non-bearing, will soon add



their wealth. The bearing nut trees aggregate 139,205, with almost as many —
130,501 — soon to bear. The last reported crop was 1,144,550 pounds.

Horses number 14,364, worth $1,341,445; cattle, 55,292, worth $6,176,164;
sheep, 38,627, worth $427,715, and swine, 26,849 worth $412,823. The goat popu-
lation is growing, numbering 1,923, worth $14,524.

Value of All Crops

Cereals $ 5,368,193

Other grains and seeds 1,308,311

Hav and forage 5,454,448

Vegetables 1,468,143

Fruits and nuts 3,522,936

All other crops 18,383

Total $17,140,414

Value of Farm Property

1920 1910

Land in farms $ 85,580,234 $ 35,324,243

Farm buildings 10,665,305 3,320,475

Implements and machinery 5,209,161 820,079

Livestock in farms 9,140,797 4,323,090

All farm property.









Average values, all property per farm .

Land and buildings per farm

Land alone per acre

Selected Crops

(Acres harvested and production)

Total acres .
Total bushels







Kaffir, milo, etc

Rough rice

Other grain and seeds: Dry edible beans.
Vegetables :

Potatoes, Irish and white

Other vegetables















Hay and Forage

Total acres
Total tons .

All tame or cultivated grasses

Timothy alone

Timothy and clover mixed

Clover alone


Other tame and cultivated grasses.

Wild salt or prairie grasses

Small grains cut for hay






















Corn cut for forage

Kaffir, sorghum, etc., for forage.




Miscellaneous crops : Sugar beets
Small fruits:

grown for sugar

Fruits and Nuts


Total quarts

Orchard fruits:

Trees not bearing

Trees of bearing age. .





Trees Not
Bearing Age.

Trees of

Bearing Age.


















Total trees, bearing age, 130,501.
Total trees non-bearing, 139,205.
Pounds harvested, 1,144,550.

Walnuts (Persian and English).


Vines not bearing age.

Vines of bearing age. .

Pounds harvested . . .

4,582 82,531

. 2,096,576
. 39,343,953

Farms and Farmers

*Number of farms 4,566

Farmers, male 4,417

Farmers, female 149

Farmers, native white 2,815

Farmers, foreign-born white 1,677

Farmers, negro and other non-
white 74

•In 1910, 2,687 farms; in 1900, 951.

Under three acres, farms 25

3 to 99 acres 3,739

100 to 174 acres 337

175 to 259 acres 98

500 to 999 acres 127

1,000 acres and over 139

Domestic Animals

Number farms reporting do-

mestic animals
Value all domestic animals.
Total number of horses . . .

.$ 8,645,423

Colts, 2 years and over ....
Mares, 2 years and over. . .
Geldings, 2 years and over. .


Total value $

Mules, asses and burros...
Value mules, asses, burros. .$

Cattle :

Total number

Total value $

Beef cattle :

Total number

Calves under 2 years

Cows and heifers, 2 years

and over

Steers under 2 years

Steers over 2 years

Bulls, 1 year and over

Total value $

















Dairy cattle:

Total number 55,292

Calves under 1 year 10,352

Heifers under 2 years 7,390

Cows, heifers over 2 years . . 36,297

Bulls, 1 year and over 1,253

Total value $ 4,809,032

Sheep :

Total number 38,627

Lambs, under 1 year 11,767

Ewes, 1 year and over 23,470

Rams, 1 year and over. . . . 392

Wethers, 1 year and over. . . 2,998

Total value $ 427,715

Goats :

Total number 1,923

Total value $ 14,525

Swine :

Total number 26,849

Pigs under 6 months 16,360

Sows and gilts for breeding,

6 months and over 3,690

Boars for breeding, 6 months

and over 361

All other hogs over 6 months 7,438

Total value $ 412,823

Poultry and bees:

Chickens 330,488

Other poultry 10,855

Total valuation $ 469,077

Number beehives 3,485

Total valuation $ 26,397

Eggs produced, dozens. . . . 1,388,135

Chickens raised 246,442

Chickens sold 127,530

Value of chickens and eggs

produced $ 753,062

Receipts from sale of chick-
ens and eggs $ 515,933

Farms Operated by Owners

*Number of farms 3,486

Percentage of all farms. . . . 76.3

Acres land in farms 515,095

Improved land in farms. . . . 312,031
Value of land and buildings. $65,377,063

Degree of ownership —
Number farmers owning en-
tire farm 2,880

Number farmers hiring addi-
tional land 606

Native white owners 2,196

Foreign-born white owners. 1,278

Negro and other non-white 12

•In 1910, 2,200 farms; in 1900, 611.

Livestock Products

Dairying products: 1920

Milk products, gallons 20,341,792

Milk sold, gallons 9,702,037

Cream sold, gallons 101,231

Butterfat sold, lbs 3,207,670

Butter made on farms, lbs. . 100,423

Butter sold, lbs 20,978

Cheese made on farms, lbs. 113,177

Value of dairy products. . . .$ 4,773,562

Receipts dairy products $ 4,687,736

Wool and mohair:

Number sheep shorn 23,960

Wool produced, lbs 171,422

Value of wool produced, lbs.$ 66,483

Number of goats shorn. . . . 1,072

Mohair produced, lbs 2,180

Value of mohair $ 872

Honey and wax:

Honey produced, lbs 117,659

Wax produced, lbs 1,836

Value of honey and wax. . .$ 24,248

Land and Farm Acreage

Approximate land area 928,000

•In farms 748,678

tlmproved land in farms 477,871

Woodland, in farms 98,320

Other unimproved land 172,487

Per cent land area in farms. . . . 80.7

Per cent farm land improved. . 63.8

Average acreage per farm 164

Average improved acreage

per farm 104.7

•In 1910, 649,392; in 1900, 830,692.
tin 1910, 512,189; in 1900, 622,700.

Farms Operated by Managers

•Number of farms 72

Land in farms, acres 32,934

Improved land in farms, acs. 19,690

Value of land and buildings. $ 4,305,400

•In 1910, 46 farms; in 1900, 31.

Farms Operated by Tenants

•Number, of farms 1,008

Percentage of all farms. . . . 22.1

Acres land in farms 200,649

Acres improved land 146,160

Value of land and buildings. $26,563,076
Native born white tenants . . 562

Foreign born tenants 385

Negro and other non-white 61

Mortgage Debt Reports

(Farms operated by owners)

Number free from mortgage 946

Number with mortgage debt 2,138

Number with no report. . . 402

6>cl ht Wi



ORAMIL MeHENRY.— Rounding out his earthly span of years, so full of
activity and honor, the late Oramil McHenry closed his eyes to the scenes of this world
on February 21, 1906 — a world made so much the better for his having lived and
toiled here. He was a splendid type of American, a typical Californian, and very
appropriately the leading newspaper of Modesto said of him: "In the passing of Oramil
McHenry, Modesto lost a man who was always foremost in the work of her advance-
ment, and Stanislaus County one who did more toward her development than anyone
else, and California one of her prominent, substantial and enterprising capitalists whom
she could ill afford to lose. His family, too, lost a friend, a tender husband and a
devoted father who did all in his power to conduce to the pleasure and comfort of
those about him."

He was born on November 14, 1861, the son of Robert McHenry, a Vermonter
who removed to "York State" when he had reached maturity, and later to Louisiana,
where he had a large plantation. In 1846, during the Mexican War, he came to
California by way of the Isthmus, and in 1849 he reached Stockton, where he under-
took draying. Later, for six months, he went to the mines at Chinese Camp, and
then he came to Stanislaus County and commenced that identification with Modesto
and vicinity which has associated his name forever with local annals. He took up the
land that eventually became the Bald Eagle Ranch; and beginning with its 2,640
acres, increased his holdings to 4,000 acres. During 1878 he came to Modesto to live;
and entering the field of banking, became cashier of the Modesto Bank, which position
he continued to hold until 1884. When the First National Bank was incorporated,
he was made president, and so he remained until 1900. On the second of June of that
year he died, succeeded in the presidency of the bank by his son, the subject of our
sketch, but leaving a void in the Modesto world that could not well be filled. Mrs.
McHenry was Matilda Hewitt before her marriage, and she was a native of Ohio and
the daughter of Samuel Hewitt, with whom she crossed the great plains in a train of
ox teams early in the fifties. Her father located in the San Joaquin Valley, and there
he spent the remainder of his life. She died in 1896, aged fifty-six years.

Oramil McHenry attended the common schools of his neighborhood and grew
up to manhood in Stanislaus County, topping off his formal studies with three years
at the State University. Then he returned to Modesto and entered the First National
Bank, where he was bookkeeper under his father ; and in that capacity he served until
the latter's death, when he assumed the direction of the bank's affairs, and he continued
to fill that position acceptably until he, too, was called upon to lay aside earthly cares.
Upon the death of his parents, Mr. McHenry had inherited a large fortune, and
by unusual executive power, wise investments and general financial ability, he was able
greatly to increase his inheritance and to leave his heirs an estate valued at more than
a million dollars. This estate consisted of the controlling interest in the First National
Bank of Modesto, and also the controlling interest in the Turlock and other bank
stock, he having sold his interest in the Modesto Bank shortly before his death. He
also had a controlling interest in the store of G. P. Schafer & Company, the leading
merchants here, which he retained until his end. He owned much real estate, approxi-
mating 6,000 acres of valuable land in the county, as well as large holdings in Kern
and Fresno counties. A short time before his death, he organized the O. McHenry
Packing Company, with a capital stock of $1,000,000, and was interested in other
meat producing concerns that are now a leading factor in the production and distribu-
tion of meat in the San Joaquin Valley, as well as in the sale of meat in the Bay-
cities in opposition to the meat trust; and he was carrying on a successful fight there
in the interest of the imposed-upon public at the time of his untimely taking off.


Notable were other beneficent undertakings or benefactions of Mr. McHenry.
To him was due the financiering of the Turlock Irrigation District during its darkest
days, and had it not been for his confidence in the future prosperity of Stanislaus
County, and his ample means so freely invested in the bonds of both the Modesto and
Turlock Irrigation districts during the crisis in its development, the system might never
have been completed, for there was no other place to turn for money. To the liberal
investments, therefore, of Mr. McHenry may properly be ascribed the present complete
system, and much of the consequent development of the county during the past few
years. He was a liberal man in his donations to various charities and undertakings of
a public nature, and among other acts long to be thankfully remembered is his donation,
by bequest, for a public library for Modesto, which has resulted in the purchase of the
corner of Fourteenth and I streets, and the building of the McHenry Public Library.
He attended the First Presbyterian Church, to which he belonged, and was member of
the Stanislaus lodge No. 206, F. & A. M., of Modesto, and of Stockton lodge No. 218,
B. P. O. E., and also of the N. S. G. W. of Modesto.

Mr. McHenry was twice married. He was first married in Modesto, March
3, 1886, when he was united with Miss Louise E. Bilicke, who was born in Boise
City, Idaho, and came with her parents, when she was a child, to Dunsmuir, Cal. ;
later the family came to Modesto. This union resulted in the birth of four children,
two of whom are living, Robert A. and Albert H., who own and manage the Bald
Eagle ranch; through his second marriage, at Modesto, in 1902, he became the hus-
band of Miss Myrtie Conneau, of Modesto, and a graduate in the class of 1900
of Stanford University. One child, a son, Merl, has blessed this union. Mr. Mc-
Henry had been in poor health for nearly a year, and when, about six months before
he died, he realized that he could not overcome the dread disease, he became reconciled
to his fate, and began at once to put his business affairs into good shape for his family.
During all these months of suffering, although aware that his case was hopeless, he did
not lose cheerfulness, and at the final summons, faced death with fortitude and calm.

ROBERT McHENRY. — Among the pioneers who paved the way for the present
greatness of Stanislaus County, and in his optimism saw its great possibilities, will-
ingly putting his shoulder to the wheel and pushing forward towards the present
wonderful good that is now enjoyed by the present day residents, it is interesting to
chronicle the life of the late Robert McHenry, a truly wonderful man of splendid
business instinct and capabilities, who in his prime entered the wilderness and claimed
the virgin soil as his heritage and by unceasing toil and the endurance of hardships,
the making of sacrifices and practice of self-denial, pressed forward to make this desert
country burst forth with abundant crops furnishing sustenance for thousands of
families and to be the means of bringing prosperity to coming generations.

Robert McHenry was born in Vermont, where he was reared on a New England
farm and from a lad made himself useful on the old homestead, learning habits of
industry and economy, at the same time receiving a good education in the schools of
that locality. On reaching manhood, he migrated to New York, then moving south,
located in Louisiana, where he had charge of a large plantation. During the Mexican
War, in 1846. he came to California via the Isthmus of Panama, being one of the
number who came here before the forty-niners. In 1849 he located in Stockton, where
he was engaged in draying and freighting, then going to the mines at Chinese Camp,
he remained for a period of six months, after which he came to Stanislaus County
and took up land which now constitutes the ranch known as the Bald Eagle. This
place then consisted of 2,640 acres, but it was afterwards increased to 4,000 acres. In
1878 he located in Modesto and engaged in the banking business, becoming the
cashier of the Modesto Bank, in which capacity he remained until 1884. Upon the
incorporation of the First National Bank of Modesto, he became its president and
continued as it head until he resigned, being succeeded by his son, Oramil McHenry.

Mr. McHenry 's marriage united him with Matilda Hewitt, a native of Ohio,
who survived him until 1896, when she passed on at the age of fifty-six years, his
death having occurred June 24, 1890. She had crossed the plains to California in
an ox-team train in the early fifties with her father, Samuel Hewitt, who located in
the San Joaquin Valley, where he spent the remainder of his life.


They left an only child, Oramil McHenry, who proved a worthy son of a noble
father. Robert McHenry was a man of sterling integrity and great business acumen,
who worked his way unaided from the bottom of the ladder to a place of affluence
and an enviable high standing among his fellowmen. He has two worthy grandsons,
Robert A. and Albert H. McHenry, the present proprietors of the Bald Eagle ranch,
who are nobly emulating their father and grandfather's example.

DANIEL WHITMORE. — Among the sturdy pioneers who deserve to be grate-
fully remembered, no one may occupy a higher place in the memory of many an old-
timer than Daniel Whitmore, who was born on May 31, 1816, the son of Daniel and
Martha Whitmore. His parents removed with him, when he was only one year old,
to the now famous Chautauqua, N. Y., and two years later they went on to Conneaut,
Ashtabula County, Ohio, and there remained for twelve years. He was fifteen years
of age when they all went back East to Barnstable County, Mass., and from there,
for six years, he following a seafaring life.

In 1844, Mr. Whitmore was happily joined in matrimony with Miss Lucy
Jane Lee, a native of New York State, by whom he had three children of promise
and fulfillment. Clinton N. was the eldest, then came Leonard H., and after that
Eugene E. Whitmore. Stirred by the exciting reports of the discovery of gold in
California, Mr. Whitmore, in the spring of 1854, left Pittsford, Mich., in a wagon
train and braved the dangers and privations of a trip across the plains. Good luck

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 36 of 177)