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 37 of 177)
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favored them for the most part, and they were able, after a hard day's travel, to
group around the campfire at night with plenty of merriment and good cheer.

On September 1, 1854, Mr. Whitmore, with his family and his fellow-pioneers,
arrived at Stockton after a journey of five months, and in Stockton he remained until
1866, when he came south to Stanislaus County and engaged in the raising of wheat.
He also turned to carpentering and building, and contracted to construct houses,
barns and warehouses, and he also built cultivators. He came to have 9,000 acres
of rich sandy loam, and part of this he rented out in tracts of from 800 to 1 ,000 acres.
He merited and received the confidence of his neighbors as a man who operated intelli-
gently and with supreme faith in the future; and he enjoyed the affectionate esteem
of all who knew the kindliness of his heart and the cleanness of his soul. Daniel Whit-
more did something definite to make California a much better place in which to live;
nor will the influence of what he did soon fade from remembrance.

JOHN SERVICE. — California numbers many men among her citizens whose
restrospective glance recalls active participation in the pioneer events of the state,
none of whom, however, were more representative of that early period than was the
subject of our review, John Service, whose name was well known beyond the confines
of his home town of Ceres, and Stanislaus County. His death, which occurred July 5,
1920, was felt to be a distinct loss to the community, whose best interests he had sus-
tained with untiring zeal, and where he was known as one of its largest landowners
and successful ranchers. A native of New York, John Service moved with his parents
into Michigan when he was but two years of age, where they were pioneer farmers
near Morenci. He was of Scotch-Irish descent and inherited the business instincts of
his forebears, as well as their fearlessness and courage. He crossed the plains with ox
teams in 1859 and was employed for a time in Napa Valley; he later went to Auburn,
Placer County, and for a time freighted for a Mr. Hatch over the mountains into
the mines. In partnership with Ed. Hill, he turned to farming, owning a small farm
on Placer Creek, the improvements of which were completely washed away in the
flood of 1862. He sold out his interest in the partnership to Hill, taking his note for
$250, which was never paid, and which is now held as a souvenir by his family.

The marriage of John Service in 1867 united him with a woman as brave and
splendid as himself, Miss Julia Hall Warner, the adopted daughter of C. P. Warner.
She came to California with her foster parents in 1856, when she was about six years
of age, crossing the Isthmus of Panama by rail and mule hack and eventually locating
in Placer County ; later removing to Stanislaus County, where Mr. Warner is one
of the well-known pioneers. After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Service came into


Stanislaus County to make their home. From that time until 1885, the}' were prom-
inently identified with the farming interests of the county, where Mr. Service was
extensively engaged in grain raising. He bought 640 acres at one dollar and a quarter
an acre, and at one time owned 1,000 acres between Snelling and La Grange. He
rented additional lands, and often farmed as much as 1,000 acres to wheat in one
season. At that time Stockton was the one trading post and headquarters for the entire
San Joaquin Valley.

Mr. and Mrs. Service became the parents of eleven children: Walter Warner,
born April 26, 1868, died November 22, 1878; Lewis H., born April 27, 1870, now
a jeweler in Berkeley, Cal. ; Wilbur P., born June 5, 1871, died November 19, 1878:
Hubert E., born May 15, 1873; W. Roscoe, born October 22, 1874; Ida Irene, born
March 24, 1877, now the wife of Dr. F. H. McNair of Berkeley; Robert Roy, born
June 4, 1879, now a missionary in China; Lulu K., born January 29, 1881, now the
wife of F. F. Goodsell, a missionary in Constantinople; Lynda R., Mrs. Sperry, born
December 16, 1883. John H., born August 31, 1888, died May 3, 1908; and Law-
rence E. Service, born March 3, 1890. Of these sons and daughters, all who have
lived to their majority have proven to be men and women of more than ordinary worth.

The golden wedding anniversary of John and Julia Service was celebrated in
Berkeley on July 3, 1917, when all the living children but R. R. were present to add
to the joy of the occasion. They had moved away from Ceres in 1885 because of the
failing health of the husband and father, going first to Auburn, remaining there until
1895, when they came to the ranch, and in 1899 they went to Berkeley to reside,
leaving the great ranches in charge of the sons, Hubert E. and W. Roscoe Service. The
mother died at Berkeley in 1918, after an illness of six months, and the* father passed
away at Ceres on July 5, 1920, while on a visit to his sons there. The record of his
life-work, his untiring energy and industry, his perseverance towards the object of
his ambition, his unswerving integrity and unimpeachable honor, in short, his exemplary
life, stands ever as an example well worthy of emulation.

HENRY CAVILL. — Among the oldest and most highly-esteemed settlers still
living in Stanislaus County are Henry Cavill and his good wife, who long endured
the hardships of early days, and now, as residents of Modesto, are enjoying the fruits
of courageous industry, foresight and thrift. Mr. Cavill came into this section, then
a wilderness, to claim the virgin soil as his heritage, and by close application, hardest
of work and considerable sacrifice, he has made not only a competency, but a fortune.
He was born in Knowstone, Devonshire, England, on February 22, 1832, the son of
John and Man,- Cavill, who were extensively engaged in farming ; John Cavill and his
father having farmed one place of 450 acres — a large area for that settled country —
for forty-one years. These good parents lived, labored and died in Old England.

Henry Cavill followed farming there until August 14, 1857, when he took pas-
sage to New York, where he arrived on the eleventh of May. He did not find New
York to his liking, so he pushed on westward, and for a while located in Janesville,
Iowa. There he remained until April 15, 1859, when he started for the gold regions
of California. He and a comrade, having equipped themselves with a wagon, team
and necessary supplies, joined an ox-team train and came over the northern or Col.
Andrews route, and they had a pleasant journey and no trouble through the Indians.
They arrived in Placerville on October 15, having been six months en route, and like
so many others, they first went to mining. They commenced at Montezuma in 1861,
but not succeeding very well, Mr. Cavill in 1863 tried his luck in the Union Copper
Mine at Copperopolis, in Calaveras County. Next he came to Stockton and bought a
team, and with that outfit he teamed out of Stockton to the mines for seven years.
Meantime, as early as 1867, Mr. Cavill came to Stanislaus County and preempted
160 acres which he used for winter quarters, and as soon as possible he began improving
it until finally he quit teaming and commenced to raise grain. He first added a
quarter section to what he had, until he owned 320 acres, and wishing to enlarge his
possessions, he made a singular transaction with Otis Perrin of Stockton, who owned
640 acres near his place. He offered Perrin for his farm 5,760 bushels of wheat, or
nine bushels of wheat to the acre, the wheat to be paid him as fast as he could produce

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it from crops to be raised on the land, which was then valued at about $4,000. The
two following seasons were not the best, but Mr. Cavill produced the required amount
of wheat, and as wheat was then worth about one dollar and a quarter a cental, in
two years he acquired title to the land, which in time became very valuable. After a
while, he owned 1,028 acres, and he was rated one of the large grain growers.

When Mr. Cavill retired from his arduous labors, he removed to Alameda to give
his children higher educational advantages; and after their education was completed,
he and his wife settled in Modesto, where they make their home at 1119 Thirteenth
Street, surrounded by their affectionate children and many devoted friends.

In 1873 Mr. Cavill was united in marriage at Stockton with Mrs. Matilda
Elizabeth (Standiford) Cobb, a native of Cass County, Mo., and the daughter of John
and Jane (Osborn) Standiford, natives of Indiana. Matilda Standiford was first
married in Missouri to John W. Cobb, and they crossed the plains in 1863 with ox-
teams and wagons, locating on a farm near Stockton; but in 1865 they came into
Stanislaus County, and here farmed until Mr. Cobb died. Four children blessed the
union of Mr. and Mrs. Cavill: Rose is Mrs. Braswell, Edith is Mrs. Moss, Birdie is
Mrs. Maze, while the only son is Walter. The daughters reside in Modesto, but the
son lives in Oakland. Mrs. Braswell and Mrs. Maze are sharing the home with
their parents, and giving them their loving devotion and care. An old-fashioned
Republican, Mr. Cavill is public spirited and takes a keen interest in all that makes
for the upbuilding, as well as the building up, of the town and county.

Among the many interesting recollections of Mr. Cavill are those going back to
1861, when it rained for three weeks without cessation, and from Stockton for ten
miles stretched a veritable lake, compelling him and two other ranchers to make their
way out into the country on horseback by following the high places and swimming
where the water was deeper. In that year, in Sonora, 121 J/2 inches of rain fell —
something more than a series of showers! There was no mail received for thirty
days, and then only by a man who brought it in on his back, swimming and crossing
the streams as best he could, and receiving a dollar for each letter he brought.

JUDGE A. HEWEL. — A Californian by adoption who became prominent and
influential in Stanislaus County was the late Judge A. Hewel, a native of Hanover,
Germany, where he was born on May 9, 1835. He received his early education in
the schools noted throughout the world for the thoroughness of their educational
system, and there he learned both to write a good hand and to become an expert
accountant — two accomplishments which served him well when he became clerk of
Stanislaus County. Leaving Germany as a sailor, he reached New York Cit}' in 1850;
and in September of the following year, he left the American metropolis and journeyed
by way of Cape Horn to San Francisco. He sailed through the Golden Gate in July,
1852, and pushing into Mariposa County, for a while he followed the venturesome
career of a miner there. As early as 1854, he came into Stanislaus County, and nine
or ten years later he removed to Knights Ferry, which was then the county seat. It
was not long before his fellow-citizens prevailed upon him to become deputy county
clerk, and soon after he was made clerk of the count}-. At first he served under John
Reedy, and then he succeeded him. In 1867, he was defeated for county clerk by
Thomas Hughes.

Having improved his time, in the study of law, Mr. Hewel was admitted to the
California bar in February, 1864, and in 1866 he formed a partnership with A. Schell,
the popular lawyer at Knights Ferry, which continued until April 1, 1872. Mr.
Schell then retired, and Mr. Hewel removed to Modesto, when the county seat was
established there. He practiced law alone until 1875, when he formed a partnership
with W. E. Turner, then probably the leading lawyer of the section, and continued
with him until the new constitution gave Stanislaus County a superior judge. Mr.
Hewel was elected to that office, and for six years proved an upright, honest and im-
partial judge, serving the county with great credit to himself and the people who had
elected him.

After the close of his term, Judge Hewel quit the practice of law to devote his
time to his large landed holdings and agricultural as well as mining interests. He


owned a third interest in the Utica mine at Angels Camp, having maintained his
interest in mining from his advent into California, and in the long run he met with
considerable success. He was also interested in oil development, and always did his
share towards developing the natural resources of the earth. As a farmer, too, he
was decidedly progressive, using only the latest methods and the most up-to-date
machinery. The money he made in mining projects, with C. D. Lane and others,
he judiciously invested in real estate, for the most part in Stanislaus and nearby terri-
tory, and at one time he owned 2,500 acres in Stanislaus County, 2,600 acres in
Tuolumne County, and 320 acres in Merced County.

When Judge Hewel died, therefore, on August 2, 1909, he left behind him a
fine record as trustee of the city of Modesto, and also trustee of the first brick school-
house built on Fourteenth Street. He had remained a director in the Farmers and
Merchants Bank of Modesto until his death, and he was also a director in the First
National Bank of Modesto, and a stockholder in the Modesto Bank. As a Democrat,
he was honored with a high place in the councils of the party. The consensus of
opinion was that when Judge Hewel said anything was so, it was so and his word was
as good as his bond.

On November 22, 1871, Judge Hewel was married at Knights Ferry to Miss
Maria Fisher, a native of Schoharie, Schoharie County, N. Y., and the daughter of
Jacob Fisher, who was born at Berne, Albany County, the same state, where he was
a farmer. He had married Sophia Schell, a native of the same place; and they both
died in New York. They had six children — three boys and three girls — and a son
and a daughter are still living. A brother, Addison Fisher, was in a New York
regiment during the Civil War, and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Another brother, Albert Fisher, resides in Central Bridge, N. Y. Mrs. Hewel's uncle,
Abraham Schell, came to California in 1850, was a merchant in Stockton, and then
bought a grant of land at Knights Ferry, where G. H. Krause had set out a vineyard
still known as the Red Mountain Vineyard. Mr. Schell studied law, was admitted
to the bar, and practiced with Mr. Hewel until the county seat was removed to
Modesto and he retired, to spend his remaining days in Knights Ferry, enjoying the
honors due to his long prominence. Mrs. Hewel was educated at Schoharie Academy,
and in 1868 she came to Knights Ferry, where she met her future husband. Four of
their children grew to maturity. Blanche is the wife of H. T. Miller of Bakersfield;
Arabella, who died in February, 1908, leaving a daughter, was Mrs. A. B. Shoemake ;
Clarence A. resides in Los Angeles ; and Catherine Schell Hewel lives with her mother
and assists in presiding over the latter's household. In 1894, Judge Hewel built the
large modern residence where his family still lives.

Judge Hewel was a Mason unusually well-posted. He was made a Mason in
Stanislaus Lodge No. 206, F. & A. M., Modesto, of which he was past master, and
was past high priest of the Modesto Chapter No. 49, R. A. M., and served as grand
high priest of the Grand Chapter of California, one term. He was a member of the
Knights Templar at Stockton. He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and was
a member of the Shriners, and was the first Knight Templar from Modesto to become
a member of Islam Temple, San Francisco. He was also a member of the O. E. S. of
Modesto. Mrs. Hewel is a member of the Electa Chapter No. 72, of the O. E. S., and
with her daughter Catherine is a member of the Woman's Guild ; Miss Catherine is a
member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Both mother and daughter are also members
of the Modesto Woman's Improvement Club. One of Mrs. Hewel's lineal ancestors,
Lieut. John Dominick, was in the Revolutionary War; and on both paternal and
maternal sides she is descended from Revolutionary stock, her great-grandfather being
John Fisher, of the Revolution, and she also traces her lineage back to five other
Revolutionary ancestors. Mrs. Hewel and Miss Catherine are charter members of
the Major Hugh Moss chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in
Modesto. Miss Catherine Hewel was a delegate to the Continental Congress held at
Washington in 1919, being appointed by the present head, President-General Sarah
Elizabeth Guernsey, and was one of the floor pages at the memorable session.


Since Judge Hewel's death, Mrs. Hewel has continued to look after the extensive
estate left by her husband. She has improved the land under the Turlock Canal,
largely devoted to vineyard, but two years ago sold all save two hundred acres given
to alfalfa. In 1919, she built the Hewel garage at the corner of Tenth and G streets,
in Modesto, a fine edifice, two stories, 125 x 140 feet in size, thoroughly fireproof, and
the largest garage building in the city. She is a stockholder in the Bank of Italy, and
she also owns valuable lands at Lerdo in Kern County. Mrs. Hewel has followed in
the footsteps of her esteemed husband, having the greatest faith and optimism in the
future greatness of Modesto. She has done much to build up the city and county in
which Judge Hewel had such faith. Liberal and kind-hearted she continues as did the
Judge to dispense the true, old-time Californian hospitality..

REUEL COLT GRIDLEY.— In the annals of Stanislaus County, a name that
will ever be honored as one of her representative pioneer citizens is that of Reuel Colt
Gridley, identified, as he was, with the state of his adoption from the early '50s. Mis-
souri was his native state, and he was born there at Hannibal in the year 1829. He
reached young manhood about the time of the Mexican War and for one of his pa-
triotic spirit it was but natural for him to give his services for his country in that
conflict. In 1852, when the tide of emigration was still flowing to the land of gold,
Mr. Gridley crossed the plains by Pony Express and on reaching California, settled
for a while at San Jose. A year later he was joined by his wife, who made the journey
by way of Panama; before her marriage she was Miss Susanna Snider, a native of
Pennsylvania, their wedding occurring in Louisiana, Mo. They located at Yreka, in
Siskiyou County, then removed to Oroville, Butte County, whence he went on to
Austin, Nev., where he was engaged in mining. In 1866, on account of his health, he
moved to Stockton, and the following year came to Paradise, Stanislaus County, where
he built a home and became closely identified as the postmaster and merchant.

In 1870, after the Southern Pacific Railroad had built its line through and laid
out the town of Modesto, the whole countryside was on wheels for a time, as the
residents of Paradise and other outlying communities, seeing that the new town would
become the commercial center of this district, moved their stores and dwellings there.
Among those who joined the procession was Mr. Gridley, and in the fall of 1870 was
planning to move his store building to a lot he had purchased on Eighth Street, near
H, in Modesto, where he intended to open the first store, as well as a lumber yard, in
the new railroad town. No doubt he would have been the first postmaster, but he
passed away November 24, 1870, in the prime of life, being only forty years old. He
was buried at Stockton, and here in 1886 the Grand Army of the Republic erected
a monument that is a fitting tribute to his memory. The memorial comprises a gran-
ite base and marble column, about ten feet in height, surmounted by a life-size figure
of the patriot, standing with his right hand resting on a sack of flour. He was promi-
nent in fraternal circles, being a Knights Templar Mason and an Odd Fellow.

In January, 1871, Mrs. Gridley moved both the store and residence which had
been built in i 867, from Paradise to Modesto. The store was placed on Eighth
street, while the residence was at the corner of H and Seventh streets, Modesto,
where she made her home. She engaged in the mercantile business as Gridley & Com-
pany and as early as 1872 she built a large, two-story brick building on the corner of
H and Eighth streets. Here she continued in business until 1881, when she sold out
and retired, making her home in Modesto until her death in 1910. Both Mr. and
Mrs. Gridley were devout Methodists and were noted for their hospitality and pro-
gressive spirit and were highly esteemed for their generosity and kindness.

An interesting story is still told of this well-known pioneer which brought him
into national prominence in the late days of the Civil War. While at Austin, Nev.,
he wagered a sack of flour that the Democratic nominee for mayor would be elected,
and the wager was accepted by Dr. Herrick, a county official. If the latter lost, he
was to carry the sack of flour from Clifton to Upper Austin, one and a half miles, to
the tune of "Dixie," but if Gridley lost he was to carry the flour from Upper Austin
to Clifton, to the tune of "John Brown's Body." Gridley lost and paid the debt.


The sack of flour was decorated with red, white and blue ribbons, and a procession
was formed, led by the newly elected city officials, and the citizens filed in line behind
Gridley as he carried the flour down the street, singing "Glory, glory, hallelujah!"
led by the town band. When the march was ended, debate arose as to the disposition
of the flour; the Republicans wanted to make hot cakes of it and eat it themselves,
but the Democrats opposed this, saying that they were just as loyal to the Union as
the Republicans. So Mr. Gridley took the sack and proposed selling it, the buyer
to turn it over for re-sale, the money to go to the U. S. Sanitary Commission for the
care of the sick and wounded soldiers returned from the war. The novel proposi-
tion was quickly approved and Mr. Gridley took the sack of flour to other Nevada
towns, then to Sacramento and San Francisco and later to the Eastern States; in this
way he raised $275,000 for the Sanitary Commission. Mark Twain was in Austin
at the time and gives an account of it in one of his books. In 1914, the famous sack
of flour with its many decorations was presented for preservation to the Nevada
Historical Society by the pioneer's daughter, Mrs. Josephine Gridley Wood, the only
surviving daughter. There is also one surviving son, the oldest of the family, Amos
B. Gridley, who when thirteen years of age marched in the above historical proces-
sion carrying the American flag. He now makes his home in Oakley, California.

JOHN DUNLAP COX. — Well-known among the most progressive and pros-
perous ranchers of Westley and vicinity, John Dunlap Cox is doubly interesting as
probably the oldest pioneer of Stanislaus County still living, and also as a native of
that pastoral section of Nova Scotia made immortal through Longfellow in the pathetic
and beautiful poem, "Evangeline." He was born in Stewiacke, Colchester County, on
March 22, 1836, the son of William Cox and Sarah Dunlap, and inherited from his
parents just the right sort of elements needed for his later career. The forebears of
both his father and mother came over on the Mayflower, and his maternal grand-
mother was a Putnam, of New England origin, .and related to such distinguished
Americans as Israel Putnam, the soldier; Rufus Putnam, also of military fame; James
and John Phelps Putnam, the purists, and Frederick Ward Putnam, the anthropologist.
The Coxes and Putnams migrated from New England to Nova Scotia at an early
period, and there Mr. Cox became a teacher in the Navigation School at Halifax.

After a boyhood passed with an uncle, a Mr. Dunlap, on his farm, where he
operated extensively, raised stock and conducted a dairy business, Mr. Cox, in 1859,
lured by the miraculous stories of opportunity along the Pacific, came out to California
by way of Panama. He went from New York to the Isthmus on the sailing vessel
"Baltic," and came from Panama to San Francisco on the "John L. Stevens" — as a
matter of fact, on the last trip which that once sturdy vessel made, for it was piloted
into San Francisco and never afterward used. Stopping for a short while in the Bay
city, he came inland to Stockton on one of the - San Joaquin River steamers ; and even
there he stayed only long enough to get his bearings. Moving on to Grayson, Mr.
Cox found employment with Messrs. Holliday & Russell, who had purchased the

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 37 of 177)