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 38 of 177)
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mules and oxen after the old Salt Lake War, and had taken the stock into the San
Joaquin Valley and sold them to the settlers there. Holliday was from Illinois, and
Russell from Missouri, and the two financiers, as is well known, made a fortune
through this transaction. It took some time to earn- it out, and Mr. Cox remained
with the firm until they had sold all the mules and oxen, traveling on the road between
Del Puerto and San Francisco.

Returning to Stockton, in 1860, Mr. Cox worked for Mr. Overheiser on his
farm for a couple of years, and then he went to teaming in the mountains. He hauled
freight to Virginia City, Nev., and other mining points and camps in the mountains,
and continued at the rather hard proposition until 1870. The times were rough, rob-
bery and murder were frequent occurrences, and Mr. Cox often transported valuables
of particular worth to the pioneer, remote from great centers ; yet, although he is able
to make the proud boast that he never carried firearms, he was never molested in any
way, not even with a threatened attack. In 1870, he came to the region west of the
San Joaquin River, where Patterson now stands, and farmed the land ; and at first he
worked in partnership with W. L. Overheiser, the two handling several thousand

^*- ,&>„(h


acres together, but just how many they themselves never knew. At the end of two
years, he preempted a quarter section in the same neighborhood, and afterwards he sold
the same to J. D. Patterson. He then removed to Grayson and farmed the R. B.
Smith ranch to 1875. Mr. Cox went to Tipton, Tulare County, and bought the sheep
business of Dr. Stockton and Mr. Foster; and in Tulare he raised sheep for two years.
He had from 4,000 to 5,000 head when, in 1877, the price of sheep dropped to one
dollar, and of wool from thirty-five to nine cents a pound. He had paid two dollars
twenty-five cents a head for his sheep, and, when the bottom of the market fell out,
he traded his herd, at one dollar per head, for the old Fowler Ranch, west of Crows
Landing, on the Crow Creek, consisting of about 2,200 acres. He sold the land to
Mr. McDonald in 1877, as soon as he returned to Stanislaus County, and he himself
came back to Grayson practically "broke."

He then bought a part of his present ranch, or 240 acres, and in 1877 he also
rented land back of his own, so that he was able to farm in all about 1,500 acres. He
continued to buy other strips of land until he had acquired all of the 1.500 acres, and
this is at present his home ranch. In addition, he also purchased the 2,200 acres known
as the old McPike Ranch, adjoining the home ranch on the south; and this has made
him active in the Grayson district, leading the way by progressive methods, and pointing
the road to prosperity to others, since 1877. For many years, aside from being a large
grain grower, Mr. Cox has engaged in cattle raising. In this he is associated with his
son. Frank Cox, and owns over 7,000 acres of range land west of his vallev holdings.

At San Francisco, in October, 1878, Mr. Cox was married to Miss Rebecca
Curry, a native of Iowa, and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Curry, esteemed
residents for years of San Francisco. Five children have blessed their union. W. W.
Cox is at present farming his own ranch at Grayson. Sadie is at home with her
parents, adding grace to the household, as are also Mabel and John, the two youngest.
And Frank, the third-born, is also farming at Grayson. He handles the old Morton
ranch of 1,800 acres, west of Patterson, and also runs the Bircham ranch of 5.000
acres lying north of the old Cox ranch, as well as the J. D. Cox ranch, making over
10.000 acres in all, which he is cultivating in the most approved manner and with the
best machinery and appliances available.

Mr. Cox was bereaved of his faithful wife and helpmate in 1907, when she passed
away at their Berkeley residence while they were living there, schooling the children.
She was a devoted wife and mother and was mourned by a large circle of relatives and
friends. This was the first and only death in the J. D. Cox family, and left a v< id
that could not be filled.

While on the Train and McMullin ranch, in the fall of 1860, when Lincoln first
ran for the presidency, Mr. Cox cast his vote for the Republican standard-bearer, and
•he has been a standpat Republican ever since, with broad and reasonable views as to
the inadvisability of partisanship in local political affairs. Very naturally, on account
of his long association with Stanislaus County, Mr. Cox has become very enthusiastic
as to its future, and indeed there could be no more loyal or enthusiastic California,
not even among those proud of their nativity as native sons.

Mr. Cox's youngest son, John or "Jack," as he is popularly called, also has an
enviable record — that of his military service in defense of his country. He enlisted for
the World War on September 20, 1917, when, owing to his having studied for four
years at the San Rafael Military Academy, he was entitled to enter the regular army
as a captain; but he preferred aviation instead, and therefore chose to become a flier.
He trained until January 29 at the Rockwell field, in San Diego, and arrived in
France, by way of New York, on March 6, 1918, where he underwent training for
another twenty-five days at Issoudun, France. He used the Spad and Newp rt
machines, each for one man, capable of traveling at a speed of 115 miles an hour;
and being naturally equipped for that kind of hazardous undertaking, enjoyed
singular immunity from accident. He was commissioned a first lieutenant, and
has a flying record of 551 hours. He also trained for twenty days at a gunnery
school at Cassaux, France, and learned to be expert in firing at balloons, m< tor boats
and other moving objects with the Vicker machine guns. He was commissioned first


lieutenant at Cassaux, and then sent to Paris on patrol duty, and spent two and a half
weeks in that capacity in the buzzing French capital.

When he was transferred, Mr. Cox was assigned to the 89th Aero Squadron, in
the same contingent with Quentin Roosevelt, and he was stationed at Monty, near
Toul. where he operated a Breguet machine of 300 horsepower. He was then assigned
to guard duty at Belfort, against daylight bombing raids, and there he happened to be
when the news was flashed that the armistice had been signed. After the armistice,
Mr. Cox, who had proven of the right mettle, was assigned, on December 17, to the
vicinity of Chatillon, to bring aeroplanes back from the front. He was called upon,
in particular, to fly French planes, which had been used by the Americans, back to the
vicinity of Paris, and this he also did with credit to himself and the American aviation
corps. On December 28, he was ordered to return to the United States ; but five days
later he was taken sick with influenza and for three weeks he was laid up in a hospital
at Tours. On February 14, 1919, he returned to New York by way of Brest, sailing
on the "Saxonia"; and January 1, 1920, at the Presidio, he was honorably discharged.

SIMON ENSLEN. — It is interesting to chronicle the life of the 1 pioneer, the man
who in his prime braved the dangers of the wilds and entered the wilderness, claimed
the virgin soil as his heritage and by self denial, sacrifice, exposure and hard work
paved the way for present day civilization. Surely these grand men have all too rapidly
passed away, but their memory is ever appreciated and the story of their life prized by
the present-day generation. Such a man was Simon Enslen, a native of the city of
Brotherly Love, but reared in the state of Missouri, where he obtained the experience
in that farming and stock raising region which later became so valuable to him when
he came to this new and untried California. With two brothers, William and James,
he crossed the plains in 1854, driving a herd of cattle from which they expected a good
profit, which would contribute largely to their starting in business in the land of the
new Eldorado. But the Indians stampeded and stole their cattle and they lost all
of them, so they were forced to make their way as best they could over the mountains
and arrived empty handed, except for a donkey which the brothers sold to obtain a
little money to buy food. Nothing daunted, with youth and health, Simon went to
work in the mines for M. McSauley at Knights Ferry until he saved enough money
to purchase an interest in a butcher shop in the old county seat town. They met
with such success that ere long Mr. Enslen purchased his partner's interest and con-
tinued the business, and it is interesting to note that this same partner, Mr. McSauley,
afterwards worked for him. Mr. Enslen also started to raise sheep, in which he
was very successful, his flocks growing to large numbers and aside from his home
range he ranged the sheep principally in the Chowchilla hills. Associated with him
were his two brothers, William and James. Later William sold his interest to his
brothers and they continued together until Simon Enslen's death.

Mr. Enslen was also for some years in partnership with Samuel Dingley and
Robert Barnard, from the state of Maine, whose mother was a Dingley and a sister
of the above Samuel Dingley, the three being engaged in the sheep business, ranging
their flocks in the hills back of Knights Ferry. In this latter city at the bride's
home, he was united in marriage with Miss Martha E. Dingley, a native of Boston,
Mass., a lady of culture and refinement, and the union proved a very happy one.

In 1879 Mr. Enslen located in Modesto and from his home there looked after
his large interests, becoming one of the largest sheep growers in the valley, having
14,000 head of sheep in seven different bands, but he was not permitted to enjoy the
fruits of his labor and his honorable career was cut short by his passing, on January
22, 1880, leaving a widow, now Mrs. Tucker, and two children, Mrs. Maude
Holtham and Mrs. Eva McMahon, all living in Modesto.

Mr. Enslen was a large-hearted, enterprising type of an American, and it is to
such men that California owes much of its present day greatness, for without the
pioneers of his type who were optimistic and not afraid to venture and to put their
shoulder to the wheel to start the development of the wilds and lay the foundation
that eventually has made this favored section of the United States a garden spot,


thus giving to the present day generation the comfort and luxury they now enjoy.
Mr. Enslen was liberal and progressive and it is to him that Modesto today owes the
beautiful park which bears his name, which is the source of such enjoyment and pride
to the people of the county. A temperate man with a high standard of morals, Mr.
Enslen's honesty of purpose and integrity were never questioned and his example is
well worthy of emulation.

MRS. MARTHA E. TUCKER.— A liberal-minded, open-hearted, hospitable
lady enjoying the good-will of a wide circle of friends, and highly esteemed by all
who know her, is Mrs. Martha E. Tucker, a successful business woman who has
been equally prominent in women's club circles. She was a Miss Dingley before
her marriage, and she was born in Boston, the daughter of 'Samuel Dingley, also
a native of Massachusetts. He came of an old and honorable New England family,
and was a cousin of Nelson Dingley, Jr., the journalist who rose to be governor of
Maine and the congressman who was the author of the Dingley tariff. He married
Sarah Sherman, also a native of Maine, and preceded her to California in 1850. be-
ing joined by his wife and family two years later. He ran a hotel at Knights Ferry,
where he mde his home, and had a" stock ranch in the hills and followed stock raising
until he died. His demise occurred in Stanislaus County on June 3, 1886, when he
had rounded out seventy-five most fruitful years. He spent his last days with Mrs.
Tucker in Modesto, Mrs. Dingley having died at Knights Ferry on September 21,
1879. Three of their five children are still living, among them being Albert, ex-sheriff
of Stanislaus County; Ella, who is Mrs. Richards of Modesto, and the subject of our
interesting review.

Mrs. Tucker came to California with her mother by way of the Isthmus in
1852, and went to school at Knights Ferry. At her home she was married to Simon
Enslen, a native of Philadelphia who had been reared in Missouri, his sketch appearing
on another page of this work. He crossed the plains with two of his brothers in 1854,
driving a band of cattle, from which he expected much profit ; but the Indians stam-
peded and stole the cattle, and he finally arrived in California with one donkey.

In 1877 Mr. and Mrs. Enslen located in Modesto, where they bought a lot
and built the residence which she still owns at 918 Twelfth Street, and where she
makes her home ; and from there he ran his stock business. He was among the largest
sheep growers here, having 14,000 head of sheep in seven different bands. For about
two years, however, he was handicapped with poor health; and on January 22, 1880,
he died. He was a fine type of American, a typical old Californian, having strong
faith in the future of the state, and he never failed to do what he could to contribute
toward the development and building up of the community and county in which
he had cast his lot. He was a strictly temperate man, and thus set an example more
and more appreciated by educated American sentiment. Two children were born of
this marriage: Maude has become Mrs. Holtham, and Eva is Mrs. J. J. McMahon,
both of Modesto.

After his death his widow sold out all his interest in the sheep business, and
making her home in Modesto, she married, on February 15, 1882, John Franklin
Tucker, a native of Kentucky, who was born on February 9, 1836, and came to Cali-
fornia in 1865. He settled for a while at Crows Landing, where he was a merchant
until he was elected county assessor, an office he filled with signal ability for several
years. Then he engaged in real estate and the abstract business, and with George
Perley as a partner, organized the Stanislaus Land and Abstract Company. He
was well posted on property and land values, and continued actively in business until
his health became impaired, when he retired. He died on November 26, 1904, la-
mented by many, and mourned especially by his fellow-Masons. Two sons blessed
this union: Clarence Eugene is county sealer of weights and measures, and during
the war was food administrator for Stanislaus County, while Elmer Carlisle has been
in the aviation section of the U. S. Army service.

Mrs. Tucker has improved and built up valuable property in Modesto, and owns,
among such edifices, the telephone building and also a business structure on Tenth
Street, and has also built and still owns several bungalows. Some time ago she built


a cottage at Pacific Grove, where she spends each summer, and there, as well as in
her Modesto home, she finds delight in dispensing an old-time Calif ornian hospitality.
Mrs. Tucker has always been interested in various plans for the development of
Stanislaus County and Modesto. She has aided in the organization of different
banks and enterprises as well as public movements for enhancing the importance
of the county and the happiness of its people. She is a stockholder in the Modesto
Bank and The Bank of Italy. Of a natural strong physical makeup and a pleasing
personality and endowed with rare business ability, she is indeed a woman whom
Stanislaus County is proud of. She was one of the original members of the Modesto
Woman's Club, and is also active in the Ladies' Guild of the Episcopal Church.

HERRICK R. SCHELL. — A worthy representative of one of Stanislaus County's
most honored pioneer families and a Civil War veteran with an enviable record for
valorous service in that great conflict, the forceful personality of Herrick R. Schell
has been notably manifest in promoting the material development and welfare of this
section of California. A nephew of the late Abraham Schell. he was for a number of
years associated with him as a partner in the historic Red Mountain Vineyard.

Descended from a proud old New York state family, with an ancestry of hon-
ored French Huguenot and German forbears, Herrick R. Schell was born at Lyons
Falls, N. Y., on June 3, 1844. His parents were Adam and Charlotte (Sherburn)
Schell, the former a native of Lyons Falls, and the latter of Sharon Springs, in that
state. The family of the paternal grandmother, whose name was Maria Theresa
Du Pont, who lived to be ninety-nine years, was descended from French Huguenots,
who came to America to be free from religious persecution. Her nephew was
Caleb Lyon, of Lyonsdale, N. Y., who came to the Pacific Coast from New York
as a forty-niner around Cape Horn on the ship Tarolinta, and who designed the seal
for the state of California; later he became governor of the territory of Montana.
Adam Schell was a contractor and builder and the boyhood days of our subject were
spent "at the old home at Lyons Falls. He died at the age of ninety-four.

Although but sixteen years old when the Civil War broke out, Herrick Schell
was fired with the spirit of patriotism and offered his services to his country, giving
his age as eighteen. He was mustered into Batten- H, First New York Light Artillery,
commanded by Colonel Bailey, a West Pointer who had been a lieutenant under Gen-
eral Magruder ; the latter subsequently sided with the South and became a Confederate
general. This regiment, composed of fifteen batteries, was known as Bailey's Light
Artillery, and Mr. Schell served under the command of Capt. Charles E. Mink.
He was mustered in at Elmira, N. Y., September 23, 1861. Proceeding to Washing-
ton, D. C, they were equipped at Camp Barry, and from there went to the front to
join McClellan, being assigned to the Fourth Army Corps under Gen. E. D. Keys.
They first saw battle at Williamsburg, just after the evacuation of Yorktown. After
this they proceeded from battle to battle, taking part in many of the hardest and most
important engagements of the war. Among these may be mentioned the following:
Chickahominy ; Seven Pines, where Mr. Schell fired the first gun ; Seven Days' Re-
treat from Richmond, including Malvern Hill and the fight in which General Fitzhugh
Lee was captured in the outposts of Richmond. Mr. Schell then rejoined the Army of
the Potomac at Gettysburg, just after the battle, and was attached to the First Army
Corps; was at Mine Run under General Meade, and then the First and Fifth Army
Corps were consolidated into the Fifth and Second and Company H was assigned to
the Fifth Army Corps. This was in the winter of 1863 and these engagements fol-
lowed: Spotsylvania, Bethesda Church, crossing of North Ann River, Cold Harbor,
Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, Peeblis Farm, Hatcher's Run, Five Forks, being de-
tached and under command of Sheridan, who relieved Warren, Farmville, and finally
at the surrender at Appomattox Court House. After the surrender of Lee, the com-
mand marched to Washington and then took part in the Grand Review, the greatest
military sight ever witnessed in America. They were mustered out at Elmira, N. Y.,
in June, 1865, with a record second to that of no command in the Civil War.
Mr. Schell served most of the time as company clerk, with the rank of corporal, and
while his services entitled him to much further promotion his usefulness in the position




held by him retained him there and forbade his deserved advancement. During the
entire period of his service, from his enlistment to the close of the war, he was never ■
wounded and never was absent from his command on account of sickness — a record
equalled by few. He veteranized by enlistment at Culpeper Court House, Va., in
the same battery for the period of the duration of the war.

Mr. Schell also had two brothers serving the Union army — Harris and Hiram H.
The latter served as a first lieutenant in Battery D. Fourth U. S. Regular Artillerv.
The battery to which our subject belonged fired 6,000 rounds at the battle of Spotsyl-
vania and General Sedgwick there met his death between a section of their guns. Thus
in the Civil War as well as in the previous ones, the Schells took an active and honor-
able nart. The deeds of John Christian Schell and his sons in the cause of liberty dur-
ing the Revolutionary struggle are a matter of history, and are given further mention
in the biography of Abraham Schell in this work: while in the War of 1812, Jacob
Schell. the grandfather of Herrick Schell, served as a captain and took part in the battle
of Sackett's Harbor.

After being mustered out of service. Mr. Schell returned to his home where he
remained until 1867. He then came to California via the Isthmus of Panama, locat-
ing at Knights Ferrv, where he went into business with his uncle, the late Abraham
Schell. He at first bought a fourth interest in the famous Red Mountain Vineyard,
then became the owner of an undivided half interest, and later still became the sole
owner of the winerv, one of the first and mo«t celebrated wineries in California. Soil
and climatic conditions in this particular locality combined to produce a perfect habitat
for the production of wine grapes, and this, with the elaborate mechanical equipment
of the plant, made their product of superior excellence and their wines known widely
throughout the East. Ever a patriot, Mr. Schell observes both the spirit and the
letter of the Eighteenth Amendment, and makes no wine nor handles any. Although
it is plain to be seen that he has suffered a heavy financial loss, Mr. Schell stands loyally
bv the amendment and its constitutional bearing, and he is now considering to what use
this valuable property with its expensive equipment can be put. Although identified
with this business for many years, he never drank wine or any other liquor, and to
this he probably owes much of his wonderful strength and virility at the age of seventy-
seven. In the course of manufacture it was necessary for him to taste the wines in
order to sample their bouquet and flavor, but he never imbibed. In addition to his
viticultural interests, Mr. Schell became an extensive landowner and now holds title
to 4,000 acres of valuable land, which includes the whole of the Red Mountain Vine-
yard, and makes his home in the stately old mansion erected by Abraham Schell.

On September 23, 1873, Mr. Schell was married to Miss Clara Church, a
daughter of Artemus and Ellen (Higby) Church, natives of New York state, and they
have become the parents of eight children: Artemus Church assists his father in the
management of the ranch ; Pearl is Mrs. Schonhoff, a trained nurse and resides at
Modesto ; Adolph Edison, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work, is a partner with
his father in the cattle business at Knights Ferry and has a grain ranch of 400 acres;
Violet is the wife of T. B. Boone, the proprietor of the Palace Market at Oakdale ;
Herrick Romaine, Jr., lost his life while in the service of his country during the late
war, passing away from an attack of influenza at Fort Rosecrans, a few weeks after
enlisting; Lucile is the wife of J. F. Tulloch, who is manager of the electric light plant
at Oakdale ; Charlotte met an untimely death through an automobile accident at Oak-
dale in 1919, and Zoe, the youngest, was drowned in the ditch that brings water from
Stanislaus River to irrigate the farm.

Always broadminded, public spirited and progressive in his views, Mr. Schell
has been closely identified with the business and civic upbuilding of the county during
his long residence here. While never caring for political preferment, the community
has profited in countless ways by his admirable citizenship; he served on the first grand
jury ever held in Modesto. He keeps alive the stirring memories of Civil War days
by membership in Grant Post No. 9, G. A. R., an honored comrade whose recollec-
tions are always filled with interest. A genial, courteous gentleman, with a host of
warm friends, he ranks high among the foremost citizens of the county.


ABRAHAM SCHELL. — Honored and respected by all, no man occupied a
more enviable position in the financial and business circles of Knights Ferry, Stanis-
laus County, than did the late Abraham Schell. His activities covered a broad scope
and his efforts were of the character that contributed to general progress and pros-

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 38 of 177)