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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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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 44 of 177)
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Almina Jeanete, Mrs. Ross of Modesto, Nora Adelia died at thirteen, Mary Jane,
Mrs. Spyres of Modesto; George Frank died when nineteen months old; Margaret
Elizabeth, Mrs. Voice of Modesto.

Mrs. Mullin was born on the present site of the Don Pedro dam, but lived in
Paradise, Stanislaus County, for a while, where her father owned a home while he
was engaged in contracting and building, but in 1870 he moved with his family to
Modesto, where he followed the same business. In the early days his headquarters
were at Coulterville, while he drove the stage between Coulterville and Stockton, going
via Paradise. Mr. and Mrs. Church spent the remainder of their days at Modesto,
where they were among the early settlers and most highly respected citizens, having
reared a family who have become honorable and useful citizens. So it came that
Mrs. Mullin attended school at Modesto, where she received a good education, remain-
ing at home until her marriage. After their marriage, Mr. Mullin brought his bride
to his ranch, where they continued farming until 1891, when they purchased the old
Hughes ranch of 800 acres three miles east of Hickman, and with this place as his
headquarters, continued grain ranching on the plains and at Keyes. Later he gave up
the lease on the plains and rented 2,700 acres of the Blodget place below La Grange
and ran it for four years. He then purchased the Pat Hanlon ranch of 1,362 acres
adjoining the Hughes ranch, and gave all his time to farming the two places, raising
grain and also engaging in sheep raising for some years, having a flock of nearly 4,000.

During this time Mr. Mullin made many improvements on his property, leveling
and checking about 150 acres which he sowed to alfalfa, and when he sold his sheep he
engaged in dairying, in which he was very successful, having a dairy herd of 100
cows. He has one of the largest dairy barns in the county — 108x136 — and a large
horse barn and warehouses for the grain as well as enclosed sheds for the machinery,
and could thus house all his cattle and horses. Later on he disposed of his cows to
devote his time to grain raising. Some years ago he sold the Hughes place but still
owns the 1,362-acre ranch, known all over the country as the Mullin ranch. In 1917
he bought 1,240 acres at Sharon, Madera County, on the line of the Santa Fe Rail-
road, which he devotes to grain raising. He uses two seventy-five-horsepower Holt
tractors in operating his ranches and also uses horses, having two ten-horse teams. He
now pulls the combined harvester with his Holt tractor. He has been very success-
ful in raising grain while the land that is under irrigation is devoted to double crop-
ping, and he is extensively engaged in raising cattle and hogs. The main canal of the
Turlock Irrigation District runs through his ranch, so he is the first to use its water.

Mr. Mullin is a very strong man of athletic build — is very energetic and is never
idle. He has succeeded beyond his ambitions and has made a wonderful record for a
nine-year-old boy, who started without a dollar and only his willingness to work and
his ambition to succeed, so it is a far step from the little lad who had to stand on a box
to harness the horses and mules to the present owner of two large ranches and a man
of independence and affluence. He gives no small credit to the assistance of his devoted
wife who has been a very active and energetic helpmate, and has always helped and
encouraged him in his ambitions. She is a splendid woman, possessed of much busi-
ness ability and tact and their union has been a very happy one. They are the parents
of four children: William Ancil married Abbie Tremain of Oakdale and is assisting
on the home farm ; Nellie May is the wife of W. C. Turner and resides on the Mullin
ranch in Madera County with her husband and four children; Amy May, Elmer
Douglas, William C. and Nellie Lorraine; Elmer Francis, the third in order of birth,
is also assisting his father; the youngest, Theodore Roosevelt Mullin, is attending
school and shows marked ability; he is interested in ornithology and has a fine col-
lection of birds' eggs native to Stanislaus County; he is also interested in bee culture
and has a small apiary. He is a studious lad of whom his parents may well be proud.

Mrs. Mullin, who is a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church at Modesto,
joined that organization when she was fifteen years of age and she is now one of the
oldest members. Her younger sister, Mrs. Margaret Voice, who lives on Burnev



310 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Street, Modesto, was the first girl born in Modesto. Mr. Mullin is deeply interested
in the cause of education and having lacked the advantages of good school training
when he was a lad, is insistent on the boys and girls of today having the best obtainable.
He has served acceptably and well as a member of the board of trustees of Tilden
school district for fifteen years.

CHARLES EDWIN WELCH.— Seldom has a pioneer of substantial attain-
ment left a more interesting, if unpretentious, record of his experiences than that
which the late Charles Edwin Welch penned for his family circle in the early eighties.
He came to California a poor boy, and by unremitting industry and unfailing loyalty
to an ideal, persevered until he commanded a position of wide influence among; the
citizens of Stanislaus County and enjoyed with his near-of-kin a competency. What
trials he underwent to reach his enviable station Mr. Welch has told us thus:

"I was born at Athens, in the state of Maine, in the year 1840. My father,
Philip Hubbard Welch, was of the same county and state, and my mother, Delia M.
Welch, was from Brunswick, Maine. During the fourth year of my age, my parents
sold their little farm and migrated to the city of Portland, Maine ; and my father's
means being limited, we children only had the advantages of a common school edu-
cation. In 1849, when the gold excitement of California broke out, my father sailed in
September of that year around Cape Horn, in the brig Ruth, for the land of gold,
arriving in San Francisco in the month of February following, after a five months'
voyage. The vessel belonging to a joint stock company, thev sold her and disbanded,
and started for the mines. My father located in Columbia, Tuolumne County, where
he made money fast, got together about $15,000 and had it deposited with Adams &
Company, at the time of the failure of that firm; and then being somewhat discouraged
and homesick, he sent back for the family to come. My mother, being unable to sell
the property to advantage, could not come. I gave my mother no peace until she let
me go in advance to my father.

"On the 14th of November, 1854, I bade adieu to my kind and dear mother and
three little brothers, and started on the broad and deep road to the Golden Gate by
way of Nicaragua. Three days up the Nicaragua we had a nice trip shooting at
crocodiles and alligators lying along the banks of the river, and crossed the Isthmus
lying between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean, twelve miles by land. The
natives furnished the passengers with conveyances and ponies, the latter not larger than
four-month colts, the saddles similar to pack saddles, cross-trees with rawhides stretched
over them, and large black stirrups. These ponies are generally contrary; after getting
two or three miles on the road they will commence turning round and round, run
backwards and fall, and jump and work their way nearly back to the place where they
started from. My luck was to transport myself on one of that class of amiable animals,
for I must say that I had the worst one in the crowd that I started with. My com-
panions got tired of trying to help me along, for they had about all they could do to
navigate themselves. Finally, I and my steed were left alone in the road, and while
trying to persuade the animal to move, a native lady came galloping up the road, and
seeing I could proceed no further without aid, volunteered her valuable services, and
riding up to that prostate brute, she administered about fifty cuts with her whip, when
my pony became very anxious to go ; so mounting my steed in company with my lady
friend, we dashed off at the rate of twelve miles per hour, arriving at the hotel some
half an hour ahead of the parties I had started with. I shall never forget the kindness
shown me by that lady.

"The next morning I embarked in the steamer Uncle Sam, and arrived at San
Francisco on December 9 — twenty-three days from New York. Remaining in San
Francisco a few days, went to Stockton, and thence to Knights Ferry in company with
two other parties on foot — my first black mud traveling experience, of which a few
miles went a long ways, as shown by the distance gained in a hard day's walk in the
rain, which only got me to the Fourteen Mile House — fourteen miles from Stockton.
I obtained a good meal and lodged in the barn that night, as that was the only accom-



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 311

modation. The next day we took passage on the stage for Columbia, Tuolumne
County, where we arrived just about dusk, and stopped at a French restaurant.

"Here, upon inquiry, I found that my father had removed to Sonora. The next
morning the noisiest man I ever heard was old Sam Deligar, the stage driver from
Columbia to Sonora, drumming up passengers. Old Sam was familiarly known by
old residents of this county for many years afterwards, but he has long since been dead.
At Sonora I found my father and oldest brother ;. they were engaged in mining their
claim, which was located just east of Lucas' Star Hotel, on Shaw's Flat. I remained
with my father and brother about six months, building reservoirs, ditches, etc. Water
was very high — four dollars per day for a nine-inch head. The claim paid very well
for a short time, but finally dwindled down. The placer mines at that time were
generally paying very well. So I left our little mining camp and went on my own
resources, getting a job with a man by the name of George Conant, from Massa-
chusetts at four dollars per day. I afterwards worked on a river claim on the Tuol-
umne, on Stevens' Bar, in the night gang, shoveling tailings from a dump box in
water, knee deep; not good pay, but a lot of hard, disagreeable work.

"I then tried farming a while. I came down to the valley in May, 1856, and
went to work through harvest for Mr. Langworthy, residing then near Stockton ; and
after harvest I fell in with ex-Gov. Bradley of Nevada, vaqueroed for him in the San
Joaquin for about eighteen months, when I came over on to the Tuolumne River and
went to work for Frank Sturge, and have remained in this locality ever since.

"In the year 1860, at Horr's Ranch, I was married to Sarah E. Ramsey, from
Benton County, Mo. In 1864 I took up a homestead of 160 acres, on which I still
reside. We have four sons and five daughters living, and one daughter dead. I came
to this county in 1857, and engaged in farming. My farm consists of 982 acres,
located thirteen miles from the county seat, and nine miles from the railroad."

Mr. Welch was an Odd Fellow and a staunch Republican, but never aspired to
office. His demise occurred November 8, 1897, his passing taking away one of the
pioneers and upbuilders of Stanislaus County.

MRS. EMELINE A. WOODSIDE.— A native daughter of Stanislaus County,
born at old Empire City, August 26, 1855, Mrs. Emeline A. Woodside is a daughter
of Eli S. and Emily (Pearsall) Marvin, natives of Connecticut and New York, re-
spectively. The latter was a daughter of Samuel Pearsall, a business man who removed
from New York to Michigan, where he became a successful business man. Eli
Marvin had a brother, John G. Marvin, who had made the journey on a sailing vessel
around Cape Horn to California in 1849. He was a graduate of Cambridge Law
School and became a very prominent man in the affairs of the new state of the Golden
West and was superintendent of public instruction. He was taken ill and advised to
seek the climate of the Sandwich Islands, and there he died in about 1858.

A brother, Edwin Marvin, was ill in Michigan and was advised to seek a
warmer climate, and this decision was communicated to Jno. G. Marvin in California
by Eli, and the former advised him to bring him to California. Eli Marvin then sold
his business in the early fifties and arranged for passage from New York on the
steamer Independence for himself, his wife and his brother, but a man who owed him
quite a sum of money failed to show up at the appointed time and he was obliged to
wait, and his brother went on alone and they came on the next steamer. Afterwards,
it was learned the Independence was lost at sea, and the brother, no doubt, went
down, for he was never heard from again. Eli Marvin and his wife located at
Empire City, where he built a hotel and also a ferry, and there he continued business
until he died December 19, 1860. He was a prominent man and serving as justice of
the peace, was always called Judge Marvin. His widow remarried in 1862 to Dr.
Thomas Tynan, who was born in Ireland, coming to the United States when twelve
years of age. A self-made man, he graduated as an M.D. and came to California in
the early fifties. Mining for a time in Tuolumne County, he finally located at
Empire City, where he owned a ranch on the north side of the Tuolumne River, practic-
ing medicine all over Stanislaus County. Mrs. Tynan died September 10, 1881.
Later, Dr. Tynan moved to Modesto and built the Tynan Hotel and years later he



312 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

located in San Francisco, where he died. Of the union of Eli and Emily Marvin were
born three children: Edwin died at three months; Emeline, Mrs. Woodside ; Lucinda
Elizabeth became the wife of Alfred Fuquay, who was a prominent business man in
Modesto ; she died in San Diego.

Emeline Marvin attended the local schools as well as in the city of Stockton. On
October 19, 1875, she married Thos. F. Woodside, born in Shaw's Flat, Tuolumne
County, August 16, 1856, a son of Daniel and Harriette A. (Blackwell) Woodside.
Daniel Woodside was born in New England and migrated to Missouri, where he
married, and then crossed the plains in the Emmett Grayson train in the early fifties.
He followed teaming, making his home at Shaw's Flat.

Thos. F. Woodside and his wife engaged in farming on the Tynan place at
Empire City; later they farmed the Eli Marvin place until 1887, when they rented it
and came to Modesto. For a time they were proprietors of the St. John Hotel and
later the Tynan House. In 1896, they gave up the hotel business and moved to Tuol-
umne County, where Mr. Woodside engaged in farming until his death, February 28,
1907. They had two children, but only one grew up, Chas. LeRoy Woodside, the
merchant and postmaster at Cooperstown. Mr. Woodside was a member of the Odd
Fellows, the K. of P. and the Druids.

Mrs. Woodside was for many years a member of the Rebekahs and is a member
of Anona Parlor No. 167, N. D. G. W., at Jamestown. Since her husband's death,
Mrs. Woodside makes her home in Oakdale. She is well posted on the early history
of Stanislaus County, and possessing a good memory, it is interesting to hear her
narrate the stirring events of those early days.

MRS. MARGARET E. BYRUM.— One of Stanislaus County's most interesting
pioneers, perhaps now the oldest of the county's early residents, is Mrs. Margaret E.
Byrum, whose husband, the late Martin Van Buren Byrum, crossed the plains when
he was eighteen years of age. Descended from Scotch-Irish ancestors, who were
identified with the pre-Revolutionary days of the South, Mrs. Byrum inherited from
her forebears many of their distinguishing traits of character — traits that stood her in
good stead in the strenuous life of California's primitive days, for during the early
years of her life she well remembers the time when antelope, elk and wild horses were
common in Stanislaus County.

Born in Laclede County, Mo., March 30, 1847, Mrs. Byrum's maiden name
was Margaret Elizabeth Feagins. tier parents were Pleasant RufEn and Elizabeth
(Jones) Feagins, both natives of North Carolina, the father coming from the Upper
Yadkin country, which was the home of the famous hunter and trapper, Daniel Boone.
Great-grandfather Feagins fought in the French and Indian Wars, and also in the
War of the Revolution with General Nathaniel Greene, for whom Greensboro, N. O,
was named, and the Feagins family were prominent in the early days of Virginia and
North Carolina. Mrs. Byrum's parents were married in Guilford County, N. C,
where Elizabeth Jones was born in 1816; in 1830 she accompanied her parents to
Tennessee, where they remained a few years. Later the mother and her children
returned to North Carolina and there, on August 22, 1840, she married P. R. Feagins,
and two years later they moved to Missouri, where they remained ten years.

In March, 1852, the family started, with oxen hitched to their wagons and
bringing two cows, on their long journey across the plains to California. They left
Lebanon, Mo., hoping to get ahead of the train that started from St. Joseph, as the
cholera was raging there at that time. Notwithstanding this, cholera broke out during
their journey, and Mrs. Byrum's two eldest sisters, Catherine and Caroline, and an
aunt, Polly Jones, succumbed to the disease, and were buried on the Little Blue and
the Big Blue rivers. There were six daughters born in Missouri, and three more
in California; of the nine only Mrs. Byrum and Mrs. A. H. Ladd survive.

The party came by way of Sublett's cut-off, finally reaching French Camp, San
Joaquin County, in September, 1852, after six weary months on the trail. They took
up their residence on the French Camp Road, Mr. Feagins keeping a wayside tavern
and raising hay and grain which he sold to the teamsters. In 1857 the family removed




MARTIN VAN BUREN BYRUM

Taken at age of 42



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 317

to Stanislaus County, where Mr. Feagins became owner of some 1,400 acres of land
lying along the river. It was in this locality and environment that Margaret E.
Feagins grew up, attending the neighborhood school, and later the Presbyterian
College at Sonoma, after which she taught school for a year in this county. When
she was twenty, on September 12, 1867, she was united in marriage with Martin Van
Buren Byrum. who was then farming land where now is the present town of Salida,
and this land has been in the possession of the Byrum family ever since, Mr. Byrum
having taken it up from the government.

Martin Van Buren Byrum was a native of Missouri, born in Jackson County on
January 22, 1835, the son of Eli Byrum, a native of Tennessee, who migrated to Ala-
bama and thence to Missouri, where he married Lydia West. His mother died when
he was but eight years old, and one year later he lost his father by death and from
that time until he was fourteen he lived at the home of an uncle, Samuel Munday, still
later taking up his home with a Mr. Payne, whose kindness to him was always one
of the happy memories of his life. In the spring of 1853, allured by the tales of
California's new-found wealth, with his brothers, Elijah and Middleton, he crossed
the plains in Moore's train, coming by way of the Walker River route, arriving at
Sonora in September of that year. Later Mr. Byrum began ranching near Knights
Ferry and in 1862 he preempted and homesteaded 320 acres near what is now Salida.
After his marriage in 1867, he added to his landed interests until he owned 800 acres,
which he devoted to wheat. The location of the ranch, convenient to the railroad
and to the county seat, together with its splendid improvements, made of it one of
the most desirable places in the community. Mr. and Mrs. Byrum built a large,
comfortable residence here and for many years their home was the social center of
the neighborhood, the scene of many parties, weddings, musicales and reunions. Ever
a gracious hostess, Mrs. Byrum dispensed the old-time hospitality in true California
style, and their friends were numbered from far and wide.

In the passing away of Mr. Byrum on January 2, 1892, the family was bereaved
of a husband and father and the community of one of its staunchest and most esteemed
citizens. Mrs. Byrum still retains 206 acres of the estate and, with her two sons as
assistants, keeps it up to a high state of cultivation. They are planting it to grapes
and fruit and already have a considerable acreage in Thompson Seedless and Malaga
grapes, figs and alfalfa. About twenty years ago the home which they had erected
burned to the ground and Mrs. Byrum then built, on the old site, her modern and
beautiful nine-room bungalow, and here she now makes her home.

Mr. and Mrs. Byrum were the parents of ten children: Bessie became the wife
of Dr. H. C. Stone of Leadville, Colo., and died on January 13, 1911 ; Edith is Mrs.
J. E. McGinn and lives in San Bernardino County, she is the mother of two daughters,
Bessie Tyler and Margaret Sasselli ; Lillian married J. M. Rothenberger of Kansas
City, Mo., and at her death, June 23, 1910, left a daughter, Mrs. Edith Neal of
Bakersfield ; Elbert H. makes his home on the ranch and assists with its management
when he is not mining; Estella is Mrs. Wafer, and has a daughter, Elizabeth Wafer,
by her present husband. By her first marriage with James Jones she had two girls,
Wesley Estelle, now Mrs. Floyd Wisecarver, and Katherine ; Martin Van Buren
died at four years of age; Josie passed away at eighteen months; Winnifred is at
home, as is Leland Cottle and Marguerite C, who was an infant of but four months
when her father died. Leland C. manages the home place since his return from the
service of his country in the late World War, where he served valiantly as a member
of the Three Hundred and Sixty-third Regiment, Ninety-first Division.

Mrs. Byrum is a prominent member of the Congregational Church at Salida and
donated the bell for that edifice in memory of her great-grandfather, James Elbert
Tyler, who died in July, 1918. Always a devoted wife and mother, she has borne
her full share of labor and hardships incumbent on the pioneer men and women in
building up the great commonwealth of the Golden State, and to the women, no less
than the men, is due our appreciation for the work so nobly done.



318 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

FRANK P. GOMES. — A prominent and patriotic influential resident of Stanis-
laus County, Frank P. Gomes lives retired at his beautiful bungalow at 1207 Four-
teenth Street. There he shares the comforts and luxuries of a modern home with his
good wife who, as a devoted companion and mother is as much entitled to credit for
his success. From a hard-working ranchman and sheepraiser he became a capitalist ;
and although he still owns two farms that are rented out, he has deeded considerable
land to some of his children who are ranching in Stanislaus County.

He was born on the Island of Flores, in the Azores, on April 9, 1855, the son
of Frank J. and Maria R. Gomes, and when he was eighteen years old, he came to
America and the Far West. He could speak no English when he landed in San
Francisco in 1874, and he had only ten dollars with which to keep the wolf from the
door; but he went inland to Hollister and there engaged to work on a sheep ranch
as herder, an occupation at which he continued until 1875, when he came to the San
Joaquin Valley. He first stopped for a while on the West Side, Fresno County, but
in 1876 he came to Stanislaus. He worked by the month, while he saved his money,
until September, 1880, when he formed a partnership with John Lesta, to transact a
sheep business for themselves. They sustained this partnership for three years and
prospered, when Mr. Gomes bought Lesta out, since which time he has run it alone.

In 1882 he was married to Miss Anna F. Phillip, a native of the same town on
the Island of Flores, and it was not very long before he owned some 5,000 sheep. In
addition, he also bought and sold sheep. He purchased his first piece of land in
Stanislaus County in 1884, situated eight miles southwest of Crows Landing, at
Crow's Creek, and then he built a house on Sixth Street, in Modesto, which he traded
for a ranch of 160 acres five miles east of Modesto, where he ran sheep until seven
years ago, which was known as the Gomes home place. Then, when he had about
.1,500 head of Merino sheep, he sold out. He still owns 1,960 acres at Crows Land-
ing which he rents out for stock raising. At San Francisco in 1879 he was natural-
ized, and now he marches under the banner of the Republican party.

Mr. and Mrs. Gomes have five children: Charles is a rancher five miles west of



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 44 of 177)