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

. (page 47 of 177)
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 47 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

where he passed away in 1890. The result of this union was eight children: Lucas
served in the Civil War and was never heard from ; the rest all came to California ;
William died in this county ; Shelby resides in Modesto ; Henry died at Redwood
City; Zadoc died here in 1866; Sarah, Mrs. Madison Walthall, died in Modesto;
Rachael Rosella of whom we write and Wasson is Mrs. Rickart of Oakdale.

Rosella Covert when a girl enjoyed but limited opportunity for schooling, the
school nearest at Rand being two and one.-half miles from her home. However, she
was always studious and has been a constant reader, so she had acquired a fund of
information and today is well-informed and an interesting conversationalist. At the
time of their marriage Mr. Davis was farming on the Copperopolis road, but in July,
1864, he moved to what is now Salida, Stanislaus County, where they purchased a
quarter section of land for which he paid $500. Mrs. Davis recalls vividly those days
and sees a marked contrast between them and the present. Mr. Davis drove a six-
horse team, walking to and from his work each day and received for his day's pay
just $1.50, working from daylight till dark. Mr. Davis added to his quarter section
at Salida until he accumulated 800 acres of land, adjoining Salida, and just across the
tracks from the site of the old Salida schoolhouse. Of this old homesite Mrs. Davis
still owns 200 acres, the balance having been sold. About thirty acres are in peaches,
ninety acres in alfalfa, and the balance in grain land, and the land has of late been
leased to others. Mr. Davis was a very prominent and progressive man and was
intensely interested in the cause of education, serving as school trustee and clerk of
the board for many years. He was elected a member of the board of directors of the
Modesto Irrigation District, serving as its president for seven years. In this position
he rendered valuable services, giving the district the benefit of his years of experience
and sound business judgment. In 1906, his health becoming greatly impaired, Mr.
Davis retired from farming and moved to Modesto with his family and there on
February 23, 1910, he died, lamented by many and especially by the Masons, having
been a member of Stanislaus Lodge No. 206, at Modesto, for many years. He was
a Democrat in matters of national political moment, but too broad-minded to be
partisan and, therefore, narrow.


Ten children were born of their happy union, and five are still living: John
Noah, the eldest, is deceased; Ora A., is the wife of Wm. H. Hatton, the attorney at
Modesto; Madison H., is a warehouseman at Madera; Mary Rosella has become Mrs.
Wall and is living in Honolulu; Franklin Shelby is deceased; Porter Burdette, an
invalid from his childhood, lived to be twenty-seven ; Hatton died at the age of five ;
Frankie A. is also deceased ; Edward C. is an insurance broker, and also secretary of
the Merchants Association of Modesto; Grace is Mrs. Whitney of San Diego.

Mrs. Davis for many years cared for her invalid son, never leaving him alone and
showered on him devoted care and thoughtfulness as well as nursing others with rare
fidelity in that manner rendering the highest service to humanity. So it is no wonder
she has not been able to take an active part in women's clubs or lodge work, much as
she would have liked. She continues to reside at her old home, 827 Thirteenth Street,
fully enjoying a large circle of friends and looks after the large affairs left by her hus-
band and of which she renders a good account. A woman of a pleasing personality and
rare business ability she is generous and kind-hearted and is much loved for her affa-
bility and many acts of kindness.

SOLOMON PHILIP ELIAS. — Prominent among the most progressive men of
influence in Stanislaus County whom Modesto in particular will long delight to honor,
is Solomon Philip Elias, manager of the clothing firm of D. & G. D. Plato, in
Modesto. He was born, a native son, at San Francisco, on October 29, 1868, the
son of Philip Elias, whose father was a rabbi, and Jenny (Plato) Elias, daughter of
the late David Plato, and sister of the late Gabe Plato. He first attended the gram-
mar schools in San Francisco, but in 1879 he accompanied his parents to Modesto,
when Philip Elias, David Plato, his grandfather, and G. D. Plato, an uncle, organ-
ized in that city the firm of D. & G. D. Plato. He attended the Modesto High
School, graduated in 1886 with the first class sent out by that well-grounded institu-
tion, and became the first president. of the Modesto High School Alumni Association;
and then, for a while, he was in the employ of Messrs. D. & G. D. Plato.

In 1895 Mr. Elias matriculated at Leland Stanford University, and for four
years studied law; and in 1899 he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of
Arts. He was then admitted to practice law in the courts of this state, and also in the
Federal courts, and he commenced actual practice in San Francisco; and there in
that field of strenuous activity he continued until 1905 when, upon the death of
his father, he entered the well-known firm of D. & G. D. Plato as a partner and
assistant manager, and he has been connected with said firm continuously ever since.
When G D. Plato died, in 1915, he became the firm's manager.

Although never having held any public office, Mr. Elias is public-spirited and
experienced and progressive to such an extent that he is, on the one hand, continu-
ally sought for advice and cooperation, and on the other hand, is ever ready to lend
a helping hand. In 1910, he led the campaign, with the late Lawrence E. De Yoe,
for a new charter for Modesto, and with facile speech and trenchant pen advocated
the adoption of Modesto's commission government charter. He was elected president
of the board of freeholders, and in collaboration with Mr. De Yoe wrote the charter
needed, providing particularly for an aviation landing in Modesto, the first of its
kind, by-the-way, in California. He refused the repeated importunities of friends
to become a candidate for the first mayor of Modesto, but served as a director of the
old Stanislaus County Board of Trade in the early days of Modesto's development,
and later was a director of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce for several terms.
With no axe to grind, and neither desiring nor receiving any remuneration for his
services, in fact, with the single-eyed enthusiasm of one who believes in Modesto
and is ever anxious to do all that he can to keep it on the map, Mr. Elias has been
active in all movements for the development of the city and the county, and has
served on all public committees in civic and development work. A recognized author-
ity on local history, as also on municipal government, Mr. Elias, commanding both
language and diction, has contributed articles for years to the local press on subjects of
;: municipal nature, as well as concerning the history of Stanislaus County, and has
spoken in various parts of the state on commission government.



A member of the Stanislaus County branch of the Stanford University Alumni
Association, and of the Stanislaus County Bar Association, Mr. Elias is also a mem-
ber of the Progressive Business Club and of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.
He also belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being a thirty-second degree Mason and a
member of the Mystic Shrine; and he is a member of Modesto Lodge No. 1282 of
the Elks, and of the Modesto Lodge of the Native Sons of the Golden West. Per-
haps there is no more prominent man in the City of Modesto, whoever he may be, nor
one more deserving of eminence ; and if Solomon Philip Elias takes stock in Central
California, it is certainly true that the fast-developing, up-to-date towns and counties,
long familiar not only with his name and genial features, but with his magnetic
enthusiasm, his good works and their fruitful results, heartily reciprocate.

T. J. CARMICHAEL. — A former wheat raiser now well-known in political
circles, is T. J. Carmichael, the constable and recently a candidate for the office of
sheriff. He came here in the early seventies, and ever since he has more and more
participated in the county's upbuilding. He was born in Cherokee County, Ga., on
November 11, 1854, the son of W. M. Carmichael, who made four trips to Cali-
fornia as a sightseer, and each time returned to Georgia, where he died aged eighty-
six years. He married, for the first time, Mary Susan Raggsdale, who died in
Georgia in 1861 and left four sons — Thomas J., the subject of our review; James
H., who came to California and settled in Stanislaus County, and farmed, dying at
Waterford, in 1914, leaving several children, two of whom are employed by the
Modesto Gas Works; W. C. Carmichael, who passed away at Oakdale, Calif., in
1913, and George W., who is in Oklahoma. A second time the father married, in
Georgia, and by that union had two children — D. W. Carmichael, who is president
of the commissioners of Sacramento, and Mrs. Orizaba Moore, who lives near Lodi,
and is the wife of James Moore, the rancher. W. M. Carmichael was a soldier for
three years in the army of the Confederacy, so that the lad lived through the troublous
years of the Civil War.

T. J. and his four younger brothers went to live with their grandparents, Wil-
liam and Annie Carmichael, at their plantation home in Cherokee County, Ga., and
as the war left desolation and ruin, and the schools were few and far between, he
enjoyed but few educational advantages. At the early age of ten he began to work
at the plow ; and he continued to labor on plantations until he was nineteen ; and then
he came to California, accompanying his father. In the Centennial Year, he was
married in Stanislaus County to Miss Mary Ellen Carver, of Modesto, a native of
Tuolumne County, whose father was Albert Gallatin Carver, a native of the state of
Maine. He was a seafaring man, who sailed around the Horn and through the
Golden Gate in 1850; and he died in Stanislaus County in 1891.

In 1877, Mr. Carmichael set up for himself and rented land in Stanislaus
County, and for many years he raised wheat north of Modesto, and he helped to break
some of the virgin soil. He rented 2,500 acres, and farmed that one piece those
many years. In 1878 Mr. Carmichael bought his first quarter section of land, and
at times farmed up to 4,000 acres, mostly in wheat. He also became the owner of
threshing rigs, and during twenty-four years wore out two threshing outfits, thresh-
ing his own grain and that of his neighbors, and during the season he employed
twenty men and twenty horses. In early days he hauled as fine wheat as was ever
raised in California and sold it in Modesto for seventy-five cents a hundred weight.
He improved the Carmichael ranch two miles northwest of Modesto and sold in 1914.

In 1895 Mr. Carmichael was elected supervisor of the Third District in Stanis-
laus County, and for twelve years served as representative of his district, economizing
and giving entire satisfaction to his constituency. He was also chairman of the board
for six years. In 1906 he became a candidate for sheriff on the Democratic ticket.
He had previously been appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death, in Septem-
ber, 1906, of the previous sheriff, R. B. Purvis, and to accept that appointment, he
had resigned the supervisorship. Mr. Dingley won out by only eighty votes. In 1914
he was elected constable of Modesto Township ; and four years later reelected.


Mr. and Mrs. Carmichael have had thirteen children, of whom nine are living:
William M. resides in Stanislaus County, a rancher, and he married Mrs. Hamilton ;
Annie M. is a widow, her husband having been G. R. Dial, she lives two miles north-
west of Modesto; Eva is the wife of W. S. Butts of Oakland; Albert G., unmarried,
is a rancher in Stanislaus County; Thomas J., Jr., farms in Madera County; Maud
is the wife of T. G. McCarthy, the policeman in Modesto ; Catherine is the wife of
Clair Tullier, the plumber of Turlock ; Loren D., a U. S. marine, saw service in
France, is now on the police force in Modesto, and Blanche is the wife of Robert
Murphy, who is employed by the Modesto Gas Company. The Carmichaels proudly
trace their lineage back to Scotland, and quite as proudly follow the stream of de-
scendants who settled in Georgia and Maryland, and other parts of the South.

THOMAS K. BEARD. — Among the citizens of Stanislaus County who have
helped to shape the destiny of this favored section of California, Thomas K. Beard
of Modesto holds an assured place. A native son of the Golden State, he was born
near the present site of Waterford on August 15, 1857, the son of Elihu B. Beard,
who is mentioned on another page of this history. The only survivor of four children,
Thomas K. attended the public schools of Stanislaus County and San Jose. In 1878
he was united in marriage with Miss Grace Lewis, born in Calaveras County, this
state, and daughter of Alfred and Diana (Brown) Lewis, pioneers.

In the 5'ears that have intervened since the ending of his school days, Thomas K.
Beard has been closely identified with every progressive movement for the building up
of Modesto and Stanislaus County. He has had much to do with the development
of irrigation by grading and construction work ; the Modesto storage reservoir, an
agency for the conservation of flood waters, completed in 1911; the Goodwin dam,
which diverted the waters of the Stanislaus River into the systems of the Oakdale and
South San Joaquin irrigation districts, completed in 1913; also the completion of
fourteen miles of the main canal of the South San Joaquin Irrigation district, com-
pleted the same year; the construction of the Foothill reservoir on the Turlock main
line canal and the enlarging of tunnels, ditches, reinforced concrete flumes and gen-
erally improved the canal system for the Turlock Irrigation District; the prime
mover in the Waterford Irrigation District; all these agencies reclaiming thousands
of acres arid land into rich and fruitful farming sections upon which are to be found
hundreds of contented and prosperous ranchers with their families. He organized
the Interurban railway, which connects the Santa Fe with Modesto, thereby adding
to the transportation facilities of this section.

Nor have his energies been confined to California alone, but in Nevada he carried
out several contracts of railroad and reclamation work.

Mr. Beard has been a factor in agricultural circles, has developed fruit, alfalfa
and ranch lands in the county; has been closely identified with the educational advance-
ment of the city of Modesto by his services on the board of education from 1898 to
1901. As a real benefactor to the city he and his coworker, Mr. Wisecarver made it
possible for the city to have a splendid park — Graceada, laid out through a subdivision
that is now built up with some of the best residences of the city; West Side Park
and Dry Creek Park are both deeds of gift to the city from Mr. Beard. Besides
these many activities he has been the means of adding to the growth of Modesto by
laying out several subdivisions and by erecting business blocks and residences. He
served from 1901 to 1907 as a director of the Modesto Irrigation District. While
a resident of the state of Washington, from 1883 to 1887, he served a term as a super-
visor of Yakima County. Interested in the cause of prohibition, he served on the
state and national committees and was a delegate to the National Convention of that
party held at Columbus, Ohio, and is a member of the State Y. M. C. A. board. It
is said of Mr. Beard that he has never neglected an opportunity to advance the gen-
eral welfare of the city, county and state since his advent into the world of business,
and with his wife and family he holds an assured place in the esteem of the citizens
of the county.



THOMAS HENRY KEWIN.— A self-made man of affairs whose influence for
good is widely recognized throughout Stanislaus County, is T. H. Kewin, of Modesto,
vice-president of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bank, owning and operating a string
of banks from Sacramento to Fresno, and connected with the Federal Reserve Banks.
Mr. Kewin was born in Gardner, Grundy County, 111., November 14, 1871, the son
of William and Elizabeth (James) Kewin, the former born on the Isle of Man, and
the latter a native of England, whose brother, Captain H. G. James, entered into
the early history of Stanislaus County as an extensive and pioneer cattle rancher who
first began the cattle business at old Tuolumne City in early days. William Kewin
came from his native land in 1857 and settled in Wisconsin, where he was married,
then in Illinois. The children are: W. E., Modesto; R. J., Griswold, Iowa, and T. H.

T. H. Kewin was reared on a farm in Grundy County and at the early age of
nine began to drive a team and plow and harrow and he attended the public schools
of his native county. His father had come to California in 1874, hut after spending
six months, moved back to Grundy County, and it was there that he died in 1896,
aged sixty-eight years. Mrs. Kewin had died when T. H. was a lad of twelve.
At the age of fourteen he struck- out for himself and two years later came to Cali-
fornia. The lad had studied shorthand and typewriting in Chicago but on account
of ill health, in 1888, at which time he was given just a year to live, he made for
Modesto, Ca). Upon arrival there he went to work on a ranch nearby and was
greatly benefited, then he worked in the office of the county recorder ; but was com-
pelled to give that up, and he then went to Sacramento and entered the employ of
Weinstock-Lubin & Company. Thinking to have sufficiently improved he again went
East, but two months later he was compelled to go to Oklahoma, where he acted
as newsboy on the trains running out of Kansas City. Finally he arrived in Sacra-
mento with $1.75 in his pocket.

For the following ten years he drove mules, freighted to the mountains, moving
up and down the valley and continued hard work until 1899, when he opened a
general merchandise store at Salida. As he prospered he invested in land and still
owns his home place of 160 acres. He became greatly interested in irrigation and
he planted the first wine grapes under irrigation at Salida. He also owns 800 acres
near Hickman which is devoted to grain raising. As an extensive vineyardist, Mr.
Kewin has taken the winegrower's side of the prohibition question, in the handling of
which he has proven both an able, concise and convincing speaker and writer, and
an address, "The Menace of Intolerance," delivered by him at a meeting of wine-
grape growers at San Francisco, and greeted as a strong argument against fanaticism,
was ordered published and has been widely circulated. In that address, in which he
refers to the freedom we have enjoyed as a nation for 140 years, he declares himself
a firm believer in temperance and the proper use of wines and liquors, but absolutely
cpposed to prohibition, for he does not believe that it is a solution of the evils con-
nected with the use of ardent spirits.

In keeping with his public-spirited nature and principles, Mr. Kewin has also
worked hard for various movements unreservedly regarded as for the highest public
good. In 1913 the work on the State Highways came to a standstill in Stanislaus
County for lack of funds and Mr. Kewin went before the commission with the asser-
tion he could raise funds to finish the work in Stanislaus County if he were given to
understand that the money so raised would be spent here. This assurance was given
and he at once arranged for funds through the sale of the State Highway bonds to
the amount of $85,000 in this county. This was the beginning of a movement
throughout the state that soon brought more than $2,000,000 from other counties
and the road work was continued and thus saved the day for Stanislaus County and
good roads. He is still much interested in the question and always gives of his
influence to the building up of roads and irrigation facilities which have so much to
do with the prosperity of the community. As a result of such campaigning Mr.
Kewin has been roundly abused by those ignorant of the benefits derived therefrom.

In 1897 Mr. Kewin was united in marriage with Miss Nova Melton, a native
of Iowa who came to California with her parents in early days. Two children have


blessed their union, Mona M. and George M. The latter enlisted in the Naval
Reserve, and served in the convoy and patrol service on a submarine chaser. The
family reside at 203 Magnolia Street, Modesto.

Mr. Kewin is a Republican in political preference. During the World War he
served on the Loan Drives and helped put Stanislaus County over the top in every
instance, and in other ways he did war work. He is vice-president of the Sacramento-
San Joaquin Bank, which institution absorbed the First National and the Union
Savings Banks of Modesto ; is president of the First National Bank of Salida ; a
director of the Bank of Ceres; and a director of the California Grape Growers Ex-
change. He is a past master of Stanislaus Lodge No. 206, F. .& A. M. ; past high
priest of Modesto Chapter No. 49, R. A. M. ; past commander of Stockton Com-
mandery No. 8, K. T. ; commander of Modesto Commandery No. 57, K. T. ; mem-
ber of Aahmes Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. of Oakland, and past patron of Electa
Chapter No. 72, Order of Eastern Star.

GEORGE PERLEY.— A liberal-minded, public-spirited citizen and a leader in
formulating plans and carrying out projects for the development of Modesto and
Stanislaus County, is George Perley, who came here in the late sixties. He was born
at Frederickton, N. B., in 1849, a member of a family hailing from Wales and trans-
planted into this country by Allan Perley, who came to Ipswich, Mass., in 1632. The
stock has been productive of eminent engineers and jurists, and these have done honor
to the citizenship of both the United States and Canada. From the Canadian branch
our subject, whose father was J. E. Perley, a New Brunswick lumberman, was de-
scended. The latter made his first trip to California in 1851, coming by way of
Cape Horn and engaging in farming near Woodbridge, San Joaquin County; and in
1854 he returned East and brought back his family, wife and five children, by way
of Panama. They traveled on the steamer Aspinwall from New York to the Isthmus,
and from the Isthmus to San Francisco on the Golden Gate; and after reaching here
and getting settled, he conitnued for years at farm work. In 1862 he was elected
a member of the Assembly of the State Legislature, and in 1867 was chosen for the
State Senate, in which body, as a Republican, he was serving at the time of his death.
During the Civil War he was instrumental in forming the first Union Club in Cali-
fornia, organized at Woodbridge. As a Mason he was well known, and received
Masonic honors at his burial.

Mrs. Perley was Mary McLaughlin before her marriage, and she was born at
Strabane, in the North of Ireland. From there she came out to New Brunswick,
where she met her future husband; and she died at Woodbridge in 1880. Eight of
her children grew to maturity, our subject being the youngest of them all; but only
two are now living. George Perley came to California in 1854, traveling by way of
the Isthmus with his parents, and up to his sixteenth year received a public school edu-
cation. Then he started for himself, clerking for two years in a San Francisco com-
mission house; and during this time he attended night school, taking a business course.

In February, 1868, he came to Stanislaus County as bookkeeper and clerk in a
mercantile house in Tuolumne City, and from there he went to Empire City, where
he filled the same kind of a position from May, 1868, until November, 1871. Then
he came to Modesto and started business for himself. He had an office on Ninth
Street, and built the first grain warehouse in Modesto, locating it on the railroad
reservation between I and J streets. It stood for twenty years before it was torn
down, and was afterwards known as the J. G. Peters warehouse.

After three years in the grain trade, Mr. Perley embarked in mercantile business
at the corner of H and Tenth streets, now occupied by the Tynan Hotel. In the Cen-
tennial Year he sold out and again followed the grain business until May, 1879, when
he started the abstract and title business that became so familiarly associated with his

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 47 of 177)