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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 49 of 177)
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nine days, dying in Stanislaus County in 1913. Her surviving children are well
known in Stanislaus County. The eldest child, a daughter named Fannie, died in
childhood in Clay County, 111. ; the other children are : Lemuel Earl ; Homer A.,
who was reared in Stanislaus County, married Eunice Brooks, became the owner of
100 acres of the home place and died in 1915; Aletha Gertrude, who was born in
California, died at the age of nine; Mary Martha, widow of the late W. R. High,
who was president of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Modesto; Z. E. Drake,
engaged in the real estate business at Modesto; Dialtha Lulu, the wife of L. W.
Krohn of Areata, Humboldt County, Calif. ; Jacob William is employed on a ranch
near Crows Landing. In addition to ranching Lemuel E. took up the work of a
carpenter and builder ; has built fifty-two barns in Stanislaus County since he came
back from Santa Barbara County, where he ranched on 600 acres in the Santa Ynez
Valley. He was engaged in raising wheat twelve years and for two years was inter-
ested in the cattle business with the Canfields, who later became millionaire oil
men. Returning to Stanislaus County in 1902, he resided at Modesto from 1902-4,
where he was engaged with his brother, Z. E. Drake, in the real estate business.
Since 1904 he has engaged in farming his ranch and also carpentering and contract-
ing; 42 acres of his ranch he has set to Thompson seedless grapes.

Mr. Drake's marriage occurred in Santa Barbara County in 1883, and united
him with Hester Ann Torrence, who was born in Illinois and came to California as
a little girl with her parents and their family. The Torrence family are of Scottish
origin. Her father, James W. Torrence, was born in Missouri, and her mother,
Nancy K. Skief, was a native of Illinois. The parents were married in Clay County,
111., where the father followed the occupation of a farmer and brickmason. Some of
the oldest chimneys in Stanislaus County, many of which are still standing, were
built by him. Mrs. Drake has four brothers and one sister living. Mr. and Mrs.
Drake are the parents of six children, namely: Jessie Ethel, the wife of Ora Russell,
an electrician, residing at Modesto; James Lynn, a raisin grower in High precinct,
who married Clara Cover, they are the parents of two children, Donald and Lynn
Earl; William H. is in partnership with his father and married Miss Alma Weldy,
of Modesto; Mary Martha is a stenographer for the Thompson Brothers Grain
Company at Modesto; Annie Genevieve is in Modesto High, and Mercedes Lucile.

Mr. Drake loves the great outdoors, and the hunt, the forest and stream are his
wholesome diversions. He goes into the high Sierras for a hunt ever}' year, and is an
excellent shot. He deservedly ranks among the foremost highly respected and enter-
prising pioneer citizens of Stanislaus County.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 363

WILLIAM W. COX. — Among the most extensive and successful agriculturists
of Stanislaus County is William W. Cox, who is carrying on grain farming with
profit, in addition to paying considerable attention to varied business interests. Born
in the rural district near Grayson, Cal., February 17, 1879, a son of John D. Cox,
a successful farmer of that district, his boyhood was spent on his father's ranch and
his early education obtained in the district schools; later he attended Heald's Business
College in San Francisco, from which institution he was graduated in 1896. After
his graduation he returned home and entered into partnership with his father in the
grain and stock-raising business, and remained there until 1905, when he leased a large
tract of land from the Patterson Ranch Company, and started out to make his own
fortune. From time to time he added more land until he was operating 4,500 acres,
planting about one-half of it to grain each year. It required the services of sixty head
of mules and with the necessary plows and harrows to prepare the land for grain.
When harvest time came the crops were gathered with a Best steam tractor and com-
bined harvester, his outfit being the largest in the valley. This extensive ranch was
successfully operated until 1909, when Mr. Patterson started an irrigation project and
sub-divided the lands. Mr. Cox then purchased his present ranch of 1,646 acres two
miles north of Westley, continuing the operation of this ranch until the present time.
He had also purchased a ranch of 220 acres at Crows Landing, where he resided until
1915, when he rented the Crows Landing ranch and removed to his ranch near
Westley. He erected a large and commodious modern residence, two large barns,
complete with blacksmith shop and other necessary buildings. He continued to run
his ranch with mules until 1918, when he changed to tractors. One Best seventy-five
horsepower tractor runs night and day during the busy season, plows and harrows,
and the only use for teams is in the sowing of the grain. The grain is gathered with
the Best steam tractor and combined harvester. The gasoline tractor pulls three
fifty-inch plows, each plow having five bottoms, plowing 150 inches on each round.
The combined harvester is propelled by the Best steam tractor and has a thirty-five
foot cut. From sixty to 100 acres of grain can be cut in a day, getting from 1,400
to 1,800 sacks. The greatest number of sacks cut in one day was 2,250.

On August 16, 1920, Mr. Cox was one of the organizers of the Commercial
Bank of Patterson, having a capital stock of $75,000, fully paid. He has been the
president of the institution since its inception and is also one of the largest stock-
holders. For the first eighteen months, the bank occupied temporary quarters. On
Tune 10, 1921, the erection of a new, concrete bank building was begun, costing
$50,000 and located in the center of Patterson. The building is an ornament to the
town and is furnished complete for banking purposes, with safe deposit vaults and all
necessarv equipment for carrying on a successful and conservative banking business.
This building was completed in September, 1921, and the bank now occupies the com-
modious and modern banking building. Mr. Cox is also a director of the Bank of
Newman and of the Modesto Bank; also as chairman of the board of directors
nf the West Stanislaus Irrigation District, a new district organized in 1920 for the
purpose of irrigating 36,000 acres of land. Mr. Cox is also serving his community as
a member of the board of trustees of the Patterson Union high school.

The first marriage of Mr. Cox occurred February 17, 1909, in Modesto and
united him with Miss Edna Finley, the youngest daughter of the late John M. Finley,
a California pioneer and a prominent Stanislaus County rancher. She was born in
Modesto and was a graduate of the Modesto high school and the San Jose State
Normal. The union resulted in the birth of two daughters, Rebecca and Margaret.
Mrs. Cox passed away October 13, 1915. He was united in marriage the second time
at Crows Landing, November 28, 1917, to Miss Lois Stanley, a daughter of F. S.
Stanley, a pioneer of the West Side. She is a graduate of the Newman high school
and of the University of California. They are the parents of twin boys, John Stewart
and William Stanley.

Fraternally Mr. Cox is a Mason in Patterson Lodge No. 488, F. & A. M. ; also
a member of the Modesto Chapter No. 49, R. A. M., and of the Modesto Com-
mandery No. 57, K. T. He enjoys the distinction of being a charter member of the



364 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Orestimba Parlor of the N. S. G. W. at Crows Landing. For three years, from
1917 to the present time, Mr. Cox has served as a member of the grand jury. Politi-
cally- he is a stanch Republican, serving his chosen party as a member of the county
committee and delegate to county and state convention. During the World War he
served as chairman of the Westley district in the Liberty Loan drives and each time
his district went over the top ; he was also active in other war drives. The family are
actively identified with the Presbyterian Church at Crows Landing, giving of their
time and means to the advancement of the cause there. Mr. Cox is actuated by a
spirit of advancement in all that he does and his life has been characterized by high
ideals, so that he has sought not only to promote material progress, but also to aid in
rhe intellectual and moral development of the communities in which he has lived. His
has been an active useful life, winning the confidence and honor of all.

ZACHARIAH E. DRAKE.— The unlimited possibilities of the realty business
are constantly attracting to this vocation some of the most enterprising and pro-
gressive men of the community, and Zachariah E. Drake, of the well-known firm of
Drake and Elliott, real estate dealers at Modesto, has perhaps sold more land in
Stanislaus County than any other person. The son of an honored pioneer of Cali-
fornia, Z. E. Drake was born July 31, 1869, about three miles northeast of Modesto,
in the Bel Passi school district, Stanislaus County.

The Drake family is among the oldest notable American families of Colonial
days, and trace their genealogy to the eminent English navigator and explorer, Sir
Francis Drake. Jacob William Drake was the progenitor of the branch of the fam-
ily represented on the Pacific slope, and his wife, Mrs. Mary J. (Coffee) Drake, was
born November 13, 1833. Jacob William Drake crossed the plains with an ox team
in 1864, landing in Carson City, Nev., and a year later, in 1865, he and his family
came to Stanislaus County, Calif., where the father homesteaded 160 acres, pre-
empted another 160 acres and purchased 160 from the railroad company, totalling 480
acres, against which there was never any indebtedness up to the time of the death of
the mother in 1913. Jacob William Drake was prominent in the affairs of Stanislaus
County in early days, and helped move the first residence from Paradise City to
Modesto, which was located on the corner of 13th and J streets.

Z. E. Drake acquired his education in the grammar school in the Be! Passi dis-
trict, and later took a course in the Stockton Business College, graduating from that
institution in 1890. He was engaged in the hardware business at Madera from
1891-1894, then took a position with the Holt Manufacturing Company of Stockton
as traveling salesman, remaining with the firm eight years. After this he was in the
grocery business one year, 1899-1900, at Modesto, and in 1901 embarked in the real
estate business with A. B. Shoemake, under the firm name of A. B. Shoemake Com-
pany, Inc. While with Mr. Shoemake they ran an advertising train through the
states of the East and Middle West, exhibiting Stanislaus County products, one of
the greatest moves toward the development of Stanislaus County ever promulgated.
This brought many people to the county who have remained and prospered in their
investments. They maintained offices in Los Angeles, Fresno, Turlock and San Jose,
with headquarters at Modesto, and Mr. Drake traveled extensively in the East in
the interest of the firm. He was elected councilman of the city of Modesto and
served in that body four years, during which time he helped frame the present com-
mission form of city government. While serving as councilman he and George J.
Wren caused the. first street paving to be done in Modesto. During the slack years in
real estate, from 1913 to 1917, Mr. Drake engaged in the business of street paving,
and paved several of the streets of Modesto. In 1918 he again engaged in the real
estate business and became a member of the firm of Drake and Johnson, which later
became Drake and Elliott, the present firm name.

In San Francisco, December 16, 1889, Mr. Drake was united in marriage with
Miss Nellie Mannion, and they are the parents of five children: Grover E. ; Mae L.,
who is now Mrs. Harding; Gladys, Mary and Carleton Emerson.

Always inleiested in hoses, during the palmy days of horse racing, he followed
the various circuits an i d'J'.elcped several excellent pacers and trotters, among them




U, / . Jl&UsVUL.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 367

being Lottery-T, with a record of 2:10, and De Witt Talmadge, a pacer, who was
exhibited the last time by Mr. Drake in Kahoka, Mo., and he was pronounced by Dr.
Carver, of Chicago, to be the guideless wonder pacer of the Pacific Coast. Mr.
Drake's political views coincide with those of the Democratic party in national issues,
and in local politics he votes for the man best fitted to represent the interests of
all concerned, regardless of party. Fraternally, he is identified with the B. P. O.
Elks, receiving his first receipt for dues from that organization in 1902, which, with
every receipt to and including the last issue, he has encased in the original case given
him by the Stockton Lodge. He is now a member of Modesto Lodge No. 1282; is
also a member of the Modesto Club and the Elks Central Club. He is thoroughly
familiar with the real estate situation in Modesto and Stanislaus County, and heartily
lends his influence to those enterprises that tend to upbuild his home town. One of
the movements with which he was identified that meant so much to help the irriga-
tion projects of the county become a success, was when he was acting as one of the
buyers of the bonds for the First" National Bank of Modesto. His business success is
due to efficiency and rightly directed energy, and he and his estimable family de-
servedly enjoy the high position they occupy in Modesto social and economic life.

CHAS. THOMAS KENNEDY.— Emphatically a man of energy, Chas. T.
Kennedy of Knights Ferry is one of the enterprising and active men in Stanislaus
County, giving substantial encouragement to every plan for the promotion of . the
public welfare. He is among the pioneer settlers, having emigrated from Pennsyl-
vania with his parents, Andrew Thomas and Jane (Murphy) Kennedy, and an older
sister, arriving in Knights Ferry on Christmas day in the year of 1868. He was
born in Philadelphia, Pa., May 9, 1867, being the only son living; Bessie is the widow
of W. E. Lutz and resides at Berkeley, Cal., a brother and sister having passed away
in infancy. Andrew Thomas Kennedy had worked in the Pennsylvania machine
shops, but seeing the great possibilities in the cattle business, he immediately took up
this work and became very successful in this line, enjoying the fruits of his toil until
September 25, 1898, when he passed away at the age of seventy-eight years, his
faithful wife having preceded him on April 28, 1896. The father had become joint
owner with his brother, Robert Kennedy, of a 1,500-acre stock farm and cattle ranch
near Knights Ferry which later became the property of our subject.

C. T. Kennedy spent his childhood days in Stanislaus County, enjoying the
educational advantages of the district schools of Knights Ferry. He was married in
Batchelor Valley, February 23, 1898, choosing for his life companion Miss Magda-
lena D. Jorgensen, who was born in Batchelor Valley, the only child of the late
William and Maria Jorgensen ; they also were pioneers, having come to California
in 1867 and engaging in the sheep and cattle business at Knights Ferry, became very
prosperous. Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy are the owners of the old Dent home, which
they purchased some fifteen years ago and which has since been their home. It is
considered one of the historic places of Stanislaus County, being the home of John
Dent, who upon several occasions entertained his brother-in-law, then Capt. U. S.
Grant, here in the early days. Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy are the proud parents of
three children; Clarence E. is employed by Davis-Heller-Pearce, contractors and
architects at Stockton ; Frances E. and Lloyd C. are at home. During the late war,
Mr. Kennedy showed his true patriotic spirit by serving our country as captain of all
the Liberty Loan, Red Cross and other war drives in the Knights Ferry section.

Mr. Kennedy possesses a pleasing personality, is endowed by nature with a very
optimistic spirit, and has the happy faculty of making and retaining many friends.
He is highly esteemed for his manly qualities, high ideals of citizenship and business
acumen. Mr. Kennedy was made a Mason in Summit Lodge No. 112, F. & A. M.,
Knights Ferry, and has served two years as master of the lodge. He is a member
of Modesto Chapter No. 49 R. A. M. at Modesto, Sonora Council R. & S. M. at
Sonora, Pacific Commandery No. 3, K. T. at Sonora and Islam Temple A. A. O.
N. M. S. at San Francisco, and with his wife is a member of Summit Chapter No.
138, O. E. S., Knights Ferry, in which Mrs. Kennedy is past matron, while he is a past



368 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

patron. Mr. Kennedy is well posted on the local history of Stanislaus County, par-
ticularly the mining region in the eastern part of the county, and it is interesting to
hear him tell of the happenings of the early days and note the great changes that have
taken place. Liberal and enterprising, he has always done his share towards the
community's development and welfare.

MRS. EUNICE DRAKE.— A woman of high ideals, Mrs. Eunice Drake,
widow of the late Homer A. Drake, has bravely faced and successfully solved the
many problems that fall to the lot of a woman left to fight the battle of life alone.
A native of California, she was born in Sutter County, a daughter of the Rev. J.
Brooks, a native of Ohio, and a pioneer Baptist preacher of California. He married
Miss Frances M. Hackley, of Oregon, in that state, and later they came to Cali-
fornia to live. Mrs. Drake was a baby when the family removed from Sutter
County to Colusa County, and thirteen when she came to Stanislaus County, and
she was united in marriage with Mr. Drake near Salida, Stanislaus County.

Homer A. Drake was the son of Jacob Drake, a prominent California pioneer
and a native of Ohio, who first crossed the plains to California in the early fifties.
Unmarried at that time, he returned to Clay County, 111., and was united to Miss
Mary Janett Coffee, a native of Tennessee. Jacob Drake preceded his family to
California in the sixties, and his wife outfitted a wagon of her own the following
spring, and with her family crossed the plains in the train of which her brother S. W.
Coffee was the leader. Homer A. was born in Clay County, 111., July 24, 1860. and
was a child when he accompanied his mother in the memorable trip across the plains.
He was educated in the public schools of California and after his marriage for a
3'ear farmed the old Drake home place. Afterward Mr. and Mrs. Drake went to
Modoc County, proved up on a preemption claim, later returning to Stanislaus
County and going thence to Merced County, where they lived three years. Finally
returning to Stanislaus County, they rented different places and ran the Drake gro-
cery store in Modesto. Mr. Drake had been in failing health for several years before
his death on December 6, 1912. Then Mrs. Drake, with the aid of her eldest son,
Leonard Arthur Drake, now of Santa Rosa, continued to operate the home ranch
of 100 acres, which was Mr. Drake's inheritance from his mother, until 1916, when
she rented it out and came to Modesto to make her home. Of the seven children
born to Mr. and Mrs. Drake, Leonard A. is an electrician at Santa Rosa ; Charles A.
resides in Modesto and is interested in the Turner Hardware Company; Ruth E.
resides in San Francisco ; Josephine is the wife of Albert Giovanetti, a rancher ; Louis
C. is at home; Dorothy E. and Lulu Katharyn are students in the Modesto schools.
Gifted with good business judgment and tact, Mrs. Drake has proved to be an ex-
cellent mother and is deeply beloved by her children and highly esteemed by her
circle of admiring friends. She is a member of the First Methodist Church and is
serving (1921) her second year as vice-president of the W. C. T. U. She resides
at 1015 Twelfth Street, Modesto.

ALBERT GORDON ELMORE.— The wide-spread fame of California for its
up-to-date and decidedly superior school systems is easily explained in the character,
training and accomplishments of such noted educators as A. G. Elmore, the scholarly
superintendent of schools of Stanislaus County. No better choice for an incumbent
of his high office could be found ; and that the electors well know his worth is
shown in the fact that he was elected at the primaries, on August 27, 1918, by a
four-to-one majority.

A. G. Elmore was born about four miles north of Modesto, on July 13, 1876,
the second son and fourth child of James G. Elmore, who was twice married, and
had six children by his first wife, Sarah Feagins, before her marriage. She was a
native of Missouri, and died when the lad was only eleven years old. James Elmore
was a Missourian who crossed the plains in 1865, became a well-known wheat farmer
of Stanislaus County, and is now living at Salida, still actively engaged in farming,
although he has disposed of much of his land. His second and present wife, also a



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 369

native of Missouri, was originally a member of the historic Orr family, and through
a first marriage, when she had three children, became Mrs. Mary M. Burks.

A. G. Elmore grew up on a farm in Stanislaus County and attended the district
schools and the high school at Modesto, and in 1899 passed a teacher's examination.
From that year until 1902 he taught the school at Hughson, and from 1902 until
January, 1919, he served as supervising principal of the Turlock schools, where he
brought the schools of that growing city up to their present standards. At the same
time that he was effecting this great gain for Turlock, he was establishing for him-
self a reputation for affability as well as ability, and it was not difficult, when once
he entered the lists for the office of county superintendent of schools to capture the
prize. Both as a just official, discerning and appreciative, and a man among men, he
won the confidence of his fellows, and especially of those who were to serve under him.

On December 22, 1902, Mr. Elmore was married to Miss Lourien E. Fuquay.
a native daughter of Stanislaus County, where she was also reared ; and now they
reside at Modesto. Naturally, he is a member of the State Teachers' Association,
and there as well as locally, his' influence for progress in popular education is felt.

According to the latest report of the superintendent, the schools of Stanislaus
County may well be regarded as equal to any of their grade in the state. The board
of education consists of five members, among whom Charles S. Morris of Modesto
is president; A. G. Elmore, secretary, and James W. Bixby of Patterson, J. Perry
Ratzell of Turlock, and C. E. Overman of Oakdale, members. Mr. Elmore is ably
assisted in his official work by Deputies Mrs. L. M. Annear and Mrs. Lourien Elmore ;
and these trustees and superintendents have charge of sixty-four elementary school -
and eight high schools and oversee and direct the work of 375 teachers.

CHARLES RICHARD LITTLE.— An old-time Californian who has taken a
very active part in the development of the country round about him, is Charles Richard
Little, the popular supervisor, who is very naturally proud of the roads and bridges
he has been instrumental in getting built. A native son, he was born at Amador on
April 27, I860, the son of Thomas B. Little, who was born in England and came to
the United States and Rockford, 111., when he was five years of age. His grandfather
was the Rev. William Little, a Presbyterian minister, who did heroically-patient
service in pioneer church work at Rockford until his death. Thomas Little was by
trade a harness maker; but when the Mexican War involved the sovereignty of the
United States, he enlisted and fought under Gen. Winfield Scott, following him
clear to the City of Mexico, retiring as a non-commissioned officer. About 1853
or '54, he crossed the plains with ox-teams, and made for lone, Amador County, where
he started as a harness maker and saddler ; and he also tried his fortune at mining.
In 1869 he located at Stockton, and at Center and Washington streets, under the firm
name of T. B. Little did a successful business until he died in 1884, aged sixty-one.
His wife was Sarah Jane Livingston before her marriage, a native of Kentucky, and
she died in 1865, the mother of three children, two of whom are still living.

Brought up at Stockton, Charles Richard attended the common and high schools,
and after graduation learned the harness trade under his father, with whom he con-
tinued until his death. An older brother, William H., then took over the shop, and
our subject continued to ply his trade there and at San Francisco. In 1881 he worked



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 49 of 177)