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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 50 of 177)
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for a year at his trade in Modesto, and then he came and went, spending part of his
time in the bay metropolis and other cities. In 1895 he was here, and four years later
he settled in Modesto and made harness for ranchers, continuing until 1914.

He was then elected supervisor from the third supervisorial district, and in
January, 1915, he took office. In 1918 he was reelected at the primaries over two
opponents, and he is now serving his seventh year. He has always been independent
in politics, and is therefore the prouder of his record. Not only has he given the
heartiest endorsement to the building of good roads, and helped in the construction of
126 miles of concrete highway in the county, but he has personally supervised the
building of thirty miles of the road in his district. He has also personally d : rect:d the
erection of the substantial and highly artistic Tuolumne River bridge which was com-
pleted in 1916. In his private affairs, Mr. Little is a partner with J. W. Hi -d: ; ™ in



370 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

the manufacturer of the Red Star squirrel poison. This deadly mixture has been made
by them for twenty years, and being very effectual, enjoys exceptional popularity.

At San Francisco on August 8, 1896, Mr. Little was married to Mrs. Florence
(Marsh) Arbuckle, who was born near Kankakee, 111., the daughter of John Marsh,
who was born in Ohio of English parents. Her grandfather, Benjamin Marsh, served
in the Revolutionary War, and her father was a carpenter and builder in Illinois, who
died while on a visit in Minnesota. He had married Miss Rhoda Gardner, a native
of Columbus, Ohio, of English descent. Having been half-orphaned in the death of
i'er mother when she was five years old, Mrs. Little was reared in Illinois and first
came to California in 1895. Two children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Little.
Paul Livingston is a graduate of the Modesto high school and has spent two years at
Stanford, and is a graduate of the Stockton Business College and now assisting his
father, and Esther attends the high school. The family attend the Christian Church.
Mr. Little is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and belongs to the
Sequoia Camp No. 7657, of Modesto.

MRS. MARY J. FINE.— What one woman of foresight and optimism, industry
and thrift may accomplish in the face of adversity and through the long years, especially
when fortunate in the fidelity, grit and co-operation of a gifted family, is happily
demonstrated in the life story of Mrs. Mary J. Fine, daughter of a well known Stanis-
laus County pioneer, the widow of a very successful grain grower, and herself today
an extensive land owner and grain farmer. She was born at Merced Falls, the daughter
of William Grenfell, a native of England who was related to Sir Wilfred Grenfell,
who attained lasting fame in his relation to the history of Labrador and Canada. Wil-
liam Grenfell was married at Empire City, Calif., to Miss Lucretia I. Ward, born in
Missouri, who crossed the plains with her parents in 1854 to Oregon and in 1855
they migrated to Stanislaus County. They had thirteen children; seven of these are
still living, and among them our subject was the oldest in the family. He came to Cali-
fornia in 1851 via Panama and settled on the San Joaquin River; he was a butcher
by trade, and in 1863 he removed to La Grange, where for ten years he ran a butcher
shop. Then he bought land and began farming in the La Grange precinct; and so
successful was he, through his agricultural knowledge, his own progressive methods,
that the 800 or more acres owned by Mrs. Fine were once part of his estate.

Mary Grenfell attended the public schools at La Grange, and in 1886 was mar-
ried to Louis Fine, a native of Little Rock, Ark., who had come to California in 1857,
when he was only three years old. The first ten years of his boyhood following were
spent at Stockton and Tulare, and then he came to Stanislaus County and lived around
at various places on the East Side. Mrs. Fine had inherited a part of what she later
had in common with her husband, and together they bought another portion of the
estate. They engaged in grain farming, and raised cattle and horses and mules. Mr.
Fine passed away on September 11, 1915, with the honors and friendships of sixty-one
years of honest toil, the father of twelve children, nine of whom, with his widow, are
still living. Willis resides in Fresno. Clara became the wife of Zina Moodey, a
rancher situated two miles northeast of Modesto. Elmer L. is a rancher in the La
Grange precinct. Ellis David is assistant manager for the Pacific Gas and Electric
Company at Oakland. Royal A. resides at Stockton, where he works for the United
Motors Company ; he served in France as an ambulance driver for two years, and
while performing his humanitarian service, he was wounded. Loren A., an engraver,
is employed by the Sperry Flour Company at Stockton. Clinton R. is a well-driller,
and lives at Oakdale. Rhoda C. is the wife of Walter A. McCollum, carpenter for
the Merced Falls Lumber Mills. Oliver E. Fine lives at home and manages the farm.

Oliver was born on November 23, 1899, and attended the grammar schools at
La Grange. He finished the courses when he was sixteen ; and the next day after
graduation, although he was the youngest of the family, he assumed a man's responsi-
bility in undertaking to run the ranch, which was heavily in debt. He worked hard and
was fortunate from the first in his management, with the result that he was able to pay
off every obligation and make a deal of money for both his mother and himself. In




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 373

addition to running the home ranch for his mother, he rents a section for his own
enterprise ; he owns forty-eight head of horses and twenty head of cattle, has a Deering
combined nine-foot harvester and thresher, being the first man in this part of the
county to invest in such a machine. He is fitting it up with a fifteen-horsepower gaso-
line engine, and he has 550 acres planted to wheat, barley and oats, a promising crop.
The success attained by all of her children testifies in no uncertain terms to both
the high moral character and exceptional intellectuality of Mrs. Fine, who is a devoted
member of the Episcopal Church and finds the most acceptable civic standards endorsed
by the Democratic party and its platforms. Her memory is remarkable, and she is able
to recall so much that is interesting and suggestive from the historic past that she is
never at a loss to entertain those interested in such topics. She remembers the La
Grange of the early '70s, when it could boast the most extensive gravel hydraulic
mining claims in Southern California, and the town had 500 population, three stores,
two hotels, three saloons, two blacksmith shops, one drug store, two physicians, an
express and post office, a public school, a church, a justice of the peace and constable,
and two lawyers. Oakdale was called Oak Dale, Knights Ferry was more properly
named Knight's Ferry, after a man known as Knight, who built the first ferry there,
and the changed boundary of the county line on the south was dubbed the "Merced
Grab." A city designed to be famous as Stanislaus City was laid out near the steam-
boat landing at the junction of the Stanislaus with the San Joaquin River, but it grew
to have less than 100 inhabitants and then passed from the crude early maps. Tuolumne
City was another place which rose and fell. Salmon fishing used to be very good in
the Stanislaus, San Joaquin or Tuolumne rivers in early days, and when the water is
low, one can spear the fish with no difficulty.

DANIEL B. BISHOP.— A native Iowan long identified with the development
of the great commonwealth of California, is Daniel B. Bishop, whose paternal and
maternal grandfathers were active early settlers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they
grew into prominence in civil affairs. There, too, our subject was born on December
18, 1872, the son of John and Sarah (Farnum) Bishop, and in Cedar Rapids he at-
tended the grammar schools.

According to an old Cedar Rapids newspaper, Grandfather Mowry Farnum
was born in Uxbridge, Mass., where he spent his boyhood days. In later years, he
moved to Millbury, Mass, where he engaged in cotton manufacturing, being also
identified with several banks. The family came West in January, 1855, and located
in Cedar Rapids, where for a short time he was a plow manufacturer. He will also
be remembered by old settlers as one of the toll-bridge tenders. Besides holding the
office of mayor, he served as justice of the peace of Cedar Rapids. Grandfather
Homer Bishop was born in Bristol, Conn., and left there about the year 1846, coming
direct to Iowa and locating in Muscatine, where he resided for a short time. He
came to Cedar Rapids in the following year. He left his family here and with his
eldest son, John, joined the gold-seekers in '49 and started westward. John went
to Australia and his father returned to Cedar Rapids in the early fifties via Panama.
Homer Bishop was postmaster in 1856, his clerk being W. W. Higley, an old and
prominent citizen of early Cedar Rapids, and one who played an important part in the
early history of the city. Mr. Bishop was secretary and toll-keeper for the Cedar
Rapids Bridge Company in 1860. He left Cedar Rapids about 1878 and passed the
remainder of his life in Brookfield, Mass., where he died late in the eighties.

In 1895 Daniel Bishop left the States and went to South Africa, where he
stayed until 1907. He was in the so-called Washington Corps, composed of Ameri-
can troops in South Africa, looking after American interests, and was an auxiliary of
the Jameson Raid. In 1907 he went to Australia and spent five months there: and
on returning to the United States and California, he became a building contractor, and
put in a year at San Francisco and Palo Alto.

Mr. Bishop then came on to Modesto and formed the firm of the Bishop &
Stevenson Company which in 1910 laid the main sewer for the city of Modesto.
Two years after the accomplishment of this project, Mr. Bishop went to Stockton



374 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

and there engaged in building operations until 1916. He specialized in large buildings
of the first class. In 1916 he returned to Modesto and continued contracting, doing
a general mason contracting business, including the masonry work on the Thompson
and Ward buildings.

In far-away South Africa and at a town called Bishop — an interesting coinci-
dence, to be sure — Mr. Bishop was married, on March 17, 1899, to Miss Daisy
Holding, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the daughter of a Scotchman who,
when she was a little girl, was sent to South Africa. And there he became a head-
man, or governor, of three small islands- — Juten, Itisbo and Kajiba. Their marriage
was blessed with one son, Rupert, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, a promising
lad whose death in April, 1920, was a severe blow to his parents.

JOHN ROBINSON. — A worthy pioneer citizen of Stanislaus County now living
retired in Modesto where he is recognized as an honored and highly respected up-
builder, is John Robinson, who was born on April 2, 1837, twenty miles from
Xenia, Green County, Ohio. He is a son of Samuel and Rachel (Campbell) Robin-
son, Virginians, in which state they were married. They later settled in Ohio and
after their son, John, was seven years old, they again moved, this time into Iowa,
settling in Van Buren County, where Samuel Robinson was engaged in farming
and owned his own land. John attended the common schools and was reared to farm
life in Iowa, and it was in that state that he married his first wife, Miss Nancy B.
Crandall before her marriage and a native of Iowa, having the distinction of being
married in the house in which she was born. Their first child, a son, Andrew Jack-
son, was born there, while the second child, a daughter, Jennie, was born in Nevada
while they were en route to California in 1862, with oxen and wagons.

Mr. Robinson made his first location in San Joaquin County, settling between
Stockton and the San Joaquin River, where he hired out to a market gardener and
rancher. Failing to receive the promised wages and owning the cabin that was on the
land, Mr. Robinson held the property until it was sold and thereby got the money
due him. He then brought his family to Stanislaus County and settled in the Wood
Colony where he bought 160 acres in 1864. He raised grain and hauled it to Stock-
ton, returning with lumber, groceries and other needed supplies. Selling this land
he bought 160 acres of Government land west of Modesto, adding to this purchase
another 160 acres of what he supposed was Government land. He had paid the
Government for it when it was claimed as railroad land before the patent was issued
to him. After a suit the land was proven to belong to the railroad company and they
got judgment of $500 and first costs, and levied an attachment on his first 160
acres and took it away on an execution. This occurred in 1875. In the intervening
years six children had been added to the family: Emma Josephine, who married
William Nailor and died in Modesto, leaving one child ; Samuel died when
eighteen ; Arabelle, married W. D. McLaughlin, and they live at Big Oak Flat,
Tuolumne County; John D. is a rancher west of Modesto; Grace is the wife of L. L.
Baxter and mother of three children and lives in Modesto, and Henry died aged three
months. Andrew J. resides in San Francisco and has a daughter, and Jennie married
William Allington, who died, and then she married his brother, John Allington. She
died leaving nine children. The wife and mother passed away in 1873, leaving seven
children ranging in age from thirteen to two years, and a husband who bravely faced
misfortune and had to begin anew. After losing his land he bought a place in Modesto
at what is now 908 Burney Street, where he has since made his home except for the
time when he was ranching on property he owned in Merced County. Besides his
home in Modesto he also owns fifteen acres on California Avenue and an apartment
house on Pierce Street, San Jose. In 1875 he was married a second time, Mrs.
Phoebe (Brown) Van Wert becoming his wife. She lived but a little over two years
and she, too, passed away.

On July 4, 1880, Mr. Robinson and Mrs. Adeline (McLaughlin) Martin
were married and their union has proven a very happy one. She was the widow of
John T. Martin, by whom she had two children, John and Ollie, both now dead.
This union with Mr. Robinson resulted in the birth of a son, Leonard O. Robinson,



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 377

who married Miss Mary Rippadan, a native daughter, and they have a daughter,
Norma, attending the grammar school in Modesto. Leonard is an expert mechanic
and conducts an auto repair shop in Modesto. Mrs. Adeline Robinson is a native
daughter of California, born in San Francisco, where her father, Cornelius McLaugh-
lan, of Scotch extraction but born in New York, came to San Francisco from Aus-
tralia, when the metropolis was a tent city and in it he erected the first pretentious
hotel, the lumber for which was cut and shipped ready for framing, as well as were
the furnishings, even to the carpets, etc., around the Horn to San Francisco. Her
mother, Margaret McHaugh before her marriage, was born in Ireland, taken to
Australia when a child and there was married. Mrs. Robinson inherits the true
hospitality so notable in the old Californians.

John Robinson has been long identified with Stanislaus County affairs, not only
as a rancher who has improved many acres of land in this county and owner of
considerable town property at one time, but as a pioneer livery stable keeper, and
with the late Captain H. G. James as a partner, carried on a meat business for
several years in Modesto. He helped organize and build up the Modesto Irrigation
District and was a director of that organization for years. While he was living in
Merced County on 640 acres of land he had purchased, he helped organize the Tur-
iock Irrigation District, the greatest project of its kind in the county of Stanislaus,
and he was on its directorate six years and for six years served as a city trustee.
He has been a member of the Odd Fellows since 1873, and for years Mrs. Robinson
was a member of the Rebekahs.

Mr. Robinson, though in his eighty-fourth year, retains his upright carriage
and his mental faculties are but little impaired with the passing of time. He has
ever been interested in the upbuilding of Stanislaus County and with a clean, honor-
able record of a life well spent he and his wife enjoy the love and esteem of a wide
circle of friends in the county. Their home is one of the oldest in the city and it
radiates good cheer and a true Christian hospitality.

JOHN ROBERT HUDELSON.— The debt which California owes to such
men as the late John R. Hudelson is one that never can be cancelled, for the very na-
ture of the state itself has been established by such sturdy, God-fearing, humanity-
loving pioneers. For Mr. Hudelson is a pioneer in the truest sense of the word.
Born in Benton County, Mo., February 22, 1853, his parents, James and Mary
Hudelson, came to California when he was a babe in arms, crossing the plains with
an ox team. Soon after reaching this state his mother passed away, and the mother-
less little lad was taken into the home of his father's sister, Mrs. Sarah E. Browder,
and to her splendid training and the influence of her Christian spirited home, Mr.
Hudelson always gave much of the credit for his success in life. The father died
when past eighty at the home of his daughter near Waterford.

The marriage of Mr. Hudelson and Miss Eliza Vandalia Howell occurred
October 15, 1874, at Waterford, Cal. Mrs. Hudelson is no less a pioneer than her
late husband, having crossed the plains with her family when she was a tiny girl.
She was born in the southern part of Arkansas, on July 11, 1851, the daughter of
James and Sarah E. (Bonds) Howell, both natives of Tennessee. She was one of
triplets, three beautiful little girls, who so appealed to the Indians that various
offers were made for their purchase, and the father was obliged to hire a special
guard to be always with them. Both Mr. and Mrs. Howell were Christian charac-
ters of more than ordinary strength, the type that carved its fortune from the western
world, and were descended from lines of professional men, doctors, lawyers, ministers,
especially on Mr. Howell's side. They located first in San Joaquin County and
near Woodbridge farmed and raised stock, then moved to Vacaville. Solano County,
and in 1871 came to Stanislaus County, where they engaged in stock farming with
marked success and for a time Mr. Howell conducted a general store at Waterford.

Mrs. Hudelson received a careful education, attending the Methodist College
at Vacaville and the Normal School in San Francisco, and entering immediately upon
a career as a teacher, which she followed successfully for a number of years in Stanis-
laus County, before her marriage to Mr. Hudelson. They engaged in farming for



378 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

many years, becoming among the best known wheat and barley growers in the county,
operating on an extensive scale, and also extensively engaged in stock raising and in
later years were in the dairy business. At the time of Mr. Hudelson's death they
owned their beautiful home place of twenty-six acres, on Ohio Avenue, off the Para-
dise Road, fifty-four acres near Newman, and 160 acres eight miles south of Modesto,
which was deeded to James T., Albert H., Mrs. Maude Edwards and Mrs. A. W.
Winning. Mr. and Mrs. Hudelson became the parents of six children, all but the
first born, a daughter who died in infancy, being honored citizens of this county.
They are James Thomas, the eldest son, a rancher on the West Side ; Cora H., resid-
ing at home with her mother; Maude, Mrs. L. E. Edwards; Albert Howell, also a
rancher, married and with two children, Glenn and Grace, and Lee Viola, the wife
of Artie W. Winning, a dairy rancher on the Tully Road, and the mother of two
children, Evelyn and John Robert.

Mr. Hudelson was active in irrigation movements and all projects for the up-
building of the county and he retained his health and vigor until within a few
months of his death, taking an active interest in all matters of public welfare and re-
taining the personal management of his large affairs. His death, which was a distinct
loss to the county to whose development and upbuilding he had applied the full years
of a grand life, occurred July 4, 1920. He lies in the Citizens' Cemetery, at Modesto,
mourned and honored by the entire community.

JAMES ALFRED DAVIS.— An influential native son, prominent in both
Masonic and Odd Fellow circles, who made an honest, substantial supervisor, and
whose integrity has never been questioned, is James Alfred Davis, familiarly known
to his large circle of friends as Alf Davis. He had the good fortune to be born near
Stockton January 25, 1858, thus becoming a native son of the Golden State. His
father, I. H. Davis, was a native of Kentucky, where he was born on March 9, back
in the year 1819. He was descended from an old Virginia family, and carried their
pleasant family relations into Arkansas, where he married Miss Martha K. Harp.
She was born in Tennessee on December 7, 1826, the daughter of a pioneer who came
to Arkansas from Tennessee and then removed to California. Here he was a pioneer
of San Joaquin County, where his sons are large landowners.

In 1849, I. H. Davis brought his family across the plains with ox teams and
wagons, taking six months for the trip to Sacramento, where he followed mining.
Those were the days for high prices, at least in certain commodities, for eggs cost
fifty cents apiece and butter was a dollar a pound. Later the Davis family came to
San Joaquin County and located on land near Stockton, where they began farming.
In 1869 Mr. Davis removed to Stanislaus County and settled on a ranch that he had
purchased near Paradise, three miles south of Modesto, and there he improved the
place and engaged in grain raising until his death on July 29, 1882. Mrs. Davis
passed away on October 21, 1893, sixty-seven years old, the mother of thirteen
children, and of them four daughters and two sons are still living.

The second eldest, James Alfred was educated in the public schools, but went
to work in the grain fields early in life, to assist in putting in the crops. When only
eleven years old, and while it was still necessary for men to harness the mules for
him, he went to work on large ranches and drove six-mule teams. Thus, building
on what little instruction he could get in the odd times of the year, he has become,
by self study and wide reading, a well-informed man. For a couple of years, 1876-77,
he worked on a ranch near Biggs, in Butte County.

Mr. Davis was married to Miss Julia McCumber near Modesto on October
1, 1878; she was born near Sparta, Monroe County, Wis., the daughter of Thomas
C. McCumber, a native New Yorker of Scotch descent, who came to Ohio and then
gradually moved west to Wisconsin, finally settling on a farm at Sparta. During
the Civil War he enlisted in a Wisconsin regiment and in 1870 he brought his
family to California, locating at Knights Ferry, Stanislaus County, and went in for
grain raising. He purchased a farm of some 800 acres near Modesto and died there,




a 0,



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 381

mourned by many, especially by his comrades in the G. A. R., in which organization
he was prominent. He had married Miss Lucinda Oswalt, a native of Ohio, who
died on the home farm in this county. One of the eight children still living in a
family of ten, Mrs. Davis received her education in the Wisconsin and Stanislaus
County schools. At the time of their marriage, Mr. Davis was running the ferry
at Paradise, and for two years he continued to make a success of the venture. Then
lie decided to engage in farming and bought 1,400 acres at La Grange, where he began
raising grain. He also rented 1 ,000 acres from Warner Bros, for several years, so
operated 2,400 acres, on which he raised immense yields of grain, and to accomplish
this he ran five big teams and often had in 1,200 acres of grain a year. At the same
time he engaged in stock raising and had 150 head of cattle. Returns were often dis-
appointing, however, on account of low prices and Mr. Davis sold wheat as low as
ninety cents per cental and barley at fifty cents. When the Turlock Irrigation District
was planned, and the canals and -ditches were being built, his ranch became the site



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 50 of 177)