Copyright
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 56 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 56 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


valley. One of a family of six children, George Washington Hamilton received his
education in the Rising Sun district school, later in the Purvis district and still later the
Grayson district, at the Purvis school, where he had for one of his teachers the present
Mrs. Jennie P. Purvis of Modesto ; and recollections of those happy days bring to
mind the difficulty of the West Side people in obtaining teachers, a difficulty so great
that occasionally the students of one district would have to go ten, twelve and even
fifteen miles to another district in order to find a school. Growing up, Mr. Hamilton
took the academic course at the College of the Pacific at San Jose.

On the death of his father, Geo. W. Hamilton, when nineteen, took charge of the
home ranch, and he has been operating it ever since, enabling his mother to live com-
fortably, without care, at Palo Alto, at the ripe age of seventy-six. He used to raise
from 150 to 250 hogs each season, and until 1917, he had about 125 head of mules, but
he discontinued their breeding and now raises for the most part grain. Henry-
Hamilton was a pioneer in the raising of mules and had one of the finest jacks in
California, which he purchased in Kentucky, and his jacks were sold in different parts
of the state. About five years ago Mr. Hamilton changed to tractors for operating
his ranch, using a Best seventy-five-horsepower tractor and a Harris combined har-
vester, which handles about sixty acres a day, and now uses only about sixteen head of
mules for hauling. In addition to his own holdings, Mr. Hamilton leases additional
land and has in all about 5,600 acres for his extensive stock and grain raising opera-
tions. Last year, a fire destroyed his dwelling house, tank house and garage, necessitat-
ing his building at once a small bungalow ; and within twenty years three fires have
destroyed farm buildings on the Hamilton ranch.

Mr. Hamilton was married at San Francisco on April 12, 1902, to Miss Jessie
May Fozard, a native of Oakland, Cal., and the daughter of George Fozard, an
Englishman, who had married Miss Emma Tulloch, a native daughter, born at
Oakland. Mr. Fozard was a business man, progressive and prosperous, and provided
well for his family, so that Mrs. Hamilton enjoyed a happy childhood. Four children
blessed the union, and are now living or making their headquarters at Palo Alto,
where Mr. Hamilton bought a home on account of the education of his family.
Kenneth is at Stanford University; Jeanne is a student at the Palo Alto high school;
Elton is in the grammar school at Palo Alto; and Gl enn - Mr. Hamilton is a
Republican, and he has been trustee and clerk of the Rising Sun district for many years.
He is a member of Orestimba Parlor No. 247, N. S. G. W., at Crows Landing.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 435

RICHARD HENRY ROWE.— A clever, successful business man enjoying the
esteem of the community generally and the devotion of a wide circle of friends, is
Richard H. Rowe, familiarly called Dick, a native son, born in Grass Valley, Nevada
County, on July 17, 1865. His father, Harry Rowe, was born in Camborne, Corn-
wall County, England, and there learned the blacksmith trade in the Dahlcoth tin
mines, where he served his apprenticeship underground in one of the deepest mines in
England. In course of time he came out to the United States and located in Con-
necticut; and there he was married to Miss Mary Jane Lanyon, a native of Bristol,
England, of Welsh descent, who came to the good old Nutmeg State with her parents.
In 1862, Mr. and Mrs. Rowe migrated to San Francisco, and soon proceeded inland
to Grass Valley; and there Mr. Rowe died in 1872. A comrade, a Mr. Tyrrell,
accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Rowe to the coast; and his son, J. R. Tyrrell, a former
state senator, is now an attorney in San Francisco. Mrs. Rowe afterwards remarried,
becoming Mrs. John D. Thomas, and she died in Nanaimo, B. C, about 1913.

Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Rowe, and the youngest of these,
Richard, is the only one now living. He was reared in Grass Valley and there attend-
ed both the grammar and the high schools; and when twelve years old, he began to
work in a local butcher shop. When he was fourteen, he went to work as a miner
underground, and up until he was twenty-one years of age he continued to follow that
arduous occupation. Then, with a partner named Blake, the two forming the firm of
Rowe & Blake, he engaged in the drug trade, but at the end of five months he sold his
interest to Walter Stoddard, and for a year he again engaged in mining at Sierra City.
After that, he located in San Jose and in 1887 he was employed on construction of
the sewer system; and next he removed to Hildreth, in Fresno County, where he fol-
lowed mining for six months; and then he removed to Nanaimo, B. C.

There, too, he was married to Mrs. Mary Ann (Malpass) Blundell, a native of
the place, and they have three children. Irene became Mrs. Roblin, and now, a widow,
resides in her native town ; Bella is the wife of H. A. Wilson of Turlock, and Richard
H., Jr., resides in Nanaimo. After marrying, Mr. Rowe engaged in the butcher
business in Nanaimo for fourteen years; and in 1902 he returned to California. He
first located at Alameda, and he and a partner, under the firm name of Rowe &
Hosken, conducted a first-class meat market. Eighteen months later he sold his
interest and went to Folsom, and there he became a guard at the State Penitentiary.
He was there for seven months, discharging his duty with exceptional conscientious-
ness; and it was during that time, in December, 1914, when the last attempt was
made by prisoners to break for freedom. He was one of the eight guards on duty that
frustrated the plot. It was during Warden Yell's administration, and the guards shot
seven of the escaping prisoners, and none got away, although three of the wounded
prisoners recovered. It will be remembered that some of the prisoners used the officials
as a barricade, and so it happened that two of the officers were wounded, but both
lecovered, for the guards had instructions to shoot, even if an officer was in danger.
Mr. Rowe was an excellent shot, and his marksmanship had obtained him his position.
When he resigned as guard, he again ran a meat market in Alameda, but in the fall
of 1905, he sold out and removed to Tuolumne County, where he engaged in mining
for five years, running the Blue Lead mine ; and next in the meat business in Oakland.

In 1909, Mr. Rowe was married a second time to Mrs. Helen Frances (Wall)
Williams, a native of St. George, Knox County, Maine, and the daughter of Addison
and Harriette (Winchell) Hall, both born in Maine. A seafaring man, Capt. Wall
was master of a merchant vessel in the foreign trade, owning his own vessels and sail-
ing all over the world until he died in Massachusetts, where his wife also passed away.
The Wall family are of English and Scotch descent, forebears coming to Massachu-
setts two or three years after the Mayflower. The Winchell family are of English
descent, and Great-grandfather Winchell was an English admiral. Her great-grand-
mother's name was Muchmore, derivable from the French. Miss Helen Wall was
first married in Massachusetts to Robert I. Williams, a commercial traveler for the
Goodyear Rubber Company, and his interests brought him to San Francisco in 1880;
and on the Coast he traveled until 1892, when he died.



436 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

After his marriage, Mr. Rowe spent a year in Napa, and then another year in
Oakland, and in 1912 he came to Turlock. There he bought a ranch of eighty acres
seven miles west of the town, which he improved and developed to alfalfa and grapes;
but after fifteen months he sold the farm to Richard Clark and came to Turlock,
where he engaged as a realtor for a year, when he went back to ranching. He has
since bought and sold several ranches. In 1917, he started a meat market and butcher-
ing business, buying out Smith & Owen, proprietors of the California Market at 219
West Main Street, and this enterprise he continued, building up the trade. In
January, 1920, he took in a partner, William Sachau, and they have made an addition
to the place, so that now the store is 150x25 feet in size. They have a fine modern
cold storage plant, and first-class manufacturing room. He also owns a fine home
at 324 North Broadway.

Mr. Rowe was made a Mason in Nanaimo Lodge No. 3, F. & A. M., and he
belongs to Keystone Chapter, R. A. M. He is a member of the Knights Templar at
Vancouver, and with Mrs. Rowe is a member of the Wistaria Chapter, O. E. S. He
is a charter member of the Loyal Order of Moose, and also of the Independent Order
of Red Men. For many years he was the active member of Quartz Parlor No. 58,
N. S. G. W., at Grass Valley. He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce
and votes and works with the Republican party.

RICHARD RENJAMIN PURVIS.— A public official long esteemed for his
efficiency and fidelity to duty was Richard Benjamin Purvis, who died on August 29,
1906, while sheriff of Stanislaus County. He had been suffering for over two years
from paralysis, but his long tenure of service had so endeared him to many that he was
able to retain office — a splendid compliment in itself — until he breathed his last. He
was born in Virginia, in 1843, of English descent, and was seventh in the family of
nine children. His parents were both natives of the Old Dominion and members of
influential Virginia families, and they brought their family to Missouri.

Here Richard Purvis spent his early life on the home farm, and in 1863 crossed
the plains to California. At first he located in Napa County, and there for two
years engaged in farming. Then he went to Idaho and followed mining for a time,
and in 1866 he returned to Napa. Four years later he settled in Stanislaus County
and engaged in farming near Grayson.

In 1884 he was nominated by the Democratic party for sheriff, and not only was
he then elected, but he was reelected successively up to and including the year 1902.
He was a faithful public officer and notable figure in the county, both as a vigilant
peace official and a citizen of noble character, with charity for all and malice toward
none. The result was that he was everywhere accorded the highest regard.

During the great Centennial Year of 1876, Mr. Purvis was married at Stockton
to Miss Jennie Phelps, a woman prominent in educational, literary and reform work,
with whom he cooperated in various endeavors for the betterment of society. He was
a Knight Templar, Mason, and was buried with Masonic honors. He also belonged
to the Odd Fellows, Woodmen of the World, Knights of Pythias, and Rebekahs.

MRS. JENNIE PHELPS PURVIS.— California has always done honor to her
women of intellect, culture, influence and leadership, and Stanislaus County will not
fail to provide a wreath for those who have contributed to enrich its life. Prominent
among such women of true nobility must be numbered Mrs. Jennie Phelps Purvis, a
native of Addison, N. Y., where she was reared in an environment of education and
refinement. In 1863 she came to California via Panama, and for many years made her
home at Oakland and San Francisco. She had a talent for writing and in San Fran-
cisco engaged in newspaper work. She contributed to the Alta California, the Bulletin,
the Call, Examiner and the Chronicle, all famous journals in their time, and by her
pen and with a literary output that was always well received, she helped to make them
still more famous. She wrote for years under the non tie plume of Hagar, and con-
tributed liberally not only to papers on the Coast, but also to Eastern journals as well.




^/CS^^-fr?



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 439

This literary activity brought her into pleasant and profitable personal relations with
Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Joaquin Miller and Mrs. Joaquin Miller, and many other
celebrities of the day associated with the Coast and known beyond the seas .

From her fourteenth year, Mrs. Purvis was a stanch suffragist, working as a con-
temporary of and in close touch with Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. Stanton, the Rev.
Olympia Brown and others, from the start of the movement in California. Five
women suffragists, of whom Mrs. Purvis was one, met in San Francisco in the sixties
and organized the first woman's suffrage association as a state organization, Mrs.
Purvis being made secretary of the association. In the election of 1910, when equal
suffrage carried in California, Stanislaus County was the banner county of the state.
During this time she was chairman of Stanislaus and Merced counties and so active
in distributing their literature that the supply eventually ran out.

Mrs. Purvis has also always been prominent in the Women's Christian Temper-
ance Union, and was second vice-president of the State W. C. T. U. She was also
state superintendent of anti-narcotics, and succeeded in getting the bill passed which
prohibited the sale of tobacco to boys under sixteen in the legislative session of 1891.
Two years later her efforts to have another bill passed, this time prohibiting the sale
of cigarettes to boys under twenty-one, were well rewarded ; but Governor Budd
vetoed the measure. She was a delegate to the national W. C. T. U. convention that
met at Boston in 1891. The distinctive feature of the great Frances Willard con-
vention, held in Boston in 1891, was that it was a world's and a national W. C. T. U.
convention combined, the national following immediately upon the close of the world's
convention. This was the first world's convention ever held in the United States, and
there has never been one held here since. It is not surprising that, after such activity,
she should have contributed much to the Ensign, the state organ of the W. C. T. U.
Among other noted publications realized or proposed by Mrs. Purvis is a book on
suffrage, which was appreciated so much by Horace Greeley that he wrote a friend
asking him to find a publisher, recommending the volume in a very complimentary way.

In the year of the Centennial in Stockton occurred Mrs. Purvis' marriage to
Richard B. Purvis, who was the popular sheriff of Stanislaus County from his election
in 1884 until the time of his death in 1906. Mrs. Purvis belongs to the Christian
Church, and also to the Modesto Women's Improvement Club, and is also a member
of the Eastern Star and Rebekahs, in both of which she is a past officer. Some of these
activities have interested her in California history, and she is enthusiastic today for the
preservation of the annals of the past.

JOHN GAFFERY. — Among the early settlers of California worthy of permanent
record on account of their relation to the founding and development of the great
commonwealth, is John Gaffery, who came to the Golden State in the late sixties.
He was born in County Roscommon, Connaught Province, Ireland, on July 23, 1850,
the son of Tom Gaffery, a worthy farmer, who had married Miss Mary O'Brien,
one of the attractive ladies of Erin's Isle ; and although he had only a common school
education, in one way or another he came to be well-prepared for a struggle with
the world when, at the age of eighteen, he crossed the Atlantic to longed-for America.
In 1868, he settled at Antioch, in Contra Costa County, Cal., and for a few years
worked at odd jobs for wages. In 1870, he removed to Banta and started a livery
business, and for several years ran one of the best stables there. He recalls how J. D.
Cox hauled freight over the hills, and how primitive were the facilities, and how poor
the grades and roads when such hard work had to be done to help civilization.

In 1874, Mr. Gaffery went to Martinez and took out his first citizenship papers,
and then he went on to Pittsburg, Cal., and worked for a few years for L. L. Robin-
son. On his return to Banta, he embarked in the butcher business, and in 1881 he
removed to Grayson and for two years ran a meat market there. As far back as
1872, Mr. Gaffery, when first in Grayson precinct, purchased 160 acres of land near
the hills, and there, raising stock, he farmed the land in connection with his butcher
trade. Since 1873 he has farmed the place, raising grain and dealing in stock. He has



440 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

added to the ranch from time to time and has four sections, or 2,560 acres, of which
about 1.600 acres is sowed to grain.

At Stockton, on March 23, 1886, Mr. Gaffery married Miss Elizabeth Ham-
monds, the daughter of William C. and Polly (Hale) Hammonds, who came to
California from the vicinity of Louisville, Ky., in Pulaski County, at about the time
of Mr. Gaffery's arrival here. They had twelve children, and among these Elizabeth
was the fourth daughter. She was born in Kentucky, coming with her parents in 1868
and attended the Rising Sun school in Stanislaus County, after it was first organized,
and grew up to breathe the true California spirit. Four children blessed their union:
Tom W., who is at home, married Rozella Bibler and has four children — Leonard I.,
Raymond Edgar, Thomas W., Jr., and Jean. John R., of Dos Palos, married Zelma
Bibler, a sister of the foregoing, and they, too, have four children — John William,
Wayne Augustus, Molly Aileen, and Jean Elizabeth. Mary Joseph is the third in
rhe order of birth, while Redmond James Gaffery died at the age of thirteen.

NATHAN EMORY De YOE.— One of the substantial old settlers now kept
busy looking after his large and notable property holdings, the honest accumulation
of years of intelligent industry, is Nathan Emory De Yoe. He came here in the
eventful seventies, was the first furniture man of Modesto, and had the first piano
house in this county.

A native of the picturesque and historic Hudson, Mr. De Yoe was born at Kings-
ton, N. Y., on October 24, 1839, the son of Samuel Hasbrock De Yoe, also a native
of Kingston, Ulster County, and of old French Huguenot stock, heard from in the
Revolutionary War. His father, who resided for a while at Kingston, moved thence
to Auburn, N. Y., and then to Kalamazoo County, Mich., and thence to Kansas,
about 1878, where he bought a farm. He died there, survived by his wife, whose
maiden name was Hannah Beaver, the daughter of Elihu Beaver, a cooper by trade.
He removed to Auburn, N. Y., where his wife died ; and marrying again, he went to
reside at Owasco Lake, Cayuga County, where he died. Mrs. De Yoe was the only
child, and she died at the age of eighty. Of twelve children born to Mr. and Mrs.
Samuel H. De Yoe, two are living.

Nathan, the fourth youngest, when about four years old, was taken to Auburn,
N. Y., where he remained for several years, attending the public school. At the age
of fifteen, his parents removed to Michigan, and when nineteen he went to Rock
Island, 111. He worked for a brother in his match factory and store, at twenty-one
volunteered, at the first call for troops, for three months' service in the war. He
was not accepted, however, and he removed to Michigan. His brother, Elijah, was
in the Thirteenth Michigan Infantry, and again he enlisted and was in camp at Kala-
mazoo for two months, when he was re-examined and rejected.

About that time Mr. De Yoe married, and as his father-in-law had a hotel at
Plainwell, Mich., he managed it for him for five years. The hostelry was known as
the Lawrence House, and it enjoyed a good reputation among the smaller hotels of
the state. For four years he farmed at Kalamazoo, and then he went to Waukegan,
111., where he bought the City Hotel, of which he was proprietor for four and a half
years. When he returned to Michigan, he became proprietor of the Lawrence Hotel
again, at Plainwell, and there he continued until October, 1877.

In that year Mr. De Yoe came west to California and located at San Jose, where
he leased the St. James Hotel, and was proprietor until the spring of 1879, when he
leased a store in Modesto and on March 1 opened for business. He stocked up with
furniture, carpets, pianos and organs, and continued in that line for twenty-seven
years. He was first on I Street, but was burned out in two years, and then he was
located on Tenth Street, near H. His was the first furniture store and music house.
In 1905 he sold out and retired.

Since then Mr. De Yoe has been interested in agriculture and horticulture. At
one time he owned an orchard at Paradise, but having sold it, he bought and improved
farm lands. At present he possesses some of the best of ranch lands. In 1913, for
example, he bought 1,000 acres five miles out of town. It had been cut up into five
and ten acre lots, but no one had settled there ; he sold it all, except five acres he re-




«S:g,.m ( \



V"



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 443

tained for himself, and now there are thirty to forty families dwelling there. He
resides at 1219 I Street. Mr. De Yoe was at one time a director in the First National
Bank here. He was a trustee of Modesto when the first city waterworks were built
and when the first sewer was laid down.

The first marriage of Mr. De Yoe occurred in Michigan when he was united
with Miss Hattie Lawrence, a native of that state, who died at Modesto, the mother
of three children: Samuel F., who is in the real estate business; Laura, who is Mrs.
Admer M. Brown, of Modesto; and Lawrence E., who graduated from Lick School
and the University of California, and was city editor of the Modesto Herald. He
died on April 2, 1918, at the age of thirty-two, honored for his work in getting up
the new city charter. His second marriage made Mr. De Yoe the husband of Mrs.
Caroline (Cotton) Rogers, a native of Schoharie County, N. Y., who came to Cali-
fornia in the seventies and died here. After that Mr. De Yoe married a third time,
choosing for his bride Miss Lillian-Fowler, a native of Greenville, Montcalm County,
Mich. Her father was William James Fowler, and he was born at Hudson, N. Y.
He married Harriet New, also a New Yorker, and settled in Montcalm county,
Mich., where he was a Greenville pioneer. He was a lumber merchant and later sold
hardware. Mrs. De Yoe came to California first in 1905. Mr. De Yoe is a member
of the Christian Science Church, and was made a Mason, in Otsego lodge, F. & A. M.,
at Otsego, Mich. Now he is a member of the Modesto lodge 206 of Masons. Both
Mr. and Mrs. De Yoe are members of Electa Chapter No. 72, Order of Eastern
Star, in which she is a past matron. In national politics Mr. De Yoe is a Republican.

ADDISON EDGAR TURPEN.— A native son able to recall the most inter-
esting incidents of early life in and around Turlock is Addison Edgar Turpen of
Modesto, who has seen Turlock develop from a string of grain houses. He was born
in Stanislaus County, about five miles out of Modesto, between Modesto and Water-
ford, on June 29, 1874, the son of Maj. A. M. Turpen, a farmer from Jefferson
County, Mo., who came to California in 1864 and on the twenty-ninth of September
camped under the oak tree still standing on H Street, near High. He located in
Waterford, and was the first postmaster of that place, serving there for five years:
and with James Hudelson he purchased half of a section of land on the Tuolumne
River, about five miles from Modesto, where Addison, the subject of our review, was
born. With James Hudelson he farmed the Dickinson ranch of several hundred
acres for five years, and they were the first farmers in Stanislaus County using a six-
horse gang plow. Major Turpen married Miss Mary Frances Hudelson, whose
father came to California first in 1850, crossing the plains with ox-teams, going back
after his wife died, then returning in 1853 and again coming here in 1857, making
three trips, and settled in Stanislaus County.

After a while, Major Turpen moved to Fresno County and there purchased a
half-section of land at Centerville — that is, he purchased the very land upon which
Centerville afterward grew and developed. However, when the first Irrigation Dis-
trict in Fresno County was formed, Major Turpen sold his holdings in Fresno, and
moved to Merced County, on account of health conditions, caused by the seepage
water running into the dug wells, having been in Fresno County for six years; in
Merced County he leased 3,000 acres from Dr. W. M. Ryer of San Francisco, and
raised grain for fourteen years. Then he purchased an 800-acre ranch thirteen miles
east of Turlock on the Old Snelling Read. He sold this ranch in 1902 and bought
960 acres near Denair, in Merced County, and for twelve years raised grain. This
was outside the Modesto Irrigation District, and was devoted to grain. After being
there two years, he sold this ranch and bought a ninety-six acre ranch near Lddi,



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 56 of 177)