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 58 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 58 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


married his Scotch wife Elizabeth, and came with her to Nova Scotia. Asa McCabe,
who was reared and educated in Nova Scotia, was a ship and bridge builder, and
helped build all the important railway bridges on the Pennsylvania Central Railway
from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. He married Nancy Sullivan, a native of Ireland,
who came to the United States with her parents ; when her father died she was taken
into the family of Andrew Gregg Curtin, who later became governor of Pennsylvania,
was widely known as one of the "war governors" favoring the suppression of secession,
did much to broaden and elevate education in Pennsylvania and was appointed by
General Grant United States Minister to Russia. One child — the subject of our
review — was the issue of this fortunate marriage. The father died in Cameron County,
Pa., in 1881, and the mother thereafter made her home with her son, dying in Modesto
in February, 1906.

After attending the common schools of Cameron County, Pa., where his parents
removed, George started out for himself in 1876 when he accepted a clerkship in a
general country store at Driftwood, Cameron County, where he continued until
1879, when he removed to Johnstown. There, in the days before the Bessemer steel
process came into use, he learned both the trade of the puddler and the machinist,
remaining in that city until 1883.

Then he went to Pittsburgh to work as a machinist, and such was the quality
of his skilful and willing work that he soon obtained employment with the Union
Switch and Signal Company on Duquesne Way, when they built and installed the
first system of pneumatic railway switches, in 1884, in the railway yards at Chicago.
This switch and signal company was then owned by the George Wesfinghouse Com-
pany, and at that time the senior Westinghouse, himself, was experimenting with the
incandescent lighting system. He had a small unit on the fourth floor of that six-
story building, and Mr. McCabe worked side by side with him while he was making
his revolutionary experiments.

Having been tendered a position as millwright and manager for a lumber con-
cern at Oakdale, in Stanislaus County, Gal., Mr. McCabe left his employment in
Pennsylvania and in October, 1884, arrived at his destination. But the company at
Oakdale failed for want of sufficient capital, and Mr. McCabe then looked around
for a place to start in business. With S. G. Valpey as a partner, in 1885 he opened
a small grocery at Knights Ferry, and later he bought out his partner and expanded
the trade into general merchandise. He built a two-story frame building there, with
a store below and the headquarters of the Odd Fellows above; and the building, which
was completed in 1891 and was of importance for that section then, is still standing.
It was the first store building in the county to have traveling ladders put in, also
Baker lamps. He continued to manage that business until 1897, when he moved his
goods to Oakdale and there conducted the same line of trade for another five years.



456 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

While at Knights Ferry, in 1888, Mr. McCabe was married to Miss Kittie S.
Parker, the youngest daughter of Dominicus Parker, a pioneer blacksmith and land-
owner in eastern Stanislaus County; and five children were born to the happy couple.
Velma B. is the wife of Alvin H. Turner, vice-president of the Grange Company
and city councilman at Modesto; they have three children, Katherine Muriel, Mar-
garet Ruth and Alvin H., Jr. ; Asa died when he was nineteen years old while a
student in the Los Angeles Polytechnic; George P. died when he was nine months
old; James Garfield married Miss Ellen Wejmar of Turlock ; they reside on Almond
Avenue, Modesto, and he is field man for the Grange Company; and Ruth N. was
assistant bookkeeper and assistant auditor at the California National Bank at Santa
Ana until her marriage to Carl Warren, and they now live on a ranch near Newport
Beach. On November 16, 1905, Mrs. Kittie McCabe passed away.

In January, 1903, Mr. McCabe moved to Modesto, and for three months worked
in the county assessor's office, where he was chief deputy under John F. Campbell. He
was then appointed as manager of the Modesto Creamery and conducted it with
increasingly favorable results from April, 1903, to the first of January, 1907. He
also served as secretary of the old Stanislaus Board of Trade for some years.

In 1907 Mr. McCabe removed to Los Angeles and there went into the real
estate business, while for six years he also lectured on Stanislaus County, using stere-
opticon slides to illustrate his theme, in the courses of the Los Angeles Chamber of
Commerce. These lectures by one so thoroughly posted and so ardently attached to
the county, were very fruitful, many tourists and others having been reached and per-
suaded to come there to settle ; so that it is not too much to say, basing the statement
on certain statistics available, that through Mr. McCabe's efforts while in the South-
land, not less than a quarter of a million dollars' worth of property in Stanislaus County
found buyers and sellers in fourteen months of that time, and many were induced to
go there and to remain, who might have been attracted elsewhere to less desirable
places. During the time that he was in Los Angeles, Mr. McCabe was married to
Miss Esther. Manlev, of Connersville, Ind., a charming lady, who died in San Diego
in December, 1913.

In 1912, while Mr. McCabe was still in Los Angeles, the old Stanislaus Board
of Trade was reorganized under the Stanislaus County Board of Trade and Mr.
McCabe was elected secretary of the new organization and on February 1, 1913, he
assumed the duties of the office in Modesto and has filled the position ever since. That
same year the supervisors appointed five commissioners known as the Panama Exposi-
tion Commission to work in conjunction with the Board of Trade and the commis-
sioners chose Mr. McCabe as secretary and field man with the special responsibility for
getting up an exhibit for the Panama-Pacific Exposition to be held in San Francisco
in 1915. As field man he was to gather and exhibit the products, and this he did
during 1913-1915, traveling back and forth to San Francisco several times each week.
When the Exposition commissioners received the exhibits, it was admitted that the
products from Stanislaus were the best selected for quantity, quality and variety.

In 1916, during the great war, Mr. McCabe cooperated with the Council of
Defense in encouraging increased production of farm products and in August, 1917,
he was appointed secretary of the Stanislaus County Council of Defense. The first
work was the selection of members of the exemption board and then to secure and fit
up the needed offices ; and as the details were left to him, he was more than ever a
busy man. To offset certain disastrous effects of the draft, he was again appointed
field man to find laborers to take the place of the boys called to the colors ; and in
order to do this, he worked night and day, and in many ways encouraged and assisted
the war work of preparation and production.

In June, 1917, Mr. McCabe, recognizing the serious condition in the shortage
of labor, established the Stanislaus County Board of Trade Free Employment Bureau,
the board of supervisors made an appropriation for an extra clerk — the whole being
undertaken as an experiment. During June, July, September and October, he pro-
cured laborers, and the efforts resulted so satisfactorily that the board of supervisors
resolved to continue the movement. Now Mr. McCabe makes it a personal matter



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 457

to interest all classes of workmen, and to have the news spread abroad that Stanislaus
County offers the best labor conditions, and his work has received recognition from
beyond the boundaries of the county. Two officers from the United States Employ-
ment Bureau at Washington and two from the branch of that service at San Fran-
cisco, in March, 1918, visited Modesto and asked Mr. McCabe if he would also
represent the national Government; and on April 13, 1918, he was appointed junior
examiner in the Federal Government Free Employment Service, so that his office
had the record of being among those most successfully conducted in the state. The sum
of fifty dollars a month was appropriated to rent and equip a place in Modesto where
men could congregate who were in want of jobs; and although the Government dis-
continued the appropriation, the work was resumed by the Board of Trade. Mr.
McCabe received for his services the munificent sum of one dollar a year in salary.
In July, 1916, too, Mr. McCabe was elected Secretary and Treasurer fo the Stanis-
laus County Farm Bureau. In the summer of 1919 the Council of Defense was
changed to the Committee on Readjustment; on February 1, 1919, Mr. McCabe was
made Chairman of the Home Service Section of the Red Cross, which works hand in
hand with the Committee on Readjustment.

Some idea of the work done by Mr. McCabe for the Home Service Section
covering a period from January 1 to December 15, 1920, is herewith given: Letters
written, 267 ; cases looked up and reported on to headquarters, 33 ; Soldiers' Com-
pensation papers prepared, 21; Additional travel pay applications prepared, 8; Ap-
plications for vocational training, 2 ; Applications for uniforms, 4 ; Soldiers' affidavit
for non-delivery of Liberty Bonds, 2 ; Applications for delayed allotments and pay, 4 ;
Applications for soldier's bonus, 7; Applications for parent's compensation, 4; applica-
tion for duplicate discharge certificate in lieu of ones lost, 1 ; Applications for pay-
ment of insurance, 2 ; Application for tax exemption, 1 ; Assistance for sick service men,
2 ; Ex-service men sent to salvage shop, 1 1 ; Application for Victory Medal, 1 ; Number
of men provided with rooms, 15; Number provided with meals, 17; Fares paid to
various cities, 7; Loans made to ex-service men, 18; Number of men for whom new
clothes were purchased, 7 ; Amount of money expended, $359.86.

In 1892 he joined the Odd Fellows at Knights Ferry, passed all the chairs and
was appointed by the Grand Lodge, in 1895, District Grand Master. In 1894 he
joined the United Artisans, and is now past master artisan, having passed the chairs.
In 1892 he joined Summit Lodge No. 112, F. & A. M., a pioneer lodge, still in
existence, organized at Knights Ferry in 1857, and he is past master, and was appointed
district inspector in what was known as the old thirtieth district of the state of Cali-
fornia, and served as inspector for six years. He lectured to all the blue lodges in
Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties in 1895-96, and after that year the district
was changed to 36. He is also a member of Modesto Chapter No. 94, R. A. M.,
and a charter member of Modesto Pyramid No. 15, A. E. O. S. ; he joined the
Woodmen of the World in 1902, and is still a member, and has passed all the chairs
of Moss-Rose Camp No. 689 in Modesto. In the fall of 1920, Mr. McCabe was
made secretary of the Stanislaus County Fair Association, a new organization which
owns 70 acres in West Modesto and within the next five years expect to improve the
property with building, etc., estimated to cost $350,000. Besides the duties mentioned
in the foregoing pages Mr. McCabe is frequently called upon to address gatherings
in various parts of the state on subjects of irrigation, soil values and advertising.

WILLIAM E. CASEY.— An interesting California patriot is William E.
Casey, who was born near Stockton, in San Joaquin County, on September 30, 1865,
the only son of Daniel Casey, with his good wife among the sturdy pioneers to whom
posterity owes so much for lives well lived and notable movements of their time,
many of which have had such far-reaching results, which they bravely sponsored.
He married Margaret Gallagher, and she died in 1912, thirty years after his demise.

William attended the Turlock school, and when his father passed awav, he
shouldered his full share of the responsibilities, and as long as his mother lived,
helped her in her rather extensive enterprises and affairs. Much of the original



458 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

land in the Casey estate was sold off as subdivisions, one of which was popular
as the Casey tract; but since his mother's death, Mr. Casey has disposed of none of
his holdings. The farm now includes 440 acres two and three-fourths miles south of
Turlock; and this farm land Mr. Casey has leased for years past to responsible
tenants, his other interests preventing him from actively pursuing farm labor. A
sister, Miss Margaret E. Casey, makes her home with him on the old place.

A Democrat in national political affairs, and one who believes in the efficacy
of the doctrines laid down by Jefferson and others, Mr. Casey is nevertheless such
a loyal American that he is nonpartisan in the extreme when it comes to supporting
any person or proposition clearly for the public good ; while as the owner of an
estate all the more attractive because it is historic as the heirloom of a worthy pioneer,
he is at all times a good "booster" for the locality in which he and his family have
so long lived and prospered.

JAY A. HINDMAN. — One of the most prominent attorneys of Modesto at the
time of his passing, February 2, 1919, was the late Jay A. Hindman, who had achieved
a national reputation in his chosen profession as one of the representative members of
the bar in the United States, particularly during his many years of important legal
connections in his native state, Indiana.

The genealogy of the Hindman family is traced to Dutch and Irish sources, and
his lineal ancestors were conspicuous in the colonial period of our national history, one
of whom, on the maternal side, having come to this country in 1620 on the Mayflower;
the great-grandfather on the paternal side was a valiant soldier and officer in the War
of the Revolution. The maternal ancestry was of Irish extraction and, as part of the
Plymouth Colony, settled in Massachusetts, while the paternal line was Dutch and
formed a part of the Dutch West India Company, to which was committed the care
and colonization of "New Netherlands." This company, in 1626, purchased Man-
hattan Island and erected a fort thereon called "Fort Amsterdam." Soon afterward,
this company purchased other tracts of land in the vicinity, including Governor's
Island and Staten Island, and to this source certain of Mr. Hindman's kinfolk to .this
day trace title to valuable real estate in the cities of New York and Brooklyn.

James Hindman, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in the
state of New York near the close of the eighteenth century and was there reared to
maturity. After his marriage, he emigrated to what was then regarded as the "far
West" and became one of the pioneer settlers near Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio.
He became one of the representative citizens of the state, and was a member of the
first constitutional convention which met at Chillicothe in November, 1802.

Crooks Hindman, the son of James Hindman, was born in Wayne County, Ohio,
February 23, 1821, and was married at the same place, November 30, 1848, to
Matilda Brown, the daughter of John J. and Sarah (Mercer) Brown, her birth having
occurred March 27, 1823, in the same countv. To this marriage were born Frances
E., September 13, 1849; Albert M., February 20, 1851, who died in 1859; Mary E.,
September 13, 1855, who died in Oklahoma in 1907; Clarissa J., August 24, 1857;
Thomas J., October 2, 1859; Jay A., September 1, 1861, and Louisa A., April 23,
1 864. Both of these parents were educated at the Wooster Academy, a Presbyterian
school, and at that time one of the leading educational institutions of the state. The
father excelled in mathematics, while the mother had an especial aptitude for music,
and attained a remarkable proficiency in the languages, including Greek, Latin and
Hebrew, and to the time of her death delighted to read her Bible in the original
Hebrew tongue. Both were devout Presbyterians of the old school and they applied
their church discipline to their family government with rigorous exaction.

Soon after their marriage, yielding to a desire for adventure, as their ancestors
had done, they left their native heath, where they were surrounded with comfort and
refinement, to make their home in the wilds of the "distant West." They settled in
Jefferson Township, Wells County, Ind., and in the spring of 1849 built a cabin in
the woods, and for many years endured the hardships and privations incident to pioneer
life. Here their children were born and reared and, by parental tutelage, were edu-




T^rutso




HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 463

cated. Here also the father died in 1876, but he had lived to see the surrounding
forests disappear before the resolute blow of the woodsman's ax, and in their stead
were fertile farms, fruitful fields, blooming orchards and happy homes, with schools
and churches, towns and villages and good roads on every hand to reward him and
his fellow pioneers for the many privations they endured while subduing the wilder-
ness. The wife survived him many years, departing this life in 1909 at the home of
her daughter, Mrs. Frances E. Bowman, near the old homestead, ripe in years and' rich
in the love of all who knew her.

Jay A. Hindman was born in the original log cabin on the old homestead and
drank deeply of the cup of pioneer experience. While a mere lad, he helped not only
to clear away the forests and to ditch and fence the farm, but helped also to build the
public highways of the township through bramble, swamp and woods, and many were
the days during which he drove an ox team drawing logs to build corduroy roads across
impassable swales that abounded in that region in those days. The demands upon
his labor were too pressing to allow him to attend the public school, but the educa-
tional attainments of his parents stood him in good stead, and by their aid he kept
abreast of those who enjoyed the privileges of the schools. When he was but fifteen
years old his father died. This bereavement cast a heavy burden upon one so young,
but he was old beyond his years, and soon shaped his home affairs so as to enable him
to go away to school. Placing the income from the farm at the disposal of his
mother and sisters who were yet at home, he entered the Methodist Episcopal College
at Fort Wayne, Ind., from which institution he graduated at the age of nineteen years.
This college was later removed to Upland, Ind., and is now Taylor University. Later
he entered Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, now called Valparaiso
University, where he graduated from the Teachers' Department in 1883, and in 1887
graduated from the Scientific Department.of the same institution, receiving the degree
of Bachelor of Science. These achievements were remarkable from the fact that not
only was he deprived of all privileges of the public schools, but that he made his way
through college without any financial aid whatever, and in the meantime paid off a
mortgage indebtedness of $800 on the home place, in addition to contributing to the
support of his mother and younger sister, who remained upon the farm.

While pursuing his first college course, he was employed as teacher in a rural
school in Blackford County, and for his superior ability he was recalled for five suc-
cessive terms, during the intervals of which he attended college, where he also taught
four hours a day in addition to carrying the regular work of the course, and was thus
enabled to complete his college education with the other members of his class. In
1889 he was elected county superintendent of schools of Blackford County, pnd
re-elected in 1891. Entering upon the duties of his office, he found the county without
any definite educational system and the schools disorganized, and he laid hold of the
work of bringing order out of chaos with that zeal and determination that charac-
terized his whole career. He inaugurated a system of graduation and reports, pre-
scribed a uniform course of study and raised the educational requirements of teachers.
He strove to make teaching a profession rather than a "job," and gave impetus to the
educational interests of the county that is felt to this day. Such was the transforma-
tion in so short a time that it attracted wide attention and the methods employed by
him were largely adopted in many of the counties of the state.

Early in life Mr. Hindman resolved to become a lawyer, and this purpose to him
was a polar star in guiding his subsequent career. His choice in this respect was
determined by an incident which occurred in his early childhood. His father was a
justice of the peace and a case was to be tried before him which at that time was con-
sidered an important event, and the people from all the country around came to hear it.
To accommodate the throng, the log barn was converted into a temple of justice.
Appearing for one of the parties of the action was the Hon. Joseph S. Dailev, a rising
young lawyer of Bluffton, subsequently judge of the supreme court of Indiana. The
occasion was an auspicious one to the future disciple of Blackstone. With wide-eyed
admiration and every faculty alert, he drank in every word which fell from t'le lips
of the young attorney, and then resolved to emulate him in his chosen profession. As



464 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

an interesting sequence, years afterward, and when both had become prominent, these
men were warm personal and professional friends and they were engaged, as opposing
counsel, in the midst of an important case, at the time of Judge Dailey's death.

Mr. Hindman's rise in the legal profession was rapid and brilliant. During his
incumbency of the office of county superintendent of schools, he pursued the study and
practical application of the law in the office of Shinn & Pierce in Hartford City, Ind.,
and so that even before beginning active practice, few lawyers were better grounded
in the basic principles of the law. On March 8, 1903, Mr. Hindman was appointed
by Governor Matthews to the office of prosecuting attorney of the Twenty-eighth
Judicial District, to accept which he resigned the county superintendency. On assum-
ing the duties of the office, Mr. Hindman displayed the same energy and ability which
had characterized his previous efforts and he soon became recognized as one of the
strongest prosecuting attorneys in the state. Instead of devoting his attention to petty
infractions, he looked more especially to grave violations of the law and soon struck
terror to the heart of hardened criminals. In discharging his duties he was con-
scientious to a high degree, and was guided by the principle that it was as much the
duty of a prosecuting attorney to protect the innocent as well as to punish the guilty,
and in cases where he had a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, he frankly
told the jury so and asked for an acquittal.

At the expiration of the term for which he was appointed, Mr. Hindman was
nominated on the Democratic ticket for the ensuing term. During his incumbency, the
criminal and lawless element had learned that they would receive no quarter from
his hands, and that party fealty offered them no immunity from prosecution. Accord-
ingly the lawless element of all parties combined to encompass his defeat, and the
war was on. He was importuned by influential members of his party to dismiss cer-
tain prosecutions then pending in the courts as a condition upon which he would
receive the support of a powerful criminal element, but he replied that his self-respect
was not for sale and that he could not be purchased at any price. Although the
election was a Republican landslide and his party went down to defeat, he was
elected by a large majority. When his term of office expired, he engaged in the general
practice of law at Hartford City, Ind., and his advancement in his profession was rapid
and distinctive. Oil and gas having been discovered in that part of the state, he made
an especial study of the law pertaining to this class of property, and soon his clientage
extended to all the oil and gas fields in this country and in the Dominion of Canada.
It was in 1909 that he came into especial prominence through his connection with the
celebrated case involving the gas supply of Kansas and the Oklahoma field. For
many years the gas supply of southern Kansas was thought to be inexhaustible, and the
Kansas Natural Gas Company and the Wichita Gas Company were organized as dis-
tributing companies, obligating themselves to deliver a designated supply of natural



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 58 of 177)