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 59 of 177)
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gas to local companies for a fixed term of years. Systems of pipe lines were laid and
other equipment installed at an enormous expenditure, when, in 1906, the gas supply
began to fail. Across the state line, in Oklahoma, was an abundant supply, and these
companies made arrangements to extend their trunk lines into that state, whereupon
the legislature of Oklahoma enacted a statute the purpose of which was to prevent the
piping of gas out of the state. The state line was patrolled by the. militia, who, by
command of the governor, tore up the pipe lines and threw them back into the state of
Kansas. To protect their investments, and to make good their contracts, it was
necessary for these gas companies to resort to heroic measures. Resort to the state
courts would be useless, and to pursue the usual method of reaching the Supreme Court
of the United States meant financial ruin. The ablest lawyers in the country were
retained, among whom were Parker, Hatch & Sheehan of New York ; Scarrett, Scar-
rett & Jones of Kansas City; Zeveley, Givens & Smith of Muskogee, Okla. ; Lee &
Mackey of Pittsburgh, and Jay A. Hindman of Hartford City, Ind. After careful
consideration, it was decided to go into the Federal Court and enjoin the governor,
attorney general and all the executive officers of Oklahoma from attempting to enforce
the statute on the ground that it was in violation of the commerce clause of the Federal
Constitution, and also of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although without a precedent


for such procedure, the action was brought in the Circuit Court of the United States
for the eastern district of Oklahoma, and, because of his ripe knowledge of the ques-
tions involved, Mr. Hindman was selected by the counsel to present the case, and the
briefs which he filed in the courts are regarded by the legal fraternity as classics on
the subject of constitutional law. The case was won in all of the courts through which
it passed, including the Supreme Court of the United States, and the decision rendered
therein is a valuable precedent on the important questions involved.

Another legal battle which brought Mr. Hindman into great prominence was
the case entitled Smith et al. vs. Guffey et al. Action was brought in the Circuit Court
of the United States for the Eastern District of Illinois, the vital question involved
relating to the effect of what is known as a "surrender clause" in leases on land for oil
and gas purposes, and all of the great oil companies, particularly the Standard Oil
Company, were eager to neutralize the Illinois decision, since immense interests were
involved. Among the eminent counsel opposed to Mr. Hindman in this case were
men of national fame, such as Philander C. Knox of Pennsylvania, Levy Mayer of
Chicago, J. W. Moses of Washington, D. O, and Senator Joseph W. Bailey of Texas.
Mr. Hindman's brief in this case consisted of more than 200 pages and was a masterful
presentation of the questions of "Judicial Comity" and "Stare Decisis."

It was on March 10, 1914, that Mr. Hindman located in Modesto, Cal., and
soon after settling here he engaged in the practice of law with William J. Brown as a
partner, under the firm name of Brown & Hindman. Bringing with him years of
experience in the legal profession, and having been associated in some of the large and
bitterly fought court cases in the East, he immediately took his place as one of the
leaders of the bar. His advice and counsel were much sought and the value of his
services, particularly as a counsellor, were meeting with the highest appreciation, when
he was stricken in death. He was a 32nd degree Mason and an Odd Fellow.

On July 7, 1897, at Hartford City, Ind., Mr. Hindman was united in marriage
with Miss Ida Maines, born in Jamestown, Ind. She was the daughter of William
and Elizabeth (Penry) Maines. Grandfather Washington Maines was a native of
Virginia and married Miss Martha McCloud, who was a second cousin of George
Washington, and Grandfather Asbury Penry was a North Carolinian who settled in
Indiana. William Maines was a farmer in Randolph County, Ind., until his death
.at the age of thirty-one, leaving his widow and two children, one of whom died the
same year, leaving Ida M. the only child. Her early school days were spent at James-
town, Ind., her mother having gone back to her father's home. Her last days, how-
ever, were spent with Mrs. Hindman at Hartford City, Ind., where she received the
homage and love due her until she passed away in 1901. Mrs. Hindman was grad-
uated at the high school in Portland, Ind., and then from Mrs. Blaker's school in
Indianapolis, when she became a kindergarten teacher and met with exceptional success.
It was during this time, while Mr. Hindman was county superintendent of schools
there, that they formed the acquaintance which resulted in their marriage. Since her
husband's death, Mrs. Hindman continues to look after her large affairs. She made
her home in Modesto until 1920, when she purchased the Henery Apartments in
Stockton, which yield her a splendid income, and there she now resides. She is past
matron of Purity Chapter, O. E. S., at Hartford City, Ind., and ex-president of the
Woman's Improvement Club of Modesto.

ALBERT WELLINGTON MOULTON.— A California pioneer and a resident
of Stanislaus County since 1852, the late Albert Wellington Moulton was born in
Hartford, Conn., January 6, 1820. He was a carpenter and while working at his trade
in Maine he was married to Miss Hannah Leeman Gorham, a native of that state.
In 1852 Mr. Moulton came to San Francisco via the Isthmus of Panama route and
made his way to Stanislaus County. He engaged in farming in the vicinity of Lang-
worth, where he purchased a ranch. His wife joined him in 1854, also coming via
Panama. A few years later he sold his ranch and purchased what is now the Lancas-
ter place on the Knights Ferry Road, and then engaged in cattle raising. Later he
sold and located in Knights Ferry, where he started in general merchandising under
the firm name of Palmer & Moulton, continuing until 1871, when he located in


Oakdale and again built and started a store, the partnership firm being Moulton &
Valdez. The business was located on the corner of G and Railroad Avenue, and
they continued there until he sold out and dissolved partnership. Later he added a
second story on the building, which was used as a hall in the little town. He also
served as postmaster and express agent for many years. After disposing of his mer-
chandise business he engaged in farming and sheep raising, owning a ranch a half a
mile south of town where he made his residence until he passed away, January 11,
1898, his good wife having preceded him, March 14, 1891, worthy pioneers who had
given of their energy and best efforts for the upbuilding and development of this
great commonwealth. An avowed protectionist, Mr. Moulton was a strong Republi-
can and prominent in the councils of his party.

A. L. McGILL. — A liberal-minded, large-hearted citizen of Turlock who, as one
of the oldest residents of the place, has been instrumental in helping to build up the
town, is A. L. McGill, who came to California in the late eighties. He was born at
Clyde River, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, the son of Charles McGill, who for a
while followed the sea and owned an interest in the vessel he sailed. Seafaring with
him was not a success, however, and then he remained on land went in for farming.
Great-grandfather McGill had come from Scotland to Novia Scotia. Charles McGill
had married Miss Sarah A. Irwin, a native of Nova Scotia, of Scotch-Irish ancestry,
and she breathed her last in the old city of Philadelphia. They had seven children:
Emma is now Mrs. Hogg and resides in Nova Scotia; Alfred is at Wilmington, Del. ;
Mary E. is Mrs. Irwin of Boston; Samuel died at Logan, Utah, in November, 1917;
Thomas D. is in Kings County, N. S. ; Arthur R. died at Boston in March, 1916.

Alonzo Leslie, the youngest, was brought up on a farm and educated at the
public schools, and in 1882, when he was nineteen years old, he crossed the line into
the United States and at Minneapolis was apprenticed to learn the blacksmith trade.
That he completed in four years, and then he worked at the smithy until 1888, when
he came to Los Angeles. He remained in the City of the Angels until after the boom
and then he went North to somewhat better conditions in San Francisco. After work-
ing a year in Alameda County, he next went to Tulare, but after six months located
at Felton in Santa Cruz County, and worked for the Holmes Lime Company for five
years as their blacksmith.

In February, 1895, Mr. McGill came to Turlock and bought out William Dono-
van, at the corner of East Main and Center streets, and there engaged in blacksmithing.
Later he moved to the corner of North Front and Olive streets, bought the corner,
built a shop and continued to hammer at the forge. After some time he was induced to
rent out the establishment, and in 1914, he sold his business, and in September, 1919, he
disposed of the corner lot and building. About fifteen years ago Mr. McGill bought
the ninety-foot front on West Main Street in Turlock, and in 1910 built the Union
Block, making a structure of two stories, the first for stores, the second for a hotel. He
had bought the property early, and in 1909 made a trip to Europe with his sister,
visiting England, Scotland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and Hol-
land, returning after a five months' trip. In February, 1910, he was burned out.
Despite this disaster, he built the new block that is such a credit to the city. Mr.
McGill has owned and improved various ranches, selling them to others, and so help-
ing to develop property that might have remained dormant years longer but for his
enterprise. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, being a charter member
of the present congregation, for which he was for years a trustee.

W. T. McGINNES. — Eminently worthy among the sturdy pioneers whom Cali-
fornians will always delight to honor is W. T. McGinnes, who resides with his wife
and family at their comfortable home in Oakdale after a life replete with industry,
tragedy, and historical participation in the removal of the county seat from Knights
Ferry and its establishment at Modesto. He came to California, to what is now a
part of Stanislaus County, in June, 1856, with his father, who had made his first trip
here in the early '50s. He is a son by the first wife of his father. His mother, who was
born, reared and died in Georgia, was Miss Celia Foster before her marriage.



His father married a second time in Georgia, taking Miss Hester Ann Staggs for his
wife, and she became the lad's stepmother and brought him up. In 1856, when the
family came to California, it consisted of the father, stepmother and five children, all
born in Georgia, who were to welcome two other children, later, born in California.
W. T. McGinnes first saw the light in Georgia on February 28, 1843. His father,
Stephen McGinnes, was born in Jackson County, Ga. In the early '50s, attracted by
the lure of gold, he left his family, and sailed for California, crossing the Isthmus.
He was seventy-one days in coming from the Isthmus to San Diego ; they encountered
a dead calm, and for twenty-eight days the sailing vessel could make no headway.

Arriving at San Diego, he took a job in a blacksmith shop, and worked there long
enough to enable him to get on to San Francisco. Thence he took a steamboat up to
Sacramento, and from there to Knights Ferry, by way of Columbia, Georgetown and
Jamestown. He was there variously engaged, but followed for the most part teaming
and farming pursuits. In 1856, he went back to Georgia and brought out his family,
landing at San Francisco on June 1, 1856. The family located upon land taken up
by the father, expecting to acquire title from the Government, but they lost their
holdings, for the land was proven to be a part of a Spanish grant, known as the Pico
and Castro grant. On account of Mr. McGinnes having settled there, the land was
known for a while as McGinnes' Flat. In 1862, therefore, they pitched their tent for
the second time, near Knights Ferry, but unfortunately this land that was later con-
firmed as a Spanish grant under the title of the Rancho del Rio Estanislao, and for the
second time they lost their home and their holdings.

To add to their troubles, a sad tragedy occurred on the street in Knights Ferry
in 1868, growing out of a dispute in regard to school matters. Some heated words
were exchanged with a teacher named Cheshire, weapons were drawn, and Mr. Mc-
Ginnes, the father, fell by a bullet from the teacher's pistol, and died there on the
street. A son. Andrew W. McGinnes, then only sixteen years old and a brother of
our subject, thereupon shot the teacher, who died several days later from the wound
received. Andrew was afterward exonerated by the grand jury, and in time he arose
in the esteem of the public and filled several county offices, including those of deputy
sheriff and deputy county clerk, and was later appointed deputy U. S. marshal. In
the course of his duty, Andrew McGinnes, in company with another officer, went into
the mountain districts of Tulare County to arrest the desperadoes known as Sontag
and Evans, and both he and his associate were shot and killed.

W. T. McGinnes grew to manhood in the vicinity of Knights Ferry, and there
followed teaming and threshing and other agricultural pursuits. He well remembers
the fight over the removal of the county seat in 1870-71, for he himself moved the
office fixtures, including the furniture, books and safes, to Modesto in the fall of the
latter year. He had three wagons hitched together and drawn by a twelve-mule team,
and he had to make two trips to carry the six wagonloads of county paraphernalia, for
all of which he received $300.

On December 20, 1871, Mr. McGinnes was married to Miss Man,' Othelia
Petty, who was born in Sonora, Tuolumne County, in 1852, the daughter of Isaac
Newton Petty, a native of Huntsville, Ala. Her mother was Virginia Gooch before
her marriage, and she was both born and married in Alabama, and crossed the Isthmus
in February, 1852, landing eventually at San Francisco. Her father settled at Sonora,
in Tuolumne County, and near Knights Ferry she grew up, the eldest of five children.
Mrs. McGinnes' father engaged in teaming and cattle raising, and besides working
at the same occupations, W. T. McGinnes engaged in threshing and crushing
barley and running the large grain harvesters. He drove as many as thirty-eight
horses and mules on the old-time harvesters, rented mules and horses in addition to
twenty-four which he owned himself, ran the largest thresher and was the biggest
harvester operator in Stanislaus County. He devoted most of his time to contract
work, and averaged 100 acres a day. At one time he owned fifty-four acres near
Knights Ferry, and in 1900 he bought sixty acres east of Oakdale, which he has since
sold. His daughter, Olive, the trained nurse, owns the house and place in Oakdale
where Mr. and Mrs. McGinnes now reside.


Three children have been granted Mr. and Mrs. McGinnes: Lottie is the wife
of J. W. Hoffman, the furniture dealer at Oakdale. Olive, who graduated from the
French Hospital in San Francisco, is a trained nurse and has worked for the city
of San Francisco in the health department, bureau of inspection, since about 1910.
Orrin, who had married and was assisting his father, died when he was twenty-six
year old. In national politics, Mr. McGinnes is a Democrat ; but he willingly joins
any non-partisan movement for the best and most permanent community interests.

THOMAS ALONZO OWEN.— A rancher who is interested in all progressive
moves affecting the farm interests of Stanislaus County, is Thomas Alonzo Owen,
familiarly known as "Lon" by his many friends, to whom much credit is due for the
successful management of the Turlock Irrigation District for a period of several
years. He was born in Bolivar, Mo., on June 1, 1869, the son of William and Mar-
garet (Hagerman) Owen, substantial folks w T ho had the courage to cross the great
continent in order to help build a new empire. In 1876 William Owen came to Cali-
fornia and settled at Santa Rosa, where he took up grain farming. There were four
children in the family, three boys and one girl, and Lon was the eldest of the family.
The sister is dead, and the two brothers, A. E. and W. A., reside at Atwater, Cal. Lon
attended the district school near Santa Rosa, and up to 1883 resided at home.

William Owen then moved for a year to Chico ; but in 1884 he came to Stanislaus
County and rented 1 ,300 acres of land six miles east of Turlock. Lon there also helped
his father, but in 1890 he started out on his own account in the same locality. Six
years later he bought the stock on his father's ranch, when the latter removed to At-
water, in Merced County, where he still lives and farms at the age of eighty-two, hale
and hearty. This same ranch of 1,300 acres Lon Owen managed for a number of
years. In 1900 he came to Hughson and purchased the old William Hudelson place
of 160 acres directly north of the town; this he leveled and checked and planted to
alfalfa and ran a dairy for some years. He now expects to set out about twenty acres
of this place in grapes, and thirty acres in apricots.

Mr. Owen was married at Turlock on September 4, 1890, to Miss Florence
Oswalt, a native of Ashland, Ohio, and the daughter of Houston and Mary (Van
Scyoc) Oswalt, born in Maryland and Ohio, respectively. Great-grandfather Oswalt
came from Germany and settled in Maryland. The Van Scyocs are an old Eastern
family of the old Knickerbocker stock, related to the Anneka Jans and Bogardus families
of New York City. Houston Oswalt was in the Sixty-fourth Ohio Infantry, serving
through the Civil War, after which he engaged in contracting and building. In 1877
he came to Modesto, Cal., and followed the building business until the following year,
when he began farming, in which he continued until his death, which occurred at
Turlock, December 13, 1890. Mrs. Oswalt passed away in 1915, lacking but one
day of being seventy-eight years old. They were the parents of seven children, six
of whom grew to maturity, as follows: Obed died in 1890; Roenia is Mrs. McCumber
of Hughson; Romina is Mrs. Baldwin of Hughson; Florence is Mrs. Owen of this
review; Joseph lives at Stockton, and Walter at Atwater. Mrs. Owen was reared in
the neighborhood of Modesto, where she had the advantages of the schools there. She
is the mother of four children : Elmer E. is with the Hughson Milk Condensing Plant ;
Mary Margaret is Mrs. Raymond Hogg of Hughson; Myrle, who is with the Standard
Oil Company, served his country as a marine for a year during the World War ; Edna
is Mrs. Richards of Denair. Both sons make their home with their parents.

Partisan politics do not trouble Mr. Owen very much, but he is intensely inter-
ested in civic life and duties, and is ever ready to do what he can to upbuild the com-
munity in which he lives and thrives; and he is persuaded that in this great work one of
the most efficient of all agencies is the Republican party, and he is a staunch adherent
to its principles and policies. Always in favor of irrigation, Mr. Owen saw years ago
the importance it would have in building up the country as a region of intensive farming.
From the beginning of the irrigation movement he supported it heartily and worked for
its success. As early as 1905 he acted as ditch tender. In 1909 he was elected a
director of the Turlock Irrigation District and was re-elected, and during this time he
gave it his best efforts and time, serving the district to the best of his ability and by

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all his acts showed his fairness and honesty of purpose. He took a strong stand for one
superintendent instead of two, which resulted in a great advantage to the district — a
matter for which he has received much commendation.

While on duty for the district with two other directors, their car being in bad
condition, they met with an accident and Mr. Owen was severely injured. Not feel-
ing able to give the district the service he should, he resigned in 1915. When he be-
came a member of the board, he was intensely in favor of a reservoir. Seeing the need
of more water in reserve he would bring the reservoir matter up at each meeting, and
for months he met with no cooperation whatever. However, he continued to bring it up
until he was able to get the others interested. A committee was appointed and the
recommendation made and acted upon and the result was the T. A. Owen reservoir.
He was strong for the construction of the Don Pedro dam and a start was made by
buying the 3,500 acres for its site, now so valuable and about to be consummated in
the building of the Don Pedro dam, which will mean millions in water and power to
this county. Mr. Owen, with the other members of the board, after they had been
convinced that the reservoir was the solution of a sufficient water supply, purchased
3,500 acres of land, made the plans and surveys, and made application to the Govern-
ment for a release of all Government holdings in the Don Pedro proposed reservoir
site. So that it was he, with his colleagues, that as much as seven or eight years
ago laid the foundation for the great project. He is intensely interested in irrigation
problems and has given the subject much study and is one of the best-informed men in
this line in this part of California. Liberal and kind-hearted, he and his estimable wife
are very hospitable and it is a pleasure to be entertained by them.

ALBERT L. JOHNSON. — Prominent among the rising young attorneys who
have already made their mark in the judicial halls of the Pacific Coast, and most
promising because of his membership in a family again and again distinguished in the
history of American law and the legal profession, Albert L. Johnson worthily bears
the honor of a grandson of the Hon. Grove L. Johnson, the great lawyer so well
known to the bench and bar of California, as well as the additional honor of being a
nephew of Hiram W. Johnson, former governor of the Golden State. He was
born in Sacramento on June 8, 1886, and is, therefore, not only, as would seem meet
and right, a native son, but a native of the state capital who grew up to be familiar
from boyhood with its charged and surcharged atmosphere.

Albert's grandfather, the Hon. Grove L. Johnson — whose career and exceptional
talents as developed and displayed in a long, brilliant and very useful life are too
well known to need detailed mention here — was born in Syracuse, N. Y.. and there
married Miss Annie De Montfredy, a descendant of the Mara.uis De Montfredy of
France, who settled in New Jersey in early days and served as governor of that state
in pioneer times. These grandparents had five children : Albert M.. the eldest, was
the only one of the five to be born in Syracuse, and came West with his parents in 1861,
crossing the great plains and undergoing the usual hardships when exposed to danger.
Grove L. Johnson, who settled at Sacramento when he was only twenty, had married
very young, and was a bank clerk in Syracuse when he took a wife ; and although he
exhibited ability enough to be admitted on probation to practice law in California, he
had to wait (in order to satisfv legal requirements), until he was twenty-one before
he iva< allowed actually to plead a case. The second in the family was Josephine, now
the wife of A. R. Fink of Sacramento; the third was Hiram W. Johnson, the senator
of fame already referred to ; the fourth in the order of birth was Mary, now deceased ;
while the youngest is Mabel, Mrs. Bruce Dray.

Albert M. Johnson, the father of our subject, grew up in Sacramento and at-
tended the University of California. Later, he studied law in his father's office and
then practiced law, and at the early age of forty-five he died at San Francisco, leaving
a widow and two children — Albert L.. and Katharine. The widow also died in San


Francisco at the age of forty-five; her maiden name, was May I. Cummings, her
parents being Horatio Nelson and {Catherine (Johnston) Cummings, and as a native
daughter, she was born at Sacramento. Grandfather Cummings came to California
in January, 1849, sailing all the way from New Bedford, Mass., around Cape Horn;

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 59 of 177)