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 60 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 60 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


and when once here, he mined gold, went through all the hard experiences of the
Argonauts of those heroic days, and married and settled at Sacramento. The John-
stons came as a family across the great plains by ox teams to Oregon in 1848, fought
with the Indians, and helped to wrest and redeem this western empire from barbarism.

Albert M. Johnson was a member of the well-known law firm of Albert M.
and Hiram W. Johnson of San Francisco, and also Johnson, Johnson & Johnson,
attorneys at law, of Sacramento. He was a man of unusual integrity and a lawyer
of marked ability, and like his brother Hiram, who has given life and impetus to
more than one reform movement, he had a passion for progressive and reform measures.
He was particularly inclined along humanitarian lines, and was widely and intensely
beloved. All this is attested to in numerous records and publications. In writing on
progressive men and measures, for example, Edmund Norton, the well-known author
and lecturer, while penning an article for La Follette's Magazine, for November 11,
1911, and speaking of senator, then Governor Hiram Johnson, said:

"There are better and more vital positions than that of President. To be a master
leader of men, out of the bondage of political and industrial slavery, is one of them.
Hiram Johnson is already far on the leading road. Once, after a great assembly had
dispersed — the battle had been great and the response as wonderful — as I held his
hand, I spoke of the departed Albert M. Johnson, his brother. He gripped my hand.
'Oh, Mr. Norton,' he said, 'If Albert were only here now, how his soul would
rejoice!' And those who knew Albert M. Johnson, one of the finest minds, clearest
brains and noblest-hearted men who ever worked for industrial liberty in the West,
will understand that no one could have lived with him as a brother without having
'far ben' in all that makes for perfection in government."

Albert L. Johnson's first schooling was obtained in Sacramento, and he was four-
teen when he removed with his parents to San Francisco, where he worked in his
father's law office as office boy. In 1905 he was graduated from the Mission high
school, and then he entered Leland Stanford University, took the law course, and in
1909, on examination, was admitted to the bar. He practiced in San Francisco until
1915, when he came to Modesto and opened up his law office in the Modesto Bank
Building. Coming from a family which for generations has been leading lawyers, it is
not to be wondered at that Mr. Johnson has a clear and judicial mind, or that he is
well-read, painstaking, a forceful yet quiet and unassuming speaker. He always gives
his clients the advantages of the best that is in him, and the law of which he has a
profound understanding. Like his father and illustrious uncle, he is a real humani-
tarian and a true progressive. His thoughts and zeal are for the uplifting and eman-
cipation of his fellowmen, and he goes about quietly attending to his professional
duties, and never loses an opportunity for doing good.

Mr. Johnson scored a noted legal victory in the mayoralty contest case of
O'Connor vs. Ulrich, wherein Mayor-elect Ulrich's eligibility was attacked on the
ground that he had not resided the required time of three years in the city of Modesto.
He had resided, it seems, in the Rose Subdivision, which became a part of (greater)
Modesto in 1918. The case was heard before Judge Trabucco of Mariposa County
at Modesto on May 6, 1919, and was decided in favor of Mr. Johnson's client, Mr.
Ulrich. So thoroughly did our subject go into the law that the judge then presiding
decided the case in his client's favor at once.

At Piedmont, Cal., on May 3, 1913, Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Rowena
Ross, a native of Illinois, and three children have come to bless their happy home:
Jeannette is the eldest; then comes Albert, Jr.; and the youngest is Rowena. The
family reside at 203 Park Avenue, and there is no more hospitable home in the hos-
pitable city of Modesto.




^7^^-cvr€



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 477

CLINTON N. WHITMORE.— One of the distinguished names in the state of
California is that of Clinton N. Whitmore, who, for the past eight years, has slept in
the beautiful little cemetery where Ceres lays her beloved dead. He was the "Father
of Ceres" in the truest sense of the word, and with his passing the community, the
county and the state lost one of the most loyal and faithful supporters of progress and
true principles, a man with a vision that saw far into the future, enabling him to stand
at all times in the van of progressive legislation. He was a stanch worker for tem-
perance reform, always far in advance of his day, and it was due to his determined
stand that Ceres owes the distinction of having always been an absolutely "dry" town,
clauses prohibiting the sale or giving away of liquor having been written by him into
every deed for every city lot sold. The townsite stands on lands owned by his father,
and the welfare of the town itself was ever close to his heart. He was a man of rare
character and business ability, honest and upright in all his dealings, broad-minded
and fair in all his judgments.

Mr. Whitmore was a native of Hudson, Mich., born August 20, 1845. His
parents were Daniel and Lucy Jane (Lee) Whitmore, the former a native of Massa-
chusetts and the latter of New York. They were married at Hudson, Mich., and
here their three sons were born. These were stirring days and the gold discoveries in
California were luring many settlers westward, and in 1854 the Whitmore family
joined a party crossing the plains with prairie schooners and ox teams. Young Clinton
was then but nine years of age, and so most of his boyhood was passed on the farm
near Stockton, where the father engaged in general ranching.

It was in 1866 that Daniel Whitmore brought his family into Stanislaus County
and located on a tract of 9,000 acres of wheat land which he had acquired, and on
which a few years later the town of Ceres was founded. From the time he was twenty-
one, therefore, Clinton N. Whitmore was a resident of this county and took an active
part in the laying out of Ceres and in its foundation, as well as its future development
and growth. Father and son worked together on the great wheat ranch, and the
younger man learned at an early age to accept large responsibilities and to discharge
them fearlessly and well. At an early age he was converted and joined the Baptist
Church under the ministrations of Rev. Eli Rees, one of the pioneer ministers of San
Joaquin Valley. Later he became a member of the First Baptist Church of Oakland,
but on the organization of a Baptist Church at Ceres, both he and his wife brought
their letters here, and from that time on he was a faithful supporter of the denomina-
tional activities here. He served the church as clerk from 1879 to 1888, a period of
almost ten years, then became deacon and Sunday school superintendent, thus giving
to the church his ability as a business man and financier in the aid of her business
affairs, his spiritual support as a Christian worker. The office of superintendent of
the Sunday school he held for nearly twenty-one years, dearly beloved by teachers and
students alike, and deeply regretted when failing health obliged him to lay down this
pleasant responsibility. Deeply interested in all denominational activity, he was espe-
cially concerned with the welfare of the Baptist summer resort at Twin Lakes. Here
he also had a beautiful summer home, and was known as the "children's friend," and
many were the deeds of kindliness which he performed, giving freely of his worldly
possessions for every good cause.

In a business way Mr. Whitmore always stood exceptionally high, both because
of his integrity and his unusual executive ability. At the time of his father's death he
took over the handling of the estate, administering it with rare ability and judgment,
successfully managing the disposition of 10,000 acres around Ceres, 4,000 acres in
Tulare County, and twenty-seven sections in Texas. In the matter of promoting
irrigational development in Stanislaus County, Mr. Whitmore took the lead in many
ways, helping to fight the great battle which gave an abundance of water to this section.
From the organization of the irrigation district he was an officer, serving as treasurer
of the district for sixteen years, and himself constructed the building in Ceres which
housed the offices of the district for many years.

Not the least important event in the life of Mr. Whitmore was his marriage,
considered by him as one of his greatest good fortunes. In his early young manhood



478 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

he married Miss Maria Witherell, born in Packenham, Ontario, Canada, the daughter
of Rufus H. and Agnes F. (Cowan) Witherell, the father a native of Canada, a school
teacher and later a merchant, and her mother also a native of Ontario, and of Scotch-
English descent. Mr. Witherell came to California in 1869 and was joined by the
family in Modesto in 1873. The family later moved to Vacaville, where Mr. and
Mrs. Whitmore were married in 1874. The father passed away in 1908 at Los
Angeles, while the mother now makes her home with Mrs. Whitmore .

Mr. and Mrs. Whitmore became the parents of eight children, of whom six are
still living, all residents of California except one. Of these, J. Leslie is engaged in
the insurance business at Stockton, is married and has three chlidren; Jennie J. is now
Mrs. Wallace Caswell of Cherokee, Iowa; Vaughn D. is at present supervisor of
Stanislaus County, District No. 2, is the father of two children ; Guy Clinton and
Laurence Hall are both ranchers at Ceres, and both have two children each ; and
Charles N. is an ex-service man, having rendered splendid service in the U. S. Navy
during the World War. Two sons passed away, the first born, Elmer D., and
Eugene N. This family was an especially happy one, and their home life was a bene-
diction to their community and to their friends. Mr. Whitmore passed away after a
long illness, at his Twin Lakes home, August 6, 1912, surrounded by his family. He
had wished to return to Ceres for his last days, but was too ill to be taken there. He
was laid at rest from the Baptist Church at Ceres, on August 9, and scarcely had the
countryside witnessed such a concourse of people, the procession which followed to his
last resting place being more than a mile in length.

The great Whitmore ranch is now owned by Mrs. Clinton Whitmore and her
children, and two of her sons, V. D. and Charles N. Whitmore, are active in its
operation. The traditions of the family are being kept alive by the sons, and
the name of Whitmore bids fair to be ever bright in county and state annals.

ELIHU B. BEARD. — Whenever the historian shall turn his attention to the
story of Stanislaus County he will find the name of Beard among those far-seeing
men who came from Eastern homes to carve out a place for their posterity in the new
and untried West. This pioneer citizen of this county was born in Indiana and
there grew up and made his home until the discovery of gold in California was her-
alded throughout the whole country. In 1849 he joined a wagon train that crossed
the plains to the new Eldorado and in March of 1850 he arrived at the end of his
journey through a new and unsettled stretch of desert and mountains.

In 1852 he came to what is now Stanislaus County and settled on land near
Waterford site and in time he became a well-known and prosperous stockman and
rancher and did his part to build up the locality he had selected as his home. He was
the first man to try summer fallowing, as early as 1852. He acquired some several
thousand acres of land and went through the trials and disappointments incident to the
pioneer times when there were no markets for the products of the ranches and no
means of transporting what they did have to markets except by teams. On retiring
from the ranch, in 1873, Mr. Beard moved into Modesto and thereafter became
closely identified with the progress of the new town. He was the first county assessor,
and by virtue of his office the first county superintendent of schools, and was county
surveyor in 1852. Prior to moving to town he had served eight years as county
assessor, from 1854 to 1862, and he was later elected to the state assembly and served
two terms, and there he gave faithful service.

In 1856 Mr. Beard was married to Miss Annie Kennan, a native of Missouri
and the daughter of Thomas Kennan, a Kentuckian, who settled in Boone County,
Mo. He had intended coming to California but died before he could put his plans
into effect. Nothing daunted, his widow, Nancy (Cave) Kennan, set out for this
state in 1854 with her family of children and joined her son, Thomas Kennan, on the
Tuolumne River. Into the family of Elihu and Annie Beard were born seven children,
four of whom grew to maturity, and of these Thomas K. is the only one living. Mr.
Beard and his wife were active members of the Christian Church. He died on May
7, 1901, and Mrs. Beard passed awav in 1912, aged eighty-three years, both leaving
behind them enviable records as upbuilders of our great commonwealth.




ELIHU BURRITT BEARD




/l,A,.



'&-0-UL,



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 481

OLIVER STANTON MOORE.— In the comfortable farmhouse on the old
Rufus Randolph Moore ranch, where three generations of the Moore family were
reared, about six and a half miles south of Modesto, began the life of Oliver Stanton
Moore on November 14, 1884, the only living son of R. R. and Ida E. (Camp)
Moore. The father, a pioneer of California, settled in the Westport district of
Stanislaus County in the year 1857, about the time the Sanders, Harp and Vivian
families located there. He followed farming on an extensive scale and during his life-
time acquired 2,500 acres, and in addition rented enough land to bring the acreage he
cultivated up to 5,000, all devoted to grain and stock raising. A man of inventive
genius, he passed away in Modesto on May 31, 1917, after manv of his inventions had
been patented, some of the most marked improvements on the old combined harvester
having been inventions of his able mind. The mother, Ida E. (Camp) Moore, was
the widow of Benj. F. Moore, a brother of R. R. Moore, and by her first marriage was
the mother of two children, one of whom passed away early in life, the other, Claudia
B., lives near Modesto. Mrs. Moore resides in Modesto.

From boyhood on Mr. Moore's tastes have been in the direction of agriculture,
and after completing his education at the Jones district school and a course in the
Oakland Polytechnic, he turned his attention to ranching, cultivating 1,040 acres of
the original R. R. Moore farm. The entire Moore ranch, which is all under the
Turlock Irrigation District, is best adapted to fruits and will ultimately be set out in
vines and fruit trees, but at the present time Mr. Moore raises grain extensively on
the part he is cultivating, and his tenants raise beans, melons and fine sweet potatoes.

At Stockton, on November 22, 1906, Mr. Moore was married to Mis.s Viola
Vivian, the daughter of W. H. Vivian and granddaughter of John Vivian, earlv
pioneer of Westport. Two children, Oliver Stanton, Jr., and Hazel, have been born
of this union. Mr. Moore is a member of the Farm Bureau and Farmers Union of
Stanislaus County and for several years served as a member of the board of trustees
of the Jones school. He attributes much of his success as a farmer to the practical
training he received while working on his father's farm.

PETER J. SCHAFER. — Few chapters in biography are more instructive than
the interesting life-stories of such pioneers as Peter J. Schafer, one of Modesto's lead-
ing citizens in the days of his tireless activity and who now enjoj's the blessedness of
retirement, who, striking out boldly away from their beloved native lands, have crossed
the wide ocean, ventured their all in a strange, new world, and worked as arduously
as they have honestly to wring from Fortune a share of success ; and there can be
little doubt that few of Central California's distinguished citizens enjoy to a larger
degree the esteem and good will of the community than do the subject of our review
and his circle of near-kin. He was born at Obersensbach, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany,
on January 13, 1838, the son of Jacob Schafer, who was a native of Hesse Darm-
stadt, and married another native of that region, Elizabeth Siefort. The father was
a farmer who owned a farm and lived to be seventy-two years of age ; he died in Ger-
many when Peter was fifteen years old. The parents had a large family and reared
ten children.

The eighth child and the only one living of ten children, Peter Schafer attended
the excellent common schools of Germany and was also brought uo in the faith and
practices of the Lutheran Church. In the middle of his fifteenth year he left his
father's farm and started out for himself. He had a sister and a brother in Canada,
and to reach them he embarked at Havre, France, on a sailing vessel aboard which he
voyaged for twenty-seven days. Having landed in New York City, he went by rail
to Ontario and settled in Berlin province. There he apprenticed himself to a black-
smith ; and during the time of his learning, and the period of his journeymanship that
followed, he continued for ten years in Canada, working all the while at his trade.

About that time a friend returned to Canada from California with stirring
>tories of the Pacific Coast; and Peter, getting the gold fever, decided to accompany
his friend when he returned to the Golden State. He sailed, therefore, in 1863 from
New York to Aspinwall, crossed the Isthmus on the railway, and thence traveled



482 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

north from Panama to San Francisco, this time taking a steamer that landed him at
San Francisco in March, 1963, twenty-eight days after he had started. Turning his
face inland, he went to Stockton and for seven years worked there at his trade.

While residing at Stockton, Mr. Schafer was married on October 25, 1868, to
Miss Philippine Wagner, a native of Eisenbach, Rheinpfalz, Bavaria, where she was
born on April 19, 1848, a daughter of Jacob and Philippine (Creuz) Wagner, both
Bavarians. Her father was a farmer and grain dealer, and she was brought up to
attend the local German schools and to be confirmed in the Lutheran Church. Hav-
ing a brother and a sister at Stockton, Cal., she came to America, when only seventeen
years of age, and reached Stockton on October 12, 1865. She is the only survivor of a
family of nine children.

After marrying, Mr. and Mrs. Schafer came to Stanislaus County. There were
no railroads, so they traveled in a spring wagon drawn by a team of horses, proceeding
from Stockton to Ceres, where they arrived on October 6, 1870. The work of
grading the Southern Pacific Railroad was then going on, and they saw the first
train pulled into Modesto, on November 15, 1870 — a point as far as the line then
stretched. There was only one farmhouse at Modesto ; but the town began to grow
very fast, especially when they moved houses from Tuolumne and Paradise. They
bought 640 acres of land, and it had been plowed only once before they made their
purchase. This farm lay near Ceres, and they at once began to till the soil. The
year 1871, however, proved very dry, and they raised only 171 sacks of wheat. It
was discouraging; but they got the land seeded again for the next season, and then
they raised 6,000 bushels of wheat and 3,000 bushels of barley, and so took heart for
the future. Having gotten into debt, and being compelled to pay fifteen per cent
interest on what they owed, they both worked very hard, farmed for ten years stead-
ily, spent no money foolishly, and finally sold out, ahead of the game.

Then they returned to Canada, by way of New Orleans, where they stayed four
months during the winter of 1880 and 1881 ; and when they had arrived in the
Dominion, they intended to buy land. The more they looked about, however, the
more they were discontented ; until finally one day Mr. Schafer said to his good wife,
"How long will it take you to pack our two trunks?" and back thev came to Cali-
fornia and the new outlook in life. They reached Buffalo on the Fourth of July;
but the customary celebrations of Independence Day were suspended because of the
assassination, two days before, of President Garfield. They arrived at Modesto on
July 18; and here they have lived retired ever since.

In course of time, Mr. Schafer built a house in Modesto, the first of three houses
he has erected here. In 1888, Mr. Schafer moved with his family to Berkeley and
sent his son, George P., to the University of California; after which the family
returned to Modesto. In 1903 he again moved to Berkeley, and then sent his daugh-
ter, Katie, to the same university; and in 1920 they bought a home in Berkeley,
where they now live.

Mr. and Mrs. Schafer have had three children. George P., the leading mer-
chant of Modesto, is the proprietor of Schafer's Department Store; he married Miss
Matilda Cuneo, of Modesto, and they have two children, Lena and Ward C, now in
the University of California. Lena graduated from the University of California an
honor student and valedictorian in the class of '16, and afterwards married Charles
George Maze, of Modesto, an insurance man and a farmer with a ranch near Modesto,
and they have one child, George Schafer Maze. Lena was the second child of this
pioneer couple, and died near Ceres in her seventh year, of scarlet fever. Katie, the
third in the order of birth, graduated from the State University in 1908, an honor
student, and is now the wife of Carl H. Fry, a consulting mining engineer of the
California Mining and Metal Association, residing at Oakland. They have two
boys, Peter and Albert Gillespie. Mr. and Mrs. Schafer are members of the Presby-
terian Church at Modesto, and to aid the work of the Red Cross Auxiliary of that
body she gave knitting lessons during the recent war. She and her husband also bought
liberally of Liberty and Victory bonds.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 485

When Mr. and Mrs. Schafer moved to Ceres, they were accompanied by George
Reich and the two men bought a farm of 640 acres together. Mrs. Reich was Caro-
lina Klein before her marriage; and the four pioneers lived in one house together for
ten years. Mrs. Schafer planted and kept the first family garden at Ceres, and it
was the only family garden in that locality. In 1876, George P. Schafer started to
school, a distance of nearly five miles to Ceres. He traveled on horseback and, accord-
ing to directions from his father, followed what was thought to be the section line.
By frequent riding, he had soon made a path ; and discovering one day that a wagon
had traveled that way, he said with boyish enthusiasm that he would soon have a
road. So it proved: for his bridle-path became what is now the main highway to
Ceres, all of which shows how new the country then was.

In these closing and beautiful years of the worthy pioneers we are delighted to
honor in this sketch, many have been the events, often of a quiet but none the less
enjoyable nature, that have added to the happiness of their lives; and the Modesto
Herald of October 25, 1918, gives a pleasing account of one social occasion. Under
the caption of "Three Anniversaries Will Be Celebrated by Schafers Today," it says :

"Three wedding anniversaries will be celebrated today at the home of Mr. and
Mrs. G. P. Schafer. One will be the golden wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs.
Peter Schafer, parents of G. P. Schafer; another the tenth anniversary of the mar-
riage of Mrs. C. H. Fry, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Schafer, and the third
the second wedding anniversary of Mrs. Charles George Maze, daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. G. P. Schafer. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Schafer were married in Stockton on Octo-
ber 25, 1868. They have resided in Stanislaus County since 1870, living in Modesto
*nce 1881 except for short intervals spent in Berkeley, while their two children were
attending college. In addition to the three wedding anniversaries of today, Mr. and
Mrs. G. P. Schafer celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary October 14."

MISS ESTO BROUGHTON.— A distinguished representative of the Bar in
California, widely and enviably known for her successful practice of jurisnrudence,
Miss Esto Broughton has also attained eminence as an esteemed and influential member
of the California State Legislature, to which she has been elected now for the second



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 60 of 177)