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 61 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 61 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

term. A native daughter, she was born at Modesto, the daughter of James Richard and
Jennie (Bates) Broughton, her father being the president of the Modesto Bank, and
represented in this work. After completing the work of the Modesto grammar schools,
Miss Broughton graduated from the Lowell high school in San Francisco, and after
matriculating at the University of California, she received from the university the
Bachelor of Arts degree in 1915, and a year later she was graduated from the school
of jurisprudence with the degree of J. D.

Miss Broughton then accepted a position in the Modesto Bank; but in 1918 she
was induced to stand as a candidate for the Assembly, and at the primary was nomin-
ated by four parties as the representative of the Forty-sixth Assembly district. Such
was the support given her, that in the following November she was elected, and in
January, 1919, she entered on her duties in the Forty-third General Assembly, and
was made a member of the civil service, direct legislation, engrossment and enrollment,
irrigation, public morals and ways and means committees. In addition to many things
requiring the most intelligent and conscientious attention from her, Miss Broughton
interested herself particularly in matters pertaining to irrigation, and drew up the
power bill, allowing irrigation districts to develop electric power in connection with
irrigation projects; and although the bill was strongly opposed by members from San
Francisco, it was passed and became a law. Since then, as one of the results so much
to be desired, bonds for the Don Pedro dam project were voted by the Modesto and
Turlock Irrigation districts, and the two districts concerned will be assured of both
an abundance of water and also of power, the income or saving from which will be a
great consideration for the taxpayer.

Miss Broughton also took an active part in getting the community property bill
passed, and in February, 1919, during the winter session, she was chairman of the
committee for the investigation of unemployment, and out of their work grew Assem-


bly Bill No. 247, 'An Act to provide for the extension of the public works of the
State of California during periods of extraordinary unemployment caused by tem-
porary industrial depression."

After the close of the session, Miss Broughton engaged in the practice of law in
Modesto ; and in 1920 she was reelected to the Assembly, winning again at the primary.
She is chairman of the normal school committee, and is also a member of the revenue
and taxation, judiciary, irrigation, agriculture, charities and corrections, and civil service
committees, and she has taken an active part in the passing of the King tax bill. As
has been indicated, Miss Broughton has a very strong and highly intelligent following
in her district, where she is regarded as most desirably progressive, and this gives her
an enviable influence through which she is able to accomplish much for her con-
stituency, and while work, naturally, for the good of the whole state, to see to it that
Stanislaus County comes, as rapidly and as fully as is possible, into its own destiny.
What is of particular interest, perhaps, is her known scholarship with reference to
the theory and the practice of law, and her own success at the Bar. Her fortunate
temperament and her deep knowledge both of law and human nature, all augur well
for her attaining, as the years go by, the highest honors in her chosen professional field.

Miss Broughton is a member of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, the
Woman's Improvement Club, the Business Women's Association, the Electa Chapter
of the O. E. S., the Modesto Lodge of Rebekahs, the Hugh Moss Chapter of the
Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Episcopal Church. At the University
of California she was a member of the Prytanean Society and an associate editor of the
Law Review ; and she is an active member and the secretary of the Stanislaus Bar
Association. Eminently intellectually gifted, and a natural leader, tactful, modest and
winning in personality, Miss Broughton is at all times an interesting conversationalist,
and a fortunate champion of any cause she once espouses.

JUDGE LOREN W. FULKERTH.— An eminent jurist long a prominent attor-
ney in the San Joaquin Valley, who has done much to advance the cause of popular
education and otherwise to develop and build up the district in which he has made
for himself an enviable reputation for fair and square decisions in matters of law, is
Loren W. Fulkerth, superior judge of Stanislaus County. He was born in Milton,
Iowa, on January 26, 1860, and was brought to California by his parents during the
first year of his life. In 1868 the family came to Stanislaus County, and here he
attended the usual public schools. Afterwards he entered the University Mound Col-
lege, from which he was graduated in 1880 with the B.S. degree. Thus fortified
with a broad, general culture, Mr. Fulkerth chose the legal profession, and so matricu-
lated at Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, recognized as one of the best
institutions of its kind in the United States, from which he received the degree of
Bachelor of Laws in 1883. The same year he was admitted to practice law in the
courts of California, and not long after he opened a law office in Modesto.

In 1890, Mr. Fulkerth was elected district attorney of Stanislaus County, and
four years later he was reelected ; and in that responsible capacity he served the county
with signal ability. At the end of the two terms, however, the pressure of patrons
induced him to resume the general practice of law; and in that field he continued to
make more and more of an enviable reputation for ability, capability and fidelity to the
interests committed to his charge.

Urged to accept the nomination for superior court judge by the Democratic
party in 1902, he concluded to become their candidate; and esteemed beyond party
lines, he was easily elected by a large majority. He was reelected in 1908, and having
become the nominee of both the Democrats and the Republicans, was reelected as a
nonpartisan in 1914, this time without opposition, and again in 1920 he had no oppo-
sition. This will be his nineteenth year as superior judge. Under all banners, and in
all his official acts, he has always sought to support the development of the County.

Judge Fulkerth supported the irrigation movement from its inception, and was
one of the committee sent to Washington on behalf of the irrigation districts in the
contest with San Francisco over the granting by Congress of the rights to the latter
city in the Hetch Hetchv Valley, which many claim, assures Stanislaus County of a




perpetual water supply. Besides trying to improve his ranch holdings, he has served
as a member of the State Library Board under Governor Budd, and he is now a
member of the board of trustees of the McHenry Public Library of Modesto.

At Modesto, December 18, 1887, Judge Fulkerth was married to Miss Lena
Morton, a native of the state of Illinois. Four children have blessed the fortunate
union: Carroll has charge of farming operations; Loren W., Jr., and Maze, who
were eighteen months in the naval service during the war; and Verna, the only
daughter. Stanislaus County has good reason to be proud of this distinguished and
unimpeachable representative of the California bar.

WILLARD A. DOWNER. — A public officer who gained and retained the con-
fidence of the public, whose honesty of purpose or efficiency was never questioned, and
who came to have a remarkable record, is Willard A. Downer, who held the office of
county tax collector and treasurer of Stanislaus County for twenty-four years, and
retired only after he had insisted that he could no longer be a candidate. He was
born at Middlebury, Vt., in 1856, of an old New England family that had its part
in the early settlement of Massachusetts, and was educated in the public schools. In
1876 he visited the Centennial at Philadelphia, and soon after came West, to see what
the country, so fascinatingly represented at the Exposition, really was like. He arrived
in California on New Year's Day, 1877, and followed mining in Amador County until
the spring of 1882, when he located in Modesto and took up ranching for a time. Then
he engaged in the business of a warehouseman and in selling feed and grain, being
located for seven years at Ninth and H streets.

In 1894, Mr. Downer was nominated on the Democratic ticket for tax collector
and treasurer of Stanislaus County, and having been elected, took the oath of office in
January, 1895. Previously the sheriff of Stanislaus County had been the tax collector,
and this was the first year that the two offices were held by the same man. In 1898
he was re-elected to the office, and again in 1902, 1906, 1910, and in 1914, each time by
increased majorities, until, in 1918, he was chosen without opposition. Insisting that
he was not a candidate for the seventh term, he held office until January 6, 1919, and,
after nearly a quarter of a century of steady and most conscientious service, he retired.
When he went into the office, the receipts were about $150,000 a year, while the last
year they totaled $800,000, and with the bond issues were over a million dollars.
Mr. Downer is interested in farming, and has done his bit in the development of the
resources of the county by improving a ranch to alfalfa, and setting out a fine orchard,
which he leases out to others.

At Modesto, on December 6, 1892, Mr. Downer was married to Miss Eva Cavell,
who was born in Nevada, and was the daughter of John and Grace (Uren) Cavell,
an early settler of Nevada. The mother survives and resides with Mr. and Mrs.
Downer. Mr. Downer built a fine residence at the corner of Thirteenth and K
streets, where he resides with his family, which includes two children, Carroll W., of
Modesto, and Irwin C, a graduate of the Modesto high school, who was attending
the University of California as a junior at seventeen years, when he enlisted in the
U. S. Army, and served overseas over one year, until after the armistice, when he was
honorably discharged after two years' service; again attending the University of
California. Mr. Downer is a charter member of the Modesto lodge of Elks, and a
charter member of the Knights of Pythias, in which organization he has been since
January, 1883, having served as chancellor commander for several terms.

JOHN W. MITCHELL.— A liberal-minded, large-hearted pioneer known far in
early days, John Win. Mitchell became an extensive landowner, whose prosperity,
ever on the increase, no one envied ; for he was plain, unassuming, kindly and helpful,
and beloved as well as esteemed. He was the founder of Turlock ; but even that honor
cannot surpass, in the memory of those intimate with him, his purely personal virtues
as man, citizen, neighbor, friend. He was born in Woodbury, Litchfield County,
Conn., the son of Ashel and Mary (Drakely) Mitchell, well-to-do farmers there,
members of a very old Massachusetts family of Mitchells, and an equally old family of
Drakelys ; the latter being traceable back to England. John Mitchell voyaged to San


Francisco around Cape Horn when he was twenty-one years old, following here his
brother, Ashel Frederick, who preceded him some time during the first gold rush.
After mining for some years, Ashel Frederick located in Stockton, and then returned
to Woodbury, Conn. ; and it was after his return to California that John ventured
here also. Ashel Frederick Mitchell was a pioneer dentist in Stockton, and John
engaged in farming near Lodi.

From the beginning John Mitchell met with success, and with a practiced eye he
saw the great future in California lands, and he bought as much acreage as he could.
Coming to Modesto, he engaged in farming, and seeing the superior quality of the soil
hereabouts, he purchased more lands. He became the owner of valuable lots along the
river, and then he bought lands on the plains ; indeed, as fast as he prospered, he
bought more lands, thousands of acres, and was extensively engaged in raising sheep,
which aided in clearing the lands of brush and weeds, after which he engaged in
grain raising on quite as large a scale where once he had had sheep. He built houses
and barns on different places, and rented the lands to others, even furnishing them
machinery and stock and grain, if necessary.

Mr. Mitchell made several trips back East, and each time he interested others in
California, so that they packed up and came out here. His lands extended into Merced
County — where Atwater and Livingston now are, he owned the sites — and later he
built the first warehouse in Turlock. He was one of the first to see the value of irri-
gation, and from the start was an active leader in the Turlock Irrigation District, for
which he made herculean efforts, that the water so badly needed should be brought here.
He was a director of the district for many years, until he died, in 1893, and yet he
was so modest that he absolutely refused to have any town named for him. An
honored citizen, John Mitchell will be long remembered and honored by posterity.

MRS. ALMINA J. ROSS. — An interesting native daughter and a veteran school
teacher, Mrs. Almina J. Ross has been a resident of Modesto since October, 1870,
the month her father moved their house from Paradise to the new town site. Born
at Don Pedro Bar, Tuolumne County, Almina J. Church first saw the light on Janu-
ary 2, 1864. Her parents were Luke Ancel and Elizabeth (Davis) Church, the
former a native of Ohio, who came out to California in 1851 to seek his fortune in
the gold mines of the state, making the journey via the Panama route and upon arriv-
ing in San Francisco made his way to Tuolumne County and engaged in mining at
Don Pedro Bar when that place had 600 inhabitants ; later he ran a hotel there. Mrs.
Church, who was of Welsh descent, was born in Pennsylvania and came to California
when she was a girl of sixteen, and in time married the man of her choice, and they
became the parents of six children, four of whom are living: Almina J. Ross, Mary
J. Spyres, Sarah A. Mullin and Margaret E. Voice. One daughter, Nora A., and
a son, George F., passed away before reaching mature years. They were all born in
Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties.

In 1868 Luke Church and his family moved to Paradise, Stanislaus County, and
for a time he drove a stage between Paradise and Stockton. At the end of two years,
in 1870, he made another move, this time with his house and belongings, from Para-
dise to the new town of Modesto and here he followed the carpenter trade until his
health failed. He died in his seventieth year, his wife having passed away at forty.

Almina J. attended the public schools of Modesto and later she became a teacher in
the schools of the county and was one of the pioneer educators who did much to lay
broad and deep the foundations of popular education in the Golden State. While she
was teaching school she took up a homestead of 160 acres near Delano, Kern County,
and proved up on it shortly after her marriage. Her union with James Melvin Ross
took place at Modesto on April 17, 1897, and was the source of great happiness to
both of them. Mr. Ross was a native of Maine, born at Bangor, April 5, 1854.
When he was fifteen he came by train to California and here joined his father, Alfred
Ross, who had come to California just before this son was born, leaving his wife and
a daughter, Hattie, to await his return. His wife died when the son was born and
Mr. Ross never went back East. James was reared by his grandparents until he was
fifteen and then came West.

CCt^^^yTx^ JL (/X^U^


James M. received a public school education but he was very observing and
became a well-read man, a good conversationalist and an interesting companion. He
was employed for several years as a nurse in the county hospital in Stanislaus County
and after leaving there was employed by Dr. Evans some time. His first marriage
united him with Mary Bierch, by whom there are three children still living: Stephen
A. is with the George P. Schafer Company of Modesto; Violet is Mrs. O. W.
Garlinghouse of Chowchilla; and Hattie is Mrs. Leslie Nelson and resides in Van-
couver, Wash. For many years before his death Mr. Ross was engaged in the trans-
fer business and carried on the bulk of the business done in Modesto for years, or
until the auto trucks came into general use. He prospered and invested in Modesto
realty, his widow now owning several parcels of desirable property. He was well
known by nearly everyone in Modesto and when he died on April 27, 1920, his passing
was mourned by a wide circle of friends who knew "Jim" Ross as a kindly man and
public spirited citizen, always ready to do his part to add to the prestige of Modesto.
He was a Republican in political affiliations. Mrs. Ross is also a Republican and is
a member of the Women of Woodcraft and of the Presbyterian Church. She has a
host of friends in Stanislaus County who appreciate her for her worth as a pioneer
and native daughter who is always willing to lend a helping hand to those less fortu-
nate than herself. Her outlook on material things is broad and she is interested in
perpetuating the records of those men and women who laid the state's foundation.

CHARLES A. HILTON. — A distinguished resident of Stanislaus County who
is also a worthy representative of one of the most historic of Anglo-Saxon families,
is Charles A. Hilton, president of the board of directors of the Modesto Irrigation
District. He was born at Acton, York County, Maine, on May 2, 1856, the son of
Andrew Hilton, who married Miss Eliza Ann Paul. Andrew Hilton, who was a
millwright by trade, yet spent his last years upon a farm, was a descendant of Lancelot
Hylton (as the name was then spelled), who crossed to England from Normandy
with William the Conqueror in 1066, and became one of the builders of the famous
Hilton castle at Durham, which stands in a charming vale on the north side of the
River Wear. It was formerly the baronial residence of the Hyltons, who possessed
the manor from the time of Athelstan till the year 1746. In 1623 William and
Edward Hylton, brothers, came out to New England, and our subject is a direct de-
scendant of the latter.

Charles Hilton attended the country school of Acton, Maine, and then went
for a year to the Academy at West Lebanon, in that state. He is one of a family
of seven children — five sons and two daughters — being next to the youngest of the
children, and in his eighteenth year his father died. On August 15, 1878, Mr. Hilton
was married in Acton to Miss Sarah N. Prescott, a native of his birthplace, and the
daughter of George W. and Eliza (Brackett) Prescott, substantial farmer folks.
Mrs. Hilton died in June, 1879, leaving a son, LeRoy P. Hilton, who has since
married Miss Mayme Coffin. LeRoy Hilton is now cost accountant for the Inter-
national Harvester Company at Canton, 111., and the father of two girls, Lucile and
Eleanor. He was in the Forty-ninth Iowa Infantry in the Spanish-American War.

In 1880, Mr. Hilton settled in Tama, Tama County, Iowa, and engaged in the
creamery business, and in a short time he built up a fine trade in butter, eggs and
poultry, shipping his products to his brothers in Boston, Mass. In 1895, however,
Mr. Hilton gave up that line of activity, and embarked in the furniture and under-
taking business at the same place. In March, 1906, he came west to California and
Modesto, and acquired forty acres of land on Stone Avenue, which he devoted to
grain and beans. In 1920, he sold this property, and purchased twenty-four acres
on California Street, and for years he has been very active in local land developing.
He was the youngest man ever elected, in his home town in Maine, to be superin-
tendent of schools, and in Iowa he served on the school board, and for two terms
was mayor of Tama. It is not surprising, therefore, that he should have been made
president of the irrigation district board, for it may be expected of him that he will
still further develop, and rapidly, that essential, important enterprise.


At Tama, Iowa, in February, 1883, Mr. Hilton was married to Miss Ida M.
Rhoads, a native of Pennsylvania, and the daughter of Levi L. Rhoads, who had
married Miss Catherine McAnulty. Mrs. Hilton came to Tama a babe in the arms
of her mother, and there she was reared, the daughter of a building contractor.
Three sons were born of this second union. Charles R., a foreman with the Selby Smelter
Works, served as lieutenant in the Fifty-sixth Engineers, in the searchlight section,
and campaigned in France ten months; Fred W., who is at Stockton as district man-
ager of the insurance department of the California Automobile Association, served
in the Thirteenth Infantry, and trained at Camp Mills, New York. Frank D., the
youngest son, is at home. Mr. Hilton is a Republican in matters of national politics,
and since 1886 has belonged to the Odd Fellows, and has passed all the chairs of the
lodge at Tama. Mr. Hilton became a member of Tremont Temple Baptist Church
in Boston, Mass., in 1877, and he has been connected with that denomination ever
since, and has filled various offices on the different church boards.

AMSBURY PERKINS. — A rancher who has long been widely known as one
of the most extensive grain-ranchers in Central California is Amsbury Perkins, who
was born in Oxford County, Maine, on July 3, 1859, the son of Arthur and Martha
(Pease) Perkins, both natives of Maine, now deceased. He grew up in that good
old Down East state, and only when he had attained to manhood did he venture to
push out to the other end of the American continent. In 1883, he came west to Cali-
fornia to seek his fortune, and although all that he saw more or less pleased and
interested him, he was uncertain as to his ultimate destination. San Joaquin, Stanis-
laus and Merced counties attracted him in particular ; and for fifteen years he was a
farmer near Irwin, in Merced County.

Since then Mr. Perkins has elsewhere made a handsome fortune as a grain
rancher, and now owns 552 productive acres southwest of Montpellier, where he erected
a modern and thoroughly complete residence. He is a stockholder in the California
Elevator Corporation at Montpellier; and he takes a deep interest in doing what he
can to forward this and other enterprises of such benefit to many.

When Mr. Perkins married, on September 26, 1888, he chose for his wife Miss
Elizabeth D. Adams, who was born in Stockton February 14, 1862, the daughter of
Samuel Adams, a pioneer; and four children came as so many blessings in the wake of
this fortunate union. Sylvia E. married Chester Forsman, a native of California, who
passed away at Montpellier in October, 1918, the father of one child, Mazie. In
March, 1921, Mrs. Forsman became the wife of R. J. Cruess. Arthur lives at Mont-
pellier and has a wife and two children, Leroy and Lola; Ralph lives at home with a
wife and one child, Beatrice, and Claude, the rancher, also lives at home. Mrs.
Perkins passed away on March 15, 1919, esteemed, beloved and mourned by many.
Stanislaus County will never fail to welcome such sturdy and progressive settlers as
Mr. Perkins, to whom it owes much for development on sound, permanent lines.

JOHN F. CAMPBELL. — In few departments of California commercial activ-
ity has it been so necessary for the well-being of those settling the various communi-
ties, as well as for the honor and good name of the state, to combine character with
intelligence in the operators whose activities have necessarily helped to shape the
future destiny of the great commonwealth ; and this is well shown in the life and
accomplishments of John F. Campbell, the former county assessor of Stanislaus
County, and long esteemed as a first-class insurance man, and one of the best authori-
ties on present and probable values in real estate, his business headquarters being at
913 Tenth Street, Modesto. For sixteen years he was county assessor, holding office
from January, 1895, until the beginning of 1911; and during all that time he con-
ducted the affairs of his office with such marked ability that his record for conscien-
tiousness and ability has ever since proven one of his best assets.

A native son proud of having first seen the light in Golden California, he was
born in San Joaquin County, on August 26, 1860, the son of John A. Campbell, who

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 61 of 177)