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 64 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 64 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


December 31, 1919, when he resigned to accept the position of assistant manager of
the Modesto Branch of the Bank of Italy. He entered upon the work with his usual
heartiness and a conviction that at last he had cast his lines into just the waters he
had long been seeking; and he filled his new position with such ability that, on March
15, 1920, he was appointed manager of the rapidly-growing bank — a post he filled to
the satisfaction of the many who do business with that institution and to the com-
munity which has come to take a real pride in its fine financial establishments. July
26, 1921, however, he was further honored by the institution, being selected chairman
of the advisory board of the Modesto Branch of the Bank of Italy, and is filling the
increased important position with the same care and ability that has characterized him.



520 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

At the Movie Ranch, near Modesto, Mr. Hosmer was married to Miss Mary
Movie, who was born on the old Moyle homestead, a daughter of Matthew Movie, a
pioneer in the early fifties, who located at Antioch and soon afterwards became one
of the early settlers in Stanislaus County, along the Tuolumne River. Mary Moyle
attended the Modesto schools, and so came to be rich in Modesto friends. Two chil-
dren sprang from the happy union : Newell is a student in the medical department of
the University of California, and Carol is attending the Modesto high school.

Mr. Hosmer is a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge at Merced, in which he is
a past grand, and both he and Mrs. Hosmer belong to the Rebekahs. He is also a
member of the Turlock Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. He was a school trustee
at Turlock, and while in that office, he helped to have erected two grammar schools,
and was a trustee of the high school at Turlock for eight years, resigning only when
he removed from that town. He was also an active member and the treasurer of
the Turlock Board of Trade, until he moved to Modesto. Now he is a member and
a director of the Clearing House Association in Modesto. He belongs to the Metho-
dist Episcopal Church, and is a standpat Republican, and from start to finish during the
recent World War he was active in the various war drives.

STEPHEN H. CRANE.— Prominent among the upbuilders of Turlock whose
eminently useful careers will be told of through future generations, and by a grateful
posterity, is the late Stephen H. Crane, who passed away in the town of his develop-
ment May 15, 1920. He was born in Woodbury, Conn., on September 6, 1843, the
son of Stephen and Betsy (Bishop) Crane, of Woodbury and New Milford, respec-
tively. They were worthy farmer folk, of the best New England stock, and Stephen
H. Crane was not only a farmer in Woodbury, he was also a business man. He was
once elected sheriff, and served with credit and honor in that important office. He was
married in Connecticut in 1866 to Miss Emma Stone, a native of Woodbury and the
daughter of Abernethy and Julia (Mitchell) Stone, both natives of Woodbury. The
latter was the oldest sister of John Mitchell, the founder of Turlock.

In 1871, Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Crane came out to Stanislaus County, where Mrs.
Crane's uncle, John Mitchell, was a large landowner, and they engaged in farming,
and Mr. Crane bought land, including what is now a part of Turlock. There, on the
east side of the Southern Pacific tracks, he farmed until he retired. He was one of the
organizers of the Turlock Irrigation District, and was a director in it for many years.
Mrs. Crane, the esteemed widow of this honored pioneer, tells in the most interesting
manner how they came here. They arrived on a Saturday night, but their uncle, John
Mitchell, did not expect them until Monday, so they hired a rig and came out to his
home, instead of waiting for him to come and fetch them. She found the country new
and primitive, as well as rough and crude, but it was still absorbing. Uncle John was
away, but he came back on Sunday morning, and then they drove to Atwater, where
they saw plenty of horned-toads and lizards.

They did not come out to stay in California and intended to return ; but they
bought a ranch east of the Southern Pacific Railroad, in what is now Turlock, and
there they located, building a comfortable house. It was not until 1883 that Mr.
Crane made a trip back to Connecticut; but they "liked it so well here that they
returned, and purchased more land, and in time he had a fine property. Mrs. Crane's
two sisters, Mrs. Geer and Mrs. Bloss, came out in 1903, and both are now deceased.
Later, Mr. and Mrs. Crane spent six years at Berkeley, and then they returned to
their ranch. Mr. Crane was a director in the Turlock Irrigation District. His sons
have continued in the land and cattle business.

Four children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Crane — Horace S., John M.,
Frank Heman and Bert. Horace S. has been very active and prominent in Turlock.
He long assisted his father in grain and stock raising, and since 1904 he has engaged
entirely in cattle raising, and now has a vast range principally in Merced County.
Reared in the Congregational Church, Mr. Crane always stood by that communion.
He was a Republican, and marched for years under the banners of that great party.
He was made a Mason in Woodbury Lodge, in Connecticut, and a member of the
Modesto Elks. Mrs. Crane joined the O. E. S. in Woodbury.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 523

HON. LEWIS LINCOLN DENNETT.— Eminent among the members of the
California bar, and distinguished especially for an exhaustive knowledge of the law
pertaining to irrigation, and in that respect enjoying, probably, a unique honor among
American jurists, the Hon. Lewis Lincoln Dennett is spoken of with pride by his
fellow-citizens of Modesto, where his frequent responses, as the attorney for the prin-
cipal irrigation districts in California, is a matter of common knowledge and talk.
His genial, pleasing personality, making him easily approachable, adds to the charm
of his intellect and wide experience. He has been a resident of California since 1872,
and is considerably more of a "native son" than many who boast of a longer domicile.

He was born at Oskaloosa, Iowa, on January 5, 1867, the son of the Rev. Wesley
Dennett, who was born in the southern part of Maine, reared in Kentucky and worked
his way through college. After graduating, he became a minister in the Methodist
Episcopal Church, after that removing to Ohio and engaging in the work of the minis-
try. He was married to Anna Power, a native of Kentucky and a member of an old
Virginia family of Revolutionary War stock. Next he removed to Oskaloosa, Iowa,
where he preached the Gospel, at the same time that he received the degree of Doctor
of Divinity from the Iowa Wesleyan University at Mt. Pleasant and became prominent
among the Methodist clergy of the state. In 1872 he came west to California and was
equally eminent in California Methodist circles. He preached, among other places, in
Napa, San Francisco, Stockton, Santa Cruz, and he was an elder in the Stockton and
San Francisco conferences. He spent his last days at Pacific Grove, and there he died.
Rev. John Powers, Mr. Dennett's maternal grandfather, was one of the founders of
the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, and was once a candidate for bishop.
The first vote was a tie, and on the second ballot his vote elected the opponent. He
was also a pioneer minister in Iowa, and such a strong Abolitionist that he wrote several
books against slavery, and took part in the operations of the underground railroad.
He also wrote several books on the theological subjects.

Lewis Lincoln Dennett was brought up in California, and after completing the
courses at the common and Santa Cruz high schools, entered the University of the
Pacific, from which he was graduated in 1886 with the degree of A.B. He then
matriculated at the University of Michigan, from which he was graduated in 1888 with
the degree of Bachelor of Laws. He next spent a year in Los Angeles, and at the
end of that time located in Modesto, where, in the fall of 1889, he formed a law part-
nership with J. C. Needham, under the firm name of Dennett & Needham.

In 1892 he took a civil service examination and was appointed a clerk in the
Pension Department at Washington, where he spent two years as an examiner; but
resigning, he returned to Modesto and again became a partner of Mr. Needham, this
time under the firm name of Needham & Dennett. Together they again practiced law
until Mr. Needham was elected a member of Congress ; and after the latter's return from
Washington, at the expiration of his term, they for the third time formed a partnership,
hieing back to the original name, Dennett & Needham. When Mr. Needham went on
the superior bench, this delightful relationship was again disturbed ; whereupon Mr.
Dennett took into partnership E. H. Zion, the firm becoming known as Dennett & Zion.

Aside from his success in the general practice of law, Mr. Dennett has been very
active and prominent in irrigation litigation, and is probably one of the oldest and best
informed of any attorneys in California, and even in the 1/nited States in the matter
of irrigation legislation and rulings. He was attorney for the organization of the
Imperial Irrigation District, and has been the attorney for about twenty different irriga-
tion districts, approximating $15,000,000 of bonds now outstanding, and is at present
attorney for eight irrigation districts. He himself is interested in agriculture, and has
improved an alfalfa and a dairy farm, where he makes a specialty of Guernsey cattle.
He is also attorney for and director in the Modesto & Empire Traction Company, and
is a director in and attorney for the Grange Company of Modesto.

Mr. Dennett was city attorney several times, and a member of the Board of
Freeholders that drew up the City Charter; and for several'years was president of the
Board of Trade. In 1914 he was a candidate for the Assembly of the State Legisla-
ture, and at the primaries received the nomination of the Republican, Prohibition and



524 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Democratic parties, as a result of which he was elected in November, 1914. In 1916
he was re-elected to succeed himself, and served during the sessions of 1915-17. He was
chairman of the committee on irrigation in both sessions, and was also a member of the
judiciary committee, the federal relations committee and others. In 1918 he was a can-
didate for the State Senate, and was nominated at the primaries by the Republican and
Prohibition parties; and in November was elected by a large majority, serving in the
sessions of 1919-21. In the Senate he was chairman of the public utilities committee,
and a member of the irrigation, banking, drainage, swamp and overflow, and judiciary
committees. As might be expected, Senator Dennett has long been a contributor to
the daily press, and also to well-known magazines on the subject of irrigation, and
through his pen has done much to enlighten the public in regard to the important and
often misunderstood theme. As might also be expected, he has been active on the
Republican County and executive committees, and at Republican state conventions ; and
he was chairman of the congressional committee in the campaign when Mr. Needham
was elected.

In the city of Modesto, on December 31, 1899, Mr. Dennett was married to Miss
Olive M. Turner, a native of Modesto and the daughter of Garrison Turner, who was
a pioneer here, and one of the originators of the Grange Company, serving as its presi-
dent until his death. She was educated at the University of the Pacific, and also at the
University of California, and their union has been blessed with two children: Eleanor
and Edward Henry Garrison. Mr. Dennett belongs to the I. O. O. F. at Modesto,
where he has been a past grand and chairman of the committee on appeals of the Grand
Lodge at several sessions. He is a member of the Encampment, and is past chief
patriarch. He belongs to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, and to the Phi
Kappa Psi of Ann Arbor, and for some years was trustee of the University of the
Pacific. Mr. Dennett's mother passed away at Modesto, the mother of three children.
Besides the subject of this interesting review, there is a daughter, Ida, now Mrs. W. E.
Phelps, of Saratoga, Santa Clara County, and the Rev. E. P. Dennett, a Methodist
minister located at Berkeley.

MRS. ORESTA S. THORNBURG.— Among the old settlers of Stanislaus
County who has witnessed a remarkable transformation, is Mrs. Oresta Thornburg,
whose maiden name was Oresta Curtis, and born in Warren County, Pa., February
22, 1840. Her father, James Curtis, a native of New York, whose father was also
named James, had married Alzina Hills and they were farmers in Pennsylvania. They
afterwards removed to Mitchell County, Iowa, where they were pioneer farmers. In
1869, they came to Stanislaus County, Cal., and a few years later located at Watson-
ville, where they resided until their death.

Oresta Curtis was reared in Pennsylvania until thirteen years of age, when she
came to Mitchell County, Iowa, and there she attended school in the primitive log
schoolhouse with its slab benches and puncheon floors. At Osage, in that county, she
was married July 3, 1857, being united with Wm. H. Thornburg, born in Laporte
County, Ind., December 9, 1833, the son of Absalom Thornburg, a farmer who spent
his last days in Iowa. Wm. H. Thornburg grew up in Indiana, remaining there until
he reached his majority, when he came to Alamakee County, Iowa, and purchased
160 acres of Government land, which he improved and farmed. After his marriage,
they moved to Cutler, Iowa, where Mr. Thornburg followed sawmilling. In 1859,
with James and D. T. Curtis, he started for Pike's Peak, but on the old trail along
the Platte they met so many people returning from Colorado disappointed, that they
resolved to push on to California, and crossed the plains with ox teams and wagons,
Mr. Thornburg walking the entire distance. A couple of years later he returned to
Iowa, and on August 14, 1862, enlisted in Company A, Twenty-seventh Iowa Regi-
ment, serving in the Civil War until August 8, 1865, when he was mustered out and
returned home. After the war he engaged in farming, but he never forgot sunny
California, and in 1870, not being able to longer resist the call of the West, he
brought his family to Stanislaus County, where he leased land from David Curtis,
which he farmed for twelve years, then spent six years farming and stock raising in
Panoche Valley, Fresno County, and was successful. He then bought 300 acres north




Ot?^/£&~J



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 64 of 177)