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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 66 of 177)
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During the days of the Civil War, T. E. B. Rice was busy in the service of his
country as a recruiting officer, and after the conflict was over, he became prominent
in the agricultural life of Carthage, 111. In 187b he brought his wife and seven
children to California, settling at Modesto, where he engaged in farming for six
years and then joined his son, W. H., in the real estate and insurance business, con-
tinuing in this line until his death in 1909, at the age of seventy-five years, two
months and twenty-six days. Mrs. Rice passed away in 1911, at exactly the same age.

This worthy couple were the parents of seven children: Charles E., one of the
founders of the Turner Hardware Company, died here in 1910; George W. is with
the California & Hawaiian Sugar Company at San Francisco; Laura is Mrs. A. M.
Briggs of Modesto; Katie is Mrs. H. G. Turner of Modesto; Wm. H. of this
review; Frank S. is in the life insurance business in Sacramento; Herman B. of the
Standard Paving Company of Modesto. It is worthy of note that at the golden wed-
ding of the parents, celebrated in 1903, that up to that time there had not been a
death in the family and all the children and grandchildren were able to be present.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 545

William H. Rice attended the public schools in the vicinity of the Illinois home
and after coming to California attended the College of the Pacific at San Jose,
later taking a business course at Modesto. He then entered the real estate business
in partnership with his father, as T. E. B. Rice & Son, and they were among the
earl)- firms here engaged in real estate and insurance. They continued together until
about 1895, when W. H. entered the office of the Grange Company, becoming secre-
tary of that organization. Resigning from this position, he again went into business
with his father and his youngest brother, Herman B. Rice, under the firm name of
Rice & Sons, and after the father's death the brothers continued business under the
same name until William H. Rice was elected justice of the peace of Modesto town-
ship in 1914, taking the oath of office January 1, 1915. In 1918 he was reelected
without opposition. In January, 1915, he also received the appointment of police
judge by the city council of Modesto.

Judge Rice's marriage occurred in Modesto, when he was united with Miss
Allie McComas, who was born in Brownville, Nebr., and after completing her
education was engaged in educational work. She came to California in 1888 and
was married to Judge Rice the following year. Two children have been born to
them: Dessie, who died in 1917, at the age of twenty-three, and Dorothy, a gradu-
ate of the Modesto high school, who is now a bookkeeper for The Grange Company.
Mrs. Rice is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Judge Rice
is a stanch Republican and prominent in the ranks of the party.

HANS HENRY BOCK. — A patriotic, sterling American citizen and an experi-
enced, successful rancher who has acquired anything he has with persistent, honest
work, thrift and economy, is Hans Henry Bock, the dairyman of Crows Landing, who
as a pioneer of Stanislaus County has ever stood ready to upbuild all that is Californian.
He was born in Holstein on April 28, 1858, and when twenty-three years old came to
America, making directly for California. The same year, 1881, he located near Banta,
in San Joaquin County. His father was Curdt Bock, who had married Miss Margaret
Hammer, and he was a shoemaker by trade; and from these worth}' and industrious
parents he inherited those qualities which have made for him his success.

The first two years that he was here he worked for wages on a farm near Turlock ;
and at Modesto, on July 31, 1882, he was married to Miss Anna Richter, who was
born, reared and schooled not far from his birthplace, and was the daughter of Claus
Richter. Thereaiter, for a while, Hans farmed a 500-acre ranch near Banta; but he
soon removed to Stanislaus County and commenced raising wheat and barley on a
ranch of 1,000 acres near Westley, known as the Fred Beck ranch, and there they
stayed for fourteen years. He then moved with his family to the Morton ranch, a
tract of 1,500 acres, near Patterson, where he raised grain for the next eight years.
In 1912, Carl Medlin of Crows Landing took hold of the Morton ranch, and then Mr.
Bock purchased 252 acres about two miles northeast of Crows Landing, which he sowed
to alfalfa and built up a fine dairy, with some ninety head of cattle. In 1912-13, he
improved the place with two buildings for home purposes, thoroughly sanitary barns;
and still later he erected a third home and a second set of barn buildings.

Four children have blessed the happy home life of Mr. and Mrs. Bock: Martha
has become Mrs. Elmer Murdock of Oakland; Henry died in 1919, aged twenty-eight
years; William is at home; Lena is a graduate of the Oakland high school and married
Glen Handy of Patterson. In 1906 Mrs. Bock passed away at the age of forty-eight.
As far back as 1888, Mr. Bock received his American citizenship papers at
Stockton, and ever since that time he has endeavored conscientiously to maintain
the highest standard of civic ideals and to promote the soundest spirit of American
patriotism, giving his son, William, for service in the U. S. Army during the late war.
It is perfectly natural that Mr. Bock should cherish many recollections, as well as
friendships and near of kin, in the Old World from which he sprang; but having once
voluntarily elected America and the great commonwealth of California as his home and
the birthplace and home of his children, he has been consistently, and always will be,
when the hour of trial and test comes, first, last and foremost an American.



546 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

JOHN W. HOLEMAN. — Prominent among the successful men of affairs whose
strenuous lives enable them, while carving out some fortune for themselves, to also
serve their fellowmen and help to advance a community or a commonwealth toward
its destiny, the late John W. Holeman both merited and will long receive the esteem
of all who knew him by his inspiring ideals and his forceful personality. He was born
at Roseville, Warren County, 111., November 29, 1848, the son of Reuben and
Susanna (Crabb) Holeman, farmer folk who came from Indiana and spent the
remainder of their lives in Illinois. John H. Holeman attended the grammar and
high schools of Roseville, and was graduated from the commercial college at Mon-
mouth, 111. In the early seventies, he removed to Kansas, locating near Blue Mound,
Linn County, where he engaged in farming, buying, feeding and shipping cattle.

In Allen County, Kans., on April 6, 1876, Mr. Holeman was married to Miss
Mary Elizabeth Hosley, who was born at Mendon, St. Joseph County, Mich., the
daughter of Jonathan D. Hosley, who was born in Massachusetts in 1807 and was an
early settler of Michigan. He had married Miss Lima Fisher, a native of Frances-
town, N. H., born in 1809. Jonathan D. Hosley was one of the California Argo-
nauts, coming around the Horn in 1849. He mined for a time, with reasonable suc-
cess, returning East to his family via Panama. In 1851 he crossed the plains in an
ox-team train, accompanied by his son, Richard, and again he was successful at min-
ing. He also purchased a sawmill in Santa Clara County, and leaving his son in
charge, he returned East to settle up his affairs, expecting soon to bring his family
to the Coast, but it took several years to arrange for the change. However, in 1859,
he started with horse teams from Michigan, but by the time they reached St. Joseph,
it was too late to start across the plains, so he wintered there. In the meantime his
son, Richard, returned from California, it being the time of trouble concerning land
grants, when settlers were dispossessed of lands they had improved and which proved
to be parts of old grants. As they had no redress, Mr. Hosley concluded that it
would be unwise to settle in a country where they could not obtain good titles to the
land, so with his large family of sons, he went on to Allen County, Kans., where he
took up land, and there he and his wife resided until their death.

Mary Elizabeth Hosley attended the schools at Mendon, Mich., and completed
her education at Iola and Garnett, Kans., and for some time taught school in Allen
and Anderson Counties until her marriage. After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs.
Holeman continued for a year in Linn County, Kans., farming 160 acres, then pur-
chased the Hosley farm in Allen County, engaging in farming and stock raising there
until 1882, when they removed to Bronson, Kans., and there for five years Mr. Hole-
man conducted a hardware business. Then with Mr. Cook he organized the Bank of
Bronson, of which he was cashier and manager, and for the next eleven years he
devoted himself to building up both the bank and the town. Selling out, he opened
another bank at Walnut, Kans., in which he was associated with his cousin, Wm. M.
Holeman, and they both gave their time and attention to the building up of the State
Bank of Walnut for the next five years, when they disposed of the bank. Wm. M.
Holeman then became associated with a bank at Chanute, Kans., and J. W. Hole-
man removed to Puyallup, Wash. In 1904, he established the State Bank, and there
as president he stayed for the next five years. In all these communities and these
various undertakings, Mrs. Holeman was his confidante, and she never failed to be his
best adviser and most encouraging companion. She had always had a strong desire
to come to California, due, no doubt, to the fact that her father had been an Argo-
naut, so when Mr. Holeman's health became impaired, they located here in 1910, a
move they never regretted.

Mr. Holeman established the Bank of Hughson soon after they settled here, an
institution with which his name was so honorably connected. In 1911, his cousin,
Wm. H. Holeman, again joined him and purchased an interest in the Bank of Hugh-
son, to which he gave his time for a period of five years, when he disposed of his
interest to the other stockholders and moved to Glendale. At the time J. W. Hole-
man started the Bank of Hughson in 1910, the wiseacres of the embryo town shook
their heads and thought he would be unable to hold out but a short time, but he



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 549

gained the confidence of the farmers and built up a thriving business; and up to the
time of his death, October 31, 1920, he was the much-trusted adviser of the ranchers
of Hughson and vicinity. A man of wide experience, Mr. Holeman was always
optimistic and people always had the deepest confidence in his judgment, so much so
that it might have suggested itself to a stranger that he was the attorney for the
community. In fact, as a friend of his said, "He was both our banker and our coun-
sellor." His death was keenly felt, as he was loved and esteemed by every one, and
when he was laid to rest, his funeral was among the most largely attended of any in
recent years in Stanislaus County. He was a Mason, being a member of the Modesto
lodge, and was buried with Masonic honors.

Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Holeman: Charles, the elder, died at
the age of fourteen ; Beulah has become Mrs. W. I. Titus, the wife of the well-known
attorney of Turlock. On Mr. Holeman's death, Mrs. Holeman was named executrix
without bonds, and she has continued to look after the interests left her. She is now
a director of the Bank of Hughson, in which she and her brother, James L. Hosley,
are large stockholders. Mr. Hosley, who formerly resided at Kincaid, Kans., was
bereaved of his wife two weeks before Mr. Holeman's death. Mrs. Holeman made
the trip back to Kansas at the time, and her brother accompanied her home, reaching
here just four days before Mr. Holeman passed away. Since that time, Mr. Hosley
has continued to reside here, making his home with Mrs. Holeman. She is a woman
of much native ability, and Mr. Holeman always gave her much credit for his suc-
cess, as she aided and encouraged him in all his undertakings. She was reared in an
atmosphere of culture and wherever she goes she carries with her this refining, uplift-
ing influence. She is a member of the Baptist Church and an active worker in the
Ladies' Society, Woman's Improvement Club of Hughson, and a strong Republican.

WILLIAM R. MENSINGER.— A successful and influential Californian by adop-
tion is William R. Mensinger, the experienced ranchman and builder and owner of
the Modesto Theater Building, who can look back with satisfaction at having been
fortunate in almost every venture of any importance made by him in the county. He
has become an inspiring leader to others in pointing the way to the development of
California into the unrivalled commonwealth of the Pacific. He was born at Cam-
anche, Clinton County, Iowa, on December 24, 1866, the son of Frederick H. and
Marie (Maheilson) Mensinger, among the first white settlers in that county, who
had migrated up the Mississippi, from the East, where their forebears had lived for
several generations, and had stopped at a point near the present site of Davenport.
The father was a cooper and had a large shop at Camanche, and he reared a family
of five children, all boys, among whom William is the fourth in the order of birth,
and the only one to reside in California.

While yet a boy of fourteen, his father having died, he removed with his family,
and twenty or more other families, to western Iowa, and settled on the frontier in
Monona County, and although at that time shouldering much of the responsibility
of caring for the family, he also attended both the public schools and the Western
Normal College at Shenandoah, Iowa. In Monona County, too, he was married in
1898 to Miss Alma Sievers, a native of Denison, Iowa, and a daughter of Iowa
pioneers. In time Mr. Mensinger became the owner of several farms in Western
Iowa, also bought and shipped live stock, sending his consignments to the Chicago
markets; and so successful was he up to 1901 that when he sold out in that year, in
Iowa, he was able to bring about $50,000 with him to California.

In February, 1901, he brought his family here and until the first of June lived
in Los Angeles, and although lie recognized the many opportunities there, he chose to
come to Modesto, and at a time when it was most noted as a grain raising center.
He conceived the idea of buying large tracts of land, developing water, subdividing
and selling; and he soon purchased five separate tracts, aggregating several thousand
acres. When these desirable areas were at his disposal, he subdivided them and sold
them off in smaller tracts to actual settlers.

Originally, Mr. Mensinger had 640 acres in the home place, half a mile north
of the city of Modesto and of this acreage he has retained one-eighth where, sur-



550 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

rounded by fruit trees and pastures of alfalfa, all his own planting or sowing, he has
a comfortable residence, built according to his own plans and equipped with all modern
conveniences. He operates his agricultural interests in the name of W. R. Mensinger
& Sons, although his boys are as yet only minors. With years of experience in the
East, and some twenty years of profitable activity in California, he has made the
activities of this firm of real importance both to the immediate section in which he lives
and also throughout the larger county territory. Mrs. Mensinger assists him ably
in many ways, and in his family of nine children he finds great hope and personal
satisfaction for the future. These children are: Ian, Merle, William, Robert, Marian,
Lois, Audrey, Frederick and John, and all do honor to the family name.

Mr. Mensinger has long been looked to by the press for advice and the friendly,
inspiriting word likely to be most helpful in guiding public opinion, and some of his
sentiments recorded by the newspapers are worthy of permanent record. He has
been especially pronouncd in his belief that the great flow of humanity into California
must result in removing all limits to increase in values. "People will continue to pour
into California from other sections as long as there is a California," said he in an
interview some years ago, "and the Golden State will develop into the business center
of the future, just as it is now the accepted playground of America. Hence, one can
see no end of an increase in values. The very fact that we have what we have, that
what we have is desired by all people, and that no other section of the continent
offers anything like it, tells one that as long as there are people elsewhere the flow
of humanity into California will continue. Modesto, in the center of the state's richest
valley, and developed beyond a point where there could be any question of continued
success, promises to remain one of the state's biggest producing and drawing factors.
As yet, we have little more than begun development; we have accomplished much, it
is true, but as compared with what must of necessity follow, the advancement has
really been little or nothing. With values far below those of the southern portion of
the state, with climate and all else superior to the Southland's offerings, and with the
seed sown that is already calling Southerners into the North, to do over again all
that they have done there in the way of progress, financially and otherwise, I would
say that any given period of years before us will make a finer record for itself and
for men than any of the past. In view, therefore, of these conditions and facts, I feel
justified in saying that every man of the East and elsewhere who is planning on
coming to this state to invest should make that move at once, for values are far lower
today than they will be a year or two hence, and the increase that will take place
here will be far greater than any increase on any similar investment that could be
made in any other part of the country."

The aggressive spirit that early marked Mr. Mensinger's faith in Stanislaus
County led him early in 1912, to invest some $85,000 in the erecting and equipping
of the Modesto Theater, a first-class playhouse of such worth to the city of Modesto
and nearby districts, and enjoying such popularity, that it had become both a source
of pride to the municipality and a profitable investment to its owner when it was
destroyed by fire in December, 1913. This might have proven a staggering blow to
the ordinary man, but not so to Mr. Mensinger whose friends were in no wise sur-
prised to see him set about at once the supplying again of just what Modesto needed
to keep it on the map as a city of the firstclass. "Rising from out of its own ashes, like
the legendary Phoenix," as one of the local newspapers duly recorded at the time,
"the Modesto Theater, reconstructed after the conflagration which left it a charred and
ruined wreck, was formally returned to the public by its owner, W. R. Mensinger, and
the lessee and manager, A. A. Richards, on Thursday evening, July 9, 191-1 — a play-
house more splendid and admirable than it was before. Where originally there was
one thing that was a delight, a pleasure or a convenience, one after another new
feature was added to dissipate the temporary sense of loss. It was really as far back
as 1911 that the first definite plans for this theater were considered by Mr. Mensinger.
At that time the lots on which the ornate building stands were owned jointly by him
and C. M. Smith of Modesto, and as Mr. Smith did not take kindly to the proposition
of a theater, Mr. Mensinger bought out his interests in the property. R. P. Morrell of




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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 66 of 177)