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 67 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 67 of 177)
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board of trustees of the Tilden school district. Politically he is an active Democrat.

WILLIAM GROLLMAN. — Among enthusiastic business men of the early days
of Modesto who enjoyed a far-seeing business sagacity and drew many to him through
his winning personality was William Grollman, a native of Berlin, Germany, where
he was reared and educated until he was fourteen. He then made his way to the
New World, paddling his own canoe in the East and finally drifting westward. He
settled in California and became a successful business man of Modesto, contributing
much to the upbuilding of the new town. He believed that he foresaw a splendid
future for the city and its environs; and he had such faith that he erected a business
building on Tenth, near H Street — an investment that has already brought handsome
returns. He also built a comfortable and ornate residence at 820 Twelfth Street. He
saw the future of the valley, as well, and on all occasions spoke encouragingly of its
prospects. However, his life was cut short by his death, about 1883, when he was
only forty-four. He was a Mason, and had become a past master of his lodge.

Mr. Grollman was married in Modesto to Miss Theresa M. Hewel, a native of
Hanover, Germany, where she was born in 1849. When eight years of age, she came
with her parents to New York, where she was reared and educated. Her brother,
A. Hewel, a pioneer Californian of 1853, was a prominent attorney in Knights Ferry,
and afterwards the first Superior Judge of Stanislaus County. So she came out to
California, accompanied by her mother; and when Judge Hewel moved to Modesto,
they came too, and here she met Mr. Grollman, their acquaintance leading to marriage.
After Mr. Grollman's death, his widow continued to look after the varied interests
he bequeathed her, and she also devoted herself to the education of her children. Mrs.
Grollman afterwards married A. R. Jamison, an early settler and a business man in
Modesto ; but he passed away some years before her death. She was a splendid type
of woman, and her lovable traits and kindness endeared her to all. She was a
member of Electa Chapter, Eastern Star, and was past matron ; and also was active in
the Woman's Improvement Club.

GEORGE THOMPSON DAVIS.— A public-spirited, liberal-hearted old settler,
who has the enviable pleasure of looking back with pride to years of public service
when he merited and received the confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens, is
George Thompson Davis, son of I. H. Davis, whose life-story is sketched in the
interesting review of J. A. Davis, elsewhere in this volume. A native son — of which
fact Mr. Davis is particularly proud — born near French Camp, in San Joaquin
County, Cal., on January 12, 1860, he was reared on the picturesque old Davis farm
at Westport, in Stanislaus County, from 1869, and attended the public schools. He
learned grain farming, and from a youth drove the big teams in the grain fields,
often measuring up with full-grown men in the day's work. His father died in 1882,
but he continued to farm the old ranch.

At the settlement of Westport, on March 28, 1883, Mr. Davis was married to
Miss Laura Vivian, a native of that town, and the daughter of John Vivian, who
was born in Cornwall, one of England's picturesque districts, and came to Wisconsin
a young man. There he married Miss Mary Harris, also from England, and about
1850 husband and wife came from Wisconsin to California. He had a hotel at
Sonora, and later he bought land in the Westport district, in Stanislaus County,
where he raised stock. Eventually, he owned a ranch of 3,000 acres along the river
and there he raised sheep, cattle, horses and mules. He died on this ranch, but the
mother died in Modesto. After his marriage, George Davis rented land, which he
operated in connection with the old Davis farm, which he and his brother Alfred
had purchased from the heirs; and that farm they kept until five years ago, when

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they sold it. Mr. Davis followed grain farming until 1888, and then he began that
mercantile career in Modesto, through which he became so well known.

In 1894 Mr. Davis was elected constable of Modesto township and each term
thereafter reelected, holding the office for twenty years. In 1914 he was elected
sheriff, taking office on January 4, 1915; and he held that office of responsibility until
January 6, 1919. Always a Democrat, he is American and a Californian, enthusiastic
for the Native Sons of the Golden West.

Two children have blessed Mr. and Mrs. Davis: George Jefferson Davis resides
in Modesto, while Loren W. Davis is in the automobile husiness in Modesto. Mr.
Davis is a member of Lafayette Lodge No. 65, I. O. O. F., at La Grange, and of
the Encampment in Modesto; and he belongs to Modesto Lodge No. 1282, B. P. O. E.,
the Woodmen of the World and the Artisans, of Modesto.

MRS. SARAH E. WELCH. — An accomplished and extremely interesting lady
who may boast of having borne the burden and the heat of the day in strenuous
California pioneer life, is Mrs. Sarah E. Welch of Waterford, who, although seventy-
nine years old, need not yet acknowledge a gray hair. She was born near Warsaw,
Benton County, Mo., on August 18, 1842, a daughter of George Ramsey, who had mar-
ried Miss Agnes Kinkead, both natives of Kentucky. Their marriage took place in
Missouri; and there they were prosperous farmers. In 1849, George Ramsay joined
the California gold rush, crossing the plains in an ox-team train. Soon after having
reached the promised land, he died on Weaver Creek. His wife's brother was in the
party and he wrote the widow, telling of his death. She then sold the farm and with
her four girls went to live with her father, Milton Kinkead, near Warsaw, Mo., and
there she made her home until he died, in 1885. The four girls were: Jane, who is
now the widow of Erastus Gregory, who was killed in the Civil War as a Con-
federate soldier. She is eighty-one years old, and lives in Benton County, Mo. Sarah
E. is the subject of our story, and was the second in the order of birth. Love is the wife
of G. B. Browder of Waterford. Mrs. Martha E. Hortman died at Fresno in 1916.

Sarah Ramsey first saw the light near Warsaw, and attended a private school in
Missouri, and when she was sixteen years past of age, she came to California with her
Grandmother, Jane Kinkead, the widow of Milton Kinkead, who had died in Missouri.
The oldest sister was married, and remained in Missouri. Mrs. Welch's mother had
died in Missouri in 1855, and Grandmother Kinkead and the Ramsey girls, the three
youngest granddaughters, came with Mrs. Welch's uncle, Albert Kinkead, and a train
of twelve wagons. They first settled at Empire; and in 1860 at the Hores ranch in
Stanislaus County, on the Tuolumne River, now called Roberts Ferry, Miss Sarah E.
Ramsey was married to Charles Edwin Welch, whereupon they homesteaded 160 acres
one mile west of Waterford, when in 1865 they built the first house on the plains in
that section, proved up and added to it by purchase until they had 1,000 acres. Mr.
Welch farmed to grain and rented land in Merced County besides ; and at one time
he farmed 4,000 acres there, and 2,000 acres in Stanislaus County, and was a bonanza
farmer. Mr. Welch died on November 8, 1897, at San Francisco, while his home was
at Waterford, the father of ten children — six girls and four boys.

Albion Forest, the eldest, runs the Highway Garage in Modesto. Martha Ellen
married Ira Fox, a rancher in the Montpellier precinct, and passed away in 1901, the
mother of three children, Roy A. is of Valley Springs, Calif. ; Hazel May Hall lives at
Hatch, Calif., and Mrs. Alma Olson is at Montpellier. Mae Delia is the wife of Isam
H. Bentley, now of Pendleton, Ore., and a son of Richard Bentley, one of the earliest
pioneers of Stanislaus County. She resides in Waterford, where she assists her mother
in presiding over the home, and has two children, one having passed away. This la-
mented one was named Lorena, became the wife of Elmer Moore, of Pendleton, and
in that city she died in 1918. Maud is the wife of George Stangier, of Pendleton,
Ore., and she has two children, Jack and Jimmy. And the third child is a son, Chesley
I. Bentley, whose sketch is to be found elsewhere in this volume. Laura Jane is the
wife of Jacob Martin, a pioneer of the Paulsell district, now of Stockton, and she
has two children, Erwin and and Lyla. Charles Milton works for the Southern Pa-
cific; he married Anna Feldthouse of Snelling, Merced County, and they have had two


daughters, Arleta Fay and Lorena. Clara Belle became Mrs. Charles Clavvson, and
she resides at Oakland with her two children, Claude and Ruby. Lula died when she
was three and a half years old. Alice Edna is the wife of Jesse M. Findley, ranchers
near Waterford. Walter W. is a barber in Merced and Marion Ernest, the tenth in
the order of birth, lives at Oakland. He married Henrietta Harding, and they have
one daughter, Sarah Frances. He is a traveling salesman for a wholesale merchant in
Oakland. Mrs. Welch thus has eight living children, twenty-one grandchildren, and
fourteen great-grandchildren.

Our subject well recalls their first house on the plains, and the early days when
wild Spanish cattle and coyotes were numerous. Mr. Welch, who was a native of
Bangor, Maine, was an experienced farmer and came to operate on a large scale. After
her husband's death, Mrs. Welch built, in 1911, the bungalow house at Waterford,
in which she has since resided, and two years later she sold her land. The center of a
large circle of admiring, devoted friends, she now enjoys life, free from all care.

NATHANIEL LENOX TOMLINSON.— An extensive, successful and pros-
perous grain rancher who may boast that he took the last crop off the land where
Hughson now stands, is Nathaniei Lenox Tomlinson, who was born in North New-
Castle, Lincoln County, Maine, on November 13, 1857, the son of Paul and Sophie
(Woodbridge) Tomlinson. Grandfather Benjamin Woodbridge was one of four
sons, the other three being Hodge, Thomas and Henry Woodbridge ; and these four
brothers were pioneers in Maine, and all settled in one locality. As a result, the
neighborhood has come to be known as Woodbridge Corners, and it is pleasantly
situated near what is now New Castle. Grandfather Woodbridge held county office
for years. All the brothers married, and each is the father of a large family.

Benjamin Woodbridge was a public-spirited and exceptionally able man, and was
one of the selectmen of Lincoln County, and as such was held in the highest esteem by
the citizens. The sons of Henry Woodbridge, the mother's uncle, came to California
in early days, and the eldest, D. Kennedy Woodbridge, located on land where Ceres
now stands ; the youngest son settled near Stockton ; and Freeman Woodbridge pitched
his tent to the south of the site of that town. Freeman Woodbridge returned to Maine
and was married ; and it was through the glowing stories he told that Nathaniel
Tomlinson, in 1879, came out to California to see for himself. Grandfather Paul
Tomlinson was a farmer in Lincoln County, Maine, of old New England stock.

Paul Tomlinson was a mechanic, a shipbuilder by trade, and also a farmer ; he
died in Maine at the age of eighty years, although his good wife died when our subject
was a year old. Four children had sprung from the marriage, and among these
Nathaniel is the youngest and the only one in California. He was educated in the
Lincoln County public schools and at Lincoln Academy. He worked for a short time
with his father at shipbuilding, and then, in 1879, came to California, and once within
the Golden State, he worked for a couple of years on David Woodbridge's ranch at
Ceres. After that, for several years, he engaged in various lines of business; but in
1887 he leased 1,600 acres near the present location of Hughson. He did so well that
he kept on increasing his acreage, until he farmed 6,000 acres, including even the land
upon which the town has been built.

He then purchased 1,700 acres of land; and from time to time he sold off various
tracts until he now has 600 acres near Hughson. About half of the 600 acres are
sown to alfalfa, half to grain ; and the alfalfa land is divided into farms of eighty
acres each and rented out to dairy farmers, and each eighty acres has a set of farm
buildings, including large, sanitary barns with cement floors. When farming his larger
acreage, Mr. Tomlinson used about 100 head of mules; and he still makes use of the
best outfit necessary and obtainable, and operates according to the latest, most scientific
methods. For four years he was a Turlock Irrigation District director.

At Modesto, in the spring of 1887, Mr. Tomlinson was married to Mrs. Mary
Gardner, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln Gould, a gifted and charming lady,
who all too soon — in 1915 — passed to the life beyond. She was the mother of their
three children, John, Frank and Robert. John is a farmer in this vicinity : Frank is in


Stockton, and Robert is at Arbuckle. Mr. Tomlinson was married a. second time at
Modesto in 1917, when he was united with Mrs. Mabel Johnson, who was born in
Mendocino County, Cal., a daughter of Andrew Cavanagh, a pioneer of California,
who came from Nova Scotia. She was reared and educated in the schools of Men-
docino County, and was a successful teacher, obtaining a first grade certificate. She
is also a musician and is well read and posted on modern, ancient and Bible history,
and a readv conversationalist. They have been blessed with two children, Nathalie
and Woodbridge. By her first marriage to Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Tomlinson had five
children: Grace is an accomplished musician and, aside from studying music, is attend-
ing Hughson high school ; Margaret is also studying music and attending the same
school ; Helen is in grammar school ; there is Everett Lenox Tomlinson and Arthur
Sewell Tomlinson, the last two having adopted the name of Tomlinson. Mr. Tom-
linson is a great lover of children, and is very kind and considerate to them, and they
in turn appreciate his kindness.

Mr. Tomlinson deserves much credit for his success, and he attributes it to his
close application to his work and his desire to realize his ambition. As a friend of his,
Jno. Swan, ex-sheriff of Merced County, said of him: "He has stayed by his work
of farming and producing, and attended to his own business, and let other people'.;
affairs alone, and I respect him for it." Nathaniel Tomlinson and the late Ora Mc-
Henry were warm friends, and he considered Mr. McHenry one of Stanislaus County's
foremost and greatest men. In turn, Mr. McHenry always displayed much admira-
tion for Mr. Tomlinson and held him in great esteem, and gave him his full confidence.

Mr. Tomlinson is a large, very well-built man, of great physical strength and
endurance. He has applied himself steadily to his work, and accomplished his ambition
by applying himself incessantly, month after month, and year after year, for more than
twenty years. He has probably not had his equal for physical endurance and close
application in the county. He was not slow to recognize the possibilities of the
resources of the county, and the wealth that would come when irrigation could be
accomplished, and a decided friend to irrigation, he served acceptably as a member of
the board of trustees of the Turlock Irrigation District during the formative period,
and had much to do with getting the district started and well under way. Older
people have watched his career and have pointed to him as an example which others
should emulate. Generous and kind-hearted, he is liberal and enterprising, but all of
his giving is done in a very unostentatious manner. It is to men of Mr. Tomlinson's
type that Stanislaus County owes much of its present greatness and prosperity, for by
their optimism and foresight, their willingness to venture and spend thousands of
dollars for improvement and development, the natural resources of the county have
been made the most of.

Mr. Tomlinson attributes his success in part to the early training he had when
he left home to work nearby for a farmer named Stukey. This man was a hard-work-
ing, successful farmer; he was very systematic, had a place for everything, ami insisted
on everything being put into its place. Thus Mr. Tomlinson was trained to apply
himself closely to his work, and to be systematic, a condition conducive to thriftiness.
These habits have stayed with him, and with his energy and natural ability have been
the secret of his success. His ranch is a fine example of the man, the fields are well-
farmed and produce splendid crops. The buildings are large and well-built, and kept
in good order and well-preserved, and they are arranged conveniently. He has a
large, three-story, beautiful residence, built in 1896, surrounded by ground well laid
out with a full-bearing orange grove and other ornamental trees and shrubbery, and
the whole is a very sightly place. He has always been an admirer of fine horses, and
he has owned some very valuable standard breeds, among them the pacer, Frank Kier-
nan, with a record of 2:12, and the trotter, Prather, with a record of 2:30. He has
also bred Percheron horses, and raised some of the finest mules in the county In the
early days of grain raising, too, he had over 100 work mules; his team of thirty-two
mules on the combined harvester could not be excelled. In those days of his varied
travels, if he ran across a span of particularly attractive mules, he would never hesi-
tate, but buy them. Mr. Tomlinson has a good memory and being a splendid narrator


of events, it is- a pleasure to listen to his description and tales of events and it is a
great pleasure to have the privilege of visiting him, for in his generous, whole-hearted
and unpretentious way he dispenses the same old-time, genuine, true, pioneer hospi-
tality. Nathaniel Lenox Tomlinson is a public-spirited gentleman, and he believes in
supporting the best men and the best measures in political life ; and whenever he can
do so, he votes in accordance with the historic platform of the G. O. P.

JAMES H. SEARCH. — Prominent and popular among the worthiest represent-
atives of the old and honored families of Stanislaus County, James H. Search enjoys
an enviable esteem emanating from all classes in Modesto and vicinity. A native son
as well of the county where he is still residing as of the great Pacific Commonwealth,
he was born at Waterford on June 24, 1865. His father was John Search, who
crossed the great plains as a gold-seeking pioneer, one of an ox-team wagon train,
bringing with him his good wife and five children. He had been married in Missouri,
when a young man, to Miss Rachael Williamson, and she proved just the companion
and helpmate for him in his arduous venture.

He bought Government land at Waterford, and came to own 640 acres where he
engaged in the raising of grain. In 1880, he sold out and located near Snelling; later
he removed to the vicinity of Stockton; and still later he came back to Stanislaus
County, and he and his wife settled near where they continued to reside until they
passed away. Eight children were born to them. Mary is Mrs. Pinkston of Los
Angeles. Susie is Mrs. Chiltrin of Oroville. Jackson W. resides at Berkeley. Thomas
lives at Coulterville. Mrs. Nancy Prather resides at Gridley. Lewis is in Stockton ;
James H. is the subject of this interesting sketch, and John lives at Oakland.

James was reared on the home farm near Waterford, where he was sent to the
public schools. When he was fifteen years old, his parents removed to 'Snelling, and
later to San Joaquin County, and thence to Oakdale ; and in that town he started out
for himself. He went to Delano, Kern County, and for three years engaged in
butchering; and when he returned to Modesto in 1893, he began to operate as a stock-
dealer. He bought and sold all kinds of stock — cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, horses, mules,
rabbits, poultry, etc., — and being a good judge of what he was buying, and decently
conscientious to furnish his customers or the market with what was wanted, he soon
became a money maker. Now he owns the corner of Ninth and O streets in Modesto,
valuable property today, and there he makes his headquarters. He has always been a
lover of fine horses, and has owned some valuable specimens of standard breeding, and
among other handsome and interesting animals in his possession today is a snow-white,
pure-bred Arabian stallion. Mr. Search also owns a valuable farm near Modesto, as
well as several pieces of residential property in the city, which he rents.

Mr. Search has been twice married. At Visalia, in 1893, he became the husband
of Miss Belle Talmadge, who was born near Stockton and passed away at Modesto,
in 1906, beloved by all who knew her. At Modesto, June 8, 1907, he took for his
second wife Mrs. Marguerite (Crouse) Boren, also an able helpmate. A public-
spirited man, Mr. Search has been found just the right man, on more than one occa-
sion, for public trust. He is a deputy sheriff under Robert Dallas, and he has served
several years as deputy city marshal.

MRS. MARY JANE CRAWFORD.— A successful land-owner and substantial
capitalist in the enjoyment of a handsome competency, Mrs. Mary Jane Crawford,
who resided near Oakdale, enjoys the esteem of all who know her. She was born at
Steubenville, Ohio, the daughter of Robert and Sarah (Hewitt) Gregg, who were
born in Ireland, married there, and there lived as consistent Covenanters. Later
they came out to the United States, and Mr. Gregg opened a general merchandise
store at Steubenville, while he also established a dye works. They had seven children,
and among them, Mary, was the youngest.

Henry Langworthy was an Ohio man who married Miss Jane Hewitt, her
cousin, and migrating to California, soon after the Mexican War, he settled in the
vicinity of what is now Langworth, in Stanislaus County. He became the owner of
several thousand acres, and the town sprang up and was named Langworth in his

^ TS.J&jU*sisCS&>~~


honor. Mrs. Langworthy died in California, and later he returned to Ohio and
married the oldest sister of our subject, Margaret Gregg, whom he brought out to
Langworth. Miss Mary Gregg, at that time a young woman of twenty, accompanied
her sister, and arrived at their destination about New Year's, in 1870.

The following December Miss Gregg married Edward R. Crawford, who was
then a renter on a part of the Langworthy place; and after Mr. Langworthy died,
the Crawfords purchased a part of the Langworthy ranch. In time, too, Mrs. Craw-
ford fell heir to the lands belonging to her sister, for Mrs. Langworthy died, and
Mrs. Crawford is now the only one of the seven children living. She had a high
school training at Steubenville, and this contributed to prepare her for the many
responsibilities all too suddenly placed upon her. As a grain farmer and stockman
Mr. Crawford left a valuable estate at his death here in 1905, and Mrs. Crawford
finds conditions today in strange contrast to those greeting her when she first came
here. Then the Central Pacific Railway was just building into Modesto, and Oakdale
was not yet on the map. At Langworth, on the other hand, there was a store, a
blacksmith shop, a hotel, a schoolhouse and the postoffice, and a few houses of the
settlers. Mr. Crawford was widely mourned, and was buried with due honors in tbe
Oakdale cemetery. Surviving him, to add honor to his memory is his hospitable
widow, a splendid type of matron and mother in former generations.

Five children were granted this worthy couple, among whom, Walter, the
second born, died when only nine months old. Lucy has become the wife of Arch
L. Finney, the surveyor of Fresno, and the mother of three children, Edwin, Archie
and Margery. Gertrude is Mrs. J. M. Murtha, and resides at Langworth ; she has
one child, James M. Murtha. Henry married Miss Hester Richardson ; he was a
rancher near Oakdale, but died in February, 1917, leaving six children, Lucile, Audley,
Hazel, Evelyn, Edgar and Mary. Margaret is Mrs. Harold Crawford, a resident
of Oakland and the mother of one son, Robert O. Crawford.

MRS. MARY J. ROOT.— A pioneer woman whose life of fruitful toil and
sacrifice for her family and her state is a golden page in California annals, is Mrs.
Mary J. Root, now residing on Alice Street, Oakland, but for many years one of the

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 67 of 177)