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 68 of 177)
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familiar figures in Stanislaus County, where her influence will be felt for many long
years to come. As Mary J. James, she was born in Dodgeville, Iowa County, Wis.,
fifty miles from Madison, on a farm, April 16, 1847. Here she was reared and edu-
cated until at the age of twenty-one years she came to California to join her brother
"Cap." H. G. James, and settled at Tuolumne City, Stanislaus County. This
brother was one of the state's early pioneers and was for many years a prominent
figure in the life of this county. He came to California via the Isthmus of Panama,
and opened the first retail butcher shop in this county, at Tuolumne City, and was
engaged extensively in stock raising on the plains and in the mountains. Later he
operated a chain of retail butcher shops throughout the county, including six of the
leading villages. When Tuolumne City was bodily moved to Modesto on the com-
ing of the railway, H. G. James moved too, and for many years was one of the leading
citizens of the county's capital, and was a member of the board of supervisors at that
time. Mrs. Root relates many interesting tales of the hardships and perils of her early
life in Stanislaus County. They lived as comfortable as possible in a barn, which
scarcely served to keep out the wind and rain, and she often rode the range with her
brother, and was as capable as he in handling a horse.

Mrs. Root has been twice married, her first marriage occurring in 1871, uniting
her with George Wilson, a native of Kentucky, who had settled in Stanislaus County
even before his future wife crossed the plains to join her brother. He was a stock-
man and extensive landowner, one of the splendid pioneers whose character and force
carved the present state from a wilderness. He died in Salida, April 19, 1873, a man
respected and loved by all who knew him. He left to his widow the 640-acre ranch
which is known today as the Wilson ranch, and which still stands in her name. This
has been farmed for more than forty years to grain, and is now one of the famous old
landmarks of the county.


Her second marriage occurred on December 11, 1877, the bridegroom being Mil-
ton B. Root, a native of Chili, Monroe County, N. Y., born January 11, 1841. He
too was a pioneer of the early period, having settled in Oregon, where he engaged
extensively in the stock business, ranging thousands of head of cattle and horses on the
Oregon plains. Coming eventually to California, he located in Stanislaus County,
where he bought a large tract of land near Oakdale. Of this marriage were born
four children, three of whom survive. Of these, Mary Eva, now wife of Dr. S. W. R.
Langdon, of Oakland, and the mother of a son and daughter; Annabel, now Mrs.
W. C. Palmer of Oakland, and the mother of one child ; and Ora Hazel, now Mrs.
Guy C. Whitmore of Ceres, and the mother of two children. The other daughter,
Effie, died at the age of fifteen years. Mrs. Root was formerly the owner of 800
acres now used as the site of the Modesto-Turlock reservoir at La Grange. She also
owns a 150-acre ranch at Belotta and her residence property in Oakland, where she
now makes her home, her husband having passed away at their Oakland home on
January 19, 1907.

Mrs. Root has always taken a great interest in all that pertained to the welfare
of Stanislaus County and was one of the first to grasp the great possibilities of irriga-
tion, and for many years was one of the strongest supporters of all irrigation projects,
giving freely of time and means toward the furtherance of such projects. She is a
woman of deeply religious nature, a member of the Presbyterian Church at Salida,
and for many years has contributed generously to its support and upbuilding. She is
a member of the Eastern Star and was active in local circles of the order until recent
years, when declining health has curtailed her activities. Her family was ever her
first consideration, and her splendid business ability found expression in commercial
enterprises only after her husband and children had been amply and lovingly cared
for. She has a multitude of friends throughout the county who love and respect her
for her sterling qualities.

CAPTAIN EDGAR H. ANNEAR.— A distinguished California pioneer who has
left behind him a reputation for character, intellectual attainment, broad-mindedness
and public spirit, and exceptional success in fields and endeavors of the greatest benefit
to others as well as himself, is the late Captain Edgar H. Annear, who was laid to
rest in the stately mausoleum at the Modesto Cemetery, on the afternoon of Septem-
ber 15, 1918, when Modesto and Stanislaus County paid him their heartfelt tribute.
He gave his life for his country, and without fear made the supreme sacrifice; and
like those in the immortal legion to whom it was given to do or to die, he went to his
death clothed in the shining armor of patriotism, guided by a love for humanity.

He was born in Ceres on December 30, 1884, the son of John and Tabitha ( Juliff)
Annear, natives of England, who were early settlers at what is now Ceres, where
Edgar was reared and received a good education in the public schools. He then
entered the Modesto high school, and after completing his courses there, matriculated
at the University of California, where he took up engineering. At the end of three
years of study in which he had amply demonstrated both the keenness of his intellect
and his proficiency, especially for the profession he had chosen, he was appointed a
cadet at West Point by Judge Needham, then a member of Congress, and went East
to attend the famous Academy on the Hudson.

Soon after his return to Modesto, he was elected county surveyor, being the
youngest man so elected to office in Stanislaus County ; and with such satisfaction was
his performance of duty viewed by his fellow citizens, that he was twice reelected to
that responsible office. He was county surveyor and county highway engineer during
the building of the excellent concrete highways throughout the county made possible
by the road-bond issue of $1,500,000. He was also the engineer who designed and
had charge of the construction of the beautiful, substantial bridge across the Tuolumne
River at Modesto, without doubt one of the finest bridges in all the state. Ben Blow,
in his California Highways, speaks most laudatory of the Stanislaus County highways,
saying that they are exceptionally smooth and afford easy riding, and remarkably free
from transverse or longitudinal cracks even where the soil is adobe and the plan pur-
sued in constructing the road involved leaving them unsurfaced, on the theorv of Mr.


Annear, the county surveyor who built the highways, that the unsurfaced concrete
road is the ideal pavement until such a time as the need for a carpet treatment of
some kind shall become apparent, if at all. To one individual, then, says Ben Blow,
Edgar H. Annear, for many years county surveyor, this plan of the highways and
their construction are due, and the roads of the county are a monument to his memory.

When Congress declared war on Germany, Surveyor Annear volunteered ; and
having resigned his office, he rallied to the colors, and in January, 1918, he was com-
missioned captain of Company B, in the Forty-third U. S. Engineers, and sent to
France, and stationed at Longres, where he was recommended for major. After a
period of intensive warring, he was sent back to the United States as major, to take
a battalion of miners and sappers back to France, but upon arriving in New York he
was taken with the influenza and passed away at the Hoboken Hospital on August
28, 1918, his death being a real and almost irreparable loss to Stanislaus County.

The marriage of Captain Annear occurred in San Francisco on July 24, 1909,
when he was united with Miss Margaret L. McFarland, who was born near Spirit
Lake, Dickinson County, Iowa, a daughter of Daniel and Mary McFarland of that
state. She was graduated from the Boston high school, and the studied at the Boston
University, taking the classical course. Coming to California in 1906, she attended
the San Jose State Normal School, until her graduation therefrom, and then she
engaged in educational work. Removing to Modesto, she taught school here ; and
while doing so met and married Mr. Annear. Since the death of her lamented hus-
band, she and her daughter, Ellen Annear, have continued to reside in Modesto, and
in September, 1919, she was appointed the first deputy in the office of the county su-
perintendent of schools, to which she gives her time and best efforts.

The life and attainments of Captain Annear should ever be an inspiration to the
youth of his land, and his memory and influence are not likely to be forgotten or to
diminish. In public office he was far-sighted, progressive, conscientious and honest,
and planned to carry out the highway scheme for Stanislaus County on a magnificent
scale ; in his willingness to give up an important, attractive and lucrative position, to
bid adieu to the comforts of home and the pleasures in the society, of friends, and face
danger, sickness and death, he displayed rare courage and the highest patriotism. Stanis-
laus County was well served by this loyal American, and the citizens of Stanislaus
County and Modesto will never cease to cherish his memory.

FRANCIS A. RAMSEY, M. D. C— An old-timer in California with an inter-
esting record for the development and care of the horse, who has become a very
successful practitioner of veterinary medicine, is Francis A. Ramsey, M. D. C, founder
of the Veterinary Hospital in Turlock. He was born at Fort Scott, Kans., on Janu-
ary 26, 1867, the son of Simmons Ramsey, who was born near Indianapolis and came
to Kansas a young man before the Civil War. There he enlisted in Company E of
the Tenth Kansas Infantry, and served in defense of his country almost four years.
or till the close of the war, becoming commissary sergeant. He was married to Miss
Ada J. Buck, a native of Illinois, and the following year engaged in farming near
Fort Scott, Kans. In 1874, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey moved to Galveston, Cass
County, Ind., where they joined the farming, community ; but in 1887, during the
California "boom," Mr. Ramsey brought his family out to San Diego and was a
rancher at Encinitas, on the coast. After a while, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey retired to
more comfortable life in the city of San Diego, and there he died. Mrs. Ramsey is
still living, at the ripe age of seventy-two, in that delightful city of the Southland,
the mother of four boys and a girl, all of whom, save one son, is still living.

Francis was educated in the public schools of Indiana, and in October, 1887,
came out to San Diego, where he followed teaming and helped build the Belt Road.
The next year he went back to Indiana for twelve months; but once more he came
to San Diego. In 1893 he entered the Chicago Veterinary College, and four years
later, after having had the advantages of one of the best courses offered anywhere
in the country, he was graduated with the degree of M. D. C.

He then returned to California and engaged in practice at Pomona, hut after six
months he went to Riverside and bought a livery business, and made the Club Stables,


as it was known, the largest livery and the best equipped in that city. He also
practiced veterinary medicine there for thirteen years. He cared for some of the
best animals brought to that section, and made a specialty of tally-ho service. He
was one of the organizers of, and secretary for the Riverside Driving Club for years,
and there raised some notable horses, among them Don Reginaldo, with a record of
2.12>4 ; McO'D, a pacer, making 2.\\]/ 2 , and Hylock by Zolock, a very fast colt.

In 1910, Dr. Ramsey located for eight months at Santa Ana, but on the four-
teenth of February of the following year he removed to Turlock, and locating on
Ruby Street, engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine at this place. His wide
and valuable, as well as actual and practical experience, fully justified him in erecting
the concrete Veterinary Hospital, with its modern appliances and attractive, open
rooms, clearly one of the most up-to-date and serviceable institutions in the city ; and
it is an interesting index of the real spirit of Turlock that this beneficent establish-
ment has been well patronized from the start. Dr. Ramsey owns a forty-acre ranch
five miles southwest of Turlock, where he is engaged in dairying and raising White
Leghorn and Barred Plymouth Rock chickens and bronze turkeys.

While at Riverside, Dr. Ramsey was married to Miss Mae Cover, a native of
Macomb, 111., and a lady of talent, likely to be transmitted to her two attractive
children, Gladys and Clarence. Dr. Ramsey, therefore, has built for himself and
family a handsome residence at Turlock, and in other ways has permanently identi-
fied himself with the growing town.

CHARLES STUART ABBOTT.— A public-spirited citizen of California who

proved one of the real stand-bys in the great fight for irrigation in the Modesto district
and who now, after heroic endeavor involving even long contests in the courts, finds
his reward in the Stanislaus plains blooming like the rose, is Charles Stuart Abbott,
secretary of the Modesto Irrigation district. He was born near Sheffield, in Bureau
County, 111., on August 17, 1857, the son of Cyrus H. Abbott, who was born at
Ogden, Monroe Caunty, N. Y., in 1835. When seventeen years of age he came to
Bureau County and there married Miss Martha Grunendyke, who was also born in
Monroe County. Her father, Abraham Grunendyke, served in the War of 1812, and
was descended from old Knickerbocker stock, prominent in New York. On the
Abbott side the family may trace its ancestry back to the Mayflower, three brothers
Abbott having come from England to Massachusetts in 1620. Cyrus Abbott was a
farmer in Illinois; and when, in August, 1862, he responded to the call of his country,
he enlisted in Company H, 93rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and eventually took
part in important battles, among them the Siege of Vicksburg and Champion Hill.
He was also in the Georgia campaign, taking part in the battle of Chattanooga,
Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Resaca, Buzzard's Roost, "Altoona Pass,
Kennesaw Mountain, after which he marched with Sherman on his famous drive to
the sea. His regiment lost so heavily in numbers that only 260 were left to tell the
rale. Luckily, he was one of them, and he was mustered out in June, 1865, when he
received his honorable discharge. Although originally a private, he was commissioned
first lieutenant of his company for distinguished bravery on the battlefield.

After the war, Mr. Abbott returned to his family and resumed farming; and in
1868 he removed to Montezuma, Poweshiek County, Iowa, where he farmed until
1872. In that year he brought his family to San Joaquin County, near Stockton, and
there continued to follow farming until 1878, and then he came to Stanislaus County,
where he engaged in grain farming on the Hickman ranch, near Turlock. At one
time he farmed as many as three thousand acres to grain ; later he purchased a farm
six miles west of Modesto, having one hundred sixty acres, and these he improved.

At an early day and much in advance of most of his co-laborers and competitors,
Mr. Abbott saw the importance of irrigation for the soil and as a means toward
intensive farming, and he became deeply interested in having the Modesto Irrigation
District organized, a movement productive of the greatest blessings to the entire
county and other sections.



In 1905, Mrs. Abbott passed away, lamented by all who had been privileged to
know her, and Mr. Abbott sold his ranch and has since made his home in Modesto
with the subject of our review. Four children had blessed their union, and besides
Charles Stuart, there are Charlotte F., Minnie C. and Frank W. Abbott. The
first named is now Mrs. Elfers of Alameda; Minnie has become Mrs. Hamilton of
Visalia; and Frank resides in Seattle. Mr. Abbott is a member of the Grand Army
of the Republic and also of the Knights of Pythias.

Charles Abbott was educated in the public schools of Illinois and Iowa, as well
as in California; for he came here in 1872. Having completed the grammar school
courses, he attended the Stockton high school, and then the Stockton Business College,
where, in addition to the commercial courses, he pursued a course in telegraphy. On
his graduation, in 1878, he came to Salida, in Stanislaus County, and there was made
railroad agent and operator for the Southern Pacific. He also engaged in general
merchandising, and was postmaster from 1881 to 1887.

In the fall of 1886, Mr. Abbott received the Republican nomination for the office
of County Recorder and Auditor, and he was elected by a majority of 135 votes. He
was the third Republican ever elected in the county, which then had a Democratic
majority of at least 700 to be overcome; and he took office in January, 1887. He
served a two-year term until January, 1889, and after that, with Charles Maze, Jr.,
he engaged in the abstract of title and general insurance business. Later they
discontinued abstracting, and for many years Mr. Abbott continued selling insurance.
Although thev dissolved partnership, Mr. Abbott still has the agency of the Hartford
Fire Insurance Company, and the Insurance Company of North America.

In 1891, Mr. Abbott was elected secretary of the board of directors of the
Modesto Irrigation district, then in existence for four years; and he has since continued
in that office, to the satisfaction of everyone, having been appointed each succeeding
year. So identified was he with the great work from its inception, that all the early
records of the district are in his handwriting; but for the last four years he has
preserved them in typewritten form. He has five 640 page note books in his own
hand. From 1893 to 1901, there was a long period of constant litigation respecting
the Modesto Irrigation District, and during this period he received no pay for his
services in the cause ; consequently, while he thus worked gratuitously, he was chief
deputy in the county assessor's office, and from twelve to fifteen of the assessment rolls
are in his handwriting. During all this time, however, he continued to perform most
conscientiously the trying duties of secretary of the Modesto Irrigation District, and
they finally won their case in the Supreme Court. Then began the real work of the
irrigation enterprise, on which account he has since given all of his time to the work,
and has spared no pains to afford the best irrigation service possible to Stanislaus
County and neighboring sections. Nonpartisan in every way in supporting every
good movement for local improvement, Mr. Abbott still ardently espouses Republican
political principles.

At Modesto, in 1889, Mr. Abbott was married to Miss Man' Louise Elmore,
who was born near Salida, Stanislaus County, and is a sister of Professor A. G.
Elmore, the present county superintendent of schools. Mr. Abbott was bereaved,
however, of his faithful and loving wife in November, 1915, a lady of accomplish-
ment who was a decided favorite with many. One son, Elmore Stuart, blessed their
union. He was born in Modesto, graduated from grammar and high school, then
entered the University of Nevada, taking the electrical engineering course and was
graduated with degree of Electrical Engineer in 1915, after which he did graduate
work at the University of Wisconsin for one year. He was married in Madison to
Marie Vourcier Dunfield, and is now practicing his profession at Tracy.

Mr. Abbott is a member of Wildey Lodge No. 149, I. O. O. F., where he is a
past grand, and from which he has been a delegate to the Grand Lodge ; and he is
also a member of Modesto Encampment No. 48, I. O. O. F., and he belongs to
Rebekah Lodge. He is, too, a member of Modesto Lodge No. 81, Knights of Pythias,
in which he is past chancellor, and he belongs to Modesto Lodge No. 1282, of the
Elks, and also to the Orange Assembly, United Artisans.


THOMAS BLAKE SCOTT. — Prominent among the leading members of the
Stanislaus County Bar is Thomas Blake Scott, having offices at 918 I Street, Modesto.
As a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, 111., he was widely known for
his attainments in athletics and sports and he is today as much a success as a lawyer;
no other attorney, perhaps, having come to the front in Modesto faster than he.

A native of Canada, Mr. Scott was born at Minden, Haliburton County,
Province of Ontario, on July 22, 1876, a son of John B. Scott, a farmer, millwright
and practical engineer. The mother was Miss Jane Braden in maidenhood, and was
closely related to the well-known family of Blakes, prominent before the Revolu-
tionary War, and afterwards represented in Canada and also in New York. After
the death of Mr. Scott, the widow, with her family, moved to Illinois and settled at
Onarga, where Thomas B. attended Grand Prairie Academy at Onarga, graduating
in 1902. That same year he entered Northwestern University at Evanston, 111.,
where he pursued the science course and obtained his B.S. degree in 1906; and for
the four years he was in college took an active part in the debating and oratorical
societies and was a member of the University football eleven.

In 1906 he took charge of the pedagogy department of Grand Prairie Academy
at Onarga, continuing during 1906 and 1907, when he entered the Illinois Wesleyan
University at Bloomington and in 1910 was graduated with the degree of LL.B.
While taking the law course, Mr. Scott was athletic instructor at the universit}'.
Very soon after his graduation Mr. Scott came West to Tacoma, Wash., where he was
professor of political science and law in the University of Puget Sound for two years.

In 1912 Mr. Scott came to Modesto, Cal., and formed a law partnership with
William H. Hatton, which continued until January, 1920, when Mr. Scott entered
upon an independent practice and has been very successful and able and ready at all
times to contend for the dignity and integrity of the bar, maintaining the best of will
towards his worthy colleagues and enjoying the confidence and esteem of both the fra-
ternity and his clients. He is often to be heard, in eloquent and inspiring strain, at
political and other public gatherings, and never neglects an opportunity to favor the
patriotic spirit, or to make appeal to men and women for higher civic standards. He
is wide-awake to encourage local industry and trade, and takes an active interest in the
financial affairs of the community.

On February 12, 1917, Thomas B. Scott and Miss Blanche B. Dunfield were
united in marriage. Mrs. Scott is a native of Wisconsin, born at Wausau, and took
her collegiate work at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and is a member of
Delta Delta Delta Sororitv there. Mr. Scott is a member of the Blue Lodge Chapter,
Commanderv and Shrine in Masonrv, and is an Odd Fellow. He is also a member
of Modesto Lodge No. 1282, B. P. O. Elks, and has served as exalted ruler in 1918-
1919. In memory of his college days he holds membership in Delta Upsilon of the
Northwestern University and is an honorary member of Deru Fraternity. In 1912
Mr. Scott was elected to the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

In furthering all movements for the betterment of local undertakings, he holds
a membership in the Progressive Business Club of Modesto. During the World War
Mr. Scott was county chairman of the "Four Minute Men" and also a member of
the Stanislaus County Council of Defense. Both Mr. and Mrs. Scott are active in
local society and enjoy a wide circle of friends throughout Stanislaus County and
the San Joaquin Valley.

. J. WALKER BAKER.— A native son of the Golden West who is not only
proud of his own association with the great California commonwealth, but deeply
appreciates the life, labors and sacrifices of the pioneers who went before, is J. Walker
Baker, one of Modesto's most representative citizens He was born in the old Baker
home on the Paradise Road south of Modesto, on June 12, 1889, the son of C. C. and
Cordelia Baker, whose interesting life-story is given on another page of this history.
Walker Baker, as he is known by his many friends, was reared on the Baker farm,
and after leaving the district school, he attended the Dewey school in Fruitvale, and
then entered the Fremont high school at Oakland, from which he was graduated in

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 68 of 177)