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 72 of 177)
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plenty to do on his five-acre ranch. His father was a member of the Papal Guard
in the city of Rome before he came to America in the '50s ; and our subject inherited
just such sturdy qualities as are desirable for wrestling with western life. He has a
genial personality, and has been in the Odd Fellows since May 26, 1878.

Ten children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Leoni: Albert L. Palmtag, who
served in the World War, and is a successful building contractor at Oakdale, has a
wife and two children. Frank Allen lives with his wife and three children at San
Francisco. Arthur Fred, who is also married, is the owner of the Stockton Acetylene
Welding Works. George M., a carpenter and farmer near Turlock, has a wife and
three children. Madeleyne is the wife of Frank Wallrath of Alameda. Phillip
Lansing, a dairyman of Los Angeles County. William, who saw service in the war,
resides with his wife and child at Oakland. Robert Arnold is a shipbuilder of San
Francisco. Elizabeth, or Bessie, is also a dweller in the Bay City, the wife of Elmer
Upphoff. Catherine is the wife of Lloyd Fuller of Alameda.

REV. ANDREW HALLNER. — Esteemed as a broad-minded, consistent repre-
sentative of the Christian ministry, the Rev. Andrew Hallner is especially interesting
as the oldest Swedish settler of Turlock. He was born in Remene, Westergotland,
Sweden, on June 9, 1846, the son of John Hallner, a farmer and blacksmith, who
married Johanna Erickson, and in 1863 came to the United States with his wife and
six children. He settled in North Washington, Chickasaw County, Iowa, where he
set up a smithy and went in for farming; but two years later he removed with his
family to Carver County, Minn., where he bought and cleared forty acres of timber-
land. He got out oak and hickory timber for implements and wagons, and set up a
horse-power sawmill. In the spring of 1869 he sent our subject to Macon County,
Mo., to look over some farm land, but Andrew did not like it, so he went to Nebraska
to investigate conditions there. In Saunders County he preempted 160 acres of land,
and his father followed him there in 1870, and he let him have half of the acreage,
and his father remained there until coming to California in 1916. One child was
born in Minnesota, and two brothers and a sister still reside there. In 1918, John
Hallner passed away, at the age of ninety-five, his good wife having preceded him the
year before, at the age of ninety-three. They had nine children, two dying in infancy.

Andrew Hallner received his early education from his mother, while she was
busy at the spinning wheel, and as soon as it was possible, he attended the public
schools. During 1873-74, he was a student at the State Normal School, at Peru,
Nebr., and paid his own way there, and in the late sixties he visited both Missouri
and Nebraska to look into land and located in the latter state. He obtained a teacher's
certificate and taught a year, then pioneered as a homesteader, sold his land and
returned to the normal school; and after completing his normal studies, he taught
school for another year.

In 1875, a grange was organized, and to help along the movement, Mr. Hallner
made speeches. He was also elected a delegate to the state convention, which met in
Lincoln, in 1875, and formed a new constitution, of which he was one of the signers.
He made speeches, which were printed in the papers, and his friends urged him to
study law. He thought favorably of the proposition and made arrangements with
M. B. Reese in Wahoo; but a pulpit vacancy having occurred at Swedeburg, Nebr.,
lie was quite as earnestly, and more effectually, urged to preach, and was appointed
there by the church authorities. He took for his text the Forty-fifth Psalm ; the con-
gregation broke down and cried, two infidels were converted, and the meetings were
declared a huge success. He returned home, but could not rest; on the contrary, he
went from house to house, and prayed with the inmates, and led them to Christ. He
had various calls to preach, and he followed preaching. In March, 1875, Mr. Hallner


was sent to Fremont, Iowa, where he held a revival, preaching for twenty-five con-
secutive nights. Many were converted and several of these took up the ministry. He
built a new church at Swedeburg — the Swedish Mission — and served as pastor there
until 1885, with the exception of three years, from 1879 on, when he occupied the
pulpit of the Rev. Slcogsbergh in Chicago, and he was also secretary of the Swedish
Evangelical Mission Synod. Prior to going to Chicago he built a church at Bethle-
hem, and at Bethesda, Nebr., and had a circuit which took three weeks to cover.

When he was ready to go home from Chicago Rev. Hallner was induced to take
charge of the Mission Vannen, or "Missions Friend," and issued his first number in
1880. By the time of the meeting of the Synod in June, he had increased its circula-
tion from 1200 to 1700 copies, and the Synod then made it a weekly, and also issued
a Sunday school monthly, of which he had charge until the fall of 1881. Then his
health broke down and he returned to church work. His church had waited for him
all this time, for his people and children all loved him. He remained with his flock
until 1885, when trouble in the management of the Mission paper drew him back to
Chicago, and he resumed the editorship, and was not relieved of his responsibility for
nine years. During that time, he handled his trust so well that the circulation grew
from 8000 to 20,000 copies. When his health again became impaired, in 1894, Mr.
Hallner came out to California to recuperate.

At first he stopped at Kingsburg, where he became pastor of the Swedish Church ;
only twelve persons attended the first meeting, but the congregation grew, and he also
preached in a colony nine miles away at Riverside, but he soon had the entire colony
united. They built a church near the center at Riverbend, the congregation increased
in numbers, and Mr. Hallner took a ranch of thirty acres, which he improved for a
living, while he preached gratis for five years. And then, for the next three years, he
had a salary of $300 a year.

In 1902 Mr. Hallner came to Turlock, drawn here through his old friend, the
Rev. N. O. Hultberg, whom he agreed to assist; and when Rev. Hultberg and his
companion went to Alaska, Rev. Hallner remained here on a salary and with a power
of attorney to transact the business of the colony. His interest in the future prospects
of the region was secured, and partly through his labors there came into existence, as
the result of successful advertising, the Hilmar and the Youngstown colonies, then
Turlock and then the Galesburg Colony. He settled among the people, that he might
the better help them, and within two years assisted some 211 families to come, five
acres being apportioned to a family. It was uphill for a time, but all came out well.

Mr. Hallner bought 100 acres and improved the same, and then added another
136 acres, devoted to trees, vines and alfalfa, four miles out. At the same time, he
became one of the organizers of the Swedish Mission Church and preached the first
sermon to the congregation. He was also the first superintendent of the Sunday
school. They first built a church at Hilmar, and then they bought an old Methodist
Church. In 1912, he removed to Arboga, Yuba County, and there assisted, as agent,
in starting the Arboga Colony. He improved a farm to alfalfa, and remained about
five years. He helped start the congregation, build a large church, and was pastor.

In October, 1919, Mr. Hallner returned to Turlock and associated himself with
the Swedish Church here. Since then he has been more than ever prominent in church
conferences. He organized the Scandinavian Mutual Fire Insurance Company of
Fresno, and was its first president until he moved away. After coming to Turlock,
he was one of the organizers of the Stanislaus Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He
has always worked for Prohibition, having advocated it in his mission periodical, and
now rejoices to see the labors of years on the part of so many thousand suitably
rewarded. In 1892 he published a book on temperance and economy entitled, "The
Great Campaign." During the war he published "Uncle Sam," an interesting vol-
ume, and in 1912 he originated and printed the "Scientific Dial Primer," containing
a universal code, used by the Government during the World War, elements of uni-
versal language and new base for mathematics.

At Ashland, Nebr., Mr. Hallner was married to Miss Ida Norman, a native of
Sweden; and seven of their children are still living to bless them, and be blessed in


turn. Anna E. is Mrs. Kronberg, the mother of nine children, of Hilmar; Esther A.
has become Mrs. Lindgren, and also lives at Hilmar, the mother of four children;
Judith assists her mother in presiding over the home; S. Emanuel is a farmer at
Hilmar and has three children ; Reuben N., the father of one child, also farms near
Emanuel; Irene Dorothy Agnes is a school teacher; and Mabel, who graduated from
Heald's Sacramento Business College, lives at home.

ABNER JAMES WESTROPE.— The interesting stories of two long-lived,
pioneer American families of the type that has best been employed in the building of
this ideal Republic is recalled by the narrative of Abner James Westrope, the able
superintendent of the Masonic Cemetery at Modesto. He was born near Belmont,
in Lafayette County, Wis., on November 21, 1856, the son of Thomas R. Westrope,
who had married Miss Sarah Ann Huntsman. Grandfather Westrope was a native
of the Blue Grass region of Kentucky, where he engaged in farming, and Thomas
R. Westrope was an early settler in Wisconsin, having come there from Springfield,
111., in 1826, a babe in arms. In 1849 he crossed the great plains to California with
ox team and prairie schooner, bringing along 125 head of cattle, and four years later
he made another trip over the same route. His third journey to California was from
the East to San Francisco by way of the Horn. Grandmother Westrope belonged to
the Ashbrook family, into which Daniel Boone married, while the Huntsmans hailed
from Ohio. In 1870 Thomas Westrope moved to Red Oak, Iowa, where he farmed
and made a name as a Shorthorn cattle breeder.

Abner Westrope went to the Black Bear school in Kendall Township, Wis., and
went through with the grammar school studies, started out into the world for himself.
At Red Oak, on September 1, 1878, he married Miss Frances Emma Maybon, a
native of Montgomery County, N. Y., and the daughter of H. C. and Deborah
(Clark) Maybon, the latter a native of Montgomery County, N. Y., and early settlers
of Montgomery County, Iowa, where Mr. Maybon was active in public life, especially
in Douglas Township. He was born on November 9, 1829, and is still alive. Her
father moved to Galesburg, 111., in 1870, and farmed, and from there, he later migrated
to Mayflower, Iowa, in which town Mrs. Westrope was educated.

Mr. Maybon's first trip to California was made in 1852, leaving New York on
the clipper ship Racehound in February of that year, and sailing around Cape Horn.
He landed at San Francisco May 1, 1852, and went to Stockton, where in 1852 and
1853 he was engaged in freighting to the mines.

After their marriage, Mr. Westrope purchased a quarter section of land, which
he farmed; but in 1882 he sold his farm and came West to California and Modesto.
He continued to farm and became superintendent of the Root Ranch on the Water-
ford Road, where he remained for a year. Then he returned to town and went to
work for Mr. Pillman, with whom he was in the dray business for four years. After
that, he put in another four years with Mr. Libby, and then he bought the concern
and ran it as his own for two years. He next crossed the Pacific to Honolulu and
became foreman of a sugar plantation, staying there from 1898 to 1902.

In May of the latter year he returned to Modesto; but his father passing away,
he returned to Iowa to settle up the family estate, and then purchased half of a section
of land in Nance County, Neb., where he lived until February, 1910. Selling out,
he went to Texas and purchased land thirty miles west of Corpus Christi, where he
raised cotton until November, 1911. Disposing of that holding, he came back to
Modesto and bought town property at 1302 Washington Street. He built there his
home, and there he has resided ever since. He has an apartment house of nine rooms
and a cottage of four rooms on his property. Since April 15, 1917, he has given the
utmost satisfaction as superintendent of the Masonic burial grounds by his painstaking
and assiduous attention to the care and beautifying of this resting place of the departed.

Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Westrope, but both have died. Eva
came in 1883, and Euphema died in infancy in 1888. The Westropes are Presby-
terians by faith, and Democrats in matters of national political moment. Mr. West-
rope is both a Mason and a Woodman of the World.


THOMAS W. McGINN. — A worthy and interesting representative of an early
family with intimate associations with persons and movements in the history of Stanis-
laus County, is Thomas W. McGinn, until recently the efficient and popular manager
of the Grange Company's three great warehouses at Salida. He was born in the
Province of Quebec, on May 22, 1871, the son of William McGinn, who married
Ellen Murphy, sister of John, or "One Arm" Murphy, as he was called, after whom
Murphy Switch was named before the station became Salida. He was a great politi-
cal boss, and perhaps no other man has ever had as great influence politically in Stan-
islaus County. Both Mr. and Mrs. William McGinn were natives of the province of
Quebec, in Lower Canada, where they were also married ; and they came to California
in the fall of 1877. Then Mr. McGinn bought thirteen acres of land, and had charge
of the old McHenry warehouse ; later he became manager of the warehouse, which
was taken over by The Grange Company. He resigned his post about eight years ago ;
and he died on July 28, 1919, in his seventy-seventh year. Mrs. McGinn passed
away in 1895, in her forty-third year.

Seven children were granted this pioneer couple, and six of them are still living,
Joseph having died in infancy. Marie Genevieve presides over the hospitable McGinn
home at Salida. James Edward resides in Los Angeles. Thomas W. is the subject
of our review. John S. is freight cashier for the Tonopah & Goldfield Railway Com-
pany at Tonopah, Nev., a member of the Elks, the Knights of Columbus, and the
Yeomen at Tonopah, Nev. William A. is a lawyer at Bakersfield ; and Nellie G is
bookkeeper for the C. E. Capps Mercantile Company of Salida.

William McGinn was elected assessor of the Modesto Irrigation District two
or three times, and before that he had served as deputy county assessor under John W.
Tulloch. He was manager of the McHenry Company for many years at Salida, and
established such an enviable reputation for integrity, foresight and reliability that in his
good name alone he bequeathed a priceless heritage to his sons. A life-long Democrat,
he never neglected an opportunity to foster patriotism and a decent civic spirit. A
brother of Thomas W. McGinn is John S. McGinn.

MERIDETH R. PITTS.— As manager of the Stanislaus Land and Abstract
Company, of Modesto, since 1917, Merideth R. Pitts is well known among the busi-
ness men and farmers of the county through the splendid service rendered by his
company under his able management. He has become thoroughly identified with the
county and is now engaged in developing a valuable fruit ranch of twenty acres five
miles north of Modesto, on the McHenry Road, planted to figs, almonds and grapes.
It lies under the Modesto Irrigation District water canals and is very valuable.

Mr. Pitts has been a resident of California since 1906, coming directly from
Ozark, Mo., and locating in Los Angeles, where for two years he served as attorney
for the Title Guarantee and Trust Company of that city. In 1908 he went to San
Francisco as examiner for the Standard Title Insurance Company, remaining with
this concern for two years, when he went to Fresno and became identified with the
Fresno County Abstract Company, remaining there until he came to Modesto in
1917, and has since made his home here.

A native of Polk County, Mo., Mr. Pitts was born near Polk on December 6,
1872. His father was W. D. Pitts, a native of Kentucky and an extensive stock-
man, and his mother was Eliza Overshiner, a native of Illinois, born in Macoupin
County. They were early settlers in Missouri, where they preempted and home-
steaded land and engaged in general farming and stock raising. It was on this farm
that our Mr. Pitts was borrt and on which his boyhood days were passed. He re-
ceived his early education in the grammar school at Polk, and later graduated from
the William Jewell College, at Liberty, Mo.

The first independent enterprise of Mr. Pitts was as a teacher in the Missouri
schools, but he was not satisfied with this as a life work, and studied law while he
taught and in 1897 was admitted to the bar of Missouri, and engaged in the practice
of law at Ozark, Mo., where he was interested in the abstract business at the same
time, also becoming active in public affairs. In 1901 he was elected to the Missouri
state legislature from his district, on the Republican ticket, and served for one term.

J^L^^ls C'



He also served as city attorney of Ozark, and was recognized as one of the most
prominent and influential men of his section of the state, a power in the inner circles
of the Republican party as long as he resided at Ozark. Since coming to California,
Mr. Pitts has taken a keen and effective interest in all matters of public moment, but
has never become active in local or state politics.

The marriage of Mr. Pitts occurred at Ozark, Mo., September 29, 1899, and
united him with Miss Veda Yarbrough, a native of Missouri, and the daughter of
Jerome and Mary (Steel) Yarbrough. Mrs. Pitts is descended from a long line of
American ancestry. Her father was a veteran of the Civil War, having served as a
rirst lieutenant in the Federal forces. Her mother was a native of Springfield, Mo.,
and the daughter of one of the early pioneer families of that state. The old Steel
homestead near Springfield was the scene of one of the historical battles of that vicin-
ity, the Battle of Wilson Creek, fought in 1863. Mr. and Mrs. Pitts are the parents
of a daughter. Zoe E., now a student in the Modesto high school. Mr. Pitts has
been interested in fraternal organizations for many years, and is a member of the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Ozark, Mo., and of the Knights of Pythias
at Fresno, and of the Progressive Business Club of Modesto. Both he and Mrs.
Pitts are active members of the Baptist Church at Modesto, and are popular with a
host of friends.

JOHN FOX. — The useful life and worthy accomplishments of a sturdy pioneer,
who might well be regarded as a stimulating example to both the youth and the man-
hood of any generation, are recalled in the life-story of the late John Fox, once so
well known and influential in Hughson and throughout Stanislaus County. He was
born in South Berwick, York County, Maine, on May 30, 1832, and spent his earlier
years with his father on his farm in Maine. In 1853 he came out to California by
way of the Isthmus, and landed at San Francisco. From there he went to Stockton
and embarked in draying, running a stage from that city to the mines; and he succeeded
in getting sufficient remuneration for this to encourage him to continue the enterprise
sixteen years. He then removed to Paradise, Stanislaus County, and took up farming.

Prior to coming to Stanislaus County, Mr. Fox was married at Dutch Point, in
the Old French Camp, in San Joaquin County, to Miss Mary Jones Salmon, the
daughter of Cutler and Jane Salmon. Cutler Salmon came to California in the late
sixties, and became a farmer in San Joaquin County, near Stockton. After settling
in Stanislaus County, Mr. and Mrs. Fox reared there a family of nine children. Ida
was the first-born, and died in 1901 ; Ira is farming near Montnellier ; Charles is on
the old homestead ranch ; Carrie L. has become Mrs. W. G. Sheldon ; John C. Fox is
in charge of the old homestead ; Effie is Mrs. W. H. Palmer of Berkeley; Louis B. and
Jesse H. Fox are at the heme ranch : while Albert, the eighth, is deceased. Jesse Fox was
married in August, 1917, to Miss Maude Sinclair, the daughter of Abner and Lucy A.

John Fox leased land in Paradise until 1867, when he removed to the south-central
part of the county, and leased the old Tully ranch of 2,900 acres, lying south of the
present location of Hughson. From the Tully ranch he went to farm the old Ashe ranch
of 1,700 acres, for the past few years farmed by Mr. Tomlinson ; and during this time
he purchased the Stewart & Newel tract of 570 acres. In 1876, also, he bought 560
acres from Jim Hudelson, and this tract is now known as the old Fox homestead, and
lies directly northeast of Hughson, about one mile distant from the town. Forty acres
are owned today by Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon, and forty acres by Charles Fox. John C,
Louis B. and Jesse H. own and operate the old Fox ranch of 560 acres. Charles Fox
was born on August 11, 1864, a native of Stanislaus County, and was sent to the gram-
mar school at Empire and also to the Stockton Business College ; and when twenty years
old, he went to Tulare County, where he farmed for a couple of years, twelve miles
northeast of Visalia, and had 1,000 acres devoted to grain. In 1888, he returned to
Stanislaus County and for two years farmed the Warner tract of 1,000 acres at
Roberts Ferry. Then he worked the T. K. Beard ranch north of Waterford until
1896, when he sold out his farm implements and for twenty years followed the car-
penter trade. Three-fourths of that time he was in Shasta, Trinity and other northern


counties, and the balance of the time in Oakland, Stockton and Truckee counties. In
1914, he returned to Stanislaus County and fought forty acres of the old Fox estate;
he built a comfortable home and a spacious barn, with such other outbuildings as he
needed, and he has lived there ever since. He has a choice dairy herd of twenty cows,
and maintains everything in the most sanitary manner.

Charles Fox was married at Santa Cruz on August 27, 1890, to Miss Nellie Hazle-
ton, a native of Merced County, who was reared at Red Bluff, Tehama County. Mrs.
Fox's father hailed from Maine, but came to California by way of Texas, where he
had been in the cattle business only a short time. He arrived here in 1860, and con-
tinued to raise and handle stock. Three children were born to them: Birdie is Mrs.
Hov of Tehama County; Earl is at home; but Elmer died for his country in France.
He enlisted in December, 1917, trained in the machine gun company of the Three
Hundred and Sixty-fourth Infantry of the Ninety-first Division in Camp Lewis, with
which he went to France, and on October 3, 1918, he was shot and instantly killed in
action. His body has not yet been returned to those who mourn for a brave fellow
and one who left behind no small number of devoted, representative friends.

On December 2, 1885, Miss Carrie L. Fox married William G. Sheldon, who was
born at Honey Bend, Montgomery County, 111., on October 9, 1857, the son of Samuel
and Susan (Crawford) Sheldon. In 1862 Mr. Sheldon crossed the plains, and five
years later the rest of his family followed. Mr. Sheldon took up Government land, pre-
empting on Dry Creek in Stanislaus County ; and while William Sheldon was a voung
man, he started out for himself and farmed for a couple of years near Visalia, in Tulare
County. He then returned to Stanislaus County and farmed on his father's old home-
stead. In 1891 he was burned out, and after that he worked for a number of years
for Mr. Tomlinson. When able to do so, Mr. Sheldon purchased a ranch at Newman,
consisting of eighty-four acres in alfalfa, and for six years he ranched there, after which
he sold out and went to Oakland, where he lived for twelve years and engaged in
teaming. In 1916, he returned to Hughson and bought forty acres of the old Fox
ranch, and there he has a fine dairy with nineteen head of cattle.

Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon have a family of four children: Cora Elizabeth is Mrs.
Peters of San Leandro; Eve May has become Mrs. Thomas of Tulare; Etta J. is Mrs.

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 72 of 177)