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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 74 of 177)
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was first located down by the river and later shifted to accommodate the population.
With his brothers the lad took up general ranching on the home place and all had
fortunately learned enough about the conduct of the ranch to earn - on the business.
By mutual consent the older boys assumed the leadership of the little family and the
older sister looked after the house, so that they all grew up in their own home.

In 1892 the McCabe brothers branched out into Madera County, at that time a
part of Fresno County, leasing for twelve years 3,200 acres of the old Sharon estate



628 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

and carried on dry farming. Later on they sold out and invested in 1,629 acres lying
fourteen miles northwest of Madera and raised grain for eight years and then sold the
land on contract to the Co-operative Land Company of Fresno for subdivision pur-
poses. They all returned to the home ranch to get their bearings and John still is there.
In 1917, T. F. McCabe bought a home in Modesto and on February 26, 1918,
he was united in marriage with Miss Lena Ginotti, a native of Texas, and a daughter
of Martin and Theresa Ginotti, who settled in California in 1910 and in Stanislaus
County in 1914. They have a son, Thomas, F., Jr. The family are members of the
Catholic Church. Mr. McCabe also belongs to the Knights of Columbus.

ADMER N. BROWN. — A progressive, influential native of Stanislaus County
whose activity in helping to develop important commercial interests here has been
rewarded through his seeing the prosperity of this favored section today, is Admer N.
Brown, who was born on July 27, 1864, about five miles north of Modesto, the son
of William and Letty Brown. The former came to California in 1859, journeying
across the plains in a prairie schooner drawn by oxen ; he was a native of Iowa, who
moved into Missouri, and then migrated from the Iron State to California. Here he
became a stockman; but in 1871 he removed to Modesto and established himself as a
photographer, and on September 16, 1893, he passed away, at the age of fifty-five.
Mrs. Brown died on February 5, 1919, aged seventy-nine years.

Admer attended the grammar school of Modesto, and having profited by the
advantages there, he began at the early age of fifteen to shift for himself. He was
offered employment by the ice company, and for thirteen years he worked for them,
attending conscientiously to his duties, and adding to the volume and profits of his
employers' business. In 1893, he organized the Modesto Ice Delivery, starting under
the best of auspices, and for twenty-five years he managed the concern, serving
Modesto with ice at retail. He worked so faithfully and so intelligently, he served
his generation so squarely on every deal, that in June, 1918, he was able to retire from
business, having earned not merely an enviable reputation for honesty and enter-
prise, but an enviable record for six years of public service in the city council, during
which time the paving of the streets was started.

At Modesto, on April 4, 1896, Mr. Brown was married to Miss Laura De Yoe,
the daughter of Nathan and Harriett De Yoe, and a native of Kalamazoo, Mich.
When only a year old she was brought to Modesto, and here attended the local
schools. She then took a course at Heald's College in San Francisco, and also studied
voice under private instructors, and was recognized as having remarkable talent. She
is a leader among local singers, and is very active in musical circles. Mrs. Brown's
helpful influence is also felt in the Women's Improvement Club of Modesto. Mr.
Brown is a Republican, but he endeavors to be. as nonpartisan as possible in political
matters having to do with the community, and thus is best able to serve Modesto.

HARRY EUGENE PALMER.— Stanislaus County could not fail to number in
its pioneers men and women of exceptional interest, and among those who are in par-
ticular worthy of the historian's attention must be mentioned Mr. and Mrs. Harry
Eugene Palmer. They live on their well-kept farm in the McHenry district, on the
Oakdale Road about six and a half miles northwest of Modesto, and there they enjoy
the prestige of progressive and highly successful rancher folk.

Mr. Palmer was born in Kansas on May 17, 1872, the youngest son of the Rev.
John Palmer, a native of New York and a Baptist clergyman, who had married Miss
Mary Burr, a daughter of Ohio; and he remained in Kansas with his parents until
he was eight years old, when they brought him to California, in which state Rev.
Palmer had a church at Oakland. Harry E. was sent to the public schools, where he
received a good foundation for his later education through private study and contact
with the world, and grew up to be a farmer, first cultivating the soil near Coopers-
town, in the foothills in eastern Stanislaus County. He joined his brothers, and
together they prospered as stockmen and grain raisers.

While at school, Mr. Palmer had come to know, as an admired schoolmate, Miss
Loretta Crawford, the younger of the two children of Levi Welton and Lucy (Day)




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 631

Crawford, one of the truly remarkable men of the great American West, and a splendid
exponent of Eastern brawn and brain, which did so much to develop the Golden State.
He was born in Ontario County, N. Y., on November 8, 1829, the son of a school
teacher, and in May, 1832, was taken with the rest of the family to Macomb County,
Mich., to what was known as the Crawford Settlement, because a brother, John
Crawford, had first settled there. There Levi Crawford grew to manhood and
finished his education. He taught for years in Michigan, most of the time at Mt.
Clemens, and from Michigan he went to Illinois, and then on to Missouri, where he
taught for a number of terms. Then, with a brother, Asahel, he took up land in
Kansas ; but after a short time, owing to drought, the war and consequent disorder,
they left their homes, abandoning what had cost them years of toil and privation.
Asahel with his family returned to Michigan, and Levi, still unmarried and fortunate
in possessing plenty of energy and the spirit of enterprise, pushed his way across the
plains. He was lucky, at the outset, to meet James E. Laughlin, and to find in him a
true friend in his need ; for the latter hired him to drive one of his teams from the
eastern border of Kansas to California ; and thus traveling, he arrived in Stanislaus
County in September, 1862. They camped under a great live oak which stood on the
east side of the Oakdale Road, on the Laughlin place, and here it may be mentioned
that the late L. Nelson Fincher came to this locality at the same time and took up
Government land which a son of Mr. Laughlin eventually bought from him. L. W.
Crawford homesteaded 160 acres and purchased 160 acres adjoining — an interesting
series of transactions, since all three came to the Coast in the same wagon train.

Mr. Crawford came to know Miss Day through the intervention of his sister
Loretta and a correspondence of several years, but he had never seen her until they met
and were married in Stockton, in May, 1866, she having come West with her sister,
later Mrs. Beckwith of Oakland, and his brother, E. R. Crawford, by way of the
Isthmus. During that correspondence, their letters going by land and sea, over moun-
tains and across the plains, where the Indians were made more savage by the Civil
War, no letter was lost, and at many a station while crossing the plains, he found a
letter from his faithful Lucy. In 1864, the dry year, Mr. Crawford became so dis-
couraged that he wrote to Miss Day and asked her to release him from the engagement
— not that he loved her any the less, but even so much more that he could not bear
the thought of keeping her waiting indefinitely, or providing insufficiently for her;
but she cleverly answered in the encouraging and hopeful words of Longfellow, by
quoting his lines beginning, "Let us then be up and doing, with a heart for any fate;
still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait." After a while, Mr. Craw-
ford got on his feet again, and as a pioneer teacher in the East, he served on the board
of education in Stanislaus County, where he also passed a satisfactory teacher's exam-
ination. As a matter of fact, he was on the board of education at the time that he took
this "exam.," and his certificate bore only two signatures — namely, those of the other
two memrjers of the board, a blank space remaining where his own name ordinarily
should have appeared. He taught school under a great oak tree, and also at Knights
Ferry, Escalon, Westport, and in the McHenry school district — long enough really to
entitle him to a life diploma in the state; and when he finally led Miss Day to the
altar, he took for his life companion one who had also had a valuable experience in
teaching in Michigan, where her grandfather, Erastus Day, had been a man of
wealth and of great influence in McComb County. About 1894, Mrs. Crawford
closed her eyes to the beauties of this world, and in March, 1895, a year after this.
his first great sorrow, Mr. Crawford died, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. Two
children had been granted the honored couple: Loretta, the wife of our subject, and
Day Crawford, who owned 160 acres, spent his life on his farm in this vicinity, and
died in 1896 as the result of a sunstroke. When Levi Welton Crawford completed his
span of years, an old schoolmate who had known him most of his life, J. C. Hall of
Michigan, contributed a touching memorial to the Oakdale Graphic of March 27.
1895, in which, among other things, he said: "Half his life was spent east of the
Rocky Mountains, half on the Pacific Coast; and his life in California from the time
of his marriage was for years one of unclouded happiness. I visited him eight \ears



632 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

ago and found this California home almost a paradise; and in my frequent visits I
have always found a hearty welcome. This unselfish Christian man, like a brother,
was faithful to the best interests of his family."

Mrs. Palmer grew up happy in the memory also of her mother, who had a beauti-
ful soprano voice, and as an (exceptionally good singer, led the choir at the old Burney-
ville Union Church, at Burneyville, in Stanislaus County; Loretta attended the old
McHenry school and took a course in a business college in Oakland, developing that
strength of character and those amiable personal traits for which she is widely known
among a large circle of friends, where she is regarded as a devoted wife and mother,
and a valuable member of society.

After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer moved to the Crawford home place
of 160 acres in the McHenry precinct — of which they have since sold off about sixty
acres — and there they have continued farming, with the exception of three years, when
they moved from the ranch temporarily and lived at Oakland. The ninety or more
acres left to them they rent out in part, and most of the land is devoted to dairying.
They have two children, Alice Loretta and Lucy Lee, both attending the Modesto
schools — and with them reside in the old Crawford residence, built by Mr. Crawford,
a veritable landmark in this part of Stanislaus County, with its high ceilings and
cheerful fireplace. Both Mr. and Mrs. Palmer are in hearty accord as to their politi-
cal views — they espouse Republicanism, and the Eighteenth Amendment.

WALTER OREGON THOMPSON.— For fifteen years Walter Oregon
Thompson ably filled the position of city clerk of Modesto, Cal., and although born in
Portland, Ore., in November, 1871, he has practically spent his entire life in Modesto
and vicinity, as he was but a year old when his parents came to Stanislaus County to
settle permanently. His sterling traits of character, which have proven important
factors in his career, are an inheritance from his Scottish ancestry. His father, James,
was a native of Lanark, Scotland, and his grandfather, William, was born in Scotland.
The name was originally spelled Thomson, but the orthography has been changed
since the family came to the United States. The grandfather, William, brought the
family to America, settling in New York state. His demise occurred in California,
where the last years of his life were spent.

James Thompson followed the trade of a mechanical engineer in the East, but
abandoned it for the occupation of farming after coming West. He came to California
in the fall, going thence to Portland, Ore. He returned to California in 1872 and
located eight miles east of Modesto on 160 acres of unimproved land which he pur-
chased. He named the ranch after his birthplace in Scotland, Lanark Park, and the
property still goes by that name. He improved the place and engaged in grain raising
on an extensive scale, adding to his original holdings by the additional purchase of land
until he owned 1,120 acres. He also rented land, and continued the occupation of
raising grain until he sold his property, retired and moved to San Jose, where he died
at the age of seventy-five. In his religious views he held to the doctrine of the Pres-
byterian Church, in which he was versed during his childhood. He was a prominent
and active member and an elder in that church and brought his family up in the tenets
of that belief. A man of strong convictions, not easily swerved from a point he
thought was right, he won the well-merited respect and esteem of the community in
which he lived, and of which he was a prominent member. His wife, in maidenhood
Agnes Boyd, was of English lineage and was born in New York. She is living at San
Jose and is seventy-seven years of age. Of her ten children, nine are living, three of
them in Stanislaus County, Cal.

Walter Oregon is the fourth child in order of birth in the paternal family, and
his earliest recollections are in connection with Lanark Park Ranch, where as a boy he
followed the occupation of farming with his- father. He graduated from Stanislaus
Seminary, and from the normal at Oakdale, June 5, 1891, and entered Stanford Uni-
versity that fall, where for two years he made a specialty of the study of chemistry
and mathematics. Although he obtained a teacher's certificate he did not follow the
profession of a pedagogue. He entered the grocery business with W. W. Townsend,
and with the exception of a year spent in Portland, Ore., followed this occupation



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 635

from 1896 until 1902. In 1904 he was appointed city clerk of Modesto and was
elected three times before the new city charter went into effect, July 1, 1911. After
the charter became operative he was appointed to the position by the council, and as a
tribute to his successful service was reappointed to the position every two years by the
council. On July 1, 1920, on account of difference of opinion with the incoming
mayor, Mr. Thompson gave up the position of city clerk, for he wished to give all of
his time to his business. In October, 1920, he formed a partnership with Messrs.
Hansen and Mattison as Hansen, Mattison & Thompson, and purchased the Modesto
branch of the Hunt Hatch Company of San Francisco. The firm is engaged in the
wholesale fruit and produce business, being located at the corner of Tenth and C
streets, where they have their warehouse with shipping and receiving facilities. They
ship fruits and produce to this place and also supply Merced, Turlock and Manteca,
it being the only exclusive wholesale produce house between Stockton and Fresno.
Mr. Thompson is interested in ranching, owning two farms in Stanislaus County.

At Modesto he was united in marriage with Miss Lulu L. Finley, a native
daughter of Stanislaus County, born in Modesto, a daughter of the pioneer, John
Milton Finley, who passed away March 23, 1920, at the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Thompson. Four children have been born of their union: Sarah A., a student in
Modesto high school ; Jessie Finley, Walter O., Jr., and James Boyd. Mrs. Thompson
is a member of the Christian Church and of the Woman's Improvement Club. In his
political views Mr. Thompson supports the Republican party, and fraternally he is a
charter member of Modesto Lodge, B. P. O. E., and of the Woodmen of the World.

THEODORE R. OLSON.— A prominent business man in Turlock, who is a
leader in all public movements, is Theodore R. Olson, proprietor of the Broadway
Garage, who was born in Dalarne, Sweden, on May 5, 1865, where he was reared and
remained until he was twenty-three. He learned the carpenter's and builder's trade,
and in 1888 came across the ocean to America and settled at Central City, Colo.,
where he went to work for McFarland & Company, builders of concentrators and
stamp mills. A little later, he became foreman, and for fifteen years he superintended
the important interests of that firm. During that time, he traveled throughout the
state of Colorado, and became familiar with Leadville, Gunnison, Georgetown, Idaho
Springs, and other mining regions.

In 1904, Mr. Olson removed to California, and located at Turlock, then a very
small place with about 200 population. There he obtained the contract to put in the
large flume of Turlock Irrigation District, and by the use of a large crew, completed
the work in four months and demonstrated his success at building. Then, with Mr.
Hedman and Andrew Johnson, he helped start the Turlock Lumber Company, and
opened a retail yard, and built a planing mill, and engaged in contracting and building.
He was in charge of the yard, and made such a success of the enterprise that Mr. John-
son was glad to buy his interest. Mr. Olson then became one of the organizers of the
Turlock Hardware Company, and established a hardware store on West Main Street,
for which he erected a building, with Mr. Quigley and Mr. Hedman, and was active
in that store. They incorporated the Turlock Hardware Company, and Mr. Olson
was president; and they built up a large business and continued at it until 1916. Then
Mr. Olson sold his interest to others.

In the meantime, 1915, having already owned the site of the present Broadway
Garage, Mr. Olson put up the garage building, a structure 50x150 feet in size, where
his son-in-law. Fred Carson, had started an auto and garage business, with the agency
for Studebaker cars. When he sold his hardware business, he found the trade of his
son-in-law increasing so rapidly that he bought a half-interest, and the two together
enlarged the garage quarters, and they now have the exclusive agency for the Stude-
baker. They also earn- the largest stock of auto sundries in town, and they are the
only ones equipped with a tire press for the installation of solid tires on trucks. In 1918,
Messrs. Olson and Carson bought a lot, 125x195 feet, across the street opposite their
garage, and there they intend to build a concrete, fire-roof garage, which they will
occupy as a display and salesplace and ofEce, retaining the old garage for repair work.



636 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Mr. -Olson has improved several ranches, but in each case sold out, although he
owns twenty acres adjoining the city limits, on East Main Street, one of the finest
locations in town. He was one of the original stockholders in the People's State Bank,
and sold his stock. When Turlock was incorporated, he was elected a member of the
first board of trustees, and he continued until he moved out of the city limits, when he
resigned. He succeeded in getting water works owned by the city ; and he fought the
saloons and drove them out. He belongs to the Board of Trade ; is a member of the
Republican County Central Committee ; and was captain for all the Turlock war
drives. He also belongs to the A. A. A.

While in Colorado, Mr. Olson was married to Miss Emma Hokberg, a native of
Vermland, Sweden, and now the mother of two daughters and a son : Anna is Mrs.
Carson, and Amy is Mrs. Erickson, of Turlock; while the youngest is Virgil Theodore
Olson, also of Turlock. The family attend the Swedish Free Church, which Mr. Olson
helped to organize, and where he has been a secretary and a choir leader for years.

ANDREW JOHNSON.— An inspiring example of sturdy manhood is afforded
by Andrew Johnson, who first came to Turlock nearly two decades ago. He was
born in Westergotland, Sweden, in 1845, and was there reared and educated at the
public schools. Becoming of legal age, he served his native country by doing military
service for two years, and only in 1868, when he had a clean army record and could
return to his native land whenever he chose, did he migrate to the United States. He
settled at Moline, 111., for three years, and was employed at the Government Arsenal
on Rock Island. In 1871, he removed to Red Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa, and
bought one hundred sixty acres of prairie land, which he broke up and greatly im-
proved. He was active in organizing the Swedish Lutheran Church at Red Oak, and
as a trustee, helped to build up the congregation. He was also a trustee of Grant
Township there.

In 1903, Mr. Johnson came out to California and pitched his tent at Turlock,
and here he bought fifty-two acres now adjoining the city limits on the south. He
improved this to alfalfa and set out a peach orchard, and built his fine, comfortable
residence at the south end of Broadway. During the fall of 1904, Mr. Johnson and
two partners organized the Turlock Lumber Company, opening their yards the fol-
lowing January; and later he bought out his partners and continued the lumber busi-
ness alone. He also built the first planing mill in Turlock, and when he had well
established the undertaking, he sold it to his son, L. N. Johnson, and C. C. Carlson,
who continued in partnership together until August, 1919, when L. N. Johnson
retired and Mr. Carlson assumed full control.

Andrew Johnson laid out Eighth Avenue Park in acre lots, thereby stimulating
local subdividing, and he also laid out a notable four-block addition to the city of
Turlock, and another addition to Turlock known as Broadway Park. Since carrying
through to a successful completion these important projects, he has lived at Turlock
retired. He has always been a Republican, believing that the platforms of this party
make for the greatest prosperity of the country.

At Moline, 111., on November 13, 1868, Mr. Johnson was married to Miss
Hannah Swanson, a native of the same place in Sweden in which he had first seen
the light of day; and eleven children blessed their fortunate union. Six of these are
still living: Albert is a rancher in Texas; Ada is Mrs. Gotobed of Turlock; Martha
Eleanor has become Mrs. Ed. Rapp and lives near Denair; Luther N. has been in the
lumber business at Turlock; he enlisted in the U. S. Army and was assigned to the
Ninety-first Division of the Three Hundred Sixty-third Infantry, and later was trans-
ferred to the Spruce Division, and served at Vancouver until he was honorably dis-
charged in January, 1919, when he returned to Turlock; Sadie is Mrs. L. M. Farrell
of Turlock, and Ethel is the wife of Chas. Smith, a rancher near Turlock. Charles
was his father's assistant in the lumber yard until his death. Agnes became Mrs. Jack-
son and died here; and Edna died in Iowa at the age of twenty. Mr. Johnson has
eleven grandchildren living. He and his family are members of the Swedish Lutheran
Church, for which he donated the lots necessary for a commodious church site.




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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 74 of 177)