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 77 of 177)
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At Somerset he engaged in the practice of law, and later formed a partnership
with Mr. Wesley, afterwards a partner of Benjamin V. Smith. Advancing by a
successful general practice, he made preparations in the fall of 1909 to locate in Mo-
desto ; and in January, 1910, he arrived here and opened an office. From the begin-
ning he was known as a successful practitioner; and when he formed a partnership
with Jay Hindman, under the firm name of Brown & Hindman, it was generally
conceded that the arrangement was advantageous to all concerned. This partnership
was continued until February 2, 1919, when Mr. Hindman died.

In 1914 Mr. Brown was a candidate for district attorney of Stanislaus County
against Mr. Cross, but was defeated by ninety-three votes; in 1918 he was again a
candidate, and at the November election he was chosen over Mr. Cross by about 2,300
votes. On January 6, 1919, he took the office for a four-year term. He is a promi-
nent member of the Stanislaus Bar Association.

On February 29, 1902, at Stanford, Ky., Mr. Brown was married to Miss Cora
M. Jones, a native, like himself, of Somerset, and two children have blessed their
fortunate union. The elder is Ralph M. Brown and the younger is named Louise.
The family are members of the Christian Church, of which Mr. Brown is an elder.
Mr. Brown was made a Mason in Woodstock, Ky., Lodge No. 639, A. F. & A. M.,
and he is now a member of Stanislaus Lodge No. 206, F. & A. M., Modesto. Stanis-
laus County could not well commit to able and more conscientious hands its most
important matters of state ; on which account it is fair to expect that District Attorney
Brown will be "heard from" more and more as the years go by.

JAMES F. FOWLER. — A mechanic and architect of exceptional ability, who
comes of a family of experienced builders, James Franklin Fowler has easily become
the leading contractor and builder of Oakdale, where he has resided for the last six-
teen years. He was born at Oakland, in Alameda County, on January 24, 1872, the
son of James Madison Fowler, one of the leading contractors and builders in that
city, having put up there many of the best structures of all kinds. He came to Cali-
fornia in 1852, and eleven years later, in Merced County, was married to Miss Ann
Eliza Woodcock, the daughter of R. V. Woodcock, who was once a pioneer miller at
Merced, and ran no less than three different mills on Merced River. Mr. and Mrs.
Fowler had seven children — six boys and one girl, who is now deceased ; and James
was the third child in the order of birth. These six sons are all builders, and the
youngest brother is J. F. Fowler's foreman.

When he was eight years of age, James moved with his folks to the city of
Merced, and later they went to Snelling, in Merced County, where they obtained a
grammar school education. He worked at building from his eighth to his fourteenth
year, during every vacation, and since he was fourteen he has devoted himself entirely
to his trade. He has built two residences for the Schadlich Bros., each costing $7,500,
and among the other edifices put up by him are the annex to the Live Oak Hotel, the
telephone building, the Central Garage, the Highway Garage, the Emerald Building,
the Economy Block and the Oakdale Creamery. He was overseer of the First
National Bank in the construction of their bank building at Oakdale, and he has
also recently completed residences for A. L. Gilbert, William A. Patterson, Dr.
Clark, Dr. J. Audley Young, Newton Gray, William Gray, E. N. Moulton and
Alvin Rydburg, and houses for Walter Willms and Arthur Willms, and for Hans
Erickson near Eugene. He has also built many bridges in Stanislaus County, having
devoted much attention to such works of engineering. He has recently completed
the post office building for the Rodden Bros., and also a stone building for Jessie F.
Ferrell at Snelling in Merced County, and has just completed superintending the
construction of the Oakdale warehouse for the Almond Growers Association.

Mr. Fowler came to Oakdale in 1904 from Merced, where he had been employed
by W. H. McElroy as building foreman, and had just completed the construction of
the new County Hospital at Merced. After he came to Oakdale, he became superin-
tendent of construction of the Hughes Block, and he has ever since been identified


with important interests in the town and county. In November, 1920, Mr. Fowler
defeated George J. Bentley of Oakdale in a contest for the office of supervisor from
the First district in Stanislaus County, taking the office June 3, 1921, and he is now
able to serve his fellow-citizens in an official capacity with his usual broad-minded and
progressive spirit.

Mr. Fowler was married at Merced Falls, in Merced County, in 1894, to Miss
Addie Stribling, a daughter of William Alfred and Henrietta (Mylar) Stribling —
the latter now Mrs. Henrietta Kelsey. Mrs. Fowler was born in Coulterville, Mari-
posa County, Cal., and received her education there and in Merced County. Two
children have blessed their union : Ruth and Alfred. He served in the United States
Navy on the mine-sweeper "Pigeon," and was stationed at Mare Island. Mr. Fowler
belongs to the Odd Fellows, joining the order in Snelling in 1893, and is a past grand
of the Oakdale lodge, and with his wife is a member of the Rebekahs, in which she is
a past noble grand and past district deputy, while he is also a member of the Wood-
men of the World and the Loyal Order of Moose.

PETER R. HANSEN.— An old settler and a man of large affairs in the San
Joaquin Valley who has done much to build up the agricultural interests ofthe county,
is Peter R. Hansen, and by his industry, energy and close application, assisted by his
faithful and devoted wife, has helped materially to increase the resources of the
valley. He was born in Soby, Denmark, on September 18, 1860, the son of Capt.
Hans Madsen, a seafaring man who was master of his own vessel, plying in the coast-
ing trade, and who unfortunately died when our subject was a child of four years.
The mother, who was Ellen Peterson, long survived him, dying at eighty-four.

There were five children in the family, four of whom are living, Peter Hansen
being next to the youngest and the only one in California. Having the advantages of
the excellent schools of Denmark, as soon as his school days were over he worked on
farms in the neighborhood of his old home until he was seventeen, when he made his
way to Schleswig, and was there employed on farms until 1880. Being desirous of trying
his fortune in the land of the Stars and Stripes, and particularly California, of which
state he had heard glowing reports, he came to San Lorenzo, where he spent three
weeks, and then went on to Merced County, where he entered the employ of Miller &
Lux on their canal ranch at Los Banos, continuing with them for three years. He
was then in the employ of Win. Turner on his Merced River ranch for a year.

In 1885, having accumulated some means, Mr. Hansen purchased a farming
outfit and leased a ranch at Snelling and engaged in farming and also in hauling
freight from Turlock to Hopton, Snelling and Merced Falls for one year. He then
removed to Newman and engaged in hauling grain, using two eight-horse teams,
and also plowing on contract. Subsequently he leased a farm for a year, when he
removed to Los Banos, where he leased two sections of land and raised grain for two
years. Next he leased 640 acres near Pacheco Pass, which he ran for three years.
Having succeeded well he purchased fifty acres from Miller & Lux which he immedi-
ately improved by leveling and checking the land and sowing to alfalfa, and here he
engaged in dairying for twenty years. As he prospered he bought forty-seven acres
more, two miles away, which he also put in alfalfa and rented as a dairy farm. He
was one of the original stockholders in the Farmers Creamery at Los Banos. He
also purchased a forty-acre place at Winton, Merced County, which he improved as a
dairy ranch and moved onto it when he sold his first ranch. Here he continued until
he rented the dairy to his son and removed to Haywards, where he resided for a year
and a half, when he took up his residence on his Los Banos ranch and again engaged
in dairying. In March, 1920, he disposed of it and located in Turlock, where he
purchased the beautiful residence at the corner of Minaret and East Avenue, where
he resides with his family, enjoying the fruits of a well-spent life.

Mr. Hansen has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Margaret Knud-
sen, a native of Denmark, to whom he was married in Modesto; she passed away at
Los Banos, leaving three children: Hans, who operates the home farm; Clarence,
who served in the Ninety-first Division in the World War, resides at Los Banos;
Margaret is a bookkeeper and resides at home. In 1900 Mr. Hansen made a trip


back to his old home in Denmark and there made the acquaintance of Miss Anna
Maria Jensen, who was also born in Soby, Denmark, and after his return to Cali-
fornia, they were married at San Francisco on October 22, 1900, Miss Jensen having
come there. Their children are James, of Turlock high, and Peter R., Jr.

A resident of the valley for over forty years, Mr. Hansen has seen great changes
here — the transformation from a barren waste to a fertile valley with beautiful alfalfa
farms and orchards of all kinds of fruits, and thousands of vineyards of luscious
grapes and affording comfortable homes and a livelihood to a hundredfold people.
He can take just pride in the part he has taken in the accomplishment of this develop-
ment. With his pleasing personality and affable manner, he is highly esteemed.

DR. JAMES WOOLEY MORGAN.— There is no one who holds a greater
opportunity for good, no one who wins the love and good-will of the individual more
thoroughly, nor receives more confidence than the family physician. It is, therefore,
well for a community when its medical practitioners are men of a high type, possessing
integrity of character as well as professional skill. And in Dr. James Wooley Morgan
Modesto has a physician who is recognized for his sterling worth and high principles,
while his record as a practicing physician is indeed an enviable one.

Dr. Morgan has been a resident of Modesto since 1917, and for most of that
time has served as city health officer with great efficiency. In 1918 he enlisted in the
U. S. Navy, entering upon active service in March. He was transferred to New
York, where he became assistant surgeon with the U. S. N. R. F. at that point, with
commission as lieutenant. He served in this capacity for a year, returning to Modesto
upon his discharge, and immediately entering again upon his private practice.

As the descendant of a long line of sturdy Welsh forebears, Dr. Morgan inherits
many of the splendid characteristics of his ancestors. His family came first to America
in 1830, settling in Pennsylvania. His grandfather, John W. Morgan, represented
his district in the Pennsylvania legislature, and was one of the prominent men of
his day. Dr. Morgan is the son of William J. and Laura Adele (Wooley) Morgan,
and was born in Pennsylvania. In 1900 his parents removed to Atlantic City, N. J.,
where they still reside, the father being manager of the Atlantic City Telephone Com-
pany. It was in the famous seaside resort that Dr. Morgan passed his boyhood days,
attending the local grammar and high schools, from which he graduated. He then
matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania, entering the Medico-Chirurgical
College, and graduating with the class of 1914. He served a term as interne at the
Philadelphia General Hospital, remaining under the tutelage of leading physicians
there for two years, and gaining much valuable experience.

It was in 1916 that Dr. Morgan came to California, locating first at Salida,
where he remained for a year, engaged in general practice, before locating per-
manently in Modesto, where he has built up a splendid practice. His record in the
naval service is a splendid one, and served to round out an already exceptionally
thorough medical training.

Dr. Morgan married Miss Elenore M. Whitaker at Baltimore, Md., August 27,
1915. Mrs. Morgan is the daughter of Harry W. and Mary M. Whitaker, and a
native of Philadelphia, where her father is a prominent manufacturer. She has
borne her husband one child, James Wooley, Jr. Dr. Morgan takes an active interest
;n local affairs, both socially and of a civic nature, and enjoys the friendship of a wide
circle of friends. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Modesto.

Politically, Dr. Morgan is a Republican and a stanch party man, although in
all local matters he supports the right men and measures regardless of part)' affilia-
tions. Fraternally he is prominent with a number of organizations, being a member
of Modesto Lodge No. 1282, B. P. O. Elks, the Independent Order of Redmen and
of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He has taken an active interest in all that
pertains to the welfare of Modesto since making his home here, and has won a high
standing among business and professional men, as is attested by his four years' service
as city health officer, as ex-president of the Progressive Business Club of Modesto,
and ex-president of the beard of directors of the Stanislaus Country Club.


ADOLPH EDISON SCHELL.— A man who is widely and favorably known in
Stanislaus County, where his operations as ranchman have brought him prominently
to the front in business circles, is Adolph Edison Schell, who is in charge of the cattle
interests of the H. R. Schell ranch at Knights Ferry. He was born at the famous
and celebrated Red Mountain Vineyard near Knights Ferry, November 2, 1878, the
son of an honored pioneer citizen of Stanislaus County, H. R. and Clara (Church)
Schell, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. He attended_the public schools
of Knights Ferry and then took a course in York's Business College at Stockton.

In 1907 he was married to Miss Maimie B. Wear, an attractive and accom-
plished girl of West Virginia, a daughter of John and Rebecca (Brazee) Wear, now
of Stockton. Her father died in 1917 at Stockton at the age of sixty-five years but
her mother is still living. They were the parents of five children : Eva is the wife of
Froane Gregory and resides in Los Angeles; Maimie B. was born in West Virginia
and came to California, settling at first at Turlock, when she was but a little girl of
nine years ; Daisy is the wife of Fred Rose of Stockton ; John W. is bookkeeper for the
Holt Manufacturing Company at Stockton ; Zila is the wife of Horace Nichols of
Stockton, who is the timekeeper for the Holt Manufacturing Company. Mrs.
Schell graduated from the Western School of Commerce at Stockton and became a
teacher. She taught two years near Modesto and one year in Merced County. Mr.
and Mrs. Schell are the parents of two children: Eleanor S. and Herrick Richard.

Mr. Schell is interested in a 1,200-acre ranch which he and his brother, Charles
E., and his father own in partnership, having it stocked with beef cattle. He is also in
charge of the cattle end of the ranch of H. R. Schell, consisting of about 4.000 acres
which is devoted to cattle raising, having about 350 head of the very finest cattle. In
1907, Mr. Schell became the owner of a most attractive and comfortable hoinej located
at Knights Ferry, which has since been the family residence, and here their many
friends are cordially welcomed.

Mr. Schell concentrates his efforts and attentions upon his business affairs and
in all that he undertakes manifests a most progressive spirit, displaying the sarrje
patriotic spirit of his forefathers. He participated in all of the drives during the
World War, giving both of his time and means to further Government programs.

LEVI J. JONES. — One of Stanislaus County's early settlers, a successful man
of exceptional ability, broad minded and large hearted, and who will long be pleas-
antly remembered for his geniality, was Levi J. Jones, who passed to the Great Be-
yond, mourned by a large circle of friends, in the early nineties. Enterprising and
farsighted, he was one of the leading spirits in the pioneer days of the county and
contributed much to the progress of the community. He was born at Nashville,
Tenn., on August 15, 1844, the son of John W. and Mary Ann Jones. The year
following his parents migrated from Tennessee to Missouri, and in April, 1852, they
started on the long journey across the wide plains to California, traveling in an ox-
team train and proceeding by way of Salt Lake. When they were one month on the
way, cholera broke out in the train at the Little Blue in Nebraska, and the devoted
wife and mother succumbed to its ravages, leaving her grief-stricken husband and
four little children to finish the journey deprived of her loving ministrations. They
reached California in the fall of 1852 and in October Mr. Jones settled on the French
Camp Road, twenty miles from Stockton, at what is now Escalon, and there became
a large landowner, accumulating about 20.0U0 acres. His mother, who came out in
the same train, lived to be ninety-eight years of age.

A lad of only eight years when he reached California, Levi J. Jones began as
early as his tenth year to herd the cattle on the mountains and at that immature age
he one day heard some Mexicans talking about Government land. He r»de back home
that night to tell his father what he had overheard, and the latter bought and ac-
quired more than 20,000 acres in the Blackhill country near Montpellier, Stanislaus
County. He lived on his ranch at Escalon, passing away at the age of seventy-eight.

On December 19, 18b7, Levi J. Jones was united in marriage with Miss Jessie
Frances Jones, the ceremony occurring at her home near Stockton. She was a native
of Sydney, Australia, where she was born on July 4, 1848, the daughter of James


Augustus St. Clair and Charlotte (Hennessey) Jones, natives, respectively, of Aus-
tralia and Ireland. They came to California in 1854, soon after the lucky strike of
gold, and engaged in mining in Trinity County, where the father died. Mrs. Char-
lotte Jones then married Ferree Powell, a native of Arkansas who had crossed the
plains in the early days. They located near Stockton, where they became interested
in ranching, and it was here that Levi Jones met his future bride.

On August 30, 1869, Mr. Jones located on his farm in Stanislaus County, and
there built his home. It was miles to the nearest water, so one of his first labors
was to sink a well. These were primitive days in this locality — rattlesnakes, coyotes
and other wild animals abounded and much of the country was wilderness. Mr.
Jones was undaunted by these conditions, however, and with true pioneer spirit
carried on the work of civilization. He became extensively engaged in stock raising
and later went in for raising grain on a large scale. His ranch comprised 5,000 acres
of valuable land, a part of the large tract purchased from the Government at his sug-
gestion by his father, and he made his home on this great ranch until his death, which
occurred on July 1, 1891. Some years afterward his widow became Mrs. Griffith
and made her home in Oakland until her decease in 1902.

Six children — three boys and three girls — made up the family of Levi Jones and
his wife; and among them, Mary Ann, now Mrs. Gilbert Manchester Voorheis, was
the only one who grew to maturity. She has inherited the traits of her pioneer father
and is a woman of large business affairs in Modesto, where she has been an upbuilder
of the city, displaying exceptional business acumen and foresight. She is also very
prominent in civic, social and club circles, being a member of the Rebekahs, Native
Daughters of the Golden West, past matron of the Eastern Star, and is now royal
matron of Modesto Court, Order of Amaranth.

STOCKARD W. COFFEE.— Stanislaus County has seldom boasted of a
worthier or more interesting pioneer than the late Stockard W. Coffee, who was born
in Smith County, Tenn., on September 16, 1838, and died on April 7, 1917. He was
the son of Joel Coffee, a native of Tennessee, who had married Miss Martha Moore,
a native of South Carolina. Joel Coffee pursued agriculture in Tennessee until his
death in 1848, after which his wife married George Wootten, with whom she settled in
Illinois. In 1864 they came to Stanislaus County, where they resided until their death.
Stockard was one of nine children. His sister, Mrs. Mary Drake, had a ranch about
four miles from Modesto, and died there ; Alfred J. Coffee, a brother, died in Oakdale.

Having passed his boyhood in Tennessee, Stockard Coffee removed to Illinois with
his parents and there continued farming until 1863, when he started to cross the great
plains as one of a party of emigrants. The train set out from Plattsmouth, on the
Missouri River, followed the South Platte River to Julesburg and past Pole Creek,
and then through the Black Hills. They camped on the site of Cheyenne, Wyo., and
turned back at Big Laramie Plains because of reports that the Indians were on the
warpath. Near Denver the emigrants erected a fortification of sod, as a protection
against any attack by the redskins, and within this wall the eight or nine wagons, their
oxen and occupants were housed until the winter was over. Then, in July, 1864, the
pioneers set out again by way of Salt Lake and Walker's Cutoff to Fort Churchill, and
along the Big Ten route crossed the Sierras, Mr. Coffee captaining the party.

He first located at Linden, on the Calaveras River, when he had less than three
dollars in gold to his name, and soon after he went to work on the toll road at one
dollar a day for wages. Even in the harvest season he received only fifty dollars a
month. In the fall of 1866 he preempted 160 acres of Government land in Stanislaus
County, six miles northeast of what is now Modesto. He worked hard to till and im-
prove his land, and forty years later, when he received a rebate of $200 from the
Government, he was reminded that he had been compelled to pay originally $2.50 an
acre instead of $1.25. Being both thrifty and ambitious, Mr. Coffee kept on acquiring
land until he owned nearly 1,300 acres in Stanislaus County, on which he raised for
the most part wheat; and when irrigation was introduced, he sold off most of what he
had, receiving for it from $65 to $125 an acre. He retained, partly for sentiment's


sake, some eighty acres of his original claim, which he had greatly improved and
brought to a high state of cultivation.

In 1905 Mr. Coffee moved into the town of Modesto from his ranch, and there-
after lived retired, but not so much cut off from the world that he did not follow with
interest, understanding and sympathy what was going on around him. His past ex-
periences made him peculiarly fitted to be a useful and influential citizen. He was a
county supervisor from 1878 to 1880, and later served as one of Modesto's city trustees.

Mr. Coffee had been married in this county, November 13, 1870, to Miss Martha
Howell, who was born in Warren County, Mo., on April 4, 1850, a daughter of
William N. and Minerva (Stewart) Howell, representatives of pre-Revolutionary
families. The Howells were of Welsh blood, and settled at first in North Carolina,
later removing to Missouri and then to California; the Stewarts settled in Virginia, and
were of Scotch-English ancestry. Mr. Howell spent the closing years of his life in the
Golden State, when he used to tell, with spirit and pleasure, exciting or amusing inci-
dents of his more strenuous years. In this he was matched by Mr. Coffee, who liked
to exhibit various souvenirs of his trip across the plains, and in particular one of the
medals presented by President Jefferson to the Indians, which he had dug out of an
Indian mound. Fraternally, Mr. Coffee was an Odd Fellow, nor was there any
member more popular.

Six children came to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Coffee: John A. resides
in Modesto ; Jasper Warren is ranching on a portion of the old Coffee home place ;
Henry J. is also a farmer, at home on the Coffee ranch ; Darthula is the wife of Robert
Hummer, who resides on another part of the home ranch; Letha May married J.
Alexander Switzer, an employee of the Modesto Neivs, and resides at Modesto ;
Charles S. is still another operator of a part of the old Coffee ranch.

JOHN L. WARD. — A broad-minded, liberal-hearted Modestoan whose far-

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 77 of 177)