George Henry Tinkham.

History of Stanislaus County California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres online

. (page 79 of 177)
Online LibraryGeorge Henry TinkhamHistory of Stanislaus County California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres → online text (page 79 of 177)
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just about a month later. Three years were required for the assaying of the ma-
terial, and it was during this period that a fellow-workman, Johnson, .found the first
quicksilver bearing ore, but was never awarded the honor. Since that time the ter-
ritory has been proved up, and is heaviest in quick-silver production of any territory.

On account of their abandoning prospective improvements, Mr. Geer was re-
leased by the firm from further duty, and he was immediately attracted to a neigh-


borhood about thirty miles north, where he had work in assaying and mining for five
years. During that period he established his office in Boise City, Idaho, where he
spent his winters; in the summer months he put a man in charge, while he went off
on assaying and sampling tours, over various claims in the territory. He himself
owned a claim ; but when he went to Goldfield, New, he disposed of his interests in
the Big Creek country.

He was at Goldfield about twelve months when he returned to San Francisco
to be married to Miss Matilda Ray Quigley, a native of that city and the daughter
of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Quigley, now both deceased. In 1911, Mr. Geer left San
Francisco and returned to Turlock, to attend to important interests of his own in
Stanislaus County. A son, christened Raymond Henry, died in infancy. Mr. and
Mrs. Geer live on their ranch north of Turlock, while they lease out the farm-land
surrounding them. Mr. Geer has entered the real estate field, and has constructed
in Turlock a modern business block devoted to stores. He is a Republican and
marches with his party in all matters pertaining to national legislation; but his broad-
mindedness repeatedly leads him to support local projects in the most non-partisan
manner. During the War, he served as a "dollar a year" man.

Mr. Geer belongs to the Masons, being a Knight Templar and a Shriner, and
also to the Elks of Merced, and he is serving on the executive committee of the Ma-
sonic Temple of Turlock, which has a fine building in course of construction. Dur-
ing his college days, he was distinguished as an athlete; and not only has he main-
tained a live interest in his favorite sport, football, but he has hied himself off, when-
ever possible, to the high Sierra, and there enjoyed to the fullest the great outdoors.

ANDREW PETER NYLIN.— A rancher whose well-earned retirement is a
source of much satisfaction to his many devoted friends, is Andrew P. Nylin, a native
of Northern Sweden, where he was born near Hofors, Gefleborglan, on April 18,
1865. His father was Anders Andreson, an iron worker who was very expert at
his trade and was esteemed by everybody on account of his high integrity; he was
born and died in the province mentioned, and there he married another native, Miss
Anna Hostrom, who passed away in 1890, twenty-three years before her husband
laid aside the cares of this world. Andrew went to school until the middle of his
fifteenth year, and during that time he was confirmed in the Lutheran Church.

He was then duly apprenticed to the blacksmith's trade, which he learned thor-
oughly, and after that he took up machine work and acquired his credentials as an
expert machinist. Then, in 1885, he left home and went to a city called Avesta,
in the south part of Dalarne and there secured a position as a machinist in a rolling
mill. Having been accustomed to do his work accurately and conscientiously, he
could not fail to give satisfaction to his employers, and had he remained where he
was, he would doubtless have risen to still higher posts of authority.

Mr. Nylin 4 however, had begun to fix his thoughts upon the New World ; and
in 1886 he crossed the ocean to the United States and located at Joliet, 111., where
he worked at the blacksmith trade, and later in the nearby sandstone quarries. Not
being satisfied, he moved westward after two years, and in 1888 arrived in San
Francisco, where he secured employment at O'Brien's wagon shop. For two years
he helped manufacture various kinds of vehicles; and then he went to Portland,
Oregon, and put in two and a half years there as a blacksmith, then came back to
San Francisco and opened a shop of his own on Mission Street and Richland Avenue,
and there he carried on a successful business for over eleven years.

In February, 1904, Mr. Nylin pitched his tent at Turlock, locating on thirty-
three acres of raw land which he worked hard to improve, and which he has since
sold as two separate farms. This land was formerly part of the Crane estate, north
of the town, and was of such a nature that our subject was called upon to pass
through the real hardships of pioneer days. He worked for a while at his blacksmith
trade, while he labored hard to further the project of irrigation ; and for the past seven-
teen years he has given his attention solely to agriculture, thereby contributing some-
thing toward farm development in Stanislaus County. Since selling out his ranches


he bought three acres on Geer road, just outside of the city limits, and upon this
tract he erected a modern residence.

While at Portland, Mr. Nylin was married to Miss Emma Johnson, the cere-
mony taking place on May 25, 1891. The good wife is a native of Skona, Sweden,
and came to America ten years before that time. Both Mr. and Mrs. Nylin are
members of the Swedish Mission Church, where Mr. Nylin was for seven years
treasurer of the congregation. In 1919 he was elected a trustee of the Emanuel
Hospital at Turlock, both of which he helped to establish.

At San Francisco, in 1893, Mr. Nylin was made a citizen of the United
States, and anyone who has known him as a ruggedly honest, self-made man must feel
that American citizenship gained by the accession. He soon associated himself with
the Republican party, and whenever the question of liquor legislation came up for
his support or rejection, he made known where he stood — a stanch Prohibitionist.
In 1913 Mr. and Mrs. Nylin enjoyed a five-month visit with relatives in Sweden.

RALPH B. CROW. — The worthy representative of one of the most interesting
old-timers in all Stanislaus County — the son of a pioneer who was born at La Grange
some sixty-five years ago — Ralph B. Crow can hardly ever fail of a welcome at any
hearth in the Golden State. He was born on September 26, 1887, on the home farm
eleven miles east of Modesto, the son of Albert N. Crow, who had married Miss
Laura Browder on October 17, 1876, in the same house in which he is now dwelling.
Grandfather William Browder, who was born in Missouri, came to California in
1851, and traveled across the great plains in a prairie schooner drawn by an ox team,
taking six months to make the trip. He came with an emigrant train from Cairo, 111.,
and followed the Salt Lake Route and the Sonora Pass, to Chinese Camp ; and the
trip through the Pass was not only long and tedious, but it was so difficult that it was
often necessary to use blocks and tackle to let themselves down safely. After arriving
in California, Mr. Browder purchased the Crimean House southwest of Chinese Camp,
and this place he used as a stage station. In 1854 he took up Government land on
the Tuolumne River, in Stanislaus County, about three miles east of the present loca-
tion of Hughson. Here he engaged in stock and grain raising. The first plow he
used on the place was made by himself; the wood for it he cut from an oak tree. His
brand was W.B. and ranged in those early days from the Tuolumne to the San
Joaquin River. He became a large land owner, was an indefatigable worker, and
while cradling grain he became overheated, caught a cold, which resulted in pneu-
monia, from which he died at the age of forty-two. His wife was Sarah E. Hudelson,
who crossed the plains from Missouri in the early days. She died in 1907. Laura
Browder was born on the home ranch and attended school in Turlock. In those days
people sought river-bottom land and hauled water from the river for domestic use ;
and sometimes a spring was found, which proved a still greater blessing. Grandfather
Browder's next step was to purchase 360 acres ; and since then more land has been
added until now there are 2,500 acres in the estate.

Grandfather Wm. Crow was born in Utah, and coming to California as a young
man, he married in Stanislaus County a Miss Dorsey, whose parents were pioneers of
La Grange. Wm. Crow owned a farm on the north side of the Tuolumne River,
three miles west of Waterford, where he followed ranching until his death. Mr. and
Mrs. Albert N. Crow engaged in farming the Browder ranch and in time became
its owners. Meeting with success, Mr. Crow bought other lands until he owns a
large tract and was one of the large grain growers until he retired from active ranch-
ing. Mrs. Crow passed away in 1913, a woman much beloved by all who knew her
for her splendid example of womanhood. Of their five children, four grew up:
Myrtle was Mrs. W. T. Scoon of Modesto, and passed away in 1911 ; Edith died in
1919; Hattie died when a mere child; Ella N. presides over her father's home; Ralph
B., the youngest, is the subject of this sketch. He attended the Empire district gram-
mar school at Hughson, and later was a student in the Anderson Military Academy
at Irvington, Cal. In 1907 he started to ranch for himself, and leased the old Crow
homestead, and also additional land, making in all about 4000 acres, which he planted
to wheat, oats and barley. For years he had about sixty head of mules, and now he

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children and is deeply beloved by her grandchildren, of whom she is exceptionally fond.
Her property consists of 150 acres of land on Paradise Road, eight miles southwest
of Modesto, in Shiloh precinct, where she takes an active interest in local affairs.

WINTHER GLADWIN ADAMS.— Progressive ranchers of California are now-
giving much thought and attention to the grade of their chosen breed of poultry or
stock, with the result that financial results are kept at a maximum of profit. W. G.
Adams, owner of a splendid ranch of sixty acres, in Hart precinct, six miles west of
Modesto, has been a leader in this line, and now owns a herd of fourteen graded
dairy cows, and a fine flock of pure-blooded Barred Rock hens, of which he is justifi-
ably proud, and which return him a handsome profit. His latest venture in the line
of pure-blooded strains is in breeding pigeons, three strains having been chosen for his
purposes. His first stock was purchased from Allen G. Curry of Hayward, in 1919,
and Mr. Adams now owns some birds of unusual beauty and of great value. His
equipment and breeding pens, for both his pigeons and his Barred Rocks, are of the
latest scientific designs, and he is planning to exhibit at various fairs and poultry
shows, and fully expects to carry away his full share of blue ribbons.


Mr. Adams is a native of Stanislaus County, born on Dry Creek, near Empire,
ten miles east of Modesto, February 8, 1880, his family being one of those who pio-
neered into the West at an early date, his father having come to California in 1863.
Mr. Adams has always lived in Stanislaus County and has done much to aid in the
development and upbuilding of this part of the state. He is a sportsman and loves
hunting and fishing and the pleasures of the great outdoors. He is a member of
Wildey Lodge No. 149 I. O. O. F., of Modesto, and of the Encampment and Re-
bekahs, and is known as a stanch friend and a splendid neighbor.

Mr. Adams was married in Stanislaus County, at her father's home, six miles
west of Salida, March 18, 1902, to Miss Etta J. Butler, the daughter of Charles D.
and Elizabeth (Updike) Butler, born January 13, 1882, west of Salida. Her par-
ents were natives of Ohio, but came to California at an early date. Her father is
now deceased, but her mother is one of the well-known ranch owners of the county.
Mrs. Adams is the sister of J. W. Butler, residing on the Maze Road, near Modesto,
whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Mrs. Adams has borne her husband
three children, two sons and a daughter, Charles S., engaged in ranching, but residing
at home ; John Wilbur and Claracy Alice, attending the Hart school. Mrs. Adams
is a member of the Rebekahs at Modesto.

It was in 1909 that Mr. Adams settled on his present place in Hart precinct.
His father is John Adams, a native of Ohio, born August 29, 1848, the son of Wil-
liam and Maria Adams, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Pennsylvania.
John Adams crossed the plains with his parents in a "prairie schooner" when he was
a lad of fifteen years, settling at Lodi, in the Sacramento Valley, and coming to
Modesto in 1867, where he has since resided. He was married November 29, 1878, to
Alice Love, the daughter of Nelson Love, who came to Stanislaus County in 1874,
and they became the parents of two sons, W. G., the subject of this sketch, and Earl.
William Adams engaged in grain farming soon after coming to California and was
one of the pioneers in this great industry, in which line he was followed by his son,
John, and his grandson, W. G. John Adams now lives at 620 Fifteenth Street, Modesto.

LEONORA V. ROUSSEAU. — An able business woman, who is an enthusiastic
supporter of Stanislaus County, is Leonora V. Rousseau, the county recorder, who was
born in Somerset, Pulaski County, Ky., the daughter of Jesse Wilder, member of a
family well known in Alabama. He was born in Williamsburg, Ky., practiced law
until the Civil War, in which he served over three years as a Union soldier. As a
member of a Kentucky regiment under General Sherman, he participated in the famous
march through Georgia to the sea. Naturally he was for years prominent in the
Grand Army of the Republic and became commander of Somerset Post. Some
years after the war he served for eight years as district judge. Having studied civil
engineering in younger days, he engaged in surveying and became a dealer in lands
and also a large owner. He was mayor of Whitley City, McCreary County, Ky., for
four years He still resides in his native state at the age of eighty. Mrs. Wilder was
Eliza Higgenbotham, also a native of Pulaski County, Ky., and a member of an old
Virginia family. She died in May, 1918, aged seventy-three.

The third youngest of seven sons and three daughters, all of whom are living,
Leonora was reared in Somerset County, and attended both the grammar and high
schools. She was married in Somerset to Dr. J. W. Rousseau, also a native of Pulaski
County, Ky., the son of John W. and Martha (Stewart) Rousseau, who were born in
Kentucky. They came of French and Scotch descent, and were planters in the Blue
Grass State. When nineteen years of age, young Mr. Rousseau came West to Oregon,
and having graduated from Willamette University, he taught school in Washington,
Oregon and California, and then attended the medical school of the University of
Tennessee, from which he was graduated with the degree of M.D. He practiced in
Kentucky, was surgeon for the Cincinnati Southern Railroad, and later surgeon of
the Kentucky & Tennessee Central Railroad.

In 1908, Dr. Rousseau located at Modesto, where he acquired several hundred
acres. He continued to reside at Modesto until March 1, 1917, when he departed
this life, mourned bv a widow and three children: Bessie is the wife of Frederick


Park of Hollywood; Opal is assistant in the county recorder's office ; and the third
child is James Rousseau. Since her husband's death, Mrs. Rousseau has made her
home in Modesto and, while engaged in the insurance business, has directed the edu-
cation of her children.

In November, 1918, Mrs. Rousseau was elected county recorder by a majority
of 2,153 votes, and on January 6, 1919, she took the oath of office. Since then she
has installed the loose leaf system of records, the most up-to-date and practical method
nf keeping and handling the valuable data entrusted to her. In national principles a
Republican, Mrs. Rousseau knows no partisanship in supporting local measures. In
the practice of her Christian faith, Mrs. Rousseau is a consistent Methodist. Prom-
inent in civic and social circles, Mrs. Rousseau is a member of the Woman's Improve-
ment Club, as well as a member of the Artisan and Yeoman lodges. As an esteemed
public official, she is also influential in the State Association of County Recorders.

MRS. CHRISTINE M. ELHOLM.— Prominent among the pioneer women of
Stanislaus County is Mrs. Christine M. Elholm, who for more than thirty years has
been a resident of California, most of that time in this county, actively identified with
its growth and development, contributing in full measure her share in toil and conse-
cration to its prosperity and welfare. The widow of the late Andrew H. Elholm,
since his death she is the lessee and manager of the great grain ranch near Newman,
which they have farmed for twenty-six years and on which she resides with her sons
and daughters, a credit to the community and a power for good.

Her marked ability as manager of her wide acres is an inheritance from farmer
ancestors on both sides, thrifty Danes, living for generations in Schleswig at Tands-
let near Sonderburg, on the Island of Alsen, Denmark. She is a daughter of George
and Anna (Nelson) Christensen, well-to-do farmers. On both sides the families have
lived there for many generations, more than 400 years, because in the house where
Mrs. Elholm was born "1642" is carved into the massive beams. Her parents are
dead and the oldest brother, Christen, now owns the place. Here Christine was
reared and educated in an atmosphere of culture and refinement. She had two broth-
ers, George and Andrew Christensen, who had come to California about 1881 along
with Andrew H. Elholm. After a year in Iowa, they came to California in 1882.
George died two years later. Andrew became a business man in San Francisco and
died January 24, 1916.

In 1890 Andrew Elholm made a visit to his old home and renewed the ac-
quaintance of Miss Christensen, who was a school girl when he left and before the end
of his visit they were engaged to be married. She then came, to California in 1890,
making her home with her brother in San Francisco and they were married in that
city, March 21, 1891.

Mr. Elholm was also born on the Island of Alsen on November 24, 1860. He
had come to California in 1882 and about 1884 to Hill's Ferry. After their mar-
riage they located in San Joaquin Valley and engaged in farming at Orestimba for
three years, when they leased the present place of 1,200 acres, where he continued
until his death, December 19, 1916. He was a good man who was well liked by
everyone and was mourned by his family and friends. Mr. Elholm was one of the
influential and progressive men of the community, interested in public welfare, was
trustee of Cleveland school district and for many years served as trustee for the New-
man Union High School, since the district was started and until his death. He was
a member of the Woodmen of the World and Ancient Order of United Workmen.

Mrs. Elholm is the mother of six children, all well and favorably known at
Newman. They are Jesse J., an automobile mechanic in Newman ; Herbert George,
the capable foreman of the great grain ranch ; Andrew C, Roy H., Anna C. and Alice
C, all residing at home, the latter three still being in school. Of these Jesse J., the
eldest son, won an enviable record for service during the great World War. He entered
the service November 19, 1917, and after only three weeks at Camp Lewis, he was
transferred to Washington, D. C, where he was made first sergeant of the Three
Hundred Eighteenth Motor Transport Company, in charge of automobile repairs,
with a large force of men under him. On May 21, 1918, he sailed with his com-


pany for France, and after a year of service on French soil, he was afterwards sta-
tioned for months with the Army of Occupation on the Rhine, near Mayence, Ger-
many. He received his honorable discharge at the Presidio at San Francisco, Sep-
tember 12, 1919.

Since her husband's death, Mrs. Elholm has assumed the management of the
ranch and with the aid of her children she is carrying on the business of raising bar-
ley and wheat. She is operating the ranch with tractor and teams. She has a 65
horse-power Holt caterpillar and combined harvester and also uses teams of mules and
horses, her sons being her able assistants. She has inherited from her sturdy ancestors
much business ability as well as habits of industry and has demonstrated her ability in
her farming enterprise and is giving a good account of her stewardship. Mrs. El-
holm and her children are members of the Presbyterian Church at Newman, and she
also takes an active interest in the Rebekah lodge.

EARL FRANCIS SAWDEY.— A highly esteemed resident of Hughson whose
researches as to the origin of his historic family have stimulated within him the historic
sense, and have led him to take a deeper interest in the eventful past of the Golden
State, is Earl Francis Sawdey, who was born at West Mill Creek, Erie County, Pa.,
on October 26, 1873, the son of Nelson Sawdey, a native of Cortland County, N. Y.,
who became a merchant in Lockport, Pa. He ran a store in the early days on the Erie
Canal, and supplied many of the necessaries then demanded by those building and

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 79 of 177)