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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 80 of 177)
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operating this waterway. He married Miss Lois Ball, a native of Erie County, Pa., a
valued helpmate ; he died at Arcadia, Hancock County, Ohio, aged seventy-five.

Earl Sawdey attended the grammar school at Lockport, and later at North Balti-
more, Ohio, having moved to Lockport with his parents when he was four years of age,
and after that to Wood County, Ohio. When fourteen years old, he started to make
his way in the world. He went to Fostoria and worked for a year in a hotel, and then,
removing to the city of Cincinnati, he found employment on a steamboat. He went up
and down the Ohio and the Mississippi to New Orleans, and he finally quit steamboat-
ing at St. Louis, Mo. In the spring of 1891 he went to Denver, Colo., where he
stayed for a summer, and in the fall of that year he came out to San Francisco.

On coming to the Coast, Mr. Sawdey at first intended to go to sea, but finding
that his sailing vessel would be away for seven months, he entered the service of a
coastwise steamer plying between San Francisco and Vancouver, B. C, but after a year
he returned to San Francisco, where he became night clerk in a hotel. Then, with
Victor Twedell, he opened a restaurant at 22 Turk Street, in that city, and in that
field he remained active for a year. Selling out, he migrated to Phoenix, Ariz., where
he went "broke" through speculation. This led him to drift to other parts of Arizona
and to Texas, and finally he wound up in Nome, Alaska, during the gold rush of 1898,
where he put in a season prospecting.

Returning to the United States, Mr. Sawdey spent two years in touring the
country, looking up his family, and he found some 1,600 Sawdeys, whom he traced back
to A. D. 1641. The family came from Scotland and Wales, and the Sawdeys, there-
fore, are Scotch-Welsh. He spent a year in New York City, and then went on to
Kansas, where he was for a time in the oil fields. He next moved to St. Louis, and
during the Exposition was in the photograph business. At the close of the Fair, he
went to Longmont, Colo., and near there, at Pleasant View, he ran a general mer-
chandise store during the following year. Returning to Denver in 1906, he established
the Mile High Photograph Company for the purpose of doing commercial photography,
and he prospered so from the start that he had ten men in his employ. He specialized
in railroad, mining and irrigation projects, as well as in all kinds of reproduction, and
did the advertising photograph work for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, the Moffat
Road and the Colorado & Southern Railroad. He also did work for many years for
the Denver Livestock Show. After seven such busy years, he spent another year in
travel in order to determine the best place for settling down, and finally his choice fell
on Hughson, Stanislaus County.

In 1912, Mr. Sawdey formed a partnership with J. V. Date to carry on a real
estate business, and he also purchased ten acres on the Hughson-Ceres Highway, just




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 699

west of the town. He built a home on this ranch and lived there until 1920, when he
moved to his new home in the town. Then he sold the ten acres to W. P. Hobbs of
Grand Junction, Colo., and at once purchased another ten acres adjoining the town on
the east, which he set out to Thompson Seedless grapes. In the spring of 1919, Mr.
Sawdey, with seven others, organized and incorporated the Hughson Sorghum Syrup
Company and built a factory in Hughson with a capacity of 25,000 gallons a year and
arranged for the raising of sorghum cane and the manufacture of sorghum, which they
have operated with success for two years. This encouraged them to enlarge the busi-
ness and it has just been merged into a new company known as the California Sorghum
Syrup and Products Company, with headquarters and manufacturing plant in Modesto.
The Hughson factory was the first on the Pacific Coast to attempt the manufacture of
sorghum syrup on a large and commercial scale. The new plant now being completed
in Modesto is located on the State Highway north of the city, adjoining the Borden
plant. It will have a capacity of 350,000 gallons a year, and equipped with modern
sugar machinery, with steam boilers and electric power. Besides sorghum syrup, they
will manufacture stock food and other by-products and anticipate using the product of
1,500 acres of cane. This establishes a new industry in the state and an added agri-
cultural industry in Stanislaus County, the farmers obtaining cash for their product
when the cane is delivered at the mill. Mr. Sawdey is president of the company and a
member of the board of directors. It has been proven by investigation that the San
Joaquin Valley produces a superior quality of sorghum cane, containing twenty-five per
cent more sugar than that raised in the East. Knowing that every gallon of cooking
syrup used by the housewives in the West has been sent here from the East, they con-
cluded its manufacture here would be a great success. The first unit built at Hughson
proved a success, so it is no longer an experiment. In addition to the large plant at
Modesto, they will add others as they have carload orders from the East.

Mr. Sawdey 's marriage occurred at St. Louis on August 8, 1903, when he took
for his wife Miss Minnie May Sawdey, a distant relative, their great-great-great-
grandfathers having been brothers. She was born in Sidney, Nebr., and her parents
were Frank and Hannah E. (Lewis) Sawdey, born in New York and New Jersey,
respectively. Her father came to Colorado in 1871, and she was reared and educated
at Longmont. Mr. and Mrs. Sawdey are the parents of six children : Ivan G., who
lives at Taft, graduated at the Hughson high school, and while there won the state
prize for an essay on the injurious effects of tobacco; Francis E. attends the high'school
at Hughson; Allie Dell is also a high school student; Frank M. and George R., twins,
go to the local grammar school ; Earl Allen passed away at the age of six weeks.

Always a public-spirited man, Mr. Sawdey has responded for service whenever
called upon by his neighbors. He was a grammar school director, was secretary of
the Hughson Board of Trade for two years, and was on the Democratic County Central
Committee when E. B. Maze was chairman. He also served on every committee for
loan drives during the late war and also helped along the drive of the Salvation Army.
He belongs to the Masonic lodge and the Eastern Star at Geneva, Ind., and is a member
of the Sciots of Modesto. He attends and supports the Methodist Episcopal Church,
of which his wife and family are members. Mrs. Sawdey is a member of the Ladies'
Aid, the Red Cross and the W. C. T. U., and is very active in the Women's Improve-
ment Club of Hughson, of which she was secretary for four years.

CYRUS J. PHILBRICK.— Prominent among the native sons of California,
C. J. Philbrick was born May 13, 1866, near Duncan's Mills, on Russian River, in
Sonoma County, and where he resided for many years. He owns a fine ranch of
thirty-four and a half acres about three miles west of Modesto, on Paradise Road,
where he has proven the value of dairy farming along scientific lines and of intensive
farming generally. He came into Stanislaus County from Sonoma County in 1009
and purchased a tract of unimproved land. The following year he built an attrac-
tive home on this property and added other improvements necessary for dairying. He
acquired a herd of twenty-one high-grade milk cows, which he recently sold, and is
now engaged in double cropping, with the exception of ten acres in alfalfa.



700 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Mr. Philbrick's father, Edwin Prescott Philbrick, a man of great integrity of
character, was one of the early pioneers of Sonoma County, where he was a well-
known figure for many years. A native of New Hampshire, he came to California in
1863, and for a number of years was engaged in mining in Grass Valley. Later he
took up farming and dairying on the Russian River, where he also was known as an
efficient lumberman. Both he and his wife died in Santa Rosa in 1906.

On his maternal side, Mr. Philbrick is descended from a long line of hardy
Scotch ancestry, his branch of the family having been transplanted to American soil
several generations ago. His mother was Mary Jane Knowles, a native of Illinois.
Her father was Joseph Knowles, a native of Maine, who emigrated to Illinois, where
he was married, when that state was on the western frontier. He came to California
in 1849, mined for a time, then went back to Illinois and in the early '50s returned
with his family, settling in Sonoma County, where he was owner and manager of a
grist mill across the river from Markham's for many years; afterwards owning and
operating the grist mill at Paradise City, in 1878, when he sold out in Sonoma County
and moved to Stanislaus. His death occurred in 1891, at the home of his daughter,
Mr. Philbrick's aunt, Miss Sarah E. Knowles, who now resides at the old homestead.

Mr. Philbrick's early life was passed on his father's farm, and at the age of
twenty-one he went into business for himself, and for nineteen years was in the team-
ing business on Russian River. He was married at Guerneville, September 9, 1891,
to Miss Cecelia Ambrogia, a native of Switzerland. They are the parents of five
children : May Rebecca, a graduate of the State Normal School and a teacher at
Shiloh ; Josie Jane and Clara A., both stenographers; Edwin Cyrus and Lodovina
Anna, attending high school in Modesto.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Philbrick are active members of the Christian Church, and
Mr. Philbrick is a member of Salmon Creek Lodge No. 234, I. O. O. F., in Sonoma
County, and of the American Yeomen. He takes an active part in all questions of
public interest, and during the recent great war was one of the most loyal and generous
supporters of Liberty loans, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other war activities.

ALEX McCALL BIBENS. — A sturdy, brainy Vermonter of interesting Scotch
ancestry and fine old American forefathers, with both ideas and ideals, is Alex
McCall Bibens, the president of the Stanislaus County Holstein Breeders Associa-
tion, and one of the most prominent and best-posted Holstein breeders in California.
He was born at West Rupert, Bennington County, Vt., on August 26, 1866, the
son of Lucien Albert Bibens, a native of Fairfax, Vt., probably the best judge of
stock in New England. The grandfather of our subject on the maternal side was
Capt. Hugh McCall, a native of Scotland, who served in the War of 1812, and
lived to be ninety-six. His brother was Alexander McCall, the distinguished jour-
nalist and editor of the Troy Daily Post, after whom A. M. Bibens was named : and
the latter has the volumes of the Daily Post, from 1842 to 1845, in bound form,
which he prizes very highly. The motto of the paper was: "Slave to No Party —
Bigot to No Sect !" He was also a prominent Mason. Great-grandfather McCall
traced his ancestry back to the Campbell, Stuart and McCall clans of Scotland, from
which country he brought his family to Vermont when Grandfather McCall was
nine years old. Grandfather Bibens, on the other hand, was a Vermonter and a
farmer, who passed away when Mr. Bibens was only two years of age; he had mar-
ried Miss Lydia Powell, also of Scotch ancestry, a lovable lady, as was Mrs. L. A.
Bibens, whose maiden name was Eliza McCall, and who was born at Hebron,
Washington County, N. Y. L. A. Bibens' death was caused from his becoming
overheated while putting out a brush fire that threatened his neighbor's field of grain,
and to save it he put the fire out by running and carrying water in his hat. The
exertion and inhaling so much smoke caused his death in his sixty-fourth year. His
devoted wife, however, lived to be eighty-two.

There were eight children in this noted New England family: Marietta, when
only two years old, was so badly burned by the maple-sap kettle that she died ; Mary
still resides at the old home where her parents died ; her next youngest brother,
Burnham Hugh, died on the old Bibens home place; Adella is the widow of Smith



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 703

Hilliard, an old Vermonter, and resides in Spokane, Wash.; George L. is a farmer
at Springfield, Vt. ; the sixth in order of birth is A. M. Bibens, of this review; Cor-
delia became Mrs. Alphonse Hilliard and died at Dickinson, N. D., where her husband
was a banker; Ellen J. is Mrs. Sherman Swank and resides at Spokane, Wash.

A. M. Bibens attended the old brick schoolhouse in West Rupert district, Ben-
nington County, and after that he went to the Episcopal College at Salem, N. Y. At
the age of eighteen, he began to keep a store in his home town, and during the next
three years was more than successful with the venture. Then, with his eldest brother,
now deceased, he bought a half interest in the old home farm, after which he engaged
in the nursery business at Shushan, N. Y., and there, on September 16, 1891, at the
age of twenty-five, he was married to Miss Fanny M. Foster, a daughter of John
S. and Ellen J. Foster, and a native of New York State.

The following March, Mr. and Mrs. Bibens left for Washington and on St.
Patrick's Day, 1892, landed at Uniontown, Wash., where Mr. Bibens entered the
banking house of S. Hilliard & Company, and helped to organize the First State
Bank of Uniontown, occupying the position of assistant cashier for about four years.
He did not like the confinement of inside work, however, and removing to Spokane,
bought into the C. O. D. Grocery Company and for two years, from 1896 to 1898,
was its president and manager. Then he went back to Whitman County, Wash.,
and in partnership with his brother-in-law, Smith Hilliard, bought a wheat ranch
of 640 acres; and having later bought Mr. Hilliard out, he is today the sole owner
of one of the best ranches in the famous Palouse country in Washington, a ranch
that he ran until 1911.

Then, on account of the health of Mrs. Bibens, Mr. Bibens came south to Cali-
fornia ; and being familiar from previous personal visits and observation with
Modesto, he at once thought of Stanislaus County. Another brother-in-law, R. L.
Foster, of Shoemake Avenue, was then farming near Claus, and there at first he
bought eighty acres, waiting until 1913 before he bought, at Modesto, his first forty-
acre ranch. Two years later he added forty acres more. He rapidly made many
desirable improvements and was not long in getting most tangible and flattering
results. He built a large house of fourteen rooms, with every modern convenience,
and put up a dairy barn 114x46 feet, which holds 120 tons of hay. He has built
two Tuolumne silos holding respectively 100 and 120 tons, and has equipped the
barns, outhouses and yards with electric light. Mr. Bibens' forty acres on the Tully
Road, north of the home place, is operated by his son-in-law, Oscar Shirk.

Mr. Bibens began breeding Holsteins in Whitman County, Wash., in 1900, and
since then his cow, Abbie De Kol, of Eastbank, 2nd, took the third prize of fifty
dollars in a free for all ten-months' butterfat contest, and was the only cow in
Stanislaus County to win in this contest, which was open to all breeds. Abbie De
Kol in the ten-months' butterfat contest in 1917 produced 832 pounds of butter,
while in the national contest, in 1916, she took first prize in butter fat and second
prize in milk production. Mr. Bibens' senior herd sire is the five-year-old Holstein
bull, Aaggie Cornucopia Pauline, Count 40th, whose granddame was Aaggie Cornu-
copia Pauline, the world's first thirty-four pound cow. She carried the world's rec-
ord for eight vears, and she now heads the only four direct generations above thirty
pounds. His first junior sire is the two-year-old King Mead Aralia Burke, a son of
King Meade of Riverside, while his second junior sire, one year old, is Ormsby Jane
King Pontiac, whose grandsire was Pontiac Korndyke, from a thirty-two pound cow.
Mr. Bibens has taken first prizes at four different exhibits, but relies more upon
pedigree and individual worth and excellence of his cattle than mere prize winning.
He is bringing together three of the best strains of the Holstein breed in existence,
and this speaks both for the scientific spirit and the business initiative actuating him
in all his enterprises. Among his recent sales has been a son of Leda De Kol Ormsby,
a pure-bred Holstein calf, to K. Griebel of Empire. His home ranch of eighty acres
is on the Tully Road, four miles north of Modesto. One of his prizes is a handsome
silver loving cup, two feet high, bearing the engraved legend: "First Prize Given
by Carpenter Cheese Company for Dairy Production, Special, Modesto, California,
1917, Awarded to A. M. Bibens," and this is very highly prized by the winner.



704 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

In addition to being president of the Stanislaus County Holstein Breeders Asso-
ciation, Mr. Bibens was one of the leaders in its organization and has always taken
the livest interest in its affairs. When the president of the National Holstein
Breeders Association was on his trip over the Coast counties, he said that he con-
sidered that Stanislaus County had the best Holstein Breeders Association of any
county in the state, and one of the very best in the United States. Such a statement
coming from that authority reflects great credit on the president and the members of
the association. A firm believer in cooperation, Mr. Bibens is a director in the Milk
Producers Association of Central California, and has taken an active part in get-
ting the association back to a solid financial foundation and in harmonious working
order, a matter to which he has devoted much time and study, for he believes it is
the foundation for the success of the dairy and stock interests of the county. In
national politics a decided Republican, Mr. Bibens stands ready at all times to work
in the most commendable and nonpartisan manner for the advancement of the best
community interests, socially and commercially, as well as industrially, and for help-
ing along the business interests and welfare of others as well as himself.

Four children have blessed the married life of Mr. and Mrs. Bibens: Esther is
the wife of Glenn W. Shirk; Ruth has become the wife of Oscar Shirk; Smith and
Ellen are students at the Modesto high school. All the children and sons-in-law
are interested with Mr. Bibens in the breeding of Holstein cattle. Prominent in
Masonic circles, Mr. Bibens was made a Mason at Pawlet, Vt., in Morning Star
Lodge, A. F. & A. M., from which he was demitted and is now a member of Stanis-
laus Lodge No. 206, F. & A. M., Modesto; also of Modesto Chapter No. 49,
R. A. M., Modesto Commandery, K. T., Aahmes Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., at
Oakland, and of the Woodmen of the World at Modesto. Mrs. Bibens is a mem-
ber of the Presbyterian Church. The successful achievements which have marked
the career of Mr. Bibens stamp him as a man of excellent judgment, foresight and
ability, and it is due to the exertions of strong and forceful men like himself, who
have worked no less for the community's interests than for their own that this locality
has come to be accounted the most flourishing agricultural section of Central California.

JOHN GUE BARKER. — Among the most enterprising men giving their best
efforts and energy in the building up of Stanislaus County, is John Gue Barker, who
was born on Fifty-first Street, New York City, and is the sixth generation removed
from Joseph Sawyer Barker, who came from England to Massachusetts; later this
branch of the family located in New York City. Grandfather Barker was born at
White Plains and was a manufacturer in New York City. Mr. Barker's father, also
named John G. Barker, was a wholesale merchant in New York City.

Our Mr. Barker completed the New York City high school course and then
entered the wholesale business. In 1887, he came to San Francisco and engaged in
the realty and hotel business. He owned different hotels and at the time of the big
fire was proprietor of the Hotel Colonial, after which he became associated with
Charles A. Stewart in building Hotel Stewart. Later, in 1915, he rebuilt and re-
furnished the Hotel Plaza in time for the Exposition. In 1917 he sold it and since
then has given his time to the La Grange Gold Dredging Company, of which he is
president and manager, but has been interested in the company since 1908, first as
vice-president. All these years, he has been active in building up the new San Fran-
cisco, having no less than ten large structures to his credit, and is still heavily interested
in three large edifices. In this he is associated with Harry R. Bostwick, the famous
mining engineer of the Colbran & Bostwick holdings in Korea. In connection with
his mining business, Mr. Barker makes frequent visits to New York City, thus keeping
in touch with his old friends and the growth of the great metropolis.

In San Francisco in 1908, Mr. Barker was married to Mrs. Rebecca (Jennings)
Doolittle, a native daughter of San Francisco, the widow of Col. J. E. Doolittle.
Mr. Barker, who is never idle, despite diverse interests, spends more than half of his
rime in Stanislaus County. In the future of Stanislaus he has abiding faith, based on
her agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, mining and manufacturing resources, actual
and potential, all of which the great dam and power plants now being built at Don



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 707

Pedro will facilitate. He is enamored of the climate and enjoys it, as he does the
spirit of the people of Stanislaus County.

Mr. Barker prophetically announces Modesto will be one of the most important
inland cities of California. This will be brought about mainly from its strategic
marketing location and horticulture possibilities, being less than 100 miles from San
Francisco. Modesto has a hub-like aspect in marketing all its horticulture and agri-
culture products almost at its doors, with trains and truck meeting piers and ships at
the nearby ocean.

MRS. RECA DALBY.— A native of Ohio, Mrs. Reca Dalby, was in maiden-
hood Reca Fink, was born near Marion, September 19, 1849. Her father, Jacob
Fink, was born in Germany and came with his parents to Ohio when a young man.
There he farmed until 1859, when he removed to Batavia, Wis. In 1873 he located
near Crows Landing, residing on his farm there until his death. His wife was Ro-
zalia Harsh, who was also born in Ohio and died in California. They had seven
children, all of whom are living, Reca of whom we write; Mrs. Caroline Warren
of Cottonwood, Merced County; Wm., a farmer at Crows Landing; Jacob resides
at Pasadena; Charles of Lodi; George of Crows Landing, and Julius of Oakland.

Reca Fink came to Wisconsin when she was ten years of age, and there she was
first married September 12, 1869, to Mathew Kniebes, who came to Wisconsin as a
boy. He had made the journey to California across the plains in pioneer days and
returning to Wisconsin he married Miss Fink, and they came on one of the early
overland trains to his farm, three miles south of Crows Landing. Here he died in
1875, and the widow was married again three years later to Samuel Price Dalby, a
native of Boston, Mass., who was a veteran of the Civil War, and who came to
California soon after his discharge and became a successful stockman and farmer.
He owned a farm adjoining Mrs. Kniebes' and as soon as the canal was complete,
forty-two years ago in February, 1879, they improved their 320 acres to alfalfa and
engaged in dairying. In 1910 they sold and removed to Newman, where Mrs. Dalby
still resides, her husband having passed away on August 19, 1919, aged seventy-seven
years and six months. He was a prominent Mason.

By her first marriage she had three children: Albert resides near Gustine; Mrs.
Caroline Boggs lives at Newman; Walter also lives in Newman. By her marriage
to Mr. Dalby she had one child, Savillion C. Dalby, a prominent rancher and dairy-
man at Newman. Mrs. Dalby is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

LOUIS F. BAUMAN. — Born on the fertile plains of Kansas, where his boyhood
and early years were passed on a farm, Louis F. Bauman, prosperous farmer of Car-
michael precinct, Rossmore Park Tract, early learned the rudiments of farming. His
tather was Henry Bauman, a native of Germany, who came to America in the early
'50s, settling first in Bentley County, Mo., where he followed farming, the occupation
to which he, too, had been reared.

Louis F. Bauman was born in Crawford County, Kans., August 3, 1866, near
the little town of Girard, where his father's farm lay. His father died when he



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 80 of 177)