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 82 of 177)
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est livestock firm in Great Britain, with which he continued as an accountant till he
was nineteen years of age. Then he decided to break all his home ties, to leave even
his native land and, coming to America, to push on to the Pacific Coast, and here to
cast in his lot with that of the thousands before him. He arrived in Fresno in 1891,
and for two or three years was employed at horticulture and viticulture, after which
he came to the Bald Eagle ranch near Modesto, where he was fruit and wine foreman
for three years. Then Mr. Oramil McHenry made him superintendent of the ranch,
a place he filled until 1899 when he resigned and returned to Fresno. He was next in
the employ of the Phoenix Packing House, as traveling solicitor, and after that with
the California Wine Association under the district manager, George Beveridge, and
was in charge of leveling and grading the Great Western Vineyard north of Reedley.
When this was completed Mr. Hardie took charge of the Reedley Winery for a sea-
son, and next superintended the building of the Smith Mountain Winery. Then he
managed the Calway Winery for a year, and still later had charge of the Smith Moun-
tain Winery for another year, and finally took charge of the Goodfellow ranch north
of Reedley and ran it for two years. He then returned to Modesto in 1910 to engage
in ranching on his own account, and he bought his present farm of fifty-three acres on
the Coffee Road, six miles north of Modesto, and there he set out twenty-six acres as
a vineyard, all Alicanti Bouchet grapes, while the balance is now in peaches and
apricots. The whole he has so well improved that it is no exaggeration to speak of it
as a real "show place."

When the agitation for a Farmers Union began, he joined the Riverbank local
and was elected its vice-president, and the next year he was elected president of the
Riverbank local and vice-president of the Stanislaus County Farmers Union. One
year later, in 1918, he was elected president of the Stanislaus County Farmers Union
and also elected president of the California division of the Farmers Educational Co-
operative Union of America, both of which positions of influence, responsibility and
honor he now holds. In 1918 he was sent as a delegate to Washington, D. C, as a
representative of the California division to attend a meeting of representatives of farm
organizations and the result was the organization of the National Board of Farm
Organizations. He was elected as the California representative of the Committee of
48 to plan and build a Temple of Agriculture in Washington, and one result of his
attending the convention at the national city was a mass convention of farmers from
California held at Modesto on June 6, 1919, over which Mr. Hardie presided. Among
those present were men of national prominence in the Farm Organization movement
who took an active part in the discussion which did much to impress upon the farmers
the necessitv of organizing in order to protect their interests.

Mr. Hardie was one of the active organizers of the Stanislaus County Warehouse
Association, formed in July, 1917, and from its beginning, he was elected its manager.
The Association bought their building at the corner of Ninth and L streets, and have
erected a large structure, 100x130 feet, adjoining the old building which was 75x130
feet in size. It is conducted entirely for the benefit of its members, and is a non-profit
association. He is also a member of the Co-operative Garage Association in Modesto
and was one of the original incorporators of the Farmers Press Association, of which
he was elected the first president. In December, 1918, the Farmers Union State Con-


vention issued invitations to representatives from all farm organizations in California,
to meet in Modesto for the purpose of affiliating farm organizations; and at this meet-
ing a committee was appointed to draft by-laws for a general affiliated organization of
farm societies. As might be expected, Mr. Hardie took an active part. Always an
exponent of popular education, he is also trustee of the McHenry school district.

Mr. Hardie was married in Stanislaus County, on January 11, 1905, to Miss
Mary Winans, a native of this country and the daughter of William Winans, born in
Illinois, a pioneer wheat farmer. He came to California, crossed the plains during the
gold period. He was married at Sacramento to Miss Nellie Livingstone, a native of
Illinois who also crossed the plains with her parents. Grandfather Samuel Livingstone
settled in Stanislaus County about 1870 and farmed here. Mr. Winans came to
Stanislaus County in 1874, bought a farm and engaged in grain farming, also horti-
culture, setting out one of the early orchards. Here he resided until his death when
he passed away, his widow surviving him. Mrs. Hardie was educated in the excellent
common schools of her neighborhood, and later successfully pursued a course and gradu-
ated from the Sacramento high school. Almost immediately she became bookkeeper in
the First National Bank of Modesto, and there she remained until her marriage. Three
children blessed the union — Ian Winans, Donald McDougal and the baby, Rosemary.

During the World War, Mr. Hardie's patriotism led him to assist all move-
ments to aid in furthering this Government in the success of the great struggle for
the Allies. During this time he was the agricultural representative for Stanislaus
County Council of Defense, being appointed by Superior Judge Langdon, and it is a
well known fact that he gave his best services to the Council until it was disbanded. He
also took an active part in the various Liberty Bond and other drives for war funds.
In fact, every movement for the advancement of the country and state, particularly
along agricultural and commercial lines, receives his hearty support and co-operation.

CHAS. D. ELFERS. — Among the men who put their shoulder to the wheel and
helped to improve the west side in Stanislaus County was the late Chas. D. Elfers,
who was born in Germany, February 14, 1852, and came to California when he was
seven years of age with an uncle to join his parents, who had migrated to the Pacific
Coast a few years before, and were living in Oakland.

His father, Aaronhold Elfers, was a successful business man in Oakland. How-
ever, he became interested in farming, and moving to Stanislaus County, he purchased
land on the West Side and engaged in raising grain, becoming owner of a large tract
of land near Westley. He also owned a large ranch near Selma, in Fresno County.
After years of activity the parents retired, living in Alameda until the mother died,
when the elder Elfers made his home with Chas. Elfers and his wife on the Westley
ranch until his last illness, when he sought restoration to health at a sanitarium in
Alameda and there he died.

Of the four sons and four daughters born to this pioneer couple, all of whom
grew to maturity, Chas. D. is the eldest. He received a good education in the Oak-
land schools and at Heald's Business College at San Francisco, being graduated from
the latter July 31, 1868. He then assisted his father on the West Side ranch, driving
the big teams in the grain fields, thus gaining the experience and knowledge of grain
farming that was of such great benefit to him in after years. Soon after reaching his
majority he began farming on his own account on the ranch at Westley, which Mrs.
Elfers still owns. He met with success and through subsequent purchase, became a
large land owner, and one of the bonanza grain farmers in the San Joaquin Valley.

At the Cyrus H. Abbott ranch, Mr. Elfers was married to Mrs. Charlotte
Frances Abbott Stanage, who was born near Sheffield, Bureau County, III, the
daughter of Cyrus H. and Martha (Grunendyke) Abbott, of New England and
Knickerbocker stock. Her ancestors were represented in the Revolutionary War, the
War of 1812 and the Civil War. Cyrus H. Abbott served in Company H, Ninety-third
Illinois Volunteer Infantry, through the siege of Vicksburg, Chattanooga, the Georgia
campaign and the March to the Sea; serving from August, 1862, until June, 1865,
when he was honorably discharged as first lieutenant. In 1872 he brought his
family to California and became a large grain farmer in Stanislaus County. He is

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now retired and makes his home with his children. Mrs. Abbott passed awaj in
1905, leaving him four children, of whom Charlotte F. is the second eldest, coming
to California with her parents in 1872. She was educated in the Stockton grammar
and high schools. Soon after completing her education she married Thos. W. Stan-
age, a native of Ohio, by whom she had three children: Harry W., of Modesto;
Myrtle E., Mrs. Brown, of Berkeley; and Oscar H., a graduate of Stockton high
school, the celebrated baseball player who was catcher of the Detroit Americans for
twelve years, and one year played in the World's Series. He now lives in Los Angeles.

After Mrs. Stanage's marriage to Mr. Elfers, they continued to farm to
grain on a large scale at Westley until they retired to Alameda, where they made their
home in their comfortable residence at 2050 San Antonio Avenue. Here Mr. Elfers
passed away September 21, 1914, a man highly respected and honored by all who
knew him. His ashes were buried in the family lot in Modesto. He was a popular
member of the Elks in Alameda, the Newman Lodge of Masons and Modesto Lodge,
Knights of Pythias. One son had blessed the union, Chas. Delwyn Elfers, of Alameda
high school class of '21, who will enter the University of California.

Since Mr. Elfers' death Mrs. Elfers continues to look after the large interests
left by Mr. Elfers. She still owns the 800-acre ranch at Westley and 160 acres at
Crows Landing, and with J. H. and C. D. Elfers as partners, owns the old
Thompson ranch of 3,000 acres, and individually she owns 160 acres at Westley.
These interests take a great deal of time, which with her many social and civic duties
make her a very busy woman. She is also a stockholder in the Bank of Newman.
She is a member and past matron of Corita Lodge, O. E. S., Alameda, and a member
of Oakland Court No. 16, Order of Amaranth, as well as of Fair Oaks Rebekah
Lodge and the Delphian Club, Alameda. Being a descendant of Revolutionary stock
she is a prominent member of Copa de Oro Chapter, D. A. R., in Alameda, in which
she has served as secretary and is also past regent. A Presbyterian of lang standing,
Mrs. Elfers is a member of the First Presbyterian Church and very active in the
Ladies' Aid, while politically she is a firm believer that principles of the Republican
platform are for the best interests of this great Union and its people.

THOMAS CASWELL.— A large land owner in the San Joaquin Valley, and
profitably engaged in the buying and selling of grain and livestock, Thomas Caswell is
known throughout the state as a man of power and force, possessing business and execu-
tive ability of a rare order. He has probably done more for the county in the matter
of the development of raw waste lands than any other single individual and is still
interested along this line in Stanislaus and other counties of the valley. He has been
a resident of this county since 1900, coming here directly from Iowa, where he had been
engaged in farming for many years.

Mr. Caswell is a native of Ireland, born in County Armagh, October 12, 1844.
His parents were Andrew and Mary (Dickson) Caswell, both natives of the County
Armagh, Ireland, the father being a linen weaver by trade. They came to Canada in
1846, where they engaged in farming. Here our Mr. Caswell was reared and received
such educational advantages as the country afforded at that time.

At the age of twenty years Mr. Caswell started out for himself and came first
to Michigan, where for six years he worked in the lumbering industry north of Grand
Rapids. He was frugal and industrious and saved his money, and at the end of that
period was able to go into farming on his own responsibility. In 1871 he made a trip
to Iowa, and liked the country so well that he located there, buying land near Cherokee,
and since that time has been continuously engaged in agricultural pursuits.

The marriage of Mr. Caswell occurred in April, 1871, at Hector, N. Y., uniting
him with Miss Mary Andrews, a native of New York state, born January 18, 1844.
She is descended from a long line of American ancestry, her great-grandfather having
come to America during the Revolutionary War and settled in New York. Her own
father was the Rev. Richard Andrews, minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and
a member of the first temperance society to be organized in America. Mr. and Mrs.
Caswell have three children living, sons, Wallace, Henry and Andrew, all of whom are
now located at Cherokee, Iowa, where they are engaged in the manufacturing business.


Since coming to California in 1900, Mr. Caswell has taken an active part in all
that pertains to the welfare of his home community, making his residence during this
time at Ceres. He and his sons are interested in farm lands, owning four rich farms
in this county, numbering respectively, 300 acres, 320, 160 and 185 acres. In San
.Joaquin County Mr. Caswell owns a valuable tract of 654 acres, and also owns 875
acres of land in Mexico. Both Mr. and Mrs. Caswell take an active interest in any
movement for the betterment of local conditions, and may be counted upon to give their
support to any good cause. Mrs. Caswell is a member of the Stanislaus County Tem-
perance Union, and of the Ceres local with which she works, and both are members of
the Presbyterian Church in Modesto.

WILLIAM J. HACKETT.— The dairy interests of Stanislaus County are well
represented by William J. Hackett, who is carrying on extensive operations in this
line on his ranch near Modesto, and who is also prominent among the breeders of
Jersey cattle, his high-grade stock being in demand not only in California, but he has
also made several shipments as far away as the Hawaiian Islands. Mr. Hackett was
born on a farm seven miles from the Miami River, near Blanchester, in Brown
County, Ohio, on March 5, 1861. His grandfather, Daniel Hackett, was born on
the old Hackett homestead at Hackettstown, N. J., which was named for the family.
He was an early settler of Butler County, Ohio, and served in the U. S. Army, in a
regiment of artillery, during the Civil War. In 1859, he and his sons started for
Pike's Peak, but on the Platte River trail they met several discouraged parties return-
ing from that Eldorado, so decided to push on to Californina. He was much taken
with ' the Pacific Coast country, and on returning home by way of the Isthmus of
Panama, it was his intention to come back to California with his family in 1861, but
the war broke out and he did not get back until 1876. He spent the remainder of
his life here, passing away at Hanford.

John Hackett, the father of our subject, was born in Butler County, Ohio, becom-
ing a farmer in Brown County, in that state. In 1871 he brought his family to Cali-
fornia, locating for a time in Merced County and then at Hanford. His ranch was in
the Mussel Slough country, and he was a member of the committee that eventually
obtained a settlement with the railroad company over this contested land, the settlers
finally purchasing it from the company. He helped construct the irrigation system
and improved his ranch, bringing it to a high state of cultivation. He was prominent
in the life of the community and did much in its upbuilding, lending a generous hand
in the erection of churches and schoolhouses. His wife, who was Lois Leonard before
her marriage, was an estimable woman, also born in Brown County, Ohio. She was
the daughter of Thomas Leonard, a native of Pennsylvania, who had a fine farm at
the forks of the two Miami rivers. A genuine helpmate to her husband and a devoted
mother, she passed away at Reedley, Cal., deeply mourned by her family and friends.

The eldest of a family of twelve children born to this worthy couple, William J.
Hackett was brought up on the Brown County farm until he was ten years of age.
In 1871 he came with his parents to California, making the journey on one of the
slow transcontinental trains of that day, taking a full week to make the trip. They
arrived at Stockton on May 7 ; on locating at Merced, remained there until 1875, when
they removed to the vicinity of Hanford. His education was acquired in the public
schools, but from the time he was a lad he was kept busy on the farm. At the age
of twenty-two he began farming for himself, leasing land and engaging in grain
farming, and in 1898, he first began dairying, selling his products to the Kings
County Creamery.

In 1902, Mr. Hackett sold his holdings in Kings County and located in Stanis-
laus County, purchasing his present place of forty acres half a mile west of Ceres.
It was raw stubble land and he immediately set to work to leveling and checking it
and sowing alfalfa, in which he has been very successful, and here he has built up a
splendid dairy herd. Since 1908 he has been breeding registered Jerseys. At the head
of his herd is Romulus Interest, by Interested Prince, and his dam is by Marigold
Exile King. He now has a herd of thirty cows, all registered, and one of the finest
Jersey herds in the valley, all traced back to Interested Prince. Mr. Hackett has


sold many fine specimens of his herd, shipping them to different parts of California
and Nevada, as well as to the Hawaiian Islands. He has had orders from Mexico,
but was unable to ship there on account of the restrictions against the Texas tick and
the unsettled conditions in that country. He has exhibited his Jerseys at the State Fair
at Sacramento five different seasons and has taken his share of the first and second
prizes, and it was from there that he shipped his stock to Hawaii. His farm is nicely
located, with sanitary barns and buildings, pumping plant, separators, and he is fully
equipped . to make all the necessary tests. For some years he was also engaged in
raising pure-bred Duroc- Jersey hogs.

Mr. Hackett served for two years as tester of the milk at the Keyes Creamery.
He has been a close student of the dairy industry and the manufacture of milk products
for twenty-two years, hence he is naturally gxeatly interested in cooperative movements
for marketing, so in 1917 he became a charter member of the Milk Producers Associa-
tion of Central California. In January, 1921, he was elected a member of the board
of directors and on the organization cf the board he was made its president. He also
engages in horticulture on his ranch and has set out ten acres to peaches and apricots.

The marriage of Mr. Hackett occurred at Hanford, when he was united with
Miss Gertrude Fellows, who was born in Sonoma County, a daughter of David
Fellows, who came to California in 1852 and was a pioneer farmer at Hanford.
Mrs. Hackett is a very estimable lady, much loved by all who know her for her
amiable disposition and many acts of kindness. Mr. and Mrs. Hackett are the parents
of seven children: Lester is ranching near Ceres; Claire is assisting his father on the
ranch, and served in the One Hundred Fourteenth Ammunition Corps and was
stationed overseas for some time during the World War ; Fannie is Mrs. Mall and
resides near Ceres; Dorothy, Mrs. McKenzie, also lives near Ceres; Lois is Mrs.
Smith of Ceres; Dwight attends the Ceres high school, while Phillip is at home. Mrs.
Hackett and the children are members of the Christian Church. Mr. Hackett gives
no small credit for his success to his devoted wife, who has aided him in every way
in his achievements.

Mr. Hackett's father and grandfather were both veterinarians, and he, too, always
having had a natural love for animals, studied this science and in earlier years did
much veterinary work, until his time was so taken up with his dairying that he could
not give it attention. This love for animals, no doubt, has been one of the reasons
why he has been so successful in building up such a splendid herd of Jerseys. He is a
member of the American Jersey Cattle Club, the California State Jersey Breeders
Association, serving as its president one term, the California Prune and Apricot Grow-
ers Association, the California Peach Growers Association, and the California Co-
operative Cannery, of which he is a director. Enterprising, liberal and kind-hearted,
Mr. Hackett has always tried to help others and he has done his full share in upbuild-
ing the great commonwealth of California. Mr. and Mrs. Hackett have a host of
friends who appreciate their true worth and the contribution they have made to the
betterment of the community.

MISS BESSIE B. SILVERTHORN.— A young woman of rare musical and
literary attainments who is contributing much to the building up of Stanislaus County
is Miss Bessie B. Silverthorn, the efficient librarian of the Oramil McHenry Library
at Modesto. This building is the headquarters for the Stanislaus County Free Library
and Miss Silverthorn is also head librarian for the various libraries housed here. The
library building is a gift of Oramil McHenry to Modesto City and is one of the best
and most substantial and beautiful buildings of its kind in the San Joaquin Valley.
Miss Silverthorn was born at Evansville, Ind., but her parents were from way down
East. She was the daughter of John M. and Elizabeth (Babbitt) Silverthorn. Her
father was the editor of the Evansville Courier-Journal and was born in New Jersey,
while her mother was born at Bethel, Vt., and educated in Italy for grand opera, being
the fortunate possessor of an exceptional voice and operatic ability.

Her father having died, her mother left Evansville when her daughter was only
two years old. She was educated under private governesses and at Virginia College,
Roanoke, Va., later entering the New England Conservatory of Music at Boston and


becoming a proficient pianist. She then took up literary and library work, her first
post being assistant reference librarian at Washington, D. C, and later she served as
college librarian at Norwich University at Northfield, Vt. Coming to California
in 1913, she accepted a position as librarian of the Kings County Free Library and
engaged in the work there from 1913 to 1916, when she became librarian for the
Siskiyou County Free Library at Yreka and continued there until the year of 1920,
when she accepted her present position as librarian for the Stanislaus County Free
Library, succeeding Miss Cornelia Douglas Provines. The library is daily, receiving
new books, having already on its shelves 50,000 volumes. There are fifty-six branches
of the Stanislaus County Free Library. The principal branches are located at Oakdale,
Patterson, Newman, Turlock, municipal branch, Denair, Ceres, Hughson.

Gifted with a winning personality and an excellent memory, Miss Silverthorn's
ability and experience have made her valuable to the patrons of the various libraries and
their numerous branches over which she presides. She is a welcome addition to
Modesto's best social and literary circles, and with her mother she makes her home at
227 Hackberry Avenue, Modesto. Miss Silverthorn is vice-president of the Woman's
Improvement Club, and she keeps in touch with the trend of modern thought and
especially with all that has to do with educational interests, and her life has been one
of great activity and usefulness.

MRS. JEAN MARIE SAMSON.— Among the pioneers of Hughson who did
much to improve that section and also left an influence for good that has done much
to build up the schools and church and aided materially in raising the standard of
morals, is Mrs. Jean Marie Samson, who is a native of Nebraska, born at Omaha,
where she was reared. She is a daughter of the late Erick L. Oberg, who is mentioned
on another page in this work. Mrs. Samson attended the public schools in Omaha
and Fremont, Nebr. On completing the Fremont high, she entered the Omaha
Business College, where she was duly graduated and then assumed a position with
the Hon. E. G. McGilton, a prominent attorney, at one time lieutenant governor of
Nebraska, when she held the responsible position of private secretary, taking a part in
the social activities of that metropolis on the Missouri River. While there she mar-
ried Oscar Samson. In 1905 she came to California, and while living at Oakland,
she concluded to locate on a ranch, having been advised by her physician that the out-

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 82 of 177)