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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 85 of 177)
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proposes to make it one of the most complete garages in the valley.

One of the outstanding characteristics of Mr. Beery is his ability and readiness
to plan for the future welfare of the public at large, and in this connection he is laying
plans for the establishment of a growing industry at Empire that will give profitable
employment to numbers of skilled mechanics and other high-grade people. He has
organized a company which has purchased the exclusive district agency for California,
Utah, Arizona and Nevada for the Hamlin-Holmes automobiles, trucks and tractors,
and which will take over both of the garages at present operating in Empire. The
assembling plant for the company will be located at Empire for the next two years
at least, and here will be assembled all the Hamlin-Holmes cars, trucks and tractors
for the four states mentioned.- They propose to make Los Angeles the headquarters
for sales and distribution, and will handle a complete line of cars. The establishment
of such an industry at Empire means much for the town as well as Stanislaus County.

Mr. Beery is a .native of Ohio, born at Logan, Hocking County, September 2,
1862. His father was Abraham S. Beery, a farmer, born in Virginia, but who later
moved to Ohio, where he met and married Miss Margaret Hunsaker, born in Ohio
of Pennsylvania parents. The Hunsaker family was one of the early pioneer families
in the Ohio country, and Mr. Beery's Great-grandfather Hunsaker was taken prisoner
by the Indians when he was a small child. The rest of the family was massacred and
he was kept by the savages until he reached maturity, when he managed to escape and
return to his relatives. Mr. Beery's father and mother are both deceased, having
passed away in Ohio, where the father lived to be eighty and the mother eighty-one.
They were the parents of eleven children, six sons and five daughters, of whom the
subject of this review was the third son and fifth child to be born.

From his boyhood, Mr. Beery took a keen interest in education and passed through
the district schools with credit, attended the Normal School at Ada, Ohio, and then
took a seven-year college course, in three institutions of learning, spending three years
at Mt. Morris College, Mt. Morris, 111., three at De Pauw University, Greencastle,
Ind., and a year at Juniata College, Huntington, Pa., where he graduated with an
A.B. degree. Following this he engaged in educational work for six years, teaching for
two years in the public schools of Indiana, two years in colleges in Alabama, and
two in private schools in Ohio. He then entered the ministry, and was engaged in



754 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

missionary work in Indianapolis, Ind., from 1902 to 1905. For the next three years
he was in church work at Covington, Ohio, where he occupied the pulpit as minister
of the Brethren Church. At the close of this pastorate he entered the business world,
as traveling colonization agent for the Santa Fe Railway Company eleven years.

The marriage of Mr. Beery occurred in 1881, at Kalida, Ohio, uniting him with
Miss Kate Blosser, a native of Ohio. Of their union have been born seven children,
four of whom are living: Geno Ethel, A. B. M. D., is in charge of the Maternity
Hospital at Minneapolis, Minn. ; Wilbur Holmes, who is married to Miss Victoria
M. Strong, a native of Michigan, and the father of one child, Donald Carl, aged two,
resides in Empire ; Clarence Arthur, maried to Miss Luella May, of Michigan, and
the father of one child, Vivian Maurine, also resides in Empire ; and Helen Marie, a
junior in the University of Minnesota, at Minneapolis, where she resides with her
older sister. Of the sons, Clarence Arthur is a graduate of the mechanical engineer-
ing department of the University of Michigan, and is now the head mechanician for
their automobile business in Empire. Wilbur Holmes is a graduate from the Ypsilanti
Normal, at Ypsilanti, Mich., and taught for a time in the high school at Conneaut,
Ohio, and later at Belding, Mich., being the head of the commercial department in
each instance. He is also a graduate of the Greer Automobile College, Chicago.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Beery take an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare
of the colony of Empire, and their new home is the center of much social intercourse.

JAMES EDWARD McCORMICK.— An experienced, far-seeing and thor-
oughly reliable dealer in insurance and real estate, who has been identified with some
of the most interesting operations in the history of Stanislaus County, is James Edward
McCormick of Modesto, who was born in San Francisco on October 15, 1879, the
son of William and Isabella (McCaig) McCormick, the former a native of New
Orleans and the latter a native of Boston. His father, a wholesale grocer, early came
out to California, and in 1866, at Marysville, he married and established himself in
general draying — in those days a business of large proportions. After three years, he
removed from Marysville to San Francisco, and there he also made a name for him-
self by his enterprise and straightforward dealings.

James E. McCormick graduated from Cogswell Polytechnic College at San
Francisco, and after that was for seven years in the advertising and editorial rooms of
the San Francisco Chronicle, and a year in the business office of the San Francisco Call.
In 1911, he came to Modesto and for a few months went to work for the News. He
then entered the service of the Modesto Herald, and until 1912 was its advertising
and business manager. A fall from a bicycle affected his vision, and in July, 1912,
he entirely lost his eyesight, nor has he been able, even through six surgical operations,
to regain that which so many persons altogether too lightly value. This misfortune,
which proved a real sorrow to his many friends, led Mr. McCormick to enter the in-
surance field, and having settled at Modesto in 1911, he took the local agency for the
New York Life Insurance Company, and for several fire insurance corporations.

At San Francisco, on September 3, 1910, Mr. McCormick was married to Miss
Mary Helena Cull, a native of Marysville, Cal., and the daughter of David Cull, a
pioneer of Yuba County, who had married Clotilda Brophy. Mr. Cull was a
merchant and farmer at Marysville, and he gave his daughter such educational advan-
tages that she was able to graduate from Notre Dame College at that place.

In religion, a devout Roman Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus,
Mr. McCormick proved the real patriot during the recent war as one of the "four-
minute men" or brief public speakers on behalf of the Government. The first blind
man to hold an office in the Elks, Mr. McCormick was the Exalted Ruler of Modesto
Lodge No. 1282 at Modesto during 1917-18. He also wrote the official ritual for
Mother's Day in the latter year, which was adopted by the State Association in 1918
and by the Grand Lodge soon after as the official ritual for Mother's Day. Stanislaus
County is proud of such worthy, modest and effectual citizens as Mr. McCormick,
whose experience has been repeatedly placed at the disposition of his fellow-citizens, and
whose influence in social, religious, political and commercial circles has long been felt.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 755

GEORGE H. FREITAS. — A native son who has become prominent as a
California engineer, is George H. Freitas, the city engineer of Modesto, who was born
at Shaw's Flat, in Tuolumne County, on March 11, 1868. His father, A. J. Freitas,
was a seafaring man, who followed the briny deep for many years, sailed 'round both
Good Hope and Cape Horn, and visited many of the largest ports in the world.
Putting into San Francisco in the early fifties, when the mining excitement was as its
height, he concluded to leave the sea, and making his way to Tuolumne County, he
followed mining for many years. He was married in that county to Virginia Salva-
dor, who had come with her parents by way of Panama to California in early days.
After he quit mining, Mr. Freitas engaged in farming. In 1883 he removed to San
Francisco, and in 1885 he located in Modesto, where he bought a residence. Two
years later, he died, survived by his widow, who still resides here, the mother of three
children, two of whom are living.

Brought up in California, George Freitas attended the public schools in Tuol-
umne County until he was fifteen, when he began hustling for a living. For three
years he worked at sawmilling in San Francisco, and then at Port Blakely, Wash.,
and he was also employed in the boring of the Cascade Tunnel on the Northern
Pacific Railroad. Returning for a while to San Francisco, he came to Modesto in
January, 1889, and until the Spanish-American War was in the barber business.

As a member of Company D of the Sixth California Infantry Regiment, Mr.
Freitas was a member of the National Guard, and there he rose to the rank of first
lieutenant. When the Spanish-American War broke out, therefore, he volunteered
with his company, and was commissioned first lieutenant of Company D, Sixth Cali-
fornia U. S. Volunteers, May, 1898. He served at Fort Point on the harbor defense
work until November of that year, when the regiment was mustered out. After that
he was battalion adjutant of trie second battalion, C. N. G., with the rank of first
lieutenant until he resigned.

Mr. Freitas then entered the employ of the Modesto Irrigation District and
while on the engineering corps assisted in the construction of the main canals, and
during the time he studied civil engineering. At the end of two years he resigned
to engage in private practice as a civil engineer and soon built up a fine practice in
Modesto. He belongs to the American Society of Municipal Engineers.

In 1907, Mr. Freitas was appointed city engineer of Modesto, and some con-
siderable proof of his ability is to be found in the fact that he has held the office ever
since. In 1911, he was appointed city engineer under the new charter, and he has
been reappointed to succeed himself after each term. In November, 1919, the office of
superintendent of the water system of Modesto was consolidated with the office of
city engineer by the city council, and Mr. Freitas assumed the added duties of that
department, a position he is filling with the same fidelity, giving his time and ex-
perience to the enlarging and extending of the water systems, and during this time
many improvements have been made. To perfect himself in his professional work, he
has completed a course in civil engineering in the International Correspondence
School. He owns and is improving an alfalfa ranch near Turlock.

When Congress declared war on Germany, Mr. Freitas volunteered his services,
but they were courteously declined by the war department. Besides being active
in civic matters and societies, he is also a member of the Modesto Lodge of Elks,
the Knights of Pythias in the same city, and the I. O. R. M. at Stockton.

HUGH BENSON. — A man of sterling character who has already reached a
high degree of influence in his native county, is Hugh Benson, the popular county
clerk of Stanislaus County, who was born at Oakdale, on December 14, 1883, the
son of Robert G. Benson. He came of an old New England family, who were early
settlers in Missouri, and was born in Osage County. As a college-bred man he
engaged for a while in teaching; but when he came to California in 1881, he went
in for farming six miles east of Oakdale. He was a deputy county assessor for four-
teen years, and for eight years was postmaster of Oakdale. The last few years of his
fruitful life he lived retired, and on the fourth of January, 1918, he died.



75b HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Mrs. Benson was Miss Jessie Glover before her marriage, and she was a native of
the same state as her husband. When Hugh was only six months old, in 1884, she
died, leaving also two other children. Marvin L. became a graduate of the San Jose
State Normal school, and for years an educator, and he is now in the Antioch schools;
and Leona is Mrs. Milton Baker of Stockton. Hugh was educated at the Oakdale
schools, both grammar and high, and then entered the San Francisco Business College,
from which he was graduated in 1904. Soon afterwards he became deputy county
assessor of Stanislaus County under J. F. Campbell, and he was just twenty-one years
old when he became chief deputy, an office in which he continued until January, 1907.
Then he was made chief deputy county auditor and recorder under H. C. Keeley,
serving until April, 1911.

Then a vacancy in the office of county clerk was made by the death of S. B.
Mitchell, the incumbent, and the supervisors, without delay, appointed Mr. Benson
county clerk, whereupon he immediately took office. In 1914 he was a candidate for
election as county clerk, and at the primaries received a majority of all the votes. In
the fall of 1918, he was reelected county clerk, without opposition, to serve till
January, 1923. As a result, he is an active member of the State Association of County
Clerks. During the World War he took an active part in the various war and
Liberty bond drives and was a member of the County Council of Defense.

Besides his official work, agriculture, dairying and horticulture interest Mr. Benson.
He has improved a ranch four miles west of Modesto, planting to alfalfa, and he is
now setting it out to peaches, apricots and Calimyrna figs.

At Modesto, on March 10, 1907, Mr. Benson was married to Miss Jessie Mae
Flanders, a native of Minnesota. He is a member of Modesto Lodge, I. O. O. F.,
and Modesto Parlor No. 11, N. S. G. W., in which he is a past president. He also
belongs to the Independent Order of Foresters, and the Moss Rose Camp, W. O. W.,
of Modesto, of which for years he was the- secretary.

AARON M. BECHTEL. — A man who has done much for the permanent up-
building of Empire during his twelve years of residence here, is Aaron M. Bechtel,
prominent business man, builder and contractor, and property owner of this thriving
little city. He came to Stanislaus County in 1909 and located at Empire, where he
has since made his home. He is owner of the Bechtel Block, which houses several
stores on the ground floor and the public library and apartments and flats on the
second floor; and of the Post Office Block, which contains the post office and drug
store. He was largely instrumental in securing the Empire branch of the Stanislaus
County Library, which contains 550 selected volumes. He built the first pumping
plant and tank to be erected here, and purposes at an early date to construct a com-
plete water system for Empire. He owns ten acres a quarter of a mile east of Empire,
adjoining the city limits. He platted and sold a six-acre subdivision in this vicinity,
which is one of the most attractive residence sections. In his work as a contractor he
has built many of the finest buildings in the colony, including the Brethren Church,
erected in 1910, one of the finest in this part of the county. He is a member of this
church, and an earnest supporter of its activities.

Mr. Bechtel was born at Goshen, Ind., September 21, 1872, and came to Cali-
fornia from Iowa in 1906. He spent three years in the preparatory department of
North Manchester College and there met the lady whom he married. He had resided
for many years at Waterloo, Iowa, where he was married in 1900 to Miss Emma
Beekly, a native of that city. He was engaged while here in carpentering and contract-
ing and met deserved success. Mr. Bechtel was in the employ of the Borden's
Milk Evaporating Factory at Modesto as carpenter for two years. Following this
he engaged in general contracting and building business, and has been very active in
construction work in this part of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Bechtel have been blessed
with two attractive daughters. Ruth Marguerite assists her mother in presiding over
the home and Catherine June is in the Modesto high school, class of 1922.

Mr. Bechtel takes an active part in the Brethren Colony, and settlement of the
members of the Brethren Church. There are now about 300 resident members of




^~* ■(%/. &JLt&.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 759

this colony, representing seventeen different states. Their present church is too small
for their membership and it is anticipated that Mr. Bechtel will soon be engaged in
the construction of a more commodious edifice.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Bechtel are prominent in all movements for the betterment
of their community. Mrs. Bechtel is librarian and in this capacity exercises a wide
influence for good. Mr. Bechtel has been secretary of the Empire Board of Trade for
the past seven years, and has served two years as its president, and is one of its most
enthusiastic and energetic members, being representative from Empire to the County
Board of Trade and is a deputy county clerk. Politically he is a Republican and
favors modern business methods in municipal, state and national government.

HENRY G. TURNER. — An enterprising many-sided man of affairs who has
attained to an enviable position among the business men of Modesto, is Henry G.
Turner, president of The Grange Company, and a resident of Stanislaus County since
1868. He was born in Monroe, Ore., on May 1, 1862, the son of Garrison Turner,
a prominent pioneer and grain man, and when three years of age was brought to
French Camp, San Joaquin County, Cal. Three years later, he accompanied his
parents to Stanislaus County. Here he attended the grammar schools and a private
academy of high school grade conducted by Prof. Robinson, and afterward entered the
University of the Pacific at San Jose, where he graduated in '84 with the Ph.B. degree.

On his return to Modesto, he entered The Grange Company under his father,
as a director, vice-president and assistant manager, and since then he has given the
enterprise all of his time and his best attention. On the death of his esteemed father,
he was made president and manager, and he has ever since performed the responsible
duties of those offices. Not only has the business enjoyed a steady and healthful
growth, but under Mr. Turner's broad-minded direction has appreciably enlarged.

In 1916, The Grange Company bought out the Oakdale Milling Company, and
now The Grange Company has fifty warehouses in Stanislaus, Merced and San
Joaquin counties, with a main office at Modesto. There is, besides, an outside branch
office at Oakdale, another at Merced, and one at Turlock. The concern handles
grain, hay, beans, seed, dried fruits and nuts. Mr. Turner was also treasurer of the
Modesto Creamery when it was built, and for several years president of the Stanislaus
County Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Turner's first marriage was to Miss Inez M. Rice of Tacoma, who was
born in Indiana, and who passed away a year later, leaving a child, Alvin H., who is
vice-president and assistant manager of The Grange Company. His second marriage
was to Miss Catherine Rice, a native of Illinois, by whom he has had three children.
Muriel has become Mrs. Thomas P. Smith of Oakdale; Arlo V. is manager of the
Oakdale Milling Company ; and Everett W. is manager of the retail feed department
of The Grange Company.

A Republican in matters of national political import, Mr. Turner belongs to the
First Methodist Church and is chairman of its board of trustees. He has worked for
years in the cause of temperance, and has been chairman of various grand juries. He
has always worked for better citizenship, social uplift, and the highest standard of
honor in the transaction of trade ; so that he has come to be known both as a very
successful business man and — something far more — a good citizen, neighbor and friend.

WADE HAMPTON HOWELL.— A native son of the Golden State is Wade
Hampton Howell, who was born at Porterville, Tulare County, Cal., May 22, 1877.
His father, Warren B., a native of Missouri, and grandfather, William Howell,
crossed the plains with ox teams and wagons and settled at Red Bluff, where they
engaged in sheep raising. From there they went to San Joaquin County, continuing
the occupation of sheep raising and finally settled in early days in Stanislaus County,
where they were in the sheep business. The grandfather died in Stanislaus County.
The father made a trip back to Missouri via Panama and was united in marriage with
Catherine Corder, a native of Missouri. Returning to California, he moved to Porter-
ville, Tulare County, and after a few years returned to Stanislaus County and engaged
in the occupation of farming, which he continued until his death. His wife also died
in Stanislaus County. Of their ten children four are living.



760 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

Wade Hampton Howell was the second child in order of birth and was two
years old when his father moved back to Stanislaus County. He was brought up on
the farm in the vicinity of Modesto and educated in the public schools. Completing
his schooling at Modesto, he was occupied at farming until he learned the building
business and engaged in contracting, building many bungalows.

On February 20, 1914, he was appointed postmaster at Modesto by President
Wilson and took office April 1, 1914. The receipts of the office having increased
thirty-five to forty per cent, it was raised from a second-class office to a first-class
office July 18, 1918, and September 5, 1918, Mr. Howell was reappointed to the
position by President Wilson. When he first became postmaster horses were used
on the rural routes. Mr. Howell instituted autos, and established four fifty-mile
routes and one thirty-mile route out from the office, and double the amount of territory
was covered by the same number of men formerly employed.

In January, 1920, he resigned from the office of postmaster to devote his time to
the operation of his ranch, having for some time been interested in farming and horti-
culture. He is the owner of a valuable ranch of forty-six acres on Dry Creek devoted
to vineyards, orchards and alfalfa. He has erected a comfortable bungalow with
suitable farm buildings, as well as a pumping plant, as an auxiliary to irrigating from
the canal. He was married at Stockton, May 3, 1904, to Miss Iva Thornburg, a
native of Turlock, Stanislaus County, and daughter of Lamott E. Thornburg, one of
the early settlers of the county. Fraternally he is identified with the Modesto Lodge
of Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is a member of the Encampment. He and
his wife are members of the Rebekahs. Mr. Howell is also a member of Modesto
Parlor, N. S. G. W., and is- a member of the Modesto Artisans. He was county
director of the war savings stamp drive for 1919 from Stanislaus County, is an
enthusiastic believer in the future development and greatness of the county, and has
many warm friends in Modesto and vicinity.

GEORGE W. JENKINS. — A prosperous, public-spirited man whose interest in
everything tending to advance the community has earned for him the esteem and the
good will of his fellow men, is George W. Jenkins, Hughson rancher, born in Bolivar,
Polk County, Mo., on November 10, 1860, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Dickerson)
Jenkins, farmer folk, who homesteaded in historic old Polk.

Mr. Jenkins is a native of Alabama and his wife of Kentucky, of old Virginia
lineage. The father served in the Federal army from Missouri in the Civil War, then
farmed. He died in May, 1911, aged seventy-seven years, while his wife preceded him
many years, dying at thirty-nine. Of the four children, George Jenkins, the oldest, at-
tended Bolivar's district schools and lived on the farm until he attained his majority.
On December 18, 1887, near Bolivar, he married Miss Lucy Davison, a Polk County
native. Her father died in Civil War time, when she was a child; her mother,
Lucy (Barkley) Davison, passed away in Missouri, years after her husband.

Immediately after this marriage, Mr. and Mrs. George W. Jenkins settled at
Ventura, Cal., for two years and then at Fillmore, leased and farmed two years, when
Mr. Jenkins had the great misfortune to lose his devoted wife November 1, 1892, a
loss that led him to return to Polk County, Mo. He bought a farm near Bolivar,
farmed for five years, and conducted a merchandise business at Half Way ; but in
1898, stirred by the new boom in California, he settled at Tustin, Orange County,
where he farmed the San Joaquin Ranch. Four years later, in October, 1902, at
Santa Ana, he married Miss Jennie Briscoe, a native of Knox County, Mo., the
daughter of Broadus Briscoe, and continued farming some 450 acres, planting 320
acres to beans, and the remainder to barley.

In November, 1905, Mr. Jenkins moved to Turlock, and west of that town



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 85 of 177)