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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 86 of 177)
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bought 240 acres, devoted to alfalfa and a dairy. After four years, he sold and came
to Hughson. Meanwhile he owned a twenty acre ranch, at Modesto, since sold. In
Hughson he acquired forty acres, one mile north of the depot ; but after two years he
sold that and purchased ten acres east of the city limits. This ranch he improved to
orchard and operated from 1912 until April, 1920, when he sold it, buying a twenty




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 763

acre tract on Seventh Street, one mile north of Hughson's new high school. This
in fig and apricot trees shows abundant yieldings, six and one-half acres being in
Calimyrna figs. He has improved over 300 acres in this county.

Mr. Jenkins was on November 1, 1913, bereaved of his wife, a woman whose fine
traits had made many friends. Three children came to Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins and
have added much happiness. Mattie, by his first marriage, now Mrs. Woolley, lives
at Irvine, Orange County. Ford, by the second marriage, is a student in Hughson high
school, class of 1923, while Opal is in the class of 1925.

Mr. Jenkins is a member of the California Prune and Apricot Association and of
the California Peach Growers' Association, which includes the fig growers. Mr. Jen-
kins' political preferences line up with the Republicans ; but in any endorsed movement,
measure, man or woman of service to the community, he knows no partisanship.

FRANK ANDREWS. — A student of the natural resources and conditions in
Stanislaus County, whose investigations have convinced him as to the roseate future of
the section, is Frank Andrews, proprietor of the Magneto and Battery Works. He
was born in Alexandria, Nebr., and while still a child, moved with his parents to
Lincoln, and thence to Colorado, in which state he lived at Denver, Colorado Springs,
Cripple Creek and Florence. After completing the courses of the grammar schools,
he attended the Florence high school, from which he was graduated. He had early
shown a liking for electrical work, and as soon as he was able to, learned the trade of
an electrician. Afterwards, he ran an auto repair shop in Florence.

Twelve years ago, Mr. Andrews came to California and was employed in the
electrical department of the Studebaker establishment at San Francisco; and having
there demonstrated his ability, he conducted for a while the magneto and ignition
works on Polk Street. In 1908, he came to Modesto and here started his present
business, which has grown from a place in which he did all the work himself, to a
large plant, occupying two floors at 712-714 Ninth Street. He employs six men to
meet the growing demands, and they are kept busy, day and night. Mr. Andrews
established the first magneto and ignition works in Modesto and has lately consoli-
dated his business with the Scraba Battery and Ignition Works at 702 Ninth Street.
Mr. Scraba started in business here in 1915, so this consolidated two of the oldest
businesses in this line in Modesto and is today the leading business of the kind in the
county. Their headquarters are at Mr. Andrews' old place of business, and their
equipment is most modern and complete. This consolidation has proven very satis-
factory and harmonious and gives Mr. Andrews more time to devote to the promotion
of Stanislaus County's possibilities and his motion-picture work.

Mr. Andrews is particularly interested in the agriculture of the county; that is,
in the cultivation of grain and fruit, and desiring to instill into others some of his
own faith, he has attained success in taking moving pictures illustrating Stanislaus
County produce, and showing, aptly and clearly, the productiveness of the soil, espe-
cially the conditions favorable to the growth of alfalfa, grain, orchards and vineyards.
He has also taken films of the county fairs, bearing nearly all the expense himself, and
placing the results at the disposition of the moving-picture theaters, his idea being to
advertise in this practical, popular manner what is best about Stanislaus. He has the
only complete moving picture laboratory between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and
so well has his work in this line been received, he is now furnishing films from not
only Stanislaus County, but from different parts of the San Joaquin Valley to three
leading weekly news service concerns for motion-picture theaters. Thus, Stanislaus
County is particularly fortunate in the advertising she receives throughout the world
from this enterprising citizen. He is also intensely interested in aviation and was a
prime mover in securing the aviation field and hangar at the County Fair grounds
in Modesto, and is now associated with Stanislaus' noted aviator, Lieut. Harold L.
Coffee, in taking motion pictures of San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada Moun-
tains for the news service and also to aid the movement of boosting Northern California.
At Carson City, Nev., Mr. Andrews was married to Miss Stella McDonald, a
native of that state, who has proven a great helpmate to him. Their fortunate union
has been blessed with two children, Donald and Frank.



764 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

THOMAS BENJAMIN MICHAEL.— One of the farmers of Hughson noted for
extensive, successful operations is Thomas B. Michael, interesting as a conversationalist
because of his exciting cowboy experiences in Texas in days gone by. He was born at
Winchester, Tenn., on February 8, 1862, the son of Silas and Martha Holls Michael,
born in Ohio and North Carolina respectively, the right sort of pioneer folk to shape
the mind and impulses of such a lad as our subject. Silas Michael was a farmer, and
in 1865 moved to Fannin County, in northeastern Texas, where he acquired half of
a section of land near Honey Grove. Thomas attended the district school of that
neighborhood, and lived there until he was thirteen years old.

The Michaels then moved to Wise County, Texas, and farmed near Decatur,
40 miles north of Fort Worth; and Thomas remained with his father until he was
of age, when he took a position with the Texas Pacific Railroad, and for three years
worked for that Company as a fireman and laborer in the round houses. In 1885.
however, he left town life behind him and took a job as cow-puncher on the F Ranch
of Charles Goodnight, and in his employ he remained for eight years riding the range.
Mr. Goodnight had a ranch twenty miles wide and forty miles long, and in addition
to this great possession of his own, he then leased a ranch of the same size, and thus
had under his supervision over a million acres.

After completing the long period referred to with Mr. Goodnight, Mr. Michael
went to Briscoe County, Tex., and took up farming for himself, acquiring more and
more land, until at last he owned nine and a half sections, 6,180 acres. These he
farmed for twelve years; during a third of that time he was sheriff of Briscoe County,
reelected to the office and serving with credit. He was not a candidate for a third
term, as he removed to Floyd County, Texas, in which a part of his holdings lay.
Here he continued cattle raising. His property was known as the Staple Cross Ranch
after his cattle brand. He was elected county commissioner, was reelected and was
serving as chairman when he resigned to come to California.

In 1904 Mr. Michael sold out his Texas land and came to California; and almost
immediately he bought 160 acres near Hanford, which were devoted to grain farming.
This land he had four years, and then he disposed of it, at the same time buying a
ranch of eighty acres, still nearer Hanford, set out to fruit of all kinds. After a year,
he sold even that; and then he came to Hughson in 1909.

Here, in September, 1909, he purchased ninety-seven acres on the north side of
the town of Hughson, but soon afterward sold that; and he next bought a tract of
150 acres, formerly the old Hughson home-site, to which he has added 20 acres, own-
ing 170 acres in all. He makes this his home place and has set out forty acres of
Muir, Lovell and Elberta peaches. He has a dairy of twenty-four cows and engages
in general farming and another dairy of sixty cows, which is conducted by tenants.
Thus it will be seen that Mr. Michael's various enterprises have contributed to
enrich the county adopted by him as his home, and that in this manner he has proven
to be the best of citizens.

While living in Floyd County, Texas, Mr. Michael was married, December 22,
1892, to Miss Elmira J. Williams, born in Dallas County, Texas, a daughter of
Samuel and Sarah (Ross) Williams, natives of Missouri and Tennessee respectively.
Her father served in a Missouri regiment in the Union Army in the Civil War, and
he and his wife now reside in Canyon City, Texas. Nine children have blessed the
union of Mr. and Mrs. Michael: Chas. is a graduate of Hughson high school and
of the Stockton Business College, now lives in Fresno; Mabel C. is a graduate of Hugh-
son high school and San Jose Normal State and is teaching at Los Gatos; Joseph C.
is a graduate of Hughson high school, served in the U. S. Army and is now assisting
his father on the ranch; S. Roy, also educated at Hughson high school and assisting
his father; Lois in Hughson high school class of 1921, Grace in the same school, class
of 1923 ; Winnifred, Ralph and Bernice. Mr. Michael is a member of Woodmen
of the World and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Texas and is a Mason.
In national politics he is a Democrat, while Mrs. Michael is a Methodist. He is also
a member of the California Peach Growers, Inc.




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 767

JAMES WESLEY FREDERICK.— A good type of the progressive citizen is
James Wesley Frederick, a native son who was born near Ripon, in San Joaquin
County, on April 3, 1873, the son of John Frederick, a native of Iowa. The father
had married Nancy Underwood, also a native of that state, and soon after their mar-
riage they crossed the plain, in 1861, in an ox-team train. They had many adven-
tures, and after a hard and dangerous trip through the Indian country, when they
were followed and threatened by the Redskins, they finally reached California in the
fall of the same year. The first two years of their life in the Golden State were
spent in farming near Stockton, but in 1863 they located three miles from what is now
Ripon, where Mr. Frederick began improving a farm. He built a fine residence,
reared a worthy family, came to own 320 acres, and was a well-to-do and highly-
respected man. He died as early as 1884, survived by a widow, who passed away
in August, 1916, at the age of seventy-four, and seven children, all of whom are still
living. The old home ranch is still in the family, now owned by one of Mr. Frede-
rick's sons. James Wesley, being the youngest, was reared on the home farm thirteen
miles from Modesto, while he received a good education in the public schools. His
father died when he was only eleven years of age, and he continued to assist his mother
on the ranch until he was twenty-one.

In 1894, Mr. Frederick was married at Ripon to Miss Lizzie Edwards, a native
of Monroe, Green County, Wis., who had been brought to California when a babe of
six weeks. Her parents were Joseph and Charlotte (Sergeant) Edwards, born in
Columbia City, Ind., and who spent their last years in San Francisco. Grandfather
James E. Sergeant was a veteran of two wars, having served in the Mexican War
and then was a captain in the Civil War.

In 1896, Mr. Frederick leased a ranch of 640 acres near his old home and there
engaged in grain raising until 1903, when he came to Stanislaus County and leased
the old M. B. Root ranch near Salida, on the Stanislaus River, which he farmed to
grain for five years. Meantime, he had bought eighty acres a mile and a half south
of Salida, which he improved and sowed to alfalfa. He built a residence and barns,
and farmed for three years; and then he sold the property at a good profit. Having
made a success of the venture, he determined to engage in the real estate business,
and to both buy and sell lands ; and while he improved the eighty acres, he bought forty
more, which he also improved and later sold at a profit.

In September, 1911, Mr. Frederick moved into Modesto, and in April of the
following year he began the real estate business in partnership with W. D. Toomes,
the firm being known as Toomes & Frederick. They handled both city and country
property, and met with much success. They have bought several ranches which they
have improved and sold, and they still own a couple of good farms, one a ranch of
fifty-seven acres near Salida, given up to alfalfa, the other a vineyard of twenty-one
acres on the State Highway near Salida. Mr. Frederick built a beautiful residence in
Modesto, where he dispenses the same hospitality for which he was noted when he was
trustee of the school district at Salida. He is a member of the Modesto Elks.

RICHARD GRANT THOMPSON.— The junior member of the firm of
Thompson Brothers Grain Company, Richard Grant Thompson gives the major part
of his time and attention to the realty interests of this thriving concern, which has
taken a prominent place in the business life of the county, and he is rapidly becoming
one of the best-informed realtors in this part of the county.

Richard G. Thompson was born at Superior, Wis., in 1894, the son of Gaylord
W. and Emma (Rowe) Thompson, further mention of their lives being given in
the sketch of Howard G. Thompson on another page of this work. When a lad his
parents removed to Lewiston. Idaho, and there he attended the public schools, grad-
uating from the Lewiston high school. The Thompson family removed to California
in 1913, settling at Modesto. Here Richard continued his studies and then entered
Stanford University. In the meantime his brother, Howard G. Thompson, had estab-
lished himself in the grain business at Modesto, so in 1916 they joined in partnership,
forming the Thompson Bros. Grain Company. Their business has expanded rapidly,
and to the original activities of buying and shipping grain and beans, they have added



768 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

the lines of real estate and insurance and now have a volume of business that is
second to none in the county. They are underwriters of life, fire and accident insur-
ance, representing the old, established companies of the country, and they now have
about fifteen sub-agencies in Stanislaus and surrounding counties.

Although he had from the first assumed a very active part in the conduct of the
firm's business, Mr. Thompson put loyalty to the service of his country ahead of his
own interests, enlisting soon after America's entrance into the World War. He was
stationed at Fort Worth, Texas, in the Quartermaster's Department, and while there
received injuries which laid him up for four months. On receiving his honorable dis-
charge after the armistice, he returned to Modesto and entered with renewed energy
into the affairs of the concern, his brother having meanwhile conducted the business.

Mr. Thompson's wide acquaintance and personal qualifications are added assets
in insuring unqualified success in all his undertakings. Stanislaus County indeed owes
much to men of this type, for it is through their energy and enterprise that the work so
nobly begun by the pioneer settlers is being continued. Mr. Thompson is affiliated
with the Masons, being a member of Stanislaus Lodge No. 206, F. & A. M. He is
also a member of the Elks, the G. E. K. Society, the Progressive Business Club of
Modesto, the Chamber of Commerce and the Stanislaus Country Club.

J. L. COLLINS, M. D. — A successful physician who saw distinguished service in
the late World War is Dr. J. L. Collins, well known also as an enthusiastic and
skilful hunter. He was born in Keokuk, Iowa, in 1875, the son of Richard Baxter
Collins, a native of Virginia, who was educated at Louisville, Ky., and engaged in
farming at Keokuk, where he was killed in a railroad accident. He married Miss
Thankful McGregor, a native of Columbus, Ohio, but of Scotch parentage. They
had twelve children, and our subject was the seventh in the order of birth.

He was educated in the public schools at Keokuk, and then studied at the Cotner
University at Lincoln, Nebr. In June, 1898, he volunteered for the Spanish-American
War and served as one of Company A Fiftieth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry.
He was stationed at Camp Cuba Libra at Jacksonville, and served there until after
the close of the war, when he was mustered out with his regiment on November 30,
1898, and was honorably discharged. He then became a traveling salesman and rep-
resented the Elastic Starch Company on a drumming circuit of Illinois, Missouri,
Indiana and Iowa, and in 1902, at Steelville, Mo., he was married to Miss Bertha A.
Carter, a native of that town. Three years later he decided to settle down and study
medicine, according to his desire for many years, so in 1905 he entered the College
of Physicians and Surgeons in St. Louis, Mo., and four years later was graduated.

Dr. Collins then located in Hampton, Franklin County, Iowa, where he prac-
ticed medicine and did graduate work, and next he settled for a while at Sheffield,
the same county. He practiced medicine and also was a member of the Hampton
clinic. During his residence at Sheffield he was a member of the board of education,
and largely through his efforts the standard was raised and the school was brought
from a non-credited to a recognized accredited school. A new high school building
was erected at a cost of $50,000, with a large auditorium — this being but one of many
good works effected by Dr. Collins. He was president of the school board, the
board of health, and the Community Club.

In July, 1918, he volunteered for service in the U. S. Medical Corps, and on
October 3 he was detailed to the air service at Fort Omaha. He was commissioned
a first lieutenant; and so continued until January, 1919, when he asked for his dis-
charge because the fighting was over. The request was granted, and having been duly
mustered out, with honors, he came west to Jerome, Ariz., for a month, and in May,
1919, reached Turlock and began that practice of medicine and surgery in which he
has been so successful. This success has been amply recognized by his fellow citizens,
and he has very properly been appointed a lecturer on surgical diseases at the Girls'
Training School at Emanuel Hospital in Turlock. He belongs to the American
Medical Association, the State Medical Society, and the Stanislaus County Medical
Society. Dr. Collins is also interested in improving the natural resources of this section.
Associated with two partners, he is developing a large tract of land at Livingston,




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 771

setting it out to Thompson seedless and Malaga grapes with a border of apricots and
figs alternating and both sides of the avenues throughout the tract are lined with fig
trees. The tract is known as the S. B. C. Vineyard, taking its name from the pro-
moters, Sweet, Boise and Collins.

Three children have blessed the union of Dr. and Mrs. Collins. The eldest is
Marion Carter, the second in order of birth is James Wallace, and the youngest is
Lillian Winifred. Dr. Collins as a sportsman has always been a lover of hunting,
having made several trips into the big game districts. In 1917 his hunting trip ex-
tended into Cook County, Minn., where he killed a big bull moose which he donated
to the Red Cross. They in turn presented him with the head, which he has mounted,
and it now adorns his office.

Fraternally Dr. Collins was made a Mason in Pearl Lodge No. 426 A. F. &
A. M. at Sheffield, Iowa, from which he demitted and is now a member of Turlock
Lodge No. 395 F. & A. M. and with his wife he is a member of the Order of Eastern
Star. The Doctor also belongs to the Odd Fellows lodge at Sheffield. In patriotic
societies we find him a member of the American Legion as well as the local post of
the Spanish-American War Veterans just organized. Intensely interested in the
growth and development as well as upbuilding of this favored section, he is naturally
a valued member of the Board of Trade and the Progressive Business Club, being a
director in the latter organization, and in both of which his counsel has much weight.
A great reader, well posted and much traveled, and having a retentive memory, Doc-
tor Collins is a very interesting conversationalist.

JAMES W. MeALISTER. — Among the most worthy pioneers who crossed the
plains to the Pacific Coast in the early sixties are Mr. and Mrs. Jas. W. McAlister
of Turlock, who reside in their comfortable home at 730 West Main Street, and are
enthusiastic over the soil, climate and possibilities of Stanislaus County. Mr. Mc-
Alister was born at Ashmore, Coles County, III., June 30, 1854, of Scotch forebears.
His father, S. Harvey McAlister, was a native of South Carolina, his parents having
immigrated thither from the Highlands of Scotland. He came out to Illinois when a
young man and there met and married Rebecca J. Anderson, who was born in Indiana
and descended of Irish and German lineage. They removed to Putnam County, Mo.,
where they followed farming and stock raising for a period of seven years.

Having a strong desire to move to the Pacific Coast, Mr. McAlister, outfitted
with ox teams and wagons and with his wife and four children, crossed the overland
trail in 1862 to Union County, Ore., where he was among the very first white settlers
— for the inhabitants at that time were Indians with the exception of about six white
families. He preempted as well as bought state lands, and purchasing cattle from
emigrants, he succeeded in getting started in stock raising. In 1867, with his son,
J. W., he made a trip into the Willamette Valley, where they purchased cattle and
drove them over the mountains to eastern Oregon. He also ran a freight train with
oxen as the motive power and a pack train of horses into Baker County. The latter
he traded for mules, so he continued raising cattle, horses and mules. The country
was open and he cut hay on the range. He met with success and acquired a fine ranch,
well located and valuable, and there he and his wife continued until they passed to
the beyond, the father on April 5, 1870, while his wife survived him until April 5,
1874. By this union there were nine children, six of whom are living.

James W., being the oldest, had the interesting experience of crossing the plains
when he was eight years of age. In the new country of eastern Oregon he imme-
diately began assisting his father, driving the oxen to the breaking plow, helping to
cradle, bind and gather the wheat. He made a trade for a hen from a passing emi-
grant, giving the man some of the wheat they raised. By the purchase of a few more,
they started raising poultry, receiving as high as $2.50 a dozen for eggs. A school
was started and he attended school whenever he could, until his father died, when
J. W. was fifteen years old. His father had been blind for two years, so from the
age of thirteen he had taken charge of the ranch and stock and was his mother's right-
hand man. For two years after this he attended Blue Mountain University at La
Grande, laying a foundation of useful knowledge, which has stood him in good stead.



772 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

In 1876 Mr. Thompson drove a band of cattle to Cheyenne, Wyo., where he
sold a part of the herd, and then continued on to Kansas. The grasshoppers were
very bad and they drove the cattle on to Plattsmouth, Nebr., and disposed of them.
In 1878 he drove another band of cattle to Cheyenne and on to White Bluff and
there joined another cattleman and they shipped them by rail to Chicago.

In Union County, Ore., November 27, 1879, Mr. McAlister was united in
marriage with Miss Arabelle Halley, who was born in Macon County, Mo., of Eng-
lish descent. Her father, Benjamin Halley, was also born in Missouri, where his
father was a pioneer. Benjamin Halley was married in Missouri to Elizabeth Halley,
also a native of that state, whose father, Richard Halley, crossed the plains in an
ox-team train in 1849 to California and for a year mined gold. He had married a
Miss Smith of Holland Dutch descent. Richard Halley spent his last days in Oregon.
Arabelle Halley's mother passed away when she was eleven years old, while her father
lived until 1898. This worthy pioneer couple had six children, four of whom are
living, of whom Mrs. McAlister is the second oldest and crossed the plains with her
father in 1864. He had outfitted with good strong horse teams and made good time,
making the journey in about three months. At one point the Indians stole some of



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 86 of 177)