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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

. (page 94 of 177)
Online LibraryGeorge Henry TinkhamHistory of Stanislaus County California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres → online text (page 94 of 177)
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artisan of the Order of Artisans. Mrs. Reeves is also a member of the Artisans as
well as a past officer in the Women of Woodcraft and is a prominent member of the
Baptist Church at Modesto. A man of strict integrity and honesty of purpose, Mr.
Reeves is widely known for his straightforward and reliable business methods.

WILLIAM H. THOMPSON.— Vigorous in mind and body, clear-headed and
the possessor of energy and sound judgment, William H. Thompson has contributed
much towards developing the resources of Stanislaus County. A native of Freedom
village, Carroll County, N. H., he was born January 1, 1842, of patriotic ancestry,
being a grandson of Samuel Thompson, who served in the war of 1812. Great-grand-
father Thompson was in the service of his country during the Revolutionary War.
Mr. Thompson's father, Sylvester Thompson, was a lumberman and manufactured
staves as well as being a manufacturing cooper near Center Harbor, N. H., and was
thus engaged until he passed away. His mother was Miss Sarah Copp, a native of
Rochester. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were the parents of five children, four of whom
are living: William H. ; Frances, deceased at the age of twelve years; Theodore, a
shoe manufacturer of Chicago, 111. ; Charles and Mary.

William H. Thompson resided with his parents at Effingham Falls, N. H., until
he was fourteen, then removed to Sandwich Center, and there attended the public
schools ; later went to Parsonfield Academy in Maine, where he remained for two years ;
then entered Sandwich Center Academy for a time, then to the New Hampton
Academy. During the time he was attending academy he engaged in teaching at odd
times. He finally completed his education at the St. Johnsbury Academy, and was
there when the Civil War began in 1861. When the call came for 300,000 men, Mr.
Thompson was among the first to volunteer, and on July 16, 1861, he was mustered
into the service of his country at St. Johnsbury in Company C, Third Vermont
Volunteer Infantry, serving in the defense of Washington until November 10, 1862;
then his regiment was moved to Fortress Monroe ; he was in active service in the Siege
of Yorktown, April 5 to May 4, during which time he was wounded and sent to the
hospital at Hampton Roads, remaining there until fully recovered. He received his
honorable discharge January 1, 1863, and returned to his home. After recuperating
for a time, he secured a news agency for the Tenth and Eighteenth Army Corps.
When Grant came back from the Peninsular campaign in 1864, the agencies were
consolidated, and he sold his equipment and accepted a position as bookkeeper in
Philadelphia. While there he again volunteered for service, enlisting in Company
B, Sixteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, February 4, 1865, and saw active service during
the battles of Boyton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, Dabney Hill, Ffve Forks, Sailors'
Creek, Appomattox Court House, and was present when General Lee surrendered;
later he was at Lynchburg, and was mustered out August 11, 1865, at Richmond, Va.

Mr. Thompson then returned to his home and was engaged in the shoe manu-
facturing business for about four years. His many years of service during the war
had somewhat undermined his physical condition, and he was forced to seek a different
climate. He traveled through Kansas and Iowa looking for a suitable location.
Stopping for a time at Bedford, Iowa, he was offered a school and became principal
of the schools at Pacific City ; later removing to Broken Bow, Custer County, Nebr.,
he settled on a homestead ; he also took a preemption and a tree claim and had 480
acres which he improved. After a time he disposed of 160 acres, retaining 320 acres
and engaged extensively in raising grain, cattle and hogs, residing there for twenty-
three years. During his residence there, he was principal of the schools of Arnold,



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 837

Nebr., for four years, and also served several terms as justice of the peace, resigning
this position when he decided to migrate to California. He was active in church cir-
cles, and to him is due the credit of advancing the cause of the Christian Church in
Nebraska, where he was, for some years, a deacon. During the year of 1904, he dis-
posed of his holdings in Nebraska and removed to California, locating at Modesto,
where he purchased a farm north of town, which he improved, planting to alfalfa
and orchard, building also a commodious residence. After living on his farm for
two years, he sold out and moved into Modesto, and here he went into partnership
with Mr. Lee in the real estate business, with an office in the National Bank building.
They were successful in building up a very lucrative business, doing their full share
in advertising the vast resources of this wonderful county. Frequently Mr. Thomp-
son was called upon regarding soldiers' claims, and became so well posted regarding
pension matters, that he applied for and was licensed to practice as a pension agent.
On the death of Mr. Lee he discontinued the realty business, but continued as pen-
sion agent, and has been a notary public for twelve years. In all his transactions
he is fair and honest, and is widely known as a man of high principles, and enjoys
the well deserved esteem and respect of the community in which he resides.

The marriage of Mr. Thompson occurred February 21, 1867, and united him
with Miss Elizabeth D. Langford, a native of Candia, N. H., a daughter of Joseph
and Pluma (Howe) Langford, New England farmers. Her ancestors were of good
old Revolutionary stock. She was educated at Chester Academy, and for many years
was engaged in teaching. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson are the parents of two children,
both of whom are deceased : Ernest L. died at the age of six, and Martha B. deceased
at seventeen years of age. Mr. Thompson was one of the organizers of Excelsior
Post G. A. R. in Nebraska, and was for some time the honored post commander. He
is an active member of the Grant Post No. 9, G. A. R., at Modesto, of which he is
past commander and is now serving as adjutant. Mrs. Thompson is affiliated with
the W. R. C. at Modesto. Politically Mr. and Mrs. Thompson are stanch Republi-
cans, and quite active in party work. Before removing to California, Mr. Thompson
served as delegate to both state and county Republican conventions. They are repre-
sentative members of the Presbyterian Church, and lend their efficient support.

CHAUNCEY E. POOL. — An enterprising Californian by adoption who has
attained well-merited success is Chauncey E. Pool, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah,
where he was born on July 23, 1869, and now one of the progressive business men of
Turlock. His father, John Pool, was born in England, and came to America and,
by means of ox teams, across the great plains. He settled at Salt Lake and there fol-
lowed farming. And there he married Miss Mary Therkell, also a native of Eng-
land, who had come with her parents across the plains to Utah. John Pool con-
tinued agricultural pursuits in Utah until 1884 when he settled near Santa Rosa,
in Sonoma County, and was a farmer raising grain and stock. He also made a spe^
cialty of poultry, on a large scale. He and his good wife afterwards returned to
Utah, and at Salt Lake City he died, survived there until 1919 by Mrs. Pool. When
she passed away, she was the mother of fourteen children, among whom Chauncey,
the only one in California, was the seventh eldest.

His early school advantages in Utah were limited, but he was able to attend the
public schools in Sonoma for a while, although he early went to work on a farm to
assist his father. When twenty-one, he commenced farming for himself, and then for
fourteen years he was in the employ of Sonoma County as road overseer, having a
district south of Santa Rosa. He built new roads, and he also kept the older ones up
to a high standard.

In 1910, Mr. Pool removed to Turlock and started the transfer business which
became so favorably associated with his name. He commenced with horse-teams; dr-
y-eloped the patronage until he had need of a truck, and finally used three trucks
He engaged in heavy hauling and also in the leveling of lands. His business was
conducted under the firm name of the C. E. Pool Dray & Transfer Company, with an
office on East Main Street; and he was helpfully active in the Turlock Board of
Trade, always ready to do his share of exploiting and "boosting." In 1920 Mr. Pool



838 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

traded his transfer business and residence for forty acres of land on the State High-
way, south of Turlock, and moved there. He leveled and checked the land, sowed
seventeen acres in alfalfa, and the balance is devoted to orchards and grain.

At Santa Rosa, Mr. Pool was married to Miss Mary S. Tullar, a native of
Watsonville, Cal., and they have three children. Luella is now Mrs. Saxby of Mo-
desto; Clarence A. resides at Turlock, and Hazel lives at home. Mr. Pool is a Re-
publican in matters of national politics, and having been a school trustee in Sonoma
County, he takes a deep interest in popular education in Turlock. He also owns a
twenty-one-acre ranch adjoining Turlock on the east, which he leases for cantaloupes.

EUGENE D. WOOLSEY.— Among the people who have come from all over
the United States to lend a hand in its upbuilding of this wonderful country is Eugene
D. Woolsey, who was born on September 2, 1848, near Dowagiac, Cass County, Mich.,
the son of Richard and Alice (Buck) Woolsey, both natives of Ohio. His father
followed the stone and brickmason and plasterer's trade. When Eugene was but a
babe, his parents moved to La Grange County, Ind., and bought 160 acres of timber
land, and here he grew up helping in the clearing of the land. His education was
gained under the tuition of a "Hoosier schoolmaster" in the early days of Indiana.
The father had six children, so Eugene, being the eldest, stayed home from school and
worked on the farm, while his father worked at his trade. His mother died in
January, 1862, when he was only twelve years old; his father married again and
Eugene never lived at home much after this. In 1864, being still too young for a
soldier, he enlisted and served in the Commissary Division of the quartermaster's
department of Tennessee, also in the edge of Georgia. After the war, he went back to
Indiana, but in October, 1865, decided to leave his native state for good and going
to Kansas and settled near Lawrence, where he resided from 1865 to 1867, traveling
all over the state.

Mr. Woolsey's marriage in 1868 united him with Miss Amanda Beck, a native
of Missouri. He bought a farm in Cass County, Mo., and farmed, living through
many hardships, one of which was the drouth of 1874. During this time, he was
compelled to split rails and cut wood in order to support his family, working for
seventy-five cents per day and boarding himself. From Missouri, Mr. Woolsey
returned with his family to Stafford County, Kans., where he had been engaged in
the stock business for ten years, staying there for six years, buying and selling cattle.
He then moved to California in 1891, where he has followed various lines of business,
first running a meat market and livery barn in Nipomo, San Luis Obispo County,
then going to Santa Cruz, where he ran a meat market. After that he entered the
mercantile business, dealing in men's furnishing goods and groceries at Sutter City,
Cal., and for three years was one of the successful merchants. In October, 1905, he
came to Modesto and buying a place in Wood Colony in Stanislaus County, and
farmed only for a year and a half, later sold it and improved another. Then after
the loss of his wife in 1909, he sold the place. Since that time he has lived at Crows
Landing, Stockton, San Jose for one year, and at Escalon, where he ran a notion store
and farmed, later trading that place for an apple orchard at Watsonville, Cal. On
June 7, 1920, he came to his present place, and here he has eight and a half acres of
well-improved land, one mile east and one-quarter mile south of Empire.

By his first marriage Mr. Woolsey had five children, all born in Cass County,
Mo. Alfred C, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work, is a rancher on the Mc-
Kewin Road near Waterford, and was married in Kansas to Miss Anne Currants,
who died and left three children. A. C. Woolsey's second marriage united him with
Miss Edna Grafft of Fresno County and they became the parents of three children ;
two died in infancy and Eldon was run over by an automobile and killed the day he
was twelve years old. Alice Woolsey became the wife of Geo. McNeal of Arroyo
Grande, San Luis Obispo County, and passed away in 1894, leaving two children.
Emogene Woolsey is the wife of Frank Hart, Claus precinct, the president of the
Stanislaus County Rice Growers Association. Mr. and Mrs. Hart are the parents
of seven children. Elvora Woolsey married Harry Talmage and they became the
parents of two children. Her husband having died, she married Al Brockway, a rice



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 841

grower in Claus precinct, and they are the parents of one child, who, with Mrs.
Brockway, is residing in Oakland. Addie Woolsey is the wife of Herman Leeotis,
a mechanic and machinist at Alameda, and the parents of four children.

Mr. Woolsey was married the second time in Newton, Kans., September 8, 1910,
to Mrs. Nettie Davis, a native of Boston, Mass., who, before her first marriage, was
Miss Gray, the daughter of Samuel A. and Henrietta (Davis) Gray. Her maternal
grandmother, Sophia C. Chase, was born and reared at Portland, Maine, and was an
heir to the great Chase and Townsend estate at Portland, Maine. She was an own
cousin of Daniel Webster. The Chase family are of Pilgrim stock, being of the early
Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers. Mrs. Woolsey's mother was born in Portland,
Maine, and her father was born in Boston, Mass., and was a hardware merchant in
Boston. Mr. and Mrs. Davis moved to Newton, Kans., where he was a locomotive
engineer, later foreman of the Santa Fe shop at Purcell, Okla., passing away at
Arkansas City at the age of forty-nine in 1902. They were the parents of five chil-
dren : Everett S. is mechanical instructor at the University of Oklahoma, at Norman,
Okla. ; Warren, Jr., is inspector of boilers of the Santa Fe Railway Company, residing
at Dodge City, Kans.; Theodore K. is a machinist on the Chicago, Rock Island &
Pacific Railway and resides at Muskogee, Okla. ; Alice H. is now Mrs. Stoner and
resides at Arkansas City, Kans.; Claudia is in the employ of the Fisk mercantile
establishment at Escalon, Cal. Although recent settlers of Empire, Mr. and Mrs.
Woolsey have made many friends here, for he has been identified with Stanislaus
County for more than sixteen years.

C. E. FLESHMAN. — A native son who, after a successful business career, has
recently embarked in a new field, that of ranching, in which he promises to be equally
progressive and prosperous, is C. E. Fleshman, a native son, born at Valley Center, in
San Diego County, in 1884. His father, Joseph J. Fleshman, was born near Burling-
ton, Iowa, and in 1853, when ten years old, crossed the great plains in a train of mule
teams in 1863, and for some years was engaged in mining at Lewiston, Trinity
County, Cal. Grandfather Frank Fleshman, while in Burlington, Iowa, married
Rebecca Helwick. He came to California in 1854 and his wife joined him in 1860.
For a while Frank Fleshman mined in Placer County, Cal., then he moved to
Trinity County and remained until 1875, when he removed to Valley Center, San
Diego County, where he died. His widow is still living there, aged eighty-six.

Joseph Fleshman removed to Valley Center in 1871, and in 1875 he home-
steaded 160 acres, and for a time he followed farming. Later he moved to San Diego,
where he was with the Pioneer Truck Company for three years. After this he
returned to Valley Center and for a like period was engaged in farming, when he
removed to Tucson, Ariz., and then to Phoenix, and there followed freighting. The
last years he was engaged in moving quartz mills.

However, he returned to San Diego County, locating in Escondido, and started
the City Transfer Company, of which he was the head for eleven years. During this
time he was enthusiastic in the building up and developing of the town and county.
After this he spent two years at Julian and in 1899 he located at Bolsa, Orange
County, where he farmed, later at Westminster until 1903, when he engaged in raising
sugar beets at Alamitos and grain at Palos Verdes. In 1905 Mr. Fleshman came to
Turlock, where he farmed until 1912, when he removed to Chowchilla, and in 1915
he located on his present ranch near Livingston. He had chosen for his wife Miss
Margaret Tweed, born near Winters, Yolo County, and the daughter of William N.
Tweed, an Englishman, who came around Cape Horn to California in 1849. He
engaged in mining, then transported freight for a while, and after that went into the
stage business. He early, settled in San Diego, in 1868, and ran the first stage out
of that city; and there he spent his last days.

Mrs. Joseph Fleshman is still living, the mother of seven children, six living,
among whom our subject is the oldest.

He was brought up in Southern California, and attended the grammar schools
at Escondido ; and while yet a lad learned the transfer business. After that he farmed
for a while in Orange County. In December, 1905, he came to Turlock and started



842 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

the transfer business with which his name has been so favorably connected. He com-
menced with a one-horse rig, and when his business steadily and finally rapidly grew,
he organized the Turlock Dray & Transfer Company, went in for heavy hauling, and
made a specialty of house moving, using ten head of horses — in 1908 moving the
largest house here. He built his commodious barns on High Street, and opened a
well-appointed office at 129 North Broadway.

On April 1, 1920, Mr. Fleshman sold his business and bought a ranch at Liv-
ingston. It contains forty acres, and is improved with Thompson seedless grapes :
and few farm properties of the same size are more attractive to the eye, or give evi-
dence of better crops. He is an active member of the Turlock Board of Trade.

At Irwin, Merced County, Mr. Fleshman was married to Miss Annis Corbett,
a native of Florida, and they have had one child — Beth. Mr. Fleshman joined the
Odd Fellows and is now a past grand of Turlock Lodge No. 402. He also belongs
to the Red Men. Mr. and Mrs. Fleshman are members of the Rebekahs, and she is
a past noble grand there.

LUTHER D. THOMPSON.— The men and women who left their comfortable
homes and came to California in an early day, crossing the plains with ox teams and
prairie schooners, or making the long and perilous journey by water around the Horn,
were of necessity possessed of sterling traits of character, ambitious and fearless, and to
their children and their children's children they have bequeathed this splendid herit-
age. Such a man is Luther D. Thompson, descendant from a sturdy line of pioneer
ancestors, his father having come to California when he was four years of age, and
both the father and grandfather being prominent men in the state and intimately asso-
ciated with its growth and development since the time it was a state. Mr. Thompson
is a native son of whom California may well be proud, for he possesses the character-
istics for which the Golden West has always stood. He has been variously interested
in Stanislaus County since 1908, owns valuable property here, but is now engaged in
the development of valuable oil properties in Kern County, adjoining lands on which
is located one of the Standard Oil Company's gushers.

Mr. Thompson was born at Kelseyville, Lake County, Cal., March 6, 1884, be-
ing the fourth son in a family of six children, all living in California at this time.
His father was Henry C. Thompson, a native of Arkansas, and his mother was
Rosa S. Jamison, a native of Kelseyville. The Thompson family removed to Cali-
fornia in 1856, when Henry C. was four years of age, crossing the plains with an ox
team, and located in Lake County, where the family was reared and educated. Henry
C. Thompson became a land speculator, buying and selling extensively. He passed
away at Escondido, San Diego County, Cal., in 1906, leaving his widow and six chil-
dren to mourn his loss. The widow now makes her home with her children. Luther
Thompson's grandfather, Judge Thompson, was the first district attorney of Solano
County, and then moved to Lakeport, where he was the first superior judge of Lake
County and one of the most highly honored of the early California pioneers, prom-
inently connected with the bar of the state. He was a large, athletic man, six feet four
inches in height, and made an impressive figure. He was married to Miss Elmira
Blackburn of Arkansas, who recently passed away at Anaheim, Orange County, at
the age of ninety years. She was a woman of unusual powers, and at the age of
seventy-five she wrote a history of the Thompson family. She was interested in
politics and all public questions, being a strict adherent of the Democratic party and a
supporter of its principles.

Luther D. Thompson lived with his parents in various parts of the state, but
principally in Southern California, at Santa Ana, where he attended the high school.
He then took a commercial course at Woodbury's Business College in Los Angeles,
having earned his scholarship therefor while in high school by taking subscriptions for
the Santa Ana Blade, and being given his choice of any business college in Orange or
Los Angeles counties. His first business experience was after the close of his business
college course, when he went to work for Albert Cohn in the grocery business in Los
Angeles. He worked himself up to the position of foreman, then resigned and
engaged in the confectionery business for himself in Colton, San Bernardino County.



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 845

Here he prospered, but eventually sold his business and came to Modesto in 1908,
where he engaged in the confectionery business with marked success until 1914. He
then sold out this business and bought his present home place two and a half miles
north of Modesto, where he has erected a handsome modern bungalow and made
other attractive improvements necessary to the establishment of a permanent home.
He owns much valuable property in this part of the state, including eighty acres at
Shafter, near Bakersfield, Kern Countv, and an interest in two sixty-acre places at
the same place. He recently sold a thirty-five acre tract in Stanislaus County on
which he raised alfalfa and was engaged in the breeding of registered Holstein cattle
and Poland-China hogs, this sale being consummated in May, 1920. The lure of the
great and growing oil industry has called to Mr. Thompson, and he retains valuable
oil lands in Kern County. He has lately purchased a 100-acre ranch at Sah'da, whicr
he is subdividing into small ranches. In January, 1921, Mr. Thompson became
associated with Edward Ealev in the realtv business at Modesto.

The marriage of Mr. Thompson in Los Angeles, Tanuary 1, 1906, united him
with Miss Mertvle H^igler, a native of Washington Countv, Iowa, where she was
reared and educated. Her parents were John and Mary (Myers) Haigler, the mother
having passed away in 1917, and her father beinc still a resident of Sipourney, Iowa.
He is seventy-five years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have no children of their
own. but have adopted a little girl, Mabel Elmira. Both Mr. and Mrs. Thompson
are very popular socially among a wide circle of friends and their home is noted for its
hospitality. Mr. Thompson is gifted with a fine voice and is a talented singer. He
studied music and had his voice training under Princess Long at Long Beach. His is a
pleasing tenor, with a wide range, and during his residence in Southern California fre-
quentlv favored audiences and congregations with solos as well as being leader of choirs
and choruses in the Christian churches. Unfortunately of late his business has en-
grossed his time to the exclusion of solo singinar. To the credit of Mr. Thompson must
be added that all his singing and work with choirs was done gratis. Mr. Thompson is
a life-long Democrat and a believer in clean politics. He has entertained at his home
here that great exponent of Democratic party principles, William Jennings Bryan, who
is his personal friend. Mr. Bryan was at the time engaged in giving a series oi Chau-
tauqua lectures, and he and Mr. Thompson drove in the latter's automobile to the scene



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 94 of 177)