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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 95 of 177)
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of these various lectures, including Modesto, Turlock and Stockton. Mr. Thompson
is prominent in fraternal affairs of Modesto, being a member of the Odd Fellows.
In this he follows in the footsteps of his father, who was one of the most prominent
Odd Fellows in the state, having passed through all the chairs of the order.

CHARLES C. CROWELL. — A rancher to whom Stanislaus County has more
than once looked for the solution of its difficult and interesting problems is Charles C.
Crowell, who was born in Hanford, Kings County, Cal., on September 17, 1878. He
is the third son of Abner Buel Crowell, who was born in Ohio on March 8, 1849,
and when nine years of age came out to California with his father, traveling by way
of the Isthmus of Panama. Two years later he returned to Ohio, and in 1865 he
came out to California alone and located at Marysville, from which place he moved
to Hanford in 1870. He married Miss Mary Kanawyer, who was born in Iowa,
remained there until she was nine years of age, and then came with her parents, in a
party drawn by ox-teams, across the great plains and mountains to California. For a
while, her folks lived at Grangeville, where she was married, and then they settled
near the bottom lands of Tulare Lake.

Reared on the stock farm and range, like his brothers, Charles Crowell worked
hard while he attended the public school; and in 1898 he was graduated from the
Hanford high school. Then he joined his father and brothers in the Hanford Cheese
Factory corporation, working there for eight years, or until it was destroyed by fire,
in 1902, causing heavy losses to the entire family. This set the boys back upon their
own resources, and with his brother, A. G. Crowell, Charles came to Turlock.

Here he purchased eighty acres of raw land in the Roger Williams tract, and by
hard, persistent work he has developed the acreage into a fine ranch, and has estab-
lished himself successfully in dairying, at the same time that he is prosecuting general



S46 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

farming. His ranch, now reduced to sixty acres through a sale of one-fourth of the
original tract, adjoins that of his brother. He is an active member of the Farmers
Union and a stockholder in the T. M. & G. incorporated in 1915. Hfs father served
as a trustee of the grammar and high schools at Hanford for many years, and for ten
years prior to 1916, our subject also served as trustee of the Monte Vista school.

At Hanford, in 1900, Mr. Crowell was married to Miss Lillie May Frederick,
who was born on December 8, 1878, near Modesto. When she was ten years old, she
removed to Kings County with her parents, both of whom are now residing in Fresno
County. Mr. and Mrs. Crowell have six children. Ella May attends the Junior
College at Turlock ; Orval Chester and Abner Melvin attend the high school at Tur-
lock; Loren Eugene, Virgil Lloyd, and Charles Coleman are pupils in the school at
Monte Vista. Mr. and Mrs. Crowell are naturally imbued with both a deep love for
California and the proper patriotic sentiments respecting their own great country; and
during the recent war, when Mr. Crowell was a committeeman on various drives, he
did commendable work in his district.

THOMAS JEFFERSON PRICE.— One of the successful grain farmers of
the Hickman section, Thomas Jefferson Price is closely related to several of Stanislaus
County's pioneer families. He was born at Berryville, Ark., the county seat of Carroll
County, May 14, 1885, the son of James Silas and Louisa (Baker) Price. His
mother is a cousin of Gilbert Baker of Oakdale, also of Dick Baker, the pioneer
settler at Waterford and a California '49er and former county treasurer, and Mrs.
John Hayter of Waterford. His father is still living at Berryville, in Carroll County,
Ark., while his mother died seventeen years ago. Of their ten children, Thomas
Jefferson is the third oldest, and grew up in the Ozarks until seventeen years of age,
then went to Texas and gradually came on west until he arrived at Oakdale, Stanis-
laus County, February 20, 1906, where he worked on ranches by the month, later
coming to Hickman, where he worked for his cousin, Frank Brumley, for three years
on the Yancey farm, the same farm that he is now leasing and operating. From here
he went to Madera County, spending two years working on the D. F. Mullen ranch
in that county. In all, he has spent thirteen years in the employ of grain farmers in
both Merced and Stanislaus counties. In 1918, having gained a great deal of expe-
rience in farming, he rented a farm on the Stanislaus and Merced County line and
after raising two crops, he rented a farm of 640 acres formerly owned by A. J.
Yancey, and known as the old Hudelson ranch. It is located in Hickman precinct,
just six miles east of Hickman. Here he has been very successful, and as proof of the
opportunities afforded in California, if one will only grasp them, he has made $40,000
alone and unaided. For his 1921 crop he will have 300 acres in barley and the re-
mainder he will summer fallow. He uses twelve head of mules in a team in his work.

Mr. Price was united in marriage March 2, 1921, to Miss Annie M. Green, a
native daughter of San Joaquin County, born near Stockton, a daughter of Joseph and
Martha (Brown) Green, natives respectively of Tennessee and Missouri, who located
in San Joaquin County, Cal., where the mother died, while Mr. Green now lives at
French Camp. Mr. Price is considered one of Stanislaus County's live wires and
having the regard and friendship of those of his community, is well on his way to an
active, happy and prosperous life. He is a member of Oakdale Lodge No. 228,
I. O. O. F., at Oakdale, and a charter member of Twintown Lodge, K. P., at
Waterford, and a member of the Hickman Center of the Farm Bureau.

DANIEL S. ANDERSON. — A rancher who believes in farming according to
twentieth century methods, and who therefore attains results worthy of the age in
which he lives, is Daniel S. Anderson, who was born near Clayton, Adams County,
111., on August 16, 1872, the eldest son of James T. Anderson, a native of Illinois,
who had married Miss Eliza McCoy, of Indiana, both of whom lived in Portland,
Ore., and where Mrs. Anderson died. They came to Brown County, S. D., in 1881,
and homesteaded, and nine years later they removed to the state of Washington.
Daniel went to Eastern Oregon and took a job in the harvest field, where he remained
for two years; and in 1896 he went into Idaho, where he farmed for grain and pota-




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HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 849

toes. Selling out, he returned to Portland, to re-invest, later, in Idaho. After his
second trial with Idaho, he returned to Portland and his parents' home.

In 1911, responding to the lure of the Golden State, Mr. Anderson removed to
Stanislaus County, and near Turlock he has since become a very successful farmer on
ten acres of highly cultivated land, to which he has given years of hard, intelligent
labor. He also rents land in addition to his own, and has no trouble in making that
equally productive. One of the first things Mr. Anderson mastered was a knowledge
of local soil and climatic conditions; and with this information and experience as a
basis he has pointed the way for others to follow.

At Salt Lake City, on October 18, 1899, Mr. Anderson was married to Miss
Lulu Wise, a native of Brigham City, Utah, where she was born on February 23,
1881, the daughter of Jason T. Wise, of the Hoosier State, whose good wife in
maidenhood, a native of Iowa, was Elmira Sheppard. Grandfather Sheppard was born
on the ocean en route from England, but the maternal ancestors were of French
extraction. Of this union, four children were born: Jason D., William F., Beatrice A.
and Viola R. Anderson. The family attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints. A Republican in matters of national politics, Mr. Anderson is an advocate of
Prohibition to the last ditch, and is equally enthusiastic about popular education. He
has always stood for good schools, and is a trustee and clerk of Monte Vista school.

AUGUST GUSTAFSON.— A rancher who thoroughly understands the condi-
tions which every successful farmer in California must encounter and master, is August
Gustafson, who was born on October 31, 1864, southwest of Stockholm in Central
Sweden. -He is the fourth son of Gustaf Anderson, who married Miss Christine
Almstrom, and his parents are both natives of the same Swedish province. His father
was a cooper, and August spent so many days of his boyhood in his father's shop, that
he very naturally learned the same trade. However, when he went to Stockholm,
he worked in a blacksmith shop.

In 1887, Mr. Gustafson came out to America, and although that was the great
boom year when the attention of the world was directed to California, he located for
a while at Duluth, and there worked at his trade until 1890. Then he pushed west-
ward to San Francisco, and for ten years he was head cooper at the works of the Cali-
fornia Wine Association. Now he owns the ranch of twenty-five acres upon which his
home place stands, where he lives a comfortable life, and is recognized as a leader.

At San Francisco, Mr. Gustafson was married to Miss Hedvig Carlson, a native
of Sweden and a daughter of Carl Carlson. They have one child, Albert H. Gustaf-
son. He is an ex-service man and belonged to the medical corps. Mrs. Gustafson died
in 1898 in San Francisco, and afterward Mr. Gustafson married her sister, Miss Nina
Carlson, who is the mother of two children — Evelyn and David. The second Mrs.
Gustafson passed away in Turlock on March 3, 1920.

Mr. Gustafson was granted American citizenship in San Francisco in 1900, and
has since voted with the Prohibition party. When fifteen years old, he was confirmed
in the Lutheran Church, and he has ever since endeavored to lead a consistent Christian
life. He and his family belong to the Swedish Mission Church of Turlock, of which
he has been a trustee, also serving as superintendent of the Sunday school.

JONATHAN BIRD CURTIS.— A native of North Carolina and a descendant
of one of the splendid old Southern families of an early day, whose fortune was sadly
ravaged by the Civil War, Jonathan Bird Curtis is a type of the gentlemen of the old
school. He is patriotic and public-spirited, always a well-wisher for public enter-
prises and improvements. He has been a resident of the Patterson district since 1910,
and now owns a valuable eight-acre home place on Almond Avenue, devoted to the
raising of alfalfa. Always keenly alive to the public welfare, Mr. Curtis is a splendid
citizen and holds a warm place in the regard of his neighbors and friends.

Born near Franklin, Macon County, N. C, April 6, 1846, Mr. Curtis is now
reaching the three-quarters of a century mark, and has witnessed some of the most
eventful history of the United States and of the world. He was the son of J. A.
Curtis and Elizabeth Bird Curtis, his father a plantation farmer of Carolina. In 1857



850 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

the father made a trip to California, by way of New York and the Isthmus of Panama.
At the outbreak of the Civil War he declared his intention of returning immediately
to the aid of his beloved Southland, but was detained and passed away in 1865.

Jonathan B. Curtis received a common school education, but the current of his
life was greatly changed by the troubled days of the early sixties. He was just eighteen
at the closing days of the war and was drafted and served for three months, being in
several skirmishes while guarding the southern mountain passes, but escaping without
wounds. He served under Capt. John D. Berry and Col. J. R. Love. On February
22, 1872, he was married to Miss Lydia J. Allen, at Franklin, N. C. She was the
daughter of William and Martha (Carson) Allen, a native of Macon County, N. C,
and a childhood friend of her husband, whose helpmeet and inspiration she has been
through almost half a century of life together. Of their union have been born ten
children, the^ first two of whom, Charles and Elizabeth, are now deceased. Of the
eight living, three, John S., Thomas and Mary, now Mrs. William Fowler, are resi-
dents of Patterson. The others are widely scattered, with the exception of Cora, now
Mrs. Ernest George of Newman. They are: Anna, Mrs. J. D. Sparks, who resides
at the old home place in Georgia; George, residing in Alabama; Margaret, now Mrs.
Ula Grissom, Los Molinos, Tehama County ; Robert, in the U. S. Army and Thos. E.

Following his marriage Mr. Curtis moved to Union County, Ga., where for
fifteen years he was engaged in farming, and where his children were born. In 1900
he moved to Denison, Grayson County, Texas, where he farmed for ten years, at
the end of that time coming to Stanislaus County, arriving at Patterson in 1910. In
1911 he bought his home on Almond Avenue, where he has since resided, and where
he and his good wife expect to pass their remaining days in peace and comfort. Both
Mr. and Mrs. Curtis have many friends in Patterson and vicinity, where their kindly
Southern hospitality is much appreciated. Mr. Curtis is a stanch Democrat and is a
member of the Masonic order, affiliated with the lodge at Pottsboro, Texas.

PHILIP O. ERICKSON. — Stanislaus County owes much to its. enterprising
and successful merchants, whose energy and sensible conservatism have contributed to
steadying finance and trade. Among such men may be mentioned Philip O. Erickson,
of Turlock, who was born in Kittson County, Minn., on May 13, 1887. His father
was John O. Erickson, a native of Sweden, where he was born on November 18, 1851.
He was eleven years old when he came to America with relatives and located in Good-
hue County, Minn. He was married on July 4, 1879, to Miss Anna Christine Apple-
quist, who was born at Ryddaholm, Sweden, on March 2, 1858. She came to America
in 1878 and also joined relatives in Minnesota. Prior to marrying, Mr. Erickson
spent two or three years visiting California, Oregon and Washington.

John O. Erickson started farming in Goodhue County, and remained there until
1884, when he removed to Kittson County and there purchased a homestead right, on
which he located until 1903. While in Goodhue County, he was made a citizen of
the United States, and he also served as school director. He joined the Republican
ranks and voted with that party, but he worked for prohibition. He had eight chil-
dren, of whom six are still living. Esther is the widow of Oscar Ekvall, and resides
with her three children in Turlock; E. T. Erickson is in the employ of the U. S. Post
Office in Turlock; Philip O. is the subject of our sketch; D. H. Erickson is deceased;
Lydia R. is living at home; Hilda M. resides in San Francisco; Alice R. is a teacher;
her twin brother died in infancy.

Philip Erickson 's father came to Turlock in 1902 prospecting for land, and
invested in 160 acres, eleven miles southwest of Turlock. He sold 120 acres of this
tract, and also invested some money in 120 acres in the Tegner district, on which later
he built the Erickson home. On February 23, 1903, he removed his family to the
Tegner district and continued as a farmer until 1911, when he retired to live in town,
where he owned ten acres, and built a fine residence.

In organizing the school district, a name was naturally called for; and Mr.
Erickson submitted the name of Tegner, in honor of the world-renowned Swedish
poet, Esaias Tegner, whose sagas and long poem, "The Children of the Lord's Supper,"
Longfellow was the first to translate well into English, and this has been the name of



HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY 851

the district since 1905. He helped to build the first schoolhouse there, and served as
director until the time of his removal to Turlock in 1911. He was one of the organ-
izers and stockholders of the People's State Bank of Turlock. He belonged to the
Swedish Mission Church.

Philip Erickson was married at Kennedy, Minn., on Jul}' 10, 1910, to Miss Ebba
Rosberg, who was born on August 25, 1888, and is now the mother of two children —
Merle J. and Anna Laurine. Mr. Erickson has continued to manage his father's
estate for his mother, who resides in town in the home her husband so thoughtfully
furnished, and which he himself enjoyed for only a year. Mr. Erickson succeeded his
father as school trustee in the Tegner district, and continued to serve in that capacity
until 1919, when he removed to town. He also served as secretary of the Farm
Bureau for three years. He is a stockholder in the T. M. & G., and he owns and
operates the Serv-U Station, at Lander and West Main streets.

HENRY J. COFFEE. — An honored Modesto citizen who worthily bears the
name of a noted and revered pioneer, is Henry J. Coffee, who is dairy farming exten-
sively three and a half miles northeast of that town. His father, Stockard W. Coffee,
was born in Smith County, Tenn., on September 16, 1838, the son of Joel and Martha
(Moore) Coffee, natives of Tennessee and South Carolina, respectively. Stockard
early removed to Illinois and there took up farming; but in 1863 he set out to captain
a party with eight or nine wagons across the great plains. They went along the Mis-
souri and Platte rivers, and through the Black Hills; and after passing the site of
what is now the city of Cheyenne, they camped for the winter near Denver on account
of the hostility of the Indians. They made a fort of sod, and the next spring set out
with renewed spirit and arrived in California, safe and sound. Stockard Coffee had all
the qualities which would make him a good leader and defender of such a party, and
he also had the grit and the common sense, when finding himself with little or no
means, to get to work, first at toll road building, and then at harvesting, to earn a
living. In 1865 he preempted 160 acres of Government land, the present Coffee
ranch in Stanislaus County, sunk a well and otherwise improved the property ; and he
kept on adding to his possessions until he had about 1,300 acres, all in Stanislaus
County. He raised wheat; but when irrigation came to boom the value of the land,
he found it far more profitable to sell most of what he had at from $65 to $125 an
acre. He kept eighty of the best and earliest acres, and after a while retired, with his
good wife, to Modesto, and there he died on April 7, 1917.

Mrs. Coffee, whom he married on March 7, 1870, was Miss Martha A. Howell
before her marriage; and she was born on April 4, 1850, the daughter of William N.
Howell, of Welsh forefathers who settled in North Carolina, from which state they
removed, first to Missouri and then to California. He had married Miss Minerva
Stewart, whose ancestors, of Scotch-English descent, settled in Virginia. Mrs. Coffee,
who has survived her husband, still retains those charms of intellect and heart which
always made her the center of a devoted and admiring circle.

Henry J. Coffee is the fourth of the six children granted Mr. and Mrs. Coffee,
and still living — a seventh and oldest having died in childhood. He was born on
April 17, 1876, on the ranch which he now owns, and went to school in the Bel Passi
school district. Mr. Coffee was married in Sylvan district, August 13, 1898, to Miss
Marie Holm, a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, a daughter of J. J. P. and Mathilda
(Hansen) Holm, her father then being a business man in Copenhagen. In 1886 the
family came to California, locating in Sonora, and a year later in Oakdale, where the
father was in the shoe business until he retired, passing away in 1902, his wife having
preceded him in 1894. They had three children who grew to maturity: Annie, Mrs.
Julius Coffee, died in Oakdale; Johanna, Mrs. Guy Laughlin of Hickman; Marie,
Mrs. Henry Coffee, was educated in Oakdale, and resided there until her marriage.

Having remained at home until he was twenty-one, Mr. Coffee commenced
renting a part of his father's farm ; and then he bought the one hundred sixty acres
of the home place while his father was still living. He has checked.it, brought it
under irrigation, and otherwise greatly improved it ; and having formerly raised grain,
for the most part wheat and barley, he has in recent years devoted himself to dairy-



852 HISTORY OF STANISLAUS COUNTY

ing. He keeps full-blooded Holstein bulls, and four strings of milch cows, all high
grade Holsteins. In 1920, Mr. Coffee was elected a director of the Modesto Irriga-
tion district, an honor which speaks for itself, and since then has given his best efforts
to the building up and enlarging of the system which has done so much to make
Stanislaus County one of the leading agricultural sections of the state, and now doing all
he can to bring the Don Pedro Dam project to a successful completion.

'One daughter, Miss Mabel Ann, came to brighten the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Coffee; and now, as the wife of David Arrata, she has a lovely home of her own at
Modesto. Mr. Coffee is a charter member of the Elks Modesto Lodge No. 1282, and
also of the Odd Fellows of the same place, and with his wife is of the Rebekahs.

GUSTAF A. LUNDGREN.— A successful rancher who understands agricultural
conditions in this part of California is Gustaf A. Lundgren, who was born in Gestrik-
land, Sweden, on December 2, 1853, the son of Peter G. Lundgren, a carpenter and
contractor in his native land, who married Miss Joana Seblom.

Gustaf attended the common or graded schools for which Sweden is so famous,
until he was sixteen years of age, and having shown a marked proficiency for mill
work, he was allowed to serve an apprenticeship of four years in the steel rolling mills
near his home. At the end of that time he was appointed a roller in the steel works.
When twenty-eight years of age, he crossed the ocean to America, and located for a
while at Worcester, Mass., from which place he moved on to Cleveland ; and in that
city his work as foreman of the large steel rolling mill found such favor that he
remained in that position for eleven years. An older brother was superintendent of
this mill for many years, and Gustaf added to the honor of the family name.

In 1903 Mr. Lundgren came out to California and Turlock, and in April of that
year he purchased a farm of twenty acres, which he has since so successfully developed
that it is now in a highly productive state. When he took up ranching he was ignorant
of the first principles of farming and his success is thus all the more creditable and
satisfactory. He is a member of the Farm Bureau of Stanislaus County, and also a
member of the Farmers Union, and in both of these his cooperation is appreciated.

In 1875, at Forsbache, Sweden, Mr. Lundgren was married to Miss Amelia
Peerrou, whose birthday was May 14, 1854, the daughter of a blacksmith, her parents
being Gabriel and Saodin Peerrou, and they have had six children. Telka is the wife
of William Anderson, of Turlock, and the mother of three children. Iver married
Eva Malsbury and lives in Youngstown, Ohio, the father of eight children. Walter
married Miss Augusta Anderson, a native of Southern Sweden, who came to Turlock
in 1895 with her sister. Henry is an invalid. Otto married Miss Esther Hultfield,
and they have one child. Mildred is the wife of Marshall McVey, of Parker, Ariz.,
and the mother of four children. Mr. and Mrs. Lundgren belong to the Unity School
of Christianity, and Mr. Lundgren, who was granted American citizenship at Worces-
ter, Mass., on November 22, 1886, is a Republican.

WILLIAM THOMAS CARSON.— A genuine early-timer, whose recollections
of by-gone days are a never-failing source of interest, is William Thomas Carson, the
prosperous rancher, comfortably situated a mile and a half from Hughson, to the north-
west. He was born at Albany, Gentry County, Mo., on November 16, 1856, the son
of William Carson, who was born near Louisville, Ky., and came to Missouri when he
was a young man. As a '49er, he made a trip to California during the first gold rush,
then returned to Missouri, came again to California in 1856, and four years later went
back to Missouri. He was a farmer and a stockman ; but when here he mined at the
head of the Feather River canyon above Oroville, where he put in a wing dam, for
which he never received any return. He married Miss Narcissa Duncan, who became
the mother of our subject.

William Thomas Carson, when seventeen years of age, came out to California
alone, traveling on the first steam emigrant train sent out, and landed in Colusa County,
near the present location of Willows; since 1874 located in Glenn County. He re-
mained there until the fall of 1877, working on grain ranches, when he moved into



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 95 of 177)