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Full text of "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 present"

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1833 01102 8021 





Biographical Sketches 


The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have 
Been Identified with Its Growth and Develop- 
ment From the Early Days 
to the Present 








Stanislaus County's First Inhabitants 

Indians Everywhere Discovered. Indians Build Missions. The Chief 
Estanislao. Defeat of General Vallejo. Our Knowledge of the Indians. 
Classification of Indians. Physical Appearance of Tribes. Tribal Govern- 
ment. Marriage. Indian Dress. Cost of Living. Religion. Indian Pestilence. 
A Night of Horror. Disposal of Their Dead. The Widow Mourns. Indian 
Wikiups. A Nearly Extinct Race. An Indian Beef and Flour Debt. The 
Indian Chief Jose Jesus. Old Manuel. The Indian Burial Ground. 


The Advance of Civilization ; 

Discovery of Stanislaus County. The Trapper Expeditions. The John C. 
Fremont Party. Wild Animal Life. The Mormon Colony. Stanislaus City 
Founded. Mexico Declares Her Independence. Leading National Events. 
James W. Marshall Discovers Gold. Gold Found on the Stanislaus. Cali- 
fornia Suddenly Populated. General Riley Calls a Constitutional Convention. 
Organization of a State. Creation of Tuolumne County. Origin of Name 
Tuolumne. Scheming for a New County. The New County of Merced. County 
Scheming Politicians. Opposition to a New County. Creation of Stanislaus 
County. First County Election. Unwise Legislation. A Slice of San Joaquin 
County. Stanislaus Annexes More Territory. Land Grants. Land of No 
Value. Stanislaus County Land Grants. Government Surveys. Stanislaus' 
First Settlers. Stanislaus County, Its Creation. Characteristics and Fertility. 
Area, Nature of Soil, Climate. Stanislaus Climate. The Pastoral Stock Rais- 
ing Days. Sheep Raising in Stanislaus. Hogs, Horses and Cattle. Cattle 
Stealing. No-Fence Law Destroys Cattle Business. Cattle Men of Stanislaus. 
Wheat for the World. An Isolated County. An Immense Sown Acreage. The 
Banner Wheat Country. Raising Grain in Dry Climate. Primitive Harvest- 
ing Days. Seed Time and Harvest. The Threshing Machine. The Harvest- 
ing Crew. The Historic Grain Fire. The California Fear of Drought. The 
Drought of 1877. Hatfield, the Rain Maker. 

The River, Pioneer and Mining Towns 

Grayson, the Pioneer Town. Grayson's First Store. A Mexican Camp Scene. 
Grayson in 1878. Grayson's Distinguished Citizens. Tuolumne City. Booming 
the City. First Court Trial. Township Officers. The First Marriage. An 
Enterprising Merchant. The Town Deserted. Tuolumne City in 1868. The 
Town Increasing. Tuolumne City Has the Smallpox. First County Fair. 
Paradise City. A Fine School Building. Free Ferry. Paradise Celebrates 
Washington's Birthday. July Fourth Celebration. The Paradise Flour Mill. 
Reuel Colt Gridley, Citizen-Patriot. Adamsville. The First Fourth of July. 
Empire City. The Enterprising Citizen, Eli S. Marvin. No Mail Nor Postal 
Route. The County Seat. County Seat Removed to Empire. Empire City 
in 1868. Dr. Thomas Tynan, the Pioneer. Crescent City. Hill's Ferry of the 
San Joaquin. French Bar, the Golden Placers. The Foreign Miners' License 
Tax. La Grange, the Mining Town. Largest Town in Countv. Talbot's 
Flour Mill. The LaGrange Water Supply. Removal of County Seat. Knights 
Ferry. The Dent Family. Knights Ferry Flour Mills. Tulloch's Sline Flour 
Mill. The Chinese, Miners and Gardeners. Stage Transportation. The Story 
of a Court House. Business Firms of Early Days. Abraham Schell, Enter- 
prising Citizen. The Big Grain Fire, July, 1884. 


Ferry and Steamer Transportation 

Stanislaus River Ferries. First Established Ferry. The First Three Houses. 
Ferry Competition. The Dickerson Ferry. The John D. Morley Ferry. 
County Bridges. The Modesto Toll Bridge. The $120,000 County Bridge. A 
Bridge Celebration. The State Highway Bridge. Transportation Now and 
Then. Knights Ferry the Gateway Station. The First Up-River Boat. The 
Pioneer Steamer. Efforts Made to Establish Trade. The Pioneer Freighters. 
Kinds of Merchandise Shipped. First Passenger Boat. The Stanislaus Navi- 
gation Company. Clearing the River Stanislaus. Terminal River Points. 
The Shoaling Waters. The Height of the Grain Era. 


The Railroad Era 

Stanislaus Bonds for Railroads. Proposed Railroad for Stanislaus. Stockton 
Railroad Talk. The Oakdale Railroad. The San Joaquin Valley or Southern 
Pacific Railroad. The Modesto Branch, Southern Pacific. 


Early Organization of County 

First County Court Transactions. County Brand and Seals. County Great 
Register. First County Fair. Stock Growers Association. The Stanislaus 
Agricultural Association. Patrons of Husbandry. The Stanislaus Granges. 
Cooperative Business Associations. Stanislaus County Militia. In the Camp 

and Spanish War. 


Modesto 91 

Removal of County Seat. The County Court House. County Officials of 1871. 

* Laying of the Town Site. The Name of the Town. The Exodus to Modesto. 

Modesto's Pioneer Business Firms. Pioneer Hotels and Prominent Buildings. 
Masonic and Odd Fellows Hall. Modesto's Water Works. Modesto's Gas 
Works. Modesto's Early Fire Department. The Destructive Fires of 1890. 
Terrible Death of Joel Clayton. Modesto's Golden Age. The Front Street 
Dens of Vice. An Ungoverned Town. Deplorable Condition of the Streets. 
Efforts to Organize a Town Government. A Mass Meeting Riot. The First 
City Election. Street Improvements. The Street Problem. The Post Office. 
Modesto Business Firms in 1880. The Nonpartisan Mass Meeting. The City 
Election of 1886. Waterworks and Sewers. The Court House Cornerstone. 
The Court House Annex. The Destructive Fire of 1901. The Political Boss, 
Barney Garner. He Slaps an Attorney's Face. A Fearless Marshal. A 
Commission Form of Government. Framing a Charter. The First Commis- 
sion Convention. The Socialist Ticket. Election Day, 1911. Modesto's First 
Commissioners. Commissioners Elected to Date. 

Churches of Modesto 112 

The Westport Methodist Church. The Congregationalist Church. The Chris- 
tian Church. The Methodist Episcopal Church South. The Baptist Church. 
The Catholic Parish and Church. The First Presbyterian Church. The Dan- 
ish Baptists. The Episcopalian Parish. The Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Seventh Day Adventists. First Church of Christ, Scientist. 



Stanislaus County's First Newspapers 119 

The Modesto News. Moved to Modesto. Modesto Herald. Hanscom Shoots 
Himself. Brown Attempts to Shoot Editor. Hanscom Libels Judge Hewel. 

Stanislaus County Schools 123 

Earliest School Districts. Private Schools. First Public School. Legislative 
School Laws. Modesto's First School Building. The Public School Corner- 
stone. Schools Overcrowded. The High School Organized. The Com- 
mencement Exercises. The First High School Building. Graduating Class 
of 1890. The High School Alumni. The Graduating Class of 1921. School 
Day Memories. Teachers' Institutes. Teachers' Associations. 


Crimes and Tragedies of Stanislaus 130 

Stealing by the Wholesale. The Murder of Sheriff Works. The Murder 
of Frank Lane. Hunting for the Criminals. Execution by Mob Law. The 
Murder of a Spaniard. A Mysterious Murder. Frank Bollinger Killed Mys- 
teriously. The Rooney-Cockery Homicide. The Knights Ferry Murder. The 
Murphy-Rodgers Homicide. The Murder at La Grange. The Wood Chop- 
pers' Quarrel. The First Execution. The Latter-Date Cattle Thief. The 
Fagan-Meneoman Tragedy. Murders His Friend. The Murder of James 
Connolly. The Trial of Dona. The Sentence of the Judge. Peculiar Efforts 
to Save Dona's Life. The Hanging of Dona. The Hill's Ferry Murder. The 
Second Legal Execution. Edward Bentley Murder. Barney Garner Shoots 
Jerry Lockwood. The Marshal Kills Garner. A Case of Poisoning. Suicide 
of Isaac Brinkerhoff. A Brutal Murder. Another Cowardly Murder. Black- 
smith Murders Purcell. The Father's Revenge. The MacCrellish Family. 
The Robbins Case. Arrest of John H. Doane. The Comments of the Press. 
The Trial of Robbins. The Gamblers' Rendezvous. The March of the 
Vigilantes. Constable Spier Shoots a Disreputable Character. Drowning of 
the Baker Boys. Thomas Owens Suddenly Disappears. Vigilante Kills John 
H. Doane. More Threats of Hanging. The Famous Tynan Property Suit. 
Chinese Cook Murders Wife of Rancher. Dr. Horr Suicides. Disappearance 
of George French. 

Societies and Miscellaneous Events 152 

Masonic Lodges. Laying the Cornerstone of Masonic Building. Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows. The Degree of Rebekah. Grand Army of the 
Republic. Ancient Order of United Workmen. Knights of Honor. Native 
Sons of the Golden West. Native Daughters of the Golden West. Benevolent 
•and Protective Order of Elks. The Modesto Choral Society. The Story of 
the Southern Pacific Depot. The Memorial Arch of Prosperity. Merchants' 
Association. The Silent City. The McHenry Memorial Library. Stanislaus 
Pioneers. Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Stanislaus County. 
Street Cars and Traction Lines. The First July Fourth Celebration. July 
Fourth at Tuolumne. July 4, 1861, at Knights Ferry. Modesto Society in 
the Eighties. The First Dramatic Club. Rodgers Hall. Plato's Opera House. 
Modesto's First Theater. Dedication and Destruction of Theater. July 4, 
1890. The Woman's Improvement Club. Graceada Park. The Stanislaus 
Country Club. Modesto's First Republican Club. Remarkable Election of 
1914. The Anti-Saloon License Victory. July 4, 1911. Modesto Labor 
Unions. July 4, 1917. Bone-Dry Prohibition Law. Loyalty Day. Modesto 
Home Guard. Off for the War. Welcome Home. 



The Progressive Railroad Towns 172 

Turlock. The Pioneer Settlers. A Rabbit Drive of 75. Trade and Traffic. 
The Great Fire of 1893. The Name and Post Office. Turlock Churches. 
Methodist Episcopal Churches. The Catholics. Newspapers of Turlock. 
Public Schools. Memorial Day Celebration. Great Fire of 1910. Turlock 
Fire Department. Turlock the First Dry Town. Turlock Lodges and 
Societies. The Woman's Club. The Carnegie Library. Turlock's Banks. 
Opening of Carolyn Hotel. Crows Landing. Ceres. Denair. Hickman. 
Empire. Hughson. Newman. Societies. Religion. Newspapers and Library. 
Fire and Water Supply. The Patterson Colony. The City of Patterson. 
Riverbank. Oakdale. Oakdale's Founder. Pioneer Buildings. Fire Destroys 
Pioneer Buildings. Excursions to Oakdale. Oakdale Societies. Fraternal 
Hall. Masonic Lodge. Knights of Pythias. Native Sons of the Golden West. 
Woodmen of the World. The American Legion. Stanley L. Collins Post. 
Order of the Eastern Star. Woman's Improvement Club. The Dorada Club 
House. Carnegie Library. Newspapers. Grammar School. Laying of Cor- 
nerstone. Union High School. Protestant Churches. First Church Dedica- 
tion. City Government. City Hall. Heroic Volunteer Firemen. Oakdale 
Water Works. Sierra and Jamestown Railroad. Banks and Banking. 
Mexican Bull Fight. July 4, 1884. A Dry Town. The Hero Dead. Knights 
Ferry Societies. 


Irrigation in Stanislaus County 203 

The Pioneer Irrigation Builders. The Diverting Watershed. First Irri- 
gating Canal. First Irrigation Bills. The Preliminary Survey. The Irriga- 
tion Prospectus. Farmers Petition for Water. The Modesto Irrigation 
Law. The Wright-Bridgeford Law. The La Grange Dam. Sale and Valid- 
ity of Irrigation Bonds. Hardships, Taunts and Jeers. The Turlock Canal. 
Judge W. A. Waymire. Oakdale Irrigation System. Goodwin Dam Cele- 
bration. Reservoirs and Dams. Irrigation and Its Results. 


Political Doings in Stanislaus .- 212 

Historic Reminders of Stanislaus 215 

Stanislaus County Farm Census 228 



Abbott, Charles Stuart 568 

Abbott, Cyrus H 568 

Adams, Winther Gladwin 691 

Ahlberg, Peter 1345 

Ahlgren, Carl N. P 1361 

Ahrendsen, August C - 1 1 42 

Albertson, Hans L 1071 

Algar, Harry P 1386 

Alquist, George E 1318 

Amarante, Antone 1414 

Anderson, Daniel S 846 

Anderson, John Edward 1097 

Anderson, Niels 1243 

Andrews, Frank 763 

Angelo, Michael E 1481 

Anker, Alfred P * 1465 

Annear, Capt. Edgar H 564 

Annear, William 1302 

Anspach, George B 1373 

Anthieny, John W 1454 

Arakelian, Dick H 1 129 

Arakelian, Harry 1135 

Arbios, Edward Earl, Jr 1229 

Arthur, James E '. 825 

Arthur, William 648 

Aspe, William J 830 

Asquith, George 1350 

Austin, Charles H 856 

Avila, George M 1 162 

Avila, Joseph M 1151 

Ayres, Ima W 1222 

Azevedo, Manuel A 1474 


Bach, William G 1155 

Baker, C. C 268 

Baker, Mrs. Cornelia Frances 273 

Baker, J. Walker 570 

Bailey, Otis Zorah 733 

Bangs, R. E 829 

Bangs, Hon. Vital E 288 

Barker, John Gue 704 

Barmore, Warren Rosewell 1259 

Barnes, Abner M'. 1378 

Barnes, Siddall Yancey 1402 

Barnett, James K 968 

Barnhart, Jeremiah 1 140 

Bartch, Fred 537 

Basso, Angelo 1 160 

Basso, Angelo Nicholas 1447 

Bates, Edward L 603 

Bates, Harry A 409 

Bauman, Louis F 707 

Bavaster, Peter 1413 

Baxter, Edgar .' 393 

Beach, O. W 1267 

Beard, Elihu B 478 

Beard, George K 1167 

Beard, Herbert Lewis 936 

Beard, Thomas K 344 

Beard, Walter F 412 

Beaty, John 928 

Bechis, Enos 1425 

Bechtel, Aaron M 756 

Beckner, Thomas N 1225 

Beery, P. H 753 

Bellaman, Irvin Clayton 1199 

Benoit, John W 1145 

Benson, Hugh 755 

Bentley, Chesley 1 891 

Bentley, Jefferson D 573 

Berg, James C 1348 

Berg, M. M 1366 

Bergman, Nicholaus 1487 

Berthold, A. F 1146 

Bettencourt, Antonio S 1457 

Bibens, Alex McCall 700 

Biesemeier, Edward E 1335 

Billdt, Rev. John 745 

Bishop, Daniel B 373 

Bladt, Peter, Jr 937 

Blaine, Charles Duncan . 947 

Bledsoe, Willis 420 

Blue, Jesse William 1300 

Bock, Hans Henry 545 

Boden, Rev. Jonas 596 

Boeswetter, E. E 1200 

Boggs, Alexander M 1456 

Bohn, Emil Bernard 1380 

Boies, Lewis W 1141 

Bomberger, John M 1059 

Bontadelli, Charles 1313 

Boone, Stonewall Jackson 898 

Boothe, D. Power 1278 

Borba, John 1445 

Borba, John T., Jr 1415 

Boren, James Henry 604 

Borges, Jr., Frank 1484 

Bortle, William H 595 

Boss, Henry 1394 

Bothe, William F 818 

Bow, Charles N 1306 

Bowles, George W 1480 

Bowman, David 908 

Bowman, Everett 1295 

Brady, Mansfield W 11 10 

Bravo, Steve 1470 

Brazil, Manuel V 1488 

Brennan, James A 1098 

Brichetto, Louis F 1 122 

Brinkerhoff, Isaac 507 

Broden, Carl Victor 1354 

Brodine, Andrew 1497 

Bromley, Francis A 1197 

Broughton, Miss Esto 485 

Broughton, James R 335 

Brown, Admer N 628 

Brown, George A 1404 

Brown, Harry Leslie 1047 

Brown, William J 661 

Brum, Manuel J 1488 

Brunold, Peter 1152 

Bucher, Jacob 1347 

Burk, John E 1036 

Busingdal, Carl 1173 

Butler, Charles D 425 

Butler, Chester Llewellyn 1 182 

Butler, J. Wesley 425 

Byrum, Mrs. Margaret E 312 


Cadwallader, E. J 1364 

Callander, Everett L : 973 

Calkins, Mrs. Veda Hatfield 1340 

Callnin, James A 1450 

Camp, Charles E 857 

Campbell, Donald E 877 

Campbell, John F 496 

Campbell, William E 1097 

Capaul, Valentine 1472 

Cardoza, Frank A 1185 

Carlson, Abel 987 

Carlson, Alfred 1 141 

Carlson, Carl C 776 

Carlson, Charles John 1001 

Carlson, Emanuel V 1292 

Carlson, Fred 1352 

Carlson, Gust 942 

Carlson, John D 958 

Carlson, Paul W 1476 

Carmichael, T. J : 343 

Carson, William Thomas. '. 852 

Casey, William E 457 

Caswell, Thomas 725 

Caulkins, William 907 

Cavill, Henry 236 

Chapman, Frank Carpenter 401 

Chase, Willis S 431 

Cheney, Florence V., M.D 862 

Cheney, Thomas W 862 

Church, Luke A 402 

Chute, Rev. Elbert 831 

Clarin, Mrs. Anna 1430 

Clark, Col. Cy N 1116 

Clayton, Edgar E 1326 

Cleven, John 1378 

Coffee, Henry J 851 

Coffee, Stockard W 670 

Cole, Clary W 1060 

Collins, J. L., M.D 768 

Commercial Bank of Turlock 1260 

Conneau, Frank Ernest 294 

Conner, Jasper Newton 1440 

Conner, Lynn H 1171 

Conron, Calvin H 968 

Cornwell. H. E 786 

Correa, Serafein S 1475 

Correia, Joe D 1478 

Corson, John P 1274 

Costner, Earl William 1234 

Costner, William S 1439 

Cotta, Valentine 1473 

Cottle, Francis Marion 303 

Cottle, Mrs. Harriet L 303 

Cox, Frank 1149 

Cox, John Dunlap 242 

Cox. William W 363 

Crabtree, Henry Francis 1464 

Craig, Robert 585 

Crane, Horace S 1150 

Crane, Stephen II 520 

Crawford. Mrs. Mary Jane 560 

Crcssey, Albert 1 265 

Cressey, Calvin J 292 

Cressey, Frank A 267 

Crigler, Walter Millard 1219 

Crispin, Harry E 1396 

Crispin, Thomas J 783 

Crouch, Roy A 1373 

Crossmore, James L 1129 

Crow, Charles F 1448 

Crow, Henry T 912 

Crow, Ralph B 686 

Crowell, Arthur G 856 

Crowell, Charles C 845 

Cruse, Robert 1392 

Curtis, David T 784 

Curtis, James 538 

Curtis, James Lee 538 

Curtis, Jonathan Bird 849 


Dalby, Mrs. Reca 707 

Dalby, Savillion Cook 1260 

Dale, Valentine B 639 

Dallas, Robert L 332 

Darr, Phillip 986 

Date, James V 1339 

Davis, Drua J v 1384 

Davis, Edward" C 899 

Davis, Edward Nelson 821 

Davis, Mrs. Franklin C 339 

Davis, George Thompson 554 

Davis, James Alfred 378 

Davis, Loren W 1451 

Davison, James William 534 

Deardorff, Jacob Warren 1245 

De Diego, Rev. Emeterius 1191 

Delbon, Rev. A. G 802 

Demarest, Merton W 861 

Dennett, Hon. Lewis Lincoln 523 

De Yoe, Lawrence E 648 

De Yoe, Nathan Emory 440 

Dias, Frank C 1327 

Dickinson, John F 978 

Dickow, August 1246 

Dingley, Samuel 251 

Dinktlman, William August 1074 

Doolittle, Ralph C 1399 

Dorsey, Edward Worthington 1130 

Downer, Willard A 489 

Drake, Mrs. Eunice 368 

Drake, Homer A 368 

Drake, Lemuel Earl 359 

Drake, Zachariah E 364 

Drouillard, B. G ' 1347 

Ducot, Mrs. Henrietta 1030 

Duffy, Owen 750 


Ealey, Edward 1216 

Eastin, C. C 938 

Eastin, C. C, Jr S15 

Eastin, Lucius 938 

Eastin, Marion G 938 

Eckford, Carl F 1392 

Edison. Charles II... 916 

Edwards, John . . . '. . 1005 

Edwards, J. II ' 1192 

Eklund, Lars 1370 

Elfers, Charles D 720 

Elias, Solomon Philip 340 

Elholm, Christine II.. 695 

Elliott, John S 964 


Ellsburg, Charles Emil 1355 

Elmore, Albert Gordon 368 

Elmore, Benjamin T 1073 

Elmore, Emmett Lee 1071 

Elmore, James Gordon 331 

Emanuel Hospital 1441 

Enos, Antonio I486 

Enos, Emanuel Edward 1018 

Enslen, Simon 248 

Erickson, Andreas 1358 

Erickson, Mrs. Anna C 1341 

Erickson, Charlie 1415 

Erickson, David G 1354 

Erickson, Erick A 1462 

Erickson, Gilbert 1203 

Erickson, John 850 

Erickson, Philip 850 

Ervin, Mrs. Ella McCabe ,. . . . 691 

Erway, Charles H 1375 

Etcheto, Joseph 1438 

Etcheto, Martin 1438 

Eustice, Henry 1 329 

Evans, John Henry 1013 


Fahey, William D 677 

Falk, E. V., M.D 742 

Falk, Jacob W 922 

Fargo, Leon K 1378 

Farley, Anthony A 1281 

Faulkner, H. J 1446 

Fay, John J 1299 

Fellows, Francis Marion 1491 

Fellows, Herbert D 1286 

Fellows, Orrin R 1395 

Ferguson, Arthur P 948 

Ferguson, William W 742 

Fernandes, Joseph F 1320 

Fernandes, Mary L. A 1320 

Fetterman, Harry Oscar 1160 

Filippini, Walter C 1372 

Fine, Mrs. Mary J 370 

Finley, Jesse M 888 

Finley, John Milton 708 

Fippins, Charles A 1314 

First National Bank of Salida 871 

First National Bank of Turlock 1260 

Fisher, Orville Devilla 1394 

Fitzpatrick, Sylvester ., 1239 

Fleshman, C. E 841 

Flux, Arthur 1165 

Foletta, Harry 1369 

Ford, Henry 1395 

Ford, James B 422 

Fordham, Free Delbert 1362 

Fosberg, Axel P 1463 

Foster, Arthur 1253 

Foster, Harry R 1155 

Foster, Samuel E 658 

Fowle, William H 1467 

Fowler, James F 662 

Fowler. Robert R 1112 

Fox, John 615 

Fox, Joseph W 1406 

Frago, Manuel J 1478 

Franzen, Ehler 1431 

Frazine. William H 530 

Frederick, James Wesley 767 

Freeman, Elza E 394 

Freitas, George H 755 

Freitas, John E 1407 

French, Levi 1423 

Fries, H. C 1442 

Frisvold, Knut K 1249 

Fritts, Joseph' F 1248 

Fuentes, Eugene A '. 1412 

Fulkerth, Asa Shinn 1339 

Fulkerth, Loren W 486 

Furtado, Manuel 1336 


Gabaig, Jean 1485 

Gabel, William 1422 

Gaddis, Thomas R 419 

Gaffery, John 439 

Galeazzi, Joseph 1454 

Galvin, Rev. James W 1117 

Gambini, Tony 1421 

Gandy, Clarence W 1010 

Gant, Alonzo W 1009 

Garcia, Manuel 1473 

Garrison, William Henry 988 

Gasner, John 1250 

Gates, Laud C 421 

Geckler, Robert Charles 790 

Geer, Fred A 682 

Gibson, James 956 

Giddings, Ralph P 868 

Giddings, William Warren 512 

Giles, Rev. Michael Joseph 624 

Giovanetti, Albert H 1343 

Giovanetti, Angelo 1101 

Giovannoni, Mrs. Geneva Maria 1126 

Glass, Omer C 829 

Godley, James 1494 

Goeffert, Victor V 952 

Gomes, Frank J 1039 

Gomes, Frank P 31S 

Gomez, Benj 1420 

Gondring, John M 985 

Gorham, John 821 

Gortari, Pio 1486 

Gotobed, Joseph C 1365 

Gotte, Theodore J 1112 

Grannis, Rev. G. W 887 

Grant, W. W 1427 

Graybiel, William N 1305 

Green, Oscar 1247 

Grider, Clayton K 1050 

Gridley, Reuel Colt 241 

Grischott, Jacob 1194 

Grollman, William 554 

Gronquist, Joseph 1371 

Grossman, John 1403 

Gross, M'ilton A 1054 

Grothmann, William 1334 

Grundy, Dan 1177 

Gulart, John 1482 

Gustafson, August 849 

Gustafson, Charles 1254 

Gustafson, John E 1464 


Hackett, Dennie 715 

Hackett, Daniel M 651 

Hackett, William J 726 

Haldeman, Frank C 1244 

Hale, Charles C 822 

Hale, Ernest A 1368 

Hall, Erick 1428 

Hall, John D 1319 

Hall, Leland A 1271 

Hall, William Edgar 1401 

Hallner, Rev. Andrew 607 

Halset, J 1305 

Hamilton, George Washington 432 

Hammett, Melvin 1053 

Hammond, James A 577 

Haney, Free 946 

Haney, William Francis, D.V.S 832 

Hanscom, George Tyler 647 

Hanscom, N. C 872 

Hansen, Christian H 1044 

Hansen, Peter R 665 

Hansen, William C 1273 

Hanson, John H 1428 

Hardie, James J 719 

Harding, Richard 1327 

Harman, Bion V 971 

Harper, Homer 1324 

Harris, Claude F 591 

Harris, Mrs. Lottie 1431 

Harter, W. A 1490 

Harve, Anthon G 1351 

Haslam, Earl F 1074 

Hatton, William H 516 

Hawkins, Robert Timothy 553 

Haynes, Clarence T 992 

Head, Mrs. Hugh 1240 

Hedman, Carl B 1416 

Hedman, Martin 797 

Heier, Gunerius 1174 

Heinzle, Frank L 1408 

Heisel, William C 1481 

Henshaw, Mrs. Charles 945 

Herr, William H 1468 

Hewel, Judge A 239 

Higbee, Robert Oran 644 

Higgins, William W 1489 

High, Mrs. Katherine McCabe 1031 

High, Willis Russell 385 

Hilton, Charles A 495 

Hindman, Jay A 458 

Hintze, Prof. Herman 405 

Hirst, Ralston S 873 

Hocking, Thomas C 352 

Hodges, George A., D.D.S 1336 

Hodges, I. A 805 

Hogin, Oscar 1035 

Holder, Garett W 1296 

Holeman, John W 546 

Hollingsworth, Mrs. Roma J 1375 

Holmquist, John A 1450 

Holt, Charles F 1057 

Holt, John H 891 

Holt, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Carl 920 

Holveck, David W 1 199 

Horsley, Charles Chester 600 

Hoskins, J. H 681 

Hosmer, A. Walter 1096 

Hosmer, F. W 519 

Howell, Wade Hampton 759 

Hubbert, Wallace H 1382 

Huber, Henry 1460 

Hudelson, Arthur McClellan 932 

Hudelson, John Robert. 377 

Huff, Jonathan B 1264 

Huff, Martin Luther 1247 

Hughson, George H 1029 

Hughson, Hiram 415 

Huls, Howard H 1062 

Hultberg, Nels 1204 

Hunt-Jewett-Bontz Company 1272 

Hunt, Roland C 1301 

Hurd, William H.. 
Hurlbut, O. Scott. 
Hussey, J. W 


[ngebretsen, Karl J 1410 


Jacobsen, Louis C 1049 

James, Capt. Henry George 678 

Jarrett, Charles L 1207 

Jarrett, Mrs. Laura E 779 

Jenkins, George W 760 

Jennings, J. B 921 

Jensen, John D 1132 

Jensen, Marie 1443 

Jones, Al W 1446 

Jones, Prof. G. F 958 

Jones, Levi J 669 

Jones, Percy F 995 

Johnson, Abraham 1492 

Johnson, Albert L 473 

Johnson, Albert William 1363 

Johnson, Andrew 636 

Johnson, Clarence 1494 

Johnson, Claus 382 

Johnson, Frank G 1328 

Johnson, George W 1208 

Johnson, Henry Theodore 952 

Johnson, Ingevall 1118 

Johnson, James 320 

Johnson, James F 1220 

Fohnson, Jesse W 1221 

Johnson, Mrs. Justine E 981 

Johnson, Norman E 1095 

Johnson, Otto 1357 

Johnson, William 858 

Johnston, Andrew 798 

Johnston, Guy : 1427 

Jons, Hans 1102 

Jorgensen, Christen P 1310 

Juncker, Peter A 1444 


Kane, Peter C 639 

Kaiser, Arnold 1409 

Keast, Rev. Fred A 410 

Keith, Edward 1177 

Keith, George Sidney 785 

Kelley, Frank S 1255 

Kennedy, Charles Thomas 367 

Kerr, Charles S 1379 

Kerr, Judge James M 386 

Kerr, Mrs. Margaret E 879 

Kewin, Thomas Henry 347 

Kewin, William E 880 

Kidd, Mrs. Josie 681 

Kiernan, Edward 711 

Kiernan, Edward 511 

Kiernan, Miss Frances 1364 

Kiernan, T. Frank 511 

Kilburn, Charles L 1136 

Kilcher, Arnold 1458 

King, Charles J 1081 

King, Nathan Harvey 1342 

Kinnear, Samuel P 877 

Kinser, James B 582 

Kinser, Zearle A 1374 

Kinsman, John K 1 194 

Kirby, Charles H 640 

Knapp, John F 1062 

Knorr, Albert J 1050 

Knowles, Ansel Litchfield 1237 

Knox, George A 412 

Knutsen, Fred 1436 

Knutsen, K 444 

Knutsen, Capt. Peter 1159 

Knutson, George H 1255 

Knutson, Walfrid 1472 

Koehn, William C 1121 

Kounias, S. George 1161 

Krigbaum, Henry S 806 

Krigbaum, Capt. Lowell G 734 

Krogh, Hans, Jr 1456 

Kumle, Hubert G 1479 

Kyne, Patrick C 599 


La Bree, Charles A 1433 

Lacoste, Etienne 1267 

Ladd, Albert H 282 

Lafranchi, Joseph 1411 

La Grange Gold Dredging Company 1342 

Laird, David Terry 1277 

Langdon, Mrs. Myrtie 281 

Larsen, Lauritz P 643 

Larson, Andrew 1115 

La Source, Guy Nelson 1402 

Latz, Philip 1497 

Latz, Sylvain S 801 

Laughlin, Earl Victor 1229 

Laughlin, Guy 1238 

Laughlin, Julius C 508 

Layman, Mrs. Edith M 941 

Lear, Edmund J 1172 

Lee, Charles S 1461 

Leedholm, Charley J 1320 

Leek, William L 959 

Leoni, Albert G 604 

Lesnini, Tobia 1115 

Leverton, Joseph 1256 

Lewallen, Wilson W 1352 

Liberini, Peter 1414 

Linden, Emanuel M 1324 

Lindwall, John A 1433 

Litt, George W 812 

Little, Charles Richard 369 

Lock, George Mills 900 

Long, Joseph Johnson 1014 

Long, Joseph N 406 

Long, M. P 745 

Longis, Frank 1424 

Longmire, Sylvester 1451 

Love, Lewis A 1040 

Lucid, Daniel D 871 

Lucksinger, Frederick 1256 

Lundborg, K. M., D.D.S 978 

Lundell, Henry J 967 

Lundgren, Arthur C 1357 

Lundgren, Carl John 1271 

Lundgren, Gustaf A 852 


Macauley, Hector E 1 178 

Machado, Manuel D 1409 

Manning, Judson W 1387 

Marshall, Fred J 1405 

Matlock, C. Wilfrid 1349 

Maze, Mrs. Birdie G 336 

Maze, Charles George 867 

Mazurette, Albert J . 972 

McAlister, James W 771 

McAlIen, Daniel Joseph 620 

McAllen, Mrs. Mae Josephine 623 

McBride, Samuel Nelson 803 

McCabe, George T 455 

M'cCabe, Eugene 398 

McCabe, John W 1077 

McCabe, Thomas F 627 

McCabe, Owen 398 

McCormick, James Edward ,. 754 

McCready, Arthur C 1215 

McDonell, Michael Leo 1432 

McGee, Michael Joseph 1334 

McGeorge, A 1328 

McGill, A. L 466 

McGinn, Thomas W 612 

McGinnes, W. T 466 

McHenry Brothers, Inc 447 

McHenry, Oramil 233 

McHenry, Robert 234 

McHenry, Robert A 447 

McHenry, Albert H 447 

McLaughlin, William 1131 

McPheeters, Earl R„ M.D 903 

McPherson, Emmaline 295 

McPhetres, Daniel Morton 1182 

McVey, Frank 1325 

Mead, George D 1043 

Medford, Alvin D 1212 

Medlin, Carl H 1484 

Medlin, David G 1173 

Medlin, Ora T .'.... 1295 

Meier, Henry Charles 1443 

Meikle, R. V 1366 

Meily, A. P 674 

Meinecke, Edward 1389 

Mendes, Joe 1488 

Mendosa, Joe P 1356 

Mendonza, Jesse 1470 

Menghetti, Charles L 1172 

Mensinger, William R 549 

Mermann, Peter 1313 

Mettler, Ernest 1349 

Michael, Thomas Benjamin 764 

Millard, David Anderson 789 

Miller, Frank C 1264 

Mills, Harry Edgar 1121 

Minniear, Ore N 1291 

Minto, John H 1193 

Mitchell, John W 489 

Modesto Milk Company 1384 

Moffet, Fred W 816 

Mondo, Sebastian C 1425 

Monk, Albert C 1453 

Montgomery, Samuel 1398 

Moore, Jacob Curtis 616 

Moore, Oliver Stanton 481 

Moore, R. R 481 

Morehead, James T 1156 

Morgan, Antony 741 

Morgan, James Wooley, M.D 666 

Morganti, Epi ■• 1186 

Morris, John 1391 

Morris, Nat P 879 

Morris, William 1487 

Morse, Charles L 1058 

Morse, Howard Henry 1390 

Moulton, Albert Wellington 465 

Mullally, Mrs. Lizzie 926 

Mullin, Douglas Francis 304 

Muscio, Oliver Joseph 1032 

N - 

Nazareth Swedish Lutheran Church 964 

Neece, George F 874 

Needham, Hon. James Carson. 261 

Neill, Lester J : 1376 

Nelsen, Eric A 1416 

Nelson, George C 712 

Nelson, George G : 1254 

Nelson, Martin 1263 

Nelson, Nels P 1468 

Newman, Louis J 817 

Newman Steam Laundry 1430 

Newman, Simon 503 

Newsome, William G 1145 

N'ickelsen, Nickels 1350 

Nickert, Chris 1288 

Nicolaisen, James M 1440 

Nielson, George 1483 

Nylin, Andrew Peter 685 


Oberg, Clarence E 894 

Oberg, Gustaf A 883 

Oberkamper, William Adolph 1022 

Ohlsson, Erick W 1344 

Ohmart, Jacob L 1455 

Olds, Jake M 1398 

Oldenhage, Horace Walter 919 

Olesen, Andrew J 1168 

Oliveira, Antonio A 1166 

Olsen, Martin 1408 

Olson, Mrs. Caroline 1371 

Olson, George P 928 

Olson, Ole 1329 

Olson, O. G 1226 

Olson, Oscar H 942 

Olson, P. N 1318 

Olson, Theodore R 635 

O'Neal, Fred L 948 

Orr, Jacob 1219 

Orvis, William Snow ! 1449 

Osvald, Mrs. Julia K. '. 592 

Owen, Thomas Alonzo 470 


Paioni, Joseph 1455 

Pallesen, Peter 1234 

Palmer, Harry Eugene 628 

Patchett, Franklin A 991 

Pearson, James 1469 

Pelucca, Henry 1465 

Perkins, Amsbury 496 

Perley, George 348 

Perry, Harry 1374 

Persson, Albert W J091 

Persson, Andres 1314 

Peterposten, Erminio 1477 

Peters, Rollie R 1166 

Petersen, Hans N 992 

Peterson, Albert T ;. 1330 

Peterson, Arthur W 1287 

Peterson, Axel 1434 

Peterson, Charles 1274 

Peterson, Chris E 1178 

Peterson, Edwin A 1287 

Peterson, Erick G 1356 

Peterson, J. Edward ■. '.. 1299 

Peterson, Louis H 960 

Peterson, IVter 1317 

Pettit, Alvin David 1362 

Pfarr, George N 904 

Philbrick, Cyrus J 699 

Philipps, Rev. Charles 1341 

Pike, George K 809 

Pinckney, J. H 1139 

Pitts, Edgar L 1002 

Pitts, M'erideth R 612 

Podesta, Louis A 1399 

Pollard, Oliver L 1091 

Pool, Chauncey E 837 

Porter, Mrs. Florence Lander 296 

Price, Thomas Jefferson 846 

Prickett, George Washington 1208 

Prien, John H 1444 

Prouty, Mrs. Alice M 1476 

Purvis, Mrs. Jennie Phelps 436 

Purvis, Richard Benjamin 436 

Quinley, John Win 
Quirke, Rev. \V. J. 


Radavero, Felix 1469 

Rafter, James 1244 

Ramazzina, Innocente 1471 

Ramont, Herbert W 951 

Ramos, P. D 1448 

Ramsey, Francis A., M.D.C 567 

Randolph, J. L 451 

Ravelli, Rocco 1473 

Rebman, Harvey W 1066 

Reed, J. Wilson. M.D 1435 

Reed, William M 1029 

Reeder, Edward C 657 

Reeves, James D 835 

Reitz, Jacob 967 

Repass, William M 1386 

Reynolds, David Lee 1388 

Reynolds, Roy F 894 

Rezendes, Antonio D 1483 

Rice, Eugene 899 

Rice, Judge William Horace 542 

Richards, James H 1393 

Richardson, Ephriam 452 

Richardson, Mr. and Mrs. Pearl C 737 

Richardson, Thomas 302 

Richina, Leonard Anton 1109 

Rickenbacher, Lewis H 1282 

Rieger, Fred 1423 

Roberts, Alfred Jackson 291 

Roberts, James S 1372 

Roberts, Dr. James W 974 

Robinson, John 374 

Roen. John ' 935 

Roessler, Mrs. I 1461 

Rogers, Mrs. Serena Coleman .. 911 

Roguet, Peter J 1171 

Rohde, Arendt II 1013- 

Rohde, Andrew H 987 

Rollo, J. M 1495 

Root, Mrs. M'ary J 563 

Rose, Joseph V 1485 

Ross, Mrs. Almina J 4.90 

Ross, Robert Jackson 121 1 

Rossi, Isidore P , 1203 

Rossini, Silvio ' 1424 

Rousse, Dr. A. J 1268 


Rousseau, Mrs. Leonora V 692 

Routh, Elic L 1061 

Rowe, Richard Henry '..... 435 

Rushing, William Henry 775 

Russell, John Coleman 1496 


Sachau, Wm 1496 

St. Clair, Milton I, 1082 

St. Jaachira's Church. 1191 

Salber, Carl F 1111 

Samson, Mrs. Jean Marie 730 

Samuelson, Joseph 749 

Sandb<rg, A. E 1237 

Sanger, Samuel F 926 

Sawde}, Earl Francis 696 

Saxer. John * . . 1092 

Scanloi, John C 1022 

Scerpelp, John 1282 

Schafer George P 323 

Schafcr Peter J 481 

Schell, Vbraham 256 

Schell, \dolph Edison 669 

Schell, terrick R 252 

Schenon,, G 1330 

Schmitzi Lambert 1397 

SchullerJFrederick 1421 

Schultz.trederick Anton 1453 

Scoon, falter T 1149 

Scott, jlies W 397 

Scott, TVnas Blake 570 

Scott, W P 397 

Search, jckson \V 716 

Search, Jnes H 560 

Sears, Hiry W 963 

Seely, D( M 955 

Service, fyjert E 996 

Service, Jan 235 

Service, ^ Roscoe 996 

Shanahan,;. 1412 

Shannon, irl W 897 

Shannon, >orge W 946 

Sharp JohiW 738 

Sharp, Wil Dalton 1198 

Sieni, FredW. N 1479 

Signorotti, Hix 1000 

Sikes, Char| H 1105 

Silva, Willi^J 1466 

Silverthorn, Jiss Bessie B 729 

Sisson, Benjlin 1273 

Sjostrum, A. 1495 

Smith, Anno B 1067 

Smith, Franfeugene 794 

Smith, Percyterwin 1006 

Snedigar, Mrfclara H 319 

Snedigar, This F 318 

Snedigar, Will M 351 

Snyder, ChestjG 1346 

Snygg, John 1 957 

Soares, Manuep 1448 

Soderquist, A.I 13(S1 

Sollars, Albert Ward 793 

Sorensen, MrsUna 1 366 

Sorensen, Ch 

Soria, Archi< 
Souza, Alvaro 
Smiza, Anto 
Souza, Manuel 
Spencer, Hon. J. 
Spencer, Rev. Jc 

Spenker, Joseph C 1048 

Sperry, Charles A 1136 

Sperry, Charles Edwin 359 

Sperry, Louis Nelson 977 

Sperry, Willard E 977 

Sprowl, Walter M 1212 

Spyres, Silas 884 

Squire, George W 855 

Stadie, Martin Henry 1222 

Standiford, Admer Nelson.... 293 

Starr, George H 1058 

Staudenmaier, Leonard 1452 

Stelck, Richard Detlef 1452 

Stevens, Walter A 1021 

Stevens, Walter E 1493 

Stewart, John Ferguson 500 

Stone, Buryl Foster 1192 

Stone, Roy E~ 1434 

Strader, Ulysses Grant 619 

Strandberg, C. 1359 

Summers, Hartwell 1426 

Sunderland, Roy 1065 

Surryhne, Benjamin F., M.D 515 

Swan, C. Leslie 1383 

Swanson, Charles G 935 

Swanson, Otto E 1467 

Swanson, P. J 1417 

Swedish Evangelical Mission Church 1429 

Sweeney, Archie L 138S 

Swensen, Swen 1288 

Sylvan Club 872 


Talbot, Allen 746 

Talbott, M. C 1072 

Taylor, Carl R 1397 

Taylor, Lon J 1167 

Tell, Carl G 1188 

Thompson, David B 708 

Thompson, Harrison H 708 

Thompson, Howard G 780 

Thompson, Irving Boyd 1005 

Thompson, James 426 

Thompson, John E 356 

Thompson, Luther D 842 

Thompson, Richard Grant 767 

Thompson, Walter Oregon 632 

Thompson, William H 836 

Thornburg, Delwin C 1310 

Thornburg, Glen E 1309 

Thornburg, Lamott E 652 

Thornburg, Mrs. Oresta S 524 

Thornburg, Ray H 1309 

Thorsen, Andy 1368 

Threlfall, George A 878 

Tienken, Emil H 1018 

Tobias. John 1462 

Tombaugh, Ira S 1401 

Tomlinson, Nathaniel Lenox 558 

Toomes, William D 1066 

Torgenson, C. L 1351 

Tornell, C. A 1367 

Tornell, Charles 1198 

Torvend, Ole 1026 

Townsend, Travis B 1017 

Trask, Edward O 925 

Trask, John Byron 826 

Trtimbly, Warren L 1376 

Trueblood, Harry A 1445 

Tucker, Lewis 1410 

Tucker. Mrs. Martha E 251 


Tupper, Jerome B 1088 

Turlock Ice & Fuel Company 712 

Turner, Arlo V 1344 

Turner, Charles C 533 

Turner, Mrs. Christiana Van Xorman 529 

Turner, Garrison and Elizabeth Jane Starr.. 274 

Turner, George D 1285 

Turner, Henry G 759 

Turpen, Addison Edgar 443 

Turpen, Major A. M 443 

Twiggs, Marcellus D 1420 

Tyrrell, Robert S 892 


Uhl, Edward A 1405 

Ulch, Mrs. Allura E. Averill 287 

Ullberg, Edwin 1360 

Ulrey, Silas Everington 1406 

Ulrich, George J 1106 

Updike, Samuel M 355 


Vanatta, Sidney C 1430 

Van Eebber, Philip 1418 

Van der Plaats, Volkert 1233 

Van Vlear, William R 931 

Van Wagner, Ralph 1381 

Varley. Edwin Lincoln 1417 

Vetter, John W 1400 

Vieira, Antone R 1477 

Vincent, Joe F 1278 

Vincent, Joseph M' 1036 

Vivian, John 301 

Vivian, Stephen 405 

Voight, August H 1221 

Voight, Henry 1419 

Volkman, F. D 1025 

Vollstedt, Herman 1411 

Voorheis, Mrs. Mary Ann 669 


Wade, Seth 1436 

Wafer, Mrs. Estella llvrr.m 878 

Waite, William E 674 

Wakefield, S 1122 

Walden, Miner 390, 

Wallace, S. G 1459 

Wallin, Jonas S 858 

Walthall, John Madison SI 1 

Walther, Clarence J 1117 

Walti, Fred William 1333 

Walton, Dana J , 776 

Ward, John L 673 

Ward. Joseph R 1385 

Warner, James J 1 

Warner, James F 410 

Washburn, Francis M 999 

Watson, Arthur M 1377 

Watson, Ralph E 1043 

Webb, Walter H 982 

Weichert, George P 1390 

Weilberg, Christopher Robert 937 

Weiss, Henry 1 126 

Welch, Charles Edwin ' 310 

Welch, Mrs. Sarah E 557 

Welty Brothers 1437 

Westrope, Abner James 611 

Wheeler, William Floyd 107S 

Whitmore, Clinton N 477 

Whitmore, Daniel 235 

Whitmore, Richard Keith 1385 

Whitworth, George H 327 

Wickstrom, G. E 1353 

Will, Foster A 973 

Willeford, Edward 1493 

Williams, Humphrey Lincoln 504 

Williams, Joseph S 1447 

WUliams, 0. D 1358 

Williams, Thomas L 504 

Willms, John R 3S9 

Wilson, John Benjamin 1186 

Wilson, Mrs. Sarah E 1186 

Wilson, W. Lester, M.D 1306 

Winklebleck, Levi 893 

Witmer, Jacob 1101 

Witten, P. W 1292 

Wolfe, John S 1187 

Wood, Amos Addison, D.D.S 581 

Wood, William Henry 586 

Woods, Frank P 1457 

Woods, John H 785 

Woodside, Charles LeRoy 915 

Woodside, Mrs. Emeline 311 

Woolsey, A. C 1404 

Woolsey, Eugene D 83S 

Wootten, Denver M 1009 

Wren, George J 324 

Wright, Claud 1353 

Wyant, William Swickard 1393 


Yates, James D 1207 

Yeram, Aram H 1403 

Young, James A , • ■ . . # . . . 280 

Young. J. Audley. M.D 1087 

Young, Shruder 393 

Young, William Franklin 1068 

Young. William X 13S1 

Yrigoyen, Gregorio 1492 

H. E 1382 







From whence came the first inhabitants of Stanislaus County? No man knoweth. 
Columbus in 1492 landing at the island of San Salvador, and later at Cuba, discovered 
a new race. He believed that he had reached the East Indies and so believing he 
named the people Indians. When Fernando Cortez sailed from Spain in 1519 with a 
small army and several horses, he also landed at Cuba, and then sailing westward to 
Mexico, he there found Indians. They were quite intelligent and were ruled by King 
Montezuma whom they loved and honored. The Spanish soldiers married the women 
of the tribe and from thence came the Mexican people. 

Leaving Mexico in 1542 Cabrillo sailed along the entire coast of Cape Mendocino, 
and at every point the navigator found this strange people. They worshipped the 
white men and believed them gods. Sir Francis Drake sailing along the Pacific Coast 
in 1579 discovered the harbor that now bears his name. He landed and the Indians 
came crowding around him as he held the first Protestant religious service on the 
Pacific Coast. Capt. Gaspar de Portola, in his famous march from San Diego to 
San Francisco Bay in 1769 found Indians all along his route. They were a peaceful, 
fairly intelligent race and they brought the soldiers many gifts. 

Indians Build Missions 

Then came the Franciscan Fathers founding missions all along the California 
Coast. In their work of building missions the Indians performed all of the work. They 
cultivated the soil in the raising of wheat, corn and vegetables and they herded and 
cared for the sheep, horses and cattle that roamed over a thousand hills. 

The good priests taught the Indians much useful knowledge and they were in 
most of the Missions kind and gentle rulers to these, the children of the Church. 
In some Missions, unfortunately, the Fathers were harsh and cruel taskmasters. This 
treatment caused in the neophytes a spirit of hatred and revenge and they endeavored 
to escape from the Mission at the first opportunity. 

The Chief Estanislao 

One of the Indians who succeeded in escaping was a neophyte named Estanislao. 
He was a man naturally bright, of far more intelligence than the most of his tribe 
and he had received a good education in the Mission. Burning with hatred against 
the Fathers and all of the Spanish race, he began a propaganda among the Indian tribes, 
inciting them to rob the Missions and kill the "sons of Castile." 

Succeeding in his object the Indians began harassing the Fathers of the San Jose 
Mission by driving off their horses and killing them for food. Then on every possible 


occasion they would meet the Christian Indians and persuade them to run away. To 
check this work so far as possible the government sent out military expeditions. They 
were commanded to punish the culprits and bring in as prisoners, the men, women and 
children. In this manner the Fathers repopulated their Missions, for the Mission 
confinement caused them to quickly die. 

It was in one of these expeditions, that of 1829, that Estanislao defeated the 
famous Gen. Marino G. Vallejo, previously having routed Lieut. Alfred Sanchez. 
The Lieutenant was sent out from San Francisco May 5, with a company of forty 
soldiers, a few drawing swivel guns or cannon. He soon arrived at a locality where 
he found the Indians fortified in a thick wood on the bank of the River Laquismes, as 
the Stanislaus River was then called. As soon as the soldiers came within distance the 
Indians opened fire with a shower of arrows and a few old muskets. The firearms 
were harmless, however, as the Indians had no shot nor bullets. They fired the 
muskets, hoping to frighten the Spaniards. Sanchez attempted to use his swivel gun 
but finding it out of commission was compelled to rely on his musketry. The parties 
fought throughout the day, apparently with none killed or wounded. That night 
Sanchez camped after retiring some distance from the enemy. The following day the 
fight was renewed without success and as Sanchez's ammunition was exhausted he was 
compelled to return to San Francisco. The fight was a victory for Estanislao. Two 
soldiers were killed and eight wounded, and eleven of the Christian Indians were 
wounded and one was killed. 

The Defeat of General Vallejo 

A week later a second expedition was organized against the brave chief. General 
Vallejo was placed in command. He had just returned from an expedition to the 
"tulares," where with a company of forty-five men only he had fought and killed forty- 
eight braves. Vallejo's company crossed the San Joaquin River on a raft and they 
were received immediately with a cloud of arrows. Vallejo soon learned that the 
enemy could not be driven from their stronghold and commanded that the woods be 
set on fire. This was a movement Estanislao had not anticipated and the Indians 
were driven out by the smoke and fire, several of them being killed. The fight, however, 
was carried on throughout the day, and three more soldiers were wounded. That night 
the Indians abandoned their stronghold. The following morning Vallejo's men entered 
the woods and found a series of pits and ditches skillfully arranged and barricaded by 
trees and brush. It would have been an impossibility to have driven out the Indians 
except by fire. 

The following day the Indians again challenged the soldiers to battle from another 
thicket near the Rancho Arroyo Seco. Vallejo tried to parley with them, but they 
refused either to compromise or surrender. The soldiers then made an attack and 
brought into use their small cannon. The Indians slowly retreated to their new 
trenches which they had thrown up, in the meantime wounding eight soldiers. In a 
short time the ammunition of the militia was all gone and they were compelled to 
cease fighting. The following morning the company left the field to the enemy. 

This was a second victory for the brave Indian Chief, Estanislao. It is said that 
dating from that fight the Spaniards dared not invade the territory north of the San 
Joaquin River and that they named the river where the battle took place, Stanislaus. 
Later the county took its name from the river. 

Our Knowledge of the Indians 

It may be of interest, perhaps, to many persons to know something of the customs, 
habits, religion and life of those who first lived in the "sunny Stanislaus." The 
knowledge that we have of the race is limited. It is obtained only from the trappers 
and travelers who visited the coast in early years and from those pioneers who saw 
the last of the tribes in the '50s. 

The first account we have of the number of Indians in the territory of Stanislaus 
is the record of the old trapper and hunter, James J. Warner. Writing of the year 
1832, he said, "There were a number of Indian villages on King's River between its 


mouth and the mountains; also on the San Joaquin from the base of the mountain 
down to, and some distance below, the great slough. On the Merced River, from its 
junction with the San Joaquin, there were no Indian villages, but from about this 
point on the San Joaquin (Hill's Ferry) as well as the principal tributaries, the Indian 
villages were numerous and many of the villages contained from fifty to a hundred 
dwellings. On the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers there were Indian villages above 
the mouth, as also at or near the junction with the San Joaquin." Mr. Warner then 
pays a tribute to the wonderful fertility of the territory by saying: "On no part of 
the Continent over which I had been or since have traveled was so numerous an Indian 
population subsisting upon the natural products of the soil and waters as in the San 
Joaquin Valley." 

Classification of Indians 
The Indian tribes of California were so many in number that it is almost impossible 
to classify all of them. The Coast Indians alone, according to Boscana, numbered 
over a hundred different tribes and spoke that many different languages. Powers, who 
made a study of Indian life, called the Indians living in Tuolumne and Stanislaus 
counties under the general name of Modocs. They were subdivided into four classes, 
the Wallas, Wallalshumnes, Potoancies and Yachichumnes. The tribe first named 
lived in the mountains between the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers, the second tribe 
dwelt in the valley, the third tribe lived in the region between the Tuolumne and the 
Merced and the fourth tribe lived on the west side of the San Joaquin River. The 
entire race were called by the people in general "Walla Wallas" or "Digger Indians" 
because of their custom of digging in the earth for edible roots. 

Physical Appearance of Tribes 

In their physical appearance the Indians were very much alike. They were 
scarcely more than five feet eight in height, and a man over six feet was a rarity. 
They had low, retreating foreheads, black, deep set eyes, thick, bushy eyebrows, high 
cheek bones and a nose depressed at the roots and wide spread at the nostrils. They 
had large mouths, with projecting lips, large white teeth and large ears and hands 
and large flat feet. "This," said a well-known writer, "was the prevailing type. The 
description agrees fully with the Walla Wallas, both men and women, as I saw them 
around Stockton in early days." 

Tribal Government 1746224 

Their government, if such it might be called, was very simple. Each tribe had a 
"captain chief" and his authority and commands were absolute. Considerable dignity 
was attached to him and his family and they were treated with the greatest respect. 
His widow and daughters, after his death, were considered as persons of nobility and 
they were not compelled to labor as were the women of the common people. In fact, 
among the tribes there was a certain degree of aristocracy. The family and their 
relatives were governed by a chief. He was subject to the authority of the captain 
chief. The chieftainship was hereditary along the male line and the eldest son suc- 
ceeded the father at his death. Sometimes, however, the son would be deprived of his 
rightful authority. A favorite of the captain chief would be appointed to office because 
of some exploit or bravery in a horse-stealing expedition. 

When a young brave wished to marry he observed carefully the young maiden 
who was the most industrious in digging roots or herbs and could carry the heaviest 
load. The women were the slaves of the men, and they collected the firewood, built 
the fires and performed all of the drudgery of the wikiup. When the young Indian 
had made his selection of a strong and industrious maiden, he informed the chief that 
he desired the girl for his "helpmate." The chief almost always gave his consent. 
This was all the marriage ceremony that was necessary. The girl could refuse to live 
with the young man, but the penalty of refusing was severe, as she then became public 
property. If an Indian wished to divorce his wife all that was necessary was to drive 


her out into the cold world. A female could have but one husband, but on the reverse 
an Indian could have as many wives as he could feed and shelter. In their wild, un- 
civilized life, adultery on the part of the woman was always a cause of divorce by the 
husband. When, however, the Indian came in contact with the vileness and corruption 
of the white man, he frequently sold his wife for a short period of time. 

The girls frequently married at the age of fourteen years and gave birth to children 
at the age of sixteen. A marriage of May and December was not prohibited among 
the Indians and often there would be offspring. Powers relates a case within his 
knowledge where an Indian child of ten years gave birth to a babe, her husband being 
a white man of sixty summers. At childbirth no physician or midwife was necessary, 
for Nature provides for its own. If the tribe were traveling the woman would lag 
behind for an hour or more. Then she would overtake the tribe carrying upon her 
back a newborn babe strapped with deer sinews to a homemade cradle. Marrying 
so young, they quickly aged and a woman of thirty would have the appearance of a 
grandmother of sixty years or older. 

Indian Dress 

Dame Fashion ne'er held sway in an Indian rancheria. Their dress was as limited 
as that of Mother Eve, when a covering made of fig leaves adorned her body. The 
Indian women had no fig leaves, but in summer they wore as a substitute a short apron 
suspended from their waist made of tules or grass. In winter for additional w T armth 
they wore over their shoulders a short fur cape made of rabbit skins. During the warm 
weather the men wore Nature's garb only. In winter they also wore a mantle of rabbit 
skins or that of some wild animal. 

Cost of Living 

The high cost of living was no cause for complaint among the forest tribes, for 
Nature provided for all of their wants. In the spring of the year they lived on a 
species of clover. It was soft and fine, and, when mixed with roots gathered from the 
river bottom, contained sufficient nutriment to sustain life. When the grass was no 
longer fit for food, they subsisted on the young tule roots, seeds, bugs, frogs, non- 
poisonous snakes, grasshoppers and small edible roots. Grasshoppers were considered 
as quite a delicacy. In summer they would roast and mash them into a paste and 
then mix with other edibles. Their main reliance for food was fish, grass seed, and 
acorns. The food last named they ground to powder in their mortars and made it 
into bread. When the river waters were low they obtained their supply of fish. They 
srrat them with arrows, speared them with a long, sharp-pointed pole and were quite 
expert in catching them by hand. Although usually too lazy to hunt and kill large 
game, the men would occasionally go out and kill birds, rabbits and squirrels, and 
sometimes a deer or antelope, with their bow and arrow. A grizzly bear they would 
never molest and Carson says so frightened were they at the sight of a grizzly they 
would quickly run away. The fish and acorns were most plentiful in the fall of the 
year. Then thev would hold a jubilee which continued for several days. During this 
period of feasting they would gorge themselves until they became almost torpid. 

The Walla Wallas' ideas of religion were exceedingly vague, according to one 
writer, who says they had no idea of a supreme being and when questioned upon that 
subject would grin and shake their heads. "The only faith in which they believed was 
necromancy." Any mysterious act was regarded by them as something supernatural. 
On the other hand, another writer says that they had the belief that the good would 
inherit eternal life and that the bad would forever die. They believed a good chief 
was especially honored, and that after death his heart "went up among the stars to 
enlighten the earth" and that the heavens were ablaze with the hearts of departed 
great Indians. 

Indian Pestilence 

In the present memory of my readers a terrible disease raged throughout the 
United States which for want of a better name was called "Spanish Influenza." Not- 


withstanding the best of medical treatment thousands died. What must have been the 
fatality of a similar pestilence, when it attacked the ignorant, superstitious Indians. It 
frequently attacked them when they became over populated and this seemed to be 
Nature's method of the "survival of the fittest." De La Mofras, the French traveler 
and scientist, says that in 1824, 12,000 of the Indians of the Tulare died of cholera 
and in 1826, 8000 in the Sacramento Valley died of intermittent fever. Colonel 
Warner tells of a pestilence that raged among the Indians of the Stanislaus and San 
Joaquin section in the spring or summer of 1833. He says he returned to the territory 
in the fall of that year and found the country almost depopulated. "From the head 
of the Sacramento to the great bend of the San Joaquin River we saw only six or 
eight live Indians, where the year previous there had been hundreds. Skulls and dead 
bodies, however, were seen under nearly every shade tree, near the water, where the 
uninhabited and deserted villages had been turned into graveyards. On the banks of 
the San Joaquin River we found not only many graves, but evidences of funeral 
pyres. At the mouth of the Kings River we encountered the first and only villages of 
the stricken race that we had seen after entering the great valley." 

A Night of Horror 

In describing a scene while in camp, Colonel Warner wrote: "We were encamped 
near the village one night only and during that time the death angel, passing over 
the camp ground of the plague-stricken fugitives, waved his wand, summoning from 
the remnant of a once numerous people, a score of victims, and the cries of the dying, 
mingled with the wails of the bereaved, made the night hideous, in the veritable valley 
of death." The pestilence which swept down the valley was believed to be a most acute 
and violent form of remittent fever and it presented many of the symptoms of cholera. 
Many of the trappers caught the disease and Colonel Warner was left behind to die, 
but he recovered and caught up with the party. 

Disposal of Their Dead 

The Indians of Stanislaus County and the region round about invariably practiced 
incineration in the disposal of their dead. As writers declare, they had no tools for 
the digging of graves, not even knives. James L. Carson, in describing one of the 
funeral ceremonies and incinerations which he witnessed, wrote : "The first of these 
funerals which I noticed was on the Consumnes River. The rancheria to which the 
deceased belonged was a large one, situated in a beautiful valley, from which arose 
tall pines, whose spear tops formed a canopy above; around it arose high and rugged 
hills that gradually rounded until their tops were capped by the everlasting snows, and 
through it moved the crystal waters of a fine creek. The scene in all was beautiful. 
On a clear piece of ground a vast heap of dry wood was placed on which the dead 
was to be laid and consumed. The sun had set and night was drawing her sable 
mantle o'er the earth, when the entire tribe began chanting unearthly incantations 
around the fires of their huts, and they so continued until darkness had completely 
enveloped the scene. Then arose a hideous scream out of the hut of the departed 
that was answered by every one in the camp, torches were lighted and by their glare 
the corpse was borne to the funeral pyre. The body was placed on top of it and 
more dry wood heaped around. Then came the wild chant and incantation for the 
dead. The chief applied the first torch to the pile and in a moment it blazed forth in 
a hundred places. The forked flames that enveloped the body shot up among the tall 
pines and lighted up the shadows. When the body had become charred by the fire 
Indians with sharp-pointed poles would stir up the body to aid the fire in its work of 
destruction and amidst the howling of the Indians the work was continued until the 
body was consumed." 

L. C. Branch, who also witnessed one of these funerals, says in his history: "The 
funeral of a chief was attended with more ceremony than that of the common people 
and the whole village was thrown into mourning which continued for several days. 
In preparing the body for burning, it was decorated with feathers, beads and flowers 


and after remaining in state a few days, was conveyed to the funeral pyre. The 
flowers, feathers and beads, the weapons, in fact, everything belonging to the dead chief 
was burned with him amidst the howls and lamentations of the tribe." 

The Widow Mourns 
The only indications of mourning for a deceased person were those made by a 
squaw for her husband. This mourning consisted of daubing the cheeks, forehead 
and breast with a mixture of coals and pitch from the funeral pyre. The stuff was 
allowed to remain upon the body until it wore off. During the period of mourning 
the widow's person was held sacred and she was exempt from all manner of work or 
drudgery. Pitch pine was brought from the mountains and tar was made of it for 
mourning purposes. 

An annual dance of mourning was held at which time the most lamentable groans 
were kept up by the whole rancheria. Mr. Branch, who lived near Knights Ferry, 
says: "We have heard them frequently clear across the river, and it seems as if they 
kept it up all night at a time." At this time they mourned the loss of deceased friends 
and relatives. 

The Indian Wikiups 

According to Carson, the Indians, during the summer season, lived in "huts con- 
structed of the boughs of trees placed in a circle, deep in the earth with their tops 
drawn together and fastened into a cone of wicker work." In these they lived until 
the frosts of winter drove them into their holes, where they lived until the congenial 
sun of spring drew them out again. Their winter holes are made by digging circular 
holes in the earth and placing over them a frame of poles which is covered with bark 
or grass over which they throw earth to the depth of nearly two feet. An opening 
left in the side of the hut, large enough to admit the body of a man, served as a door 
to the hut. They are built without any uniformity of size. Each family has a tepee 
and it is built in accordance with the size of the family, be it large or small. Con- 
venience or cleanliness was not taken into consideration in building the tepee and 
a family of ten or twelve would be crowded into a hut not large enough for half that 
number. There was this advantage, however, they were kept warm by the crowding. 
The chief of the tribe had a wikiup larger than any of those surrounding him, and it 
was usually in the center of the circle. 

A Nearly Extinct Race 

Although the Indians were so many in number, the coming of the white man 
soon sealed their doom. The whites shot and killed them upon the slightest provoca- 
tion, often making them a target, shooting them down in cold blood. They outraged 
their women and children and taught them the white man's vices but none of his 
virtues. They maliciously killed the game, the Indians' only food, and drove them 
from the land. Driven out of the valley where they had lived for centuries, the lords 
of creation, they retired to the mountains and as early as 1852 the only Indians in 
Stanislaus County were twenty at Bonsell's Ferry and about 250 at Knights Fern'. 
Only a few remaining members of the tribe are now left. 

The Government made no attempt to punish the criminal white men for their 
outrages and cruelty to the Indians, but they compromised the matter by rounding up 
the Indians and compelling them to go to Government reservations. There, through 
neglect and the rascality of many of the Indian agents, the Indians gradually starved 
to death. One of these reservations, in Stanislaus County, was near Knights Fern' 
and a second reservation was on the "West Side" of the Stanislaus. 

An Indian Beef and Flour Debt 
The state agent of Indian affairs was Col. O. M. Wozencraft, a prominent 
Democratic politician. During the years 1851-52 Dent, Vantine & Company of 
Knights Ferry, under contract with O. M. Wozencraft, furnished the Indians of the 
"West Side" reservation with beef and flour. The company fulfilled their contract 
with the understanding that they were to receive cash for their supplies. Instead of 


cash Wozencraft gave them orders on the Government for the amount of $33,080. 
The debt was unpaid in 1854. That year Assemblyman A. C. Bradford of San 
Joaquin, presented a petition to the legislature in behalf of the company, praying the 
legislators to memorialize Congress for the payment of the debt. 

The Indian Chief Jose Jesus 
After the death of the brave Chief Estanislao, an Indian named Jose Jesus became 
chief of the Stanislaus tribes. He is described by those who knew him as a man over 
six feet in height, cleanly in his habits, proud in spirit and dignified in manner. He 
had been a Mission Indian, was fairly well educated and at one time alcalde of San 
Jose. Although friendly with the Americans, he made it very uncomfortable for the 
Fathers of Mission San Jose, frequently making raids upon their stock. At one time 
he drove off a "marada" of over 1000 horses which his tribe killed for food. Jose 
Jesus was a life-long friend of Captain M. Weber, the founder of Stockton. When, 
in 1844, Mr. Weber obtained a grant where Stockton is located, he believed it good 
policy to make a friendly treaty with the Indians. Captain Sutter had carried out 
this policy successfully in his settlement of New Helvetia (now Sacramento), in 1839. 
Captain Weber sent for Chief Jose Jesus, and they immediately made a peace treaty, 
which the Indians faithfully kept. The chief was very friendly with Captain Weber, 
but like many a white man of that day he would go and "booze up" on the white 
man's firewater. Once while drunk at Knights Ferry he got into a fight and was shot 
and severely wounded by a white man. He survived the wound, however, Captain 
Weber paying out $500 for his medical treatment. 

"Old Manuel" 

Probably the last chief of the Stanislaus Indians was the Walla Walla, Old 
Manuel, whom Branch described in 1881. "He was a large, fleshy Indian, had rather 
an intelligent look and taken, all in all, was much superior to the average among his 
tribe. He had several wives and a rather pretty daughter. She was decorated with 
feathers and beads, had a pleasing look and always carried a plate which she passed 
around and took up a collection." By this device the Indians were enabled to gather 
together enough money to buy sufficient whisky to keep them drunk for a week or two. 
They all drank and when the law prohibited the selling of liquor to Indians and the 
whites refused to let them have it, they managed to procure it from the Chinese store- 
keepers. When drunk they would fight amongst themselves and beat the women 

The Indian Burial Ground 

At Knights Ferry a portion of the reservation, that on the hillside, was set apart 
many years ago as an Indian burial ground. There from time to time as his spirit 
departed for the "happy hunting ground," "poor Lo's" body was laid to rest. The 
graves, now numbering over 250, are being trampled out by cattle grazing over the 
ground. The Indians believed that their sacred soil should be protected, and they 
made complaint to their priest, Father Maher. He called the attention of the Oakdale 
Parlor of Native Sons to the matter, and it being historic soil, they proposed taking 
up the subject with their Grand Parlor. However, no action was taken in the matter. 


It is a peculiar fact, that of the immense territory north and east of the San 
Joaquin River, Stanislaus County and the land adjacent was the first discovered. The 
man to whom the honor belongs is Lieut. Gabriel Moraga, a soldier of the Spanish 
King. In writing of him Prof. Charles F. Chapman of the State University says: 
"He was one of the most distinguished men of the era of Dons." This man, who 
was the son of Jose Joaquin Moraga, the founder of San Francisco (Yerba Buena), 
was the greatest Indian fighter and explorer that California produced. 



On the twenty-first of September, 1806, Moraga started out with a band of 
twenty-five men from the Mission of San Juan Bautista, accompanied by Padre Pedro 
Munoz, with the purpose of exploring interior lands for suitable locations for Missions, 
and to gain information about the Indians and establish friendly relations with them. 
The company traveled to the east and reached the San Joaquin River just about where 
Merced and Fresno counties now join (Dos Palos). When the party crossed the 
San Joaquin, they turned to the north and were obliged to march for about a league 
through an area of thick, high tule, among which some well-grassed clearings were 
visible. On the twenty-eighth of September the Merced River was discovered and 
named the following day. Passing the Merced River, the expedition went to the 
northwest and discovered other rivers. On their return they came again to the 
Merced River, and the chronicler once more remarked upon the site as good for 
founding a Mission and presidio (military post). No action was taken as a conse- 
quence of this expedition, but another was led by Moraga in September and October of 
1808, still for the purpose of seeking a good site for the founding of a Mission, if 
provision for one should be made. After exploring the northern tributaries of the 
San Joaquin River, Moraga turned south and reached the Merced on October 18, 
exploring the river from the Sierras to its junction with the San Joaquin. 

The Trapper Expeditions 

Fourteen years later, 1820, a company of American trappers entered the valley, 
who that year hunted and trapped beaver throughout the season. They were followed 
by the famous hunter and trapper, Jediah Smith, who had been at work previously in 
the Rocky Mountains. Crossing the Sierras in 1825 he entered the great valley through 
Walker's Pass and trapped along the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers, catching 
beaver and many other fur-bearing animals. He remained until 1827, and, said the 
writer, "the streams abounded in beaver and salmon." After Smith, came the expedi- 
tion led by Ashley, another well-known hunter and trapper. His expedition was fitted 
out in St. Louis in 1823. They entered the valley in 1826 and trapped all along the 
Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin. In 1829-30 the leading trapper, Ewing Young 
from Tennessee, came into the valley by the way of Walker's Pass and trapped along 
the rivers. In his company was James J. Warner, well-known pioneer, who later 
wrote of the Indians of Stanislaus. 

The John C. Fremont Party 

We have no further record of travelers over the land until 1841. In that year 
Capt. John C. Fremont left Washington with a company of sixty expert riflemen, on 
a presumed exploring expedition to the Far West. Fremont, having accomplished the 
work for which he had been sent out, started homeward by the southern route. Riding 
down the valley, he wrote in his diary, on March 27th: "Our road was now one 
continued enjoyment ; and it is a pleasure, riding among assemblage of green pastures 
and scattered groves and out of the warm green spring, to look at the rocky and snowy 
peaks, where lately we had suffered so much. Emerging from the timber we came 
suddenly upon the Stanislaus River where we hoped to find a ford, but the stream was 
flowing by, dark and deep, swollen by mountain snows, its general breadth about fifty 
yards. We traveled five miles up the river and encamped without being able to find 
a ford. Desirous as far as possible, without delay, to include in our examination the 
San Joaquin River I returned this morning down the Stanislaus for some seventeen 
miles and again encamped without finding a fording place. After following it for 
eight miles further the following morning and finding ourselves in the vicinity of the 
San Joaquin, we encamped in a handsome grove and several cattle being killed, we 
ferried over our baggage in their skins. Here our Indian boy began to be alarmed 
at the many streams we were putting between him and the village, and deserted." 


Wild Animal Life 

In the valley at this time and for a quarter of a century later thousands of wild 
horses roamed the plains, and immense herds of deer, elk and antelope were seen upon 
the high land and the river-bottom lands. Grizzly bears were also plentiful and J. C. 
Forbes stated that he had seen from twelve to fifteen bears at one time. That grizzlies 
were numerous is evident from the fact that as late as 1852, two men caught five bear 
in traps upon the Stanislaus. One of them was taken to Stockton and matched in a 
fight against a bull. The ground was covered with geese and the lakes with ducks, 
while myriads of fish swam in the waters. 

The Mormon Colony 
The first wheat raisers and settlers in Stanislaus County were a number of 
Mormons. Under the leadership of their prophet, Samuel Brannan, a company of 
Mormons, men and children, left New York in February, 1846, bound for the 
Mexican territory of California. " They left New York hoping to find on Mexican 
soil a place where they could worship unmolested. Judge of their surprise and disap- 
pointment upon reaching San Francisco to again find themselves on American soil. 
It is said that upon seeing the Stars and Stripes floating over the custom house, 
Brannan exclaimed: "There's that damned flag again!" Making the best of the 
situation, however, they broke up into parties. Some remained in Yerba Buena, others 
went to San Bernardino and a few traveled to Sutter's Fort. 

Stanislaus City Founded 
About thirty of the Mormons, under instructions from Brannan, sailed up the 
San Joaquin River in a little schooner and landed at a point near Mossdale, the 
Southern Pacific railroad bridge. They brought with them in the vessel, provisions 
sufficient to last for two years, a wagon, agricultural implements, and various kinds 
of seed. Traveling overland across San Joaquin County they located on the east bank 
of the Stanislaus about one and a half miles above its mouth. There they founded a 
city called by some Stanislaus City, by others New Hope. Setting up a small saw- 
mill they sawed out shingles and floor timbers from the large oak trees in the vicinity 
and built a log cabin. Then, enclosing about eighty acres of land with a fence built 
of oak logs and covered with brushwood, they planted the ground to wheat. The 
land was all sown in wheat by January, 1847. They also raised a considerable variety 
of vegetables and irrigated the soil by means of ditches, drawing water from the river 
by the primitive method of a pole and bucket. "They also sowed," says Carson, "a 
red top grass, the best that the farmer can sow in the Tulare valley, as it forms excel- 
lent pasture during the year and when cut equals the best red clover. It can now be 
seen where it has spread from the Stanislaus to French Camp above Stockton." Their 
only provisions were whole wheat, coffee and sugar. They had, however, a small 
hand mill and any man if he so desired could grind his wheat to coarse flour. They 
also had plenty of ammunition and firearms and there was plenty of game for the killing. 
Each man was compelled to do his own cooking. 

Samuel Brannan in writing to a friend in January, 1847, said: "We have com- 
menced a settlement on the Stanislaus River, a large and beautiful stream emptying 
into the Bay of San Francisco." His settlement, however, did not long continue. 
Some say the Mormons were there only a year, others three or four years. Their 
manager was a man named Thomas Stout, who was disliked by all the party. Quar- 
reling with him one day, the colony later voted to leave the place. One of the last 
Mormons to leave the locality was a man named Buckland, who later built the Buck- 
land House in San Francisco. 

Mexico Declares Her Independence 

During this period the Mexican war was fought, a war in which Stanislaus' dis- 
tinguished citizen, Jefferson D. Bentley, was engaged. In 1821 a revolution was 
started in Mexico by the Tory party against the government of Spain. Two years 
later, in 1823, they won their fight and declared themselves a free and independent 
nation. In their victory, Mexico took from Spain all of the territory extending 


from the Isthmus of Panama and the Gulf of Mexico to the Oregon line, with the 
Rocky Mountains as their eastern boundary. It was a kingdom, you will observe, 
equal to one-third of the present United States. While the Mexicans were fighting 
for their freedom, the South, with over two million of slaves, was fighting for an 
extension of territory. 

Leading National Events 
The congressional decree that slavery should not be extended north of Mason and 
Dixon's line prevented any further extension of slavery in that direction. The slaves 
were increasing in number. The profits from their labor were immense and the South 
longed for the Mexican territory beyond the Rockies. At that time the Democrats 
were in power at Washington and the South held sway. Because of a slight provoca- 
tion, the United States declared war upon Mexico. In the treaty of peace signed in 
February, 1848, Mexico was compelled to cede to the United States all of the territory 
acquired from Spain except her native country, Mexico and Lower California. 

James W. Marshall Discovers Gold 

One of the commanders in the California department of the Mexican war was 
John C. Fremont and in his battalion was a soldier named James W. Marshall. He 
crossed the plains with his family in 1846 and soon after the close of the war he 
traveled to Sutter's Fort looking for work. Captain Sutter gave him employment, as 
he was a good mechanic, and in December, 1847, the Captain sent Marshall into 
the mountains to find a good location for a sawmill. He found a good site at a point 
now known as Coloma and the workmen began erecting the frame work of the mill. 
In digging a mill race, January 24, 1848, Marshall found some pieces of gold. The 
workmen, many of them Mormons, immediately left their work and began digging for 
the golden nuggets. 

Gold Found on the Stanislaus 

The land on which the gold was found belonged to Captain Sutter, who had 
obtained the grant from Micheltorena, the Mexican governor. The land now be- 
longed to the United States and to hold it Sutter sent two messengers to Monterey 
carrying with them gold specimens with the request that Governor Mason confirm 
Sutter's claim. On their way the couriers stopped at Tuleburg (Stockton) over night. 
They had been instructed by Sutter to show the gold to no one nor tell of their mis- 
sion to Monterey, but they disclosed their secret and showed the settlers the pieces 
of gold. The hunters and trappers were wild with excitement. A company was 
organized under the direction of Captain Weber and they started for Coloma to dig 
gold. This was in March, 1848, the news not having reached Tuleburg until that 
date. Accompanying the party were twenty-five Indians of the Jose Jesus tribe, 
Weber having requested the chief to furnish the Indians as laborers. Captain Weber 
was a shrewd business man and early that year he had established a general mer- 
chandising store at Tuleburg. It was his object to instruct these Indians in gold 
mining, so that they could prospect along the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers for gold. 
Tf it were found in paying quantities then there would be a rush of gold seekers for the 
Stanislaus. As a natural result Tuleburg would become a big trading depot for the 
miners, as it was the nearest navigable point to what was later known as the southern 
mines. Learning how to look for gold they were sent back to Stockton with instruc- 
tions to prospect in the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers. They found gold evervwhere 
in the Stanislaus and they brought in specimens to their "major domo," as Captain 
Weber was called. This gold, in all probability, was found not lower down than 
Knights Ferry. 

California Suddenly Populated 

The news of gold at Coloma traveled slowly over the territory, but it flew with 
lightning speed to every part of the civilized earth. In less than two years 100,000 
people inhabited California. Two-thirds of the number sailed through the Golden 
Gate, so named by Captain Fremont, while thousands came down the northern Sierras 


or up by the Santa Fe route. The first arrivals by the ocean route sailed up the river 
to Sacramento, then on to Coloma. In the meantime parties began searching for 
gold south of Coloma. They found the golden nuggets at Murphy's Camp, Mokelumne 
Hill, Angels Camp, Sonora, Knights Ferry and as far south as Mariposa. Then the 
human tide of gold seekers broke away from Sacramento route and tens of thousands 
began their march to the southern mines by the Stockton route. 

General Riley Calls a Constitutional Convention 

The chaotic condition of society, the need of some form of government, the neces- 
sities of laws for governing trade, and for punishing the criminal element compelled 
the citizens to request Gen. Bennett Riley, the military governor, to call a constitutional 
convention for the organization of a territory or state. For some length of time he 
refused to comply with their request. He gave as his reason that he had no instruc- 
tions from Washington to organize or give permission to others to organize a state 
government. As it was an emergency case for which no "red tape" had been provided, 
he finally complied with their request. For the purpose of electing delegates to the 
convention he divided the territory into seven districts. Each district was to elect as 
delegates a certain pro rata of the population of their district. It was a guess, the 
number of population in each district. The San Joaquin district, which included the 
entire territory east of the Coast Range and south of the Consumnes River, elected 
eight delegates. One of the number was Ben S. Lippincott, later of Paradise City. 

Organization of a State 

The convention assembled September 1, 1849, at Monterey. There were in that 
convention men who later became famous in state and nation. Among them stood 
William S. Gwin, later a United States Senator; Rodman M. Price, who became 
governor of New Jersey ; Henry W. Halleck, a famous California lawyer and general 
in the Civil War, and Lewis Dent, then elected a delegate from Monterey, and two 
years later a resident of Knights Ferry. The convention framed a state constitution 
and called an election for state officers. The election took place November 13, 1849, 
and 12,064 votes were polled. The San Joaquin district elected and sent to the 
Legislature six senators, among them Ben S. Lippincott, and six assemblymen, two 
of them were R. P. Heath, who established a ferry on the Stanislaus River, and J. W. 
Van Benscroten, the founder of Grayson. 

Creation of Tuolumne County 
The Legislature divided the state into twenty-seven counties, and one of them 
they named Tuolumne County. Its boundary, as defined by the Legislature, was as 
follows: "Beginning at the summit of the Coast Range at the southwest corner of 
San Joaquin County and following in an easterly direction the southern boundary of 
said county to the summit of the Sierra Nevadas; thence in a northeasterly direction, 
following the summit of the Sierra Nevadas to the dividing ridge between the Tuolumne 
and the Merced rivers ; thence following the top of said ridge down to the plains at a 
point equally distant between the said rivers ; thence in a direct line to the San Joaquin 
River at a point seven miles below the mouth of the Merced River; thence up the 
middle of the San Joaquin River to the mouth of the Merced River; thence in a due 
southwest direction to the summit of the Coast Range, and thence in a northwest 
direction following the summit of said range to the place of beginning." 

Origin of Name Tuolumne 
The Legislature having divided the state into counties and given a name to each 
county, appointed a committee to learn the derivation of the names. One of the 
committee appointed was the native-born Spaniard, General Marino Vallejo. As 
most of the names were of Spanish or Indian origin, no more competent person could 
have been selected. The committee in their report said that Tuolumne was a corrup- 
tion of the Indian word "Talmalamne," pronounced Tu-ah-lum-ne and meaning in 
English, " a cluster of stone" wigwams. We may question the adaptation of such a 


name. Mrs. Nellie Van de Grift Sanchez, however, in her "Spanish and Indian Place 
Names of California," says, "Some persons may doubt the belief that the Tuolumne 
Indians were 'cave or cliff dwellers,' but Father Pedro Munoz, who accompanied the 
Moraga expedition into the San Joaquin Valley, wrote, 'On the morning of this day 
the expedition went towards the east along the banks of this river and having trav- 
eled about six leagues, we came upon a village called Tautamne. This village is situ- 
ated on some steep precipices inaccessible on account of the rough rocks. The Indians 
live in their "sotanos" (cellars or caves) ; they go up and down by means of a weak 
stick held by one of themselves while the one who descends slides down.' " 

Scheming for a New County 
The Legislature of 1849 declared Stewart, later known as Sonora, as the county 
seat of Tuolumne County. About this time small settlements had been made along 
the Tuolumne River and farmers began taking up land and sowing grain. It was a 
long journey across the valley, a day's journey at least, which the farmers were com- 
pelled to travel in answer to any summons from the court or to pay their taxes. 
And before many months had passed there was an increasing discontent against having 
a county seat so far distant from the center of the population. The politicians and 
rhe office seekers, sizing up the situation, began the agitation of a new county with a 
more advantageous county seat. As the proposed new county was sparsely populated 
they schemed to take in a large part of Mariposa County, now known as a part of 
Merced County. There resided a large number of prosperous farmers. Between the 
politicians, the real estate owners and the discontented tax payers, the plot was well 
planned, and they petitioned the Legislature of 1854 to create a new county. 

The New County of Merced 

Evidently wishing to rush the bill through as quickly as possible in the first 
week of the session, B. D. Horr, an assemblyman from Tuolumne County, introduced 
a bill "to create a new county to be called Merced, out of portions of Tuolumne and 
Mariposa counties." The bill was referred to the committee on county and county 
boundaries, of which Assemblyman Horr was a member. The boundary lines of the 
new county were as follows: "To commence at Knights Ferry on the Stanislaus and 
run across Tuolumne County, crossing the Tuolumne River at or near French Bar to 
Phillips Ferry on the Merced River in Mariposa County ; thence down said river to 
the mouth ; thence along the southern line of Tuolumne County, to the northern 
boundary of Monterey County ; thence along the Coast Range to the eastern boundary 
line of Santa Clara County, to the southwest corner of San Joaquin County; thence 
to the southern boundary of San Joaquin County to the place of beginning." 

County Scheming Politicians 
The consideration of the bill was considerably delayed by two important meas- 
ures that took up the entire attention of the Legislature, namely, the Capital removal 
bill and the Broderick election bill. The Capital was then at Benicia. Many legisla- 
tors, however, were dissatisfied with the location, especially after Sacramento citizens 
appeared among them with gold in their pockets. Sacramento wanted the Capital 
seat. David C. Broderick, then the leader of the northern wing of the Democratic 
party, had sprung a sensation by introducing a bill to elect a United States Senator 
one year before the usual time. The Sacramento Union surmised that one object in 
creating a new county was to obtain more votes for the Broderick bill, for the contest 
for and against would be very close. In a short time the two questions were settled. 
The Capital was removed to Sacramento and the Broderick bill was defeated. 

Opposition to a New County 

It was this legislative fight in all probability that caused the exclusion of the 
proposed part of Mariposa County and blocked the rapid progress of Stanislaus 
County for many years. The editor of a San Joaquin County newspaper which circu- 
lated in the proposed new county said on January 27 : "There seems to be a strong 
probability that Dr. Horr's bill will pass. The Tuolumne press is silent upon the 


subject although it is of the greatest importance. The farmers and other settlers 
on the Merced River seem to regard the measure in a favorable light and we believe 
that a petition for its passage will soon be sent to the Legislature. The country em- 
braced in the proposed new county is thickly settled by an industrious and thrifty 
population whose interests will be substantially served by the change." 

Was the editor hypnotized by Dr. Horr, who was a warm personal friend, or 
was he in the political scheme, a Democratic paper advocating the creation of a new 
Democratic county? His opinion was not concurred in by all of that "thrifty popula- 
tion," for a few days later a correspondent wrote: "It will be readily seen that quite 
a slice of territory is being carved out or lopped off from the county of Mariposa and 
upon the surface of the amputated limb resides a quite extensive population who wish 
to be understood distinctly as being down on that bill. We flatter ourselves that our 
Legislature will oppose that measure until we can petition them adversely." 

The Creation of Stanislaus County 
The opposition now made a lively protest, the Mariposa legislators strongly 
opposing the annexation of any part of their county to the proposed new county and, 
in March, Assemblyman Horr introduced a new amended bill which declared : "There 
shall be formed out of the western portion of Tuolumne County a new county to be 
called Stanislaus." The bill which passed both houses of the Legislature and was 
signed by Governor Bigler, April 1, 1854, reads as follows: "Commencing on the 
Stanislaus at the corner of San Joaquin and Calaveras counties; thence running in a 
southwest course to Spark's Ferry on the Tuolumne River; thence to the boundary 
line between Tuolumne and Mariposa counties ; thence west along said line to the 
San Joaquin River; thence up said river to the Merced River; thence in a due south- 
west direction to the summit of the Coast Range; thence in a southwesterly direction 
following the summit of said range ; thence to the southwest corner of San Joaquin 
County ; thence northeasterly along the line of said county to the place of beginning." 

First County Election 

In the original act and in the amended act it was declared that George D. 
Dickerson, John W. Laird, John D. Patterson, Eli Marvin and Richard Hammer 
should act as a board of commissioners to designate the election precincts of the new 
county. Assembling at Dickerson's Ferry, May 26, they named the following precincts: 
Arroyo, Orestemba, Graysonville, Keeler's Ferry, French Bar (La Grange), Empire 
City, Burneyville, McHenry's, Tuolumne City, Hill's Ferry, Oatvale, and Turner's 
Ferry. From the press correspondents we learn of the campaign. One correspondent 
wrote on May 25 : "We are enjoying high old election times in this county and candi- 
dates are as numerous as the stars, if not so luminous. Our mutual friend, Ben Shipley, 
is out for the office of sheriff, and in a speech the other night he said: 'Boys, I want 
you to vote for me. If you don't — you can just do the other thing.' One of the 
candidates for the office of judge advocates his election on a reduction of salary. 
What do you think of that? No party organizations were created, but political meet- 
ings were held and Judge Marvin made»a good speech and an effective one." 

Among the candidates were H. W. Wallis, John G. Marvin and H. G. Leggett 
for county judge; S. P. Scaniker for attorney; W. D. Kirk and Ben Shipley for clerk; 
William L. Dickerson, surveyor; T. J. De Woody and Silas Wilcox, assessor; John 
Bradley and E. B. Beard, treasurer; J. J. Royal and William H. Martin, public 
administrator, and Heth Williams, coroner. 

The election was held June 10, 1854.' There were 495 votes polled in the county 
and the following county officers were elected: James W. Coffroth, joint senator 
with Tuolumne County; C. W. Cook and J. Colbreth, assemblymen; H. W. Wallis, 
judge; William D. Kirk, sheriff; Robert McGarvey, clerk and ex-officio recorder; 
S. P. Scaniker, district attorney; W. H. Martin, treasurer; Silas Wilcox, sur- 
veyor ; J. J. Royal, public administrator ; Heth Williams, coroner ; E. B. Beard, asses- 
sor and superintendent of schools. 


Thomas Leggett, the opponent of H. W. Wallis for county judge, was very much 
dissatisfied with the vote for judge. He was defeated by two votes only, and in 
August contested the vote, claiming that Wallis was illegally elected. The case was 
tried in the district court, Judge Charles M. Creanor of Stockton presiding. Wallis 
was represented by Henry A. Crabb, then the state leader of the Whig party, and two 
years later beheaded in Mexico while a prisoner; he was the leader of a filibustering 
expedition there. Leggett was represented by John G. Marvin, and after the trials 
the case was dismissed. 

Unwise Legislation 

At the time of the proposed creation of Stanislaus County the Stockton Times 
said, editorially: "The bill will receive the strength of their counties provided that 
they could be convinced that the number of inhabitants in the territory set off, is suffi- 
cient for that purpose. Both of these counties (Stanislaus and Merced) may be set 
off for the convenience of the people, but it may not be pecuniarily profitable at the 
present time. However, the people are presumed to know what they want." Six 
years later, 1860, the people had learned that the creation of their county was not 
"pecuniarily profitable," as they had anticipated, and a petition was presented to the 
Legislature which was approved by the county committee asking the legislators' permis- 
sion to introduce a bill annexing the eastern part of San Joaquin County, about 140 
square miles, to Stanislaus county. The annexation would include Knights Ferry 
with its 400 population. The claim was made that Stanislaus County was completely 
disorganized. There was but one qualified justice of the peace in the county and he 
was soon to leave for a more populous locality. There was no court of sessions nor 
constable. The county polled 500 votes only and one-half of the number were voted 
at La Grange. The county had assumed a part of the debt of Tuolumne County, 
amounting to something like $12,600, and they had not been able to pay even the 
interest on the debt. 

A Slice of San Joaquin County 

The approval of the Legislature was obtained and January 24, 1860, Assembly- 
man Miner Walden and his associate, S. P. Scaniker, introduced in the assembly an 
"Act to annex a portion of Calaveras, Tuolumne and San Joaquin counties to Stanis- 
laus County." The bill was so strongly opposed by the legislators from the two mining 
counties that Assemblyman Walden withdrew the original bill and substituted an 
amended bill annexing a part only of San Joaquin County. For some reason that does 
not appear the citizens of San Joaquin did not strongly oppose the bill, probably be- 
cause of the social and trade relation between the two counties. The act passed both 
houses and April 1, 1860, was approved by Gov. John G. Downey. The act declared 
that "So much of San Joaquin County as is embraced in the following lines shall 
henceforth be a part of Stanislaus County: Commencing on the Stanislaus River at 
the corner of Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties; thence running along the boundary 
line between San Joaquin and Calaveras counties to McDermott's bridge on the Cala- 
veras River, where the range line between ranges 9 and 10 intersect the eastern 
boundary of San Joaquin County ; thence along said range due south to the Stanislaus 
River; thence up said river to the place of beginning." 

The law declared that George E. Drew and P. B. Nagle, surveyors of San 
Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, are hereby appointed commissioners to locate the 
boundary lines and complete their survey by June 1, 1860. For the purpose of adjust- 
ing the affairs of the two counties on a just basis the board of supervisors of each 
county shall appoint one commissioner to meet in Stockton, February 22, 1860, and 
ascertain the amount of the indebtedness due to San Joaquin County. 

For some reason the citizens of San Joaquin County made no determined effort 
to prevent the annexation of Knights Ferry to Stanislaus County. The two counties 
at that time were quite closely connected, as there were families, a part of whom 
lived in San Joaquin and a part in Stanislaus County. The farmers did their 
principal trading in Stockton, and the moneyed men banked in that city. Some of them 
were directors in the Stockton banks. Socially, even to this day, there are blood and 
marriage relationships between the families in the two counties. 


Stanislaus Annexes More Territory 

It was at this time that the southwest corner of San Joaquin County, which in- 
cluded Grayson, was annexed to Stanislaus County. The boundary line between the 
two counties was not definitely settled until 1868. In that year the board of super- 
visors of Stanislaus County ordered their surveyor, A. G. Stakes, "to establish that 
portion of the line between Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties west of the San 
Joaquin River. In June it was reported that Surveyor Stakes and John Wallace, sur- 
veyor of San Joaquin County, had surveyed the line and set monuments one-half 
mile apart the entire distance." 

In that year, in April, the Legislature fixed the boundary line between Stanislaus 
and Merced counties as follows: "Beginning at the monument established by A. G. 
Stakes at the southwest corner of Tuolumne County and the southeast of Stanislaus 
County; thence in a straight line to a point on the San Joaquin River, seven miles 
below the mouth of the Merced River ; thence up the center of the San Joaquin River 
to the mouth of the Merced River jthence in a due southwest direction to the summit 
of the Coast Range Mountains." 

Land Grants 

The Mexican Government, soon after its independence from Spain, passed a law 
giving free of cost grants of land to Mexican and naturalized foreign citizens. Many 
foreigners took advantage of the law. They became Mexican citizens, married native- 
born wives and took up large tracts of land. None of these tracts were less than 1000 
acres and in most cases they ran up into thousands of acres. The land then was of 
no value, it was believed, except for the grazing of stock. This was true. But when 
the territory came into the possession of the United States then immediately the grants 
became valuable, those along the coast especially, or near the centers of population. 

In the articles of peace, signed at Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848, our 
Government agreed to recognize and respect all Spanish or Mexican grants of land, 
within the territory, and protect the owners in possession thereof. As a rule, these 
grants covered the cream of the land in the districts where land was considered by the 
Mexican settlers as worth holding. In many cases the boundary lines were poorly 
defined and much litigation followed in after years when adjoining property became 
valuable, and it became necessary to establish new lines. Then there were some 
grants which proved of fraudulent origin and there was more litigation to establish 
the fact. To straighten out these titles and confirm if possible all of the genuine 
grants, in 1854 the Government sent a board of land commissioners to California. 
They held sessions in San Francisco and confirmed hundreds of grants. The secre- 
tary of that commission was the young attorney, Henry M. Stanton, later Secretary of 
State under President Lincoln. 

Land of No Value 

The lands, as I have stated, were of little value for several reasons. First, there- 
was scarcely any population outside of the pueblos or towns, and it takes population 
to make land valuable. There were no transportation facilities anywhere along the 
coast, no wagon roads, bridges or ferry boats across the rivers. Then there was 
danger from the attacks of wild animals and perhaps attacks from Indians. So of 
what value was the land? As one immigrant of 1849, John Doak, said to Captain 
Weber: "I wouldn't give you ten cents an acre for all of the land between here 
(Stockton) and Sutter's Fort (Sacramento)." 

Stanislaus County Land Grants 
In the taking up of these land grants, each man was his own surveyor. Mr. 
Walthall, for illustration, would select some tract of land that he fancied. It would 
be near some lake or river or some point where water was available. Then he would 
proceed to measure off the land he wanted. There were two methods of measurement, 
first, by the reata or rawhide rope plan, and second, by the time method. By the first 
plan, accompanied by a friend, he would start from a given point horseback, and 
measure the land by a fifty-foot reata, dragging it behind them. After traveling 


several miles in one direction, marking the end of the line by a certain tree, rock, brush- 
wood, or perhaps distant mountain peak, they would travel on thus marking the four 
lines. By the time plan they would walk a horse by the watch along the line, noting 
the time it took to travel the distance. In this manner they would survey the grant. 
Then going to the Mexican governor they would make application for a certain grant, 
naming the general location and giving the grant a distinguishing name. Then giving 
the Governor a little money, which he pocketed, in time a deed would be given to Mr. 
Walthall signed by the Governor and his secretary. In Stanislaus County it seems there 
were but five grants of land taken up and these were of some size, a total of 113,135 
acres, or over forty-four square miles of territory. The grants confirmed were the 
Orestimba, 16,500 acres, to Sebastian Nunez; El Pescadero, 16,148 acres, to Hiram 
Grimes & Son; Rancho del Puerto, 13,340 acres, to Reed & Wade; Rancheria del Rio 
Estanislao, 36,300 acres, to Pico and Castro, and the Thompson Rancho, 30,852 
acres, to A. B. Thompson, after whom it was named. The three grants first named 
are located on the west side of the San Joaquin River and include the towns of Grayson, 
Patterson, Newman and Crows Landing. The two last named are on the north side 
of the Rio del Estanislao or Stanislaus River, and include the territory segregated from 
San Joaquin County in 1860. The Thompson grant in early days was owned by 
Lieutenant William T. Sherman, a lieutenant under Governor Mason and later a 
Civil War general, Frederick Billings, and A. C. Peachy, well-known lawyers of San 
Francisco, and Henry W. Halleck, lawyer and later war general. Most of the 
Estanislao Rancho was later owned by Abram Schell. 

Government Surveys 
The first survey of the county was made by Lieut. George Derby, of the U. S. 
Topographical Engineers. He was known to fame as the most brilliant wit of his 
day and the author of "Phaenixia." His survey, which was merely a cursory outline, 
was made in 1850. Four years later, in 1854, the county was surveyed and sectionized 
by a surveying party in charge of Surveyor-in-Chief Schmidt of San Francisco. A set- 
tler wrote he will "complete it by fall." . . . "It is to be hoped that the land will 
soon be brought into market, as we have all of the elements of wealth and prosperity 
in the county and if any of your citizens (Stockton) desire a preemption claim, let 
him come to Stanislaus." Many of the San Joaquin citizens wanted preemption claims 
and the writer knew of hundreds who located thereon. 

Stanislaus' First Settlers 
Although it was not possible to take up land under the preemption congressional 
law, a large number of persons located along the river bottoms and took up land. 
In 1853 Congress extended the preemption law over California. It authorized the 
settlement on any public lands not yet surveyed, if made within one year. The persons 
must be citizens of the United States and over twenty-one years of age. They could 
preempt not over 160 acres of land at the government price of one dollar and twenty- 
five cents per acre. 

Stanislaus County — Its Creation 

The geologist tells us that the soil of the valley is the debris that was washed 
down from the Sierras in the eons of time; that period when mammoth reptiles 
crawled and gigantic animals roamed the earth. In writing of this soil, John Muir, 
the well-known California naturalist, said: "God's glacial mills grind slowly, but 
they have been kept in motion long enough to grind sufficient soil for an Alpine crop, 
though most of the grist has been carried to the lowlands, leaving the high regions 
lean and bare." 

At one time of the valley creation, it was an immense lake with the Sierra Nevada 
as its eastern and the Coast Range its western bounds. Then there came terrible 
volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. There is an Indian tradition "that the mountains 
burned red. They split asunder at the Golden Gate and the waters rushed out to 
meet the sea." Along the base of the mountains there are many indications to a 
trained eye that this was once an inland sea. The washings of the waves are clearly 


seen. Oyster and clam shells have been found, and upon some rocks imprints of 
fishes. "If a person goes from Knights Ferry to Dry Creek," says Branch, "he will 
observe along the hillsides three water marks at different heights, just as if it had been 
a lake. Those marks can be seen for many miles. When in early days the ground 
had not been plowed up, the soil was covered with little knolls of sand just as may 
be seen in the bottom of lakes." In corroboration of this fact, E. L. Flower, a native 
of Knights Ferry, said, "The cobble stones are all polished by water action and no 
rough-edged stones are to be found. Fish imprints have been found and at one time 
when a pebble stone was broken open, the imprint of a crab was seen." 

The Soil — Its Characteristics and Fertility 

The soil of the county is of three different kinds, that known as bottom land, 
the upland and the foothill or "hog wallow" lands. The land first named lies just 
above the river waters. It is the -richest of soils and is frequently overflowed in the 
spring freshets. The upland is high above, flood mark and for the past twenty-five 
years has shown extreme fertility under irrigation. The foothill land is good grain 
land with sufficient moisture. 

The wonderful fertility of this land was known as early as 1850. The legislative 
committee on county boundaries said in their report when giving the origin of county 
names, "Tuolumne City is just springing up and it is believed will shortly be a sort of 
'Jauja,' the golden city of the fabulous region where rivers of milk and honey flowed, 
and farinaceous fruits grew spontaneously." This was certainly a future prophecy 
of Stanislaus. 

James C. Carson, less poetical but more practical, said in 1852: "The traveler 
crossing this valley or traversing it in any direction during the dry season would judge 
from its parched appearance that it is a barren waste unfit for any of the purposes of 
man. This was my opinion on my first visit, but being a practical farmer I had a 
curiosity to examine the soil, and the inducements offered by the general aspects of the 
country to agricultural pursuits. There is no portion of the valley from the head of 
Tulare Lake to Suisun Bay but is all that the agriculturist could desire when aided 
by means of irrigation." 

Carson then describes the rivers and says of the Stanislaus River: "Its waters 
are sufficient to irrigate the entire plain lying between it and the Calaveras River." 
Then looking into the far distant future, as if in a prophetic dream, he wrote: "As 
we look on this- — the garden of California — the pride of an American heart makes 
our mind to people it with the hardy farmers of our country. We can imagine their 
neat cottages peeking out from amidst growing grain. We can see the neat village 
with its church spires marking the march of civilization and hear the lowing herds 
that browse on the luxuriant grass around." 

Area — Nature of Soil — Climate 
The county, according to the official figures, contains 1486 square miles or 
951,040 acres. It is larger than the state of Rhode Island, nearly as large as Dela- 
ware and one-third the size of Connecticut. These acres are sectionized into thirty- 
seven townships. Each township has its peculiar characteristics. Regarding the soil, 
a writer said in 1878: "On the east side of the San Joaquin River, which intersects 
the county from south to north, the land is sandy for many miles, verging to a loamy 
character as the foothills are approached. The soil of the west side is of a light sandy 
character and of indefinite depth. It is easy of cultivation and although not so prolific 
as the soil of the east side, on account of the dryness of its nature, twice the land can 
be cultivated with the same amount of labor required on the more tenacious soil." 
A citizen who lived in the north end of the valley said in 1876: "A person cannot 
contemplate the magnitude or the characteristics of the great valley nor appreciate the 
vastness of the country, its great wealth of fertile soil, and the grand possibilities in 
store for it in the future, by traveling by rail. I consider myself tolerably familiar 
n-ith the general features of the valley, but since I returned from a trip to the 'West 
Side' I confess that I knew comparatively nothing. I was greatly surprised at the 


quality of the soil. The bulk of the land is of a deep, loamy surface, easily mellowed 
by the plowshare, while for miles it stretches away to the horizon, as level as a house 
floor, but with sufficient slope to make it easy of irrigation." 

Said another writer in 1878, in speaking of the West Side: "The land between 
the ferry (Hill's) and the mountains is the richest in the state. It is the deepest rich 
soil in the valley and is apparently of the same quality at a depth of from fifty to 100 
feet, as at the surface." 

Stanislaus Climate 

The climate of the county is of that temperature most beneficial to the growth 
and maturing of fruits, vegetables and cereals and hence healthful and agreeable to 
man. They call it the "sunny Stanislaus" and truly they speak, for it is sunshine 
three-fourths of the year. There is scarcely any cloudy or rainy weather from May to 
November. The thermometer in the warmest daj's scarcely reaches 104 in the shade, 
with an average of 80 degrees. Irrigation since 1900 has played an important part 
in cooling the air. In winter the thermometer seldom goes below the freezing point 
and heavy frosts are unusual. Said Secretary George T. McCabe in writing of stock: 
"The long warm summers and the mild winters in which ice and sleet are absent are 
beneficial to the breeding of fine stock." 

The Pastoral Stock Raising Days 

Beef, mutton and pork are now exceedingly high in price. There are several 
causes for these high prices, but the primary cause is a greater demand and lesser 
supply of the two foods first named, because of an ever increasing number of popula- 
tion and a decrease of pasture lands. In the days before the "gringos" came, the good 
old Mexican days, the horses, cattle and sheep roamed over the millions of any man's 
land. Then cattle were of no value except for their hides and tallow and thousands 
were killed annually for that object alone. Their carcasses were left upon the plains, 
food for the coyotes and the vultures. If any person wanted a choice cut he could 
help himself free of cost. Horses then were cheaper than a song. In years of drouth 
they were slain by the hundreds to save the pastures for the cattle. There were only 
a few sheep and a few hogs, these being bred by the Mission fathers. Then the popu- 
lation was about 10,000 and grazing lands everywhere. Now the population far 
exceeds 2,000,000 and not an acre of free pasture land in the state. Even the Sierras 
are fenced in with a claimant for every acre. The biggest claimant of them all was 
Miller & Lux. Wise in their day, they saw the pasture lands rapidly passing and the 
crowding of the stockmen from the state by the farmers, and they purchased thousands 
of acres. These same two men constructed the first irrigation ditches. This we will 
write up in a later chapter. 

Sheep Raising in Stanislaus 

When the gold seekers arrived there was a great demand for horses, and saddle, 
pack and harness animals arose in price from five dollars to fifty dollars and even $100 
for any kind of a horse. Beef now became valuable and henceforth it was sold by 
weight. There was, however, a large amount of unclaimed territory on the upper San 
Joaquin, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers and there the stockraisers located, raising 
sheep, cattle, horses and hogs. Sheep raising became one of the principal industries 
of the country for the first twenty-five years. The sheep at first obtained from the 
Mission fathers were scrawny, small in size and with short coarse wool. In a short 
time, however, the breeders began importing better grades and A. J. Patterson of the 
West Side is credited with an importation of French Merinos as early as 1858. 

The sheepmen soon learned that the climate of Stanislaus was particularly con- 
ducive to the health and growth of sheep. The winters were mild, permitting them 
to grow throughout the year, and at two years of age they were as large and heavy 
as those in the Atlantic States at three years of age. 

The business of sheep breeding increased from 3,384 sheep in 1856 to 5,480 
(1857), 16,295 (1858), 11,280 (1860), 118,460 (1870), 44,448 (1880), 23,052 


(1900) and 23,253 (1910). It will be noted that the record year was in 1870, from 
that time they gradually decreased in number ; one reason was that the farmers were 
taking up and cultivating the pasture lands. And then came in 1872 a legislative 
prohibitive law against the encroachment of sheep upon any grain lands. Away up in 
Shasta County, as early as 1857, sheep were there encroaching upon preemption lands, 
and that year the Legislature passed a law prohibiting sheep from being pastured on 
such land under penalty of being impounded and sold, unless by the property owners' 
consent. This law was amended in 1872 so as to include Stanislaus County. 

It may be interesting in a local history to name some of the pioneers in the sheep 
business, many of them continuing in that profitable occupation for many years. First 
comes John Vivian. He had 4,090 acres, mostly pasture land, and a flock of 3,000 
sheep, 200 head of cattle and 250 hogs. John Carpenter located on the San Joaquin 
River lands in 1857, and his flock of nearly 1,500 sheep grazed upon the river bottom 
lands. A. J. Means on his 2,000-acre pasture had 2,500 sheep. Alfred Stonesifer 
in 1865 removed from Napa to Stanislaus County and gave his entire attention to 
the breeding of fine, blooded sheep. His stock was from the French Merinos, imported 
in 1857 from Vermont by Samuel Brannan. He had 3,000 acres of land, over which 
his 5,000 Merinos grazed. William Snow was a San Joaquin County farmer, but in 
1859 he became a Stanislaus cattle and sheepman. In Calaveras and Stanislaus 
counties he had in one body 5,000 acres of land on which he pastured his cattle and 
5,000 sheep. Richard M. Wilson, who lived near Hill's Ferry for twenty-five years, 
became one of the wealthiest sheepmen in the county. He owned 16,000 acres in 
Stanislaus and Merced counties. His sheep ranch, which was known as "Quinto" 
ranch, was in Merced County and pastured 7,500 thoroughbreds. Even as late as 
1897 men engaged in the sheep-raising business. Thomas Wheeler, who up to that 
time had been in the cattle business, took up sheep breeding. He had 7,000 sheep and 
one acre of land to each sheep. These men, alike with the cattlemen, had their 
trials and troubles, losses by flood, drouth, trespassing and no-fence laws. These we 
will notice in the succeeding paragraphs. 

Hogs — Horses — Cattle 

Stanislaus County contained in 1860, according to the Federal census, 5,039 
hogs. It held at about that figure until 1870, when the number was increased to 
14.595. In 1880 there was but little increase, 14,995; but in 1900 the number of 
swine domesticated and of valuable breeds numbered 23,327. The pioneer breed of 
swine were long-nosed, slab-sided "porkers" with long, sharp bristles, and known as 
"razor backs" because of their sharp backs. They were never fed, but were turned 
out to roam at will and "root hog or die." They fed on tules, seeds, grass and roots 
and such stuff as they found in the river bottoms. The boars had long tusks and small, 
wicked-looking eyes, and feeding in the thick brush, woe to the unarmed footman who 
crossed their path, for attacking him, they would soon gash him to death. The sows 
and pigs traveled over the plains and when the settlements were formed they became a 
daily nuisance. In Modesto they wandered through the streets and alleys, feeding upon 
garbage, uprooting plants and flowers, upsetting refuse barrels and sometimes entering 
open doors in search of food. Sometimes the cook would throw hot water upon them 
and they would run off squealing, but would soon return. At last they became an 
intolerable nuisance and the Legislature in March, 1878, amended the hog law of 
1856 including within its provisions the town of Modesto. The law permitted any 
property owner or town constable to impound hogs running at large and advertise 
their impounding. If no owner came forward to claim the swine and pay the dam- 
ages, they were sold at auction, any surplus money being turned into the school fund. 

Another source of income to the stockbreeders was the raising and sale of the 
wild horses of the county. The original breed were the Spanish horses brought over 
from Spain in 1519 by Hernando Cortez. They were small, wiry animals, weighing 
rot over 700 pounds, nervous and high strung, but exceedingly tough and endurable. 
In their wild state they would viciously kick, bite and strike with their fore feet, when 
caught and approached by man, and yet when broken to saddle or harness and not 


abused they became the gentlest of animals. They made splendid work horses and as 
vaquero saddle animals these "mustangs" or "bronchos" were indispensable to the 
cattlemen. They were the only animals used in business for many years. The stage 
lines made use of them and hundreds of these wild mustangs of the plains were in use 
in the overland stages of 1858-60. In the drawing of heavy loads the teamsters! 
used mules. It is true, hundreds of horses were driven overland by the pioneers, and 
even bands of horses were driven across the mountains, but these domesticated and 
high-blooded animals made no great showing until the late '60s. The horses of 
Stanislaus numbered 2,320 in 1856 and there was not much of an increase until 1870 
when the census reported 100,136. The number dropped back to 21,345 in 1878 and 
it was only 5,908 in 1880. Then the free pasture was all cut out, the no-fence law 
in force and the railroad crossing the country made the horse less necessary. How- 
ever, with three lines of railroads and automobiles by the score, the census of 1900 
shows 14,374 horses in the county, valued at over half a million dollars. 

One of the most profitable occupations of the county in pioneer days was that of 
cattle breeding, as they fed over the vast acres, costing not one cent for feed or care. 
They were scarcely ever seen by their owners except in the spring of the year. Then 
the annual rodeos took place. The cattle were all rounded up in that section of the 
county and the calves branded with the owner's brand. These rodeos, as they were 
called, were the gala days for the vaqueros, or cowboys. Sometimes as many as half 
a hundred would be assembled in the selected "round up" and they would have great 
sport riding wild "bronchos," trick riding and expert rope throwing. At times these 
men would perform wonderful feats. A description of these rodeos is unnecessary, as 
in the "wild west" shows, so often staged, there can be seen fair representations of 
the original. 

In writing of this business a writer in 1854 said: "Between the Tuolumne and 
Merced (rivers) are large herds of cattle, American and Spanish, there being many 
thousand of them. The country is well adapted to the raising of cattle, which is the 
exclusive business of many stockmen. They have made large profits but hereafter 
their profits will decrease because of the increase of herds and the importations across 
the plains." 

That it was not very safe to travel on foot across the country at this time was 
proven by the experience of Thomas K. Wallis. In relating his narrow escape from 
death he says: "On my arrival at Stockton (from San Francisco, April, 1865) I 
found there would be no steamer up the San Joaquin River for two weeks and as no 
stage or teams were going that way (to his brother's ranch), I concluded to walk. 
There were no houses on the plains and wild cattle roamed everywhere. While 
walking across the plains between the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers I saw a band 
of wild cattle coming towards me shaking their heads. I immediately lay on the 
ground and then crawled a long distance from bush to bush until they lost sight of me. 
They were infuriated because they had lately been caught and branded." 

Cattle Stealing 
Each cattle owner was compelled by law to have some kind of a brand with which 
to brand his stock. This brand was registered in the recorder's office of each county 
and to duplicate this brand or endeavor to mutilate the brand upon an animal was a 
state prison offense. It was difficult to prove the act of mutilation upon any one indi- 
vidual and hence thousands of cattle were stolen and rebranded over the original 
brand ; on the stolen cattle the markings were changed, others again were stolen 
regardless of brands, and it was a common custom to catch and brand the calf of a 
cow before the annual rodeo of the owner of the stock took place. Hundreds of cattle 
were stolen in the night, hid the following day and then rushed to some slaughter pen, 
quickly killed and the brand destroyed. Both white men and Mexicans were among 
the cattle thieves and cattle stealing was a common joke among the stockmen. It was 
a friendly game, very much like bribery among politicians. Said a cattleman one day 
in my hearing: "Oh, you are an honest man until you are found out." Woe, how- 
ever, to the Mexican who was caught with the goods. And says William Grenfell: 


"Hanging by the mob was then a frequent and richly deserved punishment and many 
a poor wretch met his doom at the end of a rope. In 1855, eight or ten men, mostly 
Mexicans, were hung mainly for cattle stealing by the 'Vigilantes' of the San Joaquin." 

No-Fence Law Destroys Cattle Business 
The number of cattle in the county in 1856, as given by the California Register, 
was 12,065; in 1857, 16,735; 19,000 in 1858, and 18,562 in 1860. The census report 
for 1870 was 2,277 milch cows and 4,299 other cattle. The sudden decrease of the 
long-horned, gaunt cattle that could run like a quarter horse was due to the passage 
of what was known as the no-fence law. The law had been in force in the northern 
counties and in March, 1870, it was amended so as to include all of that portion of 
San Joaquin County lying south of the Calaveras River and west of the San Joaquin 
River, and to Stanislaus County and all of that portion of Merced lying east of the 
San Joaquin River. It compelled all stock owners to inclose their stock and they were 
liable for damages if their stock trespassed on the farmers' grain fields. The law 
caused considerable excitement and much hard feeling between the stockmen and the 
farmers. Regarding this law the Stockton Independent in February, 1871, quoting 
from the Tulare paper, said : "The Visalia Delta draws a comparison between the 
two counties of Tulare and Stanislaus, as shown bj- the late census report. In 1860, 
Tulare stood ahead of its neighbor in the production of wheat, the number of sheep, 
and agricultural productions generally. Stanislaus then had 37,952 acres of land 
under fence, and Tulare but 20,313. In 1870, Stanislaus yields 3,060,000 bushels 
of wheat and Tulare but 62,500. This extraordinary increase is as 135 for Stanislaus 
to 1 for Tulare. At the same time Stanislaus has increased the number of her sheep 
twenty-five per cent more rapidly than Tulare. Stanislaus has now 62,000 acres 
under fence and Tulare 30,000. In 1860 each county raised one acre of wheat for every 
twelve acres under fence. Tulare still maintains the same ratio, while Stanislaus 
raises 195,000 acres of wheat, or three times as many acres as she has under fence. 
Tulare land yields twenty-four bushels of wheat per acre and Stanislaus sixteen 
bushels. Tulare yields six bushels of wheat per head for every person in the county, 
including Indians and Chinese. Stanislaus yields 470 bushels per capital of its popu- 
lation. A large portion of the flour consumed in Tulare bears the brand of the Stanis- 
laus, Stockton or Merced mills. Most of the wheat of Stanislaus has been raised on 
the open plain without the expense of fencing. The wheat stubble proves to be worth 
two or three times as much for sheep pasture as the cultivated land and the $3,000,000 
worth of wheat shipped by Stanislaus is set down as clear gain. In Tulare, the 
fence law prevails and in Stanislaus, the no-fence law." TheDelta argues that for 
such counties as Stanislaus and Tulare the no-fence law is the true policy, and owners 
should be compelled to take care of their stock. It says, "It is evident that to depend 
upon inclosing land for the production of wheat is to adopt a stand-still policy." 

Cattle Men of Stanislaus 

Among the first cattlemen of the county we find James, William, Benjamin 
and Alfred Crow who located on Orestimba Creek. Their father, Walter Crow, 
came to California with another son, Lewis, in 1849, to investigate the conditions 
for stock raising. He found them very favorable and, returning to Missouri, came 
back with the four sons first mentioned, driving overland 500 head of cattle. The 
father died just after entering the state, and the sons drove the cattle into Stanislaus 
County. Two years later, 1852, E. Lodtman, who later located at Knights Ferry, and 
F. Meinecke, later a ferryman on the Stanislaus River, went East and returned with a 
band of cattle. They wintered at Salt Lake in 1851-52. On arrival in Stanislaus 
the cows of the band were sold from $100 to $150 each. 

In 1854 William Rutherford crossed the plains with a band of cattle and turned 
them out to pasture on the grassy plains of Stanislaus. Along about 1865 cattle de- 
creased in value from forty dollars to less than ten dollars per head, so selling his 
cattle, he began raising hogs. 


Another stockraiser who crossed the Sierras in 1852 driving a band of American 
cattle was William J. Kittrell. He located first near Stockton, but a few years later 
removed to Stanislaus. Miner Walden, arriving in California in 1851, first kept a 
hotel near Sonora. In 1853 he engaged in the cattle business in Stanislaus County, 
his ranch being at the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers. 

Some of the losses of the cattlemen may be noted in the experience of William 
K. Wallis, who located in the county in 1855. He learned the great value of the 
Stanislaus pasture lands while he was engaged in the butcher business at Sullivan's 
Creek. In time he and his brother had about 2,000 head of cattle. In 1860 they 
concluded to dissolve partnership, but before the dissolution was completed they lost 
nearly 1,500 cattle by the flood of 1862 and the drouth of 1864. They recovered from 
their losses, however, and then came the no-fence law to completely put them out of 
business. Mr. Wallis, in speaking of those days, said: "During this time (1870) 
a great change had taken place in California. The land was bought for ranches and 
stockmen found it necessary to buy land on which to enclose their stock. Before this 
their cattle ran wild over the whole face of the country, the whole San Joaquin Valley 
being one immense pasture. It was a serious time for stockraisers. Having more stock 
than pasture they were driven at their wits' end to know what to do." 

Wheat for the World 
Never before in the world's history was wheat so valuable as it has been during 
the past three or more years. Valuable, not as a market commodity but as a food for 
the starving millions of Europe. The nations of the old world were at war. There 
was a clash of arms. The four greatest nations were engaged in the contest. There 
was neither time nor men for seedtime and harvest. They must have food, how- 
ever, to sustain life, and they called to the United States. Nobly she responded and 
the farmers seeded every available acre of land. They harvested immense crops and 
ground into flour it was shipped to Europe. In the production of these immense crops 
Stanislaus County had no small share. 

An Isolated County 

As a wheat-producing county Stanislaus did not claim any particular attention 
until 1868. Then Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, seemed to have sprung into being, 
full-fledged. Giving as a reason why the county's growth was so long delayed, a writer 
said: "The progress of settlement had been delayed for many years by the difficulty of 
reaching it, except by the slow, tedious route of overland travel. The route was over 
treeless plains, pathless wilds, rough, broken country, across unferried streams and only 
the direst necessity compelled any one to travel it. Hence the settler gave the country 
a wide berth, for, however fertile the soil or salubrious the climate, he could hope to 
market none of his products and was isolating himself and family from the world be- 
yond, and making himself a home with the prospects of having no other neighbors 
than elks and grizzly bears." 

A few years later there was a decided change and another writer then wrote, 
"That the population is increasing is evident from the fact that the sales of land at the 
Stockton land office aggregated 1,017,913 acres up to January." 

An Immense Sown Acreage 
In February, 1868, a traveler up the San Joaquin River wrote to the press: "On 
my trip up the river a most exhilarating sight was that of large teams engaged in plow- 
ing in all directions, attached to huge gang plows, turning over hundreds of acres of 
soil daily. It also did my heart good to meet with such signs of life in a new country. 
Over 20,000 acres of wheat have been sown on the west side of the river. The Para- 
dise farmers have also sown a large acreage this year and many of the farmers cultivate 
the soil on an extensive scale, among them Capt. John Schrieke, Capt. John Greer, 
Timothy Paige and Louis M. Hickman of Stockton, who has in 10,000 acres and is 
still plowing. Other large land owners and extensive farmers are Stephen Rodgers and 


John W. Mitchell, the last named having in 17,000 acres in wheat, all of which has a 
fine appearance. You may not know that Stanislaus is the grain-growing county of 
the state." Another astonished person was L. C. Branch, who wrote in his history: 
"The writer was last season (1880) traveling through one of the immense wheat fields 
of Stanislaus County. We say immense, as we had been traveling for hours through a 
vast field of wheat. In every direction was wheat, not a house, tree or object of any 
kind in sight for a long time — only wheat, wheat." The No-Fence Law was. the reason 
of such vast, unbroken fields of grain and the only dividing fence between lands was 
narrow, unplowed strips of soil. 

Measuring these wheat fields by miles instead of acres, Henry E. Turner wrote 
an article saying: "The wheat ranches reached from the San Joaquin River to the 
foothills. We have not gone out of the grain business by any means. There is a 
strip twenty miles long and five miles wide west of the San Joaquin and another from 
five miles north of the Merced to- about five miles north of the Stanislaus, containing 
about 200,000 acres that will be a grain area for a long time to come." 

The Banner Wheat County 

Naturally, plowing and seeding such a large acreage of land, the farmers would 
reap immense crops, if all the conditions were favorable. There were, however, many 
dry years and no crops, as we will later note. The yield was very heavy in good years 
and Stanislaus deserved rightly her title as the banner wheat county of the state. 

Again quoting from press correspondents, for we are dependent upon them for 
much of the earlier history, we read that in May, 1868, "the prospects are for the 
largest crop ever gathered in this section. Farmers, seeing the necessity of a better 
cultivation of the soil, are giving attention to scientific farming. The consequence is 
that where before twenty or thirty bushels were raised to the acre, now the yield is 
forty, fifty, sometimes seventy bushels to the acre. That part of the county between 
the Stanislaus and the Tuolumne Rivers, an area of 125 square miles and known as 
'Paradise,' is one unbroken field of grain and will yield a crop of over a million 
bushels." The entire county wheat crop of that year was 2,317,652 bushels. The 
barley crop was 859,860 bushels and the hay crop, 1,500 tons. It was a very heavy 
increase over the crop of eight years previous, 1860: 22,597 bushels of wheat, 33,897 
bushels of barley, and 6,238 tons of hay. 

The sweet and the bitter was ever present with the farmers, especially those of the 
West Side, and in June, 1872, a farmer writing from Grayson declared, "Up to this 
time only 6.06 inches of rain and the prospects for a crop are rather gloomy. In 1870 
we had 6.34 for the season and there was not a head of grain raised in these parts." 
Notwithstanding this gloomy report from the Grayson farmer, it was the banner year 
of the county, the soil producing 5,000,000 bushels of wheat. Then followed three dry 
years, 1873-74-75, absolutely nothing, said the record, but in 1876 there was an im- 
mense crop. We quote from a newspaper which said : "Some idea of the large amount 
of wheat raised on the west side of the San Joaquin the present season may be learned 
from the following correct figures up to August 5; 176,886 sacks have been shipped 
from Hill's Ferry and there remains in the warehouse 20,875 sacks. There has been 
shipped from Salt River 12,000 sacks. From Crows Landing there was shipped 50,175 
sacks, with 16,000 in the warehouse and 2,000 sacks to arrive. From Upper Grayson 
landing 60,000 with 2,000 in storehouse, and Lower Grayson landing 20,251 sacks 
with 11,218 in store. From Patterson's Landing 100,000 have been shipped. The 
figures foot up all told 236,393 tons, the value at present prices being $1,000,000. 
This is only about two-thirds of the amount raised south of San Joaquin City. The 
whole amount will foot up 1,500,000 sacks for a district that had absolutely nothing 
for the past two or three years. At the same time (1876) there was shipped from 
the railroad station at Salida 16,216,251 pounds, from Modesto 20,365,103 pounds, 
from Ceres 7,057,050 pounds, from Keyes 4,130,955 pounds and from Turlock 
115,152,948 pounds." 

The year 1878 was another year of fine crops and the Modesto Neu's said on 
August 12: "Our town for the past two weeks daily has presented a lively appearance 


and around the warehouses and city front all is life. However, the rush has not yet 
begun, but threshing will commence in earnest next week and for many weeks to come 
large amounts of grain may be expected." The record yield of the county for wheat 
seems to have been in 1881, as the rains came timely for a big crop and the farmers the 
previous fall had seeded an immense acreage. Henry Cavill said that was the banner 
year and it is estimated that the county produced nearly 7,000,000 bushels of wheat. 
The crop of 1884 was also a bumper and said Henry E. Turner in 1914: "There are 
some who remember the past glories of the days of grain in Stanislaus County and well 
they may, for Stanislaus was the banner wheat county of California, raising in 1884 no 
less than 125,000 tons (tons, not bushels, mind you) which was a tenth of the total 
crop of the state." From this time on there was a decrease in the production of 
cereals, for many of the farmers had engaged in horticulture and dairying. Taking 
the census of 1900, we find the county producing only 258,121 bushels of wheat, 
828,628 bushels of barley and 137,214 tons of alfalfa. 

Raising Grain in Dry Climate 
Among the pioneers who arrived in California in 1849-50 there were many 
farmers who disbelieved that the state was a grain producing state. They came from 
the farming lands of the Middle States and they laughed at the idea that grain could 
be produced in a country rainless from May until October. They declared that the 
climate was too dry and hot and if the grain grew it would never mature, as it would 
wither up and blow away. Other farmers said, "The Mission Fathers raised grain all 
along the coast. Captain Sutter raised grain on his ranch, the New Helvetia on the 
Sacramento River, and grain has been raised at Weberville, now Stockton ; why not 
in other parts of the valley?" James C. Carson was not at all doubtful regarding the 
production of grain in the valley and he stated in 1852: "I saw in 1850 a crop of 
barley raised on the Tulare plains equal to any I ever saw in the country. It was 
grown on a barren-looking spot where there never was any water except during the 
periods of the rains. It was sown in December and harvested in June." By 1854 the 
doubting Thomases had all become believers, for there was undoubted proof at the 
locality now Oakdale and Empire City that grain could be profitably raised. Writing 
from French Bar (La Grange) a correspondent said: "Two miles below the mining 
camp agricultural developments begin ; fields of grain exhibiting their carpets of rich, 
dark green, are seen for miles in extent. Some farms have 700 to 800 acres in wheat. 
With a good crop and the advantages of Talbot's grist mill to grind their wheat, 
farmers in this section cannot help reaping a rich harvest." In June the farmers at 
Empire City began harvesting their crops, estimated at not less than 600,000 bushels, 
and a large amount of corn and garden vegetables. 

Primitive Harvesting Days 

The Mission priests in plowing their land used the same kind of a plow as 
the Egyptians on the banks of the Nile. When the grain was ready for the harvest it 
was cut with short sickles, by the Indian converts. Then a hard spot of ground was 
selected and around it was built a circular fence. The grain was then piled in the 
enclosure and a band of horses were driven round and round over the wheat, tramping 
it out. On a day of heavy wind the Indians would then gather the wheat and chaff 
in large shallow baskets and, tossing it up, the chaff would be blown from the wheat. 

Seed Time and Harvest 

Reaping and threshing grain by such primitive methods as this would be impossible 
where there were thousands of acres of land sown, and certain men of inventive ability 
invented agricultural implements that would plow the land and thresh the grain in a 
short period of time. The Stanislaus farmers first used a single plow to turn the 
furrow. Then came the double plow, following by the gang plow that plowed a 
furrow three and more feet wide. In time of harvest, in place of the reaper and binder 
used in the Eastern and Middle States they used a header propelled by six horses, the 
header running in front of the animals. The machine with its sickle bar rapidly 
running cut a swath of grain twenty-four feet in width. It fell in a continuous 


shower upon an endless draper which lifted the grain into a header barge running 
along side of the header. The grain was then taken to a selected spot and lifted by 
derrick forks on to a huge stack, there to await the harvesting crew. These headers 
were used on the West Side in the harvesting of the crops of 1869, for said the re- 
porter, "Al Bronson has just commenced harvesting his wheat crop on the West Side. 
He has bought and shipped a twelve horsepower steam engine, a Baxter self-feeder 
and self-measuring separator and three thirteen-foot Haines headers, and will run eight 
header wagons with the three headers." 

The Threshing Machine 

The threshing machine was invented by Cyrus Hall McCormick along in the 
early '50s. It was too expensive for a small farmer to purchase and individuals would 
obtain a machine and travel over the country threshing grain by contract at so much 
per bushel. The thresher was first run by horse power, four or six horses walking 
in a treadway. Then came the steam power, and with it at times terrible accidents. 
The steam was produced by burning wood, but in time a California genius invented 
a straw burner thresher, which was a great saving to the farmer. Before this time 
many farmers had been wasteful of their straw and destroyed it by fire. These thresh- 
ing machines did splendid work and in 1878, Thomas Young, using a Hoadley straw- 
burning engine and a thirty-six-inch separator, accomplished one of the greatest 
harvesting feats on record. He threshed in one day 1,535 sacks of wheat, or 3,435 
bushels, each sack holding two bushels and a peck. 

The Harvesting Crew 

Each harvester was managed by a single individual and he employed all of the 
laborers. The men before these days of high wages received from two dollars and 
fifty cents to six dollars a day, according to the work in which they were engaged, 
together with board. Lodgings were not counted in, for each man was expected to 
furnish his own blankets and sleep out; as Turner states it, "your bedroom was as 
broad as the ranch and canopied by the stars." The men labored from sunrise until 
near dark, and it was all hard work. The women did the cooking then and they had 
their hands full. Women and children got nothing until after the men were fed. 
Eight hours? Sure! Eight hours before dinner and eight after. After a time this was 
changed and the harvesters had a cook wagon, which went with them from place to 
place with a Chinese cook. Henceforth there was no more dinner at the ranch house 
in harvest time and the women had a rest. The men worked from sun to sun and it 
was hard work. Paid off on a Saturday night, they would visit the nearest town, 
Modesto or Hill's Ferry, and as a rule gamble and drink until their money was all 
spent, or they were as "drunk as a lord." Monday morning came and many of them 
failed to show up for work ; then the boss would start for town and if possible gather 
up his crew. Finding those partly under the influence or dead drunk he would throw 
them into the header bed, and away he would drive for camp, the horses on the run. 

But the time came when the farmer was not so much dependent for help on this 
"floating population," as the politician styles them. The combined header and har- 
vester was introduced into the grain field, and drawn by thirty-six animals and operated 
by six or eight men, it cut and threshed the grain, leaving behind a long trail of 
filled grain sacks. Now these machines are run by their own power. 

The Historic Grain Fire 

From various causes the county during the past years has lost by fire thousands 
of dollars. In none of these fires, however, was the loss as great as in the West Side 
fire of July 7, 1906. It broke out near Newman late Saturday night, and before it 
burned itself out, it destroyed over 2,500 acres of standing wheat and barley, 20,000 
acres of pasture land, together with stacks of hay, farming implements and ranch 
buildings. The farmers and citizens turned out en masse and with wet sacks, water 
wagons, gang plows, and by back firing, endeavored to check the flames, but the fire 
ran before the wind with the speed of a race horse and they were powerless. The fire 


extended along Jorgias and Orestimba creeks on both sides and then ran along the foot 
hills into Merced County. It burned for nearly ten days and the smoke was plainly 
seen from the house tops and high lands around Modesto. The loss was over $50,000 
and the insurance was about $20,000. In stating the losses the Newman Index said 
that C. P. Eachus, George Sparks, H. P. Peterson, each lost 160 acres of wheat, W. A. 
Dunning and Allen Brothers and Frank Snyder each lost 200 acres of wheat. The 
Brown brothers lost 320 acres of wheat, 4,000 new sacks, farming implements and 
ranch buildings. The Newman Company, Howard estate and Taft Brothers, the 
Middletons, Jason Pennell and Peter Miller lost thousands of acres of good pasture 
land. At Crows Landing, by a singular coincidence, another grain fire broke out Satur- 
day evening, July 11. The entire populace turned out to fight the flames. They were 
successful, but not, however, before it had destroyed over 1,000 acres of wheat belong- 
ing to Ora Munson, Charles Nicewonger and Messrs. Throm, Baker and Van Winkle. 
The wheat and barley promised a record-breaking crop, hence the loss was heavy. 

The Californian Fear of Drought 

The greatest fear of the Californian is the fear of a drought. It affects alike the 
laborer, the mechanic, the merchant, the banker and the manufacturer, for all classes 
and all conditions of life are dependent upon the farmer and his growing crops, and the 
horticulturist and the products of his orchard. Hence during the months following 
September to March, we watch and ofttimes pray for rain, if the timely showers have 
not fallen upon the thirsty earth. Never but once, however, in the history of the state, 
has there been a complete failure of crops throughout the state. This was the year 
following the flood of 1861-62. At that time business was at a standstill, merchants 
were compelled to give credit to their customers for an unknown time, and men of 
money were compelled to curtail every expense. The fear of a rainless season is less 
dreaded than it was feared thirty years ago because of the large manufacturing interests 
and the ability to irrigate grain lands from mountain streams and orchards by means of 
one of the most helpful of inventions, the gas engine. 

The Drought of 1877 

Stanislaus County was not affected to any great extent by the "hard times" of 
1 863 because of her small population. Four years later there was an abundant crop, 
it verifying the oft-repeated saying, "that the West Side gets a crop only once in four 
years." Then came the year 1877 in which the crop was a complete failure and there 
was much suffering among many of the farmers. Many of them had located on the 
West Side without any capital, under the misrepresentations of unscrupulous large land- 
holders, and as they had invested all they possessed in agricultural implements, seeds, 
etc., the drought impoverished many families. The cry of despair was first heard in 
January, 1877, a writer then saying: "It is dry weather with no prospects or signs 
of rain and as a consequence the merchants are closing down on the impecunious. God 
help our people unless it rains shortly. The poor will suffer terribly." The Herald 
in its issue of January 13, flippantly said, "The farmers are growing bluish and the 
weather is dryish and the local barometer heralds no approaching storm, outside of the 
whisky' shop." Another writer, a passenger later in the season traveling from Banta's 
to Hill's Ferrv, said, "In the forty-two miles there is not a spear of green grass nor a 
blade of wheat to be seen. The isolated farmhouses presented an aspect of hopeless 
poverty. Many of them are deserted and the farmers and their families have gone to 
other places to find employment. Some of the farmers, more fortunate, have wells of 
water and their farms are quite thrifty around their dwellings. A German colony 
south of Banta's are doing well, as they are thrifty and depending not on wheat alone, 
but raise chickens and vegetables, sell eggs and make butter." 

Hatfield, the Rain Maker 
In the meantime, the West Side had its ups and downs, its lean and its fat 
seasons, pending the irrigation of the Miller & Lux canal. Crows Landing, it seems, 
was not in the canal district and in 1905 Charles Hatfield, the so-called rain maker, 


made a contract with the Crows Landing farmers to draw from the clouds a certain 
amount of rain, enough showers to insure a crop. "Hatfield's method of operating to 
produce rain by artificial means," says Charles A. Byers in Sunset, "is based on the 
use of certain chemicals, the character of which constitutes his secret. These are con- 
tained in large vats elevated on towers approximately thirty-five feet high and are 
evaporated by a system of heating. Their evaporation and escape into the atmosphere 
creates, he claims, the influences which attract the air's stored-up moisture to that 
particular locality, and at the same time result in its being condensed to the precipi- 
tation point." Late in September he drew rain from the air at Grass Valley. The press 
laughed and scoffed at his assertion and said the rain was only a coincidence of his 
work. In December he began work at Crows Landing and was successful. The 
farmers of that vicinity were so pleased with his work that a third contract was 
made with him in 1907. He contracted that year to produce twelve inches of 
rain in that section of the county between November 15 and April 15 of the follow- 
ing year. If he produced that number of inches of rain he was to receive $3,000, which 
they figured was three cents per acre. If he failed to bring the stated amount he 
received not a cent. It was a bargain in which the farmers could not possibly lose a 
penny. Hatfield, with a positive belief in his ability to produce the required amount 
of rain, doubled the capacity of his rain towers, constructing four towers instead of two, 
with which he made his former success. As he predicted, he fulfilled his contract in 
February, six weeks before the time limit expired. The following clipping is from a 
local paper: "Feb. 15. — Anxiety over the continued drought this winter has induced 
farmers and merchants on the West Side to engage the services of C. M. Hatfield, the 
'rainmaker,' in a final effort to secure a drenching for their crops before the warm 
weather begins. Hatfield has signed an agreement under which he will be paid $1,000 
for each two inches of rain, provided, however, that he shall receive no pay for all rain 
over six inches. The agreement further stipulates that 'he must produce at least two 
inches of rain before April 10.' " 


The pioneers, as a rule, were the most hopeful and buoyant of men. They were a 
band of adventurers, young, ambitious and of undaunted courage and with full faith 
in themselves they expected to accomplish great things in the new state, California. 
Some of the Argonauts did accomplish great things. They founded cities, erected 
great manufactories, established banks, builded railroads and formed great corpora- 
tions of industry, but the tens of thousands were disappointed in the realization of 
their dreams. Among the disappointed were the town builders of Stanislaus County. 
They founded towns on the banks of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers, each 
man believing that his town was the head of navigation, that the people would there 
locate, and that it would become a big flourishing city outrivaling in wealth and popu- 
lation the town of Stockton. There was a mania for town building. Robert Semple 
had founded Benicia, Col. Jonathan D. Stevenson, New York-of-the-Pacific, Captain 
Weber, Stockton, and John A. Sutter, New Helvetia (Sacramento) ; why could not 
they found towns in the new county. They believed that they could, but in less than 
two years their dreams were shattered. They found that the Tuolumne River was not 
navigable more than eight months of the year and the tide of population and of travel 
came not their way. 


On the west bank of the San Joaquin River, eight miles above the mouth of the 
Tuolumne, lies the town of Grayson, or Graysonville as it was oft times called in 
early days. By the early writers it was described as "a beautiful site and not subject 
to overflow." The town was founded in 1849 by a company of seven men, including 
John Westley Van Benscroten and Andrew J. Grayson. The burg was named after 
Grayson, he being the oldest member of the party. The first house, later known as the 


"Grayson House," was erected from lumber shipped around Cape Horn. The peo- 
ple of that vicinity assembled in February, 1850, and elected a peace officer, called 
by the Mexicans an alcalde. In March of that year, the scribe tells us, "three wooden 
buildings and a few tents constituted the town." A ferry was established and for a 
time the ferryman did a banking business, receiving from tolls across the river 
$3,500 in eleven days. Travel, however, soon decreased and the town was dead until 
small stern-wheel steamers began plowing their way up the San Joaquin with freight 
and passengers as far up the river as Firebaugh's Ferry. 

The up-river trade began in 1868, just a year previous to the death of A. J. Gray- 
son, who came to California in 1845 overland. He was a skillful bird painter and a 
careful student of bird life. After many years he went to Mexico, and during his 
leisure hours there devoted his time to the study of Mexican birds. He was an acknowl- 
edged authority on the history of birds. He died at Mazatlan, August 17, 1869. 

Grayson's First Store 
The firm of Grayson & Stephens was first established in San Francisco in 1848. 
The following year they removed to Stockton and in the Stockton Times, March 18, 
1850, they announced that they had moved their business to Grayson. They stated 
that they were prepared in the new and flourishing town with a full stock of goods 
from their Stockton and San Francisco stores, comprising groceries, provisions, crockery, 
glassware, blankets, stationery, firearms and ammunition, on as reasonable terms as the 
town below, and with a line of eight mule teams running daily between Stockton and 
Grayson. They also announced that the steamer Georgiana, D. A. Thompkins, master, 
would make regular weekly trips from the town below to Grayson. 

A Mexican Camp Scene 
An excursion party up the river in March, 1850, to Grayson, "were much delight- 
ed with the Mexican life on the plains. Far and near at sundown the campfires of 
many hundreds of persons blazed, lighting with their reflections the hillside of the Coast 
Range. There was a fandango, singing, the serapes were spread upon the earth's 
carpet for the players at monte and all went merry as a marriage bell." These Mexican 
camps of packers, bound to and from the mines, were very common sights for the first 
few years in the 

"Days of gold, the days of old, the days of '49." 

Grayson in 1878 
The rush of travel and of business died as quickly as it came and in 1852 the town 
was deserted by all except the ferryman. The extensive travel through the pass had 
ceased and the miners traveled direct from Stockton to the mines. Time, however, 
changes all things. In 1860 mining was practically dead. The West Side had become 
a vast feeding ground for cattle, sheep and horses. Late in the '60s there came another 
change. The stock had been relegated to the mountains and "the wide plains were 
covered with the cottages of farmers and fields of waving grain." Grayson had again 
come to life. In that year it was laid out as a town. Ten years later it boasted of 
five saloons, a livery stable, two restaurants, a butcher shop, a Grange hall, one school, 
with Mrs. R. B. Purvis as teacher, a temperance lodge, a large warehouse and two 
large merchandising stores. One of these stores was owned by Louis Kraffman, who 
had moved up from Banta's, the other by J. R. McDonald, who, it was said, supplied 
the country around with goods. There were also two stage lines, one running to 
Hill's Ferry, the other to Modesto. Both lines carried passengers and did a rushing 
business during the summer season. For several years Grayson was an important 
shipping point for wheat, but eventually the railroads absorbed all of the business. 

Grayson's Distinguished Citizens 
John Westley Van Benscroten was the "father of Grayson." He came to Cali- 
fornia in 1846 with Captain Fremont. His occupation in New York, his native city, 
was that of butcher and he made a contract with Fremont to supply his command 
with meat. After the gold discovery, Mr. Van Benscroten located in Jamestown and 


engaged in the mercantile business, the firm name being Coindreau, Marsis & Van 
Benscroten. At this time he was elected as assemblyman from that district, and taking 
his seat February 14, 1850, resigned four days later. He then came to Stockton and 
took part in the first dramatic performance, later going to Grayson, where he built the 
Grayson House, and during the wheat shipping seasons he entertained his friends in 
sumptuous style, it being a favorite resort for the up-river grain buyers. During all of 
this time he continued operating the ferry and January 12, 1886, he was accidentally 
drowned, losing his balance in some manner while crossing the river. 

One of the most honored men of Stanislaus County was James R. McDonald, who 
lived for over thirty years at Grayson. He came to the state in 1850 and in 1869 he 
and W. J. Tilley purchased the Grayson mercantile store. Tilley withdrew in 1874 
and McDonald conducted the store alone, he also being the Wells Fargo Express 
agent. He farmed over 3,000 acres of land, raised sheep and several good trotting 
horses. In 1878 he was the district canal commissioner and wrote several valuable 
articles descriptive of the West Side canal. In 1890 he was nominated by the 
Republican party as state treasurer and elected. He died October 14, 1902. 

Across the San Joaquin River but three miles distant from Grayson was Tuolumne 
City. It was founded, said N. W. Wells, by a man named Paxton MacDowell. He 
expected to make his embryo city a rival to Stockton. The town was situated on the 
north bank of the Tuolumne River about five miles from its junction with the San 
Joaquin. MacDowell selected that location, as he believed it the head of navigation as 
"the river is navigable for whale boats and other small craft full sixty miles during 
the winter and early spring months." The proprietor claimed the following advantages 
for his town : "That it was six feet above high water mark, vessels drawing six feet 
of water can anchor alongside of the banks and there were good roads to the mines 
both summer and winter. These roads extend along high and dry ridges, which are 
nearly parallel with the river and are not crossed by sloughs or marshes. Consequently, 
under no circumstances can freight reach exorbitant rates, which is of equal value to the 
pack mule owner and the people living in the mines. It was also believed that if 
Tuolumne City became a town of importance there is no doubt that Sonora, Jamestown, 
Sullivan's diggings and all the rich gulches along the river tributaries will draw their 
supplies from that town." 

Booming the City 

Tuolumne City, embracing some 160 acres, was surveyed by that well-known 
pioneer politician of the Democratic school, Richard P. Hammond. He was a major 
in the Mexican war, the surveyor of Stockton, later port collector of San Francisco, 
and the father of the world-renowned civil engineer, John Hays Hammond. The town- 
site which he laid off on the banks of the Tuolumne grew rapidly, and a traveler 
visiting the place in 1850 "was surprised to see the progress the new and flourishing 
city had made. Several new houses had gone up and a quantity of lumber for other 
buildings was lying at the landing. We judge from the large number of pack mules 
that we saw that a brisk trade is carried on with the mines. There is an extensive 
arrival of goods in the town, one gentleman alone having $11,000 invested in staple 
articles. Large numbers of persons travel through the place every day, Tuolumne City 
lying on the direct route from Pacheco's and Grayson to the Sonorian mines." Many 
of the travelers were Mexicans, passing through by the hundreds ; they did considerable 
trading, the miners also buying many goods. 

First Court Trial 
Having elected an alcalde a court of justice was established. It was christened 
before it was completed by the trial and conviction of a Mexican for stealing a horse. 
When the jury brought in their verdict the crowd present demanded that the prisoner 
be severely whipped. That was a common custom often practiced as a punishment — 
to tie the man to a tree or post and give him thirty lashes upon the bare back. More 


merciful punishment prevailed and the Mexican was fined $150. At the time they 
had one other prisoner, but they had no jail. Under the conditions, the culprit was 
furnished with meals with the county officials. It was a bailable case and the prisoner 
could have given bail, but he was sharp. "If I was out on bail," he said, "I would have 
to pay for my own meals and now the county pays for them." 
Township Officers 

Although in 1850 Tuolumne City was not the county seat it seems to have been 
the centering point of the valley settlers. Hence the local elections were held there. 
The first township election was held May 18, 1850. The township comprised the 
towns of Grayson, Crescent City, Empire and Tuolumne City. The officers elected 
were W. F. Swansey, alcalde; George Huntling, coroner; Comfort Barker, constable; 
and John G. Marvin and Gustavius Swansey, justices of the peace. The two justices, 
as soon as elected, started for the county seat, Sonora, to qualify for their office and be 
sworn into office. 

The First Marriage 

Probably the first marriage in the valley section of Tuolumne County was that of 
N. W. Wells, a resident for many years at Tuolumne City. He married January 16, 
1851, to Miss Fanny, the eldest daughter of Asa Grunell. Mr. Wells in 1881 related 
the story of his marriage and he told it as a joke on himself rather than from any 
other reason. There was no minister in any part of the territory at that time and 
Mr. Wells sent a messenger to Rev. James Woods, pastor of the First Presbyterian 
Church at Stockton, requesting the pastor to come and perform the marriage. The 
happy young man of twenty-two years provided the messenger, John Leggett, with 
money and two saddle horses, one of them an iron grey, his best vaquero horse. The 
unfaithful John came to Stockton, delivered the letter to the pastor and then, keeping 
the money, "lit out" for parts unknown, with both horses. After the marriage, Wells 
was so hot over the loss of his iron grey that he started on a hunt for the robber bold. 
He recovered both animals, but was compelled to come to Stockton and prove his prop- 
erty before Judge E. G. Weir, later a resident of Stanislaus County. The sequel to 
the story is: "Born October 4, 1852, to the wife of N. W. Wells, a daughter, Fanny." 
She was the first-born child in the present county of Stanislaus. She married in early 
womanhood and was living in the county in 1881. 

An Enterprising Merchant 

MacDowell, expecting to make a fortune in his new town, began selling lots and 
among the purchasers was Benjamin Lippincott, a young lawyer; George Swansey, the 
justice of the peace; Maj. T. M. Lane, John Gallagher and N. W. Wells, who in- 
vested $1,300 in real estate. Mr. Wells was an enterprising citizen and merchant. He 
had great faith in the future prosperity of Tuolumne City. Visiting San Francisco, he 
chartered the steamer Georgiana to transport an assortment of general merchandise to 
the new town, paying the captain $6,000 for the service. 
The Town Deserted 

The little side-wheel steamer now began making weekly trips between San Fran- 
cisco, Stockton and Tuolumne City. In a few months, however, the steamer was 
compelled to discontinue her trips because of low water. Then the bubble burst. 
But before the news was generally known, the lot owners succeeded in unloading over 
$60,000 worth of real estate on innocent victims. "It is hardly necessary to say this 
was the last of Tuolumne City." All of the inhabitants deserted the place except the 
three families of B. M. Shipley, Asa Grunell and John W. Laird. Some time later, 
said a writer, notices were posted around Empire City that "All of the lots in Tuolumne 
City belonging to the proprietors of that city who 'vamoosed' several years ago are to be 
sold February 13, 1854, to satisfy a mortgage on the place. I understand that one 
man is willing to buy the entire city at twenty-five cents per lot." 
Tuolumne City in 1868 

In the early '60s farmers began plowing and seeding the rich and fertile lands 
along the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers. This gave new life to Tuolumne City and 


it soon became an important grain shipping point. Steamers were then plying the 
rivers and a passenger visiting the town in February, 1868, wrote: "Tuolumne City, 
where we tied up our boat for the night, is a flourishing place and represents almost 
every branch of the mechanical trades. At the time I am writing, Mr. John B. Covert's 
new brick building is filled with pretty misses and their gay cavaliers dancing merrily 
to the music of a good band. New buildings are being erected and before long many 
business places will be established. Dr. McLean, formerly of Stockton, but later of 
Copperopolis, has lately arrived here with his family and will open a first-class drug 
store. The Ross House has been open for some time, but its proprietor, C. W. Bailey, 
Hied last evening. Next week a paper will be issued by J. D. Spencer, to be called 
the 'Tuolumne News.' " 

The two pioneers of Tuolumne City of whom the correspondent writes, John B. 
Covert and Dr. Samuel M. McLean, were pioneers of the state. In fact, Mr. Covert 
was here long before California became a state. He came to California with Fremont 
in 1844. Locating in Tuolumne City, he engaged in the mercantile business. In time 
Madison Walthall wooed and won his daughter, Emma Covert. Their offspring was 
a bright boy whom they named John M. Walthall, after his grandfather. Graduating 
from Hastings Law College in 1898, the week following his graduation he was nom- 
inated for district attorney of Stanislaus County by the Democratic county convention, 
and elected in November. 

The Town Increasing — Prosperity 

"The town continued its growth although, in September, lumber was very scarce, 
it being shipped in by steamer. At that time Capt. H. G. James had just completed 
a large brick building for a meat market and packing house, as he intended to cure 
considerable bacon that fall. Mr. James was an extensive cattle and hog raiser. 
Julius Dettlebach and H. M. Covert have two fine mercantile stores. Alden & 
Grenfal have a well-stocked livery stable and John Grollman can supply them with fine 
harness. He has an excellent assortment of harness and saddles. J. H. Hayes keeps 
fine boots and shoes. D. S. Husband is conducting a saloon and Mr. Goodrich, an 
opposition hotel to the Ross House. Mr. Munson has just finished a large two-story 
house and Judge Griffin will soon move into his fine residence on Front Street. The 
survey of Griffin's addition to the city was completed last week, and the sale of lots 
was rapid. The price of real estate has advanced over 200 per cent in six weeks. 
The town had not only water communication with Stockton, but stage communication 
as well. A weekly line of stages ran from Stockton to Visalia, passing through Tuol- 
umne City, Empire, Hopeton, Snelling and Millerton." 

Tuolumne City Has the Smallpox 
It will be remembered by old-timers that in 1868 the smallpox was raging 
throughout the state. There were several cases of the disease in Tuolumne City and 
business was completely demoralized. It was soon brought under control. This was 
partly due to the medical treatment of Dr. McLean, who had charge of many cases 
in his Stockton hospital in 1850. The Tuolumne News, in its issue of January 9, 
1869, said:" "Some weeks since we promised our readers that we would give from 
time to time a true report of the ravages of the smallpox at this place without fear or 
favor of public opinion. It is our pleasing duty now to announce that the disease has 
disappeared from our midst. The yellow flags have all been taken down from our 
buildings. Feeling confident that there is no further danger in inviting persons to our 
town we extend a public invitation to all to visit our city." 

First County Fair 
In September, 1869, probably the first county fair was held. It continued in 
Tuolumne City for three days, commencing September 22. The pavilion exhibit was 
in Covert's Hall. It consisted principally of the handiwork of the ladies and samples 
of wheat and barley. There were no big pumpkins, squashes or other vegetables, I 
surmise, as the Neiis thought it strange that the people bought all of their vegetables 
of peddlers from Stockton, when they had such fertile soil at their very doors capable at 


furnishing all kinds of garden truck. There were several trotting and running races at 
Judge Walden's race track two miles from the city. Bartholomew's Circus played 
the town for two evenings. The special feature of the fair was the ladies' festival 
given for the benefit of the schoolhouse fund. A visitor who was present said that 
Stanislaus' beautiful daughters were present in large numbers. The festival netted the 
ladies fifty dollars. 


John W. Mitchell, the wealthy landowner, founded Paradise City. He owned 
several thousand acres of land in that vicinity. The town was located four miles above 
Tuolumne City and rival towns they were until the Southern Pacific Railroad put them 
both out of commission. The town evidently was not founded until 1867-68, for a 
description of the place, written in May, 1868, said: "A store and postofRce has gone 
up and another building, the foundation of which is ready for the brick, which is in 
the kiln cooling. A hardware and tin store is going up and soon will be stocked with 
goods. There is also a saddle and harness manufactory and a wheelwright and wagon 
shop in connection with a header manufactory, all of which are doing a thriving busi- 
ness. There is also a blacksmith shop which runs two forges. A large livery stable 
has been established and it is well stocked with horses and buggies. There is a hotel 
and the inevitable saloon, in fact, two of them. Steamers run weekly between this 
place and Stockton and a tri-weekly four-horse stage runs to trie same place. A kiln 
of 250,000 brick has just been burned and the yards cannot keep up with the demand." 
Spencer .declared "the place presents a thrifty appearance and must from its location 
be a fine starting point for a large and rich section of country. The buildings are 
nearly all one-story and show from the river to a good advantage." 

A Fine School Building 

A visitor in February, 1869, spoke highly of the town's future prospect and said, 
"In addition to their fine commercial houses and handsome homes, the citizens have 
erected the best schoolhouse in Stanislaus County. It is built of brick, 28x40 feet, and 
hard finished. The ladies gave an impromptu party and realized $305 for the school- 
house fund. Captain Ward, a former river captain, located in Paradise City and was 
surprised at the city's progress in less than three months. During that time old houses 
have disappeared and new and costly buildings taken their place. Among the new 
buildings, there is a big fine hotel owned by Mr. Hendricks, and W. J. Houston, mov- 
ing into a fine two-story brick building, has a large well-stocked assortment of goods." 

Free Fen-y 

There was great rivalry for business between the merchants of Paradise and 
Tuolumne and every inducement was made by each town to attract the farmers of the 
vicinity to their city. There was a ferry near Paradise City, but it was a toll ferry. 
Two enterprising citizens of Paradise, W. J. Ross and Stephen Rodgers, purchased the 
ferry and said in their advertisement, "We not only propose to make the Paradise ferry 
free of charge, but the best crossing for teams and loose stock. It is on the' direct line 
of travel to Ward's Ferry, Snelling, Hill's Ferry and the whole Paradise country." 

Paradise Celebrates Washington's Birthday 
Paradise was a wide-awake city, the antitype, no doubt, of the present city of 
Modesto. They were not only alive, but patriotic, and they celebrated February 22, 
1869, by a ball in Hendricks' Hotel. The hotel was the best in the valley and Mr. 
Hendricks and his wife "were just the persons to entertain and please the public." The 
hotel had a spacious room, large enough to admit forty couples dancing at one time. 
About one hundred of the "angels" of Paradise were present and about an equal 
number of gay cavaliers. At midnight, during the hour's intermission, they sat down 
to a sumptuous repast furnished by the host. The dance began at eight o'clock and 
the writer, paraphrasing the old song, said : "We'll dance all night until broad day- 
light, and go home with the girls in the morning." The dance broke up at five a. m. 



July Fourth Celebration 
The residents of Paradise City celebrated the National holidav in 1869, and 
they were joined by the citizens of Empire and Tuolumne City. There was also quite 
a large delegation present from Stockton, as the orator of the day, Warren S. Mont- 
gomery, was a Stockton attorney and joint senator from Stanislaus and Tuolumne 
counties in 1868. The exercises were held in the afternoon, as the orator during the 
morning delivered a two-hour address at Stockton. The program began with a selec- 
tion by the band, followed by the reading of the Declaration of Independence by 
Tames Aull. The president of the occasion then introduced the orator, who was 
loudly applauded throughout the address. The oration concluded, the entire crowd 
sat down to a free dinner prepared by Mr. Hendricks and his wife. The citizens 
then amused themselves until the evening, when the day's enjoyment closed with a ball. 

The Paradise Flour Mill 

One of the enterprises of Paradise City was its fine flour mill, constructed bv 
Herron & Company. It was a brick building, four stories in height, and could be seen 
for several miles from the surrounding country. Its massive machinery was propelled 
by a sixty-five horsepower engine and the capacity of the mill was 150 barrels of flour 
per day. Its construction was begun early in the year and completed in time for the 
harvest of 1868. The flour was sold throughout the southern counties and I have 
seen it on sale by the Stockton grocers. It changed hands quite often and its senior 
partner, Joseph Knowles, died March 16, 1891, at the age of seventy-six years. 

The mill is four stories in height, walls at the base twenty inches in thickness. 
The engine room is 25x44 feet, with an engine with a sixteen-inch bore and a thirty- 
inch stroke. The boiler is sixteen feet long, with a diameter of fifty inches and with 
a capacity of eighty pounds steam pressure. There are two run of stone and a barley 
mill on the second floor. 

Reuel Colt Gridley, Citizen-Patriot 

One of the honored citizens of Stanislaus County, a resident of Paradise was 
Reuel C. Gridley. He is also one of the highest honored patriots of the state, because 
of his patriotic labors during the Civil War, in behalf of the Sanitary Commission 
fund. At that time, April, 1864, he was living in Austin, Nev., engaged in the 
grocery business. A city election was held that month and Gridley, who was known 
as a war Democrat, made a wager with Dr. Herrick that if the war Democrat for 
Mayor, David Buel, was defeated, he, Gridley, would carry a sack of flour on his 
shoulder from Clifton to Austin, a distance of a mile and a quarter. A band was to 
lead the procession and the band would be ordered to play, "John Brown's Body." 
If Buel was elected then Dr. Herrick was to carry the flour, the band playing "Dixie," 
the good old southern tune so loved by the Democrats of the olden davs. Charles Hol- 
brook, the anti-war Democrat, was elected mayor. True to his wager, Gridley appeared 
to carry out his part of the wager. He carried on his shoulder a sack of flour from 
his grocery, neatly trimmed with flags and red, white and blue ribbons. The pro- 
cession was formed. It comprised the newly-elected city officers and escort of thirty-six 
horsemen, Gridley and his sack of flour and the Austin brass band. As they marched 
the band, playing the famous old war song, some of the crowd sang the chorus: 

"Glory, glory hallelujah, and his soul goes marching on." 
while others shouted: "Go to it, Gridley, stick to it, old man," "Never say die!" 
On arrival at their destination, the party visited the saloons and liquor flowed like 
water. Gridley, although a strict prohibition advocate and member of the Methodist 
denomination, enjoyed the fun with the boys. He quietly listened to their good- 
natured jokes, regarding his "being the goat." Finally some one shouted : "What 
shall we do with the flour?" Then came to Gridley the inspiration that was to make 
him famous. "This crowd of people," he said, "has had their fun at my expense; let 
us see now who will do the most for the sick and wounded soldiers. We will put this 
sack of flour up at auction with the understanding that the buyer is to return it to 
be again sold for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission." The novel proposition was 


quickly approved by the crowd who anticipated more fun over the sales. Then and 
there $4,400 was realized for the fund, one man alone bidding it in at $350. It was 
then the "flush times" of the Nevada silver mines. The flour was then taken to Gold 
Hill, and Thomas Fitch, the silver-tongued orator, made a. ringing speech which 
brought the fund $5,850. It was then taken to Silver City, the Sacramento State 
Fair, throughout the large cities of California and along the eastern coast. The Sani- 
tary Commission received from the repeated sales of this sack of flour $270,000 in gold. 
Air. Gridley, paying all of his expenses, accompanied the sack of flour on all its travels 
through the United States. The task for him was too great and as the result he 
returned to Austin, Nev., completely broken down in health. His business was almost 
bankrupt. Believing that in a lower altitude where the air was less rarefied, he might 
regain his health, he sold out his business at a great loss and with his family removed to 
Stockton. There he opened a grocery store. In 1868, however, he removed to Paradise 
City and again engaged in the merchandising business. He died November 24, 1870. 
He now lies buried in the Grand Army plot at Rural Cemetery, Stockton. Over the 
green mound stands a beautiful memorial erected in his honor, for his splendid service 
in the cause of freedom. The memorial, erected by Rawlings Post, G A. R., comprises 
a granite base and marble column, about ten feet in height, surmounted by a statue 
of the patriot. He stands, his right hand resting upon the sack of flour, a table its 
support. The memorial was dedicated September 9, 1887, by a parade of the Grand 
Army and the military, with instrumental and vocal music, an oration and a poem 
composed for the occasion. 

Named after its founder, Dr. Adams, in 1849, the embryo town of Adamsville was 
located on the south bank of the Tuolumne River about three miles above Tuolumne 
City overland, but nearly seven miles by water, the "river being broad and deep but 
very crooked." It was about ten feet above high-water mark and a very favorable 
place for the shipment of grain by river boats. The town figures in history only 
because of the fact that for a few months it was the county seat of Stanislaus County. 
At that time it had a fine hotel conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. After the 
removal of the county seat to Empire the town was deserted and did not again claim 
any public attention. 

The First Fourth of July 

Independence Day, 1854, was celebrated at Adamsville by a ball given by the pro- 
prietor of the hotel. The dancing floor was a platform beneath a large oak tree and 
inclosed by upright boards on the north and east ends. It was the future court house 
under construction. The ball was given that night and it was lighted by whale oil 
lamps hung in the tree. At ten o'clock a fine supper was served and the happy couples 
danced until 2:30, then the party retired to rest. The ladies were given accommo- 
dations in the hotel. The men slept in the open, in their blankets, their saddle their 
only pillow. In the morning the Democrats held a county convention. Seneca Dean 
was chosen chairman. They passed a series of resolutions, eulogizing the Democratic 
party and advocating William M. Gwin for United States Senator. It was ordered 
that the resolutions be printed in the San Joaquin Republican and the Columbia Gazette. 


Empire City, now quite a flourishing little village settled principally by Dunkards, 
was in early days a very important place. It was for a season the county seat and the 
head of navigation. Its founder, a man named Townsend, was what we would call 
today a land promoter or a booster of real estate. He had dreams of fame and fortune 
to be won on the bank of the River Tuolumne. He saw in the near future a pros- 
perous city arise, the work of his brain, a city government and he the mayor. Town- 
send had a map drawn of his city in the "land of somewhere" and actually sold lots 
to the business men of San Francisco. Accompanied by E. Conway, a surveyor, Mr. 
and Mr. Jenkins, and a purchaser of real estate, the writer from whom these facts 
are taken, the party left San Francisco, April 16, 1850, by boat for Stockton. They 
took with them a four-horse wagon and a good supply of provisions. On arrival at the 


steamer's destination they climbed into the wagon and started for the Stanislaus country 
by the way of Heath & Emory's ferry. "We arrived at the place," says the narrator, 
"fatigued and hungry. A large number of travelers were stopping there for the night. 
We were treated with marked attention because there was an American woman (Mrs. 
Jenkins) in our party. She was the first white woman to cross the ferry and the first 
to travel over Stanislaus County." 

They were again on their journey soon after daylight and in a few hours they 
expected to reach their destination. They had no idea of their location and at midday 
they concluded that they were lost. They saw a small band of Indians and for a time 
were terror stricken but the Indians were also in fear and quickly skulked away. In 
order to find their position the surveyor unpacked his compass and soon discovered 
their location. That evening they arrived at the point selected, a spot about six miles 
above the present city, Modesto. Townsend, before leaving San Francisco, chartered 
a vessel and loading it with supplies and building material, ordered the captain to sail 
with the cargo up the Tuolumne River. The vessel arrived some time before the party, 
having on board "several adventurers, men who had purchased lots." The men went 
to work and put up tents and before night, the entire party were housed. Thus Empire 
City was founded. 

In course of time several buildings were erected. These buildings included three 
stores, a hotel, two boarding houses, a blacksmith and a harness shop. It was then the 
head of navigation and all Government supplies were shipped from Empire by team 
to Fort Miller. The Government also had men there engaged in breaking mules to 
harness for the Government wagons. They did not know until nearly ten years later 
that steamers could ascend the San Joaquin River to Firebaugh's Ferry. During the 
winter of 1851-52 the town was almost destroyed by the January- flood, as the flood 
water had washed away every vestige of activity, says Branch. Not only that, but the 
tide of travel had changed. Because of the foreign license law and trouble with the 
Mexicans all travel had ceased through Pacheco Pass and the miners, taking the shorter 
route to the mines, traveled directly from Stockton to Knights Ferry. The press 
declared in January, 1852: "There are five cities about us containing in all five 
inhabitants. A traveler passed through San Joaquin City near the mouth of the San 
Toaquin River, but it was as silent as the tomb. We believe that a ferryman still lives 
at Graysonville. Tuolumne City is in the same languishing condition. Crescent City 
has been converted into a cabbage patch and as for Empire City, the last inhabitants 
left it two months ago." 

The Enterprising Citizen, Eli S. Marvin 
At the time of the flood, John G. Marvin, a former Boston, Mass., lawyer, an 
owner of real estate in Empire, was in the East. He returned to California accom- 
panied by Eli S. Marvin and his wife. On arrival at Empire they found the town 
deserted. The buildings not washed away by the flood had been moved to higher and 
less dangerous ground. Eli S. Marvin was a man of considerable wealth and he 
concluded to take his chances in the town. Building a large and comfortable "wayside" 
hotel, he named it the "Travelers' Home" and awaited results. "It was the only 
house in that section," says the writer, "being twelve miles from the Stanislaus River 
and twenty miles from Hill's Ferry." Marvin in our day would have been a million- 
aire, for he not only saw things, but he did things. Among other things he worked 
for and finally succeeded in making Empire the county seat. This event created a new 
life and interest in the town and in the winter of 1854 it was reported "the place is 
being rapidly built up and there is a great demand for carpenters and other mechanics. 
Mr. Ziegler has opened a store on Main Street. The court house, a fine and capacious 
building, and eight other buildings have been erected. A few weeks ago not a drop 
of alcohol could be found in the place but now whisky shops are everywhere. Our 
town has improved very much during the past ten months and before long our popula- 
tion will be twice the present number. What we greatly need is mail facilities." 


No Mail Nor Postal Route 

We never appreciate our many blessings unless we have been long without them 
or have lost them. The people of the county at this time were very anxious for Uncle 
Sam favors, and a writer declared, so hungry for news were they that a copy of the 
San Joaquin Republican two weeks old caused a sensation. It was believed that a mail 
route would soon be established throughout the county, as through Judge Marvin an 
application had been made to the postal department for post offices at Grayson, Hill's 
Ferry, Clark & Toombs Ferry on the Tuolumne River, and Empire City. The section 
was thickly settled with farmers and they had no communication with the large 
cities. "The only way," said the correspondent, "that we can get our mail is by riding 
thirty-two miles to Stockton or waiting an opportunity to send by ox team. In many 
cases the letters are ten days in the Stockton post office before we receive them. I 
believe that there are at least 2,000 people on the Stanislaus, Merced and Tuolumne 
rivers who would be benefited by a mail route through this section." 
The County Seat 

It was asserted in early years that the state capital was on wheels as it was removed 
to six different cities within ten years. It was also true that the county seat of Stanislaus 
was on wheels, for the county seat was removed no less than five times in fifteen years. 
One of the most important local questions to every citizen is the location of the county 
seat, as every citizen, tax payer and voter and juror must at some time during the year 
visit the court house. As we have noticed when the Legislature in 1850 created the 
county of Tuolumne, they named Stewart, later called Sonora, as the county seat. 
When the legislative body in 1854 set apart the county of Stanislaus, they decreed that 
tlie people of the new county by a majority vote, should declare their place of location 
of the county seat of the new county. When the time of election came to hand there 
were but two locations that desired the honor, Adamsville and Empire City. 
LaGrange at this time apparently did not want the county seat. Her people were too 
busy digging gold. Eli S. Marvin and Dr. Adams worked hard in the interest of 
their home towns, as they had property interests and knew that the selection of their 
particular town would greatly increase the value of their property. Marvin was so 
anxious to have the people vote for Empire City that he filed a bond with Judge 
Dickerson, with good security, and agreed if Empire City were selected, to build a 
court house for the county, free of cost to them, and that he would erect the building 
within six months after the election or forfeit $10,000. Empire City was supposed 
to be the people's choice. Some disgruntled citizens, however, were not satisfied with 
either location. They said Empire was too far east and Adamsville too far west. Dr. 
Adams, shrewder than the Boston lawyer, knew how to use money to the best ad- 
vantage, and when the votes were counted by the supervisors they found that Adamsville 
was the people's choice for county seat by a majority of thirty votes. As the time 
approached for the sessions of court, as there had been no building provided, court was 
held under an oak tree, a wooden platform serving as the floor. A short time later, it 
is stated that the county officials erected a shanty of a court house, putting up the build- 
ing during the official hours. 

County Seat Removed to Empire 
The selection of Adamsville as county seat was quite a surprise and many of the 
citizens were dissatisfied. They wanted a change and in October of the same year, two- 
thirds of the voters petitioned Judge H. W. Wallis to call a new election for a county 
seat. Under the state law as then existed, he was obliged to comply with their request. 
He named October 21, 1854, as the day of election. Again there were but two 
places seeking the honor, Empire City and Davis Ferry. All of the other contestants 
had withdrawn by mutual consent. We have no details regarding the election. Em- 
pire City was the choice over Davis Ferry by twenty-nine majority. "The site of the 
new county seat," said a writer, "is a delightful one, and taking it all together, a better, 
more central or more healthful locality could not have been selected in the county." 
Judge John G. Marvin also was delighted and he said he expected to "see Empire 
wake up from its long sleep." 


Empire City in 1868 
We regret that we cannot fill up the gap of these cities from 1854 but of records 
there are none, and the actors — they have played their part upon the stage, and the 
curtain is rung down. The removal of the county seat from Empire City to La Grange 
in 1855 caused a decline in the prosperity of the town and it became almost deserted 
until 1868. Then the revival, of the river trade brought the town to the front. Spen- 
cer, writing of the town in April of that year, said: "The business that is done here 
now in the way of shipping would lead a casual observer to believe it had been carried 
on for years. Ons of the shipping firms, Hughs & Keyes, established there a branch 
of their Stockton house. The land is rapidly advancing in value. Less than a year ago 
it could be bought for two dollars and fifty cents an acre, now it is worth ten dollars 
an acre. Immigrants are constantly coming in and settling on the plains in this vicinity 
while others go farther south where land is cheaper." 

Dr. Thomas Tynan, the Pioneer 

One of the families that remained in Empire City in 1854, long after all others 
had deserted it, was Dr. Thomas Tynan, his wife and two stepdaughters. In Decem- 
ber, 1860, Eli Marvin died. He left behind a widow and two bright girls. Across 
the river lived Dr. Tynan, who had located on the land in 1852. Ten years later 
he was married to Mrs. Marvin, and moving into Empire City practiced his profes- 
sion until 1874. In that year he engaged in farming, but continued his residence in 
Empire City until 1881. Later he moved into Modesto, erected a fine hotel and 
created a sensation in October, 1891, by suddenly disappearing from sight. 

In the fall of 1849 Crescent City was founded on the south bank of the Tuolumne 
River by Benson & Byers. They laid off the town one mile square, had a lithographed 
map made in New York and furnished the real estate dealers in the cities with copies 
of the growing town. The proprietors advertised the town as thirty miles above the 
mouth of the Tuolumne River. "The town has been accurately surveyed and laid out 
and several large buildings are about to be erected." Many lots were sold, said a 
visitor, but no improvements were made and the proposed city comprised a long cabin 
covered with canvas. The only inhabitants of the place were the proprietors and 
about a dozen hunters and boatmen. The proprietors also advertised that arrange- 
ments had been made to establish a steamer line between Crescent City, Stockton and 
San Francisco. The steamer Etna made a trip between Tuolumne City and Crescent 
City. She encountered no difficulty in the navigation and a hopeful correspondent 
stated. "It can be truly said that between Crescent City and Tuolumne City the river 
is well adapted for steamers." Two months later, however, the little steamers tried 
to steam up to the town, but failed. It was the finishing blow to Crescent City. 

In 1886 the railroad from Banta's to Fresno, passed by Hill's Ferry a few miles 
to the south. There was a sudden exodus of inhabitants from the ferry and soon the 
old town was a thing of the past. The town was founded in 1850 by Jesse Hill, on 
the southwest bank of the River San Joaquin. It was nearer the Merced County line ' 
and a part of the old Mexican grant, which was known as the Orestimba Rancho. 
Hill in time sold the ferry and adjoining lands to Dick Wilson, along in the 70s, and 
traded the ferry property to Charles G. Hubner for a good paying property on Main 
Street, Stockton. Hubner, who was a wagonmaker by trade, worked at the business 
until the coming of the Cental Pacific Railroad ruined all of the wood and iron work- 
ers' occupation. Mr. Hubner, after purchasing Hill's Ferry, removed there with his 
family and began many improvements. He erected a large warehouse, homes for 
families and stores for merchants. In fact, it was said that Hubner owned the 
town. It was the head of navigation, a fine shipping point for grain and often there 
would be from four to six river steamers with barges waiting to load with grain. The 
town grew rapidly and with its 500 population was the largest town in the county. In 


1881 in contained two hotels, "The West Side" and the "Russ House," ten saloons, 
two blacksmith shops, a wagon shop, a tin store kept by G. C. Green, three livery 
stables, two drug stores, two barber shops, a photograph gallery, a shoemaker, a clock 
and watch repairer and two large mercantile stores, each store carrying a heavy stock 
of goods. One of the stores was run by the Kuhn Brothers. The second store, that 
of Simon Newman, carried a $35,000 stock of goods. Newman was quite wealthy, as 
he owned a large herd of sheep and a one-fourth interest in the steamer Centennial, 
which ran between Stockton and San Francisco. The town also contained a public 
school and a Masonic building. Among the prominent men were Constable McSwain, 
Attorney Gulterson and two justices of the peace, John P. Newsom and J. P. Allen. 
Two lines of stages carrying mail and passengers ran between Banta's, connecting 
with the steam cars, and Hill's Ferry, one line continuing on to Modesto. During 
the harvest season, they were overloaded daily, but during the winter they lost 
money. The town was supported and maintained by the agricultural interests of the 
West Side, and during the seasons of good crops the town was "wide open." Each 
harvesting crew would have from thirty to fifty men, and when paid off on Saturday 
night they would visit Hill's Ferry for a good time. The gambling tables would be 
patronized by men knowing that they would be robbed, liquor flowed freely and the 
girls of the saloons made plenty of money. Gamblers from the same place made it a 
common practice to visit Hill's Ferry every summer and return late in the fall. 
Drunken men would lie around the street, quarrels were frequent in which often 
deadly weapons were used, and frequently there would be a man stabbed or killed. 
"The play went right on, that made no difference," said a son of Charles Hubner 
in telling me of the scenes of those days. When Monday morning came many of the 
harvest crew would fail to report for work. "Then," said Hubner, "the boss would 
come to town with a header wagon and rounding up his men, drunk or half muddled, 
lie would lift or throw them into the wagon and away he would go for camp, the horses 
on the jump." 

We are today, as we have been for fifty years past, denouncing the foreigners, 
and yet along certain productive lines, they have done as much or more in developing the 
country than have the Americans. So it was in early days. The Americans were 
continuously harassing and often maltreating the foreigners, and yet, the rise and 
growth of La Grange was due, in part at least, to the little band of Frenchmen who 
located on the bar of the Stanislaus River sometime in 1852. They came in there 
and began prospecting for the golden nuggets about a mile below the present town. 
As soon as they satisfied themselves that the diggings were paying, they informed their 
friends and soon several hundred of them had located upon the spot. The localitv 
took the name of French Bar. They continued to find gold in large amounts and in 
1854-55 there was a great excitement in that vicinity. Mines were staked out all 
along the river above and below the town and extending into the surrounding hills, 
says Branch. That year the Sierras yielded the largest amount of gold for any one 
year, $69,433,512, and French Bar produced no small amount of this immense sum. 
The Frenchmen were religiously inclined and at La Grange erected a small building 
of worship. It was the first church building in the county either Catholic or Protestant. 
* It was known as the St. Louis Catholic Church. Mass was celebrated occasionally 
only by a traveling priest, and it is said that the Frenchmen assisted at the Mass. 
After the founding of Oakdale, stated services were held by the Oakdale priests. It is 
now in the parish of Father Nevin. 

The Foreign Miner's License Tax 
The history of the foreign miner's tax is a topic of state, rather than local, history, 
but as it applied directly to the miners in the southern mines, and its baneful effects 
were felt there more than in any other locality, mention should be made of it here. 
In 1 8 50 tile Legislature, in order to raise money to carry on the state government, 
levied a tax of four dollars per month on every foreign miner. Collectors were ap- 
pointed in each mining district and if the foreigner refused to pay the tax he could be 


arrested, and his mining implements, baggage or blankets taken from him. There was 
.)t the time a hatred far greater than there is today against the Chinese and particularly 
against the Mexicans, the Chilenos and the Frenchmen. The Americans said they 
were taking all of the gold from the country. The levying of this tax was one cause 
of the decline of the river towns, for hundreds of Mexicans left the state, while other 
foreigners remained and opposed the tax. A writer of the time declared, "We are 
going from bad to worse, and we are in a state of transition. The miners are up in 
arms beyond endurance and there is an unusual hatred against the foreigners." At 
Mormon Gulch the miners passed a series of resolutions demanding that all foreigners 
leave the country within fifteen days or they would be driven out by force. At Sonora 
a similar set of resolutions were passed, and all foreigners in Tuolumne County, unless 
of respectable character and engaged in business, were required to leave the country 
within fifteen days, unless they obtained a permit to remain from the proper authori- 
ties. They were also required to turn over all firearms and deadly weapons to the 
officials of the county. The resolutions were signed by a committee of seven citizens, 
and four of them were from the present Stanislaus County, namely, A. B. Perkins of 
the Tuolumne River, John G. Marvin of Empire City, R. H. Hill of the Stanislaus 
River and Samuel Crow of the same river. At French Bar the miners refused to pay 
the tax and resisted the officers of the law. A large number of deputies were then 
sworn in, and fifty of the Frenchmen were arrested. They were taken before Justices of 
the Peace C. D. Salter and I. D. Morley and heavily fined for resisting Officer Kelley. 


Nestling in the foothills of the Sierras lies the town of La Grange, from whence 
flow the waters that fertilized the vast valley below. The town, at one time the 
county seat, glories not in its history of the present or the future, but in the history 
of the past. Then it was a busy, lively camp, and from its shelter have gone forth 
stalwart pioneers who were prominent in the activities of the valley towns. In most 
cases, now their memory only remains and their sons and their daughters are carrying 
on the splendid work began by the pioneer fathers and mothers. The memory of the 
writer's father and mother will ever be his most sacred gift. 

The first settler at La Grange was Eli Dye, who in 1852 located a rancho. The 
place was of no importance until the Americans began flocking into the rich diggings 
of French Bar in August, 1854. Then things began to boom. "Since that time the 
town of La Grange has been steadily on the increase, in point of mining importance, 
and the population within two months has taken a rapid rise. A plot of ground was 
laid off, substantial houses were erected, numerous mechanics and storekeepers came 
to the place and last, but not least, a fair sprinkling of the fair sex have arrived." The 
correspondent, then giving a description of the new town, said, "It boasts of ten stores, 
three boarding houses, three butcher shops, four blacksmith shops, two restaurants, a 
livery stable, a barber shop, a billiard saloon and post office. Two sluicing companies 
are preparing to bring water onto the lower level for mining purposes and a steam 
engine has been put into operation calculated to afford water for eight or ten sluices. 
The extent of the mining region cannot be less than twenty miles square and within 
those limits there is more gold than can be taken out in twenty years." The camp bar 
was worked more and paid better than any other bar in that vicinity. They even 
found gold under the town, and, said Walter Kerrick, "The town is honeycombed with 
tunnels made by the miners." 

Largest Town in County 
From 1854 to 1858 La Grange enjoyed its greatest prosperity and "loomed up as 
the biggest town in the county." Its merchants included George Buck, Isaac Amsden, 
Goshen Clapp, Ben Cohn, George R. Davis, Wm. B. Farwell, A. R. Davis, Cohn & 
Co., R. M. Green, G. Goldsmith, J. W. Geist, Harris & Co., Charles Holineans, 
Michael Harris, A. Jacobs, Vincent L. Coop, Geo. L. Murdock, Uriah Nelson, Pasche 
& Cousins, J. B. Peck, J. Simon, Levi Silverman, Edward Tichenor, Peter Thobard, 
and John V'ongero. Albert Elkins and John Willis were justices of the peace, S. P. 


Scaniker, H. H. Allen and Wm. M. Stafford were attorneys. The physicians included 
L. M. Bath, N de la Tourette, Geo. W. King, Thomas Payne and A. G. White. The 
population at this time, 1858, was estimated at 1,000 whites and about the same 
number of Chinese. The population consisted largely of young men, ranging in age 
from seventeen to forty years, with very few women or children. For transportation 
there were three lines of stages running daily except Sunday to Stockton, these lines 
including La Grange, Knights Ferry, Sonora, Columbia, Don Pedro's Bar, James- 
town, Chinese Camp and Fox's ranch. 

Talbot's Flour Mill 
Talbot's mill was located on the Tuolumne River, four miles below French Bar, 
says one description of it, and another writer located it about five miles above the 
Mariposa road where it crossed at Dickerson's Ferry and about a half mile below the 
George C. Branch Ferry. It was erected by John Talbot & Company in 1854 and 
was capable of running four run of stone and turned out some very superior flour. 
It was said to be a good mill in a desirable location, a great convenience to the ranchers, 
grinding their wheat into flour, and a source of profit to the proprietors. In the big 
spring freshet of 1856 the mill was washed away. It was a great loss to the farmers, 
as they were obliged to take their wheat into Sonora for grinding, or to Stockton. 

The La Grange Water Supply 

Flour is an essential article for food, but water is equally necessary for irrigation, 
domestic purposes and mining. Without plenty of water the miners could not have 
obtained the gold. In the earliest days the families obtained the water for drinking and 
household use from springs under the bluff near the river and they afforded an inex- 
haustible supply. Then M. A. Wheaton constructed a dam across the river about a 
mile above the town, and the water was used for irrigation. This proved a great 
convenience and benefit to the owners of orchards, gardens and vineyards in that 
neighborhood. Water was all important to the miners and in 1856, under the leader- 
ship of Mr. Pine, a company was formed for the purpose of supplying the miners 
with water. About two miles above the town they constructed a rough dam of logs 
solidly bolted together and firmly fixed to the sides and bottom of the canyon. It was 
twenty-three feet in height and the water was conducted to the miners in long flumes 
or troughs. For hydraulic mining, that is, using the water through hose under a heavy 
pressure, the water was brought from a dam constructed at Indian Bar, sixteen miles 
above La Grange. After La Grange lost the county seat the town rapidly lost its 
business and population, and in order to encourage the people and give the town new 
life, says Branch, a company was organized in 1871 to bring the water from the 
Tuolumne River on to the auriferous mines back of the town. It was a big enter- 
prise for that day and the company represented some $5,000,000 and was known as the 
La Grange Ditch and Hydraulic Mining Company. They purchased nearly all of 
the claims owned by the miners and a large number of town lots. These lots were 
dug out, looking for gold, and a great portion of the town nearest the river was 
washed out by hydraulic mining. In 1 889 the Wheaton Dam was blasted out, survey 
made and a large dam constructed. It was the beginning of the present Modesto and 
Turlock District irrigation system. 

Removal of County Seat 

There are times when a town does not realize its power and strength until it 
awakes from its lethargy and starts to do something. When Empire City obtained the 
county seat bj a very small vote, La Grange evidently was asleep regarding the benefits 
to be derived from that honor. The population in that vicinity was the largest in the 
entire county and the principal activities (if the count)' centered around the camp. 
I. a Grange found out a few months after the election that the county seat was a good 
thing for the town. Again they went through the performance of getting signers for 
the removal of the official town to La Grange. The required number were easily 
obtained. The petition was presented to Judge Wallis, and he called an election on 
December 20, 1855. There were but two aspirants for honors. Empire City and 


La Grange. As a result the little valley town was swamped as by a tidal wave, 
receiving only 139 votes and La Grange 585. It was the mountains against the 
valley and a nice little Christmas gift for La Grange. A few weeks passed. Then 
by order of the court the county officials packed the county records and their household 
goods in wagons, 

Then away to the mountains, where careless and free, 
They could dance on the meadow and skip o'er the lea. 
La Grange then had no fear of a rival in Knights Ferry, the little mining town 
to the north, because it was in an adjoining county, San Joaquin. It was both a min- 
ing and an agricultural town. It contained many men of wealth and enterprise, 
considerable of a population and had considerable taxable property. The citizens were 
not particularly interested in county seats until 1861. At that time Knights Ferry 
had been removed into Stanislaus County and they began seeking official recognition. 
The election for county seat took place at the time of the presidential election, in 
November, 1860. La Grange made a hard fight for the honors but Knights Ferry 
out voted them, 422 to 383. The county seat remained at Knights Ferry until 1871, 
when it was again moved back to the valley, with Modesto as its home. 

Knights Ferry, directly east of Stockton and about forty miles distant, was 
founded in 1849 by William Knight, a hunter and trapper. He came to California 
in 1844 as a guide to the Fremont expedition. He was familiar with the contour 
of the country and the mountain passes and he foresaw that Knights Ferry was 
Nature's pathway through the mountains. Locating there, he established a ferry 
across the Stanislaus River, built a hotel and store, and commenced business. The 
tide of travel turned his way and thousands of anxious gold seekers crossed the ferry, 
and lodged over night in the hotel. It was the midway stopping point between the 
valley town and Sonora, "the queen of all the^mines," and then, as we remember, the 
county seat of Tuolumne Count}. In the early days of the town the Captain died 
and in the little cemetery on the summit of the hill, his burial was the first. 

The Dent Family 

Famous in American history is the name of the Dent family, because of the 
marriage of their daughter, Julia, in 1848 to Capt. U. S. Grant, later General and 
President of these United States. John and Lewis Dent, coming to California in the 
first rush, located at the ferry, and in 1854 they laid out the town. Two years previous 
a third brother, George W. Dent, arrived in California with his family and he also 
settled at Knights Ferry. His arrival caused a great sensation, as his young and 
pretty wife was the first white woman in the town. Regarding the families of the 
brothers Branch says: "One of the families lived in the 'long house' on a slight eleva- 
tion facing the public square, and the other lived in the 'round house,' on the bluff 
which faces the road entering the town from Stockton." Like the story of Cain's 
wife in the Bible, Branch does not record from whence or when the second wife and 
family located in the camp. Presumably it was after George W. Dent's family arrived. 
The Dent brothers in their time were quite notable citizens. They managed the ferry, 
conducted the hotel, one was postmaster and a justice of the peace, and the other 
the appointed Indian agent of the Walla Wallas. Along about 1858, Lewis Dent went 
to Stockton and began the practice of law, his brother-in-law, A. C. Baine, being a 
judge in that county. In 1862 Lewis Dent went east to join General Grant's staff. 
In 1869 he received the appointment as minister to Chile. Knights Ferry became 
quite notable in California and was mentioned by some of Grant's biographers because 
of the fact that Captain Grant visited that town while his brothers-in-law resided there. 
When Grant, as ex-president, arrived at Stockton, September 30, 1879, on the last leg 
.of his tour around the world, several persons met him saying: "I knew you in 
Knights Ferry in '49." This incorrect statement seemed to annoy the President and 
he declared : "As I was never west of the Rocky Mountains except as a soldier in the 
Mexican War until 1852 I think I must have been impersonated by some other person. 


I was in Knights Ferry three times, once in '52, once in '53 and once in '54. I think 
I never remained there at one time longer than one week." 

The Knights Ferry Flour Mill 
The most prominent industry of Knights Ferry and one that made it famous 
throughout the mines was the Stanislaus Flour Mill, constructed in 1854 by Locke 
& Dent. The mill and the wooden dam just above it were washed away in the flood 
of 1862. The proprietors of the mill at that time were Hestres & Magendie, two 
French merchants of Stockton, who lost $30,000. The history of the mill dates back 
to 1850. At that time David J. Locke, a shrewd, enterprising Yankee, visiting Knights 
Ferry, noticed the fine location for a mill site, and he suggested to the old trapper 
the building of a sawmill. Knight knew nothing about sawmills and he said to 
Locke: 'You stake out a claim and put up a mill. I will furnish the money." As 
Knight did not show any coin, Locke went his way, as he was not a man to trust 
anybody's "promise to pay." He returned again to Knights Fern,' in 1853. The old 
trapper then lay at rest for all time. Captain Dent, taking from his safe a long, buck- 
skin bag well filled with gold, said to Locke: "When Knight told you he would put 
up the money for a sawmill, he had two of these bags filled with gold under his bunk 
and several more in other places. " A partnership was formed between the two men. 
They built a dam made of logs in the Stanislaus River just above the mill site, and 
erecting a sawmill, it was ready for work in June, 1854. Four months later a flour 
mill constructed of wood, was ready for the grinding of wheat. 

Tulloch's Stone Flour Mill 
Some years after the flood had washed away the old mill, David J. Tulloch, a 
millwright by trade, who had been engaged in mining since 1858, at Knights Ferry 
concluded to engage in his former business. At this time there lived in Chinese Camp 
a first class stone cutter and brick mason, an Englishman named Thomas Vinson. 
"He erected nearly all of the brick buirdings in Chinese Camp," said an old resident, 
W. H. Hosmer, "and built the old abutments for the 'old bridge' across the Stanislaus 
River, which was swept away by the flood of 1862." Tulloch engaged this man to 
construct a stone dam in the river and erect a flour mill of the same material. A 
large new water wheel was set up, the water turned on and again the mill began 
grinding the wheat into flour. Tulloch employed some of the Indians around the 
ferry to assist him in his work. In 1884, however, he had the assistance of his son, 
Charles. Tulloch did an extensive business throughout the mines and his sixteen- 
mule teams traveled as far south as Mariposa. One of his employees engaged in 
teaming was George Webb, now a Stockton resident. The removal of the county 
seat from Knight Ferry, the increasing emigration of the people from the mines, 
the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the strong opposition of the Valley 
Flour Mill made the Stanislaus Mill unprofitable and it was closed. In time Oakdale 
became a thriving little town with an increasing population and wealth and in 1899 
the mill was removed to the new town. The latest flour making machinery was in- 
stalled and electricity used as the motor power, the mill turning out 150 barrels of 
flour per day. The motive power came from the power house located in the old 
stone mill at Knights Ferry. 

The Chinese, Miners and Gardeners 
The Chinese were among the first miners of the Sierras, coming there from 
Hong Kong as early as 1851. There are now at Knights Ferry a few Chinamen who 
have been there for the past sixty years. As miners they were of considerable benefit 
to the state, as satisfied with small "pickings," they dug for gold in the claims aban- 
doned by the white men. In this way they obtained thousands of dollars in gold 
dust that would have been lost. A large number of Chinese lived upon the hillside 
in low, adobe hovels. In the rear of each house was a garden of flowers and vegetables. 
These gardens, it is said, supplied the town with vegetables and other garden truck. 
The water for these gardens and for household purposes came from Six Mile Bar, above 
the town. It was conveyed along the upper side of the hill and a small ditch supplied 


each house. The best class of citizens had large barrels or cisterns through which they 
filtered the water over charcoal. Later the Stanislaus and San Joaquin Ditch Com- 
pany built a reservoir on the summit of the hill and the water was conducted to the 
homes in pipes. As the reservoir was some 300 feet above the town it gave a high 
pressure to the fire department in case of fire. 

Stage Transportation 

Knights Ferry from its first existence has always been more fortunate in the way 
of transportation than the other river towns, as she has had daily transportation, Sun- 
days excepted, with the seaport cities. It was, as has been recorded, on the highway 
to the mountain camps. At first individual conveyances were run from Stockton. 
Then came the M. J. Dooly Company with its splendid four-horse coaches, running 
on schedule time. They left Stockton at six o'clock, after the arrival of the steamer 
from San Francisco; a second coach returning connected with the four o'clock steamer 
for the bay. The fare to Knights Ferry was somewhere around four dollars. Some- 
times there would be an opposition line started. It would run for two or three 
months and then the fare would Come down to two dollars the trip. After Dooly's 
death, Charles H. Sisson continued the line. Then came the railroad to Milton and 
the big lines of staging went out of business. Then the Southern Pacific road came 
to Oakdale, 1872, and this destroyed completely all systematized stage lines. Lewis 
Voyle, however, who owned a livery stable at Knights Ferry, put on a two-horse line 
between Modesto, Oakdale and the mountain camps. 

The Story of a Court House 
One of the relics of Knights Ferry, perhaps the most interesting, was the old 
;ourt house. It was a large two-story brick building erected in 1861 as a hotel by 
a man named Fisher. When the people voted Knights Ferry the county seat, the 
board of supervisors, P. B. Nagle, Thomas H. Leggett and E. D. Giddings, purchased 
this building for the holding of the county court, jail and county offices. The only 
judge of the Superior Court holding sessions in that building was Judge A. Elkins, as 
the county seat was again moved at the expiration of his term of office. During two- 
rhirds of the time this building was used as a hotel and court house. When Knights 
Ferry became of official importance, Major Lane, a well-known citizen, opened a 
large hotel at the entrance of the town. The building in 1864 was destroyed by fire. 
The supervisors, thinking it a good business proposition, rented the first story of the 
court house to the Major as there was "plenty of space for a court room, jail and 
offices for the various county officers." After the removal of the county seat the 
building was sold to Adolphus L. Hewel, who had been the county clerk in 1865. 
In later years the building was deserted and probably set on fire, was destroyed, the 
walls crumbling and falling to the ground. 

Business Firms of Early Days 
The cost of transportation is always a very important item with business men 
and the cost of transporting goods to Knights Ferry was high, especially in the winter 
season. All goods were transported from Stockton, arriving there by steamers. Each 
merchant had in Stockton a commission agent to receive the goods or place them in 
storage until later called for. In the earliest days the goods were taken to Knights 
Ferry and other points on the backs of mules. These mules would be handled by 
Mexicans, from thirty to fifty in each pack team. Then followed the big mule teams, 
each team carrying about five tons and hauled by from sixteen to twenty-four mules. 
Some of the merchants who received these goods at Knights Fern' were Hestres & 
Magendie, merchandise; Charles Mooney, boots and shoes; Bartlett & Jamison, 
saddlery goods ; French & Matthews, tinware ; J. E.Coleman, furniture ; H. Lind, cloth- 
ing; S. Honigsberger, merchandise; C. S. S. Hill, merchandise; Connor & Dakin, black- 
smiths, and Lodtman & Brother, saloonists. McLean & Brother kept the Placer 
Hotel; Robert L. Gardner, the Gardner House, and N. Buddington, the Central 
House. J. E. W. Coleman sold wall paper, paints and oils. Dr. John Coleman con- 
ducted a drug store, and L. C. Van Allen had a book store. The express business was 


represented by John H. Everett. He traveled through the mountains to the various 
camps on foot, carrying on his back mail matter, packages, newspapers and such other 
articles as were entrusted to him. He made regular trips from Knights Ferry twice 
a week, passing through Two Mile Bar, Spanish Bar, O'Brien's Ferry, the Crimea 
House, Scorpion Gulch, Ramsey's Flats, Green Springs and Salt Spring Valley. One 
day the express messenger failed to return. Search being made for him, he was found 
near Two Mile Bar, drowned in an old mining shaft half filled with water. 

Abraham Schell — Enterprising Citizen 
It may be well, perhaps, to close this account of Knights Ferry's history with a 
brief sketch of its most enterprising citizen, Abraham Schell. I knew him well when 
a little shaver and saw him daily. He was then engaged in the grocery business at 
Stockton with H. O. Matthews, the Farmers and Merchants bank building now stand- 
ing on the site. He removed to Knights Ferry in 1856 and loaning the San Joaquin 
Water Company money to complete their mining ditch, lost $25,000 in the speculation. 
A lawyer by profession, he and Adolphus Hewel entered into partnership in 1866 and 
continuing until 1872. Then Judge Hewel removed to Modesto and Judge Schell 
retired from practice. In the late '60s he built a beautiful home on the hillside just 
beyond the bridge and there he entertained many distinguished guests visiting or 
passing through Knights Ferry. At this time he was one of the town bankers and 
interested in school work, libraries, secret societies and any progressive measure help- 
ful to the camp. He purchased three and a half leagues of the Rancheria del Rio 
Estanislao — the ranch on the River Stanislaus — in 1866, and setting out vines, fruit 
and orange trees, he began cultivating the wonderful vineyard and establishing a 
winery that made Knights Ferry famous down to the present time. He interested 
George H. Krause, a German from the Rhine Valley, in the possibilities of grape 
culture. Grape cuttings were imported and 10,000 cuttings were planted in the foot- 
hills below the town. At a cost of $20,000 the two men built a wine cellar that was 
a marvelous piece of work. It was a tunnel eighty feet long cut through the solid 
rock of the side hill. In this cellar were stored thousands of gallons of wine awaiting 
shipment to New York. Indians were employed in the vineyard and the winery. After 
Mr. Schell's death his nephew, H. R. Schell, took charge of the place and still resides 
at the famous "Red Mountain Vineyard" and ranch. 

The following clipping from a local paper is of interest: 

"The dry wave has already put out of existence one of the famous old wineries 
of California, the Red Mountain Vineyard, near Knights Fern'. This vineyard, oper- 
ated for many years by H. R. Schell, has made no wine for several years, and is now 
shipping out the last of the liquors which have been stored in the historic spot for 
many years. The wine grapes have been uprooted and the rich land is being planted 
to alfalfa and other crops. This winery was established in 1866." 

The Big Grain Fire, July, 1884 
Grain fires are numerous but perhaps one of the largest in financial loss was the 
fire of July 20, 1884. It occurred near the Burnett railroad station and fully 5,000 
' acres of grain were destroyed, involving a loss in insurance figures of over $100,000, 
with only $22,000 insurance. How the fire started is not known ; it was first noticed 
in a corner of Colonel Caleb Dorsey's ranch, and as a heavy wind was blowing it 
spread rapidly. Two men from the McHews' harvesting crew going into Oakdale 
filled up on liquor and returning to the thresher stopped at the corner and lighted 
their pipes. Carelessly they threw their matches away and this probably started the 
fire. W. C. Carmichael says he saw the men smoking, indifferently looking at the 
flame. He ran to them and commanded them to assist him in putting out the fire. 
He soon saw the danger and running to Colonel Dorsey's house phoned in the alarm. 
In a few minutes hundreds of men from Oakdale and other points were hurrying to 
the scene, carrying with them wet sacks, pieces of blanket and sticks to beat out the 
flames. B. F. Reynolds, on his ranch three miles distant, says the flames at times 
lifted by the wind would leap thirty or forty feet into the air. He hastened to the 


/ire with his water wagon rilled with water to assist in keeping the sacks wet and 
provide the men with water to drink. Another farmer while trying to get his thresh- 
ing machine out of the range of the fire was encompassed by a whirlwind of flame and 
the two horses were so badly burned that one of them was shot to put him out of his 
misery. In a short time dozens of men were seen about Oakdale with their arms 
blistered or badly burned and several of them with the hair burned from their heads. 
The fire was finally checked by back firing and a long strip of plowed land. The 
losses as computed by insurance exceeded $100,000. Caleb Dorsey's loss was $30,000 
on grain, besides losing a Shippe combined header and thresher and a steam threshing 
machine. Robinson and Carey lost $20,000, insured, $7,000. H. Graney, $4,000; 
Isaac Watson, $16,000; Paulsell and Muncey, $16,000. Some of the grain was 
insured at seven dollars per acre, but as the yield was very heavy the insurance did 
not cover twent}'-five per cent of the loss. 



In the hopeful days of gold mining, wildcat schemes and frenzied finance there 
were a few men in the territory who believed that they could quickly make a fortune 
by establishing ferries along the rivers of the state. In Stanislaus County there were 
over a dozen ferries established within six months, these including the George Islip, 
the Heath & Emory, the Bailey and the William Knight ferries on the Stanislaus, the 
Adams, John W. Laird, Jackson & Horr ferries on the Tuolumne and the Jesse Hill 
Ferry on the San Joaquin. Each man believed that he had the best ferry location on 
the river and each ferryman believed that the tide of travel would turn his way. But 
alas for human hopes and bright dreams, the tide of travel moved from Stockton to 
Knights Ferry direct, and then through the mountains, south. Only a few of the 
gold seekers went as far south as Mariposa and they, following the stage route, 
crossed the Stanislaus River at Leitch and Cottle's Ferry and the Tuolumne River, 
high up at the Dickerson Ferry. 

The ferryman in his day was as necessary as the locomotive engineer, the chauf- 
feur or the sky pilot in 1921. Surrounded as was the county, on three sides by water 
at least eight months of the year, it would have been impossible to have entered the 
county or traveled out of it during this period. Indeed, even with the ferry boats, 
there were times during the highest flood tides when it was impossible to cross the 
rivers because of the swift running current. At that time also it was impossible to 
reach the ferries because of overflowed lands. 

The ferryman of that day was not only a necessity but he was also a jolly good 
fellow. He always had something to drink, was a good landlord, a good story teller 
and always posted in regard to the news of the day. He was, so to speak, the news 
gatherer of his time. Newspapers then off the regular state routes were few and far 
between, and as John G. Marvin said, "a newspaper two weeks old was a sensation." 
The ferryman's location was such, that meeting hundreds of travelers daily coming and 
going, he heard all of the current news and naturally he repeated that news to others. 

First Established Ferry 
The Heath & Emory Ferrv was the first established ferry in Stanislaus County. 
It passed through several hands and was known in 1868 as the Meinecke, and in 
1881, as the Taylor Ferry, situated twenty-seven miles from Stockton and about six 
miles above the mouth of the Stanislaus River. It was on the direct line of travel 
between Sacramento and San Jose passing through Pacheco Pass. The proprietors 
as early as March, 1850, advertised their ferry in the Times and in giving a descrip- 
tion of their boat said: "It is thirty feet long and nine feet wide and enclosed for 
wagons and mules. It will be kept in the cleanest and most perfect order," they de- 
clared, "and there is every accommodation offered for the traveler in the tent adjoining 


the ferry." The enterprising partners expended over $3,000 in improving the road lead- 
ing up to the ferry. This so pleased the travelers and farmers of the vicinity that in a 
published card they praised the ferrymen "for the enterprise they have manifested in 
the great improvement they have made in the public road, for the new road avoids the 
much-dreaded cut-off." The first woman to cross the ferry was a Mrs. Jenkins and 
her husband, two of a party of five on their way to Crescent City. The party reached 
the ferry about sundown, having left Stockton that morning. In honor of the occasion 
the obliging host gave the party at supper time a separate table and served them with 
a bottle of wine and an oyster stew in addition to the regular fare of pork, beans; 
coffee and bread. 

The First Three Houses 
At this time, September, 1850, there was but one road or highway to the ferry. 
It was what was later known as the Mariposa or stage road. The road became a well- 
defined public highway through the shrewdness of Dr. Chalmers, a Southerner, quite 
intimate with the Government officials. Chalmers had settled on the road in San 
Joaquin County, at what was later called "Eight-Mile Corner." There he built a 
house, and opened a wayside hotel. As he was anxious to induce the public to travel 
on that road, he visited his friends, the Government officials, and succeeded in having 
the Government wagons pass his way on their trips to Fort Miller. Thus was estab- 
lished a Government road. At the time there were but three houses on the highway. 
Dr. Chalmers' home, the George Kerr place, known as the Fifteen-Mile House, and 
the house at the fern'. As it was impossible to travel this road in winter because of 
the deep mud of the adobe soil, a winter road was established to the ferry by the way 
of French Camp. The soil was of a sandy nature and a fine road in winter time. On 
this road there was but one stopping place, a little zinc house, 12x16, which had been 
brought from New York. This was also the stage station. 

Ferry Competition 

There was considerable competition and rivalry among the ferrymen and each 
man proclaimed his ferry the shortest and best route to the southern mines. They also 
advertised other exclusive advantages to the traveler. George Islip announced his as 
the "lower ferry, six miles below the Heath & Emory Ferry." He stated that he had 
just completed "a splendid ferry boat, the banks have been cut down to a level with 
the river on the south side, which affords an easy landing. Brakes have been affixed 
to the boat to avoid any difficulty to wagons driving on or off. The ferry house is 
built for the accommodation of the travelers. The table will be furnished with the 
best the market affords and the bar will be well stocked with assorted liquors." 

George W. Keeler told where his ferry was located, namely, thirty-five miles 
from Stockton by the way of the Twelve-Mile House on the "lone tree" road and 
from there to the hill on the Stanislaus River known as the "jumping off" place. The 
road, he declared, was an admirable one, "having along it an abundance of good water 
and grass." The ferry boats were rudely constructed and were navigated across the 
rivers by means of a large manila rope anchored on either side of the stream. In time 
these ropes became worn from constant use and liable to break, even in the middle of 
the river. After a time wire cables were manufactured and in April, 1869, John W. 
Laird advertised that at his ferry on the river at Tuolumne City, he had "put on the 
first wire cable and the road had been graded, making it easy of access to the ferry." 

The highest ferry on the Tuolumne River was the Indian ranch ferry owned in 
1850 by Alden Jackson and Benjamin D. Horr. They claimed to have the largest 
boat in California and in one trip it would "cross eight mules and their wagons with 
safety and despatch." Their ferry "was the nearest road to Sonora, Mariposa and the 
southern mines, and they had a large supply of groceries and provisions on hand and 
sold to the wayfaring emigrant and miner at reasonable rates." 

The Dickerson Ferry 
The Dickerson ferry on the Tuolumne River, about ten miles above Waterford. 
was the most popular of all of the ferries. It was established by one of the Dickerson 


brothers, all of them being popular men. Like the most of this kind of property, it 
passed through many hands in a short period of time. In 1862 it was owned by 
C. O. Osborn; that year he sold out to John W. Roberts, who had formerly been 
engaged in the butcher business. As the ferry was on the principal route of travel, the 
ferry and hotel was a money-making occupation. The hotel, a large building capable 
of accommodating some 200 guests, caught fire about midnight, February 22, 1865, and 
was entirely destroyed, Mr. Roberts saving only one bed. The ferry was a relay 
station for the Stockton and Mariposa stages, the passengers there getting their noon- 
day meal, and as the saying goes, the landlord was "up against it." His Yankee pluck 
and inventive genius was put to the test, but the following day he fed fifty passengers. 
The tables were spread under a large oak tree adjacent to the destroyed building. 
Shortly after the fire one of Mr. Roberts' most distinguished guests was Schuyler 
Colfax, speaker of the House of Representatives and founder of the Rebekah degree 
of Odd Fellows. He was on a visit to the Yosemite Valley. Before the close of the 
year a fine two-story brick hotel was erected, and Christmas evening it was dedicated 
by a grand ball. It was the event of that day. Several members of the Legislature 
were present, and the proprietor cleared over $1,000 from the sale of tickets. 

The John D. Morley Ferry 

John D. Morley, who located in Stanislaus County in 1854, established his ferry 
about three miles below La Grange. He also had a very profitable ranch from which 
he made more money than from ferryage. This ranch of about 700 acres, enclosed 
by fences and ditches, produced in a single year 7,000 bushels of wheat, 900 bushels of 
barley and 60 tons of hay. He also raised sheep, cattle and chickens and found a ready 
sale for his entire product almost at his very door. 

County Bridges 
These ferries were for the time being the bridges of the county, for they bridged 
the streams and made travel and trade possible. They were also great benefactors to 
the county, for they did for the commonwealth that which it could not do for itself, 
because of the lack of money. The first bridge in the county was at Knights Ferry. It 
was washed away in the flood of 1862 and subsequently the present bridge at that point 
was built. In 1858 John Lovall, who had a ferry on the Lower Stanislaus, built a 
bridge across the stream at a cost of $12,000. This bridge went out on the flood tide 
of 1862. The Oakdale bridge was built by the supervisors in 1883 at a cost of $14,739 
and the Record said October 12, "and the people will no longer have to pay toll." 

The Modesto Toll Bridge 
Three enterprising citizens, George Perley, Thomas D. Harp and John McCarty, 
seeing the necessity of a bridge at Modesto, applied to the Legislature of 1878 to build 
a bridge. The Legislature on March 28 authorized these parties to build said bridge. 
It was stipulated that the bridge must be erected within two miles of the railroad and 
opposite Modesto, within three years. The franchise was for fifty \ ears and they were 
permitted to charge reasonable tolls. 

The $120,000 County Bridge 
Among the progressive improvement of Stanislaus County, none are of more benefit 
than the handsome concrete bridge over the Tuolumne River just south of Modesto. 
The supervisors, surmising the fact that the highway would soon become state property, 
concluded to construct a bridge that would be not only a credit to the county, but one 
of solid worth and permanence. The county surveyor, Edward Annear, was consulted 
and he recommended the supervisors to adopt a bridge design patented by John C. 
Leonard, the San Francisco bridge architect. His bridge design was selected by the 
supervisors, but unfortunately Edward Annear did not live to see it completed. He 
marched to the front in the Allied war, was taken sick and returned to New York and 
there died. The supervisors June 13, 1916, opened the bids for the construction of the 
bridges, sixteen in number. All bids were rejected. On the second call for bids the 
lowest figure was Ben E. Cotton of San Francisco. His bid was $110,278, he also 


being the lowest bidder the first time. As this road was one of the main highways to 
the south, the supervisors constructed a temporary bridge over the lands of G. B. & P. 
Podesta and Mrs. M. D. Ingle, the supervisors paying them $183 per month for four 
months. The contractor, tearing away the old drawbridge through which many 
steamers had passed in the early days, immediately began the consrtuction of the new 
bridge. After scarcely two months at work, he found in September that it would take 
longer to complete the bridge than he anticipated, and unless he worked his men longer 
hours the spring freshet might come and cause him thousands of dollars loss. The con- 
tractor was then working his men only eight hours in compliance with the state law. 
There was a proviso in the law, however, that in case of emergency a contractor could 
increase his hours of work on a state job, provided he obtained the consent of the 
supervisors. Their consent was obtained, and the bridge was completed on the evening 
of March 16, 1917. 

A Bridge Celebration 
St. Patrick's Day, March 17, was a memorable day in the history of Stanislaus 
County, for on that morning the bridge was formally accepted by the supervisors. Its 
acceptance was acknowledged by the supervisors in a body crossing the structure. The 
bar was turned aside and in an automobile, with John Clark acting as chauffeur, 
Supervisors Johnson, Vaugh, Little and Whitmore, together with the contractor, Ben 
E. Cotton, slowly rode across the bridge. Returning to their starting point, they again 
crossed over, followed in line by about thirty citizens in automobiles. Thus was for- 
mally opened the Tuolumne River bridge, one of the handsomest and most substantial 
bridges in California. It was the intention of the Business Men's Association of 
Modesto to have a grand celebration, but this was indefinitely postponed because of the 
washing away of the temporary bridge February 22. This accident caused a long delay 
in the completion of the bridge. It also caused a detour of travel through Empire City, 
this causing a loss of thousands of dollars to the Modesto merchants. Therefore, they 
concluded to have no further delay in the blocking of business. 

The State Highway Bridge 

There was a long discussion in 1899 by the supervisors of San Joaquin and Stanis- 
laus counties over a bridge across the Stanislaus River. Two locations were under 
consideration, Burney's and Bailey's Ferry. County Surveyor Quail of San Joaquin 
County, still in office, was requested to report to the San Joaquin supervisors the cost 
of a bridge at either point, and the cost to each county. He reported June 7 that a 
bridge at Burney's Ferry would cost, pro rata, San Joaquin $7,655 and Stanislaus 
County $5,310, while a bridge at Bailey's Ferry would cost, respectively, $11,275 and 
$3,945. A bridge at Bailey's Fern- would accommodate the greater number of people, 
as it was a direct route to Modesto and Merced and a bridge was there built. Now, 
I have no means at hand of knowing the exact cost or the length of said bridge. It was 
not a very substantial structure and after a few years was superseded by the present 
bridge, for we read, January 21, 191 1 : "The Bailey Ferry bridge three miles south of 
Escalon will be completed in the near future at a cost of $30,000. The bridge has two 
eighty-foot spans, one 200-foot span and 500 feet of trestle." It is now a part of the 
State Highway, having been taken over by the state and strengthened and replanked 
during the present year. 

Transportation Now and Then 

Safe and rapid transportation is the life of trade. The merchant of Stanislaus 
County in the present time receives goods from the seaport within forty-eight hours. 
In other days it took from a week to ten days, frequently a longer time, to receive mer- 
chandise from the same port. Today the East and the West Side of the county import 
and export their goods and products by railroad, but for twenty years the East Side 
was compelled to wait the slow-moving pack train or mule team, while the West Side 
was dependent altogether upon the unreliable river steamers. 


Knights Ferry the Gateway Station 

The imports and exports to all points of the county, except Knights Ferry, were 
of little importance because of the smallness of the population and the out-of-line of 
travel. To the ferry, however, the imports were enormous, thousands of tons each 
year. At first the goods were transported upon the backs of mules. Each animal would 
be loaded with an average of 300 .pounds, and driven to the mines in bands of from 
thirty to fifty in each band, the drivers being Mexicans. These mules would be loaded 
with all kinds of merchandise, from barrels of flour to baby buggies. The pack train, 
led by its bell mule, soon gave way to the sixteen-mule team, with its jingling bells, 
six bells to each mule, the entire team being driven by one line or rein. The wagons 
were usually called prairie schooners because of the immense loads they carried, varying 
from five to ten tons. 

The First Up-River Boats 

The earliest record of boating on the rivers of Stanislaus County was in the 
winter of 1849. At that time a number of gold seekers, bound for the mines, loaded 
about twenty whale boats in San. Francisco with groceries, mining implements, etc., 
and started out. Rowing across the bay up the San Joaquin and the Tuolumne rivers 
they landed at Crescent City. From that point they transported their goods overland 
to the mines. By traveling with their goods by water as far as possible, they made 
quite a saving in freight money. At that time the price of freight from Stockton to 
Sonora was seventy-five cents per hundred pounds and to Mariposa one dollar per 
hundred pounds. In December, '49, and the spring of 1850, "whaleboats were con- 
stantly plying between Stockton, Crescent City and Jacksonville." Other tributaries 
of the San Joaquin were not considered navigable under any circumstances. 

The Pioneer Steamer 
The first boat to sail the upper rivers was the little side-wheel steamer Georgiana, 
of perhaps thirty tons register. She had on board a party bound for an excursion to 
the up-river towns and the question was asked: "Is the river navigable to Tuolumne 
City?" The steamer left Stockton on the afternoon of May 1, 1850, one of the excur- 
sionists being the editor and proprietor of the Stockton Times. "After leaving San 
Joaquin City that night," wrote the editor, "we cast anchor to a tree and picking out 
the softest plank on the deck, wrapped our blankets about us, but the myriads of 
mosquitoes buzzing about us made sleep almost impossible. At sunrise we steamed up 
the river to Grayson City. After spending an hour there running down stream we 
headed up the river to Tuolumne City and were met on our arrival by about 150 per- 
sons, with loud and prolonged cheers." 

Efforts Made to Establish Trade 

Finding the river navigable, the captain of the steamer Georgiana advertised that 
he would make weekly trips to Grayson and Tuolumne City during the season. The 
"steamer will leave Stockton on the arrival of the John A. Sutter from San Francisco." 
At Tuolumne City the steamer Georgiana was to make connections with the steamer 
Etna for points higher up the river. The steamer Maunsell White was another little 
craft advertised to carry freight and passengers. The desertion of the river towns, as 
already recorded, killed the river trade and for a period of eighteen months not a 
steamer made the trip. In 1852 the captain of the Erastus Corning concluded to run 
up river. He had been making tri-weekly trips between San Francisco and Stockton, 
but as there were six other boats making the same trips he believed there was more 
money for him up-river. It was said great changes had taken place in the amount of 
travel between Stockton and Mariposa and that a boat might pay. The captain adver- 
tised, August 15, that he would run to Empire City during the winter and would stop 
at all intermediate points. These steamers were all independently managed. The 
captain, pilot and engineer usually owned the boat and handled all the business, hence 
there was a possibility of making money. The boat was run up at a loss, however, and 
we hear no more of up-river traffic until 1860. 


The Pioneer Freighters 
The first of the line of steamers that ran up the rivers for at least twenty-five 
years was a little stern-wheel craft called the Eureka. She had a carrying capacity 
of about fifty tons and was built by the Ling brothers, two Stockton jewelers. Then 
came the "Christiana," named after a daughter of John Schreck, the owner. He had 
formerly been a teamster on the road between Stockton and Sonora, then a commission 
merchant, and owned large quantities of land on the West Side. The third was the 
little steamer Visalia, built in Sacramento and named after the up-country town. This 
boat came steaming into Stockton July 3, 1860, from the up-river, having on board 
sixty sacks of wool from the San Luis Rancho. The following day she started up-river 
again for Fresno City with a consignment of 60,000 pounds of barley for the Overland 
Stage Company. The Esmeralda, built in 1864, ran that year up to Sycamore Slough. 

Kinds of Merchandise Shipped 
In 1866, J. D. Hamilton, formerly proprietor of the twelve-mile stage station and 
hotel on the Sonora road, and Joseph Ward, engaged in the steamboat business, built a 
steamer called the Alta. Even up to that year there was but little grain raised in 
Stanislaus County, and the trade was with the Mexican settlers and vaqueros who had 
located along the bank of the river. The steamer would carry up groceries and 
such other supplies as were used by the Mexicans, and return with a steamer load of 
hides, pelts, tallow, wool and sometimes sheep for the markets. In 1868 there came a 
remarkable change. The farmers began settling in the county by the hundreds. They 
began the raising of grain and this caused a quick change in the kinds of articles trans- 
ported. At this time also they learned that larger steamers could ascend the rivers. 
Still the means of transportation was too limited, and then big barges were built and 
loaded. They were towed up stream with a long tow line fastened to the tow post of 
the steamer. This was in April, 1870, and in that month the steamer Tulare, with 
barge, took up river 200 cords of redwood posts, 6,000 feet of lumber and 160 tons of 
merchandise, from flour, sugar, bacon and beans to agricultural implements. Six years 
later came the crowning event for big loads, when the steamers Harriet and Clara Crow 
brought into Stockton 16,000 sacks of wheat, each sack averaging 120 pounds. The 
Harriet brought down the largest load, 9,000 sacks. 

First Passenger Boat 
In the middle sixties the river passenger trade was of considerable importance and 
in 1867 Capt. J. D. Hamilton built the Tulare. She was fitted up with a cabin and 
staterooms and had all of the passenger conveniences of that day. At one period she 
made regular trips from Tuolumne City to San Francisco direct, touching on the way 
at Stockton. The passenger list, of course, was not large, but the Harriet on one of 
her down trips carried forty-nine passengers. It was quite a number for a small boat 
and fifteen of them were on their way overland by rail. The Central Pacific Railroad 
track at the time, July, 1869, was within a few miles of Stockton. 

The Stanislaus Navigation Company 

In 1868 a number of citizens of Stanislaus County incorporated and formed what 
was known as the Tuolumne and Stanislaus Navigation Company. Their capital stock 
was $7,000, with shares at seventy dollars each. The directors for the first year 
were John W. Laird, Henry Covert, F. Meinecke and Henry James. The company 
was formed for the purpose of running a steamer between Tuolumne City and Grayson, 
carrying both freight and passengers. They made a contract with Stephen Davis, a 
shipbuilder at Stockton, and he built them the steamer Tuolumne City at a cost com- 
plete of $9,000. The steamer was ninety feet in length, twenty-nine feet in breadth 
and four feet deep. Her engine was made at the Globe Iron Works in the same city. 

Clearing the River Stanislaus 
All of these rivers were very dangerous to navigation. Through the floods of 
ages past the river bottoms were filled with snags, the limbs of old trees deep buried 


in the shifting sands, with sharp projecting points, and the low branches of trees liable 
at any time to carry a steamer's smokestack, so the pilot had to be on his guard 
at all times. To remedy this evil the Legislature, in April, 1868, authorized the 
formation of a company "for the purpose of clearing the Stanislaus River of overhead 
trees, snags from the stream, and purchasing a boat for the trade." They were also 
authorized to collect such tolls as were permitted by the supervisors. The company 
began work at Burneyville and cleared the Stanislaus of all obstructions to its mouth. 
Having completed their work, in May, 1869, they invited the supervisors, Caleb Dorsey, 
T. T. Hamlin and Henry G. James, to meet them at Stockton and sail up the river 
to inspect the work. Only one supervisor appeared, Col. Caleb Dorsey. With him 
as their guest the company left Stockton at nine o'clock, May 1, and that night they 
tied up at Taylor's Ferry. The following day the steamers touched at Gibson's landing, 
Henderson's Store, Murphy's and Bailey's Ferry, Cady's Rancho and on arrival at 
Burneyville they were welcomed by a large crowd of citizens. 

Terminal River Points 

The first steamer to run up J:he Stanislaus River as far as Burneyville, now called 
Burney, was the Clara Crow, transporting from that point forty tons of grain. The 
following year she ran up as far as Dallas ranch, now called Hickman, and obtained a 
cargo of wheat. The little boat of forty-five tons register was built by J. W. Crow 
and J. W. Smith, his brother-in-law, the Crow family being among the earliest settlers. 
In May, 1868, the steamer Fresno, then under command of Joseph Ward, ran up the 
Tuolumne River as far as the J. D. Morley Ferry, twenty-five miles above Paradise 
City. This was the highest point ever reached on that river, and this was only accom- 
plished during the highest tides. The largest steamer ever running up the Tuolumne 
River was the Empire City, 125 tons, running as far up as Paradise. This steamer 
has the credit of making the run from Paradise to Stockton in seven hours. She was 
transporting at this time 150 sacks of grain, and was towing a barge containing 1,220 
sacks of wool weighing 336,000 pounds. It was the most valuable cargo ever brought 
down the river in a single trip, February, 1869. At this time, 1893, the merchants of 
Fresno were trying to reduce their freight bills by shipping by steamer instead of by 
rail, the scribe saying, "It is the intention of the Fresno merchants to save freight 
charges by shipping it by river as far as possible and freight it to the Raisin City." 
With this object in view the Empire City took on board at Stockton for Fresno and 
ran up the San Joaquin as far as Firebaugh's Ferry. This steamer was running up the 
Tuolumne River as late as 1893, and in March of that year she landed 200 tons of 
cast-iron pipe at Modesto for the new waterworks. It was the first steamer to go up 
the river as far as Modesto since 1869. On April 1 of the same year she again ap- 
peared at the town, landing with a load of freight. The largest steamer up any of 
the rivers was the 400-ton steamer Centennial, built in 1876, Simon Newman, then 
of Hill's Ferry, was one of the largest stockholders. She made her trial trip up the 
San Joaquin River and s"eaming up as far as Hill's Ferry took on a load of 6,000 
sacks of wheat. 

The Shoaling Waters 

The up-river navigation usually commenced in January and ended in August or 
September. Gradually the wate* of the rivers would shoal and by the end of September 
it would be impossible to ascend the streams and bring down any profitable loads. 
The highest waters usually were during June, July and August. Then there would 
be a rush of business, all of the farmers would have their wheat harvested and begin 
hauling it to the points of embarkation. Along this line the editor of the News wrote in 
September, 1868, "Nearly 3,000 tons of vheat is stacked up along the river banks above 
Tuolumne City awaiting shipment from different points to market. If the water falls 
rapidly much of it will have to be stored in the warehouse until next year." The fol- 
lowing year the same paper stated, July 4, "The streets of our little town are perfectly 
jammed with wagons and teams hauling grain for shipment. Much of this rush is due 
to navigation being discontinued above this point, which compels the farmers to ship 
from Paradise City. Steamers as large as <'ie Empire City can land here, as the water 


is not less than four feet, that being the lowest point." "It is a singular fact that in 
years of great crops on the West Side, navigation seems to close earlier," said a writer 
in 1878. In 1872, the heaviest crop year known in that section, nearly all of the boats 
were compelled to draw off before the last of August because of the lowering of the 
streams. The crops were later that year and scarcely two-thirds of the crop was got 
out. Every farmer was anxious to get his crops into some seaport warehouse so that 
he could sell on the highest market price. The transportation facilities were limited and 
in seasons of tremendously heavy crops it was almost impossible to ship out all of the 
grain. "On one occasion," says H. J. Corcoran in his stories of the San Joaquin River, 
"there was a very heavy crop and each farmer demanded that his grain be first shipped. 
The steamer Clara Crow, with a barge, landed at Crows Landing to take on a load of 
grain. Every farmer at the landing insisted upon his grain being trucked on board. 
The captain, J. W. Smith, a brother-in-law of the Crow family, was a very obliging 
gentleman, but he was in a quandary. Finally he hit upon the plan of premium rates 
for the transportation of 300 tons of wheat. The rate was three dollars per ton, and 
the highest bidder over that rate would have his wheat shipped out. The farmers 
began bidding against each other, but one farmer sitting 'way back on a pile of grain 
outbid all others. His bid was so high that Captain Smith and James Crow felt quite 
happy, as they would get $1,000 more than the regular freight charge. Imagine their 
disappointment, however, when they learned that the successful bidder was the foreman 
of one of the Crow brothers' ranches." 

The Height of the Grain Era 

In the early '80s Stanislaus County began harvesting heavy crops of grain and 
this was particularly true of the West Side. In order to transport this grain, larger 
steamers were built. Then the Crow brothers, who were large landowners and grain 
raisers, built two barges, each barge carrying 300 tons. They continued increasing 
the capacity of the barges until finally Captain Hamilton and his partner, Jack Greer, 
built a barge which they named the Alta. It was 230 feet in length, 40 feet in width 
and so constructed that it would carry 18,000 sacks of wheat and float in five feet of 
water. The transportation of wheat was immense and over 1,000,000 tons have been 
shipped down stream and stored in warehouses in a single season. The handling of so 
much wheat required many buyers or agents. Some of these agents represented com- 
mission men in Stockton, some big buyers in San Francisco, among the latter Isaac 
Friedlanger, in his day the "king financier" of wheat. These agents at one time had 
their headquarters at the Grayson House, Grayson, and were royally entertained by 
'mine host," John Westley Van Benscroten. It is said that they would sit daily upon 
his commodious porch, smoking fine Havanas and drinking rare old wines, and watch 
for the signs of their various steamers. Each boat called at Grayson on her way up 
stream and the captain received his orders regarding the loading of his steamer and 
barge. From their second-story positions the agents could see the smoke of the steamers, 
five miles distant by land and ten miles by water, as it arose above the trees that lined 
the river banks. And from experience they learned to tell the name of each steamer 
from the manner in which the smoke arose from her smokestack. After dark, they 
could tell the name of the steamer by its whistle. Those are days of the past. In time 
the railroads absorbed all trade and the steamboats of the West Side, like the stages 
and mule teams, were compelled to give way to the quicker mode of transportation. 


The railroad is the greatest of builders of town and county. Were it not for the 
construction and maintenance of four railroad lines through Stanislaus County, the 
county in all probability today would not have been much wealthier or with a much 
larger population than in 1870. Oakdale, Modesto, Turlock, Newman and various 
other smaller towns would have had no existence, and Empire, Paradise, Tuolumne 


City and Hill's Ferry would have been thriving little towns. But the locomotive 
whistle was heard and the river towns, almost in a day, were deserted and became cities 
of history only. But the towns first named came into life, and growing, ever growing, 
wonderfully assisted during the past fifteen } - ears by irrigation, will mark another 
century in the calendar of time. 


The pioneers, even as early as 1863, gave encouragement to railroads by voting 
their willingness to purchase bonds. In February of that year, through their repre- 
sentatives, Assemblyman J. W. Robinson and Senator George McCullough, the Legis- 
lature passed a bill authorizing the supervisors, J. H. Newsome, Stephen Bishop and 
N. McFarlane, to call an election and submit to the electors the question of subscribing 
for $25,000 in Stockton & Copperopolis railroad bonds. The election was called and a 
surprisingly large vote was given for the bonds — yes, 239; no, 29. The railroad project 
which had been promoted was abandoned because of its heavy cost. Again the Stockton 
& Copperopolis railroad question came up in the Legislature in March, 1866, and they 
passed an amended bill increasing Stanislaus County's subscription to $50,000, provided 
the road ran to Knights Ferry, at that time the county seat. Twelve miles of the road 
were graded. The value of copper fell to less than the cost of production and trans- 
portation and thus ended the story of a railroad to "copper" town. Three years later, 
1869, the Legislative body enacted a law, approved by Gov. Henry H. Haight, authoriz- 
ing the supervisors of Tulare, Fresno, Merced and Stanislaus counties to subscribe for 
the bonds of the Central Pacific Railroad, if the electors of said counties so declared. 
Proposed Railroad for Stanislaus 

At this time the entire northern part of California had "gone wild" over the 
question of railroads. Stanislaus County had caught the fever and the Tuolumne News 
declared, March 17, 1869: "Rumors are afloat, which are pretty well substantiated, 
that a company is being formed in connection with other parties, men of wealth, to 
build a railroad from Paradise City to Mossdale, on the San Joaquin, to connect with 
the Central Pacific; $100,000 has been subscribed, provided our citizens put up a like 
amount of money." 

Stockton Railroad Talk 

In that year the Central Pacific incorporated a railroad under the name of the 
San Joaquin Valley Railroad. It was capitalized at $15,000,000 and had as its object 
a road downjthe valley to connect at Mohave with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, 
then building westward from New Orleans. Many of the citizens of Stockton, believ- 
ing the Stanford road would greatly injure the trade of Stockton, planned to build an 
opposition road and head off the Southern Pacific. With this object in view, they in- 
corporated what was known as the Stockton & Visalia Railroad. The capital stock was 
placed at $5,500,000, with shares at $100 each. The company proposed to construct 
a railroad through Stanislaus, Merced, Fresno and Tulare to the town of Visalia. The 
directors of the company were Stockton citizens, and two of them, Louis Haas and John 
Schreck, were large landowners in Stanislaus County. A public meeting was held to 
obtain subscriptions, and Thomas J. Keyes and W. S. Montgomery, former residents 
of Stanislaus, strongly favored the building of the road. The capitalist would not 
subscribe for the stock, fearing that there was a "nigger" in the fence, and so there was 
much talk but no action. This called forth a sharp rebuke from the Stanislaus Neivs 
and September 25, 1869, Spencer wrote: "We see that the people of Stockton are 
getting excited over the question of a railroad through this vallev to terminate at 
Tuolumne City. There has been so much talk and so little accomplished that we hesi- 
tate giving any credence to even reliable reports or propositions emanating from that 
quarter. We do not wish to flatter our farmers with the hope that a railroad will soon 
be built through our valley by Stockton influence." The Southern Pacific Railroad 
Company were strongly fighting the scheme. The Stockton & Visalia Company, find- 
ing they could make no headway, sold out in August, 1871, to the California Pacific, 
the road having been graded as far as Peters. The road last named built the road to 
Milton, in Calaveras Countv. Then thev sold out to the Southern Pacific. 



The whys and the wherefores of any railroad are past finding out, but almost im- 
mediately the Southern Pacific, commencing at Peters, so named after the well-known 
grain buyer and buhach grower, Joseph D. Peters, began building a branch road to 
Farmington and on to the Stanislaus River near Burneyville. The work was in charge 
of Capt. W. L. Moulton, who had been interested in the two former projects, the Stock- 
ton & Copperopolis and the California Pacific roads. Moulton had 400 men and 200 
horses at work and he laid the rails three-fourths of a mile per day. Within two miles 
of the river, Moulton was compelled to await the completion of the bridge. The 
work on the bridge was hurried along and September 25, 1871, the reporter wrote: 
"Soon the whistle of the iron horse will be heard in the grove of gigantic live oaks 
among which is situated the new town of Oakdale, the most pleasant and inviting 
pleasure ground in the whole San Joaquin Valley." Passenger trains were running to 
Oakdale, commencing September 9, and from the end of the line they took stages for 
Burnett's Station ; Sisson's stage line connecting at Burnett's for Knights Ferry and 
other mountain camps. There was but one train a day. It left Stockton at 7 A. M. and 
arrived at Oakdale at 8:35 A. M., left that point at 2:38 P. M., arriving at Stockton 
at 4:10 P. M. 

While the Stockton & Visalia Railroad was hanging in the balance, a second road 
known as the Stockton & Tulare Railroad was incorporated by a company of Stock- 
tonians. The president of the company, Timothy Paige, was a large landowner of 
Stanislaus' West Side. The company appeared before the common council of Stockton 
in September, 1869, with a proposition that the council subscribe to $100,000 worth of 
bonds, the bonds to be delivered after ten miles of the road had been built. At the 
same meeting a second proposition for a railroad was read. It was signed by Leland 
Stanford, president. "It has been rumored," the paper declared, "that Stockton has 
$100,000 to invest in bonds in some valley railroad. The company will accept the offer 
and build seventy-five miles of railroad down the valley before the delivery of the 
bonds." The Stockton city council favored the proposition and sent for President 
Stanford. On arrival, he was introduced to the council by the mayor, Louis N. 
Hickman, after whom Hickman, in Stanislaus County, is named. During the con- 
versation, Councilman George S. Evans inquired: "Mr. Stanford, at what point on 
the Tuolumne River will the proposed road through the valley cross t^e Tuolumne 
River?" "I cannot say exactly without a map, but it will be somewhere near Empire 
City, perhaps a little above and it may be a little below that point." Mayor Hickman 
then inquired of Mr. Stanford, "What do you intend to charge for freights and 
fares?" "None of your damn business!" replied the railroad president, and taking his 
hat he immediately left the council chamber. 

The San Francisco Alta, in September, 1869, published the statement that the 
Southern Pacific would soon build a branch road down the San Joaquin Valley. Theii 
prediction was soon verified. The company soon commenced work at Wilson's Station 
on the Overland route, but later changed the line to Lathrop. Working from the last 
named point, the surveyors ran a line straight for Murphy's Ferry on the Stanislaus 
River and November 20, 1869, began their survey for a bridge. "Yesterday," said the 
News, "they moved to the Tuolumne River and are to examine a point near Empire 
City. They will connect with the Western Pacific between French Camp and Shep- 
herd's Ferry." The final route was quickly selected and the graders and track layers 
following closely after the surveyor, completed the track that year to a point neai 
Murphy's Ferry. A month later the News reported : "The Southern Pacific have 
resumed operations down the San Joaquin Valley branch of their road at the Stanislaus 
River. They will cross about one-half mile below Murphy's Ferry, a distance at that 
point being about 1 ,200 feet from bank to bank, a large portion of which is covered by 
water in the winter time. This will be trestled and the bridge proper will be about 300 


feet in length. It is expected that the road will cross the Tuolumne River about three 
and one-half miles above Paradise City, to which point numbers of the business men 
of Tuolumne and Paradise City propose moving their buildings and establishments to 
the new town as soon as the point is fully ascertained, as in their opinion a considerable 
business may be expected at that place." The work of track laying was hastened, for 
the Southern Pacific were anxious to run down the valley as soon as possble, first to 
connect with the Southern Railroad and second to be ready to haul the wheat crop of 
that season. The locomotive entered Modesto May 8, 1870; and the first time table, 
published February 26, 1872, read as follows: Leave Stockton 7:35 A. M., Lathrop 
8:20 A. M., Modesto 9:45 for Merced, the track having been laid to that point 
January 25, 1871. The train left Merced the following morning, arriving at Stock- 
ton at 10:20 A. M. 


That we may so far as possible bring this history up to date in compact form, let 
us notice briefly the judicial organization of the county. It will be remembered that 
Stanislaus County was organized in 1854, cut off from Tuolumne County. An organi- 
zation of county government was necessary and first of all the formation of county 
townships. That work was conducted by the court of sessions, as it was called. Each 
county had a court of sessions, corresponding to the present superior court, and above 
>'t a district court embracing two or more counties. The court of sessions had a presid- 
ing judge and two associate judges. The court assembled at Adamsville, the county 
seat, July 3, 1854, Judge H. W. Wallis presiding. All of the judges were present and 
Eli S. Marvin and James Burney were elected associate judges of the court of sessions 
of Stanislaus County. The judges then created the townships, defined the boundaries 
of each township, and named as district supervisors of the townships the following citi- 
zens: Burney, D. B. Gardner; Oakville, F. Scocke; Branch, Gallant D. Dickinson; 
Marvin, John G. Marvin; Orestimba, John M. Newsome; Grayson, John Westley 
Yin Benscroten. 

As Stanislaus County was for over twenty years a large cattle-raising county, it 
was a class of property constantly changing hands and frequently sold at sheriff sales to 
settle unpaid debts. In order to protect the buyer in his purchase it became necessary 
for the county to mark its stamp or brand upon the animals "sold under execution." To 
accomplish this result the court selected a brand. The design was "SC," signifying 
Stanislaus County. Could any dishonest person mutilate or destroy this brand? Cer- 
tainly, but the state law required every cattle owner to place his brand on record in 
the county recorder's office, and to disfigure a brand or to change it was a state's 
prison offense. 

The court also adopted a set of seals for each department of the court and the 
clerk was ordered to have them made. The designs at the present time may seem quite 
amusing. The seal of the county court was the usual device, with the Coast Range 
Mountains as a background and a man lassoing a cow. The probate court stamp was 
the usual device, and an elk. The court of sessions seal was the usual device, the Coast 
Range, and in the foreground a grizzly bear, while the district court seal was the 
Coast Range in the background and in the foreground a mare and colt. At the time 
the seals were very appropriate, as they typified the horse and cattle industry and two 
of the animals that then roamed the plains. 

Every voting citizen knows that under the state law once in every four years at 
least he must register in the county clerk's office his name, age, place of birth, occupa- 
tion and politics, but since women have become electors the age record has been 


stricken out. A. E. Ketchin, while rummaging among a lot of old papers three years 
ago, in *he garret of his home at Roberts Ferry, found an old Stanislaus register dating 
from 1867 to 1877. It was a valuable find, and it shows that in 1867 there were 
2,665 voters, all white, except two colored men, George Clark, who lived at Knights 
Ferry, and Felix Grundy at La Grange. J. L. Crawford, in registering, gave his 
occupation as that of hog thief, and Mike Curran, age fifty years, said he was a sheep 
doctor. John P. Dennin and John Little, in 1876, registered as "gentlemen." Theo- 
dore Turner, Modesto, first mayor, in 1868 was a school teacher near Empire City. 
J. S. Wootten, at the age of twenty-one years, was registered as a farmer and later a 
teacher in Modesto and still later principal of the Stockton high school. Jefferson D. 
Bentley, in 1866, then thirty-nine years of age, was registered as residing at Buena 
Vista, and he was present and saw the mob take the cattle thief from the Knights Ferry 
jail and hang him. Henry Cavill was in the teaming occupation and lived in the 
Washington precinct. Thomas D. Harp was a young man of thirty-one years and 
farming near Modesto in 1868. Charles Harter, in 1871, was a Modesto blacksmith. 
In 1870, George Perley, then a young man of twenty-two years, had just arrived in 
Modesto from New Brunswick and had accepted a position as clerk, while A. L. 
Cressey, thirty-six years of age, in 1876, was farming near Modesto. 


In 1860 the San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Society was organized at Stockton, 
the organization including the four counties of San Joaquin, Calaveras, Tuolumne and 
Stanislaus. The Governor appointed its directors from the four counties and it re- 
ceived yearly appropriations from the Legislature. For some reason Stanislaus pre- 
ferred to hold a county fair and organizing, the officers in June, 1869, were H. G. 
James, president; Stephen Rodgers, vice-president; L. B. Walthall, secretary; S. M. 
Gallup, corresponding secretary, and H. K. Covert, treasurer. The directors were 
Miner Walden, James McHenry, J. C. Ayres, Samuel Dingley and J. D. Morley. 
The fair was held in Tuolumne City and opened September 22, continuing three days. 
The pavilion show was very poor, also the stock exhibition, for the farmers would not 
take the trouble to make any exhibits. The ladies, however, exhibited some beautiful 
needlework and some creditable oil paintings were exhibited. The horse racing at 
Miner Walden's track, two miles west of the town, was a success and the gamblers 
and track saloon did a big business. On the second day of the fair the ladies gave a 
festival for the purpose of raising money to build a brick schoolhouse. Roanoke, the 
Independent's traveling correspondent, said, "The festival was a grand success and 
Stanislaus' most favorite daughters were present in large numbers. The ladies made 
$250 clear of all expense." Bartholomew's circus gave performances during the fair 
and on Wednesday evening the circus band serenaded every one of the fair sex. The 
"Thunderer," a correspondent in the Stanislaus News, much disgruntled over Roanoke's 
criticism of the fair, said: "Roanoke appears to have got matters terribly muddled. 
He had evidently spent the most of his time on the race track and imbibed too freely 
of the ardent or else had been betting on the losing nag. He appeared anxious to 
ridicule the whole affair save the excellent work of the ladies. Even in that he mis- 
quoted, and if some of them had him by the scalp he would feel as if he was standing 
on hot coals of fire barefooted." In reply Roanoke said : "Keep cool, Spencer, and 
don't tear your linen. The article is costly nowadays and printers aren't overstocked 
with the needful." 

Another fair was held in Modesto in 1875, commencing September 28, and was 
as the Nezus stated, devoted exclusively to horse racing and the exhibition of stock. Its 
officers were Frank Ross, president ; Colonel Caleb Dorsey, vice-president, and George 
Buck, secretary. The feature of the horse races was that a reporter of the San Fran- 
cisco Bulletin was present and each day's races were published in the press dis- 
patches. That year the county fair association collapsed and the Stock Growers Asso- 
ciation was organized. In October they gave four days' racing, and purses amounting 


to $1,450. "The races," declared the press, "will make the town assume a more than 
ordinary lively appearance." It did. Gamblers, sports and women flocked there from 
every quarter and Modesto was soon to be known as the "sporting town of the state." 

By the adoption of the new constitution in 1879 every fair association in the state 
went out of existence and new associations were organized. Under the new agricul- 
tural district laws Stanislaus County was included with San Joaquin County in the 
fourth district, but in 1891 the county was classed in a district by itself, Agricultural 
District No. 38. In the previous year, on May 3, 1890, the citizens organized the 
Stanislaus Agricultural Association, with a capital stock of $30,000, of which amount 
$18,000 was paid in. The directors of the association were L. A. Richards, L. M. 
Wilson, John J. Dolan, A. J. Cressey, J. W. Davidson, L. B. Walthall and Thomas 
Wallace. They obtained a tract of land one and one-half miles west of Modesto and 
laid out a fine one-mile track sixty feet in width and eighty feet wide on the home 
stretch. They also built a grandstand at a cost of $10,000, the total cost being about 
$23,000. In the following year they gave four days of horse racing, the racing begin- 
ning October 15, 1891. It was a good winter track for racing, but it was not a success. 
The track was plowed up many years ago and used as a vegetable garden, as it was too 
valuable for racing purposes. 

The Grange or Patrons of Husbandry was a secret organization composed of 
farmers only, and their wives and daughters. It was formed for the express purpose 
of demanding laws beneficial to the farmer and protecting him against the middlemen 
and the railroad corporations. It came into life about the time of Newton Booth's 
aspirations to become governor of California. He campaigned the state denouncing the 
Southern Pacific and enlisting everywhere the farming interests, succeeding in electing 
himself governor and then U. S. senator. It was not in itself a political movement, 
but the Democratic and Republican parties quickly noted its importance as a political 
factor and for the first time they recognized the farmer in their platforms. The move- 
ment had its inception in the farmers' clubs of 1873. They held public meetings in the 
counties of the state in which subjects of interest were discussed. The meetings soon 
became of interest, however, to politicians as they discussed questions of railroad 
freights and fares, public expenditures of money and many other leading subjects. In a 
short time the club system was abandoned and they organized a secret organization 
known as the Patrons of Husbandry, with an auxiliary women's organization. "The 
first grange," says Winfield J. Davis in his "Political History," "was the Vacaville 
grange, organized August 26, 1873. They adopted a set of resolutions, which in sub- 
stance were adopted by all of the granges in the state. Briefly, they declared, 'We will 
support no men for law makers or for any position of public trust whose character and 
integrity for honesty of purpose and whose fidelity to the true interests of the farmer are 
not beyond doubt. We wage no war againsr railroads or grain buyers only so far as 
their treatment of the farming interest is manifestly unjust or aggressive. But when 
they form rings or odious combinations to oppress, cripple and crush out the farming 
interest, then we may be compelled to declare war and go after the common enemy.' " 

The Stanislaus Granges 
The Patrons of Husbandry was a national organization with national', state and 
county officers, each county having its local granges. The first grange in the county 
was Stanislaus Grange No. 4, which was organized April 15, 1873. It was organized 
by Deputy H. W. Baxter and located at Modesto. J. D. Spencer was elected master 
and James McHenry, secretary. Late in the year, December 23, the delegates from the 
seven local granges assembled in Odd Fellows Hall for the purpose of forming a county 
council. The delegates meeting in the afternoon were called to order by Theodore 
Turner. For chairman of the meeting they elected J. D. Spencer; Vital E. Bangs was 
elected secretary. The committee on credentials, comprising Theodore Turner, A. S 
Fulkerth and C. H. Heining, reported that the following delegates were entitled to 


seats in the convention: W. B. Harp, John Service and John M. Henderson from Ceres 
Grange; George H. Copeland, R. B. Smith and J. W. Van Benscroten from Grayson 
Grange; Adam J. Lucas and William J. Fisher from Bonita Grange; C. H. Heining, 
Benjamin Parks, Harvey Chance and A. G. Carver from Salida Grange ; J. D. Spencer, 
J. V. Davis, Theo. Turner, Vital E. Bangs, Mrs. E. J. Turner and Mrs. Frank H. 
Ross from Stanislaus Grange; Samuel Crane, Jacob Hayes, A. S. Fulkerth and J. A. 
Henderson from Turlock Grange. The council continued its organization until 1876. 
Then by authorization of the national council the local organization was reorganized 
and was henceforth known as Pomona Grange, with farmers and their wives as charter 
members. The new council included the following granges and charter members: 
H. W. and Mrs. L. J. Brouse, Ed Hatch, John Service and Mrs. Julia Service from 
Ceres Grange ; C. R. and Mrs. M. Calendar, Oakdale Grange ; J. D. and Mrs. Rey- 
burn, B. F. and Mrs. B. A. Parks, J. F. Kerr and A. H. Elmore from Salida Grange; 
Vital E. and Mrs. M. G. Bangs, John D. and Mrs. M. A. Spencer, Stanislaus Grange ; 
A. S. and Mrs. C. Fulkerth, W. L. Fulkerth and Ed McCabe from Turlock Grange; 
R. R. Warder, S. M. Gallup and Mrs. M. A. Gallup and James Kinkead from 
Waterford Grange. 

Five years passed and in 1881 the local grange was a defunct organization. In 
fact, the pioneer organization, Stanislaus Grange, died a natural death in 1879, and 
the only tangible object of the local movement is the Grange store and warehouse 
company. The council of 1873 declared that its object was to facilitate "the trans- 
actions of business in buying, selling and shipping and for such other purposes as may 
seem for the good of the order." "Its main object," said Vital E. Bangs, "was to 
establish a business agency, but no such agency was established. In place of it, inde- 
pendent local associations were created and chartered, whose leading business was 
buying, selling and storing wheat." At least two of these have proved successful 
ventures, The Grange Company of Salida and that of Modesto. The last-named com- 
pany passed into the hands of a business board of directors years ago and remains a 
Grangers' business in name only. 

Hundreds of pioneers who immigrated to California in '49 had seen service in 
the Mexican war and early in the history of the state they organized military companies 
in the valley and mountain camps. When the Civil War broke out these companies 
were greatly increased in number and formed what was known as the "Home Guard." 
Stanislaus had one such company. It was located at Knights Ferry and was known as 
the Knights Ferry Mounted Rifle Company. They wore the U. S. regulation uni- 
form, the officers wearing a dark blue coat and dark blue trousers and the privates 
wearing dark blue jackets and dark blue trousers with a buff stripe. The company, 
numbering about forty men, appeared on parade in Stockton one July 4th, having 
ridden from their home town the day previous. They were in command of John Dent, 
who later went east to join the staff of his brother-in-law, Gen. U. S. Grant. Without 
his inspiration the members lost interest and soon disorganized. 

The next company of which we have any record is the Modesto Cadets. It was 
an infantry company of young men organized June 18, 1885, with Fred Case as cap- 
tain; James Casserly, first lieutenant; John Weatherod, second lieutenant; William 
Standiford, orderly sergeant, and J. C. Rice, second sergeant; H. S. Manning, first cor- 
poral; Jack Kane, second corporal ; W. S. Chase, third corporal. The executive officers 
were W. S. Chase, president; H. S. Manning, vice-president; George A. Beecher, 
secretary, and D. S. Freeman, treasurer. A committee appointed to drum up members 
succeeded splendidly and they soon had the number required by law. Being an inde- 
pendent company, they received no state aid and were obliged to go into their pockets 
to pay all the necessary expenses. The following year, however, they made application 
to the adjutant general of the state for admission into the National Guard. Their 
application was accepted and October 29, 1887, they were mustered into the National 


Guard by Capt. T. W. Drullard. They elected the following officers: Captain, 
T. W. Drullard; first lieutenant, R. K. Whitmore; second lieutenant, C. E. Brain- 
bridge. Their name was changed from Modesto Cadets to Company D, and they were 
assigned to the Sixth Regiment, Third Infantry Battalion, N. G. C. They received 
from the state a monthly allowance, ammunition and rifles for target practice and 
uniforms. They were required to hold target shoots, annually parade in full dress on 
each Fourth of July and attend state encampment when so ordered. The uniform 
issued them comprised a full dress suit and a fatigue cap, navy blue blouse and trousers. 

Orders were issued for the state militia to encamp at Santa Cruz and July 1 1 , 1890, 
Company D marched to the train en route for the seacoast town. Rank and file, they 
numbered thirty-two men, one-half of the company not being able to leave their busi- 
ness. First in line was Capt. R. K. Whitmore, who later became a major, Lieutenants 
W. H. Wood and P. H. Medley, Sergeants John Kane, W. L. Canfield, George Good- 
win, W. H. Bartii and H. J. Stevens; Corporals D. W. Morris, P. A. Peterson, 
George Freitas, John B. Zimdars, Carlton Zandes, Sol Elias; drummers, Charles Jones 
and Thomas O'Donnell; privates, A. A. Jackson, E. Bishop, F. L. Simon, Bardo 
Whittle, William Kingfield, Harry Vogelman, Isidore Loventhal, Joseph Jones, Alonzo 
Convoy, Thomas Jones, S. D. Stone, S. B. Bailey, George Day, Thomas Harp, Eugene 
Harker and Mark Andrews; chaplain, Rev. J. C. Webb. 

In the great railroad strike of July 4, 1894, Company D was ordered to Bakers- 
field to protect the railroad property. In the Spanish War of 1898, the Sixth Regiment 
were ordered to the coast points, expecting to be sent on to the Philippine Islands. The 
companies from Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced and Modesto boarded the train for Stock- 
ton and were then crowded like cattle on board a steamer en route for San Francisco. 
Company D, stationed at San Francisco, was mustered into the U. S. Army July 11, 
1898. They were mustered out the same year, December 15, and marched home. In 
recognition of the faithful services of the state militia the citizens had struck ofijj 
handsome bronze medals. The Native Sons and Daughters were given full charge of 
the medals, one to be given to each honorably discharged soldier. Company D received 
their medals late in the year. The time set was Sunday afternoon, December 10, 1899. 
It was a public event and Armory Hall was crowded. Company D appeared in full 
uniform and the medals were presented in an eloquent speech by Judge Conley of 
Madera County. The company had just moved into their new hall from the skating 
rink, their former place of drill and assembly. In their new hall, the second story of 
the Woods & Turner building, the company gave many social and other entertainments. 
The youngest member of the company, Roy L. Walthall, saw service in the Philippine 
Islands and later, entering West Point, graduated with high honors. 

Usually no students are admitted to West Point except upon the recommendation 
of the congressman of their district. Young Walthall, however, was admitted without 
any recommendation because of a law passed by Congress. This law admitted to West 
Point all of the lieutenants within the age limit who had seen service in the Philippine 
Islands. Walthall was one of the thirtv lieutenants who had thus served. 



The citizens of Tuolumne City and Paradise began agitating the removal of 
the county seat from Knights Ferry to a more central location long before the exact 
site of the new railroad town of Modesto was known. The Tuolumne News, hinting 
at a more suitable point for the county seat, declared November 25, 1870, "As the town 
will be nearer the center of the county than Knights Ferry the embryo town is expected 
to be made the county seat of Stanislaus County because the most important place in 
this portion of the valley." Knights Ferry citizens opposed the removal with all their 


power, but it was the power of a declining era, that of gold. As an evidence of this 
declining power let us look at the vote of two mountain counties, Tuolumne and Cala- 
veras. These two counties border Stanislaus County, and at that time contained very 
few women or children, hence the vote of the counties will give a fair idea of its popu- 
lation. In 1860 Calaveras County polled 4,418 votes and in 1868 only 2,192 votes. 
During the same years Tuolumne County polled, in 1860, 5,592 votes and in 1868 but 
2,109 votes. Thus it will be seen that over one-half of the population of those two 
counties alone left their mountain homes in less than ten years. Wheat, not gold, was 
king, and Modesto was the most reasonable location for the county seat. It was the 
center of a section rapidly heing settled by farmers, merchants, and their families, not 
for a day, but a century. It was in the midst of a splendid agricultural and horti- 
cultural country. It was in a locality where the citizens from any part of the county 
could easily reach the town in a day, transact their official business and return home. 
And last, but not least, it was in quick communication by rail with any part of the 
state and on the highway to Southern California. It is said, and no doubt true, that 
the Southern Pacific was very favorable to the change and that a heavy vote was polled 
by the colonization of railroad laborers and mechanics who were engaged in building 
the passenger and freight depot, the Tuolumne bridge and laying tracks. It was a good 
thing for them, for Modesto as the county seat would bring increased travel to the 
town, and its growth and prosperity would rapidly increase the value of their town 
lots. There was no doubt as to the result of the vote and but two contestants for the 
■Osier. The contest took place on the same day as the state election, September 6, 1871. 
It may be interesting to know how the various towns of the county voted. The vote of 
each individual was influenced by his own self interest and that of his friends. The 
bahot when counted by the supervisors sitting at Knights Ferry was reported as fol- 
lows: For Knights Ferry — La Grange, 75; Grayson, 11 ; Empire District, which in- 
cluded Modesto, 11. For Modesto — La Grange, 45; Tuolumne City, 48; Gravson, 
33; Modesto, 130. Scattering votes— For Oakdale, 17; Waterford, 3; Hill's Ferry, 
1 ; Grayson, 1. The total vote on county seat was 1,324, Knights Ferry receiving 340 
and Modesto 893 votes. As the vote for governor, Henry H. Haight, Democrat, was 
817, and that of Newton Booth, Republican, 527, it will be seen that the contest for' 
county seat brought out nearly every vote. 

The supervisors of the county, H. G. James, Caleb Dorsey and Davis Hartman, 
assembled at Knights Ferry, September 30, 1871, to count the vote for state officers 
and for the citizens' choice of county seat. Tabulating the result, they ordered that 
"When suitable buildings had been provided for the public officers, the county seat and 
the records of the county be removed to Modesto between the 10th and the 15th of 
October, 1871. That each officer superintend the removal of the records and furniture 
to the county seat and that the county clerk and sheriff repair to the building now 
erected on lots 14-15, block 42. After October 15 the county seat shall be at Modesto." 
The county clerk was located in a one-story frame building at the corner of I and 
Eighth streets, later occupied by John C. May. The building in 1881 had been 
removed to Thirteenth Street near the Methodist Church and fitted up as a residence. 
A brick vault was hastily constructed for the county records' safe keeping. The sheriff's 
office was in an adjoining frame building. Somewhere in that vicinity the other county 
officers were located. Several attorneys' offices were not far distant, Schell & Scrivner 
having an office next to Tregea's harness shop, and Judge Hewel an office on the alley 
in the rear of H. J. Houston's store. Two other lawyers, Thomas A. Coldwell and 
H. A. Gehr, had offices near the court house. One of the houses, ten years later, was 
occupied by W. K. Walters as his tailor shop and residence. Without losing much 
time the supervisors rented the second story of the Eastin building, the brick structure 
now known as the D. S. Husband building. It was fitted up for a court room and 
offices, the supervisors paying eighty-three dollars per month rent. Below was the 
Eastin saloon, where the judge and jury could get refreshments. 

The County Court House 
Even county takes considerable pride in having as its county building a magnificent 
structure of brick or granite built along the modern architectural lines. Stanislaus 


County has no such building, for its court house, a fine structure in its date, 1872, has 
long since passed its usefulness or beauty. The first county building, at Adamsville, 
was nothing more than a wooden platform, under the shade of a large oak tree. Later, 
however, "the county officials," says a correspondent, "taking off their coats, enclosed 
the platform with upright boards and put on a roof, between ten and six o'clock P. M." 
At Empire City the court house was a small frame building, nothing more than a 
shack. Eli Marvin agreed to put up a fine court house at Empire City without any 
cost to the county, provided the county seat be located there. He put up a bond of 
$10,000 with Judge Dickerson and agreed to have it completed within ten months. 
But, as we remember, the citizens gave a majority vote for Adamsville and later voted 
for Empire City. When the county seat was removed from Empire to La Grange 
in 1855, the supervisors purchased at cost of $1,700 a frame two-story building from 
John Meyers. Like many of the buildings of that day the entrance to the second story 
was by stairs placed upon the side of the building. The court house at Knights Fern- 
was quite a substantial brick structure, comfortable, and with plenty of light and 
convenient in every way for county -offices and a courtroom. 

The supervisors, having in view the erection of a fine building in Modesto, called 
upon the Legislature for authority to act. That body declared February 1, 1872, "the 
board of supervisors shall, at their first meeting in February, 1872, or as soon thereafter 
as possihle, advertise in a weekly paper for plans and specifications for a court house 
and jail, the architect to be paid not over $500 for his accepted plans." To obtain the 
money to construct the building, the supervisors were authorized to issue bonds, not 
exceeding $50,000, payable in monthly installments at nine per cent per annum. The 
supervisors advertised in the San Francisco Examiner and the Stanislaus News for 
bids for a court house and jail, the bid not to exceed $40,000 if for one building and 
not to exceed $45,000 if the jail be a separate building. No bids were received for 
some reason unknown. Again they advertised in the local paper, the News, and in the 
Bulletin, San Francisco. Eight bids were sent in from Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose 
and Stockton. The lowest bids were J. H. Sullivan, Sacramento, $47,937 ; Robinson 
Brothers, Stockton, $47,894; J. H. Neal, Sacramento, $47,492; and Meany & Peck, 
Snelling, $44,300. All bids were rejected as being too high. The following day, 
however, Supervisors H. G. James and James F. Davis, rescinding their previous vote, 
gave the contract to Meany & Peck. Supervisor J. T. Hamlin refused to reconsider 
his previous vote as being unfair to all of the bidders. A contract was drawn up June 
8, 1872, binding the successful firm in the sum of $88,600, twice the amount of their 
bid. They refused to sign it and they assigned their claim to the Robinson Brothers, 
Stockton. Both men were mechanics such as today one will seldom find. Concerning 
the woodwork, they could build a house complete, framework, walls, windows and 
doors. A. A. Bennett, the architect, received $500 for his plans. The supervisors had 
previously declared that a courthouse should be built on Block 82, Modesto. In a 
little less than a year the building was completed. It was accepted by the supervisors 
July 7, 1873, and the following week they ordered the sheriff to procure conveyances 
for the removal of the records to the new building. The grounds and courthouse site 
were surveyed by the county surveyor, George B. Douglas, and the square was graded 
by W. S. McHenry on his bid of $1,582. Branch said in a note in his history, 1881 : 
"The present house is a beautiful building, situated in a square, well laid out with 
walks and shrubbery." Today, the trees, tall and stately, have grown to magnificent 
proportions, an ever-inviting, restful spot to citizen or visitor. 

County Officials of 1871 
In the new and beautiful building, who were the first county officials to enjoy its 
comforts and conveniences? They were elected September 6, 1871, and for the pur- 
pose of showing the political complexion of the county at that time, which, by the way, 
for forty years was strongly Democratic, I give the names and vote for each party 
nominee. The Democrat is the first named: Senator, Thomas J. Kevs, 735; A. S. 
Emory, 565. Assemblymen, J. R. Seabough, 820; W. H. Turner, 814; Stephen 
Rodgers, 805 ; L. O. Brewster, 834. Clerk, George A. Branch, 806: C. A. Post, 818: 


Treasurer, George W. Toombs, 551; C. S. S. Hill, 463. District Attorney, J. J. 
Scrivner, 840; A. S. Peaslev, 495. Surveyor, George B. Douglas, 814; J. S. Cope- 
land, 495. Assessor, A. H. Jamison, 858; W. H. Moyle, 470. Coroner, Dr. J. H. 
Lowe, 833 ; J. M. Koon, 510. Administrator, M. S. Duncan, 814; C. O. Moore, 508. 
Superintendent of Schools, J. M. Burney, 789 ; E. M. Street, 503. 

Laying of the Town Site 
Why the Southern Pacific selected as a townsite the present location of Modesto 
probably will never be known. Possibly the finding of a landowner in a good location 
willing to sell his land at a reasonable price was one reason. The contract and finance 
committee of the Southern Pacific in April, 1870, purchased of John J. Atherton 160 
acres of land, the site of the original town. They paid him $3,200 for the tract. 
Atherton had bought a part of the land from Robert Kirkland, who had purchased it 
in September, 1869, at $2.50 per acre of the Government. The railroad surveyor now 
laid off the proposed town into blocks, streets, and alleys, a fifteen-foot alley running 
north and south through each block. The blocks, 300 by 400 feet, were laid off in 
conformity with the lines of the railroad track. The streets, eighty feet in width, were 
laid off along the same lines, and as the railroad runs northwest and southeast, it made 
a very awkward geographical position. The principal street, I Street, is 100 feet in 
width. The streets running east and west were alphabetically named and those run- 
ning north and south are designated by numbers. The original town was one mile 
square, but with numerous additions, including Branch's, Ripperdan's and Griffith's, the 
city is nearly two miles square. Its western boundary is the Tuolumne River and 
the west irrigation ditch forms the northern boundary of the town. In all of the 
additions the blocks are 300 feet square, the street lines running north and south and 
east and west. 

The Name of the Town 

The Southern Pacific selected as the name of the new town that of Ralston, in 
honor of William C. Ralston, president of the Bank of California, San Francisco. The 
name was printed upon the maps and it is stated "that the name' took well and pleased 
the people highly." Mr. Ralston, however, had not been consulted in the matter and 
through excessive modesty, it is said, refused to permit his name to be given to the new 
town. Because of this refusal the company changed the name to Modesto, a Spanish 
word, its English definition being "modesty." 

The Southern Pacific, foreseeing the immense traffic of the future at Modesto, 
reserved for their own use a strip of land about 300 feet in width and two miles in 
length for main and siding tracks, freight and passenger depot. Considerable of this 
space is already in use and quite a vacant space near the passenger depot is at present 
set apart for public, open-air exhibitions. The balance of the reservation is leased to 
private parties for business purposes. 

The Exodus to Modesto 
As the News intimated, the merchants of Paradise, Tuolumne City, Empire and 
Westport began moving their business, and nearly all of their buildings to Modesto. 
Sol Elias vividly described the event when he wrote: "When it became generally 
known where the new town was to be located, there was a general stampede from the 
three towns of Empire, Tuolumne and Paradise to the new site. For months the high- 
ways were thronged with buildings being moved to Modesto and it looked as though 
Tuolumne and Paradise were on wheels. It was indeed an odd sight to see these two 
towns, furniture and people, traveling at a rapid rate to be first to locate in the railroad 
town." Many of the oldest wooden houses in Modesto were hauled from Paradise, 
while the brick buildings in those towns were torn down and rebuilt in Modesto. An 
excursion party from Stockton, visiting the town November 20, 1870, found twenty- 
five buildings located and being constructed. J. D. Spencer, the News editor, coming 
up from Paradise in February, 1871, counted seventy-five buildings, "many of which 
may be classed as imposing structures." Among these buildings, the first on the ground, 
was a little frame building, 18x24, owned by James McHenry and W. G. Ross. 


Modesto's Pioneer Business Firms 

In compiling this list the writer has endeavored to obtain the names and locations 
of the leading firms for the information of the rising generation. Some have been 
learned through an article published by Sol P. Elias, others from correspondents, news- 
papers and various other sources. Let me call your attention to Front Street, the 
corner of J Street. There a two-story frame building was located, the lower story 
being occupied by W. B. Wood and J. A. Brown as an agricultural implement store. 
The upper story was used as a hall in which, it is said, the first temperance society 
was organized ; it was the "Band of Hope," a children's society. Moving south, the 
adjoining building was that of I. E. Gilbert, who subsequently removed to Front and 
H streets, now the Turner building. Then came the photograph gallery of William 
Brown, and a general tinware store adjoining. Mr. Brown was the pioneer photog- 
rapher of Modesto and later erected a brick building, corner of I and Front streets, 
opposite the Ross House. Adjoining the Brown building was a little fruit store kept 
by "Judge" Hunt, then Schell & Scrivner's law office. Next was William Tregea's 
harness store; he retired from business in 1904. The Modesto House, managed by 
D. S. Husband, was next in line and adjoining was the W. J. Houston general mer- 
chandise store, He hailed from Paradise, he and John J. McEwen being the first 
merchants in town. In 1896, says George H. Bertram, this Front Street block was 
occupied by warehouses. A photograph of that date shows the Huffman warehouse, 
on the corner of I and Front. This became one of the historic places of Modesto in 
later years ; it was afterwards known as the Brown and Alexander warehouse and 
later became the Garrison Turner property. Tradition has it that it was in this 
building that the Vigilantes met in 1879 and in 1884. The famous Ross House stood 
on the southeast corner of I and Front, and adjoining on the south was Dettlebach 
Bros.' store and the Davies & Medley stationery and book store. Next was the post 
office, John J. McEwen being the first postmaster; he was also the Wells Fargo 
Express agent. Next in line was the "Golden Sheaf" saloon, owned by John B 
Brichman, one of Modesto's prominent citizens. Then came the "Marble Palace" of 
Barney Garner, and following along we passed the saloons of McClure & Aulich, 
Ducker & Casebolt, and the "White Oak" saloon of D. S. Husband. At the lower 
end of the block Jake Woolner sold tobacco and notions, next was the Lane & 
Williams drug store, and then the tin and hardware store of John J. Chapman, who 
came up from Paradise. A few years later he erected a two-story building on H, 
between Ninth and Tenth streets, the lower story being occupied by Dr. J. T. Sur- 
baugh as the Model Drug Store. The corner of H and Front streets was occupied 
by L. B. Farrish as a general dry goods store. In the block below, between H and G 
streets, B. F. Jones carried on a poultry business. H was then the principal business 
street. On the south side between Ninth and Tenth was the boot and shoe store of 
J. H. Hayes and the undertaking 'parlors of Cleveland & Hardesty. Cleveland was 
the first worthy master of the Stanislaus Lodge of Masons. In 1884 this block was 
destroyed by fire. On the north side of the block stood the St. John House, the three- 
story Tynan Hotel, its successor in 1890, and the shoe store of James Johnson. On 
a high knoll at Tenth and H stood Modesto's first district school. 

A famous resort was the "Old Corner" saloon, in the one-story building on the 
corner of Tenth and H streets, later rebuilt for the Farmers and Merchants Bank. 
On the opposite corner south was a brick building, the first floor occupied by small 
stores. In the second story in 1890, the Herald was published by the irrepressible 
Hanscom. To the south, Mike Braun's brewery manufactured beer. Up the street 
between H and I on Tenth Street was the livery stable of Frank Ross, which ex- 
tended through to I Street, completely surrounding the building of W. W. Eastin, a 
two-story brick, rebuilt from Paradise at the corner of I and Tenth streets. Eastin's 
saloon was in the first story, with a hall above at one time occupied by the Farmers' 
Journal, with Attorney W. E. Turner as editor. Where now stands the Modesto 
Bank stood the blacksmith shop and home of Mose Freeman. James Harter, Modesto's 
first "smithy," was located just north of the Grollman building on this block, his 
home adjoining. Another blacksmith was a Mr. Ollrich. North and across the 


street from Freeman's shop was a two-story frame building on the corner occupied by 
J. H. Maddux as a grocery store. Schafer's store now occupies this site. On the 
northwest corner of Tenth and I streets, Henry Ross conducted a livery stable, after- 
wards known as the Patterson Stables. On I Street between Ninth and Tenth streets, 
Valentine Pitoff managed his bowling alley and saloon. Thomas Wallace conducted 
a large stable on Eleventh Street between F and G. While under lease to Sontag and 
Evans, the train bandits, it was destroyed by fire in 1891, following their holding up a 
train at Ceres. Will Claypool, presumably possessed of knowledge of their depreda- 
tions, was burned to death in this fire. 

The other early general merchants were Robert Phillips, R. C. Gridley, of Civil 
War fame, and Cressey Brothers. Walden and Grenfall were liverymen, subsequently 
selling to Thomas Wallace. George Buck and Henry Covert were in the commission 
business, the former from La Grange and the latter from Paradise. Barnett and 
Daly, Charles Beauchamp, H. G. James, and John Robinson were the first butchers 
of Modesto. John B. Covert removed from Paradise. Dr. Samuel McLean, the first 
druggist of Modesto, Dr. W. C. Saunders, Dr. Barry Dorr, and Dr. J. E. Howard 
were the early physicians. John D. Spencer moved his newspaper plant and family 
to Modesto and located on Eleventh and I streets in December, 1870. J. Leet had one 
of the first harness shops, and Bob McClanathan one of the first liverymen. H. Christ 
was the first baker, and E. H. Wagoner the first wagon maker. James McHenry 
and W. G. Ross had the first saloon, the "Pioneer Exchange," at J and Eighth streets. 
Eagelson & Campau were another early firm. Pierce was the first lumberman, fol- 
lowed by the Modesto Lumber Company. The early lawyers were Judge A. Hewel, 
S. P. Scaniker, B. F. Haislip, G. W. Schell ; J. J. Scrivner, still living in San Fran- 
cisco; T. A. Coldwell and A. H. Gehr. W. H. Spencer was an early dentist. 

Pioneer Hotels and Prominent Buildings 
On the west side of the railroad track near the court house, a Mr. Trollinger 
opened the Modesto Restaur.ant, in the building put up by James McHenry. George 
Keith also conducted a restaurant a little north of the Trollinger place. The land- 
lord of the Covert House in Tuolumne City was D. S. Husband. He engaged in the 
*ame business in Modesto, possibly managing it in connection with his Front Street 
saloon. Another well-known hotel was the Mose Duncan House, later called the 
Stanislaus Hotel. It was not a paying proposition and in 1875 it was for rent, all 
furnished at forty dollars per month. • Roanoke, in writing of this hotel, said: 
"Hotels cannot flourish in Modesto with every third family keeping a private board- 
ing house." The Modesto House on Front Street near I was under the management 
of Thomas F. Garner, who came from Empire to take charge. In less than four 
years he sold out to Dr. M. H. Hall. The famous Ross House opposite the depot 
was for many years the leading hotel of the county. It was a long, white, two-story 
building, hard finished throughout, with a history of many social events and financial 
losses to managers and owners. It was built in Paradise City by Frank Ross and 
retained its original owner's name until destroyed by fire. In 1869 it passed into 
the management of James Cole, who had formerly kept the North American, a stage 
station on the Sonora Road. Cole immediately made arrangements with the Stockton 
house movers, Hyram Fisher & Sons, to remove the big frame structure to the railroad 
town. So large was it they were compelled to move it in two sections. The first half 
was in its new location by November 20 ,1870. The second half was moved a week 
later. Cole now refitted and refurnished the house at considerable expense and in the 
press advertised it as a house of large, commodious rooms, well adapted for families. 
The 22nd of February, 1871, was celebrated with a grand ball, the first, perhaps, in 
Modesto. Good music was furnished by Condy's orchestra from Stockton and it was, 
said the report, largely attended and was in all respects one of the most pleasant and 
well-conducted balls of the season. The supper was particularly mentioned, the princi- 
pal meat being roast pig. Losing considerable money, Cole retired in less than two vears, 
for it was then "hard times, no crops," and took charge of the Yosemite House, Stock- 


ton. He sold his interest to E. P. Block of Stockton. He was an auctioneer of ability, 
but no landlord, and during the year 1875 he retired. Then Ross himself took charge 
of the hotel and managed it for three years, conducting his livery stable at the same 
time. Ross then leased the hotel to J. P. Trainor. That gentleman had a grand 
opening and ball, on February 22, 1878, so stated the press dispatches. "The hall 
and dining room were tastily decorated and the guests served with a splendid supper." 
As Modesto increased in population the Ross House might have been a paying propo- 
sition, but now competition sprung up. The Prentice Hotel was erected and is still 
standing at the corner of H and Eleventh streets. The hotel was managed by J. W. 
Prentice and it was opened for business January, 1880. It was an ideal location, 
on a quiet street away from the dust and confusion of railroad cars and the drunken 
revelry of gamblers and saloon men on Front Street, and directly opposite the court 
house and square. Prentice believed, however, he would be compelled to seek patron- 
age and it was the first hotel to run a bus to the trains. There was a second bus soon 
running, for about the same time the Merry House was opened by L. Merry. This 
also was and is a two-story frame- building, corner of Twelfth and H streets. The 
Rodgers Hall building, a two-story brick on H near Front Street, was erected in 
1877 by Stimpson P. Rodgers, a progressive business man, son of Stephen Rodgers. 
The post office was moved to this building from Front Street soon after its completion, 
this having become the main business street. The post office window and the boxes were 
in a hallway leading to the Wells Fargo Express, they occupying the rear of the 
building facing on the alley. The first story was also occupied by the Mechanics 
cash store, S. Greenfield, jeweler, and A. J. Spindle, barber. Between these two 
stores was a second hallway which led to the Gem saloon, J. W. Stuart, proprie- 
tor. The second story had been fitted up as a public hall, where took place the 
dramatic performances of theatrical companies that visited the town, school exhibi- 
tions and other social events. 

Masonic and Odd Fellows Hall 

Two years previous, 1875, William Grollman, a prominent Mason, erected a 
fine two-story brick structure on Tenth Street between H and I streets. The first 
story was occupied by Mr. Grollman as a harness store and by S. Schonfield. gen- 
eral merchandise. In the front portion of the second story, Dr. A. A. Gilmour and 
Dr. Wilhite had offices, the rear portion being occupied by Stanislaus Lodge of 
Masons. They removed to the hall which was fitted up for them from Odd Fellows 
Hall, corner of H and Tenth streets. 

The Odd Fellows building was the first two-story building erected in Modesto 
from first-hand building material. It was built in 1875, just previous to the "hard 
times" that hit the town. Roanoke, in describing this building in October. 1875, 
wrote to the Stockton Independent: "The times are very hard, but fortunatelv the 
Odd Fellows got their splendid two-story building nearly completed before the 
twenties and small coin had entirely disappeared. Our mutual friend, R. A. Hatha- 
way, the druggist, escorted me over the building. The lower floor contains two 
stores with deep cellars. The upper floor will be used for lodge purposes. The 
main or lodge room is 32x50 feet and when covered by Brussels carpet will be the 
equal of any lodge room in the state. The ceiling is twenty feet in height. There 
will be ante-rooms for paraphernalia, and on the third story there will be a banquet 
room 16x50 feet and a kitchen. The cost will be about $17,000." 

Modesto's Water Works 
The "old town pump" seems to figure in Modesto's history as well as in the 
history of other towns. It was a Douglas pump and with its clear, cool well of 
water stood in front of the St. John lodging house, now the Tynan Hotel site. It 
supplied, no doubt, the neighborhood with drinking water, also the district school 
on the corner. There were many other bored wells about town, for water was easy 
to obtain at a depth of eighty or 100 feet, and these wells supplied most of the 
inhabitants with water until 1876. In the previous year, Assemblyman J. J. Scrivner 


introduced a bill into the Legislature "granting the right to lay down water pipes 
in Modesto, to supply the inhabitants thereof." A second bill was introduced three 
days later, December 15, "also granting Charles S. Levenworth and his assignees 
the right to supply water to the town of Modesto." Both bills passed both houses 
and were approved by Governor Booth. In the following year L. C. Branch and 
C. L. Levenworth selecting a lot fronting on the alley, now the rear of Shackelford- 
Ulman's store, between I and H streets, built a high two-story building and boring 
a deep artesian well, installed an engine and Holly water pump. The water was 
forced to the top of the building into two large wooden tanks, each tank with a 
5000-gallon capacity. In a short time the Modesto Water Company was incorporated, 
the principal owner being Stimpson P. Rodgers, who owned four-fifths of the stock. 
The fire of 1884 showed conclusively the need of better fire protection and in 
January, 1890, the company began laying pipes for hydrant purposes. The pipes 
laid at that time were exactly in the shape of the letter H. One pipe was run along 
I from Front to Tenth and a second pipe from Knowles' warehouse along H to Tenth. 
They were connected with the water works by a six-inch pipe running north and 
south through the alley. Seven hydrants were set in the most essential places. 
Shortly after this the company laid 1,500 feet of pipe in the northeast part of town. 
The price of water to families under the Branch ownership was $1.50 per month, 
water for irrigation extra. The corporation increased the price, the usual custom 
of corporations, to charge all the traffic will bear. Evidently the people were dis- 
satisfied and complaining, for November 19, 1891, by a vote of 385 for and only 113 
against, they approved of the council issuing bonds to the amount of $60,000 for the 
purchase of waterworks. Wise unto their generation were the citizens of Modesto. 
At the same election they approved by a vote of 414 to 113 to bond the city for 
$25,000 for sewers. They believed that sewers were the greater necessity and well 
they might so believe, for the foul, unhealthy cesspools were a menace to health and 
life. Two years later, in 1893, the city established its own waterworks and the 
Rodgers waterworks was dismantled and the tanks removed from the roof of the 
building. The city purchased a lot on Tenth Street south of G Street and erected 
a neat pumping station and building a large concrete cistern forty feet in depth, sank 
an artesian well through the floor. A large Hollaway engine was then installed, it 
being necessary to draw the water only four feet. From this pump the water was 
forced into a large iron tank 100 feet in height and from there distributed to 
patrons. In case of fire the water was pumped directly into the main, thus putting 
180 pounds pressure on the hose. The pump is run by electrical power and six 
reserve tanks were located in different parts of the city, in case by any means the 
electrical power was lost or for a long time suspended. At this writing another tank 
is to be erected and a second story added to the pumping station for the use of the 
city engineer. 

Modesto's Gas Works 
Modesto was fortunate in having gas almost in its infancy through the enter- 
prise of the young citizen, Leonidas C. Branch, then but twenty-three years of age. 
Few towns the size of Modesto had gas and it certainly was quite a project. The 
Herald, in noticing this progressive movement, said: "For the first time in the his- 
tory of Modesto, coal gas was used and pretty generally, too, on Tuesday evening, 
July 3, 1876. Gasoline heretofore has been the only luminator that Modesto could 
boast of, outside of candle light and kerosene, but now we can say we have a real, 
genuine, live, coal gas works. For this enterprise we are indebted to Mr. L. C. 
Branch, a young gentleman of enterprise who has grown with the town and who 
evidently understands and studies the wants of young communities." The works 
were located on G and Tenth streets under the direction of a San Francisco coal 
gas expert. "The houses illuminated Tuesday evening were really brilliant and 
when compared with the kerosene light put the latter quite in the shade." Promi- 
nent among the notable places supplied were Ducker & Casebolt, the "Golden Sheaf," 
Barney Garner's, D. S. Husband Saloon, The White Oak, Farrell & McClure, 
George Aulich, J. Dettlebach, Davis & Medley, John J. Chapman, Samuel R. Clayes 






Drug Store, Nathan Brothers and Odd Fellows Hall. The price for gas was $6.00 
per 1000 cubic feet the first year, with a rate of $1.00 per 1000 the second year. The 
building erected by Edward Hanks of Stockton was 40x60 feet, with an iron roof. 
Included within the building were two retort rooms and two retorts, a purifying 
room with two purifiers and a room for the gas apparatus. The gasometer had a 
holding capacity of 2,500 cubic feet of gas. "There was a fine garden in the rear 
and the place resembled more a private residence and handsome private grounds than 
a gas works as usually kept." Mr. Branch, failing to receive sufficient encourage- 
ment to enable him to incorporate the works, proceeded to the management of the 
property himself. In time, however, an incorporated company purchased the works 
and Frank Cressey became the president and manager. Electricity later became the 
popular light. At this writing the city will soon purchase the gas and electrical 
works, paying for them on the installment basis. 

Modesto's Early Fire Department 

The men whom I most honor are the volunteer firemen of a city or town. They 
give their time, their money and'ofttimes risk their lives in the saving of property 
from the flames. They hastily leave their work or perhaps their bed at the midnight 
alarm and quickly run to the engine house and "man the ropes" of hook and ladder 
or hose cart and speed onward to fight the flames. And their only compensation or 
reward is that which comes to every man who does a good deed. All hail, then, to 
the firemen of Modesto who in early days "ran with the machine." They are staid 
men now, men of families, and some of them the leading men of the town. They 
were in the 70s the leading men, judges, lawyers, mechanics, merchants, clerks and 
occasionally a clergyman. 

Modesto today has a good fire department and it had its origin away back in 
1875. In the telegraph dispatches of that year, October 5, we read that the "Modesto 
Hook and Ladder Company, Ben Ducker, foreman, had just received from the city 
their new hook and ladder truck." It seems a company had been organized and 
subscriptions obtained from citizens to purchase a second-hand fire truck. It was 
one of the usual style of that day, propelled by man power, with twelve leather 
buckets on each side used for the purpose of throwing water upon the flames. The 
company also had a number of long spears broadened at one end. Their purpose 
was to shove inward the walls of a half-burned building, to keep the fire from 
spreading to an adjoining building. It also lessened the danger of other buildings 
from flying embers. The fire truck was housed in a small shed on the railroad reserva- 
tion just east of G Street. The company gave parties to obtain funds for their 
maintenance and one occasion, September 25, 1879, they had the Eurekas of Merced 
as their guests. 

A hook and ladder, no matter how efficient the company, is of no earthly use in 
extinguishing a fire, and, said Branch in 1881, the "town maintains a hook and ladder 
company and needs a fire engine." Some years later the Modesto hose company No. 1 
was organized with Stephen Rodgers as foreman and J. E. Ward as secretary. The 
citizens had purchased a second-hand, two-wheeled hose cart and the cart was housed 
in the Rodgers' waterworks. The company numbered among its members Stephen 
Rodgers, J. E. Ward, G. P. Schafer, John Hamilton, George D. Pleats, Enos Horn, 
Martin Sorenson, Walter E. Bacon, Stephen Girard, J. W. Briggs, Fred Morton, 
L. W. Fulkerth and W. E. Daunt. The company had a dress parade uniform of caps, 
red shirts and dark trousers. They were in the parade on every important occasion 
and were in line in the Fourth of July parade of 1890. 

The hose company were put upon their mettle in the big fire of 1881, probably 
the largest and most destructive of any in the history of the city. It was discovered 
shortly after midnight Friday morning, November 11, in the shooting gallery of 
Cyrus Hanscom on Ninth Street near I Street. The wind at the time was blowing 
heavily and the flames spread rapidly in every direction. "There was no way of 
checking the flames save by carrying the water in buckets," the Herald saying twenty- 
five years later, "the company's worthless old fire engine was disabled." A corre- 


spondent writing of the fire the following day said, "There was a hook and ladder 
truck but it was late getting there and of no use after it got there." Nothing could 
be done to put out the fire and all they could do was to prevent its spreading. On 
Ninth Street were all of the leading business houses of the town and all of them 
were destroyed. The Ross House was saved by the firemen covering the roof with 
wet blankets "and water dashed on the sid-e of the building," the water being 
carried from the railroad tank a hundred yards distant. The Modesto House, owned 
by C. W. Dawson, and the Arendt House, owned and conducted by Mrs. Sarah 
Arendt, were a total loss. The lodgers, fleeing for their lives, saved neither baggage 
nor clothing. A sheep herder going to bed drunk in the Modesto House was burned 
to death. His body burned to a crisp was found the following morning. The heaviest 
loss was that of George Gross who was located in the Brown Building at the corner 
of Ninth and I streets. He had a large stock of china ware, crockery and glass- 
ware, much of the stock being in the cellar. His loss was estimated at about $50,000, 
partly insured. The total loss was $100,000 insured for perhaps a quarter of that 
amount. Among the losers was The Modesto and Arendt 'House, Charles D. Patter- 
son's livery stable, including a large quantity of hay; Henry Buckner, general mer- 
chandise, including powder and cartridges, which constantly exploding prevented 
the people from saving considerable property; Wm. Tregea, the harness maker, who 
saved much of his stock; Brown & Woods, agricultural works; De Yoe & Riggs, fur- 
niture; Dr. J. N. Wood, dentist; Grangers' Hall and the homes of several families. 
The fire practically cleaned out the block bounded by I and J, Ninth and Tenth streets. 
Another destructive fire was that of July 8, 1884. It broke out about l.:30 
o'clock in a house of ill-fame kept by a woman named Lizzie Darling. It was one 
of three shanties in the middle of the alley bounded by Ninth, G, Tenth and H 
streets and owned by Morris, a five-cent beer saloon keeper. The cry of fire startled 
the sleeping citizens, and in a few minutes bells were ringing in all directions. The 
first person to reach the fire saw another man running half dressed and yelling 
loudly, "My arm is burned." He was immediately followed by several women very 
scantily clothed. Before this time the firemen were at work with their streams of 
water, but they were badly handicapped by the frequent bursting of the rotten hose. 
The water pressure was very light, so light, in fact, the stream at times would not 
carry across the street. The firemen and citizens worked heroically, however, as the 
flames at times threatened to destroy the entire business portion of the city. In the 
crowd at work endeavoring to check the flames were seen firemen, clerks, book- 
keepers, lawyers, judges, bankers, county officials and two members of the Legislature. 
The "bucket brigade" was quickly formed and by using their leather buckets did good 
work. The Chinamen received great credit for their work in saving the Chinese 
iaundry from the flames, as the saving of the laundry also saved the Ross House and 
the Western Hotel fronting on Ninth Street. Like the fire of 1881, it was very de- 
structive, burning nearly every building in its pathway. The buildings saved were 
the Odd Fellows brick building in which Greenbaum & Company were located ; 
Gobert & Company, general merchandise; the Western Hotel and the Ross House; a 
Spanish restaurant; the Chinese laundry; Knapp's soda works and a couple dwellings 
on G Street. The buildings destroyed included Cleveland & Hardesty. undertakers 
on H street, who saved their coffins; Jack Hayes, boot and shoe store; Thomas Dun- 
can, tin store; I. S. Loventhal, merchandise; Muncey's saloon and home; Felix 
Anaya's blacksmith shop; C. W. Perley's store and Coffin & Berry's place. The 
following day a subscription list was opened for the purchasing of new hose for the 
fire department, and Dr. Tynan headed the list with a $100 subscription. 

The Destructive Fires of 1890 
Early in the morning of July 26, 1890, a fire started in the shed of W. B. 
Wood on H Street between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets. It crossed the alley 
and set on fire the Methodist Episcopal Church, damaging it badly. The fire then 
spreading north along the sheds of the alley set on fire the Congregational Church 
on I Street and it was in a short time a bed of hot ashes. It was then in use by the 


German Lutheran congregation, and they succeeded in saving the seats and pulpit. 
The Modesto water company put in a few water hydrants in the business district in 
January, 1890, as we remember. These hydrants gave the fire department plenty 
of water to check the fire that broke out on Front Street, December 1, 1890. It 
also, no doubt, led to the heavy vote polled by the citizens for better fire protection. 
This fire of December 1 started in the saloon of F. Jacobson on Front Street and 
in a short time it spread to the adjoining saloons of Barney Garner, Harner & 
Pflagis and George Hallen's shooting gallery. The brick building of John B. Brich- 
man stopped the fire from extending further north and for a time the Ross House 
was thought to be doomed. The fire department performed splendid work in saving 
the Brooklyn House, which was badly charred, the Louis Cummings saloon and H. J. 
Severn's bakery. The buildings destroyed were among the first erected in the city and 
soon after were replaced with fine brick structures. 

Terrible Death of Joel Clayton 
Life is of greater value than property and from this standpoint the greatest dis- 
aster up to this time was the horrible death of Joel Clayton in the fire which destroyed 
the Thomas Wallace stable on the night of January 7, 1891. The stable was on 
Eleventh Street between F and G, and the alarm was first given by the bell and the 
fire whistle on the waterworks. In a few minutes the big stable was enveloped in 
flames and although the firemen played heavy streams of water on the fire it failed 
to have any effect in extinguishing the flames. The fire enveloped the stable so 
quickly that young Joel Clayton, about sixteen years of age, was burned to death, 
or possibly smothered by the smoke. He was the son of Jacob Clayton and had 
been given permission to sleep in the barn loft while out of work. His body was 
discovered the next morning wrapped in his blankets, which were only partly burned. 

Modesto's Golden Age 
"The livest mining camp," says Sol Elias, "possessed no edge upon Modesto in 
the years from 1879 to 1884. The wealth that was garnered from the virgin soil 
poured in to the city as though the famed mines of Ophir had been tapped. From 
the offices of the warehouses, from the vaults of the banks, even unto the tables of 
the gambling saloons, the counters of the bar-rooms and the parlors of the gilded 
palaces, money permeated even' avenue of communal activity. Money was spent 
with a recklessness and prodigality that baffled understanding. Modesto was in its 
golden age. 

The Front Street Dens of Vice 
"Down the block from the Ross House there was a string of saloons and on 
upper Front Street between I and J there were several saloons. The main business 
district was located on H Street between Front and Tenth and on either side it con- 
tained the usual number of saloons among the commercial establishments. While 
the main saloon district was on Front Street, these establishments were not averse 
to occupying a location close to the homes of the citizens and a notorious dance hall 
(Sullivan's) was running at full blast on Tenth Street near the corner of I Street. 
Another dance hall provided entertainment at the corner of Eighth and H (John- 
son's). Both sold hard liquors, possessed their retinue of painted women and provided 
the nightly dance for the ranchero, vaquero, farmhand and the motley crew that 1 
infested the 'Front.' Nor was it deemed improper for youth or old age to go slum- 
ming among these dimly lighted, ill-smelling purlieus and dance and mingle with the 
diverse and variegated Bohemia to be found there. Drunken carousals with the 
female contingent of these gay and festive places, from which the male participants 
emerged with a broken head, a contused face, and always minus his bank roll, were 
not infrequent. The 'Front' was run wide open. It was the rendezvous of the most 
daring sports, gamblers and saloon hangers-on that could be gathered together in 
the state. Gambling and drunkenness were rampant. Hardly a night passed but 
some farmhand was fleeced in a game of cards, robbed and beaten up, plied with liquor 
or doped, until he became insensible and his pockets picked by the light-fingered 


gentry. Carousals made the night hideous. So many were the murders the town 
had the reputation throughout the state of being a place in which there was literally 
a man served for breakfast every morning." 

An Ungoverned Town 

The big fire of September, 1884, the acts of the Regulators, the so-called 
"bridge riots" and other illegal acts awoke the better class of citizens to a realizing 
sense of the deplorable condition of affairs in the town. The fire department had 
no adequate apparatus, no hose and an insufficiency of water in case of fire. The 
lawless class were running the town, so to speak, and life and property were unsafe. 
So powerful was the criminal class, Elias says, "that the workmen and frequently the 
farmer from the country would go to the sheriff's office as soon as he reached the 
town and deposit his wealth with the officers of the law for safe keeping. Other- 
wise neither his money nor his life would be safe from the harpies on the front or 
in the bawdy houses." 

Deplorable Condition of Streets 

The same writer in describing the condition of the streets of Modesto at that 
time declared "that the town presented the appearance of the typical village that 
just happened to come into life without any reason for such existence. There were 
no sidewalks in the town except in the business quarters where the merchants had 
put down planks in front of their stores. The main streets of the town were dirty 
and at times were cleaned by private enterprise. In summer they were covered with 
knee deep sand, and in winter with mud and slush to the same depth. Pigs, cows, 
horses and cattle roamed them at will. Owing to the lack of illumination the 
pedestrians piloted themselves homeward at night by the aid of a lantern — in sum- 
mer to see the way and protect themselves from thieves and thugs, and in winter 
for the same purpose and to avoid the ruts and mud holes." 

Efforts to Organize a Town Government 
There was no local town authority, no graded schools, and considering all of 
these conditions the citizens concluded to get busy and organize a town government. 
Early in the year efforts had been made to organize a local government but for some 
reason the movement was a failure. The politicians were in the field early planning 
their work, and the Democrats nominated a straight ticket. By so doing they hoped 
to rush measures and elect a complete Democratic local ticket. If successful it 
would not only give thern full control of the city but also the county offices and spoils. 
Behind the movement stood the hungry office seekers, and not the least among them 
was John J. Townes, who was forever and eternally bobbing up for some "fat 
office." Another seeker of office was Barney Garner, a saloonkeeper and a leader in 
Democratic county politics. Barney "has always been in politics," said the Neu's, 
"and three times sought the office of sheriff." 

A Mass Meeting Riot 
The best interests of the embryo city would be endangered by the election of a 
partisan ticket, either Democratic or Republican, and if possible to avoid that mis- 
fortune several of the leading merchants and citizens proposed to nominate a Citizens 
ticket. A meeting for the nomination of a nonpartisan was called. The assembly 
met in Rodgers Hall, and there the Democrats had gathered to a man ready 
at the moment to rush through a straight Democratic ticket. George Perley, one of 
the leading citizens, was elected chairman, and Isaac Loventhal, a strong Republican, 
was selected as secretary of the meeting. I As soon as the meeting was readv for 
business, Robert McHenry, the banker, jumped upon a chair and moved the endorse- 
ment of the Democratic ticket. The plot was cut and dried and immediately Isaac 
Perkins, a merchant, seconded the motion. It was a direct slam against the Republi- 
cans present, it being the object of the Democrats to force their ticket upon the meet- 


ing. Immediately, A. E. Wagstaff, a partisan Republican and then editor of the 
Herald, jumping to his feet, moved "that the meeting do now adjourn." At once 
there was an uproar and a babble of voices and in the confusion the meeting was 
broken up. It was the best thing that could have happened for the success of the 
Citizens' ticket. The American spirit will not stand bulldozing, and the attempt of 
any party to override a meeting, serves to strengthen the opposite party. 

The First City Election 

Unfortunately we have no details regarding this interesting event — the first elec- 
tion — for the birth of a city or nation is always interesting. However, a city election 
was held August 1, 1884. For several weeks previous to the election the question of 
government or no government was hotly discussed. Those favorable to the measure 
declared that a municipal government was necessary for the growth of the town. 
Under a city government, they said there would be police protection, good schools, an 
efficient fire department, street lights, a supervision and full control of streets and 
many other benefits and advantages. The opponents of the measure argued that it 
would increase taxes without any correspondent benefit, that the saloons would con- 
tinue to control politics and that lawlessness would increase rather than decrease. On 
the day of election the excitement was quite tense. Business was almost entirely sus- 
pended and the merchants got out and worked hard for the success of the Citizens' 
ticket. Every vehicle in the town was engaged carrying voters to the polls. Those 
opposed to local government were badly handicapped, as they were working a criss- 
cross game. They wanted to defeat the measure and yet if it carried they wanted to 
elect all Democrats to office. Those favoring the movement had a straight fight, a 
local government and well-qualified citizens in the various offices. The citizens won 
out by a handsome majority. 

Under the state law for the incorporation of cities, towns having less than 4,000 
inhabitants could incorporate under the fifth class and elect as city officers a board of 
five trustees, to serve two and four years, the trustees to determine the length of term 
by lot, a clerk, a treasurer and a city marshal. The trustees elected were Theodore 
Turner, of the firm of Wood & Turner, James Johnson, a boot and shoe dealer, 
John B. Brichman, a saloonist, C. D. Payne, lumber merchant, and John F. Tucker, 
an abstract and real estate dealer; a dry goods merchant, Charles E. Marriott, was 
elected treasurer ; a druggist, W. W. Granger, was elected clerk, and A. K. Pritchett, 
a carpenter, marshal. On August 15, the trustees met in the courthouse super- 
visors' rooms and elected Theodore Turner president of the board of trustees and 
C. W. Eastin was appointed city recorder. James Johnson and John B. Brichman 
secured the long term lot, serving until April 21, 1888. The design selected for a 
seal was quite unique. The background represented a field of grain and in the fore- 
ground was a combined header and thresher and a long team of horses hauling grain. 

Previous to the election, the only policing protection of the town was a constable 
named John Clark. He was known to all the citizens as "old John Clark" and 
was entirely incompetent for his position. "He was called a good man, but incom- 
petent because of lameness, neglect of duty, and he had no desire to arrest a malefactor, 
especially if he be a friend, much less stop a fight or disturbance." While living at 
La Grange, his former home, he was elected constable, and during his term of office 
he had a rather unusual experience. This was in 1853 when William D. Kirk, the 
sheriff of the county, passed away, and for a day Constable Clark was sheriff. The 
day following John Myers was appointed sheriff by the supervisors. 

Street Improvements 
About the first work undertaken by the city trustees after completing their organ- 
ization was the improvement of the principal streets of the city. The Modesto Herald 
in commenting on this work in December, 1884, said: "The city fathers are doing 
a good job in regrading the streets. The original population spent several thousand 
dollars in grading the streets and left them in good condition. But the dirt from 


cellars put in the streets to raise the grade in front of the lot owners' property left 
depressions (on either side) and the rains made the streets muddy, dirty and sloppy." 
During the same month the trustees purchased lots 21-22-25 on Eleventh Street for 
the erection of a city jail. The citizens strongly protested against a jail within the 
business district and the "calaboose" was erected on G and Eleventh streets. 

The Street Problem 

The improvement of streets is a problem and a heavy cost to every local govern- 
ment, and not until macadam and asphalt became available by reason of its quantity 
and comparative cheapness with other material, were cities able to make any perma- 
nent improvements. It is not surprising therefore that the Modesto citizens who 
opposed a city form of government, sneeringly smiled when they saw an increase in 
taxes, but no great improvement in the streets. Upon this subject in January, 1889, 
the Modesto Herald and the San Francisco Chronicle were at loggerheads. The 
Chronicle at that time, with its solicitors for subscriptions canvassing the town, 
reported that Modesto, "the county seat of Stanislaus, has a population of 3,000, is 
incorporated and well officered, its streets are wide, clean and dry." The Herald in 
reply said, January 3: "We wish the above were true, but it isn't; with the exception 
of the night watchman, Modesto hasn't a good officer. The old, decrepit and rascally 
city marshal spends his time in playing poker, in the various dives that curse our 
town, while the trustees with two exceptions are always drunk, with one exception 
are always dirty, and with no exceptions are always stupidly ignorant as to the welfare 
of the town. The streets are not clean, but on the contrary are a foot deep with 
rotten slimy mud, from which arises a sickening odor that only requires time to 
inaugurate a plague." This is not a pleasing picture. But to-day, under a commis- 
sion form of government that eliminates all politics, how different the scene. The 
police force is all that may be desired. The streets are well paved, clean, and well 
lighted. The public schools are the equal, and its buildings are as handsome as any 
in the state. The saloons are gone and with it prostitution, and the people in their 
religious assemblies, clubs of culture and amusement, and beautiful homes, are pros- 
perous, contented and happy. 

The Post Office 

Stanislaus County, as we have noted, had no postal facilities previous to 1868. In 
that year Congress established a post office at Paradise City, and the stage proprietor. 
L. H. Sillman, received the contract to carry the mails between Paradise and Stock- 
ton. He also transported passengers, and Stanislaus County for the first time, aside 
from Knights Ferry, had daily communication with tidewater. For two years Sillman 
carried the U. S. mails. He was then superseded by the Southern Pacific Railroad. 
At that time Charles O. Burton, the Stockton postmaster, received word from Wash- 
ington, D. C, December 7, 1870, that the name of the Paradise City post office had 
been changed to Modesto, and John J. McEwen had been appointed postmaster. The 
Stockton postmaster stated that as soon as the Modesto office was ready for business 
he would dispatch the mail at that point. A post office was fitted up in the two-story 
brick building on Front Street belonging to John B. Brichman, and as a curious inci- 
dent, once only has it been removed from that block. The post office in early days 
followed the bulk of business. There were no carriers and the office was located in the 
most convenient locality for the business men. From 1872 to 1881 it was on Front 
Street, then it was removed to the Rodgers building on H Street, again on its travels 
it was in the Johnson building on I Street between Ninth and Tenth, then on the 
south side of the same street, and next to its present quarters on the west side of 
Tenth Street, between H and I Streets. 

When the office was in the Rodgers building, S. H. Finley, a Democrat, was post- 
master. He was succeeded as postmaster December 15, 1885, by John E. Ward. 
"Ward," said the Neius, "was a good Democrat, a young man who had served in the 
sheriff's office and lately as a clerk in the National Bank." This was during President 
Grover Cleveland's term, the President who strongly persisted in carrying out the 
civil service act. Cleveland, running the second time, was defeated in November. 


1888, by Benjamin Harrison. Just before the expiration of his term of office he 
named in January, 1889, I. S. Loventhal, a Republican, as postmaster. For some 
reason the senate failed to confirm the nomination, and March 4, 1889, Harrison was 
inaugurated as President. It then became necessary to again send in Loventhal's name 
to the senate for confirmation. In the meantime there was a very active opposition 
by members of the Republican party, led by S. L. Hanscom, to Loventhal's appoint- 
ment as postmaster of Modesto. 

The senate refusing to confirm the nomination of Loventhal as postmaster, the 
Republican county committee of Stanislaus County endorsed and sent in the name of 
C. D. Post for postmaster, it being a Republican administration. President Harrison 
sent in the name of Charles D. Post as postmaster and the senate confirmed it. The 
new postmaster took charge of the office March 7, 1890, S. H. Finley having held 
over until his successor took charge. Mr. Post appointed as his deputy Miss Josie 
Gridley and he retained in office Miss Tillie Conneau, who was a deputy under Finley. 
William McKinley was elected President, November 6, 1900, and in 1902 David W. 
Morris, a prominent Republican, was appointed as Modesto's postmaster. He held 
the office from 1902 until 1914, at which time he was superseded by Wade Howell. 
During Postmaster Morris' term many changes took place in the office. At first he 
had one deputy and one assistant, only. Later the office force was increased to five 
assistants because of the growth of the city and the surrounding country. The rural 
system of delivery was established in 1904. The longest route, twenty-five miles, was 
Waterford and 100 families were served daily with their mail. Five rural routes had 
been established in 1910. The city free delivery system was established in 1906 with 
three carriers, one on the west and two on the east side. After Wade Howell's appoint- 
ment in 1914 he held the position as postmaster until January 15, 1920, at w T hich time 
he resigned. The office was temporarily filled by C. H. Conron, a former deputy, 
the permanent position being held in the air for some unexplainable reason until April 
30, 1921, when the ex-postmaster and ex-mayor of Modesto, David W. Morris, was 
again appointed postmaster. The office at this time pays a salary of $3,200 per annum. 

Modesto Business Firms in 1880 

Modesto in 1880 was credited with the following business places: three butcher, 
two tinware, five barber, six blacksmith and wheelwright shops, four drug stores, 
two furniture, four paint, two hardware, two jewelry, five millinery and dressmaking, 
a harness, a hat and boot and shoe and twenty general merchandising stores, a broom, 
a candy and a soda factory, a flour and barley mill, two breweries, a foundry, four 
livery stables, two lumber yards, a gunsmith, two photograph parlors, two under- 
takers, a vegetable market, two bakeries, three restaurants, six hotels, two newspapers, 
six laundries, five large warehouses, a wholesale liquor house and fifteen saloons. The 
professions were also well represented, including two dentists, six ministers, a half 
dozen physicians, fourteen lawyers, several music teachers and a brass band. The 
religious denominations were represented by the Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Episcopal, 
Methodist, Southern Methodist, and a Liberal League. The benevolent orders were 
Druids, Knights of Honor, G. A. R. Post, Good Templars, Masons, Odd Fellows 
and a Temperance Society. In 1890 the city had less business houses, less population 
and, strange to say, twelve instead of fifteen saloons. What was the cause of this 
decrease in business and loss of population in both city and county? The Herald in 
explanation of the cause said : "Years of litigation over the irrigation laws had drained 
her (the county's) resources and those who remained there did so largely because they 
could not sell out to get away. She had a prosperous crowd before that of 3,000 
population (the city) when she was the center of business for the West Side and in 
the other direction as far as the southern mines." But there was a brighter life for 
both city and county. It came after the opponents of irrigation had been forever 
quieted and through irrigation the earth began to blossom and put forth an abundant 
harvest and prosperity reigned. 


The Nonpartisan Mass Meeting 
In a previous chapter we recorded the first city election, August 1, 1884, and the 
turbulent mass meeting preceding it — a mass meeting in which there was an attempt 
to nominate a nonpartisan ticket. The meeting broke up in a row. As the time 
drew near for the second city election, another nonpartisan meeting was held March 
18, 1886, in Rodgers Hall. The News declared it "one of the liveliest meetings ever 
held in Modesto. The hall was packed long before John A. Worthington (the attor- 
ney) stepped upon the platform and called the meeting to order. P. J. Hazen, another 
lawyer, and George Perley, both Democrats, were nominated for temporary chairmen. 
Hazen was elected amidst the greatest excitement and confusion." L. J. Maddux 
was elected temporary secretary and these officers later were elected the permanent 
officers of the meeting. Perley's motion was adopted and a permanent committee on 
organization was appointed. The chairman appointed the following committee : George 
Perley, L. W. Fulkerth, Willis Bledsoe, P. H. Medley, and John Cardoza. In time 
nominations for office were called. For city marshal, A. K. Pritchett, the marshal 
in office, received 132 votes and A. M. Hill, 214 votes. For city clerk L. B. Farrish 
received the nomination, 122 votes, eight more than his opponent, E. T. Stone. Thomas 
Wallace, William Tregea, John Robinson, Henry G. James and John Sorensen were 
nominated trustees without any opposition. 

The City Election of 1886 

As the time drew near for the second city election the board of trustees through 
their chairman, Theodore Turner, and George Perley, clerk, gave notice that an elec- 
tion for city officers would be held April 12, 1886. They designated the county 
superintendent's office in the court house as the polling place. They appointed George 
W. Toombs, inspector, Isaac Perkins and Rasmus Sorensen, judges, and W. H. Tuggle 
and Edward Howard, clerks. 

In this the second city election, 603 votes were cast. Farish for clerk, Hill for 
marshal and Marriott for treasurer were elected without any opposition, Marriott 
polling the highest vote of the three nominees, 589. For trustees there were two tickets 
in the field, a Citizens, or so-called nonpartisan, all Democrats, and an Independent 
ticket, all Republicans. The straight Democratic ticket was elected as follows : Thomas 
Wallace, 360; H. G. James, 323; William Tregea, 320; John Robinson, 322; and 
John Sorensen, 333. The Independents were not in sight, running far behind, as 
follows: Theodore Turner, president of the first board of trustees, 260; C. L. 
Payne, 267; John F. Tucker, 274; George Reitch, 235; and C. D. Post, later the 
postmaster, 260 votes. 

Ten years previous to this election the Republicans of the county, few in number, 
made strenuous efforts to carry the county in the presidential election of that year for 
their standard bearer, Rutherford B. Hayes. In those days torchlight processions, 
political uniformed clubs, bonfires and political "whoop-ups" were supposed to win 
votes and thousands of dollars were expended by each party in their political cam- 
paigns. The Republicans of Stockton, anxious to assist the Modesto Republicans in 
their fight, planned an excursion to Modesto on the evening of October 24, 1876. The 
Stockton Buckeye Club, the Stockton Glee Club, a brass band and about 375 friends, 
including many ladies, were on the train. To make things lively, the Buckeyes took 
with them their cannon, "Buckeye Boy." On arrival at Modesto, a procession was 
formed and the Buckeyes led the procession, preceded by the band and followed by 
large numbers of decorated wagons drawn by six and eight horses, the wagons being 
loaded with ladies from Grayson, Turlock, Hill's Ferry and Oakdale. The Modesto 
Hayes Invincibles and the Hayes and Wheeler clubs from the various towns brought 
up the rear of the line. Each club carried bright-burning torches and dozens of trans- 
parencies. There were fully 300 torches in line and the procession, a mile and a half 
in length, was ten minutes passing a given point. After parading the principal streets, 
the procession countermarched on Front Street and, said an observer, looking from 
the Ross House, "They presented a dazzling appearance." In the procession the 
Republican club carried a beautiful flag. It was the gift of the Republican ladies of 


Modesto and was presented to the club October 11 by Miss Maddux in a neat speech. 
The procession halted and disbanded at the pavilion. The crowd, over 2,000 in 
number, now gathered around the speakers' stand, which was prettily trimmed with 
flags. After a political song by the Stockton Glee Club and a second song by the 
Grayson mixed quartette. Judge George Schell introduced L. M. Booth as chairman 
of the evening. The principal speaker of the evening was Marcus D. Boruck, secre- 
tary of the state Republican committee. He was followed by Timothy G. Phelps, 
an extensive wheat grower and former candidate for governor. While he was speaking 
it was announced from the stand that as the hour was late the Stockton guests would 
retire to Eastin Hall, where a fine banquet awaited them. The hall was tastily deco- 
rated and six long tables "fairly groaned with all of the delicacies of the season." The 
supper was provided by the "loyal, patriotic and hospitable Republican ladies," among 
them Mrs. D. S. Husband and Mrs. John S. Ross. The Stocktonians invited the 
Modesto Republicans to visit the city on the evening of the big torchlight procession 
on November 4, and the Modesto Republican Club returned the visit. They were 
accompanied by many ladies, who were the guests of Mr. and Mrs. James Cole, who 
will be remembered as proprietors in 1872 of the Ross House. 

Waterworks and Sewers 

A city government is ofttimes criticized for not carrying out certain improve- 
ments necessary to the health and welfare of the community when as a matter of fact 
they cannot accomplish results for lack of money. Although the boards of trustees 
of Modesto were very slow in making many improvements in the town during their 
Democratic rule of over twenty years, they should be commended for the improve- 
ments they made, and one of these improvements was the laying of sewers. The town 
was riddled with ill-smelling vaults which in the summer season smelled to high 
heaven. The work of sewering the most thickly inhabited part of the city began in 
December, 1885. It was not completed, however, until June, 1893, at a cost of 
$25,000. The sewer pipe was run to the Tuolumne River and in purchasing rights 
of way, Mrs. Mary Brinkerhoff wanted an excess price for her land, $1,500. The 
city trustees refused to pay the amount and in their condemnation suit, Judge Minor 
October 10, 1899, awarded her eighty-five dollars. Long before this suit the outfall 
sewer was in a bad condition and in the tax estimate $600 had been allowed for its 
repair. Bids were called for and received in September, 1 899, and the lowest bidder 
was a Stockton firm, Clark & Henery. Their bid was seventy-five dollars and they 
were given the contract for repairing, extending and protecting the outfall sewer. 
They also constructed the protection and placed piling in the river to carry the pipe 
into the stream. 

Another improvement, small in itself, but of great importance to the relatives of 
the dead, was the laying of a sidewalk from the business street to the cemetery. The 
lane in winter was almost impassable because of soft sand and pools of water, and Trus- 
tee Thomas Wallace suggested that the city lay the sidewalk. 

The City Cemetery was laid out as early as 1872, on the east side of the town, 
a mile distant. On the east side lie the dead of the Odd Fellows and the Masons 
and on the west side the dead of the Catholic Church. The Grand Army plot in the 
City grounds is noticeable because of two cannon constructed of wood at the east and 
west ends of the plot. 

At the time of the completion of the sewers, the trustees purchased the water- 
works, paying for them $60,000. The best description that I have seen of the water- 
works' of that time was that given by Rev. J. C. Simmons, in a letter to the Chico 
Times. He said: "S. P. Rodgers is the principal stockholder and he kindly showed 
me through the works. There are four wooden tanks on a solid brick building, 
standing twenty feet higher than the tallest house in Modesto. They have a tank 
capacity of 165,000 gallons. Beneath the tanks there is a room 14x22 with concrete 
walls, sunk thirty-five feet in the earth. Three nine-inch wells, each 165 feet deep, 
supply the water to the pumps." 


That these city improvements did not go unnoticed by the outside world, is evi- 
dent from an article in the Visalia Times in 1900. It declared: "The city of Mo- 
desto is in some respects far in advance of any other municipality in the valley. 
The city has a first-class sewer system, owns its waterworks and lighting plant and has 
excellent school facilities. Its streets are well graded and its parks are well kept." 

The Courthouse Cornerstone 

The Times said nothing about the County Court House which was then over- 
crowded and out of date. It was built, it is remembered, in 1872, and October 7 
of that year the cornerstone was laid with very imposing ceremony by the Stanislaus 
Masons, Stanislaus Lodge No. 206 taking charge of the ceremony. Early in the 
afternoon the Masons of the county assembled at their lodge room in the James 
Building, corner of H and Eleventh streets, and after holding a preliminary meeting 
they marched to the court house site, the northeast corner of the building. A large 
crowd of people had gathered at that point. The president of the day, Thomas T. 
Hamlin, called the assemblage to order and introduced Judge Adolphus C. L. Hewel 
as orator of the day. He reviewed, in an eloquent manner, the history of Stanislaus 
County, from its earliest days, said the correspondent, and well he might for he had 
been in the county since 1855, an attorney since 1864, deputy county clerk in 1865 
and county clerk in 1867-68. Concluding his address, the cornerstone was put into 
place under the direction of the grand master, N. Green Curtis, of Sacramento, who 
pronounced the cornerstone "well and truly laid." The ceremony of the day ended 
by a grand ball given by the Masons. 

In the cavity of that stone today there are resting the names of the President, 
Vice-President of the United States and the President's cabinet at that date. It con- 
tains also the names of the state, county and city officials of 1872, the county voting 
register, a copy of the Stanislaus News, the names of the officers of Stanislaus Lodge 
of Masons and Wildey Lodge of Odd Fellows, and Uncle Sam's currency, a gold and 
silver dollar, a greenback and a bank note. 

The Court House Annex 
By much planning and crowding the court house answered the purpose for which 
it was built until the year 1900. At that time plans were drawn and bids let for an 
annex on the west side. The Hall of Records, as it was called, 42x43 feet, corre- 
sponding in height and architecture to the old building, was ready for occupancy in 
June, 1901. It was absolutely fireproof and the records are now safe from fire. 
The first or basement floor was occupied by the county assessor, J. L. Campbell, the 
second floor by the county auditor and recorder, and the third floor by the county 
clerk, A. S. Dingley. It was at this time the county grounds were first lighted. The 
supervisors accepted the Electric Light Company's proposition. The company erected 
in the square a tall mast and upon it a 2,000 candlepower arc light, costing the 
supervisors twenty-five dollars per month. 

The Destructive Fire of 1901 
Shortly after the completion of the Hall of Records, a fire broke out among the 
shacks on the west side of the square, that completely wiped out the last of the old- 
time business houses. The fire broke out Sunday morning about three o'clock, Novem- 
ber 29, 1901, in the rear of the wooden buildings near the corner of I and Eleventh 
streets. The buildings were very dry and the flames gained headway so rapidly that 
although the fire department had two heavy streams of water on the fire, the buildings 
and much of the stock within them was destroyed. The heat was so intense the 
paint on the Gates building on the north side of the street was badly blistered, two 
plate glass windows in the Tucker & Perley real estate office on Eleventh Street were 
shattered, and the north wall of the News office was badly scorched and several win- 
dows broken. The buildings belonged to Mrs. Martha E. Tucker, D. and G. D. 
Plato and the business firms who lost their stock comprised Mrs. R. M. Dunning, 
millinery; Harrison & Rutherford, grocers; Mrs. E. Speik, cigars and notions; Rob- 
erts Harness and Shoe Repairing shop and George H. Freitas, barber shop . Mr. 


Freitas, now and for several years past, city engineer, had time to take from his shop 
only a lodge record book and some survey plat books. The heaviest loser by the fire 
was George R. Graves, undertaking parlor. He lost not only his stock but several 
valuable paintings, valued at $5000. In the rear of the parlors was a billiard table, 
Indian clubs and other paraphernalia belonging to the Young Men's Social Club. 
These also were destroved. The total loss was about $16,000, with an insurance of 
about $8,000. 

The Political Boss, Barney Garner 

In an interview with Charles Light some months ago, he indicated some of the 
causes of the political power of "the Boss." Along about 1870 Modesto was noted 
for her saloons. The whole railroad front was occupied by low-down grog shops. Up 
to fifteen years ago Stanislaus County was Democratic and always rolled up over- 
whelming majorities in every election. The liquor traffic and the Democratic party 
seemed to go hand in hand. When the better element from the East settled in Mo- 
desto, and throughout Stanislaus County, they brought with them religious and 
other uplift influences. During the past fifteen years the Democratic majorities have 
been wiped out and the county has gone into the Republican column and at the same 
time the liquor traffic has been put out of business, as Stanislaus joined the dry column 
several years ago. Two political leaders in Modesto that I remember were Barney 
Garner, the saloonkeeper, and Sam Dorn, the gambler. Barney was a small-sized man, 
but recognized as a gunman and he had several dead men to his credit. A well-known 
Modesto writer said regarding Garner's political pull: "He was the leader of the 
saloon forces in the convention and was known in his day as the boss of the Front. He 
always went into the Democratic convention with a good-sized vote and on several 
occasions held the balance of power and practically nominated and elected the candi- 
dates. In the political life of the city and county Garner was the dominant character 
until his tragic death in 1890." 

Several different times Barney sought the office of sheriff. In one convention, 
that of 1886, possibly, he was quite a formidable opponent. There were four possible 
nominees: Stephen Bishop, who had been supervisor several terms, Barney Garner, 
Robert P. Purvis and A. S. Fulkerth, who had previously held the office. Bishop led 
on the first ballot with Garner a close second and Purvis a good third. Garner steadily 
lost ground. The contest was long and exciting with Purvis in the first place and 
Bishop second, Garner's vote having dropped to seventeen. On the twenty-ninth 
ballot Purvis received forty-six votes, Bishop thirty-five and Garner his "stand pat" 
seventeen. Garner then withdrew and threw his votes to Purvis, who received the 
nomination and was elected sheriff of the county. 

He Slaps an Attorney's Face 
Garner had such a strong political pull in making officials or in breaking those 
who failed to do his bidding, and his record as a gun fighter was so well known that 
the marshal feared to arrest him for any of his quarrelsome or vicious acts. A case 
in point is recorded May 18, 1886. On that morning W. E. Turner in passing the 
Marble Palace, saw Barney upon the sidewalk. He had taken several drinks, was 
very angry and he was swearing like a trooper. The marshal of the town, A. M. 
Hill, was quietly standing by. Turner, turning to Hill, said: "You should not allow 
such language on the public walks." Garner overheard the remark and not being 
very friendly with Turner, although both were Democrats and of the same stripe, he 
stepped up and slapped the attorney's face. The marshal then going up to Barney 
sympathetically remarked, "Barney, I won't allow such proceedings if I can help it." 
The marshal made no arrest nor did he swear out a complaint. His excuse was: 
"Turner knows the law and can make out a complaint if he so desires." 

A Fearless Marshal 
There was great need of a fearless marshal in the town — a marshal that would 
do his duty without fear or favor from a political boss or hi; henchmen. Such a man 
was fortunately elected at the city election of April 14, 1890, and Barney's political 


career and bulldozing methods were soon ended. At that election John P. Allen and 
John P. Reed)' were elected trustees, E. P. Grant, treasurer ; George H. Golden, 
clerk, and Robert D. Young, marshal. The latter was born in Farmington, San 
Joaquin County, graduated in 1876 from the Oakdale high school and ten years later 
was engaged in the draying business in Modesto. He was elected marshal on the 
Democratic ticket and the criminal element soon learned that the newly elected marshal 
intended to arrest all violators of law, and the result was a strong enmity between 
the officer and Barney, the boss. 

When the city election was again at hand in April, 1892, Barney Garner was 
dead, for the "wages of sin is death." Young, however, was again elected marshal. 
His opponent on the Independent ticket was A. K. Pritchett, the first city marshal. 
So popular, however, was Young, that in a vote of only 600 he received 200 majo'rity. 
Again and again he was continuously elected marshal until 1903. By raising the 
standard of law and order did he not in some measure add weight to the great 
reformation of 1911? And had he been marshal in 1884 would the organization of 
the "Regulators" been necessary to clean up the town of criminals and harlots? 

A Commission Form of Government 

After twenty-six years of party city government, during which time the saloons 
and gamblers dominated every election, the citizens resolved to try what was known 
as the commission form of government. It was a system in exact antithesis to the 
system which had been in use for a hundred years. Under the new or commission 
form of government each commissioner was held individually responsible for the work 
and expenditures in his department and the mayor had a general supervision and was 
held responsible for all of the departments. In other words, the mayor held the 
same position as the manager of a business. On the other hand, under the old system, 
it was a collective responsibility and no one person was accountable for any short- 
comings. Under the party system the only qualifications of a trustee were to belong 
to the strongest party, be a good wire puller, a good citizen, and a "jolly good fellow" 
and his nomination and election was assured. Under the commission form of govern- 
ment, partisanship cut no figure whatever and the only qualifications necessary were 
ability and a conscientious desire to faithfully serve the interests of the people. 

Framing a Charter 

A mass meeting of citizens was called to select the names of a body of fourteen 
freeholders, who were to frame a charter under the commission form of government. 
A committee was appointed. They reported the following names, which were endorsed 
by the meeting, namely: L. L. Dennett, J. R. Broughton, George Perley, J. W. Bell, 
Sol P. Elias, Thomas Downey, Z. E. Drake, L. E. De Yoe, C. W. Evans, John 
Dunn, Sr., E. I. Fisher, Nate C. Hanscom, Al Schmidt, C. A. Williamson and B. J. 
Smith. The freeholders named were elected by the voters April 11, 1910. They imme- 
diately began their work, which must be completed and submitted to the electors 
within ninety days. Sol Elias was elected president of the board, and L. E. De Yoe, 
secretary. To prepare the charter and submit it to the freeholders, a sub-committee 
comprising Sol P. Elias, L. E. De Yoe and L. P. Fisher was appointed. It was fitting 
and proper that Sol Elias should be elected president of the board, for he was in fact 
the "Father of the Charter." Reared in Modesto from early childhood, graduated 
from the Modesto high school and later from Stanford University, he seems 
to have had a natural aptitude for charter making. He began the study of different 
forms of charters, those especially of the commission form of government, delivered 
several lectures upon the subject in Modesto, Stockton, and this year (1921) in Mer- 
ced, and published in the Modesto papers several arguments upon the commission 
form of government. 

The charter, which was ratified by the voters September 10, 1910, provided for 
the election of a mayor and four trustees. They were in office four years, but two 
trustees retired every two years and new trustees were elected. At the first election 
the trustees drew lots for the two and the four-year term. A board of education, five 


in number, was also elected by the citizen voters. They received no compensation and 
two or three, as the case might be, retired every two years. The mayor and trustees 
may or may not receive a salary; it was up to the voters. Each trustee was given a 
department, over which department he had full control and was held responsible. 
The departments were known as finance and revenue, public health and safety, public 
works, and public supplies. The board were given almost unlimited powers. They 
could purchase land for any public purpose for buildings, parks, playgrounds, theaters, 
art gallery, swimming pools, in fact anything desirable or useful for the public, and 
erect buildings thereon. Included in the many utilities they might if they so desired 
purchase an aviation landing place, an innovation in charters that caused considerable 
newspaper comment. The trustees appointed all of the sub-officers including the 
assessor, clerk, treasurer, collector, engineer, fire chief, attorney, chief of police, and 
five library trustees. The salary of the sub-officials was fixed by the trustees, the 
library trustees receiving no salary. 

The First Commission Convention 

The next move in the reformation of politics and the betterment of the city was 
to elect to office those men who would faithfully carry out the new policy. With this 
end in view about 150 business men and citizens met in Schafer's Hall, May 3, 1911, 
to nominate a nonpartisan ticket. A nominating committee was appointed. Their 
chairman, George R. Stoddard, stated that the object of the convention was to nomi- 
nate representative men who would give the city a businesslike administration. The 
committee reported the following names, which were endorsed by the convention: for 
mayor, George Wren ; for trustees, George Perley, C. W. Swan and L. T. Moss ; for 
school trustees, Frank A. Cressey, Jr., W. R. High, J. R. Broughton, J. W. Davidson 
and J. W. Corson. 

The Socialist Ticket 

The Socialists were early in the field with a ticket which they called the "Socialist 
and Union Men Ticket." It was strictly partisan and they hoped to carry the elec- 
tion by the votes of the labor unions of Modesto. In order to strengthen their party 
they imported that famous socialist, J. Stitt Wilson, of Berkeley. He spoke on the 
court house square June 5, 1911, the eve of election, and delivering a socialistic 
address, attempted to argue that the business men's ticket was nothing but a capitalist 
ticket and consisted of bankers and capitalists only. The socialists had placed in the 
field, Griffin D. Brice for mayor, C. A. East, L. D. Graham and Ira T. Bridges for 
trustees, and Mrs. J. P. Purvis, W. D. Baker, C. R. Little and Gustavius Ramech 
for school trustees. Mrs. Purvis, the wife of ex-sheriff Purvis, and a school teacher, 
was the first woman in Stanislaus ever placed on a political ticket, and she received 
the highest vote of any candidate on the Socialist ticket. The woman suffrage move- 
ment was then in the air and in October, 1911, the woman suffrage amendment to 
the state constitution carried by a big majority. In the last state election, Miss Esto 
Broughton, daughter of J. R. Broughton, was elected to the assembly from Stanislaus 
county. She was one of the first women to sit in the legislative halls, and in the heated 
contest taxing the corporations, she voted for the tax, although her father is the presi- 
dent of a corporation bank. 

Election Day, 1911 

The election on June 5, 1911, was very exciting and a very large vote was polled, 
a total of 929 votes. The business men's ticket was elected by an overwhelming ma- 
jority. The vote as tabulated was as follows: For Mayor: George J. Wren, 542; 
Griffin D. Brice, 222. For Commissioners: George P. Schafer, 643; L. T. Moss, 
642; Charles D. Swan, 596; George Perley, 573; C. A. East, 171 ; L. D. Graham, 
244; Ira T. Bridges, 251 ; John Harrison, 122. For School Trustees: J. W. Cor- 
son, 675; T- R- Broughton, 627; R. W. High, 665 ; J. W. Davison, 659; Mrs. J. P. 
Purvis, 289; W. D. Baker, 245; C. R. Little, 224; Gus Ramech, 158; C. W. 
Lyman, 173. 

The last board of trustees under the old system comprised C. D. Post, S. W. 
Coffee, John D. Ross, John Harrison and W. S. Mann. It was charged during the 


campaign that John Harrison was the boss of the trustees; that they did his bidding 
and many contracts were let in which he was directly interested. He had the temerity, 
however, to again run for the office and he received the smallest vote on the ticket. 

Modesto's First Commissioners 
In accordance with the provisions of the charter, the commissioners assembled 
July 1, 1911, and organized. They assembled at eight o'clock that morning and 
George Wren was elected president and George Perley, vice-president. Lots were 
drawn for the two-year and the four-year term and for the different departments, 
according to the charter. C. D. Swan, two years, public health; L. T. Moss, two 
years, finance and revenue ; George Perley, four years, public works ; and George P. 
Schafer, four years, supplies. In the selection of subordinate officers, Walter O. 
Thompson was appointed auditor and clerk; E. B. Morse, treasurer and collector; 
E. L. Jones, city attorney ; George Freitas, city engineer ; R. L. Dallas, chief of police, 
and S. P. Kinnear, street superintendent. A few days later, July 11, the chief of 
police put on the lid and notified all saloonkeepers and red-light inmates that the laws 
would be strictly enforced, and August 3 the commissioner of public works, George 
Perley, announnced : "The old order of things is past, the new is on." 

Commissioners Elected to Date 

From this time on there was a wonderful change in the progress, morality and 
policy of the city. First-class men were elected to office, but it is well to be mindful 
of the fact that there were many events that contributed to the community uplift. One 
was the giving of the vote to women, another the organization of the Women's Im- 
provement Club, another the organization of a Chamber of Commerce and a Mer- 
chants' Association, and last of all the destruction of the liquor traffic. The following 
are the city commissioners elected up to date: 

April 8, 1913, trustees, Lowell Gum, C. D. Swan, L. T. Moss, elected to fill 
the unexpired term of George Perley. 

April 13, 1915: D. W. Morris, mayor; George W. O'Connor, L. T. Moss. 

April 24, 1917: trustees, John C. Cuneo, C. D. Swan. 

April 8, 1919: George J. Ulrich, mayor; C. C. Parks, Alvin H. Turner, vice 
C. D. Swan, resigned. 


Unfortunately for the present generation, the pioneers of Stanislaus County took 
no means whatever to preserve their history. Hence it has been very difficult to 
obtain facts, and in some cases impossible to get either data or facts. The newspaper 
men, presumed to be men of intelligence, capable of understanding better than others, 
except teachers, the value of history, are no better in that respect than the common 
citizens, and scarcely any of the newspaper files are saved. One of the most difficult 
records to obtain have been those of the church, and two denominations only had pre- 
served a fair history of their organization. 


The first religious denomination in the present county of Stanislaus was the little 
Catholic Mission at La Grange, to which I have already referred. 

The second religious denomination was the Methodist Episcopal north. It was 
organized March 13, 1861, by the missionary, John P. Hale, in the home of J. V. 
Davies. The charter members were John and Elizabeth Davies, Joel Griffin and 
wife, M. and Elizabeth Moyle, Mrs. Carpender and Mr. Marvin. Services were 
held in the Westport schoolhouse until the erection of the new church in 1880. The 
first trustees were L. J. Morrow, John Davies and Joel Griffin. The church was in 


existence in 1881 with Joseph Vincent, John Vivian, Osmond Johnson and M. Moyle 
as trustees. The first pastor was John P. Hale and the pastor in 1881 was Rev. 
T. B. Palmer. 

The Congregational Church seems to have been organized in the early 70s and 
died in its infancy for lack of numbers and financial support. According to meager 
reports, it seems to have been organized in 1872-73, and a small wooden church was 
erected on the I Street alley between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets. It was the first 
building in Modesto erected for church services. They were in existence in 1879 with 
the Rev. J. L. Jones as their pastor. They struggled along for several years and 
then, disorganizing, united with the Presbyterians, then as now, one of the largest 
denominations of the city. After the Congregationalists vacated their building, it was 
occupied for religious worship by the German Lutherans. In the fire of July, 1890, 
they succeeded in saving the pulpit and the seats. Several years later, in 1911, the 
Lutherans were holding services monthly in Schafer's hall, Rev. George Jacobson of 
the Lutheran Church, Stockton, acting as their pastor. 


A number of the members of the Christian faith or Disciples of Christ, who lived 
in Stanislaus County assembled first in the Jackson district schoolhouse, about eight 
miles from the present city of Modesto. Some months later they resolved to organize 
a church. Assembling in the Congregational edifice April 23, 1873, they were organ- 
ized by J. M. Monroe, with forty charter members. Following the organization they 
held a protracted meeting under the leadership of Reverend Monroe. The result 
was that 1 1 1 professed the faith and united with the Christians. For several months 
they held service in the Congregational church. Near the close of the year 1873 they 
built a small brick house of worship on Eleventh and G streets. They worshipped in 
that building until 1905, when the present handsome edifice was constructed. The 
first elders were appointed and ordained in 1873, namely: W. H. Finley, W. R. Ican- 
berry and W. S. McHenry. The late Elder C. H. Hinning was a valuable member 
of the church. 

The first deacons were James Berry, John B. Caldwell and William Wilkinson. 
The following pastors have served up to date: The Rev. J. M. Monroe, twice pas- 
tor, C. A. Wright, A. G. Burnett (now judge of the Appellate court), Henrv Coge- 
shall, Henry Shadle, J. W. Blake, George E. Shanklin, D. A. Leak, William H. 
Briggs, J. A. Brown, L. O. Ferguson (pastor for ten years), J. J. Haley and the 
present pastor, H. S. Saxby. This church has a large membership, over 500 in num- 
ber, fifty being non-residents. The church has a number of societies, among them a 
Young Ladies' Club, Ladies' Aid Society, Women's Board of Missions, senior, inter- 
mediate and young people's societies and a Bible class of over 400 members. 

"This denomination," said Jefferson D. Bentley, "was organized some time in 
1872, the congregation erecting a small wooden church on the corner of Eleventh 
and J streets." A few years later an earthquake shook down all the plastering of the 
auditorium and, as the building was poorly constructed, the trustees concluded to 
erect a new and larger building. The cost was not given, but as carpenters then 
worked ten hours at $2.50 per day, the cost was not heavy. The building was in use 
many years, and in 1919 they sold the property to the Elks for $32,000. The trustees 
then purchased a lot at the corner of Elmwood and Needham Avenue and at a cost 
of about $40,000 erected a handsome building seating about 600 persons. While the 
building was being erected, the congregation held their services in the basement. The 
edifice was completed in 1920." The first church bell in the valley was placed in the 
steeple of the pioneer church and its tone ringing out loud and clear called the people to 
pray and praise from far and near. 

Five of the pastors of this church were the Rev. J. C. Simmons, L. G. Hargis, 
J. C. Pendergast, 1881, M. G. Burris, 1889, and Z. J. Needham, 1919. The first- 


named pastor, J. C. Simmons, father of the wife of L. J. Maddux, the attorney, was 
one of the pioneer pastors of California. In a reminiscent lecture of his ministry 
since February, 1852, he said: "The boy preacher was sent to Grass Valley by the 
bishop, who remarked: 'If you cannot sleep on bearskins and eat bear meat, you are 
not fit for a missionary.' On arrival I found a rough clapboard church and a clap- 
board shed as my home and parsonage. On one occasion I walked sixteen miles to 
a new diggings and found not a finished house in the place. I found a frame house 
without any floor, and this I occupied as a church. Empty boxes were used for seats, 
and empty bottles for candle sticks. There I began singing hymns and soon a crowd 
gathered around. Services were held at different times under trees, in bar-rooms, ten- 
pin alleys and gambling houses, and many a time I preached with barrels and boxes, 
bottles, bowie knives and pistols around me." The first trustees were Maj. James 
Burney of Burneyville, who had charge of the Sunday School, J. D. Bentley and 
Andrew Lester. 


The Herald some time since stated that the Baptist Church "was the youngest 
Evangelical Church in the city," having been organized seven years ago (1903). Mrs. 
L. H. Pratt, the widow of the deceased pastor, Rev. L. H. Pratt, says she has been 
a member for fifteen years and that the church was organized long before that time. 
It seems they were organized in the Congregational Church and there held occasional 
services. When the building was destroyed by fire, in 1890, the congregation moved 
to a building corner of Seventh and J streets. The building was later sold and a 
second building was secured, which was sold after a time to the Seventh Day Adventists. 
Again without a home, the Baptists, having Increased largely in numbers and wealth, 
concluded to erect a home of their own. Purchasing a lot on the corner of Eleventh 
and K streets they erected a handsome concrete edifice at a cost of $15,000. It was 
dedicated during the summer of 1911, there being a general church building boom 
about that time. The present pastor is the Rev. Edgar Gum. 


The Catholics and the Episcopalians have what is known as parishes, and ofttimes 
a parish covers an extensive scope of territory. When Father William B. O'Connor 
was assigned by Archbishop Alemany in 1872 to St. Mary's Church, Stockton, his 
parish not only included Stockton and San Joaquin County but the entire county of 
Stanislaus. At that time there was neither parish nor church building in the county 
save at La Grange, the little French church which we have already noted. Father 
O'Connor, visiting Modesto occasionally, would hold mass in the homes of the Catho- 
lics, and in 1875 a parish was organized. Father O'Connor, who was a very zealous 
worker for church progress, soon began agitating the question of building a house of 
worship. Money was subscribed and collected for that purpose. A lot was purchased 
on Seventh Street near J Street, and a little chapel erected at a cost of $2,500. It 
would seat about 300 persons and, free of debt, it was dedicated June 23, 1878, by 
Archbishop Alemany, assisted by Father O'Connor. Seventh Street at that time had 
"just been laid out and was the main thoroughfare of the infant community." 

The first resident pastor was Rev. Patrick Walsh, who was assigned in 1881 to 
the Modesto church. His parish included all of the towns of the county, Modesto, 
Turlock, Gustine, Patterson, Newman, Crows Landing, Oakdale, La Grange and 
Knights Ferry. Father Walsh was in charge about three and a half years, when he 
was taken sick, and died in the parochial home, Stockton, December 23, 1884. Father 
Walsh was succeeded January 9, 1885, by Father Thomas McGuire. He was the 
parish priest during the following ten years and during his priesthood a little parish 
church was built at Turlock. Then came Father Patrick Smith, January 28, 1894, 
;md the close of his earthly work was the most tragic perhaps of any priest in Cali- 
fornia. Father Smith was a man of middle age and of a delicate constitution. On 
April 10, Easter Sunday, 1898, the church was crowded with worshippers who had 
come to celebrate Easter high mass. Father Smith was assisted by two altar boys, and 
as with the lighted tapers in his hands, he knelt during the consecration, he fell over 


on his side, dead. The congregation believed he had fainted. Four persons hastening 
to the altar carried the lifeless body into the rectory. The sexton returning dismissed 
the congregation, saying: "Father Smith will be unable to finish the mass." He died 
of heart disease hastened by weakness from fasting. 

The next priest in order was Father W. J. Madden. His first mass was in April, 
1898, and because of ill health he retired in 1903. While he was in charge, Oakdale 
was given a resident priest, Father Nevin. A division was also made of the parish. 
Father Nevin was placed in charge of all that part of the county east of the Santa Fe 
Railroad track while Father Madden took the west side of the roadbed. 

Sixteen years is a long time for a priest or pastor to remain in charge of a con- 
gregation. It bespeaks a duty well done, a man beloved by his parishioners. Such 
is the record of Father M. J. Giles, whose crowning work is the beautiful church of 
St. Stanislaus with a parish of between 400 and 500 families and nearly 2,500 com- 
municants. Born in Ireland, he attended the Black Rock College, Dublin. Coming 
to these United States he arrived at San Francisco in 1894. After having served as 
coadjutor in the San Francisco church of St. Francis, St. Rose and Star of the Sea, 
he was sent to Modesto in June, 1903. His first baptism was at Newman, July 11, 
1903, that of John Souza, a son of Manuel and Mary Silveria Souza. His first mar- 
riage, in November, 1903, united John Podesta to Man' Brichetto. In 1904 Newman, 
Gustine, Patterson and Crows Landing missions were eliminated from his parish 
and Father Leal became the resident pastor,- residing at Newman. Turlock also was 
given a resident priest in Father Bailey. Notwithstanding these eliminations, his con- 
gregation rapidly increased and in 1912 a committee was appointed to consider ways 
and means for the erection of a fine edifice, one that would be a credit to the beautiful 
city of Modesto. The work was hastened and May 1, 1913, the plans were accepted 
for a reinforced concrete building of the Spanish colonial style of architecture to cost 
about $22,000. The inside measurement of the building was 46x112 feet, with two 
towers, each tower 75 feet in height. The first shovelful of earth was turned May 
15, 1913, and the wall erected awaited the laying of the cornerstone. August 13, 
1913, was an important church day in Modesto and thousands came from the entire 
surrounding country to witness the laying of the cornerstone. At eight o'clock mass 
was celebrated in the old church. Two hours later a special train arrived from 
Stockton having on board a delegation from the Young Men's Institute, the Stockton 
Drum Corps and the Young Ladies' Institute. A procession was then formed under 
the direction of W. H. Langdon, now judge of the Appellate Court, and they paraded 
the streets, led by the Modesto Brass Band. Returning to the church high mass was 
was celebrated in the open air, Father J. L. Cunha acting as celebrant. At the noon 
hour a lunch was served to all of the visitors from Stockton and the surrounding coun- 
try, and during the afternoon there was a baseball game between the Young Men's 
Institute team of San Francisco and the Modesto Reds. At the same time a sacred 
concert was given by the' Modesto Brass Band. Late in the afternoon the cornerstone 
was laid by Archbishop Hanna of San Francisco, he also delivering a sermon in 
English. Father Cunha gave a sermon in Portuguese. Upon the cornerstone is 
engraved these words from the sacred writ: "Upon this rock will I build my Church 
and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." ' 

The building was dedicated December 28, 1913, by Archbishop Hanna. At the 
celebration of high mass Father J. J. Cantwell of San Francisco was celebrant ; Rev. 
William McGough of St. Mary's Church, Stockton, deacon; Rev. Thomas McNaboc, 
sub-deacon ; Father M. J. Giles, master of ceremonies. The Rev. M. Gallagher of 
Oakland, Fathers Thomas Bailey of Turlock, and Dollard of Lodi were present. A 
special choir with W. W. Higgins as director sang Bateman's Mass in F. The build- 
ing complete cost $23,500, the fittings $4,000, pews $1,500, and the memorial win- 
dow, $1,000. The instrument used in the church was a small reed organ, but in 
February, 1919, a $2,500 pipe organ was installed. 



The First Presbyterian Church of Modesto was organized in the Methodist 
Episcopal north edifice March 30, 1879, by Rev. Thomas Fraser, a missionary of 
the Synod of the Pacific. He was assisted in the organization by the Rev. Thomas 
Cookson of the Methodist faith and the Rev. J. L. Jones of the Congregational 
denomination. The congregation held services for a few months in Rodgers Hall, 
with Rev. John B. Warren as pastor. Purchasing a lot at the corner of I and Four- 
teenth streets in 1880, they erected a neat building of wood at a cost of $4,300, the 
Presbyterian board of erection contributing $500 of that amount. The building was 
dedicated as a house of worship, January 2, 1881, and in a few years was free from 
debt, principally through the earnest efforts of Mrs. Matilda McHenry 
and of Mrs. J. S. Armstrong, the wife of Elder Armstrong. The people of 
the congregation continued worshipping in the little building until 1910. At that 
time there had been a great reformation in the city ; it was growing by leaps and 
bounds and the members concluded to erect a much larger and finer edifice, one that 
would be in harmony with the times. It was their purpose to erect an institutional 
church, embracing such features as a lecture room and Sunday school rooms, a social 
parlor, auditorium, swimming tank, gymnasium and all of the features of a first-class 
Y. M. C. A. It certainly was an innovation up to date. There is none other like it 
except the Institutional Church in Hollister, San Benito Count}-. The congregation 
now adjourned to Schafer's hall for worship and the old building was torn down. 
The new building, covering a space of 60x150 feet, was hastened to completion, and 
in January a $5,000 pipe organ was installed. The church was dedicated July 2, 
1911, the dedicatory sermon being delivered by Dr. Lyman White of San Rafael. 
There was special music by the choir, the soloists being Mrs. Laura De Yoe Brown 
and Mrs. Grace Cox. In the evening a union service of all of the Protestant churches 
was held. The Rev. Lyman White again delivered the sermon and the Rev. Edgar 
F. Brown, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, spoke in behalf of the sister 
churches. There were over 800 persons present, more than filling the auditorium and 
balcony. The edifice cost about $50,000. The charter members of the church are 
Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Armstrong, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Rice, Mrs. Alice Brock, 
Mrs. Mary E. Hammond, Mrs. Mary D. Crow, George W. Cameron and Mrs. Mary 
J. Crawford, who is the only living charter member. The elders of the church for 
many years past were J. S. Armstrong and J. S. Rice, 1879; Benjamin Drake, 1880; 
W. B. Cullom and W. B. Elmore, 1882; Henrv Voight and J. E. Ward, 1886; 
James Thompson, 1890; Dr. B. F. Surryhne, 1894; Edbert Stearns and G. P. Scha- 
fer, 1903; Dr. B. F. Surryhne and his wife, who united with the church in 1893, are 
still members. 

No church can remain long in existence without an income from some source. In 
this respect the Presbyterian Church was particularly fortunate; as a small amount of 
money, from $150 to $600, was annually supplied by the Home Board to assist in 
paying the pastor's salary until 1886. At that time the church became self-supporting. 
A little later, in 1896, a generous provision was made for the partial support of pastors 
by Mrs. Matilda McHenry, an early member of the church. At the time of her 
death that year she left a bequest of $15,000. Of this amount, $5,000 was to be placed 
in the building fund and $10,000 placed at interest as a permanent pastor's fund. 
The interest was to be used in paving pastors' salaries. 

The first session of the board was held May 12, 1879, and Rev. John B. Warren 
was called at a salary of $1,000 a year. In six months he resigned. The pulpit was 
then filled in succession by Rev. Alexander Robert L. Beck and Rev. H. A. Newell. 
Rev. H. E. Mathena, elected in 1881, remained until 1884, when he was succeeded 
by Rev. John W. Atherton. He filled the pulpit until 1887, and he was followed by- 
William O. Melvena, H. C. Gillingham, whose resignation was requested in 1891, 
J. M. Thompson, E. B. Hayes and Enos P. Baker, each with a pastorate of three 
years. In May, 1901, the session extended a call to the Rev. E. A. Holridge. He 
accepted and remained in charge until July 1, 1903. In October, 1903, Rev. H. K. 
Pitman took charge and continued as their beloved pastor until the allied war Then, 


believing in his duty to his country, he resigned and took up war work with the 
Y. M. C. A. The present pastor is the Rev. M. C. Martin. 

In a neat little cottage residence on Seventh Street near H Street, the Danish 
Baptists worship. It is the youngest religious denomination in Modesto, having been 
organized May 4, 1916, by the traveling missionary, N. L. Christensen. The charter 
members of the little church assembled that day in the home of L. C. Nielson in the 
Woods Colony. They were M. J. Petersen, Mr. and Mrs. James H. Petersen, Mr. 
and Mrs. M. West, Mr. and Mrs. Peter H. Petersen, Mrs. Andrew Christensen, 
Mrs. Peter Miller, Mrs. Haus P. Holm, Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Neilsen, Mrs. John 
Jensen, Miss Mark Kaas and Miss Louise Lindgreen. Rev. Peter Jorgensen, who took 
charge of the work January 20, 1917, is still in the field. The Sunday school was 
organized at the same time as the church, and Mr. L. C. Nielsen has continued from 
that time until the present time as its superintendent. 


On the corner of H and Fourteenth streets stands the neat little building of the 
Episcopalians. Rev. A. L. Walters is the rector in charge. It was organized in 1879 
as St. Paul's Mission by the Rev. D. O. Kelley of Trinity Church, San Francisco. 
He was succeeded in 1880 by the Rev. D. L. Mott, the parish missionary until 1883. 
During his term as rector the little chapel was erected. No chancel was built at that 
time, but in 1909 the Rev. W. H. Harker became resident rector and a chancel was 
built, Mr. Harker doing the principal work. Still later choir stalls were built, the 
gift of Mrs. Frank Cressey, Sr. In 1912 the guild hall was built at a cost of $2,300. 

According to the official report, the church was incorporated in 1885, with the 
following persons acting as trustees and officers: George W. Schell, the attorney, as 
president, Harry French, secretary, and A. M. Hill, treasurer. According to a press 
report the church was incorporated when it became a parish June 20, 1910. At that 
time Bishop Nichol appointed Rev. W. H. Harker to conduct the election of the fol- 
lowing vestrymen: J. C. Naylor, Henry S. French, Frank A. Cressey, Sr., H. H. 
Hatton and Vital E. Bangs. The senior warden was J. C. Naylor and the junior 
warden, A. H. Williams. The vestrymen at this time (1920) are L. F. Baker, C. K. 
Garrison, C. W. Doner, O. H. Williams and A. L. Walters. 

As we have stated, St. Paul's Episcopal Church was a mission only from its 
organization in 1879 until 1909. During those many years the congregation were 
obliged to accept the services of those who were willing to preach the gospel almost 
gratuitously. Nearly all of the supply came from the churches of San Francisco, 
being sent on the mission bv Bishops Kip and Nichol. Thev served in the following 
order: Rev. D. O. Kelle v ; 1879; D. L. Mott, 1880-83; Henrv Scott Jeffres, 1884- 
85; Archdeacon Scrivner and W. H. Dver, 1886-87; Rev. Octavius, June 5, 1891; 
D. O. Kellev, 1899; H. F. Compton, May, 1907; C. S. Lindsey, March, 1908; 
Charles Mainan, 1908-09. The first parish rector remained until April, 1911. Then 
came Rev. W. H. Wheeler, who remained one year, followed by Rev. John Atwell, 
May to November, 1912; W. P. Williams, April, 1913, to May, 1915; Charles 
Hitchcock, July, 1915, to May, 1916; Oliver Kingman, May, 1916, to March, 1917, 
the present pastor, A. L. Walters, taking charge June 1, 1917. 

With an ever-changing pastorate no church could rapidly increase either in spir- 
itual influence or membership, but St. Paul's has held its own. In 1885 the member- 
ship of the church was fifty-seven, and the number of children, forty-four. 
The membership is now 218, with thirty-five children in the Sunday school. 
Confirmation services were first held in 1891, Bishop Nichol confirming three candi- 
dates. The first marriage in the county by an Episcopal minister was at Turlock, 
October 27, 1885, Rev. W. H. Dyer then united in marriage Herbert Dunn and 
Miss Tymlson. 



This church, said Branch, is the oldest religious organization in Modesto. Or- 
ganized in 1871, it became the circuit headquarters, which included Adamsville, Dry 
Creek, Knights Ferry, Burneyville and the district surrounding Modesto. In 1875 
the church was made a station and it has supported its ministers without any church 
board assistance since that date. 

Another account, one handed to me by Henry F. Turner, says that the church 
was organized in 1864 by Silas Belknap with eleven persons, namely: Mr. and Mrs. 
J. F. McLaughlin, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Long, Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Fincher, Mrs. 
Anna Monroe, Mrs. C. E. Henderson, Miss Carrie Moore, Len Crawford and S. E. 

Its first board of trustees were A. J. Hart, C. J. Cressey, Isaac Frye, Frank 
Kett and A. Calderwood. The church was incorporated in 1873 with Garrison Tur- 
ner, Isaac Frye, Theodore Turner, F. F. and Albert Fuquay as trustees. The trustees 
in 1873 purchased lots at the corner of H and Fourteenth streets and erected a church 
of frame construction at a cost of $4,000 and a parsonage costing $1,500. A much 
larger and finer building was erected in 1889, the press stating September 27: "The 
Methodist Church is progressing rapidly to completion. The steeple and weather- 
vane, surmounted by an immense bronze ball, are in place, and it already presents an 
imposing appearance." The fire across the alley in 1890 badly damaged the edifice 
and the church was rebuilt in 1891 at a cost of $10,000. The continued growth of 
the congregation compelled them to make additional room and a substantial rebuild- 
ing was carried out in 1906 at a cost of $15,000. Still more room became necessary 
and in September, 1910, more additions were made, together with a new heating plant 
:ind a $3,000 pipe organ. The entire work of rebuilding was performed by union labor. 
As an appreciation of that fact, a day was set and the unions of Modesto were com- 
manded to attend the service on Sunday morning, January 15, 1911, in a body. 

Among the pastors of the church we note Revs. J. L. Burchard, E. M. Stewart, C. 
G. Belknap, E. A. Hazen, C. G. Miles, E. A. Winning, C. E. Rich, 1881; Westlev 
Dennett, 1890; F. C. Lee, 1899; Edgar F. Brown, 1910-11 ; C. B. Sylvester, 1919-20. 

The church membership in 1881 numbered 108, with seventeen probationers, 
and now numbers 650. The Sunday school in 1881 numbered 185, which has increased 
to over 500. For twenty continuous years, up to and including 1911, Henry E. Turner 
was the Sunday school superintendent; the present superintendent is W. F. Ramont. 

This organization several years ago erected a frame edifice on the corner of 
Sixth and J streets. The members are principally farmers and voluntarily they give 
their tithes to the Lord. A few years ago they sold their building to the Colored Bap- 
tists and erected on the site a neat, substantial, concrete house of worship. 

Along religious lines, one of the most remarkable growths, especially in the 
large cities during the past twenty-five years is the growth of the Christian Scientists. 
It is the religion founded by Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy and rich and poor alike have 
accepted the doctrine as set forth in her book, Science and Health. In Modesto, 
meetings were held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Spanker, corner of J and Thir- 
teenth streets. After a time their numbers had so increased the house was not 
large enough and they assembled in the Masonic hall. Officially recognized, a 
Christian Science society was organized in 1909 and continuing their services until 
1917 that year in September they obtained a charter for the "First Church of Christ, 
Scientist, of Modesto." Shortly after that they rented a small wooden building on 
Thirteenth Street near J, formerly a Protestant church, where they now hold services; 
they also maintain free reading room for the public. 



The press is the moulder of public opinion all of the time ; the servant of a 
political part.v and of corporations the most of the time, and the greatest of prevarica- 
tors among men, sometimes. Hence we find the newspapers of the county joined to 
some party, favoring some corporation and at times "lying to beat the band." In 
March, 1850, there was published at Stockton a paper called the Stockton Times and 
Tuolumne Intelligencer. It was a Democratic newspaper and the proprietors in- 
tended to supply the wants of the citizens of Stanislaus (then Tuolumne County) 
with the news. As the county had no mail service this idea was quickly abandoned 
and the last name omitted as there was no way in which the paper could reach its 
subscribers. The first paper in the county was the Knights Ferry Bee which was 
published September, 1859, by W. J. Collier. In a short time the Bee passed into 
the hands of J. B. Kennedy, who stated that the paper would be published every 
Saturday morning "from the office, north side of the public square." It was a 
four-page, six-column paper and the price was twenty-five cents per copy or five dollars 
a year. Wholesale liquor houses and whisky shops, together with famous restaurants 
in Stockton and San Francisco, formed the bulk of its advertisements. In Knights 
Ferry, N. L. Buddington called attention to his splendid bar which was stocked with 
the choicest liquors and newly cushioned billiard table, the best in the town. The 
Bee discontinued its publication in less than fourteen months. Its successor was the 
Stanislaus Index. It was first published in 1861 by Garrison & Whicher, and it sus- 
pended publication shortly after the flood of January, 1862. Six years later and the 
miners were leaving the "diggings," for they declared the mines had "petered out" 
and they began locating in the valley and seacoast cities. 

Among those whose fortunes were blasted by the exodus of the miners was a 
young man named J. D. Spencer, who was then publishing in San Andreas a paper 
called the Mountain News. A Virginian by birth, he returned to California the 
second time with his family in 1853 and began mining in Calaveras County. 
In 1862 he engaged in the photographic business and three years later became an 
editor in charge of the Woodbridge Messenger on the banks of the Mokelumne River. 
Young Spencer, then twenty-five years of age, entered into politics and strongly 
espoused the Democratic party. In November, 1867, he published the Mountain 
News. At that time indications were that Stanislaus would soon become a large and 
flourishing county and having no paper he concluded to locate in Tuolumne City 
and publish a Democratic paper. Landing there early in 1868, on February 14, the 
first copy of the Tuolumne News was issued. It was a four-page, six-column paper 
and published every Friday morning in the upper story of the Ross House, the hotel 
being upon the main street of the town. The News in its politics was thoroughly 
Democratic, "yet at the same time warmly enlisted in the progress and advancement 
of the county. By its boldness the land office ring at Stockton was broken up and 
it next boldly urged the repeal of the 'no fence law,' thus securing the new settlers 
from the heavy expense of fencing their lands before their crops could be raised." 

"The News" Moved to Modesto 
Mr. Spencer soon learned that he had made a mistake in locating in Tuolumne 
City and immediately he began making preparations to move to the new railroad 
town. In the last issue of his paper, November 29, 1869, he said: "We came here 
three years ago assisted by friends expecting that the Tuolumne would be navigable 
for at least ten months of the year. Now the railroad will kill the town and we 
intend moving to Modesto. There we can daily get the news and issue a daily 
and a much better paper." Tuolumne City at that time had a population of about 
300 people and one-half of the county's population lived within thirteen miles of 
the town. There were other inducements which caused the removal of the paper 


to Modesto, namely, a deed to two town lots free of cost. About this time, Miner 
Walden, assemblyman from Stanislaus, concluded that his future political interests 
and those of the Neivs were identical. Going to the agent of the contract and finance 
committee of the Southern Pacific he induced them to deed two lots to J. D. 
Spencer for a home and printing plant. Although the News was antagonistic to the 
railroad politically and as a corporation, they agreed to deed Spencer the land, as a 
good paper would help to advertise and boom the town. In the spring of 1870 the 
printing plant was loaded upon wagons and moved to Modesto. Branch, in record- 
ing this event wrote: "When the News office was located on its present site, there 
were not a half a dozen shanties in the town of Modesto. It stood alone, isolated, 
facing the east, with no view or prospect to break the monotony of the broad, sweep- 
ing plains, until the unobstructed vision rested on the snow-clad peaks upon the 
Yosemite." The office was located in a deep swale or slough, rendering it almost im- 
possible to reach it during the rainy season. The name of the paper was changed 
to the Stanislaus Neivs and the first number was issued December 2, 1870. It was 
issued as a four-page, six-column paper with a subscription price of five dollars per 
annum. The advertising rates were three dollars per square one insertion of ten or 
less lines. Contract rates on quarterly contracts were considerably less than the 
regular rates. Among his first advertisers may be found the firm of George W. 
Schell and J. J. Scrivner, attorneys and real estate, Knights Ferry ; Thomas A. Cold- 
well, district attorney, Knights Ferry; Abraham Schell and A. Hewel, residing in the 
county seat; John B. Hall, W. C. Buckley, Warren S. Montgomery, Stockton; Maj. 
James Burney, notary public, Burneyville, and B. G. Wier, justice of the peace, 
Tuolumne City, 

Spencer continued publishing the Neivs as a weekly paper until December, 1884, 
when he branched out December 1, 1884, as the Daily Evening Neivs. The price was, 
one year, five dollars; six months, three dollars; three months, one dollar and fifty 
cents. It was published as a four-page, five-column paper. In the first issue the 
editor said : "The Daily Evening News makes its formal bow to the public today. It 
is here in accordance with the overwhelming call of the popular sentiment of the 
people of this county. In politics every one has a right to expect that it will be 
strongly, boldly and aggressively Democratic. In the issuing of a daily it is no secret 
that strong Democratic friends, numbering among them the wealthiest, truest and 
best citizens, have generously assisted in this daily publication to offset the politics 
of Republicanism, preached in our daily press." The paper had a circulation of 800 
or 900, says C. P. Rendon, with J. D. Spencer as editor; James Madrell, reporter, 
and C. P. Rendon as compositor. Rendon, who later was district attorney of San 
Joaquin County for twenty years, was born in Stanislaus County at La Grange, and 
learned the printer's trade on the Wheat Grower at Oakdale. He was later employed 
on the Modesto Strawbuck and later on the Republican, then conducted by H. I. 
Bradford. Rendon began reading law with Thomas A. Coldwell, a Modesto lawyer. 
In March, 1889, Spencer took in as a partner W. D. Crow and they published the 
location of their paper as "corner of I and Eleventh streets, opposite the court house." 

In 1881 Spencer purchased a new cylinder press and in 1890 he was compelled 
to erect a new building. "We are cramped for room, as the building we are in is 
one of the first moved from Tuolumne City and only eighteen feet wide, is too 
narrow for our new machinery. It has been moved to an adjoining lot and a new 
building, hard finished throughout, 25x75, will be erected." He was in his new 
office March 24, and his expenses in publishing a daily were quite heavy, $800 per 
month. His employees represented five families and four-fifths of the money was 
spent in Modesto, he stated. The expense was too heavy and the paper went back to 
a weekly edition. Five years later, December 13, 1895, Spencer died in Modesto. 
For several years after his death the paper was published by the Spencer estate with 
R. D. Maddrell as managing editor. In time he retired and J. H. Cavill took 
charge, the News being issued as a four-page, eight-column paper. 

When J. D. Spencer's son, Herbert, became of age he sold a half interest in the 
paper to O. E. Perigo, and young Spencer disagreeing with Cavill in regard to the 


management of the paper, Cavill retired and opened a print shop on I Street. In July, 
1911, Perigo sold his half interest to J. W. Guyler, an employee in the office, and A. 
W. Cowell, former editor of the Stockton Mail. Mr. Cowell was appointed secre- 
tary of the irrigation company, and retired from newspaperdom. A corporation was 
then formed. Spencer sold out and two gentlemen from Reno, Nev., E. T. Sherman 
and S. T. Morgan, bought up the principal stock and are now conducting the News. 

Long before his death the editor of the News had had many a political fight and 
many a heated contest with its Republican opponent, the Morning Herald. And, 
says the local historian, "in the days of fierce, journalistic rivalry and enmity, the 
editors of the local press were not on speaking terms." Following close after the 
establishment in Modesto of the News, a newspaper was issued by S. Marcey, in 
1873, called the Modesto Mirror. It was independent in politics. In the spring of 
1874 the Mirror was purchased by h: F. Beckwith who bought it from Marcey. In 
the "local option" campaign some" years later the Mirror advocated the "dry" side 
of the question, which resulted disastrously to that paper. The material was later 
purchased by H. E. Luther, and that gentleman, January 28, 1875, issued the first 
number of the Morning Herald. Then the paper was incorporated and H. E. Luther's 
health failing, Charles Maxwell took charge of the paper and bought up all of the 
stock. Maxwell seems to have been a successful newspaper man. He enlarged the 
Herald from a six-column folio to a six-column quarto and in August, 1879, refitted 
the office with new material, all except presses. The business increased rapidly and 
in August, 1880, he moved to the second story of the Baum Building, southeast cor- 
ner of H and Tenth streets, in the business center of the town. In its new quarters 
the paper was again enlarged to a seven-column quarto. Republican in politics we 
cannot imagine the cause of its success, for it was a Republican paper in the midst of 
a strongly Democratic city and county. Notwithstanding the fact that the Herald 
was the largest and best paying plant, its opponent, the Neil's, got all of the "political 
pie." It received all of the city and county printing regardless of who was the lowest 
bidder and in 1876 the Herald charged that the News had received $209.75 for print- 
ing election notices. The Herald's bid was $70.50 for the same work. Although the 
law plainly declared that the supervisors of each county shall give all county printing 
to the lowest bidder, the supervisors in 1878 again gave the work to the News. The 
Neivs' bid for the work was almost double that of the Herald's bid. It was alto- 
gether too raw, and Maxwell of the Herald brought suit against the supervisors, ask- 
ing that the Neivs bid be set aside. The case came up before Judge Booker of the 
district court and he declared the Neil's bid was null and void. 

Hanscom Shoots Himself 
Sometime in the '80s the Herald came into the possession of A. E. Wagstaff, an 
old newspaper -man who was very aggressive, with S. L. Hanscom as editor. From 
that time on things were quite lively in Modesto for the Herald scored men and party 
right and left for their illegal and "rotten work." In consequence of this fact Hans- 
com's life was threatened and to protect himself he always went armed. Unfortunately, 
on April 3, 1888, he was shot by his own weapon. He carried in his overcoat pocket 
a self-cocking revolver and in sitting down in his office that day it was accidentally 
discharged, the ball passing through the fleshy part of his leg about two inches below 
the knee. In January, 1889, the San Francisco Chronicle said in playing for subscrip- 
tions: "Stanislaus County is among the best-governed counties in the state." The 
Herald , commenting upon the article, said : "The 'only trouble with the above is, it 
isn't true. Today and as far back as we can remember Stanislaus has been pilfered 
and robbed in every imaginable way by a set of Democratic thieves, typical of whom 
is Johnny McCarty, whose red head is about to flash like a meteor across the bay to 
San Quentin. How soon his successors will follow him, time will tell." - 


Brown Attempts to Shoot Editor 
Hanscom was called to account for his plain statements by an infuriated young 
man named George Brown, a son of T. C. Brown, chairman of the board of super- 
visors. It appears that Supervisor Brown was dominated by A. S. Fulkerth, and 
when a certain proposition came up before the supervisors the Herald said in its 
edition of July 25, 1889: "Brown of course, has to vote as Fulkerth tells him. Ful- 
kerth knows too much about the crimes committed by a son of Brown's for the later 
to refuse to do Fulkerth's slightest commands." Over a week later, on August 8, while 
Hanscom was sitting in his office, young Brown entered. Stepping up to Hanscom s 
desk he threw down a copy of the paper of July 25 and pointing to the article inquired : 
"Are you the author of this?" "Yes," replied Hanscom. Brown then quickly drew a 
revolver and pointing it at Hanscom's head, fired. Hanscom, fortunately, had thrown 
up his hand a moment sooner and the ball passing over the editor's head, lodged in the 
wall. Hanscom then grappled with the attempted assassin and parties hurrying 
into the room found the men grappling- with each other, both with revolvers in their 
hands, trying to use them. The two men were disarmed and Brown was taken to jail. 
In the meantime parties on the street heard the shot and some cried out "murder" 
and others yelled "fire!" The bell was rung and the whistle blown and in a few 
minutes the firemen and a big crowd were on the street. A reporter from the News 
office attempted to interview Brown in the jail. He was, however, so maudlin drunk 
that little information could be obtained. He said that he would not have resented any 
reflections upon himself, but his father was too good a man to be abused and vilified 
and he would not permit it if he could help it. 

Hanscom Libels Judge Hewel 

Hanscom, who had been a county school teacher and later a reporter on the Neivs, 
in 1890 purchased the Herald. He celebrated the event by an attack on Judge Hewel, 
one of the attorneys in the county since 1864. Hewel, a German by birth, was a 
prominent politician in those days of packed conventions, fraudulent voting, and when 
the purchasable votes of Front Street carried many a candidate into office. He was 
deputy county clerk in 1865; county clerk in 1866-67 and elected county judge in 
1879. Hanscom "bearded the lion in his den" and through the Herald he accused 
the Judge, while acting as an election officer, of folding the ballot of John Hays and 
depositing it in the ballot box while the said John was so drunk he was unable to know 
what he was doing. Hanscom also charged the Judge with dishonesty while acting as 
an election clerk, 1870. Judge Hewel sued the writer for $40,000 damages to good 
name and fame. The suit was called February 16, 1890, with Judge M. H. Harris 
of Fresno presiding. L. J. Maddux and General J. R. Kittrelle appeared for Hanscom 
and James H. Budd of Stockton and P. J. Hazen for the plaintiff. The jury sworn 
in to try this remarkable and interesting suit according to the law and the evidence, 
comprised N. E. De Yoe, John James, S. Shackelford, E. Gatzman, D. A. Brown, C. 
M. Brockworth, N. M. Parsons, J. F. Davin, Frank Medina, E. Richardson, L. B. 
Farrish and Moses Sheakley. The jury brought in a verdict in favor of Judge Hewel 
and the Neics in commenting on it said: "By the above verdict Judge'Hewel is com- 
pletely vindicated and Hanscom, the vile traducer of his character, is branded as a 
liar, a perjurer, a base libeler and a depraved wretch." 

Soon after this Hanscom retired from the newspaper business and located in San 
Francisco. The plant was purchased by T. C. Hocking, formerly of Grass Valley, and 
December 23, 1893, he returned home on a visit. The foreman of the Herald for 
twenty-five years was John J. Porter. His health failed in 1905, and leaving his posi- 
tion November, 1911, he died at the I. O. O. F. home. Mr. Hocking, soon after his 
purchase of the Herald bought a lot and erected a single-story brick building, the loca- 
tion of the Herald at the present time. 



Stanislaus enjoys an honor bestowed on no other county north of the San Joaquin 
River save Sacramento, namely, a state treasurer, L. C. Richards, a resident of Gray- 
son, and two state school superintendents The first state superintendent, John G. Mar- 
vin, elected in 1850, resided at Empire and Paul G. Hubbs, elected in 1853, lived near 
the present site of Oakdale on land purchased from Maj. James Burney of Burneyville. 
Marvin in his first school report, 1851, said there were 150 children in Tuolumne 
County, and not a public nor a private school. In 1855 Superintendent Hubbs reported 
two schools in Stanislaus County, one in the Branch school district with R. B. Hewey 
and W. D. McDaniels as teachers, and one in the Burney district, Robert McColloch 
and J. D. Neil, teachers. In the Marvin district in 1856 a third public school was 
opened, the teacher being Mrs. Mary Sharp. At that time only twenty-five children 
attended school, although according, to the school census report there were 168 chil- 
dren in the county. In the following year there were 197 children and yet only two 
schools with three teachers. The report of 1860 is not very satisfactory, but there 
were 125 children and they received $94.50 school money from the state school fund. 


Mr. E. R. Crawford, one of the teachers of the late sixties, in giving his 
reminiscences to the Oakdale Graphic in 1901, said: "My knowledge of the schools 
goes no further back than 1866. At that time there were only nine school districts, 
namely: Adamsville, Empire, La Grange, Knights Ferry (now called Emory), 
McHenry, Salida, Farmer's Cottage, Jackson and Washington, now called Langworth. 

"The schoolhouses with very few exceptions were nothing more than rough boards 
nailed upright to scantling. Some were battened but without lining, others were 
without batten and in the summer sun the cracks would widen an inch or more, thus 
relieving the teacher of the ventilation problem and offering glimpses of the outside 
world to those within. 

"Knights Ferry had a good schoolhouse; it was burned a short time ago but re- 
built. There was a brick building at Langworth built in 1862 or 1863 by subscrip- 
tions and entertainments at Lone Star. W. H. Brown was the first teacher of the 
school. The teachers (in the county) as I recall them were Vital E. Bangs, L, W. 
Crawford, William Jamison, John C. Lillie, H. J. Turner, Mr. Chedister, Miss 
Carrie Moore, Mrs. Allen and myself. T. T. Hamlin was county superintendent, 
succeeded by Maj. James Burney. This dear old man was honored and loved by 
teachers and pupils as he had a smile and good word for every one." 


The first private school in the county was established in 1 853 by John W. Laird. 
The teacher was an Irishman, James Sylvester by name. The children from two 
families comprised one-half the school, namely, Elvira, Mary and John W. Laird, Jr., 
Joel, George, John and Nancy Smith together with John M. Whitman, Mary Kemp 
and John Green. Young Green was a boarder from afar, for his home was in 
Tuolumne County. 

A second private school was taught in 1854 by Mrs. Mary Sharp. The school 
was located about a mile above Empire City. She advertised in the paper that she 
would teach all branches of the English language at twenty-six dollars per month, 
including board. The lad}' purposed establishing a female seminary in the spring of 
1855, if sufficient encouragement be given. "Few in our state are more competent 
to conduct a school," wrote a correspondent. She had but few scholars because of the 
scarcity of children and the sparsely settled family population, so in 1856 she began 
teaching the district public school in Empire. 


There were a few people living in the vicinity of Orestimba Creek who realized 
the value of an education, and in 1854 by private subscription they raised money 
sufficient to establish a school at Newsome's Bridge and employ a teacher. The build- 
ing was a rough-built shanty, made of pine or redwood boards, and in use in summer 
only. A friendly, neighboring tree had to make up for all of the deficiencies of Toof. 
About the same time a district public school was established at Knights Ferry. The 
pupils were children of the Dent, the Lane and the Magee families. For want of a 
better location, the school was opened in one end of a stable. Horses occupied the 
upper end. The "stable" school was only a temporary affair, however, as the citizens 
soon collected enough money to build "the little school on the hill." Another school 
overcrowded from the first day, was the school established in the Bel Passi district. 
It was thought necessary to start a school in that district and they took possession of a 
little shanty erected in 1869 by L. C. Branch. He erected it to "bunk" here once a 
month, as the law required, and thus secure the title to a quarter section of land. Of 
course it was a small room for a school. The teacher in describing it said : "I was 
obliged to stand in the doorway while teaching, and look in." John Tulloch, the 
veteran quartz miner, understanding the condition of affairs in Buena Vista, in 1869 
erected a school building opposite the town, for the use of the children in that vicinity. 
In that same year a brick school building was erected at Tuolumne City through the 
efforts of the ladies of the town. The Neivs in writing of the ladies' work said, Sep- 
tember 29, 1869, "One of the greatest requirements of our place is a first-class school- 
house. Some considerable sum has been collected already for the building of a school- 
house and the ladies will give a grand festival at the coming fair for that purpose." 


We have already noticed the little district school at Modesto located at the south- 
east corner of the block, corner H and Tenth streets, later (1876) the location of 
Samuel M. Oaves' drug store. Charles Light, born at La Grange, and then a boy 
of fifteen, said : "There was one small schoolhouse at Modesto on the hill. Not more 
than thirty persons attended this school at one time. They ranged from youngsters to 
grown-up people and were of all nationalities except Negroes, Chinese and Japs." 

Before the town had been many months founded the more intelligent citizens 
began discussing the proposition of a large and comfortable school building for their 
children. As the town was not incorporated the trustees had no authority to collect 
taxes or make any contracts for a large school building such as was desired. The Legis- 
lature, however, could give them that power, and April 1, 1872, Thomas J. Keyes, 
then senator from Stanislaus County, introduced a bill which passed, declaring that 
"the Board of Trustees of the Modesto School district shall publish an advertisement 
in the weekly paper calling for plans for a schoolhouse." After the plans and bids for 
the building were accepted the trustees were authorized to levy an assessment on all 
taxable property. 

There was a blockade somewhere. Perhaps the assessment would not bring in 
sufficient money to build a school and purchase a suitable piece of property and proba- 
bly the supervisors refused to obey the law. In the matter of property, however, the 
contract and finance committee of the Southern Pacific came to the trustees' assistance 
and deeded the town the west quarter of block on Fourteenth Street between I and H 
streets. A new law was passed June 9, 1874, by the Legislature, which was signed 
by Gov. Newton Booth, declaring that "the board of trustees must as soon as expedi- 
ent, advertise for school plans; said school shall be erected on a portion of Block 

No , donated or to be donated by the contract and finance committee or purchased 

by the trustees." The supervisors were authorized to issue bonds not to exceed 
$20,000, said bonds to be put into a separate fund in the county treasurer's office 
and known as the Modesto School District building fund. The people were authorized 
to elect an assessor and a collector for assessing and collecting the bonds. 



The Modesto school trustees having the lot presented by the Central Pacific Rail- 
road Company and the money from the sale of bonds began immediately the construc- 
tion of a school building on Fourteenth Street. The building was two stories in 
height, constructed of brick, with a porch along the entire front of the building, and 
with wide front steps for the entrance. In the center of the building was a belfry, 
and in it the traditional school bell, which when rung could be heard throughout the 
town. The building contained nine rooms with plenty of light in each room but 
with none of the conveniences of the school rooms of the present day. Each room in 
winter was heated by a large stove and a pump in the yard furnished the drinking 
water. The cost probably was about $15,000 and it was completed in time for the 
fall session of the schools. The first teachers in the building from 1872 until 1876 
were Wm. H. Robinson, principal, with Mrs. Owens, H. F. Turner and Win. B. 
Howard as assistants. It seems, however, from a late report, that Mr. Crane and Miss 
Maddux were teachers during those years. They had enrolled 27S children. The 
old "red brick" school building remained in use until 1906 when it was replaced by 
the present beautiful structure. When the belfry of the old schoolhouse was torn out 
the rafters were seen thickly covered with the knife-carved names of hundreds of the 
pupils of the school. 

The Public School Cornerstone 
In the northeast corner of the present Fourteenth Street school, there is laid a 
small granite stone and inscribed upon it the figures 1872-1906. I cannot understand 
the meaning of the date 1872 unless it stands for the date of the foundation of the 
first Modesto public school, for the cornerstone was not laid in the little "red 
brick" until St. John the Baptist's Day, June 24, 1874. However, on that day the 
Grand Lodge of "Masons, who had been requested by the Modesto school trustees to 
lay the cornerstone of the new school building, assembled early in the afternoon in the 
Masonic Temple, the James Building, corner of H and Eleventh streets. Isaac S. 
Titus, the most worshipful grand master, called the lodge to order and appointed 
the following grand officers, pro tern, to assist him in laying the cornerstone: Wm. 
Grollman, deputy grand master; J. J. Chapman, senior grand warden; A. Hewel, 
junior grand warden; Elihu B. Beard, grand treasurer; L. B. Walthall, grand secre- 
tary; George Belknap, grand chaplain; J. D. Spencer, errand orator; Georee Buck, 
grand marshal ; John W. Laird, grand Bible bearer ; W. J. Houston, grand senior 
deacon; John H. Hays, grand junior deacon; H. M. Ross and John Visher, grand 
stewards, and H. G. James, grand tyler. A procession was formed comprising 
Stanislaus Lodge of Masons, the Grand Lodge and the public school children accom- 
panied by their teachers, Miss Maddux and Mr. Crane, and to the soul-stirring music 
of the Modesto band they marched to the new building site. On arrival the ceremony 
was opened by prayer bv the grand chaplain. Maj. James Burney, county superin- 
tendent of schools, stated the object of the gathering and invited the Grand Lodge to 
officiate in the laying of the cornerstone. The grand master in a short address informed 
the senior grand warden that "it is my will and pleasure that the Grand Lodge do now 
assist me in the performance of this pleasing duty. This you will communicate to the 
iunior grand warden and he to the craft." When informed that a cornerstone had 
been prepared, the grand master requested the erand secretary to read the contents of 
the casket to be deposited in the cornerstone. The articles were as follows: A list of 
the officers of the state Grand Lodge of Masons, Stanislaus Lodge No. 206, Modesto 
district school trustees, a copy of the Stanislaus News, San Joaquin Valley Mirror. 
Pacific Methodist South Church Discipline, by-laws and list of officers of the Farmers. 
Savings Bank of Stanislaus, a trade dollar of 1874, a half-dollar of 1873, a dime of 
1873, and a twenty-dollar gold piece. The casket was then placed in the cavity and 
sealed up with the beautiful ceremony of Masonry. When this was completed an ora- 
tion was delivered by the grand orator, J. D. Spencer, and the Masons then returned 
to their hall. 


Schools Overcrowded 

The number of children in Modesto according to the school census on May 31, 
1889, was 862. Of this number 666 were of school age namely, between five and 
seventeen years. The number attending the public schools was 528, and twenty-six 
were attending private schools. In that year school room was at a premium and in 
September the Neics asserted : "The schools are overcrowded and the trustees are com- 
pelled to rent the Congregational church with Ida Dennett, the daughter of the Rev. 
Westley Dennett, as teacher. They are compelled to charge for scholars outside of the 
city limits as follows: grammar grades, three dollars per month, third grade, two 
dollars and fifty cents per month and all below that grade two dollars per month." At 
that time the Sixth Street school had been established. It was in an old house that 
had been removed from Tuolumne City. It was located where now stands the present 
fine structure and was used as a school building for many years. The teachers on the 
West Side at that time, 1889, were W. E. Lindsey and Mary Aull. Miss Aull had 
then been teaching for ten years, as she was a teacher in the brick school in 1880-81, 
together with Clara Pendergast, Louise Crow, Berry H. Howard and Principal D. 
S. Braddock. There were in the building 289 scholars, 149 being boys. Two of the 
pupils in the principal's class were Laura Garlinghouse and C. C. Young, now 
lieutenant-governor of California. 

The High School Organized 

In the red brick schoolhouse the grammar grade course of study only was taught 
until 1883 when the principal at that time, R. S. Hohvay, established a high school 
course of study. It was a three years' course and included all of the studies usually 
taught in the high schools of the state at that time. Forty pupils entered the class, 
but they kept dropping out until only three boys and seven girls completed the work. 
The course was completed in May, 1886, under Prof. J. F. Wayman, R. S. Hohvay 
in the meantime having accepted a position in the State University at Berkeley. The 
ten who graduated were Leah Elias (now Mrs. Louis Harris), Ella Wood (Mrs. 
Ella Hancock), Laura Garlinghouse (Mrs. George Springsteen), Stella Finley (Mrs. 
W. H. Frazine, now deceased), Belle McMullin (Mrs. George Wood of Ceres), 
Tille and Aggie Lewis, who with their classmates became teachers in the public 
schools, John B. Zimdars, now practicing law in San Francisco, James G. Thompson, 
now practicing medicine in Oakland, and Sol P. Elias, Stanford graduate of law and 
now manager of the D. & G. D. Plato establishment, and local historic enthusiast of 
Stanislaus County. 

The Commencement Exercises 

The graduating exercises of the class took place May 27, 1886, in Rodgers 
Hall. It was a very important event and the room was more than crowded 
with the friends and relatives of the graduates. The newspaper said the following 
day: "The ladies kept coming until the gentlemen were crowded out of their seats 
and back and back until they were crowded out of the hall, not even having standing 
room." None in that hall were happier nor prouder than the graduates and over the 
front of the stage the audience read their motto, Finis Coronat Opus, "The end 
crowns the work." The diplomas were presented to the class by Attorney C. C. 
Wright, a former school teacher at La Grange. The program which was quite 
lengthy, comprised a piano solo, by O. E. Zimdars ; essay, "The Tendency of Our Gov- 
ernment," Sol P. Elias; essay, "Something of Nature's Law," Tillie Lewis; reading, 
"The Execution of Montrose," Laura Garlinghouse; quartette, "Come Rise with the 
Lark"; a study, "The Princess," Stella Finley; recitation, "The Knight and the Lady," 
•Leah Elias; zither solo, Laura Horn; "Class Chronicles," Aggie Lewis; essay, "Fin- 
ished," Belle McMullin ; soprano solo, "Rose of the Alps," Ella Snowden ; oration, 
"The Power of Wealth," James G. Thompson; essay, "Aim of Life," Ella Wood; 
essay, "The Growth of Society," John B. Zimdars; solo, "Fly with Me," from the 
opera "Ernani," Mrs. Ella Hoag; address, "Books and Reading" by C. C. Stratton of 
the Pacific University; presentation of diplomas by C. C. Wright. 


The First High School Building 

The citizens of Modesto although indifferent and neglectful regarding the civic 
and moral affairs of the town were very progressive and wide-awake regarding school 
matters and in December, 1899, a petition was circulated for a "special election for 
the purpose of submitting the question of establishing a district high school." A suffi- 
cient number of signatures for calling the election were easily obtained. The News 
in commenting upon the petition said : "Although the high school studies are taught in 
the Modesto public schools and a special tax is voted each year to employ teachers, 
in addition to the lower grades, and while the high school is on the accredited list of 
the State University, the advantage of having a separate school cannot be under- 
estimated." The tax was voted by the people and without losing any time the 
trustees purchased a block of land where now stands the departmental school. It was 
at that time the baseball ground and owned in part by the German Bank of San 
Francisco. Plans were drawn for a large two-story brick building with a high con- 
creted basement. The work was commenced in November and the building completed 
on March 30 of the following year. The building and block cost $21,000, the 
block alone costing $1,500. It was first occupied in September, 1900, by the high 
school and eighth grade pupils, eighty-one scholars in the two grades, Thomas Downey 
then being principal of the high school. For seventeen years this building was known 
as the high school building. In the meantime the children had increased to thousands 
and for their school accommodations three more handsome grammar school buildings 
had been erected, the Sixth Str^t and the Washington Street schools on the "west 
side" and the Seventh Street building on the "east side." The high school building 
had become an out-of-date, obsolete affair. Another bond election was carried and 
the school trustees in 1919 erected another beautiful and up-to-date high school, on 
the banks of the Tuolumne River at the end of I Street. More school room is 
required and an extension will soon be constructed. 

Graduating Class of 1890 
The teachers in the brick school in 1890 were Thomas Downey, principal; J. C. 
Levengood, vice-principal; Mary McLean, Ida Dennett, E. A. Weaver, Laura Garling- 
house, Elma Hanscom and Mrs. E. McClure. The graduating or commencement 
exercises of the high school class of that year were again held in Rodgers hall and the 
room was "filled to suffocation." The stage was handsomely decorated and at its apex, 
lettered in gold, was the class motto: "Do That You Do." Upon a maroon back- 
ground in white flowers were the words, "Class of '90." The program commenced 
with a piano duet by the Misses Johns and Parsons; chorus, by the Class; oration, 
"Education," H. M. Hardin; essay, "Self Reliance," Anna M. Vesey; vocal solo, 
Zelda Turner; essay, "William Pitt," George E. Perley ; essay, Belle Christman; 
cornet solo, D. C. Smith; essay, "Our Inventions," H. M. Cavill ; piano duet, Prof. H. 
Hintze and Allie Cressey ; essay, "Struggles of Life," B. F. Lewis; vocal solo, Nettie 
Beaty; address, "Farewell," Ida Ross. 

The High School Alumni 
The alumni was organized in 1886, the ten graduates of that year being the 
charter members. They held their meeting annually in the brick schoolhouse. Their 
first president seems to have been George P. Schafer, and as he was absent at their 
regular meeting, June 22, 1887, Tillie Lewis presided as president. The officers 
elected for 1889-90 were John B. Zimdars, president; Sol P. Elias, vice-president, 
and Belle McMuIlin, secretary. The alumni then numbered thirty members, the 
number being increased to thirty-five by the election to membership of George E. 
Perley, H. M. Hardin, Anna M. Vesey, Wm. H. Cavill and B. F. Lewis, graduates 
of 1890. It seems to have been the custom of the alumni, during the first few years 
for the alumni to hold their yearly receptions in the home of some one of the graduates. 
It was a pretty custom and in 1893 the graduates met in the beautiful home of the 
Misses Turner on Sixteenth street. A short program had been prepared, comprising 
a piano solo by Millie Parsons and Lucy Kittrelle, and vocal solos by Zelda Turner and 


Laura De Yoe, later one of the most accomplished vocalists of the valley. The 
program closed with a selection by the quartette, Laura De Yoe, Ida Ross, J. M. 
Walthall and Herman Rice. Among the guests of the alumni was Blanche Hewel, 
Helen Ogden, Myrtie Conneau, Lois Garlinghouse, Nellie Gridley, Belle Hewel, 
Lulu Ingle, Mary James, Mora Stevenson, Bertha Toombs, Edith Turner, Sadie 
Millman, Eddie Walthall, George Ingle, Walter Chadwick, Charles Hilton, George 
Jamison, Hugh Walthall, Earl Tulloch and Jacob Weil. Quite a number of those 
present were graduates of the high school of 1893, pupils of Thomas Downey. 

In time the alumni association became so large in numbers with yearly additions 
from the graduating classes that it became cumbersome and uninteresting and it was 
discontinued. It was reorganized on June 18, 1921, with 115 charter members. Sol. P. 
Elias was elected president, Charles Wherry, vice-president and Florella Finney, secre- 
tary and treasurer. Seated around the banquet table toasts were offered and speeches 
made by Thomas Downey, the veteran in school work; Charles Morris, vice-principal 
of the high school ; W. E. Faught, city school superintendent, and E. R. Utter, teacher 
in the high school. The following teachers were made honorary members of the 
association: Professors R. S. Holway and Thomas Downey, W. E. Faught, E. R. 
Utter, C. S. Morris, Miss Alice Lyon, Mrs. Carrie Dexter Utterback and A. G. 
Elmore, county school superintendent. The following are the charter members of the 
reorganized alumni association: 1886, Sol P. Elias, Mrs. Louis Harris (Leah Elias) ; 
1889, H. B. Rice; 1890, Isabel Christman Kinnear; 1891, Charles W. Barnett; 1892, 
Mabel Perley Stone; 1895, Lourein Fuquay Elmore; 1896, Louis Le Hane; 1898, 
A. G. Elmore, Olive M. Turner Dennett; 1901, Irene N. Kiernan, Ethel Beard 
Hoover; 1902, Mrs. Edgar Annear, Mrs. Francis J. Bangs, Clara E. Finnev, Blanche 
Wickman, Mrs. W. E. Faught; 1905, Elveda Turner Morris; 1907, J. I. Hammett; 
1908, Neil M. Cecil, R. I. Guy; 1909, Florella K. Finnev; 1912, Laura Watson, 
Isabel Laughlin; 1913, May Philbrick, Grace Gray, Clara M. Keeley, Mr. and Mrs. 
Loren S. Hadlev (Rubv Hart), Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Grundy, Marion Downev, 
J. S. Marriott; 1914, Marie Wren, L. E. and Alice Jones; 1915, Melville D. Harris, 
Isle Downey, Evelvn Sorem, C. S. Morris, a teacher 1921 ; 1916, Anna Alway, Doris 
Dozier, Harrell Watson, E. R. Utter, De Witt R. Lee, Hugh H. Griswold; 1917, 
Simon W. Holtham, R. B. Austin, Isabel Crow, Millie McLaughlin, Lillis Watson, 
Wood J. Guyler, Walter Andrews, Leland D. Simpson, M. C. Fulkerth, I. C. 
Downer, Howard Campbell; 1918, Esther Chapman, Maryon R. Bell, Charles H. 
Bell, Marjorie and Charles Wherrv, May McLaughlin, E. Roe Fisher, Almeda Gant, 
Velma Griffin, Mrs. Charles S. Morris, Mrs. E. R. Utter; 1919, J. Paul Moore, Sam 
H. Winklebleck, Esther C. Tully, Jessie Stinson, Hugh Brinkerhoff, Carvell N. Clark, 
Carl J. Vogt, Sara Thompson, Alberta B. Peterson, Rose Ginatti ; 1920, Lenora Jane 
Holtzer, Ora May Jennings, Dewey E. Wheeler, Connie G. Gunn, Lawrence R. 
Kelley, Donald E. Liebendorfer, Wilbur G. Parry, Warren Harris, Velma Green, 
Jane and Alma Alway, Lavilla Cox, Francis Gray, Agnes Dowdy; 1921, Carol R. 
Cox, Lela Wallis, Ellis Milton, Ian Mensinger, John G. Palstine, Edna Sorem, Harry 
G. Nickle, Eleanor Dennett, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Hansen, Clyde Scott, D. D. Mc- 
Queen, Esther Beard, Nellie Mott, Myrtle Marriott, Vera Green, Mabel Sorem. 

The Graduating Class of 1921 

Since the graduating class of 1886, hundreds have been crowned with the same 
scholastic honors and as we have recorded the first class, why not the last class, the 
graduates of June 17, 1921, at the Modesto theater? The baccalaureate program 
follows : 

"Coronation March," from "The Prophet," by Meyerbeer; Selection from "The 
Bohemian Girl," by Balfe, High School Orchestra. Prayer by Rev. H. S. Brewster; 
Hymn, "Come, Thou Almighty King," congregation and choir. Scripture 
reading by Rev. E. H. Gum; "Gloria" from "Mass, in C," Mozart, combined Glee 
Clubs. Sermon by Bishop W. R. Lambough ; Hymn, "Now the Day is Over," 
Barnby, Congregation and Choir. Benediction by Rev. C. P. Morgan. Postlude, 
selected. High S( hool orchestra. 


Commencement exercises were held at the Modesto theater. Rev. H. K. Pitt- 
man of San Francisco delivered the address, and diplomas were awarded by City 
Superintendent W. E. Faught. 

Graduates of the 1921 class of the Modesto high school follow: Arthur Achor, 
Vera Anderson, Beatriz Baker, Charles Barnett, Charles Barton, Faye Barton, George 
Bates, Esther Beard, Gladys Beattie, Mary Biesemeier, Ruth Blakesley, Lucile Brad- 
bury, Arlette Bradley, Kathleen Bradley, Caryl Bundy, Donald Butler, Thelma Car- 
penter, John Caster, Alma Cochran, Pearl Cody, Calvin Conron, Helen Cooper, Ada 
Cornwell, Fred Cornwell, Carol Cox, Laura Crocco, Raymond Curtis, Eleanor Den- 
nett, Genevieve Drake, Carl Elfing, Ada Elliott, Frances Fletcher, Hazel Flora, 
Evert Ford, Eunice Fowler, Lee Garvey, Vera Green, Edward Griswold, Lois Gum, 
Florence Harms, Hazel Hatch, Maybelle Harbaugh, Lincoln Higbee, Bernice Hight, 
Forest Hosmer, Richard Husband, Marion Hutchings, Marion Irvin, Reginald 
Lollich, Myrle Jamison, Marion Jarrett, Lynn Jenkinson, Helen Johnson, Robert 
Johnson, Ruth Jones, Elizabeth Kendall, Ralph King, Clara Kriese, Gladys Lankard, 
Clifford Larrabee, Esther Little, Grace Loving, Eva Linkhorn, Myrle Marriott, 
Donald McQueen, Harry Meade, Bernice Medlin, Merle Mensinger, Ian Mensinger, 
Ellic Milton, Nellie Mott, Paul Murphy, Velma Myers, David Newman, Harry 
Nickle, Lucy Palmer, Will Park, Cecil Pierce, Charles Plambeck, Fredo Quisenberry, 
Alva Ragan, Ben Reavis, Anna Roden, Alfred Ross, Aurelia Sanders, Murl Schrock, 
Clyde Scott, Florence Selby, Grace Shotwell, Lenore Sisk, Maybelle Snyder, Edna 
Sorem, Mabel Sorem, Spencer Strader, Helen Surryhne, Agnes Thompson, Helen 
Ustick, Agatha Van Konynenburg, Elwvn Van Wagner, Nobuko Wakimoto, Lela 
Wallis, Harriet Kuykendall, Paul Wright Orr. 

School Day Memories 
It seems regretful, ofttimes, that these ancient buildings may not be preserved. 
The many pleasant days in the old school will ever remain in the minds of the pupils 
who there attended school during those thirty odd years. These memories cannot be 
destroyed. From that building graduated the first high school class of ten, three boys 
and seven girls. Proud, exceedingly proud were they of their scholarship. Prof. 
R. R. Holway, Mr. Wyman, David S. Braddock, Thomas Downey and many others 
sent out their graduates to begin life's battle. There for many years the Teachers' 
Institute was held and there many delightful entertainments were given. Many 
socials were given in the homes of the scholars' parents. One of the graduates of the 
first class says, in writing of Professor Holway: "He was a firm believer in a sane 
and active social life for the school folks. He and his estimable wife, formerly Miss 
May Gordon and one of the teachers in the grammar school, promoted a number of 
pleasant gatherings among the younger folks that are yet remembered by the pupils 
of that day. These parties extended all through the high school year and were the 
rule throughout Mr. Holway's principalship in the Modesto school. These functions 
were held at the homes of the pupils and were simple affairs consisting of pleasant 
games and other amusements. They served to create a desirable intimacy between the 
school and the home, between the parents and the teachers, a condition that prevailed 
in Modesto thirty-five years ago." 

Teachers' Institute 

The first institute in Modesto was held March 21, 1871. "The town was then 
only six months old and the accommodations were not of the best." Prof. Ezra S. 
Carr of the State University and Prof. Charles Allen of the State Normal School 
were present and delivered some able addresses. There were twenty-eight teachers 
from the county in attendance. The state superintendent, O. P. Fitzgerald, also pres- 
ent, in reporting the institute said: "It was a great success, all things considered." 

At this institute there were over forty teachers, among them Mary Aull, Clara 
C. Pendergast, Louise S. Crow, Mrs. A. C. Walden, Viva Lane, Mrs. A. G. Brad- 
bury, Abba Hurley, Emma Donnels, Anna Pulsifer, Fanny Jones, Ella Lewis, Lizzie 
W. Swan, Eva Aull, Mary McAlpine, Helen Pettit, Priscilla Edwards, Lucy Bruton, 


Ella Gage, Lucy Childs, Emma Edwards, Scilla Root, Maggie Hammond, Sarah 
McLaughlin, John R. Kelso, George T. Hanscom, M. D. Gage, Thomas Blake, D. J. 
Buddock, David W. Braddock, Ira G. Leek, Elmar S. Anderson, Charles Spurrier, 
Vital E. Bangs, F. A. Wood, I. L. Granger, W. H. Hatton, S. L. Hanscom and 
J. Walter Smith. 

Teachers' Associations 

The first association assembled at Langworth, January 3, 1868. It was organized 
under the direction of the county superintendent, Thomas T. Hamlin. He was 
elected chairman and Thomas Blake, secretary. The historian gives us no further 
information regarding this meeting. It seems, however, that they again assembled 
April 14th in the "little brick" schoolhouse, with Hamlin again acting as chairman. 
They gave a short program comprising an essay, "Education" by W. R. Also; essay, 
"Schools," E. R. Crawford ; reading, "The Old Log House," L. W. Crawford ; essay, 
"Knowledge is Power," Thomas Blake; essay, "A Mother's Love," Carrie Moore. 
The association soon after this meeting disorganized because of a lack of attendance 
and indifference to its objects. Eleven years later, however, they quickly reorganized, 
meeting November 14, 1879, in Modesto. They assembled and were somewhat 
worried over a proposed legislative act to revoke all teachers' certificates. This being 
a county history we cannot go into the detail of the act. They were, however, quite 
alarmed and declaring the association formed for "mutual improvement and protection" 
they strongly protested against the passage of such an act. The association organized 
by electing W. H. Hatton, now a Modesto lawyer, as president; Vital E. Bangs, 
vice-president; N. C. Hanscom, secretary, and Mary Aull, treasurer. J. D. Spencei 
was present. The Senator addressed the association and asserted that he was opposed 
to any annullment of teachers' certificates. Unanimously the teachers adopted the 
resolution that a committee of three be appointed to draft a memorial to the Legislature 
against any legislation tending to revoke the teachers' certificates. W. H. Robinson, 
Vital E. Bangs and John R. Kelso were appointed on that committee. 

Four years later the institute assembled October 21, 1875, called together by the 
county superintendent, Maj. James Burney. The opening address was made by 
O. P. Fitzgerald, state superintendent, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, and author and the editor of the Methodist denominational publication. Other 
speakers and essayists on the program included the following teachers: Fanny Lewis 
of Crows Landing; J. Walter Smith, B. C. Haislip, J. E. Marks, Mary Aull, Man- 
Madden, Miss Owens of Modesto; Miss Belknap and Jennie Hogan, later of the 
Stockton schools, and William H. Howard, county superintendent-elect. 

In December, 1880, the teachers again assembled at the call of the county 
superintendent, William H. Robinson. There was then better accommodations for 
public gatherings. The institute assembled the first day in Rodgers' hall and that 
afternoon adjourned to the public schoolhouse. The institute continued in session four 
days. It was organized by the election of the following officers: W. H. Robinson, 
ex-officio president; Vital E. Bangs, vice-president; John R. Kelso, secretary, and 
Fanny Jones and Mary Edwards, assistant secretaries. The program comprised lec- 
tures by State Superintendent Fred W. Campbell and Professor Allen, essays by the 
teachers and a general discussion on the best methods of teaching. 


The pioneer days of every country are marked with a riot of vice and crime, 
including drunken carousals, gambling, sensuality, robbery and murder. In the sparsely 
settled territory the criminals seem to outnumber the law abiding class, and they have 
but little fear of arrest or punishment, for the committing of crime is easy and 
detection and punishment difficult. In Stanislaus County there was no speedy means of 
communication, no mail service, telegraph or telephone lines and no organized police 
service. A man could easily commit a crime, jump upon a horse and speed away to 


the mountains or hide in the river bottom and work his way out of the county. The 
officers of the law, few in number, were ofttimes not over zealous in the performance 
of their duty. Sometimes, if a friend or influential citizen were the guilty party, 
they would make but little, if any, effort to arrest him and his trial in court would be 
a farce. But now, with our quick means of sending out information by wire, the press, 
the automobile and aeroplane, and our well-organized police force in every county, it is 
almost impossible for almost any criminal to escape arrest. But he goes unpunished 
just the same. By the manipulations of shrewd attorneys, bribed jurors and perjured 
witnesses the same results are accomplished and the guilty escape punishments just 
as they did in the earlier days, when the sheriff furiously rode in the wrong direction. 
In this chapter we have compiled a few of the hundreds of crimes committed in 
Stanislaus County. We will read of a few convictions and many acquittals. 


The great crime of the county numerically was the stealing of horses and cattle. 
There were regular, organized bands of men controlled by a leader who stole thou- 
sands of head of cattle. They were driven into the "pocket," a point of land lying 
between the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers, their marks and brands changed and in 
the thick brushwood it was impossible for their owners to ever find them. The leader 
was known far and wide as the "boss" cattle thief. He had his counterpart in an 
organized band who stole horses all over the state, many of them blooded and valuable 
animals. A Stockton attorney, then a young man living in the county informs me that 
at one time there were over 500 stolen animals in the county. One of the leaders' 
hired men complained that he was given, to work in the harvest field, a new team of 
horses almost even' day. The horses would be brought in and taken out at night. 
To write of an event in general terms is not very interesting or conclusive, but to give 
names would be unjust to their families now living, who are in no manner to blame 
for the deeds of the relatives. 

The first murder recorded in Stanislaus County is that of George Works, a 
former sheriff of Tuolumne County. The murder took place August 7, 1854, at 
Adamsville, then the county seat. It seems that a well-known desperado named Eli 
Lyons, who boasted that he had killed sixteen men, was quarreling with another man 
over the election contest. Works, who was a man fearless of danger, stepped up to 
Lyons and endeavored to quiet him. The desperado then deliberately drew his 
revolver and fired two shots at Wo'rks, both shots entering the ex-sheriff's left breast. 
Works, who was quick on the trigger, drew his revolver and fired four shots at Lyons 
before he fell. None of the shots hit Lyons. Works died the following day. Imme- 
diately after the shooting Lyons went to the blacksmith shop about fifty yards distant 
and there procured a shotgun, fled into the bushes on the river bank and was lost from 
sight. Lyons was a man about thirty-two years of age; he was well known, as in 
Stockton the year previous, 1853, he killed a man named Fredonia. 
About April 10, 1858, four fine mules and a horse were stolen near San Leandro, 
Alameda County. The owner advertised a description of the animals, offering a 
reward, and a description of three suspicious looking men who had been seen traveling 
along the road with the animals. A few days later a stockraiser named George Wil- 
son, who was living near the Arroyo la Puerta, was looking for some lost cattle, and 
suddenly came upon three men in camp. Wilson immediately recognized them as the 
horse thieves described in the circulars posted over the country. The men did not 
see Wilson and immediately he rapidly rode to the ranch of Samuel Clarke, where a 
rodeo was taking place. He informed the men of his discovery and Frank Lane of 


Knights Ferry, George Wilson, Samuel Baldwin, Alfred Ward immediately started 
in pursuit of the robbers, followed a few minutes later by Samuel Clarke, William 
Patterson and R. D. W. Hitchcock. As the advance party came on to the thieves, 
who were just riding from camp, Wilson called out to them to halt. 

Two of the men obeyed the command, but the third man drew up his shotgun 
and firing at Wilson, missed him. The Lane party returned the fire and as the three 
robbers were heavil}' armed the bullets flew thick and fast. Wilson fired and one of 
the robbers fell but was only slightly wounded. The Lane party was completely 
defeated. Lane was shot in the breast, neck and arms with buckshot and died in 
twenty minutes. Ward received a charge of shot in his right shoulder and Baldwin 
was badly wounded in the back by buckshot. By this time the rear guard came up 
and the robbers retreated to the dense chapparal, dragging their wounded companion 
with them. The dead and the wounded were taken to the ranch of John McMullen 
and Wilson rode with all speed to Stockton for a physician and surgeon. Dr. Wm. 
Kendall responded, reaching the ranch about midnight. The two wounded men, Ward 
and Baldwin, recovered in a short time. 

Hunting for the Criminals 
Frank Lane was a very popular young man, and his father, Maj. Thomas Lane, 
was equally popular in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. When the murder 
became known, a number of his warm friends advertised the following: "$1,000 re- 
ward will be paid for the delivery of the robbers, dead or alive, who killed Frank 
Lane." This reward was offered bv R. B. Smith, Davis Porter, Wm. Lane, John 
White, W. H. Lyons, Ross C. Sargent, Jeremiah Sarles, John R. Bradley, W. C. 
Bradford and Captain Sweeney. Several different parties began scouring the country 
in search of the thieves and murderers. We will follow the trail of one man only, 
the brave colonel, Edward Potter. He followed the trail for over two weeks, some- 
times losing it and then again finding it, and May 5 he tracked them to a point near 
Mariposa. The robbers were located in an almost impenetrable fort among huge 
rocks and dense underbrush. With a party of seven men, including Sheriff Crippen 
of Mariposa, Potter advanced to the robbers' retreat. Dismounting from his horse, 
he bravely advanced upon the trail and the only two men in the stronghold, Anderson 
and Monroe, began shooting at him. He called to his men and there was a lively 
hail of bullets. It finally became too hot for the robbers and, running in different 
directions, they endeavored to escape. Monroe, reaching Potter's horse, jumped on 
his back and hurried away. He was closely pursued and shot with a double-barreled 
shotgun, dying in about five minutes. Anderson, who was wounded in the shoulder 
by a rifle bullet, succeeded in escaping. Running down the gulch he hid in the crevice 
of a rock. He was found two hours later as, burning with fever from his wound, he 
crawled out to get a drink of water. He was drinking from his shoe when discovered. 

Execution by Mob Law 

The Mariposa Gazette said. May 8, 1858: "The robber who was wounded and 
captured is now in jail, and will be taken to Stockton for trial. His name is Anderson, 
and he is from Ohio. Monroe, the man killed, was from Michigan, and Swan, who 
escaped, is from New York." He was not taken to Stockton but, unfortunately, was 
taken to the jail at La Grange, that place as we remember being the county seat of 
Stanislaus County. A few days later, on May 22, R. W. L. Hitchcock visited the 
jail and immediately recognized Anderson as one of the party who killed Frank Lane. 

Major Bradley also recognized the robber from a description given of him by 
Hitchcock previous to the time Hitchcock saw Anderson in Jail. Then what hap- 
pened? As there are no living witnesses and as the perpetrators of mob law were 
sworn to secrecy, we must depend on the San Joaquin Republican, which said, May 30: 
"Notwithstanding the fact that the strongest efforts were made to keep the affair a 
secret, we have learned beyond a doubt that the party which went from Knights Ferry 
to La Grange, with the intention of hanging the murderer of Frank Lane, succeeded 
in their object. The party comprised about sixty-one men armed to the teeth, and 


the capture of the prisoner was made so quietly that most of the citizens of the town 
were not aware of what was going on. The culprit was hung on a tree immediately 
opposite the jail. The party then returned to their homes. The reason assigned for 
the hanging was that some of the witnesses whose evidence was all important for the 
conviction of the prisoner, were about to leave for Fraser River, and their absence 
would have assured the acquittal of the prisoner." 


A deliberate and premeditated murder took place September 25, 1858 at Islip's 
Ferry, on the Stanislaus River. The two men were vaqueros. The Spaniard, Phillip 
Swearis, was in the employ of Francis Latois, who lived on the south side of the 
Stanislaus. He and Antonio Ferreas, working for Burton Hope, being together and 
drinking quite freely, engaged in a fight. The two Spaniards were separated and 
Swearis went home. That night, Swearis, swimming the river in his clothing, carried 
with him, holding them above his head, a pair of dry trousers. On reaching the north 
side of the river, he cast off his wet pants and drew on the dry ones. Then quietly 
walking to where Antonio was soundly sleeping, he struck him a heavy blow on the 
head, crushing his skull and instantly killing the sleeping Spaniard. The murderer 
then awoke another Spaniard and, telling him of the deed, fled to the river bank. It 
was as the correspondent said, "a horrible murder." The murdered man left a wife 
and five children in Sonora, having been engaged in herding and driving cattle for 
Burton Hope. 


In the long list of murders in California, many desperadoes have suddenly de- 
parted without any clue to their executioner. In fact, but little if any effort was ever 
made to find who it was that killed them. The public in general declared, "That 
saves the county the expense of hanging them and perhaps the life of some good man." 
Mysterious was the death of a desperate character named Thomas Murray. He was 
not only a desperado, but a man without any regard for law and order, especially when 
drunk, which was most of the time. He was a terror to the neighborhood and one of 
his pranks was whenever he wanted anything in a store or saloon to go and demand 
it without paying for the article. The storekeeper who dared to question his right 
would find a cocked revolver pointed at his head. On Friday evening, October 16, 
1868, Tom was on a "high old spree," and he became so boisterous that the constable 
put him in irons. The next morning Tom was comparatively sober and was at supper 
that evening. Sunday morning he did not appear, and in searching for him a party 
found him dead, lying in a straw stack about three miles from Tuolumne City. 

Another unknown murder was that of Frank Bollinger the following year, Janu- 
ary 26, 1869, in the street of Tuolumne City. He also was a terror to the neighbor- 
hood, and there was not a tear shed at his funeral. "It is no wonder that he was 
killed, the only wonder is that he was not killed sooner." On the evening previous 
to his death, Bollinger and two companions began drinking heavily and the desperado, 
carrying a double shotgun and a pistol, declared that he had four or five men "spotted," 
that is, marked for death at his hands. Who those men were he did not state. About 
eleven o'clock that night, however, Bollinger walked out to the home of H. K. Covert, 
who lived on the edge of the town. Covert was in bed soundly sleeping. He was 
suddenly awakened, however, by hearing some one shouting, "Ralph! Ralph!" Look- 
ing out, he saw Bollinger standing by the window with a shotgun in his hand. Covert 
went back to bed, but a minute later, hearing the cocking of a gun, he speedily rolled 
onto the floor. Then again came a cry, "Henry! Henry!" which was Covert's correct 
name. The cry was immediately followed by a charge of buckshot and "it literally tore 
the mattress to pieces." A few minutes after the gun report was heard, Bollinger, 
gun in hand, entered the City Hotel saloon. Mr. Dudley, the proprietor, endeavored 
to get Bollinger to give up his gun. But the man was sober enough to keep possession 
of a hot rifle. After a time Dudley succeeded in getting him to bed. The following 


morning Bollinger arose and after taking a couple of drinks at the bar, he started 
down the street. When opposite Covert's he turned as if to walk into the saloon. 
That moment a shot was fired from the saloon and Bollinger fell, wounded by a shot- 
gun, seventeen shot entering his body. He died three hours later. Two men were 
in the saloon. The coroner's jury brought in a verdict that Frank Bollinger "came to 
his death from violence from some person or persons unknown." 

In that same year, same month, December 20, another murder took place less 
than six miles from Tuolumne City. This was at Paradise, another case of whisky. 
A man named Michael Rooney, "a very industrious blacksmith of Paradise City," 
and Thomas Cockery, the butcher, were in a saloon having the social drinks together. 
In a short time they were both under the influence of liquor and they began fighting. 
Friends separated them and it was believed that ended the affair. The next day, 
Cockery, who it appears got the worst of the fight, was around looking for the party 
who whipped him. In his search he entered Wilson's saloon and while taking a 
drink with another party suddenly started for the door. Just then the door opened 
and Rooney entered. They immediately commenced fighting, Cockery with a pistol 
in his hand and Rooney with a knife. After 'striking at each other two or three times 
Cockery fired and Rooney fell into the corner crying out, "Murder! Murder!" He 
died the following day. At the inquest held by Justice Walthall, acting for Coroner 
Covert, the jury brought in this verdict: "We find that Michael Rooney, age twenty- 
six years, came to his death in a saloon in the basement of the Wilson building by a 
pistol ball fired by Thomas Cockery. We, the jurors, William B. Johnson, Robert 
Rutledge, Thomas van Dusen, Alexander Pease, A. M. Hunter, Thomas S. Bentley, 
E. W. Chapman, Peter Rudge." 


At I. D. Morley's ranch near Knights Ferry a murder occurred November 12, 
1869, over a piece of land, which was claimed by both parties. During the difficulty 
Frank Mulligan shot Jacob Keller with a shotgun, three balls entering his breast. 
There were no witnesses to the shooting and Mulligan claims that he fired in self- 
defense. An examination was held before Justice Reedy of La Grange and the facts 
were brought out that although Keller had a revolver he made no attempt to use it. 

Another murder was committed Friday evening, July 7, 1871, in front of the 
home of Richard Threlfall, at the Blue Cottage, six miles from Knights Ferry. The 
evidence at the inquest before Coroner Covert shows that the murder was committed 
from a very trifling incident, a piece of tobacco. A man named Thomas Murphy 
accused another laborer by the name of Rodgers of taking his tobacco. Rodgers quickly 
denying it, asserted that he had money enough to buy his own tobacco. Angry also 
at the insinuation, he further remarked that if Murphy repeated the charge he would 
slap his mouth. The latter then drawing a butcher knife from its sheath, stabbed 
Rodgers in the left breast and fled from the scene. The wound was fatal. The killing 
took place between seven and eight o'clock in the evening. Rodgers was a member 
of the Summit Lodge of Masons and the following morning twenty-one men started 
out in different directions to search for Murphy. In the circulars that were sent out 
broadcast for his arrest he was described as "a large, stout-built Irishman, about five 
feet eight inches in height, with prominent cheek bones, flat nose, large and full lips, 
wide mouth, narrow chin and eyes with a peculiar appearance. He walks a little lame." 


Charles Light, who was born at La Grange in 1861, tells of a murder at that 
place when he was a young man, which has never been erased from his memory. The 
fight was between Chris Thompson, a laborer, and the hotelkeeper, George Davis by 
name. Bad blood had existed between them for a long time, and one day Davis, meet- 


ing his enemy upon the street, killed him with a shotgun. Davis was tried for the 
crime of murder, convicted and sent to San Quentin. His unfortunate family then 
moved to Modesto. Davis, at the expiration of his term of imprisonment, returned 
to Modesto and later died in the county hospital. 


Another case of too much whisky was the murder of Moses A. Bryant by Charles 
Everson, March 2, 1871. The two men were partners in the wood-chopping business 
and that week were engaged cutting wood for a Mr. Wells on the Tuolumne River 
near Modesto. The last seen of Bryant was on a Thursday previous to the murder. 
The following day a strange event happened in which Everson was the principal actor. 
He went to Tuolumne City, purchased several bottles of whisky and becoming much 
intoxicated, broke into a house and stole some clothing. He then stole a horse and 
saddle and bridle and hurriedly rode away. His actions aroused suspicions and inquiry 
was made for Bryant. Searching parties started out and about eleven o'clock Sunday 
morning he was found in the Tuolumne River about four miles below the town. The 
murder caused much excitement, as Bryant was a musician of considerable note and 
left a wife and two children. 


It has been related that in the early '50s many persons were hanged in Stanislaus 
County by mob law, and as Branch said in writing of the old jail at La Grange, 
"many a horse thief and murder has been confined within its cells, and several have 
cut through its walls and escaped ! Others were taken out by the Vigilantes and hung 
to a tree." One of the last-named individuals was a member of an organized band of 
horse and cattle thieves. These men had been pursued by the sheriff's party into the 
Coast Range Mountains. In the sheriff's posse was Frank Lane, a son of Major Lane 
of Mountain Brow. In the fight which took place with the thieves, Frank Lane was 
killed. The bandits were all killed except one. He was captured, taken to La Grange, 
and confined in the jail. One night in June, 1858, a company of men assembled with 
blackened faces and, breaking in the door of the "calaboose," they took the cattle thief 
out and hung him to a tree. He was found the following morning by the authorities. 
At the coroner's inquest the jury brought in the usual stereotyped verdict, "hung by 
some persons or person unknown." 

Thirty-five years later the people had become more civilized and they believed 
that hanging was too severe a punishment for cattle stealing. A case in point was 
that of Frost Fagan, a well-known farmer near Oakdale. He seems to have been pos- 
sessed of a strong desire to increase his stock by stealing other people's cattle. He had 
been arrested several times for cattle stealing but was each time acquitted because of 
his splendid family connections. Frost was the "black sheep of the family" and on 
December 12, 1891, he was again tried for cattle stealing. He had the best of counsel, 
but his previous career told against him and, convicted of the crime, he was sent to 
the penitentiary. 

On October 20, 1872, J. R. Fagan, employed on the ranch of G. T. Davis, 
about three miles from Turlock, commenced scuffling with a man named McCarty. It 
finally ended in a fight. A peaceful citizen named Edward Meneoman interfered and 
pulled Fagan away from his opponent. This act so enraged Fagan that, drawing a 
revolver, he shot Meneoman, the ball entering about four inches to the right of the 
navel. Doctors Samuel, McLean and Hart were immediately notified by telegraph 
of the shooting and they arrived from Modesto on the evening train. They pronounced 
Meneoman fatally wounded, in fact, he was dying when the physicians arrived. On 
the same train came Sheriff Rodgers. Throughout the night he searched for the mur- 
derer, Fagan, who had immediately fled from the scene bareheaded and on foot. The 


sheriff found Fagan four days later in the bushes of the Tuolumne River near Horr's 
ranch and took him to the Modesto jail. 


In 1876, Centennial year, there was another homicide at Turlock, the little town 
just coming into notice. William Morrow and John Fox had been engaged for a 
long period of time with a threshing outfit. Being of congenial natures, they became 
good friends, but whisky caused them to quarrel. Going into Turlock August 20, 
they entered a saloon and began drinking. Glass after glass of liquor they poured 
down and then got into an argument, which ended in a fight. They were separated 
by those who were present in the saloon and this, it was believed, ended the trouble. 
But they came together again and began fighting, and in a few minutes Morrow, 
drawing a small pocket knife, stabbed Fox in the breast. He died the following day 
and Morrow was taken to jail to await the verdict of the grand jury. 

Another homicide that year was one which took place July 4, 1876, at Oakdale. 
A man named Melone was in one of the saloons, and he began drinking freely, cele- 
brating the day, finally becoming very boisterous and quarrelsome. Anticipating an 
unusually large business that day, the proprietor had employed an extra barkeeper. As 
Melone had become a nuisance, the barkeeper attempted to put him out of the place. 
The man showed fight and the barkeeper struck him "a terrific blow" in the face with 
his fist. Lying unconscious for several hours, he died, probably from concussion of 
the brain. 


Another of the cold-blooded murders of Stanislaus County was that of James 
Connolly December 22, 1874, at La Grange. He and a man named James Kerrigan 
were in a saloon and both apparently strangers to each other. Connolly, pretty well 
intoxicated, was having a heated conversation with a third party when Kerrigan, who 
was known as William Dona, suddenly drew a revolver and, shooting Connolly in the 
back of the head, killed him instantly. The cause of the murder was not positively 
known. It was suspected, however, that Dona was a deserter from the British army, 
and that Connolly knew of Dona's desertion. Hence, to prevent his desertion being 
reported to the British Consul at San Francisco, Dona killed his man. In his con- 
fession to the sheriff just before his execution, Dona stated : "I write to make known 
to you and the world that my name is not William Dona, but James Kerrigan. The 
name Dona I assumed when I deserted from the British army in 1859." 

The Trial of Dona 

Dona made no effort to escape and he was immediately arrested and taken to 
Modesto, and imprisoned in the county jail, at that time in the basement of the present 
courthouse. He was indicted for the unlawful killing of James Connolly. The case 
was called in the district court January 21, 1875, Judge Samuel Booker of Stockton 
presiding. The prosecuting attorney was J. J. Scrivner, and the prisoner was repre- 
sented by two able counsels, H. A. Gehrs and Thomas A. Coldwell. The jurors in the 
case were all reliable and well-known citizens, namely, B. S. Turpen, L. A. Church, 
Thomas D. Harp, L. B. Farrish, J. F. Kerr, Joseph Islip, W. C. Dale, Jefferson D. 
Bentley, W. A. Clark, John James, William Lesher and Samuel Gibson. The pris- 
oner's attorneys claimed that the murder was committed in self-defense, and to prove 
the absurd plea they put the prisoner on the stand. He swore that Connolly made an 
attempt to draw a weapon. It was a short trial — less than two days — the jury bring- 
ing in a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. At that time the only punish- 
ment for such a verdict was hanging. 

The Sentence of the Judge 

After a time Dona was taken into court and Judge Booker, in passing sentence, 

commented upon the prisoner's perjured evidence and said, "You swore in the presence 

of that jury that the man was looking at you when you shot. You are contradicted by 

the physical fact that the pistol ball pierced him from behind in the back of the head. 


Hence, your testimony could not be true ; and as to your assertion under oath, that you 
shot in necessary self-defense and because Driscoll, your friend, had warned you, Dris- 
cell swore positively that he did not do so. I concur in the justice and humanity of 
the jury. Hence the judgment of this court is that you be hung by the neck until you 
are dead. The court will inform you that Friday, the 19th day of March next, 
between the hours of 1 1 o'clock A. M. and 2 o'clock P. M. of that day will be assigned 
for the execution of the judgment." 

Peculiar Efforts to Save Dona's Life 
Dona was returned to his cell in the basement of the courthouse. And to make 
his escape impossible, the sheriff placed a chain around his ankle, the loose end being 
fastened to a ring in the floor of the cell. He was placed in what was known as "the 
death cell," the only furniture being a small table and a bed. He was now visited at 
his request by Father William O'Conner of Stockton and several other priests. Many 
sympathizing friends visited him, also women who brought the condemned criminal 
flowers and delicacies. They had great sympathy for the live murderer, but not even 
a thought of the man murdered. A rather peculiar thing and something of a puzzle 
was the strong efforts of two of Stanislaus' leading citizens, Leonidas C. Branch and 
Miner Walden, to save the life of Dona. Branch at the time was county clerk and he 
and Walden claimed it their belief that Dona was an innocent man and had been rail- 
roaded to the gallows, as we now express it. It is said that they "crystalized a large 
public sentiment in favor of executive clemency." What they had done previous to 
this time, Thursday, March 17, is not of record. On that morning, however, they left 
Modesto for Sacramento for the purpose of pleading with Governor Pacheco for a 
commutation of Dona's sentence to life imprisonment. The two men stopped over at 
Stockton and the press the following morning, commenting on their object, declared, 
''It is not a good season for commutations just now and it is believed that the Governor 
will not interfere." For those persons in Modesto interested in the affair it was a 
day of intense excitement. Hourly they expected a dispatch from Sacramento, but none 
was received until near dark. Then H. A. Gehrs received a dispatch requesting him 
to obtain the names of certain citizens signed to a petition for a reprieve and telegraph 
the names to Sacramento. This was done. Finding that they could not get a commu- 
tation of Dona's sentence to life imprisonment, Branch and Walden swore to an 
affidavit "that evidence exists and can be produced that will justify a commutation of 
Dona's sentence from death to imprisonment for life." Where these two men obtained 
that evidence was never learned, Dona's attorneys knew nothing of it. However, on 
Friday the executive directed the sheriff "to stay the execution until Friday, April 2." 

The Hanging of Dona 
In the meantime, the murderer assumed the bold appearance of innocence and 
indifference usually assumed by hardened criminals, and at all times he appeared 
callous to his condition. He was found invariably to be self-possessed and smoking a 
pipe. In his death cell he frequently enjoyed a game of cards with the jailer or some 
of the prisoners. As the day of execution again drew near Branch and Walden again 
went to Sacramento to plead with the Governor, but he refused to interfere. The news 
was immediately conveyed to Dona. He received the information in a matter of fact 
manner and evinced no emotion over the result. In the meantime, as on the former 
date, preparations were made by the sheriff for the execution. The scaffold, which had 
been brought from Stockton in March, was erected by carpenters in the courthouse 
plaza, and around it was built a high board fence, excluding from public sight the 
gruesome scene. The enclosure was just large enough to admit about thirty persons, 
the law declaring that at least that number must witness the execution. A large crowd 
of morbid persons waited upon the outside to witness the hanging or at least see the 
body. On the previous evening Fathers McCarty and Riordan remained with the 
criminal throughout the night, giving him spiritual consolation. The following morn- 
ing "the prisoner appeared cool and calm and apparently undisturbed." At three min- 
utes past one o'clock, Dona, unassisted, ascended the steps of the gallows. He was 


accompanied by Sheriffs Rodgers and Means of Merced and Deputy Sheriffs Stimpson 
and Howell of Stanislaus County. On the platform the priest and the condemned man 
recited the litany for the dead. Dona was then asked by the sheriff if he wished to 
make any remarks. He declined to say anything. The rope was then placed around 
his neck, and the trap was sprung. The body dropped five and a half feet, death ensu- 
ing instantly. Drs. Jackson and Marks, examining the body twenty-three minutes later, 
pronounced Dona dead. The body was then taken down and placed in a coffin and at 
his request in his confession transported to Stockton for burial. 

In his confessional letter Dona made the usual talk of men about to be hung for 
their crime. He said, "I thank you, Sheriff Rodgers, and all of your officials for the 
many acts of kindness extended to me. I thank my lawyers, also the ladies and gentle- 
men who took part in trying to have my sentence commuted, and I am willing to die 
for the crime imputed to me. I die fortified by the sacrament of the Catholic Church. 
My only request is that my corpse be delivered to Father O'Connor, to be buried in 
the Catholic cemetery at Stockton." His place of burial is now part of the location 
of the Holt Manufacturing Company. 


Hill's Ferry in those days of "good times" was a very lively town of carousals 
and quarrels. None were more fatal or cold blooded, however, than the murder of 
an old man, John Shelden, a sheep herder. On August 18, 1875, he and a man named 
Richard Cullen were drinking at the bar. There were two other men present at the 
time. Shelden and Cullen had some hot words over an argument and Cullen, drawing 
a revolver, shot the sheep herder, killing him instantly. Cullen, who was a notoriously 
bad character and a hardened criminal, immediately left for Stockton. He first took 
the precaution, however, to tell the two men present that if they told of the murder 
he would kill them on sight. Fearing the threat, they kept silent. On arrival at 
Stockton, Cullen boarded the steamer and landing at Antioch, obtained work in the 
coal mines under the name of James Cassidy. Sheriff Cunningham of San Joaquin 
County was particularly interested in this murder because of its cold bloodedness in 
shooting down a poor old man, but was unsuccessful in his search. Finally one day 
he received a notice that if he would put up a special sum of money, naming the 
amount, the hiding place of Cullen would be revealed to him. The sheriff put up the 
money and he was informed that the Hill's Fern* murderer was working in the Antioch 
coal mines under the name of James Cassidy. A deputy sheriff was sent for the mur- 
derer and he was found in the jail at Martinez, arrested for assaulting a Chinaman. 
The charge of assault was dismissed and Cullen was brought to Stockton and then 
confined in the Modesto lock-up. 


Cullen, who was known as "Little Dick" and sometimes as "Fighting Dick," was 
indicted for murder before the grand jury. He was tried in the October term, 1876, 
of the district court, Judge Samuel A. Booker presiding. The prisoner was defended 
by Thomas A. Coldwell and C. B. Fitzgerald. The attorneys made the best plea 
possible for the prisoner's acquittal, but the jury, after being out twenty-three hours, 
brought in a verdict "guilty of murder in the first degree" and fixed the penalty death. 
Judge Booker, who had served in many murder trials, either as attorney or judge, 
sentenced Cullen to be "hung by the neck, November 24, 1876, until he be dead and 
may God have mercy on your soul." This was the usual ending of murder sentences 
at that time. At the passing of the sentence Cullen "was cool and indifferent and 
took the sentence more as a joke than as a matter of life and death," said an eyewitness. 

After his sentence, iron shackles were placed around his ankles to prevent his 
escape by any possible means. "Yesterday morning, November 24, 1876," says the 
telegraphic report, "Cullen's shackles were removed by the blacksmith, a barber was 
called in and shaved the doomed man, after which he partook of a hearty breakfast 
being in good spirits and quite cheerful. He refused to be interviewed, but learning 
that several officers were present from adjoining counties, he consented to see them, 
especially Sheriff Cunningham, whom he well knew. The evening previous to his 


execution Father Riordan had prayed with the condemned man and had visited him 
several times during his confinement. The death warrant was read to Cullen by the 
sheriff at 1 1 :30 o'clock in a room adjoining the jail. He then walked with a springy 
step and composed air to the foot of the scaffold. After stepping upon the trap and 
while his arms were being pinioned, he continued repeating the prayers of the church 
after Father Riordan. As the prisoner declined making any remarks, the black cap 
was drawn over his head and at 12:17 Sheriff Rodgers cut the rope that held the 
weight and the trap fell. In ten minutes he was pronounced dead by Doctors Jackson 
and White. The scaffold used at this execution was loaned to Sheriff Rodgers by 
San Joaquin County. It had been used in the execution of William Dona at Modesto 
in 1875, of James Murphy at Stockton and Estrala Mortimer at Sacramento. It was 
a scaffold invented by A. B. Bennett, a deputy sheriff under Thomas Cunningham. 
Present at the execution were several sheriffs, Baxter of Tuolumne, Morse of Alameda, 
Cunningham of San Joaquin and Harris of Sacramento. 

Young Bentley, the son of Jefferson D. and Eliza Bentley, was born in Knights 
Ferry in 1860 and early in life engaged in the real estate business in Delano, Kern 
County. While on a business visit returning from Visalia, February 22, 1889, on the 
Southern Pacific, the train was held up about eight o'clock just south of Pixley by two 
train robbers. They climbed over the locomotive tender and covering the engineer and 
fireman with their revolvers ordered them to stop the train. It being something un- 
usual for the train to stop at that place, Edward Bentley stepped from the car and 
went forward to see what was the trouble. One of the robbers, commanding him to 
halt, immediately fired a charge of buckshot into his stomach and arm. He exclaimed, 
"My God! I am shot," and fell to the earth. He was picked up and placed in the car 
and the train hurried on to Delano. Surgeons were immediately called and it was 
found that he was mortally wounded by seventeen buckshot in his stomach and arms. 
The young man died the following day and his body was brought to Modesto. The 
funeral took place from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Rev. B. F. Bunis 
delivering a very appropriate funeral discourse. The church was crowded with 
sympathizing friends and relatives. Very appropriate hymns were sung by the quar- 
tette comprising Miss Hayden, Mrs. Shuck, T. B. C. Rice and C. W. Eastin, with 
Mr. Goeffert at the organ. 


In the early '60s there came to California from Tennessee, his native state, a 
young Irishman by the name of Barney B. Garner. He located at Knights Ferry and 
engaged in the honorable business of purchasing and selling wood. In 1867, how- 
ever, he removed to Tuolumne City and opened a saloon. With the inherent qualities 
of a leader, he took a hand in politics and was soon recognized as a political boss. 
Although he could control men and obtain their votes, he could not control his 
temper, and when drunk was a very dangerous, bullying person. With his influence 
in politics and his ugly temper, many persons feared him, especially after his cold- 
blooded murder of Jerry Lockwood. At this time, 1871, Barney had removed to 
Modesto, and on Front Street opened up the Marble Palace. For some reason Barney 
quarreled with Lockwood, who was a gambler and keeper of a house of ill-fame, and 
threatened to kill him. One day Barney hid in the disrenutable house, lying in wait 
for his victim, and just as Jerry came through the door Barney shot and killed him. 
He was tried for the crime and acquitted. We have already recorded Barney's act in 
slapping the face of W. E. Turner, the attorney, and this and many other acts caused 
the police to fear him. 


It was Saturday evening, August 1, 1890. The Marble Palace was doing a good 
Saturday night business and as usual many persons had congregated in the saloon and 
on the sidewalk, talking over the affairs of state, little dreaming that the greatest 
tragedy of the county would soon take place and the law be upheld. Garner was 


abusively drunk and raising considerable disturbance ; finally the marshal walked in. 
He was a new man in the office, untried and inexperienced, but brave and fearless in 
the performance of his duty. Walking up to Barney, the officer said: "Barney, you 
must quit this." Barney replied: "You allow the fellows down the street to swear 
and fight and then you come up here and arrest me." The marshal had said nothing 
about arresting him but Barney believing that the marshal intended to arrest him, 
stepped back a couple of paces and put his right hand into his pocket, as if to draw 
a weapon and kill the officer. On the part of the marshal it was a case of self 
defense, for the officer in the performance of his duty has a perfect right to defend 
his life. Quickly drawing his revolver with his left hand, the marshal fired twice. 
One shot entered Garner's left shoulder, the other his head just above the ear, killing 
him instantly. Coroner Phelps and his deputy, R. L. Quisenberry, now residing in 
Stockton, took charge of the body and carried it to the morgue, then on H Street, 
between Front and Tenth streets. On examination of the corpse, the Coroner found 
in the right hand pocket a loaded Derringer pistol, half cocked. This was sufficient 
evidence of the intent of the saloonkeeper. The following day the body was taken 
to Barney's home, on I Street, in the alley between Ninth and Tenth. Coroner Phelps 
summoned a jury to investigate the case. They met in the office of Justice Whitby 
and comnrised some of the most respected, law-abiding citizens of Modesto, as follows: 
W. E. Daunt, John A. Witty, F. L. Shirran, John J. Dolan, D. S. Husband, W. J. 
Thompson, Cyrus Lee, W. K. McMullen, O. L. Wakefield, N. B. Williams and 
T. E. B. Rice. After hearing all of the evidence, they brought in a verdict: "We, 
the jurors summoned to inquire into the death of Barney B. Garner, find that he was 
killed by an officer in the performance of duty and that it was a justifiable homicide." 


A peculiar case, one in which the sympathy of the public strongly favored the 
prisoner, was that of Julia O'Meara, accused of attempting to poison her father, 
March 27, 1892. The young lady and her affianced husband, Chris Albert, who 
was in the employ of O'Meara on his ranch, were arrested for the alleged crime, 
and they were released on bail. O'Meara strongly opposed the marriage of his daugh- 
ter and he declared that they had attempted to get rid of him. The case was called 
April 12, in Modesto, and the old gentleman testified that on the day named in the 
complaint, March 27, he found a pitcher of water sitting on the table and a tumbler 
very convenient for him to take a drink. It was something very unusual, but thinking 
nothing of it he took a mouthful of water. He immediately spat it out, it was so 
bitter. The following morning another very unusual thing happened. When he was 
called to breakfast, Julia, who poured out the tea on this occasion, had the tea already 
served. He drank some of it, although it was very bitter, was taken sick and 
had convulsions for nearly eight hours. The physician saved his life. Two other 
daughters, testifying, said that Julia and her lover had a long secret conversation previ- 
ous to the poisoning of their father. Julia poured the tea. No one else could have 
poured it. The poison was strychnine, which was kept on the place to poison squir- 
rels. The evidence also showed that O'Meara "was a harsh, exacting father and 
taskmaster." He compelled the girls to arise at four o'clock in the morning and com- 
pelled them to work in the field like able-bodied men. The district attorney, after a 
consultation with the father, dismissed the case. O'Meara was not very pleased with 
the turn of affairs, but a strong public opinion in favor of the daughter caused him 
to give his consent. It is probable that soon afterward he lost two of his best help, 
the hired man and Julia. 

In 1889, Isaac Brinkerhoff, one of the oldest residents of Modesto and a man 
quite wealthy, began acting in a strange, unnatural manner. He was taken before 
Judge Minor March 8 and examined by Doctors Evans and Wilhoit. They pro- 
nounced him insane, and he was sent to the insane asylum. His aged wife strongly 
opposed his being confined, and after a court trial he was discharged from custody and 


the faithful wife took him again to their Modesto home. On the morning of August 
21, 1889, the old gentleman, arising at four o'clock, told his wife that he was going 
out to pick figs. He did not return at breakfast time and his son Charles could not 
find him. Then, quite anxious at his disappearance, Mrs. Brinkerhofr aroused the 
neighborhood, but he could not be located. About noon, however, an Italian named 
Guiseppi, on going into a shed about 300 yards from the Brinkerhoff home, found 
him hanging from the rafters; apparently he had been dead for several hours. He had 
obtained a rope, and placing one end around his neck, had stepped upon the tongue of a 
wagon, fastened the other end around the rafters and then swung off, strangling himself. 

At Oakdale on Christmas evening of the year 1893, Edom Lowe was robbed 
and brutally beated to death by Charles Inglis. Lowe was employed on one of 
the ranches in the vicinity of Oakdale and visited the town to celebrate the day. 
Drinking frequently at the bar, he soon became intoxicated, but was in no manner 
boisterous or quarrelsome. Late in the evening Lowe left the saloon and Inglis fol- 
lowed after him. A few minutes later a scuffling was heard. No attention was paid 
to the noise. The following evening between seven and eight o'clock Lowe was found 
upon a side street, unconscious, with knife stabs in his left breast and his head horribly 
beaten up, as if struck by some heavy instrument. Suspicion was at once attracted to 
Charles Inglis, as he was a worthless fellow, a hanger on in the town, and had served 
a term in the penitentiary. Constable Swartzel arrested Inglis and after considerable 
search a knife was found. It was quite a formidable-looking weapon and the scab- 
bard and blade were spattered with blood. It is supposed that Inglis attempted to 
rob Lowe, and in the scuffle he stabbed and beat his victim into insensibility. Inglis 
was taken to the Modesto jail, awaiting the outcome of Lowe's injury. 


This murder took place at Cottonwoods near Newman on the evening of Janu- 
ary 9, 1891. A Mrs. MacDonnell was visiting her mother, Mrs. Pendelton. The 
family were sitting conversing in the parlor when an unknown person approached and 
fired a forty-four-caliber rifle bullet through the window. The ball struck Mrs. Mac- 
Donnell, killing her instantly. Footprints were tracked from the window to the home 
of E. T. Hale, some two miles distant, and he was arrested and taken to Los Banos. 
It was known that he had borrowed a rifle the day previous to the murder and a 
rifle was found in his home. The prisoner admitted having a rifle, yet he denied bor- 
rowing it. Mrs. John Hale, his sister-in-law, testified at the coroner's inquest, Janu- 
ary 15, that she saw Hale carrying a gun from her husband's house, the day before 
the cowardly act was committed. The cause of the murder is unknown, and was a 
complete mystery except in this: Mrs. MacDonnell formerly worked for E. T. Hale's 
wife, and one day the two women, quarreling over wages, became bitter enemies. 


In 1892 there lived in Oakdale an old blacksmith, fifty-eight years of age, named 
Andrew Boss. He had a good business but a bad reputation, and although a member 
of a splendid family, he was a black sheep. There was another man in Oakdale, a 
young man twenty-six years of age, by the name of Purcell. His family were good, 
law-abiding, respected citizens, but the young fellow was a hanger on around houses 
of bad repute. One day, the afternoon of October 15, 1892, Purcell wandered into 
Boss' blacksmith shop. Soon after this they began quarreling, a shot was heard and 
Purcell fell mortally wounded, the ball penetrating his left lung. Boss said Purcell 
was trying to steal his tools. Constable Swartzel took charge of the blacksmith and 
the physicians attended Purcell. 

In every town there are men of dissolute character who make it a part of their 
business to entice young girls into houses of infamy either for the gratification of their 
own lust or for profit. Such a person was John Kelley. Somewhere in the summer of 


1879 he made the acquaintance at Sutter Creek of a fifteen-year-old girl named Speek- 
man, the daughter of John Speekman, an old resident of the mining town. One day 
the girl disappeared, and coming to Modesto about August 5 she was met by Kelley 
and taken to a house of prostitution. The father by some means heard that the girl 
was in Modesto and he telegraphed the chief of police to arrest her. When the officer 
went to make the arrest the girl could not be found. She had been taken to Hill's 
Ferry. A few days later her brother, traveling on foot from the Creek, for the family 
were quite poor, arrived in search of the wayward sister. Kelley, meeting the young 
man, threatened to kill him if he did not return home. The young man then con- 
sulted Attorneys Hazen & Johnson. They advised him to return to Sutter Creek, 
obtain a warrant for his sister, and then, if necessary, take her by force. The boy 
returned, informed his father of the attorneys' advice and then swore out a warrant. 
The legal proceedings in some manner unknown were delayed. The father arose 
from a bed of sickness and also traveling afoot, arrived in Modesto, August 14. There 
was considerable excitement in the little town, for the "Regulators" had appeared and 
commanded every gambler, saloonist and disreputable to leave the town within twenty- 
four hours. The following morning when the northbound Southern Pacific steamed 
to the depot there was a rush of undesirables to get on board. The exodus was so 
great that the number surprised many of the citizens. In the crowd of sightseers 
was Speekman, intently watching to get a sight of his daughter. The depot then was 
at the corner of Front and I streets. The locomotive bell was ringing and as the 
conductor was about to shout "all aboard" two persons suddenly appeared from a 
nearby saloon, dragging or partly dragging a companion so drunk he was helpless. It 
was John Kelley. The companions succeeded in reaching the platform and as soon as 
Speekman saw his daughter's seducer he rushed forward and stabbed him four or five 
times in the breast with a penknife. Bystanders quickly grasped the old half-crazed 
father, but the act was so sudden that the victim had been mortally wounded. The 
two companions endeavored to board the train, taking the wounded man with them. 
He was bleeding badly and probably dying and the conductor refused him passage. 
The two men then boarded the cars and left Kelley to his fate. The wounded man 
was taken across the street into the Stanislaus Restaurant and attended by Doctors 
Ray and McLean. He died four days later. Speekman gave himself up to the police. 
He was immediaetly taken before Justice of the Peace C. W. Eastin and released under 
a fifty dollar bail, the citizens quickly putting up the bail bond. In the meantime the 
daughter had been brought over from Hill's Ferry and she returned home to Sutter 
Creek with her father. 

Public opinion, as fickle as the wind, shifts as quickly. In the Speekman affair 
there was not the least doubt of Kelley's guilt, and public opinion was just when it 
exclaimed, "It served him right." In the Robbins affair which we will now record, 
there was a strong doubt regarding his guilt, yet the public declared him guilty and 
threatened to lynch him. Then many declared him innocent of the crime, and later 
tame a doubt that has not to this day been cleared up. Before narrating the trial, we 
must first observe the principals in the affair, the MacCrellish family. They com- 
prised the father, mother and two girls, Lulu and Dora, their ages eleven and fifteen. 
In 1883 the family removed from Mariposa County to Stanislaus County. They 
took up their abode in a small house in the rear of the wayside saloon of John H. 
Doane, about six miles out on the Waterford road, and the following year they moved 
into Modesto. The family were very profligate in character and at the trial facts 
were established "that Mrs. MacCrellish was driven out of another town for using 
her daughters as blackmailers." In that same trial the girls perjured themselves "and 
lied fearfully and described immoralities without an iota of shame or scruple." 

The Robbins Case 

In August, 1882, a man named John J. Robbins located in Modesto as editor 
of the "Farmer's Journal." He was incompetent for the position, it seems, and was 
soon "fired." He did not leave the town, as do most editors when discharged, and 


look up another job, but concluded that next he would practice law at Modesto. His 
wife came to Modesto and Robbins put out his sign as an attorney. He was a "fine 
looking man, over six feet in height and weighing about 200 pounds." His clientele 
did not keep him very busy and soon it was observed by persons in the vicinity of his 
office that he was fond of little girls, "and often asked them into his office, petted 
them and giving them candies told them stories." The youngest MacCrellish girl, 
Lulu, soon wandered past his door and in July, 1883, the police were informed that 
Robbins had taken undue liberties with her. The girl herself it seems gave the 
information, but with no other evidence the police could not make any arrest. Watch- 
ing the case closely, however, they believed soon after that they had evidence sufficient 
to secure conviction, and on August 18 Robbins was arrested, he was taken before 
Justice C. W. Eastin, and released on bail of $2,500, J. P. Trainor of the Ross House 
and Dr. Tynan going his security. As soon as the arrest became known, "excited 
men stood on the corners and talked of lynching him." Robbins' friends, fearing that 
the mob might attempt it, advised him to leave town or he would be lynched. Taking 
their advice, he left on the first northbound train. As soon as his bondsmen learned 
of his departure, they surrendered him to the sheriff. The wires were made hot with 
messages looking for Robbins. He was intercepted and arrested by the constable at 
Lathrop. The sheriff and his deputy, Simmons, went on to Lathrop and got their 
prisoner. Fearing, however, that an attempt would be made to lynch Robbins if 
they returned with him to Modesto, they went on to Stockton and lodged him in the 
hotel "De Cunningham." Their prediction seemed to have been well founded, for 
the mob went wild and over 300 of them gathered at the depot awaiting the south- 
bound train and Robbins. They fully intended to have a necktie party, in which the 
principal participant would be the prisoner. Robbins was confined in the jail at 
Stockton until August 30. At that time Sheriff Cunningham received word to release 
the prisoner. Public opinion was changing and although his bail had been increased 
to $5,000, twice the former amount, J. P. Trainor and Dr. Thomas Tynan again 
became his bondsmen. 

Arrest of John H. Doane 
Two days after the arrest of Robbins, John H. Doane was arrested, charged with 
a similar offense against Dora MacCrellish. At the same time Albert Beck, a young 
man in the employ of William Brown, the photographer, was arrested charged with 
taking the photographs of young girls unattired. The two men were placed in jail 
and again the mob was furious and seriously talked of lynching both Doane and 
Beck. Fearing that the mob would attempt to get possession of the man and hang 
them, the sheriff "placed a guard of five men with Winchester rifles inside the cage 
with the prisoner to protect him." In the meantime Doane was released on bail. 
The preliminary trial of Doane was called September 18, before Justice of the Peace 
C. W. Eastin. The entire day was taken up with the examination of the girl Dora. 
Her testimony was unshaken, according to the Herald, "except as to minor details." 
Upon cross-examination, however, by the attorney for the defense, there was no direct 
evidence against Doane, and he was discharged from custody. 

The Comments of the Press 
Soon after the discharge of Doane the Herald said : "There is no doubt that a 
serious offense has been committed, either rape or perjury. It is not in order to let 
the Robbins case go by default. An investigation would be a farce. But the people 
will not yield one jot of their opinion in the Robbins case any more than they have 
done in the case of Doane." The Farmer's Journal, August 24, published a rather 
peculiar statement. It said regarding the guilt or innocence of Robbins and Doane: 
"Although some have changed their minds, still the feeling is high and should the 
evidence turn against the prisoners, then there will be but little use for the superior 
court in the matter. The MacCrellish girls have told some pretty tough stories, still 
they have told enough truth to make the case a strong one." Then in the same article 
it declared : "The people who wanted to hang Robbins so fast have notably changed. 


It is now believed that there is no foundation for the grave charge against Robbins." 
Four days later, August 28, the same paper said: "The sentiment of Modesto is 
fast assuming a different aspect and it looks as if the men who have been arrested 
are the victims of a nicely laid plot." A little later a correspondent declared: "The 
change in public opinion is wonderful. They believe there will be no case made out 
against the accused parties. There is a talk of tar and feathers for the MacCrellish 

The Trial of Robbins 

Robbins was placed on trial in February, 1884, in the superior court of Modesto, 
Judge A. Hewel presiding. There was an array of able attorneys, William E. 
Dudley of Stockton and W. E. Turner for the defense, and District Attorney John 
C. Simmons, John B. Kittrelle and W. O. Miner, later county judge, for the prose- 
cution. After a three days' rigid examination the following jury was accepted: J. M. 
Board, Henry Gregg, R. R. Snedigar, J. M. Watson, John McGovern, S. LeClert, 
J. R. Mickey, J. F. Beausong, J. B. Brooks, A. M. Standiford, A. R. Anderson and 
Frank Jenkins. At the request of Attorney Dudley, but against the protest of Kit- 
trelle, the trial proceeded with closed doors. 

When the case was given to the jury, they retired and in a few minutes returned 
a verdict, "not guilty." Notwithstanding the verdict of the twelve honorable men 
and the depraved character of the two principal witnesses, many of the citizens believed 
Robbins and Doane guilty of the crime and we will again hear of them in the second 
raid of the Vigilantes. 


If the accounts be true, Modesto in 1879 was not a very desirable place to live, 
especially for respectable families, as it was the resort of thieves, gamblers and prosti- 
tutes from all parts of the state. The cause of this immigration of undesirables was 
the splendid wheat crop of that year. To harvest the crop required hundreds of 
laborers. They made plenty of money and every Saturday night, coming in from the 
harvest fields, they would "buck the tiger, consort with women and get as drunk as 
lords." At the risk of repetition, we will give two accounts of the condition of things 
in that year, a condition which caused the organization of the Regulators. The first 
account referring to the abundant harvest says: "After two years of drought, two 
lean years that have become historic in the annals of the county, the wonderful bounte- 
ous crop of 1879 brought renewed life and hope and vigor, which gave an impetus to 
business of all descriptions. The wealth of garnered grain also brought to Modesto a 
flock of gamblers, women of shady character, together with men of other activities 
equally undesirable, who came hither to gain their illicit share of the profits of the 
industrious farmer and the wages of the rural worker. The opium joints and the 
gambling halls were permitted to run at full swing. The dance hall spread its baneful 
influence over the entire community, and from the very center of the town, the 
tenderloin crew rode in Modesto's saddle and controlled the town." 

In August, '79, the Herald declared: "For years past Modesto has been the 
rendezvous of gamblers, thieves, rollers and gentlemen of that ilk, who seem to enter- 
tain the opinion that they were secure from molestation by police officrs and could ply 
their nefarious business without the fear of the law. They said that when they could 
not remain anywhere else they could come to Modesto and be safe from any annoy- 
ance. Dance houses and opium dens loomed up in the distance and these places were 
thronged nightly by these human hyenas, their orgies being kept up until a late hour. 
Drunken men were rolled and robbed on the streets, ladies were insulted, young 
lads were enticed into their dens of iniquity and numerous offenses committed." 


Tired of the condition of affairs as above recorded, and unable or unwilling to 

"clean up the town" by lawful means, that is the election to office of men who would 

perform their duty, quite a large number of citizens concluded to take the matter in 

their own hands and by force or intimidation drive out and destroy the property of the 


criminal class. The organization of the Vigilantes was not a spontaneous uprising 
like that of a mob in a great city, but the work of men who had been planning the 
movement for several months. One account says their place of meeting was in an old 
warehouse on a high and knolly plot of ground between Modesto and Ripperdan, and 
that the members were called to meeting by verbal request or by messengers. Another 
account says that they met in the Odd Fellows Hall and that the members were noti- 
fied of a meeting by secret cards or signs posted in the Modesto show windows. The 
time set for their raid was Thursday evening, August 14, 1879. That night the men 
"ssembled wearing black masks and grasping their trusty weapons — shotguns, pistols 
and swords — they quietly marched along H Street to Tenth and along that street to 
Sullivan's dance hall. The saloon was all ablaze with lights and a merry throng. 
Some of the fellows and girls were merrily dancing while others were drinking and 
carousing at the bar. On arrival at Sullivan's, the Vigilantes halted. Their brave 
captain then stepping forth demanded that Sullivan appear. The saloonist appeared 
and he was told to close his saloon ^and "git out." He skipped in short order. Long 
before this time, pandemonium reigned in the house, and the frightened women, unfor- 
tunate outcasts of humanity, ran in every direction ; some ran to their rooms and hid 
under their beds, while others, scantily dressed, ran down the street. Having won 
this battle with no loss of life, the valiant army next visited the alleys between 
G and H streets. Then they visited more houses on Tenth and Front streets. Every- 
where the result was the same: the enemy fled in great dismay. Next marching to 
Johnson's dance hall, corner of H and Eighth streets, they notified that worthy to 
close his "shebang." He complied. Sure, for he remained in town and for a long 
time thereafter was one of the officers of the law in Modesto. Johnson, like Garner, 
had a political pull. Having visited the high-toned places where gentlemen congre- 
gated, the Vigilantes next visited the "heathen Chinee," as Bret Harte styled them in 
his poem. "Ropes were placed around some of the opium shanties, and with the com- 
bined tugging of the Vigilantes they were razed to the ground." The ruins were 
searched for pipes and other smoking paraphernalia, fan tan layouts and faro tables. 
These were placed in the public square and a huge bonfire made of them. There was 
at that time, you remember, a great hue and cry and the watchword of the parties was 
"the Chinese must go." They had no redress in the courts for damages, no influence 
nor votes, hence the destruction of their property. But the saloons where men were 
crazed with liquor and murders were committed, where girls were seduced" — they re- 
mained intact. The following day it seemed as if Modesto would be partly depopu- 
lated, so great was the departures of undesirables, some going to Stockton and some 
to Oakdale. The News declared, August 22: "Since the raid of the raiders, our 
streets have been quiet. The gay gamboliers and the demimonde, at least, are not so 
common a sight. The good citizens of Oakdale complain that the dissolute charac- 
ters have located in their midst since the late raid at Modesto." 

In 1890 two shooting events similar in character took place, the one at Turlock 
with no dangerous results, the other at Modesto with fatal results. The first was of 
a man, just a common drunkard and unsavory character, the other a periodical drinker, 
a known murderer and a saloonkeeper high up in the political circles of Modesto 
County. Early in the morning on November 1, 1890, past midnight, when all respect- 
able citizens are soundly sleeping, Seaton Boren was in a Turlock saloon, considerably 
under the influence of liquor. The name of the saloon I know not, for the press took 
good care in those days not to injure the business of any saloon. Anyhow, Boren was 
in this saloon and finally he became so noisy and quarrelsome that the constable was 
called in to quiet or arrest him. When Constable Spier attempted to arrest him he 
began to fight and in the scuffle he was shot in the thigh by Spier's pistol. 



One of the most distressing accidents of Stanislaus was the drowning in Septem- 
ber, 1889, of the three sons of C. C. Baker, who lived near the Tuolumne River, about 
eight miles from Modesto. It appears that the boys, George W., eight years of age, 
Oliver, eleven, and Christopher, thirteen years old, accompanied by a companion named 
Walter Garrison, started from the house about three o'clock in the afternoon for a 
swim in the river. About an hour later, J. L. Crossmore, who was in the employ of 
Baker, found young Garrison by the side of the house sobbing and crying as if his 
heart would break. Mr. Crossmore inquired: "What is the matter?" The boy ex- 
claimed between his sobs: "The boys are drowned in the river." Mr. Crossmore gave 
the alarm and hurried to the river, accompanied by the father. A few minutes later 
R. B. Drew arrived. Solicitous for the condition of Mr. Baker, who had heart dis- 
ease, he persuaded the father to return to his home. He was accompanied by his 
employee. Mr. Drew then entering the water with a long stick, for the river was 
low, began poking around. He soon came across the body of the eldest boy. He was 
in a deep hole made by the eddying of the current when the river was swiftly flowing. 
In a short time other persons engaged ; n the search and about sundown Ben Ducker 
found the body of George Baker. About nine o'clock that night he discovered Oliver's 
body. They were buried from the Christian Church and the Stanislaus Pioneer Society 
attended the funeral in a body, Mr. Baker being one of their members. The funeral 
was one of the largest ever held in the county. There was a strong and heartfelt 
sympathy for the grief-stricken parents and Mrs. Ben Ducker composed a very sj'm- 
pathetic poem on the occasion. The following are the first eight and last four lines. 

"They are sleeping, sweetly sleeping 
Your precious loved ones dear, 
They have gone to live with Jesus, 
And their voices no more you'll hear. 
They are sleeping, sweetly sleeping, 
Can you wish to wake them now ? 
Where not one trace of sadness 
Can cross their precious brow. 

Oh, we think not, though 'tis lonely, 
Bow and kiss the chastening rod, 
Saying not as we would have it, 
But as thou hast wilt, Oh Lord." 

In the sudden disappearance of Thomas Owens we see in a nutshell the faithful 
devotion of a wife through eight long years, the strong faith of a newspaper man in his 
honesty and integrity and the perfidy of a man unworthy of the love of a good woman 
or true friend. In 1889, Thomas Owens was appointed collector of the Modesto Irri- 
gation District. He made good, was highly respected, believed to be honest and had in 
his possession at one time as high as $3,000 of the money of the company. In 1892 
he suddenly disappeared. In looking over his account with the district there was a 
shortage of $695. Then he was denounced as an embezzler and a scoundrel for taking 
the district money and deserting a wife and two small children. The Herald defended 
the man and publicly declared there was no justification for the "foul slander." Owens' 
bondsmen were compelled to make good the deficit and the faithful wife, by selling the 
little home and other means, succeeded in paying the bondsmen their loss within two 
years. Mrs. Owens with her children, in 1895, moved to Stockton and succeeded in 
supporting the family by dressmaking. In May, 1900, Mr. Owens returned to his 
family and his own confession, as given to a press reporter, tells the tale. He said the 
cause of his departure was the fact that he had spent a part of the Modesto Irrigation 
money in aiding a friend in his campaign for the office of district attorney. When an 


accounting was called for he did not have the money and did not feel like asking his 
friends to help him out. He left ostensibly for Visalia without informing anyone of his 
intention. He went direct to Los Angeles and from there by steamer to San Francisco. 
Remaining a few days he then went to Napa and under the name of Thomas Oliver 
engaged in the carpenter trade. He remained there three years and sent not a word to 
his family. Then going to Oregon he assumed his right name and there remained until 
1897. He then went to Dawson City and saw three or four fellows who knew him 
in Modesto, but they could tell him nothing about his wife. He remained in Dawson 
until the winter of 1899 and about eight months ago joined the Salvation Army and 
took a prominent part. Mrs. Owens had heard that he was in Dawson and wrote him 
a letter. He did not get it, as it probably was on the steamer Stratton, which sunk. 
She again wrote and he received it about December. He answered it and, receiving a 
second letter in February (1900) began making preparations to return to California 
and his family. The home coming, says the reporter, was a joyous one, though the 
daughters, then thirteen and fifteen years of age, had only a dim recollection of their 
father. The first of the article says, "The charge of embezzlement against Thomas H. 
Owens for absconding with funds "of the Modesto Irrigation District was dismissed 
today (May 7, 1900) by Judge Minor on motion of District Attorney Walthall. A 
lengthy petition signed by many property holders and respected citizens, asking that 
the action be dismissed, probably influenced Judge Minor's action." 

When the law-abiding citizen takes the law in his own hands and breaks it, can 
he expect to have the criminal class respect and obey the laws? The Regulators in 
1879 had threatened the lives of citizens and unmolested, destroyed the property of the 
Chinese. Following their work there was no change for the better in the criminal class. 
There were the usual shooting affairs, the same drunken carousals and the wide-open 
gambling, robbery and prostitution. Nor were the police authorities willing to or 
enabled to enforce the law. A series of events took place in May, 1883, which brought 
things to a crisis. One of these events was the so-called bridge riot. Near the Bridge 
House a party of five toughs led by the notorious Joe Buckner, familiarly known as 
Joe Long, robbed and brutally beat up two Frenchmen. Two months later a gambler 
named Muram shot to death a youth of sixteen years near Turlock. Then came the 
charges against Doane and Robbins by the MacCrellish girls. While the excitement was 
high and threats repeatedly made by the mob that they would hang the two men re- 
gardless of judge or jury, word was sent out by the Vigilantes of 1879 to reorganize. 
The Vigilantes committee reassembled at their old headquarters early in 1884 and very 
considerately awaited the action of the court in the Robbins trial. Doane had been 
discharged in the preliminary trial by Justice Eastin, there being considerable doubt 
regarding his guilt. Robbins was given a fair and impartial trial in February, 1884, 
as we have already noted, and a jury, some of Modesto's highly respected citizens, 
declared him not guilty. If the verdict of the jury was satisfactory to the Regulators, 
well and good, but if not satisfactory then "the death of Doane and Robbins had been 
decreed by them." Neither the decision of Justice Eastin in the Doane case nor the 
verdict of the jury in the Robbins trial was satisfactory to them, and they again pro- 
posed to usurp the authority of state. March 1, 1884, they sent out three anonymous 
notices to Doane, Robbins and John MacCrellish, "Leave this county within ten days, 
fail not on pain of death." Doane, unwisely, and yet within his rights as an American 
citizen, refused to obey the command of some unknown persons who simply made them- 
selves known as "San Joaquin Valley Regulators." It is said, no doubt true, that 
he assumed a defiant air and defied this unknown party and that he became violent in 
his language and conduct. Doane was no coward, he was brave and reckless, and the 
threat of death hanging over his head made a fearless and desperate character. Then 
exhibiting the silly bravado of that class 6f men, especially under the influence of liquor, 
he came from his little place on the Waterford road into Modesto and showed the 
letter to his companions. They, just as unwise as he, plied Doane with more liquor 
and urged him to go and fight the gang that were trying to run him out of town. 


Some politician once said: "God save me from my friends," and Doane may well 
have said, "Lord save me from my companions," for they were urging him on to his 
death. Thus intoxicated, he wandered up and down streets of the town, maudlin 
drunk, asserting that he was no coward, that he would not leave and that if the Regu- 
lators came for him, they would find him prepared to defend himself. In one of his 
drunken tirades he met on the street March 10 a highly respected farmer named W. C. 
Clark. Doane accused Clark of being a Regulator and would have shot him, but Mr. 
Clark with a heavy cane soon put Doane "hors de combat." A few days after Doane's 
unprovoked assault on Clark, the Vigilantes assembled at headquarters. It was the 
evening of March 19, 1884, a day which will ever be memorable in the days of 
Modesto. They had assembled, not for the purpose of arresting and confining Doane 
nor of banishing him from the county, but for the purpose of taking his life. Their 
intention was to take Doane alive, convey him to the bridge, hang him there and leave 
the body dangling from it, so reads the record. Twenty-five men were left at the 
bridge to guard it. Others were stationed along the road to Doane's house, which we 
remember was six miles out on the Waterford road. Another twenty-five, led by the 
captain, all on horseback, started for Doane's home to capture him and fulfill the 
design of the Regulators. Halting close to the place, they dismounted, these twenty- 
five men, seeking the life of an ignorant man then fifty-seven years old. What crime 
had he committed that he should suffer death? True, he had led a violent life in 
early days and had shot a man in Tuolumne County. But he had been punished for 
this crime by serving time in the penitentiary. Was he now to be hung for the same 
offense? No, he was to suffer death, says the printed account, because of the brazen 
conduct on his part and not so much the crime that he had committed against Dora 
MacCrellish. After dismounting, seven or eight of the Regulators, heavily masked, 
entered the door of the saloon. Four men were in the saloon — J. R. Briggs, Steve 
Girard and Doane, who were sitting at a table playing cards, and the barkeeper. The 
Vigilantes, with their weapons pointed at the heads of the frightened men, ordered 
them to throw up their hands. They quickly obeyed the command, all but Doane. 
He, realizing the situation, jumped from his chair and started for the back room, 
presumably for a weapon to defend himself. One of the Regulators fired a charge of 
buckshot into the body of the retreating man. The charge took effect in his back 
between his shoulders, and Doane fell dead. The Regulators then rode back to their 
companions at the bridge and in the darkness of the night reported their deed. 


J. J. Robbins, against whom there was no evidence of crime, only a suspicion of 
crime, March 1, 1884, received the following letter signed "San Joaquin Valley Regu- 
lators": "From date you are notified to leave this county within ten days. Fail not, 
on pain of death." Robbins, standing on his rights as an American citizen, resented 
this threat, and on the bulletin board in front of his office he published the following 
notice: "One hundred dollars will be paid for information leading to the detection of 
the cowardly scoundrel who addressed me an anonymous letter on March 1, signed 
'San Joaquin Valley Regulators'." And he feared not to sign his name, J. J. Robbins. 
His friends persuaded him that the anonymous letter was a joke, and he removed the 
notice from the board. He soon afterward left Modesto. 

The same command was given to John MacCrellish to immediately leave with 
his family. MacCrellish replied in the Evening News that he had not enough money 
to get food for his family, to say nothing of getting out of the county. He was per- 
fectly willing to leave town if he could raise the funds. He also hoped that if there 
were such a thing as Vigilantes they would not hang him on an empty stomach. Suffi- 
cient funds were raised and he and his family left Modesto the day following the 
killing of Doane. ~- 

Having got rid of the principal characters in the drama, the Regulators next turned 
their attention to the gamblers and their consorts. About thirty persons received the 
following notice: "You are hereby notified to leave Modesto within twenty-four 
hours and never return, under peril of your lives. Remember Doane's fate. — San 


Joaquin Valley Regulators, March 21, 10:30 p. m." That allusion to Doane had its 
effect and many of the disreputables, leaving as soon as possible, remained housed for 
several days in a warehouse at Salida. On April 7, Saturday evening, the Regulators 
made another raid on Chinatown. They were followed by Constable Clark, who, 
approaching the captain within thirty feet, inquired: "How are you getting along?" 
"All right," the captain replied. Clark then went into the different houses and told 
the Chinese if the Regulators came in to be quiet and permit search. He then pleaded 
with the captain not to destroy the Chinese stores as the Chinese did not allow the 
whites to smoke opium. For his defense of the Chinese the captain hurled a beef bone 
at Clark, which struck him on the head, making a gash over his right eye. Blood 
freely flowed from the wound. 

Another edict was published by the Vigilantes April 17, which said that certain 
persons ordered to leave are "lurking in the vicinity of Modesto. Now, therefore, all 
such persons are ordered to leave Stanislaus County immediately and never return, 
under penalty of death, and all persons are forbidden to harbor anyone under the same, 
penalty. All gamblers, pimps and prostitutes are forbidden to come into Stanislaus 
County. Remember Doane's fate." There was naturally much opposition to the 
work of the Regulators. Some of those who came under their ban were young men 
of the first families, who were the victims of the wide open town, more than toughs 
at heart. Most of the men, however, were the friends of Barney Garner and patrons 
of his saloon. Garner was freely outspoken in his denunciation of the Regulators. 
This called forth from them another letter addressed personally to Barney Garner 
April 23, 9 o'clock p. m. "This is to notify you if any disturbance is made, property 
destroyed or persons injured by the gang ordered out of the county, or any grain burned 
on the supposition that the owner is a Regulator, you will be held personally respon- 
sible with your life." Garner, as we have noted, was a prominent Democratic leader, 
and he took the letter to the Democratic paper, the News. The proprietor, J. D. 
Spencer, not only published the letter, but he deplored the attitude the Regulators had 
taken in seeking to threaten citizens who publicly expressed their opinion. He also 
deplored the bad name that the Regulators had given the town as a city of lawlessness 
and disorder. No threat was made against the News so far as known, but on the 21st 
of March the Farmer's Journal had been warned to modify its tone or take the con- 
sequences. The next morning following the death of Doane, although giving no report 
of the affair, it said: "If the people don't start in and pat the Regulators on the back 
then we are much mistaken. Every man, woman and ten-year-old boy in town feels 
that something must be done to purify the town." In another column it remarked: 
"It is about time that the Regulators were getting after the alley stock. After this, 
get rid of the MacCrellish family. It is to be hoped that they will put a stop to 
opium smoking." In still another column was this declaration: "The Journal is not 
in favor of violence, but in the language of David Crockett, 'Be sure you're right, 
then go ahead'." There was one saloonkeeper intimidated, if none other, and in the 
Modesto Strawbuck, May 6, 1884, he said: "To the San Joaquin Valley Regulators: 
Gentlemen: Since your notice was received my place of business had been closed. I 
had rented it, but the parties were compelled to give it up. I have endeavored to sell 
. it, but can find no purchasers. I have a stock of goods that are perishable and must 
do something with them, as I cannot lie idle and support my family. I find, therefore, 
that I must open my place, and at the same time I promise you that I will keep a 
quiet and respectable house, and at the same time grant you the privilege if you see fit, 
should I not stand by my agreement, to again serve a notice on me to close. Should 
you not answer this letter I will take it for granted that I have your permission and 
will proceed to open at once. — Respectfully, Moses Morris." 


Dr. Thomas Tynan, pioneer and one of Stanislaus County's wealthiest citizens, in 

1892 became involved in a very sensational law suit, his stepdaughters, Mrs. T. F. 

(Emeline) Woodside and Mrs. F. A. (Lucinda) Fuquay, being the plaintiffs. In 

1862 Dr. Tynan married Mrs. Eli S. Marvin of Empire City, a wealthy widow. It 


was alleged in the stepdaughters' petition that at the time of Dr. Tynan's marriage to 
their mother he owned unprofitable land on the Tuolumne river opposite Empire; had 
a small, unprofitable practice as a physician, and lived in a wagon on wheels. The 
land and the wagon comprised his entire property. Mrs. Tynan, their mother, died 
in 1881, leaving all of her property to her children in a will dated September 8, 1881. 
Up to this time Dr. Tynan had acted as the agent of his wife, and since her death he 
had acted as his stepdaughters' trustee. He acted wisely and honestly and gradually 
extended his operations. Among other transactions he purchased stock in the Modesto 
Grange Company and in the Grangers' Bank, San Francisco. In 1890 he erected the 
finest hotel in Modesto. It was a three-story brick building on the former site of the 
St. John house, and cost about $20,000. About that time the doctor's troubles began, 
for he again married and began selling his property and putting it into cash. The 
two stepdaughters, suspecting this, commenced suit for a settlement. In their petition 
they claimed that there had been no accounting during their mother's life, and as the 
property had belonged to them since that date they petitioned the court that the doc- 
tor be compelled to make an accounting and deed to them all of his lands and sur- 
render to them his personal property. In his declining years, then over seventy years 
of age, the physician was greatly worried, for he was obliged to provide for a young 
wife. The suit came before Judge William Minor in April, 1892, with L. W. Mad- 
dux and James H. Budd of Stockton representing the stepdaughters. It seems that 
before the suit was settled Dr. Tynan disappeared. After waiting nearly a year the 
stepdaughters assumed that their stepfather was dead, and they petitioned for a pro- 
bation of the property. They were opposed by the executor, Judge Hewel, who was 
represented in court by D. M. Delmas and P. H. Hazen of San Francisco and L. W. 
Fulkerth of Modesto. The daughters had the same counsel as in the previous suit. 
The case again came up before Judge Minor and was entitled "Woodside vs. Hewel," 
as found in the Supreme Court reports. The jury selected to try the case comprised 
S. W. Coffee, D. W. Bury, J. McDonough, J. W.'Earson, A. N.Standiford, S. Garl- 
inghouse, Moses Sheakley, E. B. Stafford, George Wood, W. S. Spaulding and Jonas 
Bancy. The executor's attorne_vs endeavored to prove that Dr. Thomas E. Tynan 
was not dead, although his wife positively insisted that he had been murdered. "The 
plaintiffs," said the dispatch, "proved by an overwhelming evidence that Tynan was 
dead, and as the case stands there is no doubt of it." The case was on trial for twenty- 
three days, including the three days of argument by the counsel. The jury retiring at 
5 o'clock October 21, returned into the court the following morning. They disagreed 
as to the death of Dr. Tynan, but they unanimously agreed giving the stepdaughters 
three-fifths of the property, its cash value being about $150,000. It was alleged that 
Tynan was worth $250,000. Judge Minor, after carefully reviewing the evidence, 
declared Dr. T. E. Tynan legally dead. Regarding the distribution of the property, 
however, an unexpected event occurred — Dr. Tynan's return; and Judge Hewel taking 
the case to the Supreme Court, they declared October 10, 1895, that the property 
was community property between the husband and wife, and hence it could not be 

The disappearance of Dr. Tynan was one of the sensational events of that day, 
an event which for a time rivalled the train holdup by Evans and Sontag. He left 
Modesto October 13, 1892, for the purpose of going to San Francisco and transacting 
some business connected with the suit. On Saturday, the 15th, just before the closing 
of the bank, he drew out $5000, telling the clerk that he intended to make some 
improvements on his property in Modesto. A little later he wrote to his wife that 
he would be home on Monday. On the following day (Sunday) he left the Baldwin 
House, where he had lodged, and told the clerk that he was going home. From that 
time on, according to the belief of his wife, he had not been seen. She declared that 
Dr. Tynan had enemies and they had murdered him. About that time a headless body 
somewhat resembling Tynan had been found in the Stockton channel, but it was not 
the missing man. His photograph and a description of Tynan were circulated by the 
thousands throughout the United States. The description stated that he was of Irish 
birth, short, thick set, rather portly and weighed in his prime about 200 pounds. The 


most striking peculiarity of his personal appearance was his arm. It had been frac- 
tured and improperly set. As a result it dangled by his side when he walked. De- 
tectives from San Francisco traced a man resembling Tynan in every respect from 
that city to Sacramento. He there purchased a ticket for New York and signed the 
name of E. S. Stanley. The detectives were positive it was Tynan. A man named 
Wilson telegraphed that he saw Tj'nan in Utah. The railroad ticket was produced 
in court and those familiar with Tynan's handwriting swore it was not his signature, 
yet strangely enough Stanley was the maiden name of Tynan's mother. The telegram 
from Utah was also discredited. By a singular incident Tynan was found. He was 
a Spiritualist, and while Slade, the famous Spiritualist, was in San Francisco, he visited 
Slade's seances. Tynan, again visiting the medium in Boston, was recognized as the 
long-sought Modestoan. The fact was telegraphed to Mrs. Tynan. After two years 
Tynan returned to California and said he had been living in seclusion in Boston to 
get rid of his family troubles. Then it was that Hewel carried the property suit to 
the Supreme Court and they reversed the decision of the lower court. Thomas E. 
Tynan died in San Francisco April 14, 1898. 

A sad tragedy was that of the death of Mrs. Guy Kilburn, the wife of the wealthy 
rancher, at her home about two miles above Crow T s Landing. She had had in her 
employ for about twenty years a Chinese cook. Suddenly becoming insane, he attacked 
her January 29, 1910, with a knife, and stabbing her in the abdomen he inflicted 
wounds from which she died in half an hour. Mrs. Kilburn's son and his wife en- 
deavored to prevent the murder, but the terrible deed was accomplished before they 
succeeded in overpowering the crazed heathen. Ah Sam was securely bound and taken 
to the Modesto jail. In the struggle with the knife the Chinaman in some manner 
cut himself severely, and he died in the county hospital the following day from the 
effects of the wound. 

One of the oldest pioneers of the county was Dr. B. D. Horr, who located a 
ranch on the Tuolumne River in 1849. Of Southern birth, he was well educated, 
social, benevolent, and always cheerful and happy. A politician, he was most of his 
time in office or pulling the wires for his friends. Unfortunately, he was an inveterate 
gambler and a heavy drinker, and frequently he would gamble and drain the social 
glass until the early morning hours. Early in February, 1869, he was on a continuous 
spree and on the evening of the 3rd he again sat down to the gambling table. Playing 
cards throughout the night, luck was against him and he bet his last dollar and lost. 
About four o'clock he left the gambling table and going outside took an overdose of 
morphine and when found a short time later he was dead. 

One of the mysteries of Modesto's history was the disappearance of George 
French a prominent Mason and a bookkeeper in the employ of Tucker & Perley, 
searchers of records. He left Modesto February 5, 1890, with his family to attend a 
religious convention in San Francisco, taking with him about $800 to complete a busi- 
ness transaction. They arrived safely in the metropolis and two days later he told 
his wife that he was going to Sacramento on business. From that day to this he has 
not been seen by his family or friends, although he was once reported as having been 
seen in Portland, Oregon. 




La Grange Lodge No. 99 was the oldest Masonic Lodge in Stanislaus County 
until its removal in 1873 to Merced. A dispensation was granted in January, 1856, 
by Grand Master William H. Howard to form a lodge. A charter was issued to the 
lodge dated May 8, 1856. The first officers were Abigil Elkins, worthy master; John 
Myers, senior warden; John B. Hocket, junior warden; C. M. Wells, senior deacon; 
J. Simons, junior deacon; W. F. Stafford, secretary; Thomas Paine, treasurer, and 
Uriah Nelson, tyler. 

Summit Lodge No. 112 was instituted at Knights Ferry. The grand master 
granted a dispensation January 13, 1857, to form a lodge. Its first regular communi- 
cation was held February 7, at which were present M. C. Edwards, worthy master; 
Stephen Bishop, senior warden, and Andrew J. Lane, junior warden. The following 
officers were appointed by the worthy master: Andrew McSorley, senior deacon; Isaac 
Snodgrass, junior deacon; Thomas W. Lane, secretary, and Henry Palmer, treasurer. 
Petitions for the degrees in Masonry were read by George W. Dent and W. E. 
Steuart and for affiliation from James A. Whetstone, Joseph Honigsberger and J. H. 
Skirm. All of the necessary, steps for the establishment of a lodge were taken and a 
note for $500 was given towards the erection of a hall. A charter was granted May 
14, 1857, and June 13, a lodge was duly opened under the authority of J. K. Shafer, 
acting deputy grand master. The following officers were elected and installed : M. C. 
Edwards, worthy master; Stephen Bishop, senior warden; Andrew J. Lane, junior 
warden; Henry Palmer, treasurer; William E. Steuart, secretary. J. A. Whet- 
stone, senior warden; William Palmer, junior warden; Jefferson D. Bentley and 
John Tason, stewards, and Andrew McSorley, tyler. The additional charter mem- 
bers were George W. Dent, Henry Harmon, Joseph Honigsberger, J. H. Skirm, W. H. 
Read, J. H. Snodgrass and Joseph Dillon. 

The Masons of Knights Fern' occasionally celebrated St. John's day and annually 
they gave a ball — the social affair of that vicinity. Their ball of January 13, 1877, 
will long be remembered by many now living, who were among those present. Thomas 
Lane, E. Dettlebach, Josie and L. C. Branch were present from Modesto, A. S. 
Emory and wife from Oakdale, and from the pretty little town itself came Judge and 
Minnie Valpey, Anna and Kate Williams, Ada and Minnie Parker, Gussie Rawlings, 
Mattie Stone, Anna Roberts, Minnie Gobin, Nellie Burns, Belle Crabtree, Myra 
Arnold, James Warner, George Arnold, Louis Voyle, David Parker, Daniel Crowell, 
Samuel McAllister, Orrin Pool, John G. Booth, J. S. Williams, Charles Rawlings, 
James Stinson, John and J. A. Waston, William Ferguson, Daniel Logan, James 
Eusler, Alfred Dingley and James McCluery. 

Stanislaus Lodge No. 206 was granted a dispensation to form a lodge, May 10, 
1870, by Leonidas Pratt, grand master. Their charter dates from October 14, 1870, 
with the following charter members: S. A. Cleveland and George Buck, past grand 
masters, George French, Henry G. James, George W. Toombs, John W. Laird, Ruffin 
C. May and Robert M. Phillips. The charter members assembled in Tuolumne City in 
the home of Robert M. Phillips and elected the following officers: S. A. Cleveland, 
worthy master, died 1888; George Buck, senior warden, died 1891; H. G. James, 
junior warden; Robert M. Phillips, secretary; John W. Laird, treasurer; George W. 
Toombs, senior deacon ; Rufus C. May, junior deacon ; Charles W. Allrich, tyler. 
The fellow crafts men were John H. Hayes and Frank Mathenep and the apprentices, 
John H. Finn, William Grollman, Benjamin H. Haislip and Samuel B. Shaw. 


The present officers of the lodge are George R. Stoddard, worthy master; George 
L. James, senior warden; Clarence W. Sikes, junior warden; Francis E. Heple, sec- 
retary; James Alfred Davis, treasurer, and Carl W. Showman, Herbert M. Hatch 
and W. D. Whitmore, trustees. Among the past grand masters we note S. A. Cleve- 
land, 1870-1-2, died 1888; William Grollman, 1873-4-5-81-2, died in 1884; Jesse 
J. Chapman, 1876; Elihu B. Beard, 1877; Charles L. A. Hewel, 1878; John D. 
Spencer, 1879, died 1896; T. W. Drullard, 1880; W. H. Hutton, 1 885-6-7 ; Walter 
B. Wood, 1888-9-90; L. H. Fulkerth, 1891-2; Tohn H. Ward, 1893; George R. 
Stoddard, 1895. 

Removing from Tuolumne City March 20, 1871, their meetings were held for 
a season in the James building, a wooden structure at the corner of H and Eleventh 
streets. In the meantime William Grollman was erecting a fine two-story building 
on Tenth Street. The second story was fitted up especially for the Masons and March 
11, 1876, they held their first meeting in their new lodge rooms. They remained in 
this hall many years, until 1908, for the "hard time" failure of crops and the depres- 
sion of business affects secret associations alike with individuals. About that time, 
however, a Masonic Hall association was formed with C. D. Swan as president and 
Thomas H. Kewin as secretary, and purchasing ground on I Street, 60x80 feet, adjoin- 
ing on the east the Modesto Bank, thev erected a splendid three-storv building at a 
cost of $60,000. 

Laying the Cornerstone of Masonic Building 

From that time on the lodge grew and prospered rapidly and in less than six 
years began the discussion of a Masonic building erected especially for Masonic pur- 
poses. Another Masonic association was formed, and purchasing a lot corner of J and 
Fifteenth streets, a two-story concrete building was erected, 50x97 feet, at a cost of 
$30,000. The first story contained an auditorium, reception room, ladies' parlor, 
billiard room and kitchen. The second story was devoted exclusively to lodge room 
work. For the second time in the history of the county the Masons performed the 
beautiful ceremony of laying a cornerstone. At three o'clock, August 11, 1917, the 
lodge met in secret session in the old hall. An hour later a procession was formed 
composed of Stanislaus Lodge, the officers of the grand lodge and Electa Chapter, 
Order of Eastern Star, and preceded by the band they marched to the new site. The 
cornerstone was then laid with appropriate ceremony by Grand Master Francis V. 
Kresley, assisted by the following grand officers pro tern: W. H. Hatton, deputy 
grand master; Samuel Latta, grand senior warden; George T. McCabe, grand junior 
warden; George Stoddard, grand treasurer; Alfred Davis, grand senior warden; W. 
H. Kirk, grand junior warden; L. D. Fulkerth, grand senior steward, and W. O. 
Whitmore, grand junior steward. During the exercises appropriate selections were 
played by the Modesto Band and vocal selections given by the choir of Electa Chap- 
ter. In the cornerstone the following articles were deposited: the names of the officers 
and members of Stanislaus Lodge No. 206, Modesto Chapter No. 49, and Electa 
Chapter No. 72, O. E. S. There were copies of the Evening News and Morning 
Herald, a copy of the city charter, and the names of the directors of the Masonic 
Hall Building Association, namely, Alfred Davis, W. H. Kirk, V. D. Whitmore, 
Charles Kinter and Thomas M. Mantz. 

Modesto Chapter No. 49, Royal Arch Masons, was granted a dispensation March 
20, 1875, and was chartered March 24, 1875. Edwin A. Sherman, in his "Fifty 
Years of Masonry" said it was chartered April 12, 1876. Those signing the petition 
tor a dispensation were W. J. Houston, S. A. Cleveland, Isaac Ripperdan, Thomas A. 
Wilson, Alexander Burkett, J. D. Teckler and S. V. Wardrobe. William John Hous- 
ton was the first high priest, S. A. Cleveland, first king, and H. G. James the first 
scribe. Thomas Kennan Beard was high priest in 1895 and up to that time the lodge 
had had eleven high priests. In that year, also, Adolphus Hewel was grand high 
priest of California, having been the high priest of Modesto Chapter from 1879-84. 


Electa Chapter No. 72, O. E. S. of Modesto, was organized June 29, 1883, by 
Worthy Patron Minard S. Thresher of Home Chapter No. 50 of Stockton. The 
following were the charter members: Erastus Eagleson, Mary Ann Cameron, George 
W. Cameron, William Henry Hatton, James Henry Maddrill, Mary Martha Trainor, 
Etta N., Susie and Mattie Trainor, Alice Price Stone, Jennie F. Stone, T. W. Drul- 
lard, Alice May and Lucinda Rodgers, Josie and Mollie Gridley and Amanda Eagle- 
son. The first officers of the Chapter were Mary Ann Cameron, matron; Brother 
Cameron, patron, and Mrs. Josie Gridley Wood, conductress. Mary N. Cameron, 
although living in Tucson, Ariz., still retains her membership in the Chapter. Susie 
Trainor Miller and sister and Amanda Eagleson are living in San Francisco. Mrs. 
Josie Wood is living in Modesto. W. H. Hatton, still residing in Modesto, was 
patron for several years. George Russell Stoddard served as patron for fourteen 
years continuously, and Mrs. Wakefield served as secretary for twenty-one successive 
years. Alice Stone Dozier, a past associate grand matron of the California Chap- 
ter, is now secretary of the local chapter. Mrs. Dozier, one of the most active mem- 
bers of the Chapter, served two terms as matron and has filled every office in the 
Chapter to which women were eligible, except conductress. The Chapter now, writes 
Mrs. Dozier, has 150 members and there have been during its existence 351 initiates. 

La Fayette Lodge No. 65, the first Odd Fellows Lodge in the county, was insti- 
tuted at La Grange June 14, 1857, by T. Rodger Johnson, the grand secretary. The 
charter members were Arthur Shearer, Lewis M. Booth, Luther Childs, Samuel Du 
Bois and William Floto. They had twenty-four members at their first grand lodge 
report. Eleven years after the instituting of LaFayette Lodge, two Odd Fellows, 
Henry K. Covert and J. A. Brown, then living in Tuolumne City, concluded to 
organize a lodge. Inquiring around, they found several Odd Fellows and a meeting 
was held at the steamboat landing. A short time afterward a second meeting was held 
in the carpenter shop owned by Alexander Glenn, eleven Odd Fellows being present. 
At this meeting all the arrangements were effected and November 10, 1868, Wilder 
Lodge was instituted, the Lodge adopting the name of Wildey, the founder of the 
Independent Order of Odd Fellows. They assembled in the second story of a brick 
building owned by Miner Walden, the first story being occupied by a livery stable. 
The Lodge was instituted by George Buck, denuty grand master, with the following 
as charter members: J. P. Martin and H. K. Covert, past grands of Yosemite Lodge 
No. 97 ; Miner Walden, past grand LaFayette Lodffe No. 65 : Henry Wilson with 
a transfer card from Progressive Lodge No. 134; William Ollrich of Mountain Brow 
Lodge No. 82, and J. A. Brown from Oregon Lodge No. 3. The following officers 
were elected and installed : Miner Walden, noble grand : H. K. Covert, vice-grand ; 
J. A. Brown, secretary; William Ollrich, treasurer; John P. Martin, warden, Henry 
Wilson, inside guardian. Soon after Modesto was founded the lodge was removed 
to the railroad town. Their first meeting in Modesto was held March 18, 1871, in 
the H. G. James building on the southwest corner of H and Eleventh streets. The 
Masons, as we have noticed, assembled for their meeting in the same hall. The mem- 
bers were among the most progressive citizens of the town and in 1872 they erected 
their neat building on the southwest corner of H and Tenth streets. For a short 
period while the Grollman building was being erected, the Masons there held Masonic 
meetings. The hall is still in use. The present officers of the Lodge are L. E. 
Elliott, past grand ; W. C. Fisk, noble grand ; R. C. Been, vice prand ; H. M. Briggs. 
secretary, and George P. Schafer, treasurer. H. M. Briggs has been secretary of 
the Lodge for twenty-six years and J. R. Brouehton was treasurer for the same period. 
The Degree of Rebekah 
The Rebekahs are now a separate branch of the order, but until 1895 the degree 
was given in the subordinate lodge. The degree was first conferred in Wildey lodge 
January 23, 1870. Charity Rebekah Degree Lodge No. 28, the first Rebekah degree 
lodge in the county, was instituted at Modesto July 1, 1875, by R. A. Hathaway, 


deputy grand master. He was assisted in his work by James Berry, George Perley 
and James C. James, past grands. The lodge in 1884 surrendered their charter. 

Golden Gate Rebekah Lodge No. 110 was instituted January 17, 1887, by P. H. 
Medley, deputy grand master. There were thirty-one charter members, the deputy 
grand master being assisted by George Perley, James Berry, W. W. Granger, W. A. 
Donkin and P. P. Stiles, past grands. The present officers are Sylvia Johnson, past 
noble grand; Ella Halford, noble grand; Hattie Young, vice-grand; Jennie Wallace, 
recording secretary ; Rebecca Tucker, financial secretary, and Alice Wallace, treasurer. 


Grand Post No. 9, G. A. R., was instituted in 1879 by T. W. Drullard, post 
commander, and I. S. Loventhal, adjutant. The post, as first numbering several hun- 
dred veterans of the Civil war, has now been reduced to less than forty in number. 
Each year they celebrated Memorial Day, May 30, and for several years past William 
H. Thompson, now adjutant of the post, has been directing the memorial exercises. 

Ancient Order of United Workmen, Empire Lodge No. 112, Modesto, was in- 
stituted June 23, 1879, by Eugene Lehe of Stockton, deputy grand master. The lodge 
was organized with a membership of sixteen charter members. Seven candidates were 
initiated on the night of the lodge's organization, a team from Stockton assisting the 
district deputy in the work. 


Knights of Honor, Modesto Cedar Lodge No. 1992, was instituted January 23, 
1880. It was instituted with twenty charter members by William J. Gregg, deputy 
supreme dictator. 


Modesto Parlor No. 11 was instituted October 26, 1881, by the following grand 
officers, pro tern: William H. Langdon, past president; Hugh H. McNoble, president; 
W. E. O'Connor, first vice-president; Frank H. Lee of Oakdale, second vice-president; 
William H. Hosmer, third vice-president ; A. J. Turner, secretary; Fred Jung of San 
Francisco, treasurer; Louis Harris of San Francisco, inside sentinel; J. L. Jackson, 
outside sentinel; W. L. MacLaughlin, marshal. The initiatory work was conducted 
bv Orestimba Parlor No. 142 of Crows Landing, assisted by W. E. O'Connor and 
W. H. MacLaughlin of Stockton. Hugh McNoble, W. H. Hosmer, A. J. Turner 
and J. L. Jackson were from Stockton. 

The Grand Parlor met at Modesto April 19, 1916. The grand officers were 
met at the depot by the Modesto Parlor and escorted to the Hotel Hughson, where 
they were given a hearty welcome to the city by Mayor D. W. Morris. That after- 
noon they were taken on an automobile ride through the irrigation district. At Oak- 
dale they were given the keys of Oakdale by John B. Curtis and tendered a barbecue 
in the Oakdale Park. That evening in Modesto the streets were cleared and there 
was dancing until midnight. During the visit of the Grand Parlor a tree was planted 
in Graceada Park with appropriate ceremony, in remembrance of their visit. The 
sandstone tablet at the foot of the tree savs: "Dedicated to the Grand Parlor, N. S. 
G. W., April 19, 1917." 

Morada Parlor No. 199, Modesto — Morada being the Spanish name for home — 
was organized December 18, 1912. For several months previous the native sons of 
Modesto had been desirous of having a Native Daughter parlor and they appointed a 
committee of three, Edward Hunsucker, Joseph Cross and Hugh Benson, to provide a 
list of names from which charter members might be selected. Mrs. Clara Marchal, 
district deputy of San Joaquin, was enlisted in the work and for several weeks she 


labored perfecting the parlor. The parlor was instituted by Mrs. Olive Bedford 
Matlock of Red Bluff, grand president, assisted by Alice Dougherty, grand secretary, 
and Mrs. Mamie Peyton of Stockton, past grand president. The parlor was started 
with twenty-one charter members. There were forty-five names on the roll, but many 
of them were away on holiday vacation while others were absent because of business. 

The lodge was instituted with the following named officers: Katherine Hun- 
sucker, past president ; Nellie Dunlap, president ; Florence Davison, first vice-president ; 
Mabel Cleveland, second vice-president; Cora Campbell, third vice-president; Alma 
Wakefield, recording secretary; Louise Chase, financial secretary; Evelyn Dunlap, 
treasurer; Kate Gillette, marshal; Florence Dugain, inside guardian; Bessie Trudgeon, 
outside guardian ; Rose Briggs, organist, and Sireta Muney, Hattie Hughson and Edith 
Bower, trustees. 

About twenty-five members of the Stockton Parlor No. 6, N. D. G. W., visited 
the new parlor and the Stockton team initiated their candidates for membership. The 
parlor made the trip over the Tidewater Southern and the coach drawn by a loco- 
motive was one of the original coaches used on the Central Pacific on the route between 
Sacramento and Ogden. It was the first excursion trip over the Tidewater road. The 
Stockton team comprised Mary Murray, past president ; Mrs. Lucie Lieginger, presi- 
dent ; Mrs. L. Petersen, first vice-president; Mrs. Clara Wenger, second vice-presi- 
dent; Mrs. Mae Parker, third vice-president; Mabel McDonald, marshal; Mrs. H. 
Avery, inside sentinel; Miss M. Avery, outside sentinel. The splendid work of lodge 
organization concluded with a banquet at which the Native Sons were guests. 

As the Elks would not permit of the organization of any lodge in a citv of less 
than 5,000 inhabitants, on March 19, 1901, about twenty citizens of Modesto joined 
the Stockton lodge. It was a great occasion in which Senator C. M. Belshaw of Sac- 
ramento lodge presided and Major J. F. Whitmore of Modesto was one of the 
speakers. However, in 1912, Modesto had increased wonderfully in population, and 
the Modestoans concluded to organize a home lodge. Assembling in the Masonic hall 
July 15, 1912, they elected the following officers to serve in the new lodge: C. D. 
Swan, exalted ruler; Geo. H. Bertram, esteemed leading knight; Dr. C. Grove, 
esteemed loyal knight; J. A. Trowbridge, esteemed lecturing knight; J. A. Dunn, 
secretary; John C. Lesher, treasurer; Myron Warner, tyler, and W. A. Downer, 
J. J. McMahon and Z. E. Drake, trustees. 

A dispensation to organize an Elks Lodge in Modesto was granted to the follow- 
ing members of Stockton lodge: C. D. Swan, Geo. H. Bertram, L. A. Fulkerth, Z. E. 
Drake, Lon L Coffee, D. W. Morris, J. A. Dunn, J. A. Trowbridge, A. R. Sweet, 
T. A. Edwards, Mvron Warner, W. R. High, C. L. Jones, C. J. Lesher, J. A. Lewis, 
Geo. P. Schafer, C. R. Gailfus, W. C. Grove, D. C. Wood, Wm. Bury, P. H. 
Griffin, T. W. Davidson, Geo. A. Cressey, J. M. Pike, L. J. Maddux. J. T. Irvin, 
J. J. McMahon, C. M. Moore, F. E. Howard, A. B. Holma, W. W. Giddings and 
F. E. Buddmer. 

The lodge was instituted August 9, 1912, in Masonic hall by District Deputy J. L. 
Cram of Petaluma. He was assisted in his work by some forty or fifty Stockton Elks. 
The new lodge was hailed as Modesto Lodge No. 1282, B. P. O. E. As soon as the 
lodge was instituted and the officers installed, the lodge adjourned to Stockton, there 
to complete their work. The officers of the Modesto lodge, their candidates and the 
members of the Stockton lodge, forming a procession of about fifty automobiles and 
kd by the Modesto band on a truck, started for Stockton. Leaving about four-thirty 
they arrived in time and were escorted into town by a large delegation of brother Elks. 
All of the Modesto Elks and initiates wore a button bearing the words "Modesto 
Lodge No. 1282, B. P. O. E., August 10, 1912." Beneath the words was an inverted 
champagne bottle bearing the label "Modesto, extra dry" — this referring to the 
recent election when the people voted the town dry. The entire elkdom assembled in 
the Elks' hall at nine o'clock with Judge Charles W. Norton, exalted ruler of Stockton 


Lodge, presiding. Twenty candidates were initiated and the lodge then conducted a 
good fellowship meeting. 

The presiding officers then presented the Modesto Lodge with a beautiful 
American flag for use on their altar. Oakland Lodge presented them with a beautiful 
electric lamp, four feet in height. San Jose gave them a specially manufactured ballot 
box, and the Berkeley Lodge a handsome large Bible. Alameda, Petaluma, Richmond, 
San Mateo and the Hanford lodges each gave the new lodge some useful gift for the 
lodge room. George H. Bertram responded and accepted the gifts. At eleven o'clock 
W. H. Langdon responded to the toast, "The Absent Members." The entire party 
then retired to the banquet hall, where a fine spread was enjoyed. 

Soon after the organization of the lodge, John Tully made a ,proposition to erect 
a three-story brick building on his lot on Tenth street, between G and H, and fit up 
the second and third stories for lodge purposes. The Elks accepted the proposition on 
a five-year lease, with a ten-year lease if they so desired. The building was completed 
in August, 1913, at a cost of $40,000. The entrance to the second story is by marble 
stairway which leads to a cozy club room, fitted up with easy chairs and lounges. 
This room, fifty feet square, also contains a billiard and pool room. The lodge room 
occupies a part of the second and third story, fifty by sixty feet, with a large center 
glass dome figured with Elk emblems. One the third floor is the banquet room and 
kitchen. The fitting up of the lodge rooms cost approximately $10,000. 

The Elks' first memorial service was held in the Modesto Theater Sunday after- 
noon, December 7, 1913. The service was held in memory of J. R. High and Thomas 
A. Pillman, the two members of the organization who had died since the institution 
of the lodge. The exercises began with the grand march from "Aida" by the orchestra; 
hymn by the Temple Quartette, Dr. J. P. Snare, F. L. Wisecarver, H. B. Rice and 
Ray Bradbury; opening exercises by the lodge; prayer, Rev. W. P. Williams; quintette, 
"Nearer, My God, to Thee," Mrs. Laura De Yoe Brown and the Temple Quartette ; 
Eulogy, L. W. Fulkerth; soprano solo, "Fear Ye Not, Oh Israel," Mrs. Laura 
Brown; poem, "Thanatopsis," C. D. Swan; original poem, G. A. Martin; oration, 
T. B. Scott; song, "Aloha," Mrs. Laura Brown and quartette; Doxology, "Praise 
God From Whom All Blessings Flow," audience; recessional march, orchestra; "Our 
Brotherhood," P. H. Griffin; "Auld Lang Syne." 

This musical organization, one of the best and largest in the interior of California, 
held a preliminary meeting May 11, 1909, in the Plato Opera House, Dr. B. F. 
Surryhne acting as chairman. After considerable discussion they concluded to organize 
a society and adjourned to meet again May 14 in Dr. Surryhne's office. On that 
evening the singers again assembled and, adopting a constitution, elected as officers 
Mrs. Laura De Yoe Brown, president; Mrs. Lammermain, secretary; Mrs. John W. 
Ross, treasurer, and Mrs. Frank Cressey, Jr., and Dr. John P. Snare, executive com- 
mittee. They voted to immediately commence practice under the direction of Professor 
Twicher and sing at the Modesto Fourth of July celebration. 

The club gave its first concert January 28, 1910, in Plato's Opera House on 
Tenth street, between H and I streets. The program, all home talent, comprised an 
orchestra selection, "Soldiers' Chorus from Faust"; contralto solo, "Lover's Spring 
Time," Miss Cox; violin solo, Mr. Burgen ; reading, Miss Haley; "Sextette from 
Lucia," Mrs. Laura De Yoe Brown, Miss Cox, Whitmore, Rice and Jackson ; Chorus, 
"Unfold Ye Gates," from The Redemption ; address, L. L. Dennett. 

In 1911 the society planned for a big musical festival to continue for two days, 
May 4 and 5. Plato's Opera House had been changed into a rooming house and the 
club erected a temporary pavilion on I Street, opposite the court house. The pavilion 
seated 2000 and two evening performances and a matinee were given. The chorus 
comprised some 250 voices, the best singers in the county, and an orchestra of forty 
pieces, together with several imported singers. The local soloists were Mrs. Laura 
De Yoe Brown and Miss Grace Cox, sopranos; John Bates, baritone, and Professor 


Twicher, conductor. The imported singers were Mrs. Vela Ruggles Jenkins, soprano 
of the First Presbyterian Church, Oakland ; Mrs. Jennie Le Nois Schultz, alto ; Jonas 
H. Anderson, baritone; Charles Bullotti, tenor; Fred Zeb, solo flutist, and H. Holmes, 
solo 'cellist. The first evening was called Oratorio Night, and selections were sung 
from the Messiah, Stabat Mater and Jerusalem. The second night was Opera Night, 
all of the selections being sung from operas by Verdi, Strauss, Gounod, Sullivan, 
Donizetti and Offenbach. 


The Southern Pacific Railroad passing along Front street erected a small freight 
and passenger depot on the southeast corner of Front and I streets. The little red 
depot was destroyed by fire in the early '80s. The company then erected the present 
freight depot. As the city grew and prospered after the introduction of water to the 
fertile lands, the citizens began building beautiful homes and business blocks, laying 
fine streets and erecting handsome buildings. At this time, 1912, the business men 
had erected a handsome arch across I Street near the depot and they requested the 
Southern Pacific Company to remove the old dilapidated depot and erect one in 
keeping with the beautiful city. "Oh, yes," said the company, "we will replace the 
old shack with a handsome depot, provided you pass an ordinance closing I Street." 
The citizens were up in arms immediately, and no wonder. I Street was the principal 
business street of the city. It was well paved and the direct highway to Paradise 
City. And now the Southern Pacific requested them to close the street, ruin all 
business traffic and obstruct the beautiful view to the west. The company sent a 
smooth-talking committee to Modesto to show the trustees that the closing of the street 
would increase the value of property in that vicinity and improve business, but the 
level-headed fathers failed to appreciate their arguments. A few years later the 
Southern Pacific sprung another plan for a depot. They succeeded in having the 
trustees call a vote of the people on the closing of J and Front streets for the purpose 
of erecting a depot. The proposition carried and in 1915 the present handsome depot 
was erected. 


The leading citizens of the city, including the women, believed it would be an 
excellent idea to erect ornamental structures along the leading streets of the city 
beginning on I Street. The idea met with a hearty approval and in May, 1911, the 
business men assembled in Schafer's hall and the committee reported a design shown 
in water colors. It was not satisfactory, for in August they offered a price of fifty 
dollars for the "best design or arch over I Street near the depot." A design was 
selected and erected in 1912. The arch spans I Street 'at the intersection of Front 
Street. It is constructed of structural steel and rests on two solid granite pillars 
twelve feet in height. It is seventy-five feet in width and twenty-five feet center height. 
The money was obtained by subscriptions, varying in amount from five dollars to 
one hundred dollars, and cost something like $1 ,200. In the bow of the arch are these 
words that may be read from either side, Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health. The 
arch can be illuminated at night and in four words it tells the story of the condition 
of Stanislaus County since the Sierras' waters began irrigating the land. 


In the same year that the memorial arch was erected a merchants' association 
was organized for the purpose of securing a better harmony of action, promoting trade, 
securing protection from dead-beat customers, unworthy advertising schemes and innu- 
merable donations from every conceivable thing under the sun. The movement was 
started by John D. Turner, hardware merchant, and March 2, 1912, about thirty 
merchants assembled in the city hall and formed the association. At a subsequent 
meeting the organization was perfected and John D. Turner elected president and 
Frank D. Hanscom, secretary. A number of directors also were chosen, they to have 
full control and manage the affairs of the association. The membership embraced 
all classes of citizens. This promiscuous membership for some reason was not satis- 


factor}' and in June, 1913, a reorganization was effected. Under the new organization 
none but merchants and professional men were eligible to membership. 

In the previous year, February 2, the merchants of Modesto entertained for a 
few hours an excursion train of San Francisco merchants out on a junketing trip to 
"shake the glad hand," form new acquaintances and drum up trade. They arrived at 
Modesto about 2:30. It was raining heavily, but nevertheless they were greeted by 
hundreds of citizens and the Women's Improvement Club, each visitor receiving a 
buttonhole bouquet. The party were shown the splendid progressiveness of Modesto 
and their entertainment concluded that evening with a smoker in the Masonic hall. 
W. H. Langdon was toastmaster of the evening and addresses were made by George 
Stoddard, L. L. Dennett, Sol Elias and other local citizens. 

The Merchants' Association held its first banquet July 19, 1913, in the Modesto 
Grill on Tenth Street. It was a very enthusiastic gathering and much of interest was 
brought before the association by those who responded to the toasts. Frank A. Cressey, 
the manager of the Modesto Gas & Electric Light Company, was the toastmaster. 
Responses to the toasts were made by the president of the association, John Furner; 
the secretary, Frank Hanscom ; A. L. Cowell, the editor of the Evening News; C. M. 
Clary, Sylvain Latz, C. F. Gailfus, Sol P. Elias and W. H. Killian, editor of the 
Morning Herald. The president and the secretary reviewed the work of the organ- 
ization and the future plans for carrying out their business to the best advantage. 

The cemetery lies about a mile to the north of Modesto on an extension of H 
Street, and it was laid out soon after the founding of the town. To the east of the 
city cemetery those of the Catholic faith are buried, while to the west the I. O. O. F. 
and the Masonic orders have laid to rest their dead. The Grand Army plot lies in the 
city cemetery and is noticeable because of two immense cannon, grim sentinels of war, 
that stand at either end. Sacred be the memory of the dead, it has ever been the 
custom of the wives and daughters to visit the sacred spot and there lay loving gifts 
of remembrance. For many years, however, it was very difficult to reach the silent 
city because of the deep sand of summer and the rains of winter, and we read that in 
1890 a grateful public were thankful to City Councilman Wallace because he suc- 
ceeded in having the council lay a board sidewalk to the cemetery. Last year (1920) a 
splendid extension of H Street was made to that point. 

Oramil McHenry was the son of Robert McHenry and born in Stanislaus County 
in 1861. His father owned, among other lands, the Bald Eagle Ranch of 2,600 acres 
and later extended to 4,000 acres. When the Modesto bank was organized in 1878 
Mr. McHenry became its cashier, and upon the incorporation of the First National 
Bank, 1884, he became its president. His son, Oramil, was appointed bookkeeper and 
upon his father's death in 1890 he succeeded his father as president of the bank. 

A Mr. Rodgers, as we remember, had a free reading room and library on I Street, 
near Eleventh, as early as 1890. Later there was said to be a free library in the Cali- 
fornia House on H Street. There was also a book-renting library, the location now 
unknown. This library in 1907 was taken over by the city trustees and supported by 
taxation, the annual income being $750. It was opened as a free library September 4, 
1907, with Miss Blanche Bates as the librarian. In the California State Library 
reports we, learn that the Modesto Billiard Club, disbanding in December, 1907, gave 
one-half of the money realized from the sale of their fixtures to the free library. It 
appears also that the Friday Afternoon Club disbanded December 10, 1907, and they 
gave to the library 239 books, mostly fiction. In giving the history of the Women's 
Improvement Club. Mrs. Alice S. Dozier says that the club started the city library 
under state law and the trustees for the first three years were Mrs. May Griffin, Mrs. 
Louise Carson, Mrs. Alice Stone Dozier, Mrs. Mamie Surryhne and Mrs. Susan Hart ; 
that the first "Tag Day" in California was given by the club for the free library. It 
was held in October, 1907, and $176 was realized for the purchase of library books. In 


July, 1908, the librarian reported that $32.50 per month was received from the rent of 
rooms and a further income of $1,500 per year from taxation. 

In the meantime things went on quietly until the death of Oramil McHenry. 
Then the public were pleased to learn that he had left a bequest of $20,000, mostly 
in bonds, for the erection of a free public library, together with four lots on Tenth 
Street, where now stands the Cressey Building. In the bequest Mr. McHenry named 
the following persons as the first board of trustees: John W. Ross, a leader in Chris- 
tian Endeavor work; L. H. Fulkerth, now a Judge of the Superior Court; J. J. 
McMahon, L. L. Dennett, the attorney, and Mrs. Myrtie McHenry, now the wife 
of Judge William H. Langdon, she to serve during her lifetime, if she so desired. As 
the support of the library would come from city taxation it was necessary for the 
library board of trustees and the city board to act in conjunction in the erection of the 
building and its maintenance. This conjunction was effected February 15, 1911. The 
question came up as to the location of the library. Mr. McHenry probably intended 
that it should be on Tenth Street in a central location, but the trustees believed that 
an outside location would be far preferable and a deal was made with David Callendar 
for a lot 90x97 feet on the corner of I and Fourteenth streets. The lots on Tenth 
Street were sold for $10,000 and one-half of the amount was paid to Mr. Callendar 
as a last payment on the lot. The plans of Architect Weeks of San Francisco were 
accepted and the work of building was commenced in October, 1911, and the library 
completed in April of the following year at a cost of $22,000, the furnishings costing 
$5,000 extra. The old library was now closed and the librarian. Miss Cornelia 
Provines, began the work of removing the books to the new library building. The 
new library was opened to the public for the loaning of books May 1, 1912. Soon 
afterward Miss Provines was appointed to a position in the state library and she was 
succeeded by Miss Bessie Silverthorn of Yreka. 

An interesting event in 1889 was the celebration of Admission Day, September 
9, by the pioneers, who enjoyed a banquet in the Union Hotel. It was the first brick 
hotel in Modesto and was opened in June, 1889, by Thomas F. Woodside. The Native 
Sons Parlor attended the banquet by invitation, and the following pioneers were 
present: Henry G. James, R. R. Warner, John Carmon, H. A. Anderson, A. Herring- 
ton, Smith Turpin, Miner Walden, D. S. Husband, George B. Douglas, John H. 
Carpenter, B. E. Nathan, John H. Bond, P. C. Greer, C. P. Garner, W. P. Catron, 
L. B. Walthall, E. Meinecke, A. J. Ford, Ernest Probst, William Dallas, G. N. Scott, 
R. B. Hall, A. M. Hill, E. B. Wool, C. H. Finlev, C. W. Eastin, C. H. Vogelman, 
William Floto, P. H. Griffin, R. T. Young, T. O. Owen, E. E. Howell, W. B. 
Gambler, Thomas D. Harp, Charles Hill, I. S. Loventhal, John Reedy, J. H. Maddrill 
and H. G. Vogelman. 

The W. C. T. U. hold in cherished remembrance the name of that woman of 
national fame, Miss Frances Willard, and well they may for she it was who organized 
the first society in the county. Visiting Modesto in April, 1883, she published a call 
in the daily papers for all women interested in the temperance Christian movement to 
meet her on April 14, in the Methodist Episcopal Church. About thirty women 
assembled. The meeting was opened with prayer and Miss Willard then delivered 
an address upon the work of Women's Christian Temperance Union. A city union 
was then organized to be known as Modesto W. C. T. U. Mrs. W. S. Urmy was 
elected president; Mrs. Garrison Turner, secretary; Mrs. Mary A. Wood, treasurer, 
and Mrs. A. F. Gilbert, librarian. The charter members of the organization were 
Mesdames Theodore Turner, M. A. Wood, A. J. Hart, A. Burdick, W. S. Urmy, A. 
Teft, George Turner, T. E. B. Rice, W. E. Turner, B. R. Jones, N. R. Stone, 
A. L. Gilbert, A. M. Prescott and the Misses M. P. Penny, Kate Rice and Jennie 
Cookson. In the following year a local union was formed at Ceres, where the founder 


of the town, Darnel Whitmore, placed a "no liquor" clause in the deed to every lot 
sold by him. In Oakdale a local union was organized in 1887. The first county 
union was organized April 17, 1887. Mrs. Fanny Wood was elected president; Mrs. 
A. E. Ullrich, secretary, with Mrs. Dorcas Spencer assisting in the organization. 
Among the earliest presidents was Mrs. J. P. Purvis, wife of the sheriff. She was a 
school teacher, the first woman in the county to be placed upon a political party ticket 
rmd the woman who caused to be introduced into the legislature the first anti-cigarette 
hill. She was followed by Mrs. Reichenbach of Oakdale, who caused the arrest of 
several of the demimonde of that town in 1911. She served as president five years. 
Then followed Mrs. T. F. Woodside of Oakdale and, in yearly succession, Mrs. 
Hackett of Prescott, Mrs. Pelton of Riverbank, Mrs. Lessick of Salida, Mrs. C. Case 
of Ceres, Mrs. Tarr from Turlock and Mrs. Sollick of Wood Colony. The silver 
anniversary celebration of the county union was held in the First Presbyterian Church, 
May 9, 1911, and Mrs. Garrison Turner then gave the history of the organization. A 
former pastor of the church, M. J. Williams, delivered an address. 

It was in that year, 1911, that the W. C. T. U. resolved to clean up the county, 
if possible, of the "red light" district. Unexpectedly but effectively they fired the first 
nun of the campaign by arresting, February 10, 1911, all of the inmates of the house in 
Oakdale ; Sheriff Dingley made the arrests on warrants sworn out by Mrs. Reichenbach. 
The women were taken to Modesto and placed in jail. It was then stated that the 
next move would be made in the tenderloin districts of Modesto, as there women were 
violating the law by selling liquor and acting most disgracefully by appearing at their 
windows in a nude condition while the passengers passing through the town were at 
the depot. A petition was presented to the council January 6, 1912, to close up those 
houses, but the trustees refused to take any action and there was quite a heated dis- 
cussion over the matter by W. J. Brown and Mayor Wren. As a result writs of 
injunction were issued January 30 and served by the deputy sheriff upon the property 
owners, Teddy Martin, whose house stood between the alley and Seventh Street, the 
house of Mamie Burns next door, all of the houses on G Street, between the alley and 
Seventh Street, and the leading house of the town, "The White House," kept by 
Clara Le Rev. 


Visions of Modesto's future greatness flitted through the minds of many of her 
citizens, and in a speech L. W. Fulkerth prophesied that at a certain year Modesto 
would have 10,000 inhabitants. When that year arrived the city- had 15,000 inhab- 
itants. Believing a street car line a necessity, L. W. Fulkerth and other citizens as 
early as 1888 organized a corporation and obtained a franchise to run a street car line 
through the streets of Modesto. In June, 1893, John Dunlap and J. W. Woods made 
application to the board of supervisors to run an electric railroad from the San Joaquin 
River through Modesto and Oakdale to Sonora, a distance of sixty miles. They pro- 
posed to take their water power from the Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry, and 
open up the large quarries of slate and marble in Tuolumne County. This, like the 
-treet railroad, did not materialize. 

There were no more railroad projects until 1910, at which time two electric rail- 
roads were headed from Stockton to Modesto. The promoter of the one electric rail- 
road was Morris L. Brackett and it was proposed to run this road from Stockton 
through French Camp, Ripon, Salida and Woods to Modesto. The company actually 
graded twenty-four miles of road and this ended the San Joaquin Valley' Electric 
Railroad. Its successor was the Tidewater Southern, running from Stockton through 
Escalon, Standiford to Modesto. Railroads are usually constructed from tidewater to 
the interior, but this road was constructed, part of it at least, from interior Modesto 
to tidewater Stockton; and July 7, 1912, an excursion train, filled with Modesto's 
citizens, ran from that town to the Stanislaus River, eight miles distant. The bridge 
across the Stanislaus River was completed about the 20th of August and the first 
through train left Stockton Saturday, October 5, 1912. It comprised a steam loco- 
motive, a flat car and two coaches with the road officials and about 200 Stocktonians. 


On arrival at Modesto they found about forty automobiles awaiting them, and the 
guests were taken on a trip over Modesto's finely paved streets, they admired the many 
beautiful homes and visited the Stanislaus Agricultural and Livestock Exposition. 
They could remain only a short time and left Modesto at four o'clock. The Tide- 
water began running regular trains October 8, using steam locomotive power until the 
completion of their electric line. 

In 1900 a company of Stanislaus citizens proposed to run a railroad from Oak- 
dale through Modesto to Crows Landing or Newman, then on to tidewater at Antioch, 
a distance of 100 miles. They incorporated May 21, 1900, under the name of the 
Modesto & Yosemite Valley Railroad Company. Their capital stock was $100,000, all 
of which was subscribed by the directors, Jacob Haslacher, Louis Kahn, Charles T. 
Tulloch, John J. Tucker, Frank A. Cressey, Charles A. Tillson and George Perley. 

The first July 4th celebration in Stanislaus County took place at Wallis, in 1852. 
It was a rather quiet affair but the correspondent declared : "We had a great sovereign 
gathering of the people of Tuolumne and San Joaquin counties at Wallis on the 
Stanislaus River to celebrate our glorious natal day." Colonel Wallis was president 
of the day and made a short speech. The Declaration of Independence was read at 
twelve o'clock by Dr. Lear, which was followed by an oration by Senator Paul Hubbs. 
The band then played "Hail, Columbia," which was greeted with deafening cheers, 
drowning out the music. The entire company then sat down to a banquet and the 
toastmaster presented the regular toast "completed by big links of racy wit and humor 
tvhich entertained the company until the waning moon led them homeward bound." 

At Tuolumne City in 1854, July 4th was celebrated in a becoming and patriotic 
spirit. A most excellent entertainment was provided under the superintendence' of 
Mr. and Mrs. Gruel, who on this propitious occasion catered most liberally to the 
public. About 150 persons sat down to a sumotuous dinner in Mr. Miner's store. 
The table was supplied with "elk roasted entire" and other appropriate viands. The 
district attorney read the Declaration of Independence which "was listened to with the 
deepest attention," after which Mr. Swanzy delivered "a most eloquent oration." 
An excellent band played suitable tunes after each toast and at a late hour the com- 
pany separated. 


One of the most loyal and patriotic towns in Central California during the Civil 
War was Knights Fern'. And the anniversary of American Independence, July 4, 
1861, was celebrated, in a splendid manner, with a parade of the Invincibles, led by the 
Knights Ferry band. The musicians during the afternoon "discoursed sweet music on 
the Plaza" opposite Gardner's Hotel. The day ended with a grand ball at the hotel. 

In the '80s, said a resident, Modesto had a population of about 2,000 persons and 
it had not undergone those changes which come with a large population, different in 
thought, customs and habits. It had not reached that clannishness of sex and race 
common to all large cities, and it still possessed the democracy of its earlier years. The 
original settlers were still here and, whether artisan or banker, the children erew up 
together in the burg, went to the same red brick schoolhouse and mingled in all of the 
functions of the church, the lodge, society or the school. They came together in the 
village debating society and in the Band of Hope. Everybodv in town was well 
acquainted with his neighbor and everybody knew everybody in Modesto. It was like 
a big happy family and all of the families were on visiting terms with each other. 
There were no sets nor cliques ; the social events were gala affairs, parties and picnics 
were frequent, and well attended by the young lads and belles from all parts of the 
county. When the yearly function, the town ball, occurred, which was given bv the 
Young Men's Club, as the opening event of the season, the entire population 


The town in its earlier history was isolated from the great world, especially 
during the winter months during which there was but few business transactions and 
scarcely any travel either by the Southern Pacific or by buggies and carriages. To 
while away the long, dreary winter hours the young men organized the Modesto 
Amateur Dramatic Club and appointed George Perley as the business manager. The 
club proposed not only to enjoy the winter months in a series of plays, but they also had 
in view a worthy object, that of making some money for the schoolhouse building fund. 
Unfortunately they were much disappointed in the financial results, clearing only 
$39.60 from the entire series of performances. The play selected for their opening 
performance was "Ten Nights in a Bar-Room," a play then quite popular among the 
barn-storming theatrical companies then traveling over the state. It was intended as a 
moral lesson against the use of liquor as it represented a young man, a moderate 
drinker, frequenting bar-rooms, his marriage and his gradual downfall into a confirmed 
drunkard. It well may have been prefaced by the song later composed, "Where Is My 
Wandering Boy Tonight." There was, however, in the plav a remarkably sad scene. 
The scene is a bar-room, with parties drinking at the bar and others lounging around 
the room. The door slowly opens and a little girl, clothed in rags, timidly enters. 
She sees her father, and going up to him she takes him by the hand and plaintively 

"Father, dear father, come home with me now, 

The clock in the steeple strikes ten ; 

You promised dear mother that you would come home 

As soon as your day's work was done. 

Come home, please, father, dear father, come home." 

And unable to withstand the pleadings of the child, the father staggers from the room. 
As there was no place of entertainment at that time the management engaged the 
hay loft of the Ross barn on I Street, between Ninth and Tenth streets. In the rear 
of the barn a stage was erected, tallow candles were placed at the front of the stage for 
footlights and coal oil lamps arranged around the side of the stable "lit up the gloom." 
The orchestra was quite pretentious, as the leader, U. G. Munger, a violinist, had 
formerly played in the San Francisco theaters. The evening of the play was February 
27, 1872, and as it had been well advertised in the Evening News, a large crowd was 
present from the town and surrounding county. Two hundred and fifty persons, it is 
stated, were present, so many were compelled to stand during the entire performance. 
A number of small, makeshift dressing rooms had been built near the stage and an 
amateur painter had provided a few scenes. A curtain manufactured from cotton 
cloth answered well its purpose. We give the cast of characters, as many of the 
players of that historic eventare still alive: Samuel Swichel. D. L. Markley: Joe 
Morgan, T. A. Saxon ; Harvey Green, L. F. Beckwith ; Mr. Romaine, Robert Mac- 
Lean; Ned Hargrave, Mr. Ferdun ; Tom Peters, Andrew Mott; Simon Slade, George 
Perley; Frank Slade, A. S. Coulter; Willie Hammond, Amos Gridley: Judge Ham- 
mond, Mr. Marden ; Judge Lyman, Mr. Bradshaw: Mehitable Cartwrieht, Miss Ida 
Freeman; Mrs. Slade, Miss L. Hillyard; Mary Morgan, Miss Man- Gridley; Mrs. 
Morgan, Mrs. A. Eagleson ; Mrs. Hammond, Mrs. Mott. 

The second story of a stable, "Ross Hall," as it was named, was scarcely a fit 
place for public gathering. The citizens had no other suitable hall until 1877. At 
that time Stimpson P. Rodgers erected a very neat and substantial building on H Street, 
as already described, and fitted up the second story as a place of public assembly. A 
marked peculiarity of this building was its entrance. Perhaps to save front floor space 
for renting purposes the entrance was in the side alley at the rear of the building. 
The stairway to the entrance was on the opposite side of the allev with a wooden 
bridge across the alley. To reach the stairs the citizens were compelled to walk some 


fifty feet along the dusty alley. Somewhat peculiar also was the stage, which was built 
out from a corner of the room, making it of triangular shape. It was a saving of 
space, however, and gave the entire audience an unobstructed view. The hall was lit 
with gas and a drop curtain was provided for all entertainments. The building of 
the hall "marked a new epoch," said the local historian. "It furnished the town with a 
much-needed social and civic center." It was the place of all balls, parties, political 
meetings, and first-class theatrical companies began visiting the town, giving their per- 
formances in Rodgers Hall. Among these actors and actresses who later achieved 
national fame in the dramatic art were Joseph Grismer, Phoebe Davies, Blanche Bates, 
L. R. Stockwell, Edith Brandon, Anna Boyd and many others from the San Francisco 
theaters. These companies usually played at Modesto on their way from Stockton 
to Fresno. 

A play in Rodgers Hall which attracted much attention at the time because of its 
local performers was the fairy spectacle entitled "The Triumph of Love." It was 
given May 3-4, 1884. The leading character was Miss Ella Brinkerhoff, who per- 
sonated the Goddess of Love. Miss Minnie Hurd was the Goddess of Honor and Miss 
Ida Hall represented the Goddess of Wealth. The minor characters comprised the 
Misses Scottie Hall, Mamie Davis, Annie Standiford, Jennie Jones, Jean Brown, 
Lillian Gray and Mesdames J. C. Simmons, Annie Garthorne and C. T. Stonesifer. 
The gentlemen's parts were cast to T. D. Forgath, S. A. Davis, C. D. Hall, T. B. 
Jones, Frank Townes, Joseph James, J. C. Simmons, Edward Garthorne and Master 
Ray Kittrelle. Musical gems, solos, duets and choruses "sparkled through the spectacle," 
while the children who participated were well drilled and represented lively demons, 
iairies and grotesque characters. "The spectacle was a wonderful success." 

The Leap Year Ball of that year, given December 1 1 by the Entre Nous Club, 
was one of the "most pronounced social triumphs that ever occurred in Modesto and 
it demonstrated the ability of the ladies to accomplish things social." The ball opened 
with a grand march to the music of Emile Dreyfus' full orchestra from Stockton. 
There were sixty couples on the floor. At midnight they adjourned for one hour to 
enjoy a supper at Baldwin's cafe. The elite of the city were there and they danced 
until the light of day cast its beams over the Sierras. 

In February, 1886, the Herald said: "Many citizens deplore the fact that we 
have no theater except Rodgers Hall. The stage and dressing rooms are very cramped 
affairs and then the entrance and the stairway which is very narrow and the entrance 
only five feet wide, and when we think of the danger of fires, what would happen 
should a fire break out?" Conditions were not improved any in regard to a public hall 
until 1892. At that time D. and G. D. Plato, two enterprising merchants who had 
located in Modesto from San Francisco in the early days of the town, concluded to 
erect a brick building on their Tenth Street property for business purposes and give 
the public the use of the second story as a public hall. One improvement in Plato's 
Opera House, as it was called, was a wide stairway leading directly to the street. It 
was a very creditable hall, seating perhaps between 600 and 800 persons. For a time, 
Company "D" rented it for their armory and frequently gave social parties and fitting 
up a stage also gave theatrical entertainments. The company at this time was a part 
of the Sixth Regiment, National Guard of California, and wore the regulation blouse 
and cap. This was not as stylish a uniform as that of the Modesto Cadets; proud 
were they of their long-tailed coats and beaver hats, their armory then being in the 
skating rink, where now stands the National Bank. On April 10, 1886, they were 
mustered into the National Guard. The Plato Opera House was in use publicly until 
1910. Then the proprietors remodelled the upper story, making of it a lodging house. 
It is a little strange that the first public performance of the Modesto Choral Club and 
the last entertainment in the hall should take place the same evening. The citizens 
then had no large and suitable place for public gathering until 1911, when some 
public-spirited citizens, at a cost of $8,500, erected an auditorium on L and Sixth 


streets. It was laid with a maple floor for dancing and would accommodate, floor and 
gallery, from 1 ,200 to 1,500 people. 

Among the many progressive men of Modesto none were more progressive than 
William E. Mensinger, the dean of the city's theatrical men. Believing that a modern, 
up-to-date theater would not only be a good investment, but an attractive pleasure 
resort for the citizens of the city and the surrounding county, in 1911 he concluded to 
invest at least $100,000 in the building of a first-class dramatic and operatic theater. 
At that time he and C. M. Small, also of Modesto, owned lots on Tenth Street between 
I and J streets. When Mr. Mensinger proposed erecting a theater his partner opposed 
the idea ; he, however, was willing to sell and Mr. Mensinger then purchased his in- 
terest in the property. A Stockton architect was then employed to draw the plans of a 
first-class place of entertainment. The work of construction was commenced in the 
spring of 1912, Mr. Mensinger acting as the superintendent of the building. The 
edifice is three stories in height, the building occupying a forty-foot front, and the 
theater extending back the entire depth of the lot, 140 feet. A part of the front of 
the building is occupied by a store and a second-story front by offices. A marble stair- 
way leads to the second story. The entrance vestibule to the theater is panelled in 
Alaska marble, with a black marble finish, and the floor laid in mosaic tile. The lower 
floor, including the balcony, had a seating capacity of 900 persons. The stage is thirty- 
four feet in width, and the height to the proscenium twenty-eight feet. The building 
was completed in August, 1912, and a Mr. Poland, who was believed to be a responsi- 
ble party, leased the theater. He was to fit up and furnish the interior. Spending 
money in a very lavish manner before the work was completed, he became involved 
financially, and this suddenly ended his connection with the theater. This delayed the 
work and for some length of time the affairs were quite complicated. Finally parties in 
Alameda took over the lease. They finished up the auditorium, and placed William 
B. Martin in charge as manager. 

Dedication and Destruction of the Theater 
The theater was dedicated February 6, 1913, by the Modesto Choral Society. 
They presented the "Pirates of Penzance," with a chorus of ninety voices and an orches- 
tra under the direction of Professor Twicher. The stage manager was George Stod- 
dard of Modesto. The soloists who took part were Charles Bulotti, tenor, of San 
Francisco; Miss Nellie McAdam, contralto, of Stockton; Mrs. J. D. Twicher, J. M. 
Walthall, Dr. J. P. Snare and E. H. Zion of Modesto. On the 15th of March, "The 
Prince of Pilsen" was given by a company of professionals, this being the first traveling 
company. The Whitney Opera Company, December 6, 1913, presented "The Choco- 
late Soldier." The following afternoon, Sunday, the Elks held their first memorial 
service. On Monday evening, Manager Martin, unlocking the door of the theater 
about 6:30, found the auditorium filled with smoke and before the flames were extin- 
guished by the fire department the interior was completely destroyed. 

The loss of the pretty little playhouse was greatly deplored by the citizens, and a 
number of progressive men sympathizing with Mr. Mensinger offered to form a com- 
pany and rebuild the interior. He declined the generous offer with thanks and stated 
that he would immediately begin the rebuilding of the temple of Orpheus and Momus. 
Within thirty days J. J. Foley of San Francisco was at work on new plans for the 
reconstruction of the building, and in a short time carpenters were at work, Mr. Men- 
singer again acting as the general superintendent. The new lessee was A. A. Richards, 
a theatrical manager of experience and at one time owner of the Modesto Star theater. 
The decorative work and the painting of the scenery was given to a Los Angeles firm, 
and the general scheme of decorations was old rose, blue and gold. The modern style 
of lighting was introduced and the electrical globes placed under cover produced the 
effect of quiet richness rather than gorgeousness and splendor. One of the first things 
to attract the eye as you enter the theater is the large painting which occupies the entire 
space of the proscenium. It is a painting by Hurt of Los Angeles and represents the 


artist's idea of Faust as portrayed in Goethe's wonderful drama. The theater was 
completed and rededicated July 9, 1914. 

A magnificent concrete theater known as the "Strand" was erected and completed 
in 1921. It was built by a citizen of Fresno on the corner of K and Tenth streets 
at a cost of $250,000. It is one of the largest buildings in the city and will easily seat 
1,500 persons, and for many years it will accommodate Modesto's amusement public. 

JULY 4TH, 1890 
The Independence Day celebration in 1890 was one of the best in several years. 
The streets of the city were crowded with visitors long before the hour of the parade. 
At ten o'clock the parade was formed with Grand Marshal J. S. Alexander and his 
aides in the lead, then came the Turlock Band and behind them, marching like the 
army regulars, came Company D, with Capt. R. K. Whitmore in command. Then 
followed the Stanislaus California Pioneers, now very few in number. Next in line 
was the carriage containing Judge W. O. Minor, president of the day ; C. W. Eastin, 
reader of the Declaration of Independence, and Rev. H. C. Gillingham, the orator of 
the day ; Eva Jones, who gave a recitation, and carriages containing the vocalists com- 
prising Mrs. E. Stewart, Mrs. E. Love, Mrs. Grattan, Minnie Sawyer, Cora Gladden, 
Mrs. Laura De Yoe Brown, J. A. Sawyer, E. Z. Barnett, W. H. Rea and C. H. 
Finley. Two floats beautifully decorated preceded the bicyclists. The second division 
was led by the Modesto Band in their new uniforms, advancing before the school chil- 
dren, representing all nations. Wildey Lodge, Odd Fellows, turned out in full regalia 
and behind them marched the Modesto Hook and Ladder Company, hauling their truck, 
handsomely trimmed with ribbons and flowers. On the truck sat Ida Speik, represent- 
ing a fire queen, with Ada Deitz and Ray Loventhal as her supporters. The Modesto 
Hose Company were also in line with their hose carriage prettily trimmed with flowers. 
The Painters' Union were uniformly dressed in white shirts and straw hats. The 
Stanislaus Brewery wagons brought up the rear of the procession. After parading the 
principal streets, the procession disbanded near the Knovvles warehouse on Front Street, 
where the exercises were held. The Modesto band gave a concert on the courthouse 
grounds during the afternoon and at four o'clock there was a parade of the Invincibles. 
The celebration was ended with a fine display of fireworks on the railroad reservation. 

Do the citizens of Modesto realize how much they are indebted to the Woman's 
Improvement Club for many of the civic improvements which they enjoy? Probably 
not, for we as a people are apt to easily forget cur benefactors, neighbors, friends and 
citizens. Today Modesto is called the "city beautiful" of the San Joaquin Valley, and 
this is due partly at least to the Improvement Club. Its birthplace was in the home of 
Mrs. Charles Clary, where a few women assembled one afternoon to discuss the subject 
of forming a club. The movement, once started, rapidly gained speed, and assembling 
in the Board of Trade rooms the club was organized April 16, 1906, with the following 
officers: Mrs. Alice Stone Dozier, president; Mrs. N. E. De Yoe, vice-president; Mrs. 
Mary A. Voorheis, secretary, and Mrs. C. R. Tillson, treasurer, and forty-two char- 
ter members. Its prime object was to assist or lead in the beautifying of the city and 
county, and in this work they planted miles of trees leading out of Modesto at a cost 
of $1,200. The organization is purely civic, they adopting as their motto, "We Place 
No Limitations on Human Possibilities." As it takes coin to carry on civic improve- 
ments, to obtain money they adopted a very unique plan. They held in June of each 
year a fiesta. It was in the nature of a street fair and a carnival. The two classes of 
entertainments combined were very profitable. The fiestas were all conducted by their 
own citizens and in their first five fiestas, beginning in June, 1906, their gross receipts 
were $20,000, with only normal expenditures. 

During this time, and with money obtained since by card parties, teas, socials, 
concerts and banquets, they have contributed over $3,000 to various funds. When 
the Coffee Club was organized they contributed $60 a year for the first two 


years. When the firemen were struggling along to get the money to furnish their club 
rooms, the women's $250 was a wonderful help. The Chamber of Commerce wanted 
to advertise the county by publishing a little booklet. The club gave splendid assist- 
ance by a donation of $500. When the free public library was established they furnished 
the magazines for the first year and also donated $100 for children's books. Another 
$100 was given for the purchase of pictures for the public schools. Next the child's 
welfare was considered and during that week over 300 babies were treated in the free 
clinic. Each year the inmates of the county hospital look forward with pleasure to 
Christmas, for at that time the Woman's Improvement Club furnishes the unfortunates 
with from sixty to eighty pounds of first quality candy. 

When the Allied War was fought none were more patriotic or faithful or more 
helpful in our country's cause than the Improvement Club. The Grand Army Post 
of Modesto, that valiant body of soldiers of the "days of '61," were not forgotten and 
they were given $25 to assist in erecting headstones at the head of the veteran dead. 
During the war they were very active, not only in the work, but in their gifts, the 
club donating $500. They also donated $100 to the Furlough hut fund, $300 to the 
mess fund of their boys at Camp Lewis, and $100 for the "smileage" fund. They also 
assisted in all of the Liberty bond drives and purchased largely of Liberty bonds and 
war stamps. 

The Woman's Improvement Club of Modesto is the mother club of the county, 
there being nine federated clubs in the valley. The club twice during the past few 
years entertained the two district meetings and Mrs. Alice Stone Dozier and Mrs. Ora 
Bates are past presidents of the San Joaquin Valley Federated Clubs. 


One of the recent benefits to the city of Modesto and one that will be better 
appreciated as time rolls on, is the beautiful Graceada Park. It was so named in honor 
of the wives of Thomas Beard and T. P. Wisecarver, Grace and Ada. Previous to 
the improvement of this park by the Woman's Improvement Club, the only park in 
the city was a small plot of ground on Front at the corner of I Street, which the citi- 
zens planted to shade trees. A correspondent writing of this place January 26, 1886, 
said, "The square near the depot the railroad company will dedicate to the city if they 
will convert in into a park. Now it is nothing more than a frog pond. Last evening 
no less than a thousand of these bullfrogs were croaking. A frog pond on Front Street 
doesn't sound well for the boasted town of Modesto." The city took over the ground, 
about a quarter acre of land, and as I have stated, planted it to shade trees. 

For twenty years there seems to have been no further effort by the city trustees 
to purchase land or lay off a park until the organization of the Woman's Club. They 
began agitating the question of a park. Then the trustees got busy and began looking 
for a park site. The real estate men now became interested in the subject and those 
with large tracts of land began seeking sales of their property at exorbitant rates. The 
trustees' plan was to delay the purchase of a park site until they had money sufficient 
to pay for it. The club, however, would brook no delay. Fortunately at that time the 
two well-known progressive citizens, Thomas Beard and T. P. Wisecarver, donated the 
club three blocks of land in the northern part of the city for a park. The Wisecarver 
tract was the larger donation, it being nearly a quarter mile in length and 280 feet in 
width. The tract was deeded to the club in September, 1906, and in accepting the gift 
the women agreed to expend $1,000 the first year, and at least $500 each succeeding 
year in improving the park. The club immediately commenced improvements under the 
direction of a competent landscape gardener, planting palms, shrubs, grass and shade 
trees as long as the money held out. They had in their fund at that time $1,700, 
which they had made from their June, 1906, fiesta. Soon after the donations by 
Beard and Wisecarver, another block of land north of the tracts donated was given the 
club by James Enslen. Other tracts of land in different parts of the town were given 
by Messrs. Wilkinson and Wren until the Improvement Club became park poor. 
Staggering under the expense of nearly $4,000 a year for the upkeep of parks, they were 
compelled finally to turn them over to the city trustees. 



One of the most important and far-reaching social clubs of the county is the 
Stanislaus Country Club, with its present membership of over 300 of the county's best 
citizens. It was incorporated in August, 1920, with a capital stock of $9,000, and the 
following directors: Dr. G. W. Morgan, James C. Needham, H. G. Thompson, Geo. 
R. Stoddard and Geo. F. Barr. Ray B. Moxey was appointed as the secretary and attor- 
ney, and Dewitt R. Lee as membership solicitor. The club has selected as their pleasure 
grounds a site on the bank of the Stanislaus River, about eight and one-half miles from 
Modesto, leading from McHenry Avenue. They have there bought land sufficient 
for an eighteen-hole golf links, the standard distance being 6,000 yards. There will 
also be two tennis courts, a large open-air swimming pool for summer use, blue rock 
shooting traps, and a boathouse for boating and canoeing on the river. They have 
already planned a handsome and convenient clubhouse. Professor D. Ball, formerly in 
charge of the Burlingame Country Club, has been engaged to take charge of the grounds 
and he has already the golf grounds well under way. As the membership includes many 
of the men of standing in the county, the board of directors is now increased from the 
original five to twelve members, namely, J. M. Walthall, W. N. Steele, W. W. Gid- 
dings, A. B. Shoemake, E. H. Tickle, F. L. Sherman and R. G. Thompson, together 
with those first named. Among the members who have assisted very materially in the 
formation of the club were C. R. Tillson, Dr. G. F. Hennemuth, Geo. P. Schafer, 
Henry G. Turner, Frank Cressey, R. C. Rice, George Cressey and John Turner. 

The Modesto Republican Club was organized March 21, 1879, in Eaton Hall. 
George W. Schell, an attorney, called the meeting to order and a Mr. Brown acted as 
chairman. The club was organized by the election of the following officers: J. H. 
Maddux, president; Thomas W. Drullard, J. B. Brichman and Stephen Rodgers, 
vice-president; C. D. Post, secretary; P. H. Medley, treasurer, and W. B. Wood, 
W. H. Arnold, Theodore Turner, John F. Swain and John Hardesty, executive com- 
mittee. Addresses were made by Marcus D. Boruck, secretary of the State Central 
Committee; George W. Schell and O. Sanders of Visalia. At that time there were 
living in the county two men who had joined the Republican party away back in 1856, 
at the time of its organization, and they voted for Fremont. One of these men was 
J. J. Cross, living at Ceres in 1906, the other Louis F. Forrest, living in Modesto at the 
same date. Mr. Cross, who had voted for Franklin Pierce, the Whig candidate in 
1848-52, walked eight miles to Murphy's Camp to cast his vote for Fremont. He 
found the election board sitting around a table with the ballot box in the center of 
the table and every election official had a revolver lying on the table beside him. Mr. 
Forrest, voting for Fremont at that time, lived at Oroville and was in the employ of 
George Perkins, then a merchant of the town and later governor, U. S. senator and a 
wealthy ship owner. Up to 1903 the county was continuously Democratic and during 
the Civil War it was one of the strongest secession counties in the state, the county in 
1860 giving Abraham Lincoln 167 and John C. Breckinridge, the recession nominee, 
433 votes. In the election of 1868, U. S. Grant received 350 and Horatio Seymour 
642 votes. In 1880, Garfield received 745, and Hancock, the Democrat, 1,161 votes. 
Clinton Fisk, the Prohibition candidate, 91 votes. In 1902, George C. Pardee received 
1,069 votes and Franklin K. Lane, the Democratic nominee for governor, 1,458, the 
Prohibition nominee receiving 44 and the Socialist candidate 39 votes. In the election 
of 1912, there was a decided political change, the Republicans from that time dominat- 
ing the politics of the county, and J. C. Needham, candidate for congressman, a 
Republican, received 3,375 votes, his Democratic opponent, D. S. Church, receiving 
only 2,649 votes. There were 897 Socialist votes cast for J. S. Cato. The Prohibition 
party polled a good vote, Thomas K. Beard, a presidential elector, receiving 872 votes. 

The election of November 8, 1914, was perhaps the most important and certainly 
the most remarkable election ever held in California, for it put a third candidate, a 


Progressive, into the governor's chair by an overwhelming majority, and the electors 
voted for or against the surprising number of forty-eight constitutional amendments. 
In looking up the statistics one is not surprised that Modesto is such a beautiful, orderly 
and morally clean city, for the vote upon some questions show that it is a progressive, 
law-abiding, clean community. For governor the county gave the Progressive candi- 
date, Hiram Johnson, 5,245 votes, to John D. Fredericks, the Republican nominee, it 
gave 2,201 votes, and to John B. Curtain, the Democratic candidate, only 2,510 votes. 
Clinton B. Moore, the Prohibitionist candidate, polled 1,138 votes. Regarding some 
of the amendments, the county voted against the eight-hour law, 8,730 to 2,177 ; against 
prize fights, 6379 to 3,679, 2,000 votes majority against this brutality. It voted against 
a legalized Sunday, 6,975 to 2,289. It voted for the abatement of the red-light dis- 
tricts, 6,375 to 3,820. The county voted for prohibition, 6,103 against 5,206. Two 
little jokers were submitted by the friends of the liquor traffic — one that if prohibition 
carried the law could not be enforced until February 15, 1915. It was a just amend- 
ment, giving the liquor men time to close out their business, and the county voted for it, 
5,822 yes and 3,649 no. The sec6nd little joker declared that after the election no 
further legislation could be taken upon the liquor question until 1918. Upon this 
amendment the county voted 7,528 no and 3,075 yes. 

The liquor men felt sure of their interests winning on the Prohibition amend- 
ments, just as the Modesto liquor men were sure on winning out on the high license 
proposition. They had not awakened to the fact that the public conscience would no 
longer stand for the liquor traffic and the vice which surrounded it. The citizens of 
Modesto were called upon to vote on a proposition that the city trustees issue no 
more saloon liquor licenses and that all saloons must close their doors within ten days 
following the election, if the proposition carried. The liquor men came back with a 
counter proposition signed by them and many "business" men that the saloons be regu- 
lated and pay a high license. The election took place July 10, 1912, and the campaign 
was the hottest ever waged in the state. Anti-saloon meetings were held in the court- 
house plaza, and David Rose, a former mayor of Milwaukee, delivered speeches in the 
Auditorium. Sunday night "he spoke to a large crowd that overflowed the Auditorium 
and yelled lustily at the speaker's remarks." On the day of election the anti-saloon 
forces of men staged a spectacular parade. It was made up of scores of women in 
automobiles, women, men and children on foot and a division of babies in baby buggies. 
Early in the morning the saloon men played the old political trick of circulating a 
number of lies in order to win votes. Circulars were thrown about the streets stating 
that the anti-saloonists' motto was "Down with the liquor traffic, down with the 
Sunday baseball, down with the Sunday theater, down with the Modesto pool rooms," 
and its work caused the antis to lose many votes, although at noon they got out dodgers 
denying the lies. 

The work of the saloon men was nearly perfect and by four o'clock in the after- 
noon every pro-saloon vote had been cast. But when the votes were counted they lost 
by forty votes. The vote was as follows: For high license and regulation, yes 895, no 
1,164; for no license, yes 1,087, no 1047. It is stated that W. J. Brown conducted 
the fight against the saloons, while F. G. Johnstone, Albert Schmidt and George Pike 
were the wet generals. The courthouse precinct gave the "wets" 163 majority, but 
the three other precincts cut that majority to 72. Then in came the Wisecarver pre- 
cinct with 1 12 majority for the "bone drys" and it sealed the fate of the saloon. 

Before the expiration of the ten days, Brown and Irvin, proprietors of the Olympia 
saloon, commenced suit against the supervisors, mayor, city council and treasurer because 
of the council's refusal to issue to them a liquor license, they claiming that the council 
could regulate a saloon, but could not refuse them a license. George Pike demanded 
a recount of the ballots on the ground that some electors had voted for high license and 
for no license. The cases were brought up in the superior court, Judge McSorley of 
Calaveras County presiding. He declared that the council had not only the right to 


regulate but, through the initiative, to prohibit the sale of liquor. In the Pike case 
only a few discrepancies were found, not enough to affect the general result. Shortly- 
after this, though, the case was appealed from another county, and the supreme court 
declared the law unconstitutional. 

JULY 4TH, 1911 

This natal day of the nation was celebrated in a splendid manner. The previous 
evening the band gave a concert in the courthouse park. Early in the morning an 
immense crowd began assembling from the surrounding country and plenty of amuse- 
ments had been provided for their entertainment. In the afternoon there was an aero- 
plane flight, dancing, broncho busting, parade of "horribles" and a carnival dance 
in the evening in Rodgers Hall. During the morning, following the parade, literary 
exercises were held in the plaza. George Perley was president of the day, with Miss 
Caroline Foley as reader of the Declaration of Independence, and Edward F. Taylor, 
poet and reader of San Francisco, as orator. During the exercises the chorus sang 
several patriotic selections, among them "Hail to the Flag," composed by the director 
of the chorus, Professor Twicher. 

The parade, one of the best for many years, was led by Walter Garrison, grand 
marshal, a veteran of the Spanish War. The procession comprised four divisions. In 
the lead of the first division was the Modesto Brass Band, a beautiful float represent- 
ing our country, with Mrs. Marion Wisecarver as the Goddess of Liberty, and a Grand 
Army float in two sections. The first section was a float of Uncle Sam, the second 
section, Miss Columbia, and a number of children singing patriotic songs. Then fol- 
lowed the Woodmen of the World and the Knights of Pythias. The second division 
was preceded by the Hilmar Colony Band, a beautiful float, The Women of Wood- 
craft, the Fraternal Brotherhood, delegation of Odd Fellows, the Women's Christian 
Temperance Union float, the Sylvan Club, Laurel Lodge, Modesto Improvement Club 
and the Native Sons. The Modesto Boys' Band led the third division, with the Busi- 
ness Men's float, the Modesto Fire Department, with Miss Jennie Butts as fire queen, 
sitting in an automobile completely covered with red roses, then the Carpenters' Union 
hauling a float of a miniature house. The Oakdale Band led the fourth division, 
composed entirely of decorated automobiles contesting for the prizes offered. 

One of the leading problems in the United States today is the labor problem. 
Happily, in Modesto there seems to be a full harmony between the unions and the 
business life, since the formation of the unions in 1910. The work of organizing a 
union was commenced in 1909. The first charter granted was to the carpenters. This 
was quickly followed by charters to the painters, paper hangers, plasterers and other 
mechanics, and at the close of 1910 there were ten flourishing local unions with a mem- 
bership of over four hundred members. Soon after obtaining their charter, the 
Modesto locals affiliated with the Stockton Building Trades Council, in which they 
were allowed three delegates. The Stockton Council assisted very materially in 
organizing the Modesto unions. The unions gave their strong approval for the com- 
mission form of government and worked for the municipal charter. They approve all 
public improvements and when the project of a municipal theater was under discussion, 
the unions donated $8,000 in work towards the fund. 

JULY 4TH, 1917 
The patriotic celebration held at Modesto in 1917 was certainly an innovation 
and a remarkable success, as it was carried out by the Women's Improvement Club 
and that, too, without any donations or subscriptions from individual citizens or firms. 
To obtain the money actually necessary they had booths along the street and in the 
plaza with refreshments and articles on sale. The parade was the best ever held in 
Modesto. At nine o'clock there was a flag-raising ceremony on the railroad reserva- 
tion under the auspices of the Native Sons. The ladies gave prizes for the* best 
floats and this, as an incentive, brought out a large number of beautiful floats. The' 
Native Sons had the largest float and perhaps the most interesting was "America," 


with Miss Bessie Palmerlee representing the Goddess of Liberty. All of the societies 
in Modesto were in line, the Druids having the largest number, representing a living 
flag. The parade was given something of a military appearance by Grant Post, 
G. A. R., and two detachments from Companies K and L, National Guard of Cali- 
fornia. Plenty of parade music was furnished by the Modesto Band, the Oakdale 
Band and the Eagle Drum Corps of Stockton. The exercises of the day were held in 
the courthouse square. Lewis L. Dennett was president of the day. Patriotic songs 
were sung by a male quartet comprising Dr. J. P. Snare, Ray Bradbury, W. T. Rice 
and R. W. Brace. The president's war message was read by Alion Sively of Oakdale 
and John P. Irish of Stockton delivered the oration. During the afternoon there was 
dancing on Eleventh and I streets. 


Defeated by the law and not by the voice of the people, the Prohibitionists again 
renewed their fight for a bone-dry town. An ordinance was passed by the council 
calling upon the citizens to vote upon the proposition to close every saloon in the city 
at midnight October 21, 1917. It was in one sense of the word a war measure. Presi- 
dent Wilson had declared war on German} - , the registration of all young, able-bodied 
men in Stanislaus County had taken place, a nation-wide prohibition law was in the 
air and yet the Modesto saloonkeepers believed they would have another easy victory. 
On the day of election, August 21, 1917, the women again took a very active part 
and those having automobiles carried many voters to the polls. Over fifty women who 
were off on a vacation along the coast came home to vote. The saloon men, unable to 
cast any illegal votes, tried a new game to win out. They paid out hundreds of dollars 
in newspaper advertising. The morning paper in the four days previous to the election 
published sixteen columns of saloon ads calling upon the people to defeat the ordinance 
and keep Modesto a live, prosperous city. They could no longer play the old, political 
tricks, for their every move was carefully watched, and several citizens, Messrs. John 
W. Ross, W. J. Brown, the district attorney, J. W. Hurdson, Thomas K. Beard, C. J. 
Lewis, C. R.'Gailfus, N. E. Bauman, J. D. Jewell, Ed H. Morris and Dr. B. F. 
Surryhne, published in the paper a reward of $1,000 for any persons found casting 
illegal votes. It was a light vote, notwithstanding it meant the death knell of the 
saloons. The registration was 3,884, the vote in favor of the ordinance 1,156, against 
it 944. It was said "the streets have been full of drunken men this past week, much to 
the disgust of decent people who had occasion to use them." One of the biggest factors 
in defeating the saloons was Police Commissioner Swan ; he worked hard against Pro- 
hibition and people said that if prohibition were defeated Modesto would be a "wide- 
open" town, as the police would do his bidding. 


War was declared between the United States and Germany April 6, 1917, and 
June 5 the Herald said : "Today is registration day, one of the most solemn days in 
the history of the nation." The Council of Defense had appointed Judge N. A. 
Hawkins of Merced, A. A. Caldwell of Turlock and John F. Stewart of Crows Land- 
ing as the exemption board and every able-bodied young man between eighteen and 
forty-five years was compelled to pass an examination as to his fitness for the army 
and navy. Every business house and saloon was closed during the day. At 2 :30 those 
who had registered assembled on Tenth Street and led by the band and under the escort 
of the city and county officials, the fraternal societies and the public school children, 
they marced to the courthouse block, where patriotic exercises were held. Old Glory 
was flung to the breeze, assisted in the ceremony by other societies. The band then 
played a selection, Mrs. Laura De Yoe Brown then thrilling all of those present by 
her singing of the "Star Spangled Banner." The high school glee club then sang an 
appropriate selection and the exercises closed by an address by John J. Neylan of San 


For several weeks Deputy Sheriff J. H. Townson had been making a careful 
selection of loyal, cool-headed, brave men, and July 3 the Home Guard was organized 


to assist the Council of Defense in their work of conscription. They assembled in 
Judge William H. Langdon's court room with forty-three names on the muster roll. 
The officers elected were: J. H. Townson, captain; W. H. Kirk, first lieutenant; 
J. W. Guyer, second lieutenant. Ceres had organized a Home Guard early in June. 


The conscription of men began in Washington, July 20, 1917. As fast as the 
names were drawn they were published in the press of each city. In Modesto they were 
published July 21-22. Then began the physical examination of the men and early in 
September the work was completed and the men were ordered into the training camps. 
September 9 was the date set for the departure of the first twenty-five men, a few from 
Stanislaus County never to return. In honor of their departure a reception was ten- 
dered them on the previous evening. The men assembled on the corner of Tenth and I 
streets and were escorted to the park. First came the Modesto band, then Chief of 
Police Dallas; the Ceres, Modesto and Oakdale Home Guard under arms; Grant Post, 
G. A. R., then Sheriff George T. Davis and behind him the first twenty conscriptors, 
then the public school children carrying flags. On arrival at the courthouse park, 
E. B. Winning introduced the exercises by calling upon the audience to sing "The Star 
Spangled Banner," followed by prayer by Rev. Hermann C. Porter; solo, "In the 
Valley of the San Joaquin," Mrs. R. C. Bruce; address, Judge William H. Langdon ; 
solo, "Send Me Away with a Smile," Dr. J. P. Morgan; solo, "My Own United 
States," Mrs. Carrie Brown Dexter; "America," audience; benediction. Rev. H. S. 
Saxby. Judge Langdon, in closing his address, said: "Our contribution to the nation in 
its hour of peril is 401 of the most fit men of serviceable age in the County of Stanis- 
laus, together with more than 100 now in the service in the army and navy. Oh, the 
glorious opportunity that is yours, my young friends, to fight in such company and such 
a cause. And now, as chairman of the Stanislaus Council of Defense and in behalf of 
all of your fellow-citizens, I extend to you the good wishes, the gratitude and the love 
of our people. May God be with you, watch over you and bring you home speedily, 
safely and sound." 


The German army had surrendered. The boys, nearly all of them, had returned 
home safe and sound and October 16, 1919, the citizens tendered them a home welcome 
and banquet. Modesto was crowded with people from the surrounding country, 15,000 
at least. The returned men, probably a thousand of them from the army and navy, 
full of health, strength, vitality and pep, assembled on Twelfth Street and were escorted 
to Graceada Park. As they marched along column after column with a firm, steady 
step, they were cheered by the crowd again and again. It was a thrilling sight never 
seen before and probably will never again be seen in Modesto. On arrival at the park 
there was singing by a chorus of about fifty voices, and an address by Samuel Short- 
ridge of San Francisco. Before his address was concluded orders were given to the 
boys to "fall in." The bugler sounded the dinner call and single file they marched into 
the tennis grounds, where ten long tables were loaded with the appetizing delicacies for 
which Stanislaus County is famous. 




"The first time I ever saw a circus," said Charles Light, "was at Turlock in 

1876. At that time it had one hotel, one saloon, one Chinese wash house and several 

large warehouses where the farmers stored their grain." John W. Mitchell, a wealthy 

land speculator was the founder of Turlock. He owned practically all of the land 

in that vicinity and the most of Stanislaus County at that time was an open field. He 

previously had made money by purchasing land at Paradise City at the Government 



price of one dollar and fifty cents per acre and selling it at double and treble what he 
paid for it. Having bought 100,000 acres of land where Turlock is located, soon 
after the Civil War, he planted in 1867 a large acreage of grain. The yield was 
quite heavy and the following year he planted a much larger acreage and got a heavy 
crop. It was a year of plenty of rain. Mitchell then went to Stockton and purchasing 
lumber hauled it by team to Turlock and erected houses on sections of his land in 
preparation for the farmers who bought and tilled the soil. The land proprietor held 
out big inducements to settlers and succeeded in selling large quantities of land. 
But the farmers passed through many hardships because of the unfruitful }<ears. 
Mitchell, however, gave them every possible assistance, for he had a vision that the 
land would some day be of great value, if the waters of the Sierras could be distributed 
over the land. The farmers, whenever they obtained a good crop, would haul it to 
the Tuolumne River and ship it by steamboat to Stockton. Frequently they would 
haul their grain forty miles to that city and returning would bring back a load of 
household purchases. It is said the children of the home looked forward to the coming 
of the wagon as one of the events in their lives and with eager childish curiosity they 
would open the packages. A rare treat was always in store for them as they would 
then have fresh beefsteak for supper. 

The Pioneer Settlers 

Before Turlock came into existence the farmers were growing grain in that 
vicinity and raising crops averaging in good years from fifteen to eighteen bushels to 
the acre. Among these early arrivals, not all of them farmers, however, was Henry 
Russell, a Mr. Warner, Henry Clark, Richard Brown, William Donovan, Robert 
E. Thompson, Richard and P. C. Lander, appointed postmaster in 1870, S. L. Crane, 
S. V. Porter and wife (she is still living in Turlock), W. L. Fulkerth (his wife is 
still living), and James J. Brown. W. L. Fulkerth had a ranch and carried on a 
blacksmith shop in the town. James Kehoe located there as early as November, 1867. 
Edward McCabe began farming in October, 1867, and Daniel Gallagher in 1868. 
E. A. Hall located in the county near Turlock as early as 1860, but first engaged in 
stock raising. Later came Henry S. Osborn who had a ranch one mile from the 
present town and a small grocery store near the present southwest corner of Main 
and First streets. It stood all alone in the sand and as late as 1902 lots nearby were 
sold at seventy-five dollars each with a few buyers at that price. After the passing 
of the railroad through the county James Allen moved his two-story house to Turlock 
from Westport. He located it where now stands the Carolyn Hotel and opened the 
Turlock Hotel. Mrs. E. H. Allen was in charge of the hotel in 1884, and it was one 
of the old landmarks until torn down to make way for the new hotel. About the 
same time, 1874, a hotel was moved from Woods Landing. It was located where 
now stands the St. Elmo and was known as the Fountain Hotel. Elijah Giddings and 
his partner, Mr. Ward, moved their building and merchandise frcm Empire and 
opened a grocery store where later stood the Gall-Denair hall, at the southeast corner 
Front and Main streets. It was rather unfortunate that the town should thus early 
be divided into the East Side and West Side as it was not calculated to promote 
harmony in either business or social affairs. 

A Rabbit Drive in '75 

In its earlier days the vicinity of Turlock was noted for its brushwood, tarantulas, 
rattlesnakes and its jack rabbits. The rabbits were the pest of the farmers, as they 
ate the young grain and every green thing and they have been known to dig up and eat 
the seed. They roamed the plains by the thousands and to exterminate them the 
farmers would organize what was known as rabbit drives. There were two methods 
of destroying the jacks. One method was to cover a large territory on horseback and 
moving in a circle surround the rabbits, drive them into a rabbit tight enclosure and 
kill them with clubs. Another plan was for footmen to divide their parties and travel- 
ing over the plains shoot them as they sprang from cover. A day was agreed on for a 
drive October 6, 1875. 'About 7:30 o'clock in the morning about twenty hunters 
appeared at the Turlock Hotel. Dividing into two parties, J. L. Ward leading one 


party as captain and Thomas H. Fulkerth captaining the second party. The hunt 
was for a supper at the Turlock Hotel, the losing party to pay for the supper. The 
two parties during the day succeeded in killing 413 rabbits. The Ward party were 
the losers, killing one less than the Fulkerth party. The highest score was made by 
F. A. Lewis, who killed seventj'-eight rabbits. The others scored from thirty-six to 
forty each." The supper at the hotel was gotten up in great style. 

Trade and Traffic 
Turlock for many years had less than 200 inhabitants but it had a large and 
prosperous trade with the surrounding country, including Newman and Oakdale. 
According to Branch, the town in 1881 had two hotels, a restaurant, one large and 
two small variety stores, two blacksmith shops, two livery stables, a tin store, a boot 
and shoe establishment, a drug store, several saloons, a public school, postoffice, express 
and telegraph office and a garage. "It has" he says, "made considerable progress 
during the past few years and exhibits considerable life and activity during the harvest 
season. A great deal of merchandise is annually shipped from this point and during 
the harvest season from 12,000 to 15,000 tons of wheat and also considerable wool." 
"The trade was fine," said another writer, "until the Southern Pacific ran their road 
along the West Side, building up Newman, Patterson and Crows Landing, and the 
Santa Fe made their connection with Oakdale. Then business began to decline and 
the fire of October, 1893, burned out most of the business houses." 

The Great Fire of 1893 
The largest fire ever seen in the city broke out about ten o'clock on the evening 
of October 3, 1893, and starting in the center of the block of buildings on Front 
Street, burned both ways. The town had no fire apparatus at the time, and, says the 
writer, "it was impossible to fight it. All we could do was to stand see it burn and 
try to save the adjoining property." The greater business part of the town was de- 
stroyed, but adjoining property was saved by the bucket brigade. A large number of 
men and even women would carry buckets of water from the nearest pumps and wind- 
mill tanks and throw it on the buildings. The loss was estimated at $50,000, of 
which L. Strauss, commercial merchandiser, was the heaviest loser. The property 
destroj'ed was L. Strauss & Co.; R. Lucassan, saloon and barber shop; J. L. Libehen, 
boots and shoes; L. B. Sherred, tin store; W. A. Smith & Co., druggists; H. M. 
Myer, butcher, and J. L. Brown, P. McGath, C. Hubner and E. Hill & Co. saloons. 
It was a very disastrous fire for the town was not rebuilt along business lines for 
many years. Six years later, 1899, the town was credited with two hotels, two livery 
stables, two blacksmith shops, tinware store, boot and shoe store and a dairy. 

The Name and Post Office 
The Turlock post office is many years older than the city. It was established by 
the postal authorities in 1870. The appointment of postmaster was given to P. C. 
Lander, a brother-in-law of Mrs. S. V. Potter. The office was at his home, one mile 
north of the town. It is stated that when the farmers of the district petitioned for 
a post office they named it Sierra. The Government, believing however, it would be 
a name in confusion with the mountains, Sierra, gave the name Turlock to the post 
office. The writer does not believe the story of the origin of the name. Here is a 
much more plausible story by another writer. When the Southern Pacific railroad 
passed through the county, John W. Mitchell gave them the right-of-way through his 
land; he asked for a small station and the company granting his request named it 
Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell, perhaps, modest as was Mr. Ralston at Modesto, refused 
to have it called Mitchell and suggested Turlock. The Turlock mail was brought to 
the town by a carrier at one dollar per month, but when the railroad was established, 
the office was removed to the town and located in a corner store of the Fountain 
Hotel. Then came the business men's fight for location and the office was removed 
to the Gall-Denair building in East Turlock. Later the office was moved to a 
wooden building that set back from the street west, directly opposite the Turlock 


Hotel. During this time, P. C. Lander, who came to California in 1867 for his 
health, died January 27, 1876, and his brother Richard was appointed to the office. 
Lander was succeeded by E. M. Pierce. After a time he was found short in his 
accounts and he was superseded by Stony Allen. During Allen's appointment the 
office was again moved to the West Side in a store southwest corner of First and Main 
streets. Allen was superseded by John L. Brown, formerly a saloonkeeper and notary 
public. Brown was a Republican, a popular man, well liked by the citizens, and 
he held the office from 1901 until 1917. Then Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic 
nominee, was elected President and Brown was superseded by a native son, Ralph P. 
Giddings. Regarding the growth of Turlock from a post office view, in April, 1909, 
an excursion of business men from Stockton visited Turlock. David F. Lane of 
Turlock, in a speech, said: "Fifteen years ago (1894) there were only 150 people 
getting their mail at Turlock post office, now there are 1,800 people in the city and 
5,000 in the district getting their mail from the office. In 1903, $20,000 was all the 
money the farmers had deposited in the banks, now they have $892,639 deposited." 

The Turlock Churches 
"I can tell you that Turlock is a town of churches," said a recent visitor to that 
city. True it is and with its population of 4,000 inhabitants it supports sixteen differ- 
ent denominations. A large portion of the membership live in the surrounding country. 
When they attended service on a Sunday it looked, said the visitor, like a big circus 
day so many were the horses and wagons around the places of worship. Now they are 
surrounded by automobiles. Included in the number of churches there are three of 
the Swedish faith, namely the Free Church, The Swedish Baptist and the Swedish 
Mission. The church last named is one of the largest and most costly edifices in 
Turlock. Then comes the Seventh Day Adventist, the Nazarene, Lutheran, the First 
Church of Christ, Scientist, the Brethren, the Free Methodist, the Presbyterian and 
the Methodist Episcopal. All of these congregations save the Swedish Mission hold 
service in buildings constructed of wood. The Baptist, the Christian, the Catholic and 
the Mission are built of reinforced concrete. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church 
"The first church work in Turlock," said the Rev. H. J. Farr, "dates back to 
1868, when a Baptist minister named Father Reese came riding over the plains and 
held religious service in the homes of the people, notably the home of Mr. and Mrs. 
S. V. Porter. While Mr. and Mrs. Porter were devout Methodists, they were liberal 
minded and perfectly willing to fellowship with other religious denominations, hence 
various pastors from other denominations held religious services in their home. As 
the religious population increased in number the home of the Porters was over-crowded 
and religious services were held in the little public school building, now the site of 
the cemetery. Services were held by different denominations in the schoolhouse. A 
Union Sunday school was organized and the Christmas celebration of December 21, 
1871, is still a pleasant memory of many now living. The California Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, established a church at Turlock in 1881, and the 
pulpit was supplied by that splendid pioneer pastor, Rev. W. C. Curry, living at 
Ceres. Mr. and Mrs. Porter in 1887 presented the church trustees a lot, at the corner 
of West Main and Lander Avenue for the purpose of building a house of worship. 
The following year Turlock was reported to have a "boom" and that year the Metho- 
dists erected a neat handsome building at a cost of $6,350. The church was dedicated 
October 7, 1888. Heavily mortgaged, they were unable to pay the debt and "after 
a continuous struggle for ten years the property was sold to the Swedish Mission," 
says Mrs. S. V. Porter, who sent me these notes. The loss of the property was 
unfortunate and very disheartening to the zealous Methodists of Turlock for it caused 
a scattering of the congregation. Six years later the conference declined to make any 
further appointments for Turlock. Ten years passed. In November 1906 water 
was flowing over the land, the population had rapidly increased in numbers, many 
Methodists had located in the town and the church was reorganized. The reorganiza- 


tion took place in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Porter, the presiding elder of the district, 
Rev. H. E. Beeks, effecting the reorganization. A full board of stewards and trustees 
were appointed, with Rev. Irwin Farr as temporary pastor. For over two years the 
congregation worshipped in rented halls and a tabernacle which they erected. In 1908 
the trustees secured the lot corner of Broadway and A Street and they erected a very 
pretty and comfortable building. The church has been enlarged several times to accom- 
modate the increasing congregation and the trustees are now planning a new up-to-date 
building with a community center. The church has a flourishing Sunday school. 

The Rev. E. B. Winning made a special effort in the work of the Sunday school. 
The church also rapidly increased in membership and when the present pastor, Fred 
A. Feast took charge in September, 1918, he found a membership of 500, now increased 
to over 700. The following pastors have served : Reverends William C. Curry, Sep- 
tember, 1881, to September, 1884; J. H. Jones, 1884-1887; D. W. Calfee, 1887; 
Lorenzo Fellers, Thomas Leak, John Appletin, J. S. Smith and no further appointment 
until 1906. Rev. Irwin Farr, temporary pastor, November, 1906; J. M. Hilbish, 
December 20, 1906-1908; E. H. Mackay, 1908-1911; J. U. Simmons, 1911-1915; 
E. B. Winning, 1915-1918; Fred A. Feast, 1918, present pastor. 

The Methodist Church was erected on the West Side and the Baptist and Con- 
gregationalist on the East Side. The last-named congregation erected a fine church 
edifice but it also was heavily mortgaged and when in time compelled to sell, it was 
purchased by the Brethren. The Seventh Day Adventists were organized in 1906, the 
Presbyterians in 1910. 

The Catholics 

The Catholics in July, 1889, erected a little wood structure, 24x36 feet, seating 
100 persons, at a cost of $1,800. Mass was celebrated by Father Thomas Maguire 
from Modesto. Father Bailey became a resident pastor in 1910. The following year 
the archbishop erected Sacred Heart Church, a handsome brick structure costing 
$25,000, and with its two towers, one supporting a large bell, is an imposing building. 

The Newspapers of Turlock 

California newspapers are as prolific as mushrooms; they as quickly come to life 
and as quickly fade away. Turlock was honored by a newspaper the Turlock Times 
as early as April, 1892. Its editor was D. J. Foley. On November 11, 1904, the 
Turlock Journal was published by J. L. and H. T. Randolph, who had lately come 
to California, from the eastern states. They issued an eight-page, four-column weekly, 
on an old-fashioned platen press. Meeting with considerable success in August, 1906, 
they purchased a Babcock cylinder press and changed the form of the paper to a four- 
page, six-column publication. Later it appears they took in Tipton Randolph, who 
acted as the bookkeeper, with Urellis Randolph as pressman. They were an enter- 
prising class of men and in February, 1910, they issued a splendid special edition of 
Turlock from which I got considerable information. It was quite profusely illustrated 
with cuts of Turlock in 1888, showing half-tones of the Catholic and Congregational 
churches, the high school building, Fountain and Turlock hotels and street scenes. 
In 1918 there was a popular young printer on North Broadway, named Edwin 
Ullberg, proprietor of a print shop. The following year he purchased the Journal and 
immediately began issuing a morning daily paper. The paper has had some good 
editors, at one time Paul Bronaugh, formerly of the Stockton Record, now on the 
Modesto Herald; A. V. Hoffman, editor in 1917, Melvin C. Mayne and Mr. 

Another bright little newspaper is the Turlock Tribune, published by Veda C. 
Calkins with Bailey Rosette as editor. It is a six-column eight-page journal and is 
published thrice weekly. It was first issued in 1911 by C. W. Dockinhouse, and four 
years later, November, 1916, it was sold to Veda C. Calkins and Lou K. Reimfield. 
On the first of April, 1920, Mrs. Calkins purchased her partner's interest in the paper. 


The Public Schools 

Turlock is proud of her public schools and her school buildings, as handsome and 
up-to-date as may be found. The high school building and its beautiful surroundings 
have been pronounced the equal of any in the state. The public school system of the 
city began with fifteen pupils in 1870. The schoolhouse was a small cheap wooden 
building erected for a county school about a mile west of the town. Mrs. Hughs was 
the pioneer teacher. After the town grew in size the school was moved to what was 
known as Grangers Hall on North Front Street near Main Street, later it was moved 
to Washington Hall on East Main Street. In 1883 the citizens erected the four- 
room, two-story school building where now stands the Hawthorne school. That fine, 
twelve-room building was erected in 1894 and served its purpose for a short time only, 
as the city was growing rapidly in population and soon there was a cry for more 
school room. The trustees then purchased about three and a half acres of land on the 
west side for a new school site. The property was purchased of Cooper & Lyons, 
for $2,200, the owners generously deducting $600 from their selling price because of 
its object. There the present Lowell eight-room building was erected. The trustees 
in 1920 built additional rooms to the Hawthorne school and will soon erect a second 
grammar school on the east side. 

The Turlock high school was organized in 1906 and a high school was erected 
at a cost of $25,000. Each year since its organization the class has had its class 
exercises and its baccalaureate sermon delivered by some prominent pastor and its 
commencement exercises in some public hall. The graduating exercises in 1920 were 
held June 14 in the Turlock Theater. It is the largest of graduating classes and 
includes three who have received special honors, namely, Doris Olson, Ella Crowell 
and Kathleen Britton. The exercises in the theater comprised an invocation by the 
Rev. C. R. Eastman ; class greeting, Doris Olson ; song by a double quartette ; address, 
Rev. Thomas Giffen of Fresno ; pianp solo, Doris Olson ; presentation of class gift by 
James Howard, '20; acceptance of gift, Elvin Knutsen, '21; awarding of diplomas, 
President C. C. Carlson; class song, composed by Wells Hively; benediction, Rev. 
E. C. Gammon. 

Memorial Day Celebration 

The 30th of May, a day observed in every large city in the nation was first 
observed in Turlock in 1909. On that day a large crowd assembled in the Swedish 
Mission Church to "honor the men who died that our country might live." The 
exercises began by an introductory speech by the old Grand Army veteran, Julius 
Cuendet, who related incidents in the Civil War ; prayer by Rev. C. S. Needham ; 
address by the Reverend Rodger Darling, "This day shall be unto you for a memorial" ; 
benediction, Rev. H. P. Farr. During the exercises music was furnished by a male 
quartette comprising J. W. Farr, O. H. Roberts, J. Elmer and Rev. H. P. Farr. 

The Great Fire of 1910 
The fire caused by a defective flue broke out in the tailor shop of P. O. Clint & 
Sons, located on West Main Street near the St. Elmo Hotel. A heavy wind 
was blowing at the time and the flames, spreading rapidly through the wooden 
shanties in less than one hour, over 140 feet of business firms were destroyed. For a 
time the entire business part of the town was threatened and the firemen had great 
difficulty in saving the St. Elmo Hotel, at the time one of the finest hotels in the 
upper valley. The firemen had two heavy streams of water playing upon the flames 
and they did not succeed in extinguishing the flames until over $20,000 worth of prop- 
erty was consumed. The St. Elmo was badly damaged, the fire burning out the 
windows and setting fire to the rooms of all three stores on the west side of the 
building. Among the losses were those of B. W. Childs & Company, real estate, Mr. 
Childs losing a valuable library which he had been twenty years collecting; Turlock 
Shoe Shop, Turlock Tanning Company, P. O. Clint & Son, tailors; Cadwalader & 
Baker, real estate; W. Litchfield, cigars and pool room; A. L. McGill, insurance; 
Cunningham & Lundrake, clothing; D. Salberg, Rapp Brothers, butchers, and Dr. 


Dexter, dentist. The burned block was immediately rebuilt with pressed brick at a 
cost of $40,000 and now presents a neat and handsome appearance. 

The Turlock Fire Department 
The fire department upon which the city depends to protect it from destruction 
from fire, is first class as to its man power, for its consists of a volunteer department of 
twenty-four virile young men, full of enthusiasm. Its fire apparatus, however, seems 
to an outsider to be a joke. It does the work, however, as was shown in the late 
Carolyn Hotel fire. After the fire of 1893, there was not much of the town left 
except Osborn's store, alone on the sand lot. The town was practically dead, but 
after the completing of the irrigation canal the town began to grow. In 1907 a 
fire department was organized with H. S. Crane, M. M. Hedman and J. Gall as 
trustees. These men purchased a sixty-gallon chemical engine, and they also ordered 
a local manufactured combination wagon to carry hose and hooks and ladders. A 
small alarm bell was purchased and the Southern Pacific permitted its erection in the 
tower on the reservation. In 1909 the trustees purchased something new in the fire- 
fighting line; it was what is known as a Howe cylinder pump, with a twenty-horse- 
power gasoline engine. On its first trial, the engine was set at a well near Osborn's 
store and threw a stream of water twice the height of the St. Elmo Hotel. It was 
the first fire engine of its kind in California. It plays two one-inch streams, drawing 
water from a well or hydrant, and now mounted on a Ford truck seems to fill the bill. 
The department also has a combination chemical and hose wagon and with a forty- 
five-pound pressure from the hydrants, they have plenty of water and sufficient force 
to extinguish any fire. In the pioneer days water was obtained from wells bored 
in the earth from thirty to sixty feet and windmills were everywhere seen. In 1909, 
January 17th, the citizens by their vote of 171 to 11, authorized the city trustees to 
bond the- city $26,000 for municipal water works and $27,000 for a sewer system. 
They now have a large pumping plant drawing water from wells 150 feet deep, and 
two large steel tanks which supply the city with an abundance of pure water. 

Turlock the First "Dry Town" 

Turlock was incorporated under the general state law of 1908, which authorized 
any town of less than 5,000 inhabitants to organize a city government of the sixth class 
and elect as city officials a board of five trustees, and from this number shall be chosen 
a president of the board, a city clerk, city attorney, a city treasurer and city marshal. 
The election was held January 21, 1908, and the following officers elected: president, 
H. S. Crane; trustees, H. C. Blewett, E. B. Osborn, Theodore Olson and August P. 
Warren; Clerk, A. G. Elmore; treasurer, Charles Klein; marshal, E. T. Skiff. 

The first election was interesting and important but not half as important or 
exciting as the second city election that of January, 1910. The excitement was not 
because of the keen rivalry of "seekers of office" so much as the all-important question : 
"Shall the board of trustees pass a high license ordinance of saloons or refuse to license 
them?" If the majority voted against the high license then the saloons must close 
their doors for evermore, on July 1, 1910. "The election was the most strenuous ever 
held. Business was deserted and for one day the people fought a great fight." The 
interest in the candidates was intense. The most interest, however, centered on the 
question, "saloons or no saloons." The drys were out in full force as were the wets 
and both sides had registered every possible man to assist them in the struggle. When 
the polls closed at six o'clock the City Hall was filled with an eager crowd and there 
was great excitement as the count progressed. It was seen when the count was two- 
thirds over that the drys had won the victory by a majority of sixty-three. 

The election aside from the liquor question resulted as follows: Trustees for the 
full term of four vears, three to be elected, Dr. T. N. Topp, 252; A. J. Clipper, 211 ; 
Charles H. Geer,183; J. V. Baker, 182; C. C. Cullen, 143. For the term of two 
years, H. S. Crane, 217; E. B. Osborn, 195; H. C. Houskin, 121 ; Theodore Olson, 
120; for clerk, A. G. Elmore, 236; for treasurer, Charles Klein, 91 ; for marshal, E. 
T. Skiff, 192; John L. Kiernan, 18. 


Turlock's area is nearly square four miles, the canal forming two-thirds of the 
eastern boundary. The first survey of the townsite was made under the direction of 
John W. Mitchell. All subsequent surveys have been made by John T. Luyster, for 
many years city engineer. Additions to the town were made from time to time by 
different owners of land tracts and the result is a very incongruous assortment of 
blocks. Some are 250 feet by 800 feet in length. Some are 300x400 feet in size, and 
there are several so-called blocks containing less than an acre of land. Denair Park, 
on the east side, contains less than an acre and a half of land, with streets upon three 
sides. While on the other hand the Free Library is located on the north end of a 
block 800 feet in length, with streets upon three sides, the apex not exceeding 150 feet 
in width. For a small city Turlock is to be commended for her many miles of well- 
paved streets and it has been asserted that for her size and age the city has more 
miles of asphalt paved streets than any other city in the United States. 

Turlock Lodges and Societies 

The city had literary aspirations as early as 1904 and December 3, a literary 
society was organized with W. C. Blewett as president; D. L. Lane, vice-president; 
Pauline Klein, secretary; Dr. Hicks, treasurer, and John Holmes, sergeant-at-arms. 

There are twelve Turlock societies that hold their meetings in Fraternal Hall 
on East Market Street near Front Street. The smaller societies hold their meetings 
during the daylight hours of the morning or the afternoon. One of these societies is 
Turlock Lodge No. 98, Knights of Pythias. It was organized in 1909 by Grand 
Chancellor W. D. Wagner of San Bernardino, with twenty-five charter members. 
The meetings were held in the Gall-Denair Hall. The officers from the Newman 
Lodge K. of P. came over and conferred the degree on ten young men. The first 
officers of the Lodge were chief chancellor, J. L. Randolph ; vice-chancellor, L. J. 
Gaamewell; prelate, M. E. Hickok; master of work, Louis Wolf; master of exchequer, 
E. T. Vignolo; master of finance, L. T. Brown; inside guardian, Dan Gilroy; outside 
guardian, T. W. Sundy. 

Turlock Lodge No. 395, F & A. M., was instituted November 14, 1908, by 
Grand Master Oscar E. Lawler of Los Angeles. For nearly a year a number of 
Masons were engaged in the necessary preliminary work and in finding enough Masons 
:o organize a lodge. They finally succeeded in interesting eight past masters and with 
:hem, sixteen Masons signed up for a dispensation. It was granted by the Grand 
Lodge in October, 1908, and the following officers were elected and installed: B. W. 
Childs, worthy master; Donald Bymore, senior warden ;'C. R. Bronough, junior war- 
den; J. B. Quigley, treasurer; Dr. B. F. Clarke, secretary; Dr. B. H. Nichols, senior 
deacon; H. W. Rickenbacher, junior deacon; C. C. Coffinbury and James Funk, 
stewards. B. W. Childs was installed as worthy master January 28, 1910, for the 
third term. On that occasion he wore a beautiful hand-painted apron, which belonged 
to his grandfather, who wore the same apron when installed as worthy master. 

The Masons have now erected a magnificent three-story building at a cost of 
$250,000. The new Masonic temple is a credit to the order and the pride of the 
citizens of the city. Turlock has another beautiful building, its new theater. It was 
erected by Messrs. Crane, Greer and Varner, and completed in 1920, cost complete a 
quarter of a million dollars. 

Turlock Lodge No. 402, I. O. O. F., was instituted January 18, 1908, by H. P. 
Weyer, deputy district grand master, assisted by H. D. Richardson, grand secretary 
and the following past grands: George Perley, James Leonard, Charles MacDonald, 
B. F. Fowle, A. R. Schofield and J. R. Broughton. The following are the charter 
members: Guy F. Donkin, Joseph Samuelson, Daniel Raymond, Arthur G Crowell, 
John R. Adams, John Carlson and Joseph A. Coveney. Eight candidates were 

Pansy Rebekah Lodge No. 230, was instituted September 8, 1908. by Dora B. 
Carr, deputy district president. The following are the charter members: Margaret 
and Maurice W. Huff, Bertha and Thomas Menzies, Mattie and George Hale, 


Minnie Lofflin, Flora Anson, Alonzo Brackett, Isabel and P. E. Anderson, Eliza 
Lauder, Rachel MaoGregor and Hazel Edmondson. 

The Woman's Club 

The Woman's Club was organized June 12, 1906, in the Church of the Brethren. 
Its object was the civic improvement of the city, and soon after its organization the 
city trustees put them in full charge of the cemetery. It must have been in a very neg- 
lected condition, for we read that the club employed three men, working for three 
weeks, making the sacred ground presentable. Unfenced, they also spent $300 in en- 
closing the grounds, obtaining the money by a "Tag Day" sale. In 1908, a little library 
was established in a little store on West Main Street. The librarian was Mrs. S. R. 
Douglas and the library was sustained by patrons from city and county, who paid 
twenty-five cents per month. In the following year the Woman's Club donated 
twenty-five dollars to the library with the understanding that the money should be ex- 
pended in purchase of children's books, the money coming, perhaps, from proceeds of 
the concert given March 3, 1909, in the Turlock Opera House. There was a chorus of 
fifty singers directed by Professor Fred Twicher, formerly of Boston, Mass. Mrs. 
Laura De Yoe Brown, soprano, and B. P. Hawkins assisted as soloists. The orchestra, 
with Professor Kasky as leader, comprised Miss Nelson, pianist; John Osborn, Dr. John 
Hodges, H. T. Randolph, H. C. Blewett and Andrew Dutillieul. The city trustees 
took over the library in 1910 and October 5 passed an ordinance supporting the library 
by taxation. 

The Carnegie Library 

In the far East there was a naturalized Scotchman named Andrew Carnegie. He 
made so much money out of steel he didn't know what to do with it. As one means of 
disposing of it he began giving away the coin for the building in various parts of the 
country free public library buildings. Attached to the gifts were certain strings, first 
the library should forever be called by his name ; second, the lot must be secured free of 
any debt or mortgage ; third, the city trustees must contract to furnish a certain amount 
of money per annum in support of the library. This amount varied in proportion to 
the amount appropriated for the library building. A few of the enterprising women of 
Turlock who heard of the generosity of this billionaire proposed taking advantage of it, 
and a club was organized to serve as a working base for the erection of a Carnegie 
Library. The Turlock Civic Club, as it was called, was organized December 4, 1914, 
with the following officers : President, Cora Johnson ; secretary, Mrs. Ethel Sill ; 
treasurer, Mrs. C. E. Brown. The club seems to have comprised a library-getting 
quartette, for the three club officers, together with Mrs. California Walker, did all 
of the preliminary work of communicating with Carnegie's agent, soliciting funds, 
selecting and purchasing the site. After the purchase of the lot on North Broadway, 
the deed was offered to the city trustees for their acceptance. By a vote of three to one 
the deed was accepted by the trustees. For some reason one trustee voted no and one 
refused to vote; perhaps, like the Oakdale trustees, they thought Carnegie's money 
tainted, or they did not care to perpetuate his name through the ages. In less than 
two years from the time the club was organized, the doors of the beautiful little library 
were opened, in September, 1916, at a cost of $9,200. Seven hundred dollars was 
laid aside for its support and Mrs. S. B. Love selected as librarian. 
Turlock's Banks 

Financiers judge a city's wealth by the number and resources of its banks. From 
this point of view Turlock is none behind the larger cities. The Modesto Herald, 
knowing of the prosperous condition of the city since the irrigation canals were filled 
with water, said in 1907: "Strange no one has started a bank in Turlock." Shortly 
after that J. E. Ward of the First National Bank, Modesto, visited Turlock and pur- 
chased two lots between Osborn & Son and M. Berg's store for the erecting of a bank 
building, and July 11, 1905, the First National Bank of Turlock was opened with a 
capital stock of $50,000. Oramil McHenry, the largest stockholder, was president; 
C. O. Anderson, cashier, and Garrison Turner, Theodore Turner, J. P. Islip, J. P. 
Fuller and O. McHenry, directors. 


The Commercial Bank was incorporated February 20, 1907, with Frederick E. 
Biles as president and treasurer; F. W. Nahoun, vice-president; Ada Carr, cashier and 
secretary, and Fred E. Biles, C. B. Dirke, John T. and C. T. Richey, H. G. Shearer, 
F. W. Nahoun and O. J. Root, directors. The Peoples State Bank was organized 
May 6, 1907, with the following officers and directors: J. E. Weaver, president; 
Edgar Bixter, vice-president; A. L. Foote and Peter Erickson, directors. 

Opening of Carolyn Hotel 

The opening of a large first-class hotel is always an important event, especially 
in small communities, and the reception to the public on the evening of September 4, 
1909, by Mr. and Mrs. Julius J. Vignolo, on the opening of the Carolyn Hotel was 
the social event of that period. The reception was attended by hundreds of citizens, 
many of them coming from Stockton and the surrounding country. A large number 
of beautiful floral pieces, sent by their many friends, graced the lobby. At its entrance 
the guests were received by Mr. and Mrs. Vignolo, while their two daughters, Carolyn, 
after whom the hotel is named, and Florence, conducted the guests throughout the 
building. The visitors were served with punch, ice cream and cake, while Bedeson's 
orchestra of Merced delightfully entertained the guests with music, the finest ever 
heard in Turlock, the orchestra later playing for the dance held in the north room of 
the hotel. 

After the old landmark, the Turlock Hotel, had been torn down, the building 100 
feet on Front Street and 117 feet on Main Street was erected at a cost of $25,000. 
The corner on the first floor was occupied by the Turlock Land Company, next east 
came R. R. Rice, barber shop, then the hotel office, the dining room, and a drug store. 
On the Front Street side, next to the land company, came a confectionery store, cigar 
and pool room, and porter's room. On the morning of May 21, 1920, the building 
was damaged by fire to the extent of over $10,000. The fire started in a pile of rub- 
bish on the roof of the one-story kitchen. 

Of the smaller towns in Stanislaus County there are several that are prosperous 
and wealthy, each one growing in size and population and each one a central depot for 
the transportation of tons of valuable products. Crows Landing, named after Isaac P. 
Crow, who died there October 14, 1905, at the age of 90 years, was moved up from 
the river bank to the railroad. It is a busy little burg, with a Chamber of Commerce, 
two religious denominations, two banks and a grammar school costing $35,000. 


Mrs. A. E. Ulch 

About 118 miles to the east of San Francisco, in the heart of the beautiful San 
Joaquin Valley, the city of Ceres has grown up among trees and vines and lovely flowers. 
In the autumn of 1867, Daniel Whitmore, having possessed himself of thousands of 
acres of the fertile lands in this vicinity, came here to reside with his family. His 
house was the first one built on what is now the site of the city of Ceres; and with his 
family, consisting of his wife and three sons, he took up his residence there. The house 
is still there, and is now the home of Guy C. Whitmore and his family, and is one of 
the landmarks on Fifth Street. Guy C. Whitmore is a grandson of Daniel Whit- 
more, the pioneer who, with all his family, have passed from earth life. 

When the main branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad was built through the 
valley, a flag station was made here, and in 1874 the first depot was built, and Cyrus 
Lee was the first station agent. This station was named Ceres because of the large 
quantities of wheat grown upon the surrounding plains, which made the name of 
the goddess most appropriate. 

John G. Annear was one of the pioneers of Ceres and built a blacksmith shop 
in June, 1872. He was a good mechanic and did the work, with his helpers, for farmers 
for many miles around this vicinity. His family consisted of a wife, one son 
and one daughter. His wife died about two years ago. His son, the late Edgar H. 


Annear, was a man of marked ability. He was for several years the county surveyor 
of Stanislaus County and was the engineer under whose directions the beautiful bridge 
across the Tuolumne, north of Ceres, was constructed. He died during the World 
War in the service of his country, with the rank of major. The daughter, Mrs. Ellen 
Wilson, lives in Ceres with her family of four children, and with her J. G. Annear 
makes his home. 

The first store was started in 1877, a firm named Bradley & Reed being the 
proprietors. The town was laid out and Daniel Whitmore made it famous by a 
clause in each deed given for town lots, prohibiting the manufacture, sale or giving 
away of any kind of intoxicating liquors thereon, with a penalty attached for violation, 
so Ceres was a "dry" town from the beginning. 

Some of the family names of those who settled here in the early days of the town 
are Service, Warner, Conner, Williams, Cook, Brouse, Chapin, Wallace, Witherell, 
Lee, Glenn, Wiggins, Woodbridge, Tully, Hanscom, Averill, Hall, Roberts, McNeil 
Craig, Hatch and Ulch. 

In the year 1870 the first school was taught in the Ceres district by Mrs. Aurelia 
Chapin, who continued in the capacitv of teacher here nine years. It is a long time from 
1870 to 1921, and time has wrought many changes. Then there was a little one- 
room schoolhouse, white with green shutters at the windows, the type so well known. 
Now. a half century later, a fine white brick grammar school building, with supple- 
mentary buildings and all modern equipment, a splendid brick high school building, 
with automobile instruction shop and other mechanical shops, all modern, a corps of 
teachers to the number of twenty-five and about 700 pupils. 

The first church, a Baptist Church, was organized in October, 1879, with twelve 
constituent members, only one of whom remains, Mrs. C. N. Whitmore, widow of 
C. N. Whitmore, who was a son of the pioneer, Daniel Whitmore. This little organ- 
ization has grown to a church of more than 200 members. The first church edifice 
was built and dedicated in 1881-1882. It was a beautiful building, the pride of the 
community, but one night in 1890 it was consumed by fire. Insurance upon the 
building had inadvertently been allowed to expire; the members bravely went about 
the construction of a new building and in 1891 the present structure was dedicated. 
Today the church property of the Ceres Baptists is valued at $25,000. 

Three other churches have been organized here as the years have rolled on, 
Congregational, Methodist and Christian, with a membership now averaging perhaps 
150 each, and each church with neat places of worship and parsonages. 

The city of Ceres is incorporated, with a population of approximately 1,000: 
but it is the center of a rich, rural population of about 17,000 people, much of the 
land adjoining the city being divided into lots of from one to ten acres each. Smyrna 
Park is the home of the Calimyrna fig, but here also grow in great abundance olives, 
peaches, pears, apricots, all kinds of berries and grapes. Alfalfa fields are seen in 
every direction in North, East, West and South Ceres. Here also large crops of 
beans, melons and even wheat are harvested. Wheat has not been so much in evi- 
dence in these later years as formerly, before the irrigation district was completed. 

In 1895 a reunion of residents and ex-residents of Ceres was a notable affair, 
which we would like to describe if we had space, but this is one of many things we 
must hurriedly pass by. 

A new sewer sj'stem is being constructed, costing about $10,000, but this will 
not be adequate. Citizens will have to use of their own private funds to meet the • 
need. Ceres has a live Board of Trade of about 75 members. The business of the 
town is large, several mercantile houses, drug stores, restaurants, packing houses 
and warehouses, all doing well, and there is great need of a thoroughly modern hotel. 

The lodges in the city, active just now, are the Artisans and the Odd Fellows. 
Other important organizations are the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the 
Red Cross and a Parent-Teachers Association, as well as a Farm Center and a Young 
Men's Club. Ceres also has a branch library with nearly 1,000 card holders, Mrs. 
Ulch, librarian. 


One newspaper is published here, the Ceres Courier, a good, clean sheet with a 
wide circulation. A free movie show, it might be called an out-of-doors theater, is a 
great success. It is an attraction for crowds of people, and it is due to the generosity 
of a number of citizens who contributed to the expense of establishing it here. 

The Bank of Ceres is a beautiful building and does a large business. It is .con- 
sidered one of the solid institutions of the State of California. 

Four of the grandsons of the late Daniel Whitmore have beautiful homes in 
Ceres. Vaughn D. Whitmore is mayor of the city and president of the county board 
of supervisors. 


Denair, formerly known as the Elmwood Colony, was named after John 
Denair, who laid out the townsite in 1907. The town is three miles from Turlock, 
and the Santa Fe Railroad planned to erect a roundhouse, machine shops and other 
buildings on the Elmwood colony. Denair learned their plan and bought up the 
land. His price to the Santa Fe for land was so high that they refused to purchase, 
so goes the story, and they located at Riverbank. As the land was within the Turlock 
Irrigation District, farmers began purchasing small tracts of land for the raising of 
fruits, vegetables and alfalfa, and this gave an impetus to the growth of the town. It 
now has a population of about 400 persons within the town limits and some 1,500 
persons in close proximity. A fine grammar school was erected in 1916, and a hand- 
some Union high school is just completed at a cost of $60,000. There are in the 
town three religious organizations, the Christians, the Mission and the Friends, each 
denomination worshipping in a little frame chapel. The town is supplied with water 
from an elevated iron tank. Pure water may be found at a depth of sixty feet. The 
Commercial Bank of Turlock has there located a branch bank, and there are seven 
packing plants for the packing of the melons and fruit grown in the vicinity of Denair. 


Hickman, which lies on the Tuolumne just south of Waterford, was named 
after Louis M. Hickman, at one time a hardware merchant and mayor of Stockton. 
In the late '60s, Mr. Hickman married Mary Dallas, the eldest daughter of Charles 
Dallas, and he and his father-in-law became two of the earliest settlers in the county. 
The town has within its limits a $20,000 grammar school, a house of worship and is 
quite a prominent shipping point. 


Empire, a survival of the old town, Empire City, is now on the line of a railroad 
lying about five miles east of Modesto. It is a farming community and chiefly occupied 
by Dunkards, a large colony of them arriving many years ago from Indiana. They 
are a very quiet, orderly and industrious people and frequently seen upon the streets 
of Modesto, are noticeable because of their peculiar dress. 


The 2,080-acre ranch owned by Hiram L. Hughson was purchased by Flock & 
Jacobson in 1907 and subdivided into small farms. They also laid out the town site. 
On account of litigation, development was held back about ten years, when operations 
began in earnest, and since that it has had a steady growth. Through intensive farm- 
ing, the colony has made rapid progress, particularly in orchards, vineyards and alfalfa 
fields. General farming, dairying and grain raising is carried on extensively. The 
town has built up steadily and buildings have been erected commensurate with the 
growth of the town. 

The first merchant in Hughson was Mr. Chenoweth, his store being a small 
wooden building on the west side of the railroad. The second man to locate here in 
business was N. G. Clark, who came from Modesto and started a small hardware 
store and bicycle repair shop, but it is now exclusively a hardware store. Mr. Cheno- 
weth was the first postmaster, the post office being located in his store. 

The first grammar school was built in 1908, opening with two teachers; the 
school has grown until ten teachers are now employed. The Hughson high school 


was built in 1920, at a cost of $110,000, a large, beautiful and substantial building, 
of which the citizens are very proud. It was opened in February, 1921. Hughson has 
a fine domestic water system, and has a fire and lighting district. The last census gave 
the population as 400, but there are probably 500 residents. 


The city of Newman, sometimes called the metropolis of the West Side, was 
founded by settlers from Hill's Ferry, who removed their houses and homes to a 
point near the railroad. In the number was the young merchant, Simon Newman, and 
after him the town was named. He died in San Francisco October 8, 1911. 

Newman was incorporated as a city of the sixth class in 1908. Its officers in 
1911 comprised the following: President of trustees, J. H. Yancy; trustees, W. Tin- 
nin, J. H. Beall, C. E. Eddelson, J. N. Stuhr; city clerk, Helen Price; attorney, G. A. 
Whitby; treasurer, W. J. Burris; marshal, R. S. Kernaham. In 1915 the officers 
were: President of trustees, J. H. Beall; trustees, William Tinnin, G. O. Eddel- 
mon ; A. Cronwell, J. N. Stuhr; clerk, Helen O. Price; attorney, G. A. Whitby; 
treasurer, Wm. J. Burris; marshal, R. S. Kernaham. The population, according to 
the census of 1921, is 1,251. 

A handsome Union high school was built in 1906. It is known as the Orestemba 
high school and Edmund P. Halley has been the principal of the school since 1910. 
The school trustees erected a fine grammar school in 1912 at a cost of $50,000. It is 
said to be one of the finest concrete school buildings in the county. 

The town boasts of two and took considerable pride in its three banks, namely, 
The Bank of Newman, the Portuguese-American Bank, a branch of the San Francisco 
bank of the same name, and the First National Bank. The last named bank closed 
its doors and two of its officers were tried and found guilty of embezzlement. The 
Bank of Newman was incorporated May 4, 1903, and is said to be one "of the most 
solid and conservative financial institutions in the United States." Its first officers 
were E. S. Wagenheim, president ; J. H. Elfries, vice-president ; W. W. Giddings, 
secretary and cashier, and J. L. Kinnear, treasurer. The bank commissioners' report 
of 1920 gives the following officers and directors: E. S. Wagenheim, president: 
J. H. Elfries, vice-president; A. B. Joseph, secretary and cashier; J. L. Kinnear, 
treasurer"; C. W. Hawks, assistant to president; F. S. Powell, assistant cashier. The 
bank has a branch at Crows Landing, A. W. Drummond, manager, and one at Gus- 
tine. E. J. Moorhead, manager. The bank directors are E. S. Wagenheim, A. M. 
Souza, J. H. Elfries, L. J. Newman, Fred Bartch (died May 1, 1921), F. R. Stevin- 
son, J. L. Kinnear, W. W. Cox and H. V. Armistead. 


Several secret societies have been instituted in the town, among them a Masonic 
and Eastern Star lodge, Knights of Pythias, who own the hall and building, Woodmen 
of the World, Neighbors of Woodcraft, a Danish lodge and Newman encampment 
No. 98, Orestimba lodge No. 354, I. O. O. F., and Santa Rita lodge No. 206, 
Rebekahs. The Odd Fellows own their hall and the lodge was instituted November 
25, 1889, by Grand Master Charles Jenkins, with the following charter members: 
Sydney Crelley, Charles Herring, Jasper Parnell, E. H. Robinson and S. Rasmussen. 
In their first report to the grand lodge they had thirty-eight members. The Rebekah 
Lodge was instituted April 10, 1894, by Catherine Freeman, district deputy grand 
master. They surrendered their charter in 1899. A few years later the lodge was 
reinstituted with the same name and number. 


The churches, five in number, include the Catholic, Christian Science, Lutheran, 
Methodist and Presbyterian. The denomination first-named, St. Joachim, is a small 
wooden structure erected in 1904 and dedicated four years later by Archbishop 
Montgomery. Until 1906 it was included in the Modesto parish in charge of Father 
Giles. In that year Father John Leal became the resident priest, remaining until 
1910. The parish, now containing four missions, Gustine, Patterson, Crows Landing 


and Grayson, is in charge of four Spanish priests of the "Order of the Immaculate 
Heart of Man" in Los Angeles. 

Newspapers and Library 
The first newspaper, the Newman Tribune, was issued in 1888 by Bert Eachus, 
and the present journal, the West Side Index, was first issued in 1890 by Innis 

The Newman free library was founded in 1908 by the Woman's Improvement 
Club, with Mrs. A. Sartoris as librarian. It is supported by contributions and money 
obtained by the club from entertainments, etc. The ladies, in July, 1909, purchased 
a lot for the library at the corner of Kern and O streets and immediately began 
beautifying the site by planting shade trees, plants and grass plots. They were in 
iiopes in the future to obtain a Carnegie library building. Their hopes thus far have 
not materialized, for the state library report of this year says that the library is located 
in rooms provided by the club. Mrs. Sartoris resigned as librarian in July, 1911, and 
Miss Helen Lynch, the present librarian, was appointed. The little library was 
founded with thirty books on the shelves. It now numbers 1,141 miscellaneous vol- 
umes, these including half a hundred books donated in 1911 by Mrs. R. L. Hodshire. 

Fire and Water Supply 

The city has a good fire department, with apparatus sufficient to extinguish any 
fire. This is possible because of a plentiful supply of water and a heavy water hose 
pressure from a high reservoir. The water is pumped from three deep wells, the pump 
delivering 500 gallons of water per minute. The firemen are now uniformed in the 
regulation fireman's coat, and each fireman will wear a fireman's badge. 


The townsite of Patterson ten years ago was a grain field, and the citizens point 
with considerable pride to that fact because it shows the wonderful progressive growth 
of the town since 1910. The tract is but a small portion of the Spanish grant known 
as the Rancho Del Puerto, named after the creek which flows from the western foot- 
hills. The grant, containing some 20,000 acres, was purchased in 1864 by John D. 
Patterson, the deed being signed by the President, Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Patterson 
died in New York in 1902 at the age of eighty-seven years. He came to California 
in 1854 around Cape Horn, bringing with him several pure-bred Spanish Merino 
sheep, and for many years he was engaged in the raising of pure-bred shorthorn cattle 
and sheep, and a few well-bred racing horses. He was one of the leading stock- 
raisers in California for many years, and at every state and county fair he would cap- 
ture the first prizes. 

As the Southern Pacific Railroad pushed its way along the West Side, at the 
request of Simon Newman, perhaps, or Patterson himself, the company placed a sid- 
ing within the limits of the present city. It was known to the railroad men as the 
Emerald switch. At that point Simon Newman erected a warehouse for the storage 
of grain. When the Patterson estate was settled, the Rancho Del Puerto fell to the 
heirs, one of them T. W. Patterson. The heirs, forming a company in 1909, began 
laying out the land for irrigation. The water was pumped from the San Joaquin 
River, and October 25, 1910, it was first run over the land. The irrigation system 
is one of the most complete in California, says the Patterson Irrigator. "The com- 
bined pumping stations is 1,645 horsepower, capable of supplying three acre feet of 
water yearly to the 19,000 acres in the tract." The company then divided the land 
into small tracts and began selling it to colonists. The first purchaser is said to be 
R. R. Peters, who purchased a tract February 2, 1910, now the corner of Walnut and 
Elm streets. 

Two large purchasers of land were William Cox and Frederick Bartch. They 
had bought their land near the present townsite, and two years later Mr. Bartch, retir- 
ing from farming, cut his land up into five, ten and twenty-acre tracts and began dis- 
posing of it to settlers. He was for years actively engaged in the developing and up- 
building of the West Side and widely known up and down the San Joaquin Valley. 


After an illness of less than a month, he died May 1, 1921, at the age of seventy-six 
years. Serving with the New York Volunteers in the Civil War, he came to Stanis- 
laus County in 1876 and lived the balance of his life on his ranch near Patterson. 

An interesting feature of the colony is the fact that the first concrete grain 
elevator built in the great San Joaquin Valley was erected at Patterson. It has a 
capacity of 30,000 bushels of grain and is one of the feeders of the great system that 
has its outlet at Alameda. 


Patterson, embracing a tract of some 400 acres, is quite a noticeable city for at 
least two reasons: first, because of its buildings in a semi-circle, and second, because 
its first business projects were backed up by those parties who founded the town. 
The Patterson heirs founded the place, and T. W. Patterson was one of the leading 
spirits in the project. The town was laid out after the old Spanish plaza type, its 
broad, tree-bordered, well-kept streets all converging to a small circle, the center of 
which is the administration building. It was so planned in 1910 by Mr. Patterson. 
C. J. Carlson was appointed postmaster in 1911, serving for one year. 

As it takes coin for the advancement of any project, and a place of deposit for 
the coin, the first building erected was a bank. "It is one of the prettiest in the state," 
says the Irrigator, "costing over $25,000, and with over $100,000 in deposits," in 
1915. It was incorporated May 23, 1911, the present officers and directors being 
(Bank Commissioner's report, 1920): C. J. Carlson, president; J. M. Smith, vice- 
president; Ole Torvend, secretary-treasurer and cashier; Otto Olsen, assistant cashier. 
Directors, A. M. Field, C. J. Carlson, J. C. Fulton, Ole Torvend, E. A. Erickson, 
J. M. Kerr, Manuel Rodgers, J. M. Smith and O. S. Lokka. A second bank, the 
Commercial, is now being constructed. A handsome hotel was then built by the 
company at a cost of $25,000 and, now under lease, is still owned by the company. A 
second hotel, at a cost of some $18,000, was later erected. Following the building of 
the hotel, the company erected a substantial building for a general merchandising store 
and this was followed by a garage. 

A two-story grammar school, constructed of wood, was erected in 1911, additions 
to serve the increased number of children being made the following year. Previous 
to 1915, a handsome concrete grammar school was erected at a cost of $25,000. The 
citizens voted a bond issue this year of $60,000 for a second grammar school. There 
are at present 457 pupils in the grammar grades, James W. Bixby being the principal 
of the school since 1916. In 1913 a Union high school was constructed approxi- 
mating about $50,000 in cost. The school at present has eighty-seven pupils, J. Fraser 
Evans being the principal. 

The pioneer newspaper of the town is the Patterson Irrigator, first issued in 
September, 1911, as a company paper. It was a six-column, four-page weekly edition, 
and edited by Elwyn Hoffman. The present editor and owner is L. C. Fleharty. 
Purchasing the Irrigator in 1919, he enlarged it to a seven-column, four-page edition. 
The proprietor puts out a good paper and it is a credit to the town. 

The churches are numerous, seven in number, one church to every ninety-five of 
the population, men, women and children. They are designated as the Catholic, 
Church of the Brethren, Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints, Lutheran, 
Methodist, Norwegian, Presbyterian and Swedish Mission. 

The Women's Improvement Club has been established for several years and 
their crowning work is the Carnegie Library now being erected. Some time ago the 
agent of the fund gave $3,000 to the erection of a free library and the citizens, by 
subscription, raised money sufficient to erect a $11,000 library. The project was 
placed in the hands of the Women's Improvement Club, and on the afternoon of 
April 26, 1921, the cornerstone was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The president 
of the club, Mrs. J. H. Corcoran, presided, and short talks were made by C. J. Carl- 
son and J. M. Kerr, city trustees, and the children of the public schools sang several 
songs under the direction of their music teacher, Miss Ruby Lambert. The Patterson 
orchestra rendered several selections. 

Patterson was incorporated in 1920 as a city of the sixth class. The following 
were the officers elected: board of trustees, John Evans, C. J. Carlson, J. M. Kerr, 


Harry Heintz and W. L. Kirk; J. M. Smith, marshal, and J. M. Kerr, 
justice of the peace. The trustees are already engaged in a good work for health 
and prosperity in the installation of a $52,500 sewer system with septic tank, to 
be completed during the summer of 1921. They have also shown themselves of 
a high moral standard, higher than that of any other city in the valley, by passing 
four to one a Sunday law. It prohibits the showing of any entertainment where ad- 
mission is charged on that day, also the playing of cards, pool or billiards in public 
on the Sabbath. They also passed some time ago what is known as "the little Vol- 
stead" ordinance, which prohibits the sale or use of any liquors in the citv unless 
authorized by a physician's prescription, or transportation of the same. 

The city has an excellent water supply, the water being pumped from deep wells 
into a large steel tank. It is of sufficient height and capacity to supply the homes 
with all the water desired and also gives an immense supply and heavy hose pressure 
to the firemen in case of fire. The Chamber of Commerce was established on a firm 
basis in 1920 and now has a membership of more than sixty active business men and 
farmers. E. H. Tienken is the president of the organization at this time, and he also 
was the presiding officer at a dinner served by the ladies of the Presbyterian Church 
on the evening of April 25, 1921. The banquet followed a splendid boosters' meeting 
under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce, which was addressed by Thomas 
H. Reed of the University of California. 

Although Patterson is dependent upon the farmers of the surrounding country 
for its life and support, it has two industries within the town limits worthy of mention, 
namely, the Western Meat and Dairy Products Company and the Mineral Products 
plant. This plant, erected in 1917, obtains its mineral from the Ouinto mines in 
the Coast Range. The plant covers about fourteen acres of ground, and in the ex- 
traction of the magnesia about 120 men are employed. Another industry known 
throughout the nation is the Bridgeford Holstein Company. They are breeders of 
pure-blooded Holstein cattle and two of their cows have at present the world's record 
for producing butterfat. 


About 1895 the San Francisco & San Joaquin Valley Railroad was built through 
what is now Riverbank and the station by that name established. The railroad was 
operated under that name until 1900, when it was taken over by the Atchison, Topeka 
& Santa Fe Railroad. In 1910 Riverbank was made a division terminal, dividing 
the long division between Richmond and Fresno, and the company immediately began 
the construction of concrete machine shops, roundhouses, oil storage tanks, towers, etc. 
As soon as the buildings were completed the company began making it a terminal 
point, consequently in less than a year the town had a population of 400 or 500 per- 
sons, railroad employees and their families. Mercantile stores, a bank, religious denomi- 
nations and secret societies were soon established. The first load of lumber arrived 
July 3, 1911. It was owned by A. W. Jackson of Modesto, who intended to establish 
a restaurant. 

The Riverbank Land Company was organized about 1910, and securing several 
hundred acres of land, laid out the town of Riverbank and began building up the 
place. The Riverbank Water Company was formed for the purpose of furnishing 
water to the town for domestic, railroad and fire purposes. The company controls 
an abundance of exceptionally pure water and has a well 226 feet deep, equipped 
with two fifteen-horsepower motors for pumping. About 1911 the Oakdale Irrigation 
District was formed under the Wright Act, and covered all the lands in the section 
not already under irrigation. 

The First National Bank of Riverbank was organized in 1913 with a capital 
stock of $25,000 and occupies exceptionally fine quarters in the land company's build- 
ing. Riverbank has twelve hundred inhabitants and being a division point on the 
Santa Fe, has a pay roll of from $30,000 to $50,000 a month, all of which means that 


many of the shopmen and trainmen living here have their own homes and from one 
lo twenty acres of land each. 

Riverbank is practically the gateway from the rich gold and timber counties of 
Calaveras and Tuolumne, and it is in the heart of over 400,000 acres of rich and fertile 
irrigated lands. The temperature here seldom drops below freezing and the rainfall 
averages about twelve inches during the year. There is no malaria and no alkali 
to handicap the prospective settler. All the land has water and as early as sixty 
years ago the country was a solid grain field. The transportation facilities are unsur- 
passed for a town of its size, no less than twent}'-six passenger and eighteen freight 
.trains leaving each day, and its roads and. highways connect with the great state and 
national thoroughfares. Its entire population, with a few Mexican railway employees, 
is made up of white folks, and it is well provided with schools, churches, a library, 
newspaper, and mercantile establishments of all kinds. The dairy, sweet potato, peach, 
plum, pear, cherry, fig, olive, nut and berry industries are of imposing proportions 
and ever growing, and there are few places in the world where mixed gardening can 
be carried on to better advantage. 

The present pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Mahlan J. Williams, says 
that the Riverbank Church was originally the Burneyville Methodist Episcopal 
Church, organized in 1865, by Reverend Belknap, Sr. That church had the following 
pastors: The Reverends Belknap, Sr., Stewart, D. E. George, Belknap, Jr., Peters, 
Sheriff, Palmer, Crabb, Chilon, Wolf, S. Kinney, Hilbrook, Hugh, Copeland, Bratley, 
Walton, Buck, Strawbridge, Childers, Bryne, J. H. Sanborn and J. H. Rodgers. The 
Riverbank Church was erected in February, 1912, at a cost of $2,000. The following 
are the pastors up to date: James H. Rodgers, 1912-16; J. H. Ainsworth, September, 
1916-17; Wallace Cutter, 1917-19. The present pastor, M. J. Williams, was 
appointed in September, 1919. 

The First National Bank 

The First National Bank was incorporated June 26, 1913, with a capital of 
$25,000. R. W. Hobart was president, J. W. Walker, vice-president, and C. B. 
Pressley, cashier. The present officers of the bank are John M. Ormsby, president; 
R. W. Hobart, vice-president, and R. L. Evans, cashier. On May 10, 1920, R. W. 
Hobart and his associates retired. 

Riverbank's First July 4th Celebration 

The spirit of patriotism in woman sleepeth not and the Woman's Improvement 
Club resolved that the nation's birthday should not pass unnoticed. Under their 
management, on that morning a large crowd of patriotic citizens assembled in front 
of the Methodist Church. At ten o'clock a procession was formed of some fifty 
public school children, each child carrying a flag, together with the citizens of the 
town. The procession then marched to the water tower, preceded by the old-time 
revolutionary music, a fife and drum. On arrival at the tower a large flag, presented 
by an enterprising firm, was hoisted to the top of the flag staff, Mrs. Louise Riech- 
man singing the "Star Spangled Banner." The Declaration of Independence was 
then read by Robert Callandar, and F. A. Raney delivered the oration. The school 
children then sang "The Red, White and Blue," followed by the reading of Whit- 
tier's famous poem, "Barbara Frietchie," by Mrs. Bradley. The exercises closed by 
the entire audience singing "America." Refreshments of ice cream and lemonade were 
served free throughout the day. About four o'clock a kite raising contest took place. 
The celebration closed with a grand ball in the auditorium under the direction of 
the Misses Myrtle and Rose Riechman. 


This beautiful little city, situated in the midst of a forest of live oaks, was so 
named because of its location. Situated about a mile south of the Stanislaus River, 
the town sprang into existence almost in a day, because of the fact that the Stockton 
and Visalia Railroad, so-called at that time, would cross the river at a point now 
known as Burnett's station. 


Oakdale's Founder 

As to the founder of Oakdale there are two different stories. Branch says the 
town was founded in 1871 by Patterson, Purcell and Jackson and the deeds to the 
town lots bear their signatures. A. J. Patterson, Alfred E. Purcell and a man named 
Jackson purchased land where now stands the city. They gave the right-of-way over 
their land and one-half of the townsite to the railroad to locate there the future town. 
The second story accords A. V. Tuohy as the "father of Oakdale." In the early '70s 
he carried on a store and the ferry at Burneyville. He and his brother, John H., 
owned about 1,500 acres of land across the river on which they raised grain. Early 
in the year he sold his Burneyville store and removed to Oakdale and there opened up 
a store. Later he divided the land into town lots and sold them to the first settlers. 
Regarding the store, a newspaper reporter attending an excursion of the Champions 
of the Red Cross, a temperance organization, from Stockton to Oakdale, October 13, 
1871, says: "A. V. Tuohy, formerly of Burneyville, has a store well stocked with 
general merchandise. He is also doing the forwarding of Chicard & Company, Stock- 
ton, and will soon erect a hotel to be called the Oakdale Hotel." 

The hotel, which was later known as the Tuohy Hotel, was destroyed by fire 
February 19, 1878. The hotel at the time was kept by Fred Wier, formerly of 
Chinese Camp. 

Pioneer Buildings 

In October, 1871, just two months before the locomotive entered the town, 
there were twenty-one buildings in Oakdale. The reporter located them as follows: 
A large stable has just been erected for Harden, Schadlich & Hamlin on the east 
side of the railroad. On the east side of the stable a blacksmith shop is in full blast. 
This probably was J. B. Stearns' blacksmith shop. Dr. Hazen has an office and 
dwelling a short distance to the south. Located nearby there is a barber shop and 
Buddington's saloon, the proprietor having recently removed from Knights Ferry. On 
the west side of the railroad Mr. Snyder has erected a general merchandise store, in 
the rear is a Chinese wash house. Further west Mrs. Dodson, who owns the 
premises, has a small hotel. In the middle of the block a skating rink 40x140 feet 
has been opened. In 1881, says Branch, Oakdale had a population of 600 persons, 
fifteen stores, seven saloons, two hotels, one restaurant, three blacksmith shops, a lum- 
ber yard, a steam power barley mill, steam plow factory and two or three livery 
stables. Lots, he said, were selling from ten dollars to fifty dollars each, according 
to location. Two years later, October, 1883, there was a great demand for property, 
and lots which W. L. Moulton had sold in price from ten dollars to twenty-five 
dollars had advanced and were selling at prices varying from fifty dollars to $150, 
the lots being 25x100 feet in size. 

Fire Destroys Pioneer Buildings 

The first store in Oakdale, says J. E. Threlfall, was R. B. Syber's, located where 
now stands the First National Bank. Across the street, south, was Tuohy's Hotel, 
then the Moulton Hall, and adjoining the hall was the postoffice. Another statement 
says that adjoining the hotel came Mrs. Anderson's restaurant and ice cream parlor, 
then Thomas Caskey's butcher shop and the M. A. Lewis forwarding house, a branch 
of Geo. Ladd & Company, Stockton. In March, 1890, quite a number of houses on- 
Railroad Avenue were destroyed by fire and several more buildings severely scorched. 
These buildings were occupied by A. S. Emery, dry goods; Hammond's saloon, C. W. 
Spann's restaurant, Haslacher, Kahn & Co., general merchandise ; J. Horslev, W. 
Pennell, J. S. Kerr, W. S. Woods, Phillip Myers, MacAllister & Dunbar, Spragh & 
Head and Mrs. H. Lyons, who kept the Central Hotel, L. M. Smallfield and Howe 
& Smallfield. Moulton Hall was destroyed by fire on the evening of January 3, 
1890. The building was owned by S. L. Smallfield and his brother, E. B., occupied 
the first story with a furniture store and undertaking parlors. About one o'clock on 
the morning of July 20, 1893, a fire broke out in the Harris livery stable on the east 
side of the railroad. The barn and twenty horses were burned, together with a saloon, 
the livery stable of Baker & Descant and a Chinese laundry. These fires wiped out 
the majority of the pioneer buildings. 


Excursions to Oakdale 

Oakdale in its early days was a delightful spot for picnics and excursions. The 
first of these picnics was given by a temperance organization of that day known as 
the Champions of the Red Cross. The excursion was run from Stockton October 13, 
1871, and about 350 people went out to see the new town and enjoy a picnic "in one 
of the finest groves in the valley." The train stopped on the north side of the river, 
as the bridge was not completed and the party were transported over the shallow 
stream in wagons. The citizens provided a fine barbecue. There was music by the 
Stockton Concert Band, singing, and an oration was delivered by George B. Taylor, 
the state commander of the organization. An address was also given by George 
Hamlin of Oakdale. The following day, October 14, the superintendent of the 
Stockton and Visalia Railroad, W. J. L. Moulton, tendered a free excursion to the 
village of oaks. There was quite a large attendance and the following morning the 
Stockton paper gave a lengthy description of the new town. On April 23, 1875, the 
Sunday school of the Stockton Baptist Church held an excursion picnic at Oakdale. 

Lebanon Lodge, Rebekahs, of Stockton, celebrated the anniversary of. the order 
April 25, 1879, in a basket picnic at Oakdale, joining with the Oakdale Lodge of Odd 
Fellows on that occasion. Forty years later, a degree staff from that lodge initiated 
sixteen candidates in Acorn Rebekah Lodge in September, 1919. 

By invitation of Superintendent Pugh of the Stockton & Visalia Railroad, on 
June 7, 1890, about fifty of Stockton's business men visited Oakdale. The passenger 
coaches were prettily decorated and upon either side of the cars was a banner bearing 
the words, "San Joaquin County Board of Trade Greets Oakdale." On arriving at 
Burnett's station they were met by the Oakdale reception committee comprising 
J. W. Dunlap, Levi Bardo, L. Kahn and J. Haslacher and escorted into the city. 
Carriages were provided, and accompanied by some thirty citizens, the party visited 
Knights Ferry and were shown the vineyards and immense wine vault of Abraham 
Schell, by his nephew, H. R. Schell. Returning they tarried at the Oakdale irriga- 
tion canal and several of the party walked through the 800-foot tunnel. Again in 
Oakdale they were tendered a reception and banquet in the pavilion by the citizens. 
Over 150 were present, the reception committee consisting of A. S. Emery, C. H. 
Threlfall, E. L. Barkis, Supervisor J. W. Dunlap and M. A. Lewis. Toasts were 
offered and three of the responses were: "Oakdale," Toseph Haslacher; "The Past, 
Present and Future of Oakdale," C. S. S. Hill; "The>ress," W. C. Haliday of the 
Oakdale Leader. 

The Oakdale Societies 

The oldest lodge is Oakdale Lodge No. 238, I. O. O. F., which was instituted 
on Saturday evening, February 27, 1875, by John F. Miller, grand master, assisted 
by the following grand officers pro tern: H. T. Dorrance, deputy district grand 
master; A. T. Bartlett, grand warden; H. S. Winn, grand secretary; Henry Lewis 
of Modesto, grand treasurer ; George Perley, Modesto, grand guardian ; C. F. Rea, 
grand marshal, and H. A. Manchester, grand conductor. The deputy grand master, 
marshal and conductor were from Stockton. The lodge was honored as H. T. Dor- 
rance was a past grand master of Vermont and H. A. Manchester a past deputy 
grand sire. The following were the charter members: A. G. Gardner, E. S. 
Waterhouse, W. A. Coley, W. G. Werth, C. B. Ingalls, E. Monroe, and S. P. 
Bailey. There was a large attendance of Odd Fellows from Modesto, Dry Creek, 
Knights Ferry and Stockton. Two new members came in by card and eight candi- 
dates were initiated. After the ceremony the lodge entertained their guests at a 
banquet in Bob Patton's Hotel, formerly Harden's Hotel. 

Ruth Lodge of the Rebekahs was instituted September 27, 1879, by J. A. Brown, 
deputy district grand master. The charter membership comprised ten sisters and 
thirteen brothers. They surrendered their charter in October, 1894. 

Acorn Lodge No. 21 of the Rebekahs was instituted May 2, 1910, by Isabel 
Anderson, deputy district president, with the following charter members: Sarah 
Woodside, Maggie Crawford, Etha Palmer, Lottie SutclitT, Elizabeth Patterson, 


Addie J. Fowler, Ada Brooks, Eunice C. Reid, Bryon C. Sutcliff, Andrew J. Brooks, 
Robert Reid, J. F. Fowler, William H. Palmer, and Eugene Crawford. 

Fraternal Hall 
The Rebekahs, and, in fact, nearly all of the secret societies in Oakdale, hold 
their meetings in Odd Fellows Hall on West Railroad Avenue between E and F 
streets. A two-story brick building was erected in 1888, the building committee be- 
ing comprised of Louis Kahn, A. Arnold, C. Crenfal, C. E. Davy and N. Talbot. 
The hall was dedicated December 25 by Grand Master Charles N. Jenkins. The 
pretty little hall was crowded and the exercises consisted of the singing of the ode. 
vocal selections by the choir led by Professor Lawlor, and short talks by the grand 
master and members. The program concluded with a public ball in the pavilion. 

The Oakdale Masonic Lodge 
Oakdale Lodge No. 275, F. & A. M., was granted a dispensation by Grand 
Master Jonathan D. Hines June 24, 1884, and a charter was granted to them 
October 16, 1884, with the following officers and members: Joseph Warner, worthy 
master; Dennis B. Warfield, senior warden; John D. Crittenden, junior warden; 
Jacob Haslacher, secretary; George F. Stearns, treasurer; John W. Tulloch, senior 
deacon; Levi Bardo, junior deacon; James G. Booth and Thomas Richardson, 
stewards, and Andrew J. Swift, tyler. The past masters were Joseph Warner and 
J. D. Crittenden. The Master Masons were Archibald Beith, Silas Bishop, James 
R. Broughtbn, Alexander Campbell, Win. H. Cook, Sampson Deeble, Caleb Dorsey, 
John Hubel, George W. Lancaster and Edwin S. Waterhouse. 

Knights of Pythias 

It seems that a lodge of the Knights of Pythias was in existence in 1884. They 
attended the state convention of Knights at Stockton April 8, 1884, and were then 
the "baby lodge" of the state. They, however, surrendered their charter at some 
later date. The uniform rank at that time comprised some thirty members, as follows: 
W. C. Gilmer, commander; H. C. Watson, lieutenant; John Newman, herald; 
Edward Pattie, Gus Fugitt, W. C. Matteson, J. C. Burt, John Parker, Henry Gray- 
son, Rudolph Buchow, C. H. Head, B. Seeber, Edward Trimbley, Wm. Sheldon, 
Frank Warner, James Collins, Scott Woodside, A. Carter, Frank Hill, John M. 
Woodside, Charles Murray, Fred Crawford, John S. Kerr, H. Eveland, E. S. Watroys 
and George Washington. 

The second Knights of Pythias lodge was instituted December 16, 1899, by H. 
Schoffner. He was assisted by George E. Perley, W. H. Bartel and W. A. Downer of 
Modesto; C. A. Campbell of Stockton, George Conway and F. A. Roberson of Merced, 
and J. W. Anderson of Oakdale. The following officers were elected and installed: 
B. Seeber, J. H. Owens, A. D. Ames and J. A. Miller as past chancellors; R. E. 
Murtha, chief chancellor; E. M. Endicott, vice-chancellor ; B. S. Thomer, prelate; 
J. W. Anderson, master of work; Henry Sanders, keeper of records; A. S. Emery, mas- 
ter of exchequer; J. C. Whyte, master of finance; C. W. Pointer, inside guardian: F. 
W. Jesse, outside guardian ; Dr. C. A. Case, physician ; D. B. Warfield, Dr. Case and 
B. Hoisholt, trustees. 

Native Sons of the Golden West 

Oakdale Parlor No. 142, N. S. G. W., was instituted in the early history of the 
town but soon passed out of existence. It was again instituted, however, November 1, 
1899, by Frank Madison, grand president, assisted by Hugh McNoble, grand trustee, 
with charter membership of fifty-seven members, forty-two being initiated that night. 
The following officers were elected and installed: J. W. Dunlap, past president; 
J. A. Buthenuth, president; M. A. Lewis, first vice-president; R. L. Thompson, 
second vice-president ; Earl P. Tulloch, third vice-president ; W. J. Hughes, treasurer ; 
Edward Schadlich, recording secretary; J. H. Kahn, financial secretary; R. H. Archer, 
inside sentinel ; B. L. Sesson, outside sentinel, and W. E. Miller, F. H. Randall and 
William Hughes, trustees. A large delegation from Stockton Parlor No. 7 was in 
attendance and at the close of the meeting all enjoyed a feast at the hotel. 


Woodmen of the World 

Oakdale Camp No. 326, W. O. W., was instituted August 8, 1896. One of 
the greatest log-rolling events of the camp was held June 24, 1911, which took place 
in Hughes Hall. There was a large attendance of Woodmen from all parts of Cali- 
fornia, over 300 arriving in a special train from Lodi and Stockton. A number of 
the grand officers were present, these including the head consul, J. K. Boak of Den- 
ver; deputy head consul, P. J. Gilman of San Francisco; head banker, A. E. Suther- 
land of Fresno, and head manager, Thomas Robinson of Oakland. On arrival of 
the visitors a procession was formed and after parading the principal streets to the 
music of several bands, with illuminations of red fire and fireworks, the procession dis- 
banded near the hall. The line of parade comprised the Woodmen of the World, 
Rough Riders, Oakdale, Stockton Cornet Band, head officers in automobiles, Protec- 
tion Uniform Camp, Stockton ; Tokay Camp, Lodi ; Saw Log Camo, Tracy ; Merced 
Band, Uniform Team, Merced ; Waterford Uniform Camp, Modesto Silver Band, 
Moss Rose Camp, Modesto, Oakdale Band and Oakdale Camp. The committee of 
arrangements comprised Henry Sanders, chairman ; E. T. Gobin, Roy L. Acker, George 
W. Baker and J. W. Hoffman, and after the closing of the lodge session they pro- 
vided a large banquet in the Oakdale Milling warehouse. 
The American Legion 

The allied war with all of its horrors is not yet a dream but slowly it is fading 
from memory and its only reminder is the high cost of living, the war tax and the 
American Legion of Honor. The boys who crossed the sea and those who were dis- 
appointed in not meeting the enemy have formed themselves into a Legion of jolly 
good fellows. In every city they have their post, and Oakdale has its Legion of 
valiant sons who fought for liberty and died. One of these who lost his life in the 
service of his country was Stanley L. Collins. 

The Stanley L. Collins Post 

Stanley L. Collins Post, American Legion, was organized at Oakdale, November 
27, 1919, by the Oakdale veterans. Its first officers were J. A. Young, president; 
Charles Williams of Riverbank, first vice-president; Nathan Fereuson, secretary and 
treasurer. The Legion was organized with a membership of fifty. It was named 
after Stanley L. Collins, an Oakdale boy and engineer in the first expeditionary force 
to cross over in the Tuscania. She was sunk by a German submarine. 

Order of Eastern Star 

The present secretary of the chapter, Elizabeth F. Crowe, writes to me that 
Oakdale Chapter No. 226, O. E. S., was instituted in Odd Fellows Hall, Aoril 11, 
1905. The instituting officers were Worthy Grand Patron pro tern George W. Lan- 
gridge and Worthy Grand Matron Pauline Wetzlar Dohrman of Homo Chapter No. 
SO, Stockton. These officers were assisted by the following grand officers pro tern: 
Lizzie S. Wilcox, associate matron ; Mamye Lancaster, secretary; F. J. Yost, treasurer; 
F. L. Kincaid, conductress; D. O. Castle, associate conductress; Zillah Wood, chap- 
lain; Elmira West, marshal; Harriet K. Black, organist; Gertrude Rowland, Adah; 
Ella B. Hornnee, Ruth; Roma Tulloch, Esther; Elizabeth Perrv, Martha; Luella E. 
Cavis, Electa; Mary Manuel, warden, and William Emery, sentinel. 

The charter members of the chapter are Henrv C. Barton, Ebenezer Crabtree, 
Anna M. Hennemath, John L. Hennemath, William H. Hall. Orilla Hall, Bertha 
C. Kahn, Joseph H. Kahn, Rheta Loraine Kahn, Darcev E. Lee, Frederick J. Martin", 
John Henry Mulroy, Amanda H. Mulroy, Charles Calvin Wood, Essave Johanna 
Wood. The following officers were elected and installed: Cecilia Kahn. worthy 
matron; Charles Wood, worthy patron; Caroline Emery, associate matron; Rheta L. 
Kach, secretary; H. C. Barton, treasurer; Mabel Kahn, conductress; Anna May Hen- 
nemath. associate conductress. After the close of the meeting the members enjoyed a 
feast in the adjoining hall. 

Woman's Improvement Club 

At the state election of October 10, 1911, the voters of California adopted an 
amendment to the constitution granting to all females over twenty-one the right of 


suffrage. About that time and perhaps a few years previous women's organizations 
were formed for the purpose of, as Mrs. Henry Sanders of Oakdale declared, assisting 
in beautifying the cities, encouraging public sentiment for the betterment of the com- 
munity and assisting in all matters where progress and publicity are required. 

Stanislaus County seems to be particularly "blessed" with women's improvement 
clubs. They have one in nearly every town and since they have become voters, the 
supervisors and city trustees "sit up and listen" when they offer any suggestion for 
city betterment or improvement. 

The Oakdale Woman's Improvement Club was organized in April, 1907, with 
Mrs. Clara Sanders as its first president. One of their first subjects of discussion 
was a children's playground or park. Little could they accomplish in that direction, as 
they had no funds of any great amount and public sentiment was asleep. Soon after 
their organization, however, Edward and William Rodden, two native sons, donated 
the club a block of land on First Avenue between A and B streets, for park purposes. 
In honor of the wives of the donors, the club named it Dorada park, Dora and Ada 
being their Christian names. The ladies "planned and planted" the park, but unable 
to pay the expenses of a caretaker, they turned it over to the city. They were intru- 
mental, also, in having the Carnegie Library erected and are agitating the question 
of improving the city cemetery and building good roads at the present time. The 
cemetery is about a quarter mile southeast of the town and there lie the pioneers of 
Oakdale, among them T. R. Roberts, David Tulloch, A. J. Patterson, Samuel Acker 
and other former well-known residents. 

In April, 1916, the club inaugurated a "clean-up week" and by a proclamation 
they called upon all of the citizens to "clean up their back yards, mend their broken 
fences and gates, and pile up all boxes, tin cans and other rubbish so as to make the 
city presentable for the big barbecue to be given the Grand Parlor of Native Sons on 
Wednesday next." And then came the report, April 14: "The city clean-up under the 
auspices of the Woman's Improvement Club was a big success, and the citizens hauled 
about 100 tons of rubbish to the city dumping ground. Citizens worked for a week 
in cleaning up their premises and today it was hauled away." 

The officers of the club, elected at that time, April 22, 1916, were: Mrs. Clara 
Sanders, president, re-elected; Mrs. C. O. Willard, vice-president; Mrs. A. E. Wood, 
secretary, and Mrs. Alton Sivley, treasurer. The present officers, elected March 18, 
1920, are: Mrs. W. T. Kerr, president; Miss Mary Lambuth, vice-president; Mrs. 
Garrison Turner, secretary, and Mrs. Ralph Kennedy, treasurer. The past presidents 
of the club are Mrs. Clara Sanders, Mrs. Lottie Hoffman, Mrs. Abbie Carmichael, 
Mrs. Minnie Ordway, Mrs. Marie Tulloch, Mrs. Hattie Clark. 

• The Dorada Club House 

Situated opposite the park on the east side is the Dorada club house, the lot 
having been given to the club by the Rodden brothers. The club having some money 
on hand, and with the assistance of citizen donors, erected a club house at an 
approximate cost of $2,000. It was erected as an assembling place for social enter- 
tainments, dancing parties, dramatic performances and all kinds of public gatherings. 
It was provided with a parlor, dressing rooms, stage with plenty of light, and a fine 
dancing floor. The club house was formally opened on the evening of April 15, 1916, 
and all of the elite of the city were present. "The hall was transformed into a flower 
garden, the latticed walls being hung with roses, while potted plants and baskets 
of flowers were used in artistic arrangement to give a vivid color to the new furnish- 
ings." The program given in the evening included musical numbers by Mesdames 
Roy Maxey, Edward Dorsey, Miss Ida Warford of Riverbank and Dot Moore of 
Stockton. Readings were given by Lucile Squibbs and Mrs. Alton Sivley, and short 
talks by Father Rooney, Clarence Wood, Roy L. Acker and J. A. Young. During 
the evening Miss Nellie Walker pleased the audience by singing, in costume, the cere- 
monial songs of the Zuni Indians. 


The Carnegie Library 

The Carnegie library represents in a measure the literary progress of the citizens 
of Oakdale, for of a literary tur/i of mind they were, away back in the earlier days of 
the town. Mrs. Lucia Hoisholt Ferguson, writing for me a short sketch of the begin- 
ning of the library, says it "started from the Shakespearean club." They purchased 
books of fiction and non-fiction, and charged one dollar a year for the use of 
the books. The library room was in the grammar school in 1901, rent free, with an 
income of sixty dollars a year, the money being derived from entertainments and 
rent of books. Probably at a later date the library was removed to a room over the 
Farmers & Merchants Bank. From there it was moved to a store on West Railroad 
Avenue near the post office. After the establishing of the Stanislaus County Library 
the city books were divided between the library and the high school library. Miss 
Provines, librarian of the county library, took up the question of permanent Oakdale 
city library and in connection with the Woman's Improvement Club a correspondence 
was opened with Carnegie's library agent. In course of time an agreement was made 
and Carnegie proposed to appropriate the money for a $10,000 library building pro- 
vided the city trustees would obtain and deed the lot and agree to maintain the library 
with an income of $700 a year. 

The correspondence took place in 1916 and immediately the women struck a snag. 
When the club brought the matter before the trustees they refused to take any action 
or even discuss the matter. Two of the trustees refused because they declared the 
library would be erected with tainted money, and three refused action because they 
said the city was financially poor and such extravagance would be unwise. Not in the 
least discouraged by this rebuff, the club then made a proposition to the supervisors 
to establish a county library. The supervisors favored the proposition. The club 
then obtained the money and purchasing lots 2 and 4 in block 105, July 15, 1916, 
presented the deed to the supervisors. The following day, says the record, the super- 
visors appointed Supervisor John H. Clark to confer with the Oakdale committee 
regarding the building of the library. The building was completed in 1917. Miss 
Lucia Hoisholt was the first appointed librarian, being succeeded by Mrs. Elizabeth 
Crowe, who still holds the position. 

The Newspapers i 

Oakdale today has a very creditable weekly newspaper, if being the success or of 
the Wheat Grower and the Graphic. The Wheat Grower was established as early 
as 1882, by L. M. Booth, formerly of Knights Ferry. Mr. Booth was the editor, col- 
lector and advertising man. The mechanical part of the paper was handled by Cecil 
P. Rendon as compositor and pressman, with a boy assistant. Mr. Booth soon retired 
from the editorship of the paper, leaving in charge an editor who nearly demoralized the 
paper and scandalized the town. Booth was again compelled to take charge of his 
paper and restore harmony. This was October 6, 1883, and the people rejoiced at the 
welcome change. 

The Graphic, which superseded the Wheat Groii'er, was first published in 1883. 
Its home, no doubt, was on West Railroad Avenue near H Street, for to this day you 
may there see a small one-story building and upon the front in large letters the word 
"Graphic." The paper was published for many years but we have no knowledge of it 
save that later it moved into the Nightingale building and when that buliding was 
leased to George Kennedy the Graphic went out of business. 

The Oakdale Leader was established in 1888, probably by W. C. Holloway, who 
was editor and proprietor in June, 1890. In February, 1895, the Leader was moved 
to the Haslacher & Kahn building. In July, 1899, the paper changed hands and 
Davis W. Tulloch, named after his grandfather, the pioneer, is credited with being the 
proprietor. His editor was Judge W. H. Griffith, who unfortunately, June 12, 1900, 
lost his beautiful two-story residence by fire. Mrs. Griffith, who survived the Judge by 
many years, died in December, 1919. 

The Graphic was consolidated with the Leader July 3, 1918, and it gave the 
proprietor of the Leader at that time, Louis Meyers, the opportunity of improving his 


paper, for with opposition from other newspapers in small towns there is nothing in 
it for either paper. In the following year, December, the Leader was improved by the 
installation of a new and the latest model of type-setting machine, together with six 
different type faces varying from eight point to subheads. Installing in February of 
this year a press formerly in use by the Auburn Daily News, the Leader was changed 
in form from a five-column, eight-page paper, to a six-column, eight-page paper. This 
gives eight colunms more space and with the new press, a daily can be published. 

The Oakdale Grammar School 

For a number of years the children of Oakdale were obliged to attend the Lang- 
worth district school. In time, however, the population of the town rapidly increased, 
and the school children were so numerous that it became necessary to build a school 
building within the town. In 1881, a two-story wooden building was constructed on 
the block where now stands the fine grammar school. Additions were made to the 
building from time to time until it became nothing more than an old fire trap, in 
which a hundred children's lives were daily in danger. The citizens finally demanded 
a modern up-to-date school building. And in February, 1900, they circulated a petition 
requesting the school trustees to submit to the voters the proposition to bond the 
district for a school building. The school trustees, acceding to the demands of the 
citizens, called an election for June 30, 1900, for the issuing of bonds to the amount 
of $26,000 for the erection of a school building. The proposition carried almost 
unanimously, only 34 out of a vote of 227 opposing the issue of bonds. Those interested 
in the movement became so enthusiastic over the result that a ratification jubilee was 
held "and there was danger of all of the powder and fireworks in the town being 
exploded to celebrate the event." 

Laying of the Cornerstone 

Almost immediately the trustees began preparations to erect the new building. 
The additions to the old wooden building were torn down and the main building 
was moved away and is now used as a lodging house in the northern part of the city. 
The plans of the new building were drawn by Hugh Bronton of Stockton and the 
successful contractor was Richard Nowell from the same city. The plans called for 
a two-story brick building, 140x150 feet, with a tower 40 feet in height. The building 
was to contain ten class rooms, each room 30x35 feet. There was a principal's room, 
a library, closets and hat and coat rooms. 

Early in February, 1901, the foundation had been laid and everything was ready 
for the laying of the cornerstone. The matter was placed in the hands ef the Oakdale 
Masonic Lodge and they appointed D. B. Warfield, Louis Kahn, Dr. C. C. Wood, E. 
P. Tulloch, E. M. Endicott and the master of the lodge, John W. Tulloch, as the 
committee of arrangements, and they invited the Grand Lodge of California to lay 
the cornerstone. The invitation was accepted, and Grand Master James F. Foshay 
deputized Grand Senior Warden Orrin S. Henderson to act as grand master. Satur- 
day,' February 9, 1901, is a day to be long remembered in the history of Oakdale, 
because of the important event and the immense crowd that filled her streets. All of 
the Masonic lodges of Stockton, Modesto, Turlock and other points were invited to 
attend the ceremony. The Stockton Masons in large numbers met at Riverbank by 
the Oakdale Masons, were taken in carriages to Oakdale. On arrival the grand 
lodge, comprising Orrin S. Henderson, grand master ; Michael Fennell, deputy grand 
master; A. W. Davidson, senior grand warden; Frank Israel, junior grand warden, 
and W. F. Weinbeck, assistant junior grand warden, acting grand officers pro tern, 
all of Stockton, were escorted to the hall of Oakdale Lodge No. 275, by Pacific Com- 
mandery No. 3, of Sonora. The Grand Lodge then convened and after the opening 
ceremony all Master Masons were admitted. At one o'clock a procession was formed 
on West Railroad Avenue, comprising the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, 
Woodmen of the World, children of the public schools, and citizens. Led by the band 
they marched along West Railroad Avenue across the track to East Railroad Avenue to 
the new school building. After a selection by the band and a song by the quartette, 
the silver trowel with which the cornerstone was laid was presented to Grand Master 


Henderson. Then came songs by the children and the laying of the cornerstone in 
accordance with the time honored ceremonies of the Masonic order. The ceremony 
concluded with an oration by George McCabe. The splendid celebration concluded 
with a banquet in the evening which was tendered to all of the visitors. The building 
was completed in time for the beginning of the school term, and cost some $40,000. 
The teachers in the new building, all of them having taught in the old wooden 
structure, were R. E. Murtha, principal; Lizzie Rodden, Elsie Turner, Ida Simpson, 
Jennie W. Roberts, Mrs. L. M. Cornwall and Mrs. Mary F. Sawyer. Mrs. Sawyer 
is the oldest teacher in the school department, having taught continuously from 1881 
until 1914. Soon after retirement friends and her former pupils presented her with 
a purse of $500. She died at Oakdale, January 7, 1920, the Oakdale Eastern Star 
lodge conducting the services. 

The Oakdale Union High School 
The father of the high school is Prof. J. M. McKensie, who emigrated to 
California from Nebraska, located in Oakdale. Soon after coming he saw the neces- 
sity of a high school in the prosperous town, and he induced a number of progressive 
citizens to form a company and erect a building adapted to school purposes. A build- 
ing was constructed on Euclid Avenue, then quite a distance from the business center, 
and opened by the professor as a tuition boarding high school. It was a complete 
success. Soon after its establishment, however, the state legislature passed a law 
providing for the establishment of a district high school, the school to be supported 
by district taxation. The corporation gave the district the free use of the building. 
Unfortunately, however, in September, 1897, the building was destroyed by fire. This, 
of course, put an end to the instruction of the high school branch for a time. After 
the building of the brick grammar school, rooms were provided in that building until 
1 906. At that time the Union high school was completed. Its first graduates were 
Jennie Acker Wood, Thomas Gray, Eleanor E. MacNuIty, Minnie Thompson, Mayme 
Holloway Smith, and Elsie P. McNealy. 

The Protestant Churches 

In the early history of the church at Oakdale, the Christian advocates erected 
a house of worship at the corner of F and Second Avenue. It was dedicated in 1882 
and was known as the "Union Church." Here for a year or more they worshipped 
God, ofttimes singing, no doubt, the old familiar hymn — ■ 
"Blessed be the tie that binds 

Our hearts in Christian love ; 
The fellowship of kindred minds 
Is like to that above." 

The population of Oakdale rapidly increased and it brought corresponding in- 
crease to the membership of each religious denomination worshipping in the "Union 
Church." As each society believed itself strong enough to stand alone, they withdrew 
from the union congregation and erected their own denominational edifice. Unfortu- 
nately, we have no dates regarding the withdrawal of denominations. However, in 
January, 1895, A. J. Patterson called "a meeting of the trustees to determine what 
shall be done with the Union Church building. It was built by all denominations but 
each has now its own edifice, and the church is vacant." It is stated that E. G. Craw- 
ford, the first Southern Pacific agent in Oakdale, purchased the property for $500. He 
then expended $500 more in fitting up the building for the use of the Christian 
Church, he being a member of that denomination. Few in number, they could not pay 
the monthly expense, and the building remained vacant for many years. It was finally 
sold to the Methodists for $1000. 

The United Brethren in Christ, occupying a building on the corner of E and 
First Avenue, are a sect of many years standing. They have at present no pastor, 
but services are conducted by a former member of the Presbyterian church. 

The Free Methodists are a long established sect with a church building and par- 
sonage at the corner of G and Third Avenue. Their history is lost in the dim past, 


and the present pastor, the Rev. Alfred Randall, says he knows of no one with a knowl- 
edge of its early history except one former member now living in a distant city. 

The Presbyterian Church, whose present pastor is Rev. George Grieg, lies a block 
east of the Free Methodist building. It is a small, neat looking building, noticeable 
because of a live oak tree standing near the church entrance with its eight large 
branches less than two feet from the earth. The history of the organization dates 
back to 1883, with the Rev. J. M. White as pastor. The church building was 
erected, when? Previous to 1894, however, for in November of that year the Presby- 
terian Church is having a new bell tower erected, said "Caroline's Aunt." The Rev. 
White was a manly man, for it is recorded of him that in the great fire of March 7, 
1884, "the Presbyterian minister fought the fire for two long hours, backing out only 
when scorched and blistered by the heat." 

The Episcopal parish existed some eighteen years ago, and about that time a little 
chapel was erected on F Street. The Mission Church .was probably supplied from 
Stockton and Modesto. They had a lot and a fund of $1000 "available for church 
purposes in October, 1900" and, says the record, "Archdeacon Emery has been here 
this week looking into the matter." 

First Oakdale Church Dedication 

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Oakdale was organized in September, 1881, 
by the Rev. William D. Crabb, the first pastor. Services were held in the school- 
house until the building of the "Union Church." The Methodists then united with the 
other churches. The following year, however, they purchased a lot at the corner of 
G and Third Avenue and at a probable cost of $3500 erected a comfortable little 
building. It was dedicated December 14, 1883, by the Rev. John Holmes of Alameda. 
He was assisted in the service by the Reverends J. M. White and W. C. Curry and 
William D. Crabb. The music at the mornping service was led by Miss Brinkerhoff 
of Modesto, and at the close of the service subscriptions were solicited to pay off 
the small church debt, and nearly $400 was subscribed and collected when the plate 
was passed around. 

In our research we found that in February, 1895, an addition .was made to the 
building. Huntky & English signed a contract to build an addition 24x38 feet with 
a fourteen-foot arched ceiling, $543 to be the cost. 

One of the most attractive church edifices in Central California is the present 
structure of the Oakdale Methodist Episcopal Church. The building, says Frank C. 
Farr, the pastor, "is a work of art," and its erection was made possible by the splendid 
mechanical ability and love for his art of A. J. Steppe of Turlock and the gift of land by 
E. H. Gatling, who at the age of seventy years became a convert to Christianity, 
partly through the efforts of the Rev. Richard Rodda. Constructed of waste chippings 
from the Raymond granite quarry, the building is 78x91 feet in size, of the mission 
style of architecture, and will seat, including the Sunday school room, 1000 persons. 
The auditorium and balcony will accommodate 670 persons. The basement contains 
a large social hall, kitchen and dining room, and a furnace with an attachment serving 
both as a heating and a cooling plant. The building cost about $20,000 and it was dedi- 
cated, debt free, July 29, 1917, by the Bishop Adna Wright Leonard. The morning 
service consisted of a hymn, baptismal service, soprano solo by Mildred Gilbert, recep- 
tion of new members, solo by Rev. Richard Rodda, a short address by the bishop, 
hymn and benediction. In the afternoon the church was dedicated and a sermon deliv- 
ered by Bishop Leonard. The services included anthems by the choir, Scripture read- 
ing and a prayer. In the evening there was evangelistic services, special choral music, 
a solo by Mrs. C. H. Atkinson and short addresses by former pastors. 

The first Sunday school in Stanislaus County was organized near Burneyville 
under an oak tree in 1865 by A. J. Coffee, who acted as its superintendent. The first 
Methodist Episcopal pastor was the Rev. Pansy, who had an appointment near 
Burneyville. These facts were given to the Rev. F. C. Farr by Mr. Coffee shortly 
before his death. Mr. Coffee also said that at that time Oakdale was a "solid forest 
of white and live oak," with only one old shack of a home. 


The following are the pastors who have served in the Methodist Church: Wil- 
liam D. Crabb. 1881 to September, 1884; William Chilson, 1884-86; Joseph R. Wolfe, 
1886-88 ; A. Holbrook, 1893-96; Hugh Copeland, 1896-97 ; Carl M. Warner, 1902-04; 
Alfred J. Chase, 1904-06; J. U. Simmons, 1906-08; Walter C. Howard, 1908-09; 
N. M. Parsons, 1909-11 ; Fay Donaldson, 1911-15. Three pastors have each remained 
in charge five years, Solomon Kinsey, 1888-93; Richard Rodda, 1897-1902, and F. C. 
Farr, since September, 1915. 

The City Government 

Like every question of importance there was an affirmative and a negative side 
to the question, "would a city government be beneficial to Oakdale?" For thirty years 
they lived without a city government, and without the heavv taxation that accom- 
panies if. A community unorganized has its advantages ; so, also, does a city govern- 
ment. The opinions of a majority of its citizens favored a government and it was 
incorporated under the general law of 1906 as a city of the sixth class. The officers 
comprised five trustees, elected by the people, the trustees having authority to appoint 
attorney, clerk, treasurer and marshal. Their term of service was four years. The fol- 
lowing officers have since held office: 1906 — J. B. Stearns, Oakdale's first blacksmith, 
presiding ; A. L. Gilbert, J. G. Thompson, W. R. Gray and W. F. Wheeler. 1910— 
T. B. Stearns, president; A. L. Gilbert, E. G. Crawford, W. R. Grav and W. F. 
Wheeler. 1914— W. F. Wheeler, president ; A. L. Gilbert, E. C, Crawford and W. 
R. Gray, with A. W. Reeder, city attorney; Roy L. Acker, city clerk; A. T. Maxwell, 
treasurer; George T. Morrison, marshal. 1916 — E. M. Endicott, president; E. C. 
Crawford, H. G. Laughlin, E. N. Moulton and J. B. Stearns. 1918— E. P. Moulton, 
president ; A. E. Lowden, E. M. Endicott, H. G. Lauehlin and I. Bi Thompson. 
1920—1. B. Thompson, president; A. F. Lowden, E. F. Haslam, C. E. Wood and C. 
C. Wood. 

The election of 1920 was quite exciting, the firemen electing their candidates, 
Clarence E. Wood and E. F. Haslam. Roy L. Acker again proved himself one of 
the most popular men in the community, defeating his opponent for city clerk, 309 to 
85. He has been city clerk for the past twenty odd years. The total registration of 
the city, men and women over twenty-one years of age was 600, and the total vote for 
trustees was as follows: Dr. C. C. Wood, a dentist, 299; Clarence- Wood, assistant 
manager Bank of Italy, 276; Earl Haslam, garage owner, 274; H. G. Laughlin, 258. 

The City Hall 
Since the organization of the city of Oakdale in 1906, the city offices had been 
located in rooms owned by private individuals, and the trustees made a wise move 
when they concluded to purchase a building for the city use and thus save several 
hundred dollars a year rent. Fortunately at this time, March, 1920, they found on 
sale a very desirable property at the corner of West Railroad Avenue and G Street. 
It was a one-story brick building, 50x60 feet, on a lot 50x100. The propertv belonged 
to Mrs. A. S. Emery of Santa Rosa, a former old-time resident of Oakdale. The 
property was on sale at $8000, but learning that the city was desirous of purchasing 
the property for a city hall, she consented to cut the price to $4500. The trustees 
had the cash on hand and promptly accepted her generous gift. The building was 
remodeled and the city officers are now "at home." 

The Heroic Volunteer Firemen 

For nearly a third of a century a number of men of Oakdale have been organized 
into a volunteer fire department, voluntarily and cheerily giving their time and their 
money, and ofttimes their lives for the protection of property from fire. 

The official head of the Oakdale Fire Department says, "Organized in 1885," but 
it is of record that in the fire of March 7, 1884, "the Oakdale Hook and Ladder Com- 
pany, the only fire organization in the village, turned out thirty men to fight the 
flames. The only method of putting out the fire was the old one by passing buckets of 
water from hand to hand and throwing it on the flames. There was a good water 
supply taken from iron tanks connected by pipes with water troughs, but it failed 


to stop the fire and they began tearing down buildings." Another account says, in 
recording the same fire, "The fire bell was rung and a few firearms were discharged, 
which awoke people from their slumbers. The firemen were out quickly and did 
splendid work, under Chief Landsee and Foreman Woodside. The Chief was seconded 
by Johnny Woodside, together with those heroes, Anderson Beachley Stearns, Martin 
Green, Kehoe, Willet and Tuson." These statements are taken from a correspondent 
to the Stockton Independent and Mail, and beyond any doubt the fire department was 
fully organized in 1884. 

At that time the only fire apparatus owned by the firemen was a hook and ladder 
purchased from the city of Stockton. Some four years after this fire the citizens pur- 
chased a second-hand side-brake Button engine; and in the fire of January 3, 1890, 
which destroyed Moulton Hall, "the excellent work of the fire department with their 
hand engine saved the adjoining building." The engine which was manned or pumped 
by the firemen, drew water from cisterns or big wells dug in West Railroad Avenue 
and there were three of them along the street, says Henry Sanders, an old pioneer 
fireman. The engine, years later, was sold to the Waterford citizens. The flames 
which destroyed the Central Hotel in 1884 occupied by the Lyons family, January 11, 
1895, also destroyed the Commercial Hotel and the Good Templars' Hall. Dr. Hamil- 
ton, the dentist, had a narrow escape from being caught by the flames and he lost 
everything, including $200 worth of gold leaf. 

In 1912 the building of the water works by the city gave the firemen good water 
facilities from the hydrants, but for further protection in September of the same year 
the trustees, together with the firemen, purchased a La France combination chemical 
and hose wagon. This later was discarded and in 1917 the city purchased an auto 
combination hose and fire pump, capable of throwing four heavy streams of water. This 
pump was given its first test at the fire of October 14, 1919, which destroyed the 
Almond Growers' warehouse, with a total loss of warehouse and almonds of $45,000. 
It was the most destructive fire in the history of the town and "only the strenuous 
efforts of the firemen, backed by the new engine, prevented the spread of the flames to 
more valuable property. Neither the city pumps or the old Betsy would have been ade- 
quate to fight the flames." 

The chief engineers of the Department so far as I have been able to obtain them 
are the pioneers: Henry Sanders, A. Arnold, E. L. Barkis and M. J. Nightingale. 
Since 1907 the chiefs were H. W. Hughes, 1907 ; A. B. Haslacher, 1908-9-10-16; A. 
J.Jones, 1911-13-14-15; Dr. J.A.Young, 1912; D. E. Lee, 1912; O. Z. Bailey, since 
1916. The present officers of the department are O. Z. Bailey, chief engineer ; Oswald 
Ball, first assistant engineer; Ed. Schmiedlin, second assistant engineer; J. M. Watson, 
Jr., secretary, and Frank Lee, treasurer. 

The Oakdale Water Works 

A fire department, no matter how well equipped, is worthless unless there be 
plenty of water at- hand. San Francisco with its splendid fire department found out 
that fact when on April 18, 1906, the city was destroyed by fire. Hand pumps, water 
wells, and windmills were a common sight in Oakdale until 1884. In that year 
Thomas Roberts, a former resident of Knights Ferry, established a private water- 
works. It comprised a small pump, which, drawing the water from a deep well, 
forced it into a large brick cistern on top of a low knoll, just south of town. Mr. 
Roberts, a very worthy citizen, died in 1899; his remains lie buried in a brick vault 
in the cemetery, and a beautiful mosaic window in the west wall of the Methodist 
Church keeps ever in remembrance Oakdale's first enterprising citizen. 

Previous to his death Mr. Roberts had leased the waterworks to a Mr. Rand. 
That gentleman suddenly died, and his administrator, Dr. Case, carried on the water 
works as manager. Small water pipes were run through the streets of the town and 
four-inch mains were carried to the fire cisterns, to be turned on in case of fire. As 
the town grew in population there was a great demand for more water, but Dr. Case 
could not make any improvements, as he was restrained by the courts. A dispatch 
of August, 1900, declared that "use of water for irrigation had caused a great drain 


on the system and there is talk of piping water from the canal on the north side bf the 
Stanislaus River for irrigation in Oakdale." About the same time it was reported 
that a stock company was to be formed to supply the town with water "as it is believed 
that water could be supplied cheaper than in the present case." Nothing came of it. 
In 1903, however, Wallace Ferguson, who married Anna Roberts, took over the Rand 
lease, and acted as manager of the waterworks until 1912. At that time, says Roy L. 
Acker, the city took over the waterworks, paying the estate $5000. 

The citizens then voted a bond issue of $50,000. A suitable piece of land was 
purchased from F. A. Cottle near the Stanislaus River, about a mile from the city. 
On this land there was a hill eighty-six feet above the level of the town. On this hill 
a large concrete cistern was built, twentj'-five feet in height, the cistern having a capacity 
of 500,000 gallons. When filled, the water height above the town is 121 feet. Near 
the bed of the river there are two large pumps drawing water from deep wells and 
run by electrical power forcing water into the cistern. The pumps are so arranged 
that in case of fire they can pump directly into the main pipes which connect in the 
city with the fire hydrants. 

"Oakdale. May 12, 1913. — The city is now receiving water from the new water- 
works. The pumps and wells started out in great shape. The tank will supply the 
town with a water pressure of thirty-eight pounds and can be thrown directly into 
the main in case of fire with a 100-pound pressure." 

The Sierra and Jamestown Railroad 

Probably the enterprise most injurious to Oakdale was the building of the Sierra 
Railroad. Up to that time the town was growing rapidly in wealth and population. 
It was the depot of passengers and freight for the mining camps, and two stage lines 
daily left the town for camps, filled with passengers. But the railroad changed all 
this and for a time the growth of the town was slow. 

The Sierra Railroad was built by Prince Poniatowski, Samuel D. Freshman and 
Thomas S. Bullock. The last named was the leading man in the enterprise. The 
three men, it is stated, met at Oakdale, January 1, 1897, and there planned to con- 
struct a railroad from Oakdale to Jamestown and Sonora with a branch road to 
.Angels Camp. Surveyors were sent out to locate the line of road and Anthony Arnold 
of Oakdale was employed to obtain the rights of way. Ground was broken with 
appropriate ceremony March 24, 1897, and seven months later, October 26, the 
"golden spike" was driven at Jamestown, the town celebrating the event with great 
rejoicing. In the first construction of the road the company used forty-pound rails 
taken from a dismantled railroad in Arizona. Later, much heavier rails were laid and 
the old rails used for sidings only. Thomas S. Bullock, who died in San Francisco in 
May, 1919, was a very enterprising man. He was engaged in many projects and 
built the beautiful Turnback Inn at Tuolumne, and the Nevills hotel at Jamestown. 
It was the railroad headquarters and was later destroyed by fire. 

Banks and Banking 

Oakdale has two fine banks, each bank carrying on business in its own handsome 
two-story brick building. The first bank in Oakdale, incorporated in 1884, was a 
complete failure. The Oakdale Bank was incorporated in January, 1888, with 
Thomas B. Dorsey, president; Louis Kahn, cashier, and H. Kahn, assistant cashier. 
The bank became involved in the failure of Kahn and the irrigation enterprise and 
was compelled to close its doors. The court appointed A. L. Gilbert receiver and in 
the compromise suit, the Oakdale Irrigation Company paid him $8000. 

The second Oakdale Bank, the Stanislaus Savings, was incorporated January 23, 
1905, with Edward Rodden, president; L. F. Brichetto, vice-president; William Rod- 
den, cashier and treasurer; E. D. Wilkinson and C. E. Rodden, assistant cashiers, 
and Edward and W. L. Rodden, L. F. Brichetto, J. Mansell, T. F. Laughlin, T. E. 
Snedigar and A. L. Leitch, directors. The bank is now incorporated as the First 
National Bank. 

The Oakdale Commercial State Bank was incorporated August 29, 1912, with 
M. J. Nightingale, president and treasurer; Frank Guernsey, vice-president; W. A. 


Sayler, secretary and cashier, and C. F. Wood, assistant cashier. The directors were 
W. F. Ferguson, W. A. Savler, M. J. Nightengale, Tohn Sambuceto, Frank Guernsey 
and L. C. Walther. 

The Mexican Bull Fight 

The stranger who walks the streets of Oakdale today and notices the busy hustle 
of its merchants, the absence of whisky saloons, and the quiet, orderly character of its 
citizens would little believe that in the late 70s and '80s it was a wild, disorderly 
town of gamblers, shooting affairs and barbarous amusements. 

There were at that time hundreds of Mexicans in that vicinity and one of their 
amusements was the celebration of the Mexican national day of independence. On 
this occasion, September 16, 1881, they concluded to have a bull fight. They adver- 
tised the sport extensively, engaged matadors from Mexico to torment the bulls and 
made great preparations for the event. The people came in from the surrounding 
country and cheerfully paid their dollar. At the appointed time two fierce looking 
bulls were driven into the ring. They showed no inclination to fight, however, for 
the weather was warm and the animals sleepy. The matadors goaded and dared them 
with the red flags, but there was no fight in them. Finally Charles Ingalls, vaquero, 
agreed to ride one of the bulls, if he were given five dollars. The purse was made 
up and Charley mounted the brute. Did the bull jump around and snort? No, he 
laid down. This ended the greatly advertised bull fight in Oakdale. 

The July 4th Celebration, 1884 
Oakdale has always been patriotic and the better class celebrated the Fourth of 
July in various ways. And on this occasion "the Fourth opened most gloriously to the 
credit of the Oakdale folks." At sunrise they fired a national salute of twenty-one 
guns. At ten o'clock they formed in procession "on the square in front of Kron- 
emyer's hotel." The procession was formed in the following order: Turlock brass 
band. Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias, drum corps, Uniform Degree Camp, Odd 
Fellows, civic societies, Oakdale Bank, hook and ladder company, officers of the day in 
carriages, floral car and young ladies on horseback representing the different states. 
After parading the principal streets, they marched to the pavilion and listened to the 
reading of the Declaration of Independence by Miss Thiza McGreen and an oration 
by E. L. Bremer of Sacramento. In the afternoon there was dancing in the pavilion 
with music by Professor Ponclett's orchestra. At sundown another salute of twenty- 
one guns was fired, then there was dancing until midnight. At four o'clock there was 
a parade of the "San Joaquin Regulators," a body of young fellows in masks and 
dressed in all manner of ridiculous costumes. "Their mission," they said, "was to 
regulate society," and it was intended as a burlesque on the "regulators" of Modesto 
who endeavored to clean up that town. 

A Dry Town 

The prohibition wave that overwhelmed the country in 1917 proved as disastrous 
to the saloonkeepers in Oakdale as in any other part of the state. Under the initiative 
and referendum law an election was held June 15 "for saloons or no saloons." Both 
the saloonists and prohibitionists worked hard for their cause, and Louise Gilbert, 
Henrietta Holoway and Bernice Ferguson were among the most prominent workers. 
They remained at the polls throughout the day, checking off voters and providing 
automobiles for those who had not voted. Quite a heavy vote was polled, just 100 
less than the entire registration, 746. The drys won out by just three votes, quite 
a number of their votes being thrown out because marked with a pencil. Late in the 
afternoon it was predicted that the drys would have a majority of fifty votes. It was 
whispered around for the effect that if the saloons won the fight the trustees intended 
to raise their license to $600 a year. This $5,400 a year in high license revenue was 
quite a trick and many voted for the saloons who otherwise would have voted dry. As 
a result of the election the nine saloons must go out of business within the next ten 
days. In the evening some of the drys had a jollification. They paraded the town 
in automobiles, rang bells and blew horns. They made it a special point to parade 


along D Street. "Now, this street," said the reporter, "was in sentiment and in fact 
the wettest part of the town, and parading there was like rubbing salt into old sores." 

The Hero Dead 
When the bugle notes of war broke over these United States, here in California 
it did not seem to startle us in the least. We had had fifty years of peace; children 
had grown to manhood, married, raised children and died, and perhaps we could not 
realize the meaning of war. But when we saw the boys line up to march to camp, 
then came the thought of war's meaning, and that many of them perhaps would never 
return. Then, when we read of the terrible fighting and saw some of the badly crippled 
soldiers and the first ones were brought home to their parents, dead, we realized for 
the first time the horrors of war. 

When the conscripted boys were called, it hit Knights Ferry pretty hard, and 
out of a registration of twenty-one voters, nine were drafted. It was said that "the 
draftsman must have thought it was the days of '49, when 10,000 persons were in 
that district." Among those conscripted were two of the sons of the postmaster, 
E. S. Collins, and two sons of A. Morrison, a cattleman. 

One of the first from this district to give his life in the Allied War was a native 
«on of Oakdale Parlor, Stanley Lewis Collins. He was on the transport Tuscania when 
that vessel was torpedoed in the Irish Sea, February 5, 1918. A year later, on Febru- 
ary 24, 1919, Oakdale Parlor held a memorial service in honor of their head hero. The 
services were held in the Methodist Episcopal Church with Frank Lee, grand inside 
guardian of the Grand Parlor, acting as president of the meeting. Short addresses 
were made by Governor William D. Stephens, John V. Snyder, grand president; John 
B. Curtis, Lewis L. Dennett, Hugh R. McNoble, past president, and Rev. H. K. 
Pitman of Modesto and Rev. Frank Farr of Oakdale. 

Governor Stephens, in his closing address, said : 

"To have died in defense of our country's flag is to live forever in the affection 
and esteem of all our people. No greater tribute can be paid to a man than to have 
it said 'He died a patriot.' Stanley Collins gave his life for the land he loved — for 
home and mother. 'He died a patriot.' On the behalf of all our people, may I convey 
to you, his mother, the love we feel, the honor we all render and the gratitude that is 
deep in our hearts." 


Stanislaus Lodge No. 170, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Knights Ferry, April 
18. 1870, by Grand Master John B. Harmon, who in 1878 was elected grand sire 
of the Sovereign Grand Lodge. He was assisted by Charles Cutting, H. K. Covert, 
William Floto and George Hanley. The first officers were Samuel Haslacher, noble 
grand ; J. R. Horsley, vice-grand ; L. B. Walthall, recording secretary, and R. C. May. 
treasurer. The lodge had six charter members and at the grand lodge session reported 
eleven members. Here we record a rather peculiar event in Rebekahship. In Sep- 
tember, 1919, by invitation of Acorn Lodge No. 261 of Oakdale, a degree staff from 
Lebanon No. 97 of Stockton, accompanied by Laura Lawrie, past president, and Fanny 
Clancy, grand marshal, initiated nineteen candidates into Acorn Lodge. The follow- 
ing candidates were inducted into the order: Belle M. Bartlett, Anna G. Baugh, 
Emma Coop, Madge M. Crabtree, Arleen Cowin, Grace E. Gray, Hattie B. Morrison, 
Annie Scriven, Mildred Taylor, Viola Watson, Samuel C. Baugh, John F. Brevort, 
E. J. Coop, Charles Emart, Ernest Gray, Richard Scriven, W. W. Stover, J. G. 
Taylor and Isaac Watson. 

Knights Ferry Lodge No. 361, of the Rebekahs, was instituted at Knights Ferry 
on September 20, 1919, by Mary E. Donoho, specially commissioned. The follow- 
ing are the first officers: Anna G. Baugh, noble grand ; Grace Gray, vice grand ; Belle 
Bartlett, chaplain ; John Brevort, recording secretary ; Emma Coop, treasurer ; Samuel 
Baugh, financial secretary; Ernest Gray, inside guardian; Charles Emart, outside 
guardian ; Isaac Watson, right support, noble gram? ; Viola Watson, left support, noble 
grand ; Arleen Cowin, right support, vice grand ; Mildred Taylor, left support, vice 


grand. Over a hundred Odd Fellows and Rebekahs were present from Tamestown, 
Sonora, Tuolumne, Modesto and Stockton. The same degree staff as at Oakdale! 
with Louise Beckman, noble grand, put on the degree work after installation of officers.' 


In this chapter on irrigation I shall make no attempt to go into any detailed 
account, as it would take several months of research and when finished it would be of 
little interest to the general reader. The history of irrigation in the main, is the his- 
tory of a few enterprising men of foresight and good business judgment who were 
willing to work and even make sacrifices that they might benefit their fellowmen, 
by bringing "water, wealth, contentment, health" to the people of Stanislaus County'. 
Did they succeed? There is an abundance of proof throughout the county of that fact. 
Yet on every hand they were blocked in their splendid project by mossbacks, grafters, 
law suits and men jealous of the enterprise. For thirteen long years they fought a 
victorious fight and the battle is not yet ended. For it seems that only a few months 
ago the Modesto District stockholders were compelled to recall their directors because 
they refused to carry out the wishes of the majority in regard to the Don Pedro dam. 

It is said that C. C. Wright, to whose honor a monument should be erected, was 
hounded from Modesto because of the successful passage of his irrigation law. And 
yet when the bill was introduced into the legislature it was heartily commended by 
the legislators in both houses and Granger of Butte County said in open session that 
it was one of the most superior productions he had ever seen on a question that had 
vexed so many minds. It covered the ground completely and gave no offense to any 
section of the state. Truly as Shakespeare wrote : 

"Man's inhumanity to man, 
Makes countless thousands mourn." 


The general expression today is, and has been for the past fifty years, "Down with 
the corporations," and yet much of the prosperity of the state is due to corporations. 
The corporation, Miller & Lux, were pioneers of irrigation in Stanislaus County : and 
the building of the San Joaquin and King's River canal, by which at first they lost 
thousands of dollars, was proof sufficient to the farmers of Stanislaus what could be 
done with water flowing over the sandy soil. In referring to this fact, a traveling press 
correspondent said in August, 1877: "It is refreshing to turn from the parched and 
barren district of the 'west side' of the San Joaquin River and contemplate green 
meadows, golden harvest fields and prosperous homes under the San Joaquin and 
King's River canal." 

Secretary A. L. Cowell who has made a study of irrigation in Central Cali- 
fornia wrote in an article in 1920: "The San Joaquin Valley is a rich alluvial plain 
250 miles long, and averaging about fifty miles wide, lying between the Sierra Nevada 
Mountains and the Coast Range. It is divided into two parts by a slight ridge in 
Fresno County, giving it two distinct natural water systems. The southern portion 
of the valley has no outlet to the sea. Several of its streams flow at flood time into 
Tulare Lake and during the greater part of each season their waters arc consumed 
in irrigation or lose themselves in the sandy beds. The lower part of the valley is 
drained by the San Joaquin River and its tributaries having a direct outlet into Suisun 
Bay. The ridge referred to has been built up by alluvial deposits from King's River, 
which in times of high water discharges a part of its flow into Tulare Lake and part 
through a channel known as Fresno slough, into the San Joaquin River." 



One of the oldest systems in the valley, says Cowell, is that of the San Joaquin 
and King's River Canal & Irrigation Company, a public utility, which diverts waters 
from the San Joaquin near Firebaugh, elevation 156 feet, and carries it in a main 
canal seventy-five miles to a point north of Crows Landing, distributing it along 
through this territory. 

J. J. Rhea in the "Stanislaus County Prospectus," 1912, says in writing of the 
Miller & Lux System: "Four miles south from the town of Patterson is the end of 
the main canal of the Miller & Lux system which has for more than twenty years fur- 
nished water to more than 10,000 acres of Stanislaus land." This system irrigates 
all lands lying between the Southern Pacific Railroad and the San Joaquin River from 
the county land on the south to Crows Landing. The water is taken from the San 
Joaquin River near Mendota (elevation 175 feet) in Fresno County and brought 
across Fresno and Merced Counties into Stanislaus. 

In the early work of this canal a writer said, July 12, 1871 : "The work on its 
construction is going on. Times would be very dull were it not for that work. Many 
who would otherwise be idle find a profitable employment on the canal. Men are paid 
thirty dollars per month and their board and a man with two horses, receives fifty 
dollars and upkeep for himself and team." Times were very hard that year. There 
was, as we remember, a failure of crops and that failure sent Isaac Friedlander, the 
wheat king, to the wall. This same correspondent in writing about the canal, in 
August 1877, said: "It takes its waters from the junction of Fresno slough with the 
San Joaquin River and was built six years ago, as far as Los Banos Creek, forty-five 
miles. The revenue was not sufficient to pay the cost of the construction of the canal 
and completion to Orestimba Creek, five miles below Hill's Ferry, a distance of 
twenty-seven miles. The embarrassment of Isaac Friedlander delayed the work. The 
canal, thirty feet wide on the bottom, forty-five feet wide ground surface and four 
feet deep, will reach Orestimba Creek this fall." Evidently the writer was nearly 
correct, for the San Francisco Aha said, December 4, 1878: "The most important 
irrigation work completed in 1878 was the San Joaquin and King's River Canal. The 
old section finished in 1873 was forty miles long, sixty feet wide at top, four feet 
deep and with a grade of one foot to the mile, supplied 50,000 acres. The extension 
is thirty miles long, grade six inches to the mile, and will irrigate 40,000 acres. The 
entire cost was over $1,000,000. The following year, in September, 1879, we read that 
Hill's Ferry also shows the benefit of irrigation, as they adopted this year for the 
first time the benefits of the Miller & Lux Canal." 

In 1874 "the irrigation question became of absorbing interest to the Grangers 
throughout the country and at a meeting of farmers in MacDonald's warehouse (Gray- 
son) a committee was appointed to formulate some plan for improvement. The com- 
mittee appointed comprised Gilbert Fisher of Crows Landing, W. B. Hay of Ellis, 
and J. R. MacDonald of Grayson, and the result was they formulated a plan drawn 
up by MacDonald, which is known to this day as the Wright Irrigation Law." 


The following year, in the December session of the Legislature, John J. Scrivner, 
an assemblyman from Stanislaus County, introduced a bill for a franchise for an irri- 
gation ditch on the "west side" of the San Joaquin, comprising parts of Tulare, Merced, 
Fresno, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. Scrivner had been honored with a place 
on the judiciary committee, one of the most important of all the committees, and he 
had also been appointed chairman of the irrigation committee. At that time four irri- 
gation bills had been introduced and a correspondent declared: "The question is liable 
to cause more trouble and take up more time of the legislature than any other thing. 
The legislature in general is favorable but there is such a diversity of opinions regard- 
ing the best methods of reaching it, that probably but little will be accomplished." 
The writer's opinion was correct. Several other bills were introduced and after 
nearly three months delay the bill was passed and signed by the Governor. 


The law declared that within ten days after its passage, the Governor, William 
Irwin, should appoint five commissioners, one from each of the irrigation districts. 
The Governor named as the commissioners, J. R. White of Fresno, J. L. Crittenden 
of Merced, J. R. MacDonald of Stanislaus, M. Lammers of San Joaquin and W. W. 
Smith of Contra Costa. They were authorized to issue bonds not to exceed $2,000,000, 
payable in twenty years. 


The citizens of Grayson were the first to start the good work, and in June, 1876, 
they subscribed $5,000 for a preliminary survey: "If other people show the same 
liberality the survey will soon be completed," was the belief. The project was rushed 
along. William Hammond Hall, a well-known engineer, was placed in charge of the 
work and under him were about thirty men. In September, 1876, the Herald reported 
rhat "the surveyors have ascertained that the project is feasible and the lake (Tulare) 
contains plenty of water for irrigation purposes. The committee are anticipating great 
things from the completion of the canal and one committeeman excitedly exclaimed: 
'The Almighty placed that lake there for the purpose of irrigation.' " 


The commissioners, as authorized by the law, prepared to receive bids for $50,000 
of 7% bonds, the bids to be opened in January, 1879, and December 8, 1878, they 
published the following prospectus, probably one of the first irrigation notices ever 
published : 

"The board of commissioners of the West Side Irrigation district would respect- 
fully submit to your attention the scheme for the building of a canal from Tulare 
Lake to Old River near Mohr's land or Bonsell's Creek for the purpose of irrigating 
the land on the west side of the San Joaquin River. The question of irrigating has 
for many years past been seriously discussed by the farmers of the West Side district 
but no practical plan was inaugurated until the winter of 1 876, when the state legisla- 
ture passed a bill creating the West Side Irrigation district and empowering the people 
living within said district to issue bonds in an amount sufficient to cover the expense 
of constructing a navigable canal, to tax the property by the payment of the interest 
on these bonds and to create a sinking fund for their ultimate redemption. The bill 
also provided for the survey and location of the canal under the supervision of a board 
of commissioners appointed by the government of the state, which board should, before 
March 1, 1877, report their labors and observations to the government and to the 
people of the West Side Irrigation District, after which an election would be called 
for the election of a permanent board of commissioners for the district and enable 
those interested to vote yes or no on the proposition of issuing bonds and taxing the 
property benefited to sustain and redeem them." 

Under this bill the district embraced all the territory from Tulare Lake to 
Antioch, below the line of the proposed canal and above the line of the swampy over- 
flow lands along the San Joaquin River and Fresno swamps, containing about 500,000 
acres. The survey was made at the cost of about $25,000. The commissioners made 
their report and an election was duly held. A large majority voted, "tax — yes." 

The preliminary steps having been taken, it was then found that it would cost 
over $4,000,000 to construct a canal, that the finishing of twenty-six miles from 
Bonsell's Creek to Antioch, being through a rough and hilly country, would cost one- 
third of that amount. It was therefore deemed advisable to postpone further action 
until the legislature again met. 

The legislature of 1878 amended the law by striking out "navigable" and cutting 
.off that exceedingly expensive portion of the district at Bonsell's Creek, leaving out 
all the lands below the boundaries of the San Joaquin and King's River Canal Com- 
pany, and the law authorized the board of commissioners to issue bonds of the district 
to the amount of $2,000,000. 

The district now contains about 325,000 acres of land, the greater portion of 
which is the finest land in the state. The management of the district is vested in a 
board of five commissioners elected every two years That the construction of a canal 


between Tulare Lake and Bonsell's Creek is feasible and practical has been demon- 
strated by two further surveys, one for the San Joaquin and King's River Canal 
Company and one under the direction of this board. The cost of the construction 
will not exceed $2,000,000. W. H. Hall, state engineer, and Mr. Brearton, at one 
time consulting engineer of the San Joaquin and King's River Canal Company, and 
General Alexander, all concur in the opinion that the water supply is amply sufficient. 

The Grayson Canal project so enthusiastically boomed, was a complete failure, as 
sufficient stock could not be sold. There were perhaps two reasons for this failure, 
one, that many of the farmers were supplied with water from the Miller & Lux Canal, 
the other, that the crops had been a complete failure, many farmers moved away and 
others were actually suffering for food. Nearly twenty years passed, and Grayson 
was still "dry." In May, 1899, however, a proposal was made by certain parties to 
raise water from the San Joaquin River by means of big pumps. The projectors wanted 
ten dollars for water rights and two dollars and fifty cents per acre for the use of the 
water. But the farmers would not stand for it. They declared the price too high, 
and they petitioned Miller & Lux "to continue their canal now completed from Los 
Banos to Grayson." Miller & Lux were favorably inclined to carry out the project. 


In the same year that the Grayson commissioners were appointed, the legislature 
passed an act to create the Modesto Irrigation District, the act being approved May 30, 
1878. The act declared in general term "all that certain territory situated in the 
county of Stanislaus and bounded as follows: On the south by the Tuolumne River, 
commencing at the junction of said river with the San Joaquin, up and along the said 
river to the point where the county lines of Stanislaus and Tuolumne intersect the 
Tuolumne River, then along the county line to the Stanislaus River, and down said 
river to its junction with the San Joaquin, then up said San Joaquin to the point of 
beginning, is hereby created as Modesto district." This was later divided, as we know, 
into three districts, Turlock, Modesto and Oakdale. The Turlock Irrigation District, 
says Cowell, "comprises 176,000 acres, being the greater portion of the irrigable lands 
between the Tuolumne and Merced rivers. The southwestern part of this district 
lies in Merced County. The Modesto district of 82,000 acres comprises nearly all 
of the land between the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers and extending from near the 
San Joaquin River to an irregularly eastern boundary, running generally east and west 
and crossing the Santa. Fe Railroad near Claus." 


In the legislature of 1887, C. C. Wright, a lawyer of Modesto then an assembly- 
man from that county, introduced what was later known as the Wright Irrigation 
Law. It authorized the organization of irrigation districts, allowing the people of the 
district to form a public district for the purpose of bringing water from the Sierras, 
by means of canals, ditches, dams and other means to irrigate their lands. The district 
was organized and operated in much the same manner as a school district. A corre- 
spondent in writing of this bill said: "The irrigation bill introduced by Wright is 
favorably commented on. It is a very carefully prepared measure and presents the 
peculiar feature of local option which takes from that question all of the sectional 
irrigation which made other measures objectionable." "The measure," as Granger of 
Butte, said, "covered the ground completely and gave offense to no section of the 
state." It was highly recommended by both the senate and assembly irrigation com- 
mittees and they asked that it "do pass" with the amendment "to permit the forma- 
tion of a district by a majority vote, instead of a two-thirds vote, as in the bill." It so 
passed. Although the law was highly satisfactory to the entire state, at home it 
found its enemies. And the Herald said in 1889: "As it becomes more certain that 
the enemies of the Wright Irrigation Bill will have active workers in the legislature, 
the necessity of united action on the part of its friends becomes more urgent. The 


committee on irrigation should be friends of the measure, and the chairmanship should 
be given to Vital E. Bangs, assemblyman from this county." 

Again quoting Cowell, "After a long and stormy period of litigation, the constitu- 
tionality of this law was upheld by both the state and federal courts and in 1897 the 
law was revised and re-enacted and is now called the Wright-Bridgeford Law. Under 
its provisions a petition is presented to the supervisors containing the names of a ma- 
jority of the highest assessed taxpayers of the district or 500 electors owning twenty 
per cent of the land. If it has been advertised and is in proper form, the supervisors 
submit the petition to the state engineer for his approval. If he approves, the super- 
visors fix the irrigation boundaries and call an election for the officers of the district. 
If carried by a two-thirds vote, then the board of directors proceed to organize and 
prepare plans for an irrigation system. Under the law, incorporated cities could be 
included in the irrigation district, but under the law of 1915 incorporated cities could 
not be included. Under the 1915 law a State Irrigation Board was created." 


In the early irrigation of the county, the irrigators depended entirely upon the 
natural flow of the water, and for a time this was sufficient to provide adequate irriga- 
tion. But now it is known that for the proper development of irrigation, and to hold 
back the waters for use late in the season, large reservoirs and dams are an actual 
necessity. So high was the cost of the work that the directors of Modesto and Turlock 
met together and, after several conferences, an agreement was made whereby the two 
districts were to construct a weir or diverting dam in the Tuolumne River in com- 
mon, the cost to be apportioned to two districts in equal shares. In their meeting of 
August 11, 1890, the directors decided to build a dam about 1,800 feet above the 
Wheaton dam, ninety feet in height. The engineers of each district were to submit 
plans from which they would select the best plan. The amount of water used by each 
district depended upon the district's acreage and each district was to have equal privi- 
leges in any future acquired water rights. The dam, one of the largest overflow dams 
in the world, according to the figures of S. T. Weber of the Turlock Board of Trade, 
was 301 feet long, 127 feet high, eighty-three feet at the bottom, eleven feet at the 
top and cost $543,164. C. P. McDonald in the "Sunny Stanislaus" prospectus, says 
that the dam completed in 1893 was 336 feet long, 127 feet high and cost $550,000. 
"Water for the Modesto district," says the same author, "is diverted on the north 
side (through a concrete bulkhead at the end of the dam) the filings being 4,500 second 
feet and for the Turlock district on the south side (the water diverts through a short 
tunnel) the filings being 5,000 second feet. The head gates are about fifty feet above 
the dam." 

I am recording, as you quickly notice, scraps of history only, and one of the pre- 
liminary and most important of these events was the issuing and sale of bonds. Bonds, 
irrigation bonds especially, may be compared to a ship upon the water. They may 
float at high tide or gradually depreciate in value until they are wrecked upon the 
shore. At the very outset of the Modesto bonds they were sold at a depreciated value. 
For we read, January 28, 1890: "The directors today sold $400,000 worth of bonds 
to I. R. Wilbur of San Francisco at ninety-one cents on the dollar." They were 
pleased, however, for "it insures the building of the canal under the Wright Irrigation 
Law." Then a little later, July, 1893, we learn that A. S. Fulkerth and W. H. 
Finley, a committee appointed from the Board of Directors of the Modesto District 
"have succeeded in disposing of forty-five bonds at a par value of $500, for the pur- 
pose of purchasing cement." As to the validity of the bonds, Judge W. W. Morrow of 
the U. S. district court, settled that question in July, 1899. Up to that time, as J. J. 
Rhea said, "Irrigation in Stanislaus is another term for lawsuits, from the earliest 
inception to the time when water coursed through the laterals and ditches of the 
impoverished grain lands like life-giving blood into the arteries of an anaemic body." 
To test the validity of the bonds, the Modesto District brought a suit against itself. 
It was entitled "George Hanning vs. the Modesto Irrigation Disrict." The defend- 


ants claimed that the organization of the district was illegal on many grounds. They 
claimed that the original petition was not signed by fifty freeholders owning agricultural 
lands, that a part of the original district had been eliminated and this rendered the 
whole invalid. All of these defences, said the judge, may not be set up by a district on 
its own bonds. He held that the corporation cannot set up its own illegality and 
assert after its bonds have been issued that it never was a district and therefore should 
not be called upon to pay its bonds. 

Hardships, Taunts and Jeers 
Upon this point, J. J. Rhea wrote: "The forefathers of this irrigation scheme 
realized the greatest economic loss. They made heroic sacrifices in many cases, to bring 
what was destined to be the millenium in agriculture in Stanislaus. Many bought 
large blocks of bonds which had no negotiable value either with bankers or bond buyers. 
Others labored with their hands and their teams without recompense, save bonds that 
were at the time worthless. The development (the project) in Turlock is identical 
with that of the Modesto District, for both bore the struggle to introduce irrigation, 
underwent the hardships interposed on a poor bond market and the gibes and jeers 
of wheat farmers on heavier lands who taunted the sand farmers in their discouraging 
efforts to make the soil yield a fair interest upon a value of twenty dollars an acre." 


The Turlock District was the pioneer in completing an irrigation system under 
the Wright act, putting the proprietorship of the water on the land. In the beginning 
they ran up against difficulties in land valuations. M. A. Wheaton was the promoter 
of the first water ditch, years before, building a dam and conveying water into La 
Grange. With the foresight of a prophet he knew that some day the land and water 
rights would become valuable. This proved to be the case in 1890. The irrigation 
directors in the beginning of their work found it- necessary to obtain the right of way 
over M. A. Wheaton's land, which included about five acres. Mr. Wheaton wanted 
for that land $30,000. It was a prohibitive price — a price that would prevent any 
development of the irrigation system. The directors had recourse at law and they 
began condemnation proceedings in Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties. In Stanislaus 
County the case was tried in Modesto and after a trial lasting eight days, June 3, 1890, 
the jury brought in a verdict giving Mr. Wheaton ninety-five dollars damages. 
In the following month the same case was on trial in Sonora. After a thirteen days 
trial, on July 16 the jury awarded Wheaton $50,000 damages. In the following 
month the suit was compromised, the directors paying the owner $35,000. The Tur- 
lock District paid $32,500 of the amount and the Modesto District $2,500. Trouble 
seems to have been in the wake during the entire canal work, for in 1899, at the 
September meeting of the board, R. L. Bullard put in a claim for $800 for the dam 
at Dawson Lake, claiming ownership. The board refused to pay it, as they declared 
it Government land. 

Judge W. A. Waymire 

Just before the completion of the canal, there -were several workmen strikes 
because of a long delay in the payment of wages. To increase the directors' troubles, 
in March, 1900, the carpenters refused to continue work unless given their last two 
months' pay. The men were informed that they could not put a lien on the canal but 
must look to Judge Waymire for their money, as he was in charge of the work. I now 
quote from the Visalia Times which declared, July 10, 1900: "The Turlock irriga- 
tion system was organized in 1887 and there was hope that the work would be done in 
1889 and some 175,000 acres be under irrigation. The people at first were universally 
for irrigation but disagreements arose, litigations were begun, the bonds could not be 
disposed of, and a stubborn fight was waged between the irrigationists who wanted to 
go ahead and those who liked to stand still. After a great deal of work had been 
done, failure seemed imminent, but Judge Waymire of Oakland became interested and 
he took a contract to complete the system. Just how he managed to keep the work 
going and keep off strikes is a mystery, but he finally succeeded and within the past 




two months, something like thirteen years after it was commenced, the greatest irriga- 
tion system in California was completed and for the first time water irrigated the sandy 
soil between the Tuolumne and Merced rivers. The Modesto Irrigation District be- 
tween the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers is now at a standstill, but suits are pend- 
ing to oust the directors, and if it be successful, officers will be elected who will com- 
plete the system. This will bring a total of nearly a quarter of a million of good 
irrigation land to the support of Modesto." 

The Oakdale Irrigation District, organized in 1909, was the outgrowth and en- 
largement of the old Knights Ferry ditch. There was formed in 1888 a corporation 
known as the San Joaquin Land & Water Company. They purchased the old Knights 
Ferry ditch, then used as an irrigation ditch by the ferry people, and announced that 
they would build it down into the San Joaquin Valley. It failed to materialize because 
of law suits and many other causes which beset those early day irrigation enterprises. 
Time passed on and July 7, 1899, a company was incorporated as the Stanislaus Water 
Company, with a capitalization of $450,000. Its incorporators were Alvinza Hayward, 
a capitalist of Alameda County : Mrs. Anna G. Lane, the wife of Charles D. Lane, 
the mining man; Charles Tulloch, the mill owner; R. R. Bigelow and H. G. Steven- 
son. They proposed to supply water for irrigation in Stanislaus and San Joaquin 
counties and electric power for Oakdale, Modesto and Stockton. Their canal, they 
stated, "was one of the oldest in the state. It starts at Six Mile Bar on the Stanislaus 
and parallels the river until it reaches Oakdale. It then turns toward Stockton and 
traverse one of the most fertile sections in the state." There were no results from this 
company, as Hayward and Lane, two of the largest stockholders, became very much 
embarrassed financially because of their extensive speculations in mining stock. 

There was in existence in 1890 an organization called the Oakdale Irrigation 
Company. They were struggling for existence and at a stockholders meeting, January 
18, the president stated that there were funds sufficient to carry the canal work along 
until April. What happened after that is to me unknown. They must have done 
considerable work, for one of the party attending the Stockton business men's excursion 
to Oakdale in January, 1890, wrote: "Returning from Schell's vineyard the party 
stopped at the Oakdale irrigation canal and a number of the party went through the 
800-foot canal. It heads in the river about one mile above Knights Ferry and, com- 
pleted, will be eleven miles long, ten feet at the bottom and carrying four feet of 
water. It will be completed in October and Oakdale will have a great celebration." 
The canal was not completed, for "after the death of Louis Kahn, the Oakdale 
banker and principal owner of the stock, it was discovered that the company was in a 
bad shape financially. The few stockholders were at the mercy of outside interests," 
and they made proposals to the Stanislaus Power & Water Company to take over the 
irrigation company. At a meeting March 5, 1905, with Charles Tulloch, manager of 
the power company, they came to an agreement. Mr. Tulloch told them he could not 
furnish water at the former rates, ten dollars for water rights and one dollar and fifty 
cents per acre, but his rate would be three dollars per acre, and no water rights charge. 
This they had to accept. The company was always known as the Tulloch system. 

Leading up to the organization of the district, I quote from an article by T. M. 
Maxwell in May, 1911. Near Oakdale, on what is now Brichetto's ranch, and in 
other places, pumping plants were put up and a few vegetables raised. In these small 
beginnings was the germ which developed later into the mighty system of irrigation, of 
which Turlock and Modesto were the first. Many of the discontented of the Modesto 
district sold their holdings and came to Oakdale. They later saw the land which 
they had sold at ten dollars, fifteen dollars and twenty dollars an acre increase in value 
(by irrigation) and sold at fifty dollars and $100 an acre and they knew wisdom at last. 
About two years ago it became apparent to the well-informed that Oakdale also 
must have its irrigation system. A mass meeting was held in the city hall to discuss 


the advisability of forming an irrigation district under the Wright law. So great was 
the enthusiasm shown that the City Hall was not large enough, and larger quarters 
had to be obtained. A committee of twelve was appointed to take charge of the pre- 
liminary work. Engineers under the instructions of H. S. Crowe were immediately 
put in the field to survey the boundaries of the district. As soon as the boundaries 
had been established, a petition signed by a majority of the land holders petitioned 
the supervisors to declare it an irrigation district. It was submitted to a vote of the 
people and carried 40 to 1. Officers were elected and bonds voted almost unanimously 
for $1,600,000. The Oakdale Irrigation District then joined with the South San 
Joaquin District, then being organized, and together they purchased the Tulloch 
system, paying Mr. Tulloch $650,000, the amount being divided equally between 
the two districts. "A partnership dam known as the Goodwin dam was built on the 
Stanislaus River," says Arlington Otis, "near Knights Ferry and the two districts 
agreed to share the use of eight miles of main canals, which has a carrying capacity of 
1,700 cubic feet. The Oakdale Irrigation District comprises 74,146 acres on both 
sides of the Stanislaus River, 6,000 acres of the amount being in San Joaquin County." 


The Goodwin dam, named after Benjamin A. Goodwin, president of the San 
Joaquin Irrigation District, was built in 1912 at a cost of $350,000. "It is a double- 
arch dam, the main arch being seventy-eight feet high with a radius of 135 feet. It was 
designed to divert the waters to the north and south side of the river, the Oakdale 
district taking 600 second feet on the south side and 260 second feet on the north side 
through the enlarged Tulloch ditch. The completion of the dam was celebrated 
April 6, 1913, in great style. There were thousands of people in attendance from all 
parts of the state, including forty legislators. The legislators arrived at Stockton 
from the capital on a special traction car and from the Gateway City were trans- 
ported to the dam in automobiles. Shortly after two o'clock the exercises were begun 
by W. A. Patterson, president of the day. Standing on the brink of the chasm, he 
said: "We have gathered to celebrate the wedding of the waters of the Stanislaus 
and the virgin soil of the South San Joaquin and Oakdale Irrigation districts. We 
have had an example set before us by the Modesto and the Turlock districts. We 
have seen what could be done with water. We are from Missouri and we have been 
well shown." He was followed in his speech by George W. Tatterson, president 
of the irrigation bureau. The speaker declared : "We have assembled here to 
dedicate the waters of the Stanislaus to the plains below. The two districts embody- 
ing an area of 147,675 acres will cost when the work is completed $6,000,000." 
Addresses were then given by ex-Lieutenant Governor Alden Anderson of Sacra- 
mento, L. L. Dennett and T. H. Griffin of Modesto and Senator W. A. Sutherland 
of Fresno. J. L. Craig of Stockton then being introduced, presented the board of 
directors a large bronze plate two by six feet, to be riveted on the side of the arch in 
commemoration of the event. On the plate these words were inscribed : 
Goodwin Dam 
Built jointly by the Oakdale Irrigation District and the South 
San Joaquin Irrigation District. Dedicated April 6, 1913. 
Mr. Craig also presented four gold spikes to be used in riveting the plate to the 
stone arch to W. A. Patterson, president of the Oakdale District; B. A. Goodwin, 
president of the South San Joaquin District; Thomas K. Beard, the contractor, and 
Edwin Duryea, Jr., the engineer in charge of the work. There was more music by 
the Oakdale Brass Band, F. J. Pedro, leader. Then the chairman of the State Irri- 
gation Committee, Senator D. A. Mott of Los Angeles, who came as the repre- 
sentative of Gov. Hiram Johnson, presented the compliments and success to the enter- 
prise of the governor. In closing he said: "Acting for the Governor of California 
and in the name of the sovereign people I command the gates of Goodwin dam to 
open." Immediately two Boy Scouts flashed a semaphore signal to two other scouts 
in the deep chasm a half mile below. The workmen began slowly lifting the im- 
mense steel gates and as the first waters rushed out into the large concrete lined canal, 


William Gray, an Oakdale boy, and Helen Wurster, daughter of Fred Wurster of 
San Joaquin, showered golden poppies upon the water. It was a pretty symbol of 
the golden wealth being borne to the thousands of acres below. Then the Stars and 
Stripes were unfurled over the arch, while the three massed bands of Oakdale, 
Manteca and Riverbank played "America." 

"I love thy rocks and rills, 
Thy woods and templed hills, 
My heart with rapture thrills, 
Like that above." 


The irrigation district directors soon learned that reservoirs or dams were 
necessary to impound water for late in the season, when the rivers cease flowing. 
The Modesto District was the first district in the state to construct a reservoir. This 
was the so-called Davis reservoir, which is located in the foothills, a short distance 
southwest of La Grange. It has a capacity of 30,000 acre feet. 

The second reservoir constructed was that of the Turlock District. It was con- 
structed in 1915, and with a capacity of 50,000 acre feet, is known as the T. A. 
Owens reservoir. It covers 3,267 acres of land and cost over $500,000. 

The largest of all the reservoirs is the Don Pedro dam, soon to be constructed 
jointly by the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation districts at an estimated cost of 
$4,000,000. The dam is located near Don Pedro bar and will store up 300,000 acre 
feet of water. "When completed it will give the two districts the greatest supply of 
water for irrigation purposes of any district in the world," says W. E. Conway, secre- 
tary of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. 


In 1904, the Modesto District was practically one wheat field of 82,000 acres. 
The tourist looked from the car window upon the combined harvesters, great cara- 
vans moving in all directions, dropping in regular rows sacks of golden grain and 
piles of glistening straw. Grain wagons coupled together and drawn by long teams of 
horses or mules raised frequently clouds of dust along the highways. The Federal 
census ranked Stanislaus County as one of the leading grain-producing sections in 
California. Now there is a complete change in many parts of the county. Where were 
found immense grain fields and a few farmhouses a mile or more apart, indicated 
perhaps by a lone clump of trees, now one may see hundreds of homes, each with his 
small farm, cultivating fruits, berries and vegetables. What has caused this change? 

Statistics are, as a rule, very drv and uninteresting reading, but it is necessary 
to give briefly a few scattering figures showing the wonderful resultsof water flowing 
over the soil. In 1890, ten years before they had any water upon the land, Stanislaus 
County had farmers who boasted of their 1,000 acres, with only 243 taxpayers owning 
from five to 500 acres of land.- Each one of sixty-two men paid taxes on 500 acres, 
ten men owned forty acres each and forty-one men had only five acres apiece. But in 
1915 there was a remarkable increase in the list of taxpayers and 1,617 men paid taxes 
on the farms ranging in size from five to 500 acres. The number of 500-acre men 
had been reduced to sixteen, the forty-acre men had increased to 237, the twenty-acre 
men to 286, 185 men owned ten acres and 277 men were the owners of five acres. 

While the Modesto and Turlock districts were fighting lawsuit after lawsuit that 
they might have irrigation, the West Side was in alfalfa, for they had water, and the 
Newman creamery was making 100,000 pounds of butter a year. In 1903, the West 
Side produced 1,000,000 pounds of butter and in 1911 their 302,416 cows produced 
7,873,114 pounds of milk, making 786,224 pounds of cheese. In that year the 
county produced 5,166,515 pounds of butterfat, which was one-tenth of all the 
butterfat produced in the state. This immense amount of butter could not have been 


produced were it not for the extensive growth of alfalfa cow feed, grown from four 
to seven crops a year by irrigation. 

In 1912 there was shipped from Modesto, daily, 8,163 pounds of butterfat, which 
brought a return of $306,075. The Modesto canneries sent out 60,000 cases of 
canned goods worth $200,000. And this together with hay, corn, beans, alfalfa meal, 
grapes, green and dried fruits brought in a total of $1,607,450. In Turlock District 
alone that year there were 56,604 acres in alfalfa, 6,125 acres in fruit trees, 5,695 acres 
in beans, and 2,539 acres in potatoes, these products realizing $9,154,602. Turlock 
shipped that year, from July to September, 821 carloads of watermelons and canta- 
loupes, 18 carloads of sweet potatoes, 44 of peaches and one carload of pears. The 
products were not decreasing, but increasing yearly, and McDonald said: "The farm 
products of 1913 are the only ones at hand and when you realize that that year was 
decidedly lean, you may get some idea of the output of Stanislaus County in agri- 
culture and horticulture. Grain, mostly barley, 1,060,000 bushels; beans, 10,000 
bushels; sweet potatoes, 533,500 bushels; alfalfa hay, 991,000 tons; melons, 72,000 
tons, and pumpkins, 25,000 tons, these products having a total value of $9,545,000. 
In addition to this there were dairy products amounting to $3,012,823; poultry sold, 
$370,000 ; animals sold and dressed and sacks of wool making a grand total of 
$16,054,000. Not desiring to weary -the reader we give the last report, that of 1919, 
by A. L. Rutherford, horticultural commissioner, and statistics gathered by the 
Modesto Evening News. There was raised 22,500 tons of wheat, which brought in 
$1,510,000; 93,000 tons of barley worth $6,045,000, the price averaging sixty-five 
dollars a ton. Although the cantaloupe crop was partly destroyed by an insect, it 
brought in returns of $1,577,120. The bean crop was a slump, only $300,000 being 
realized because of an overproduction; in 1918 this crop brought in $2,269,880. 
Although the alfalfa tonnage did not equal that of 1918 by fifty per cent it brought the 
farmers $436,500 more than last year. Dairy products led all others, and the country 
produced $5,196,400 worth of butter and $4,054,100 in all milk products. It was 
the greatest daily yield in the county's history. The Turlock District proclaims in a 
big billboard advertisement, "A Great Producer. In 1919 shipped over two freight 
lines, 5,740 carloads of products, total value $6,000,000." The melon crop repre- 
sented $300,000. 

And now, in these closing lines, tracing the history of the county as we have from 
the days of the Indians, through the cattle and sheep raising days, the struggles for 
existence of the poor farmers, the splendid day of river and freight transportation, and 
the awakening period of irrigation and its grand results, just in their infancy, may we 
not with the poet Cowper say: 

"God moves in a mysterious way 
His wonders to perform." 


The California voter, in former days, had no direct vote in the election of 
United States senators. They were elected by the Legislature and many a hard 
contest was fought over the election. Since 1914 the United States senators have 
been elected by a direct vote of the people, and in that year the county gave Francis 
J. Heney, progressive, 3,609; James D. Phelan, Democrat, 3,137; Joseph R. Know- 
land, Republican, 2,337, and F. F. Wheeler, Prohibitionist, 1,481 votes. 

The representatives in Congress are elected by the people indirectly by con- 
gressional districts. Each district included one or more counties, according to its 
population. The counties are subject to the partisan Legislature. Each dominant 
party schemes to favor its political leaders, hence a county is juggled from district to 
district in order that party candidates may obtain a majority of votes, and a majority 


of power in the Legislature. Stanislaus County, because of her limited population, 
has never had a direct vote for representatives, but has been jointly connected with two 
or more counties surrounding her. This is true not only in the election of her con- 
gressional representatives, but in the election of her state legislators. In her represen- 
tative voting, the county was originally in the First district. In 1875 she was placed 
in the Fourth district; in 1884 the Second district; in 1896 in the Seventh district, 
and in 1902 the Sixth district. The representatives for whom she voted were as 
follows: 1867-68, Samuel B. Axtell, Democrat elect; 1871, Lawrence Archer; 1872, 
E. J. C. McKewen; 1875, P. D. Wiggington, Democrat elect; 1876, Wiggington; 
1879, Wallace Leach; 1880, Leach; 1882, P. B. Tully, Democrat elect; 1884. Charles 
A. Sumner; 1886, Marion Biggs, Democrat elect; 1890, A. Caminetti, Democrat 
elect; 1894, Grove L. Johnson; 1896, Marion De Vries, Democrat elect: 1898- 
1902-04-06-08-10, James C. Needham, Republican elect; 1912, Denver S. Church, 
Democrat elect. 

The county until 1898 went Democratic, but Republican voters began settling 
in the county and from that time on a solid county Democracy was a political event of 
the past. To show the solid Democratic majority and at the same time the growth of 
the county, let us record the political county vote for the first thirty-odd years, for the 
governor of the state. You will notice that for several years the state elections were 
held in every odd year. In this record the governor-elect is first named. 1855, J. 
Neeley Johnson 255, John Bigler 299. Bigler was elected governor in 1852-54, but 
the Know Nothing partv were in power for just two years. 1857, John Weller 419, 
Georgie Bowie, K. N., 130. Edward Stanley, Republican, 8 votes. 1859, Milton 
S. Latham, 389; D. John Curry, anti-Lecompton Democrat, 106; Leland Stanford, 
R., 13 votes. 1861, Leland Stanford, 247; John R. McConnell, the secession candi- 
date, 415; Tohn Conness, Union Dem.. 231. 1863, Frederick F. Low, Union Dem., 
347; John G. Downey, 399. 1867, Henry H. Haight, 451 ; George C. Gorham, R., 
219. 1871, Newton Booth, R., the farmers' candidate, 527; H. H. Haight, 817. 
1875, Wm. Irvin, 788; T. G. Phelps, R., 323; John Bidvvell, Ind., 137. For a 
constitutional convention, yes, 1,188; no, 423. 1879, Flugh J. Glenn, 994; George C. 
Perkins, R., 593; Wm. F. White, workingman's candidate, 74. 1882, George Stone- 
man, 1,360; Morris M. Estee, 714; R. H. McDonald, Prohibitionist, 89. 1886, 
Washington Bartlett, 1,086; John F. Swift, 596; P. D. Wiggington, American, 36 
votes. 1890, Henry H. Markham, R., 918; E. B. Pond, 1,363; John Bidwell, Pro.. 
131. In 1902 the county gave the Republican candidate, George C. Pardee, 1,069 
votes; Franklin K. Lane, Democrat, 1,458, and T. D. Kanouse, Prohibitionist, 44 
votes. In 1914 there was a wonderful change in the political complexion of the 
countv, and it gave Hiram Johnson, Progressive, an overwhelming vote of 5,245 ; 
J. B. Curtin, Dem., 2,530: J. D. Fredericks, Republican, 2,201, and Clinton P. 
Moore, Prohibitionist, 1,131 votes, a total county vote of 11,990. 

That the county polled a solid Democratic vote for so many years was unfor- 
tunate, for the state as a rule is Republican and Democratic legislators in a Republican 
senate or assembly cannot expect many political favors. This is especially true 
where the representation is iointlv with other counties. State Senators James W. 
Coffroth, '56-'57; James W. Mandeville, '56-'57; William Holden, '58-\59; George 
H. Rodgers. '58; Isaac Quinn, '59-'60; John J. Franklin, '60-'61 ; C. V. Williamson, 
'61: John G. McCullogh, '63; Warren Montgomery, '64-'66; James H. Lawrence, 
'68-70; Thomas L Keves, '72-'74; Tohn Montgomery, '76-'78; David M. Pool, 
'80-'81 ; John D. Spencer, '83-'85 ; A. J. Meany, '87-'89; Thomas D. Harp, '91-'93; 
John B. Curtin, '99-'01-'03 ; Lewis J. Maddux, '13-'15. Assemblymen, John Cook, 
'55-'56; William Holden, '57; George W. Thomas, '58-'59; Miner Walden, '60-'61 ; 
Thomas W. Lane, '62; Tames Robertson, '63 ; W. L. Dickinson, '64; Tohn M. New- 
son, '68; Miner Walden, '70; John B. Sensabaugh, '72; H. B. Davis, '74; John J. 
Scrivner, '76; Caleb Dorsev, '78; John D. Spencer, '80; Leonidas C. Branch, '81; 
Elihu Beard, '83-'85 ; C. C. Wright, '87 ; Vital E. Bangs, '89 ; John S. Alexander, '91 ; 


Frank H. Gould, '93 ; L. A. Richards, '95 ; John G. Elliott, '97 ; George R. Stewart, 
'99; J. W. Haley, 1901 ; Vital E. Bangs, 1903; Lewis L. Dennett, 1915; Miss Esto 
Broughton, 1920. 

James W. Coffroth, a famous lawyer and politician, died at Sacramento October 
9, 1872. William Holden in early days was a ferryman on the Tuolumne River. A 
keen politician, he was elected lieutenant governor in 1867 and died at Healdsburg 
June 3, 1884. James Mandeville was surveyor general from 1857 to 1861. John J. 
McCullogh was attorney general from 1863 to 1867, and in 1903 was governor of 
Vermont. Warren Montgomery, one of Stanislaus' brightest minds, was later 
district attorney of San Joaquin County and died at Stockton February 20, 1894. 
J. D. Spencer, founder of the Tuolumne Times, was clerk of the supreme court 
'from 1886 to 1891. He died at Modesto, December 13, 1895. Thomas D. Harp 
died at Modesto, May 22, 1900. Caleb B. Dorsey was shot and killed at Sonora 
March 28, 1885, by his partner over land trouble. Elihu Beard passed away in 
Modesto in May, 1901. Miss Esto Broughton has the honor of being one of the first 
women in Stanislaus County elected to office and one of the first in California to sit 
in the Legislature. Miss Florence Boggs was the first woman official elected super- 
intendent of schools in 1902. 


Judges— H. W. Wallis— (time of election) 1854, Robert McGarvev— 1858, 
Albert Elkins— 1862, A. G. Stakes— 1872, George W. Schell— 1874, E. T. Stone— 
1876. A. Hewel— 1880, Wm. O. Minor— 1882, L. W. Fulkerth— 1902-21. 

Sheriffs— Wm. D. Kirk— 1854, John Myers— 1857, Geo. L. Murdock— 1860, 
Geo. W. Branch— 1862, Thomas W. Lane— 1868, John L. Miller— 1870, Tohn 
Rodgers— 1872, A. S. Fulkerth— 1878, R. B. Purvis— 1884, A. S. Dingley— 1906, 
Geo. A. Davis— 1914, Robert Dallas— in office. 

Countv Clerks— Robert McGarvev— 1854, Wm. D. McDaniels— 1858, T. A. 
Leggett— 1860, A. B. Anderson— 1862, John Reedy— 1864,- A. Hewel— 1866, 
Thomas E. Hughes— 1868, L. B. Walthall— 1870, Geo. W. Branch— 1872, L. C. 
Branch— 1875, Elton Baker— 1876, J. W. McCartv— 1878, E. W. McCabe— 1886, 
T. A. Lewis— 1888, A. S. Dinglev— 1896, W. J. Martin— 1902, S. B. Mitchell— 
1906, Hugh Benson— 1914. 

Treasurers— W. S. Martin— 1854, Geo. W. Murdock— 1856, John Reedv— 
1860, Thomas W. Lane— 1864, S. Bishop— 1868, Geo. W. Toombs— 1870, M. H. 
Hall— 1880, N. W. Baker— 1884, Geo. P. Ostrom— 1886, J. W. Dunlap— 1894, 
W. A. Downer— 1896— in office. 

District Attorneys— S. P. Scaniker— 1854, P. B. Nagle— 1862, A. G. Stakes— 
1863, E. Basse— 1864, A. G. Stakes— 1866, Thomas A. Coldwell— 1868, L J- 
Scrivner— 1872, C. C. Wright— 1876, Wm. O. Minor— 1880, T. A. Coldwell— 
1884, John R. Kittrelle— 1886, L. W. Fulkerth— 1890, John M. Walthall— 1902, 
L. J. Maddux— 1906, Joseph M. Cross— 1914. 

County Assessors— E. B. Beard— 1854, Samuel Hovt— 1856, E. B. Beard— 
1858, Geo. M. Curry— 1862, E. D. Giddings— 1864, A. H. Jamison— 1868, H. G. 
James— 1875, Thomas A. Wilson— 1876, J. F. Tucker— 1885, J. T. Tulloch— 
1886, T. F. Campbell— 1894, Geo. A. Threlfall— 1908-14. 

Survevors— Silas Wilcox— 1854, R. B. Hall— 1856, Silas Wilcox— 1858, E. B. 
Beard— 1862, A. G. Stakes— 1864, James Ward— 1866, Geo. B. Douglas— 1870, 
A. W. South— 1874, R. B. Robinson— 1876, Geo. B. Douglas— 1884, F. S. Lane— 
1890, Geo. B. Douglas— 1894, A. L. Finney— 1902, E. H. Annear— 1906-14. 

Coroners— Heth Williams— 1854, I. D. Morlev— 1858, A. C. White— 1860, 
H. D. Latour— 1862, J. S. Colman— 1864, W. G. Sanders— 1868, H. K. Covert— 
1870, T- H. Lowe— 1872, M. S. Duncan— 1873, James Burnev— 1875, Wm. B. 
Howard— 1876, W. H. Robinson— 1878, Henrv Lewis— 1884, L Phelps— 1890, 
W. K. McNeal— 1896, D. P. Howell— 1902, W. S. Bowker— 1906, Harrv W. 
Wood— 1914. 


Superintendents of Schools— E. B. Beard— 1854, W. D. McDaniel— 1856, T. A. 
Leggett— 1860, A. B. Anderson— 1862, Geo. W. Schell— 1864, T. T. Hamlin— 1866, 
B. F. Haislip— 1870, James Burney— 1872, Wm. B. Howard— 1876, W. H. Robin- 
son— 1878, Wm. B. Howard— 1886, J. A. Hammond— 1894, J. A. Wagner— 1896, 
Miss Florence Boggs— 1902, Frank A. Bacon— 1914, A. J. Elmore— 1918. 

Public Administrators — L. M. Ramsier — 1855, W. W. Bowen — 1856, Thomas 
Ewing— 1858, I. D. Morley— 1860, J. McHenry— 1866, J. C. Davis— 1868, Wm. 
Maxwell— 1870, M. S. Duncan— 1872, James Burney— 1875, Wm. B. Howard— 
1876, W. H. Robinson— 1878, Henry Lewis— 1884, J. Phelps— 1890, J. D. Bentley 
—1894, W. K. McNeal— 1896, D. P. Howell— 1902, W. S. Bowker— 1906, Harry 
W. Wood— 1914. 

Recorder and Auditor— Robert McGarvey— 1854, W. D. McDaniels— 1858, 
T. A. Leggett— 1860, A. B. Anderson— 1862, John Reedy— 1864, A. Hewel— 1866, 
T. E. Hughes— 1868, L. B. Walthall— 1870, Geo. W. Branch— 1872, L. C. Branch 
—1875, B. G. Weir— 1876, John McCov— 1878, M. T- Sorenson— 1888, C. A. Post 
—1894, H. C. Keeley— 1902, H. C. Keeley— 1914. 

Regarding these county officers, Wm. D. Kirk, the first sheriff, died in 1857, 
and for one day John Clark, the town marshal, acted as sheriff, John Myers being 
appointed March 4, 1857, to fill the unexpired term of the deceased sheriff. A. G. 
Stakes, who was an associate judge in the Court of Sessions in San Joaquin County in 
the '50s, immigrated to Stanislaus County. He was a lifelong Democrat and in 
August, 1862, was appointed district attorney by the board of supervisors to fill the 
unexpired term of P. B. Nagle, who resigned. The following year the judge was 
elected county surveyor, and in 1866, district attorney. In 1872 he was elected county 
judge, and the following year, while riding on a wagon at Hill's Ferry, he fell to the 
ground and was so severely injured that he died December 26, 1873. Governor New- 
ton Booth, on January 2, 1874, appointed Attorney George W. Schell to fill out the 
unexpired term of Judge Stakes. You will notice that in 1880 Abram Hewel was 
elected superior judge, the name having been changed under the new constitution from 
county to superior judge. 


If Davis S. Terry's statement be correct, the Southern Pacific Railroad was com- 
pleted and cars running to the south bank of the Stanislaus River as early as April 6, 
1872. The following notice was served on the San Joaquin supervisors in calling for 
the delivery of bonds, by Judge Terry at that time: "I have the honor to inform 
you that the railroad of the Stockton & Visalia Railroad is constructed from the 
waterfront in Stockton across and to the south bank of the Stanislaus River, and the 
track laid thereon. That said road is supplied with the necessary engines, cars and 
rolling stock and that said cars are running upon said road and carrying freight and 
passengers to the said south bank of the Stanislaus River." 

L. M. Hickman, who has just returned from his ranch in Stanislaus County 
some four miles south of Oakdale, says he never saw grain in that section looking so 
well. He estimates the probable yield at from twenty to twenty-five bushels to the 
acre, and thinks the county will turn out 5,000,000 bushels, proving itself again the 
banner wheat county of the state. — Independent, April 15, 1878. 

A terrific windstorm swept through this place last Tuesday, June 4, 1878, about 
seven-thirty o'clock. The gust came from the east and drove through the town at 
rapid pace in a westerly course, throwing dust and sand in front of it. Before it 
reached here dark clouds could be seen concentrating near the foothills from which 
vivid flashes of lightning were emitted. A few heavy drops of rain fell before the 
storm and for a time the skv was overcast with clouds. — Neics. 


In Oakdale, July 15, 1885, a fire broke out in the rear of Miller's restaurant and 
about one-half of the block was destroyed with a loss of fully $25,000. The fire 
alarm was sounded and the firemen responded promptly, but the waterworks were so 
long delayed in getting up steam that the fire obtained a great headway before the men 
could get a stream of water on the flames. The places destroyed were Williams & 
Company, jewelers and furniture; Freeman's dry goods store; Central restaurant and 
saloon; Emery's general merchandise store; English lodging house and restaurant, 
and Hubbell's saloon. The town is greatly excited over the event, as it is supposed 
to be an incendiary fire, and three attempts have been made during the past month 
to burn the town. 

Said the Modesto Herald May 14, 1880, "We learn from a reliable source that 
already arrangements have been made with the Central Pacific Railroad to extend the 
Oakdale Railroad to the Tuolumne River, striking it near Waterford. Bonds ate to 
be given the Central Pacific by the farmers that on the completion of the railroad the 
company will be paid $50,000. The work is assured and the road will be completed 
in time to move this year's crop." 

A friend informs the Nexus that there is not less than 10,000 tons of wheat on 
the river bank at Hill's Ferry, and at Grayson and Crow's Landing there is also a 
large quantity of wheat. At the three points named there is not less than 20,000 tons. 
At Patterson's Landing there are 20,000 sacks, and it is rapidly accumulating along the 
river banks, because of a scarcitv of steamers and barges to move it to tidewater. — 
August, 1872. 

A correspondent stated May 31, 1880, "I have just returned from a trip through 
Stanislaus County; I have traveled over the county during the past twelve years and 
never before have I seen things so prosperous. Modesto is improving very much, and 
business of all kinds is lively. Ceres is booming. They have just dedicated a large 
social hall which adds very much to the appearance of the place. The best feature of 
the- towns is, they have only one place where they keep 'tangle-leg' and the bar- 
keeper they say is not getting wealthy." 

The little stern wheel steamer Harriett, Captain J. W. Smith, arrived at Hill's 
Ferry February 13, 1872, with a load of grain and feed consigned to the farmers of 
the upper San Joaquin. 

"A few days ago the citizens of the Ferry found that they had a very undesirable 
transient population in the town, and a suggestion was made that a Vigilance Com- 
mittee be organized to give them notice to leave. The deputy sheriff, however, be- 
lieved that the boys be given notice to 'git up and git.' He had notices printed stat- 
ing that the young men's room was better than their companv, and taking the hint 
thev quietly left Hill's Ferrv, thus avoiding anv trouble or 'hanging bees.' " — June 
30, 1880. ' 

The Modesto and Turlock Irrigation districts are figuring on securing reservoir 
sites on the Tuolumne River watershed for the purpose of constructing large reservoirs 
for the storage of water for late irrigation. Superintendent Griffin of the Modesto 
district and Superintendent Smith and Director Mires of the Turlock district are now 
in the mountains looking for sites. If suitable locations are obtained the directors will 
take up the bond proposition for the purpose of constructing dams. — July 24, 1908. 

The Oakdale municipal election was held on Monday and 443 votes were cast, 
185 being women. They voted without any trouble and asked but few questions and 
instructions. Some came with their husbands and others in groups of two or more. 
The trustees elected were A. L. Gilbert, William Gerry and W. F. Wheeler. Roy 
Acker was elected city clerk over Thomas Maxwell by a vote of 287 to 142. 
Alban Maxwell was elected city treasurer over Thomas Towell. — April 10, 1912. 

The Union Savings Bank and the First National Bank of Modesto have just 
announced a change in their directorship. W. N. Steele has resigned as vice-president 
and director of the Union Savings Bank, and has been succeeded by C. R. Gailfus, 
formerly vice-president of the First National Bank. E. C. Peck, who was cashier 
of the Union Savings Bank, will be vice-president of the First National Bank. George 


C. Nelson will be advanced to cashier of the Union Savings Bank. Both banks are 
largely controlled bv the same interests. — May 22, 1912. 

The Republican Congressional convention assembled today in Modesto. The 
delegates, 100 in number, were met at the train by the leading citizens of the town 
and the leading Republicans and heartily welcomed. A parade was formed and the 
march led to the beautiful courthouse park, where a grandstand had been erected 
on the lawn beneath the fine old shade trees. A large American flag hung over the 
stand and from the front of the stand a large banner bearing the Congressional record 
of James C. Needham through his five previous campaigns. These were as follows: 
1898, Needham, 20,783 votes; Castle, 20,680; 1900, Needham, 23,450; Chichton, 
18,981; 1902, Needham, in another district, 17,264; Ashe, 13,732; 1904, Needham, 
18,824; Conley, 13,074; 1906, Needham, 18,928; Green, 12,868. The incumbent 
was again placed in nomination for Congressman by L. L. Dennett and the nomina- 
tion was seconded by Frank Short of Fresno. He was elected unanimously and, 
appearing upon the platform, was greeted by tremendous applause. He said, "I want 
to thank the delegates and through them the people of this district. I regard my 
nomination at your hands not only as a signal honor, but as a call to duty. Many 
people hold the opinion that men in politics are ungrateful. I want to assure you 
this is untrue." — August 26, 1908. 

The case of the Oakdale Irrigation District versus Samuel Pratt in a condemna- 
tion suit for a right-of-way for the main canal was partly a victory for the district. 
Mr. Pratt was awarded $1,528 in full payment for all ciaims. He wanted $26,000 
for 2,600 acres of land and $2,000 damages. The outcome is an indication of the 
change of sentiment with which the people of Stanislaus now regard irrigation. A 
marked contrast to fifteen vears ago, when the fate of irrigation hung in the balance. — 
April 29, 1912. 

The electors of Turlock yesterday voted in favor of permitting the three saloons 
of the town to continue in business. Out of a total vote of 260 the wets polled 160 
votes. The campaign was spirited and the saloon proprietors did not overlook any- 
thing that tended to win votes. The anti-saloon men are more determined than ever 
before to wipe out the saloons, and it is only a matter of time when the question will 
again be brought up. — July 24, 1908. 

City Marshal George T. Morrison of Oakdale was summoned to La Grange 
December 29 on account of the death of his brother, Charles Morrison. The de- 
ceased at the time of his death was a butcher doing business in La Grange. He was 
born in Knights Ferry some fifty-four years ago, and engaged in various occupations 
and was held in high esteem for his moral character and integrity. — January 1, 1912. 

The Riverbank Producers and Consumers Co-operative store onened for business 
this morning. The rush was so great that people were standing in line before the 
doors were open. It was necessary to send out an S. O. S. call for help. — Jan. i, '12. 

The Boy Scouts, under Scout Master L. W. Miller, have collected close to $100 
for a gymnasium and for their headquarters. The drive is still on and those who wish 
to contribute can hand the amount to any Boy Scout. — July 29, 1919. 

The sale of the Red Cross canteen building at Turlock closed the history of 
another institution that, during the heat of the Allied War, gained quite a reputation 
up and down the valley and in a way became famous. Thirty thousand soldiers and 
sailors going up and down the line in their work for Uncle Sam were served coffee 
and doughnuts free from this little canteen. — July 24, 1919. 

In a shooting affair which occurred in Modesto in a house of prostitution on J 
Street, Jerry Lockwood, a laborer, was shot and killed October 2, 1872, by Barney 
Garner, it is supposed. Lockwood was shot with a double-barreled shotgun, one charge 
taking effect in the left arm and breast and the other in the throat. It is said that 
the affair was started by Lockwood, who was abusing Garner and hit him over the 
head with a revolver. 

On July 17, 1905, the election in Ceres for the proposition of voting a special 
tax of $500 for the building and an addition to the school and to pay the salary of ar 


extra teacher carried with only a few opposing votes. Ceres is not adverse to spend- 
ing money for education, and they want ample school facilities. 

Oakdale's new service flag was dedicated with appropriate ceremony Saturday 
afternoon, April 2, 1918. It contains the names of sixty-eight young men of Oak- 
dale now serving their country and this week a half dozen more will follow to the 
various army camps. The program included a prayer by the Rev. F. C. Farr; a 
short talk by Roy Acker, during which he read the names of the boys in service ; 
"The Star-Spangled Banner," sung by Mrs. Roy B. Maxey, accompanied by the Oak- 
dale Band ; address by Attorney F. W. Reeder, and "America," sung by the audience 
with band accompaniment. 

January 14, 1920. — Modesto Labor Temple will be the official name by which 
the Central Labor Council will incorporate with a capitalization of $20,000. The 
Labor Council will take over the labor temple recently purchased by T. F. Griffith 
for $13,000. A stock company will be formed and T. F. Griffith will take fifty shares, 
the carpenters' union one hundred shares, the painters' union twenty shares and the 
electricians' union twenty shares. 

"Archbishop Edward J. Hanna of San Francisco will be the guest of the people 
of Oakdale on Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, 1918. A public reception will 
be held at Hughes hall on Saturday evening, which will be attended by the citizens of 
Knights Ferry, Eugene, Waterford, Thalheim and Oakdale. The Archbishop will 
deliver an address on the Red Cross at that time, this being- the opening of the Red 
Cross drive in Oakdale. Sunday he will administer the sacrament of confirmation 
to a class of forty-five communicants." 

At a meeting of the Modesto Woman's Improvement Club yesterday Mrs. Edgar 
H. Annear was elected president; Mrs. Walter Garrison, first vice-president; Mrs. 
C. H. Griswold, second vice-president; Mrs. C. F. Gailfus, treasurer, and Mrs. A. A. 
Field, financial secretary. The new trustees are Mrs. Wm. H. Langdon, Mrs. W. H. 
Hutton and Mrs. C. A. Zander.— April 8, 1913. 

Modesto went wet yesterday. The contest was a hot one, both sides working 
hard. The wets feared the result on the assumption that since the town went wet 
last July many of their supporters had left the city. The election was upon a drastic 
high license ordinance. It limited the saloons to one for every 1,500 inhabitants, and 
one saloon to every hotel with fifty or more rooms. Strict regulations were demanded 
and all entrances must be equipped with clear glass fronts. — April 9, 1913. 

October 29, 1873, Archibald G. Stakes was killed at Hill's Ferry by falling 
from a wagon. His neck was broken and he died instantly. A Virginian by birth, 
he came to California in 1850 and located at Stockton, and began the practice of law. 
In 1852 he was elected an associate judge of the Court of Sessions of San Joaquin 
County. Removing to this county in 1861, he was elected several times to office.. 
The judge was fifty-five years of age. 

At Oakdale, August 29, 1890, Barr's general merchandising store was robbed of 
jewelry and several hundred dollars' worth of clothing. Some tools were also taken 
from the Copperopolis engine. Suspicion attaches to a gang of loafers who have been 
hanging about Oakdale for the past two months. 

It was said in August, 1872, that the farmers on the West Side of the San 
Joaquin River are in want of a railroad from Banta's to Los Banos, a distance of not 
more than fifty-six miles, as from that point the road can connect with the Central 
Pacific. Not more than one-third of the enormous crop raised between the two points 
named has been shipped the past season because of low water, and it will not pay to 
ship it by team. A railroad could be built cheaper than in any other section of the 
state for the same length of road. 

In Modesto, August 30, 1906, a fire which broke out about eleven o'clock de- 
stroyed property to the extent of over $10,000. Were it not for the splendid work of 
the fire department the entire block would have been swept away. The fire started 
between Frank Medina's grocery and James Harter's blacksmith shop. How it started 
is a mystery, as there was no fire in the forge and none in the grocery. Frank Medina 


lost building and stock, $6,000; Charles Hunter, building and goods, $700; Mrs. 
M. E. Tucker, three store rooms in Tucker building, $1,500. 

1905. — The First National Bank of Turlock was opened for business Monday, 
July 10, with C. A. Anderson cashier in charge. Although a distinctive corporation, 
it is a branch of the First National Bank of Modesto, Ora McHenry, president. 

In December, 1872, the question of building a new schoolhouse was being 
agitated by the citizens of Modesto. The citizens of that town have built one of 
the best courthouses in the state outside of San Francisco, with probably a single 
exception, that of San Jose, and they should have a fine school building. 

March 10, 1852. — The flood of a few days ago did serious damage in this 
county. The pontoon bridge and the ferry boats at Heath and Emory's Ferry are all 
gone, and there are 200 people waiting at the ferry to go to the mines, but the roads 
are impassable. Several horses were drowned at Islip's ferry. At Robinson's ferry 
also the boats have been swept away, and at McLean's ferry the current made a 
clean sweep of it and carried away ferry boat and houses. Reynolds' new ferry boat 
is gone. Dent & Vantine were compelled to cut away their large hawser at Knights 
Ferry and theirs is the only ferry boat saved on the Stanislaus. The waterworks a 
half mile below Knights Ferry was entirely washed away with a loss of $6,000. The 
storm commenced on Friday, March 5, and continued without interruption until 
Sunday, the 7th. At Knights Ferry the water arose twelve feet higher than in the 
flood of '49-'50, higher than ever before known, and the stream at that point was 300 
feet in width and forty feet deep. 

April 16, 1872. — The trial of David Fine, charged with the murder of Richard 
Heath near Knights Ferry some time ago, was commenced today before Judge Samuel 
A. Booker of the district court. The prisoner has- a number of very able attorneys 
to defend him — N. Greene Curtis of Sacramento, the ablest criminal lawyer in the 
state; Judge Davis S. Terry of Stockton, and George Schell and J. J. Scrivner of 
Modesto. The prosecution is represented by the district attorney, Thomas A. Cold- 
well, and Abram Hewel. 

Fred A. Ruhl of Stockton, says the press of July 13, 1878, has just completed a 
deep well pump for a West Side farmer which is designed to lift water from a well 
170 feet deep to a tank twenty feet above the ground. It is a combined suction lift 
and force pump. It sucks the water the first ten feet, lifts it to the surface and then 
forces it wherever required. 

Kahn & Haslacher, the well-known grain buyers of Oakdale, in May, 1901, pur- 
chased the warehouses at Merced and at Athlone on the line of the Santa Fe Railroad. 
This gives them a string of twenty-six warehouses for the storage of grain, on the 
four different lines of railroad in this valley. These warehouses are all connected 
by 136 miles of telephone wires. 

Memorial Day, May 30, 1901, was celebrated at Oakdale under the direction 
of Oakdale Lodge No. 230, Knights of Pythias. The Native Sons, Knights of 
Pythias, the public school children and citizens took part in the parade, led by the 
drum corps. The following program was can ied out at the cemetery : Prayer ; song 
by the children; introductory remarks; song, "Sleep and Rest"; recitation, "Cover 
Them Over," Mrs. C. C. Woods; oration, J. P. Hazen; song, "Old Glory"; decorat- 
ing of gaves. 

Paris Kilburn, who has 4,000 acres of wheat near Hill's Ferry, states that the 
grain crop is something wonderful all over that region. On the West Side in Stanis- 
laus County alone there are over 100,000 acies of continuous wheat fields. On the 
East Side the acreage is probablv three or four times greater, and all in most excellent 
growth.— March 21, 1872. 

The rowdy element committed a most outrageous act as the emigrant train pulled 
into Modesto from the south on the morning of November 13, 1883. As soon as 
the train stopped a half-dozen toughs boarded the cars and demanded money from the 
passengers. One of the fellows grabbed a purse held by a young woman and at- 
tempted to take it away from her. She held on to it and was abused by the fellow 
in the most violent language. Her husband came to the rescue and knocked the rowdy 


down and finally threw him from the car. The other would-be robbers were simi- 
larly treated and all five then ran down the track, followed by shots from revolvers 
and a Winchester rifle. Constable Walker of Lathrop happened to be on board and 
he pursued the men, succeeding in capturing one of them and lodged him in the 
Modesto jail. The other four were later arrested by the deputy sheriff. 

1876. — The prisoners confined in the county jail at Modesto escaped on the 
night of August 4 by prying open the prison bars with a stove leg. The officers started 
in pursuit as soon as they learned of the escape, but no word has been heard of the 

A correspondent writing of affairs in Modesto in April, 1872, before it was the 
beautiful little city that it is now is said, "In about an hour and three-quarters after 
leaving Stockton over the Southern Pacific Railroad we arrived at Modesto. This 
cannot be called an attractive place. It is built on a sandy soil and the houses are 
not elegant, but its inhabitants have great confidence in its future and believe that it 
will be a thriving and interesting town. All are looking forward to the harvest 
and then Modesto will get busy and money be plenty. The district court is now in 
session and is engaged in the murder case of the People vs David Fine for the killing 
of Richard Heath. The court is held in a small frame building near the railroad 
depot, which is uncomfortably crowded. 

February 9, 1872. — The new town of Merced is rapidly building up and today the 
steamer Empire, towing the barge Franklin, steamed up the San Joaquin River with 
a large load of lumber consigned to that point. 

The San Joaquin Republican stated in February, 1852, "We are informed by 
Captain Vantine of Knights Ferry that a horrible murder was committed a few days 
ago on the Stanislaus River at Spanish Bar. Two men named Charles Baxter and 
William Donelly were murdered by Mexicans. Their heads were crushed and their 
throats cut from ear to ear. The two Mexicans who are supposed to have done the 
deed have disappeared from the bar, but there is little doubt that they, will soon be 
brought to justice." 

July 19, 1885. — "The citizens of Oakdale are much excited over the recent fires 
and a watch was placed on all suspicious characters. Considerable surprise was mani- 
fested at the arrest of E. Miller, proprietor of the Central Restaurant, where the 
fire broke out. on the charge of perjury. He made an affidavit to the effect that his 
loss was $1,600, being insured for that amount. The insurance agent, being sus- 
picious that something was wrong, swore out a search warrant and found a large por- 
tion of stock alleged to have been destroyed hid away. Later Miller was arrested for 
arson, it being charged that he set fire to his rsstaurant." 

Salmon of more than usual number are making their way xvt the stream this 
year to the head waters of the San Joaquin River. In shallow places in the river 
the fish can almost be caught by hand. The Indians of early days were very expert in 
catching them by hand. — September 4, 1873. 

There was an epidemic of measles raging in Modesto in May, 1901. As a con- 
sequence the public schools were all closed except the high schools. The school 
remained closed for a week. Even the Sunday schools were closed. 

1905. — Fire which started about eleven o'clock Saturday night, September 16, 
totally destroyed the new cooperative creamery at Ceres, with a loss, plant and build- 
ings, of $16,000. The creamery was constructed less than two years ago, after the 
destruction by fire of the former creamery. The present officers are S. J. Irvin, 
of Modesto, president; Dan Baldwin, of Ceres, vice-president; J. U. Gortin, of Ceres, 
secretary, and Mr. Barnes, manager. The creamery was doing a splendid business 
and turning out 1,500 pounds of butter per day. 

There will be no pork raising in the city limits of Oakdale, notwithstanding the 
fact that the government wants plenty of pork. A. G. Reinn, agricultural instructor 
in the high school, has charge of the pork campaign in this county and he asked per- 
mission of Mayor Endicott to permit the raising of hogs within the city limits. The 
mayor declared that if Uncle Sam is in need of pork, he had no objection. Attorney 
Reeder, however, said it could not legally be done. J. B. Stearns, a city trustee, also 


strongly opposed it. "Before the city was incorporated," said Stearns, "I spent several 
weeks taking a petition over the county to stop the running of hogs at large, and I 
don't want all my work to go for nothing." Reeder declared that in the old days a 
butcher drove eighteen head of hogs through the town to the railroad for shipment, 
but before he arrived at his destination he had two carloads of hogs gathered on the 
way.— April 5, 1918. 

1905. — The members of the San Joaquin county supervisors will visit Modesto 
today, August 9, to meet with the county supervisors and open bids for a bridge over 
the Stanislaus River near Ripon. The bids will be opened this afternoon and an effort 
will be made to have the bridge completed before the winter rains set in. 

The Union Democrat of Sonora says, March 30, 1872, "A Mexican who came 
from Modesto last Thursday reported that George Tubbs, Isadero, a Chileno, and a 
young Mexican were hung by a mob for horse stealing in that vicinity last week. The 
three young men- had been living very dissolute lives in Sonora." 

August 19, 1873. — Oscar Baickan, while working on a threshing machine on 
Richard's ranch, four miles south of, Oakdale, was killed today. He was standing on 
the table and fell into the cylinder while the machine was in action. His legs were 
crushed and one leg was torn from the hip joint. He lived only twenty minutes. The 
man was a resident of Knights Ferry and leaves a wife and five children. 

The trial of John Rech for the killing of Levi Arnold in May, 1883, com- 
menced in the district court at Modesto October 15. Arnold and a number of 
friends were having a glorious time at Hill's Ferry, and Arnold proposed that they 
go into Rech's saloon and get another drink. As the glasses were placed upon the 
counter Arnold, reaching across the bar, struck Rech over the head with his heavy 
straw hat. This angered the barkeeper and, refusing to give Arnold any more liquor, 
ordered him out. Arnold then called the saloonist a vile name and Rech returned 
the compliment. The drunken man then grabbed a glass and threw it at Rech's 
head with full force. The tumbler was smashed into a hundred pieces and Rech, 
drawing a six-shooter, shot Arnold, who died in a few minutes. 

In 1854 the first drilled oil well was sunk at Oil City, Pa., in the garden of Samuel 
Smith, father of M. O. Smith of Knights Ferry. That was the beginning of 
petroleum and coal oil in the world's commerce. Smith that year came to California 
and, locating at Knights Ferry, he and Monell Locke assisted in building the flour 
mill that was washed out in the flood of 1862. He died six years ago and his son is 
still growing oranges at Knights Ferry. — Press report, June 5, 1901. 

The new town of Merced was being rapidly built up in February, 1872, and the 
steamer Empire City, with the barge Franklin, sailed up the San Joaquin River with 
seven loads of lumber for that place. 

One of the greatest grain and pasture fires in the history of Stanislaus County was 
that of July, 1906. Starting late Saturday night on the West Side, it burned until 
the following Wednesday, destroying over 20,000 acres of grain and pasture land. 
The fire burned on both sides of Georgias Creek and extended south along the foot- 
hills as far as Merced County. Hundreds of men with gang plows, water wagons 
and wet sacks fought the fire, but failing to stop its progress it finally burned itself out. 

The Stanislaus Republican Club met in Ross hall, August 24, 1872, for a per- 
manent organization and active work during the campaign. The following officers 
were elected: J. S. Alexander, president; W. Witherell and Fred Keet, vice-presi- 
dents; J. C. James, secretary, and Charles Post, treasurer. The Honorable J. M. 
Cavis of Stockton addressed the club on the political issues of the campaign. He 
made a very able and forceful address and his speech was highly appreciated by 
those fortunate enough to hear him. 

Smith & Overheiser of Patterson's ranch, in this county, make it their exclusive 
business to raise Patterson's Merino sheep for themselves and the market, said the 
Herald, September 27, 1872. The flock numbers some 3,000 head of the purest 
blood in America. Their immense flock comes from sixty-seven head of Spanish 
Merino sheep imported into California in 1860 by the late John D. Patterson. The 
shearing of these sheep this season amounts to 30,000 pounds of wool of the finest 


quality. At the state and county fairs they exhibited sixty-seven sheep and carried off 
the first premiums. The sheep were on sale and one buck was sold for $200. Thirty- 
eight pounds of wool was sheared from one of the finest rams this season. 

Mrs. De Yoe of this county a few days ago signed a contract with Clark & 
Heriery of Stockton to build 430 feet of bulkhead along the levee of her ranch. — 
July 31, 1899. 

September 9, 1873. — Judge Samuel D. Booker, judge of the district court, arrived 
yesterday from his Stockton home to hold court in Modesto today. He was accom- 
panied by the court reporter, Edward E. Hood, and by Judge David S. Terry, who 
comes on official business. The court will convene for the first time in the new 

In August, 1906, between 700 and 800 acres of fine pasture land about four 
miles southeast of Oakdale was destroyed by fire in a rather peculiar manner. The 
fire was caused by the running away of a team of horses. The driver set the brakes 
and the wheels, coming in contact with rocks, struck fire, setting fire to the grass. 

This evening about six o'clock Chapman & McKennan's gas works took fire, 
causing considerable excitement. A Babcock fire extinguisher was soon on hand and 
the flames quickly distinguished. — Modesto Neics, November 6, 1873. 

Riverbank has a brass band. The new band effected its organization January 17, 
1920, by electing J. A. Snively band leader. The membership comprises twenty-five 
men, all of them having instruments, and eighteen of them are expert players. They 
will meet for practice in the Harding building. 

One of the most important transactions in the history of Oakdale was completed 
April 2, 1918, when Armour & Company, the big Chicago packers, bought the plant 
and all of the stock of the Oakdale Creamery Company. This is the first entry into 
the California butter field of the Chicago capitalist, with a capital of $1,000,000. It 
will be operated as the Oakdale Creamery and will be in charge of A. D. Schadlich. 

In September, 1872, a press reporter, writing of the progress of Modesto, said, 
"The large building near the depot being erected by Mr. Peters already contains a 
large amount of grain in storage. Isaac Friedlander's warehouse is being completed 
rapidly and will hold 7,000 tons of grain. The brick work on Eastin & Wilson's two- 
story building, corner of I and Tenth streets, is finished ready for the fireproof roof. 
Mr. Farrish is excavating for his new brick on the corner of G and Ninth streets, 
which he intends to use as a store. D. S. Husband will soon be ready to commence 
his new two-story brick structure on I and Tenth streets. Mr. Chapman contem- 
plates erecting a brick next to Mr. Farrish and Mr. Brickman will shortly build a 
brick building on the site now occupied by his place of business. Mr. Brown, the 
photographer, will erect a second story on his building on Ninth Street to be used 
by him as a photograph gallery." 

The entire San Joaquin Valley is interested in the third annual festival to be 
held in Modesto May 3 and 4. Throughout the valley Modesto is known as the 
musical center and the Modesto Choral Society are working to make this festival 
larger and better than ever before. Among the famous soloists to take part in the 
concerts are Mrs. Zilpha Jenkins, soprano; Mrs. Carroll Nicholson, contralto; Charles 
Bulotti, tenor, and Lowell Redfield, bass, the famous San Francisco artists. Last 
year the festival was held in a temporary covered pavilion in the center of the main 
street. This year it will be in the immense auditorium seating 2,000 persons. — April 
29, 1912. 

The demands upon the Modesto Gas Company have been so large because of the 
growth of the city that the company have applied to the railroad commissioners for 
authority to issue $65,000 first mortgage bonds at six per cent. The company intends 
to erect a $45,000 gas holder and install generating apparatus at a cost of $12,000. 
In the vear 1918 the gas consumers numbered 1,420 as against 1,308 the previous 
year.— July 12, 1919. 

The overwhelming defeat of the high school bonds makes it clear, says the News, 
that the people do not want to spend $110,000 for a high school on a single block of 
land, with the traditional courses of study as its principal feature. They want a high 


school that will prepare the young people for their life duties in a better way than is 
done on the old traditional lines. They want manual training, shop practice, agriculture, 
and domestic science made the leading features. Furthermore, they want the students 
to have play room for their athletic sports and their practice work. — February 7, 1911. 

1876. — Oakdale Lodge No. 228, I. O. O. F., will celebrate its first anniversary 
February 28 in Patterson's hall. An oration will be delivered in the early part of the 
evening to be followed by a grand ball. The tickets, including supper, are three 

The Salida Library Society met Thursday evening in Maple hall and nine new 
members were added to the list. New books are being purchased and Robert Miller 
kindly offered to subscribe for the Library Digest for the use of the librarv directors. 
—February 5, 1912. 

January 3, 1920. — At their request, the Oakdale city council will license the 
Jaundrymen at a figure high enough to keep outside laundrymen from getting the 
cream of their patronage. Frank Grangers, one of the aggrieved laundrymen, says 
that he has expended $12,000 in putting in a first-class equipment and should be pro- 
tected from outside laundrymen, who run wagons into the city and pay no city taxes. 

November 1, 1911. — Charles M. Hatfield, the so-called rain maker, has again 
signed up with the land holders in Stanislaus County to increase the annual rainfall. 
This is his seventh yearly contract and it calls for not less than ten inches of rain 
between November 1 and May 1, 1912. The rainfall is six and a half inches, and 
last year he increased it to over thirteen inches. His territory extends from Volta 
on the south to Westley on the north. His headquarters last year were at Crows 
Landing, but this year he will set up his towers at Newman. 

A wedding of considerable interest to the citizens of Stanislaus County took 
place in Berkeley on October 12, 1911, when A. E. Schadlich and Miss Nellie 
Saunders were united in marriage by an Episcopal minister of Berkeley. The mar- 
riage took place at the home of Miss Charlotte Nichols. Mrs. Schadlich was for- 
merly the bookkeeper in Hughes' store, where her fiance first met her. Mr. Schadlich 
is one of the best-known residents of Stanislaus County, and he and his brother own 
and conduct the Live Oak Inn. 

October 26, 1911. — The Central Baptist Association was organized in Ceres a 
few days ago. The association comprises eight churches in this district organized to 
carry on a more aggressive campaign in church work in the central part of the state. 
The following officers of the association were elected: Moderator, C. F. Daniels of 
Hughson; vice-moderator, Rev. J. M. Hensley of Ceres; clerk, Rev. D. J. Weddie 
of Turlock; treasurer, H. C. LefHngwell of Modesto. 

October 28, 1911. — An irrigation convention was held yesterday in Modesto 
with W. A. Patterson of Oakdale presiding, and E. N. Pierce and Mrs. M. Sorenson, 
acting secretaries. During the order of business, Attorney L. L. Dennett was author- 
ized to prepare a memorial to Governor Johnson asking him to incorporate in his 
call of a special session of the Legislature a provision that that bod)- may pass irriga- 
tion district laws. 

May 22, 1912. — The board of supervisors yesterday counted the returns of the 
primary election with the following result: Roosevelt, 1,591 ; Taft, 554; La Follette, 
791. The high licensing of saloons was bottled with the following result; No, 5,250; 
yes, 2,106. As the result of this election the sixteen saloons in the county outside of 
incorporated cities must close their doors within the next ten days. 

May 4, 1912. — An amusing incident occurred in the auditorium last evening 
as the Modesto Choral Society were giving their first evening concert. Just as the 
orchestra were taking their seats after the ten minutes' intermission, an electric fuse 
blew out, leaving the room in total darkness. From out of the solemn silence there 
came a loud voice from the stage saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, the next number on 
the program will be 'Hold Thou My Hand.' " The laugh that followed relieved the 
tension, and everybody began talking to his neighbor. Mr. Redfield, the celebrated 
baritone, who had come up from San Francisco to take part in the concert, came out 


in the darkness and sang the old favorite song, "Drink to Me Only with Thine 
Eyes." In a few minutes the new fuse was placed and the concert continued. 

May 13, 1912. — The Modesto high school debating club defeated the Newman 
high school club in the Modesto auditorium Friday evening. The Newman club, 
represented by E. Beall, F. McGinnis and L. Hoyt, took the affirmative side of the 
question, "Resolved, That the Panama Canal should be operated by the Government 
for profit." The winning debaters were H. Breseiner, Jennie Commez and Win. 

May 25, 1912. — Hog raising is becoming an important industry in Stanislaus 
County, and while it is the shipping of dairy products that this section is noted for, 
says the Herald, many carloads of hogs leave Modesto during the month. Kincaid & 
Sons report that they have shipped six carloads from Modesto to San Francisco since 
May 1. The large amount of hog business already done here has proven that this 
industry is a profitable one to the farmer. 

Considerable amusement was afforded the citizens in the business section of 
Modesto by the enforcement of the traffic ordinance when it went into effect. 
Policemen Elliott and Smith stood on the corner of I and Tenth streets, and they 
were busy all day directing the drivers of horses and the auto chauffeurs how to turn 
the street corners in accordance with the law. 

February 13, 1906. — Coroner Howell arrived at Modesto early this morning 
from Waterford, having in charge the remains of the young man twenty-four years 
of age who was accidentally killed at that place on Monday last. The young fellow, 
Harry Theinon, was a member of the railroad crew engaged in building a bridge 
across the Tuolumne River. While standing on the structure he failed to see the loco- 
motive moving along, and the engine, striking him, he was knocked off the bridge anc 
almost instantly killed. 

January 1, 1920. — The livestock breeders of Stanislaus County have started to 
organize a breeders' association to further their interests generally, and incidentally 
to establish a fair grounds in Modesto where they can exhibit animals and hold big 
sales from time to time. 

March 7, 1912. — Thomas Maxwell, an Oakdale boy, will run against Roy Acker, 
present incumbent, for city clerk at the next municipal election. Roy Acker has made 
a good and efficient officer and he has a host of friends. The fight will be a hot one, 
as both boys are very popular and capable. Alban Rydberg will run for city treasurer. 

December 20, 1911. — Work is rapidly progressing on the sewer and water 
system that is being installed in Oakdale and when completed it will be one of the 
most up-to-date systems in the San Joaquin Valley. The sewer pipe is laid in the 
center of the street from two to eight feet to get the proper grade. James Griffith, 
the local cement contractor, has just begun work on the big concrete reservoir on 
the Cottle hill about a mile from town. It will be about sixty feet in diameter and 
twenty-five feet above the top of the hill, will hold 500,000 gallons of water. This 
will give a water supply and hose pressure in case of fire, not excelled by any other 
city in the valley. 

May 25, 1912. — At a meeting of business men held in Druids hall Saturday 
afternoon, the Modesto taxpayers' league was formed. To block the coming pro- 
hibition movement, they intend to present a petition to the city trustees requesting them 
to call a vote of the people calling for an ordinance licensing the saloon $1,000 a year, 
with specific regulations of the liquor traffic. 

February 22, 1906. — Ora McHenry, president of the First National Bank of 
Modesto, died at his home yesterday of cancer of the intestines. He was the wealthiest 
man in the county and one of the most enterprising and progressive men in the valley. 
As the owner of the Fresno meat market and the principal stockholder in the Henry 
Packing Company on the Bald Eagle ranch, he controlled largely the meat product of 
this section of country. His estate is estimated to be worth close to a million dollars, 
as he had stock in a number of banks and 20,000 acres of land in this county. 

June 21, 1912. — The plans for the annual festival of the Woman's Improvement 
Club of Modesto are being perfected and the fiesta will take place June 27-28. In 


boosting the fiesta, five automobile loads of the members of the club made a tour of 
the eastern section of the county. The women who made trip comprised Mesdames 
H. Hart, E. C. Dozier, H. W. Husband, J. A. Edwards, C. A. Threfall, C. B. 
Husted, J. J. McMahon, J. Frank Russell, C. R. Weeks, Wm. H. Langdon, Geo. 
P. Schafer, J. P. Coffee, F. A. Cressey, W. H. Bowker, Taza Grollman, D. C. 
Wood, H. A. Bates, D. C. Davidson, and W. J. Scoon. 

July 2, 1919. — At a meeting of the Oakdale high school board of trustees they 
voted to raise the salaries of all the teachers $200 per year. This is the second in- 
crease this month because of the high cost of living, the teachers having been given 
$50 per year increase some two weeks ago. This was an additional amount given by 
the trustees, as the teachers had already signed their contracts for the year 1919-20. 

April 25, 1912. — The gold medal contest given in Maple hall, Salida, on April 
16 by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was won by Mrs. Reuter Joliff of 
Woodland colony, who competed with Inez Bowman, Leona Jennings, Isabelle Black- 
man and Wallace Van Leoz of Modesto, and Mrs. L. Lollich and Florence Wilder 
of Salida. 

June 7, 1912. — Auctioneer Clark Kefford held a sale of dairy cattle on the 
McDonald ranch Wednesday of twenty-six Jersey and Holstein cows, which sold at 
an average price of $68.35 per head. 

June 2, 1901. — Oakdale will have a fine celebration this year and Attorney 
Hugh R. McNoble, a prominent member of the Native Sons, born in "old Cala- 
veras," will deliver the oration. Congressman James C. Needham of Modesto will 
be the president of the dav. Twentv-five Knights Ferry Native Sons will appear in 
parade uniform, and the Modesto Native Sons will attend, accompanied by a band. 

March 9, 1912. — The powder magazine of the Utah Construction Company, 
now engaged in building the Oakdale canal, was blown up yesterday. Singularly 
enough, not a person was injured. The magazine contained two carloads of black 
blasting powder and about fifty boxes of giant powder, which did not explode. The 
magazine was located about a mile from the city and was constructed of three-inch 
plank, armored with quarter-inch steel. The town was shaken by the force of the 
terrific explosion and for a time the citizens were badly frightened. 

January 13, 1906. — During the past year Stanislaus Countv jumped from the 
seventh to the fifth place as a producer of butter in California and is closelv pressing 
Fresno for the fourth place in the butter world. Fresno in 1905 produced 2,166,048 
pounds of butter, while Stanislaus produced 2,006.071 pounds of butter. 

January 19, 1911. — The Salida Library Association recentlv held a meeting in 
Maple Hall and elected officers for the ensuing year. The following officers were 
elected: President. Ralph Thompson; vice-president. T. Scott; secretary' and treas- 
urer, Sadie Fox. The books will be moved to Ralph Thompson's store and Miss Mar- 
garet Byington will be the librarian. 

February 11, 1920. — At an election held yesterday in the Modesto Irrigation 
District, the question of issuing $2,550,000 bonds for the completion of the Don Pedro 
dam project carried by a vote of 1,556 for and 96 against the issue. The proposition 
of issuing $1,208,000 bonds for the putting in of a power plant also carried by a vote 
of 1,491 to 109. The $500,000 bonds for drainage carried, 1,499 to 92. 

December 16, 1881. — An exciting trial was in progress yesterday in Justice 
Burney's court when Ducker & Casebolt, restaurant and saloon proprietors, were on 
trial for violation of the Sunday law. The trial commenced the day previous and 
two venires were exhausted in obtaining a jury. The trial was held in the superior 
court room to accommodate the crowd who were deeply interested in the outcome. 
The saloonkeepers were defended by Russell Ward. 

June 2, 1901. — Clarence Hewel is on his way home from the Philippine Islands 
to visit his folks in Modesto, says the Herald, and will arrive in San Francisco June 
15. He was on the battleship Oregon throughout the Spanish War. He received 
the orders from Secretary Long of the Navy granting him permission to return home 
just two hours before he was to start on a long cruise. 


January 31, 1906. — The Modesto district school trustees met last evening in the 
store of Robert Elder for the purpose of considering the plans for the proposed new 
school building on the west side of the railroad track. Several plans were submitted, 
among them two from the Stockton architects, George Rushforth and Beasley & Son. 
The Rushforth plan is for a four-room brick building covered with cement, the ap- 
proximate cost being $14,320. The Beasley plan also shows a four-room brick build- 
ing, Mission style, with wide halls, costing $12,000. 

February 3, 1920.— The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs of Oakdale held a joint 
installation January 29 and the following officers were installed: Oakdale Lodge — 
Noble grand, William Rafter; vice-grand, George Wilds; secretary, M. P. Kearney; 
treasurer, E. C. Crawford; warden, M. Hildberger; conductor, Earl Anderson. 
Rebekahs — Sitting past grand, Rosa Ames; noble grand, Lulu French; vice-grand, 
Ruth Lord; secretary, Ada L. Brooks; treasurer, Martha Arnold; warden, Luella 
Byington; conductor, Zella Reynolds. 

July 1, 1919. — After some thirty years of continuous business seven days a week, 
the saloons of Newman closed their doors at midnight last night with comparatively 
little excitement or unusual features. A notable number of "last chances" were taken 
during the day and evening and under the particular conditions the officers were a 
little lenient in checking hard drinking, so that there were more drunks than for 
many moons. 

June 30, 1901. — -The northern part of Stanislaus County near Eugene was 
visited yesterday and last night by one of the most disastrous grain fires in the history 
of the county. Ten thousand acres were burned over, half of which was in stands 
of wheat and barley of good crop. The fire is supposed to have started from a camp- 
fire on the county road. The heat was intense and many of the men were pros- 
trated while fighting the flames. Two barns were destroyed and several combined 
harvesters had a narrow escape from destruction. The total loss is between $25,000 
and $30,000. 

Edward R. Crawford, one of the best-known citizens of Stanislaus County, died 
at his home near Oakdale January 12, 1906. He was one of the earliest settlers of 
the county, coming from his native state, Michigan, and locating on the ranch where 
he died at the age of seventy years. He was regarded as one of the most practical 
and successful farmers of the county. He leaves behind a son, Henry, and three 
daughters, Gertrude and Margaret, who live on the home ranch, and Mrs. Archibald 
L. Finney, wife of the county survej'or, who lives in Modesto. The second-named 
daughter is a teacher in the Oakdale school. 

July 10, 1919. — The long-standing controversy over the ownership of the 
Goodwin dam was settled yesterday when F. W. Reeder paid into the Tuolumne 
court $10,500, which was the amount awarded the heirs of Howard Preston. Preston 
had a mine which he later abandoned as being of no value, and it was sold to the state 
for nonpayment of taxes. When, however, he learned that the dam had flooded his 
mine, he redeemed the mine from the state and commenced suit against the Oakdale 
and South San Joaquin Irrigation District for $15,000 damages. The trustees re- 
fused to pay this holdup, claiming that he had abandoned the mine as worthless, but 
after a long litigation they concluded to pay the amount. 

January 31, 1920. — Real estate is again on the boom in Oakdale, due in a 
measure to the oil excitement a mile from town. One man, H. T. Griffith, has 
already profited by the oil excitement by selling 100 acres to James Coates and his 
associates of Stockton at $100 per acre. He offered the same land a year ago at 
$38 per acre, with no buyers in sight. 

In Modesto February 24, 1906, a no-saloon license meeting was held in Mc- 
Henry hall to nominate a city municipal ticket. The call for the meeting, which was 
signed bv Henry Turner, L. O. Ferguson, C. W. Webster, T- M. Finlev, Garrison 
Turner, J. E. Saunders, J. W. Wherry, B. J. Smith, B. H. Kendall and J. W. Webb, 
all strong no-liquor men, said, "All citizens interested in the material and moral 
welfare of our growing city are invited to a meeting in the McHenry hall February 
24 for the nomination of a straight no-license saloon ticket for the coming municipal 


election." The citizens met at the place named on March 5, 1906, and nominated 

B. J. Smith and J. H. Hudelson for city trustees, and L. S. Martin for marshal. 
As the nominees made by the other party were satisfactory to the no-license men, they 
made no nominations for city clerk or city treasurer. 

March 23, 1906. — The trustees of the Modesto school district will call for 
bonds in the sum of $17,000 for a new school building and furniture on the west side 
of the railroad track. The election is called for April 14 and the following officers of 
the election have been appointed: L. B. Walthall, inspector, and H. P. Weyer and 

C. W. Perley, judges. The bonds will bear five per cent interest and run for twenty- 
six years. 

March 24, 1906.— A farmer from the West Side near Crows Landing says the 
ranchers of that section have entered into a three years' contract with Hatfield, the 
rain maker. They believe that his operations this season brought them rain and that 
he can repeat the trick. 

A valuable span of horses belonging to Miller & Lux were stung to death by 
bees on June 7, 1901, near Los , Banos. While Frank O. Neal, an employee 
of the corporation, was driving the team along the road they were attacked by the bees. 
The animals jumped sideways, breaking the tongue, and the driver then cut the team 
loose from the wagon. One horse jumped the fence into the bees' nest and was stung 
to death in a few minutes. The other maddened animal ran into the plowed field and 
died in a few hours. Mr. Neal was badly stung, but escaped without any serious in- 
jury, the insects apparently making their main attack against the horses. 

A grand ball was given in Snyder's hall at Oakdale November 1, 1878. Great 
preparations were made for the event and the music was furnished by the Stockton 
Mechanics' Band. 

January 29, 1873. — The Oakdale House in this city has been leased and will be 
conducted in the future by John Crofton and son-in-law, John McDougall, former 
residents of Stockton. 

March 10, 1876. — The newly elected assessor, Thomas A. Wilson, has appointed 
the following deputies: O. Sorder to take charge of the office and make the assess- 
mnts in Modesto; F. H. Avers at Westport; J. C. James at Salida, and Richard Lan- 
non at La Grange. Elton Baker, the newly elected county clerk, has appointed J. B. 
Coldwell as his deputy. 

August 18, 1905. — Stanislaus County is sorely afflicted with a plague of grass- 
hoppers and they are creating great havoc in the vicinity of Oakdale. They come in 
clouds and devour everything in their path. At the ranch of Dave Precert, five miles 
southeast of Oakdale, the insects have wrought considerable damage. They first 
attacked the fruit trees, devouring fruit, leaves and all. Then they preyed on the 
orange trees, eating the oranges and leaves, and over a third of the orchard was literally 
stripped by the pests. 

An interesting murder trial in June, 1873, was that of George Davis, accused 
of the murder of Charles Thompson at La Grange. During the trial the courthouse 
was crowded and the jury brought in a verdict of guilty of murder in the second 
degree. Both the prisoner and the people were represented by able attorneys, the 
district attorney, John J. Scrivner, being assisted by Judge D. S. Terry of Stockton 
and George Shell of Modesto. The defendant's attorneys were J. H. Budd and 
and George Schell of Modesto. The defendant's attorneys were J. H. Budd and 

April 10, 1888. — The city trustees of Modesto have granted a franchise to 
F. A. Cressey, L. W. Fulkerth, Charles Moore and G. W. Whitby to construct and 
maintain a street car line in Modesto. The franchise is for a term of twenty-five 
years, and the roadbed must be commenced within one year and completed within 
three years. 

"Last week a small run was started on the First National Bank," said the 
Modesto Herald, September 22, 1905. "It was started, no doubt, by persons jealous 
of President Ora McHenry's prosperity. The run was checked when word was 
received by telegraph from the First National Bank of San Francisco, 'You can have 


all the money you want to the extent of your liabilities.' Ora McHenry can today 
pay all the indebtedness of the bank and of himself and retire with a half million 
in gold. His father laid a solid foundation for a fortune and his son continued 
adding to that fortune during all these years. Father and son were and are asso- 
ciates in business with the best men in Stanislaus County." 

As Mr. Ostrom was coming from church on the evening of October 26, 1878, 
while passing down H Street a bright light in the rear of the Old Corner saloon 
attracted his attention. He immediately gave the alarm of fire, and in a short time 
the flames were extinguished. On investigation it was seen that some firebug had 
collected paper, straw and light inflammable wood, and placing it against the Loven- 
thal restaurant, had set it on fire. In a few minutes the entire block would have been 
in flames, but for the discovery and promptness of Mr. Ostrom in calling out the 
fire department. 

October 10, 1878. — The Herald said, "The broad plains for miles around 
Modesto, during the past week, have been illuminated by the burning stubble from 
the many wheat fields. In fact, all over the vast valley looks like one limpid flame 
of fire feeding upon the earth's surface. The hundreds of acres that have been burned 
filled the atmosphere with smoke all day, giving the sky a dark, smoky appearance." 

Matthews Corrigan, who died in Oakdale Sunday, July 20, 1919, made his home 
in this section for more than a half century. He was for many years one of the largest 
grain farmers in this region. Hundreds attended his funeral. Mass was celebrated 
by Father Maher and he was interred in the Modesto Cemetery. 

The Oakdale automobile camp is getting to be its principal attraction. Every 
evening the camp is filled with those returning from the Yosemite Valley, and nearly 
every state in the Union is represented. Nearly all of the tourists come by the way 
of Big Oak Flat. The camp is on the Santa Fe Railroad ground, the company giv- 
ing it to the city August 5, 1919. 


Stanislaus County's 748,678 cultivated acres during 1919 gave their owners 
$34,260,728 in crops, and in this year this banner county produced about one-tenth 
of California's milk supply. In cereals, 3,140,541 bushels were produced on 154,418 
acres, and 253,410 tons represents the hay and forage yield from 78,889 acres. 

On farm property valued at $110,595,497, as shown by the recent Bureau of 
Census bulletins, which before irrigation twenty years ago were rated at $17,031,950, 
there is livestock worth $9,140,797, while in 1910 this livestock total was a little 
over a million and a half dollars. 

Stanislaus statistics are eloquent. They are a story of fast growth. Twenty 
3'ears ago there were 2,687 farms, as against 4,566 at last report; and back in 1900, 
when irrigation began, their number was only 951. 

With 928,000 acres as the county's land area, over three-fourths is under culti- 
vation. Incidentally, of the 4,566 farms mentioned, 946 are free from mortgage debt. 
The value of mortgaged ranches is $27,388,819, of which the mortgage debt is covered 
by $8,964,050. It is interesting to note that farmers owning entire farms aggregate 
2,880, while 606 rent additional land. The native white owners are 2,196, foreign- 
born white 1,278, while non-white owners are only 12 — thus removing the drawback 
burdening some sections of California. 

An empire of trees in bearing and nearing the bearing stage affords potential 
wealth in Stanislaus. For instance there are 500,579 bearing fruit trees, which 
harvested 922,757 bushels in 1919, and 150,832 trees, now non-bearing, will soon add 



their wealth. The bearing nut trees aggregate 139,205, with almost as many — 
130,501 — soon to bear. The last reported crop was 1,144,550 pounds. 

Horses number 14,364, worth $1,341,445; cattle, 55,292, worth $6,176,164; 
sheep, 38,627, worth $427,715, and swine, 26,849 worth $412,823. The goat popu- 
lation is growing, numbering 1,923, worth $14,524. 

Value of All Crops 

Cereals $ 5,368,193 

Other grains and seeds 1,308,311 

Hav and forage 5,454,448 

Vegetables 1,468,143 

Fruits and nuts 3,522,936 

All other crops 18,383 

Total $17,140,414 

Value of Farm Property 

1920 1910 

Land in farms $ 85,580,234 $ 35,324,243 

Farm buildings 10,665,305 3,320,475 

Implements and machinery 5,209,161 820,079 

Livestock in farms 9,140,797 4,323,090 

All farm property. 









Average values, all property per farm . 

Land and buildings per farm 

Land alone per acre 

Selected Crops 

(Acres harvested and production) 

Total acres . 
Total bushels 







Kaffir, milo, etc 

Rough rice 

Other grain and seeds: Dry edible beans. 
Vegetables : 

Potatoes, Irish and white 

Other vegetables 















Hay and Forage 

Total acres 
Total tons . 

All tame or cultivated grasses 

Timothy alone 

Timothy and clover mixed 

Clover alone 


Other tame and cultivated grasses. 

Wild salt or prairie grasses 

Small grains cut for hay 






















Corn cut for forage 

Kaffir, sorghum, etc., for forage. 




Miscellaneous crops : Sugar beets 
Small fruits: 

grown for sugar 

Fruits and Nuts 


Total quarts 

Orchard fruits: 

Trees not bearing 

Trees of bearing age. . 





Trees Not 
Bearing Age. 

Trees of 

Bearing Age. 


















Total trees, bearing age, 130,501. 
Total trees non-bearing, 139,205. 
Pounds harvested, 1,144,550. 

Walnuts (Persian and English). 


Vines not bearing age. 

Vines of bearing age. . 

Pounds harvested . . . 

4,582 82,531 

. 2,096,576 
. 39,343,953 

Farms and Farmers 

*Number of farms 4,566 

Farmers, male 4,417 

Farmers, female 149 

Farmers, native white 2,815 

Farmers, foreign-born white 1,677 

Farmers, negro and other non- 
white 74 

•In 1910, 2,687 farms; in 1900, 951. 

Under three acres, farms 25 

3 to 99 acres 3,739 

100 to 174 acres 337 

175 to 259 acres 98 

500 to 999 acres 127 

1,000 acres and over 139 

Domestic Animals 

Number farms reporting do- 

mestic animals 
Value all domestic animals. 
Total number of horses . . . 

.$ 8,645,423 

Colts, 2 years and over .... 
Mares, 2 years and over. . . 
Geldings, 2 years and over. . 


Total value $ 

Mules, asses and burros... 
Value mules, asses, burros. .$ 

Cattle : 

Total number 

Total value $ 

Beef cattle : 

Total number 

Calves under 2 years 

Cows and heifers, 2 years 

and over 

Steers under 2 years 

Steers over 2 years 

Bulls, 1 year and over 

Total value $ 

















Dairy cattle: 

Total number 55,292 

Calves under 1 year 10,352 

Heifers under 2 years 7,390 

Cows, heifers over 2 years . . 36,297 

Bulls, 1 year and over 1,253 

Total value $ 4,809,032 

Sheep : 

Total number 38,627 

Lambs, under 1 year 11,767 

Ewes, 1 year and over 23,470 

Rams, 1 year and over. . . . 392 

Wethers, 1 year and over. . . 2,998 

Total value $ 427,715 

Goats : 

Total number 1,923 

Total value $ 14,525 

Swine : 

Total number 26,849 

Pigs under 6 months 16,360 

Sows and gilts for breeding, 

6 months and over 3,690 

Boars for breeding, 6 months 

and over 361 

All other hogs over 6 months 7,438 

Total value $ 412,823 

Poultry and bees: 

Chickens 330,488 

Other poultry 10,855 

Total valuation $ 469,077 

Number beehives 3,485 

Total valuation $ 26,397 

Eggs produced, dozens. . . . 1,388,135 

Chickens raised 246,442 

Chickens sold 127,530 

Value of chickens and eggs 

produced $ 753,062 

Receipts from sale of chick- 
ens and eggs $ 515,933 

Farms Operated by Owners 

*Number of farms 3,486 

Percentage of all farms. . . . 76.3 

Acres land in farms 515,095 

Improved land in farms. . . . 312,031 
Value of land and buildings. $65,377,063 

Degree of ownership — 
Number farmers owning en- 
tire farm 2,880 

Number farmers hiring addi- 
tional land 606 

Native white owners 2,196 

Foreign-born white owners. 1,278 

Negro and other non-white 12 

•In 1910, 2,200 farms; in 1900, 611. 

Livestock Products 

Dairying products: 1920 

Milk products, gallons 20,341,792 

Milk sold, gallons 9,702,037 

Cream sold, gallons 101,231 

Butterfat sold, lbs 3,207,670 

Butter made on farms, lbs. . 100,423 

Butter sold, lbs 20,978 

Cheese made on farms, lbs. 113,177 

Value of dairy products. . . .$ 4,773,562 

Receipts dairy products $ 4,687,736 

Wool and mohair: 

Number sheep shorn 23,960 

Wool produced, lbs 171,422 

Value of wool produced, lbs.$ 66,483 

Number of goats shorn. . . . 1,072 

Mohair produced, lbs 2,180 

Value of mohair $ 872 

Honey and wax: 

Honey produced, lbs 117,659 

Wax produced, lbs 1,836 

Value of honey and wax. . .$ 24,248 

Land and Farm Acreage 

Approximate land area 928,000 

•In farms 748,678 

tlmproved land in farms 477,871 

Woodland, in farms 98,320 

Other unimproved land 172,487 

Per cent land area in farms. . . . 80.7 

Per cent farm land improved. . 63.8 

Average acreage per farm 164 

Average improved acreage 

per farm 104.7 

•In 1910, 649,392; in 1900, 830,692. 
tin 1910, 512,189; in 1900, 622,700. 

Farms Operated by Managers 

•Number of farms 72 

Land in farms, acres 32,934 

Improved land in farms, acs. 19,690 

Value of land and buildings. $ 4,305,400 

•In 1910, 46 farms; in 1900, 31. 

Farms Operated by Tenants 

•Number, of farms 1,008 

Percentage of all farms. . . . 22.1 

Acres land in farms 200,649 

Acres improved land 146,160 

Value of land and buildings. $26,563,076 
Native born white tenants . . 562 

Foreign born tenants 385 

Negro and other non-white 61 

Mortgage Debt Reports 

(Farms operated by owners) 

Number free from mortgage 946 

Number with mortgage debt 2,138 

Number with no report. . . 402 

6>cl ht Wi 



ORAMIL MeHENRY.— Rounding out his earthly span of years, so full of 
activity and honor, the late Oramil McHenry closed his eyes to the scenes of this world 
on February 21, 1906 — a world made so much the better for his having lived and 
toiled here. He was a splendid type of American, a typical Californian, and very 
appropriately the leading newspaper of Modesto said of him: "In the passing of Oramil 
McHenry, Modesto lost a man who was always foremost in the work of her advance- 
ment, and Stanislaus County one who did more toward her development than anyone 
else, and California one of her prominent, substantial and enterprising capitalists whom 
she could ill afford to lose. His family, too, lost a friend, a tender husband and a 
devoted father who did all in his power to conduce to the pleasure and comfort of 
those about him." 

He was born on November 14, 1861, the son of Robert McHenry, a Vermonter 
who removed to "York State" when he had reached maturity, and later to Louisiana, 
where he had a large plantation. In 1846, during the Mexican War, he came to 
California by way of the Isthmus, and in 1849 he reached Stockton, where he under- 
took draying. Later, for six months, he went to the mines at Chinese Camp, and 
then he came to Stanislaus County and commenced that identification with Modesto 
and vicinity which has associated his name forever with local annals. He took up the 
land that eventually became the Bald Eagle Ranch; and beginning with its 2,640 
acres, increased his holdings to 4,000 acres. During 1878 he came to Modesto to live; 
and entering the field of banking, became cashier of the Modesto Bank, which position 
he continued to hold until 1884. When the First National Bank was incorporated, 
he was made president, and so he remained until 1900. On the second of June of that 
year he died, succeeded in the presidency of the bank by his son, the subject of our 
sketch, but leaving a void in the Modesto world that could not well be filled. Mrs. 
McHenry was Matilda Hewitt before her marriage, and she was a native of Ohio and 
the daughter of Samuel Hewitt, with whom she crossed the great plains in a train of 
ox teams early in the fifties. Her father located in the San Joaquin Valley, and there 
he spent the remainder of his life. She died in 1896, aged fifty-six years. 

Oramil McHenry attended the common schools of his neighborhood and grew 
up to manhood in Stanislaus County, topping off his formal studies with three years 
at the State University. Then he returned to Modesto and entered the First National 
Bank, where he was bookkeeper under his father ; and in that capacity he served until 
the latter's death, when he assumed the direction of the bank's affairs, and he continued 
to fill that position acceptably until he, too, was called upon to lay aside earthly cares. 
Upon the death of his parents, Mr. McHenry had inherited a large fortune, and 
by unusual executive power, wise investments and general financial ability, he was able 
greatly to increase his inheritance and to leave his heirs an estate valued at more than 
a million dollars. This estate consisted of the controlling interest in the First National 
Bank of Modesto, and also the controlling interest in the Turlock and other bank 
stock, he having sold his interest in the Modesto Bank shortly before his death. He 
also had a controlling interest in the store of G. P. Schafer & Company, the leading 
merchants here, which he retained until his end. He owned much real estate, approxi- 
mating 6,000 acres of valuable land in the county, as well as large holdings in Kern 
and Fresno counties. A short time before his death, he organized the O. McHenry 
Packing Company, with a capital stock of $1,000,000, and was interested in other 
meat producing concerns that are now a leading factor in the production and distribu- 
tion of meat in the San Joaquin Valley, as well as in the sale of meat in the Bay- 
cities in opposition to the meat trust; and he was carrying on a successful fight there 
in the interest of the imposed-upon public at the time of his untimely taking off. 


Notable were other beneficent undertakings or benefactions of Mr. McHenry. 
To him was due the financiering of the Turlock Irrigation District during its darkest 
days, and had it not been for his confidence in the future prosperity of Stanislaus 
County, and his ample means so freely invested in the bonds of both the Modesto and 
Turlock Irrigation districts during the crisis in its development, the system might never 
have been completed, for there was no other place to turn for money. To the liberal 
investments, therefore, of Mr. McHenry may properly be ascribed the present complete 
system, and much of the consequent development of the county during the past few 
years. He was a liberal man in his donations to various charities and undertakings of 
a public nature, and among other acts long to be thankfully remembered is his donation, 
by bequest, for a public library for Modesto, which has resulted in the purchase of the 
corner of Fourteenth and I streets, and the building of the McHenry Public Library. 
He attended the First Presbyterian Church, to which he belonged, and was member of 
the Stanislaus lodge No. 206, F. & A. M., of Modesto, and of Stockton lodge No. 218, 
B. P. O. E., and also of the N. S. G. W. of Modesto. 

Mr. McHenry was twice married. He was first married in Modesto, March 
3, 1886, when he was united with Miss Louise E. Bilicke, who was born in Boise 
City, Idaho, and came with her parents, when she was a child, to Dunsmuir, Cal. ; 
later the family came to Modesto. This union resulted in the birth of four children, 
two of whom are living, Robert A. and Albert H., who own and manage the Bald 
Eagle ranch; through his second marriage, at Modesto, in 1902, he became the hus- 
band of Miss Myrtie Conneau, of Modesto, and a graduate in the class of 1900 
of Stanford University. One child, a son, Merl, has blessed this union. Mr. Mc- 
Henry had been in poor health for nearly a year, and when, about six months before 
he died, he realized that he could not overcome the dread disease, he became reconciled 
to his fate, and began at once to put his business affairs into good shape for his family. 
During all these months of suffering, although aware that his case was hopeless, he did 
not lose cheerfulness, and at the final summons, faced death with fortitude and calm. 

ROBERT McHENRY. — Among the pioneers who paved the way for the present 
greatness of Stanislaus County, and in his optimism saw its great possibilities, will- 
ingly putting his shoulder to the wheel and pushing forward towards the present 
wonderful good that is now enjoyed by the present day residents, it is interesting to 
chronicle the life of the late Robert McHenry, a truly wonderful man of splendid 
business instinct and capabilities, who in his prime entered the wilderness and claimed 
the virgin soil as his heritage and by unceasing toil and the endurance of hardships, 
the making of sacrifices and practice of self-denial, pressed forward to make this desert 
country burst forth with abundant crops furnishing sustenance for thousands of 
families and to be the means of bringing prosperity to coming generations. 

Robert McHenry was born in Vermont, where he was reared on a New England 
farm and from a lad made himself useful on the old homestead, learning habits of 
industry and economy, at the same time receiving a good education in the schools of 
that locality. On reaching manhood, he migrated to New York, then moving south, 
located in Louisiana, where he had charge of a large plantation. During the Mexican 
War, in 1846. he came to California via the Isthmus of Panama, being one of the 
number who came here before the forty-niners. In 1849 he located in Stockton, where 
he was engaged in draying and freighting, then going to the mines at Chinese Camp, 
he remained for a period of six months, after which he came to Stanislaus County 
and took up land which now constitutes the ranch known as the Bald Eagle. This 
place then consisted of 2,640 acres, but it was afterwards increased to 4,000 acres. In 
1878 he located in Modesto and engaged in the banking business, becoming the 
cashier of the Modesto Bank, in which capacity he remained until 1884. Upon the 
incorporation of the First National Bank of Modesto, he became its president and 
continued as it head until he resigned, being succeeded by his son, Oramil McHenry. 

Mr. McHenry 's marriage united him with Matilda Hewitt, a native of Ohio, 
who survived him until 1896, when she passed on at the age of fifty-six years, his 
death having occurred June 24, 1890. She had crossed the plains to California in 
an ox-team train in the early fifties with her father, Samuel Hewitt, who located in 
the San Joaquin Valley, where he spent the remainder of his life. 


They left an only child, Oramil McHenry, who proved a worthy son of a noble 
father. Robert McHenry was a man of sterling integrity and great business acumen, 
who worked his way unaided from the bottom of the ladder to a place of affluence 
and an enviable high standing among his fellowmen. He has two worthy grandsons, 
Robert A. and Albert H. McHenry, the present proprietors of the Bald Eagle ranch, 
who are nobly emulating their father and grandfather's example. 

DANIEL WHITMORE. — Among the sturdy pioneers who deserve to be grate- 
fully remembered, no one may occupy a higher place in the memory of many an old- 
timer than Daniel Whitmore, who was born on May 31, 1816, the son of Daniel and 
Martha Whitmore. His parents removed with him, when he was only one year old, 
to the now famous Chautauqua, N. Y., and two years later they went on to Conneaut, 
Ashtabula County, Ohio, and there remained for twelve years. He was fifteen years 
of age when they all went back East to Barnstable County, Mass., and from there, 
for six years, he following a seafaring life. 

In 1844, Mr. Whitmore was happily joined in matrimony with Miss Lucy 
Jane Lee, a native of New York State, by whom he had three children of promise 
and fulfillment. Clinton N. was the eldest, then came Leonard H., and after that 
Eugene E. Whitmore. Stirred by the exciting reports of the discovery of gold in 
California, Mr. Whitmore, in the spring of 1854, left Pittsford, Mich., in a wagon 
train and braved the dangers and privations of a trip across the plains. Good luck 
favored them for the most part, and they were able, after a hard day's travel, to 
group around the campfire at night with plenty of merriment and good cheer. 

On September 1, 1854, Mr. Whitmore, with his family and his fellow-pioneers, 
arrived at Stockton after a journey of five months, and in Stockton he remained until 
1866, when he came south to Stanislaus County and engaged in the raising of wheat. 
He also turned to carpentering and building, and contracted to construct houses, 
barns and warehouses, and he also built cultivators. He came to have 9,000 acres 
of rich sandy loam, and part of this he rented out in tracts of from 800 to 1 ,000 acres. 
He merited and received the confidence of his neighbors as a man who operated intelli- 
gently and with supreme faith in the future; and he enjoyed the affectionate esteem 
of all who knew the kindliness of his heart and the cleanness of his soul. Daniel Whit- 
more did something definite to make California a much better place in which to live; 
nor will the influence of what he did soon fade from remembrance. 

JOHN SERVICE. — California numbers many men among her citizens whose 
restrospective glance recalls active participation in the pioneer events of the state, 
none of whom, however, were more representative of that early period than was the 
subject of our review, John Service, whose name was well known beyond the confines 
of his home town of Ceres, and Stanislaus County. His death, which occurred July 5, 
1920, was felt to be a distinct loss to the community, whose best interests he had sus- 
tained with untiring zeal, and where he was known as one of its largest landowners 
and successful ranchers. A native of New York, John Service moved with his parents 
into Michigan when he was but two years of age, where they were pioneer farmers 
near Morenci. He was of Scotch-Irish descent and inherited the business instincts of 
his forebears, as well as their fearlessness and courage. He crossed the plains with ox 
teams in 1859 and was employed for a time in Napa Valley; he later went to Auburn, 
Placer County, and for a time freighted for a Mr. Hatch over the mountains into 
the mines. In partnership with Ed. Hill, he turned to farming, owning a small farm 
on Placer Creek, the improvements of which were completely washed away in the 
flood of 1862. He sold out his interest in the partnership to Hill, taking his note for 
$250, which was never paid, and which is now held as a souvenir by his family. 

The marriage of John Service in 1867 united him with a woman as brave and 
splendid as himself, Miss Julia Hall Warner, the adopted daughter of C. P. Warner. 
She came to California with her foster parents in 1856, when she was about six years 
of age, crossing the Isthmus of Panama by rail and mule hack and eventually locating 
in Placer County ; later removing to Stanislaus County, where Mr. Warner is one 
of the well-known pioneers. After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Service came into 


Stanislaus County to make their home. From that time until 1885, the}' were prom- 
inently identified with the farming interests of the county, where Mr. Service was 
extensively engaged in grain raising. He bought 640 acres at one dollar and a quarter 
an acre, and at one time owned 1,000 acres between Snelling and La Grange. He 
rented additional lands, and often farmed as much as 1,000 acres to wheat in one 
season. At that time Stockton was the one trading post and headquarters for the entire 
San Joaquin Valley. 

Mr. and Mrs. Service became the parents of eleven children: Walter Warner, 
born April 26, 1868, died November 22, 1878; Lewis H., born April 27, 1870, now 
a jeweler in Berkeley, Cal. ; Wilbur P., born June 5, 1871, died November 19, 1878: 
Hubert E., born May 15, 1873; W. Roscoe, born October 22, 1874; Ida Irene, born 
March 24, 1877, now the wife of Dr. F. H. McNair of Berkeley; Robert Roy, born 
June 4, 1879, now a missionary in China; Lulu K., born January 29, 1881, now the 
wife of F. F. Goodsell, a missionary in Constantinople; Lynda R., Mrs. Sperry, born 
December 16, 1883. John H., born August 31, 1888, died May 3, 1908; and Law- 
rence E. Service, born March 3, 1890. Of these sons and daughters, all who have 
lived to their majority have proven to be men and women of more than ordinary worth. 

The golden wedding anniversary of John and Julia Service was celebrated in 
Berkeley on July 3, 1917, when all the living children but R. R. were present to add 
to the joy of the occasion. They had moved away from Ceres in 1885 because of the 
failing health of the husband and father, going first to Auburn, remaining there until 
1895, when they came to the ranch, and in 1899 they went to Berkeley to reside, 
leaving the great ranches in charge of the sons, Hubert E. and W. Roscoe Service. The 
mother died at Berkeley in 1918, after an illness of six months, and the* father passed 
away at Ceres on July 5, 1920, while on a visit to his sons there. The record of his 
life-work, his untiring energy and industry, his perseverance towards the object of 
his ambition, his unswerving integrity and unimpeachable honor, in short, his exemplary 
life, stands ever as an example well worthy of emulation. 

HENRY CAVILL. — Among the oldest and most highly-esteemed settlers still 
living in Stanislaus County are Henry Cavill and his good wife, who long endured 
the hardships of early days, and now, as residents of Modesto, are enjoying the fruits 
of courageous industry, foresight and thrift. Mr. Cavill came into this section, then 
a wilderness, to claim the virgin soil as his heritage, and by close application, hardest 
of work and considerable sacrifice, he has made not only a competency, but a fortune. 
He was born in Knowstone, Devonshire, England, on February 22, 1832, the son of 
John and Man,- Cavill, who were extensively engaged in farming ; John Cavill and his 
father having farmed one place of 450 acres — a large area for that settled country — 
for forty-one years. These good parents lived, labored and died in Old England. 

Henry Cavill followed farming there until August 14, 1857, when he took pas- 
sage to New York, where he arrived on the eleventh of May. He did not find New 
York to his liking, so he pushed on westward, and for a while located in Janesville, 
Iowa. There he remained until April 15, 1859, when he started for the gold regions 
of California. He and a comrade, having equipped themselves with a wagon, team 
and necessary supplies, joined an ox-team train and came over the northern or Col. 
Andrews route, and they had a pleasant journey and no trouble through the Indians. 
They arrived in Placerville on October 15, having been six months en route, and like 
so many others, they first went to mining. They commenced at Montezuma in 1861, 
but not succeeding very well, Mr. Cavill in 1863 tried his luck in the Union Copper 
Mine at Copperopolis, in Calaveras County. Next he came to Stockton and bought a 
team, and with that outfit he teamed out of Stockton to the mines for seven years. 
Meantime, as early as 1867, Mr. Cavill came to Stanislaus County and preempted 
160 acres which he used for winter quarters, and as soon as possible he began improving 
it until finally he quit teaming and commenced to raise grain. He first added a 
quarter section to what he had, until he owned 320 acres, and wishing to enlarge his 
possessions, he made a singular transaction with Otis Perrin of Stockton, who owned 
640 acres near his place. He offered Perrin for his farm 5,760 bushels of wheat, or 
nine bushels of wheat to the acre, the wheat to be paid him as fast as he could produce 

/ZC„ z^-^^-c^ 


it from crops to be raised on the land, which was then valued at about $4,000. The 
two following seasons were not the best, but Mr. Cavill produced the required amount 
of wheat, and as wheat was then worth about one dollar and a quarter a cental, in 
two years he acquired title to the land, which in time became very valuable. After a 
while, he owned 1,028 acres, and he was rated one of the large grain growers. 

When Mr. Cavill retired from his arduous labors, he removed to Alameda to give 
his children higher educational advantages; and after their education was completed, 
he and his wife settled in Modesto, where they make their home at 1119 Thirteenth 
Street, surrounded by their affectionate children and many devoted friends. 

In 1873 Mr. Cavill was united in marriage at Stockton with Mrs. Matilda 
Elizabeth (Standiford) Cobb, a native of Cass County, Mo., and the daughter of John 
and Jane (Osborn) Standiford, natives of Indiana. Matilda Standiford was first 
married in Missouri to John W. Cobb, and they crossed the plains in 1863 with ox- 
teams and wagons, locating on a farm near Stockton; but in 1865 they came into 
Stanislaus County, and here farmed until Mr. Cobb died. Four children blessed the 
union of Mr. and Mrs. Cavill: Rose is Mrs. Braswell, Edith is Mrs. Moss, Birdie is 
Mrs. Maze, while the only son is Walter. The daughters reside in Modesto, but the 
son lives in Oakland. Mrs. Braswell and Mrs. Maze are sharing the home with 
their parents, and giving them their loving devotion and care. An old-fashioned 
Republican, Mr. Cavill is public spirited and takes a keen interest in all that makes 
for the upbuilding, as well as the building up, of the town and county. 

Among the many interesting recollections of Mr. Cavill are those going back to 
1861, when it rained for three weeks without cessation, and from Stockton for ten 
miles stretched a veritable lake, compelling him and two other ranchers to make their 
way out into the country on horseback by following the high places and swimming 
where the water was deeper. In that year, in Sonora, 121 J/2 inches of rain fell — 
something more than a series of showers! There was no mail received for thirty 
days, and then only by a man who brought it in on his back, swimming and crossing 
the streams as best he could, and receiving a dollar for each letter he brought. 

JUDGE A. HEWEL. — A Californian by adoption who became prominent and 
influential in Stanislaus County was the late Judge A. Hewel, a native of Hanover, 
Germany, where he was born on May 9, 1835. He received his early education in 
the schools noted throughout the world for the thoroughness of their educational 
system, and there he learned both to write a good hand and to become an expert 
accountant — two accomplishments which served him well when he became clerk of 
Stanislaus County. Leaving Germany as a sailor, he reached New York Cit}' in 1850; 
and in September of the following year, he left the American metropolis and journeyed 
by way of Cape Horn to San Francisco. He sailed through the Golden Gate in July, 
1852, and pushing into Mariposa County, for a while he followed the venturesome 
career of a miner there. As early as 1854, he came into Stanislaus County, and nine 
or ten years later he removed to Knights Ferry, which was then the county seat. It 
was not long before his fellow-citizens prevailed upon him to become deputy county 
clerk, and soon after he was made clerk of the count}-. At first he served under John 
Reedy, and then he succeeded him. In 1867, he was defeated for county clerk by 
Thomas Hughes. 

Having improved his time, in the study of law, Mr. Hewel was admitted to the 
California bar in February, 1864, and in 1866 he formed a partnership with A. Schell, 
the popular lawyer at Knights Ferry, which continued until April 1, 1872. Mr. 
Schell then retired, and Mr. Hewel removed to Modesto, when the county seat was 
established there. He practiced law alone until 1875, when he formed a partnership 
with W. E. Turner, then probably the leading lawyer of the section, and continued 
with him until the new constitution gave Stanislaus County a superior judge. Mr. 
Hewel was elected to that office, and for six years proved an upright, honest and im- 
partial judge, serving the county with great credit to himself and the people who had 
elected him. 

After the close of his term, Judge Hewel quit the practice of law to devote his 
time to his large landed holdings and agricultural as well as mining interests. He 


owned a third interest in the Utica mine at Angels Camp, having maintained his 
interest in mining from his advent into California, and in the long run he met with 
considerable success. He was also interested in oil development, and always did his 
share towards developing the natural resources of the earth. As a farmer, too, he 
was decidedly progressive, using only the latest methods and the most up-to-date 
machinery. The money he made in mining projects, with C. D. Lane and others, 
he judiciously invested in real estate, for the most part in Stanislaus and nearby terri- 
tory, and at one time he owned 2,500 acres in Stanislaus County, 2,600 acres in 
Tuolumne County, and 320 acres in Merced County. 

When Judge Hewel died, therefore, on August 2, 1909, he left behind him a 
fine record as trustee of the city of Modesto, and also trustee of the first brick school- 
house built on Fourteenth Street. He had remained a director in the Farmers and 
Merchants Bank of Modesto until his death, and he was also a director in the First 
National Bank of Modesto, and a stockholder in the Modesto Bank. As a Democrat, 
he was honored with a high place in the councils of the party. The consensus of 
opinion was that when Judge Hewel said anything was so, it was so and his word was 
as good as his bond. 

On November 22, 1871, Judge Hewel was married at Knights Ferry to Miss 
Maria Fisher, a native of Schoharie, Schoharie County, N. Y., and the daughter of 
Jacob Fisher, who was born at Berne, Albany County, the same state, where he was 
a farmer. He had married Sophia Schell, a native of the same place; and they both 
died in New York. They had six children — three boys and three girls — and a son 
and a daughter are still living. A brother, Addison Fisher, was in a New York 
regiment during the Civil War, and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg. 
Another brother, Albert Fisher, resides in Central Bridge, N. Y. Mrs. Hewel's uncle, 
Abraham Schell, came to California in 1850, was a merchant in Stockton, and then 
bought a grant of land at Knights Ferry, where G. H. Krause had set out a vineyard 
still known as the Red Mountain Vineyard. Mr. Schell studied law, was admitted 
to the bar, and practiced with Mr. Hewel until the county seat was removed to 
Modesto and he retired, to spend his remaining days in Knights Ferry, enjoying the 
honors due to his long prominence. Mrs. Hewel was educated at Schoharie Academy, 
and in 1868 she came to Knights Ferry, where she met her future husband. Four of 
their children grew to maturity. Blanche is the wife of H. T. Miller of Bakersfield; 
Arabella, who died in February, 1908, leaving a daughter, was Mrs. A. B. Shoemake ; 
Clarence A. resides in Los Angeles ; and Catherine Schell Hewel lives with her mother 
and assists in presiding over the latter's household. In 1894, Judge Hewel built the 
large modern residence where his family still lives. 

Judge Hewel was a Mason unusually well-posted. He was made a Mason in 
Stanislaus Lodge No. 206, F. & A. M., Modesto, of which he was past master, and 
was past high priest of the Modesto Chapter No. 49, R. A. M., and served as grand 
high priest of the Grand Chapter of California, one term. He was a member of the 
Knights Templar at Stockton. He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and was 
a member of the Shriners, and was the first Knight Templar from Modesto to become 
a member of Islam Temple, San Francisco. He was also a member of the O. E. S. of 
Modesto. Mrs. Hewel is a member of the Electa Chapter No. 72, of the O. E. S., and 
with her daughter Catherine is a member of the Woman's Guild ; Miss Catherine is a 
member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Both mother and daughter are also members 
of the Modesto Woman's Improvement Club. One of Mrs. Hewel's lineal ancestors, 
Lieut. John Dominick, was in the Revolutionary War; and on both paternal and 
maternal sides she is descended from Revolutionary stock, her great-grandfather being 
John Fisher, of the Revolution, and she also traces her lineage back to five other 
Revolutionary ancestors. Mrs. Hewel and Miss Catherine are charter members of 
the Major Hugh Moss chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 
Modesto. Miss Catherine Hewel was a delegate to the Continental Congress held at 
Washington in 1919, being appointed by the present head, President-General Sarah 
Elizabeth Guernsey, and was one of the floor pages at the memorable session. 


Since Judge Hewel's death, Mrs. Hewel has continued to look after the extensive 
estate left by her husband. She has improved the land under the Turlock Canal, 
largely devoted to vineyard, but two years ago sold all save two hundred acres given 
to alfalfa. In 1919, she built the Hewel garage at the corner of Tenth and G streets, 
in Modesto, a fine edifice, two stories, 125 x 140 feet in size, thoroughly fireproof, and 
the largest garage building in the city. She is a stockholder in the Bank of Italy, and 
she also owns valuable lands at Lerdo in Kern County. Mrs. Hewel has followed in 
the footsteps of her esteemed husband, having the greatest faith and optimism in the 
future greatness of Modesto. She has done much to build up the city and county in 
which Judge Hewel had such faith. Liberal and kind-hearted she continues as did the 
Judge to dispense the true, old-time Californian hospitality.. 

REUEL COLT GRIDLEY.— In the annals of Stanislaus County, a name that 
will ever be honored as one of her representative pioneer citizens is that of Reuel Colt 
Gridley, identified, as he was, with the state of his adoption from the early '50s. Mis- 
souri was his native state, and he was born there at Hannibal in the year 1829. He 
reached young manhood about the time of the Mexican War and for one of his pa- 
triotic spirit it was but natural for him to give his services for his country in that 
conflict. In 1852, when the tide of emigration was still flowing to the land of gold, 
Mr. Gridley crossed the plains by Pony Express and on reaching California, settled 
for a while at San Jose. A year later he was joined by his wife, who made the journey 
by way of Panama; before her marriage she was Miss Susanna Snider, a native of 
Pennsylvania, their wedding occurring in Louisiana, Mo. They located at Yreka, in 
Siskiyou County, then removed to Oroville, Butte County, whence he went on to 
Austin, Nev., where he was engaged in mining. In 1866, on account of his health, he 
moved to Stockton, and the following year came to Paradise, Stanislaus County, where 
he built a home and became closely identified as the postmaster and merchant. 

In 1870, after the Southern Pacific Railroad had built its line through and laid 
out the town of Modesto, the whole countryside was on wheels for a time, as the 
residents of Paradise and other outlying communities, seeing that the new town would 
become the commercial center of this district, moved their stores and dwellings there. 
Among those who joined the procession was Mr. Gridley, and in the fall of 1870 was 
planning to move his store building to a lot he had purchased on Eighth Street, near 
H, in Modesto, where he intended to open the first store, as well as a lumber yard, in 
the new railroad town. No doubt he would have been the first postmaster, but he 
passed away November 24, 1870, in the prime of life, being only forty years old. He 
was buried at Stockton, and here in 1886 the Grand Army of the Republic erected 
a monument that is a fitting tribute to his memory. The memorial comprises a gran- 
ite base and marble column, about ten feet in height, surmounted by a life-size figure 
of the patriot, standing with his right hand resting on a sack of flour. He was promi- 
nent in fraternal circles, being a Knights Templar Mason and an Odd Fellow. 

In January, 1871, Mrs. Gridley moved both the store and residence which had 
been built in i 867, from Paradise to Modesto. The store was placed on Eighth 
street, while the residence was at the corner of H and Seventh streets, Modesto, 
where she made her home. She engaged in the mercantile business as Gridley & Com- 
pany and as early as 1872 she built a large, two-story brick building on the corner of 
H and Eighth streets. Here she continued in business until 1881, when she sold out 
and retired, making her home in Modesto until her death in 1910. Both Mr. and 
Mrs. Gridley were devout Methodists and were noted for their hospitality and pro- 
gressive spirit and were highly esteemed for their generosity and kindness. 

An interesting story is still told of this well-known pioneer which brought him 
into national prominence in the late days of the Civil War. While at Austin, Nev., 
he wagered a sack of flour that the Democratic nominee for mayor would be elected, 
and the wager was accepted by Dr. Herrick, a county official. If the latter lost, he 
was to carry the sack of flour from Clifton to Upper Austin, one and a half miles, to 
the tune of "Dixie," but if Gridley lost he was to carry the flour from Upper Austin 
to Clifton, to the tune of "John Brown's Body." Gridley lost and paid the debt. 


The sack of flour was decorated with red, white and blue ribbons, and a procession 
was formed, led by the newly elected city officials, and the citizens filed in line behind 
Gridley as he carried the flour down the street, singing "Glory, glory, hallelujah!" 
led by the town band. When the march was ended, debate arose as to the disposition 
of the flour; the Republicans wanted to make hot cakes of it and eat it themselves, 
but the Democrats opposed this, saying that they were just as loyal to the Union as 
the Republicans. So Mr. Gridley took the sack and proposed selling it, the buyer 
to turn it over for re-sale, the money to go to the U. S. Sanitary Commission for the 
care of the sick and wounded soldiers returned from the war. The novel proposi- 
tion was quickly approved and Mr. Gridley took the sack of flour to other Nevada 
towns, then to Sacramento and San Francisco and later to the Eastern States; in this 
way he raised $275,000 for the Sanitary Commission. Mark Twain was in Austin 
at the time and gives an account of it in one of his books. In 1914, the famous sack 
of flour with its many decorations was presented for preservation to the Nevada 
Historical Society by the pioneer's daughter, Mrs. Josephine Gridley Wood, the only 
surviving daughter. There is also one surviving son, the oldest of the family, Amos 
B. Gridley, who when thirteen years of age marched in the above historical proces- 
sion carrying the American flag. He now makes his home in Oakley, California. 

JOHN DUNLAP COX. — Well-known among the most progressive and pros- 
perous ranchers of Westley and vicinity, John Dunlap Cox is doubly interesting as 
probably the oldest pioneer of Stanislaus County still living, and also as a native of 
that pastoral section of Nova Scotia made immortal through Longfellow in the pathetic 
and beautiful poem, "Evangeline." He was born in Stewiacke, Colchester County, on 
March 22, 1836, the son of William Cox and Sarah Dunlap, and inherited from his 
parents just the right sort of elements needed for his later career. The forebears of 
both his father and mother came over on the Mayflower, and his maternal grand- 
mother was a Putnam, of New England origin, .and related to such distinguished 
Americans as Israel Putnam, the soldier; Rufus Putnam, also of military fame; James 
and John Phelps Putnam, the purists, and Frederick Ward Putnam, the anthropologist. 
The Coxes and Putnams migrated from New England to Nova Scotia at an early 
period, and there Mr. Cox became a teacher in the Navigation School at Halifax. 

After a boyhood passed with an uncle, a Mr. Dunlap, on his farm, where he 
operated extensively, raised stock and conducted a dairy business, Mr. Cox, in 1859, 
lured by the miraculous stories of opportunity along the Pacific, came out to California 
by way of Panama. He went from New York to the Isthmus on the sailing vessel 
"Baltic," and came from Panama to San Francisco on the "John L. Stevens" — as a 
matter of fact, on the last trip which that once sturdy vessel made, for it was piloted 
into San Francisco and never afterward used. Stopping for a short while in the Bay 
city, he came inland to Stockton on one of the - San Joaquin River steamers ; and even 
there he stayed only long enough to get his bearings. Moving on to Grayson, Mr. 
Cox found employment with Messrs. Holliday & Russell, who had purchased the 
mules and oxen after the old Salt Lake War, and had taken the stock into the San 
Joaquin Valley and sold them to the settlers there. Holliday was from Illinois, and 
Russell from Missouri, and the two financiers, as is well known, made a fortune 
through this transaction. It took some time to earn- it out, and Mr. Cox remained 
with the firm until they had sold all the mules and oxen, traveling on the road between 
Del Puerto and San Francisco. 

Returning to Stockton, in 1860, Mr. Cox worked for Mr. Overheiser on his 
farm for a couple of years, and then he went to teaming in the mountains. He hauled 
freight to Virginia City, Nev., and other mining points and camps in the mountains, 
and continued at the rather hard proposition until 1870. The times were rough, rob- 
bery and murder were frequent occurrences, and Mr. Cox often transported valuables 
of particular worth to the pioneer, remote from great centers ; yet, although he is able 
to make the proud boast that he never carried firearms, he was never molested in any 
way, not even with a threatened attack. In 1870, he came to the region west of the 
San Joaquin River, where Patterson now stands, and farmed the land ; and at first he 
worked in partnership with W. L. Overheiser, the two handling several thousand 

^*- ,&>„(h 


acres together, but just how many they themselves never knew. At the end of two 
years, he preempted a quarter section in the same neighborhood, and afterwards he sold 
the same to J. D. Patterson. He then removed to Grayson and farmed the R. B. 
Smith ranch to 1875. Mr. Cox went to Tipton, Tulare County, and bought the sheep 
business of Dr. Stockton and Mr. Foster; and in Tulare he raised sheep for two years. 
He had from 4,000 to 5,000 head when, in 1877, the price of sheep dropped to one 
dollar, and of wool from thirty-five to nine cents a pound. He had paid two dollars 
twenty-five cents a head for his sheep, and, when the bottom of the market fell out, 
he traded his herd, at one dollar per head, for the old Fowler Ranch, west of Crows 
Landing, on the Crow Creek, consisting of about 2,200 acres. He sold the land to 
Mr. McDonald in 1877, as soon as he returned to Stanislaus County, and he himself 
came back to Grayson practically "broke." 

He then bought a part of his present ranch, or 240 acres, and in 1877 he also 
rented land back of his own, so that he was able to farm in all about 1,500 acres. He 
continued to buy other strips of land until he had acquired all of the 1.500 acres, and 
this is at present his home ranch. In addition, he also purchased the 2,200 acres known 
as the old McPike Ranch, adjoining the home ranch on the south; and this has made 
him active in the Grayson district, leading the way by progressive methods, and pointing 
the road to prosperity to others, since 1877. For many years, aside from being a large 
grain grower, Mr. Cox has engaged in cattle raising. In this he is associated with his 
son. Frank Cox, and owns over 7,000 acres of range land west of his vallev holdings. 

At San Francisco, in October, 1878, Mr. Cox was married to Miss Rebecca 
Curry, a native of Iowa, and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Curry, esteemed 
residents for years of San Francisco. Five children have blessed their union. W. W. 
Cox is at present farming his own ranch at Grayson. Sadie is at home with her 
parents, adding grace to the household, as are also Mabel and John, the two youngest. 
And Frank, the third-born, is also farming at Grayson. He handles the old Morton 
ranch of 1,800 acres, west of Patterson, and also runs the Bircham ranch of 5.000 
acres lying north of the old Cox ranch, as well as the J. D. Cox ranch, making over 
10.000 acres in all, which he is cultivating in the most approved manner and with the 
best machinery and appliances available. 

Mr. Cox was bereaved of his faithful wife and helpmate in 1907, when she passed 
away at their Berkeley residence while they were living there, schooling the children. 
She was a devoted wife and mother and was mourned by a large circle of relatives and 
friends. This was the first and only death in the J. D. Cox family, and left a v< id 
that could not be filled. 

While on the Train and McMullin ranch, in the fall of 1860, when Lincoln first 
ran for the presidency, Mr. Cox cast his vote for the Republican standard-bearer, and 
•he has been a standpat Republican ever since, with broad and reasonable views as to 
the inadvisability of partisanship in local political affairs. Very naturally, on account 
of his long association with Stanislaus County, Mr. Cox has become very enthusiastic 
as to its future, and indeed there could be no more loyal or enthusiastic California, 
not even among those proud of their nativity as native sons. 

Mr. Cox's youngest son, John or "Jack," as he is popularly called, also has an 
enviable record — that of his military service in defense of his country. He enlisted for 
the World War on September 20, 1917, when, owing to his having studied for four 
years at the San Rafael Military Academy, he was entitled to enter the regular army 
as a captain; but he preferred aviation instead, and therefore chose to become a flier. 
He trained until January 29 at the Rockwell field, in San Diego, and arrived in 
France, by way of New York, on March 6, 1918, where he underwent training for 
another twenty-five days at Issoudun, France. He used the Spad and Newp rt 
machines, each for one man, capable of traveling at a speed of 115 miles an hour; 
and being naturally equipped for that kind of hazardous undertaking, enjoyed 
singular immunity from accident. He was commissioned a first lieutenant, and 
has a flying record of 551 hours. He also trained for twenty days at a gunnery 
school at Cassaux, France, and learned to be expert in firing at balloons, m< tor boats 
and other moving objects with the Vicker machine guns. He was commissioned first 


lieutenant at Cassaux, and then sent to Paris on patrol duty, and spent two and a half 
weeks in that capacity in the buzzing French capital. 

When he was transferred, Mr. Cox was assigned to the 89th Aero Squadron, in 
the same contingent with Quentin Roosevelt, and he was stationed at Monty, near 
Toul. where he operated a Breguet machine of 300 horsepower. He was then assigned 
to guard duty at Belfort, against daylight bombing raids, and there he happened to be 
when the news was flashed that the armistice had been signed. After the armistice, 
Mr. Cox, who had proven of the right mettle, was assigned, on December 17, to the 
vicinity of Chatillon, to bring aeroplanes back from the front. He was called upon, 
in particular, to fly French planes, which had been used by the Americans, back to the 
vicinity of Paris, and this he also did with credit to himself and the American aviation 
corps. On December 28, he was ordered to return to the United States ; but five days 
later he was taken sick with influenza and for three weeks he was laid up in a hospital 
at Tours. On February 14, 1919, he returned to New York by way of Brest, sailing 
on the "Saxonia"; and January 1, 1920, at the Presidio, he was honorably discharged. 

SIMON ENSLEN. — It is interesting to chronicle the life of the 1 pioneer, the man 
who in his prime braved the dangers of the wilds and entered the wilderness, claimed 
the virgin soil as his heritage and by self denial, sacrifice, exposure and hard work 
paved the way for present day civilization. Surely these grand men have all too rapidly 
passed away, but their memory is ever appreciated and the story of their life prized by 
the present-day generation. Such a man was Simon Enslen, a native of the city of 
Brotherly Love, but reared in the state of Missouri, where he obtained the experience 
in that farming and stock raising region which later became so valuable to him when 
he came to this new and untried California. With two brothers, William and James, 
he crossed the plains in 1854, driving a herd of cattle from which they expected a good 
profit, which would contribute largely to their starting in business in the land of the 
new Eldorado. But the Indians stampeded and stole their cattle and they lost all 
of them, so they were forced to make their way as best they could over the mountains 
and arrived empty handed, except for a donkey which the brothers sold to obtain a 
little money to buy food. Nothing daunted, with youth and health, Simon went to 
work in the mines for M. McSauley at Knights Ferry until he saved enough money 
to purchase an interest in a butcher shop in the old county seat town. They met 
with such success that ere long Mr. Enslen purchased his partner's interest and con- 
tinued the business, and it is interesting to note that this same partner, Mr. McSauley, 
afterwards worked for him. Mr. Enslen also started to raise sheep, in which he 
was very successful, his flocks growing to large numbers and aside from his home 
range he ranged the sheep principally in the Chowchilla hills. Associated with him 
were his two brothers, William and James. Later William sold his interest to his 
brothers and they continued together until Simon Enslen's death. 

Mr. Enslen was also for some years in partnership with Samuel Dingley and 
Robert Barnard, from the state of Maine, whose mother was a Dingley and a sister 
of the above Samuel Dingley, the three being engaged in the sheep business, ranging 
their flocks in the hills back of Knights Ferry. In this latter city at the bride's 
home, he was united in marriage with Miss Martha E. Dingley, a native of Boston, 
Mass., a lady of culture and refinement, and the union proved a very happy one. 

In 1879 Mr. Enslen located in Modesto and from his home there looked after 
his large interests, becoming one of the largest sheep growers in the valley, having 
14,000 head of sheep in seven different bands, but he was not permitted to enjoy the 
fruits of his labor and his honorable career was cut short by his passing, on January 
22, 1880, leaving a widow, now Mrs. Tucker, and two children, Mrs. Maude 
Holtham and Mrs. Eva McMahon, all living in Modesto. 

Mr. Enslen was a large-hearted, enterprising type of an American, and it is to 
such men that California owes much of its present day greatness, for without the 
pioneers of his type who were optimistic and not afraid to venture and to put their 
shoulder to the wheel to start the development of the wilds and lay the foundation 
that eventually has made this favored section of the United States a garden spot, 


thus giving to the present day generation the comfort and luxury they now enjoy. 
Mr. Enslen was liberal and progressive and it is to him that Modesto today owes the 
beautiful park which bears his name, which is the source of such enjoyment and pride 
to the people of the county. A temperate man with a high standard of morals, Mr. 
Enslen's honesty of purpose and integrity were never questioned and his example is 
well worthy of emulation. 

MRS. MARTHA E. TUCKER.— A liberal-minded, open-hearted, hospitable 
lady enjoying the good-will of a wide circle of friends, and highly esteemed by all 
who know her, is Mrs. Martha E. Tucker, a successful business woman who has 
been equally prominent in women's club circles. She was a Miss Dingley before 
her marriage, and she was born in Boston, the daughter of 'Samuel Dingley, also 
a native of Massachusetts. He came of an old and honorable New England family, 
and was a cousin of Nelson Dingley, Jr., the journalist who rose to be governor of 
Maine and the congressman who was the author of the Dingley tariff. He married 
Sarah Sherman, also a native of Maine, and preceded her to California in 1850. be- 
ing joined by his wife and family two years later. He ran a hotel at Knights Ferry, 
where he mde his home, and had a" stock ranch in the hills and followed stock raising 
until he died. His demise occurred in Stanislaus County on June 3, 1886, when he 
had rounded out seventy-five most fruitful years. He spent his last days with Mrs. 
Tucker in Modesto, Mrs. Dingley having died at Knights Ferry on September 21, 
1879. Three of their five children are still living, among them being Albert, ex-sheriff 
of Stanislaus County; Ella, who is Mrs. Richards of Modesto, and the subject of our 
interesting review. 

Mrs. Tucker came to California with her mother by way of the Isthmus in 
1852, and went to school at Knights Ferry. At her home she was married to Simon 
Enslen, a native of Philadelphia who had been reared in Missouri, his sketch appearing 
on another page of this work. He crossed the plains with two of his brothers in 1854, 
driving a band of cattle, from which he expected much profit ; but the Indians stam- 
peded and stole the cattle, and he finally arrived in California with one donkey. 

In 1877 Mr. and Mrs. Enslen located in Modesto, where they bought a lot 
and built the residence which she still owns at 918 Twelfth Street, and where she 
makes her home ; and from there he ran his stock business. He was among the largest 
sheep growers here, having 14,000 head of sheep in seven different bands. For about 
two years, however, he was handicapped with poor health; and on January 22, 1880, 
he died. He was a fine type of American, a typical old Californian, having strong 
faith in the future of the state, and he never failed to do what he could to contribute 
toward the development and building up of the community and county in which 
he had cast his lot. He was a strictly temperate man, and thus set an example more 
and more appreciated by educated American sentiment. Two children were born of 
this marriage: Maude has become Mrs. Holtham, and Eva is Mrs. J. J. McMahon, 
both of Modesto. 

After his death his widow sold out all his interest in the sheep business, and 
making her home in Modesto, she married, on February 15, 1882, John Franklin 
Tucker, a native of Kentucky, who was born on February 9, 1836, and came to Cali- 
fornia in 1865. He settled for a while at Crows Landing, where he was a merchant 
until he was elected county assessor, an office he filled with signal ability for several 
years. Then he engaged in real estate and the abstract business, and with George 
Perley as a partner, organized the Stanislaus Land and Abstract Company. He 
was well posted on property and land values, and continued actively in business until 
his health became impaired, when he retired. He died on November 26, 1904, la- 
mented by many, and mourned especially by his fellow-Masons. Two sons blessed 
this union: Clarence Eugene is county sealer of weights and measures, and during 
the war was food administrator for Stanislaus County, while Elmer Carlisle has been 
in the aviation section of the U. S. Army service. 

Mrs. Tucker has improved and built up valuable property in Modesto, and owns, 
among such edifices, the telephone building and also a business structure on Tenth 
Street, and has also built and still owns several bungalows. Some time ago she built 


a cottage at Pacific Grove, where she spends each summer, and there, as well as in 
her Modesto home, she finds delight in dispensing an old-time Calif ornian hospitality. 
Mrs. Tucker has always been interested in various plans for the development of 
Stanislaus County and Modesto. She has aided in the organization of different 
banks and enterprises as well as public movements for enhancing the importance 
of the county and the happiness of its people. She is a stockholder in the Modesto 
Bank and The Bank of Italy. Of a natural strong physical makeup and a pleasing 
personality and endowed with rare business ability, she is indeed a woman whom 
Stanislaus County is proud of. She was one of the original members of the Modesto 
Woman's Club, and is also active in the Ladies' Guild of the Episcopal Church. 

HERRICK R. SCHELL. — A worthy representative of one of Stanislaus County's 
most honored pioneer families and a Civil War veteran with an enviable record for 
valorous service in that great conflict, the forceful personality of Herrick R. Schell 
has been notably manifest in promoting the material development and welfare of this 
section of California. A nephew of the late Abraham Schell. he was for a number of 
years associated with him as a partner in the historic Red Mountain Vineyard. 

Descended from a proud old New York state family, with an ancestry of hon- 
ored French Huguenot and German forbears, Herrick R. Schell was born at Lyons 
Falls, N. Y., on June 3, 1844. His parents were Adam and Charlotte (Sherburn) 
Schell, the former a native of Lyons Falls, and the latter of Sharon Springs, in that 
state. The family of the paternal grandmother, whose name was Maria Theresa 
Du Pont, who lived to be ninety-nine years, was descended from French Huguenots, 
who came to America to be free from religious persecution. Her nephew was 
Caleb Lyon, of Lyonsdale, N. Y., who came to the Pacific Coast from New York 
as a forty-niner around Cape Horn on the ship Tarolinta, and who designed the seal 
for the state of California; later he became governor of the territory of Montana. 
Adam Schell was a contractor and builder and the boyhood days of our subject were 
spent "at the old home at Lyons Falls. He died at the age of ninety-four. 

Although but sixteen years old when the Civil War broke out, Herrick Schell 
was fired with the spirit of patriotism and offered his services to his country, giving 
his age as eighteen. He was mustered into Batten- H, First New York Light Artillery, 
commanded by Colonel Bailey, a West Pointer who had been a lieutenant under Gen- 
eral Magruder ; the latter subsequently sided with the South and became a Confederate 
general. This regiment, composed of fifteen batteries, was known as Bailey's Light 
Artillery, and Mr. Schell served under the command of Capt. Charles E. Mink. 
He was mustered in at Elmira, N. Y., September 23, 1861. Proceeding to Washing- 
ton, D. C, they were equipped at Camp Barry, and from there went to the front to 
join McClellan, being assigned to the Fourth Army Corps under Gen. E. D. Keys. 
They first saw battle at Williamsburg, just after the evacuation of Yorktown. After 
this they proceeded from battle to battle, taking part in many of the hardest and most 
important engagements of the war. Among these may be mentioned the following: 
Chickahominy ; Seven Pines, where Mr. Schell fired the first gun ; Seven Days' Re- 
treat from Richmond, including Malvern Hill and the fight in which General Fitzhugh 
Lee was captured in the outposts of Richmond. Mr. Schell then rejoined the Army of 
the Potomac at Gettysburg, just after the battle, and was attached to the First Army 
Corps; was at Mine Run under General Meade, and then the First and Fifth Army 
Corps were consolidated into the Fifth and Second and Company H was assigned to 
the Fifth Army Corps. This was in the winter of 1863 and these engagements fol- 
lowed: Spotsylvania, Bethesda Church, crossing of North Ann River, Cold Harbor, 
Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, Peeblis Farm, Hatcher's Run, Five Forks, being de- 
tached and under command of Sheridan, who relieved Warren, Farmville, and finally 
at the surrender at Appomattox Court House. After the surrender of Lee, the com- 
mand marched to Washington and then took part in the Grand Review, the greatest 
military sight ever witnessed in America. They were mustered out at Elmira, N. Y., 
in June, 1865, with a record second to that of no command in the Civil War. 
Mr. Schell served most of the time as company clerk, with the rank of corporal, and 
while his services entitled him to much further promotion his usefulness in the position 




held by him retained him there and forbade his deserved advancement. During the 
entire period of his service, from his enlistment to the close of the war, he was never ■ 
wounded and never was absent from his command on account of sickness — a record 
equalled by few. He veteranized by enlistment at Culpeper Court House, Va., in 
the same battery for the period of the duration of the war. 

Mr. Schell also had two brothers serving the Union army — Harris and Hiram H. 
The latter served as a first lieutenant in Battery D. Fourth U. S. Regular Artillerv. 
The battery to which our subject belonged fired 6,000 rounds at the battle of Spotsyl- 
vania and General Sedgwick there met his death between a section of their guns. Thus 
in the Civil War as well as in the previous ones, the Schells took an active and honor- 
able nart. The deeds of John Christian Schell and his sons in the cause of liberty dur- 
ing the Revolutionary struggle are a matter of history, and are given further mention 
in the biography of Abraham Schell in this work: while in the War of 1812, Jacob 
Schell. the grandfather of Herrick Schell, served as a captain and took part in the battle 
of Sackett's Harbor. 

After being mustered out of service. Mr. Schell returned to his home where he 
remained until 1867. He then came to California via the Isthmus of Panama, locat- 
ing at Knights Ferrv, where he went into business with his uncle, the late Abraham 
Schell. He at first bought a fourth interest in the famous Red Mountain Vineyard, 
then became the owner of an undivided half interest, and later still became the sole 
owner of the winerv, one of the first and mo«t celebrated wineries in California. Soil 
and climatic conditions in this particular locality combined to produce a perfect habitat 
for the production of wine grapes, and this, with the elaborate mechanical equipment 
of the plant, made their product of superior excellence and their wines known widely 
throughout the East. Ever a patriot, Mr. Schell observes both the spirit and the 
letter of the Eighteenth Amendment, and makes no wine nor handles any. Although 
it is plain to be seen that he has suffered a heavy financial loss, Mr. Schell stands loyally 
bv the amendment and its constitutional bearing, and he is now considering to what use 
this valuable property with its expensive equipment can be put. Although identified 
with this business for many years, he never drank wine or any other liquor, and to 
this he probably owes much of his wonderful strength and virility at the age of seventy- 
seven. In the course of manufacture it was necessary for him to taste the wines in 
order to sample their bouquet and flavor, but he never imbibed. In addition to his 
viticultural interests, Mr. Schell became an extensive landowner and now holds title 
to 4,000 acres of valuable land, which includes the whole of the Red Mountain Vine- 
yard, and makes his home in the stately old mansion erected by Abraham Schell. 

On September 23, 1873, Mr. Schell was married to Miss Clara Church, a 
daughter of Artemus and Ellen (Higby) Church, natives of New York state, and they 
have become the parents of eight children: Artemus Church assists his father in the 
management of the ranch ; Pearl is Mrs. Schonhoff, a trained nurse and resides at 
Modesto ; Adolph Edison, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work, is a partner with 
his father in the cattle business at Knights Ferry and has a grain ranch of 400 acres; 
Violet is the wife of T. B. Boone, the proprietor of the Palace Market at Oakdale ; 
Herrick Romaine, Jr., lost his life while in the service of his country during the late 
war, passing away from an attack of influenza at Fort Rosecrans, a few weeks after 
enlisting; Lucile is the wife of J. F. Tulloch, who is manager of the electric light plant 
at Oakdale ; Charlotte met an untimely death through an automobile accident at Oak- 
dale in 1919, and Zoe, the youngest, was drowned in the ditch that brings water from 
Stanislaus River to irrigate the farm. 

Always broadminded, public spirited and progressive in his views, Mr. Schell 
has been closely identified with the business and civic upbuilding of the county during 
his long residence here. While never caring for political preferment, the community 
has profited in countless ways by his admirable citizenship; he served on the first grand 
jury ever held in Modesto. He keeps alive the stirring memories of Civil War days 
by membership in Grant Post No. 9, G. A. R., an honored comrade whose recollec- 
tions are always filled with interest. A genial, courteous gentleman, with a host of 
warm friends, he ranks high among the foremost citizens of the county. 


ABRAHAM SCHELL. — Honored and respected by all, no man occupied a 
more enviable position in the financial and business circles of Knights Ferry, Stanis- 
laus County, than did the late Abraham Schell. His activities covered a broad scope 
and his efforts were of the character that contributed to general progress and pros- 
perity as well as to individual success. Not only was he a leader in all the enter- 
prises that made for the county's upbuilding, but he was widely known in professional 
circles of the California bar. 

Abraham Schell was born in Schoharie, N. Y., November 9, 1817, the son of 
Peter and Sophia (Dominick) Schell, both natives of that state. The mother was 
of French descent, her father having been born in Paris. Peter Schell was a lad of 
only twelve or fifteen years at the time of the Revolutionary War, when the Schells 
took up the cause of the patriots. The Schells of the Mohawk Valley were of the 
same blood, and being very prominent, John Christian Schell, his wife and eight sons, 
became the special objects of enmity of the Tories, on account of their valiant par- 
ticipations in the Revolutionary struggles. History records, as one of the most heroic 
affairs of that struggle, the defense of their home by John Christian Schell and his 
six sons against the determined onslaught of the celebrated Tory, McDonald, leading 
a force of about a hundred Indians and Tories. Two of his sons were captured before 
the defense of the house began; assault after assault was made, and the attacking 
party resorted to every ruse and subterfuge to overcome the little band of heroes, but 
all in vain. When most of the Indians and Tories were killed and severely wounded 
and they were sure of defeat, the siege was raised, as a result of a piece of sharp prac- 
tice on the part of the beleaguered little garrison. Peter Schell lived to be eighty-four 
years old and his wife being eighty-three at the time of her demise. 

Abraham Schell was reared in New York and on December 5, 1839, at Coble- 
skill, Schoharie County, was married to the girl of his schooldays, Miss Catherine 
Bellinger. He engaged in the wholesale grocery business at Albany, N. Y., in company 
with a cousin named Daniel Weidman, when news came of the discovery of gold in 
California, and being young and impetuous, he, in company with seventeen others from 
Albany, started for the El Dorado of the West. They sailed from New York January 
13, 1849, with 134 emigrants destined for California, via Cape Horn, in a "dugout" 
of 1,000 tons named "Tarolinta," meaning Floating Rose, which was owned by the 
Griswolds of New York City and commanded by Capt. Cave, a seasoned old salt. 
The boat started amidst the boom of cannon, ringing of bells, and the cheer of thou- 
sands who had come to witness their departure, to bid their friends good-bye and god- 
speed. They stopped at Rio de Janeiro for about one week ; encountering a severe 
storm in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina; doubled Cape Horn April 9; 
entered the Golden Gate and landed at San Francisco, July 6, 1849. For a while 
Mr. Schell engaged in mercantile pursuits, running a large grocery store at Stockton, 
Cal., and while there, loaned a large amount of money to the San Joaquin Water 
Company for the purpose of completing a mining ditch construction which was to 
bring water to the rich placer mines at Knights Ferry. In 1856, he was compelled 
to take over the ditch and was the loser to the extent of $25,000 by the company's 
failure. The ditch was later employed for sawmill purposes and was known as the 
Tulloch ditch. Subsequently it was acquired by the Oakdale Irrigation Company 
and now forms the north lateral of the Oakdale Irrigation District. 

In 1868 Mr. Schell purchased three and a half leagues of land embraced in the 
Spanish Grant known as the "Rancheria Del Rio Estanislao," upon which the town 
of Knights Ferry was situated and upon a part of which was developed the celebrated 
Red Mountain Vineyard. A. Schell became interested in this vineyard, in 1866, and 
at first became a partner with George H. Krause, a viticulturist from the Rhine 
Valley in Germany. Mr. Krause died shortly after this partnership was formed, 
when A. Schell became sole proprietor. In 1867, he took in his nephew, H. R. Schell, 
as a partner and well and ably did they manage this magnificent property. In 1862 
a wine vault or tunnel was made, fourteen feet wide and seven feet high, tunneled 
into the solid rock eighty-one feet and thence at right angles to the brow of the hill in 
the manner of the famed wineries on the Rhine. This vinevard is located in the foot- 


hills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Knights Ferry in Stanislaus County, and 
contains many different varieties of wine grapes, such as Muscat of Alexandria, Black 
Hamburg, Reine de Nice, White Malaga, Frontignac Golden Chasselas, Zinfandel, 
Tenturier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Bouschet, Petit Sierra Tannot, Trousseau, 
Matero, and Mission grapes. The soil of this vineyard is volcanic in origin, being 
composed of scoria, lava, decomposed iron rock, and alluvium mixed with clay. The 
wine house and cellar were constructed on the side of a hill and the distillery is in 
another building nearby. Vast oaken casks holding up to 600 gallons each fill the 
tunnel, while the winery contained a full complement of fermenting tanks, six in 
number, holding 1,400 gallons each. Mr. Schell always prided himself on making the 
best of absolutely pure wine. Both the soil and climate of the Red Mountain Vine- 
yard were such as to produce a very superior quality of grapes and the bouquet of 
the wines from the Red Mountain Vineyard was exceptional ; these wines commanded 
the best prices and were sold almost entirely in Mr. Schell's home city, Albany, N. Y.. 
where they found great favor and were demanded to such an extent that Albany alone 
took the entire output. 

Thoroughly identified with Stanislaus County from its early days, Mr. Schell 
is well remembered for his brilliant mind and forensic ability, not only by the bench 
and bar of Stanislaus County, but throughout the state. He was decidedly liberal 
in his views and a fighter for liberty and enlightenment, throwing the weight of his 
convictions on the side of justice. December 5, 1889, Mr. and Mrs. Schell celebrated 
their golden wedding in the fine home at the Red Mountain Vineyard, a stately old 
mansion, suggesting both New York and California in its architectural design. Gen- 
erous and hospitable, they were royal entertainers, and had a multitude of friends. 
not alone because of their genial hospitality, but more particularly on account of 
their superior attainments and culture. Although these pioneers have passed away, 
Abraham Schell in 1892 and Mrs. Schell a few years later, they will ever live in 
the hearts and memory of all those who knew them. Their descendants have an 
inspiring example in the record of their kinsman, whose patriotism and loyal support 
of the country was manifested not only in the early days of Indian fighting, but 
throughout his entire career in his unfaltering support of all those interests which 
have had to do with the welfare of the commonwealth. 

J. D. SPENCER. — The pioneer journalist of Stanislaus County, J. D. Spencer 
was a prominent figure in the early days when the county was formed and Modesto 
was established. When it became known that the new railroad town was to be located 
on the present site of Modesto, then followed that picturesque and now historic exodus 
of people from Paradise, Empire and Tuolumne to grow up with the newly created 
metropolis and participate in the golden era of prosperity to follow in its settlement. 
Modesto, the hub of the county, grew apace and at the election in the succeeding year, 
aided by the vote of the railroad employes, became the county seat. 

With the influx of population there came to the town the pioneer newspaper 
man in the person of J. D. Spencer, for in those primitive days the journalist responded 
to the kaleidoscope changes in cities and conditions and followed the crowd to the more 
alluring fields of business activity. After two unsuccessful attempts to publish a news- 
paper, there was no paper in the county until 1868. when the Tuolumne City News 
made its appearance with J. D. Spencer as its editor. It was Democratic and ex- 
pounded Jeffersonian Democracy in a forceful manner and as nearly all of the citizens 
of the county were of that political belief, it soon enjoyed a large clientele. Mr. 
Spencer wielded a trenchant pen and through his boldness of utterance the county 
weekly was closely interwoven with the industrial life of the first settlers. He created 
such intense feeling by his exposures that it resulted in the disruption of the crooked 
ring that controlled the land office at Stockton ; the paper also urged the repeal of 
the pernicious "Fence Law" and by its insistence procured the passage of the "Tres- 
pass Law," which saved for the settlers on the plains the heavy expense of building 
fences to preserve their crops. 


Mr. Spencer was born in West Virginia, July 23, 1840, the son of Wade Hamp- 
ton Spencer, who moved to Arkansas in 1844, and in 1845 to Jackson County, Mo. 
In 1849, J. D. Spencer crossed the plains with ox-teams with his father and brother. 
He returned East in 1851, and in 1853 came back to Oregon and then down into 
California, where he followed prospecting and mining. He was reared in the hard 
school of experience, lived the life of the typical '49er in the open and encountered 
all the trying vicissitudes of the pioneer. A mere lad when he entered the state, his 
first impressions were gathered under the most adverse circumstances. The rough 
miners among whom he lived, the rude system of law and retaliation which then pre- 
vailed, were not conducive to the moral or the mental improvement of the youthful 
settler. The crack of the revolver and the shrill cry of the victim were familiar 
sounds in his ears; but he possessed a mind not easily overbalanced, and had a religious 
training and these deleterious associations failed to have any impression upon him. In 
1862 he quit mining and became a photographer, but three years later entered the 
journalistic field as editor of the Woodbridge Messenger, later was with the San 
Andreas Mountain News. 

J. D. Spencer was a fluent speaker and a forceful writer and became the acknowl- 
edged leader of his party in Stanislaus County — a position he held without question 
until his death. Of incorruptible integrity, he was honored with election to the state 
assembly and to the state senate. He was quiet and dignified and ever wielded 
a strong influence among his colleagues. In the assembly he was the Democratic 
candidate for speaker and received a handsome minority vote. He was a hard worker, 
always in his seat, and watched even' proposition that appeared in the legislative halls. 
He was one of the few anti-railroad representatives who emerged unscathed from the 
contaminating influence of the corrupt ring that held sway at Sacramento. 

In 1875 Stanislaus County was startled by a political scandal which involved 
many of Mr. Spencer's political allies and personal friends. It arose in the senatorial 
contest of that year, when R. H. Ward, Democrat, was elected to the senate over 
J. M. Montgomery, Republican, by a majority of fifty-five votes. In this county 
Ward seemingly secured a majority of 190 votes, which apparently assured his elec- 
tion. Upon the legislative contest Montgomery was seated. The evidence showed 
that a prominent local politician, with the connivance of a deputy county clerk, had in 
the night taken the ballots of a certain precinct from the clerk's office to the back room 
of a saloon on Front Street and altered them in such a way as to give Ward a large 
majority in the county, and then returned the ballots to the clerk's office. Breaking 
with friends of years' standing, oblivious of the effect the disclosure would have in 
political circles, Mr. Spencer, in his paper, vigorously denounced the alleged tampering 
with the electoral machinery. The individual tampering with the ballots was indicted 
by the grand jury and upon trial was convicted. The verdict was reversed by the 
supreme court on a technicality of law and when the case was again called for trial 
all the evidence and even the marked ballots had mysteriously disappeared. 

When in 1885, J. W. McCarthy, clerk of the supreme court, elected in 1882 
on the ticket with Governor Stoneman, absconded leaving the affairs of the office in a 
chaotic condition and the supreme judges refused to recognize any actions of the 
deputies of McCarthy, Governor Stoneman at once appointed Mr. Spencer to fill 
the vacancy, to become effective January 6, 1886. His bondsmen were Hon. A. Hewel 
and Hon. E. B. Beard. Mr. Spencer was subsequently elected that same year. 

When, later in the year 1870, Tuolumne City placed itself on wheels and entered 
the race over newly-made stubble fields, Mr. Spencer, with his residence, printshop, type, 
presses and forms, joined the caravan moving to Modesto. He located his home at 
the corner of I and Eleventh streets and his printing establishment on the adjoining 
lot. For the purpose of establishing a newspaper this property had been donated by 
the Contract and Finance Company. The Tuolumne City News was transformed 
into the Stanislaus County News and the first issue of the paper was December 2, 1870. 
It made a neat appearance with its four pages and was well filled with advertising. 
Both as a representative piece of journalism, and as a paper, this issue was a curiosity 
and so far as known there is but one copy extant. In 1884, the Democrats deemed it 

[j . Ttcctf^itf^H^ 


good policy to publish a daily paper in Modesto and this was the beginning of the 
Daily Evening News. 

An early advocate of irrigation, Mr. Spencer took a positive stand on this im- 
portant question and opened the columns of his paper to a broad discussion of the topic. 
He favored the two plans that preceded the Wright Act and he was the clerk of the 
supreme court when that body sustained the decision that rendered possible the later 
development of this district. Unawed by power, uninfluenced by ambition, the pioneer 
editor held the esteem and leadership in the community he loved so well for twenty- 
five years and after a long life filled with good deeds he passed to that Great Beyond 
in December, 1895, mourned by the wide circle of friends he had gathered about him 
during his busy years as an editor, legislator, counselor, friend and companion. 

HON. JAMES CARSON NEEDHAM.— Through wise statesmanship and the 
promotion of measures for the benefit of the people, Hon. James Carson Needham of 
Modesto has gained a reputation which is not limited to the confines of his home city, 
nor to the state of California, but to the whole nation, through his services as congress- 
man from California, and he is the kind of American this state has always been glad 
to welcome arid proud to own. As judge of Department Two, Superior Court of Stan- 
islaus County, he wields a strong influence in the legal profession throughout the state. 

James Carson Needham was born at Carson City, Nev., September 17, 1864, one 
of seven children born to Charles E. and Olive L. (Drake) Needham, who crossed the 
plains to California in 1864. The ancestry of Judge J. C. Needham is traced in a 
direct line from Anthony Needham, an Englishman, and his wife, Ann Potter Need- 
ham, who were charged as Quakers on June 25, 1658, and were duly persecuted. 
They were the progenitors of the Needham family in America, which has been traced 
in a direct line through succeeding generations to the present time by H. C. Needham, 
a well-known attorney of New York City. The Needhams were men of military 
habits and, despite his Quaker faith, Anthony, Sr., was corporal of the Salem Old 
Troop in 1665. and in 1675 he served during King Philip's War as a lieutenant under 
Captain Nicholas Manning of Salem. He had a son Anthony, and it is said that 
he was the first white settler within the present town of Wales, Hampden County, 
Mass., where he settled in 1726. The next in line was Jeremiah Needham, born in 
1741 at South Brimfield, Mass., where he was town clerk in 1765. He was also a 
sergeant in Capt. Daniel Winchester's company, Col. Ruggles Woodbridge's regiment, 
serving from August 17, 1777, until November 29 of that same year, with the North- 
ern Army; he was also a private in Capt. John Carpenter's company of guards from 
June 24 to August 4, 1779, and was stationed at Springfield, Mass. Jeremiah had a 
son of the same name who moved to Vermont in 1805. The next in line was Charles 
Needham, born in 1800, who moved to DeKalb, 111., in 1854, where he engaged in 
raising Morgan horses from the famous Black Hawk stock; in 1855, with his son, he 
opened up Gibson's Addition of 320 acres to DeKalb, and he also played a prominent 
part in the early development of agriculture in that state. 

Charles and Minerva (Porter) Needham had a son, Charles E. Needham, the 
father of Judge J. C. Needham, and he was born in Vermont on December 1, 1829. 
He married Miss Olive L. Drake, born in Crown Point, N. Y., but they both grew 
up on Lake Champlain and he crossed the ice in winter to do his courting. In 1862, 
leaving his wife and three children in the East, he crossed the plains to California and 
engaged in ranching in Santa Clara County, but being a strong Abolitionist, he deter- 
mined to go East to lend his aid in freeing the slaves. He did return to Illinois 
intending to join the Northern forces but his three children were of tender years and 
he was persuaded that his first duty was to his wife and family. With his wife and 
family, he set out with an emigrant train for the Golden State, as soon as he could, 
and it was en route that our subject was born at Carson City, Nev. They reached 
their destination at Mayfield, Santa Clara County in the latter part of 1864, and 
Mr. Needham resumed his ranching operations. He was a strong Whig and Re- 
publican and was a personal friend of Gen. John C. Fremont. It is said that he wept 
bitter'- when he heard of the defeat of Fremont for the presidency in 1856, and he 


never shaved his beard thereafter. Besides James Carson, the following children were 
born to C. E. and Olive L. Needham: Harry B., employed in the U. S. Customs 
office in San Francisco; Cyrus H., a rancher at Patterson; Myrta L. is the wife of 
W. G. McKean and resides in Berkeley; Lillian V. is the wife of W. E. Holman, 
a rancher near Farmington, San Joaquin County; and Luella G. became the wife of 
James T. Holman and also lives near Farmington. 

When James Carson Needham was three years of age he was taken by his parents 
to Banta, San Joaquin County, where his father took up a homestead, and there the 
lad attended the public schools, and at the age of eighteen was graduated from the 
San Jose high school. Then he entered the College of the Pacific, where he received 
his Ph.B. diploma with the class of '86, although he worked in the harvest fields every 
summer until he was twenty-one. He then began reading law and entered the law 
department of the University of Michigan, graduating with the class of '89. In 
November of the same year he came to Modesto and engaged in the practice of law, 
soon after forming a partnership with L. L. Dennett, the firm being styled Needham 
& Dennett and they built up a large general practice, the fruits of which are still felt 
in substantial decisions obtained. 

The entry of Mr. Needham into the political arena of Republican politics was 
brought about by his ability as an organizer and at a time when the county was a 
Democratic stronghold. He and his partner were young and enterprising Republicans 
and the only attorneys of that political belief in the county, and they were urged to 
take part in selecting candidates by the Republicans outside of Modesto. Mr. Need- 
ham became a candidate for the state senate but was defeated ; again he came up for 
district attorney and suffered a like fate. In 1894 he was made chairman of the 
County Central Committee and here he showed his prowess by calling into conference 
members who were strictly representative men of their various districts in the county 
and urging upon them the necessity of allowing their names to be presented to the voters 
for the various county offices. Heretofore all offices had been filled by the then Demo- 
cratic ring with men who were residents of Modesto, where the majority of the votes 
were polled, and this was not always satisfactory even to the Democrats living outside 
of the "charmed" circle. After herculean efforts being expended, a ticket was made 
up of the best Republicans throughout the county and strange to say, and to the sur- 
prise of the Democrats, the ticket was elected almost to a man, thus breaking the 
stranglehold the opposing party had upon the county offices. 

From that period Mr. Needham became the man of the hour and in 1898 he was 
elected to Congress from the Seventh Congressional District, then comprising Stan- 
islaus, San Benito, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, Orange, Riverside, 
San Bernardino and San Diego counties. The state was later redistricted and his 
became the Sixth district, which covered Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Mon- 
terey, Merced, Madera, Fresno, San Benito and Kings counties and he was re-elected 
every two years and served continuously from March 4, 1899, to March 4, 1913. 
While serving in Congress he became well acquainted with McKinley, Roosevelt and 
other Republican leaders. Mr. Needham became such a recognized leader in Congress 
that he was appointed on the Ways and Means Committee and served for nine years ; 
he also served on the committees of Education, Public Lands and Insular Affairs and 
did very efficient work on them all. He helped to shape and solve many of the 
perplexing questions relating to the Philippines, Hawaii, Porto Rico, Alaska. Panama, 
and was particularly active in enacting the laws for the governing of the Philippines. 
A warm, personal friend of Roosevelt, he helped shape matters in Panama, and for 
the building of the Canal. He became an intimate, steadfast friend of William H. 
Taft, while the latter was Governor of the Philippines and President; and he was 
on the committee to receive and escort McKinley, Taft and Roosevelt on their various 
trips through California. After leaving Washington, Mr. Needham went to San 
Diego in 1913, practiced law until 1917, when he decided to return to Modesto, 
where he had many interests, in order to look after them ; here he resumed his practice 
and continued till on January 1, 1919, when he was appointed Judge of the Superior 
Court, Department Two, Stanislaus County, by Governor Stephens, and it is needless 


to say that he has more than made good. He was elected in 1920 without opposition. 
A man of truly judicial mind, humane instincts, affable manners, an able lawyer, a 
forceful speaker, an eloquent orator, Judge Needham has the respect of the people, 
the bar and the bench. He has often been called upon to deliver orations on public 
occasions, and his Roosevelt memorial address, delivered at Merced when the whole 
• nation was bowing its head reverently in honor of the great American, gave him the 
finest opportunity to eloquently express his public and personal regard for the patriot. 
Judge Needham's marriage in Modesto, on July 1, 1894, to Miss Dora Deetta 
Parsons has been productive of much happiness to them both. She is a native of 
Montana and the daughter of N. M. Parsons, now deceased. Three children have 
resulted from their union: Mildred married Edward T. Taylor, Jr., son of Congress- 
man E. T. Taylor of Colorado ; he was a captain in the U. S. Army during the war 
and now a resident of Washington, D. C. ; Chauncey E., who married Miss Beatrice 
Flatt of Palo Alto, now of Modesto, was commissioned second lieutenant in the army 
while he was twenty and a student at Leland Stanford University, and was a combat 
flyer in France; Nathalie is living at home. The Judge is a Royal Arch Mason, 
affiliated with the Modesto Lodge and Chapter and no one there enjoys a greater or 
more deserved popularity. 

ALBERT L. CRESSEY.— Distinguished and esteemed as one of the early 
pioneers of Central California, Albert L. Cressey, until his death on October 5, 1920, 
was one of the halest and heartiest of octogenarians, enjoying the unique honor of 
being the strongest advocate of irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley, and therefore 
of having given a mighty momentum to the great agricultural industries along the 
waiting Pacific. He was born at Conway, N. H., on January 27, 1838, the son of 
Curtis Rice Cressey, who was born in the vicinity of the White Mountains and grew 
up to be a farmer. Grandfather Cressey was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, 
and his father before him was a preacher in the Baptist Church, who dropped dead 
while vigorously exhorting in the pulpit. This zealous devotion to the tenets of 
the Baptist faith was a characteristic of Curtis Cressey, who married as his first 
wife Miss Susan Littlefield, a native of Kennebunk, Maine, lived to be eighty-three 
years old and died at Brownfield, in that state. The progenitors of the Cresseys 
came from England, and some early representatives of the family in America were 
prominent in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Mrs. Susan Cressey died in her 
thirty-sixth year, the mother of six children. 

Brought up on a New England hillside farm, Albert L. Cressey began life as a 
Yankee farmer's boy amid conditions not very inviting, and for a few years he at- 
tended the district school for from only six to eight weeks every winter, and such 
education as he acquired was obtained by self-directed reading and in the broad and 
instructive field of human experience. He did not like to pick cobble stones out of 
the field, the inevitable lot of the New Hampshire farmer's boy, and having obtained 
permission, when sixteen, to visit a sister at Great Falls, N. H., a cotton manufactur- 
ing city on the Saco River, soon tried his hand at work in the mills, but did not like 
that work, and then went to Portsmouth, N. H., where he worked at shipbuilding. 
An elder brother was in Boston, and Albert made his way into that city and took a 
job driving an omnibus from Dock Square to Canton Street, before the advent of 
street cars in that section. He next became a brakeman on the railroad, and later a 
fireman on the Boston and Worcester Railway. Later on he went back to Boston 
and took a job with the express company. 

Young Cressey was ambitious to "go West," and for a while thought of migrat- 
ing to Wisconsin, where he had some relatives. Just then he happened to meet a 
man from California, and the more that he talked with him the more he became 
interested. Fortunately, he had saved enough money to bring him out to the Coast, 
and so was not long in traveling to New York, and in sailing from New York to 
Aspinwall (now Colon) on the old side-wheeler steamship "George Law," on her 
last trip ; for on her very next trip she went down when well out from New York. 
Albert crossed the Isthmus on the railway, and then took passage on the old "Golden 


Gate" steamship to San Francisco on what proved to be her last successful trip, for 
she, too, went down when next she breasted the waters. He landed at San Fran- 
cisco about June 1, 1857. 

His money was then exhausted, but he borrowed four dollars from a friend to 
pay his passage up the river to Stockton, where he arrived penniless. A farmer by 
the name of Grattan offered him a job on his ranch, and his first work in California 
was binding grain after a cradler. He had been thus occupied for three days when ' 
D. C. Madison and his assistant came from Stockton to Mr. Grattan's place, to test 
out the first reaper ever built in California, a wonderful contrivance built at Stock- 
ton by Madison. Mr. Cressey drove the machine and cut Mr. Grattan's grain and 
that of a neighbor. This was the first reaper ever made in California, and by means 
of it so much more labor was accomplished in a short time that he and Mr. Grattan 
made enough the first season to pay for the machine. 

While working for Mr. Grattan, Mr. Cressey took up 160 acres of Government 
land on his own account, and in 1859 put in a crop ; but worms attacked the grain, and 
the crop was such a failure that he ran into debt $300. He put in a crop the next 
year, and then he experienced something of the greatest importance in its after effects 
He and all of his neighbors had to build levees to protect their ranches from th< 
high water and overflow of the San Joaquin River ; but because he was a new settler 
inexperienced and poor, his levees were not as high or as good as those about him, 
and when a great rain fell late that spring, his levees burst, the river flooded the land, 
and he and his fellow-ranchers thought that his wheat was ruined. On the contrary, 
it took a new start, so that his yield was ninety bushels per acre, while his neighbors 
had scarcely any wheat over eight inches high, and hardly any grain. It showed what 
water on wheat, that is, what irrigation would do, and was the first demonstration 
of the kind in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Mr. Cressey was a neighbor of and became a good friend of Captain Charles 
Weber, an extensive San Joaquin farmer and landowner and founder of Stockton, 
and obtained his consent to build an irrigation ditch through Weber's land, in a short 
time getting such results that he made money from his crops. He invested in horses 
and mules, and commencing with six mules to a wagon, he undertook freighting be- 
tween Stockton, Sacramento, Shingle Springs and Placerville to the mining camps 
in the mountains, going as far as Carson City, Genoa, Gold Hill, Virginia City and 
Chinatown in Nevada. His business increased, and he was able to expand to two 
eight-horse teams, with freight wagons and trailers. He lived through all the gold 
excitement in Nevada, and also through the Civil War, the effects of which were 
not much felt in the extreme West. Horses and mules were in such demand then 
and brought such high prices during the war that he in time sold his sturdy animals to 
the Government and bought a dozen oxen instead. With these he continued freight- 
ing, working from four to eight yoke on a wagon, and meanwhile he sold grain to the 
Government at high prices. After a while he was able to buy a dozen mules in 
Stockton, and all in all he continued freighting for ten years. 

Once nicely on his feet, Mr. Cressey came to Stanislaus County near what is 
Modesto and bought four and a half sections of farm land. There was no Modesto 
then, and wild animals abounded. He herded his stock over the plains where there 
were antelope, deer and bear, even grizzlies in the mountains, and he also lived through 
the flood of 1862. He went shopping in Stockton in a rowboat and even rowed his 
boat into the stores and out again, bringing home the necessary goods. He next went 
to Merced County, and there purchased 15,000 acres, getting it for ninety cents an 
acre. Coming back to Paradise, Mr. Cressey and his brother bought a half interest in 
a mill operated for many years by a Mr. Perkins. He traded half an interest in the 
mill for half an interest in the Merced farm land, and the plant became known as 
the Perkins and Cressey Flour Mill at Paradise. 

Mr. Cressey and his brother organized and opened the Modesto Bank, the first 
bank in Stanislaus County, of which Calvin J. Cressey became president and so re- 
mained until he organized and assumed the management of the Grangers' Bank at 
San Francisco, when Albert L. Cressey became president and manager of the Modesto 


Bank. The two brothers were partners in these and various other business enter- 
prises until the death of C. J. Cressey in 1892. Mr. Cressey also helped secure the 
right of way for the Southern Pacific Railroad, and in the fall of 1870 ran the first 
train to Modesto. And since Cressey Brothers continued to be the owners of the 
bonanza wheat farms, they built the first grain warehouse at Merced, and erected 
another warehouse at Modesto, soon after the railway came. Mr. Cressey bought 
several well-improved ranches near Hanford. As might be expected of one so long 
interested in the problem of rural transportation, Mr. Cressey was for some time 
road overseer in San Joaquin County, and also built the Sacramento road. 

Mr. Cressey was for years a hard worker, and to this fact and to his industry, 
together with his business acumen and his willingness to dare in order to share, must 
be attributed his well-deserved success. When, for example, he had harvested such a 
bumper wheat crop after a serious drought and a sudden rain in the Calaveras Valley, 
because his fields were irrigated, while his neighbors' crops were failures, he sold 
his wheat at his granaries at five cents per pound, and took notes from the purchaser 
at two and a half per cent per month ; and it was ten years, in some cases, before he 
received final payment. The Cressey -brothers were for a while in the sheep and wool 
growing business, and it was the proceeds from that enterprise that enabled them to 
start in the banking business. From the one-story brick building of the Modesto 
Bank has come the more recent structure, one of the finest buildings in the Valley, a 
great credit to Mr. Cressey 's spirit of enterprise. Among Mr. Cressey 's farm hold- 
ings must be mentioned ranches in San Luis Obispo, Kings, Merced and Stanislaus 
counties, and among his superior stock should be listed an imported Percheron stallion 
weighing 2,200 pounds with which he did much to improve the draft horses in his 
locality. His interest in the affairs of both the city and county was always active, 
and for every movement for the general benefit he gave his moral support and finan- 
cial aid. He was the president for years of the Stanislaus County Agricultural Asso- 
ciation. As a business man, through and through, he conducted enterprises which, 
while sources of profit to himself, have been of unquestioned community benefit. 

In 1870 Mr. Cressey returned East to marry Miss Sylvia Swan of Maine, who 
came back to California with him as a bride — a woman of great nobility of character 
who proved a most faithful wife and mother. She died in February, 1895. Four 
children were born of the union. Charles died in his sixth year; Nellie S. is the wife 
of Claude M. Maze, a farmer of Modesto ; Alberta Sylvia now resides in New York, 
and George A. is vice-president of the Modesto Bank. On November 18, 1901, Mr. 
Cressev married his second wife, Miss Hilda Marshall, a native of Georgia, and a 
woman of education, culture and genius. She has been a resident of California since 
1884 and of Stanislaus County since 1901. Mr. Cressey was an Odd Fellow of more 
than thirty years' standing. 

FRANK A. CRESSEY.— Not often does it happen that a man's life ebbs to 
its close at the age of sixty-two years and leaves behind a stainless record for almost 
a half century of accountability; not often does it happen that a man's business asso- 
ciates are among the first to declare him one of the noblest of men ; yet this is the 
character ascribed to Frank A. Cressey, whose death, March 10, 1918, was not only 
a loss to those of his name, but to the community as well. A descendant of old New 
England stock, Frank A. Cressey was born in Maine in September, 1856, and during 
the same year, his father, Calvin J. Cressey, migrated to California, settling in San 
Francisco, where he was prominent in the banking business, besides taking an active 
part in local activities; also his vast real estate holdings required much of his attention. 

The early education of Frank A. Cressey began in the public schools of Modesto, 
later supplemented with a course at the Santa Clara College. After his graduation, 
he entered the Grangers' Bank of San Francisco under his father, and was finally 
promoted to the position of assistant cashier in that institution. He later resigned to 
enter the manufacturing business and was thus engaged for five years. Returning to 
Modesto, he entered the Modesto Bank as assistant cashier and director, with which 
institution he was actively connected for fourteen years. In 1895, he purchased the 
controlling interest in the Modesto Gas Company and became the president of the 


company. Meanwhile, he acquired extensive real estate holdings in Merced, Stanislaus 
and San Luis Obispo counties, which required much effort and intelligent planning. 
In 1902 he, with W. R. High, I. W. Updike and several other prominent citizens 
of Modesto and vicinity, organized the Farmers & Merchants Bank, and Mr. Cressey 
became its first cashier. He was a prominent figure in the activities of Stanislaus 
County for thirty years. 

The marriage of Mr. Cressey united him with Miss Emily Collins, a native of 
Liverpool, England, coming to California with her parent's when eighteen years of 
age, her father, Joseph C. Collins, being a realtor in San Francisco; she passed away 
May 15, 1903, the mother of six children, five of whom grew to manhood and 
womanhood. Fraternally Mr. Cressey was active as a Mason and Odd Fellow. He 
was an official in the Episcopal Church, he and his family being active members of 
the local organization. His entire life was actuated by high and honorable principles 
and his activities have been far-reaching and resultant. 

During the year 1917 he journeyed to the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, 
Md., in search of relief from an ailment which was considered of a minor nature, 
but the operation performed did not restore his health and he passed away May 11, 
1918. For many years he served the community in various ways, as irrigation director, 
school trustee, fiduciary agent, and in other responsible capacities, and his demise was 
a keen loss to the community. Mr. Cressey was identified with that class of men who 
place integrity, civic pride and public spirit above the more sordid ideas of existence. 
He found occasion, at various times, to lend his assistance in a practical way toward 
the promotion of the material welfare of the community in which he resided for so 
many years, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him best for his splendid traits 
of character and for the admirable example furnished by his industrious career. 

C. C. BAKER. — In the annals of Stanislaus County a name that will ever 
stand preeminently as one of its worthiest citizens is that of Christopher Columbus 
Baker, an Argonaut who cast his lot with the Golden State in the stirring days of '49. 
A true representative of the type of men who have made the West, his life, is an 
example of perseverance and indefatigable energy, combined with an unflinching hon- 
esty and integrity, which left an indelible impress on the community in which he made 
his home for so many years. His wisdom had been largely gained by observation, as 
the advantages of his youth were limited, but he gained a greater degree of success 
than many who at the start were blessed with better advantages. 

C. C. Baker was born at Lexington, Ky., February 14, 1830. His father, Dudley 
Baker, was born on November 22, 1791, and his mother, Margaret Baker, on Septem- 
ber 26, 1797. The family later removed to Missouri and resided there until 1849, 
when the excitement occasioned by the discovery of gold turned all eyes in the direction 
of California. Father and son joined an emigrant train that was starting on the 
perilous journey across the plains, and C. C. Baker, then a young man of nineteen, 
drove one of the ox teams on the long trip. Arriving in California, he settled on 
lands on the Tuolumne River and engaged in sheep raising, at which he prospered. 
In 1851 he went back to Missouri via the Isthmus of Panama, returning the follow- 
ing year across the plains with a drove of cattle and mules. Later, when it was shown 
that grain farming in this section was profitable, Mr. Baker was not slow to take 
advantage of the new industry, and his uplands were farmed to grain, while on his 
river bottom lands he continued to raise sheep, mules, cattle and horses. At the time 
of his demise, on June 10, 1908, he was the owner of some 4,000 acres in Stanislaus 
County, most of it along the Tuolumne River, west of Modesto. 

When the movement to form the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation districts was 
started in Stanislaus County, Mr. Baker was at once the front and sinew of the opposi- 
tion, not because he believed that irrigation would not be good for the country in 
general, but because he had honest convictions that the law would not hold the test 
of time and the courts, and because he felt that it would work hardships upon others, 
who, as he did, owned vast stretches of bottom land which would be arbitrarily in- 
cluded within the districts and which would not be benefited by irrigation, while each 
acre of it would be assessed for irrigation taxes. His fight against irrigation districts 

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was a matter of principle, not selfish interest, as he viewed it. The districts formed, 
Mr. Baker was put up by the anti-irrigation element for election to the board of direc- 
tors. He was elected, many of the people whom he had fought voting for him, because 
they knew that he was a man of rugged honesty and would work for a "square deal" 
for both sides. He vindicated the faith reposed in him and was reelected time after 
time, remaining a director until his death. 

On June 26, 1865, Mr. Baker was married to Miss Cornelia Frances Griffin, 
who was born in Lincoln County, Mo., February 24, 1849. She came across the 
plains with her father, Joel W. Griffin, in 1857, and after spending three years in 
Calaveras County, they located in Stanislaus County in 1860. Of the ten children 
born of this union, four grew to maturity: Mrs. Margaret Carter of Oakland; Mrs. 
Lena Young of Modesto; Mrs. Zettie Young, who passed away at Fruitvale; and 
J. Walker Baker, who is a rancher at Modesto. For a number of years Mr. Baker 
maintained a summer home at Santa Cruz, residing on his ranch the balance of the 
year, but about four years before his death he decided to leave the ranch entirely, and 
he and his wife and son went to Fruitvale to make their home, and here his death 
occurred in 1908. After his death, Mrs. Baker divided her time between Modesto 
and the summer home at Santa Cruz, where she passed away on August 31,1 920. 

Mr. Baker never took part in politics other than as a private citizen, and yet he 
was a man whose opinions and suggestions were much sought. A contemporary of that 
stanch pioneer, the late Hiram Hughson, he was numbered as one of his closest friends 
and a