BIOGRAPHICAL AND DESCRIPITIVE
TO OUR ILLUSTRATIONS FROM
G. H. ASHLEY resides in Elkhorn Township. He was born in Massachusetts, and came to this coast as early as 1848. Mrs. Ashley was also born in Massachusetts, and arrived in California ten years later than her husband. They have had five children, of whom three are yet living. In 1864 he purchased a farm of 320 acres, which had been located about ten years prior; he has since purchased other land in his vicinity, until at present he owns 568 acres, all of which he is cultivating well and profitably. His farm is well stocked; and he has all the latest improvements, such as proper machinery and necessary buildings, for first-class farming. He is principally interested in raising wheat. A view of his place will be found on another page.
A. T. AYRES was born in Summit County, Ohio, August 1, 1830, and lived there until 1852, in which year he crossed the Isthmus of Panama, and came to California. He engaged in mining in El Dorado County for some time, and returned to Ohio in 1854. He attended a mercantile school at Hudson, Ohio, for one year, and then pursued farming for one year. He went to Green Bay, Wis., in 1857, and built a steam saw-mill and a stream tug, and engaged in the lumber business. He came again to California in 1859, bringing his family, and settled in San Joaquin County in 1861. He purchased his present place in Elkhorn Township in 1865, and has since resided there. His farm contains 275 acres of choice grain-land, and is well improved and stocked. He was married in May, 1856, to Miss Julia Wheeler, of Ohio. They have two girls, both now living. A view of his farm is given in this work.
CHRISTOPHER BECKMAN was born in Westphalia, Prussia, in 1829. Came to America in 1848, landing at Baltimore, from which city he came to California in 1853, crossing the plains. He settled on the farm he now occupies in the fall, 1854. His ranch, which lies in Elkhorn township, contains 400 acres of choice land, well improved, stocked with cattle and horses, and furnished with all the appliances required in practical farming. He devotes his land principally to grain-raising, wheat being the staple crop. He was married in San Francisco, in 1864, to Mary Langhorst. They have had three children, two of whom, both girls, died five years since in Germany, where he was visiting with his family. A view of his farm is given on another page.
HORACE BENTLEY was born in Onondaga Co., N.Y., March 10, 1828. He graduated from the Eclectic Medical College at Cincinnati in 1848, and came to California, across the plains, and settled in Placerville, El Dorado county, where he lived until 1852. He moved to Woodbridge in this county in 1856, and pursued the practice of his profession until 1861, when he abandoned it, in order to give his attention to the general merchandise business, in which he had embarked in 1858. At the time Dr. Bentley came to Woodbridge it consisted of one store and one building; the latter being used for a hotel. His store was erected in 1867, is constructed of brick and is one of the largest in that part of the county. The lower part is used for a store, and the upper portion he occupies as a residence. This building is the only one in the County, outside of Stockton, lighted with gas. He has the largest stock of dry goods, groceries, hardware, medicines &c., in San Joaquin County, outside of Stockton. There is also a tinshop connected with the store. Mr. Bentley is the agent for Wells, Fargo & Co.’s Express. He was married to Miss Etta S. Roach, in September, 1866, and has three children. A view of his building is shown in this work.
LYMAN H. BRANNACK was born in Genesee county, N.Y., May 20, 1818. He moved to Atlas, Genesee county, Mich., in 1836, where he resided until 1852. In the latter year he came to this State via the Isthmus of Panama. In 1853 he went back to Michigan, and returned again to California in December of the same year, coming across the plains. He settled on his ranch in Elkhorn Township in 1854, where he resided until Sept. 1878. The ranch contains 320 acres of land, of which 250 are undergoing cultivation, the balance being pasture land. The average yield per acre is twenty-five bushels of wheat. The soil is in part black land, and in part sandy loam. The land was a portion of the “Pico Grant” and Mr. B. purchased it of the U.S. Government in 1868. He has been largely interested in raising fine stock, particularly horses and mules. Mr. Brannack now resides on Railroad Ave., in Alameda, Alameda County, near Oakland. A view of his ranch is given elsewhere.
WILLIAM H. DEVRIES was born near Baltimore, Md., October 24, 1832. He made the tedious journey across the plains, arriving in California in March, 1853, and first settled in Fisher’s ranch. He came to San Joaquin County, and settled in Elkhorn Township in 1860, purchasing the land on which he now resides. In that year he was married to Miss Crow, also from Baltimore. They have had three boys, all of whom are now living. He has a large tract of choice land, containing 760 acres, well improved and stocked. He has amply supplied his ranch with tools, machinery, barns, buildings, etc., required on a first-class farm. His attention is mainly devoted to the raising of wheat, the staple product in this vicinity. A view of his farm and residence will be found elsewhere.
EZRA FISKE is a native of Middlesex Co., Mass., where he was born August 21, 1825. In October, 1849, he embarked on the ship “Richmond”, bound for California, via Cape Horn. He arrived at San Francisco April 5, 1850, and after a stay of a few days the ship proceeded to Benicia, from which point he came to Stockton, in the steamer McKinn. He spent some time in the mines of Calaveras Co., and finally settled on his present property in Elkhorn Township, in 1852. At that time the country was a wilderness, and large herds of elk and antelope wandered over all Elkhorn Township. Mrs. Fiske owns 400 acres of excellent land, well improved, and supplied with farming implements, buildings and stock necessary to a practical farmer. Mr. Fiske has never been married. A view of his place will be found in another part of this work.
WILLIAM J. FLOYD was born in Logan Co., Ky., July 17, 1823. When he was seven or eight years of age, his parents emigrated to Alexandria, Mo., where he remained until he came to California, across the plains, arriving at Shingle Springs September 1, 1850. He went to the mines on the South Fork of the American river, in Placer Co. In the summer of 1851 he kept books for the Gregory House in Nevada City. He came to San Joaquin Co. in 1854. He owns 406 acres of excellent grain land in Elkhorn Township, of which 350 acres are under cultivation. In addition to the raising of grain he has given considerable attention to fine stock, and has raised some valuable horses. The farm is well stocked, and supplied with barns, machinery, etc. He was married in Nevada Co., Cal., in September, 1852, to Miss Nancy J. Morgan, and has seven children, three of whom are married. He is a member of the San Joaquin Society of Pioneers. A view of his place will be seen on another page.
JOSEPH M. FOWLER was born in Westfield, Hampden County, Mass., July 26, 1825, from which place he came to California by the Mexican route in 1849. He had seven years experience in the mines on Merced river. In 1854, in conjunction with his brother he took up a section of land in San Joaquin County. He subsequently purchased his brother’s interest, and has since made a business of raising wheat, of which grain his large farm produces great quantities every year. He owns 640 acres of excellent land in Elkhorn Township, San Joaquin County, and 1440 acres in Merced County, near Merced, the County seat. For the profitable working of his large tracts of land, he has supplied them with all necessary improvements, buildings, machinery and all requisite farming implements. In 1857, he returned to Massachusetts and married Miss Eliza Bromley, who returned with him to this State. They have now living two girls and two boys. A view of his place in Union Township is given elsewhere.
A.M. HARSHNER is a resident of Elkhorn Township. He was born in Ohio, as was also his wife. He moved to California in 1864, Mrs. Harshner coming here a year later. They have had five children, of whom three are still living. The land he occupies was settled by Frank Carr, and purchased by Mr. Harshner in 1867. It contains 160 acres of well improved and fertile ground. He has some good cattle and horses, and all the necessary appliances required in first class farming; like most of the farmers in this valley his main dependence is on his wheat crop. He erected a good house on his land in 1878, which cost him about $2,500. A view of his house and land will be found elsewhere.
CHARLES OSCAR IVORY was born in Jefferson county, N.Y., in 1834. He came to California in 1853, and located at Stockton. In December, 1867, he went to Woodbridge, and established a general store in connection with J.W. Bent, doing business under the firm-name of Bent and Ivory. In October, 1869, they moved their establishment to Lodi, Elkhorn township, at which time the town contained but one building besides their store. The town has grown largely since then, the population having been doubled in the last two years, and now contains six hundred people. In June, 1870, he purchased Mr. Bent’s interest in the business, and has since conducted it in his own name. He has a large general merchandise establishment, and is doing a good business. His house, of which a view is given on another page, was finished in 1871. In November, 1856, he returned east, and remained until 1858.
MRS. EMELINE M. KEARNY was born in Warren county, Ohio, in 1828. She was married to Joseph Kearny in Lee county, Ill., in 1850, and came with him to California, across the Isthmus of Panama, in 1857. They settled in San Joaquin county in the same year, and engaged in farming. The farm is situated in Elkhorn township, about two miles from Lodi, and contains 400 acres of choice and well-improved land. The place is well stocked with cattle, and supplied with a complete outfit of machinery and farming implements that are required in general farm and raising of wheat, which is the principal product. Joseph Kearny died at his residence on this place in May, 1878. A view of this place is given elsewhere.
EZEKIEL LAWRENCE was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada West, June 24, 1826, where he lived until twenty years of age, at which time he removed to Coldwater, Mich. After a residence there of a few years he came, in 1850, to California, and settled in Eldorado County, which place he made his home until 1858, when he located in San Joaquin County, where he has since resided. He was married in May, 1857, at Placerville, Eldorado County, to Miss Mary Hutchins, also a native of Canada. They have three children, all living. His farm, which is situated in Elkhorn township, contains 330 acres of good land, well improved, and supplied with all the implements, buildings, etc., essential to a successful farmer. Wheat is the crop chiefly relied upon. A view of his farm will be found elsewhere.
JOHN M. MAGLEY was born in Berne, Switzerland, in March, 1825. At the age of fourteen years he came to America, and settled in Fairfield, Co., Ohio. He resided there a few years and then moved to Franklin county, in the same state: in 1843 he removed to Madison Co., near Columbus. In the spring of 1850 he came across the plains, bringing twenty-eight men, thirty mules and five wagons. He sold out at Salt Lake, and walked from there to Placerville, Cal., in thirty-two days. He spent about fifteen months in the mines. He lived in Nevada Co. for nine years, and settled in San Joaquin Co. in 1861. He once owned land in “Lodi”, and built the first cabin in the town. His farm contains 107 acres of well improved land, and lies in Elkhorn Township. He carries on a general farming business, raising principally wheat. A view of his farm is given on another page.
R.C. SARGENT was born in New Hampshire, twenty-five miles from Mt. Lafayette, in 1817. At the age of twenty-one years he went to Boston. While in Massachusetts he worked on a farm for 53 cents per day; afterwards went into the milk business, and subsequently embarked with his brother in the ice business. In 1846 they sold out, and went to Chicago, where they engaged in the same business. They were the first parties in Chicago to put up ice cut by a machine. At one time they worked from 4 a.m. until 10 p.m., and put up 1,800 tons of 4 in. ice. The next day the ice was all out of the river (the North Branch), and his day’s work was worth $2,000. In May, 1849, he went to Missouri, and started from there with his brothers across the plains, driving an ox team. Mr. Sargent drove the oxen all the way, walking himself. They stopped in Eldorado County, at Ringold, three miles from Placerville, where they built a trading post, and did freighting, sometimes getting as much as $1 per lb. for transportation. In 1850, Mr. R.C. Sargent separated from his brothers, and preempted land in this County, where Woodbridge now stands. He sowed about 40 acres of barley in 1851. He sold this location to Jerry Woods, and the four brothers all settled in Elkhorn Township, in the vicinity of the place on which he now resides. They commenced to buy land in 1861, and now they own 13,000 acres of State land and 2,400 acres of Government land. They have 1,000 acres of tule land under cultivation, and a quantity of upland East of Staten Island, where once there was a lake, they have reclaimed 4,300 acres, and have 4,000 acres of it under cultivation. In addition to this there are 3,700 acres partially reclaimed. Their reclamation expenses have amounted to the enormous sum of $200,000. They have secured a County road from the Sacramento road to the New Hope landing, at which point a daily and tri-weekly line of steamers runs to San Francisco, passing up the North Fork of the Mokelumne river. His house is about 14 ˝ miles from Stockton, six from Lodi, five from Woodbridge, and ten from New Hope landing. R.C. Sargent has a number of orange and lemon trees, all doing well, the soil seeming well adapted to their nature. He keeps the quarter and half-breed Durham cattle. He kept the Jack Hawkins horses until 1871; since then he has been breeding them to the Patchen stock. The residence was erected in 1853. (See view of house, lands, etc., on another page.) He has four children.
JOSEPH SPEUKER resides in Elkhorn Township, and was born in Germany in 1835. When but nineteen years of age, he emigrated from his native land, coming to New York, and from there to Wisconsin, where he remained six months. During the succeeding three years he traveled through that portion of the west, seeking for a permanent residence. He resided in Illinois until 1859, and then came direct to San Joaquin County, crossing the plains. He purchased 160 acres in Stanislaus County. He cultivates all but thirty acres, which are timber-lands and used for pasturage. The soil is some of it black; the land near Woodbridge is sandy loam. His chief cereal is wheat. The fruits on his farm are apples, peaches, apricots and cherries. His farm is well stocked, with sixteen head of horses, eighteen of cattle, &c. He has a good frame house, barn and other buildings on his place. (See accompanying view.) His ranch is eight miles from Stockton. He has two children, one boy and one girl.
Transcribed by Susan Vomocil.
Source: “History of San Joaquin County 1879” by Thompson & West. Pages 119-121.
© 2012 Susan Vomocil.