Tulare & Kings Counties

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This leading lawyer and man of affairs of Kings County, Cal., whose offices are in the Farmers and Mechanics Bank building at Hanford, is a native son of Tulare County and was born two miles west of Grangeville July 17, 1873. Primarily educated in the pioneer district schools near there, he later attended Hanford high school. from which lie graduated in 1896. In 1899 he graduated from the Hastings Law College and in May of that year was admitted to prac­tice in the Supreme Court of California. Immediately thereafter lie opened an office in Hanford, and here he has made his business and professional headquarters ever since. As a lawyer he has given hi attention largely to special interests, but notwithstanding that fact he achieved a notable success in general practice. He is deeply interested in agriculture, horticulture and sfockraising, and in irrigation as a factor essential to success in those fields of endeavor under the peculiarities of local environment. He is the owner of six hundred and forty acres of land, half of which is devoted to farming, forty acres to fruit growing and the remainder to alfalfa. grain and stock grazing.

He owns a one-third interest in the reclamation company whose activities center on Empire ranch and is one of its directors. It irrigates a district extending twelve miles southwest from the River, a large part of the land having been reclaimed from the lake. He is a stock­holder and director also in the New Deal Ditch Company of Hanford (whose ditch extends from a point southeast of John Sigler's ranch), a director in the Lone Oak Canal Company (whose ditch runs south of the old Lost Chance ditch), is attorney for the Wilber reclamation district (which includes thirty thousand acres of land under reclamation on the southeast border of Tulare lake), and attorney for the Fresno & Hanford Railroad Company. He was one of the organizers of and is a director in the New Kings County Chamber of Commerce and helped to organize the Kings County Dairyman's Association, of which he is a director, and organized the Lampenhein Creamery of Hardwick, in the company controlling which he is a director. There is no movement for the public good in which he is not interested directly or indirectly. Fraternally he affiliates with the Masonic lodge at Han­ford, with Scottish Rite Masons and with the Shrine of Islam at San Francisco and with the Eastern Star, besides which he is identified with the Knights of Pythias, the Woodmen of the World, the Improved Order of Red Men and the Native Sons of the Golden West. In 1902 he married Metta. Robinson, a daughter of the late W. W. Robinson.



In all of our industries, from the railroad builder to the bank president, the foreign-born citizen has always displayed excellent qualities, this being especially true of some of the sons of Italy who have located here. Among these none has made a more striking record in California than M. J. Fontana, general superintendent of the California Fruit Canners' Association. He came to America when he was quite a young man, determined to make a home and fortune for himself in the New World. Having worked in the fruit business in New York, this interest was continued in California, whither he came in 1868, arriving in San Francisco with very limited means. Today, measure him as you will, he is one of the big men of the state, for he has made a success in every sense of the word. For a time he worked at anything that his hands found to do, but later he managed to form an alliance with fruit men which was the beginning of his upward progress. In 1870 he started in the fruit and produce business in San Francisco, and afterward engaged in the canning business in the same city, also starting branches at Healdsburg and Hanford.

Finally in 1898 he sold out to the California Fruit Canners' Association, an organization in which he still holds an interest, being a director and a member of the executive board. His Hanford plant was the pioneer fruit canning and packing establishment in Kings County and was built in 1895. This plant has packed a yearly average of three hundred thousand cases of peaches and dried fruits for the past fifteen years, and also handles dried prunes, raisins and apricots.

Mr. Fontana has been a large developer in the fields of horticulture and viticulture in California for many years. He has large wine interests in the state, being president of the Italian-Swiss Wine Colony Association and director of the California Wine Association and is general superintendent of the California Canners Association, a director in the Italian-American Bank of San Francisco and is a director of the E. B. & A. L. Stone Co., a large contracting concern which did the construction work on the Western Pacific Railroad from San Francisco to Oroville, Cal. For two years he held the office of trustee of the city of San Francisco.

In 1877 Mr. Fontana was married to Nellie Jones of San Leandro, Cal., and they have three sons and one daughter, all of whom are married and connected with the California Fruit Canners' Association.


A native of Norway, Iver Knutson received a good education in that far northern country and served an apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade. When about seventeen years old he came to the United States and made his way overland to California, where he was a miner in the early '50s. Eventually he went to Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, and from there to Gilroy, Santa Clara County, and in the latter place plied his trade of carpenter, and several buildings which he built or helped to build are still standing. Hearing of the rich lands in the Mussel Slough section of Tulare County, he moved there in 1872 and took up a claim, which he began to improve. In the history of this part of the state it is recorded how he was killed in the famous Mussel Slough fight of 1880. He married, at Santa Rosa, Miss. Cynthia Clawson, a native of Wisconsin, who was brought across the plains when a small child by her father, coming overland to California soon after 1850. She bore her husband seven children and survived him until 1894, when she passed away. Their children were: Charles, deceased ; William 0.; Joseph F., deceased; James E.; Mrs. William C. Clarkson, of Lemon Cove, Cal.; Henry E., who lives in Exeter; and Albert E., deceased.

On October 8, 1868, William 0. Knutson was born at Old Gilroy, Cal. He divided his time between the public school and work on his father's ranch, and his first venture on his own account was as a farmer in Kaweah swamp. For the past nine years he has been in the dairy business on the Exeter road, near Farmersville, in the region known as the Visalia district, and at this time he is renting sixty acres, on which he maintains a dairy of twenty cows.

In 1896 Mr. Knutson married Miss Nellie E. Gray, a native of Iowa, and they have two children, Esther N. and Thelma L. In a fraternal way he affiliates with the Modern Woodmen, the Royal Neighbors and the Fraternal Brotherhood. Without being an active politician, he takes an intelligent interest in all questions of public significance and is prompt and generous in response to all demands toward the advance of the community.


Prominent in the mercantile circles and well known throughout Central California, N. B. Bowker, of Corcoran, is recognized as one of the leading citizens of Kings County, Cal., where he has lived since 1908. He was born in Defiance, Ohio, in 1884, and just missed being a Christmas present by making his advent in the home of his parents on December 26. As soon as he was old enough he was sent to the public school, and after he completed the course of study laid down for its students he took a thorough commercial course in an efficient business college. He was employed in his native state as a clerk until 1901, when he came to California. After employment about six years as an electrician, he located in Corcoran and not long afterward engaged in business for himself as proprietor of a men's fur­nishings goods store, and has won one of the conspicuous commercial successes which has brought Corcoran to the attention of an extensive tributary territory.

October 15, 1907, Mr. Bowker married Miss E. E. Doughtery, who was born in Iowa March 6, 1886, and they have two daughters, Mildred and Margaret. Mr. and Mrs. Bowker have won the friendship of a large circle of acquaintances and their geniality and sincere interest in all with whom they come in contact make them wel­come everywhere. Mr. Bowker has achieved popularity in business circles by doing business on strict business principles, while always showing a disposition to give the other man a chance. Customers once attracted to his store continue their patronage and bring their friends to take advantage of the bargains that he offers from time to time. With so satisfacory a past, so prosperous a present, his future is full of promise, and the time is not far distant when he will take his place among the foremost merchants in his part of the state


An identification with Tulare County's industrial affairs since 1883 has made Jesse B. Agnew well known throughout that vicinity. and although his present business takes him from the neighborhood on many occasions he holds his residence in Visalia at the old Young homestead, No. 600 South East Street, where the family of his estimable wife had lived for many years. Mr. Agnew is a successful seed grower, with offices at No. 110 Market Street, San Francisco. and he is also manager of the Pacific Seed Growers' Company. His father came to the west in 1846, locating in Oregon, and then returned east for a short time. He made in all seven trips to California before there was a railroad, and his experiences and knowledge on the traveling situation in those days is a most interesting narrative. A blacksmith by trade, he conducted a shop at the early mining camps and later removed to Santa Clara County, Cal., about 1873, and it was at this time that he purchased the old Agnew homestead.

Jesse B. Agnew was born at Eddyville, Iowa, September 15, 1863, and when nine years old was brought to Santa Clara County, where he was reared until 1883, at which time he moved to Tulare County. He was in the railroad land office of the Southern Pacific Railroad for a time. He married Miss Ida Young, daughter of Newton and Mary (Price) Young, who were among the earliest pioneers of Visalia. The Price family were natives of Wales. who came to America with the well-known Evans family.


Among the well-known and progressive cattlemen of his vicinity is numbered conspicuously Tillman B. Phariss, whose well-equipped ranch and fine range of cattle evidence his unusual ability in chosen calling. His father was F. W. Phariss, who made the overland journey across the plains and mountains to California with ox- team in 1852, and he experienced much of the hardship and danger of those early times. He later returned to the east, but in 1871 he again came to California, bringing his family with him.

Born in Dallas County, Mo., in 1871, Tillman B. Phariss was but five months old when his father came the second time to California, and he is therefore practically a native son. Settling in Sonoma County, the family remained in that vicinity for about six years and then removed to the Tule River country, in Tulare County, and here Mr. Phariss made his home and grew to manhood. Following in the footsteps of his father, who became an extensive cattle ranger in the County, Mr. Phariss familiarized himself with all the details of stockraising and the handling of cattle, and he now has a ranch of twenty acres on which he raises a high grade of stock for the market.

In 1899 Mr. Phariss was married to Evea Grider, who is a native daughter of California. Four children have been born of this union: Elvin C., Walter S., and two who are deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Phariss are popular citizens in their community and hold the respect and esteem of all who know them.


This capitalist and man of affairs of Tulare, Tulare County, was born in Wayne County, Pa., in April, 1863, and was brought to California when he was five years old by his parents, who located at Oakland. Here he lived until 1885, in that year coming to Tulare County and renting twelve hundred and eighty acres of land, four miles west of Visalia. After raising grain there for three years he leased the Lindsay Land Company's land near Lindsay, a tract of six thousand acres, on which he began as a grower of grain and later embarked in the raising of cattle, combining the two interests until in the fall of 1910, when he bought nine hundred acres adjoining the Lindsay land and went into the cattle business exclusively. About this time he also bought thirty-two hundred acres on the lake, near Angiola, and fifteen acres on the Lindsay road. He sold out the last of his holdings in November, 1911. The records of the Dairymen's Co-operative Creamery Company show that he helped to organize that corporation and served a year as its president. He is a director of the First National Bank of Tulare and has from time to time been connected with other important business interests, though he considers that his principal business has been as a stockraiser. As a citizen he has evidenced a commendable public spirit which has made him always quick to respond to any appeal on behalf of movements for the general good. Fraternally he affiliates with the Masons, being a member of Tulare Lodge, F. & A. M., and having received the chapter and commandery degrees. He holds membership also in the Meal organization of the Woodmen of the World.

In 1889 Mr. Hayes married Miss Fannie Fielding, of Marysville, Cal., and they have four children, Mayo, Marlo, Carroll and Austin, all students in the public schools.


A pioneer and leader in many fields of industry in Kings County, and one who has won for himself an enviable record for industry and integrity here, is Edward E. Bush, who was born at Waukon, Allamakee County, Iowa, June 25, 1859, son of Moses D. Bush, whose name is associated with the history of pioneer industries in this region.

Moses D. Bush was born on a farm beside the Hudson River in the state of New York. When but nine years of age he was orphaned and became self-supporting, working on a farm, where he grew up, and experiencing many hardships which fitted him for his subsequent career as a pioneer. While yet young he went to the village of Chicago and conducted a boarding house, becoming the owner of a tract of a hundred and sixty acres upon which the house stood. Disposing of that interest he returned to New York and was married to Emily E. Randall, with whom he went to Allamakee County, Iowa, where he engaged in farming and practiced surveying, assisting in running the boundary line between Minnesota and Iowa. In 1864 he brought his family to California by the overland route, and, locating af San Jose, operated a small foundry there for about three years. He then sold it and later came to Kings County, where he took up land that is now a part of the site of Lemoore. This was a quarter-section, and when he settled here there was but one house between his and Visalia. He later sold the ranch to Lee Moore, for whom the town was named.

When Moses D. Bush came to Kings County it was sparsely settled, there being only about twenty-five people living there, among them being Uncle Dan Rhoades, Justin and Jonathan Esrey, who were following stockraising. In the train were Samuel Wright and H. F. Bicknell and their families, who settled on government land and started to make homes; they suffered many trials, being compelled to go to Gilroy and haul their provisions, as the stock raisers, were opposed to them and refused to sell them meat or food of any kind. He was most optimistic as to the country's future and induced many friends to settle in what is now Kings County, giving them shelter and food and dividing his provisions with them. Geese and ducks were plentiful, and at one time Mr. Bush and his son were able to take eighteen hundred pounds to Gilroy, where they sold them at $1.25 per pound. They also operated a ferry boat across the lake, a distance of seven miles. He and a few others originated the first ditch hereabouts, taking water from Kings River, and he was one of the promoters of the Lower Kings River Ditch Co. and helped to dig its ditch with his own hands, taking in payment for his labor stock in that public utility. In 1879 he moved to a tract of four hundred acres, four miles south of Hanford, thus becoming a pioneer farmer and dairyman in the Lakeside district. In 1884 he sold his farm and took up his residence in Hanford, where he died November 16, 1898, aged seventy-six. He was a Democrat and held several public offices, and those still surviving who knew him are ever ready to praise his business acumen, his honesty and his generosity. His widow is passing her declining days with her son, Edward E. She and her husband were members of the Adventist Church.

Edward E. Bush was a young boy when brought to Kings County and had had meager educational advantages. He was obliged to walk five miles to school, through herds of cattle, and he aided materially in the improvement of the home place. While still quite young he and his brother worked for Mr. Atwell on a small steam: boat, hauling hogs from Atwell's Island, now Alpaugh, across where Corcoran now stands, and landing at Buzzards Roost, now Waukena. In 1881, when twenty-two, he became an independent farmer, but the next year ran a small livery business in Hanford, and by 1890 the enterprise was increased to such an extent that he sold at a gratifying profit ; since then he has devoted his energies almost entirely to real estate. He has been materially helpful in many directions toward forwarding movements for the prosperity of Hanford, and was instrumental in procuring the extension of the Santa Fe railroad from Fresno to the Kern County line. In 1889 he started the Del Monte Vineyard Co., which put one hundred and sixty acres under vines and trees, and the next year the Banner Vineyard Co., which, together with the former vineyard, made a tract of three hundred and twenty acres, and this he sold within a few months. Soon after he bought the Grangeville vineyard of a hundred and sixty acres, planted it to vines and sold it in the second year. Meantime he bought a section of land of Foster Brothers, half of which he put to vines and sold to P. McRae, planting the other half in 1891, and this he sold to the Armona Orchard & Vineyard Co. In the fall of the latter year he organized the Silver Bow Vineyard Co. at Butte, Mont., and sold two hundred and forty acres of it to residents of Butte, Mont., the following spring selling to other residents there a half section which lie had set to prunes and peaches and which is known as the Montana Orchard. In 1890 he bought and platted the Reddington Addition of forty lots in Hanford, and a little later bought twenty acres more in the northern section of the town and platted half of that ; since then he has observed these purchases develop into the city's most exclusive residence district. About the same time he bought another twenty acres of land in Hanford, which he sold in one body.

As Mr. Bush was a pioneer in fruits and vines, so was he also a pioneer in the oil industry. Soon after 1890 his attention was directed to oil possibilities, and in 1896 he organized the Consolidated Oil & Development Co., capitalized at $50,000, which sunk a well in the Kroyenhagen district and found oil, but not in paying quantities. Next he organized the Caribou Oil Co. in the Coalinga district with a like capital, became its superintendent and manager, and with C. C. and W. A. Spinks bought a section of land, a part of which was sold to the Peerless Oil Co., eighty acres to the Merced Oil Co., and eighty to the Great Northern Oil Co. Five wells on land still owned by the original company yield a good annual income. In the Kern River country he organized the Provident Oil Co., capitalized at $200,000, developed sixty acres in oil and suspended operations owing to cheap oil. He organized also the McFadden Oil & Mining Co., with a capital stock of $100,000, and sunk a well which, though operations were suspended, is still the property of the company. In both of these companies Mr. Bush owns a large block of stock. A larger enterprise of Mr. Bush's was the Del Rey Oil Co. Its capital was $1,000,000; of its four hundred acres, forty are in the heart of the Kern River field, seven producing wells being sunk under the superintendence and management of Mr. Bush, who still owns stock in the company, as well as two hundred and forty acres of undeveloped lands in that district. In 1898 he organized the Del Monte Coal Co., which developed coal lands in this part of the County, but suspended operations because of exorbitant shipping charges.

Of the Hanford Abstract Co., which was organized with a cash capital of $10,000, Mr. Bush has. been superintendent and manager since November, 1901, owning a controlling interest in the stock. With four stockholders he organized the Hanford Gas & Power Co., of which he is secretary and general manager; their plant is one of the finest of its kind in the state, costing $60,000, and to date (1913) has more than doubled the investment price. In the fall of 1892 Mr. Bush was one of the most enthusiastic promoters of the creation of Kings County from Tulare, giving generously of his money and time to that end, and he was one of the commissioners on organization appointed by Governor Markham. He has been directly concerned with most of the improvements which have marked the growth of Hanford from a village to a thriving industrial community. He was interested in the sugar beet industry and the erection of the $1,000,­000 factory at Corcoran, which means, when plans materialize for operation by proper financing, one of the greatest things for the advancement and prosperity of the farmers in Kings County. He was one of the organizers of the Guarantee Land & Investment Co., which company purchased eight thousand acres of land between Corcoran and Hanford, now being developed for colonization.

Politically Mr. Bush is a Democrat: Though never an office seeker, he has been secretary of the County Central Committee and a delegate to the conventions and was one of the presidential electors on the Democratic ticket in 1908. Fraternally he affiliates with the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Foresters. Mr. Bush married in Kings County December 21, 1884, Miss Emma L. Byrd, who was born in California, and they have four children: Ruby Pearl, wife of G. M. Wilson; Clarence E.; Moses Lyman; and Grover L.


It was in Platte County, Iowa, that David F. Carter was born in May, 1852, a son of William F. and Frances M. (Hill) Carter. His father, a farmer, was a native of Kentucky, and his mother was born in Tennessee. They had eleven children: Sarah A., Marion F., James L., Mary, Vicia J., William P., Joseph 0., John P., David F., Columbus G. and Amanda. Sarah became the wife of Joseph 0. Landsdowne, has borne him eight children., and they live in Visalia. Marion F. married Elsie Kent, of Visalia, and their two children are attending high school in that city. James L. married Elizabeth Strawn and their home is at Visalia. Mary married Joseph Ray and has borne him a son named Oliver. Vicia J. is also married. William P., of Lindsay, married Sallie Sherman. Joseph 0. married Miss Vickery and lives at Three Rivers. John P. married Cenio Johnson and lives in North Dakota, where he is principal of a school. Columbus G. is dead. Amanda married Newton Kent. David F. married Elizabeth Reaves, and she bore him seven children: Frank, Lulu, Albert, Joseph 0., Ora and Della, and one that died in infancy. Frank married Elsie Smith, and they and their two children reside at Reedley, Fresno County. Albert has devoted himself to educational work and his wife, formerly Miss Grimsy, is teaching at Porterville. He has served as a member of the board of education and is now principal of a night school and will graduate in law from the Hastings law school in 1913. He was for four years a student at the normal school at San Jose. Joseph 0. is married. Ora married William Janes, a newspaper man at Taft, Cal., and has three children. Della married Byron Allen, a well-known stockman, and lives at Visalia.

In 1870 Mr. Carter came to California from Iowa, crossing the plains with an emigrant train. For a time he lived at Hill's Ferry on the San Joaquin River and was engaged in farming and in driving a ten-mule team in freighting. He has lived in Tulare County since 1872. After following stockraising for a time he went into the lime business, in which he was successful, furnishing this necessity for most of the public buildings in the County. He located in Lemon Cove in 1876 and in 1878 was instrumental in establishing a postoffice there, of which he was in charge as postmaster for fourteen years. He was for a time prominent in the sheep business, at one time owning twenty-one thousand head. One of his transactions in sheep, with which he made a large profit on thirty-seven hundred sheep which he bought at Tulare, brought him to the attention of sheep men throughout the country. Finally he sold his sheep for $10,000 and invested his money in cattle. He formerly ran his sheep in the mountains, but his cattle business centers at his ranch at Three Rivers. He was for a time the owner of a lemon orchard at Lemon Cove. He has latterly given his attention to the laying of cement pipe and his operations in connection with Mountain View ranch are well known to all his fellow citizens. Politically he is a Democrat. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His interest in education has impelled him to accept the offices of school trustee, director of schools and clerk of the board of education.


In the struggle for success in which John H. Hine was for many years putting forth his efforts no one was more helpful and proved a mightier force in assisting him to gain prosperity than his estimable wife and helpmeet, and they are now making their home in Richmond, enjoying the fruits of their hard labor. Mr. Hine was born in North Carolina, in 1866, the son of John H. Hine, Sr., the latter of whom was a progressive fruit grower in California and is now making his home in Tulare County. When John H., Jr., was very young he was taken by his parents to Missouri, where the family lived until 1885, and there the boy began his education in the public schools. His active career began as a helper on his father's ranch, and there he remained until he was twenty-two years of age,. when he married and settled on land which is now included in his extensive farm of. ninety acres. Aided by his wife, he embarked extensively in general farming, growing fruit in large quantities and raising considerable stock for the market. As a citizen he has always been help­ful to all good interests of the community, and in his politics he is inclined to be independent. Fraternally he affiliates with the Woodmen of the World and the Woodcraft Order.

The marriage of Mr. Hine united him with Mrs. Mary E. Hill, a native of Nebraska, and together they have since faced many hard­ships and reverses which they have bravely overcome with united forces, and have seen much of the growth and development of the great agricultural interests of Tulare County, witnessing many of the changes which have marked its progress from a primitive condition to its present excellent status. Before her marriage Mrs. Hine had conducted a small hotel in Dinuba, but she rented it for two years after marrying and then sold it at a good profit. She is an excellent example of the rare woman who unselfishly shares the burden of life's responsibilities with her husband, and they justly merit the well-earned rest they are now taking, for they are renting their ranch and making their home near Richmond, surrounded by many friends.


Dr. Miller was educated in the common schools near his birthplace in Illinois and at Auburn, Ind., and was graduated from the medical department of the University of Illinois with the M. D. de­gree in 1886. After a year's practice in Chicago he went to Dakota, where he remained two years, until he came to California. He opened an office in Hanford in 1889 and has since built up a very successful general practice. He served as health officer of the city, and was surgeon for the Southern Pacific Railroad until he resigned because of the demands of his private practice. As a member of the California State Medical Society and through other affiliations he keeps in touch with the profession.

Inclination has led Dr. Miller to take an interest in ranching and in dairying, and during the past seven years he has developed thirty-five acres, six miles south of Hanford, into one of the most attractive homesteads in this part of the County. He has three hundred and twenty acres also on Mill creek, east and south of Hanford, between that city and Tulare, which is devoted to dairy purposes. It is irrigated by means of a twenty horsepower electric motor and two ten-inch wells which produce fifteen hundred gallons of water per minute. One hundred and sixty acres of the property is under alfalfa, and the rest is given over to grain. He has a dairy of forty-five Holstein cows. All in all, this is one of the best properties of its kind in the vicinity. Too busy otherwise to give personal attention to its management, he leases it on shares. His house in Hanford, which he erected in 1901 with a view to making it a suitable residence for this climate, is one of the model homes of that city. It is of brick, with double walls, separated by open spaces, and is surrounded by beautiful park-like grounds in which he has planted many trees.

Fraternally Dr. Miller affiliates with the Woodmen of the World, being a member of the Hanford lodge of that order. In a public-spirited way he has been a factor in the building up of the town, whose citizens recognize in him one willing, so far as he is able, to contribute to the general good.


It was in Missouri that Asbury C. Raney was born January 12, 1860. Reared and educated there, he made his home in that state until 1884. In that year, when he was twenty-four years old, he came to California and during the ensuing three years lived in Lake County. In October, 1887, he drove down to Tulare County in a prairie schooner, stopping at Grangeville. He entered government land on the plains near Huron, Fresno County, and after perfecting his title to it eventually sold it. For some time he was in the employ of others on farms, besides which he did considerable teaming, and for nine years he worked on harvesters. In November, 1890, he bought thirty acres of land five miles and a half northwest of Hanford, of which twenty-two acres are in vines and about six acres in orchard, the balance of the tract being his home site. Later he purchased forty acres near Orosi, in the orange belt in Tulare County, and this he devotes to general crops.

In 1885 Mr. Raney married Berintha Kern, a native of Missouri, and they have one son, Teddy Roosevelt Raney, born in April, 1903, now a student in the public school near his home. Socially Mr. Raney affiliates with the Woodmen of the World. Politically he entertains progressive ideas and is devoted to the development of his district and County and to the best interests of the people of the country at large.


One of the enterprising and successful dairymen of Visalia is William Rivers, whose establishment is on Goshen avenue. Bereft of a father's care at a very early age, he found it necessary to earn his own way when he was quite young, and it is largely to his credit that he has reached his present comfortable state, having acquired property and becoming the proprietor of a well paying business.

Mr. Rivers was born in Joliet, Ill., August 7, 1872, son of William and Mary (Miller) Rivers, and was but fifteen years of age when brought to California by his mother. He remained with his family on the small farm near Goshen, where they had settled, for about nine years, coming to his present place in Visalia January 1, 1911. With a partner, James Butler, he farms three thousand acres of land, having three hundred and fifty acres planted to alfalfa, and they expect to have a thousand acres devoted to that crop in the course of three years or less. Seventy acres are in vineyard and three hundred in Egyptian corn. The land produces half a ton of dried raisin grapes to the acre, or a ton and a half of wine grapes to the acre. They have been successful in the raising of beef cattle, hogs and mules, and their stock, being exceptionally fine, commands the highest market price.

Mr. Rivers was married May 12, 1903, to Daisy Williams, a native of Kansas, whose family came to California in 1887, and she has borne him the following children: Lois, Irene, William, Jr., Ralph, Edith and Ray. He is identified with the Woodmen of the World and with the Loyal Order of Moose. In his politics he is staunchly Republican, and the confidence which his townsmen repose in him is indicated by the fact that he has been a member of the County Central Committee for Tulare County and as such has acquitted himself with much ability.

The mother of William Rivers, who is still living at Goshen, aged about sixty-five years, is one of those strong, courageous women who have done so much in aiding in the development of this territory. Her family consisted of ten children, viz.: Mrs. Frank Halstead, of Fresno County; Mrs. Arthur Mitchell, of Visalia; Alice, wife of James Black, of Oakland; Mollie; David; William, Jr.; Roy; John; James, and Harry.


The Scoggins family of which John Early Scoggins is a member is of Scotch origin the great-great-grandfather having been banished from Scotland on account of religious persecution, he being a Protestant in his faith, and many of its representatives in this country inherit the sturdy traits of character of that excellent race. The father of John Early Scoggins was Dr. Franklin Scoggins and was a native of Tennessee, whence in 1854 he set out for California, com­ing overland across the plains and enduring the untold hardships and vicissitudes of that tedious journey. He was the father of nine children, as follows: Noah H., David T., Vesta Tennessee, John Early. Alice May, Newton Jasper, Nettie, Lena and one child that died in infancy.

In Yolo County, Cal., shortly after his parents had arrived there, occurred the birth of John Early Scoggins, on June 25, 1854, and he there grew to a boy of twelve years, attending the schools of the vicinity and receiving careful and attentive training from his excellent parents. He then was taken by his parents to Vacaville, Solano County, and attended the Methodist Episcopal College, there taking a preparatory course, after which he entered the State University at Oakland. His desire to complete a course was frustrated by the sickness of his father, which compelled him, after a year at the university, to relinquish his studies and athletic activities and return home to take charge of his father's large fruit farm near Vacaville. With his accustomed thoroughness in everything he undertook he learned the fruit business in its every phase, and in 1892 moved to Tulare County to take charge of the Grant Oak Fruit Ranch of four hundred and sixty acres near Farmersville. As manager of this fruit ranch he shipped out the first carload of green fruit from that place, thus establishing himself as one of the pioneers in the fruit exporting business of the County. For thirteen years he continued as manager of this ranch and then became interested in fruit farming on a tract three miles southwest of Dinuba, where he still owns a well-improved forty-acre fruit and alfalfa ranch, five acres being planted to peaches, twenty acres to grapes and the balance to alfalfa.

Mr. Scoggins is a stanch Democrat in political belief, and, not­withstanding his large ranching interests, has found time to fill the office of member of the Democratic County Central Committee, to which he has repeatedly been elected in Tulare County. In Church associations he is a Seventh Day Adventist and has served on the association board for several years. On October 18, 1876, in Vaca Valley, Mr. Scoggins was married to Miss Ida Orpa Decker, daughter of Mrs. I. L. Decker, who lives at Diamond, Cal., and to this union eight children were born, as follows: Ethel Ida, Mab]e Clair, Roy E., Adelbert Ellis, Paul Ehnon, Edith Lucile, Nellis Louise and Helen Merle, all of whom are at present residing in Tulare County. Ethel Ida is the wife of Alva Leibsher ; Mable Clair is the wife of Charley R. Thompson, of Farmersville ; Paul Ehnon is a minister in the Seventh Day Adventist Church,. stationed at Tulare; and Roy E. is mentioned fully in another part of this publication.

The Decker family, of which Mrs. Scoggins is a member, are of old Colonial history, members having been among those brave people who came in the Mayflower to Plymouth, Mass. Her father, I. L. Decker, came across the plains in 1850, and it is an interesting fact in the family memoirs to know that he was married on the way to California and took his bride to live in the Suisun valley. His death occurred in 1873, his wife still surviving and making her home, as above mentioned, at Diamond, Cal.

In all of his interests, industrial, commercial, political or religious, Mr. Scoggins has been ever an important factor for good and every emergency has found in him an active helper and a most generous contributor. A kind and thoughtful father, domestic in his tastes and loyal in his duties of citizenship, lie has been most worthy of the honor and esteem which is accorded him by all. It is interesting to add that Mr. Scoggins has always evinced a great interest in athletics, having played first base with the Lone Stars team, and in 1873 was a valued member of the team of the University of California.


Inherent qualities of an unusual character have qualified Roy E. Scoggins to fill the prominent position in the business world he holds, he being a member of a very old and well-known Scotch family on the paternal side, while in the maternal line he is a descendant of Mayflower ancestors of the Decker family. Mr. Scoggins' ingenuity has been evidenced by his invention of the Hard Pan Renovator, a machine made for the drilling of holes in which dynamite is placed for the blasting of hard pan. The machine is mounted on four wheels and is driven by means of an eight horsepower gasoline engine; by means of this power the holes are driven into the hard pan matter and into the holes thus made dynamite is placed and exploded. thus breaking the hard surface for several feet around and making the land, formerly so useless, very fertile and valuable for orange, peach or lemon trees, alfalfa or any deep-rooted plant. In partnership with his estimable father, John E. Scoggins (a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume), Mr. Scoggins is now operating three of these machines in the field, and they have built up a new and very profitable industry in the County. The machines are made at the Briscoe Manufacturing Co., at Lindsay and Hanford, and the invention bids fair to become one of the most useful of the times.

Mr. Scoggins was born in Colusa County in 1882, son of John Early and Ida 0. (Decker) Scoggins. When he was fourteen years of age he came to Tulare and prepared for college at Healdsburg, where he entered and completed his course with a good record. For some time he was employed on his father's ranch, and he then turned his attention to the carpenter's trade, which has been for many years his chief work. In 1908 he married Miss Edith Jones, a native of Iowa, and they have a daughter, Oleta, who was two years old in 1912. They make their home in Lindsay, and it has become the center of many pleasant social gatherings,  their host of friends always finding a most hospitable welcome there.

Mr. Scoggins has never been actively interested in political work, but he has well-defined ideas on all questions of domestic economy and his public spirit has prompted him to respond generously to all reasonable demands on behalf of the community. He is an enterprising and successful citizen, numbered among those young men of the state who have contributed the vigorous interest, inflexible will and indomitable courage to further interests, make larger attempts and bring about the prosperous conditions that exist at the present time. His invention has proved not only a financial success to him and a source of gratification as well, but it has given to many the means of improving land which heretofore had been waste and undeveloped.


The Young family to which J. Newton Young belongs is one of the leading pioneer families of Visalia, having lived there since 1855, during which time many representatives of the family have become identified with its progress and development. Born at Visalia, Cal., at No. 600 South East Street, which has been the family homestead for many years, J. Newton Young is the son of Newton and Mary (Price) Young, the former a native of Indiana, while Mrs. Young was born in Wales. The parents were married in Visalia, whence Mr. Young had come as a soldier to quiet disturbance incident to the Civil war. He was a private in Company I, and it was while serving in that capacity that he married. He was killed in a sawmill in the Great Forests by a large log rolling on him on August 24, 1871.

J. Newton Young was a posthumous child, his birth occurring April 24, 1872, just eight months after his father's accidental death.. He had a sister, Ida, who became the wife of .J. B. Agnew, a seed- grower with place of business at No. 110 Market Street, San Francisco. The maternal grandfather of J. Newton Young was an old settler at Visalia. He built the old Visalia home and was identified with much of the development of that place. He came with the Evans family from Wales, that party comprising Samuel Evans, Sr., and his wife, Ann Evans; John Price, Samuel Evans, Jr., and James Evans, and Mary Price. The last-named, who became the wife of Newton Young, passed away at Visalia in 1909.

J. Newton Young is now managing the Mary Young estate, which consisted of two hundred and forty acres and a dairy ranch, besides other property. He has farmed successfully, and during later years has invested in the oil industry at Log Hills and Belle Ridge, in all of which interests he has met with signal success. He married Miss Maud Shuman of San Francisco, and they make their home in the cozy bungalow Mr. Young has built at No. 500 South Bridge Street, Visalia


One who has achieved prominence as a contractor and builder throughout the West and Northwest is James M. Wells, who was born at Lansing, Mich., April 4, 1855. He was there reared and educated and was instructed in the essentials and the niceties of the carriage-maker's trade. Thus he laid the foundation of the splendid knowledge of mechanics which has enabled him to win success in another field of mechanical labor. He came to California in 1875, when he was in his twenty-first year, and worked at carriage-making, mill­wrighting and carpentering in San Francisco, and also in Seattle, Wash., Portland, Ore., in Idaho and Montana, and in British Columbia. In his work in connection with the construction of fine buildings he developed an exceptional ability for interior finishing in residences and office structures of the first class, and eventually this note­worthy specialty brought him to the notice of a leading contractor in the neighborhood of Los Angeles, by whom he was employed, mostly at Long Beach, for three years. He gave attention solely to interiors, and he worked there eight years altogether, helping to erect and beautify many of the largest and finest buildings in that field of remarkable building operations. He came to Tulare County in 1907 and bought a forty-acre ranch just out of Tulare City, raw land which he improved with a residence, outbuildings and a modern pumping plant, setting out a family orchard and devoting himself principally to the growth of alfalfa. This property he sold advantageously in 1910.

For several years past Mr. Wells has given his attention mostly to contracting and building. Among the notable buildings he has erected in Tulare City are the residences of Mr. Feltnig, Mr. Johns and Frank Moody, and in the County outside of that town he has built the ranch houses of Messrs. Ottaman, Wattenberg, Fry, Wolcott and Miller, besides the Dr. Scroggs home and a fine concrete block house for Frank M. Adams. One of Mr. Wells' earlier ventures was as a ranger in Washington, where for some time he ran a large band of cattle over an extensive range. He was married in 1902 to Miss Strong, a native of Indiana.


In Coffee County, Tenn., Isaac Henderson Warren was born in October, 1866, a son of Thomas P. and Mary (Harris) Warren. His father lived to be seventy-five years old, and his mother survives, in her seventy-first year. They were natives of Tennessee, and it was at Hillsboro in that state that the elder Warren passed away in 1906. Mr. Warren married in his native state Miss Bobbie Willis, who also was born there. Her mother lived to be seventy-five years old, and John Willis, her father, attained to the same age; one of her grand­mothers reached the advanced age of ninety-two years. After his marriage Mr. Warren removed from Tennessee to Brownwood, Brown County, Texas, where he farmed until he came to Tulare County. He bought fifteen acres of land near Tulare and has twelve acres in vines, Muscat grapes being his principal crop. The remainder of his land is a big chicken yard, he having about one hundred fine chickens. While he is interested in stock, he keeps only enough for his own use.

To Isaac Henderson and Bobbie (Willis) Warren have been born six children: Willis, Oscar, Leasel, David, and Ira and Ima, twins. Willis is a salesman in a store at Collis; Oscar is employed in a packing house; the others are attending school. Mr. Warren is a member of the Baptist Church. Politically he is an independent Democrat, and fraternally he affiliates with the Woodmen of the World. He is in every sense of the word a good citizen, solicitous for the general welfare and helpful to all public interests.


Of the enterprising handlers of subdivisions at Visalia, Tulare County, none has been more successful in recent years than Joshua E. West, of the firm of West & Wing. A native of the Blue Grass State, Mr. West was born in Graves County, Ky., a son of Joseph West. The father came to California first in 1850, subsequently returning to Kentucky, and again came to the Pacific coast in 1874. Joshua E. West, who was then quite young, grew to manhood in Fresno County and was educated in the public school near his home. From an early age he was a valuable assistant to his father in the latter's farming and stock-raising operations and in 1895 he engaged in business on his own account by leasing four hundred acres of land near Fresno and devoting it to the production. of grapes and fruit. There he operated until 1903, when he came to Tulare County as manager for the Robla-Lomas Cattle Company, which had a .range of ten thousand acres about twenty-two miles north of Visalia. There he had in charge nearly two thousand cattle, the number having been kept up to eighteen hundred and fifty for quite a long time. Later he engaged in fattening cattle at the Visalia sugar factory, feeding them on the pulp of beets. It should be added that his business here comprised the buying, fattening and selling of cattle, and that he transacted it successfully wholly on his own account. In May, 1911, he organized, the real estate firm of West & Wing.

In this last-mentioned business Mr. West's partner is William A. Wing, and they make a specialty of handling large tracts of land for subdivision. A plat of twelve hundred acres east of Orosi they bought at an average price of $41.50 an acre, and after subdividing it they sold it at $125 to $200 an acre. They also handled profitably a tract of eighteen hundred acres north of Orosi, nine hundred acres of which they platted in subdivision and planted to oranges. In the last ten years Mr. West has seen orange land in Tulare County advance in market  value from $10 to $200 .an acre, and he has witnessed a similar advance in property of other classes.

Fraternally Mr. West affiliates with the Woodmen of the World. As a citizen he is very helpfully progressive and public spirited. In November, 1901, he married Miss Eliza Freeman, a native of Fresno, whose father came to California with the pioneers. Mr. and Mrs. West have a son and daughter, Herbert and Marcella.

History of Tulare and Kings Counties, California with Biographical Sketches
History By Eugene L Menefee and Fred A Dodge
Los Angeles, Calif., Historic Record Company, 1913
Transcribed by: Martha A Crosley Graham - Pages 871 - 890

Site Created: 16 January 2009
                                                                  Martha A Crosley Graham


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Site Updated: 29 January 2018

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