Biographical Sketches A Surnames

Extracted from:

"A Memorial and Biographical History of the 

Counties of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties" 



By Yda Addis Storke

J. B. Alvord, a prominent rancher and educator of Ventura County, was born in New York, November 10, 1849. He is the son of Alvin W. Alvord, a native of Vermont, and the grandson of Julius Alvord, who was born in Massachusetts. Their ancestors were English. His great-grandfather was Seth Alvord, whose grandparents came to America in the year 1700. Mr. Alvord's mother, Electa R. (Todd) Alvord, came from Scotch ancestors. She was born in Herkimer County, New York, daughter of Mr. Bela Todd. The subject of this sketch is the only son in a family of three children. he received his early education in the public schools of New York and Ohio, and was a student at the Northwest Normal School of Pennsylvania. he began teaching at the age of nineteen years, and has been a teacher almost continuously for fifteen years.
On coming to Ventura County, Mr. Alvord bought a small farm, but afterward sold it. In 1884, he purchased his present fine ranch of 160 acres, seventy acres of which he sold for more than the whole cost him. He remodeled the house and made many improvements, and the land is now under a high state of cultivation, his principal crops being beans and potatoes. The beans averaged a ton to the acre, and a portion of the land produced as high as 3,500 pounds per acre.
Mr. Alvord was married, in 1879, to Miss Ida Ricker, a native of Iowa, and daughter of John G. Ricker, who was born in Maine. They have four sons, all born in Ventura County, the three eldest named respectively Hartwell, Vernon M. and David E. Mr. and Mrs. Alvord are refined and intelligent people. They are members of the Universalist church of Santa Paula. In his political views, Mr. Alvord is a Republican. For eight years he has been a member of the Board of Education of the county. As a teacher he has been very successful, but is at present devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits.
Samuel D. Anderson was born in the State of Pennsylvania, May 4, 1830, the son of John and Elizabeth C. (Roe) Anderson, both natives of Ohio. They had a family of nine children, eight of whom are living, Samuel D. being the oldest. When he was a boy the family removed to Iowa. He attended the public schools of that place and finished his education at a college at Princeton, Kentucky. After reaching the years of maturity, his first work was in the milling business. he soon afterward turned his attention to theology, and became a minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and was pastor of a charge. The church prospered under his ministry for a number of years, and he has ever been a worthy Christian man. The greater part of his life, however, has been spent on a farm.
     Mr. Anderson was married in 1854, to Miss Nancy J. McClaran, a native of Ohio, who removed to Iowa when quite young. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson had one child, Mary Elizabeth, born September 24, 1855, and died October 15, 1858. Having no family of their own left, they adopted a little girl, Elizabeth Jane Hill, taking their own name, and a boy, Thomas Thurman. The former, at the age of twelve and a half years, sickened and died. The latter, Thomas Anderson, is still with them, and is now twenty-five years of age.
     Mr. Anderson is the owner of a beautiful home in the prosperous town of Santa Paula; and here his cozy home, like its possessor, has an unassuming appearance; but its neatness and thrift and the flowers in the well-kept yard, all indicate peace and contentment - a fitting place in which to pass the closing days of a well-spent life. Mr. Anderson and his son are farming ninety acres of land, seventy acres of which they devote to beans, a crop for which the soil of this country is so well adapted. Mr. Anderson has been a Republican since the formation of that party. he was made a Mason in 1860, and was one of the charter members of Santa Paula Lodge, No. 291.
J. L. Argabrite, formerly of the firm of Argabrite & Cannon, grocers of San Buenaventura, was born in West Virginia, April 8, 1856. His father, Pharis Argabrite, was of German descent, and his mother, nee Rosana Jerrett, was a native of West Virginia. The subject of this brief notice, the youngest of twelve children, was educated at Roanoke College, Virginia. When he became of age he was appointed conductor on the Ashland Coal and Iron Railway, and had that position five years. He is a member of the Masonic Order, a young business man of energy and integrity, and a good citizen.
    He was married in 1879 to Miss Dora, daughter of Captain J. P. Mail, born in Augusta County, Virginia. They have three children: Newton M., Joseph M., and William Wade. Mrs. Argabrite was in poor health, and he came to California with her for a change of climate; but she did not recover, her death occurring February 20, 1887; and in April, 1889, he married Miss Clara Cannon, who was born in Nevada City, this State, and came to Ventura in 1875 with her parents. By this marriage there is one son, named Clarence C.
Edward F. Arnold was born in Martinez, Contra Costa County, California, November 4, 1853. His father, Cutler Arnold, came to California in 1849. (See sketch of the family in the history of Mr. Mathew Arnold, a brother of Edward F.) Mr. Arnold was reared and educated in the county of Lassen and in Sacramento, and came to Ventura County before he was twenty-one years old. When he reached his majority he owned 120 acres of land near Hueneme. In 1886, being in poor health, he sold this property to his brother and came to Nordhoff. He purchased 100 acres of land, improved it in part, and sold it in 1887. He then engaged in the mercantile business, the firm being Arnold & Van Curen. A year later he sold out and built his present drug store. The firm of Arnold & Sager have the only drug house in Nordhoff. It is well fitted and stocked with everything in the drug line. These gentlemen, being courteous and obliging, have established a fine trade and enjoy the good-will of the entire community.
Mr. Arnold has built for himself and family a comfortable residence, has regained his heatlh, and is now in a fair situation to enjoy life. He was married in 1878 to Miss Lou Trotter, a native of Illinois, and a resident of California since 1877. They have three children, two born at Hueneme and one at Nordhoff, viz.: Albert Walter, Lora L. and Frank. Mr. Arnold is a Republican; was elected Justice of the Peace, but, not desiring office, resigned.
Leroy Arnold is a pioneer of California, having come to this coast in 1852, when a boy ten years of age. He was born in DeKalb County, Illinois, January 22, 1842. His father, Cullar Arnold, is a native of Ohio, born in 1818, and now resides in Orange, Orange County, California. The Arnolds were among the early settlers of America. Mr. Arnold's mother, Emily (Hough) Arnold, was born in the State of Illinois. For a number of generations her ancestors were residents of the United States. Leroy Arnold is one of a family of nine children, six sons and two daughters now being residents of California, and one child having died in infancy. His father, on coming to California with his family, settled in Marysville, and opened two stores of miners' supplies, one at Nelson Creek and the other at Goodyear's Bar. He was there for three years, and then moved to Martinez, Contra Costa County, where he farmed two years. After this he kept hotel in Sierra County. In 1857 they went to Lassen County, engaged in farming and stock-raising, and remained there until 1868, when they came to Ventura County and located on 320 acres of land, where the Arnold brothers now reside. After finding that it was not Government land they bought the property, and later added 900 acres more. It is a splendid tract of land, three miles east of Hueneme. The brothers have bought and sold among themselves, and Leroy Arnold now owns 160 acres of it. He has improved this by building, tree-planting, etc. He has an artesian well, with seven and a half pipe, in which the water rises sixteen feet above the level of the ground. He has remodeled the house, built the barns, and, under his judicious management, the place presents an attractive appearance.
    Mr. Arnold was married September 19, 1875, to Miss Carrie F. Hill, a native of Indiana, and daughter of William Hill. They have had seven children, all natives of the Golden State, and all living, viz.: Effie F. is the wife of A.D. Smith, and resides in San Buenaventura; Mary L. married S. G. Sheppard, and resides at Hueneme; and the following are at home with their parents, - Martha E., Oliver B., Royston C., Alton E., and Ida L. Mr. Arnold is a Master Mason and a member of the A. O. U. W. In politics, he is a Republican, having cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln.
Matthew H. Arnold is a prominent rancher of Ventura County, and a pioneer of California. A brief sketch of his life is as follows: He was born in DeKalb County, Illinois, February 16, 1844. His father, Cullar Arnold, is a native of Ohio, born in 1818; has been a pioneer of California since 1849, and is now a resident of Orange, Orange, County. The ancestors of the Arnold family came from Connecticut and Vermont. The grandfather's name was Nathan Arnold, and grandmother's name on father's side was Cutler. His mother's name was Hough. She was born in New York State, of ancestors who were from Connecticut and Massachusetts. Burage Hough was her father's name and Alexander her mother's name. Cullar Arnold had nine children, of whom eight are living in California. Mr. Arnold, whose name heads this sketch, received his education in the public schools and at Oakland College, California, and, since leaving school, his time has been principally devoted to agricultural pursuits. He came to California in 1852, and to Ventura County in November, 1868, and his present location December, 1878. In November, 1869, they settled on what they supposed was Government land; but, on finding their mistake, his father and two of the sons bought 480 acres, and afterward 160 acres more. Matthew H. purchased 320 acres, and to it has since added eighty acres. The first purchase was at $10.50 per acres and the last at $8.50. This land is now worth from $100 to $125 per acre. Mr. Arnold's principal crop has been barley, but the land is well adapted to the cultivation of other grains, and without irrigation. He derives a good income from the hogs, Poland-China and Berkshire, kept on this place.
    In 1877 Mr. Arnold wedded Miss Eliza Perkins, a native of Maine, daughter of T. E. Perkins, now of Los Angeles County. They have four children, all born at their present home: Ralph, Chester, Jo and Alice. In politics Mr. Arnold is a Republican. He was elected School Trustee when the district was formed, and held the office twelve years. He is a member of the A. O. U. W.
    When Mr. Arnold came to this ranch it was a wilderness of mustard, and there were only three or four board houses between there and the river, a distance of six miles. Since that time the settlement has been rapid and the improvement wonderful. The people who had faith in the future of the county and the courage to settle in it then, are now amply repaid.
Mathew Atmore, of Santa Paula, is another one of the many brave and worthy pioneers of the great State of California, and is justly entitled to honorable mention in a work of this character. A sketch of his life is as follows:
    Mathew Atmore was born in England in 1837. His parents, Mathew and Maria (Pond) Atmore, were English people, and his father was a Methodist minister. The family came to America in 1846, when the subject of this sketch was nine years of age, and settled at Battle Creek, Michigan. There young Atmore was sent to school. When seventeen years old he ran away from home with an older brother, Charles (now of Denver), came across the plains to California, and went into the mines in El Dorado County, where he mined for a year, making $600 clear. They then returned to Michigan and remained at home during the winter. The following spring their father furnished them with money to come back to California, and when they reached the mines they were $600 in debt, which they paid after mining three months.  The second year they engaged in freighting from Sacramento to Virginia. Some idea of the difficulties and expenses of freighting in those days may be obtained from the following facts: seven yoke of oxen and a large wagon cost $1,400; the cost per yoke to shoe the oxen was $7. Seven yoke of oxen were required to each wagon; their freight was heavy castings for stamp-mills, each wagon being capable of hauling six tons, and the price per pound for freighting being thirteen cents; in addition to the castings they also carried a ton of hay and a ton of ground feed; the roads down the mountain sides were very bad, and the grade so steep in some places that the rear wheels were run down with wooden shoes; the toll of these mountain roads was $40 for a single trip, and twenty-two days were required to make the journy. On two trips they brought back silver ore, in sacks of $250 each. On the last trip one of the sacks was stolen, and they afterward refused to take the risk of freighting silver. They followed this business two years, always receiving their pay in checks, the only kind they dare take, for the country was infested with thieves.
    At this time the great war of the Rebellion burst upon the country, and when the news of the firing on Fort Sumter, and, later, the battle of Bull Run, reached the far West, the patriotic enthusiasm of every loyal man was fired, and each stood ready to serve his country. Mr. Atmore enlisted in 1861, in Company K, Second Cavalry, California Volunteers, and was in garrison in San Francisco until the following July. At that time, the Utah expedition was organized and placed under command of Colonel P. Edwin Conner of the Third Infantry. Six companies of cavalry and ten of infantry started for Salt Lake City July 10, 1862. In Nevada the expedition was reorganized, and in September the march was continued. They established Fort Ruby, and two companies were left to garrison the fort. At the Jordan River, forty miles south of Salt Lake City, they were met with orders from Brigham Young to proceed no farther. The answer sent to Mr. Young was that they would cross the Jordan River if hell were at the bottom. At sundown, October 10, the bugle sounded for dress parade. They formed inline when the answer was read, and the order given to march at 3 o'clock the next morning and take eighty rounds of cartridges; the artillery were to take all the ammunition they could carry. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the next day, they were in Salt Lake City. Mr. Atmore's company was in the advance, and as they entered the city there was not a Mormon in sight. They were hailed with delight by the American residents, and the Governor of the Territory made them a speech of welcome on the public square. On an eminence overlooking the city, two and a fourth miles away, with the mountains in the rear, with a splendid view of the country for forty miles in front and with a bountiful supply of water, they went into temporary quarters. They dug holes, ten feet square and four feet deep, and placed logs around the top, on which they built their tents. In these they passed the winter, and here they permanently established Fort Douglas, which still stands there, although efforts have been made for its removal. The object of this expedition was to protect the Americans at Salt Lake City from any rebellious movement on the part of the Mormons, and also to prevent the renegade Indians from their frequent deeds of murder and plunder. At this time their deeds had been formidable, and many American citizens had been surprised, murdered and robbed by them. There was a band of some 600 red men overrunning that part of the country, and the soldiers under Colonel Conner had had several skirmishes with them. Many of the soldiers had crossed the plains and had sustained not a little suffering from the hands of the Indians, one man having been scorched to the knees by them; and the determination of the commander was to punish the Indians for these outrages.
    Colonel Conner waited until the snow was two feet deep, and the Indians had established their winter quarters, when he decided to make an attack. The Indian camp was 140 miles away, fourteen miles from the town of Logan, with only an Indian trail from Logan to the camp. The expedition consisted of 256 cavalry, and twenty-five infantry to escort the wagon train. They took one 12-pound howitzer, with six men, all under the command of Lieutenant Honeyman Hough. The distance was made in four days and nights, and the advance guard captured four Indians at the town of Logan, to prevent news of their arrival being carried to the camp. They left Logan in the evening and the next morning at sunrise drew up on the south bank of the Bear River, a quarter of a mile below the Indian camp. The river at the ford was three feet deep, with ice on either bank, and great difficulty was experienced in getting the broncos across. The Indians were ready to receive them, there being 1,100 in camp, men, women and children, with 600 braves, some of the latter being mounted and riding around in circles, as if to intimidate the whites. The order was given to dismount and charge, when within a short distance of the enemy. Mr. Atmore and his comrade took aim at the chief nearest them, and, without orders, fired, and the chief Bear Hunter, dropped from his horse. When within ten feet of the Indians, the order was given to fire. The fight lasted until about half-past nine o'clock. The Indians had had a black flag out all morning, indicated no quarter. About 10 o'clock a white shirt was hoisted in its place. The interpreter was ordered to tell the women and children to come out, and a call was made for ten volunteers to go down to the head of the ravine and keep them from escaping to the hills. Twelve went, Mr. Atmore being one of the number. They were met by forty Indians and a fierce conflict ensued. Inside of twenty minutes two of the whites were killed and four wounded. (Adolphus Roe, Company K, of Berrien County Michigan, and J. Adams, same company, Third Infantry, from Roxbury, Massachusetts, were the killed.) At this time the troops were ordered to close in, and in less than fifteen minutes the fight was over. Orders were given to kill the wounded Indians, and the men who had suffered by them in crossing the plains were not slow to obey the command. The Union loss was twenty-two killed and fifty-four wounded, out of a total of less than 300 men. Not more than 100 fighting Indians got away, the women and children were not molested, and the command returned with about 600 ponies; twenty-five of the best horses they could not catch, and they were shot. The camp was full of plunder and the soldiers were six days in returning to the fort. In the spring they started after Pocatello, the chief of the renegade Snakes, who, however, made good his escape. That summer they were engaged in fighting the Indians on the overland route. In October they made peace, and thus ended the Indian troubles. Mr. Atmore returned to Salt Lake City, was mustered out of service, and went East. Twenty-six of them paid a man $100 to take them to the Missouri River, and most of the way they found it necessary to walk to keep from freezing.
    Mr. Atmore then settled in Van Buren County, Michigan, and remained there twelve years; then spent a winter in Nebraska, after which he came to Santa Paula, California, in 1876. He worked for two years by the day, and then bought a Government claim of sixty-two acres, located six miles east of Santa Paula. He also purchased a water-right and afterward sold a part of it for $3,000, reserving four inches of water. He then bought twenty-five acres of land at $100 per acre. He has here erected a comfortable home, surrounded by trees of his own planting.
    Mr. Atmore was married in 1865 to Miss Mary E. Graham, a native of England. They have four children: Haidee, Grace D., Runsen D. and Frank. Mrs. Atmore was a delicate health before coming to this State, and the invigorating climate of Southern California has greatly benefited her, and her life has been prolonged. Mr. Atmore is a Republican and a worthy member of the Grand Army of the Republic.