Biographical Sketches T-W-Z Surnames
"A Memorial and Biographical History of the
Counties of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties"
By Yda Addis Storke
Edwin Taggart was born in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, in the town of Montoursville, August 6, 1852. He is the son of John P. Taggart, a native of Pennsylvania, who was an assistant surgeon on the first staff of General Grant, and for some years held the position of Internal Revenue Collector of Utah Territory. His death occurred November 22, 1889. Mr. Taggart's mother was nee Phebe Ann Willets. She was married to Mr. Taggart in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and is the mother of two children, the subject of this sketch and a daughter, Emma, who is now the wife of Lieutenant Mumford, of the United States army. Mr. Taggart finished his education at Manuel Hall, Chicago. When he was sixteen years old, he was engaged for eleven months with a surveying part, in southern Illinois, making a railroad survey. At the age of seventeen, with a partner, he started in the drug business, in Salt Lake City. In 1877 he sold his interest in that enterprise, and engaged in mining at Silver Reef, working there a year and a half. He then went to Wood River, Idaho, and mined with fair success. In 1881 he came to California, located in Ukiah, Mendocino County, bought out the drug business of Dr. Barton Dozier, and remained there ten months. At that time he sold out and came to Ventura. He here bought the pioneer drug store of the city, which is located on Main street, between Oak and Palm streets, in the center of town, and which is the largest and best equipped drug house in the city. He employs two assistants, and has established a good trade.
Mr. Taggart was married, September 11, 1876, to Miss Virginia K. Pitt, of Salt Lake City. They have one child, John K., born in Salt Lake City, December 24, 1877. Mr. Taggart is a member of the Masonic fraternity, is a Republican in politics, and is president of the board of trustees of the Episcopal Church of Ventura. As a business man he is prompt and capable, and as a citizen he is worthy and respected by all who know him.
Orion C. Walbridge is the second brother of the Walbridge Brothers. He was born in Texas, March 5, 1856. His father, Henry Walbridge, was a native of the State of New York, born in 1822. He was a farmer by occupation, and a consistent member of the Christian Church. His death occurred in 1883. Grandfather William Walbridge was born in Vermont, and was in the war of 1812. His wife was a niece of Commodore Perry, and great-grandfather Walbridge came from Scotland, and was a participant in the Revolutionary war. Mr. Walbridge's mother, nee Mary Crocker, was born in Indiana in 1829, a daughter of Orion L. Crocker, who was wounded in the war of 1812, was a cousin of the late Charles Crocker, and was a farmer and a devoted Christian man. Mr. and Mrs. Walbridge had six children, four sons and two daughters. The eldest son, William, has a family and lives in Washington. Harvey M., a partner in the firm, has a wife and one child. Whatever he undertakes he aims to be the best, and will not be content with any second place. Mattie, the second sister, is a stenographer and typewriter operator, having a good position in Santa Barbara. With O. C. Walbridge reside his mother, his sister Myra and his brother George. They are an interesting and intelligent family. The whole family are good Templars. The sister is a members of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and a prominent temperance worker. They are members of the Christian Church at Ventura.
Mr. Walbridge came to this county in 1873, and has been engaged in farming and in the business of pressing hay. There is not a neighborhood in Ventura County in which the Walbridge brothers have not for years run their hay press, and they are the pioneer hay-balers of the county. Their business in that direction has so increased that they now own and operate two presses. This year, 1890, they have planted 110 acres of Lima beans, of which the average crop is 1,500 to 2,000 pounds per acre. Great honor is due to the honest toiler, whose steady blows and persistent work develop the country.
George R. Walden is a native son of the Golden West, and a business man of Saticoy. He was born in the city of Sacramento, December 18, 1857. His father, Jerome B. Walden, was a native of Canandaigna, New York, born March 20, 1829, and was a pioneer of the far West, having arrived in California before it became a State. For many years he was a Sheriff and detective, and is now a Justice of the Peace at his home in Sisson, this State. Twenty-two years of his life, as Sheriff and detective, were spent in Napa County, where in early days he rendered efficient service in breaking up the gangs of desperados that infested the country at that time. He was united in wedlock to Miss Mira A. Harrington, daughter of a pioneer Methodist minister of Wisconsin, a member of the first Legislature and also of the first Constitutional Convention of that State. The subject of this sketch was the first son and the second of a family of five children. He finished his education in the Napa Methodist College, and also studied two years at the State University at Berkeley. His parents were desirous of having him become a physician, and at fourteen years of age he began to learn the drug business. From that time until 1880 his time was divided between working and going to school. He was then elected apothecary of the Napa Insane Asylum, and held the position five years, during which time he compounded 47,560 prescriptions. On account of ill health he resigned the position, and from the officials of the institution received testimonials for faithful and competent discharge of his duties. In 1886 he removed to San Buenaventura, and engaged in the real-estate business with Mr. B. E. Hunt. They organized the Montalvo Land and Water Company. Eight hundred acres of land in the Santa Clara valley were purchased, and at a meeting of the directors of the company Mr. Walden presented the name of Montalvo for the town, in honor of Ordenez de Montalvo, who had the credit of first writing and publishing the name "California." The name proposed was unanimously adopted. The rush for new towns soon after collapsed, and the company allowed the land to go back, losing their first payment. Mr. Walden happily consoled himself for the loss of several thousand dollars with the fact that he had the honor of having suggested the name of the town that in the growth of the country is destined some time in the future to become a place of importance and fame.
In the summer of 1887 Mr. Walden circulated a list for signatures, and secured twenty names of native sons to organize a parlor of that order at San Buenaventura; and at the meeting at which the name to be given the parlor was discussed, Mr. Walden proposed the name of Cabrillo, the pioneer of pioneers. After giving a brief sketch of Cabrillo's life the name was readily adopted, and parlor was organized, and is still growing. It was decided at that meeting to take initiatory steps to build some day a monument to Cabrillo. In 1888 Mr. Walden came to Saticoy and opened a drug store. In 1889 he was appointed Postmaster of Saticoy by Postmaster-General Wanamaker, which position he now fills.
He was married April 22, 1884, to Miss Adele L. Frisbie, a native of Napa County, California. She is a daughter of Edward Frisbie, a native of Albany, New York, and now a banker of Redding, Shasta County, California. Mr. and Mrs. Walden have two children, a son and daughter: Arthur F., born at Redding; and Jean, in San Buenaventura. In politics Mr. Walden is Republican. He is a very pleasant and courteous business man, and is full of enthusiasm in regard to the history and great future of his native State.
James Walker, one of the business men of San Buenaventura who in a quiet way is doing a large grocery business, both wholesale and retail, was born in Wilmington, Illinois, March 13, 1843, a son of Elijah and Eliza (Craig) Walker, the former a native of New York and the latter of Indiana. Of their ten children, four are living. James, the second child, was educated principally in the public schools of his State, removed to Monoma County, Iowa, in 1860, opened a general merchandise store and conducted it successfully for several year. From 1874 to 1886 he was Sheriff of that county, giving complete satisfaction. He then came to San Buenaventura, bought property, built a house, and purchased the stock and good will of T. H. Morrison, and has since then been carrying on the grocery trade with fine success. His establishment is located in the best part of the town, but he also sends many articles to order out of town. He was married in 1867 to Miss Sarah Myers, a native of Iowa and a daughter of J. K. Myers, who was a native of West Virginia. They have three children livng: Harley M., Mary E. and James H., all born in Iowa. Mr. Walker is a member of San Buenaventura Lodge, No. 214, F & A.M., and he is also a member of the chapter.
F. P. Ward, one of the business men of San Buenaventura, alive to the interests of his town and ready to help it in every enterprise for the advancement of the city, was born in the State of New Jersey, April 30, 1853. His father, G. A. Ward, born born in the State of New York in 1832. As far as is known, the ancestors of the family were from New York. His mother, Margaret Graff, was born in New York city, and is of German descent. They had four sons and two daughters. Mr. Ward, the third child, was educated in New York and New Jersey, learned the carriage-making trade, working at it three and a half years, and, finding that it did not agree with him, removed to Chicago, where he was employed for years as carpenter and architect for Allen & Bartlett, prominent builders; he was in Chicago during the great fire of 1871. In 1876 he came to Yolo County, California, and began contracting and building, and had a large and successful business. In 1886 he came to Ventura, and has since built a fine residence on the Floral tract, three-fourths of a mile from the business center of the city, and the structure exhibits the skill of the architect and builder. On arriving here he formed a partnership, which is known as the firm of Shaw & Ward. They were the builders of the Anacapa Hotel, the residence of Mr. Wells, and several other fine houses. They are also the architects of a new church which is now in process of erection for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of which Mr. Ward is a member of the building committee, and also district steward. he belongs to the order of F & A. M. and the I. O. O. F and his wife was also a member of the same church with him. He was married in 1886 to Miss Jennie Hill, a native of Yolo County, this State.
Hon. Milton Wason, a '49er, and one of the best known citizens of Saticoy, was born in Hudson, New Hampshire, January 17, 1817. Three generations of the family were born, reared and died in that State. Judge Wason, father of Hon. Milton Wason, was born November 2, 1785. He was a prominent man in his native State, having served several terms in the State Legislature, and having held the office of Justice nearly all his life. Judge Wason's great-grandfather, James Wason, with his wife Hannah, emigrated from the county of Antrim, Ireland, about the year 1740, and settled on a tract of land on which generation after generation of the family were raised. Judge Wason's mother, Mary Colburn, was a native of the same place, she and her husband having been born within a mile of each other; she was of English ancestry.
Judge Wason, our subject, was the third child in a family of twelve; two children died in infancy, three sons and seven daughters grew to maturity, and five of the family are now living. He was educated at Dartmouth College, and took a law course at Harvard College, and also read law with Philips & Robbins, a prominent Boston law firm, and with Bradford Sumner. He was admitted to the bar in 1847, and practiced there two years. In 1849 he came around the Horn to California, where he mined for four years, with fair success. In Solano County he settled on what he supposed was Government land, where he lived and made improvements for six years, but finding it was not Government land he left it. He bought another place and lived upon it for eight years, when he sold it and came to Ventura County, April 10, 1868, and bought 275 acres of valuable land, which he has since sold at a large advance, with the exception of 100 acres, which he has saved for a home place, and on which he has built a large and commodious residence. On this property he has a complete variety of fruit, mostly for home use, and the ranch is devoted to corn, barley and beans.
Judge Wason was married October 26, 1852, to Miss Maria A. Borgnis, a native of the city of London, England. She was born February 1, 1820. They have two sons and two daughters, viz.: Maria A., now the wife of Mr. Riall G. Sparks, and residing at Santa Paula; Mary Eliza, residing with her parents; Charles Thomas, who married Ella B. Wason, of San Francisco, their fathers being cousins; they reside at Ventura; and George M., who married Agnes Jones, of Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, and resides with his father. All the children were born in Solano County, California. Judge Wason has been a Republican since 1861, and has three times been elected to the California State Assmebly. When the county was organized he was appointed County Judge, and afterward elected to the office. He held the office of Deputy Revenue Collector for four years, and has often been elected a member of the Board of School Trustees. He has taken a deep interest in California and the county of Ventura. In his official capacity he has exhibited both ability and strict adherence to what he believed to be right.
H. P. Webb is one of the promising young citizens and ranchers of Saticoy, Ventura County. He came to California in 1879 from Memphis, Tennessee, where he was born March 25, 1856. His father, J. L. Webb, is a native of North Carolina, and was one of the first residents of Memphis. He was in the wholesale mercantile business, and was a dealer in cotton; was a man of liberal views, and a Democrat. The ancestors as far as know were residents of North Carolina. Mr. Webb's mother, Arina (Sheppard) Webb, was also born in the "Tar State." He is the youngest of a family of eleven children, and was reared and educated in Memphis, completing his education at the East Tennessee University. He clerked for several prominent firms of his native town and at the time he started for the far West he had the position of agent and salesman of the Alabama Lime Association.
Mr. Webb, after his arrival in California, spent eight years as a farmer at Carpenteria, and from there came to his present location, one of the most productive valleys in Southern California. He is the owner of fifty acres of choice land, ten acres of which are in English walnuts and three acres are devoted to apricots and prunes and a variety of other fruit. Mr. Webb has a nice home, surrounded with majestic shade and ornamental trees and attractive grounds. One of his principal crops is Lima beans, the land being especially adapted for their production.
Mr. Webb was married, in 1888, to Mrs. Franklin, widow of the late M. E. Franklin, who was a native of Mississippi. Mrs. Webb was born in Virginia. She has five children, Grace, Earnest, Bernard, Nellie and Bessie. Mrs. Webb is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Webb possesses those courteous and affable manners so characteristic of the Southern gentleman, and guests are welcomed at their delightful home in a charming manner by both himself and Mrs. Webb.
Moses T. Wells came to Ventura County in 1869, and in 1870 located at Saticoy, thus becoming one of the early settlers. He was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, April 19, 1845. His father, Rev. Samuel T. Wells, a retired Presbyterian minister, is now residing at San Buenaventura. The history of his life will be found in another place in this work. In 1860 Mr. Wells and his family removed to Oakland, California, where the subject of this sketch finished his education at the old Braton College, now the State University, at Berkeley. Before coming to Southern California he was variously employed: was freight clerk at Oakland, four years; was pilot on the Oakland ferry for five years, during which time he became widely acquainted with the people of Oakland and California in genera; held the position of engineer in the mines at Virginia City for a time; then went to Leadville, prospected all over the country, acted as engineer a portion of the time, did general mining, and, having made a study of assaying, when a Boston syndicate was formed to locate mines, he and his friend, Mr. Fink, were employed by them to prospect, and were the first explorers of the old Ute reservation, where they discovered large fields of coal.
As before stated, Mr. Wells located in Saticoy in 1870. He and his father purchased land at $15 per acre, and twenty acres, containing the Saticoy mineral springs, they bought for $100 per acre. His father bought 600 acres at above price, 300 of which he sold to the railroad company for $150 per acre, receiving a check for $45,000. Of the remaining 300 acres, Mr. Wells is the owner of 180. They first engaged in raising barley, corn and hogs, and are now making a specialty of Lima beans. He also raises Jersey cattle and valuable horses, and devotes considerable time to poultry, ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens. They gave the ramie plant a test, but were unsuccessful. With like results they tried the castor-oil bean. Flax can be raised without irrigation, as is the other products of this ranch. mr. Wells built a house, planted trees, and now has a nice home. His land extends to within one mile of the station.
May 2, 1889, he was married to Miss Annie Nicholl, a native of San Pablo, Contra Costa County, California, daughter of John Nicholl, a prominent land-owner and farmer of the Santa Clara Valley. Mr. and Mrs. Wells have an infant daughter.
Mr. Wells is a life-long Republican, takes an interest in the affairs of the county, is intelligent and public-spirited, and is well spoken of by his fellow citizens. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Samuel T. Wells, a former pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Ventura, was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, August 6, 1809. His father, Calvin Wells, was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and for most of his life was engaged in the lumber business. He removed to western New York in 1815, settling in Byron, Genesee County. Mr. Well's grandfather, Colonel Daniel Wells, was a soldier in the war of 1812, was a man of wealth, but lost his property by the embargo. Early in the history of this country the sovereign of England sent a man named Welles over to Long Island to act as sheriff, who settled at the east end of that island, and this was the inception of the family in America. The name Wells is derived from the original Welsh from Welles. Secretary Gideon Welles, of President Lincoln's cabinet, was one of the family, one branch of which went to Hartford, Connecticut, and the other to the South; since then they have scattered over all New York and Michigan and into other States. Mr. Wells' mother, Elizabeth Taggart, was a daughter of Domine Taggart, of Colerain, Massachusetts, a Presbyterian minister from Londonderry, Ireland. He had a Congregational Church, but had elders to govern it Presbyterian fashion. He was fourteen years a member of Congress. All of Mr. Wells' brothers and sisters are now deceased except the youngest.
The subject of this sketch received his academical education in Wyoming, New York, his collegiate at Union College, Schenectady, same State, and his theological training at Princeton, New Jersey, under Dr. Alexander. In 1842 the American Tract Society appointed him their agent in the West to establish the colporteur system, and he acted in that capacity twelve years. It was the commencement of that system of book distribution, and in the reports it was stated that his field was the best work in the United States. The forty men under his management sold and gave away a great many thousand dollars' worth of religious books. In 1855 he received the appointment of Synodical Missionary for Iowa, with headquarters at Dubuque, and he organized sixteen churches in that State. In 1860 the Presbyterian Board appointed him agent of colporteurage for California, and in that year he came to the coast. The first year here he preached for the Calvary Presbyterian Church at San Francisco, and also superintended his colporteurs, who at the end of four years had placed $22,000 worth of religious books in this State. While in Oakland, there was no cemetery there that was not in some way encumbered; and Mr. Wells became instrumental in starting the Mountain View Cemetery on the plan that all the money received for lots after paying for the ground should be expended in improvements on the property. The result is that this property of 200 acres is now the most beautiful cemetery in California.
In 1870 Mr. Wells came to Ventura and took charge of the Presbyterian Church. There was then only one active man in it and a few women. Their edifice had been sold for taxes, and they were in debt $1,600; they had about given up all hope. Mr. Wells took the field and with less than half the salary he had had at Oakland, in three years had the debt paid and the society in flourishing condition; it is now self-supporting. Since his arrival here he has served on a committee for raising the salary of pastors, and has been very efficient in that work for six years. He purchased 300 acres of land, when land was cheap, at $15 to $20 an acre. The railroad was afterward run through it and the company paid him $150 an acre for it, and this has made Mr. Wells financially independent for the rest of his life. Across the street and near the church in which he has taken so much interest, he bought a fine lot and erected upon it a substantial, comfortable and tasteful residence, moving into it November 10, 1888, where he can quietly pass the evening of a well spent life. His brother, Calvin, is proprietor of the Press of Philadelphia; and his youngest son, Samuel Calvin, is one of the editors of that paper.
May 25, 1842, is the date of Mr. wells' marriage to Miss Catharine McPherson, of Schenectady, New York, and they have four children: Moses T., born in Allegheny City in 1843; Rosina M., born in Schenectady in 1845; Elizabeth Jane, in Allegheny City, in 1847; and Samuel Calvin, in Pittsburg, in 1849; and seven grandchildren. Mrs. Wells died April 12, 1853, in her forty-fifth year; and in 1857 Mr. Wells was again married, this time to Miss Eliza Swan, of Burlington, Iowa; and by this marriage there are no children.
F. M. White is a pioneer Californian and an early settler of Santa Paula, Ventura County. He was born in Kentucky, February 6, 1842. His father, Obadiah White, was a native of Virginia, his remote ancestors being Irish. His mother, nee Eliza Jane Jet, was a daughter of William Jet, of Virginia. Mr. White's parents had eight children, only three of whom are living. He was the second child, and was reared in Kentucky until fifteen years of age, when the family removed to Missouri. From that State they came to California, in 1862. Since coming to the far West, Mr. White has been engaged in various occupations; was a farmer on the Ojai; a miner at Virginia City, two years, for wages; mined for himself one season in Idaho, where he made $1,000; worked for wages in Placer County, California, at $3 per day; farmed in Sonoma County; and in 1874 came to Ventura County. Eight years he was foreman on the Blanchard & Bradley ranch. Since then he has been buying and selling lots; is now the owner of five lots, three dwelling-houses and a blacksmith shop, all of which are rented.
He was married, in 1888, to Sarah Ellen Shessler, a native of Ohio. They are the parents of twin sons, Otto and Bert, born in Santa Paula, May 4, 1889. Mr. and Mrs. White are members of the Presbyterian Church. For over twenty years he has been affiliated with the I. O. O. F. fraternity. Politically, he is a Democrat.
Jacklin Willett was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, June 13, 1838, son of George and Elizabeth (Rhodes) Willett. His father was born in Virginia, May 10, 1809, of English ancestors, and his death occurred June 3, 1879, at the age of seventy years; and his mother was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, her father being of an old Virginia family, and her mother a Pennsylvanian. Mr. Willett was the third of a family of nine children. He received his education in Illinois, learned the blacksmith's trade and worked at it two years before coming to California, in 1859. He crossed the plains and went to the mines at Virginia City, and from there to Plumas County, where he continued to mine and where he met with financial losses. He then went to Santa Clara County and worked at his trade, and afterward engaged in farming. In 1863 he returned to Illinois and engaged in the general merchandise business at Jeffersonville, and also carried on a milling business at the same time, remaining there until 1873. At that time he returned to California and purchased fifty acres of land at Ventura, where he has since resided. It is a very sightly place, on Ventura avenue, and here Mr. Willett is engaged in raising fruit, grain and beans, the latter product being now more profitable than grain.
Mr. Willett was united in marriage, in 1864, to Miss Mary Holzhausen, a native of Ohio, born in 1843. She is a daughter of Henry Holzhausen, who came to this country from Germany when fifteen years of age. They have three children: Augusta, born in Illinois, now the wife of W. Reynolds, of Ventura County; George, born in Ventura, and Muktar, also born in Ventura. Mrs. Willett is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Willett is a Granger; was formerly a Republican, but is now an independent. In company with Mr. Chilson and others, Mr. Willett built the Ventura Flouring-mill. During the years 1879 to 1887 Mr. Willett was engaged in mining in Arizona, New Mexico and old Mexico.
Hon. B. T. Williams, Judge of the Superior Court of the county of Ventura, was born at Mt. Vernon, Missouri, December 25, 1850. His father, Dr. J. S. Williams, a native of Kentucky, was an eminent physician. His grandfather, Thomas Williams, was president of what is now the University of Kentucky. The ancestors of the family settled in North Carolina at a period so early that all accounts of it are lost. One of them, a relative of Daniel Boone, came to Kentucky with him. The judge's mother, whose maiden name was Amanda Downing, was of the well=known Downing family of Fauquier County, Virginia, whose ancestors settled in that State at the time of the first settlement at Jamestown in 1607. Her father, Henry H. Downing, emigrated to Missouri in the early history of that State, and was a planter there upon land of his own. The Judge's parents had nine children, of whom six are still living. His father came with the family to California in 1853, when the subject of this sketch was three years old, settling in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, and there the subject of this sketch grew up to years of maturity, and commenced the study of law in the office of the late Judge William Ross. In 1869 his father moved to San Diego, where he died in 1879. In 1869 Judge Williams resumed the study of law with his brother, William T., now a member of the Los Angeles bar. He was admitted to the bar in 1871, and located at San Buenaventura, where he has since resided, engaged in the practice of his profession. Upon the organization of the county he was elected District Attorney, and served in that capacity acceptably for four years. Entering then into partnership with his brother, W. T. Williams, he continued in that relation with him until 1884, when he was elected to his present position, already stated. He is now serving his first term of six years, and has been unanimously renominated by the Republican party, the Democrats having declined to make any nomination against him, with assures his re-election. In his social relations he is present Master of the Masonic lodge in San Buenaventura, and is a member of the K. of P., A. O. U. W. and the A. L. of H. He was married February 28, 1878, to Miss Irene Parsons. Their four children, all born in San Buenaventura, are: John T., Irene, Paul and Kate.
Judge Benjamin Tully Williams is a representative American gentleman, good-tempered, affable, easily approached, and destitute of pride or ostentation. He has a fine legal mind, is a ready, easy speaker, gives his rulings promptly, and usually gives entire satisfaction. By showing his honest desire strictly to administer exact justice, both when district attorney and later as judge, his conduct has been such as to command the respect of the bar as well as the best citizens of both parties. And it is worthy of remark, also, that such is his physical development that were a sculptor looking for a model he could scarcely expect to find a better specimen of the human race. He measures six feet four and a half inches high and weighs 275 pounds; and his proportions are so well balanced that his movements are easy and not in the least retarded by his size. Being but forty years of age, a long and honorable life seems to lie before him.
E. B. Williams is a native of New York city and dates his birth March 7, 1828. He is a son of Clark Williams, who was born in Rensselaer County, New york, in 1801. The family were of Welsh origin and were pioneers of the eastern part of this country. His mother, Lucinda (Brewer) Williams, was born on the Hudson River. His parents had thirteen children, ten sons and three daughters, nine of whom are now living. His father was largely engaged in business, was a merchant in New York, had canal boats and was also a lumber dealer. Mr. Williams was educated in New York and, being the oldest son, aided his father in both the store and in the charge of the boats, from Buffalo to New York city. He afterward became a boat owner and did a freighting business for thirteen years.
In 1858 he came to California and settled in San Francisco, where he took charge of the spice factory of Hudson company. he conducted that business for nine and a half years, sending their spices to all parts of the State. Mr. Williams came to Santa Paula in 1867 and started the first grist-mill in the county, at Saticoy, which was run by horse power. The machinery was afterward moved to Santa Paula, where Mr. Williams used the water power. He bought property here and devoted a part of his time to agricultural pursuits. In 1868 Mr. Williams went to Ventura with a colony to organize the Congregational church, and was one of the charter members, the pastor being Rev. M. B. Star.
Mr. Williams was married, in 1850, to Miss Elisabeth Rogers, daughter of Peter and Hester Rogers, of Oneida County, New York. Her father was a native of Massachusetts. Their union has been blessed with five children: Edward D., Eldret M., Fanny, B.H., Llewellyn A. and Charles A.
In 1884 Edward B. and Eldret purchased a valuable ranch, a mile square, one mile west of Santa Paula. this is principally a stock farm, and they are raising draft and blooded horses, grade Durham cattle and Berkshire hogs. These young men were educated in San Francisco and are practical stock men. Eldret M. has special charge of the horses. Their property is beautifully located in one of the richest valleys in Southern California.
Edward B. Williams dates his birth December 21, 1851. He was married in 1881 to Miss Lizy Butcher. She was born December 29, 1860, in Canada and removed with her father to Michigan when she was quite young. They have two children: Aneta, born in Ventura, April 6, 1886; and Howard, born in Santa Paula, October 10, 1888. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church.
Eldret M. was born December 3, 1854, and is still a single man; one of excellent habits and character.
James R. Willoughby is another illustration of what energy and integrity will do for a man in California. He arrived in San Francisco in April, 1853, in pioneer times, even without a hat! The cause of this was: The steamship Independence, on which he was a passenger, caught fire and burned until she sank; 200 of her passengers were lost, but Mr. Willoughby, with others, were cast upon an island, whence they were subsequently rescued by a whale-ship. He lost everything. He was at that time twenty two years oa age, vigorous and ambitious, and he obtained work by the day and odd jobs until he was soon able to carry on a systematic business for himself, buying and selling hogs, sheep and cattle. His business increased apace upon his hands, while he also added the wholesale butchering trade, and for twenty-nine years supplied the meat markets of San Francisco. Thirty years ago, in traveling over the State to buy stock, he saw Ventura County, "fell in love" with it, and soon afterward bought a ranch of 10,000 acres near Saticoy, and he still owns 7,500 acres of that tract, on which he is rearing improved breeds of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs. He keeps about 100 head of horses - French Canadian, Clydesdale, Cleveland Bay and Richmond - some of which are as fast trotters as any in the world. He has 5,000 sheep, 1,000 hogs and 600 head of cattle, - Durham, Hereford, Devon and Holstein. He has fifteen hands in his constant employ; has several barns 100 feet long, and many other ranch buildings. He has a ranch of 180 acres of fine land near Saticoy, planted in walnut and other fruit trees, and furnished with a good house and barns. Although in business in Ventura for many years, he did not reside here until 1881, when he bought his present home, on the corner of Santa Clara and Ash streets.
Mr. Willoughby was born in Canterbury, Connecticut, October 22, 1831. His father, William F. Willoughby, emigrated from England to Connecticut in early life. His mother, whose maiden name was Phebe Carey, was also a native of Connecticut. Their family consisted of twelve children, and the mother is still living, now aged eighty-four years. James R., the eldest son, had charge of the business, and the cares of the farm devolved upon him.
He was married in 1862, to Miss Mary E. Holloway, a native of Tennessee, who died in 1881. The children of this marriage were: W. F., George D., Abby, Charles R. and James. The three first named are married and the others are with their father. Charles R. has recently received an appointment to attend the West Point Military Academy. August 10, 1886, Mr. Willoughby was united in matrimony with Miss Rena Roberts, a daughter of William and Mary (Fowler) Roberts, from England, and she was born in Minnesota. They have one interesting little girl, Irene Sessions, born in San Buenaventura. The family attend the Presbyterian Church and contribute to all the churches of the town. Mr. Willoughby is a member of the A. L. of H.; a Trustee of the city, and for four years has been chairman of the Republican County Committee. The county has been Democratic, but it is now Republican; and although Mr. Willoughby has been so influential, he has refused political preferment, desiring rather to attend to his private business.
M. L. Wolff, the senior partner of the firm of Wolff & Lehmann, general merchants of Hueneme, is a native of France, born March 2, 1855. After the German and French war, in 1871, he came to California, and was one year in San Francisco, attending a business college and learning the English language. He then went to San Luis Obispo; and clerked for A. Blochman & Co. three years. In 1875 he came to Hueneme and formed the firm of Wolff & Levy, in the general merchandise business, doing a successful business for ten years, until 1885, when Mr. Wolff bought out his partner, Mr. Levy, and gave an interest to Mr. Lehmann, who had formerly been one of the clerks of the firm. Since then the business has continued to prosper. They have a large double store, and include in their stock in the general merchandise line; the stock is so complete that scarcely anything in any department of trade or business is left out. The store is well equipped with the conveniences necessary to handle so large a stock, and the arrangements of the different departments is first-class in every respect. They buy wool, grain and beans in large quantities, and have excellent storage and shipping facilities; the trade of the house extends from twenty-five to thirty-five miles. The store is 90 x 100 feet, and two stories high.
Mr. Wolff was married in 1887, to Miss B. Levy, a native of San Francisco, and of French ancestry. They have one daughter, Jeannette, born in Hueneme, May 10, 1889. While he has been very assiduous in business, he has not neglected the social side of life, and has built himself and family a beautiful home, surrounded with flowers and rare plants. He spends his evenings with his wife and little daughter. Mr. Wolff is a very evenly developed business man, not an extremist in any respect, and his eminent success shows his financial ability. In his political views he is a Democrat.
Washington Woodberry, deceased, formerly a lumber merchant at Ventura, was born in Hamilton, Massachusetts, in 1838, of Massachusetts ancestry. At the age of nineteen years he went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, and thence to Leadville, Colorado, and prospected for a time. Then he engaged in freighting and also dealt in produce; next he was in the cattle business in Idaho, driving stock to Nevada; and in Nevada he controlled the business. While in that State he was elected Assessor of White Pine County, which position he filled for three successive terms. In 1884 he came to Ventura for a better climate and bought out the lumber firm of Saxby & Collins, and carried on the business successfully until the time of his death, January 13, 1890, of rheumatism of the heart, which was only of five days' duration. As he was a man of high character, his sudden death cast a heavy gloom over the community. He had just completed a fine residence in Ventura. He was married December 13, 1881, to Miss Ida Kilburn, in Eureka, Nevada. She was born in Nevada City, a daughter of Governor O. Kilburn, a native of St. Albans, Vermont. Mrs. Woodberry is a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and has made many warm friends during her residence here.
A. Woolever is a pioneer of California, having resided in the State continuously for the last thirty years. He was born in New York, February 24, 1820, the son of Samuel Woolever, a native of Pennsylvania, one of that hardy race of well-to-do people, the Pennsylvania Dutch. His mother's maiden name was Effie Glaspie, a native of New Jersey, daughter of William Glaspie, a valiant soldier in the Continental Army. They were of Scotch ancestry.
At the age of nine years Mr. Woolever was cast upon his own resources; so that hard work interfered with his getting a liberal education, and his opportunities in that direction were limited. In 1845 he removed to Illinois, and, after years of hard work he purchased eighty acres of unimproved land, on which he built a home and lived until 1860, when he sold out and came to California. He first lived in El Dorado two years, then removed removed to Yolo County, where he bought 160 acres of improved land. This he sold in 1864 and went to Gilroy, Santa Clara County, bought a house and lot and lived there seven years, doing some speculating and other business. He sold that and purchased a ranch of fifty acres, three miles west of Santa Paula, on which he made many improvements. Mrs. Woolever is entitled to the honor of planting the large grove of eucalyptus trees, now about 100 feet high, and many of the other fruit trees on the property. She says that her greatest regret in parting with the place was having to leave that fine grove. Mr. Woolever has bought property in Santa Paula, a very pleasant home with large yard and garden, where he has retired from active business, and is living upon what he has saved in a life of frugal industry. His time is occupied in his garden and in the cultivation of the flowers and shrubs which beautify his home.
In 1844 Mr. Woolever was united in marriage to Miss Maria Sovereign, a native of New York, and daughter of Richard Sovereign, of New Jersey. Of the nine children born to them, five are living. Those born in Illinois are: Samuel, in 1850; Izettus, 1852; and Mary j., 1858. Louisa was born in California, and is now at home with her parents. Politically, Mr. Woolever is a Republican. He has never sought or held office, but has often served as a member of school boards. Mrs. Woolever is a member of the Presbyterian Church. She has the old family Bible which she brought with her and read on their long and tedious journey across the plains. She says when it was not in her lap it was under her feet, in the wagon, where she could easily get it.
William M. Zeller was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, December 22, 1853. His father, David Zeller, was also a native of the same State, born in 1802. He had large real estate interests there, and was the senior member of the firm of D. Zeller & Co., in the wholesale commission business, Hon. Thomas R. Bard being the junior partner. His death occurred in 1884. Mr. Zeller's grandfather, Jacob Zeller, was a Maryland planter, and the ancestors of the family came from Switzerland. Mr. Zeller's mother was Mary Parker (Little) Zeller. The maternal ancestry is the same as Mr. Bard's, which appears on another page of this book. The subject of this sketch is the youngest of a family of three children. His early education was obtained at Hagerstown, where his boyhood days were spent, and in 1869 he attended the Mercersburg College. He finished his education at the Massachusetts Agricultural College at Amherst, after which he was engaged in farming in Maryland for four years. He then came to California and engaged in farming on the Colonia and Las Posas Ranches. Mr. Zeller is still conducting his farming operations on a large scale, having 1,800 acres of land devoted to the cultivation of barley, alfalfa and beans.
In 1885 he was married to a San Francisco lady. Mr. Zeller is a member of the A. O. U. W. He is a strictly temperate man, and politically is a Republican.
In speaking of Mr. Zeller's father, it is just to his memory to say that while he was a Southern gentleman and at one time had numerous slaves, he never sold one, and often arranged with them, giving them wages whereby they were permitted to buy their liberty. He was a man very correct and methodical in his business habits, as well as at his home and on his premises. Seldom do we find a man in these days possessing such admirable traits of character.