History of Fresno County, Vol. 5 – Paul E. Vandor
The editor and publisher of these volumes, which include not less than several hundred biographies spread across the six books, presents them confidently as a verified and authoritative history of the county – the result of conscientious labor in original research , and of information imparted by pioneers and their descendants , entered upon originally as a pastime and without thought of publication of the collated material. It essays to present county and city historical data that had lasting bearing on the times, but which with many of the picturesque incidents were ignored or overlooked in the publications that have gone before; and lastly it is an endeavor also to fill in the hiatus of the years from 1882 through the first World War, to bring to date the tale of the development and growth of a county which, from a small beginning with a rough and uncouth mining population and hardy pioneers, has become one of the richest, politically best governed and industrially typical of a great state. Incredible as their development and growth have been, through successive industrial epochs, the mind cannot grasp the future of State and County, now that the twin Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys have reached the zenith of development and production. Today Fresno County is a leading contributor to California’s greater riches, enhanced production, and to the unmeasured happiness and prosperity of its citizens. Fresno is one of the state’s centers. A remarkable past will be eclipsed by a more wonderful future – it is manifest destiny. This is volume five out of six.
History of Fresno County, Vol. 5.
Excerpt from the text:
REV. CORNELIUS E. KLIEWER.
When we meet a man, in this busy world of today, who has given his time and money unstintedly to the betterment of mankind, we feel that no praise can be too great for such an example of unselfish benevolence. Rev. Cornelius E. Kliewer, founder of Emanuel German Baptist Church in Fresno, lives solely to help his fellow men, and his unusual success as a missionary is due to the sincerity and understanding sympathy shown in his work in the Master’s vineyard. Born in Warsaw, Poland, May 25, 1856, he received his education in private schools of his native land. In 1876 he came to America, and six months later declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States. He was ordained at Hillsboro, Kans., in 1893, in the German Baptist Church. His first charge was at Newton, Kans., where he erected a church and served for two years. In 1898 he came to Stafford, Ore., remained there six months, and thence went to Salem, Ore., where he remained four years; in these places, as elsewhere, his missionary duties were carried on with a zeal which has never failed to meet with success. Rev. Kliewer then went to Tacoma, Wash., and served in that city five years, building the church there and leaving it free of debt. He also had a preaching station at Seattle, and did missionary work in the northern metropolis.
In 1903, Rev. Kliewer came to California, his first charge in the state being at Anaheim, Orange County, where he was pastor three years. This concluded his fourteen years of service as a missionary of the Baptist Home Missionary Society, and he retired from active church work for a time, and located in Long Beach, where he engaged in buying, selling and building, meeting with success, and never failing to devote much time to church work, though not having a public charge.
After several years spent in quietly doing the work which came to hand. Rev. Kliewer again took up his public duties. In 1907 he came to Fresno and here he built the Emanuel German Baptist Church, at 2203 Kirk Avenue, at a cost of $2,000, taking his own money for the immediate building of the church, which is now free of debt, the pastor having donated $600 as his share of the cost of the edifice. The church has 47 communicants, with about 150 members, including the children, for whom he has organized a Young People’s Society with 30 members: and his wife, who has been of great help to the pastor in his life work and leads the choir in the church, has recently organized the Ladies’ Aid Society. She has accomplished much noble work, having been especially active in Tacoma, and in Salem, Ore., as well as, at present, in Fresno. Rev. Kliewer organized the Mission Sunday School here and later turned that work over to the German Methodist Church. He uses his own automobile in doing missionary work, and in taking the sick to hospitals; he also does missionary work in the Russian colony on the west side. His church contributes to all public charities, and is prominent in all missionary work in the city. Rev. Kliewer receives no salary for his services, donating his time and money for the good cause. He is a member of the Ministerial Union of the San Joaquin Baptist Conference of Northern California, and helped to organize the Pacific Baptist Conference on the Coast, and is also a member of the general ministerial union in Fresno. He takes an active part in revival meetings in Fresno and can always be found at hand when the spiritual uplift of the community is being undertaken, as well as when the material needs of unfortunate humanity are at stake.
When not busy with church and missionary duties, Rev. Kliewer has helped in the upbuilding of Fresno, buying lots and improving same for sale, and has met with success in his business ventures.
Rev. Kliewer was united in marriage, at Bethany, Ore., December 17, 1893, with Miss Mary Walter, a native of Germany, and his Christian work has been upheld by her sympathy and devotion to the cause. Three children have blessed their union: Walter, who died when four months old; Lorena, wife of Alex Ramer of Fresno; and Elmer, attending school. Rev. Kliewer has five sons by a former marriage: Henry; Herbert; Cornelius; Edward; and Harry.
Rev. Kliewer took a firm and uncompromising stand against the liquor traffic, from the early stages of the fight against alcohol. He was the only minister among the German speaking contingent in Fresno, who openly took part in public demonstrations against the saloon. He has been fighting rum ever since he was converted, at Hillsboro, Kans., when he joined the Baptist denomination. At times his uncompromising stand has made him enemies, but all true Christians will approve.
CARL W. CHRISTENSEN.
Since 1912, when the genial cashier of the allied banks, the Selma National Bank and Farmers Savings Bank of Selma, Carl W. Christensen, came to the favored section of Fresno County known as “The Home of the Peach,” he has forged rapidly to the front among the business men of prominence in Selma and vicinity. Congenial, bright, well-informed and experienced in his line of work, he is known in the business world as a rapid and accurate cashier and an excellent judge of values.
Of Danish parentage, his father, J. P., and mother, M. (Hornbeck) Christensen, who reside in Selma, were born in Denmark. Carl W. was born at Racine, Wis., December 26, 1877, and was eleven years of age when his parents removed to Turner County, S. D., where he grew up on a South Dakota farm. He received his primary education in the Racine and Turner County schools. Of studious habits, by means of self-study and the assistance of a private tutor, he acquired an excellent education, and at nineteen years of age passed the teacher’s examination. He taught school four years in Turner County, S. D., then an opening occurring in the bank of Viborg, Turner County, he accepted a clerkship in what is now the First National Bank of Viborg, remaining with the bank eleven years, being cashier during the last four years. In 1912 he came to California to take his present position, as the successor of Mr. W. E. Street. He helped reorganize the old Farmers Bank of Selma and takes an active interest in the business of the allied banks, of which he is one of the directors.
He married Miss Etta M. Nielsen, of San Jose, Cal., and they are the parents of three children: Warren N., Roger W., and Alan D. Mr. Christensen is an acquisition to Selma’s social circle as he is to its business world. While of a refined and retiring temperament, he is a young man of excellent musical attainments, coming honestly by his musical genius, as C. C. Krogh, the well-known violinist and composer of Denmark of the century just ended, was his grandfather. While a young man at Viborg, S. D., he attained celebrity as a cornetist and bandmaster, organizing four well known bands of which he was leader. He became one of the foremost bandmasters in southeastern South Dakota, playing at the state fairs, and often being called upon to play during the state capital campaign as well as in the campaigns of ex-Senator Crawford of South Dakota.
Mr. Christensen is the owner of eighty acres near Selma, planted to Thompson seedless and muscat grapes, and peaches, all in full bearing. In 1913 he built his residence in Selma, which is located on Logan Street. Mr. and Mrs. Christensen are active members of the First Baptist Church of Selma. Mr. Christensen takes an active interest in the financial interests of the church, as well as in the Sunday School, of which he is superintendent.
Taking a pardonable pride in the prosperity and financial standing of his community, he rendered valuable service in the various drives connected with the activities of the war just ended. It is needless to say that in its Red Cross, Y. M. C. A., and other charities, as well as in the Liberty Loans and the recent Victory Loan, Selma went promptly “over the top,” with a considerable percentage of surplus to her great credit.
J. B. CROCKER.
Of New England birth and endowed with the characteristics that are supposed to belong especially to people of that section of the United States, i. e., frugality, thrift, and unceasing activity, J. B. Crocker is well known as a leading horticulturist of the Selma district, his intelligence and kindly disposition making him a general favorite in the community in which he lives. He was born at Newburyport, Mass., thirty-five miles northeast of Boston, February 5, 1857.
He is the son of John Crocker, a ship carpenter and a native of Nova Scotia, and Sarah (Holmes) Crocker. His father died at Newburyport, Mass., in 1869, at the age of seventy-four, when J. B. was a lad of twelve. His mother had seven children by her first husband, the father of J. B. She married a second time and had a son by her second marriage. She attained the unusual age of eighty-eight before her demise in Massachusetts, in 1916.
A half orphan at twelve, Mr. Crocker at that time began to depend upon his own exertions for a livelihood, removing from the place of his birth to Maine, where he worked on a farm for four years. He then went to work in a cotton factory at Great Falls, N. H., remaining there six or eight months, until the panic of 1874 caused the cotton factories to close down. Afterwards he returned to farm work, which he continued until 1882, then went to work at the marble works at Rutland, Vt. From thence he went to Iowa, where he worked as a farm hand in O’Brien County. In 1886 he came to California, where he worked on a farm near Fresno. In 1889 he went to Kingsburg and made his first purchase in the Kingsburg Colony, three miles east and one mile south of his present place.
In 1882 he was married to Miss Mary H. Wildermuth. Of the four children born of their union, the three sons were United States volunteers in the recent world conflict. Clark W., a graduate of the Selma high school and Stanford University, was in the aviation corps at Berkeley; Percy S., also a Selma high school graduate, was a senior in the Leland Stanford University, pursuing the geological and mining engineer’s course, when he enlisted for service in the World War; Ernest H., a senior in the Selma high school at the time of his enlistment; and Celia F., a graduate in the Class of 1918, is now pursuing a post-graduate course.
In 1907, Mr. Crocker sold his Kingsburg Colony ranch and purchased his present home place of twenty acres, three miles east of Selma on the Canal School Reservation. He has always been particularly interested in education and in 1915 was elected a member of the board of trustees of the Selma high school, a school that ranks among the very best high schools in the State of California.
A true American and an ardent patriot. Mr. Crocker is held in the highest esteem. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen. Fie is a fine example of the California rancher who denies himself much in order to properly rear and educate his children. They are all high school and some are university graduates, while his three sons bear the distinction of having rendered excellent service to their country during the recent war. Percy S. served thirteen months in France, while Ernest H. was in the Coast Artillery in France. They have their honorable discharges, and came home safe and sound.