by Paul R. Spitzzeri
This third part of a review of “The Makers of Los Angeles,” or at least, the 100 or so Angelenos deemed to warrant the title by Charles F. Lummis and Charles Amadon Moody, editors of Out West magazine, in its April 1909 issue continues with another raft of prominent figures, starting with William May Garland (1866-1948), a real estate developer par excellence in downtown Los Angeles as the city grew by leaps and bounds in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Using his middle name to distinguish himself from William Garland, another developer in town, he was born in Westport, Maine in 1866 and after finishing his education he worked in a crockery business in Boston and then joined his father at Daytona Beach, Florida, helping with an orange grove, stage line and other enterprises. At 18, Garland moved to Chicago and became a bank messenger an eventually become a teller.
Garland settled in Los Angeles in 1890 and worked as auditor for the Pacific Cable Railway Company for three years, but “since that date he has been among the most active and most rationally sanguine of Los Angeles’ real estate men.” Not mentioned was his brief partnership with Boyle Workman, grand-nephew of Homestead founders William Workman and Nicolas Urioste and who was assistant to his father William Henry when the latter was mayor of Los Angeles in 1887 and 1888 and city treasurer from 1901 to 1907.
While he was known for his work with residential development along Wilshire Boulevard when that area was considered “out in the boondocks,” Garland “has been especially successful in keeping just in advance of the trend of business development” downtown. He was credited with assisting the growth on Main Street between Fourth and Tenth streets and “early determined that Seventh street . . . would eventually mark the center of the retail business district of Los Angeles, and placed many important frontages with his clients.
A founder and current vice-president of the Los Angeles Realty Board, Garland was also a founder and director of the City Gas Company, director of two banks and served on the education and library boards, as well. Garland’s renown locally continued in succeeding decades as the Angel City continued its expansive growth and one of his more notable civic endeavors was chairing the planning committee for the 1932 Olympic Games.
Richard Gird (1836-1910) was only a resident of Los Angeles for the prior several years, but had a colorful and notable career at Tombstone, Arizona and in the Chino Valley of San Bernardino County. Hailing from Litchfield, New York, east of Syracuse, Gird grew up on a farm and went to local schools, but, at just 16, he was given money by his father and headed to California, where he worked in mining and surveying until the late 1850s. After a brief period in Chile working on railroad construction, Gird returned home.
In 1861, he returned to California and visited Los Angeles the following year, though he continued with mining and surveying in the Golden State and in the territory of Arizona, making the first official map of the latter in 1865. In 1878, he established and managed the famous Tombstone silver mines and made a substantial fortune. Three years later, he purchased the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino and nearby land, totaling some 47,000 acres, and founded the town of Chino in 1887 during the great boom, while also introducing sugar beets to greater Los Angeles while giving the Oxnard brothers their start in the industry.
The biography did not mention the financial problems that beset Gird at Chino, especially with the onset of the national Depression of 1893, though it added that, after he moved to the Angel city in 1903, “his part in the making of Los Angeles has been no less important for that it has been mainly played outside of the limits of the city.”
Will D. Gould (1846-1926) had the distinction of occupying the same office for his law practice in the last addition, built by F.P.F. Temple, of the Temple Block from February 1872 until the structure was razed 54 years later in advance of the building of Los Angeles City Hall. A native of Cabot, Vermont, northwest of the capital of Montpelier, Gould received his primary schooling in his home state before earning a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1871. Though he was admitted to the bar in that state and then back home in Vermont, he migrated to the Angel City soon after.
The bio observed that “Mr. Gould takes a deep interest in public affairs and advocates equal rights ad equal morals for men and women” and “is a total abstainer from intoxicating liquor and tobacco, having never used either.” He was a champion of non-partisan local elections such as was practiced in his home state and was also a member of Lummis’ Archaeological Institute of America. When the Temple Block was being torn down, Gould assisted Walter P. Temple in salvaging elements of the structure, including the bank vault that was in the former quarters of the Temple and Workman bank.
A page of the “Makers of Los Angeles” was devoted to Henry Hancock (1822-1883) and his wife Ida Haraszthy (1843-1913), whose only surviving child, G. Allan, was the manager of the Rancho La Brea Oil Company and became a prominent personage later. Henry, who was from New Hampshire, ran away from home before his teens and worked as a surveyor in St. Louis. It was said that he served in the Mexican-American War and then went to Harvard Law School, though he left just before graduation for the California Gold Rush, though other sources state he finished at Harvard and then joined the Army.
The bio stated, as well, that Hancock made $20,000 from his mining efforts and moved to San Diego where he was a port collector and served in the state legislature in 1852-1853, though he actually was in the Assembly at the end of the Fifties. In any case, he conducted an early survey of Los Angeles and supposedly uttered that “Los Angeles would one day be a city of 300,000.” It was recorded that “he surveyed most of the large ranchos between Monterey and San Diego,” though nothing was said about the many controversies he engendered with shifting boundaries and that he was accused of drawing surveys from an office rather than on site.
Hancock, who resumed practicing law after most of his survey work was completed until his death in 1883, became owner of the Rancho La Brea, purchased with his brother John. While he was credited with selling the brea or tar that was found in abundance at the famous pits, now a county museum site and was said to have “the very highest standards” and to have been “held in loving esteem by the friends who survive,” Hancock struggled financially late in life. He did leave a very valuable property, however, to his widow and son.
Ida Haraszthy was the daughter of a reputed Hungarian county, Agoston, and his Polish wife, Eleanora Dedinski, said to be from the nobility in her homeland. Ida was born in Illinois and lived in Wisconsin until the family headed to California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Her father was a prominent figure in San Diego, serving as marshal, sheriff and state legislator before moving to Sonoma County and becoming what was said to be the largest vineyard in the young state. Ida spent several years in New York city and another couple in Paris for her education and married Hancock just after the Civil War ended.
With Henry’s death, his widow “assumed entire management of the Rancho La Brea and other properties, retaining it until two years ago, when she was in large measure relieved by her son. She was, however, still president of the oil company, a rare position for a woman to hold, and the bio observed that “she gives daily attention to its affairs,” which began in 1900 with the development of oil on La Brea. She married the prominent Judge Erskine M. Ross not long after the publication of her bio, but died after just four years.
Dr. John Randolph Haynes (1853-1937) was one of the more notable reformers in Los Angeles at the time. Born in a rural area west of Scranton, Pennsylvania, he earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1874 and practiced in Philadelphia for a baker’s dozen of years before migrating to Los Angeles, as so many had done, to recover his health. He arrived in 1887 during the great boom and worked with his brother until the latter died in 1898.
While Haynes continuing his work as a physician, he was a shrewd real estate investor and a director of many companies, including insurance and trust concerns, but he became quickly known as an “evolutionary Socialist” who sought to expand the power of voters. This included his championing of the initiative, recall and referendum, which were added to the Los Angeles city charter in 1902 and enshrined in the state constitution almost a decade later. He was a founding member of the Civil Service Commission and president of it for two years.
Willits J. Hole (1858-1936) was a native of Madison, Indiana, along the Ohio River roughly half way between Cincinnati and Louisville and completed high school at the latter city, after which he completed his education at the Bryant and Stratton Business College there, graduating at age 22. He was owner of a planing mill and chair manufacturing plant in Kentucky, but the poor health of his wife, Agnes, led the family to relocate to greater Los Angeles in 1893.
Almost immediately, he acquired a large tract in northern Orange County and laid out a town of which he is known as the “Father of La Habra.” After several years, he was the resident agent of the Stearns Rancho Company, which managed the enormous holdings of Abel Stearns, whose widow, Arcadia Bandini, was featured in the first part of this post. Hole displayed his talent for real estate throughout the American Southwest and México and was involved in a financing company in the latter, as well as a plaster company in Nebraska and as director of the American National Bank in Los Angeles. Just after publication of this bio, he had a large citrus grove in Riverside and his mansion is a historic landmark there.
William J. Hunsaker (1855-1933) was a native of Contra Costa County in the Bay Area, with his father arriving in California before the Gold Rush and his mother being a niece of the well-known emigrant guide author Lansford W. Hastings. Hunsaker spent much of his youth in San Diego and worked in a newspaper office before studying law and being admitted to the bar at age 21. He remained in San Diego for a few years and practiced briefly in Tombstone, Arizona when Richard Gird was there, but returned to San Diego, where he was also the county district attorney for two years.
In 1892, Hunsaker moved to Los Angeles and became the counsel for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad for the state. After three years he resigned to resume general practice, though he was also heavily involved in local politics, including heading the committee that worked on revising the Angel City’s charter. Like Gould, he was particularly interested in the non-partisan movement for local offices and was a member of the Municipal League of Los Angeles.
Lummis has been written about elsewhere on this blog, but it is not surprising that his biography was one of the longer ones among the “Makers of Los Angeles.” Stoddard Jess (1856-1920) was a banker in the upper echelons of Angel City finance. Born in Fox Lake, Wisconsin, his father was a Gold Rush emigrant who returned home after several years. Jess graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1876 and became a cashier in his father’s bank in the town of Waupun, northwest of Milwaukee, where Jess served as mayor.
His term was cut short when his father’s asthma led to the family’s move to this region and the Jess clan settled in Pomona. Jess was cashier of the First National Bank for a dozen years, became the first treasurer of the city, was first president of the board of trade and headed the trustees of the library. In 1904, he moved to Los Angeles to become vice-president of the first National Bank, while also serving as a director of the Los Angeles Trust Company and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, and head of a law publishing company.
John P. Jones (1829-1912) was a native of a town on the England-Wales border, but came to the United States with his family when he was under two years of age and lived in Cleveland until, at age 20, he joined the hordes in California seeking hold. He resided in Trinity County until the late 1860s, serving as sheriff and a state senator, before he moved to the silver boom town of Virginia City, Nevada. He ran the Crown Point mines and, taking a large ownership stake, made his fortune.
In 1872, he was elected to the United States Senate and served five terms until 1902, serving on the finance committee and also taking a major role in establishing the National Soldiers’ Home, which happened to be on land he owned near Santa Monica, which he developed with Arcadia Bandini Stearns’ second husband, Robert S. Baker, in the mid-1870s. The bio also noted that Jones “fought steadily for the exclusion of the Chinese,” though his work in the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad, the first president of which was F.P.F. Temple, who became treasurer when Jones took the majority of the stock and the chief executive seat, involved much Chinese labor. The bio ended with the note that Jones maintained an active role in mining from Alaska to Central America in his elderly years, as “he is far from being ready to be ‘laid on the shelf.'”
Tomorrow, we return with part four of the “Makers of Los Angeles,” so come back and check out more of these biographies.