JOURNALISM IN CALIFORNIA
by John P. Young
Pacific Coast and Exposition
CHRONICLE PUBLISHING COMPANY
San Francisco, California, 1915
Thank you to Beth Humphrey for transcribing and submitting
Dr. Antonio A. R. F. Fontecha (page 267)
When the Republic of Honduras accepted the formal
invitation from the President of the United States to participate officially
ion the Panama-Pacific Exposition—it was one of the first nations, by the
way, to announce its acceptance—it placed in charge of its exhibit a man
whose wide experience and ability in such matters had long been recognized.
This man is Dr. Antonio A. Ramirez F. Fontecha,
who, as Commissioner-General for Honduras to the Exposition, has advertised
his country in more favorable a light than, perhaps, it has ever been exploited
in the United States. In a magnificent building, tactfully fitted
up, he arranged a series of exhibits that were doubtless as surprising
to the thousands of visitors who viewed them, as they were comprehensive.
Dr. Fontecha has been given many honors by the government
he represents. Four times has he been commissioner-general for Honduras
to expositions, two of them at Paris and one at Madrid, as well as that
at San Francisco. He also has been Minister for Honduras at Paris
and Madrid, and represented his country in the conference at Madrid in
1905-7 regarding the controversy over the boundary between Honduras and
Nicaragua. He is a physician and surgeon, has been rector of the
Central University of Honduras at Tegucigalpa, and at present is president
of the Honduras Academy. He holds membership, besides, in the Royal
Academy of the Spanish Language, the Royal Academy of History and the Royal
Society of Geography, all of Spain.
In order to “diffuse and popularize knowledge of
Honduras, and to dissipate the legends that ignorance and passion have
spread of the nation abroad,” Dr. Fontecha has written an interesting volume
commemorative of the Panama-Pacific Exposition. It is probably the most
accurate and complete work ever written on Honduras and is of unusual interest.
Honduras was discovered by Christopher Columbus
in 1502, during the fourth voyage of that famous navigator. It is
in the exact center of Central America, with Guatemala, Salvador and Nicaragua
for neighbors; and, in the words of Dr. Fontecha, offers “for any enterprising
man, as well as for the assiduous workman and laborer, the most favorable
opportunities and conditions for the development of his activities.”
Its topography is made up of high mountains, elevated
plateaus and deep valleys of wondrous fertility and there is found within
its borders practically all the animal and vegetable life common to either
the tarried or temperate zones. In many places it is covered with
heavy forest growths of rich and valuable timber, including mahogany, rosewood,
logwood, brazilwood and others, with pine at the higher elevations.
Agriculturally, Honduras, with the proper development,
will one day yield enormously. The culture of bananas leads in importance,
but there is also grown Indian corn, French beans, rice, wheat, coffee,
cocoa, tobacco, potatoes, cocoanuts, sugar, rubber, indigo and sarsaparilla.
As for the manner in which cereals thrive, Honduras could easily be made
the granary for all Central America.
The raising of cattle is one of Honduras’ principal
industries, made possible by the great extent of natural pasturage.
Much stock is exported, along with bananas and other commodities, not only
to the United States and other countries on this side of the Atlantic but
also to Europe.
On of the things that most distinguishes this really
wonderful country is its vast mineral wealth. Treasure hunters were
attracted to it by the thousands during thee time of the Spanish domination:
then for a long time the mining development was neglected, and it is only
since about 1881 that the exploitation of mines has been on the ascendancy.
Gold, silver, platinum, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, iron, quicksilver and
antimony occur, as do sulphur, tin, alum, saltpetre, mica and others.
Precious gems also are to be found, as well as coal, and oil is believed
to exist in quantities. Rich mineral waters await only exploitation
to become profitable.
Honduras, the third in size of the Central American
states, has an area of about 45,000 square miles, and a population, in
1912, of 578,482. The birth rate is high and the death rate surprisingly
low. It can boast of a well-organized judiciary, railway, telegraph
and telephones; a system of good roads built on the tracks made by the
Spanish conquerors, and an up-to-date post office system. Primary
public instruction is free and compulsory, in 1913 there were 37,897 children
being educated in 916 schools.
These schools, with several modern colleges and
universities, are bringing about an enlightenment that makes the future
of Honduras assured.
Paul Conrad Morf (page 302)
When Paul Conrad Morf left the home of his birth
in Germany at the age of sixteen to see the world, his relatives asserted
that he would soon be back. But he
kept going- and never did return except for a short visit. He found
his way to California. He is a Californian.
That youthful departure from the Fatherland was
not at all romantic. He did not run away, nor ship before the mast, nor
come west aching to kill Indians. He departed soberly, with full and formal
leavetaking and money in his pocket. Then he crossed the Atlantic
and the American continent and finally reached the ranch of an aunt in
The Calaveras advent was the real beginning of his
career, for he studied law in that mountainous county and has adhered to
the legal vocation ever since. He has climbed until recently he was made
counsel for the United Railroads of San Francisco and still more recently
was appointed city attorney of Oakland, where his home has been for several
Morf was born in Esslingen, Wurtemberg, Germany,
April 2, 1869. He is the son of Emil Morf, a merchant, and Pauline Morf,
whose forefathers included several burgomasters in her native city.
Paul Morf went through the usual German elementary
school course and then entered the Esslingen Lyceum, where training is
begun for professional careers. At the age of sixteen he completed his
course and was ready to enter a university. But he did not enter a university.
He passed the Statue of Liberty and entered California.
After a few healthgiving- years at his aunt's ranch,
Morf became competent in the English language and renewed his early desire
to study the law. He already knew French and Latin and Greek and some Hebrew,
but he cannily waited until he could gain a fair command of English. With
this acquired, he entered the law office of Judge Ira Hill Reed at San
Andreas, going through all that neophytes in the law usually endure.
This was in 1885, when the turbulent pioneer days
were just beginning to wane. Then he was offered a chance of going- to
the law office of F. W. Street in Tuolumne County, where he completed his
studies. He was admitted to practice by the Tuolumne County Superior Court
and, in May 1890, by the California Supreme Court.
Morf then went back to San Andreas and hung out
his sign. This was in 1889. There was law in San Andreas, but also some
lawlessness, and the young attorney was kept fairly busy. His first three
cases were murder cases. In 1893 Morf went to Stockton and became associated
with former Congressman J. A. Louttit in the practice of his profession.
Morf, in 1899, went to Europe for a visit. Returning
a year later he found an opening in New York City and practiced law there
until 1908, when he returned to California, taking up his residence in
Oakland and practicing in San Francisco with Frank Solinsky. His work soon
attracted the attention of officials of the United Railroads of San Francisco
and he was invited to join that company's leg staff, meanwhile continuing
his private work. Then, last July, when the Davie administration took charge
of Oakland's affairs, Morf was named city attorney, a position which he
Mr. Morf has always taken an active interest in
political affairs, although the present is his first public office. He
has been chairman of the Republican County Central Committee in Calaveras,
chief clerk of the State Senate's judiciary committee in 1893, chairman
of the Calaveras delegation to the Republican State Convention in 1894,
and an active member of the Alameda County Republican Central Committee
during the strenuous 1914 campaign.
Perhaps Morf's most notable achievement of recent
years was his drafting of the Public Utilities District bill, which passed
the recent Legislature and revolutionized the handling of water district
matters in California.
A portion of the residents of Alameda County desired
to form a water district in Autumn, 1914, but the project failed of passage
because the voters showed their fear that the then existing State statute
was so worded as to invite political favoritism in the administration of
a water district.
The citizens clamored for a new law. Morf was picked
to draft it. When completed, his work was discussed pro and con throughout
the State, but in the end it was successfully passed before the Legislature,
thus giving the commonwealth a new and improved method of controlling water
districts and bringing Morf into prominence as the "father of the Public
Utilities District bill."
H. A. Rispin (page 315)
It is a fact generally known that a man who has
been reared in a certain environment, and who elects to remain in that
environment to mould his adult career, is more likely to attain unusual
success than the man who invades such a field, as it were, from without.
H. A. Rispin, vice-president of the Amity Oil Company
and of-ficer or stockholder of a number of other concerns, comes under
this designation. Born August 26, 1872, in Petrolia, Ontario, the only
producing oil field in the Dominion of Canada and one discovered about
the same time as the oil fields of Pennsylvania, it was only natural that
Mr. Rispin should finally choose the oil
business as a pursuit.
Mr. Rispin's parents were British and both died
when he was still an infant. In fact he was at such a tender age that he
has no recollection of either his father or mother. The untimely taking
off of the parents left a family of seven children practically without
support. It was in such a crisis that W. E. Rispin, the eldest child, proved
the stock of which he is made. He was then but 18 years of age, and was
employed by a railroad. Rather than see the little family cast about and
separated on the tide of ill fortune he assumed the head of the household,
raised his youthful charges and gave every one of his brothers and sisters
an education. Nor did he, by marrying, assume other responsibilities until
his primary duties were fully accomplished.
Of all the children, H. A. Rispin secured perhaps
the most incomplete education, as he was the youngest. When he was fourteen
years old, wishing to lessen the cares of his eldest brother, whom he loved,
and still loves, as a father, Mr. Rispin left school and started out to
make his own way. This he has done ever since, at times against heavy odds,
and, as in the case of most oil operators, with hard knocks and many ups
and downs in the development of new oil fields. Today, however, at the
age of 43, he is not only considered an authority on all matters pertaining
to the production of oil but is also numbered among the big oil operators
Mr. Rispin's first employment was as assistant clerk
in the passenger office of the Grand Trunk Railroad at Chatham, Ontario.
He remained there until he was about 18, when he became a clerk in the
auditing offices of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad at Chicago.
Subsequently he was city passenger agent for the Canadian Pacific in Chicago
and world's fair agent for the Illinois Central at the same place. From
there he went to New York City to accept a position with the Iron Clad
Manufacturing- Company, and after two years went south into Tennessee and
Kentucky, where he engaged in the lumber business for himself. In
1901 he came to San Francisco, to carry out his long cherished plan of
entering the oil industry.
At the outset Mr. Rispin was made manager of the
United Oil Producers, then the oil marketing concern of the State. When
it was merged in 1902 with the Standard Oil Company, Mr. Rispin went with
the Rockefeller concern as assistant manager of the fuel oil department.
In 1903 he resigned to go into business for himself, since which time he
has been his own employer.
Today, besides being vice-president of the Amity
Oil Company, Mr. Rispin is secretary of the Kernel Consolidated Oil. Company
and stockholder in a number of other producing oil concerns. He is also
interested in a financial way in businesses of a different nature, and
is vice-president of the Mission Quarry Company, whose rock-crushing plant
is the largest in the West. He has promoted all his companies among his
friends and acquaintances, never having sold stock to the general public,
and consequently has shared his friends losses and profits.
Mr. Rispin was married in 1901 to Annette Blake,
the beautiful daughter of Isaac E. Blake, California oil pioneer and at
one time president of the United Oil Producers. He belongs to no clubs
nor fraternities and, although offered political opportunities, has refused,
preferring his own fireside to the turmoil of political life. He has, however,
taken an active interest in many matters pertaining to the welfare of the
city, especially during the stressful days immediately following the fire
A curious fact is that Mr. Rispin is one of but
four men by that name now living, and each of the four has but one son.
The family is traced clear back to the Battle of Agincourt in the fourteenth
Romulo Meliton Francisco Soto (page 325)
A varied experience in all branches of the law has
been gained by Romulo Meliton Francisco Soto in the thirty-five years and
more that he has practiced his profession. Always a close student, he believes
that a man must apply himself in constantly to furthering his knowledge
if he is to advance in his chosen work. And such ap-plication is the secret
of Mr. Soto's own success.
Mr. Soto was born April 1, 1855, in Monterey County,
California, the son of Jose Manuel Soto and Maria (Perez) Soto. His father
was the owner of the Santa Rita ranch, a Mexican grant of several thousand
acres in Monterey County, and was also interested with H. M. Newhall in
another large ranch in Los Angeles County, where the town of Newhall now
stands. The elder Soto came to California in 1849 from Peru, his birthplace,
and was very successful in both ranching and the mercantile bbusiness until
the disastrous dry year, 1876, when he lost practically his entire fortune.
The present Mr. Soto's mother was a native-born Californian, of Spanish
Following his graduation from Santa Clara College
at Santa Clara June 5, 1876, with the degree of A. B., Mr. Soto entered
Harvard Law School, which awarded him the degree of LL. B., June 27, 1878.
It was soon after he went to Harvard that his father met with his financial
reversal, but this did not interfere with the completion of the law course.
For about a year after obtaining his degree Mr.
Soto was in the offices of Winans, Belknap & Godoy of San Francisco,
to gain practical experience. He was admitted to the bar July 16, 1879,
and the following December commenced practice at Salinas, Monterey County.
He continued to practice independently until 1883, when he formed a partnership
with S. L. Cutter under the firm name of Cutter & Soto. This partnership
was dissolved when, in 1884, Mr. Soto was elected District Attorney of
Monterey County on the Republican ticket. He served during this term, but
since that time he has not been active in politics nor has he again sought
office, disliking the idea of being expected to carry out the plans of
Removing from Salinas to San Francisco in August
1887, Mr. Soto entered into partnership with James Herrmann under the name
of Herrmann & Soto, and continued in a general practice such as he
had had in Monterey County. He had much work in the probate courts, but
appeared little in criminal matters. In late years Mr. Soto has paid particular
attention t6 matters relating to land titles involving street improvement
assessments, tax titles and irrigation district assessments, in California
and Nevada. For years h e represented property owners in contesting the
issuance of bonds for street improvements, and lately he has represented
a number of contractors in matters relating to the improvement of streets.
He is considered an authority on such phases of the law.
Together with George H. Maxwell, Mr. Soto has charge
of irrigation litigation covering a period of eight years and involving
ten or twelve irrigation districts extending from Marysville as far south
as San Diego. He represented property owners that were contesting bonds
and the taxes levied to pay them. Finally, in 1902, the United States Supreme
Court ruled in the Tulare Irrigation District case adversely to the property
owners and, on the conclusion that it was an almost impossible task to
invalidate bonds issued by the districts, Mr. Soto abandoned the litigation.
Another notable litigation in which Mr. Soto has
taken part is that of B. A. Gamble et al vs. the Silver Peak Mining Co.,
which has been before the courts since 1896. Mr. Soto, John W. Dorsey and
associates came into the case in 1903 to represent the plain-tiffs. The
suit is to enforce an option contract for the purchase of the Silver Peak
mine, claimed by some to be worth several million dollars, and by others
to be almost valueless. Opposed to Mr. Soto and his associates was Rush
Taggart, well known as Chief Counsel for the Western Union Telegraph Co.
The suit is still before the United States courts and the district court
The firm of Herrmann & Soto was dissolved in
1890, and from 1893 until 1894 Mr. Soto was in partnership with George
H. Maxwell and John W. Dorsey as Maxwell, Dorsey & Soto. Since then
Mr. Soto has practiced alone.
Mr. Soto holds membership in the Holy Name Society,
Gentleman's Sodality of St. Ignatius Church, and St. Anthony's Guild of
Old St. Mary's Church. He was married October 22, 1879, in Boston to Susan
George Hill Stoddard (page 326)
When George Hill Stoddard, general manager of the
Associated Sup-ply Company, started out to put to use the knowledge he
had gained in school and college, he saw an opportunity and grasped it.
He made good until he saw a better, opportunity, then grasped that. And
he continued to keep his eyes open and take advantage of chances until
today he is one of the youngest men in the country in a position such as
Born August 19, 1881, at Grass Valley, California,
Mr. Stoddard is the son of Walter Scott Stoddard, one of the builders of
the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railway from Colfax to Nevada City, and
of Harriet Caroline (Hill) Stoddard. His paternal grandfather, Alexander
Stoddard, was prominent in the early mining days of Grass Valley as member
of the banking and general merchandise firm of Campbell & Stoddard.
His maternal grandfather, George W. Hill, also was a well-known Grass Valley
Mr. Stoddard attended the public schools of Grass
Valley, and later those of San Francisco for a short time. Subsequently
he went to school at Los Gatos, Portland and Seattle and after a course
in Belmont Military Academy entered the University of California in 1903.
He attended the university two years, making the College of Commerce his
major, and in 1905 went abroad to round out his education. His route took
him to New Orleans, Cuba, Florida, New York, then to the Mediterranean
sea, with stopovers at Gibraltar and points in North Africa, then Naples,
Rome, Venice, Milan and other cities of Europe, until the San Francisco
fire of April, 1906, brought him home. In December 1906, he made
another trip, this time to the City of Mexico, where he continued his study
of trade conditions generally.
Upon his return to California Mr. Stoddard secured
a position with the Associated Oil Company as inspector in the construction
of its pipeline from Bakersfield to Martinez. He saw in this field a promising
future and forthwith set out to learn everything he could of the oil industry,
not only of that which directly concerned him and his inspectorships, but
all the rest. In the year that he held his first post he acquired a fund
of that knowledge which later on was to prove of great use to him in his
The Associated Supply Company was organized in June
1908, as a subsidiary of the Associated Oil Company. The concern handles
supplies for drilling and operating oil wells, does all the necessary buying
and selling and maintains in the oil fields six stores, each of which carries
complete well supplies, in eluding boilers, casing and pipe.
When he started in with the Associated Supply Company
Mr. Stoddard was given a clerkship in the purchasing department. In 1911
he was taken into the sales department as salesman, his work being divided
between the office and the oilfields. Just two years later, in June, 1913,
he was made general manager of the company, his supervision including both
purchasing and selling departments and, in short, all the concern's affairs.
The oil industry is one of the most important in
California, and the Associated Oil Company, with its subsidiary, is one
of the largest concerns of its kind in the State. To conduct success-fully
the affairs of such a huge corporation, to provide it with the necessary
commodities for the operation of its wells and to buy and sell such commodities
to others, involves a vast amount of
detail work. Mr. Stoddard is in a position where he must have
all these details at his fingers' ends, ready on the spur of the moment
to decide important questions pertaining to the business, and ever on the
lookout for A expanding and building up the con-cern's trade. Perhaps it
is the very nature of his duties that makes him successful in the managership
of the company where an older man might fail.
Mr. Stoddard takes no Interest in politics, nor
is he able, what with the press of other business, to give much of his
time to strictly civic matters. Socially, he belongs to the University
of California Club and since 1909 has been a member of the Bohemian Club.
He is a thirty-second degree Mason, having joined Madison lodge No. 23
at Grass Valley when a young man.
In June 1908, just before he became identified with
the Associated Supply Company, Mr. Stoddard was married to Miss Helen Elizabeth
Bates, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene J. Bates of 1981 Pacific avenue,
San Francisco. The couples have one son, Eugene Bates Stoddard, now
three years old.
Abraham Lincoln Frick (page 269)
In the past two decades few names have been connected
with noted court cases in Alameda County so often as the name of Abraham
Lin- coln Prick, whether as prosecutor, judge or defender. Big cases mean
prominence in the legal profession. Judge Frick is prominent.
Some of his cases have been of nationwide interest
and in their handling he has gained wide repute as an interpreter of civil
and criminal law. This has been especially true of his criminal work, although
he has handled many civil cases of broad scope and general
One at least of, his cases has had a profound influence
on the legal profession of California, and perhaps of the whole country.
This was his recent representation of Attorney George J. McDonough.
McDonough, representing a client accused of participation
in election frauds, was asked by the Alameda County Grand Jury to tell
who retained him and furnished bail for such client. On advice of Judge
Frick, he declined to tell. He was ordered to do so by Superior Judge Ogden
and refused, whereupon he was adjudged guilty of contempt and sentenced
to the county jail.
Judge Frick took out a writ of habeas corpus, returnable
before the District Court of Appeals, which sustained Judge Ogden. He then
brought the habeas corpus action before the Supreme Court of California
which, sitting in bane, rendered an almost unanimous decision reversing
Judge Ogden and forming an epochal precedent governing confidential relations
between attorney and client. From a professional standpoint. Judge
Frick considers this one of his most gratifying cases.
Judge Frick comes of American pre-Revolutionary
stock. He is the son of George Washington Frick, a native of Westmoreland
County, Pennsylvania, who wedded Miss Mary Elizabeth Bryant in Illinois
in 1852 and came to California with his bride in that year. He taught In
the first public school in Santa Cruz, then moved to Centerville and, in
1857, to Sonoma County. During the Civil War he was president of the Sonoma
County Bethel Union League.
Abraham Lincoln Frick was born near Petaluma February
21, 1866, and is a brother to George William Frick, now Alameda County
Superintendent of Schools. But Abraham Lincoln Frick chose the law. He
was educated in the public schools and then went to the Hastings Law College,
being graduated in 1888. He was admitted to practice by the Supreme Court
on June 28, 1888.
Despite the usual early struggles, Judge Frick was
soon successful in his chosen work. He served as deputy district attorney
in Alameda County under George W. Reed and later as chief deputy under
Charles E. Snook.
On December 10, 1894, he was appointed a superior
judge to fill the unexpired term of Judge F. W. Henshaw, who became a Supreme
On May 21, 1896, the young jurist took a wife. Miss
Matilda M. Bader of Oakland. His real career as an eloquent
pleader at the bar began after leaving the superior bench. The first
important case was the defense of Clara Falmer, a seventeen-year-old girl
charged with murder. This case helped vastly to build Judge Prick's reputation.
The trial consumed several weeks. Finally the jury went out
for twenty minutes and acquitted the defendant, who since has justified
all the work in her behalf.
This case also established the reputation of Dr.
0. D. Hamlin as an alienist, thus bringing a young lawyer and a young doctor
into the prominence they have held ever since in Alameda County.
Since that case, Judge Frick has fought many big
court battles with less than the usual percentage of defeats. One of his
most important struggles was the successful defense of Mrs. Brown for the
killing of her husband, a case of nation-wide prominence, whose details
were flashed broadcast over the telegraph wires. Another valiant defense
was IN the past two decades few names have been connected with noted court
cases in Alameda County so often as the name of Abraham Lincoln Prick,
whether as prosecutor, judge or defender. Big cases mean prominence in
the legal profession.
Judge Frick is prominent.
Since that case, Judge Frick has fought many big
court battles with less than the usual percentage of defeats. One of his
most important struggles was the successful defense of Mrs. Brown for the
killing of her husband, a case of nation-wide prominence, whose details
were flashed broadcast over the telegraph wires. Another valiant defense
was that of Tom Power, accused of murder. In twenty-two murder cases which
Judge Frick has defended, none of his clients has paid the extreme penalty.
In civil cases success has likewise attended him.
An important recent one was the defense of Dr. John Robertson of the Livermore
Sanitarium, sued for $80,000 damages by a patient. This physician, by the
way, had been an "opponent of Dr. Hamlin as alienist in the Falmer case.
Judge Frick is medium tall, and slim, of the incisive
type of attorney, with a vibrant, resonant voice. Whether prosecutor or
defender, he has held the respect of his opponents and has challenged the
best of their talents to combat his marshaling of the law.
John E. D. Trask (page 328)
What any city needs, more even than a propaganda
for higher morality, more ever than political reform or municipal ownership
of public utilities, is an appreciation of art and art work- without which
life is dry and sordid indeed."
These few words are the key to the philosophy of
John E. D. Trask, Director-in-Chief of the Department of Fine Arts of the
Panama-Pacific Exposition. He is an art connoisseur, one might say an executive
artist; and his peculiar aim in life is to draw together and amalgamate
the interests of the artist himself and the art lover, to weld a bond of
sympathy between them.
In how far he has succeeded in doing this Is testified
to by the words on a great square of parchment presented to him upon his
resignation from the managership of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
to accept the honor offered him by the Exposition. This testimonial,
dated Philadelphia, February 4, 1913, and signed by 86 artists, is worded:
"To John E. D. Trask on the eve of his retirement
from the office of Secretary and Manager of the Pennsylvania Academy of
the Fine Arts. We, the undersigned members of the artistic fraternity,
desire to express our appreciation of his services to the cause of American
Art; of his loyalty and unselfish devotion to the best interests of the
Pennsylvania Academy f the Fine Arts; of his sympathetic understanding
and support of the artistic spirit in all its vagaries, and of his many
qualities of mind and heart which have endeared him to us as a man, a comrade
and a good sport."
Were he not too modest to advance them, Mr. Trask
might make three distinct claims to fame as an art director. He is a native
of Brooklyn, New York, born February 18, 1871, and following his graduation
from college in 1888 engaged in newspaper and magazine work until 1896.
In the latter year he be- came affiliated, in the capacity of assistant
manager, with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, founded in 1805,
the oldest art institution in the country. In 1905, when the Academy celebrated
its centennial. It chose Mr. Trask as its secretary and manager, and such
he continued to be until February 1913. He had resigned to become the Exposition's
fine arts director in November 1912, but the Pennsylvania Academy would
not let him go until after he had arranged its annual exhibition.
As executive head of the Academy Mr. Trask found
his forte. "Under his direction the annual exhibitions of the institution
came to be recognized as the best in the country. He was especially Interested
in the Academy's schools, and in the development of talent of the youthful
and aspiring artists, those who needed an encouraging word. Philip L.
Hale of Boston, son of Edward Everett Hale, once characterized the Pennsylvania
Academy under Mr. Trask's management as "the only institution of it kind
in the country that was almost human."
Mr. Trask gained widespread recognition in 1910
as United States Commissioner General to the Exposicion Internacional de
Arte del Centenario at Buenos Aires, Argentina, and to the Exposicion Internacional
de Bellas Artes at Santiago, Chile, as well as to a special art exhibition
at Montevideo, Uruguay. These events did probably more than anything else
to familiarize the South American peoples with American art and artists.
The United States sections, though not the largest, received the greatest
number of awards, and more than twenty-five per cent of the works that
were for sale were sold and remained on view. Also, a considerable part
of the appropriation made for this work by Congress was returned, unexpended.
The whole world, by this time, knows of the excellence
of the display of fine arts at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition,
so it is needless to dilate upon it. Mr. Trask, who conceived it, then
carried out his conception, says of it just this: "The Pine Arts exhibition
has received many compliments it hasn't deserved and some knocks that it
also has not deserved. But it is the most intelligent representation of
modern art ever shown in America, and it was made possible because American
artists are today doing better work than ever before."
Mr. Trask now has seen art expositions from the
outside in and from the inside out. And this well-rounded experience, with
that as manager of the Pennsylvania Academy, should make him one of the
foremost art directors in America.
Charles H. Gaunt (page 270)
The broad and vigorous administration of a public
utility, so closely identified with our everyday affairs as the telegraph,
creates a business and social asset of high value; and the exceptional
organization and operation of the forces of the Western Union Telegraph
Company on the Pacific Coast indicate the skill and capacity of Charles
H. Gaunt, the General Manager, to meet every condition that arises in the
conduct of that company's relations with the public.
Mr. Gaunt, pursuing a course similar to most executives
of public service corporations, has spent all of his active business life
in the study and handling of telegraphic problems on their technical side,
and in the management of the forces dealing with the users of the telegraph
on the popular side. He has reached out and drawn to his service men of
both dominant personality and unusual ability to carry out his ideas of
corporate management in its relation to the complicated demands of the
public; and there has been no department of the work in which he has not
succeeded, nor any portion of the duties imposed upon him that have not
received progressive and up-to-date performance.
Mr. Gaunt is a native of New York, born in Steuben
County, August 29, 1869. With the prevailing enthusiasm of the young men
of that period he directed his attention to the electrical field, and entered
the fascinating occupation of telegrapher, first at the small office in
his home town in New Jersey, to which he moved while young, then in New
York City, where he developed his skill and formed impressions of the possibilities
of telegraphic expansion and operation that have been of great value to
him in applying his expertness to the wider fields of the West.
In 1889 Mr. Gaunt went to Helena, Montana, then
a thriving mining city, and as manager of the Northern Pacific Railway's
telegraph department passed that period of development and hard work through
which all forceful men go in preparation for a successful career in the
Western territory, where fresh expansion and breadth of operation call
for the best type of mental capacity and physical endurance.
In 1902 Mr. Gaunt was tendered, and accepted, the
position of Superintendent of Telegraph of the Santa Fe Railway System,
and with this opportunity he applied the principles of telegraphic development
and control which he had long studied and prepared for, with the result
that the telegraph organization and efficiency brought out on that railroad
system exceeded in economic value and substantial usefulness any that had
been built up upon large railroad properties. His administrative success
was so marked that an advancement in 1905 to the position of Assist-ant
General Manager of the parent lines of the Santa Fe Railway, in addition
to his duties as head of the telegraph department of the entire system,
carried him into the direct management of the railroad property with consequent
enlargement of experience and capacity for responsibility.
Mr. Gaunt was appointed General Superintendent of
the Western Union Telegraph Company at San Francisco in July, 1910, and
his title was changed to that of General Manager in December, 1912; his
jurisdictional territory being composed of the States of California, Oregon,
Washington, Arizona and Nevada, together with British Columbia in Canada.
With the same energy and resource-fulness exercised in his railroad work
he has built up the Western Union service on the Pacific Coast so that
it is an organized telegraphic facility which embraces in commercial usefulness
and adequate equipment every modern and progressive idea that highly trained
men can apply to the needs of business development and the daily activities
of the people. As the scope of the Western Union's operations brings the
company in close touch with every community, the vigorous and thorough
policy instituted and maintained by Mr. Gaunt is felt in all parts of the
territory assigned to his management.
Mr. Gaunt married Miss Mary Flesher of Helena, Montana,
in 1890, and their family consists of one son, now grown.
Throughout his business career Mr. Gaunt has been
keenly active in securing a wide commercial acquaintance, both in the territory
administered by him and throughout the United States. He is a member of
the Bohemian, Press and Country Clubs of San Francisco, and a lover of
Thomas S. Minot (page 299)
Eight years of litigation to set aside land grants
on the Pacific Coast has placed Thomas S. Minot, attorney at law, in a
unique position among his colleagues, inasmuch as he is the first man locally
to launch such litigation against land titles which he believes wrongfully
On July 12, 1915, was handed down by Justice Charles
E. Wolverton of the U. S. District Court for Oregon a decision which setties,
declares Mr. Minot, the legal controversy over the Coos Bay Wagon Road
Grant, in which litigation Mr. Minot represented many people determined
to break the grant and distribute the land to bona-fide settlers.
The first suit against the Southern Oregon Company,
claimant o f the grant, was brought by Mr. Minot in 1907 before the then
U. S. Circuit Court at Portland. It involved the aforesaid land grant,
which was made by Congress in 1869, during the reconstruction period following
the Civil War. Congress granted it to the State of Oregon in trust; the
State passed it along to the Coos Bay Wagon Road Company in trust, and
finally it was acquired by the Southern Oregon Company in violation, says
Minot, of the original granting act. It is a 12-mile strip, nearly 68 miles
long, extending from Coos Bay to Roseburg, Oregon, containing 95,000 acres
of excellent timber and agricultural land, valued at $15,000,000.
The Supreme Court's decision, made by Justice Joseph
J. McKenna June 21, 1915, in United States vs. the Oregon & California
Railroad Company, became the law of the case against the Coos Bay grant.
In the railroad case numerous settlers on the property in controversy came
in as cross-complainants or interveners. Justice McKenna's ruling was one
of the strangest and ablest in American legal history. It was wholly negative—all
parties litigant were beaten. The lower court, which forfeited the
land to the Government, was reversed and the Government thrown out of court
on the ground that it had no right to forfeit. The rail- road's grant was
declared legal to the extent that the grantee was entitled to an equity
of $2.50 an acre but should lose the grant. And the interveners were
denied relief on the ground that they, not being in privity with the original
contracting parties, never had a right to settle on the land or to enforce
The result of this decision will be that Congress
must enact a law by which a commission may be appointed to sell the land
for $2.50 an acre plus the expenses of the commission. The interveners
must take their chance with the others who may try to gain a portion of
the land at the sale.
Mr. Minot, in 1909,brought suit against the Southern
Pacific Railroad Company before the U. S. District Court at Los Angeles
on behalf of 45 oil men to enforce or control an exception in the patent
to 6,960 acres of oil land near Coalinga, valued at $3,000,000.
The exception, decree of the Secretary of the Interior,
and patent, is to the effect that mineral lands were excluded from the
railroad grant. Through Mr. Minot's efforts the Government was brought
in and has instituted suit to set aside the patents covering this territory.
This litigation, involving oil lands valued at$2,000,000,000, is pending.
The Southern Pacific is still, in defiance of law, says Mr. Minot, taking
oil from this Government land and not paying for it—nor owning it, unless
it and the Standard Oil Company own the Government. Meldrum, Puter, McKinley,
Mitchell and others were convicted of looting the public domain in Oregonn
in the land fraud cases, but no one interferes with the Southern Pacific
and it is taking $1,000 where the timber grabbers took one, Mr. Minot declares.
Other oil lands are withdrawn from men of moderate means by a beneficent
but impotent administration.
Thomas Sumner Minot was born August 18, 1862, in
Brunswick, Maine, son of Alexander Baker Minot and Mary (Ramsdell) Minot.
His father's line runs back to Elder George Minot, who settled at Salem,
Massachusetts, May 30, 1630. Elder George Minot was the son of Thomas Minot,
Esq., Secretary to the Abbot of Walden, Essex, England.
After completing his education in England Mr. Minot
returned and spent three years studying law with Hon. John A. Gray and
General J. M. Siglin at Marshfleld, Oregon, and was admitted to the bar
at Salem, Oregon, in 1896. November 12, 1902, he was admitted before
the U. S. District and Circuit Courts. He removed to San Francisco in February,
1901, and in July was ad- mitted to the bar of this State; September 10,
1909, to U. S. District and Circuit Courts of Southern California, and
October 6, 1909, to U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
T. Seymour Hall (page 272)
A distinctively new method of dealing in securities
is that worked out and put into force by T. Seymour Hall, secretary-treasurer
and managing director of the Oakland Street Improvement Bond Company. He
has simplified this form of financial transaction, has educated the investing
public up to the change and has placed the entire plan on a solid foundation
that Insures complete confidence on the part of his patrons.
Street improvement bonds, Issued in odd denominations
with partial payment on the principal due each year, are not sold outright
by Mr. Hall's concern. Instead, the bonds, chosen with great care as to
their soundness and worth, are deposited in trust, and trust receipts in
even denominations and for definite maturities are Issued and sold. These
receipts entitle the holder to the amount of his investment in original
form bonds held by the trustee, and he can secure these bonds, if he so
desires, at any time upon presentation of his trust receipts.
The security is exactly the same as where the bonds
are sold outright. Only the form of the transaction is different, and the
new form is superior to the old because of its great convenience. The security
holder, too, is absolutely safe. He simply cannot lose. Not only have the
bonds been standardized and found to be of sterling worth before they are
handled by Mr. Hall at all, but the Investor is absolutely independent
of the bond house, for his securities are in the hands of a third party,
the disinterested trustee, where they can be had at any time.
By the very merit of its plan and by means also
of national advertising this is the first time, by the way, a California
security, as such, has been nationally advertised—the Oakland Street Improvement
Bond Company is receiving a very satisfactory response. It is especially
conservative in the choice of its bonds, and from its ever-growing clientele
has never come anything but confidence and appreciation.
Mr. Hall, who has been more instrumental than any
other man in working out the details of the new investment plan, was born
February 16, 1880, at Honolulu, H. I. His father, W. W. Hall, was proprietor
of E. 0. Hall & Son, Ltd., the largest American hardware firm in the
islands. His mother was Elizabeth (Van Cleve) Hall. After taking a preparatory
course at Oahu College, Mr. Hall came in 1897 to Berkeley, where he attended
high school. In 1900 he entered the University of California with the class
of 1904, but after a year entered Harvard with the class of '05, taking
a general social science course.
Force of circuinstances made it necessary for Mr.
Hall to leave Harvard in the spring of 1902, before graduation.
He enrolled at the school of the Simmonds Hardware Company at St. Louis,
maintained for the convenience of prospective hardware dealers, and took
a general business course. Then for a year and a half he was on the road
for the Simmonds Company, but in 1907 resigned and returned to Berkeley,
where he associated himself with the real estate firm of Mason-McDuffle
After a year with the Mason-McDuffle Company Mr.
Hall launched out independently in the mortgage loan business in Berkeley.
In November 1909, he was married to Miss Ruth Houghton
of Oakland and immediately thereafter was called back to Honolulu by the
ill health of his father. For a year he was in charge of the automobile
department of E. 0. Hall & Son, the business founded by his grandfather.
Then following his father's death in May, 1911, he sold the hardware business
and in1912 returned, this time to Oakland, where he again engaged in mortgage
During Mr. Hall's experience in the mortgage business
he had devoted considerable time to the collection of data and to the study
of mortgage institutions of this country and Europe, with particular attention
to the methods of the great Credit Fanciers of France. The application
of this knowledge, which proved Invaluable, was made possible when he turned
to the study of the California street improvement bond. He helped organize
the Oakland Street Improvement Bond Company, through which his Ideas have
been worked out with great success. As the firm's clientele and operations
grow, it is probable that it will handle municipal bonds in addition to
the securities it now carries.
Mr. Hall's social activities are confined to the
Athenian-Nile Club of Oakland and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
He has two sons, Seymour Houghton Hall, aged five, and Winslow William
Hall, aged three and a half.
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