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Allura E. Averill Ulch

MRS. ALLURA E. AVERILL ULCH.—An experienced, efficient and highly-esteemed public official who reflects in the highest degree credit both upon the place of her birth and her energetic and gifted sex, is Mrs. Allura E. Averill Ulch, the popular librarian of the Stanislaus County Free Library at Ceres, who was born in Cooper, Washington County, Maine, on September 13, 1852. Her parents were George W. and Hannah (Hanscom) Averill, also natives of Washington County, and their ancestors, as the great books on genealogy show, came long ago from Old England. Great-grandfather Averill was one of thirteen men who started from Boston to establish a colony at the mouth of the Machias River in Maine, which was then a part of Massachusetts, and this colony was so successful from the start that soon a village sprang up with sawmills and factories. Mrs. Averill used to tell the story to the seventh generation of an early ancestor, Hannah Dustin, a narrative connected with the early history of Western Massachusetts and Indian life there: and today in the city of Haverhill, Mass., stands the monument erected to the memory of Hannah Dusting who has come to personify Mercy and Charity.

Mrs. Ulch spent her girlhood in East Machias, and there she attended the district school. She also graduated from Washington Academy, then a preparatory school for Harvard College; and upon completion of her teacher's course, she taught for live terms at the East Machias School. Later, she taught school for three terms in Kansas and for one term in Nebraska.

Her father passed away when she was sixteen, leaving her mother and eight children, four of whom are still surviving, and she therefore left home to live with an older sister. Mrs. W. S. Rollins, near Hiawatha in Brown County, Kans. In 1880 she was married to W. W. Ulch, and one child blessed the union, Florence B., now the wife of James E. Richards of Willits, in Mendocino County, a rancher who has attained success. Mr. Ulch died early, and in October, 1880, she came to Ceres with her only child. There she engaged in business, opening the pioneer millinery and fancy goods store ; and from the profits of this small enterprise she was able to do much for herself and her child. Her daughter grew up and graduated from the State Normal at San Jose with the class of '98, and then she taught school for three terms in Ceres, and one term at Newman.

Having given up her store, Mrs. Ulch resided for a year at Oakland; and upon her return, she was commissioned by President McKinley postmaster of Ceres. She easily demonstrated her fitness for this office, and enjoyed a pleasant popularity while in it; and this office she held for nine years. In 1903 Mrs. Ulch purchased a residence lot in Ceres and erected the comfortable dwelling which has since been her home. For the past twenty years Mrs. Ulch has been Ceres correspondent for the Modesto Herald, and her fellow townsmen are highly appreciative of the heroic struggle she has made to establish the County Free Library at Ceres. In the beginning the public, had to content, itself with the collection of books sent out by the Traveling State Library Association, and this was replaced by a branch of the County Free Library, established in 1910 in her home, and for years she has been librarian.   But Mrs. Ulch not only deserves recognition for her work in behalf of library extension, assisting to build up the town ; she merits the esteem of all for what she has done to upbuild Ceres. She has always been active in church work, is a member of the First Baptist Church, and for thirty-three years has served as clerk of the board. She has been local president for many years of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Ceres, and has attended the state conventions of the Prohibition party, and has actively helped along the great Prohibition movement. She is a writer of no mean ability, and a speaker of note; in fact, a brilliant, remarkable woman, a student and philosopher.

Source:  History of Stanislaus County California with Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development From the Early Days to the Present  by George H. Tinkham, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles California   1921.

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