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Emmaline McPherson

EMMALINE McPHERSON.—It is one of the pleasantly-inspiring features of human life that no man lives unto himself, and that such are the intertwining social relations of one being with another that the story of the one recalls, and often to great advantage. the struggles, triumphs and accomplishments of the other. This is certainly true in such an instance as that of Mrs. Emmaline McPherson, the widow of the late Miller McPherson and the daughter of the late Mrs. Mary Vivian. 

Mrs. McPherson was born about twelve miles to the southwest of Modesto on the San Joaquin River, the daughter of John Vivian, a native Englishman who came to California from Wisconsin, and settled at Sonora. He had been married in Wisconsin to Mary Ann Harris, and they were blessed with one child when they made the long journey to the Coast. That child, then a baby girl, was named Elizabeth Jane; she is now Mrs. Vincent, a widow, and she resides at Fresno. The other children since born are Catherine, who has become Mrs. C. C. Haislip of Modesto; Harriett Ann, now Mrs. E. W. Brush of Westport; William Henry, who resides in Modesto; Emmaline, the subject of our review; Mary Matilda, Mrs. H. E. Parker, near Modesto; Laura, Mrs. G. T. Davis of Modesto; Stephen Vivian, also of Stanislaus County, in which district live Mrs. Lily White and Mrs. Rosannah Hosmer.

As a little girl Emmaline attended the local county schools and when only ten years of age, in 1870, saw the first train pulled into Modesto. Eight years later, on Christmas Day, she was married to Miller McPherson, who was born near Healdsburg, Sonoma County, on December 6, 1855, the son of Charles McPherson. Mrs. McPherson died in Sonoma County when Miller was a babe, and he was brought up by a step-mother. The elder McPherson passed away there in 1875. When seventeen years old, Miller came to Stanislaus County and started in as a farm hand on the Clark Ranch near Paradise Ferry, soon breaking wild horses. Later he was able to start out for himself on a ranch in the Westport district, and there he owned 640 acres of land. In 1907 he retired to Modesto. He and his good wife became the parents of two children. Eva Lillian is now the wife of D. D. Christman of Modesto, while Walter C.. who married Miss Ila May of this town, also reside here. Mr. McPherson was one of the first directors in the Turlock Irrigation District, and served in that capacity for twenty years. He was a hard, but rational worker, and owned three ranches when he died on January 31, 1915. Surviving him is a brother, Lycurgus McPherson, of Sonoma County, Cal. Curiously enough, although he contributed greatly to the success of irrigation, he was among the opponents of the enterprise when it was first proposed. Among various positions of responsibility held by him in his active life was that of a director in the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Modesto. He passed away at the Modesto Sanitarium, and the funeral was held at the family residence. Esteemed for her accomplishments as well as for her virtues, Mrs. McPherson has long occupied an enviable position of influence in Modesto. She belongs to the Rebekahs and the Woman's Relief Corps; and she has been very active in Red Cross work.

In the passing of Mrs. McPherson's mother, Mrs. Mary Vivian, death called another old and very respected resident of Modesto and pioneer of Stanislaus County. She had lived in this community continuously since 1854, having come from England to the United States when only fourteen years of age. After coming to America in 1842, she settled with her brother at Hazel Green in Grant County. Wis., and five years later married Mr. Vivian, who was mining in that section. In February, 1851, they left for California, sailing around the Horn, and arrived in this State the following April. in 1855 they bought 4,000 acres in the Westport section, south of Modesto, and there they were very successful in stock raising, and Mr. Vivian died in his sixtieth year. In 1901 the family moved to Modesto, and when Mrs. Vivian died she was survived by ten children—two sons and eight daughters—thirty-five grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Had Mrs. Vivian lived a week or two longer, she would have attained to her eighty-second year.

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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