Author: John Outcalt (1925)


When the Fin de Siecle Company launched the Hilmar Colony the first twenty-acre plot was bought by John Pearson, who still holds the title deed
dated July, 1902 signed by the president, G. B. Bloss, and the secretary, Horace Crane. He and his good wife hold a high place in the affections of the people of the colony for their generous hospitality, their activity in the church and their intelligent efforts to promote the general welfare.

Mr. Pearson was born in Christianstadslan, Sweden, April 12, 1864, the youngest of five children, four boys and one girl, born to Per and Bertha
(Oakesdatter) Soneson. John grew up in Sweden* worked on his father's farm, attended the public schools and was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. The father was a carpenter and wagon-maker as well as a farmer; thus it came about that John learned the carpenter trade under his father, which afterwards was of great service to him. He served two years in the military camps and worked on farms when he was grown up. At one time he was employed on the farm of Rudolph Stjernsward, who was secretary to Queen Sophia of Sweden. Sone Pearson, John's elder brother, was the superintendent of that farm for eleven years. Niels Person Norberg, another brother, was already in Omaha, Nebr., and the favorable accounts which he wrote home induced John to bid goodbye to his native land and in the latter part of April, 1891, he embarked at Malmo, Sweden, for Hull, England; and passing through England to Liverpool, he sailed again on the "Teutonic" of the White Star Line and arrived at Old Castle Garden, N. Y., May 1, 1891. He proceeded at once to East Orange, New Jersey and got a position as gardener and coachman with E. B. Brooks, a manufacturer of government and railway supplies and held it eleven years. He united with the Swedish Mission Church in East Orange and helped raise the money for the new Mission Church which was built there in 1894.

It was in East Orange that he met Clara Wilhelmina Anderson, a native of Opland, Sweden, the daughter of Anders and Karen Person, farmers in her native
country. She came to America when she was twenty years old and worked in East Orange, where she met Mr. Pearson. She came to California in 1902, worked for a while in Los Angeles but soon went to San Francisco, when she accepted a position in the household of General Hughes at Fort Mason. Thence she came to Hilmar to marry Mr. Pearson, and was one of the first, if not the first bride in the Hilmar Colony, the nuptials being performed on April 25, 1903. They united with the Mission Church in Hilmar. Mr. Pearson brought with him letters of the highest recommendation from his employer in East Orange.

The land on which the Mission Church in Hilmar was located was donated by the Fin de Siecle Company. When the first church built by Rev. N. O. Hultberg became too small the present magnificent new church edifice was built in 1921-1922, Mr. Pearson being a donor. His knowledge of carpentry enabled him to build his own house and other buildings on his place, which is devoted to raising alfalfa, dairying, hogs and poultry. He has helped along the irrigation schemes of Merced County. He was a stockholder in the Rochdale store in Turlock. Mr. and Mrs. Pearson have two children; Ethel Margaret is a student in the University of California studying to become a high school teacher; Arthur is in the Hilmar high school and helps on the home farm. Mr. Pearson is a Republican in politics but at all times aims to vote for correct principles and the man who may be relied upon to carry them out.

Additional Comments:

Biographical Review
The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been
Identified with Its Growth and Development
from the Early Days to the Present



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Joy Fisher