The Other Charles Webers

Did you know that early San Joaquin County had two other Charles Webers, in addition to Charles Maria Weber, the founder of Stockton? One bore the name Charles Kimball Weber, and the other, his son, Charles Oscar Weber. Neither man was as wealthy or influential as Stockton's founder, but both owned sizable farms and left respectable legacies.

Charles Oscar Weber as a young man.

Charles Oscar Weber as a young man.

I learned about these two men through a gift of three portraits—for Charles Oscar Weber and his mother- and father-in-law—that one of their descendents recently gave to the Museum.

The eldest of the two men, Charles Kimball, arrived in San Joaquin County with his wife, Louisa Mohrmann Weber, in the 1870s, slightly more than two decades after Stockton's founding. Charles Kimball and his wife were natives of New Hampshire and Iowa, respectively. They settled on a 160-acre farm south of Clements and had six children, one of them named Charles Oscar Weber.

According to George Tinkham's History of San Joaquin County (1923), Charles Oscar was "a successful California rancher of whom the progressive agriculturalists in San Joaquin County may well be proud" (page 999). Born in 1878, he attended the Brandt, Grant, and Athearn Schools as a youth. In Tinkham's words, he later "benefited from an excellent commercial course at the Stockton Business College."

It doesn't take great leaps of imagination to see that Charles Oscar had an entrepreneurial bent. At an early age, he purchased his father's property. Then he added 320 acres in eastern San Joaquin County, on which he raised cattle, grain, and other crops. He also leased other land. In 1908, he married Marietta Crawford, the daughter of San Joaquin County residents William B. Crawford and Minnie Anderson Crawford, with whom he had two children.

Tinkham describes Charles Oscar, a Republican, as someone "ever ready both to 'boost' the local section and to support any well-endorsed measure likely to work for the prosperity of the country as a whole" (page 999).

I can't help wondering whether residents of early San Joaquin County ever confused these three Webers—despite their dissimilarities. Maybe their mail got mixed up on occasion. And maybe, because of that confusion, they became acquainted with each other.

Who knows? The past is filled with unknowns. If only those portraits could talk.

The San Joaquin County Historical Society appreciates the gift of those portraits, as well as the discoveries and questions they have triggered. It welcomes other depictions of early San Joaquin County residents, as well.

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