Claude Clement WEMPLE

Male 1896 - 1993  (97 years)


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  • Name Claude Clement WEMPLE 
    Born 03 Apr 1896  Milford, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 21 Dec 1993  Milford, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Milford Cemetery, Milford, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I4  Wemple Family Ancestry
    Last Modified 13 Dec 2017 

    Father J WEMPLE,   b. 31 Mar 1873, Milford, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1940, Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Adelia DECIOUS,   b. 07 Dec 1874, Lake City, Modoc County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Jun 1960, Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Married 17 Feb 1894  Milford, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Henrietta WINCHESTER,   b. 16 Jan 1897, Standish, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Sep 1984, Susanville, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Married 03 Aug 1916  Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Donald Jay WEMPLE,   b. 16 Sep 1917, Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Apr 1991, Milford, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     2. Myra Dozier WEMPLE,   b. 20 Jul 1919, Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Mar 1987, Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
     3. Infant WEMPLE,   b. 02 Jan 1925, Milford, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 03 Jan 1925, Milford, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     4. Glenn Harlen WEMPLE
     5. David Raymond WEMPLE,   b. 13 Jun 1931, Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jun 2017, Orland, Glenn Country, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
    Last Modified 13 Dec 2017 
    Family ID F2  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • The above photo is a composite made up of Henrietta and Claude's graduation photos.

      A man of local prominence. He was a successful rancher and farmer. During the Great Depression, he took over his father's property when the bank was threatening to foreclose and take over the family farm. His father had obtained the property from Claude's grandfather, Joseph Crawford Wemple. After taking it over, Claude built this farming business up from about 500 acres of farm land to over 1000 acres of tilled farm land and another 3900 acres of grazing land. At the height of his operation, he ran about 400 head of cows and another 300 head of heifers and steers he was readying for market. His business practices were beyond reproach his entire life.

      Above all, Claude was a horseman. He loved his horses and was an active rider throughout most of his life. When he was aged 77, he rode a ten hour day riding after cattle with the rest of the cowboys. At this age, his legs began to fail him and riding became too painful for him, so he hung up his spurs. But, he continued actively to run his ranch for the next several years. His love of horses continued for the rest of his life and he would talk horses to any willing ear until the day he died.

      He had artistic skills and during the Depression, he made silver mounted horse bridles, which he sold for a small profit. It was during this time that he engraved a Thoroughbred horse on a flat piece of German silver. This piece of art was never sold, but was kept as a family treasure. It is presently in the possession of his grandson, Daniel C. Wemple.

      After he retired, at about age 85, he wrote a book about his grandfather, Joseph Crawford Wemple, which he simple titled Joseph Crawford Wemple: A Pioneer of Lassen County, California, 1830-1921. Then when he entered his nineties, he wrote a second book, an autobiography titled Memories of a Rancher From the Land of the Never Sweats. Joseph Crawford Wemple, and other early Lassen County pioneers called the area they lived in The Land of the Never Sweats because it took little labor to live off the land that they had moved onto.

      At various times in his lifetime he served on about twelve different advisory boards, the most prestigious being the Advisory Board of the Bank of America from 1949-1975 in Susanville, California. He was a school trustee on the Milford Elementary School, Lassen Union High School and Lassen Junior College running from 1937-1949, and he was a charter member and had a thirty year membership in the Lassen County Sheriff's Posse. He was given recognition by seven different community and organizational awards, the most notable being recognized as the Farmer of the Year by California Soil Conversation District in 1982.

      He died while living on his beloved ranch in 1993 at age 97 in his home not far from the house where he was born. He had spent his entire life span in the community in which he was born, save a brief six months which he spent living with his son, David, in Orland, CA. DRW

      The following article was sent to the compiler by Lynn Hallowell McDonald, niece of Claude Wemple, shortly after its publication. DRW

      Article from the NEVADA STATE JOURNAL, May 11, 1985:

      PLAQUE NOTES HISTORIC PAST OF TINY CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY

      Milford, California - Motorists along busy Highway 395 between Reno and Susanville may never have noticed when they passed through the historic Lassen County community of Milford.

      But Milford, one of the oldest settlements in the Honey Lake Valley, will go unnoticed no longer.

      The Neversweats Chapter of E Clampus Vitus has dedicated a rock plaque that recognizes the community at the site of the first important flour mill in northeastern California.

      Milford, about 25 miles southeast of Susanville, was registered in 1979 as a state historical point in interest, the first in Lassen County.

      Still, the town's historical significance was generally unrecognized until E Clampus Vitus decided to erect the marker.

      Milford got its start in 1856 when Robert T. Scott staked a claim there. Joseph Wemple named the town in 1861, taking note of a sawmill and flour mill there.

      Claude Wemple, 89-year-old patriarch of the Wemple family, was on hand when the marker was dedicated last week.

      The Honey Lake Valley has seen seven generations of Wemples. Many still live here. Claude Wemple has lived in a cluster of homes in the Wemple Ranch since 1903.

      Records say Robert Scott's first developments - including a cabin, five fenced acres and water for farming - were sold to Peter Lassen, the county's pioneer settler, in 1859.

      Thomas Fairchild of Massachusetts and Frederick Washburne of Pennsylvania acquired Milford from Lassen's estate. They built a sawmill along Mill Creek in 1860.

      A flour mill was constructed a year later by Joseph Wemple and his brother-in-law Judson Dakin. The site of the flour mill is about 200 yards from the new historical plaque.

      Milford's business district is limited to a store and post office. It once featured a saloon, hotel, blacksmith shop, store, butcher shop, school and several mills.

      According to Claude Wemple, it was known for crops of apples that were shipped along Honey Lake to the railroad.

      McClatchy News Service


      Obituary from the Susanville LASSEN COUNTY TIMES, Tuesday, 28 December 1993, page 1c2-4 & 10c6:

      MILFORD PIONEER DEAD AT 97

      Lifelong Milford resident Claude Clement Wemple, 97 died at his home on Tuesday, December 21.

      The first born son of Jay and Libby Wemple, he was born in Milford on April 3, 1896. A third generation California native, Claude operated the Wemple Ranch in Milford for 51 years.

      He married Henrietta Winchester shortly after graduating from Lassen High School in 1916. The couple raised a family of three sons and one daughter. Henrietta died in 1984.

      Claude worked for his father at farming and ranching from 1915 to 1932. Then, in 1932, he started to realize his lifelong goal of owning and operating a cattle ranch. It was in this year that he purchased his father's ranch, part of which was originally owned by Peter Lassen. At the time he purchased it, the ranch consisted of approximately 500 acres.

      By the time Claude retired, he had increased the size of his ranch to more than 4,700 acres. During his active ranching years, Claude primarily raised beef cattle, but on various occasions he also raised dairy cattle, hogs and Thoroughbred horses, as well as producing grain, hay and alfalfa seed as cash crops.

      Claude also developed artistic skills, producing over the years several paintings, engravings and pen in ink sketches many of them focusing on life as it was lived on his ranch.

      Another of Claude's passions was the preservation of history. He was a founding member of the Lassen County Historical Society and, following his retirement from active ranching, he devoted his life to recording his own experiences of growing up in Lassen County.

      The result is a book entitled MEMORIES OF A RANCHER FROM THE LAND OF THE NEVER SWEATS. Published by Bornet Books in 1992, Claude's book added a whole new chapter to local history and has been praised as a dynamic and entertaining chronicle of the life as it was really lived in the vast American west.

      Claude was a member of numerous local organizations, including: Lassen County Cattlemen's Association (charter member and president from 1949-1955); Lassen County Farm Bureau (charter member and former Chairman of the Janesville/Milford Center); Lassen County Fair Board, 1952-1974; Lassen County Historical Society (charter member and president form 1963-1967); Advisory Board of the Bank of America; Susanville Branch, 1949-1975; School Board Trustee, Milford Elementary, Lassen Union High School and Junior College, 1937-1954; the Farmers Home Administration Advisory Board, late 1940's; Lassen County Sheriff's Posse (charter member, 30-year member); and the United Methodist Church of Susanville.

      Claude is survived by his sons Glenn of Milford and David of Orland; his brother Neil W. Wemple of Tucson, Arizona; sisters Olga Burroughs of Sacramento, Marjel Dozier of Anderson, Marguerite Rypkema of Paradise and Deesse Theodore of Susanville.

      Also surviving are eight grandchildren, seventeen great-grandchildren, fourteen great-great-grandchildren and one great-great-great-grandchild.

      Funeral services are scheduled to be held at 11 a.m., December 28, with interment to follow in the Milford Cemetery.

      Snippites from various newspapers sent to the compiler by Phyllis Metz on May 20, 2000:

      From the LASSEN ADVOCATE September 12, 1912:

      High School Athletics - Claude Wemple was hit in the eye with a baseball while practicing at the grounds Wednesday. He was taken to his home in an automobile after the accident. Claude promises to develop into a good player and it is hoped that his injury will not long keep him off the diamond.

      From the LASSEN ADVOCATE April 25, 1913:

      Doings at the High School:

      Tryouts for Reno meet - . . .high hurdles, Wemple. . . .220 dash, Wemple. . . .low hurdles, Wemple

      From the LASSEN ADVOCATE April 3, 1914:

      Lassen High School Notes:

      16 Annual Academic Field Meet at Reno. . . .Two new records were established, one of them by Claude Wemple of Lassen in the broad jump covering a distance of 20'4. Wemple's efforts brings to him a gold metal. In the 120 hurdles 17 2/5 second. . . .Wemple ran ran a tie for second place and was given the third place award. He also tied in the high jump for second place 5'7 1/2. . . .320 hurdles Wemple 29 1/5 seconds. . . .

      From the LASSEN ADVOCATE February 19, 1915:

      Alumni and High School Debate - Resolved that the United States shall establish a Protectorate over Mexico until a stable government is established. For the negative . . . Claude Wemple . . .


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