With eighteen acres of highly developed orchard set out to French prunes, George H. Bihlman, of Live Oak, has amply demonstrated his success as one of the most progressive horticulturists in Sutter County.  He was born on February 18, 1895, on the old A. W. Bihlman ranch.  The interesting and suggestive story of his honored parents, Anthony W. and Mary (Krehe) Bihlman, is given elsewhere in this historical work.

George Bihlman attended the Live Oak Grammar School, and finished all that was required of him there in 1909, and he also rounded out the excellent courses of the Marysville High School in 1913; and that same year he entered Stanford, in the class of 1917.  On February 18, 1917, he enlisted in the United States aviation service, and entered the Aviation School at Berkeley; and at the school of Military Aeronautics, he completed a thirteen weeks’ course under Lieutenant-Colonel Hunter, with Major Crane in charge of the military discipline.  In April, 1918, he was sent to Camp Dick, Dallas, Texas; and he was then assigned to the Ellington Flying Field at Houston, Texas, where he finished with honors in the bombing, gunning and pilot courses, and received the brevet of 2nd Lieutenant in Aviation.  He was then appointed as Lieutenant-Instructor, and remained at Ellington Field until November 1, 1918, when he was dispatched to the Mexican border with twenty-four planes, to Del Rio, to guard the frontier.  Meantime two birdmen, Harrington and Partner, started for the City of Mexico and were forced to land.  They were captured, and the planes were held by the bandits.  The aviation detachment received word of their plight, and learned that the bandits demanded $15,000.  The detachment raised $7000 cash, met the bandits, and showed them the $7000; and the Mexicans turned the men loose.  The Americans then defied them with machine guns, and came away with both the money and the aviators.  Lieutenant Bihlman continued at Ellington Field, until he received his honorable discharge as 2st Lieutenant, on July 2, 1919.  While en route to his home, he visited many interesting places.

In December, 1919, Mr. Bihlman received his degree of A. B. from Stanford University, having been credited with 200 units, or 20 more than the requirements call for; and while a student there, he was a member of the Encina Club and the Society of El Torro.  He also represented Stanford in athletics as a member of the ‘Varsity Rugby football team, during the seasons of 1914, 1915, and 1916.  He made good on the gridiron, playing ‘Varsity against the University of California in American football in 1919.  This game ran the closest score ever shown in the history of the two schools, the result standing: 10 for the University of California, and 14 for Stanford.  He also holds the California-Stanford record for the 16-pound shot, which he put 48 feet 6-1/2 inches.  Track-team work was also a favorite sport with Mr. Bihlman.  He has been a member, ever since 1916, of the Olympic Club, and in 1920 was chosen as a representative among athletes, and attended the Seventh Olympic Games at the World Meet, Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920, also starring in Paris and London.

But Mr. Bihlman has done something more than all this for the benefit of his country: he has made good on the farm–a factor of more moment, when one recalls the drive today of American young manhood to get away from rural pursuits.  He has engaged at Live Oak with his father in grain- and rice-farming, and also in dairying and hog-raising; and since 1920 he has been developing his ranch of eighteen acres, a mile to the south of Live Oak, as a prune orchard.  He has a 99 per cent stand of three-year-old French prune trees in eighteen acres, and the ranch has been developing into a highly productive tract.  He is experienced also in other lines of agricultural work; and from 1914 to 1917, he operated a harvesting outfit in Sutter County, with the same success that attends all of his ventures.  In Farm Bureau circles, Mr. Bihlman is also active; and in 1923, when a picnic was held at Dow Grove, near Live Oak, he took charge and gave the Farm Bureau of Sutter County one of their most pleasant days.  He was assisted by Professor Fraser of the high school, and their untiring efforts together made the affair a great success.

At Los Gatos, on July 27, 1921, Mr. Bihlman was married to Miss Irene Todd, the only child of N. F. Todd, the well-known orchardist, whose life story is a part of this work.  She was born at the Todd Ranch, in Butte County, and was graduated from the Marysville High School, as one of the class of 1919, and then was a member of the class of 1923, of the University of California; and before her marriage, she was a member of Rediviva Society, Berkeley chapter.  They have one child, Betty Irene.  Mrs. Bihlman is treasurer of the Live Oak Women’s Club.  Mr. Bihlman is treasurer of the Feather River chapter of the American Legion.

History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924

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The subject of this review was born in Sutter County on the Graves ranch, six miles north of West Butte, a son of Henry Sherman and Mary (Terstegge) Graves, natives of Massachusetts and Germany, respectively.  The mother crossed the plains with an ox-team to California in an early day, and was first married to George Darpel, by whom she had one daughter, Carrie, who is now Mrs. H. J. Godfrey of Santa Cruz.  After Mr. Darpel’s death, Mrs. Darpel was married to Henry Sherman Graves and they settled in the North Butte precinct of Sutter County, where Mr. Graves engaged in ranching; by additional purchases from time to time he finally owned 4700 acres of range, farming land and tule land.  Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Graves: Louisa J., now Drs. Doyle of Oakland; Frank H.; George M., a farmer and stockman of Yuba County, who died at his home in Marysville in 1924, aged fifty-six; Albert William, our subject; Julia, who is now Mrs. Royce of Santa Cruz; and Annie H., Mrs. Farnsworth of San Jose.  The father died at the age of fifty-eight, while the mother lived to be eighty-four years old.

The education of Albert William Graves was acquired at the Pennington and Noyes district schools and the Napa College.  After finishing his school work, he became interested in sheep-raising with the Graves Estate Company as a stockholder.  Said company at one time had 3000 head of sheep.  At the same time he personally leased 3000 acres of land in the vicinity of North Butte, and for three years engaged extensively in grain-farming.

The marriage of Mr. Graves occurred at Butte Slough on March 8, 1893, uniting him with Miss Margaret Ann Frye, a native daughter of California, daughter of Christian and Mariah Ann (Fredericks) Frye.  Christian Frye was a native of Germany who, at the age of twenty-seven years, came to the United States; he was a soldier in the Mexican War, and directly after the close of the war he came to California, where he followed his trade of carpenter and in later years engaged in farming.  Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Frye, of whom Mrs. Graves is the second.  The others are Alexander Olive (deceased), Hiram Thomas, Charles Eugene, Joseph Walter, Claude Horace, and Theodore Augustus.  Mr. and Mrs. Graves had three children: Margaret Hope, Mrs. Ansel Lamme; Alberta Aileen, Mrs, McNarlin; and Verne Frye, deceased.  Mr. Graves has been a trustee of the Sutter Union High School for the past twenty-five years, and at the present time is clerk of the board.  He is a director in the California State Life Insurance Company, with headquarters at Sacramento.  Mr. and Mrs. Graves moved to Sutter City from the ranch in 1913, in order to give their children high school advantages, and are still residents there.

History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924

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