YUBA COUNTY Biographies
GEORGE JOHN STAM
A worthy representative of the Dutch nation who has achieved typical success in agricultural pursuits while operating under the conditions more favorable, in several respects, perhaps, in California than in the land of windmills and dykes, is George John Stam, a native of Enkhuizen, Holland, where he was born on June 15, 1868, the son of George John and Katherine (Van Dyk) Stam, members of a very old Holland family. His father, who died at the age of fifty-seven, was a skilled carpenter; and when he passed away, the community in which he had lived and labored sustained in his demise the loss of a man who had served well his day and generation. Mrs. Stam died in 1869 – when our subject was only one year of age – and her loss was widely felt. They had a family of seven children; and among these George John Stam is the youngest, and the only one who ventured out to far-away California.
George Stam attended the thorough schools in Holland, where they begin early to acquire a mastery of French, English and German; and when only sixteen years old he went from Holland to France, where for two years he did nursery work. He then returned to Holland, and put in a couple of years at home. In 1889 he came to New York, and soon afterward moved westward to Antioch, Cal., where he worked on a farm for $16 per month. He then put in a couple of years at various jobs, and after that embarked in farming on Jersey Island, only to lose all of his savings. He then returned to work for wages, for a year and a half; and after that, having borrowed two horses and a plow, he farmed sixteen acres of land on Andrus Island, at the junction of the Mokelumne River and Georgiana Slough. Here he continued general farming with success for five years after which he moved to the Pierson district and leased from Van Loben Sels; but just when he was beginning to feel that he was doing well, he was wiped out by the flood of 1907. Mr. Stam then leased a small piece of land on Sherman Island, and for two years held out there in a vain attempt to make the venture go; but instead, he “went broke.” In 1909 he joined the Voorman Company and went to Tyler Island; and from that concern he leased about 1200 acres, for a period of nine years. In the meantime, also, he started farming in the tules about fifteen miles north of Knights Landing, in the Sutter Basin; and having been joined here by some nephews from Holland, in 1907, he developed this tule land with their assistance. From time to time, too, Mr. Stam bought various parcels of land, until he now owns in District 1500 about 1200 acres of fine farming land. Here he has produced all kinds of crops, but chiefly alfalfa and grain; and he also has eighty acres of fruit-trees. Mr. Stam moved onto this place in August, 1919; and since then he has greatly improved the estate. He now has a comfortable and attractive dwelling, a milk-cooling house, barns, and the other usual out-buildings. He has also built a machine shop on his ranch, and has put in his own irrigating system. The improvements made on the place also include the leveling of the river land, and the checking of it for irrigation. A concrete pump house has been built, with a 150-horse-power motor and a direct-drive pump. This pump has a thirty-six-inch discharge, taking water out of the Sacramento River and filling to overflowing a good-sized concrete flume, built by Mr. Stam to carry along the water. This equipment enables him to pump enough water to irrigate his entire ranch. He has also built two warehouses, one with a capacity of 80,000 bags of grain, and the other capable of accommodating 50,000 bags; they are constructed of corrugated steel, and have concrete floors. Since Mr. Stam built his new home, he has used the former residence for a camp house for his help. He conducts a dairy, with a herd of pure-blood Holstein cows, and has a milk-cooling plant and cold storage box to hold his dairy products; and he also raises hogs on his place. To supply water for domestic purposes, he has a pressure-system tank creating pressure up to sixty pounds; and from this tank there runs a three-inch water main, leading to various buildings, and also affording ample fire-protection at a very low rate of insurance. He also built a blacksmith shop and a machine shop of liberal proportions, where all of his machine work is done; and this is now in charge of his nephew, D. Stam, recently arrived from Holland. All in all, Mr. Stam’s farm is one of the finest ranches to be seen anywhere, and reflects most creditably upon its owner.
At San Francisco, on June 23, 1901, Mr. Stam was married to Miss Rosabelle Burgert, a native of Sacramento City and the daughter of Lewis and Margaret (Kadel) Burgert. Her father, a farmer, moved to Roseville, and there she was educated. Both Mr. and Mrs. Stam have many friends, who esteem them for their true worth.
History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924
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