Wallace Melvin Morgan.

History of Kern County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; online

. (page 102 of 177)
Online LibraryWallace Melvin MorganHistory of Kern County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; → online text (page 102 of 177)
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look in America and a great desire to see the new country and try his
fortune, impelled the family to migrate to the United States. F'or three years
he followed farming in Springfield, Mo., after which, in 1884, he came to Cali-
fornia. Turlock, Stanislaus county, was his first stopping place, and there
he immediately found employment, starting at well-bnring, which has since
been his occupation. Two weeks later he bought the rig and engaged_ in
contracting for the boring of wells in Stanislaus and Merced counties, having
his headquarters at Turlock. It was in 1887 that he finally located in Bakers-
field, as he recognized this to be a more central point for his line of work.
At this time the boring was done by hand power, and later by horse power,
but Mr. Schutz now has a steam engine rig and also a gas engine rig, which
do the work more rapidly, and much more effectively. His work takes him
all over the county, where he has bored wells from fifty to twelve hundred
feet in depth, and he has brought in some good flowing wells. For many
years he has done all the work for the Kern County Land Company.

In addition to his well-boring business Mr. Schutz is interested in ranch-
ing at Wasco, his property having been improved from a desert tract. Of his
three hundred and twenty acres, two hundred acres are already under cul-
tivation to alfalfa and it is the intention of Mr. Schutz to sow the whole half-
section to alfalfa. The pumping plant is equipped with a thirty-two horse
power engine. Mr. Schutz has built two sets of buildings and has two tenants
on the place. Prior to improving the above-mentioned property he improved
four other ranches in the Rio Bravo country with wells and pumping plants
for general farming and alfalfa. His home is at No. 2111 Twenty-first street,
Bakersfield. He Jjelongs to the Independent Order of Foresters and is a

LOUIS FRANK JOHNDROW.— French-Canadian ancestry is indicated
by the genealogy of the Jnhndrnw family. The first of the name to establish
permanent residence in the States was the father of John B., who when the
latter was a lad of thirteen years removed to York state. The youth was
even then familiar with the shipping industry and for years he followed the
lakes, but eventually, wearying of the constant exposure necessary to such
an existence, he settled down on a farm. Naturally he chose a location not far
distant from the lakes. The land which he developed was located in JefTerson
county, N. Y., near lake Ontario, where so much of his previous life had
been passed as a sailor. From that time until his death at the age of eighty-
eight he continued on the same property and meanwhile he made a specialty
of dairying and kindred activities. During young manhood he had married
Julia Cornaire, a native of France, who died in New York at the age of forty-
eight. Of their eight children only two survive.

Of the entire familv the next to the youngest was Louis Frank, burn


January 7, 1850, at the home farm in Jefferson county, N. Y., near lake
Ontario. From very early life he made himself useful on the farm. His father
being a dairyman, it was natural that he should be instructed in milking,
cheese-making and similar work. Efficient, energetic and persevering, his
assistance was of the utmost value in the management of the stock and the
land. It was not until 1876 that he decided to leave the old homestead and
seek an opening in Mexico. January 1, 1877, he left Watertown, N. Y., on an
emigrant train bound for San Francisco, where he. arrived at the expiration
of fifteen days of tedious travel. The country was so much to his liking
that he abandoned all intention of proceeding to Mexico. For a time he
worked in a dairy at Gilroy, Santa Clara county. Next he spent eighteen
months in Monterey county, where he drove a stage between Soledad (then
the end of the railroad) and Paraiso Springs. Returning from there to Gilroy,
he became cheese-maker on the old Bloomfield ranch for E. A. Davidson, who
manufactured drum cheese averaging about sixty pounds to the cheese. While
in the employ of Mr. Davidson, aside from cheese-making, he milked a string of
twenty-two cows or more, so that he was kept busy eighteen hours out of the
twenty-four. On one occasion he had just finished making the cheese at 1
p. m., when the cows were brought in. About six milkers had left and help
was scarce. Sitting down on the stool with his pail, he continued to milk until
after sundown, at which time he had milked a total of sixty-eight cows for
the day.

The next work that occupied the attention of Mr. Johndrow after leaving
Gilroy was that of conducting a milk business at No. 1015 Valencia street,
San Francisco. During 1882 he spent a few days in Bakersfield and received
a favorable impression concerning this part of the country. Having closed
out the business in San Francisco, in 1884 he started for Bakersfield to
establish a permanent home in the locality. At San Jose he bought one hundred
and seven head of fine dairy cows. These animals he drove through to Bakers-
field, where he landed November 22, after twenty-two days of hard travel. The
cows were not acclimated and in the next summer all but thirty-five died.
Seven months later he sold the balance for $35 per head. He had paid $50 per
head for the bunch, besides the expense of $4 each in bringing them to Kern
county, so that in seven months he had lost $6,0C0. Had he brought his
money to Bakersfield instead of bringing the cows and had he invested in
some of the splendid land for which this county is noted, he would have been
prosperous from the start. However, he did not allow the failure to discourage
him. With undaunted courage he started anew. His knowledge of the dairy
business was so thorough that Carr & Haggin engaged him to take charge of
their dairy of three hundred cows, which were then grazing on a ranch extend-
ing on both sides of Nineteenth street from the Panama slough west. For
some time he had charge of the manufacture of cheese and butter and man-
aged the large dairy acceptably to all concerned.

Having bought forty-four acres on section 4, township 31, range 27,
in the Panama district, in 1892 Mr. Johndrow resigned his position with the
great corporation of land-owners and devoted himself to the improvement
of the land. It was not then known what products could be raised most
profitably in the district, hence he experimented with prunes. The results
were disastrous. In years when prices were high he had no crop and in
seasons of large yield he could get only a very low price for the fruit, so at the
expiration of twelve years of struggle he grubbed out the fine large trees
and sowed the land to alfalfa. Thereafter with alfalfa and hogs on the land
he was greatly prospered. Eventually he sold the property and in November,
1911, came to Bakersfield. where he erected two houses on the corner of
Eleventh and N streets. In one of these he makes his home ; the other is
rented. While operating his ranch in the Panama district he became inter-


esterl in the Loveland Produce Cmiipany at i'.akerslield. Since 1904 he has
engaged in buying hay and grain for the firm and meanwhile also has had
charge of the storage of the products in two large warehouses at VViblc and
Gosford. Since coming to Bakersfield he has given all of his time to the
business of the firm.

Before leaving the cast Mr. Jolindrow was made a -Mason in Chaumont
Lodge No. 172, A. F. & A. M.. at Chaumont, Jcfifcrson county, N. Y., and his
name has been enrolled among its list of members ever since 1876. In
politics he has voted with the Republican party from the time of attaining his
majority. His family comprises Mrs. Johndrovv and their boy, Louis Frank
johndrow, a child of nine years. Prior to their marriage at San Jose October
3 1883, Mrs. Johndrow was Miss Fannie Pyle. Her father, William Pyle,
crossed the plains to California in 1850. For a time he ran a ferry across the
Sacramento river. Afterward he engaged in wheat farming in Solano county
and later in Fresno county. His last days were passed in Santa Ana, this
state. The wife and mother, Mary Mack, is living at San Jose and at the age
of eighty-four is hale and hearty. During the residence of the family in
Solano county the daughter, Fannie, was born, and she accompanied her
parents in their various removals, receiving her education in the public
schools and at the LTniversity of the Pacific at San Jose.

WILLIAM ARTHUR SPROULE.— The Sproule family was established
in the LTnited States during the year 1846 by William A. Sproule, Sr., who
brought his family of eight children across the ocean from Ireland and set-
tled in Connecticut. Taking up the business of an undertaker, he continued
to follow that line of work until his death. Prior to his departure from the
home country he had lost his wife, Letitia (Henderson) Sproule, who was
born in Ireland and was forty-five years of age at the time of her demise.
Among their eight children the next to the youngest was William Arthur,
who was born in Belfast, Ireland, June 25, 1842, and therefore had reached
only the age of four years at the time of the landing of the family in the
harbor of New York. As a boy he lived in the Greenwich, Conn., home and
attended the public schools. When the Civil war began he had completed
an apprenticeship to the trade of landscape gardener and had followed the
occupation first in Connecticut and later in Pennsylvania. Enthusiasm for
the Union cause led him to volunteer his services as a soldier. During 1862 he
was assigned to Company K. One Hundred and Forty-third Pennsylvania In-
fantry, vvhich was mustered into service at Wilkesbarre, Luzerne county, and
sent to the front with the old Fifth .A.rmy Corps under General Warren. With
characteristic courage the young soldier bore his part in the battlefield and on
the dreary line of march as well as when suffering the deprivations of camp-
life. Not only did he bear arms in many small battles, but in 'addition he
fought in eighteen decisive and bitterly contested engagements, including
those of Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Antietam, the Wilderness, second bat-
tle of Bull Run, Spottsylvania Court-house, Cedar Mountain, Cold Harbor
and Petersburg. Fortunate was his experience, for at no time was he ser-
iouslv wounded, although he had many narrow escapes. When peace had been
restored he received an honorable discharge in June of 1865 and resumed the
ordinary vocations of the workaday world.

For some years subsequent to the Civil war Mr. Sproule was emiiloyed
as a landscape gardener in and near New York City and many of the most
beautiful grounds along the Hudson river bore evidence to his skill and cul-
tured taste. After coming to California in 1871 he spent two years as fore-
man on the Camp1)cll ranch in Kern county and in 1873 established his head-
quarters in Bakersfield, where shortly afterward he bought sixty-six feet of
frontage on the corner of I and Twenty-first streets. At that time Bakersfield
had one store and a very few houses. It would seem as if there was little


need for a landscape gardener in a community so obscure and isolated, but with
the incoming of people and the building of residences he was given constant
employment in his chosen occupation. For twenty-two years he followed
landscape gardening. Meantime he laid out many of the beautiful grounds
that make Bakersfield a city of beauty and a source of pride to its residents.
Since retiring from the occupation in 1910 he has devoted his attention to
the oversight of his private affairs and with his wife, who was Frances Greg-
ory, a native of Connecticut, he enjoys the esteem and regard of the friends
won during the long period of residence in the city. Mrs. Sproule was the
daughter of John and Mary (Osborn) Gregory, natives of Danbury, Conn.,
and Poughkeepsie, N. Y., respectively. Her father was a merchant in South-
port and there died, while her mother passed away in Bakersfield. In pol-
itics Mr. Sproule has been stanchly Republican and in religion has adhered
to the Episcopal faith in which he was reared. Their family numbers two
sons and a daughter. The eldest, Warren, is now a clerk in a hardware
store in Los Angeles, and the second, Albert, who is a conductor on the
Southern Pacific Railroad, makes Watsonville his headquarters, while the
youngest, Mrs. Jessie Argabrite, is living in San Diego.

ROWZEE F. SHACKELFORD.— Born in Brite's Valley, near
Tehachapi, May 17, 1879, Mr. Shackelford is a son of "Dick" Shackelford,
whose life record appears elsewhere in this volume. During boyhood he
lived at the old home farm in Brite's Valley and attended the public schools
of that locality. In work and in recreation the years of youth passed unevent-
fully. When he reached the age of twenty years he started out to make
his own way in the world. The Santa Fe Railroad Company in 1899 gave
him emplcyment as a fireman out from Needles running east and west,
but the following year he resigned and returned to the farm to assist in the
cultivation of the property. Returning to the railroad work in 1903, he again
became a Santa Fe fireman out from Needles. In 1906 he was promoted to
be an engineer and was transferred to Bakersfield, where he has since been
retained by the company and where he has become a well-known and popular

The marriage of ]\Ir. Shackelford was solemnized in Los Angeles in
February, 1905, and united him with Miss Lillian Mae Culver, a native of
North Prairie, Waukesha County, Wis. Their union has been blessed with
two children, Ray and Marie. The fraternal and occupative associations of
Mr. Shackelford are important and varied and include membership with
the Eagles and the Masons. At the time of being made a Mason in Tehachapi
Lodge No. 313, F. & A. M., he was raised by his father, a Mason of the
pioneer period and long a prominent local worker in the order. For some
years Mr. Shackelford has held membership with the Kern Valley Division
No. 739, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, at Bakersfield. In addition
he has been prominently identified with the Brotherhood of Locomotive
Firemen and Enginemen and at one time was honored with the presidency
of Kern River Lodge No. 731 in Bakersfield, of which he is now recorder
and financial secretarv as well as one of the leading workers.

G. M. BUMGARNER, M.D.— In his native town of Guthrie, Ky., Dr.
Bumgarner began to read medicine with Dr. Marshall when eighteen. For
the arduous duties of a physician he had laid well the foundation of a thor-
ough classical education, having been graduated with the class of 1889 from
the college at South Carrollton, Muhlenberg county, Ky. This institution
conferred the degree of A.B. upon him, while the degree of M.D. came to
him in 1892 from the Beaumont Medical College at St. Louis. It is stated
that he was not only one of the most gifted and intellectual members of
the class, but the youngest as well. Upon leaving college he served for one
year as interne in the Missouri Baptist Sanitarium in St. Louis, a position
that gave him many valuable opportunities for different practice. After-


ward he practiced his profession for eight years at Martinsburg, Audrain
county, Mo., and meanwhile in 1893 married Miss Annie, daughter of Dr.
J. N. Moorman, of South CarroUton, Ky.

Leaving Missouri to engage in professional work in the west, Dr. Bum-
garner established his home and office at Escondido, San Diego county, in
1901, hut in 1906 removed to the newly-developed Imperial valley, where
he engaged in a general practice in the city pf Imperial. From there in March
of 1910 he came to Bakersfield, where he and his wife, with their two chil-
dren, Polly and Waldo, have a comfortable home at No. 1722 Blanche street.
At the time of the epidemic of typhoid he was appointed by the board of
county supervisors to the position of county health officer and since Decem-
ber of 1910 he has filled the position with devotion, tact and intelligence,
endeavoring to conquer conditions that give rise to local epidemics and to
so conserve the health of the community that such disastrous experiences
may be prevented. The office of Dr. Bumgarner is on the second floor of
the Brower building, on Nineteenth street.

ALEXANDER R. M. BLACKHALL.— Alexander Reith McLag-
gan Blackball was born in the shire of Inverness, Scotland, March 7,
1882, being a son of Alexander and Agnes (Reith) Blackball, both natives of
Aberdeen. The father, a man uf exceptional powers as a financier, is one of the
heads of a large banking institution and even now, at the age of sixty-one, he
wields a large influence in the financial circles of his part of Scotland. Three
sons and one daughter comprise the family. The second son, John, is connected
with Lloyd's Bank at Coventry, England, and the third son, Douglas, holds an
important pusition with the William Galloway Company at Waterloo, Iowa.
The youngest member of the family, Miss Agnes Blackball, now residing with
her parents at Nairn, Scotland, has studied music in Germany and is a fellow
of the Royal College of Music in London.

Graduated in the classical course from the Royal Academy at Inverness
at the age of eighteen years, Mr. Blackball immediately thereafter entered
the Royal Bank of Scotland as a junior clerk. For two years he cimtinued
with that institution, in which his father was one of the leading officials.
Leaving for London in 1902, he entered the English office of the Hong-Kong
and Shanghai Banking Corporation and for three years held positions of in-
creasing importance with that great concern. During 1905 he was sent over to
the New York branch of the said bank, where for two years he engaged as an
assistant accountant. From there he was transferred to San Francisco in the
fall of 1907. After a successful identification with the western branch of the
house he was transferred to Hong-Kong as an assistant official in the great
original bank, where he remained for more than a year. When returning to
Great Britain on a year's furlough he stopped at San Francisco to visit
friends and in that city he met A. M. Kemp, the first vice-president of the South-
ern California Gas Company, who urged him to come to Taft and accept the
office cf auditor with the Northern Exploration Company. After due consid-
eration he accepted the oft'er, resigned from the Hong-Kong Bank and estab-
lished himself in the Midway field, where he is now connected with the Petro-
leum Club and identified with various organizations for the permanent up-
building of the district. April 16, 1913, at Berkeley, Cal., he was united in
marriage with Miss Grace L. Pack, daughter of John Wallace Pack, a
resident of Berkeley and an employe in the San Francisco mint.

JAMES A. CLARK. — A native of Tennessee, James A. Clark was born
in Celina, July 29. 1869, the son of Hayden and Lillie A. (Davis) Clark, the
former born in Kentucky and the latter in Tennessee. For many years they
were farmers near Celina, but are now residing at Sulphur Wells, Ky. Of
their eight children, seven of whom are living, James was the second oldest
and was educated in the public schools of Tennessee and Kentucky. At the
age of fifteen he removed to Greensburg, Ky., where he attended the high


school, after which he took a course at the Glasgow Normal. During these
years he followed teaching, thus paying his own way during his normal
course, as well as at Bryant & Stratton's Business College at Louisville,
where he was graduated.

For some years Mr. Clark was engaged at teaching and as a bookkeeper
and then entered the employ of the Louisville & Nashville railroad, working
up in the transportation department, and in due time became a conductor
on the road, filling the position until 1900. He then resigned to try to secure
a quarter section of land in Oklahoma. He remained at Cordell, Okla., but
in the drawing for a location was unsuccessful, so he came to Kern county,
Cal., arriving in 1904, and immediately entered the employ of the Kern County
Land Co., and was soon made a foreman on the Poso ranch, a position which
he filled for seven years and then served in the same capacity on their Lake-
side ranch until 1912. At this time he became foreman of the Canfield ranch,
where he is now devoting his time to the advancement of the company's

Mr. Clark was made a Mason in Beachville Lodge No. 619, F. & A. M.,
at Sulphur Well, Ky., was demitted, and is now a member of Bakersfield
Lodge No. 224.

MEL P. SMITH.— The president of the California Market Company
has risen to an influential position among the business men of Bakersfield
notwithstanding the fact that in youth he was handicapped by lack of
means and of educational advantages. From thirteen years of age a
resident of California and for the same period associated with Bakersfield,
he was born in Ottawa, Kan., in 1884, being a son of M. P. and ;\Iary (Price)
Smith, natives respectively of Quincy, 111., and Kentucky, but after 1897
citizens of the great West. At this writing the father fills the position of
boiler inspector for Kern County. There were only three children in the
family and of these the only daughter married W. H. Breene and resides
at Arkansas City, Kan. The second of the three children, Mel P., began
to learn the meat business in 1898, when he entered the employ of J. J.
Anderson, manager of the wholesale and retail meat market handling the
output of the ranches of the Kern County Land Company. From the most
humble position the youth rose to employment of greater responsibility and
when the California Market Company was incorporated April 8, 1909, he was
selected as president and manager, L. P. Keester being secretary and treasurer.

The headquarters of the company are at No. 1618 Nineteenth street,
where every modern convenience has been provided for the efficient conduct
of the business. The California Market Company handles the product of
the Kern County Land Company's ranches and averages from $40,000 to
$50,000 per month, the products including beef, pork, mutton and poultry.
Slaughter houses have been provided in a convenient location and to these
are conveyed the products of the company's ranches, as well as considerable
stock purchased from the farmers of the county.

September 15, 1912, the California Market Company began to make
extensive improvements in their retail store at No. 1618 Nineteenth street.
The entire inside of this market has been remodeled at a cost of $11,000; and
it is now unsurpassed in convenience and elegance by any similar plant
on the Pacific Coast. The Monroe system recently installed has proven a
valuable addition to the equipment. Indeed, the entire plant contains every
modern improvement, creating an effect that reflects business system,
artistic ideas and orderly oversight.

While the work naturally demands much time and constant supervision,
Mr. Smith still finds leisure to participate in local affairs of the Democratic
party and to maintain active relations with the Elks and the Bakersfield Club.
In his marriage he became united with a Bakersfield family of high standing.
It was on Christmas day of 1910 that he was united with Miss Maude Day,


Online LibraryWallace Melvin MorganHistory of Kern County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; → online text (page 102 of 177)