Copyright
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 104 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 104 of 177)
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academy. However, owing to ill health, he left the academy during the
second year of his attendance, and in October of 1859 came to California,
where he settled in Sierra county and engaged in the hotel business. The
floodtide of patriotism sweeping through Sierra county in 1863, he joined a
company organizing there under promise of incorporation with an expedition
under General Banks against Texas, which falling through, and failing of
muster-in under a commission received as second lieutenant in the Sixth
California Infantry, he served on extra duty in the commissary department in
San Francisco during the remainder of his term. Upon being mustered out
as sergeant-major in 1866 he immediately was appointed chief clerk in the
offices of the mustering and disbursing officer, the acting assistant provost-
marshal general and superintendent of volunteer recruiting service, under
Gen. Washington Seawell, an officer noted for system and integrity in the
performance of his official duties.

Upon the closing of the military department and the arranging of its
records for preservation at Washington, the interim between that time and
coming to Kern county was divided by Mr. Brower between service as
inspector of customs at San Francisco and a visit in the east. In search of
health, which had been shaken through pulmonary afifection, he left San
Francisco in October, 1872, and settled at Bakersfield, where since he has
made his home. Business activities in Bakersfield began with the keeping of
books for the firm of Liverm^re & Chester. In 1873, upon assignment of
the afifairs of the Cotton Growers' Association to J. H. Redington in trust for
settlement, he was appointed attorney-in-fact for the trustee, with manage-
ment of the business, which later was absorbed by Horatio P. Livermore
and continued under the name of the Livermore agency of Kern county.

The various litigations over water rights resulted finally in the transfer
of the Livermore property to J. B. Haggin. Mr. Brower was retained as
secretary in charge of the canal deiJartment of Haggin & Carr until the year
1898, when ill health forced him to resign and seek change through a visit in
the eastern states. Returning in the fall of that year, when the Haggin &
Carr lands were about to be ofifered for colonization, he accepted a position
with L. C. McAfee in the management of the colony sales under the name of
the land department of J. B. Haggin, subsequently turned over to S. W.
Ferguson upon a general change in the business of Haggin & Carr to the
Kern County Land Company, in present existence. Upon the approach of the
four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America the Kern County
World's Fair Association was formed for the purpose of gathering and
installing a Kern county exhibit at the Chicago exposition. Having been
selected as secretary and manager, Mr. Brower completed the assembling
and installation of Kern county's products at that exposition. As of more inti-
mate association with the affairs of Bakersfield, it mav be stated that Mr.



1038 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

Brower was the first president of the Board of Trade, elected in 1889; first
president and afterward secretary of the Southern Hotel Association, director
variously in the Kern Valley Bank and the First National Bank of Bakers-
field ; secretary of the Bakersfield school department since 1897, a position
still held, and in which, in association with E. P. Davis, a trustee, and H. A.
Blodget, subsequently the president of the school board, the school affairs of
the city were wrested from political influences and placed upon a constantly
advancing line of progress. At present l\Ir. Brower is interested in oil and
real estate, also in the management of his office building recently erected in
Bakersfield. The Brower building is a four-story brick building on the corner
of Nineteenth and I streets, in the center of the business district, which was
erected in 1910-11, is the most up-to-date office building in the city, having
all the modern conveniences.

J. H. WHALEY. — It would be impossible to make an extended mention
of the Honolulu Consolidated Oil Company without considerable reference to
the popular superintendent, J. H. Whaley, whose association with the great
corporation has been conducive to the profitable development of its holdings
in the famous Midway field. Equally impossible would it be to mention either
the superintendent or the property without extensive reference to the presi-
dent of the company, Capt. William Matson, of San Francisco, a wealthy and
influential sea captain, who owns large holdings in that city and is also a
large stockholder in the steamship line and president of the Matson Navigation
Company. In the course of his many voyages to the Hawaiian Islands he has
formed the acquaintance of capitalists in Honolulu and some of these gentle-
men organized the Honolulu Oil Company, choosing the Captain as presi-
dent. The majority of the stock is held in the island city.

The honor of being a native son of California belongs to Mr. Whaley,
who was born in Placer county July 18, 1870, and was one of three sons attain-
ing to maturity. Of these Edward is now deceased and C. C, a carpenter, is
living at Santa Maria, this state. The parents, John Q. and Margaret E. (Hol-
land) Whaley, were natives respectively of Missouri and Georgia. As early
as 1852 the former came across the plains with a train of wagons and ox-teams.
Arriving in California, he mined in Placer county and later engaged in farm-
ing. His marriage to Miss Holland was solemnized in Sacramento county.
For some years he has been living a retired life at Santa Maria, enjoying in
his declining days the comforts accumulated during an identification with
California of more than sixty years.

From an early age Mr. Whaley was self-supporting and upon his arrival
in Kern county he secured empk yment as a day laborer for the A. N. Towne
Company, on the Towne ranch south of Bakersfield. With the opening of the
Kern river oil field he became interested in the oil industry and ever since
then he has devoted himself with energy to the business. After seven months in
the Kern river field he went to the Sunset field and worked with a drilling
gang. For seven years he was engaged at Coalinga with a number of promi-
nent companies, but much of his association with the industry has been in
the Midway field. After a year as superintendent of the Commercial Oil Com-
pany he came to the Honolulu at the request of Captain Matson, whose ac-
(luaintance he had formed while engaged as a driller. For some years he has
made his home on the company property. After coming to Taft he aided in
the organization of the blue lodge, became one of its charter members and is
the present master, besides which he is a Scottish Rite Mason and belongs to
the Fresno Consistory.

WALTER PALMER.— One of the native sons of Kern county is Walter
Palmer, born at Claraville November 21, 1876, the son of Robert Palmer, who
was a pioneer of California and Kern county and whose biography appears
elsewhere in this volume.




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HISTORY OF KL-:RX COUNTY 1041

Robert Palmer from a boy was reared on the Palmer ranch in Hot
Springs valley, receiving a good education in the local schools. He was
actively helpful to his father in the stock business and learned ranching
and the cattle business. He also tried his hand at mining and began develop-
ing one of his father's old claims, the Ticknor creek placer mine, where he
has been mining for many seasons.

In 1910 Mr. Palmer joined with his mother in ojierating the Palmer
ranch, where they are engaged in hay and stock-raising. Ninety acres of
the ranch is devoted to alfalfa and he is making a specialty of raising hogs.

GREEN BROTHERS.— In 1907 John L. and Bert Green purchased
eighty acres five and a half miles south of East Bakersfield, upon which an
excellent system of irrigation was established. Here they engaged in raising
alfalfa for hay until leasing the property in 1912.

The brothers are native sons of the state and were born in Santa Barbara
county, John L., January 12, 1873, and Bert, March 17, 1875, being sons of
J. W. Green, an honored citizen of Kern county and Californian pioneer,
having come to the state January 6, 1846, and now acting as road overseer
under Supervisor J. M. Bush, whose wise judgment in selecting him for the
responsible position is proved by the excellent work done on the county roads.
The father being unable to give the sons any financial help, it was necessary
for them to take up the battle of self-support when still young in years and
they therefore had only limited educational advantages, although through
reading and observation both have become well informed. After having spent
the years of early life in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties they came to
Kern county in November of 1891 and began to earn their livelihoods as
teamsters. For some years they made a specialty of hauling freight to "Old
Simset'. Working early and late and saving their earnings with frugal fore-
thought, they were able to secure an amount finally that justified them in
buying land, and thus they have become property (jwners solely through
their own unaided and long-continued efiforts. The younger brother is un-
married. The older brother, John L., in 1900 was united in marriage with
Miss Margaret T. Wright, a resident of Sacramento and a native daughter
of the commonwealth, her father, Oren Wright, having been a pioneer of
California. The brothers have been stanch in their allegiance to the Demo-
cratic party ever since they became voters, but neither has sought official
honors or local party leadership. Fraternally they hold membership with the
Woodmen of the \^''orld at Bakersfield. In regard to the future of Kern
county both are optimistic. Appreciating the possibilities of the land, the
fertility of the soil and the advantages of the climate for the production of
many valuable agricultural crops, they discern for their community a future
of material prosperity and enlarged imnortance, and their own diligent efforts
and unwearied industry are promoting the attainment of this desired result.
The brothers sold out their stock and dairy interests December 10. 1912,
and rented their eighty-acre ranch for five years. John L. has assumed
the superintendency of the H. R. Peacock stock farm, situated nine miles
south of Bakersfield. while Bert is taking charge of the W. W. Frazier stock
and hay ranch of four hundred and forty acres, near the Gosford ranch,
one mile west of Gosford Station.

ROBERT R. McGUIRE.— A reputation as one of the experienced and
skilled drillers in the Midway field belongs to "Boh" McGuire. who has had
an extensive training in many of the oil fields of the United States and who
is perhaps as favorably known as any west side oil man. It is natural that he
should be interested in the oil industry, for his father before him. although
a farmer by occunation, devoted much time to the oil business in the pioneer
period of its development in the York state fields, and in addition his only
brother, Harry H., now in Olean, Cattaraugus county, N. Y., has been a



1042 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

skilled driller for some years and recently had charge of a very important
drilling contract in the Brazilian fields of South America. Besides these two
brothers there is a sister, Eva, who is now the wife of R. L. Turner, employed
in the Fullerton oil fields in California. The father, J. G. McGuire, a native
of New York, is now deceased ; the mother, who bore the maiden name of
Elizabeth Gross, is now making her home at Santa Paula, Ventura county.
The first twelve years in the life of Robert R. McGuire were passed at Olean,
Cattaraugus county, N. Y., where he was born December 24, 1882. After the
death of his father the family came to California and settled at Santa Paula,
where he completed the studies of the grammar schools. He also attended the
Ventura high schools for two years. At seventeen he began to work in the
Santa Paula oil fields. For a time he was engaged in laying pipe lines for the
Union Oil Company and later he was with other companies in the same field.

Coming to Kern county in 1501 and engaging with Easton, Eldridge &
Co., in the Sunset field, he remained with that concern for eight months.
Upon returning to the Santa Paula field he secured employment with Hobson
& Co., with whom he continued for four months. Coming again to Kern
county, he went over to the Kern river field and engaged with the California
Mutual Oil Company. In a short time he left for McKittrick, where he
dressed tools on the Southern Pacific lease and then for some years engaged
in drilling under the superintendent, W. E. Ott. An experience with the
Kansas oil fields began in 1905 and continued for one and one-half years, dur-
ing which time he drilled successively at Peru, Bolton, Sedan and Cofifeyville.
Upon his return to California and the resumption of work with the Union Oil
Company, he was put to drilling in the Santa Maria field. Eighteen months
later he went to San Luis Obispo and took charge of the drilHns: for the
Southern and Encinal Oil Company. From there he went to Humboldt county
and drilled for the Petrolia Oil Company, but was not able to find oil in pro-
ductive quantities. Returning to the Midway field, he took charge of the
Golden Gate Petroleum Company near Maricopa and again suffered the dis-
appointment of drilling without success. His next experience as a driller was
on the Sunset Extension. From there he went to the Northern Exploration
Company as field foreman and six months afterward, in 1913, he entered upon
his present duties as drilling foreman on the lease of the Honolulu Con-
solidated Oil Company, situated on section 10, 32-24, in the Midway field.

JOHN P. JOHNSON.— The Scandinavian countries have given to the
United States numerous industrious citizens, whose untiring effort, econom-
ical habits and thrifty manner of living have made them prosperous home-
makers, bringing their families up to be loA'al, patriotic citizens of America.
In Kern county there are large numbers of these residents, who have brought
their worldly goods here with the intention of settling and making California
their permanent homes, and almost inevitably they have prospered and be-
come well-to-do and contented. John P. Johnson, owner and manager of the
liquor house situated at No. 705 Sumner street, East Bakersfield, was born
on the island of Oeland, Sweden, September 22, 1882, and his earl}' j'outh was
there passed on the farm of his parents.

The father, John P. Johnson, Sr., was a native of Sweden and there passed
his entire life, following agricultural pursuits. He was prosperous and so en-
abled to give to his children the advantages of a thorough educational training,
rearing them to become representative men and women. In such an atmos-
phere John P., Jr., grew to manhood, working on the farm with his father
during his vacations from school until he reached the age of seventeen years,
then embarking for the new world to try his fortune among the people of the
far west. Sailing for America he upon arriving immediately made his way
to San Francisco, where he arrived in 1900. and after a month came to Bakers-
field, where he has ever since resided. Until January, 1909, he was employed



HISTORY (^F KHRX CC^UXTV 10+5

)))' various firms, gaining' a footlmld in tiic l)usiness world, and at this tinu'
he purchased an interest in the Leader Hc|uor estalilishnient, which he con-
ducted with such success that in January, 1912, he accepted an offer to buy it.
After selling the business to G. Galli he was persuaded l)y the new owner to
remain as manager. His knowledge of the conduct of the place and his
familiarity with its details made him invaluable in this direction. In June,
1912. he bought back the Leader and is now its sole owner.

Mr. Johnson has been thrifty in his manner of living and keen in invest-
ing his accumulations, and he owns property in Last P.akersfield. including city
lots and a residence, which have become valuable holdings. He and his charm-
mg wife, who was Miss Marcelle Phillips before her marriage, reside in their
well-built home in East Bakersfield. where they give a hearty welcome to their
many friends. Mrs. Johnson was horn in East P)akersfield and is a daughter
of Jean Phillips, well known in this town. In party affairs Mr. Johnson in-
terests himself with the Republican party, th(3ugh he does not hold political
office or have any desire for same. He is a member of the Eagles and the
Order of M( ose.

GEORGE HASTINGS.— In a family of nine chililren, f.uir of whom are
living. George Hastings was third and was born in Newmarket, Highland
county. Ohio, September 1, 1851. When four years of age he was taken to
Illinois by his parents. James and Rebecca (Dill) Hastings, natives of Ohio,
who settled in Chicago. Eventually the father became a pattern-maker in
a shop in Rock Island. 111., where he remained throughout the balance of
his life. His wife also died in Illinois. When the family removed to Rock
Island the son was a boy of nine years and afterward he attended the public
schools of that city until sixteen years of age. when he was apprenticed to
the trade of a machinist in the Rock Island shops in Chicago. LIpon the
completion of his time he was given work as a fireman on a Rock Island
train out of Chicago, and in 1876 he was promoted to be an engineer from
Chicago to Peru, and Peoria. 111., after which he served successively with
the Illinois Central, the Wabash and the Frisco roads. Coming to the
Santa Fe road he was retained for a time as machinist in the Albuquerque
shops and in January of 1882 was given an engine. Five months later he
was transferred to Arizona and stationed at Winslow as headquarters.

Beginning in the fall of 1884 Mr. Hastings had a run between Needles
and Mojave, after which he had charge of an engine from Barstow to Mojave,
making his headquarters in the latter town. Nor was there any change in
his location when he was given the helper engine over the Tehachapi moun-
tains, and he still makes his home in Mojave, where he owns a cottage
erected by himself. For years he has been interested in the work of the
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. His marriage took place in Peoria,
III., and united him with Aliss Ida West, who was born in New York state
and died at Mojave in May of 1909. Five children had l-)1cssed their union,
namely: Mrs. Eva Parton. of Mojave; Howard, who died at the age of
twenty-two years ; William and Elmer, both employed in Los Angeles ; and
Bessie, who remains with her father. Always interested in the cause of
education, he has been active in the upbuilding of the grammar schools of
Mojave. having been a member of the board of trustees for about thirteen
years, most of the time serving as clerk of the board. Fraternally Mr. Hast-
ings holds membership with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and with
the Masons, having been made a Mason in Tehachapi Lodge .\'n. .^1.^.
F. & A. M.. and also being connected with Tehachapi (liajiter No. 18S, ( )rdcr
of the Eastern Star.

ANGUS McLEOD CRITES.— For a period of more tiian one-half cen-
tury 'Sir. Crites was intimately identified witli the upl)uilding of California,
and for fort\' \ears he made Kern county his home, meanwhile associating
himself with manv nunements for the lucal advancement. It was his privi-



1046 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

lege to witness a radical transformation in the country. Its crudities gave
place to refining influences and its primeval aspect became merged into an
attractive environment of great productive possibilities. Today it boasts of a
population as refined and cultured as is to be found in the state. Born near
Massena Springs, St. Lawrence county, New York, on the St. Lawrence river,
in 1838, Angus McLeod Crites was a youth of seventeen when he followed
the tide of emigration toward the far west. During 1855 he sailed from New
York on a ship bound for the Isthmus of Panama. Arriving there, he
walked the entire distance across to the Pacific coast and then boarded a ship
bound for San Francisco. On his arrival he secured work on Alcatraz island
and later helped in the building up of Fort Point. By practical experience
he gained a thorough knowledge of carpentering and the millwright's trade.
After he came to Kern county in 1864 he was employed as a millwright at
Havilah and built several quartz mills, including the mill for the Big Blue
mine at Whiskey Flat. From there, in 1868, he went to Rio Bravo and built
the farm buildings for Jewett Brothers. Next he became interested in the
sheep business, bought a flock and ranged them on the plains and mountains,
later locating land in Keene district, on what is now the road between Te-
hachapi and Bakersfield, and building a house at that place. Like many other
of the early sheep-growers, he left that industry for the cattle business and
in time he became the owner of a very large herd of stock. In addition to his
cattle interests he served as deputy county assessor, and at the time that
the railroad ended at Caliente he was serving as justice of the peace. He was
married in 1870 to Miss Louesa M. Jewett, whose biography appears else-
where. His death occurred September 28, 1904, and removed from among his
family and friends one who ever had been devoted to their welfare, a pro-
moter of their happiness as also of the general community prosperity. In the
annals of the county history his name is worthy of a permanent place.

MRS. LOUESA MARIA CRITES.— The distinction of having been
the first woman teacher in Kern county belongs to Mrs. Crites, who as Miss
Jewett began to teach at Tehachapi May 20, 1867, and continued in the same
position for five months. It is interesting to note how many pupils she had
in that first school and to what families they belonged. The school was com-
posed of the following pupils : five of the Dozier children and the Same number
from the Wiggins family ; four of the Brites family, one Hossick, two Hart
children, four of the Cuddeback family, three of the Tyler and one of the Hale
family, and Nellie Calhoun, later a celebrated actress, who was then seven
years of age and staying with her grandmother, Mrs. James Williams, at Old-
town. At first the teacher boarded with the Dozier family, but when their
house was destroyed by fire she was taken into the Wiggins home, from which
place she rode on horseback to her school. The original agreement provided
that she should teach for three months, but when the patrons of the school
found that if she taught for five months they could draw public money for her
salary the change was made and she remained for a longer term than originally
stipulated. When she made the trip to Tehachapi she rode h(irseback, as
there was only a trail.

Born at Weybridge, Addison county, Vt., in 1833, Louesa Maria Jewett
was a daughter of Solomon Wright Jewett, the most prominent im-
porter and breeder of merino sheep of his day. Further mention of the family
appears elsewhere in this volume, in the sketch of her brother, thejate Solo-
mon Jewett. The best educational advantages of the locality were given to
her during girlhood and of these she availed herself to the utmost. After her
graduation from the seminary at Middlebury, Addison county, she went south
to Virginia and taught in a young ladies' boarding school in Mecklenburg
ciamty. During 1860 she went to Texas to serve as teacher in private schools
in Gonzales county and continued in that position until 1866, when, after hav-



HISTORY OV KERN COUNTY 1047

ing spent the suiiimer in Wisconsin, she came in the autumn to California by
way of Panama, arriving in Kern county January 17. 1867. Until her mar-
riage she made her home with her brothers, Solomon and Philo D., on the
Kern river. As previously stated, she was the first woman teacher in the
county. Miss Jackson, who was the second, soon followed her in the work.

Rev. Mr. Edwards, a Presbyterian clergyman, officiated at the marriage
of Angus McLeod Crites and Louesa Maria Jewett, which was solemnized
at Visalia, August 30, 1870. Four children came to bless their union. The
eldest, Fidelia P)elle, died at the age of eleven years and eleven months. There
are three sons now living, namely : Angus Jewett, who is superintendent of the
Peerless Oil Company ; Arthur Saxe, cashier of the First Bank of Kern ; and
George SoUmon, a supervising engineer at Tucson, Ariz. I'Yom girlhood Mrs.
Crites has been an earnest Christian.



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 104 of 177)