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 105 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 105 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


CYRUS FELIX DEMSEY, M.D.— The strong qualities that made
members of the Demsey family desirable citizens in every locality in which
they settled were well represented in the make-up of Cyrus F. Demsey, who
lur over sixty years was a resident of this state, twenty years of this time
being passed in Mojave, where as physician during the earlier years and as
postmaster in later life he rendered conscientious service to his fellow-citizens.
Ohio was the early home of the Demsey family, and in Portsmouth C. F.
Demsey was born April 30, 1838. The schools of his birthplace sup])lied him
with a good educational foundation and the locality otherwise contributed to
his well-being until he attained young manhood, when the interest in Califor-
nia which had then become so general throughout the country attracted him
to the west. By way of Panama lie reached California in the early '50s and
was interested in mining more or less until the breaking out of the Civil war.
As a member of what was known as the "California Hundred," he returned
east and enlisted his services for the defense of the Union, becoming a i^rivate
in Company A, Second Massachusetts Cavalry, and during the three years
of his enlistment he was twice wounded. It was after his service in the army
that he turned his attention toward a professional life, having in the mean-
time determined to become a physician and surgeon. With this idea in view
he went to Chicago and matriculated in Rush Medical College, from which
well-known institution he was graduated in due time with the degree of
M.D. Subsequently he established an office for the practice of his profession
in Missouri, and later in Macon county, Illinois, but still later he returned to
California and for a number of years carried on a very successful practice in
San Francisco.

The year 1892 marked the advent of Dr. Demsey in Moja\'e, and here
as in his previous places of residence his ability received recognition and he
built up a commendable practice. Mining also engaged his attention to some
extent, and in April, 1906, he was honored with the appointment of postmaster
at Mojave under President Roosevelt, and under President Taft he was
reappointed in 1909. He continued to fill the office with efficiency up to the
time of his death, which occurred March 27, 1913, when he was seventy-five
years of age. In Los Angeles, in January, 1902, Dr. Demsey married Miss
Matilda Kern, a native of Bluffton, Ohio, their marriage resulting in the
birth of one child, Naomi Kern. Mrs. Demsey, a woman of .strong and deep
personality, was peculiarly fitted to be an able helpmate to her husband. Dur-
ing the later years of his life she was his valued assistant in the postoffice and
so well fitted was she to l)ecome his successor in office that following his
death she was appointed to fill the vacancy. Optimistic as to the future of the
west in general and of California and Mojave in particular. Dr. and Mrs. Dem-
sey gave proof of their faith by the purchase of real estate from time to time,
ultimately becoming owners of considerable property. This they improved
for business purposes, the postoffice being located in one of their buildings,



1048 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

and they also erected one of the largest and most comfortable residences in the
city, which is still owned by Mrs. Demsey.

LLOYD P. KEESTER.— The secretary and treasurer of the California
Market Company holds a prominent position among the rising young busi-
ness men of Bakersfield, with whose interests he first became identified as
a resident in 1901 and as a partner in the present business during 1906.
The market which has developed even beyond the most sanguine anticipa-
tions of its projectors occupies a central location on Nineteenth street and,
remodeled as recently as 1912, is now unsurpassed by any similar plant in
the entire state.

In identifying himself with the west Mr. Keester came hither from
Kahoka, Clark county, Mo., where he was born October 23, 1884, being a
son of William Keester, a native of Lima, Ohio, and for years a hardware
merchant of the Missouri town, but now retired from business activities.
After he had graduated from the Kahoka high school Mr. Keester became a
student in the business department of the Highland Park College at Des
Moines, Iowa, where he completed his education. From bo3'hood he had been
a frequent assistant in the hardware store of his father and after leaving
college he clerked for one year with the Wengert-Bishop Hardware Com-
pany of Kansas City, Mo., returning from that place to Kahoka, where for
two years he assisted his father in the store. From Missouri he came to
California during 1501 and settled in Bakersfield, where he learned the
butcher business as an employe of J. J. Anderson, on the site even at that
time known as the California market. Being credit man, he also became
familiar with business conditions in the town and with the financial respon-
sibility of customers.

Together with Mel P. Smith, also an employe of the same market, in
1906 Mr. Keester purchased the business which since has grown to very
large proportions. The California Market Company was incorporated in
1908 with Mr. Smith as president and Mr. Keester as secretary and treasurer.
In 1911 the firm built and opened a wholesale warehouse and cold storage
plant, on the west side at Taft, where they maintain a supply of wholesale
meats, provisions and produce, operating their own refrigerator car line
between Bakersfield and Taft, and in addition they own and operate the Pa-
cific market at Taft for the accommodation of the retail trade. The history
of the business has been one of rapid, but conservative and substantial growth.
Mr. Keester is a leading member of the Bakersfield Merchants' Association
and the board of trade, also keeps well posted concerning the policies of
the Democratic party, to which he adheres with conscientious devotion. Fra-
ternally he holds membership with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.
Since coming to Bakersfield he has established domestic ties through his
marriage to Miss Frances Gagne, a native of Oakdale, this state, and to
secure a suitable home he erected on the corner of Twenty-second and E
streets a modern bungalow supplied with every comfort and furnished in
a manner reflecting the culture of the family. He is a director in the National
Bank of Bakersfield, which he helped to organize in the latter part of 1912.
This institution threw open its doors to business April 1, 1913, and will
be located on the southwest corner of Eighteenth and Chester avenue.

J. E. GARDNER. — An experience in the lumber woods of Michigan, while
radically different from the work in the oil fields, nevertheless prepared Mr.
Gardner for such enterprises, for he had to combat with many difficulties of a
similar nature. There was the same isolation from the great centers of popu-
lation and the same shadow of aloofness from the world's activities, yet the
same specialized interest and intense devotion to the work at hand. When he
gave up the work in Michigan lumber regions and came to California oil dis-
tricts, arriving at Bakersfield March 13, 1905, he was eager to accept any kind
of employment. The first that ofl'ered was as roustabout with the East Puente







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 105 of 177)