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 106 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 106 of 177)
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Fresno as clerk in the freight ofiice. In January of 1910 he was promoted to be
agent at Porterville and there remained until May of 1912, when he was
transferred to Bakersfield as freight and passenger agent for the Southern
Pacific road. Fie maintains a deep interest in every feature of the business
and is a member of the Pacific Coast Freight Agents' Association. While
engaged in the freight office at Santa Barbara he formed the acquaintance of
and was united in marriage with Miss Rosa Beatrice Logan, a native daughter
of that coast city and a young lady of education and culture, who had been
given the best educational advantages by her father. Dr. D. D. Logan, a retired
surgeon in the English army with a splendid record for professional service
both in India and England.

S. WRIGHT JEWETT.— The family of Jewett has an honored and
influential representative in this native son of California, a citizen whose
prominent association with Bakersfield and whose identification with the
development of many of its important projects causes his name to be insep-
arably connected with the local history. The interests of a lifetime of useful-
ness endear him to Bakersfield. Here he was born at the family residence on
Jewett avenue. May 24, 1877. Here he received the advantages offered by the
grammar and high schools. In this vicinity, under the wise training of his
father, Solomon Jewett, one of the most prominent upbuilders of Kern
county, he gained a thorough knowledge of the stock industry while yet a
mere lad. He was taught to discriminate between poorly-bred stock and the
better grades and soon became an expert judge of cattle and sheep. With a
natural liking for stock and a decided ability in the direction of their manage-
ment, it is probable that he would have made a specialty of the business
throughout life had not other interests intervened, but even with many enter-
prises to engross his attention he has retained in some degree his association
with the stock industry.

When the oil business began to be one of the most promising oppor-
tunities for young men in Kern county, Mr. Jewett relinquished his activities
in stock and began to study oil operations. In 1898 he entered the enr^loy
of Jewett & Blodgett and from a very humble position rose to be a driller,
meanwhile acquiring a very comprehensive knowledge of every department
of the work. Notwithstanding the many experts now identified with the
work in this county he is considered one of the best posted men concerning
local fields. As a stockholder and director he is connected with the Jewett
Oil Company, a concern operating in the McKittrick district. During 1901
he made a trip to the east and to Canada and at Riceberg, province of Quebec,
was united in marriage with Miss Lucy Eleanor I'otter, a native of Montreal,
a young lady of culture, and an earnest member of the Episcojjal Church.
Two children have blessed their union, Philo Landon and Lois Evelyn.

From the time of his marriage until the closing of the Kern Valley Bank
Mr. Jewett was connected with that institution of Bakersfield, first holding
a position as bookkeeper, then receiving a promotion to be assistant casliier


and finally becoming vice-president of the concern and member of the board
of directors. As a financier he possesses exceptional qualifications. His
judgment of men and of valuations is keen and shrewd. His personal char-
acteristics are such as to win and retain the friendship of associates. Since
his retirement from the banking business he has devoted his attention to his
oil and stock interests and to the oversight of his landed holdings. At this
writing he owns eighty acres on Kern Island, where the soil and the prox-
imity to Bakersfield make the market-garden business profitable. The irri-
gation facilities for the tract are adequate and permanent. In addition he
owns a two hundred and forty acre alfalfa ranch at Rosedale with a sixty
horsepower pumping plant having a capacity of two hundred and twenty
inches, and a stock range just east of the Kern river oil field and embracing
three sections of land. While at no time has he sought political prominence,
his opinions nevertheless are firm and positive, and bring him into sympathy
with the Republican party. The Bakersfield Club numbers him among its
members and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks also has the
benefit of his capable co-operation in the local lodge.

FRANK ERWIN BLAIR.— The genealogy of the Blair family extends
back to a long line of Scotch ancestors. The first American representative,
James A. Blair, came from his native Scotland across the waters of the
Atlantic to the new world and settled in Pennsylvania, where he passed
the balance of his life in industrial pursuits. In the family of the Scotch-
American emigrant there was a son, Brice Hugh Blair, whose birth occurred
at Shadegap, Huntingdon county, Pa., and whose early years were devoted
to attendance at school and to the learning of the carpenter's trade. At the
age of twenty-one he sought the larger opportunities of the west and settled
in Illinois, where he followed the occupation of a cabinet-maker for some
years. VV hen news came concerning the discovery of gold in California he
immediately sold out his interests in Springfield and invested the proceeds
in the common fund, started by a party of six, toward the purchase of mule
teams and wagons. Properly outfitted, the small party joined a larger expe-
dition and started across the plains in the spring of 1848. During the spring
of 1849 they landed at Gold Hill. A year later Mr. Blair arrived at Sacra-
mento. For two years he mined in or near Coulterville, Mariposa county.
Later he had the contract for hauling brick and sand used in the construction
of the first insane asylum built at Stockton and on the completion of that task
he took up agricultural pursuits in Santa Clara county. Three years after-
ward he outfitted to haul freight between Stockton and Coulterville.

When the Indians were moved from the reservation at Stockton to
Fort Tejon a position as guide with the expedition was given to Mr. Blair,
who later resumed agricultural pursuits in Santa Clara county. Next he
opened a mercantile store at Santa Clara and at the same time engaged
as agent for the Wells-Fargo Company at that point. While living in Santa
Clara he married in 1859 Miss Jane Quinlin, who was born in Ireland,
but had accompanied her parents to New York at a very early age and in
1858 came via Panama to California. Immediately after their marriage the
young couple began housekeeping at Napa, where Mr. Blair engaged as agent
for a steamship Tine. During 1863 he secured employment as millwright in the
old flour mill, but two years later he resigned to remove to Vallejo, where
he was employed in the Mare Island navy-yard as foreman of the ship-
joining department. When the yards were closed down in 1874 he removed
to Oakland and took up carpentering, but in April of 1876 returned to the
vicinity of Napa and engaged in ranching in the Foss valley. There he re-
mained until his death, which occurred May 9, 189L There likewise occurred
the demise of his wife in 1900.

Four children comprised the family of Brice Hugh Blair. All are still
living. The eldest, Frank Erwin, was born in Napa, this state, May 15, 1860,


and cnnipleted his education in the hi^h sclinol of Yallejo. after which he aided
his father in the care and cultivation of the ranch in h'oss valley. l-"roni 1882
until 1884 he engaged in ranching near Chico, after which he settled in Los
Angeles and established a teaming and transfer business at No. 3 Market
street. The business continued under his manageiuent for six years and when
it was sold he entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company
as a carpenter and builder. Two years later he resigned the place and entered
the Santa Fe employ, being from 1892 until 1898 .stationed at Mojave as car
inspector. Meanwhile he built a cottage in that i)lace. The position at that
pc int had been sought by him with the hope that the climate might benefit
the health of hjs wife and in this respect the change proved most gratifying.
During October of 1898 he removed to Napa and engaged in ranching near
that city, whence during April of 1900 he came to Bakersfield as car inspector
for the Santa Fe Railroad.

Transferred to Point Richmond during the spring of 1901. Mr. Blair
remained with the railroad there until February of 1904, when he entered
the employ of the Standard Oil Company as car inspector. Later he was
transferred to Bakersfield to take charge of the Union tank line department
of the Standard Oil Company, with which concern he has since remained in
the same capacity and meanwhile he has bought his present home at No. 1217
Baker street. In politics he has given stanch support to the Repulilican
party. For two years prior to the consolidation of the two cities he served
as trustee of the Sumner school district. Fraternally he is a trustee of the
Lo3'al Order of Moose, an active worker in the \\^3odmen of the World and
a charter member of Napa Parlor No. 62, N. S. G. W. Since 19C6 he has
served as a member of the board of library trustees for the city of Bakersfield.
Mr. Blair's family comprises four children and his wife, the latter hav-
ing been Lizzie Agnes Hayes, a native of Ottawa, 111., their marriage occur-
ring in Los Angeles June 18, 1890. Mrs. Blair was the daughter of Michael
and Honora (O'Brien) Hayes, early settlers of Ottawa, 111. The father served
in the Civil war in a Massachusetts regiment. The mother spent her last
years in Los Angeles. Mrs. Blair was graduated from the Ottawa high school,
and in 1884 came to \Vilmington, Cal., where lived her uncle, T. B. Hayes,
then United States marshal for the district. The children born to Mr. and
Mrs. Blair are as follows : Herbert, ]\Iay, Brice and Frank.

O. C. BANGSBERG.— The responsible position of superintendent of the
power plant, -canal and lands on the Kern river for the Pacific Light & Power
Corporation, of Los Angeles, is filled by O. C. Bangsberg, who was born near
Christiana, Norway, November 27, 1879. His father. Christian Bangsberg,
was a builder, but in 1882 disposed of his interests and brought his family to
La Crosse, \\'is. There he engaged in contracting and building until 1897 and
then purchased a large farm in Vernon county, Wis., which he still operates.

O. C. Bangsberg graduated from the La Crosse high school and when
eighteen years of age entered the employ of the Central Electric Companj', of
La Crosse, as a fireman. Being greatly interested in the science of electricity
and desirous of making it his life-work, he took a course in electricity in the
International Correspondence School of Scranton, Pa., from which he was duly
graduated. Meantime he had risen to the place of chief engineer wilh the
I^ Crosse Gas & Electric Company, having charge of three electric light plants
and one gas plant.

Desiring to come west to seek greater opportunities, Mr. I'.angsberg re-
signed his position in 1910 and came to Cheyenne, Wyo., where he was con-
sulting engineer for the Northern Colorado Power Company. In June of 1912
he accepted the position of electrical operator for the Pacific Light & Power
Corporation at Redondo Beach, Cal., and in .August of the same year he was
transferred to Borel, Kern county, as power house foreman at the power
plant, and in May of 1913 he was made superintendent. The power plant is


the largest in Kern cuunty. Tlie twelve miles of canal gives a fall of two hun-
dred and sixty feet. The water enters five large pentstocks, to which are con-
nected five waterwheels, each generating 2500 k. w., and the electricity thus
generated is transmitted by two three-phase power lines to Los Angeles, a
distance of one hundred and twenty-five miles, where it is connected with the
Pacific Light & Power system, furnishing power for operating the cars of the
Pacific Electric and Los Angeles railways, as well as the suburban lines.
Superintending this large plant and looking after the company's vast hold-
ings takes all of his time and he is kept continually busy. During this last
year four of the five waterwheels have been replaced by the latest type of
Francis turbines, thus greatly increasing the efficiency of the plant.

In La Crosse, Wis., Mr. Bangsberg married Miss Josephine Tucker, who
was born near Buffalo, N. Y., and they have one child, Ralph. Mr. Bangsberg
was made a Mason in Acacia lodge No. 11, F. & A. M., at Cheyenne, Wyo.
In religious views he is a Methodist. Politically he is a Republican.

CHARLES D. HITCHCOCK.— The ability as a production man which
Mr. Hitchcock displays is particularly noteworthy, inasmuch as his identifica-
tion with the oil industry does not cover any lengthy period of years. As
superintendent of the Kern Crown Oil Company he manages a lease of one
hundred and sixty acres, on section 23, township 32, range 23.

The honor of being a native son belongs to Mr. Hitchcock, who was
born in San Luis Obispo county, April 7, 1878, and passed his early years
upon a ranch. His father, the late Isaac N. Hitchcock, a native of Ohio,
joined an expedition of Argonauts bound to California during the eventful
summer of 1849 and reached Eldorado county at the end of a tedious but
uneventful journey. Like the majority of early settlers he tried his luck in
the placer diggings. When he had made his little stake he decided to quit
the mines and embark in the cattle business. Accordingly he looked up a
locaticn in San Luis Obispo county, took out a claim to land, developed a
ranch and ultimately acquired one thousand acres in his home place. Mean-
while he had married Elizabeth Gibson, a native of Missouri, but a resident
of Eldorado county after she had crossed the plains with her parents during
the '50s. Seven children comprised their family, namely: Annie B., Mrs. Gay,
a resident of Cambria, San Luis Obispo county ; Eugene L., who is engaged
in the creamery business at Santa Barbara ; Etta, wife of C. K. Bright, who
is engaged in the real-estate business in San Diego ; Alvin, of Cambria, Cal.,
a stock-raiser and proprietor of a meat market ; Charles D., of Kern county ;
Lillie, who married Henry Pugh, a grain farmer of Monterey county, and
died at twenty-two years of age ; and Thomas F., who is employed as a
driller in the Lost Hills field.

At twenty years of age Charles D. Hitchcock left the home ranch and
went to Tuolumne county, where he began to work on the Eureka gold mine.
Later he was employed at the Black Oak mine as a foreman and held a
similar position with the Liberty quicksilver mine at San Luis Obispo. Ill
health forced him to relinquish work in gold mines during 1S08 and it was
then that he directed his attention to the oil business. His first experiences
in the industry would have discouraged a man less optimistic than he, for
while operating unsuccessfully in the Arroyo Grande he lost practically all
of his savings. Forced to begin anew, he came over to the Midway in
February, 1910, and secured employment as a pumper. Since then he has
not lost a day from his work and meanwhile he has been promoted so that
he is now suoerintendent, a fact that bears testimony concerning his a])ility
and the intelligence with which he has grasped the difficulties of the industry.
At no time has he been deeply interested in public affairs, yet he keeps
posted concerning the issues of the age and in politics votes with the Demo-
cratic party. With his brother, Alvin, he owns two farms in San Luis

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Obisnii county, one of these coniprisini; nine hundred and t\vent\- acres,
while the other is three hundred and sixty acres in extent. In addition he
owns a meat market in Cambria witli the same lirother as a partner, and he
now devotes his savings to these large and important interests, which
eventually will assume a moneyed value commensurate with his !nost optim-
istic expectations. His marriage in Alameda united him with Miss .Xgnes
Tucker, daughter of Ira N. Tucker, and by this union there are two children.
Ira and \'erna. six and four years of age respectively.

ANDRE VIEUX. — Writers on the growth and development of California
have had occasion frequently to refer to the part played by Frenchmen in
bringing about the wonderful advancement which has given this state world-
wide fame. Andre Vieux, of Delano, Kern county, was born in Sainte Laurent,
Hautes-.-\lpes. France. August 18, 1870, the son of \'ictor and Madelena (Vol-
laer) Vieux. He has no personal recollection of his father, for that parent
died when he was only one year old. Necessity forced him to begin to earn
his own livelihood at the age of eight years, and three months schooling each
year was the extent of his advantages for obtaining an education. Until the
year 1889 he continued to work out on farms, giving his earning therefrom to
his mother. In the year mentioned, however, he came to the United States,
landing in Los Angeles May 22, 1889. After working for six months in that
city he came to Delano, his residence here dating from November 7, 1889. For
several years he was employed as a sheep herder in this vicinity. Mr. Vieux
made an unfortunate move in loaning his money to sheepmen, for in the panic
of 1894 he lost all of it and was compelled to defer his own ambition to man-
age a business of his own. In 1896, however, he was able to purchase some
sheep, which he fed among the hills of Inyo and Kern counties. By buying and
selling stock to the very best advanta.g^ whenever opportunity was presented
he soon won a notable success. Such operations he continued until 1910, when
he sold his sheep and engaged in cattle raising, importing fine stock from
Mexico, but he soon sold out and again engaged in the sheep business. Gradu-
ally he has acquired real estate holdings of considerable value. In October,
190i, he made an investment in a hardware store at Delano, which he owns and
is conducting at this time as the Delano Hardware store. In 1904 he bought
out the general merchandise store of Faure Brothers, continuing the business
with success, until it is now one of Delano's most dependable concerns. Mr.
Vieux was also one of the organizers of and a director in the First National
Bank of Delano.

As a citizen Mr. Vieux is known for his generous and patriotic public
spirit, which impells him to aid to the extent of his ability any movement
which in his good judgment promises to enhance the fortunes or prospects
of any considerable number of his fellow citizens. He has consistently demon-
strated his solicitude for the upbuilding of Delano by taking a prominent part
in all work conducive thereto. A man of progressive ideas, he favors all
political measures looking to the improvement of the condition of the people
at large. Fraternallv he affiliates with the Bakersfield organization of the F.
O. E. He was married in Los Angeles to Mrs. /\miee (X'lllard) Kostin. l)..rn
in Hautes-Alpes, France. In national principles he is a Republican.

JOSEPH REDLICK. — .\ny mention of the large commercial enter-
prises of liakersfield would be incomplete without reference to the important
business founded by the four Redlick brothers, namely: Henry, Samuel 15..
(deceased in 1904), A. L.. and Joseph. Such was their enterprise and such
their keen commercial insight that they not only established and built to
large proportions the department store in this city, but in addition they owned
and operated a chain of similar stores at Tulare, Fresno, Stocktc n, Sacra-
mento and Jackson, and upon selling out these several establishments they
became the owners and proprietors of the Redlick-Abrams Company and the


Redlick-Newman Company, both of which have established large furniture
stores in San Francisco and have built up an enormous trade in the line of
their specialty. Meanwhile the Redlick Mercantile Company at Bake'rsfield
has advanced in power and prestige with the constant growth of the city and
under the able and systematic supervision of its secretary and manager,
Joseph Redlick, has attained a position unsurpassed by any similar institution
in the San Joaquin valley.

Throughout practically all of his life Mr. Redlick has lived in centers
of the oil or gas industry. A native of the oil district of Pennsylvania and in
early life a resident of the Indiana gas district, he now claims as his home
Bakersfield, the commercial center of the oil and natural gas district of Kern
county and easily a leader among all the districts devoted to the production
and development of these indispensable factors of a modern civilization.
Born at Meadville, Pa., May 2, 1860, he is a son of the late Ludwig Redlick,
member of an old Teutonic family and himself likewise of German birth. The
mother, who bore the maiden name of Bertha Sheftel, is also a native of Ger-
many and now makes San Francisco her home. Besides the four sons already
mentioned as having been the founders of the Redlick Mercantile Company,
Ihere were four daughters in the family, namely: Mrs. P. E. Newman, of
San Francisco; Mrs. Henry Latz, of Bakersfield; and Misses Fannie and
Louisa, both residing in San Francisco.

Becoming a resident of Indiana at an early age, Joseph Redlick entered
upon business activities at the age of twenty-one and with his brothers
conducted a shoe store in Fort Wayne, where he made his first ventures
into the realm of business and gained his first experiences in merchandising.
The lessons learned in those days of youthful earnestness proved invaluable
as aids to a later large success. During 1889 the brothers disposed uf their
interests in Fort Wayne and came west to San Francisco, where they soon
acquired business interests of growing importance. ]\Iay 10, 1895, they open-
ed a small store in the Galtes block in Bakersfield. It was not long before
they had outgrown those modest quarters. During 1901 they moved into the
J. B. Berges building, which had been erected and fitted up esoecially for their
use and occupancy. There they enjoyed continued growth. Toward the
expiration of their lease of ten years they began to plan for still larger quar-
ters. With this object in view they acquired a quarter of a block, 115x132
feet in dimensions, on the corner of Chester avenue and Eighteenth street,
and on this site they erected a substantial structure at a cost of $100,000.
January 1, 1911. the Redlick Mercantile Company formally took possession
of the building and moved into their new quarters. This is said to be the
finest and most commodious store building in Kern county, while it is also
architecturally substantial, convenient and attractive. A perfect system of
ventilation was introduced and the sanitation also is without fault, therefore
the health of employes has been conserved. Steam heat renders the building
comfortable during the winter months and electric lights add a desirable fea-
ture to the interior completeness. The ladies' rest room contains every com-
fort and there are also lavatories for both sexes, these arrangements being as
complete in behalf of employes as in the interests of customers. A stranger
entering the great building is impressed with the healthful, contented appear-
ance of the employes and with their uniform courtesy of manner, and this
is explained b}' the attention given to their welfare by the proprietors and
also by the fact that a profit-sharing system has been adopted whereby the
employes may buy of the capital stock of the company according to their
merit and worth. This was a concession in the interests of the employes, for
the company was founded as a close corporation, with the members of the
family owning all of the stock.

These modern innovations and manv other matters not herein mentioned

ia^iccui. S y'uufzJU


express the views of the secretary and manager C(iiK-erniii,i; l)nsiiiess affairs,
the welfare of his employes and the interests of his cnstonicrs. Thoroufjhly
up-to-date in commercial affairs, he represents the twentieth century merchant
of the west, brilliant in mind, keen in insight, skilled in the art of salesman-
ship and original in ideas. In regard to the welfare of Bakersficld and Kern
county he is optimistic. Their future wealth and prosjierity he cannot doubt.
Judging the future by the past he sees a long era of growth stretching ahead
of this district, with assured prosperity for the nu-n who have been foremost

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 106 of 177)