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 107 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 107 of 177)
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in the work of upbuilding.

An active spirit in the organization < f the P.akersfield Itoard of Trade,
Mr. Redlick was serving as its president in 1906 and took the initiative in the
matter of relieving the sufferers of the San Francisco fire and earthquake.
Immediately upon hearing of the catastrophe he sent a dispatch to the mayor
of San I'rancisco inquiring whether money or provisions were most desired.
The answer came back, "provisions." Through his energy and promptness a
large consignment of provisions from Bakersfield reached the stricken city and
did much to meet the material needs of its unfortunate people. For some
years he has been a leading member of the Bakersfield Club, also has held
membership with Masonry and the Eastern Star, with the Knights of Pythias,
the Elks and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

CHARLES E. KITCHEN.— A man well known for honesty and integ-
rity of purpose and who had the respect and confidence of his fellow-men
was the late Charles E. Kitchen, justice of the peace of the fifth judicial
township of Kern county, and who was also engaged in mercantile business
in Famoso.

A native son, Charles E. Kitchen was born in San Jose, Cal., January 7,
1869, the son of John and Wilhelmina (Henry) Kitchen, natives of England
and Germany respectively and both pioneers of California. The father was
a farmer near San Jose, but afterwards engaged in tf\e insurance business
in San Francisco, which he has fcllowed to the present time.

Of the family of four children Charles E. was the second oldest and
received a good education in the schools of Oakland and San Francisco and
later was employed in a printing office in San Francisco. He became a
member of Company A, Fifth California National Cnard. Coming to Kern
county in 18'"0 he pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land at Semi
Tropic and in drilling for water obtained a flowing well. He followed farm-
ing and fruit-raising there, but later purchased a ranch at Famoso, where
he raised grain. In 1905 he built a store and put in a stock of general
merchandise in Famoso which business he conducted successfully until his
death, which occurred on Christmas day, 1913. He was also postmaster .-it
Famoso, but in June, 1912, he resigned the position. Meantime, in 1902. he
was first elected justice of the peace for the fifth judicial district on the
Republican ticket and so ably and well did he conduct his court that his
constituents re-elected him to the office in 1906 and again in 1910 and at
the time of his death he was serving his twelfth year in the position with a
fairness and justice of decision that won him the commendation of all who
knew him.

In January, 1903, in I-"amoso occurred the marriage of Mr. Kitchen to
Miss Mary Lois Smith, who was born near Bloomington, McLean county,
111., the daughter of Dr. W. F. Smith, now of San Francisco, who served
in an Ohio regiment in the Civil war. Of their union were born four children
as follows Thomas E., Olga, McKinley and Albert.

Always a believer in Republican principles Mr. Kitchen aided in the
hustings of his party and was a prominent and influential man therein.
Fraternally he was made a Mason in Delano Lodge No. 309, F. & .A. M.
in 1902 and was a member of Bakersfield Aerie No. 03 F. O. E. He was



1072 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

greatly interested in the welfare of Kern county and very optimistic for its
future greatness, and being a liberal and enterprising man, was ever ready
to give of his time and means toward any project that had for its object the
enhancement of its great natural resources. Mr. Kitchen died December
25, 1913, and the funeral was held in Oakland under the auspices of the
Masons.

HARRY D. FETHER.— The United Oil Company's production foreman,
who has been identified with the Midway field almost continuously since April
of 1901, is a native of Ohio and was born at Archbold, Fulton county, March
19, 1884, being the youngest son of Alexander and Sarah (Guyman) Fether,
natives respectively of Pennsylvania and Ohio. For a number of years the
father engaged in the lumber business at x\rchbold and became the sole owner
of two sawmills, and at one time was engaged in furnishing hardwood lumber
to the Studebaker firm at South Bend, Ind'., to be used in the manufacture of
their high-class vehicles. Unfortunately he was induced to dispose of his
lumber interests and embark in the oil industry. At first it appeared that his
prospects were fair. While drilling in the vicinity of Bryan, Williams county,
Ohio, he struck gas. Indications seemed so favorable that he piped the gas
into the city of Bryan and sold to consumers there, but in a short time the
supply was exhausted and he was left a heavy financial loser. Next he turned
to contract drilling in Ohio and Indiana oil fields. Eventually he came to
California and at present he and his wife are living in East Bakersfield.
Their eldest son, Frank, who is also represented in this work, holds a very
responsible position as superintendent of. the United Oil Company. The
second son, Louis, while drilling for the Nevada Oil Company in the Kern
river field, was killed January 1, 1908, by a dynamite explosion. Surviving
him is an only son, Victor, now fifteen years of age and living in Los Angeles
with an aunt, Celia, wife of John Klofenstein, a tailor. Besides Mrs. Klofen-
stein there was anotli^r daughter, Effie, who died unmarried in 1898. The
youngest members of the family are George and Harry D., the former engaged
at present in drilling water wells at Peach Springs, Ariz., for Mrs. A. B.
Canfield.

After completing the studies of the grammar grade Harry D. Fether
attended the high school at Bryan, Ohio, for two years. Meanwhile in INIarch,
1900, his father and brother, George, had come to California and engaged in
contracting and drilling at Maricopa. In the fall of 1900 Frank and Louis
joined the others in the west, whither the youngest son followed in 1901,
immediately afterward beginning to work as a tool-dresser with his father
at Maricopa. In the same year he went to the Kern river field, where for five
months he worked with Green & Whittier as a tool-dresser. Next he engaged
at the Monte Cristo lease as a roustabout and pumper, from which he was
promoted to be well-puller, tool-dresser and foreman successively. During
the summer of 1904 he spent three months in the east, returning with his
mother in the fall and then securing employment as a driller on the Monte
Cristo in the Kern river field. As a cable tool driller he is considered an
expert and since the fall of 1904 this has been his special line of work. For
about one year he drilled on the Sesnon, Piedmont and Lunda Vista leases
for Sanguinetti and later he continued in the Kern river field as an employe
of the Kern Trading and Oil Company. When their sixty or more wells
had been drilled and they had shut down six strings of tools, he went to
Utah and spent two and one-half months at Virgin City. Upon returning
to Kern county he spent three years with the Standard in the Midway field
and then drilled without success on a prospect well at Dolgeville, near Pasa-
dena. From Bakersfield he next came out to Fellows and engaged with the
Kern Trading and Oil Company as a driller for a year, resigning in order to
take a vacation trip back to his old Ohio home. Two months later he came



HISTORY OF KKRN COUNTY 1075

back to Fellows and entered upon his duties as production lorcnian with llie
United Oil Company, which position he now fills with energy and ability.

CHARLES KERR.— After having passed his childhood days unevent-
fully near Belfast, county Antrim, Ireland, where he was born in August
of 1830 and whither his ancestors had emigrated from Scotland, Charles Kerr
came to the United States when scarcely fifteen years of age and settled in
Philadelphia, Pa., there learning the trade of a butcher. Upon learning of
the discovery of gold in California he determined to seek the west and
during 1850 he traveled via Panama to San Francisco, where he spent a long
period of commercial activity. Forming a partnership with Hugh O'Neil and
Barney Horn he opened a meat market and conducted a wholesale and retail
business, with slaughter house on the wharf. The partners later engaged in
business at the Presidio and e\entually at South San Francisco, but subse-
quently the partnership was dissolved and each man continued in. business
alone.

The identification of Charles Kerr with Bakersfield and Kern county
began in 1885, when he bought the Jackson farm of several hundred acres
on Kern Island and engaged in raising alfalfa and stock. Upon selling
the tract he bought two farms of one hundred and sixty acres each, situated
five miles south of Bakersfield and well adapted to alfalfa and stock. On
that place he became extensively engaged in the breeding of thoroughbred
horses, buying the mares from J. B. Haggin and increasing the drove until
at the time of his death he had on the ranch one hundred mares of the
finest pedigrees, together with two valuable stallions, Apache and Kismit.
It was his custom to hold an annual sale in San Francisco. Upon these days
he placed upon sale at auction all of the animals that could be spared from
his large herd and the quality of the stock was such that great crowds of
horsemen, not only from all over the coast, but also representative horse-
men from the east, came to the sales every year. His life was full of activi-
ties and both as a business man and as a rancher he won a high reputation
in the state. While he had little leisure for participation in politics and never
consented to hold office, he was always depended upon to cast a straight
Democratic ballot at elections. When almost sevent}^-seven years of age
he passed away April 20, 1907, and the body was taken to St. Mary's ceme-
tery,' Oakland, for interment.

For a time after the death of her husband Mrs. Kerr continued to man-
age the ranch, but eventually the horses were sold and she erected for her
home a substantial residence in Chester Lane, Bakersfield. Still later, in
1911, she erected and removed to a modern and attractive residence on I
street, where in the afternoon of existence she is surrounded by every material
comfort and enjoys the affectionate regard of her circle of friends. The other
house and also the alfalfa farm are rented. Mrs. Kerr, who bore the maiden
name of Jennie Dean, was born at Port Glasgow, Renfrew.shire, Scotland,
and her earliest memories of childhood cluster around that place. Her par-
ents. James and Agnes (Mackenzie) Dean, were natives res-iectively of
Manchester, Fngland, and Port Glasgow, Scotland, and her father died in
the latter place, he having settled there as a civil engineer in early manhood.
Her mother died in San Francisco at the age of eighty-six years. The only
child in the family, Mrs. Kerr grew to girlhood at the old homestead and
during 1852 came to California via Panama, settling in San Francisco, where
August 7, 1866, she became the wife of Charles Kerr. Two children blessed
the union, William D. and Jennie K., Mrs. Sylvester, both residents of Bak-
ersfield. Mrs. Kerr has been a generous contributor to those movements
of a public nature bearing upon the material prosperity or educational ad-
vancement of the community.

P. J. CUNEO, M.D.— The Cuneo family has been located in Kern since



1076 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

1893, at which time Bartholomew and Adelaide Cuneo brought their children
to this place, where they have since maintained a home, the former now
conducting a restaurant at No. 903 Sumner street. They are the parents of
eight sons and one daughter, namely : Peter J., who was born in San Fran-
cisco December 22, 1884, and was nine years of age at the time of coming to
Kern ; Charles, who is connected with the general office of the Southern
Pacific Railroad' Company in San Francisco; Emil, who is associated with an
oil company at Taft ; Albert, bookkeeper in the First Bank of Kern ; Rose,
chief deputy in the county recorder's office; Frank, who is employed in the
office of the superintendent of the Southern Pacific Railroad ; Will, an em-
ploye in the Southern Pacific freight office ; Alfred and George, who are
students in the Bakersfield high school.

After having completed the studies of the Kern grammar school and
the Bakersfield high school, from which latter he was graduated in 1904, P. J.
Cuneo entered the Hastings Law College, an institution affiliated with the
University of California and located in San Francisco. At the completion of
the regular course of study he was graduated in 1907 and admitted to the bar
of the state of California. However, he felt himself less drawn toward the
law than he had anticipated and in spite of his excellent college record he deter-
mined to seek another field of work. During 1908 he passed the state exam-
ination of the pharmacy board and then entered Cooper Medical College of
San Francisco, the medical department of Leland Stanford University, and
there he continued his studies until he received the degree of M.D., upon his
graduation in May of 1911. In the following August he was expmined by
the state medical board and received a license to practice medicine and surgery
in California. Meanwhile he had accepted an appointment as interne at St.
Luke's hospital and there he continued throughout the term, the work proving
of the greatest benefit to him in broadening his professional knowledge and
giving him valuable experience in surgery. Since his return to East Bakers-
field, the community where he passed his school days and where he has many
oldtime boyhood friends, he has devoted himself to the building up of a
private practice.

MRS. REBECCA TIBBET. — Among the very first settlers on Kern
Island and a pioneer of Kern county is Mrs. Rebecca Tibbet, who came
hither on March 1, 1864, v.'ith her husband and four children. Grandma
Tibbet, as she is called, was born in La Grange county, Ind., July 31, 1835,
and was the daughter of Nathaniel and Annie (Lawrence) Callahan, natives
of Delaware and Ohio, respectively. In her native county Rebecca Callahan
was brought up and received her education in the local schools of the day.
There she was married April 24, 1853, to Edward Tibbet, a native of Ohio.

The week after their marriage they started on their honeymoon trip,
which arrangement included a trip by boat to St. Joe, \lo., and thence they
crossed the plains by the overland trail with ox teams, being en route from
May 3 until November 25, when they arrived at San Gabriel mission. They
located in Arroyo Seco, now Pasadena, then a Spanish grant, where Mr.
Tibbet was engaged in cutting wood, which he disposed of in Los Angeles.

In 1864 they located on Kern Island and purchased an eighty acre farm
from Colonel Baker and later homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres
adjoining, all of which now adjoins the city on the south. They paid for
the eighty acres by raising beef, beans and vegetables, and afterward con-
tinued farming and stockraising.

Mr. Tibbet died in 1879, at fifty-two years of age. Since her husband's
death she continues to reside at her old home, making it her residence
except when she visits her children. She became the mother of twelve
children, seven of whom grew up as follows: Eliza, Mrs. \\^ T. Hoke, of Los
Angeles; George, deceased, at one time city marshal of Bakersfield; William,
who was killed by the desperado ]\IcKinney while performing his duty as a



HISTORY OF K1-:RX COL'N'rV 1077

deputy sheriff; Alfred, who died at liis home near Baker.stield October 26,
l'>13: Emma, Mrs. C. P. Larsen, who resides in Bakersfield ; Edward, also
of Bakersfield; and Burton M., of Taft.

;\Ir. and Mrs. Tibbet were pioneer members of the Methodist church
and assisted in organizing the First Methodist Episcopal church in Bakers-
field, in which Mr. Tibbet was trustee and class leader as well as superin-
tendent of the Sunday school. About twenty years ago, when the Salvation
Army was organized in this city, Mrs. Tibbet became a member and has
since been active in the cause.

SIDNEY POWERS. — When the various countries of Europe were con-
tributing- of their brain and brawn to the colonization of America there were
not wanting immigrants from the rugged hills of Scotland to aid in the
herculean task of founding a new nation and among these colonial settlers
were representatives of the ancient Scotch family of Powers, whose early
home in the new world was among the gallant cavaliers of Maryland. It
is said that the Scotch formed an important element in the early history of
that state, where they were noted for energy of character and success in
business. Originally planted in that colony, the Powers family became iden-
tified with Virginia through the removal thither of Richard Powers, a gen-
tleman of Maryland nativity and education. The next generation was
represented by Sidney Powers, Sr., a native of Cumberland county, Md., but
throughout much of his life a planter in Virginia, where he owned a large
plantation in Stafford county not far from the city of Fredericksburg. A
quiet, uneventful devotion to farming, that continued until his death in 1896,
was broken only by the advent of the Civil war, which found him enthusi-
astically advocating the doctrine of states rights and he served throughout
the war as a private in the Confederate army. During young manhood he
had married Mary Ann Thompson, a native of Fauquier county, Va., and a
descendant of an old Scotch-Irish family. Since the death of her husband
she has continued at the old homestead in Stafford county near Fredericks-
burg, where her sixth child, Sidney, was born March 30, 1880, and where
also had occurred the birth of her other children. There were eleven in
the family and all but one of these still survives.

When attending the country schools in Virginia and working on the
home farm, Sidney Powers, Jr., was impressed by the lack of opportunities
in that region. Hearing much concerning the west, he resolved to seek an
opening somewhere along the Pacific coast. Accordingly as soon as he
attained his majority and was free to start out for himself, he began to make
plans for removal to California. December 18, 1901, found him newly arrived
in Bakersfield, where the following day he secured employment in a livery
stable owned by R. A. Moncure. A few months later he began to work
at the butcher's trade under Mr. Graves. Later he assisted in the building
of the steel tanks of the Standard Oil Company in the Kern river field, fol-
lowing which he worked in the \Vhite Star dairy for nine months. His next
position was with the Kern County Land Company, for which he continued
as a collector for almost eight years. Eventually he resigned the position in
order to embark in business for himself. During June of 1910 he purchased
the Ideal stables at No. 2221 I street, in Bakersfield, which he since has con-
ducted with efficiency and success, having since the acquisition of the business
equipped and improved the property, which now includes two stables, one a
brick building 80x100 feet in dimensions, and the other 73x80, both substantial
in construction and convenient in arrangement. While he has not maintained
an active interest in public affairs, he is decidedly Democratic in his sym-
pathies and adheres to the political faith in wdiich he was reared. Fraternally
he belongs to the Woodmen of the World. At the time of his arrival in
Bakersfield he was a young man without domestic ties and it was not until
some years afterward that he established a home of his own. his marriage in



1078 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

Bakersfield uniting him with Miss Mary W. Wilson, by whom he has one
son,. Thomas Sidney, and who like himself is of Virginian birth and education,
a native of Isle of Wight county and descended from an old and honored
family of the southeastern portion of the Old Dominion.

CHARLES H. HELDMAN.— Nestling in the foothills on the north
slope of Piute mountain near Bodfish, Kern county, is the ranch of Charles
H. Heldman, who owns four hundred and forty acres of land on which he
has a full bearing orchard of apples, pears, cherries, peaches and plums,
the place having been improved from the wild land, and which bears evidence
of his energy and enterprise.

ATissouri is the native state of Charles Heldman and Augusta, St. Charles
county, the place of his birth, where he first saw the light of day August 17,
1849. His parents were of German nativity, and he was orphaned by his
father's death when he was three years of age. In Augusta, where he was
reared, he attended the public schools, and when a lad he began to learn the
cooper's trade under his stepfather, Eberhart Fuhr. In 1871 he went to
Colorado and thence to Montana, being engaged at mining. In the fall of
1871 he made his way to the Pacific coast, following his trade in San Fran-
cisco until the spring of 1872, when we find him in Utah, remaining there
until the fall of 1872. In that year he became a miner in Pioche, Nev., and
in 1873 he started for Panamint, at the time of the excitement in Death
Valley, where he prospected until the spring of 1874, and then came to Kern
county. Soon afterward he began mining on the Bodfish, where he built
an arrastre and operated it for seven years. Next he located and opened
the Centennial mine on Erskine creek, operating it until he sold it to good
advantage, when he purchased the present ranch from the railroad com-
pany and began improving it, and during the past seventeen years has
wrought a wonderful change in the appearance of the place. He dug a ditch,
taking water from Bodfish creek for irrigating his alfalfa, while he irrigates
his orchard from a spring. His orchard is thrifty, and a large producer.

Mr. Heldman has been a constant reader and having a retentive mem-
ory, he has accumulated a fund of information which makes him a very inter-
esting and entertaining conversationalist. He is very broad in his views
and is a member of the Thomas Payne Historical Association, as well as
The American Secular Union.

DAVID W. MADDUX. — Among the native sons who have rendered a
creditable showing and been instrumental in the development and improving
of the natural resources of Kern county we find David W. Aladdux, born at
El Monte, Los Angeles county, the oldest child of William and Joanna (Mar-
ney) Maddux, the date of his birth being March 1, 1856. His father died in
1858 and in 1859 the family removed to Hillsboro, Ore., where they resided
for about five years, then removing to a place near Salem, Ore., and remaining
until 1866. They then returned to California and located on a ranch at the
foot of Mt. Diablo, in Contra Costa county.

On this ranch David Maddux worked faithfully for a few years, mean-
time attending the public schools near his home. From a boy in his teens
he earned his own livelihood by working on ranches. He spent two years
prospecting near Tombstone, Ariz., during the early excitement of that cele-
brated frontier mining camp, and then spent two years at Temple Junction,
Tex., where he engaged in cotton growing. However, neither the business nor
locality pleased him very much and he resolved to return to his native Cali-
fornia. In 1884 he located in the Semi-Tropic district in Kern county and with
other-members of the family improved the place by boring artesian wells. He
obtained two excellent flowing wells and set out orchards and sowed fields of
alfalfa. In 1895 he located on the ranch that now has the Santa Fe wells, six
miles west of what is now McKittrick. On this place he engaged in farming



HISTORY OF KKRN COUNTY 1081

with his brother. William A., and later he traded his farm in Semi Tnipic
for the place on which he now resides, also located in the Little Santa ATaria
valley. He also homesteaded one luinclred and sixty acres adjoininp;, im-
provine^ it. buildinsj a comfortable residence and suitable barn, and since
provinsj up on it has also purchased other lands and now own.s about six
hundred acres on which he is raising hay and stock. On his original farm
he bored three wells and obtained a large flow of excellent water wliicli he has
lately sold to the Santa Fe Company.

Mr. Maddu.x has also become interested in real estate in I'akcrsfiold.
owning a residence on Twenty-third and M streets, and with bis partner.
M. S. Platz, built eight bungalows on the corner of Twenty-third and D
streets. While he has never aspired to public office he is interested in the
success of the Repufclican party.

M. M. LICHTENSTEIN.— .\n artistic and imposing business establish-



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 107 of 177)