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 111 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 111 of 177)
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Consumers Water Company has completed its connection for domestic
and mechanical use and now supplies water at a ma.ximum of twelve and
one-half cents per barrel, with a discount for cash, if paid before the 10th
of each month, so as to bring the price down to nine cents per barrel to
the private users. In addition the company provides water for fire pro-
tection to the municipality of Taft. During June of 1913 the city of Taft
completed a water system which at its expense had been constructed and
installed for fire protection. Under the agreement now in force the Con-
sumers Water Company pumps into a large tank, of fifty-five thousand barrel
capacity, situated at an altitude of five hundred feet on the crest of 25-lIill,
enough water to provide adequate fire protection, the same having a pressure
originally of two hundred and fifty pounds per square inch, which however
has been reduced by valves to one hundred and twenty-five pounds.

The Western Water Company, to which the Consumers is subsidiary,
has a reputation for large enterprises. An immense concern, capitalized in
Kern county, incorporated for $500,OCO under the laws of California, it
has had the guiding genius of such men as F. H. Hall, C. B. Colby and
others, and has laid mains to supply with water the oil fields of the west
side as well as all the towns situated therein.

A native son of the state, Mr. Worley was born in San Bernardino
December 20, 1865, and is a son of the late Benjamin and Harriet (Court-
ney) Worley, pioneers of the west. The parents were married in Ohio and
shortly afterward joined an expedition bound for California, making the
journey overland through Colorado and Utah. Although they passed the
site of the Mountain meadow massacre shortly after that catastrophe they
were not attacked by Indians nor did they meet with other misfortunes,
but arrived in health and safety at their journey's end. The family com-
prised six children and the third of these, J. S., was sent to the San
Bernardino schools, where he received a good rudimentary education. Long
before a tie or rail was ever laid he traveled over the route where after-
ward he carried a chain and helped to survey for the road built by the
Santa Fe from Needles, Ariz., to San Bernardino, Cal. In such work he
received his first training as a civil engineer. Later he was connected with
the construction of the water system for the Bear Valley Water Company
of Redlands and on the completion of the plant he continued in the employ
of its officials, being, indeed, for eighteen years a trustworthy manager of
its lines. When he resigned the positi( n. it was for the purpose of entering
the employ of the Edison Power Company as a civil engineer and con-
struction foreman. Largely due to his efTorts was the erection of power
house No. 1 on the Kern river. To him was given charge of the entire
system of the Edison Power Company, which for the first time made him a
resident of Kern county. The completion and management of the aqueduct
and power house occupied the years from 1907 to 1910 inclusi\e and in



1116 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

June of 1911 he entered the employ of the Western Water Company, taking
charge of the construction of pumping station No. 1. In addition he super-
intended the laying of mains and the installing of engines and power plants.
During February of 1912 he came to Taft, where since he has been in
charge of the business of the Consumers' Water Company.

MICHAEL THEODORE KEAN.— A native of Alichigan, Michael T.
Kean was born in Marine City, St. Clair county. May 9, 1853, a grandson
of John Kean, Sr., who served the American cause gallantly in the war
of 1812, being present at Hull's surrender. John Kean, Jr., father of Michael
T., was born at the old home of the Keans in Ireland and settled in Michigan
at a comparatively early date. A man of business ability, he became a con-
tractor of government work and had to do with much important construc-
tion in St. Clair county, including a light house and jobs on St. Clair Flats.
When not busy with contracting, which was his chief business, he devoted
himself to farming. He married Mary Moran, a native of Ireland, and they
both passed away in Michigan.

Of the five children of the worthy couple just referred to 1\I. T. Kean
was the first born and three others are living. When he was old enough he
was put to school in St. Clair county, where he studied until he was fifteen.
He was then apprenticed to the ship carpenters' trade in his native town,
working six months without pay, then for a time at fifty cents a day and later
at $1 a day. After completing his apprenticeship in 1872 he went to Lincoln,
Neb., where he found employment as a carpenter and where he soon entered
the University of Nebraska to take a three years' scientific course. It is
greatly to his credit that he worked his way at that institution, earning
money at odd times with which to pay all his expenses. Before his course
was finished, however, he was obliged to give up his studies because of an
aflfection of his eyes. Entering the employ of the Fitzgerald & Mallory Con-
struction Company as a carpenter, he was soon advanced to the position of
general foreman of their work on such lines as the B. & M., in Nebraska and
Kansas ; the M. P. in Nebraska and Kansas ; and the Chicago, Burlington &
Quincy in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. When the M. P. Company built
its road to Pueblo in 1888 he was its general foreman in bridge and building
construction. When the work was finished he took up contracting and build-
ing at Pueblo, with a real estate business on the side, prosoered for awhile,
but in 1893 fell with others under the influence of the panic. Not disheart-
ened at having been thus "reduced to the ranks," he went back to carpenter
work. In 1895 he came to San Diego, Cal., and was foreman of carpenter
work for Spreckels until the fall of 1897, when he resigned and went to
Arizona for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company as foreman
of bridge and building construction between Albuquerque and Needles. He
was thus employed until September, 1901, when he took up his residence
in Bakersfield, where after working at his trade for a short time he became
foreman for Burleigh and was put in charge of work on the Producers' Bank
building, then in course of construction. Later he was similarly employed
on the Metrooole Hotel building. About 1902 he began contracting at Bak-
ersfield on his own account, and among the artistic and substantial structures
which he has since erected are the B. P. O. E. building, the Baer building, the
Hotel Koesel, the Morgan block, the Moronet building, the Herrington-Cohn
building, the Hambleton building, the Rainier building, the Blue & Gold
Bottling works, the Kern Valley garage, the San Joaquin hospital, the Car-
lock stables, the Manual Arts building, an addition to the Noreiga hotel,
and many handsome residences in Bakersfield ; much fine work throughout
Kern county, including the Maricopa school house and the Rio Bravo bridge
across the Kern river; besides other notable buildings in near-by districts
of the state, and superintended the building of the Kern County high school.




/ /myiy^^>^^



HISTORY OF KICRX COUNTY 1119

In Bakersfield, July 6, 1912, occurred the niarriai;e of J\Ir. Kcan. uniting
him with Airs. \"ictoria (Adams) Michener, a native of Gonzales, Tex., who
came to California when a babe, in 1867, with her parents, crossing the plains
with ox and horse teams. Her father, Thomas Adams, born in Illinois, was
married in Tennessee to Nancy Taylor. He became a stockman in Gonzales,
Tex., served in the Mexican war and in 1867 brought his family to Cali-
fornia and located in San Diego county where he and his wife died. Through-
out California Mr. Kean is known as the father of organized labor in
Kern county and he was president of the labor council for two years.
One of the organizers of the Builders' Exchange of Bakersfield, he was its ,
first president and is still president of its board of directors. Fraternally
he affiliates with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.

JACK HARDING.— The Harding family is of Anglo-Saxon ancestry.
Joseph Harding crossed the ocean to the United States at the age of
eighteen years and enlisted from New York City for service in the Union
army. In company with his regiment he went to the front and participated
in a number of serious engagements, in one of which he was wounded
through the right leg. At the close of the war he came to California and
entered the machine shops at the Mare Island navy yard, where he com-
pleted his ap'irenticeship and where he has been steadily employed from
that time to the present, being not only one of the oldest and most experi-
enced, but also one of the most skilled and capable machinists in the yard.
.'\fter settling in Vallejo he married Miss Mary Lawrence, who was born in
Canada, but at an early age accompanied her parents to California and
settled at Vallejo.

In a family of three children, two still living, Jack Harding was the
eldest and his birth occurred at Vallejo in 1871, his education was obtained
in Vallejo schools and his business training came to him in one of the
mercantile establishments of that town. From the age of fourteen until
he was twenty-one he worked under S. Dannebaum, a well-known merchant
of the place, whose experience and ability proved of assistance in the early
business training of the apprentice. At the age of twenty-one Mr. Harding
went to San Bernardino, secured a position as a clerk and remained for
three years. Returning to Vallejo, he retained his former position for a
short time. Next he embarked in the clothing business with Harry Titconib
as a partner in the firm of Harding & Titcomb. Upon disposing of his
interests in that store in 1905, he removed to Hanford and became manager
of the clothing department of the Kuttner-Goldstein Company. From Han-
ford he came to Bakersfield in 1908 as manager of Redlick's clothing depart-
ment and in this city he became a member of the firm of Harding & Bert-
rand, clothing merchants, in 1911, but in January of 1913 disposed of his
interest in that business, since which time he has owned and conducted
an exclusive tailoring establishment.

While still living at Vallejo Mr. Harding was made a Mason in Xava!
Lodge, F. & A. M., and later he was initiated into San Pablo Lrdge,
I. O. O. F. Politically he has voted with the Republican part}- ever since
he attained his majority. His marriage toe k place at Colusa, Cal.. in
1899, and united him with Miss Willie May Beville, who was born, reared
and educated in that city. -'\s a girl she was given exceptional musical
advantages and became one of the most skilled musicians in her home town,
where also she was an active worker in the Episcopal Church. The Order
of the Eastern Star also has received the benefit of her talented co-operation.
Her parents, William T. and Lutie Beville, were natives respectively of
\^irginia and Missouri. Throughout the period of the Civil war Mr. Beville
served as a private in a Virginia regiment of the Confederate army and
afterward he came to California, settling near Colusa, where he eventually



1120 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

became a prominent farmer and where also he served with fearlessness
and efficiency as sheriff for a period of two terms.

WILLIAM WILLARD PENSINGER.— Born December 4, 1868, in
Grand Rapids, Mich., Mr. Pensinger was taken the next year to Nevada,
where the parents remained for three years, then settled at San Luis Obispo
for a time. In 1874 they came to Kern county, and here he attended school
in the New River district until he reached the age of sixteen years. Until
he was twenty-three he worked for his father on the home place, and then
rented land and started to farm for himself, also engaging in teaming and
hauling. He remained on this place for about two and a half years, then
leasing two hundred and forty acres for the purpose of general farming.
This he followed for about three years, also engaging to some extent in
stock-raising, and then gave up the place and entered the employ of Mr.
Frazier, a general farmer, for whom he worked about eight years. While
working here, three years before moving on same, he bought a tract of
twenty acres and later twenty more, and he now has the entire forty
acres in alfalfa. The property is located four miles southwest of Bakers-
field and is under the Buena Vista canal. The average cuttings amount to
about six tons to the acre, which evidences the productive state of his
land and the careful management of it. In addition to this Mr. Pensinger
does some stock-raising, but he devotes a large portion of his attention
to his hundred stands of bees, which he has had on his place for the past
twelve years. This business has proved highly profitable from a business
standpoint, and Mr. Pensinger has made a deep study of its conduct, taking
great pleasure in the work. He is also interested in eighty acres of the
family estate which he operates, besides renting sixty acres more, and now
runs a farm of one hundred and eighty acres devoted to alfalfa, grain and
pasture. He is fond of out-door life, interested in all that is up-to-date, and
is withal a capable, successful ranchman and politically is a Republican.

DAVID ALBERT JACKSON.— The genealogy of the Jackson family
indicates a colonial identification with the new world and a participation
in the Revolution by William Jackson, whose son, William, Jr., bore a
valiant part in the war of 1812 under Gen. Andrew Jackson. In one of the
engagements of that second struggle with England he was wounded so
seriously as to render necessary the amputation of an arm. After the close
of the war he returned to Pennsylvania, where his son, Samuel, was born
and reared in Chester county. He engaged in the iron industry on the
Octoraro river near Coatesyille, Pa. In that state he married Miss Mary A.
Moore, who was born in county Derry, Ireland, but at the age of nine
months was brought to America by her parents, who settled in Pennsylvania.
Eventually Samuel Jackson and wife removed to Iowa and acquired large
interests in the vicinity of Cedar Rapids, where they continued to reside
until death. They were the parents of six sons and three daughters. The
four sons old enough to bear arms enlisted in the Union army during the
Civil war and 'gave to their country the patriotic devotion and courageous
service which had characterized their ancestors in previous wars.

The youngest member of the family was David Albert Jackson, who
was born near Coatesville, Chester county, Pa., March 7, 1850, and he
received his primary education in the schools of that county. His desire
was to become a mining engineer, and with that aim in view he entered
the Hebron academy at Cochranville. However, before he could graduate
his parents arranged to remove to Iowa, and he finished his. course under
private instruction in Montezuma, that state, where he received the degree
of M. E. Soon thereafter he became chief mining engineer for the North-
western Fuel Company at their coal mines in What Cheer, Iowa, these
mines consisting of the properties of the Star Coal Mining Company and




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HISTORY OF Kl'.RX lOlXl'^- 1123

the (iranger LDal Company. Later as general superintendent he developed
these properties and they acquired the largest coal mining interests in the
state. During 1893 he resigned his position with the company and came
to California, where he established his home at Fresno. As an expert in
examining mines in California and Nevada he soon gained a wide reputa-
tion. In 1900 he first became interested in the oil industry. After a brief
period of prospecting at Coalinga he came to AIcKittrick in February, 1903,
as superintendent for the San F'rancisco & McKittrick Oil Company. When
their oil wells were shut down he returned to Coalinga as superintendent
for the I'resno St. Paul Company, but at the expiration of two years he
returned to his former connections in McKittrick, where a test well had
developed oil in paying quantities and where the San Francisco and McKit-
trick Oil Company now owns one hundred and fifty-five acres with seventeen
wells, sixteen of these being producers. In addition to superintending the
large enterprises owned by this concern Mr. Jacksim holds oftice as secre-
tary and superintendent of the Jackson Oil Company, operating one hun-
dred and eighty acres of adjacent oil land.

The marriage of Mr. Jackson was solemnized at Whitewater, Wis., and
united him with Miss Helen E. Vincent, a graduate of the State Nonnal
School and the Conservatory of Music, and a woman of the highest culture
and refinement. The family, which consists of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and
their only child, Jessie Nena, are attendants at the services of the Fresno
Presbyterian Church, and fraternally Mr. Jackson was formerly active in
Masonr}', having been made a Mason in Montezuma Lodge in Iowa.

P. E. .BOWLES, JR.— As far back as 1903 the organization of the
Reward Oil Company was promoted by the elder Mr. Bowles, with other
capitalists. Immediately afterward the property was placed under develop-
ment. At this writing the company owns one hundred and eighty acres,
on which they are drilling well No. 40. It is worthy of inention that the
wells are without exception good producers of fifteen and sixteen gravity
oil, their splendid development indicating the foresight and executive ability
of the president, P. E. Bowles, Sr., and the secretary-treasurer, Fred
McNear, while the large production proves that the manager, P. E. Bowles,
Jr., understands the difficult art of increasing the output of an already
profitable enterprise. The comfort of their workmen has been a matter of
special interest to the company. Their welfare is made a matter of serious
concern and constant solicitude. A commodious and comfortable clubroom
has been erected for their pleasure and in it has been provided a large hall
equipped for moving picture shows, so that the men in their hours of
leisure have an inviting place for rest and recreation.

Many years ago when he was but a youth P. E. Bowles, Sr.. made a
trip into Kern county with a friend and investigated the since famous
W'eed Patch. Since then he has never ceased to maintain a warm interest
in this section of the country. His optimistic faith in its future has led
him to make large investments here, both mineral and agricultural. In the
midst of many large enterprises in San Francisco and Oakland, where he is
president of the American National Bank of San Francisco, the First
National Bank of Oakland and the F'irst Trust and Savings Bank of Oakland,
he became interested in the pioneer development of the McKittrick field,
where he promoted the California Standard Oil Company, later selling
these interests to the Associated Oil Company. In addition he promoted
the Reward Oil Company, of which he is still the head and his son the
manager. The Result Oil Company, of which his son also acts as manager,
is another enterprise that has had the benefit of his executive leadership. In
his marriage he became connected with a very influential California family,
ior his father-in-law, the late George W. McNear, of Oakland, was for years



1124 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

the most extensive grain shipper on the Pacific coast, besides being one
of the pioneer operators in the Kern river and Coalinga oil fields. Valuable
lands at Coalinga were located under his personal selection and in that field
he became one of the largest stockholders m the ^Vestern Oil Company and
the Maine State Oil Company.

Born and reared in Oakland, this state, a graduate of the high school
of that city, P. E. Bowles, Jr., was sent from high school to the University
of California, where he took the course in mechanical engineering until
the close of the junior year. While at Berkeley he became a member of
the Iota Chapter of the Zeta Psi. From California he went east to Columbia
University in New York City, where he took the scientific course and was
graduated in 1907 with the degree of B. S. For a short time afterward
he engaged with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad in charge of
bridge work on a new line built from Idaho to Seattle. That position he
resigned in order to act as private secretary to Victor H. Metcalfe, secre-
tary of the navy, and thereafter he made his headquarters at Washington.
D. C, until the resignation of the cabinet officer in 1908. Returning to
Oakland, he took charge of general outside work for E. B. and A. L. Stone,
a large contracting firm of that city. Upon his resignation in 1909 he came
to McKittrick as foreman of the Reward Oil Company, of which he is now
manager, besides being superintendent of the Result Oil Company. Together
with his father and Mr. McNear he opened territory in the North Midway
field on section 26, 31-21, where two wells of 19 gravity oil have proved a
great success. The land thus developed has been absorbed by the Reward
Oil Company, which also owns considerable land on section 1, 29-21,
McKittrick front, having now one producing oil well on that tract, and in
addition the company owns oil lands on the Bellridge front, so that their
holdings altogether aggregate an amount surpassed by few of the great
organizations engaged in the development of the field. ,

On July 31, 1913, Mr. Bowles was married to Miss Jessie N. Jackson,
daughter of D. A. Jackson, superintendent of the San Francisco & McKittrick
lease.

ANDREW FERGUSON.— The general traveling production agent for the
Kern Trading & Oil Company, now in charge of the McKittrick division, has
been connected with every department of the oil industry and now fills a very
responsible position with the most noteworthy efficiency. Since he was
a youth his activities have been in the one line, following in this respect the
example of his father, John Ferguson, one of the pioneers of the California
oil fields and a man of unusual information in regard to their development.
The family is of Scotch lineage. As far back as the genealogy can be
traced, it shows an identification with the highlands and the historic regions
around Dundee, where both John and Andrew Ferguson were born, the
latter on the 24th of May, 1875. The former, a marine engineer by trade,
traveled much over the high seas and on one of his voyages anchored in
the port of San Francisco, from which place he made a tour of inspection
throughout the state.

An old acquaintance from Scotland, a Mr. Kelsey, had settled in Tulare
county and had improved a farm near Visalia. Through his representations
of that part of the country the new settler was induced to locate at Goshen,
where he opened a blacksmith shop. For three years he met with encour-
aging results, but the failing health of his wife induced him to seek a new
and more healthful location. The following three years were spent at
Salinas as owner of a large blacksmith shop. During that period he first
became interested in contracting for water wells and from that he drifted into
the business of drilling oil wells. Assisted by his son, Andrew, he drilled
one of the first wells in the Coalinga field and he also drilled in the Kern



HISTORY OF Kl'.KX ColWTY 1123

river field for the Trumbull Oil Company, pioneers in that district. Later
contracts and wild-cat propositions took him to Vacaville, Suisun City,
Monticello in Napa county and Pleasanton in Alameda county. Now at
the age of sixty-two, he is living in retirement from business cares and finds
a pleasant home with his son, Andrew, in the latter's residence at Fresno,
where also lives the wife and mother, who was Annie Aludie, a native of
Scotland. The family comprises one daughter and four sons, all living.
The eldest of the family, Andrew Ferguson, was eleven years of age
when the family immigrated to California in 1886 and six years later he
began to assist his father in the oil industry, working for some time in the
capacity of tool-dresser bt)th in the Coalinga and the Kern river fields.
With a brother he contracted to drill a well on the Lake county line for
the Anglo-American Oil Company. After he had incurred a very heavy
exj^ense in the prosecution of the work the company failed and that precipi-
tated his own financial collapse. Forced to start anew, he returned to
C\ialinga and found employment. Later he drilled wild-cat wells near Red
Bluff. Upon going back to Coalinga he secured employment with the Zier
Oil Company. A year later he was promoted to be superintendent of their
lease and in that capacity he continued for six years, meanwhile building



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 111 of 177)