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 115 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 115 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


fourth standing at No. 2727 Twentieth street. Throughout all of her life she
has been a devout Roman Catholic, an earnest worker in the church and a
large contributor to its charitable enterprises. St. Francis' Catholic Church
has in her not only a faithful, but also an active and capable member. As
president of the Altar Societ}', promoter of the League of the Sacred Heart
and treasurer of St. Francis Ladies' Aid Society, she has been identified inti-
mately with organizations for the uj)building of the church and the enlarge-
ment of its sphere of usefulness.

CHARLES H. KAAR. — The growing importance of the automobile
industry won the apreciative recognition of Mr. Kaar to such an extent that
during September of 1911 he relinquished other business interests in order
to accept the agency for Bakersfield of the Studebaker automobiles. The
garage is established at Eighteenth and L streets, the dimensions being
115'/ .X 132 and covering more floor space than any one-story garage in
California, having room for about a hundred and seventy-five cars. It is
equipped with machine sho) run by electric power, has a vulcanizing flepart-
ment, electric battery charging department and carries a full line of acces-
sories and supplies.

It was ( n the .^th of March, 1S')4. that Charles H. Kaar first landed at
East Bakersfield, in company with his father, John Kaar, the latter ( ne of
the honored upbuilders of this community and a man of sterling traits of
character. (His biography ajipears in this publication.) There w-ere five
children in the family and the fourth of these, Charles H., was born near
Lochiel. Benton county, Ind., January 15, 1878, hence was sixteen at the time
of the removal to California. For two years he was a student in the public
schools, but in 1896 he gave up his studies in order to earn his own liveli-



1162 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

hood. The first work which he undertook was the learning of the brick-
layer's trade and in this occupation he served a thorough apprenticeship.
At the expiration of his time he worked as a journeyman, visiting various
points of the west and finding temporary employment at San Diego and
other California cities, as well as Reno, Ngv., and elsewhere. After taking
contracts for mason work he began also to contract for houses and other
buildings and upon his return to Bakersfield in 1907 he engaged in con-
tracting and building, which he followed until he entered the automobile
business. Meanwhile he erected a number of houses in Kern, some of
which he scld, but still owns eight at the present time, including the resi-
dence which he erected for his family. To his efforts in no small measure
was due the organization of the Builders' Exchange in 1910 and he was
honored by being chosen its first vice-president, which office he filled for
one year and then withdrew from the organization upon giving up his build-
ing activities. Fraternally he belongs to the Knights of Pythias and has
been a generous contributor to the philanthropic work of the order. In
marriage he became united with a native daughter of Kern county, Miss
Agnes Montgomery, who was born and reared here, received an excellent
education in Bakersfield and has made her lifelong home in this community.
Two children bless their union, John and Emma.

JACOB FETROW KAAR.— With other members of the family Jacob
F. Kaar came to East Bakersfield in 1894 at the age of fourteen years
and in this vicinity he has since been a resident, promoting local activities
by his own admirable qualities of manhood and his devoted loyalty to the
community. Son of John Kaar, mentioned elsewhere in this publication,
he was born at Lochiel, Benton county, Ind., July 31, 1879, and received a
fair education in the schools of his native locality, but at an early age he
left school in order to earn his own livelihood. When fifteen years of age
he began to learn the butcher's trade. Every department of that business
soon became familiar to him. His judgment concerning fat stock was excel-
lent even when he was a mere lad and now it is doubtful if any man in the
county surpasses him in that respect. At the age of nineteen he engaged
in the business with his father, John Kaar, and a brother. Charles, but at the
expiration of six months he began to assume the entire management of the
industry and when he was less than twenty-one he bought the interests of
his two partners. Not having any money of his own he went in debt for
the entire sum, but such was his resolution and so accurate was his judgment
that in eight months he was able to discharge the entire indebtedness. His
next step was to start a bank account, in order that he might accumulate
the capital necessary for the buying of stock.

The small shack on Baker street with its limited space (20x20) soon
became inadequate to the needs of the growing business, whereupon ^Ir.
Kaar's father assisted him in the buying of his present site in East Bakers-
field and here he erected a brick block of two stories, SO x 90. Later he added
a third story. The first floor contains a laundry which has an anne.x of
40 X 100. A grocery and the meat market occupy the remaining space on the
first floor, while the upper stories are devoted to a rooming establishment.
Modern conveniences aid the proprietor in his effort to give the people of
his town the best service and meat of the finest quality. The trade is so
large that the slaughtering of the beeves forms an essential part of the
business and this work is done at the slaughter-house one and one-half miles
southeast of the city. Besides owning this important business Mr. Kaar has
other interests, including the ownership of an eighty-acre ranch at Rosedale,
where irrigation enables him to put the entire tract into alfalfa and thus
engage profitably in the raising of hogs. In addition he owns valuable
residence property in East Bakersfield. In fraternal relations he holds mem-



HISTORY OV KF.RX C-()rXTY 1165

bership with ihe Knishts ul rythias, wliile |Hililical!\- he vulcs with tlic
Democratic party. His marriage took place in l]akerstiel(l and united him
with ;\Iiss Laura Edna Wells, a native of Lochiel, Ind., the recipient of
excellent educational ail vantages and a devoted adherent of the Congre-
gational Church. Their family consists of three daughters, Kmma Carolyn,
Laura Edna and M;ir\- l-"lizal)elh.

REV. J. J. PRENDIVILLE.— St. Joseph's Catholic Church, East P.aUers-
field. was founded in 1900 as a mission by Father Patrick Lennon, wlio con-
tinued to officiate as jiastor until it was made a separate pastorate in 1' 07. Jt
was then that Eugene Ilefferman became the first resident pastor and he was
succeeded in March, 1910, by Father J. J. Prendiville, the present pastor, who
soon after his arrival also began holding services in Taft and Maricopa.

In September, 1911, Father Prendiville built the Catholic Church at Taft,
a $5,000 edifice. He originated the plan, following the old mission style, be-
sides which he superintended the building, selected the lumber and his efforts
have produced one of the finest churches in the San Joaf|uin \'alley. He has
also built a church for St. Patrick's congregation in Maricopa and he is holding
services in Fellows.

St. Joseph's Church and parsonage occupy about half a block of ground
on Kern street. East Bakersfield, and among the different societies are the
Children of ]\Iary, League of the Sacred Heart, Total Abstinence Society and
The Sanctuary Society for Beys. In 1011 St. Joseph's Dramatic Society gave
a play that proved a success and was repeated in the Bakersfield ( )pera House
for the benefit of St. Francis Church.

The pastor. Father Prendiville, was born in Ireland, was graduated at St.
Brendaus Seminary in Killarney, then studied theology and philosophy at
Carlovv college. In 1907 he was ordained priest by Bishop Foley for the Los
Angeles diocese. He was assistant to M( nsigneur Fisher at Holy Cross
Church, Santa Cruz, until March, 1910, when he was appointed to St. Joseph's
Church.

IRA HOCHHEIMER.— The Hochheimer department store on' Chester
avenue, extending one entire block from Xineleenth to Twentieth street, rep-
resents the tireless supervision of its present manager, Ira Hochheimer; as
well as the ability of his father, Amiel Hochheimer, who is yet living, at the
age of sixty-two; Moses Hochheimer, an uncle, now deceased, a man of great
executive abilit\- and a moving spirit in the upbuilding of this establishment :
Monroe Hochheimer, who acts as assistant manager at the j^resent time;
M. H. Wangenheim, deceased, a former manager and a merchant possessing
unusual faculty for organization; and Henrj^ Wangenheim, who has charge of
the San P'rancisco offices of the four Hochheimer & Co. stores. Duly organ-
ized as a corporation under the laws of the state of California, the company
operates in all four departments stores in this state, one at each of the follow-
ing places: \\'illow, Germantown and Orland in Glenn county, and Bakers-
field, the establishment at Willow having been the first in the chain of stores.

The brothers, Amiel and Moses, both of whom were natives of Penn-
sylvania but residents of California from early years, embarked in mercantile
pursuits at Dixon, Cal., but upon the completion of the railroad went to Wil-
low, Glenn county, and established a store at that point, later establishing
the three other stores still owned by the corporation. About the year 1900
Closes Hochheimer and M. H. Wangenheim, both now deceased, came to
Bakersfield and purchased from Mr. Belau the establishment known as the
Pioneer store. At that time there were twelve employes. Business was ci in-
ducted in a single store-room on Chester avenue, immediately north of the
alley between Nineteenth and Twentieth streets. Today the business supports
one hundred and fifty employes and ranks as next to the largest mercantile
establishment in the entire San Joaquin valley. An entire block of ground



1166 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

floor space is occupied on the east side of Chester avenue from Nineteenth to
Twentieth street, in the Hopkins, Brodek and Scribner and Grand buildings.

The manager of this great business enterprise was born in the city of
San Francisco August 6, 1876. The store at Willow was established in the
same year (1876) and his parents moved thither, so that he grew to manhood
in Glenn county. Besides having such advantages as were ofYered by the
public schools he took a regular course of study in the University of California,
from which he was graduated in the spring of 1898. Immediately after gradua-
tion he returned to Willow and became manager of the store at that point.
Four years later, upon the death of M. H. Wangenheim, the manager of the
Bakersfield store, he was transferred to this city to fill the vacancy and thus
at the age of only twenty-six assumed responsibilities of a very weighty nature.

The presidency of the company is still held by Amiel Hochheimer, who
remains actively in the business world and displays an energy scarcely less
than that of his younger years. His Ijrother, Moses, who died in the year 1912,
is remembered kindly by the people of Bakersfield, where he was considered
the leading merchant of the town and a man of high-minded, noble and
humanitarian impulses. At one time Mr. Hochheimer served as lieutenant
on the staff of Governor Gillett. Notwithstanding his business responsibilities
he is sociable and companionable and finds relaxation from business cares
through membership in various organizations, including the Bakersfield Club,
Army and Navy Club of San Francisco, Argonaut Club of San Francisco, and
the Shriners and thirty-second degree Masons.

EDWARD F. MILLARD.— The Millard family comes of old English
lineage and the first representative of the name in America was Stephen
William Millard, a natixe of the shire of Somerset, England, and a pioneer of
1852 in California, having been allured on the long voyage around the Horn
by reason of tales heard concerning the rich mines of the then unknown
west. By the time of his arrival, however, a reaction from mining had begun
and many were seeking their livelihoL ds along other lines of labor. It was to
ranching that he turned his attention after he had landed at San Francisco
and had taken a tour of inspection toward the interior of the state. For a
time he held the position as foreman of the ranch owned by Lyman Beard at
Mission San Jose. Later-he began to farm rented land for himself, living for
a time at Sum Iglen, Alameda county, where his son Edward F. was born
August 12, 1875; but later removing to Irvington in the same county and
during 1892 coming to Kern county to take up general farming. For a number
of years after his arrival in California he remained a bachelor, but after a
time he met and married Rebecca Lively, who was born in Kentucky and at
the age of three years had been brought across the plains by her parents, the
family making the long journey in a wagon drawn by oxen.

Among nine children comprising the parental family, seven of whom are
now living, Edward F. ]\lillard was next to the youngest. As a boy he at-
tended country schools in .Alameda county. At the age of fourteen he began
an apprenticeship to the trade of printer. Three years later, when the family
came t(_i Kern county, he secured work as a type-setter in the composing room
of the ^\'eekly Echo under ]\Iessrs. Gregory and Smith, with whom he re-
mained for eighteen months. Next he began to be interested in horticulture
and general farming. The stud}' of the fruit industry proved interesting to
him. He devoted much time to developing kinds of fruit adapted to the cli-
mate and soil of Kern county. After about ten years of labor in fruit-growing
and kindred pursuits he became a conductor with the Bakersfield and Kern
Electric Railway Company and in that position proved alert, capable and
courteous. For about six years, beginning in 1906, he was connected with
the office force of the Power Transit and Light Company, continuing in the
meter department after the concern had been absorbed by the San Joaquin



HISTORY ()\- KI':F>:X COrXT^' 1167

Lig:ht and Power CdriHiratidii. Diiriii- I"12 Ik- received a merited iironmtic m
to the position of window clerk.

Politics has not received a threat anicnint of attentif)ii fmin Mr. Millard,
yet he keeps in touch with national ])rol)leni.s. favors protjressive measures
in It cal affairs and votes with the Republican party in the general elections.
Fraternally he holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America.
In I'akersfield. May 4. 1902, occurred his marriage to Miss Josephine Cowinp,
who was born in Tulare, this state, and completed her studies in the Kern
county high school. Descended from old Anglo-Saxon ancestry, she is a
daughter of John Cowing, an Englishman who came to California in young
manhood and engaged in farm pursuits. After he had settled in Tulare county
he met and married Sarah P.aley, a native of Georgia. Upon his removal to
Kern county he purchased land five miles from Bakersfield and devoted many
years to the development of the property, making of it a productive and val-
uable tract. For some years he and his wife have lived in Los Angeles.

GEORGE CARL HABERFELDE.— As proprietor of one of the most
important furniture establishments in the San Joaquin valley and as secretary
of the liakersfield Merchants' Association, Mr. Haberfelde has been intimately
identified with the commercial upbuilding of his community and holds a posi-
tion among those enterprising, capable and resourceful merchants who sur-
mount obstacles and rise superior to misfortune. Of German birth- and an-
cestry, he was born in Nuremberg, November 20, 1871, and was a son of John
and Barbara Haberfelde, also Bavarians by birth. For some time the father
carried on a factory where he manufactured frames for pictures and for mir-
rors, but influenced by the reported opportunities of the new world he closed
out his interests in Bavaria and brought the family to America about 1880.
After a brief sojourn in New York City he went further west and settled in
Chicago, where George C. served an apprenticeship to the trades of cabinet-
maker and upholsterer and gained a knowledge of the furniture business of
the utmost value to his later undertakings. There are four sons and one
daughter in the parental family and all of these now reside in California, one
brother, Henry, having come to Bakersfield after the arrival of George C. in
this city.

The year 1891 witnessed the arrival of George C. Haberfelde in California
and the establishment of his headquarters in San Diego, where he opened and
operated a bakery. At the expiration of two years he disposed of that shop
and resumed work in the furniture business as manager of a large San Diego
firm. During the period of his residence in that city he married Miss Alvina
Schmidt in 1894 and they are the parents of. four children, .\lbert, Clarissc, Ed-
mund and Roland. The family removed from San Diego to Bakersfield in 1897
and here Air. Haberfelde later bought out the furniture business of Jacob Nie-
deraur at Nineteenth and K streets. Although almost wholly without means,
he had a good credit and was able to maintain a business of growing im-
pcrtance. The little frame building where he first started in business has
since been replaced by the Fish building. But before it had been removed it
proved inadequate to the demands of his increasing trade and as there were
no large store buildings in Bakersfield at the time he secured a shack a little
larger than the original jilace i f business. When he removed to it he had a
total capital of only $200. From that small beginning he rose to prominence and
success. By the prompt payment of his bills he maintained an excellent credit.
Little by little he increased his stock of furniture until it represented a valua-
tion of about $8,0C0. Just then, when he had only a small insurance protection
of $600. a disastr( us fire entirely destroyed the building and left him worse
than penniless.

Undismayed by the great disaster. Mr, Haberfelde began in business once
more, for his reputation was so high that he had no difficulty in securing nn



1168 HISTORY OF KERX COITNTY

credit all the merchandise he desired. By his upright treatment of customers
he had won their friendship and they rallied to his support. In a short time he
had regained his former position in commercial circles and since 1908 he has
occupied commodious quarters in the Dinkelspiel building at Nos. 1904-1906
Nineteenth street, having the most extensive establishment of its kind in the
county, of which he is now the pioneer furniture dealer. In former years he
was compelled to buy his furniture through middlemen, but even then he had
resolved that when the business justified different procedure, he would go to
headquarters for the source of his supplies. It is now possible for him to buy
direct from the factory and thus save all of the profits of the middlemen, which
in turn enables him to give to his customers the advantage of the reduced
rates at which he buys. With all of his heavy business responsibilities he
finds leisure to serve efficiently as secretary of the Kern County Merchants'
Association, besides which he has been connected actively with the Knights
of Pythias. W'l odmen of the World and Ancient Order of United Workmen.
In politics he supports Democratic principles.

LEONIDES CASTRO.— \\'ith nothing but a stout heart and his good
health to aid him, it is to his credit and a high compliment to his abilities that
Leonides Castro has reached his present standing, due largely to his un-
daunted effort and determined industry. He was born May 18, 1856. in
Sonora, Mexico, sen of Thomas and Concepcion (Coronada) Castro, who
were pioneers of Kern county. Leonides, familiarly known as Lee, is the
eldest of their twelve children, seven of these now surviving. In his boyhood
it was necessary for him to aid in the support of the growing family and as
he gave his time to work on the home farm it left little opportunity for attend-
ing school. Meager as were his facilities for gaining an education he never-
theless became a well-informed man, self-study and observation, coupled with
a quick mind and a retentive memory, being largely responsible for this. In
1867 he came with his parents to Kern county and here he worked for his
father more or less until he was twenty-five years old. He first settled on
Panama ranch, where his father engaged in stockraising and general farming,
later purchasing a hundred and sixty acres on section twelve. In 1876 he
and his brothers were taken into partnership by the father and together they
farmed this tract for about two years, when Lee Castro withdrew and entered
the employ of Miller & Lux as horsebreaker. He remained with this com-
pany for ten years, after which he was with the Kern County Land Company,
engaged in the stock business. In 1890 he bought twenty acres of land, five
miles south of Bakersfield. From time to time he added to this until he now
owns one hundred and twenty acres, devoted entirely to general farming, with
the exception of about eighty acres in alfalfa, under the Kern Island canal.
It should be stated that the oldest ditch in the county was built by his father
and was known as the Castro ditch. Thomas Castro built this for four and
a half miles by the aid of ox-teams, plows and men to do the shoveling.

Mr. Castro is raising horses, mules, cattle and hogs. He has three jacks
and two stallions, all splendid specimens, and in his herd are some large, well-
built mules and horses. For his cattle, horse and mule range he owns four
hundred and eight)' acres on Cottonwood creek, on the south slope of the
Breckenridge mountains, where he also has access to a large public range.
His brands are two Js with an inverted C above and VC. He is also engaged
m contracting and teaming, grading and leveling of land.

Mr. Castro was married in Sacramento, Cal., in 1880, to Miss Dixie Cage,
who was born in Napa county, the daughter of Edward Cage, a pioneer of
that county, whose sketch appears in that of ^Irs. Domitilo Castro, her sister.
Mrs. Castro was reared in Los Angeles and Kern counties, and was educated
in the public schools. Mr. and Mrs. Castro became the parents of ten chil-
dren, five of whom are living. Named in order of birth, the children are:



HISTORY OF KF.RX COUNTY 1171

Charles, who helps his father and superintends the farm and stock business ;
Daniel, assisting in the care of the cattle ; Robert, who died at twenty years ;
Henry, who died at the age of eighteen; Sylvania, when twenty-two; Annie,
when six years; John, who is with Miller & Lnx ; Lottie, Mrs. Hughes, of
Kern county; Martin, attending the Kern county high school; and Louisa,
who died at fifteen years of age. Mr. Castro is a Democrat. The family resi-
dence is at No. 708 Oregon street. East Bakersfield.

ALFRED SWOFFORD.— Born in Daviess county, Mo., February 20,
1874, Mr. Swofford there grew to manhood, giving diligent attention to
his studies at the local schools, and becoming a healthy, well-bred and am-
bitious VLung man. .Attracted early to the west and hearing reports which
assured him of a good chance to improve his circumstances, he came to Cali-
fornia in 1898, in March of that year locating in Tulare county, where he
found employment and worked for about two years. Coming in April, 1900,
to Hill's V^alley, Fresno county, he went to work on a wheat ranch, of
which J. \V. Carpenter was proprietor. The latter did freighting as well as
farming and ran two twelve-mule freight teams in hauling lumber from the
sawmills of the Pine Ridge Lumber Company in the mountains to Fresno.
Mr. SwofTord be,gan as a teamster and worked his way up to be head teamster,
continuing at this job until July, 1902, when Mr. Carpenter sold out to the
Reed Bn thers of Reedley, Cal.. and he continued in their employ doing team-
ing until 1905. During this interval the Reed Brothers, H. M. and E. R. Reed,
were filling their freighting contract to haul up all the heavy freight consisting
of material and machinery for the Kern River Power Company, now known
as the Huntington Electric Power Plant, twelve miles below Kernville. .'\t
times Mr. SwofTord handled teams of eight, sixteen, twenty-four and thirty-
two horses, as the weight demanded, and machinery, some pieces weighing
as much as fifty-two tons, was hauled, this necessitating the utmos: skill in
driving and the most accurate solving of the problems of directions and the



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 115 of 177)