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 123 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 123 of 177)
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adjoin each other, lying near the state of Ohio and the Ohio river. Owing
to the early death of his father he had mi educational advantages, but
was forced to support himself by farm work from boyhood. During the
first raid by Morgan in 1862 he enlisted as a member of an Ohio regiment
of state militia and served as guard along the Ohio river until receiving
an honorable discharge. During April of 1863 he started overland for the
west and en ssed the plains with a nuile team. Stopping in Nevada, he
secured work in the mines at \'irginia City and continued there for
five years.

With packmules for the carrying of sujiplies Mr. W'aldon came to
Cafifornia on horseback in 1868 and settled in Kern county, where he took
up land in the Canfield neighborhood. Lack of water prevented him from
securing satisfactory returns frtm .his quarter section. A company of
twenty-six farmers, of whom he was one. ])romoted and organized a concern
for the building of the Buena Vista ditch. With the securing of an abund-
ance of water he put his farm largely into alfalfa, although he also raised
grain on a portion of the tract. After selling the place in 1877 he spent
several years in the hog-raising industry on lake Buena Vista, where he
was very successful. With a partner he drove fourteen hundred head of
hogs across the mountains to San Luis Obispo county. On the way many
of the animals died, but they were able to clear considerable money through
fattening the balance on acorns and then selling them at an excellent figure.
Later he bought land that now forms a part of the Bellevue ranch and there
he engaged in raising grain and alfalfa. When the property was sold he
became interested in alfalfa-raising on the Blodgett ranch, but this proved
an unfortunate enterprise. Three different crops of alfalfa were drowned
in overflows of the river and he was left almost financialh- ruined. En-


deavoring to make another start, he turned his attention to Standard-bred
horses and while he raised some fine specimens of equine flesh, the market
dropi^ed, all thorough-bred stock depreciated in price and he was left with
nothing, after years of hard work and tireless industry.

A brief experience on a ranch in the Rio Bravo district was followed
by the removal of Mr. Waldon to Kern in 1898, his object in coming to
town being the education of his children. Trading his land for a block
on Flower street he built a house and established his family there. For
eight years he served faithfully as janitor of the school-houses in Kern.
Meanwhile his children had been educated and four of them were holding
jiood positions, so he resigned as janitor with only $105 as capital. It was
his good fortune to find one hundred and sixty acres of alkali land that no one
wanted, but appreciating its possibilities he secured it in haste. At first he
used it for pasture and for that purpose he built a substantial fence around
the entire tract. Later he took up an adjacent desert claim of one hundred
and sixty acres, of which he has since sold eighty acres, so that he now owns
two hundred and forty acres in one body. In national principles he supports
the Democratic party.

In Bakersfield' he was married to Miss Mary Ann Dunn, who was born
in Countv Carlow, Ireland, came to California in 1882, and to Kern county in
1884. Six children were born of this marriage, namely: Frederick, a con-
crete worker of Bakersfield; Belle, a teacher in the East Bakersfield schools;
May, who is employed as a bookkeeper in Bakersfield; James I., a partner in
the Bakersfield sheet metal works; Edward, who is engaged as a well-borer;
and \\'esley, who is with the firm of Reilly and Brown in Bakersfield.

HON. WILLIAM BYARD TIMMONS.— The Timmons family, to
which the Hon. \\'illiam B. Timmons belc ngs, has been represented in this
country by sturdy warriors, every generation having produced a patriotic
soldier who gave valiant service to the cause they were upholding. Elijah
Timmons, great-grandfather of ^Villiam B., was resident in Maryland and
served during the Revolutionary war; his son, Stephen, was born in Mary-
land, but afterward settled in Ohio, where he enlisted in the war of 1812 in
the Kentucky Riflemen and saw service with Jackson at New Orleans. Rev.
James T. Timmons, son of Stephen, was born in Pickaway county, Ohio. A
minister in the United Brethren Church, he was a pioneer preacher in Indiana,
later in Illinois and then in Missouri, where he passed away. During the
Black Hawk Indian war he served in the same regiment as did Abraham
Lincoln and was actively engaged throughout that trouble. He married Sarah
Oxford, who was born in North Carolina, daughter of John Oxford, a pioneer
of Tippecanoe county, Ind., who served in the North Carolina line in the
war of 1812 and was also with Jackson at New Orleans. He was a farmer by
occupation. Mrs. Timmons passed away in Missouri.

The eldest of a family of ten children born to his parents, of whom nine
are living, William Byard Timmons was born September 4, 1833, in Milford,
Tip!3ecanoe county, Ind. Until sixteen he remained with his father learning
the rudiments of agriculture and attending the common school, which was
a log house with slab benches. He then went to near Lexington, McLean
county. 111., and did farm work, at the age of twenty-one starting out for him-
self and farming in McDonough county. He remained there until 1857,
removing then to Scotland county, Mo., to farm there. True son of a noble
soldier, at the call to arms he volunteered and enlisted for service in the Civil
war, being sworn into service July 6, 1861, and becoming a private in Com-
pany B, Twenty-first Missouri Volunteer Infantry. Unflinching courage,
brave effort and patriotic devotion to duty soon won him the attention and
admiration of superior officers and he rose to rank of sergeant, serving the first
two years in Missouri. In 1861 he was detailed as a scout under General Pope


in northeast Missouri, and during- this service had many narrow escapes. When
Pope was ordered to Tennessee, Mr. Tinimons was one of three selected from
the old regiment and detailed as scouts to report to General McNeal, and
under the latter he saw scouting service in Missouri until 1863. gi ing then to
his regiment already in Tennessee. He veteraned with the regiment in 1864,
serving until a year after the war, and was mustered out of service at l-'ort
Morgan. Ala., in 1866. He received his honorable discharge in St. Louis.

Judge Timmons returned to his farm in Scotland county after the war
and continued to live there until the year 1887 when he came to Kern county
and hoiiiesteaded a tract one mile west of Delano. This he imnrovcd and
engaged in stockraising, principally cattle and horses, but in 1910 he disposed
of his ranch and the stock and has since lived retired in Delano. He served as
postmaster of Delano for four years, being appointed by President Harrison
and in 1906 was elected justice of the peace of the Fourth township of Kern
county, being re-elected in 1910 and he has his office in Delano. Judge Tim-
mons married Miss Vashti A. Koontz, who was born in Illinois, and to the
union were born ten children : Sarah, Mrs. Baldwin, resides near P.akersfield.
Jesse is a farmer near Long Beach. Ri se. Mrs. \\'ilson, resides in Idaho.
Adeline, Mrs. Slocum, lives in Scotland county, Mo. Frank lives in Yuma,
Ariz. Emma, Mrs. Woosley, is a resident of Delano. Cora is Mrs. Spaulding
of Los .Angeles. Eva, Mrs. Dresser, of Los .Angeles; Zorada, Mrs. Penaro, of
Oakland, and Everett, of Delano, complete the family The revered and hon-
ored father is a member of Delano Lodge No. 356, I. O. O. F. and in politics
unites with the Republican party.

HON. WILLIAM E. SIMPSON.— The records of the Simpson family
indicate Canadian ancestry and Robert E. was a native of Hamilton,
Ontario, but in young inanliocd removed to Illinois to take up work at
the trade of blacksinith, which he followed for years in Cialesburg. .After
he had removed from Canada he married Miss Margaret Mason, a native of
Joliet, 111. They became the parents of six children, all of whom are
still living. The eldest of the six, AA'illiam E., was born in Galesburg,
111., April 12. 1889, and at the age of eleven years accompanied the family
to California, where his father, settling in Kern county, found employ-
ment in the Bakersfield iron works for the next nine years. ATeanwhile
he also worked as a machinist's helper and apprentice and in that way
earned enough to pay his expenses in the Kern county high school, from
which he was graduated in 1909 with a high standing.

It had long been the ambition of Air. Simpson to secure an education
in the law and three months after he comnleted the high-school course
he matriculated in the law department of the Leland Stanford, Jr.. Uni-
versity. During the course in that institution he earned the means for all
expenses. Each summer he worked in the oil fields of Kern county or
found employment in the Bakersfield iron w( rks. The vacations also
were utilized as periods for the earning of necessary money for the
The fact that, in sf)ite of the time devoted to outside work, he was
graduated in Alay of 1912 with an exceptionally high .standing proves not
only determination of character and resolution of purpose, but also an
unusual capacity of intellect and superior powers of mind. Immediately
after his graduation from the university and his admission to the bar of
California he opened an office at P)akersfield. where. September 3, 1912,
he was honored by nomination at the Democratic nrimary as a member
of the assembly. -At the election, Xovember ri. follo'wing, he received a
majority of seventeen hundrerl and fifty, and is now representing his
county, the fifty-sixth assembly district, in the fortieth session of the
state legislature.

On December 31, 1912. Mr. Simijson married Rthel Robeskv. of Bakers-


field, Cal., and a native of Iowa. Both had gone thnmgh high school and
college together.

During his residence at Palo Alto Mr. Simpson was identified with
the Delta Chi of the university and for some years he also has been
associated very prominently with the Knights of Columbus. As a legis-
lator he regards his task as an exalted privilege, believing that there
can be no greater responsibility of citizenship than the aiding of progres-
sive movements and the upbuilding of the commonwealth along lines of
permanent progress.

HARRY A. JASTRO.— It was the privilege of Mr. Jastro to enjoy
exceptional advantages in the preparation for his life activities and of these
opportunities he availed himself to the utmost, thus laying the foundation
for the broad knowledge he now possesses. Born in Bakersfield October 14,
1875, a son of Henry A. Jastro, chairman of the Kern county board of super-
visors, he was sent to the local schools during early boyhood, but at the age
of fourteen went to Europe, where he spent six years in study. For a time
he enjoyed the advantages afforded by the technical department of the Uni-
versity of Berlin. From there he went to Aix-la-Chapelle, Aachen, Rhenish
Prussia, and entered the Technical College, where he took the complete course
and finished with a creditable standing. After an absence of six years he
returned to the United States and shortly after his arrival in Bakersfield
secured employment with the Power Development Company. Six months
later he went to San Francisco and found a position as draftsman with Cobb
& Hesselmeyer, hydraulic and mechanical engineers, then employed as con-
sulting engineers for the Power Development Company. With them he con-
tinued for eighteen months and later for six months worked with the old
San Francisco Gas & Electric Company. These varied positions were most
helpful in enabling him to gain a practical experience in all the departments
of his chosen calling.

Upon returning to Bakersfield and entering the employ of the Bakersfield
Gas & Electric Light Company, Mr. Jastro began in a very lowly capacity, but
by dint of perseverance, accurate knowledge of the business and resource-
fulness in his daily emergencies, he worked his way up to be assistant super-
intendent. When he left the firm it was to enter the employ of the Edison
Eleciric Light Company of Los Angeles and for three years he was con-
nected with their engineering and business departments, during the period of
the construction of their nine-million-dollar plant on Kern river. For the
tunnels of this company he contracted to build eight miles of concrete line,
an undertaking of great importance involving large expenditures and many
responsibilities. From 1906 until the shutting down of the plant in 1907 he
was connected with the engineering and business departments of the Eastern
Colorado Power Company, located at Boulder, Colo., on Clear creek. Soon
after his return to Bakersfield he became general manager of the Power
Transit & Light Company, which during 1910 was absorbed by the San
Joaquin Light & Power Company. The latter concern retained him as man-
ager at Bakersfield for six months and then appointed him manager of their
commercial department, which position he has since filled with accuracy,
intelligence and marked professional skill. Along the line of his chosen calling
he has been connected with the Pacific Coast Gas Association, while socially
he is a leading member of the Bakersfield Club. During 1910 he married in
San Francisco Miss Edna M. Crooks, a native of Boston, Mass., and a lady
of exceptional culture. In politics he supports Democratic men and meas-
ures. Fraternally he is a member of Bakersfield Parlor No. 42, N. S. G. W.,
has filled the office of secretary of Bakersfield Lodge No. 266, B. P. O. E.,
and is ex-secretary and past president of Aerie No. 93, F. O. E., as well as a
member of the grand lodge of the order.

ERWIN W. OWEN.— An identification of but a few years with the


citizenship of Bakersfield and the oil interests of Kern county has been suf-
ficient to s^ive Mr. Owen an influential position in this section. When the
failing health of his father. Josiah Owen, rendered advisable the presence
of a member of the family in Kern county to direct the important interests
here, it was the request of the parent that this son should come hither. Ac-
cordingly he closed out his interests in Texas, resigned the office of county
treasurer of ^laverick county, and in January of 1909 became a resident of
Bakersfield, where he since has maintained a supervision of the family busi-
ness attains and at the same time has engaged in the practice of law with
growing success. As vice-president and a director of the Eight Oil Com-
pany and as a stockholder in the Buena Vista Land & Development Company,
also as a stockholder in the Colorado Pacific Development Company, he has
become closely associated with important industries. He is now a member of
the firm of Clafiin & Owen, attorneys at law, with offices in the Morgan

In his removal to California Mr. Owen was accompanied by his family,
which consists of wife and two children, Erwin W. and Ellen A. Mrs. Owen,
formerly Miss Anna Lege, was born and reared in Texas, and is identified
with the Daughters of the Republic of that state. Her father, Capt. Charles
L. Lege, a pioneer of the Lone Star state, served as captain of a Texas com-
pany in the Confederate army and proved his valor bv heniic actii n on
more than one fiercely contested battle-field. Mrs. Owen has been a member
of the Episcopal Church from girlhood and Mr. Owen contributes to the
maintenance and charities of that denomination. In national politics he votes
with the Republican party. \Vhile living in Texas he was made a Mason in
Eagle Pass Lodge No. 626, F. & A. I\I., also became associated with the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while since coming to Bakersfield lie has
allied himself with the Woodmen of the World.

CHARLES J. LINDGREN.— The life which this narrative delineates
began August 5, 1858, at Norrkdping in the eastern part of Sweden near the
shores of the Baltic sea and closed in San Francisco April 24, 1913. Between
these two dates that span an era of one-half century or more there was a con-
stantly broadening influence on the part of the man himself in occupative
connections, in commercial avenues and in the material upbuilding of Cali-
fornia. Throughout all of his life he made a specialty of the building business,
but this did not represent the limit of his forceful activities, for in addition
he was a heavy stockholder in the Bakersfield Sandstone Brick Company, be-
sides holding stock in the Lindgren-Hicks Company of San Francisco, the
Golden Gate S-mdstone Brick Company and the IL Hand I'rick Company of
Antioch. As a contractor his name was inseparably associated with construc-
tion work in the state. Many substantial business blocks and public buildings
in various parts of the state furnish a silent but convincing evidence concern-
ing his skill and ability, among these being the Sacramento county court house,
the Humboldt Bank building and the Y. M. C. A. building in San Francisco,
the Southern Hotel and its Annex, the Bakersfield opera house, Scribner opera
house, Kern county high school, Manchester Hotel building, Manley apart-
ments, the Security Trust Company's Bank, the Bank of Bakersfield, and the
Brower, Redlick and Tegler buildings, all in Bakersfield, also the Tevis resi-
dence at Stockdale, which is among the most attractive homes in Kern county.

The first nineteen years in the life of the late Charles J. Lindgren were
passed uneventfully in a part of Sweden offering few opportunities to people
of ambition and enterprise, but furnishing a humble livelihood to those who
sought such with diligence. In a family of ten children, six of whom are now
living, he had only such advantages as the locality and period afforded in an
educational way. His parents were John Frederick and Ii)hanna ( [nhanson')
Lindgren. The former, who died at the age of seventy-two, followed the


occupation of a builder. Many of his buildings, all constructed of brick or
stone, still stand as substantial as when first erected and give abundant testi-
mony concerning his efficiency as a skilled workman.

Under the careful oversight of such an experienced builder Charles J.
Lindpren gained a substantial knowledge of the building business. When he
crossed the ocean to America at the age of nineteen he was able to secure im-
mediate employment with a force of carpenters. For some time he worked in
Chicago, but the possibilities of the west lured him across the mountains. His
identification with Bakersfield began in 1889, when the work of rebuilding was
begun after the disastrous fire. While he did not remain in the city until his
death, his identification with its interests never ceased. When business occa-
sionally brought him back to Bakersfield, he found the greatest possible pleas-
ure in meeting and shaking hands with old friends. Nor was his circle of
friends limited to Bakersfield. Throughout Kern county he had hosts of
friends. In Fresno, where he lived for a time and where he had a number of
very important contracts, he ranked high as a builder and as a man. In the
San Joaquin valley many important structures gave expression to his ability
and splendid command of every phase of the building business. During the
latter part of his life he maintained offices in the Monadnock building, San
Francisco, and officiated as president of the Lindgren Company, one of the
most substantial building concerns in .America.

While living in Chicago Mr. Lindgren was united in marriage with Miss
Bergquist, who survives him, occupying the elegant family residence on Pierce
street, San Francisco. Three children survive their father, Charles J., Gertrude
and Edna. In politics Mr. Lindgren was a Republican. Although large busi-
ness interests prohibited an active political life, he was ready to support all
measures for the benefit of city or state. No native-born son of the west cher-
ished for it a deeper affection than that exhibited by Mr. Lindgren, who was
loyal to state and patriotic in every sense of the word. As vice-president and a
large stockholder in the Bakersfield Sandstone Brick Company he had intimate
business relations with the president of the concern, James Curran, whom he
selected as executor t f his estate by will. An intimacy covering many years
only served to deepen Mr. Curran's original favorable opinion of Mr. Lindgren,
whose promptness and unswerving integrity attracted him and whose business
course he followed with the interest of a true friend. The secret of Mr. Lind-
gren's rapid rise he found to be his skill in judging and directing workmen, his
honesty in dealing with them and his unerring ability to discern any weak spot
in a building or in the method used in construction. Through these qualities
he was able to fill every contract expeditiously, efficiently and honorably;
through them he arose from noverty to independence and from an unknown
station in the world to a leading position among the contractors of his city
and state.

LEWIS A. BEARDSLEY. — An honored and influential position among
the pioneers of Kern county was held by the late Lewis A. Beardsley, at one
time superintendent of county schools, also principal of the Bakersfield
school. The annals of the county record his name and it is further preserved
in local nomenclature, for the Beardsley school district and the Beardsley
canal give evidence of his early and intimate association with movements for
the permanent upbuilding of the locality. More than a quarter of a century
has brought its startling changes since he passed into eternity, but the com-
munity of his adoption has not forgotten his long and interesting identification
with its pioneer history. The canal which he and two other pioneers built
still flows through the same channel, although it has been enlarged to meet
an increasing demand for irrigation. The school district to which he donated
an acre of ground still bears his name and from the old school many children
have gone forth to take places of honor in the world of business or agriculture.

The life delineated in this review began at Danby, Tompkins county, N.


Y., November 23, 1832, and closed in Kern county, November 3, 1886. The
family is of old eastern Hneag^e and Darius and Naomi Beardsley, parents
of Lewis A., lived upon a farm in Tompkins county for many years. Primari-
ly educated in country scliools and later a j^raduate of tlie Danby .Academy,
L. A. Beardsley came to California in 1853 and tried his fortune in the mines,
without, however, meeting with any conspicuous success. September 27,
1861, at Visalia, he enlisted in Company E, Second California Cavalry, and
served with his regiment until Octolier 7. 1864, when he was honorably dis-
charged from the army. Immediately afterward he began to teach school
at Piano, Tulare county, and after coming to Kern county in 1869 he taught
at Glennville. A vacancy occurring in the office of county superintendent of
schools, he was appointed to the position and at the expiration of one year
was duly elected to the place, then re-elected at the expiration of the first
term. Meanwhile for two years he served as principal of the Bakersfield

Believing that much of the ultimate wealth of Kern county would come
from the cultivation of its soil, Mr. Beardsley entered a homestead of one
hundred and sixty acres three miles north of Bakersfield and identified him-
self with the agricultural class. One acre of the tract he donated for school
purposes and when a school was started there he taught in it for two years.
In order to secure irrigation for his farm he interested himself in the develop-
ment of a canal and with two others built the original canal that still bears his
name. An abundance of water was thus secured for the raising of alfalfa and
he put the farm largely in that crop. A pioneer in agricultural development,
much of his work was in the nature of an experiment and he was among the
first to prove the value of alfalfa in this section of the country.

.At (ilcnnville. Kern county, June 10. 1866, occurred the marriage of Lewis
A. Beardsley and Louisa A. Finley, the latter a native of Saline county. Mo.,
born on Christmas day of 1845. ^^'hen a babe in arms she was brought to
California, in the spring of 1846 the family starting across the plains with

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 123 of 177)