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 124 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 124 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ox-teams and wagons. The expedition was of considerable size and met with
a number of vexatious delays. Finally some of the members, known in his-
tory as the Donner party, decided to try the short cut-ofT, but fortunately
the Finley family did not leave the old route. Finally, after much sufTering,
they reached their destination in safety, but the Donner party met with a
sad fate, all but two perishing from starvation amid the snows of the Sierras.
The trials of the Finley family were not ended with their arrival in California,
for during the Mexican war they were obliged to guard theniselves in a fort
and it was not until peace was declared that they could safely resume farm-
ing operations. During 1861 they settled on a farm near Piano, Tulare
county; later Mr. Finley returned to the Santa Clara valley and li\ed at .San
Ji:se for three years. Upon coming to Kern county he spent four years on a
farm near (dennville where he lost his wife. Saiah {Cam-)))ell) I-'inley, who
was born, reared and married in Kentucky. .\sa Finley himself was a native
of Saline county. Mo., and had spent his life almost wholly in that locality
prior to his removal to the west. After the death of his wife he lived with
their children and died at Stevinson, Merced county, this slate, at the age
of eighty-six years. Of his eight children all but two are still living. Mrs.
Beardsley, who was third of the number, received her education in Santa Clara
Seminary supplementing attendance at country schools. Of her marriage
four children were born, all living except George, who died in Bakersfield.
The other son, Lewis C, is now in Redwood City, and the older daughter,
Mrs. Naomi Bowles, makes her home in Oklahoma, so that the only member
of the family continuing in Kern county, aside from Mrs. Beardsley, is the
younger daughter, Mrs. Clara Kent, of Bakersfield. For twelve years after
the death of Mr. Beardsley his widow remained on the ranch. .After she had
disposed of the property she came to Bakersfield and erected a residence at


No. 715 I street, where since she has made her home, meanwhile acquiring the
friendship of the people of her community and taking a warm interest in the
activities of the Women's Relief Corps of Bakersfield, as well as the Kern
County Pioneer Society.

JOSIAH OWEN. — The noble impulse which led men of the courageous
pioneer type to identify themselves with the material development of the
frontier furnished the impetus that governed the westward migrations of the
Owen family. Early in the history of Missouri they were planted upon its
soil and assisted in its agricultural upbuilding. From that state Frederick
Owen removed to Idaho, where he devoted the rest of his years to agricultural
pursuits. Josiah, son of Frederick, was born in Caldwell county, Mo., and
received a public-school education in that state. At a very early age he began
to study the rocks and minerals on the home farm and along the Missouri
streams. The talents so evident in his later years were manifested even in
childhood. With no one to encourage him in his studies and with no oppor-
tunity for training under educated geologists and mineralogists, he yet rose to
an eminence that won the attention of the greatest specialists in the science.
This resulted from natural abilities fostered by a painstaking practical study of
the secrets of IMother Earth.

During the Civil war Mr. Owen offered his services to the Union and was
accepted as a member of the Forty-Fourth Missouri Infantry, in which he
remained until the close of the struggle. Early in the 70s he removed from
Missouri to Texas and for a time lived in the Panhandle, but later settled in
Johnson county, where in 1876 occurred the death of his first wife, Sarah
(Cramer) Owen, a native of Ray county, Mo. Three sons were born of that
union, namely: Wilbur F., now engaged in mining in Mexico; Oscar D.,
a horticulturist living at Beverly, Ohio; and Erwin W., of Bakersfield, Cal.
After the death of his wife Mr. Owen gave his attention to mining in Mexico
and Texas and made and lost several fortunes. His ability, however, had
come to be widely recognized and led to his selection by the Southern Pacific
Railroad Company to represent their interests as geologist and to develop
their coal fields in Sonora, Mexico. In addition he acted as assistant to the
state geologist of Texas, Prof. E. T. Dumble, of San Francisco and Houston,
Texas. Coming to California during 1899, he settled at Los Gatos, built a
residence and improved the grounds until they became among the most
beautiful in the city, their interest being enhanced by the presence of plants
and trees brought by him from all parts of Mexico. The llos Gatos home is
occupied by his widow, Margaret (Crawford) Owen, a native of Texas and
a daughter of Col. J. S. Crawford, member of an honored and well-kno-wn
pioneer family of the Lone Star state. By that marriage Mr. Owen had two
daughters, Ethel and IMargaret, the elder of whom is now a student in the
Leland Stanford L^niversity.

As manager of the Kern Trading & Oil Company, a subsidiary concern of
the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, Mr. Owen came to the oil fields of
Kern county, where in addition to acting as representative for that company
he acquired interests of his own, perhaps the most important of these having
been stock in the Eight Oil Company. In addition he was interested in the
Buena Vista Land and Development Company and owned oil lands in
Colorado and Nevada oil fields. Perhaps no one excelled him in a close
acquaintance with the California oil fields, especially those of Kern county.
These he had mapped out thoroughly and exhaustivel3^ His death, which
occurred at Los Gatos December 19, 1909, was conceded to be a deep loss to
the geological interests of the west, which he had studied with profound
concentration of mind and devotion of spirit. After he settled in Los Gatos
he became a prominent member of the General Ord Post, G. A. R., his interest
in it continuing until death, and Doliticallv he was a Republican.


JEAN BOREL.— This veteran of the Franco-rrussian war, who for a
quarter of a century was engaged actively in the sheep industry in Cali-
fornia, but now is living retired, is a native of Canton Daspre sur Buis,
Hautes-Alpes, France, and was born in December, 1849, being the fifth in a
family of ten children, seven of whom are still living. The parents, Pierre
and Marie (Gilbert) Borel, were engaged in husbandry in the Alps moun-
tains and the children were trained to be helpful at home, so that they were
well prepared for the responsibilities incident to self-support. .Attendance
at the country schools and work on the home farm kept Jean Rorcl busily
occupied in the years of his youth until seventeen, when he enlisted in
the French army. For five years he served faithfully and well in the
Second Company, One Hundred Fourteenth Infantry, in which he rose
from the ranks to be sergeant. During the Franco-Prussian war he was in
active and continuous service. Many times he was in peril of his life. Some
of the battles (including that of Sedan) were peculiarly dangerous and
decisive, but it was his good fortune to receive no wounds, so that he was
able to take his place in every engagement. One of his most thrilling war
experiences was the siege of Paris, which lasted about six months. .\l
the close of the war he received an he norable discharge.

After a period of employment as a workman and later as foreman on
a construction job for a railroad, Mr. P>orel left France to cast in his
fortunes with the new world. For a year he herded sheep. Meanwhile he
was studying the business as conducted in California, so that when he
bcught a flock of his own in 1885 he was in a position to handle it intelli-
gently. During the ensuing years he met with a growing success. After a
long and prosperous identification with the same business, in 1910 he sold
his flock and retired to private life, purchasing property in East Bakersfield,
where he has built a residence. His time is devoted to the oversight of
his property interests. When a young man in France he was united in
marriage with Aliss ^Marie P.ertino. who passed away in that country.

ANDREW ALFRED BURNES.— Talents that are winning recognition
in widely different lines nf activity characterize Mr. Rurnes of Bakersfield.
The fact that he is achieving success is all the more remarkable when it is
known that his boyhood was signally lacking in opportunities and was
made gloomy by the loss of his parents, loseph and Susan Burnes, honored
members of a farming community in Arkansas. The second among three
children, he was born near Fa\-etteville, that state, on the 22d of February,
1883, and upon being orphaned at the age of six years was taken into the
home of an uncle, Henry Burnes, a struggling farmer whose means were
so limited that the lad was forced to assist in the maintenance of the family.
For a few months of each year he was allowed to attend school, but for
the most part he worked in the fields doing a man's part when yet a mere
lad. His present large fund of information has been obtained by study
and self-culture since he was eighteen years of age. In addition to complet-
ing an engineering course in the International Correspondence Scho. 1 of
Scranton, Pa., from which he received a diploma, he is now taking a course
in mechanical drawing under Fred W. Dobe, of Chicago.

Having heard and read much concerning California, in November of
1900 Mr. Burnes came to this state. For several months he was employed
in a copper mine. Later he secured work as a stationary engineer in the
building of the Folsom, Fair Oaks, Upper and Lower Stockton macadam
roads in Sacramento county. During April of 1911 he came to Bakersfield
and entered the employ of the \'alley Ice Company, whnse machinery he
helped to erect and whose plant he assisted in comideting. Since then he
has continued in the employ of the company. During the snring of 1912
he was promoted to be night engineer, which position he has held up to


the present time. In addition to understanding thoroughly this department
of engineering he is well posted as an electrical engineer and also has made
a special study of refrigeration. For some years he has been an interested
member of the International Union of Steam and Operating Engineers.

Engineering skill by no means represents the limit of the ability of
Mr. Burnes, who is also of a literary bent of mind, a student of the best liter-
ature of the ages, the composer of a number of songs now in the hands of
publishers and the author of several scenarios that have been accepted for
publication. One of the pastimes of his leisure hours has been the writing
of shirt stories and these have appeared in Sunday papers in the west.
SAMUEL R. CLARK.— It would be difficult to name any depart-
ment in the meat business which is not thoroughly understood by Mr.
Clark, proprietor of a large market at Mojave and a joint owner with H. A.
Wenz in a first-class market in San Diego. To a large extent he gives his
attention to the lousiness in Mojave. This, since its purchase from his brother
in 1908. he has continued to operate under the name of the City meat market,
with himself as sole proprietor and owner. The location is central, the busi-
ness flourishing, the equipment up-to-date and the sanitary conditions un-
surpassed, so that the energetic manager is reaping the financial profit to be
expected from a work so well conducted. Nor is the San Diego business
less flourishing. Indeed the Palace market on D between Seventh and Eighth
streets, with its attractive new fixtures, its fine refrigerating conveniences
and its sanitary conditions, ranks as the finest place of its kind in the city
by the southwestern sea.

The Clark family comes of Irish lineage, David Clark, a native of
the Emerald Isle, but a resident of the new world from youth, crossed the
plains with wagon and oxen to California during the summer of 1853 and
mined for a time with other Argonauts in search of gold. Not finding the
hoped-for fortune he returned to Illinois and became a pioneer of Warsaw,
a river town in Hancock county, where for many years he served as constable
and was well-known among the early settlers of that then prosperous place.
From Illinois he removed to Kansas and took up land in Morris county.
Nine years later he became a pioneer farmer in Thomas county, same state,
where he and his son, Samuel R., still own the old homestead of four hun-
dred and eighty acres, although of recent years he and his wife, Lucinda
(Webster) Clark, a native of Iowa, have been making their home in Cali-
fornia at the ocean port of San Pedro.

There were thirteen children in the family of David Clark and all of
these are still living. The fourth youngest, Samuel R., was born at Warsaw,
III., April 25, 1877, and received a common-school education in Kansas, where
from a very early age he assisted in the work of the home farm. During 1898
he volunteered for the Spanish-American war as a private in Company M,
Twentieth Kansas Infantry, with which he went to the Philipnines and served
under General Funston on battlefield and in camp. At the expiration of nine-
teen months of active, arduous service on the islands he was mustered out
in October of 1899 and settled in California during December of the same
year. Joining a brother, D. S., in Mojave, he became an employe in the butcher
business own.ed by the former and in time he bought one-half interest, then
in 1908 became sole proprietor, continuing as such up to the present time.
Markets which he formerly owned at Barstow and San Pedro he has sold,
retaining only the home market and the business at San Diego, which, to-
gether with his farm interests in Kansas and his ownership of two houses in
Mojave. combine to give him a place among the most prosperous business
men of Mojave. His family consists of his wife, who was Miss Minna Mc-
Bride. a native of Ireland, and during girlhood a resident of Los Angeles,
and their two sons, Webster and Norbert. Interested in educational matters.
he is rendering eiificient service as a member of the board of school trustees


and is ciulcavoriiit;- to promote the welfare of the Moja\'e schools. Since com-
ing to this city he was made a Mason in Tehachapi Lodge No. 313, V. & A. M.

GEORGE CALHOUN.— The president of the National Oil Refining
and Manufacturing Company and the eiHcient business manager to whose
keen, capable supervision may be attributed the growing importance of the
organization, traces his lineage to Scotland and exhibits in his own forceful
personality many of the qualities that brought fame to the representatives of
that country. He is a son of Uavid and Isabelle (McKay) Calhoun, natives
respectively of Edinburgh and Inverness, Scotland, but from early life resi-
dents of Nova Scotia, where they bought land near Pictiu and developed
a large farm. It was at that old homestead Ceorge Calhoun was born Sep-
tember 7, 1850, and from there, after having gained such book-learning as the
country schools afTorded, he went forth to earn his own livelihood in the
world. Early travels took him to Maine, where in 1864 he began an appren-
ticeship to the trade of a stone-cutter and served his time with fidelity,
meanwhile acquiring a thorough knowledge of the occupation. When ready
to do journeyman work he engaged in contracting. Later for five years he
had charge of the Boston water works and during the period of his superin-
tendency he put in all of the city reservoirs.

A new line of business next engaged the attention of Mr. CallKuni. who
embarked in the publishing business in New York City as an employe of F.
A. Munscy at the very beginning of the latter's spectacular career as a pub-
lisher. Later he held an important position with Robert Bonner on the New
York Ledger. Upon resigning from that publishing plant he went with the
George ]\Iunro Publishing Company as a traveling salesman. After he had
traveled for one year in their interests, they stationed him in Chicago as
western manager and for sixteen years he continued in that city, meanwhile
(iromoting their interests by his energetic application to business. During
the later years of his identification with the company he had become inter-
ested in California oil fields. In 1901 he began the organization of the
National Oil Refining and Manufacturing Company, which was incorporated
under the Arizona laws and ca])italized at $1,000,000, with himself as president
and general manager. Both of these positions he has retained to the present
time. Construction work on the refinery was begun in 1903. The following
year the plant was started for the refining of oil and the manufacture of
asphalt, the latter product now being shipped to every part of the world.
The refinery is situated in the Kern river oil field and has a capacity of
fourteen thousand tons of asohalt a year. Aside from asphalt they also
manufacture gasoline, ga.s-engine distillate, coal oil and a variety of lubricating
oils. Amon^ the leading brands are the Golden State. Pioneer. Superior and
National. In order that he might be able to devote all of his time and atten-
tion to the refinery the president in 1906 established his home in Bakersfield
and as a result of his wise judgment and keen ability he has been able to
develop one of the largest refineries in the entire state. In 1912 he organized
the Bakersfield Investment Conij)any, of which he is president and his .son
IS secretary and superintendent. At Hanford the company built a refinery
for the manufacture of light oils.

The first marriage of Mr. Calhoun took place in Conway. N. H., in 1870
and united him with Miss Nellie G. Bachelder, who was born in New Hamp-
shire and died in Chicago .May 3, 1906. leaving an only child, George W..
now the superintendent of the National Oil Refining and Manufacturing Com-
pany. At Bakersfield. November 8. 1908. occurred the marriage of "S]r. Cal-
houn and Miss Alice M. Rogers, of Covington, Ky.. a lady of cultured mind
and many attractions, wdio shares with him in the res])ect and regard of
acquaintances. F( r years he has been closely interested in ^Tasonic affairs
and meanwhile he has taken many of the degrees of the order. First made


a Mast)!! in Hope Lodge Xo. 244, A. F. & A. AI., in New York City, he later
identified himself with Lincoln Park Chapter No. 177, R. A. M., in Chicago,
also Chicago Council No. 4 and Oriental Consistory, Scottish Rite, in Chi-
cago. While still residing in that city he also became connected with Lincoln
Park Commandery No. 64, K. T., and Medinah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., in
addition to maintaining an intimate association with the work of T^Iizpah
Chajiter No. .S4Q, Order of the Eastern Star.

ARTHUR WEABER.— During the early portion of the nineteenth cen-
tury Benjamin Weaber, a Pennsylvanian by birth, became a pioneer in the
sparsely settled regions of Illinois adjacent to the city of Chicago. The gov-
ernment land which he first pre-empted formed a part of the vast swamp
district near Naperville, Dupage county, but later he took up land at Brush
creek, Cook county, fifteen miles out from Chicago, and from there eventually
he remoA-ed t" a tract of raw land two miles from the present site of Riverside.
Among his children there was a son, Edward, born prior to the removal of
the family from the vicinity of Allegheny, Pa., and throughout life an industri-
ous tiller of the soil, giving time and attention to no other occupational calls,
except that he served with quiet heroism during the Civil war as a member
of Company B, One Hundred and Fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. It is a
noteworthy fact that he had three brothers in the same company, while four
of the Townsend family, brothers of his wife, also served in the same company.
In spite of participation in many desperate engagements and the dangers inci-
dent to long forced marches and camp life, all of the number returned except
one of the Weaber brothers, who fell in battle. For some years after the war
Edward engaged in farming in Illinois, but during 1876 he took his family to
Kansas and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land in Russell coun-
ty. His death occurred ten years after he had settled upon that farm. Two
years before had occurred the demise of his wife, Alida May (Townsend)
Weaber, who was born near Buffalo, N. Y., and at an early age had been taken
to Illinois by her father, Gilbert Townsend, pioneer of the region adjacent to

Among four daughters and two sons comprising the family of Edward
Weaber, all of whom are still living with the exception of one daughter,
Arthur Weaber was next to the oldest and was born at Hinsdale, Cook coun-
ty, III., April 6, 1868. but at the age of eight years accompanied the family to
Kansas. That country was then new and unimproved. Little opportunity to
attend school came to him. His present wide fund of information results from
self-culture rather than attendance at school. From the age of twelve years
he gave his entire time to the work of the home farm, where the struggle for
a livelihood was stern and discouraging. After the death of his mother and
father he started out to make his own way, returning in 1887 to Illinois, where
for eighteen months he was employed as a switchman in the Chicago yards of
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. During that time he studied
telegraphy and then was given employment as an assistant in offices between
Chicago and Aurora, where he continued for eighteen months. Next he was
appointed assistant agent at Hinsdale. During December of 1889 he came
to California and after a brief sojourn at Delano, Kern county, on the 1st of
March, 1890, he was appointed agent for the Postal Telegraph Company at
Bakersfield. This position he has since held with the exception of one year,
when as an employe of the San Joaquin Valley (now the Santa Fe) Railroad
he held a position as assistant agent at Bakersfield for three months and as
agent at Wasco, Kern county, for nine months. At the expiration of the year
he resigned and returned to Bakersfield where he resumed the agency of the
Postal Telegraph Company. His high reputation as a citizen and his devo-
tion to Republican principles led that party to nominate him in 1902 for city
treasurer and tax collector, and he was elected by a gratifying majority, not


only that time, but in 190(j at the expiration of his tirst term. Upon the con-
solidation of Bakersfield and Kern in July, 1910, he was chosen to act in a
similar capacity for the new town and in April of 1911 he again was elected to
the offices of city treasurer and tax collector.

When the stationery store belonging to the Scribner estate was placed
on sale during 1907 Mr. W'eaber acquired the business and since then he has
occupied the quarters at No. 1822 Chester avenue, where he carries a full
line of stationery, office supplies, carbon paper, typewriter ribbons, fountain
pens, sporting goods, toys, books and games, and other articles to be found
in a first-class establishment of that kind. In the store he has the Postal
Telegraph office as well as the office of the city treasurer and tax collector.
As a business man he has proved his worth, while as a citizen his standing
is the highest. As a member of the Kern Coimty Board of Trade and Bakers-
field Merchants' Association he has been identified with two leading organiza-
tions for the material upbuilding of the city. After he came to Bakersfield
he here married Miss Myrtle Tyler, who was born at Shaftsburg, Mich., and
by whom he has two children, Ora and Perry. His fraternal relations are
extended and include membership in the Yeomen, Ancient Order of I'nited
Workmen fin which he is past master workman). \\'oodmen of the ^^^^rld.
Modern Woodmen of .\merica and the Degree of Honor (in which he has held
leading official positions'), beside which with his wife he has been identified
with tile Women of \\'o( dcraft at Bakersfield.

traces its history back to an early identification with that of America. The
first of the name to establish a home in the central west was John, born at
Pittsburg, Pa., in 1804, and by trade a weaver and spinner, working for some
years in a factory in his native city, but attracted to the Mississippi valley
during the period of its early development. Settling in Iowa in 1848, he

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 124 of 177)