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 125 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 125 of 177)
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operated a sawmill and a planing mil! at Ozark on the Maquokcta river in
Jackson county. The mill was run by water power and became popular among
pioneers throughout all that section of the country. To establish a lumber
yard and engage in the lumber business followed as a direct result of his suc-
cessful management of the mill and until his death in 1868 he continued to be
one of the leading business men of Jackson county. By his marriage to Mary
McSurley, who was born at Youngstown, Ohio, in 1815, and died in Iowa in
1887, he became the father of seven sons and four daughters. Six of the
eleven children still survive. One of the sons, .Vlfred, enlisted in the Twelfth
Iowa Infantry at the opening of the Civil war and while gallantly fighting
at Shiloh lie was wounded and captured. \\'hile imprisoned at Macon, Ga.,
he died, and another son, Charles, died at St. Louis while on his way home
from the front, having served through the war as a member of the Twenty-
sixth Iowa Infantry.

The youngest of the sons, Benjamin Franklin, was liorn near Canton,
Jackson county, Iowa. September 23, 1849, and was a child of about twelve
years when the war opened. He recalls vividly the uneasiness of that period
and the sorrow of the family over the untimely fate of his older brothers.
From childhood he had been taught to be useful. His w-ork in the lumber vard
and the mill gave him such a thorough knowledge of the business that at
eighteen he was able to run the sawmill at Ozark without assistance. After
two vears there he operated a similar business at Clay Mills for seven years.
An experience with other occupations followed and in April of 1879 he came
to California. On the 23d of that month he arrived at Tulare, where he
engaged at carpentering for three years. As manager of a warehouse he spent
one year at Tipton, Tulare county. Entering the employ of the Puget Sound
Lumber Company in 1885, he became a salesman in their Tulare yard and
continued as such for twelve years.

A resident of Kern county since 1898. Mr. McCullouch for ten vears



1240 HISTORY OF KKRX COUNTY

acted in the capacity of stationary engineer in the Southern Pacific shops at
Kern, now East Bakersfield. Since 1908 he has been a yard salesman for the
King Lumber Company in Bakersfield. His long experience in the business
and excellent knowledge of different grades of lumber give value to his serv-
ices. Meanwhile he has erected four houses in East Bakersfield, but all of
these have been st Id and he now resides on Terrace Way, a suburb of Bakers-
field, where he owns ten acres of land under irrigation and devoted to alfalfa,
poultry and fruits. Before leaving Iowa he had married Miss Emma Bick-
ford, who was born in Jackson county, that state, and died at Tulare, Cal.,
in 1884. Of that union there are two children now living, namely: James A.,
on the ranch ; and Mrs. Mary J. Bishop, of Bakersfield. The second marriage
of Mr. McCullouch took place in Tulare and united him with Miss Mary J.
Berry, a native of Oregon. The nine children of their union are named as
follows: Mrs. Eulalia Blalock and Mrs. Frankie Karpe, both of East Bakers-
field; Mrs. Veldora Maston, of Los Angeles; Mrs. Mida Garrett and Mrs.
Marie Finn, both living in East Bakersfield; Naomi, Eva, Leo and Emma,
who remain with their parents in the suburban home. While living at Tulare
Mr. and Mrs. McCullouch were prominently connected with Rebekah Lodge
No. 118, and in addition he was past noble grand of Tulare City Lodge No.
306, I. O. O. F., also past district deputy grand master and a leading local
worker in the order. Poli:icallv he is a Democrat.

DAVID WHITSON NELSON.— The superintendent of the city schools
of Bakersfield is a descendant of a colonial family of old Virginia, whose
earlier representatives bore an honorable part in the material upbuilding of
the colony and whose later representatives followed the tide of migration
across the mountains into the blue grass regions of Kentucky. Still another
generation crossed the Ohio river into the undeveloped country of Indiana and
rendered pioneer service upon that then frontier of agriculture and civilization.

Into such a pioneer family Rolla T. Nelson was born in Indiana, the son
of a Kentuckian who developed a farm in the state further north. He, how-
ever, turned to carpentering rather than to agriculture and made the building
business his principal occupation, following it for some years in Hendricks
county and later in Boone county, where he died. When a young man he
had married Mary E. Jordon. a native of Indiana, now residing in Boone
county. The family comes of Irish extraction and her father, David Jordon,
came to America from the north of Ireland, settling in Indiana. In the old
country he had learned and followed the trade of a weaver, but in the new
world he gave his attention to general farming. The family (jf Rolla T.
Nelson comprised nine children and seven of these are still living, one, L. E.,
being a resident of East Bakersfield. The next to the eldest in the family
circle, David Whitson Nelson, was born in Hendricks county, Ind., May 30,
1856, and began his education in public schools in Boone county, later taking
the regular course of study in an academy at Battleground, Tippecanoe coun-
ty. It was not possible for his parents to give him the advantages his ambi-
tious spirit craved. With typical resolution he determined to earn his own
way through college. Fortified by that high ambition, he began to teach
school while yet a mere youth. For a considerable period the work of teach-
ing alternated with attendance at institutions of learning. By his own efforts
he completed the course in Wabash College as far as the close of the sopho-
more year. In the same way it was possible for him to spend several terms
at the Lebanon Normal and a similar institution at Ladoga, Ind., where dili-
gent application to study qualified him for important future responsibilities.

The first position of especial importance to which Professor Nelson
devoted himself was that of principal of the literary department in the insti-
tution for the education of the blind at Indianapolis, Ind., where he taught
for eight years, meanwhile winning a high place in the regard and confidence
of those having the oversight of the school. With the end of the eighth year



II1S'I"(1RV 1)1- Kl-RX COrXTV 1241

he resigned in order that he might take some pedagogic work of esjiecial value
to future educational work. For the accomplishment of his purpose he
matriculated in the Indiana State Normal at Terre Haute, from which lie
was graduated in October of 1893 with high honors. Immediately after gradu-
ating he came to California and established his residence at Rakersfield, where
for a year he served as deputy county recorder under T. A. Wells. Meanwhile
he had secured a position in the Beardsley school and at the beginning of the
fall term entered tipon his duties there, where he continued for two years.
During 18^6 his ahilitv was recognized bv election as sunervising principal of
the Rakersfield schools and he has continued for eighteen yenrs in the same
position, the title in 1904 having been changed to that of superintendent. Un-
der his administration a remarkable improvement has been effected, manual
training has been introduced, the schools have been well graded and brought
to a hi-h stnndnrd.

Fraternally Professor Nelson is a Master Mason. Prior to l^is removal
to the west he was married in Lebanon. Ind., to Miss Clara Ross, who was
born and reared near that place. In national princinles he favors the Demo-
cratic nartv. .Mong the line of his chosen profession he has maintained a
warm interest in the work of the California .State Teachers' .Association and
is also an associate member of the National Educational Association. Ever
since he established his home in Rakersfield he and his wife have been identi-
fied with tl'e Methodist Episcopal Church and at this writing he is officiating
as a member of the board of trustees. Upon the organization of the Reale
library he was chosen a member of the board of trustees and for several years
he h.i''; ^erve'' .-'s 'lorretarv of that bodv.

WITLTAM HENRY THOMAS.— Of ^^'elsh de-^nent A\'i|'vi-n ilen.-v
Thomas' familv was founded in .America early in the '30s by his father, John
Thomas, a native of Caermanthenshire. in the southern part of Wales and by
trade a harness-maker and saddler. After he had crossed the ocean to Penn-
sylvania and had taken up land in Union county he followed his chosen
occupation while at the same time he devoted some attention to the clearing
of a farm near Bufifalo Cross Roads. For a short time subsequent to his im-
migration he remained unmarried, but among the fair daughters of Union
county he chose a wife and then established a home of his own. The capable
woman who remained the companion of his maturity and advanced vears
was Lydia Ann Hartman. a native of Union county and a member of a very
old and honored family of that portion of Pennsylvania, her father, Jacob
Hartman, having been likewise a native of the same county, where he devoted
his active years to farm pursuits. While the family were living near what
was then known as RufFalo Cross Roads (now RufFalo R.ads) a son was
born in 1847 to whom was given the name of \^'illiam Henry and who is now
city recorder of Rakersfield. The tide of migration was taking men and
women to the unimproved prairies of the Mississippi valley and the Thomas
family joined in the westward movement, during 18.^2 establishing a home
at Cedarville. Stephenson county. 111., where the father found emplovment as
a saddler and harness-maker. .Anqther move was made during 186.S and
settlement was made in Iowa, where a fine farm was developed near Marshall-
town. I'oth the father and mother reni;iined in Iowa until their death.

The parental family comprised eight children, all but one of whom at-
tained maturity and three .sons and one daughter now survive, the eldest being
William Henry, whose birth occtirred .August 22. 1847, and whose hovhnod
from five years was passed in Illinois. One of the most vivid recollections of
his vouth is that of hearing the celebrated debate in Freeport, 111., between
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. When scarcely seventeen years
of age in the soring of \S(A he enlisted as a private in Company F, One Hun-
dred Forty-second Illinois Infantry, and was mustered into service at Spring-
field, that state, alter which he accompanied the troops into Kentucky and



1242 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

Tennessee. The enlistment had been for a hundred days only, but they were
kept in service about six months and in November. 1864, he was honorably
discharged at Springfield. Immediately afterward he enlisted as a member of
Company G, Forty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and again he accompanied his regi-
ment into Confederate territory, where he participated in the siege of Mobile
and the taking of Fort Blakely, the final engagement of the war. His regi-
ment was retained in the south after the close of the long struggle and he was
finally mustered out at Baton Rouge, La., in February of 1866. Meanwhile his
father had removed to Iowa and had settled upon a farm near Marshalltown,
where the young soldier joined him. At once he began to assist in the im-
provement of the land and the raising of the crops. The years passed by
swiftly and for some years he was connected with the sheriff's office in Mar-
shall county. In 1881 he left Iowa for California, settling in Los Angeles and
engaging in the real-estate business. From that city in 1888 he removed to
Fresno to continue the same line of business. From 1890 to 1893 he made his
home in Chicago, but during the year last-named he returned to the west and
February 28, that year, settled in Bakersfield, where he was employed as
superintendent of the horse department with the Kern County Land Com-
pany. For a long period he continued in the same position and even after he
had resigned from their employ in 1902 he continued to handle horses, a work
in which he was unusually proficient. In 1907 he was elected city recorder of
Bakersfield and at the consolidation of Bakersfield and Kern in July, 1910, he
was elected to the same position, to which in April, 1911, he was re-elected
for another term of four years. In Bakersfield he married Miss Arvad Mel-
linger, a native of Stephenson county. 111. Since coming to this city he has
identified himself with Hurlburt Post, G. A. R.. and has been generous in his
contributions to its charities. Politically he is a Republican.

JAMES H. PARKER.— The force that resides in individual character
and that impels to the development of mental powers finds an illustration in
the life of Professor James H. Parker, assistant superintendent of the schools
of Bakersfield and a leading promoter of educational work in the city. The
promise that he gives of increasing usefulness in the public school system
afifords gratification to those who watch the careers of the native sons and
the descendants of our western pioneers, for he claims California as the
place of his birth and is the son of one of the early and extensive ranchers
of Butte county. The elder James Parker, who was a native of Wayne
county. Mo., and a corporal in the Union army during the Civil war, left
Missouri for the west shortly after the close of the struggle in which he had
borne so honorable a part. Upon his arrival in California he selected for
his future home a tract of raw land near Chico and thereafter gave his
attention to the developing of the place into a productive and remunerative
ranch with abundant pasturage for his fine herds of stock. Eventually he
became the owner of two large ranches in Butte county, and these were
not only utilized for stock range, but also for the raising of grain and hay,
and in each department of agriculture he met with encouraging success.
When he began to feel the encroachment of age with its attendant infirmities
he sold his farms and retired to private life. The last eighteen months of
his life were passed in East Bakersfield and he died here in 1911, while the
death of his wife, who was Mary E. Reese, a native of Missouri, occurred
in Butte county, June 9 of the following year.

There were ten children in the Parker family, and all but two are still
living. The fifth in order of birth, James H., was born at the old home-
stead near Chico December 23. 1881, and grew to manhood at the ranch,
meanwhile attending neighboring country schools. From youth he exhib-
ited keenness of intelligence and acuteness of mental powers. It was his
ambition to fit himself for educational work. With this object in view he
began the study of pedagogy in the Chico State Normal School and there-



HISTORY Ol' Kl'.KX torNTV 1243

after continued in the same institution until he was ^lachiated with the class
of 190(), after which he eni^a.ijed in teaching in Siskiyou county. From that
county he came to East F.akersfield in 1907 to become an instructor in the
Washington school, wliere the following: year he served as assistant principal
in charge of that work. Effectiveness in discipline and thoroughness in in-
struction led to his retention in the same office. L^pon the consolidation of
the school work at the union of the two cities in 1910 he was elected assistant
superintendent of the city schools, which position he has since filled with
ability, tact and fidelity. Meanwhile he has kei)t in active touch with the
work of the State Teachers' .Association and the San Joaquin Valley Teach-
ers' .Association, in both of which he is a member, while in addition he has
become an associate member of the National Educational Association. Since
coming to Hakersfield he has become identified fraternally with Bakersfield
r^odge Xo. 266, P>. P. O. E. In religious views he is in harmony with the
doctrines of the Presbyterian Church and has been a regular contributor to
its maintenance and philanthropies. Politically he gives his allegiance to
Republican principles.

ERNEST V, BENJAMIN.— It is not uncommon to read in fiction of
young men who through sheer force of ability and character forge their way
to the front and take their ]ilace among the leading men of public affairs or
captains of industry. In actual life such occurrences are rare, since wealth
or influence or prestige form important elements in determining the position
of men. It may be said, however, that in the instance of j\Ir. P.enjamin
ability and acumen have brought him to prominence without the aid of facti-
tious circumstances. The fact that he is a member of the management com-
mittee (if the Kern River Oilfields of California, Limited, which forms one of
the most important oil-producing organizations in the entire district, bespeaks
the possession of an high order of business judgment. Nor is his only asso-
ciate on the committee. ^^'. \\'. Orcutt of Los .Angeles, less talented than
himself, for he stands among the most influential geologists of America and
has an enviable reputation as a specialist on matters pertaining to the geology-
of the oil fields of California.

On section 33, townshin 28, range 28, the Kern River Oilfields of Cali-
fornia, Limited, own six hundred and forty acres, formerly belonging to
the old Imperial and 33 Oil Companies. In addition they own all of section
1, township 29, range 28, also have four hundred and eighty acres on section
25, township 28, range 27, and three hundred and seventy acres on section 19,
township 28, range 28. Besides this large acreage the company is acquiring
lands in the Santa Maria and other fields. The Standard is now putting down
a deep well on section 35 to test the territory in this respect and if successful
the Kern Ri\-er Oilfields will no doubt proceed to further development. They
have two hundred and forty wells on section 33 and are deepening some in
order to szet better results from the new air-compressor system.

Of English birth and lineage, possessing the force and aggressive char-
acter that has made the Englishman a dominant power in the world, Mr.
Benjamin is a nati\e of London, England, and was born April 28, 1883.

WILMOT LOWELL.— Probably few men were more intimately identi-
fied with the early upbuilding of Bakersfield and Kern county than was
Wilmot Lowell, and certainly none exhibited a greater devotion to its wel-
fare, according to his means, than did he, for whenever possible he contributed
of time and means and influence to progressive projects. Few of the enter-
prises advanced for the general welfare lacked his enthusiastic support and
sagacious aid. .Among the early settlers who came here from the east and
established homes in this growing country, none was more loyal to his
adopted community, none more generous in the maintenance of neighborhood
enterprises, and none more highly honored for worth of character than was
the late Wilmot Lowell, who for years ranked among the leading sheep-



1244 HISTORY OF K1':RX COUNTY

raisers of Kern county, later engaged in horticultural pursuits in the suburbs
of Bakersfield and iinally became interested in the real-estate business and
in the building up of comfortable homes for the people. For some years
the city had the benefit of his executive ability in the office of trustee and
the Methodist Episcopal Church persuaded him to fill the same position in
their local work. Besides the building up of property on Eighteenth street
and on Chester avenue he was interested in the building of the Southern
hotel and also donated one acre of ground to be sold for the benefit of the
Beale library. In honor of his memory and in recognition of his generous aid,
a room in the library bears the name of the Lowell room.

Born at Concord, Me., November 16, 1836, Wilmot Lowell was a son
of William and Alary (Tyler) Lowell, likewise natives of ATaine, and a
grandson of John Lowell, a farmer by occupation and of English ancestry.
The parental family consisted of six children, namely: Wilmot, Danville
and William H.. all of whom died in Bakersfield; Henry, who died in Boston
in 1912; John and Alexis, both now living in Bakersfield. When advanced
in years the father relinquished his farming activities in Maine, also retired
from ship-carpentering, in which he had engaged to some extent, and came
to Bakersfield. where he remained until death. About 1862 Wilmot I^owell
came via Panama to California and settled in the vicinity of Hollister, San
Benito county, where he engaged under Flint & Bixby, and there gained his
first knowledge of the sheep industry. The work proving congenial from
the start, he soon made preparations to enter the same. After he came to
Kern county he continued the sheep business with his brothers, William H.
and .Alexis, meeting with alternating successes and reverses. Their liome
ranch, which has since been laid out and built up as a part of the city of
Bakersfield, was sold soon after they discontinued the sheep business, in
1887, to the Lowell Land & Improvement Co., and was laid out as the
Lowell addition. In this company Mr. Lowell held a one-fifth interest and
filled the ofifice of president. He gave his entire attention to the upbuilding of
this addition and to other real estate holdings which he owned until his health
failed and he was obliged to relinquish active work. During 1902 he resigned
as city trustee and his death occurred December 14, 1905, at his residence in
Bakersfield. From young manhood he had sustained Republican tenets and
given his allegiance to the party in all elections.

The marriage of Mr. Lowell took place at Westboro, Mass., in 1889 and
united him with I\liss Sarah Elizabeth Flagg, daughter of Alexis and
Mehitable (Lowell) Flagg, natives respectively of Vermont and Maine, the
mother dying in her native commonwealth, and the father in Massachusetts,
where he had followed general farming. Mrs. Lowell was born in Wilming-
ton, Windham county, Vt., and is the survivor of two children. Her educa-
tion was received in the schools of Maine and qualified her for the responsi-
bilities of business. Since the death of ]\Ir. Lowell she has remained at the
family residence, No. 1119 Eighteenth street, and superintends personally
her varied interests and continues as far as is possible Mr. Lowell's deep
interest in and devotion to the advancement of Bakersfield.

COL. ARTHUR SAXE CRITES.— The title by which the cashier of
the First Bank of Kern is familiarly known comes to him through his service
as lieulenant-ccjlcinel of the Second Regiment. California National Guard.
His experience in military tactics, however, has not been limited to the
Guard, for he holds membership with the Spanish-American War Veterans
by right of identification with that recent struggle. During May of 1898 his
name was enrolled as a member of Company G, Sixth California Volunteer
Infantry, stationed in camp at San Francisco, and drilled during the summer
to an intimate knowledge of all military details. Upon being mustered out
in December of the same year he held the rank of quartermaster sergeant.



HISTORY Ol- KI'.RX COl-XTV 124r

At the reorjjanizatiim cjf the Xational (iiiard in 18*)9 he became a mcmlier of
Company G, Sixth Regiment, and was elected its captain. From the first
he was popular with the members of the Guard, who about 190:) elected him
major of the regfiment. When the Sixth was mustered out in May, 1907, he
re-enlisted as a private in Com])any L, Second Regiment, California National
Guard, and was promoted to be first sergeant, later was chosen second lieu-
tenant and battalion quartermaster. On the 20th of October, of the same
year, he was elected lieutenant-colonel of the Second Regiment, which com-
mission he has held ever since.

-A. son of Angus McLeod and Louesa Alaria (Jewett) Crites, early set-
tlers of Kern county, Arthur Saxe Crites was born near Caliente, this
county, February 4, 1879, and in childhood walked a distance of four miles
to the grammar-school in Keene. Later he became a student in the Kern
county high school, P.akersfield, and when he completed the course in 1895
he was a member of the second graduating class of that institution. Before
the Spanish-American war he engaged in ranching, but after his return in
December, 1898, he became bookkeejier for the Kern County Land Company.
Later he entered the Kern Valley Bank and after two years as bookkeeper
he was promoted to be assistant cashier, which position he filled for three
years. Aleanwhile the First Rank of Kern had been organized in 1901 and
early in 1905 he and G. J- Planz bought a controlling interest in the institu-



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 125 of 177)