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 134 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 134 of 177)
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of California. Soon he came to Kern county and engaged in raising sheep
on the Tejon ranch, securing a start by .going shares with CoIducI Vineyard.
Soon afterward Philo D- Jewett crossed the plains. The two brothers formed a
partnership in the sheep business at Rio Bravo (Brave river) ranch above
the village of Kern. When they sold their lands and flocks in 1874 to the
Wool Growers' Association, Solomon Jewett bought land just north of Ba-
kersfield at Jewett's lane. Prospered in his undertakings, he acquired large
flocks of sheep that ranged on the plains and among the foot-hills. It was
not until 1899 that he sold his sheep and turned his attention exclusively to
cattle. Meanwhile he had become the owner of six hundred and forty acres
irrigated by the Beardsley canal, six hundred and forty acres under the Mc-
Caffery canal and three hundred and twenty acres under the Emory ditch.
The admirable irrigation facilities enabled him to raise any desired crops, but
he made alfalfa his specially.

To create an impression that the sheep industry and agriculture repre-
sented the limit of the activities of Mr. Jewett would be to do an injustice to a
man of extensive interests, progressive spirit and unusual faculty for the
management of diversified affairs. Tn him belongs the distinction of having
built the first store in Bakersfield. During 1874 he organized and became
president of the Kern \^alley Bank, opening for business in a frame building on
the corner of Eighteenth street and Chester avenue. During 1869 he erected
a very substantial building of brick which was destroyed b)' fire on the day
of its completion. Undismayed by the calamity, he immediateh' rebuilt, this
time with excellent results and for years he retained the management of the
bank after it had been removed to the new building, continuing indeed to act
as president until he died, .\mong the very first workers in the oil fields,
during the '70s he discovered oil in the McKittrick field and organized the-
Buena Vista Oil Company, later the firm of Jewett & Blodget, which secured
the rights of way for the railroads to McKittrick and to Maricopa. As presi-
dent of the Jewett Oil Company he was a pioneer in the McKittrick field and
later mined for asphalt. \\'hen the county-seat was removed from Havilah to
Bakersfield in 1872 he was serving as chairman of the board of supervisors
and had charge of the removal of the county records to the new r|uarters. In



1294 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

politics he steadfastly supported Republican principles. Fraternally he was a
Mason of the Knights Templar degree and also held membership with the
Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.

In every respect Mr. Jewett was a man of large affairs. Beginning to
learn the sheep business at an age when the majority of boys are nut yet out
of the primary department in the public schools, he worked his way forward
steadily, surely and tirelessly. When finally he reached his goal of succiess he
did not forget other strugglers upim life's vast highway, but cheerfully
aided those less fortunate than himself. A man of broad sympathies, no cause
that had for its object the good of men appealed to him in vain. The impress
of his sturdy character, his rugged honesty, his public-spirited helpfulness
and kindly nature is indelibly fixed upon Kern county, which he honored with
his high-minded citizenship and which in turn honored him with an affectionate
regard. As measured by results, civic, educational and financial, he was one
of the greatest men the county has produced and an active force of vital
importance in its upbuilding. In his home and in his children he was signally
blessed. His first wife, who died in 1879 in Bakersfield, was Emma Landon, a
native of Vermont and daughter of Philo Landon, a farmer. Four children
survived her and three of these are living, viz. : Philo Landon, a prosperous
agriculturist of Kern county; ]\lrs. Kate Moncure, of Berkeley; and S. Wright,
a business man of Bakersfield. The second wife of Mr. Jewett was Miss Lois
Rice, a school teacher, who died eight years after their marriage. In San
Diego in 1889 he married Mrs. Catherine A. McConkey, who survived him.

FREDERICK BEVAN TOUGH.— The resident geologist of the Kern
Trading and Oil Company in the Sunset and Midway fields was born in
Baltimore, Md., December 3, 1885, and is a son of L. M. and Elizabeth C-
(Bevan) Tough, the latter still a resident of Baltimore. The father, now de-
ceased, was at one time manager of an ice and cold-storage plant in Baltimore
and later had charge of a similar business at Detroit, still later going to
Kansas City in a similar capacity. There were three children in the family,
namely: Littleton M., of Columbus, Ohio, now engaged as civil engineer with
the Pennsylvania Railroad Company ; Elizabeth B., a resident of New York
City ; and Frederick Bevan, who was primarily educated in the Baltimore
public schools and at the age of nineteen entered the Johns Hopkins Univers-
ity. Excellent advantages for the study of mathematics and physics were af-
forded him in that institution. A foundation for engineering skill was laid in
those years of study. During the fall of 1907 he entered Columbia University
at New York City and continued there until his graduation in 1910 with the
degree of E.M. WMiile studying that course he also became proficient in
geology. Coming to California in July of 1910, he engaged with the Kern
Trading and Oil Company in the Kern river field. November of the same year
found him at Coalinga as resident geologist, but in July of 1912 he was trans-
ferred from that station to the Midway-Sunset district, where he has since
given efficient service to the corporation in the capacity of resident geologist.
One daughter, Edith Lyttleton, has been born of his union with Miss Edith
Wells Sioussat, daughter of L. M. Sioussat, of Baltimore county, Md., an old
and prominent family of that locality.

ROBERT W. WITHINGTON.— A member of an old family of the east,
Mr. Withington was born in 1838 at Apollo, Armstrong county. Pa., a short
distance northeast of Pittsburg. The schools of his boyhood were few in
number and crude in instruction, hence he had little education save what he
acquired by reading and observation. The trip around Cape Horn in 1853
was in itself a liberal education and gave to him a comprehensive knowledge
of the western hemisphere. Upon his arrival in San Francisco he proceeded
at once to the mining regions of the Sierras and for years engaged in mining
in Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties, alternating the occupation



HISTORY Ol' KKRX COUXTY 1293

with wurk as a teamster. Drifting ahuul from place to place, he landed at
IJavilah in the early days before it was the county-seat. There he established
headquarters and engaged in freighting to Los Angeles.

When Bakerstield was still a new town and before it had been granted
the county court-house, Mr. Withington came to the town and became a large
purchaser of property. After his death, which occurred in February, 1897, at
the age of fifty-eight years, his estate improved the corner of Nineteenth and
K streets and they also continue to own a corner on Eighteenth and K streets,
both of these properties having been purchased by him prior to the rise in land
values. In politics he was a Democrat. In California he married Rachel Free-
man, who was born in Austin, Tex., and died in Bakersfield in 1902 at the age
uf fifty two years. As a young girl she had crossed the plains with her father,
Rev. John A. F>eeman, a pioneer Baptist preacher, still living and now a
resident of Los Angeles. Of the union nine children were born, but three of
the family, John W'-, Robert \V. and Claude, are deceased, the two first-
named having died in Bakersfield at the ages of thirty-eight and thirty years
respectively. The surviving members of the family are Mrs. Harriet LeMay,
Airs Callie Sweitzer. Carl. Lester, Norma and Lysle \\'., all residents of
Bakersfield.

JAMES ALBERT MORGAN.— Among the men who are aiding in ad-
vancing the efficiency of the Bakersfield fire department is James Albert
Morgan, who has charge of Engine House No. 4. He was born in Chicago,
111., April 22, 1891, the son of Paul and Louise (Morton) Morgan. The father
was for many years an engineer on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Rail-
road, running out from Chicago until he met his death in a head-on collision in
the Chicago yards. The mother is still residing in Chicago. Of their union
there were three children, J. .\. being the second oldest and the only son.
.^fter completing the grammar schools he entered the employ of Montgomery
Ward as messenger boy, being later advanced to shipping clerk. After two
years and three months with the firm he resigned and became express
messenger for the Great Northern Express Company between St. Paul and
Duluth, a position he filled for three years, when he accepted a place in the
St. Paul of^ce of the Adams Express Company as trailer for two years-

In 1910 Mr. Morgan came to San Francisco, Cal., where for about a year
he was employed in the shipping department of the Fuller Paint Company.
It was in 1911 that he came to Bakersfield and January 7, 1913, he joined the
fire department as driver of the big gray team at Engine House No. 2 and
in July of the same year he was transferred to No. 1 engine house as hose-
man. As in all positions he filled the trust with conscientious ability which in
turn led him to his promotion, October 10, 1913, to lieutenant, when he was
transferred to Engine Company No. 4 on Pacific street, East Bakersfield.

JESSE STARK.— One of the pioneers of Kern county was Jesse Stark,
who was horn May 10, 1832, in liowling Green, Ky., the son of Robert Edward
and Mary \irginia (Reed I Stark, natives of Kentucky and Virginia respec-
tively. They were planters in Kentucky, whence they removed to Texas and in
April, 1853, started across the plains with their family in a train of a hundred
wagons, arriving in Los .Angeles in November, 1853. In the same wagon
train was a little girl of nine years who was destined to play a very important
part in the life of Jesse Stark. The little girl was Permelia Brown, who was
born in Texas in 1844, the daughter of Williain Harrison Brown, a native of
North Carolina, who was bringing his family overland to California from
Texas. The wife and mother was Elizabeth Stowell, a native of Ohio. In
January, 1862, in Los Angeles occurred the marriage of Jesse Stark and Per-
melia Brown, after which they removed to the ranch in the Ft. Tejon country
which he had located and on which he had engaged in the stock business
soon after his ari'ival in the state He purchased land and in time bccaine



1296 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

an extensive land owner and stockman. In 1874 he located with his family
in Bakersfield, where his death occurred in 1876.

After his death Mrs. Stark continued to make her home at the old family-
residence at the corner of Chester and Fourteenth street, from which place
she has all these years been directing and looking after her many interests.
Here, too, she reared and educated her five daughters, all of whom reside in
Bakersfield, as follows: Ella, wife, of A. F. Stoner; Virginia, Mrs. Ben L.
Brundage; Frances, Mrs. H. L. Packard; Lida, Mrs. S. N. Reed; and May,
wife of Charles P. Fox. Mrs. Stark is a member of the Christian Church.
Jesse Stark is affectionately remembered by all who knew him for his moral
worth, integrity and high regard for honor.

MRS. CATHERINE A. JEWETT.— A useful, contented and prosperous
existence marked the life of Mrs. Catherine A. Jewett, one filled with duty
well done, with a never-failing interest in her fellowmen, a generous and
helpful attitude toward every unfortunate individual who crossed her path,
and a sympathetic understanding which brought with it comfort and blessing.
Naturally endowed with unusual mental faculties, she was a perfect leader in
the circles in which she moved, imparting of her intellect with such ingenious
judgment as to aid the less advanced in a quiet yet forceful manner. Her
artistic taste and splendid ability won her the admiration of many friends
and she was prominent in the work of the Eastern Star, in which she was a
member of the local chapter at Bakersfield for a number of years. It was
througji her that the woman's club house was built in that city.

In her youth Mrs. Jewett was surrounded with many incentives to large
accomplishment- She was born in Chicago, 111., the daughter of Thomas S.
and Statira (Brooks) Parker, who were natives of New York state and pioneers
of Chicago. After Mr. Parker had engaged in mercantile pursuits in Chicago
for a considerable period he disposed of his interests in that city and came
to California on account of ill health, in 1887 settling at San Diego, where both
he and his wife spent their last days and passed away. Catherine A. was the
only child of their union who lived to maturity, and to her were afforded the
privileges of a thorough education in the public schools and a select seminary
at Chicago, where she married David E. ]\IcConkey, a member of the Chicago
Board of Trade. Some years after the death of Mr. McConkey, which oc-
curred in San Diego, she was married to Solomon Jewett, whose death oc-
curred in Bakersfield, Cal., December 26, 1905.

Mrs. Jewett had taken up her home with Mrs. L. H. Stevens in Los Ang-
eles, with whom she lived until her death, and where she became
prominent in fraternal and social circles and surrounded herself with many
loving friends. In religious faith a member of the Episcopal Church, she took
an active part in all of its departments, giving her most unselfish aid and inter-
est. To touch upon all that enlists the sympathy and tenderness of woman,
to note a splendid breadth of mind and a conscientious and joyous spirit, would
in a brief manner picture the character study of Mrs. Jewett, whose death, No-
vember 13, 1912, removed from this sphere a stanch, straightforward woman,
whose left hand knew not what the right hand did, yet whose unswerving
judgment was the lever which brought soothing and sweet relief to many a
troubled mind, and whose soft and gentle ways were a peace and comfort to all.

THOMAS WILEY PINNELL.— The men who hold responsible posi-
tions in the fire department must be endowed by nature with keenness of per-
ception and decision and also a natural coolness under excitement in order to
accomplish the results that are not only expected but demanded of them. A
young man having these qualifications is Thomas Wiley Pinnell, a native son
of California, born at White River, Kings county. June 13, 1891, the son of
W. E. and-Addie (Montgomery) Pinnell, born in Stanislaus county and Iowa
respectively. The father from early life followed the range and excelled as a



HISTORY OF KERX COUNTY 1297

rider and roper, becoming known as one of the most efficient in California
and Texas. For some years he was cattle foreman for the Sharon estate in the
San Joaquin Valley. He finally crave that up and followed blacksmithing
and now holds a position with the Monte Cristo Oil Company at Oil Center.

Of the family of eight children Thomas Wiley Pinnell is the second oldest.
From boyhood he rode the range with his father in Madera county, meanwhile
attending the public schools. In 1905 he came to Bakersfield and after leaving^
school he was appointed a mail carrier, serving about three years. December
18, 1912, he entered the fire department as a call man and September 9, 1912,
he became a regular. After the completion of Engine House No. 3 he was pro-
moted to lieutenant in the department and placed in charge of the house, to
which he gives all of his time and best efforts. Fraternally he is a member of
Bakersfield Camp No. 460, W. O. W., and Kern Lodge No. 202, I. O. O. F.

JOSEPH BRESSON.— Among the Frenchmen who have made a success
in Kern county is Joseph P.resson, proprietor of the Universal Hotel in East
Bakersfield, who was born in Orciere, Hautes-Alpes, France, October 29, 1883.
He grew to young manhood on his father's farm, receiving a good education
in the local public schools. In November, 1900, he left his home and friends
and about a month later arrived in Delano, Kern county, where he immediately
found employment with a sheep man. After continuing in the occupation
about four years he purchased a flock of sheep and herded them in the moun-
tains and cin the plains for a few years, or until he sold the bunch and located
in Kern, now East Bakersfield. Here he purchased the bakery on Humboldt
street from ^I. M. Espetallier and continued the business for two and one-half
years, when he sold out. For over five years he was employed at the Plantier
Hotel, and in May, 1913, he bought the Universal Hotel, which he conducted
with splendid success until he sold it in February, 1914- He is now confining
his attention to looking after his investments. Besides other property he owns
a comfortable home at No. 508 Humboldt street.

Mr. Bresson was married in East Bakersfield November 30, 1907, being
united with Mary Roux, who was also born in France. Her father, Joseph
Roux, was at one time a pioneer sheep raiser in Kern county but later sold his
interests and returned to France, where he now resides. To IMr. and Mrs.
Bresson were born three children : Irene, Louise and Ernest. In politics Mr.
Bresson is a Republican.

GEORGE THOMAS NIGHBERT.— The history of Kern county would
not be complete without a mention of the life history of the pioneer of Lost
Hills. George Thomas Nighbert, who aided in the survey of the town site
in September, 1910, built the first building and opened the first eating house
and later built the first hotel and has continued in business ever since. He
came to California in April, 1871, remaining in Gait, Sacramento county, until
1884. when he removed to \'isalia, where for seven years he was proprietor of
the Millwood Hotel. During this time he was numinated by the Republican
convention as the party's candidate for sheriflf of Tulare county, but being of
the minority party was defeated. In 1901 he located in Bakersfield and became
proprietor of the Gait House at the Santa Fe station for a year and then
the Cosmopolitan Hotel for fnur years and the Princeton for two years.
During this time he purchased his home at No. 2115 Nineteenth street, where
he and his family still reside.

On the discovery of oil at Lost Hills he came immediately and was the
leading factor in building the first buildings in the place.

George Thomas Nighbert was born at Palmyrna, Macoupin county. 111.,
February"l3, 1849, the son of Joseph A. and Hannah (Wiser) Nighbert. He
was reared on the farm and educated in the public schools until he was four-
teen years of age. when his father died, after which he made his living by
working on farms in that vicinity. In 1871 he came tf) California.



1298 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

In Lodi, Cal., occurred the marriage of Mr. Nighbert with Miss Josephine
Smith, a native of San Joacjuin county, the daughter of Andrew and
Mary (Doyle) Smith, pioneers of California who crossed the plains with ox
teams in 1849. Mr. and Mrs. Nighbert have four children : Fred Wright,
superintendent of streets of Bakersfield ; Fred A., also of Bakersfield, engaged
in the real estate business ; Clyde A., a music teacher now studying at the
Shepherd School of Music, New York City; and Maude E., Mrs. Irwin Tup-
man of Globe, Ariz.

Air. Nighbert has always been greatly interested in the growth of Kern
county and is liberal in his efforts to advance the importance of this section-
Fraternally he is a member of the Odd Fellows and Encampment and of the
Bakersfield Lodge No. 266, B. P. O. E.

OSCAR RICHARD OCHS.— Among the enterprising business men of
Wasco is Oscar Richard Ochs, who has taken an active part in the building
business in Kern county. He was born in Okawville, 111., August 9, 1878, the
son of George and Josephine (Ferguson) Ochs. The father served in an
Illinois regiment in the Civil war. In 1883 he brought his family to Fresno,
r.fterwards locating in Coalinga, where he followed contracting and building
and still continues to make that his home.

Oscar Richard Ochs was the youngest of seven children, receiving his
education in the public schools of Fresno. From boyhood he began to learn the
carpenter's trade. After spending three years in the Hollenbeck and Bush
planing mill in Fresno he spent two years in a sash and door factory at Sea-
side, Ore. Returning to Fresno he engaged in contracting and building in
partnership with his brother. Walter J-

In 1906. after the fire in San Francisco, Mr. Ochs engaged in the same
line of business there until 1908, when he located in Coalinga and while there
did a large business. Among some of the buildings he erected are the follow-
ing: The Sullivan Hotel, Bennett, Phelps. Cheney. May. Amy. Wells-Fargo
and Rockwell buildings, the Union High and Polk schools. Southern Pacific
depot and numerous residences. In 1910 located in Taft, where he was
very active in the building up of the town. Among his contracts were the
Smith, First National Bank, Axelson Machine Company, and Telephone build-
ings and the Bank apartment house, also the Realty building in Maricopa.
During this time he also carried on building in Wasco, where he now resides,
doing a general contracting business. He built the Bank of Wasco building.
Wasco ]\Iercantile Company store, IMcCausland. Beckwith, Gordon and other
residences.

In San Francisco occurred the marriage of Mr. Ochs to Madeline Mc-
intosh, a native daughter of San Francisco, and to them have been born three
children : Herbert (who died when three years old), Allen and Gertrude. Fra-
ternally he is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Improved Order of
Red Men.

CAPT. FRED N. SCOFIELD.— One of the most active workers in the
oil field has been Capt. Fred N. Scofield, who was one of the organizers of the
Independent Oil Producers Agency, serving as an active director of same from
its inception until the spring of 1912, when it had grown to such proportions
ihat it handles one-third of the production of oil in the state of California.
In this agency Captain Scofield represented the East Puente Oil Co.. in
which he held interests and it was at the time of disposing of these interests
that he withdrew from the aforesaid agency of which he had been prominently
connected on its executive committee.

Descended from an old family of New York state. Capt. F. N- Scofield
was born at Paw Paw, Mich.. December 5, 1858, and was given a common
school training. During early life he lived in Chicago, but in 1876 he made his
way to California and settled at San Diego. For many years he engaged in



HISTORY OF KKRN COUNTY 1299

the mining business and the oil industry, which latter proved a source of such
attraction to him that he afterward became one of the prime movers in its
production. Meanwhile he had his headquarters successively in Arizona, Col-
orado and California, but made his home most of the time at Phoenix, Ariz.,
whence he had moved in 1880 and where he was leading citizen and influential
man. Years ago he held a prominent place in the Arizona National Guard
and having received a commission as captain, thus acquired the title by which
he since has been known. Since he removed to Bakersfield in 1901 he has been
interested principally in the oil industry and in addition he managed his large
and valuable stock ranch in Humboldt county, this state. It is said that few
men in Kern county are more familiar than he with the condition and prospects
of its oil industry and the heavy investments which he has made in the Kern
river, McKittrick and Midway fields prove his deep faith in the growing pros-
[)erity of these districts.

The Scofield home on the corner of Third and D streets is one of the
most attractive in Bakersfield, four acres of ground providing an appropriate
setting for the modern residence. Besides his residence Mr. Scofield has erected
a three-story brick apartment house on Chester avenue, which is known as the
Chester Apartments, and the Pioneer Mercantile building.

\\'hile making his home in .Arizona Captain Scofield was united in mar-
riage, at Phoenix, with Miss Margaret Fogal. a native of Los Angeles, by
whom he has five children, George, Vera, Frederick, Addie and Edna. Politic-
ally he is a Republican. When the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks estab-
lished a camp at Phoenix he became one of the charter members of the or-
ganization and maintained a warm interest in lodge affairs as long as he re-



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 134 of 177)