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 137 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 137 of 177)
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all varieties of sweetmeats and ice-cream for the wholesale and retail trade.

The family of which ]Mr. Coppin is a member belongs to Cornwall,
England, and his father, Edward, after an adventurous existence in different
parts of the world, has returned to Land's End to spend his last days.
In early life Edward Coppin was allured to the gold mines of Australia,
but found there little opportunity to gain the hoped-for wealth of the mines.
.After his marriage to Miss Elizabeth Riddles, a native of Cornwall, he set-
tled in Ontario, Canada, where he held an official i)osition under the domin-
ion government. Coming to the United States he took up a homestead in
Richland county, N. Dak., at the same time entering land and locating a tree
claim from the government. The utmost difficulty was experienced in im-
proving his three-quarter section and transforming it into a remunerative
farm. After the death of his wife, which occurred on the farm, he sold
his Dakota property and returned to England to establish his home. Of
his ten children all but two are still living. The eighth in order of birth
and the only one to settle in California is Thomas Charles, whose birth
occurred at Alitchell, Ontario, Canada, June 4, 1879, and whose educa-
tion was secured in Dakota country schools. When only twelve years of age
he began to work in a store at Hankinson, N. Dak. During vacation times
and after fifteen he gave his entire time to a clerkship, but resigned in
January of 1899 and came to California.

In San Francisco Mr. Coppin learned his trade under Confectioner
Schafer. a man of skill and originality. Coming to Bakersfield in 1902 he
bought a small confectionery owned by Mrs. Hartzel on Nineteenth street
near Chester avenue, where he remained for eighteen months Removal
took him to No. 1524 Nineteenth street, where he built up the substantial
business known as Coppin's Bon Bon. following this with Cupid's Palace.
In addition to the mana.gement of his large business interests he owns inter-
ests in the Jerome \'erde Copper Company at Jerome, .Ariz., has become i)rom-


inently connected with the board of trade in Bakersfield and has further identi-
fied himself with many civic enterprises of note. Since coming to this city he
has married Miss Alta Graham, a native of Selma, Cal., and at this writing
they, with their daughter, Thelma Corease, make their home at No. 2224
Nineteenth street, where he owns a substantial residence situated only five
blocks from the heart of the city. Reared in the faith of the Church of
England, he has been stanch in his allegiance to the Episcopal Church and
fraternally he holds membership with the Woodmen of the World and the
Modern Woodmen of America.

SAMUEL J. DUNLOP.— The oil interests of Taft have an exceptionally
capable representative in the manager uf the Dunlop Oil Company. Since
the formation of the company and its acquisition of forty acres lying on
section 26, it has been officered by the following capitalists : C. H. Holbrook,
Jr., president; W. L. Maguire, secretary; John D. Spreckels, Jr., and Samuel
J. Dunlop, directors, the last-named also acting in the capacity of manager.
As the resident executive head of the company's interests he has drilled
five producing wells and during the year 1912 has superintended the putting
down of four more wells. It was during 1909 that the manager located
permanently in Taft bringing to the new home in the oil fields his wife and
daughter, Lela, the former having been Miss Ellen Tombs prior to their
marriage in 1892 in Fresno, this state. At the time of his arrival Taft was
a mere hamlet.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 2, 1867, Samuel J. Dunlop began
to earn his own livelihood at a very early age and was only sixteen when
employed at railroading in Michigan. Two years later he went to Chicago,
where he remained for eighteen months- From 1885 until 1902 he was in the
employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and his long retention in
positions of increasing importance by the same company indicates his fidelity
and energy. From Chicago he was transferred to California and made
Needles his headquarters. Meanwhile, upon the discovery of oil in Kern
county, he had come here in 1899 and had purchased location rights to
section 26 for $15 per acre. The following year he promoted and became the
first president of the Mount Diablo Oil Company, but later transferred his
capital and energies to the development of the interests with which he now
is identified. After he had established his headquarters in Taft he joined
with George Barr in starting and conducting a hay, grain and feed busi-
ness under the firm title of Dunlop & Barr, and this barn has since been
carried on under the same management. The people of Taft elected him
a trustee of the city April 8, 1912, and since then he has been a helpful
factor in promoting civic development. He still retains his connection with
the Order of Railway Conductors, although no longer identified with the
railroad service. In addition he retains membership in Camp No. 99,
B. P. O. E., of Los Angeles.

JOHN F. BENNETT.— A few miles from Warsaw, the county-seat of
Kosciusko county, Ind., John F. Bennett was born September 19, 1845, being
a son of Benjamin Bennett, a Pennsylvanian by birth and the son of German
parents who became immigrants in the new world. The mother bore the
maiden name of Susan Irwin and was born in Kentucky of Irish ancestry.
The family had little means and the struggle for a livelihood was unceasing,
so that John F., instead of attending school, devoted his attention principally
to aiding in the family maintenance- When the Civil war opened he was
less than sixteen years of age, and consequently was not eligible for service.
After a time, however, he was accepted as a private in Company E, One
Hundred and Thirty-eighth Indiana Infantry, assigned to the front under
General Rosecrans. Having enlisted for ninety days only, at the expiration
of that time he was honorably discharged at Indianapolis, Ind., in September


of 1864. Again he enlisted, this time for one year, as a private in the One
Hundred and Fifty-second Indiana Infantry, serving with Company D.
He received his second honoralile discharge at Charleston, W. Va., August
30, 1865.

Not long after the close of the Rebellion Mr. Bennett went to Michigan
and embarked in the lumber business as a sawyer. Much of his work
was done in Kent, Montcalm and Newaygo counties and at Big Rapids,
Mich., and the lumber was rafted down the Flat, Grand and other rivers.
After he had worked almost ten years in the forests of Michigan he came to
California in 1875, settling in Eureka, which was the headquarters of his
lumbering business for nine years. November 10, 1875, he lost an eye
through an accident in a sawmill. November 10, 1884, exactly nine years
after the first catastrophe, he lost three fingers of the left hand through
another sawmill accident. The second accident completely incapacitated
him as a sawyer and proved a serious misfortune.

Obliged to seek another occupation, Mr. Bennett removed to Orange
county, this state, and embarked in business as a vineyardist. The twenty-
five acres which he purchased had been planted to grapes of a fine quality,
but unfortunately a mysterious blight fell upon the vineyard and nothing
could be found to stay the progress of the disease. The entire vineyard
finally died and he was left practically bankrupted. Looking around for
another h cation he came to Kern county in 1892 and took up a home-
stead of one hundred and sixty acres in the Tejon country, living on that
place for five years and then proving up on the claim- His home place com-
prises twenty acres, and he also has forty acres one and one-half miles north
of it. During his residence at Eureka he married Miss Ella Roterman, of
that place. They have a son, Leland, now a driller in the oil fields. Ever
since giving his support to Abraham Lincoln during the war Mr. Bennett
has supported Republican principles.

A. M. KIDD.— Born at Reynoldsville, Pa., May 19, 1875, A. M. Kidd
is a son of the last Benjamin B. and Nancy Kidd, likewise natives of the
Keystone state, where the father, a skilled mechanic and carpenter, built
the first house in Oil City. About 1878 he took the family to Kansas and
pre-empted a homestead in Ottawa county, where he devoted a number of
years to the most arduous work of transforming a tract of raw prairie into
a productive farm. During 1892 he moved to Missouri and settled at Joplin,
where his wife died in 1896 at the age of forty-six years and where
occurred his demise in 1903 at the age of fifty-five years. In the parental
family there were seven children, namely: .Archie M., of the Midway field;
Mattie, Mrs. Marion Warren, and .'Knnie, Mrs- Robert Conover, l)oth the
wives of grocerymen in Seattle. \\'ash. ; Onna C, employed as a tool-dresser
in the Midway field: Benjamin C. and Nancy, residents of Seattle: and James,
who died at an early age. The paternal grandfather, the well-known Wil-
liam Kidd, now about eighty-eight years of age, retired about ten years
ago to Verona, a suburb of Pittsburg, where he is highly respected and
lives in affluence. He owned a farm just outside of Milltown fnow a part
of Pittsburg) and on his property drilled a well and struck a strong flow of
gas. He was one of the pioneer men in the natural-gas industry in Pittsburg
and built one of the first fif not the first) natural-gas lines ever run into
iTiat citv.

Immediately after the removal of the family to Missouri .\. AI. Kidd
began as an apprentice in a machine shop at Joplin, where he served for
three years. In that term of service he laid the foundation of his present
comprehensive knowledge of machinery. Afterward he was employed as a
journeyman machinist. During 1898 he enlisted in Company G, Scccuui
Missouri Infantry, and served as sergeant-major until the expiration of his


time, when he was honorably discharged. Returning to Joplin he became
foreman in the machine shop of McNeal & Co., and continued in the same
place until 1902. Meanwhile he had married, March 8, 1899, at Lexington,
Ky., Miss Maud M. Kidd, a descendant of Scotch ancestry and a native of
Kentucky. Although having the same family name the young couple were
not related. They are the parents of three living sons, Kay Kelso, Albert
Collins and Cecil William, and lost another son, Archie H., at the age of
fourteen months.

Upon leaving Missouri, after three months in Colorado Mr. Kidd went
to New Mexico and for a year followed his trade at Alamogordo, Otero
county. A year was also passed in work at Tucson, Ariz., whence he came
to California and found employment in Los Angeles. Two years later he
came to Bakersfield and at the expiration of another two years he removed
to Coalinga, where he was employed as a machinist for four years. Since
December of 1911 he has engaged as foreman of the machine shop of the
Honolulu Consolidated Oil Company and has eight men working under him.
He is affiliated with the blue lodge of Masonry at Taft, the Scottish Rite
Consistory at Fresno and the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at San Francisco.

FRANK C. JEWETT.— The manager of the Wasco hotel, who is like-
wise the owner of extensive interests in the oil fields at Maricopa and Lost
Hills, has been identified with business afifairs in Kern county since 1900
and particularly has been active in his association with the oil industry.
During boyhood he lived in Kansas City, Kan., where his birth had occurred
September 30, 1882, and where his brief period uf schooling was received.
When a small lad he began to work at odd jobs and do chores for neigh-
bors. Coming across the country to California in 1900 he landed in Bakers-
field and from there proceeded to Maricopa, where he secured work in the
oil fields. F'or seven years he ftillowed this occupation, then opened a
hotel and saloon at Maricopa, owning and occupying the first two-story
building erected in that oil town. In 1910 he sold out the business at
Maricopa and the next year he became a resident of Wasco, where he
bought and still owns a part interest in the Wasco hotel. Since coming
west he has identified himself with the Eagles. With the discovery of the
Lost Hills oil field, some twenty-five miles west, he became an investor in
the new district and has appreciated the impetus given by the valuable
discovery to all lines of business.

The marriage of Frank C. Jewett took place in Los Angeles October 1,
1911, and united him with Pearl Pickering, who was born in Kansas and
during girlhood came to California with her parents, settling at Fullerton.
Orange county. The family represented by Mr. Jewett originally
comprised six children, three of whom are living, he being the youngest.
His father, Lorenzo, was born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, February 12,
1842, and attended school between the years of six and eleven, then stopped
in order to help in the work on the home farm. After a number of years in
that state he removed to Missouri and resumed agricultural pursuits. The
next move took him to Illinois, where he engaged in farming for eight
years. Later he moved to Johnson county, Kan., where he placed under
cultivation a large tract of land which he had taken up from the guvernment.
Although he engaged in farming in Kansas for thirty-six years he was not
particularly successful, for he lost his crops often through droughts and
cither calamities impossible to overcome. Meanwhile in 1885 he had visited
California and had been favorably impressed with the country, especially
with Kern county, so that in 1901 he came to the west as a permanent
resident. While living in Kansas he had taken a warm interest in politics
and had served as constable. The year 1902 was spent in Bakersfield.
whence in 1903 he moved to Maricopa and found employment in the oil


fields. From Maricopa he came to Wasco and is now living with his son,
retired from farming and from all business cares. During 1S78 he married
Miss Nancy Squires, who was born in .Athens county, Ohio, and died in
Kansas January , 1888, while still a yuung woman, leaving a fatnily of
small children.

LE ROY RANKIN.— .\ native S(mi of the state, Le Roy Rankin was
born June 17, 1873, in Walker's Basin, Kern county, and is the son of
Walker Rankin, a pioneer represented elsewhere in this volume. As soon as
lie was old enough he began the acquisition of an education in the public
schools. At eighteen he entered the Kern County High School, where he
was a student two years. For some years afterward he was employed by
his father, obtaining a practical knowledge of the cattle business. In 1901,
in partnership with his brothers, he leased eight hundred and fifty acres of
land, and together they operated this successfully. In l')08 he located on
what is now his homestead, a ranch of two hundred and forty acres, formerly
a part of the old Wirth property, near ^^'eldon on the south fork of Kern
river, and engaged in cattle-raising and in the growing of grain and alfalfa.
His land is irrigated from south fork, and he has one hundred and eighty
acres in alfalfa. He owns a goodly number of horses and five hundred head
of cattle and his ranch is well improved and thoroughly modern- For his
brand he uses the capital R. Fraternally he is a member of Bakersfield
Lodge No. 266, B. P. O. E. He married, May 17, 1911, Miss Marie Wake-
man, who was born in Michigan in 1888, and they have a son named Le Roy,
Jr. Mr. Rankin operates successfully not only the fine property above
referred to. but four hundred and twenty acres of leased land.

E. J. ERB. — The surname of Erb indicates the Teutonic origin of the
family, which for several generations has had representation in America
and as early as 1849 became established temporarily in California through
the removal hither of Peter Erb, a native of Pennsylvania. After he had
engaged in mining for a few years with fair success he returned to Pennsyl-
vania via Panama. Later he followed farming in Ohio and then- in Indiana,
after which he migrated to Minnesota, took up land from the gdvernment
and improved a farm. The last six years of his life were passed in North
Dakota, where his death occurred. Surviving him is his wife, Catherine
(Ferciott) Erb, who was born in Washington, D. C, of French descent, and
now, at the age of eighty-six, makes her. home with her son, E. J., in
Bakersfield There were eleven children born of her marriage and nine
of these are still living. The seventh, E. J., was born at the home farm
near Lewiston, Winona county, Minn., October 9, 1866, and received his
early education in his native county, but later had the privilege of attending
Battle Creek (Mich.) College. At the age of sixteen years he accom])anied
his parents to North Dakota and there assisted in the de\elopment of a fron-
tier farm.

Upon attaining his majority and starting out to make his own way in
the world, Mr. Erb came to California and settled in San Diego during 1887.
Shortly after his arrival, having meantime learned the trade of carriage-
maker, he bought one-half interest in the largest shop in San Diego. For
six years the business was conducted under the title of Parrott & Erb. As a
salaried employe he remained there until 1899 and then came to Bakersfield,
where with William Drury he started the Pacific iron works on Twenty-
fourth and M streets. Later the plant was remcived to McKittrick and
established in the first building completed in the new oil town. For a
time they prospered, but when the price of oil dropped to ten cents and
hard times ensued his partner sold out to him and later he was obliged to
close the shop in 1903, eventually finding a buyer for the plant. Meanwhile
for two years he was justice of the peace and deputy county coroner.


After a brief period of work as superintendent of the shops of the
Southern Pacific Oil Company in the Kern river field, in 1905 Mr. Erb
resigned that position to open the Bakersfield garage on the corner of Nine-
teenth and G streets. During 1907 his old friend and former partner, Wil-
liam Drury, became associated with him as partner and in the same year
{hey incorporated the Bakersfield Garage and Auto Supply Company, with
Mr. Erb as president and Mr. Drury as secretary and treasurer. Soon out-
growing their quarters, in 1908 they purchased the corner of Twentieth and
G streets, where they built a one-story garage, 115x122 feet in dimensions-
In a brief period the new space became too small for the growing trade.
During 1909 they erected a second story with an elevator and on this upper
floor they placed their machine and repair shop with a complete and up-to-
date equipment. In 1913-14, finding it necessary to still further enlarge
their building, they purchased the corner of Twentieth and H streets adjoin-
ing their garage. Here they erected a two-story building 62x149, making a
frontage of an entire block on Twentieth street. The second floor of the
new building is devoted to manufacturing, while the first floor of the same
is used for offices and supply store. The latter is arranged so that auto-
mobiles may be driven through the center of the store, thus enabling cus-
tomers to make their purchases without leaving their cars. In addition to
a complete vulcanizing department, there is a charging and repair department
for storage batteries and electric automobiles. The firm acts as agents
for the Oakland car and the White automobiles and trucks, also fire
apparatus. About 1906 Mr. Erb started the first car used in the rent
service in Bakersfield. There was constant demand for the machine and it
soon became necessary to keep three cars on hand for rent, but eventually
he sold out in order to devote his entire attention to the agency and the
garage. Besides owning one-half interest in this substantial business he
has real estate in Bakersfield and Kern county and is a stockholder in the
First National Bank of Bakersfield. In politics he votes the Republican
ticket. Fraternally he is connected with 'Bakersfield Lodge No. 266,
B. P. O. E-, while along civic, business and occupative lines, he holds mem-
bership with the board of trade, the Bakersfield Merchants' Association and
the Southern California Automobile Association.

E. C. SMITH. — From the age of seventeen years up to the present time
Mr. Smith has been associated .with the oil industry in Kern count}' and
meanwhile he has occupied practically every position from roustabout up
to general foreman. He is now general lease foreman for the Section 25
Oil Company, commonly known as the 25 Hill Oil Company, whose holdings
include three hundred and twenty acres lying on section 25, 32-23, and whose
oil wells, thirty-five in number, average a monthly production of fifty thou-
sand barrels. The stock of the comnany is held principally in Bakersfield
by the wealthy oil firm of Barlow & Hill.

Clinton, Summit county, near Akron, Ohio, is the native place of E. C.
Smith, and February 24, 1883, the date of his birth. The family was
founded in Clinton by his grandfather, William Smith, a typical pioneer of
the period and locality, and for many years intimately identified with the
material growth of Summit county, where he died at ninety years of age.
Among his children was a son, Charles, who prospered as a farmer, acquired
the title to three valuable country estates in Ohio and became the owner
of three boats on the Ohio canal. When a stroke of paralysis ended his
career in 1910 at the age of seventy-two years he left a large estate that
still remains intact, under the personal supervision of his wife, Adeline
(Young) Smith, a capable woman who at sixty-five years retains much of
her earlier strength of body and mind. Of her twelve children five are
now living and it was largely through the efforts of her youngest child, E- C,


that the estate will not be divided durinc: her lifetime. The Young family
were contemporaries of the Smiths in the early development of Summit
county, where the father of Mrs. Smith, John Young, arrived with all of
his worldly goods in a wagon. Attracted by the then small town of Akron,
he chose a home in the place and ever afterward remained in the same
location. His death occurred when he lacked imly five years of having
rounded out a full century.

Between the years of six and seventeen E. C. Smith was a pupil in
the grammar and high schools of Clinton. Starting out to earn his own
way in the world, he arrived at Bakersfield in March, 1900. Here he found
public interest centered in the Kern river oil field. Joining the early devel-
opers of that district, he found employment as a roustabout on the 33 and
Imperial leases. It was not long before he had learned to do expert work
as a tool-dresser. ^\fter two and one-half years he went to the Munte Cristo
lease, where he was employed for five years. During a later (jeriod of
work on the Associated lease he became a driller and for perhaps a year
he engaged in drilling on the Canfield division. Next he was sent to
McKittnck by Superintendent Bruce. In that field he engaged as produc-
tion foreman and later as drilling foreman for the Associated. He accepted
an important position as a superintendent of the Reward, one of the McKit-
trick leases, but owing to the ill health of his wife and his desire to take
her to Ohio for a change of climate he resigned after holding it one and
one-half years- Mrs. Smith had been Miss Alabel Church, of Bakersfield,
and her death occurred in 1912. After an absence of nine months, Air.
Smith returned to Kern county, where he tocjk a position under Ed Gillette
and after two years he engaged as a driller on Syndicate No. 2,
from which place he came to his present position February 10, 1913, and
since then "has devoted his attention closely to the responsibilities of general
lease foreman. Fraternally he holds membership with the Woodmen of the

GEORGE C. KELLEY.— From boyhood associated with the oil indus-
try, it has no phase with which Mr. Kelley is unfamiliar and he has filled
practically every position from roustabout to superintendent. At the present
time he fills a responsible place as production foreman on section 22 division
of the North American Oil Consolidated, whose holdings on section 22,
32-23, comprise one hundred and seventy-five acres. Entering upon these
duties in 1910, he since has witnessed a remarkable development in the

Online LibraryWallace Melvin MorganHistory of Kern County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; → online text (page 137 of 177)