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 141 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 141 of 177)
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large circle of intimate friends. In politics he was a Republican.

On August 5, 1890, occurred the wedding of Jean Burubeltz and Miss
Jeanne Erreca, who was born in LVapel, Basses-Pyrenees, France. She is the
daughter of Pierre and Catherine (Mariluch) Erreca, the ft)rmer now farming
in France, while the mother is deceased. Pierre Erreca was engaged for some
time in the stock business in Buenos Ayres, South America, but returned to
France, where he purchased a farm and is now residing. lie was the father of
nine children, all living, of whom Mrs. Burubeltz is the eldest.

Mrs. Jeanne (Erreca) Burubeltz came to the ITnited States in 1883 and
was married to Mr. Burubeltz in Los Angeles, whence they came to East
Bakersfield in 1901. She has five children, Michel, Carmen, Paul, Lawrence
and Helen.

CHARLES RICHARD BRITE.— The name of Brite's Valley shall serve
as a monument to the memory of John Moore P.ritc, a pioneer of '59 in this


part of the state and in whose honor Brite's valley was named and a sketch of
whom appears in this work.

Charles R. Brite was born at El Monte, Los Angeles county, October 20,
1868, during the temporary residence of the family there and six months later
they returned to Kern county and as he grew up he was sent to school in the
valley. Compelled to go to work at only twelve years of age, he drove an ox-
team at his father's sawmill. For six years he was employed in the mill and
then WL>rked on his father's ranch, remaining with him until he reached his
twenty-third year. In partnership with his three brothers he conducted the
ranch for about four years, and then the estate was divided, and each started
out for himself. At this time he had acquired three hundred acres of land,
also owning a hundred and sixty of the home place, and he engaged in general
farming and stockraising, at various times buying land, until he now owns
five thousand acres in all. Four hundred acres are under cultivation, the re-
mainder being utilized for the ranging of his stock, as he has about five hun-
dred head in all. In addition to this Mr. Brite owns forty acres of land planted
to alfalfa on Union avenue near Bakersfield, under the Kern Island Canal,
and he has found this a most profitable investment.

Mr. Brite, like his brothers, has become prosperous in his undertakings.

On January 25, 1901, Mr. Brite married Ella Buhn, who was born in
Tehachapi, January 28, 1885, and died June 22, 1908, leaving two children,
Richard G. and John E., both of whom are attending public school. Subse-
quently Mr. Brite married Delia Merwin, a native of Pennsylvania. He is
much interested in educational work and at present is serving as trustee of
the Brite's valle}^ school district. Politically he is a Democrat.

CALVIN HALL HOLMES.— Three generations of the Holmes family
have lived and labored in California, and the present representatives feel a
merited pride in the long and honorable identification of their name with this
section of the country. When news was received in Arkansas concerning the
discovery of gold at Sutter's camp three brothers, Calvin, Henderson and
William Holmes, at once began to make preparation for the long journey to
the west. The summer of 1849 found them traveling overland towards Cali-
fornia. It was the brother first-named who became the ancestor of C. H.
Holmes, of Taft. Following the example of the majority of early settlers, he
tried his luck at mining and even after he had taken up land in Sonoma county
he helped to develop the Yellow Jacket quicksilver mines on his ranch. Three
diiterent times he traveled back to Arkansas and to Kentucky for the purpose
of buying horses and cattle to drive overland to California and on one of these
trips to Kentucky he married Miss Elvira Hoffman, who accompanied him
on the long joairney across the plains to the new home. To an unusual degree
he identified himself with the upbuilding of California, where he was widely
known. On the site of the new mint in San Francisco he built one of the
first slaughter-houses in that city. To aid in building the railroad from San
Francisco to Calistoga, Napa county, he donated $10,000, and many other
public improvements of early days felt the impetus of his generosity. Finan-
cially and politically he was a man of -influence. When finally his earth life
came to an end friends and family mourned the passing of one whose existence
had counted in the world's work and whose patriotic services placed him high
in the citizenship of his adopted state.

There were three children in the family of this pioneer and of these
Edward, whose death occurred in 1902, was the youngest. By his marriage
to Miss Emily John six children were born, viz : Edward, who is engaged
in farming a part of the old homestead ; Calvin Hall ; Anna L. wife of Egbert
Smith, a farmer of Napa county; Herman and Ovid, who are ranching on a
part of the old homestead ; and Kate, a student in the Berkeley high school
who resides with her mother, now Mrs. Fred Emerson Brooks. Born at Kel-


lopg, Sonoma county, Cal., March 20, 1888, C. H. Holmes began to Iielj) on the
ranch when he was only seven years of age. By the time he was fourlcen lie
did a man's work on the farm and earned $20 per month as wages during the
busy season. His father was a college graduate and desired that his children
should also have good advantages, so he bought a residence in Herkclcv and
sent the children to the splendid educational institution in that city.

During an attendance of three years and six months in the P.erkciey
high school C. H. Holmes became an athlete and still holds the records on
one-quarter mile run, accomplished in 52 2-5 seconds, in the spring of 1907.
For a time he was business manager of -the high school paoer. On returning
to the ranch he acted as assistant foreman. Later he spent si.x months as
manager of the Jewett fruit ranch. Going back to Berkeley, he became official
coach for the Berkeley high school track team and remained for a year. In
April of 1910 he left Berkeley and proceeded to Maricopa where he secured a
position as stock clerk with J. F. Lucey Co.. continuing in their employ for
tw^o and one-half years. During the last year of his association with the firm
he served as manager. May 15, 1912, he entered the service of the Axelson
Machine Co., and since February of 1913 he has been their manager at Taft.
The company is a Bakersfield concern, but now has its headquarters in Los
Angeles, although retaining the store at Bakersfield, besides the branches at
Coalinga and Taft. Giving his time and attentic n closely to the interests of the
company, he has had little leisure for identification with outside activities,
but he and his wife, who was formerly ?kliss Cleta Lamb Hickerson, of Bakers-
field, have a large circle of friends in Kern county. Politically he favors the
principles of the Democratic party.

A. M. WEAVER. — A son of C. \\'eavcr. who had conducted a cooper shop
and lampblack factory in Pennsylvania. A. M. \\'eaver was born at Oil Citv,
Pa., July 6, 1884. became an employe of the Oil Well Supply Company when lie
was only fifteen years of age. since which time he has been connected contin-
uously with the same firm. A long, successful and honorable record with the
same concern stands to his credit and testifies as to his ability.

As a clerk in the store of the Oil ^\'ell Supply Company at Oil City. Mr.
Weaver gained his first practical knowledge of business in general and the oil
supply business in particular. Transferred from one Pennsylvania town to
another in the interests of the same concern, he became proficient as a sales-
man, and .\pril 28, 1905, opened up the company's store at Bullion, that state,
where he was the first manager. His selection for such a position attested to
his high standing with ofiicials of the corporation. During 1909 he came to
California and spent nine months in the Los Angeles salesroom, from which
he was sent to Kern county in A])ril, 1910, in order to open the company's
store at Shale, two miles northwest of Fellows. Here he has since ct)ntinued
as manager of the Shale branch of the R. II. Herron Co., afliliated with the Oil
Well Supply Company. While living in Pennsylvania he was connected with
the Elks at Franklin. In Lc s Angeles he was united in marriage with Mi,=s
Eva Eakin, daughter of Alonzo Eakin. at one time a prominent oil operator in
Pennsylvania fields. Mrs. Weaver met her death in a runaway accident .March
5, 1913, leaving a small child. May, who since has made her home with the
maternal grandmother, Mrs. Eakin, in Los .Angeles. .\ woman of culture
and charming social graces, Mrs. Weaver was much beloved in the circle of her
intimate friends and her death was an irreparable bereavement to the imme-
diate family.

FRED B. VAUGHN.— The selection of the oil business as his life occu-
pation was the natural cjutcome of the early environment of Mr. V'aughn, wlio
as a boy became familiar with the sights and scenes in the great oil fieMs of
Colorado lying near the city of Florence. Himself a native of that state, born
at Rosita, Custer county, January 14, 1883. lie is the son of Bridfl and Clara


(Blakesley) Vaughn, the latter deceased in 1903, and the former, a gold-miner
by occupation, still a resident of Florence, Colo., and quite active notwithstand-
ing his sixty-three years. In remote and isolated communities, far from the
commercial centers, he has lived his life in patient toil, and much of the remark-
able energy displayed by his son. Fred B., is an inheritance from this pioneer
miner of the Rocky mountain region. Of the five children in the family, Fred
B. was the fourth in order of birth and the second son. During boyhood he
spent the winter months in school and the summer seasons at work in the
oil fields of Colorado.

When he had advanced so that he could fill the position of a tool-dresser
Mr. Vaughn came to California in 1905 and for a year worked in the Los
Angeles field, from which he came to the Kern river field to work as a pro-
duction man on the Associated lease. After four years there he began as a
tool-dresser for the same company on the west side, where later he drilled
on the Bear Creek lease. After eight months as superintendent of the .Stock-
ton Midway Oil Company he came into the service of the M. & M. Oil Com-
pany as a driller, from which he was promoted, June 23, 1913, being made
superintendent of the company's holdings on section 15, 31-22. Ten active
wells on the tract of eighty acres now average a monthly production of seven-
teen thi usand barrels, and it is the ambition of the superintendent to not only
maintain, but also increase the output of the lease. His time is given closely
to the work and his advancement has been made wholly on merit. He is a
member of the Woodmen of the World. With his wife, who was formerly
Miss Fannie Westfall, of Florence, Colo., he has established a comfortable
home in the superintendent's residence on the M. & M. lease.

CHRISTIAN W. CLINE.— Perseverance in the face of obstacles which
to many another man would have been insurmountable has been the chief
factor in the success of C. W. Cline. He was born in Franklin, Ohio, May 25,
1864, and was educated in schools in different parts of his native state. After
leaving school he made his home with his parents and was employed on
farms until he was twenty-four years old, then coming to California and
settling in Orange county, where he worked two years. From there he went
to Redlands, where he spent a year. In 1890 he came to Delano and found em-
ployment in the store of M. Swartz & Son, where for three years he filled the
position of head salesman. By this time he had a thorough knowledge of
merchandising and sufficient capital to engage in trade on his own account
in a modest way. He opened a general store in Tehachapi, but his health
soon became so greatly impaired that he was obliged to close out his interests
there and seek a more favorable location. This for a time he thought he
had found at Sumner (East Bakersfield). He established a store there and
soon worked up a business which promised great success ; but again ill health
interefered with his plans and he was obliged to find out-door employment.
This he found on Senator Cox's ranch, where he engaged as a laborer and later
was made superintendent of the ranch. Eventually he resigned that position
to take charge of the W. H. Harrelson ranch in Tulare county, which he
managed until 1908. Then, going to Bakersfield, he was assistant postmaster
under Postmaster Edmonds for six months, at the end of this time resigning
his position as he was unable to longer continue indoor work. He then came
to Delano, leased land of the Kern County Land Company and began a career
as a grain farmer which has been almost uniformly successful to the present
time. The acreage which he operates under lease varies from year to year from
three kundred to eight hundred acres.

As a farmer Mr. Cline has won distinction among the leaders in his vicin-
ity. The family residence is in Delano, where Mr. Cline owns a comfortable
home. As a Republican he is active in politics, as a citizen is public spirited
and fraternally belongs to Delano Lodge No. 309, F. & A. M., Tulare Chapter


No. 71, R. A. ^r., X'isalia Commandcry No. 26, K. T., and .\1 Malaikah Tem-
ple, N. M. S. in Los Angeles. December 26, 1903, Mr. Clinc married Miss
Edna McCutchen, a native of Augusta cniinty, \'a., and they have two chil-
dren, Harry T. and Virginia M.

STAR SODA WORKS was started on a small scale in Sumner (now-
East Bakersfield) in 18S8 by G. Galli, who was born on a farm near Lucca,
Italy, May 8, 1856. lie came to San Francisco in 1871 and on October 1, 1879,
he arrived in Bakersfield, following farming in this county until he started the
Star Soda Works. The enterprise was the first of its kind in the village and
for a time its success was problematical, but eventually the energy of the
owner brought a merited measure of financial success and business standing.

The incorporation of the Star Soda Works occurred in 1905 with Mr.
Galli as president and he still fills the same office, having entire supervision
of the plant en Grove street in East Bakersfield, where he is engaged in the
manufacture of soda and soft drinks, also acts as agent for the products of the
Mathie Brewing Company in Los Angeles. While the main business of his
company is in Bakersfield he also makes shipments to dift'erent parts of Kern
county and has built up an important trade through efficiency and energy.
Besides owning the location of his plant he also owns three houses in East
Bakersfield, including the residence which he built and now occupies. Since
becoming a citizen of the United States he has affiliated with the Republican
party. In fraternal relations he holds membership with the Druids.

A. B. GREEN. — Although the association of Mr. Green with business
interests in California has been of but brief duration as counted by years,
already he has risen to a position of distinct importance along the line of his
chosen occupation and at Taft, where he has engaged in business since
April of 1910, he is known as a man of tireless energy and shrewd business
judgment. Prior to his removal to the west he resided in Kentucky, of
which commonwealth he is a native, having been born at Bowling
Green, June 4, 1878, and having received a common-school educa-
tion in that town. His studies, with the exception of a subsequent commercial
course, were cut short at a very early age and he turned his attention to the
sheet-metal work and to drafting, along which lines he acquired efficiency.
With the exception of a visit to California during 1906 he devoted his atten-
tion steadily to occupative labors in Kentucky until 1908, when he relinquished
associations with the Blue Grass state and became a citizen of California.
In coming here he had the advantage of a previous experience of fourteen
years at his trade and therefore possessed every qualification for a successful
continuance in the same or kindred pursuits. For one year after his arrival
in Bakersfield he held a salaried position with Alax Gundlach, Jr.

One year was sufficient to convince the employer of the value of the
clerk, therefore a partnership was proposed and inaugurated, the firm con-
sisting of Max Gundlach, Jr., George A. Morris and A. B. Green, associated
under the title of the Gundlach Tank Company, with places of business at
Bakersfield, ]\Iaricopa and Taft. Alarch 1, 1913, George .A Morris sold out
his interest to the two other i)artners, who have since conducted the business.
Mr. Green was sent to Taft in April, 1910, to open the branch house at this
point and to erect the necessary buildings. He has established a home at Taft,
having been married in 1911 to Miss Jessie Balderson, a native of Illinois and a
daughter of a pioneer of that state. With the exception of an active associa-
tion with the Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World and Improved Order
of Red Men, he gives his time and attention wholly to business affairs and
takes just pride in the large trade he is building up through the whole field
extending from Maricopa to JiIcKittrick. Sheet-metal wcirk of every descrip-
tion is conducted along modern lines.

VALENTIN LAFONT.— .\ gentleman well and favorablv known in


Kern county is Valentin Lafont, who was born in St. Laurent, Haiites-Alpes,
France, August 27, 1876, the son of Xavier and Josephine (Borel) Lafont,
who were progressive farmers of that community and whose family comprised
four children. Valentin, the third in order of birth, from a youth attended
the local schools during the winters, while in summers he made himself useful
on the home farm learning the mode of agriculture as it is accomplished
in the South of France. At the age of seventeen he went to the adjoining
department, Bouche du Rhone, where for three years he was employed on
a farm at teaming until he enlisted in the Twenty-second Regiment of Infantry
in the French army. At the expiration of three years of service he was
honorably discharged with the rank of corporal. After spending a year in
St. Laurent he came to Bakersfield, Cal., in 1901 and immediately entered the
employ of the Kern County Land Company. Later placed in charge of
the tallow-rendering department of their Bellevue packing house, he continued
in that capacity until 1908, when he accepted a position in the P>akersfield
ice plant but after eighteen months resigned to re-enter the employ of the
Kern County Land Company as fence rider on the Poso ranch. Desiring to
engage in farming for himself in 1911 he leased the present ranch, which
he has since operated and devotes his time to raising grain, alfalia hay
and corn.

The marriage of Mr. Lafont occurred in East Bakersfield, March 21, 1903,
when he was united with Miss Marie Pauline Achin (also a native of St.
Laurent, France), who is his able helpmate and assists him in his efforts
towards success.

A. RODONI. — The Vineland cheese factory, which is being conducted
in Kern county by A. Rodoni and Peter Cattani, was the first factory of its
kind in this part of the country. It has a daily capacity of three hundred
pcunds of cheese, the quality of which is excellent and bears wide reputa-
tion the country round. The fact that both these men have had a long experi-
ence in the dairy business, and were brought up to learn the secrets of the
making of this product in Italy explains their success.

A. Rodoni is a native of Switzerland, having been born in December,
1853, at Biasca, in Canton Ticino. There he was sent to school and reared
to the life ci mmon in that country. He had early evinced a desire to see
America, and when he had reached eighteen he started out, July 24, 1871, to
make his way hither. From his home place he went to Liverpool, from there
taking passage to New York, and he arrived in that port in early September,
a few weeks later reaching San Francisco, Cal. He immediately went to
San Mateo county, where he worked at dairying for a long period, later
being engaged in farming, and fur a short period in the saw mills. Before
his marriage in 1894 he rented a dairy farm, and at this event he renewed
his eftorts in this direction, with the aid of his efficient wife building up a
fine business in, the manufacture of cheese, which he conducted for about
fourteen years. In Merced county, he had bought a dairy ranch and started
a creamery, and he is now the owner of one hundred and twenty-six acres
in that county.

In November, 1911, in partnership with Peter Cattani, Mr. Rodoni pur-
chased one hundred and sixty acres, on section 20, 31-29, and later two hun-
dred acres adjoining, making a total of three hundred and sixty acres for
their dairy farm. They are milking a hundred cows, and their product is
a full cream cheese which is classed among the best produced in the factories.
A large barn was built by the partners which is well equipped, the aim being
to procure the best results with the best methods. In 1894 he married Flor-
enda Mattel, who was born in the same canton of Switzerland as was her
husband. She came to this country in company with her brother, Victor
Mattel, who settled at Pescadero, San Mateo county. Four children were

HISTORY ()!• Kl'.RX COl'XTV 1341

born to i\Ir. and Mrs. Rodoiii as follows: Roy, Henry. Tlicodnra and I'lorencc.
Mrs. Rodoni is an intellij:i;ent, sturdy woman, whose aid has l)een no small
element in her husband's success.

LESS CLOTFELTER.— Since cominsj to Bakersfield in 1901 and to
McKittrick in 1904 ^Nlr. Clotfelter has watched the development of the oil
industry in this section of the country with the deepest interest and the
keenest intelligence. \\'hile not participating actively in the strenuous tasks
of oil development, like the majority of men living in the locality, he has
invested in organizations devoted to such work and offering considerable
promise of future returns. At this writing he owns shares in different
oil companies now operating in the vicinity of McKittrick and the North
Midway field. All of his life has been passed within the boundaries of Cali-
fornia and from the age of nineteen he has lived in Kern county. Born at
Visalia in 1882. he is a son of Daniel L. and Sophia (Grove) Clotfelter, who
still reside in Visalia, the father having been identified for years with mer-
cantile interests and the stock industry in that locality.

The parental family numbered eleven children. All of these attained
mature years and are still living, Less Clotfelter being the fifth in order of
birth. After he had graduated from the Visalia high school in 1898, he
secured emplo3^ment in a fruit-packing house and also engaged in buying
fruit for the packers. Different fruit companies in the San Joaquin valley
secured his services in these capacities for brief periods, but at the age of
nineteen he gave up that work and came to Kern county, where he since
has engaged in the liquor business. Fraternally he is a member of the Eagles
and the Moose. His marriage touk place in San Francisco and united him
with Miss Abigail Hock, a native of that city. By this marriage he has two
daughters, Ruth and Hazel. Interested in educational matters, he has aided
the development of the AIcKittrick school and has served as a member of
the board, in which for one term he officiated as clerk. Through his valuable
oil holdings in the McKittrick and North Midway fields he has enjoyed the
prosperity resulting from investments in this highl}- favored district.

JOSEPH P. STIER is a member of an ancient German family whose
successive generations have been represented by specialists in the brewing
of beer and whose name in certain localities became a synonym for skill in
the business. The first to immigrate to the United States was Leo Stier,
whose education and training in the old country proved of the utmost assist-
ance to him in Chicago, where he followed the brewing industry and reared
his family. Among his children was a son, Joseph P., born in Chicago in
1880, educated in the public schools of that city, trained to the trade of
brewer by the father and apprenticed to the bottling business with the
Godfrey Brewing Company, of Chicago. On the conclusion of his time he
remained with the same company as a paid employe. After working at the
bottling business for some time, he took a course in the Siebel Brewing
Academy, Chicago, from which he w^as graduated in 1910, upon the comple-

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 141 of 177)