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 144 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 144 of 177)
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commercial upbuilding of Fellows have in Mr. Gould an able and intelligent
member. He is stanchly Republican in his opinions and at national elections
votes the straight ticket. Besides his interests at Fellows he owns some
valuable oiHand in the Cuyama valley. One daughter, Murel, was born of
his first marriage, which united him with Miss Luclla M. ^Marfpn's, a life-



1354 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

long resident of Waterloo, Iowa. Her demise occurred in young womanhood
and afterward he was united with Miss Mabel Shields, a native of Wisconsin,
their union being blessed by a son, Howard M.

W. PERRY WILKES.— An identification with the west covering a period
of more than fifty-five years has given to Mr. Wilkes a comprehensive knowl-
edge of the resources and possibilities of this promising region. At the time
of his arrival, during the fall of 1856, mining was still the principal occu-
pation of the country. The possibilities of the land for agriculture and horti-
culture were dimly grasped by only a few far-seeing optimists; by far the
larger number of the people still considered that mining for gold offered the
only opportunity for material prosperity. One of the shrewd, keen-sighted
pioneers whose vision of the future evinced a wise judgment was Albert G.
Wilkes, who brought a large herd of cattle to California at the time of his
migration hither in 1856 from Missouri. He had come to California in
1849 from the same state, arriving in Eldorado county (Georgetown) October
1 of that year. For a while he carried on placer mining, but later established
a bakery and store in Georgetown which he operated three years. He then
returned to Missouri for his family, and brought them with him when he
came west in 1856.

With the expedition of immigrants traveling with ox-teams and wagons
came the boy of thirteen years, W. Perry Wilkes, who was born March 21,
1843, at the home farm thirty miles south of Jefferson City, Mo. He did
not allow the fact of his extreme youth to deter him from doing a man's
work during the long journey. To his charge was given the driving of the
one hundred head of dairy cows and he maintained considerable pride in his
success with the herd, for he lost only one cow during the long and difficult
journey across the plains. Among the drove there were sixteen head of
Durham cows, these being the first thoroughbred Durhams ever brought
into California and from them as foundation stock a large business was
established in that now popular breed. A dairy ranch was established on
the Tassejara, in Contra Costa county, and the successful prosecution of
dairy interests through a considerable period of years brought wealth
to the family, enabling the father eventually to retire with ample means
to Stockton, where his death occurred in 1880. He was a brother of Col.
P. S. Wilkes and also of Rev. L. B. Wilkes, for years a leading minister
in the Christian Church.

After having completed the studies of the common schools of Contra
Costa county and also spent one term as a student in Union academy, in
1863 W. Perry Wilkes went to Arizona to aid in developing the Vulture
mine, but the following year he returned to California and settled in Kern
county, of which he now is among the oldest living pioneers. During the
winter of 1864-65 he taught the first public school ever held in the county at
Linn's Valley. After his marriage in 1866 he engaged in the livery busi-
ness at Havilah, then the county seat and a town of considerable promise.
The discovery of gold had caused a boom at Havilah and within eighteen
months it had grown from nothing to a population of fifteen hundred, but
that represented the height of its prosperity, for many of the mines failed
to pay, the miners sought other locations and then the county seat was
removed to Bakersfield.

Removing from Havilah to Glennville in 1869, during that year Mr. Wilkes
was appointed the first postmaster of the village and at the same time he
built the first hotel there. For years he acted as postmaster and as landlord
of the hotel, also carried on a general mercantile store, and besides he pur-
chased and improved a tract of eight hundred acres, where he engaged in
raising cattle, sheep and hogs. For years the buying and selling of cattle
formed his principal business and in it he was prospered greatly. Mean-
while his father had died in 1880 and upon the settlement of the estate he



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1333

had received SI 1,000, which aided him in the development of his ranch and
the carrying on of a stock business. The inheritance was greatly increased
through wise management, so that he in turn was able to assist liis children
financially and yet retain a sufficient amount to provide all cc mforts for his
old age. \\hile his investments were almost wholly in California, there were
occasional exceptions, chief among these being the purchase of Lookout
Springs ranch, thirty miles east of Hackbcrry, Mohave county, .\riz., and
that property he developed from a raw tract into an improved stock ranch.
The location on the Santa Fe Railroad and tlie presence of water on the
ranch rendered it a desirable place for the stock industry.

In the midst of varied business activities Mr. Wilkes found the time to
keep posted concerning public affairs and national issues. Politically he has
always voted the Democratic ticket. He served as county auditor (1880-82)
and dej)uty county assessor (1880-90). For a number of years he has
owned and occupied a finely-improved tract of twenty acres on Union avenue,
which he purciiased from ]>en L. P.rundage and which combines the advant-
ages of a country home with those offered by cluse proximity to the city
of Bakersfield. During 1883 he was bereaved by the death of his wife, who'
was Ann, daughter of Col. John C. Reid, a former sheriff of Tulare county.
Of his four children now living the eldest, Albert R., who married Miss Lizzie
Preston of Kern county, is an extensive rancher, a successful oil operator and
a merchant at Linn's valley. The younger son, Carl, who married Miss Ida
Shackleford of Bakersfield. is now proprietor of the Pioneer gun store in
this city. The third child, Irene, married Robert B. McGee, who is employed
as a foreman with Kern River Oil Company, and the youngest daughter,
Austie, is the wife cif George \\'. Leonard, a teaming contractor living in
Bakersfield.

JOHN TYRER.— In coming to California from England Mr. Tyrer feels
that he made no mistake, for he has met with success. There had been con-
siderable uncertainty on his part as to the merits of California compared with
those of New Zealand and he had read much concerning both regions. Finally
he cast his decision in favor of California, came to the west and made his
permanent home in the region whose subsequent growth he has witnessed.

Born in Manchester, England, April 7, 1846, John Tyrer is a son of Thomas
Tyrer, who lived and died near Manchester, and that locality also remained
the lifelong home of the mother. There were four children in the parental
family and of these Mary is now deceased, Hannah is living at Windsor,
Canada, and Thomas is employed as a plumber near Liverpool, England, so
that John is the sole representative of the name in the L'nited States. After
he had completed his education in a school conducted under tlie auspices of
the Church c f England he became an ai)]jrentice to the trades of painter and
plumber, at which he served from fifteen until twenty-one years of age. Upon
starting out for himself as a journeyman he went to Yorkshire, England, and
secured a position with the firm of George Walsh & Sons, of Halifax. By
dint of hard work and intelligence he rose to be manager of the firm, with
which he continued for eight years. Meanwhile at the age of twenty-seven
years he married Miss Isabella Bradley, of Halifax, England.

After having conducted a plumbing business at Liverpool for a time Mr.
Tyrer determined to seek a home in another part of the world. California was
his choice for a location and with his wife and two children he took passage
on the National line. During the fall of 1887 he arrived in Los .Angeles and
immediately afterward he secured a position under W. C. Furry, who con-
ducted a hardware and plumbing establishment. For three years he continued
with Mr. Furry, but in the fall of 1889, resigning the position, he started
out independently. .After fourteen v'ears of independent work in plumbing.



1356 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

during 1904 he retired from the business and now gives his attention to the
inanagement of his ranch of twenty acres south of Bakersfield, in addition
to which he owns other property in town, including a lot on the corner of O
street and Truxtun avenue. After he had been in this country a few years
he decided to remain permanently and accordingly took out naturalization
papers, since which time he has maintained a warm interest in all move-
ments for the national welfare. In politics he aims to vote for principles and
to give, his support to men of high character and recognized public spirit.
For years his wife has been one of the most earnest and helpful members of
the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Bakersfield and his contributions to
the church maintenance have been generous. One of his daughters, Miss
Lucy, resides with her parents on the ranch, while the other, Mary, is the wife
of Charles E. Hallett, postmaster of Graton, Sonoma county, Cal., and pro-
prietor of a general mercantile business in that village, which is the home of
himself and wife and their daughter, Lucile.

CHARLES M. HART.— The father of the immediate subject of this
sketch, Moses Hart, was birn in Chickasaw, Indian Territory, December 1,
1833, and in 1850 started across the plains with ox teams, arriving in San
Jose, Cal., in 1852. From there he soon moved to Mariposa county, where he
mined until in 1856. Later he lived for a time in Los Angeles county whence
he came in 1857 to Kern county. Locating in Oak creek two years later he
became the owner of a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres and of a quarter
section of railroad land. It is a matter of record that he was one of the
petitioners, in 1865, for the organization of Kern county. In 1863 he was in
the Indian fight in Kelsey Caiion, Kern county, where he was waylaid by the
Indians ; his brother Martin and his step-brother Oliver were both killed
July 3, 1863. The father organized a pi sse and followed the Indians to Owens
River, where they attacked the Indians eighteen days later. Nineteen of the
Indians were killed in the battle, the remainder escaping. Mr. Hart married
July 15, 1859, J\liss Julia Ann Findley, who bore him twelve children. She
passed away January 21, 1907, and his death occurred December 21, 1903.

It was at Old Town, Tehachapi, that Charles M. Hart was born March 19,
1870. He attended public school at Tehachapi and in Bear Valley until he
was seventeen years old, when he bravely took up the battle of life on his
own account. He entered the employ of the Santa Fe and learned the machin-
ist trade at Needles. From 1891 to 1894 he had a market and butcher busme-^s
at Jerome, Ariz. In the year last mentioned he sold out and returned to Kern
county and for a time lived at Bakersfield. In 1896 he established himself in
the meat business at Tehachapi but soon sold his market and homesteaded
land in the Weed Patch and for some time he farmed seventeen hundred acres
of land, the greater part of which he leased. Eventually he disposed of his
ranch, moved to Mojave county, Ariz., and established a meat market at
Chloride which he conducted successfully three years. During the ensuing
two years he was in the same business at Needles, San Bernardino county,
Cal. Then, disposing of his interests at Needles, he went to Nevada, where
he was employed as master mechanic for the Green Water Death Valley
Mining Company. After eleven months' experience there he came back to
Kern county and became the owner and lessee of mining land in the Caliente
Valley which he operated a short time. In November, 1907, he took charge
of the department distributing all the meat along the Los Angeles aqueduct
for the butcher trade of the Bressler Meat Company of Los Angeles and
for a year and a half filled the position of general manager. Then, removing
to Lost Hills, Kern county, he opened a meat market there, of which he has
since been proprietor. He owns the hotel and general merchandise store at
Hart station, on the stage line two miles east of Lost Hills and also gives
considerable attention to teaming and contracting, and the buying and selling



HISTORY OF KKRN COUNTY 1357

of stock, hay and grain. He has interests in the oil fields, has invested in land
in Lost Hills, bnt still maintains his home at Wasco. As a Democrat Mr.
Hart has been active in local politics and as a delegate he has taken part in the
deliberations of a number of Democratic county conventions and is serving as
deputy sheritt. Fraternally he affiliates with the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

On April 3. 1900, he married Katherine Watchman, a native of Pennsyl-
vania, who had come west with her parents, who located at Cripple Creek,
Colo., where her father was chief clerk of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Com-
pany at \Valsenburg. Colo., for fourteen years. From there Mr. W^atchman
removed to Cripple Creek, where he remained until 1896, at which time he
located at White Hill, Alohave county, where for several years he succe.s.s-
fully operated a mine. Thence he removed to Chloride, .\riz., where he bought
mining property which he operated until in 1907, when he sold it and removed
to Tonopah. Nev. After living there a year and a half he came to Kern county
and leased a mine near Tehachapi. In 1908 he lived for eight months at Rands-
burg, where he operated the Butte mine with satisfactory results. He then
leased the King Solomon mine which he has since handled with success. Mrs.
Hart has borne her husband four children, Laura J., Daniel C., Thomas M.
and Frank M.

THOMAS H. FOGARTY.— Through a lifelong identification with Cali-
fornia, of which his parents were pioneers. .Mr. Fogarty gained a compre-
hensive knowledge of the resources and possibilities of the commonwealth
and became an enthusiastic advocate of its interests. Born in San Fran-
cisco, educated in the schools and in St. Ignatius College, within the brief
span of his useful existence (1861-1907) he witnessed the remarkable develop-
ment of that city and saw it become the metropolis of the Pacific coast. For
many years his parents, James F. and Nora (English) Fogarty, were numbered
among the industrious working element of that growing city, where the
former died and where the latter, advanced in years, still makes her home.

An early location at Lompoc, Santa Barbara county, and an association of
several years with the hotel business in that village, gave Mr. Fogarty
the experience and information that proved valuable to him when in March.
1900, he came to Bakersfield and bought the .Arlington hotel in partnership
with M. A. Lindberg, the two continuing together until 1906, when the
present proprietor, Air. Lindberg, acquired the ownership of the building.
Turning his attention to other matters, Mr. Fogarty bought a farm one mile
south of Kern and there until his death he engaged in raising standard thor-
oughbred and full-bl( oded Percheron draft horses. The Arlington stock farm
acquired a wide reputation for the fine quality of its stock and the keen business
ability of its manager and owner. Joining with others, he had an interest in
the building of the Hudnut driving track for race horses, in which he was a
prime factor, creating interest in the raising of fine horses and also in starting
a county fair and races. His starting of the county fair in the fall of 1900 was
the beginning of a series of fairs which have proved an important factor in the
county. Among Mr. Fogarty 's finest animals was Richmond Chief, which had
a reputation as one of the most perfect specimens of its class in the west.

The marriage of Mr. Fogarty took place at San Luis Obispo, Cal., and
united him with Mrs. Nettie (Overholtz) Hoover, who was born in Santa
Rosa and holds membership with the Native Daughters. The Overholtz family
was represented in the east through several generations and her father,
William, was born and reared in Pennsylvania, but came across the plains
in young manhood and settled at Santa Rosa. Cal., where he follow^ed the
trade of a cabinet-maker. While still in the prime of manhood death ended
his activities and later his widow, Elizabeth (Alankins) Overholtz, a native of
Missouri, removed to San Benito county, where she now makes her home.
Of their familv nnh- two children are now living. Mrs. Fogarty being the



1358 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

younger of these. Her education was received in the schools of San Benito
and Santa Barbara counties and she was well qualified by natural endowments
as well as school training to fill all the responsibilities of life. Two children
blessed her marriage, James English and Norrine Elizabeth. Subsequent to
the death of Mr. Fogarty she sold the ranch and the stock and removed to
Bakersfield, where she has invested in city property. She built a comfortable
residence at No. 2322 Eighteenth street, which she herself designed, and she
also improved two residences on K street which she has since sold. On
Beale avenue and Jackson street. East Bakersfield, there is a large residence
built by her, which she leases. She has been very fortunate in investments
and owns other valuable real estate in Bakersfield and throughout Kern
county, .as well as in Monterey, Oakland and Richmond. She is truly optimistic
for California and believes the next decade will show wonderful results as to
increase in values to the investor.

ALBERT WEEDALL.— England has furnished to the western country an
especially high class of citizens whose thorough understanding of the work to
which they are attracted and whose painstaking effort in their every under-
taking have caused them to be recognized as a distinct value to their various
communities. Among those who have made California their adopted common-
wealth are James and Albert Weedall, father and son, who were both natives
of Northwich, Cheshire, England. The elder followed the trade of florist and
horticulturist in Cheshire, England, until 1892, when he brought his family to
the United States and settled in Bakersfield, Cal. In Rosedale he engaged in
general farming and remained at this work until 1909 when he retired from
active work and now makes his home in Bakersfield. His wife was Susanna
Penny and was also born in Northwich, England.

Albert Weedall was born December 19, 1870, and was reared in his native
land, attending the public school. Upon completing his studies he entered
into the employ of his uncle, who was a stock-dealer and butcher, but in 1892
left there to accompany his parents to Bakersfield, Cal. He there procured
employment with H. A. Blodgett as a landscape gardener, working at garden-
ing and nursery work for six years, at the end of which time he started out for
himself, and he is now the proprietor of the oldest and finest nursery and
florist business in Bakersfield. This is located at No. 603 Chester avenue,
where Mr. Weedall has built three greenhouses, growing plants of all kinds,
trees and shrubs.

Mr. Weedall was married (first) in Los Angeles, to Ida Florence Capper,
born in Northwich, England, whose death occurred in Bakersfield. Two of
their children are now living, Newton and Florence. Mr. Weedall's second
marriage was in Bakersfield, to Nellie Straker Shields, who was born in New-
castle-upon-Tyne, England, and they have one child, Albert William.

IMr. Weedall and family are members of St. John Episcopal Church in
Bakersfield. In political questions he unites with the Democratic party, and
fraternally he is afifiliated with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks,
Woodmen of the ^^'orld, Order of Eagles, and the Order of Moose.

MARTIN NEELY PETTUS.— During the early part of the nineteenth
centurj' James E. Pettus, of Virginian birth, accompanied his widowed mother
to Arkansas and settled in Sevier, where later he conducted a general store in
the small hamlet of Paraclifta. At the outbreak of the Mexican war he of-
fered his services to his country, was accepted and sent to the front, where he
took part in the battles of Vera Cruz and Buena Vista. Upon the ending
of the war he received an honorable discharge and returned to his Arkansas
home, whence during 1850 he came via Panama to California. A brief ex-
perience at the mines was followed by identification with the hotel business,
first in Vallejo and later at Petaluma. Next he went to Calpella, a small town
eight miles north of Ukiah, Mendocino county, where he had charge of the



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 135')

Indian ag^ency and also engaged in general merchandising. During the period
of his residence in that small village his son, Martin Neely Pettus, was born
November 22. 1861. Removing to Kern county in 1869 the father located a
homestead and developed and improved a tract of one hundred and sixty acres
on the old Buena Vista slough. Heing able to secure water from the slough
for irrigation he raised alfalfa with profit and made a success of the stock
business. When eventually he retired from agricultural pursuits he lived his
last days with a daughter, Mrs. Leonora Cross, in Bakersfield on the present
site of the Producers' Bank and here, in July of 1899. he passed away, at the
age of seventy years.

A few years after his arrival in the west James E. Pettus married Cornelia
Veader. who was born in Minden, La., and died in Kern county, Cal., at the
age of forty years. Her father. Col. Charles II. Veader, a native of Schenec-
tady, N. Y., came south during the war of 1812 and after the engagement at
New Orleans, in which he bore an active ]iart, he received an honorable dis-
charge from the army. Remaining in Louisiana, he engaged in mercantile
pursuits and also practiced law. During the memorable year of 1849 he and
his family crossed the plains in a wagon drawn by oxen. Eor a time he prac-
ticed law in Vallejo, where his daughter became the wife of Mr. Pettus. Later
he became an attorney at Petaluma. Next he followed his profession at Ukiah.
Coming to Kern county in 1868. he practiced law at Havilah and did much of
the early surveying in this part of the state. When the county-seat was
brought to F'.akersfield he established his home and office in this city, but
finally entered land near Stockdale and there passed his last days.

There were five children in the Pettus family. The following survive:
Mrs. Leonora Cross, a widow residing in Bakersfield; Martin Neely, of this
review ; Carrie, wife of William H. Davis, of Rosamond, Kern county ; and
Howard, who is living in the state of Washington. Erom the age of seven
years Martin N. Pettus has been familiar with conditions in Kern county,
where he attended school and learned general farming. .\t the age of sixteen
he became an employe of Carr & Haggin. A desire to see the old home of his
father in .Arkansas induced him to visit Sevier county, that state, and for
thirteen years he raised cotton in that county. Meanwhile he met and married
Miss Lucettie Davies. who was born near W'ashington, Ark. Their union was
blessed with three daughters, the eldest of whom, Ruby, is now the wife of
F. M. Clark, of Stockton, Cal. The younger daughters, Alice and Thelma,
reside with their parents. During December of 1800 Mr. Pettus brought his
family to California and became a rider for the Kern County Land Company.
After five years in the same position he turned his attention to farming and
three years later came to East Bakersfield, where he owns a residence at No.
502 Pacific street. During 1898 he became janitor of the old H school, next
was with the Emerson school, later was transferred to the W^ashington school
in East Bakersfield and since 1910 has acted as janitor of the Kern county
high school. He maintains a warm interest in national issues and votes the
Democratic ticket. The Fraternal Brotherhood has his name enrolled upon its
list of members, while in religious faith he is in sympathy with the doctrmes
of the ^fethodist Episcopal Church South and has served for some years as a
member of the official board in the local congregation.

GEORGE H. PIPPITT.— With the exception of the first eight years of
his life, which were s[)ent in New Jersey, IMr. Pippitt has always been identified
with the west. Born at Birmingham, Burlington county, N. J., June 6. 1869,



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 144 of 177)