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 145 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 145 of 177)
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George H. Pippitt is a son of Joseph M. and Hannah A. (Akins) Pippitt. na-
tives of New Jersey, the latter now a resident of Sacramento, Cal. The
father, after coming to the west about 1875, secured employment as a mill-
wright with a large lumber company in the redwood district of San Mateo
county. In the region made famous by reason of its great forests he worked



1360 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

for some time and meanwhile had his family join him in 1877 but in 1881 he
took his wife and children to a ranch in Sutter county, where he engaged in
general farming. October of 1885 found them residents of Oakland and in
that city he died during February of the following year. There were two sons
and two daughters in his family and the youngest of these, George H., received
his education in the public schools of California. After having taken a com-
mercial course in the Pacific Business College of San Francisco he became a
bookkeeper in Oakland with a large wholesale house.

Railroading has engrossed the time and attention of Mr. Pippitt since
the year 1890, when he became a tallyman in the lumber department of the
Southern Pacific Railroad at Sacramento. Afterward he was transferred to the
car-repair department and by promotion rose to be foreman. From 1893 until
1898 he had charge of the station at Winnemucca, Nev., but in the latter year
he was transferred to Bakersfield, Cal., to fill temporarily the position of
general car foreman. At the expiration of three months he was assigned to
Sacramento, but in July of 1899 he was returned to Bakersfield as chief inter-
change inspector and assistant foreman. December of the same year found
him in Mojave as general foreman of the car and locomotive department and
wrecking foreman, from which position in May, 1900, he was promoted to be
joint general foreman of the same department for the Southern Pacific and
Santa Fe Railroads. For more than a decade he continued in the same post.
Meanwhile the work became very heavy and the duties exceedingly exacting.
Finally it became necessary to divide the work. In April of 1911 the depart-
ment was changed so that his responsibilities were lessened and since then he
has been round-house and wrecking foreman for both companies.

Being a man of thrift and a believer in the future of the state Mr. Pippitt
has invested in real estate from time to time and now owns a ranch of ten
acres near Downey, also residence property in Sherman. While making his
headquarters in Nevada he married Miss Jeannette E. Webb, a native of
Sacramento, a lady of excellent education and an earnest member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church. Her father, Edwin Webb, who had served in
the Black Hawk war, crossed the plains with wagon and ox-team during the
early '50"s. For a time he lived on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres
situated in the vicinity of Westlake park, Los Angeles. When one hundred
and four years of age he died in Sacramento. There are three children in the
family of Mr. Pippitt, namely: Otis N., who is in the naval training schoul in
San Francisco; Irene E., and Gordon D. In Tehachapi Lodge No. 313, F. &
A. M., of which he is past master, Mr. Pippitt was made a Mason, and he is
also past patron of Tehachapi Chapter No. 188, O. E. S. Mrs. Pippitt is past
matron of the local chapter and a leader in the work of the order.

GAUDENZ WEICHELT.— Born July 26, 1873, at Cillis, Canton Grau-
bunden, upon the farm occupied by his parents, Gottleib and Katherina
(Wald) Weichelt, G. Weichelt passed the years of early life in an industrious
but uneventful manner and at the age of fifteen was confirmed in the Lutheran
Church. The parental family comprised seven children and all are still living,
namely : Christian, the only one of the seven to remain in Switzerland ; Gott-
leib, a farmer in the Panama district; Gaudenz, of Bakersfield; John, who is
engaged in farming in the Old River district; Katherina, Mrs. Christian
Mattly, of Bakersfield; Mary, Mrs. John Koch, who lives on a farm in the
Panama district; and Carl, of Bakersfield. The first member of the family to
come to America was Gaudenz and the reports he sent back encouraged the
others to follow him, the father and mother also coming to California to spend
their last days in Kern county.

After having worked as a day laborer in Palermo, Italy, from the age of
fifteen until he was seventeen, Gaudenz Weichelt then returned to his native
place at Graubunden, Switzerland, and in a short time started for the new



HIST(^RY OI' KI'RX (( )rNTY IMA

world. April 1, 1891, he arrived in Bakersrield. The fullowiiig day he secured
employment as a day laborer on a dairy farm situated on Union avenue,
remaining there about a year. Later he was employed on two other dairy
farms, the last one that of Chris Mattley. Meanwhile he had saved his wages
with frugal care. His next venture was the renting of land two and one-half
miles southwest of Bakersfield, where he started a dairy farm and engaged
also in stock-raising. With his savings he bought twenty acres three miles
southwest of Bakersfield. Moving to the new farm, he embarked in the dairy
business. Later he added to the tract and now owns sixty-six acres in one
body, under the Stine canal, well adapted for an alfalfa and dairy farm.
From that farm he drove a retail milk wagon through the city and built up
patronage that proved profitable although requiring constant attention. Dur-
ing January, 1908, he closed out the dairy business, leased the land and
moved into Bakersfield to engage in business on the corner of Nineteenth
and K streets. Of recent years he has been financially interested in the Sun-
shine Oil Company and also in the Seabreeze Oil Company.

In 1896 he married .Miss Martha Ruefenacht, a native of Jalde, Russia,
and a daughter of Gottleib and I-^cda (Metzger) Ruefenacht, born in Bern,
Switzerland, and near Heilbronn, Wurtemberg, Germany, respectively. Dur-
ing the year 1893 Mrs. Ruefenacht brought the family to California and settled
in Bakersfield. Mrs. Weichelt died August 30, 1904. leaving four children,
Walter, Freda, Elsie and Martha, and with them Mr. Weichelt makes his
home on the corner of Nineteenth and Myrtle streets. Politically Mr. Weichelt
has been stanch in his allegiance to Republican principles, while in fraternal
relations he is identified with the Eagles and the Hermann Sons, and he and
his family are members of St. Johns Lutheran Church. Deeply interested in
the free-schoi 1 system, he served for some years as school trustee in the Stine
district and during the term of his official service the site for a school was
selected and a new building erected. Of industrious and persevering tem-
perament, he has found in California an opportunity for material advancement
which his nati\'e land could not offer.

JOSEPH VACCARO.— Burn July 25, 1868, in San Francisco, Cal., Joseph
Vaccaro is the son of early settlers in Kern county, who upon coming to this
country- first settled in San I-'rancisco, thence moving to this county. In 1885
he also came here and procured work with the Miller & Lux Land Company,
working for them in all parts of the country, and learning the many par-
ticulars concerning the tilling of the soil and the conduct of a prt ductivc farm.
He familiarized himself with these details and his ability was soon recognized.
In 1901 he was called to become superintendent of the Alameda ranch,
owned by R. E. Houghton of San Francisco. During the summers he has
from twenty to twenty-five men working under him on the ranch, in the
winters having from six to ten, and so systematically is the arrangement that
the work moves quickly and smoothly to the ultimate gain of the owner and
the complete satisfaction of all concerned.

Mr. Vaccaro is unmarried and devotes all of his time and attention to his
duties. Fraternally he is a member of Bakersfield Aerie No. 93, Order of
Eagles. He takes no active i)art in public affairs, but his interest is ever for the
promotion of better conditions in his community.

JESSE DECATURE BRITE.— Among the native sons who have risen to
prominence and have been appointed to fill responsible positions is Jesse D.
Brite, who was born in Brites X'alley, Kern county, I'ebruary 27, 1885, the
son of James M., and grandson f f John Moore Brite, the pioneer settler of the
Tehachapi region and from whom Brites valley receives its name. His
father is an old and honored settler and stock-raiser of the valley. Jesse was
brought up on the farm and learned the stock business, receiving his education
in the local schools and Brownsberger's Business College in Ls Angeles,



1362 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

where he completed the course in typewriting and stenography. He then
entered Heald's Business College at Stockton and after completing the course
entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad at Tehachapi as a clerk,
which position he held about four years.

On being appointed postmaster at Tehachapi by President Wilson July
10, 1913, Mr. Brite resigned his clerkship and assumed the duties of his office
August 30, 1913. With his usual tact he is filling the position to the satisfac-
tion of the citizens.

In Hackberry, Mohave county, Arizona, occurred the marriage of Jesse
Brite and Miss Eva Cofer, who was born there and is the daughter of A. F.
Cofer, a large cattle man of Hackberry. Of the union of Mr. and Airs. Brite
have been born two children, Chester C. and Viola. Fraternally he holds
membership with the Arroyo Grande Lodge, M. W. A. He has always been
much interested in and an active local worker of the Democratic party.

MRS. ADELINE PESANTE.— Among the pioneer residents of Old River
who have contributed to the material upbuilding of the community and raised
a large family to be men and women of credit to the county we find Mrs.
Pesante, who was born in the town of Andeer, Canton Graubunden, Switzer-
land, the daughter of Christian and Katherina (Engle) Lehner. The father
was a contractor and farmer. The daughter, Adeline,' was reared in the beau-
tiful Alps region, receiving her education in the public schools of that vicinity,
and there she was married April 4, 1880, to Peter Pesante. who was born in the
same village July 18, 1858, the son of a farmer. Naturally he learned that pur-
suit, which he followed in that country until 1883, when he came to California
to select and establish a home for his family in the region of which they had
heard such good reports. The family joined him in 1885. They resided in
Salinas' until 1886, when they moved into Kern county and he entered the
employ of the Kern County Land Company on the Lakeside ranch, remaining
there until his death in 1889. Mrs. Pesante, left with four children, continued
to reside at Lakeside and was employed there until her second marriage to a
brother of her former husband, John Pesante, born in 1863. Soon afterwards
they purchased the twenty acres near Old River, where he farmed until his
death in 1S07. Since then she continues to reside on her ranch, which is well
improved and is run under the supervision of her son.

By her first marriage she had four children, as follows : Christian, who is
a farmer in this county; Peter, an employe on the Southern Pacific Railroad;
Lena, Mrs. Small, who resides in San Francisco ; and Dina, in the employ of
the San Joaquin Light & Power Corporation in Bakersfield. Of the second
marriage there were six children, namely : Adeline, Mrs. Christian Ruedy, of
Panama ; Mary, Mrs. Zillig, residing in Arizona ; John, Everett, Florence and
Irving, who are still at home. Mrs. Pesante takes much pleasure in having
been able to care for and train her children to habits of industry and self-
reliance. Having been reared in the Protestant faith, she is a member of St.
John's Lutheran Church in Bakersfield.

PETER TUCULET was born in Spelet near Bayonne, Basses Pyrenees,
France, ]May 12, 1875. His father, also named Peter Tuculet, has been a
farmer and stockman all these years" and still resides on his little farm in
the lofty Pyrenees with his wife, Frances. To them were born ten children,
nine of whom are living, Peter being the fifth in the order of birth. From a
lad he made himself useful on the farm and learned the stock business as it
was done in the Pyrenees of France. Two of his brothers having located in
Kern county, Cal, he also determined to see the land of which he had heard
such glowing reports and setting out at the age of seventeen he arrived in
Kern county in 1892. Immediately he found employment with a sheepman
herding the flocks in Kern, Inyo and Mono .counties for eight years, when he
purchased a band. A year later he sold his flock to engage in mining in the



' HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 13(k^

Amelia district, being employed in the (luld Pick and also the Amelia mine
until 1907. From that time until 1909 he was foreman of stone quarries at
\^ictorville, and then returned to Bakersfield, since which time he has been
foreman of the Noriega ranch, a position he is filling with his customary zeal.

Mr. Tuculet was married in East Bakersfield in 1900 to Miss foanna
Mier, a native of Spain, and to them have been born six children, as follows:
Peter, ^lanuel, Joseph, Marie, Dominic and Frank. Both Mr. and Mrs.
Tuculet arc members of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in East Bakersfield.

G. J. ALDRICH.— A resident of California since 1909, Mr. Aldrich claims
Ohio as his native commonwealth and was born at Weston, Wood county,
November 21, 1888, being a son of the late D. L. Aldrich, for years a druggist
at Cygnet, Ohio, but deceased in 1909. The mother, who bore the maiden name
of Flora A. Hoover, was born in Weston, Ohio, and now makes her home at
Lima, that state. The family comprises three sons, the eldest of whom,
Harry F., is employed as a drug clerk at Toledo, O., while the youngest, Rob-
ert Lloyd, is engaged as a tool-dresser with the Syndicate Oil Company in the
Midwa}' field. The second son, George J., attended school as a boy, helped
his father in the drug store during vacations, and at the age of seventeen left
school and store in order to engage in the oil industry in the Lima fields for
the Standard Oil Company. From the pipe-line gang he was raised to be
a ganger, which position he filled about eighteen months. Meanwhile he was
married at Adrian. Mich., to Miss Mina Clark, of Cygnet, Ohio, and socm
after his marriage he moved to California, where he has since engaged in the
oil business. For ten months he worked on the pipe line of the Standard at
Orcutt in the Santa Maria field. When the Producers Transportation Com-
pany built their line through to the coast he was empkyed in the capacity of
engineer for three months, after which he became an engineer for the Asso-
ciated Oil Company. A short visit at the old Ohio home was followed by his
return to the west and the resumption of work with the Standard, in whose
employ he came to the Signa station as a fireman and during September of
1912 received a merited promotion to be engineer. In his work he has had
the cheerful and wise counsel of his wife, who is a woman of gentle Christian
character, a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a house-
keeper whose attractive home radiates good cheer, as dues also her kindly
hospitality and amiable disposition.

L. D COULTER.— Born in McKean county, Pa.. September 25, 1884,
he w-as reared in the oil fields of his native commonwealth and received a com-
mon-school education, supplemented by attendance at the academy in West
S.unburv. Butler county. The beginnings of the oil work became familiar
to him while he was yet a boy. From the first he gave indication of special
aptitude for the occupation. At the age of twenty he was doing work of
considerable responsibility in the Butler county fields. Much of his work in
the east was done in West \'irginia, where he was employed at St. Marys for
some time as a tool-dresser and where he gained a reputation for skill and
efificiencv. After four and one-half years in West X'irginia he sought a larger
field for his activities and since 1909 has been connected with the industry in
California, where for some eighteen months he worked at Coalinga before
identifying himself with the Midway field. Merit alone caused the rise of Mr.
Coulter from roustabout through the varying grades of work to the posi-
tion of foreman with a concern of great prestige and large interests. Since
coming to the Midway field he has engaged as production foreman on the
Shale, Oakburn and Brunswick divisions of the General Petroleum Oil Com-
pany. While in West Virginia he was identified with the Knights of Pythias
at Glover Gap and since coming to the west he has been associated with the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Taft and the Eagles at Coalinga. In
1912, a year after his marriage, he was deeply bereaved by the death of his



1364 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

wife, who was Miss Sarah Robards, member of an old Kentucky family and a
lady of such culture and gentleness as to win and retain the friendship of her
large circle of acquaintances.

F. J. BURNS. — The oil industry in Kern county has an able representative
in the person of F. J. Burns, superintendent of the Dominion Oil Company and
identified with other organizations engaged in the business of development in
this district. While the upbuilding of the Dominion's lease of forty acres on
section 15, 31-22, with its four wells averaging a monthly production of twelve
thousand barrels, has been his principal task, it by no means rearesents the
limit of his energies, for in addition he started the King George Oil Company
in 191 1 and also drilled down two thousand feet on the Bobby Burns lease at
McKittrick and has had other interests more or less successful. A resident
of McKittrick, he served as justice of the peace from November, 1912, until
April. 1913, when he resigned in order to devote his entire time to the oil
business.

Near Woodbridge, Suffolk county, England, F. J. Burns was born Feb-
ruary 26, 1875, the son of John Franklin and Elizabeth Burns, the latter of
whom died one week after the birth of her son, F. J., while the former died
the following year. There was only one other child, a brother ten years older
than F. J.; he became a surgeon in the British army and was sent to Egypt,
where he was shot and killed while attending to wounded soldiers on the battle-
field. The father was a country gentleman and owned Marleybone Court, an
estate comprising about eighty acres. The family was both prominent and
financially prosperous, and a nurse and governess were kept for the special
care of the children, who after the death of their parents were the special
charge of relatives holding the estate in trust for their use.

In 1894 F. J. Burns sailed from Antwerp for Jersey City, landing in June
of that year after an uneventful voyage. From the east he proceeded to
Chicago and thence to Victoria, B. C., where he engaged to work as book-
keeper in the office of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. Later he be-
came purser on the steamship Monmouthshire of the same line. For six
months he filled that position, meanwhile visiting the ports of China and
Japan, as well as many American ports on the Pacific coast. These voyages
gave him a varied knowledge of much of the world, thus supplementing the
information he had gained thrL.ugh his travels in England, Holland, Belgium
and France, in company with his brother. Captain Burns, during the furloughs
of the latter while acting as surgeon in the British army. Upon resigning as
purser he came to the oil fields of California, bringing letters of introduction
to leading oil operators in the Santa Maria field. For two years he engaged as
superintendent of the Pinal and Brookshire Oil Companies and in 1909 came
to McKittrick, where he has since organized the Bobby Burns Oil Company,
the Scottish Oilfields Limited, the Carnegie Oilfields Limited and the Domin-
ion Oil Company, the two last-named being in the North Midway field. After
the Carnegie had been developed to a depth of thirty-nine hundred feet it
was changed to a water well, then sold and is now being operated by a water
company. The Scottish Oilfields developed a lease in the Elk
Hills to a depth of forty-one hundred feet, but found no oil and
therefore abandoned the holdings. The King George was organized and
incorporated in 1911, but no attempt has as yet been made to drill and test the
property. These various organizations have required much time and thought
on the part of Mr. Burns, who entertains great hopes concerning the ultimate
development and future value of the Dominion properties and believes this
section of the county to be unsurpassed in its openings for oil operators.
He is interested in public affairs and votes the Democratic ticket. For some
years he has been a member of the Democratic county central committee. In
addition he is a member of the Bakersfield Club.



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY l.Vo

PETER MATTLY.— Many of the most enterprising men who have
made a success of the dairy business in Kern county have come hither frum
the region of the Alps in Switzerland, and among them we find Peter Mattly,
who was born in Zilles, Canton Graubunden, April 19, 1879. He was the son
of John C. and Christene (Grischott ) Alattly, who were both descended from
old families in Graubunden and were prosperous farmers, residing at their old
htime until they passed from earth. Of their four children three arc living,
as follows: Christian, who resides in Mono county; Peter, of this review,
and Hill G., who is associated with Peter in the dairy business.

Peter Mattly was reared in his native place and received his education
in the public schools. l-"rom a youth he learned farming and was early set
to work, thus learning habits of industry, carefulness and economy. Having
become interested in repurts from the United States he concluded to cast his
lot in the land of the Stars and Stripes, and with that end in view came to
Montana in 1901, remaining one year. Then he came to Mono county, Cal.,
where with his two brothers he bought out their uncle, Leo Alattly, who
was in the stock business. They continued raising cattle there until 1912
when he and his brother Hill sold their interest, and cuming to Kern county
formed a partnership with Chris Cayiri and purchased the old Chris Mattly
place of five hundred and sixty acres, where they are engaged in raising alfalfa
and have a large dairy. To this business Mr. Mattly devotes all of his time.
He was also interested in starting the Meadowland Creamery. In 1938 he
made a visit to his old home in Zilles where he was married to Dora Cayori,
the daughter of George and Menga Catrina Cayori. After their marriage he
returned to California with his bride. Politically they espouse the Republican
principles and in religious belief they are Lutherans.

MILLARD D. BENSON.— Embarking in the trade of a blacksmith M. D.
Benson with a partner purchased from W. I>". Hubbard the blacksmith shop at
McKittrick, where he now conducts a growing and profitable business, using
;. gas engine for power and having in his shop every modern equipment for
efficient work in his line.

The Benson family is of old eastern lineage. Dallas Benson, a native of
Coudersport, Potter county, Pa., and a railroad contractor for some years
during young manhood, established himself in Michigan for the purpose of
pursuing his chosen business. While at St. Clair, that state, he married Miss
Naydell .Millward and established a hi.me in that town. After the birth of a
son, Alillard D., which occurred at St. Clair, October 5, 1873, the familj' re-
turned to Pennsylvania, the father establishing a home in his native town.
After some years as a railroad contractor in that part of the country he took
up agricultural pursuits and also engaged to some extent in lumbering. Until
his death in 1892 he remained a resident of Pennsylvania. The widow after-
ward became the wife of H. L. Hnlcomb, now a well-known resident of Bakers-
field.

Upon the completion of the regular course of study in the Coudersport
high school Mr. Benson took up lumbering in Pennsylvania. There also he
learned every phase of the oil business. As a driller he proved to be excep-
tionally capable. The discovery of gold in Alaska attracted him to that coun-
try. During the spring of 1898 he went by steamer to Skagway and from
there, crossing the White ])ass, to Dawson. After six months in the mining
regions of the Klondike he was taken ill with typhoid fever. As soon as he
was able to travel he followed the trail westward to St. Michaels, where he



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 145 of 177)