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 147 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 147 of 177)
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from school, and he found the oil business far more engrossing than any text-
books, so that his education as an oil oiJerator progressed even more rapidly
than his high-school training. In the oil field of his |)resent connection he
is known as an expert driller and a man of wide general knowledge.

E. L. BURNHAM. — With the exception of the first eighteen years of his
life spent in Iowa, where he was born in (Jctober of 1865, .Mr. Burnham has



1372 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

been identified permanently with the interests of California and at the time
that Taft began to attract wide attention as the center of a great oil industry
he came to this village. Upon coming to the west he made his first stop at
Fresno and near that town in 1883 he secured employment on a ranch at day
wages, while later he also found employment in the freighting business. From
Fresno he removed to Madera county and engaged in general ranching during
the next seven years. From there he removed to Stanislaus county and
settled upon a farm. The ensuing three years were given to successful agri-
cultural effort in that community. His marriage in 1888 united him with Miss
Sadie Musick, a native of California. The residence of the family was estab-
lished at Madera and the two children, Clarence and Lillie, have received the
educational advantages offered by the schools of that city.

The development of the oil industry in Kern county made Taft a new
town of great importance. Business opportunities led Mr. Burnham to this
place during March of 1910. Immediately after his arrival he embarked in
the meat and produce business as the representative of a firm whose other
members, besides himself, are H. L. Musick of Pasadena and Charles Musick
of Fresno, the company thus formed being engaged in the maintenance of an
important trade built up at this point. Their trade extends both into whole-
sale and retail lines. While Mr. Burnham has given his time with assiduous
devotion to the development of the business interests under control of his
company, he has neglected none of the duties devolving upon progressive
citizens solicitous for the advancement of the community. Regarding a
public office as a public trust, he consented to serve as a member of the board
of trustees of Taft, to which office he was elected in the fall of 1910
scarcely six months after his removal to the town. At the expiration of
the term he was again chosen, April 8, 1912, for the same office and is now
filling the position with the energy and intelligence characteristic of him in
every relation of life. His fraternal affiliations are with the Loyal Order of
Moose at Taft and the Woodmen of the World at Madera.

BERNARD G. GREEN.— Mr. Green is the son of John W. and Sarah E.
Green, who now make their home in Taft, where the former is employed as a
roadmaster under Supervisor Bush. One of a family of nine children, Bernard
G. Green was born December 19, 1880, in Santa Barbara county and was twelve
years of age when in 1892 he came with his parents to Kern county, settling
in Bakersfield. In the schools of this county he completed his education and
on neighborhood farms he learned the rudiments of agriculture, which he
has since followed as a renter of various tracts. After he had engaged for two
years as a teamster in the west side oil fields he formed a business association
with John J. Brinkman, whereby he agrees to level, check and break the
land lying sixteen miles southeast of Bakersfield and put in an irrigation plant,
receiving fi ur crops free in return for his work.

A well five hundred and twenty feet deep furnishes a steady flow of
water, utilized by means of a centrifugal pump operated by a gasolme engine
of forty horse-power. It is the intention to devote the one hundred and sixty
acres to alfalfa and other staple crops of Kern county. The abundance of
water supply and fertility of the soil argue in favor of gratifying results when
the work of cultivation is well under way.

With his family consisting of his wife and daughter, Margaret R., Mr.
Green has established a home on the ranch and has entered upon his many
responsibilities with energy and intelligence. Mrs. Green, who prior to their
marriage in October of 1907 was Miss Margery L. Jenkins, is a daughter of
J. E. Jenkins and a sister of Mrs. J. J. Brinkman, of Bakersfield.

MARIUS MARTIN ESPITALLIER.— The first twenty years in the life
of Marius Martin Espitallier were passed happily and uneventfully in the
humble home of his father, Dominic, a farmer and shoemaker at Ancil, near



HISTORY Ol" Kl'.RX COUNTY 1373

Gap. ill the tlepartnient of Ilautes-Alpcs, l'"raiicc. 'I'lie iiinsl diligent applica-
tion to the slioeiiiaker's trade aiui the most unwearied cultivation of liis few
acres scarcely sufficed to gain for the father the means necessary for the
support of the family, hence the son, whose birth had occurred March 16, 1854,
was early put to work to earn his own way in the wwer
toward the public welfare.

The mother of John L. Swett, who was, before her marriage to William K.
Swett, Elizabeth .\. Davis, was horn at Wenham, Mass., where her first
years were passed. .\t the age of nine she came with her parents via the
isthmus of Panama to .San Francisco, landing there in 1863. Her father settled
at Visalia, and there she was reared and married in 1873 to Dr. William K.
Swett. coming to Kern county with him in 1875, where his death occurred a



1374 HISTORY OF KERN' COUNTY

short time later. She later became the wife of N. P. Peterson, and resides at
Isabella, Kern county, where Mr. Peterson is engaged in mining and stock-
raising, owning a ranch there. By this marriage there were three children :
Neal H. ; Walter C. ; and Addie E., now the wife of Dick Eugitt, and residing
at Isabella.

A proper regard for the pioneer history of the medical profession of
Kern county imperatively demands a further mention of Dr. William K.
Swett, the father of the subject of this sketch. He was born to his profession,
being the son of Dr. John Langdon Swett, of Newport, N. H. Dr. W^illiam K.
Swett received his earlier education at the New London academy and at the
Kimball Union academy at Meriden, N. H. He came to California in 1870,
settling in San Francisco at first. He then commenced the study of medicine,
reading under the preceptorship of Dr. J. P. Whitney at the latter's office in
San Francisco, and later completed the medical course at the Poland Medical
College. His professional career at Havilah was marked by signal success.

A. V. BENNETT. — Among the men who are making a success of the
dairy business in Kern county is A. V. Bennett, a native of Illinois, born at
Adair. McDonough county, February 6, 1880, the son of Jefferson and Sarah
(Randolph) Bennett, natives of Indiana and Pennsylvania respectively. On
his mother's side the Randolphs are traced back into England, records of the
family showing the family extant in the ninth century. Mr. Randolph is a
man of public spirit and is much interested and helpful in the development
of the town of his adoption.

Mr. Bennett was brought up on his father's farm, attending the public
schools in the district. Having accumulated some money he invested it about
1904 in some land at Alspaugh, Cal., which he still owns. He did not come to
this state until 1906 and in 1907 he located in Wasco, where he has built up a
growing business. As soon as he obtained water for irrigating his seven and
one-half acres in town he sowed alfalfa and began the dairy business, serving
bottled milk to the customers at Wasco and he also ships a supply of milk to
Lost Hills. This necessarily takes a great deal of attention and his time is
wholly occupied.

In Adair, 111., occurred the marriage of Mr. Bennett, with Miss Carrie
Hoyle, a native of Fulton county. 111., and they have two children. Gene and
Gordon.

WILLIAM H. ENGLE. — A native of Kern county, Mr. Engle was born
near Woody and within three miles of his present ranch, November 10,
1868. His father, David Engle. was born in Dayton, Ohio, and when a youth
crossed the plains to California in 1849. He followed mining in different camps
but later turned his attention to the cattle business and became one of the
early settlers of Kern county. Locating land near the Five Dog ranch, he
became a successful cattleman. He married in Kern county Miss Elvira Hig-
gins, a native of Oregon, and both died in this county. Of their ten children,
eight of whom are living, William is the second oldest, and from a boy he was
brought up in the cattle business, receiving his education in the local schools.
While working for his father Mr. Engle acquired a small herd of his own,
running them on the open range with his father's cattle. He homesteaded one
hundred and sixty acres three miles from Granite but later sold it and pur-
chased nine hundred and thirteen acres in one body at the head of Rabbit
Gulch about four miles above Granite station, where he now engages in the
cattle business.

The marriage of Mr. Engle occurred near Woody, uniting him with Miss
Lulu Brown, who was born in Illinois but reared in Kern county, and to
them were born six children as follows : Lee, Ella, Gladys, William, David and
Harry. Mr. Engle began riding after cattle when eight years of age and so he
is well and favorablv known throughout the county as one of the oldest



HISTORY OF KF.RX COUNTY 1375

anions: tlie stock-tjrowers. l-\>r ni;ui)- scars he served as a school trustee.
is a deputy slieriff and has served one term as constable. With his wife he is a
member of tlie Christian church at Woody. Politically he is a Democrat.

EDWARD WEIT.— Amouf^ the upbuilders of Wasco we find Edward
Weit, wiio was born in Koenijjsberg, Prussia, November 3, 1877. His child-
hood, however, was spent in Rraunsweip:, Germany, where he was educated
in the local schools, after which he was employed in the office of the salt
works and became an experienced bookkeeper. Accepting a position with
the North German Lloyd line of steamers it was his privilege to visit
different parts of the old world touching all countries but Au.stralia. In 1897
he came to New York City, where for a time he was employed in hotels. Later
he traveled throughout the United States, visiting nearly every city of import-
ance, and he also made the trip to Alaska.

In 1905 Air. Weit came to Los Angeles, where he was married to Miss
Hedvig, also a native of Germany. For a time he was proprietor of a hotel
and restaurant, and later had a grocery store in Ocean Park. In 1910 they
came to Bakersfield and in November of the same year located in Wasco and
took charge of the Wasco hotel. Later he also had a restaurant. Mr. W'eit
also started the first meat luarket in Wasco. Having purcliased twelve and
one-half acres in the town site he sunk a deep well, installed a pumping
plant and laid the first ])ipes for furnishing citizens with water for domestic use.
He has erected a tower house and reservoir, also a plunge. 20x40 feet, covered
by a large building which is also equipped with tub and shower baths. Wasco
plunge has l)ecome a very popular place. After comi)leting the waterworks
and jilunge he sold his other interests in order to devote all of his time to
the building up of his new enterprise. He believes in modern and up-to-date
ideas and luethods, and was the first citizen in Wasco to use an electric fan.
He installed the first private motor and also was the first to use electricity
for ci oking. Fraternally Mr. Weit is a member of the Woodmen of the
\\'orld and with his wife is a member of the Fraternal Brotherhood.

FRANCIS M. SNOW. — It was near Springfield, Greene county, Mo.,
that l-'rancis M. Snow, who now lives near Bakersfield, was born September
24, 1860. He was the son of ^^ illiam S. and \'irginia Edmonson, who were
born in Tennessee and became farmers in (jreene county. Mo. In 18()8 they
removed to Brownwood. Tex., where the mother died. In his old age the father
removed to Roseburg, Ore., where he pasesd away. Of the seven children
born to this couple two are living, and Francis M. is the third in order of
birth. He was eight years old when he removed to Texas with his parents,
and thereafter until he was seventeen he attended the public school near his
home. During the four years following he worked for his father on the latter's
farm. His first business \enture for himself was as a buyer and seller of cattle
in association with the Dublin Oil Mill Company of Texas, continuing thus
employed until 1883, when he moved to California, and in Lake county engaged
in farming and stock-raising. Locating at Santa Rusa in 1898. he was fore-
man of a lumber yard there until l'X37. when he came to Kern county,
leasing one hundred acres two miles and a half mirth of I'.akersfield where
he raised grain.

In 1912 Mr. Snow bougjit the eighty acres six miles northwest of Bakers-
field which is now his homestead, a tract of raw land which he has ini])roved
and put under cultivation and developed into one of the good farms in this
vicinity. It is in alfalfa and is irrigated from the Beardsley canal. As a
farmer Mr. Snow has brought to bear upon the problems presented to him an
intimate knowledge of soils, crops and climate, which constitute a compre-
hensive view of all conditions of production, and he has transacted his busi-
ness with his fellow citizens on a high plane of honor that marks him as a
man to be trusted. .\s a citizen he has proven himself public-spirited to a



1376 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

remarkable degree, giving his support to every worthy movement for the ad-
vancement of the community. He affiliates fraternallywith the Odd Fellows
and the Fraternal Brotherhood. August 2, 1898, he was married in Lake
county to Miss Flora Hendricks, who was born in that county March 3, 1875,
and they have two sons, Ellis and Roger.

THOMAS SAMUEL KINGSTON.— At one time owning considerable
stock in oil companies, which he has sold, Mr. Kingston has invested in a
ranch of forty acres in the old River district, also twenty acres at Panama,
Kern county.

The only son and the second child in a family of three children, Thomas
Samuel Kingston was born at Massena, St. Lawrence county, N. Y., in 1876,
and from the age of ten years has lived in the northwest and the Pacific coast
country. His parents, Gecrge A. and Emma (Benson) Kingston, were natives
of St. Lawrence county, N. Y., where the former engaged in the practice of
law at Massena. Eventually removing to Nevada, he practiced his profession
in Elko county and at one time held the office of district attorney. After the
death of his wife, which occurred in Nevada, he removed to Arizona and there
spent his last days. As a cowboy on Dakota cattle ranches Thomas Samuel
Kingston earned a livelihood at an age when many are in school. In early
life he gained a knowledge of every phase of the oil industry. For a time
he worked with a water well contract driller for the Government in the Chey-
enne river agency. As a tool-dresser and driller he had employment in
various artesian well belts of the Dakotas. On the outbreak of the Spanish-
American war he enlisted as a private in Company A, First South Dakota
Infantry, which was ordered to San Francisco and from there to the Philip-
pines.

He served eighteen months on the islands. When the native rebellion
began he was appointed chief engineer on the gunboat Florida and continued
to serve as chief engineer on that and other boats for more than one year.
After he had been mustered out by special order No. 215 he remained as a
civilian employe. Upon returning to the United States after his resignation
he was attracted to Bakersfield by reason of recent oil discoveries in the Kern
river field. Later he secured employment as a driller in the Sunset field and
drilled the discovery well at the town of Maricopa, later spending three years
as a driller on the Peerless lease in the Kern river field. Recognized as an oil
operator of unusual capability, he was chosen superintendent of the Con-
solidated Copper Oil Company on section 2 at Maricopa and later as super-
intendent did the first development work on the Pioneer Midway at Fellows,
after which he engaged as superintendent of the St. Lawrence Oil Company
at Fellows and as superintendent of the Springfield Oil Company at
North McKittrick, and he has been foreman with the Honolulu since 1910.
He has given his attention very closely to the oil business and has taken no
part whatever in politics, in which indeed he is decidedly independent in
opinion. By his marriage in Bakersfield to Miss Clara Medill, who was born
at Colorado Springs, Colo., and died at Fellows, Cal., he has two sons, Benson
and Burns. During a temporary sojourn in New York state he was made a
Mason in Massena Lodge No. 513. A. F. & A. M., and took the chapter degree
in St. Lawrence Chapter No. 24, R. A. M., at Pottsdam, N. Y., while more re-
centlv he has been identified with Bakersfield Commandery No. 39, K. T., and
Al Malaikah Temple, N. M. S., in Los Angeles.

THOMAS WATSON ATKINSON.— For the past sixteen years there
has been associated with the mining interests of Kern county a man whose ex-
perience in the work in this and other fields covers a long period.

Born in Fremont county, Iowa, September 23, 1872, Mr. Atkinson was
taken to Norton county, Kans., when he was a year old, and there he grew
to manhood, attending the common schools and later the Normal, which he



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1377

finished when sixteen years of age. He then went to Colorado and from there
to various places until 1889, when he came to California and became interested
in mining. In 1896 he landed in Ventura county, where he was employed
for a time and later he came tu Kern county, and with his father went to
work in the development of mines here. These were the Sunshine, the Merced
and the Hatchet, and at present he is the sole tnvner of the Sunshine mine
and stamp mill. His other interests are in the Hazlelon Crude Oil Company in
the Sunset field, where he also has other oil mterests.

Mr. Atkinson finds time outside of his business to take part in social
affairs, and he is a member of the blue lodge of Masons, also affiliating with
the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. His wife, who was Ola Pyles, was
born in Texas, and they make their home in Randsburg. They have fuur chil-
dren, Farrel, Gertrude, Thomas and Elizabeth. Though occupied with the
rearing of their children, they find time to^ devote themselves to their large
circle of friends who ever find a hearty welcome in their hospitable home.

-BENJAMIN MORRIS ATKINSON.— Educated in the public schools of
Vanwert county, Ohio, B. M. Atkinson's birth occurred September 18, 1840.
When fourteen years old he left school and a year later went to work for him-
self, clearing land and farming. In 1858 he moved to Kansas, where he took
up a claim, the following year going to Iowa and remaining for eighteen
months. The spirit of travel by this time had caught him and he started for
California, but he did not go further than Salt Lake City, deciding instead to
go to Montana. He remained there from 1863 to the fall of 1867, when he
returned to Iowa. In the spring of 1871 he moved to Nebraska, later returning
to Kansas, where he took up a homestead in Norton county. Disposing of
this he in 1878 moved to Colorado, stayed there until the fall of the next
year, and then started to California by way of New Mexico with teams. Sick-
ness, however, compelled them to remain during the winter in New Mexico,
and then he came on to California, settling first in \^entura county, where
he engaged in farming.

On April 3, 1896, Mr. Atkinson came with a partner and two burros to
Randsburg, Kern county, with the intention of going into the mining business.
They prospered for a few months in what is now the Stringer district.
In this district they first located Poor Man's mine, which is now operating,
and on June 30, 1896, located Sunshine mine which they developed and
which is now in a good state of production. This mine has a stamp mill on it,
and Mr. .Atkinson also has a cyanide plant there. He at present hulds four
claims, having recently bought the Bully Boy and Rose mines, all now in
operation. J\Ir. Atkinson's future seems well assured as he has been most
successful in the choice of business undertakings, which have already proved
most profitable.

On December 18, 1868, the marriage of Benjamin M. .\tkinson and Ala-
linda E. Ferrel took place, she being a native of Lloyd county, Ind., born
there in 1849. They became the parents of nine children, as follows: Elmira
Caroline, Thomas W., Mary E., Jessie C. (died in New Mexico), Lindie J.,
Ina M., William M., Edward C. and Sylva Lenora. Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson
have been tender, loving parents and have reared their children to become rep-
resentative citizens and a credit to the name. They are well-known and
highly respected by all who have acquaintance with the family.

FRANCISCO APALATEA was born in 1850 in Tucson, Ariz., the birth-
place also of his father Guadelupe, who brought his family to California in 1864,
so that from a lad of fourteen Francisco has been a resident of this state.
The year 1871 found him in Visalia and in 1873 he came to Kern county,
where he has chiefly been engaged in mining, mostly on Piute mountain.
He has opened many mines, some of which he has sold. He discovered and
developed the Bryan mine, which he afterwards sold for five thousand dol-



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 147 of 177)