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 152 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 152 of 177)
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Batchelder to engage him for such work. It was not long before he was con-
sidered to be an expert in the breaking of colts. The most fiery and dangerous
animal speedily was brought under control through his wise management.
His ability in the work seemed so unusual that he was induced to start a
stable in which he boarded colts, keeping them under his personal oversight
until they were thoroughly broken to the harness. For some years he made
a specialty of training horses in his part of California and even after he had
spent two'years in travel thri ugh Mexico, his fondness for California was so
deep that he returned to the state to establish a permanent home. Locating
in Porterville he established a stable for the breaking of colts and continued
in the business at that place until November of 1907, when he came to Bakers-
field. Securing a position as manager of the Exchange stable on the corner of
Eighteenth and I streets, he CLUtinued as an employe for two years. Mean-
while he decided to purchase the stable, since which he has been the owner
and proprietor. While living at Porterville he was united in marriage with
Miss Savina Viscaino, a native of the state of Colima near the Pacific ocean
in Mexico, but from early life a resident of California. Since coming to this
city Mr. and Mrs. Mora have erected a house at No. 2416 N street, where
they now have a comfortable and attractive home.

SAN JOAQUIN LIGHT & POWER CORPORATION.— Suggestive of

its name the San Joaquin Light & Power Corporation, which serves Bakers-
field and adjacent country, has mere than a local reputation and influence. In
truth it may be said that its development has had more to do with upbuilding
the Valley, whose name it bears, than any other single organization. The
development of the San Joaquin Light & Power Corporation has been unique
in that it is serving an immense and sparsely settled territory over which
many miles of expensive transmission and distributing lines have had to be
built and prospective consumers educated to the use of electricity for agri-
cultural purposes before any returns whatsoever could be obtained on the
investment. That the ccmpany is succeeding in its purpose is readily apparent
to the eye of the traveler who will ride through any of the newly settled col-
onies such as Wasco and McFarland on the north to the Weed Patch on the
south of Bakersfield. Electricity has meant water development in Kern county
and development of water is rapidly opening up the agricultural holdings.

The history of the present company dates back to the building of the
original San Joaquin No. 1 Power Plant seventeen years ago. This plant
made history in the San Joaquin Valley as it was the first hydro-electric
development for long distance transmission. The plant had a capacity of 1450
kilowatts, in the light of present day hydro-electric development a small one.
and served the towns of Fresno and Hanford. In 1902 the present owners took
over the property and since that time have built up what is now the great
system of the San Joaquin Light & Power Corporation. Today this com-
pany furnishes light and power throughout ten counties, seven of which are
in the San Joaquin Valley and three on the ccast. In round numbers the
company is serving 18,500 lighting customers, 2000 power customers, 6000
gas customers and 7500 water customers. The Bakersfield Street Railway
system, which is acknowledged by authorities to be the best constructed in
the West, is operated by this company, and power is also supplied for oil well
development and pumping in all the oil fields in Kern county as well as the
famous Coalinga fields in Fresno county. In all these operations the facil-



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1403

ities are the best, no expense having- been spared in fitting- the general equip-
n-ient in order to obtain the best resnhs and liring the utmost satisfaction to
the territories served.

The cfficers of the San Joaquin Light & Power Corporation arc as fol-
lows: William G. Kerckhofif of Los Angeles, president; A. C. Oalch of Los
Angeles, vice-president ; A. G. Wishon of Fresno, general manager.

In the Bakersfield district employi-nent is furnished to 275 persons, while
the company has on its general pay roll more than one thousand names.

In August 1910, the San Joaquin Light & Power Company entered Kern
county by purchasing the properties of the Power Transit and Light Com-
pany, which consisted of the hydro-electric plant in the Kern river canyon;
transmission lines to Bakersfield and distribution lines in Bakersfield and
some territory immediately adjacent ; the Bakersfield and Kern Electric Rail-
way System and Gas Works. The power plant at that time was inadequate
to serve the interests of the city and the day before the company was to take
charge one of the three generators burned out and the city of Bakersfield
was without street lights until a temporary steam generator of 750 kilowatts
could be installed for relief. This was the initial unit in the big steani plant
which has since been built, the coi-npany at the same time ordering a 2000
capacity stean-i turbo generator set. This initial develoinnent was almost
twice as great as the generating capacity of the old generating plant which
had an output of only 1440 kilowatts. The business grew so rapidly that a
short time later a 5000 kilowatt capacity was added to the steam plant. Dur-
ing the year 1911 another addition of 7000 kilowatts capacity was made. This
steam plant now is the largest in the interior of California and cost practically
$1,COO,000. It is modern in every respect.

When this company entered Kern county they found customers paying
thirteen and one-half cents per kilowatt hour for service, but as soon as
the first steam plant unit was installed they voluntarily reduced the price to
twelve cents per kilowatt hour. A short time later, when the new transmis-
sion line built frcm Crane Valley, a distance of two hundred and twenty-
five miles, were completed, the rate was again voluntarily reduced to ten cents
per kilowatt hour and in a short time thereafter when business throughout the
system was increasing, the rate was reduced throughout all the agricultural
valley in the territory served by the company from Merced to Bakersfield to
eight cents per kilowatt hour.

In August, 1910, when the new company began business, they found them-
selves serving 4195 customers in Kern county and at the end of 1913 this num-
ber had been increased to more than 9100. In 1910 they were supply-
ing power for one hundred and nine motors in Kern county, while at the end
of 1913 more than 1050 customers had been installed on the lines. In 1910
the gas consumers were supplied with manufactured gas which was being jiaid
for at the rate of $1.47 per 1030 feet. This gas contained 600 heat units. As
soon as the company had been in operation it introduced natural gas into
Bakersfield for which the average charge is seventy-eight cents per 1000 feet,
and which ccntains more than 1000 heat units. Great improvements likewise
were made in the street car system. In 1910 there were but three cars on the
Nineteenth street single track line on a fourteen minute headway. This sys-
tem has since been double tracked, four cars are serving the travel and they
are running under a seven minute headway. The cross-city lines then were
run under a thirty minute headway, but they since have been double tracked
and the run headway has been cut in half. In re-building the system the
company paved that part of the street taken up with their lines and to date
have expended more than $127,000 on paving alone. The rails are 114 pound
"Trilby" made for standard M.C.B. wheels. The paving between rails has
eight inches of ballast with four inches of concrete on top while the sides of



1404 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

the rails are protected with turned basalt brick. Six cars of the modern
pay-as-you-enter type have been installed and no expense has been spared
in making this the peer in service and equipment of any interior system in the
West.

The San Joaquin Light & Power Corporation since entering Kern
county has built 154 miles of high voltage transmission line from the begin-
ning of the citrus belt at the northern part of the county, extending south to
the Kern River oil fields, thence to Bakersfield and west and north through
the Sunset, Midway, McKittrick, Bellridge, and Lost Hills oil fields. Five
hundred and ninety-six miles of distribution line have been built to furnish
service to this territory, and sub-stations at Bakersfield, Famosa, Midway,
and McKittrick, together with meters, service lines, and other equipment,
amounting in all to an outlay cif $803,000, have been built to maintain this
service. Not including the original purchase price of the old Power Transit
and Light Company, nor the large amount of money spent on services and
construction work since entering the company, the San Joaquin Light &
Power Corporation has invested $2,200,003 in equinment and improvements
all ne. In the very near future this investment will be largely increased as
plans have been made for the complete rebuilding of the hydro-electric plant
in the Kern River Caiion. The lines of the c^miany now serve all of the oil
fields and agricultural districts, and the progressive policy of the company
providing power wherever there is prospect of development has been pursued
and the result has been that a tremendous good has been done in building
up the country. The history of Kern county has been that agricultural devel-
opment has followed in the wake of these power lines.

JAMES THOMAS GRAHAM.— As a partner of the firm of Kaar &
■Graham, proprietors of the Studebaker garage, James Thomas Graham ranks
among the leading business men of Bakersfitld, while his Masonic affiliations
have brought him prominently into the best social circles of the city. Born in
Crewe, England, August 6, 1874, his entire life has been characteristic of his
race, for he has displayed marked traits which distinguish him as the son of
a noble race, his inherent intelligence being brought to bear in his daily labors
and his conscientious and never-failing honesty bringing him good results
in the business world. His father was Charles Thomas Graham, who fol-
lowed the trade of machinist in England and brought his family to Cincinnati,
Ohio, in 1882, following that trade in their new home. He now makes his
home in Kentucky. The mother, Louisa (Blinkhorn) Graham, was a native
of London and passed her last days in Cincinnati. She bore her husband
three children.

The excellent public schools of Cincinnati, and also of Covington, Ky.,
afforded to James Graham his elementary education, upon ccmpletion of
which at the age of sixteen he was apprenticed as a machinist in the shops of
the Cincinnati Southern Railroad in Ludlow, Ky. After serving a four years'
term he went to Lima, Ohio, to enter the shops of the Cincinnati, Hamilton &
Dayton Railroad and from there went to the Illinois Central Railroad shops
in East St. Louis, 111., after which for a short time he worked for the Atchison,
Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad at La Junta, Colo. In all of these shops he
worked as a machinist, always adding to his store of knowledge of the work
and perfecting himself in that branch. In 1899 he came to Los Angeles,
where he was employed in the Santa Fe shops for a year, and in 1900 he lo-
cated in Bakersfield as a machinist in the Southern Pacific shops. In this
capacity he labored four years, and subsequently for five years was identified
with the Bakersfield Iron Works, at the end of this time resigning to become
foreman of the Owners Garage ; he filled this position until the garage was
burned down. His interest had by this time been directed closely to the
building and caring for automobiles, and he formed a partnership with Messrs.



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1405

Gardette & Miinsey, starting the Kern Valley Garage in the building where
now is located his' own garage. In 1911 Charles H. Kaar joined the com-
pany, and buying ( ut the otheVs, they began to do business as the Studebaker
uar'age, the firm now being known as Kaar & Graham. It is the largest garage
in Bakersfield, occupying a building 132x115 in dimensions, and they have the
agency for the Studebaker cars. Mr. Graham is superintendent of the garage
and machine shop, and a large general auto supply department has been
added, making the concern complete in every particular and ca])ablc of hand-
ling any make of car.

Mr. Graham was married in Bakersfield to Miss Zora Perkett, wiio was
born in Jackson, Amador county, and they have a daughter, Martha. Made a
Mason in Lima Ledge No. 205, F. & A. M., Mr. Graham was raised to the
Royal Arch degree in Lima Chapter, No. 49, R. A. M., and l&ter was made a
Knight Templar in Bakersfield Commandery No. 39, K. T., of which he is now
Eminent Commander. He is also a member of Al Malaikah Temple, .X. M. S.,
of Los Angeles.

FRANK A. MILLIFF. — A well-informed and practical oil refiner is found
in Frank A. Milliff, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio, April 24, 1876. His
father, John Milliff, was one of the early refiners of oil, having engaged in the
business from 1865 until he retired in 1900. Mis death occurred in Findlay,
Ohio, in 1904. Of his family of six sons all are in the oil and refining business.

/\fter graduating from the public schools of Cleveland, Mr. Milliff' entered
St. Ignatius College where he continued his studies for three years. In lfc92
he entered the emjjloy of the Standard Oil Company at Parkersburg, W. Va.,
and there began to learn the refining of oil, and afterwards in the same
capacity at their Cleveland No. 2 Refinery. Next he went with the Canfield
Od Company at Findlay, Ohio, and while there became assistant superintend-
ent. After four years with the company he resigned to come to California in
1904 for the Bulls Head Oil Company (now the American Oriental Oil Com-
pany) to build their compounding plant at Martinez. This was the first
plant to make a success of the cl mpounding of all kinds of grease and oil
from the California product. The manufactured articles took the gold medal
at the Lewis and Clark exposition in Portland. In 1505 Mr. Milliff entered the
employ of the Union Oil Company of California as superintendent of construc-
tion and built their refinery at Oleum, and on the completion of the plant was
made su])erintendent of the refinery. In 1906 he resigned and for a year was
engaged in business for himself when he accepted the position of assistant
superintendent of construction for the Associated Pipe Line Company. When
the pipe line was completed to Port Costa he was placed in charge of that
station. In June, 1912, he came to Lust Hills as superintendent of construc-
tion of the refinery for the Universal Oil Company and since its completion
has been superintendent of the refinery.

In Martinez, Calif., occurred Mr. Milliff's marriage with Miss Rose .A.
Hurley, a native daughter of that place, and to them have been born three
children, Francis, William and Raymond. His zeal and ardor for the Stars
and Stripes was shown in April, 1898, when he volunteered his services for the
Spanish-American war, enlisting in Battery A, First Ohio Light Artillery.
He served with his battery until they were mustered out and was honorably
discharged at Columbus, Ohio, after nine months' service. He is a charter
member of General Fitzhugh Lee Camp, Society of the Spanish-. \merican
War Veterans, of which he was the first commander.

E. J. BARKER. — Among the business men who are contributing to the
upbuilding of Li st Hills we find E. J. Barker, the proprietor of The Toggery,
a business handling exclusive men's furnishings, and he is also a merchant
tailor. He was born in Jacksonville, Ind., in March, 1882, and was raised on
the farm and educated in the local public schools. When fourteen years of age



1406 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

he was apprenticed to the tailor's trade under his uncle. Later on, however,
he discontinued the trade to follow the oil business and became a driller in
Indiana, afterwards working in the same capacity in Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Texas and Kansas. In 1899 he made his first trip to California, where he
spent nine months in the Los Angeles oil field. He then spent some time in
Mexico and Central America, returning to California to follow the oil busi-
ness in Los Angeles, Taft and Coalinga until October, 1911, when he located
in Lost Hills and began the mercantile trade. He established The Toggery
and is doing a successful and satisfactory business.

On August 10, 1910, in Los Angeles, Mr. Barker was married to Miss
Frances Seigel, a native of New York City, who came to California in 1907.
Politically, ^Ir. Barker is a straight-out Democrat.

MAHLON PAYNE. — Whatever measure of success has come to Mr.
Payne in the varied activities of existence, the credit for such achievements
must be given to his own determined efforts unaided by any of the extraneous
circumstances that oftentimes promote prosperity. Educational advantages
he had none. Even the limited opportunities afforded by country schools of
past generations were almost beyond his reach, yet he has succeeded, not-
withstanding the discouraging environment of his youth. From the age of
thirteen, when he lost his father, he was obliged to earn his own livelihood and
thereafter drifted from one farm to another as he worked "for board and
clothes." Of his mother he has no recollection whatever, for he was scarcely
three years of age when he suffered an irreparable bereavement in her death.

The original home t.f the Payne family was m North Carolina, whence
Barnabas Payne and his widowed mother removed to Indiana in 1830 and
settled on a farm near North Manchester, Wabash county. After the youth
had attained man's estate he married Miss Huldah Bond, a native of Ohio,
but from early childhood a resident of Wayne county, Ind. The young couple
settled on a farm in Wabash county and devoted themselves to the develop-
ment of land. Six cJiildren were born of their union, and all were still young
when the mother died in 1855. The father passed away in 1865 on the Wabash
county farm. Their first-born son, Elias, a farmer by occupation, died in
Wabash county at the age of thirty-one years, leaving a wife and two children.
The eldest daughter, Luzena, is the widow of William Brindle and lives on a
farm in Blackford county, Ind. The second son, Albert, died, unmarried, at
the age of twenty-seven. Anna married Levi Walters and lives on a farm in
Wabash county; Jesse is living retired in Los Angeles.

The youngest member of the family circle, Mahlon Payne, was born in
Wabash county, Ind., September 25, 1852, and endured all the privations inci-
dent to being poor and an orphan. He remembers the excitement incident to
the Civil war, which began when he was less than ten years of age. With
equal clearness he also recalls the prevalence of malaria and other forms of
disease common in a new country. As a lad of thirteen he began to work as
a farm hand and thereafter he did a man's work for a boy's wages until he
married and went to Kansas. At the age of twenty-four he married Miss
Amanda Garretson, a native of McLean county. 111., and a daughter of Talbot
and Mary Ann (Dysart) Garretson, both of whom were born in Ohio, .-\fter
his marriage Mr. Payne removed to Kansas and bought railroad land in An-
derson county, where he and his young wife lived in a cabin that cost them
$85. Believing the prospects in that locality to be unfavorable, he removed to
Nebraska and bought one hundred and sixty acres of deeded land in Seward
county. The improvement of the acreage brought him a fair degree of
material prosperity. Stock-raising and grain-farming engaged his attention.
In spite of having much sickness in the family, on the whole he prospered
and each year found him with a small amount added to his growing capital.
After some years on the farm he moved into the city of York, York county,



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1407

Neb., from which point he engased in shipping live stock to Omaha. From
York he and his wife came to Cahfornia, arriving at Bakersfield July 22, 1907,
and shortly afterward settling un a fruit and alfalfa farm of ten acres on Union
avenue. During the spring of 1911 he sold the ranch and came to Bakersfield,
where he bought seven lots and began building operations. Since then he has
expended a large sum in the erection of bungalows.

Besides his own home at No. 331 Eighteenth street, Mr. Payne has built
the cottage bungalows at Nos. 325, 401 and 403 Eighteenth street, in the Kruse
tract. It was he who erected the first house on this terrace. In 1912 there
were only two houses in the tract, but in 1913 there are twenty, all of them
modern, substantial and up-to-date. The task of building still engages the
attention of Mr. Payne and when all of the lots are improved he will devote
his attention to the care of the cottages and property. Honorable in every
dealing, forceful in temperament, whole-souled in spirit and upright in act,
he forms a valuable accession to that class of citizens so necessary to the
permanent prosperity of Bakersfield. Politically he always has been inde-
pendent. In religion he and his wife adhere to the doctrines of the Christian
Church. Their family has numbered five children, but one of these, Ernest M.,
died at the age of twenty-seven, leaving a wife and daughter, Mercedes. The
surviving sons and daughter are as follows: Clarence C, an optician and
watchmaker at Modesto, Cal. ; Elmer A., a farmer in Seward county. Neb. ;
Orville D., a watch-maker, engraver and optician doing business at Woodland,
Cal., and Irene D., now connected as bookkeeper with the Pioneer Mercantile
Company of Bakersfield. Remembering with regret his own lack of early
advantages, it has been the aim of Mr. Payne's life to give his children good
educations and in this ambition he has been successful, with the result that
the sons and daughter are more than ordinarily well-informed, promising and
capable.

CHARLES HARDISTY.— During one of the religious persecutions that
threw their somber shadows over Scotland in the middle ages the Hardisty
family was forced to seek a haven of refuge in Ireland and later the name
was transplanted to the shores of England. Upon the organization of the
expedition for the new world under Capt. John Smith and other hardy
adventurers, two brothers, James and Tommy Hardisty, joined the party of
emigrants from England and sailed with them on the long voyage to Vir-
ginia, landing April 26, 1607. With others of the new-comers they founded
Jamestown on the 13th of May. Thenceforward successive generatiiins lived
and labored in the Old Dominion and meantime the family was represented
in the Indian wars, in the great Revolutionary struggle and other early con-
tests for supremacy in the new world. One branch of the family established
itself in Pennsylvania and Samuel Hardisty was born in l-'ayette county,
that state. During the Civil war he and his four brothers fcmght in the Union
army from the opening of the great struggle until peace was declared four
years later. Prominent characteristics of the family are longevity, powerful
physique, robustness of constitution and acumen of intellect.

When oil was first discovered in West Virginia one of the pioneers in the
Volcano oil fields twenty miles from Parkersburg was Samuel Hardisty,
already known as an expert driller and competent production man. After
settling in West Virginia he married Miss Julia Leach, who was born and
reared in Ritchie county, that state, and who traced her lineage to Scotch an-
cestors identified with the colonial history of Maryland and represented in the
Revolutionary war. Three daughters and a son, Charles, were born of the
union. The eldest child, Ella, is the wife of Henry Lowther, connected with
the production department of the Standard Oil Company at Tulsa, Okla. The
third child, Carolina, is the wife of Edward Ross, and the youngest. Bertha,



1408 HISTORY OF KERX COUNTY

married Roy Trobb. Both these gentlemen are employed in the producing
department of the South Penn Oil Company, near Parkersburg, W. Va.

During the residence of the family in the Volcano oil field in West Vir-
ginia the birth of Charles Ilardisty took place March 7, 1864. From an early
age he was obliged to be self-supporting. When only thirteen he began
pumping for John A. Steele, the well-known oil man of Parkersburg. From
the first he showed not only willingness, but also intelligence. Soon he was



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 152 of 177)