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 154 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 154 of 177)
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employment with Gundlach and Ferguson, also did plumbing for" the Bakers-
field shops of the Santa Fe Railroad Company. During 1909 he embarked
in business for himself as an independent plumbing contractor, and has
since had many residence contracts, as well as public buildings, among the
latter being the Kosel hotel of three stories, the Massena hotel of three
stories, the two-story addition to the Echo building, the Morgan building
of three stories and the old Rcdlick (now the Burges) building of two stories,
besides which he has recently completed contracts on the Schofield building
and the Bakersfield Manual Arts school. In the spring of 1913 he did the
plumbing in the new Mercy Hospital and the watering of the parkway on
Truxtun avenue from A to V streets. For some years he has been identi-
fied with the Master Plumbers' Association and Builders' Exchange. July
20, 1912, he was united in marriage with Miss Beulah Egan, of Bakersfield,
and they now make their home at No. 721 Chester avenue.

GRANT STUTSMAN. — From the inception of the industry the drilling
of oil wells in California has engaged the attention of Grant Stutsman, who
now is ci nnected with the C. C. M. Oil Company in the same important
capacity, his work at the present time being on one of the Santa Fe properties
in the vicinity of Fellows. When he undertook the drilling of oil wells on
contract at Summerland in 1897, he had a previous large experience in the
drilling of water wells and therefore was qualified for a new enterprise.
Prior to his arrival in that field the wells there had been dug and his was
the first string of tools and the first rig brought into Summerland, where
during a long period of successful activity he put down a large number of
wells for different companies and sunk four that were extremely profitable
producers. In that work he used a portable rig and a gasoline engine. With
the subsequent changes in methc ds of drilling he has kept in close touch. When
new measures have been proved to be valuable he adopts them, so that as a
driller he is thoroughly modern and up-to-date.

Born in Illinois in 1868, Grant Stutsman is a son of the late Henry and
Hattie Stutsman, the latter of whom died in Kansas. The former, a soldier
in an Illinois regiment during the Civil war, later lived for a time in Illinois
and then near South Bend, Ind., where he engaged in agricultural pursuits.
About 1880 he took the family to Kansas and settled on an unimproved farm
near Neodesha, \^^iIson county. His last days were spent in California, where
he died at Nordhofif, Ventura county. Three of his children are now living,
the second of these being Grant, who was twelve at the time of the removal
of the family to the Kansas farm. After seven years devoted to helping in the
tilling of the soil, he left Kansas and came to California, where he spent one
year at Pasadena. Next he took up farming near Watsonville and still later he
found employment in the drilling of water wells, but since 1897 he has given
his time wholly to the drilling of oil wells.

After three years in the Summerland field the opening activities in the
Kern river field attracted Mr. Stutsman to Kern county in 1900, after which
he drilled for a contractor and also did independent drilling as a member of
the firm of Stevens & Stutsman. When his interests in the business were sold
he entered the employ of the Kern Trading & Oil Company at McKittrick
and for three years continued in the capacity of drilling foreman for the great
concern. From Kern county he returned to Santa Barbara county and after
the opening of the Santa Maria field he spent two years in Cat Canon with one


tif the largest companies working; in that (hstrict, after which he was cmphnycd
for eighteen months as a driller with the Dome Oil Company. Returning to
Kern county in November, 1911, he became a driller at Fellows with the
C. C. M. Oil Company, which concern has since had the benefit of his long
and successful experience as a driller. In politics he has voted the Repub-
lican ticket in all national elections. In Santa Paula he was married to Aliss
Elizabeth Hern, who was born at Watsonville, Cal., the daughter (i Rice and
Juliana ( Hern. The former was a pioneer of 1850 in California, and
the latter a Forty-niner, having come across the plains with her parents in

WILLIAM E. VAN METER.— When Mr. Van Meter came to California
in 1904 he had in \ie\v a permanent location providing that the country suited
him and that a suitable position could be secured. Coming to East Bakers-
field (then known as Kern) for the purpose of visiting an aunt, Mrs. A. E.
Shelley, a California pioneer and a woman well-posted concerning the re-
sources and opoortunities of the state, he was induced to remain and since
then has been variously employed, principally being engaged in the fire depart-
ment in different capacities.

In the southeastern part of Nebraska at Table Rock, Pawnee county,
occurred the birth of William E. Van Meter on Christmas day of 1879, his
]>arents being Davis and Lottie A. (Jones) Van Meter, natives respectively of
Iowa and Michigan. The family were pioneers of the great plains of the
middle west and suffered the hardships and privations incident to the devel-
opment of a productive farm out of raw 'and. Their home county in Nebraska
was quite close to the Kansas border and after a time they crossed into the
other state, where they traveled west to Jewell county and there bi ught an
undeveloped tract of land near Formosa. The father still lives on the same
farm, but under his wise supervision it has been greatly imnroved and is now
the source of a fair income in return for his care and cultivation. On this
homestead in 1911 occurred the death of his wife. Of their three children the
second was William E., who as a boy rode the range in Jewell county and
became familiar with conditions then existing in the northern part of Kansas.
For a time he clerked in Kansas stores, but finally gave up a position in order
to come to the Pacific coast and he has since lived in Kern county. For four
years he was employed in the boiler shop < f the Southern Pacific Railroad.
About 1908 he received an appointment as driver of the hose wagon in the
Kern fire department and continued in the same capacity after the consolida-
tion of the two cities. Later he was made driver of the engine and afterward
lieutenant of Engine Company No. 2, in which position he has since re-
mained, having charge of the engine house and engine. Since coming to the
county he has purchased two places in East Bakersfield and has thus exhib-
ited the firm faith lie cherishes concerning the future of his chosen home
town and community.

A. NEAL JACOBS.— The grandfather of our subject. Hon. Isaac \V.
Jacobs, was an early and honored pioneer of California, crossing the plains in
1854 and becoming one of the most prominent and active citizens of Yolo
"county. He was a lawyer of no mean ability and after coming to California
was elected in 1892 on the Democratic ticket in Yolo county lo represent his
district in the state assembly. A scholar, an orator and an up-to-date business
man, he was much esteemed in his community, and his death, which occurred
February 10, 1905, was widely mourned. His wife was l)efore her marriage
Almira E. Martin, and among their twelve children was John M., who became
the father of A. Neal Jacobs.

John M. Jacobs crossed the plains with his father in 1854 and settled in
Yolo county, where he followed farming and stock-raising on the old home
farm during- his entire life. He married Laura Hanscom, born in Chico.


daughter of Henry Hanscom, who was a pioneer of Chico and a member of
an old New England family. Mr. Jacobs passed away in 1898 and his widow
is now making her home in Alameda, Cal. The second oldest of the children
born to this couple was A. Neal, whose birth occurred April 13, 1884. near
Yolo. Reared on the home farm, he attended the public schools of WtodJand
and later entered and completed a course at the Pierce's Business College,
Woodland, after graduation entering the Southern Pacific Railroad offices at
Sacramento as clerk. He was thus employed for about ten years and then
became salesman in San Francisco, until August, 1911, when he came to
Bakersfield to enter the employ of the San Joaquin Light & Power Company
as bookkeeper, later becoming timekeeper and paymaster. He is now dis-
patcher for the company, and his efficiency in the execution of all his duties
has brought him a degree of success unusual in the career of so young a man.
In fraternal circles he is a member of the Lt yal Order of Moose.

O. P. GOODE. — Having spent his entire life in California and his mature
years in Kern county, Mr. Goode is familiar with the resources of the state,
the opportunities offered by the county and especially with the growing
importance of the oil industry, for although not an oil operator, his work has
kept him in intimate touch with the developers of the oil fields and his
knowledge of the business has grown accordingly. A native of Yolo county,
he was born in Woodland July 18, 1870, and at the age of seven years accom-
panied the family to Santa Barbara county, where he received a common-
school education extending through the grammar grade. Since leaving school
he has earned his own livelihood, working first at any occupation offered,
but later devoting much of his time to the trade of a blacksmith. Upon his
arrival in Kern county in 1891 he secured land, bcught cattle and embarked in
the dairy business, but did not find the undertaking profitable. Accordingly
he changed his line of work and sought the activities of the new and growing
oil fields. After going to the Sunset district in 1907 he began to take teaming
contracts and ever since he has made a specialty of this business, in which he
is unusually skilled and efficient.

As early as 19C8 Mr. Gotde came to the present site of Fellows and estab-
lished a home on the St. Lawrence lease, but when the town was started in
1910 he removed into its limits, at the same time building a blacksmith shop,
which ever since he has operated. During December of 1903 he was united in
marriage with Miss Phoebe Harris, a native of Ventura county, and they
have twin boys, Malcolm and Marvin, born in June, 1910. Upon the organiza-
tion of this district, in July of 1910, Mr. Gtode received the appointment of
constable from the board of supervisors. In other ways he has been identified
with the business administration and material development of the town. In
addition to managing his blacksmith shoo and his teaming business, he is
engaged in the sale of hay and grain, wood and coal. The cnly fraternal
organization to which he has allied himself is the Woodmen of the World.

From the very first endeavor to found a town at Fellows Mr. Goode has
had faith in the outcome of the project. Every movement calculated to further
the general welfare of the community has received his cordial co-operation.
All of his enterprises are conducted with intelligence and efficiency. In the
hauling of freight he has proved most helpful to the smaller operators, many
of whom, without his prompt delivery of the same, would have trouble in
the transportation of goods from the depot to the fields. Anywhere on the
west side his teams may be seen, busily engaged in the delivery of freight,
while he himself is managing the entire outfit, as well as his store and shop,
with the closest attention to all details and the most absolute integrity of

J. J. HERN. — With one of the expeditions that crossed the plains during
the eventful summer of 1850 there came a rugged young frontiersman. Rice


Hern, who was born in Boone county, Mo., of an old Kentucky family.
Nothing of especial importance marked tlie cemrse of that tedious journey with
wagons" and oxen, nor did his subsequent experience in mining camps savor of
romance and thrilling adventure. Returning to his Missouri home via Panama
in 1852, he visited among friends and relatives, and during 1853 again crossed
the plains, this time with the intention of becoming a permanent resident of
California. From that time he identified himself with ranching in this state,
where at dififerent times he operated farms in Santa Clara, San Joaquin, Santa
Barbara and Stanislaus counties, and where he is now living retired in Ven-
tura county. A few years after his second trip to the west he married Juliana
Ogan, who was brought across the plains by her parents in 1849 and settled
near San Jose, where her marriage was solemnized. Her death occurred in
Santa Barbara county.

The eldest of the ten children of this pioneer couple was J. J. Hern, born
in San Joaquin county near Stockti n, March 21, 1862. and reared on a farm,
where lie became familiar with stock-raising and all the details of tilling the
soil. Leaving home at the age of twenty-one, he earned a livelihood by honest
perseverance and unflagging industry. In 1886 he went to Montana and took
up a claim at the head of the Big Hole river in Beaverhead county, Mont.,
where later with two partners he organized the California Land and Cattle
Company. After two years he disposed of his cattle and invested in sheep,
running a ranch near Dubuque in the eastern portion of Montana. During
the period of his sojourn in Montana he married at Dillon, that state. Miss
Etta \Vrat( n, a native of Waverly, 111. Five children comprise their family,
namely: Leslie W., now employed in Oakland, Cal. ; Bertha; Carroll, who is
connected with the C. C. M. Oil Company; Russell and Lenora.

Returning from Montana to California and taking up ranch jjursuits in
Ventura county near Oxnard, Mr. Hern snecialized in the raising of grain
and beans. In 1900 he gave up farming in order to engage in the oil business.
As a teamster with the Modelo Oil Company he had his first experiences in
the business at Pirn City, Ventura county. Every phase of the industry he
learned step by step and he remained with the same company successively as
tool-dresser and driller. Coming to the Kern river field in 1902 he was engaged
as a driller with Daulton & Fuller for eighteen months. Next he worked for
the Salt Lake Oil Company as a driller in the Los Angeles field, from which
he went to the Fullerton field and drilled on some of the first wells sunk at
Olinda. Returning to the L( s Angeles field, he put down an oil well on the
Fillmore place. The drilling of two wells kept him for some time near
Lomnoc in the employ of the Union Oil Company, which then sent him to
the Santa Maria field to aid in the drilling of wells. For two years following
he engaged as superintendent of the Laguna Oil Company at Orcutt, in the
SantaMaria field, after which he held a similar position with the Palmer Oil
Company in Cat Canon, Santa Alaria. In August of 1909 he came to the
Midway district, where he engaged as drilling foreman with the C. C. l\f . Oil
Company, which in October, 1912, promoted him to his present position as field
supermtendent. In politics he is a Democrat and fraternally he belongs to San
Luis Obispo Ledge No. 322, B. P. O. E., Fremont Camp, Woodmen of the
World, at Los Angeles.

ROBERT E. BLACKER. — The superintendent of the stable deiiartment
of the Kern County Land Company has been a resident of California from
early life and beginning with his present employers in a very humble capacity
he has worked his way forward to responsibilities of importance, in every
task proving trustworthy, efficient and reliable. On one cccasion only did he
permit other matters to interfere with the regular discharge of his duties, that
exception occurring during the Spanish-American war, when he offered his
services to the country as a volunteer. During June of 1893 he was mustered


into Company G, Sixth Regiment of California Volunteer Infantry, with
which he remained on military duty until December of the same year, when he
received an honorable discharge.

Patriotic devotion to country is a characteristic of the Blacker family.
During the Civil war J. N. Blacker, a native of Indiana, served as a member
of the Third Cavalry Regiment from that state and two of his brothers
rendered efficient service in the same struggle. A farmer by occupation, he
made his home in Indiana until his death in 1891. His first wife, who bore the
maiden name of Mary Dunbar, died in Indiana and afterward he married Miss
Jennie Bliss, by whom he had two children. Of the first union there were
born four sons and two daughters, the youngest of the six being Robert E.,
who was born near Colfax, Clinton county, Ind., August 8, 1876, and passed
the years of boyhood on the home farm and in the country school. Upon
starting out to make his own way in the world, he came to California, settled
in Bakersfield, and secured employment with the Kern County Land Com-
pany, whose interests he since has made his own. During 1898 he was pro-
moted to be foreman and in May of 1902 he became superintendent of the
stable, which is one of the largest in Bakersfield as well as one of the best

The marriage of Mr. Blacker and Miss Gertrude Marshall Inboden, a
native of Missouri, was solemnized in Bakersfield and has been blessed with
two children, Robert E., Jr., and Mary A. The family residence at No. 2012
Cedar street was erected by Mr. Blacker. Although Mr. Blacker takes no-
active part in politics he keeps posted concerning all issues of national
importance and gives allegiance to progressive projects for the benefit of
community and commonwealth. For some years he has been identified with
the Benevolent Order of Elks and in addition he is a leading worker in the
Knights of Pythias lodge at Bakersfield, which he serves as past eminent
commander, besides being connected with Uniform Rank No. 60 and holding
office as its captain ; he is president of the board of directors of Castle Asso-
ciation No. 76.

ALBERT WALDO ALBRECHT.— A native son of the state, A. W.
Albrecht was born in San Francisco May 26, 1883, and attended school in that
city and Fresno. When his school days were over he became interested in
mining, search for the precicus metal taking him successively into Mexico,
back to California, then to Mexico and to Washington, in all of which local-
ities he was engaged in development work.

A change of empLyment as well as a change of location occurred in
1909, when Mr. Albrecht became interested in the oil business in Coalinga,
and during his residence there had charge of the Good Luck Oil Company,
which he developed from one well to a plant embracing six producing wells.
While there too he was at the head of a committee appointed to secure the
right of way for the Coalinga and Monterey Railroad. Coming to Taft Janu-
ary 1, 1912, he opened a real-estate and insurance office. That he is a man of
enterprise and push is demonstrated in the fact that although a late comer
to this community it was left for him to organize the board of trade in the
town, and ever since its organization he has been secretary of that body.
Another enterprise that has benefited by his ability and has added to the
business status of the town is the Superior Vulcanizing Works, of which he
is part owner.

Mr. Albrecht is a member of the Petroleum Club of Taft, a social organiza-
tion of which he was one of the founders. His fraternal associations include
membership in the Masons, he being a member of the lodge at Fresno, also
Fresno Chapter No. 69, R. A. M., Commandery No. 29, and Islam Temple,
A. A. O. N. M. S., at San Francisco.

PHIL BLANKENSHIP. — One of the most enterprising men in Kern


county is Phil Blankenship of Wasco, telephone proprietor and rancher, who
has won a notable success in life and whose influence in the community lias
ahvavs laeen for the general uplift. Air. Blankenship is a native of California,
born at Visalia June 11, 1858, a son of William Moore Blankenship, who was
born in Richmond, Va., about the beginning of the last century and died at
Visalia in 1882. From the Old Dominion the elder Blankenship removed to
Iowa and there engaged in farming and stock-raising. In 1849 he came to
California and settled near Stockton and S( on took up the business of bring-
ing cattle from the east to the mining districts of the gold country. In the
course of events he made three trips back to Iowa for cattle which he drove
across the plains to California, on the first trip going around the Horn and by
river to Iowa, the round trip consuming from two to three years. The two
other trips were made via Panama, and on the last trip he took his son Phil
with him, returning in 1860. He owned a ranch in luwa on which he raised
cattle. In 1854 he bought land at Visalia, but did not locate there until in 1858.
As a rancher and cattleman he won an enviable success.

It was in California public schoi Is that Phil Blankenship attained his
education which was finished when he was seventeen years uld. Until he was
twenty-three he lived with his parents, emnloyed by his father. He devoted
himself entirely to ranch work until in 1884, when he went to Arizona and
engaged in stock-raising on the San Pedro river until 1887. He then returned
totalifi rnia and located in Kern county, where he found employment with the
Kern County Land Company on the Belleview and Poso ranches. In 1895
he began a connection with the Cox ranch which continued for fifteen years.
In 1898 he became superintendent of the ranch, embracing thirty-one thou-
sand acres, and served in that canacity until it was sold in 1908. He then
engaged in the cattle business on his own account and at this time he owns a
fine ranch which is a part of the t Id Cox ranch, consisting of one hundred
and sixty acres, situated five miles north of Wasco on Poso creek. \\'ith J. T.
Maguire" Mr. Blankenship built the telephone system on the West Side, taking
in Maricopa, Taft, Fellows and McKittrick, thus connecting, by telephone,
all the West Side towns and having their main office in Taft. The company
is incorporated as the Kern Mutual Telephone Company, Mr. Maguire serv-
ing as president, Mr. Blankenship as vice president, and Mrs. Blankenship as
secretary. After the Wasco colony was started Mr. Blankenship began build-
ing operations there and has since resided in this location looking after his va-
ried interests, enjoying the ample income from his ranch and telephone invest-

Fraternally Mr. Blankenship affiliates with the Fraternal Order of Eagles
and he wields a considerable political influence always in the interest of good
government. In 1^05 Miss Anna Steele Murdock, a native of Baltimore, Md.,
became his wife. She died July 21, 1907. Ilis present wife, whi m he married
in Fresno July 1, 1909, was Miss Jennie G. Borrell, also a native of Balti-
more, ]\ld.

CHARLES V. MORRISON.— The foreman of the Southern Pacific round-
house at East Bakersfield is a member of an eastern family that has been identi-
fied with America since the colonial era and that furnished representatives to
aid the patriots during the trying period of the Revolution. One of its lead-
ing men during later years was H( n. Fletcher C. Morrison, a native of Ohio
and for years engaged as United States Indian commissioner in Ohio. During
the time of his service as commissioner he had charge of the removal of the
Wyandotte Indians to their reservation in Iowa. Much other important work
in the interests of the Indians was placed in his charge by the government.
John S., sen of Fletcher C, proved his loyalty to the Union by endeavoring
twice to secure the acceptance of his service as a volunteer in the army, but
each time he was rejected. During 1869 he took his wife and children from his


native Ohio to the newer country of Minnesota, where he took up land near
Eyota, Olmstead county. After eleven years in Minnesota he went to Mar-
shalltown, Iowa, in 1880, and there remained until his death. Two months
after his demise there passed into eternal rest his widow, Malinda (Burkhart)
Morrison, a native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, and a daughter of William Burkhart,
born in Philadelphia and deceased in Ohio.

There were five children in the family of John S. Morrison. The second,
Charles V., was born near Mutual, Champaign county, Ohio, August 13, 1862,
and at the time of the removal to Minnesota was a boy of seven years. During
1880 he accompanied the family to Marshalltown, Iowa. Meanwhile he had

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 154 of 177)