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 169 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 169 of 177)
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MRS. MELVINA JOHNSON.— .-Xbout thirteen miles south of the town
of Bakersfield, on section nineteen, is situated the home farm of Mrs. Mel-
vina Johnson, who with the aid of her two sons, John A. and Ray Johnson,
is conducting the place on such prudent, thorough and painstaking lines as
to procure the best of products. To a woman of less courage the hardships
and extreme deprivations to be endured in building up a successful course
of work would have been most appalling, but Mrs. Johnson has that force
of character and strong will power which enabled her to be an aid to her
sons in improving their farm and in the cultivation of their crops.

The wife of John A. Johnson, she became the mother of ten children,
all of whom reflect credit upon the excellent trainmg which she has given
them, and though her duties have been heavy she has found time to devote
herself to them regardless of her own comfort and giving them the love
and care which only a mother can give. She is the daughter of R. T.
Baker, pioneer of California in 1857. Her mother, Mary A. (Bailey) Baker,
had come to California in 1849 with her father, Peter Bailey. Three children
were born to Mr. and Mrs. Baker: Melvina, Mrs. Johnson; Frank C,
engaged in the oil business in Kern county ; and Louisa, deceased.

I\lrs. Johnson's ten children are: Laurel, who married Joe H. Brown,
a farmer of Panama, Kern county; Frank and Monte, both employed in the
West Side Oil Fields as well drillers; John A., mentioned below; Lou, the
wife of W. Bullock, a contractor and builder, residing in McFarland, Kern
county; Ray, assisting his mother, as mentioned below; Ruth, wife of H.
Harmon, in West Side Oil Fields; Katie, Gladys, and William. Of these
John A. was born March 12, 1891, in Los Angeles county, where his parents
resided for some time. He was about ten years of age when his parents
removed to Kern county, and he has proved faithful in his duty to his
mother, aiding her in the conduct of the farm and being most solicitous ot
her comfort. With his brother Ray, who was also born in Los Angeles
countv, he is tenderly caring for her and her interests, and they are men
who hold the esteem of all who know them for their sterling worth and ex-
cellent character. In politics they are both Republicans. Their farm con-
sists of a hundred and sixty acres, fortv of which they own, having rented
the remaining hundred and twenty which is located on Kern Island Road.
G. F. ADAMS.- — The twentieth century forms an era of specialization
and in no avenue of progress has this fact been more apparent than in the
mechanical arts. There has been an opening for every man possessing
ability in the handling of machinery and in general mechanical work, hence
it has not been difficult for a young man with the marked ability exhibited



1506 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

by Mr. Adams to secure and hold positions of responsibility and trust in
his chosen sphere of industrial activity. At this writing, as for some years
preceding, he is connected with the Sunset Monarch Oil Company at Mari-
copa and worthily fills an important place as foreman of the machine
shops, in this position taking in all work pertaining to the various depart-
ments of the oil company's large business, besides also doing custom work
for other oil concerns in the field.

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, February 12, 1876, G. F. Adams is a son
of Peter Adams, a lifelong resident of Mahoning county, Ohio, and a
grandson of Hilgarde Adams, who about the year 1832 left his native land
of Germany to identify his fortunes with those of the new world. It was
he who established the family in Ohio and he followed agricukural pursuits,
as did also his son, Peter. The latter was the father of ten children, all
of whom attained mature years and nine still survive. The only one taken
from the family, Edward Adams, died in 1912 after a prosperous period of
identification with the wheat-raising industry in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Those still living are scattered throughout different parts of the United
States. Two of the brothers are carpenters in L.os Angeles.

At the age of sixteen years G. F. Adams became an apprentice to the
trade of machinist in Youngstown, where he worked for four and one-half
years in the American Tube and Iron Works. At the expiration of that
time he became a machinist with the Smith Brewing Company and con-
tinued in the employ of that organization for two and one-half years. Upon
leaving Ohio he went to South Dakota and settled at Edgemont, Fall River
county. As a machinist in the shops of the Burlington Railroad Company
he remained for a number of years and from there during 1902 he came to
California. In this state his first position was in the Bakersfield Iron Works,
where he remained for four years. Removing to Coalinga in 1906, he en-
gaged with the Bunting Iron Works and continued in various capacities
with that concern for two years, his special work, however, being on the
pumps. From Coalinga he came to Maricopa in 1908 and secured a position
with the Sunset Monarch Oil Company, in whose employ he remains at
the present time.

FRED ABELS.— One of the capable operators in the West Side oil
field is the superintendent of the La Blanc Oil Company, who although
young in years has been earning his own way in the world for a goodly
number of years and has gained popularity and a record for efficiency in the
oil business. Combined in his character are the sturdy attributes of
Teutonic ancestors and the energj' so essentiall}' American. These qualities
have aided him in his efforts to make good in the Kern county fields, where
since March 25, 1911, he has been retained as superintendent with the Le
Blanc Oil Company, an organization operating on section 6, 11-23, where
two wells have been sunk that produce an average of one hundred and ten
barrels per day.

The parents of Mr. Abels were Martin and Emma (Leursen) Abels,
natives of Germany, but residents of Illinois from early life until about 1886,
when they removed to the Ozark region of Missouri. At the opening of the
Civil war the father enlisted as a private in the Thirteenth Illinois Infaniry,
accompanied his regiment to the front and remained for four years, receiving
an honorable discharge at the expiration of the war. Later he was ap-
pointed successively to several important government positions. On ac-
count of the failure of his health he removed to Missouri and settled in
Texas county, where he was greatly benefited by the pure air of the Ozarks.
While still living in Illinois he had married Miss Leursen and all of their
nine children were born in that state, namely: John, now a farmer in Texas
county, Mo. ; Henry, who holds a very responsible position as secretary ot
the Franklin Life Insurance Company at Springfield, 111.; Martin, a printer



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1507

employed in Oklahoma City ; Giis, who is engaLCed in L^ciieral farming near
New Sharon, Iowa; Amelia, who died at the age of four years; Herman,
an employe of the Franklin Life Insurance Company; Emma, who married
Walter Jadwin, who is engaged in educational work at Houston, Mo., and
also owns farm lands in the same locality; Fred, who was born in Spring-
field, 111., June 12, 1882, and at the age of four years accompanied the family
to Missouri; and James, who is connected with the Franklin Life Insurance
Company as an employe.

At the age of seventeen years, having previously completed the studies
of the common schools in the Ozark region, Fred Abels began to earn his
own livelihood. After working for twelve months in Arkansas he spent a
number of years in Colorado and then made a brief sojourn in Oklahoma,
whence he came to California, arriving in Bakersfield January 23, 1905.
His first experience in the oil business was acquired in the Kern river field
and for a time he worked on the Peerless under the superintendent, Angus
Crites. The next year found him at Coalinga, but in three months he re-
turned to Kern county and resumed work on the Peerless. Coming to Mari-
copa April 3, 1907, he secured work as a roustabout, much of his cime being
devoted to the driving of a team. From that humble position he worked his
way up until he engaged successively as tool-dresser and driller, and then,
March 25, 1911, came to his present place as superintendent of the Le lilanc
Oil Company. At Bakersfield, February 13, 1909, he married Miss Marie
Mcintosh, daughter of Daniel and Romana ]\IcIntosh, of Ramona, San
Diego county, Cal. Mrs. Abels is a woman of gracious personality, repre-
senting on her mother's side an old and honored Spanish family of Cali-
fornia. Their union has been blessed by a daughter, Barbara Romana.

J. M. WHYTE. — Large executive ability and unusual powers of organi-
zation have marked the identification of Mr. Whyte with the Panama Oil
Company, in which he is a large stockholder and of whose lease in the
Sunset field he acts as superintendent. The company's lease of sixty acres
lies on section 30, 12-23, and contains two wells, one of which, drilled by
Mr. Whyte from the surface down, has produced continuously excepting
for one month, when extensive repairs had to be made by reason of the
collapsing of the casing. The head offices of the company are in the H. W.
Hellman building, Los Angeles, and its officers reside in that city, namely:
J. B. Hedrick, president; C. F. Spelman, vice-president; J. S. Wallace, sec-
retary; and A. M. Allison, treasurer.

Throughout early life Mr. ^^^^yte was familiar with gold mining and
his knowledge of that industry is thorough and covers many fields. Born
in Kansas City. Mo., March 22, 1880, he was twenty-four years old when his
father died. Prior to that he and his three sisters accompanied their parents
to Colorado, settling at Silver Clif¥, where the elder \\'hyte engaged in
gold-mining and where he himself became familiar with such work. In
the intervals of attendance at school he found employment in the mines
and gained a comprehensive knowledge of the work. During 1903 he went
to the Goldfield and Tonopah regions in Nevada, where he bought a number
of gold mines and for a time prospered in the work. The mines were sold
to excellent advantage and the money re-invested in other claims. Unfor-
tunately he met with heavy losses during the panic of 1907 and while he
was able to meet his obligations it left him without money, forcing him
to begin anew. It was then that he came to Kern county and began
to work as a roustabout in the North Midway field. In a short time he
became an employe of the LTnited Oil Company and by swift degrees worked
up until he had charge of the production. Aleanwhile he attracted the
attention of C. F. Whittier. of the LTnited Oil Company, who interested
himself in the young man's advancement, having found him to be alert,
wise, energetic and capable. During 1910 he became a stockholder in the



1508 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

Panama Oil Company and since then he has acted as superintendent of the
company's lease, having charge both of the drilHng and the production of
the wells.

It is anticipated that the Panama will become one of the best producers
in the field providing the strong underflowing current of water can be shut
off effectually by means of cementing. Eight capable men are employed
under the supervision of Mr. Whyte, who gives his entire time to the work
and with his wife, whom he married in August of 1911 and who was Miss
Josephine Omphalius, of Buffalo, N. Y., he makes his home on the lease
in the Sunset field. While still living in Colorado he became connected
with the Elks at Creede, but since coming to California his time has been
given so closely to the oil industry that he has not been able to participate
actively in fraternal affairs.

J. J. TEAGUE. — No slight responsibility devolves upon Mr. Teague in
his position as foreman of the refinery of the Sunset Monarch Oil Company
at Maricopa, the organization with which he has been associated for some
years ranking among the largest and most important in the entire field.
Skilled workmen are retained, none of whom, however, are more capable or
conscientious than Mr. Teague, who with the aid of the twenty men work-
ing under him manages the refinery with energy, discretion and excellent
judgment. The cooper shops of the company are also under his immediate
supervision. When running on heavy oils the refinery turns out fifty-five
tons of asphalt of the Monarch brand. The output is less when running
on lit'ht gravity oil. Aside from asphalt there are two other leading
products, known as Monarch red engine distillate and Monarch pale oil
distillate, both of which are shipped out in tank cars. Every equipment has
been provided for the making of gasoline also, although the enterprise has
not yet been made a feature of the business. Eight hundred barrels of
crude oil are used each day, ample facilities for the same being provided
by a storage tank with a capacity of twenty thousand barrels.

Born at Winston-Salem, Forsyth county, N. C, August 3, 1885, J. J.
Teague was third among the nine children comprising the family of Charles
M. and Sarah (Idol) Teague, natives of North Carolina, where the father
has followed farming as a life occupation. The son was sent to the public
schools when his help was not needed on the home farm. At the age of
eighteen years he came to California and secured employment with the
Cucamonga winerv in San Bernardino county. For three years he con-
tinued as an employe of the California Wine Association. Next he came
to Kern county during" 1906 and began to work with the Sunset Road Oil
Company at Hazelton (Pioneer postofifice), where he remained for two and
one-half years. A visit to his old home in North Carolina was followed by
a return to California and a resumption of work in the oil fields. After two
months with the Standard Oil Company at Taft, Kern count}', he came to
Maricopa and secured employment as stillman with the Sunset Monarch
Oil Company. Later he was made yard foreman and in 1909 he was pro-
moted to be superintendent of the refinery. While with the Sunset Road
Oil Company he had learned the distilling of oil and this knowledge proved
of the greatest benefit to him in later activities-. Shortly after New Year's
of 1912 he returned to North Carolina and there, February 4, he was united
in marriage with IMiss l\Tagdaline Glascoe, a daughter of D. P. Glascoe,
prominently known among the farmers of Davidson county, that state.
The young couple came to California shortly after their marriage and have
since established themselves in a comfortable cottage on the Monarch lease,
fhey have a daughter, Millicent.

ALMANDO BANDETTINI. — When Mr. Bandettini started in business
at Asphalto, now McKittrick, his was the first building and business: the
only water obtainable was hauled in from Santa Mona spring, seven miles



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1509

away, and cost Mr. Bandettini $8 per barrel. Such were the conditions in
those early days when Almando was mine host at the Old Headquarters
and made many a heart glad with his cheer and optimism and the comforts
of life. He was the first setder and business man in McKittrick and became
well and favorably known among all the oil men.

Lucca, Italy, is the birthplace of Mr. Bandettini and September 21, 1867,
the date of his birth. He is the son of Pasquale and Angelina (Ouilice)
Bandettini, who were farmers there. They now live in a beautiful house in
the suburbs of Lucca, a place purchased for them by Almando on his visit
there in 1911. at a cost of $6,000, and where he provides them with the
comforts of life. They are now eighty-nine and eighty-four years old, re-
spectively.

Of the seven children born to them the subject of this review is the
third oldest and was brought up on the farm in Italy and was educated
in the public schools there. Having heard and read much concerning Cali-
fornia he became possessed of a keen desire to come to the Golden West.
Having saved enough money to get to Chicago, in the spring of 1885 he
started for that city, where a sister was living. Securing employment, he
laid aside his wages and thus made his way to Kansas Ci'y and thence to
Nevada, working mostly on railroads. In September, 1885, he arrived in
Santa Barbara, where for four months he was employed on Santa Cruz
Island, then at dififerent points on the coast, ranching. In IS^'Z he came to
Kern county and entered the emplov of Miller & Lux at the Old Headquar-
ters, afterwards at Firebaugh. In 1898 he established the Old Headquarters
Hotel at Asphalto, now McKittrick, and when the oil business began to
develop he built shacks and put up tents, cared for the people and furnished
them accommodations. He is well acquainted with the oil men of Kern
county. In 1902, when the Southern Pacific started selling lots at their
new station about a quarter of a mile below his first hotel he purchased
eight lots and built the new Headquarters Hotel and liverv and feed stable and
corral and continued doing a very successful business there until 1910, when
he sold out.

During these years he has been considerably interested in oil develop-
ment. Amone other companies he and H. S. Williams sunk a well on section
18, in the McKittrick field, and at ten hundred and thirty feet struck oil, sub-
sequently putting down four more wells and producing oil until thev sold it.
Mr. Bandettini still owns about two hundred acres of land in the McKittrick
field and sees a big future for the oil business in California.

The marriage of Mr. Bandettini and Marguerite Arrighi was celebrated
in San Francisco April 20, 1903. i\Irs. Bandettini was born in Lucca. Italy,
and came with her parents when four years old to San Francisco, where she
received her education in Presentation convent school. Thev are the parents
of two children. Hazel and Edith. In 1900 Mr. Bandettini made his first
trip to the old home in Italy and in 1911 with his wife and children he made
the second trip, spending about seven months, and during this time purchased
and improved the comfortable home for his parents, where they are spending
their declining years in comfort, quiet and peace. Politically he is a staunch
and ardent Republican.

EDGAR E. SHERWOOD.— One of the best known breeders of fine
horses in Kern county is Edgar E. Sherwood, of McFarland. Mr. Sherwood
was born in Shelburn, Sullivan county, Ind., May 3. 1869, and was educated
in Indiana public schools and at the LTniversity of Indiana at Vincennes.
Living with his parents, he worked nn ranches near his boyhood home until
1897, when he came to California and entered the emnloyment of A. B. Chap-
man in Los Angeles county. For six months he had charge of the dairy, tlim
began his connection with the orange industry. He was eventually advanced
to the position of superintendent of the Chapman place, in which capacity he



1510 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

served twelve years, having complete charge of the ranch as well as packing
and shipping of oranges. During this time he had purchased five acres of land
in Pasadena. During these years he filled the offices of deputy sheriff and
deputy constable. Some time later he sold his property in Pasadena and in
1907 bought four hundred acres at McFarland, Kern county, two years later
locating on it. This land was the old Benson place, two hundred and forty
acres of which were then under cultivation, and his purchase included water
rights. Since purchasing the land he has sunk deep wells and put in a pump-
ing plant with a capacity of one hundred and twenty-five inches. The cultiva-
tion of alfalfa occupied his attention for a time, then he became interested in
the breeding of Holstein cattle, Poland China hogs and German Coach horses.
While in Southern California he had begun raising standard horses and im-
ported a stallion, "Lubins Kanitz," already a prize winner in Germany, which
has since won important awards in America, notably in Kansas, at Des
Moines, Iowa, and at the international fair held at Chicago. He breeds par-
ticularly draft horses and is a member of the McFarland Horse Breeders
Company who own "Helot," an imported Percheron stallion, Mr. Sherwood
serving as secretary and manager of the company. Some horses he has
raised have brought as much as $4,000 each, among them the noted "Bessie
Barnes," and he is at this time the owner of some of the finest stock in Kern
county, among them "Cresindo B," a full brother to "Capa de Ora" whose
record is 1.59.

Mr. Sherwood was one of the organizers of the McFarland Co-operative
Creamery Company, in which he is a stockholder and director, and he has from
time to time been identified with other important interests. As a citizen he
is influential in public affairs and he is ably filling the offices of trustee of
schools and deputy constable at McFarland.

Mr. Sherwood was married near Lawrenceville, Lawrence county. 111.,
March 31, 1889, to Miss Florence E. Newell, a native of that county, where
she was graduated from the Lawrenceville high school. They have three
children: Adley, who is farming the old place at McFarland; Harvey and
Carrie, still at home. Fraternally the father affiliates with the Woodmen
of the World and was made a Mason in Delano Lodge, No. 309, F. & A. M.
With his wife he is a member of the Eastern Star, and she is a member of the
Women of Woodcraft. Mr. Sherwood was one of the organizers and is a direc-
tor in the First National Bank of McFarland.

PETER DORAN.— Born in County Down. Ireland, in 1857, until he
was fifteen years old Peter Doran attended the public schools near the home
of his childhood. Well grounded in the principles underlying good citizenship
and instructed in useful labor, he was fairly well fitted to undertake the
responsibilities of life in a new land, and when he came to the United States
in 1882 he located in the vicinity of Delano, Cal. At that time the country
was new and undeveloped and there was not a house within ten miles of the
present town. After following general farming for four years, in 1889 he
bought sheep and started in business for himself as a sheep-raiser. Later he
sold his stock and engaged in the sale of lumber, feed and fuel at Delano,
which was by that time a thriving village, and his was the first lumber yard
in the place. Since selling the business to the proprietor of the Union Lumber
yard he has been variously engaged : At one time draying and teaming com-
manded his energies; he was interested in an ice plant; he owned a saloon
and soda fountain ; and is now the proprietor of the Pioneer feed and fuel
yard, which is located on the site formerly occupied by his lumber yard. At one
time he owned the land upon which the bank of Delano is now located, and he
is regarded as one of the largest property owners in his home town. As a
citizen he has been public-spiritedly helpful to every promising local interest,
energetically doing everything possible for the upbuilding of the town. In



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1511

1891 and in 1892 he filled the office of constable, hrateinally he affiliates with
the Knights of Columbus.

PHILIP M. DAVIS. — \Vhen scarcely old enough to understand the work
done in the machine .shop of his father, he enjoyed no greater pleasure than
that of watching the men at work. To him the repairing of broken machinery,
the putting together of different parts, seemed a far more interesting process
than that of attempting to memorize dry facts in the text-books of the schools.
His father, Philip Davis, carried on a machine shop in Fo.xburg, Pa., and
taught the lad to develop his natural ability, so that at the expiration of an ap-
prenticeship he had a thorough comprehension of the trade of mechanic.
Throughout early life he made his home in Pennsylvania, where he was born
at Parker's Landing, Armstrong county, June 24, 1874, and where he received
a grammar-school education. The quiet round of attendance at school and
work in the shop filled the days of youth.

Upon leaving the east Mr. Davis first went to Arizona and spent two
years at Winslow as a mechanic in the Santa Fe shops. From that place he re-
moved to Tucson, in the same state, where he remained for seven years as a
mechanic in the Southern Pacific machine shops. During 1907 he came to
California for the purpose of entering the Southern Pacific railroad shops at
Bakersfield and there he continued for several years. Meanwhile he had
studied the field and had become convinced that Taft offered an excellent
opening for a machine shop. Accordingly he formed a partnership with an
acquaintance under the firm name of Davis & Elliott and in 191 1 built a



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 169 of 177)