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 173 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 173 of 177)
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On December 22. 1901, he began a connection with the Fred Harvev Com-
pany, proprietors of eating houses along the Santa Fe and other railway lines.
From Ventura he went to Barstow, where he remained about four months.
In the spring c f 1902 he made his advent into Mojave, where he filled a
responsible position as cashier until he was transferred to Los Angeles, still
in the employ of the Harvey Company. Later he served the company at
different important stations in Arizona, New Mexico and California and in
1907 was returned to jMojave as manager of the Depot Hotel, a positii n which
he now occupies.

In Louisville. Ky.. November 4. 1912. ^\r. Lapsley married Miss Mildred
R. Bailey, alsn a native of Mercer county, that state. She graduated from
Beaumont (Ky.) College with the degree of A.B.. and also graduated from
the State Normal school at Richmond. Ky.

R. R. HUNT. — One of the well-informed insurance men of Kern county
is R. R. Hunt, who until the fall ■ f 1912 was associated with E. P. Hoisington
in the real-estate business at Bakersfield. Since September 12, 1912, he has
been a resident of Taft. and since January 1, 1913. he has devoted his attention
to the insurance business, being a special agent in Taft. where ho has l)uilt
up a good business.

The business career of Mr. Hunt in Kern county has covered a neriod of
twelve years, he ha\ing come hither in 1900. He was born March 17. 1S81, in
Plattsburg. Clinton county, Mo., where his childhood was spent and h-'s edu-
cational training rbtained. L^pon arriving in Kern countv he obtained work



1530 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

as tool-dresser in the oil fields of the Kern River Oil Company, remaining for
eight or ten years, during which time he was promoted in his work as his
abilities became appreciated. For one year he was employed at Taft, in the
Midway field, and for fourteen months he had charge of the development work
for the Associated Oil Company. Subsequently he was engaged in the real-
estate business at Bakersfield, remaining there until he came back to Taft in
the fall of 1912.

Mr. Hunt is independent in politics, voting for the man best suited for the
office, and his interest is ever in the welfare of his adopted county and state.
In 1910 he married Miss Bessie Aston, and they have one child, Thomas A.

ELIOTT MITCHELL ASHE.— Born in Orange county, N. C, April 17,
1858, Eliott M. Ashe attended a private school there until he was ten years
old, and then was brought to Stanislaus county, Cal., by his parents. Later
the family moved to Merced county, where they lived until Mr. Ashe was
seventeen years old, when they took up their residence in Kern county. He
worked for his father until he was twenty-two years old, and at that time
bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres which is now under a good state
of cultivation and is devoted to general crops. For twelve years he was
associated with his brother in the dairy business and since then he has been
successful as a stock-raiser and general farmer.

On December 19, 1883, Mr. Ashe married Christina J. Rutledge, a native
of Tuolumne county, born March 4, 1859, and she has borne him seven chil-
dren who are here mentioned in the order of their nativity: Eliza M., Mrs.
Fred Coutts, of San Diego: Richard E., a farmer in Panama; Mary R., teach-
ing in this county; Henry E., deceased; James S., attending the Kern county
high school ; Anna L., and George Tilghman, both at home.

It was in the Old River district of Kern county that Mr. Ashe began his
independent career as a farmer, and he has been a witness of the development
of the entire county. As a farmer he has succeeded by hard work and careful
attention to business, and as a citizen he has invariably come to the aid of all
movements for the advancement of the community.

CHARLES H. WYNN.— In 1896 Charles H. Wynn came to Randsburg
and here he has made his home almost continuously since, engaged in the
practice of law, and with his sons, Harmon and Wilbur, he is also interested
in mining. A native of New York state, Charles H. Wynn was born in
Genesee county, April 23, 1848. Left an orphan when a child, he was taken
to Danville, 111., to make his home with relatives, and there he attended school.
On April 1, 1862, when he was less than fourteen years old, he enlisted in
the Union army, becoming a private in Company I, Thirty-fifth Illinois Vol-
unteer Infantry, and in the battle of Stone River he was severely wounded.
At the same time he was also taken prisoner, but was afterward recaptured and
returned to his regiment, thereafter taking part in several other battles and at
the expiration of his term he received his honorable discharge.

Upon returning home from the war, Mr. Wynn settled at Dixon, 111.,
where he attended school, and then entered the State University at Ann Arbor,
Mich., where he took his law course. In 1870 he began the practice of law,
following this up to the time he came to Randsburg, Cal., in August, 1896.
Upon arriving he first established a stage line between Mojave and Rands-
burg, which was first-class in every detail. As above stated he is interested in
mining with his sons, owning the Baltic stamp mill and cyanide plant. It is
worthy of note that the first tungsten discovered in California was taken from
the Baltic mine, and this was the first shipment of tungsten ore from the state.

JOE D. KERSEY.— When he came to Moron in 1908 the present town
of Taft was non-existent, so that he has been a witness of the development
of the place from the very beginning. In partnership with Pat O'Brien and



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1531

B. H. Sill of Bakersfield he now owns several thousand acres nf oil land in
the Midway, and in Lost Hills and Elk Hills. Reinjj located in the heart
of the region where the great gassers and gushers have been discovered,
this land bids fair to become most valuable and to bring fortunes to its owners.
^^'hile he has been living in Kern county since 1892, Mr. Kersey spent
his early life in the city of Chicago, where he was born in 1875 and where he
received a fair educatiun. His father, Edward P. Kersey, was born in Ireland
and when a young man sought the opportunities afforded by Chicago. Start-
ing in as a carpenter, he soon began to take building contracts. For many
years he maintained an office on the corner of LaSalle and Monroe streets,
where now stands the Woman's Temple. After the great fire of October 9.
1871, his activities were doubled and he engaged a corps of skilled carpenters
to assist him in filling contracts. There still stand in Chicago buildings of
lumber, stone, steel and concrete, that attest to his craftsmanship and indus-
try. In many respects his personal history is a record of the early material
growth of Chicago and to the last he remained a devoted citizen of his
adopted town, although his death occurred at Sacramento during a visit he had
made to California in the hope of regaining health. In Chicago in 1910
occurred the death of his wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary D nnelly.
A native of Ireland, she came to the United States in girlhood. There are
five other children in the family and the most of these are now married and
engaged in business in the city where they were reared. The one son, how-
ever, was not content to remain there and in 1890 he made his way to Pueblo,
Colo., where he engaged in the fish and oyster business. The year 1892 found
him in the gold mines of the Mojave desert and since then he has been a
resident of Kern county. Through saving his money and making judicious
investments in Los Angeles and Kern county real estate, and through the
purchase of oil lands, he has become well-to-do, but in his growing fortunes he
is the same genial, public-spirited and open-hearted man as in the days of
poverty and toil.

CLARENCE C. CUMMINGS.— Cummings valley, which is situated in
Kern county, derived its name from George Cummings, and his sons are now
worthily upholding that name and the honored position held by their father in
this community.

George Cummings was an Austrian by birth, and came from his native
country in 1849, anund the Horn, becoming one of the pioneer settlers of
California, who after many hard experiences finally became the owner of
extensive properties. He engaged in mining for some time, subsequently
engaging in stock-raising and general farming, and became the owner of a
ranch of five thousand acres. His wife. Sacramento Lopez, was born in Los
Angeles county in 1860, and now makes her home on South Bonnie Brae street
in that city.

Clarence C. Cummings was born in Los Angeles, .-\ugust 18, 1882, and
there received his schooling. His parents had removed to that city to give
their children the best educational facilities possible. With his brothers
he took charge tf the father's ranch which they are now operating, besides
which they have purcliased other land and now have six sections, mostly
grazing land, about five hundred acres, however, being under cultivation,
and their success in the business of stock-raising has been most gratifying.

Mr. Cummings is a young man of ability. He is unmarried, and devotes
most of his time and attention to his business interests. Capable, energetic
and persevering, he has mastered the details of this line of work to such an
extent that he is looked upon as an authority, and with his brothers holds a
prominent place among the stock-raisers of the community.

EDWARD G. CUMMINGS.— L'pnn first cnmin- t'n the United States,



1532 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

George Cummings made his way westward and settled in San Francisco, Cal.
For about six years he engaged in mining, after which he took up farming,
going to San Joaquin county, where for fifteen years he was a general farmer
and stock-raiser. In 1870 he moved to Los Angeles and entered the butcher
business, following this up to the time he came to the valley that now l^ears
his name. By this time Mr. Cummings had learned that with proper water
facilities the soil in this part ci the country would, yield good results, and
accordingly he investigated the territory. Finding a mountain stream he
decided to locate in the valley and took up a government homestead claim.
He had about three hundred and twenty head of cattle and his stock-raising
enterprise was on a profitable basis. He relinquished his business to his sons
and lived retired until his death in 1903.

The family had returned to Los Angeles in 1878, George Cummings,
however, holding his ranch in Kern county, where Edward Cummings, his
son, was born. The latter received his education in the public and high schools
of Los Angeles, attending until he had reached the age of eighteen years. He
then went to work for his father, taking charge of the place and relieving him
of many arduous duties. At present the family operate the old home and
together own five sections of land, upon which they follow stock-raising on a
large scale, and altogether have about five hundred head of cattle, three hun-
dred head of hugs and a number of well bred horses on the property. They
have five hundred acres under cultivation, sixty acres in alfalfa, and there are
about eight acres of apple, pear, peach and apricot trees. The owners have
made extensive improvements on the ranch in the way of develi ping water
facilities and in other ways have added to the general value of the place.
Interested with him in this ranch are his sister and five brothers.

E. W. RANDOLPH is superintendent of the Boston Tacilic Oil Com-
pany, which owns valuable property in the Midway and Sunset fields, having
one hundred and sixty acres on section 32, 31-24 in the jNIidway field and forty
acres on section 34, 12-24 in the Sunset with four producing wells, averaging
twenty-five hundred barrels monthly. On the first-named lease there is now
one flowing well with an output of one thousand barrels per day ; in addition
another well is now being drilled.

Born in Allen county, Kan., December 3, 1880, and reared on a farm, he
left the homestead in southeastern Kansas at the age of twenty years and
afterward wt rked in many oil fields of his native commonwealth besides those
of Oklahoma. His first experiences in drilling were gained at Wayside, Mont-
gomery county, Kan., and in Oklahoma he was employed at Tulsa, Cleveland
and other fields. Coming from Oklahoma to California in 1908 and stopping at
Maricopa, Mr. Randolph secured a position as driller on the Muscatine in
the Sunset field. Later, while drilling for the Standard, he brought in No. 1
on section 26, the first gas well in the ]\Iidway field. After a year with the
Standard he became connected with other concerns and finally was employed
as a driller with the Boston Pacific Oil Company. After the first month he
was promoted to be superintendent and now, with his wife, formerly Miss
Alabel Untegrove, a native of Kansas, he makes his home on the company's
lease in the Midway field. He is a master Mason.

GEORGE JORGENSEN.— From the age of sixteen years Mr. Jorgensen
has made California his home, coming thither from the province of Schleswig-
Holstein. The Jorgensen family represented some of the very best Danish
element of the northern part of the province, where Jacob and Annie (Schmidt)
Jorgensen lived upon a farm at Kettingholz. Some time since the father
passed away, but the mother still survives, at the age of seventy-three, and
v^fhen her son, George, visited her in 1911 at her home in Arteberg, Germany,
he found her well preserved and keenly interested in all the activities of life.



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1533

There were six children in the family whu attained years of maturity, namely:
Peter, Christ. Jacob, George, Cecelia and Andrew. George was born on the
home farm at Kettingholz April 6, 1881. The eldest, Peter, owns and operates
a soda fountain at Oakdale, Cal. Christ is engaged in farming in Stanislaus
county, this state. Jacob owns large tracts in Merced county. Cecelia remains
in Germany, making her home at Hamburg, and Andrew is working on the
Lake ranch as an emj)lo_ve of the Kern County Land Company.

After having fitted himself for life's responsibilities by acquiring a
thorough knowledge of the German and Danish languages, George Jorgensen
came to the United States at the age of sixteen years, starting from IJremcn
December 12, 1897. and landing in New York January 1, 1898. Coming
directly across the continent to San Francisco he proceeded from that city to
Merced county, where he found ranch work in the employ of Miller & Lux.
During the several years of his continuance in the same position he studied
the English language, which he now reads and writes and speaks as well.
Upon leaving Merced county he worked on farms in Stanislaus county. Dur-
ing 1910 he left California for the purpi se of visiting friends in the old home
land. May 26, 1911, he left Germany where he had formed the acquaintance
of Miss A'ary Floeg, who had promised to share his fortunes in the new world.
The young couple were married in Fresno in September of 1911 and began
housekeeping on a ranch of sixty acres in the Weed Patch, where he has
built a neat house and large barn and divided his land by cross fences. The
ranch is owned by his brother, Jacob, who has leased the property to him
with the privilege of buying and meanwhile he is making improvements of
permanent value to the ranch. In his soecialty of alfalfa-raisins:, he has made
an encouraging start. In l^\3 Mr. Jorgensen helped to organize the Farmers
Co-operative Creamery in Kern county. In the fall of 1912 he built a cro: d
barn 62x64 in dimensions, with a capacity of a himdred tons of hav. and there
is room for forty-two cows and four horses. In the last two years Mr. Jorgen-
sen has made improvements ami unting to $4,500. With the energy charac-
teristic of him he is collecting a herd c f fine Jersey milch cows.

JAMES RUSSELL CRAWFORD.— The identification of Mr. Crawford
with Bakersfield covers a period comparatively brief, yet of sufficient duration
to give him an adequate comprehension of the possibilities of the city from a
commercial standpoint, and since he opened a garage at No. 1812 M street ho
has built up a large repair business, also has kept in stock a coni'ilete line of
automobile supplies and has held the agency for the Maxwell car. In con-
nection with the repair shop he has established and maintained a blacksmith
and machine shop, which gives him the necessary equipment for repair work
of all kinds, besides enabling him to do satisfactory work in caring for and
repairing automobiles.

Near the line of the Old Dominion, at Wardensville, Hardy county, W.
Va.. James Russell Crawford was born October 9th, 1882. The family of
which he was a member originally comprised twelve children and eight of the
number are still living. The parents, Capt. Levi and Mary Ann (Bowers)
Crawford, were natives of West Virginia and the latter died in Iowa during
the year 1912. The former, who was a lifelong farmer, gained his title through
efficient service as the head of a company that remained at the front in the
Union army throughout the entire period of the Civil war. When peace had
been declared he received an honorable discharge and returned to West Vir-
ginia to resume farm pursuits. Some time afterward he married Miss Bowers
and established a home of his own, continuing in \\'est Virginia until 1889,
when he removed to Iowa and bought a farm near Montezuma. Nnw at the
age of eighty-three years (1913) he is living retired in Iowa. When the family
settled in the central west James Russell Crawford was a boy of seven years,



1534 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

hence his education was obtained largely in Iowa and his youth was passed
on an Iowa farm. Agriculture, however, did not interest him as did work
with machinery. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to the trade of
blacksmith at Brooklyn, Iowa, where he remained until the completion of his
time and later he worked at different places, first in Iowa, then in Washington.
The year 1909 found him in California, where for a year he engaged as black-
smith with the Monte Cristo Oil Company in the Kern river field. Since then
he has been interested in business for himself at Bakersfield, where he has a
comfortable home, presided over by Mrs. Crawford, whom he married in
San Diego, and who was Miss Minnie Hartman, a native of Iowa. In national
politics he votes with the Republican party. With his wife he has been identi-
fied with the United Presbyterian Church.

WILLIAM LEWIS HENDERSON.— As one of the proprietors of the
Bakersfield sheet metal works Mr. Henderson is identified with an important
local industry and is given a business standing which reflects the highest
credit upon his own energy and resi lution of purpose. The attainment of
success in life, while one of his earliest ambitions, did not seem possible of
fruition, for he was orphaned by the death of his father when he himself was
but a child and afterward poverty prevented him from securing a finished
education, yet with firmness and industry he has persevered until now the fu-
ture looks most promising and hopeful. Chicago is his native city and he was
born February 7, 1875, but from the age of seven years he has lived in Cali-
fornia. His parents, Charles H. and Mary (Burkhart) Henderson, were
natives respectively of New York state and Pottsville, Pa., and the former
was an electrician by occupation. When the father died in 1882 the mother
brought her four small children, of whom William L. was the eldest, to Cali-
fornia, establishing a home in San Francisco, where the then small lad worked
of mornings and evenings in order to aid in securing the scanty livelihood
of the family. After he had completed the grammar grade he left school and
found employment in a factory where were manufactured articles of brass,
steel and German silver. At the age of seventeen he was apprenticed to the
trade of sheet-metal worker in the Union iron works tf San I^rancisco, where
he worked successively in the engine, hull and ventilation departments.

Coming to Bakersfield for the first time during 1897 Mr. Henderson found
work as a journeyman with C. H. Quincy and when the latter sold out to the
Western Burner and Fuel Company he continued for one year in charge of
their sheet-metal department. The business was then sold to the Bakersfield
Plumbing Company and he returned to San Francisco, where he continued
to work at his trade. For a time he made a specialty of cornice work. After
the fire of April, 1906, he embarked in business for himself, continuing until the
fall of 1908, when he returned to Bakersfield. For a time he followed his
trade with R. H. Ferguson, later being promoted to the management of the
sheet-metal department, which in J\Iarch of 1912 he purchased with James I.
Waldon as a partner. The Bakersfield sheet-metal works (for by this name
the business is now known) is located at No. 1807 L street and contains a
complete equipment for the manufacture of everything in the sheet-metal line.
The proprietors are men of energy and deserve the growing trade which is
theirs. In addition to maintaining a close supervision of the business Mr.
Henderson takes a warm interest in movements for the upbuilding of the
city, in national politics supports Democratic policies and fraternally is a mem-
ber of the Woodmen of the World. His first wife, who was Miss Lida H!.
Moon, a native of Bakersfield, died shortly after their marriage ; later, at
Oxnard, this state, he was united with Miss Julia M. Hancock, a native of
Canada, and by this union there are four children, Selena, Bessie, George and



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1535

Birdie. They are comfortably located on Arlington street where Mr. Hen-
derson has built a residence on a tract of ten lots which he owns.

A. L. MOSS.- — Several successive generations of the Moss family have
been identified with the agricultural development of the new world and par-
ticularly with the South. The family records show that the great-grand-
mother, who was a native of Germany, became a resident of America prior
to the Revolutionary war and there is autliority for the accuracy of the state-
ment that she lived to be one hundred and twelve years of age. From the
Atlantic seaboard the family began to drift toward the west. Both William
Moss and his son, A. L., were burn in the state of Tennessee near Jackson and
the former married Jnlia .Ann Stephens, who was born in North Carolina, but
passed the years of girlhood in Tennessee. One year after the birth of their
son, A. L., which occurred March 30, 1857, the parents moved across the Mis-
sissippi river and settled in Missouri, a center of strife during the Civil war.
Although the boy was only four years of age when the war opened he remem-
bers some of the stirring incidents and recalls an unimportant but sanguinary
contest that took place at Hartville, Mo., between the opposing generals,
Warner and Marmaduke. The long civil strife impoverished the family and
defeated his aspirations fi r obtaining a good education, but observation taught
him much and enlarged his fund of useful information and from an early age
he has been self-supporting. Throughi ut life he has made a specialty of farm-
ing and gardening. While still living in Missouri he lost his first wife, who
passed away July 10, 1899, leaving two sons, William and John, both now resi-
dents of Georgia.

Coming tci California about the year 1900 Mr. Moss immediately settled in
Kern county. During the first year he engaged in a fruit and grocery business.
Later he followed other occupations for brief intervals, but here, as in Mis-
souri, he has given his attention principally to market gardening and general
farming. His second marriage took place in this county and united him with
Mrs. Addie Thurlow, the wedding being solemnized in the year ff'OS, since
which time they have resided at the home farm situated two and one-half miles
southeast of Bakersfield and comprising forty acres of very valuable land.
Fruit of the choicest varieties is raised in large quantities, including peaches,
plums, apples, pears, blackberries and strawberries. He makes a S[)ecialty
of raising "Irish" potatoes for the early markets, as well as sweet potatoes,
while in the summer and autumn melons and cantaloupes are rai.sed and sold
by the wholesale. Industrious in disposition, energetic in temperament, fond
of the work in which he specializes, he has shown ability in the management
of the farm and is securing excellent returns from its cultivation. In this task
he has the sensible, practical co-operation of his wife, whose long residence



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 173 of 177)