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 174 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 174 of 177)
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in the west has familiarized her with local conditions and given her an expe-
rience most helpful to present activities. Born near Perry, N. Y., she was a
daughter of the late James Rood, of York state, and during young womanhood
became the wife of Charles Thurlow, a carpenter, whom she accompanied to
California in 1888 and who passed away in March, 1899, leaving two daughters,
Madge and Gladys. The older daughter is now the wife of Guy Rodgers, who
is employed as a stationary engineer at San Francisco, (iladys married W. L.
Formway, who is employed by the San Joaquin Light & Power Corporation.
The family attend the Baptist Church in Bakersfield. He holds strictly to
Democratic principles and never fails to support the candidates of that party
in national elections. Mr. Afoss bought thirty-five acres in the vicinity of
Edison in April, 1913, with the intention of engaging in the market-gardening
business on a larger scale, making a specialty of early table vegetables.

VINCENT MON,— The early home of Vincent Mon was in Basses
Pvrenees. France, where he was born December 12, 1838, and where he spent



1536 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

the first seventeen years of his life. The family to which he belongs has been
identified with Southern France from a remote period and his parents, Louis
Henry and Jane (Larratone) Mon, were lifelong residents of Basses Pyrenees,
where the father died at the age of eighty-two and the mother a year later
when past eighty. There were six children in the family and all are still liv-
ing, the eldest, a half-brother, Gart, remaining in France, while an own brother,
Jean, is living in Buenos Ayres, South America. Marie is a nun in a convent
in France. Theresa, wife of Jean Crapuchets, remains on the old homestead
in Basses Pyrenees. Mrs. Genevieve Mesplou, a widow still living in France,
has two daughters, namely: Anna, wife of Ira Gerardet, a clerk in a store in
East Bakersfield ; and Jane, who resides with Mrs. Gerardet when she is in
Bakersfield. but whose permanent home is San Francisco.

While attending the common schools in his native land Vincent Mon
heard much concerning America and as scon as he completed the studies of
the grammar schools he crossed the ocean, Los Angeles being his objective
point. Shortly after he arrived in that city he chanced to meet Henry Zim-
merman, who bought and fed sheep for the San Francisco markets. Securing
employment with him as a drover he continued in the same place for three
years and then engaged in a similar capacity with other sheepmen, making
Bakersfield his headquarters. Carefully hoarding his wages, he was able to
embark in business for himself in 1891 and began with four thousand head of
sheep. It was necessary to carry a heavy debt on the flock and when the
financial panic of 1894 came it found him unprepared for such an emergency,
the result being a total loss. Forced to start anew, he began to dip sheep at
Poso Bridge Station in 1895 and ever since he has given his attention largely to
such work, but in addition he owns a herd of seventy-five cattle and a flock
of one hundred of Angora goats. He operates his farm of forty acres at
Poso, Kern county, and since 1912 has made his home on five acres of land,
which he bought in that year, on Terrance Way, in the suburbs of Bakers-
field.

The marriage of Mr. Mon took place in 1887 and united him with Miss
Catharine Cazaux, who came from the same province in France as himself
and who is a woman of thrift, energy and untiring industry, a devoted wife and
wise mother. Ten children were born of their unicn and nine are still living,
namely: Julia, Henry, Eugene, Marie, Irene, Vincent, Jr., Emaline, George
and Catharine. All are yet at home and the youngest of the number are puoils
in the common schools. Charles Vincent, second child born in the family, died
in infancy. The family hold membership with the Catholic Church and are
devoted to its doctrines. Since he became a citizen of our country he has been
a Republican.

DANIEL B. WOODSON.— To the class of self-educated, self-reliant
citizens who form so vital a part of the population of Kern county belongs
Daniel B. Woodson, owner of a well-improved ranch lying four and one-half
miles south of Kern. His life has not been filled with the sunshine of ease nor
made glad by an inheritance of wealth ; on the other hand, the stern necessity
of self-support deprived him of educational advantages and prevented him
from enjoying the recreations that render pleasant the memories of youth.

From Missouri, where he was born in Boone county November 9, 1879,
Daniel B. Woodson came to California and settled at Bakersfield at the age
of eleven years. The poverty of the family prevented him from securing a
thorough education and from the age of fifteen he has been self-supporting.
For three years he drove a team for the Kern County Land Company. Nine
months were passed as a helper in the Southern Pacific shops at Bakersfield
and for eighteen months he was employed in the Bakersfield iron works.
When he left the last-named plant he secured a position with the Standard Oil



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1537

Company in Bakersfield. After he had been with the company about seven
years he resigned from his position as foreman and stationary engineer, in
which capacity he had been employed along the Point Richmond line, mean-
while living at various places along the route of his work.

With his savings of years Air. Woodson purchased fifty acres lying four
and one-half miles south of Kern and here he has since remained. Besides
operating the hi me place he rents an adjacent tract of fifteen acres and also
manages fifteen acres belonging to his wife, so that altogether he farms
eighty acres in one body. His whole attention is concentrated upon the care
of the farm. Aside from voting the Democratic ticket at all elections he takes
no part whatever in politics. Since he came to the farm. January 1, 1911, he
has made a number of needed impn vements and has endeavored successfully
to increase the productiveness of the soil, thereby also increasing the returns
from its cultivation. In all of his work he has enjoyed the helpful co-oiieration
of Mrs. Woe dson, whom he married in 1900 and who was Mrs. Mamie Keough,
the widow of Daniel Keough and a daughter of Peter McCafYery, one of the
pioneers of Kern county. They have ime child, Florence.

MORDECAI FILLMORE PEARSON.— Born near Doylestown, Bucks
county. Pa., on Christmas Day, 1835, M. F. Pearson is the son cf Mordecai
and Ruth A. (Linburg) Pearson, both natives of Bucks county, of old Penn-
sylvania families and of English ancestry, descending from members of the
Society of Friends that migrated from England during the early settlement of
Philadelphia by William Penn. Mordecai Pearson was a farmer near Doyles-
town and there both parents passed away, their family consisting of eleven
children. Nine of these grew to maturity, of whom Mordecai Fillmore is the
fourth. He attended public school near the home of his youth until he was
eighteen and during the next three years worked for his father. Having
attained his majority, he made his independent entry into the business world
as a clerk in a store at Doylestown. but later turned his attention to farming
the home place. In 1884 he came to California and was employed for two
years in Los Angeles. From that city he went to Cortland, Sacramento
county, where he successfully operated a dairy until 1890, at which time he
purchased forty acres of land in the Rosedale district, Kern county, and began
general farming and horticulture, setting out a vineyard and orchard. Later
on he sold his property and took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty
acres in the Weed Patch, where he sunk a well, built a house, and made other
improvements, and proved up on it. This he still owns. He lived on this
place until 1907, when he came to the original part of his present property. He
bought twenty acres each year frr five years until he had one hundred acres
which he gradually improved, devoting it to general farming and dairying.
It is all under irrigation from the Stine canal.

Meanwhile Mr. Pearson took an interest in gold mining, with special
reference to operations in the northern part of the state, and he is one of the
promoters of the business of the Gold Mountain Hydraulic and Dredging
Company, operating on Willow creek, a tributary of the Feather river in
Plumas county. He has during recent years been interested in the development
of an apiary on his ranch.

The lady who became the wife of Mr. Pearson was Miss I^lla .\. Ott,
who was also born near Doylestown, Bucks ci.unty, Pa.. July 7. lS6.=i, their
marriage taking place in Doylestown, in 1S82. She comes uf an old Penn-
sylvania family of German descent. Two daughters were born to them : Anna
M.. who makes her home with her parents: and Ruth E., who is Mrs. Cornish
of Lf s Angeles. Politically Mr. Pearson is a Republican.

PAUL R. FECHTNER.— Upon his arrival in this city during the spring
of 1910 he opened a machine and repair shop on the corner i)f Chester avenue



1538 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

and Twentieth street, but in August of the following year he removed to the
new Berges building, Nos. 1817-1821 I street, where now he has ample
quarters for every department of his business. A gunmaker by trade he has
made a specialty of guns and ammunition. Besides carrying a full line of
sporting goods and doing repair work he acts as agent for the Appeal, Iver
Johnson, Crown, Savage, Miami and Racycle bicycles. He has fitted up the
large basement for a modern machine shop with electric power.

At Pyritz, Pomerania, in the north of Germany, Paul R. Fechtner was
born February 22, 1867, being a son of Martin and Ernestine (Schroeder)
Fechtner, the latter deceased in 1900, the former January 20, 1913. Prior to the
father's retirement he engaged in the shoe business. There were twelve chil-
dren in the family and all but two attained mature years, while eight sur-
vive at this writing. The sixth in order of birth was Paul R., who attended
the public schools from six until fourteen and then began an apprenticeship
of three years to the trade of locksmith and gun-maker. At the expiration of
his time he worked for wages. Later he served for two and one-half years
in the First Rhenish Heavy Artillery, Eighth Army Corps, of th •; German
artillery, in which he was chosen gunmaster. Upon the expiration of his
period of service he received an honorable discharge and returned to his trade,
which he followed for a year in Germany and a year in Copenhagen, Den-
mark. The year 1893 found him working at his trade in Chicago during the
World's Fair. From that city he made three different trips through the United
States, traveling from coast to coast and from the gulf to the British posses-
sions. The expenses of these trips were paid through working at his trade.
Finally he settled in Seattle, Wash., and opened a machine shop, where he
made a specialty of electro-plating. After two years he sold the business and
for a year worked as a machinist in the navy yard at Bremerton, Wash., going
back from there to Seattle and erecting two residences, one of which he still
owns. The next change of location brought him to Bakersfield, where he is
now conducting an important business. While living in Chicago he married
Miss Wilhelmina Ulrich, a native of Springfield, 111., and by the union there
are three children, Leona, Wilhelmina and Erna. The family are identified
with St. John's German Lutheran Church. In politics he votes with the
Republican party. Besides being a member of the Eagles at Bakersfield, he
was made a Mason in .Alpha Kern Ledge, F. & A. M., in this city, and has
been a prominent worker in its philanthropic efforts.

MICHAEL ARGY. — The chief engineer of the court house, who has
filled the pi sition since December 30, 1912, is of American birth and Irish
descent. Born in Warren, N. H., in 1855, he was only one year old when his
parents, Alexander and Kate Arg)^ removed to Chelsea, Mass. After he had
completed the studies of the public schools he became an apprentice to the
trade of machinist and when only nineteen was chosen stationary engineer
for the Chelsea Gas and Light Company. After he had engaged with that
concern for six years he was for eight seasons chief engineer for the Point
Pines Company at Revere Beach, Mass., during the winters being with various
manufacturing companies, and one winter serving as chief engineer of the
Magnolia Hotel, in Magnolia, Fla. Coming to California in 1890 he secured
employment Avith the Yisalia electric light plant and gas works, where he
remained for six months. A sojourn cf six weeks in San Francisco was fol-
lowed by his arrival in Bakersfield in 1891 and since then he has been a resi-
dent of this city. At first he was employed as engineer with the Bakersfield
Gas and Electric Light Company and its successor, at the same time having
charge of the engines in the fire department, but about the middle of 1898
he resigned in order to become engineer of Steamer No. 1, Bakersfield fire
department, and for fourteen and one-half years filled that position. After
having charge of the engines for nineteen years he finally resigned for the



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1539

purpose of accepting the position of cliief engineer at the new court house.
For some years he has been connected with the Xational .\ss(icia.ii)n ot Sta-
tionary Engineers No. 1, at San Francisco.

While Hving in Massachusetts he married Miss Margaret McKearn, of
Boston, and they now reside at No. 2029 Q street. When a young man, at
Revere Beach, he became an experienced oarsman and won many races; he
was one of a team of four that won the four-oared race at Plympton, Mass.,
in 1872, and for ten years he followed that sport, winning many prizes and
establishing an enviable record for his skill. Mr. Argy is greatly interested
in the breeding of standard horses and he has owned and still owns several
valuable horses. He owned Logonette, with record of 2.11 "4, and Flora D.,
with record of 2.28^/2, Birdie Monroe, 2.28, and also McGregor, Logonette, Jr.,
King Edward, King Solomon, Queenie and Flora D., Jr., constituting a fine
string of valuable standard horses, are all the property of Mr. Argy. He sup-
ports the Democratic party and is a member of Bakersfield Aerie No. 93, Order
of Eagles.

JULES GIRARD.— Among the many men who came from the south of
France to seek their fortune in the land of the Golden West and whose am-
bition to succeed has been crowned with success we find Jules Girard, who
came to Kern county, Cal., in 1890, locating in Delano when the country was
all open plains and range. He was born at Gap, Hautes-Alpes, France, the son
of Francois and Delphine (Julian) Girard, both natives of that place where
they were successful farmers and are now deceased. Of their union there
were born eight boys and one girl, only three of whom are now living, Philip,
Joseph and Jules, all of Delano. Jules was born February 26, 1872, and grew
up on the home farm, attending the public schools of his native place. When
eighteen years of age, in 1890, he came to California, making his way imme-
diatelv to Delano, where he was employed in the sheep business by his broth-
ers who had preceded him. In 1892 he bought a flock of sheep and engaged in
sheep-raising on his own account, ranging them on the plains and in the
mountains. His herd increased and he met with merited success, his flock
at times numbering as many as six thousand head. During this time he
located a h( mestead fourteen miles east of Delano, which he still owns.

Mr. Girard was married in San Francisco to Miss Theresa IMotte, also
a native of Gap, and they have been blessed with five children, as follows:
Leon, Louise, lules, Hilda' and Victoria. Believing in protection he is a stanch
Republican. S"ince his marriage he has erected a comfortable home in Delano
where he resides with his family.

GEORGE E. BURKETT.— Mr. Burkett was born in Marion, Grant
county, Ind., August 13, 1862, son of Daniel and Henrietta (Owens) Burkett,
born respectively in Pennsylvania and Indiana. The parents were farmers in
Grant county for some years, and in 1870 removed to Holton, Jackson county,
Kans., where they homesteaded one hundred and si.xty acres. Until 1897 they
resided there and then located at Dodge City, where the father and his sons
became large land owners and successful stockmen. He is now in his eighty-
eighth year, hale and hearty, and able to fully enjoy the fruits of his earlier
labors. On his paternal side George E. is of German extraction, while on
the maternal side his descent is Scotch and Welsh. Eight children were born
to Daniel Burkett and his wife, all of them now living and proving a credit to
their early training.

George E. Burkett was the sixth in order of birth in his parents' family.
His early life and youth were passed in Kansas on the home farm, and he
attended the local public schools. When he was fourteen he went to Kan-
sas City, Mo., where he spent two years at the Armour packing plant learning
the butchering business. At the end of this time he entered Campbell Uni-



1540 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

versity at Holton and in 1883 completed his course and was graduated. With
his brother, R. C. Burkett (now of Santa Ana, Cal.), he then made a trip
through Iowa, the Dakotas, Indiana and tther states, finally returning to Kan-
sas, where from 1884 to 1886 he engaged in the stock business. On July 4 of
the last named year he came to California and made his way to San Diego,
where he became superintendent of the San Diego Bituminous Paving Com-
pany and two years later went to Fresno to take the position of fruit buyer
for the Johnson-Locke Mercantile Company of San Francisco. Two years
later he went to Lcs Angeles in the employ of the Cudahy Packing Company
and for five years served as foreman in the killing room, at the end of this
time accepting the superintendency of the Maier Packing Company's house,
which he carried on for six years. The year 1905 brought Mr. Burkett to
Bakersfield where he entered the Kern County Land Company's service as
superintendent of their packing department at Bellevue Ranch, and here he
has remained.

In San Diego was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Burkett and Miss
Olive Harlan, the ceremony taking place in November, 1888. Mrs. Burkett was
a native of Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated from Drake University, in which
institution she taught elocution for two years. Seven children were born to
this couple : Nina, who is the wife of J. M. Wallace, of Los Angeles ; Lloyd,
who died at the age of twelve years ; Clarence, who died at seven years ; Flor-
ence, who is attending the Kern County high school ; and Everett, Frances and
Marshall, at home. Mr. Burkett is a member of the Woodmen of the World,
and pclitically unites with the Democratic party. With his wife he is a mem-
ber of the Christian Church of Bakersfield. Mr. Burkett is now serving as a
member of the board of school trustees of Buena Vista district. With his
wife, who is a refined woman of quiet tastes, he shares in the friendship of
many of Bakersfield's people and they are much respected and esteemed.

DICK SHACKELFORD.— Few of those who crossed the plains during
the memorable year of 1849 remain to recount to rising generations their ex-
periences in a journey so entirely diflferent from anything possible to the
twentieth century. Although at the time he made the eventful trip Dick
Shackelford was a boy of enly seven he recalls vividly the dangers of the
desert, the fear of savage Indians and of wild beasts and the perils, seen and
unseen, connected with that large expedition traveling with wagons and ox-
teams. The southern rcute was followed from Texas through New Mexico
and Arizona and into California at Fort Yuma, from which the family pro-
ceeded to San Gabriel ]\lission to spend the winter of 1849-50. The father,
Montgomery Bell Shackelford, a Kentuckian by birth, had been a scout on the
frontier and a member of the Texas rangers. Natural courage and frontier
experiences qualified him for the safe encompassing of his plans and for a
later identification with ranching in the west. Taking up a homestead in
Pleasant valley on the Merced river in 1850, he began a brief connection
with that locality. Shortly he removed to the vicinity of Snelling on the
Merced river and there began to raise stock. However, the location did not
prove satisfactory and he soon removed to Santa Cruz county and engaged
in farming near Soquel, whence in 1855 he went to El Monte. There he died
during the same year. Many years afterward at Tehachapi occurred the death
of his wife, Mahala (Thompson) Shackelford, a native of Tennessee.

The family of the California pioneer consisted of seven children, but only
four lived to maturity and but two of these survive at the present writing.
The next to the eldest cf the number, Dick, was born in Grayson county, Tex.
September 22, 1P42, and was sent to subscription and public schools for a
short time in boyhood, but the death of his father forced him to become self-
supporting before his education had been completed. One of his first tasks was
that of teaming between San Bernardino and Los Angeles. During 1862 he



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 1541

went to the Fraser river and had charge of a i^ack train to the mines, but the
work did not prove profitable. In the spring of 1863 he went via Portland,
Ore., to Merced, Cal., near which place he engaged in farming. .\s early as
1856 he had passed through Tehachapi, but it was not until .\pril of 1864 that
he became a resident of the valley and a pioneer of the cattle industry at that
point. For a long time he was c ne of the leading stockmen of the locality.
Every pioneer was familiar with his brand, a 7 and an L with a capital S inter-
woven, but he later disposed of this and established the liead of a cow for his
brand. Both brands were original with him. During 1884 he took up a claim
of one hundred and sixty acres in Brites valley. Later he bought adjacent land,
so that he had the title to three hundred and twenty acres. There he made
the headquarters of his cattle and ranch interests. He retired fnm the ranch
and came to P.akersfield, where since 1901 he has made his home.

The marriage of Mr. Shackelford took place in Tejon canyon December 5,
1869, and united him with Miss Mary Frances Smith, who was born near
Belknap, Young county, Tex., and is a lady of estimable character and a
member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Twelve children were
born of the unirn, viz.: Charles, a cattleman of Jerome, Ariz., who died
January 2. 1912; ]\Tarcus, a Santa Fe engineer with headquarters at Prescott,
Ariz.: Jesse, an orange grower near Lindsay, Cal.: deorge. who d'ed at
Tehachani ; Rowzee, an engineer on the Santa Fe and a resident of Bakers-
field ; Ivy, Mrs. Freeman, of Fanfnrd ; Eva, who died at P.akersfield;
]\Trs. Ida Wilkes, of Bakersfield : Grover. who is a brakeman. emploved
bv the Santa Fe Railroad Connany at Bakersfield: Ray, who died at Te-
hachapi ; .Aubrev, now employed as a fireman on the Santa Fe and living at
Bakersfield ; and Ruth, who remains with her parents at the familv residence.
During young manhood Mr. Shackelford was made a Mason at Fl Mnnte and
past master of Tehachani Lodge, F. & A. M. With his w'fe he brloncrs to
the Order of the Eastern Star and is past patron of Tehachapi chapter. In
politics he alwavs has sunoorted Democratic principles.

JOHN McCaffrey.— One of three brothers who were pioneers in the
state of California, John McCafifrey was born in County Fermanagh in IVTarch, ■
1848. He was reared and educated near his birth-ilace and came to the United
States in 1869. Locating in New York, he was employed on the



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 174 of 177)