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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 33 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 33 of 177)
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was born at Downey, Cal., January 27, 1868, and is a woman of refinement
and true worth. Her parents, John and Mary (Ehle) Dickson, natives of
Tennessee and Iowa respectively and pioneers of Los Angeles county, Cal..
afterward became early settlers of Yavapai county, Ariz., and lived upon a
stock ranch there for some years. In 1901, when seventy-two years of age,
Mr. Dickson died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. McCutchen, with whom
Mrs. Dickson, now sixty-four years of age, has since remained. There are
four children in the McCutchen family, namely: Preston J., who is engaged
in the retail milk business on the west side, his headquarters being at Taft ;
Ollie, a graduate of Heald's Normal and Business College at Stockton and
now a teacher at Taft ; Van Dickson, proprietor of the Chester machine works
in Bakersfield : and Perry, a student in the Kern County high school. Deeply
interested in the cause of education, Mr. McCutchen has not limited his atten-
tion to aiding his children in securing excellent educational advantages, but
has been desirous that every child in the community should receive a prac-
tical education. For some years he has served as clerk of the board of
trustees of the Old River school district. Politically he is a protectionist and a
Republican of progressive tendencies. As a citizen he favors all movements
for the well-being of the people, while as an agriculturist he is deeply inter-



HISTORY OF KKRN COUNTY 251

ested in tlie ile\ elnpnient of Kern connty land and has an abiding faith in
the possibilities of the soil when rightly cultivated and regularly irrigated.

JACOB NIEDERAUR.— It was the good fortune of Bakersfield to enjoy

during its earl\- history, as in its later era of progress, the loyal dex'otion of
men of ability, energy and progressive spirit To the foundation laid by such
citizens was added the superstructure of subsequent efTort that rendered
possible the prosperity now attained by the city. In the list of capable pio-
neers no name stands out with greater prominence and none is more worthy
of an honorable place in local annals than that of the late Jacob Niederaur,
who from the time of his settlement in the then struggling, insignificant
village in 1869 until his death, February 9, 1903, contributed persistently,
effectively and intelligently to the advancement of the town commercially,
materiall}- and financialh^ contributing his quota to every enterprise for the
general welfare and leaving the impress of his forceful personality upon every
civic project. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to name an enter-
prise of pioneer days which failed to receive his quiet but efficient support.
A master workman, skilled in the use of tools, and without a superior in his
trade of a cabinet-maker, he did not limit his activities to the occupation in
which he had achieved signal success, but entered into other avenues of
labor. From the first he appreciated the value to this county of its great
oil resources. Xor did he fail to realize the excellent location of Liakersiiekl
as a business headquarters for the oil fields. Other resources of the com-
munity were backed by his sincere faith and generous support and the wis-
dom of his judgment was proved by his own large success, as well as by the
steady advancement made by the county and city of his adoption.

Born in Bavaria, Germany, June 15, 1841, Jacob Niederaur was nine
years of age when brought to America by his parents, who settled at Bryan,
Ohio. He was one of four sons, all of whom were trained by their father,
a skilled mechanic, into a thorough knowledge of cabinet-making as soon as
they were old enough to handle tools. In skill and quickness he soon proved
the equal of the others and was able to earn his livelihood at the trade while
yet very young. When he came to Bakersfield at the age of twenty-eight
vears he had no difficulty in finding employment as a cabinet-maker. .Al-
though he had no capital he was thrifty and economical and soon he was able
to embark in the furniture business. The beginning of the business was very
small, but as time passed he enlarged his stock of furniture and became the
leading furniture dealer in the entire valley. Shortly after his arrival in
Bakersfield he was impressed by the need of an undertaking establishment
and he at once began to study the business, acquiring a thorough familiarity
with its every detail. He is remembered today as the pioneer undertaker of
the city. During the early days the business houses were mere shacks, but
he became a chaniDion of better buildings and himself set the example by
erecting a suh.stantial block, the first floor of which he utilized for his under-
taking establishment and furniture, while the second floor he rented for general
lodge, hall and lecture purposes. At the time of the incorporation of the
Southern Hotel Company he became a stockholder in the new enterprise
and was enthusiastic in his efforts to secure adequate hotel accommodations
for the growing city. Although intensely devoted to the welfare of the
community it was m-t possible to secure his acceptance of public offices and
he took no part in politics whatever aside from voting the Republican ticket.
The only lodge to which he belonged was the Knights of I^ythias, and in that
order he ever maintained a warm interest.

For some years after his arrival in the west Air. Niederaur continued to
lead a single life, and it was in this city that he met the attractive young lady
whom he chose as his wife. She was Miss Lucy J. Williams, who was born
in Ross county. Ohio, May 10. 1860, but grew to girlhood in Vermont, her
mother having returned to that state after the death of the husband and



252 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

father. At the age of sixteen years Atiss Williams left the east to come to
California as governess for the children of Philo Jewett at Bakersfield. While
filling this position she met Mr. Niederaur, whom she married August 6, 1878.
Two children came to bless their union, Philip Williams and Helen Jewett,
After the death of I\Ir. Niederaur his widow continued to make her home in
the elegant family residence, which since her death, November 30, 1909, has
been occupied by her daughter and son-in-law, Helen Jewett Forrest and
Thomas W. Forrest. This young couple were married October '16, 1911,
Mr. Forrest being vice-president of the E. H. Loveland Produce Company
and one of the leading young business men of Bakersfield. The son, Philip
Williams Niederaur, formerly engaged in the furniture business in Bakers-
field, but now resides in San Francisco.

Among the many friends whom Mr. Niederaur won through his fine qual-
ities of heart and mind there was none to whom he was more deeply attached
than to Franz Buckreus, for many years superintendent of the Kern county
hospital. Between those two pioneers there was a deep bond of affection
which time -only served to deepen. The implicit faith which Mr. Niederaur
reposed in his friend was shown by his selection of him as administrator of
his estate, without bonds, and also as guardian of his children. After the
death of his friend Mr. Buckreus continued to operate the furniture and
undertaking establishment for a time. During March of 1904 he sold the
undertaking business to Morton & Connelly, who are now in that business
at No. 1712 Chester avenue. About the same time the furniture business
was sold to George C. Haberfelde, who since has become a leading repre-
sentative of this line of commercial enterprise in Bakersfield. The estate
left by Mr. Niederaur was valued at $70,000 and had he been spared to enjoy
the present remarkable growth of his chosen city he would have attained
much greater wealth, but the large estate which he accumulated is especially
significant because it represented the unaided efforts of a man who ever
lived up to his high ideals of honor and his lofty principles of business
integrity. Of such pioneers the city and county may well be proud and
their descendants may recount their activities with pardonable gratification.

E. T. EDWARDS. — Among the men of resourcefulness and executive
force who have sought out the great ^Midway oil field as the center of their
activities, none has been welcomed more heartily and none is forging to the
front more rapidly than Elbert T. Edwards, president and general manager
of the California Well Drilling Company, Incorporated, whose main office
is on the well-known Supply Row in Taft. The company represented by
Mr. Edwards is young, strong and aggressive. The special business is con-
tract drilling of wells, whose completion is guaranteed. Besides himself
the officers are H. G. Moss of Maricopa, vice-president, and J. H. Osgood,
of Taft, secretary and treasurer, with W. W. Stephenson, a director, as the
Bakersfield representative of the concern. In addition to Mr. Stephenson
and the officers J. F. Swank is also serving as a member of the board of
directors. Incorporation was made on a capitalization of $250,000, the stock
being divided into two hundred and fifty thousand shares, par value $1
each. The business of the company is not limited to the Midway field l)ut
extends through the west side and brings to them the patronage of some
of the greatest organizations doing business in Kern county fields, so that
the general msnager finds himself crowded to the utmost with important
work. Tremendous responsibilities rest upon him. These are courageously
met and intelligently discharged. In no respect is he more careful than in
his eft'orts to lessen the hazards of a work which, at best, contains the ele-
ment (if danger and the constant fear of accident. The members of the
drilling gangs pursue their work with the knowledge that the manager i-^
using exery ]irecaution to prevent accidents and injuries to them, and this




^5^^^.^:2S,^^^...^



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 255

knowledge is in itself a large asset in giving to the company all the work-
men that are needed, numbering at times as many as one hundred and fifty.
The first eighteen years in the life of Mr. Edwards were passed in Ten-
nessee, where he was born at Nashville January 7, 1881. Ever since leaving
that state he has engaged in the oil industry and kindred pursuits, first at
Houston, Beaumont, Sour Lake and other Texas oil towns, and next at
Jennings and Welsh, La., and after 1909 in California. After a short time
in the Kern river field he went to Coalinga and engaged as a driller with
the Southeastern Oil Company, Limited. During the latter part of 1910 he
came to the Midway field. In the latter part of 1911 he organized the Cali-
fornia W'ell Drilling Company, which is prepared to do cementing as well
as drilling, and which keeps from three to fourteen strings of tools in use,
using the rotary tools principally. Among the concerns for which the com-
pany has drilled wells may be mentioned the West Side, Sunset Monarch,
May's Consolidated, Pacific Crude, General Petroleum, California Counties,
Northern, Spreckels, Maple Leaf, Northern Exploration and other oil and
gas companies. The general manager has many heavy duties in connection
with a business so great in magnitude. That he has been successful proves
him to be a man of force of character and high intelligence. Since coming
to Taft he has identified himself with the Petroleum Club. During 1912
he erected a bungalow on North and Second streets, Taft, and here he and
his wife, formerly Thelma Sells, a native of Kentucky, have established a
home that is sought by their large circle of friends in Kern county.

W. C. McCUTCHEN.— The name of the four McCutchen brothers is
identified with many enterprises well-known in the early history of Maricopa,
wliere they have been land-owners from a period antedating the memorable
rush incident to the bringing in of the world-famous Lake View gusher.
They were among the first to discern oil possibilities in the region and events
have proved the wisdom of their forecasts. One of the four, W. C, a man of
great energy and a leader in every forward movement in this region, has
spent all of his life in the west with the exception of the first four months,
for he was born in Iowa December 4, 1853, four months before his parents,
P. S. and Jane McCutchen, left that state for the Pacific coast. The long
journey across the plains was made with wagons drawn by oxen. The first
location of the family was in Placer county, where the father engaged in
mining for a number of years. Removing from that locality to Sacramento
count}-, he ti^iok up land near Franklin and engaged in general farming. His
next removal occurred in 1872 and took him to Monterey county, where he
made his home in the Cholame valley near Parkfield. During 1878 he was
bereaved by the death of his wife and afterward he went to live with his
children, being for a time at Hanford. For some time he has resided with his
s, n, ( leurge, at Maricopa. .Although now ninety-three years of age, he retains
the ])nssession of physical and mental faculties and exhibits a constant in-
terest in neighborhood business aflfairs.

.After the death of his mother in 1878 the famil}- home was broken
up and W. C. McCutchen went to .Arizona to engage in mining. For two
years he worked in the silver mines near Bradshaw. Returning to California
he located at Hanford in 1880 and tcok up land on the Lone Oak slough six
miles southwest of town, where he began to improve a farm and engage in
the raising of crops suited to the soil and climate. During 1900 he sold out
and moved to Tipton, Tulare county, near which town he bought land and
engaged in agricultural enterprises. Two years later he came to Bakersfield
and about the same time located twent}' acres of land at Maricopa. During
the great gold rush to the Nevada mines he joined the Argonauts bound for
that country and spent two years at Goldfield, finding himself, however,
little the richer f. .r the venture. Since BX)8 he has had' liis heachiuarters at



256 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

Maricopa and has been interested in the development of property with his
brothers, G. W., J. B. and R. L. The company organized by themselves has
put down eight wells, six of which proved to be producers, although only
four are now in use, being flowing wells. In addition to bearing his share
in the management of these wells and the putting down of new ones, Mr.
McCutchen has devoted considerable attention to other property interests and
is the owner of real estate in the city of Richmond as well as orange land
near Edison. ^Vith his wife, formerly Miss Louella McClintock, he has estab-
lished a home at Maricopa (living at the present time on the McCutchen
Bros, oil property) and has identified himself with enterprises for the upbuild-
ing of the new .town, whose existence is dependent upon the oil industry and
whose future has the glowing promises oiifered by that wealth-producing
activity. By a former marriage he is the father of four children, of whom
the two sons, G. P. and W. W. (twins), are residents of Maricopa, as is also
the youngest child, Mrs. G. E. Fritz, while the third child and elder daughter,
Mrs. J. A. Fritz, makes her home at Taft.

JOHN H. CLAYMAN. — An honored place among the pioneers of Cali-
fornia is held by John H. Clayman, who has been identified with the devel-
opment of the commonwealth for a period covering more than fifty years
and meanwhile has himself been a large contributor to the industries of
agriculture, horticulture and stock-raising, Ijesides aiding in the expansion
of the public-school system and in other projects indispensable to permanent
prosperity. It is to such pioneers as he that the state owes its remarkable
growth in years past and they laid well the foundation for future continued
prosperity, so that it may be safe to predict that the development of the
past is but the precursor of similar advances in years to come, for all of
which due credit must be given to the pioneers.

Much of the active life of John H. Clayman was spent upon the then
frontier, and it was not until 1910 that he relinquished agricultural activi-
ties, disposed of his ranch and came to Bakersfield to enjoy in his declining
days the fruits of lung-continued labors. His parents, Benjamin and Per-
melia (Randall) Clayman, were natives respectively of Pennsylvania and
Ohio, and during their early married years lived upon a farm in Marion
county, Ohio, where occurred the birth of John H. Clayman March 11, 1842.
In 1845 the family removed to the then frontier of Indiana and settled upon
a tract of unimproved land in Elkhart county, where the most arduous labor
was necessary to improve a productive farm. The mother died in that
county. Of her seven children three are now living, John H. being the
fourth in order of birth. In 1853 the family followed the tide of migra-
tion still further toward the setting sun and established a home on the
desolate prairies of Nebraska. The claim which they pre-empted was
wild land and the task of developing the property proved so formidable that
in 1859 the father with his family crossed the plains with wagon and ox-
teams to California and were only thirty-six hours behind the Mountain
Meadow massacre. Accompanying them was John H., then an energetic.
capable youth of seventeen years, ready and willing to do a man's work
and eager to see the vast region west of the mountains. With the hopeful
spirit of youth, he tried his luck in placer mines in Shasta county. The
success of the experiment was so gratifying that he continued for eight
years and at the expiration of that period had accumulated an amount
sufficient to enable him to invest in land.

Securing a raw tract of land in Tehama county four miles east of Red
BlufT, Mr. Clayman at once l)egan the task of making the property pro-
ductive and remunerative. At first he engaged in grain-raising and in the
stock industry, but having ascertained that certain varieties of fruit would
thrive in the region he planted a large orchard of apples, prunes and peaches.



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 257

In some years tlie fruit brought him a very larfje income, so tliat he pros-
pered beyond his early expectations. The entire estate of one hundred
and sixty acres was placed under cultivation and when eventually sold to
other parties brought a great advance over the original purchase price.
Meanwhile Mr. dayman had interested himself in movements for the
material upbuilding of his township and county. At the time of the build-
ing of the schoolhouse in the Antelope district he served as member of
the board of trustees and his counsel and progressive spirit proved of great
assistance in the enterprise. Since coming to Bakersfield he has built three
residences on the corner of Fourth street and Chester avenue and two of
these he rents, occupying the third for a home for himself and wife.

The marriage of John H. Clayman and Catherine Elizabeth Worley was
solemnized at Red Blufif, Cal., November 14, 1874, and was blessed with
five children, named as follows : Carrie, now a teacher in Tehama county ;
Elmer, a resident of Bakersfield ; Zola, wife of Joseph Percy Freear, of
Bakersfield; Crim and Mrs. Bessie Hosmer, also of Bakersfield. Born
ill A\ashington county, Iowa, Mrs. Clayman is a daughter of the late James
and Elizabeth (Albaugh) Worley, natives of Ohio and pioneer farmers
of Washington county, Iowa. During 1859 the family crossed the plains
with an expedition of wagons drawn by ox-teams. For a time Mr. Worley
engaged in teaming in Shasta county, but later he took up farm pursuits in
Tehama county, where he resided until death. There were two sons and
one daughter in the ^Vorley family and of these Mrs. Clayman was the
eldest. In religion she was reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, to which she since has adhered with earnest sincerity. Politically
Mr. Clayman is a Republican. Fraternally he has been connected with the
Independent CJrder of Odd Fellows and with his wife holds membership
with the Rebekahs.

CAREY L. SEAGER.— The Producers Refining Company, of which
Mr. Seager is secretary, treasurer and superintendent, ranks among the
leading organizations of its kind in the Kern river field. Not only does its
plant utilize the entire pre duct from the Lackawanna lease of eighty acres in
the Kern river oil fields, but in addition crude oil of the West side fields
is bought in large quantities. An average of twenty-five hundred barrels
of crude oil is treated each month. From the Kern river crude oils the
following products are made: kerosene; 34 degrees stove distillate; gas en-
gine cylinder oil ; autogram, the copyrighted title of a cylinder oil particu-
larly adapted to the use of automobiles and now winning the highest praise
from its users; light engine oil, heavy engine oil, steam cylinder oil, fuel
distillate and asphalt. The crude oils of the west side are utilized in the
manufacture of four products, viz.: gasoline; gas engine distillate of grades
Nos. 1, 2 and 3; fuel distillate and asphalt. The lubricants are admittedly
of a superior grade. Their value is recognized even by the experts con-
nected with the most formidable rivals and competitors of the companv.
while the quality of both kerosene and gasoline is of the highest grade.

Of eastern descent, belonging to a family of high standing and excep-
tional culture, Carey L. Seager was born at Randolph, Cattaraugus county,
N. Y., August 12, 1884, and was the eldest of three children. The second
son, Roy E., is engaged with the Producers Refining Company, and the
youngest child. Pearl J., is employed as a bookkeeper with this concern.
The lather, George H. Seager. was born and reared on a New York farm
and at the age of sixteen married Miss Julia F. Mack, a girl of fifteen who
had been his schoolmate. Shortly after his early marriage he began to work
in the oil refining industry, to which his later years have been devoted with
such success that he now ranks as an expert in the construction and operation
of refineries as well as in the production of kerosene, gasoline and high-grade



258 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

lubricating oils. As assistant superintendent he had active charge of the
construction work of the Gulf refinery owned by the Gulf Refining Com-
pany at Port Arthur, Tex. He served as superintendent for the Union Oil
Company at the time they constructed the addition to their refinery at
Oleum on San Pablo bay. At present he is engaged in the buying, selling
and mixing or compounding of oils at Tulsa, Okla., where he makes his
business headquarters.

Although a native of York state, the earliest recollections of Carey L.
Seager are associated with Pennsylvania, for in his infancy the family
established a home at Corry, that state, and later lived in Chester, Dela-
ware county. Eventually his mother established her permanent home at
Warren, Pa., and there he spent two years in the high school. At the age of
seventeen he was graduated from the Warren Business College. Shortly
after graduation he joined his father at Port Arthur, Tex., where for four
years he was connected with the Gulf Refining Company, serving first as
assistant stillman and later as foreman. His next experience was as assist-
ant to his father while the latter superintended the construction of the re-
finery for the Union Oil Company at Oleum. Later he was given work for
nine months as stillman with the Standard Oil Company at Point Rich-
mond, Contra Costa county. Meanwhile, having determined to start a re-
finery of his own, he had the good fortune to meet with members of the
San Francisco firm of W. P. Fuller & Co., compounders, and they encouraged
him in his project. In addition, they rendered him practical help, introduc-
ing him to George Calhoun of the National refinery. The latter agreed to
form a partnership on equal terms with Mr. Seager, the two taking a
lease of the Buckeye refining plant and continuing together for two 3^ears.
At the expiration of that time Mr. Seager took a sub-lease from C. Apple-
garth of the Volcan Refining Company, which under the title of C. L.
Seager & Co., he operated for seven months.

Through a deal with Dr. Liscomb of Pasadena, Cal., made in May of
1911, Mr. Seager turned in his property and took stock for it in the Pro-
ducers Refining Compan}', which since has made many valuable improve-
ments. The officers of the company besides Mr. Seager are as follows: Dr.
A. H. Liscomb, president; William Ellery of San Francisco, first vice-
president; and H. S. Bridge of San Francisco, second vice-president. Em-
ployment is furnished to six men regularly. The one ambition of every



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 33 of 177)