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 34 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 34 of 177)
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worker is to maintain a product of admitted perfection and a constant stim-
ulus to their work is given them by the enthusiasm and energy of the super-
intendent. The latter has his home in the oil fields, his family comprising a
daughter, Margaret Pearl, and his wife, who prior to their marriage in
New York state in 1902 was Miss Pearl G. Bouton. While living in Penn-
sylvania he became a member of the Maccabees at Warren and later he was
initiated into Masonry at Port Arthur, Tex., becoming a member of Cos-
mopolitan Lodge No. 872, F. & A. M., at that place. Since coming to the
west the demands upon his time by business aflFairs have been so engrossing
that -he has not taken an active part in fraternal or political matters,
although always ready to assist in any movement for the permanent devel-
iipment of Kern county or the expansion of its great resources.

EDWARD GARFIELD NORRIS.— When the Norris family disposed
of their interests in Missouri and made the long journey to Bakersfield with
the anticipation of establishing a permanent home, Edward Garfield Norris,
whose birth had occurred near Kansas City on the 17th of April, 188L was
a small boy only two years of age, hence his earliest recollections cluster
around Kern county and the associations of a lifetime endear him to the city
of his residence and business afifiliations. Educated in the grammar and
high schools of Bakersfield. upon the completion of the regular course of




^yCA^CyTL^ - ^^^



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 261

study he was apprenticed to the trade of pUimber with C. H. Ouiiicy, re-
maining with that gentleman until he had acquired a thorough preparatory
training. Later he completed the trade in a large shop in Los Angeles,
where he had the best possible facilities for gaining a complete knowledge
of the many details connected with the occupation. Upon returning to
Bakersfield he secured employment as a journe3'man and worked for others
for three and one-half years. Meanwhile he had cherished the plan ot
embarking in business for himself. During November of 1907 he carried
out the plan and established the Kern Plumbing Company, of which he
continued to be the sole proprietor for the first two years. At the expira-
tion of that time he sold a one-half interest to Edward Miller and the two
gentlemen immediately purchased a lot at No. 517 Grove street, where they
erected a building to be used for warerooms, shop and ofifice. Since begin-
ning in the new structure they have engaged in sheet metal work and have
carried a full line of plumbing and heating supplies, by their excellent busi-
ness methods and recognized skill having been able to secure and carry to
completion many important contracts for the plumbing and heating of public
buildings and residences.

For a time Mr. Norris was honored with the presidency of the Master
Plumbers" Association and he still is one of its most influential members.
Fraternally he holds active connections with the Woodmen of the World.
The residence which he erected at No. 815 N street he still owns, but lately
he has built and now occupies a home at No. 615 Flower street. East
P.akersfield, which is presided over by Mrs. Norris, whom he married in
Pjakersfield and who was Miss Mabel Hunt, a native of Missouri. The
pleasant and comfortable home is brightened by the presence of one son,
Kenneth Edward.

GEORGE W. McCUTCHEN.— The genealogy of the McCutchen fam-
ily is traced to Scotland, whence religious persecution caused a number of
that name to seek refuge in Ireland, later generations establishing the
family in Georgia. After having served with conspicuous valor in the War
of 1812 James Corsey McCutchen removed from his native Georgia to Vir-
ginia and settled upon a plantation. Marriage united him with a daughter
of John Nevins. an Irishman by nativity and a sailor by occupation, who
having landed in Boston during the course of the Revolution, enlisted in the
American army and fought until the close of the war. later settling in Vir-
ginia upon a farm. Preston S. McCutchen, son of the soldier of 1812, was
born in St. Charles, ]\To., February 24, 1820, and at Bentonsport, Iowa, mar-
ried Jane Wilsey. a native of LTtica. N. Y. The discovery of gold in Cali-
fornia directed his attention to this part of the country. During the summer
of 1850 he crossed the plains from Bentonsport, Iowa, (where he was living
at the time), and began to mine for gold, although without any special
success. However, he was so pleased with the west that he remained until
1853, and then returned only for the purpose of getting his family, who in
the meantime were living in Iowa. The summer of 1854 found the family
en route to their new home. Arriving in safety, they established themselves
at Wisconsin Hill, Placer county, where May 6, 1855. occurred the birth of
George W. McCutchen, the third son. His older brothers are James P.. and
\\'arren C, the former a dairyman living at: Old River in Kern county, and
the latter an operator in the Maricopa oil field.

Besides these three older children five others were born during the resi-
dence of the family in Placer and Sacramento counties. They are named
as follows: Edmund W.. of Bakersfield; Mary A., wife of C. W. Johnson,
who has charge of the Phoenix Distributing Company at ]\Taricopa ; Clara
J., widow of W. G. Wallace, and a resident of Hanford, this state; Mrs.
Harriet C. Scott, of Stockton ; and Robert L., residing at Old River in Kern
county. After the father had lived about four years in Placer county,



262 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

meantime engaging in placer mining and running a dairy, in 1858, he moved
to Sacramenro county, settling at Georgetown, seventeen miles south of the
capital city. Upon a tract of land he took up in its primeval state he en-
gaged in ranching and his children were sent to the schools of that neigh-
borhood. After leaving school George W. began to make a business of hunt-
ing, and with his brothers made several trips from San Francisco by steamer
to Mexican ports, where he engaged in shooting birds of plumage. The
feathers were marketed in New York. During 1871 he became interested
in sheep-raising in Monterey county, and in 1877 went to Tulare county,
where with his brothers he engaged in shooting ducks for the San Francisco
market. Later, with his brothers, J. B. and R. L., he mined in Arizona for
two years, thence came to Kern county in 1885 and took up ranch land at
Old River. The ensuing years were devoted to farming and stock-raising,
although in addition he engaged in hunting during the winter months and
made several trips to Mexico. In 1898 he spent the summer in the Klondike,
but his prospecting tours did not bring any reward, and he returned to
California in October. During October of 1909 he was united in marriage
with Mrs. Martha E. Colly, a native of Missouri.

Upon the opening of the Sunset field Mr. McCutrhen and his brother,
Robert L., located the north one-half of section 2, township 11, range 24, and
the west one-half of section 1, township 11, range 24, also a fractional 26-12-
24, and all of 32-12-24. Their own ten acres at 2-11-24 is undeveloped, but
the)' control a leasehold on the same section, comprising twenty acres one-
half mile north of Maricopa, also lease twenty acres to the Maricopa Queen
Oil Company on 32-12-23. The new vi^ell. No. 7, brought in February 27,
1913, is a gusher and produces sixteen hundred barrels per day, while No. 6,
after being re-drilled and cemented, is a twelve-hundred barrel per day well.
The firm is composed of the four brothers, George ^^^ and ^^'arren C, of
Maricopa, also Robert L. and James B., of Old River, this county. Their
expectations have been rewarded by a large measure of success. They now
have six producing wells with a net production of nine thousand barrels per
month. Not only are they successful as oil operators, but in public affairs
they have been prominent, in ranching enterprising, in their friendships con-
stant, and in character conscientious, typical of our fine class of American
citizenship.

RALPH E. GALLOWAY.— The superintendent of the Visalia Midway
Oil Company, one of the pioneer concerns operating in the North Midway
field, has been identified with Bakersfield and the San Joaquin valley since
1892, the year of his graduation from college. Practically all of his active
life has been identified with Kern county, whose resources he has aided in
developing through the aid of his own aggressive energy and optimistic faith.
Illinois is his native commonwealth, but in boyhood he lived mostly in Wis-
consin, where his father. Rev. John B. Galloway, an ordained minister in the
United Presbj'terian denomination, held pastorates in various towns in the
southern part of the state. Throughout all of his life this devoted minister
has labored with the greatest sacrifice for the welfare of the church. When
a mere boy, in his native shire of Ayr in Scotland, he was trained to a knowl-
edge of the Bible and a desire to become a minister of the Gospel. Scarcely
fourteen years of age when the family crossed the ocean and settled at Sparta,
111., he directed his studies toward theology and by his own unaided exertions
paid his way through college, graduating from Monmouth College with the
degree of A. B., and later taking a complete course in theology in an institu-
tion at Xenia, Ohio. Meanwhile the Civil war had cast its dark cloud over
the country. Taking up the cause of the Union, he offered his services to
his adopted country and was assigned to the One Hundred Thirty-second
Illinois Infantry, in which he served as corporal until the end of the great
struggle. Later, having completed his college course and entered the min-



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 263

istry of the United Presbyterian Church, he held pastorates in Southern Wis-
consin. Since his retirement from the ministry he has made his home at
Poyuette, that state.

R}' the marriage of Re\-. Jolm r>. (iallmvay tn Matilchi Kidchxi, who was
born in Pittsburg, Pa., and died at Clarence, Iowa, in 1878, there were four
children, all but one of whom still survive. The eldest, Ralph E., was born
at Galesburg, 111., July 1, 1872, and attended public schools in Wisconsin.
After he had graduated from the Sparta (111.1 high school he taught for two
years in Waukesha county. Wis., earning the money with which he defrayed
his expenses through Carroll College at Waukesha. Having received his
diploma in 1892 from the scientific department of that institution, he left
college to make his own way in the world and soon afterward arrived in
Rakersfield, a small place at that time in comparison with its present metro-
politan proportions. Pirief experiences as a clerk in the Hirschfield store, as
a law student under Judge Wiley and as a collection agent, made him fa-
miliar with conditions in the community. During 1894 he became a reporter
on the Echo, which at the time was published weekly. When the daily was
established he became city editor. Employment with the Californian for two
years, during a portion of which period he engaged as city editor, was fol-
lowed by his appointment as editor of the Labor Journal. This editorship
he resigned at the expiration of two and one-half years. In 1910, with F. C.
Noel as a partner, he founded the San Joaquin Valley Farmer, the circulation
of which he built up to large proportions. Since selling his interest in that
paper in April, 1912, he has acted as superintendent uf the \'isalia Midway
Oil Company, a concern in which he has held stock from the start and which
has developed into one of the best producing properties of its size in Kern
county.

Since the organization of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Mr. Gal-
loway has been one of its active workers and interested members. Politically
he has been independent from the time of casting his first ballot, favoring
men and principles rather than any specified party organization. For years
after coming to the west he remained a bachelor, but May 3, 1909, at Bakers-
field, he established domestic ties, being then united with Mrs. Lulu M. San-
ford, a native of Des Moines, Iowa. Of a genial, friendly temperament, he
has found pleasure in an active association with various fraternities. Among
the organizations of which he is a member we mention the following: Al-
buquerque Lodge No. 461, B. P. O. E. ; Kern Lodge No. 76, K. of P., and
Uniform Rank, in which he has served as an officer and has been a member
of the Grand Lodge of California; Bakersfield Aerie No. 93, Order of Eagles;
Bakersfield Camp No. 460, Woodmen of the ^^'orld, and the Brotherhood of
American Yeomen.

HON. ROWEN IRWIN.— Very early in the colonization of the new
world the Scotch family of Irwin left their ancestral associations in the high-
lands and crossed the Atlantic ocean to Virginia, where they became capable
planters. Some of the name removed to South Carolina and Isaac Irwin, a
native of that commonwealth, established the name in Kentucky, where at
line time he served as sheriff of Jeflferson county which has Louisville as its
county-seat. After a short time he crossed the Ohio river into Indiana
and there spent his last years upon a frontier farm. His son and namesake, a
native of P>ankfort, Ky., and for years a resident of Putnam county, Ind..
followed agricultural pursuits for a livelihood, while as a gratuitous offering
to the cause of religion he preached in the Baptist denomination. For fifteen
years he acted as pastor of one church, giving much of his time to its upbuild-
ing and to the spiritual welfare of the congregation, doing all this work with-
out thought of remuneration. In that pioneer era it was customary for the
brainiest of the pioneer farmers in any community to serve as preacher, fill



264 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

the country pulpit on Sunday, unite the 3^oung couples in marriage and read
the last prayer over the dead. P'or such a task he was well qualified by his
sympathetic heart, kindly disposition, splendid reasoning faculties and deep
devotion to the cause of Christianity. During 1866 he removed to Nebraska
and took up land on Elk creek, five miles south of Tecumseh, Johnson
county, a district then beyond the confines of civilization. White settlers
had not yet penetrated regions so remote from the east, but he did not lack
for neighbors, the Indians being in close proximity and making frequent
visits to his cabin in order to beg. At such times it was the custom for
the Indian chief to come first, salute and appeal, while the others would
remain at a distance. If his request was granted, a squaw would come to the
cabin and carry away food or clothing that had been presented to them.
Later white settlers began to arrive and the savages receded ; improvements
were rapidly made and the country took on an aspect of prosperity. It was
the privilege of the pioneer preacher to enjoy some of the later prosperity
and when he died in 1899 the country bure little resemblance to its aspect
at the time of his arrival.

During the period of his residence in Indiana Rev. Isaac Irwin had
married jane Leatherman, who was born in that state and died in Nebraska
during 1900. Her father. Rev. John Leatherman, a native of Germany and a
pioneer of Putnam county, Ind., served in the ministry of the Baptist Church
in that locality until his death. There were twelve children in the Irwin
family and all but one of these are still living. Six reside in California,
namely : Mrs. Avert and Mrs. Reynolds, of Hanford, and Mrs. Ball, of Los
Angeles ; John, now district attorney of Kings county ; Washington, who fol-
lows the carpenter's trade at Taft ; and Rowen, district attorney of Kern
county. The last-named was born at Reelsville, Putnam county, Ind., May
13, 1858, and at the age of eight years accompanied his parents to Nebraska,
where during three months of each year he attended the country schools.
The balance of the year was devoted to hard manual labor on the farm. A
seeming chance occurrence decided his destiny. When a mere lad he at-
tended a murder trial at Pawnee City, Neb. It was his first observation of
law cases and he became deeply interested, watching with peculiar interest
the movements of the judge. When he learned that the jurist received a
salary of $3,000 per year his interest deepened. Afterward he mentioned the
matter to his father, who verified the report as to salary and encouraged the
boy when he announced that some day he would be a lawyer. His ambition
was realized by his own later efforts.

Upon coming to California during 1881 Rowen Irwin secured employ-
ment in Kings count)', working with headers and threshing machines during
the season. In the fall of the same year he began to study law at Hanford.
The following summer found him again working on a header. In this way
he continued until he was admitted to the bar in 1883. He won his first case
and received a fee of $20. Admitted first to the superior court, he later was
admitted to practice before the supreme court and carried on professional
work at Hanford, where he served as district attorney from 1898 until 1902.
During January of 1903 he came to Bakersfield, opened an office and engaged
in the practice of law, which he has continued with increasing success. With
him came to this city his wife, whom he had married in Portersville, Tulare
county, and who was Miss Mildred Barnes, a native of Missouri. In fra-
ternal relations he holds membership with the Eagles. Politically he has
been a Democrat ever since he began to study public questions and as his
party's candidate he served as member of the assembly in' the state legis-
lature during the session of 1909, also during two special sessions. As a
legislator he aimed to promote the welfare of his constituents, but also gave
stanch support to enterprises for the general good. The Democratic party




6^^^mi^^^^yt^^c



HISTORY OF KKRX COUNTY 267

in lyiO iiDiiiiiiated him fur district attorney and he received the verdict of
popular appro\'al at the election. Since he took the oath of office in Jan-
uary, 1911. for a term of four years he has devoted himself closely to the
duties of the office and thereby has added prestige to an already enviable
reputation. The office is one which calls fur fearless honesty and more than
ordinary ability. High as are its demands, he has proved equal to them and
has met every crisis with a clear brain, accurate judgment and admirable
reasoning faculties.

EDMUND W. McCUTCHEN.— The lineage of the AlcCutchen family
is traced back through a line of honored ancestors in Scotland to one of the
gallant lieutenants who served in the army of the illustrious Robert Bruce
during the fourteenth century. The colonial period of American history
found some of the name in the new world, established upon Virginian soil.
Very early in the nineteenth century a member of the family left the Old
Dominion and followed the westward tide of emigration across mountains
and rivers into Alissouri, where he took up new land and developed a farm.
In the family of this pioneer was a son, Preston, born in Callaway county,
AIo., and reared in Keokuk 'county, Iowa, where he took up agricultural
pursuits. While living in Iowa he married Miss Jane Wilsey, a native of
Utica, N. Y., and by that union were born five sons and three daughters,
all still living, the fourth of these, Edmund W., having been born at Moke-
lumne Hill, Calaveras county, Cal., October 18, 1856, about six years after
the arrival of the family in the west. It was during 1850 that the father
had brought his family across the plains with wagon and ox-teams and had
settled in Calaveras county, where he engaged in mining at Mokelumne Hill.
Not finding the occupation as profitable as he had anticipated, he deter-
mined to devote himself to agriculture and accordingly moved to the vicin-
ity of Sacramento, where he developed a grain and stock farm. Removing
to Monterey county in 1872, he again took up general farming and stock-
raising. Not far from the fertile Cholame valley he took up land and began
to till the soil. For a long period he devoted his attention closely to farm-
ing at that place, but eventually the infirmities of age obliged him to relin-
quish manual labors and now at the age of ninety-three years he is living
quietly and contentedly at Maricopa, Kern county. His wife passed away
when advanced in years.

After having spent his boyhood days mostly on the home farm near
Franklin, Sacramento county, Edmund W. McCutchen accomijanied his
father to Monterey county at the age of sixteen years and continued in the
stock business there until twenty-one. From 1877 until 1880 he engaged
in mining in MohaVe county, Ariz. Upon his return to .California he be-
came interested in farming in the San Joaquin valley. Selecting a location
near Hanford he devoted about one thousand acres to wheat, using headers
in the harvesting of the Crops. For ten years he continued in the same
location, but in 1890 he came to Kern county and bought a ranch of sixty
acres nine miles southwest of Bakersfield. The land was devoted to fruit
and alfalfa, and it was not until ten years after he had bought the property
that he discontinued such activities for oil operations, organizing the Supe-
rior Oil Company, with himself as a director and manager. Several wells
were put down (Sunset field), the land was patented, and the investment
proved profitable, but after a time the interests were sold to other parties.
Next Mr. McCutchen became a member of the Eight Oil Company operating
in the North Midway district and owning lands and wells of excellent value.
In these he still retains a large interest. Besides his other enterprises he
engaged in mining at Goldfield for two years with fairly satisfactory re-
sults. Successful in striking oil, he ranks among the best informed men that
Kern county has contributed to this industry and his successful operations
have brought him financial independence. Mr. McCutchen is developing



268 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

the citrus resources of Kern county, having selected for his operations forty
acres at Trevis, fourteen miles east of liakersfield. He sunk a well three
hundred and twenty-five feet and installed a pumping plant which supplies
ample water facilities. On his ranch he has a nursery of orange trees, of
which he makes a specialty. It is a fact worthy of mention that during the
cold winter of 1912-13 not even his seed-bed stock nor young grafts were
injured. About one-half of the nursery is set out to navel oranges.

With his wife, whom he married in Visalia, and who was Miss Kate
Thompson, a native of Florence, Nebr., Mr. McCutchen is occupying his
own comfortable residence, located on the corner of Seventeenth and D
streets, Bakersfield. Having no children of their own, they have reared
two of Mrs. McCutchen's nieces. Iris Taylor is now Mrs. C. W. Beatty,
and Lizzie Taylor is the wife of R. V. Dorn, both of Maricopa.

MYRON HOLMES.— The genealogy of the Holmes family is traced
back to an old family of England and a scion of that honored race founded
the name in the new world when he crossed the ocean to New York. Will-
iam J., a son of the original immigrant, was born in Schoharie county, N. Y.,
and early learned the rudiments of agriculture' as conducted in that locality
and era. Establishing a home of his own, he chose as his wife Miss Marcia
Partridge, a native of Schoharie county and a daughter of Adelbert Part-
ridge, for years prominent in the community as a manufacturing cooper.
Hale and hearty notwithstanding their advanced years (for he is eighty-five
and she eighty-one) William J. and Marcia Holmes now reside in Wellesley,
Mass., surrounded by the comforts that have been secured through their own
earlier, assiduous efforts. All of their seven children are still living, but the
third, Myron, is the only one residing in California. Born at Richmondville,
Schoharie county, N. Y., August 15, 1860, he received public-school advan-
tages and upon leaving school gave his whole attention to farming. With
a desire to be independent, he bought a farm adjacent to the old homestead
and began for himself as a general farmer and stock-raiser, which occupation
he followed in the same locality for a number of years.

Selling out his eastern interests in 1890 and locating in Bakersfield the
following 3'ear, Mr. Holmes here bought the corner of I and Eleventh streets,
built a house and has since made his home at the same place. Meanwhile
he spent his first year in Kern county as superintendent of a farm owned by
H. H. Fish and his second year as manager of the Kingsley dairy, after



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 34 of 177)