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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 40 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 40 of 177)
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continued his studies in Lewis Academy at Southington, from which in
1878 he was graduated with an excellent standing in every department.
During vacations he had assisted his father in the mercantile business
and he had the further advantage of one year spent in a clerkship in New
York City.

Removing to Edgerton, Ohio, with his father in 1878, Mr. Munzer
secured employment there as clerk in a drug store. After two years he re-
signed the position and removed to Illinois, where he was given charge
of a general store owned by F. Menig at Danville. For five years he filled
the position with characteristic energy and recognized efficiency. In order
to engage in business for himself he resigned as manager. During the next
year he uwned and conducted a grocery business in Danville. Selling out in
the spring of 1886 he came to California and made a tour of inspection through
the state, eventually selecting Bakersfield as his home. Here he secured
a very humble position with Carr & Haggin. Six weeks of persistent industry
as driver of a four-mule buck scraper convinced his employers that he was
capable of higher duties and they made him bookkeeper and foreman at the
old Jackson ranch. Health considerations caused him to go to Mendocino
county in April of 1887 and during the next six months he worked in the
lumber camps, remaining outdoors as much as possible. In the autumn he
resumed his former position in Kern county. Again in April of 1888 he went
to the lumber woods of Mendocino county and spent six months in out-
door work, resuming his position on the Jackson ranch in the fall of the
same year. In January of 1889 he went to the Santa Clara valley in old
Mexico at the time of the gold excitement, but a prospecting tour of two




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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 319

months proved futile and he returned to the Jackson ranch. About that time
he was also made foreman of the Poso ranch.

Transferred to the headquarters otitice at the Bellevue ranch in May
of 1889, -Mr. Alunzer was appointed payroll clerk for the north side ranch
and continued at that place until October 1, 1890, when the company moved
its headcjuarters to Bakersfield and incorporated the Kern County Land
Company, with Air. Munzer as chief clerk of the water department. For
a considerable period he filled the position ; meanwhile, in July, 1892, he
resigned his position and went to Arizona, where he had charge as office
superintendent of the Gila Bend Irrigation Company at Sentinel, Ariz. The
Kern County Land Company, through S. W. I'erguson, the then manager,
wired him requesting him to return at an increased salary, and on his return,
in November, 1892, he was made assistant office superintendent and later
he was promoted to office superintendent, in February, 1895, ever since
which time he has filled the important position with marked ability and
the utmost fidelity. Like the majority of the people living in Kern county,
he is interested in oil and oil lands. In addition with W. J. Doherty as
partner he owns the Breckenridge Lumber Company and has mills and
timber on Mount Breckenridge.

December 20, 1892, at Bakersfield, occurred the marriage of Francis
C.eorge Munzer and Mary Ellen Baker, a native of Missouri and a daughter
of Melvin Baker, one of the pioneers of Kern county. They are the parents
of two children, Frances Alice and Bernard Melvin. Interested in the growth
of Bakersfield and a contributor to its p'rogress, Mr. Munzer served for five
years as a member of its board of trustees, is now prominently connected with
the Merchant's Association and likewise officiates as vice-president of the
San Joaquin Valley Water Problem Association. The Democratic party
receives his stanch support at all elections. For many years he was an
active member of Company G, Sixth Regiment of the California National
Guard and finally retired with the rank of second lieutenant Made a Mason
in Bakersfield Lodge No. 224. F. & A. M., he later rose to the chapter
degree in this city and furthermore with his wife belongs to the Eastern
Star chapter at this place. Other organizations having the benefit of his
interested ci -operation are the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the
Woodmen of the ^^^orld and the Bakersfield .Aerie of Eagles.

HON. JACK W. MAHON.— The family patronymic of Mahon indicates
the Celtic origin of the race. The founder of the name upon American soil
was Henrv Mahon, a native of Ireland and for many years a planter in the
vicinitv of Raleigh, N. C. where he continued to reside until his death.
Among his children was W. J., who was born, reared and educated in North
Carolina and during young manhood entered the ministry of the Methodist
Episcopal Church. South. To the cause of religion he gave the deepest
devotion of his splendid mind and the self-sacrificing loyalty of his noble
character. In order that he might engage in ministerial work upon the then
frontier, he removed from North Carolina to Tennessee and crossing that
then sparsely settled state almost to the banks of the Mississippi river he
took up raw land in Dyer county and became the founder of a church at
Dversburg, the county-seat, where he labored with consecration for -the
advancement of Christianity. Cnder his able efforts his denomination made
noteworthy advances numerically and spiritually. While he did not accumu-
late riches nor indeed a competency, he was successful in his labors for the
uplifting of the race and the world was the better for his life of toil and
sacrifice. During the Civil war he found an opportunity to engage in religious
activities while serving as chaplain under Gen. Kirby Smith. Coming to
California during 1875 he became a minister in San Francisco, but later as
presiding elder became familiar with church needs in various portions of

17



320 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

the state. For twenty years he officiated in that responsible position. Ulti-
mately the infirmities of age obliged him to relinquish the responsibilities
of ministerial work and after a retirement of five years he passed away at
his home in Bakersfield. He had reached the age of eighty-eight years.

In the counsel and companionship of a capable helpmate Rev. W. J.
Mahon was greatly blessed. During early manhood he had married Phoebe
Gilbert Wood, who was born in Virginia, the daughter of George Wood,
an Englishman identified with the early development of Virginia. The
death of Mrs. jMahon occurred in Modesto at the age of seventy-six years.
In their family there were four children Init only two survive. One uf her
sons, Stephen Wood Alahon, an attorney by profession and for some years
a justice of the peace, was officiating as -city recorder of Bakersfield at the
time of his demise. The youngest son, Kirby S., is now judge of the superior
court of Sutter county, this state. Judge Jack W. Mahon was born at Dyers-
burg, Dyer county, Tenn., February 24, 1858, and in 1875 accompanied his
parents to California, where later he was graduated from the Gilroy high
school. At the completion of high-school studies he began the study of law
under R. H. Ward, of Merced. Possessing a quick intelligence and receptive
mind, he advanced rapidly in his readings and during 1883 was admitted to
the bar of California. Immediately afterward he opened an office in Bakers-
field, where he soon rose to a position of recognition as a promising young
attorney, whose knowledge of jurisprudence was broad and whose devotion
to the profession was intense. It soon became apparent that he was as well
qualified for the bench as for the bar and during 1896 the Democratic party
of Kern county nominated him for judge of the superior court. The nomina-
tion was endorsed by the Populists. The election brought him a handsome
majority and in January of 1897 he took the oath of office. At the expiration
of the first term in 1902 he was re-elected and again in 1908 he was chosen
to be his own successor. The success of his official labors was shown in
the fact that in the campaign of 1908 he had no opposition, all parties
appreciating his able service to such an extent that they brought forward no
other candidate for the office.

Reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, Judge
Mahon has never swerved from his allegiance to the denomination so long
honored by the faithful ministerial labors of his father. While not deeply
interested in fraternities, he was won by the philanthropic tenets of the
Masonic Order and entered its blue lodge, later rising to the Royal Arch
degree. His marriage took place in Bakersfield and united him with Miss
Rachel E. Nash, a native. of Dyer county, Tenn., and a graduate of an educa-
tional institution in New York state. Of the union two children were born,
the elder, Ruth Estabrook, being now the wife of Ernest Alston, of Los
Angeles, while the younger. Jack Howell, is a student in the Vanderbilt
University at Nashville, Tenn. It is said of Judge Mahon that no enterprise
for the permanent progress of Bakersfield lacks his intelligent co-operation.
On the contrary, he has been generous in his sympathetic assistance given
to civic measures and has proved public-spirited and progressive in his broad
comprehension of and tactful participation in movements of far-reaching value
to permanent civic prosperity.

GRANVILLE L. BROWN, D. D. S.— The family represented by this
well-known practitioner of Bakersfield comes from Kentuckian and Virgin-
ian ancestry and he himself claims Kentucky as his native commonwealth,
having been born in Allen county, January 12, 1859. Likewise the Blue
Grass state was the native home of his parents, Henry and Margaret (Patton)
Brown, both of whom remained in the state throughout their lives, the
father following the occupation of a farmer as a source of livelihood. Of
this union there were four children, the third being Granville L., who was
reared on the old Kentucky farm and received a fair education in local




: yr. 'yr.Mju



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 323

schools. For a time he ens'aRed in teaching in the public schools and with
the earnings of his labor he entered into mercantile enterprises with a
brother at Scottsville, Allen county. It was not, however, his intention to
devote his life either to pedagogy or to business, for he had early been inter-
ested in the profession of dentistry and had an ambition to enter its study
and practice. Through a course in the dental department of the University
of Tennessee he gained a fair knowledge of the profession and, not having
the means necessary to complete the regular course, he entered upon dental
practice before he had been graduated. Later he was able to return to the
university, complete the course and finish the regular work, so that in 1890,
when he was graduated with a very high standing, he received the degree
of D. n. S. from the institution.

Prior to graduation Dr. P.rown not only had practiced for two years at
Rurkesville, Cumberland county, Ky., but also had entered upon a very
successful professional connection with the city of Glasgow. Ky., where
altogether he practiced about ten years. l\Teanwhile he had met and mar-
ried Miss Clara Dickey, who was born, reared and educated in that Kentuckv
town, and is a representative of a cultured old Southern family. Upon
leaving Kentuckv to engage in practice in California in 1892, the Doctor
chose F>akersfield on account of its excellent prospects for material growth,
its healthful climate and its professional opportunities, and he certainlv has
had no cause to regret his decision. At first he had an office in the Galtes
building, but removed to the Scribner opera building, on the comple-
tion of that structure and when the Producers' ftank building was com-
pleted he leased a suite of rooms in it, his present location. With his wife
and son, Arthur B., he resides in a comfortable home in East Bakersfield,
the same having been planned and built by himself. Since coming to Bakers-
field he has been a member of the Southern California Dental Association, in
which his ability well qualifies him for a leadership which his characteristic
modestv prevents him from claiming. In politics he votes with the Republi-
can party.

SIMON W. WIBLE.— Born near Greonsbur- Pn.. ATr. W'ible removed
to Illinois with his father, Peter Wible, and had settled near Mendon. Adams
county. The difficult task of transforming a raw tract of land into a produc-
tive farm had filled his boyhood years with strenuous labor and had prevented
him from attending school regularlv, althourrh during the winter months
it was his custom to study in a near-by log schoolhouse, which with its slab
benches and puncheon floors presented a striking contrast to the educational
equipment of the present generation. When old enough to start out for
himself he determined to follow the tide of emigration to California and
accordingly during the spring of 1852 he joined an expedition bound for the
west, making the trip with wagons and oxen. Later he returned east and
broueht out a second wagon-train. During the summer of 1858 he piloted
a third train through, but on that trip he met with trouble, for the Indians
separated the train by a stampede and not only stole all of the stock, but
killed a number of the emigrants. Forced to flee for his life and left without
a horse, the young captain of the train walked to Fort Laramie, where he
found an opportunity to join another expedition and thus came through to
the coast. For years he engaged in mining and, indeed, he never lost his
interest in the occupation, for at the time of his death he owned and operated
a valuable mine in Alaska. Meanwhile he picked up a thorough knowledge
of surveying and came to be reckoned among the most efficient surveyors and
civil engineers on the coast. Much of his work was done for the government.

It was about 1872 when Mr. Wible took up a homestead claim twelve
miles west of Bakersfield and began to cultivate the land and raise crops
suited to the soil and climate. From time to time he bought stock and finally
he ranked among the extensive sheepmen of the county. Other interests



324 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

filled his days with busy activities. The original work on the Pioneer canal
was unsatisfactory and on that account it was turned over to him. Under
his charge as superintendent an improvement was made. When Henry
Miller came to Bakersfield to look up matters pertaining to the reclamation
of the Miller & Lux lands, which some man had attempted to drain, but only
with partial success, he sought out Mr. Wible and asked his opinion. Mr.
Wible claimed the lands could be reclaimed and he could do it, providing he
had the money. Instantly Mr. Miller responded that he had the money.
Thereupon Mr. Wible made plans and these proved satisfactory to Mr. Miller,
who appointed him to superintend the work. Under his supervision the
dam and Buena Vista reservoir were built, an outlet or drainage canal was
dug and levees made to turn the water in and out of the lake, also a canal to
carry the water to the lake. The venture proved an overwhelming success.
Farming land was made out of the once worthless tules. Seventy-five thou-
sand acres were placed under cultivation as a result of this great feat of engi-
neering. During the process of building Mr. Wible checked as desired against
the Miller & Lux account without the necessity of any O. K.'s, being the only
man ever permitted to do so. After the completion of this task he continued
with the same firm as general manager of their ranches until about 1900,
when he retired from active labors. However, he did not relinquish all in-
terests, for he retained the management of his large mine near Sunrise on
the Kenai peninsula in Alaska and each summer for eleven years he went to
that region to superintend the operation of the mine. Upon his return from
his eleventh trip of this kind he was taken ill and died in San Francisco
September 13, 1911, at the age of eighty years.

The death of Mr. Wible marked the passing of one of the most influential
pioneers of Kern county. Every line of activity had felt the impetus of his
large endeavors. The Bank of Bakersfield was organized under his efficient
supervision and he continued to serve as president as long as he lived. When
in 1858 he joined lone Lodge of Odd Fellows, he had the distinction of
being one of the first to be initiated into that order in the entire state. The
fruit industry num.bered him among its progressive pioneers and his enthusi-
asm in starting an orchard and vineyard encouraged many others to follow
his example. He was one of the very first to succeed in horticulture in Kern
county and the orchard of four hundred and eighty acres which he planted
contipued under his personal oversight until it was sold during 1910. When
the water works were in an embryonic phase of development he and W. H.
Scribner took charge of the enterprise, developed the plant, built a complete
line of mains into every part of the city, turned an uncertain project into a
valuable system and he continued to act as president of the Bakersfield
Water Company until its interests were sold to the Kern County Land Co.

DIXON DOUGHERTY.— Since the age of twelve years Dixon Dough-
erty has lived in California. Born at Old Vincennes, Ind., January 6, 1861,
he was one of seven children, of whom only himself and his brother,
C. A., are still living. The parents, both of whom died in Indiana, were
Joseph A. and Palace (Horsey) Dougherty, natives respectively of Pennsyl-
vania and Paoli, Orange county, Ind., the former a farmer for many years,
but also for a time a merchant in Vincennes. J. P. was the first of the sons
to come to California, and in 1873 C. A. and Dixon came together to join
their older brother, with whom they spent a short time at Pleasanton, Ala-
meda county. Next they went to San Diego with the intention of proceed-
ing to Mexico and there embarking in the cattle business, but the fierce
Apaches were on the war path at the time and the older brother advised
against the expedition. Accordingly Dixon went to Sacramento and found
employment. After his first trip to Bakersfield in 1875 he went to Los An-
geles and from there to the suburb of Artesia, where with his brothers he
engaged in farming for two years. Upon returning to Kern county in 1877



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 327

he found employment on a ranch owned by Charles Jewett and located in
the Breckenridge mountains. After eighteen months on the ranch he was
brought to Bakersfield by Mr. Jewett, who gave him employment as driver
of an ice wagon and in that position he continued for two years. Meanwhile
having married Miss Mary Kubovec. a native of Austria, he and his wife
found a desirable opening for a hotel business and for three years operated
the American Exchange on Eighteenth street.

An opportunity to secure a homestead took Mr. Dougherty back to the
Breckenridge mountains, where he entered the southeast quarter of section
18, township 29, range 31, and established headquarters at Dripping Springs
ranch. On the land he put up necessary buildings. The place was fenced
and cross-fenced, so that he could handle his stock advantageously, and also
that he might devote some fields to the raising of grain. P'or years he made
a specialty of the shorthorn Durham breed of cattle and in stock-raising
operations he was more than ordinarily successful. Meantime he had added
to the original claim until his ranch comprised three hundred and twenty
acres, besides using other ranges for his stock, bearing the 7L brand. After
he and his wife had lived on the mountain ranch about five years he estab-
lished a home for the family in East Bakersfield, in order that the two sons
might attend the city schools, but he himself remained on the ranch and
gave personal attention to the cattle. After he disposed of the property in
1913 he came to East Bakersfield to remain, and since has given attention
to the supervision of his alfalfa farm near the city, and also to the care of
the various residences he has built here, five of which houses still remain in
his possession. His younger son, Joseph A., assists him in his various
enterprises, while the older son, Charles R., has embarked in the stock busi-
ness independently and now conducts a stock ranch at Adobe Station.

HARRY QUINN.— The Quinn family springs from Scottish ancestry
and has an honorable history extending back to eras far antedating the relig-
ious persecutions in that country. About that time some of the name, forced
to flee from their native land on account of their religious views, found a
safe and permanent refuge in the north of Ireland, where, at Kilkeel, county
Down, Harry Quinn was born on Christmas day of 1843 and where during
boyhood he attended the national schools. He was the son of Thomas and
Margaret (Donaldson) Quinn, the latter the daughter of William Donald-
son, who was a wholesale baker and confectioner in Kilkeel. The paternal
grandfather, William Quinn, was a farmer and also a linen merchant. In
his family of ten children there were seven sons, all successful business or
trades men. Thomas Quinn, the seventh child in order of birth, became a
farmer near Kilkeel and resided there throughout the remainder of his life.

The necessity of earning his own livelihood sent Harry Quinn to Aus-
tralia at the age of fifteen years and there he prospected and mined, but with-
out success. After this experience he worked on stock ranches and thus
was enabled to save an amount of money sufficient for another stake. \Vhile
on his way from Melbourne to Queensland he heard of a new strike, but
returning miners brought back discouraging reports and while waiting there
he saw the American barque Penang, which, on account of the fact that it
was Sunday, was displaying American flags. Mr. Quinn remarked to his
companions: "Boys, there is my flag and my country," and the next day
he not onh' purchased a ticket for himself to San Francisco, but also for
three companions. Two of them afterward repaid him at the first oppor-
tunity, and the third paid one-fifth of his indebtedness. It was about May.
1868. that Mr. Quinn landed at San Francisco, a stranger in a strange land.
Working his way from place to place he was able to see much of the state,
but did not find a location or an opportunity suited to his condition. Tie
had been reared to a knowledge of the sheep industry, so it was his desire



328 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

to buy sheep and rent land for their pasturage, but at the time sheep were
held at a figure far beyond his reach. As early as 1868 he came to Kern
county for the first time, but did not locate here permanently then. In
1872 he found employment with Archibald Leitch, an extensive slieep-raiser
and large land-owner in Stanislaus county, who, being pleased with the
energy and ability of young Quinn, sent him into Kern county as pilot for
his flocks, and at the end of two years took him into partnership. The
connection continued with mutual profit until the death of Mr. Leitch in
1896, and afterward with the estate until 1906, whereupon the interest in the
land and sheep was purchased by Mr. Quinn.

It was during the year 1873 that Mr. Quinn purchased one-half interest
in twenty-two hundred head of sheep and also took up a pre-emption claim
of one hundred and sixty acres where his residence now stands. Besides this
he bought railroad land and also acquired large tracts from homesteaders who
were unable to prove up on their claims. During the early days in the history
of Kern county the Quinn farm was the only place in miles where a traveler
could obtain water and hence emigrants headed for the ranch from every
direction, watering their stock and resting awhile as they enjoyed the never-
failing hospitality and cheerful welcome of Mr. Quinn. At his home the
latch-string was always hanging out and no one was too humble or too
poor to feel the hearty inspiration of his welcoming hand. His splendid
hospitality made him known to and loved by early settlers throughout all
this part of the country. At one time he owned as high as twenty-two
thousand acres, but in 1906 he sold a large tract to a company of promoters
and it is now being planted to orange trees. At present he still owns fifteen
thousand acres.

While in the main successful in his enterprises and particularly so in
his sheep-raising ventures, Mr. Quinn had his share of misfortune. During
the serious drought of 1877 he was forced to seek new ranges for his sheep.
With a flock of eighteen thousand six hundred and sixty sheep he went
into Nevada and at first found abundant pasturage, but while at Fish Lake



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 40 of 177)