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 43 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 43 of 177)
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make their home with their parents.

A. D. FORBES.— The allied companies known as the American Oil-
fields, Limited, and the :Midland Oilfields, Limited, operating respectively on
section 32, 32-24, and section 32, 12-23, have as their assistant superintendent
A. D. Forbes, one of the capable young men to ascend to an important place
in the Sunset-Midway fields, having made good in a comparatively brief
period of identification with the industry. Rapid promotion has resulted
from the exercise of industry, intelligence, energy and perseverance. Prac-
tical experience in almost every department of work gives him a thorough
knowledge of the oil business and qualifies him for still further advancement.
While his work has been mainly confined to California districts, he has been
outside of the state and has worked in connection with the drilling of wells
for water and oil in Oregon not far from the city of Portland. To a large
extent his life has been passed in California, but he was born in Nova Scotia
at Truro, March 26, 1885. The earliest memories of life cluster around the
Pacific coast country, for in 1887 his father, J. F. Forbes, brought the family
to California, settling in Ventura county. Removal was made to Coalinga
during 1891 and in 1906 he established himself at Orcutt, where he is now
postmaster and an influential citizen.

The eldest of four children, all of whom remain in California, A. D.
Forbes was educated in the public schools of Coalinga and in 1900 at the age
of fifteen years he went to Bakersfield, from there proceeding to the Kern
river oil field. For a year he worked as a pumper on the Kern River Oil
Company's lease. From 1901 to 1903 he was employed at Fullerton. Return-
ing to Coalinga, he found work in the oil fields there. June 27. 1907, he left
Coalinga for Portland to take up the work of drilling water and oil wells.


The drilling for oil was in the nature of a wild-cat proposition. During 1910
he returned to California and later worked in various districts until June of
1912, when he first became associated with the American and Midland Oil-
fields, Limited, which companies promoted him 'to be assistant superintendent
July 20, 1913, by this promotion recognizing his efficiency and his ability to
aid in the management of the two important leases controlled by the concerns.
While giving his attention very closely to the arduous duties on the leases,
he has found leisure to identify himself with the other oil operators in the
field, has become popular among his co-workers and also has been active in
Maricopa Lodge No. 831, Loyal Order of Moose.

GEORGE H. TODD.— In 1909 Mr. Todd came to California and
began to be interested in oil production and oil-well supplies. A member of
an old Missouri family, he was born in St. Joe, February 14, 187o, and is a
son of John H. and Martha (Frazierj Todd, natives of Missouri. The
latter is deceased, but the former, hale and vigorous at the age of eighty-
two, still makes St. Jue his home. The family numbered four children
who attained maturity, namely: B. O., an electrician in Oklahoma; William
M., a farmer at Savannah, near St. Joe, Mo.; George H., of California; and
Nora, who married George W. Carter, an electrician, and at her death left
one child, I. D. Carter. During the winters George H. Todd attended school
in St. Joe, while in summer he helped his father, who was proprietor of a
mercantile establishment. After he had graduated from the St. Joe high
school with the class of 1892 he took a course of normal study in a branch of
the Kirksville (Mo. J Normal. From 1893 until 1904 he engaged in teach-
ing school in Missouri and established a splendid record for efficiency in
instruction and discipline. Both in Andrew and Buchanan counties he is
still remembered with affection by former pupils and old-time friends.

Engaging in the United States Indian school service in 1904, Mr. Todd
continued in the employ of the government until 1909. For two years of
this period he taught in the Grand Portage (Minn.j Indian reservation and
for one year he acted as disciplinarian at the Crow agency in Crow, Mont.,
after which for one year he was principal of the Northern Cheyenne train-
ing school at Rosebud, Mont. The last year of Indian educational work
was spent in Kansas as a teacher in the Kickapoo training school at Mor-
ton. Coming to Los Angeles in 1909, he soon became cost clerk for the
Los Angeles Manufacturing Company. In their interests he came to
Kern county, where he took charge of the Alaricopa branch, later was trans-
ferred to Taft, where he is now a member of the Petroleum Club and one of
the best-known men in the oil circles of the west side. While still living
in Missouri he was married, at St. Joe in 1901, to Miss Maude F. Roberts,
daughter of J. P. Roberts, president of the Rea Banking Company of Rea,
Andrew county, that state. Since coming to Taft Mr. Todd and his wife
have established a comfortable home in the company's residence and he
has identified himself with the town as a public-spirited citizen and pro-
gressive business man. In his busy life there has not been much leisure for
],iolitical or fraternal activities, but he is well posted in national problems,
supports Democratic principles, and while still making his home in Mis-
souri took an active part in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, be-
longing to the lodge at V\'hitesville, Andrew county.

F. F. HILL.— While much of the life of Mr. Hill has l)eun lived in Cali-
fornia, he is a native of Kansas City, Mo. (born January 3, IS/h), and fr(.iin
1878 to 1889 was on a cattle ranch near Bozeman, Mont., iiis father lieing
both a merchant and a stock-raiser in Montana, but now a resident of Los
Angeles. Coming to California in 1889 and settling at Santa Paula, Ventura
county, he became a warehouse boy with the Union Oil Company when he
was eighteen years of age, and frotrt that time to the present he has been with


the same corporation, with the exception of two years devoted to drilling
and development work for himself at Newhall and for various companies in
the Los Angeles and Santa Paula fields. It has been his privilege to witness
the development of the Union Oil Company of California from a modest be-
ginning to its present vast influence and enormous holdings, and with sat-
isfaction he may view his own association with the concern, for which he
worked in various capacities, including tool-dressing and drilling. Recogni-
tion of his ability and faithfulness came in 1903 with his promotion to be
field superintendent and from that in 1912 he was assigned to the place of
superintendent of development, since which time he has had his ofifice in the
Union Oil Company's building in Los Angeles and has had charge of all
development work in the California fields, viz.: FuUerton, Lompoc, Santa
Maria, Ventura county, Coalinga, Lost Hills, McKittrick, Midway, Maricopa,
Sunset and the Kern river oil fields. His home is in Los Angeles, where he
has erected and now occupies a residence at No. 709 South Hope street, and
his family consists of his wife (formerly Miss Blanche Pitt, of Los Angeles)
and their two children, Wayne and Wanda F. Hill.

EUGENE B. DUNCAN. — Among the bright and active young business
men of Bakersfield whose splendid energy and modern methods have con-
tributed not a little to the rapid development of the community is Eugene
B. Duncan, who is now filling the responsible position of assistant cashier
in the Security Trust Co. Bank of Bakersfield. The son of M. A. and
Emma (Lehman) Duncan, he was born October 9, 1878, in Quincy, Adams
county. 111., where he was reared and educated. Taking a business course at
Gem City College in order to further his business knowledge he was gradu-
ated therefrom and in March, 1899, came to Bakersfield to make his home.
From that year to 1904 he worked with Sam Wible in the laundry business,
filling the position of office foreman. In 1904 he took a position in the
water department of the Kern County Land Co., and remained as one of
their most trusted employes for seven years. Since the time of the organ-
ization of the Security Trust Co., on March 1, 1911, Mr. Duncan has been
■ connected with it, being a stockholder in the company and now ably filling
the position of assistant cashier. He is also director in the First Bank of
Kern and has been actively identified with the financial business world of
his community in the last few years.

In October, 1909, Mr. Duncan was married to Miss CaroHne K. Duncan
of Quincy, 111., and they now make their home at No. 829 D street, where
they have a beautiful and comfortable cottage. Mr. Duncan has a creditable
military record', having served six years (1906-1911) as commanding officer
of Company L, State Militia National Guard, being commissioned captain.

ALFRED RUPP. — It was as a driller that Mr. Ruop first became asso-
ciated with Kern county. On New Year's day of 1900, when for the first
time he came to Bakersfield and from here rode across the country to the
Kern river fields, he found only six derricks in that entire district. The rapid
development of the oil industry he witnessed with interest. As superintendent
for the Dolton & Fuller Company he engaged extensively in drilling in this
field and shortly after his arrival, becoming a partner in the company, he took
contracts for drilling throughout all of the district, spending a little more
than two years in the work in Kern county. Later he became superintendent
for S. Pierson & Son and, acting in their interests, he conveyed an oil rig to
Mexico and put down the first two wells in the state of Vera Cruz. After a
year in that part of Mexico he returned to Bakersfield, where he has since
made his home.

Born near Pitston, Luzerne county. Pa., December 17, 1870, Alfred Rupp
accompanied his parents to Kansas at the age of seven years and settled with




them on a frtinticr homestead in liocloeman county, far from the railroad
and remote from other homesteaders. The isolation of the family and the
incessant labor necessary to the improvement of the land prevented him from
having any special educational advantages, although he was sent to school
whenever possible. The most of his time in boyhood was devoted to the till-
ing of the soil and the care of the stock. At the age of twenty years he
started out to make his own way in the world, going first to Colorado and
later to Utah, where he worked at any occupation that ofTered a source of
income. Returning to visit tlie family in Kansas, he there came to a deter-
mination to locate in California and the spring of 1894 found him a new-
comer in Los .Angeles, where he found employment and remained for several
years. From that city he went to Summerland, Santa Barbara county. There
he first became interested in the oil industry and learned to be an expert
driller. After three years in the oil business in that field he came to the Kern
river field shortly after its first opening and here he experienced the hardships
and successes incident to the industry. Since leaving this line of work he has
been proprietor of the Midland hotel on Nineteenth street, Bakersfield. In
addition he has mining interests in the Breckenridge mountains, where he and
his partner, .Arthur W'orthington. own a nimiber of valuable claims and have
erected machinery at their principal mine, called the Crystal and Hercules,
situated thirty-two miles northeast of Bakersfield. Mr. Rupp was married in
San Diego to Miss Nora Forest, a native of Kansas. In fraternal relations he
holds membership with the Eagles.

JOHN PRICE CUDDEBACK.— A family long known and honored
throughout Kern county, particularly in the Tehachapi valley, has lost none of
its prestige through the forceful business career of John P. Cuddeback, whose
splendid energies and dauntless courage have enabled him to amass an inde-
pendent fortune. He was born in this picturesque valley September 18, 1865.
the son of Grant P. and Almira (Hale) Cuddeback, who came across the
plains with their respective families in 1849, and were married in El Monte.
Later they became the second permanent family to settle in the Tehachapi
valley, where the elder Cuddeback followed cattle raising. He was also
interested in mining in the Panamint mountains, being associated in this
enterprise with John Narbo and j\Ioses Hale, but the Indians proved so
menacing that they were forced to leave the locality. What is now the site of
Goler and Randsburg was the scene of their mining attempt. The following
children coinprised the parental family : Clinton ; Celestia, Mrs. E. A. Honey ;
Bertha, Mrs. Chappel, now deceased ; George G. ; William N. ; Mary, Mrs.
Powell, deceased ; John Price ; David A. ; Ernest and Alonzo, the last two
mentioned also deceased. The mother of these children passed away in Los
Angeles in 1872, while the father died in Orange about 1902.

In the valley where he was born, John P. Cuddeback still retains important
property interests and worthily upholds a name as highly honored as it is
widely known. It would, however, be doing an injustice to his rare talents
and attractive personality to limit the influence of his life to any one county,
for almost any portion of Southern California has been benefited by the fine
business abilities of himself and brothers. He and his brother, Will N., have
worked together from boyhood harmoniously and successfully. When John
Price was about ten and Will N. about thirteen, their brother George sent
them to deliver to a neighbor a bunch of grape-cuttings, stating that they
should ask ,flO, but be willing to take $7.50. The boy of ten was so eager to
sell that he promptly exclaimed : "We want $10, but will take $7.50." Needless
to say that they received $7.50. The incident, which greatly amused the entire
family, taught the child a lesson of self-reliance, and in later years, when
planning his own operations, he learned to kee]) his (irices tn himself. Though


educational advantages were limited, John P. Cuddeback continued to add to
his store of knowledge whenever he could be spared from work, and his dili-
gence and application have made him a man of broad education. The same
penetration and readiness to learn exhibited in his youth are still shown in
every phase of commercial, industrial, social, and educational development
that comes before his notice.

Such is his fondness for his old birth-place that when the opportunity
arose he purchased his. father's old homestead which is now included in
his large ranch. Although once and always a cattle man and rancher, hav-
ing added section after section until today he is among the largest
individual land owners and cattle growers m Kern county, it must not
be understood that his activities have been limited to land and cattle. For
many years he and his brother, Will N., were engaged in the butcher business
in Tehachapi, and were also pioneer business men of Randsburg, when that
camp was started. Many years before the placer mines at Goler and the
ledge of the Yellow Aster were discovered, the Cuddeback brothers ranged
their cattle over the region. It was necessary for them to dig wells at different
places and put up windmills and horsepower pumps that their cattle might have
watering-places. Ihey were fortunate in hnding water within twelve feet
of the surface in places, thus demonstrating the feasibility of obtaining on the
desert that which meant so much not only to themselves, but also to other
cattle men for utilizing the abundance of dry feed. When they first began
occupying that range, Panamint Tom still held sway and was the leader of
the Panammt Indians. These frequently came to the brothers' camp, where
they were fed and treated like the friendly Indians they had become. This
was a good illustration of the change that had of necessity come to poor
Lo since the time he had driven the elder Cuddeback and his companions out
of the country. As the brothers were pioneers of that region, Cuddeback Lake,
to the east oi Randsburg, was named in their honor.

After the dissolution of the partnership, John P. formed a real-estate
partnership in Los Angeles with Charles L. Cooper, whose daughter. Miss
Ethel, who was born in Ventura, he married May 6, 1907. At Manvel, in the
Searchlight district in San Bernardino county, he carried on the largest cattle
ranch in the county, having as partners George Briggs and Dan Murphy of
Needles. Alore recently he has associated himself with Lawrence B. Burke in
the purchase of the Sacramento ranch of fifty thousand acres near Paso
Robles, San Luis Obispo county, to the management of which he devotes the
greater part of his time, and in so doing he is carrying out his pet project
in breeding and raising Shorthorn and Hereford cattle and saddle horses.

To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Cuddeback three children were
born, Virginia Ethelwyn, Alzada Brooks, and John P., Jr. During the win-
ters the family make their residence in San Gabriel, and the summers are spent
at the country home on the ranch in the Tehachapi valley, where Mr. Cudde-
back enjoys the refinements and luxuries rendered possible by his brilliant
business career. In early youth he became identified with the Knights of
Pythias at Tehachapi, and he still retains his membership in the order, besides
being a member of the San Gabriel Country Club. When it is remembered
that he started out to earn a livelihood at an early age without the aid of
financial friends to assist him, his remarkable success in business and the
position of influence to which he has risen prove the truth of the old adage
to the efifect that "What man wills to be he can be." Still in the prime of life,
with many possible years of continued usefulness before him. already he
has attained a commercial prestige and landed authority reached by few
in long lives of capable endeavor.


HARRY A. HOPKINS.— L'pon tlie incorporation of the Tall Ice Ue-
li\er\ Company, January 3, 1913, twenty-five thousand shares of stock were
sold at par value of $1 each and these were bought by about thirty stock-
holders, all residents of this coniniuiiity. The officers and directors are:
\V. S. Lierly, president: S. J. Dunlop, vice-president; H. A. Hopkins, secre-
tary-treasurer; A. I. Scott, A. 1). tJreen, E. A. Henderson and F. W. O'Brien.

Regarding the personal history of Mr. Hopkins, it may be stated that he
represents a family identified with America ever since tlie landing of the
Mayflower. His father, A. A. Hopkins, a native of Springfield, 111., and now
a resident of Los Angeles, is a relative of Hon. H. A. Hopkins, of Aurora,
111. Himself a contractor and builder, he is well known in Taft, where he
built eight houses and a large proportion of the business buildings in the
town, r.y his marriage to Elizabeth Shrader, who was born in Detroit.
Mich., of German ancestry, he had a family of four sons, namely: Albert J.,
who died unmarried in 1903 at the age of thirty-one years; Benjamin P., pro-
prietor of The Apparel Shop on Third and Hill streets, Los Angeles, and
also owner of The Colton People's Store at Colton, this state; Harry A., of
Taft, and Ray R., proprietor of the Puritas Tea and CofTee Company on Los
Angeles street, between Third and Fourth streets, Los Angeles. The third
son, Harry A., was born at Ogden, Utah, March 28, 1882, and was six years of
age when the family settled in San Diego, Cal., only to remove thence in a
short time to Los .\ngeles. In 1903 he was graduated from the Commercial
high school of Los Angeles. Long before this, however, he had been earning
his own livelihood. When only thirteen he had begun to learn the trade of
printer. After school and on the Saturday vacation he learned to feed the
press and to set type in the composing room of the .\merican Typefounders'
Company. For a time he worked in the printing department of the Los
Angeles Daily Times and he also was with the Los Angeles Herald, earning
in that way the money necessary for his high school course.

While with George Rice & Son, printers of the magazine supplement of
the Los Angeles Herald, Mr. Hopkins was accustomed to go to work imme-
diately after leaving school at three o'clock on Friday afternoon and he con-
tinued uninterruptedly at work until midnight Saturday. Notwithstanding
this long period of constant work without rest or sleep, he was able to resume
his studies on Monday and at the time he completed the high school course
he was earning $18 per week. After his graduation he secured employment
as a l:>ookkeeper. For a time he engaged as tracing clerk and stenographer
with the Santa Fe Railroad Company in Los Angeles. Later he worked for
the Wilmington Transportation Company at San Pedro. In the interests of
the Easton-Eldridge Company he engaged in selling acreage in the Hemet
valley of Riverside county, after which he became an employe of tlie Barber
Asphalt Paving Company of Los Angeles.

Arriving at McKittrick, July 10, 1904, Mr. Hopkins assumed charge of
the Midway office of the Chanslor-Canfield Midway Oil Company. The
present site of Taft then showed nothing but sage brush and jack rabbits.
Water was hauled from Lake Buena Vista and cost $8 per barrel. During
1906 he spent seven months in the Indian Territory and engaged in drilling a
number of wells as a partner of Cremins Brothers. Upon his return to Mc-
Kittrick he took charge of the National Supply Company, with whom he
continued for eighteen months. Later he was placed in charge of the Kern
countv business of the J. F. Lucey Coni]jany, with offices in the Producers'
Bank building, Bakersfield. Meanwhile he had been interested in tlie land
arc.und the present town of Taft. Close inspection had convinced him that
the place offered favorable openings for great oil development. Upon re-
signing his position in Bakersfield he came to the present site of Taft, where
he opened the first general mercantile store and was commissioned ])OSt-


master, in July, 1909, under President Taft. The new town had been given
the name of Moro. On account of there being a Wells-Fargo express office
in San Luis Obispo county known by the name of Moro, considerable confu-
sion resulted. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company, hoping to end the
confusion of names, added an "n" to the word, making it Moron, but there
being a post office of that name in Colorado the government objected, nor did
the name satisfy the people. The question of another change of name was
then agitated. Postmaster Hopkins then met Postmaster R. A. Edmonds
of Bakersfield and discussed the matter. The office desk of Mr. Edmonds
was graced by a picture of President Taft. Happening to glance at
it, Mr. Hopkins immediately exclaimed : "Name it Taft," which suggestion
was seconded heartily by Mr. Edmonds. These are the real facts connected
with the naming of the now celebrated oil town.

In the great fire Mr. Hopkins, carrying only an insurance of thirty per
cent, lost about $12,000 and the date of the conflagration, October 22, 1909,
remains therefore indelibly impressed upon his mind as a time of the deepest
discouragement. However, with characteristic courage he set himself reso-
lutely to the task of recouping his losses. After the fire the Southern Pacific
notified the business men that they must move to the north side of the track.
There was some protest to the move. Some of the business men accepted
the offer of J. W. Jameson and went on his tract south of the tracks, but a
majority moved to the north side, where they could own property for them-
selves. In September of 1910 the buildings on the south side were destroyed
by fire and this put an end to efforts for the upbuilding of that section.

After three months in the real-estate and oil-land business, Mr. Hopkins
put up a building on the corner of Fourth and Center streets on the north
side. The block is now occupied by the Mission Drug Company and other
establishments. His next move was the starting of the Taft Public Utilities
Company, a concern formed for the purpose of supplying water, which was
shipped in tank cars from Kern, pumped into two tanks with a capacity of
twelve hundred barrels and then distributed among consumers in Taft. "Upon
the organization of the company in October, 1910, J. P. Dooly was elected
president, and Harry A. Hopkins secretary and manager. February 1, 1912,
the company sold out to the Consumers' Water Company, which is still in

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 43 of 177)