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 45 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 45 of 177)
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is connected with the Masons and Elks at Bakersfield. In 1906 at McKittrick,
he married Miss Gertrude Bishop, of Oregon, who died in 1909, leaving two
daughters, Kathleen and Gertrude.

JOHN J. GALLMAN. — Through various changes and in different locali-
ties he gained a thorough experience with every phase and each department
of the industry. In the early days of Taft he came to the Midway field,
where since February of 1909 he has engaged as superintendent of the Fair-
banks Oil Company, a corporation capitalized at $50,000 and operating a
tract of forty acres with six producing wells. Under Ben Stroude, the first
superintendent of the lease, one well had been drilled, but this is now
abandoned, and the six wells in use, producing an average of ten thousand
barrels per month, have been drilled under the personal supervision of
Mr. Gallman, who in addition to being superintendent is also a small stock-
holder in the company.

Although he has lived in California for considerably more than twenty
years, Mr. Gallman is a native of Iowa and a member of a German-American
family connected with the agricultural upbuilding of the Mississippi valley.
His father, John Jacob Gallman, a native of Germany and a pioneer of
Iowa, enlisted in the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil war, was
assigned to the First Minnesota Infantry, accompanied his regiment to the
front and served throughout the war. Upon receiving an honorable dis-


charge he returned to tlie northwest, took up land in Bremer county, Towa,
there married Miss Catharine Zimmerman, and for years devoted himself to
agricultural duties. At his death he was survived by the widow, now a
resident of Waverly, Iowa, and by three children, viz. : John J. ; Ida and
Anna, both of whom married farmers and are living in Bremer county.
The only son was born in Bremer county September 25, 1869, worked on
the home farm as soon as old enough to be of service and during the winter
months walked between four and live miles to a country school. Leaving
home in 1888, he came to California, where he successively had employment
in lumber yards and with grading crews in Pasadena, on a dairy ranch at
El Monte and as a laborer on a stock ranch at Puente. The owner of the
ranch, Mr. Roland, in 1889 sent him to work as a roustabout for the
Puente Oil Company in Los Angeles county and in that way he acquired
his first knowledge of the oil industry. From roustabout he worked up
to be pumper, then tool-dresser and finally driller. The company of which
Mr. Roland was president engaged him to drill in the Puente field, but when
the wells were shut down he was obliged to seek work elsewhere.

An opportunity to engage with Will Kellerman, a contract driller, took
Mr. tiallman into a wild-cat venture in dry territory, but he cuntinucd with
the same operator for perhaps seven years. Happening to meet Mr. Roland
one day, he was asked to return to the Puente held, but intimated that he
considered the chance for promotion there too meager, to which Mr. Roland
replied: "Come back to me and you may yet get to be superintendent of the
Puente." Accordingly, upon finishing a job at Newhall, he went back to
the Puente field, where he was first drilling foreman and then superintendent.
Two and one-half years later the Puente bought an adjoining oil lease and
the management of the whole was given over to the superintendent of the
company thus absorbed, whereupon Mr. Gallman became a real-estate dealer
in Los Angeles. Not meeting with success, he returned to the oil business
and for a time worked with the Union Oil Company near Lompoc and at
Santa Maria. In the latter field he drilled on the celebrated Hartnell gusher.
Next he operated a boarding house on the Union and Fox lease, after
which he engaged in the restaurant business for six months in Los Angeles.
The excellent profit made when he sold that restaurant was lost in the
later operation of the -Delmar Cafe at Long Beach. Forced to begin anew
at the bottom, he returned to the oil fields and drilled at Santa Rosa and
for the Paso Robles Oil Company. Since February of 1909 he has been
superintendent of the h'airbanks Oil Company in the Alidway field and
meanwhile has become well known among the oil men of Taft, where he is
an interested member of the Petroleum Club. His marriage took place at
Fullerton, this state, and united him with Miss Myrtle Sprague, whose father
was at one time engaged in the grocery business at Fullerton, but now
engages in the manufacture and sale of monuments at Los Angeles. Mr. and
Airs. Gallman have one son, Woodley J. Gallman.

REUBEN A. EDMONDS.— The expansion of the Bakersfield pustofiice
since Mr. Edmonds was first appointed postmaster under the administra-
tion of President McKinley has been almost startlingly swift and has
offered another evidence concerning the prosperity and material upbuilding
of the city. \\'hen he took the oath of office for the first time, July 12,
1898, he found a postoffice of the second-class, employing two clerks and
having annual receipts not exceeding $9,000. Since then he has continued
in the office by appointments under Presidents Roosevelt and Taft and
meanwhile he has witnessed and aided in the development of the local
business, until now it afifords him gratification to report that as a first-class
office the annual receipts reach $65,000 and employment is furnished to
thirty-two persons. Free delivery was established in the city in 1900 and


four years later rural free delivery was started, there being now six routes
out of Bakersfield, each one with a substantial list of patrons. The office
was promoted to the first class in July of 1910, at which time the genial,
successful postmaster was the recipient of merited congratulations from
those familiar with his work and appreciative of his energetic application to
official duties. There has lately been added the postal savings bank and
the parcel post system, this postuffice being the depository for all the postal
savings banks in Ivern county.

Born near Eugene, Lane county, Ore., in 1859, Reuben A. Edmonds
is a son of William and Adeline (Draper) Edmonds, and a grandson of
Reuben A. Draper, an Illinois pioneer who, accompanied by relatives and
friends, crossed the plains with wagons and oxen and settled in Oregon,
where he developed raw lands in Lane county. Eventually he came to
California and passed his last days in Sonoma county. William Edmonds,
a native of Carlisle, Cumberland county, Pa., and a pioneer of Illinois.
came to the Pacific coast with his father-in-law and settled near him in
Oregon, where he developed a large farm. However, he was not satisfied
with conditions in Lane county, so he packed his household effects, put
his wife and children in a "prairie schooner" and drove along the coast
route into California, crossing the mountains and settling near Sebastopol.
Sonoma county. That was in 1867 and the next year his wife died at
Sebastopol. Afterward he drifted into Nevada and followed mining pur-
suits. The same occupation engaged his attention when he returned to
California. In 1906 he was accidentally drowned in the Kern river. Of his
three sons the eldest, Reuben A., is the sole survivor; the others, William
and Joseph, Ijoth died in Bakersfield. The three daughters were Mrs.
Rachael Maio, Mrs. Lavina Kratzmer, both of Bakersfield, and Mrs. Mary
Burgin, who died in Portland, Ore.

Reuben A. Edmonds accompanied the others from Oregon to Cali-
fornia in 1867 and settled in Sonoma county, but during 1874 removed to
Napa. In 1880 he was graduated from the Napa high school and the fol-
lowing year he completed the course of study in the commercial department
of Napa College, after which he came at once to Bakersfield in 1881. Here
he embarked in the dry-goods business on Chester avenue near Eighteenth
street as a member of the firm of Hotz & Edmonds. The business con-
tinued with fair success until the great fire of 1889, which caused him
a heavy loss. Forced to start anew, he secured employment as a bookkeeper
and continued in that capacity until he was appointed postmaster at Bakers-
field. Besides this office he also served as city assessor for one term.
Fraternally he is a charter member of the Knights of Pythias in Bakersfield
Cin which he has served in important offices") and also belongs to the
Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. After he had established a home in
fiakersfield he formed domestic ties, being united in marriage with Miss
Lizzie L. Hallet, a native of Napa, this state. They are the parents of two
children, Shirlie and Reubelle. both of whom are now students in the
Notre Dame College at San Francisco.

JOHN A. GARDNER.— The Gardner family possesses qualities that
bring success in the oil industry. .\ brother of John A., Eugene, is a tool-
dresser for the Midway Premier, while their father, the late Daniel Gardner,
was an expert driller and well-known oil operator, following the business prin-
cipally in his native Pennsylvania, although often called temporarily to other
places to aid in the drilling of wells. By his marriage to Margaret Mays,
likewise now deceased, there were two sons and four daughters. Of these
John A. was born in Emlenton, Venango county. Pa., March 20, 1873, and at
an early age learned the oil business under the capable oversight of his
father, with whom he worked both as a tool-dresser and driller in Pennsyl-

m^T-ruia Q/r.JrUaMA


vania, Ohio and Indiana. For seven years his father engaged with the
Bunnah Oil Company in India and during five years of that time John A.
worked with him, going out to India in 1900 via Liverpool, Port Said and
the Suez canal to Rangoon, and traveling inland a distance of five hundred
miles. After five years of steady work as a driller, without rest or vacation,
he returned to the United States, pleased to again identify himself with the
business under more favorable conditions than existed in India. After an
unsuccessful venture in the buying of wells at Geneva, Ind., in 1908 he came
to California and engaged in drilling for the Standard Oil Company at New-
hall, from which place in 1910 he came to the Midway. After having drilled
two wells for the Midwa\' Five Oil Company, he began to drill for the Mid-
way Premier Oil Company and in 1911 became its superintendent, which
responsible position he since has filled with credit to himself and most fortu-
nate results for the company. His family consists of three daughters, Mar-
garet, Edna and Mary, and his wife, whom he married in Toledo, Ohio, and
who was formerly ]\Iiss Frances Cook, of that city.

THOMAS A. MEANS.— A good history of California would not be
complete without the name of Thomas A. Means, who, through his discovery
of oil in Kern River field and his long identification with that industry,
became known as the "Apostle of Petroleum." He owned a small ranch near
Kern river, and being a man of much learning, natural intelligence and
close observation, he early became convinced in his own mind that that
territory was underlaid with oil. Accordingly he talked oil to everyone
who would listen to him and was naturally ridiculed by many, but firm in
his belief he continued to deliver himself of his convictions on the streets
of Bakersfield and no argument would dissuade him from his ideas.

It was after some experience in the McKittrick field that Judson EUwood
came to Bakersfield, where a brother, James Monroe EUwood, had a small
woodyard. During a conversation on the subject of oil the latter told his
brother that he had heard of the Tom Means ranch and how Means had for
years foretold the coming great era of oil. Subsequently James Monroe
EUwood went to Mr. Means to talk about cutting some wood, but the latter
immediately changed the subject to his favorite topic of oil, and so enthusi-
astic was he on the subject, that EUwood leased a portion of the ranch
for oil and induced his father, Jonathan EUwood, to come to Bakersfield.
The two then began to dig for oil. and that in the true sense of the word,
as they were obliged to use the only tools they had — an ordinary shovel
and a hand auger. In May, 1899, they started work on the north bank of
the Kern river about seven miles from Bakersfield, beginning the rude well
under the edge of the cliff. They went down with the hand auger seventy-
five feet, when they struck good oil indications. Then they secured a steam
rig and at three hundred and forty-three feet they drilled into oil, whereupon
young EUwood rushed to Tom Means and shouted: "Your prophecy has
been fulfilled!" But Means only smiled and said, "I knew it was there."
However, in that moment, through his faith and preaching, Tom Means had
brought to California a new oil field, whose vastness and wealth have aston-
ished the world.

Mr. Means was a native of New Brunswick, November 9, 1840. being
the date of his birth. Receiving an excellent educational training in youth
he possessed a special fondness for the study of languages, and he was able
to speak all the Latin tongues, or as it has been said of him, he was able to
keep silent in many languages. As early as 1868 he came to Bakersfield,
which then boasted of one house, that of Colonel Baker, and one store, that
of Mr. Chester. During 1871-72 he worked in Inyo county, but returning
to Kern county he began to ranch and raise stock, acquiring later a farm
of two hundred and fifteen acres. It was during the early '80s that Mr.


Means first discovered oil indications in Kern county on the south bank of
the Kern river on section three. 29-28, and it was entirely due to his stead-
fast refusal to be discouraged in his endeavor to interest capital and promote
enthusiasm that the oil industry was developed in this community. At
the time of his death, which occurred in Mercy hospital August 4, 1912, Mr.
Means owned considerable real estate in BakersfTeld and San Francisco.

TERENCE B. McMANUS.— As early as 1876 Mr. AIcManus first came
to the west and spent a short time in San Francisco. Again in 1902 he
visited that city, but returned to his Minnesota home after a brief vacation.
During 1912 he was called to Bakersfield by the demise of his brother, the
late Thomas A. Means, and being himself the nearest surviving relative he
was named as administrator of the estate. Having therefore business inter-
ests here and being pleased with the appearance of this lively, prosperous
city he determined to bring his family hither and establish a home. Since
doing so he has become interested in the real-estate business and also has
accjuired farming interests.

A son of Terence and Thirza ( Brownell) McManus. T. B. McManus was
born in Westmoreland county, N. B.. May 11, 1849. During boyhood he
attended the common schools and aided in the work on the home farm. After
leaving home he became connected with a mercantile business and also
engaged in contracting at Memramcook, N. B. Removing to Minnesota
during 1883 he settled near Crookston. purchased land and improved a large
farm in the Red River valley, where he engaged extensively in wheat-growing
and passed many busy, useful years. Meanwhile in 1893 President Cleveland
appointed him deputy collector of internal revenue for the Ninth congres-
sional district, embracing a territory three hundred miles in length. For
five years he discharged the duties of that responsible position. In 1905
Governor John A. Johnson appointed him a member of the board of grain
appeal of Alinnesota, with headquarters in Duluth. At the expiration of
his first term in 1907 he was again chosen for the same post and in 1909
he was reappointed, the last appointment bearing date of September 13,
1909, having been the last official act of Governor Johnson before his fatal
illness, .\fter five years on the board he retired in July of 1910, leaving a
record of creditable and honorable service to the farmers of Minnesota.
SuBsequent to his retirement he continued to make Duluth his home until
April, 1912, when he came to Bakersfield on business matters and shortly
thereafter he established a home in this city. His family consists of his
wife, formerly Miss Helen Hachey, of New Brunswick, and their five chil-
dren, Thomas W., Loretta. Lucile, Arthur and Charles, all yet remaining at
home, and the eldest being now associated with his father in the real-estate
business as T. B. McManus & Son, having established their offices in the
Bank of Bakersfield building, where they already have a large clientele.

MRS. WALTER WRIGHT.— Mrs. Wright is the elder of two daughters
of the late William Millen, a drilling contractor in the oil fields of ^^'est Vir-
ginia and at Marietta, Ohio. By his marriage to Mary St. Clair he became
the father of two daughters, .'Vgnes F. and Edith. The latter is the wife of
Lloyd Halsell, a druggist at Jamestown, N. Y., where Mrs. Millen also
makes her home. After having graduated from the Holy Angels' Academy,
an institution for girls, at Buffalo, N. Y., Agnes F. Millen entered the Nurses'
Training School connected with the hospital of the Johns Hopkins LTniver-
sity at Baltimore, Md. The best professional opportunities awaited her
there and of these she availed herself to the fullest extent. Having gradu-
ated from the training school with the class of 1902, she returned to New
York state and engaged in professional work at Jamestown and Buffalo.
For a time she was employed in the Sisters' Hospital at Meadville, Pa.


Another important position was held in the Municipal hospital at James-
town. Later she engaged in private nursing at Bradford, Pa., and in that
city formed the acquaintance of Walter Wright, to whom she was married at
Olean, Cattaraugus county, N. Y. Ever since her marriage she has pur-
sued her professional duties. During November of 1912 she came to Taft
with j\Ir. \\'right, who is a surveyor, now engaged in the Midway oil fields.
Upon the opening of the hospital Alay 2. 1913, she became superintendent
and general manager and since then she has devoted herself to the discharge
of the duties of the position, which she fills with recognized capability and
executive sagacity.

GENERAL HOSPITAL OF TAFT.— The General hospital of Taft,
financed and erected under the supervision of ]\I. W . Pascoe, M. D., and
opened to the public j\Iay 2, 1913, has entered upon its history of useful
service to humanity under the capable oversight of Mrs. Walter Wright as
general manager. The modern equipment of the hospital, the sanitary con-
ditions rigidly observed, the services of graduate nurses and of a trained
dietitian bespeak a most earnest and sincere purpose to surround the patients
with skilled attendants and scientific supervision. The building contains
fifteen rooms and is so arranged as to furnish accommodations for twenty-
five patients. For convenience and comfort a hall was built through the
entire length of the hospital, rendering possible a free circulation of air
that mitigates the heat of summer. On the left as the visitor enters the
building is the reception room, furnished in mission style and decorated in
soft shades of green and brown soothing and restful to the eye. The hand-
some clock on the wall of this room was the gift of A. T. Connard. On the
right of the entrance is the operating room, finished in pure white and
equipped with the most modern surgical appliances.

The spacious hall terminates in the dining room and diet kitchen, ofif
which the nurses and hospital stafif have their quarters. A screened porch,
large enough for perhaps eight beds, will be used to accommodate patients
who prefer the open air. In connection with the other conveniences there
is a laboratory where all prescriptions are compounded. While the hos-
pital was made possible almost wholly through the energy and progressive
spirit of Dr. Pascoe, other physicians are invited to take their patients there
and the utmost courtesy is shown to all. Besides Mrs. Wright there are
three graduate nurses. Miss Julia Trabuca, Mrs. Catherine Spann and Mrs.
Agnes Marlin. The two first-named are graduates of the Los Angeles city
and county hospital, while Mrs. Marlin comes from the Post-Graduate hos-
pital of Chicago. Mrs. Lora Dennison. of Santa Cruz, has been engaged as
dietarian and prepares the food for the patients in accordance with the most
modern laws of science and sanitation.


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 45 of 177)