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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 49 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 49 of 177)
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rig-!)uilder. which he had learned during boyhood, and as a partner of



HISTORY OF KERX COUNTY 407

William Schultz he also carried on general business in contracting and
building. Their co-partnership, begun in 1908, continued for fourteen
months, after which Mr. Weaver continued alone, and since then he has
engaged in building frame structures of all kinds. As a carpenter he is
reliable, skilled and popular and he is usually kept busy in the district
lying near his own home. Politically he votes with the Democratic party
and fraternally he is a member of the Eagles. While living in the east
he was active in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engineers.
When he came to California he brought with him his young wife, whom
he had married in Lorain, Ohio, and who was Miss Reba Bills, daughter
of L. D. Bills, of that city. Two children blessed their union, Kenneth
and Gertrude. The latter died in 1911 at the age of eighteen months and
in 1912 occurred the death (if the wife and mother-

JAMES CURRAN.— The identification of the Curran family with the
L'nited States began in the year 1842, when James Curran, Sr., accompanied
bv immediate familv and other relatives, crossed the ocean to the new world.
Countv Tyrone, in the north of Ireland, had been his home and the environ-
ment familiar to his entire life that had been passed at Stewartstown in. the
vicinity of Lough Xeagh presented a striking contrast to the surroundings of
his last days, passed in the then small but thriving village of Dixon, 111., where
he opened and conducted stone quarries. The next generation was i"epre-
sented by Daniel Curran, who was reared in Illinois and engaged in the
building business and the manufacture of brick from an early age, holding
a position as a foreman in New York City from 1836 until 1862. Returning
from the east to Dixon, he took up brick-making in the place of his former
residence and liecame known for the superior quality of his product as well
as for the high character of his citizenship. For a long period of helpful
service he was a niem1)er of the board of aldermen of Dixon and his death
occurred in that city in 1902 when he had reached the age of sixty-three
years, \\hile living in New York in 1860 he had married Catherine Donahoe,
who was born in county Tyrone, Ireland, and died at Dixon during January
of 1873. The four sons and one daughter are still living, the eldest of these
being James, who was born in New York City March 14, 1862, and is now
engaged in the brick-manufacturing business at Bakersfield. Charles P., of
Pomona, Cal.. is proprietor of a lumber yard. I>ank holds a position with
a lumber firm in Los Angeles and W. H. is assistant superintendent of the,
coast division of the Southern Pacific railroad.

When nineteen years of age, having completed the studies df tlie Dixim
schools. James Curran was eager to earn his own way in the wnrld, but was
so afflicted with asthma that he found it difficult to continue steadily at
any work. A ])hysician advised him to seek the inland regions nf Cali-
fornia. Crossing the continent in 1881, he soon proved to his dwn satis-
faction that the coast region did not benefit him and after a sojourn of six
months in San I->ancisco and a later residence in Li>s Angeles he sought
the inland sections advised by medical authcrities. Meeting Mr. Brower
and referred by him to Mr. Colton, he secured employment with the Kern
Island Canal Company. The day that he crossed the Tehachapi range the
asthma left him, to return no more. For three years he worked on the
canal and during that time he was obliged to ride at least thirty miles every
day. During 1886 he was elected justice of the peace. In the same vear
he sent east for a machine to be used in the manufacture of brick. This
arrived in 1887 and was the first machine of the kind in Southern California,
all brick prior to that time having been made by hand. The sandstone
brick which he began to make was the first of the kind on the Pacific coast.
During 1903 the Bakersfield Sandstnne Brick Companv was (.rgani/'ed with
the following cifficers: ^^'. ?. Tevis, president: Charles J. Lindgren. vice-



408 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

president; First National Bank, treasurer; and James Curran, manager,
which position, together with that of a director, he has since filled with
recognized ability. The compan}' occupies twenty-six acres in East Bakers-
field. The clay here found is admirably adapted to the manufacture of the
finest brick and the plant has a capacity of ten million brick per annum.
The newly completed office building is a model of its kind, while the ware-
house, kilns and entire yards are also modern and adequate to every need
of the business. The products of the plant wherever used have proved equal
to the demand. Since the organization of the company in 1Q03 they have
furnished the brick for every large building in Bakersfield.

In addition to the management of this important undertaking. Air.
Curran has been interested in agricultural aff'airs and realty enterprises and
with Mr. Lindgren built the Western and Kern hotels, besides which he
has platted a subdivision to Bakersfield, has erected a substantial residence
in the city, and has been interested in oil development in the county. During
the early period of his residence in the west and after the incorporation of
Kern, he was elected a member of its board of trustees and served as presi-
dent of the same. Later he became a director of the Bakersfield Board of
Trade and a member of the Merchants' Association of this place. Fra-
ternally he holds membership with the Knights of Pythias. Ever since at-
taining his majorit}^ he has supported men and measures of the Republican
party. On one occasion, in 1896, his party asked him to accept the nomina-
tion for the state legislature and he consented to make the. race, although
the district usually gave so strong a Democratic majority that a campaign
offered little hope of success. However, he came within one hundred and
eighteen votes of being elected, which prcived that he not only held his own
party, but won many votes frL-m the other side, h^equently he has acted
as chairman of the county Republican central committee and at this writing
he is still a member of that organization. During 1911 he accepted an ap-
pointment from Governor Johnson as a member of the board of trustees of
the Fresno State Normal.

The marriage of James Curran tcok place at Rosedale ranch in 1887
and united him with Miss Mary G. Swain, by whom he is the father of eight
children, namely ; Mrs. Sibyl L. Chenoweth, of Bakersfield : Charles S., Val-
entine, Arthur. Roland, Hugh, Rosalind and Robert. Mrs. Curran was born
at Loda, Iroquois county. 111., and is a sister of Arthur Swain, receiver of
the United States land office at Visalia. Her parents, Thomas Howland
and Sarah (Arthur) Swain, were born on Nantucket Island. The father
descended from an honored English family, identified with the Society of
Friends, and represented among the very earliest settlers in the new world.
.Succeeding generations bore an active part in the material upbuilding of
New England. The first to seek a home in the Mississippi valley was
Thomas Howland Swain, who became a pioneer of Iroc|uois count^^ 111., and
took up raw land near the village of Loda. Throughout the remainder of
his useful life he carried on general farming in that locality and from there
in 1879 his widow remo\'ed to California, where she spent her last days with
her children.

AMOS E. WARREN.— The eldest of seven sons and two daughters,
Amos E. Warren was born in Orange county, Ind., September 16, 1883, and
was reared in Kansas, the famil)' having moved to that state in his early
childhood. In education he was limited to a somewhat brief attendance
in country schools. It was necessary for him to become self-supporting
as soon as possible and hence he was deprived of all higher advantages.
Upon lea\ing home in 1901 he went to Colorado and for a year worked in
the oil fields near Florence, for seven months was employed as a tool
dresser at Fort Collins and also engaged as a cowbo}^ on a cattle ranch
near Greele^^ After three vears in Colorado he came to California in 1904



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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 49 of 177)