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 58 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 58 of 177)
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the election, taking the oath of office in January, 1913, for a term of four
years. His former experience as well as his inherent ability in this direc-
tion, ably qualifies him for the office and his fellow-citizens have the utmost
confidence in his efficiency. He is a stanch Democrat in politics and in fra-
ternal connection is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

JOHN ROBERT JESSUP.— Allegiance to the Society of Friends char-
acterized the Jessup family both in their English home and in the colonial
environment of N( rth Carolina, and their dominant traits were such as
marked the Quakers in every part of the world. I'nifornily industrious,
thrifty and peace-loving, they aided in the early development and upbuilding
of the south and particularly wielded a large influence in North Carolina,
from which state in the first half of the nineteenth century Caleb Jessuj)
removed to Indiana. ."Xt the time of the migration his son, Frank, was a
mere lad and from that time until his death he continued to make Indiana
his home, engaging both in general farming and carpentering until his
death in 1853 at middle age. During )-oung manhood he had married
Elizabeth Sanders, who was born in North Carolina, of Quaker parentage,
and whose death in 1851 left him a widower for the last two years of his
life. Their family comprised eight children and the fifth of these, John
Robert, whose birth occurred on the home farm near Worthington, Greene
county, Ind., April 4, 1846, was only seven years of age at the time the
death of his father left him an orphan. An uncle, James Jessuj), took him


into his home, but at the expiration of four years he was given into the
care of his eldest sister, the wife of Fayette A. Dickinson. Until he was
twenty-eight the Dickinson farm continued to be his home with the excep-
tion of four years in the army during the Civil war.

With the very first call for volunteers in the Union service the heart
of the youth of fifteen years became fired with patriotic fervor and he
determined to go to the front in defense of his country. During November,
1861, he was assigned to Company E, P'ifty-ninth Indiana Infantry, and
was mustered into service at Gosport, Owen county, Ind., whence he was
dispatched to the south in February of the following year. From that
time until the close of the great struggle he fought in many decisive battles,
endured the hardships of forced marches and underwent privations in camp
and on field. In the most strenuous exertion and the greatest danger to
life and limb, no one heard a word of discouragement from this lad ; on
the other hand, he was always willing, courageous and helpful, and proved
his patriotism on many a fiercely-contested field. Among his leading
engagements were the following: New Madrid, Mo.; siege of Corinth; battle
of Corinth, October 3-4, 1862; Forty Hills, Raymond and Jackson, Miss.,
in the last-named of which his regiment placed the first flag on the state-
house at Jackson ; Champion Hill ; the siege of Vicksburg lasting forty-seven
days, where his regiment sustained a heavy loss ; Chattanooga ; Missionary
Ridge; the Atlanta campaign of 1864, including the battles of Resaca, Dallas,
Buzzard's Rcost, Snake Creek Gap, Kenesaw mountain, Atlanta and Jones-
boro; Sherman's march to the sea with the siege of Savannah and the battle
of Bentonville ; and last, participation in the grand review at Washington,
followed by honorable discharge at Louisville, Ky., in August, 1865. ,\t
the expiration of the war he returned to the home of his sister in Indiana
and resumed his studies, ending with a commercial course in Terre Haute.

The marriage of John Robert Jessup was solemnized at Paris, 111., in
December, 1874, and united him with Miss Annie Alarie Welch, a native
of Vigo county, Ind. The young couple began housekeeping on a farm
near Hume, Edgar county. 111., and later settled near Decatur, Macon county,
in the same state, eventually going from the farm into the city of Decatur
for the purpose of operating a dairy. Four children were born of their
marriage, namely ; Maude Marie, Mrs. B. S. Hageman, of Rosedale, Kern
county ; John Clyde, who died at the age of seven years ; Elizabeth Catherine,
wife of Frank Gary, of San Francisco; and Harry Warren, of Portland,
Ore. The family came to California in 1891, arriving at Bakersfield in
December of that year. The first venture of Mr. Jessup proved unsuc-
cessful, for the farm which he bought in the Rosedale district eight miles
west of Bakersfield could not be made remunerative owing to the lack of
water in the Calloway canal. .\t the expiration of nine years of strenuous
exertion he abandoned farming and gave his attention to the teaming busi-
ness in Bakersfield, later having a fruit wagon in the Kern river oil field.
During January, 1909. he bought out the grocery business of C. C. Minter
& Bro., on Chester avenue, and has continued the enterprise with the satis-
faction of a growing trade and increased patronage^ on the part of a most
desirable class of customers. In politics he always has supported Repub-
lican candidates and principles. While still living in Indiana he was made
a Mason in Worthington Lodge and later identified himself with Macon
Lodge No. 8. F. & A. M., at Decatur, 111., where his name is still enrolled
as a member. With his wife he belongs to the Eastern Star Chapter at
Bakersfield and in addition Mrs. Jessup is a leading worker (and now
president) of the Hurlburt Women's Relief Corps, while he has been inti-
mately associated with the activities of Hurlburt Post No. 124. G. .\. R.,
also at Bakersfield.


HENRY R. SCHAFFNIT.— The chief of the Bakersf^elcl fire dei)art-
nient. whose wide reputation for successful work in this important specialty
led to his selection for iiis present responsible post, belongs to a German-
American family and is a son of Leonard and Emma (Miller) SchafFnit,
natives of Germany and descendants of long lines of Teutonic ancestry. An
uncle. Henry Schaffnit, an immigrant to America in early life, served gal-
lantly as a lieutenant in the Union army during the Civil war. Leonard
Schaiifnit was by trade a cabinet-maker and trained to an unusual degree of
skill in the occupation, besides being an expert mechanic, and it was not
difficult for him to secure steady employment after he came to the United
States and he worked for some years for day wages. When the west was
still undeveloped and he was yet a young man, he crossed the plains to
California in 1854 with a party of emigrants traveling with wagons and
nx-teams, but a short tour of inspection ended his residence in California at
that period. After his marriage he lived in St. Louis, Mo., where his
eldest child, Henry R., was born June 27, 1874. Shortly after the birth of
that son he took the family to Colorado and settled at Central City, where
he built and for twenty-five years conducted the Washington house. His
wife died in Denver in 1902 and more recently he has established a home in
Los Angeles, his present place of residence.

Out of seven children comprising the parental family all but two are
.still living and the eldest of these, Henry R., received a public-school educa-
tion at Central City. Colo., from which place he went to Denver at the age
of fifteen years. Ever since then he has been self-supjjorting. As early as
1894 he became connected with the Denver fire department, where an experi-
ence of six years proved most helpful to him in later labors along the same
line. In company with George Hale he attended the exhibitions at Kansas
City and Omaha and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis, where
as captain of the life line and pompier work during the fair he led ofif the
best crew in the L'nited States, comprising a fine body of men personally
selected by an inspection of the entire country. At the close of the exposi
tion he returned to Denver, Colo., as captain of engine No. 2 under Chief
Owens. Resigning from that position in 1905 he became chief of the new
fire department at Goldfield, Nev., selected by the Board of L^nderwriters.
The occasion of his employment had been the need of perfected fire system.
The task proved one of great responsibility and many difficulties, but he
triumphed over every obstacle, surmounted every difficulty and succeeded
in securinir for the town a splendid system with headquarters in a new fire
house costing $20,000 and containing every equipment for the fighting of
fire. January 2. 1911, he was transferred by the Board of Underwriters from
Goldfield in order to enter upon similar duties at Bakersfield. where he has
since labored with tireless energy and sagacious judgment.

The Bakersfield fire department at the present writing has three hose
wagons, four engines, one chemical engine, one hook and ladder truck and
an auto truck, also two large gas pumps and six electrical pumps, the
water for which is supplied from an excellent irrigation system with ten-
inch mains and six eight-inch laterals. At all times there is a pressure of
thirty-five pounds in the plugs. The signal telephone fire alarm system
contains forty-one boxes at the present writing, these being distributed with
such care that no point is far distant from fire alarm call. Fifteen paid
men are in the employ of the department, besides sixteen call men. L'nder
the present chief improvements are being made constantly and efTectively.
Four thousand feet of hose have been provided, and two new fire houses
are being built. In the course of a few months six automobiles, combination
hose, engine and chemical will be installed, the expenditure for all these new
facilities amounting in all to $75,000. and in a short time Bakersfield will


have a fire department brought to the rank of first place on the coast, this
gratifying condition resulting from the wise use of the tax-payers' money
on the part of the chief in charge. Through membership in the Association
of Fire Chiefs of the Pacific Coast and the International Association of Steam
Engineers, Mr. Schatifnit keeps in touch with every development in his
special work and is therefore thoroughly modern and up-to-date in his ideas.
While living in Goldfield he was connected with Montezuma Lodge No. 30,
F. & A. M., and since coming to Bakersfield he has joined the Benevolent
Protective Order of Elks No. 266. His marriage took place in Denver and
united him with Miss Hattie Schultz, who was born and educated in that
city and by whom he has two sons, Robert and Peter. The family hold
membership in the Bakersfield Presbyterian Church.

ROLAND G. HILL. — The task of converting the Greenfield ranch into
an alfalfa and stock farm recently has been assumed by Mr. Hill, who is
thoroughly i^repared for his large responsibilities by reason of previous suc-
cessful experience along the same line of enterprise. The property lies twelve
miles south of Bakersfield and includes two thousand three hundred and sixty
acres of land. To guests the chief attraction of the ranch is the comfortable
and attractive modern residence, presided over graciously by Mrs. Hill, for-
merly Miss Edith Baker.

A lifelong resident of Kern county, Mr. Hill was born in Cummings
valley and with his sisters. Ruby and Emma, and a brother, Russell (now
foreman of the Hill ranch in the Cummings valley) belongs to a family long
known and highly honored in this locality. His father, the late Ross Hill,
came to Kern county as early as 1882 and embarked in the cattle business,
starting a stock ranch on a very modest scale, but working his way forward
by sure degrees to a position among the prosperous ranchers of the valley.
Since his death, which occurred on the ranch about 1902, his widow (formerly
Lottie Gridley) has removed to Los Angeles and there established a home. .
When sixteen years of age Roland G. Hill left school to take up ranching.
The next year his father died and that threw into his care the home ranch of
two thousand acres. Assuming the heavy responsibilities with an energetic
will, he gave to the work close and undivided attention. A specialty was made
of raising horses, cattle and hogs. So well did he succeed that the Hill ranch
increased in area from two thousand acres to fourteen thousand acres, the
latter being its size in 1912 when it went into the hands of the Tehachapi
Cattle Company. The latter organization was founded by R. G. Hill and
Messrs, P. G., A. H. and C. W. Gates, three brothers residing in Pasadena
and owning vast interests in diflferent places, including large lumber interests
in Arkansas. In the present possession of the company are the following
holdings: the Greenfield ranch of two thousand three hundred and sixty acres :
deeded land in Cummings valley aggregating fourteen thousand acres; and
leased land in the same valley comprising about five thousand acres, making
a total of twenty-one thousand three hundred and sixty acres. The cattle in-
dustry has been a specialty with Mr. Hill for some years in the past and in
developing the Greenfield ranch it is with the intention of continuing in the
same business. While some of the cattle are raised on the range, many are
shipped in from Arizona and kept on the home ranch for fattening.

W. W. STEPHENSON.— A citizen of worth and integrity, \^^ W. Ste-
phenson, or "Big Bill" Stephenson (as he is known among his confreres),
enjoys to an unusual degree the confidence of all who have known him during
his residence in Kern county. To no man is greater credit due for the
development of the oil industry in this district. He and a brother, R. M., now
an oil operator near Tampico, Mexico, were the only children of \\". P. Ste-
phenson, who in an early day removed from Iowa to Oregon, sojourned for
;i brief period in Salem, thence removed to Portland, that state, and became



chief engineer tor the (Jreson Railway and Navigation Company, returning
to Iowa during the latter i)art of 188_' and re-estahlishing himself on the farm
in I'alo Alto count v which had been his home i>rior to the removal to the
west. It was during the residence of the family in Salem, Ore., that William
W. Stephenson was born in that city June 20, 1875, but his earliest recollec-
tions are associated with the city of Portland and there he was a pupil in the
priiuarv grades of the public school. At the age of seven years he accom-
panied his parents to Iowa and from that time until seventeen he lived on
the old homestead of the family.

Returning to the west when seventeen years of age Mr. Stei)hcnson
established himself in Santa I'.arijara county. Cal.. and became interested
in the business which he has since followed. The fields at Summerland
and Santa Paula gave to him his initial experience in the oil industry. Soon
he began to take contracts for drilling. Much of his work was in the
interests of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. For three years he
continued in contract drilling. Much of the work was in the ocean. Drilling
was done by means of wharves built out into the water for a distance of one
thousand feet from shore. Experiences in the em])lov of others whetted
his ambition to undertake the business for himself. In the summer of 1899
he purchased two drilling outfits and brought them to the Kern river fields.
The venture proved a success and justified the jnirchase of four additional
outfits in the fall of the same year, so that by 1900 he had six drilling outfits
in operation.

L'pon becoming a stockholder in the Alma. Wolverine and lilack Jack
Oil Com[)anies, Mr. Stephenson deemed it adx'isable to dispose of a number
of his drilling rigs. Although the ISlack Jack and Wolverine have since been
sold, he still retains a block of stock in each, while he continues as superin-
tendent of the Alma Oil Company, which has recently taken over the
Alma, Jr.. so that the two are practically under one management. The
officers of the company are as follows: president, W. H. Mason, j'attle
Creek, Mich.; vice-president, J. E. Beard, of Napa, Cal.; secretary, M. A.
Thomas of San Francisco; treasurer, the Canadian Bank of Commerce in
San Francisco. The following gentlemen comprise the board of directors:
W. H. Mason and C. E. Thomas, of Battle Creek. Mich.; J. E. Beard, of
Napa, this state: .\. Kaines of San Francisco; and W\ W. Stephenson of
ISakersfield. I'jeginning operations in Se])tember of 1900. the company now
holds one hundred and twenty acres of land, einploys eleven men, and has
twenty-four producing wells in the Alma and Alma, Jr.. with an a\'crage
net output of twelve thousand barrels per month.

The oil interests owned by Mr. Stephenson, including his stock in
various oil comjjanies throughout the California fields, by no means repre-
sent the limit of his mental activities and commercial relations. .As ]>resident
of the Pacific Motor and Engineering Company, he maintains an intimate
association with the developtuent of a business for the buying, selling and
renting of motors and for the monthly inspection of motors. In addition
the company engages in the manufacture of machinery for the use of bakers
and confectioners, also makes a specialty of other machine and repair work,
and of the wiring and installing of motors. The headquarters of the con-
cern are at No. 527 Mission street. San Francisco. Besides being the prin-
cipal owner of this large business, Mr. Stephenson is president and leading
stockholder in the Butterworth-Stephenson Company of Portland, Ore.,
and the Hamilton Cloak and Suit Company, the Midway Equipment Com-
pany and the Central Purchasing Company, all of Bakersfield.

The California W'ell Drilling Company of Taft, the P.. S. & P.. Company
of Los Angeles and the W^estern Trust Company of Portland. Ore., have
the benefit of the services of Mr. Stephenson as a director and jirincipal


btockholder. As a stockholder he is further interested in the First National
Bank of Bakerslield, the California Life Insurance Company of San Fran-
cisco, the Inter-Urban Realty Company of Portland, Ore., the Willamette
Realty Company of Portland, Ore., the Hydraulic Mining Company of
Oroville, Cal., and a number of mining concerns at Randsburg, this state. A
stanch believer in life insurance, for years he has carried heavy policies
as a possible protection for his family and large business interests. In land
and real estate his holdings are important and include a beautiful home on
Perkins street in Oakland, Cal., an attractive residence in the Irvington
district of Portland, Ore., property in Bakersfield and valuable holdings at
Wildwood, Del Monte and other points.

In December of 1910 Mr. Stephenson lost his wife, Mrs. Edna (Nance)
Stephenson, by her death in young womanhood. A daughter survives, Zada,
now a student in the high school at Berkeley, this state. From a business
standpoint Mr. Stephenson ranks among the most capable men in the oil
fields. Taking the past as a criterion and remembering that he is yet a
young man, it is safe to state that a brilliant future awaits him. For much
that he has accomplished he gives credit to the inheritance of large mechan-
ical and engineering ability from his father, who, as has been stated, served
for years as chief engineer for the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company
at Portland. Personally Mr. Stephenson is a man who thinks for himself
and conducts his researches independently. Consideration for others is
a leading characteristic. While he possesses a worthy ambition to make
and enjoy his share of the world's wealth, he has never trespassed upon
the domain of others in the acquisition of his possessions. A practical
demonstration of the Golden Rule has been made in his interesting career.

OTTO R. KAMPRATH.— The assistant cashier of the Security Trust
Company of Bakersfield is a member of an old eastern family descended from
Teutonic ancestors. The genealogy shows that Ferdinand Kamprath in an
early day drove overland from New York to Michigan, accompanied by his
family, and took up a tract of raw land from the government, later devoting
his time to the tilling of the soil in that then frontier region. Among his
children was a son, Henry F., a native of Buffalo, N. Y., but from childhood a
resident of Michigan, where for many years he has engaged in the manu-
facture of furniture at Monroe, Monroe county. During young manhood he
married Miss Christine Enselberger, who was born and reared in the vicinity
of Monroe, being a daughter of Leonard Enselberger, a pioneer farmer of
honored name. Not only are the parents still living, but their three children
also survive, the eldest of these being Otto R., who was born at Monroe,
Mich., November 21, 1875, and in 1891 was graduated from the high school
of his native city. Immediately afterward he secured employment as a
messenger in the First National Bank of Monroe and later was promoted to
be a bookkeeper in the institution.

A desire to remove to California caused Mr. Kamprath to resign his
position with the Michigan bank and thereupon he came to Bakersfield, where
he secured a place as bookkeeper in the Bank of Bakersfield. A few years
later he was promoted to be teller. When by consolidation the Security
Trust Company was organized October 7, 1910, with a capital stock of
$300,000 fully paid in, he was chosen assistant cashier of the new institution.
Since its inception the bank has been noted for the conservative spirit of its
officers and directors. The men at its head are among the leading financiers
of the city. Their judgment is recognized as excellent, their ability as above
the ordinary and their energy as boundless. Much credit also is due to the
assistant cashier, who fills his position with accuracy, dispatch and mental
alertness, thereby winning for himself a recognized place in local financial
circles, .\fter coming west he was married at Los Angeles to Miss Dorothea



Heinicke, who was born at Pleasant Ridge, 111., and by whom he has three
children, Gerald, Willard and Marie. The family residence, erected by Mr.
Kamprath, stands at No. 2212 Truxtun avenue and both in exterior appear-
ance and interior finishings indicates the cultured tastes of the family.

As one of the founders of St. John's Lutheran Church, as the chairman
of its building committee, a member of the board of trustees and the present
treasurer of the congregation, Mr. Kamprath has been closely identified with
the upbuilding of the church and in its annals his name will hold a place all
its own. He keeps posted concerning current events and national ])rnl)lems
and supports the Republican party in general elections. The board of trade
has had the benefit ni his intelligent services as a member of its executive

WILLIAM TRACY.— It is the proud claim of William Tracy that he
is a native son of California. In San Joac|uin county, but near Gal:, Sacra-
mento county, he was born August 8, 1866, being a son of the late Edgar
Vernet and Mary (Dix) Tracy, natives, respectively, of Pennsylvania and
Ohio. The mother died in San Joaquin county in 1877 and the father passed
away ]\fay 2, 1913, when advanced in years. Reared and educated in Pennsyl-
vania and Ohio, and married in the Buckeye state in 1852, he had brought
his young wife across the plains in the summer of 1852, making the long
journey with ox-teams and wagons. At the opening of the Civil war he re-
turned east, enlisted in his old home regiment of Ohio infantry, went to the
front and served until the close of the rebellion, when he received an honor-
able discharge and returned to California. For many years and indeed
until he retired from business cares he engaged as a liveryman and owned
a stable at .Acampo. In his family there were nine children, as follows:
Alice, Mrs. J. W. Johnston, of Sacramento; Theodore, of Bakersfield : Emma,
who married Ellis Kilgore and died in Sacramento; Mrs. Ida Marsh, a resi-
dent of Massillon, Ohio; Mrs. Mary Barber, of Amador county; Mrs. Sarah
Van A'alkenburg, of Lodi ; William, whose name introduces this article;
Anna, wife of James Arp, of Bakersfield ; and Mrs. Nellie Jarvis, who is
living in Amador county.

The death of his mother when he was ten years of age brought to
William Tracy a breaking up of tender home ties and' a loss almost irreparable.
During the next six years he was given a home by a farmer. After leaving
here he lived with his sister, Mrs. Kilgore, of Sacramento, where he finished
the grammar school. Mr. Kilgore is of the well-known firm of Kilgore &

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 58 of 177)