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 62 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 62 of 177)
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those for the Brown building in Kern, the Gardner building, the brick work in
Mercy Hospital and Scofield building in Bakersfield, and four brick buildings
in Wasco, also the Brix apartments in Fresno. He has taken a complete
course in architecture and drafting under Aliller & Campbell and is able to
design a private or jjublic building as well as erect the same. One of his
chief ambitions has been to secure ordinances for the safety of builders and
workmen ; another ambition has been to improve the standard of the finishing


of buildings. With keen alertness he watches every advance made in his
chosen occupation and is himself foremost in promoting the welfare of the
building business. Upon the organization of the Builders' Exchange (in
which work he assisted) he was placed upon the directorate of the same and
also acts as a member of the arbitration board. He is identified with the
Woodmen of the World and interested in the Presbyterian Church, of which
his wife is a member.

SAMUEL A. WILLIAMS.— The Williams family to which belongs
Samuel A. Williams is an old established and well-known New England one,
the American ancestor coming from England at an early day, and it is highly
represented in California in the personages of Samuel A. Williams and his
sons William A. and Elmer E. Williams, the well-known proprietors of the
Greenfield grocery, with headquarters about eight miles south of Bakersfield.

A selfmade man in the true sense of the word, Mr. Williams has the
satisfaction of knowing that every cent he has in the world represents so much
honest toil and practical good judgment. His birth occurred December 15,
1854, in Ross county, Ohio, son of Jonathan B. and Philanda I^. (Freeman)
Williams, the former a native of New Hampshire, while the mother was born
near Moores Junction in northern New York. The parents were married at
Orwell, Vt., just across from old Fort Ticonderoga, and moved to Detroit,
Mich., a short time later. From there they subsequently made their way to
southern Ohio, where Jonathan Williams conducted a hotel at Palestine, about
twenty miles south of Columbus, and his death occurred during the war,
when Samuel A. was but eight years of age. He was one of five children
born to his parents, the others being: Eugene, who died at the age of nine
years; Affie Eliza, who died when eighteen months old; Lucy Jane, who
became the wife of the late Jacob Niederauer, of Bakersfield, and died in
Bakersfield; and Ellsworth, who now makes his home in Bakersfield.

Soon after the death of the father, Mrs. Williams and her three children
returned to Vermont, where Samuel A. was reared to manhood, assuming the
responsibility of caring for his mother and the two younger children at an
early age. At an early age he worked for George Hibbard, in Orwell, Vt.,
where he made his home, the agreement being that he should work for him
for a year, and then if mutually agreeable he should remain until he reached
his majority. But after two years Mr. Williams decided to give up that work
and until he was sixteen worked at various places in the vicinity for $6 a
month and his board. He then went to Connecticut, where he worked on a
farm for two years, the following two years being employed in a saw mill,
and it was at this time, in 1875, that he married. Miss Margaret O'Brien, of
Canterbury, Conn., becoming his bride. While working at the saw mill he
was injured and his illness was of so long duration that his means became
sorely depleted, so that when he recovered his strength he and his excellent
wife took employment on a Connecticut farm in order to somewhat replenish
their loss. In the fall of 1876 they moved back to Vermont, and he there
worked at general work for a number of years. In the fall of 1883 they came
to California, bringing with them their three children, and located at Bakers-
field. Mr. Williams started his life here under most discouraging circum-
stances, as he arrived here on crutches, having sustained injuries in a railroad
accident on the New York Central road near Syracuse, N. Y.. on his way
west, and was in a hospital at Cleveland. Ohio, for six weeks. He procured
employment with Haggin, Carr & Co., taking charge of work on their canals
and water ditches, and such satisfaction did he give his employers that he
was retained at that position for eight years and seven months, and only
relinquished his connection with them to start out for himself. He then en-
gaged in farming in Panama, but in 1900 traded his farm there for his present
sixty-acre ranch at Greenfield.

Mr. and Mrs. Williams became the parents of five children. May married

y. ^''Z^c^ASi_^^t_^,v.-oa->' .


Frank Parish of Panama and is now deceased (she left no children) ; William
A. and Elmer are proprietors of the Greenfield grocery, and are mentioned
more fully elsewhere in this volume; Frederick S. married Mrs. Alice Morrison,
and was killed when twenty-five years of age in a railroad accident at F'resno,
on the Southern Pacific railroad, on which he was a fireman; and Ray is at
home. Air. Williams is a member of the \\ oodmen of the World and the

CARLE TURNER McKINNIE.— Thomas W . Alclvinnie was burn in
Ohio, as was also his wife, Alice (Turner J -Mci\.innie. Thomas VV. was
among those loyal patriots who gave their services to aid in the country's
cause in the Civil war. i'Tom a private in Company li. One Hundred and
Twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteer infantry he rose to be colonel of his regiment.
He saw active service for a long period, and his record on the field of battle
was a most honorable one. His death occurred at St. Louis, Mo., in 1909,
and there, too, his wife passed away in 1895.

Carle Turner McKinnie was born in Cadiz, Ohio, August 9, 1809, and
when a year old was brought by his parents to Fort Scott, Kans., where for
si.x years they made their home, thence removing to St. Joe, Mo. .\t the latter
place he was sent to school and grew to manhood, at which period he went to
St. Louis, Mo., and there was employed by the Simmons Hardware Co., as
buyer for three years, after which he accepted a position with the Stanley
Works of New Britain, Conn., and New York City. After twelve years with
this company he and his brother. iUirt I'. .McKinnie, bought a ranch near
Loup City, Nebr., whither Carle '!". removed and engaged in farming and
stock raising for five years. During this time he was interested with land
development in the Grand valley district in Colorado, his experience there
leading him and his associates to take up the same line of work on a broader
-cale in Tehachapi, Kern county. He made his way hither in 1910 and located
in Tehachapi, where with his associates he bought sixteen hundred acres
of land adjoining the town, organizing the Tehachapi Fruit & Land Company.
Tncor])i rated, of which Mr. McKinnie is now the president and manager,
and under his direction the company have placed their holdings under irriga-
tion by means of pumping plants and have sold one thousand acres, five hun-
dred of which have been set to Bartlett pears and winter varieties of apples,
.As fast as possible the remainder is being planted not only to pears and apples,
but also to currants, sour cherries and crab-apples, for which the soil and
climate of the Tehachapi country is especially adapted.

Tn 1909 Mr. McKinnie was married to Miss \\'inifred Lnis Leach, a
native of Oakdale. Neb., and they have one child, Thomas Carle. Fraternally
he is a member of Webster Groves Lodge No. 84. F. & .\. M.. of St. Louis,
and he is also a member of Colorado Commandery. Military Order of the Loyal
Legion. Politically he is a Republican.

ALBERT W. MARION. — Tn generations past the southern representa-
tives of the Marion familv displaved the hospitalitv. chivalrv and courtesy
characteristic of their section of the country. Later identification with the
north srave to them the enerev and protrressive spirit tvnical of the neonle
of that re.srion. The founder of the familv north of Mason's and Dixon's line
was Moses Marion, a native of North Carolina and a soldier in the war of
1812. Some years after his marriaee and after the birth of his son. John,
he took the familv to Indiana and settled near Lafavette. Tinpecam'e conntv.
in the vicinity of the historic battle srround embodied in the famous presi-
dential slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," so familiar to the frontiersmen
durins- the camnaign of William Henrv Harrison. In the state of Indiana were
passed the last davs of Moses Marion and his son Tohn, also there occurred
the death of the latter's wife, Margaret (Fisher) Marion, a native of Penn-


sylvania, descended from German ancestry, and from childhood a resident
of Indiana, her parents having been early settlers of that state. In her fam-
ily there were two sons, one of whom, Francis, is a resident of Missouri. The
other, Albert W., has made California his home since 1876. Born near
Lafayette, Ind., January 7, 1858, he passed the years of childhood at the old
home farm and in the neighboring schools. Upon the completion of the
common branches of study he entered Asbury University at Greencastle, Ind.,
and took the regular course, graduating in the spring of 1876. Immediately
afterward he came to California and settled first in Tulare county, but after
clerking there for a short time he came to Bakersfield in the autumn of 1876
and ever since has been identified with the interests of Kern county.

After six months of employment in the Long Tom mine, Mr. Marion be-
came a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad between Sumner (later
known as Kern) and Tulare, also from Tulare to Lathrop. Three years later
he was promoted to be conductor on the same line and continued as such
until 1888, when he resigned to engage in the hotel business in Kern, becom-
ing manager of the old Central house on the present site of the Metropole. As
manager he proved obliging, efficient and popular. During the fall of 1894
on the Republican ticket he was elected justice of the peace of the third town-
ship of Kern county and in January, 1895. he took the oath of office and
assumed the duties of the position. Since then he has been successively re-
elected in 1898, 1902, 1906 and 1910, the last time having no opposition what-
ever, a fact that bears testimony as to the tactful, wise and impartial nature
of his decisions. Throughout the entire period of his service he has main-
tained his office in East Bakersfield and when this community relinquished
its former name of Kern and became a part of Bakersfield he maintained a
deep interest in the plan. In his official capacity he has- proved himself
capable of discharging the complicated duties as a justice. While he
never studied for the law he has picked up a varied and important assortment
of legal knowledge and. had he entered the profession, easily would have
risen to prominence. It can be stated of him without cgntradiction that rarely
if ever have his decisions been reversed in the higher courts. After coming
to California he married in Stockton Mrs. Augusta (Garner) Welsh, who was
born in Illinois, but at the age of three weeks was taken by her parents from
the old home, the family then starting upon the journey across the continent
to the western coast. Fraternally Mr. Marion holds membership with the
Benevolent Protective ( )rder of Elks. Acti^•e in Odd Fellows' work, he served
for several terms as noble grand of Bakersfield Lodge No. 202 and also has
been honored with office in the Bakersfield Encampment.

WILLIAM A. WILLIAMS.— It is not alone the cities that attract men of
enterprise and business ingenuity, but in addition the country itself is not
lacking in opportunities commercial as well as agricultural, and a realization
of this truth has led the firm of Williams Bros, into mercantile enterprises
in a region somewhat remote from the main civic centers of the San Joaquin
valley. After having given careful consideration to the subject the brothers,
William A. and Elmer E., opened the Greenfield grocery on the 1st of July,
1909, selecting as their headquarters a rural building on Union avenue about
eight miles south of Bakersfield. The structure of 20x38 was erected in 1909.
since which time it has been well filled with a stock representing an invest-
ment of about $2,000 and including both groceries and general merchandise.
Besides the four horses which the proprietors find necessary to the manage-
ment of their growing business, they use an auto truck and make four trips
to Bakersfield each week in the interests of their increasing trade.

The senior member of the firm. William A. \\'illianis, was born at Orwell,
\ t., December 19. 1879, while the younger brother is a native son of this state
and was liorn at P.akersfield September 1. 1888, their father. Samuel .\.



Williams, having been a pioneer i^if the San Joaquin valley. Klsewhere in
this volume appears mention of that early settler and honored citizen.
Both sons were educated in Kern county and represent the enterprise, thrift
and progressive spirit typical of the west. Both have given their allegiance to
the Democratic i)arty and uniformly support measures for the benefit of
their county. Fraternally \\'illiam A. is one of the leading local members of
the Woodmen of the World. During December of 1904 he was united in mar-
riage with Miss Mary Tonini, a native of San Luis Obispo. Cal., and a
daughter of M. and Eliza Tonini. Their union has been blessed with two
daughters, Margaret and Hazel.

BENJAMIN CLAIBOURN VAUGHN.— The fact that his father, David
X'aughn, a Kentuckian by birth, was wounded while serving in the Thirty-
third Indiana \'olunteer Infantry during the Civil war and later died in Libby
prison, obliged Ilenjaniin C. Vaughn to aid in the cultivation nf the home
farm at an early age. Hence his education was meager and his opportunities
limited. In his native county of Shelby, Ind., where he was born in 1860, he
remained until thirty-one years of age, meanwhile gaining a thorough knowl-
edge of general farming as conducted in that locality. In youth his services
were of great value to his mother, who was a native of Ohio and had borne
the maiden name of Lucy A. Peake. After he married he left
the home farm and rented a tract in the same county, where for about fifteen
ensuing years he endured the adversities and enjoyed the successes that char-
acterize the life of a grain farmer. From there he removed to California in
1891 and two }-ears later settled near Uakersfield. Kern county, where at first
he bought only twenty acres in the \\'eed Patch and used the first water out
of the Eastside canal after it was built. On this land he began raising alfalfa,
and later traded the land for eighty acres at Jeweta. In addition to raising
alfalfa he also followed general contracting, leveling land and building canals
and reservoirs for about ten 3'ears. In 1906 he purchased his present place of
four hundred and eight}- acres, which was then raw land. In the meantime he
has sunk wells and installed pumping plants which furnish six hundred and
fifty miner's inches of water. He now has four hundred acres in alfalfa, yield-
ing five crops a year, which is baled and shipped to the Los Angeles market.
Mr. Vaughn was a pioneer in the installation of large pumping plants for
irrigation, and for the first five years used electric power (ultimately using
eighty-four horse power), but when increased rates made this prohibitive he
installed two gas engines of forty-five and sixty horse power respectively.
This arrangement gives him a pumping plant on each half of the ranch. The
ranch is located five miles west of Bakersfield, while the shipping station is
at Jastro, half a mile away. While a specialty is made of alfalfa, sufficient
stock is also raised for the needs of the farm.

Very early in life Mr. Vaughn established domestic ties. His marriage
in Indiana C)ctober 26, 1879, united him with Miss Martha \'iola Nelson, a
native of the Hoosier state and a daughter of Leander E. and Ann (Allen)
Nelson, natives of Indiana, the former deceased, and the latter still living in
that state. To the union of Air. and Mrs. \^aughn seven children were born,
as follows : Hattie, who married Charles Ballinger and is living in East
Bakersfield; Earlene, Mrs. John H. Morgan, of Pasadena, who died in August,
1912; Ida and Ira, twins; Rachel, the wife of Oscar McKinney, of Covina, who
is aiding in the management of the farm ; Mary, also on the home farm ; and
Cecil, the youngest of the family and a prize-winner in the seventh-grade
examinations. The greatest happiness of their lives Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn
have found in their children and it has been a matter of grave concern to so
educate and train them that they may be qualified for the duties of life. The
family are identified with the Christian Church at Bakersfield and for years
have been generous contributors to the upbuilding of that congregation.


Aside from the management of his farm and the enjoyment of his home, Mr.
Vaughn has found leisure to aid in movements for the permanent prosperity
of the county and has been an interested participant in public-spirited pro-
jects. At this writing he serves as game commissioner, an office that he has
filled for some years in the past. Politically he has voted with the Republican
party ever since he cast his first ballot upon attaining his majority. Fraternal
relations with the Ancient Order of United \Vorkmen, entered into many
years ago, have been continued up to the present time. Meanwhile twice he
has been chosen master of the local lodge, besides which he now belongs to
the grand lodge of the state.

WALTER J. BURKE.— On a farm in the foothills of the Greenhorn
mountain, where his parents, Daniel and Mary (Vickers) Burke, were improv-
ing a claim and pre-empting a homestead, VV. J. Burke was born, March 7.
1865. His father, Daniel, was born in county Mayo in 1826 and passed his
youth upon an Irish farm. With the hope of benefiting his con-
dition by coming to the new world, in 1849 he crossed the ocean and
settled in Sheffield, Mass., where he learned the trade of brickmaker. Dur-
ing 1853 he came to California via the Nicaragua route and at once went
to the mines of Sierra county. With the exception of eighteen months in the
mines of British Columbia, he spent his remaining years in California. On
his return from the northern mines he took up land in Tulare county near
Woodville and began to raise stock.

Immediately after his arrival in Kern county in 1864 Daniel ISurke took
up land on Greenhorn mountain, where he acquired three hundred and twenty
acres and engaged in raising grain, vegetables and stuck, selling all the
products of the farm at the neighboring mines. By degrees he liecame fairly
prosperous and at his death, which occurred August 8, 1900, he was counted
among the large land-owners of his locality. In June of 1862 he had married
A4iss JVIary Vickers, who was born in Adams county, 111., and in 1860 crossed
the plains with her parents in a wagon drawn by oxen, the family settling in
Tulare county. Her death occurred in Kern cuunty December 20, 1903. Six
children had been born of her marriage, the eldest being Mrs. Margaret Fritz,
of Ripon, San Joaquin county. The second, Walter J., forms the subject of
this review.- The others are as follows: Daniel, a farmer living near Bakers-
field; Mrs. Celia ^Vilkers^n. of liakersfield; William, who is practicing law
in Portland, Ore. ; and X'incent, a resident of San Jose.

In order that he might enjcy educational advantages not possible in the
vicinity of the mountain farm, Walter J. Burke was sent to Los Angeles and
for two years was a student in St. Vincent's College, then located on Sixth
and Hill streets. Upon his return to the farm he began to take a very active
part in its supervision, besides pre-empting one hundred and sixty acres near
the old homestead and later buying adjacent property from time to time as
his means permitted. Meanwhile he had married at Porterville, February 15,
1892, Miss Sarah Gill, a native of county Mayo, Ireland, and a capable assist-
ant in his enterprises. Mrs. Burke came to New York City in 1880 with a
sister, Mrs. Conway, and in 1890 came with her to California. Her father,
James (lill, a farmer in Mayo, died there. Her mother, Nora Variey. is still
living on the old farm at an advanced age. F.vcntually Walter Burke held the
title to one thousand acres on Greenhorn and this was utilized for stock
range or grain-raising. For years he made a specialty of raising cattle and
horses and in this line of work his judgment was so keen that he prospered
to an unusual degree. During 1908 he built a residence at No. 402 A street,
Bakersfield, and in I^^IO he sold out the stock, disposed of some of the range
and closed out- his farming interests, although he still owns three hundred
and twenty acres at the old place. In addition he owns one hundred acres
eight miles south of Bakersfield under the Kern Island canal and this lie



leases to a tenant, the land being under cultivation to alfalfa and grain. In-
cluded in his city holdings are a frontage of one hundred and fifty feet on
Nineteenth and A streets, improved with three cottages, and a frontage of
equal size on Chester avenue and Twenty-third street, occupied by three
business houses. Property at Princeton; San Mateo county, also is held by
him, and his interests are further enlarged through his jjosition as president
of the Apartment House lUiilding Company in Los Angeles, of wliich he is
a large stockholder. He also built and owns the Panama apartment building
on Second and Flower streets in that city. .\11 of his seven children are at
home, namely: Mary. Nora. Teresa, James, Catherine. Margaret and Walter.
The family are leading members < f St. Francis' Catholic Churcji and he has
been prominently identified with the Knights nf Cdlumlnis. In national elec-
tions he sii]ipiirts the Democratic partv.

JOSEPH LLEWELYN EVANS.— A narrative of the life of Mr. Evans
takes us in its early records across the ocean to the rugged lands of Wales,
where his ancestors had lived and labored for uncounted generations and
where the family held a position of great influence in their community. For
years his father. Benjamin Evans, engaged in mercantile undertakings and
general farming in the shire of Cajmarthen, and here the son Joseph L. was
born January 4, 1865. He began to attend the public schools at an early age
and afterward studied in Emlyn Academy, from which institution he was
graduated in 1883 with a high standing in all of his studies. Immediately
after leaving the academy he began to study civil engineering with Davies &
Davies, a prominent engineering firm with headquarters at Aberystwyth,
Cardigan, Wales, and for several years had charge of their branch ofifice at
Lampeter, a flourishing town situated on the border line of Cardigan and

Meanwhile ha\ing read much concerning America and belic\'ing that it
would be possible for him to secure greater success as a civil engineer in the
new world than in the old. Mr. Evans resigned his position in Wales and
during 1888 crossed the ocean to the LTnited States. During the following
Tiine years he made Racine. Wis., his headquarters. His first employment was
with the government as civil engineering inspector of improvements on Lake
Michigan. During 1890-91 he took a postgraduate course in the University
of W^isconsin at Madison and upon his return to Racine entered upon the
duties of city engineer, which ofifice he held by apjjointment or election for
six years. During 1897 he came to California upon a leave of absence and,
traveling through the state, he became so greatly impressed with the possi-
bilities of the west that he sent back his resignation as city engineer of Racine.

The discovery of gold in Alaska caused Mr. Evans to make a tour of that
country. During the early part of 1898 he went to Kotzebue Sound, north
of the Arctic Circle in the Arctic Ocean, having sailed through Bering Straits,
this point being so remote that few explorers penetrated beyond it. Two
winters were spent in the north ]5ros|)ecting and ex])loring the country. Upon
his return to California in 1000 Mr. Evans came to Bakersfield and secured a
position in the office of the city engineer and county surveyor. Four months
later he was appointed city engineer, which ofifice he filled by successive

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 62 of 177)