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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 67 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 67 of 177)
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Goose Lake channel of Kern ri\er. The new property responded to his
efforts for profitable cultivation. Crops of grain were remunerative. Stock-
raising brought to him considerable success. Dairying, in which he embarked
during IS'O.t, also proved a success. .Alfalfa, several crops of which were
cut each year, furnished an abundance of hay for the stock. With the profits
of a few seasons he felt justified in buying one hundred and sixty acres three
and one-half miles north of Wasco and this tract has been put in an excellent
state of cultivation. .\ well seventy-five feet deep is operated by a pumping
plant with a ten-horse electric motor, providing a flow of water from fifty to
sixty inches, sufficient to furnish an abundance of water for the irrigation
for a quarter-section. During 1911 Mr. Taussig moved to his Wasco ranch,
but he still continues to manage the odier place.

The marriage of Mr. Taussig took place at Santa Ana, Cal., December 20,
1886. and united him with Miss Edith Siegfried, who was born in Waterloo,
N. Y., April 27, 1862. She was the daughter of Henry and Mary (Poorman)
Siegfried, natives of New York. Mr. Siegfried came to California via Cape
Horn in 1849, landing at San Francisco, and for some years he followed
mining. After a stay of eight years in the West he returned to New York,
where he was married and there he followed farming until his death in 1870.
Mrs. Taussig's mother, now Mrs. M. A. Hotaling, resides in Orange county.



608 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

Cal. Mrs. Taussig was educated in Syracuse, N. Y., and came to Santa Ana
in 1882. She is the mother of six children, as follows : Perla E., wife of T. T.
Miller of Wasco; James W., who has been educated in public schools and
the Heald's Business College at Riverside ; Leona, Nathan, Theodore and
Billie G.

ROBERT LEE SCOTT.— The Lakeview No. 2 Oil Company, of which
Mr. Scott acts as superintendent, operates a lease of eighty acres situated
on section 4, township 11, range 23, and is financed by the following officers
and directors: Clarence H. White, president; Floyd G. White, secretary; and
W. W. Wickersham, treasurer, the three gentlemen named being capitalists
residing in Los Angeles. The identification of Mr. Scott with the company
dates from February, 1911, and since December of the same year he has filled
the position of superintendent, in which capacity he has proved efficient,
energetic and resourceful, a thoroughly dependable man for a position of
great responsibility. When first he entered the employ of the company he
took charge of the drilling of their well No. 2 situated on section 26, town-
ship 32, range 24. This well has a depth of forty-five hundred and fifty-five
feet and is excelled in depth by only one other rotary well in the entire
country, namely : well No. 4, of the Lakeview Annex C3il Company, located
on section 26, township 32, range 24, which has a depth of forty-nine hundred
feet. Well No. 2, drilled by Mr. Scott, came in January 23, 1913, with a
record of twenty-six hundred barrels as a gusher and is still a most valuable
proposition, pumping six hundred barrels per day of twenty-four hours, and
furnishing oil of twenty-six to twenty-seven degrees gravity. Eighteen men
are employed on the lease, which presents an appearance of prosperous activ-
ity and profitable operation.

Ever since the excitement caused by oil discovery in the Spindletop
region in Texas Mr. Scott has been closely connected with the oil industry.
All of his life has been spent in the south and west, where prior to his'
identification with his present business he had been employed as a structural
iron worker. A member of an old southern family, he was born at Lost
Prairie, Miller county, Ark., March 19, 1879, and was the fourth and youngest
child of William B. and Emily Eliza (Evans) Scott, natives respectively of
Virginia and Louisiana. The father, who migrated to Louisiana in early life,
there met and married Miss Evans and later removed to Arkansas, where he
became well-known locally as an expert judge of stock. About the time that
his youngest child was born he was killed by being thrown from a horse. His
widow afterward continued to reside in Arkansas, where in a few years she
again married ; her death occurred at Texarkana in December of 1904. Three
sons survive her and a daughter died in childhood. The eldest son, John
Harrison Scott, is engaged in farming at Texarkana, Tex., and the second son,
William B., Jr., is employed as a structural iron worker in St. Louis. The
youngest child, Robert Lee, who has always been known as Lee Scott, passed
the years of boyhood at Texarkana, Ark., where the family moved shortly
after the accidental death of the father. A difference of opinion with his step-
father caused him to leave home at the age of thirteen, in 1892, and since then
he has been self-supporting. For two years he worked on a farm about thirty-
five miles from Texarkana, but agriculture was not congenial to him and he
was glad to turn from it to general work in a mechanical line, being engaged
in saw-mills, shingle-mills and planing-mills as a mechanic. From that he
drifted into structural iron work.

The owners of the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Works in Leaven-
worth, Kan., were at that time extensively engaged in bridge construction
through the middle west and Mr. Scott found employment with one of their
construction gangs. For two years he was employed in building a bridge on
the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf (now the Kansas City-Southern) Railroad



HISTORY OF KERX COUNTY 609

across the Red river and later he worked on the South Canadian bridge at
Sapulpa. in the Indian Territory. With his employers he worked in various
parts of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma as a bridge-builder. At the outbreak
of the Spanish-American war he resigned his position and enlisted at Little
Rock, Ark., in Company L, First Regiment of Arkansas Infantry, but at the
expiration of five months he was honorably discharged, there being no need
of his regiment at the front. Returning to the structural iron line of work,
he continued in the south and was employed on the North Washataw bridge
at Ravia in the Indian Territory at the time of the excitement in the Spindle-
top region. Leaving the work in which he had been so notably successful, he
embarked in the oil business. March 10, 1900, he began to work at Beaumont
and Sjjindletop. During December of the same year he turned his attention
to drilling in the Spindletop field. There he helped to bring in three gushers.
Leaving that field in 1902, he went to Evangeline, La., as a driller and super-
intendent of production. Upon returning to Texas he continued as a driller.
About that time he made the acquaintance of the lady whom he married,
February 22, 1904, at Houston, Tex., and who was Mrs. Mary Hill, daughter
of John Manning, of Alabama. By her first marriage Mrs. Scott had one child,
Mayna, who is now a student in St. Augustine's Academy at Fresno.

As owner of a one-half interest in two drilling rigs, with J. W. Boynton,
of Beaumont, Tex., as a partner, Mr. Scott took ctintracts for drilling in
a number of fields and made considerable money at such work. Unfor-
tunately he and Mr. Boynton invested their means in a venture that lost
each of them $8,000 or more, the two wells which they drilled proving
to be unproductive. Later Mr. Scott engaged in drilling for the larger
companies on the Gulf coast of Texas, but in 1906 returned to his previous
location at Saratoga and secured employment as a fireman and pumper.
During October, 1910, he came from Texas to California and established
himself in the Sunset field, where in addition to serving as superintendent
of one of the prominent companies he has acquired an enviable reputation
as one of the best rotary drillers in the west. A portion of his time has been
given to contract drilling and he has drilled four important wells on the
leases of the Pacific Midway, Obispo and Brookshire Oil Companies.

ELONZO P. DAVIS,— The call of the frontier brought the Davis family
by gradual migration and with several sojourns in the intervening territory,
from the plantations of old Virginia, where they became established during
the colonial era, to the coast of the Pacific ocean. The head of the house
at the time of the removal to California was Isham Turner Davis, born near
Lebanon, Wilson county, Tenn., but a pioneer farmer of Arkansas from a
period antedating the struggle with Mexico. In that war he bore an hon-
orable part and during the battle of Vera Cruz, serving under the illustrious
general, Zachary Taylor, he received a severe vi^ound in the leg. Upon the
declaration of peace and the discharge of the army he returned to his
Arkansas farm, where for many years he continued the arduous struggle for
a livelihood. Meanwhile he had married Aliss Mary A. Farley, a native of
East Tennessee and a member of an old Virginia family. It became
increasingly more and more difficult to earn a livelihood for their large
family on their farm, so their thoughts turned longingly toward the west.
Finally, during 1869, they started across the plains via Texas, New Mexico
and Arizona, loading their necessary equipment in wagons and using
oxen for motive power. The son, Elonzo P., was at that time a youth
of about sixteen years, strong, willing and industrious. With a kind heart
and willing spirit he often stood guard at night in place of older members
of the party whose turn it was for such a task and he recalls vividly the
loneliness of those occasions and the anxiety caused by the least noise of
unusual portent. One cold, rainy night a strange noise put every nerve on



610 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

tension. Twice he called, but i-eceived no answer. Then he fired. The
next morning when an investigation was made the body of a large wolf
was found. Fortunately the Indians did not attack them at any time during
the long journey. From 1869 until 1871 the family lived at El Monte and
from that time until 1876 they made their home in Kern county, but in
the year last-named the father, accompanied by all of the family excepting
a daughter and Elonzo P., went back to Arkansas, only to return to the
west in 1883 and settle again in Kern county, where he died in 1900 at the
age of eighty-seven. Here also occurred the demise of his wife.

In the family of Isham Turner Davis there were eight children who
reached maturity, Elonzo P. having been the second among these. The
eldest, William H., is a mining man at Rosamond, Kern county. Two
daughters, Mrs. .\ddie Egan and Airs. Alollie Purcell, are widows living in
Bakersfield. Mrs. Sarah Houston resides in Los Angeles and Lucetta, Mrs.
Martin Pettis, is a resident of Bakersfield. The youngest sons are John
Edward and Robert Lee, the latter a resident of Rosamond, while the
former, who lives in Bakersfield, is operating oil land on the west side
in the McKittrick field. During early boyhood Elonzo P. Davis attended
subscription schools in Arkansas. When the family crossed the plains he
was able to do a man's work and proved of the greatest assistance in bring-
ing the hazardous trip to a safe consummation. While living at El Monte
he earned a livelihood by teaming and working on a farm. November
of 1871 found him in Kern county, where he since has made his home. He
had lived here but a short time when the county-seat question came up
before the people and at election time he rode mule-back through Bear
vallej' and Tehachapi, carrying tickets for voting as well as the other neces-
sities of the election. Both before and after the return of his father to
Arkansas he engaged in teaming to the mountains and into Inyo county,
using twelve or fourteen mules to two wagons.

Ever since the autumn of 1881 Mr. Davis has engaged in the livery
business in Bakersfield. For the first two years he carried on the Over-
land stable located on Eighteenth near K street. Next he bought the old
Dexter barn on Nineteenth between L and M streets. After having managed
that stable for almost seven years he sold out and soon afterward the
liarn was destroyed by fire. Meanwhile he had purchased the old French
stable, but when the Dexter was rebuilt on Nineteenth between M and N
streets, he leased the place and for more than twenty years conducted a
livery business at that location. During February of 1910 he leased the
Union stable on K and Twenty-first streets and since then he has conducted
here a large business in his line.

Politically a Democrat, Mr. Davis has maintained a warm interest in
local and national issues. During a service of nine years as a member of
the board of education he assisted in raising the standard of the graded
schools and putting them into excellent condition for permanent helpfulness.
For four years he served as city marshal of Bakersfield. His comfortable
home in Bakersfield is presided over by Mrs. Davis, formerly Miss Margaret
Hope Taylor, who is a native of Virginia and a member of an old and
cultured family of that commonwealth. About 1879 she was brought to
California by her father, J. C. Taylor, who settled in Kern county and
engaged in general farming. In this county she received her education and
here she became the wife of Mr. Davis. They are the parents of five chil-
dren. Myrtle, Elonzo P., Jr., Pearl, Marvin and Erna. In young girlhood
Mrs. Davis became identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

ANTON THORAND.— Born in Germany, May 14, 1863, Mr. Thorand is
a son of Joseph and Mary (Hanke) Thorand, the latter of whom was born in
rjermany and died in Illinois. The father brought his family to .\merica'whcn



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 613

Anton was but four years of age, and they located in Trenton. Clinton count}',
111., where he has ever since made his home. He was the father of ten children,
of whom :;ix are now living, Anton being the youngest son.

Anton Thorand was reared in Trenton, and received but meager educa-
tional advantages, being obliged early in life, when but a lad, to go to work in
the coal mines in that vicinity. This work he followed until 1889, when he
came west and on October 7 or 8, 1897, arrived at Bakersfield, where he en-
tered the employ of the Sumner Water Company, under Simon \V. W'ible.
He began work at the bottom as a general hand, by his diligent and attentive
labor receiving rapid promotion, and in July, 1898, he was made foreman for
the company. He superintended the laying of the pipes and mains (and there
were miles of mains and pipe laid) and gave close attention to the plant until
it was sold to the Bakersfield Water Company. As he was one of the organ-
izers of the present company, Mr. Thorand was elected vice-president of the
board of directors as well as superintendent, and in this capacity he has taken
an active part in building the new plant, which they immediately proceeded
to do. Five new wells were sunk, these }ielding them more than ample supply
for all present needs; three new electric pumping stations have l:)een installed,
giving a service that has become appreciated by the consumers, and that, too.
of a splendid quality of water; and it has all been constructed on the plan
that it can be easih- enlarged as the population grows and there is greater
demand. .A. storage system is arranged by means of a reservoir with a capac-
ity of over two million gallons, constructed on the heights above East Bakers-
field. Since the installation of the new plant there has been more activity in
building operations in East Bakersfield from the fact that the citizens became
convinced that they could be assured < f adequate water supply and a good
system for same. Politically Mr. Thorand is a Republican.

WILLIAM J. SCHULTZ.— On the paternal side he is .if Teutonic
origin, while the Genaud family were of French lineage, and in his own
mentality may be seen the attributes of both nationalities, supplemented
by traits distinctively American. His father, Frederick F., a native of Ger-
many, but from young manhood a resident of Ohio and for many years a
contractor and builder, is now living retired in Cincinnati, where the wife
and mother died in May of 1901. Of the five children comprising the family,
William J. was born at Mount Carmel, Clermont county, Ohio, March 23,
1879. received his education in Cincinnati, where he lived from the age of
six years until after he had attained man's estate. Upon leaving school he
became a clerk in a grocery and for three years continued in that business.

Coming to California and to Bakersfield during 1901. Mr. Schultz pro-
ceeded direct to the Kern river field and secured employment as a roustabout.
The exercise of ability brought him merited promotion. As a tool-dresser
he proved efficient, as a driller he made good, and in a short time he rose to be
superintendent of a company, where as in the less important posts of duty
he displayed energy, discrimination and sagacity. At the time of his arrival
in the Sunset field Jewell & Blodsrett owned the principal interests, but the
north end of the field was entirely undeveloped and the importance of the
district as an oil center was not realized by the mo.st optimistic residents.
The Maricopa Oil Company owned forty acres lying in the southwest quar-
ter of section 1. 12-23. and out of this tract they leased seventeen acres to the
Gate Citv Oil Company, which later bought the land and platted the town
site of Maricopa. As early as 1903 an extension of the Sunset Railroad had
been built to Monarch (practicallv the nucleus of Maricopa), but it was not
until some time afterward that the seventeen acres on section 1 were platted
and sold. Upon the incorporation of Maricona in 1910 other lands were
included in +he town site, so that now the town lies on sections 1.2. 11 and 12.
township 12. range 23. Even as early as 1902 Mr. Schultz wa^ familiar with



614 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

the tract where the present city stands. The possibility of oil discoveries had
led him to this locality. For some time he had engaged with a firm of contract
drillers. The first well that he drilled for the Maricopa Oil Company came in
as a gusher and this led to his appointment as superintendent and general
manager of the lease. Later he became interested in the property.

, In 1906 a corporation known as the Maricopa Road Oil and Development
Company was organized with the late Capt. F. F. Weed as secretary and
Mr. Schultz as general manager. Four wells were drilled, all proving to be
good producers. In the fall of 1908 the Maricopa Road Oil and Development
Company sold out to the Gate City Oil Company. The two gentlemen worked
together in the utmost harmony and with the most satisfactory results and
acquired six hundred and forty acres of land in the gusher belt of the Midway
field. The title to this land is held in the name of the Maricopa Investment
Company, with Mr. Schultz as manager, while in addition he is manager of
the Maple Leaf, Luxor and Maricopa Oil Companies, operating on the same
section, namely: 22, 32-24.

WALLACE MELVIN MORGAN.— Mr. Morgan was born in De Soto,
Johnson County, Kan., April 21, 1868. His father was Nelson Wallace
Morgan, a native of New York, whose forebears had been residents of New
York and the New England states since 1620. His mother was Jeanet Storms,
also born in New York, of English-Dutch ancestry. They were married in
Michigan, of which state both their families were pioneers, and moved
to Kansas during the time when that territory was the principal battleground
in the contest over the extension or restriction of slavery. When the Civil
War began. Nelson ^^^ ■Morgan enlisted in the First Kansas Infantry and
served through the war. Except for a visit of a few months to her parents
in Michigan, his wife, with three young children, remained in De Soto, a
little town a few miles east of Lawrence, directly in the path of the guerilla
bands that terrorized Eastern Kansas in the days when nearly all the
able-bodied men of that section were fighting the larger battles in the
East and South. In 1870 Nelson W. Morgan moved his family to Marshall
County, Kan., where he took up a homestead close to the town of Irving,
and a few years later moved to the latter place, where he conducted a wagon-
making shop during the remainder of his active life.

The subject of this sketch grew up in Irving and was educated in the
public school of that place with a few months' additional instruction in a
little college at Holton. Kan. L"p to the time he was twenty-one, outside
of the months he spent in school, he worked on farms in the summer, chopped
wood in winter, quarried rock, worked in a railroad grading camp, lived a
generally vigorous out-door life, and acquired a greater or less degree of
proficiency in several of the building trades to which his early intimacy
with the wagon-making shop had afforded him a natural introduction.

In December, 1889, crops and the general business and industrial outlook
in Kansas being uniformly bad, Morgan, then just past twenty-one years of
age, followed the family instinct to go West, and bought a ticket to Bakers-
field, Cal. After six months spent on a Rosedale raisin vineyard, he went
to Miramonte in the artesian belt in the northern part of the county, where
he hoiuesteaded a quarter-section of land, farmed and raised a little livestock
until Tune, 1902, when he bought the Delano Record and moved to that place.

Meantime, on February 18, 1896, he was married to Frances Howard
Raymond, a native of San Francisco, daughter of George A. Raymond and
Mary Hatch Raymond. Mr. Raymond is a son of one of the early California
pioneers and a descendant, through his mother's family, of Abraham Howard,
who came to New England in 1722. One of Mrs. Raymond's ancestors was
Capt. Thomas White, one of the original settlers of Weymouth and a resident
of Plymouth in 1635. After a nine-months' apprenticeship in country jour-




(ThJ



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 619

nalism in which both Mr. and Mrs. Morgan learned enough about the
art preservative to get out a little weekly paper without assistance at any
stage of its manufacture, they came to Bakersfield, where Mr. Morgan took
a place on the newsgathering staf¥ of the Morning Echo.

Since April, 1903, Mr. Morgan has been continuously with the Morning
Echo. In the summer of 1904 S. C. Smith, editor and principal owner of the
Echo, began a successful campaign for election to Congress, and delegated
to the subject of this sketch the duty of editorial writing. Since that time,
with one or two intermissions of two or three weeks each, nearly all of the
editorials in the Echo have been his work. In addition he filled the position
of citv editor for a part of the time, and at all times has been one of the
paper's general newsgatherers. Since Air. Smith's death in January, 1913,
the editorial direction of the paper has been in his hands.

Mr. and Mrs. Morgan have one daughter, Frances, liurn in liakersfield
on September 6, 1903.

ALEXIS FLAGG LOWELL.— The family of which Alexis 1>. Lowell
is a member comes of English extraction and exhibits the qualities inherent
in that race. The initial period of American development found the name
transplanted to the soil of New England, where a number of genera-
tions has lived and labored and where it is still worthily represented by
men of intelligence and patriotism. Genealogical records show that John
Lowell devoted his entire life to agriculture in New England, His son,
William, a native of Olney, Me., learned the trade of ship carpenter in youth
and for years engaged in the occupation, together with that of farming.
Late in life he joined his sons in California and died in Bakersfield. By his
marriage to Mary Tyler, a native of Maine, he became the father of six sons,
of whom Wilmot, Danville and William Harrison died in Bakersfield, which
city is still the home of John and Alexis Flagg. The only son who remained
in the east was Henry H., who died in Boston, November 20, 1912.

The youngest of the sons, Alexis, was born at Concord, Me., November
19, 1846, and attended schools in his native township, where also at an early
age he acquired a thorough knowledge of farm duties. An older brother,
VVilmot, had come to California about 1862, and in 1873 he joined him here.
For two years he engaged in the sheep industry near Hollister with that
brother. During 1875 they removed the flock to Kern county and estab-
lished their headquarters at Bakersfield. Here for a year or two they were
exceptionally successful. Their flocks grazed on the Greenhorn mountains
and along the plains, where an abundance of pasturage was to he found.



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 67 of 177)