Copyright
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 69 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 69 of 177)
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pation. The latter moved across the line from Cambria county into Clearfield
county and spent his last days at Burnside, where still lives the aged mother,
Mary Jane (Patrick) Beringer. There were seven children in the family,
namely: Milton Dallas; George Elmore; Porter Jesse, a machinist now
employed at Tyrone, Pa. ; A. L., an assistant to his eldest brother in the Kern
river oil field; John Oscar, a farmer, who remains at the old Pennsylvania
homestead ; Charles ; and Olie, the widow of Clarence McAleese and a resi-
dent of Parsborough, Nova Scotia. The youngest son, Charles, was acci-
dentally killed in 1906 at a railroad crossing in Pittsburg, Pa. ; he left a wife
but no children.

While yet a mere l)oy M. D. Beringer aided his father cm the home
farm and earned extra money as a helper in lumber camps. At the age of
fourteen years he secured employment as trimmer and edger with the
Empire Lumber and Mining Ct)mpany of Philadelphia. .After he had spent
four years with the same concei'n he went south to North Carolina and
secured work as a lumberman in Mitchell cnuntv, where he met and mar-



630 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

ried Miss Callie Franklin, daughter of the late Andrew Franklin, of Elk-
park, Mitchell county. Two years were spent in that locality and he
then removed to Little River, Blount county, Tenn., where he remained
for four years in the employ of a lumber company. From Tennessee in
1907 he came to California and settled in the Kern river oil field. With-
out delay he was able to secure a position as engineer with a natural gas
engine used in the Central Point division of the Associated Oil Company
and he continued in that place until 1910, when he was chosen as foreman
of the waterworks system of the Kern River Oil Felds of California, Limited.
With his family, consisting of wife and four children, Charles D., George E.,
Margaret and Mabel, he is comfortably domiciled in the residence of the
superintendent.

DANIEL BOONE NEWELL. — From Kentucky many men have come
out to the West who have made their marks as citizens and public officials
and been factors in the general development of the community. One such
is Daniel Boone Newell, of Bakersfield, who bears the name of a distinguished
pioneer and has himself won a notable success in the home of his
adoption. He was born May 20, 1865, at Antioch Mills, Pendleton county,
Ky. His father, William Stich Newell, a native of Pennsylvania, was brought
to Pendleton county by his parents. There he became a prosperous farmer
and stockman and remained until 1889, when he took up land near Perkins,
Lincoln county, Okla., where he improved a farm on which he died aged
eighty-five years. He was descended remotely from Scotch ancestors. His
wife, before their marriage Miss Mary Williams, was born in Pendleton
county, Ky., and died while on a visit to Bakersfield when she was seventy-
two years old.

Of the eleven children comprising the parental family ten gi-ew to
manhood and womanhood. Daniel B., the seventh oldest, was early put to
work on a farm in Kentucky and had brief educational opportunities in public
schools, at the age of thirteen taking up the battle of life for himself. Lo-
cating in Hickman county, Ky., he worked there for an uncle until 1881.
when he went to Fort Worth, Tex., which town was then primitive and
without a railroad. There he engaged in farming and stock-raising and he
and his brother John bought land. They were quite successful and accum-
ulated considerable money, which they lost, however, by failure of a bank
in Fort Worth to which they had instrusted it. From Fort Worth Mr.
Newell went to Winfield, Kan., where he farmed until 1888, when he came
to California, without capital. He and a partner, Charles Hess, came to-
gether to Kern county, having only twenty-five cents between them. They
found employment with John Hendrickson as choppers of cord wood at $2
a cord. After they had completed a contract for five hundred cords Mr.
Newell found work in the bridge department of the Southern Pacific Railroad
Company, in which he was employed about four years. Then becoming a
citizen of Tehachapi, he followed carpentering during the first winter and
then he purchased the Cuddeback stable and ran it about one year, after
which he traded it for a farming outfit. For two years he engaged in
grain-raising on two sections of land, but both years proved dry and the
venture did not turn out successfully. In the meantime, in 1892, he had
been elected constable, in which capacity he served two years to the entire
satisfaction of all interested. For six years afterward he was the proprietor
of a feed yard at Garlock, and at the same time he tried mining on the desert
without success. In 1901 he located in Bakersfield. For a short time he
was employed in the work of the street department, and after that he was
for about four years a street car motorman. July 5, 1905, he was appointed
an officer on the city police force. In 1906 he was elected on the Republican



HISTORY Ui- KERiN LUUNTY 633

ticket as constable for the sixth judicial township of Kern, and in January,
iy07, he assumed the duties of the oftice. So able and so satisfactory was his
service that in 1910 he was re-elected to serve until January, 1915. Since
1903 he has tilled the office of deputy sheriff of Kern county. He was made
a Mason in Tehachapi Lodge No. 313, F. & A. M., and affiliates with the
U oodmen of the World and the Modern Woodmen of America. Mrs. Newell
is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and of L. O. T. M.

At Tehachapi Mr. Newell married Miss Kate Davis, a daughter of
James L. and Martha (Mofi'ett) Davis, and a native of Los Y^ngeles, Cal.
Her father, who was born in Missouri, moved to Arkansas and there married
^liss Aloffett, of Tennessee birth. They crossed the plains to California with
an o.x-team caravan in 1853, and he was for many years successful as a
builder in Los Angeles. He pursued the same business after his removal in
1882 to Bakerstield, where he and his wife both passed away. Of their ten
children Mrs. Newell was the third youngest. She was brought up at Bakers-
tield and educated in local public schools. She has borne her husband two
children, Roy and Elsa. Mr. Newell owns his comfortable residence at
No. 1015 I street. He is locally active in the work of the Republican party
and is a citizen of much public spirit.

CHESSMAN J. CHADWICK.— The remarkable development of the
oil industry in the Kern river fields may be attributed in large degree to
the energy and ability of the men connected therewith and not the least
important of these is Chessman J. Chadwick, whose first identification with
the business in Kern county dates back to the year 1901 and who now
fills a very responsible position as general foreman of the Columbian.
M. and S., and the Lorenzo Oil Companies, all located on section 29, town-
ship 28, range 28. In addition he has the foremanship of the Minnehaha
Water Company, legally organized as the Minnehaha Oil Company, whose
lease is located on section 19, township 28, range 28.

Shortly after the discovery of gold in the west Benjamin D. Chad-
wick left his eastern home and sailed around the Horn for California, where
he landed safely, but without means or friends. In order to secure funds
necessary for mining he became a sea-faring man and sailed on vessels
between San Francisco and Panama. Later he was a pioneer placer miner
in Yuba and Nevada counties. For seventeen years he made his home
in Nevada county. Rising to prominence in his chosen occupation, he was
elected president of the Sailor Flat Hydraulic Mining Company and con-
tinued to superintend the business policy of the organization until its
operations were discontinued by reason of the filling in of the Sacramento
river at that point. His death occurred in 1903. His widow, who bore the
maiden name of Mary A. Landing, resides in Hanford, Kings county, and
at the age of sixty-two is physically and mentally well preserved.

Out of a family of four sons and four daughters all are still living
except two sons. The eldest of the eight, Chessman J., was born in
Yuba county, Cal., June 11, 1869, and grew to manhood in Nevada City,
where he supplemented a country school education by a course of study
in Potter's Academy. When a mere boy he was accustomed to assist his
father in mining operations and at the age of sixteen he devoted his entire
time to placer and quartz mining. For two years he was employed in
the Sierra Butte mine at Sierra City and for some years he continued to
work in the mines of Nevada county. Later he leased a hydraulic proposi-
tion at Bloomfield and this he operated with considerable profit. When
oil was discovered at Coalinga, Fresno county, about seventeen years ago.
he went to that point and secured employment as a tool-dresser. Little
more than a year was spent in that place, after which he spent about the
same time in the Los Angeles oil fields, coming thence to Bakersfield in



634 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

1901 and engaging with a contractor to drill on the Sacramento lease.
Next he drilled on the Sterling and later continued as its foreman under
Messrs. Henderson and Martin. Six busy years were spent with the Sterl-
ing and when he resigned there he traveled through Nevada, visiting mines
of importance, among them those at Tonopah and Goldfield. Upon his
return to the Kern river fields in 1908 he immediately was appointed general
foreman of the Expansion and soon was promoted to be superintendent,
but when that organization was overtaken by the Traders he returned
to the foremanship and for the past few years has been retained in that
capacity by the Columbian, M. & S., and Lorenzo Oil Companies, also by
the Minnehaha Oil Company. Politically he votes the Republican ticket.

HON. PAUL W. BENNETT.— Rarely is there to be found in a com-
munity a man so deeply honored, so thoroughly respected or so generally
beloved as was the Hon. Paul W. Bennett, whose association with Bakers-
field covered the period from 1897 until June, 1913, when he passed from
his earthly labors. As Judge of the Superior Court of Kern county for
the past ten years, he had proved himself one of the state's ablest jurists,
commanding the attention of many outside of the county who frequently
called upon him to hear important cases away from Bakersfield and the
surrounding county.

Judge Bennett's birth occurred in Gloucester, Mass., in 1836, and had
he lived until June 12, 1913, he would have celebrated his seventy-seventh
birthday. His early days were passed in Canada, but as he grew ';p he
evinced a desire to see the west and accordingly sailed from Boston, round
the Horn, to San Francisco, whence he made his way to Sonoma county
and lived there a short time. Mining then attracted him and he went to
the mines and subsequently became a resident of the Owens River valley,
in order to investigate the country. When Inyo county was organized he
became an undersheriff, at which time the study of law was taking all of
his spare time. In 1868 he received the appointment of district attorney
of Inyo county and election by the people to a second term followed. Inde-
pendence had been his place of residence for some time, but he found it
expedient for him to go to Mono county, as he there formed a partnership
with the late Senator Pat Reddy, the firm of Reddy & Bennett becoming
well known throughout the entire mining sections of Nevada and California.
Through handling numerous mining suits Judge Bennett became an
acknowledged authority on mining law. In 1884 he went to Stockton to
practice his profession and there was associated at different times with J. C.
Campbell, David Terry and F. D. Nicol. His unusual ability was soon
recognized, he was elected district attorney, but retired after one term.

The year 1897 brought Judge Bennett to Bakersfield, where he formed
a partnership with the late J. W. Ahern. His reputation had preceded
him and his associations with the court work there brought him immedi-
ate attention; his clientele was large and his wise, unerring judgment was
sought by scores. With the creation of a second Superior Court depart-
ment Judge Bennett was named as judge by former Governor George C.
Pardee, and he remained on the bench continuously until his death.' He
was re-elected after a partial term and at a subsequent election he was
nominated by both political parties and chosen without opposition, which
was evidence of his popularity and the deep regard in which he was held
by his fellow citizens. Many important cases came under his hearing and
he presided over many notable ones, not the least of which was the great
irrigation suit in San Bernardino that had to do with the use of subter-
ranean water, and his decision in that case governs the use of such waters
throughout the state today.

Like many other strong public characters, Judge Bennett was not a



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 637

partisan, though a Republican of the old school. Nevertheless Democrats
and Republicans alike followed in his support and he was the friend and
associate of many of the foremost Democrats in the state.

Judge Bennett left a widow, who before her marriage was Sarah B.
Potter, a native of Maine. An only child, a daughter, passed away a few
years ago. Judge- Bennett was in fraternal circles a Knight Templar arid
a member of the Elks, and his associates in both bodies mourned the loss
of a loyal, high-minded and conscientious member. The loss to Bakersfield
was irreparable, to the county it proved to be deep and sorrowful, for the
judge was loved not alone for his ability and broad-mindedness, but for his
unselfishness and sweet, wholesome character.

JOHN HICKEY.— Only those familiar with the hardships and sacrifices
incident to the labors of a pioneer preacher can grasp with understanding
the record of the life of John Hickey, who while earning a livelihood in an-
other occupation labored with unwearied zeal as a local minister in the
Methodist Episcopal denomination. As early as 1868, while yet living in
Illinois, he was licensed as an exhnrter and there began the work which has
since become so dear to him. Upon coming to California he found great need
of such Christian work as he could ofl:'er and his was not the spirit to stand
aloof when the harvest was ripe and the laborers few.

Born in Ireland in 1848, John Hickey was brought to America by an aunt
in his childhood and settled in Illinois. There was nothing unusual in the
disposition of the boy except his love of study and determination to secure
a thorough education. With that object in view he worked at any honest
occupation oiTered and saved his earnings with the utmost frugality. After
he had finished the studies of the common schools at Godfrey, 111., he began
teaching and with the earnings he took a course in McKendree College at
Lebanon, same state, and later attended the university at Mount Pleasant,
Iowa. At the close of the sophomore year he left college and spent a year
in Kearne.v, Buffalo county, Neb., as principal of the city schools. From
there he came to California in 1875, and settled in Kern county. After teach-
ing school in Bear valley he spent three years teaching the Woody School,
Linns Valley district, then returned and taught for one year in Hear vallev
and for two years in Cummings valley. Meanwhile he had studied the soil
and had become convinced of its possibilities for agriculture, hence he took
up a pre-emption, settled on the land, later bought railroad land adjoining
and finally acquired four hundred and eighty acres in one body. Until the
farm became productive he taught school in Bear valley, and when he re-
signed there he was succeeded by S. C. Smith, who later became United
States senator.

Discontinuance of work as an educator did not lessen the interest main-
tained by Mr. Hickey in the local schools and for twelve years he served as
school trustee with the greatest efficiency. Meanwhile he was devoting
much time also to his labors as an itinerant preacher, filling some pulpit
almost every Sunday and aiding in the starting of congregations of his
denomination. During the week he was busy with his ranch, where he
raised grain and other crops, also developed quite a large herd of cattle, so
that his brand, the letter P, became known all through that section of coun-
try. Finally feeling the imperative need of lightening his labors, he left the
ranch in 1908 and removed to Tehachapi. For four years he managed the
ranch from his town place and then in 1912 disposed of the property, since
which time he has been retired.

Upon the incorporation of Tehachapi in 1910 Mr. Hickey was elected a
member of the first board of trustees. At the general election he received
a higher number of votes than any candidate. When the board was organ-
ized he was chosen chairman and now is deeply interested in the improve-
ment of streets and the buildipg of a water system. The village has in him



638 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

a progressive citizen and loyal promoter. Its best interests have been
carefully protected by him. In its citizenship he occupies a place of distinc-
tion. Fraternally he was made a Mason in Tehachapi Lodge No. 313, F. &
A. M., and later became identified with the Los Angeles Consistory. His
marriage, in Godfrey, Madison county, 111., August 21, 1873, united him with
Miss Laura E. Waggoner, a native of that place and a daughter of Samuel
and Louise (Powell) Waggoner, natives respectively of Tennessee and Dela-
ware. The five children of Mr. and Mrs. Hickey are natives of Kern county,
but are now living elsewhere in the state. Edwin C. is employed with the
Pacific Electric in Los Angeles ; Mrs. Laura Edith Howland also lives in that
city; John H. is connected with the Southern Pacific Company in San Luis
Obispo; Mrs. Bertha L. Perkins lives in Los Angeles; and Morris L. has a
position in San Luis Obispo.

GEORGE C. SPROULE.— At Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada, where he
was born February 10, 1880, and where his parents, Jacob and Elizabeth
(Hardman) Sproule, reside, George C. Sproule became familiar with the
oil industry in childhood through the fact that his father was engaged
as a driller and in other capacities around oil fields. The family had no
means outside of the daily wages of the father. There were nine children
and it was absolutely necessary that each one should become self-supporting
at the earliest possible age. Therefore George C, who was sixth among the
nine, had meager educational advantages, but at the age of sixteen was a
contributor to the family maintenance. From being a roustabout in the
Oil Springs field he was promoted to be a tool-dresser and for four years
he f( llowed that line of work, after which he became a driller. When
nineteen years of age he came to the Kern river fields for the first time and
secured employment as a tool-dresser. Next he drilled for Chancellor &
Canfield in the Midway fields. After he had worked steadily in the
Kern county fields for four years he returned to Canada, bought a one-
third interest in a well-drilling outfit and embarked in independent contract-
ing. Although he returned to California in 1906 he still owns an interesct
in the oil outfit, his partners being two brothers, John and Jacob Sproule,

Upon his return to the Kern river fields from his Canadian home
Mr. Sproule engaged as a well puller on the Monte Cristo. Six months
later he entered the employ of the Associated Oil Company and began to
drill on the San Joaquin and Canfield divisions. For a time he worked as
sub-foreman on the San Joaquin. During June of 1909 he was made foreman
on the Green and Whittier division of the Associated and continued to
fill the position with ability and devotion for three years. June 1, 1912.
he resigned to become superintendent of the Enos Oil Company at an
advance of salary. The Enos employs nine men and controls two hundred
and twenty acres on section 6, township 29, range 28, where six producing
wells (out of a total of twenty) give an average gross return of thirty-two
hundred barrels of oil per month. It has not been possible for Mr.
Sproule to identify himself with public affairs in his adopted country, for
the duties of his position confine him closely to the oil fields. However, he
is intelligently posted concerning public affairs and evinces a deep devotion
toward the land of his adoption. Fraternally he holds membership with
the Woodmen of the World. When he came to the west he had not yet
established domestic ties, but in Kern county he formed the acquaintance
of Miss Nora M. Barnes, a sister of Tom Barnes, the popular superin-
tendent of the Associated Oil Company. Miss Barnes had come to the
west from Conway, Laclede county. Mo., and August 21, 1909, she became
the wife of Mr. Sproule in Kern county, where they have established a
comfortable home in the oil fields. Their daughter, Imogene Elaine, was
born here in 1911.




^







HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 641

WILLIAM E. UNDERWOOD.— Through long; identification with the
landed development of Kern county Mr. Underwood has been brought into
intimate association with people similarly engaged and has acquired thorough
knowledge of soils, climate, crops and methods of cultivation. An expensive
series of experiments with different products, particularly with several varie-
ties of grapes, finally convinced him that grain and alfalfa are the crops
best adapted to successful growth in his district and hence he now specializes
with these, adding thereto an important interest in the stock business and par-
ticularly in the dairy industry. When he arrived in Kern county February 3,
1890. he bought land in Rosedale colonv and began its development. Now
he owns two hundred and sixty-five acres under cultivation to alfalfa and
grain and in addition he has on the farm about forty head of stock. When
he first came to the colony he bought eighty acres and later added to the
farm until he gave it adequate size for grain-raising. Besides the manage-
ment of his farm he is interested financially in the Tejon Oil Company, oper-
ating in the Kern river field.

A member of a pioneer California family. William E. l^nderwood was born
near Stockton, San Joaquin county, November 13, 1864, and is a son of Ezra
Edwin and Mary (Hughes) Underwood, natives of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Ezra E. Underwood, who camn of Coh^nial and Revolutionary stock, crossed
the plains with ox teams in 1859 and engaged in grain farming in San Joaquin
county. There he married his wife, who was a daughter of William H.
Hughes, a native of Pennsylvania, afterwards a settler in Missouri, where
his wife died. In 1849 he brought his children across the plains and settled
at Sonora, later locating near what is now Ripon, where he followed stock-
raising. Old ITncle Rillie Hughes was well known in those parts, where he
resided until his death. Ezra E. Underwood settled near Waterford, Stanis-
laus county, and was closely identified with the upbuilding of that county,
being a member of the countv board of supervisors. Upon retiring he re-
moved to Santa Cruz, where he died October 7, 1911 ; his wife continues to
reside in -the same place. Of this union there were three children, William
E. being the oldest: .Mfred F. resides near Hollister; Herbert L. is a farmer
and dairvman in the Panama district. After he had com'pleted the studies of
the public schools William E. was sent to University Mound College in San
Francisco and afterwards to ths Stockton Business College, so that from
an educational standpoint he was well qualified for life's responsibilities. Leav-
ing business college at the age of twenty vears, he assumed the management
of a ranch of sixteen hundred acres owned by his father and situated in Fresno
county. The portion of the large tract under cultivation was devoted to
wheat-growing and for five years he continued the oversight of the property,
meanwhile, plowing, sowing, harvesting and threshing upon a very extensive
scale, '\^^hen he left Fresno county it was for the purpose of identifiying him-
self with the new Rosedale colony, and he purchased the small tract six miles
west of Bakersfield on the Rosedale road where he continues to reside, hav-
ing, however, enlarged the farm by subsequent purchase. From 1890 to 1900
he devoted himself chiefiv to the cultivation of grapes. This was not a suc-
cess and in I'^OO he embarked in dairying, which proved more profitable.
Later he specialized with alfalfa, which is well suited to the soil and cli-
mate and is perhaps the most dependable and remunerative crop that could



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 69 of 177)