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 72 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 72 of 177)
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made friends of all whether rich or poor. In every sense of the word he was
a true gentleman and this was particularly noticeable in his desire to pro-
tect all helpless and dependent creatures. The poor had in him a helpful
friend, the suffering never sought his assistance in vain. His integrity and
honesty were of the kind that sought no personal emoluments, but upheld
the highest principles of honor through innate purity of soul. Self-poise



668 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

guided all of his acts and was apparent in every business detail, but it was
not the self-control of the selfish man, instead the natural temperament of
one ever ready to make sacrifices for others and one who displayed patience
and kindness under every circumstance. Possessed of splendid mind, he
developed this through a wise and long-continued course of reading. The
master-minds of all the ages became familiar to him in his readings and
thus he acquired a cosmopolitan culture. A fondness for poetry did not
deter him from delving into the intricacies of science and political economy,
while in history he was exceptionally well informed. Of religion too he was
a thoughtful student and while with innate reticence he never revealed his
thoughts concerning the spiritual life, his own deeply religious nature per-
vaded his entire existence and made beautiful his adherence to the strong-
hold of Christianity.

CLAUS PETER CHRISTENSEN.— Many of the enterprising men
who are taking an active part in the development of Kern county came here
from the fertile country of Denmark and it was there that Claus Peter
Christensen was born near Nakskov, Laaland, September 27, 1865. He was
reared on a farm and received a thorough training in the local schools. In
1882 he came to Illinois and for a time was employed at farming in Sanga-
mon county. In 1884 he came to Shasta county, California, where for
eighteen months he worked on a farm and then began placer and quartz min-
ing and learned millwrighting, building and running quartz mills in Shasta
and Trinity counties. During this time he completed a course in mining en-
gineering in the International Correspondence School.

Mr. Christensen built a dredger on the Klamath river and a smelter at
Keswick, then was superintendent of the Dunderberg mine in Mono county
for two years. Wishing to still further perfect himself for his life work he
entered Vandernaillen's School of Mines at San Francisco, where he was
graduated in 1898. In December of that year he came to Johannesburg,
where he built two different cyanide plants and the Phoenix mill. Thence
he went to Barstow where he rebuilt a C3'anide plant. His next venture was
prospecting and mining in Old Mexico where later he was in the employ of
the Green-Cananea Company. On his return to California he erected a 100-
stamp mill in Calaveras county and then went to Goldfield, Nev., where he
spent nearly a year. For the next three years he was engaged in contracting
and building in Petaluma when he again returned to the Randsburg district.
Here he was mill man in the Atolia mills and afterwards in charge of the
mill and cyanide plant of the Skidoo Mines Company, resigning in 1909 to
accept the position of superintendent for the Stanford Mining and Reduction
Company, which position he is filling with conscientious ability.

In Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras county. May 27, 1900, Mr. Christensen
was united in marriage with Miss Edna Vaillancourt, a native of Reno, Nev ,
and they have two children, Cecil P. and Hilda. Fraternally he is a member
of the Dania society in Petaluma and Sergeant lodge No. 368, I. O. O. F..
San Francisco. Politically he gives his allegiance to Democratic principles.
Mr. Christensen is much interested in the cause of education and is clerk of
the board of trustees of the Johannesburg School District.

GEORGE WALLER.— Two generations of the Waller family have been
and are now in the employ of the same corporation, holding positions of trust
and discharging their duties with efficiency. The secnnd generation is rep-
resented by George Waller, now the foreman of the pipe line department^
on section 1, township 32, range 23, in the ]\lidway field; and the older gen-
eration is represented by his father, J. TI., a life-long employe of the Stand-
ard Oil Company, and still capable, efficient and energetic, refusing to give
up the work in "which he takes great satisfaction, although officials of the
company repeatedly have importuned him to retire on a pension, .^n exam-



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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 671

pie of fealty and devotion is afforded by the long and pleasant connection of
father and son with the same corporation.

Although a native of West Virginia (born February 15. 1870) George
Waller spent his boyhood years in the Lima oil fields in Ohio, for he was
only one }ear old when his father, J. H. Waller, moved over to Ohio to take
up work in the pipe line department of the Standard. The boy was educated
in Ohio and finished the high-school course at Fort Recovery, Mercer county,
in 1897. Meanwhile he had become self-supporting by working in the Stand-
ard office during vacations. As a messenger boy he proved that he had in
him the making of an expert oil worker. Always the industry has interested
him. To master its details has been his principal ambition in life. The
Standard, the only company for which he has ever worked, has given him
every opportunity to gain a practical knowledge of the business. At the
age of twenty-one he was promoted to be connecting foreman. In that ca-
pacity he later worked in Kansas and Oklahoma. Sent back to Illinois, he
worked successively at Robinson, Rridgepurt, Casey and Stoy, and in 1910
left Stoy for California, being assigned to work in the Coalinga field. For
two years and eight months he was connected with the pipe line department
of the Standard at Coalinga, from which point he was transferred to the
Midway field and has since been foreman of the pipe line department on
section 1. While making his headquarters at Robinson, 111., he married Miss
Myrtle Jacobs, and they now occupy one of the Standard houses on 1-32-23,
where they have a comfortable home. While in Illinois Mr. Waller was made
a Mason in the Eaton blue lodge and after coming to this state he became
connected with the Scottish Rite Consistory at Fresno.

JAMES McKAMY. — Long association with the history of the sculh pre-
ceded any identification of the McKamy family with the early settlement of
California. The founder of the name on the Pacific coast was J. M., son of
James, and a native of Tennessee, born in the vicinity of Memphis in 1822.
While serving in the jNlexican war from 1846 to 1848 he traveled much through
the siaith and southwest and became interested in the opportunities afforded
by the undeveloped country beyond the then confines of civilization. After he
had sojourned for a time in Texas he joined an expedition of Argonauts I)ound
for California. The trip across the plains via Fort Yuma occupied nine
months of difficulty and danger. Upon one occasion the savages attacked
the party and decamned with their stock, but the emigrants followed on
horseback and were able to regain the animals. Among the people crossing
the plains in this expedition there was a young lady, Miss Eleannr Petty, a
native of Alabama, born in 1823.

The young couple became acquainted and their friendship rijicneil into
affection. Some time after they landed in California they were married at
Stockton, from which point Mr. McKamy engaged in freighting to the mines.
Later he took up land on the Mariposa road ten miles east of Stucktnn and
moved his family to the claim, where he engaged in ranching. \\'hile the
family lived at that location a son, James, was 1)orn March 7, 1856. During
1873 the father visited Kern county and was favorablv imjiressed with the
country. Accordingly the following year he brought his family hither and
settled on Poso creek at the old stage crossing, where he embarked in the
sheep business unon a large scale. .At first fortune favored him. The flock
prospered and thrived. Returns were gratifying. Flowever, with the drought
of 1877 conditions changed, feed became scarce and water difficult to secure
in sufficient quantities, so that he lost all of his flock, thus leaving him prac-
tically bankrupted. Forced to becrin anew, he took the family to Glennville,
Kern county, and engaged in stock-raising there until his death in 1895. His
widow, now eightv-eight vears of age. still remains at C,lenn\ille. For several



672 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

terms he served as supervisor and during part of the time he was honored
with the chairmanship of the board.

There were four daughters and four sons in the parental family, namely:
Isabella, who married P. J. Garwood and lives at Glennville, Kern county;
Minerva, Mrs. Collins, who died in this county ; James, city marshal of Bakers-
field; John, a farmer living in Tulare county; Julian, a stockman who follows
his occupation in the vicinity of Glennville ; Daniel, who died in Mendocino
county in 1885; Virginia, Mrs. Alfred Harrald, of Bakersfield; and Mrs.
Fannie Hughes, of Glennville. The eldest son, James, passed his childhood
years on a ranch in San Joaquin county and attended the school of which
his father was trustee. The district, indeed, had been organized largely through
the influence of the father and still bears the name of the McKamy school
district, although years have passed since the family removed from the vicin-
ity. Even before leaving that county the lad had earned his livelihood by
teaming and hauling, harvesting and threshing, and after he had permanently
located in Kern county in 1874 he aided his father in the care of the sheep.
When the flock was lost in the drought of 1877 he entered the employ of
Carr & Haggin and operated a threshing machine on their ranch during the
summer months. In the spring he engaged in sheep-shearing, a work in
which he gained such remarkable speed that he was able to shear from one
hundred and forty to one hundred and fifty sheep per day.

Leaving the busy activities of the ranch and the farm in 1882 Mr. Mc-
Kamy went to Colorado and engaged in mining in the San Juan and Ouray
districts. Upon his return to Bakersfield in 1887 he secured a deputyship
under the county assessor, Thomas Harding. Later for four years he acted
as deputy constable and for two terms of four years each he was constable.
In April of 1907 he was elected city marshal and took the oath of office for a
term of four years. However, the consolidation of Kern and Bakersfield called
for a special election, which occurred July 19, 1910. After a hot campaign he
was elected. During April of 1911, at the regular election, he won by a
majority of twenty-seven votes. The election was contested and he won in
the contest. The city marshal's office is now in the second story of the fire
department house on the corner of K and Twentieth streets and here Mr.
McKamy makes his headquarters. In national politics he votes with the
Democratic party. In his work as an officer he does not consider party, but
endeavors to maintain law and order and to promote the reputation of Ba-
kersfield as a law-abiding city of patriotic citizens and high moral standing.
Since coming to this city he has erected a residence at No. 2124 E Street.
His marriage took place in Bakersfield and united him with Mrs. Emma
Gagne, who was born in Ontario, Canada, and died in Los Angeles January 31,
1909, leaving one son. James L. McKamy. In fraternal relations he is a local
leader in the work of the Eagles, besides being actively interested in the
Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.

■ GEORGE KAMMERER. — It would be difficult to name any phase of
the oil industry with which Mr. Kammerer is not familiar, for he has been
connected with the business from childhood and has ever been a close ob-
server and careful student of the occupation. A native of Pennsylvania,
born at Pleasantville, Venango county, March 11, 1873, he was only six years
of age when the family removed to Bradford in the same state and thus he
was'made familiar with the oil fields of McKean county. The chief topic
of conversation in the neighborhood was some development in oil, so that
he grew up to a thorough knowledge of the business, and he also learned
much from his father, who was a pioneer driller in Pennsylvania. Ever since
thirteen years of age he has earned a livelihood as a worker in oil fields.
Industry and perseverance came naturally to him, and an intelligent mind



HISTORY OF KERX COUNTY 673

enabled him to grasp every prnbleni jiresented by the work. The path to
success was not easy. For hours each day he worked as a pumper, but pro-
motion came as a result of his diligent attention to duty. He was onh^ fif-
teen when he was trained in the task of tool-dressing. All through his early
life he worked for large firms in the oil and gas fields of the east, mainly in
New York and Pennsylvania, and in that way he gained an experience of
the greatest value to him in subsequent positions.

The Fullerton field was first sought by Mr. Kammerer when he arrived
in Califdrnia in 1899 and for six years he was an employe of the Santa Fe
on its leases at that point. He then went to work for the Union Oil Company
and spent one year at Casmalia, four years in the Fullerton and three year<
in the Midway field. He has been an employe of the Union Oil Company
continuously since 1905, and has been in the Midway since 1910. He and
his wife, formerly j\Iiss Kathleen Enoch, and their daughter, Virginia, now
make their home in a company cottage on the Bed Rock lease, one mile
north of Taft, on section 14, township 31, range 23. In his present position
as superintendent of development in the Midway and Maricopa districts, he
gives not only faithful, but also intelligent and remarkably efficient service
to the Union Oil Company, whose interests have been protected and pro-
moted by his alert supervision. Besides his identification with the oil indus-
try he has other interests at Taft, where he now owns one-third interest in
the Taft garage and where also he is popular in the Petroleum Club, of
which he is a charter member. While making his headquarters in the Fuller-
ton field he was initiated into Masonry at Fullerton, became a member also
of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at that place, identified himself
with the Elks at Santa Ana and with the Eagles at .\naheini.

F. B. GORMLEY.— Born at Marion, Ind., September 7, 1891, F. B.
Gormley is the second son of Thomas and Sarah (Finnigan) Gormley,
long residents of Marion. The family consisted of nine children and
six of these are now living. The father, a native of West Virginia,
born about 1854, has been employed by the Pennsylvania (known as the
Panhandle) Railroad Company since 1880, holding the position of telegraph
inspect( r in charge of poles, instruments and lines extending from Logans-
port, Ind., to Bradford, same state. From the age of seventeen years F. R.
Gormle}^ has been self-supporting. Upon the completion of the studies of
the grammar grade in the Marion schools he turned his attention to the
earning of a livelihood and for a time worked at bookkeeping. While he
was employed by the Gulf Pipe Line Company at Tulsa, Okla., he received
a telegram stating that his older brother, who had come to California sufifer-
ing from tuberculosis and was temporarily at Maricopa, was very ill and in
all probability would soon pass away. Hurriedly severing his business con-
nections at Tulsa he started for California and May 10, 1909, arrived at Mar-
icopa, where he cared for his brother until the end came seven weeks after-
ward. Accompanying the remains he went back to the old Indiana home
and afterward visited with friends and relatives for two months. Upon his
second arrival at Maricopa he became an employe in the men's furnishing
department of the store owned by Coons & Price. Eight months later he
entered the employ of the Honolulu Oil Company, with which he continued
for nine months, meanwhile filling the position of warehouseman. Resign-
ing from the Honolulu he spent three weeks in San Francisco. On coming
back to Maricopa he became a clerk in the hardware store of J. F. Blessing,
with whom he continued for eighteen months. From April until June of
1912 he visited in Indiana and since his return to Maricopa he has been en-
gaged as warehouseman with the Lakeview Oil Company, whose interests
he has promoted by his uniform business tact, strict integrity and recognized
capability.



674 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

LAYTON JUDD KING.— An efficient oil operator, Mr. King is the son
of a pioneer in that business, for his father, John King, a native of
Geauga county, Ohio, worked at oil camps in Ohio and Indiana, then re-
turned to Ohio to resume the business in the fields of that state and event-
ually came to Los Angeles, where he makes his home. While living in Ohio
he married Miss Etta Judd, who was born in Massachusetts, a descendant
of a colonial family of New England. Their son, Layton Judd, was liorn
in Geauga county. Ohio, in 1880, and received his education in public schools
and Geauga Seminary. During 1895 he removed to Indiana with his father
and found employment in the oil fields near Montpelier, but in a short time
returned to Geauga county, and resumed drilling in Ohio. Besides working
m oil fields he drilled water wells and took many contracts for such work
in Geauga. Cuyahoga and Ashtabula counties. Upon his arrival in Cali-
fornia in 1902 he secured a position with the R. D. Robinson Drilling Com-
pany as a tool-dresser. Nine months later in 1903 he entered the employ of
the Associated Oil Company as a driller in the Kern river field.

An experience of nine months as a driller in the oil fields of Cofifeyville,
Kan., was followed by the return of Mr. King to California, where in Octo-
ber, 1904, he again became an employe of the Associated in the Kern river
field. In July of 1903 the company appointed him foreman of the Central
Point division in the same field. A merited promotion to be superintendent
of the same di\-ision came to him in .\pril, 1906. and in February, 1907, he
was transferred to be superintendent of the San Joaquin division, at that time
the largest division of the entire concern. The year 1908 found him super-
intendent of the McKittrick division and in that capacity he developed the
valuable holdings of the company in that field. Transferred in February,
1910, to act as superintendent of the Midway division, he since has had
charge of development work in the Midway field and Elk Hills territory.
When at leisure from the heavy responsibilities incident to his important
position he finds his chief pleasui-e in the society of his wife and four chil-
dren, Rupert, Ronald, Reginald and Ethelyn. Prior to their marriage at
Chagrin Falls. Cuyahoga county, Ohio. Mrs. King was Miss Ethelyn Parker;
born in the Buckeye state, educated in its schools, a graduate of the high
schcol at Burton, Geauga county, she is a woman of education and culture
and has many friends back in her girlhood home, as well as in the newer
home of the west. In politics Mr. King always has voted with the Republi-
can party. Since 1905 he has been connected with Masonry, having been
made a Mason during that year in Bakersfield Lodge No. 224, F. & A. M.

H. E. BECKER. — From the beginning of the development work under-
taken by the Pacific Crude Oil Company in the Midway field Mr. Becker
has had charge of its important enterprises in the capacity of superintendent
and has made good in a position demanding boundless energy, great tact,
quickness of decision and a thorough knowledge of the oil industry. Since
November, 1911, when he entered the employ of the company, work on
the lease near Fellows has been started and brought up to a point of great
importance and considerable promise. Well No. 1 on the lease came in as
a gusher, but in the midst of its first enormous output the rig caught fire.
After having burned for five days the fire was smothered with steam and
brought under control. In the seven following months the well produced
one million barrels and is now flowing at the rate of two hundred and fifty
barrels per day. Well No. 2 came in as a gusher of eighty-five hundred
barrels and is still producing seven hundred barrels of 26 gravity oil as
the daily output. The latest development has been in well No. 3, the drilling
of which was completed in 1913 and which is proving a valuable acquisi-
tion to the holdings of the company.

In boyhood l\Ir. Becker lived in his native city of Pittsburg, Pa., where





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HISTORY OF KERX COUNTY 677

he attended the schnols and at the age of sexenteeii was graduated frcmi
the high school, later completing the trade of machinist as an apprentice in
the Pittsburg locomotive works. His father, Elias, a machinist by trade
and a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, served throughout the entire period
of the Civil war as a soldier in the Ninth Pennsylvania Infantry. Upon com-
ing to California in 1901 the son, H. E., learned the oil business in the Newhall
field as an employe of the Standard Oil Cumj^any. While in that field he
worked first as a tool-dresser and then as a driller. In the Santa Maria field
he engaged as a driller with the Union Oil Company. Coming to Alari-
co])a, Kern county, in 1908, he CLUtinued to work for the Union Oil Company
as a driller. Later he entered the employ of the American Alidway Oil Com-
pany, of which he became superintendent, and he was further associated
with the Cleveland Oil Company and the Canadian Pacific Oil Company
in the Midway field, where since November of 1911 he has worked in the
interests of the Pacific Crude Oil Company. Always busily engaged in
occupative duties, he has had no leisure for participation in public afTairs
and has taken no part in fraternal matters aside from being a member of
Bakersfield Lodge No. 266, B. P. O. E.

JOHN J. BRINKMAN.— With characteristic modesty and al=fection he
attributes his success largely to the noble example set by his mother and to
the encouraging companionship of his wife. The former, who was Sophronia
Beacock and a native of Michigan, is now seventy-four years old and
resides at the old Ohio homestead associated with her younger days. The
father. Henry Brinkman, was a farmer by occupation and died in 1910 at
the age of seventy-three, his death being caused by an accidental injury. The
fifth among seven children, John J. was born in Williams county. Ohio. De-
cember 28. 1871, and had but meager advantages for an education in his early
life. For a time he attended the public schools of Angola, Ind., from which
place he went to Kansas, where he earned his livelihood by teaching in the
winter and working on ranches during the summer months. His own efforts
were made to defra}- his expenses in the Salina \'(jrmal L'ni\ersity, from
which he was graduated in 1895.

Arrival in California during the fall of 1900 and an immediate idLMitifica-
tion with the oil fields of Kern county brought to Mr. Brinkman an early
and adequate comprehension of the oil industry. Thus apparently by chance
he was led into the occupation with which, although indirectly, his greatest
lifework has been accomplished. After he had worked in the fields until he
thoroughly understood the business he entered the employ of the Hardison
Perforating: Company. \\'hen he left the employ of that concern many of his
friends urged him to secure a perforator of his own and, acting upon their
suggestions, he leased two old contrivances, but found them to be unservice-
able, so he turned his mind toward the invention of a new machine. In this
difficult task he was remarkably successful. However, he was wholly with-
out means and unable to build a machine for lack of money. At this crisis
the Associated Oil Company came to his aid and built the first machine,
also made the first test, which proved the value of the perforator without a
question. Even then all was not "smooth sailing," for the Hardison Per-
forating Company in 1903-4 brought suits against him in the United States
district court for infringement of their patent. The outcome of the case was
that Air. Brinkman was upheld in court on every point of the case

The business having proved very profitable. Mr. Brinkman has been
enabled to invest in farm lands and real estate and now owns four hundred
acres in the Weed Patch, which by means (f artesian water and an adequate
pumping system he is Ijringing under a high state of cultivation. His faith



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 72 of 177)