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 75 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 75 of 177)
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planted a tract of land to vines and deciduous fruit trees, .\fter the fruit
was in bearing condition he disposed of the property to advantage. Next
he engas:ed in raising wheat and had from two thousand to three thousand



702 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

acres in grain, conducting extensive operations and meeting with consid-
erable success. During 1902 he removed to Bakersfield, where with his only-
child, James Bruce Payne, he now conducts an undertaking business. The
son is a skilled embalmer and a scientist as well. June 10, 1905, he was
graduated from the Barnes Schuol of Embalming and Anatomy at New
York and March 4, 1908, from the Cincinnati College of Embalming.

The Christian Church of Bakersfield has had the benefit of the capable
assistance of the Payne family, who are devoted to the doctrines of that
organization. In politics Mr. Payne votes with the Democratic party. Fra-
ternally he holds membership with the blue lodge of Masonry, the Knights
of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. For many years
he has been a forceful worker with the Kern County Board of Trade and
more recently he has served on the executive committee of the Bakersfield
Board of Trade, in which he is a leading spirit and enthusiastic worker.
Never has he lost an opportunity to "boost" his city, county and state. His
faith in the city and his belief in its future prosperity found evidence in
his erection during 1912 of a three-story brick building at No. 1928 Nineteenth
street. On the top floor the family have a modern apartment fitted up
for residential purposes. The basement floor is devoted to a display, sales
and stock room and a workshop, while on the first floor are the office, the
operating room, the morgue and a funeral chapel with a capacity of one
hundred visitors.

FRED C. BROCKMAN. — Teutonic descent in an unbroken line is indi-
cated by the genealogy of the Brockman family, whose American representa-
tive, Fred C. Brockman, the proprietor of the Plant apartments in Bakersfield,
is himself a native of Hesse-Darmstadt and identified throughout youth with
that important kingdom in Germany. In the neighborhood where he was
born December 21, 1866, he attended the national schools and served an ap-
prenticeship to the trade of butcher, thus entering into manhood's activities
fortified by a fair education and a thorough knowledge of a useful occupation.
Meanwhile he had heard much concerning the new world and the oppor-
tunities which it offers to men of energy and determination. Determining
to try his fortune in the land across the seas, he bade farewell to the friends
of boyhood and took passage on a steamship bound for the port of New
York. It was during 1884 that he became a resident of the United States and at
first he settled in New Mexico, where he engaged in mining at Rio Mimbres.
All the ups and downs incident to the existence of a miner and prospector fell
to his lot in those early years of effort. There were times when all went well
and the returns were fair, but also some seasons of depression and dis-
couragement, when the profits of other times were forced to be turned to the
payment of losses in unfortunate mining ventures. The Apache Indians were
very troublesome in New Mexico and more than once they imperiled his life
with their dastardly attacks, but in each instance he escaped in safety.

Mining interests in Colorado attracted Mr. Brockman to Ouray in 1890
and there or near by he continued for some time, combining with his work in
mines the management of a meat market which he had started shortly after
his arrival in Colorado. The next enterprise that engaged his attention was the
purchase of a tract of one hundred and sixty acres at Hotchkiss, where he
engaged in general farm pursuits and secured water under a canal from the
mountains. The presence of irrigation facilities and the fertile nature of the
soil rendered possible the undertaking of horticultural enterprises. With this
idea in view he platted the tract in tracts of ten acres and sold to fruit-grow-
ers, himself retaining ten acres for his home place and planting the land in
apples and peaches. The raising of fruit proved profitable, but the high alti-
tude afifected the health of his wife injuriously and he therefore came to Cali-
fornia in the fall of 1912, settling in Bakersfield, where he purchased the Plant




M^.f^



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 705

apartments at No. 806 Nineteenth street. The Imikling contains twenty-four
furnished apartments and Mr. Brockman conducts a grocery on the first lloor.
^\"hen a lad in his early German home Mr. Urockman was confirmed in
the Lutheran Church and ever since then he has upheld the doctrines of the
denomination. I-"raternally he holds membershi]i with the \\'ot dnien of the
World. During 18% he was united in marriage at Delta, Colo., with
Mrs. Mattie (Rosenkranz) Esch, a native of Keii, Germany, and a lady of
amiable qualities, who since coming to Rakersfield has made many friends and
also been greatly lienefited in health. Besides being active in church work and
a model housekeeper in the home, she takes a warm interest and leading part in
the work of the Royal Neighbors and the Women of Woodcraft. P)y her fi rmer
marriage she was the mother of three children, namely: Walter Esch, a fruit-
grower residing at Hotchkiss, Cclo. ; Mrs, Gertrude Vincent, of Spokane,
Wash. : and Elsa, who makes her home in Denver.

CHARLES E. COOPER.— It is conceded by competent judges that few
citizens of Kern county are more familiar with soil conditions and pn perty
valuations than Charles E. Cooper, who conducts a real-estate, insurance and
loan business in Bakersfield, with office at No. 1514 Twentieth street. One
of his specialties has been the agency for the Chester Park tract on F"ourtli
street and Chester avenue, on the east line, comprising one hundred and
forty-four lots well located on the main thoroughfare of Bakersfield from
north to south four blocks from the street car line. In addition he acts as
agent for the Mountain View tract in the Edison district east of Bakersfield
and three n^iles from Edison station.

By virtue of long residence in the west Mr. Cooper has acquired the
enthusiasm and mental breadth characteristic of those who breathe the air
of mountain or sea. Besides the qualities that come through long association
with the west, he inherited the substantial characteristics that belong to the
sons of Iowa. That commcinwealth was his early home and Janosville,
Bremer county, his native community, while a nearljy farm gave him an in-
itiation into agricultural knowledge as well as valuable information concern-
ing soil necessities and possibilities. His father, a man of sterling worth and
of considerable prominence in Bremer county, traced his lineage to Peter
Cooper, who coming from England to America during the colonial era founded
a numerous family whose influence has been felt in the majority of the states
of the Union and whose present-day representatives are contributing efifect-
ivelv to the material upbuilding of their varied localities. That eminent writer
on horticulture and recognized authority on olives and olive culture, Elwood
Cooper, the millionaire olive grower of Santa Barbara, is a distant relative
of our subject.

With the self-reliance that has characterized every generation of the
family in the new world Charles E. Cooper started out to earn his own way
in the world at an early age and became a resident of Denver, Colo., where
for fifteen years he engaged in the real-estate business. Meanwhile he enjoyed
a substantial prosperity in material matters and became popular in the most
refined sr cial circles. A later period of real-estate activity was passed in San
Francisco, whence he came to Bakersfield and in this city he has won recog-
nition through marked business ability and agreeable personality. Giving
his attention very closely to realty enterprises, he takes no part in politics
aside from voting the Republican ticket at all elections. In religion he holds
to the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church. Aside frc m his large real-estate
business Mr. Cooper is resident agent for the Philadelphia Life Insurance
Company of Philadelphia and the West Coast Life of San Francisco, as well
as agent for the Continental of New York (with assets of $26,000,000), the
Firemen's Insurance Company of Newark, the Fidelity Phoenix of New
York (with assets of $17,000,000). the New Jersey Fidelitv and Plate Glass



706 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

Insurance Company, the American Union Fire Insurance Company of Phila-
delphia, and the Fire Association of Philadelphia.

In September, 1913, Mr. Cooper was elected president of the Bakersfield
Realty Board and also selected one of the committee of five to secure the ap-
pointment of fifteen freeholders to draft a new charter for the city. December 3,
1913, at the Van Nuys Hotel in Los Angeles occm-red the marriage of C. E.
Cooper and Miss Cora May St. Clair, a member of one of the pioneer families
of Bakersfield, whose father, L. P. St. Clair, was the first mayor of Bakers-
field, owner of the first electric light plant and a pioneer in the oil business.
Mrs. Cooper had been identified with the oil business prior to her marriage
and was a lady of prominence in her home city. Her brother, L. P. St. Clair,
is president of the Independent Oil Producers agency.

ST. LAWRENCE OIL COMPANY. — Numbered conspicuously among
the prosperous oil producers of the Kern county district is that of the St.
Lawrence Oil Company, which represents the industry in its best form and fur-
nishes to the investigator a splendid example of the methods emplnyed in
that industry. The company operates a one hundred and sixty-acre tract,
it being the southeast quarter of section 5, township 32, range 23, and is com-
posed of San Francisco investors, who started operations there in 1908, I. B.
Strassburger of that city being president.

LTnder great difficulty well No. 1 was drilled, but at length was finished
in November, 1910, when it was perforated and came in as a gusher about
the same time as the No. 2-6 on the C. C. M. Oil Company's holdings. The
well flowed from fifteen hundred to two thousand barrels and was soon placed
under control. It is still producing, which marks the unusually fine con-
ditions of the vicinity. The company has since put down five more wells and
all are producers of better than twenty-one gravity oil. Ably superintending
it is William G. Follansbee, who has met with signal success in his opera-
tions.

JOHN C. MARLEY. — The superintendent of the Stratton Water Com-
pany has been identified with the Midway field since January of 1910, when
he came to Fellows to enter upon the duties connected with his present
position. The organization of which he has charge and which ranks as the
pioneer water concern of the entire field obtains water from a system of four
wells, having a capacity of about thirty thousand barrels per day.

A resident of California since 1895, John C. Marley was born at Winterset,
Madison county, Iowa, in 1859, and is a son of J. A. Marley, a florist during his
lifetime, .\fter he had completed the studies of the grammar and high schools
he became an apprentice to the trades of millwright and carpenter, which
he learned thoroughly and in which he became unusually skilled. However,
instead of following these trades, he turned his attention to a department
of the railroad business and for some years acted as station agent for various
roads in Iowa, his first work being done with the Burlington Railroad. After
his arrival in California in 1895 he worked as a millwright with the Demming-
Palmer Milling Company. An important position as superintendent of the
Holmes Lime Company at Felton, Santa Cruz county, he filled for six
years, and upon resigning from that place he came to Fellows at the begin-
ning of the year 1910, since which he has developed the business of the .Strat-
ton Water Compan}' and also has engaged as local representative of the
Midway Oil Company of Oregon, having charge of the holdings of that con-
cern in the Midway field. His family, consisting of wife and son Donald, still
maintain a residence at No. 640 Post street, San Francisco. Mrs. Marley was
formerly Miss Ida Hollingshead, of Albia, Iowa, where she was born and
reared. In politics Mr. Marley votes with the Republican party, while fra-
ternally he holds membership with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows,
the Modern Woodmen of America and the Fraternal Brotherhood.




a^^-6 ^^4^^^-^^-^



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 709

FRANK S. JUDD.— \'ery early in the colunization nf America the Judd
family came from England to the shores of the Atlantic and the n.ick-bound
coast of New England, where they aided in the agricultural development
of that undeveloped region and gave of their energies through successive
generations to the material upbuilding of the new world. Of all their repre-
sentatives none was more forceful in intellect and none more adventurous
in his investigations of new countries than Truman Judd, a native of Wey-
bridge, Vt., and a graduate of Potsdam Academy in St. Lawrence county,
N. Y. Within the span of his earthly existence, which began March 10,
1813, and came to an end August 10, 1885, he witnessed the development
of much of the United States and contributed thereto with the energy and
resourcefulness typical of the progressive pioneer. While attending school
in New York he formed the acquaintance of the young lady who later became
his wife and who shared in his hardships and frontier experiences until her
death left him bereaved and alone. A native of Potsdam, N. Y., she bore
the name of Lournda U. Taylor and was a daughter of Reuben Taylor.

Removing from New York state to Illinois, Truman Judd settled at
Pecatonica, Winnebago county, where his son, b'rank S., was born March
28, 1857, and where he himself for some years engaged in pedagogical work.
The quiet routine of the schoolroom, however, was irksome to his adventur-
ous temperament and at times he abandoned the profession temporarily for
travels, then later gave up the work entirely in order to enter other avoca-
tions. During the spring of 1849 he joined an expedition of Argonauts bound
for the gold fields of the west. Crossing the plains with ox-teams and wagons,
he found so much of interest in the journey that he recorded his impressions
of the country in a journal written as he traveled from ])oint to point along
the lonely route. Such a record would be of priceless value to his descend-
ants and its h ss in the Sacramento fire of the '50s was deplored. After his
arrival in California he engaged in mining and later he took a contract for
building a portion of the levee at Sacramento, whence in 1856 he returned
to Illinois. Not long after the discovery of gold in Pike's Peak he traveled
across the plains to that portion of the country and camped on the present
site of Denver at a time when only a few rude shacks marked the spot
destined for a commercial center. For years he made his headquarters at
^Tomiment, where he built three sawmills. Later he built a sawmill on the
Little Fountain and engaged in the manufacture of lumber which was used
in the early material upbuilding of both Denver and Pueblo.

Disposing of his holdings in Ci lorado and removing tn Texas a few
years after the death of his wife, which had occurred in the former state in
October of 1867, Truman Judd soon became a power in the journalistic circles
of the Lone Star state, where he edited and published the Fort Worth
Tribune. Forceful as a writer and able as an editor, he made a name for
himself throughout his part of the state and was recognized as a oower
on the side of progress and achievement. During 1880 he came to California
as a permanent resident. After a sojourn of five years in Nevada county
he came to Kern county in July, 1885. and here his death occurred in .August
of that year. To this same county his brother. Stoel Judd. a California
pioneer of 1851, had come during the '60s and here he continued to make
his home until he passed from earth in 1909 at the age of eighty-four years.

Seven children formed the family of Truman Judd. I'ive of these attained
maturity, namely : Airs. Julia Squires, who died in Colorado ; Mrs. Almina
Reader, who died in Nevada county, Cal., in 1889; Mrs. Hattie Webb, of
Texarkana, Tex. ; Mrs. Lucina Weir, wife of Jerome ^^'eir, a pioneer and
prominent upbuilder of Colorado Springs, Colo.: and Frank S.. the youngest
tiiember of the family circle. The second daughter, .\lmina. migrated tn
California \-ia Panama in 1863 and later became the wife of lames Reader:



710 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

upon her death she left five children, of whom only one, Hattie, came to
Bakersfield to make her home, although there is also a granddaughter, Mrs.
Amanda Krelle, residing in this city. When Frank S. Judd was a child four
years of age he accompanied his parents from Illinois to Colorado and later
became a jjupil in the public school in Colorado City. During 1870 he re-
moved to Texas with his father. Having finished the study of the common
branches in the Fort Worth schools he learned the trade of printer in the
composing room of the Fort Worth Tribune. During May of 1881 he came
to California and settled in Nevada county, where he engaged in mining
at French Corral. A first visit to Kern county in 1885 gave him a favor-
able impression concerning this portion of the state. Returning in the early
part of 1887, he became a permanent resident of the county on the 12th of
April and has since lived on ranches or in Bakersfield. For seven years he
engaged in farming as an employe of his uncle, Stoel Judd. Later he bought
land in the San Emidio country, where he engaged in ranching and stock-
raising.

Upon the retirement of his uncle from active ranch pursuits Mr. Judd
purchased the Judd property near Lakeside ranch and there he remained
until the sale of the place in 1910. For years he made a specialty of raising
alfalfa seed. After selling the farm in 1910 he bought forty acres seven
miles from Bakersfield and there he since has engaged in raising alfalfa. A
short time since he sold the mountain ranch and built a comfortable resi-
dence at No. 1720 Maple avenue, from which place he superintends the
alfalfa farm, besides taking an active part in the buying and selling of real
estate. He is a Democrat and a member of the Elks.

JAMES H. THORNBER.— The Thornber family descends from Anglo-
Saxon ancestry and for generations has been represented in Westmoreland in
the north of England, where Francis Joseoh and Elizabeth (Peters) Thorn-
ber passed their entire lives, the former being engaged as an accountant. The
parental family comprised six sons and six daughters and the eighth in order
of birth, James H., was born in the village of Kendal, July 3, 1875. Two sons
and two daughters are still living and all of them have come to America, the
older son, John P., being a resident of Bartlesville, Okla., while the two
daughters. Mrs. Agnes Grisdale and Mrs. Elizabeth Marriott, make their
home in Kern county, Cal.. the headquarters also of the fourth member of the
family, James H. The last-named attended the Kendal grammar school in
Westmoreland, and later was a student in the Friends' school at the same
place. After he was graduated at the age of fifteen years he was employed
in the village until 1892, when he crossed the ocean to the United States and
proceeded west to Montana. Securing employment on a ranch near Chinook
he soon learned the business of operating a stock farm on the plains. Later
he became interested in operating the Black Coulee coal mine, besides which
he also engaged in general contracting.

LIpon selling some of his interests in Montana in r)ctol)er of 1908 Mr.
Thornber came to Bakersfield. Shortly afterward he purchased one hundred
and twenty acres of land in the Weed Patch. The task of transforming the
raw acreage into a productive farm was one of great difficulty, but the land
was rich and fertile and ultimately produced fruit and alfalfa in paying quan-
tities. Since 1909 he has made his home in East Bakersfield, where he owns a
residence at No. 1601 Pacific street. Besides having a real-estate and insur-
ance office at No. 919 Baker street, he is engaged in the building of cottages
and bungalows and these interests, together with the supervision of his Mon-
tana ranch, which he still owns, keep him busily occupied.

Ever since he came to this city Mr. Thornber has been connected with the
Chesbro Methodist Episcopal Church of East Bakersfield, where at this
writing he officiates as president df the board of trustees and president of the



HISTORY OF KKRN COUNTY 713

adult F.ible class. With the cn-dperatidii of tlie pastor (jf lliis
cliurch he organized a Sunday-school at Toltec No. 2 and since
then he not only has acted as superintendent, but in addition he has given
exceptionally faithful and efficient service in the capacity of local preacher.
Being deeply interested in the religious life of the oil fields, he gives freely of
his time, .ability and means to promote the cause of Christianity in that par-
ticular portion to which he has been called. While living in Montana he was
married at Chinook, September 23, 1900, to Miss Alice Greenough, a native
of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, and a daughter of the late John K. and Minnie
(Currier) Greenough, the former born in Concord, N. H., of Mayflower stock,
and the latter a descendant of Scotch forbears. In 1886 the family removed
to Chanute, Kans., where Mrs. Thornber was reared and educated, remaining
there until 1899. In that year the family located in Chinook, Mont., where
the marriage of the young people occurred. Interested in social functions and
active in church work, Mrs. Thornber's deepest affections, however, are cen-
tered upon her four children, Chester Harve, Grace Elizabeth, Agnes Myrtle
and Alice Celia. Fraternally Mr. Thornber belongs to the Modern Woodmen
of America and Bakersfield Lodge No. 224, F. & A. M., also with his wife is
identified with Bakersfield Chapter No. 25, Order of the Eastern Star.

WILLIAM UPTON.— When Mr. and Mrs. Upton bought a tract (if
twenty acres one mile southeast of Kern in 1893 they realized the difficnhies
facing them. Not an attempt at cultivation had been made. Not an improve-
ment had been placed on the land. No effort had been put forward io secure
irrigation. In all of its raw unattractiveness the land awaited the patient
hand of labor, and such was the capability of the owner that eventually it
became known as a farm without a superior in Kern county. When finally
he sold in order to retire to private life it was with the satisfaction of knowing
that he had developed one of the finest farms in this portion of the state.

The Upton family is of old Virginian ancestry. Major James Upton, a
native of West Virginia, migrated to Indiana and engaged in farming in that
state until death. The title by which he was known came to him through
service in the state militia. At the time of removing to Indiana he was a
youth and later he married Sallie Bracken, a native of Rush county, that
state. Following his demise she removed to Illinois and settled in Sangamon
county, where her remaining years were passed. In her family there were
five sons and one daughter. Two of the older sons served in the Civil war.
The only survivor of the six children is William, who was next to the young-
est among them. Born near Lebanon. Boone county, Ind., September 8,
1849, he was educated in country schools and Lebanon Academy. During
1866 he accompanied other members of the family to Illinois and settled near
Springfield, where he aided on his mother's farm for a few years. Later he
rented a farm and then bought land in Mechanicsburg township, Sangamon
county. Selling that place in 1889 he removed to Dawson in the same
county, whence in February of 1891 he came to California. Limited in means,
he made a very small beginning as a farmer of Kern county. For two years
he owned and improved a farm of forty acres in the Rosedale colony and on
this place he planted fruit and also sowed alfalfa. When he sold the property
in 1893 he 'bought the small farm near Kern where he labored diligently
and successfully until he relinquished farming activities. The first purchase
included twenty acres and later he bought ten acres adjoining, so that he
had thirty acres altogether. During the last year on the small ranch Mrs.
Upton kept a careful account of all receipts and disbursements. For the



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 75 of 177)