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 77 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 77 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

pointed receiver of the new land office at Visalia and held the position under
the administration of President Buchanan. During the legislative sessions of
1861-62 he served as senator from Fresno and Tulare counties. About that
time, in partnership with Harvey Brown, he purchased the swamp land
franchise granted to Montgomery Brothers, including the odd sections of all


the swaiup lands extending from Kern river aronnd by the lakes and
connected by the sloughs, reaching northward to Fresno on the San Joaquin
river. The original grant contemplated the construction of navigable canals
through the entire length of this section of the state, but the plan was
found impracticable and the legislature released the grantees from that part
of their obligation. September 20, 1863, Colonel Baker arrived on Kern
Island with his family preparatory to commencing the work of reclamation,
remarking at his arrival, "Here at last I have found a resting place and here
I expect to lay my bones." The country was neither new nor strange to him.
Several years before he had explored it carefully and noted its possibilities.
At a glance he had realized the peculiar advantages of the country and
its natural resources. From the time of his arrival until his death, November
24, 1872, he was ever ready to promote the advancement of the country
and maintained an intense interest in the village which bore his name. In
the early days money was scarce and supplies not too abundant, but. for-
getful of self, he was ever ready to aid newcomers. Acknowledging every-
one as entitled to his consideration, he never allowed a man to leave his
house hungry. The stranger always received a cordial welcome. So genial
was his hospitality that his guests never suspected that the stores could be
exhausted nor did they realize how he denied himself in order that they
might have enough. Coolness of temper and uniform good nature char-
acterized him. Nothing disturbed his equanimity. However he might feel
to have his motive impugned and his friends unmindful, he did not allow
such matters to disturb his disposition. When his favorite projects miscar-
ried he retained his self-poise. His motto was "Time will always justify
a man who means to do right." How true this statement is both ancient
and modern history reveals. He considered that rational beings should not
indulge in vain regrets or useless worries. Whatever ill he suffered (and
he endured his share of hardships and misunderstandings) his friends could
not see that he brooded over them. This quality of mind enabled him often
to gain the master}' over adverse circumstances, but it also made him indif-
ferent to frequent financial losses. Fortunes were made and lost with indif-
ference. In owning land his sole ambition was to make it fit for the sup-
port of families. His absorbing desire was to see the vast tracts reclaimed
and covered with the permanent improvements made by new settlers. In
his gifts to homesteaders he displayed greater liberality than the govern-
ment itself. Being the original owner of the town site of Bakersfield, he
might have acquired great wealth therefrom, but instead he donated some
of the best business locations and by his liberality secured the erection of a
number of the first buildings in the village. While pointing out to these
pioneers how they might attain wealth he remained indifferent to the allure-
ments of fortune, but evinced the financial carelessness characteristic of many
of the greatest pioneers of the west, losing sight of his own personal ad-
vancement in his patriotic devotion to the development of the country. His
personal characteristics came to him as an inheritance from an honored old
Virginian family of English extraction. His father, Thomas, was a soldier
in the war of 1812 and his great-grandfather, Thomas, was a participant in
the Revolution, while he inherited their valor and patriotic spirit, but when
the Civil war came he was prevented from participation by reason of the
California quota being more than full as well as by reason of his own age,
which was beyond the limits of military service. However, he served his
country loyally and well, although it was not his privilege to bear arms
on the field of battle, but by the development of unreclaimed lands, by the
building up of a community and by the advancement of progressive civic
enterprises, he proved himself most loyal to the land of his nativity and' the
country of his adoption.



JOSEPH E. YANCEY.— The suburban community known as Broad
Ripple, which then was adjacent to and now forms a portion of the city of
Indianapolis, Ind., made an interesting environment for the early years of
Joseph E. Yancey, who was born on a farm at that place March 12, 1860,
being a son of Joseph A. Yancey, a Kentuckian, who became well-known
among the stock-raisers in the vicinity of Indianapolis. In that cit\' he was
educated, and at the age of sixteen he started out for himself, working at
\arious occupations until he came to California in 1880 and settled at Bakers-
field. I'or two winters he carried on his studies in the Crocker school, while in
the intervening summers he was employed as a clerk or farm hand. During
the year 1882 he entered the employ of the Kern County Land Company,
then known by the firm title of Haggin & Carr, and for three years he
acted as superintendent of their Mountain View ranch, after which for two
years he followed mining at the Long Tom mine. A subsequent experience
lasting two years as roadmaster of the Sumner road district was followed by
employment in teaming, general contracting and building canals for the
Kern County Land Company and for the Southern California Construction
Company at Barstow. The business of a contractor filled his time and kept
him busily occupied until July, 1899, when he discontinued in order to be-
come street superintendent of Bakersfield. In that capacity he served for
twelve consecutive years or until after the consolidation of Bakersfield and
Kern into one city. In addition to filling that position he also served as
city health officer and plumbing inspector. In an official capacity he proved
prompt, efficient, reliable and intelligent and the difficult duties of his re-
sponsible post were discharged with exactness and to the general satisfac-
tion. Since resigning as street superintendent he has resumed contracting
and building and now makes a siiecialty nf general contracting and building.
The supervision of his building nperatinns consumes all of his ;ime. although
he is also interested in the }\IcKittrick r)il Compan}- and in oil lands in the
Temblor and McKittrick districts.

Fraternal connections have been formed by Mr. Yancey with the Benev-
olent Protective Order of Elks and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
Politically he votes with the Republican part\-. .Stmie years after he came
to Kern county he married Miss Rose L. Williams, who was born in Fort
Scott. Kan., but came to California at an early age and received a superior
education in the schools of this state. From an early age she has been a
devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and in the faith of that
denomination she reared her adopted daughter, Lena, now Mrs. Harvey
DeWar, of Bakersfield. Her parents, George and Achsah (Riggs) Wil-
liams, were identified with pioneer agricultural interests in Kansas, but left
that state in 1875 to identify themselves with the Pacific coast country.
The beautiful philanthropic spirit which throughout life has been a leading
element in the character of Rlrs. Yancey led her to take up work among
the homeless children and waifs of Bakersfield, and in co-operation with Mrs.
Coolbaugh she started the Kern County Children's Shelter, which from the
first has proved a most important undertaking and has increased in size to
such an extent that about forty-five children are now cared for by the or-
ganization. After the plan first became merged into definite form Mrs.
Yancey officiated as superintendent of the shelter, having the movement in
charge for three years during the building of the new Home, and when com-
pleted she resigned on account of a nervous break-down. However, it was
largely due to her efforts and self-sacrificing and constant assistance that its
success may be attributed.

J. B. CARTER.— As a trusted employe of the San Joaquin Light and
Power Ciirpnration Air. Carter is associated with the development of
the valley, particularly the West Side oil fields, where he serves as district
manager and agent for the corporation. The distinction of being a native son


of the great commonwealth belongs to him. He was born and reared in San
Francisco, spending, however, a portion of the years of his youth in Fresno,
where he completed the studies of the grammar school. His father, B. B.
Carter, an Englishman by birth and family, for years held a position as steam-
ship steward on a vessel out from San Francisco, but is now living a retired
life in Fresno, where some years ago occurred the death of the wife and mother,
Margaret (Gill) Carter, a member of an old family of Irish lineage.

Having been employed at various occupations in Fresno during early life,
at the age of twenty-three J. B. Carter returned to San Francisco and secured
employment with the old Market Street Railroad Company. In the capacities
of conductor and mutorman he remained with the same company for fourteen
years. Meanwhile he made a record for fidelity, trustworthiness and efficiency.
During 1902 he left San Francisco and went back to Fresno, where he
engaged as a conductor on the Fresno city railway. The following year,
when the Fresno Street Railroad Company was taken over by the San Joaquin
Light and Power Corporation, he remained with the new owners of the
property, taking with them, however, a somewhat diiTerent position from
any in which he had previously served, viz. : that of collector of electric
light and water bills. For three and one-half years he served as collector
and then, in recognition of energy and ability, was promoted to the newly
organized business and extension department. From there, January 15, 1910,
he was sent to take charge of the corporation interests in Taft and the Mid-
way fields. Meanwhile he had married in 1897 in San Francisco Miss Alice
Ball, a native of Butte county, and she accompanied him in his removal to
Taft, where he still maintains his headquarters. That his work possesses the
highest importance from the standpoint of development and expansion of the
corporation lines is indicated by the fact that from 1910 to 1912 he had charge
of the building of more than sixty miles of distributing line in the West Side
oil fields, a work involving vast expense and assiduous labor, but promising
large returns in the increased business secured under his able management.

HERBERT ALLEN BALLAGH, D. D. S.— The Ballagh family, whose
representatives occupy positions of prominence in Kern county and have at-
tained enviable reputation for intellectual worth, possesses in Dr. Ballagh of
Maricopa a member with the ambition and energy to add prestige to the
honored family name. A lifelong resident of the west, he is a typical Cali-
fornian in aspirations, impulses and loyalty. The fact that his father has been
a Presbyterian minister and therefore stationed in difTerent parts of the pres-
bytery, gave to him in early youth a knowledge of various sections of the
state and a familiarity with the general work of industrial, agricultural and
commercial progress.

During the residence of the family at Red Bluff Dr. Ballagh was born
May 7, 1886, being a son of Rev. Robert and Elizabeth (Gotz) Ballagh, now
residents of Bakersfield. After years of prominent service in the Presb3^terian
denomination the father to some extent has retired, but he still ministers to
the congregation at Glenville and maintains a deep interest in matters affect-
ing the Work, both local and general. While successful in ministerial labors,
he" and his wife were no less fortunate in the training and education of their
seven children and justly felt proud of the splendid mentality displayed by
them. The eldest son, A. Scott, is engaged in the life insurance business at
Fresno. The second son, Charles E., of the Kern river oil fields, is superin-
tendent of the Four-Oil and Apollo Oil Companies; R. G. carries on a real-
estate business in Bakersfield ; T. E., city clerk of Maricopa, is also engaged
in the real-estate business; C. S., of East Bakersfield, is a druggist and one of
the proprietors of the Kern Drug Company ; Herbert Allen was the sixth son ;
the only daughter, Ahlida, is a teacher in the Bakersfield grammar schools.

Although living in a number of towns during different years of his boy-

{h^irM^^^^^ >HJ3.


hood, Dr. Ballagh was a resident for the most part of Portersville, where he
attended the grammar school and took the first year of high-school work.
Later he was graduated from the Fresno high school. From Fresno he came
to the Kern river fields and worked as a pumper on the Imperial and 33 lease-
holds, also on the San Joaquin division of the Associated Oil Ct.mpany. Mean-
while he frugally saved his earnings in order to assist in the payment of his
expenses while studying dentistry. September 6, 1' 06, at the age of twenty
years, he matriculated in the University of Southern California, where he took
the full course of three years, graduating in 1909 with the degree of D. D. S.
Immediately after graduation he came to Alaricopa and entered upon profes-
sional work. Soon after the Maricopa fire in 1910 he and his brother, E. E..
erected a substantial concrete building, 50x40, on California street, centrally
located, and divided into two store rt)oms and fiur ofilices, his own office being
located in this bluck.

THADDEUS W. HELM, M.D.— Dr. Helm was born at Elkrun, Fauquier
county. V"a., October 14. 1850, a S( n of John G. and Pauline (Jones) Helm.
In both lines of descent he came of old and honored Virginian families
and in the paternal line he traced his ancestry to Wales. When he was
yet but a boy he was taken by his parents to Blackwater. Cooper county,
Mo. He was reared on a farm and when he was eighteen became a traveling
salesman. Four years later he went to Texas and there became a school
teacher and a medical student. Eventually he entered the medical depart-
ment of the L'niversitv of Missouri at Columbia, from which he was gradu-
ated with the degree of M. D. in 1877.

It was at Brookston, Tex., that Dr. Helm began his medical practice.
After a brief experience there he removed to Ballinger, in the same state,
where he practiced with much success for about ten years. Sometimes he
traveled sixty or seventy miles on horseback to see patients, carrying his
medicine and a few surgical appliances in his saddle-bags. As he attained
prominence as a physician he won admiration as a man and popularity as a
citizen and the office of coroner of his county was conferred upon him. In
1888 he came to Lemoore, Kings county, Cal.. where he labored professionally
until in 1891, when he settled in Bakersfield. His office was long located
on Nineteenth street, but eventually he removed it to the Producers Bank
Building. In California, as he had been in Texas, he was called by his ad-
miring fellow-citizens to places of trust and honor and he filled the offices
of coroner and public administrator of Kern county. In his political afifilia-
tions he was a Democrat, and was active as a member of the Fraternal
Brotherhood, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Encampment and
Canton, being captain of the last mentioned. He was an active member of
the Kern County Medical Society, of which he was twice elected president
and of which he was vice-president at the time of his death, which occurred
November 1, 1910. He was long identified also with the California State
Medical Association and with the American Medical Association. A believer
in the evangelical religion and in the ministry of the church for the physical
benefit of men, he was an admirer of General Booth, and his method of work
for humanity.

In Paris, Texas, November 27, 1879, Dr. Helm married Miss Mollie
Hatha-way, a native of that town. She was a daughter of T- ^^^ Hathaway
and a granddaughter of William M. Hathaway, natives of Virginia and mem-
bers of an old Southern family which traced its descent from English an-
cestry. Her father, who removed to ]\Iissouri. and thence to Paris. Tex.,
was a farmer and a well-known and popular merchant near Paris. In the
course of events he removed to Ballinger. Tex., where he died. During the
Civil war he was a gallant officer in the Confederate army. His wife, who
before her marriage was Miss Naomi Yarnell, was born at Nashville, Tenn.,
and died in Texas. Her father. William Yarnell, a native of England, was


a planter in Tennessee, and later in Moniteau county, Mo., where he passed
away. Mrs. Helm grew to womanhood in Paris, Tex., and was duly gradu-
ated from Shiloh Academy. The children born to Dr. and Mrs. Helm are
Lena, Thaddeus W., Jr., De Witt T., Homer H. and Francis. Thaddeus W.,
Jr., was educated as a mining engineer at San Francisco. Mrs. Helm is a
member of the Rebekahs, of which she is past officer, is president of the Fra-
ternal Brotherhood, and is an active member of the Salvation Army.

L. T. THOMPSON.— One of the most capable and enterprising citizens
of Bakersfield, who has won a wide reputation for his exceptional capability
in the execution of his duties as superintendent in the oil fields, is L. T.
Thompson, who has supervision of the INIonte Cristo Oil & Development
Company and the West Shore Oil Company, both in the Kern river oil fields,
and the Monte Cristo Oil and Development Company at Maricopa, as well as
the Marion Oil Company at Taft. All of these are operated independently of
the Standard and Union Companies, and are among the heaviest producers in
Kern county.

Born at Roseburg, Ore., December 14, 1880, Mr. Thompson was given
the opportunity of a good educational training, being sent to the public
schools and then to business college at San Francisco, where was laid the
foundation of his business knowledge. His first position was that of stenog-
rapher for Fink & Schindler; he also kept their books, and some time later
he became private secretary for Lieutenant Ballanger, in the department of
Quartermaster General, of San Francisco, where he remained for a year.
Mr. Thompson's ambitions led him to look for a broader field of labor, and
he was attracted by an advertisement of an attorney in San Francisco, Henry
Ach, president of the Monte Cristo Oil Company, who was searching for
a competent bookkeeper and stenographer for the work in the Kern river
oil fields. He procured the position and came to the oil field in 1903 to take
up the work there, at which time the Monte Cristo had forty wells.

Mr. Thompson's interest in the real work of the oil fields was imme-
diately aroused and he became anxious to know more of the actual workings
of the business. At the same time he knew that the only way to accomplish
this was to begin practically at the bottom and work his way to the top
by actually doing the work himself. It was at this time that his wife came to
his rescue, for taking up his work as bookkeeper and stenographer she
familiarized herself with all his system of work and the details of the busi-
ness, in order that her husband might go to work as a laborer. He began
as a tool-dresser and all 'round man for the company at Maricopa, then became
driller there, and so well did he fill those positions that he was put on as
drilling foreman, which he occupied until 1908. At this time he received
the position of foreman of the Monte Cristo Company, but he soon after
was given the superintendency, as he was then recognized as authority on
the work. He is now the general superintendent of all their divisions, and
his practical knowledge of the work has made him invaluable to his company.
He is firm and just with his workers, keen and thorough in all his executions,
and an upright, honorable man in all his dealings. The Monte Cristo's offi-
cers are as follows: Henry Ach, an attorney of San Francisco, president;
I. L. Rosenthal, a wholesale shoe man of San Francisco, vice-president;
A. A. Power, of San Francisco, secretary, and L. T. Thompson, general super-
intendent. The London, Paris & American Bank of San Francisco is their
treasurer. The Monte Cristo employs fifty men, and its daily pay roll is
$128; the West Shore twenty-two men, and its daily pay roll is $60; the
Monte Cristo Company at Maricopa twenty-five men, and their daily pay
roll is $70; and at the Marion Company, at Taft, there are two men. The
Monte Cristo Oil Company has acquired six hundred and forty acres at Lost






Hills by deed, and one hundred and one acres in the h'ullertdu nil fields under
lease, which will be developed in the near future.

Mr. Thompson was married in 1'07 to Miss Mabel Crosland, and they
are the parents of one child, Louis T., jr. Their home is on the Monte Cristo
lease. Air. Thompson has prn\c(l himself tt) be a man of thrift and has in-
vested in six houses in I'akersfield. lie is a Mason and a Republican.

DOMITILO CASTRO.— In HermosilK', Sonora. Me.xico, n

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 77 of 177)