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 78 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 78 of 177)
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Robert died in Kern county; John is a stockraiser living in East Bakersfield;
Mary. Mrs. Swiggart. died in Bakersfield: Lucy is Mrs. Castro; Dixie is
Mrs. Lee Castro of Kern county; Alice is Mrs. Barry of Napa; and Edward
is a resident of Williams, Cal. Mrs. Castro's maternal aunt, Mrs. Antonia
Rainey. was the wife of the late Andrew Jackson Rainey. who for many
years was supervisor of Napa county, and through his efforts were built the



738 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

mountain roads into Capell and Berryessa valleys, and it is the concensus
of opinion tiiat they are the finest mountain roads in the state. Mrs. Rainey
resides in Napa with her daughter, Mrs. Reams. Mrs. Castro received her
education in the public schools of Los Angeles and in 1874 came to Kern
county with her parents.

To the union of Domitilo Castro and his wife were born nine children,
as follows: Marguerite, who is a trained nurse in Oakland, Cal. ; Domitilo
Frank, who is in the oil fields near Fresno ; Louis Alfred, who is an oil
driller located in Bakersfield ; Albert Hamilton, who farms the alfalfa ranch;
Andrew Martin, who is an oil driller at Taft ; Adlai Stevenson of Coalinga;
and Lucy R'lay, Felix Clarence and Amelia Gertrude, at home. Mrs. Castro
is a member of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, her husband being
affiliated with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. They are devout
members of the St. Joseph Church of East Bakersfield.

CLARENCE DENVER BENSON.— A native of California. Clarence
Denver Benson was born in San Bernardino, November 1, 1878. His father,
I. H. Benson, came from Illinois to California when a boy with his parents
in 1832. crossing the plains with ox-teams to San Bernardino. In early days
he followed freighting on the desert and later mining. In 1896 he came to
Randsburg, where he has resided ever since. His wife, Etta Tallmadge, was
born in Los Angeles county, the daughter of Frank Leslie Talniadge, a
pioneer of Southern California from New England.

Clarence was the second oldest of a family of eight children and received
his education in the public schools of San Bernardino. When seventeen he
entered the employ of the Santa Fe in his native town and continued with
the company until 1898, when he came to Randsburg, engaging in mining
with the Yellow Aster and in other camps in Kern and San Bernardino
counties. In May. 1906, he removed to Goldfield, Nev., where he mined and
was also pr(i]irietor of the Merchants hotel.

In I'JIO Mr. Benson returned to Randsburg as foreman in the Con-
solidated ;\Iines Companv, and in 1913 was appointed superintendent of the
mine, his experience making him well (|ualified to fill the important duties of
the jxisitidu.

In Goldfield, Nev., Mr. Benson was married to Miss Grace A. McCann,
a native daughter of California and they have two children, Talmadge
Edward and Denver William. Mr. Benson's membership with the Native
Sons of the Golden ^\'est is with Arrowhead Parlur No. 110, San Bernardino.

JAMES MONTGOMERY.— Randsburg has many loyal citizens who
are generous in their support of movements for the betterment of their
community, but none more so than Mr. and Mrs. James Montgomery. Mrs.
Montgomery is serving acceptably as postmistress of Randsburg, while he
is devoting his time to mining as well as assisting his wife in performing the
duties of the office.

James Montgomery was born August 15, 1854, in Portadown, County
Armagh, Ireland, where he was educated until sixteen years of age. He
then made his way to New York City, where he remained for seventeen
years, during which time he engaged in the grocery and tea business. In
1887 he removed to Omaha, Neb., where he was in the commission business.
In 1896 he located in Randsburg, Kern county, and has since been en,gaged
in mining. In September, 1896, he discovered and located the W. J. Bryan
group of mines and with others he developed and worked them. These
mines rank among the high grade ore properties. Aside from these he is
also the owner of several other claims and mines.

In Genesee county, N. Y., occurred the marriage of Mr. Montgomery to
Miss Josephine Gushurst, a native of Rochester, N. Y., whose education
was obtained in the public schools and convent at Rochester. April 12, 1910,




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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 741

Mrs. Montgomery was appointed ])ostniistress at Randsburg Ijy President
Taft and has ser\-ed acceptably in that cajiacity ever since, bein^- aided by
Mr. Montgomery, and together they are well and favorably known.

ALONZO B. ROBINSON.— F. D. Robinson was a native of old Vir-
ginia, who moved to Missmiri, from which state he enlisted in the Mexican
war. After serving nntil the close of the conflict he was mustered out at
Fort Leavenworth in 1848. In the spring of 1849 he came to California,
crossing the plains with ox teams. Eager to try his fortunes in the gold
mines he went to Eldorado county. Later he removed to Mendocino county
and took up ranching, which he followed the remainder of his life. His
marriage united him with Orpha Hackler, a native of Tennessee, who crossed
the plains with relatives in 1852. They were married at Diamond -Springs,
Eldt rado county, and of the nine children born to them five are living, Alonzo
being the third in order of birth. He was born December 8, 1858, in Ander-
.son valley, Mendocino county, attending school there until he was about
seventeen years of age. Following the custom of many boys of that day
he took up work on the home farm for a while, but he was ambitious to
do for himself, and at the age of twenty secured employment in the lumber
mills, leaving this, however, to engage in sheep shearing, and later again
entered the lumber business as shingle sawyer. His experience in handling
stock began in 1879, when he bought and sold stock for a short time, two
years later, in tht summer of 1881, taking a position as tree-feller, which
he continued *^or some years. At the age of twenty-four, on December 6,
1882, Mr. Robinson came to Kern county, which has been the field of his
labors ever since, and he began work for his father-in-law. Three years
later he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres on the west side, which
is now part of his holdings in this county. In 1888 he went into the cattle
business for himself, adding to his pn perty from time to time in order to
have a wide range for his stock, until he now owns and controls a large
stock range in San Emidio district. His home ranch of one hundred and sixty
acres eleven miles southwest of Bakersfield is well improved and under
irrigation from Stine canal, and devoted to grain and alfalfa.

On December 2, 1882, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Rt.binson and
Mary J. Rector. Her father was Bartley Franklin Rector, a large sheep owner
in the county, who came to California across the plains in 1847 and followed
mining. Later, in 1879, he came to Kern county and engaged in the sheep
business, which he built up to a most flourishing state. Mrs. Robinson
was born in Yountville, Xapa county, October 2. 1861, and to her and her
husband were born six children. Albert D., of Maricopa, married Lillie
Denny, and they have one son, Byron D. ; Minnie M. married W. E. Wood-
son, and they have one child, Mary M. : Stella D., Frank E.. .Krchie W. and
Dorothy B. are unmarried and living at home with their parents.

Along with his extensive ranching interests, Mr. Robinson has taken an
active part in oil development, and owns an interest in several fields in
Kern ct;unty. Withal, he has been active in politics, serving from 1901 to
1903 as deputy assessor under A. P. Lightner, and later being elected to the
office of constable, which together with the office of deputy tax collector
he filled for three years, and he has filled the position of trustee of the Paleto
school board for sixteen years. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen
of America and the \\'oodmen of the W'orld.

LEON BIMAT.— While it may be a source of gratification to Mr. P.imat
that he cast in his fortunes with those of the great western country, he has
never forgotten the land of his birth and the home of his youth. On the con-
trary he cherishes a deep, intense devotion for France and particularly for the
department of Basses Pyrenees, lying in the shadow of the lofty Pyrenees
mountains, near the northern border of Spain. The memories of youth I)in. Colby
and the Colloma Oil Company, and October 1, 1913, became lease foreman
for the Traders Oil Company under Joseph Raney.

C. H. DAWLEY.— Born January 26, 1844, in A.shtabula county, Ohio,
when ten years old Mr. Dawley removed with his parents to New York,
where in Chautauqua county he was reared to manhood. He learned the
carpenter's trade, and later took up well drilling, and it was at Scrubgrass,
Venango county. Pa., that he first drilled for oil, beginning as a laborer.
For five or six years Mr. Davvle}- continued this work of drilling, in the
meantime becoming familiar with all the methods employed in the work,
and then removed to Nebraska, near Lincoln, where he engaged in carpen-
tering and building. This was his home for twenty years, but in 1904, learnirvg
of the new industry opened up in California, he moved to Kern county, where
he procured employment on the well-working gang of the Del Rey lease.

The Del Rey has eleven producing wells, the production being from
eight to ten thousand barrels per month, and they employ on an average
from five to six men all the time. Under Mr. Dawley's able management it
has proved a paying enterprise, and it is largely due to the close attention
and well-informed acquaintance which Mr. Dawley has with the conduct of
the business.

In 1869, before coming west to Nebraska, }\lr. Dawley married Miss
Hattie M. Bates, and for many years they made their home on the Del Rey
property, where now Mr. Dawley resides alone, his wife having died August
24, 1912. Both of their children died in infancy.

W. W. COLM. — As superintendent of the Sacramentti Oil Cnmpany
and the Acme Development Company, W. W. Colm heads interests which
represent the most active industry in this part of the county. He is a native
of Butte county, Cal., where he grew up, and attended school at Sacramento,
and later entered Bainbridge College, from which he graduated. He has
proved himself to be a clever, sagacious manager of the firm he represents,
and has brought it to a paying basis by his own efforts. The stockholders of
the company reside mostly in Sacramento, and the officers of the Sacramento
Oil Co. are, J. L. Gillis, president, Charles Robb, vice-president, D. W. Car-
michael, secretary and treasurer, and W. W. Colm, superintendent ; of the
Acme Development Co., Charles Robb, president. Charles Richardson, vice-
president, J. L. Gillis, secretary and treasurer, and W. W. Colm. superin-
tendent.

According to experienced oil men, there is no lease in the Kern river
field which has been better drilled or better managed or can show better
results in general than the twenty acres owned by the Acme Development
Co. under the efficient management of Mr. Colm. Drilling on the Acme was
begun on April 1, 1907, and eight wells were put down with one string of
tools. The deepest of these wells is nine hundred and fifty feet, and the
shallowest is nine hundred feet. None of the wells is large, but all are
uniform producers. The drilling was completed on October 5, 1907, with no
dry holes, no spciled wells, no poorly finished jobs and no breaks of any kind
in a uniform run of clean, successful work. In connection with this record
it should be stated that this section (twenty-nine) is probably the easiest
and cheapest part of the field to drill, but even considering this fact the



744 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

record of eight good producing wells in six months with one string of tools is
one of which any superintendent may well be proud.

The product of the company has been exceedingly high, the receipts for
which reached a large figure. The records show that up to May 1 of this year
the wells have steadily increased in production, so that the prospects are that
the Acme property will go on paying for itself many times over before its
wells are pumped dry, which time is variously estimated from ten to forty
years. This territory is underlaid with four hundred feet of oil sand, pro-
ducing oil of fourteen gravity. ]\Ir. Colm has been manager of the Sacramento
Oil Company ever since it was started. This lease covers forty acres, and
has ten oil wells and three water wells, and is fast developing to a highly
productive point. Under his experienced management there is a splendid
future success assured the company.

Mr. Colm married Miss Mary E. Flickinger, of Pennsylvania, and they
make their residence in the Kern river oil fields, where they are surrounded
by many warm friends.

JAMES HEROD.— On the blufifs above East Bakersfield commanding
a most magnificent view of the valley stands an attractive country residence
known as Plainview home, which with its complete equipment of modern
conveniences, including a private water plant operated by electricity, oflfers
every boasted advantage of the city, together with the many indisputable
benefits associated with suburban life. An admirable adjunct of the home is
the rose garden, while scarcely less attractive are the groves planted to
trees of oranges, lemons and grape fruit.

The Herods come of a very old Kentucky family, whose first representa-
tive in Indiana, John Herod, settled on a tract of raw land near Greencastle
and developed the claim into a productive farm. The next generation was
represented by Baila Herod, born and reared on the Indiana farm, an agri-
culturist throughout his active years, but now living retired at Coatesville,
Hendricks county, that state. ' His wife, who also has spent her entire life
in Indiana, bore the maiden name of Harriet Minter and comes of an old
and honored Virginia family, her mother having been a sister of John Clark
Ridpath, the famous historian. There were ten children in the family of
Raila Herod and all but two of these attained to maturity, while six now
survive. Three live in California, Mrs. Scofield having her home on Chester
avenue, Bakersfield, and Lester living on Cedar street in the same city. The
next to the oldest member of the family, James, was born on the old home-
stead near Greencastle, Ind., October 24, 1858, and received a country-school
education. Starting out for himself in 1880 he found employment on a
ranch near Wellington, Sumner county, Kan., and there he worked for two
years. In April of 1882 he arrived in California, and after a month in Los
Angeles came on to Kern county during May. His identification with this
county therefore covers a period of more than thirty years.

After having worked first as a day laborer and later as a foreman for
Dr. D. O. C. Williams on San Emidio ranch for some time, Mr. Herod
resigned in 1885 in order to take up ranching for himself. At first he en-
gaged in raising stock in a general way, but later he drifted into the dairy
industry, and in it he was very successful. The ranch in the Panama dis-
trict which he still owns, comprises one hundred and twenty acres under
irrigation and mostly in alfalfa. During November of 1911 he leased the
ranch and removed to his present home in the suburbs of East Bakersfield,
where he continues the dairy business as a retail dealer in milk. While
living on the ranch he assisted in the organization of the First Congregational
Church of Panama, and in it he served as treasurer and a trustee until his
removal to East Bakersfield, when he and his wife became members of the
Pilgrim Congregational Church. For several years he served as a director
of the Farmers' Mutual Telephone Company of Kern county, which he



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 747

assisted in organizing- and steadfastly promoted in its important work of
bringing telephone lines into the entire district. In politics he alwavs has
voted with the Democratic party. Fraternally he holds membership with
the Woodmen of the World and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

The first marriage of Mr. Herod united him with Aliss Nellie Crocker,
a native of Gilroy, Santa Clara county, Cal. and a daughter of J. C. Crocker,
a pioneer of Kern county. Mrs. Nellie Herod died on the home ranch,
leaving two children, namely: Mrs. Stella G. Hastings, whose husband has
leased the ranch owned by Mr. Herod ; and Lester E., who is engaged in the
stock business in Breckenridge district. In 1897 in Bakersfield occurred the
marriage of Mr. Herod and Miss Mary A. May, a native of Healdsburg,
Si noma county, Cal., and a lady of education and culture. There are no
children of this union, but with them lives an adopted son, Rov, born in
1900 and now a student in the public schools. Mrs. Herod is the eldest of the
six living children of Frank and Amelia (Alexander) May, natives respect-
ively of Pennsylvania and St. Clair county, 111. During the Civil war Mr.
May served as a volunteer in the First Virginia cavalry regiment. At the
close of the war he removed to California and settled in Sonoma county,
where he married a daughter of Charles Alexander, the honored pioneer of
Alexander valley in Sonoma county. In St. Clair county, 111., where he
was born, ]\Ir. Alexander married Achsah Smith, a native of New York. In
1849 he crossed the plains with ox teams. His family joined him in 1852,
coming by way of Panama. After mining a while he located in the valley
that was named for the family. In 1872 Mr. May came to Kern countv with
his wife and family, which then comprised two children, four children having
been born in Kern county. Settling in the Panama district, he took up a
claim and began to develop the barren tract into a productive farm, starting
housekeeping in a box house 14x14. Largely through Mr. May's influence
the Farmers' canal was constructed and it proved of great benefit to the
early settlers. Until his death in 1892 he continued on the same ranch and
engaged in the stock business. The ranch is still owned by his widow, who
is now making her home with Mrs. Herod at Plainview, East Bakersfield.

FRED. P. BOLSTAD, D. D. S.— Born in Minnesota, March 20, 1>^78, Dr.
Bolstad was educated in public' schools of the east. After coming to Cali-
fornia he matriculated in the dental department of the University of Southern
California, where he took the regular course of lectures and experi-
mental work and was graduated with the class of 1909. For a brief period
following his graduation he had charge of an office in Covina. January 2.5,
1910, he arrived in Taft for the purpose of entering upon professional work
and here he since has engaged in practice. September 15, 1911, he moved his
suite to the Key building, where he now has pleasant quarters and . every
lacilit}- for the satisfactory continuance of professional work. August 22, 1911,
he was united in marriage with Miss Grace M. Bursell, and they have estab-
lished a comfortable home in Taft, where they are prominent socially.

A number of the fraternities receive the co-operation and assistance of
Dr. Bolstad in their philanthropies and social functions, among these being
the \A'oodmen of the World, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the
Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Camp No. 266, at Bakersfield. Inter-
ested in political problems and stanch in his allegiance to the Republican
party, he has taken a warm interest in national issues and has kept posted
concerning large governmental afifairs. Particularly deep has been his interest
in local matters. Any measure for the upbuilding of Taft receives his warm
suppdrt, for he is an enthusiastic booster of the city. After the incorporation
of Taft he was elected the first city clerk November 7, 1910, and at the ex-



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 78 of 177)