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 79 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 79 of 177)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

piration of his term he was re-elected April 8, 1912, since which time he has
continued to give close attention to the duties of the clerkship, which office
he has filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to the general public.


LEONARD HOPPER.— A native of Stuart, Guthrie county, Iowa,
Leonard Hopper was born November 14, 1881, and was educated in the
public and high schools in Iowa. When he removed with his parents to
California and located at Fresno he was seventeen years of age. So well
has he prospered in this country that he has adopted it as his permanent home,
and is one of those who has only the best to say of the west and its environ-
ment. In Fresno he worked for two years as a steam engineer, at the same
time taking a course in the International Correspondence School at Scranton,
Pa. Coming to Bakersfield in 1900 he continued at his trade for two years,
when he purchased the Gusher lunch counter. This was located on the
present site of the Brower building and at the time he assumed proprietorship
boasted only three or four stools. From this small beginning he built up a
large business which he sold after three years. In 1906 he bought out the
American Tt)wel Supply Co. at Bakersfield, which at the time was doing a
small business, the new proprietor increasing it sixfold. After taking a course
in Heald's Business College, from which he graduated in 1908, he branched
out in the laundry business on a large scale, starting the American Laundry,
of which he is the sole proprietor. After starting the enterprise he purchased
the site and erected the large and commodious building at No. 2125 I street,
and has installed the latest and most modern machinery and other facilities
that go to make it up-t( -date in every respect. So well has the business pros-
pered that today it is the largest one of the kind in the county. Mr. Hopper
employs fifty people on an average, of whom sixty per cent are women, and
his weekly payroll amounts to $600. Twenty thousand dollars were expended
in May, 1908. by Air. Hopper in the erection of this building and the business.

A'Tr. Hopper has become most popular in the social as well as the business
world of Bakersfield. Fraternally he is a member of the Order of Moose,
also the \\^iodmen of the World, in which he has taken great interest.

C. E. BALLAGH. — The superintendent of the Apollo, 4-Oil and Amaurot
Oil Companies in the Kern river field, who is recognized as one of the able
men of the business, claims California as his native commonwealth and is
justly proud of the fact that he has spent his entire life within the limits of
this great state. The ministerial duties of his father, Rev. R. Ballagh, caused
the family to be residents successively of a number of flourishing towns in
the interior of the state, and it was while they were living at Vacaville,
Solano county, that C. E. was born, March 31, 1880, but subsequent changes
made him familiar with different villages. During the sojourn of the family
at Selma, Fresno county, he attended the high school there and began to earn
his own livelihood upon the completion of his educational course. When
nineteen 3'ears of age he came to Kern county seeking employment. The
first job he secured was at McKittrick, where he learned the task of tool-
dressing and where he worked with the Eldorado Oil Company for five
months. Since 19C0 he has been employed in the Kern river oil field in
various capacities with different companies. For a time he was retained as
field foreman with Green and Whittier, while he also held a responsible
position with the San Joaquin division of the Associated Oil Company.
During January of 1911 he became connected with the 4-Oil, and as the-
two other leases are under the same ownership he acts as superintendent
of all.

The marriage of Mr. Ballagh took place March 3, 1909, and united him
with Miss Alyrtle Barker of 13akersfield, a niece of the late Congressman
Smith, one of the most distinguished citizens ever identified with the devel-
opment of the San. Joaquin valley. Since his marriage Mr. Ballagh has
occupied a substantial cottage provided by the company on the Apollo lease.
Although still young in years, he is one of the pioneer oil men of Kern
county and has not only a long, but also an honorable record in the industry.

/^~-Z/ZS^tP - yxu^Z.^t^


THOMAS WILEY BROWN.— The justice of the peace of the fifteenth
township of Kern county, wlio Hkewise serves as city recorder of Maricopa,
has been identitied with the history of California ever since the '50s and for
a number of years has made Maricopa his home, having come to this locality
in order to fill a position as foreman for the Occidental (now the Sunset
Monarch) Oil Company in 1900. An occasion not to be soon forgotten is a
visit with Judge Brown, for he is an interesting conversationalist, possesses
a remarkable memory and narrates incidents connected with pioneer days
in a manner impressive and entertaining. Notwithstanding his advanced years
and arduous life he is as active, whether measured physically or mentally, as
many men of fifty, and not only is still an omnivorous reader, but a clear
thinker, logical reasoner and forceful debater. The busy round of a frontier
existence and the almost utter lack of educational advantages did not dwarf
his fine mentality, but in the intervals of leisure on ranch or in mine he has
familiarized himself with the best literature of the past and present, has
thoroughly enjoyed the works of Charles Dickens and Walter Scott and has
been a constant admirer of the brilliant poems of Edgar Allan Poe. With an
exact memory that never fails he quotes classical poems in their entirety
and shows a wide acquaintance with both English and American writers.

Both the paternal and maternal ancestors of Mr. Brown were living in
America prior to the Revolutionary war. His grandfathers Brown and
Slocuml) were soldiers in the war of 1812. His father. John Hancock Brown,
son of Thomas Brown, was born in Louisiana in 1808 and was named in
hunor of the illustrious signer of the Declaration of Independence. In lineage
he was of Scotch-Irish extraction. Excellent advantages were bestowed
upon him in youth and he was sent to one of the best schools in New
Orleans. He was said to have been one of the best Greek and Latin scholars
of his day. In his family there were three children, the eldest being Thomas
Wiley, born at Fairfield, Wayne county. 111., November 4, 1842. The second.
George E., of Berkeley, this state, is interested in mining and oil lands. The
only daughter, Julia, is the wife of John G. Knox, deputy county clerk of
Tulare county. When the father came across the plains to California during
the summer of 1850 he left wife and children in Southern Illinois and in
1853 they joined him, ccming via Panama. The mother, Caroline, was an
own sister of Judge Rigdon B. Slocumb, of Wayne county, 111., and a native
of Morganfield, Union county, Ky., being a descendant of English ancestors
who settled in North Carolina in the colonial era of colonization. In the
early part of the nineteenth century the family migrated from the Pedee
river region to Kentucky and a later generation settled in Illinois.

Although about eleven years of age at the time of coming to the west
Judge Brown had attended school only three months in his whole life, nor
were his school advantages in California any more satisfactory, but fortunately
he had the opportunity of learning from his father, who was teacher, preceptor
and companion to him. The work of earning a livelihood was strenuous, but a
little leisure was always found for study and of this he availed himself to
the utmost. While still quite young he engaged in placer mining in Eldorado,
Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. Familiar with both ])lacer and quartz
mining, he has devoted much of his life to the work, but never has met with
the success his eiifqrts justified. Besides mining all through the west he
even went into Old Mexico. At one time he owned land now in the heart
of Porterville, this state, and Phoenix, Ariz., but he sold it before its value
was known ; he now owns valuable residence property in East Bakersfield^
Throughout his entire life he has been consistent in his allegiance to the
Democratic party and since coming to Maricopa he has served as the first
city recorder, having turned over to the city $2783.50 as fees of his office
during the first year.


The marriage of Thomas Wiley Brown and Miss Cornelia Glass was
solemnized March 11, 1867, and was blessed with two children. The sole
survivor, Russell, of Maricopa, married Miss Stella Dunlap of Bakersfield
and they have one child, Thomas Calvin Brown. Mrs. Brown was a daughter
of Robert and Jane (Miller) Glass, natives respectively of Virginia and
Alabama, but residents of Texas from childhood. The Glass family originally
came from Ireland, while the Millers were of German ancestry. The parents
of Mrs. Brown were married in Texas and lived there for many years after-
ward, her birth occurring in that state. During 1853 they joined an expedition
composed of seventy-five families and crossed the plains and deserts through
New Mexico and Arizona into California. When near the present site of
Deming, N. M., the expedition camped to rest their teams. All around them
were Indians and one of the braves seized Mrs. Brown, then a babe of eight
months, and endeavored to escape with her in his arms. Evidently the
intention was to extort a ransom. The dastardly act was seen by J. P. Ownby,
who took aim and fired at the Indian, thus saving the life of the child. No
other event occurred to imperil the lives of any and at last they safely landed
in Los Angeles, where Mr. Glass bought ten acres one block from the present
site of the Downey building. Having no thought of its future value, he sold it
later for a small sum.

When Mrs. Brown was nine years of age the family removed to Tulare
county and settled six miles south of Visalia, where the father took up land and
engaged in ranching. Through intelligent and unwearied industry he became
well-to-do. His death occurred in California at the age of sixty-nine. When
the mother was about seventy-six she went to New Mexico to visit her
daughter, ]\Irs. J. P. Ownby, and during the course of her sojourn there she
was taken ill and died. There were seven daughters and two sons in the
family. Amanda married J. P. Ownby and they were early settlers of
Bakersfield, but eventually located in New Mexico, where Mr. Ownby
engaged in raising sheep and also carried on a hotel business until his death;
his wife also has passed away, leaving three children. Laura and her
husband, Solomon Slinkard of Los Angeles, are both deceased and left nine
children. Corley, of East Bakersfield, is engaged in contract teaming. Dora
married E. S. Baalam, who has an orange grove at Lemon Cove, Tulare
county. Cornelia, the fifth in order cf birth, spent her girlhood principally
in Tulare county and there married Mr. Brown. Sarah and her husband,
J. C. Turner, formerly a carpenter in Bakersfield, are both deceased and left
six children. Barbara Ellen, deceased, was the wife of M. C. Purcell, a sheep-
man living at Bakersfield, and at her death she left six children. William
is a teaming contractor in Bakersfield. The youngest member of the family,
Louisiana Beauregard, married Henry ]\luller and lives on a ranch six miles
east of Bakersfield.

JOSEPH BENSON FRY.— One of the self-made men active in the
recent history of Bakersfield, Kern county, was Joseph Benson Fry, who was
born in Iroquois county, 111., July 28, 1852, and died at Bakersfield, Alay 26,
1911. He was a son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Frazier) Fry. His father, a
native of Ohio and a pioneer in Illinois, passed away in the latter state ; his
mother, who also was born in the Buckeye state, died in Indiana. His
father's brother, John Fry, a member of an Illinois regiment which served
in the Civil war, died in 1873 as a result of hardship and exposure in Libby
Prison at Richmond, Va.

Twelfth in order of birth of his parents' fourteen children, three of whom
are living, Joseph B. Fry was reared on a farm in Illinois and educated in
public schools near his iDoyhood home. When he was about sixteen years
old he went to Girard. Kans., and found employment on a farm near by. Sep-
tember 29, 1872, he married Miss Joanna Banks, who was born near Quincy,
Adams Countv, 111., the daughter of ^^'illis Banks, a native of Kentucky, who


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 79 of 177)