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 85 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 85 of 177)
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the west one of the name removed from South Carolina to Tennessee and
settled upon a plantation, but eventually removed to Missouri to spend his
last days. Rev. Abner Norris, who was a son of the frontier emigrant, was
born in Tennessee and died in Missouri. Throughout life he earned a live-
lihood by farming, but much of his time was given to the ministry of the
Baptist Church, in which he labored without salary but with a simple-hearted
devotion that aided greatly in the local upbuilding of the denomination.
In early manhood he had married Jane Evans, who was born in Kentucky,
but in childhood went to Missouri with her father, Samuel Evans, and
later came to California. When ninety-eight years of age her death oc-
curred at Bakersfield. The Evans family is of Welsh lineage, but has been
identified with American history for a number of generations.

There were six sons and four daughters in the family of Abner and
Jane Norris. Five of the number are still living. It is a noteworthy fact
that three of the sons, Samuel, David and Roljert T., served during the Civil
war as memlDers of Company H, Fourth Missouri Cavalry, United States
Volunteers, and finally received honorable discharges at the expiration of
the struggle. All settled in Missouri, and David remained there until his
death ; Samuel removed to California and died in Long Beach in November,
1912. Robert T., who was seventh among the ten children, was born near
Platte City, Platte county. Mo., March 4, 1841, the date of the inauguration
of William Henry Harrison as president of the United States. For a time
in boyhood he was a pupil in a subscription school and later he attended a
free school. March 26, 1862, he volunteered in Company H, Fourth Mis-
souri Cavalry, and was mustered in at Stewartsville as corporal, from which
later he was promoted to be sergeant. With his regiment he bore a part in
battles throughout the south, particularly in Texas and Arkansas. The
war ended, he was mustered out April 18, 1865, at Warrensburg, Johnson
county, Mo., and during the same year, in Dekalb county, that state, he
married Miss Virginia Tvler, who was born in Ohio and died at Riverside,
Cal., in 1899.

The family home continued to be in Missouri until 1875, when Mr.
Norris came to California and spent one year at Visalia. March of 1876
found him a resident of Kern county, where he located a homestead in the
Weed Patch and embarked in agricultural pursuits. Later he took up and
improved a desert claim. Finally he had eighty acres in alfalfa and made
a snecialty of selling hay. When he sold that property he bought one hun-
dred and sixty acres in this county and became interested in the cattle
industry. Coming to Bakersfield in August of 1888, he bought property,
planted trees and eneaeed in raising alfalfa, besides improving the place he
still owns. Meanwhile he spent some years on a ranch in Riverside county

^ ^ %,r^u^^


and after his leturu to Eakersfield he began to operate the City dye works
I in Eighth and N streets. This business he still owns and manages, his
trade extending through Eakersfield and East Bakersfield and into the Kern
river oil field. A few years after the death of his first wife he married Mrs.
Maggie A. Brooks, of Healdsburg; she was born in Kentucky and died at
liakersfield July 6, 1911. Of his first marriage there are two children. The
daughter, Alfarata, married William W. Baker, associated with Mr. Norris
in the dye works; they became the parents of eight children, seven living.
The son. Perry, owns and manages the dye works at Chico, this state. In
religious belief Mr. Norris adheres to the Presbyterian faith. Politically
he votes with the Republican party. After coming to Bakersfield he became
associated with Hurlburt Post No. 127, G. A. R., and holds office as senior
\-ice-ci mmaiider.

CHRISTIAN WEICHELT.— A native of Zillis, Graubunden, Switzer-
land, born February 12, 1869, Christian Weichelt was the only son of John
and Freda (Readhauser) Weichelt, who died at seventy-six and seventy-seven
years respectively. Bidding farewell to his parents March 29, 1889, Mr.
Weichelt proceeded to Havre, France, from which point he sailed to New York.
At the expiration of fourteen days he landed in the new world and at once
crossed the continent to California, landing at Bakersfield April 30, 1889. For
six months he worked under Christ Stockton on the Lakeside ranch, then spent
four months under Mr. Pyle on the Sixteen ranch, and from there went to
Mono county, where under Mr. Reese as foreman he worked on the railroad
and in a sawmill for eighteen months. During the winter he worked on Mr.
Xeigh's ranch near Mono Lake. In the spring he proceeded to San Francisco,
looked up his former employer, Mr. Reese, and asked him for work. Within
an hour he was given a position as helper to carpenters in the employ of
Runtra Bros., with whom he continued for six months. About that time Mr.
Rantree brought him to the notice of Mr. Button, a large and prosperous
cement contractor, who taught him the cement business with the utmost
thoroughness and then gave him steady employment in San Francisco.

After having continued with Mr. Dutton for four years Mr. Weichelt re-
turned til Bakersfield in 1897 and found employment in a dairy operated by
John Ellis, afterward entering the employ of a cousin, Gaudenz Weichelt,
with whom he continued for two years. During six months of the time he
drove a milk wagon. Going up to Tehachapi, he spent one winter on the
Fickett ranch. Returning to Bakersfield in the spring he engaged with George
Beardsley in the dairy business, Mr. Beardsley having purchased the dairy
formerly owned by Gaudenz Weichelt. Later he was with Klepstein Bros,
and then with Goode Bros., continuing steadily at work until K04, when he
sufl'ered a very severe attack of typhoid fever. For some time his life hung
in the balance. It was four months before he was able to leave his bed and
even longer before he was able to do the lightest work. When he had finally
regained his strength he entered the employ of T. H. Fogarty, a sti ckman
on Cnion avenue. After a year with him he assumed the management of the
Herschfield fruit orchard on L'nion avenue and there he was engaged for four
years, thence returning to Bakersfield to enter the employ of Weitzel & Lar-
son. In the fall of 1887 he married Miss Mary Heim at the old Anderson dairy
near Stockdale. Mrs. Weichelt was born in Germany, whence in 1892 she had
immigrated to California. From early life she has been a devoted member
nf the Roman Catholic Church and her two children, Freda Alma and Hilda
Pauline, are being reared in this religious faith. Since becoming a citizen of
our country IMr, Weichelt has voted with the Republican party in local and
general elections, while in fraternal connections he holds membership with
the Ancient Order of L'nited \\'orkmen. He is one of the strongest and most
active unii n labor men in the city of Bakersfield and is vice-president of


Local No, 130, Cement W'orkeVs. and always the delegate to the Labor

ERNEST E. YARBROUGH.— Long identification with the oil industry
in Kern county, dating back to the opening of the Kern river field and extend-
ing almost continuously up to the present time, has made Mr, Yarbrough
an expert in his judgment concerning the possibilities of any lease and enables
him to fill with accuracy and intelligence his present position as superintend-
ent of the leases of the State Consolidated Oil Company in the McKittrick,
North Midway and Bellridge districts, in which capacity he has engaged with
efficiency since July of 1911, besides being a stockholder in the same concern.

A resident of California since 1891, Ernest E. Yarbrough came to the
state from Kansas, where he was born near Winfield, Cowley county, Feb-
ruary' 12, 1879, His parents, Newton L. and ]\Iollie Yarbrough, were natives
respectively cf Missouri and Illinois and homesteaded a claim in Kansas,
where the father engaged extensively in stock-raising. The purchase of land
adjacent to his original claim gave him a large acreage to superintend and
cultivate. During 1891 he removed from Kansas to California and settled in
Sonoma county, where he and his wife own and conduct a summer resort,
known as the Yarbrough farm, one mile north of Guerneville, Of their two
children the elder, Ernest E., was about twelve years of age at the time of
settling near Guerneville, where later he attended school during several terms.
From the age of sixteen he has been self-suporting. His first experience in
the industrial world gave him employment in a sawmill at Guerneville for one
year, after which he spent another year in the McFadden mill above Spring-

With the opening of the Kern river oil field Mr, Yarbrough sought em-
ployment in the new center of oil development. In a short time he had gairred
a knowledge of dressing tools. After a period of employment with Anderson
& Morton in 1900 he came to the McKittrick field to work as a driller with the
Dabney Oil Company. .\ year later he went to the Sunset field, but another
twelve months found him back in the McKittrick field, where he did consider-
able important work in drilling. About that time (1905) he was induced to
seek employment in the famous Goldfield mines in Nevada and later he located
and developed mines at Lida. Nev., where he remained for a year or until sell-
ing the property. From that district he went to the Needles, now known as
California hills, where he discovered and located the Gold Dollar group of
mines and the Bluebird claims. Upon selling these properties he took employ-
ment with a Los Angeles capitalist and as a mining expert traveled through
almost every portion of Nevada and Arizona. Returning to McKittrick in
1907, he began to work with the Associated Oil Company as a driller, but in
March of 1909 he transferred to the State Consolidated Oil Company for
similar work, since which he has been promoted to be superintendent of the
company's holdings in the McKittrick, North Midway and Bellridge fields.
While in Los Angeles he met and married Mrs, Sadie (Woods) Riggan, who
was born in San Francisco and by her first marriage had two children, Stan-
ley and LI el en,

CHARLES TEMPLETON, Jr.— An identification of several years with
the undertaking firm of Templeton & Co, brought Mr, Templeton into promi-
nent relations with the business men and commercial activities of Bakers-
field, where he is known and honored as a young man of ability and com-
mendable public spirit. Born in the southern part of Illinois, at llarrisburg.
Saline county, July 2S, 1884, he received a fair common-school education in
that state and also acquired there his early knowledge of the undertaking
business, being a graduate of the Chicago College of Embalming, class of
1902, Later he had the advantages afforded by a post-graduate course in the
Renaurd School of Embalming in New York City. During 1909 he was united


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 85 of 177)