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 89 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 89 of 177)
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known as the Berkshire farm, were improved through his personal labors.
After nine years on the ranch he came to Bakersfield and here engaged in
general teaming and contracting until his death, which occurred April
30, 1898. Fraternally he belonged to the Ancient Order of United Workmen,
while in religious matters both he and his wife from early years were earnest
supporters of the Methodist doctrines.

Since the death of Mr. Coolbaugh his widow has remained at their home
in Bakersfield and has had charge of the interests left her, representing the
savings of their years of economy and wise management. A woman of
large charities and deep sympathies, she always has been a worker for the
needy and suffering. It always has been her aim to help the poor to help
themselves, but no one is quicker than she to realize that there are occa-
sions when they must. have help or all is lost. Upon the organization of the
Associated Charities she was chosen the first registrar and continued to fill
that office until 1912, when she resigned. With Mrs. Yancey she organized
the Juvenile court committee for Kern county, having been chosen for the
work by Judge Bennett ; the court has for its object the mental and moral
upbuilding of waifs of humanity whose early path in life has turned toward
evil. About the beginning of the twentieth century, with Mrs. Yancey and
E. J. Emmons, she started the Kern County Rescue Society for the preven-
tion of cruelty to children. October 19, 1906, there came to Bakersfield a
woman with three half-fed, half-clothed children, with only a few crackers
between them and starvation. These children were taken temporarily by
.Mrs. C. P. Larsen. Upon investigaticn Mrs. Coolbaugh and IMrs. Yancey
found they could not provide a home for the children anywhere in the state
without the mother relinquishing her right. There was need of a home
where helpless children could be left until the father or mother was able to
support them. November 12, 1906, these courageous women rented a cot-
tage of six rooms at No. 1408 Eleventh street. They had not a cent of money
to pay the rent nor a piece of furniture to put in the house, but they did
have the promise of Mrs. M. E. Stephenson to work free of charge for six
months. Donations had been made for the victims of the San Francisco
disaster and some of these supplies, not being needed there, were available
for use and gave a start in bedding, groceries and t)ther supplies. Rev.
Angus Alathevvsdn donated new matting for two rooms, window shades.



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 867

bedstead and kitchen furniture. Others res]xinded gladly. In six months
after the house had been secured the way opened for the Kern County
Children's Shelter to be incorporated as a state institution, April 16, 1907.
At that time thirteen children were being supported. May 24, 1907, the
first ofificers were elected, also an advisory board of seven gentlemen. Dur-
ing 1908 twenty-one children were supported in the Home under the care
of Airs. M. E. Stephenson, who was retained at a fair salary. In September
of 1910 the institution was moved to its present cjuarters. No. 920 Twen-
tieth street. On the first tag day, which was celebrated in Bakersfield in
190', nearly $6,003 was raised to pay for this building, the site for which
was donated by Mrs. Ellen M. Tracy. Generous men of Bakersfield donated
the furniture. In all of this work Mrs. Coolbaugh bore her share and as
superintendent she now devotes all of her time to the worthy philanthropy,
finding a constant pleasure in the thought of helping these little ones in their
unequal struggle against adverse circumstances. The Shelter has accommo-
dations for forty-six children in single Ijeds. The furnishings are simple but
substantial and the arrangement of the house conduces to convenience. Fer-
ha])s no part of the building is a source of greater pride to the superin-
tendent than the Sunshine room, a bright, sunny, pleasant room, where
the sick ones are cared for and nursed to recovery, and where, when not
needed for hospital purposes, the children enjoy many a pleasant hour of
recreation and play. In their health and in their preparation for future
usefulness through instruction in simple tasks suited to their years, the
children have the sympathetic oversight of the superintendent and the other
[)liilanthropic women whose names are indissolulily associated with this
worthy enterprise.

ERNEST L. BLANCK.— A life of varied activities, during the course
c f which he has been familiar with conditions in three different parts of
the world, has given to Mr. Blanck a cosmopolitan knowledge of men and
affairs. The first eight years of his life were passed in New Zealand, where
he was born May 17. 1878. Reared in Seattle and educated in its i)ubhc
schools, he was on the threshold of maturity when in 1897 gold was dis-
co\-ered in the Klondike, ^^'ith eager hopefulness he started for the north.
The long overland journey to Dawson was safely consummated and he
then began to prospect in the gold fields, where he met with the usual round
of success and failure, prosperity and adversity. Taken altogether, how-
ever, the returns were satisfactory and when finally he returned to Cali-
fornia to establish a home he still left interests in the north so important
and \aluable that he returns each summer to superintend their development.

AX'ith the first starting of a village on the site of Fellows Mr. Blanck
came to the new place in January of 1910 and on the 7th of February
formed a partnership with H. J. Lawton in the general mercantile business,
buying a location and putting up a suitable building which the firm still
(jccupies. Accompanying him to the town were his wife and only child,
Lois, and the family are comfortably established in a home of their own.
Mrs. Blanck, prior to her tnarriage in 1902. was Miss I". E. i'.oynton and
lived in Berkeley, this state. Since coming to this county Mr. Blanck has
joined the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks in Bakersfield. During
his sojourn in Alaska he was associated with the Arctic ISrotherhijod and
Camp No. 7h. Fraternal Order of Eagles, at Nome.

The store of Lawton & Blanck, Inc., contains the Fellows pi stcifficc,
for Mr. Lawton was chosen the fir.st postmaster May 26, 1910, and in July,
1912, Mr. Blanck was appointed iiostmaster, succeeding his said ijariner,
whose interests in the large mercantile store he bought out at the same time.
As dealers in general merchandise Lawton & Blanck, Inc., gained a wide
reputation. The line of goods is the best of its kind. Mr. Blanck acts as



868 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

exclusive agent for the canned goods of Sussman & AVormser, also for
Carson gloves, Hannan shoes and Selz Blue shoes. Not only does he main-
tain a large trade in Fellows, but he has customers in the entire district
surrounding the town. His two delivery autos are used for the convenience
of customers in a radius of six miles of town.

ALEXANDER BERGES.— Born in France March 19, 1862, Alexander
Herges at the age of fifteen years bade farewell to friends and native land
and crossed the ocean to the new world, where at first he se-
cured employment in San Francisco. In 1880, three years after his
arrival in California, he came to Kern county and with this section of
the state his subsequent interests were intimately identified. During 1889
at Bakersfield occurred his marriage to Miss Margaret Rouquette, a native
of San Luis Obispo county, Cal., and a daughter of Peter and Dora (Cer-
vantes) Rouquette, both now deceased. As a girl from the age of eight
years Miss Rouquette lived on Palata ranch, a large stock farm, of which
her father served as foreman for a number of years. Later the parents
removed to Bakersfield and here she met and married Mr. Berges, their
union resulting in the birth of six children, namely; .\lexander, Jr., Leopold,
Grace, Henrietta, Armand and Eugene.

At his death, which occurred on Christmas eve of 1910, Mr. Berges
left to his family a valuable estate, including the Quitol ranch of one hundred
and sixty acres in Ventura county, the Sunset ranch of six hundred and
forty acres and the home place of eighty acres on Union avenue six miles
south of Bakersfield. It was as a stockman that Mr. Berges made his greatest
success and the raising of sheep was his specialty, his prominence in the
occupation proving a special adaptation for the work. Since his death Mrs.
Berges has remained at the elegant country residence and has managed her
landed and stock interests with the assistance of her oldest son, a young-
man of worth, of character and energy of temperament, well adapted to take
up the father's work with every hope of future success. The family hold
membership with the Roman Catholic Church of Bakersfield and are gen-
erous in their contributions to its maintenance as well as to general philan-
thropic projects.

On May 10, 1912, occurred an accident which caused added sorrow to
the Berges family. While at work on the Sunset ranch, near ^Maricopa, the
horse which young Leopold Berges was riding fell down on him and broke
his left leg above the knee. As a result of this injury he died July 14, 1912.
He was an exceptionally bright and able young man. Although less than
twenty-one he was of great assistance to the mother in operating the ranches.

WITTEN W. HARRIS, A.B.— The ranks of labor have no champion
more sincere in purpose, more brilliant in mind or more helpful in counsel
than Witten W. Harris, who as an editor of the Union Labor Journal has
cast in his fortunes with those of the great army of workmen toiling cour-
agCLUsly for their daily bread. The Kern County Labor Council, recogniz-
ing the imperative necessity of a sheet devoted to their own interests, estab-
lished the Union Labor Journal during 1904 as a weekly and its pages have
since been used for the advancement of the labor organizations of this local-
ity, at the same time posting all readers concerning the great field of social-
ism the world over. The Journal is a six-column quarto, pungent in denun-
ciation of the evils of the age, acute in criticism, penetrating in its analysis
of national problems and characterized by an editorial policy as effecti\-e
as it is forcible.

In lineage Mr. Harris represents two families, these (jf Harris and
Witten, that have been identified with American history since the colonial
period and that had representation in the ])atriot army during the Revolu-
tion. His parents, W. M . and Mary (A\'itten) Harris, were 'born in Ken-




c:^-^^^^ /:i^^^>2^



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 871

tiicky and \'irg'inia respectively ami now make their Imme in llakcrslicld,
but for years engaged in farming near Alljany, Gentry comity, Mo., where
the father held the office of county assessor for several terms. The original
home of the Harris family in America was upon the eastern shore of Mary-
land, but the tide of migration afterward took them to Kentucky and Mis-
souri. There were eight children in the parental family and all are,y.now
living, the third being Witten W., who was born near Albany, Gentry
county. Mo., August 17, 1872, and received his early education in the public
schools, afterward taking the complete course of study in Christian College
at Albany. During the spring of 1897 he was graduated with the degree of
A.R., after having paid all the expenses of his college course by means of
teaching and preaching. Ordained to the ministr}' of the Christian Church,
he held a pastorate at Princeton, Mo., prior to his graduation and afterward
he was elected by the state board of the denomination as evangelist for the
district south of the Missouri river in the state of Missouri. For two years
he engaged actively in evangelistic work through all of Southern Misscjuri
under the auspices of the society. Meanwhile he had been a deep student
of theology. The result of his studies caused him to espouse the cause of
the higher critical school of Biblical interpretation. His views therefore took
him away from the teachings of the church to which he belonged. Heing too
liberal for sympathetic and harmonious relations with the church, he
resigned his position and retired from the ministry.

A brief connection with the Cabool Democrat at Cabool, Texas county,
Mo., gave Mr. Harris an experience in the work of editor and publisher and
after he had sold that paper he held similar positions with other journals.
I'Vom 1905 until 1909 he served as editor of the Union Labor Journal in
Bakersfield, but retired to remove to Oakland and establish the Harris print
shop. At the expiration of two years he left Oakland on account of the ill
health of his wife. Hoping she might be benefited by the climate of New
Mexico he established a home near Albuquerque, but the change proved of
no avail and she passed away in June of 1912, leaving four children, Gerald,
Robert, George and \\'itten. She bore the maiden name of Louise ■Murphy
and was bi.rn in Dekalb county, Mo., but her marriage was solemnized in
Springfield, Greene county, that state. After her demise Mr. Harris returned
to Bakersfield and again took up the editing of the Linion Labor Journal,
which owes much to his wise editorial policy and devotion to the labor
movement. During 1909 he served as a member of the state board of con-
trol of the Socialist party.

WILLIAM G. TALBOT.— The Western Pipe and Steel Company of
California, which has engaged the services of Mr. Talbot as manager of its
Taft branch, is a well-known corporation organized under the laws of the
state and dealing in steel and galvanized tanks, steel well casing, riveted
steel water pipe and irrigation supplies. In the oil fields of Kern county
the trade of the company has mostly to do with oil and water storage tanks
of ever}' size and description, from the small galvanized iron tank to the
largest steel tank. Stove-pipe casing also is manufactured by the concern
in large quantities, while the Taft shop further engages in riveted steel work.
A large business is carried on in the irrigated sections of the county in the
way of water-well casing and water pipe for surface irrigation, so that the
company in its various departments controls an extensive and valuable trade.
Besides the shop and office at Taft, there are offices at San Francisco, Los
Angeles and Fresno, also factories at Los .\ngeles and Richmond, so that
access is easy and shipments prompt to every portion of the state.

The first fourteen years in the life of William G. Talbot were ])assed
ill Bourbon county, Ky., where he was born November 7, 1882. and whence
in 1896 he came to California in compati\- with his father. Diidle\- Talbot.



872 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

The family settled in Los Angeles county and the youth grew to manhood
there, working for a time upon the orange grove of his father, but after
sixteen years of age employed in business houses and principally retained in
a clerical capacity in railway offices. About 1910 he became connected
with the Western Pipe and Steel Company of California, founders of the
second supply house at Taft, where a building was erected in 1908 and T. H.,
brother of W. G. Talbot, put in charge as manager. Until William G. suc-
ceeded to the management of this shop he was employed at Richmond and
Los Angeles by the same company and meanwhile gained a thorough knowl-
edge of every phase of the work. With his wife, who was formerly Aliss
Lucy Craig, of Kansas City, he has established his home in Taft, where he
is a prominent member of the Petroleum Club and popular among the men
of the West Side oil field.

R. T. BAKER. — More than one-half century of progress has marked the
history of California since R. T. Baker came hither with a small expedition
of emigrants, who to the number of about thirty, including men, women and
children, crossed the plains during the summer of 1857 and early in the
autumn landed safely at Sacramento, he then being about twenty years old.

Clark county in Illinois was the native place of R. T. Baker and there
his father, James, died at the age of seventy, many years after he had
removed thither from his native Kentucky. The mother, who bore the
maiden name of Malinda Fry and was born in South Carolina, came to
California after the death of her husband and made her home with her son,
R. T., in Los Angeles county, where she passed away at the age of sixty-
seven years. Upon his arrival in California Mr. Baker had proceeded from
Sacramento to Solano county and had engaged in farming near Dixon, where
he made his home from 1857 until 1895 and then for seven years engaged in
farming in Los Angeles county. Meanwhile he had married Miss Mary A.
Bailey, who at the age of four years, in 1849, had iDeen brought across the
plains from Illinois by her father, Peter Bailey, a pioneer of Solano county,
where she was reared to womanhood. Born of their marriage were three
children. The eldest, Vina, is the widow of Juhn A. Johnson and lives in
Kern county. The only son, Frank C, is engaged in the oil business in
Kern county, near Maricopa, and the youngest, Louisa, Mrs. McGar. died
in Yolo county, leaving six children.

Having purchased in 1902 a tract of land in Kern county Mr. Baker
brought his family to this place and since then has devoted his attention to
the improvement of his property, which comprises twenty acres on section
19, about twelve miles south of Bakersfield. Quietly following the duties
of his chosen occupation and caring little for outside activities, he never-
theless maintains a warm interest in all movements for the general upbuild-
ing of Kern county. Ever since he cast his first presidential ballot for
Abraham Lincoln he has continued a stanch advocate of Republican prin-
ciples and a voter for measures promulgated by the leaders of that party.
Various fraternal organizations have had the benefit of his active co-opera-
tion, most important of these having been the blue lodge of Masons, the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Ancient Order of United Workmen.

EDWARD C. KELLERMEYER.— The Independent Well Supply Com-
pany, of which Mr. Kellermeyer is treasurer and in the promotion of which
he has maintained a warm interest, was incorporated under the laws of Cali-
fornia .April 6, 1912, with a capital stock of $500,000. Practically a closed
corporation, its stock has not been placed upon the market and its stock-
holders have been fully satisfied with the management of their interests on
the part of the directors of the ccncern. The main office of the company is
located in the Bank of Bakersfield building at Bakersfield and the officers
are as follows: William II. Inneman, of Coalinga, president; William H.



HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 875

Landme3-er. of Los Angjeles. vice-president ; Clarence \\' ilson, of Bakeistield,
secretary ; and E. C. Kellermeyer, treasurer, also manager of the Taft branch.

Identified with the Taft branch of the concern since June of 1912 and
a resident of California since 1901, Mr. Kellermeyer came west equipped for
practical work bj' thorough training as a machinist and by superior mechan-
ical skill that already had made him an expert in the building and repair-
ing (if bicycles and in similar tasks. lie is a native of the city of Indian-
apolis, Ind., and was born January 13, 1876, being a son of A. I*". W. and
Minnie (Teckenbrock) Kellermeyer. The latter, a native of Germany, was
brought to America in infancy and grew to womanhood in Indianapolis,
where her parents were pioneers. The former, a mechanic by trade, still
follows his chosen occupation in Indianapolis, and in the same city the
paternal grandfather, a native of Germany, now eighty-seven years of age,
had a long and active career as a railroad mechanic and inspector. The
parental family included five children, named as follows : Harry, a machinist
employed at his trade in Indianapolis ; Edward C, the only member of the
family to leave his native city; Walter, who is connected with the Indianap-
olis fire department; Charles, an employe of the Indiana Trust Company in
Indianapolis; and Clara, who is employed by a large business corporation
of Indianapolis.

Having completed the studies of the grammar school, Edward C. Keller-
meyer served an apprenticeship of four years to the trade of machinist with
Sinker & Davis and meanwhile acquired a thorough knowledge of the iccu-
pation. The bent of his mind was toward such work and he has shown
unusual aptitude in the care and repairing of machinery. At the expiration
of his apprenticeship he engaged with the Standard bicycle works in Indian-
apolis for two years and for a similar period he was with the Waverly
Bicycle Company, after which he held a trusted position as machinist with
the Central bicycle works, also in Indianapolis. After a year with the last-
named concern he went to Logansport, Ind., and secured employment in
the shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Coming to California
in 1901, he secured work as a roustabout with the \V. T. McFie Supply
Ceimpany of Los Angeles From the delivery force he worked his way up
to be a city salesman. June 29, 1902, he arrived in Bakersfield, from which
point he proceeded to the Kern river oil fields and for nine months remained
there as a field solicitor. Returning to Los Angeles he remained for a year,
then came back to the Kern river field and entered the service of the 33
Oil Company as a lease foreman. A year later he resigned the position,
returned to Los Angeles and resumed work for the W. T. McFie Supply
Company, whose supply department he superintended for nine months, .\s
an employe of the Oil Well Supply Company he arrived in Maricopa ;\Iay
1, 1'07. Four months later he was sent over to McKittrick to take charge
of the branch at that point. After a year as manager of that branch he was
transferred to Moron (now Taft), where he built the Oil Well Supply Com-
pany's store. On the completion of the store he became its manager and
continued to fill the position with the greatest efficiency until he resigned,
April 1, 1912, for the purpose of organizing the Independent Well Supply
Company. Since coming to Taft he has been interested in various local
organizations and enterprises, particularly the Taft Petroleum Club, of
which he is a charter member. His marriage took place in Coalinga and
united him with Miss Florence J. Williams, daughter of B. C. Williams,
who is engaged in the real-estate business at that place.

JOHN E. HUBBARD.— The Buckeye state gave to California in the
first and second generations many citizens of thrift, enterprise and high
moral character, who have taken a manful part in the work of development
which has made the state one of the greatest in the Union. John F.. Hub-



876 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

bard of Delano, Kern count}', was born in Butte county, Cal., December 8,
1872, a son of William and Nancy (McBride) Hubbard. The father was
born near Ottawa, Putnam county, Ohio, July 9, 1849, and the mother was
born in Hancock county, that state, June 22, 1850. Of their marriage, which
occurred near Sacramento, January 1, 1872, six children were born. The elder
Mr. Hubbard was blessed with only limited educational advantages in the
east and early in life began to give his attention to agriculture. In 1864 he
came to California and settled in Yolo county, where he farmed for a time,
or until he pre-empted a tract of his own near Oroville, Butte county. After
remaining there for two years he returned to Yolo county and resumed farm-
ing. Later he was similarly employed in Stanislaus county until 1884, when
he located in Fresno. From there in 1886 he came to Kern county and located
seven miles east of Delano, where he took up a homestead of one hundred
and sixty acres which has been his home ever since. Besides the homestead
he also, with his son, is the owner of four hundred and eighty acres which
is devoted to grain raising. In connection with his agricultural endeavors
he takes contracts for leveling- land for alfalfa and orchard purposes, using
a large steam roller in the operation.

The six children comprising the parental family are John Edson, Chaun-
cey N., Rachel E. (Mrs. Simpson of Munson), Rilla A., Oren F., and Archie
F. John E., the eldest of the family, was early in life enrolled in a public
school, where he continued his studies until 1879. Later he was a student
for three years in the public school at Oakdale, Stanislaus county. After the
removal of his parents to Fresno he continued his studies there until 1884.
Coming to Kern county with his parents in 1886, he busied himself until he
was nineteen years old in assisting his father on the farm. By the time he



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 89 of 177)