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 92 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 92 of 177)
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working for the fur company. His trade of blacksmith earned him a livelihood
at various places. For a time he engaged in the stock business at Monterey
and after gold was discovered he spent some time at the placer mines, later
engaging in the building business. Daniel, Jr., spent his mature years prin-
cipally in the Santa Clara and Sacramento valleys, where he engaged in
farm pursuits. Both he and his wife, who bore the maiden name of Sarah
Mayhew, are now deceased.

The next to the youngest among eight children, six of whom are still
living, B. H. Sill was born in Santa Clara County, Cal.. June 7, 1869, and
grew to manhood upon a farm in the Sacramento Valley. While still a
very small child he was bereaved by the death of his mother. At the age of
fifteen he became an apprentice in a carriage factory at Marysville, this state,
where he served for six years, meanwhile gaining a thorough knowledge of
carriage-making. The occupation, however, did not interest him and when
his apprenticeshin had been terminated he began to work on a farm owned
by Hon. Leland Stanford in Tehama County, this state, where he helped to
plant Aa'c thousand acres in a vineyard of choice grapes. Later he aided in
the establishing of a winery and distillery on the ranch. During the five years
of his employment with Governor Stanford he attended school at Vina.

As early as 1850 Mr. Sill made a trip to Bakersfield, but it was not until
1898 that he became a permanent resident. Meanwhile he had been employed
at Seattle and Spokane as well as in other western cities. Shortly after his
arrival in this city he assisted in the organization of the Fred Gunther
Comnany, capitalized at $15,000, of which he is the president. In politics
he has voted with the Democratic party ever since he became of the age
required for the exercise of the franchise. Fraternally be is connected
with the Elks. By his first wife, Catherine Collins, he has one son, Daniel,
now a student in the Harvard Military school in Los Angeles. After the
death of his first wife he was united in marriage with Miss Catherine Bresna-
ham, a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., and one son, Benjamin N., l^lesses




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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 901

their union. Aside from other interests Mr. Sill since ccunino- to Kern t'oiinty
lias bought oil lands and acquired ])art ownership in oil wells.

BERNARD BIMAT.— Since 1906 he has owned and worked forty acres
imder the east side canal eight miles southeast of Bakersfield, where alfalfa
is raised profitably by the aid of abundant irrisjation and where he also has
given profitable attention to the raising of Percheron horses and sheep. His
judgment concerning horses is seldom at fault. At a glance he seems able
to detect defects and appraise values, this being the result of natural intuition
and early experience in the business. From boyhood he was trained to under-
stand equine flesh and he also learned to ride trotters and runners in the
races, but as he grew toward manhood his increasing weight prevented a
continuance of riding in races. His love of horses comes perhaps as an
inheritance from his father, Edward Bimat, who made a specialty of raising
standards and thoroughbreds on his farm and who was considered one of the
best judges of horses in the entire locality. The mother, who was Mary
Mirasson-Casteigt, member of a very ancient famih^ of Basses-Pyrenees, is
still living at the old home in the French valley lying beneath the shadow of
the mountains.

The youngest of five children, all still living, Bernard Bimat was born at
Precilhon, Basses-Pyrenees, France, and received his education in local schools,
the high school at Oloron (of which he is a graduate) and the Normal School
at Lescard. For a year he was employed in the revenue department of the
government. A brother and sister having gone from the old home to Cali-
fornia, in 1885 he joined them in Kern county, where the brother, Leon, was
engaged in the sheep indu.stry. For two years he was employed as a herder,
after which he bought six hundred ewes from his brother and began to range
his flock in the mountains of Kern. Inyo and Mono counties during summer
months, bringing them down to the valleys for the winter. From 1891 to

1893 he engaged in partnership with his brother. The free trade measures
of the Cleveland administration caused the ruin of his sheep business and in

1894 he turned to teaming and ranching. Taking a homestead on section
26. 32-30, he proved up on the land, built barns and house, and engaged in
raising grain, cattle and horses. Later he bought one hundred and sixty
acres in the Cummings valley, moving to the place in order that his children
might have educational advantages. Meanwhile he ran his cattle on the
range between Tejon and Cummings valley, using for a brand a triangle with
the base down, beneath which were two connecting bars. At a later date
he brought the cattle to the Long Tom country, but eventually sold the entire
herd to John Bidart. Since then he has resumed the raising of sheen and has
sold his mountain ranches. In East Bakersfieid he married Miss Alary Ros-
tain, who was born in Hautes Alpes, France, near the village of Mans, and
died in Kern county in 1911, leaving five children, namely: Marie, now Mrs.
\'idailliet, of San Pedro; Leon, Edward and Bernard, Jr., who remain with
their father on the home ranch ; and Felix, who died in 1913 at the age of
four years. Air. Bi'mat is a member of the Druids and politically votes with
the Republican party.

JEAN MOYNIER.— A native of Canton Ogier, Hautes Alpes, France,
born August 4, 1864, he was a son of Jean and Marie Rosalie (Gugler) Moy-
nier, the former a stockman in Ogier, and later the owner of a farm at St.
Bonnet. Since his death the widow has continued to reside on the old
homestead at that place. There were six children in the family and four of
these are now living. The eldest. Jean, was reared on the farm at St. Bonnet,
received his education in local schools and learned the sheep business under
the wise supervision of his father. At the age of seventeen in 1881 he came
to America, arriving in Los Angeles in April. .After a month with an uncle.
Francois Gugler, in that city, in May he came to Kern county, whore he
found emiiloyment in the care of sheep. So frugal was he in expenditures



902 filSTORY OF KERN COUNTY

that in fourteen months he had saved $500, which he invested in a small flock
of sheep. From that he built up a profitable business. Just at the time when
the future seemed most promising the free-trade movement of 1894 resulted
in a panic that depreciated prices and he was left penniless.

Forced to begin anew, Mr. Moynier entered the employ of others and
saved his earnings with such care that in a few years he was able to buy
another flock of sheep. From that time to the present he has continued
steadily in the business. The sheep are now ranged in two separate bands.
For many years he has engaged in buying and shipping sheep, or in shipping
flocks for growers, and at times he has shipped out for growers as many as
fifteen hundred carloads in one year, which means that he is kept very busily
engaged in that line of the work. Meanwhile he also manages his ten-acre
ranch just east of East Bakersfield, where he and his family make their home.
For a time he served as sheep inspector for Kern county under the state
inspector. Movements for the benefit of the sheep industry in this section
receive his stanch support. He is a progressive and public-spirited citizen,
alive to the welfare of his adopted country. In national politics he votes the
Republican ticket. During 1884 at East Bakersfield he married Miss Marie
Lorette, who was born in Oloron, Basses-Pyrenees, and in 1881 came to Cali-
fornia, settling in Kern county. They are the parents of ten children, viz.:
Mrs. Pauline Chevellier, of East Bakersfield; Louis, of San Francisco; Mrs.
Jennie Geraud and Mrs. Marie Martin, both of East Bakersfield; Leon, an
assistant of his father in the sheep business and in the care of the home farm;
Sidonie, Mrs. Ricon, of East Bakersfield; Harry, also assisting his father;
Henriette, Emily and Jean.

WILLIAM L. KIZZIAR. — The genealogy of the southern family of
Kizziar is traced to England, where the records of the ancestry are lost
in the maze of tradition. In that country the family name was Kizziah
and the change to the present form was made about the time of the immi-
gration to America. It is known that James Kizziar and his father were
Englishmen by birth, while a grandson of James, Thomas J. Kizziar, was a
native of Alabama, the identification of the family with the new world hav-
ing occurred between these generations. From Alabama the family migrated
westward to Arkansas and William L., son of Thomas J., was born in Pike
county. Ark., in 1847, there passed the years of childhood and owing to the
poverty of the family and the scarcity of schools had the most meager edu-
cational advantages. Guerrilla warfare imperiled the lives of the Arkansas
people in his boyhood and the outbreak of the Civil war precipitated grave
dangers. Although he was only fourteen and one-half years of age he thought
it a matter of safety to enlist in the Confederate army. Accordingly he
became a private in Company I, Thirty-third Arkansas Infantry, which went
into service with one hundred and eleven men and finally was reduced to
but four men. Their service was peculiarly dangerous. In the thickest of
the most sanguinary battles these gallant young southerners were always
to be found, fighting with valor for the cause which they had espoused.
After the surrender of Vicksburg he escaped and found his way back to the
old Arkansas home, where he again enlisted at the re-organization of Com-
pany I and later was sent down to Louisiana under General Price. At the
close of the Red river campaign his command was dispatched to Tyler, Tex.,
and he finally was mustered out at Marshall, that state, at the expiration
of three years of service, during which he took part in some of the most
terrific fighting of the whole war.

About five weeks after being mustered out Mr. Kizziar took the oath
(if allegiance to the government at Washington, Hempstead county, Ark.,
and then engaged as a teamster in the employ of the federal government.
Soon he gave \ip the work and returned to the old homestead, where he
assisted his father in i)utting in a crop, .\fter the same had been harvested



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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 90S

he secured employment in railroading. In this occupation he had his share
of danger and difficulty and rose to a position of trust solely as a result
of his own perseverance, industry and sobriety. At first he worked as a
brakeman on the Little Rock & Memphis railroad, now a part of the Iron
Mountain railrcad. Next he was made a fireman and then a freight engineer,
from which he soon was promoted to be a passenger engineer, making daily
trips between Little Rock and Memphis. His identification of four years
with the same company was gratifying to himself and satisfactory to his
superiors, whose confidence he won by his dependable character. However,
it had been his ambitiem to engage in farming and accordingly he resigned
his position, went to Texas and took a homestead of one hundred and sixty
acres twelve miles west of W'axahachie, Ellis county, and took up the stren-
uous existence of a rancher. For almost fourteen years he remained on
the farm, but eventually the lure of railroading drew him back to his old
occupation and he became car inspector at Cleburne, Tex., in the employ of
the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe railroad. While filling that position a most
unfortunate accident occurred and he was almost crushed to death between
two passenger coaches. The injury was so serious that it was fully six
years before he had recovered his health and even to this day he suffers
from the effects of the accident. It being impossible for him to do heavy work
he returned to farming, his children being old enough to relieve him of the
greater part of the work. After two years tm a Texas farm he moved to
Oklahoma and settled on an unimproved tract near Mangum, Greer county,
where he remained for three years.

Upon coming to California in 1903 Mr. Kizziar secured employment
as stationary engineer in the Kern river oil fields. For three years he re-
mained in the employ of the .Associated Oil Company. Since then he has
superintended his ranch and also has engaged in the buying, improving and
selling of real estate in Bakersfield, where he makes his home. For years
he has been a devoted, zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal Church
South. At this writing he acts as a member of the official board besides tilling
the office of Sunday-school superintendent. Fraternally he is identified with
the ]\lasons. In politics he has voted with the Democratic party ever since
he attained his majority. In Texas in 1868 he was united in marriage with
Miss Neta E. Burks, of Ellis county, that state. They are the parents of
ten children and also have thirty-five grandchildren and two great-grand-
children, of whom they are very proud. The eldest daughter, Frances A.,
now Mrs. J. K. Blair, of Texas, has nine children. Amanda I., Mrs. J- A.
Austin, who lives on a farm north of Bakersfield. has three children. Alary
Jane is the wife of R. L. Ralph and lives three miles north of Bakersfield ;
they have a family of three children. William L., a farmer living at Kern,
this county, married Miss Ollie Hargett and has six children. Elizabeth
is the wife of F. H. Newton, a dairyman living nine miles north of Bakers-
field. John J. married Lillie Hargett. James S., a farmer west of Bakers-
field, married Odessa Lindsey and has one child. Oda, Mrs. G. W. Taylor,
has three children and lives on a farm in Oklahoma. Alvin M., a farmer
four miles west of Bakersfield, married Pearl Stanclifife and has two children.
Lulu married T. D. Goodpasture, of Bakersfield, and they have one child.

The mother of this family was before her marriage Neta E. Burks, and
was born in Ellis county, Texas, the daughter of John ^^'esley and Louisa
(Martin) Burks, the former a native of Alabama and the latter of Tennessee.
The Burks family is an old Southern English one. The parents were mar-
ried in Tennessee, where the father was a farmer and drover. In 1848 they
moved to Texas and in 1850 settled in what is now Ellis county, where they
ever after remained, the mother passing away at the age of eighty-two, while
the father was eighty-six years at the time of his death which occurred



906 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

Easter Sunday in 1910. His wife survived him but four months. Fifteen
children had been born to them and the parents lived to see twelve of these
grow to maturity ; at the time of their death their family, including their
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and their wives and hus-
bands, as the case might be, numbered five hundred and thirty-six.

CHARLES HENRY FREEAR.— A son of Henry T. Ereear, mention
of whom is made elsewhere Charles H. was born in Lincoln, Neb., June 2, 1872,
and in 1874 was brought to California by his parents. Reared on the Kern
county ranch of the family, he attended the common schools in the
winter months and during the summer vacations learned the rudiments
of agriculture as an assistant to his father. After he had completed the course
of instruction in the public schools he entered the Stockton Business College
and remained there until he was graduated in 1882, after which he returned
to the home ranch. In a short time he started out independently as a farmer.
The first investment he made consisted of twenty acres of raw land. This
he leveled and placed under cultivation to alfalfa. Although he had been
obliged to go heavily in debt on the purchase, it was not long until he had
the property clear of incumbrance. Then he bought an adjacent tract and
this, too, paid for itself through the raising and sale of alfalfa. After a time
he became interested in the stock business and fed the hay principally to the
stcck. When finally he had acquired one hundred acres forming a valuable
alfalfa ranch, he specialized in the dairy business and maintained on the
ranch a fine herd of Jersey cows.

y\t Old River, Kern county, November 28, 1893, occurred the marriage
of Charles' H. Ereear and Miss Cleoria A. B. Crabtree, a native of Santa
Maria, Santa Barbara county, Cal. The young couple spent the early years
of their wedded life in Mexico, where Mr. Ereear had been engaged as an
assistant to an uncle, John W. Garlick, in the management of a sugar plan-
tation at Tapachula in the state of Chiapas near the border of Guatemala. For
three years they lived on the sugar plantation and during that period their
eldest child, Cleoria Luella, was born. The two younger children, Laura
Lorena and Charles Elmo, are natives of Kern county. Mrs. Ereear was
the youngest of four children, the others being as follows: Mrs. Cora Hobbs,
of Old River ; Mrs. Carrie Gale, of San Francisco ; and Clyde, of Klamath
county. Ore. The parents of this family, Ephraim Jasper and Laura (Foster)
Crabtree, were natives respectively of Texas and Boston. Alass. About 1851,
when nine years of age, Mr. Crabtree crossed the plains with his parents,
following the southern route from Texas. For a long period he lived in the
vicinity of Porterville, where he married Miss Foster and where he conducted
a stock ranch. Later he engaged in the stock industry near Santa Alaria,
where he was bereaved by the death of his wife. Upon retiring from active
cares he came to Kern county to make his home with his daughter, Mrs.
Charles Ereear, and here in 1908 his useful life came to an end.

Selling out his dairy farm in the fall of 1911, Mr. Ereear came to Bakers-
field and built three cottages on the corner of Chester avenue and Eleventh
street. The corner residence he has since maintained for his family home and
here he and his wife extend a gracious hospitality to friends from every part
of the county. Much of his attention is given to the buying and selling of
city property and farm lands and he is considered exceptionally well posted
as to the merits of Kern county property. In politics he supports Republican
princinles. Fraternally he holds membership with the Woodmen of the
World, while his wife and two daughters are leading workers in the Order
of \A'omen of Woodcraft.

CASWELL AND SIDNEY WALSER.— Coming into Walker's Basin
from Caliente by way of Piute one arrives at the ranch of the Walser brotli-
ers, with its herds of cattle and green meadows, a scene of beauty that lends
pleasure and delight to the eye. Their father, Daniel Wagner Walser, a



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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 909

pioneer uf Kern county, was Imrn in Jefferson Lily. M... I'ehruary '), 1S34.
The grandfather was reared on the Yadkin river in North Carolina, whore the
ancestors resided ditring the Re\ohitionary war, taking part in the struggle
for freedom, as well as seeing active service in the war of 1812.

In 1852 Daniel W'alser crossed the plains with ox-teanis, locating in
Eldorado cuunty, where he followed placer-mining with its ups and downs.
In 1856 he came to Tulare county and there he engaged in buying cattle
and selling them in the mines in California and Xe\ada until 1864, when he
came to Walker's Basin, Kern county. He located a ranch at the lower
end of Walker's Basin, which he afterwards sold to Walker Rankin, and
llicn purchased a ranch at the head of the Basin from Williams and Wyatt,
and continued the cattle business, buying adjoining land until he had three
thousand acres. On his retirement to Santa Ri'sa, he sold the cattle interests
to his sons, wh(5 continue the business. In 1866 he was ajipointed one of four
commissioners to organize Kern county from parts of Tulare and Los An-
geles counties, and in July of that year the board met at Havilah and ap-
(jointed the tirst otificers to hold an election and divided the county into
voting precincts. He has been prominent in different enterprises in the
county. He was one of the organizers of the P>ank of Bakersfield. and with
others he set out the Wible orchard, one of the largest fruit farms in the
county. He married Mary Lightner, a sister of A. T. Lightner of Bakers-
field, and of the union were born seven children: Charles and William, de-
ceased; J. Caswell and Sidney Johnston (the Walser Bros.); h'rank and
Maria, deceased ; and Daisy, Mrs. Wallace of Santa Rosa.

J. Caswell and Sidney J. Walser were born in Walker's Basin in 18.')9
and 1871. respectively, receiving their education in the public schools, while
Sidne}^ also attended business college in Los Angeles. The brothers learned
the raising and care of cattle from boyhood and became proficient in all
tT-.e details of the business. When gold was discovered at Dawson in 1898,
Caswell started for the Eldorado, going over Chilcoot Pass. On the way he
was taken ill at White Horse, and after nine days arrived at Dawstm. There
for sixty days he remained in the hospital ; after recovering he located and
liought claims. In 1899 Sidney Walser made the trip to Dawson by the "same
route, and being ice-bound he walked the remaining eighty miles to his



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 92 of 177)