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 95 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 95 of 177)
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claims Iowa as his native commonwealth and was born at Sigourney, Keokuk
county, September 16, 1870, being a son of Samuel and Ellen (Payton)
Rodgers, natives respectively of Ireland and Illinois. Ancient Celtic blood
flows in the veins of the Rodgers representatives in the new world. Accom-
panying his parents to the eastern part of Ohio from his native land, Samuel
Rodgers grew to manhood in the Buckeye state, whence he settled in Iowa
during the pioneer period of agricultural development in Keokuk county.
On a farm near Sigourney, he and his wife, who was descended from an old
German family, labored with the most painstaking industry in order to care for
their children and provide a livelihood for the large family. Eventually the
interests in Iowa were sold and removal was made to California. During
April of 1884 a place was bought in the v.]d Indiana colony (now Pasadena)
on Cypress avenue, and there he continued to make his home until he passed
out of the earth life. Since then his widow has remained at the homestead
in Pasadena. Of their ten children seven are still living. Warren, who was
less than fourteen at the time of the removal to the west, completed the
grammar-school studies in Pasadena, after which he began to earn his live-
iiho( d liy work in a nursery. Later he learned the trade of a butcher and
upon coming to the present site of McKittrick in the spring of 1899 it was
with the intention of opening a meat market in this oil field, where drilling
had nnl}' recenth- begun. However, during the first six months here he




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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 935

engaged on a surveying corps, and then, in the spring of 1900, put into elTect
his plans for opening the first meat market of the place. While continuing in
the business for some years, before the railroad had been built, he ran a meat
wagon into Taft.

Associated with another gentleman in 1912 Mr. Rodgers organized the
McKittrick Brick Company, of which he has acted as manager and wliich
is engaged in the handling of lime, cement, lire clay and explosi\es. The
need of such an enterprise was manifest from the first and the company has
been fi rtunate in building up an excellent trade in the line of their specialties.
Ever since coming to this county Air. Rodgers has been a leader in Demo-
cratic party afTairs and at this writing he serves as a member of the county
central committee. Deeply interested in the advancement of McKittrick, he
has contributed to local enterprises by co-operation, influence and practical
assistance. The appointment as the first city clerk of McKittrick came to
him in 1911 and during the spring of the following year he was elected to the
office without any opposition. Besides filling the position he served as e.x-
officio city assessor. August 19, 1913, he was appointed postmaster at Mc-
Kittrick, and it is safe to "say that the office will have a very first-class service.

\Miile making Pasadena his home Mr. Rodgers married in that city Miss
Bonnie M. Jones, a native of Marshalltown, Iowa. In that city also he took
an active part in fraternal affairs. On the organization of Pasadena Camp
No. 253, Woodmen of the World, he became a charter member, and later he
entered Bakersfield Lodge No. 266, B. P. O. E., as an active member, besides
which he is an influential member of the McKittrick Tribe, I. O. R. M., in
which he has been honored with the iffice of sachem.

NICHOLAS JAMES WILLIAMS.— .'V successful cattle man of Walk-
er's Basin, Mr. Williams is a native of Kern county, born at Havilah, May 25,
1866, and was one of the first white children in the county. His father, Thomas
Williams, was born in Cornwall, England, where he was married to Alary
.Andrews. Coming to California anund the Horn in a sailing vessel, he arrived
in San Francisco in 1853. Following mining in various camps, he drifted into
Kern county in 1855, where with his brother he built a mill at Keyesville. which
they ran until the freshet of 1S62 carried it away. He then began farmnig in
Walker's Basin, continuing there until his death in 1906 at the age of eighty-
two years. His wife died in 1909, aged eighty-five years.

The only child of his parents, Nicholas James WilHams spent his child-
hood on the ranch in Walker's Basin, receiving his education in the public
schools. In 1873 his father gave him a line-back heifer calf, which was his
beginning in the cattle business. While continuing to help his father, he
watched his own herd, which was continually growing larger. From the
age of eleven he rode the range and he has been interested in cattle raising
ever since, his brand being the well-known Mule Shoe L. Many years ago
he purchased the Joe Welch homestead in Walker's liasin which has since
been his residence and headquarters. He also owns three other ranches in
Walker's Basin, one of which, adjoining his father's old place, he home-
steaded. The latter has seven hot springs on one flat, not only mineral water,
but suitable fc r irrigating his lands, as he built reservoirs for that purpose.
For his summer range he owns a stock ranch at the foot (if Piute Mountain,
a valuable acquisition to his stock business. His investments are not alone
confined to Kern county, for he owns four hundred and eighty acres of api)le
iand in Mariposa county, which is rapidly growing into value.

Mr. Williams was first married in Kernville to Miss Alice Yates, who
was bom in Kernville, the daughter of William and .Anna Yates, pioneers
of the county. Mrs. Alice \\'illiams died in 1899, leaving four children : Mary
-Mice, who is a graduate of the Stockton Normal and who is engaged in



936 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

teaching ; Virginia A., who is a graduate of the Crocker Street Hospital, Los
Angeles, and is now a nurse ; Lyman E., and Beatrix, who are remaining at
home. At Havilah in 1901 Mr. Williams was married a second time, being
united with Mrs. May (Palmer) McClure, who was born in Merced, Cal.
Her father, Frank C. Palmer, was for many years prior to his death super-
visor of Mariposa county. Mrs. Williams was a graudate of the Mariposa
schools. Her first marriage was to George McClure. who died in Mariposa
county, and of the union there was one child, Georgia, a graduate of the
Dinuba high school, and now a teacher. Of the present union there are five
children : Elva, Helen, Clara, Violet and Hazel. Mr. Williams has always
been a Democrat. For many years he has been clerk of the Board of Trus-
tees of the Walker's Basin school district, and is greatl}' interested in main-
taining a high standard for the district schools. He is also one of the state
fire wardens in the Kern National Forest Reserve.

ALBERT M. TAYLOR.— The manager of the Fellows branch of the
Associated Supply Company has been a resident of California since the latter
part of 1906 and in various capacities, each rising above its predecessor in
point of importance, he has been connected with the same firm since August
of 1908, having first been retained as clerk in dififerent departments, then
promoted to be assistant storekeeper, and finally, in November, 1912, trans-
ferred to the Fellows branch as manager, which responsible position he fills
with efficiency. Although a native of Iowa, born near Brandon, Greene
County, May 17, 1880, but little of his life has been passed in that state, for
he was only four years of age when the family removed to Missouri and
settled in Gentry County. His parents, Levi W. and Margaret B. (Albert)
Taylor, were natives of Ohio. At the time of the discovery of gold in Cali-
fornia the father, who was then a young man without domestic ties, crossed
the plains with a party of emigrants and tried his luck in the gold fields
without any great success. Upon returning east of the mountains he settled
in Iowa and took up farm pursuits. During 1884 he removed to Missouri and
eventually became a resident of Oklahoma, where he died at Anadarko. Later
his widow came to California, where she now makes her home in Bakersfield.

In a family of six children that grew to maturity and are now all living,
Albert M. Taylor was the fourth child. After he had finished the grammar
grade in Gentry County, Mo., he took up the study of telegraphy and soon
became an assistant on the O system, rising to be an operator and agent on
that line. From Missouri he went to Colorado. At the time of the Boxer
rebellion in China he enlisted in the regular army. In June of 1900 his name
was enrolled as a private in Comnany K, Eighth United States Infantry.
With his command he set sail from San Francisco on the 31st of August and
proceeded across the ocean on a transport. The original destination was
Nagasaki, Japan, but later orders changed the course of the vessels to Manila
where in December of the same year he was transferred to the signal
corps. After having served on dififerent parts of the various islands of the
Philippines and particularly on the Negros, Cebu and Panay islands, where
his skill as an operator proved of value to the command, he was honorably
discharged in March, 1903, by special order of William H. Taft, then secretary
of war. Next he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the telegra^hic
division under the jurisdiction of the Philippine constabulary and from that
rank he rose to be first lieutenant. During the fall of 1905 the teleeraphic
division was removed from constabulary jurisdiction and placed under the
postoffice department, Mr. Taylor thereupon being appointed a district post-
office inspector. Upon his resignation from that position in November, 1906,
he returned to San Francisco and from there went south to Long Beach,
where for two years he served as a deputv in the office of the city assessor.
In that city he married Miss Bessie B. Boettcher, who was born in South



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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 939

Dakota and by whom he has two sons, Albert M., Jr., and Eugene E. Since
leaving L



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 95 of 177)