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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 98 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 98 of 177)
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at a general municipal election at Taft. She is treasurer of the Woman's
Improvement -Club of Taft, and is a very active spirit in the St. Mary's
Catholic Church of said city. She was elected the first president of the
Altar Society of the Taft church, a position which she still fills with ability
and fidelity. In company with Mrs. Fred O'Brien and Mrs. J. McEnany of
Taft she started out with a subscription list and raised $1600 for the building
of St. Mary's church the first week, thus insuring the splendid concrete
church edifice at the corner of Kern and Second streets, which is under the
pastorate of Father Prendiville and belongs to the East Bakersfield district.

In fraternal relations Mr. Smith has allied himself with the Loyal Order
of Moose since coming to his present place of residence and his interest in
the organization has promoted its numerical growth in substantial measure.




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HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY 969

Witli a number of other prominent men of the town he was instrumental
in securing the incorporation of Taft, the vote for which was taken November
7, 1910. resulting in the town being made a city of the sixth class. At the
regular election, April 8, 1912, he was elected a member of the board of
trustees, receiving forty votes more than even the most successful of the
other nominees. Upon the organization of the board at its first meeting
he was chosen president, a deserved tribute to his intelligence and one which
received the warm approval of the general public.

REV. EDGAR R. FULLER, A.M., B.D.— The life which this narrative
depicts began August 15, 1864, in New York state, on a farm near Gouver-
neur in St. Lawrence county a short distance from the river of that name,
riie home was one of unostentatious comfort, in which high thinking and
lofty i)rinciples of honor were made the chief objects of character devekip-
nient. Sturdy and patriotic New England ancestry was represented in the
pedigree. The parents, Charles Thatcher and Ora Frutilla (Alanley) Fuller,
were natives of northern New York. The family lineage traces directly to the
illustrious Dr. Samuel Fuller, who was a passenger on the Mayflower, phy-
sician of the colony and deacon of Pilgrim Church, Plymouth, Mass. There
were six children in the immediate family and two of these, together with
the parents, have passed from earth. Of the four survivors, and fourth in
order of birth, was Edgar Roselle Fuller, now pastor of the First Congrega-
tional Church of Bakersfield and one of the leading men of the denomina-
tion in Southern California.

Whatever of ministerial success has come into the life of Rev. Mr.
Fuller, whatever of culture he has achieved, whatever of good he has accom-
plished, may be attributed to his own indomitable determination, coupled
with an inheritance of splendid moral and mental qualifications and the
religious zeal that led his ancestors in centuries agone to seek freedom from
persecution in the new world. The substantial position of his parents came
from character rather than wealth. There was little to aid him in his edu-
cational aspirations, yet with characteristic determination he started out to
secure first-class advantages. To accomplish this result it was necessary not
only to earn a livelihood, but to lay aside a considerable amount for college
expenses. Self-reliance was thus developed. The struggle that he expe-
rienced in trying to gain an education lent him strength for the subsequent
struggle to establish a church in the midst of a discouraging environment.
After having completed the course in the Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary
he studied for one year (1882) in the Dansville Seminary and in September
of 188.^ matriculated in the Hiram (Ohio) College, from which he was
graduated in 1890 with the degree of A.B. Meanwhile in the fall of 1885 he
had married in Hiram, Ohio, Mrs. Julia (Buckingham) Mowbray, a descend-
■mt of the Buckinghams of New England and the Mastersons of Virginia,
who was then a widow, with one child, Henry B. Mowbray, .•\fter his mar-
riage he took his wife to Florida and engaged in ministerial work until 1888,
meanwhile being ordained as a preacher of the Gospel. He returned to Ohio
and completed the classical course at Hiram. In 1893 his alma mater con-
ferred upon him for literary work the degree of AM. As a high school
teacher and minister he earned an amount sufficient to defray his college
expenses and complete the classical course in ( )berlin Theological Seminary
at Oberlin, Ohio, where in 1896 he received the degree of B.D. at graduation.

A successful pastorate of one year at Imlay City, Mich., was terminated
because the failing health (f Mrs. l'"uller rendered imperative a radical
change in climate. From among several opportunities he chose the call to the
I'irst Congregational Church of Bakersfield. This was accepted with the
hope that the California climate would prove beneficial to his wife and in
tiiat lii)])e he was gratified b}- her steady imiirovement. Church conditions



970 HISTORY OF KERN COUNTY

at Bakersfield then were discouraging to an unusual degree. Had he been a
man of less determination he would have given up the charge as hopeless.
There were not more than twenty-five church members that could be found
and their house of worship was a small frame building on Fifteenth street
facing a large open irrigation ditch and the Santa Fe Railroad tracks, then
being built. The church had been organized in 1892 by Rev. A. K. Johnson,
D.D., who ministered to the charge for a time, followed by Rev. J. W. Phil-
lips. The pulpit was then vacant for six months, after which Rev. j\lr. Fuller
was called. Most of the members favored disbanding. However, the home
missionary superintendent. Dr. James T. Ford, importuned the new pastor
to make a last desperate effort to maintain the church, assuring him that
it would be no discredit to him if he failed in such an apparently hopeless
undertaking, while if he succeeded it would prove his own ability and the
zeal of his few parishioners. Studying the problem with prayerful earnest-
ness, he decided to accept the call, provided a change of location was secured
as the first step. Accordingly a lot was purchased on Seventeenth street near
G and thither the old box building was removed, then enlarged and remod-
eled to better suit the needs of the work. In 1898 a parsonage was erected.
Later the corner lot was bought, giving them an area of 132x116 feet and ren-
dering possible such an adequately equipped plant as a working church in a
growing city requires.

So prosperous has been the work under the present pastorate that the
membership, now numbering more than two hundred and twenty-five per-
sons, plans to erect a more suitable building in the not distant future, it
being the intention to erect a building, in the mission style of architecture,
that covers the entire lot, plans for which are now in hand and the progress
of the building fund foreshadows early realization. Fifteen years ago few
would have predicted that the church could have reached its present size,
zeal and prosperity. Nor has the work of the congregation been limited to
the spiritual and material needs of the local parish, for with missionary en-
thusiasm they have planted a mission for the Mexicans and another for the
Chinese and the former receives regular pastoral supervision. In addition
they organized the Pilgrim Congregational Church in East Bakersfield and
have generously supplied funds to maintain and equip the work. Aggressive
and laborious as has been his local work, it has not represented the limit
of his activities. Elected a member of the board of directors for the South-
ern California Home Missionary Society in 1904, and later of the State Con-
ference, he has helped mould the work of his own denomination. Requested
to take the supervision of congregational work throughout his own county,
which then had, besides the church at Bakersfield, another at Rosedale and a
schoolhouse appointment at Wasco, he has seen seven Congregational
churches organized and four of these come to self-support and acquire good
properties. These are East Bakersfield, Oil Center, Panama, Greenfield, Mc-
Kittrick, Mountain View and Maricopa. When the total number had
reached five a Congregational Association was formed in the county and
this has been a source of great help in the work of religious upbuilding.
The steady growth of the cause in Kern county is largely due to the tact,
ability and sagacity of Mr. Fuller, whose keen -intelligence may be seen
in every forward movement, as his consecrated spirit is seen in the devo-
tion to the work evinced by the majority of the members.

It is a source of gratification to Rev. and Mrs. Fuller that her son. Rev.
Henry B. Mowbray, now filling the important position of associate pastor of
Pilgrim Presbyterian Church at Cleveland, Ohio, is a recognized specialist
in Bible school and all lines of institutional church work, and they also
maintain a just pride in the only child of their union, Clarence Mark Fuller,
a young man of exceptional ability, now a trusted official of the National




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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 98 of 177)