Fresno, Tulare and Kern Counties, California


                                                                   Kern County, California



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DAVID C. ABBOTT, the first and only successful carriage and wagon manufacturer in Delano, opened his shops in December, 1886, under any but encouraging circumstances, the citizens of the town even telling him that there was not patronage enough to be had from the surrounding country to warrant the investment in a decently equipped shop and furnish the investor a competency.  Mr. Abbot, however, commenced the erection of his shops, pushed them to completion and commenced business, and the good citizens of the town with himself were surprised to see the business come from a circuit of thirty to forty miles about Delano.  The secret of his success is briefly explained by saying that he is a thorough mechanic, learned his trade by a long service near Columbus, Ohio, and has assiduously  followed it from the time of his youth.


He is a native of Morris County, New Jersey, born June 9, 1836.  He left home at seventeen years of age, and at the age of twenty-one, had acquired a knowledge and skill in his adopted calling, and started for California.  He located at San Jose, where he manufactured carriages and wagons for twenty years, and built up an excellent business reputation.  He closed out his interests there and came to Delano at the above named date.  He started in, and still pursues the general blacksmithing and wagon making business.  In the face of competition, his business still increases and thrives.  In connection with this, he sells a large quantity of agricultural implements, and deals also in coal, iron and lumber, in which lines of industry he is the pioneer.  He also, has the first and only carriage-painting establishment in the city.  Thus he has become identified with the material growth of Elano.  He is a Republican from birth, and is proud of the fact.  He married at Oroville, California in 1861, Miss Mary Escudaro, a daughter of Dr. Escudaro, State of Jalisco, Mexico.  She died in 1879, in Santa Clara County, leaving two daughters and two sons now living; four children are deceased.   Pages 567-568





OREGON AKERS, one of the progressive young ranchers of Kern County, was born in Alabama, May 10, 1852.  His father, L. B. Akers, was a farmer, came to California in 1856 with his family and located in San Bernardino County, where he still lives.  Our subject is the sixth in a family of fourteen children.  He remained at home until 1883, and took up his residence in Kern County, where he has pursued farming and stock-raising, with fair success and fine prospects, to the present time.


He married, in 1882, Miss Rosa De Kay, a native daughter of Nevada, and they have four  children.  Mr. Akers is an industrious and enterprising citizen.  Page 472



A. C. ALBERTS is a sturdy pioneer of California.  He came to this State in 1849 and was one of the original settlers of the town of Columbia, Tuolumne County


He was born in Hanover, Germany, May 25, 1824, the son of a clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Presbyterian Church, and one in a family of three sons and three daughters.  At the age of twenty-six years he sailed to America, coming as second officer of a merchant sailing vessel.  After mining until 1854, he went to Stockton and did carpenter work for a time.  He then joined the United States Coast Survey and served the Government four years.  Next spent eight months in San Francisco, after which, in 1858, he went to Crescent City, California and subsequently spent seven years at Jacksonville, Oregon.


In 1861, Mr. Alberts married Jane Franklin, a native of Illinois.  In 1865 they removed to Santa Cruz, California, and later to Ventura County, where he was one of the first settlers of the Santa Clara valley.  There they remained ten years, at the end of which time they came to their present home in the vicinity of Greenwich, where they own 700 acres of the best soil in Kern County.  Mr. Alberts is interested in farming and stock-raising.


He and his wife have an orderly family of four sons and three daughters, all reared to habits of industry and frugality.  Mr. Alberts ranks among the best citizens of his locality.   Page 337.





HIRAM I. ALLEN (deceased) was one of the pioneers and an early miner of California.  He was born in Alabama, January 27, 1820.  He was a son of James Allen, a farmer who emigrated to Arkansas in the early days of the settlement of that country.  Of a family of ten children, Hiram was the third born, and aside from a brother John M. Allen, was the only one of the family who ever came to this State.  Mr. Allen mined in Calaveras County up to the time of his location in Glennville, in 1866, when he engaged in the raising of stock.  He was married in 1849, April 3, to Miss Mary Jane, daughter of Samuel Plummer.  Her father was a pioneer, a saddler by trade, and an influential citizen of Plummerville, Arkansas from whom the village took its name.  He was a native of the district of Columbia and was raised in the city of Washington, District of Columbia.  Mr. Allen was a good man, and his influence in his community was on the side of right.  Mrs. Allen is an estimable lady and is greatly respected by all who know her.  She has four sons and one daughter: Alexander S., born October 15, 1852; John C., born September 12, 1855; Samuel P., born April 10, 1860; Robert N., born January 26, 1863, and Fannie H.  Mrs. Allen is still a resident of Glennville, where she resides with Samuel P., landlord of the hotel at that point.   Page 766




E.M. and R. S. ASHE.

E. M. and R. S. ASHE own and conduct a 320 acre ranch on section 34, township 30 north, range 27.  They are both natives of Orange County, North Carolina, and came west in 1868 and located in Merced County, California.  They came to Kern County in 1875 and settled upon their present home property in 1880.  They are successfully engaged in the raising of live-stock and have their ranch under excellent cultivation and well improved with substantial buildings.   Page 755




I. ASHER is one of the most successful merchants of Kern County.  His career in Tehachapi is one that illustrates what perseverance and unceasing diligence in business matters will accomplish in California.


Mr. Asher is of Prussian birth, born March 26, 1861.  He came alone to America in 1876; clerked for E. Laventhal, Los Angeles, about four years, and came to Kern County in 1880, and until 1885 held a similar position with Hirshfeld Bros. & Co., Old Tehachapi.  Then he bought and opened his present business at Tehachapi.  Six months later Mr. M. Hirshfeld became partner in his business and after being together three years, Mr. Asher purchased the business and carried same on alone.  His rapidly growing trade soon demanded more room, and he accordingly erected one of the finest stores in central California.  It is 50x100 feet in size and constructed of brick, the interior fittings and furnishings being of the most modern and approved style.  A wide gallery runs along three sides of the spacious salesroom, is shelved and holds immense quantities of general stock.  The officers and cashier’s desks are in the rear of the establishment, being connected with the various sales departments by means of cash cars, propelled on wire by the “push” system.  A basement underlies the entire store, and in it surplus stock and heavy wares are stored.  The basement is reached by a freight elevator .


Mr. Asher was married, November 4, 1889, to Miss Ida Harris, of San Bernardino, a native of Germany.  They have one daughter, Gertrude, born December 24, 1890.   Page 714-715




Colonel Thomas Baker

It may be stated without fear of contradiction that no man has lived in Kern County who labored more diligently and devoted more years of unselfish energy and toil to the material development of Kern County in general and Bakersfield in particular than the late Colonel Thomas Baker.  The history of the later years of his busy life might likewise be called an early history of the thriving little city which bears his revered name.  The publishers of this work can pay no greater tribute to his memory than to reproduce a brief sketch of this man, which was written by an able biographer who knew him intimately during his busiest years, and which reads as follows:


Colonel Thomas Baker was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, November 5, 1810, his birthplace being in the beautiful valley extending from Newark to Dresden, through which the Ohio canal runs.  A military bent was given to the youthful ambitions of Colonel Baker by the times in which he was educated and the circumstances in which he was placed.  He was appointed a Colonel in the Ohio State Militia before he attained his majority; but peace became so well assured that he turned his attention to civil pursuits. 


Reared on a farm and familiar with surveying he studied law with the intention of making land law his specialty.  Shortly after his admission to the bar he moved to Illinois, where, however, he remained but a short period.  The rapid influx of population into the Territory of Iowa induced him to go there, and his ambitious as a lawyer were soon rewarded with success.  He was appointed the first United States District Attorney of that Territory and retrained the office until the adoption of the State constitution.  He was then elected Senator, and on the organization of the Legislature was chosen President of the Senate, becoming under the new constitution ex officio Lieutenant Governor, the first in that office in Iowa.  He was subsequently returned several times to the State Senate.  No man had a larger share in the early legislation of that powerful State; and many of her important laws on her statute books were devised and drafted by him. 


Influenced by the gold excitement and his bias for adventure, he finally determined to emigrate to the Pacific coast.  In the autumn of 1850, after the usual tedious and dangerous overland made by most men of those days, he arrived at Benicia, where he remained a few months, when he removed to Stockton.  In 1852 he removed to Tulare County, and was one of the founders of the town of Visalia.  In 1855 he was chosen Representative of that district to the State Assembly.  During the next fall he was appointed Receiver of the United States Land Office, which position he held during the administration of President Buchanan.  In 1861 he was elected State Senator from Tulare and Fresno counties and served in the sessions of 1861_‘ 62.

September 20, 1863, he arrived on Kern Island with his family, preparatory to commencing his work of reclamation, remarking at the time, “Here at last I have found a resting place, and here I expect to lay my bones.”  To him the country was neither new nor strange.  He had visited and explored it, and carefully noted its capabilities years before.  He was a man of keen perception, broad views, and comprehended fully the natural resources and peculiar advantages of a country, and systematically set about in prosecution of his work of reclaiming and developing his lands.  He was liberal to a fault, and that was with him an almost entire abrogation of self.  Often, when his ingenuity was taxed to supply his own wants, he was found willing to aid those who were worthily in dire need, and the stranger was always a welcomed guest at his home.  His friends, like those of President Jefferson, delighted with his genial manners and hospitality, seemed never to suspect that his store could be exhausted.  The leading trait of his character was his uniform good nature and his philosophical placidity and coolness of temper and disposition.  Nothing seemed to disturb his equanimity and self-poise for a moment.  One of his favorite mottoes was, “Time will justify a man who means to do right.” He thought it unworthy a rational being to indulge in vain regrets.  Whatever ills he suffered he wasted no time in brooding over them, and he was this peculiarity of mind or mental training that often gave him the mastery over adverse circumstances and enabled him to extricate himself.


He knew better how to make a fortune than how to keep it.  The result was that, though several times in his life he might have retired wealthy, fortunes were lost with seeming indifference.  His ambition was not so much to acquire lands as it was to develop them, and in this he succeeded to a greater extent probably than any other man in the State of California.  His absorbing desire was to see his lands improved and occupied by settlers as soon as possible; and in furtherance of this object he was invariably more liberal than the national Government itself.


He was the original owner of the town site of Bakersfield, and induced the erection of several of the pubic buildings there by his liberality.  In fact he was the projector of nearly all the public works and improvements.  His great experiences, intuitive sagacity, indomitable perseverance and public spirit made him a useful man to his people  .


September 12, 1857, Colonel Baker was married to Miss E. M. Alverson, daughter of Dr. L. Alverson, in Visalia.  Dr. Alverson, on coming to Kern County in 1870 from Iowa, practiced medicine in Tulare and Kern counties and died here in 1879.  By this marriage there were four children, three of whom survive; May, now Mrs. H. A. Jastro; Thomas A., the present Treasurer of Kern County; and Lottie, still at home.  An older daughter married C. C. Cowgill of Bakersfield, and is deceased. Colonel Baker died November 24, 1872.  Mrs. Baker, the widow of the Colonel was married January 19, 1875 to F. A. Tracy, a leading pioneer of Kern County, of who mention Is made elsewhere in this work.  Pages 279-280




REV. P. M. BANNON was born near Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland, January 11, 1852.  He studied the classics under a Latin teacher in Ireland; came to California at the age of seventeen; studied higher mathematics, surveying and engineering at St. Mary’s College, San Francisco; studied philosophy and theology at the Franciscan College, Santa Barbara, and St. Vincent’s College, Los Angeles; was ordained a priest by Bishop Mora at the cathedral, Los Angeles, April 30, 1879; appointed assistant to Rev. Peter Verdaguer, at the Church of Our Lady of Angels; afterward appointed assistant to Rev. A. Ubach, at San Diego; then assistant to Rev. P. Carrases, at Visalia; and finally, February 1, 1884, appointed first pastor of the parish of Bakersfield, including Kern and Inyo counties.


Father Bannon’s labors in the vineyard of the Lord Jesus have met with high appreciation and have been crowned with a most gratifying success.  A man possessed of a kind, sympathetic heart and a truly Christian spirit, he has drawn about him a wide circle of friends and parishioners, and is thus enabled to exert a wide influence for the spiritual welfare of mankind.  Page 559




JOHN BARKER. - It is doubtful whether there lives in California, a pioneer who has seen and experienced more of early life on the Pacific Coast than this venerable pioneer.  He was born in Bristol, England, September 4, 1832.  At eighteen years of age, as second officer of a ship, he navigated the seas between English ports and Constantinople.  At Gibraltar, hearing of gold in California, in 1848 he immediately returned to England, proceeded to New York and from there made his way overland to the land of Gold, arriving at Stockton September 1, 1850.  He spent three years in the mines of Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties, and in 1854 rode a horse 300 miles south through the Kern river valley.  He was at Visalia when the town was first founded, and in 1855 was Under Sheriff; he was appointed by Sheriff Poindexter of Tulare County, which then comprised what is now the counties of Kern and Inyo.  Mr. Barker was active in subduing the Indian outbreaks in 1856.  He was the first white settler on the lower King’s river on the Fresno plains, where thousands of wild elk, wild horses and antelope roamed at will.  At Elk Horn ranch he kept a station on the public stage route until 1860, when he sold out and joined a military company of cavalry.  The services of California troops not being accepted by the general government, he did not reach the field of battle.  He spent about ten years in the butchering business, and in 1870 he returned to Kern County; he located his present home in 1874.  He owns 1,800 head of fine stock, and farming lands.  He located on Kern river, about nine miles above Bakersfield.  Upon this property are some of the most valuable sulphur springs in the State.  He has discovered natural gas on his farm, which supplies him amply with lights and fuel.


Mr. Barker is a thorough nautical engineer, has made a thorough study of the irrigation problem in California, and has practically demonstrated his theory of farming by irrigation, having laid out and developed an elaborate system on his own estate.  As a citizen and a social “old timer” he is the only original “John Barker, “ a man of plain and quiet manners.  He has a keen relish for good stores, and his natural wit and ready tongue may be depended upon to evolve an anecdote illustrating the points at issue. 


He was married at Stockton, in 1862, to Miss Mary A. Weaver, a native of Ohio and they have three children. Pages 727 - 728




VINING BARKER.  There are a few men, indeed, who have seen more of early life in California, and more of the growth and development of Kern County, than this pioneer.  He was born at Fairport, Monroe County, New York, November 9, 1827, son of Isaac Barker.  His father, a farmer by occupation, came West as far as Lenawee County,  Michigan, in 1836.  That part of the country was then only sparsely settled, and amid scenes of frontier life Vining Barker grew to manhood, receiving such educational advantages as the facilities of those days afforded.  He remained with his parents and aided in the development of the homestead until 1846, after which he spent about four years in prospecting throughout that section of the country.


In 1851, Mr. Barker came to California, making the long journey via the Isthmus of Panama, and landing in San Francisco.  He was among the throng of miners and fortune-seekers who made things lively in those days at “Hangtown”, now Placerville.  For two years he was engaged in gold-digging with varied success, and the succeeding four years, in company with J. S. Ellis, he kept a hotel at Diamond Spring, El Dorado County.  Then he engaged in ranching in the same county until 1870, when he came to Kern County.  At that time he purchased his present ranch, which now comprises about 720 acres, on which he has raised good crops of alfalfa and stocked with horses and cattle.  The raising of alfalfa seed for the market he made for some years a profitable business.  In 1875 he interested himself in the development of irrigation in his section, and as superintendent built extensive lines of irrigating canals for Haggin & Carr.  He continued in this business until 1883, contracting a portion of the time with other parties for the construction of canals.  He spent about a year and a half in contract work, grading for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in San Diego and Los Angeles counties.  In 1887 he went East, and upon his return resumed farming and stock-raising on his ranch.  This property is located thirteen miles southwest of Bakersfield, is abundantly supplied by canal and artesian water, and has substantial improvements.  A commodious new residence is one of its latest acquisitions.


Vining Barker, Jr., a nephew of the subject of this sketch, a native of Lenawee County, Michigan, and a farmer and leading merchant, has disposed of his interests in the East, and with his wife and little son taken up his residence at the Barker home.  Mrs. Barker is a lady of culture and fine domestic tastes, and presides over this home in a charming and graceful manner.


Vining Barker’s deportment is always that of a genial, open-hearted and open-handed California pioneer, scrupulously just in all his business dealings.  His uniform courtesy and his many estimable qualities have won for him a large circle of friends.

Pages 479-480


Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare and Kern, California

Illustrated - The Lewis Publishing Company -1892

Transcribed by: Carol Andrews  23 May 2008


Site Created: 25 May 2008

Martha A Crosley Graham

Rights Reserved - 2008