Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


An experienced, influential executive, whose broad, up-to-date views and methods have contributed much toward the success of the important interests he represents is James F. Pollard, the manager and vice president of the Coast Valleys Gas & Electric Company at Salinas. A native of Missouri, he was born August 5, 1889, and was sent to the excellent grammar school at Kansas City, where he got such a good start that when he went to Los Angeles, California, in 1902, he was able to make an excellent showing at the Los Angeles high school. He was graduated from the University of California as a member of the class of '12, when he was declared to be an electrical engineer and was given the Bachelor of Science degree.

While attending the high school and the University he was associated with the Santa Fe Railroad, working as a chainman with the surveyors. After leaving the academic halls in 1912, he became associated with the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, in the drum division in Placer county, putting in three years in construction and operating work. He also did some surveying and was an operator in the power house. On April 15, 1915, he became assistant engineer in the electrical department of the California state railroad commission, at San Francisco, and in February, 1918 was appointed commercial manager for the Sierra and San Francisco Power Company at San Francisco. Resigning that position, he became assistant to the president of the Coast Valleys Gas & Electric Company, at Salinas, in April, 1920, and on the 1st of January, 1922, was elected vice president and manager of the company.

The Coast Valleys Gas & Electric Company was incorporated under the laws of California March 18, 1912, and is the prosperous successor of a number of public utility corporations operating in Monterey county. The first in point of time was the Salinas City Gas & Water Company, which was incorporated May 4, 1875, for the purpose of supplying gas and water within the city limits of Salinas, and its activities were extended to include the distribution of electricity, beginning October 1, 1888. This business was reorganized in 1896 under the name of the Salinas Water, Light & Power Company, and the latter's property interests were purchased on October 10, 1903, by the Monterey Gas & Electric Company. That concern had, already, on September 1, 1902, acquired the properties of the Monterey Electric Light & Development Company, and on June 25, of the same year, had purchased all of the stock of the Monterey & Pacific Grove Railroads. The combined properties were reorganized in the latter part of 1903, under the name of the Monterey County Gas & Electric Company, the actual transfer taking place on October 10. In November, 1911, the water system in the city of Salinas was separated from the rest of the properties owned by the Monterey County Gas & Electric Company, and was operated thereafter as the Salinas Valley Water Company, while at the same time, the other holdings of the Monterey County Gas & Electric Company were transferred to the California Consolidated Light & Power Company, a corporation formed July 7, 1911, for that special purpose. In March, 1912, the Coast Valleys Gas & Electric Company was incorporated, taking over the properties of both the Salinas Valley Water Company and the California Consolidated Light & Power Company, and in May of the same year acquired the properties of the King City Water, Light & Power Company, a utility that had been serving that locality since October, 1908. In 1923 the property was purchased by the Byllesby Engineering & Management Corporation, and that concern is now operating the same being active as an operator in thirty-eight counties in seventeen states.

At Berkeley, California, January 8, 1913, Mr. Pollard was married to Miss Marie Ethel Hitchcock, of Tulare, a descendant of pioneers famous for their association with the Golden State, her grandfather having been prominent in the early history of Monterey, and her parents both seeing the light first in California. They became parents of four children: John H., a lad of eleven, being the eldest; and the others, Margaret L., a girl of nine; Dorothy L., her sister of seven, and little four-year-old Jean Elizabeth, being the youngest of the circle. Mr. Pollard belongs to Lodge No. 614, B. P. 0. E., Salinas, and it is safe to say that there is no more popular member.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.