|Birth: ||Jan. 17, 1886|
San Benito County
|Death: ||Mar. 9, 1965|
Benjamin Joseph "Ben" Byles was the son of Joseph Byles and Emily Jane Prater.
Ben's older brother, James, was born on the Resoti Ranch in the foothills of the Gabilan Range. The remaining five sons were born on the family homestead in the Hernandez Valley.
Oil activities in Coalinga attracted Ben and Jim. They arrive in Coalinga in 1903 and got jobs at the Arthur Webb general merchandise store and later owned a grocery store. Ben and Jim were then employed by a surveryor who laid out the first map of Coalinga.
Ben grew up with Coalinga. In 1904 he acquired a two-cylinder automobile, a product of the Ford Company, before the development of the Model T. A few years later he purchased a Pope Hartford automobile and a Dodge touring car. In 1913 he obtained a franchise for a motor bus line between Coalinga, via Parkfield and San Miguel, and Paso Robles. His wife, Normie, drove most of the time when the touring cars were needed to handle the traffic. Ben continued the Coalinga to Coast bus line until 1930 when the new Mustang grade was developed and the road improved for regular traffic and bus service from Coalinga to King City.
Retiring from the stage service Ben acquired the Pioneer garage and assumed the sales agency for the Studebaker automobile. At the time that the garage was constructed in 1909, it had the largest covered floor space of any garage in the state.
About 1946 Ben retired from the garage and car sales business to give attention to the Archer mine which he acquired from his father and brothers.
Ben and Normie, with a crew, operated the Archer mine for a number of years. While working their mine they hit a water vein which partially flooded it and stopped operations. They applied for Federal aid but did not receive it. After that the Archer mine on which Ben had filed was leased out.
Ben died at his home in Coalinga. During the hour of services for Ben, the fire horn sounded a funeral toll in his memory. Ben had been a member of the first volunteer fire organization in Coalinga, when the equipment consisted of only a horse cart.
Ben was a member of the Coalinga Order of Eagles for fifty-nine years. In the museum in Coalinga there are pictures and articles about the Byles family.
Joseph Byles (1847 - 1944)
Emily Jane Prater Byles (1862 - 1901)
Norma A Huss Byles (1888 - 1964)*
James Henry Byles (1884 - 1967)*
Benjamin Joseph Byles (1886 - 1965)
Sydney William Byles (1888 - 1948)*
George Roy Byles (1893 - 1962)*
Archie John Byles (1901 - 1957)*
Created by: Red
Record added: Apr 20, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68684730
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