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Bert Bookham Meek

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Bert Bookham Meek

Birth
San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California, USA
Death
27 Sep 1937 (aged 53)
California, USA
Burial
Oroville, Butte County, California, USA Add to Map
Memorial ID
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HON. BERT BOOKHAM MEEK

HON. B. B. MEEK.--A former member of the State Assembly of California, who, because of his far-sightedness as a practical and successful business man, has proven a valuable representative for Oroville and Butte County, and one whose public career and services must long be appreciated, is the Hon. B. B. Meek, who was born at San Bernardino, Cal., September 2, 1883. His father was R. B. Meek, a native of Kentucky, and his grandfather, Francis, was also a Kentuckian. The latter came to Missouri when it was still a wilderness, and about 1851 crossed the plains to California in an ox-team caravan. He built the first flour mill in Southern California, and later he put up two others, so that he had three flour mills. He settled at San Bernardino, and made several trips back east to get machinery, all of which he had brought across the plains at much labor and expense. On one of his trips he lost some of his oxen, and had to leave, for the time being, a part of his machinery behind. This he covered with brush, and marked the spot with a post that he might be able to find it on one of his later trips. Some travelers returning East saw this mound and thinking it was his grave reported this to his wife, who died before learning that he was still alive. He brought into California the first modern flour mill machinery, and was one of the upbuilders of San Bernardino County, constructing there for the mill the great ditch now known as the Meek and Daly ditch. After such an arduous and useful life, he was killed, it is sad to relate, in one of his own mills.

Assemblyman Meek’s father was a young man when he came to California, and soon engaged in contracting at various parts of the southland. He also mined in Mojave and Death Valley. He made his headquarters at San Bernardino and Redlands, and today resides, retired, in the latter place. Mrs. R. B. Meek, the mother, was Ann Wilshire before her marriage, a native of Salt Lake City, and the daughter of George E. Wilshire, who came to California in 1854 with his family, and settled at San Bernardino, where he was a farmer, and in that neighborhood at Cucamonga he had a large vineyard, to which he gave his care until he died. He was born in Wiltshire, England, of good English ancestry. Mrs. Meek died in 1900, in Redlands, the mother of six children, four of whom grew up and are still living.

The youngest of these, B. B. Meek, was brought up in Redlands, where he attended the grammar schools, and graduated, in 1901, from the high school. The following fall he entered the University of California, where he specialized in engineering, and in 1903 he came to Oroville.

For a while Mr. Meek was on the Western Pacific Survey, and after a year he went south to Los Angeles County, where he did some civil engineering work for eighteen months with different corps of engineers. Then he returned to Oroville, and was with the North California Mining Company, in Butte and Plumas Counties, for three years, making Oroville his headquarters. In January, 1908, he resigned, and became assistant engineer for the Feather River Canal Company, which later was made the Western Canal Company. For most of the following two years he continued with the canal interests, leaving them only twice to journey to Central America as the president and manager of the Giganta Mining Company. These Central American trips lasted in each case for six or eight months, so that considerable time went by before his next important move.

In 1910, Mr. Meek severed his connection with the Feather River Canal Company, and since that time he has engaged in horticulture, being interested particularly in olive growing, and various business enterprises. Quite alone he started in the Table Mountain district, but he soon interested others and formed the Berkeley Olive Association. One thousand acres are under cultivation by this concern, a part of it being held in separate holdings by the individual investors. Most of this was planted by Mr. Meek himself. That his selection of the site showed exceptional insight into the conditions has long ago been demonstrated. The whole is irrigated by the Oro Electric Corporation Canal.

With Carleton Gray, Mr. Meek leased the Mount Ida orchard of five hundred acres for five years, and there they have obtained the best of results. Mr. Meek also owns an olive orchard of one hundred ten acres in Yuba County, near Marysville, and this is part of an orchard in full bearing under control of Meek and Perry, O. C. Perry being associated with Mr. Meek. He has another ranch on Feather River, near Marysville, and there he has put in figs and almonds. He owns ten acres of oranges at Thermalito.

In 1915, the firm of Meek, Gray and Perry started crushing oil on a small scale, and in 1916 they organized the Olive Products Company, a close corporation of seven members, of which Mr. Meek is president and general manager, and this company built the largest plant erected in that year. This covers two and a half acres, and is the largest olive plant in the world, and is so constructed that it can be enlarged at any time. The vat room is the largest in the state, and ample facilities are afforded for the shunting in and out of railway cars. All in all it is the consensus of opinion that this is the finest olive outfit yet planned and carried to completion. Mr. Meek now devotes his time largely to horticulture and the management of the Olive Products Company, and is interested in other companies besides the above.

In 1914, Mr. Meek was elected a member of the State Assembly, and at the session of 1915 he was chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, and a member of several others. He was the author of, and introduced, the convict labor bill, which became a law and provided for the employment of convicts on public roads. He also introduced the mosquito abatement act, which was passed and which provides for the formation of mosquito districts, equalizing the burden of fighting the mosquito. He introduced and carried through a measure increasing the revenue for the state through the inheritance tax, and he fostered several minor bills for the county. He was not a candidate for reelection, but was in the special session of 1916. While an assemblyman, Mr. Meek was elected by the assembly to membership in the legislative council bureau; and now he is a member of the board of state prison directors, an appointment by Governor Johnson in February, 1916. He was a member of the committee to investigate the advisability of the state furnishing free text-books, and submitted a report to the legislature in 1917.

A prominent Democrat and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Meek is vice president of the Butte County Farm Bureau and a member of the State Council of Defense. When war was declared Mr. Meek enlisted in the forces of Uncle Sam. He was made a Mason in the Oroville Lodge, No. 103, F. & A. M., in which he is now a trustee, and he belongs to the Chapter and the Commandery. He is a Scottish Rite Mason, and a member of the Consistory at San Francisco.

Source: "History of Butte County, Cal.," by George C. Mansfield, Pages 659-660, Historic Record Co, Los Angeles, CA, 1918.

Contributed By
idahonetto

***************************

His father, R. B. Meek, was a native of Missouri, not Kentucky.

Contributor: Monica S.

*****************************

My grandfather lived a full life until his death in 1937 - including marrying Laura Lillagore Hanlon on August 9, 1921, in Oroville, California. They had five children in 11 years. Republican Delegate to the Republican National Convention from California 1920, 1928 State Director of Public Works (California), including Highway Division, Engineering Dept, Architecture and Water Rights. Executive Vice President of the Hearst Corporation, devoting much attention to the various properties of the organization, including Hearst Magazines and Hearst Publications, Inc. Built a mansion in Atherton, California and died 3 months after he moved into it. Governor Young, on the news of his death, said: "A finer man, a nobler gentlemen never lived."

Contributor: seattleannie
HON. BERT BOOKHAM MEEK

HON. B. B. MEEK.--A former member of the State Assembly of California, who, because of his far-sightedness as a practical and successful business man, has proven a valuable representative for Oroville and Butte County, and one whose public career and services must long be appreciated, is the Hon. B. B. Meek, who was born at San Bernardino, Cal., September 2, 1883. His father was R. B. Meek, a native of Kentucky, and his grandfather, Francis, was also a Kentuckian. The latter came to Missouri when it was still a wilderness, and about 1851 crossed the plains to California in an ox-team caravan. He built the first flour mill in Southern California, and later he put up two others, so that he had three flour mills. He settled at San Bernardino, and made several trips back east to get machinery, all of which he had brought across the plains at much labor and expense. On one of his trips he lost some of his oxen, and had to leave, for the time being, a part of his machinery behind. This he covered with brush, and marked the spot with a post that he might be able to find it on one of his later trips. Some travelers returning East saw this mound and thinking it was his grave reported this to his wife, who died before learning that he was still alive. He brought into California the first modern flour mill machinery, and was one of the upbuilders of San Bernardino County, constructing there for the mill the great ditch now known as the Meek and Daly ditch. After such an arduous and useful life, he was killed, it is sad to relate, in one of his own mills.

Assemblyman Meek’s father was a young man when he came to California, and soon engaged in contracting at various parts of the southland. He also mined in Mojave and Death Valley. He made his headquarters at San Bernardino and Redlands, and today resides, retired, in the latter place. Mrs. R. B. Meek, the mother, was Ann Wilshire before her marriage, a native of Salt Lake City, and the daughter of George E. Wilshire, who came to California in 1854 with his family, and settled at San Bernardino, where he was a farmer, and in that neighborhood at Cucamonga he had a large vineyard, to which he gave his care until he died. He was born in Wiltshire, England, of good English ancestry. Mrs. Meek died in 1900, in Redlands, the mother of six children, four of whom grew up and are still living.

The youngest of these, B. B. Meek, was brought up in Redlands, where he attended the grammar schools, and graduated, in 1901, from the high school. The following fall he entered the University of California, where he specialized in engineering, and in 1903 he came to Oroville.

For a while Mr. Meek was on the Western Pacific Survey, and after a year he went south to Los Angeles County, where he did some civil engineering work for eighteen months with different corps of engineers. Then he returned to Oroville, and was with the North California Mining Company, in Butte and Plumas Counties, for three years, making Oroville his headquarters. In January, 1908, he resigned, and became assistant engineer for the Feather River Canal Company, which later was made the Western Canal Company. For most of the following two years he continued with the canal interests, leaving them only twice to journey to Central America as the president and manager of the Giganta Mining Company. These Central American trips lasted in each case for six or eight months, so that considerable time went by before his next important move.

In 1910, Mr. Meek severed his connection with the Feather River Canal Company, and since that time he has engaged in horticulture, being interested particularly in olive growing, and various business enterprises. Quite alone he started in the Table Mountain district, but he soon interested others and formed the Berkeley Olive Association. One thousand acres are under cultivation by this concern, a part of it being held in separate holdings by the individual investors. Most of this was planted by Mr. Meek himself. That his selection of the site showed exceptional insight into the conditions has long ago been demonstrated. The whole is irrigated by the Oro Electric Corporation Canal.

With Carleton Gray, Mr. Meek leased the Mount Ida orchard of five hundred acres for five years, and there they have obtained the best of results. Mr. Meek also owns an olive orchard of one hundred ten acres in Yuba County, near Marysville, and this is part of an orchard in full bearing under control of Meek and Perry, O. C. Perry being associated with Mr. Meek. He has another ranch on Feather River, near Marysville, and there he has put in figs and almonds. He owns ten acres of oranges at Thermalito.

In 1915, the firm of Meek, Gray and Perry started crushing oil on a small scale, and in 1916 they organized the Olive Products Company, a close corporation of seven members, of which Mr. Meek is president and general manager, and this company built the largest plant erected in that year. This covers two and a half acres, and is the largest olive plant in the world, and is so constructed that it can be enlarged at any time. The vat room is the largest in the state, and ample facilities are afforded for the shunting in and out of railway cars. All in all it is the consensus of opinion that this is the finest olive outfit yet planned and carried to completion. Mr. Meek now devotes his time largely to horticulture and the management of the Olive Products Company, and is interested in other companies besides the above.

In 1914, Mr. Meek was elected a member of the State Assembly, and at the session of 1915 he was chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, and a member of several others. He was the author of, and introduced, the convict labor bill, which became a law and provided for the employment of convicts on public roads. He also introduced the mosquito abatement act, which was passed and which provides for the formation of mosquito districts, equalizing the burden of fighting the mosquito. He introduced and carried through a measure increasing the revenue for the state through the inheritance tax, and he fostered several minor bills for the county. He was not a candidate for reelection, but was in the special session of 1916. While an assemblyman, Mr. Meek was elected by the assembly to membership in the legislative council bureau; and now he is a member of the board of state prison directors, an appointment by Governor Johnson in February, 1916. He was a member of the committee to investigate the advisability of the state furnishing free text-books, and submitted a report to the legislature in 1917.

A prominent Democrat and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Meek is vice president of the Butte County Farm Bureau and a member of the State Council of Defense. When war was declared Mr. Meek enlisted in the forces of Uncle Sam. He was made a Mason in the Oroville Lodge, No. 103, F. & A. M., in which he is now a trustee, and he belongs to the Chapter and the Commandery. He is a Scottish Rite Mason, and a member of the Consistory at San Francisco.

Source: "History of Butte County, Cal.," by George C. Mansfield, Pages 659-660, Historic Record Co, Los Angeles, CA, 1918.

Contributed By
idahonetto

***************************

His father, R. B. Meek, was a native of Missouri, not Kentucky.

Contributor: Monica S.

*****************************

My grandfather lived a full life until his death in 1937 - including marrying Laura Lillagore Hanlon on August 9, 1921, in Oroville, California. They had five children in 11 years. Republican Delegate to the Republican National Convention from California 1920, 1928 State Director of Public Works (California), including Highway Division, Engineering Dept, Architecture and Water Rights. Executive Vice President of the Hearst Corporation, devoting much attention to the various properties of the organization, including Hearst Magazines and Hearst Publications, Inc. Built a mansion in Atherton, California and died 3 months after he moved into it. Governor Young, on the news of his death, said: "A finer man, a nobler gentlemen never lived."

Contributor: seattleannie

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