Thomas R. Bard

Last updated
Thomas R. Bard
Thomas R. Bard.jpg
United States Senator
from California
In office
February 7, 1900 - March 3, 1905
Preceded by Stephen M. White
Succeeded by Frank P. Flint
Personal details
BornDecember 8, 1841
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 5, 1915 (aged 73)
Port Hueneme, California
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Military service
Branch/service Union Army
Battles/wars American Civil War

Thomas Robert Bard (December 8, 1841 March 5, 1915) was a political leader in California who assisted in the organization of Ventura County and represented the state in the United States Senate from 1900 to 1905 as a Republican. He is known as the "Father of Port Hueneme" for his efforts in building and expanding the city, as well as the first and only deep water port in the area. He is one of the founders of the UNOCAL company.


Early life

Born in Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania on December 8, 1841, Bard attended the common schools, and graduated from the Chambersburg Academy in 1858. He studied law in school, and before his graduation, he secured a job with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Later, he became an assistant to the superintendent of the Cumberland Valley Railroad. Other business ventures included the grain business in Hagerstown, Maryland. During the early part of the Civil War, Bard served as a volunteer Union scout during the invasions of Maryland and Pennsylvania by the Confederates.

In 1865, Bard arrived in Ventura County, California to develop his uncle Thomas A. Scott's properties in Ojai. In 1867, Bard would become the first person in California to produce oil from a drilled well. [1]

Political career

Senator Thomas R. Bard T R Bard.jpg
Senator Thomas R. Bard

Thomas R. Bard moved to Ventura County, California in 1864 and served as a member of the board of supervisors of Santa Barbara County from 1868 to 1873. In 1871, he was appointed as a commissioner to organize Ventura County. During this time, he purchased and subdivided Rancho El Rio de Santa Clara o la Colonia and laid out the plans for Port Hueneme, California, the future site of his Berylwood estate.

Bard was the California delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention, and later served as the director of the California state board of agriculture from 1886 to 1887. In 1887, Bard became a founding board member of Occidental College. He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill a vacancy in the term that began on March 4, 1899. He served from February 7, 1900 to March 3, 1905. Bard was unsuccessful in his 1904 reelection bid. During his term Bard served as the chairman of the Committee of Fisheries (for the Fifty-seventh Congress) and served on the Committee on irrigation (for the Fifty-eighth Congress). One of Thomas R. Bard's notable achievements during his time in office was to appoint George S. Patton, later General Patton, to West Point. [2]

Family and later life

Contemporary photo of Bard Mansion on his Berylwood estate. Bard Mansion view.jpg
Contemporary photo of Bard Mansion on his Berylwood estate.

Thomas R. Bard became a successful business man, and held profitable interests in several oil companies. Thomas R. Bard and his brother, Dr. Cephas Little Bard, established the Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital in Ventura as a memorial to their mother. [3] His son, Archibald Philip Bard, became a noted physiologist and the dean of Johns Hopkins Medical School.

He died at his Berylwood home in Port Hueneme, California on March 5, 1915 and was interred in the family cemetery on his estate. His remains were moved to Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura, California by the military. [4]

See also

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  1. Nelson, Mike (2020). "The Hunt for California Crude". AAPG Explorer. 41 (2): 18. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2012-03-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) The United States Army. "History of the Army Olympians: A General Athlete" WWW.ARMY.MIL
  3. City of Ventura. Detail Sheet #19 accessed 29 September 2013 from link on City Map with Historic Landmarks
  4. "Thomas R. Bard". Ivy Lawn Memorial Park & Funeral Home. Retrieved 29 September 2016.

Further reading

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Stephen M. White
U.S. senator (Class 1) from California
Served alongside: George C. Perkins
Succeeded by
Frank P. Flint