Charles Oliver Haws and Family - Towsley Canyon's Last Residents


In Towsley Canyon, south of the Narrows and south of the trail, there is evidence of human occupation, including an old foundation. There were two leased houses here. They were occupied by Charles ("Ollie") Oliver Haws and his family. The Haws family were the last residents south of the Narrows and were driven out by the fire and rains of 1962-63.

Ollie Haws first came to Towsley Canyon in 1936 and probably at one time or another did all the jobs that an oil worker does - from roughneck to driller. In the 1950's and 60's, he ran the oil wells on the Hammon Lease (on the old Temple Claim) and the Security Bank Lease (on the old Towsley Claim).

He had a son (Charles ("Chuck") Oliver Haws, Jr.) in 1936 who is still alive and living in Bakersfield. I have been lucky enough to contact him and his daughter (who lives in Camarillo, California). He, and his daughter (Kathy Marie Haws), have been kind enough to provide some of the information here.

Ollie Haws, and later Chuck Haws, moved into the two houses in the canyon. One house had two bedrooms and the other had three bedrooms. Chuck Haws' daughter Kathy was born in 1954 and spent the first fours years of her life in the canyon. Chuck moved to Bakersfield with his family in 1959.

A 1969 aerial photo shows both houses. A brush fire after 1969 evidently gave Ollie and his family little time to evacuate, and they lost most of their belongings as the fire burned down both houses. They moved to Newhall.

Here is a short history of the Haws family:

Charles Oliver Haws was born on December 19, 1901 in Texas and died January 30, 1987 in Santa Clarita, California. Around 1924, Haws married Amy Ellsworth (born January 31, 1907 in Arizona and died April 2, 1990 in Los Angeles, California). They were either married in Arizona or Fillmore, California. Haws was listed on the 1926 Fillmore No. 2 Election Precinct voter list.

In 1926 Charles and Amy had a daughter named Ethel. On the 1930 U.S. Census, he was a ranch laborer and she was a citrus picker.

In 1936 they had a son - Charles Oliver Haws Jr. born on April 20, 1936. Also in 1936 Haws moved to Newhall, California and possibly into Towsley Canyon itself.

On the 1942 Newhall, California voter registration he was listed as an oil worker. Amy was listed as a housewife.

Two of Amy's brothers (she had 4 brothers and 4 sisters - from 1920 US Census), Joseph (born about 1913) and Otto (born about 1915) were involved in the oil industry in California. At one time Joseph and Haws were partners, drilling at least one well (H&E No. 1) in Towsley Canyon (From California Department of Oil and Gas (DOG) Records).

DOG records for the 1940's, 50's, and 60's often mention Oliver Haws. More than one record states that Haws moved into Towsley Canyon in 1936.

DOG records also state that he worked on, and drilled, several wells in Towsley Canyon. He also leased land and owned his own wells. Many times in the 1960's he helped the DOG determine the location, and name, of old wells.

While running both the Hammon and the Security Leases, his son states that the production was 500 barrels/month.


Aerial view of the Haws's home sites in 1969.

Copyright Note: This image is NOT in the public domain and is protected by the copyright laws of the United States.
Used by permission of historicalaerials.com


The Haws Jr. house foundation site at red arrowhead on right. Below that site is a flat area probably for parking the car and for a generator. The Haws Sr. house site is at the red arrowhead on the left. His house did not have a foundation but was raised up. The black streak at the bottom right is an oil seep. The old road follows the oil seep and loops up and around the foundation and then turns to the left on the far side of the creek.


Another angle of Haws Jr. house site (closest red arrowhead) and Haws Sr. house site (at other arrowhead)


Remains of Haws Jr. house foundation


Haws Jr. house foundation looking north toward the Narrows


Looking up to the east from the Haws Jr. foundation is the site of the SWC Resources Towsley 1 (old) well, probably first drilled between 1915 and 1917. A DOG record from 1965 states that water seeps out of the hole, is caught in a 50 barrel tank and piped to one of the houses on the lease for plumbing water.


On the trail above the Towsley 1 site from the previous photo. The well site is in the lower left where the blue arrowhead is. The Haws Jr. site is at the red arrowhead to the right and the Haws Sr. site is at the further red arrowhead on the left.


Even higher up on the trail you can see the large foundation which was part of the Limbocker 1 oil well site at the blue arrowhead. The Haws, Sr. site is at the red arrowhead with the Haws, Jr. site out of the photo to the right.


This is the Haws, Sr. house from 1941. It is blown up from the Limbocker oil well photo on the oil history page.


At the Haws, Sr. house site is one end of a clothes line. The other end is hidden by tall brush and a tree in the upper right of the photo.


Looking toward the northeast above the clothes line down to the creek bed. The road is on the left of the creek. The Haws Jr. house site would be down the road on the left.


Here are some old appliances at the Haws, Sr. site


A refrigerator


An oven


Even a barbeque


Chuck Haws remembers this pipe as a sewage pipe where the toilet was and which also collected water from the bathtub and sink. His dad's (Haws, Sr.) house was right above it. As a previous photo shows, the house was raised off the ground.


Standing on the old road looking south. The Haws Sr. house would be on the right (west) and the Haws Jr. house would be behind me. The large foundation is in the distance straight ahead. It is the location of oil well Limbocker No. 1, spudded in 1941.


Broken turquoise plate


Another broken plate


This may be a piece of a plant pot. It says J.A. Bauer Pottery Co. Los Angeles. John Andrew Bauer founded his company in 1885 in Louisville, Kentucky. It moved to Los Angeles in 1910 and went out of business in 1962.