Gaining success and recognition for himself and at the same time honoring his community by notable service, Benn
Duffield, city engineer of Hanford, holds worthy prestige among his fellow citizens. He is a native of Pittsfield,
Pike county, Illinois, born on the 25th day of March, 1883. He secured a good, practical public school education,
and then joined a surveying party as chainman. His first work was on government survey in the Cherokee strip, Oklahoma,
where they did retracing work during the summers of 1897-98-99. He then went to the Santa Fe Railroad, in whose
machine shops in Newton, Kansas, he was employed for a time. In 1900 he came to California and secured employment
with the Risdon Iron Works at San Francisco. Being ambitious for a thorough technical education, during this period
he attended the Polytechnic College at Oakland, where he worked his way through by bookkeeping and taking charge
of certain night classes. He was graduated in 1911, a civil engineer. He then joined the engineering department
of the Sacramento Valley Irrigation Company, for whom he did much general surveying. Later he became engineer for
Charles King in the construction of the Hanford & Summit Lake Railroad in Kings county. Upon the completion
of that work Mr. Duffield came to Hanford and opened an office and subsequently did much irrigation and reclamation
survey work in this county. He was elected and served one term, from 1915 to 1919, as surveyor of Kings county,
and in May, 1915, he became engineer of the Kings county highway commission.
Upon the entry of the United States into the World war, Mr. Duffield obtained a leave of absence from his official
duties, and entered the Engineers Officers Training Camp at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was commissioned a first
lieutenant and assigned to the Fifth Engineers, Regular army, which command was at that time stationed in Texas.
The regiment was sent overseas and saw much active service on the western front, principally in the San Mihiel
sector. When President Wilson returned on the George Washington from the Peace conference at Paris, Mr. Duffield's
Regiment was appointed one of his escorts. Mr. Duffield received an honorable discharge from the army on March
25, 1919, and at once returned to Hanford. In 1920 he was appointed city engineer and in that capacity has superintended
the construction of many of our paved streets. A notable accomplishment was his designing and building the Hanford
speedway in seventeen days. This is a dirt track and is so carefully constructed that a world's dirt track record
has been made on it. Mr. Duffield is the owner of a fine forty acre ranch, which he has planted largely to peaches,
grapes and alfalfa.
Mr. Duffield is a member of Hanford Post of the American Legion; a life member of Hanford Lodge, Benevolent Protective
Order of Elks; a member of Hanford Lodge, F. & A. M.; Hanford Chapter, R. A. M.; Hanford Commandery, K. T.;
a life member of Islam Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, San Francisco; member of the American Society of Military
Engineers, and of the American Association of Engineers.
Mr. Duffield was married to Miss Dana McCaslin, who was born and reared in Kings county, and who was formerly deputy
county clerk. Mr. Duffield career presents a notable example of those qualities of mind and character which overcome
obstacles and win success. A man of high civic ideals, he gives ardent support to all measures tending to advance
the general welfare of the community, and he enjoys to a marked degree the good will and esteem of his fellowmen.
History of Tulare County, California
By: Kathleen Edwards Small
Kings County, California
By: J. Larry Smith
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
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