Thomas R. Bard

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Thomas R. Bard
United States Senator
from California
In office
February 7, 1900 - March 3, 1905
Preceded byStephen M. White
Succeeded byFrank P. Flint
Personal details
BornDecember 8, 1841
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 5, 1915 (aged 73)
Port Hueneme, California
Political partyRepublican
Military service
Branch/serviceUnion Army
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Thomas Robert Bard (December 8, 1841 – March 5, 1915) was an American 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[edit]

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] The official Congressional Directory for 1903 notes that Bard "has engaged in wharving and warehousing, banking, petroleum mining, sheep grazing, and dealing in real estate".[2]

Political career[edit]

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. Elected as a Republican to the United States Senate on February 7, 1900, to fill a vacancy created by the death of Senator Stephen M. White, he served until March 3, 1905.[2] 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 acts during his time in office was to appoint George S. Patton to West Point.[3]

Family and later life[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nelson, Mike (2020). "The Hunt for California Crude". AAPG Explorer. 41 (2): 18. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b "S. Doc. 58-1 - Fifty-eighth Congress. (Extraordinary session -- beginning November 9, 1903.) Official Congressional Directory for the use of the United States Congress. Compiled under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing by A.J. Halford. Special edition. Corrections made to November 5, 1903". U.S. Government Printing Office. 9 November 1903. p. 6. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  3. ^ "U.S. Army Olympians | History". Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2012-03-29. The United States Army. "History of the Army Olympians: A General Athlete" WWW.ARMY.MIL
  4. ^ City of Ventura. Detail Sheet #19 accessed 29 September 2013 from link on City Map with Historic Landmarks
  5. ^ "Thomas R. Bard". Ivy Lawn Memorial Park & Funeral Home. Retrieved 29 September 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 1) from California
Served alongside: George C. Perkins
Succeeded by