H. A. Rispin
It is a fact generally known that a man who has been reared in a certain environment,
and who elects to remain in that environment to mould his adult career, is more
likely to attain unusual success than the man who invades such a field, as it
were, from without.
H. A. Rispin, vice-president of the Amity Oil Company and officer or stockholder
of a number of other concerns, comes under this designation. Born August 26,
1872, in Petrolia, Ontario, the only producing oil field in the Dominion of
Canada and one discovered about the same time as the oil fields of Pennsylvania,
it was only natural that Mr. Rispin should finally choose the oil
business as a pursuit.
Mr. Rispin's parents were British and both died when he was still an infant.
In fact he was at such a tender age that he has no recollection of either his
father or mother. The untimely taking off of the parents left a family of seven
children practically without support. It was in such a crisis that W. E. Rispin,
the eldest child, proved the stock of which he is made. He was then but 18 years
of age, and was employed by a railroad. Rather than see the little family cast
about and separated on the tide of ill fortune he assumed the head of the household,
raised his youthful charges and gave every one of his brothers and sisters an
education. Nor did he, by marrying, assume other responsibilities until his
primary duties were fully accomplished.
Of all the children, H. A. Rispin secured perhaps the most incomplete education,
as he was the youngest. When he was fourteen years old, wishing to lessen the
cares of his eldest brother, whom he loved, and still loves, as a father, Mr.
Rispin left school and started out to make his own way. This he has done ever
since, at times against heavy odds, and, as in the case of most oil operators,
with hard knocks and many ups and downs in the development of new oil fields.
Today, however, at the age of 43, he is not only considered an authority on
all matters pertaining to the production of oil but is also numbered among the
big oil operators of California.
Mr. Rispin's first employment was as assistant clerk in the passenger office
of the Grand Trunk Railroad at Chatham, Ontario. He remained there until he
was about 18, when he became a clerk in the auditing offices of the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railroad at Chicago. Subsequently he was city passenger
agent for the Canadian Pacific in Chicago and world's fair agent for the Illinois
Central at the same place. From there he went to New York City to accept a position
with the Iron Clad Manufacturing- Company, and after two years went south into
Tennessee and Kentucky, where he engaged in the lumber business for himself.
In 1901 he came to San Francisco, to carry out his long cherished plan of entering
the oil industry.
At the outset Mr. Rispin was made manager of the United Oil Producers, then
the oil marketing concern of the State. When it was merged in 1902 with the
Standard Oil Company, Mr. Rispin went with the Rockefeller concern as assistant
manager of the fuel oil department. In 1903 he resigned to go into business
for himself, since which time he has been his own employer.
Today, besides being vice-president of the Amity Oil Company, Mr. Rispin is
secretary of the Kernel Consolidated Oil. Company and stockholder in a number
of other producing oil concerns. He is also interested in a financial way in
businesses of a different nature, and is vice-president of the Mission Quarry
Company, whose rock-crushing plant is the largest in the West. He has promoted
all his companies among his friends and acquaintances, never having sold stock
to the general public, and consequently has shared his friends losses and profits.
Mr. Rispin was married in 1901 to Annette Blake, the beautiful daughter of Isaac
E. Blake, California oil pioneer and at one time president of the United Oil
Producers. He belongs to no clubs nor fraternities and, although offered political
opportunities, has refused, preferring his own fireside to the turmoil of political
life. He has, however, taken an active interest in many matters pertaining to
the welfare of the city, especially during the stressful days immediately following
the fire of 1906.
A curious fact is that Mr. Rispin is one of but four men by that name now living,
and each of the four has but one son. The family is traced clear back to the
Battle of Agincourt in the fourteenth century.
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