Jack Casner, Lawman, Cattleman
Jack Casner's at round up near Pole Creek
Jack Casner was not the most colorful constable Fillmore has had, that title would clearly go to Owen Miller (but that’s another story). He was, however, one of the longest serving and most respected law enforcement officers Fillmore has had.
Casner was born in Santa Paula in 1876 and except for three years in Texas working on an uncle’s cattle ranch, he spent his entire life in Ventura County. He was married twice, first to Kathleen Ransom who died in 1917 leaving him with a daughter, Winifred. In 1920 he married Kate Brown Reams who had two daughters, Grace and Louise, by an earlier marriage. Together they had two more children, John and Emma.
He came to Fillmore at the age of 26 and in 1910 became a deputy constable under John P. Trotter. In 1914 when Fillmore was incorporated, Jack Casner was appointed its first city marshal. He would serve for 27 years. According to him, he had no close calls as marshal but he was a strong influence on the young people. In dealing with a young man who had fallen in with bad company and was subsequently incarcerated in the town jail, Jack lectured him on his bad behavior and what it would lead to. Later the youth’s cronies came to the jail to break their friend loose. Jack arrived just in time to hear the prisoner objecting to the idea, “Jack said this would be good for me, and what Jack says goes, so you guys just try to take me out of here!” There is no later word on how the young man turned out.
Jack Casner's Fillmore Stables
Jack Casner owned one of several livery stables in Fillmore. At one time he had seven men on his payroll. He owned 25 horses, 17 one-horse buggies, four surreys, four buckboards and two larger four-seaters, all of which were for hire. He also had four and six-horse teams which hauled material and supplies to the oil fields as well as hauling plaster to the cement factory which was “just west of the grammar school grounds.” When there was an event elsewhere in the county, he could expect that all of the rigs would be rented. He would also house the horses and rigs of visitors coming to Fillmore for events like the 4th of July Celebration.
When interviewed by Charles Jarrett in 1934, he admitted that he helped bring the end of the livery stable about. Once automobiles began coming to town, he would keep a drum of gasoline and sell to the automobile drivers. He missed the era of the horse and buggies, “Maybe they get there faster [in a car] but anybody whoever wrapped the lines around the whip on a moonlight night and let the horse find it’s way home, simply doesn’t know what he missed.”
Although he was busy with law enforcement and the livery stable, Jack Casner was also well known as a cattleman. He ran cattle in the Pole Creek area for many years. He was considered the “dean” of stockbreeders in the county. He was so well thought of that when he lost his herd in the early 1930s, other breeders in the county chipped in to buy a rail carload of new stock for him.
He retired in 1938 and in 1939 he suffered a stroke. He passed away on November 18, 1942.
Below: horse riders just east of the corral in the mouth of Pole Canyon. They are Dick Sackett, Harry McConnell, Jack Casner, Frank Arundell, Norman Arundell, Mark Richardson, Bill Akers, Steve Manriquez, Parker Dear, Standing: Joe Real, Joaquin Real