Sunday, November 11, 2007

Branscomb Road

Greg and Carol,
First, happy anniversary, you couldn’t have found a more romantic place to spend your anniversary.

Fort Brag is one of my wife and my favorite spots. Especially this time of the year when the weather is so clear, and the ocean is becoming angry with the winter storm waves. I can watch Seagulls riding the wind along the ocean banks and never get tired of it.

The house on the hill at Howard creek is the old Howard Ranch house. If you know where to look further up the hill, you will see a grave where he is buried. I believe that they turned the ranch into a bed & breakfast. My mother Elsie Branscomb knows all the ghost stories, I’ll ask her for more info.

As a young girl, my great grandmother Laura (Lockhart) Middleton worked as a maid in the Westport Hotel until she was married, and then she worked as a cook in the tan bark camps where my great, grandfather Lafe, (Lafayette Middleton) worked as a foreman. The tan bark camps were in Howard creek where there is an extensive stand of Tan Oak.

Laura’s Grandfather, My great, great, great grandfather, was the Captain of a Clipper ship that brought miners around the horn into san Francisco bay. I want to get the plans of that ship and build a model, but the research has not borne fruit. Back in the 1850’s Laura’s mother Mary (Cull) Lockhart made her way to California at the age of sixteen by herself and with her fourteen year old little sister in tow. After turning her wealthy aunts pet monkey loose to cause a distraction, she ran away from home to come to the gold fields to find her lost brother and father. She took a train from New York To New Orleans, then a ship to Panama, then a mule across the Isthmus, then a ship to San Francisco that capsized and righted itself twice on the way. She was working in a boarding house in San Francisco when she met the son of the sailing ship captain, who she knew from New York. It was a small world back then.
They married and moved to Sacramento to continue her search for her father and brother. They were never found and may have disappeared on the wagon train to California. It may have been the same wagon train that brought the Branscombs to California. Again, it was a small world back then. The Lockharts moved to Branscomb and established the Wilderness Lodge back in the 1870’s?, It became a popular hunting resort for the “Great White Hunters From San Francisco.“ It is on the Upper South Fork of the Eel River.

Anyway if you head back over the Branscomb Road, just as you cross the South Fork of the Eel creek, you will see a road going North called “Wilderness road” if you drive to the end, then walk another ten miles, because it is the most beautiful wilderness area that you ever saw, you will find the old Horseshoe Bend Lodge that was built by my great, great, I not sure, but two of the Lovejoy boys married two of the Lockhart girls. And there is more connections, and incredibly interesting (to me) stories. That are just to long to tell.

And, if you stop in at the store at Branscomb , go in and go back in time about a hundred years, tell them you know Ernie Branscomb, and they will say Who?

My Great, Great, Grandfather and grandmother Benjamin and Jane Branscomb are buried on the hill behind the store. Please send them my best.

Ernie Branscomb
P.S. I’m going to post this on Carol and Gregs spot, and 299 opine just to save myself some time Good nite.


Carol said...

Thank you, Ernie!

I see that we will all be supporting Estelle for Supervisor!

Mike said...

Thanks for posting this :-)

as you may know,.. Ben Mast owned a nice portion of property to the right side of this road, Including a fish pond and a nice little lake up there!

I wonder if Gay still lives at the nice home on the property?

P.s. my dad lived in one of the small cabins, before they converted that section of property for the tourists that now visit there?