Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lost History

In My whole life I've never heard of William Light. Apparently Old Bill was a very prominent Citizen of the Garberville area. His ranch was 2 ½ miles west of Garberville, on what we now call “The Old Briceland Road”. Back in 1915, when this history was written it was the only Briceland Road. I’m not sure where Old Bills ranch was, but it sounds like it could have been where the Pancoast Ranch is today, or maybe the Swenson ranch, which is now the Garberville Airport.

Maybe Bens old maps can tell us where it was. It sounds like he lived here from 1883 to1915. That’s long enough to have become very well known. He had one daughter who inherited the ranch, Mrs. Alexis Hinkley, who I’ve also never heard of.

Leigh H. Irvine, who wrote this historical piece back in 1915, sounded like he was very enamored by Mrs. Light, Mrs. Cynthia Light.

History of Humboldt County California History by Leigh H. Irvine: Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California, 1915
Transcribed by Martha A Crosley Graham 14 October 2006

WILLIAM LIGHT.—Lying on the Briceland road two and a half miles west of Garberville, Humboldt county, is the Light ranch of three hundred twenty acres, where Mr. and Mrs. William Light have resided continuously since 1883. They have been residents of California, however, for a much longer period, both having come to this state during the sixties. Mr. Light, in common with many emigrants from the eastern states ,in his day, tried mining when he began life on the Pacific coast, but a very brief experience in that line, and a better understanding of the varied resources of the country aside from its mineral wealth, convinced him that it was not the only road to prosperity, and he has followed agricultural pursuits with highly satisfactory results. He and his wife are counted among the most esteemed residents in their section of the county.
Mr. Light was born in Broome county, N. Y., January 16, 1842, and lived on his father's farm until he reached his majority. Then he decided to come out to California, and made the trip by the Nicaraguan route. He was soon at work in the gold fields in Placer county, but he became disgusted after a week's trial of mining and went to work for his uncle, Elijah Light, on a farm in Marin county, remaining with him one season. Proceeding thence to Sonoma county, he rented a dairy ranch comprising one hundred acres situated in the Coleman valley, and was successfully engaged in agricultural work on his own account in that county until his removal ao Humboldt county, in 1883. That year he bought the ranch of three hundred twenty acres where he has since had his home, and which during his ownership has undergone steady and intelligent improvement. Besides cultivating it carefully he has put up two sets of buildings, one occupied by himself and wife, the other by their daughter, Mrs. Hinckley, to whom the property was turned over recently, Mr. Light having retired from active labor to enjoy the comfortable home and competence he acquired during his busy career. Mr. Light's honorable life, his pleasant relations with his neighbors, and thrifty management of his property, all combine to establish him as one of the highly desirable residents of his locality.
During his residence in Sonoma county Mr. Light married Mrs. Cynthia (Williams) Barton, who came to California with her parents in 1865. By her first marriage she had two children : Clara, Mrs. Good, who died in Oakland, March 12, 1909; and J. W., living at Eureka. One child has been born to her union with Mr. Light, Amy, now Mrs. Alexis Hinckley, and they have two children, George and Clara. Politically Mr. Light is a Democrat, his wife a Republican. She is a Christian Scientist in religious belief, and possesses estimable personal qualities which have endeared her to a large circle of friends and acquaintances. Even-tempered and serene, and accustomed to accepting her duties philosophically and her pleasures gratefully, she has a disposition which attracts friendship, and her generous nature is appreciated by all who have had the opportunity of knowing her.
Mrs. Light was born at Hyde Park, Vt., the third child of Mr. and Mrs. 'William Williams, farming people, who moved to New Hampshire during her early life. The father came to California alone in 1853, and became interested in farming at Tomales, Marin county. Some time later he returned to Hebron, N. H., for his wife and family of four children, whom he brought to the Pacific coast in 1865. They were at sea when news was received of Lincoln's assassination, and the diversity of opinion among the passengers regarding the affair nearly caused a riot on board.
Just as this goes to press Mr. Light died, July 18, 1915. His loss is mourned not only by his dear ones, but by all who knew him. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for forty-two years, being a member of Occidental Lodge, Sonoma county.


ben said...

The HSU Library site now has the 1921 Belcher Title Maps of Humboldt County. You request the Belcher maps then choose them from the list provided and then click on the map section you wish to see. I haven't been able to print them properly so I need to talk to a librarian about it. No Light family is listed. The Tooby enterprise seems to have owned some of the area you were thinking of. Beerbowers owned the rest. I think I have photos of the 1910 maps. I'll look. The flowery description of Mrs. Light is characteristic of the writers for those companies.

ben said...

OK.. Now I've found it on the 1911 Edgar Denny Map. The Light Place was where the Pancoast Place is now. Looks like 200 acres or so.