Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fast Past.

Back in the fifties and sixties guys were obsessed with fast cars and fast women. I don't know what the girls were interested in, I had a Car!
Okay, it was a little before my time but the race looked about the same. The tract shown looks like it might be the Santa Rosa track. One of the things that was different is that they kept the track watered and their was no dust. I don't think that they could get families to go to the races with that kind of dust.

Pure skill.
As kids we used to go the hard-top races on weekends. and cheer on our heroes, the hard-top race drivers. A hard-top-racer was a car that was built up especially for racing on a dirt track. You could do anything that you wanted to it to make it go around the track faster. Anybody that has ever raced on a dirt track will know that no matter what you do to your car, your driving skill counts most. An example of driving skill would be to run up on a car on the outside going into a turn. You run up real fast on the outside going into it. The driver sees that you are overtaking him and his reflexes make him go faster. As soon as he speeds up, you duck back. He flies into the corner going too fast, he will drift up the track to the outside of the turn, and you duck back in and past him on the inside. You always have to remember to smile and wave on your way by, the crowd loves it!

The next time that you fly up on the same person to "show him your tire", as that tactic is called, He will slow down and crowd-in expecting you to pass him on the inside again. Then you just step on the throttle and pass him on the high side because you already have the momentum going. Then you remember to smile and wave on your way by, because the crowd loves it. It's a lot like playing poker. If you are running a bluff it's best to remember what driver that you "tricked", and how you tricked him the the last time. If you guess wrong, both up you can fly up and "kiss the wall". Kissing the wall is not nearly as romantic as it sounds, because it leaves your car with a much undesired permanent pucker.

If there wasn't a good hard-top race, we would go to the Jalopy races. A Jalopy was a car that had to be under a certain value. If you won the race with it, somebody else could pay you the price set before the race, and you had to sell it to him. So there was a lot of low-end value cars on the track. I can still remember the smell of hot engines and the lingering smoke in the air from the old worn-out oil burning engines. That was back in the days when speed was King, and the environment be-damned. God I love the smell of a Jalopy race in the morning!

I may have met my wife fifty-five years ago without knowing it!
I've mentioned before that my wife and I have unusually similar backgrounds. Although she was born in San Jose, and I was born in Willits, our ancestors are from the British Isles. One of her aunts was married to one of my uncles and they lived in Ukiah... But I digress. She went the the same hard-top races that I did as a kid in Santa Rosa. Only she rooted for the guy, Marshall Sargent, that I wanted to call all kinds of disgusting names, because he always beat my favorite racer, Ed Negre. Ed drove a Lincoln Zephyr, with a Cadillac LaSalle transmission and and the motor was a hot-rod Ford flathead v-8. She went to the races in San Jose where Sargent raced. When he raced in Santa Rosa, she would go with her family to Santa Rosa. So we may have stood next to each other in the line at the soda-pop stand. It seems like I should have noticed, because I've always been kinda' magnetically attracted to her.

Best Hamburgers ever!
The kids from back east always talk about how great “White Castle Hamburgers” are. Well I've never tasted one.. don't need to, the best hamburgers ever were at the Santa Rosa Raceway. You had the choice of a hamburger or a cheeseburger. Then you could get “sauce” and/or “vegetables”. Those were your only choices. The sauce was a mixture of mayo, mustard, and catchup. The vegetables were chopped up lettuce, onions, and tomato. They toasted the buns on a separate grill. They put everything on the burger for you, then they wrapped it nicely in a waxed tissue. It came already salted and peppered on the meat. The hamburger patty was ranch raised meat that was well aged for tenderness and flavor. The difference was about like the difference between a tomato that your grandma raised, and one like you buy in the store today. They handed you a hamburger as fast as you could walk up and order it. My order was; “cheeseburger, sauce and vegetables”.

People soon learned that it wasn't Burger King. If you wanted anything special, you didn't get it. When people started getting “special” the guy at the counter would tell the person to check the booth at the other end of the stands. (there was no burger stand back there) The guy would come back and say that there was no burgers down there. The guy in the stand would say “we don't have what you wanted here either. Do you want a hamburger or a cheeseburger, with sauce or with vegetables?” The burgers were drop dead delicious, and only a fool would want to change their recipe. Sometimes I wish the world today would be more like that, where people that had coupons, checks, food stamps and lootery tickets, would just be sent down the street.

Land and water speed records
Don Campbell
Was the first, and so far only, person to set both land and water speed records in the same year. (1964) Don was a brave, and some would say crazy, racer that was one of the most exciting people of the day. Campbell's land record of 429 MPH for a wheel driven vehicle was not broken until 2001. His water speed record was 276.33 MPH. He died while attempting a new record. He was traveling 320 MPH when his boat became airborne and flew up into the air at a 45 degree angle. He came back into the water and disintegrated on impact. He was killed instantly. All of his vehicles were called “Bluebirds”.

It was an age when speed was sought after. Anything more powerful, or anything that went faster was exciting to us. The military was building faster airplanes. The jet was a fairly recent invention and was coming into vogue. The cars of the day were designed to look like airplanes, clear back to the tailfin rear fenders. In the sixties, everybody knew who Art Arfons and Craig “Breedy” Breedlove were. They were busy taking records back and forth from each other in the sixties. In 1964-65 The land speed record was broken seven times between Art Arfons and Craig Breedlove. October 15, 1997 Andy Green set the world land speed record, and also broke the sound barrier on land for the first time. Green was driving the “ThrustSSC” twin turbofan jet engine racer.

Back when I was 16 I dreamed of picking my date for the drive-in movies driving a car like this. This black beauty is the "ThrustSSC"

Salt Flat racers
Just about everybody that could afford a car dreamed of setting some kind of a speed record. Our very own home-town-boy-does-good, Ross Sherburn set a salt flat record back in 1981.

Jim Frederick's legendary Fly Rod Superbird. Jim and his crew member Ross Sherburn drove this car from 1981 through 1987 at Bonneville setting numerous B/Altered records.

I wonder what happened to the days when we could dream of setting a speed record? We went to the moon back then. Noboby told use that it couldn't be done. I wonder what the kids of today will do? We were told that by now that the world would be nuclear powered and it would be free, all we had to pay for is the power lines, and there would be no pollution. We were told that all of the cars would be electric, because power would be so cheap. I wonder how they are doing on fusion power? That seems to be a non-polluting source of energy. I wonder what will be found wrong with that. It seems like everything that we dream about today is just to good to be true. But I'll bet that Ross had a lot of fun "Killing Salt" while it lasted.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Horror.

Ernie said" "The fact that the Local Indians didn’t mind killing their enemies and kicking their heads down the path doesn’t seem so bad until it’s your daddies head"

Suzy said: "we'll have agree to disagree on this one Ernie, Suzy thinks it IS bad no matter whos head it may be".

Sorry Suzy, this time I most emphatically disagree with what you said! Because we agree, completely, that NO MATTER WHO‘S head it may be…. it’s wrong. You peeked over the “Horror Fence” long enough to find something to rub in my face that you accidentally found our common ground.

I really don’t know how I feel about the fact that I have not been able communicate that there was nothing that would have changed things in history. There was an inevitable clash, from the time that the Old World found the New World.

Anyone who thinks that I, in anyway, condone what happened to the Indian People, is seriously mistaken! And I don’t know how to feel about that accusation. I vacillate between anger and hurt. I kick myself for not be able to put things well enough into words to make my point.
I will say that I cannot even look at my Indian friends without the pain in my heart over what happened to their people. Those that know how I think, know that I also feel sorry for myself, that so many, many things that the Indian knew about this wonderful place that we all live in, in peace, are gone forever. What the Indian knew about the north coast, and how much of it we have lost, reminds me of when they do an archeological dig. Sometimes they will find an old grinding bowl or an arrowhead. I’ve seen thousands of grinding bowls, and maybe tens of thousand of arrowheads. So I’m remarkable under-impressed. (Sorry) But, what I do think about is how incredibly much that we have all lost. You may see a grinding bowl. I see a person grinding food on it. I wonder things like; “did the men prepare any food?” I wonder what their recipes were like. I wonder if they had favorite recipes, or if they made things out of what they had available. I’ve heard that a certain amount of clay made the acorns more digestible and sweeter. Who do I ask if that was true? I’ve tried a few acorn recipes. I’ve even developed a few of my own. I try to put myself in their Moccasins for awhile, and go back to the time before the Old World Invading Hoard showed up. We have lost all of that Indian knowlege and history. Is it okay to have a tear in your eye when you talk to an Indian friend about the things that their people knew? That we can never know again?

Do you think that the Indian People like us looking on them with pity? Do you think that they would rather live with us, as people at peace, and have the opportunity to do things together without the overbearing burden of guilt.

My problem is I have a basic understanding that all people are the same, and I don’t separate things like white, Indian, black, Chinese and other differences. At least I don’t think that I do. But, that’s what get’s me into trouble. I feel sorry for all of the people of the north coast. Indians, white people, pony soldiers, settlers, cops thugs and all of them. They were caught up in a brutal conflict. To give you a little understanding. Even the most powerful of thugs slept with their hand on a gun under the covers of their silk beds.

Okay, if there is one thing that I want to make clear… I hope that you can cut me some slack here, because I think that most of us are on the same page as far as feelings go. To have someone think that I, in anyway, think that it is okay about what happened to the Indian people, is so wrong. But, I do want people to understand that horrible things happened to my ancestors, also. I’m am not an emotional man, (Yeah, Right) but nothing will bring a tear to my eye faster than to know what happened to the Indian people. I grieve over what happened to them. Unlike most of you, I have grieved for sixty- four years, it never goes away, believe me. I can grow a scab until somebody takes the joy of picking it open. Like now… Then, I have to put on my game face when I see an Indian friend approach me, when you just want to grab them and hug them and tell them that “I’m am just so god-damned sorry”!

To have someone accuse me of being part of the Indian massacres, by proxy, because I am the white interloper, is just not fair and it is extremely hurtful. But, there seems to be an endless stream of people that come here, then they want to know a little bit about our history. I find that to be very complimentary that a person would do that. But, the first thing that they find out about is the Indian Massacres. The second thing that they do is find the descendant of one of the white interlopers and start pointing the finger of shame. The third thing that they ALWAYS ask is “what have you got against newcomers?” If I were honest I would have to say that it was “because you start accusing before you have any understanding at all how badly some of your accusations hurt, and no matter how much I would like to change things for you. I can’t.” Then I just wish that they could know the whole story, but they stay in the endless spiral of the “Horror”.

Sadly, one of the things that a Generation Native knows, that most people will never know, is they know exactly what I’m talking about now, and I doubt that some of you gentle readers will ever try to take the time to be an honest student of the north coast history. Most of you will never get past the “horror”.

Knowing that “Spyrock” understands what I’m talking about, I swiped his term “Get Over it”. I knew what he meant. I wish that I had phrased it better and said, please look at the whole picture of our history and come beyond the horror, or we will never learn how to prevent it in the future. Understand that people came here. There was conflict. We can’t change it for you. It isn’t our fault. Come beyond the accusations.

In closing, I will let you in on a little secret about me. If you really want to hurt me badly, say that I don’t understand or grieve over what happen to the Indian People. Can I ask that you give some of my ancestors a little pity though. It was “The Good People” of the North Coast that got the killing stopped. I don’t get any credit there either, but I do have a certain amount of pride in the people that “Did what they could”.

Just like Spyrock’s Indian friend, all that I am doing on this blog is asking “why?” We already know what happened…..


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The muck of history.

Reply to Ben from post below:


You should never have “trepidations” when offering your opinions to me. If I had to make a list of all of the researchers that I trust the most, you would be in the top ten of the list.

For those of you that don't know Ben. He is a serious researcher of early north coast history, and especially those things that concern the indigenous people. He has interpreted their language and the place names of the early people. He is a student of early human relations, and speaks from a position of authority on such matters. He has the trust of the indigenous people and the local white people. He has been on many serious field studies. He can tell you about the local history, in the original Indian language, and the English language. I would almost always defer to his opinion, unless I had direct knowledge of a good reason to disagree. Some of my comments are not directed toward Ben, but novice researchers instead. Ben is usually right.

I know that Ben has information on the history of the indigenous people, and the indigenous artifacts of this area that he can never talk about. The reason that I know that, is because any serious researcher of the local history finds out about things that they can't, or won't talk about. It's one of the advantages of being a local historian that can be trusted with the “Local Secrets”. Ben has seen Indian Petroglyphs that few others can be trusted to see. Some times people will allow someone like Ben, that can be trusted, “in on some local history”. History that just plain wouldn't be fair to repeat, but sometimes just a small tidbit of information will put many confusing stories together and make history clear as a bell ringing at the break of dawn. Ben knows those kind of stories, so when he tells you something, you should always give his opinion the benefit of the doubt.

Having said that, I would like to point out a few of the things that a generational native knows that no others do.(A generational native is a person that has lived here for generations, rather than years.) A generational native has been raised here, not only knowing the stories that they hear, but they know the stories that they have heard from their ancestors, people that knew the first white people to settle here. A Generational Native has heard stories from their ancestors that knew the last survivors of the Indian Massacres. They have heard the stories of how terrible the fear was that their families would have been chased off, killed, or ruined by the thugs that ran things on the north coast. Surely only a very naive researcher could have studied very long without saying “hmmm... there was some pretty heavy intimidation back then”. The facts of the intimidation was very under-reported.

Even astute researchers, such as Ben often miss some very big salient points. The point from my prospective is that human life on the north coast was very much about survival. For both the indigenous people and the white interloper. I agree with Ben in that there was a plan afoot to spread the new Americans throughout the land. The tacit plan was called “Manifest destiny”. The plan was to settle and “civilize” the new world.

From Wikipedia:
Manifest Destiny is a term that was used in the 19th century to designate the belief that the United States was destined, even divinely ordained, to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes Manifest Destiny was interpreted so broadly as to include the eventual absorption of all North America: Canada, Mexico, Cuba and Central America. Advocates of Manifest Destiny believed that expansion was not only ethical but that it was readily apparent ("manifest") and inexorable ("destiny"). Although initially used as a catch phrase to inspire the United States' expansion across the North American continent, the 19th century phrase eventually became a standard historical term.
The term, which first appeared in print in 1839, was used in 1845 by a New York journalist, John L. O'Sullivan, to urge for the annexation of Texas. Thereafter, it was used to encourage American settlement of European colonial and Indian lands in the Great Plains and the west... ...some commentators believe that aspects of Manifest Destiny, particularly the belief in an American "mission" to promote and defend democracy throughout the world, continues to have an influence on American political ideology.

Another popular saying of the time was “Go West Young Man”. People were encouraged to populate the west, and bring civilization with the settling of the west. People were assured that the United States Military would protect them from the “Native Savages”. Many people were headed to the west even before gold was discovered. Indeed, California was admitted into the union before gold was found at Sutter's Mill. The gold discovery wasn't part of the planned expansion. Many people that had considered moving to California, but hadn't quite decided to do so, changed their minds and "Went West". The discovery of gold enticed many people to move west with the hopes that “they could walk down the creeks in California and find gold nuggets the size of chicken eggs”.

The expansion of the civilized world into California happened much faster than the United States could move troupes west to protect them, and a lot of the soldiers deserted to find their own fortune in the gold fields. Any manner of human being moved to California during the Gold Rush. Many good people moved out here with their wives and families. Many thugs, ne'er do wells, ornery no good S.O.B's moved out here also. Many people failed in the pursuit of gold, and were ran off with there tail between there legs. Some decided to try their luck on the west coast, where gold had been discovered washed up on the beach, and in the remote areas of the Trinity River. Some on the determined people figured out that there was more money in supplying the miners with leather and beef, than there was in the “Golden Opportunity”. They also found that they were in “Indian Territory”. With very little of the “promised” protection that they expected.

Without mentioning names, a few of the mean SOB settlers saw the opportunity to build their empires within a lawless land. Through lies and intimidation, they were able to further their agenda. They killed anybody in their way, settlers, ranchers, Indian people, or anybody that crossed them. They used strychnine poison in peoples food. The shot people to death, and had phony witnesses testify that it was self-defense. To put it in modern terms that you can understand, “you were either with them, or against them”, and it wasn't healthy to be on the wrong side of a thug. Some thugs became very wealthy.

But, even a thug saw the value of having people on his side. The thugs controlled the local sheriff and judges. If you were able to prove your worth to them, you were allowed to live. But, probably not prosper. When the Pony soldiers left for the civil war, private contractors were hired to “keep the peace”. Many of the thugs saw the opportunity to let these people “Prove their worth” and get rid of the Indian problem. Many Indians were killed with the idea that they had refused to move onto the reservations. Many were driven into areas that had cattle. The starving Indians killed the cattle, and in return they were killed by the cattle ranchers.

Now, if you didn't understand any of that, go back and read it again. But, if you are still reading maybe I can share with you some of what the local people know and feel, that the person that wakes up in the new found pond of north coast history doesn't have the prospective to understand. In my particular case the genocide of the local tribes, and marauding tribes from Oregon and Northern California, and Nevada happened five generation ago! Hardly a current event, but still very significant in our local history.

As a lad, I was raised in the local history. Mostly the history of the Laytonville area, but certainly aware of the whole north coast, and northern California. I walked through the swamp of the Laytonville human condition. I felt the muck of local history squeezing up between my toes. I felt the glare of the knowledge that a conflict had happened a long time ago between the Indian people and the whites. I was told about the thugs that everybody had to deal with. It wasn't so much “fear” that was expressed, but the fact that you could be killed for doing something as simple as trying to build a fence around your garden. I had a possible relative murdered by thugs for building a fence. I was raised with the knowledge that those things happened. So, please don't tell me that intimidation was not a factor in north coast history. Some researchers have felt bold enough to do so.

I was raised with stories about the local Indian tribes that would have great battles, for no apparent reason other than that's what they did. There was not even an apparent reason for them to hate each other. But, they did battle and killed each other. If they ran out of arrows they would stand and dare the other side to shoot at them so they could gather the arrows and shoot them back. One of the local tribes, to the south, had a bad habit of cutting the heads off of the enemies that they killed and used them for kickballs. But, in the great wisdom of these waring people, if it rained they would go home, because they didn't believe that they could fight good in the rain. The area at the top of the Bell Springs ridge was a well known spot where the Indians liked to gather to kill each other. Many artifacts have been found from the “wars”.

I was raised hearing many stories of thievery, and the great skill of stealth that the local Indian had. I heard that if they could steal something from you without getting caught, that it belonged to them. I heard that they didn't believe that any body could own an animal, and they had the right to eat it if they killed it.

Many Indian tribes went on marauding missions with the idea of getting rid of the whites. I was raised hearing about a woman and her kids being attacked by Indians in the area of Camp Grant. They chased and hunted the woman and her kids through a long and epic story, and her descendants became great heroes in their own rights in the Laytonville area. One of them blazed a trail up the Eel River canyon that became the 101 highway.

There was a tribe that had decided to kill all the whites. The tribe was from east of Fort Seward. The Pony Soldiers rounded them up and shot them and burned their bodies in front of their own people as a “lesson”.

I know many descendants of murders and rapes by the Indian people on the whites. I've heard all of the stories. Many of the recent students of north coast history seem to find any treachery by the Indian people as “forgivable” because, after all, the white people were the Interlopers. The same people will go on forever about the horror of a rape on an Indian woman. It would seem that a normal person would see BOTH as horrible. If it was your wife, I'm sure you would get my reasoning.

At this point I'm sure that you see my position. The white man ended up in California. Whether he was encouraged to come because of “manifest destiny”. Because of greed, opportunity to own land and raise a family, gold, or any of many reasons that man does the things that he does. He did end up in California. But, there was little, or none, of the promised law and order.

California had thugs, no good rotten bastards, cut throats, thieves, outlaws, opportunists, and ne'er do wells. Some of them were Indians, and some of them were white. But, California also had some good people along with the bad. Some of them were Indian and some of them were white. -We are what we are.- I have no apologies, and I don't want any. None of us alive today had anything to do with the early conflicts.

I have nothing but the most respect for the local Indian people. Indeed, I find them, and their, culture to be most fascinating. I have, and enjoy, many Indian friends, and grieve over what they have lost of their culture and history. Their knowledge of the north coast must have been immense.

But...Anybody that says Early California life wasn't mostly about survival, just doesn't have the muck of north coast history between their toes. Something that always slightly offends me is the arrogance of the people that discover our terrible little secret history and start wagging the finger of blame, when I'm sure that they wouldn't have to look very far back in their own history to find a ruthless no-good bastard. So, if you don't mind, I would invite you to do just a little hunt in your own history, and stop finding fault in mine. If you do what I ask, I'm sure that you will return with a little more humility.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Man's inhumanity toward Man.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmond Burke.

Much has been said on the blogs about the Indian Island Massacre, and how could anybody have let it happen? How could anybody be so brutal to kill the Indian People with hatchets, and why was nothing done about it?

I consider myself to be a good man, but at what point should I began to interfere with those about me. We've all watched parents “abuse” their children. Don't say you haven't! The only place that most people disagree is where discipline stops and abuse starts. I guess I am committed to say something about the abuse if the “discipline” leaves a mark. Because, if you can't prove what you say, or there are no other witnesses, chances are you are doing more harm than good to the abused child's life. Not only do they have too suffer the abuse, they have to suffer everybody knowing about it.

As a Medical First Responder. I am required by law to make an official note of any unusual circumstances that I notice when on a medical call where a child is “mysteriously injured”. Fortunately I've never had to do that.

I have called the cops to report an incident next door to me, when a man held a gun on “his woman”. I knew that he knew how to use the gun, because he had quite frequently fired it into the bank of the road next to his house when the two of them got into an argument. After consulting with my neighbors about what was going on, they claimed that it was just a car backfiring. Finally I called the cops and reported the gunfire at all hours of the morning. They came down and told the neighbor that I was complaining about his shooting at night, and told him to try to refrain. I felt a little exposed, and maybe a little cowardly for not saying something to the man myself, but how many times have we been warned not to take the law into our own hands. Needless to say, I kept a close watch on him for awhile.

I witnessed him holding the gun on her, because she wouldn't let him in the house, she came outside and locked the door behind her. He held the gun leveled between her eyes while she berated his manhood, his courage, the fact that he was “to drunk to get it up”. Then she talked about the fact that he was a wife beater. After he corrected her that they were not married, she said “Okay then, you're a woman beater”. With some of the insults that she hurled his way, it was amazing that he didn't shoot her. When he left, he left as a passenger in another persons car. While leaving, he took his gun, and pointed it out the window and fired eleven 7mm rounds into a six inch pattern in the chimney cap of the house, about 80 feet away, in less than 7 seconds, just to show her that he could have killed her. Never doubt a drunk mans ability to shoot accurately.
This shooting happened in the middle of the day, and I had no shortages of witnesses. The cops came and hauled all of them away. They finally believed me, and I didn't feel so hung out to dry, so to speak. It was an uncomfortable feeling to wonder how bitter he might be over me ratting him out.

I told this story to help point out the difference that we enjoy today, over what we might have done under similar circumstance back in the 1860's. People of today are horrified that nothing was done about the Indian killings of the 1860's. Some of the early cattle barons had their neighboring white ranchers killed just for their land. It wasn't just Indians being killed, it was anybody that caused a problem. Claim jumpers in the gold fields killed many white people and blamed it on the Indians. There wasn't any CSI Humboldt to ferret out the real culprits. Most people tried to stay low-key and not draw any attention to themselves. If a few neighbors got killed or a few Indians, the average person probably thought “thank God it wasn't me”. Most people tried to remain as inconspicuous as possible. And, if an Indian, or a newcomer rancher, or a gold miner was killed, you just tried to stay out of it, and mind your own business.
Many people did realize that things were out of hand in on the north coast and petitioned the Governor or the Federal Union to supply us with law and order. The law that we got was in the form of the Pony Soldiers. Most of the county sheriffs and judges were intimidated by the thuggery that abounded on the north coast, and they were fairly useless as far as keeping law and order.

Depending on the soldiers that we got, we had varying degrees of law and order. Some of the soldiers found it to be great sport to hunt the Indians. Very little was done to settle rancher problems. They were pretty much allowed to work out their own problems. Some of the soldiers tried to take care of the Indian people but had very little success. Just as soon as they got them where they could protect them, there would be a change of the guard and the new pony soldier was not that keen on taking care of the Indians. Whatever the case, most of the early settlers just wanted to be left alone, by everybody. They were just as happy if nobody paid any attention to them. They were happy to stay out of all of the problems around them. They were “good people”. They didn't want to have anything to do with all of the killing and the violence. Does that sound familiar? If they got too public about the killings “Somebody” would pay them a visit. It was best to tend to your own plow.

Why did the rest of the United States stand by and do nothing while the people of the west killed each other over land, gold, or property. Why did they allow the killing of the Indian People? I guess they just thought that the west was a wild and untamed place and they needed to work out their own problems.

The amount of Indian people killed on the north coast pales in comparison to the people that were killed in Germany. The united States stood by while Jews were being exterminated by the thousands. Many people said that it was not our problem, and none of our business. How could anybody allow the horrible things that happened to the Jews to go on without doing something? Does anybody want me to describe what happened to the Jewish People? I will spare you the details. But, I would bet that many of them, before they died, would have welcomed a hatchet to the head. Many horrible things were done in the name of “Science”. Some of the things that I have read could have only been done by a human. Animals don't have the imagination to be so brutal. When should we have stopped the extermination of the Jews in Germany? And, why did we take so long?

I would bet that there are people out there that haven't even heard of Nanjing, where Japan invaded China. The brutality was beyond imagination. Most of the women were allowed to be raped and killed as a reward to the troupes. The women especially suffered horrific deaths. Deaths so disgusting that I can not even bring myself to describe them, but many of you out there know what I'm talking about. I don't recommend that you look for photo's of the deaths at Nanjing.

Saddam Husein killed his own people, he gassed the Kurds by the thousands, they died by gas that burned their skin off before they died. How horrible is that? Why did good people allow that to happen? Was it really none of our business?

On September 11, 2001 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists flew commercial aircraft into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. I still have visions of the firefighters with hoses thrown over their shoulders rushing in to save people only to have the buildings collapse on them. It's not like we haven't been told that Al-Qaeda hates us, and wants to destroy “The Great Satan”. (us) The Al-Qaeda has perpetrated many attacks on us, and we continued to let it happen up until the attack on the Twin Towers.

There are people that say we should get out of the middle east and leave them alone. Sometimes it's the same people that say; “how could anybody allow the attack on the Indians on Indian Island”, and they were outraged that the world did nothing. The massacre happened because “good men did nothing.” Much like today.

Once again, I think that we should be grateful that we live in this small bubble of place and time where peace is thought of as Ideal.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Brother Johnathan, the rest of the story.

From wikipedia: "The Brother Jonathan was a paddle steamer that crashed on an uncharted rock near Point St. George, off the coast of Crescent City, California, on July 30, 1865. The ship was carrying 244 passengers and crew with a large shipment of gold. Only 19 survived the wreck, making it the deadliest shipwreck to that time on the Pacific Coast of the United States.

As many of you already know, the name Brother Johnathan was the symbol of American Patriotism up until the Civil War, when "Uncle Sam" became more popular. The Symbol goes as far back as the war of rebellion. When considering matters concerning the United States, George Washington would often say; "We need to consult Brother Jonathan". Which meant; "We need to keep the needs of The United States in mind". The name Uncle Sam took over from Brother Jonathan during the Civil War. The steam ship "S. S. Brother Johnathan" was a patriotic name, as surely as if the ship had been named the "S. S. Uncle Sam ". The patriotic ship was one of the more famous ships on the north-west coast of America.

The Brother Jonathan was built in 1851 to supply the Gold Fields of California in the San Francisco bay area. It was first used from New York to Panama, where passengers were dropped off to make their way across the Isthmus, and catch another ship up the coast to San Francisco. It was the fastest ship on the route, from it's very first voyage. Cornelius Vanderbilt bought the ship to replace one that was lost from his shipping company. He brought the ship to California to ship people to San Francisco, on the Pacific side of the New York to San Francisco route. The ship was brought to California by bringing it around the very treacherous Horn of South America. Many ships were lost in the unpredictable, and rough, ocean waters off the Horn. So, it was a big risk to move the ship to San Francisco. When Vanderbilt lost his contract to transport people and freight across the Isthmus, he sold the ship to Captain John Wright. Captain Wright renamed the ship "The Commodore" for a short time.

By 1861 the ship had fallen into great disrepair. It was bought by the California Steam Navigation Company it was renamed, once again, "Brother Jonathan". It was completely refitted, and it was used to haul supplies and passengers to the Fraser Canyon Gold discovery, north of Vancouver B.C.. The side-wheel paddler steam ship was the fastest ship on the north coast, and was quite popular because of it's speed.

The fate of the ship is well known along the coast of California. It was the subject of one of the most tragic and deadly shipwrecks in the history of north coast shipping. The ship left San Francisco in a terrible storm and made it's way as far as Crescent City were it entered the harbor on a Sunday morning to rest out the storm for the day. That afternoon the ship headed out of the Crescent City harbor to head north to Vancouver After battling the storm to about the border of Oregon, the Captain decided to head back to Crescent City. On the return trip the ill fated Brother Jonathan hit an "uncharted" rock. The rocks off Crescent City were well known for their treachery, and most ship Captains gave them a wide berth. Why did the Captain of the Brother Jonathan cut so close to the rocks? Was he unaware how close he was? Or was he taking a chance by cutting the rocks close to get back to safe harbor?

The wreck of the ship was watched from shore. Due to the rough seas and the fact that the lifeboats were difficult to deploy, only one lifeboat with eleven crew members, five women and three children managed to escape the wreck and make it safely to Crescent City.

If you want the complete gore of the story, Google Steam Ship Brother Jonathan, and take your pick.

From Wikipedia: "Divers and ships began searching for the sunken treasure two weeks after the July 30, 1865, disaster. Crates of gold coins had been loaded on the vessel, including the annual treaty payments in gold for Indian tribes, Wells Fargo shipments consigned for Portland and Vancouver (B.C.) and gold carried on board by the passengers. A large ship’s safe safeguarded valuable jewelry, more gold coins, and gold bars. The gold alone was valued at $50 million dollars in today’s dollars. Despite the attempts of numerous salvors, for over 125 years, the ship’s treasure of gold and artifacts remained one of the Pacific’s great secrets."

The interesting thing about the wreck is that it was carried by the strong currents for two miles under the sea. The wreck of the Brother Jonathon has recently been found, and identified by it's paddle wheels. Much of the gold coin was recently found, but the gold bars supposedly haven't been found. As you might guess, lawsuits over who owned the gold flared like wild fire. Most of the suits were found in favor of the salvors but the State of California claimed that they had Historic Artifact Rights over the gold. After discovering that the Lawyers were going to end up with all of the money, the salvors cut a deal with California to give them twenty percent of the value of the gold, thus ending the lawsuits.

They supposedly never found the gold bars that were the lions share of the ships loot. The gold coins were worth way more than the coin alone would be, because of their historic value. The gold bar had little added value because of the fact that they were just plain gold bars. The way I figure it, if it had been me, after seeing what a fight they had to put up with to gain legal ownership of the coin, I would have just kept the gold bars and not even mentioned that I had them. Hmmm...

Either that is what happened, or there is forty Million dollars worth of gold bar, just a few miles off the coast of Crescent City. Hmmm...

I wonder what the rest of the story is?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

North Coast Shipping

To make this story easier to follow, my comments will be in oxblood.

A little bit of the blood that I have coursing in my veins is the blood of a clipper ship Captain. My 3G Grandfather, Captain John Alexander Lockhart, was the Captain of the sailing ship “Hungarian” that brought miners and supplies around The Horn of South America and into the San Francisco Bay. As you know, much of California’s early history is filled with greed, conflict, racism and thuggery. There is no tale that can be told that doesn’t inevitably lead to a tale of a dirty deed. My desire to try to stick to the history, and leave the horror of man’s inhumanity to man inevitably leads back to it. There is no way to talk about early California without realizing that it was a brutal place. But, there is far more to California’s early history than the brutality, there are deeds of great personal honor.

The Captain of a ship was charged with the safety of his ship and the “Souls on Board”. To loose his ship was a disgrace, and quite often the captain would choose an honorable death and go down with his ship. The following is a story taken from the pages of the fort Bragg Advocate News:

Compiled from the pages of the Fort Bragg Advocate-News by Debbie L. Holmer
102 YEARS AGO — Aug. 10, 1907
- While going northward, thru a smooth sea, the passenger steamship "Columbia," bound from San Francisco to Portland, was rammed at midnight on Saturday by the lumber-laden steam schooner "San Pedro." The "Columbia" went to the bottom inside of eleven minutes, and of the 249 souls on board, it is known that 182 have been saved. Captain Doran bravely stuck to the bridge and went down with his vessel, his last words being "Good-bye, God Bless you." The 67 passengers of the "Columbia" may be alive as all of the "Columbia's" boats are not accounted for. The steamer "George W. Elder" arrived at Eureka Monday towing the water-logged "San Pedro" and bringing most of the survivors. Four life boats have been picked up at Shelter Cove, where the survivors who were in them are being cared for.

Then the inevitable horror:

San Francisco, CA Steamer Columbia Disaster, Jul 1907
Posted October 20th, 2007 by Cora Clear


Third Officer Accuses the Male Passengers of Failing to Assist the Rescued

Not a Child Aboard Wrecked Steamer Was Saved -
Company Official Makes Statement
Revised lists show that 97 persons were drowned when the steamer Columbia was sent to the bottom off the Mendocino coast early Sunday morning as the result of a collision with the lumber schooner San Pedro. Not a child on board the Columbia escaped death. A wonderfully graphic story of the disaster, in which the horror of it all stands out so plainly that one can almost experience it, is told by Mrs. O. Liedelt, one of the survivors, who reached San Francisco yesterday. Third Officer Hawso expresses the utmost contempt for the men who were in the wreck, declaring that they did nothing to aid the women. Sworn statements made to government officials by the crew of the wrecked steamer seek to place the responsibility for the disaster on the San Pedro, which, it is declared, did not respond properly to the passing signals given by the Columbia.

(Special Dispatch to the Journal)San Francisco, July 23.The most graphic story which has been told of the steamship Columbia disaster was brought to this city today by a woman, Mrs. O. Leidelt, one of the survivors, who arrived on the steamer Pomona from Eureka. Mrs. Leidelt was the only survivor from among the passengers on the ill-fated Columbia who came in on the Pomona, although the ship brought the members of the crew who were saved and who had managed to reach Eureka. When Mrs. Leidelt started down the Pomona's gang-plank, after the ship was made fast, she faced a great crowd of anxious friends and relatives of those who had been aboard the Columbia. Every passenger who had preceded her down the plank had been stopped by anxious ones who inquired, "Were you a passenger on the Columbia?". Not until Mrs. Leidelt debarked was an affirmative answer obtained to the questions, and at first the woman was so overcome by her emotions that she could not talk, and constantly murmured, "I don't want to talk. Please do not ask me to say anything."

Story Moved Men to Tears.
Clad in a dark brown ulster which had been furnished her by the relief committee at Eureka, and closely veiled, she made her way uncertainly through the crowd on the pier, seemingly still in a daze from the terrible experience through which she had passed. She was crying constantly, and her replies to newspaper men who besought her to make a statement of the affair were broken by sobs. When at last she was induced to talk she told a story so graphic that the hardened newspaper writers who listened to the recital were moved to tears. "I was asleep in my berth when the crash came," she said, "and the jar of the collision threw me to the floor. I managed to get out of the stateroom although I was too bewildered to know what I was doing, and made my way to the deck. I could only realize that something terrible had happened, and did not stop to collect any of my belongings, or to don my clothing.

Passengers in a Frenzy."
When I reached the deck, everyone was excited." Men and women and children were running about, screaming, and calling for friends and relatives. The dark hulk of the San Pedro could be seen floating away from the Columbia, and the rush of the water into our vessel made a noise that was heard above the din of the crazed crowd. The crew was at the boats, cutting and slashing at the lashings, and doing their utmost to launch them while the frenzied passengers ran everywhere begging to be saved. Some kneeled on the deck and said their last prayers, men clasped their wives in their arms, and mothers gathered their children about them. We waited for the end which, by intuition, we all knew was at hand. "Only the captain remained cool among all that number. He stood on the bridge, his arms stretched wide, and above all the other noises rose the roar of his voice, begging the people to be calm and to permit the launching of the life-boats and rafts. He was a heroic figure, standing there along on the bridge in the gloom and darkness of the night.

Fought like Maniacs to Be Saved."
But his entreaties availed very little. People fought like maniacs for places in the boats, and piled into them before sailors had loosened the falls. Those who could not find places in the boats about to be lowered jumped over the side into the sea, and vainly tried to reach pieces of wreckage and lumber from the San Pedro that floated all about the ship. Every once in a while, the last cry of some poor soul struck terror to the hearts of those still alive and looking over the railing we could see faces uplifted and arms extended toward heaven as someone sank for the last time beneath the waves. "The seconds seemed like hours in the pandemonium that raged, and I scarcely had time to think. Pushed and pulled and jammed about, I suddenly found myself near the rail, and looking down into the water saw one of the life-rafts close to the side of the ship, which by this time was listing heavily. There was nobody on the raft, and thinking only to save myself, I leaped over the side of the ship into the sea. How I got on the raft I do not know. I must have struck it in falling, for I injured my hip when I jumped. Down there in the water, looking back towards the ship, I saw other women jumping over the side into the sea. Some of them had children in their arms. Others were clasped in their husbands arms.

Women Leaped Into the Sea."
I saw two women make the leap into the ocean with their arms locked about one another's neck. In a moment, some of the women began to climb onto the raft. Some came from the water, others landed on the frail support as they jumped from the ship. One man helped a woman into the raft from the water, clung a moment to some of the side-lines, and then, with two words, 'Good Bye,' sank under the waves. "We drifted away from the side of the ship. Then came the explosion of the boilers. Just before the explosion, the Columbia's whistle began a terrific moanful screeching. Captain Duran had tied it down just as he shouted, 'Good bye. God bless you!' The explosion of the boilers seemed to heave the Columbia clear off the water, and the air was filled with flying bits of wreckage. then the ship settled by the head, and her bow disappeared under the waves, the wreck of the hulk gliding in after it. It was just like a porpoise settling into the water after he has made a leap.

Raft in a Whirlpool."
As the Columbia went under, the waters swirled about our little raft until it seemed that we were in a whirlpool with the waves breaking over us. We were all lying prone, clinging to whatever holds we could find. One poor woman could not cling to anything as she had two babies in her arms. There was one other woman on the raft, and she and I managed to support the mother with our free arms until suddenly, a moment after the Columbia had disappeared, a terrific wave swept over us. Our hold on the woman was broken, and she and her two babies were washed away in the angry waters. "The one woman who was left with me on the raft began to lose her strength. She shouted to me that she could hold on but a moment longer, and begged me to support her. I tried to encourage her, saying help was almost at hand, but she did not have the strength. With all my might I clung to her, but I was weak too.

"O, God! I Can't Forget That."
"Gradually she slipped off the side of the raft. I leaned over, still holding to her until my strength gave out, and I had to let go. The poor soul died before my eyes, and I could not save her..O,God! I can't forget that! I will never forget that! Who she was I do not know. I can only realize that she drowned and I could not help her. "Now and then I caught sight of other rafts, and boats, and finally we drifted near the San Pedro, and a boat took the raft in tow. It seemed hours after the Columbia sank when we came alongside the lumber schooner, and we climbed up her side- it was a terrible climb. "The men tried to help me, but I was so weak, and felt so very, very old and broken that I thought I could never get up the ladder. It had been so long since I had leaped from the Columbia on to the raft. It was very cold, and we were clad only in our night robes, and then the waves kept breaking over us constantly. On the San Pedro, we were sitting on pieces of lumber, part of what remained of the deck-load the ship had carried. The San Pedro was down by the head, and the deck was almost awash. Suddenly a wave carried away the lumber on which we were sitting, and it was only by a miracle that we were not washed off into the sea.

Survivors Washed Off the San Pedro."
A few moments later there was a second great disaster on the San Pedro. The rear mast of the ship snapped close to the deck, and as it fell it carried several of the survivors of the Columbia horror back into the water from which they had just been rescued. The boats were still out, and one or two of those who were swept overboard when the mast fell were found a brought back, but of the others we saw nothing more. "All this time the fog hung about us. There was not even the relief of a clear sky. All was darkness and misty gloom, and the sensations were terrible, for we did not know whether or not the San Pedro would hold together.

The officers did their best to cheer us though.
"And then the day broke, the light coming on gradually, and penetrating slowly through the cloud of mist and fog that seemed wrapped about us. As the sun rose, it came up a dull, bloody red, and hanging low in the skies, it cast a ruddy glow over the swishing waves on which floated all manner of wreckage, and which in turn washed over the wreck of the Columbia, and the last resting place of God alone knows how many souls. "As the day broke, we could see who had been saved, and who had been lost. Oh, that sight!

It was awful to look about the deck of the San Pedro, and see men and women and children, nearly all half naked or clad only in their night clothes, to see the frenzy still on their faces, to see the horror and the sorrow for loved ones lost, and to know that only a few hours before we had been a happy, merry party, ever so much larger, on the Columbia. Everything was desolate and dismal, and we could do nothing. Then the Elder came up. We were transferred to that ship, where we were cared for and taken to Eureka."
(By Associated Press)SAN FRANCISCO. July 23
- Three of the officers of the Columbia who arrived here today on the steamer Pomona made statements under oath to Inspectors of Hulls and Boilers - Bolles and Bulger. Second Officer Richard Agerupp said: "At 12 midnight, Saturday, July 20, I relieved First Officer W. F. Whitney on the bridge of the Columbia, being 68 miles to the north of Point Arena by the ships log and steering N. W. 3-4 N. by pilot-house compass. Captain Doran was also on the bridge, as the weather was foggy, but he went down to his room for about two minutes. Then he returned to the bridge again. "About 12:15 a.m. Sunday I heard a whistle on the starboard side and I reported to the captain, who said he had heard it too. We kept our whistle going regularly, and so did the other steamer. The sound apparently still came from the starboard bow, which proved later to be the case, for about 12:20 we saw the other steamer's headlights and her red sidelight, about two points off the starboard bow. We were going full speed ahead as shown as shown by the indicator on the bridge. The captain ordered me to blow two blasts. While blowing the second blast the other steamer answered with one blast. The captain then ordered the engineer 'full speed astern;' His order was answered from the engine room and the captain himself blew three whistles. Soon after the steamer collided with the Columbia and struck her about 30 feet from the stern on the starboard side. This was about 12:22 as I looked at the clock. "Captain Doran shouted: 'What are you doing man?' and told the other steamer to stand by us as she was loaded with lumber. "Captain Doran whistled down to the engineer on watch to learn if the ship was making any water. I went down to the engine room and asked the first assistant engineer, M. Burpee, if there was any water making. He said there was not. Returning to the bridge I reported to the captain. Just then the watchman came on the bridge and reported that the water was streaming in forward. "The first officer came on the bridge and the captain ordered him to take the bridge and for me to take off the head covers and get the boats ready for hoisting. By this time the ship listed to starboard and started to go down by the head. Several men were by this time getting the boats over. "The captain ordered me to cut the after life rafts adrift. While doing this I heard the whistle blow and looking around saw the bridge nearly under water. I saw there was no time to spare, so I threw a life buoy overboard and jumped over the stern into the sea. As I struck the water the Columbia disappeared and the suction brought me down with it. I got to the surface and about 30 minutes later was picked up in No. 10 boat by one of the quartermasters."

ARM BROKEN BUT HE SWAM TO SAFETYSAN FRANCISCO. July 23 - To his own prowess as a swimmer, John Swift, ex-fireman on the Columbia, can attribute his safe arrival on the Pomona this morning. With an arm broken in two place, he swam to some wreckage after the Columbia, sank and clung there until taken aboard the George W. Elder. Swift, with John Roach, was working in the Columbia's fire room when the crash occurred. Roach went on deck to find out what had occurred and to lend a hand in clearing away the boats. Not until Roach yelled down the ventilator that the ship was in great danger, did Swift know what had occurred. He scrambled up the iron stairway of the fire room and had hardly reached the deck when the vessel gave a lurch and the whole starboard side went under water.

Fortunately, he had come out on the port side, where, in the darkness, he did not know what to do. Before the enormity of the disaster dawned upon him there was another lurch, a wave swept him from his feet, and the next minute he was swimming in the water. "I don't remember what happened after the until I came to, floating about in the water. It was perfectly dark. I did not have a life preserver on and I don't know how I managed to keep afloat all that time. I tried to move. My left arm hurt terribly. Then I noticed it was limp and realized it must have been broken. I swam to a piece of timber floating by. I clung there until the Elder came along and picked me up.
SAN FRACISCO. July 23 - Chief Engineer J. Y. Jackson told the story of his personal experiences in the wreck. He said: "I was in my stateroom when the crash occurred and I scrambled into a few clothes and came upon deck. All was confusion and turmoil. The roar of the water as it poured in the hole of the Columbia's side was deafening. Then desperately swimming I caught a rope thrown from the deck of the San Pedro. From there I looked back at the Columbia, just in time to see her plunge beneath the waves. As she sank I could dimly see many men dash across the deck toward the San Pedro; the next moment the fog had hidden the dreadful scenes. "I am sure that many steerage passengers did not leave their staterooms as the interval was so short between the time she struck and the time that she sank that the men on watch in my department had no time to get to the deck, and those that did jump overboard were sucked down by the dreadful vortex created by the sinking vessel. "When I rushed about the deck it seemed to be deserted but I knew that many were about me, for the screams and cries were awful. I thank God that I am safe, but would willingly have given my life as Captain Doran did, to save those that perished. "I did not realize that the vessel was going to sink as soon as it did and I believe Captain Doran was of the same opinion."

SAN FRANCISCO. July 23 - The cool head of Second Steward A. Marks of the Columbia, saved many lives when the Columbia sank. As soon as the ship struck, the steward ran into the "glory-hole" where his men slept and ordered them to their posts. The men were well drilled and wasted no time in their duty of waking the passengers. They ran through the cabins assigned to them dragging the people out of bed and adjusting their life preservers for them. This accounts for the fact that all those who were on deck had life preservers on them. When the waiters were about half through their work on the starboard side the vessel gave a heavy list and all those who still remained in their staterooms on that side of the boat were doomed. The vessel filled to the deck and the doors of their cabins were jammed so that they were unable to break their way free before the vessel up-ended and dived to the bottom. The starboard deck was filled with half dressed people when the fatal list came. Those who were already on the deck were able to climb to the port side and cling there until the last plunge was made. The vessel went down without a noticeable suction but the passengers found that they were unable to remain on the surface of the water, although buoyed up by the life preservers. Many assert that they sank as far as 80 feet before they began to rise.
SAN FRANCISCO. July 23 - C. Murphy, a waiter, one of the survivors of the Columbia, who arrived here today said: "When the San Pedro struck us, the shock awoke me right away. The next moment, the Second Steward, Marks, called us to our fire drill posts and I ran to the deck on the starboard side toward the stern where my post was. When I saw the San Pedro I knew what was up. I was pretty sure she was sinking, so I ran into every cabin, shaking the people in the bunks and dragging out their life preservers. "I remember putting life preservers on eight women on that side. Everybody was cool but nobody knew what to do. They stood around dazed and let me put the straps over their shoulders just like children without asking any questions or trying to help themselves. I would not let them stop to dress. "The boat laid on her right side until she sunk. When we were all clinging to the port rail, hardly any of us with any clothes on, the captain stood on the bridge and looking down on us and said: " 'Well, boys, I did all I could for you, and I can do no more. She's a goner. Goodbye.' "

El Paso, Tex. - Misses Edna Bessie Wallace, sisters, were El Paso school teachers who had been in attendance upon the National Educational Association convention at Los Angeles.

Colorado Springs, Color. - Miss Katrina Hayden was a school teacher of this city who had been in attendance at the National Educational Association convention, in Los Angeles. Her parents reside at Cripple Creek.

Denver. - Miss Mary Persons was a Denver school teacher. She was traveling in company with Miss Alice Watson, another Denver teacher who was saved. She was 50 years old.

Decatur, Ill. - Mrs. George E. Kellar, and her three daughters, Thelma, Effie, and Grace, were residents of this city. Mr. Kellar is a secretary of the Decatur Racing Association and is one of the wealthiest stockmen in Central Illinois.

Omaha, Neb. - Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Winslow, of Omaha were well known here.

Litchfield, Ills. - W. H. Truesjale was a musician from this city.
SAN FRANCISCO. July 23 - The revised list of those who are missing as the result of the steamship Columbia disaster shows that 97 persons were drowned.

Cabin Passengers MissingA - Miss R. Anderson, Franklin AulfB - W. J. Bachman, Miss Alma Bahleen, Mrs. J. Benson, Miss A. Bernal, Mrs. Jane E. Best, Gertrude Butler, W. E. Butler, Mrs. W. E. ButlerC - Mrs. R. B. Cannon, Miss Clarana Carpenter, J. W. Carpenter, L. Clasby, Mrs. L. Clasby, Marion Clasby, Steven Clasby, Miss A. B. Cornell, Mrs. A. F. Cornell, Miss Lena CooperD - L. L. Drake Jr., J. C. DurhamF - Mrs. K. FagaldeG - Miss Mabel Gerter, Mrs. Blanche R. Gordon, Mrs. A. GrayH - Mrs. A. Happ, C. H. Harrington, Miss A. Hayden, L. E. HillK - Miss Alma B. Kellar, Miss Effie B. Kellar, Miss Grace F. Kellar, Mrs. G. A. KellarL - Florence Lewis, E. Liggett, Ray Lewis, Mrs. B. LippmanM - Lewis Malkus, Mrs. Lewis Malkus, Julia Matek, L. Mero, John B. McFadyen, Miss Margaret McKearney, Chew MochN - Miss Louise G. Nake, Miss Nellie A. NakeP - Miss Mary Parsons, J. E. Paul, Mrs. J. E. PaulS - Miss Frances Schroeder, Miss Cora Shult, Miss Sarah Shult, G. A. Smith, Mrs. William H. Soules, George Sparks, J. D. Springer, Miss Elsie May StoneW - Miss B. Wallace, Miss Edna Wallace, Mrs. S. Waller, William Waller, Miss W. White, G. F. Wilson, C. A. Winslow, Mrs. C. A. Winslow, Mrs. H. P. Winters, Roland Winters, Miss H. WrightY - J. K. YoungTotal - 72

Steerage Passengers MissingFrank Giune, M. Mayo, C. W. Merill, John Miller, J. Premus, E. Silva, Mrs. E. Silva, A. Spieler, B. ViantsTotal - 9

Officers and Crew MissingP. A. Doran, captain; W. F. Whitney, first officer; C. Christensen, quartermaster; H. C. Dupree, first assistant engineer; Max Claus, second assistant engineer; C. Peterson, skaman; W. T. Anderson, water tender; Alexander, water tender; Ed Larkin, oiler; J. Maddison, oiler; A. Schneider, baker; Frank D. Davis, second cook; E. R. Drayer, pantryman; J. G. Alley, waiter; R. J. Alley, waiter; A. L. Blocker, waiter;Total - 16

The above story was taken from: Daily Nevada State Journal, Reno, NV 24 Jul 1907 and posted by Cora Clear.

I intend to tell a few more tales of North Coast Shipping in the next few posts. The stories of the “Tall Ships” clear down to the “Dog Hole Schooners” excite me more than I can say. I think it must be in my blood. Much more to come, but chew on this for awhile.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Robin has a question.

Robin, who has made huge contributions to this blog, has a question for us this time instead of an answer. She wants to know about the lighter depicted. The only thing that I can say about it is that almost everyone in the Fifties had one just about like it. It was a very popular style. If you click on the photo it will enlarge it for you.

Maybe she should take it to "The Antiques Road Show".

Hi, Ernie,

I've been cleaning out drawers, etc. & came across this cigarette lighter in my stash of "old stuff". It belonged to my grandfather & was given to my husband after Grandpa died as my husband was born in Scotia. I don't know how old it is but we've owned it about 20 years.
Obviously, it was a promotional tool but I'm wondering if you or any of your readers might know anything more about it. Was it a one-time advertisement for a special occasion, for instance, or was there a basket of these on the counter at Scotia Inn all the time... that sort of thing.
Any help & info will be appreciated.

Monday, August 10, 2009


From Wikipedia: " A blog (a contraction of the term "weblog") is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog."

The north coast symbol formerly known as Ekovox. He had one of the most humorous, significant and informative blogs on the North Coast. It was always top notch, and it was always "a good read". For reasons known only to himself, and possibly "others", he deleted his blog. It was more likely to save himself time, and return his life to that of a normal functioning human being. Blogging is an addiction as sure as Heroin is to the hopelessly lost. At times I know that I should stop blogging myself. Others have dropped their blogs for various reasons. Some have dabbled in blogging and done so well that they have decided to write books instead. Or, they have just came and gone for no apparent reason. Like Bubba or what ever his name was that flew threw the north coast and disappeared as fast as he came. I miss him because some of the things that he said was so outlandish that it made me think.

Some blogs are very informative and artsy. I like Kym Kemp's blog. Her photography is exemplary. Most everything that she blogs about is Southern Humboldt pertinent. She is the Quintessential Southern Humboldty "Mom" she worries about us like a mother hen, whether we are right, or whether we are wrong. I like Eric Kirks blog, although he is far too cerebral for my simple tastes. Sometimes what he says takes me a month of studying to understand. By then the topic is past, because he is so prolific. He says that he spends about a half an hour a day blogging. He must be good because it takes me that long to read his stuff. I like him because he uses his real name, I know who he is, and he has a basic honesty. That and I like his blog because sometimes I don't agree with him, but he challenges me to try to say something anyway. There is a new blog that I have become very fond of called Lynette's NorCal History Site. It has the promise of being one of my most favorite blogs, because she talks about north coast history that I'm not familiar with. I know that I should provide links to all these blogs, but if you look over there on the left you will see listed all of the blogs that I have mentioned, under "Links To Other Blogsites"

But, I miss 299 opine and Ekovox because he was so deeply steeped in the north coast history. He and his father before him are true historians. He gave us history that we could believe and understand. Seldom do you get “depth' like Ekovox gave us. Other than by Jim Baker, who doesn't have time to blog and he wisely knows that, or others like him, that have been very active students of north coast history. They have done more than just talk about it, like me. They have walked the walk, and followed the trails that history always leaves. They have been able to follow those trails because they have the insight from being born here, and they know who is who, they know who knows the stories, and were the bodies are buried. They can pull the truth out like no others. Even though Jim claims to not have the time, I know he has traveled around the United States following the trails of some very famous local people. Just like all of the generational natives, he has decided that some history need not be shared with people that don't have the compassion to understand some aspects of local history. (My words, not his)

A blog, in order to have a readership or be on a “roll”, needs to make frequent interesting posts. When a blogger leaves their blog unattended, even for short periods, interest drops to zero.

My special interest has always been the country people of the north coast, and their inherent wisdom. I don't understand much about politics, although I find politics to be interesting to a small degree. I fail to understand why there has to be conservatives and liberals, or Republicans and Democrats. No matter what party line that you ascribe to, it ultimately becomes divisive. I fail to see why people will adhere to the “party line” even when they disagree with the issue at hand. I feel that the old saw about Divide and Conquer, is alive and well. We are all at each others throats about political issues, that we have taken our eye off the ball. Our politicians are elected with the money of Wall Street and the very wealthy. We have no say whatsoever over what decisions our politicians make. We blather on about the power of the vote, but we give it away to the slickest talking politician. When was the last time that you fully trusted anybody in office above the rank of County Supervisor?

Lets see, where was I going, oh yeah, blogging. You see how distracting politics can become? I Originally got into blogging because I became interested in Ekovox's blog, “299 Opine”. I was afraid that I had jumped into blogging a little too deeply, and was maybe dominating his blog with my own “Opines” more than I should have. Eric Kirk's blog was very active at the time. The town was in the middle of the People Production / Mateel controversy. I wanted to see if I could throw “oil on troubled waters” and see if maybe they could work out their problems for the good of the whole community. I naively didn't understand how deep, and bitter, the controversy was. Some people were engaging in open name calling, and there were many accusations, which always led to the lecture on whether it was slander or libel. Eric started deleting a few vicious posts and other people objected. In a fit of anger he proclaimed that “if you don't like the way I run this blog, start your own, it takes about five minutes. Just click on the little orange “B” up in the left corner and it will lead you by the hand to your own blog. Good-bye!” Just so I don't get sued for slander or libel, I must say that I paraphrased Eric's statement. But, it is with in the realm of possibilities of what he actually said.

I laughed that he thought that it could be so easy, so I went about setting up my own blog, just to prove him wrong about how easy it was. Five minutes later I had my very own Blog. I fooled around with it for a while, thinking as long as I didn't tell anybody that I had a blog, it would just be my little secret. I practiced writing about loggers and and a few other things, thinking that I could always delete it. I got my own “Blogger Identity”, so I could delete my mistakes without having to email someone and beg them to delete my foolish mistakes. Right after I did that, I made a horribly disgusting typo. In a panic I tried the “Delete Post” button, and it miraculously went away. I vowed then and there to always use my Blogger I.D. so I could delete it, if for no other reason. I was too naïve to know that anybody could follow your blogger I.D. back to your blog. One morning I went to check Eric's blog and he had said. “Hey, Ernie has a blog! And here is the U.R.L.” Busted! So then I decided that “I must become pertinent”. What a joke that was, I've even been known to write stories about Flying Pigs. To Swine own self be true. So, I am what I am. What you see is what you get.

I found that people can be real twits when they blog anonymously, I found that to be true about myself also, so I quit being “Anonymous”. Anybody that has read many of the “Anon's” posts will know what I mean. The thing that I always find laughable, is when “Anon” makes a very personal statement about somebody. Then when you reply in a personal way, they become insulted, and act “personally offended”. How can someone be “personally offended” when they won't even use their name. So sue me!

I have always been far more interested in what other people have to say than what I have to say. I already know what I think. I usually don't use my blog to bring someone over to my way of thinking, but I am extremely interested in what people have to say. Usually I try to inform people about the unknown, or encourage people to tell me something that I don't know. I like it when people just dive in and start talking about what interests them. Some bloggers get upset when you don't “follow the thread”. I have learned more from people that just jump in than others.
I have a few favorite commenters, in fact I have too many to mention, I would leave somebody out. So, you'll just have to assume that you are my very favorite!

I actually would enjoy printing a “Guest Column” if anybody wants to say anything. As you know it doesn't have to be correct English. I wouldn't know if it wasn't anyway. I've found it's best to write like you talk. Don't worry about the was'es were'ses, or the who and the whoms. They don't make any difference anyway. If people know what you should have said, then they know what you meant, and that is all that's important.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A soldiers tale of the Eel River

The following print in black is from Olmanriver's research. Anything in oxblood is my comments. The Armstrong Ranch is at the location of the River Ranch, now the Bonham Ranch, or where John Niel lives, the field south of the Garberville airport. The Spouls lived at the mouth of what we now call "Spowel Creek", named after them.

Report of Lieut. Daniel D. Lynn, Sixth U. S. Infantry.

FORT HUMBOLDT, CAL., March 28, 1861.
SIR: In conformity with recent verbal instructions from you I have the honor to enter upon a somewhat detailed account of the campaign from the South Fork of Eel River to its termination. But, firstly, permit me to state that I do not consider it out of place to submit a statement of the origin of the South Fork difficulties.

Origin of the South Fork difficulties.-The only reliable and satisfactory account of these difficulties and their origin that I have yet received is one from Mr. Bruce, a partner of Mr. Armstrong, of the Valley of the South Fork. I regret that I am unable to give all the particulars. It appears that Mr. Ross, widely known as a trafficker with Indians, with one or more persons, was going up the South Fork between Mr. Armstrong’s place and that of Messrs. Sproul, and overtaken by a small party of rather bold Indians. The Indians did not run, but slowly proceeded toward the white men, but Mr. Ross, either fearing that the Indians were dangerous, or thinking they were “too fast,” fired on and, I think, killed one. The Sproul boys appearing and taking sides with Ross and escorting him to their home, led the Indians to think that the Sprouls shared Mr. Ross’ sentiments, and were their enemies-a very rational conclusion, especially when it is added that the boys then sheltered and protected him, so that the Indians, keenly alive to their wrongs, at the first good opportunity thought they would clean out the boys. The boys had killed a bear and were dressing it when the Indians attacked them. The sequel you know; both boys were nearly killed. The white man’s side of the story I presume you have heard.
George WOODS was drowned in South Eel River, near Armstrong's ranch. He jumped from a raft on which he was crossing and attempted to swim to shore. 2/1/61.
Stories that I have heard leads me to believe that these two incidents were related. Woods heard the gunfire and commotion and tried to cross the river to help the Spouls, he didn't make it and drowned. The river was quite high and swift due to a spring rain.
Yet, notwithstanding this sad warning, those Sprouls shelter, at every visit, even now, the same desperate character who was their guest on that sad occasion. If the past has anything to do with the future they ought to take warning and eschew all such dangerous hospitality. In addition to the above, white men at the South Fork had whipped and raped Indian women. For further particulars I can be consulted personally at any moment.
More Bullshistory: The Indians that attacked the Sprouls had also stolen a bell and a pipe from them. A group of people, I don't know if they were citizens or Army, hunted the Indians down and killed them. The story goes that they could hear the Indians playing with the bell and were able to follow them from the noise. They followed them to Bell Springs where the bell playing Indian was killed and that is why it is called Bell Spings. They followed the trail of the other Indian that had the pipe, and he was killed at Pipe Creek and that is were the creeks name came from.
I apologise for the lack of accuracy, but these were the stories that I was told.

Are the buckskin gentry pioneers of civilization?-Let us see. As this appears to be the proper connection in which to answer this question, I will discuss it now. The term “buckskin gentry” is a more comprehensive one than buckskin hunters, and embraces all who hunt for a living-all who have a few ideas about agriculture and grazing and herding of stock, but who hunt at intervals; all who are brought into contact with Indians, to the extent of employing and forcibly obtaining Indian servants, and cohabiting with squaws, and all who, leading the life of an Indian, wander from place to place with no definite object. Such a life it will readily be seen, on the slightest reflection or by the slightest experience, is anything but refining. At the South Fork the same Jones who shot Mr. Wright, in partnership with Mr. McFarland cultivated some ground and raised a piece of corn, but went away and did not gather it that season. A pair of oxen ate some of it, but that same miserable buckskin clan that I found at the South Fork on my arrival appeared at the time in question, saying that they were out of everything and on the point of starvation. The settlers proper very hospitably shared with them, but they were not satisfied. They called a council of war, but instead of counseling the destruction of the Digger race, as they had uniformly done hitherto, they resolved on the destruction of the corn-field. The entire field was taken. Neither McFarland nor Jones were there to defend their claims or even to enter a protest, yet these same buckskin outlaws were those to tell me that the Indians had taken McFarland’s corn-field, and that the white men had given no provocation. The above question is accordingly answered in the negative.

Scouting.-The scouting party sent out to Spruce Grove under charge of Corporal Heron from the camp at the South Fork remained there till the last practicable moment, and only joined the command after the latter had passed Spruce Grove on its way to Larrabee’s.
(according to Ben: Spruce Grove Station was located just south of the Alderpoint Rd. junction on the Harris Rd. It was the only store/stage station in this area. Garberville did not exist as a store or town.)
The corporal’s party succeeded in capturing an Indian, but by the prisoner’s general conduct I was fully convinced that he did not belong to the hostile tribe at the South Fork, and on his rendering valuable services at Main Eel River I released him. Corporal Heron was quite confident of success at Spruce Grove had time permitted him to make use of the prisoner’s services in finding rancherias. At Larrabee’s the scouting was resumed. Determined to strike the Indians a blow if they could be found, I sent out three parties the same day in as many different directions. One started out in the direction of Van Dusen’s Creek, proceeding down it; another started out to the left of the trail with orders to proceed to strike a point low down on the Van Dusen and go up it till its intersection with the trail. The third, composed of sixteen men under Corporal Heron, had three days’ rations. It relieved the camp of all its disposable men. This party struck across toward the Van Dusen, but high up, and proceeded over in the direction of Mad River, with orders to go wherever success was probable and to join the command at Iaqua Ranch. This vast field had been crossed by a parcel of hunters, now resident at the Thousand Acre Field, a few days before. It was this which prevented success. Corporal Heron reported on his return that there were no very recent Indian signs and that there was not an Indian in twenty miles of Iaqua Ranch. From Iaqua Ranch three scouting parties were sent out. One, under Sergeant Wiedemer, proceeded to Yager Creek Settlement to scout the South and Middle Yager Valleys, and the Red Woods near by. This party espied four Indians, one squaw and three bucks, gathering clover apparently, but they were too distant to be fired on. The party approached nearer, but {p.10} the Indians had already taken warning. Another party under Simon Daysey proceeded down the North Yager and into the Red Woods in that quarter. The third, largest, fourteen men strong, and most important, under Corporal Heron, with five days’ rations, crossed Mad River from Iaqua Ranch and proceeded up that river while Indian signs rendered success probable and then struck across toward Pilot Creek in the direction of Hay Fork Valley. They did not reach Pilot Creek, but turned to the left and northward, scoured a wide field, and returned by descending Mad River. They were gone five days and a half. The time allotted was so limited that scouting had to be done as the command moved from point to point or not at all. From the camp near Kneeland’s Prairie but one party was sent out. This was under charge of Sergeant Wiedemer. The sergeant on his return reported no Indians and no traces of any. The day after Corporal Heron’s party united with the main command at Kneeland’s Prairie it stormed and continued up to the 27th, two days after the command reached the garrison, so that all further scouting after his return to that point was at an end.

I will now proceed to advert to a few incidents of campaigning, quite noticeable on our return, before passing to the contrast to which your instructions invite me.

Game.-Between Spruce Grove and Wilburn’s place, on Eel River, and especially between main Eel River and Larrabee’s Creek, game, particularly deer, is quite plenty, owing mainly to the fact, I suppose, that buckskin hunters, killing deer in contravention of the game laws and for their skins, have not yet, to any great extent, infested that region. Coyotes are quite plenty in the mountains to the south of Larrabee’s Valley.

Friendly Indians.-A party of these, and belonging to it the prisoner mentioned above, was seen at main Eel River. Their tokens of friendship, and not fleeing from us at our approach, as the guilty most always do, convinced me that they had no hand in the South Fork depredations, and I gave orders not to fire on them. A party of squaws and children was seen gathering clover on the side of a lofty spur to the left of the trail between Eel River and Larrabee’s Creek. Only one ran away. Quite a number first and last were seen whose abode was with white men and their services at their control.

Larrabee’s Valley.-( The Larrabee Valley is one of the prettiest alpine valleys that one will ever see. They say it is an old lake bottom and water is found just under the ground)

This is nothing but a basin in the mountains. In corroboration of this, limbs are found on the ground in the valley, having been broken off by the snow from the trees growing there. Another reason is the slight difference of level between the basin and adjoining mountains. In the summer time the basin is, I expect, a very pleasant locality. Its high level would indicate it cool and refreshing. Scenery on every side picturesque. Respecting its agricultural qualities, it is, I should think, quite fertile and admirably adapted for the cultivation of oats. Here in this apparently lovely valley lived a man about whose qualities I feel myself impelled to speak. I visited the premises on the morning after arriving in the valley. In this one exceptional instance I found truth had been told. I was very much surprised, because I had hitherto found it much rarer than gold. I found everything just as chronicled in the Humboldt Times. I had no conversation with Mr. Larrabee. I do not know that I ever saw the man. I heard no man speak in his favor, or even intimate one redeeming trait in his character. The universal cry was against him. At the Thousand Acre Field and Iaqua Ranch even the woman who was shot and burned to death was condemned for living with such a man. Of most enormities of which he stands accused you are aware. An accomplice and actor {p.11} in the massacre at Indian Island and South Beach; the murderer of Yo-keel-labah; recently engaged in killing unoffending Indians, his party, according to their own story, having killed eighteen at one time (eight bucks and ten squaws and children), and now at work imbruing his hands in the blood of slaughtered innocence, I do not think Mr. Larrabee can be too emphatically condemned. He certainly richly merited his recent losses. (Larrabee was one of the few that admited being involved in the Indian (Gunther) Island Massacre. I think that most of the other people involved were probably too ashamed, or afraid of reprisal, to admit their involvement. It would be my guess that they never even told their wives or family, and their horrible secret died with them.)

Summer and winter campaigning-the contrast.-The surface of the campaigning country is very uneven and exceedingly irregular-here somewhat gradual, there suddenly precipitous; here mountainous, there a deep, impassable gulch; here a branch, there a deep, windy, untraversed chasm or cañon. In the Bald Mountain region lofty peaks, rising much above the ordinary Bald Mountain height, are seen at convenient intervals for watch-towers. At the approach of an enemy Indian spies on these lofty summits, with commendable vigilance and admirable keenness of vision, give the alarm and flee, so that by the time you are looking for them they are lost to view and, perhaps, many miles away. On the western side of the Bald Hills lies a very dense forest, impenetrable in many places, and extending to the Pacific Ocean, familiarly known as the Red Woods, though this appellation has a more limited significance with those who most frequently use it. (I didn't follow this hidden reference. Does anyone know what he means?) To the east lies a wide expanse, alternately diversified with dense side-hill forests and bald ridges, stretching for miles away till lost in the dizziness of distance. To the south the Bald Hills terminate in two principal ranges of mountains, covered in the winter season with snow. Northward they sink away into the great Red Wood forest. With this brief survey before us, it will readily be seen how difficult it must be to campaign in such a country successfully or otherwise. The remarks thus far touching campaigning are alike applicable to summer and winter. But, then, is there no difference? Let us see. In the summer the days being much longer and sun rising much earlier, a much earlier start, and consequently a munch (much?)earlier camp, may be had by both men and train. Another very material consideration is the much greater certainty of progress in going from point to point. Watercourses low, and many perhaps dried up; little or no snow on the mountains to prevent progress. In the summer time there is usually but little rain to make it muddy and disagreeable. Nature herself in the springtime and summer, clad in the freshness of perennial verdure, wears a most pleasing aspect-a hope-inspiring sight and a solace to man desponding success; but in winter how different the scene, how striking the contrast. In the more elevated regions the impress of death is frequently visible. The little life stirring, all exotic, foreign to the soil that principally, if not entirely, nourishes its existence. Rivers high and swollen, snow on the mountains, melting, together with rain falling, making it muddy, slippery, cold, and disagreeable; piercing winds from long and deep cañons, driving a cold rain with them, only to chill you through, all combine to make one dislike the sport altogether. Winter is the season of storms. When they do come they usually last some time. (What an apt and picturesque discription of the place that we live. He even picked up on our two seasons; Dust and Mud.)

Defense of officers in the field.-I embrace this opportunity to express my perfect willingness and desire to defend my brother officers and companions in arms right straight through against the taunts, sneers, and slurs of hewgagism, whose principal business is iniquity, and whose loftiest ammunition calumniation; against the floating rottenness of filthy tatters; against the surplus filth and scum of outraged society; against the fleeting and shadowy fun of wholesale lying and cracking jokes at the expense of innocence. ( I've often said that very same thing! Do you think that he might be Alexander Haig's Grandfather?)

Personal.-Touching the matter of contrasting campaigning in summer and winter, I have been fully alive, and have felt myself unequal to the magnitude of the task. For any further explanations you may desire I can be consulted personally at any time in your convenience.

I have the honor to remain, with many assurances, your friend,

Second Lieutenant, Sixth Infantry.