Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thoughts of a Generational Native.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how long you have to live here before you are an Old-Timer. I don't know, but here is some of the ways I, and many native people think.

First, I consider myself to be an environmentalist of the first order. I love the trees, and the forests, and all the critters. But, I think of myself as being part of the environment. I believe that; "There is some of the same fitness in a man's building his own house that there is in a bird's building its own nest. … Henry David Thoreau said that. I also believe that I should put back, replace, or make something better for what I took to build my house.

Being one that lives my beliefs, my wife and I built our own house. We didn't built it it the sense that we ran around with a clipboard and a blueprint doing a lot of pointing and directing. We built in the sense that we cut every board and drove every nail. We wired, plumbed and painted it. Janis (my wife) nailed off the whole roofing by herself. I guess that she thinks a lot like me. We have an abundance wild plants and critters around our house, and they seem to thrive. That is one of the most enjoyable things about living here where we live.

What some people may not know, but they will realize that it is true, if they give it a small amount of thought, is that we have more biomass (trees, brush, grass) right now than we have had in recent history. The Indians and Mother Nature used to burn any group of trees standing close enough together to support a fire. The routine fire stripping of the weak and diseased trees and plants was a very healthy method of cleaning the forest. I have to smile a little just thinking about an Indian person trying to take out a modern day burn permit. “Yes ma'am, we only want a permit for a small burn. We only intend to burn from here to the coast.”

In the fall of the year lightning strikes would start numerous fires. There was no attempt to put them out. The fires burned until it rained, or they ran out of fuel. Ray Raphael made reference in his book “Two People, one Place” to the early Spanish explorers being afraid to come ashore, because of all of the fires on land. They said that it looked like “Hell” at night with fires everywhere.

The Indian People were very mobile, and they would outflank or outrun a fire. The new shoots that sprang up after a fire were eaten as food or weaved into baskets. The Indian people thought of fire as part of the Earths renewal. Many legends were told about fire. The legend of the Phoenix Bird becoming old and burning up, then rising, young and renewed out of the ashes, is nothing more than a story about the cleansing nature of fire, and the renewal that happens from it's ashes.

The Indian people honored what they took from nature. When they killed a deer for food, they had a ceremony to honor the deer before they ate it. They gave no thoughts of becoming vegetarians. But, they realized that they had taken something from nature, and they knew that the fires that they started caused the sprouts to grow that the deer ate. That was their way of giving back for what they took. Their fires killed the bugs that ate their acorns. Their fires open up the forest floor and made for healthy trees. Any diseased tree would burn. Trees with healthy bark, and ones that were not crowded, would survive. It's no wonder that they had legends like “The Phoenix”.

The ground on which we stand on the North Coast, is some of the most dynamic land in the world. The Earth keeps heaving and pushing the land up from the old sea floor, and our winter storms form our canyons by eroding and washing away the dirt and rock back into the sea. If you simply open your mind and think about it, you can feel the process happening. I really mean that. I know that I'm not the only one that feels the connectedness to our “Place”. I see it in Kym Kemp's Photography, I know that she feels the North Coast in her very being. One of my good friends, Diana Totton, expressed it better than anyone that I've ever heard. At her Citizen of the Year party, she was taking about what it meant to her to be here on the north coast. One of the things that separates her from many others, is that fact that she knew the feeling of standing on the top of Kings Peak after it had grown 16 inches taller in one of the many earthquakes that happen here. She mentioned her visceral feelings, to be part of, and standing on top of one of fastest growing mountains in the world. I knew that she felt that connectedness that many others miss. The shore line at Petrolia lifted out of the ocean about four feet in that same earthquake.

In our own lifetimes we have seen many changes to the North Coast. The ground at the entrance of the Eel river has raised through the years to the point that ships can no longer travel up th Eel River like they did back in the 1800's. Some day we may have an earthquake strong enough to lift the seashore, or drop the riverbed. We could end up with a new bay. Many Indian legends talk about Humboldt Bay when It was a field of grass. One of the legends say “When the sky rumbles move to low ground. When the ground rumbles move to the high mountains”. So they knew to get away from the lightning, and they knew about Earthquakes and Tidal Waves.
I remember when the Redwood trees were planted in the field south of Scotia. I remember when the young forest of trees where planted at the Mendocino county line, where Rastafarians camp during Reggae weekend. Many, many trees have been planted on the north coast, which is only right and fitting. Loss should always be replaced.

Getting rid of Maxam was a good thing. Selective cutting and sustained yield logging is the only environmentally acceptable method of harvesting trees to build our houses. You can double the production of a redwood forest by clear-cutting it. But clear-cutting is not good for the other plants and critters. We need to pay attention to that. If everybody has to play by the same rules it makes it fair. I have to include China and Canada in those rules of Fair-play. They should be as environmentally sound as we require our lumbermen to be, or we shouldn't allow their products into our country. Period!

I think that a railroad could be built to environmentally safe standards. Those slides that everybody has seen pictures of, were there before the railroad came. They were there while the railroad was here, and they are now busily reclaiming what the land thinks is it's own. If a railroad is built, they should realize that those slides have been sliding since the beginning of time, and they will have to go over, under or around them, because they are not going to stop them. Slides are a natural process of the Eel River system. That's where the Canyons come from. Erosion happens, and it is not caused by roads, logging or ranching, it only makes them more noticeable.

Anything that is taken from the land should be given back. It's only fair.

That's a few of my thoughts, I have more, but I'll stop here for a while. Maybe you have some thoughts yourself. Did you know some of the stuff that I mentioned? Do you agree or disagree?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jeff Muskrat Beards the Lion in his Den.

I found this "slap" in the Richardson's grove post below.

Jeff Muskrat said...
"Ernie,Stop beating a dead horse to death. We all know how Redwoods produce. The trouble is, it takes thousands of years for trees to get that big."

There you go again Jeff, Just so you will know, the TWO redwoods that they are taking out of the park are one 6" and one 7" tree. Just to be as ridiculous on the other side, but that is a truthful statement!

Yes Jeff, some redwoods can get to be thousands of years old. I'm sure that you know that some genetic stock is tens of thousands of years old. Not many people know that, so you have a real advantage in your immense knowledge of the growth cycle of a redwood. Some trees, as they age, develop heart and top rot. The rot happens at time of drought, or some kind of growth stress. Sometimes great floods cause these stresses by causing root suffocation. The trees at Jordan creek along the freeway a few miles south of Stafford show signs of this process. (the cause of the top rot has not been studied) If a fire comes through, which used to happen on a regular basis. Those types of trees would be burned and destroyed to become fertilizer for the young root sprouts that would pop up all around the old root stock. The burned tree would then become several more trees of the same genetic stock. The healthy trees around the burned out trees take on a new and healthy spurt of growth. Every hundreds to thousands of years this process repeats itself. The same genetic stock spreads and becomes a small forest of the same tree. People have done much to damage the life-cycle of the redwoods by saving them from fire and other natural regenerative processes. Basically we are loving them into unnatural life cycles.
Your sensationalism about the trees in the grove is too much for me to ignore. First, anyone can tell by visiting Kym Kemp's blogsite, and looking at her photography that she is a true native daughter of the Eel River canyon. Her love of this place is obvious to anyone that visits her blog. Please click on this link: Redheaded Blackbelt. To think that you have a better opinion of what should happen on the north coast above hers is ludicrous. You talk about trees being a thousand years old, and carry on about their eminent death. When in actuality there will be about 87 trees removed. All of them considerably younger than the highway itself. And all less than 24 inches in dia. The trees are in an area spread out over approximately one mile. They are NOT widening the road. They are taking out a few small banks of dirt and brush and realigning the road to make it LEGAL for trucks to go through it with out being hindered. There will be a six inch, and a seven inch redwood removed in the park. I wouldn't think that would be enough to call out Paul Revere to make another ride hollering “The corporations are coming”.
MOST of the cost of the project is increased by the fact that Caltrans is making certain, to a ridiculous degree, that not one tree is even affected. They know that if one tree dies for any reason, certain die-hard radicals would shake their finger at it until Hell freezes over. The fact-of-the-mater is, very few old-growth redwood roots are even going to be cut.
Jeff, I've visited your blogsite and I find it rife with destructive radicalism of the kind that I could never approve of. I will post it here and hope that people go to it, and read it carefully. To go to Jeff Muskrats blog, click here: Save Richardson's Grove and make your own determinations.
Jeff aligns himself with people like Julia Butterfly Hill. Jeff, I know Julia butterfly, believe me you are no Julia Butterfly. She is a dedicated environmentalist. She backed down Charles Hurwitz, and Maxxam corporation. She stayed in her tree-sit through storms, drenching rain, 90+ MPH winds, and helicopter blades. She backed down the most destructive element to the North Coast redwoods. Hurwitz is gone! Now, if we can just start to rebuild, on a sustained yield basis, we can have another minor lumber products industry.
Other people that Jeff aligns himself with is “Earth First”. Sorry Jeff, you lost me there! They are just not responsible people. But, Jeff adopts their tactics. This is his contingency plan when he loses; “I cannot see this project going through, and if it does, we will put a stop to it through non-violent resistance.”
One important reason that I would take Kym's opinion over Jeff Muskrat is that the whole right side of his blog is dedicated to informing you how you can send money to him, to support his great battle against the people that are going to ruin Richardson's Grove for no reason.
Jeff, The REASON is to make the least environmentally destructive route in the north coast LEGAL for truck traffic. No other method is better. Not the bypass, not leaving it the way it is. Chances are the Richardson's Grove trees will be healthier on completion of this project. Because, believe me, nobody wants to screw up on this one!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Human Nature

My Grandmother Ruby said, "the trouble with riding a high horse is that it is such a long way to the ground". Unfortunately, I just don't think that I look good riding those little Humble Ponies around. I start to feel the need to be way up there looking down on the rest of the world. Humble be darned! When I’m right, I’m right!

I start to become annoyed with people that are not quite as smart as me, or as aware of their surroundings, or what’s going on. In my mind, it's those people that are most near me; to the point that I wonder how such stupid people even feed themselves. They make mistakes, they get in my way, they interrupt me when I talk, they park in my space, make my coffee wrong, scare the crap out of me by screaming in the park, and just become generally annoying.

I do my best to give them instructions on how to become better people. I leave notes, and signs on how to not use my loading dock, how to not park in my spot, and other instructions, but they still do things just to annoy me. I’ve even noticed that when I try to back out of my parking space that people will stop just were I want to go, and look at me expectantly, like they are waiting for me to do something. I have to get out of my truck walk over to them, remind myself no matter how annoying that these people are becoming, I just have to be polite, because human beings are supposed to be nice to one another. I say something nice, like; “Pardon me sir, but if you are waiting for me, I was intending to back out right here where you are, so if you are not parked there, it is okay to go ahead and drive on”. They will say something like; “Oh, okay, I just didn’t want to run into you”. I say something like; “Thanks” Then I get back in my truck and start to back out again, and then see that somebody else is behind me, waiting to see what I'm going to do.

I started backing my truck into my parking spot, so I could just pull out. To back in, I have to pull across the road, then back into my spot. I use my flashers so everybody knows that I’m attempting to do something dangerous, then I put my truck into reverse so the back-up lights come on. That gives people around me a clear indication that I intend to back up. I check all of my mirrors and start to back in, invariably I will find someone parked behind me, politely waiting to see what I intend to do, so they don’t run into me... Out of the truck… Be polite… “Pardon me sir…

These same people are out there on the roads all the time, I often wonder how they get from “point A”, to “point B” without killing themselves. I often fantasize about them being parked under a ten-ton rock careening off a bluff, with them politely parked under it, waiting to see what it’s going to do. I'm caused to wonder; am I the only one that is just inherently evil, or do other people also notice how annoying people are becoming, and secretly hope for them to come to a fitting and appropriate end?

We have a new employee that is is a wonderful person, doing a great job. We are very happy to have her. She is willing and accommodating. She started making the coffee in the mornings. Being the jerk that I am, I started to tease her about being a woman that would still make the office coffee. Making the coffee has become a male job traditionally, because women “don't make, or pack coffee” nowadays. It's now considered demeaning to make coffee or do windows. I don't fully understand it because I'm, not only a jerk, I am also a sexist. So, I've noticed that there is a difference between men and women. She made coffee the other morning and she forgot to put the water in the hopper. She was embarrassed, but she shared it with us, and we all got a good laugh at her expense. Shortly after that she filled the hopper with water and put the coffee grounds in with no filter. She also shared that with us. We teased her about her lumpy coffee. Then she made coffee with no grounds, and we teased her. I told her that she should keep trying and not give up because I was rather enjoying the fact that someone was willing to make the coffee besides me. I was beginning to feel sorry for her though, and thought maybe I should take my old job back. I was beginning to feel a little evil, knowing that I was, really, the only one that knew how to make coffee correctly.

People have become so annoying to me lately that when I'm out driving, I notice that people speed up and slow down just to get in my way. I've even considered signaling a left turn when I actually intend to turn right, just to fool people into staying out of my way. I figured that if they saw my left turn signal on they would move over there to get in my way, and I could just smoothly turn to the right. Genius!

The other morning I came to work about 7:00 a.m. There was only about two cars in town. I signaled for a right turn onto Church street, and sure enough, the car in front of me pulls right onto church street in front of me. I smile a little to myself, because there are parking spots all over, and surely this guy won't be in my way. Imagine my rage when I see this guy cruise right into MY parking spot. Where I pay the rent! I pulled up, and impolitely said: “There must be a thousand parking spots in Garberville this morning, why did you have to park right in MY work area.?” He politely said: “I'll be just a minute.” and went about his business. I started to seethe, and think about how many times I had to politely wait, while someone parked sideways, right across, and totally blocking, three available parking spots. I started to explain to him how unfair it was for me to have to wait for my parking spot, but bit my tongue and shut-up after two or three unintelligible words. He said, “What?” I sensed that my greatly detailed explanation wasn't going to go well, and said angrily “Go ahead and take your minute, I'll just wait”. Well that pissed him off, and he got in his car and sped off. I thought, “good, I should be more firm about my parking spot.”

Later that week, I came back to the shop in the middle of the afternoon and found someone parked in my spot. I did notice that the car was parked correctly, and very neatly. I pulled up behind the car and started my thousand times a day routine of asking all of the neighboring businesses if they knew who's car it was, and how long they were going to be there, because that is the only place that I can park my truck and tools so I can work in the shop. I got as far as the flower shop and “Nope”, they didn't know who's car it was. The Benevolent Society of Park Providers tore up the local parking lot to turn it into Paradise, now everybody has been parking in my spot. I decided that I would have to be very firm about MY spot or it was going to get taken over by the Church Street customers. I asked the lady at the flower shop to tell whoever was driving the car that “I would be just a minute”, and left my truck in the middle of the street behind them. I had to chuckle at my wit and one-up-manship.

As I was working, I kept looking out to see if anyone had come back. I didn't notice anyone for quite a while then I looked harder and saw someone politely waiting for me to return. Feeling a little sheepish about leaving someone setting there, I tempered the go-off that I had planned. The womans polite demeanor disarmed me to a certain extent, but I decided that I had to explain “the rules” anyway. So I shook my finger at the faded worn out “No Parking” sign and explained about how this was the only place that I could park my truck. I expected the usual combativeness about “not being able to see that sign”, or they were only going to be “just a minute”. But the young lady only politely apologized and left. I went back inside feeling like a jerk, but justifying to myself that I had to be firm.

Just as I was congratulating myself for fitting my “High Horse” so well, and how things were getting much better, now that I was getting everyone trained. For some strange reason things started to go wrong. I went in and made some coffee. I forgot to put the pot under the drip-dropper thingee, and coffee, coffee grounds, and water went all over the kitchen counter, into all the drawers and across the floor. I decided that I had better clean it up before anyone noticed. As I turned around, part of our crew was standing there. They were greatly enjoying my humility. With great big grins they said in unison, like in a Hughie, Dewie, and Lewie cartoon, “We're gonna tell!”.

I noticed that the people that like to scream in the park aren't nearly as friendly to me as they used to be, before I accused them of participating in “Hippy Bullshit” by screaming and scaring into me into running to save them. I just wrote it off as sour grapes, but I get that strange niggley little feeling that they think that I crossed out of bounds.

Then the real kicker came to me. The one that pointed out that maybe I was sitting a little too high on my High Horse. It came when I found out that the young lady that I chased out of my parking spot, was none other than Suzy Blah Blah. Talk about feeling like a total jerk.

I had decided a long time ago that I would never bust anyone that posted on my blog anonymously, I haven't yet, and I never will. So, the most that I can tell you about miss Suzy Blah Blah is that she is just exactly as you have pictured her in your mind.

So.... Now for the good part. I've decided that I don't want to be mean anymore. Not that I don't LIKE being mean, it's just that I've noticed that life has a way of beating on people that are mean to others.

So, if you see me riding around on my “Humble Pony”, you will know why. I'm going to take down all of my nasty, mean spirited signs. Okay, I have to leave a few up, like the one warning people not to engage in any body functions on the loading dock. But, I'm going to stop posting the pictures from the closed circuit TV camera on the lunchroom monitor. And I'm going to have to keep the “No Parking” signs up, but I'm going to change them to say “Special Parking Only”, and say: “Except for Suzy Blah Blah, who may park here anytime”.

My most humble apologies Suzy...

Ummmm... Does anyone really think I should be forgiven? I'm not Catholic, or I would just slip the Pope some coin. I guess if I going to be a humanist I'm going to have to start being more human. Payback's a bitch!

New sign on loading dock.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Richardson's Grove Issue Revisited.

I have wanted to chime in on the Richardsons Grove issue since I saw Kym posting about it, but have been otherwise occupied, as busy people are often known to be.

This issue is the same age old dilemma. It is similar to the question, “Would you kill a man to save thousands”. Many people would not, nor would they be able to, but they would suffer greatly as thousands died. Their consciences would be clear, because they were really not involved. That would be very little satisfaction to my way of thinking.

People want to “Save the Grove” because they have an emotional attachment to Redwood trees. If they really thought about it. Straightening the Grove would stop the thought of doing a bypass, which I can assure you would kill millions of trees. The east side of the river, where the road was originally planned, also has very unstable soil. You could look that fact up if you would take the time. It would take years to stabilize the soil, after much erosion.

Trucks already refuse to take loads to California because of our confusing rules. Many cities ban trucks, and many roads are not legal to take over length trucks. If you were a truck driver and hired on to take a load from Chicago to Eureka, and you wanted to see the Redwoods. You would take highway 101 north from San Francisco. You would get as far as Laytonville before you would see a sign that tells you that your over-length truck would have to turn around in approximately 30miles. Some trucks chance it and try to sneak through, because they have a commitment and a responsibility to deliver. Unfortunately most of the over-length trucks get caught by our more-than-adequate C.H.P. They then have to pay a fine and hire a special short-coupled truck to haul their trailer back south. No wonder a lot of truckers simply refuse California job loads.

In the near future trucks will all have to meet new standards. Most of the old beater trucks, that we have now, will be outlawed and abandoned. Most trucks won’t be able to come into the north coast. Think about it, if you were to purchase a new truck to haul freight, wouldn’t you buy one that could give you the most bang-for-the-buck. You would buy the truck that would be able to haul the most payload.

Back to redwood trees, my family goes back to 1857 in logging redwood trees, and making redwood lumber. I’ve learned a great deal about redwood from my family and my own experience. Dave Kirby is a very wise man for a newcomer. Somewhere along the way he educated himself. The knowledge is out there to those who will pay attention.

Two things will kill redwood trees, wet roots from the change of a creek-bed, or anything that will cause a swampy condition. And, root suffocation from dirt or gravel being placed over them. I have never seen a redwood tree be killed by cutting through the roots on a small portion of one side, as long as at least ¾ of the roots stayed unaffected. I challenge you to show me one that has.

Talk to some of the old families that settled in the south Ferndale Valley and find out how many years it took to kill the old redwood stumps. It is almost impossible to kill a redwood.

The reason the cost of the straightening project is so high is because the engineers are spending most of the time and money trying to deal with uneducated peoples emotions rather that the real project.

My suggestion would be to see how much that could be got from the project in other forms. As I’ve said, I’m very little concerned about the trees being damaged. It isn’t going to happen. What I think, is that a person should get something for the privilege of them fixing the road. Get thousands of new trees planted, in a like area, or some research done on why the trees died at Jordan creek. Would you read it if they did?

Like Kym Kemp, I am sincerely sorry if I sound evil, I don’t mean to be, but from a knowledgeable standpoint it sounds a lot like there is gobs of emotion about what is happening at the Grove and not enough reality. Get real! Get something good for the environment. Don’t try to force the project over budget. Don’t force the State to take ridiculous precautions. Get mitigation, like a person truly trying to benefit the environment. You only have to make a small sacrafice, and you can have most anything that you ask for.

When they straighten it anyway, you are going to kick yourself for not getting something good out of it. I would!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Redway Fire Dept. Barbeque.

What a perfect way to support a Fire Department. You get about three times your money's worth, plus you get a freshly prepared meal. Refreshments and desserts will be served. A band will be entertaining us.

You can take your whole family, including you cousins, aunts and uncles for a reasonable price, and you can be a Hero twice. Once when you take your family out to dinner and again by supporting the Fire Department!

Click on poster for a ridiculously large scale version.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Early Saw Mills.

This is a photo of Sutter's Mill, a sawmill where gold was discovered while building a ditch to carry water to it, thus starting the California Gold Rush. Please click on any of the pictures for a larger view.
Photo from Wikipedia.

From California State parks website:
"James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848 on the South Fork of the American River in the valley the Nisenan Indians knew as Cullumah. This event led to the greatest mass movement of people in the Western Hemisphere and was the spark that ignited the spectacular growth of the West during the ensuing decades. The gold discovery site, located in the still visible tailrace of Sutter's sawmill, in present day Coloma California, is one of the most significant historic sites in the nation".
Ben tells me that a tribe of local Indians found the source of the rich Gold Sands and became very rich.

As with most of the old California mills, I can find very little information on what type of a headrig saw that they ran, but later illustrations of the Sutter Mill show that it had a frame saw headrig.
Photo: Humboldt State University collection.

Note the sixteen foot "Misery Whip Saw" across the front of the stump. The handles have been removed for unknown reasons.

Photo from Internet.

Hand powered "Whip Saw mill" or Pit Mill. This was back in the day before hard-hats. I couldn't help but notice that the wedge in the end of the log was right over the lower sawyers head. The Old-Timers must have gotten a lot of headaches.

Photo,By Unknown.
The above is a "Frame Saw", used in various sizes and configurations. Basically the frame is used to stretch the saw tightly, and hold it it place. A common Hack Saw is a good example of a frame saw.

Photo from Internet.
Illustration of a Muley Saw, where only the saw moved up and down instead of the whole framework. The design required a much thicker and deeper saw blade to be able to support itself without flexing. It was moved up and down through the log just like a piston on a connecting rod and crankshaft.

Sawmills in history:

One thing that California has in great abundance, and in great size, is trees. California has some of the largest trees in the world. The early settlers sawed their lumber with a "Misery Whip Rip Saw", or they used a much lighter grade of saw installed in a framework, called a “Frame saw”. The lumber was hand sawn over a pit or up on a crib assembly. One man stood above the log and another stood below the log. The saw was pulled up and down, by handles top and bottom. They sawed the full length of the log, then the saw was then moved back to the other end, and another board was sawn off the log. The slabs that were cut off the log were laid flat on the crib and they were sawn to the desired width. The lumber was of poor quality because the sizing was not that accurate or consistent. Before being used it had to be matched and trimmed for the best use. The lumber was then ready to use. Usually the size lumber that was needed was already predetermined by what they were building.

Later on, when material and location allowed, they built mechanized mills that had very large framesaws that were moved up and down. The mills were powered by water wheels, either under-shot or over-shot wheels, depending on the drop and flow of their water source. The log was moved through the saw with a carriage assembly, much like a railcar, they would clamp the log over the side of the carriage and saw off one slab of wood at a time. The boards were then edged to a usable size board.

The Muley Saw was almost unique to the west coast. The timber was much larger on the coast, and very large moving frameworks were needed to move the saws through the large logs. Steel and machinery was hard to come by on the coast because most of the steel mills were back east, and any machinery was at a premium to have delivered. The large frame saws were very cumbersome, and the Old-Timers soon figured out that if they used a large, thick saw blade, without any tension framework that was needed to move the sawblade tensioned in the frame, that they could cut lumber much much faster and truer.
In a conversation with Ben, we were discussing the scarcity of steel on the west coast, and we talked about how they would take the steel off of sailing ships abandoned in the San Francisco Bay. The ships were abandoned when they lost their crews to the Gold Fields. Many Sailors jumped ship in San Francisco to go make their fortune. The hulls of the abandoned ships were stripped clean of any metals, and the hulls were used as Barrooms and brothels among other things. Most of that steel ended up as picks and shovels in the gold fields, but some of it was used to build saw mills, to make lumber for the growing city of San Francisco. My own 2G Grandfather Ben Lockhart jumped ship in San Francisco to marry his Sweetheart from New York, and find their fortune in the Gold fields. All that they found was disease. They soon abondoned the Gold for their health, and made their way to Branscomb.

The Muley saw wasted a lot of timber because of the wide sawcut that it made. The saw kerf was up to 1/2 inch wide. Timber was in abundance, and machinery wasn't. So the "Muley Saw Mill" was the most popular on the west coast. Most of the west coast mills were powered by over-shot water wheels, again because metal machinery was a premium item on the coast. The Muley blade was about 1/4" to 3/8" thick and about a foot front to back. I've never found how tall it was, but it must have been fairley tall to cut throught the large diameter logs that they found on the coast.

Some of the more modern early mills used a triple saw combination of circular saws. Where a board was cut off the top of the log, and removed. The saw was inset far enought into the top of the log to clear the arbor nut of the two lower blades. I often wondered why they called it a triple saw, because it actually had four saw blades. One to cut down throught the top of the log, a sideways saw set 90 degrees from the top cut, to remove the top board. Then the two lower saws that cut the slab off the bottom of the log. It cut the top board and the bottom slab all in one pass of the carriage.
From some historical writings dug up by Oldmanriver: "Messrs. Simpson & White built the next saw-mill in the valley, which is located about six miles west of Cahto, in Jackson valley, This is driven by water-power, and the saw is a "muley." Its capacity is two thousand feet daily, and it is estimated that it has cut one and three-fourths million feet all told."
Most historians know that Messrs. Simpson and White were some of the first people to settle in Cahto Valley, and were the first to built a mechanized lumber mill.
They chose Jackson Valley, because the valley was surrounded large Redwood Trees. It was easier to build the mill next to the trees, rather than take the trees to the mill like we do today. (That is, if there were any mills left.)
The Muley Sawn lumber became very popular on the west coast because it was the smothest and most accurately sawn lumber. It was much preferred over hand sawn lumber which was the crudest lumber. People didn't like the circular sawn lumber because of the large circular tooth marks on the boards, that were hard to plane out. Efficiency eventually took over, and the band saw mill became the most popular high efficiency, and production, mill.
Bandsaw mills didn't become popular until the 1880's. They still use bandsaws, and they still use a form of the frame saw with multiple blades installed in it, they call it a gang saw.
The heroes of the old saw mills were the saw filers. They were the ones that figured out how to keep the saws sharp and cutting true. Some of my family are saw filers. They tell me stories about what the modern mills can do that just boggles the mind. A lot of lumber nowadays is made up of composite pieces, flakes, chips and oriented strands. Wow!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Laytonville Pioneer question about the "Poe" family.

Back in the 50s, there was a saying in Laytonville; if a Branscomb and a Bowman would marry, their kids would be related to everyone in the valley. It is pretty much true that if you have an ancestor that was born in Laytonville in the 1800s you are probably my relative. So, since I've started this blog, I have received many questions about peoples ancestors. I wish that I had all of the answers, but I'm not really a "Historian". I just have had the great priviledge to have been born in middle of the most beautiful place in the world, and I like many others, am steeped in the history of this canyon we call home.

Back in 1858 they were trying a new experiment in Mendocino County called "Law and Order". It was only loosely applied, and usually only used when they couldn't keep things quiet. The early ranchers thought that mendocino county should be "free range" for their cattle. The homesteaders thought that they should fence their homesteads in to keep their livestock in and other livestock out. Many people died, or were run out of Mendocino over the fenced property idea.

One of the first real murder trials that Mendocino had involved one of my probable ancestors by the name of William Poe.

The following was researched and provided for me By "Oldmanriver" (Jerry Lambert was my and and a Cousin by the name of Tom Poe's 3G grandfather):

People vs. George Dutton.—On the 15th day of November, 1858, in Long
valley, Mendocino county, George Dutton shot William Poe through the abdomen
under the following circumstances, as testified to by J. Lambert, an eyewitness:
"William Poe went to work on a place in Long valley on the 15th of November,
1858; George and Edward Dutton came to where he was at work. George asked Poe
what he was doing there; he said he was going to fence in a piece of ground.
Dutton claimed the ground—said it was on his land. Poe had been at work on the
place about three weeks. Poe said to George Dutton, that if that was not his
(Poe's) place, he (Dutton) had moved the lines. Dutton said he did not care a
d—n if he (Dutton) had moved the lines, and jammed his fist into Mr. Poe's face,
and told him he was a mind to mash him; then Poe stepped back about two steps.
George Dutton drew a revolver and fired at him; then Poe struck him with a hoe ;
the blow knocked him down; Dutton raised and fired again. Edward Dutton now came
running up where they were fighting with a knife in his left hand, and struck
Poe with his fist under the ear. Five shots were fired, one of which took
effect. Poe lived till the 20th of November, when he died. Both George and
Edward were arrested, and the above facts were established and the jury found
that "Edward Dutton was an accessory to the murder, and that he did aid, abet,
incite, counsel and command the said George Dutton to do the murder." A true
bill was found against both of the men by the grand jury, with bail fixed at
$5,000.00. On the 23d of November, 1859, Edward Dutton was admitted to bail in
the sum of $2,500.00, by virtue of a habeas corpus. The records are silent in
regard to any further action in the matter.

Recently I recieved an email from Tom Poe asking if I could connect William Poe to Robert poe. Robert Poe was My 2G grandfather, He was also Tom Poe's 2G grandfather.

> >
> > I am a distant cousin through Robert Hardin Poe and Louisa Lambert.
> > Robert was my gg grandfather, his son, John Wesley Poe was my g
> > grandfather, his son, John Wesley Poe (Jr. I guess) was my grandfather and
> > my father who passed away last month at the age of 90 was Myron Logan Poe.
> > I have been trying for years to determine if Robert's father was William
> > Poe who was killed in Laytonville by the Dutton's in 1857. Been so very
> > hard to make that connection. I met Ben Branscomb in Laytonville in about
> > 1978 when I was up that way on business. I grew up in Long Beach and live
> > next door in Los Alamitos. Would love to see if you have any more info.
> > Thanks
> >
> > Tom Poe

> > Los Alamitos, CA 90720

I replied:
> Tom
> I can't answer that question right now but I do indeed have some interesting
> stories about the Poes. If you will give me permission to post your letter
> on my blog site, I would be glad to see if we can dig up that information
> for you. Uncle Ben died years ago, but his family is alive, well and
> healthy. I would, of course, leave out your street address.
> You may have inadvertantly answered a question for me. My family has never
> known if it was "Louise" or "Louisia" Lambert. Do you know for sure?
> Robert Hardin Poe was my G G Grandfather also. His daughter Zarillda (Poe)
> Branscomb was my G Grandmother. Pleased to meet you!
> Ernie

Tom replied:
Would love to have you post on your blog. Yes, it was Louisa not Louise as it says on the tombstone and other documents. It's just like Robert Hardin Poe's tombstone in Laytonville saying Richard H. Poe by mistake. If I remember, Ben passed away in the early 80s so I was sure glad to meet him. He invited me to some reunions in Laytonville in the late 70s but sadly I couldn't make it and now regret that. Wasn't Zarilda also known as Sally. Glad to connect with the family. Look forward to hearing from family, kissing cousins and friends. Thanks Ernie!

Tom Poe

More Notes from Ernie:
Here is what it says about the Poe family in “Pioneering in the Shadow of Cahto Mountain” By Kate Mayo: [Notes in square brackets are mine. Ernie]

Louise [Actually spelled “Louisia”] Lambert Poe was the daughter of Jerry Lambert, who arrived in Long Valley with his wife and children in 1858. Jeremiah (Jerry) was born August 28, 1818 in Kentucky, and died June 2, 1882. His wife Zarilda (Clark) was born December 5, 1817, and died March 5, 1878. Their daughter Louisia married Robert Hardin Poe, January 23, 1855. He was born January 22, 1832 and she was born July 28. 1840, in Fremont County Iowa. They had eleven children: William Henry, born in 1856; John Wesley, 1862; Nancy, 1865; Mary, 1867; James, 1869; Zarillda [was called Sally]1871, Julia, 1873; Minnie, 1876; Ada, 1878: and Robert Percy, 1884.
William H. married Emma Delaney. He died in 1932. John Married Julia Alford and died in 1913. Mary (D-1898) married Charles Drake; Zarillda (Sally) married Joseph Edmond Branscomb August 2, 1887. [ Joseph went by the name “Ed”, so all of the old stories about Ed are actually Joseph. “Ed and Sally” were actually Joseph and Zarilda.] Minnie married Lycurgus Prothero in 1895. He died in 1935. Ada married Ed Dyer; Julia married Sol Harmon in 1870 and later married Jim Downing; Nancy married George Holmes and later, after her sisters death married Jim Downing. Robert married Eunice Hazel Walker in 1906 and later married Esta Williams in 1918. James married Susan Crimes [ Grimes?] in 1897.

Now for the Salient question: How was Robert Poe related to William Poe? Father? Brother? Or not related?

Adendum 1:
Recent update from Tom Poe, who gives credit to Pat poe from Fort Brag who gave the photo to him back in 1970.

Tom Poe and my 3G Grandfather Robert Hardin Poe:

Addendum 2:

Tom Poe sent me the following as per my request. It clears up a few missing links for me. I agree that William B. Poe was probably Robert Hardin Poe’s father.

Originally prepared by Thomas Allen Poe, great great grandson of Robert Hardin Poe in October 1995. (There is a fair amount of supposition here trying to connect Robert Hardin Poe to William B. Poe but I seem to be gathering more and more information which I hope will prove right – Tom Poe May 2009)
William B. Poe was born in North Carolina in 1809 and he later moved to Missouri in the early 1830’s. He married Nancy Mulkey in Missouri on Janurary 26, 1833. Nancy was also born in North Carolina in 1818. (This was likely a second marriage for her as I suspect her maiden name to be Nancy Johnson and the Mulkey she was married to died).
They had three children as of the 1850 Missouri Census taken in September. The family lived in Washington Township, Buchanan County:
William B. Poe 41 1809 Carpenter North Carolina
Nancy 32 1818 North Carolina
Robert 15 22 Jan 1835 Missouri
Julia 14 1836 Missouri
James 12 15 Jan 1838 Missouri
Just when they went west is a little murky here. According to a letter written by my aunt, Birdie Poe Umstead, granddaughter of Robert Hardin Poe and my grandfather’s sister, the Poes and the Alfords joined a wagon train west, according to her in 1849. But according to census records in 1850, the Poes lived in Buchanan County, Missouri while the Alfords and the Lamberts lived in Fremont County, Iowa about 100 miles to the north. But as St. Joseph, Buchanan County Missouri was one of the major starting points for the wagon trains west, it is not unlikely that all met up there before heading west. (Again just speculation).
Aunt Birdie also said that some of them must have split up close to their destinations with the Poes and some of the Alfords going up into Oregon and the other Alfords settling in the Squaw Valley (near Lake Tahoe) region of California.
So just what year did they really come west? According to my further research, I believe they came to Oregon in 1853. Captain Perman Henderson led a wagon train caravan of 63 wagons from Buchanan County, Missouri to Benton County, Oregon. They left on April 15, 1853 and arrived by September 15, 1853. The William B. Poe wagon was joined by the wagons of Philip Mulkey, Soloman Mulkey and Elijah Mulkey. Philip Mulkey arrived between August 5th and 8th, Solomon Mulkey arrived between August 20th and 25th and Elijah Mulkey and William B. Poe arrived between September 9th and 11th. Why there is such a wide disparity of arrival dates, I don’t know. Captain Perman Anderson actually arrived between September 12th and 16th probably bringing up the rear. What is really frustrating is that there are no details as to who was in each wagon, only the names of the lead person.
According to an Oregon Land Grant, William B. Poe arrived in Oregon on September 9, 1853, and recorded his Deed of Land on March 1, 1854 in Washington County (near present day Portland). When the land was sold to a James Johnson in 1866 by Wesley and Mary Mulkey, it said that the original deed was a Donation Land Claim of William B. Poe, who was deceased and Nancy Poe, his widow. What is not said is when William died.
If we are to believe that this William is the same one who was shot and killed by the Duttons in 1858, then William must have moved from Oregon down to Laytonville as it says in the book “A History of Mendocino County” in 1857. Why do I say that? Because I have just run across the following records in the Oregon State Archives that probably bring me a little closer to confirming that William B. Poe is Robert Hardin Poe’s father.
In the Territorial Census taken in Washington County in both 1856 and again in 1857, W. B. Poe and Robert H. Poe show up on the same record (hooray!). They also show up on the same Tax Roll for those years. But now it gets interesting and may help prove that W.B. Poe moved in 1857. Robert H. Poe shows up in the 1858 Tax Roll but W.B. does not. Thus, we can assume, William moved to Laytonville in 1857 as the book says. (I have just emailed the Oregon State Archives asking if there is more information on the census such as other family members, ages, occupations, dates of birth, where born, etc. and hope to hear from them in the next two weeks).
So that now brings up another question on where Robert Hardin Poe and Louisa Lambert married. The earlier records I have seen all state that they were married in Mendocino County but I believe they were probably married in Oregon. Robert Hardin Poe and Louisa Lambert (daughter of Jeremiah Lambert) were married on January 23, 1855.
They had 11 children in all. Their first son, William Henry Poe (known as Henry) was born in Oregon in 1856 but all the other children starting with their second child and son, Christopher Columbus Poe who was born in 1860 were born in Laytonville , California. So it appears that Robert Hardin Poe and his family moved down to Laytonville after 1858 as he appears in the Oregon Tax Roll in 1858 and his son, Christopher was born in California in 1860.
Their children were as follow:
William Henry (Henry) 1856 1932 Laytonville, California
Christopher Columbus (Chris) 1860 1938
John Wesley 1862 1913 Exeter, California
Nancy 1865 1960
Mary Jane (Mollie) 1867 1898
James Washington 1869 1956
Zarilda (Sally) 1871 1941
Julia 1873 1925
Minnie 1876 1964
Ada 1878 1962
Robert Percy 1884 1957
In September 1979, I received a letter from Ben Branscomb in Laytonville. His mother was Zarilda (Sally) Poe who married Joseph Edward (Ed) Branscomb. He related the following story:
“Great Grandfather Robert Poe died in 1907 before I was born but I do remember Great Grandmother Louisa. I remember playing in his old barn when a boy, and seeing the wires in the hay loft where he dried his home grown tobacco. There was a set of elk horns on his woodshed from the elk he killed in the area in the early days. I know that he was a very heavy set man in his later years and I was told that when he went to town in his wagon, he rode in a special seat fastened to the bed of the wagon…I was also told that he killed a deer and ate it all in one night!
I understand that in his early years he was quite a hunter, trapper and Indian fighter. He participated in the Indian fight at Bloody Run a few miles east of here.
Great grandmother Poe’s sister, Abigail, was the first girl married in Long Valley Township. The first church services held in the Valley were held in the home of her parents, Jeremiah and Zarilda (Clark) Lambert." End Tom Poe quote:


I agree that Robert Hardin Poe and Louisa were probably married before coming to California. They were married January 23, 1855. The Poes most likely came to California with Jeremiah and his wife Zarilda (Clark) Lambert in 1858. (Month and day unknown)
Robert Hardin Poe and his wife Louisa’s first born was named William Henry Poe. He was born in 1856, so it wasn’t him that was killed. He would have been only 1 or 2yrs old at the time of the killing. The Old-Timers went to work young, but I doubt he would have been building fence at than age. The name strengthens the connection to William B Poe.
However, there are some mistakes in your Branscomb family history. Joseph Edmond Branscomb’s son was Roy Edmond Branscomb, who was Benjamin Branscomb’s father. So Roy came between Joseph, and Ben. Ben is Penny’s father, and my uncle.
Tom Poe said: ”In the Territorial Census taken in Washington County in both 1856 and again in 1857, W. B. Poe and Robert H. Poe show up on the same record (hooray!).”
Was there any record of Jeremiah Lambert in those tax records in Oregon? That would strengthen the thought that they came to California together.

Also there is some evidence that Jeremiah Lambert was involved in the mysterious "Battle of Bloody Run".

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Trip up Dos Rios Road, otherwise known as memory lane!

Photo by Melissa Carr

Photo by misterkeene

The book that I am currently reading is a book written a relative of mine that was raised just up hill from where I was raised in Laytonville. When I say “related” it always requires an explanation if you are talking to a generational native of Laytonville. So, Vera Snider Teague was related to me through her Snider side, she was the 2G Granddaughter of my 4G Grandfather, who was our last common reative. She was of the same generation of my grandparents. She was born around the turn of the 18-19th century.

While reading her book, I was stuck by how little of the Laytonville culture had changed from the time that she was a child growing up on the Snider homestead, and the time that I was raised in Laytonville. Her whole book is steeped with the culture that I was raised in, and reading her stories is like attending a family get-together in my younger years. Her playmate, as a youth, was her brother Ernest Snider, who I had the privilege of having known when he was an old guy, like me now. The following is an excerpt from Vera’s book. The quote was taken from Chapter 12”

Life With The Old-Timers” By Vera Snider Teague.

Suddenly, it was spring. Each springtime seemed a time of adventure and magic to me. First, one day the fuzzy, soft gray pussy willows were out. Then we would notice the blue and white wild lilac. Each magic day would bring more happy discoveries. Baby-blue-eyes, spring beauties, popcorn flowers, lady slippers, snow drops, star of Bethleham, shooting stars, which we called johnny-jump-ups, wild pansies ands violets, cream cups and butter cups, bluebells, redbells, columbines, (We called these five legged tables), blue stickweed, blue, white and yellow lupine, monkey flowers, larkspur, easter lilies, redwood lilies, and Shasta lilies, Indian paintbrush, sweet William mock orange, dogwood, and the manzanita with it’s clusters of tiny pink lanterns, just to name a few of the wild flowers that makes Mendocino County like a paradise during spring and early summer.

Ernest and I loved all of the flowers, but I think our favorites were the easter lilies. There were beds of these nestled here and there in sunny little spots throughout the woods. We loved the golden poppies too. We believed all the flowers belonged to us by right of discovery; and what joyous competition there was between us! Upon each new discovery with what pride we called the other to view our treasure! We seldom picked any. Our joy was rather in going to behold them from day to day in all their glorious natural beauty.

What glee when one of us found the first firecracker, wild rose or any variety we had not yet found. We did not tire of this game throughout the season.
As spring progressed we extended our game to include the wild strawberries, black cap and red cap raspberries, blackberries, wild currants, gooseberries, plums, salmonberries and thimble berries and later both red black huckleberries and wild grapes. The family often accompanied us to pick many of the above mentioned for use at home”.

I want you to know that I take great joy in knowing about the plants that she named. If you have just recently arrived, you probably have no idea what plants she is talking about. Even if you recognized some of the names that she used, you probably wouldn’t call the plant by that name.

Does anybody know what a bluebell or a redbell is?

“Old-timer” is not necessarily a designation of old age. “Old-Timer” in Laytonville is more of a designation of venerability. It’s like calling a teacher “professor”, or a physician “Doctor”. It is an acknowledgment of ones experience. To be an “Old-Timer” in Laytonville, it is generally accepted that you would have to have lived there for at least 20 years before you opinions would be acknowledged with any great degree of acceptance.

I have often wondered what has happened to my “Old-Timer” status in Laytonville. I haven’t lived there since 1955, but my mother still owns property there, and we visit relatives often that do live there.

My Old-Timer status of the South-Fork of the Eel River goes back to 1858, and 6 generations. The thing that I have noticed is that, my opinions are still questioned… What’s up with that???

© Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary's College.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Fluff Piece, while I'm working on my computer.

Kym does mostly sunrises, with a good camera, so I so mostly sensets with my cellphone camera. I took this photo with my cellphone from the hill behind my house. It's a Benbow Sunset that I took last fall. I call it "Glory Beyond the Hill". I figger' if I'm going to be an artist. I'm going to need a good line of bullshit. (Can I say that on this blog?) Oh... That's right, that's what this blog is all about.