Monday, April 5, 2010

Joe writes home.

Photo from Wikipedia:

I've been corresponding with Joe Erwin, Who was raised in Panther Gap back in the day before the "change". Back when logging, and sheep and cattle ranching is how we made our living here. I was hoping that we could fill him in on what Panther gap is like now.


Apparently his father knew “Charlie” Howard, the famous Buick salesman that owned the Sea Biscuit Ranch in Willits. My uncle bought all of his Buicks from Mr. Howard also.


The following is copies of our correspondence:
Hey Ernie,

I ran across your blog when I was checking up on some of my friends
over in the Mattole Valley and just wanted to say hello. You blog
triggered a lot of memories.

I grew up on a ranch near Panther Gap. I imagine you know where
that is. If not. it is on the ridge between Bull Creek and Honeydew.
Of course, I know the community of Bull Creek was washed off the
map nearly 50 years ago, but it was a thriving little logging community
when I was a kid on the ranch. We had to move away in the 1950s.

My Dad's family did a lot of rock work in and around Benbow. Dad
and grandpa were skilled stone masons who built a lot of fireplaces
out of river rock. They also operated the James Ranch up by Bell
Glen and Red Mountain at one time and later grew musk melons
at Benbow. Dad also used to tell of caddying at the Benbow golf
links. Eventually the family homesteaded up near Panther Gap.

You'd think I'd have a lot of panther stories, growing up at Panther
Gap and living a stone's throw away from a place we called Panther
Opening. I don't have many such stories--just the federal hunter
dropping by to return the gate key and showing us the panther ears
and tail tip from his successful hunt out on Cold Springs Ridge. I
did hear that blood curdling scream, but only once.

We did see more evidence of bobcats, including a few sightings.
They were usually sitting in the middle of the road--a back country
dirt road that was seldom traveled. When I went back to visit the
area in the 1960s, I was driving down the switchbacks below
Windy Nip Gap (west of Panther Gap) on the way down to
Honeydew. I rounded a bend, and there sat a bobcat in the middle
of the road. I just stopped and watched him for awhile. More than
ten years later, I was moving my family from Nashville to Honeydew.
My 12-year-old son was riding with me as we started down that
same old road. I told him about seeing a bobcat there. As we
rounded the turn, there in the road sat two juvenile bobcats. We
watched them play for awhile. I gained a lot of credibility with my
son that day.

So, I lived near Honeydew and both my kids graduated from
Ferndale High School. I tried to make a living teaching at HSU,
while my wife worked at CR. We were not able to earn a decent
living, so we moved to Chicago, where I was a zoo curator. Then
we moved on to the Washington, D.C., area for me to work as
a scientific editor for National Geographic. Eventually, I settled
a job working for a biomedical research contractor.

But, growing up near Panther Gap can render a person intolerant
of living in town. So, we bought a little piece of property in rural
south-central Pennsylvania (this is part of Appalachia), close to
Maryland and West Virginia. I'm retired now, mostly, and live
in a county that has only 15,000 residents--very few of them
near me. Most mornings I stop in at the Dott General Store
and gas station for a cup of coffee, and chat a little with the
other geezers. It reminds me of the Honeydew Store (and the
Bull Creek Store long ago).

Well, when you blog, you never know who may turn up. I hope
all is well with you. I miss my Humboldt Home, but I'm not sure
it even exists anymore. Maybe it is true that "you can never go
home again." But, then, some people actually stay on their spot,
and there is something to be said for that.

Wishing you well,
Joe
Joseph M. Erwin

Joe

Thank-you so much for the letter. You are right, you wouldn't recognize it around here anymore. The land is pretty much the same, but the people and the places have changed. I wouldn't live any other place in the world though. I guess that I slowly got used to the changes as they came. I did suffer a great amount of culture shock, but for the most part I got over it.


At the time that you lived here, the predators were mostly eliminated. It would have been rare to see a mountain lion or a bear. They are coming back, and they are starting to be a problem. It will be interesting to see how the new people will deal with them. Most of the new people have moved deep into the wild territory, so they will be the ones to have the problems. We have no sheep like we used to have on the wild hills. There are no mills, and logging is gone for the most part. There is less catlle than there used to be.


Most of the new people are very naive about the land, and they have a tendency to care less about the history, but some of them find themselves at home here, and they know more than the natives about the land, places, and history.


Is it okay to put your letter on my blog? It jogged a lot of old memories for me.


Thank-you again for the history.
Ernie Branscomb.

Ernie,

Sure. No problem about posting the letter. My
life is an open book. I should write that book
sometime. Sometime soon, I guess--I'll be 69
years old in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure
a person should write their "memoirs" until
they are about 70, or so, but I'm getting there.

Yes, I knew/know a lot of non-natives. There
was some friction among natives and non-natives
out in the Mattole. We tried to build some bridges
when we were there--especially regarding
wildlife and fisheries and livestock issues.

I don't think I ever saw any evidence of bears
on the ranch, but we sure saw plenty of sign
around the King Range, and had them down
behind the house near Honeydew. I did see
a panther on Wilder Ridge in 1978. I was very
impressed with the tail length at the time. I
keep in touch with some folks there--not too
regularly, but once in awhile.

When I was a kid we had sheep and a few
cattle and some horses. Good horses. Dad
admired what Charlie Howard was able to
do with horses (like Seabiscuit) and we used to
visit Ridgewood Ranch whenever we went to
The City. So Dad had Buicks and racehorses,
but with not quite the same profile as Charlie
Howard did.

I always feel like I've come home when I get
to Hartsooks or Benbow. I suppose I might
move back sometime if my wife dies before
I do and if we have any money left. I could
get along just fine living in a little trailer next
to a trout stream, or out by Shelter Cove or
back up the Middle Fork or Van Duzen. As
long as I could get some wild black caps,
huckleberries, and a piece of backstrap once
in awhile.

Thanks for responding so quickly.

Wishing you well,
Joe

172 comments:

Bunny said...

Hey Joe, I like the way you write. Stay with us here and have a mental vacation home for awhile. Today is gorgeous.

Joseph said...

Hey Bunny, thanks for the friendly comment. I figure I'll hang around a bit. There is no doubt of my fondness for southern Humboldt. What is your location, Bunny?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
You said that your father worked on the James Ranch, near Red Mountain and Bell Glen. Did you mean Bell Springs, up on the ridge? Did you know Harry and Nona James?

Do you know any good Nona Stories? All of the Old-Timers had one.

Anonymous said...

I know when Nona stayed in her house on Oak St. she bitched a lot about how things were done at the ranch when she wasn't there. I know she particularly didn't like all the mouse traps behind the wood stove. I guess what made mad was they all had mouse's in them,,,, still.

Oregon

Joseph said...

Yes, it was Bell Springs. Sorry. It seems like the James Place was pretty close to Bell Springs. Wasn't there a stage stop and hotel there at Bell Springs. I think Dad said they got their mail at the Harris post office. I'm sure that is long gone. The main story I remember was that my aunt Gladys at around age 16 used to ride a horse and lead a pack train to and from Garberville by herself. People had to grow up pretty quickly in those days and learned to take care of themselves. Gladys died a few years ago a month or so shy of 100. The pack train experiences would have been in 1920 or a little later--no later than 1921.

Anybody know of a Fremd family that lived up near Harris?

spyrock said...

great to hear joe's stories. we've got a cat on video in the snow this winter, maybe i can figure out how to post it sometime.
nice to hear someone older than ernie relate here. i've been on the phone with bud bowman, marvin pinchess and my aunt ruth simmerly. all in their 90's. lots of knowledge of the area that doesn't blog or know what a blog is. i tried to teach my dad about computers. he was 98 when he died. but he had learned how to copy every article in every newspaper written about him and a few about everyone he knew. he was happy with that limited computer knowledge. i think he was still worried about the communist threat because he had a system of mixing in junk mail with everything he filed away. just before he died, he had a fanny pack with important papers in it, the usual mix of junk mail, an article about him being hero of the year and maybe an article about my mother. what's really funny is that my dad's family lived in carlilse, penn as did the simmerelys live in the cumberland gap area as well. joe moved back to where a lot of people came from.

Joseph said...

Spyrock, interesting that you mentioned Carlisle, PA. Yes, that is very near where I live now. When I moved here I was unaware of having any roots in the area, but I soon discovered two lines on my father's side and two on my mother's side that came through this area in the 1700s and early 1800s--including my immigrant ancestors on my paternal (Erwin) line. There was a place near here called Irwinton Mills where they lived, but my branch left by the 1750s and moved to North Carolina. There were a lot of "restless genes" in my lines. Some had gone all the way across to Oregon before 1850. Others just kept moving west, generation-after-generation. But my family's path to the west coast was not at all unique. Tracing back from Humboldt, many families followed similar routes at similar times.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
I found where the rock was quarried for the Benbow Inn and the famous Benbow rock bridge. It's up on the ridge just north of the dam.

I also found a place where rock was quarried about three miles up river of Benbow at a place known by the locals as Twin Trees or Smith Point. Up on the ridge to the west. It must have been a great chore to bring the rock to Benbow from there.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I didn't know the Fremds.

The old post office at Harris was moved to New Harris. (@ 5 mi. south)It is no longer the post office, but the old postal boxes are still there.

History has it that Harris was once know as "Spuce Grove".

Joseph said...

Dad and Grandpa mostly worked with river rock straight off the river bed, much of it carried by hand up from the river bar. I'm not sure which things they worked on around Benbow. I think they worked on the bridge and some rock walls along by the Inn. They built one or more stone fireplaces in the owner's house back up the hill. The exteriors of the fireplaces were usually sandstone, while the interiors were various kinds of river rock, like moss jasper, quartz, etc., laid up such that the stones matched from one side to the other. Grandpa also built stone walls (like guard rails) along 101 in places like the steep narrow place between Lane's Flat and The Tree House. I guess they put a cut through that eliminated that, probably more than 40 years ago. I think all those old rock walls are long gone.

Joseph said...

The reason I mentioned the Fremd family at Harris was that I ran across them while doing some genealogy. It turns out that they were very distantly related to us. The old man was born in Nebraska in 1874. My grandpa was born in Nebraska in 1869. Somehow they ended up on the same mountain in the same community. The granddaughter of old man Fremd was born in Eureka about a month before I was born in Scotia. She married a guy named Robert Ringwald, and they are the parents of an actress named Molly Ringwald. An additional strange thing about this is that Molly's great-grandparents are buried in the same cemetery in Rohnerville as are my grandparents. The common ancestors were waaaay back--people who came to America in 1624 on the first boatload of colonists that went up the Hudson River. They were French (actually French-speaking people, sometimes called "Walloons," from what was then Spanish Netherlands, where the Spanish Inquisition was especially active) refugees from religious persecution, as were so many American colonists. It turns out that Michael Douglas also tracks back to the same people, but that is a story for another day.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
The river rock walls at the Benbow Inn are all still there. The Benbow Inn was saved from decay a few years ago by a man named Art Stadler. He sold to Chuck and Patsy Watts, who made many more improvements. The Inn is now owned by John and Teresa Porter and their partner (?) MacDonald, all of which have made great improvements. It is once again a world class hotel, and we are quite proud of it.

Lane’s Flat is now called Smythe Grove, or Dora Creek. The Tree house is the same. The rock wall around the bluff at Confusion Hill is still there. (Not sure if that was what you were talking about) The whole bluff route was bypassed last year by two bridges to the west. The one bridges deck is twenty feet higher than the Golden Gate.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I wonder if the people in Ferndale know the "Ringwald connection"?

Joseph said...

I'm glad to hear that the Inn is in good hands. I'd like to stay there during my next visit. Actually, a colleague and I stopped in there for lunch a few years ago and seriously considered choosing it for a retreat/meeting. We might yet try to do something like that.

In my memory, Confusion Hill is just a little north of The World Famous Tree House (my strange aunt Hazel worked at The Tree House for a while). Also, in my memory, the steepest bluff that 101 was hung on the side of, was just a little south of The Tree House. My memory could be faulty. Aunt Hazel was not the only one in the family whose brain seems to have not always worked quite the way it was supposed to.

People in Ferndale...? Would that be the Humboldt County Historical Society?

Ernie Branscomb said...

I actually meant "Rohnerville", not Ferndale. We all suffer the memory thing.

Ernie Branscomb said...

"the steepest bluff that 101 was hung on the side of, was just a little south of The Tree House."

You are correct. It was called "The Half-Bridge" by the locals. It was renamed "The Slab" by the truckers with CB radios. It was just north of Bridges Creek. It's still there, but bypassed now also.

olmanriver said...

Hey Joe... just yesterday I came across two journals by a country schoolteacher, Ethel Tracy, who taught at Alderpoint, and then Harris in the first decade of the 1900's. Your Fremds were mentioned, more 'an likely in the second volume. I do not recall the specifics, but it was just a passing comment or two.

Joseph said...

Molly Ringwald's mother was born in Eureka in March, 1941, but Molly's mother's father was born in Blocksburg around 1905. He could have been in school in or around Alderpoint and/or Harris. I suppose some of the Erwins might have been in school in the area around 1920.

ROSS SHERBURN said...

thanks Joseph!
your story brought back some memories for me also!
my grandparents on my mothers side worked at Lanes Flat in the forties.in fact,thats how my mother landed in Legget Valley in 1948,coming all the way from Long Island,NY.My mom and her two little daughters rode the Greyhound clear across the country.

Joseph said...

Right. We used to get on the Greyhound Bus in Weott, which was a GREAT little town before it was washed off the map in 1964, and go down to The City. The bus generally stopped at Lane's Flat for meals, and I remember doing that near the end of WW II.

Bunny said...

I live on Bear Butte. It's all Tosten history up here on our side of the butte. We were part of a TPZ and it took Sue & Everett about 10 years to get our 3 acres out of the TPZ so we could buy it. I'm so glad they made that effort. We started a business that is now the oldest gift shop (32 years) in Humboldt County, Blue Moon Gift Shop. Keep Coming Back.

lodgepole said...

Joseph, welcome home! Thanks for sharing your memories, they are much appreciated. A store in Bull Creek? Never knew that.

Bunny, I've been to your house before, I think. It was during the 80's. One of the Katz girls was house sitting for you at the time, if I recollect proper.Nice place.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
The following link is quite a lengthy interview with Enoch Percival French, who talks in length about the erosion at Bull Creek. Scroll down until you come to the section labled "BULL CREEK FLAT PROTECTION".

This interview took place before the "64 flood which devastated Bull Creek. I've been told that there is 60 feet of sedimentation in the creek bed, and there are 2 bridges buried beneath the present one.

Anonymous said...

I always liked the Bull Creek rodeos.

Oregon

Ekovox said...

"It was called "The Half-Bridge" y the locals. It was renamed "The Slab" by the truckers with CB radios."

Oooohhhhhhh boy! That was where our high school bus from Hoopa clanged mirrors with a logging truck on our way to a baseball game at Leggett High. The only steeper bluffed roads I know are the old Ishi-Pishi road out of Orleans and the Salmon River road from Forks of Salmon south. Although the road from Hoopa to Weitchepec sure gave you a high pucker factor in the old days.

The Tree House...yes, one of our stops on the way, south. Also, What ever happened to Mrs. Dennison's Cookies? Where was that? South of Laytonville?

~Ross Rowley

Ben said...

Joseph... I'm a local "hippie historian" and I'm extremely interested in a murder that occurred at Panther Gap in the late 70s. It was at a radical commune or collective called the "tribal thumb", as I recall. You can see that I'm a pretty sloppy historian (what we call a bullshistorian, here) as I should be up at the library looking the thing up. It was a sort of Weatherman / Black Panther scene. The kind of thing that makes Ernie grind his teeth about the 70s.
As to the trailer and trout stream,the news is not good. Plenty of trailers, no trout. Lots of really good people though.

Ernie... Anna Hamilton's picture on the front page of the LA Times today. At least they love us in LA.

Joseph said...

What fun to hear from all of you! I'll check that French interview. Of course, the 1955 "thousand-year flood" was bad enough, but having another one as bad or worse in '64 simply ended a lot of towns.

As some will know, the real kicker for Bull Creek was that Cuneo Creek got loaded up with material from an unstable mountainside (we called it "the blue slide") that dammed the creek, then built up and burst hrough, inundating and washing away everything. I think you might be referring to the bridge over Cuneo where it joins Bull Creek just before it starts up the hill toward Panther Gap. It's true that the bridge there had been washed out before. When I was a kid, that bridge was just logs laid down with dirt packed on top. At that time the cemetery was down at that level. Now it is on the flat up above next to the entrance to the Cuneo Creek campground. When I was a kid, Bull Creek was a mill town. Eel River Sawmills had a good sized mill there. At that time they were mostly logging upper Bear River, and the road to where they were logging went up Cuneo Creek. There were also a number of homes and ranches back up the main stem of Bull Creek, especially on the Grasshopper Mountain side. Dad built some fireplaces up there too.

Yes, that road to Wichepec (sp?) from Hoopa was pretty impressive. We went up there while Dad was building a couple of fireplaces in Willow Creek. I remember an amazing glass riffle near Wichepec where the salmon were running (King = Chinook) and the water was perfectly clear. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed.

Hmmm. A murder in the late '70s. There was a place that was reputed to be a "weatherman" training camp, down from Windy Nip Gap along Dry Creek. I lived near Honeydew 1978-1982, but I don't remember hearing about that murder. I did hear about one that probably occurred about ten years later. If what I heard was right, someone disappeared and was found many years later near Panther Gap. I heard the story in Atlanta several years ago, and my memory of what was told is rather vague.

Joseph said...

I read that French interview. Terrific! Such a lot of fascinating detail. I found an error that made me recognize an error in my own last post. The mill at Bull Creek was not Eel River Sawmills, it was the Bear River Lumber Company (referred to in the French interview as the "Bull River Lumber Company"). My Dad drove a water wagon for them for awhile, maybe in 1944, and my cousin lived in Bull Creek and drove a logging truck for them.

Joseph said...

I'm posting too often, but this needs to be said. I checked around a little and confirmed that one of the murders was of someone I knew, though long after I had left. He was a close relative of people who are close to some of my best friends out there. Given all of this, I think you will understand that I'm not comfortable discussing all this on line, where anyone might read our comments. I'm sure the family is still grieving the loss, even some years later. One of my niece's was murdered nearly 30 years ago and the daughter of a good friend was murdered (in Texas and New Mexico, respectively, not in Humboldt), and the wounds to the families are still very sensitive.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joseph
you could never post too often, we are all reading what you have to say. This blogsite is dedicated to local history and wisdom, so you should feel right at home here.

I have Joe's email address. With his permission I will send it to Ben. It sounds like they have something in common that should be discussed privately.

The reason that I didn’t include Joe’s info, is because some things should not be talked about openly. This blog is not for hurting anyone.

Joseph said...

Thanks, Ernie, and everyone. I'm fine with Ernie giving out my e-mail address to whomever he feels comfortable with. My own life is an open book, but I need to be a little more careful and considerate of the lives of others. Wishing you all well.

Robin Shelley said...

Eko,
It was actually Mrs. Denson's Cookie Company but most people do tend to call it Mrs. Dennison's. It was alongside highway 101 in Redwood Valley between Willits & Ukiah. It's in Ukiah now under a different name. You can read all about it here: http://www.mrsdensonscookies.com/company.htm
Maybe Ernie can activate this link for me.

Ben said...

Joseph... Sorry to have brought up a difficult topic. I knew when I wrote that question that it might not be a topic for a blog. I have been a bit obsessed with that particular incident as it seems to have disappeared from public consciousness.
Did you know Don Cameron the State Park dozer operator who lived in Bull Creek? Just about the best steelhead fisherman I ever met and a great guy.

Joseph said...

Hi Ben, if you want to do a private conversation, just ask Ernie for my e-mail address. The posted messages have a "no-reply" address, so I can't respond directly to you. NOTE: Ernie, feel free to give out my e-mail address when you feel comfortable with that.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Robin
I was asleep at the switch. Here's the link. I think that I'll go there myself.
We always stopped there every time that we drove past it. I didn't know that they moved to Willits.
Mrs Densen's Cookie Company

Robin Shelley said...

Ukiah.
Thanks, Ernie.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Robin
I meant Ukiah! I must have Willit's on my brain. Ukiah, Ukiah, Ukiah, there that's better.

Robin Shelley said...

LOL, Ernie! I don't know if Ukiah is better but Ukiah is where the cookie factory is now. (-:

Anonymous said...

It was Ernie's fault for getting it wrong Robin. I could see it right off.

Oregon

Joseph said...

With all this talk of Willits and Ukiah, I'm wondering if anyone here knows what has become of Ridgewood Ranch, the place where Charles Howard retired Seabiscuit. I heard something about it being converted into some sort of memorial to Seabiscuit. Ernie mentioned earlier that his uncle bought Buick's from Charlie Howard. Are there any more memories on this topic? Did any of you folks have people who were into horse racing?

olmanriver said...

James E Wood, was partners in the Ridgewood Ranch in the 1850's before selling out and coming north to ranch down on the big flat by the river we call the Community Park.

gabby haze said...

why the comma after Wood?

olmanriver said...

That is called a mistake, gabby. I had another descriptive clause that I removed but left the comma.
Now go soak your grammarian crackers in milk....

spyrock said...

Road Trip With Huell Howser #125 - SEABISCUIT
Huell travels to Willits in Mendocino County to learn about the famous racehorse’s California legacy. The trip includes a tour of his home at the Ridgewood Ranch and a special Seabiscuit exhibit at the Mendocino County Museum.

i saw this show with huell howser on his california gold series. you can tour this ranch but you may need reservations.

i think seabiscuit was dead before i was born but that didn't stop my grandmother and mother from pointing out seabiscuit at every horse ranch we passed in the car. after awhile i was seeing seabiscuit everywhere and i started saying the same thing. "there's seabiscuit" horse racing was always a favorite of the early pioneers of northern california. this is from "genocide and vendetta".
in 1892,jack littlefield became a legend of the yolla bolly country by defeating frank feliz in the lake mountain horse race. the starting point of the race was to be the round corrals where rodeos were held on the top of lake mountain downhill toward the eel river to the west where the race was to end on a small sandy flat near the river. the two expert horsemen making their own trails rode wildly down the dangerous terrain. jack won in a close finish and his horse collapsed and died a few yards passed the finish line.
my uncle delbert would never talk about his rodeo days but i heard john simmerly say he used to break horses for the pro rodeo back in the 50's. slim pickens, who was a rodeo clown back in those days, used to drop his horse off at delberts ranch whenever he was in town. so what started off as a buckaroo sport evolved into seabiscuit, a local horse, making the big time. and everyone back in those days went along for the ride.

Joseph said...

Great information. Yes, we used to always go to the rodeo in Willits. It seemed like it was always hotter than hell during the rodeo. And, yes, I remember when Slim Pickins was a rodeo cowboy. He moved that profession forward by getting bulls to chase him after they had thrown their riders, whereupon he would jump into a rubber barrel and disappear so riders could haze the bull out of the arena. Seabiscuit was at Ridgewood Ranch during the 1940s and died in 1947, just when I was finishing up the first grade. He was a local horse in the sense that he resided at Ridgewood Ranch. He was Kentucky bred, at Claiborne Farm, Paris, KY. Whenever we went to or from The City, we kids would agitate to go "see biscuit," and our efforts were often successful. We often stopped near there for a picnic or camped out over night near one of the springs near "Black Bart's Rock." In 1949 we went east and visited Claiborne Farm, Faraway Farm, Calumet Farm, etc., in the Paris and Lexington region of Kentucky. We had the good fortune of being able to see at least four triple crown winners (Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, and Citation). War Admiral was Seabiscuit's rival in the 1938 "Pimlico Special." Ah, but no need to go off into all that right now, as great as those stories and memories are.
There were other good horse ranches around Wllits, as some may recall.

suzy blah blah said...

Suzy says don't be fooled by a romantic portrayal of torture. Horse racing is a cruel sport. For one thing the horses front legs are abused terribly by participating in this. Then they treat the animal's hurting legs with topical drugs and ice which numb the pain but don't treat the injury (this is the rule not the exception). The numbed animal is then raced on a hard surfaced track and whipped to the finish line. So instead of healing, the injuries become more severe. Don't fall for the propaganda, the trainers don't give a shit about the horses legs, money is their bottom line. If you have any compassion for animals you will refuse to patronize this kind of abomination.

my $2 worth,
s
more

Anonymous said...

Suzy, I think the same about Humboldt County.

Joseph said...

Perhaps my reply was out of bounds. If so, I apologize, but it does not seem to me that any discussion of the region or its history or the activities that occurred in and around the area can survive being excessively sanitized. Horse racing is what it is, just as other things are what they are. Maybe we should not romanticize any of them, but neither should we oversimplify, stereotype, or prejudge anything we are discussing. For example, the settlement of Humboldt County, The West, and America by Europeans was pretty gruesome and incredibly inhumane. Nor were the natives who were exterminated uniformly kind to their fellow humans or the natural world. Does that mean we cannot or should not talk about anything that happened?

suzy blah blah said...

Does that mean we cannot or should not talk about anything that happened?

hey Joseph, i'm assuming your addressing that to me?
Absolutely not, i enjoyed seeing and enjoy seeing the topic and history of sea biscuit and/or any other history of this area, including the grusomeness, (hello that's what i'm pointing out! i'm not saying don't talk about it i AM talking about it) but anyway, like i was saying i was happy to see it as i am to see any other history or story you have to offer about the area or of the sport of horse racing in other areas for that matter... happy to see it come up --and i thank you for your contributions. But i'm just pointing out the dark side. I am sorry if it came out sounding as a criticism in any way of your post.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
Great answer. I've tried to point out that we can get so hung-up on mans inhumanity that we can't see, and enjoy, the history. I've always failed to break the barrier that some people present. They somehow get stalled on “oh the horror”, and they don’t see how events relate to each other. I find it sad.

We all have a threshold of what is acceptable, and what is not. Many of us don’t like hurting animals, but most all of us will swat a mosquito.

At what point do we become so sensitive to the rights of those around us that we fail to see that they are capable of swatting us like a mosquito.

We need to pay attention to the history.

Ms. Blah Blah is one of my most thought provoking commentors.

Joseph said...

Labeling horse racing as "an abomination" than should be shunned is pretty judgmental. And stereotyping trainers as assholes or worse is not fair. Thought-provoking is fine. Mindless over generalization and prejudice? Not so much. I think horses are pretty wonderful, and they have inspired awe in me. Bad things sometimes happen to them. Some breeders, owners, trainers, and riders are exploitive and money grubbing, but MANY love horses and make constructive efforts to enhance the health and quality of life for the animals in their charge. Horse racing is as legitimate an activity as many other human endeavors, in my humble opinion. So, back to my question. Does anyone remember other folks besides C.S. Howard who were in the horse business in our area 50 or more years ago?

Joseph said...

"than" should be "that"
Sorry. Typo.

suzy blah blah said...

Labeling horse racing as "an abomination" than should be shunned is pretty judgmental. And stereotyping trainers as assholes or worse is not fair. Thought-provoking is fine. Mindless over generalization and prejudice? Not so much.

- You are the one being judgmental. And not even listening before you pronounce judgment. That is the kind of narrow mindedness that comes from stereotyping and not looking at the whole picture or listening to other sides of the story. I was not labeling, i was giving an opinion.


I think horses are pretty wonderful, and they have inspired awe in me.

That's real swell. Did you even read the link?

Bad things sometimes happen to them.

This is an ignorant statement. The 'bad things' i pointed out and are exposed on the link don't 'happen to them' it is perpetuated on them by the trainers, owners, and the nature of the sport.

Some breeders, owners, trainers, and riders are exploitive and money grubbing, but MANY love horses and make constructive efforts to enhance the health and quality of life for the animals in their charge.

This is a naive perception. My estimate from the research i've done including interviews of jockeys, trainers, owners, exercise boys, grooms, gamblers, touts, etc, is that a minimum of 90% are of the first sort.

Horse racing is as legitimate an activity as many other human endeavors, in my humble opinion

Yes it's clear that that is yours and a majority of peoples opinion. That is what in my opinion needs to change because it is as i said based on a sugar coated perception and a romantic illusion. Many things that were once considered 'legitimate' are now with more understanding considered abominable.

suzy blah blah said...

Ms. Blah Blah is one of my most thought provoking commentors.

thank you Ernie, i hope yuor feeling a bit more chipper these days.
ox
s

Joseph said...

First of all, let me assure Suzy and others that I am deeply and keenly aware that horses involved in racing suffer serious and even fatal injuries. While I am ignorant of and naive regarding many things, horse racing is not one of them--since my father and brother were both professional breeders, owners, trainers. My brother was also a groom, exercise rider, and farrier at race tracks. I did more than my share of cleaning barns, grooming, taming, riding, assisting with breeding, hauling horses, and walking hots, etc., along with sleeping in tack rooms, traveling the California fair circuit, visiting tracks and horse farms and ranches all over the country. So assertions that I am ignorant about horse racing simply are incorrect assertions, coming from someone who does not really know me or understand my background.

Even so, many criticisms of horse racing and some of the people involved with horse racing are based on real problems. These real problems can and should be addressed by identifying causes and evaluating and implementing solutions. Banning horse racing does not seem to me to be a useful proposal. A better approach, in my opinion, is to work constructively for progressive improvements. The minute you say "BAN IT" you lose all prospects of anyone listening to your proposals for changing the situation for the better.

Growing up on the ranch at Panther Gap (which is where the conversation started) set me on a course of career commitment to promoting and improving welfare of captive animals and conservation of natural animal populations and their habitats. Given that background, accusations of ignorance and apathy sting a little--but those are of no consequence by comparison with the anger and revulsion I feel when I see horses suffer in connection with racing (or otherwise). In some cases, the owner or trainer can be faulted, when we have enough information. Some trainers consistently push their horses too hard or race them too often. Penalizing them or barring them from specific tracks or from racing, or changing the rules to penalize abuses more effectively are options that can be pressed. It is complicated and hard work to actually make changes that are effective. All too often, however, the approach of HSUS and similar organizations is "BAN IT!" The campaigns to ban things are terrific fund raisers. The executives of HSUS draw down huge salaries and more than once have been investigated for financial improprieties. I know HSUS pretty well. I have been to their headquarters a number of times and have worked with their attorneys on legislative analysis and legislative language. So, I am also not as naive as you might think about animal welfare and animal rights extremism.

Of course I read the links you supplied. I am familiar with these issues and these sources. The issues are real. Improvements are needed, and policies must be evidence based.

This has been kind of a strange place for this conversation, and it seems pretty tangential to what we started talking about.

BTW, I think you meant "perpetrate" rather than "perpetuate" in the part where you were calling me "ignorant."

I imagine I have worn out my welcome here, so I'll show myself out, at least for awhile.

Wishing you well,

Joe

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
Please don’t show “yourself out”. You may be surprised to find that I agree with what you say 100%. Although I have never had much to do with horses, I can assure your that I understand your plight. I am a sixth generation offspring of redwood loggers. I understand the unfairness of some criticism. Logging redwoods was not a popular profession around here after the “newcomers” came. Fortunately I found a new profession.

As I told you, Suzy is one of my most thought provoking commenters. As you have just proven. You just did a lot of thinking about horse racing. I know you love it and it is in your blood. I understand completely, and you’re a good person to be involved with horse racing. You will make it better.

Suzy is what I call a free spirit. Many things are “real” to her that are quite intangible to the rest of us. She is happy with that, and lives in that world. Myself, I have often said that I don’t believe in anything that I can’t hit with a hammer. That is my world and I’m happy with it. So, as you might guess, Suzy and I argue a LOT.

If you have other things to do, that is fine, but we’ve enjoyed your very knowledgeable comments here, and we hope (all of us) that you will comment some more from time to time.

You can slip away if you wish, but please don’t leave angry.
Ernie

spyrock said...

say it ain't so joe.
suzy seems to have a problem with us older gentlemen. of course, i don't think of myself as old and i was married for 25 years to someone just like her. so i'm pretty much immune to her parallel world.
ernie has endured the brunt of her sage advice. and river has turned flips in his wheel chair trying to get a date to no avail.
you just get used to the idea that she is going to have her own opinion about everything which isn't such a bad thing if you think about it.
i really don't know which old man lit that fire but she did complain about 75 year old steve gaskin being just another dirty old man.
a little research would have told her that he was in a 4 way marriage back in the 70's and he's in a six way marriage now. but i guess she has some kind of idea that us old guys are supposed to be perfect. oh contrare. like charles barkley says, it's not his job to be a role model. and if she didn't like the job her parents did, then its her responsibility to be a role model. us old men are just trying to enjoy the last few moments of our lives talking about things we love. and that's what we are gonna do whether suzy likes it or not. but i'm glad she has her own opinion about everything. she just hasn't learned yet when to keep that opinion to herself.

suzy blah blah said...

Suzy does not swat mosquitoes. i have found that if i just stay calm and let them take some blood and leave that i don't get a bite. I only get a bite when i swat them and they break off their stinger and leave it in me. Others have told me this doesn't work for them, they get a sting whether or not the mosquito breaks off its stinger. But it's questionable if they even tried. Because i've found that most folks are just too nervous to even let the little buggers sting and fly away. I like to watch them insert the stinger, fill their belly up red, then slide the stinger out and go on their merry way. Sometimes their belly is so full of blood that they stagger before they are able to fly away. So go figure, maybe all the drugs in my blood neutralize the interactions, LOL! i donno. But it's true, i have sat calmly in heavily infested mosquito terrain, not just locally but also when i go visit my grandparents who live in Vermont near a lake where the mosquitoes are thicker and bigger then here. I've gazed at my arms full of mosquitoes --twenty, thirty or more on my bare arms at one time... i've even watched them swarming on my bare breasts, and the next day, not a single bite. What's with that? Anybody else have that kind of experience?

suzy blah blah said...

like charles barkley says, it's not his job to be a role model. and if she didn't like the job her parents did, then its her responsibility to be a role model.

i donno about charles farkley but i'll have you know Spy that i AM a role model! All the young kids in the neighborhood learned how to roll by watching Suzy. The trick is to always get all the little stems out and make sure the bud is ground up fine, then pack it down and start rolling from the middle and work outwards toward the ends. Calm confidence doesn't hurt and with practice you will get a perfect Camel without a hump.

But you're right about Suzy sometimes losing my patience with old men, most of them can't roll worth a shit. But anyway thanks for doing the research and infoming me cuz I didn't know about Gaskin's many wives, though i don't doubt its true... i was under the (false) impression that Ina Mae was the only wife he had. When i visited the farm that's the way it appeared although i have no way of knowing for sure. One thing i did notice is that he is a hypocrite about alcohol, he preaches against it but he drinks himself which i saw first hand. I have my suspicions from the way he behaved in my presence that he's likely a closet alcoholic. But then a lot of hippy gurus were, like the gin guzzling Alan Watts for instance. Maybe that's why they preach their phony 'oneness' doctrine, they are always so drunk that they can't differentiate, it is all the same to them, one hand two hands whatever, just so they can sell their book and get some more booze.

It's like Kerouac, who made no bones about his alcoholism said, the north african bird is the adobe of the american saint. Makes sense to me.

Joseph said...

I'm not going to stomp off mad. That is unbecoming in anyone, and, like so many things are, such behavior is especially noxious in an old coot like me.

Maybe I should clarify that I am no longer involved with horse racing except to watch some races on TV, or re-watch old races on YouTube, or, once in awhile, to go to Pimlico or Laurel or Charles Town (all near here). As near as those tracks are, I do not go there very often.

But I was mentioning that my experiences caring for animals on the ranch, those many years ago, including rescuing wildlife, led me to respect and value animals. As I went to school, I always ended up being the person who took care of animals, including lab rodents, snakes, birds, fish-- whatever. Much of my free time was spent going to wild places and watching wildlife and sometimes fishing. Years after my family moved away from Humboldt, I came back to visit the home place and hang around Shelter Cove, Petrolia, etc.

So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that some people actually made a living doing field or laboratory research involving animals, and I applied for graduate school to study animal behavior. I got into all the programs I applied for with full support and decided to go to UC Davis. It was a good choice, and I was fortunate to meet many people who studied animals (zoologists, wildlife and fisheries biologists, ecologists, veterinarians, and even psychologists and anthropologists).

Along the way, I met a guy at the Smithsonian in Washington who had grown up in Ettersburg and was born in Scotia hospital. Also a guy in Florida, a veterinarian, who was born in Scotia hospital. A well-known anthropologist at UCLA who was from Arcata. And on and on....

So I did a post-doc at University of Washington and became a zoo curator in Chicago (after trying unsuccessfully to make a living teaching at HSU). Then I was offered an aditorial job at National Geographic, so we moved to the Washington, D.C., area. While there I got to travel a fair bit and started a field research conservation biology project in Indonesia, that went on for many years, and led to even more travel.

But I'm going on way too long here. I've just been lucky to get to do some things I only dreamed of during my childhood on the ranch, where I read National Geographic by kerosin lamp before we had electricity. Oh sure, I also looked at the pictures, but there were also some pretty good pictures in the Sears catalog that we kept in the outhouse.

But, maybe the point is, that the practical good sense that came from growing up on the ranch really helped me throughout my working life--in some ways, the "horse sense" was more important than the "book learning." And having a "set point" of no electricity or indoor plumbing has really been helpful in traveling to remote places where such luxuries are not yet present (and the people seem to be at least as happy, and maybe better off, than many in "more advantaged" places).

So, I won't stomp off into the night. I'll just try to avoid ill will and unwinable pissing contests.

spyrock said...

i love you man. that's what i said to jerry rice at pebble beach when i got the chance. but he shot an 83 this week on the pro tour. your oil lamp stick got me man. i love you. i love suzy too. more than she knows. you just have to understand that we all love suzy no matter what she says. so just grin and bear it.
you are definitely infected by the anscestors, just like me. thank you for coming here to share with us the old days.

Angela said...

Joe, I'm a regular at Ernie's place, too, but it's mostly a learning experience for me rather than me being a contributor of any merit. I've been enjoying your posts & would hate to see you go especially since I think you're just getting started & have much to share. You're interesting & I appreciate what you have to say.
But I also appreciate Suzy &, like Spy, I can't seem to help but love her no matter what she says. I admire people who think for themselves whether I agree with them or not. Plus, she has a remarkable way of expressing herself &, given enough time, you might come to enjoy her, too.
I hope you will stick around.
Robin Shelley
P.S. I'm writing on my daughter's account while visiting her in CA so her name appears at the top of this comment rather than my own.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Robin
I think that you have been one of the most important contributors to this blog. The information about the Laytonville Lake and the Spyrock area has been outstanding.

(Of course If Joe is still reading he is probably confused. Joe, there is a “Spyrock the man” and a “Spyrock the place”. Spyrock the man is named after Spyrock the place)

Joe,
I’ve been to the Chicago Zoo. It is an amazing place. I think that is where we watched them feed the Lions. I was expecting the lion to come up and take his piece of meat and go lay down to eat it, then BAM, he nailed the meat, growled, not a small growl, then he sauntered off and ripped the meat in pieces and ate it. You should teach those Lions manners. If I might be so presumptions to suggest that, after Suzy’s lecture. Can you imagine someone letting mosquitoes eat their blood? As we all say, Suzy grows on you, but you never stop saying: Whaaaaaaaat the hell? And, I can only imagine what she might think of us.

suzy blah blah said...

OK enuff is Enuff yuo guys already --sheesh! At least Riv didn't get on here and embarrass himself and me this time but gee, all this slobbering about how you love Suzy and even MrE is mysteriously almost being nice in his half assed way but his affection i am aware of anyway cuz no matter how hard i try to win his disfavour he always extends my probation... probably just fattening me up to throw to the lions like they did with the christians back in chicago in ... '69 or'79 or whenever it was, i gotta brush up on my history but hey that's part of what Suzy's here for. two learn stuff and stuff, and but what i'm tryin to say is uh, too bad, you are all shit out of luck. And that goes for River and Oregon and even Kristabel too, cuz i gotta crush on my new secret loverboy and thats all i care about anymore no matter what anybody thinks or says and his name is... well, i cant say, you know what i mean, a gurl cant kiss and tell, ask Oregon he understands me better than even Spy does, and so, uh where was i? ummm oh yes, my crush, hmmmm he knows all about horses and we share this love and compassion for animals and everything and ... of course if he knew i was talkin about him it would ruin the chemistry and all but, i can't help it cuz its all i got on Suzys mind and everything, and he even worked in a zoo or something i guess, isn't that fucking awesome?! But i might have already said too much but Oregon knows what i mean, when your emootions get curryed away you might wanna get warm and fuzzy with the turkey but, sigh, a horse man and all, gosh, i thing i'm really, REAllY in luv this time folks, not like your ex Spy but real luv, but only time will tell, right now our relationship is at an awk=word prepurtuated or is it perpufecated?? i always get those two mixed up but its all good everything is ONE and theres a blurburd in my heart, and youalls too singin a little hppy tune so listen to it and celebrate yourselves cuz you are marvelous and Suzy awaits to delight in your next post, but Ernie, you avoided the main question, do you swat mosquitoes with a hammer? Say what kinda fool would... oh never mind at least i gotta parking spot downtown so what does Suzy mind if certain ppls minds are a little off register no doubt due to their ancestors who were reptiles who laid eggs far before any chicken set her toes on earth and its hard to believe but, uh, oh and, and the newcomers who uh, ooops,
i'm outa here, (i can hear a tree fallin in the forest even though i'm not hear to here it and it sounds like it might fall right hear, so now i'm reallly outa here... ya hear, but sorry to disappoint many of you, i'm not outa here for good, LOL!

singin oh oh honey dont
oh oh honeydew
ettersburg and shelter cove
me and my baby with some
black caps, mmmm yeaha and some
huckleberries and (he's kinky too folks he talks about this thing he likes to do with a 'black strap') hey, i'm open for some fun, why not? but be loving darlin'
oh oh honey dont oh oh honeydew

gonite and huggles everyone,
s

suzy blah blah said...

is it perpetwate back-strap or perpetyouate blake-slap? .. i'm anxious to learn more...

Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
olmanriver said...

and river has turned flips in his wheel chair trying to get a date to no avail
I dispute your characterization mr spy... wheelies... maybe...

I don't care to compete with some mare milking nomad from Kryzigastan or Kombuchaland, or some friggin' 'stan, for her affections. (Y'all know suzma is from that area--read it on Captain Kirk's blog).

As fer mosquito bites on the chest... it has been my experience that they will only itch if you interrupt the biting. If you let them have their way, they won't leave a mark.

Enjoy that blurbird in yore heart Suz, that is a happy place for a bird to sing.

suzy blah blah said...

-when i was young and foolish i ran away from home with my boyfriend who was an illegal immigrant, We were both only 17 but he was good with horses and weighed 120lb. So he was able to land a job as an exercise boy for the trainer G. R. Webber at Golden Gate Fields race track in Albany on the SF bay. He started work at dawn and when he was finished around 10 or 11am we'd eat breakfast at the big cafeteria in the stable area where all of race track characters, grooms, hotwalkers, pony boys, and even some of the trainers and occasionally an owner or two would eat breakfast. It was nearly all men. Some of the stable workers were ex-jockeys and we got to know many of the folks there. My boyfriend was being paid in cash daily and in the afternoon we'd gamble his hardearned money away ... even on the few rare occasions when we won a little we were always broke again two days later, but we were in love and happy. When the outfit moved south to Hollywood Park in Inglewood, we went with them, then later to Del Mar. It was a colorful experience for me, sort of in a way LOL. So that's the other side, the happy side, not the dark side of my horse tale.
As long as it lasted, in the fall he went to work at Bay Meadows and I came back home to sweet soHum. Later I heard he went back to his home in Durrango Mexico.

buenos tardes mi amegos,
s

Joseph said...

Ernie,
I remember a place that my Dad referred to as "Spyrock." I don't remember exactly where it was, but my vague memory suggests to me that it was north of Willits and a little east of 101, probably south of Laytonville. My cousin, Bruce Scholes, lived awhile in Laytonville, just after living in Bull Creek when he drove logging truck for Bear River Lumber Company. I mentioned him before. His mother was my Aunt Gladys who ran the pack train from The Old James Place to and from Garberville around 1920. I just had a note from his sister, my cousin Naoma. She was recalling swimming in the Mattole River, back when she was a kid, down near where Dry Creek runs into the river. She was with some of our other cousins, and they found bear tracks. That certainly was plausible. She was also asking what I remembered about "The Westlund brothers" or "Old Man Westlund." As you may know, there is a creek named Westlund Creek
down on the north side of Gilham Butte. We could see the Westlund Place from our house, which was on the ridge between Dry Creek and what is now called Middle Creek (at one time and on some maps, the name is Erwin Creek, but Middle Creek is the name that has stuck).
Do any of you know Buck Miner's little book THE ORIGIN OF THE MATTOLE THROUGH THE EYES OF A SALMON? Westlund Creek is mentioned on P. 125. I'd be interested to know if anyone who is reading this has any knowledge of the Westlunds who had the place out between Stewart Ridge and Gilham Butte. I'm guessing they were gone out of there by the mid-1940s, if not earlier.

Anonymous said...

Joe, you have an incredible memory. I lived my entire life in Humb., Mend., and Trinity counties and moved from there in the spring of 1990 and can't remember much of it at all. Of course a lot has changed even since I left there. Maybe there is something to be said about Wild Turkey in the evenings.

Oregon

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
Spyrock is north of Laytonville, as you leave the valley you proceed up brush mountain and over the summit, down the other side, at the bottom you turn east up Rattlesnake creek.

I’m sorry, I don’t know the Westlunds. I remember hearing of the Scholes, but did not know them either. I know where Gilhum Buttes are. I knew Buck Miner, I’ve read his book, but it has been a long time ago. He was a great story teller.

I see that Suzy Blah Blah didn’t find everything about horse people to be all that bad.

olmanriver said...

I "broke" my first wild stallion in '65, near Durango, Colorado. Spent some time on a ranch there one summer. My friend Martin and I were riding one day and Dusty, my horse, kept bolting towards a mare in heat along the barbed fenceline. I thought I had him broke, but his biology was talking loud.
I needed to dismount for a nature break, and had my friend holding one side of the reins as I swung a leg over....Dusty took off. I got a leg back over the saddle as we raced across the pasture. With neither foot in the stirrup, I had to lean over and was able to reach one side of the reins from in front of the horse, and tugged, only to turn Dusty sharply in tighter and tighter turns until the centrepital force shot me off and I hydroplane across a puddled field for many yards on my hip. Dusty frisked over at the fenceline across from the object of his affections, while I checked for bone damage, and Martin couldn't get his breath from laughing.
This scene got replayed in the bunkhouse much to my repeated chagrin. My back warn't right after that, so that was my first and last bronco bustin' experience, and I went back to school.
But that's another story.

Joseph said...

Hey, kids, it's good to hear from all of you, Suzy, Ernie, Oregon, River. Thanks for clearing up the Spy Rock location. It seems to me like there was some sort of little gas station and diner down there on 101 around Rattlesnake Creek. But that is a memory that has faded. Speaking of Wild Turkey, we have a lot of them around here. I often see herds of 20 or more, and I could probably hear some spring gobblers right now if I went outside. But you were referring to a different Wild Turkey. Some drink to remember, some drink to forget. (words from The Eagles, Hotel California) I guess you know, Ernie, that Buck Miner moved away. He sold his place near the Mattole Grange and moved to Oregon--near Ashland--and then moved to Congress, Arizona, not far from Prescott. He calls me once in awhile. I have his address if you want it. His book, THE ORIGIN OF MATTOLE, begins as follows: "One bright sunshiny morning, while riding along with Joe Erwin over Bull Creek Mountain.... Finally Iasked him. "Joe. You used to live up near Panther Gap. Do you know how it got its name?" About 30 years ago, Buck and I went around and interviewed the oldest people we could find who had grown up around the Mattole or had spent a lot of thime there. Several of the people we interviewed were 90 years old or older, so they went back to 1890. Those interviews formed the basis of Buck's first book. Our focus was on origins of place names. We tried to find out about the Westlunds, but we did not learn much about them. Later, my cousin Naoma sent me a walking stick that Aunt Gladys claimed have been made by "Old Man Westlund," that he had given to my grandpa when he was recovering from a broken leg on the ranch in the 1930s. The walking stick is remarkable. I is a fine piece of heavy hard wood--I'm not sure what kind--with intricately inlaid little pieces of abalone shell. It actually looks like something that might have been made by Native Americans, and I would not be surprised if it turned out to be from the coastal Mattoles who wintered around Squaw Creek and spent the summers near the mouth of the Mattole (as evidenced by the enormous shell middens there). Do any of you folks wear western boots? I got into collecting boots awhile back and am now reducing my collection. If you are interested in a good pair of boots, I might have some that fit you. I have sent four pairs to friends in Humboldt in the last month. Some of them will be going on a trail ride soon from Cuneo Creek (north fork of Bull Creek), up Grasshopper Mountain, over to Gilham Butte, and on to the King Range. I can't be there, but my boots can be.... Oregon, where are you in Oregon (or wherever)? I was planning to retire in Port Orford, but we ended up selling our place there. A little money panic not long after I retired in 2002. So, today I turn 69. Still a year from my allotted threescore and ten. It is good to hear from all of you, and I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

Good morning Joe. Well, Oregon lives in Washington now. I did live in Brookings for three years and they shut the sawmill down last June so decided to retire. I now live in sunny White Swan, Washington in my sons old place.
By the way, I have pretty much always wore cowboy boots along with packers and at this time wearing ropers. Size 11 Joe. Just kidding, I have 4 pair of good cowboy boots now.

Oregon

Joseph said...

Sorry for all the typos. I hope you can make sense of my last post.

Joseph said...

Hey, Oregon. Brookings is a pretty nice area. We had decided to try to find a place in Brookings-Harbor area or up the Chetco, but then there was an earthquake in CA, and property values just across the line into Oregon jumped dramatically. So we looked up around Pistol River and Gold Beach, etc., and ended up with a couple of acres in Port Orford. I kinda wish we hadn't sold it. Oh well. We came out okay on the deal.

A lot of my family on my mother's side lived in Oregon and Washington, back to more than 150 years ago, before the northwest area ("Oregon country") was carved up into Oregon, Washington, and Idaho--and even before it was firmly a part of the U.S. So, anyway, I always feel at home anywhere north of Humboldt, especially on the coast. Nancy and I lived for three years in Cheney, over by Spokane, after we left Davis, CA, and before we went to Nashville.
What book maker/brand do you prefer? I have mostly worn Stewart (hand made in Tucson, AZ) since 1976. My favorites are made of elk hide or water buffalo calf. I do have some roper style Stewarts, Chris Romeros, and Olsen-Stelzers that I wear sometimes. I've been buying up good quality "dead stock" and lightly used boots. I'm mostly keeping boots that fit me and those that are interesting old boots from more than 50 years ago. Most of my surplus boots are Stewart western jockey-style high-topped boots like so many jocks and exercise riders wore in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

I'll check around to see if I have any size 11.

Warm wishes. Time to go work in the garden.

Joseph said...

Oregon, BTW, my grandfather, Bruce McCann, was born in Goldendale, Klikitat County, WA, just the next county south of where you are. I get newsletters from the Klickitat historical society. His mother was born in White River, WA, and his dad in Dilley, OR (near Forest Grove). He even had a grandmother who was born in Oregon--whose parents had come west by wagon train on the Oregon Trail in 1847. Hmmmm. My heart is still in the west....

oldmanriver said...

Joe, I love hearing your stories...I recently heard that an older woman told the rangers, and resident historian at the Burlington Redwood Park, Dave Stockton, about a trail from the top of Bull Creek to Salmon Creek and all the rangers got excited and went to check out the tip. Is this the old horse, or jeep, trail you are referring to?

You mentioned Squaw Creek in the Mattole, the site of a brutal massacre of Indians... do you know the history of the Squaw Creek there in the Rockefeller park?
There was a large scale fight there that has hardly been recorded.

We love hearing from folks with roots in the area from the time before it got so dang populated up here. An' this is a blog where you can let your typos loose, not to wory.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I think I am set for boots at this time. I mostly wear store bought boots, not the hand made ones.
Tony Lama, Justin and Danner rounds out my mud room.
I like Goldendale Joe, it is about 50 miles South of here by the way of the crow. Lots of history in my area that I haven't explored yet. I live in the middle of the Yakama Nation Reservation so have to travel a ways to get to a town where the history information is located. I have seen wonderful old pictures though.
Just a note here Joe, keep writing, between you, Ernie, Oldmanriver and some others I am getting a good history education of the land I grew up in.

Oregon

Anonymous said...

Hey Ernie, before you say a word. I did have a pair of waffle stompers.

Oregon

suzy blah blah said...

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

Robin Shelley said...

Joe,
Don't waste any time regretting selling out of Port O. You would have blown away from there by now!
(-:
Robin (in Brookings)

Joseph said...

There was a road that went from the edge of the redwoods, right near the bridge over Bull Creek, that went up to the lookout station on top of Grasshopper Mountain. I think that road is now part of an "official" trail that then goes over along the ridge between Bull Creek headwaters and Salmon Creek headwaters, and on over to the side of Gilham Butte, and then, eventually connects with a trail in the King Range National Conservation area--maybe the "King Crest Trail." That would then connect with the "Smith-Etter Road" that goes over the ridge from near the mouth of Honeydew Creek to where the Smith and Etter cabins are (or were) right near the beach where the Mattole-to-
Shelter Cove Lost Coast route is. I'll have to ask the people who plan to do the ride what their exact route is.
Yes, Squaw Creek (in the Mattole, near A.W. Way Park) was the site of a very severe massacre. I don't really know about other Squaw Creeks or Squaw Creek massacres.
Have you ever heard anything about a Shelter Cove massacre? I have an interesting story about that.

Joseph said...

Thanks, Suzy. You filled in the words nicely.

Thanks, Robin, for the kind words regarding Port Orford and the wind. It sometimes got pretty bad up at the ranch at Panther Gap, too. Gale force. It kind of irritated my mother. Also some of the race horses.

Ernie Branscomb said...

"Have you ever heard anything about a Shelter Cove massacre? I have an interesting story about that."

Joe if you look through my blog you will find many storys about the early white settlements and the indian people. We have many Indian history researchers here. And you have us all on pins and needles right now. If you can send me the story I will put it up as a post. Or just paste it here, and I can move it

Thanks Ernie.

oldmanriver said...

Yesterday I went out and talked to a member of one of the oldest families in the Cove about that very topic. Very little is known, even locally, about the earliest cowboy and Indian history in the cove, though a diligent search of old newspapers offers a far more detailed story than anything any local historian has written so far. Having partially set the table, serve up your story please!

Joseph said...

Ernie, I'm not sure this story is quite ready yet for prime time. I may have to call Buck Miner to get the name of the old gentleman who told us this story about 30 years ago when the old fellow was 90 years old. But I'll give you the gist of the story, and maybe we can fill in the gaps later.

We started talking with a little old man who lived in a trailer near where Buck lived (close to the Mattole Grange). He told us he was born in 1890 and was now (in 1980) 90 years old. He said he had grown up in the Mattole region and knew the area up toward Ettersburg pretty well, having lived in various places around there and in other parts of the valley. His mother had died when he was very young--so young that he had no memory of her. We were asking him whether he had ever seen any elk in the area when he was a kid. He said that he had not seen any alive, but that he had seen a lot of elk antlers around when he was a kid. Our interest stemmed from the effort that was being made by Jim Decker, a wildlife biologist for the BLM, to relocate elk from Orick to a site near Shelter Cove.

As the old guy told us about his childhood he described to us an experience he had when he was about five years old. His older brother (two years older, so the brother would have been seven years old) had been hired to clean up a lot of bones on a hillside up above Shelter Cove. According to him, the bones were what was left of a massacre of Native Americans by some cattle herders who drove cattle up the coast to market. As a five year old, he was supposed to be helping his brother rake up and dispose of the bones, but he was not taking the job very seriously. Instead, he was collecting thigh bones (femurs) and was using them to build "log cabins" by stacking them up (like we all did with the toy Lincoln Logs we had as kids). He said that as he stacked up these bones, he began to feel uneasy, like maybe he should not be playing with these bones, that maybe it was disrespectful. But he convinced himself that it was alright, because these were "only indians," not real people.

Later he learned that his own mother had been a member of that very same population of Native Americans that had been slaughtered near Shelter Cove. He found out he was half Native American of the kind that he had thought of as as not really human.

His father had been what was called "a squaw man" (he had a Native American wife). Not too long after his wife died, he had abandoned the boys and headed for Alaska to prospect for gold. The boys were left to fend for themselves and lived with various families. At that time there were many little one-room schools in the valley. For each school, a minimum number of children had to attend for there to be a school and for there to be support of a teacher, so he and his brother were moved around to wherever there was a need for another student or two.

For this to be a real and authentic story, I need to credit the source by name, and I'll need to get Buck Miner to help me remember the guy's name. I'm guessing that the massacre event must have occurred around 1890 or soon thereafter. Surely there would be some independent evidence of it. I would guess that those who were killed must have been Sinkyone, because this would have been a little too far up river to have been the upper Mattole group. This would have been on the ridge between Bear Creek and the ocean.

oldmanriver said...

Great story Joe. The timeline would be the early 1860's...hard as that might be to believe that bones could be untouched into the 1890's. The Indians were few and far between along the Lost coast in the 1890's, though some were employed as cowboys.
One of my questions yesterday was whether there were two massacre sites at Shelter Cove? The most known site was an Indian encampment at the south end of the airport in an area that once had willows. Two ranchers, Hamilton and Oliver from Manchester ran stock at Shelter Cove. There were conflicts with the local Indians in 1860 which led to an attack on Hamilton and Oliver, and others who were supposedly enroute to chastise the Indians. Oliver was one of the men killed, Hamilton escaped by riding along the beach and allegedly left Shelter Cove via a gap the oldtimers knew as Oliver's Gap. There are few ways out of Shelter Cove, as anyone can see. I have never known if Oliver's Gap was different than where the Shelter Cove Road is located, or north of there where I think you are describing.
Hamilton left his herd holdings and on his retreat down the coast traded his rangelands to the Ray brothers who were coming north. They went on to take over at Shelter Cove. Hamilton went south and brought back 14 men to retrieve Oliver's body. They attacked the Shelter Cove Indians at the Willows. That is the more commonly known Shelter Cove fight. That the bones were on a hillside above the Cove is the puzzler. Several military forays from Ft. Bragg came up the coast to punish the Indians for the Oliver "murder".There was a detachment led by Geer who went to the headwaters of the Mattole, and several campaigns by a Mountaineer Battalion led by a Lt. Frazier in 1863-4.

Great story to pass on, I don't want my historical feedback to eclipse your rich tale. Would love to know who that was, as I know many of those old names. Thanks for sharing.

oldmanriver said...

The events in Shelter Cove in 1860 preceding the July 1861 Hamilton/Oliver incident were chronicled at the time by Carlin who came up from the Mendocino Reservation to investigate the charges. The whites claimed the Indians had threatened them to get them to remove their cattle from the area where the Indians lived, and one man had been attacked. The Indian claimed the whites had belligerantly demanded Indian women from the tribe. Carlin sided with the Indian version, citing as evidence a lack of slain stock, together with the presence of six dead and scalped Indians.

Joseph said...

In retrospect, I think the site could have been almost anywhere around Shelter Cove, and the time could have been around the 1860s, for sure. What he described were bones bleached white from lying in the sun, and they could have laid there in the sun for quite some time. I know you are correct that most of indians in the region had been killed or rounded up and taken to Round Valley before the 1870s. I'll have to give Buck a call and see what he can remember about the old man and his stories.

Joseph said...

Ernie, and all, do any of you do ham radio? Buck Miner is K6RFE. I have not yet found his email address or phone number, but I thought maybe someone might want to contact him independently. Actually, now that I think of it, my cousin Bruce Scholes, also does radio. Both Buck and Bruce are in their 80s, so it might be good to get a hold of them pretty soon. They both know a lot more about early times than I do. No, not THAT Early Times (I meant old times in SoHum). I keep trying to locate their contact info.

olmanriver said...

What a powerful story, I reread it this morning. Thanks again for that contribution to the lore, and I hope to hear more.
When you reach Buck, could you please ask him if he knows of another fight at Kaluna cliffs. There is a rumor about a fight there as well that I am looking to confirm. Thanks.
The fellas I have talked to in Shelter Cove lived there when there were only two families...can you imagine?!
Shelter Cove is an excellent example of the Californication of the Northcoast that has occurred, even during my time here. Oh well, you can check out, but you can never leave. Still love it here.

olmanriver said...

Out at the Shelter Cove general store, Tom Machi, whose family I have been referring to, is putting up a wall of old photos of the area. He had shots of a number of the oldest structures on that part of the coast, one of which was the Smith place, the first settler at* (the asterisk of slight doubt)Spanish Flat. In an SF Bulletin article about the Hamilton/Oliver fight, the name S. Smith is mentioned as one of the men who held off the Indians, so that Hamilton could escape. Descendants of that Smith went on to build the Smith/Ettersburg Road.
Spanish Flat is the alleged site of the cave of gold that Ernie posted about once. I later read a Humboldt Historian article that told of three nonlocal tribes who had preserved memories of that story. One of my recent informants told me that he had heard that Sally Bell had played in that gold when she was little. And that is my morning bullshistory babble.
(has anyone ever tried to contact Sally Bell via ouiji board that you know of Ernie?)

olmanriver said...

Just found that playing with the bones story on page 130 of Buck's Through the Eyes of a Salmon, and the boy was Charlie Hacker.
The Heckers/Hackers (and I believe that they are the same family*)were early homesteaders with the Somerville family atop Elk Ridge. Later they settled on the backside of Bear Butte, raised pigs, and Hacker Creek, site of a horrible diesel dope spill was named after them.
The original Hecker wife was a Yurok. There was an incident at a Briceland bar where the father was badgered into murdering someone. The children were with the mother over at the Needle Rock school in '03 or '04, but later they were dispersed to all different households, to add bodies to school districts as needed, as you stated Joe.
Now how did I get a word verification "foolo"? Ernie!!!

Joseph said...

Just a note to say that there were still Smiths of that family in the Honeydew area (Paul Smith) when we lived there 30 years ago. Also, still Etters, including Miss Mary Etter (who I hear has recently opened a restaurant or will soon). Those are the Smiths and Etters of the Smith-Etter Road and the Smith Cabin and Etter Cabin out close to Spanish Flat. I got some pictures awhile back from a lady I knew when she was a little girl living on Wilder Ridge who had recently hiked the Lost Coast and stayed over (with permission) at the Etter Cabin. We had reconnected a few years ago in Atlanta. Go figure that one....

olmanriver said...

Paul Smith is still around, Tom M. was going to share the S. Smith info with him... didn't know the Etters had a cabin at Sp. Flat too!
It is a small world.

Joseph said...

Yes! Great work, Ernie. You are absolutely correct that the guy I was talking about was Charlie Hacker. Since Charlie was living down close to Buck's place in 1980, I'm sure Buck talked with him more than the times when we were both there at the same time. The published version is a little different from my memory of what Charlie told, and I imagine Buck took a little "artistic license," but it is good to see that the name and the general gist of the story is in the book. I thought it was in there somewhere, but did not find it when I leafed through.

Interesting that you mentioned Somervilles. There was a guy by the name of Arthur Sommerville who worked with/for my Dad peeling tanbark in the early 1940s. I think I have the first name right. It seems to me like he was from Briceland or thereabouts. In the 1960s I visited Tom Brown, who lived in the house on the ranch where I grew up. He gave me a little notebook he had found around the place that had been the one my Dad used to keep track of the hours people worked, as well as the stuff he sold them (like work boots). He seemed to be using the old "company store" model of management. Good work, Ernie. You are no "foolo."

Joseph said...

The Paul Smith I was thinking of would not likely be still around, because I think he would be about 113 years old if he was. I'm guessing he had a son, Paul, Jr. (if not Paul XII, sound like a Pope). I think I remember Paul's wife as Ann. She was a very nice person, and I think she and Paul were good friends of my uncle Roy, who was known as "Happy Jack" Erwin, and probably his 2nd wife, Edith Klemp. Aunt Hazel also married a Klemp and members of the Klemp family had the cabin on the ranch that belonged to aunt Hazel. Gabrielle Roach has it now, along with what is left of the house where I lived as a kid.

Robin Shelley said...

Don't know if this has anything to do with anything, OMaR, but Bert Sloan, who lives on the Laytonville Rancheria, let it be known quite a few years ago that he is a "Hecker". I don't remember the exact circumstances for his sudden announcement of that but it was important to him as a matter of lineage... something to do with Indian land elsewhere, I think.

olmanriver said...

Yup, Ernie's no foolo. That'd be me.

The Somervilles (and every spelling thereabouts)were a large family in the Briceland area).

Like your Paul Jr, the young Charlie Hacker would be a junior to his dad who got into the trouble in Briceland in the 1890's.

Does that Gabriel Roach family go back to the Roach family of early Piercy history?

olmanriver said...

Thanks Robin, I am gonna tiptoe around that one, and just say that the Sloans trace one grandparent line through William Sloan, a brother of the young Charley.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Now, for some “housekeeping”.
Joe, the man with all of the information about Shelter Cove and Charlie Hacker is “Olmanriver” who has done enormous research on the history of this area. OMR, as he is often called, is one of those dratted newcomers that prefer made up names. OMR, has been declared an “Official Local”, because he has paid his dues and learned our history. Sometime in the future, when his identity becomes known, he will be as famous as Mark Twain and Samuel Clemmons.

It is true that at one time here was more than one Paul smith, fathers and sons. I knew two of them, not well, but I did some refrigeration work for both of them.

Now, to address the real point of writing this comment. When I first met Olmanriver, I told him that I never tried to “steer” a story, and that I was always anxious to hear the tellers version. Because of my objective listening, I’ve heard as many as five versions of every “Old-Timers Tale”. I remember telling him that the only exception that I knew of, was the stories that I’ve heard about Foxie Burns. I told him that I’ve heard at least twenty-five versions of Foxie’s story. Now thanks to OMR I’ve heard twenty-six versions, because the other day OMR handed me a copy of a manuscript in Foxie’s own handwriting. WOW!

Anybody that tells a story here, no matter how right or wrong it is, I, and many others, want to hear your version. As has been proven to me MANY times, often the most outlandish and unaccepted version turns out to be the true story, and if it hadn’t been told as you remember it. It would have been lost to history. So don’t change your story if you hear a conflicting tale. You can, as Joe did, point out the areas that you are unsure of, but it is best to tell the story as you remember it.

That, and I never tire of hearing tales. I believe in King Arthur, Maid Marion, and Camelot. No matter how many times a tale has been handed down, it only gets sweeter.

gabby haze said...

aww Ernie, don't you mean that omr will be as famous as Samuel Twain, and Mark Clemmons?
more likely...

Joseph said...

I expect you are all quite familiar with Ray Raphael, author of EDGES and many other books (maybe OMR is "Old Man Raphael"). And, for all I know, one of you may be him. I expect you also know (or are) the famous folk, such as, "The Man Who Walks in the Woods," (who I have always preferred to call "Forest"), and "Marylee Bytheriver," who lived (or lives) down stream of Ettersburg. It's a wonderful life, is it not?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Yep Joe, I know all of those people. (finally!)

Ray Raphael is often a guest speaker at our Rotary club. He is a dynamic and exciting speaker. "Man who walks in the woods" still lives here. Marylee Bytheriver married Alan Katz. He once joked that he was going to put Katz Bytheriver on his mailbox.

olmanriver said...

Again, I love your version of the bones story, Joe. The sanitized for the public version in the book doesn't compare.
In a school census of children 17 and under conducted by the Needle Rock school in 1903 (thank you Diane Hawk)...the Hecker boys were listed as Bernard (14), Charles(13), and Willie(16), just to confirm the probable ages in your story.

Joseph Tracy Sr., former stalwart mail carrier for the Hydesville Express in the middle 1800's, presided over the trial of Charles Hecker(Sr) for the murder of Patrick Riley in 1894. Being found guilty of 2nd degree murder may have had something to do with his flight to Alaska that you mentioned.

I am not in Ray Raphael's league, Robin calls me OMaR, I think because I usually mar my entries, and Suz often ends a question to me with "duh?", which I always thought was New Jersey for "dear".

You just happened wandered into an area I have some knowledge about.

Joseph said...

Wow! That is a great confirmation of Charlie's age that would put his birth in the year he told us it was, 1890. He said he had an older brother about two years older. In your report he is listed as one year older, but, depending on when birthday's fell, there might have been some times of year when Charlie's age was two digits less than that of his brother. I love it when one can find converging evidence.

spyrock said...

Thanks for clearing up the Spy Rock location. It seems to me like there was some sort of little gas station and diner down

does the black cat cafe ring a bell. someone besides me has to remember it.
river has found all sorts of things about my family and passed them on to me.
maybe you know something about the following story also discovered by river.
frank asbill was the son of pierce asbill whose brother frank discovered round valley. young frank grew up in the company of outlaws. charles bolton, better known as black bart, was a friend of pierce and used to visit their ranch. when young frank was living on a ranch near harris in humbolt county a fellow named leroy parker, better known as butch cassidy taught him how to use a gun until the sun dance kid rode in with the law on his trail and both men had to leave.
in 1936, frank was living at the del rey hotel in garberville with hotel manager maude maher whom he beat to death on may 20. he was sentenced to san quentin where he wrote the book entitled "the last of the west"
in june of 1936, my mother's aunt ethel maude simmerly was put in charge of her mother's estate and ran the hotel for a brief time until the owner took over and renamed it the stop inn.
asbill's book was never published but most of the information in it
was related in "genocide and vendetta."

river can find stuff if you have anymore questions just like the above little ditty.

olmanriver said...

At the risk of a little "Maude-slinging"... I never mentioned Spy, that Maude had previously run a house of ill-repute down in Ukiah.
Tying back into a previous loop of this thread, Nona James said she refused to loan Frank the few hundred dollars he needed to publish his book once he was out of the slammer.

olmanriver said...

And back to Joe... did you know the Wrights of Petrolia? They were major collectors of Indian artifacts in the Mattole area. There was an article with two pictures of a portion of the vast collector in the Humboldt Times in 1949. Both of the Wrights were descendants of original white families in the area, Titus and Wright.

Robin Shelley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin Shelley said...

I wonder if the "spy rock" Joe remembers his dad referring to might be Farley Peak on the Shamrock Ranch south of Laytonville & a little to the east of the 101 highway?
The only Black Cat Cafe I remember was a cafe/motel on the west side of the 101 a little north of Cloverdale, Spy.
And, OMaR, I call you OMaR because it's easier than saying "olmanriver" or "oh em are". Besides, I give all my friends nicknames. (-: But, OMG, OMaR! Are you really Ray Raphael?!! (Confession: I had to look up "R. Raphael" because, for some inexplicable reason, I was confusing him with Thomas Pynchon (!) & was all set to reassure you that you are right about not being in the same league as he... I tried reading "Vineland" years ago & it was so dry & so cumbersome that I finally had to give up on the thing!) But Ray Raphael? Well, now, that's different! Don't sell yourself short, OMaR... Ray would be every bit as honored as Suzy is to rub elbows (or whatever!) with you. (Aw, c'mon! You can tell me... are you really HIM?!! We can keep it just between us.)

Joseph said...

Robin: Interesting that you mention Thomas Pynchon and VINELAND. I find Pynchon kind of cumbersome reading, because he seems to work so hard at clever encryption of place names, and such. If I remember correctly, he has southern Humboldt as its own distinct county, but with Scotia as the county seat. [Of course, Scotia=Vineland, as in the early name of what became Nova Scotia] He is a distant cousin of my wife, with the common ancestor back about 10-12 generations in Massachusetts in the 1600s. Did any of you know him while he was hanging around in Humboldt or Berkeley? He may have gone by some other name--perhaps a name of one of the characters in his book. So, weird tangent, eh?

Anonymous said...

Well Spyrock, you are the first to mention Butch Cassidy and Harris in the same sentence. My Uncle Ben told me that Butch and Sundance met in Covelo and whenever I told someone that, they would laugh. I guess that information was left out of the movie.

Oregon

Robin Shelley said...

I heard the Butch Cassidy story from Leggett resident, Everett "Buck" Ingram, when I was in high school. (I'm sure many of you Humboldt Co. road racers remember Buck!) Buck taught a police science class at LHS after he retired & he had a wealth of stories that didn't relate to police science or the CHP.
Joe, I never met Pynchon but I remember hearing that he spent some time in Boonville & on the Mendocino coast while researching/writing "Vineland".

Anonymous said...

It's Road Runner Robin, not road racer. Or should I call you crow.

Oregon

omriver said...

Robin a crow, caw caw caw! COL!
For the record, I am not Ray Raphael.
I am "a Pynchon", or I would be if a certain blogcommentress walked by my
wheelchair.

Robin Shelley said...

I guess I am "cawing", OMaR... sorry... or maybe "raven" but I don't screech! You know me well enough, Oregon Turkey, that you can call me whatever you want (only my elders have that privilege) &, go ahead, tell 'em what I have in the window over my front door!

suzy blah blah said...

i agree with Robin about not selling yourself short OMR. Seriously!! I think you have another, deeper, dimension to add to "the story" that Ray has never even dreamed of. Modesty has its place, but so does (....)! When i pick up a book i want more than just a pinch, i want something that'll knock me out...
How long are you gonna make Suzy wait?

spyrock said...

told ya, gotta make that wheel chair flip out, no more 360's.
maybe the del rey hotel in garberville was a brothel as well.
does a mountain lion change it's spots? so that butch cassiday sundance story you told me about might be true after all. logical. there still isn't much law up in covelo. bach then george white owned the sherrif. got that one covered too with another indirect reletive. wrek mcpherson was his name. and its a better story than frankie and maude.

Joseph said...

My cousin, Naoma, daughter of Aunt Gladys (Erwin Scholes), has been reading the blog. I hope she will post comments. She has many more early memories than I do of the "Circle E" ranch at Panther Gap.

She now lives in Alabama, not far from Chattanooga, Tenn, but she has strong and fond memories of the ranch.

olmanriver said...

Oh Robin, I didn't mean to sound mean with my cawing and crowing attempt at wit...my bad, and I am sorry. C(aw)OL!

Today gabby and me hauled a load up the stage and mail route from Cahto to Laytonville,past the ruins of Cummings, up up the Bell Springs gravel road, past an enormous rock on the left that is Blue Rock. There is a fine little ranch right there. This is the site of a pre-whiteman Indian fight that was a large-scale battle, by Indian standards.
The drive was a slice of heaven. Those green rolling, diving, pastured hills with dense ravines of trees. You can see how the firs proliferate without Indian burns. You ride the ridge with views to the east and west that are just spectacular. I kept going slowly trying to imagine a wagonspeed and horse speed, what fraction of my 15mph would they be?

There was a large rock outcrop a ways on, on the right, further away from the road than Blue Rock. I believe it is Camel Rock. To the east the land plummet down into the river valley, and above that is the ridge with the Mina/Lake road I took out of Round Valley last year.
As you continue winding to the north you start to see a mesalike rock outcrop in the distance that must be Jewett Rock, site of at least one ladder-only-accessible wedding. Now around here the road is paved in way that is very three dimensional and requires both hands and keen attention. It is not a good road for people with fear of heights. I was very glad gabby was driving, less glad for his singin'.
Nearing old Harris you pick up more trees along the ridgetops, and what with gabby's "singin" and the road getting gnarly I sorta tuned out Bell Springs (where the Sproul brothers cowbell allegedly ended up all the way from Sproul Creek, but that's another story) and Harris; traffic starting picking up, and we cruised down Alderpoint road past the historic Robertson place, descending with that great view of the river valley. Aaaaaak civilization and the bright shiny roofs of... when did that industrial park get so big! Did they curve to straighten the highway while I was gone? There sure are some big boxes in the Evergreen center. It was sobering, after such a leisurely stroll through sparsely inhabited ranchlands. I regress...
What a travel route that would have been back then. The aforementioned Joseph Tracy was also the father of the schoolteacher/writer Ethel Tracy referred to "up-post". He came through the Southfork area in 1859 with Robert White, the road viewer from Long Valley who remarked on all the riverbottom rangeland available here. Right after that Tracy briefly tried to homestead here, but his caretaker became scared of the Indians, and moved out. Soon he became the head of the mail service which supplied the towns north with most of its mail and news. The editors of the Humboldt Times would descry the torture of delays in service, or having to rely upon "sailmail"(my term)parcels a few times, at best, a month.
The mail route was very vulnerable to Indian attacks from Hydesville to Long valley and there were months of interruptions at times. In Sept. of 1861, Indians killed three horses at Spruce Grove first and then,later, 75-300 Indians attacked the Spruce Grove stage station and tried to burn them out, but ended up settling for killing a total of ten horses, and having a big barbecue.
This was what was going through my mind on my beautiful day drive. What was gabby singing?
...some song about his imaginary girlfriend:

"Geraldine, Chrysanthemene, prettiest little flower that I ever seen,
She's a friend of mine, mama she's a friend of mine.

Petal Child, Growing Wild, even though she's living in a compost pile, she is my glitter and my gold, she is my glitter and my gold.

Geraldine, Chrysanthemene, prettiest little flower that I ever seen, she's my Honeydew baby, Honeydew me again!"

Hope you enjoyed the ride today with me an' gabby. Thanks for all those compliments, enough tho, I gotta wear a hat by this summertime for the sun!

olman-typa-river said...

An' Suz, you are pseyechick, I want to acknowledge that. I am sitting on the best Indian and cowboy story I ever heard (except for Lucy Young's), and it concerns the earliest history, ne'er told, of Leggett Valley.
Waiting is fullness ripening, pluck the sweet fruit of anticipation for now.

Ernie Branscomb said...

OMR
The next time that you take a ride over Grants Trail, talk to me FIRST. I have a few points of interest to tell you about that will make your trip much more exciting. Unfortunatly you will have to leave Gabby home. He is one of those dratted newcomers that hasn't passed his local bullshistory test yet.

However, you are now a "Trusted local" and a can be trusted to have some information that you will need to have on your way to becoming a "Trusted Old-Timer"

olmanriver said...

Ah Ernie, I am oldtimer enough not to mention the place you aren't referring to where I did stop and peck out Ernie B. 2010, over some older graffiti.

Robin Shelley said...

You're not mean, OMaR. You're funny! (And I like that! A lot.)

gabby haze said...

enough about olmanriver, he is unsufferable enough here at the "home". he asked for a second sponge bath from the new nurse...because he is a "trusted local"...well she saw through that one.

let's hear some more Joe and maybe Naoma stories!

olmanriver said...

Thanks pal.

Joe, the Bull Creek trail to Salmon Creek you mentioned starts just across the Bull Creek culvert crossing as you head west through Rockefeller Grove from highway 101. There is a fire access road to the left that is gated up a short ways. I have seen a lot of bicyclist take off up that road. I was a little slow to get where you were talking about and I realized that it is right where I take new friends for a breath-taking walk through the redwoods. The small parking lot on the fire access road is the trailhead for a 3-4 mile roundtrip walk into the Big Tree from the west, or deeper into some prime virgin redwood. I understood better how highly regarded that area was for lumber after rereading that French account.

Thanks for confirming the trail route, that is some fine country.

Joseph said...

Hey OMR, the place I was thinking of was just past a bridge over Bull Creek (maybe a culvert now?). I guess the road from where Dyerville used to be (from 101 and Avenue of the Giants) west is now called the Mattole Road (because it goes up over the ridge to Honeydew, etc.). There is a road that goes down into the parking area in the spectacular Rockefeller Grove that is bounded by the South Fork of the Eel and the mouth of Bull Creek. Farther along there is a little road and parking area at the trail head, where a footbridge crosses Bull Creek and the trail goes back to the Big Tree and the Flatiron Tree. Farther along yet, there is a bridge (large culvert?) over Bull Creek, and just after that is the edge of the redwood forest. Beyond that was clear cut and the Bear River Lumber Company mill and the town of Bull Creek were there. Just after the bridge and the edge of the woods, there is a road to the right to a camp ground and a road to the left that is a trail loop that goes up to Grasshopper Summit and connects with a trail loop to Johnson Camp. See:

redwoodhikes.com/Humboldt/Johnson.html

I thought this connected with a trail to Gilham Butte and (maybe) Salmon Creek, and over past Saddle Mountain to the King Crest Trail, but it clearly is not that simple. I had heard of a "redwoods to the sea" trail proposal, but maybe that was not completed.

BTW, my cousin Naoma gave me some good information. Uncle Roy's 2nd wife was Edith Peck (not Klemp, as I had said). She was a school teacher.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Link to Joseph's Jonhson trail

I went to school with Terry Johnson. He was from Bull Creek, along with Roy Todd and the Todd family. I wonder if the trail was named after his Terry's family?

Joseph said...

If I remember correctly, the Bull Creek Store (including gas station and adjoining bar) was owned by the Johnsons. Same family? I don't know. Same family as the Weott Johnsons who had the store? I don't know that either. I didn't know everyone around there.

omr said...

Thanks Joe for all the info... I wondered where the "town" and mill were at Bull Creek.
I am trying to get Dave Stockton to join the fun here as he knows that country...well, like you do probably.
There was a history done of that area by Oral.... (brainfart), whose family has been there a long time. I think you would enjoy it greatly if I can burn you a cd, once I locate it. Johnson is a name of some of the earliest pioneers in that area. I keep wanting to say Tostada Johnson but that can't be right? I will correct this later in the day.

Joseph said...

don't really remember many of the names from Bull Creek that I should remember. I'll check with my brother. He'll remember more. Some that come to mind are:

Dave and Addie Chadbourne
"Checky" Chadbourne
Rosie Bushnell
Bruce Lewis
George Matthews
Art Daniels or Danielson [not sure about this one; his wife taught school at the Bull Creek school, and he had a D7 Cat, with which he built roads for us sometimes] Art built the road that is called "Tanbark Road" that brances off Panther Gap Road and goes down into what is now parkland and back up to join the ridge road at a place we called "Mud Springs." And the ridge road there goes on out across the top of Stewart Ridge and beyond--to where, I do not know. I thought it connected with a road that went down into Salmon Creek.

olmanriver said...

It was Oral Whitlow who did the barely circulated history.
I have a newspaper clipping that Addie Chadbourne wrote about how proud of her Indian and half-breed family she was.
Were you around when the Bull Creek cemetery got washed away?

Joseph said...

The cemetery got washed away in 1955 or 1964--I'm not sure which. Mom closed the sale of the ranch in 1954 and the next time I was up there was in the spring of 1964 after the terrible flood. I'm not sure what year the cemetery was established at its current location. Mid-1960s, I think. I probably saw it there in 1967, the year I got stranded up Salmon Creek, searching for the connection to Panther Gap road.

oldmanriver said...

Hey Joe, I was researching away today and found a Times newspaper mention of the Fremds from 3/2/1906:
"George Fremd of Harris arrived in town last evening from the mattole secion with a band of Angora goats. There were 16 of them and they were beauties of the goat family. Mr. Fremd was taking them to a ranch on the main Eel."

Joseph said...

OMR, thanks for calling that Fremd piece to my attention. I'll try to find a way for getting that info to Molly Ringwald's folks. I think this would interest them. George Fremd was probably Molly's great grandfather.

oldmanriver said...

You're most welcome Joseph. I am sorta busting a gut here trying to find Oral Whitlow's history of your old area. That Erwin name is ringing in the increasing hollow hall of my memory.

Ernie Branscomb said...

The following is clipped from personal correspondence between Naoma and Joseph. Naoma asked me if I would post it here.
Joe
Did I ever tell you about the time dad, mom, bruce and I were headed up to the ranch on the old 101 highway???? some where along the Eel the road had had a big slide. We had to stop for the one way traffic...and as we were waiting dad told us to look up onto the big rocks of the hill. There overlooking the activity was a big cougar. Paws under its head, lying {there} just looking and watching. As the flagman gave us the go ahead to move the car forward dad stopped to talk him...and showed him the cougar. The fellow told dad, that the cougar came every day and just watched the men working...always lying in the same spot. Dad asked if it made the men "leery" ...He told dad that they just figured the animal was "just curious" and rather enjoyed watching them work. That was the only time I had seen a cougar in the wild. When our family first came to the "Circle E'" Mom and dad were looking for a place to put our cabin. We were up where Your dad and Mom built your house...the land was open...no buildings. We were under that great big old oak that was in your yard and I kept saying "mama, Kitty, Kitty" They said..there are no kitties there, but I kept insisting there was a "kitty". As I look back over the years I do believe there was a young panther stretched out on that big limb of the oak tree, Any way...dad & mom set up our tent with the cots in it and for air circulation left both flaps open..front and back. There was a walk space between Bruce's cot and mine. Mother and dad's cots were at the front of the tent with the same spacing. In the morning mother told as that during the night a cougar came in the front opening, walked between the cots, and as she held her breath&prayed it just walked out the back of the tent. I was about two years old I guess.
Naoma

Anonymous said...

Wow, great stories Naoma!

Naoma said...

Again Ernie, I have bother you with an e-mail. I tried to sign up with
the Blogger...and got all confused....no excuse...I'm only 18
backwards!!!. Please get this one to Idaho....Thanks for your comments.
I have always been fascinated with the big cats. When I was younger we
would gather around the crackling fire place and coal oil lamps and my
grandfather would tell about his youth in Nebraska. At times, it was
very late at night when we would have to set out walking to our cabin
below the Circle E. We had our flashlight to see the trail and my mother
would call out to me "Naoma, get that flashlight down here" I would have
it up in the trees looking for the Panther that was going to jump down on
us and all she wanted to see was the trail and any Rattlesnakes!!
Yes...there were those times too!!! Naoma

Joseph said...

More names from Bull Creek. When I was little, the Bull Creek store was owned by Earl Johnson. I think he had bought out the Butts folks who had it before. I asked my brother about that. I also asked him about the guy who had the Cat and built the Tanbark Road (its name on the map now and descriptive of the reason it was built). His name was Guy Thompson. His wife was a school teacher in Bull Creek. They lived up what we called the north fork of Bull Creek, which is near where the Cuneo Creek erosion dammed up the creek and then burst and sent a devastating wall of water that wiped out the rest of the town of Bull Creek. I don't imagine Guy Thompson's house survived. My brother had the impression that Guy was sent up for cattle rustling in the early-to-mid 1950s. I don't have any independent verification of that.

Joseph said...

There are some pictures of the Bull Creek Pioneer Cemetery posted on the web. I see that Guy Thompson is among those buried there. He is the guy who had a D-7 Cat and built the Tanbark Road that branches off Panther Gap Road. From Panther Gap, Panther Gap Road stays on the northeast side of the ridge for the first mile, or so. At the place where it crosses the ridge to the southwest side, Tanbark Road branches off and follows the old pack trail near the top of the ridge. Then it goes over the ridge and down on the northeast side to "Rocky Point" and it loops (or once did) around and joins the Rim Road near Mud Springs. I see that some of the topo maps show connections between the Rim Road, a road that goes up the Bull Creek watershed and is labeled as "Bull Creek Road." There are also connections to Grasshopper Road, and trails or roads that go down into Salmon Creek and over to the side of Gilham Butte toward the old Westlund Place. Westlund Creek runs between the ridge where Gilham Butte is and Stewart Ridge ("Old Baldy").

olmanriver said...

Glad you are still on this thread Joseph... that Johnson family was probably descended from Tosalda Johnson, an early pioneer.
That original Thompson name goes way back as well, old Mr. Thompson is buried over in a cemetery on the North side of the Eel on the old Whitlow and Wheat ranch. This is a bit out of the area that we are talking about, but I am pret' near sure we are chatting about their descendants.
I found the Leonard Whitlow book I found last year, but it is more about river life than Bull Creek. In one picture from the early '50s there are couple of Roach brothers in a boat with the author, probably descendants of the Roach mentioned earlier by you or Naoma.

As I mentioned, that Erwin name was tugging at my faint and barely filed memories... last year Dave Stockton showed me a picture of an ornate pipe bowl found on Erwin property at the mouth of the Mattole in 1907. Same Erwins?

Joseph said...

OMR,

Interesting. Yes, there were Erwins down near the mouth of the Mattole. They had a mill at Mill Creek (near where Rex & Ruth Rathbun lived). An interesting note, of which you may be aware, is that the Erwin family provided a home for "Sally Erwin," who ostensibly (according to some sources) was the last surviving Mattole indian. I have not been able to connect those Erwins with my family, but I would be surprised if there were no connection. I'll have to try a little harder, now that I know much more about my own heritage than I did last time I was in the Mattole and thinking about those Erwins.
Coincidentally, I had a great-aunt named Sally Erwin who officially joined the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma (in the 1840s, I think). There are reasons to believe that my ancestral Erwins left North Carolina to avoid (or as part of) President Jackson's forced removal of Native Americans from North Carolina--at the time of the "trail of tears." Some information has suggested that my third great grandmother was "a Cherokee princess," but there are lots of stories of that kind from the western part of the Carolinas in the late 1700s. If you find out anything more about those Mattole Erwins, please let me know. If I get a few names, I might be able to trace them back to someone I recognize. My immigrant ancestor, Matthew Irwin (father of Arthur Erwin, born in PA) came from Ireland and settled a few miles from where I live now. That branch of the family went to North Carolina in the 1750s. I have connected the dots and located distant cousins--who check out with Y-chromosome DNA. More soon.

olmanriver said...

Joseph, you sure fit it here on the blog nicely.

That Erwin name synchronicity is something. I will inquire about the Mattole mouth Erwins. And I did not know about any Sally Erwin. The Duncans are the known Indian survivors living near the mouth of the Mattole.
After the Mattole Indians were killed off or rousted out of their lands for distant reservations, a small group was allowed to stay at the mouth of the Mattole but a disease ravaged their numbers later on, and few survived. Most of the part Mattole Indians at the Bear River rancheria are descendants through Johnny Jack or the Denmans. So I am keen to hear more about the local Sally Erwin.

I do want to say that I am learning so much about your area and must take a spring drive over to the coast through Rockefeller Grove. I really do not know the terrain, so I am listening, and probably will print out some of your descriptions.

Joseph said...

There are some nice driving loops (Ferndale, Capetown, Petrolia, Honeydew, Panther Gap, Bull Creek, Dyerville; or Garberville, Briceland, Ettersburg, Wilder Ridge, Honeydew, and over Panther Gap way to Bull Creek). Also, up to the ridge above Shelter Cove and back into the King Range National Conservation Area. One used to be able to drive way up on top, nearly to King's Peak. Then, of course, the Smith-Etter Road. But one has to get the key from Mary Etter or her brother. I guess Bobby Shinn at the Honeydew Store would direct you to one of the Etters. And, of course, there is Lighthouse Road across the river from Petrolia that goes down to the mouth of the Mattole. All lovely places to go, especially in the spring time.

olmanriver said...

Another existing line of Betol blood is Gordon Bussell whose ancestor took in a female Indian survivor of a Mattole (Betol) massacre. He said that by 1910 there were 10 full bloods left.

Have you ever poked around on the Mattole History site ?

olmanriver said...

That drive through the redwoods and up and over to the ocean is just the best. I have only done it a few times, but now that I know the history more, I am sure that I will see things differently.
I live on Elk Ridge towards the Briceland end...south of the old Somerville Range, which Judge Hunter bought around 1900. That Hunter family had a four or five brothers come into the Mattole early.
I love all those drives you described, this time of year with green bursting out, it is beautiful everywhere. I was so sprung on spring the other day that I reached down and plucked a handful of clover leaves and an un-opened blossom...I liked it! It was the kind that gets tall and has the large red blossom. Getting it young before opening was the key as the clover with blossoms had a worse taste. I also tried a member of the pea family that I knew to be safe and really liked that flavor. Those Indians knew their plant uses, and best times for harvesting.

Joseph said...

I have been fortunate enough to go many interesting places. I haven't "been everywhere, man," as the song says, but enough places to get out into the woods and countryside and smell the flowers and taste the plants--so, OMR, the taste of various kinds of clover rings familiar to me. When we lived in Nashville and fished a lot down on the Little Harpeth, I discovered wild passion flowers and passion fruit everywhere. So, when I found it growing wild on Thursday Island, north Queensland, I was happy to eat some and share it with others. It was an Easter Sunday, significantly, if you catch my drift.... And wild blackberries in Madagascar and Sulawesi, and wild strawberries among the Douglas firs in Germany. Which reminds me, do any of you know the Etter-Burbank strawberries? I believe those horticulturists crossed our native wild strawberry (delicious! but too small and fragile) with one that was native to South Africa. Please, SoHum experts, enlighten me with whatever you know of have heard about Etter strawberries.

olmanriver said...

Sometimes brevity is the soul of twits. Took gabby south today as he got kicked out the home, seen it coming, nurses run out of his room shrieking all the time. Boys, don't stay all repressed, when it comes out later, it gets ... unseemly.
He gave me a big ol' hug when we parted, said something in my ear that I thought Suz might appreciate. He said "See, embracing your dork side wasn't so bad".
After leaving him off in Ukiah, I went on over to the Mendocino Historical Society and charmed the younger women there into helping me plunder their files, which I did for three straight hours.
Great day! Besides flirting with a pair of young 70 somethin's, I got a gold mine of photocopies, some really rich stuff to parcel onto the blog over time.
I heard about the actual burning of the pile of published Genocide and Vendettas in Oklahoma and why.
I got the real story of the naming of Bell Springs, not the Asbill bullshistory version. I dialed in more of the history of the south end of Long Valley...the Requas raised an Indian child who grew up and was the midwife for a Requa descendant. There were some newspaper articles about someone named Ruby Branscomb...I dunno, maybe no one is into this stuff...?

olmanriver said...

Sorry posted before looking Joseph. I will check into that, what I recall is people remarking on their large size.
Ernie probably knows more.

Idaho said...

ooooo berry picking around the world!
Sounds great, never thought of berries from those parts of the world.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joseph
You are absolutely right about the strawberries. (bullshistory warning applies here! I'm about to tell a tale the way that I understand it, which as you know, isn't always the truth)

The story that I heard was, Albert Etter worked near the ship loading docks in Eureka and became friends with some of the “old salts” that worked aboard the ships sailing between South America and Eureka. They told him about a strawberry that grew near the beaches down there. They told him that they were a great big strawberry, but worthless, because they were sour and inedible. He convinced them to bring him some plants, and told then how to transplant them into containers and keep them alive on the way home.

After he got the plants he experimented with cross breeds between Humboldt County's very sweet, but very small strawberry. He breed them up until he ended up with a large and sweet strawberry. My Grandmother had a large patch (25'x50') of them in Laytonville that she always called “Albert Etter Strawberries”.

Now, for the part that would have made Albert Etter ashamed. The strawberry that he worked so hard to develop has been bred back down to remain firm longer for transporting commercially. They have been bred to be larger. The plant has been made “runnerless”, which means that the plants won't propagate themselves through runners that take root and form a new plant. Unfortunately, they have bred most all of the good old Humboldt wild sweet strawberry out of them, and are getting more and more close to the sour beach strawberry that grows wild in South America. Sadly, there is several generations that will never know the sweet taste of Gramma Ruby's “Albert Etter Strawberries.)

Joseph said...

Thanks for the information, Ernie. I would be surprised if Naoma does not remember something about those strawberries too. Maybe something I never knew. The ones we had were just outstanding. And I remember as a small child pinching off runners and transplanting the little plants from the runners.

Do we have any knowledge or lore of connections between Luther Burbank (in Santa Rosa) and Albert Etter? If they were really contemporaries, as I think I heard, it would be interesting to know the extent of their communication and collaboration. For example, how often did Luther Burbank visit Humboldt County? Did he collect wild plants or have some arrangement with Albert to do so? I never thought to ask the family. Mary Etter may know all about this. Another line on this would be Etters involvement with apples.

And, OMR, some of us are VERY interested in the historical stuff you find in those old files. Just some advice. Please be sure to refile, after you defile.... You know, those fillies you mentioned are there to help those with a passion for history.

olmanriver said...

Sounds like good advice Joseph.

The most widely circulated story of the naming of Bell Springs comes from the Frank Asbill Last of the West (bulls)history narrative.
He describes a 1861-2 mountain man attack on a rancheria of Indians in the Briceland vicinity who had made off with a cowbell during a raid on the Sproul brothers and their stock at Sproul Creek. Allegedly that bell helped the mountain men track the Indians all the way to the the springs that the mountain men then named Bell Springs. I even alluded to this story in my Bell Springs travelogue post. The mountain men attack was in direct response to the attacks on the Sproul brothers at Sproul Creek, and Mrs. Bowman at Camp Grant. That the former happened in 1861, and the latter in 1868 or '69, reveals the sort of "freedom of recollection". occurring in Asbill's book. The notion of the Indians giving away their location with a bell goes against all wisdom, given their gift of stealth, and how they used the noise of the calvary approaching to easily evade them.


In a history of the previously mentioned Joseph Tracy, by Joseph Prince Tracy, an earlier account of the naming of Bell Springs is given. Tracy and Robert White from Mendocino County, and JS Murray, the road viewer from Humboldt County, traversed this area looking for the best route for the road to connect Cahto and south with Union and Eureka. I quote:
"The name Bell Springs originated with these explorers, in this manner. When the exploring party first passed by they found a cow-bell buried in the mud of the spring. The explorers took the bell
and tied it high up in a tree where it would ring when shaken by the wind. When they next came by, the bell was not in the tree, but they again found it buried in the spring. Thinking that the Indians had his the bell because of some superstition, the explorers again hung it in a tree. At every subsequent visit, the bell was found in the mud around the spring, and each time was placed in a tree where it would ring. Thus arose the name Bell Springs."

Now, I have only been studying the history for a relatively short time, but the Tracy version should supplant the Asbill version in my opinion. I wonder if there are any other version circulating amongst the locals?

Joseph said...

A little googling around led me to much information about Albert Fages Etter and Luther Burbank, and a mentor of theirs, Edward Wickson, who is regarded by some as "The Father of California Agriculture" and the father also of UC Davis (my alma mater). One of the best sites is that of the Greenmantle Nursery in Garberville (Ram Fishman). Ernie, I expect you already know Ram and his work on recovering apples.

olmanriver said...

Last year I photocopied an article on the Etters that had come from a Humboldt Historical Society magazine, only to notice that twenty years later the authoress was one of my first neighbors in the area, Ami Goldberg. Ram is carrying on, but Etter was a genius, I have heard two versions of how he took dismal soils and improved them. The first story I read said that he added lime to the soil, the second version was angle worms.

Pardon, my subject changing but....I would love any and all reminescents of these names you mentioned...
Dave and Addie Chadbourne
"Checky" Chadbourne
Rosie Bushnell...
I know someone who would love to hear any stories about their kin.

Joseph said...

OMR,

First, my memorie was that Addie Chadbourne was married to Dave Chadbourne, but my brother recalls his name as Duane or Dwayne. It seemed like Rose Bushnell lived with them but was younger than Addie, and that "Checkie" also did. They lived up the hill from where the Pioneer Cemetery is, maybe a mile or more, along the ridge that Mattole Road climbs (between Bull Creek and Cuneo Creek). There's a series of switchbacks up the side of the mountain. When I was little, and I think Naoma may have mentioned this, even in a car you had to back up at least once to get around some of those hairpin turns. In Dad's little red '36 ford truck (known as "Miss Thorn") it took backing up two or three times to get around those turns.

The year Guy Thompson built the road (now known as Tanbark Road) Dave or Dwayne Chadbourne hauled
tanbark out for us. It had to be hauled to South Fork where it was put on the train to go south the tanneries south of San Francisco.
"Checkie" did too. Dwayne had a GMC and Checkie had a Chevy. In my memory they were about 1941 and one was green with black fenders and the other may have been tan with black fenders. Art Clark also worked on the road building and tanbark peeling with us that year. My sister Becky and brother Jay tell of hearing someone coming on horseback down the road when they were at the spring with the watering trough (Naoma mentioned). Above the spring, back up the bank 20 feet or more there was a big clump of woodwardia ferns. Jay and Becky ran quickly and hid among the ferns. The riders were Rosie and Checkie. They stopped at the watering trough and watered their horses. Eventually, Jay or Becky coughed or snickered or something, and the riders quickly turned their horses and galloped quickly away. I'm guessing they might have looked up and thought they saw panther eyes. Stories might have been carried down through generations.

Dave Latsha (Dave & Mabel had what became the Dell'Arte summer place) told of Rosie Bushnell riding by his place early one morning. The Latsha's were strict Seventh-day Adventists and did not drink coffee--however, they drank Postum and Sanka. Dave invited Rose in for "a cup of Sanka." Rosie declined, saying "No thank you. I never drink wine before breakfast." So there you have a little of what the hill people of the day told as entertaining stories....

Anonymous said...

I love when Ram brings those old varieties of apples to the farmer's market!

Joseph said...

There are so many old orchards in the area where a person who knows what they are doing could find heirloom apple trees. People don't even know where some of those old places were.

Idaho said...

That is about the only way to find an old settler's place these days.
There is an orchard near an ol' homesite on the Old Briceland road with just the chimney standing.

I think it would be neat to sponsor or get a grant to prune and maintain old abandoned orchards, that would be real Homeland Security, in my opinion.

Joseph said...

Idaho,

What a terrific idea! Should we try to make that happen? Feel free to contact me "off blog" about this.

"agingapes AT gmail DOT com"
and I don't really care
who knows my address anyway
as long as they don't get it
by "phishing."

I'm in apple country here too. In fact, we used to go here to fish in "Etter's Pond" which was surrounded by apple orchards. I'd like to learn about pruning and bringing back heirloom apples.

Idaho said...

Maybe Ram Fishman is your guy for that project. I have a lot on my plate. With gabby haze gone, I have taken over his position as vice president. It's a pretty big company, you have probably heard of it... Doolittle and Setmore?

Joseph said...

Regards to the Rocking Chair Gang (and others). My Pennsylvania farm house has a wraparound porch that is well suited to the "Doolittle and Setmore" corporate mission. Stop by sometime for a conference and consultation if you are ever in the greater Washington, D.C., or Pittsburgh, PA, area.

I have a very vague impression that I might have met Ram Fishman about 30 years ago. We were living in one of the cabins at Virginia Hunter's Old Mattole Resort (formerly known as the Mattole Auto Court, I think). [Virginia's married names were: Curzone, Mast, and Tucson (sp?)] Anyway, she had a donkey named "Clyde," who we sometimes called an ass, in a vain effort at precise description. It seems to me that Ram came to trim Clyde's hooves, and possibly intended also to shoe him. Could that have been Ram Fishman? Well, the effort was marginally successful at best. My memory of the event is mostly of six or more people lying on top of that struggling ass, as someone (Ram?) tried to manipulate the hoof-nippers while minimizing trauma to himself and Clyde.

Joseph said...

It seems that Ram may be the farrier I had in mind who work on Clyde, the ass. But I'm really interested in his apple connections. BTW, Virginia had, at that time, the substantial Hunter Orchard, of which I'm sure Ram became aware. I have not yet come up with a contact email for Ram. Ernie, or someone: do you have contact info for Ram handy?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe
A-pear-ently Ram and Marrisa prefere to do business on the phone. I can't find their email address.

I will probably see him Friday at the farmers market just behind our store, if you want to wait for his email I'll get it for you.

Ram and Marrisa accept phone calls between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Mon-Fri.
Greenmantle Nursery
3010 Ettersburg Road
Garberville CA 95542
(707) 986-7504

Joseph said...

Thanks, Ernie. I'll call them.

olmanriver said...

I hope we get Joe and Naoma back for this David Chadbourne story that I found in the HSU library, in Mrs. Baker's volumes:
"August 1, 1925
At Panther Gap, near Bull Creek, Monday night while waiting in a car for his brother Ed to return and go on with him to Tom Hill’s camp, David Chadbourne, who was resting in the back seat, heard a soft-footed animal padding around the car.
Presently the animal stepped on the running board, and pushing its head over the door, sniffed around Chadbourne’s head and ears. At first he thought it was some friendly dog, but as he jumped up to make sure, the animal bounded off into the forest shade, and from the sound it made, he was assured it was a panther (underlined), who had been taking liberties with him.
Chadbourne turned on the lights of the car, and watched for its return, but it did not come back, and when his brother returned, they went to Bark Camp, where they work."

I still think that Suzy's close encounter is the tops, but this is surely a close second, so far...

Joe said...

Nice to hear from you folks again. Please join me in wishing Cousin Naoma a very happy birthday (9/15).

No doubt Dave Chadbourne had some special feelings about Panther Gap ever after his experience there. I'll bet he was a little on edge whenever he was around there.

olmanriver said...

Happy birthday Naoma! And many more!
Glad you are still reading here, Joe.

olmanriver said...

Ram Fishman shared this story that he had heard from a long time Mattole area resident...
It seems that Dave Chadbourn lost a mule or a horse and someone near Petrolia found a stray and corralled it and word got back to him.
Dave and one of his brothers went to identify the animal. When he entered the corral he was quickly knocked out with a kick to the forehead. To the locals this was sure proof that the animal knew Dave and must be his.