Sunday, April 25, 2010

Naoma's email finds me

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2010 14:51:58 -0400


Subject: Re: Panther Gap

Hello....I was so glad to find your address as I was researching for new

information on Panther Gap. I grew up there in the 30 & 40's , and have

been getting " homesick" for information about that area. My

grandparents homesteaded there. I would love to hear about what the area

is like now. I miss the big Douglas Firs ( Virgin timber) and the

coolness of the big trees of Bull Creek. If you could take a little

time to share with me your experiences It will be appreciated. I was

about two years old, when I rode a pack mule into the "Ranch" sitting on

top of large pane glass windows, with a father's admonition...." do not

dare break those windows" I rode the complete trail with my legs and

feet well away from the windows that hung on either side of the Mule.

Thank you. I am new to computers, and do not have a "blog" I would

appreciate any communication. Naoma Holley

36 comments:

Naoma said...

Hi Ernie: Thank you so much for your answer. I wish I knew more about
Blogs, so will just have to use e-mail. Joe & I are cousins. He had the
wonderful privilege of living year round in "God's Country". My brother
and myself were City Kids and could only spend vacation time at "The
Ranch" so there were a lot of people I did not know. One family The
Latchies, David and Mabel, lived not too far from us. They built a
cabin....I have been trying to find the road on the Google Map. , but the
closest I can find is a road called the Rim Road..maybe some one can tell
me about it. They had a chicken farm and sold it to whom I do not know.
Mabel moved to Walla Walla Washington and Passed away at age 101. She
was a woman I admired as I was growing up. Another neighbor was Guy
Mann. I have found on Google , the Mann Ranch Road...that was close to
where we built our Cabin. As Joe has told you we did not have
electricity...and no roads.. My cousins ,Grandfather .,Uncles and brother
cleared the road by hand, using picks and shovels. We walked a trail to
get to My Grandparents place, parking the car under a big Live Oak about
the place where the Rim Road joins Panther Gap. The mail was brought
from South Fork and hung in a leather pouch on the sign at the junction
of Mottole Road and Panther Gap. It was the greatest of adventures if we
were given permission to "get the Mail" and we spent a happy time walking
from the "Ranch" to the Motolle Junction and felt very important to be
able to deliver the mail safely home. I can remember when we got the
electricity in and the power poles were put up. It ruined the view!!!!.
I also have been trying to find more about Westlund Place. My Cousins
and brother would walk over there, but I was never able go with them. I
have found a little about Ben Westland, but from his age the Westlund
brothers would have been either a father or an uncle. Do you think
anyone could help me out on this one??? Thank you for answering. God
bless...Naoma

Ernie Branscomb said...

Naoma
Now that you have my email address, I can post anything that you send me. I hope that you can read these comments. If you can just email me I will put any questions that you have up here on my blog.

Naoma said...

Sorry, where we were I don't remember anyone talking of finding any
artifacts. As a child I was more interested in the plants and animals in
our area. Joe's dad knew a lot of the names of the gulches, creeks and
hills and the fawna and floral. It was his teaching that helped all of
the kids in the Erwin family...learn game conservation and respect of the
plants, to have respect of life . Yes, we hunted, but only for food.
not sport. The venison helped a lot, as we were in the depression and
money was hard to come by. Grandfather Erwin had the cows, and a good
garden so with the excellent cooking of our Grandmother we never felt
"poor". We had a covey of quail come close to the House and it was well
understood the we were not to kill any for food, as they were one of the
best "bug getters" that God had made. Grouse, quail, & deer were hunted
away from the home area. There was to be a signal if any of the family
needed help by two gunshots in close succession. Most of the hunting
was by 22 and all my cousins were good shots/ Now days all are bigger
caliber. Maybe it is now against the law to use a smaller gun, I don't
know. Thank you for listening to "memories" I think as one gets along
in life it is good to look back at the happy times and know some one
really cares about "the old days". I would like to hear more of others
stories. In your blog I read where one must not come upon a cougar at
his meal. I agree!! My mother , brother and I , took a new trail from
the "Circle E" down to our cabin. A little black and white Fox terrier
was with us. As we headed into an especially thick stand of brush we
heard a bird whistling, Of course Bruce and I wanted to find it...and
mother wanted to just hurry on home. The dog jumped in front of us, her
hair standing up on her back and growling and not letting us go on down
the trail. The dog insisted that we go no further,so we turned at took
another trail. Years later I was visiting the Klamath Falls Or. zoo with
my children. As we headed up toward the animal cages. I heard the same
bird call.....there in the cage was a beautiful cougar....I watched it,
but never could figure out how it was making the bird calls. I have
heard that the panther can scream like a woman, cry like baby , and also
whistle like a bird....my mother talked of hearing the screams and the
crying...but the bird call was new to her. When the dog wouldn't let us
go further on the trail , she just said that she felt that a panther was
at it's kill and we shouldn't go any closer.Well, I've wore your eyes
out...this old lady thanks you for letting me share. Naoma

Dave said...

Ernie - could you send me your email address? Mine's richstan1@suddenlink.net

I'd like to ask you a question that has nothing to do with this post.
Thanks,Dave

Idaho said...

Naoma thank you so much for taking the time to share...sincerely thank you!
That cat making bird sounds story was a real gem. There are few alive who know that sound.

olmanriver said...

Naoma, was there a lot of bartering going on between neighbors during the depression. Was survival a neighborhood effort, or were you more isolated?

naoma said...

Ernie....please let Idaho know I appreciated her comments. Yes, the
"bird sounds" were something one does not forget easily. When I heard it
at the zoo, it gave me chills and brought memories back. It is wonderful
to be able to share some of life's experiences. Thanks to each of you
for your comments and sharing. Naoma

Anonymous said...

OMR
Herb Mason told me that his dad bought bullets that were sold individually at the Briceland store during the depression.

Oregon

olmanriver said...

Oregon---YOU KNOW HERB?
Isn't he a great guy! I chatted him up at a Wailaki event they had here a few months ago. Got some great stories about riding around on the west side of Elk Ridge back when you could go anywhere.

Bullets sold individually in Briceland during the depression, huh.

I think one of the worst characterizations of the 1800's
Wild West was all the frivolous gunshooting...those bullets weren't cheap back then.

Have you worked with Herb in the woods? (let's see if Suz stays away from all these Herb straightlines)

Anonymous said...

Herb is married to Irene Jewett, one of my cousins. I know him well. Billy Winters just died here a couple of days ago and Billy, my wife and I were at Herb and Irene's wedding at Andy Burgess' ranch.

Oregon

olmanriver said...

Small world Oregon! You must have heard a number of old Briceland area stories. He has some good Indian stories too, I felt real lucky he opened right up to me. I keep what he said under my hat.
Sorry for the loss of your friend, that is never easy to feel.

******************************

I put out the call to a few people with knowledge of Naoma and Joe's areas...I hope we hear from them.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hey! I know all those people.

Most of the Briceland stories are about "Oregon".

I keep tellin' Olmanriver that I have a fine family. He just hasn't met all of them yet. But I did tell him to be careful who he talks about, if they've been here a while, they're family. There is people that have been here much longer than Herb and Irene. Great people!

Idaho said...

Here is a question for the country boys... you're driving home at night and your headlights reflect off of a pair of golden eyes in the field, and they are not a small set of eyes... do coyotes and mountain lions eyes glow different at night? I could search up the answer but I thought I would offer the question to the pros.

Anonymous said...

Dang Idaho, your talking right up my trail. There was a time when I used to spotlight for critters and it was after they came out with those trillion candlepower spot lights. I tell ya, you could see eyeballs a mile away. Of course that would be after dark. Before we would get exited we'd watch the eyes for movement. You could tell a deer right off cuz the eyes went up and down while feedin' and we're talk a couple of feet. We was a after coons, bobcats and fox. House cats and bobcats were a little harder to tell apart so depending on how many critters we had to skin already decided if we turned the dogs out or not. I think I already mentioned here on Ernie's blog that we caught 13 racoons in one tree one night between Honeydew and Ferndale. That was a good night but I'm sure we had good luck cuz we must not have been there before. Well, like Ernie sez, enough said.
One more thing I might add here, when I said "we" it is a good friend of mine and we used his dads dogs. I'd never spoil one of my bear dogs spotlightin'.

Oregon

Naoma said...

Hi Ernie...It's good to chat. In answer to Olman River's query about
bartering. I wonder about anyone that remembers Butts Store in Bull
Creek. ?? Later in the 50's and 60's The floods made havoc of that
area...the boys would get their 22 shells there...and they weren't cheap
even in those days. The men would gather on the porch or inside by the
stove& talk. My grandfather would get the "Coal Oil" ....I used that
word a few years back and the person I said it to didn't know what I was
talking about. Grandma had chickens so they usually had eggs to sell. I
don't know what my grandparents would have done if Mr. Butts had not
given them credit. Grandmother was always so very careful to pay each
month. I remember they got a small government check...there was quite a
discussion about the "Ham and Eggs Bill" this was in Hoover's and
Roosevelt's time. Social Security came out of all that and it has been a
blessing to a lot of people....but as usual there are misuses and pro's
and con's about most everything. My grandparents were hospitable people
and a lot of friends would come up to the "Circle E" from Weott & Eureka.
She always had a table of good home cooking & home made bread and then
when people came to visit they always pitched in with "Pot Luck" and the
fixin's.. etc. Some names you may have heard of; Bessie and Albert Stone
( Fortuna) Magda Marca, Rio Dell. Also, as to the question of "White
Settlers" in that area when My grandparents homesteaded I think our
family and the Latsha's were the only ones up there. The Westlund
brothers had a place on the other side of Stewart Ridge. ...a Mr Parrott
had his spread below The Circle E , my mother's sister had her cabin
below my grandparents place and her cousin had his place (cabin) on the
lower flat to the north. It was a walking trail, with a lot of switch
backs as the hill was steep to get to their cabin. We children had been
taught to call adults Mr. and Mrs. so some of the names I do not know
first names. Oh, yes...a Mr, Clark had a sheep ranch between the
Mottolle road and the Circle E. He cut most of our fire wood and helped
build the homes. His home was interesting as he had built it over a
spring where he kept his milk and butter cool. Real convient he said. .
in the fall the men, Joe's dad and grandpa, and maybe grandma would go to
Mr. Etter's for apples. (Ettersburg) That meant applebutter, apple
sauce and
Apple pies!!! It is time to hush, before my welcome is wore out. Naoma

Anonymous said...

Naoma, I love your stories and wish I could live back during those times. I was a little more privileged growing up as we were comfortable. I did get a taste of the good' life growing up with my grandmother, aunts and uncles.
I think now days I might step back if I had to clear for a road by hand. I don't mind horse's and they only need a trail. However, I think of horses as a tool, not for fun.
Any time you want to write or ramble go for it. I will read it all with delight.

Oregon

Anonymous said...

How come I always get the long hard verification words?

Oregon

Ernie Branscomb said...

First, Naoma, you could never overstay your welcome here. You have brought us much new information. Bull Creek used to be a thriving little town before the 64 flood. I went to high school with a lot of kids from Bull Creek. I think that Norm Butts was the son of the Butts that owned the Bull Creek store.

Second, I meant to say. "There aren't many people that have been here longer than Herb and Irene". Their ancestors go back to the beginning of local history.

Oregon,
The people with made up names always get the long hard varification words.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Naoma
There was a couple that lived in Garberville for as long as I can remember by the names of Odell and Ruth Holley. Were they any relation?

Bunny said...

I love these new people. I don't know who the hell you're talking about bein' as I'm just a 36 year newcomber but I find it all interesting. Where's Joe?

Anonymous said...

Keep those wonderful stories going please Naoma.

Joseph said...

Ernie: Thanks for letting me know that my cousin Naoma got through to you. She and I had our own parallel email conversation going. She had been reading the "Joe writes home" thread and was trying to figure out how to reach Ernie and post to the blog. I'm also enjoying her comments. I think Naoma mentioned to you all that she was born in 1928. I was born in 1941. So she has better and more complete memories of the early times on the ranch than I do. I'm so pleased to see my dear cousin is in touch with you all. She has always been the sweetest, nicest, and prettiest girl around. More soon.

Joseph said...

If you look at the old USGS maps of the area around Panther Gap, down the road a ways, past what Naoma referred to as "Rim Road," there was a place shown with the name "Erwin." That was the location of the old house of our grandparents, Joseph Franklin Erwin (born in Nebraska in 1869) and Oda Rebecca Taylor (born in Indiana in 1875). Their's was a warm and welcoming home, where the entire extended family gathered whenever they were around. Just up the hill past the enormous hand-dug cistern was the little house where I grew up. That is the place that is now owned by Gabrielle Roach, who some of you know. She also owns Aunt Hazel's cabin about 100 yards down the hill from our house. As Naoma described, her folks had a cabin down the hill past our grandparents' garden, pasture, and barn, below what was Betty Crowder's place, the last I knew. Some of you might know Betty. She worked at the Benbow Inn as late as the early 1990s. There is now a pig barn where grandpa's garden was--it was built by Lloyd and Millie Pollard, when they had the place in the 1960s. Later on, the pig barn was used as a growing shed for bud. Back over on the northwest side of the ridge were two more cabins, one that belonged to Uncle Roy (Jack Erwin) and one that belonged to Hobart & Hannah Taylor. Hobart was grandma's nephew. Of course, each of these people had their own stories, and it is hard to know where to stop in the telling of those stories. Naoma mentioned that Dave and Mabel Latsha lived across the gulch--actually at the head of the gulch where Middle Creek flows (that is the creek that used to show up as "Erwin Creek" on some maps--as is mentioned in Buck Miner's book). There is some more history about the Latsha place that might ring a few bells for some of you. That "Rim Road" is the one I have referred to elsewhere as the road to Clear Springs (or was it Cold Springs, out past Stewart Ridge, which we called "Old Baldy"--maybe Cousin Naoma can help me with this memory). I mentioned before that the Tanbark Road left Panther Gap Road and looped northeast (Bull Creek side of the ridge) around past Rocky Point (a place with huge Tan Oak trees and thick stands of huckleberries) and came back over the ridge and hit that "Rim Road" at a place we called Mud Springs. Naoma, remember those wonderful huckleberry pies?

Joseph said...

Okay. Maybe someone can fill in details on this. Cousin Naoma mentioned the place where Panther Gap Road splits off into "Rim Road" and the road that goes down to the "Old Erwin Place" and beyond. As she mentioned, that road went out to where Dave and Mable Latsha (and son Donald) lived and had their chicken ranch. Practically up until the day he died, my Dad used to tell that he owned forty acres there at the head of the gulch. While he was away building docks in Alaska in 1943, or so he said, his mother sold that 40 acres to Dave and Mable for $300. The Latsha's were family friends from southern California. Dad never really got over that. It was one of many injustices about which he ruminated in later life. But here is what I started out to say:
The Latsha place is the place that was bought by Carlo Mazzone, who developed his Dell'Arte drama school there--it was moved to Blue Lake long ago, but it seems to be thriving.

Naoma said...

Hi Ernie....have just finished reading your blogspot.....so many interesting people you are in contact with!!!! your information from Olman River and the Indians, reminded me about my Grandmother having us go gather Herba Buena and Mountain Balm that an Indian taught her about to use for our sore throats. The plants only grew in certain spots..the Herba Buena under Live Oaks and the Mountain Balm in a draw next to the joining of Panther Gap Road and the Mottell Road. I think some people called it "Tar Weed" . It wasn't pot!!!. Maybe, before my time ends I will be able to have someone drive with me up into "my" area and I can see the changes that have come over the years. A Benjamin Taylor was mentioned....my mother's cousin was Hobert Taylor. Wonder if there is some relationship??? Naoma

Ernie Branscomb said...

Naoma,
If you liked that page, go to the very bottom of that page and click on the link that says “Older Posts”, it will take you back another page. You have many, many pages of happy reading about The Eel River Canyons, history, and flora and fauna.

Also, Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. You answered a question that I always wondered about. Some of the very old manuscripts and Indian stories talked about “Mountain Balm”. I was never really able to identify what plant that was. When you said that “some people call it tar weed” you gave me that answer. You might say that tar-weed is my totem weed. Nothing will “take me home” like a summer breeze filled with the pungent smell of tar weed in it. It doesn’t grow in the lower elevations so it’s not much know down in the canyons, but up on the sunny hills in the draws it grows everywhere. It just goes to show you that there are somethings that it takes an Old-timer to know! A Newcomer doesn’t stand a chance.

Anonymous said...

Naoma, I never thought of using Tar Weed to sooth a sore throat but it sure makes my eyes water after walking through it.

Oregon

Joseph said...

Wasn't the Yerba Buena tea wonderful, Naoma? We gathered the plant, a low meandering wild mint, that is classified as Clinopodium douglasii (sometimes, Saturaja douglasii), and boiled it in the wonderfully fresh spring water on the ranch. It made a wonderfully comforting herb tea to soothe one during illness or on a cold and windy evening when the fog was blowing in from the east. In summer, it was mixed with lemonade from freshly aqueezed lemons, and was cooled with the precious ice cubes from grandma's kerosine powered Serval refrigerator--the only refrigerator in many miles.

Ah! And, Cousin Naoma, wasn't it cousins James and Fred, and their half-brothers, Bob and Gordon, who were occasionally caught smoking Mountain Balm? Or maybe it was more acceptable than I remember. The closest patch of Mountain Balm that I remember was below the road not far from Panther Opening. I do not remember it as "tar weed," but clearly some others do. I'm pretty sure it is Eriodictyon californicum, which is known not only as Mountain Balm, but also as "consumptive's weed" and "bear weed." The "consumptive's" suggests that it was smoked for relief of respiratory symptoms, which is the excuse cousin James used.

Joseph said...

Suzy is bound to say this if I don't about the above post:

"It was all just sooo wonderfully wonderful, wasn't it?"

Ernie Branscomb said...

The "tar weed" that I'm Talking about was alternatly called "vinegar weed". Walking through it would give you a strong odor.

Anonymous said...

Walking through Tar Weed also coated your pants.

Oregon

Idaho said...

Such fun here, thanks all. You say it doesn't grow down low, is this the same plant that I walk through on the river bars of the Eel that exudes enough "tar" to blacken the gravel underneath like a shadow?

Robin Shelley said...

Raises heck with your socks, too!

Anonymous said...

Robin, it didn't get on my socks, I wore boots and long pants. However, one of my cousins used to cuss about the grass stickers in his socks and his wife washed them with his shorts.
He wore sneakers

Oregon.

Ernie Branscomb said...

The "tramp-louse" stickers were merely irritating, but those oat stickers needed immediate attention.

spyrock said...

hi naomie,
thanks for being here with us.
i tried to get my 98 year old dad to use the computer but he just liked the scanner and copied all the articles about him and everyone else he knew a thousand times.
he had lots of stories to, but it was always a verbal translation. they used to give him a boothe at city events just so he could tell stories about remember when.
my mom was the one from spyrock and we are related to about every oldtimer up there. she went to a one room school back in the teens and twenties and when she got old enough to go to highschool, my grandfather moved her down here. she became a school principal and has a school named after her and she was instrumental as a trustee who gave the university of california free land to build a school on. not bad for a barefoot mountain girl.
i remember all the potlucks we used to attend when i was just a wee lad. and my grandma grace was the example for so many of my clan.
just like all the mountain women of those sweet days.
yes, the men had their genocide and vendetta but the women held it all together. much like their counterparts, the medicine women.
my great great grandma elizabeth was a midwife near cahto. the town that was there before laytonville took over. she died of a broken heart because her husband the constable was killed back in 1870 leaving 7 children, including my great grandma laura to live with other families which was the custom back in the day. she was sent to round valley where she met a cattle rancher from marysville named john simmerely.
i've got a picture of her, my grandma grace and my mother swimming in the eel river in front of the rock along the river they call spyrock. so from the simmerely and kauble clan, i'm glad you are here.