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Archive for December, 2010

Issue #33 of Now… and Then is finished and mailed out, and members of the MVHS should have their copies in hand. I hope nobody’s got thrown out with the Christmas wrap! There are short reminiscences by Becky East Enberg and Patty Langer, and my research article compiling earliest written accounts of the Mattole area… plus the lengthy list, with descriptions and comments, of items added to the MVHS collection in the past several months.

It struck me while writing that “Collection Corner” column that it was a shame there wasn’t enough room in the newsletter to share a photo or two, or to excerpt from an article… but that there is definitely room on this blog! So look for some examples of our newer items of interest here in the next few days.

Meantime, here is a list of past newsletters and topics. Please contact me if you would like to order an earlier issue or sign up for membership in the MVHS, to assure that each printed issue will reach you at home.

Vol. 1, no. 1 (June, 1999): Proposal for Historical Society, seeking members and ideas. 4 pages.

Vol. 1, no. 2 (September, 1999): A.W. Way and his Place in the Mattole; Bear River Natives’ fishing methods. 8 pages.

Vol. 1, no. 3 (Winter, 2000): Reminiscences of Ruth Miner; Mattole Union School becomes Mattole Valley Community Center; more. 8 pages.

Vol. 1, no. 4 (Spring, 2000): Rudy Senn’s Schoolbus Memories and more; School to Community Center, part 2; Riding through the Valley in 1912 (excerpt from J. Smeaton Chase book). 8 pages.

Vo. 2, no. 1 (Summer, 2000): Early Days of Mattole Grange, more. 10 pages.

Vol.2, no. 2 (Autumn, 2000): John Salladay’s First 92 years, by Sandy Antonson-Solo; Ancient World Animates Grange, by Ellen Taylor. 10 pages.

Vol. 2, no. 3 (Winter, 2001): Searching for Miss Katie Cummings; A Tribute to Tanoak; Teamster Remembers Eerie Events (excerpt from Vera Snider Teague book). 10 pages.

Vol. 2, no. 4 (Spring, 2001): Young Petrolian Drew Barber Discovers Roots; Book of Petrolia to be republished; Taylor Peak. 10 pages.

Vol. 3, no. 1 (Summer, 2001): Hometown Horsewoman Doris Loudermilk, by Sandy Antonson-Solo; Curly Wright anecdote; Dick Collins remembered. 10 pages.

Vol. 3, no. 2 (Autumn, 2001): Journal Illuminates Judge Moses Conklin; more. 10 pages.

Vol. 3, no. 3 (Winter, 2002): Buckskin Jack, Family Man (notorious killer/Indian fighter, 1860s); Marguerite Tooker’s Light Station memories. 10 pages.

Vol. 3, no. 4 (Spring, 2002): Reminiscing with Frankie Lawrence; more. 10 pages.

Vol. 4, no. 1 (Summer, 2002): Gracious Lady, Good Neighbor– June Chambers Mathison, by Sandy Antonson-Solo; Memories of Telephone Man Gene Schonrock; more. 10 pages.

Vol. 4, no. 2 (Autumn, 2002): Capetown Schoolhouse Saved; Ruth Cartwright, teacher, interview; more by Gene Schonrock; Six Ladies on a Mattole Road Trip, c. 1885 (from old newspaper). 10 pages.

Vol. 4, no. 3 (Winter, 2003): Curly Wright, by John M.G. Brown; more. 10 pages.

Vol. 4, no. 4 (Spring, 2003): Walt Davis Decides to Look Back; Mayme Hunter Cook remembered by son Leonard Cook; Letter from Wanda Harrington Hart, re: Hunter, Cook families and lighthouses. 10 pp.
Vol. 5, no. 1 (Summer, 2003): Walt’s Return to Upper Mattole, by Walt Davis; Mr. Hill in the Mattole Valley, 1854; Fletch Harrow-Jack Lucy Duel, by Bob Stansberry. 12 pages.

Vol. 5, no. 2 (Autumn, 2003): Was He Really “Crazy” John? (John the Beach Hermit); Jim O’Dell to the Rescue, Chapter 3 of Walt Davis’s writings; Honeydew/Petrolia relations; Allen Miner and Mary Rackliff Etter remembrances. 12 pages.

Vol. 5, no. 3 (Winter, 2004): Honeydew this and Honeydew that… (name origin); It’s Cooskie on the Map (another about name origin); Uncle Bill Squires and Aunt Lil, Chapter 4 by Walt Davis. 12 pages.

Vol. 5, no. 4 (Spring, 2004): Honeydew Milltown Swept Away like Sawdust; Sesquicentennial plans. 10 pages.

Vol. 6, no. 1 (Summer, 2004): Special Sesquicentennial Issue. Oil Dream Creates Petrolia in Lower Mattole; The Mattole Native People, by Gordon Bussell; What Happened to the Natives Here/A Bloody Decade (1854-1864); Sesquicentennial Events schedules. 16 pages.

Vol. 6, no. 2 (Autumn, 2004): The Rex and Ruth Rathbun Story, by Sandy Antonson-Solo; Sesquicentennial reports and pictures; Time Capsule dedication speech. 16 pages.

Vol. 6, no. 3 (Winter, 2005): Rathbuns’ 30 Years Here Makes a Difference (conclusion of Rathbun series), by Sandy Antonson-Solo; The Ranch House Message System, 1975-2000, by David Simpson; Triple R Ranch, brief history; Chambers (Lanini) Cabin. 12 pages.

Vol. 6, no. 4 (Spring, 2005): On the Trail of Bonnie Buckeye (by Laura Cooskey with Becky Enberg); 1919 letter to Aleita Schortgen; more. 12 pages.

Vol. 7, no. 1 (Autumn, 2005; #25): Albert Etter and Brothers, Engineers in Eden; more. 12 pages.

Vol. 7, no. 2 (Winter, 2006; #26): Albert Etter: The Legacy of a Fruit Explorer, pt. 2 of Etter story, by Ram Fishman; 1970 Petrolia phone directory. 12 pages.

Vol. 7, no. 3 (Spring, 2006; #27): For Gypsy Evenden, with her letter; World War II in the Valley. 8 pages.

Vol. 7, no. 4 (Spring, 2007; #28): Spiritual World of Mattole Natives (by Ellen Taylor); Sam Kelsey by his great-great grandson; Donell McCanless (by Buck Miner); the Mary Rackliff Etter house (by Ellen Taylor). 12 pages.

Vol. 8, no. 1 (Autumn, 2007; #29): St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, by Margot Wells; Rosa Wright Johnson’s diary of covered wagon journey, 1859; preliminary list of historic homes in lower Mattole. 12 pages.

Vol. 8, no. 2 (Summer, 2008; #30): Ray Azevedo interview; Don Etter, Man on the Move (by Brian Doyle). 12 pages.

Vol. 8, no. 3 (Summer, 2009; #31): Gideon Cummings journal of covered-wagon trip West; Dr. Earl E. Gossard tribute; Aleita Schortgen autobiography; history of restaurants/bars in the Valley. 16 pages.

Vol. 8, no. 4 (Winter, 2010; #32): Drownings in the Mattole; Chief and Nina Mathews. 12 pages.

Vol. 9, no. 1 (December, 2010; #33): First Accounts of White Settlers; Becky Enberg on Petrolia Store in ’40s; Patty Langer on Rock House in ’50s. 12 pages.

Vol. 9, no. 2 (December, 2011; #34): Petrolia Pioneer Cemetery-A Guide to the Burials; Leah Kausen obituary. 20 pages.

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Mattole greetings

From the Mary Rackliff Etter collection

I don’t know who Ella was, or “Lee” (?), but i love this card, especially its typeface. A font to end all fonts!

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(recent history, that is…) This will be old news to anyone who has studied Mattole history much, but not to everyone. The chronology is a basic MVHS document. If you dispute any of these happenings or interpretations, please comment. (George Roscoe told me he disagreed with the idea of markets being a factor in the downfall of the sheep industry, for instance; he believed if it weren’t for the coyotes, the Mattole would still be known for its lamb, and ranchers could make an honest living with them. I kept both reasons in there because other ranchers have told me there’s no way local lamb can provide a living with the prices as they have been for the past few decades.)

Chronological Mattole History Sketch

6,000-15,000 years ago: Native Mattole, an Athapaskan-language-speaking people, arrived here from north. Sedentary (permanent villages) but not agricultural with likely exception of tobacco cultivation. Acorns and salmon dietary mainstays. Culture assumed to be similar to that of Sinkyone, group to the south, and Bear River Natives, just to the north.
A.D. 1500s to 1800s: Exploration by sea of coastal area by hopeful colonial powers–French, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Russians, Americans. Likely Native awareness of some of these explorers and traders.
1848-9: First claim of white settler, A.A. Hadley, to have travelled Mattole Valley.
1854: First published account of Mattole Valley’s attractions by Mr. Hill. Excellent rangeland, climate, soil, and plentiful fish and game attract white settlers. Conflict with Natives inevitable and rapid.
1859: School district, third in Humboldt County, established. District and town called “Mattole,” a Native word for this place and themselves, meaning “clear water.”
1861: Discovery of oil in the Valley first publicized.
1864: All but a dozen or two of the least troublesome Natives killed or captured. Indian troubles considered over. In 1868 measles kills most survivors.
1865: First oil shipped out by Union Mattole Co. Principal town established and named “Petrolia.” Oil boom short-lived, though experimental drilling and subsequent oil excitement recur periodically.
1869: Road to Ferndale well-established, including beach stretch south of Centerville.
1871: Regular stage service to town (Ferndale).
1880s: Wildcat Road completed with Chinese labor. Transportation still major impediment to commerce. Mattole Valley quite self-sufficient with three grain mills in lower valley, much fish (supporting locals and vacationers) and game, feral pigs, turkeys, successful vegetable gardens, and a thriving cattle industry. Many services and businesses in town of Petrolia; Upper Mattole also home to post office and schools. Sheep introduced at unclear date.
1890: About 90 students in Mattole district.
1880s-1910s: Tanbark harvesting begun, reaching peak with Calvin Stewart’s Mattole Lumber Co.
1900 (about): Telephone service to Valley.
1908-1913: Mattole Lumber Co. wharf at mouth of Mattole River, served by short railroad stretch on north side of river. Tanbark, also nuts and fruit, esp. apples, shipped out in quantity. Rough storms and high maintenance costs destroy wharf.
1920-22: Good roads with bridges out of Valley in three directions. Last gristmill closed.
1930s: Depression weathered fairly well here. “Nobody went hungry.”
1940s: Electrical service to most of Valley floor. Previously a few hydroelectric systems. Livestock trucks replace cattle drives. War-stimulated economy creates Cats capable of logging steep hillsides. Chemical processes replace tanbark leather processing.
1940s-60s: Standing timber tax, new machines, and market demands create logging boom. Douglas-fir now profitable. Population and businesses flourish.
1955 and 1964: Huge floods take down much unstable landscape. Late summer, 1964, fires consume over 28,000 acres.
Mid-1960s: Timber mostly taken; salmon fisheries nearly dead.
1970s: Sheep industry gone down; many blame coyotes but markets also a factor.
Late 1960s-70s: First hippie-style “back-to-the-landers.”
1980s: Marijuana economy functional; C.A.M.P. (marijuana control) program created, causing high prices for product. Mattole Restoration Council, Mattole Salmon Group, Petrolia School begun. Mattole Valley Community Center (formed in 1976) integral part of community of newcomers.
1992: Late April earthquakes (largest 7.1 Richter reading) rock Mattole Valley. Petrolia’s Store and P.O. burn down in resultant fire, but are soon replaced.
Lately: More retirees, dot-commers, urban refugees looking for suburban lifestyle with rural views. Less polarity, more mainstreaming. Tourism looked to by many as economic hope, usually with “ecotourist” angle. Restoration of forest and stream ecosystems also a significant business and volunteer orientation. Ranching continued by many families, often with creative, fresh approach.

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More Sammons on the plate

See comments on the post below for the whole story on why these Carl Sammons paintings are here tonight.
This first picture is the one Thomas said reminded him of Hillside Oaks #7.

Walker Mountain, Sunset View Ranch, August, 1949. Courtesy Thomas Clark

Then there is this beautiful shot of Roberts’ Hole. I do wonder why Taylor’s Peak itself isn’t more prominent, though, since it’s such a distinctive point. Still love the painting!

Taylor’s Peak from the Mattole, near Roberts Hole, View upstream from Bugbee hole, below Hansen Flat; courtesy Thomas Clark

Below is the beautiful view (i agree, probably of Moore Hill, from a vantage point downstream of, but similar to, that in the Moore Hill painting posted yesterday) that was up for bid on eBay but seems to be closed now:

Mattole River, by Carl Sammons. From the eBay site. The blue tint was from the screen shot–Sammons’ colors are quite true.

And the one up for bidding now, of which we know nothing (it was this blurry on their site)– it’s hard to pin down what location this might have depicted…

Mattole River Canyon, by Carl Sammons. From the eBay site

I had gotten a copy of this haybarn picture, below, a few months ago, at the North Point Gallery in San Francisco. They were kind enough to share several images with us. I really like the picture, and tried to find which barn it may have meant. Two small examples follow, showing how common that shape is for barns in this country. There are scores more like them, i imagine. The hills and trees to the right of the structure remind me strongly of the ridge south of the Mattole near the bridge over the Mattole that meets the beginning of Lighthouse Rd… the stretch of hills across from Conklin Creek Rd. But then what barn would this be…?

Hay Barn #117, by Carl Sammons. Courtesy North Point Gallery

 

 Barn at the old Cook place, on the road to ocean west of Petrolia

 

Roscoe Barn at Upper Mattole, across road from the old stucco house

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A taste of Sammons…

Here are a half-dozen images of paintings by Carl Sammons. He was the landscape painter who lived here off and on, mostly summers, from the 1920s until the ’60s. He was married to Queen Stewart, a daughter of Calvin Stewart (of Mattole Lumber Co. fame).

I will do an article about Carl for our regular newsletter one day. Might be nice to do a color issue, for a change, to do his artwork justice.

Many folks around the Mattole have Sammons paintings. They are worth quite a bit nowadays. I would like to thank the owners of a few of these for letting me print them here. Some i got from art sales sites on the internet and can’t remember the web addresses. You can easily find Carl Sammons online, though. Have fun Googling if you want to learn more about the value and availability of Sammons’ work. Although he was a prolific painter, it’s increasingly hard to find one of his Mattole scenes to purchase.

(The Now… and Then article will be more a focus on Carl in the Mattole Valley, and his family life– if i can find enough people to share their memories of him.)

Concrete Arch Bridge near Squaw Creek. A local Mattole resident owns this painting, and graciously allowed me to share it. Please excuse the reflections on the glass.


Hillside Oaks #7. From an internet site. Not positive this is Mattole


Humboldt #23. Most likely here in the Valley


Oaks and Eucalyptus #10. From the internet


Moore Hill & Pollick Ridge, from the North Fork junction with the Mattole. This and a couple of others to come are courtesy of Thomas Clark.


Here is one that Thomas himself helped paint! It would've been the 1950s. Again, courtesy of Thomas Clark

Of this last painting, Thomas wrote, “I used to swing on the uphill buckeye tree. It was right against the side of the cabin. The porch on the uphill side was built around the tree trunk. I was on the scene the day Carl painted this one for my mother. Carl kept sending me out to pull a weed here or remove a soda can there, ‘so it wouldn’t interfere with the painting.’ I think he needed me out from underfoot, but he was oh so gentle with us kids.”

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Lately i have been reading many pioneer-era accounts of first glimpses of the Mattole Valley. The Now… and Then newsletter i am working on will feature an article printing many of those descriptions of the people, flora, and fauna from the 1850s, before the oil boom really put us on the map.

Here is a shorter story, from a bit later on. The document is courtesy of Dorothy Klemp Price of Eureka, and is told by Linwood Clark, Sr., a first cousin of her great-great grandfather, William “Grampy” Clark, the father of T.K. Clark. William Clark and Linwood Clark were the sons of Charles Clark and James Clark, respectively. Charles and James had another brother, Thomas; together, the three made up the extensive Clark presence in early Petrolia.

James Clark, Linwood’s father, was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1820. He had emigrated to America in the early 1830s, and had made his way to the gold mines by 1850. During the ’50s he and his brothers were herding cattle between Petrolia, Oregon, and the San Francisco Bay area, with many gold-mining-associated adventures along the way; Linwood’s written accounts vary widely in their dates and story lines. However, what is clear is that by 1867, James had married a woman named Lucinda, or Cinda, Tyler, in Bangor, Maine; brought her back to Humboldt via Panama; and fathered a son– our Linwood Clark, Sr. As Cinda was homesick for the civilized life back East, James returned her to Maine, packing little Linwood on a mule as they crossed the Isthmus of Panama. Cinda died soon thereafter, leaving Linwood to be raised by his grandmother Tyler, as his father James had returned to California (via the first ticket sold in Boston for a through pass to the West Coast by railroad).

Meantime, in Humboldt County, the three Clark brothers decided to split up their land partnership. Linwood writes: “In the division Father took the ranch at Ferndale and 16 acres at Bucksport, just south of Eureka, and a lot he had bought in Oakland, and his third of the livestock and money on hand, which was quite a considerable amount. He also had a home in Eureka, where he intended to live with my mother and me, but on her death he had rented part of it to the U.S. land office. His money loaned out on notes at good interest, but land office burned down, destroying the notes, and he could not collect a lot of the money, thus losing a lot…

“For a while the three brothers contracted to carry the mail from Eureka to Petrolia, but this was a losing business, and James gave this up. The roads were bad and no bridges and too often, in winter, [he] had to swim the Eel River on horse-back with the mail tied to the saddle! He would go up to about where Fortuna is now and hit land on the other side five miles lower… this likely had to be repeated at Bear River and again at Mattole to get home.

“When I was ten, my father (James Clark) sent for me [in Maine] after he married again. This was in the winter of 1877-78. [He] met me at the mole [a stone or cement breakwater or pier] in Oakland, with my step-mother, and after a few days [we] went to Humboldt on a little steamer not much bigger than a good-sized ocean tug. We were fifty-four hours making the trip to Eureka, later being reported as lost. We went to Ferndale, then in a mud wagon, and that took about six hours, crossing the Eel River on a flat boat strung to a cable, which was an experience! In those days the roads were all hub deep in mud and it took half a day to go to Ferndale from our place, so we only got mail once a week.

“I was given a horse; he was a little old, but safe, and about 24 years old, I think. His name was Harry, and he was the horse that had packed Will, Mary, and Sarah from Oregon! However, I learned to ride. Will Clark traded him to an Indian for an Indian pony; a gray roan with big white pinto spots on him.

“My first year I did not have much work to do but by my second year (winter), I had learned to drive a team and I began to push a plow handle and follow the harrow after Father as he seeded by hand. In those days seeders were unknown in Humboldt and Father was the only man who could sow with both hands, making a double swath and lots of people used to try to hire him because he could sow so evenly with never a missed space. At that time he was nearly sixty years old, but very active. He could ride anything that had four legs and was also good with a four- or six-horse team.”

(Notes: The story of the three children of Charles and Martha Clark travelling to the Mattole Valley from Cottage Grove, Oregon, packed in boxes on each side of the saddle, can be found in T.K. Clark’s Regional History of Petrolia and the Mattole Valley.

Although Linwood does not mention his father James having gotten any Mattole property in the 1870s partnership dissolution, they are apparently living in the Valley in 1876. The 1870 census shows us a James Clark, 49 years old, living with the James and Mary Goff family along with a Whipple, a Robert Elvish, and a Culter or perhaps Coultas– a family name by his sister Sarah’s marriage. The household was all involved in stock raising.)

There is more in these papers from Dorothy Price about Linwood’s hunting skills and his dogs, but that will have to wait for another time.

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On last Thursday, Dec. 2, i attended a double book-signing party at the Humboldt County Historical Society. Dennis and Gloria Turner were presenting their new, expanded, corrected, and updated Place Names of Humboldt County, which i will write about presently; and Marvin Shepherd with his wife Patsy were meeting and greeting and signing copies of his exciting new volume, The Sea Captain’s Odyssey: A Biography of Captain H. H. Buhne, 1822-1894.

Marv had visited the MVHS a couple of time in the last few years looking for material about Petrolia during the years of Buhne’s interest here. I was looking forward to his book mainly to see what he did with this Mattole information. However, now that i have the book in hand, i find it a hard-to-put-down read! Captain Buhne, for whom many a locality and landmark in Eureka is named, left his home in Flensburg, Denmark, in 1838, as cabin boy on a whaling ship, and thus began a lifetime of ambition, adventure, and attendant hardship. His main claim to fame in Humboldt has been piloting the first ship of American settlers over the Humboldt Bar in 1850, but there is a lot more to his story than this. Fans of Horatio Alger (as the author points out), Richard Henry Dana, and of course, of any early Humboldt history, will relish the Buhne saga. There is no shortage of dramatic life-or-death struggle here.

Marv’s book is very well-written, painstakingly researched, and set up so that both the casual reader and the historical researcher will enjoy it. I was impressed with his section on the oil frenzy in the Mattole and the investment in the excitement by Humboldt Bay businessmen– it felt like he was doing my work for me!

Marvin Shepherd kindly allowed me to print a few scans of pages of his brand-new book here. If you would like to purchase a copy, the best way for now is to visit the Humboldt County Historical Society at 8th and H Streets in Eureka (call 707-445-4342 to verify hours). Eventually Marv will have copies available online, and i will have a few at the MVHS office. Enjoy!



Scanning done by permission of author Marvin Shepherd. Sorry about the dark edge

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