The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Joshua Spriggs Remembers
Argonaut of 1860, worked on a wheat ranch in the Rogue Valley in 1861.

Penned by One Who Has Lived in California and Longs to Return.
Kansasville, Wis., May 6th, 1891.
    ED. TIMES:--The Santa Maria Times comes right along and I like it splendidly, as I like to read the news from the coast.
    We are nearly through seeding here, especially oats and barley. We do not raise any wheat. We had a late spring and the weather is cold. If you had been with me in my drive yesterday, you would have seen the farmers working in the field well wrapped up in gloves and overcoats, and you would also have seen the stock in the barn yards. It is not so in California. We have to feed the stock about six months here. We had heavy frosts the last two nights. Tomato and cabbage plants that were not protected were all killed.
    I told my wife I thought I would have to go back to to the coast again. I know just about how it is in California and Oregon, as I have lived in both states. My son and daughter are both living in the Santa Maria Valley, and like it well. They have been writing home all winter and telling us about fruit, vegetables and flowers. It seemed rather a tough story to believe, but I knew well enough that it was all true.
    Do you know that more than half the people in the Eastern States know no more about California than they do about Africa? They still look upon it as the land of the miner, in his broad-brimmed hat, red flannel shirt, with revolver in his belt and bowie in the leg of his long-topped boots, and when I tell them that one can see fruit growing in the valley and snow on the near mountains they will not believe it. I know what California was thirty years ago, and I know what it is now, for I take one of the San Francisco weeklies right along.
    In the fall of the year 1860 I crossed the Isthmus and landed in San Francisco. From there I went to Stockton, Sacramento, Marysville and up to Virginia City, in Nevada. I well remember one place, not far from Sacramento; it is now called Woodland. It was a beautiful rolling country, dotted with large oak trees, and covered with a coat of green grass. It reminded me of my native land; old England.
    From Virginia City I went back to San Francisco in another direction, and then went up the coast to Crescent City and then crossed over Del Norte County on foot to Jacksonville, Oregon. I lived in that beautiful Rogue River Valley one year and was called home under circumstances over which I had no control. When I left it was with the full intention of going back to the Coast.
    When I started for home I went to Yreka and from there took stage to Sacramento. Do I remember that stage ride over the mountains? Yes, I shall never forget it. How we had to walk up the steepest hills, and how we went full gallop down the mountains, and that wild boat race on the bay from San Francisco to Benicia. No, I shall never forget them. When there was the boat excursion on Sundays from San Francisco across the bay to Oakland and away out to Golden Gate and return. Yes, they are among the most pleasant memories of my life.
    I was never far south of San Francisco, but I know from what I have read that you have a beautiful country and a climate which cannot be excelled. I have often thought what the celebrated poet wrote about his beloved Italy, was true of California. He said:
This is the land of other lands the pride.
Beloved by heaven, o'er all the world beside,
Where brighter suns dispense serener lights
And milder moons imparadise the night.
A land of beauty, virtue, valor, truth,
Time-honored age, and love-exalted youth,
This is the spot of earth, supremely blest,
A sweeter, dearer spot than all the rest.
Yours Respectfully,
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, May 23, 1891, page 3

On Cat Canyon Gates and Early Days in California.
Kansasville, Wis., Aug. 24th 1891
    ED. TIMES:--Harvest is over, and grain is all in the sacks. The click of the binder will be heard no more in the land until there is another crop raised. Wheat is a failure in this county and four other counties in this state.
    Burley is only one half a crop, owing to chinch bug. Early oats are a good average crop but late sown oats are very poor. Some pieces of flax are good and some are not worth cutting. Potatoes are an immense crop round here but in the central counties of the state they are a complete failure. They have had only one inch of rain since last April. They will have no corn or potatoes. The corn in this county is a fair average crop, but it is backward owing to cold weather in July; if the frost holds off long enough it will be all right.
    Last year we had no spuds here; we had to pay 1.50 a bushel for them. This year all the farmers planted a big lot and they will hardly pay for handling.
    We have had very hot weather all through harvest with hot dry winds, but we had to stand it for we must secure our crops as soon as we can in this changeable climate. The climate in California favors the farmers, they have more time to do their work than we have. They can haul in that lot of hay today or tomorrow but we must get it right in, for fear of a storm.
    Yesterday was a clear day with no sign of rain; today it is raining most of the time, but we need it very bad, as the pastures are all dried up.
    In the central part of the state they are feeding hay to their stock, and they will have to feed them until the middle of next May. That is a long time to feed, ain't it?
    I found a big difference between the climate here and that of California and Southern Oregon. I worked on a big wheat ranch for one year in the Rogue River Valley, we were 7 weeks harvesting and threshing the crop. There was no Sundays there then; it had not crossed the Rocky Mountains thirty years ago. I had charge of the threshing machine. When night came, everything was left just as it was, the wheat on the header wagon and piles of sacks of wheat were left at the machine overnight; we were sure it would not rain. No, we can't do business like that here; it might rain.
    You know what is the matter with those gates up in Cat Canyon? Are they really heavy and hard to open and shut or are those fellows that go up there all dudes? If they will come here I will show them a gate that no child two years old can open and shut. It is hung on rollers just like a sliding barn door, a brisk wind will blow it open.
    I was much interested in reading the account of Jack Powers in the 
Times. It reminded me of early days in California, and of Joaquin Murrieta, the Mexican robber and outlaw. Ask Uncle Davy Brown if he ever heard of him. I think he did, as he is an old resident. It was in the early days of California, when the citizens of San Francisco organized their vigilance committee. Joaquin was a model Mexican youth and lived near Sacramento. He was noted for his feats of strength and agility. He could beat them all at their sports; no matter what they done, he could beat them. This so enraged the Americans that they determined to get him out of the way.
    One beautiful day he was riding along the banks of the river with his intended bride, a beautiful Spanish lady. As they rode along the lady said, "Dearest Joaquin, is not this a beautiful land of ours." "It is indeed, my dearest Caraminti," he replied. "It needed not that its rivers should run over sands of gold to make it beautiful." At that instant two Americans sprang out of the bushes and fired at Joaquin and his intended bride. They missed Joaquin but Caraminti fell dead from the saddle. Quick as a flash Joaquin turned in his saddle, shot both the Americans dead. Then he went down on his knees by the side of her he had loved so well and took a fearful oath. He swore he would shoot every American on sight, and well he kept his oath for he was the terror of Central California but he would harm none but Americans. He often helped poor miners of other nationalities. Large rewards were offered for his capture dead or alive, but they could not take him.
    On one occasion he went into the El Dorado gambling saloon in San Francisco. He jumped on a table, and said, "I am Joaquin Murrieta. Take me if you dare." No one dared molest him and he walked out of the saloon and left the city. At another time he rode down the Sacramento River in an open boat with two miners; they had made their pile and were returning to the States. He knew they had the dust, but he did not harm them. But he was taken at last and his head was put on a pole in the city of San Francisco.

Yours Respectfully,
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, September 12, 1891, page 2

From One Who Knew California Thirty Years Ago.
Kansasville, Wis., Oct. 19, 1891.
    ED. TIMES:--The Times comes right along. I get it every Saturday.
    The weather is wet and cold here now, but the pastures are as green as they are in the spring months.
    Corn is an average crop and nearly everybody is busy husking and plowing.
    I wish to thank J.M. for his writeup of the Cuyama Valley, some two months ago. I think if those farmers would stay on their farms and improve them they would soon build the place up. Railroads and markets would come in time. It is as J.M. says. A few men cannot do much towards improving a place.
    I get the news from all over California and Oregon every week, and when I read all about the fairs, and all about the improvements that are going on, I cannot help but wonder at the prosperity of the Golden State. I think you native Californians do not realize what a fine country you have.
    Thirty-two years ago I went from Yreka to Sacramento by stage; there were very few houses except stage stations. The most familiar sounds through all that country were the echoes of the stage horn by night and the lowing of the vast herds of cattle by day. Stockton and Marysville were only small villages. I am pleased to read of the improvements that are going on in Stockton and the reclamation of the vast bodies of tule lands in the vicinity. I went clear through the great San Joaquin Valley and it was only a stamping ground for vast herds of cattle and horses.
    I went from Crescent City to Jacksonville, Oregon on foot, a distance of one hundred miles, and in all that distance there were only two cabins. At this time there are many fine dairy farms scattered all over that country. It was the same between Jacksonville and Yreka, Cal. Most of the valleys and foothills are occupied now. How can I help but wonder at the great change in thirty years. No, California should not complain at her progress.
    The immigration convention lately held at San Francisco will do much for the state if they go to work in the right way. Some time ago, Street & Co. of San Francisco sent out a valuable book; it was an accurate description of every county in California, the valley and mountain land, their railroads, markets and other improvements. They sent me a copy. I lent it around among my neighbors till it is lost. That is the kind of a book the people in the Eastern States want. There are thousands of people in the East who know very little about the Golden State. To them it is the land near the setting sun.
    Some of the members of the convention thought the fare was too high. No, it is mot. When a man can go to California from the Eastern States for fifty or sixty dollars he should not grumble about it. When I came home from California, my fare alone was over one hundred dollars. Now I can go back to the place I came from for about forty-five dollars.
    There are a good many people here who think your best land comes too high and they think your cheap lands are worthless.
    What California wants is more advertising. I know the Santa Maria Valley is a fine, productive body of land, for my son and daughter, who are living there, have written me many letters home describing the location of the valley and its products. But I must stop; I have already taken up too much space in your valuable paper.

Yours Respectfully,
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, October 31, 1891, page 3

Gives a Bit of History of Interest to This Coast.
Kansasville, Wis., Jan. 1st 1892
    ED. TIMES:--Once more I wish you and all the people on the coast a Happy New Year.
    We have had splendid weather for the last two weeks; there is but very little frost on the ground. Some of the farmers were plowing in the middle of December but the weather is changing now. The frost king is coming again, and we will get enough of him this month and the next.
    There is much sickness round here now; many are sick with la grippe, measles and scarlet fever.
    I was sorry to read in the Times that J. M. Goode of the Cuyama was not getting better. I hope he has improved by this time.
    I have received another long letter from your sister valley, Nipomo. The writer tells me all about the valley, the soil, and the climate. It is very pleasant for me to receive such letters, for you all seem to be like old friends to me. There is not a day passes but that I think of you all on the coast. I wish I knew what to write about that would interest the readers of the Times.
    Do you know that I feel lonesome, this dull New Year's Day? Two of my children are on the coast with you. One son is at home with us, and he too wants to join his brother in sunny California. I sometimes wonder if I shall ever see the bright skies of the golden clime again; it is hardly probable. But I have many pleasant recollections of my trip to the Golden State, and to the land of the dripping rain.
    First of all there is the memory of my sailing from New York on the steamship Atlantic. Then of the pilot leaving us with his "Cheery goodbye." Then there was Cuba, "Beautiful Cuba," Gem of the Antilles. Set like a star on the broad expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, she sits like a queen on her throne. On the other side of us was "Key West," and in the far distance, were the Everglades of "Florida." Then there was the landing at Aspinwall, crossing the Isthmus of Panama by rail and boarding the steamship Golden Gate in the Bay of Panama.
    Did any of your readers ever see a fire at sea? It is a grand sight. When we were off the coast of Mexico the clipper ship Ocean Queen was burned to the water's edge. The captain and crew had all taken to the boats. We took part of them on board; the others were picked up by the steamer Albatross then we went into the landlocked harbor of Acapulco for coal. It was a fine sight to see; the little natives diving for small coins.
    Two days after we encountered a terrible storm, the waves rolled mountains high and we were driven out of our course; but after the the storm--came the beautiful sunshine and we were soon in sight of the Golden Gate.
    How well to remember sailing through it. The big steamer nearly lay down on her sides and we all had to climb to the upper side and hang on to the railing. Then after landing at San Francisco I continued my journey through Northern California, and on to Oregon, and many were the pleasant days I spent with the old Indian chief in the Rogue River mountains.
    It was five years after the Rogue River Valley Indian War and the old chief had lost a son in the war. He showed me his grave. It was in a beautiful little valley in the Rogue River mountains, in the shade of a sugar pine tree. We sat down on the little mound and the big tears coursed down the old man's wrinkled cheeks, as he talked to his dead boy in his own native tongue.
    This was the beginning of a long friendship with the old chief. When I left the valley, he was living at Grants Pass. It was six miles from where I was living, but I went to see him and spent five days with him. When I left he said, Goodbye, and when you come back to the valley of the "falling water" come and see us. Five years after that time he died, and was buried by the side of his son in the mountains. When he was lying helpless on his bearskin robes, he asked his daughter, Winnona, if his English boy had come back to the valley of the "falling water."
    Well, Mr. Editor, I am off on one of my imaginary trips again, and I hope you and the good people in Santa Maria Valley will excuse me for taking up so much space in your valuable paper.
Yours Very Truly,
    P.S. JAN. 2ND.--The rain has turned into snow from the north. It is a howling, shrieking blizzard; my barn is only twelve rods from the house, but I can hardly see it sometimes. What kind of a day is it in California?
    In the letters I have received from the coast, the writers say they have read my letters in the Santa Maria Times. They are all very kind letters, and I have read them more than once.
    You are working hard for the prosperity of your beautiful valley and I hope your labors will be well rewarded. The Times comes regularly and I like to read it, for it is an excellent paper.
    I will always speak a good word for your beautiful valley.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, January 16, 1892, page 3

He is Trying to Keep Warm and Dodge the Grip.
Kansasville, Wis., March 7th 1892
    ED. TIMES:--The weather was cold and mostly cloudy all Feb. We are doing nothing here but attending to the stock; there is nothing to do, the ground is frozen solid yet and big snow banks lay along the fences, on the east side. But I think our climate is changing; the winters are not as cold as they used to be; we do not have as much snow but more rain, but we cannot get to work any sooner in the spring, and I think our summers are getting dryer. You are busy at work in the fields and we
are sitting around the stove a good part of our time. There is much sickness round here and the weather is very favorable for it; the dreaded grip is taking off a lot of the old folks. If I see it coming this way I shall pack my grip sack and start for the Santa Maria Valley.
    If I could sell my place here for what it is worth I would soon be there anyway, and I would help you along with the cannery, for I believe it will be a good thing for your beautiful valley.
    I am pleased to read such cheering reports of crop prospects from all over California; letters from Santa Maria, Los Alamos, and Carpenteria tell me that the weather has been good, with plenty of rain, and crops look well; and from my old home over the Blue Mountains of the Siskiyou Range comes the news that there never was a better prospect for good crops.
    Some people here tell me that it rains all winter in California. It is those who has never been there who know all about it.
    I read in a California paper that you have had nearly three months of bright sunshine altogether this winter. No, my good eastern friends, it does not rain all winter in California. I worked all winter on a ranch in that favored land and I was never uncomfortable from being wet and I was working out in the field all the time. It was bright sunshine most of the time. I see that sixteen families have come all the way from old England and have settled on farms near Bakersfield, Cal.
    I would like to see that pile of gold nuggets that were taken from the mine in Southern California. Eastern people find it hard to believe such stories, but I can tell them they are true. I knew an Indian maiden in the Rogue River mountains in Oregon that had thirty-six pure gold nuggets; they were worth all the way from one to ten dollars apiece and were pure gold. She had washed them out of the sands in the bed of the river when it was nearly dry; it was at a place where a mountain creek emptied into the river, so you see they were washed from the mountains. She told me she was ten years collecting them for there were some years when the water did not lower enough for her to search for them. I knew there was gold in the bed of that mountain creek, for I washed some of it out myself. She was very proud of those beautiful nuggets and would not part with them. That was five years before I went to the valley, so it is thirty-five years since she found those nuggets. Do you know what I have been doing in my spare moments this winter and last? I have been writing some reminiscences of my trip to the coast in 1860 and '61.
    My family wonder how I can remember it all so well. Why, I can remember things that happened in old England fifteen years before that time. Ask the old argonauts of '49 if they remember their life on the coast. They held a meeting in Chicago some time ago, and many were the stories told of pioneer life in California. How can I ever forget sunny California, the land where Pizarro said that men would live forever and the beautiful Spaniard, Carmencita, said that women would never die.
    The land that Bret Harte and Joaquin Miller have made famous in song and story, and where the old Spanish padres lived at their leisure, drank the wine from their own vineyards and taught the simple-minded Indians the story of the Christ.
    How can I ever forget the scene that took place in the Miner's Rest Hotel in Yreka, Cal. I was on my way home to the States from the Rogue River Valley in Oregon. It was Saturday night and a minister just from the States arrived at the hotel. The next day, a lot of miners came to the hotel. They were dressed in their red flannel shirts, and long-topped boots, and as was the custom in those days, most of them were armed. As soon as they knew that a minister was stopping there they wanted him to preach to them. They said they had not seen a minister, or heard a sermon since they left the States ten years before. He said he didn't believe he could preach to them there. "Yes, you can, pard, talk to us just like you would if you were in the States," and he did talk to them right there in that bar room, and then those good-hearted miners sang the good old sacred hymns they had learned in their childhood home in the States. He was a young man and appeared to be very timid, and well he might be among such a motley crowd, for besides the American miners, there were men and women of every nationality in the civilized world. There were Mexicans, Spaniards and the almond-eyed Mongolian. The Russian, and the few from faraway Poland, and many dark-skinned natives from the faraway islands in the Pacific Ocean. The next day when the minister called for his bill, the landlord said: "My friend. The miners paid your bill, and here is twenty-five dollars in dust they told me to give to you, and if you ever come this way again stop with us." You will say, those were good men. Yes, and those were good times too. Santa Barbara complains of the tramp nuisance, and in Los Angeles Co. men are wanted at $3.50 a day. Comment is unnecessary on that.
    This makes the eighth day right along that we have not seen the sun. Can you beat that in California?
    Well, goodbye, all of you. If the grip don't get me, you will hear from me again.
Yours Truly,
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, March 12, 1892, page 2

Terrible Storms with Great Damage to Crops and Other Property.
Kansasville, Wis., May 12th, 1892.
    ED. TIMES:--The season is very backward here and the weather cold most of the time. We had terrible storms of wind and rain the latter part of April; much damage has been done to the seeded land by washing out; it is full of small ditches now, some of them a foot deep; the oldest inhabitants say there has never been such severe storms here before. The wells are all full and the whole country is flooded; much damage has been done by lightning; not far from here a man and his team were struck dead in the field on the fifth of this month at one o'clock P.M. I was sitting by the window reading the Santa Maria Times when it suddenly began to grow dark. I soon had to put my paper away, for it was too dark to read. In about half an hour the cloud passed over with only a little rain but a few miles north of here it was the worst storm they had ever known; the lightning struck a large barn and the barn and contents were all burned. Oat seeding was finished before the storm began; cattle cannot be turned out to pasture while the water lowers; we began to feed on the 15th of November and it will be the 15th of May before they can be turned out. The oat fields are full of bare patches where the water stood; much grass land will have to be plowed up; lack of snow last winter killed it.
    We have had severe storms and the people in Central California have had their earthquakes. But they were not as severe as the Eastern press told us they were. You have two sensational papers in the city of Yerba Buena on the beautiful bay of San Francisco and exaggerated reports of the earthquakes were sent east, for what purpose I do not know. I wish you could have seen the startling headlines of the eastern press; California turned upside down, immense loss of life, the people terror stricken and fleeing from their homes. When I read the account I did not believe it. I said to myself; I will wait until my California mail comes. When it came I read an entirely different account, the old reliable San Francisco Bulletin had reports from forty places, at a few of them the shock was severe but at most of them no damage was done; it was not as severe as the earthquake in Charleston a few years ago and your readers know that the city of New Madrid in Missouri was entirely destroyed by an earthquake. But let us change to something more cheerful than earthquakes and floods.
    Were you all at Santa Barbara last month to see that grand floral carnival? I suppose some of you have so many flowers of home that you did not go. My son tells me it was grand. I have read somewhere that there is a company of monks in Santa Barbara, the city by the sea, and they have the finest flower garden in the world all raised and attended to by themselves and that no woman is ever allowed to see it. I wonder if that is true. I have always thought that it was the ladies who raised the flowers. Then after the carnival came the exhibition of riding wild unbroken mustangs and picking up coins from the ground by riders on horseback.
    Do you know when I read about that I lit my briarwood pipe, leaned back in my chair and thought; you all know how fast thought can travel, in an instant I was back at my old home in the land of the dripping rain and in the Valley of the Falling Waters. Then I was in the Rogue River mountains with the old chief Wamuka and his interesting family; they were not like the Indians of California and Oregon; they were far superior to them. They had come from New Mexico to Southern Oregon thirty years before that time. The old man told me that his ancestors lived in stone houses and raised large herds of cattle; he crossed through Arizona and came to the old city of Santa Barbara and then on to Southern Oregon. He had one son and two daughters living. The valley and mountains were full of Indians at that time and those two Indian girls were the best riders among them all. I had often met from one to two hundred Indians on the trail and they always rode on a canter; did you ever see an Indian ride any other way? I never did.
    They were always very friendly and as they passed me they would say "How."
    When the crop was all put in on the valley ranch we went on in the mountains to work on a new ranch; that is how I became acquainted with the old chief.
    One bright Sunday morning in the month of June I went to Grants Pass with a companion; the distance was thirty-five miles. I had the old chief's pony and he was a dandy; the old man said he was fleet as the wind on the mountains and gentle as the little Monon in my tepee; that was the name of his youngest daughter. We were there by nine o'clock; there were to be Indian races there that day; the miners and stage drivers at the Pass had offered a Mexican saddle as a prize; there were over two hundred Indians there and all the young people of both sexes entered for the race. When they were ready to start I saw a young Indian girl come dashing down the foothills and join the races; she lost the first heat but won the race and the prize. Who was it? I thought I had seen her before; it was the little Monon, the old chief's daughter. I had left her at home that morning and did not know she was going. "Why, Monon," I said, "did you leave your father all alone?" "Yes," she said, "but my father said I might come." "But you will wait and go home with us?" "No," she said, "I must go now, I will be home when the sun sinks behind the western mountains." After the races came other Indian sports; one of their sports was riding at full speed and picking up a moccasin off the ground; they could nearly all do it, both boys and girls. It was a gala day and one that I shall never forget. It was sundown when we left the Pass and midnight when we got home. You ask me if Monon got home all right? Yes, she had ridden seventy miles that day and won the race and the prize, a fine Mexican saddle. When I left the valley they were living at the Pass. I went to see them before I left and I asked Monon if she liked her new home better than her mountain home. "No," she said, "I like my mountain home the best." "But you have more company here and you see the stage go by nearly every day." "I do not care for company," she said, "I would rather be chasing the deer and antelope on the mountains and I would rather hear the scream of the panther than the sound of the stage horn. Oh, yes, I liked my mountain home the best." But I must close or I will make you tired.
Yours Truly,
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, May 21, 1892, page 2

Has Jumped the Storms and Talks on Pleasanter Topics.
Kansasville, Wis., July 17, 1892.
    ED. TIMES:--Probably you are tired hearing so much about the weather and I will give you a rest, but it has changed for the better. We have only had two light showers in the last two weeks and the ground is drying up fast. In a drive through the country yesterday I noticed that corn is all the way from two inches to two feet high and it ought to stand as high as a schoolmarm at this time of the year.
    Oats are heading out and are a good crop on the high land. Tame grass is a good crop and is ready to cut. Clover is mostly out. I noticed some fields not cut yet. It is matted on the ground and big weeds are growing up through it caused by the severe storms we have had; it will make very poor hay. We have sold our wool clip for 28 cents a pound, medium washed wool. Fine wool is worth from 20 to 25 cents.
    In a former letter to the Times I told you there would soon be an army of spud bugs here. In a private letter from the coast the writer tells me that the people in California do not know what spud bugs are. I am very glad they do not, for they are one of the worst pests we have, and will eat up a field of potatoes in two days. They are the Colorado Potato Beetle and came from Colorado some twenty or thirty years ago; they are as large as a good- sized navy bean, so you can imagine how long it will take them to clean off a patch of spuds. The only way we can raise potatoes here is to sprinkle the vines twice while they are growing with Paris Green, a deadly poison, mixed with water. I hope the people on the western coast will never see one of them.
    Pardon me if I refer to the pamphlet of Santa Barbara County again, but the more I look at that mission scene on the cover the more I think I have seen it before in real life. Can it be that all the old Spanish missions in California are alike, or can it be that I was ever in the city by the sea? No, I think not. When I landed in San Francisco I went south, I do not know how far; the country was mostly wild and unoccupied then. I know I was gone from the city about two months. I know I was through every county in central and northern California but I cannot now remember how far south I went, but the fact remains that when I look at that lithograph something seems to say to me you have seen that before.
    By the way, is it not strange that some of those good old monks who live at the mission have been there thirty years and have never been to the city of Santa Barbara, which is only one mile from the mission. No, I could not do that,. I should want to go downtown every day and see those big steamships sailing up and down the Santa Barbara channel.
    When I came out of my room this morning I found my California mail lying on the table. The Santa Maria Times of July 9th was the first I looked at. My eye soon caught the bright letter from Mr. Goode of the Cuyama. I thought how nice it would be if there were four or five more such letters from farmers in different parts of your fertile valley. How much more we would know about the country. Do you know that California is like a sealed book to more than half of the people of the Eastern states. It is a fact, and when you tell them of the wonderful progress that has been made in California they will not believe you.
    Mr. Goode wonders why I do not sell out and go to the coast, and I suppose many more who have read my letters in the Times wonder at the same thing. It is because I cannot sell my place for what it is worth. I have a good farm of over one hundred acres, but if I could sell it I would be in California before your winter rains begin. I would not care if I was away back among your mountain ranges. I am some like Monon, the old chief's daughter, of the Rogue River Valley. I do not care for society, for society has mortgaged many fine farms and in many instances it has foreclosed the mortgage. We are making a living here but we have to work very hard for it; the climate is too severe, for what we make in the summer season we have to feed out and throw away in the winter season. I say throw away because when the spring season comes around we can see but very little returns for what we have fed. But I may speak more about this in some future letter. I am afraid my letters are too long and that they crowd out something more valuable.
    That is a very nice little beet story that comes to me in a Southern California paper about the Arroyo Grande people, how they make their wells; all they have to do when they want a well is to plant a beet seed and when the beet is ripe pull it with a powerful derrick and steam engine then they cement the hole and they have a beautiful well. They make their post holes the same way, they plant a carrot seed every rod and when they are ripe pull them with the derrick and they have a row of elegant post holes one foot in diameter and four feet deep. Wonderful country, ain't it, Mr. Editor. But after all the Arroyo Grande country has a fine reputation for raising big vegetables. But those stories were ripe when I was in California. They were first started when the farmers first found out the possibilities of California soil. Well, my time is up and I must close.
Yours Respectfully,
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, July 30, 1892, page 2

And Explains That He Is Only Telling California Truths.
Kansasville, Wis., Sept. 1st 1892.
    ED. TIMES:--Some people here think I am booming California. Well old "Cal." will stand a lot of booming, and it will not hurt her much. But I do not think I am booming California. I am only writing what I know to be true, and I do not call that booming the state. I know a little about the whole Pacific Coast, and I know a good deal about all the Middle Western States and some of the Eastern States, for I have been through then, and for the last ten years I have kept myself posted on the whole Pacific Coast.
    There are some people here who have made flying trips to California to visit relatives, and when they come back they say it is not what some people say it is. What do they know about it? They will go and be back again inside of two months. How can they know anything about it in that short space of time? They knew nothing about California thirty years ago. They do not know of the progress the state has made during that time, and of the obstacles that have been overcome. I can see a lovely village in one of your beautiful valleys that was not there eight years ago; the coyote and jackrabbit claimed the space as their own. At the present time it has two thousand inhabitants and most of the modern improvements.
    The railroads have done all that. They do not look at the enormous cost of building railroad on the Pacific Const. It is not like it is on the plains of the Dakotas and some of the other states where for hundreds of miles there was nothing to do but lay down the ties and rails on the level prairie. There the railroads went first and the settlers followed. But on the Pacific Coast it is different; the settler must go first, and as soon as there is enough business created for a railroad they will follow.
    There are others that say land is held at too high figures in California and I notice that some of your business men think so too. One of your real estate men said land was too high; lower the price, he said, and settlers will come in by thousands.
    I know there is plenty of cheap land but it lays back from towns and railroads and there are not many now who will go away from the comforts of civilized life. But there is plenty of good land all through Southern California that can be bought for 25 dollars an acre, near to towns and railroads. There are thousands of acres in the Antelope Valley and I believe all through Southern California that can be bought for that price and less.
    In Modoc and Lassen counties in the northeast corner of the state there are nine large valleys. They contain 1,545,000 acres of good land, two-thirds of which is vacant and can be had nearly for the taking, but there are no railroads and no market. The farmers in those valleys are raising only enough for home consumption as they have no other market. The southern half of the state has better railroad facilities than the northern half, and when you can buy good land near railroad and market I do not call it out of the way at twenty-five dollars an acre.
    I know many young men who are renting farms here. They pay three hundred dollars a year for 160 acres. They are only making a living, and I wonder sometimes how they pay their rent. I often think that if these young men would band together and go to California and get a piece of land of their own how much easier they could live than they do here.
    Some of them say it would cost too much to make the change. But I believe they would be the gainers in the end. They say the fare is too high and I don't know but they are right. High fare and freights are keeping many from this state. A good many from states west of here are going to Winnipeg in Canada. Cheap fare is one of the temptations and cheap land is another, but they will find out that the country has a very cold climate.
    Some of these visitors who go to California and return say that the California farmers have very poor buildings. They go from a cold climate where they know we must have good buildings, to California where they do not need them, and they do not look at the climate.
    But there are thousands of farmers in California who have good and expensive buildings, and they were not forced to build them on account of the climate.
    Part of the time I was on the coast I worked on a big wheat ranch and there were only three buildings on it; one was the dwelling house, another was a large shed, merely a roof set on long posts, for the horses and mules, and the other was a good bunk house for the ranch hands to sleep in, but it was only used in the wet season; in the dry season the men slept most anywhere. Horrid people, some eastern man will say. Not at all, my good friend; we preferred to sleep out of doors, for there was nothing in the California climate that would hurt us.
    Yes, there was another small building, a small stone spring house, that was built over a stream that came rippling down from the snow-clad mountain in the distance and ran right by the house, where on the hottest day in summer we could always get a drink of ice water. That farmer did not need any more buildings; he had thousands of cattle but they were always on the range. Not a living thing was kept on the ranch, but the horses and mules. He did not store any grain. The wheat that stood in the field in the morning was in the mill at night and he got $1.50 for every bushel he sold. His cattle were fat the whole year round, he kept a butcher shop in town, and the cattle were brought in from the range as they were wanted from two to six at a time; it did not cost him a cent to keep them from the time they were branded till the time they were brought down to the butcher. That was the way to do business. Wasn't it.
Yours Truly,
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, September 17, 1892, page 2

Gives a Sample of His Early Experience on This Coast.
Kansasville, Wis., Oct. 7th 1892
    ED. TIMES:--I was much interested in reading the sketch of those two old settlers in the Times of Sept 3rd. Do you know how I had to laugh when I read it. Now I know that the writer of that sketch is an old Californian and he could tell us many interesting stories of early life in California. He knows all about the California Flea and the Mammoth California Greyback of early times. It brought back to my memory one night I spent in Del Norte Co., Cal. in the year 1861.
    There were three of us in the party. We had sailed up the coast from San Francisco to Crescent City; then we had a foot journey before us of one hundred miles to Jacksonville in Southern Oregon; there were only two cabins between the two places and we made the trip in two days and a half. About sundown the first day we came to the first cabin; it was in a wild mountain country and we concluded to stay there all night if we could; we knew it was occupied because we saw the smoke curling up out of the log chimney; we rapped on the door but no one answered; we then tried the door but found it fastened.
    We waited awhile and presently we saw a young man coming up the trail. He carried a rifle, revolvers, and bowie knife and his game bag was well filled with small game, and two large dogs kept close to him all the time. Good evening my friend we said and he returned our salutation very kindly; we then asked him if he was the owner of the ranch he said no, he was only staying there a spell, we then asked him if we could stay there all night, he said we could if we could put up with the accommodations; we went in and he soon had a supper ready for us from his game bag. He was a well-dressed man and appeared to be about thirty years old. He had a good education and said he was a native of the state of Ohio. We noticed two rifles beside his own standing in one corner of the cabin, so it was plain that he was not alone. He said he was going to leave the next day for Portland; he was only rambling through the country for his health; everything that was in the cabin was there when he came and he would leave it there. So it was plain that it was a deserted prospector's cabin or probably the new home of a settler who was not prepared to stay in the mountains all winter.
    When it was time to retire he fixed a bed for us in one corner of the cabin and we all rolled in together but not to sleep. After we had retired he went out and we saw no more of him till morning but he left those two big dogs in the cabin. I was on the outside of the bed furthest from the wall and went to sleep and slept soundly for some time, but those fellows soon woke me up; they began moving around and kicking. "What's the matter" I asked them. They did not answer, for to tell you the truth we were afraid of those dogs. I soon found out what the trouble was, for something began to bite me, and bite me hard; whatever it was they kept us busy chasing them the balance of the night. We had no stimulants to put us to sleep like those two old settlers had.
    Our host was there bright and early in the morning and we were glad of it, for we had passed a miserable night; he got us a good breakfast while the stars were yet shining and when we were ready to leave we asked how much we owed him, "Nothing, my friends," he said. That was it, that was California hospitality in the early days. Are the people any better now? No, I think not.
    Now, who was our host of that night. I do not know; he was not a settler or a prospector or a laboring man of any kind. He was well dressed and had a fine education; we could tell that by his conversation. It was plain that he was an exile from his home; was he an escaped criminal from the States? Probably so, there were many such cases at that time. How often we used to read of a crime committed and and the escape of the criminal; he had fled into the wilderness, and had hidden himself among the mountain ranges. There was no telegraph to head him off and he was never caught. I knew of two such cases while I was living in the Rogue River mountains in Southern Oregon. Maybe I will tell you about them sometime, but you know how crowded the columns of the Times are with local news, that I am afraid to write about anything of the kind, but I will watch my chance and sometime when the editor is away probably I can get it through.
    There are many things I would like to tell you about; there is my visit to the wonderful Crater Lake in Klamath County and my trip to the big Canyon of the Rogue River. There are only two unpleasant incidents of my life on the Pacific Coast and the memory of them will stay with me as long as I live. One of them was when I was caught in a cattle stampede in a mountain pass. Most of your readers will know what that means, but your eastern readers will not understand it.
    It was while we were opening up that new ranch in the mountains. One bright Sunday morning in the month of June I went down to the valley ranch after provisions; the distance was thirty-five miles and I had the old chief's pony for the trip. All went well until I was within a mile of our mountain home on my return, then I heard a great noise and looking behind me saw a cloud of dust. I did not see anything else but I knew what it meant. I hurried my pony forward but he could not go very fast on account of the pack I had with me. I looked round again, they were gaining on me; there was no escape for me; I must go straight ahead, for the pass was narrow; there appeared to be hundreds of them in the herd.
    My pony now began to act strange; he would rear; I could not urge him on. I then drew my Bowie from my boot leg and cut the rawhide through that bound the pack and it fell to the ground; the little Indian pony went faster now and I soon came in sight of our cabin. My two pards saw me coming; they ran out and threw down the bars of the corral then fired their revolvers at the leaders and turned them, and the maddened herd went by. They often kill themselves in their mad flight, and the next day we found five dead steers in the branch. At another time we were digging a well at the slaughter house on the home ranch. The owner had employed a man to dig the well and I worked the windlass; one day he claimed to be sick and he wanted me to go in the well. I changed with him but before I had been there an hour he let a bucket full of dirt come down into the well; he called "look out" and I just had time to crowd myself up to the wall and escaped with only a few slight bruises.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, October 22, 1892, page 1

Tells About Wool-Growing and Advises California to Grow Mutton.
Kansasville, Wis., Dec. 15th 1892.
    ED. TIMES:--I hope you are all satisfied with the result of the national election. I am all right because you know I am on the winning side. Five dollars is not much to win on the election, but it is better than lying awake nights thinking the other fellow has got it. I see that the nonpartisans have elected their mayor in San Francisco. I shall expect to see the city cleaned up now.
    What surprised me more than anything else was that California should jump over the fence, and come into the Democratic fold. How was that; I think California has more protection than any other state in the Union. Probably it is not the right kind. I saw an item in a Southern California paper saying that a Michigan man had just sold his wool clip for 38 cents a pound and the paper said that if the California sheep men could get that for their wool they would think less of mutton, and more about wool. Now I don't believe that Michigan wool has sold for any such price this year; the highest price paid here for the best washed wool this year was 28 cents a pound, and thousands of pounds were bought here for 17 cts., and in Dakota for 9 cts. I have kept sheep the last thirty years, and I have got more for my wool under a low tariff than under a high tariff. Under the Cleveland administration we sold our wool for 32 cts. last year for 27 cts. and this year for 28 cts. and then they always pick out the worst fleeces and we have to take a reduced price for them. There are men here that actually think they get the 10 cts. duty on their wool. If this is so where dues the Dakota sheep man come in. Some California farmers thought they got 2 cts. more on account of the tariff; that is more reasonable. As to the California farmer raising wool instead of mutton, I think the mutton breeds will always pay him best. Your population is increasing, and your beef supply is falling off on account of the subdivision of your cattle ranches and their change from grazing lands to agriculture and raising fruit. The price of our wool is fixed at the annual auction sales in London and I am not afraid of a low tariff.
    There was an item in the Times of the 19th inst. in regard to paying for drinking water at the World's Fair in Chicago. I think you will have to pay for pure drinking water. You know Chicago is supplied with water from Lake Michigan; it comes from the bottom of the lake four miles from the shore, but the water is not good. Of course that will be free, but you Californians would not want to drink that. There is a company formed in Chicago with $5,000,000 capital; they have purchased the Waukesha Mineral Springs, and are piping it to Chicago for use at the World's Fair. Distance is 130 miles and the pipe line right by my place. There are 300 men working on it now through here, the pipes are 20 feet long and six inches bore; they are laid six feet deep. It will cost nearly as much as a railroad; the farmers all haul the pipe on their own land and board the men. They are a tough gang; there are a lot of native Australians among them; they are black and work by themselves, and you see that if you or I get any of that water we will have to pay for it. But don't fret, if we can't get any of that water there will be plenty of Obermann's extra brew there and we must use that. The pipe line will be completed this winter, but the water is kept on sale in Chicago right along at 1 cent a glass. Now, what are you Californians going to do for pennies. I don't know whether you have them there or not, you would not want to drink a nickel's worth of water at once. When I was in California the smallest coin was two bits, and the price of a glass of whiskey was four bits. They used to say they would never use the dimes and nickels of the States, bat I think you have them now.
    When I and my pard left the Rogue River Valley in Oregon we went to Yreka, California; the distance was 63 miles and we made it on foot, there was no other way at that time; in all that distance there was not a house, or fence to be seen; it was the month of October and you know how dry that country is at that time of the year, you could see a teamster coming with his long string of mules three abreast and his big freight wagon when he was miles away by the clouds of dust they raised.
    We left the valley at noon and reached the river by nightfall; we built a fire to keep the wild animals away, rolled ourselves in our blankets and lay down on the bank of the stream with the canopy of heaven for our covering; we reached Yreka the the next day about sundown footsore, tired, and weary. We went into the first hotel we came to and called for a glass of whiskey, and drank it. "How much, pard?" One dollar my friend, yes, that was the regular price of a glass of liquor at that time.
    Some of the people in California think they have some tough places there now, but I wish they could have seen Yreka at that time. No, I will not tell you about it; you old Californians know just how it was yourselves. I said in a former letter that in time the Colorado desert would be called the garden of the Colorado. There are those now living who will see the change.
    The weather has been horrid the last two weeks, snow, rain and sleet most of the time. We have only had one bright day in all that time. Our roads are almost impassable. The boys are all busy gathering in the annual crops of cottontails with their ferrets.
    Once more I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, December 24, 1892, page 1

In Rogue River Mountains, Southern Oregon 30 Years Ago.
Kansasville, Wis., Jan. 1st 1893.
    ED. TIMES:--Some time ago I promised to tell your eastern readers a little of my experience during my residence in the Rogue River mountains in Southern Oregon.
    In the year 1861 when we had put the crop in on the valley ranch, three of us went up in the mountains to open up a new ranch. Let me describe it to you. It was a level piece of land of about 360 acres, surrounded by low foothills. These foothills were covered with brush and small timber but the valley land was all clear and covered with a rich growth of grass. A cabin stood just in the foothills in which we lived. It was nothing but rough cedar logs laid up and covered with a roof. The spaces between the logs were all open and many a time we would find snakes in our blankets at night, and the coyotes would come round the cabin and howl and bark so we could not sleep. We used to fire our revolver at them through the chinks in the logs and drive them away.
    Our work was to haul cedar rails down from the mountains and build a fence round this ranch. It was 35 miles from the valley ranch and we were all alone up there with the exception of the old chief and his family. It was the eldest of his daughters who found all those gold nuggets and wove them into bracelets I told you about some time ago, and it was the youngest daughter, the little Monon, who won the race and the prize of a Mexican saddle at Grants Pass. My acquaintance with the old man came about in this way. One bright Sunday morning I had wandered away from our cabin, and came to a little valley hidden in the mountains. In this valley I met the old man. He was armed and was out hunting. He said, "How," and I returned his salutation saying, "How are you my friend." We had some conversation and he asked me to walk with him.
    In his broken English he told me about the early times in the Rogue River Valley. He called it the Valley of the Falling Water. Then he told me of the Indian war five years before that time and how one of his sons was shot down by the white settlers in the valley. He asked me to visit his grave which was at the head of the little valley under the overhanging branches of a sugar pine tree. We sat down on the rocks that covered the grave to protect it from the wild animals, and the tears chased each other down the old man's wrinkled cheeks as he talked to his dead boy in his own tongue. I spoke kind words to him, and cheered him up the best I could, and after that time he was my close friend. He said the white men would pass by and not speak to him, but I always saluted him. He was not like the Indians of the valley. I think I have told you before that he came from New Mexico. His wife had been dead some years. His family told me about their mother and their big black eyes would fill with tears whenever they spoke of her. "Oh, she was very beautiful," they said. "Her long black hair hung down below her waist and her eyes were like two pearls." Soon after we went up there the son went to Grants Pass and was engaged as a teamster. Soon after he went, the old man wanted a message carried to him, and he wanted me to take it. The distance was 30 miles and I had no time except on Sunday, and I had no pony. "My pony is yours," he said, "he is swift as the wind on the mountains." I told him I would go and that was the day of the Indian races I told you about some time ago at Grants Pass.
    The son was making big money at teaming. He drove 15 mules, three abreast, to a big freight wagon that would hold enough goods to stock a grocery store. As soon as he had earned enough money he built a house at Grants Pass and his father and sisters went there to live.
    We used one pair of mules and a common farm wagon to haul the rails. They were all cedar and very light and dry; we made two trips a day. Our fare was bread, bacon, and beans with plenty of sugar, coffee and tea. Beside that we got plenty of small game. The hills were very steep and we had to securely bind our loads and chain lock all the wheels.
    I could tell you many a wild and weird story of the mountains but space will not permit. One day our employer came suddenly upon us. He had been to a horse race and was on his way home. "See here, boys." He said here are my winnings for that race and he held up a buckskin bag containing $1,500 in gold dust. He was a noble man, a man among men and a genuine southerner as were nearly all the residents of the Rogue River Valley at that time. He kept a race horse; he owned an Indian boy body and soul; he had bought him of an Indian for $200. He trained him for a jockey and many a race he won for him. He never was at home only through harvest; he would make trips through the country of 200 miles and always on horseback.
    The Rogue River Valley has a fine climate; all through the summer season nearly every day was alike. Bright sunshine most of the time and the refreshing sea breeze came to us every day over the Coast Range, and I always thought that the moon shone brighter in those mountains than it does in the East. The winter season is wet but it rarely freezes enough in the valley to make ice. Snow does not fall in the valley but mountains are covered with snow all winter long.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, December 31, 1892, page 1

In Rogue River Mountains, Southern Oregon 30 Years Ago.
    When the wheat was ripe our employer took us and 22 more men to the valley ranch. The wheat was threshed and hauled to the mill at Ashland; we worked every day for seven weeks; as soon as the harvest was done we went back to build the fence.
    A pair of blankets and an old rifle lay in one corner; after we had been in our bunks awhile we heard someone at the door. Who's there, we asked. A friend, was the reply. Who are you? I am a hunter he said and have been staying here the last two weeks. Are you a white man and alone? Yes, he said. Well, we will let you in, but if there is anyone with you we will shoot you on sight. He appeared to be about fifty years of age. His game bag was full; he wore a heavy gray beard and mustache, he asked us if he could stay there a few days. We told him he could if he was all right. We asked his name. Call me Smith he said, Robert Smith. We went on with our work and he was out hunting every day, and he kept us well supplied with game. He was a very sociable man and entertained us with many stories of travel and adventure. On the second day of his stay with us George said to me, Josh, I don't believe that man is all right, we must watch him. On the third day we told him he was not as old as he looked to be, and that he was not away back in those hills for mere sport. No boys, he said, I am not as old as I look; I am only 28 years of age. You seem to be good, honest boys, and I will tell you my story. I have only been with you three days, but I like you and I will trust to your honesty not to betray me. Then he took off a false beard and a wig, then he washed his face and hands. Good heavens, he was not the same man, he was a young man with curly black hair and mustache. Would you know me in my disguise, he asked. No, we said, no man would ever know you.
    I was born and raised in the States, he said, and am an only child. Both my parents died eight years ago; if they had lived longer I might have been a better man. My father gave me a good education; I got a position as bookkeeper in a large dry goods house at a good salary. I was there two years when the house failed, for a large amount of money. The men of the firm were thieves. It was a well-laid plan to cheat their creditors and they only got fifty cents on the dollar. I then accepted a position as cashier in one of the largest banks in the country. The bank did a big business and handled millions of dollars yearly and was thought to be the safest institution in the United States. When I had been there a year I found that some of the officers were thieves and rascals; another passed by, and I found they were plotting to rob the bank. I was thoroughly posted in the business of the bank and knew what they were doing; large sums of money were coming into the bank and very little going out. One evening the president of the bank told me to leave the keys with hints they had some business to transact. I did so but instead of going home I secreted myself in the office. About 10 o'clock the president and one of the directors came into the office and locked the door, and to make a long story short they planned to rob the bank and escape to Europe, and the time was in one week from that night. The next day I thought the whole thing over. What should I do; should I inform on them, what good [would] that do me. I would lose my position. No, I would rob the bank myself, but I would only take half the amount they had planned to take. I had no relations to leave behind me, no one who would care for me, and in three days from that time I was on my way to Brazil. I did not stay there long. A native taught me how to stain my face and hands, and when I left that country I was completely disguised. From Brazil I went to Australia and stayed there six months. One morning I was walking in the streets of Melbourne when I saw a man that I knew, he was dressed in citizen's clothes, but I knew he was a well-known detective from my own city. I thought I would test my disguise so I walked night past him. He looked at me but did not know me although he knew me at home. I left that night for Hong Kong and went from there to the Sandwich Islands, and three months ago I landed in San Francisco. When I was in Australia I read the whole account of the affair and the flight of the cashier. The bank was only crippled; it was still doing business and the depositors had been paid in full. I like this roving life in the mountains, but I intend to go to some western city and my identity will soon be lost. Now, boys, I have told you my story, and I know you will never betray me. No, what good would it do us; he had not told us his real name or the name of the city and bank he had robbed. There were worse criminals than he was, men who had robbed and defrauded the widow and orphan, yet the law had not touched them, they were walking the streets of the cities free men, and were the pets and idols of what people call society. He was with us about two weeks and then left for Grants Pass. At another time the sheriff from Portland stayed with us one night; he was hunting an escaped criminal from Portland two days after a young man came along and wanted to know the nearest way to the coast; he wanted to go to San Francisco; we told him the best way to get there would be to go to Crescent City. Was he the man the sheriff was looking for we did not know; we thought he was. It was as the old chief told us; there were many bad white men in the mountains, they come and go he said, and never remain long. Soon after that time I left Southern Oregon and went to Yreka, and from there to Sacramento by stage over the Sierra Nevada mountains. I remained there awhile and then moved to the city of Stockton.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, January 21, 1893, page 1

Draws Some Likely Comparisons Between Their Climate and Ours.
Kansasville, Wis., Jan. 15th 1893.
    ED. TIMES:--I have just received a long letter from my daughter telling me they are permanently located near Santa Maria. She tells me of the fine climate and of the splendid farming country between Santa Maria and San Luis; she says the farmers are busy putting in their winter crops. Another letter from the Rogue River Valley tells me the same thing, and how is it herein the Badger State--we are frozen up solid. The ice on the lake is 14 inches thick. December was the coldest month we have had in the last five years. Kansas is blocked with snow and there is much suffering in that state and in the Dakotas; the stock is suffering for food, and the people for fuel.
    The Chicago Times says: California's World's Fair building is a thing of beauty, from its massive portals to [its] graceful dome, it is the most striking and picturesque of any of the state buildings. It looks like California. Big, opulent, picturesque, architecturally there is a suggestion of the adobe, more than a hint of the ancient Mexican fragments of the Moorish and touches of the most hybrid styles [while] the structure is admirably arranged for the citrus and mineral products that will dominate the exhibit from that state.
    I see by the Times of Dec 17th that J.M. invited me to go to Cuyama. Thank you, Mr. Goode, but honestly don't you think the best years of my life are gone. Probably you are a young man full of energy and ambition; those are the kind of men to go to California. If you have read my letters you know that I am not a young man. When I was on the coast I was only 22 years old, young, strong and healthy; in all the time I was away from home I never had one hour's sickness except that night we lay in the bay of Panama, and who would not be sick in that horrid climate. It is 32 years since I was on the broad Pacific Ocean on my way to Panama and looking back and saw that the Golden Gate had faded from my view. When I was on the coast I could climb halfway up old Shasta or the Lassen Butte and never feel it. I could drive my twelve-mule team three abreast with a single line over the mountains day and night and never get tired, and in Southern Oregon I could follow the plow with my 3-mule team week after week. I recall to mind one time when I was on the mountains with my team a huge boulder had fallen down the side of the mountain and lodged on the track. The road was cut out of the side of the mountain and was very narrow. I could not pass the big rock. I must move it. I got my crowbar out of the wagon and for two long hours I worked at that rock till I got it to the edge of the road and I can see now as it toppled over and rolled down the side of the mountain hundreds, yes, thousands of feet into the depths below. I could not do all that now; still I am at work doing something most of the time and I think I could subdue one of those Cuyama ranches.
    Those of you who were in California at the time I was know all about the hard times on the coast. Then there was nothing to do, the mining industry was at a standstill and there were no railroads and no markets. There was six of us went from here at different times, and all came back, but I was called home, and when I left the coast it was with the firm intention of going back, for I liked the country and climate, but after I got back here the Civil War broke out and I could not get back then. I wandered all through Central and Northern California, but could get nothing to do, and then on to Southern Oregon. Some of you remember the dry year in California. I forget the exact date, but it was somewhere about 1861. It was a great setback to the state, and many left for the States at that time. I was in the San Joaquin Valley then and it looked like a desert. Large herds of cattle roaming over it, but everything was dried up. They could get nothing to eat and thousands of them died and tens of thousands more were sold for their hides and tallow. In Monterey County alone 28,000 head were sold for a mere trifle to keep them from starving to death.
    The Danas of the Nipomo Ranch can tell you all about that time, for they lost heavily in both cattle and sheep. Five years later was the time to go to California; things had brightened up and the state was prospering, the transcontinental railroad was being talked about and railroads were built soon after in all parts of the state. I was reading a description of the Cuyama not long since in a Central California paper by a Kern County man. I think all it lacks is a railroad and wagon roads and those you will soon have. I have noticed all along in the Times that you stand up for the Cuyama and that is right. No city was ever built in a day, and the Cuyama will be built up in time. I notice that you spend a good part of your time up in the Bakersfield country. You say you do not like it; they claim to have a good country up there but I think Santa Barbara County can beat Kern County all to pieces. You say you are out of politics. Try it again next time, the Santa Maria people stood by you well.
Yours Truly,
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, January 28, 1893, page 1

Since 1842 and Still Their Porkers Are Fat and Fine.
Kansasville, Wis., March 1st 1893.
    ED. TIMES:--This letter will not be quite as cold as my last; the weather has been a little warmer the last two weeks. But we have had no thaw yet; the snow is still from one to eight feet deep and the ice on the lake is four feet thick, so the boys who are fishing tell me. An old resident who came here in 1842 tells me that it is the coldest winter since that time. That winter he said was just like this. Well! I said, it's a wonder you didn't go right back again to the old sod. We have a good cellar, the wall is solid and two feet thick and it is well banked up on the outside, yet it made ice in the cellar three inches thick. Then your spuds are all frozen solid. No, my friend, they are not; we covered them with blankets and saved them or we would have had no spuds now. It has been 45 degrees below here, and my nephew in Montana tells me it has been 63 degrees below for four days together. How I was wishing you were with me the other day when I went to town. You are laughing and you say you would have tipped me over. No, I would not have done that because I know you do not like the snow. I would like you to have seen the road. It was two ditches with a snow bank in the center and a higher bank on each side that was thrown out by the plows. When we got to town we would have gone into the hotel and warmed up both inside and out, then we would have made a trip of ten miles down the old Fox River on the ice. No, don't be afraid, we won't break through, although the water is running swift under the ice. It would bear a train of heavily loaded cars. I know you would have enjoyed the trip immensely and it would have been a great change for you.
    There is no sign of a thaw yet. Old residents tell us we will have good crops this year on account of the heavy snowfall. Well, I hope they may be right. One of my nephews and a niece left for Southern California about a week ago and I hope they have arrived there all right. I notice that a large colony will leave Old England the cowing spring and will settle in the southern part of your state.
    Those hogs I was telling you about in a former letter are doing well; they will average 200 pounds at the present time. We have been offered $9.50 for them but will not sell yet. It costs more to feed hogs here than it did in the Rogue River mountains and when I am feeding them my mind often wanders back to the time long ago when I was living there. There were three of us up there and we had to go down to the home ranch for our provisions and we did not like that so we got all the meat we could up there. We were like everybody else; we liked a change. We got tired of so much bacon and ham. There was an old female hog up there with eight of the nicest little porkers you ever saw. All the rancher's stock used to run together on those mountains but they were all branded and that old hog had our employer's brand on one of her hams. Well, as I said before we liked a change, so the first Sunday they came round one of those shiny little fellows went on the spit and I can tell you it tasted better than bacon, jackrabbit or bear meat. Well, the next Sunday there was another on the same spit, and roast pork was the fare that day. So it went on until there were only three left. The next Sunday the boss was with us. He got there about noon but we had roast pork just the same. He said it was very nice and wanted to know where we got it. We told him we traded tobacco for it with old Wamuka. Well, after dinner we were all sitting outside the cabin when that old hog with the three remaining pigs came along and walked right by us. "That is one of your hogs, Mr.," George said. "Yes, I see my brand on her, and she has three nice little pigs, but she ought to have had more than that," and he looked at us and laughed. What did he care; he knew there were hundreds more bearing his brand that were roaming all over those mountains; he did not know how many cattle or hogs he owned.
    Well, those pigs kept going until there was only one left, and I wanted the boys to leave that, but we were out of meat and it was not my turn to go down to the ranch after more so the last one had to go on the spit.
    Now Mr. Ed. I want you to make the Times look as nice as you can this week, for I want to send my copy to the Rogue River Valley, and maybe one of my old pards who is still living there (the other is dead) will read this little reminiscence of the early days in the Rogue River mountains. Quien sabe.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, March 25, 1893, page 4

Joshua Says "Don't Send Oranges to the World's Fair Yet."
Kansasville, Wis., March 20th 1893.
    ED. TIMES:--The Times of March 4 at hand. I am glad to see J.M. back to the Cuyama again. I have missed his bright letters in the Times. Yes, J.M., if I ever have the luck to get back to the coast I will certainly come and see you. I am also pleased to see Jersey Lily back again. Where have you been so long? Come again.
    I would certainly like to see all of you. But before I go you must tell me how to rig myself up, for I would not like to be mistaken for a dude or a tenderfoot. Maybe I had better go back just as I left with slouch hat, red flannel shirt, and high-topped boots with a big bowie stuck inside the leg of the right boot, and then to top off there was a long red silk sash wound round my waist; how would that go? There are many places I would like to see again, of course Santa Maria would be the first and then I would rather go north than south because I never was in Southern California, and there are so many places in Northern California that I would like to see again. I would like to step aboard one of those excursion steamers some bright Sunday morning and sail round the beautiful bay just as I did in what we call the early days. Then I would like to go up the river to Sacramento, from there to Ophir, now Oroville, and then on to Shasta and Siskiyou counties; and I wonder if our Happy Camp is there yet. I would like to ramble among those hills once more and see if there is anything there that would be familiar to me.
    Yes, I think there is, and then way off to the northwest is that little cabin on the banks of the creek in the Rogue River mountains. I would go down to the bed of the creek and wash out pans of gravel, and sometimes I would get a tiny flake of gold just as I did in the long ago. But excuse me; I am forgetting myself. I have just received a long letter from your valley telling me about the country and the crops. The writer says it was a lucky day for him when he landed in California, and I think it was. He says "it is a land of beauty, virtue, labor and truth," such as you quoted in your first letter to the Santa Maria Times May 6th 1891.
    Well, I had forgotten the date, but not the lines; they will never leave my memory. There are some who go to the coast who do not like it at first, but I think that the longer they stay, the better they like it. A friend of mine who lives in the northern part of this state was here this winter; he was telling me about one of his neighbors who has a son living in Sonoma County, Cal. He owns a good ranch and has a fine prune orchard on it, and he is well satisfied with his lot. Some time last fall the father went to visit him and stayed with him two months; when he came back he said he did not like the country; it was too dry; he said everything seemed to be dried up. Well, I suppose it was dry then, as it was in the dry season, but if he had remained there all winter he would have had a different impression of the country, and so I told my friend.
    Don't send those orange trees to the World's Fair yet; they are not used to the Chicago climate. It would be like turning a lot of spring lambs out of a warm barn into the snowbanks out [omission] carloads of orange trees, some of them fifteen feet high and all laden with golden globes; they will come from San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Well, I think that will be the finest sight to be seen at the exposition, and it will open the eyes of some of these eastern people.
    About the weather. Well, that snow is all gone; three rainy days in the second week of this month cleaned it all out. Then we had a howling blizzard of snow from the north and it is frozen up solid again. The floods have done much damage on the Fox and Root rivers. The Freeman flats in Racine were flooded to the depth of six feet; the people all had to move out but no lives were lost.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, April 1, 1893, page 2

Bank Failures and Hard Storms Are Distressing Eastern People
KANSASVILLE, Wis., June 15, '93.
    ED. TIMES:--I have just received a long letter from my old pard in the Rogue River Valley and a copy of the Del Norte Record in answer to a letter and a copy of the Times I sent him. He tells me that the crop prospects are fine, and fruit promises well. He also tells me that old Jennie is dead. "You know her, Josh," he says, "and you know that she was the last one of the Rogue River Valley tribe of Indians. They are all gone now." Yes, I remember her well. I used to see her on the streets of Jacksonville nearly every day. She must have been over 100 years old, for she was an old woman thirty-three years ago.
    The Del Norte Record reprints the story of the Rogue River Valley Indian war thirty-eight years ago. If I were sitting in your office I could tell you a horrible story of that massacre of settlers in Southern Oregon that was told to me by a miner who took part in it, but it would take up too much space in your paper.
    Another letter from the Arroyo Grande country and still another from your own country tells me all about the crops and the fruit prospects. They say their new potatoes are six weeks old. Well, maybe we will have some here in August or September. They are above the ground now and so are the spud bugs and I think they are bigger than they ever were before. It looks now as though we should have to shoot them to get rid of them.
    We have some California beans growing here, at least I think they are, and the lady of this ranch says they are beans and she ought to know. Well, it is surprising to see those beans grow; they make about an inch every day and they don't stop on Sunday. I tell the lady they think they are in their own native land and cannot help but grow, for you know the seed came from the Golden State.
    The Cuyama Valley must be a fine place for raising turkeys. I know now from what I have read from different parts of the state that you can raise poultry and that you can raise it far easier than the people in the Eastern states as your climate is more favorable for the business. It is hard to raise young poultry here on account of the severe storms we have; that is where you have the advantage over us.
    Well, the Columbian Exposition is paying running expenses at last. Chicago is all right if she is let alone and will come out ahead in spite of all the jealousy, greed and fanaticism there is in the country.
    The Eastern press has shown no love for Chicago and the fair, and the opposition to Sunday opening is a great drawback to it. The railroads are to blame too; they have shown too much greed. We are not all millionaires, and those who cannot afford to go to the fair must stay at home. We are very near to Chicago, but there are many here who would like to go will not on account of the very heavy expense.
    There is great excitement here over the many bank failures. The banks are handing out circulars to quiet the [illegible]
    We had a heavy thunder storm on the 10 inst.
    Tame grass is a good crop and the pastures are good; everything is green now and this is the nicest month in the year here. Early oats are a fair crop on high places, but in low places they are a failure. There is not much fruit raised round here except apples. Almost every farmer has an apple orchard, and the local press says they are not up to the average.
    I have read crop reports from every county in your state, and I think California will beat us again. Many fields of corn have rotted and had to be replanted, and now in the low places the second planting has rotted.
    The last mail brought me a fine lot of reading from San Francisco, and I assure you it is all very interesting to me, for it is all about early times in California.
    There is no boom from the World's Fair. Some people said that prices of produce would boom this summer, but they are lower now than they were last winter. We have just sold dressed pork for 8 cts. a pound and poultry for 8 and 10 cts. I see by my California mail that pork is worth 7¢ on foot in Southern California.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, July 1, 1893, page 1

A Party Arranging to Visit the Midwinter Fair.
Kansasville, Wis., Jan. 1st '94.
    ED. TIMES:--I gave you a good rest this time. I have no excuse, but sometimes I think I bother you too much.
    We had good weather the last ten days of the old year with southwest winds and rain. The snow was all melted, but the new year has started in business bold and stormy and the ground is again covered with snow.
    The Times comes right along and in almost every number there is something that reminds me of the early days of California. In the Times of Dec. 2nd it was your thanksgiving song, "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.'' I heard that song sung in Sacramento, in Yreka, in camp among the mountains of the Siskiyou Range, and again away back in the Rogue River mountains. It seems to be a favorite song with you, and I am pleased to know that the people on the coast are as good now as they were
in the early days.
    In a recent number of the Times you say that more is wasted on California farms than it costs the average eastern farmer to live. I believe you are right. I know it was so when I was on the coast there were thousands of bushels of wheat wasted on the great wheat ranches in the Sacramento Valley, nothing was kept on the ranches but the horses and mules to do the work, there was nothing to eat up the refuse and I found it the same wherever I went. It was the same in Southern Oregon; all the straw and waste was burned and sometimes the fires escaped to the hills and consumed all the feed for miles around. I thought you had reformed, but I see by the Times that you still burn up your straw and stubble, and the fires sometimes escape to the hills.
    No, we could not do business like that here, and then again it is surprising to read of all the hog products, poultry and eggs that are shipped to the coast from the eastern states. I know that California can and should produce all that at home.
    There is an item on the midwinter climate of California for your eastern readers as I knew it to be in the winters of '59, '60 and '61. A big ranch and bunk house in the foothills with countless herds of cattle grazing on them. On the other side spreads the great valley with the river winding through it. On the ranch are gangs of three-mule teams turning up the rich, gravelly soil. There are five teams in one gang, one man follows after and sows the wheat and one yoke of oxen follows it with a harrow and goes once over it. There were no sulky gang plows and seeders then; everything was done by hand; the early sown wheat is up, some of it is two inches high, still the plows go on till the whole ranch is seeded. The sun shines brightly most of the time; it rains sometimes but it is mostly in the night time.
    To the East the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains are in plain sight. Just outside the ranch there is a band of 200 Indians in camp and a teamster with his fifteen-mule team is on his way to the mines with a load of provisions for the miners. The Indians are on their way north; they hunt and fish and lay around on the sunny foothills and are as happy as the day is long. You know what winter is in the eastern and middle-western states; which do you prefer?
    It is amusing to the oldtimer to read the different stories of Joaquin Murietta, the Mexican bandit of the early days. It comes out about every two years and each time it is different. In the latest story he is classed with the horse and cattle thieves of the San Joaquin Valley. He did not care for cattle and horses; his motto was "Death to All Gringos'' and he had taken an oath to shoot them on sight because they had taunted him for his skill. At all their games of sport he could excel them all; they shot and killed his affianced bride while they were riding on the banks of the American River. I was in the San Joaquin Valley six years after his capture and I think I know the true story.
    During the hunt for Evans and Sontag some of your youthful reporters compared them to our Joaquin. They were no more like the Mexican bandit than a gentle zephyr is like a Kansas cyclone. He was the terror of the whole coast, and this leads me to say that Evans is not as bad as he is painted. Our local papers tell us that he helped to rob the Western Union train right here. It is not so; that job was done by the Sontags themselves.
    A December letter from my daughter near Arroyo Grande tells us that the farmers were working in the fields, the flowers were in bloom in the garden and the weather was so mild that she had the doors and windows open.
    A party is making up near here to go to the Midwinter Fair in San Francisco. One of my old friends of the early days is here on a visit from Southern Oregon and Siskiyou County, Cal. One by one they leave us. Another of our young men has gone to California and a prominent farmer near here has sold out; California will be his future home.
    A carload of provisions and clothing left here last week for the destitute miners on the Gogebic Range. During the month of December the city of Racine had to take care of 500 tramps.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, January 13, 1894, page 2

A Farmer Murdered in Cold Blood; The Desperado Caught.
Kansasville, Wis., March 20, '94.
    ED. TIMES:--The snow is all gone and we are getting thawed out once more; some have begun seeding but they will wish they had waited a little longer as we are sure to have heavy storms yet. We had a tornado on the 10th, the wind blew a hurricane all day and as the sun went down it increased in fury, till at midnight it reached the tornado mark. The farmers wore long faces the next morning. Many windmills were down, all the hay stacks were blown over, and many small buildings were down taking a rest.
    If everything turns out as predicted we will have lively times here this spring. Foster, the St. Louis weather prophet, tells us that we will have a period of terrible storms and cyclones, and a reverend gentleman in New York tells us that Satan will come with an army and sweep all us poor sinners from the face of the earth. He says he saw him once on the Island of Flowers in South America and he never wants to see such a sight again.
    I send you the clipping from the New York World if you have not read it, and I think that you will agree with me that it reads like a story of the dark ages:
    "A horrible murder was committed four miles south of here about three weeks ago. John Callaghan was a prosperous and peaceable farmer living in the town of Brighton. On the night he lost his life he was sitting by his fireside with his family, reading his paper, when a knock came on the door, 'Come in,' said the farmer, but no one came in. Presently the rap on the door came again. 'Come in,' said the farmer in a louder voice, but as before no one came in. Mr. Callaghan then got up and opened the door when a revolver was thrust in his face and a burly ruffian said: 'Your money or your life.' 'I have no money,' answered the farmer.' 'Sure? Your money or your life,' said the ruffian again. '1 tell you again I have no money.' Then the devil fired and sent a ball right through the farmer's head and he fell lifeless to the floor."
    The assassin was captured the next day by two farmers and is now in the Kenosha County jail. No. 3055 is in the Folsom cooler now but I don't believe he would have committed such a crime as that.
    The whole country seems to be full of the vicious class. People are held up, robbed and murdered until some of the people live in a state of terror. The streets of San Francisco in the early days were safer than the country places are now. The leading gambling saloons were all open to the streets; you could see hundreds of thousands of dollars piled up on the tables but no one dared touch those yellow piles for he knew it would be instant death.
    I was in the El Dorado saloon one night when a richly dressed, native Californian lady came in with her two Mexican servants. She played and lost and then began to win and kept on winning till she had won I dare not tell you how much, for probably some of your eastern readers would not believe me, but it was a very large sum. Hundreds of red-shirted miners were standing round and they cheered her on her good luck. Her two servants carried the gold away with them, and they walked through the streets unmolested. I don't believe it could be done now.
    There never was so much California fruit on sale here as there is now; it is finding its way into every small grocery store in the country. We can buy very good California oranges for 25 cts. a dozen and California prunes, 50 to the pound for 10 cts. Plant more prunes and send us more prunes, for there is no finer fruit in the market.
    That Waterford minister is free; he has had three examinations but the judge did not think the evidence sufficient to hold him. He spent the last two weeks in jail. I cannot tell you all the disgusting details, for it is not fit to appear in a paper. He says he is undecided yet whether he will remain in the ministry. Well, what cheek; the dead girl was his servant and her parents are brokenhearted over her untimely death.
    Tell my friend of the Cuyama to keep night along; the ladies like to write themselves sometimes. I can assure him that his letters are appreciated, as are all your correspondents. I always read their letters first.
    I have been interested in reading the tariff discussion in the Arroyo Grande Herald. "Buggs" and "Observer" are all right.
    A large party left Burlington, six miles west of here, two weeks ago for San Francisco. They went via the Santa Fe and will take in all Southern California.
    An interesting letter from my daughter near Arroyo Grande tells me that crops look well. It is reported that John Tye will visit his brother near Arroyo Grande.
Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California, April 7, 1894, page 1

Last revised December 22, 2021