Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

Next: Above SettlementsContentsPrevious: Ranches and Rancheria

The Big Oak Flat Road (1955) by Irene D. Paden and Margaret E. Schlichtmann


Chapter VIII
THE GARROTES—FIRST AND SECOND

In considering the history and problems of the Garrotes, one asks, quite naturally, why should there have been a First and a Second and why should the First, in a modest moment, have re-christened itself Groveland?

The last-named settlement had its beginnings in 1849. The earliest permanent building was an adobe trading post established by a Frenchman known as Raboul. In July of the same year a couple of men, said to be Mexican, stole some gold dust said to amount to $200. It is impossible to be positive in this incident—that is, up to the lynching which was both positive and irrevocable. To kill a man, the miners reasoned, might be justifiable; to steal from him was not. So they picked a fine oak tree growing conveniently near the trading post and the hanging took place thereupon. The camp was promptly dubbed “Garrote,” the Spanish term for death by choking or hanging, and through the years the word has retained a Spanish cast to its pronunciation.

Shortly afterward it seems probable that history repeated itself on another fine oak tree in another settlement some two miles southeast. The scene of the second un-blessed event was called Second Garrote. This necessitated that the hanging having priority be recognized and, instead of plain “Garrote,” the first camp became known as “Garrote I”1 or “First Garrote.”

The hanging at Second Garrote has been questioned and two of our most reliable sources of information differ. Both are entirely thoughtful and honest in their decision; both give the facts as they have been handed down to them. It will be taken up in its place in this narrative.2

The settlement of First Garrote bore that title, or was called simply Garrote, until the middle ’70s when the more conservative of the population began to think that, as an address, the name might be just a bit lacking in gentility. At the suggestion of Benjamin Savory it was changed to Groveland in honor of the town in Massachusetts from which he came. Many of the inhabitants heartily approved. Many did not. The Sonora Union Democrat, in an issue of January, 1875, offered this disparaging criticism: “Among the recent orders issued by the Postoffice Department at Washington is one changing the name of the Garrote Postoffice to Groveland. Garrote is not a very pretty name, and has unpleasant associations, yet for all that the pioneers of Tuolumne County will stick to it and call Jim Tannahill’s post-office Garrote whether the government likes it or not.” A prophecy which some of the old-timers fulfill to this day.

When the Frenchman, Raboul, built his adobe trading post as a nucleus around which the settlement of First Garrote was destined to grow, he started a long-term business; for the building, known for many years as Cassaretto’s store and now as the Red and White Grocery, is still busy at the old stand.

A word picture depicting some of the scenes in the family store was given to us by Mr. Frank Cassaretto: During the days when more gold dust than coin of the realm was taken over the counter, Louis Cassaretto was doing a thriving business and had a large Indian custom from the Miwok Rancheria in Deer Flat. “The Indian trade was mainly in staples,” said Mr. Cassaretto, “especially sugar. They would come into the store with their gold dust and make a bee line for the sugar barrel. They would even work to get it. That was one sure way that the pioneer women could get much-needed help. My mother could get a heavy washing done for fifty cents worth of sugar.

“The Indians were usually quiet but the miners from the hills would come into town for Sunday and spend the day drinking and gambling. Then they’d get boisterous and come into the store to make trouble. One day father got thoroughly disgusted; picked up a weight from the scales and threw it, hit or miss, at the bunch of them. It ‘hit’ all right and the man it connected with was out for three hours. After that he didn’t have so much trouble.”

Mrs. Louis Cassaretto, who was Adelina Bruschi of Coulterville, was typical of other early day wives and mothers. It was imperative that they have help for the multiplicity of daily tasks and by far the most accessible source of unskilled labor was each housewife’s own older children. In talking with the men and women who were born in the ’60s along the Mother Lode it becomes noticeable that, as lads and girls, they have done practically everything from riding with the sheriff’s posse to laying out the dead for burial. The picture of self-reliance is amazing. Mother and father simply couldn’t do everything; the Indians were lazy and unwilling; so the children were kept at it until the tasks were done. Every single member of the family had his responsibilities—even the four-year-old.

The family took its pleasures together also. There were no baby sitters. If, by any chance, a neighbor’s daughter was helping out as “hired girl,” no one questioned her right to go to the dances and picnics and the children who were old enough to take care of the younger ones wanted to go too. So everybody went.

This family solidarity in work and play included father, mother and the younger children. As the boys grew to a man’s strength at fifteen or sixteen, their chosen employments, teamster, stage-driver, guide, Wells, Fargo & Co. messenger, miner, etc., threw them out into grave, often terrible situations where they could look to no one for help. Between the ages of fourteen and twenty the girls usually married and, from then on, they faced whatever of danger childbirth had to offer without doctor or hospital care. Childhood ended early, but the parent pair were a pair until death.

These children of the ’60s, now grown old, remember with affection the schoolhouse at the edge of town which was known through decades of its existence as the “Big Oak Flat School.” The earlier schoolhouse serving Big Oak Flat stood for just a few years near the top of the divide between the two towns. It was soon discontinued. By an uncommon spirit of reciprocity Groveland, which had no church, attended Mount Carmel in its neighbor town and the children of Big Oak Flat and even of Priest’s Hill trudged to Groveland to school. In modern times Big Oak Flat has a school of its own and the Groveland institution is called by its rightful name.

John Gamble was the early day teacher, an unusually tall and powerful man with a black spade beard, who did not hesitate to use his fists if necessary to keep order. He was succeeded by his daughter, Lucy; his son taught the school at Stevens’ Bar, so among them the Gamble family trained much of the countryside. There are men and women who can still remember Lucy Gamble sitting atop of a cast iron stool with a horsehair cushion—minus, in the later days, every vestige of horsehair—while the small organ vibrated heroically to the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Mrs. Thomas Reid, lately deceased, was an accepted source of accurate information on the county’s early history. She was born in Groveland and, with the exception of one short visit out of state, lived continuously in this, her chosen town, for over, ninety years. She was an exceptionally tall, slender woman, sweet-faced and gracious; had seen the better part of a century of excitement in the Mother Lode and remembered a surprising amount.

One day she was induced to talk to us of old times. “There was a period,” she said, “during the fading out of the gold fever when the mining communities were rather rough. I think it partly coincided with the high feeling over the Civil War. As a rule it didn’t touch the women, though. They had enough to do without being out very much. A tragic affair happened in the first store. Mr. Raboul still owned it. My father could remember the excitement in town. You know almost every place sold liquor in those days and men were apt to meet and drink together. Several men were standing talking, and after awhile one of them turned around and invited everyone in the store to come up to the bar and drink with him. One of the men waiting at the counter for his groceries happened to be colored and the man who was treating gathered him in with the rest and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Then a gambler from the South, named Andy Hunter, made a big scene and shouted that he wouldn’t drink with a ‘nigger’ and pulled a bowie knife. The colored man moved away. He didn’t want trouble but Hunter kept right after him. He backed him against the wall and there they were. Hunter had the knife high in the air when the Negro clutched the hand that was gripped around the handle. He was a powerful man and fighting for his life. The hand came down but he had forced it around so that it was away from him. When the other men rushed over Hunter still gripped the knife handle but the blade was buried in his own body. It was he who was dead.”

The gentle woman who had taken Garrote for better or for worse since Civil War days thought about the incident for a moment with apparent serenity and then added, “Nobody did anything more about it. There was no need to.”

Questioned about her family she said, “My father, Martin Jones, came here in ’52. Four years later when, at twenty-seven, he got married he built a frame house about a mile northeast of town and lived and died in it. Mother was Margaret McCarty and was heir to a large estate in Ireland but it made no difference in her life as a pioneer. She was married at sixteen and had eleven children without being attended by a doctor and not one of them weighed less than twelve pounds at birth. Father was a farmer, freighter and cattleman. There was always plenty to do around the place.

“My husband’s father was Thomas C. Reid and he came around the Horn in ’49. He and several others bought a ship called the Velasco on the east coast and, after they got to San Francisco, were fortunate enough to sell it to a party that wished to return. My husband was Thomas R. Reid. He was born in Garrote in ’56 and, when he was thirteen, worked as a guide with the mule train that took tourists into Yosemite. After the telegraph line came through in ’75 he was the operator here in town with an office in the Savory Hotel.

“Just before we were married my husband bought the Savory Hotel and we ran it three years. It was the first one in Garrote and was built in 1852 by Otis Perrin and Dr. J. L. Cogswell, one of the other owners of the ship that brought Mr. Reid to California. They called it the Washington Hotel. After about ten years they sold it to Albert Snow who re-sold it quickly to a French woman called Elizabeth Bottleier. She married Ben Savory and the name was changed to Savory Hotel sometime in the early ’70s.

“It was just an ordinary mountain hotel,” she went on. “The boarders were mostly miners. No woman or child ever set foot in the bar. In fact, I was well along in years before I was ever in company where I saw a woman take a drink of liquor. The Savory was torn down years ago. It stood across the road from Tannahill’s store. Next we bought the Groveland Hotel. It was the second built in town, about ’53 or ’54. The builder’s name was George Reid but he was no relative of ours. He sold it to Matthew Foote who ran it awhile in the ’70s. There were other proprietors too, I think, J. D. Meyer for one. But we bought it in 1884. We didn’t keep it long. My husband thought that operating a hotel in those days was too hard for a woman.

“The original Thomas C. Reid adobe house still stands just out of town and the orchard trees bear fruit. My son’s name is Thomas also. For over one hundred years now,” Mrs. Reid finished with some pride, “there has been a Thomas Reid in Groveland.”

After the era of the placer mines much of the town’s ready cash came from the payroll of the Mount Jefferson Mine on a hill just north of Mrs. Reid’s house. Old-timers remember with a smile the white-faced sorrel horse whose responsibility it was to bring the ore from the opening of the mine shaft down to the crushing mill. This he did without benefit of anyone’s advice, picking his way to the bottom, waiting with one ear cocked while the man in attendance dumped his load and then, slowly, making his way up the hill for more. He transported many thousands of dollars worth of ore, seemingly with a fair amount of pride in his job. The faithful (and unsalaried) animal took the place of several men who had previously brought the ore down in wheelbarrows held back by a sort of breeching strap around each man’s shoulders.

Groveland, being well up into the mountains, was especially dependent upon its freighting business and particularly proud of the Garrote Teamsters—local ranchers and cattlemen with their sons, many of whom drove Egling wagons made in the Chinese Camp wheelwright shop. The list included: John and Michael Phelan, Daniel and Sylvester Carlon, John Sheehan, John Corcoran, Charles Schmidt Sr., and Jr., Robert Simmons Sr., and Jr., Martin Jones and son, Eugene, Daniel and William Sullivan, Dick Meyer, Herman Gerken, John Hughes, Frank Goodnow, George Boitano and sons, George Pratt, George S. Brown, and others. Teaming, as a business, overlapped the placer mining era in the Mother Lode and outlasted it.

Here, as in other places, the placers were soon worked out but the quartz mining paid well and kept the town full of hardrock men on Sundays clear into the ’70s when the deep mines commenced to fade. By ’77 Groveland was reduced to a population of about 100 rattling around in a settlement designed and built for many more. Two periods of rejuvenation came to all the mining communities, caused by the advent of modern machinery and the more favorable price of gold. In the case of Groveland the temporary prosperity of the short mining booms was materially assisted by the fact that beginning in 1915, the town was headquarters for much of the business connected with the building of the O’Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy and that the Hetch Hetchy Railroad rendered it easily accessible for the duration of the project.

Groveland, being the supply center for a large back country, has not been in danger of fading into a ghost town at any period and now the constant increase of automobile tourists has brought a steady flow of outside money across the counters of the stores first patronized by the miners with their native gold dust.

*   *   *

Groveland’s oldest structure is a cabin built in 1849 by Peter King, a miner. Around it has been built a two-story wooden house boasting an upper and lower balcony. King used both schist rock and adobe as you can see if you stoop to pry into the matter, for part of the old wall is visible under the back porch. Later Mr. Sheehan bought the property and added a second story which the Odd Fellows used for awhile as a lodge room. When the Mount Jefferson Mine was producing, Sheehan’s served as a boarding house for miners and was called the Elite Hotel.

The old trading post is at present known as the Red and White Grocery and saw the beginnings of business in Garrote. Recent alterations uncovered an adobe brick showing the imprint of a dog’s foot and the date, 1849. The builder, Raboul, sold the business to Mr. Luigi Noziglia who operated a grocery and married into the Cassaretto family. In the course of a generation or two it became known as the Cassaretto store and retained that name through much of the town’s history. Here came the Miwoks trading gold dust for broken chunks of sugar. Here the gambler, Hunter, died—stabbed by his own knife. This place more than any other has seen life in Garrote. Here the distribution of food has never ceased in one hundred years.

A sidewalk now runs in front of Hotel Charlotte and ends abruptly at the eastern wall of the building. Just beyond its termination, in any alley, stood the tree on which took place the hanging that so felicitously endowed Garrote with a name. When wheeled vehicles took the place of pack trains the tree was taken down and the stump sawed flat—even with the surface of the ground. Anna Reid remembered vividly running over the hard wooden circle as a child on her way to the store. It splintered after awhile and became a nuisance, so it was dug out and the hole filled in with earth. But somewhere down below the tread of work-a-day feet are the rotted roots of Garrote’s historic oak.

Across the street is the “Iron Door.” It is a bar now, squeezed into a row of buildings, but at one time was the Tannahill store where, for some years, that important pioneer family lived in the rear portion. Beside this business James Tannahill had large mining interests and nothing of moment took place in Garrote without his freely bestowed help.

The adobe butcher shop, owned for years in the past by Salvador Ferretti and in the upper story of which the Odd Fellows held lodge, is nearly opposite the Charlotte Hotel but often stands unoccupied.

The Groveland Hotel is conspicuous at the eastern end of the business section. Just beyond it, to the left and even with the road, is the low house, almost buried in vines and shade trees, which Mrs. Martin Jones built and occupied after the death of her husband. It is now the property of a son-in-law, John De Martini. In less than a half mile two county roads come in from the north in quick succession. The first leads past the ancient frame house where Martin Jones raised his family, past the Thomas C. Reid adobe built in 1857 and various ranches. The second goes to the site of the Miwok rancheria on Big Creek, deserted long ago, which is on the property of A. B. McLellan and R. D. Dunn. It leads also to the old G. B. Boitano adobe rapidly disintegrating on the modern Gookin Ranch.

A mile from the edge of Groveland, under flowering locusts, are the remains of the Mueller (or Muller) Brewery—a famous and popular place in its day. Ferdinand Stachler built it in 1853. Twelve years later he sold it to Eugene Mueller who made and delivered ale to all the neighboring camps and even sent pack mule trains over ill-famed Bloody Canyon Trail to Bodie, east of the Sierra Nevada. The ale was in casks swung on each side of the mules and, should an animal get into loose rock at the trail’s edge, there was little chance for rescue. The casks burst at the bottom of the precipice and caused a scandalous state of affairs among the otherwise sedate trout in the stream.

While the brewery was in operation long tables were set up where travelers might eat their lunches while enjoying steins of Mueller’s best. The east end, or rear, of the building was constructed out of rock by Stachler. A big wooden portion with wide front doors was Mueller’s contribution and was made of native timber with a heavy shake roof. Deep shade from drooping trees added to the enjoyment with which the customers consumed perambulatory mugs of ale while trying to walk the soreness out of backs and legs. Neither a stage nor a saddle trip was luxurious.

When Eugene Mueller died his brewery ceased to function and the farmers of the vicinity stopped raising barley. The only remaining token of the business is the great kettle, bereft of its shelter and exposed to the elements. The vine-covered house close by was built by Mrs. Mueller after her husband’s death. The present owner lives there and attempts, with the cooperation of the traveling public, to preserve what remains of the historic old ruin.

Second Garrote was the most easterly settlement of the mining area served by the Big Oak Flat Road. There were mines flung haphazard among the mountains farther to the east but not of sufficient importance to promote a town, and even Second Garrote had but three mines of any note: the Mexican, the Big Betsy and the Kanaka. Second Garrote Creek, however, boasted several arrastras among its clustering azaleas.

The place was always small. The pay dirt really paid but there wasn’t much of it.

Early in the history of Second Garrote its two most prominent citizens arrived in a two-wheeled cart, the only type of vehicle that could make its way along the as yet unimproved pack trail and to which they clung for the span of their long lives. We are assured, however, that these two citizens, although unassuming, did not arrive without fanfare of a sort as the cart could always be heard squeaking and groaning for a mile along the grade.

The two were young men. James Chaffee was about thirty, Jason Chamberlain, twenty-eight. They had come around the Horn together in ’49 and for two years had worked here and there in California, but at Second Garrote, the naturally beautiful little depression between the hills struck their fancy and held it. They were not changeable men. Around the sloping sides of the hollow, Miwok women squatted at the grinding holes preparing acorn meal while their solemn-eyed babies, hung from low branches nearby, watched contentedly. It was a scene of peaceful and pleasant activity. The partners never left it and the Miwoks became their devoted friends.

Neither placer mine nor shaft yielded enough to pay for full time effort but the two men did carpentering on the side and raised fruit and melons which they divided with the Indians. Apparently they were always known as “Chaffee and Chamberlain,” in that order, and were greatly respected and loved by their neighbors; but their chief claim to general fame is the fact that their lifelong, faithful comradeship was the basis for Bret Harte’s short sketch, “Tennessee’s Partner.”

This well publicized fact is hard to reconcile with the circumstance that none of the sordid details of the story match the facts of their blameless lives.

Chamberlain in his reminiscence wrote in explanation: “In 1866 Bret Harte was connected with the Overland Monthly & we had a friend & old partner that was secretary of the company. Bret Harte told our friend he was going to write a story and call it Tennessee’s Partner Our friend said he knew a character that would just fill the bill for Tennessee’s Partner & when Chaffee went to the City a year ago he was introduced by our friend as Tennessee’s partner & was a big surprise to the partner as he never had heard anything about the matter before.”

As Bret Harte became famous the partners grew very proud of this distinction.

So much the first citizens of Second Garrote were Jason Chamberlain and James Chaffee, that in the course of time, their words constituted full authority for all local history. The moot question of whether anyone was ever garroted at Second Garrote hangs, then, on their statement and, confusingly enough, two conflicting versions have come down from them to us.

The immediate sources of the contradictory statements are so impeccable that it leaves us no alternative than to believe that the two gentle old men changed their story after many years; probably without realizing that they had done so.

It was a constant irritation to them that the great oak on their property should be made an object of cheap curiosity by exaggerated legends. One, Ned McGowan, a stage driver, delighted in regaling his box-seat passengers with horrific tales. He once prepared two signs stating that seven men had been hanged from this tree, and nailed them on either side of a projecting limb. Mr. Chamberlain, usually the executive member of the two-some, then intercepted the stage in a state of high indignation and warned McGowan to remove his “cheap commercialism” from his (Mr. Chamberlain’s) property.

It would be rather natural, after years of contradicting such unwelcome sensationalism, that they should lean toward denying altogether anything sordid in connection with their beloved home. At any rate that is just what they did. As they grew older they became more positive. A statement written by Chamberlain in the ’70s is rather mild.3 A similar statement written in 1901 (the year of his 80th birthday) expresses no doubt at all “. . . Second Garrote . . . had no reason to be called by that horrid name, for never a man was hung there in the world.”

Mrs. Reid remembered that they gave that same denial to her husband. However, to the men who knew them when they were younger they had sometimes told the story of a lynching that had happened before their arrival. We heard it first from the Curtin family. Then, while looking up legal documents, we found in the archives of the museum at Yosemite a statement giving exactly the same incident in much the same wording and prefaced by the information that the writer had been told the story “by both the old gentlemen.” The statement is signed by Paul Morris of Chinese Camp, one of the most highly respected men in the county in his day.4 In brief it reads as follows: It was early in the Gold Rush. The Southern Mines were booming. The miners had begun to use sluice boxes. Water taken from Second Garrote Creek was allowed to run through them all night and they made their clean-up in the morning. The camp had always been honest and no one thought anything about the risk. Two or three dishonest men, observing the routine, decided to get there first some morning. They did so and were making a clean sweep of the accumulated gold dust when they were seen by two early risers. Unfortunately for everyone, during the ensuing melee, the early risers were shot. The criminals were caught and hanged at once by the enraged men of the camp. The statement is clean-cut and definite.

This is a perfectly usual affair to have happened, say, at the end of ’49 or beginning of ’50. As many towns along this road had lynchings, during that unsettled period before the law arrived, as did not have them.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but the name, Second Garrote, is hard to explain away. We think it was well earned.

There is a modern trend toward calling the settlement “Bret Harte” and, in an effort to find out if the famous author had ever been there we divided between us a whole carton of diaries kept by Jason Chamberlain and read the story of their daily living from the time they drove up the mountain in their creaking cart to the day of the survivor’s death. There was no mention of seeing the famous writer. Afterward we learned that he had never met Chamberlain.

He did his characterization from a distance, and we are grateful both to him and to them for a splendid bit of color in the mosaic of western literature. But it was not intended to be mistaken for history.

*   *   *

One does not enter Second Garrote on the old pack and cart trail of 1849. It wound along with the creek in the bottom of the hollow, and we were told that the grass along its course turns yellow faster than elsewhere because the earth is so packed.

In the uproarious beginnings of the settlement, a fandango house stood at the left and (quoting Charlie Schmidt) the men came down from the mountains “like ants—and had a time for themselves.” Cochran’s flour mill was on the right. A branch road leads up the hill to the garden-inclosed rambling home of the Schmidt brothers who lived here all their lives and died here in 1953. The main road passes beneath the shade of the blasted, arthritic-limbed giant now called “Hangman’s Oak.” Just across the highway from it lived the partners.

When Chaffee and Chamberlain erected their home they did not live on the main thoroughfare. Just when the road was moved so that it passed in front of their door is not clear, but by later staging days it did so. The partners were good carpenters and did not intend to live in a cabin. They built a house, quite a masterpiece. It was meant to (and did) last a hundred years.

Mrs. Robert Morse, who owns both the partners’ house and the neighboring store, has managed to keep it in repair without unseemly patches or the use of new material and it has not been easy. The ceiling of their parlor was made of eight inch boards and had rounded wooden beading to cover the cracks. Mrs. Morse can show the wooden “grouter” used by the two men in turning out this architectural flourish.

They made their furniture too, and lived to wear it out most enjoyably. The mantel and shelves are jammed with old gadgets from the everyday life of the settlement and of the mines. Many of them were added in the later years of the partners’ lives as earlier pictures show a more barren background; but the last pictures of the two old gentlemen sitting in this room show that they kept it gunnels awash with just such items.

Second Garrote was the scene of another lifelong comradeship and no doubt it was somewhat influenced by the memory of the famous partners. The brothers, Fred and Charles Schmidt, whose hilltop home is passed on entering the little community, were neighbors of Chaffee and Chamberlain. They were freighters and, for a time, Charles drove Mueller’s brewery wagon.

At one of our many talks with them they sat on the shady porch where, through a century, the view has changed from pack-trains to stages and freighters and then to automobiles—all ascending Second Garrote Hill. Immediately in front of the vine-covered house was an inclosed garden full of tall, lusty flowers. Hollyhocks and golden glow elbowed each other away from the gate; a grape arbor shaded the walk. Split rail fences formed corrals around the blackened barn which shelters an Egling wagon. The first section of the house was built by a German miner named Kraft who had preŽmpted Squatters’ Rights on the property. Mr. Schmidt, Sr., bought it from him and enlarged it for his growing family of five sons and two daughters. The barn was built later, in 1862. Mina Schmidt, a daughter, married John C. McLaughlin, brother of Ellen Harper May. The early-day families were often connected by marriage.

In reply to a request Fred Schmidt told us of “Tennessee and his Partner.” “We lived close to them,” he said, “as you can see plainly enough; and, in those days, to be a neighbor really meant something. As boys we were in and out of their house day after day. They divided up their work, each one to do what he liked best. And they had a common purse. It was worth while to raise vegetables and melons and to cook and keep things straight because there were two of them to enjoy everything. Even after they were eighty years old they used to get good Christmas dinners and invite in the other ’49ers. But finally,” he went on, “Chaffee got sick. They took him to the hospital and he died. Chamberlain was alone. My brother Charlie had gone hunting and it was late in the afternoon. I walked onto Chamberlain’s porch and there he sat with his head about shot off. The muzzle of the gun rested against his chin and stood between his legs. He had tied a string from the trigger to his toe and that’s the way he shot himself. God, how I ran home!”

“I was back by that time,” Charlie added, “and we got an undertaker from Sonora. There were only two months and a half between their buryings, but I was always sorry they weren’t buried beside each other in the place they had picked out.”

We never saw the Schmidt Brothers together again. Charles, who was 89 years of age, died and Fred mourned him for a little over a month before death claimed him also. “I just walk to the barn and then back to the house,” he said, “but what’s the use? Charlie isn’t either place.”

But two weeks later he took a longer journey to find him. As Bret Harte phrased it in the last line of Tennessee’s Partner, “And so they met.”

There must be some unusual quality in the air of Second Garrote—some element of love and fidelity. It is so quiet, nestled in its hollow, so peaceful and unchanged! Weathered grey buildings, gnarled old oak, wobbling rail fences and fruitful corn patches remain serene, while all around it climb the ever-lasting mountains topped with pointing pines.



Next: Above SettlementsContentsPrevious: Ranches and Rancheria

Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/big_oak_flat_road/garrote.html