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


Chapter I

1. A History of California—the Spanish Period. Charles E. Chapman. pp. 418-420. Building the Heart of an Empire. Harry D. Hubbard. pp. 35-41.

2. The Travels of Jedediah Strong Smith. Maurice S. Sullivan. p. 151. Jedediah Smith and his Maps of the American West. Dale L. Morgan and Carl I. Wheat. Introductory paragraphs.

3. History of San Joaquin County. F. T. Gilbert. pp. 11-12.

4. Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard. Written by himself. pp. 46-47.

5. The full name, Charles Marie Weber, furnished by his granddaughter, Helen Weber Kennedy.

6. History of San Joaquin County. Pen Pictures from the Garden of the World. P. 441.

7. Ibid. p. 441.

8. The three Mexican pueblos in Alta California were San Jose, Los Angeles and Branciforte (now Santa Cruz). Chapman, op. cit., p. 391. Dr. Cleland expresses it less definitely: “Los Angeles and San Jose were the two principal pueblos in California, although Branciforte, or Santa Cruz, also laid claim to the title.” The Cattle on a Thousand Hills. Robert Glass Cleland. P. 7.

9. Information from History of the French Camp Settlement to 1853. Elton Fletcher.

10. Information from Rancheria del Rio Estanislaus. Margaret Gaylord Ruppel.

11. Information from Helen Weber Kennedy.

12. Two other facts must be dovetailed into this sketchy picture as best one can: A reference slip from the Original Archives of California, Departmental State Papers, Naturalization, Tomo XX, states that Peter Lassen was granted naturalization as a Mexican citizen on July 24, 1844, at which time he would presumably be present in Monterey. Also he did not receive his land grant until December 26, 1844. Reports of Land Cases. Ogden Hoffman. p. 26 in the Appendix. None of these facts arc necessarily mutually contradictory.

13. Article in Stockton Record. Feb. 2, 1935. Inez Henderson Pond.

14. History of San Joaquin County. Pen Pictures from the Garden of the World. p. 30.

15. History of Amador County. J. D. Mason. p. 36.

16. Information from “The Black Binder,” Calif. State Libr., Sacramento.

17. Fletcher. op. cit.

18. Information from Helen Weber Kennedy.

19. Ibid. Also life in California Before the Conquest. Alfred Robinson. p. 269.

20. Information furnished by Helen Weber Kennedy.

21. Information from History of San Joaquin County. Thompson & West. Also from Memorial and Biographical History of Merced, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties, California. p. 39.

22. “Isbel” is the accepted spelling used in the counties where this prominent pioneer was best known. It is found (among many other sources) in the History of San Joaquin County. Pen Pictures from the Garden of the World; appears on the Map of the Mining District of California by Wm. A. Jackson which is found in Carl I. Wheat’s Maps of the California Gold Region 1848-1857, and is listed as Map No. 161. However, in the same volume a French edition of a portion of this same map is shown, listed as Map No. 162. On it the name appears as “Isabelle.” James H. Carson, in Recollections of the California Mines, refers to the same man as “Dr. Isabell.”

23. Personal Adventures in Upper and Lower California in 1848-9. William Redmond Ryan. Vol. II, pp. 48-49.

24. Life in California. James H. Carson. p. 14.

25. Recollections of Pioneer Work in California. Rev. James Woods. p. 15.

26. From the “Binder of Miscellaneous Statements.” Bancroft Library.

27. Diary of Wilton R. Hayes. Bancroft Library.

28. Woods, op. cit. p. 91 and p. 232.

29. Information from Map of the Survey of Stockton, Calif., 1849. Major Richard P. Hammond. In poss. Helen Weber Kennedy.

30. Fletcher. op. cit.

31. Item in Alta California, San Francisco. Dec. 19, 1851.

32. Article in Stockton Daily Independent, by George H. Tinkham. Feb. 24, 1894.

33. Letters of Dexter H. Hutchins, 1853-4. Express and Stage Coach Days in California. Oscar Osburn Winther. p. 66.

Chapter II

1. A Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Merced, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa, California. p. 134.

2. The route of the freighters through Stockton has been worked out by interviews and by comparison of old and new maps.

3. The Exploring Expedition of the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California. J. C. Fremont. p. 359.
John Charles Fremont and his men, in the year 1844, had great difficulty in selecting a place to cross the Stanislaus River, traveling twenty-five miles up and down the stream before coming to a decision. The splendid drooping oaks, gorgeous poppies and abundance of elk and antelope demanded attention even though they were tired and annoyed. “But,” he wrote, “the stream was flowing by, dark and deep, swollen by the mountain snows; its general breadth was about 50 yards.” At last they encamped in an oak grove and, killing several cattle, ferried the baggage across the river in a boat made of their hides sewed together and dried over a willow framework after the manner of the mountain men.

4. Interview with Elsie Wilhoit Hodgkins, Stockton, Calif., whose father, Roley E. Wilhoit, commenced a freighting business between Stockton and the Southern Mines in the fall of 1852. Also Seminar Report, Elton Fletcher.

5. Stories of the Stanislaus. Solomon P. Elias. p. 242.

6. The M. J. Dooly Company ran a scheduled four-horse stage line between Stockton and Knights Ferry. When Dooly died Chas. V. Sisson who had been a driver continued the line.

7. Information concerning William Knight contained in Bancroft’s History of California. Vol. IV (1840-1845) p. 702. Also in the Illustrated Atlas and History of Yolo County, Calif. (1825-1880). Also in the Western Shore Gazetteer and Commercial Directory for the State of California—Yolo County. Also in the Historical and Biographical Record of Sacramento Valley, Calif., J. M. Guinn. Also in the “Black Binder” at the California State Library, Sacramento, Calif. Under headings William Knight. Also from: Roster of Fremont’s California Battalion, Mexican War, 1846. Muster roll of Capt. Richard Owen’s Company (A). Also from interviews.

8. El Rancheria del Rio Estanislaus. Margaret Gaylord Ruppel.

9. Information from the “Black Binder.” op. cit.

10. California ’46-’48. Jacob Wright Harlan. pp. 142-143.

11. Historical and Biographical Record of Sacramento Valley, California. J. M. Guinn. p. 1532.

12. Sonora Union Democrat. May 7, 1910.

13. The Black Binder. op. cit.

14. The Stockton Journal. Aug. 24, 1850. “At the Ferry House a Restaurant and Boarding House, has just been opened, where the traveler will always find the best accomodations, and the most attentive consideration of his wants. (Signed) Dent, Vantine & Co.”
Elias. op. cit. In connection with the ferry was a tavern called “the Knight’s Ferry House.” It served dinner at $1.00, boarded the stage company’s men for $10.00 per week. There were also stables which the stage company rented for $200.00 per month. p. 242. Quoted from a letter Gen. U. S. Grant to his wife, the former Julia Dent; dated Benicia, Calif., Aug. 20, 1852. Allowed by the courtesy of Major U. S. Grant, III, grandson of the former president.

15. Ibid. p. 242.

16. The date and manner of arrival of the Dent brothers, Lewis and John, were supplied by Mrs. Samuel Baugh whose father, William Gobel, accompanied them.

17. A Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Merced, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa, California. p. 134.

18. Elias. op. cit. p. 225 and p. 240.

19. Personal Adventures in Upper and Lower California. William R. Ryan. Vol. II, pp. 46-47.

20. Stockton Journal, Nov. 6, 1850. “A pontoon bridge has been constructed across the Stanislaus at Emory’s ferry, and we understand that the Messrs. Dent, Vantine & Co. have entered a contract for building a suspension bridge at their place on the same stream.”
Bancroft Scraps of California Counties (Volume begins with Solano Co. and ends with Stanislaus Co.) An undated newspaper clipping, data evidently furnished by William Grant, a driver in the employ of M. J. Dooly & Co. of Sonora: “The wire foot-bridge at Knight’s Ferry was carried away at noon on Friday after sustaining an immense pressure from the logs and drift which came down and lodged against it.” p. 113.
Elias. op. cit. Containing statement of John Edwards (son of Thomas Edwards, pioneer): “My father was part owner in the Knight’s Ferry bridge which was washed away in the flood of 1862. He helped place the footbridge across to Buena Vista. Tom and Harry Pentland were with him on the job. The Lockes were prominent at this time and one brother always had charge of it.” p. 239.

21. Alta California. Mar. 22, 1856.

22. Stockton Argus, Stockton, Calif. Nov. 27, 1850.

23. Dent Bar is shown on the Topographical Map of the Mineral Districts of California. John B. Trask. 1853. Contained in Maps of the California Gold Region, 1848-1857, by Carl I. Wheat. Map No. 247.

24. San Francisco Bulletin. May 7, 1856.

25. Keeler’s Ferry, later acquired by the Dent brothers and still later by Locke, was built by G. W. Keeler. An advertisement appeared in the Stockton Journal, Aug. 24, 1850: “Keeler’s Ferry. The undersigned respectfully informs the public that he has just completed a large and commodious ferry boat on the Stanislaus, just above the big hill, known as the jumping off place. This ferry, from its position, recommends itself to the traveling public, being 32 miles from Stockton, by way of twelve mile house and lone tree, and thence direct to big hill.” (signed) G. W. Keeler.” Keeler’s Ferry is also shown on the Silas Wilcox Map of 1855.

26. All the papers for the use of which we are indebted to Mr. Ed. Whitmore are listed in the Bibliography under “Documents.”

27. Information contained in Oakdale Leader, Oakdale, Calif. May 22, 1930. Article on Knight’s Ferry Celebration.

28. Elias. op. cit. pp. 241-242.
(This gentleman’s signature was “A. Shell.” Scrapbook of Calif. Counties— Solano to Stanislaus.)

29. Alta California. San Francisco. Nov. 23, 1851.

30. Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Merced, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa, California. pp. 138-139.

31. Elias. op. cit. p. 245.

32. Corroborated by granddaughter, Miss Elsie Flower.

33. Oakdale Leader, May 22, 1930. Article on Knights Ferry Celebration.

34. Ruppel. op. cit.

35. Old Knight’s Ferry Post Office records in poss. of Mr. and Mrs. Roy De Graffenreid, Knight’s Ferry, Calif.

36. Information contained in Dictionary of American Biography. Ed. by Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone. Vol. VII. See under heading “Ulysses S. Gr.uut,”

37. L. T. Remlap. General Grant’s Tour Around the World. p. 575.

38. Mattie V. Reynolds. Interview with Alex Locke.

39. Harlan. op. cit. p. 142.

40. Remlap. op. cit. pp. 575-576.

41. Oakdale Leader, Oakdale, Calif. May 22, 1930. Article on celebration Knight’s Ferry.

42. Information concerning the mill ruins, road to Copperopolis, the dams and sawmill given at the site by Mr. David Tulloch.

Chapter III

1. The information in this chapter is from original sources: interviews, questionnaires and letters, carefully compared and checked.

2. The spelling in use at the time was “O’Byrne” according to a certificate of sale, dated Mar. 15, 1864.

Chapter IV

1. Letter from Charles V. Gillespie to Thomas O. Larkin.

2. The name “Campo Salvador” and the reason for its use is found in a written statement by William Solinsky but, for many years, it has been locally known as Camp Salvado.

3. Quotation from an undated clipping contained in the scrapbook of Eugene Mecartea.

4. Full name of Count Solinsky vouched for by grandson, Edward Solinsky.

5. Information about Garrett House from Helen Cutting Stratton and Robert Curtin.

6. Information from The Pioneer. Vol. 13, No. 5. May 15, 1898.

7. Information from Recollections of Pioneer Work in California. Rev. James Woods.

8. Gleason’s Pictorial Magazine. Feb. 18, 1854. Statement that a large amount of gold was shipped back to relatives in Ireland by these emigrants. The Illustrated London News (beginning Jan. 7, 1854). No. 662. Vol. XXIV. Jan. 21, 1854. p. 63. Gives date of potato famine in Ireland.

9. The last land owner to develop a large section of roadway along the Big Oak Flat Turnpike was James (Johnny) Hardin.

10. Information about lynching at Chinese Camp from an undated newspaper clipping in the scrapbook of Eugene Mecartea.

11. History of Tuolumne County, California. Herbert O. Lange. Vol. I, pp. 210-216. Dorsey had been involved in a legal matter where he met Murieta at close range. It is also recorded that, while riding up a steep hill above Moccasin Creek (probably Moccasin Hill) he met Murieta, magnificently mounted; recognized him; exchanged a few wary sentences and proceeded, History of California. Theodore H. Hittell. Vol. I, Part 2. p. 721.

12. Ibid. pp. 725-726.

13. Gold was also found in the adobe bricks of a building on Maxwell Creek near Coulterville, according to Mr. John Vigna, late of that town.

Chapter V

1. From—The Statutes of California.
An Act of the Legislature subdividing the state into counties and establishing Seats of Justice therein. Passed Feb. 18, 1850. p. 63.
Also, in the county records at Sonora, California, the first deed recorded in Vol. I—“Deeds.” On April 2, 1850, Manuel Castillo to Walter Taylor and Chas. Bruce, a deed in the town of Stewart.

2. From The Statutes of California, passed at the Nineteenth Session of the Legislature. 1871-1872. p. 61. An Act of the State Legislature, approved Feb. 2, 1872, appropriated the sum of $200 a month for the relief of James W. Marshall for the period of two years. Marshall was not successful financially and the Legislature expressed the people’s gratitude thus to the discoverer of California’s gold.

3. History of Tuolumne County. Vol. I. Herbert O. Lange. p. 52. Also History of California. Hittell. op. cit. p. 130.

4. From Narrative of David S. Smith, taken from the MS diary of Byron N. McKinstry.

5. Todd’s Statement. Contained in The Binder of Miscellaneous Statements. The Bancroft Library.

6. Stockton Journal, Stockton, Calif. Nov. 6, 1850.

7. Bits of Travel at Home. Helen Hunt Jackson. pp. 141-142.

8. Information from Up and Down California in 1860-1864. William H. Brewer. pp. 241-244.

9. California Notes. Charles B. Turrill. p. 187.

Chapter VI

1. See pp. 264-269.

2. Letter dated Dec. 19, 1849. Printed in a New Orleans newspaper. Name and date of paper unknown.
Personal Adventures in Upper and Lower California in 1848-49. William Redmond Ryan. Vol. II, p. 42. Speaking of the Indians along the Stanislaw; River “The squaws were finely-proportioned women, but their features were somewhat coarse.” p. 42.

3. West Point to California. Erasmus D. Keyes. pp. 12-13. “I had in my camp an excellent man named Vinconhaler for guide. We called him ‘Captain Haler.’ He had crossed the continent twice with Colonel Fremont, to whom he must have rendered important assistance. His ability to ‘find paths’ appeared to me almost miraculous.” Also Narrative of Thomas Salathiel Martin. MS. in Bancroft Libr., and Rough Times in Rough Places. Micajah McGehee. Century Magazine. Vol. XLI, No. 5, pp. 771-780.

4. Letter dated “California Goldmines Nov. 15th, 1849.” In possession of Commander Robert S. Lecky. U.S.C.G. 12th Coast Guard District.
Journal of James M. Hutchings. Entry of Dec. 19, 1849, written at Hangtown, Calif. “. . . When I came here I thought that considerable difficulty would arise for the miners to take care of their gold, when they had succeeded in digging it, and especially after reading in the papers of so much shooting and danger, to men and property. I was certain of having to sleep with my pistol all ‘capt and leavelled,’ and my knife beneath my head, for necessary protection—but instead, you can leave your purse (your everything, in fact) in your tent without any danger of losing it.”
Personal Adventures in Upper and Lower California. 1848-49. Vol. I. William R. Ryan. “I was informed, that, although thefts had occurred, yet, generally speaking, the miners dwelt in no distrust of one another and left thousands of dollars’ worth in gold-dust in their tents whilst they were about digging.” p. 22.

5. Ibid. p. 311.

6. Alta California, San Francisco. Sept. 2, 1850. Gives general description of this mail service.

7. The news did not appear in the Sacramento Union, Sacramento, Calif., until Mar. 5, 1859.

8. The Golden Rock Water Company was incorporated Feb. 27, 1856. Articles of incorporation are missing from the files in the Sonora Hall of Records but the index shows the date.

9. See p. 195 and p. 202.

10. “A miners’ inch of water varies with different localities to such an extent that it may be said to constitute an arbitrary quantity.” Gold Mines and Mining in California. Pub. by George Spaulding & Co., San Francisco. 1885. p. 87.

11. Alta California. April 6, 1860.

12. Union Democrat, Sonora, Calif. Jan. 6, 1955. “Ninety Years Ago” column.

13. Adventures of William T. Ballou. MS in binder. Bancroft Library.

14. These merchants apparently included A. Gamble and Peter and John Gamble according to Heckendorn and Wilson’s Miners’ and Business Mens’ Directory for the year commencing Jan. 1, 1856.
Alta, California, Sept. 13, 1851, states that Gamble’s store in Big Oak Flat was supplied by pack animals.

Chapter VII

1. Reminiscences of an Old Soldier. James E. Hunt. He also states that the flat was “. . . better adapted for agricultural purposes than for mining.” p. 93.

The remaining information in this chapter is from original sources: interviews, questionnaires and letters, carefully compared and checked.

Chapter VIII

1. See Map No. 247 in Maps of the California Gold Region, 1848-1857. Carl I. Wheat. On this map First and Second Garrote are indicated by captions Garota I and Garota 2.

2. See pp. 179-180.

3. From a manuscript reminiscence signed “Tennessee and partner,” in the Jason Chamberlain carton at Bancroft Library. “I dont know why they call this 2nd Garrote. I dont think a man was ever hung here altho (sic) the historic oak near our house has the reputation of having 8 men hung one morning before breakfast but I know that story to be a lie started by a stage driver to entertain inquisitive passenters” quisitive passengers.”

4. Statement concerning the lynching at Second Garrote, signed by Paul Morris. Typescript in folder at Yosemite Museum Archives. Yosemite, Calif.

Chapter IX

1. Mrs. Henry Crocker of Crocker’s Station.

2. Miss Haight was wrong. The trees were maples according to John Muir who was certainly qualified to judge.

3. It is difficult to tell from Miss Haight’s manuscript whether the young man’s name was Arni or Arin as, written in longhand, they look very much alike.

4. Union Democrat, Sonora, Calif. May 1, 1869.

5. Yosemite Book of 1868. J. D. Whitney. p. 99.
“The Hetch Hetchy may be reached easily from Oak Flat by taking the regular Yosemite Trail, by Sprague’s ranch and Big Flume, as far as Mr. Hardin’s fence, between the South and Middle Forks of the Tuolumne River. Here, at a distance of about 18 miles from Big Oak Flat, the trail runs off to the left, going to Wade’s meadows, or Big Meadows as they are called, the distance being about 7 miles. From Wade’s ranch the trail crosses the middle fork of the Tuolumne, and goes to the ‘Hog Ranch’ a distance of 5 miles, then up the divide between the middle fork and the main river, to another little ranch called ‘the Canon.’ From here, it winds down among rocks, for six miles to the Hetch Hetchy or the Tuolumne Canon.”

6. Tuolumne County Records—District Court Index. Y.T.R. Co. vs Jas. Hardin; No. 1421; Book F.

7. It should be noted that the Road Company, in common with most business projects, had financial problems. A great deal of money had been expended on the road itself, but there remained such items as equipment and payroll and working capital. Steady travel and income were not immediate and it became necessary for the new corporation to borrow money. The following brief items in chronological order will tell the story.
    June 1, 1875 Notice of mortgage (dated Feb. 17, 1875) to J. M. Hutchins, executed by Chas. B. Cutting President, George E. Sprague Secretary. Reference Vol 1, Book “B” Vol 7, page 785.
    May 16, 1878 District Court. J. M. Hutchins Plaintiff, vs Yosemite Turnpike Road Company. defendants L D Gobin, D B Newhall, George E Sprague, Colonel E Drew, and Robert Simmons, sold by Sheriff T M Yancey, to plaintiff for $5000.00 on execution, for judgement amount to $6755 and costs total $7166.05. Road from Chinese Camp to Yosemite Valley. see Book “D” vol 1 page 219.
(It will be noted that J. M. Hutchings’ name was misspelled; a common occurrence in those years even in legal matters.)
    May 16, 1878 J.M Hutchins made agreement to sell to Big Oak Flat and Yosemite Turnpike Road Company. Ref. Vol 18 page 126 of Deeds.
    April 1, 1879 Incorporation of Big Oak Flat and Yosemite Turnpike Road Company (No. 282. Filed June 23, 1879) Capital Stock $25,000. Term 50 years. Trustees, Charles Kasabaum, William C. Priest, George C. Sprague, L. D. Gobin, C. O. Drew. Deeds to the property dated November 1879. Vol. 19, page 607.

8. Information contained in Mining Camps, A Study in American Frontier Government. Charles Howard Shinn. pp. 203-208.

9. Each miner made his own arrastra. A circle was measured out on level ground bordered with a rock wall at least a foot high and paved with large flat rocks. It was probably not less than 12 or 14 feet in diameter. Then an immensely heavy stone called the drag rock, was placed within the circle and tied to the short end of a long sweep that pivoted on an axis placed in the center. The long end of the sweep extended beyond the outer edge of the circle and was propelled around and around by a mule. Given this extra leverage it was not too difficult for the patient beast to drag the heavy boulder through the broken ore which pickax and wheelbarrow had dumped into the arrastra. After the ore was finely crushed the miner panned it, or used whatever method pleased him best to recover the gold. The arrastra was always near water. The ore would be carried to it.

10. The spelling koo-cha-bee is used in Up and Down California in 1860-1864. William H. Brewer. p. 417. The spelling kit-chavi is used in In the Heart of the Sierras. James M. Hutchings. p. 428.

11. Article in the Overland Monthly. Nov. 1899. Also affirmed by Celia Crocker Thompson.

Chapter X

1. See p. 49 and p. 51.

2. Bits of Travel at Home. Helen Hunt Jackson. pp. 95-96.

3. Article in Galaxy Magazine. Olive Logan.

4. See Appendix II.

5. See p. 263.

6. Throughout many interviews this measurement varied slightly.

7. Discovery of the Yosemite. L. H. Bunnell. p. 321.

8. My First Summer in the Sierra. John Muir. p. 130.

9. Yosemite Book of 1868. J. D. Whitney. p. 51. A Guide to the Yosemite Valley— 1871. J. M. Hutchings. p. 101.

10. Life and Letters of John Muir. William Frederic Badé. p. 190.

11. Bunnell, op. cit. p. 316.

12. In the Heart of the Sierras. J. M. Hutchings. pp. 332-333.

Chapter XI

1. Up and Down California in 1860-1864. Wm. H. Brewer. Ed. by Francis P. Farquhar. p. 416. A Journal of Ramblings Through the High Sierra of California by the University Excursion Party (in 1870). Joseph Le Conte. p. 105. Our Trip to the Yosemite Valley and Sierra Nevada Range. L.N.R.R.

2. My First Summer in the Sierra. John Muir. p. 137.

3. Discovery of the Yosemite. Lafayette H. Bunnell. pp. 321-322.

4. Article in Galaxy Magazine. Olive Logan.

5. My First Summer in the Sierra. John Muir. p. 294.

6. Yosemite Book of 1868. J. D. Whitney. p. 51.

Chapter XII

1. From Oration of C. H. Randall, publisher of The Sonora Union Democrat, on the occasion of the festivity in Yosemite Valley celebrating the completion of the Big Oak Flat Road. Published in Sonora Union Democrat. Aug. 1, 1874.

2. From Declaration of Intention (to meet on Sept. 19, 1868, for purpose of organizing a road company from Chinese Camp via Big Oak Flat to Yosemite Valley).

3. From Certificate of Formal Organization of Yo Semite Turnpike Road Company. March 19, 1869.

4. Laws and Judicial Decisions, Relating to the Yosemite Valley & Mariposa Big Tree Grove.

5. Report of Commission on Roads in Yosemite National Park. Senate Doc. 155. 1900.

6. Certificate of organization. Coulterville and YoSemite Turnpike Company, 1870.

7. Sonora Union Democrat. Oct. 25, 1873.

8. Article of Incorporation for Coulterville & Yo Semite Turnpike Company 1870. Court House, Mariposa.

9. Laws and Judicial Decisions, Relating to the Yosemite Valley & Mariposa Big Tree Grove.

10. Merced Grove was named by Dr. John T. McLean. Carl P. Russell quotes from a letter written by McLean to the Yosemite National Park Commission in 1899: “It was determined to carry the road [the Coulterville Road] directly through this grove, which was named the Merced Grove by me because of its nearness to the Merced River.” One Hundred Years in Yosemite. Carl Parcher Russell. p. 62.

11. Laws and Judicial Decisions. op. cit.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid.

15. Sonora Union Democrat. Oct. 25, 1873.

16. Ibid., Sept. 13, 1873.

17. Ibid., Oct. 25, 1873.

18. Statutes of California, passed at the Twentieth Session of the Legislature, 1873-1874.

19. Undated newspaper article signed “Paul Morris” in scrapbook of Eugene Mecartea. Also from interviews. The Zigzag was finished July 17, 1874.

20. From interview with John V. Ferretti.

21. From article by C. H. Burden, contained in scrapbook of Celia Crocker Thompson.

22. It was J. M. Hutchings who spoke of this viewpoint as Prospect Point. A Guide to the YoSemite Valley—1871. p. 104. On the next page he places the spot called “Standpoint of Silence” on the old Coulterville Trail, on the segment known as the Lower Trail. J. D. Whitney (more scientific than aesthetic), in speaking of the viewpoint at the top of the Zigzag, states: “This point of view has been rather absurdly called the ‘Stand-Point of Silence.’” But this difference of opinion really made very little difference as it was practically never called anything but “Oh My! Point.”

23. Sonora Union Democrat. July 17, 1874.

24. Ibid., July 25, 1874.

25. Ibid., March 3, 1866.

Chapter XIII

1. In the Heart of the Sierras. J. M. Hutchings. p. 58.

2. Ibid. p. 58.

3. The following is not offered as a proven fact but simply as a possible explanation of Ten-ie-ya’s statement that the white men “were so guided” as not to see the Valley proper when it is evident from Leonard’s account that they did not have a guide. There is one incident that might be interpreted as a guiding circumstance over which the Indians had control. One day one of Walker’s men brought a basket of acorns into camp. Leonard wrote, “These nuts our hunter had got from an Indian who had them on his back travelling as though he was on a journey across the mountains, to the east side. When the Indian seen our hunter he dropped his basket of provision and run for life.” Now acorns were known to come from those lower altitudes which the party was trying desperately to reach but could not because the trail was blotted out by snow and must be searched for slowly and with great waste of time. Finding the Indian’s tracks visible on the fresh snowfall must have seemed providential to the tired and rather bewildered party.
Just east of Ribbon (or Virgin’s Tears) Creek the Mono Trail divided, one branch leading to Yosemite and the other westward down to Bull Creek. Freshly made tracks in the direction of Bull Creek would focus all attention on the latter route which the Indians wished Walker to take; which was actually where he most wanted to go and was, in the end, where he and his party travelled.

4. From Crane Flat one may travel westerly along the ridgetop without losing altitude, except in one or two shallow saddles, as far as Pilot Peak. The course at first is along Crane Flat Ridge with Tuolumne Grove to the north, then curves around the drainage of Moss Creek containing Merced Grove to Trumbull Ridge; through the saddle at Hazel Green; up and over the south end of Crocker Ridge; thence onto Pilot Ridge as far as Pilot Peak. On maps the ridge appears to continue but, for practical purposes, may be disregarded as there is such a deep and precipitous break in it just here that no traveler, once down, would climb up again.

5. See Appendix 2.

6. Life and Letters of John Muir. Wm. Frederic Badé. p. 216.

7. According to Carl P. Russell this was a horse trail that led from Dudley Station on the Coulterville Road to the cliffs of Merced River gorge where the descent was made by means of Jenkins Hill; thence up Merced River. See One Hundred Years in Yosemite. pp. 52-53.

8. The Cemetery in the Yosemite Valley. Mrs. H. J. Taylor.

9. Badé. op. cit. pp. 207-208.

10. Ibid. pp. 246.

11. Ibid. p. 211.

[13.] This may have been Tom Hutchins, a full-blood Indian who brought the mail in from Coulterville at twenty-five cents per letter.

12. On the Big Oak Flat run the winter mail was brought from Crocker’s on snowshoes and (some of the time) arrived once a week. This was in the later ’70’s and the ’80’s. Some years the government contract was held by Jeremiah Hodgdon and some indefinite years by John Phelan.

[14.] 13. Hutchings. op. cit. pp. 355-357.

[15.] 14. Ibid. p. 351.

[16.] 15. Yosemite and the Sierra Club. William E. Colby. Concerning the creating of Yosemite National Park and its subsequent history.

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