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Guardians of the Yosemite (1961) by John W. Bingaman


Chapter XXII

PART II—HISTORY OF “THE FIRST RANGERS”

The great western migration of gold seekers, land settlers and pioneers began in 1849 and carried through the 1850’s. The ranger organization of that period was a law enforcement agency protecting the new arrivals in the west against Indians and law violators. In the 1890’s rangers were assigned to our National Parks and Forests to protect them and the people who visited these areas.

Yosemite was created a National Park on October 1, 1890. Each year between 1891 and 1913, the War Department sent troops of cavalry into Yosemite National Park on patrol duty. Sequoia and Yellowstone Parks also received military protection.

The Army Officer in charge acted as the Superintendent of the Park. The troops would arrive in May and leave about October, returning to the Presidio of San Francisco. Captain A. E. Wood was in Command of the first Troops assigned to Yosemite. Captain Wood, in command of two Troops of Cavalry, Companies I and K arrived in Yosemite May 19, 1891, and set up camp at Wawona.

During the Spanish American War in 1898 the U.S. Troops assigned to Yosemite were recalled to the Presidio. The protection of the Parks, until the Troops could again assume their duties, was assigned to the General Land Office of the U.S. Department of the Interior. A Special Land Inspector was made Acting Superintendent of three Parks. He employed assistant forest agents during the summer to eject sheep trespass and fight forest fires. The General Land Office therefore became involved in the early administration of both the National Parks and the Forest Reserves in California.

By June 25, 1898, Special Inspector J. W. Zevely of the General Land Office had hired eleven men from the Yosemite region and these men were assigned to two special agents. Special Agent A. W. Buick was in charge of five men: The men were, Archie C. Leonard, George R. Byde, Henry A. Skelton, Charles A. Leidig, Arthur L. Thurman, and they took over the northern part of Yosemite. Special Agent Cullom was given six men: George G. MacKenzie, Thomas S. Carter, David Lackton, Darwin S. Lewis, Joel J. Westfall, Joseph R. Borden, and this group were assigned to the southern part of Yosemite.

Both groups were well armed and mounted and they were constantly in the field expelling sheep trespass, fighting forest fires and arresting all those with fire arms. During the period from June 25th until September lst they reported they had expelled from the Park 189,000 head of sheep, 350 head of horses, 1,000 head of cattle, and confiscated 27 fire arms. These men made up the first civilian protection force for the Yosemite National Park.

“The First Rangers”—1914-1915-1916
“The First Rangers”—1914-1915-1916

The U.S. Troops returned to the Park on August 25, 1898, and the Forest Agents were relieved of their duties.

In September 1898 the Acting Superintendent received authorization to appoint Forest Rangers at fifty dollars a month for temporary service. These men were to assist the Troops on their patrols. Two of the forest agents, Archie Leonard and Charles Le[i]dig were hired that September. In the late fall when the Troops were preparing to leave Yosemite it was recommended that the two forest agents be kept on for the winter to protect the Park. This was authorized and they remained on as rangers for many years.

The Army reports to the Secretary of the Interior referred to these rangers as “Park Rangers.” This was probably the first usage of the “Park Ranger Title.” The forest rangers in California National Parks, officially became park rangers in 1905. The forest reserves were taken out of the Department of the Interior and placed under the Department of Agriculture. The General Land Office no longer had forest reserve appropriations to spend on the National Parks. Money was appropriated expressly for National Park protection in July 1905, and the men in the protection organization, were there-after referred to as “Park Rangers.”

In 1914, civilian employees of the Department of the Interior replaced the Military in administration and protection of Yosemite National Park. Mark Daniels became the first Superintendent. The Ranger Force consisted of five permanent rangers and ten temporary rangers to take the place of two hundred soldiers, who had patrolled the Park for twenty-two summers.

Automobiles were officially admitted to the Park on August 23, 1913 and in 1915 Yosemite horse drawn stages were replaced by motor stages.

The National Park Service was created August 25, 1916 with Stephen T. Mather as the first Director. This brought about many changes. Improvements and expansion of facilities were made to take care of the big influx of visitors each year. W. B. Lewis was appointed superintendent and E. P. Leavitt was made assistant superintendent. The responsibilities of administration increased each year.

The following pages of information and short biographies of the “First Yosemite Rangers” is in appreciation of those men who dedicated their lives to the service in protection of the Yosemite National Park. The rangers’ lives were rough and hard because of the multiple duties and lack of adequate equipment. There were no eight hour days or forty hour weeks. They worked from morning until night and there were no days off . It took tough men to do the job, men of sterling character, distinctive personality, a love of the outdoors and a loyalty to the Service. It is hard to fully realize what the early rangers went through, for the “horse stage era” is gone.

The “First Rangers” accomplished an unbelievable amount of work with little or no help. They spent many long days in the saddle patrolling, checking for violations, trespassers and fighting forest fires alone. They slept in the open with little or no shelter, lived on short rations, and without telephones or radio facilities. It was their indomitable spirit and love of the work which made the Parks what they are today. Their wives and families also deserve full credit for what they, too, went through waiting for their ranger husbands to return safely.

I hesitate to say it but feel strongly that most all “Old Rangers” received little thanks and consideration for the loyal and conscientious service they gave. I only wish that these rangers might have received more benefits and recompense for their long hard years of service. The following “First Old Rangers” of Yosemite National Park served during the first decade of Civilian Protection.

Andrew J. Gaylar

Jack, as he was known to most people, was born in Texas, January 7, 1856. He became ad army packer for the U. S. Cavalry in his youth and was with Colonel Tory’s Rough Riders in Wyoming and the 7th Cavalry at Huntsville, Alabama. He served in Cuba with the 7th Cavalry, then to Manila, P.I., and was promoted while in the Island under General Funston to Chief Pack Master. When he returned to the United States he was stationed with the Pack Train at the Presidio in San Francisco. In 1905 he was ordered to Yosemite National Park, with two troops of the 4th Cavalry and packed their supplies to the various posts that summer. Then in the fall he returned to San Francisco with the troops. The following summer he was back again to Yosemite Park in charge of pack train. He also helped Major H. D. Benson plant many trout that season and in the fall he returned with the troops to the Presidio. Later he returned to Yosemite and worked for the Department of the Interior. The summer of 1907 he had charge of the Government pack train, helped to fight forest fires, and worked under Major Benson planting trout in the high lake region. On September 9, 1907, he received an appointment as park ranger in Yosemite

Ranger Andrew Jack Gayler—1907-1921
Ranger Andrew Jack Gayler—1907-1921
National Park from the Department of the Interior and remained a ranger until his death in 1921.

In 1916 he became Assistant Chief Ranger under Chief Ranger Forest Townsley. At that time there were seven permanent rangers and nineteen temporary rangers.

Jack was 51 years old when he became a ranger. In the spring of 1921 he contracted flu which left him in a weakened condition. He died of a heart ailment at Merced Lake Ranger Station the night of April 19, 1921 while sitting before his campfire. He was on a high mountain patrol and died with his boots on just as he would have wanted it. Andy Swartz a young bookkeeper for the Park Service was with him when he died. His last ride was down his favorite trail, across his saddle horse with both ends tied down. He was buried in Merced, California, April 22, 1921.

I remember him very well, patrolling the trails, always on the watch for law violators and forest fires. He always carried a 45 Colt revolver, and a Winchester Carbine and rode a fine mule for many years. Jack truly was an outstanding person and a real credit to the service. The Gaylers lived in the George Fiske house across from the foot of the Four Mile Trail, on the bend of the Merced River in 1918 when we first came to Yosemite. From reports Mrs. Gaylar returned to her home in Georgia after her husband’s death. Not many years later she too passed on.

Archie C. Leonard

Archie was born in West Virginia in 1846. From reports of his family the following is related of his career in Yosemite: Archie came across the Plains during the latter part of the gold rush period. He worked around Jamestown, California, as a miner for a few years after reaching the Mother Lode Country. In the 1880’s he came to Yosemite and worked a while for the Washburns in Wawona as a ranch foreman. On June 25, 1898, he was one of the local men appointed as Assistant Special Forest Agent, and assigned to patrol the southern part of the Park. Archie was one of the two men who made up the first civilian protection force for the Yosemite National Park.

Archie lived at that time in Wawona. When the U. S. Troops came in to take over the protection of the Park, he was assigned as scout and guide for the Troops during the summer months. He reported to the Commanding, Officer at Camp A. E. Wood, and was given instructions to handle the sheepmen in a tough manner. Orders were to scatter the sheep, take off the bells and bring in the herders and sheepmen to headquarters. There was a great deal of trouble over the trespass of grazing in the Park.

During the winter months when the U. S. Troops were out of the Park, Archie and Charles Leidig, took over the responsibilities of patrolling and keeping law and, order until the troops returned the next summer.

Allan Sproul, a seasonal ranger assigned to the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees in the year 1914, says this about Archie. “Archie was not very communicative but he was always pleasant, and I should say tolerant of the college boy rangers. He knew the Park from years of travel over the trails. His hair was gray and rather long and his mustache drooped, his uniform consisted of a dirty slouch hat, a grayish colored shirt, which wouldn’t show the dirt of a season, and overalls worn low on the belt. He spoke in a soft voice and had a pleasant smile.”

Archie was one of the Guides for President Theodore Roosevelt when he visited the Yosemite Park in May 1903.

In 1917, changes took place on the ranger force, and due to his advancing age he could not handle full time ranger duties so he was changed from a permanent park ranger to a temporary first class ranger. This reduction in status occurred in September, and two months later he was furloughed. He was not recalled to service in the Park in 1918, and was discontinued with out prejudice from the Yosemite Ranger Force. He died in Stockton, California in 1921 at the age of 75.

Charles Leidig

Was born in the Old Lamon winter home in Yosemite Valley March 8, 1869, the first white boy born in the Valley.

His father was born in Pennsylvania, and came to California in the 1850’s. He worked in the mines at Coulterville where he met and married Isobel Dobie, in 1864. They moved to Yosemite Valley in 1866, took up land and built the Leidig Hotel under Sentinel Rock. They also built a log house for their winter home on the north side of the river across from the hotel. The location is still known as Leidig Meadow.

When Charles was old enough he went to work. His first job was to help build the dam at Mirror Lake and he was employed by the Commissioners of the Valley.

On August 25, 1898, he was appointed Special Forest Agent by the Federal Government and acted as guide and scout for the U.S. Troops, in summer. During the winter he was assigned to the protection of the Park while the troops were out. He was responsible for maintaining law and order along the park boundary, checking for trespassers and poachers. During the winter months hunters, stockmen and trappers had crossed the Park boundaries at will until Charles and Archie Leonard came to enforce the law covering the Park. The winter of 1899 he was stationed at Crockers Station, on the Big Oak Flat Road, near the west boundary.

Leidig lived at Wawona part of his time in service. There he worked under orders from the Army Officer at Camp A. E. Wood. From there soldiers were sent on four to twenty day trips into the remote area of the Park to patrol and check for trespass. Their orders were to break up the camps of the herders, scatter the sheep, and bring in the sheepmen. Then they would turn them loose on foot so they would have a difficult time gathering up their flocks if they ever were able to do so. The sheepmen got tired of this sort of punishment and soon came to respect the Park boundary. Major Benson insisted on law and order and kept his troops constantly on patrols.

Charles was one of the two guides and cook assigned to President Theodore Roosevelt’s party when he visited the Park in May 1903.

He left the service August 25, 1907 and for some years worked for the Yosemite Stage and Turn Pike Company at Wawona as Teamster -for the Washburns. From July 1, 1914, to September 30, 1914, and from May 1, 1915, to October 31, 1915, he worked in Yosemite as a park ranger. Charles left Yosemite in 1916 and moved to the bay area where he worked for the Hayward City Park Department for many years. He died in 1956, at the age of 88.

Forest S. Townsley

Born in Greeley Center, Nebraska, August 24, 1882. Moved to Guthrie, Oklahoma, with his parents at age of 6, rode a horse in the “Great Land Rush” at the opening of the Cherokee Strip, where his Father served as Deputy U.S. Marshal. Forest started his National Park career in June, 1904 at what was later known as Platt National Park, serving first as patrolman and later as park ranger. He came to Yosemite National Park as a ranger in 1913.

He was appointed Chief Ranger in 1916. Stephen T. Mather, Director of National Parks selected him to organize a ranger force at Grand Canyon National Park in 1919. While there the late King Albert of Belgium visited the Park and decorated Chief Townsley for horsemanship.

As Chief Park Ranger of Yosemite National Park, Townsley welcomed visitors from all parts of the world and from all stations in life and shared with them his love of the wilderness.

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt visited the Park in 1934 at Young Lake, where she camped five days with a ranger party. She praised the Chief very highly. Later she wrote in her, “My Day,” of Townsley. Here are quotes from her column, “He has the kindliest face I know and the most humor, yet the eyes look you so straight in the face that I should hate to meet him if I wished to hide anything. He gave you a sense of his strength.”

His skill as taxidermist also brought special recognition from Stephen T. Mather, first Director of National Parks. His bird and mammal specimens were the nucleus of an exhibit which was the beginning of the first National Park Museum. These were originally prepared and displayed by Townsley in the ranger office in the Old Village in 1915. In 1920 the exhibits were moved to the Old Jorgensen Studio which served as the Park Museum until the opening of the present museum in 1926 at Government Center.

Chief Townsley wrote, “about 1905 during a conversation with Frank C. Churchill U. S. Inspector from Washington and Col. Swords, who was Superintendent of Platt National Park at that time, we discussed at length the uniform that was worn by Dr. Francois Matthes, in connection with his work in some of the South American countries. It was decided at that time that a uniform should be designated for the ranger service. A catalog issued by the M. D. Lilly and Company of Columbus, Ohio, showed a uniform similar to that worn by Dr. Matthes. We thought it a good serviceable outfit for a mounted patrol ranger. I ordered a uniform made up by the above company. It was very similar to the regulation soldier uniform at that time with high collar, regular riding breeches, Stetson hat olive drab color, with puttee leggings and officers military shoes.” This uniform with some later changes became the National Park Ranger Uniform.

Chief Ranger Townsley died of a heart attack on August 11, 1943. He was on a fishing trip in the Tuloumne Meadows area at “his lake,” Townsley Lake. He was accompanied on this trip by Oden S. Johnson, Mrs. Louis Clark of Yosemite, and Miss Mabel Radcliff, the County health Nurse. About 4 p.m., he sat down and suddenly became ill. The nurse felt his pulse and found that he was dead. He was survived by his wife Inez, son John Allen, two sons and two daughters from a previous marriage, Joseph Lee and Forest S., Jr., two daughters, Mrs. Frank Potts and Mrs. Stanley Cowell. Also his father, Willis L. Townsley, a brother John and two sisters, Mrs. Frank Lewis and Mrs. Harvey S. Neal.

Forest was Chief of the Yosemite Ranger Force 27 years. There is a Marker in the Yosemite Pioneer Cemetery to his memory.

Oliver R. Prien

Prien was appointed park ranger in Yosemite National Park in 1913. He came to the Park on the recommendation of George W. Lane, brother of the Secretary of the Interior, Franklin K. Lane. His first duties were collecting automobile fees at the entrance station and he was a mounted ranger on the floor of the Valley until 1914 when he was appointed Acting Chief Ranger. In 1915 he was appointed Chief Ranger.

Prien was the first Chief Ranger in Yosemite National Park. He assisted Supervisor, Gabriel Sovulewski and Mark Daniels general superintendent and landscape engineer of the National Parks, in reorganizing the ranger force along the lines set forth by the regulations governing rangers. The National Park Ranger Service was created in January 9, 1915. Prien was appointed Chief Ranger, April 1915 for the Yosemite Park. There were five permanent men and ten seasonal rangers in the Park at that time.

Prien didn’t get along with his contemporaries and was asked to resign in the fall of 1915. Mr. Mather did not dismiss Prien from the ranger force Put demoted him to first class ranger. He accepted his demotion and in 1916 transferred to the Sequoia National Park.

Prien’s reports noted that the reorganized ranger service established in 1914 was now able to handle the checking of automobiles, protection of the Park against forest fires, and poachers. Also the enforcement of the Park rules and regulations. This was the work performed in previous years by troops of U.S. Cavalry detailed and stationed in the Park each summer. He stated, “Arrangements have been made to put up two fire lookout stations one on Mount Hoffman, and the other on Sentinel Dome.”

Charles C. Bull

Charles was a Harvard graduate, athletic, resourceful and tactful. Prior to his Park employment he spent three years for the Detroit Copper Mining Company in Morenci, Arizona, as shift boss.

On May 1, 1914 he was appointed a park ranger for the Yosemite National Park. His first assignment was in the northern part of the Park. For a while he was stationed at Lake Eleanor, then at Crockers Station. In the spring of 1915 Charles received his assistant Chief Ranger appointment, and moved into the Yosemite Valley. He was considered a very fine ranger. When Oliver Prien was demoted, Bull took his place as Chief Ranger on January 1, 1916. He was scheduled to transfer to Rocky Mt. National Park, but decided to turn it down and resigned from the service May 3, 1916.

Allan Sproul

In May 1914, students from University of California were recommended by the University President, Wheeler. There was need of extra help at the time to fill the gap that the soldiers covered in previous years. Through the Department of Interior and connections with the University, these extra recruits were selected to help out in the summer of 1914. These seasonal rangers were, Oliver Haines, Eric Lawson, Leo Meyer, James Short, Dan Sink, Jean Witter and Allan Sproul. They were required to furnish horse and pack, rifle and revolver and cooking outfit, and were paid 100 dollars a month. These men arrived June 1, 1914. They arranged to get their stock and outfit at headquarters. Sproul states in his “writings” that his first assignment was at the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees. Ollie Haines was assigned to Camp A. E. Wood. The others were placed at stations on roads and trails leading to the Park. Sproul further stated that he was met by Gabriel Sovulewski who was then Acting Superintendent of the Park, a man named Prien who was called the Chief Ranger, Forest Townsley, Jack Gaylar, Charles Leidig and Archie Leonard who were the regular rangers.

He was instructed to look for fires, to keep cattle and sheep out of the Park, to maintain the telephone line in his particular area. His one room cabin was on the side of the road, on a small shoulder near a ravine just before the road reaches the Sentinel Group of Sequoias. It was used by the cavalry as a cook shack when stationed there in past years.

Sproul looked after the Grove for five months and met many visitors who arrived by horse stage coach and on horseback. Chief Ranger Prien came through one day, found him playing tennis with Margery MacGowan, the belle of Wawona, daughter of the auditor, cashier and bookkeeper for Washburns. Prien suggested substituting an ax for the tennis racket and went on. Later in the season Superintendent Mark Daniels and a party made a hurried trip through the Grove, waving to him in passing. Sproul claimed that was the only supervision he’d had all summer.

During the early part of the 1914 season the Grove was still closed to automobiles although Yosemite Valley had been opened to automobiles since 1913. There was a brush clearing gang in the Grove for several months, removing the underbrush which was a fire hazard. John Conova. from Coulterville was in charge of the two Bruce boys and one other lad who may have been related to Archie Leonard. By mid summer 1914 automobiles were allowed to drive through the Grove and the duties of the ranger stationed there became more difficult.

The first rains came at the end of October and Sproul packed up and reported back to headquarters in the Valley to check out. He stated that he was very happy to have had such a responsible job as guardian of the Big Trees.

Charles F. Adair

Charles was born at Bear Valley, California, October 19, 1874. He spent a number of years as a miner in the Mother Lode country and Arizona before coming to Yosemite.

In 1914 and in 1915 he was appointed temporary ranger in Yosemite. On May 15, 1916 be was appointed as full park ranger. He was in charge of insect control work for about 15 years. From May 8, 1929 to October 27, 1929 he was acting Park Forester. He introduced Golden Trout into Adair Lake and in 1930 planted two Sequoia Gigantea trees which still stand before the NPS house number 56.

Charles was a real old time mounted ranger. He would cover the high country for weeks at a time alone and fought many forest fires single handed for in the early days there were only a few rangers to cover the Park. On his big gray saddle horse Rusty they made a picturesque sight as Charles came riding down a trail. During the big Wawona-Alder Creek Fire, in the early 1930’s he was trapped in a very dangerous place inside the fire line when the wind changed and took him by sudden surprise and it almost cost him his life. This experience no doubt affected his health and hastened his retirement on December 1, 1935. He and his Wife Gerda moved to Los Angeles, California, where he died December 7, 1936. Gerda still lives in Los Angeles. We get to see her occasionally and reminisce on old times.

Elbert C. Solinsky

Al, as most of his friends called him, was born April 26, 1886, in San Andreas, California. His father was born in Chinese Camp, in Tuolumne County and his mother in Campo Seco, in Calaveras County. His wife’s maiden name was Peek and she was born in Mokelumne Hill, California. Elbert worked as timber cruiser and land locator mostly in the Mother Lode country in his early life.

May 1, 1915 he was appointed special ranger in Yosemite, and in 1917 was promoted to forester. November 16, 1926, he was made assistant to the superintendent.

Al took a prominent part in handling the timber and land exchanges along the west side of Yosemite boundary. Dealing with the Yosemite Lumber Company of Merced Falls, in the exchange of some 6,000 acres of timber in the Chinquapin and Alder Creek area. As early as 1912 the cutting of timber in the Chinquapin area was started and logs hauled to Merced Falls. The exchange of timber lands between the lumber companies and the government began in 1915 and carried through to 1923. Solinsky worked directly under the superintendent and handled most of these timber deals in order to save the timber along the Wawona highway as a part of this was owned by private interests and would have eventually been logged off.

In the early 1920’s he took on the job of measuring the trails in the Park. This was done with a bicycle wheel with long handle bars and an odometer attached. The wheel was pushed ahead of his saddle horse and accurate mileage was established for all trails.

February 16, 1929 he was transferred to Crater Lake National Park, as Superintendent. He retired from there and made his home in Modesto, California.

George R. McNabb

George came to the Park with the U. S. Troops in the early 1900’s as a packer. He also did general carpenter work and assisted with the building of many park houses in Yosemite Valley. He was employed in the government carpenter shop for many years.

On May 1, 1915 he was appointed park ranger in Yosemite. He spent a number of summers patrolling the southern part of the Park where he maintained the trails, checking for poachers and grazing trespassers. George built the Chilnualna Cabin, out of shakes, near the top of Chilnualna Falls during his spare time. It was used as a patrol station and shelter during the early years and still stands to this day.

After McNabb transferred to the carpenter shop he did general work and repairs for the Park Service until his death on June 12, 1930.

Henry A. Skelton

Was born August 3, 1869 in Mariposa, California. He married Minnie Cook in 1899. She died about eight years later.

Henry’s father came from Mississippi during the gold rush days. He was born in Georgia. Henry’s mother was Phoebe Hodgson of Sherlock, California. They were Mariposa County homesteaders and his father was Deputy Sheriff in Mariposa for some years. In the early period of the County it took in much area clear down to the San Joaquin Valley.

Henry worked in and around Wawona, for the Yosemite Turnpike Stage Company. He also was a constable in Taft, California, prior to his work in Yosemite.

His first work in Yosemite was patrolling the Park as assistant special forest agent during the summer of 1898 and was later employed by the General Land Office, Department of the Interior. On May 14, 1915 be was assigned to the insect control crews in Yosemite. June 1, 1916, he was appointed as a park ranger, mounted, and remained a ranger until his retirement in 1932. During winters he assisted with relief duty at the old power house at Happy Isles, later at the new power house.

Henry was a real old time mounted patrol ranger and covered the entire Park. He would be out alone for weeks at a time alone in the high country, planting fish, fighting forest fires and checking for grazing trespassers. He spent much of his time in the Mather and Hetch Hetchy district. Henry was of hardy, pioneer stock and could be depended on to do a good job under all conditions. His superiors considered him efficient and qualified to handle all ranger duties. He was liked by every one that knew him.

Henry retired in 1932 the first ranger to leave the Park Service by reason of the Retirement Act. He was road supervisor at Mariposa, California, for one term and lived with his two brothers near Mariposa until his death February 3, 1955 in Modesto, California.

Arthur L. Gallison

Arthur was born October 29, 1896 in Mariposa, California. His father worked as a blacksmith for Washburns at Wawona for many years. His grandfather, Will Turner, ran cattle in Yosemite Park, in what is known as Turner Meadows in the south end of the Park in the 1880’s.

Art’s first job in the park was in 1912, he drove a one horse dump cart for ihe road crew on the Wawona and Glacier Point roads.

The summers of 1913 and 1914 he was a porter at the Wawona Hotel. His park work started in 1915. He was employed with the Insect Control operations under Ranger Adair. In 1916 he was appointed temporary ranger, this year he planted fish in an unnamed lake in the Tuolumne Meadow area, and it is now known as Gallison Lake. In 1918 he was out on military leave, with the U.S. Army. In 1919 returned to the ranger job and received permanent appointment as storekeeper and property clerk.

In 1919 he married Ruth Pearson, who spent four summers working as a waitress for Mother Curry at Camp Curry dining room. They had three children, Dorothy, Glen and Robert, all grew up in Yosemite.

Art was senior clerk doing disbursing and cashier work in the park, 1929 to 1931. He was purchasing clerk until 1943, then took over purchasing and storekeeping jobs. In 1953 he was promoted to supply assistant.

Arthur retired July 31, 1953, he had 37 years of government service. The Gallison’s are making their home in Merced, California.

Clyde Boothe

Born near Usona, California, Mariposa County. His father was a pioneer rancher in that area.

On June 1, 1915 he was appointed a mounted ranger and spent most of his time patrolling the high country of the Park. He was promoted to Assistant Chief Ranger in July 1921 and was in charge of entrance stations and fire chief duty. On August 31, 1927 Clyde resigned from the ranger service to enter private business with the Best Tractor Company and became very successful. Later he engaged in ranching and cattle raising. His home is in Modesto, California.

Gabriel Sovulewski

Born August 12, 1866 in Suwalki, Poland. He enlisted in the U. S. Army November 19, 1888 and advanced to quartermaster sergeant. In 1891-1892 was placed in charge of the General Grant National Park which was then under military rule. He was in Yosemite with the U. S. Troops 1895-1896-1897. During the Spanish American War he was in the Philippines, in 1899 he returned to Yosemite with the troops as packer and guide. During the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 he did relief work while stationed at the Presidio.

Gabriel was supervisor of Yosemite National Park from August 12, 1906 to March 4, 1916 when he became special ranger and acting superintendent. He served as general foreman, administrative from July 1, 1917 to April 30, 1920. On this date he was appointed park supervisor, the post he held until he retired, August 31, 1936.

Through the long years his devotion to his job and the service set a fine example to all who served under him. He would ride horseback many miles a day in order to keep his trail crews going to make trails safe and keep maintenance up to Park standard.

Gabriel married Rose I. Rider in 1896 and they had seven children, Laurence, Robert, Joe, Tom Grace, Mildred and Gabriel.

Gabriel died November 29, 1938. Mr. and Mrs. Sovulewski are buried in the Yosemite Pioneer Cemetery.

Frank B. Ewing

Born June 8, 1885 at Rattlesnake Bar, El Dorado County, California. In 1915 Frank was a packer for Stephen T. Mather and party of wealthy public spirited men when they made an extensive trip into the High Sierras to study and formulate plans for the Park’s protection.

Frank served as a park ranger in Yosemite from March 31, 1916 to December 31, 1918. This was the transition period from army to the civilian management. On March 1, 1920 he was appointed assistant supervisor in charge of roads and trails, and from December 5, 1936 to November 12, 1944 he served as employment manager.

Frank was a Park employee 34 years, for a total of 43 years of government service. He retired as Operations manager June 30, 1950. He married Grace Sovulewski and they have two children, Herbert and Charlotte who both live in the Park. Frank retired to his ranch near Mariposa, California.

John H. Wegner

Was born. December 31, 1884 in Merced, California. John’s first job in Yosemite was in the valley store during 1914 and 1916 as clerk. He was an ardent baseball player and belonged to the Merced Ball Team. He married Rose Thornton of Merced, California, and they had one son, Francis.

On June 2, 1916 he was appointed temporary ranger and assigned to the Crane Flat Station, on the Old Big Oak Flat Road. Francis was a baby six months old at the time and the Wegners lived in the government log, cabin which was moved to Wawona in 1959 as part of the Pioneer Center.

John was assigned to mounted patrol from 1918 to 1926. He made many trips into the high country and spent two years at Hetch Hetchy as ranger in charge. In 1927 he was appointed Acting Assistant Chief Ranger, and received permanent Assistant Chief, March 1, 1928. John always took a keen interest in fire protection work. In 1929 he attended the U. S. Forest Service short term Forestry School and later was assigned to work with John Coffman in preparing a forest fire protection plan for the Park. He became Park Fire Chief in 1931.

John was a member of the Safety Advisory Council for many years and a member of the Board of Directors of the Yosemite Credit Union. He also was president of the National Federation of Federal Employees.

During the hoof and mouth disease epidemic of 1923-1924, which spread to the deer in the Park, John was assigned as liaison officer representing the Park and the adjacent area for the control of the epidemic.

John had much to do with the establishment of fire lookouts and fire protection equipment. The first fire engine was a 1926 Graham Dodge truck, converted to a chemical fire truck equipped with racks for shovels, axes and rakes. A fire engine equipped with ladders, hoses and a water tank came later. Prior to the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps man power was a big problem. Often a lone ranger went to a fire and stayed with it until it was out regardless of time and size.

John made a fine ranger for his heart and soul was in the work. He became Acting Chief Ranger a short time after the death of Chief Ranger Townsley and was then transferred to Sequoia National Park as Chief Ranger, February 25, 1944. John remained there until his retirement on December 31, 1949. He has made his home in Los Angeles the past few years.

James V. Lloyd

James came to the Park from Washington, D.C., where he had worked as a messenger and assistant map printer for the U. S. Geological Survey. He became a park ranger in Yosemite on June 4, 1916. James escorted many special parties around the Park and was information ranger and official photographer of the Yosemite.

He was assigned as automobile checker at Dog Creek, on the eastern part of the Tioga Road in 1917 and lived in a tent. When the five year old son of the Ansel S. Williams Family of Stockton, California, friends of the Bingamans, became lost in the Dog Creek area while trying to follow his father who was fishing, James with the help of others found the boy that afternoon. That was on July the 4th and snow drifts were still heavy along the road.

I remember James in 1918, as a mounted ranger riding through the campgrounds in Yosemite. He called at our Camp 15 and asked about our welfare. That was our first summer in the Park.

In 1918 he joined the Navy for the duration of World War I. He returned and was reinstated as park ranger in March of 1919. On August 23, 1922 he was furloughed at his own request. However, April 1, 1924, he was recalled, and on March 1, 1931 was promoted to Assistant to the Superintendent. James was transferred as Assistant Superintendent to the Grand Canyon National Park on January 16, 1932.

James progressed in the service after leaving Yosemite and held many important positions. He now is Superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

William Henry Nelson

Born July 21, 1873, in Merced Falls, California. His father Henry Nelson came from St. Johns, New Brunswick, and migrated to the United States at age of six.

As a boy, William worked for his father who owned and operated a grist mill at Merced Falls. In 1906-1907 he worked for the Yosemite Valley Railroad and later clerked in the Yosemite Store prior to becoming a Park ranger on June 1, 1917.

During his years as a ranger, he escorted many celebrated visitors through the Park. When King Albert of Belgium and the Royal Family visited the Valley, Billy conducted them on a horseback trip to Glacier Point. Billy was impressed with the importance of properly addressing royalty and when presented to the King he walked up to him and extended his hand saying, “The Chief told me what I was to say to you but I’ve forgotten so you call me Billy and I’ll call you King.” The two became fast friends and for many years Billy received greetings from his friend the King.

When camping increased Billy took charge of all campgrounds in the Park. He rode a white horse and the camp people respected him and lived up to the camp rules. He was always ready and willing to help the campers. Billy was kindly, observant, patient and broadly experienced in dealing with people. He served seven years in charge of the Camps.

In July of 1934, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt made a pack trip to Young Lake, in the Yosemite. Billy was in charge and presented Mrs. Roosevelt with a hot water bottle to keep her warm on the cold nights at the 9,500 elevation.

Nelson held about every job there was in the ranger service including that of Acting Chief Ranger, in the late summer and fall of 1935, when Chief Townsley was away on special duty. Billy retired July 31, 1936.

When World War II came Billy was anxious to do his part and was fortunate to be able to reinstate. He served from May 18, 1943 to December 1, 1945 and then retired for the second time at the age of 72.

On his retirement he moved with his wife to Mariposa, California, where he died September 13, 1952. Honorary pall bearers for his funeral were, Chief Ranger Sedergren, rangers, Jacobs, Robinson, Johnson, Heller and Bingaman. Services and burial were in Merced, California.

Ernest R. Reed

Born December 19, 1878 in Louisburg, Kansas. Ernie worked for the Fred Harvey Eating Houses for the Santa Fe Railroad most of his young life.

On August 6, 1918, Reed signed up as park ranger and was assigned the Bridalveil Checking Station at the foot of the Old Wawona Road. This was a one way control road at that time. Traffic went up on the even hour and down on the odd hour. He operated this post from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. while the road was open. In the winter he worked as cook in the Old Rangers Club near the Sentinel Bridge. Summers found him back to the Bridalveil. Station until the All Year Road opened.

During 1926 Reed was in charge of the New Arch Rock Entrance Station which he was very proud of and kept it beautifully landscaped. Managing the station was a man’s job and his genial personality and thoughtful consideration for visitors to Yosemite made him many friends.

Ernie weighed some two hundred and fifty pounds and was a great joker. One time I remember three girls stopping at the Station on their way out and one complained about how cold it was in the Valley. Ernie never cracked a smile but said, “Why you shouldn’t have gotten cold sitting by that fat sister of yours.” The girls just laughed and went on their way.

Ernie and his wife Jessie lived to eat. They were always talking about food and were very hospitable in wanting friends in to eat with them. Martha and I had many wonderful meals with the Reeds and will never forget their hospitality.

Ernie died in the Lewis Memorial Hospital, June 12, 1939 of a heart attack. They had plans to retire soon and start a motel business in Santa Barbara. Jessie did this very thing. She bought and operated a small deluxe Motel for ten years. She died there in February 1957.

Clare Marie Hodges

Born 1890 in Santa Cruz, California. May 22, 1918 to September 7, 1918, Clare was a temporary ranger in Yosemite. She was also a school teacher in the Yosemite School for a time. She was president of the literary society of the San Jose Normal School, her alma mater, and authored “Songs of the Trail.” She often said that her love of Mariposa County and the mountains, was the deciding factor in taking the job as lady ranger. Clare rode mounted patrol over the Valley trails and reported direct to the chief ranger.

Visitors were quite surprised to see a lady ranger with badge and full riding uniform. Clare married Peter J. Wolfsen, a stockman, who lived near Mariposa. They took an active part in County activities. They worked with the Junior camp of the Seventh Day Adventist Camp at Wawona. Just recently a nature trail was dedicated in their name, “The Wolfsen Nature Trail.”

Charles B. Rich

Born August 8, 1894, in Willow Lake, South Dakota. His father Albert Rich came from Pennsylvania and his mother, Jessie Mary Collins, came from Michigan.

Charles married Maybell, at Ceres, California, January 16, 1915. They had one son and two daughters.

On July 6, 1919 Charles was appointed park ranger. He specialized in law enforcement, working as undercover operator and was credited in bringing numerous criminals to trial. He was in charge of Public Order for several years. During the fall season he was usually assigned to mounted patrol for checking hunters along the Park Boundary. During the early 1920’s he assisted other rangers in tracking down several convicts who had escaped from the Road Camp.

Charles resigned from the Ranger Service April 17, 1927, to join the Secret Service, in Washington, D.C. He served a number of presidents at the White House and when the presidents traveled outside of Washington. He was with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Yosemite in 1938.

Rich also protected Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt on her trips to Yosemite.

Charles retired from the Secret Service September 1, 1950, and moved to Carnelian Bay, California. We have had the pleasure of visiting the family there several times.

John W. Bingaman

Born on a farm June 18, 1896, in Bellevue, Ohio. His parents were John Daniel Bingaman and Susan Jane Boyer Bingaman both born near Lewisberg, Pennsylvania. They moved to Bellevue, Ohio in 1895. Grand-father Bingaman moved to Union County Pennsylvania in the early 1800s from Reading, Pennsylvania.

John attended the public school in, Bellevue, Ohio, and helped his father on the farm. In 1914-1915 he worked as yard checker for the New York Central Railroad in Elkhart, Indiana and in 1916 moved to Stockton, California, where he worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad for a short time and for the Holt Tractor Company of Stockton making big tanks and combinders during the World War I.

John married Martha Buyek in Oakland, California, on June 17, 1916. Martha was born in Railroad Flat, Calaveras County, California. Her father, Frank Buyck, was a miner in his early life and later worked on the water projects in Calaveras County. Her mother died when Martha was six years old.

On April 20, 1918 John and Martha went to the Yosemite, where he worked for the Yosemite Park Company as guide and packer under Jim Helm who was manager of the horse concession at that time. The winter of 1919 he was caretaker and hotel manager at Glacier Point Mountain House. During the winter of 1920 to the opening of the summer season he managed the Company Stables at Kenneyville.

June 15, 1921 John was appointed permanent park ranger under Chief Ranger Townsley and W. B. Lewis Superintendent. His first assignment was fighting a 30 acre forest fire at Big Meadow with one other ranger and assisted by the Meyers Boys. During 1932-1933 he was in charge of the Camp Grounds. 1934-1936 headquarters duty. On June 22, 1937 he was promoted to district ranger in charge of the Wawona district. In October of 1940 he changed to the Mather ranger district and then in 1944 he changed back to the Wawona District. During 1950 he was in charge of the Tuolumne Meadow District and then back to the Wawona District from 1951 to 19.54 in charge of Wawona District. 1955-1956 he was again assigned to the Tuolumne Meadows District. He retired from the Service October 31, 1956.

As a ranger he received special training at the NPS Fire Training School, the F.B.I. Training and Instruction and all routine training and instruction courses given to seasonal employees to keep up standard procedures and to fully cooperate with Forest Service.

He was district ranger of the Mather District on September 9, 1948 when the Rancheria and Pate Valley Fire started. This was the largest fire in Park records and over 11,000 acres were burned.

During his long service as a Yosemite Park ranger he did many things such as fighting forest fires, handling crews and organizing search for lost people. He was assigned to many important visitors and took them through the Park. These special assignments included ranger service and guide for Stephen T. Mather, Horace M. Albright, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mrs. Roosevelt on their trips to Yosemite and also a number of Senators and Congressmen when they visited the Park.

On retirement he and Martha have turned to trailer life spending their winters in the desert and summers in the mountains and National Parks.

Herbert R. Sault

Born August 14, 1884 in Holden, Massachusetts. He came to California in 1903 and worked on a cattle ranch at Big Sur, Monterey County. During the 1906 earthquake, at San Jose, he was deputized and patrolled on horseback until the militia arrived. In 1907 he moved to the Santa Cruz mountains where he operated a general store until he entered the Ranger Service in Yosemite, on May 1, 1922.

Bert, as he was known by all his friends, had many different assignments especially in the winter months when he worked in the Park machine shop, painting and repairing the official cars and helping Al Kottner on many maintenance jobs. Summer he was mounted ranger and covered most of the Park. He was of the ranger group that captured four convicts who had escaped from the prison camp near Briceburg. Ranger Sault and Rich also caught several well known bootleggers who were operating in the Park. He was with a number of search parties sent out for lost persons. He was assigned to boundary patrol with Ranger Adair, usually in the fall to check on hunters and illegal grazing near the high passes.

In 1924, Bert was assigned to Al Solinsky to measure the 700 miles of trails in the Park and later post them with metal signs. It took about three weeks to make this trip which started at Alder Creek and ended at Tuolumne Meadows. There they took on fresh supplies and continued through the north end of the Park. This was the first official trail measurement made. Only a few old shingle signs were found at junctions, and it was thought they were put up by the soldiers in the early years.

Of his experience as a Park ranger, he said, “It was a wonderful period in my life and although it was tough at times I have never regretted one minute of it.”

Bert had three children, Jack, Bill and Juanita to support and educate and he finally decided to leave the ranger service. Sault joined the National Automobile Association in Los Angeles, worked his way up in the organization.

Later he married Helen Mickel, a school teacher in the Yosemite Valley and they had one daughter, Shirley. Bert retired a few years ago and is now in Altadena enjoying some of his hobbies, photography, shop work, and a little travel.

Homer B. Hoyt

Born September 25, 1897 in Cleveland, Ohio. He worked on the boats plying the Great Lakes during his early life.

On May 1, 1923, Homer entered the Yosemite Ranger Service. For a number of years he drove Superintendent Lewis and Director Mather about the Park on official business. He was assigned to the Chief Ranger Office and was usually the ranger who escorted special visitors through the Park. The first few winters, before the travel became heavy, he worked in the Park Machine Shop repairing park service cars and trucks.

He specialized in office procedures, handling all the ranger reports and travel records and was in charge of the Information office.

Homer has seen many changes in the administration of the Park Service. He no doubt has written more reports, and handled more paper work, than any other ranger in the Service. One summer he was in charge of Tuolumne Meadows District. And for a few years was in charge of Arch Rock Entrance Station.

He married Florence Gallison, sister of Arthur Gallison, who was born in Mariposa, California, a pioneer family that spent much of their time in Wawona and Yosemite in the early 1900’s. Her father, Daniel F. Gallison, was an early settler in Mariposa who worked in Wawona many years as blacksmith for the Washburns. Florence worked in the Yosemite Telephone Exchange for a number of years and it was there she met Homer. They had two sons, Larry and Donald. Donald died from a serious illness during World War II.

The Information Desk and files of the Ranger Department have been made more interesting and informative as the years go by and Homer left written data that will be used in the files indefinitely.

Homer retired June, 1959, and moved to his home in Pleasant Hill, California.

Edward D. Freeland

Born August 16, 1901, on a farm in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. His parents were Charles Edward and Alice Low Freeland both of Pennsylvania ancestry. Edward was the youngest of five children, two sisters and two brothers. In 1910 the family moved to Coming, California, where he attended grade and high school.

During World War I he volunteered for Navy duty and saw service in France. After the war he worked for Heinz Company in Coming and in 1920 was fire lookout on Turner Mountain, in Lassen National Forest.

He married Beatrice Blanchard, a music teacher in Coming, September 30, 1922 in San Francisco. Beatrice’s parents were well known teachers in the San Francisco Bay area.

On May 1, 1923, Freeland was appointed temporary ranger in Yosemite National Park. Much of the summer was spent patrolling the high country with saddle and pack horse, fighting forest fires and taking care of other Park duties. That winter the Freelands returned to their home in Corning. The next spring he returned to the Park and resumed his ranger work. He was assigned to Bridalveil. Checking Station on the Old Wawona Road. In the winter of 1924 he assisted at the museum and the Park carpenter shop.

Dick, as he was known to all his friends, recalls his experience at the Bridalveil Checking Station for he was on duty thirteen weeks from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with no days off and never out of hearing of the telephone bell. Other rangers brought supplies from the. village store to him and his only complaint was the lack of a barber.

On July 1, 1926 he received his permanent Park Ranger appointment. Dick was on many rescues and search parties for lost persons in Yosemite. He also was assigned to the ranger escorts for such notables as the Crown Prince, now the King of Sweden, and family, and also Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller and their five sons, when they inspected the New Yosemite Museum, which had been built in part from the Laura Spellman Rockefeller funds. Director Stephen T. Mather came in from time to time, and Dick aot to know him quite well.

One time Dick and Beatrice rode the fish truck to Tuloumne Meadows and, while there a snow storm stranded them for two days before they were able to ride out on horseback.

Dick was one of the first in a group of five rangers to make a snow survey trip to the high country for the State Water Resources of California. It was a five day trip and they traveled on snowshoes with all their food and equipment on their backs for the cabins were not stocked with supplies at that time.

In 1928, Dick was Acting District ranger on the valley floor and in August 1929 was selected by Superintendent Thomson and Director Horace M. Albright as Chief Ranger at Carlsbad National Park. There he organized the first ranger and guide force in uniform. They both initiated the now famous, “Bat Flight Talk,” so popular with Carlsbad Visitors.

He was promoted to the Superintendency of Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills in 1931, and in 1939 was transferred as coordinating Superintendent of Southeastern Monuments in St. Augustine Florida. The areas administered at that time consisted of Fort Marion, the old Spanish Fort now known as the Castillo De San Marcos, Fort Matanzas, Fort Frederica, and Ocmulgee in Georgia. The Freelands lived in a pre Civil War house, directly on the Fort Green, had a view of the ocean, fort and ancient city gates.

January 1, 1942, he was transferred to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, as Superintendent, with headquarters about five miles from Luray, Virginia.

He was again transferred to the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in 1950. This was controversial area at that time for it was undergoing the struggle of adding the Jackson Hole National Monument, an adjacent area bought by John D. Rockefeller Jr., to the Grand Teton National Park.

In 1953, Freelands transferred to Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, as superintendent, and now lives at Mineral, headquarters for the Park. So the Freelands have made a circle of the National Parks and Monuments. What a varied experience and knowledge of many places in the park service! They both say they like them all and have made many friends. Freelands experience in the Park service points up what a wonderful career can be made in this field.

Gustave M. Eastman

Born October 2, 1886 in Manhattan, Kansas. He was a carpenter by trade but studied criminal identification and belonged to several law enforcement agencies and was a rancher near Madera, California before coming to Yosemite.

On May 15, 1925 he became a temporary ranger in Yosemite and in July 1, 1928 received permanent appointment as Park ranger. Gus, as his friends called him, took a leading part in the law enforcement of the Ranger Department and was in charge of public order much of his time in the Park. He was assigned to the important job at Wawona in 1932 when the Park service took over all of Wawona. There was much to do in bringing rules and regulations up to the Park standard.

Superintendent Thomson gave Gus the title of Assistant Chief Ranger at that time. His job there at first was not easy for there were many trying conditions to put up with but he did a splendid job of the assignment.

Gus spent a number of years at Wawona and then in charge at Mather Ranger District. He had many experiences in the field fighting forest fires, rescuing lost people and patrolling the high country with saddle and pack horse. He spent a number of winters at Mather Ranger Station during the time when the Hetch Hetchy Dam was raised 85 feet. A large labor camp was quartered at Hetch Hetchy for several years, which brought more work and supervision to this district.

Gus was in charge of the important Valley District in later years, and this gave him a wide variety of experience. He was respected by every one for he was a true officer of the law in the performance of his duties.

His wife Ada, passed away suddenly February 10, 1950 and on December 31, 1950 Gus retired from the ranger service and moved to Mariposa, California. Later he married a very good friend of the family, Irene Bushnell, and they built a home near Mariposa where they are enjoying their retirement.

Carl L. Danner

Born in Woody, California, May 23, 1887. Prior to his employment in Yosemite he worked with Southern Pacific Railroad, Biological Survey, Indian Service, Forest Service, Edison Company, Pacific Gas Company and as a rancher in and around Porterville, California, where his family and relatives lived most of their lives.

On June 10, 1926, he was appointed temporary ranger in Yosemite and in July 1, 1928, received his permanent appointment as park ranger.

Carl was a fine horseman, could ride any horse you would give him and feel at home in the saddle. He spent much of his ranger life in the high country, patrolling, planting fish and checking fishermen and campers. He was assigned to the Tuolumne Meadows District about ten summers, and no doubt Carl covered every trail in the Park. He planted a number of unnamed lakes and his knowledge of the high country, his ability to handle stock and care for himself under all kinds of emergencies made him an outstanding ranger.

Eliza his wife, was with him much of the time and was a Yosemite Valley school teacher for a few years.

I should tell a story on the Danners, a true one. One fall, while the Danners were stationed in Tuolumne Meadows, a sudden snow storm came up and snowed them in. Three snow plows had to be sent to get them out. The first two plows broke down and finally a third plow had to be sent out to make the rescue.

Upon retiring, December 31, 1949, Carl and Eliza traveled one year over the United States, in a House Trailer. They finally settled down and bought a home in Porterville, California. Carl died November 16, 1960 from the results of an automobile accident near Tulare, California.

Samuel L. Clark

Born February 7, 1899, near Globe, Arizona. Before entering Park service he was employed by the Merced Irrigation District and as a surveyor on the construction project of relocating the Yosemite Valley Railroad from Horseshoe Bend to Merced Falls.

He was appointed temporary ranger of the Yosemite in 1924. On May 1, 1929 he received a field agreement and July 12, 1929 received his permanent appointment as park ranger. November 17, 1929 he was transferred to Sequoia National Park as park ranger. April 16, 1939 returned to Yosemite. On October 19, 1942 he was furloughed to the U.S. Army during World War II and returned to Yosemite and his ranger job. May 15, Sam was promoted to district ranger and assigned to Chinquapin District, later to Mather District and in 1958 transferred to Wawona Ranger District.

Sam has been a mounted patrol ranger, and covered about every part of the park and has had many interesting experiences during his years as a ranger. He told me last summer, that when he retires the Clarks plan to locate near Oakhurst, California.

Otto M. Brown

Born May 23, 1906 in Ceres, California. He was first appointed as a temporary ranger in Yosemite, May 4, 1927, and on May 15, 1929 he was made a full ranger. In 1940 he became wild life ranger in Yosemite.

He was on furlough to the U.S. Army during World War II from September 2, 1942 to November 13, 1945 when he returned to ranger duty.

On August 27, 1946 he was transferred to Olympic National Park in Washington, as Chief Ranger and from there in 1952 to Yellowstone Park as Chief Ranger. In 1959 to Crater Lake National Park as superintendent.

Otto progressed rapidly in the park service and held many important positions. At this writing the Browns live in Medford, Oregon, the winter quarters for the Crater Lake National Park.

Wilfred K. Merrill

Born in Chicago, Illinois, November 5, 1903. Bill moved to California with his mother and sister and attended public school in Gardena. He was in the Navy 1920-1921, went with the U.S. Forest Service from 1922-1923, the California Fish and Game Commission in 1924 and then back to the Forest Service for two years.

On May 15, 1927 he was appointed temporary ranger, in Yosemite and in 1928 received his permanent appointment as park ranger.

Bill married Margaret Becker in 1930, and they went to Tuolumne Meadows on their honeymoon as he was in charge of the Station that fall. They were snowed in and had to be rescued by the Park snow plows. His old buddies still kid him about this incident.

On November 5, 1937 Bill transferred to Boulder Dam Recreation Area. From there to General Grant National Park as ranger in charge. He transferred back to Yosemite May 12, 1942 and was the ranger in charge of Arch Rock Entrance Station and South Entrance Station until June 4, 1949 when he was transferred to Olympic National Park as District ranger and remained there until his retirement, November 1, 1958.

The Merrills moved to Sonora, California, where they built a new home and are enjoying their retirement. Mrs. Merrill is the author of “Bears in my Kitchen.”


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