Tinker, Trader, Piano Tuner (Part 2)

See last week’s piece for details from the dry summer of 1900 that led to jeweler, horse trader, and piano tuner J.E. King’s killing of seventy-year-old farmer Samuel Church on the Sonoma-Marin border. King had lived in Humboldt County prior to his purchasing his small ranch at Skaggs Springs. Sheriff Grace of Sonoma County contacted […]

Tinker, Trader, Piano Tuner

July, 1900, evolved into a hot, dry month in Northern California. As thirty-eight-year-old J.E. King and his wife left their small Skaggs Springs ranch they had little idea the season would turn deadly. They traveled by day in their four horse wagon, camping at night in a tent that proved spacious for two. Also in […]

Found Object from 1962

Life on the Mendocino Coast was a different affair as the year 1962 began. Montgomery Ward had a store on the corner of 200 East Redwood in Fort Bragg. One could walk almost effortlessly north from there to the corner of Laurel and Franklin for groceries. How many people remember the Golden Rule Market at […]

The Big River Mystery

Intrigued by the unknown? Does a wisp of mist rolling across the moon’s shadow or the hint of heat rising up from a bog on an otherwise chilled winter’s eve pique your curiosity? At this time of year the scent of azaleas on a riverbank might be enough to tempt anyone upstream, but this is […]

The Demise of Mamalcoosh

Last time we recounted the killing of a Yuki warrior named Shemia by his fellow Yuki, Mamalcoosh. The piece also discussed how their names were anglicized to “Indian Charley” and “Billy Malmaquist,” respectively. The only historical document that provides their actual names was written by Jeremiah M. “Doc” Standley.  Standley’s story concerns his 1867 travels […]

Shemia, Yuki Warrior

Shemia, a Yuki warrior, died in February, 1885. He was probably in his forties or early fifties at the time of his demise. His death occurred as a result of a violent attack by another man whom he had known all his life. The killing was not based on some childhood grudge, but on what […]

The Shrum Murder Mystery (Part 2)

Previously, we examined the murder of A.J. Shrum in his Round Valley field one evening in July, 1878. The authorities decided the deed was committed by eighteen-year-old Jesse Anthony so that his older brother, James, would be free to pursue the affection shown him by Mrs. Lizzie Shrum. All three were charged with murder. Jesse’s […]

The Shrum Murder Mystery (Part 1)

White men first set eyes on Round Valley on an April day. Promptly they killed a couple score of the people who had been living there for who knows how long. Round Valley, where grass can grow so high this time of year, a man can fairly hide in it standing up. At least that […]

MCHC Board Fiasco

Covid-19 is scary, but have you ever dealt with Lynelle Johnson, Carole White, and Hospitality Center? I was asked that question today and I will leave it somewhat to you readers to judge what is the scariest proposition. All I can do is lay out what’s been happening recently at ye olde Hospitality Center based […]

Apocalypse in Historic Perspective

One century, one decade, a year, and a day before our current publication date, Mark Twain died. A day earlier Halley’s Comet had reached perihelion (the point at which a comet’s orbit is closest to the sun). Twain (Samuel Clemens) was one of those people who came in and went out with Halley’s Comet. His […]

The Pioneer Burkes

Ever see the sign for Burke Hill south of Ukiah and wonder who Burke was? Here’s part of the answer. Alexander Burke was born in Sparta, Tennessee in the summer of 1813. At age twenty he married eighteen-year-old Susan Shelton. They moved on to Missouri, where six sons and two daughters graced their union before […]

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