River Views

The last two River Views columns recounted the feud between the Frost and Coates families of Little Lake (think southern Willits and you’re there), seemingly culminating in an 1867 gun battle that left five of the Coates clan dead as well as the oldest Frost brother, Elisha. In the shootout Elisha’s brother Mart Frost gunned […]

River Views

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” That line from John Ford’s film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance proves apt for tales of the Old West time and again. The shootout between feuding members of the Coates and Frost families on Little Lake’s (southern Willits) dusty main street in October, 1867 was fictionalized […]

River Views

If it bleeds it leads. Mendocino County has never been a stranger to senseless bloodletting. In the broader spectrum of history the tragic deaths of Jere Melo and Matthew Coleman last summer were merely another couple of notches in a long line of violence that goes back to Mendocino County’s first years. My great grandfather […]

River Views

The January 26th edition of The Mendocino Beacon ran a story headlined “Fort Bragg ax attacker convicted.” What readers may have missed is that the story was not written by a Beacon reporter or by a staffer at their sister publication the Fort Bragg Advocate-News, not even by someone in the Media News Group chain […]

River Views

The main office of Mendocino Redwood Company in Calpella contains a concrete enclosed room referred to as “the vault.” Along the wall opposite the vault’s doorway sit a long line of filing cabinets, each several feet deep with papers. Most of the cabinets are labeled with the names of current or past neighbors of Mendocino […]

River Views

The Macdonald ranch, totaling about 180 acres, is surrounded on the east, south and west by Mendocino Redwood Company timberland. Mendocino Redwood Co. owns close to a quarter million acres within Mendocino County. Its corporate companion, Humboldt Redwood Co. owns more than two hundred thousand acres of Humboldt County. It’s worth noting that six timber […]

River Views

It’s hard to believe that Vern Piver is gone, especially with baseball season coming on. He was one of the last links to a now forgotten world on the Mendocino Coast. Vern played ball for my father’s first cousin Archer (Andy) Anderson at Fort Bragg High School. Arch (as family members called him) played baseball […]

River Views

March is a month of change. Winter often goes out holding a thunderous grudge. Sometimes the wild weather brings in exotic birds, blown dramatically off migratory course by El Nino-like storms. The “Big Year” record for most birds sighted in North America (745) occurred in 1998 during El Nino conditions. Earlier this month a snowy […]

River Views

The river rolls on, but time and circumstance have a way of altering the river’s course. Some of you may be reading my words for the first time. Others may be familiar with a similar column that ran in another Mendocino County newspaper for a quarter century, authored first by my mother, Margaret Macdonald, and […]

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