On a turkey hunt last year, I decided to bed down for the night next to an old barn on the half section of ground that has the most turkeys. (A good idea when turkey hunting.) After hunting the next morning, I returned to my truck to have lunch and rest. While sitting next to the barn, I noticed that the east- facing wall of the barn had many initials and dates carved into it, and I couldn’t help but wonder who had made the initails. Most of the dates were in the 1910 to 1930 range. I was surprised that the barn had been around that long.
I’ve been told by Lucky Gravette, who once lived in the cabin on this 320 acre parcel, (W1/2 Sec 34 R2E, T4S MDB&M) that it was owned by Dick Marciel until about 1953. The small house on the property was first entered into the tax roles in 1908. I don’t know if Marciel built the cabin (unlikely), but he owned it until he died. One bit of folk lore is that Marciel would ride his horse to Livermore on Fridays and spend a day or two in town. His routine was to stop at Camp Comfort (the local brothel) on Friday nights. It was located where Valicitos Road crosses Arroyo Del Valle.
According Gravatt, Myron Harris purchased the property – at the site – in a probate sale in about 1953 or 1954. Harris was an Oakland attorney who spent his weekends on the ranch and loved to hunt. He had many friends who joined him in his pursuits. After purchasing the parcel, Harris allowed a Rowell Ranch cook named Fritz Shield to use the cabin and when Myron Harris died, in about 1976, his will gave Fritz the right to continue to use the cabin and the surrounding one acre parcel until his death, which occured in about 1992. Fritz was in his 90’s and nearly deaf and blind when he passed. He was famous for keeping pet rattlesnakes in the barn near the house (a different barn) and he had names for them.
None of this information is exact, but it is most likely generally correct and I have no way of validating any of it, nor do I intend to. However, I’m interested in and open to more info regarding the history of the ranch.
Looks like J. S. – Niles 1921
Looks like Lil Pete Mogee Sunol
Maybe D-F 9/24/29 Livermore
Looks like U.P. Jamestown CAL
The inititals in the barn create message from the past that sparks my curiousity. It would be interesting to know what was going on up there in those days – just for the heck of it . Most likely they were probably just gathering cows or hunting deer. They weren’t hunting turkeys, because there were none in the area at that time.