A while back, I posted some photos of carvings on a barn at the south end of our ranch. The following comment was posted earlier today by Douglas Vierra. Here’s what he had to say.
An old (40 years ago) friend of mine sent me a copy of your blog on “Barn Carvings Near Sunol”. He did so because of the time I took him up to see my old friend “Fritz” Schield. My family was related to Manuel Silva, who owned and lived at/on the next ranch up the road. I spent a lot of time there as a young boy/man growing up in the 1950’s.
As my Uncle Manuel reached into his 90s I was sent up there to live with him for a year or so – I believe the years were 1972-’73. Manuel was born on the ranch in (I think) 1888, and it was there that he wanted to die. The only other permenant resident back in those remote hills, was our neighbor “Fritz” Shield, about 5 miles down the road from us, whom I visited often.
After Manuel Silva died (at 96 or 97) I continued to visit with Fritz and later lived with him for awhile while he was going through eye surgery. So between the two of them (Fritz Shield & Manuel Silva) I learned quite a bit about the early history of the region – too much to go into here. But if anyone is interested, drop me a line.
Quick note: Fritz was a native of Switzerland, who immigrated here in 1922. And Fritz’s (Dick Marciel) cabin was originally built across the valley by an early homesteader. When the homesteader was bought out, the cabin was hauled (skids and horses) down the valley to the creek crossing, and then up to the present site.
This is a great lead and I plan to get in touch with Douglas to learn more about the history of the ranch.