Category Archives: History
This is a follow up to my last Throwback Thursday post. I’m sincerely hoping someone will recognize some more children in these photos. As someone who loves family history, I get a real kick when I can return family memories and memorabilia to their rightful owners.
I think this is a candid photo Ella Byrd took and not an official school photo. I think this because these photos are mixed in and look the same as the other photos of ranch life she had taken. I’d imagine it must have been a big deal to have a camera back in the 1920’s.
This photo has written on the back:
“Class in 1925
It’s interesting to note they had a new teacher this year! Ella Byrd is in the back to the left of the right window. Miss Mary is in the front row in the white dress. I think this school is in Crescent Mills, because of the wood siding, and the fact our family ranch was just a few miles away. As much as I wanted it to be in front of the 1864 Taylorsville schoolhouse, later pictures I have of the class, don’t confirm that. I’ll try and sneak a photo of the old schoolhouse to compare for next week’s blog.
When I start posting these photos I start falling down the rabbit hole of research. I started retracing Sam and Hazel’s (Ella Byrd and Mary’s Parents), steps again. Pulling out notes and emails my friend Erin helped me with years ago, talking to my Dad about what he knows. My Dad said Fletcher (Ella Byrd and Mary’s brother), was born in the big house on the Pony Hill Ranch. That means the family had to be living there in 1921. I think they were renting that ranch before they bought it.
Does anyone recognize their family in this photo? Have a memory of the school? I’m always interested in learning more….
Slowly, I am making progress through my family photos. There is one album among them that belonged to Ella Byrd Brown as a teen. It has some pretty amazing photos. I think I need to get through it first in case there is anyone, still alive, who remembers any of these people. This album has notes and pictures drawn onto some of the photos, which is an interesting look into her life. The first photo I’m going to share has this written on the back:
“Class in ’24 Mrs. Eldred teacher”
written in childish handwriting I am not familiar with. I think it is Ella Byrd‘s, but her child style. Ella Byrd would have been about 11/12 in this photo. She is the tall girl, second from left. Her sister, Mary Brown (later Mcintyre) would have been around 6/7. I can’t tell if she appears in this photo. The girl in the front row, with the bob, and white collar, looking toward Ella Bryd, does resemble her.
I know, because of the 1920’s census, Ella Byrd and Mary’s Parents were still in Lassen County, California. But by 1924, I believe Sam had bought and moved our family to the Pony Hill Ranch in Indian Valley, Plumas County. The photos in this album tend to confirm that. However, since there are no buildings in the background, it is hard to say where this was taken.
I know many of the same families who lived in Indian Valley in 1924 are still there today. So readers, do any of these kids look familiar? Do you remember any tidbit about Mrs. Eldred?
I spent last Thursday driving around North Eastern California with my Dad. This is interesting because this is the first time we’ve done this in my adult life. The Brown side my my family has history in this area of California. Driving around this area prompted my Dad to tell some family lore, which I love. This got me thinking about all the pictures I inherited and how I need to continue to Throwback Thursday them before I lose all the people who have memories of this time.
On the back of this photo, in perfect script, are the names of these fine folk. They are family members of mine, one I actually met. Many of the people in this photo appear in other photos I have. Hopefully this winter I’ll post all the ones I can find. In the meantime please enjoy…
I think this photo is taken in front of the Doherty Ranch on Stampfli Lane in Indian Valley.
Do you remember these people? Have a memory you’d like to share? Feel free to leave a comment.
Over the past two years our ranch has been involved with two fires. In 2017, the Cherokee Fire burned our ranch destroying homes, trees, barns, out buildings, water infrastructure, fences and corrals. It caused almost $4 million in damage to our home ranch. The Camp Fire happened in 2018. Although we were spared from flames damaging our property, the evacuations, water infrastructure damage, smoke damage and stress to ourselves and animals is still causing major problems.
Living through several natural disasters I’ve become accustom to answering questions about what we do, as cattle people, to mitigate damage from fire. For six generations my family has lived in this area, running cattle with little change. Fire has always been part of our plan, however the past few years it seems like it has been excessively different.
In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to show you one big benefit of grazing cattle; fire fuel load reduction.
The two photos below were taken one year apart. The top photo was our ranch un-grazed spring of 2018. The Cherokee Fire destroyed all of our fences so we were not able to run cattle on this side of the ranch during the winter of 2018 like we normally would. The result was grass that almost grew taller than I. The fuel load was massive and we were so scared we were going to burn up, again.
The second photo shows what healthy grazing looks like. The grass is managed and healthy (as are the cattle). The cattle also release nutrients back into the soil with the poo and provide us with food and fiber. Cattle play an important role in fire prevention in our area.
As we enter the 2019 fire season, I’d like you remind you, your local neighborhood cattle are working hard to mitigate potential damage around our communities. They are doing this without using pesticide, electricity, loud mowers or fossil fuel, just a four chambered stomach. Help support them by having a lovely hamburger or steak for dinner this week?
This is the before and after photo of the masks I’ve been wearing to protect myself from the smoke and ash in the air. The Camp Fire has made the air toxic here. My eyes, skin and throat feel so dirty and heavy. We’re on day 10 of this horrific fire. I’m attempting to share what I can on all my social feeds, it’s helping with the emotions I’m experiencing. I’d like to thank everyone for the support, love, prayers, juju, you’ve sent. We’re Butte Strong and we will get through this.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll remember I started searching for people in an old family photo album of mine. These photos cover an interesting time span for my family, from the late 1800’s to the 1980’s. I had fairly good luck finding the family of the people in these photos and most of them have loved getting a memory back. In an effort to continue this I give you the latest in the series:
Written on the back is “Etta Grant on Golden Torch, Sammie Brown on Lucky Johnson July 4, 1945″. By the looks of the trees and the fact it is summer, I believe this was photo was taken in Plumas County. I know the horse Golden Torch because his stories have been passed down through the generations. He was a jumping horse back in his day and apparently a really good one. I remember trophies he had won still adorned my Great Aunt’s office when I was a small child.
I have no idea who Ms. Grant is or was. The name doesn’t ring any bells. But I love her cowboy hat and her hair! It’d be kinda fun to have those hair styles back in fashion. So Internet, does this ring any bells for you? Do you know her? Please let me know.
Living and working on this ranch give me the opportunity to share this lifestyle with others. Sometimes that is as simple as inviting friends to come over for a hike, but sometimes it involves giving my friends animal body parts. My friend amazing Alyssa asked me for some body parts for her kids, now I know this might sound weird or strange at first, but stay with us here. When I figured what she was planning to do, I squealed with delight because this is something I’ve heard a lot about but never seen done. Know what? I’m going to let her tell you what she did….
A Piggy Tale
by Alyssa Manes
When I was young, I loved to read. I picked books based on author (I read all the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley), based on cover (King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry), and based on title (The Secret Garden by F. H. Burnett). There were books I didn’t read for the same reason, and Little House on the Prairie series was one of them. One cover had a girl holding a doll, and that definitely wasn’t a book for me. I’m so glad that having children has given me a chance for a second childhood! We borrowed Little House books on audio CD from our local library to listen to, because our homeschool co-op group was doing a unit on the Little House time period.
Now one of the many advantages of home school is the ability to do some really neat hands-on projects with your kids that might be impractical in a larger group. So when we listened to Little House in the Big Woods, and heard the mention of playing with a pig bladder like a ball….well…..why not try it out? All we needed was a pig bladder and a bit of willingness to try something new.
My friend Megan has a ranch and has started breeding heritage pigs, and was very gracious about hooking us up with several fresh bladders. So here’s how it went down:
I have three children – my son, the oldest, is cautious (which is great because he’ll be driving first), the second has special needs (I think she was napping during our bladder experiment) and the youngest girl is full of joy and mischief. My plan was for my oldest and youngest to follow instructions and blow up the bladders while I took pictures and helped. No go. The youngest was excited to help, but at the age of two, she was a little limited in her ability. She did hold the pig bladder and watched me closely. The oldest became the photographer and watched me blow them up. Now I supposed I could have blown directly into the bladder….after all it didn’t really smell or look all that awful. But I took the easy route and used a drinking straw. It actually fit perfectly in the urethra (I’m pinching that part in picture below). I had a really hard time finding the “tube” that carried urine to the bladder. I’m not sure if it was a smaller part attached to the urethra or if it was either so small or had some valve to keep the air from flowing out that we never had a leaky bladder once we blew one up.
Considering the bladder started about the size of my hand, it actually expanded quite a bit (see below). When the bladder was full of air, I pinched the urethra as I pulled out the straw, and had my son help me tie a piece of thread around it. I tried once or twice to use the urethra to tie it off like a balloon, but things were too slippery and/or the tube was just too short.
So there you have it!
Once the bladders dried, I suppose you could have played with them. They have a bit of a crinkly sound now, but they have lasted a year and a half looking like this:
The fat on them is a little greasy, but the main bladder part is translucent and oddly beautiful.
If I had to rate this “activity” as a family experience, here is what I would say:
- not very stinky/smelly (although my dog thinks differently and is hoping that a dried bladder will come within her reach)
- fascinating to see the bladder inflate and to think of its usefulness in historical terms as a child’s “toy”
- didn’t take very long
- medium gross-factor
- tying the string while holding the bladder was a little challenging, since my oldest didn’t want to get too close to the bladder
wrangling a toddler with gross hands (but this part is still totally worth it in my book….as long as she doesn’t try touching my face…)
Overall, a really cool and memorable experience. Thanks, Megan, for the opportunity to do something so unique!
Thanks for sharing this project with us Alyssa! As an avid reader of the Little House books myself, this was so fun to read about!