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Valley People (March 31, 2021)

BEVERLY ELLIOTT. Long-time Navarro resident, Beverly Elliott, passed away on Thursday, March 25th.  She died at home surrounded by her family. She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Doug Elliott, son John and daughter Terry. Plans for a memorial services are pending. Full obituary to follow.

FROST FANS rousted 4am Boonville from our Spring bowers three times last week, the airbus-quality din exceeding by a lot the ignored 50 decibel legal standard in many neighborhood. Odd how passive we've become in the face of these annual aural assaults. If your neighbors blasted you with four or five or more pre-dawn hours of any other noise of this intensity and duration, the 911 emergency lines would be jammed. But console yourselves, Anderson Valley, by remembering this: Your sleep, your lives are less important, far less important, than wine grapes.  Or as Ted Bennett of Navarro Winery memorably put it: “My grapes are more important than your sleep.” Console yourselves, Anderson Valley, that you are sacrificing your sleep, your peace of mind, your property values, for this essential product! (Class action suit anyone?)

ALL THAT EQUIPMENT and noise therefrom on the old Masonite Road outta Navarro is Family Tree doing PG&E’s tree trimming. Bless them for this work in a year of plague, drought, fires and, one morning last week, a nice jolt of an earthquake whose epicenter was somewhere between Montgomery Woods and Comptche.

THE BOONVILLE SCHOOLS have a new Superintendent. Louise Simson begins her labors July 1st. She is currently a Principal/Assistant Superintendent in Murphys, Calaveras County. The last woman to hold the position was… how you say in English?… slandered and harassed every which way by a gaggle of unhappy women headquartered at the Elementary School who, in any other line of work, would have been summarily bounced outta there. Advice for Ms. Simson: Wear your kevlar vest backwards.

INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT WARYCH, filling in as the school's boss man for the past three years, did a good job pacifying the savage grinches at the Elementary School but, no sooner had those beasts been muzzled, than here comes the usual turnover among the school board trustees and then covid. Warych made it all look easy. 

MS. SIMSON, the new boss inherits two capable principals at both school sites in Sid Frazer at the Elementary School and Jim Snyder at the high school, although neither school has seen a return of most of their students.

SEEING more gro dozers around Boonville, tank-size dude pick-ups driven by hat backwards boys not from here filling gasoline canisters at the Redwood Drive-In for their Green Rush gardens deep in the hills of the Anderson Valley.

ON FRIDAY, March 12 about 3:30pm, a passenger vehicle stopped at the Boonville firehouse. A frantic, elderly woman ran up to the office door and shouted that her husband was unconscious from what seemed to be a heart attack. Local volunteers promptly arrived in the AV Ambulance and provided emergency assistance (we don’t know the particulars, but they typically involve defibrillation, oxygen, chest compressions, etc.), then they carried the stricken fellow to the Boonville airport where a medivac helicopter was waiting. The patient, treated during the brief flight over the hill to the Ukiah hospital, survived. A few days later he called AV Fire Chief Andres Avila to the Chief and the emergency crew who had saved his life. 

ABALONE, an on-line comment: “Bag limit was lowered and lowered and lowered and fines were increased and increased and increased. It didn’t stop the poachers mass harvesting from the Bay Area. They just simply wouldn’t pay their fines and rotate someone else in. But still that’s not what the problem was. Warm water created ideal conditions for urchins, killed their natural predator while allowing them to thrive which wiped out the kelp which is the shared food source for abalone. No food=bad for abalone. And the fish cops haven’t taken any proactive measures to help manage the situation. Too busy with pot I guess. Blame greed, greed of fish cops.”

AND ANOTHER: “Where did the abalone go? “Bag limit was lowered and lowered and lowered and fines were increased and increased and increased. It didn’t stop the poachers from the Bay Area mass harvesting. They just simply wouldn’t pay their fines and rotate someone else in. But still that’s not what the problem was. Warm water created ideal conditions for urchins, killed the abalone's natural predator while allowing urchins to thrive which wiped out the kelp which is the shared food source for abalone. No food=bad for abalone. And the fish cops haven’t taken any proactive measures to help manage the situation. Too busy with pot I guess.”

GONE but not forgotten. That giant wreck of an RV at the intersection of 128 and 253 has been hauled outta here. 

Its removal only took a month, which is pretty darn speedy by Mendo standards. Wrecked vehicles have been known to rest up on the hill for months where local drunks reduced them to piles of rusted parts and broken glass, mute symbols of the times.

ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER: Are you having a hard time paying your rent, staying current with your utility bills, or getting enough groceries on your table? Please call us as we may be able to help! AVHC has grants available to remain completely confidential. Call us and ask for Leah 895-3477.

THE HARRISON Tombstone mystery rumbles on. Is it a remnant of an old, forgotten cemetery on what became the Prather Ranch less than a mile east of 128 on the Boonville side of Philo, or was the old boy's headstone simply dropped there for reasons lost in the mists of time. 

THE RUDDOCK CEMETERY is not included, but should be, in the Anderson Valley Cemetery District. It consists of about thirty graves, most of them with headstones, on a wild margin of hillside between the Ballo and Anderson Domaine wineries. It's been years since I've been there, but I clearly remember members of the Dightman family resting there. It's so overgrown that it would take a major effort to clear, but these sites are our common history and should be properly maintained.

VIA LILA: “Putting this out to the whole community, on the off chance anyone local might have info. We were tromping around the Prather ranch (across from the grange, visiting Freda) when we came across a headstone up on the hill above Highway 128. Equally surprised to see it isn't a Prather, but a guy named John Harrison, died 12-12-1898 at the age of 84. Any local historians here who could tell us more?” 

VALERIE HANELT: “Wow! This is a really big deal. John Harrison and his wife Lorena Eastlick's graves were vandalized in the B section of Evergreen Cemetery (in the 70s?). John was the father of Amanda (Marvin Dutro), Adeline (Phelps) and Lenora (CH Clow). Lorena was the daughter of Jacob & Hannah Eastlick (B in Shields); wife of John Harrison; mother of Amanda (Marvin Dutro) & Adeline (Phelps - both Phelps are in Ukiah cem), Lenora (Clow). Elizabeth Ilse Clow (1883-1966) also lost her headstone. She still has a “toe” marker. I will post two more that were repaired — I guess they were too heavy to haul away. Clyde Doggett said they [the vandals] put ropes or chains around the headstones and attached to their truck and pulled them over. Terrible desecration. I found a photo on of Lorena's and wrote to the owner of the site and they took the photo down. So hers is somewhere. Please go back and look for more headstones. The kids probably dumped them there. This headstone needs to go back to the Cemetery District to be reinstalled above John's grave. I have put a Geo link to the spot. Please let me know if you find Lorena's. Look these people up on Findagrave where I have posted what I know about them.” 

VIA LILA: “I would bet the headstone at Prather ranch was not dumped there. It is extremely heavy and definitely seated. You have to understand that after decades of sheep and possibly cows running around, things get knocked over and crushed, buried etc. It’s no surprise to me at all that the second headstone Joann told me she remembers has disappeared with time and no one looking after them at all. And Mike Crutcher, who lived for many years under this hill and worked for Sam regularly, says he saw evidence of lots of marble rubble up there too.

It’ll be interesting to see what else Joann has to say. Sheri [Hansen] from the schoolhouse [museum], who may be able to track down the church that allegedly stood nearby, is supposed to contact me when she gets back from out of town. 

One thing for certain - Sam Prather has been running sheep and cows on this property for decades. The gates and fences prevent anyone casually dumping stuff on his land - he would be furious with anyone intruding on his sheep! And besides, he was right there virtually every day until his health declined. (My partner has lived on the Prather ranch for 20+ years, and we could see Sam’s truck from here, every day.) The “road” going up to the hill is a rutted mess of dirt (you can see this on google maps), more sheep trail than anything else at this point. Again, Christine Clark thinks the Prathers have had this land for likely 100 years.

Is there some reason you don’t think Yolonda/Trudy's account is credible? The fact that her family actually has memories handed down about John and a “Hattie Harrison”, including an account from Blanche & Kent Brown attending a funeral up there, seems worth looking into, at least. And again, the dates you mentioned simply do not match what is written on this headstone. Curiouser & curiouser!’

VALERIE HANELT: “Let me have a little time to research John Harrison and the mystery around his gravestone that was recently found in a field on the Prather's ranch in Philo. I will try to get something more fully developed soon. Going through my research, I can not yet prove that John and Lorena were buried in the B section in Evergreen. They weren't listed there in the mid 1970's when the County’s “cemetery walkers group” listed the graves, or in the late 1980's when Diane Walker Montgomery made a list of B section. I have been looking for this couple for a long time. I have correspondence with their descendants from 2016.

“At some point there was terrible vandalism at B Section at Evergreen (the section that is next to the parking lot and the Veterans' wall). Clyde Doggett told me that many tall markers were pushed and pulled over by hooking ropes or chains to a vehicle and the cemetery district repaired about 5 or 6 of the broken ones. Some completely disappeared (Eliz Clow and maybe John and Lorena Harrison). I think the Cemetery District would know from their minutes when this happened - or their insurance claims. The miscreants were dealt with by some locals even though they weren't charged. There are people who know what happened, but I do not.

“Also, I need to research the local Baptist Church from that era (1890's). I was told there used to be a Baptist Church on AV Way. Early church records do not seem to have been kept in the Valley for any of our churches, so I need to find the archdiocese (or whatever the Baptist Church calls their hierarchy). 

John's [Harrison] obituary says he died at “Indian Springs” and was buried in “Oak Knoll Cemetery.” I have never found “Oak Knoll Cemetery” in any other obituary from that era. However, it may have taken a while for the name of the cemetery to settle. It was Green Mound first, and became Evergreen later when it grew beyond B section. 

‘John Harrison had three obituary entries: Point Arena Record, Mendocino Record, and the Ukiah Republican Press. I only have one of those and the others are on microfilm at the Held-Poage Museum in Ukiah, so I will have to do more research there after Covid. One of John and Lorena's eight children was Lenora Harrison Clow (Carl Henry Clow). Lenora died of typhus in 1888 at 25 years, ten years before John, her father. Mary, her 3 year old, died 4 months later and is buried with her. This seemed a compelling reason to assume that John would be buried close to his daughter in the Clow area. Another daughter was Amanda who married Marvin Dutro and they are in Shields cemetery. Lorena's mother was Hannah/Hattie Stryker Eastlick who is also in Shields. The rest of their children appear to have settled elsewhere. It seems very possible that “Oak Knoll” was a reporting error along with “Indian Springs” which should have been Indian Creek. 

“I appreciate how much interest there is in the graves of Valley settlers and ancestors. If anyone has any more information about the location where John's [Harrison] headstone was found, it would be very helpful to share it. 

The gravestone is definitely John Harrison, the husband of Lorena and father of Lorena Clow. I think it unlikely that there was another cemetery in AV in 1898 that was unknown in County documents. It is possible, however, to have graves at ranches. There are at least 2-3 that I know of that I have photographed. Those are very very early graves and I went to photograph them because they are documented in County records. 

I think these are the choices:

-Oak Knoll cemetery exists. 

-John and Lorena Harrison were buried on their ranch (before the Prathers). But usually the graves are close to the ranch house.

-John and Lorena were in Section B at Evergreen and were vandalized [in the early 1970s}. If the base is just sitting on the ground  and not buried (seated) at all, it argues that the pieces were dumped there [Prather’s] out of the back of a truck. [Ed note: Subsequent information establishes there was indeed an Oak Knoll Cemetery on what is now the Prather Ranch, and a Baptist church downhill from it near what is now Highway 128]

DEB SILVA fills in some of the Valley’s cemetery blanks:

“Re: John Harrison's gravestone

I've been following John Harrison's gravestone which was found in the area of the Prather Ranch.

Valerie Hanelt gives quite a bit information about the Harrison's and is also flummoxed about the location of the Baptist Church where Harrison was buried.

Harrison's obituary states that he was buried at the Oak Knoll cemetery of the local Baptist Church which he became a member of January last.

I was able to find an article that mentions a new Baptist Church in Philo, not Boonville. The article is about Philo happenings and talks about various members of the Harrison and Clow families and even says that John Harrison is not doing well.

Most likely Harrison was buried in Philo and not Boonville. The location at the beginning of the obit is Philo and it goes on to say that the burial took place in the local Baptist church.

Please pass this on to the people researching this. I hope it helps.

BUT WAIT, there's more!

I looked a bit more on Harrison and his burial and found that in 1911 J.D. Harrison had his father's body moved from the Philo Baptist Church cemetery to the “public cemetery”. I'm thinking that means the Evergreen Cemetery.

John Harrison's wife was named Lorinda not Lorena. Lorena was their daughter.

The moving of John's body makes sense because Lorinda died June 20 1911 and the family probably wanted them to rest together.

The Morton's were Jane E. and Omar Morton. The daughter was Mary L Beach, she had sons Claude E and Paul M Beach.

On the 1900 census the Mortons are listed with the last name of Norton, if you look at the actual census the handwriting is a little fancy and hard to read. I can see how it was misspelled in the overall listings. By the 1910 census Jane Morton and the Beachs are living in Sanel, Hopland. Omar died in Placer County in 1904. Jane Morton and Mary Beach are buried in Lakeport, Lake County.

VIA LILA: “….. My own take is that Mr. Harrison is buried right there [on the Prather Ranch], as well as his wife and possibly others. It just has that vibe to me, and no sense of vandalism or anything being out of place. Also in the context of an old ranch family studiously minding their own business and time marching on... Hopefully, some documentation will turn up to verify things. It’ll be especially nice if all this hubbub returns Mr. Harrison to his rightful place amongst family and in valley history. The back of his headstone reads:

‘A precious one [of ours? we loved?] has gone

A voice we loved is stilled 

A place is vacant in our home 

Which never can be filled

Here’s to you, John Harrison.’”

THE FOLLOWING OBITUARY in one of the county newspaper appeared at the time of Harrison’s death: 


The Death Of Two Old Settlers Of Anderson Valley

Philo, December 19, 1898 — Last Monday Uncle John Harrison of Indian Creek, Anderson Valley, passed away from among us at the advanced age of 81 years. His death was caused by a cancer of the right cheek from which he suffered the most excruciating pain for nearly two years and which he bore most heroically to the end, his very vigorous constitution enabling him to battle against the fatal disease much longer than the most hopeful anticipated.

Unfortunately, during the early stages of his attack he failed to realize how malignant it was and delayed medical treatment which, if timely, might have proved successful, or at least have been of some avail. He met life’s close with patience and resignation. His funeral was well attended, the internment taking place in Oak Knoll Cemetery of the local Baptist church — of which denomination he became a member in January last — Reverend R.T. Gray officiating.

The deceased was born August 16, 1817, in the state of Kentucky and resided also in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, in which last state he was married to Miss Lorinda Eastlick in 1848. In 1874 he moved his family to this state and settled on a ranch where he remained until called away to his last resting place.

He leaves a widow aged 75 years, two sons and five daughters and several grandchildren. One daughter, the late Mrs. C.H. Clow, passed away March 30, 1888, at the age of 20 years from typhoid fever. 

Uncle John Harrison was much esteemed by all who knew him for his worth as a man and his excellence as a citizen.”

IT IS FAIRLY CLEAR that the Baptist church was located near where the Prather Ranch property is now, and that a small cemetery was located just up the hill from the old church. Harrison’s original grave was there prior to his being re-interred at the Evergreen Cemetery.  


Kitties seeking new owner(s) & home: a Strawberry Blonde neutered male and a Pastel Calico spayed female. 8 years old. Oscar and Ivy are valley bred & born litter mates (Mt. View Road), are outstanding hunters who prowl the grounds of our 6 acre property like tiny tigers hunting for their daily vermin ration. They come with microchips, vet records, pet meds for 6 months (flea/tick and worming), canned and dried food and bowls, brush, carry cases, beds, litter box/shovel/litter, scratch post & sleeping tower.  These cats are outside every day but need a safe indoor place at night.  They are trim and healthy with beautiful coats. Both cats are shy with strangers but are affectionate and loving lap cats with their owners. It will take a week or two indoors for them to adjust to their new environment. They are much loved pets and our hearts are breaking that we are moving to a small apartment in an urban area and cannot bring them with us. PLEASE HELP us by giving them a new home.

Ginger Valen

415-256-2491 home

707-478-7713 cell

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