History and Genealogy Research
TRIP TO MARIPOSA
Oakland Tribune, Sept. 24, 1950
The Knave- I would like to describe for your readers an interesting and historical side trip through comparatively little-known country. The jaunt is a loop trip beginning and ending at Mariposa, on the All-Year Highway to Yosemite: "I made this trip on August 8, prompted by several articles in the Knave by John Winkley and by a picture story on Ben Hur in the Centennial Parade last year. It is suggested that an entire day be taken for this trip as some of the roads are unpaved and rough. Mariposa is a city of history that speaks for itself. A great many of the old gold rush buildings are marked, and those that aren't boast of their past through their ancient iron doors and window shutters. Be sure to see the county courthouse and its clock tower, General Fremont's office, the IOOF Hall, and John Trabucco's Warehouse. To begin the trip proper, which encompasses southern Mariposa and northern Madera counties, take the side road at the western town limits marked "Mormon Bar-2 mi." You will pass the old Mariposa jail on a hill overlooking the highway, and the beautiful Catholic Church, also a pioneer relic. Behind the church, on the mountainside, is Fremont's old Mariposa Mine, just recently reopened. Continuing along the Mormon Bar Road, you will soon reach the Mariposa County Fair Grounds. Here stand, restored, the old Mariposa Gazette newspaper office, moved several months ago from a site near the courthouse. It is now used as a museum. Around the turn, Mormon Bar comes into view The principal landmark here is an abandoned frame store. Hidden among the trees which line Mariposa Creek are a few fast melting mounds of adobe, all that is left of the Chinese settlement here. All around Mormon Bar are huge granite boulders, some of them bearing Indian grinding holes. The Mother Lode proper is terminated on the south by a granite ridge near Mormon Bar."
BEN HUR RANCH
"At Mormon Bar, take the right-hand road marked Raymond." About five miles along this route, an abandoned school is seen on the right. This is the first of several old schools on this trip, the Pea Ridge School, later call Ben Hur School. A little farther on, at the top of a hill, are a house and several barn marking the site of the settlement of Ben Hur. Near the barns is the location of the old Ben Hur postoffice. Again a short distance along the main road, and a sign "Quick Ranch-Ben Hur" points to a private side road. There is truly an historic spot. Morgan W. Quick started the famed ranch in 1859. Part of the original ranch house has been incorporated in the residence of Mrs. Quick, present owner of the ranch and descendant of the pioneer. Near the house stands the present Ben Hur postoffice, unique among American post offices, being located a mile off the public road on a private ranch. The large beautiful fig tree, planted by Morgan Quick mentioned in historic descriptions of Ben Hur, unfortunately has died. The most outstanding features of the ranch are the fences, the old stone fence built in 1862 by Chinese coolies, and the wooded fence which surrounds the corral. The stone wall extends for five miles up hill and down, surrounding the 400 acres of the ranch. Each coolie was required to lay a rod and a half daily or forfeit his job. He received 'toe bits' a day, while the Chines overlord received a dollar and 'six bils' a rod. The fence is as perfect today as when built A visit to the old ranch is one you'll never forget, and Mrs. Quick graciously welcomes the few visitors of the tourist type whom she receives."
William N Abeloe
ALONG OLD TRAIL
Oakland Tribune, Sunday Oct. 1, 1950
A trip "over Mariposa way" recently interested William N. Abeloe to the point of putting down impressions and directions that others might have similar experience. He started the story a week ago and now finishes: "returning to the main road, continue about two and one half miles south down a long grade, Becknell Hill, to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Starns, at the rear of which stand the ancient Becknell adobe, one of the oldest original dwellings in Mariposa County, now used as a store-room. It bears an enameled plaque. Passing the Oakdale School on the left, still in use, you come to a community named on maps as Stouts. It consists of a residence, a large garage, and the justice court for this section of Mariposa County. Another few miles on, the old Green Mountain School is seen on the right at "T" road junction. The road to the left leads to Raymond, the road to the right to LeGrand and the San Joaquin Valley. Here we have time for a short detour. Turning right on the LeGrande road, we pass excellent views of the Green Mountain Mine and Green Mountain Fire Station on a high hill. At two miles from the "T" junction stands the picturesque ruins of an old copper smelter and chimney, a photographers delight. It also is marked by an enamel sign. Tracing back to the junction we continue to Raymond, passing enroute the Mariposa-Madera County boundary. Raymond is laid out on two main streets, widely separated by a field through which once ran a railroad. Old buildings here include the former hotel, the general store and postoffice next to it, and an old saloon, now, ironically , serving as a church. Raymond, though it has only a handful of people, has both a grammar school and a high school. The next community on our route is Knowles, the town that made Raymond famous. At Knowles are located the widely-known Raymond granite quarries said to be exceeded only by Vermont granite. Many of public buildings in San Francisco and throughout California are built of Raymond granite, or should we say Knowles granite. Several abandoned buildings and foundation at Knowles show local granite work, although the postoffice and branch library are located in an old frame house. A two-mile stretch of unpaved road connects Knowles with the Raymond-Coarse Gold road. A short distance along the latter road, on the right, are a brick chimney and what appears to be a small adobe cabin, typical of the stark ruins to be found in this vicinity. Coarse Gold, now a modern resort town on Highway 41, in 1849 was Texas Flat, a prosperous placer mining camp. Its present name bears witness to the quality of gold found in Coarse Gold Creek, which, though dry in summer, still runs through town. Seven miles beyond on Route 41, is old Fresno Flats, now a lumber and resort town called Oakhurst.
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