Originally ran in the July 8, 1971 edition of the Illinois Valley News
Here are some interesting statistics and news items concerning the Kerbyville Museum – gleaned from my visit with Mrs. Pauline Shier July 6.
During the long 4th of July holiday there were 1,022 visitors at the museum. The first visitors were from Hawaii and one from Alaska, our newest states, but so many miles apart. Someone at the museum has counted tourist cars and about one in ten cars stops. Miss Gail Barlow is a new staff member and hostess.
The Josephine County Art Association will have an art display at the museum through July, beginning July 6. Alice Patterson, President of the Art Association, invites all of the Josephine County artists to exhibit their pictures.
Pauline Shier recently returned from Azusa, Calif. where she attended the high school graduation of her grandson James, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Shier. She was accompanied on the plane trip by her granddaughter Melanie Ann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cliff Murray of Grants Pass. Pauline also had as weekend guests her sister Mary Catherine Powell from Los Angeles and her daughter Joyce Elliott and 3 children.
There is an old apple tree called the Haines Apple Tree, situated near the old Southern Pacific depot in Merlin. It was the site of the Haines massacre during the Indian uprising in 1855-56, at which time the family was all killed. The tree was supposed to have been planted in 1852. It has long been a landmark in this county. Boyd Wyatt, Historic Sites Chairman of the Josephine County Historical Society, at the request of the County Commissioners took steps to preserve this tree. With the assistance of Josephine County Parks Department, Jack Sim, Director, a large sign has been erected at the site telling about the tree and its history. The J.C. Youth program personnel, under the direction of K. McElmore, have erected the large redwood sign and painted the fence, installed a new gate and cleared the site. Pauline Shier and her guest Mary Powell were present at the dedication.
Warren and Fern Wisham, Old Stage Road, have recently returned from a vacation trip to visit his brother in Reno, Nev., Dr. Wayne Wisham. From Reno they travelled to Los Angeles to visit their two daughters, Joyce and Joan, and their four grandchildren. Fern reports that it was a very enjoyable trip. Soon after they returned home they had a two day visit with Fern’s sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Reddish, from San Francisco. They wish they could move to our Valley, but cannot because of business reasons.
Phayo and I wondered where we could go for a picnic to celebrate the Fourth. We did not want to go on the crowded highways or the freeway, just somewhere where it was cool and quiet and we found just the right spot. It came up to all of our specifications. In the cool of the late afternoon we had our picnic supper right on our own front lawn! And a good time was had by all – that is Phayo and I, and all our pets who kept begging for just one more bite. While we were eating I asked Phayo to tell me about some of the Fourth celebrations he remembered when he lived here as a boy.
He said he could not remember too much because for some them he was quite small. He said they usually held them at a grove, which would be near the Dick George Road area, not too far from our place. He said the people started gathering from all around, for it was a time when friends and neighbors could spend a day together. They came in buggies and wagons, for it was still horse and buggy days. There was always a patriotic program and a special speaker, then the picnic dinner, after which came the games and races for all ages.
One year, when Phayo’s father had just turned 50, there was an Old Man’s Race, 50 years and older. Phayo’s father entered and won and his prize was 50 cents, but his wife was not very happy because he had entered the old man’s race. There was also horse shoe pitching and the afternoon ended with a baseball game between two local teams.
It was common practice for the men and boys to bring their 22’s along. One year a famous marksman came to demonstrate his skill. One year the picnic was held at Takilma and there was a rock drilling contest. The rock they drilled on that almost forgotten afternoon is on display at the Kerbyville Museum.