History of Saucelito, CA (Part 2)
From: History of Marin County, California
Alley, Bowen & Company, Publishers
San Francisco 1880



ANCIENT ORDER UNITED WORKMEN. - Saucelito Lodge No. 20, A. O.U. W., was organized January 26, 1878, with the following charter members: N. C. Hamlin, Geo. J. Hood. M. Mancebo, Geo. W. Crow, James Welch, J. Feutren, V. Guerineau, T. P. Powers, S. Susavilla, Charles Forest, M. S. Jeffries, A. R. Shaw, Thomas Wosser, and J. Machado. Their first officers were: G. J. Hood, P. M. W; N. C. Hamlin, M. W; Chas. Forest, Recorder; V. Guerineau, Receiver; and Thomas Wosser, Financier. Their present officers are: R. J. Brown, P. M. W.; Charles E. Wulferdingen, M. W.; T. P. Powers, Recorder; M. Hannan, Receiver; and George W. Crow, Financier. Their present membership is thirty six.

NEWSPAPERS. - In May, 1870, the Saucelito Herald, a hebdomadal sheet, sixteen by twenty two, made its appearance with Thomas P. Woodward as editor and proprietor. It was continued for two or three years, and then gave up the fight. Its successor, under the management of James McCue, has had several titles, such as American Union, Telephone, etc., but none of the enterprises amounted to much, financially, at least. None of these papers were printed in the town of Saucelito, hence it can hardly be properly said there has ever been a paper published in that place.

SMELTING WORKS. - The Saucelito Smelting Works were established in 1878 by Henry H. Eames, for the purpose of reducing and manipulating all classes of ore and quartz. The building is eighty five by one hundred, and contains an engine, pulverizer, roasting furnace, smelting furnace, amalgamating pans, concentrators, settlers and all the other appliances necessary to carry on the business. All this machinery is the invention of the proprietor, and is especially adapted for the purposes of treating ores. Crude petroleum is used for all heating purposes, even in the smelting furnaces

MANGANESE MINE - There is quite an extensive body of manganese in the mountains west of the town of Saucelito, and one mine is being quite extensively worked at present, which yields about fifty tons of the black oxide of the metal annually.

TELEGRAPH. - Telegraphic connection with San Francisco for all those lines on the northwest side of the bay is had through a cable extending from Lime Point to Fort Point, a distance of two and one half miles. There are thirteen telegraph stations on the North Pacific Coast Railroad.

LIGHT HOUSE AND FOG SIREN. - There is a light house and fog siren at Point Bonito, but to give an idea of what it was like eight years ago, we append the following pen picture taken from the Saucelito Herald

"Point Bonito is said to be situated but a little over three miles from Saucelito, yet it is doubtful if any of the visitors to that section of the country could be persuaded to vouch for that fact. Like the way to Lime Point, it is a rough one, and if possible worse than the former, and certainly there is more of it. A stranger needs the services of a guide. Horses were obtained, and the ride from Saucelito to Point Bonito was made in about an hour and a half. The trail, till the government land was reached, was found rather a rough one, up hill and down, and, in the heat of the sun, not a very pleasant ride. Reaching the government land, there was an obstacle - a gate, and what was more, a gate securely padlocked. Numerous keys were brought into requisition, but none would fit. To tear down the fence was hardly deemed advisable, yet neither was the walk to the point, a good two miles off. Recourse was had to an adjoining farm house, and here the right key was found, and through the gate, on a comparatively good road, but a short time sufficed to reach the destination in view. On the bluff, just in the rear of the house, stands the old fog cannon, a sixty pounder, that in years past was fired every thirty minutes during foggy weather. The gun has been standing in this exposed position for a number of years, and of course is deep in rust, though the carriage appears as sound as ever. Murphy, the keeper, told us that when he first came there, nearly two years since, he found in the cannon a large nest of rats, and killed eight or ten by discharging the contents of a shot gun in the muzzle It is but a short walk from here to the light house, through which we were shown. Everything here is a model of neatness and order, and this requires no little amount of work, on account of the quantities of oil used around it. This oil is kept in large tanks near the entrance and is drawn off when required. Up one flight of stairs and we find a small room, occupied by the keeper when on watch, and in which are kept all the tools, glasses, etc. Up another flight, and we came on the lamp, which in the sun light, with its many reflectors, it was impossible to very closely examine. It is a Fresnal light, manufactured in Paris. It consumes five quarts of oil each night during the time lighted, from sunset to sunrise. A small tank overhead, connected by a pipe with the lamp, supplies the oil used each night The view from the upper part of the light house, in clear weather, is unsurpassed. San Francisco and the bay fortifications seem but a short distance off. Almost beneath us a number of vessels, ships, schooners, even the smaller fishing craft, passing in and out; the rocky line of coast stretching away to the northward, over which the waves dash with a roaring sound, leaving a line of white foam behind; the heavy breakers on the bar beyond; the Farralones in the distance, altogether present a most pleasing picture, an ample return for the trouble experienced in reaching the spot.

The base of the light house stands three hundred and six feet above the level of the sea. Directly in the rear of it, and facing on the ocean, is the fog bell, whose dolesome tones, during foggy weather, are heard for miles and miles around. A sort of clock like machinery, wound up every six hours when in use, moved by a little fan wheel, works the hammer and strikes the bell at regular intervals. Having exhausted this locality, we start for the place where preparations are far advanced towards the establishment of a steam fog whistle. From the high bluff on which the light house is situated, there makes out a narrow ridge of rocks and earth for a distance of some three or four hundred feet, known under the name of Land's End. It is upon the extreme of this Land's End that it is proposed to place the fog whistle, and at an elevation of about two hundred and fifty feet or seventy five feet above the water. But a faint idea can be given of the work experienced, and the dangers through which the workmen passed in making their way to this terminus. At few places could a foothold be gained on the ridge, and to fall was certain death, as beneath, at the water's edge, there is nothing but a mass of great jagged rocks. Many gangs of men were brought over, when the work was commenced of cutting a pathway, but few were equal to the situation. Commencing at the main land, a narrow path has been cut to the leeward, a slow and perilous undertaking, as but one or two men could work at a time. About half way, where the rocks take a sharp angular turn, it was found necessary to construct a little bridge. From here the path is cut right in the side of the hill - which is composed of a sort of rotten rock - to the front beyond, where the necessary excavations are about complete, and the building, which will have to be firmly anchored, owing to the exposed position, will be commenced as soon as the boilers are in place. During the cutting of the path quite a number of slides occurred, and consequently there were a number of narrow escapes. It was stated by our guide, Mr. Murphy, that it was confidently expected others would occur as soon as the rains set in, owing to the looseness of the overhanging rock. Over this chasm we passed on the width of a single plank, with no support, and only a single rope to hold on to, while away below, over two hundred feet, the waves dashed with fury against the rocks, ensuring certain death to any one should the bridge give way, or he fall from it All these facts taken together might well create some nervousness to the passer by; certain it is, we breathed freer when across. No little trouble was experienced in finding a suitable place for a landing. In the basin, between the point and the main land, a solid rock making out into deep water was determined upon as the most available. Men were lowered by ropes, and the necessary supports and planking put in, and this part of the work completed, and a small derrick erected. Carpenters are now constructing a way from the landing to the pathway, where a winch will be put in. The way will be continued from here to the building on the end of the point, and a car made to run upon it. The boilers will be landed at the wharf, probably, during the present month, hauled up the way to the road above, and then by the car to the building, and immediately placed in position. The carpenter work is under the superintendence of Mr. McDonald, the laborers under that of Mr. Emerson. In the lawn, near the light keeper's house, a reservoir is being constructed, to supply the water required by the boilers at the point beyond. It is to be of a capacity of about three thousand gallons, to be filled from a spring well in the ravine below, forced up by wind mill power. At the present time there are about forty men at work in the various departments. Having seen about all of interest to be seen here, we turned our horses' heads homewards again, and concluding to make the circuit of Lime Point, Mr. Murphy accompanied us, not only as a guide, but as the open sessame of the government gates. After a hard ride over the hills we first came to the "gravelly beach batteries," which, of the Lime Point fortifications, are the furthest advanced toward completion; in fact, little remains to be done here, except place the guns in position. There was no one here to give us any information, but judging from the magazines, seven in number, a like number of guns will be mounted. This battery is situated on the beach, which, at this point, makes into a little cove, and it is probable from its nature the battery gains the name as above. From this point there is a good road, winding up by the fortifications on the hill, and down again, to the headquarters on the beach below. Here we again stopped, took a hasty glance at the work shops, the quarters of the officers and men."

How changed is everything now! A fine grade road, leading through the Throckmorton ranch, has been constructed, and one can drive leisurely along through the beautiful fields, drinking in the fresh sea breeze and enjoying life to the fullest extent. All the projected improvements spoken of above and far more have been completed long since, and we will try to describe it as it is now. The old fog cannon is still there, much more rust eaten, and the carriage is getting very rotten, and is half buried in the accumulating sand. The fog bell is gone, as its services were no longer required when the siren was put in operation. The tower on which the light was placed is still standing, but as it has been in disuse for the past three years, it is getting much out of repair. It was a round tower standing high on the cliff, so high, in fact, that it was often enveloped in fog, when there was none on the levels near the water, hence the object of moving the light lower down. The present light house is located on the western or seaside of the point on the north side of the entrance to the Bay of San Francisco, in latitude thirty seven degrees, forty seven minutes, forty eight seconds north, and longitude one hundred and twenty two degrees, thirty one minutes, forty four seconds west, and is number four hundred and eighty seven of the twelfth district. The height of the tower from base to focal plane is twenty one feet; and the light is one hundred and forty feet above the sea. The first light on the old round tower was erected in 1855, and the new building was constructed in 1877. It is a second order stationary light and can be seen a distance of eighteen nautical miles at sea. The building on which the tower rests is twenty four by fourteen feet, and the tower extends sixteen feet above the roof, and is twelve feet in diameter. The lamp is a Funk's Hydraulic Float, U. S. L. H., 1873, and has three circular wicks, ranging in size from one to three inches in diameter. The lamp, including oil chambers, is seven feet high. the lower chamber holds five gallons of oil, and the upper the same amount, the latter having a register attached which indicates the amount of oil in it. The average amount of oil consumed each night during the year is one and a half gallons. The reflecting apparatus consists of a series of prisms, arranged so that all rays are thrown on the focal plane, or bull's eye, and there are four series of these prisms, two above and two below the focal plane. Of the upper series, twelve are open and six are closed, and of the lower five are open and six are closed. The bull's eye is nine inches in diameter, and on the opposite side of the light there is a silver plated reflecting concave, two and one half feet by two and one sixth, which throws the light to sea southwest by south. The force here consists of a keeper, Mr. John B. Brown, who has been stationed here eight years, and three assistants. There is telegraphic communication to all parts of the premises. There are three rooms in the building beneath the tower, one of which is used for an oil room, a second for storage of necessary articles, and the third for a sitting room.

The siren at this place is the only one on the Pacific coast, all the other fog signals being simply gigantic steam whistles. In this the steam passes through a trumpet six inches in diameter at the small end and thirty at the outer opening, and sixteen and one half feet long. The steam passes through a disc, with twelve holes in it, situated at the smaller end of the trumpet. This disc is revolved at the rate of two thousand two hundred times a minute, being driven by a small engine, and the steam passing through it, while going at this rate of speed is what creates the sound. There is an automatic arrangement which governs the length of the blast, which is of four seconds duration, and at intervals of thirty five seconds. The boiler is ten feet long, four feet in diameter, and contains forty two tubes. Everything is in duplicate, so that in the event of an accident no delay will occur. The sound emitted is very different from the ordinary steam whistle, and can be heard at a great distance. It truly awakes the echoes as the sound pierces through the fogs in the canyons at the rear of it. The building is twenty by sixty, and is located quite near the light house, only on a spur of the cliff projecting towards the south.

SHIPWRECKS. - The steamer "Tennessee," plying between San Francisco and Panama in the freight and passenger business, went ashore on a beach about two and a half miles north of Point Bonito some time during the year 1853. All the passengers were saved, but the vessel was wrecked. Fortunately the ship stranded on this beach, for had she struck a few hundred feet either side of the place she did not a soul would have escaped. It was claimed that the officers thought they were going into the heads, at the same time they stated that it was so foggy that they did not know where they were, hence it would appear that they were taking their chances on finding the entrance to the bay, and struck the beach instead. A bonus of four thousand dollars was offered for her recovery, but to no avail. All that remains of her now is the shaft, which may be seen at low tide, and, as a souvenir of the event, the canyon opening out from the ocean at that place is still called "Tennessee Valley."

The clipper ship "San Francisco" went ashore on what is known as "Devil's Head" rock, just inside the north head in 1856. She was a new vessel, and was from Boston, with a cargo of assorted merchandise, and had on board twenty passengers. She was beating through the Golden Gate: and when the attempt was made to tack her she misstayed, and dashed upon the rock with such force that her masts snapped like pipe stems from the shock. All on board succeeded in getting ashore in safety, but the vessel soon went to pieces.

In the month of May, 1857, the sloop "General Story" was upset on the four fathom bar just outside the Heads, known as the "Potato Patch," under the following circumstances The sloop left San Francisco bound for Bolinas at 7 o'clock in the morning of the ill fated day, with the following persons on board: Captain Charles Allen, Samuel S. Jones, J. C. Crane, August Moldrop, Mrs. Frances Greenwood (now Mrs. Clayton, of Clatsop county, Oregon), and Mrs Marcella Wise and her infant child. When they reached the Heads they were met by a terrific gale of wind blowing on shore, which caused the waves to run very high on the bar. The ladies and the child were in the cabin, between which and the hold of the vessel there was no partition, while the men were all on deck. Suddenly the ladies felt the vessel careen to such an extent that they knew she must be capsizing, but before they could escape she was lying keel upwards, and the force of the water had bursted the cabin door and driven them into the forward part of the hold. Fortunately the air, which could not escape, prevented the water from filling up all the space. The child was dashed out of its mother's arms and lost, but Mrs. Greenwood succeeded in grasping one of the cross ties in the bottom of the hold, and Mrs. Wise had clasped her around the body, and in this manner they managed to keep themselves above the water. As soon as the sloop capsized the men succeeded in getting on her bottom, to which they clung until a fishing smack came to. their rescue. The last man rescued stated that he was sure the ladies were still alive as he had just heard them calling for help, and he insisted that some effort should be made to rescue them from their perilous position. Luckily there were two Kanakas in the smack, and they proffered to dive under the vessel and rescue them. Taking a boat hook they passed under the deck and into the hold where the ladies were, and, extending the hook to Mrs. Greenwood, told her to make it fast to her and not be afraid, but let go when they dove again and they would bring her out. She fastened the hook to her clothing under her left arm, and when she had done so signified her readiness to go. As she released her hold of the timber of the vessel and sank into the water, Mrs. Wise lost her hold on Mrs. Greenwood but, fortunately, when she came to the surface she was outside the sloop, and was easily rescued. When Mrs. Greenwood and the Kanakas came to the surface they were clear of the vessel and were taken safely into the boat One can easily imagine the horrible suspense of those ladies imprisoned by the treacherous water in so small a compass that to keep the head out of the water brought it so close to the timbers that every lurch of the waves nearly knocked them senseless, and the very darkness of night was about them. They could hear the men being taken off, hear them go away and all was quiet - all hope was dead. After being rescued by the smack they were landed near Laguna valley and taken to the house of Captain William Johnson, and kindly cared for by his wife, Mrs. Ellen Johnson. The body of the child eventually came ashore, and the sloop was dashed into splinters against the rocks near the Heads.

In March, 1849, the schooner "Fourth of July" was lost at Tennessee valley. She was on her way up the coast when she was met by a gale from the north, which caused her to turn about and seek port for safety after having proceeded as far north as Point Reyes. The wind blew with such fury that, although sailing before it, the waves swept over the vessel with such force that two men were washed overboard, leaving the Captain alone to meet whatever fate awaited him and his craft. The wind blew toward the land with such force that the Captain saw that she must go ashore, so he made for the beach at this valley, hoping to be able to hold her with an anchor and be able to get off safely, but the anchor failed to hold her, and the mighty breakers which were running mountains high and dashing upon the beach took the vessel, as a toy in the hands of a giant, and tossed it end over end far upon the sand. Nothing was ever seen of the Captain afterwards.

SCHOOLS. - There are three school districts in the township, the Richardson, Saucelito and Read, in all of which schools are maintained during the requisite time each year.

CHURCH. - The only church building in the township is one erected by the Methodists in 1872 at Saucelito. It is small, and services are not held in it regularly. The Catholics have a building in course of construction at that place also.

ANGEL ISLAND. - This is the largest island in the bay of San Francisco, and lies just east of the, mouth of Richardson's bay. It is occupied as a government station, to whom it belongs, for troops, and there are some fortifications upon it. It is said that there is some gold on it, but as it belongs to the government no one is allowed to prospect for it.

THE PIONEER BUGGY RIDE. - Very unlike the fate of the "wonderful one hoss shay," which run one hundred years to a day, was the end of the pioneer buggy of Marin county. Some time in 1849 Charles Lauff, Charles Alban and George Brewer, three men working in the red woods on the Corte de Madera del Presidio ranch, took it into their heads that they ought to have a buggy. Had they been asked "What for?" they would certainly have been at a loss to have answered the question, as there was not at that time a road in the entire county over which they could hope to drive the vehicle. But this did not deter the boys. They had made up their minds to have a buggy, and have it they would, and having it, they were determined to have a ride in it, road or no road. After casting about in San Francisco for some time, one was found which they thought would answer all purposes. It was as old fashioned as the hills, and looked much as the same "one hoss shay" mentioned above might be supposed to look. The owner was induced to part with his four wheeled treasure for the consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars in golden octagonal slugs, which formed the currency of the land, to him in hand paid by the aforesaid would be buggy owners. In due course of time the vehicle arrived at the ranch, and all was impatience with the happy owners till Sunday should come, and they should be able to indulge in the luxury of a genuine carriage drive. The day came at last, as all days do, and a more propitious one never dawned upon the world. Before the crimson hues had changed to white they were out scouring the hills and valleys in search of a horse which they thought would do to trust hitched to their treasure, for, be it known, that at that time no horse in Marin county had ever been initiated into the mysteries of bridle bits, harness or buggy thills, and none of the capricious broncos nor festive mustangs of that day would answer the purpose. At last a very sedate looking Spanish Alasan horse of gigantic stature was found quietly grazing on the side hills, little dreaming that the beautiful Sabbath day just dawned was destined to bring to him the honor of being the patriarch of all those of his kind Who in after years were to be monarchs of the track and road. No trouble was experienced in getting the horse adjusted to the harness (if the harness had not been a fit for the horse it would never have entered their heads to have adjusted the harness to it), and he was soon environed by the shafts. Then the boys got into the buggy, Charley Lauff took the port side of the craft, and Charley Alban was relegated to the starboard, while George Brewer desposited his three hundred pound hulk amidships, so to speak, and was given the helm. All was in readiness, and the order was given to cast off the lines and weigh the anchor. Peremptory orders to march were given in vain to that Pegasus; clucking till blisters were raised in the roofs of their mouths availed them nothing, and finally the rod was applied, and with what success the sequel shall tell. Rearing up in the mighty power of his belabored greatness, old Alasan made one mighty bound, clearing many feet in the leap, but planted himself as firmly as adamantine rock in his tracks when he again deigned to descend to the earth. The amount of velocity acquired by the corpus gigantica of Brewer, during this little coup d'etat on the part of Alasan caused the momentum to so far overcome the inertia that he went sprawling, in ungraceful confusion, under the horse's heels, taking the dashboard along with him as a souvenir of the high estate he once had held. Strange to say, the horse remained quiet until Brewer had extracted himself from between his nether limbs and had again deposited himself on his precarious perch now rendered doubly dubious by the absence of the dash board, and what is more strange to relate, old Alasan trudged off as gently and unconcernedly as an old dray horse, with but little coaxing, for they dare not repeat the application of the goad. But he had a head of his own, and wandered whithersoever he listed, bridle bits to the contrary notwithstanding, and they did not care to argue the question with him, but yielded the point very gracefully. And so they went, up hill and down dale, over stones and through chapparal, hither and thither, during all the bright and merry hours of that happy Sabbath day, reeking not nor caring for aught beneath the sun. At last the glorious orb of day sank far below the lofty peak of Tamalpais, casting its shadow far out over the valleys below, and they, full satiate with their day's pleasures, persuaded old Alasan to come to a halt, a very easy task by the way, and unfettering him from the harness, allowed him to seek the quietude of the mountain solitudes, and cogitate and dream over his exploits of the day, while they found their way to camp as best they could, for the purpose of hushing the cries of a too long unburdened stomach, and to relate their adventures. The buggy, which was worth three hundred dollars in the rosy morn, was not worth a shilling in the dewy eve. Its first day's use in Marin county was its last. The duration of pleasure is always commensurate with its intensity, and a life time had been crowded into that one day's existence for that vehicle.

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