History of Anderson Township, California
From: History of Mendocino County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, Cal., 1880


GEOGRAPHY. - This township is bounded on the north by Calpella township, on the east by Ukiah and Sanel townships, on the south by Sonoma county, and on the west by Arena and Big River townships. There are no navigable streams in the township, and but few of any kind Anderson creek extends through Anderson valley, while the head waters of several streams emptying into the Pacific ocean and into the Russian river are to be found here.

TOPOGRAPHY. - Mountains and valleys - this is the topography of the township in a nutshell, with more of the former than the latter. Anderson valley is the principal one in that section, which is a long, narrow strip of land lying between two chains of mountains, extending perhaps ten miles in a south easterly and north westerly direction.

SOIL. - The soil in the valleys is a rich alluvial, and well adapted to growing vegetables, fruits, and cereals. The soil of the hill sides and mountains is a coarse, gravelly composition, well calculated for the growing of grass and vines and fruits, but not cereals To the east of Booneville, on the road, from that place to Ukiah, is to be seen a soil of a very peculiar nature and composition. It is evidently formed from the debris of a once active volcano, and much of the soil seems to be of a grayish composition very similar to ashes, while other portions of it is of a brownish red, and formed evidently from lava thrown from the crater of the volcano whence came the ashes. Where that volcano was, or when it ejected this volume of ashes and lava is all now unknown, but that it was ages ago is certainly true. It well repays the tourist and sight seer to go that far out of his usual route to visit this very peculiar formation.

CLIMATE. - The climate of this section is the most delightful that can be imagined. It lies behind the chain of the coast mountains, so that it is perfectly protected from the bitter blasts of the fog laden breezes which prevail on the coast. The sun shines with unimpeded brilliancy upon the bosom of the valleys and the ridges of the mountains, casting a bright and refulgent light upon all, and making all to rejoice in its glinting rays. What more beautiful picture can be imagined than that which may be seen any day during the summer season from any of the heights which surround Anderson valley. We will suppose it to be a day in June, ere the grasses on the hill and mountain sides begin to sere. The point of vision is the summit of the first range of mountains passed over as the traveler goes from Booneville to Point Arena. The bright and rosy hues of early morning still glow upon the eastern skies as he starts out upon his journey. He soon finds himself buried in the heart of a forest, and as he passes on, mile after mile, the rosy tints of morning deepen into the bright silver of midday. Up and up the traveler threads his way along the grade, coming out ever and anon from the depths of the forest shade upon some vantage ground, whence a good view may be had of the valleys below him. At last, when the sun has neared the meridian heighth, he finds himself upon the culmination of the series of ridges over which he has toiled with Herculean might; and what a panorama opens out before his astonished view! He stands upon the summit of the dividing ridge between the mountain chain which separates the valleys from the coast - the summit of the real Coast Range - and the stunted growth of chemessal shows that he is high up in the world. Looking eastward, back over the track that he has just come, he sees the road winding, serpent like, up the sides of the mountains, while at the base of the series of ridges lies the beautiful valley; its long, slender contour stretching, ribbon like, for miles, dotted here and there with farm houses, and waving in emerald fields of growing grain, and here and there an orchard and vineyard. Beyond this, in gentle rolling swells, rise the ranges of hills and mountains which lie between Anderson valley and that most beautiful of valleys - the Russian River. This valley is hidden partially from view, but the glimpses one gets here and there show the true grandeur of that dale. Beyond this lies the range of mountains which separates Mendocino and Lake counties - the Coast Range proper, and then range and ridge, peak and crag, until the whole vista blends into one grand mountain view. Far away to the north east the noble proportions of old Sanhedrim are reared far toward the zenith, standing head and shoulders above the surrounding brotherhood of peaks. Its poll is truly frosty now, not only on account of age, but from the fact that the last winter's snows still mantle its brow with a robe of purest white, while the whole range skirting South Eel river has still a vestige remaining of the storms which howled and shrieked in their fastnesses during the winter solstice. To the south east, far away to the very south west corner of Lake county, stands the proud old monarch, Mount St. Helena, - she with the romantic and beautiful legend concerning her name. As one stands and views the mighty peak, as it rears its monster head aloft, looking like a Titanic sentry standing guard over the destinies of the pigmies in human shape who are toiling and moiling in the valleys at her feet, and who have even dared to delve into her very bowels for the precious metals which those dwarfs so highly prize, he realizes how many, many leagues of mountains and valleys the intrepid Russian commander, Rotscheff, had to pass over before he reached its summit, and gave to it the name it still retains - St. Helena - which was given in honor of his wife, the beautiful Princess de Gagarin. General Vallejo, of Sonoma county, relates that the beauty of this Muscovite princess was so wondrous that, like Sarai of old, the rulers of the country desired very much to have her to wife; and he further relates, that her beauty so far excited the tender passion in the breast of that noble, and brave, and faithful ally of the early Spanish settlers in California, Prince Solano, Grand Sachem of all the tribes in the lower Sacramento, Napa and Sonoma valleys, that he formed a plan to capture the fair Princess, and had the General not heard of his designs in due time to advise better things, he would have doubtless made the attack upon the Russians at old "Fuerte de los Rusos" - Fort Ross. Such was the romantic story of the christening of this mountain, and as one views it from this lofty height he feels fully convinced that it is well worthy to bear the name of the fairest of the daughters of men.

Northward and southward there is but the backbone of the ridge to be seen, but to the westward a grand panorama is opened to the view. At the foot of the mountain lies a small valley, itself far elevated above the level of the sea, and lying, as it were, in the very arms of the mountains, and nestling there as confidingly as an innocent child in the strong arms of its father. Beyond this is another range of mountains, more broken and not nearly so elevated as the ridge on which we stand; and beyond it all, that grandest of all sights - the Pacific ocean. Just now it is shrouded from our view by a halo of mist which has emanated from its heaving bosom, and which mantles it with all the grace of a bridal veil, clothing it with lace like drapery, which looks much to us, from our vantage ground, like the swelling billows of a milky sea. Here and there the fogs part, and a glimpse of the blue body of the ocean is gained, looking much like the strips Of sky which deign to show themselves amid the rifts of the mountains of cumuli which pile up athwart the zenith upon a blustering day in the vernal equinox, and revealing the fact that the placid waters are those of the veritable Pacific.

PRODUCTS. - The soil of this township being so varied, and the climate so delightful, the adaptability to a variety of products is evident. First of all the cereals come upon the list of products, and wheat, barley and oats are all grown to advantage in all the valleys. Fruits rank next, and apples, peaches, cherries, and all other pit and seed fruits thrive well indeed. Of the small fruits, every variety seems to be in its native soil in the gardens of this section. On the hill sides the grape vine flourishes as only it can in a "California Eden." Vegetables grow very rankly wherever they have the proper amount of moisture, and that is found naturally in many places, as springs burst from every hill side, sending rivulets of crystal water into the valleys below, 'gladdening vegetation, beautifying the face of nature, and above all conducing in an untold measure to the happiness of mankind. Grass grows in rank profusion on all sides, and is very succulent and nutritive, and stock flourish beyond compare. Vast herds of cattle and flocks of sheep may be seen on every hand, yielding annually a rich harvest of golden dollars.

But with all these advantages there is one great drawback to this section, which applies equally to all the interior sections of Mendocino county - there is no available market for the products of the valleys beyond the limited demand for home consumption. Of course the wool crop, which is not at all bulky compared with its value, can be drawn to Cloverdale, at which place the producers meet the purchasers on a set day, and if prices can be agreed upon the entire crop of the valley is disposed of in a few hours. The cattle can be easily driven to market, but cereals, fruits, and vegetables cannot be drawn to market to any advantage. But to him who is seeking a home for home's sake, where health and good climate can be combined with all the products of an Eastern farm, and to which may be added all the products of the semi tropics, we would say that a no more desirable spot can be found in the State of California, nor in the United States, than Anderson valley.

TIMBER. - There is quite an amount of timber in this township, composed of all the varieties indigenous to the county. In some sections the giant redwood rears its head far aloft, while the fir, pine, oak, and laurel are to be found everywhere. The redwood is of the best quality, and lumber, manufactured from it is first class. The oak is of the several varieties common to the State, none of which are, however, fitted for manufacture. The fir is useful for lumber, but little of it has been manufactured.

EARLY SETTLEMENT. - To Walter Anderson belongs the honor of being the first settler in the township. He and his family settled here as early as 1851. He seemed to be one of those sturdy old pioneers, who believed thoroughly in pushing far away from the environments of civilization into the depths of the densest forests and over the ruggedest mountains, pitching his tent where the foot of man had never yet pressed the virgin sod. Full of this spirit he pushed up through Sonoma county, up the Russian River valley, till he came above where Cloverdale now stands. Here he deflected his course to the left, and soon found himself on the summit of a ridge, where he could, like Moses of old, see the land that literally could be made to flow with milk and honey. Below and before him outspread a fertile valley fifteen miles long and about two in width, which he rightly judged could easily be converted into a paradise and a home such as he had never found in all his. peregrinations throughout the length and breadth of the land, and here he determined to bring his journeyings to a close, in this almost vale of Cashmere.

Who has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere, With its
roses the brightest that earth ever gave ?
. . . . . . . . . .
Oh, to see it at sunset, when warm o'er the lake Its
splendor at parting, a summer eve throws.
. . . . . . . . . .
But never yet, by night or day, In dew of
spring or summer's ray, Did the sweet
valley shine so gay As now it shines-

Charmed with its great beauty, and full of faith in regard to its climate, soil, and whatever else goes to make up happy homes, this pioneer pushed on into the very heart of the vale and there pitched his tent, about one mile west of the present site of Booneville. Here Mr. Anderson lived for a number of years, and had the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing the wisdom of his choice more than verified, and the beautiful valley in which he had once been the sole inhabitant teeming with life and happiness. All honor to this pioneer, and here let us pay a proper tribute to his memory, and pass it along down the lines of the generations that are to follow, and to fill the valley and the township which rightly is honored by his name. In their memory may his remembrance ever be bright until the memory of man changeth altogether.

During the same year, 1852, Mr. J. D. Balls came into the valley and settled on the place he still occupies as a homestead. This old pioneer, like Mr. Anderson, found in this valley the ultima thule of his desires for a home and a place to locate for life. He had a family with him, we would not pass by the pioneer mothers of this section unnoticed. Little can their daughters appreciate the hardships they underwent, or the pleasures they had to forego, that they might be with their husbands, and rear their families in the unbroken solitudes of a new country. All praise is their due. It does not appear that any more families came into the valley until 1855, but during this year several were added to the list. As far as we are able to compile their names and the dates of their coming it is as follows: In 1855 there came John Gschwind, William Prather; in 1856, James S. Smalley; during and before 1857, but exact dates not known, Oscar Carey, Joseph Gschwind, James Burgess (since deceased), Henry Wade, Frank Buster, Cleveland Nellen, A. Guntley, A. Kendall, John Gosman, John Conrad, Alfred Braden, James Shields, W. W. Boone, A. Elliott and H. Stevens; in 1858, R. H. Rawles, J. A. Jamison, J. O. McSpadden and J. McGimsey; in 1859 Alex. McDonald, Stephen Knowles and John W. McAbee; in 1862, C. Prather, and in 1865 R. H. York. Of course there are several others whose names we have been unable to obtain, who came in and settled during the years mentioned.

This beautiful valley is situated on the head waters of the Nevarra river, and lies in a south westerly direction from Ukiah, and is one of the neatest and best improved valleys in Mendocino county. The road from Cloverdale to Nevarra, Albion and Mendocino City, passes through the center of it, affording whatever facilities for market, that the section is possessed of. On the right side going northward, it is bounded by a range of open hills which affords excellent grazing for stock, while on the opposite side of the valley is a range of mountains, with tall redwoods and pine timber, presenting one of the most picturesque and beautiful scenes in Nature. The soil as a general thing is very fertile. and the climate mild and salubrious.

Walter Anderson, for whom the valley and township were named, was at one time a very wealthy man, owning broad acres of land, large herds of cattle, and having ready cash to a considerable amount. He was the pioneer of the place and entered it "from the plains across," with a large number of cattle. But before he died, and while in the sere and yellow leaf of life, and bowed down with the weight of fourscore years he became landless and moneyless. Such was too often the case in the early days of California Those into whose hands a fortune seemed to be dropped could not grasp the gift.

A breezy correspondent of the Ukiah Democrat, in 1867, who signs himself "Hal," has the following to say concerning Anderson valley: "The population of Anderson valley consists of men, women, children, horses, dogs, cattle, redwood trees, quail, pepper wood, rabbits and rail fences. The chief ambition of the men is to put in fifty acres of grain and own a Samps' colt; that of the women to knit an unlimited number of socks and raise a big baby. My friend Boone keeps a store at one end of the valley and I keep school at the other, which ' kinder' evens the thing up. In the upper end they have preaching once, and sometimes twice, in a while; at the lower end, never; and their only amusement on a Sunday consists of going to the brewery and shooting for lager. If there is a good soul who feels the missionary spirit moving in the bowels of his compassion, he need not go to Africa or the islands of the sea to preach to gorrillas and whangdoodles, but let him come here and preach in our school house, and he will find some of us as hungry for gospel food as they are where they break their fasts with a baked baby and dine on a scalloped missionary." Since then things have changed, and now there is divine service by some denomination almost every Sunday somewhere in the valley.

TOWNS. - The first town in Anderson valley was started about one mile south of the present village of Booneville. John Burgots built a hotel there, which he called the "Anderson House," in 1862. He also had a saloon at this place. In, the same year Samuel Stevens built a blacksmith shop at the same point, and conducted that business there. A year or so later Messrs. Levi & Harrison built a store and opened out a stock of goods. The place was at a point where three ways mEeet, and hence was always known as "The Corners." About four years later Alonzo Kendall built and opened a hotel at the present town of Booneville, and in the same year Charles Bradbury opened a blacksmith shop near the place where the hotel had been built. The new town was given the high sounding title of "Kendalls City." In a short time Messrs. Levi & Straus moved their store to the new town site. They were succeeded by W. W. Boone, for whom the town received its present name. The reason for this change of location of only a mile or so is not very obvious. The stranger cannot see why one place is not fully as elligible for a town site as the other; but it is the result of one of those strange freaks which come over incipient towns occasionally. At the present time nothing but a few tumble down houses remain to mark the site of the old town. Booneville is a prosperous little country village of some dozen buildings all told. In it there is one hotel, one saloon, one store and two blacksmith shops. There is also a nice church building under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. James Hunt is the agent for Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express, and John W. McAbee is postmaster.

MILLS. - To John Gschwind belongs the honor of constructing the pioneer saw mill in this township, which he did in 1856. At that time there were no roads leading out of Anderson valley in any direction, and nothing but trails led the traveler to its sequestered locality. Over these primitive roadways Mr. Gschwind had the hardihood to attempt to transport a sawmill outfit, and, what is more remarkable, he succeeded in getting all the machinery safely upon the ground. This mill was situated at the extreme western end of the valley, and was built over a fork of the Nevarra river. It was run by water power and answered every purpose, and supplied the demand for lumber in the valley. Some years later steam was added, and some more machinery, making the mill quite complete in all its appointments. About 1864 he added a grist mill to the saw mill and for several years the flour for all that section was ground at this place. On the 12th day of October, 1875, this mill met its fate, and the fire fiend swept the pioneer landmark out of existence.

Thomas E. Hiatt built the next mill in 1877 and started it to work July 20th of that year. It was located on Ingram's place, about four miles froth Booneville, where he had a fine body of timber. After the timber was cut out the mill was abandoned and the machinery taken elsewhere. This was a steam mill with a circula saw, and had a capacity of about eight thousand feet per day.

In 1878 Henry O. Irish erected the third and last saw mill in the township. It ran but a short time, when it was burned to the ground. It was a steam mill with a circular saw, and had a capacity about equal to the one above. Owing to the fact that the market, other than local, is so far removed from here, no saw mill of any considerable capacity will be constructed here for many years to come, although on the head waters of the streams which put back from the ocean, there are some fine bodies of timber in this township.

ROADS. - There are two roads leading through Anderson valley, crossing each other at right angles at Booneville. One leads from Cloverdale to Nevarra and extends the entire length of the valley. This is a good road and affords the only outlet to market for any of the products of the valley. The Cloverdale and Mendocino Citystages, owned and operated by Messrs Allman & Queen, make tri weekly trips over this road, affording an ample opportunity for reaching the outside world, and for receiving mall and express matter. The transverse road is divided into two sections, one known as the "Gschwind Toll Road," leading to Ukiah, and the other is known as the grade to Point Arena. In days gone by Mr. Gschwind, having put his saw mill into operation, sought then to find an outlet for the lumber manufactured, and thinking that there might be a liberal demand for it in the Ukiah valley, he constructed this road at an expense of ten thousand dollars. Whether or not it proved a profitable venture, is not known to the chronicler; but as it leads to the seat of county government, and seems to be a much traveled thoroughfare, it is quite likely that it proves profitable outside of the primary design. The Bill authorizing. the Board of Supervisors of Mendocino county to grant the right to Gschwind to "construct and maintain a toll road from Booneville in Anderson valley to a point where the old Anderson Valley trail intersected the State road in Ukiah valley," was passed by the Legislature in 1868, and signed by the Governor March 26th of that year. The other section extends from Booneville to Point Arena, and was laid out in 1869. It serves the people of the latter place to a much greater advantage than those of the former. In fact, it is the connecting link between the entire south west portion of the county and the seat of government, and lessens the distance to be traveled to reach it, by the people in that section, almost one half.

THE FUTURE. - If the past of this valley has been prosperous, the future is destined to be doubly so, from the fact that its real resources are now about to be developed, and the attention of her citizens is turned in the right direction.

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