History of Round Valley 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 Trinity and Tehama counties; on the east by Tehama county; on the south by Calpella township; and on the west by Little Lake township. South Eel river passes around its southern and Western sides, forming the boundary line; while Middle Eel river flows in such a manner through it as to form almost a complete circle. Its mountains are quite high, and it is no uncommon thing for the winter's snow to rest upon them till midsummer.

TOPOGRAPHY. - When it is stated that about the center of the township there is a valley almost perfectly round, and that it is surrounded alternately by rivers and mountain chains, all in general conformity to the shape of the valley, about all is said that can be about the topography of the township, except in minor details.

SOIL. - The soil of the valley is a very rich, black loam, a great deal of it being reclaimed marsh land, which is by far the most productive in the State. On the mountains, the soil is partly adobe and partly argillaceous and grows grass advantageously.

CLIMATE - The climate of this section is mild in summer, but rather rigorous in the winter. The snow capped mountains which immediately surround the valley cause the temperature to be colder in the winter season than it would otherwise be. In the summer season there are many hot days, but the air is so light that the extreme heat is not appreciated as it is in the lower valleys. During this season of the year there is more or less fog in the valley, which also serves to mitigate the intensity of the sun's rays.

PRODUCTS. - The products of this section are in keeping with other valleys in the county, all kinds of fruits and vegetables thriving splendidly, also grains and grasses. The farms are mostly used for grazing purposes, not so much on account of the inadaptability of the soil to grain, as from the fact that the market is absolutely inaccessible.

TIMBER. - The timber of this section is mostly comprised in a few varieties of fir, pines and oak, there being little or no redwood at all in it. The fir is well adapted to the purposes of lumber, and is much used for that. The oak is excellent for fire wood; while some considerable of the chestnut oak grows there, but is not available, on account of the absence of a market.

EARLY SETTLEMENT. - Frank M. Asbill claims to be the first white man who ever saw Round valley. In April, 1854, he and his brother Pierce left their home in Bodega, Sonoma county, and in a short time fell in with Samuel Kelsey, and a party who were on their way to the south fork of the Trinity river, and joined them. They passed up the Russian River valley, and crossed the south fork of Eel river and passed over the summit of Sanhedrim mountain into Eden valley, to which Pierce Asbill gave its name, fancying that it must resemble the home of our first parents. Their camp was struck near the middle fork of Eel river and on the morning of the 15th of May, Frank went out upon the mountain side to catch their horses, and while gone discovered the valley. He returned to camp and reported that he had seen a valley which was perfectly round, from which expression it took its name. The party saddled their horses and rode over into the valley and had a fight with the Indians, killing about forty of them in their camp.

During that same month, and only a few days later, another party, consisting of George E. White, George Hudspeth, Dr. Atkinson, James White, Calvin White, and one other whose name has been forgotten, came into the valley from the opposite direction. The Kelsey party had not been gone long, for their trail was easily discernible, and a record of their names was found cut in a tree. Mr. George E. White states that they saw no Indians on this trip through the valley, and when the fact is remembered, that perhaps not a week had passed since forty of their number had been slain in a contest with the Kelsey party, it is not to be wondered at that they should keep secluded from the view of this new band of adventurers. What a lovely vista must have greeted the eyes of these first discoverers of this charming valley! Beautiful at all seasons of the year, but doubly so now, as it was in that most glorious of all months for this section of the country today. The grass had already grown so tall that a man could hide in it, and vegetation of every kind was in the full glory of its prolific luxuriance. There is today no lovelier sight in the whole of Mendocino county than the view one gets of Round valley after he crosses the divide and begins the descent to Middle Eel river.

The first land located in the valley was by George E. White, in 1856, and he left Charles Brown in charge of it, who thus, in point of fact, became the pioneer settler of the place. He built a small cabin, which was the first house there, and it was situated near where Dr. Melinda now resides. Brown also brought the first stock into the valley, aside from that belonging to the reservation. George E. White built the next house, which was a small cabin, located near his present residence, and the third house was built in the fall of 1856 by Messrs. Devinna & Craft, near where Lindsley Williamson's house now stands. The next house was erected by Messrs. Lawson Arthur, near where George Henley now lives. These gentlemen brought a drove of hogs into the valley, which were the first of their race. Sanders Hornbrook, John Owens, James H. Thomas, D. Lacock and ____ King also came into the valley during that fall. Daring the next year Martin Corbett, C. H. Eberle, Charles H. Diggin, S. P. Storms, E. S. Gibson, Antonio Leger (an Italian), William Pollard, the Wilsey brothers, D. C. and D. M. Dorman, P. A. Witt and Randall Rice came in and located in different parts of the valley. William Mantle was shot by the Indians and Stephens was drowned in South Eel river in the fall of 1858, and were the first to be buried in the valley. The first child born was Harry Storms. It is estimated that in the fall of 1856 there were nineteen white men in the valley, including those on the reservation. Two women came in in the fall of 1857, and spent the winter in manufacturing buckskin clothing, but their names are now unknown.

The first mail was carried on horseback by Jesse Holland, from Ukiah in the summer of 18.58. He made weekly trips and was compensated by private subscription. The first mail contract was awarded to Charles H. Eberle, in June, 1870, who carried the mail from Cahto. In the spring of 1871 the mail route was changed to the Potter Valley route from Ukiah, and a stage line was then established. The first school district was established in July, 1865, and there are now three districts in the valley. The first money order was issued December 3, 1876. The road from Ukiah was an enterprise of the citizens, assisted some little by the county, and was completed in 1869. In March, 1879, the bridges which had been constructed across Eel river were swept away by a freshet, and none have been put up to take their places. It is one of the pressing necessities of the valley that they have bridges over those streams, so that communication can be easily had with the outside world at any season of the year. As it is now the people of, that section are practically shut off from the world for from three to six months every year. The first court was held in the valley in 1859 by Charles H. Eberle, Justice of the Peace. Some Indians were arrested and tried on a charge of theft, and were fined $70.

A military post was established at Round valley in the spring of 1863, with Captain Douglas as commandant. There were about seventy soldiers in the first company stationed here, and they were afterwards reinforced by about as many more cavalry men. It was abandoned when Grant's Quaker policy was adopted in regard to the Indians.

COVELO. - This is the only town in Round valley, and was given its title by. Charles H. Eberle in 1870, after a fortress in Switzerland. It is possible that this name is far fetched in more senses of the word than one. The first building erected on the present site of the town was in 1858-9, by Benjamin Arther and ____ Murphy. The next was erected by Dorman & Hornbrook, and was used for a saloon. In 1866 or 1867 there was a blacksmith shop put up by Jacob Updegraff. The first store in the valley was opened by Messrs. Storms & Brown, near where Dr. Malinda now resides; but the first in the town of Covelo was opened by Messrs. Riley & Bransford, and the first hotel was opened by Thomas White; the first meat market by Charles H. Eberle, in 1873, and the first livery stable was built by Ira Hoxie.

Free and Accepted Masons. - Covelo Lodge, No. 231, F. and A M, was constituted U. D., the preliminary meeting looking to the organization of the lodge having been held June 24, 1873. The charter members were James M. Ellis, Thomas L. Barnes, Jacob Updegraff, Josiah Anthony, Walter L. Bransford, John Shaver, Purd Henry, Daniel H. Lowry, John L. Burchard, Felix Purcell, P. K. Faulds and Nathan Ellis. The first officers were J. M. Ellis, W. M.; T. L. Barnes, S. W.; J. Updegraff, J. W.; J. Anthony. Treasurer; and Walter L. Bransford, Secretary. The following gentlemen have had the honor of filling the presiding chair: J. M. Ellis, L. H. Patty, W. L. Bransford, W. Henley and B. C. Bellamy. The present officers are B. C. Bellamy, W. M.; William Pullen, S. W.; J. R. Mathews, J. W.; L. D. M. Montague, Treasurer; and J. P. Thomas, Secretary. The present membership is thirty two, and the lodge is in a prosperous condition. They have the lodge room neatly fitted up.

Independent Order of Good Templars. - Covelo Lodge, I. O. G. T. was organized June 28, 1880, with the following charter members: B. C. Bellamy, M. D.; Mrs. D. J Bellamy, Miss Nettie Bellamy, Charles Kendrick, Sanders Hornbrook, Mrs. M. A. Hornbrook, William Pullen,' Mrs. L. C. Pullen, D. W. Burchard, Mrs. Mary Willis, Miss Alice Willis, L. Willis, Mrs. Annie Sears, Miss Julia Dolan, Mrs. Emma Van Dyke, C. G. Finson, W. R. Melendy, Mrs. Beard, Miss Kate Robertson and Miss Roxy Hoyt. The first officers were as follows: W. S. Fisher, W. C. T.; Mrs. S. Hornbrook, W. R. H. S.; Miss Roxy Hoyt, W. L. H. S.; D. W. Burchard, W. S.; Mrs. Emma Van Dyke, W. A. S.; W. R. Melendy, W. F. S.; Miss Nettie Bellamy, W. T.; Rev. H. B. Sheldon, W. C.; Mrs. Annie Sears, W. V. T.; L. Willis, W. M.; Miss Kate Robertson, W. D. M.; Mrs. Alice Willis, W. I. G.; Sanders Hornbrook, W. O. G.; Charles Kendrick P. W. C. T.; and B. C. Bellamy, M. D. Lodge Deputy. The present membership is thirty, and on the increase.

MILLS. - The first saw mill in the valley was built by Andrew Gray, in the summer of 1862, and in the summer of 1864, a grist mill was added, with one run of buhrs; water was the motor power used for all this machinery. The saw was simply an old fashioned muley. In 1868 the mill was sold to the Government, and it has since been rebuilt, and is now used for the purposes of the reservation.

Round Valley Indian Reservation. - This was established in 1856, and is still maintained. A full statement of the facts concerning this reservation will be found in the chapter on Indians, hence it is unnecessary to repeat anything here. It is a vexatious matter to deal with, and if the subject be discussed from any stand point, there are open questions on the other side Suffice it to say here that the management of the reservation at present is very exemplary, and good work is certainly being done there. How much good can be effected, yet remains to be seen, but it is a fact that the Indians as a class are sober and industrious, and the reservation farm very nearly supports them now. It would seem that it should entirely do so, but it seems that such is not the case, why it is not is out side of the province of a work of this character.

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