Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Spring 2014

HH Spring 2014.jpg

Volume 62, No. 1

10 - THE COEUR FAMILY - by Jeremiah Scott, Jr.

A history of the Coeur family, including their military service and their three-generation proprietorship of the Freshwater Store.

14 - FAMILY GROCERS - by Arlene Hartin, Doris Gildesgaard, Hersh Brown, Jeremiah Scott, Jr., Dorothy Klemp Price, Hugh Metcalf, and Rowetta Stapp Miller.

Our readers remember their neighborhood family grocers.

20 - THOMAS E. LEAVEY: THE LIFE & LEGACIES OF A HUMBOLDT COUNTY NATIVE SON, PART I - by Jim A. Beardsley

Thomas Leavey, founder of Farmers Insurance, grew up on a family dairy farm at West End.

28 - SEVENTY YEARS OF HUMBOLDT COUNTY BASEBALL - by Scott Gourley

Long live the Humboldt Crabs!

32 - MADMAN OR VILLAIN? - YOU DIDN’T HEAR IT FROM ME - by Louella Parsnips

Matrimonial malfeasance strikes again. 

34 - THE FITZGERALD FAMILY AT KNEELAND, 1867-1919 - by Kay McMullen, SNDdeN

The Fitzgeralds raised two generations of children on their Kneeland farm.

38 - WHEN THE MAD FLOWED INTO ARCATA BAY - HISTORY’S MYSTERIES - by Barry Evans

Attempting to change the course of a river: the Mad River Canal.


Neighborhood grocery stores of days gone by hold a special place in the memories of many, and upon reading the remembrances of family grocers in this issue, one can see why. First is Jeremiah Scott’s salute to the Coeur family, who operated the Freshwater Store for seventy-three years. Then begins our tour of neighborhood grocery stores in an era when every neighborhood had one, with each store carrying the goods its particular customers required, from staples like bread, milk, and, in one neighborhood, lutefisk, to milk shakes for the young set, and, not to forget, nickel candy bars.

Thomas Leavey of West End, east of Arcata, made his mark locally and in the world. After the early death of their mother, Thomas, age two weeks, and his brothers, five and six, were raised by their father, even as he worked to make a success of their dairy ranch. His father advised young Thomas to go to school and “keep out of the ‘ditch,’” something he himself, an Irish immigrant, had not had the opportunity to do. Thomas took that advice and went to college and then law school. Once out in the world, though, his ranching background served him well, for he would soon conceive the idea for Farmers Insurance. His story begins on page 20.

Michael and Margaret Fitzgerald and their extended family, also Irish immigrants, escaped the potato famine and found their way to Kneeland in 1862. Their story begins on page 34.

Now then, what is the deal with the Mad River Slough? Did the Mad once flow into the bay? Barry Evans reveals the story behind another of History’s Mysteries right here on page 38.

Finally, Louella Parsnips fails us not: she returns with another shady tale from old Humboldt on page 32. Amid the many refreshments of spring, we hope you enjoy this springtime issue of the Humboldt Historian.
— From the Editor