Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Summer 2012

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Volume 60, No. 2

8 - ANGELENA SCHMIDT FULKERSON, PIONEER WOMAN - by Julie Fulkerson

Through her life of thrift, imagination, and unceasing daily labors large and small, the author’s grandmother achieved independence and security for herself and her son, and, by way of inspiration, for her granddaughter.

14 - BEYOND THE VISUAL CORTEX - THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST - by Jerry Rohde

Historical pleasures that defy progress.

18 - A HERO TO HIS VALET: JACK LONDON IN HUMBOLDT - YOU DIDN’T HEAR IT FROM ME - by Louella Parsnips

Jack London’s published version of his trip through Humboldt did not include any of the exciting encounters revealed here.

24 - THE SPINSTERS MATRIMONIAL CLUB

The cheerful “spinsters” enact an antiquated version of match.com, and decide to depart for the Klondike.

26 - FOURTH OF JULY IN HUMBOLDT, 1855–1865 - by Ann Hunt

Did Humboldt’s exuberant celebrations change during times of strife and war?

32 - THE LEEN FAMILY AND A KINDNESS REMEMBERED - by Maurice Davison

Eureka Business College and O. Nilsen grocers each play important roles in this family story.

34 - A SHORT HISTORY OF THE UPPER REDWOOD VALLEY - by Frank Anderson

A close-knit community on the shores of mid-upper Redwood Creek.


Among the distinguished Humboldters whose families hail from the once-upon-a-time company logging town of Bullwinkel/Crannell, is Julie Fulkerson, whose father, Charles Fulkerson, was born and raised there, and whose grandmother, Lena Schmidt Fulkerson, worked there as a camp cook for twenty-five years, beginning in 1912. Julie Fulkerson, who, like her determined grandmother, has seen her own labors bear fruit, tells her grandmother’s story, beginning here on page 9.

While people like Lena Fulkerson had their shoulders to the wheel on our unique and remote Redwood Coast of California, a middle-class “tourist rush” to the state was in full swing. It inspired Southern Pacific Railroad to actively promote the Far West by founding Sunset Magazine in 1898. Sunset emphasized not only travel and recreation, but small-scale farming, resource conservation, Indian heritage, urban investment, and wilderness. By popularizing the Spanish Colonial revival movement, it helped to create a distinctive California architecture and artistic style. And in June 1911, the influential magazine reached all the way into Humboldt by way of its most famous writer, Jack London, who toured California’s northern counties and wrote a promotional piece for Sunset, already boasting 500,000 readers per month. Of course, London’s article praises Humboldt’s recreational possibilities; however, it is only here in the Humboldt Historian that you can read about London’s many personal interactions with our colorful locals. That story is dished up by our own Louella Parsnips, in this issue on page 18.

Also in this summertime issue of the Humboldt Historian, Jerry Rohde reveals “The Presence of the Past” in elegant fashion; Ann Hunt is our guide to early day Fourth of July Celebrations; Maurice Davison shares a family remembrance; and Frank Anderson presents “Indian Summers,” a history of Upper Redwood Valley.

Lastly, we hope readers will not underestimate the Spinsters’ Matrimonial Club entertainment - while it begins tamely enough, it ends up on the Klondike Stampede.
— From the Editor