Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Summer 2016: Volume 64, No. 2

Skiing Horse Mountain
Deborah Baskette
The golden era of skiing on Horse Mountain, as recalled by its ardent participants.

My Dear Father
Introduction by Ann Roberts
Young Joe Shaw writes home to his father with details of his journey from Ferndale to Virginia City in 1871.

Susie Van Kirk & Lucille Vinyard
Kevin L. Hoover
Remembering two remarkable preservationists & activists.

Feeding the Hungriest Humboldters
Jerry Rohde and Jim Timmons
Hammond Lumber Company’s Essex Ranch and the Timmons family.

Eddie Kearse of the Yankees & Crabs 
Mike Kearse
The author remembers his father, Eddie Kearse, whose baseball career was interrupted by World War II.

On the California Trail in 1849 with Dr. Jonathan Clark
Marvin Shepherd
Dr. Jonathan Clark’s trip by wagon train from Iowa to California is told through excerpts from his recently recovered diaries.

Dr. Jonathan Clark crossed the plains by wagon train in 1849 and settled at Bucksport in 1850, at the foot of the bluff on which Fort Humboldt would soon be built, and where he would work as a surgeon in 1864-65. One of the earliest Euro-American settlers on the North Coast, Clarke is a well known pioneer name. The story of his wagon train journey to Humboldt appears in this issue on page 36, and is an excerpt from Marvin Shepherd’s upcoming new book, a life of Jonathan Clark.

Seen on the cover is one of a pair of paintings of 1850s Fort Humboldt and Bucksport whose provenance has always been a mystery. Bob Liebershal, who has been researching 19th century Humboldt artists for over a decade, notes that the late historians Martha Roscoe and Peter Palmquist, and art dealer John Howell, all attributed the paintings to “Clara Deering,” and dated them to the mid-1850s, based on the portrayal of Fort Humboldt, though none of those three were able to uncover any details of the artist’s life. That’s because Clara Deering has been, Liebershal writes, “an artist misplaced in time.” She was not born until 1859. Through his research Liebershal has discovered that the artist was born Clara M. Dawson in 1859 in Eureka, her lifelong home. In the 1880s she studied art in San Francisco. Returning to Eureka, she became, as local newspapers of the 1890s describe her, a “well-known Humboldt artist.” She also gave painting lessons. It was not until late in her life that she married Henry Deering, in 1902. She died in 1907. Clara’s view of Fort Humboldt, posits Liebershal, was possibly painted from an 1864 Flanders and Tuttle photograph. It seems appropriate that Clara chose Bucksport and Fort Humboldt as two subjects for her works, for she was the niece of Dr. Jonathan Clark, and cousin and close friend to his daughter Eliza. Indeed, Clara’s studio was for some time located in the Clark home. Incidentally, both Jonathan and Eliza Clark make an appearance in yet another piece in this issue, on page 22. Many thanks to Bob Liebershal for the information about early Humboldt artist Clara M. Dawson Deering. The cover painting by her of Fort Humboldt appears courtesy of a private collection.
— On the Cover