Binding People & Place / Exploration

Location Notice

Location Notice

July 1, 1925

John Samuelson served as witness for this mining claim location notice. Samuelson's story endures in the carvings that describe his thoughts on politics, religion, and nature on eight, car-sized boulders on his former homestead near modern-day Quail Springs Picnic Area. His criticisms of the government were likely influenced by the major U.S. events of the 1920s.

In 1928, Samuelson told his unusual life story to lawyer and true crime author Earl Stanley Gardner. According to his telling, he was impressed onto a ship as a young man, escaped, nearly drowned in the tropics, was rescued by a local tribe, and fell for the chief's daughter. After being forced to eat a "Bread of Forgetfulness" (which caused him to black out after a rain), he was banished from the island by the disapproving chief.

Samuelson said he came to the California desert to avoid rain and became a prospector. Gardner published Samuelson's story as a popular magazine article and is a chapter in his book, Neighborhood Frontiers.

Paper. L 34.5, W 21 cm
Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 24727