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1. H. H. Alexander*

H. H. Alexander, who resided three miles southeast of Crescent City, on the trail to the Klamath, in 1890 owned a well-equipped dairy farm. The author of Del Norte County As It Is reported that "everything about his farm indicates thrift and comfort." [22] The Alexander Farm in 1969 was owned by Benjamin Pozzie. *

*See National Register Forms, pp. 365-377.

2. David Griffin

In Del Norte County, prior to 1900, David Griffin had taken the lead in the introduction of purebred livestock. He showed great pride in his purebred Jersey and Holstein cattle. In 1894 he owned two thoroughbred four-year-old colts of the "Go Bang" line, one of which had carried off the largest purse in the three-year-old trotting race in 1893 at the Del Norte Agricultural Association Fair. [23]

3. Louis DeMartin*

Louis DeMartin was born in Switzerland in 1839, and at the age of 15 he came to the United States in steerage. To get to California, he crossed the isthmus of Panama. In 1874 DeMartin moved from Petaluma to Eureka, where he purchased the Revere Hotel. Three years later, he bought the ranch in Del Norte County that was to be his home until his death in 1907. His ranch was on Wilson Creek and fronted on the Pacific for a number of miles. To reach his property, he came up from Eureka by overland trail, bringing with him his family and belongings by pack mule.

*See National Register Forms, pp. 379-389.

At first, DeMartin raised sheep, having at one time about 3,000. Wild dogs and bear killed so many that he determined to diversify. He was soon raising a variety of crops, as well as cattle and hogs. Butter was churned and since it could not be taken to market immediately, it was "put down" in wooden barrels, in brine, and the barrels placed in a side-hill cellar, where a constant temperature could be maintained. Hogs were butchered every two months, as many as 60 at a time. The lard, hams, and bacon, along with the casks of butter, were shipped to Crescent City. Until the road was completed in 1894, these items were sent out aboard Jim Isles' big redwood canoe, with its crew of seven Yurok. When the canoe returned, it brought such items as were needed on the ranch to supplement its own produce.

Sometimes there was a special cargo—Mrs. DeMartin and one of her children traveling to Crescent City so the priest could baptize the little one. Milton DeMartin recalled that he was four years old when he first saw Crescent City.

The mail came once a week at first, later, three times. In December 1884 the mail carrier, John Waggle, was drowned in fording Wilson Creek when he was thrown by his horse. Waggle's body, which was swept out to sea, was found in April, about one-half mile below the mouth of the creek by a squaw. DeMartin and Eli Porter interred the body near where it was found.

In 1889 DeMartin built a new home and hostelry. He charged travelers 25 cents for meals, and a similar amount for a bed. The ranch, after DeMartin's death in 1907, remained in the hands of the heirs until 1944, when it was sold to Mrs. Henry Rudisill. [24]

4. Charles Fortain

A native of Canada, Charles Fortain was living on the Klamath as early as 1892. Besides farming, he entered in 1895 into a partnership with W. T. Bailey of Requa to operate the Klamath Ferry. [25]

5. Comments and Recommendations

Buildings which merit inclusion on the List of Classified Structures survive at three of these sites—Alexander's, DeMartin's, and Fortain's. The structure at Alexander's is a large barn that was standing at least as early as 1894; at DeMartin's it is the house which dates back to before 1900; and at Fortain's the dwelling dates to the late 19th century. Historic Structures reports should be programmed for Alexander's Barn and DeMartin's House. If the Fortain House is included in the Park, it should likewise have a Historic Structures Report.

The story of man's successful struggle to establish first a sheep ranch and then a dairy farm in the redwoods can be inter preted at DeMartins.

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Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004