California

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The ship that would eventually become the USS Serpens was built by California Shipbuilding Corporation in Wilmington, California. The ship was laid down March 10, 1943, as EC2 class Liberty Ship that was initially named SS Benjamin N. Cardozo (MCE hull 739). In the course of a little more than a month, SS Cardozo was transferred to the US Navy (USN) on April 19, 1943, and renamed USS Serpens (AK-97) after the star constellation Serpens. USS Serpens was commissioned May 28, 1943, at San Diego, and assigned to Captain Magnus J. Johnson, USCGR and manned by a crew from the US Coast Guard (USCG). From there, the ship led a relatively normal “life” for a ship. At least until the evening of January 29, 1945, when the USS Serpens (AK 97) was anchored off Lunga Beach, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Perry L Stinson, and some of the enlisted men were ashore performing administrative functions.

The remaining 970 crew members were loading depth charges when the USS Serpens suddenly exploded, leaving only the bow of the ship visible. The explosion was devastating, and only two sailors aboard…SN 1/C Kelsie K Kemp and SN 1/C George S Kennedy survived by clinging to the bow section of the ship, after escaping from the “bosun’s hole” inside the ship. The rest of the crew consisting of 198 Coast Guardsmen, 56 US Army stevedores, and Dr Levin, a US Public Health Service surgeon, died…most instantly. Of the 198 US Coast Guardsmen, 167 were reservists. In the immense explosion, nearby ships were damaged, and a US Army soldier on the beach was killed. The loss of the USS Serpens remains the largest single disaster ever suffered by the Coast Guard.

An eyewitness account of the disaster stated that, “As we headed our personnel boat shoreward the sound and concussion of the explosion suddenly reached us, and, as we turned, we witnessed the awe-inspiring death drams unfold before us. As the report of screeching shells filled the air and the flash of tracers continued, the water splashed throughout the harbor as the shells hit. We headed our boat in the direction of the smoke and as we came into closer view of what had once been a ship, the water was filled only with floating debris, dead fish, torn life jackets, lumber and other unidentifiable objects. The smell of death, and fire, and gasoline, and oil was evident and nauseating. This was sudden death, and horror, unwanted and unasked for, but complete.”

The Coast Guard initially though the explosion was an enemy attack. They actually continued to think that until July 1947. By June 10, 1949, it was officially determined not to have been the result of enemy attack. Unfortunately, there would be no real answers as to what happened. The remains of the 250 men who lost their lives were originally buried at the Army, Navy, and Marine Cemetery in Guadalcanal with full military honors and religious services. Later, however, the remains were repatriated under the program for the return of World War II dead in 1949. The mass recommittal of the 250 unidentified dead took place in section 34 at MacArthur Circle, Arlington National Cemetery. The remains were placed in 52 caskets and buried in 28 graves near the intersection of Jesup and Grant Drives. The two survivors both earned the Purple Heart injuries sustained.

My grandniece, Siara Kirk has had a wonderful year. Prior to this year, Siara had gone through some things that were very hard, and then she met her future husband, Chris Kirk and her whole life started to turn around. The year 2021 ended very well beginning in early September, with Siara walking boldly up to Chris in the local Loaf and Jug convenience store in Casper and telling him that she liked his freckles. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. They found that they had a lot in common, including a love of exercise and travel. They especially love couple’s exercise, and the stuff they do is amazing. Their love blossomed, and on March 20, 2022, Chris proposed, and Siara accepted.

Siara has always been into exercise, and for over seven years, it has been her dream to become a certified personal trainer. With lots of hard work and perseverance, that dream came true on April 19, 2022, and she couldn’t be happier about that. Siara has always set goals for herself…a bucket list, if you will. She has been slowly (or maybe not so slowly) checking things off of her list. Siara has worked at Platte Valley Bank since July of 2015, so I assume the Personal Trainer work will be done as a side hustle…or as I prefer, side gig. Still in the world of personal trainers, I suppose side hustle might be more fitting.

It has always been Siara’s goal to be married to a man who treats her like her dad treats her mom. That goal came true on July 23, 2022, that dream came true. Chris treats her like the princess she is, and they are perfect for each other. Another one of Siara’s longtime goals, has always been to travel to New York. California was on that list too, but she and Chris took that trip two summers ago, and now the plan is to take the much-anticipated trip to New York this coming June. They are both so excited and are busy making plans as to what all they will see. I’m sure it will be just as many things as they can pack into their time there. It’s good to be taking these trips while they are still a couple, because Siara and Chris both want to have kids someday in the not-too-distant future, and I know they will be amazing parents.

Siara and Chris enjoy taking joint trips with her parents, Chantel and Dave Balcerzak too. They have gone several times to see the 80s Hairbands, and that has become rather a tradition. They also went on September 17, 2022, to watch a Wyoming Cowboys game. They are all fans of the Pokes, as are most Wyomingites, so going to a game is always great fun. This year was such a great year for Siara, and I’m sure the future will be wonderful too. I can’t wait to see what “Bucket List” items she checks off next. Today is Siara’s birthday!! Happy birthday Siara!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My aunt, Ruth Wolfe was the person I most closely resembled. She was my dad, Allen Spencer’s sister, and for most of my life, I didn’t really know that I resembled her. Nevertheless, I am built like she was. I laugh like she did, something I found out after she passed away, and I laughed, but when I did, I heard her laughing. I thought, “How could that be?” I had never noticed that I laughed like her before. I began to wonder how I hadn’t noticed it before. Whatever the reason, I did and do laugh like her, and these days, it is a pleasant reminder of her, and the memories are very sweet.

I always loved Aunt Ruth…and her husband, Uncle Jim too. They lived what seemed like such an exciting life. When they moved away from Casper, Wyoming, they moved to Reno, Nevada, and later to Vallejo, California, and finally to Newport, Washington. While Washington was rather a calm place, almost a retirement of sorts, Reno and Vallejo seemed like an exciting, party kind of place…and maybe it was. People go through different phases in life, and maybe they were in a phase of looking for some excitement. A small town, like Casper, Wyoming, while not tiny, is certainly not as exciting as a place like Reno, Nevada or Vallejo, California. Still, Newport, Washington, and especially the mountain top property they purchased, was certainly more like the places she lived when she was growing up. It was almost like going back to her roots.

I think that some of the happiest times in Aunt Ruth’s life were when she and Uncle Jim were on the road, traveling. They liked to see the world around them, and they loved showing up unannounced to surprise us. I don’t think they ever thought about the fact that they might find us out of town, and to my knowledge, they never did…or at least if they did, they never told us about it. I suppose if they had told us they were coming, it would have ruined the adventure of things. I don’t think any of us ever minded the surprises that came with their unexpected visits. My parents were always happy that they were there. It was like running into a favorite old friend…but they were old friends, even more so than some siblings are. Aunt Ruth and my dad were just 19 months apart. They were the youngest of my grandparents four children, and in many ways, that did make them close, even though they were brother and sister, and not brother/friends, like my dad and their older brother, my Uncle Bill. Today would have been my Aunt Ruth’s 97th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Ruth. We love and miss you very much.

In a very different time in America, being a communist was not accepted, and it really shouldn’t be accepted now, but that is not the opinion of every person in the United States today. Nevertheless, on October 20, 1947, saw the beginning of the notorious Red Scare. At that time, a Congressional committee began investigating the Communist influence that was, or at least was suspected of infiltrating one of the world’s richest and most glamorous communities…Hollywood, California.

One of the greatest fears after World War II, was that the Cold War began to heat up between the United States and the communist-controlled Soviet Union. Conservatives in Washington were working hard to remove any communists in government. Then, they set their sights on those people who were alleged “Reds” in the liberal movie industry. During the investigation that began in October 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) questioned a number of prominent people. During the interviews, the committee asked point-blank, “Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”

It might have been fear or maybe a sense of patriotism, but some witnesses, including director Elia Kazan, actors Gary Cooper and Robert Taylor, and studio honchos Walt Disney and Jack Warner, all gave the committee names of colleagues they had suspected of being communists. That began a more grueling interrogation of a small group known as the “Hollywood Ten.” All of the “Hollywood Ten” resisted the accusations, complaining that the hearings were illegal and violated their First Amendment rights. The 10 were Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr, John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo. While they weren’t convicted of being communist, they were all convicted of obstructing the investigation and each served jail terms.

The Hollywood establishment, after being pressured by Congress, started a blacklist policy. The blacklist involved the practice of denying employment to entertainment industry professionals believed to be or to have been Communists or sympathizers. Actors, screenwriters, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals were barred from work by the studios. This was usually done on the basis of their membership in, or alleged membership in, or sympathy with the Communist Party USA, or their refusal to assist Congressional investigations into party activities. The policy brought about the banning the work of about 325 screenwriters, actors, and directors who had not been cleared by the committee.

Those blacklisted included composer Aaron Copland, writers Dashiell Hammett, Lillian Hellman, and Dorothy Parker, playwright Arthur Miller, and actor and filmmaker Orson Welles. The policy wasn’t always strictly enforced, and even during the period of its strictest enforcement, from the late 1940s through to the late 1950s. The blacklist was almost never made explicit. It was rather the result of numerous individual decisions by the studios and was not the result of official legal action. Nevertheless, the blacklist quickly and directly damaged or even ended the careers and income of scores of individuals working in the film industry.

Most people today wouldn’t remember a 1920s show called “Our Gang” unless they happen to be an old black and white movie buff. The show was about a “gang” of young kids, and all the mischief they got into. Of course, they weren’t bad kids, just adventurous kids. One of those kids was Robert E “Bobby” Hutchins, who was born on March 29, 1925, to James and Olga (Constance) Hutchins in Tacoma, Washington. His father was a native of Kentucky and his mother a native of Washington. Young Hutchins was a popular child actor who played “Wheezer” in the “Our Gang” movies. His short movie career began in 1927, when he was just 2 years old. He was only eight when he left the series in 1933. Hutchins was given the nickname of “Wheezer” after running around the studios on his first day so much that he began to wheeze. The nickname fit him so well that it was incorporated into the show. Wheezer appeared in 58 “Our Gang” films during his six years in the series. For much of his run, “Wheezer” was portrayed as the tag-along little brother, put off by the older children but always eager to be part of the action.

As would always be the case with a show like “Our Gang,” Hutchins eventually outgrew the series, so he and his family moved back to Tacoma, where he entered public school. After he graduated from high school, he joined the US Army Air Forces in 1943, enrolling in the Aviation Cadet Program with the goal of becoming a pilot. Hutchins was killed in a mid-air collision on May 17, 1945, while trying to land a North American AT-6D-NT Texan, serial number 42-86536, of the 3026th Base Unit, during a training exercise. Hutchins’ plane struck an AT-6C-15-NT Texan, 42-49068, of the same unit at Merced Army Air Field in Merced, California…later known as Castle Air Force Base. The other pilot, Edward F Hamel, survived the crash. Hutchins’ mother, Olga Hutchins, had been scheduled to travel to the airfield for his graduation from flying school, which would have occurred the week after he died. He is buried in the Parkland Lutheran Cemetery in Tacoma, Washington. When you see him acting the “Our Gang” movies, it’s really sad to think that his life would be cut short at the age of just 20 years. Nevertheless, he was doing what he really wanted to do, and serving his country in the process.

I can imagine a number of nicknames a stagecoach driver might want to have, one that no one would want to have. George Green was one of the most popular stagecoach drivers in the Sierra Mountain Range, driving for the Pioneer Stage Company between Placerville, California and Virginia City, Nevada in the 1860s. George had the nickname “Baldy” because of the sparse amount of hair he had on the top of his head. It was not the nickname “Baldy” that George would learn to hate, however. George was known for his good looks, standing about six feet tall with a large full mustache, but it was not his good looks or large mustache that earned him the nickname he hated either.

During his days as a stagecoach driver, Green drove many famous people including Ben Holladay, Horace Greeley, and Vice-President Schuyler Colfax. Nevertheless, Green was apparently not a very scary driver. On May 22, 1865, near Silver City, Nevada, three men robbed his stage of $10,000 in gold and greenbacks. I guess word must have gotten around, because more robberies followed that first one, and not only would the robbers not leave him alone, but the robberies were big news and the stories sold lots of newspapers. The Territorial Enterprise commented that Green had narrowly escaped scalping, and someone placed a sign near the robbery location saying, “Wells-Fargo Distributing Office, Baldy Green, Mgr.”

Green just couldn’t catch a break. Two years later his stage was robbed twice on successive days, and following another robbery on June 10, 1868, Virginia City’s Territorial Enterprise stated: “Baldy Green is exceedingly unlucky, as the road agents appear to have singled him out as their special man to halt and plunder, and they always come at him with shotguns.” Two more robberies occurred the same month, and you might say that the writing was on the wall. No one came right out an accused Green of being involved, but it had come to the point that they couldn’t take the risk of keeping him on anymore. Green was fired. Whether he was guilty or not, he was the driver most likely to be robbed. While he was never given that nickname, it is rather a fitting one.

Green didn’t let that stop him, however. He then went to hauling freight in Pioche, Nevada. I guess either he figured out how to stop the robberies, or freight haulers were less likely to be robbed. Either way, he managed to have more success in that trade that the stagecoach career. Later on, he even served as Justice of the Peace in Humboldt County, Nevada.

Since man had power on the earth, man has also had power outages. Power outages are one thing, but rolling blackouts are another thing altogether. “A rolling blackout, also known as rotational load shedding, feeder rotation, or a rotating outage is an intentionally-engineered electrical power shutdown in which electricity delivery is stopped for non-overlapping periods of time over different parts of the distribution region.” This type of shutdown…rolling blackouts…are a supposed to be a last-resort measure used by an electric utility company to avoid a total blackout of the power system. I can understand that in a serious heat wave, even though it is a dangerous maneuver, and I can even understand it in an overload caused by an unexpected cold snap, even thought that is also seriously dangerous.

I don’t know a lot about the energy industry, but I do know that some of the recent cuts in types of energy resources are very dangerous when it comes to making sure that we have enough energy for our country. It seems that these states who don’t regularly need large amounts of energy for heating and cooling, don’t have a way to “stockpile” any either. Rolling blackouts are used as a response strategy to cope with reduced output beyond reserve capacity from power stations taken offline unexpectedly, such as an extreme weather event. So, when an emergency occurs, their solution is to have these rolling blackouts. California has done this for years.

The theory behind the rolling blackouts is a “measure of demand” response. If the demand for electricity exceeds the power supply capability of the network, it’s time to have a planned blackout. Rolling blackouts might be limited to a single city or state, or they can be district or nationwide. The whole thing depends on the network and the stockpile of energy resources. Rolling blackouts generally result from two causes. These are insufficient generation capacity or inadequate transmission infrastructure to deliver power to where it is needed.

For California the rolling blackouts had began on June 14th, 2000 due to a heatwave. Other dates for rolling blackouts in those first couple of years were January 17-18, 2001, March 19-20, 2001, and May 7-8, 2001. These were the beginning dates of the California electricity crisis which included extremely high prices and rolling blackouts. In reality, the “crisis” was a direct result from the manipulation of energy of a partially deregulated California energy system by companies like Enron and Reliant Energy. I wonder too, if the mismanagement wasn’t also on the part of the state’s mismanagement. The recent power outages in Texas from the freezing weather were also rolling blackouts, and the problems they caused were far worse than the California rolling blackouts, because of all the things that froze up from the severe cold. The reality is that one way or the other, our government has to stop limiting the production of our energy resources. That is my opinion, and I’m sure some would disagree, but these rolling blackouts are ridiculous.

I think we have all heard of the Bermuda Triangle, where planes and ships have mysteriously gone missing in the Atlantic Ocean for decades, but most people are not aware that there is a similar place in Alaska and one in Nevada. The Nevada Triangle lies in a region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Nevada and California. In that area, some 2,000 planes have been lost in the last 60 years. That may not seem significant, but when you break it down, it is about 3 crashes/disappearances a every month of those 60 years. The Nevada Triangle is more than 25,000 miles of mountain desert. It is a remotely populated area, and many of the crash sites have never found.

The triangle location is roughly defined as spanning from Las Vegas, Nevada; to Fresno, California; to Reno, Nevada. Of course, notoriously located in this wilderness area is the mysterious, top-secret Area 51…adding to the mystery of these disappearances. Along with the dozens of conspiracy theories which include UFO’s and paranormal activity that surrounds the air force base, similar theories have long been considered regarding the Nevada Triangle. Throughout these many years, many of the missing planes were flown by experienced pilots and disappeared under mysterious circumstances, with the wreckage never found. I don’t buy into most conspiracy theories, and I don’t know what I think of this situation either, but when you look at the statistics an undeniable picture of strangeness does seem to present itself.

Probably one of the most famous cashes of our current time is that of record-setting aviator, sailor, and adventurer, Steve Fossett on September 3, 2007. Fossett, who was flying a single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon over Nevada’s Great Basin Desert, took off and never returned. Search crews combed the area for a month, before the search was called off and on February 15, 2008, Fossett was declared dead. Then on September 29th, 2008, Fossett’s identification cards were discovered in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California by a hiker. Of course, that reactivated the search, and a few days later, the crash site was discovered, located approximately 65 miles from where the aviator initially took off. Initially, no remains were found, but two bones were later recovered a half mile from the crash site which were found to have belonged to Steve Fossett. It is assumed that his body was carried of by wild animals, hence the scattered bones.

One of the earliest incidents of planes lost in the “Triangle” dates back 70 years when a B-24 bomber crashed in the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1943. The bomber, took off on December 5th, piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Willis Turvey and co-piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Robert M Hester. The plane carried four other crew members including 2nd Lieutenant William Thomas Cronin, serving as navigator; 2nd Lieutenant Ellis H Fish, bombardier; Sergeant Robert Bursey, engineer; and Sergeant Howard A Wandtke, radio operator. A routine night training mission, the plane took off from Fresno, California’s Hammer Field destined to Bakersfield, California to Tucson, and then was scheduled to return. The next day an extensive search mission began when nine B-24 Bombers were sent out to find the missing plane. The search was unsuccessful, and also brought about another mystery, when one of the search bombers went missing. On the morning of December 6, 1943, Squadron Commander Captain William Darden lifted off along with eight other B-24s. Captain Darden, his airplane, and remaining crew would not be seen again until 1955, at which point the Huntington Lake reservoir was drained for repairs to the dam. I suppose that all of the missing planes are somewhere, and might still be discovered someday, bit it is a vast area, and it is almost impossible to search all of it. Even with information concerning Captain Darden and his B-24, by survivors who bailed out at the captains orders, that the captain tried to land in a clearing that ended up being a half frozen lake, it still took twelve years to locate the plane.

The father of the original B-24’s co-pilot never gave up the search, although he was unsuccessful and died of a heart attack in 1959, about 14 years after the crash. One year after Clinton Hester passed away, the wreckage was found in July 1960 by to United States Geological Survey researchers who were working in a remote section of the High Sierra, west of LeConte Canyon in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. There, they found airplane wreckage in and near an unnamed lake. Later, Army investigators revealed the wreckage to be that of the first missing bomber piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Willis Turvey and co-piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Robert M. Hester. The lake is now known as Hester Lake.

It would seem that the Kings Canyon National Park area is a tough one to search, and seems to hold the key to may of the missing planes. As odd as some of these events sound, I find it hard to believe that they could have just disappeared. Still, I’m no expert in the matter, and these may not have been the only time something or someone just went missing. I am reminded of Enoch in the Bible, “And Enoch walked with God and disappeared because God took him.” Genesis 5:24. Whatever may have happened in these cases of missing planes, some of which we may never know, and some that may remain a mystery for years; the fact remains that this is a very difficult area to search, and so we really just don’t know. “Conspiracy theorists have long claimed the reason so many flights have disappeared is connected to the presence Area 51, where the US Air Force is known to test secret prototype aircraft. But, many experts believe the disappearances can be attributed to the areas geography and atmospheric conditions. The Sierra Nevada mountains run perpendicular to the Jet Stream, or high Pacific winds, which conspire with the sheer, high altitude peaks and wedge-shaped range to create volatile, unpredictable winds and downdrafts. This weather phenomenon is sometimes called the “Mountain Wave” where planes are seemingly ripped from the air and crashed to the ground.” Of course, many experts believe they are pilot error, inexperienced pilots getting caught in turbulence, and the disorienting mountain terrain. I suppose that is possible, but that is a lot of cases over the past 60 years. Then again, not every plane that flies over the area disappears either, so who am I to say.

My grandson, Caalab Royce; his dad, Travis; as well as my Dad, Allen Spencer and Uncle Bill Spencer; brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock; and nephew, Ryan Hadlock all play the guitar. There may be others in the family too, but they haven’t made it public knowledge. Any time I come across a some information, on guitars or their makers, I am interested, because of these people.

Adolph Rickenbacker was born on April 1, 1886 in Basel, Switzerland as Adolph Rickenbacher. Following the death of his parents, he immigrated to the United States in 1891 with relatives. He settled in Columbus Ohio and later moved to southern California. Rickenbacher was a distant cousin to America’s top Flying Ace Eddie Rickenbacker. Rickenbacher decided that the name association would be helpful to him in his chosen career, so he Anglicized both his own name and that of his company, to Rickenbacker Manufacturing Company. His company made metal bodies for the National String Instrument Corporation. These metal bodies were used to make electric guitars. Through this connection, he met George Beauchamp and Paul Barth, and in 1931 they founded the Ro-Pat-In Company.

The three men produced the first cast aluminum versions of the lap steel guitar in 1932. In 1934, they renamed their company to the Electro String Instrument Corporation. Still, this was not to be a long term business. Music instruments tend to evolve and the resulting instrument looks little like the original. Production ceased in 1939, after approximately 2,700 Frying Pan guitars had been produced. Rickenbacker, who was not convinced of the guitar business’s potential, continued manufacturing until 1953. Then he sold his company to Francis Cary Hall, a forerunner of the Southern California electric guitar boom. I wonder what might have been if the Electro String Instrument Corporation had continued on. While the signature “Frying Pan Guitar” might not have held it’s popularity, many other looks have followed.

Nevertheless, the “Frying Pan Guitar” had been a wonderful career for Rickenbacker. When he finally sold the business, Adolph Rickenbacker was 67 years old. He went on to live a over 20 more years before he died from cancer in Orange County, California on March 21, 1976 at the age of 89.

I think that many of us have thought about a hidden treasure…probably as kids, but maybe as adults too. In fact, with the number of metal detectors sold every year, maybe there are just as many adults looking for hidden treasure as kids.

Dr John Marsh was born June 5, 1799 in South Danvers, Massachusetts. In college at Harvard, he had intended to study ministry, but changed his mind and received his bachelors degree in medicine. He then studied medicine with a Boston doctor. He then decided to move to California, and became an early pioneer and settle in Alta, California. He was also the first Harvard graduate, the first to practice medicine there. He knew Hebrew, Latin and Greek, and was the first to compile a dictionary of the Sioux language. He became one of the wealthiest ranchers in California, and was one of the most influential men in the establishment of California statehood.

The Reverend William W Smith introduced Marsh to Abigail “Abby” Smith Tuck, a schoolteacher from New England, who also served as principal at a girls school in San Jose. After a brief two-week courtship, they were married on June 24, 1851. Soon after the wedding, the couple moved into the old adobe. On 12 March 1852, she gave birth to a daughter they named Alice Frances. Shortly thereafter, Marsh set out to build his family a home. Abby had picked the spot for their home. The home that was nestled in the foothills of Mount Diablo. The home was located next to a creek that was later named Marsh Creek after the doctor. While the home was stunning, the cost of building it did not exceed $20,000.

Marsh was not only a doctor, but also a rancher, and was very successful, even though he was usually paid for medical services in the currency of the day…cowhides and tallow. Marsh might have been a bit of an eccentric, or maybe he just didn’t trust banks. Whatever the case may be, he was known to bury his money in the foothills near his home. Abby died in 1855, and maybe that was what set Marsh to burying the money. I don’t think anyone knows. It is thought that Marsh buried about $40,000 in gold coins in the area, but the money has never been found. On September 24, 1856, while coming home from Martinez, Marsh was murdered. It happened on the road between Pacheco and Martinez. Riding by, he was ambushed and murdered by three of his vaquero employees over a dispute about their wages. Two of the killers were found ten years later and brought to trial. One man turned state’s evidence and was released without trial. The other was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, though he was pardoned 25 years later. The third man was never caught. A California Historical Landmark #722 plaque still marks the site of the murder. John and Abigail Marsh are buried in Mountain View Cemetery, in Oakland, California.

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