The Hanging of Jake

Cowboy Jake was a drifter with a clouded past. It was said he killed seven men when he was down south in old Mexico. It was only four men, worthless sorts, but Jake reveled in the exaggeration. However, Jake’s real problems were shoplifting and petty thievery.

I’m telling you . . .

Once he stole his barber’s glass eye. He sold it to pay for the bandages to stop the bleeding coming from where his earlobe used to be. Apparently, one-eyed barbers have no depth perception.

Ultimately, Jake got himself hanged. It wasn’t for stealing the glass eye or killing the barber, or even killing those guys down in Mexico. The folks up in the sparse and treeless mesa country must have been pretty angry with old Jake–they hanged him without a damned tree–just left him sort of sprawled across the ground. One end of the rope was tied to a rock and the other end noosed and cinched up around his skinny little neck. It is hard for me to explain exactly what went on, but Jake is dead just the same.

Jake had the ‘cooties.’

Jake probably picked them up when he was in a dusty cantina outside of Alvarez. Just about everybody down there had them. Damn ‘cooties.’The good news is that ‘cooties’ don’t live long up in the mesa country. The bad news is they didn’t have to hang Jake. The good news is the townspeople didn’t really give a damn anyway.

Old Geology

Antelope Valley Physiography

Notes from: WATER RESOURCES OF THE ANTELOPE VALLEY, CALIFORNIA.
By Harry R. Johnson – 1911

The physiographic history of the buttes and heights of land east of the Antelope Valley is obscure. No such striking evidence of the origin of the region as that just presented for the Rosamond Buttes was found, yet erosion seems inadequate to fully explain the topography. It is tentatively suggested that this region of irregular buttes and shallow intervening valleys has been less deformed by depression or elevation than either Antelope Valley or the marginal ranges.

Figure 1 is a purely theoretic representation of what are believed to be the main blocks and faults involved in the production of the larger physiographic features of the Antelope Valley region. The small northwestward-dipping block in front of the Portal Ridge block, represents the Antelope Buttes near Fairmont. As the tuffs on the west side of these buttes dip at angles of 35° to 55° northwestward a direction at right angles to the San Gabriel fault system—it is assumed that the underlying granite has been tilted in accordance with the Tehachapi rather than the San Gabriel faults.


Wallflowers

The Wallflower Collection

A collection of historic and vintage photographs by a variety of photographers reworked and colorized. Working with these old photos like this has given me reassurance that the things I see, they would have seen in much the same way as I can see what they are showing me at the palm of my hand.

These are the Days

There are those memories of the autumnal winds when seasons turn upside down and the icy drama of the silver winter threads through the hollows between trees stirring last year’s brown leaves into a low ruckus and crackle. Thin and bare sycamore branches, delicate and bony, trace low and lonely moans in their dark choir. Pink sand from the nearby riverbed salted everywhere and anywhere; grit flecked in your hair, in your shoes, in your eyes. These are the days. These were the days. These are the heartfelt and kind memories of these days.

California Southern

The importance of our railroad

The Southern Pacific had a monopoly on Southern California’s Transcontinental Railroads. Nothing came in or went out on any other rails than Southern Pacific rails.


However, the Southern Pacific at Needles needed to connect with the bridge at the Colorado River to the Atlantic and Pacific. In order to do this, they worked out an agreement wherein the Atlantic & Pacific could use their rails to ship to and from San Francisco. Southern California still remained in a monopoly.

San Diego wanted a share in the rapid growth of the state. With the high cost of getting there, most tourists simply stopped in Los Angeles.

The California Southern, backed by investors from Boston, built from San Diego to Colton, but the Southern Pacific delayed their progress further north for over a year in what became known as the ‘Frog War.’ ‘Frog’ is the term for a rail crossing rail assembly so that either track can cross the other.

Formidable, but not impossible, building through the Cajon Pass to the Mojave River, through the upper and lower narrows, and then along in the same direction to Waterman, now known as Barstow. San Diego now had the benefit of a link to a transcontinental railroad and Southern California had a competitive transportation network.

W.feller.