MODOC COUNTY, SONOMA COUNTY, MERCED COUNTY-CALIFORNIA
In 1899 when WILL KING and family started west from Colorado to Northern California he was 41 years old, LIZZIE was 36, BESSIE 13, and OLIVER 10. Their destination was Eagleville in Surprise Valley, Modoc County.
In reading almost any book about the westward journey by covered wagon one finds out what the major concerns were of those making the trip. In the early days the fear of an Indian attack caused many sleepless nights but by 1899 this was no longer a common problem. Finding feed and water for their horses along the way and the constant threat of a sick horse was another worry. Again, by 1899 most of the country was sufficiently developed with many towns and farms so that these matters were not usually critical, although replacing a dead horse depleted many a family's limited reserves. However, they were reminded of their biggest worry daily by the many roadside graves they would see. These were often children's graves. It was said that when a grave was passed family members would embrace each other and not say a word Until they had gone on by. No one will ever know how many thousands died from cold and exposure during the rigors of a cross country trip by horse and wagon. By 1899 the country was fairly well covered by railroads and they could have readily traveled to California that way. However, their livestock was almost a part of the family and along with furniture, farm equipment, clothing and supplies would be needed on arrival. It was logical to travel in the same manner as the family did from Alabama to Missouri 60  years earlier and on to Colorado 15 years earlier.
This trip to California was about the same length as the previous one from Missouri to Colorado and as they neared the end everyone was tired and exhausted. LIZZIE became very sick and the entire family was concerned and worried about her. Nothing they did seemed to help. They were nearing Carson City, Nevada and came on a farmhouse. WILL KING prevailed on the people to let him rent a room with a woodstove for the night. He cut a supply of wood and stayed up all night keeping the room warm while LIZZIE lay in bed. It was the first night, after camping out beside the road for weeks, that she was really warm. Some time in the night the fever broke and the crisis passed. The next morning she wanted to go on. BESSIE KING PATTERSON said she would never forget that experience.
The ranch in Eagleville was about one and one half miles east of town just off the main road. WILL KING had some cattle, a family garden, raised alfalfa for hay and seed both of which he sold. (There was a written insert here but I can't decipher it (TWK ). Farming in Modoc County was very similar to Colorado. The house, surrounded by Lombardy Poplar trees was still there in 1963. WILL KING built the two story house in 1901-02.
On July 31,1905 BESSIE KING married CLYDE R. PATTERSON at Alturas, the county seat of Modoc County, California. They told the story of getting up very early in the morning, going north by horse and buggy to Cedarville, and then through the mountain pass west to Alturas. After what looks like over a 50 mile long trip for one day by horse and buggy, they arrived back in Eagleville late in the night. During that day they were married by the County Judge, had their picture taken, and filed a timber claim on some land along the mountain road from Eagleville to the PATTERSON sawmill. Clyde also contacted several people about paying up their past due lumber bills. Quite a busy day!
The mill was 16 miles west of Eagleville. Alongside a spring on the north side about 12 miles up the mill road CLYDE built a cabin. This cabin was on a corner of the timber land he had just acquired. That spot was always known as Clyde's Cabin and may still be even though the cabin is gone. CLYDE and BESSIE spent their first winter there while CLYDE worked cutting a huge supply of wood for a neighbor. A map of the area shows that WILL KING also had a timber claim adjoining the one CLYDE filed on the day he was married. CLYDE and BESSIE often said that in 60 years plus of marriage they had never spent a happier and more carefree winter than that first one when they were snowbound for months at a time. After that first winter in the mountains summers were spent at the mill which CLYDE ran. BESSIE helped Grey (?) McCord with boarding 12 to 14 mill workers who lived in small cabins in the edge of the nearby woods. BESSIE also had the job of mowing and raking the alfalfa field so that hay would be available for the cows and horses needed in the sawmill operation. BESSIE could remember hiking trips in the woods and weekend campouts and picnics at Blue Lake. The WILL KING and PATTERSON children were young adults at that time and those years at Eagleville and at the mill all seem to have been happy ones. After that first year CLYDE and BESSIE moved back to Eagleville every winter when the mill was shut down. Clyde had built a house in town where DARREL was born and where they had their headquarters until they moved to Riverside in 1914.
Sometime prior to October 1908 WILL and LIZZIE KING decided to sell out and move to Healdsburg in Sonoma County. Again we do not know the reasons for their decision as the KINGs were doing quite well where they were. One reason may have been that there were a number of people in Eagleville who had previously lived in Sonoma County including the entire PATTERSON family and some of the mill workers. Of course WILL KING heard all the stories about Sonoma County and since it was good farming country, nearer the coast with milder winters they sold out and moved sometime before Darrel was born October 17,1908. He was BESSIE's first child.
In Healdsburg WILL KING bought a house in town while looking around for a ranch location. During the season he worked in the prune drying yards which experience later served him well as he did the same thing at the apricot drying yards in Hemet, Ca. for a number of years after moving to Riverside in 1918. As mentioned he had done the same type of farming in Eagleville as in Colorado. He decided this was not suitable for Sonoma County and that there was too much rain for the way he liked to farm. After only a year or two in Healdsburg they decided to wove to the San Joaquin Valley where conditions were more to his liking.
At about the time they left Healdsburg they took a train trip back home to Dade County, Missouri. An article in a local newspaper there dated December 24,1909 reads as follows: "WILL KING and wife arrived in Lockwood Tuesday night from their home in California. Mr. and Mrs. KING left Lockwood 26 years ago for the west, this being their first return. Mr. KING's parents were the first settlers at Kings Point this county over 50 years ago. hence the name Kings Point. Mrs. KING was a daughter of Mrs. S. E. PARMINTER of Lockwood and sister of Mrs. OMER BIRD living 4 miles southeast of Lockwood." The article is in error in that the entire family had made a previous return visit to Missouri while living in Colorado.
We do not have very much information on the farm at Winton in Merced county where WILL KING and family moved next after leaving Healdsburg. What there is came from CLYDE PATTERSON who said he was only there once. The property was either a 20 or 40 acre parcel that had been part of a much larger ranch being sold off in smaller pieces. First a house was built and the place planted to several kinds of fruit trees. As was the previous case in both Colorado and Modoc County, alfalfa seed was one of the early standby income crops. We understand that while living there the family had it worked every August to take the team and wagon to Yosemite Valley where they camped out for the month. One year BESSIE K. PATTERSON and DARREL took this trip with them. BESSIE and DARREL lived on the ranch briefly after leaving Eagleville while waiting to move to Riverside.
While living on this ranch OLIVER A. KING met and married GENEVIEVE ANNE JONES, daughter of a neighboring rancher. They were married on March 29,1914.
Note :--The remaining paragraphs in this chapter were written by Mrs. ROSEOLIVE (KING) DRUXMAN and added to by TRUXTON WILLIAM KING and PATRICIA MAI (KING) SEIBERT children born in that order to OLIVER A. and GENEVIEVE ANNE KING.
After OLIVER and GENEVIEVE KING were married they lived in Victorville, San Bernardino County, California. While living in Victorville OLIVER worked in a gold mine as an engineer. I (TWK) have a gold ring with a jasper setting which was made of gold from the mine. I also have a picture of OLIVER riding a burro with his feet nearly touching the ground.
They later moved to Banning, Los Angeles County, California where OLIVER worked for a power company erecting huge steel towers and stringing transmission lines in that area of the desert. OLIVER and GENEVIEVE returned to the ranch in the Winton area when Grandpa (WILLIAM FRAZIER KING) and Grandma (LIZZIE E. KING) wanted to retire to Riverside, California in 1918.
I, ROSEOLIVE KING (born July 22,1919), was the only child born to OLIVER and GENEVIEVE while they lived on the WILL KING ranch. I was not aware I had ever lived there or that it was the KING ranch until about 10 years ago (1978 approx.) when Mother and I were looking at some old photos. I recognized the house as the one about 5/4 of a mile down the hill from us but didn't know why I was pictured there in a buggy. She explained that it had belonged to Grandpa KING and that Daddy (OLIVER A. KING) had taken it over when Grandpa and Grandma KING moved to Southern California.
Things were not going well on the ranch and they were not able to make the payments. After 2 1/2 years there they moved to some land 3/4 of a mile down Jones Road that GENEVIEVE had inherited from her Mother, ROSE BELLE (NEILL) JONES. It was here that OLIVER established a dairy ranch. He built "temporary" housing which consisted of three. modest rooms under and around the. tankhouse with cold running water. This structure though small served as a happy home for GENEVIEVE and OLIVER KING and their three children. TRUXTON WILLIAM (BILL) (b. 9/28/1924) and PATRICIA MAI (PAT) (b. 3/10/1926) were born while living on this ranch. This was the land known as the KING Ranch in the Winton area.
OLIVER built an irrigation system on the land , put in alfalfa and built up his herd until he was milking 60 head a a time with the help of a hired hand. The last group of cattle he purchased later tested out to be tubercular. By the time it was discovered the whole herd had become infected and had to be destroyed. The depression was in full force by now and this was a vital blow which resulted in the loss of the ranch and everything they owned.
Meanwhile OLIVER became very ill. It was finally diagnosed as tuberculosis of the kidney. He spent four years at Ahwahnee, a tuberculosis sanitarium in Madera County, Ca. At the end of 3 1/2 years he had an operation removing the infected kidney. This seemed to be the answer and half a year later fie was pronounced cured and released to come. home.
He immediately got a Federal job in charge of the Farm (Soil?) Conservation office for Merced County. This was a very happy time in our lives.
One morning six months later he awoke up paralyzed with uremic poisoning. Five days later he was dead. (12/20/1936).
While OLIVER was in the sanitarium, GENEVIEVE had three children and herself to support. Jobs were hard to find during the depression but she did get one as scrub woman at the Bloss Memorial Hospital in Atwater. Meanwhile she went to night school studying business subjects. She became mail dispatcher (carrying mail between the Post Office and the train) for the Winton Post Office and took in ironing and sewing. She was doing these things when OLIVER came home from Awahnee.
A few years after OLIVER's death she became Assistant Postmaster and later Postmaster of the Winton, California Post Office. She held this position until her retirement in 1958.
In 1961 she made her home with ROBERT and ROSEOLIVE DRUXMAN in Olympia, Washington and moved with them when they returned to Juneau, Alaska in 1964. She passed away at the age of 94 years and 9 months on June 17,1984. OLIVER and GENEVIEVE KING are buried side by side in the Winton Cemetery in Merced County, California. [along with some of TWKing's ashes and RODruxman's ashes]
Note from Bill--At the time I was 11 years old (1935/36) I recall the family drove to Riverside, California to visit WILL and LIZZIE KING. This is the first I recall of meeting any of the PATTERSON cousins. BILLY and MARY PATTERSON were there and I probably remember them because MARY was my age and BILLY was nearer ROSIE's age. I heard later that DARREL, and KENNETH were there but were probably too "old" for me to remember them. This was the last time that Daddy (OLIVER) was to see his parents.
In 1982 while visiting my daughter PATRICIA LEE (KING) KELLEY in Eugene, Oregon I Made Contact with BILLY and WAVA PATTERSON who were living there. BILLY gave me a sample of his home made beer that was dark and excellent and much like the beers of Germany.
I also have a conch shell -that I was told was picked up on a Florida beach and was brought across country in a covered wagon. I am the 5th generation of the KING line to have owned the shell which has a cut off end and Mom said was blown at noon time to call the hands in for lunch. If I am the 5th generation of the KING lineage to hold the shell it must have been first picked up by WILLIAM H. KING prior to their move to Dade County, Missouri in 1840 or thereabouts.