[May 1948]
The Mendocino Beacon
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Wolfe Howls

From Across
The Counter
By
Ray H. Wolfe
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Jim Skiffington who now lives at
Lakeport, but who "walked into
Mendocino barefooted on the 5th day of
November 1893," has written me a letter
that I think you will be interested
in reading so I'm going to pass up
some other things I was going to write
about and let you in on the main
portion of his letter, as follows:

"Up in the Catholic cemetery there
in Mendocino, is a man buried who
came to Mendocino in 1851. He and
six others left San Francisco in a
whale boat and skirted the shores,
and camped nights.

"They came ashore at what is now
Elk or Greenwood. As they came up
on the bank Charley Fletcher was in
the lead and there were about 10 or
12 immense grizzly bears feeding on
the clover. He called a bear a Cuffy.
He said to the others: "This is a
regular Cuffy's Cove.

"Frank Faria, the man who is buried
in Mendocino, squatted there and
built cabins and a stockade. Shortly
after they put a water powered saw
mill on Albion river. A man named
Harvey Bell got some mules from the
Spaniards and started killing elk and
packing them up to the people at the
mill. Frank said the elk were tame
as cattle, but it didn't take long before
they were killed off or moved out.

I have never seen the horns Burtt
Elliot has, or if so I don't remember
them. But in 1895 Fred Stickney,
who was a surveyor at that time, was
running lines on the divide between
Albion river and Big river on the head
of Bill Host, or Tom Bell Creek, and
we found a pair of elk horns attached
to a skull. They were sound but had
been chewed by foxes or some other
animal.

The coast grizzly was a beach comber
and the largest of his breed - much
larger than the Rocky Mountain grizzly.

This man Frank Faria was on this
coast in whalers in 1825. He was a
native of the Azores, and was 106
years old at the time of his death. In
the whale boat with Frank and Fletcher
was a negro, long known on the
coast as Nigger Nat. He had a place
in what is now East Mendocino, and
it was then called Fury Town.

"They found a white man there
(Mendocino) when they came. He
was a survivor of a boat coming from
China with silk. He had a cabin, and
I think you will find that cabin is a
room in the old Heeser home."

I certainly appreciate Mr. Skiffington's
letter as it gives me something
else to wonder about - and I had already
started to wonder about some
of the things his letter told me, for
W.A. Shine, who lives out at Comptche,
brought a couple of interesting
pictures in to me at the store the
other day.

One of these is an excellent photograph
of Frank Feria, or "Portagee
Frank" as he was better known, taken
at the age of 101 and showing his
badly broken left arm. This, according
to my information, was broken by
a bear at Salmon Creek, many years
before his death in 1904.

The other picture was taken in the
Pioneer Saloon, and shows Frank and
his wife behind the bar. I understand
this saloon was located on the Comptche
road about where Homer Drinkwater's
Laguna Ranch is now located.

Mr. Shine who said he has lived in
this part of the country for 48 years,
said I could borrow the pictures for a while
and I will try and have them on display
at the Remedy Store in Mendocino
so you can see them too.

Mrs. W.H. Oppenlander and Mrs.
Frank Vierra of the Comptche section
met in the store the other day and
decided to have a dish of ice cream
together so while I waited on them I
asked if they knew how Comptche got
its name. Mrs. Oppenlander said it
was the name of an Indian chief and
meant "three hills." The Indians used
to camp on the Oppenlander place
on their treks from Ukiah to Mendocino
and Little River. I'm getting
some information on that and hope to
give you the dope one of these days.