The Havilah Herald

Official Publication of the Havilah Centennial Group, Inc.

aka The Havilah Historical Society and Museum

Havilah California – August 2020

A recognized 501 C 3 non-profit Historical Organization (all donations are tax-deductible)

Dedicated to the preservation of the history of Havilah,

The first County Seat of Kern County, CA

Our Purpose:

The purpose of this corporation is EDUCATIONAL. The organization has been formed and is maintained to research, document, preserve, and share the historic legacy of the town of Havilah, California, and of Kern County, California. Included in this purpose is the objective to provide for the advancement of education about the history of Havilah and early Kern County to the local community at large and to any and all visitors to the community.


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For August 2020

Hello Everyone,


We had an informal lunch gathering of the officers, with several regular members present at the picnic tables on Friday July 3rd, and went over the 10 pages of rules we would have to conform to in order to reopen the Havilah museums.  Little did we suspect it, but on the previous day, Governor Newsom closed all inside museums once again due to the Covid-19 resurgence.  So, it was the consensus of all those present that we not reopen the museums until the 2021 regular season.


We will, however, need to meet in October for a regularly scheduled membership meeting, as according to our bylaws, we must meet to nominate officers for the coming year.  We will also need to meet at the regular time and place in November to continue nominations, and then close the nominations and hold the official vote.  The 10 of us who gathered at the picnic tables also decided to get together in December at the School House for our annual Christmas party and to collect presents for needy children in the valley.  So, as always, Y’all Come! More details to follow in the Oct. and Nov. newsletters.


So, there won’t be an official meeting at the School House until Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 3 pm (unless something special comes up, and we need to get together again sooner.  I’ll let everyone know if and when anything like that should happen.)


Thanks for bearing with us during these very trying times.  Wishing you and your families the best of health! And we sure hope you made it through the Stagecoach Fire unscathed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Your Prez —- Al



(From “Lynn’s Valley Tales and Others”, by H. Guy Hughes, Copy # 7)

(As some of you know, Jayne and I have a pretty extensive collection of books at the ranch.  We estimate it at about 3,500 and 189 or so are in our computer room and deal pretty much with local California history.  One of Jayne’s prized possessions is long out-of- print, a limited edition of the book, as mentioned above.  This story appears in it as “The Mexican Steer”, and I have changed the title a little because the author’s grandfather was the one who “stars” in it.  Many generations of the Hughes family have been, and still are, up in the Glennville area.  — Al):


“The following tale about my father bringing home a wild Mexican steer from Tulare Lake was in the days of open range, in the late 1880’s.


During this particular spring, Grandpa Hughes developed a desire to see this Mexican steer.  The other hundreds of head he cared nothing about, just this Mexican steer.  He may have just wanted to see if my father could get him home.  He had those spells.


In those days there were no fences.  The cattle ranged from the top of the Sierras to Tulare Lake, and on down to Buena Vista and Kern River.  The cowmen started their horse rodeos first.  Then, when the saddle stock was gathered, they set out on the long three or four months cow rodeo.


This Mexican steer lived at Tulare Lake and had no desire to change his habitat.  In fact, his whole body and soul yearned to stay right where he was.  No one who has not tried to move a Mexican steer from his home has any idea of the magnitude of the said endeavor.  My father had to put his riata on that steer and drive him a little ahead of him for the whole distance.  The nearer home my father got the madder he became, and the steer was matching him temper for temper.


The last camp my father made before reaching Lynn’s Valley was a spot below Woody about four or five miles, called, to this day, “Carver Camp”.  This was because Alex Carver camped there during winter, and rode after his cattle with that as his headquarters.  There was a big spring which had a large bog hole below it. Bright and early, my father saddled his horse, un-staked his steer, and started for home.


Mr. Steer saw a chance to cause some trouble, and proceeded to do just that.  Into the bog hole he plunged. When the smoke cleared away, my father and his horse were also bogged down, but worst of all, he got his riata wet.  That, to a vaquero, was the crowning mishap, as a rawhide rope cannot stand moisture and continue to be a working tool, as well as a weapon in the hands of a skilled roper.


If you think my father was mad before, he was now fit to be tied. As the duo neared the home ranch, both got more dangerous and surlier on the lookout for something to which they could vent their spleen.  Then my father had a brilliant idea.  The corrals and stand of buildings then were just as they are today.  The barn is in the center of a large corral, approached through a lane, and into the corral through a bit gate.  My father turned the infuriated steer loose in the corral and went to tell Grandpa Hughes that his prized steer was home.  Father didn’t want to kill the old man, so he told Grandpa he should get his old horse “Doc” and come to the corral. Grandpa rode into the corral surrounding the barn, and faced a mad steer.  My father stood at the gate, but was very careful to keep it closed.


As soon as Mr. Mex saw the horse and rider, he charged with all the pent-up hate and venom of his naturally mean disposition.  There was no skilled rider with a riata facing him now.  Grandpa Hiram knew his only way out was to take off and circle the barn to get back to the gate.  Around the barn went Grandpa and “Doc”, whose best day was none too fast.  Every time Grandpa would pass my father at the gate, he would holler at the top of his voice, “Open the gate, Bony!”  To which my father would reply, with fresh in his mind the long trip home, “Once more around the barn, Father”.


Finally he did open the gate and let the old man escape.  Grandpa was speechless with rage, and just rode up to the house, and never a word then, or ever, after that, about the Mexican steer.  Funny, but he lost all interest in Mexican steers.  It became a joke in the family after that.  When any of us ever got in a tight spot, someone would always say, “Once more around the barn, Father?”


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Following is another article from the Old Timer’s Column published in the Wofford Heights Kern River Valley Review

by the Ghost Writer (Edith Long, whose parents were Jim and Pearl Bechtel) on Oct. 16, 1969:…


You Old Timers might remember the times when the Ladies Aid Society of the Kernville Methodist Church were busily sewing for their bazaar held in December, and Jim Bechtel advertised his Halloween Dance always held on the last Saturday night before Halloween.  It was a costume dance with prizes going for the best costume, funniest costume, and usually a “booby prize”.  The hall was decorated with orange and black crepe paper streamers that started in the center of the ceiling, just above where the band played in the center of the dance hall.  The other end was fastened to the front….There were two moons, one at each end of the stage, one of which winked. The moons shone only during a “moonlight dance.”  …small orange bulbs glowed and the two moons would “beam.”  The resulting dim lighting resulted in this being the most popular dance of the night!  The band usually played waltzes for the “moonlight dances” and the minute they stopped yells of “more, more, more” would fill the hall, until Jim would finally flip the switch back.                                 


The Old Timers will remember the wooden seats all along the sides of the hall where the kids and non-dancers sat, and where the dancers rested between dances.  The youngest children were soon put to bed in the back room off the hall where beds were provided, as was the custom of all dance halls in that era.  The older children danced around the edge of the floor until midnight and then they usually slept on the benches covered with coats and sweaters.  The prizes were given out at midnight just before the supper break.


The families began to wake sleeping children around one thirty to get them ready for the trip home, which was often many miles away.


The young married couples and those with dates never wanted to leave, and when “Home Sweet Home” was played, (the cue the dance was over for the night) they would fill the hall with cries of “more,” and proceed to pass the hat to urge the band to continue.  Sometimes this would happen two and three times as the early morning hours wore on.  Finally the exhausted band would pack their instruments and Jim would start turning off the lights.


Those still wanting to dance would reluctantly leave and immediately start making plans for next month’s dance.


How many of you Old Timers remember the first dance band to play in Jim’s Hall?  If you say Mrs. French on the piano, her husband “Frenchy” on the Saxophone, Clint Stealman, violin, and Art Carlson, drums, you are correct.


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  • I see a big baby boom coming our way in 9 months.  They will be called the C-19 Babies & the #1 baby names will be “Charmin & Scott”.


  • So let me get this straight, there’s no cure for a virus that can be KILLED by sanitizer and hand soap?


  • It’s been a great blessing to be at home with the wife these last few months.  We’ve caught up on everything I‘ve done wrong in the last 20 years.


  • How long is this social distancing thing supposed to last?  My husband keeps trying to come into the house.


  • Is it too early to put up the Xmas tree yet?  I have run out of things to do.


  • Day 7 of SOCIAL Distancing:  Struck up a conversation with a spider today.  Seems nice.  He’s a web designer.


  • When this virus thing is over with, I still want some of you to stay away from me.


  • Just wait a second – so what you’re telling me is that my chance of surviving all this is directly linked to the Common Sense of others?


  • Another Saturday night in the house and I just realized even the trash goes out more than me.


  • Day 27 at home and the dog is looking at me like, “See, this is why I chew the furniture.”


  • Remember when you were little and your underwear had all the days of the week on them?  Those would be helpful right now.


  • Whoever decided a liquor store is more essential than a hair salon is obviously a bald headed alcoholic.


The spread of COVID-19 is based on two factors:

1.       How dense the population is

2.       How dense the population is


  • I’m so excited to take the garbage out.  I wonder what I should wear.


  • Remember all those times when you wished the weekend would last forever.  Well, wish granted.  Happy now?


  • It may take a village to raise a child, but I swear it’s going to take a whole vineyard to home school one.


  • I did a BIG load of pajamas so I would have enough clean work clothes for this week.


  • Anyone else getting a tan from the light in the fridge?


  • SILLY YOU!  You thought dogs were hard to train.  Just look at all the humans who can’t sit and stay.             





President:                                   Al Price                                 661/867-2414   

Vice President                           Larry Grafius                        661/867-2579

Secretary                                   Roy Fluhart                           928/308-1863       

Treasurer                                  Jayne Hotchkiss-Price          661/867-2414   

Directors                                    Lana Grafius                        661/867-2579

                                                  Wes Kutzner                          760/379-2636   

Immediate Past President/Editor: Janet Kutzner              760/379-2636   




Membership Application to the Havilah Historical Society


(Choose one)

  •          Annual membership, and newsletter by e-mail $25/yr (Jan – Dec), or
  •          Annual membership, and newsletter by snail-mail $35/yr


(Membership subject to approval by the Board of Directors of the Havilah Historical Society a.k.a. The Havilah Centennial Group, Inc., and consists of an INDIVIDUAL ADULT OR TWO ADULT FAMILY MEMBERS, LIVING AT THE SAME ADDRESS. (The only one we Grandfather is our Grandfather!)


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We are an authorized 501 C 3, non-taxable, non-profit, recognized under both State and Federal regulations. ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE!



(just be able to walk over hot coals, barefooted, while singing the Star Spangled Banner, in Gaelic !)



Membership Renewal:

Havilah Centennial Group, Inc.

Havilah Historical Society & Museum

6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road, Havilah, CA 93518  Fiscal Year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31


$25 Annual Dues for an Individual or a Family Membership (a family is 2 adults for voting purposes), will entitle members to receive notices via monthly newsletter, The Havilah Herald, of meetings, functions, and events. $35 Annually if you require the newsletter by “snail-mail”.



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Deliver newsletter (check one) by email______ or by snail-mail______  (Membership $25.00 plus $10.00 for snail-mail newsletters and bulletins. Postage, envelopes, paper, etc., AIN’T FREE. Total snail-mail membership $35.00 / yr.)

Date Renewal Submitted___________________________________



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Membership year is from January 1 to December 31.

The Courthouse Museum and Schoolhouse are open from April 1 through Sep. 30 on weekends from 11 am until 3 pm, and by appointment.  They are located at 6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road, Havilah, CA 93518.  TEMPORARILY CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS! — BUT WE STILL TAKE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS !

Admission to the museum is FREE, but donations are cheerfully accepted, (and 100% tax-deductible!).

The monthly general meeting is at 3 pm the second Saturday of each month at the Havilah Schoolhouse.


6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road

Havilah, CA 93518