The Havilah Herald

Official Publication of the Havilah Centennial Group, Inc.

aka The Havilah Historical Society and Museum

Havilah California – October 2018

A recognized 501 C 3 Historical Organization (all donations are 100% 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.


                                         The Prez Sez for October 2018


Whew!  The 2018 Havilah Season has come to an end, well, almost!  We have been asked to host a tour for the members of the Kern County Historical Society on October 20th.  They will be coming up here right after touring the Rankin Ranch and then the Rankin Family Cemetery.  Jayne and I are positive that they will be coming to Havilah to visit the St. Joseph Cemetery, and then over to the Court House and School House.  How can we be so sure?  They are renting two vans to transport their members to and from this field trip.  Jayne is driving one of the vans and I am driving the other one!

Please don’t miss the October 13th Havilah Business Meeting.  That’s when we open the nominations for your new corps of officers for 2019.  We will hold nominations at both the October and November meetings then will close the nominations and hold the elections right afterwards at the November meeting.  Jayne and I, plus Larry and Lana Grafius, have agreed to serve another year in the offices we now hold, and have held for the last 2 years (if you want us to), but that shouldn’t keep any of you from tossing your hat in the ring!  Janet Kutzner has decided to step aside as Secretary, and Roy Fluhart has offered to run for that office.  Janet will still be a member of the governing board as our immediate past-president.

THANK YOU TO ALL THE CURRENT AND PAST OFFICERS FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE FOR HAVILAH!  And, a big thank you goes to Wes & Janet Kutzner, Manfred & Kennise Ochsner, Bob Bradley, Roy Fluhart, Therese Melbar, Larry and Lana Grafius, and my better half, Jayne Hotchkiss-Price for being there almost every weekend this season to show off our museums and tell people about the nearly-forgotten history of Havilah!  You’d be surprised at the number of people who live in Kern County, and even up in the Kern River Valley and Walker’s Basin, who were unaware that Havilah served as the very first county seat for the newly formed Kern County (1866 – 1874).


                                                                                                                                                                                               See ya’ at the next meeting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                               — Prez Al


                                  THE BODIES FOUND AT THE WALKER CABIN IN KEYESVILLE, NOV. 1924

                                                                                       From the Bakersfield Morning Echo newspaper articles, Nov. 28, 1924

                                                                                                         (Thanks to Prez Al for submitting the following):


FACT:  John, (known locally as Newt) Walker’s body was found lying just inside the back door of the cabin in his stocking feet, apparently taken off-guard as both of                his guns were found under his pillow on the bed.

FACT:  Frank Murdock’s body was found just outside the door of that cabin.

FACT:  Tom Walker’s body was found in an abandoned mining tunnel; several empty whiskey bottles, and a gun were found beside him – an apparent suicide.

FACT:  Tex Roland’s body was located a day or two later on a knoll, some distance from the house.


The theory is that the Walker’s ran a still, or several stills.  All four men were playing poker at the Walker Cabin when something went terribly wrong.  Tom Walker ended up shooting the other three men, then went into a mining tunnel and committed suicide.


Jayne and I just finished reading a book, Kern County Pioneer Recollections, (1985), published by the Kern County Board of Supervisors, acting as Trustees for the Beale Memorial Library Trust Fund, and edited by local Historian, professor emeritus at Bakersfield College, Dr. William Harland Boyd, which proposes a different, and more believable scenario in our opinion:


Pages 73 thru 86, Kern County Stories, by Frank C. (Cromwell) Tibbetts. Specifically, on page 82.

  • Tibbets says Tex Roland, Frank Murdock and Tom and Newt Walker were business partners in a mining operation. Everyone but Tom wanted to sell out after an offer had been made for their mining properties.  They were always arguing with Tom about it.
  • Still, they were friends and enjoyed drinking and gambling together at the Walker cabin.
  • Tibbetts claims that Tex Roland left the card game, went to a bar in Kernville and told friends that he’d just been robbed of several hundred dollars at the card game with the Walkers and that he was going to go get his gun and go back and get his money.
  • Tibbetts believes that’s just what happened. Tex Roland went to the cabin and shot Frank Murdock. Newt Walker heard the commotion, came to see what was going on, and Tex shot and killed Newt.  Then Tex saw Tom Walker heading toward the cabin after apparently hearing the gun shots.  Tex knew if he stuck around, Tom would surely kill him after seeing that Frank and brother Newt were dead, so Tex started to run away.
  • Tom, seeing his brother lying dead, and seeing Tex running away, shot and killed Tex on that knoll just a little distance from the cabin.
  • Tom had just recently been released from serving ten years at Yuma Prison. Not wanting to go back, he got drunk in the mining tunnel, then shot himself in the head, dying immediately.  Oh yeah, Tom was found wearing Tex Roland’s cowboy boots.  What do you think?


Who Was Frank Cromwell Tibbets?

Frank was born in northern California, but was brought to Kern County in 1874, when his father, Roswell Goodspeed Tibbetts, came to manage the American Eagle Hotel in Kernville.  As a young man, Frank worked in the mines, raised livestock and became a local farmer.  He then went into business with his father and opened a general store and butchering business.  In 1900, Frank moved to Bakersfield and opened a store there.

Have you ever been to Keene, CA and seen the abandoned Kern County Stony Brook Tubercular Sanitarium?  Well, Frank found himself there, and before he died he wrote several stories and articles for the local newspapers.  Some were factual history, and others were considered to be tall tales …..You have to decide which category this one falls into!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  — Al Price & Jayne Hotchkiss-Price 


                                                                                                                                            *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

                                                Following is the “Coolest Headstone” Contest Winner:

Here are the five Rules for Men to Follow for a Happy Life that Russell J. Larsen had inscribed on his headstone in Logan, Utah.  He died not knowing that he would someday win the “Coolest Headstone” contest…”




  1. It’s important to have a woman who helps at home, cooks

from time to time, cleans up, and has a job.

  1. It’s important to have a woman who can make you laugh.
  2. It’s important to have a woman who you can trust,

and doesn’t lie to you.

  1. It’s important to have a woman who is good in bed,

and likes to be with you.

  1. It’s very, very important that these four women do not

 know each other or you could end up dead like me.


                                                                            Thank you, John Dougherty of Wofford Heights, for submitting the above item.


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                                                                AN 1895 EIGHTH GRADE FINAL EXAM:


Remember when grandparents and great grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education?  Well, check this out. Could any of us passed the 8th grade in 1895?

This is from Salina, Kansas, USA.  It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal:


Grammar (Time, one hour)


  1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
  2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
  3. Define verse, stanza, and paragraph.
  4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of ‘lie,’ ‘play,’ and ‘run.’
  5. Define case; illustrate each case.
  6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
  7. – 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.


Arithmetic (Time, 1 hour 15 minutes)


  1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
  2. A wagon box I 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
  3. If a load of wheat weights 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. for tare?
  4. District #33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
  5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. of coal at $6.00 per ton.
  6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
  7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre?
  8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
  9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
  10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note and a Receipt.


  1. S. History (Time, 45 minutes)


  1. Give the epochs into which U. S. History is divided.
  2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
  3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
  4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
  5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
  6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
  7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
  8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.


Orthography (Time, one hour)


  1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, and syllabication?
  2. What are the elementary sounds? How classified?
  3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, and linguals?
  4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u.’ (HUH?)
  5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e.’ Name two exceptions under each rule.
  6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
  7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
  8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
  9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
  10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.


Geography (Time, one hour)


  1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
  2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
  3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
  4. Describe the mountains of North America.
  5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall, and Orinoco.
  6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U. S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
  7. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
  8. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
  9. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.


(Editor’s note:  Try taking this five-hour test – how many of us need to repeat the 8th grade?)                       Thank you to Tom McKinney of Wofford Heights for “passing” this test on.


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President:                                              Al Price                                661/867-2414         email

Vice President                                       Larry Grafius                      661/867-2579

Secretary                                               Janet Kutzner                      760/379-2636         email

Treasurer                                              Jayne Hotchkiss-Price        661/867-2414         email

Directors                                               Lana Grafius                        661/867-2579

                                                               Mark Mutz                            661/867-2808         email

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


Annual membership is $25.00 per individual or family.  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.

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