T H E   G O D S   Z O N E 

The Smiths

Muir Trail Ranch

Dear Dad,

Thank you for the mountains. You gave

us the most incredible gift. Rivers and trees and rocks, forty horses in our backyard and as much space as we could possibly run in, all wild and beautiful.

And you gave us challenges, a chance to 

learn the wonderful skills of the mountains and feel at home there……

Cam Smith

Karl Smith

Adeline Nord Smith

Karla Smith

Hilary Hutley


In the mid 1930’s as Lena Shavers health was failing, my father Charles Burr Craycroft (then in medical school at Stanford) arranged for Adeline Nord to be her companion for several years in the Mountains. 


Later Adeline married Karl Smith and together they created the store and ferry at Florence Lake and Muir Trail Ranch. Through many trips to the ranch and the high country beyond over a period of 40 years, I got to know Adeline very well. From her stories, just the way she spoke about Lena, Lena came alive for me. 

    Adeline and Karl’s oldest daughter Cam was my age and we spent a lot of time together. Cam was a fusion of her mothers calm, confidence and strength and her fathers brilliance, generous and daring spirit. Karl died suddenly of a heart attack in 1981. Though Cam had become somewhat distanced from her family, in 1982 she wrote a brilliant, soulful letter to her father that expresses the heart and meaning of their place in the mountains and the meanings that they represented to so many and that captured me and set my path forever.

                                                                                                       April 18, 1982

Dear Dad,

Thank you for the mountains. You gave us the most incredible gift. Rivers and trees and rocks, forty horses in our backyard and as much space as we could

possibly run in, all so wild and beautiful.

And you gave us challenges, a chance to learn the wonderful skills of the mountains to feel at home there.

And you gave us a philosophy, a philosophy we always thought of as the "mountain way" and one which I have recently thought of in looking at the roots of this country as an "American way", a "pioneer way”. In truth it is the way of mankind at his best, meeting all challenges, never giving up (never even

considering giving up), doing what you set out to do (and "If you're going to do it

something really hard do it right") doing just for the heck of it, being honest, helping those who need it, respecting the land and all life.

We learned to carry a piece of wood to leave on top if we were ever riding on horseback over Muir Pass, 12,000 feet high, because some hungry cold backpacker up there might need it sometime. We learned to love creation, working hard as a team, and solving every "impossible" problem that came along.

To this day I can't even imagine something like coming home without the horses, just because we couldn't find them. If some thing broke it was fixed. If it couldn't

be fixed it was fixed anyway. The "mountain way" was,'always coming through”. What a heritage.

And then there was the lesson of being close to all of the elements without the screens of civilization. What does the earth really feel like, and the rain when it

rains on you for 6 hours in the saddle? It is more than just "roughing it".

It was somehow very important to learning about being alive to know what a planet really feels like and sounds like and looks like when it's just you and the planet.

I wonder now how many of those wonderful "missions" you sent me on, like riding all night to bring back a saddle left at Rose Lake were absolutely as vital as they sounded at the time, but I know what it does for a kid to let them have such a great job.

I know what you have done for me, and I’ve seen what you have done for others, and I’ve seen the delight you always got out of sharing the mountains and all that went with them.

Many thanks, and I thought you’d like to know that your gift has not stopped here but will be passed on and on.



Andrew Darwin Ferguson was born in 1821, 

Kings River, Fresno, California

When it comes to understanding the Mountain Way that Karl and Adeline passed on to Cam, Karla and Hillary, that inspires so many of those who have been touched by their lives and is epidemic in The Gods Zone, a very good place to start is Andrew Darwin Ferguson, Karl’s Grandfather. Andy was at various times  a stockman, grain farmer and miner and is primarily identified with the role he played as Fishing and Game Commissioner of California, a role very dear to the heart of all who fish in the high country and certainly every member of The Shaver Lake Fishing Club. In his own words: 

THE HIGH COUNTRY and Related Thing

Random Thoughts of a Mountaineer

Andrew Darwin Ferguson


    The conservation of wild life having become a live issue in California, the Legislature in the early 1890”s or late 80’s, incorporate in the County Government Act a provision for the office of County Game Warden. The various Boards of Supervisors of their Counties promptly acted and appointed Wardens. Most of  the boards, I fear, were actuated chiefly by the opportunity for one more piece of patronage rather than from enthusiasm for conservation. 

    In 1896, I was offered the post of Game Warden by the Supervisors of Fresno County. In a flash it came to me that here was my chance to do something toward getting trout into our barren waters, and I accepted the post. 

    The office of Game Warden had been simply a sinecure and I think the Supervisors were greatly surprised to find that the new Warden

took the job seriously. 

    In '97 I gathered together a pack train and set about planting trout. And for four years, each Summer found me hard at it. The law allowed but twenty-five dollars per month for expenses, which was about the cost of getting a single consignment of trout fry from the railroad to the terminus of the wagon road where the heavy work began. I had, at various times, sixteen head of my own horses and four of my ranch employees engaged in furthering the enterprise.

     Let it be understood, I was not a rich man indulging a hobby; I did, nevertheless, follow my hobby. To "make two blades of grass grow where one grew before" is proverbially commendable. It did not occur to me that to make countless millions of fish to grow where none grew before is an improvement on the grass idea. I was preparing to share my joys with my fellow man.

      My first fish planting efforts involved taking the "fry" from the nearest railroad point, delivered to me by the California Fish Commission. Thence by stage an all night trip, to the terminus of the road where my pack train awaited me. There could be no stops or delays. Fifteen minutes in the cans without aeration is fatal to trout in course of transportation. Likewise high temperatures or a sudden rise in temperature of the water, be it SO little as three of four degrees, will cause the fish to sicken and unless the condition is quickly remedied the fish will die. While in the valley, temperature in the cans is regulated by the use of ice. In the high mountains. I had my cans covered with burlap which we kept saturated with water. Since mountain temperatures are not  naturally high I found no difficulty in  maintaining even temptratures in the cans.

    And this soon led me to abandon the plan of using hatchery fish for transplanting. Instead we went into those places where hatchery fish were to be had and took adult fish for transplanting. Instead of 2500 to 4000 fry to the can, we could successfully carry but 50 to100 adults from four to six inches in length. Our adoption of the use of adult fish proved much the more

satisfactory. The adults spawned within a few months and the stream or lake

wherein they were placed was quickly and completely stocked. Eighteen miles between falls, of the waters of the south fork of the San Joaquin thus planted with a few adult trout was within three years of the plant  a splendid trout

stream. The rule was invariable. Four years at most and a sizeable

river was trout waters par excellence.

    To secure a supply of adult fish our first practice was to turn a small branch of the stream and, as the waters receded, the fish collected in pot holes where we took them up with nets. It was a laborious process. 

    Later and ever after we took our stock fish entirely with (fly) hook and line.

Taken on fly hooks the fish will not be injured if removed from the hook with a wet hand. We once took five thousand Golden trout from Volcano Creek with fly

hooks and transplanted them without losses -- a lesson for those who argue that it is useless to return immature trout to the water because "they will die anyhow."

    Those first years of fish planting were the hardest, for it was necessary in securing stock fish, to go down into those deep canyons heretofore described and to bring the heavily laden mules out whole, this called for the exercise of much skill and labor. 

    Then, too, there were other hazards. In a precipitous country it is necessary to plant fish near headwaters and allowing them and their progeny to gradually scatter themselves down stream. To reach  such headwaters, trails must be

abandoned and extremely rough going must be overcome. Without going into details (my descriptive powers are hardly in my equal to the task), I will cite one instance still in my vivid memory.

    With a single companion to help handle a long string of pack animals, I was attempting to reach the headwaters of the north fork of the Kings, right at the foot of Mt. Goddard. We were coming from the south. About half way down, the mountainside soil gave way to a series of more or less connected benches on the side of a granite wall. Gradually we worked our way down to the last bench above the river. There it lay at our very feet. stream for our tired fish, grass for the horses, rest and  supper for ourselves but, alas, hundred feet of smooth granite, steeper than the roof of a house, was between us and goal. To go back was impossible. We had brought stock our down over ground which no laden animal could climb back over. Dark was fast approaching and the prospect was anything but pleasing. 

    After fruitless attempts at finding a safe passage, I resolved to try a desperate expedient. My mount was my favorite horse, Conejo, intelligent, biddable, and possessed of absolute confidence in his master. We had been in many tight scrapes together, Conejo and I, and now it was a case of do or die. I led the noble animal right to the very edge of the bluff and parallel to the face. Then suddenly I pulled his head toward me in such a manner as to throw his front directly down the slope. There being no footing, he sat back on his haunches and began to slide. To guide him straight down, I held him by the chin strap of his bridle and slid with him. It was a perfect slide and we reached the meadow without the slightest mishap. 

    And now for the pack train. Scrambling back up to where Ken awaited me, we set about the toboggan business for the mules. Taking them one by one, we led the mules to the brink as I had done Conejo. To line them down the slide, as I pulled a mule's forequarters toward me, Ken, using the mule's tail for a fulcrum, swung his hindquarters in the opposite direction. Thereafter, there was nothing the mule could do but slide -- and I slide with him. Thus we took the entire string into camp without spilling so much as one drop of water. 

    I would not willfully create the impression that my four years of pioneer effort at pack horse fish distribution was accomplished without help. The stock men of various sections of the mountains lent invaluable assistance, they

In addition to their personal assistance they furnished me horses whilst my exhausted ones were turned out to rest and recuperate. Their reward, like my own, was but the satisfaction of a good deed well done.In four Summers I was able to stock all the major waters of the two big watersheds, together with

the minor streams up to ten or eleven thousand feet elevation. These streams

satisfied the desires of the outing public for a long time.

    In those years of experience I learned much of those details which make for success in fish planting. At first I attempted to "go easy" when carrying the fish.

I soon learned that time is the only element which makes for success.

If a journey at a leisurely pace required twelve hours, and if by hastening or even occasionally trotting the mules I made the same trip in six hours, the fish

arrived in much better condition. Rainbow trout will hold themselves clear of the sides of the can for about eight hours. Thereafter they tire and are injured or killed by coming violently in contact with their prison walls.

Lock Levin trout will carry safely one to two hours longer than Rainbows. While Golden trout can stand but six hours of this kind of transportation without twelve to eighteen hours rest. This knowledge was the

chief factor in my success. To rest the fish I placed the cans in a

flowing (cold) stream, putting, or course, a screen across the mouth of the can.

My longest successful carry by this method was two weeks -certainly the record. 

    Galvanized iron cans are bad containers for carrying fish. My first pack cans were of that material. After a time we discovered that a certain can invariably disclosed dead fish. We soon called it the coffin. I took my troubles to a tinner. Promptly he pronounced my trouble: zinc poisoning. My tinner friend made me a set of cans of block tin and thereafter all went well. 

    Looking backward it is amusing to recall the dire predictions of many people as it concerned my undertaking. Some argued that had the waters been adapted to the existence of fish, they would have been there all the time.

Others accounted for the fishless condition of many lovely streams on the theory that the streams once the carried just certain streams now do, but floods carried them fish as away. Summed up, it was the general opinion that my efforts would prove futile. Unvarying success, however, soon converted the doubters.

    How those transplanted multiplied! And how fast they multiplied!

    In the new waters there was a myriad of insect life. My colonists lived on the fat of the waters. Trout taken from the parent stream where, because of the struggle for existence none had attained a length of above eight to ten inches, promptly grew into, three and four pounders. And this situation continued until the streams became overstocked. Now six, eight, and ten inch fish are

the prevalent type except in lakes where the big fellows can still be freely taken. 

    At the end of four years the political wheel of fortune having turned, a good Republican got my job and fish planting in the mountains came to an abrupt end. I gracefully, not to say gratefully, accepted the situation and set about improving my neglected personal affairs.

    I, through my work, was finished along "pro bono publico" lines, but in 1909 the Fish Commission of California importuned me to accept the position of "Assistant in Charge" of a newly created District Office. I was given nine counties wherein I was to administer the Commission's affairs and soon, naturally, I was again deep in fish planting game. I surrounded myself with loyal deputies, fine, active fellows who lent their enthusiastic support to

my plans. The Commission lent its hearty support, and we commenced "doing things" in a large way. I had my mind set on the hundreds of lakes in the extreme high  country and was determined that they should be stocked. Motor trucks having come into successful use, the former long stage trip from rail lines to road's ends was no longer an obstacle, which enabled us in addition to our more pretentious undertaking, to bring many varieties of hatchery fish.

into the mountains.

    Eventually I organized my locally famous thirty mule fishplanting pack train. 

Sam Ellis picked the "string" for me and Sam knew mules. Throughout several seasons we continued our work, until there were no more worlds (waters) to conquer.

    One day the Commission's chief officer, Mr. John Pease Babcock, called me into the head office and asked me if I thought I could bring out for transportation to the Sisson hatchery, some Golden trout. I replied "As many as you wish."The Chief smiled and reminded me that the Federal Fish Commission had repeatedly failed to bring out so much as one live Golden trout. "But", added the Chief, “I believe you can do it. That conversation resulted in the

Nineteen Eleven Golden Trout Expedition. My splendid Chief gave me carte

blanche to do all my own way.

    Pardon the digression, friend reader, while I tell you how that I know

the fame of our 1911 expedition went far abroad. 

    In 1919 there came to my camp in General Grant Park, a globe trotter, the type which trots upon his own trotters. By the way, the right method of really seeing things. He was asking for trail information. Sensing that here was an intelligent gentleman, I insisted that he stay for lunch. Mutual introductions naturally followed. Upon getting my name he said: "Andy Ferguson, Andy

Ferguson, are you the man who wrote the 1911 Golden trout report for the California Fish Commission? I read that report in Sweden,

translated into Swedish."

(Author's note: These lines were penned in the hope that they will fall under the eye of my former chief, who is now Chairman of the International Fisheries Commission.)

 “The Golden trout was found, naturally, in but one spot on the globe

Volcano Creek, recently renamed Golden Trout Creek. Hence the interest of ichthyologists and the angling fraternity.”

Edgar C. Smith was born in 1891, 

in Pocatello Valley, Idaho

Edgar was a remarkably bright talented, diverse intellectual with a grounded and practical nature. He spent his career as an engineer building bridges, constructing canals, dams, waterways and roads. Like Andrew Ferguson, he wrote a brief but detailed and wonderful autobiography. When the San Francisco Earthquake hit, Edgar was a freshman at Stanford. Edgar’s account of his experience and actions follow. They reflect his capabilities and character and speak to the socially leveling and coorporative attitudes that a catastrophe inspires. Rebecca Solnit investigates this phenomenon in her book, Paradise Built in Hell. The separation from daily routines, the simplification of activities and the necessity of cooperation in the high mountains, The Mountain Way, has similar effects.


                                                 Edgar C. Smith


    The most exciting event of my life at Stanford was, of course, the big earthquake. There had been several minor shakes during my time there but I had never felt them, and had an urge that I would like

to do so. This particular morning, I woke up with the building shaking and the first thought I had was "This must be an earthquake." A piece of plaster fell and hit me in the ear and my second thought was that this must be a hard one. I rolled over and got a glimpse of my roommate's night shirt tail as he went out the door. I then got up and held onto the wardrobe and watched the light cord and globe swing almost from ceiling to ceiling. The plaster fell off the walls and buried all my pictures. Finally I saw a crack develop in the wall in the corner of my room. The only thing I can remember thinking was "How is this going to end?" When the shaking stopped, I had the presence of mind enough to grab my bathrobe and slippers and went out the door and looked into my neighbor's room.There I saw a boy trying to crawl under a couch. He had his head and shoulders under but could not get any further. He then backed out, saw me, and we both ran out of the building, Encina Hall, together. 

    It was April 18, 1906, 5:18 a.m., and a bright, cold morning. We stood out there at the rear of the Hall for some time, shivering, without enough clothes, and as we looked, saw that the church clock tower and Memorial Arch were both gone.

    The last time I was at Stanford, I caught myself unconsciously looking for the clock to see what time it was. In about ten minutes I got up courage enough to go back up to my room and get my clothes.

On getting dressed, I gave my bathrobe to a fellow who wore it all day before he got his clothes.

    By the time I was dressed, word had gotten around to us that a part

of the building on the front side had collapsed. On each side of the entrance foyer there were huge fireplaces with large stone chimneys extending up through the four stories and through the roof. These had toppled over, and on one side, had carried everything to the basement, and on the other side had stopped at the second floor. This collapse involved six dormitory rooms with two boys in each room. Ten of them escaped somehow, but two were caught, of whom one survived and one was killed. When I got there, the pits were filled with boys striving with their bare hands to tear floors and ceilings apart and remove the large chimney stones. I remember one fellow coming along screaming for us to get out of there because our weight would crush anyone caught in the debris. I never saw such a display of courage as was shown by the boys in the pits. The building would shake and rumble every little bit and chunks  of plaster would fall. I remember a large steam radiator hanging by one pipe connection from the fourth floor and spewing water over everyone. And I particularly remember a large, powerful fellow named Charles Paxton, dressed in his night shirt, and really tearing things apart. I got into the pit but it was so crowded I thought I could do better elsewhere and went around through the basement to the base of the pile, and was the first one to get to a boy whom I found with his legs pinned under some timbers, As it was almost pitch dark, I went for a light, but before I got back he had been rescued.  I then went to a contractor's shed to see if I could get some rope or tackle, the

better to help getting the stones and timbers out of the pit, but by

the time I got back the boy had been found crushed to death in his

bed. As all the others were accounted for, work stopped. About two

weeks before the earthquake, I happened to be taking a picture of

the Encina Hall front steps. There were two boys sitting there and one of them happened to be the boy who was killed. 

    Many boys, especially in the lower floors of the dormitory, had

tried to escape by jumping out of the windows, and nearly all of

them had broken ankles. It seems as if when they hit the vibrating

ground their ankles were turned. 

    The only other casualty at the University was a fireman at the University power plant. The story was that he and the engineer had run out of the building but the electric switchboard began arcing and he ran back to pull the switches. As he came out he was caught by the toppling of the large 125 foot high stone smoke stack. I happened to be passing by about ten o'clock just as the workmen found his body.

    I just wandered around the rest of the day. Guards were placed

around Encina Hall with instructions to permit no more than ten

people in the building at any one time. Along about two o'clock, my roommate and I decided we wanted in, and were about to climb in

through a back window, when a rather severe shake came along.

Instead of there being only ten boys in the building I think about 50

or more ran out, There was no more desire to go in that afternoon.

    It was not very long before saboteurs or souvenir hunters began work. A woman was caught getting away with a part of a leaded window containing the face of Christ which she had broken out of a fallen Memorial Church window. A student guard, authorized by University authorities was then placed around the Quadrangle. Another case of sabotage that I know of is at the statue of the Angel of Grief. It is a pure white marble statue of an angel kneeling with one arm laying across an altar. I have a picture which shows a broken wing but the hand iS perfect.Within a week before I left for home the hand had been broken off.

During the afternoon, I met a fellow Encina Hall student, Roy Collom,

who asked me if I would help him enlist students for a night guard,

which I did. As I remember we got enough students to man ten posts on two hour shifts around the Quadrangle. The next day the University authorities were able to take over and the student guards

were released. I have never been able to figure out how the following

came about. I had never been in the S.A.E. Fraternity House, but at

midnight I found myself there running the kitchen, making sandwiches

and coffee and sending them out to the fellows doing guard duty. The

treasurer of the University had thoughtfully sent the supplies forthis purpose.

    During the day and night, someone would come along every few minutes with a wild rumor; the Call building is laying flat across Market

Street; the insane at St. Agnews Asylum were loose and running wild;

a band of thugs out of San Francisco were coming down the Peninsula,

murdering and robbing as they went; the earth had opened up and swallowed rows of buildings; somebody just got word from Mt. Hamilton

Observatory to warn people to get out of all buildings because there was going to be another shake in 30 minutes, or 10 o'clock, or some other time.

Toward morning I wandered around to see how my guards were making out and went over by Roble Hall, the girls' dormitory. The girls

had all their beds laying out on the front lawn and before a bon fire in plain sight sat one of the big athletic heroes of the University with a large revolver laying across his arm, I do not know how

much help he would have been if thugs had been sneaking up but the

girls were at least satisfied to be able to see their hero guarding



The next forenoon, Dr. Branner, who was then head of the Geology

Department, and who knew me because I had been in one of his classes,

met me, and as he had seen me at some time with a large camera, told

me of the fault line which ran across the country about three miles

back of the University and asked if I could get some pictures of it

for him. I went to a livery stable, got a saddle horse and started out,

On the way I came to a large crack where the earth had settled about a foot on one side. I later found this was but a side shoot of the main fault.

I came to the main fault on top of the ridge and tried to follow it for about ten miles. There always appeared to be two cracks, sometimes two feet apart and sometimes as much as thirty feet apart.

Where I first came to the fault I talked to a Portuguese woman who told me that she had heard that over toward the Coast fire was coming out of the ground and "0h, how terrible, terrible, it was ! "

    In trying to follow the fault line, I went down into a creek canyon

and got into almost inaccessible places for a horse, trying to find

a place where the crack came through solid rock. When I got back to

the University, I told Dr. Branner what I had tried to do and he

laughed at me and said that would be impossible for the fault was an

old crack and the solid formation would be laying parallel to it.

Following along the creek canyon, I came upon numerous small landslides.

    Finally, I came to one about 200 yards across and it took a

lot of persuasion with a switch to get my horse out on it. When we

were half way across the whole mass began to move and the horse and

I lay back against the hillside. I do not think either of us breathed. It was a creepy feeling and I was mighty glad to get off of it. When I was ready to turn toward the University, it was about dark and I was out of film, and then came to an oak tree which was astraddle of the fault and the roots held so that the trunk of the tree was split like the lower half of a pair of scissors from the slippage of the earth. I never got back to find that tree.

    In the course of a couple of years I was able to see the fault at several other places. Near Salinas. where the Southern Pacific Railroad crosses the Pajaro River, the fault passed under the railroad bridge and had moved the end piers about four feet out of line. On top of the ridge where I first came upon the fault, a fence line was offset six feet. Question which fence would the owner move to get back on his own line? In the hills back of San Mateo is the Spring Valley Reservoir. Originally, the reservoir was created with an earth fill dam. Later, a concrete dam was built some distance down the creek so that water stood on both sides of the earth dam. The fault went through the earth dam with a slippage in the dam of about eight feet. It missed the concrete dam about 100 yards. What would have happened if the new dam had not been built?

    During the following summer, a Stanford geology class surveyed the

fault for 198 miles, from south of Salinas to some place up in

Humbolt County. The greatest slippage was found near Santa Rosa, a

distance of sixteen feet eight inches, as I remember it.

The story was it happened in front of a small house where a man had a lawn in front and a patch of berries to the side. After the quake the berries were in front of the house. The pipe line from the Spring Valley Reservoir to San Francisco was across the fault in two places; one place it was crushed together and the other place pulled apart eight feet. The fault went into the ocean near Colma, south of San Francisco, and came back on land in Bolinas Bay, about thirty miles north of the Golden Gate and continued on north up to beyond Santa Rosa.


The third day after the quake, having nothing to do, I went to Palo Alto and volunteered at the Red Cross. I spent the day going from house to house asking for white rags and assorted clothing and that evening was sent to San Francisco with a truck load of assorted clothing which was loaded into the baggage car of the milk train. the only train running. It was called the milk train because it ran from San Jose to San Francisco in the late evening, picking up cans of milk for the City and returning the next morning with empty cans. We arrived at the 25th and Guererra Street station in the rain and pitch dark about ten o'clock and a group of Stanford students unloaded the freight and put it in an Italian's store which had been taken over as a Stanford students relief headquarters. A lot of small stores had tried to take advantage of the calamity and raised their prices something shamefully. When the soldiers discovered such a store, they confiscated the contents and told the people to help themselves just retribution, I thought. This Italian's store was one of them, and I presume the police had given permission to the first Stanford students to use it for relief headquarters. Wo

had to work in the dark to unload the freight because there was no

electricity and open flame lights were prohibited. I managed to curl around some boxes or barrels and got room enough to lay down and sleep, and what an eye full I got when daylight came. The first call had been for food and the Peninsula people had sent buckets and tubs and barrels of soup. Apparently there was no demand for it for the place was full of it. I will never forget the awful sight and smell in the Southern Pacific Railroad station. It was filled with women and children who apparently had just sat their in their own filth for the past three days and I heard it said that there were several babies born there the first or second day. 

    After I had found something to eat I struck out for the Associated Charities headquarters at Fillmore and Sutter Streets. Luckily, I was able to hitch-hike a ride in a wagon which took me almost there. The fire was still burning in spots but it was mostly over by then. laundry.  The spots .  The Mission District was one with 100% frame buildings and the fire had been so hot that it consumed every stick of wood and it

was strange to be able to look over that vast area and see nothing

but the remains of cellars and a few brick chimneys. After a couple

of hours I managed to get to the main desk at Associated Charities

and tell my story. The person in charge gave me an order for a

team and wagon, told me to find a policeman and go out and get it.

Wefinally found a four horse team and wagon and with my credentials

signed, I was on my way. I had to show my permit quite often to

soldiers or policemen for my outfit seemed to be in considerable

demand. On my way, I came across a fire department steamer stuck on

a hillside. The captain, when he found he could not commandeer my

outfit, asked if I would help him. I hitched my four horses onto

his and we pulled the outfit to the top of the hill. That was once

my boyhood farming experience came in handy because no one else

seemed to know how, or what to do.

    When I got back to 25th and Guererra Streets there was more trouble. It seemed as if every Italian in the neighborhood had gotten into the storeroom and when I got there there was a regular riot going on, The clothing had all been dumped out of the sacks and men and women were grabbing and fighting for choice articles. I remember seeing a very old man fight his way out of the crowd with a bundle and when he held it up to see what he had, it was a pair of ladies' panties.

I got out, some Stanford help and we waded in with clubs, drove the people and retrieved most of the clothing. We bundled it up again and

sent it on its way but sad to report it was not in the sorted condition the dear ladies of Palo Alto had arranged it.

    I made one more trip across the city to the Presidio, but this time I had to walk most of the way. The Horticultural Society of Menlo Park had sent up a large exhibition tent addressed to "General Funston, San Francisco." It was not doing any good laying at our station and I thought it might be badly needed some place to shelter refugees. The officer in charge at the Presidio said they had no use for it and to get rid of it the best way I could. I again went to Associated Charities at Fillmore and Sutter Streets, and got an order to commandeer the first wagon I could find and got a single horse delivery wagon, and the last I knew the tent was set up in one of the parks.

    Things were pretty much in a state of chaos for the first two weeks.

The only thing we could do at the relief station was to give out the

milk and other supplies, mostly bread which came to us, the best we

could. The first few days we just poured out the milk into any kind

of container the people brought, all the way from bed chambers to

wash tubs. Then we tried to regulate it a little bit according to the size of the family, but the Italians were too smart for us. They borrowed the neighbors' kids when they came after milk. It took several weeks before it was worked out so that milk could get to the hospitals and more evenly distributed over the city. 

    The real moochers knew how to a get food and they were able to lay in a stock of supplies so that they probably lived better for the next year than they ever had in their lives.

    Carloads of food began to arrive shortly and the railroads spotted

them the best they could in different parts of the city. One neighood got a carload of oranges, another a carload of canned meats, etc. One district near us got carload of Arbuckle's Coffee, unground, in pound packages. Someone discovered we had a coffee grinder at the relief station, the Italian store.  It was a large two wheel hand operated affair and our boys were kept busy grinding coffee for several days.

    In 1906, 25th and Guererra was toward the outskirts of the city and

a few old wells with hand pumps and outdoor privies were to be found

but up in the city water and to Fillmore and Sutter, sewage was a problem. On my first trip a group of us were getting in a bad way and

did not know where we could go. We found a sewer manhole, removed

the cover, formed a tight circle around it and urinated into the

manhole in the center of the street.

    My wife often told of her Aunt Nellie who was living in San Francisco at the time. Being a pioneer woman, experienced in the out of doors, she did valiant work in Golden Gate Park showing people how to build fires and cook and survive in the open. 

    It is surprising how helpless people can be. I did not get into Golden Gate Park but I can imagine how the thousands of people there just milled around as helpless as those in the railroad station, deprived of all their possessions, eats uncertain, nothing to do and no place to go.

Those sitting in the railroad station were at least out of the rain. 

    I stayed at the relief station for two weeks when I decided to go to

Palo Alto and get some clothes. On the way down I was on the ground

lifting milk cans from the door sill of the express car and a can slipped off and landed on my toe. I lost a big toe nail which crippled me and then decided to go home to Pocatello.


I mentioned about cooking on the street. The motions set up by the

earthquake had sheared at least 90% of the brick chimneys just where

they emerged from the roof, Some of them had fallen but most of them were standing half off and half on. An order from General Funsten prohibited the building of any fires in stoves until the chimneys had been repaired or given a clearance. The day I went tothe fault line I lost out on joining a group of engineering students under Professor Wing who went to San Francisco as building inspectors. The story is a certain engineering student, who was a friend of the Associated Charities president, went to him and volunteered the information that he could get a group of a hundred or so level headed fellows to help in relief work if needed. The opportunity was immediately seized upon and understood that Professor Wing and his crews of engineering students did remarkable job. Back about the year 1900 there was famous murder case in San Francisco known as the Durant murder case.

Durant was tried and found guilty of luring two girls up into the belfry

of a church and murdering them. Another fellow and I had the job of getting up on the roof of that church and removing the chimney. I think I learned why so many of the chimneys had broken. There was only good mortar between the two top layers of brick. The rest was just a sand-mud mortar which blew off as we lifted the brick.


Reverend D. Charles Gardner was the rector of the Stanford Memorial

Church and we roughnecks thought him very aristocratic. He came up

to San Francisco four or five days after the earthquake and noticed

how we boys in the relief station were eating, just munching anything we could find. I remember dipping into a sack of dirty dried

prunes quite often. Reverend Gardner immediately went back to the

University and got his kitchen stove and cooking utensils and brought

them up to the relief station. We boys helped him to set up the

stove and build a table and benches alongside the curb, and he

cooked for us as long as we were there. We who stayed with the

relief station surely admired him after that. His pet hobby at the University was the promotion of a social service club which he had worked on for several years. The membership was composed mostly of society girls and their boy friends.The following fall he called a meeting of the Social Service Club and I understood that there was not a single person there who had worked on relief in San Francisco.One day shortly after this, Reverend Gardner met me on the Quad and said 'Smith, tell me how I can get close to that group of engineering students. They are the fellows who will get in and do things when the occasion arises. I wish I could get to know them.  I surely felt sorry for him and also I felt rather proud of being an engineering student.

Genealogy and Personal Memoirs

Karl Edgar Smith was born on May 12, 1916, 

in Pocatello Valley, Idaho

So many pure genius moments in so many dimension: 

Top Drawer Musician

A master of symphony to jazz and beyond (Dallas Symphony Horns & Librarian, jazz with some of the bests. A French Horn resonating, flooding, illuminating an enormous mountain valley in the GODS ZONE.

Excellent Engineer

Patents in engineering, designing, prototyping and producing highly successful products.

Design Build Architect to Lumber Jack/Mill operator/Joiner

Wilderness Wizzard

Horseman Cowboy Wrangler, MacGyver mechanical geniuses. The Preserved and New built, the wonderful array of history and immaculate preservation of Muir Trail Ranch through it’s many generations is a National Monument. With electrical generation by Pelton Wheel with Gas Generator Back up, clear communications over 8 miles of some of the most rugged terrain in the Sierra above 7000 ft. it is a masterful operation.  

Adeline Nord Smith was born in 1816, 

Fresno, California